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      CHAPTER XXII.It was not long before they learned the departure of Daulac and his companions. For, observes the honest Dollier de Casson, the principal fault of our Frenchmen is to talk too much. The wish seized them to share the adventure, and to that end the Huron chief asked the governor for a letter to Daulac, to serve as credentials. Maisonneuve hesitated. His faith in Huron valor was not great, and he feared the proposed alliance. Nevertheless, he at length yielded so far as to give Annahotaha a letter in which Daulac was told to accept or reject the proffered reinforcement as he should see fit. The Hurons and Algonquins now embarked and paddled in pursuit of the seventeen Frenchmen.


      "Snow fell in extraordinary quantities all day," writes La Salle, "and it kept on falling for nineteen days in succession, with cold so severe that I never knew so hard a winter, even in Canada. We were obliged to cross forty leagues of open country, where we could hardly find wood to warm ourselves at evening, and could get no bark whatever to make a hut, so that we had to spend the night exposed to the furious winds which blow over these plains. I never suffered so much from cold, or had more trouble in getting forward; for the snow was so light, resting suspended as it were among the tall grass, that we could not use snow-shoes. Sometimes it was waist deep; and as I walked before my men, as usual, to encourage them by breaking the path, I often had much ado, though I am rather tall, to lift my legs above the [Pg 215] drifts, through which I pushed by the weight of my body." Quebec, immediately after his arrival, as related by

      And you did not tell me?LA SALLE AND FNELON.

      Whether the Marquis and Marchioness Denonville profited by so apt and terrible a warning, or whether their patience and good-nature survived the episcopal onslaught, does not appear on record. The subject of feminine apparel received great attention, both from Saint-Vallier and hisTHE CRISIS.


      316 Myrtale pointed to an ivory couch which stood in the little room; Lycon reclined upon it, and she took her seat on the edge at his side. * To promote the objects of his mission, Boucher wrote a

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      At the curve of the prow, the highest part of the Samian, where the bearded steersman managed the double helm, stood a little group of travellers talking gaily with each other. They were Lydian and Phoenician merchants, availing themselves of the opportunity to go to Athens, as the merchantman, after having visited the most important ports in Asia Minor, would return home fully laden to the Pir?eus for repairs.Three days after the council, the Iroquois set out on their return; and as the palisades of the fort were now finished, and the barracks nearly so, Frontenac began to send his party homeward by detachments. He himself was detained for a time by the arrival of another band of Iroquois, from the villages on the north side of Lake Ontario. He repeated to them the speech he had made to the others; and, this final meeting over, he embarked with his guard, leaving a sufficient number to hold the fort, which was to be provisioned for a year by means of a convoy then on its way up the river. Passing the rapids safely, he reached Montreal on the first of August.

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      When Argenson arrived to assume the government, a curious greeting had awaited him. The Jesuits asked him to dine; vespers followed the repast; and then they conducted him into a hall, where the boys of their schooldisguised, one as the Genius of New France, one as the Genius of the Forest, and others as Indians of various friendly tribesmade him speeches by turn, in prose and verse. First, Pierre du Quet, who played the Genius of New France, presented his Indian retinue to the governor, in a complimentary harangue. Then four other boys, personating French colonists, made him four flattering addresses, in French verse. Charles Denis, dressed as a Huron, followed, bewailing the ruin of his people, and appealing to Argenson for aid. Jean Fran?ois Bourdon, in the character of an Algonquin, next advanced on the platform, boasted his courage, and declared that he was ashamed to cry like the Huron. The Genius of the Forest now appeared, with a retinue of wild Indians from the interior, who, being unable to speak French, addressed the governor in their native tongues, which the Genius proceeded to interpret. Two other boys, in the character of prisoners just escaped from the Iroquois, then came forward, imploring aid in piteous accents; and, in conclusion, the whole troop of Indians, from far and near, laid their bows and arrows at the feet of Argenson, and hailed him as their chief. *A great event had called forth all this preparation. Of the many baptisms achieved by the Fathers in the course of their indefatigable ministry, the subjects had all been infants, or adults at the point of death; but at length a Huron, in full health and manhood, respected and influential in his tribe, had been won over to the Faith, and was now to be baptized with solemn ceremonial, in the chapel thus gorgeously adorned. It was a strange scene. Indians were there in throngs, and the house was closely packed: warriors, old and young, glistening in grease and sunflower-oil, with uncouth locks, a trifle less coarse than a horse's mane, and faces perhaps smeared with paint in honor of the occasion; wenches in gay attire; hags muffled in a filthy discarded deer-skin, their leathery visages corrugated with age and malice, and their hard, glittering eyes riveted on the spectacle before them. The priests, no longer in their daily garb of black, but radiant in their surplices, the genuflections, the tinkling 113 of the bell, the swinging of the censer, the sweet odors so unlike the fumes of the smoky lodge-fires, the mysterious elevation of the Host, (for a mass followed the baptism,) and the agitation of the neophyte, whose Indian imperturbability fairly deserted him,all these combined to produce on the minds of the savage beholders an impression that seemed to promise a rich harvest for the Faith. To the Jesuits it was a day of triumph and of hope. The ice had been broken; the wedge had entered; light had dawned at last on the long night of heathendom. But there was one feature of the situation which in their rejoicing they overlooked.

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      While thus employed, they were startled by a sight often so fearful in the waste and the wilderness,the print of a human foot. It was clear that Indians were not far off. A strict watch was kept, not, as it proved, without cause; for that night, while the sentry thought of little but screening himself and his gun from the floods of rain, a party of Outagamies crept under the bank, where they lurked for some time before he discovered them. Being challenged, they came forward, professing great friendship, and pretending to have mistaken the French for Iroquois. In the morning, however, there was an outcry from La Salle's servant, who declared that the visitors had stolen his coat from under the inverted canoe where he had placed it; while some of the carpenters also complained of being robbed. La Salle well knew that if the theft were left unpunished, worse would come of it. First, he posted his men at the woody point of a peninsula, whose sandy neck was interposed between them and [Pg 161] the main forest. Then he went forth, pistol in hand, met a young Outagami, seized him, and led him prisoner to his camp. This done, he again set out, and soon found an Outagami chief,for the wigwams were not far distant,to whom he told what he had done, adding that unless the stolen goods were restored, the prisoner should be killed. The Indians were in perplexity, for they had cut the coat to pieces and divided it. In this dilemma they resolved, being strong in numbers, to rescue their comrade by force. Accordingly, they came down to the edge of the forest, or posted themselves behind fallen trees on the banks, while La Salle's men in their stronghold braced their nerves for the fight. Here three Flemish friars with their rosaries, and eleven Frenchmen with their guns, confronted a hundred and twenty screeching Outagamies. Hennepin, who had seen service, and who had always an exhortation at his tongue's end, busied himself to inspire the rest with a courage equal to his own. Neither party, however, had an appetite for the fray. A parley ensued: full compensation was made for the stolen goods, and the aggrieved Frenchmen were farther propitiated with a gift of beaver-skins.


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