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´╗┐Title: Villegagnon - A Tale of the Huguenot Persecution
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Villegagnon - A Tale of the Huguenot Persecution" ***

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Villegagnon, by W.H.G. Kingston.
________________________________________________________________________
The date is sometime during the reign of Philip and Mary, the Catholic
interlude between the Protestant times of Henry the Eighth and his son
Edward the Sixth, and Queen Elizabeth.  Religious intolerance was at an
extreme, with burnings at the stake and other very nasty tortures being
applied to persons of an opposite sect.

Nigel Melvin comes to the Court of France with some letters to deliver.
His young cousin Mary Seton is with him in the opening scene, and she
introduces him to the young royals who happen to be walking in the same
garden.  We find that there are several with Protestant leanings even
in that setting.  Nigel is conducted to a house where he is to find
Admiral Coligny, who is setting up an expedition to  found a Protestant
colony the other side of the Atlantic in the bay now known as Rio de
Janeiro, and idea that had been propounded by Monsieur Villegagnon.
Nigel is given command of one of the ships. They set off for Havre,
where the vessels are, but on the way Nigel overhears a conversation
between Villegagnon and a monk, which makes it plain that Villegagnon
is no Protestant, and that there is a dubious motive in all these
plans.

On arrival at Rio they meet with a local Indian chief who warns them
about some white settlers nearby who appear to have a religion not at
all satisfactory to Indian tastes.  These are the Portuguese, Catholics.
They are permitted to settle on any island in the bay.  There is a gale
and it becomes plain they must move to a more sheltered island than the
one they started on.  Nigel falls in love with the fair lady Constance,
but so also does the Indian, Tecumah.

Nigel returns to France to pick up more Protestant emigrants, who have
to run the gauntlet of a Catholic mob apparently led by the monk who
had been plotting before the first voyage, with Villegagnon.  The
voyage proceeds well but the five French ships were attacked by five
Portuguese, whom they routed except for one, which they captured.  They
were unable to shut up the shot-holes in her, and she sinks.  On arrival
in Brazil they set her passengers and crew ashore in a Portuguese-held
part of the territory, and continue to their settlement in the bay of
Rio.  Thereafter the story gets more and more exciting, and we hope that
you will read it for yourself.

________________________________________________________________________
VILLEGAGNON, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.


CHAPTER ONE.

THE TWO COUSINS.

"And what brought you to France, fair cousin?"

The question was put by a beautiful girl scarcely yet verging on
womanhood to a fine intelligent youth, two or three years her senior, as
they paced slowly on together through the gardens of the Louvre on the
banks of the Seine, flowing at that period bright and clear amid fields
and groves.  Before them rose the stately palace lately increased and
adorned by Henry the Second, the then reigning monarch of France, with
its lofty towers, richly carved columns, and numerous rows of windows
commanding a view over the city on one side, and across green fields and
extensive forests, and far up and down the river on the other.

The walk along which the young people were proceeding was shaded by tall
trees, the thick boughs of which kept off the rays of the sun, shining
brightly on the gay flowers and glittering fountains, seen in the open
space beyond them.

The young girl had the air and manner of a grown-up person, with that
perfect self-possession which seems natural to those brought up in the
atmosphere of a court.

Her companion's manner formed a contrast to hers; but though evidently
not at all at his ease, as a brave man does when called upon to
encounter danger, he had braced himself up to face those he might have
to meet, who would, he naturally felt, look down on him on account of
his travel-stained dress, his Scottish accent, and rustic appearance.

"In truth, Cousin Mary, I left Scotland as many of our countrymen are
compelled to do, to seek my fortune abroad, and have come with letters
of introduction to several noblemen and others; among them to Admiral
Coligny, my father's old comrade in arms.  Our castle is well-nigh in
ruins, and my estate yields scarcely revenue sufficient to supply me
with clothes and arms, much less to restore it as I wished to have done.
I have already made two voyages to far-off lands, and come back no
richer than I went, and have at length resolved to take service in the
navy of France, in which I may hope to carve out my way to distinction,
with the help of the admiral."

"He may be ready enough to receive you and afford you his patronage; but
I warn you, Cousin Nigel, that he may be less able to forward your
interests than you may suppose.  He is known to hold the principles of
the leaders of those dangerous people the Protestants, who are hated and
feared at court, where the Guises, the brothers of the Queen Regent of
Scotland, have of late gained the chief influence.  Take my advice,
Cousin Nigel, seek some more profitable patron, and have nothing to do
with the Huguenots."

"I thank you for your advice, cousin.  I must confess, however, that I
do not hold the opinion you express of the Protestants, but on the
contrary, am greatly inclined to agree with their principles.  I lately
heard a wonderful preacher, one John Knox, who has appeared in Scotland,
and brought thousands to see the gross errors of the papal system.  He
proves clearly that the Pope of Rome has no real ground for his
pretensions to be the head of Christ's Church on earth; that he cannot
be the successor of the apostle Peter, who never was Bishop of Rome; but
that he is rather the successor of the great heathen high priest, whose
idolatries he perpetuates and supports, and that therefore he and his
cardinals and priests are impostors, who should on no account be obeyed.
He clearly explains indeed that those who rule in the Seven-hilled city
represent no other than the Scarlet Woman spoken of in the Apocalypse,
their system being in truth the Mystery of Iniquity."

"Oh, dreadful!" exclaimed the young lady.  "Why, Cousin Nigel, you are a
rank heretic, and were you to express such opinions as these in public,
your life would be in danger.  Hundreds of Frenchmen have already been
burned for holding opinions not half as bad as those you have expressed.
I am almost afraid to listen to you; not that we trouble ourselves much
about such matters at court, where people are allowed to think what they
like, provided they do not utter their thoughts too loudly, or in the
hearing of the doctors of the Sarbonne (the theological college of
France), who have of late become rigidly orthodox, and are resolved to
put down the reformers.  I must advise you, at all events, to keep your
own counsel; and if you are still determined to apply to Admiral
Coligny, as your views agree with his, they will be in your favour."

"Thank you for your advice, sweet cousin," answered Nigel.  "I will
follow it so far as not to parade my opinions; but should they be
attacked, I shall be ready, if necessary, to defend them either with my
tongue or my sword."

"You are not likely to be called upon to use either of those formidable
weapons, provided you are discreet," said the young lady, laughing.
"You may occasionally at court hear the Protestants satirised, or made
subjects of lampoons; but it would be folly to take notice of such
trivialities, and you would be in continual hot water with worthy
people, perfectly ready otherwise to treat you as a friend.  I will
speak to some I know, who will assist your object and forward you to the
admiral, should you determine to seek his patronage."

"I would rather trust to so great and good a man than to any one else I
have heard of in France," said Nigel; "and am anxious, as soon as
possible, to make myself known to him."

By this time the young people had got within a few paces of the
termination of the shady walk, when before them appeared a gay company
of ladies and gentlemen, most of the former being very young, while the
latter were, on the contrary, advanced in life, as their snowy locks and
white beards betokened, though they were richly dressed, and were doing
their utmost to assume a youthful and _debonnaire_ manner.  Nigel on
seeing the gay company instinctively drew back into a recess by the side
of the walk, unwilling, if possible, to present himself before them.
His cousin being ready to humour him, placed herself on a garden seat,
and invited him to sit by her.  Perhaps she was unwilling that the
interview with her near relative should be brought to an end sooner than
could be helped.  They could from this spot observe what was going
forward without being seen.  Merry laughter came from the party of gaily
dressed people who passed along the walks, several approaching near
enough to allow their features easily to be distinguished.

"Who are those?" asked Nigel, as several young people came slowly by,
following a fair girl, whose beautiful countenance and graceful figure
distinguished her from the rest, though many of her companions were
scarcely less lovely.  So thought the young Scotchman, as he stood
watching them with admiring eyes.

"The first is our Lady Mary, about to wed the Dauphin of France,"
answered his cousin.  "You must, as a loyal Scot, be introduced to her.
Perchance if you are inclined to take service at court you may obtain a
post, though his Majesty King Henry does not generally bestow such
without an ample equivalent."

"My taste does not lead me to covet such an honour," said Nigel.  "I
should soon weary of having to dress in fine clothes and spend my time
in idleness, waiting in ante-chambers, or dangling after the lords and
ladies of the court.  Pardon me, sweet cousin, for saying so.  I came to
France to seek for more stirring employment than such a life could
afford.  I will do my _devoir_ to our young queen, and must then proceed
on my journey to find the admiral.  Had it not been for the packet of
letters with which I was entrusted, as also for the sake of seeing you,
I should not have come to Paris at all.  But tell me, who are her
Majesty's attendants?  There is one whose countenance, were I long to
gaze at it, would, I am sure, become indelibly fixed on my heart.  What
a sweet face!  How full of expression, and yet how modest and gentle!"

"They are my two sister Maries, Mary Beaton and Mary Carmichael [see
Note]; but it is neither of them you speak of.  I see now; the damsel
you describe is Constance de Tourville, whose father, by-the-by, is a
friend of Coligny's.  The admiral, I am informed, is staying with the
count at this very time, and when I tell Constance who you are, she
will, I am sure, find an excuse for despatching an attendant with you to
her father.  I can without difficulty make you known to her, as the
etiquette of the court is not very rigid, or I should not have been
allowed to wander about the gardens with a gallant young gentleman like
yourself, albeit you claim to be my cousin and an old playmate."

"I see several gentlemen among the fair damsels, so I conclude that my
presence is not altogether an irregularity," said Nigel.

"They are privileged persons, however," said Mary Seton.  "That sickly
youth who has just joined the queen and is awkwardly endeavouring to
make himself agreeable is her affianced husband, the Dauphin.  For my
part I would rather not be a queen than be compelled to wed so miserable
an object; but I am talking treason.  Here comes one of the queen's
uncles, the Duke de Guise--that tall, dark, ill-favoured gentleman.  He
is, notwithstanding, one of the most powerful men in France, and intends
to be more, powerful still when his niece and her young husband ascend
the throne.  But come; the party are moving, on, and as Constance de
Tourville is lingering behind, we can quickly overtake her, and when I
have made you known to her, you can tell her of your wish to see the
admiral."

Nigel felt very unwilling to quit his hiding-place, but his cousin,
taking him by the hand, playfully led him forward.  They quickly
overtook the interesting girl of whom they had been speaking.  Nigel, as
he was introduced, made a bow which would not have disgraced the most
polished gentleman at court.  The young lady smiled as she cast a glance
at his handsome, honest countenance, with the glow of health on it,
increased somewhat by the blush which rose on finding himself in
circumstances so unusual to him.

"My cousin Nigel Melvin has come with an introduction to the admiral,
who is, I understand, staying with your father, and he desires to set
out to the chateau, though I would fain persuade him to take service at
the court, instead of tempting the dangers of the sea, which he has the
extraordinary taste to desire."

"Our house steward, Maitre Leroux, is at present in Paris, and will
return to-morrow; and should your cousin desire his escort, I will
direct him to await his orders," said the young lady in a sweet voice.
"Where are you lodging, fair sir?"

"I arrived but this morning, and left my valise at L'Auberge de l'Ange,"
answered Nigel.

"I know not where that is; but Maitre Leroux will easily find it out,
and will call for you at any hour you may name."

"A thousand thanks, lady, for your kindness," answered Nigel, "I gladly
accept your offer, and shall be ready to set out at early dawn if the
landlord will permit me to depart at that hour."

"Maitre Leroux will be at the palace this evening to receive a letter I
am sending home, and I will direct him to call as you desire, though, as
he loves his ease, he perchance may not be ready to commence the journey
at quite so early an hour as you name."

While Constance was speaking, one of the ladies in attendance on the
young queen turned back and beckoned to Mary Seton, who, hurrying
forward, left Nigel with her friend.

"You will surely not take your cousin's advice, and seek for a post at
this frivolous court," said Constance hurriedly, again looking up at
Nigel's countenance.  "Catholics alone are in favour, while the
Protestants are detested.  To which party do you belong?"

"I might say to neither, as I am not a Frenchman," answered Nigel,
surprised at the young lady's question.  "At the same time I have
heartily abjured the errors of Rome."

"I am glad to hear it; I thought so," said Constance.  "I myself am a
Protestant.  I am here on sufferance, or rather a hostage, and would
gladly return to my home if I had permission.  Persevering efforts have
been made to pervert me, but I have had grace to remain firm to the true
faith, and now I am simply exposed to the shafts of ridicule, and the
wit and sneers of those who hold religious truth in contempt.  You may
be astonished at my thus venturing to speak to you, a perfect stranger,
but I am sure that I may trust Mary Seton's cousin; and if you have the
opportunity, I will beg you to tell my father or the good admiral what I
say.  I dare not write on the subject, nor can I venture to send a
verbal message by Maitre Leroux."

"I faithfully promise to convey your sentiments to either one or the
other," answered Nigel, casting a glance of admiration at the young
girl, who could thus stand alone in her innocence amid the follies of
that vicious and frivolous court.  "As to accepting a place at court,
even should it be offered me, I would refuse it, for my tastes lead me
to seek my fortune on the wild ocean or in foreign lands; and it is with
this object that I am about to visit the admiral, who will, I have been
led to hope, forward my views."

"You cannot apply to a wiser or truer man in France," answered
Constance.  She was about to say more, when they were rejoined by Mary
Seton, who came to conduct Nigel into the presence of the queen.

"As a loyal Scot you are bound to pay your _devoir_ to her Majesty," she
said.  "Though neither of us have much recollection of our native wilds,
we still regard our country with affection."

Nigel felt that there was no escaping, and mustering courage, went
boldly forward till he reached the spot where the young queen was
standing with several lords and ladies in attendance.  Though
unaccustomed to courts, he had too much native dignity to be overawed,
and bending on his knee he lifted the hand of the young queen to his
lips and reverently kissed it.  Mary bestowed on him one of those
fascinating smiles which in after years bound many a victim to her feet,
and bidding him rise, questioned him about the affairs of Scotland, and
various particulars regarding her lady mother the Regent, from whom he
had been the bearer of a package.  Nigel, gaining courage, replied
discreetly to the young queen's questions.  The Dauphin, however, made
some remark which induced her to dismiss her countryman, when Nigel fell
back to where he had left Constance, who had been rejoined by his
cousin.

"You comported yourself admirably, and I congratulate you," said the
latter.  "You will, I am sure, after a little experience become a
perfect courtier."

"I would not advise him to make the experiment," said Constance.

"There is little fear of it," answered Nigel.  "I hope ere long to find
myself on the wide ocean, where I may breathe the free air of heaven,
which I much prefer to the atmosphere of a court; but I must crave your
pardon, fair ladies, for showing a disinclination to live where I might
bask in the sunshine of your smiles."

"That speech is truly worthy of a courtier," said Mary Seton, laughing.
"Come, come, cousin, change your mind.  Constance, you will help me to
bring this gentleman to reason?"

"I would not attempt to influence him, even if I could," answered the
young lady.  "He has decided wisely.  In your heart you know, Mary, that
he is right; you yourself despise the miserable butterflies who hover
round us with their sweet speeches, empty heads, and false hearts."

Constance de Tourville was continuing in the same strain, when the young
queen, with her attendants and the other ladies and gentlemen of the
court, was seen moving towards the palace, and she and Mary Seton were
compelled to follow them.  While Nigel was paying his parting adieus to
the young ladies, a sigh escaped his cousin as he pressed her hand to
his lips, for she knew the probability that they might not meet again.
Her heart was still faithful to Scotland, and she loved her kith and
kindred.

"Remember," said Constance, as he paid her the same mark of respect.
"Be careful what you say to strangers: but you may trust Maitre Leroux;
he is honest."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note.  Three Scottish young ladies were sent over to France to attend on
Queen Mary.  They were Mary Seton, Mary Beaton, and Mary Carmichael, and
were named the Queen's Maries.



CHAPTER TWO.

A WALK THROUGH PARIS.

On reaching the gate of the palace, Nigel had met the captain of the
Scottish guard, Norman Leslie, a distant relative, by whose means he had
gained admission to the palace, and had been able to enjoy the interview
with his cousin, Mary Seton.

"How fared it with you, Nigel, among the gay ladies of the court?" asked
the captain, one of those careless characters, who receive their pay and
fight accordingly, very little troubled as to the justice of the cause
they support.

"I had a talk with my cousin, and had the honour of paying my _devoirs_
to the queen," answered Nigel, cautiously.  "Having now no longer any
business in Paris, I am about to set out on a visit to Admiral Coligny.
Can you direct me to my hostelry, at the sign of the Angel, and tell me
where I can find a steed to carry me on my journey? for, albeit it would
best suit my purse to trudge on foot, I would wish to present myself to
the admiral in a way suitable to the character of a Scottish gentleman."

"As I am off guard I will accompany you, my good kinsman, and will
assist you in procuring a horse," was the answer.

Nigel gladly accepted Leslie's offer, and the two Scotchmen set forth
together.  Nigel, being totally ignorant of the city, had no notion in
what direction they were going.  They were passing through the Rue Saint
Antoine, when they saw before them a large crowd thronging round a party
of troopers and a body of men-at-arms, who were escorting between them
several persons, their hands bound behind their backs, and mostly
without hats, the soldiers urging them on with the points of their
swords or pikes; Nigel also observed among them three or four women, who
were treated with the same barbarous indignity as the men.

"Who are those unhappy people?" he asked.

"Heretics on their way to prison, to be burnt, probably, in a few days
for the amusement of the king, who, ambitious of surpassing his sister
sovereign, Queen Mary of England, and to exhibit his love for religion,
manages to put to death ten times as many as she ventures to send to the
stake, unless they recant, when they will have the honour of being
strangled or hung instead," answered Leslie, in a nonchalant tone.  "He
and his counsellors are determined to extirpate heresy; but as the
Protestants are numbered by hundreds of thousands, and as there are a
good many men of high rank and wealth among them, his Majesty has
undertaken a difficult task."

"I pray that he may alter his mind, or fail in the attempt," exclaimed
Nigel, indignantly.

"I may whisper amen; although, as the foolish people bring the
punishment on their own heads, I am not inclined to throw down the
gauntlet in their cause, and must e'en do my duty and carry out the
orders of the master whose bread I eat," said Leslie.

Nigel did not reply, but he felt more than ever determined not to take
service on shore, however tempting the offers he might receive.  Leslie
told him that of late years, throughout France, many hundreds, nay,
thousands of persons, after being broken on the wheel, or having had
their tongues cut out, or being tortured in some other way, had been
burnt at the stake for their religious opinions; but that,
notwithstanding, the Protestants increased in numbers, and that, for his
part, though himself a faithful son of the Church, he thought that a
wiser plan might have been adopted.

"For my part, I believe that had not the Pope and the priests and monks
interfered, and worked up some of our fanatic nobles and the ignorant
populace to persecute their fellow-countrymen, they might have lived
together on friendly terms; and, for the life of me, I cannot see why
people should not be allowed to worship God according to the dictates of
their consciences," added the shrewd Scotchman, with a shrug of his
shoulders.

Nigel, who had only heard rumours of such proceedings, felt his blood
boil with indignation, and instinctively touching the hilt of his sword,
he vowed that he was ready to do battle in the cause of justice and
humanity.  His kinsman, who saw the act, smiled; and divining his
thoughts, said, "Let me advise you to avoid interference in quarrels not
your own, unless you receive a due recompense in pay, and then the less
you trouble yourself about the rights of the case the better.  Come
along.  The first thing we are to do is to look out for your steed.
Honest Jacques Cochut will supply you with one which will bear you from
one end of France to the other, and an attendant to bring the animal
back.  It will be more economical than purchasing a horse, unless you
have a long journey to make."

Nigel accompanied his friend to the stables of Jacques Cochut, to whom
Leslie was well known.  A strong and active steed was soon engaged, with
the promise that it should be ready at the door of the hostelry at an
early hour next morning.

Leslie, leaving Nigel at the Angel inn, returned to his duty at the
palace, while the latter, having ordered his supper, retired to his room
to think over the events of the day.

It is needless to say that Constance de Tourville frequently recurred to
his thoughts.  He had heard enough to make him understand the dangerous
position of the Protestants in France, even of the highest rank, and the
fearful persecutions to which all classes were exposed.  From the
remarks Constance had made, it was evident that she herself was exposed
to much annoyance, if not danger, even within the precincts of the
palace, and he earnestly hoped that he might have an opportunity of
speaking to her father, and obtaining her release.

He had sat for some time when he was aroused by a knock at the door, and
the servant of the inn announced that a person desired to speak with
him.

"Let him come in," said Nigel; and a respectable-looking man, somewhat
advanced in life, as was shown by his silvery locks, stepped forward.

"I am attached to the house of the Count de Tourville, whose daughter
despatched me to seek you out, and place myself at your service."

"Come in, my friend," said Nigel, offering him a chair.  "You are, I
presume, Maitre Leroux, and I am grateful to the young lady for her
kindness, of which I will gladly avail myself.  Shall you be ready to
set out to-morrow morning?"

"I had intended to do so, but business will keep me in Paris for another
day," answered Maitre Leroux; "and if you, fair sir, do not object to
remain, I will gladly set forth with you at any hour you may name on the
following morning.  You may, in the mean time, find amusement in this
big city of Paris."

Nigel, who was pleased with Maitre Leroux, though anxious to continue
his journey, willingly agreed to wait for the purpose of having his
escort.

"But I have engaged my horse for to-morrow," he added.

"I will easily settle that matter with Jacques Cochut; and if you will
accept of my company I will call for you, and show you some of the
sights of our city, as you will, alone, be unable to find your way about
the streets, and may chance to lose yourself, or get into some
difficulty."

"Thank you," said Nigel.  "I shall indeed be glad of your society, for,
except a kinsman in the guards, I know no one in the whole of Paris."

These arrangements having been made, Maitre Leroux took his departure;
and Nigel was not sorry, soon after supper, to throw himself on his bed,
and seek the repose which even his well-knit limbs required.

Nigel, who slept longer than was his wont, waited at the inn some time
for Maitre Leroux.  He was afraid to go out, lest the steward might
arrive during his absence.  At length his guide appeared.

"I have been detained longer than I expected," said Maitre Leroux; "but
monsieur will pardon me.  We have still time to see much of the city."

They set out, and during their walk visited many places of interest, of
which the steward gave the history to the young Scotchman.

"Your Paris buildings surpass those of our bonny Edinburgh in size and
number, I must confess," remarked Nigel; "but still we have our
Holyrood, and our castle, and the situation of our city is unrivalled, I
am led to believe, by that of any other in the world."

"As I have not seen your city I am unable to dispute the point,"
answered the steward.  "Would you like to visit one of our courts of
justice?  Though not open to the public, I may be able to gain
admittance, and I am deeply interested in the case, albeit it would be
wise not to show that, and having a stranger with me will be a
sufficient excuse."

"Under those circumstances I will gladly accompany you," said Nigel.

They soon reached the portals of a large building, through which, after
some hesitation on the part of the guards, the steward and his companion
were admitted.  Nigel observed that Maitre Leroux slipped some money
into the hands of two or three people, this silver key evidently having
its usual power of opening doors otherwise closed.  Going through a side
door they reached a large hall, crowded with persons.  Among those
seated were numerous ecclesiastics, a judge in his robes, and lawyers
and their clerks; while a strong body of men-at-arms were guarding a
party of some fifty or sixty persons, who, from their position and
attitudes, were evidently prisoners.  They were men of different ranks;
several, from their costume, being gentlemen, and others citizens and
artisans.  There were a few women among them also.  All looked deadly
pale, but their countenances exhibited firmness and determination.

"Of what crime have these people been guilty?" asked Nigel.

"Of a fearful one in the eyes of their judges," answered Maitre Leroux.
"They have been worshipping God according to the dictates of their
consciences, and were found assembled together in a house at Meaux,
listening to the gospel of the mild and loving Saviour.  They have
already been put to the torture to compel them to recant and betray
their associates, but it has not produced the desired effect.  In vain
their advocate has pleaded their cause.  Listen! the judge is about to
pronounce their sentence."

Dreadful indeed that was.  With blasphemous expressions, which cannot be
repeated, the condemned were sentenced to be carried back to Meaux;
fourteen, after being again put to the torture, were to be burnt alive
in the market-place; most of the others were to be hung up by their
shoulders during the execution of their brethren, and then to be flogged
and imprisoned for life in a monastery, while the remainder were to
receive somewhat less severe, though still grievous punishment.

The hardy young Scot almost turned sick with horror and indignation as
he heard the sentence; and putting his hand to his sword, he was about
to cry out and demand, in the name of justice, that instead of being
punished, the prisoners should be released, when his companion grasped
him by the arm, whispering, "Be calm, my friend; such events are so
common in France, that we have grown accustomed to them.  Hundreds have
already died as these men are about to die; and we, their countrymen,
have been compelled to look on without daring to raise our voices in
their cause, or, as you are inclined to do, to draw a sword for their
defence."

Maitre Leroux, after exchanging a few sentences in an undertone with
three or four people they met, whose sad countenances showed the
interest they took in the condemned, led his young friend from the
so-called hall of justice.  On their way they looked into the
magnificent church of Notre Dame.  Priests in gorgeous dresses were
chanting mass; music was pealing through the building, and incense was
ascending to the roof.

"Impious mockery," muttered Nigel.  "Well may Calvin and John Knox
desire the overthrow of such a system, and desire to supplant it by the
true faith of the Gospel."

"Hush! hush! my young friend," whispered Maitre Leroux, hurrying him out
of the church, regretting that he had entered it.  "Though many may
think as you do, it's dangerous to utter such opinions in this place."

"Can nothing be done to save these poor men?" asked Nigel.  "Surely the
king cannot desire the destruction of his subjects?"

"The king, like Gallio, cares for none of these things.  He is taught to
believe that the priests are the best supporters of his crown: and, at
all events, he knows that they allow him full licence in the indulgence
of his pleasures, which the Protestants, he supposes, would be less
inclined to do."

"I would that I were out of this city of Paris, and away from France
itself," said Nigel.

"Many think and feel as you do, and are acting upon it," answered the
steward.  "Already many thousand men of science and clever artisans have
left, to carry their knowledge and industry to other lands; and others,
in all directions, are preparing to follow.  You will hear more about
the matter when you visit the admiral, and my good master, who does not
look unmoved on such proceedings.  More on the subject it would not
become me to say.  Not long ago an edict was issued, by which all the
old laws on heresy were revived, it being the resolution of the king to
purge and clear the country of all those who are deemed heretics.
Magistrates are ordered to search unceasingly for them, and to make
domiciliary visits in quest of forbidden books, while the informer is to
obtain one-third of the heretic's confiscated property.  Should a person
be acquitted of heresy in any ordinary court of justice, he may be again
tried before an ecclesiastical tribunal, thus depriving him of all
chances of escape.  Even interference on behalf of a heretic is made
penal, and should a person be suspected, he must exhibit a certificate
of orthodoxy, or run the risk of being condemned.  You see, therefore,
young sir, that I am right in recommending caution as to what you say;
not that these edicts have the effect expected, for Calvinism increases
rapidly, and the stream of emigration continues from all parts of the
kingdom."

They walked on in silence, Nigel meditating on what he had heard.

"Some fresh air will do you good after the scenes we have witnessed,"
observed Maitre Leroux.  "We will take a turn in the Pre-aux-Clercs.  It
is but a short distance past the Invalides."

It was evening, and a number of people were thronging that pleasant
meadow on the banks of the Seine, the Hyde Park of that period.  A party
of young men coming by struck up one of the hymns of Marot, a
translation of one of the psalms of David, written some years before by
the Protestant poet.  Others joined in, and evidently sang them
heartily; several other parties, as they passed along, were indulging in
the same melodies.

"How is it, after what you have told me, that the people venture to sing
these hymns?" asked Nigel.  "I know them well, for they have already
been introduced into our Protestant congregations in Scotland."

"They became the favourites of the king and court before they had the
significance they now possess," answered the steward; "and it is only
thus that many who hate the papal system can give expression to their
sentiments.  Before long, however, I fear that they will be prohibited,
or those who sing them will be marked as suspected.  Alas, alas! our
lovely France will be deprived of all freedom of thought, opinion, and
action."

The worthy Maitre Leroux seemed greatly out of spirits as they took
their way back to the inn.  They parted at the door, for Nigel felt no
inclination to go forth again, and the steward had business, he said, to
attend to.  He promised to call for Nigel at an early hour the next
morning to set out for Meaux, undertaking to direct Jacques Cochut to
have his horses in readiness.



CHAPTER THREE.

THE VISIT TO THE ADMIRAL.

Maitre Leroux did not call at as early an hour as Nigel expected.  His
own horse and attendant had been at the door for some time before the
steward made his appearance.  He had an ample apology to offer, having
been employed in an important matter till late at night.

"Come," he said, "we will make up for it.  The lateness of the hour
matters not, for, with your permission, we will halt on the road, so as
to arrive early at the chateau to-morrow."

They set out, followed by their two attendants.  After leaving the gates
of Paris they continued some distance along the banks of the Marne.  The
road was rough in places, and often deep in dust; full of holes and ruts
in others, which made it necessary for the riders to hold a tight rein
on their steeds, and prevented them generally from going out of a walk.

Maitre Leroux carried a brace of huge pistols in his holsters, while
Nigel had a sword and a light arquebus, both their attendants being also
armed; so that they were well able to defend themselves against any
small party of marauders such as infested the roads in the neighbourhood
of the capital.

"We must make but a short stage to-day," said Maitre Leroux.  "In truth,
I am unwilling to travel late in the evening, and prefer stopping at the
house of a friend to taking up our quarters at an inn where we might
meet with undesirable companions."

"But I shall be intruding on your friend," said Nigel.

"Pardon me; you will, on the contrary, be heartily welcomed.  I am very
sure of your principles, and they agree with those of our host and his
family, so you need not be under the restraint which would be necessary
were we to sleep at a public inn."

These arguments at once overcame any scruples Nigel might have felt at
going to a stranger's house uninvited.

It yet wanted a couple of hours to sunset when they reached a good-sized
mansion, though not possessing the pretensions of a nobleman's chateau.
The owner, a man advanced in life, of gentlemanly refined manner,
received Maitre Leroux in a friendly way, and on hearing from him who
Nigel was, welcomed him cordially.  Nigel was conducted into a saloon,
where he was introduced to his host's wife and daughters and several
other members of the family.  Supper was quickly prepared, and Nigel
found himself at once at home.

As soon as the meal was over several other persons came in, some
apparently of the same rank as the host, and others of an inferior
order, but all staid and serious in their demeanour.  The doors and
windows were then carefully closed, and Nigel observed that two of the
party went out armed with swords and pistols, apparently to watch the
approach to the house.

A large Bible was now produced, and several of the party drew forth
smaller editions from beneath their garments.  The host then offered up
a prayer, and opening the Bible, read a portion, commenting as he
proceeded.  A hymn was then sung and more of the Scriptures read, after
which the host delivered an address full of gospel truth, while he
exhorted his hearers to hold fast to the faith, but at the same time
remarked that they would be justified in flying from persecution if no
other means could be found of avoiding it at home.  He reminded all
present, however, that their duty was to pray for their persecutors, and
however cruelly treated, not to return evil for evil.  Nigel was
reminded of various meetings of the same character he had attended in
Scotland, where, however, every man could speak out boldly, without the
fear of interruption which seemed to pervade the minds of those present.
He now knew that his host was one of the many Protestants existing in
the country who ventured thus in secret to worship God according to
their consciences, even though running the risk of being condemned to
death as heretics.

After the guests had retired, the family spent some time in singing
Marot's hymns.

"Ah!" said the host, "it is only in praising God and reading His blessed
words that we can take any pleasure.  It is our consolation and delight,
and enables us without complaining to endure the sad condition to which
bigotry and tyranny have reduced our unhappy country.  The only prospect
now before us is exile, or imprisonment and death."

Nigel answered without hesitation that he felt much satisfaction in
again having the opportunity of worshipping, as he had been accustomed
to do at home, according to his conscience, and hearing the Bible read
and faithfully explained.

His host wishing him and his companion a friendly farewell, and
expressing a hope that he should see him again, they took their
departure at an early hour the next morning.

They had proceeded some distance when they entered a forest, through the
centre of which the high road passed.  They had been pushing on rather
faster than usual, Maitre Leroux being anxious to get through it as soon
as possible, when they saw before them a body of soldiers.  As they got
nearer they found that they were escorting a number of prisoners seated
in rough country carts, into which they were fastened with heavy chains.

"Who are these unhappy people?" inquired Nigel.

"The same we saw condemned in Paris," answered Maitre Leroux with a
sigh.  "If we do not wish to share their fate we must exhibit no
sympathy for them, as the wretches who have them in charge would rejoice
to add to their number.  As it will be impossible to pass them at
present, we will drop slowly behind."

"Would that I had a band of Protestant Scots with me, we would soon set
them at liberty!" exclaimed Nigel.

"Hush, hush! my friend," whispered the steward; "it becomes us not to
fight with carnal weapons; such is Dr Calvin's advice."

Just at that moment a voice exclaimed, "Brethren, remember Him who is in
heaven above!"

Some of the rear-guard immediately turned round, and with drawn swords
dashed furiously towards Nigel and Maitre Leroux, believing, evidently,
that one of them had uttered the exclamation they had heard.  They both
drew up, for flight would have been useless, when, just as the troopers
had got some fifty yards from them, a man advanced from among the trees
and repeated the words in a loud tone.  He was instantly seized by the
soldiers, and being dragged back along them, was thrown into one of the
carts among the other prisoners.  His appearance probably saved the
lives of Nigel and his companion, for the doughty Scot had drawn his
sword, and would have fought desperately before he would have yielded
himself a prisoner.

"Pull in your rein, I entreat you," said the steward; "we must not turn
round, and the sooner we let these people get to a distance from us, the
better."

Nigel, seeing that it would be hopeless to attempt assisting the
unfortunate man, did as his companion advised, and they accordingly
waited till the troopers were out of sight, taking good care not again
to overtake them.  Their progress was thus considerably delayed, and not
till they came to a road passing outside the town of Meaux did they
again venture to push forward.

They managed before sunset to reach the Chateau de Tourville, a high
conical-roofed pile, with numerous towers and a handsome gateway.
Maitre Leroux, conducting Nigel to a waiting-room near the entrance,
went at once to the count, taking his letter of introduction.  Nigel had
not been left long alone when the steward returned with the request that
he would accompany him to the hall, where, he told him, he would find
the count and admiral with several other persons.  Nigel, not being
troubled by bashfulness, quickly followed his guide.

The count, who was of middle age and handsome, courteously rose from his
seat at the top of the table to welcome him.  At the right hand of the
count Nigel observed a person of middle height, ruddy complexion, and
well-proportioned figure, with a calm and pleasant, if not decidedly
handsome countenance.  On the other side sat a tall man, whose sunburnt
features, though regular, wore an expression which at the first glance
gave Nigel the feeling that he was not a person in whom he would place
implicit confidence, though directly afterwards, as he again looked at
him, his manner seemed so frank and easy, that the impression vanished.
Several other persons of different ages, and apparently of somewhat
inferior rank, sat on either side of the table.

"Which of those two can be the admiral?" thought Nigel; "the last looks
most like a naval commander."

"The Lady Mary Seton, your cousin, and my daughter, have written in your
favour, young sir, and I am glad to see you at the chateau; you have, I
understand, also a letter of introduction to Admiral Coligny, to whom
allow me to make you known."  Saying this, the count presented Nigel to
the gentleman on his right side, who requested the person next him to
move further down, bidding Nigel to take the vacant seat.

Nigel observed that the meal was over, but the count ordered the servant
to bring in some viands for the newly arrived guest.

"As I take no wine you will allow me to read the letter brought by this
young gentleman," said the admiral, turning to the count; "I never defer
looking at an epistle if it can possibly be helped."

The count bowed his acquiescence, and the admiral quickly glanced over
the letter which Nigel had presented to him.

"I shall be glad to forward your object," he said, turning round with a
calm smile, and playing with a straw, which he was wont to carry in his
mouth.

"Fortunately, I have an opportunity of doing so.  I am about to fit out
an expedition to form a settlement in the southern part of America, and
if your qualifications are such as I am led to believe, I will appoint
you as an officer on board one of the ships.  You will have but little
time to remain idle in France, as we wish the ships to sail as soon as
the emigrants who are going on board them can be collected.  They will
undoubtedly be anxious without delay to leave our unhappy country, where
they are constantly subjected to the cruel persecutions of their
opponents in religious opinions.  Would the service I propose suit your
taste?"

"Though I might wish to engage in some more warlike expedition, yet I am
willing and glad to go wherever you, sir, may think fit to send me,"
answered Nigel.

"Well spoken, young man," said the admiral.  "War is a necessity which
cannot be avoided, but there are other employments in which a person may
nobly engage with far greater advantage to himself and his
fellow-creatures.  Such is the work in which I desire to employ you--the
noble undertaking of founding a new colony, and planting the banner of
pure religion and civilisation in the far-off wilds of the Western
world."

The admiral spoke on for some time in the same strain, till Nigel felt
inspired with the same noble enthusiasm which animated the bosom of the
brave and enlightened nobleman who was speaking to him.

Many questions were put to him concerning his nautical knowledge and
religious belief, to which he answered in a satisfactory manner.

"I believe you are well suited for the undertaking, and I will forthwith
make you known to the commander of the expedition, my friend Captain
Villegagnon," said the admiral.

The dark man Nigel had remarked, hearing his name mentioned, looked
toward him.  Nigel bowed.  The admiral, after explaining Nigel's
qualifications, went on to inquire what posts were vacant in the
squadron?

"That of the second officer on board my own ship, the _Madeline_; and I
shall be pleased to have a seaman of experience to fill it, although he
is not a native of France," answered the captain.

"You may consider your appointment as settled, my young friend," said
the admiral.  "I will desire my secretary to make it out, and as you
assure me that you are a true Protestant, I willingly appoint you, such
being the religious opinions of all those who are about to form the
colony of Antarctic France, which I trust will be well-established under
the wise government of Monsieur Villegagnon.  Many other ships will sail
forth with emigrants seeking an asylum from the persecutions they are
subjected to in France on account of their religious opinions."

Nigel warmly thanked the admiral for the prompt way in which he had met
his request.

"Say nothing about that, my young friend; we are too glad to find
Protestant officers ready to engage in the expedition," was the answer.

The conversation now became general, and the plans for the future colony
were freely discussed, the count, who appeared as much interested as the
admiral, taking a leading part--indeed, Nigel gathered from what he
heard, that he himself intended to go out among the first colonists.

The idea of establishing the colony had been started, so Nigel
understood, by Monsieur Villegagnon, who had chosen the Bay of
Nitherohy, since known as that of Rio de Janeiro, as the site of the
first town to be built.  It was a place which he had visited some years
before on a trading voyage, when he and his companions had been well
received by the natives, though they were at enmity with the Portuguese,
already established in the country, who claimed it as their own.  This
latter circumstance Monsieur Villegagnon remarked was of little
consequence, as they were few in numbers, and, with the assistance of
the natives, could easily be driven out.

The repast being over, the admiral rose from the table, the other guests
following his example.  Calling to Captain Villegagnon, he took him and
Nigel into the deep recess of a window to have some further conversation
on the subject of the proposed colony.

"Monsieur de Villegagnon sets out to-morrow to take command of the
squadron, and you will do well to accompany him, young sir," he said,
turning to Nigel.  "You will thus be able to superintend the fitting out
of your ship, and see that the stores come on board, and that proper
accommodation is prepared for the emigrants; many are of rank and
position in society, and there are merchants, soldiers, and artificers,
and you will have to consider how best to find room for them.  I am glad
to say that the king himself takes great interest in the success of the
colony, and under the able management of so skilled a leader as he who
has been appointed to the command, we may hope that the flag of France
will wave proudly ere long over many portions of the continent."

"It will not be my fault if the noble enterprise fails to succeed," said
the captain, drawing himself up proudly, and then bowing to the admiral
in acknowledgment of the compliment.  "My chief satisfaction is,
however, that a home will be found for so many of the persecuted
Protestants who are compelled for conscience sake to leave their native
land."

"You are right, my friend; that is a noble sentiment," observed the
admiral; "and I would urge our friends who are dissatisfied with the
state of affairs at home to place themselves under your command."

"From the expressions our host has uttered, I may hope that he also will
render valuable aid to our undertaking," observed the captain.

"No one, be assured, more warmly enters into our views," answered the
admiral, "and he will both with his purse and influence assist us, if he
does not do so in a more effectual way."

They were soon after joined by the count, who requested the captain to
reserve two cabins for some persons who intended going on board just
before the squadron put to sea.

From the conversation which ensued, Nigel found that most of the persons
present purposed joining the expedition.  They were all, he found from
the remarks they made, Protestants, and haters of the system of
persecution which had so long been the curse of France.  Most of them
had already disposed of their possessions, and were only waiting till
the squadron was completely equipped to go on board.  Among them was a
Protestant minister, and, notwithstanding the edicts against meeting for
public or private worship, the doors of the chateau being closed, before
retiring to rest all the inmates were collected, the Bible was read and
prayers offered up, those for the success of the undertaking and the
preservation of the persons about to embark not being forgotten.

Maitre Leroux accompanied Nigel to his chamber.  He expressed his
pleasure on hearing that he had obtained the object of his wishes.

"Would that I could accompany you," he said, with a sigh; "but my duty
compels me to remain, and watch over my master's property, should he be
called away.  Ah, he is a kind, good master, and his daughter is an
angel.  I would lay down my life for her sake, should she be deprived of
her father--and we never know what may happen in these times.  Alack!  I
fear that she is in society little congenial to her taste and opinion,
for she is a true Protestant, as was her sainted mother, now in heaven."

Nigel felt deeply interested in listening to the garrulous steward's
account of his young mistress, and encouraged him to go on.  She had
been compelled, against her father's and her own wish, to reside at
court, for the evident purpose of perverting her faith; "but she is too
sound, and too wise to allow them to succeed," he added, "though I would
the dear young lady were back with us again."



CHAPTER FOUR.

WHAT NIGEL OVERHEARD.

All arrangements having been made, the next morning, shortly after the
sun had risen, Captain Villegagnon, with a considerable party, were
ready to set out for Havre de Grace, the port at which the squadron was
fitting out.

They purposed to avoid Paris, but had to pass through Meaux on their way
to join the high road leading to Havre.

The good admiral and Monsieur de Tourville came out to wish them
farewell as they mounted their horses, and Maitre Leroux was waiting at
a little distance, where he might have a few last words with Nigel.

"Farewell, my young friend," he said, putting a small Testament into his
hand; "you will find this an inestimable treasure.  I dare not keep it
long, as it is considered treason for a Frenchman to possess God's Word,
though I have hidden away another copy to which I may go when unobserved
to refresh my soul; and, mark you, should my master and young mistress
ever have occasion to seek for your assistance, you will, I am sure,
afford it."

"I promise you that I will most gladly," answered Nigel, wondering what
the old steward could mean.  Wishing his worthy friend good-bye, he
pushed on to overtake his travelling companions.

On entering Meaux, they found the town in a strange commotion, the
people all rushing with eager looks to the market-place, in which, as
they reached it, they found a large crowd assembled.  They caught sight
of a number of high gibbets erected at intervals round it, while in the
centre was a circle of stakes surrounded by faggots.  The travellers
would have passed on, but the dense crowd prevented them from moving,
and their leader himself showed no inclination to press forward.

Presently shouts arose, and, the crowd opening, a horse was seen
dragging a hurdle, on which a human being lay bound, the blood flowing
from his mouth.  A party of soldiers next appeared with a number of
persons, their hands bound behind them, in their midst; while priests,
carrying lighted tapers, were seen among them, apparently trying to gain
their attention.  Some of the prisoners were singing a hymn of Marot's,
and all carried their heads erect, advancing fearlessly to the place of
execution.  On arriving, they were seized by savage-looking men, while
some were speedily hoisted up to the gibbets by their shoulders, where
they hung, enduring, it was evident, the greatest agony.  Fourteen of
the party were then bound to as many stakes, the unhappy man on the
hurdle being the first secured.  Among them Nigel recognised the person
who had been seized in the forest on the previous day for shouting,
"Brethren, remember Him who is in heaven above."  Though the cords were
drawn so tight as to cut into their wrists and ankles, no one uttered a
cry for mercy, but, lifting their eyes to heaven, continued singing, or
exhorting their companions to be firm.

The faggots being now piled round them, the priests retired, uttering
curses on their heads; while bands of music struck up to drown the
voices of the sufferers.  At the sight of two men approaching with
torches, the people raised loud shouts of savage joy, and one of the
piles of faggots surrounding the stake, that to which the chief person,
whose tongue had been cut out, was bound, was speedily kindled.

"All! all!  Let them all be burned together," shouted the mob, dancing
frantically.

The other piles were quickly lighted, the smoke ascending from the
fourteen fires forming a dark canopy overhead.

The victims, as long as they could be distinguished, were seen with
their eyes turned to heaven, singing and praising God with their last
breath.

The savage fury of the ignorant populace was not yet satiated.  Those
who had been hung up by the shoulders were now taken down, and so
dreadfully flogged, that some of them petitioned that they might be
thrown into the flames amid the ashes of their martyred friends; but
this was a mercy their cruel executioners had no intention of affording
them.  Bleeding, they were dragged off to be imprisoned in a monastery,
where they were to be shut up for life.

At length Villegagnon, who had looked on with perfect indifference,
called to his companions to follow, and, the crowd beginning to
disperse, they were able with less difficulty to advance.

The lowest of the rabble only had exulted in the dreadful scene; the
greater number of the people exhibited very different feelings.  Nigel
observed many in tears, or with downcast looks, returning to their
homes; others exchanging glances of indignation; and he heard several
exclaiming, "They died in a righteous cause.  May we have grace to
suffer as they have done."

"Truly, as I have heard it said in Scotland, `The blood of the martyrs
is the seed of the Church,'" observed Nigel to another of his
companions, whose tears and groans showed the grief he suffered at the
spectacle he had just witnessed.

Villegagnon kept his party together, for more than once some of the more
ferocious persons of the mob cast suspicious looks at them, and
mutterings arose, "Who are these?  They have the air of Lutherans, or
they would look more joyous at the destruction of heretics."

"I hold the king's commission, and these are under my orders," cried
Villegagnon.  "Make way, good people, make way, and allow us to proceed
on our journey."

Still the mob pressed round, and where showing a determination to stop
the travellers, when a monk stepped forward, and exclaimed, "I know that
gentleman, and he is a true son of the Church.  Interfere not, at your
peril, with him and his companions."

Nigel fancied that he observed glances of intelligence exchanged between
the captain and the monk, who had so opportunely come to their rescue.
The mob, at length pacified, drew back, and the party were allowed to
leave the town without being again molested.

They pushed on as fast as their horses could go.

"We have had a happy escape," observed Nigel's companion, "for although
a large portion of the population of Meaux are Protestant, yet the
rabble, supported by the troops and some of the government authorities,
have the upper hand, and it would have fared ill with us had we been
stopped and our object discovered."

Night had already set in when they reached a hostelry where they were to
remain till the morning.  As most of the travellers were fatigued, they
retired to rest as soon as supper was over, with their saddles as
pillows, and their cloaks wrapped round them, lying down in the chief
saloon, wherever space could be found.  Nigel, with two or three others,
sat up some time longer, when, having got his saddle and cloak,
intending to seek repose, he found every place occupied.  While hunting
about, he entered a small room in which were a couple of truckle
bedsteads.  Neither was occupied.

"I am in luck," he said to himself, and placing his saddle and other
property by his side, having taken off his riding boots and some of his
clothes, he threw himself upon one of the beds which stood in a corner.

Drawing the coverlid over him, he was soon, sailor-like, fast asleep.
After some time, he was awakened by hearing the door open, and, looking
up, he saw two persons enter the room.  One was Villegagnon, who carried
a lamp in his hand; the other was, he saw by the person's costume, an
ecclesiastic.  They advanced across the room towards the window, where
stood a table and a couple of chairs.  Villegagnon threw himself into
one of them, with his back towards him, the other imitating his example.
The latter produced writing materials, and several papers, which
Villegagnon held to the lamp to read.

"You have made a happy commencement of your work, my friend," said the
priest.  "If you carry it out thoroughly, the Church, the Duke of Guise,
and the Cardinal of Lorraine will be deeply indebted to you.  Twenty
Calvinist nobles, and some four score of the commonalty, have, I see,
determined to accompany you, and they will entice many more.  We shall
be glad to be rid of them at present out of France, and we will then
send out a larger number of faithful Catholics, so that you will reap
the honour of founding a French colony in the New World, the Church will
triumph, and the Calvinists be extirpated."

"But the proceeding smacks somewhat of treachery, and it can matter but
little to you at home whether the colony is established by Calvinists or
Catholics, so that it is firmly grounded and adds to the honour and
glory of France," observed Villegagnon.

"Nay, nay, my friend," said the priest, putting his hand on the
captain's arm; "remember that the means sanctifies the end.  We can
allow no Calvinists to exist, either here or abroad.  They would be
continually coming back with their pestiferous doctrines, or, finding
themselves in the majority, would speedily put an end to our holy
Church.  They must be extirpated, root and branch."

"I have no wish to support the Protestants, as thou knowest right well,
reverend father," answered the captain; "but they are countrymen, and
fight well, and labour well, and count among their number the cleverest
mechanics in France.  I know not how it is, but it seems to me that
everywhere the most intelligent men have become Calvinists."

"Their father Satan gives them wisdom.  Take care, captain, that you are
not carried away by their doctrines.  The true faith will triumph,
depend on that," said the priest, frowning as he spoke.

"Your arguments are conclusive.  It will not be my fault if the plan
miscarries," answered Villegagnon.  "I will keep on the mask till I feel
myself strong enough to throw it off."

"You will do well.  Do not be in a hurry.  We must get as many of these
pestiferous sectarians into the net as possible."

Further conversation of the same character was held between the two
worthies for some time.  Nigel had found himself most unintentionally
acting the part of an eavesdropper.  He had at first felt inclined to
start up and make the captain and priest aware of his presence; but as
the conversation went on he felt that he was justified in thus learning
the character of the leader of the expedition, whose evil intentions he
hoped he might be the means of counteracting.  He determined, therefore,
to appear to be fast asleep should they, on quitting the room, discover
him.

As he saw them rise, he closed his eyes.  He heard their footsteps as
they approached the door.  Just then the light which Villegagnon carried
fell upon him.

"I had no idea that anyone was in the room," whispered the captain,
holding the lamp towards Nigel.

"Who is he?" asked the priest, in a low voice.

"A young pig of a Scotchman, whom the admiral insisted on my taking on
board as an officer."

"Should he have overheard what was said, he might interfere with our
proceedings," observed the priest.  "Your dagger would most speedily
settle the question, and prevent mischief."

"I am not fond of killing sleeping men, holy father," answered the
captain, in a somewhat indignant tone.  "Even had the youth been awake,
he is so little acquainted with French that he could not have understood
what we were saying; but, you see, he is fast asleep.  I, however, will
keep an eye upon him, and shall soon learn whether he knows anything.
If he does, we have frequently dark and stormy nights at sea, when men
get knocked overboard.  Such may be his fate; you understand me."

"A good idea.  I will trust to your discretion," said the priest, and,
greatly to Nigel's relief, they left the room.

He remained awake, considering how he should act.  At length he heard
some one enter the room; it was the captain, who, just taking a glance
at him, threw himself on the bed, and was soon fast asleep.

At early dawn Nigel awoke, and, putting on his garments, went down into
the yard to get some water to wash his hands and face.  The rest of the
party were soon on foot.

The captain met him in the morning with a smiling countenance, and, as
he did not even allude to his having shared his room, Nigel thought it
better to say nothing about the matter.  He looked about for the priest,
but he was nowhere to be found, nor did Nigel hear any one allude to
him.  It was evident that he had come and gone secretly.

The rest of the journey to Havre was performed without any other
incident worthy of note.  Three stout ships were found in the harbour,
already in a forward state of equipment.  Nigel went on board the
_Madeline_, with several of his travelling companions, and at once took
possession of the cabin intended for his use.  The officers and the
crew, as far as he could learn, were all Protestants, as were
undoubtedly the passengers who had already come on board.

He found plenty of occupation in receiving and stowing the provisions
and stores, and in setting up the rigging and bending sails.  He was
thus kept actively employed for several days, till the _Madeline_, the
most advanced ship, was fully ready for sea.  All the passengers, he
observed, came off at night, to avoid the observation of their
countrymen.  Although the ships were already crowded with almost as many
people as they could carry, there were still two vacant cabins on board
the _Madeline_.



CHAPTER FIVE.

UNDER WEIGH--ARRIVAL.

Morn had just broken; a southerly wind blew gently down the harbour, and
Captain Villegagnon gave the order to lift the heavy anchors from their
oozy beds.  "A boat is coming from the shore and pulling rapidly towards
us," said Nigel to the captain.  "The people on board her are making
signals.  Shall we stop weighing the anchor?"

"Yes, without doubt," answered the commander, looking towards the boat.
"I thought that they had abandoned their design.  We are still to have
the advantage of the count's assistance and company."

Nigel looked eagerly towards the approaching boat.  Besides the rowers,
there were several passengers, two of whom he saw were females, and at
length, as they approached, he recognised the Count de Tourville.  His
heart began to beat more violently than it was wont to do.  He felt
almost sure that the lady by the count's side was his daughter
Constance.  All doubt in a few minutes was set at rest, when the count,
leading his daughter, came up the broad ladder which had been lowered to
allow them to ascend.  Constance gave him a smile of recognition as he
bowed low, as did the other officers standing round, to welcome her and
her father on board.

The squadron was now quickly under weigh, and gliding rapidly down the
river.  The weather looked fine, and all hoped for a prosperous voyage.
Many who had narrowly escaped with their lives from the Romanists began
to breathe more freely as the ships, under all sail, stood down the
channel.  Yet there were sad hearts on board, for they were leaving
their beloved France a prey to civil strife, and their fellow
religionists to the horrors of persecution, so that for the time they
forgot their high hopes of founding another France in the New World.

As Nigel paced the deck in the performance of his duty, he was often
able to stop and speak to the count and his daughter, and to render her
those attentions which a lady so frequently requires on board ship.
Often they stood together watching the distant shore or passing vessels,
or the porpoises as they gambolled in the waves.  Insensibly they became
more and more drawn together.  Constance told him of the difficulty she
had experienced in escaping from the court.  Had not her father himself,
at a great risk, gone to Paris, she would have been unable to accomplish
her object.  Fortunately for her, a relative residing in the capital
having fallen ill, had sent an earnest request to see her.  She had been
allowed to go, and had the same night left Paris with her father in
disguise, travelling night and day in time to reach Havre just as the
ship was on the point of sailing.

"We may hope now, however, to get far away from the follies of courts
and the trickeries of politics to found a new home where, with none but
true Protestants around us, we may enjoy the exercise of our religion
undisturbed," she said, looking up at her companion with a smile.

"I trust that it may be so," said Nigel.

"What! have you any doubts on the subject?" she asked.

"I would not willingly throw a dark shade across the prospect you
contemplate," he answered, "but we should be prepared for
disappointment, and I believe few on board have thought sufficiently of
the difficulties and dangers we shall have to encounter."

Nigel had expressed his thoughts more plainly than he had intended, and
he regretted immediately afterwards having said so much.  The
conversation he had overheard at the inn frequently recurred to him, and
considerably damped his ardour.  To whom could he venture to communicate
the knowledge he had obtained of the commander's character?

Who would, indeed, believe the young foreigner thus bringing so serious
an accusation against the officer selected by Coligny himself, and of
considerable renown as a naval chief?  If he were not accused of
malicious motives, the meeting would be looked upon as having only taken
place in his dreams, for he should have to confess that he remained
perfectly still during the time, with his eyes closed, as the captain
and priest entered and quitted the room.  He resolved, therefore, simply
to keep a watch on Villegagnon, and to endeavour, if possible, to
counteract his schemes.

Sometimes he thought of speaking to Count de Tourville, for he had, at
all events, full confidence in his honour and discretion; but even he,
knowing how much the admiral esteemed Villegagnon, might disbelieve him.
He was compelled, therefore, to keep the knowledge he had obtained shut
up in his own bosom.  His chief satisfaction arose from the thought that
Constance de Tourville was on board, and that it would be his joy and
pride to defend her from all danger.

The weather, which had hitherto been fine, gave signs of changing.  The
wind shifted more to the west, and dark clouds came rolling up.  The
vessels, instead of gliding smoothly on, were now tossed about.  The
storm increased.  The sails were reduced to the smallest proportions,
but yet the stout ships could with difficulty battle with the waves.

Under other circumstances, the emigrants would have loudly petitioned to
put back; but as it was, they were afraid, should they again set foot in
France, of being seized by their persecutors; nevertheless, as the storm
increased, the terror of the emigrants, unaccustomed to the sea, became
greater and greater.  Loud cries of alarm arose; some mourned their
folly in having left their native shores to perish in the ocean.  Nigel
and the other officers did their utmost to calm their fears, and assured
them that should the ships be in real danger they would return to the
port.

Constance was among the few ladies who exhibited no undue alarm, and
expressed their confidence in the skill of the officers.  But even they
at length acknowledged that they should be thankful could they find
themselves again safe in port.  The Count de Tourville especially was
unwilling to return; but for his daughter's sake, however, he at length
consented to ask the captain to do what he considered best for the
safety of the ships.

"They will probably, if we continue at sea, become so battered, that we
shall hardly reach our destination," was the answer.

The signal thereon was hoisted from the commander's ship, and the
squadron stood back for France.  On making the land, they found that
they were to the eastward of the port from which they started, and at
length they entered that of Dieppe.  Here several of the artificers, and
even some of the men of higher rank, resolved to abandon the expedition,
rather than again risk the dangers of the sea.  Their places, however,
were supplied by others collected by the captain, who had gone on shore
for the purpose.  So many of these men were received on board each of
the ships, that they became overcrowded; but the captain silenced all
complaints by asserting that, if they would consent to suffer a little
present inconvenience, they would have a greater number to defend
themselves against any enemies they might meet with.

Once more the squadron sailed, and succeeded in getting clear of the
Channel.  They had not, however, been long at sea before Nigel began to
suspect the character of the new-comers, of which his own ship carried
the greater number.  They herded together, and showed little respect to
the services which the chaplain was wont to hold on board for the
spiritual benefit of the colonists.  They were even seen to mock while
he preached, till complaints, being made to the captain, he ordered them
to behave themselves.

Day after day the ships sailed on, keeping close together, the wind
being fair and moderate.  Sometimes it fell a calm, when the officers
and gentlemen Calvinists of the different ships visited one another, and
discussed their plans for the future.  The chief delight, however, of
most on board was to hold religious services, which they could now do
without fear of interruption; and hymns of praise arose from amid the
desert ocean, their voices, when the ships were close to each other,
uniting together in harmony.

Often had Constance expressed her feelings at the thought that they
might in future thus worship God.  Before, however, they reached their
destination, they encountered several violent gales, during which,
whenever his duty would allow him, Nigel made his way to the side of
Constance to afford her comfort and support.

"Do not be afraid," he said; "our ships are strong, and our commander
experienced.  I have been in a worse found vessel in a more violent
gale, and we reached port in safety."

"But the waves look so terrible, threatening every moment to come down
and overwhelm us," said Constance, who was seated on deck, gazing at the
tumultuous ocean.

"Remember, God tells us that it is He who rules the waves; and should it
be His will, they cannot hurt us," answered Nigel.

"Yes, yes," said Constance; "I was wrong to express fear.  Happy are we
who possess the Bible, of which the followers of the tyrant Pope and his
pretended priests are deprived."

"Think how many thousands of our countrymen would thankfully go through
far greater dangers than we are enduring to reach a country where they
may enjoy freedom from persecution," observed Nigel.

The young couple, however, talked on many other subjects; and when the
storm ceased, and favourable breezes wafted them over the ocean, their
spirits rose, and they spoke of the happy future in store for them.
Nigel, however, was not altogether free from anxiety.  He could not
forget the conversation he had overheard between the captain and priest,
though sometimes he almost fancied that it must have been a dream,
Villegagnon was so courteous and polite to all his passengers, and
expressed sentiments so in accordance with theirs.

At length "Land! land!" was shouted from the mast-head.  The goal of
their hopes was near, and the ships, getting close together, glided with
a fair breeze towards the magnificent Bay of Nitherohy.  Lofty and
fantastic mountains, then unnamed by Europeans, rose out of the blue
waters before them.  On the left, appeared the conical-shaped height,
since known as the Sugar Loaf.  Further on, on the same side, the Three
Brothers reared their heads to the skies, and still more to the south
was seen the Corcovada and Gavia, the green mountains of the Three
Brothers strongly contrasting with the latter-named peaks, while the
distant ranges of the Blue Mountains rose in the interior.  On the right
was seen another range of varied-shaped heights, extending far away to
the north.  Passing beneath the lofty Sugar Loaf, the flotilla sailed
through the entrance, when the magnificent land-locked expanse opened
out before them, surrounded on all sides by hills and lofty mountains;
while lovely little verdant and palm-clad islands appeared dotting the
dark bosom of the water.  Words, indeed, fail to describe the beautiful
and varied scenery.  The anchors were dropped close to one of the first
isles they reached.  On this spot Villegagnon told the eager crowd who
surrounded him that he had determined to form the first settlement of
the new colony.  Here, at the entrance of the harbour, and surrounded by
water, they might defy the attacks of enemies from without, or the
Portuguese or natives who might venture to dispute their possession of
the country.  From this they might extend to others on either side, and
then form a settlement on the shore, thus advancing till they had
brought under subjection the whole of the surrounding country.

The settlers expressed their satisfaction at the captain's plan, as they
gazed at the richly coloured woods which covered the sides of the
surrounding hills, at the purple blooming quaresma, the snake-like
cacti, and the gorgeous flowering parasites hanging down even from the
jagged and precipitous sides of the Sugar Loaf, and the rich verdure
starting forth from every nook and crevice of the fantastically shaped
rocks.  Scarcely had the anchor been dropped, than the sun set behind
the distant mountains, and, as darkness rapidly followed, they remained
on board during the night.

Next morning, Constance and her father came on deck, where they found
the young lieutenant attending to his duties.  Again they gazed with
renewed pleasure at the wild and the sublime outline of the surrounding
mountains with their varied combinations, while the richness and beauty
of colouring thrown over and around the whole, by the purple and rose
colours and ethereal blue of the sky, imparted to the scene a beauty
which no fancy sketch of fairyland could surpass.  As they turned their
eyes towards the nearest shore of the main land, they saw the beach and
fringing rocks covered by a multitude of natives, waving green boughs as
a sign of welcome; while, on the heights above, they had kindled
numerous bonfires, to show their satisfaction at the arrival of the
French, whom they believed had come to protect them from their enemies,
the Portuguese.  Preparations were being made on board the ships to land
the officers and artisans, with materials for building the proposed
fort.  Villegagnon, in his barge of state, proceeded towards the shore
to open negotiations with the native chiefs.  He had requested the Count
de Tourville to accompany him, and Constance begged that she might also
go.  As it was a mission of peace, no danger was apprehended; and it was
thought that a lady being seen in the boat would give further assurance
to the natives of the pacific intentions of their visit.  Nigel, being
one of the tallest and best-looking of the officers, was selected to
steer the barge.  Four other boats followed at a short distance.  Their
crews were fully armed, but were ordered to keep their weapons out of
sight, and only to advance should the Indians show any sign of
hostility.

As the barge neared the shore, a tall and dignified chief, his dress of
the richest skins, and ornamented with gaily-coloured feathers, with a
circle of plumes on his head, holding an unstrung bow of great strength
in his hand, was seen standing on the beach to receive the new-comers.
By his side was a youth, strongly resembling him in features, bearing
his shield and quiver, and also handsomely dressed, while other chiefs
were drawn up in a semi-circle a short distance behind him, with the
rest of his people collected on either side.  He advanced a few paces
with dignified steps, and, stretching forth his hand to offer a friendly
grasp to the captain as he landed, announced himself as Tuscarora, chief
of the Tamoyos.  According to Indian custom, he made a long harangue,
welcoming the strangers to his country, and assuring them of his
friendship.

"You come at a fortunate moment, when your aid may render us essential
service in assisting us to defend ourselves against the assaults of a
tribe of white men, who, for some years past, have attempted to
establish themselves on our shores.  They call us idolaters, and pretend
to be of a religion which hates idolaters; but they themselves have
numerous figures of men and women, before which they bow down and
worship, and they fail not to shoot or cruelly ill-treat those of our
people who fall into their hands; we, therefore, do not trust to their
religion or promises."

The chief concluded by assuring the French that they were welcome to
take possession of the island off which their ships lay, or of any other
they might select in the bay.  Villegagnon replied that he and his
people came in the character of true friends to the Indians, and his
great object was to obtain their friendship and support, and that their
religion taught them to consider all worshippers of figures and pictures
and any visible object as idolaters; their desire being to serve the
great Spirit who watched over the Indians as well as over themselves,
and that by their acts they would show that they were worthy of the
confidence their new friends were evidently disposed to place in them.
He expressed a hope, also, that by an exchange of commodities, and by
mutual support, they would learn to regard each other as brothers.

During this address the Indians preserved the most perfect silence,
though the eyes of the young chief, who stood by his father's side,
wandered towards the boat in which the rest of the visitors still
retained their seats.  An attendant, now advancing, lighted the calumet
of peace, which Tuscarora presented to the captain, who, after drawing a
few whiffs, returned it to the chief, who performed the same ceremony.
The rest of the party now landing, the pipe was passed round among them.
Constance, who stood by her father's side, regarded the scene with much
interest.  She could not avoid remarking the glances of admiration which
the young chief cast at her, and was compelled more than once to turn
round and speak to Nigel, who remained close to her.  He himself
observed the looks of the young chief, which created an undefined
feeling in his breast, though his pride forbade him in any way to
exhibit it.

"These Indians are of a far more martial and gallant bearing than I had
supposed; but still they are savages, and we should be wise if we are on
our guard against them," he observed to Constance.

This was said aside, while Villegagnon was replying to the address
delivered by the Tamoyo chief, who then introduced the handsome youth
standing by his side as his son Tecumah, "who will ever, as he regards
my injunctions, be a friend and ally of the French," he added.

The young man in a few words expressed his desire to act according to
his father's wishes, winding up, as he pointed to the sky, "Should
Tecumah fail to fulfil his promise, may the great Spirit punish him as
he will deserve."

Thus far the interview had passed off in a most satisfactory manner.
The chief expressed his desire to visit his new allies, but Villegagnon
thought it prudent to decline the honour till the fort was erected, and
the colonists were in a position to defend themselves, and at the same
time to make such a show of their strength as might overawe the Indians,
in whom they were not inclined to place more than a very limited amount
of confidence.  The Portuguese were at this time settled in a town which
they called Saint Vincente, about fifty miles to the south, the first
colony founded by them under Martin Alfonso de Souza; and as there were
many brave adventurers among them, Villegagnon thought it probable that
as soon as they heard of his arrival, they would send an expedition
against him.

The meeting with the chiefs having been brought to a conclusion, the
boats returned to the ships, on board which every one was now engaged in
landing stores for the construction of the proposed fort.  As numerous
trees grew on the island, they were cut down, and formed an abundance of
material for the purpose.  The artisans, who knew the importance of
speed, laboured assiduously, and the work made rapid progress.  The
chief fort was built on the eastern side of the island, to resist the
attack of a hostile fleet; and in the course of a few days the guns were
mounted, and the colonists considered themselves fully prepared for
defence.  Houses were also commenced, and those weary of their long
confinement on board ship hoped soon to take up their residence on
shore.  The natives brought over in their canoes an abundant supply of
provisions, and, delighted with the beauty of the climate, the settlers
felt thankful that their steps had been directed to so happy a spot, and
looked forward with confidence to the time when they might see a
handsome city rise on the shores of the bay.  Now, too, they could all
meet together to read God's Word, and to listen to the preaching of
their minister without dread of interruption.

The chief of the Tamoyos, with his son Tecumah, attended by a number of
the principal men of the tribe, arrived in a fleet of canoes to pay
their promised visit to the white men.  Villegagnon received them at the
head of his seamen, and all the settlers drawn up under arms.  The
Indians were evidently much struck by the martial appearance of their
new allies, and almost as much so by the progress which had been made in
the settlement, as the fort, with its guns, and the houses, were already
erected.  It was a Sabbath morning, and at the usual hour a bell
summoned the settlers to worship.  Tuscarora seemed to fancy that some
magical ceremony was going forward, and was afraid to enter; but
Tecumah, less superstitious than his father, and prompted by curiosity,
begged leave to attend, accompanied by several other young men.  Though
they were unable to comprehend a word, their countenances exhibited the
most perfect seriousness and apparent interest in what was going
forward.  The count, who had observed Tecumah, whose eyes, indeed, had
seldom been turned away from the spot where he and his daughter sat,
sent for the interpreter to inquire of the young chief what opinion he
had formed.

"It is clear to me that you worship a great unknown Spirit, and that you
sing to Him songs of praise, while your teachers exhort you to love and
obey Him, and He is, I am sure, pleased with such worship.  I remarked
how it differs from that of the Portuguese, who make idols of painted
wood, and bow before them as if such things could hear, or understand,
or give help to the foolish men who put faith in such nonsense."

"And is such the opinion you have formed without having the principles
of our faith explained to you?" asked the count, astonished at the
intelligence displayed by the young chief.

"I have said what I conceive to be the truth," answered Tecumah.  "I
would like to know more of your faith, since it enables you to be as
wise and powerful as I see you are.  Some time since, during an interval
of peace, I visited the settlement of the Portuguese.  There I saw
bearded men bowing down, some before a cross with a figure nailed on it,
others before a woman with a child in her arms; others, again, were
adoring an infant in a cradle; and others, men and women, in long robes,
with books or staffs in their hands.  Some were worshipping even
pictures, and I thought that all these things were the gods of the
Portuguese.  When they told me that the woman with the child in her arms
was the Holy Virgin, and that the child was also a god, I could stop to
hear no more, feeling sure that the great Spirit to whom the Indian
looks up as God would be displeased with such blasphemy."

"Undoubtedly He is," said the count; "but had you inquired further, you
would have been told that the figure on the cross and the child in the
woman's arms and the one in the cradle represented the same person, the
Saviour of mankind, who is now in heaven, at the right hand of God."

"Then, how can He be in heaven and on earth at the same time?" asked the
Indian.  "And if He is in heaven, surely men of sense should lift up
their hearts to Him there, and not bow before figures which can have no
resemblance to him; for I observed that even the infants differed from
each other.  And who, tell me, does the figures of the woman represent?"

"She was one especially honoured among women, but who the Saviour
expressly showed He did not desire should be worshipped," answered the
count.  "She was chosen to be the earthly mother of the Son of God, who
so loved the world, that He desired to become man, that He might be
punished instead of all men; for all, being by nature sinful, deserve
punishment, and God, who is all just and all merciful, decreed that all
who believe that Jesus, His Son, was punished for our sins, should have
those sins washed away, and be received into favour again by Him.  Thus,
Jesus came into the world as an infant, grew up to manhood, and, after
setting an example to mankind by the obedient, pure, holy life He led,
He allowed Himself to be put to the most cruel of deaths on the cross,
such as the vilest of malefactors were alone considered deserving of.
To prove that He was God, by His own will and power He rose again and
ascended into heaven, there to be the Advocate and Mediator of those He
had redeemed.  Through Him alone the prayers of those who believe in Him
can be offered and be received acceptably by God."

The young chief listened attentively to what the count said, "This is
very wonderful, very wonderful," he observed, after being for some time
lost in meditation.  "I would wish to hear more about the matter; yet it
strikes me as strange that God should allow His name to be profaned, and
these senseless images to be worshipped instead of Himself."

"You are right, my friend," said the count.  "God is a Spirit, and must
be worshipped in spirit and in truth.  He is also long-suffering and
kind, and therefore He does not punish men as they deserve, that they
may have an opportunity of turning from their sins and being reconciled
to Him."

The count gladly took the opportunity of explaining further the truths
of the Christian faith to the young chief, who seemed to drink in
eagerly every word he heard.  It was the first of many visits he paid,
and often was his canoe to be seen, as the shades of evening drew on,
skimming across the tranquil waters of the harbour towards the mainland.

The Indians received such entertainment on their first visit as the
French could afford; and while it was yet daylight they returned in
their canoes to the shore.

One evening the count and his daughter were sitting in their house with
several guests, among whom Nigel was one.  They had met to read God's
Word and to sing the hymns of Marot, which the French Protestants loved
so well.  The weather, hitherto fine, had, before sunset, given signs of
changing.  Dark clouds were seen gathering eastward, and already a damp
and chilly wind blew up the harbour's mouth, while the sea rolled in,
sending its billows with an angry roar against the foundations of the
new fort.  As the tempest increased, a gun fired from each of the ships
summoned their respective officers and men on board, and Nigel had
unwillingly to hasten away from the house of his friend.  It was not
without difficulty that the boats reached the ships.  The topmasts and
topgallant masts were sent down on deck, and fresh anchors were got out.
The settlers, as they saw the masts of the ships through the gloom,
rolling from side to side, and watched the furious waves rushing in from
the sea, began to tremble for their safety.  They had, however, to think
of themselves.  The wind rapidly increased, the tall trees still
remaining on the island bent before it, and the waves washed over the
walls of the fort with relentless fury, threatening every moment to
overwhelm them.  Villegagnon, who had remained on shore, fearing that
the guns might be lost, ordered them to be dragged out of the fort to a
place of safety.  It was a task of no slight danger, for already the
woodwork trembled at each assault of the billows, and scarcely were the
guns removed than, crash succeeding crash, large fragments of the fort,
the construction of which had cost them so many days of labour, were
rent away, and either carried off by the retiring seas, or thrown high
up on the shore.

Constance de Tourville anxiously watched the progress of the storm.  She
had accompanied her father and several of their friends to watch the
ships which lay in the harbour exposed to its fury.  They could see the
foaming waves dashing against them, and breaking high over their bows.
Soon one was seen to be moving, when a single sail was set, and away she
sped into the darkness up the harbour.  The others dragged their
anchors, or were torn from them, and were likewise compelled to seek for
safety in some sheltered spot.  With good pilots on board, this might
easily have been done, but no one had a knowledge of the upper parts of
the harbour, and it was impossible to say in what direction they might
seek for safety.

That night was one of deep anxiety to all the settlers.  The furious
waves, surging round the little island, swept over the lower parts, and
threatened at times to overwhelm it.  Many of the trees, deprived of the
support of their neighbours, which had been cut down, bent before the
gale.  Branches of some were torn away, others were broken off, and some
uprooted from the ground.  Several of the newly built houses were
unroofed, and others were thrown down altogether by the wind.  That of
the count stood firm, and he and his daughter gladly offered shelter to
as many of their friends as it could contain.

Constance, who had had a sleepless night, waiting till dawn broke,
sallied forth to look for the ships.

Not one of them was in sight.  In vain she made inquiries of those who
had come, like herself, to look for them.  No boats remained on shore;
indeed, with the waters of the harbour tossing about as furiously as
they were, even the largest could not have made her way amidst them.
The Indians, from whom alone they could obtain any information, dared
not venture across, and thus they must remain in ignorance of what had
become of the ships till, the tempest being over, those which had
escaped destruction should return.

"Vain is the help of man.  In God let us put our trust.  He may think
fit to preserve them; if not, we must say with confidence, `His will be
done,'" said the minister Laporte, addressing those assembled on the
beach.



CHAPTER SIX.

NIGEL'S RETURN TO FRANCE.

Meantime the governor had been surveying the damages committed by the
storm, and, summoning the count and other leading people, announced his
intention of abandoning the island before more labour had been expended,
and settling on another higher up the harbour.  All approved of his
proposal, for though they saw that the island was well placed for
defence, it was also exposed to the fury of the sea when excited by
tempests.  They now awaited anxiously for news of the ships, but still
the wind blew furiously up the harbour, and would prevent them from
coming down, even should they have escaped shipwreck.  Fears were
entertained that they might have been cast on the northern shore, when
their crews would most probably have fallen into the hands of the
Portuguese.  For two days more the tempest continued, and the hearts of
the colonists remained agitated with doubts and fears.  The third
morning broke bright and clear, the clouds dispersed, and the wind,
changing, blew with a gentle breath down the harbour.  Had a boat
remained on the island she would have been sent in search of the missing
ships.  Some proposed building a flat-bottomed raft, which might be
finished in a few hours and serve to navigate the smooth waters of the
bay.  Villegagnon gave the order to commence the work, and already it
had made some progress, when a shout was raised of "A sail! a sail!"  It
was one of the ships standing down before the wind from the upper part
of the harbour.  Another and another appeared, till at length the minds
of the colonists were set at rest.  They all had had narrow escapes, but
had succeeded in bringing up under the lee of different islands, where,
the water being smooth, they had ridden out the storm.  Every one
capable of labouring immediately set to work to reship the guns, and
stores, and even the woodwork of the houses and forts, to convey them to
an island Villegagnon had fixed on in a more secure part of the harbour.
The task occupied several days, and sorely tried the patience of those
who were anxious at once to commence their intended agricultural
pursuits.  The advantages possessed by the new spot selected were
evidently superior to those of Lange Island which they had left.  The
count proposed that the name of their patron, "Admiral Coligny," should
be given to their present resting-place, and he was supported by the
leading colonists.  The governor, with a bad grace, consented, though it
was evident that he had intended to bestow his own name on their new
acquisition.

With the exception of the losses caused by the storm, all hitherto
seemed to be going on well; and Nigel began to hope that Villegagnon had
abandoned his design, and really intended to establish a colony on the
principles proposed by the admiral.  He was glad, indeed, that he had
not spoken of his suspicions to Constance or her father, as they must
have been, had he done so, greatly troubled about the future.  He, in
common with all the officers and men of the expedition, was busily
engaged from morn till night in erecting the new fortifications, which
were laid out on a much larger scale, and were built far more
substantially than the last had been.  The colonists' dwellings were
also re-erected, and, wood being abundant, many of them were of
considerable size, though only one storey in height.  Within the fort
were the barracks for the soldiers, while a number of houses to afford
shelter to the inhabitants, should the settlement be attacked, were
erected.  The larger residences were scattered about over the island,
and a village sprang up on the shores of the chief landing-place.  It
was, however, well protected by the fort, off which lay the ships, and
it was considered that while they remained it would be secured against
an attack.  Four smaller forts were also built on commanding situations
in the more accessible parts of the island, so Villegagnon considered
that the settlement was well able to resist the assaults of either a
civilised or barbarous foe.  The friendly disposition shown by the
Tamoyos, the most numerous and powerful tribe in the neighbourhood, gave
him no anxiety on the latter account; while, although by this time the
Portuguese settlement in the south had greatly increased, the Portuguese
had shown no disposition to advance towards the shores of the bay of
Nitherohy.  It was the intention of the French to form a settlement on
the southern shore of the bay as soon as their numbers were sufficiently
increased; and Villegagnon, relying on his secure position, resolved at
length to send back the fleet for reinforcements.

Nigel had in the mean time been a frequent visitor at the house of the
Count de Tourville, where he ever received that friendly welcome which
made him hope that he would not disapprove of his aspiring to the hand
of Constance, who appeared to have no doubts on the subject.  She knew
that Nigel was of noble birth though destitute of fortune, and she felt
sure that her father would not refuse to give her to one, her equal in
birth, who was of her own religion, and whose heart was hers, while he
was well able to protect her.  They had not hitherto spoken of love, but
they were mutually aware of the state of each other's affections, the
most perfect confidence existing between them.  Occasionally a holiday
was allowed, when Nigel, having one of the ship's boats at his command,
took the count and his daughter, with other friends, across the bay, to
visit its picturesque shores and the many lovely islands resting on its
bosom.  The party had gone higher up the bay than they had hitherto
ventured to do, and reaching a small island which appeared to be
uninhabited, they went on shore, proposing to dine and wander through
its shady woods.  The seamen remained near the boat, while Constance and
two lady friends, with the officers and other gentlemen who formed the
party, proceeded to a clear spot beneath the shade of some lofty trees,
where for awhile they could enjoy the sea breeze, while discussing the
viands they had brought.  The repast being over, the three ladies
strolled along the beach to the western end of the island, for the
purpose of enjoying the view which extended almost to the extreme limit
of the harbour.  Constance's two friends had seated themselves on the
bank, while she, attracted by some flowers which grew near the edge of
the water ran forward to examine them.  She was on the point of picking
one of gorgeous hue when a canoe, paddled by a single Indian, unobserved
by her, darted round the point and approached the beach.  The occupant
sprang lightly on shore, when a cry from her companions made her look
up, and she saw a tall and handsome native, with a circlet of feathers
on his head, and a cloak and kilt richly adorned, standing before her.
Her first impulse was to fly, but, giving another glance at the
stranger, she recognised Tecumah, the young chief of the Tamoyos.  She
had already acquired some knowledge of the language.

"What brings you here?" she asked.  "We thought that none of your people
were on the island."

She felt that it was better to speak, although she was not altogether
free from fear.  The respectful attitude of the young chief, however,
reassured her.

"I often come here," he answered.  "Seeing your boat approaching, I
waited for an opportunity of speaking to you, lady.  For days and days I
have longed for it.  Since my eyes first rested on your countenance it
has never been absent from my heart.  My ambition has been to become
like your people, and to gain the knowledge they possess, and thus be
worthy of leading you home as my bride."

Such in substance was what the young chief said, although his address
was far longer, and more full of figurative expressions than have been
here given.  Constance at first could not understand what he said, but
when its meaning broke on her she felt no small amount of alarm and
uneasiness, yet her right feeling would not allow her to treat young
Tecumah, savage though he was, either with contempt or anger.

"You have surprised and pained me," she answered gently.  "It is not the
custom of the maidens of my country to wed with those of another race or
of a different faith," she answered.  "I grieve to hurt your feelings
but what you have asked can never be granted.  Continue, as heretofore,
to be the friend of my people, and you will also remain my friend.  Let
me now return to my companions, for they cannot fail to be surprised at
seeing you; only let me ask that you will never repeat what you have
just said, and banish me, I pray you, from your thoughts."

"Not while Tecumah breathes the air of heaven can your form be banished
from his heart.  Oh, ask him not to perform a task beyond his power,"
answered the Indian.  "He obeys you now, as you will find he is ever
ready to do.  Farewell."  Saying this, greatly to the relief of
Constance, the Indian with slow steps returned to his canoe, while she
hastened back to her companions.

"Who is he?  What object brought him here?" asked one of the young
ladies in a tone of alarm.

"He certainly did not appear unfriendly," remarked the other.  "I should
say, Constance, judging from his manner, that he is a devoted admirer of
you.  Come, my dear, confess--did he not ask you to become his bride?
Ah!  I thought so," she continued, observing the colour rising on
Constance's cheek.

"I cannot reply to you!" exclaimed Constance, feeling excessively
annoyed at her friend's remarks.  "You would not for a moment suppose
that I should listen to such a proposal.  I scarcely, indeed, could
understand what he said.  But we must not remain here, and it will be
well if we return immediately to the boat, lest more of the savages
should be lying concealed in the island and intrude themselves on us."

This last observation induced her companions eagerly to follow her
advice, evidently more alarmed than she was, and as they hurried on they
frequently looked back, expecting to see a party of dark-skinned
warriors suddenly start forth from the forest near them.  They, however,
reached their friends in safety.  On finding themselves safe on board
the boat they recovered their spirits, and the other ladies even
ventured to banter Constance about her Indian admirer.  Nigel naturally
inquired what had happened.  Constance then told him of the sudden
appearance of the Indian, but the expression of her countenance
prevented him from asking further questions.  The expedition, which all
agreed had been a very pleasant one, terminated without any further
incident worthy of note.

Nigel, as usual, spent the evening at the count's house; and he and
Constance found an opportunity before the other guests arrived, for
strolling out in the woods behind the house, through which several walks
had already been cut.  She then frankly told him what had occurred,
begging him, at the same time, not to be anxious on that account, as she
had every reason to believe that the young chief would not again molest
her.

"I trust not, dearest Constance!" exclaimed Nigel, taking her hand.
"Would that I had a right to protect you.  Will you consent to become
mine if your father will give his permission?"

Constance gave him her hand.  He spoke of his want of fortune, but he
reminded her that he had a strong arm and willing heart, qualifications
of no slight importance in a new colony, and he had every reason to hope
that he should be able to maintain her.  She agreed that he should
immediately speak to the count, and he offered to throw up his
commission and cast in his fortune with her father and his associates;
and before they returned to the house many a plan for the future was
agreed on.

The count, almost to their surprise, without offering any objections,
entered into all their views; and Nigel determined the next morning to
ask permission from the captain to quit his ship and settle on shore.

"Impossible, sir," was the answer.  "Were I to give you the permission
you ask all the officers and men would be desiring to turn settlers.  I
intend to send the ship back immediately, and you must be prepared to
attend to your duty."

In vain Nigel expostulated; Villegagnon threatened to put him in irons
and send him back as a mutineer if he refused to obey his orders.

The ships were rapidly got ready for the voyage.  Nigel, with a sad
heart, bade farewell to Constance.

"Rest confident of my love," she whispered.  "We must wait till you can
obtain the admiral's sanction to quit the service.  My father will write
to him on the subject, and I doubt not that he will grant your request."

Still, though Constance spoke with confidence, the hearts of the young
people were sad, for they could not help thinking of the many dangers
which they both would have to encounter.  Those to which Constance might
be exposed rose up before Nigel.  The settlement might be attacked by
the Portuguese, or the natives might prove treacherous, and he could not
forget his doubts of Villegagnon's honesty.  Constance thought of the
storms and the enemies Nigel might have to encounter during his voyage,
and the risk he might run of being treated as a heretic by the Roman
Catholics on returning to France.  With forebodings she could not
overcome, she saw the ship's sails spread to the wind as they glided out
of the harbour.

The voyage to Europe was accomplished without any disaster.  While the
ships were refitting, Nigel, accompanied by Monsieur Billard, captain of
the _Vesta_, one of the ships of the squadron, made a journey to Rouen,
where the admiral had come to meet a number of persons who proposed
embarking.  The advantages to be gained in the new colony had spread
among the Protestants of France, and persons of all ranks and from all
quarters were eager to embark.  The undertaking was especially favoured
by Calvin, Farel, and other Protestant ministers, who hoped ere long to
see a large and flourishing community of their fellow-believers
established in the New World, where many of those suffering in Europe
might fly for refuge.  Rouen was a large and populated place in those
days, and the new emigrants had no difficulty in finding accommodation.
Nigel and Captain Billard called on the admiral at his hotel, and were
received with great courtesy and kindness.  Nigel presented the count's
letter.

"I am sorry, my young friend, for one reason, that you desire to quit
the navy of France, for I feel sure that you would have risen to
distinction," observed the admiral, "although I may congratulate you on
another account; and I, therefore, do not hesitate to grant your
request.  You will, I hope, succeed in the new position you have
chosen."

Nigel thanked the admiral, and afterwards, accompanied by Captain
Billard, went to call on several persons of distinction who were about
to proceed with them to Nitherohy.  He had particularly wished to go on
to Tourville to see his old friend the steward, so as to be able to give
to the count a report of the state of his property.  So eager, however,
were the emigrants to set out, that the ships were got ready with
unusual rapidity, and he had no time to make the journey.  He was
walking in the evening through the streets, when he caught sight of a
person in ecclesiastical dress, whose features he recognised, and on a
second glance he felt sure that they were those of the very man he had
seen in company with Villegagnon.  He suspected that the priest was
there for no good purpose.  The Jesuit regarded him with his keen grey
eyes, and evidently recognised him, and when Nigel and his companion
passed on, followed them at a distance.

The next morning, accompanied by a number of emigrants, they set out for
Havre.  Most of the party were men who followed civil occupations; the
gentlemen, however, carrying swords, while a few among them had pistols.

On reaching Honfleur they found a large crowd assembled in the
market-place, through which they had to pass on their way to the boats,
which were waiting to carry them on board their ships.  In the crowd
Nigel again caught sight of the priest, who was speaking to the people
around him.

"Come, come, my friends," cried Captain Billard, who rode at the head of
the party; "we wish to react the boats waiting for us."

"They are heretics, despisers of the Holy Virgin and the saints!" cried
some one from the crowd.  "Down with them.  Cut them to pieces.  Let
none escape."

Scarcely were the words uttered than a shower of stones was hurled at
the heads of the Protestant emigrants, who immediately drew their swords
to defend themselves, while they forced their way through the crowd.
Scarcely, however, had they got many yards before they were met by a
body of men, some with firearms, and others with spears and axes.

"We must fight for our lives, my friends," cried Captain Billard.  "On!
on!  But keep together."

The bold front which he and his companions showed for a time kept back
their assailants; but a voice, which Nigel recognised as that of the
priest, was heard shouting, "Down with them! down with them!" and the
mob again pressed them close.  Many were wounded, and Nigel, with grief,
saw his friend fall from his horse, shot through the body.  He in vain
endeavoured to rescue him.  The savages dragged him into their midst,
hacking and hewing his inanimate form.  Nigel, seeing that he and his
friends would be cut to pieces, urged them to keep close together; and
by desperate efforts they at length cut their way down to the boats,
from which the seamen, who were fortunately armed, leapt on shore, and,
furiously charging the mob, turned them back and kept them at bay while
the emigrants embarked.

On counting their numbers, it was found that, beside the captain, three
others had fallen, while many were wounded.  Providentially the women
and children, with their baggage, had been sent on the day before from
Rouen, or the whole party would have been cut to pieces.

On reaching Havre, Nigel and two other officers went on shore to
complain of the outrage, but could obtain no redress from the
authorities, who merely shrugged their shoulders and declared they could
not restrain the religious zeal of the people.  The anchors were
speedily got up, and with sad hearts the emigrants left their native
shores.

A fair wind carried the squadron down Channel, and for some time the
voyage was prosperous.  Before, however, they reached the latitude of
Madeira the weather changed, and a heavy gale coming on, sorely tried
the imperfectly prepared ships.  The officers, exerting themselves to
the utmost, encouraged their men, and the pumps were kept going till the
storm ceased and the leaks could be got at and stopped.  When the ships,
which had been scattered by the gale, again joined company, all were
found to have been sorely battered.  One had lost her topmasts, another
her bowsprit, and the rest some two or more spars.  They had no friendly
port into which they could put, as Madeira was in the hands of the
Portuguese, so they had to wait for a calm to repair their more serious
damages.  The Line was crossed without having the opportunity, and when
within three or four days' sail of their destination, some strange ships
were seen ahead, apparently waiting for them.  There could be no doubt
that the strangers were Portuguese.  A consultation was held by the
captains whether they should try to escape by altering their course, or
stand boldly on and attack the enemy.  Water and provisions were running
short, and should they take to flight, days and even weeks might elapse
before they could gain their port.  They determined, therefore, to stand
on, and should an attempt be made to stop them, to fight bravely as long
as their ships should swim.  Their enemies were not to be despised, they
knew, for the Portuguese of those days were renowned for their hardihood
and courage.  Five sail were counted, the number of their own ships, so
that each would have an antagonist to contend with.

The French, under all sail, keeping close together in line, stood
towards the headmost of the enemy's ships, which were somewhat separated
from each other.  Nigel's being the leading ship of the French squadron,
first came up with the headmost one of the enemy's ships.  They were
sailing, it must be understood, on two sides of an angle, the French
before the wind, the Portuguese close hauled.  Captain Beauport, the
commander of the _Madeline_, immediately hauled his wind and poured in
his broadside at close quarters, bringing the enemy's mizenmast, with
its large mizen, down on deck.  The effect was to make the ship pay off
before the wind, and expose her stern to the fire of the _Madeline's_
guns, which had been rapidly reloaded and run out.  Captain Beauport
then running up on the larboard side of the Portuguese, so as to place
himself between her and the rest of the enemy, continued the fight
broadside to broadside, while he threw out a signal to his consorts to
attack the other ships of the enemy.  They, though considerably larger
than the French, after exchanging a few shots at a distance, put up
their helms and ran off before the wind, leaving the first ship attacked
by Captain Beauport to her fate.  This was soon settled, for though her
guns and crew greatly outnumbered those of the _Madeline_, so many of
her people had been killed and wounded, that as the French ship ran
alongside for the purpose of boarding the enemy, the crew of the latter
hauled down their flag and cried for quarter.  This was immediately
given, and efforts were made to stop the shot-holes through which the
water was running into the prize.  There seemed very little prospect of
keeping her afloat.  Her crew and passengers were in despair, and were
eager to take refuge on board their captor.  Many of the men, instead of
endeavouring to save the ship, fell down on their knees, invoking the
Virgin and saints to assist them.  Captain Beauport and his officers,
however, soon stirred them up, and insisted on their going below and
attending to their duty.  Among the passengers were two priests, who
seemed especially anxious to save some cases and packages, loudly
calling on their countrymen to assist them.

"Never mind your baggage, my friends," said Nigel.  "Let the men attend
to their work.  If your property is lost, patience.  We must first save
all the water and provisions, in case the ship should go down, as it
will be difficult enough to feed all your people from our own stores."

"But, Monsieur officer, our property is invaluable," cried the priests.
"It cannot be replaced.  You do not know what precious things we have
got."

"Precious or not, they must stay where they are till the shot-holes are
plugged, unless you choose to carry them yourselves."

"Oh, sacrilegious heretic, we will be revenged on you some day,"
muttered one of the priests, while the other hurled some curses at
Nigel's head, to which he did not stop to listen, remembering the
proverb that "Curses, like birds, go home to roost at night."

By plugging the shot-holes and setting strong gangs to work the pumps,
the prize was kept afloat sufficiently long to get out some of the
provisions and water, as well as a portion of her cargo.  The priests
again loudly called on their countrymen to assist them in transferring
the goods to the _Madeline_, though few of them showed any disposition
to do so, but by the assistance of the French crew, their valuables were
at length got out of the sinking ship.

The rest of the fleet had now come up, and the prisoners were
distributed among them.  The priests, however, would not desert their
baggage, which, they insisted, was their own private property.

"If it is found to be so on inspection you shall retain it," observed
Captain Beauport; "but as the cases may possibly contain munitions of
war, we cannot allow them without examination to fall into the hands of
your countrymen."

The priests protested that there was nothing warlike in them, but the
captain was determined to have the cases examined.  On opening them one
was found to contain a large coarsely painted figure of the Virgin and
Child, another half a dozen small figure of saints, the third was full
of flat leaden figures and crosses.

"What are these?" asked the captain, coming to a fourth, full of small
boxes and parcels.

"Those," answered the priest, who was looking indignantly on, "are the
bones of saints and martyrs.  Let them not be touched, I beseech you, by
sacrilegious hands."

Each package was labelled, a score or more having the name of Saint
Anthony.

"Why, you must have got two or three saints' bodies here," exclaimed the
captain.

"Only a very small portion of one, indeed," answered the priest; "a hair
from his beard or a paring from his toe-nail is of value equal to the
whole of his leg."

"And what are these other packages?" inquired the captain.

"Each contains some precious relic, efficacious in curing every disease
to which the human body is liable," answered the priest.

"Nonsense!" exclaimed the captain; "we cannot allow such rubbish to
remain on board."

"You will be guilty of horrible sacrilege and unheard-of cruelty to the
settlers and poor natives, if you throw these precious relics into the
sea, and deprive them of the benefits they will bring."

"We will see about it," answered the captain.  "What are these bales?"
he asked, pointing to some canvas packages, which he ordered his men to
rip open.

The priests made no reply.  They were found to contain sheets of paper,
printed some in Portuguese and some in Latin, but all sealed with the
seals of the ecclesiastical courts in Portugal or at Rome.  They were,
indeed, "Indulgences", or "Pardons" for various sins mentioned in the
Romish Rubric, the prices, which varied from half a dollar to seven
dollars, being marked upon each, the latter being for murder and the
most heinous offences of every possible kind, which cannot be mentioned.

"Why, I see none for heresy, or sacrilege, or calling the Pope and his
cardinals gross impostors, and you two worthies are arrant rogues and
fools, or we might have become purchasers to a large amount!" exclaimed
the captain indignantly.  "Heave this trumpery overboard, and you,
Senhores priests, may be thankful that you have been deprived of the
means of cheating your countrymen and deceiving the ignorant natives by
your abominable impostures."

The sailors, with shouts of satisfaction, forthwith hove overboard the
boxes of relics, the bales of "indulgences", and the leaden charms,
which quickly sank to the bottom.  Some cases of trumpery rosaries were
found and dispatched the same way.  The images, or rather the idols, for
such the natives would have regarded them, were lowered overboard, and
went bobbing about astern of the ship, and the water soon washing off
the paint, reduced them to the appearance of shapeless logs.  There were
still several cases of crucifixes of all sizes, having the appearance of
silver but were found to be of iron, covered with the thinnest tinsel.
The priests pleaded hard to have them preserved.

"No," said Captain Beauport, firmly; "I will be no party to your
impostures.  These are images as well as the others, and more
blasphemous still, seeing that they have in no way the appearance of the
crucified Saviour; and He Himself has said, `Thou shalt not make unto
thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under
the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for
I the Lord thy God am a jealous God'--and that I am sure you would have
taught the natives to do, for your own people do the same; and so, to
prevent you or others from thus offending God, they must be put
overboard with the rest of your idols."

The priests swore oaths deep, but not loud, that they would be revenged
on the heretics--oaths which they fully intended to keep.  Sail was now
made, and the ships stood towards the land.  They had not gone far,
however, before the signal was made from the prize that the water was
again rushing in.  The _Madeline_ and the other ships sent their boats
to her assistance, but all the efforts of the crew could not keep her
afloat, and they had barely time to escape from her, when she went down
head foremost, with most of her cargo on board.  As the French had no
desire to retain their prisoners, they steered into a small port some
way to the southward of Nitherohy.  Here the Portuguese were put on
shore, with a supply of provisions and such arms as were required to
enable them to protect themselves against the natives, who, they
averred, would otherwise attack and cut them off--an event, considering
the cruelties they had already begun to practise on the unfortunate
Indians, very likely to happen.  A bright look-out was kept during the
time for the enemy's squadron, but it did not appear; and the French,
favoured by a fair wind, steered for Nitherohy, which they were all
eager to reach.  Nigel's heart beat with anxiety.  Besides knowing that
the Portuguese, in considerable force, were in the neighbourhood, and
being uncertain as to the fidelity of the fickle Indians, he could not
forget his suspicions regarding Villegagnon, and he dreaded to hear that
the governor had carried out the treacherous designs which he believed
him to entertain.  All eyes were directed towards the island-fortress,
as the ship sailed up the harbour.  Great was the satisfaction of the
voyagers as they beheld the flag of France blowing out above the
fortifications.  Cheers burst from their throats, and a salute fired
from the shore was returned by the ships, as, gliding on, they came to
an anchor before the landing-place.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

TREACHERY.

Villegagnon stood waiting on shore to receive the new-comers, who landed
amid the cheers of their countrymen.  He expressed himself highly
pleased with this accession of strength to the community, and loudly
declared that he believed ere long their Protestant colony would be
established on a firm basis.  His letters, he said, informed him that
many thousands of French settlers were about to sail and join them.
Nigel hastened on shore as soon as his duties would allow, and was
welcomed with all the marks of affection he could desire by Constance,
and kindly greeted by her father.  Great progress had been made, the
count told him, and he hoped that they should soon be able to form a
settlement on the mainland.

"But we have been so happy here, that I should be sorry to move," said
Constance, pointing to a pretty garden seen from the window of their
sitting-room.  "Think of all the pains we have bestowed on it, and,
should it be deserted, in a few months, in this climate, it would again
become a wilderness."

"We must keep it as our country residence, and come here occasionally
from our house in the new city," observed the count; "or perhaps you and
Nigel will like to make it your home."

"Oh, that will be delightful," exclaimed Constance, "though I suspect
that Nigel will require a larger sphere of action than this little
island would afford."

They talked much more about the future, which, to the eyes of Constance,
looked bright and happy.  The count, however, when alone with Nigel,
expressed his anxiety on several accounts.  The governor had of late
shown especial favour to the men he had collected to supply the place of
those who had abandoned the expedition; and they were engaged in
erecting a building, which it was very evident was intended for a
church.  Why there should be any secrecy about the matter the count
could not tell; but it was a suspicious circumstance, as chiefly those
who had refused to attend at the Protestant service were engaged on it.
Still the governor professed to be as warm a Protestant as ever.

"Have you any suspicions of the honesty of his intentions?" asked Nigel.

"From this circumstance, and others which may seem trifling, suspicions
have arisen in my mind," answered the count.

Nigel then told him the reason he himself had to doubt the governor's
honesty.

"I wish that you had told me of this before," said the count.  "I should
probably have returned with you to Europe, rather than have supported
such a man by remaining.  However, your explanations satisfy me that you
acted, as you thought, for the best.  We must now endeavour to
counteract his designs."

They agreed not to speak to Constance about their suspicions of the
governor, as the matter would not fail to make her anxious.

Nigel had to return to his ship at night; but, early the next morning,
he again went on shore to visit his friends, intending also to apply to
the governor to be discharged from the naval service.  As he was nearing
the landing-place, he observed a canoe, urged on towards the shore with
rapid strokes by an Indian who plied his paddle, now on one side, now on
the other.  In the stern sat another person, a young girl, whose dark
tresses were ornamented with a wreath of natural flowers, which gave an
additional charm to her beautiful features, the rest of her costume
being also adorned with gaily-coloured feathers, further increasing the
picturesqueness of her appearance.  She lightly stepped out of the
canoe, followed by her companion, who hauled it up on the beach at the
same time that Nigel landed.  They together made their way to the
village as if well accustomed to traverse the path.  Nigel was a few
paces behind them, and observed that they entered the house of the
minister, Monsieur Laporte.  On reaching the count's house, he mentioned
the circumstance to his friends, and inquired who the Indians were.

"They must be, without doubt, the young chief Tecumah and his sister
Cora, who come frequently to receive from our good minister instruction
in the truths of Christianity, of which, I trust, they have gained
considerable knowledge," answered Constance.  "First the young chief
came by himself, and then he begged permission to bring his sister.  She
is a sweet young creature; a perfect child of nature; and has already
become even a more faithful believer than her brother, who cannot, as
yet, understand why he should not destroy his enemies wherever he can
find them."

Constance had before told Nigel of her meeting with Tecumah; she now
assured him that the young chief seemed to have got over any attachment
he might have felt for her, so Nigel felt no sensations of jealousy.
Nigel proceeded afterwards to call on the governor to present his letter
from the admiral.  Villegagnon received him in his usual courteous
manner, and complimented him on his gallantry with the Portuguese.
When, however, he read the letter, his manner changed.

"The admiral does not command here," he observed, "and I require
officers on board my ships.  I cannot accept your resignation."

Nigel expostulated in vain.  Instead, however, of at once refusing to
serve, he resolved to take time to consider the matter.  He went back to
consult the count, who advised him to do nothing rashly; as, should he
throw up his commission and come to live on shore, he would offend the
governor and put himself completely in his power.

While they were speaking, Tecumah and Cora, with Monsieur Laporte, came
to the house, to pay their respects, they said, to the count and his
daughter.  Tecumah recognised Nigel, and spoke to him in a way which
showed that he desired his friendship.  While Constance was conversing
with Cora in a mixture of their respective languages, each doing her
utmost to make herself understood and understand what the other said,
Nigel found that Tecumah had made considerable progress in his knowledge
of French; also, which was of more consequence, he was well acquainted
with the fundamental truths of Christianity.  Had they, however, touched
his heart?  There was the question; his actions alone would show that.
Nigel inquired about the state of the country.  Tecumah assured him that
his own tribe and those in alliance with them were sincerely attached to
the French.  "But others in the north, who have had emissaries from the
Portuguese among them, are not to be trusted," he observed.  The
Portuguese themselves were also increasing rapidly in numbers, and their
town of Saint Vincente was already of some size.

"My people, however, will keep a vigilant watch on their proceedings,
and I will give you notice, should we gain any intelligence of an
expedition being prepared.  Should one come, with your ships and with
the assistance of our tribe, you will, without doubt, be able to drive
back your enemies," he added.

While the young people were speaking, the count drew Monsieur Laporte
aside, and was earnestly discussing with him the state of affairs.

The minister looked grave.  "We must trust to Him who overrules all
things for His own wise purposes," he observed; "and should reverses
overtake us, we must not lose confidence in His love and justice."

Nothing occurred for some time to interrupt the usual occupations of the
colony.  At length, one morning a signal from the fort announced that a
fleet was in sight.  The gunners were summoned to the batteries; all the
men got under arms, and the ships prepared for battle; getting springs
on their cables, so as to haul themselves into a position to defend the
landing-place.

As the ships approached, they were, to the infinite satisfaction of
those on shore, seen to have the French flag flying at their mast-heads.
There were five large ships and two smaller ones.  It was hoped that
they were bringing reinforcements of sound Protestants who would
establish their faith in the land, and contribute to the material
progress of the colony.  As they drew nearer, salutes were exchanged,
and they came to an anchor close to the fleet.  The voyagers when they
landed were warmly received by their countrymen, who did their best to
treat them hospitably.  There were people of all ranks, and from all
parts of France.  Several who had come in one of the larger ships were
known to the count, who received them into his house.  They stated that
the fleet consisted originally of but three ships; but, as they were on
the point of sailing, they were joined by two others conveying persons
of whom they had been able to obtain no certain information.
Villegagnon received all in his usual courteous way, but it was observed
that he paid the most attention to those on board the latter ships.
Before long it was whispered that among those people had been seen two
men, who, though in secular dresses, were recognised as having been
Romish priests.  Still, though the people who had come in these two
ships did not make their appearance at the Protestant place of worship
to return thanks for their safe voyage, they were not seen to practise
any of the rites of the Romish Church.  Unpleasant rumours were,
however, going about among the settlers, and the people asked one
another how it was that the governor, who had professed to form a pure
Protestant colony, should have allowed Romanists to come out among them.
No satisfactory answer could be given to these questions, and some
thought that the new-comers were possibly lately converted from Rome,
and would soon come to receive instruction from Monsieur Laporte.
Others, however, shook their heads, and observed that, had they been new
converts, they would have exhibited more zeal, and would have been the
first to join hands with the older brethren; instead of that, they
associated entirely with the suspicious characters who had all along
shown a disrespect to the Protestant form of worship.  All the settlers
were, however, so busy in erecting dwellings, and cultivating the
ground, that no one had time for polemical discussions.

Thus matters went on for some time till the church was finished.  After
it was roofed over, no persons, except those employed on it, were
allowed to enter.  Numerous cases, which had formed part of the cargo of
one of the ships, were landed and conveyed to it, and a large bell was
hoisted up into the tower.  One Sunday morning the bell began to toll
forth in a way which astonished the Protestant settlers.  The church was
thrown open, and those who had been suspected by their fellow-colonists
were seen with triumphant looks wending their way towards it.  Some of
the Protestants, influenced by curiosity, went in, and, on their return,
reported that they had seen the two priests clad in their sacerdotal
dresses, standing before a richly adorned altar, with a crucifix over
it, and the figure of the Virgin and Child, with those of several saints
placed in chapels on either side.  Mass, with all its accompaniments,
was being performed, while the governor himself was taking part in the
ceremony.  The Count de Tourville, and several other leading
Protestants, called on him afterwards to express their astonishment and
regret at what had happened.  He received them with a haughty air, and
declared that it was his intention, for the good of the colony, to
encourage both forms of worship equally.

The count expostulated.  "The colony," he observed, "had been
established for the express purpose of affording a home to Protestants,
where they could, regarding religious matters, avoid those dissensions
which had sprung up in the old country."

"You may still worship as you think fit; but others, who discover that
they have erred in quitting the Catholic Church, have a right to enjoy
the form which suits them best.  I, as governor of this colony, am bound
to please all parties, and I desire to hear no more complaints on the
subject," he answered.

The deputation, being thus dismissed, retired to consult what steps
should be taken.  Though the Protestants still outnumbered the
Romanists, the whole of the former could not be relied on, while the
latter formed a compact body, most of them being thoroughly drilled by
the priests, who had done their utmost to excite their fanaticism, while
it was evident that they were supported by the governor.  The
Protestants, therefore, arrived at the conclusion, as people often do
under similar circumstances, that nothing could be done, and that they
must wait the course of events.  The two priests appeared to be quiet,
well-disposed men; they made no outward show, but were observed to be
going about quietly, from house to house, especially among the soldiers;
and every Sunday saw an increase in their congregation.

The count watched these proceedings with feelings of dismay.  Monsieur
Laporte exerted himself among his congregation, and urged them to study
their Bibles, and to seek to live lives consistent with their Christian
profession.  Many listened to him and followed his advice; but there
were not a few careless ones who went over to join the party of the
governor and the priests.  The women were induced to go to the church to
listen to an organ which had been brought out from France, while one of
the priests, who was a good musician, instructed them in the art of
singing.  Fresh saints were set up, and additional ornaments were
introduced, and on festal occasions the whole church was wreathed with
flowers, imitating the custom of the heathens at their feasts of
"Flora," and other festivals.  These attracted the careless and giddy
among the young, who found the idolatrous system, which their fathers
had repudiated, well suited to their tastes.  Thus rapidly the traitor
Villegagnon and his priests won over the larger part of the population.
In vain the elder people, who had seen the effects of Romanism in the
old country, warned them and protested against the fearful errors which
were being introduced.  Many of the young girls and youths were induced
to go to confession and receive absolution for their past sins; the
result being that they sinned and sinned again with their eyes open,
under the belief that they could be again absolved.  Morality, which had
been strictly maintained among the settlers, fast disappeared.  The
priests now openly sold indulgences, and went from house to house
abusing those who refused to purchase them, and warned them that they
would be considered as Protestants and heretics.  The count and other
Protestant elders, met and discussed what was to be done, but they had
to confess themselves powerless.  The minister preached more earnestly,
and some few were won back to the truth; but the popular party still
increased daily.  The governor, it was observed, promoted only professed
Romanists, and managed by degrees to dismiss the Protestant officers.

Villegagnon at length threw off the thin mask he had hitherto worn, and
declared that the majority being in favour of Rome, the settlement must
become what he called a Catholic colony.  The Protestants complained
loudly of the governor's treachery; and several of them were arrested on
charge of mutiny, and for plotting against the established authorities.
Captain Beauport coming on shore one day, as he was on the point of
returning to his boat, was seized and carried off to a prison
Villegagnon had lately erected in the fortress.  He was not informed of
the crime of which he was accused, nor could he conceive what it was, as
he had carefully abstained from making any remarks on the conduct of his
chief.  The following day he was brought into the public hall of the
fort, where the governor was seated as judge, supported by several of
the officers whom he had promoted.  One of the crew of the _Madeline_,
with the two priests, appeared as his accusers, and his officers and
several of his men were ordered on shore as witnesses, Nigel being among
them.  When the priests were called on to make their statements, one of
them charged the brave captain with the crime of sacrilege, which, as it
had been brought to his notice, he said that he felt bound to make it
public.  A seaman, then stepping forward, stated that by his orders, a
number of holy images, crucifixes, and sacred relics captured from the
Portuguese, intended for the conversion of the heathen and the comfort
of believers, had been sacrilegiously thrown overboard on their voyage
to Nitherohy.

"Of what immense value they would have been to us in the conversion of
the heathen had they been preserved!" exclaimed one of the priests.
"They were undoubtedly offered to us by Heaven, to enable us to convert
the barbarous natives."

Nigel and the other officers were then called on for their evidence.
They had to confess that they saw the articles mentioned thrown
overboard; but Nigel observed, as they were part of the cargo of the
prize, he could not suppose that the captain in any way acted contrary
to what he was fully justified in doing.

"Beware, lest you are made a party to his crime!" exclaimed one of the
priests.  "I know well the malignant and impious disposition of your
countrymen, and, had you not been imbued by their sentiments, you would
have endeavoured to prevent so sacrilegious an act from being
committed."

The governor, as judge, declared that no further evidence was necessary.
In vain the captain asserted that he had acted as he believed right.
The priests shouted out that he deserved to die, and the traitor,
Villegagnon, forthwith pronouncing him guilty, condemned him to death.

Nigel, on quitting the court, hastened to the residence of the count, to
tell him of the result of the trial.

"This must not be," he said, on hearing it.  "It would be a most
atrocious murder.  Every Protestant in the settlement must unite, and
insist on having his life spared.  It would be useless to petition; we
must _demand_ our rights."

Nigel fully agreed with the count, and other leading Protestants coming
in were of the same opinion.

"We must stake our lives on the issue," exclaimed one of the boldest.

The count observed, that as it was their lives and liberties were in
jeopardy, and that a bold front could alone save them.  On separating
they went among their friends to stir them up to action.  That night
every true Protestant capable of bearing arms assembled, and the next
morning marched together to the fort.  On their way they met a Roman
Catholic, who thought that Captain Beauport had been unjustly condemned,
and willingly undertook to convey to the governor the resolution to
which they had arrived.  They waited, advantageously posted for defence
on the brow of a hill a short distance outside the fort, while their
envoy went forward with their message to the governor.  They had also
sent messages on board the ships, the officers and crews of most of
which were sound Protestants, and would, they had every reason to
believe, support them in their endeavour to rescue the brave officer,
who was loved and honoured by all, especially by his own crew.  While
waiting the return of their envoy, a messenger arrived from the fleet
conveying the promise of the officers and men to afford them their full
support.  This made them still more determined to remain firm to their
purpose.  Their envoy soon afterwards returned with the reply of the
governor, stating that he would take their demands into consideration.
On hearing this, they desired him to go back again, insisting that
whether right or wrong, with regard to the act, it was committed on the
high seas, beyond the jurisdiction of the governor, and that, if guilty,
Captain Beauport must be sent to France to be tried.  The governor,
finding so strong a force opposed to him, saw that he had been premature
in showing his colours, and that it would be his wisest course to try
and conciliate those whom he could not for the present crush.  He
accordingly, accompanied by several officers, went out to meet the
Protestants.  In the blandest style he could assume he assured them that
he wished to act fairly towards both parties.  He therefore stated his
readiness to send Captain Beauport home for trial, and inquired whether
any of the colonists who were dissatisfied with his government would
wish to return to their native land.  The idea had not before been
entertained by them.  Several, however, at once replied that they were
willing to return home, and others said that they would take the matter
into consideration.

"Captain Beauport, then, will be kept in safe custody, till the ships
are ready to sail," said the governor.  "They will be prepared in a few
days; and, before that time, I wish to be informed of the number who
desire to embark."

The Protestants, on receiving this announcement, returned to their
homes.  These were mostly situated together, and, as they had now ample
proofs of the treachery of the governor, they stationed men on the
look-out to give notice, should he send a force to attack them, that
they might immediately reassemble and defend themselves.  A meeting was
held to discuss their future prospects.  A considerable number of the
most influential people resolved to return to France, hoping to live
there in obscurity, or to make their way to Geneva.  Some, among whom
was the count, resolved to go to England, should he find France in the
same unsettled state as he left it.  Nigel was now thankful that he had
not abandoned the naval service, as he hoped that the _Madeline_ would
be sent home, and that he might again have the happiness of having
Constance and her father on board.  Still, the prospects of all the
party were gloomy enough: many of them had embarked all their fortunes
in the undertaking, and they would return without the means of support
to their native shores.

On the following day, a considerable number of the colonists sent in
their names as desirous of returning, when they were informed, to their
dismay, that the three smallest ships only would be got ready to receive
them.  Reports had before been spread that so weatherbeaten and
unseaworthy were these ships, that they were not again to be sent to
Europe, but to be retained in the harbour for the protection of the
colony.  Nigel was almost in despair at receiving this information.  He
urged the count rather to remain than to run the risk of the voyage.
The count, influenced by his daughter, was greatly disposed to follow
the advice of Nigel, who observed that the _Madeline_ would probably
before long be sent home, and that he might then take a passage on board
her.  The whole community were in a state of alarm; and it was increased
when the governor sent directing them to be prepared to embark on the
following day, with the information that only two of the ships could be
got ready.

That night the greater number of them met in their place of worship, to
offer up their prayers to God, that He would protect them from the
dangers they might have to encounter during their intended voyage.  The
meeting was almost concluded; Monsieur Laporte, in a loving address, was
exhorting them to hold fast to the Gospel, whatever persecutions they
might have to endure, when a loud knocking was heard at the door of the
chapel.  On its being opened, an Indian appeared in full war costume,
with one of those formidable bows in his hand, with which the Tamayas
boasted they could send a shaft through the mail-clad body of a foe and
fix him to a tree.

"I am Tecumah!" he exclaimed.  "Many here know me as a faithful friend
of the French.  I come to give you warning that a large force of your
enemies and ours are on their way down the harbour to attack the island.
They consist of Portuguese and their Indian allies the Tuparas, who
have transported their boats and canoes overland from the place where
they have been secretly built for the purpose.  They come in expectation
of taking you by surprise, when, should they gain the victory, not a
human being they may discover will be left alive.  They have sworn to
exterminate you and us by all the false saints they have taught their
Indian friends to worship."

Some doubted the information brought by Tecumah; but the count and
Monsieur Laporte urged their countrymen to believe him, as they well
knew the warm affection with which he regarded them, and were convinced
that he would not have alarmed them needlessly.  Some time was thus
lost, but at length it was agreed that the count, with two other of the
principal persons, should at once haste with Tecumah to carry the
information to the governor, and urge him to take steps for the
protection of the settlement.  Unhappily, the Protestant officers having
all been removed from their posts, there was no one of authority in the
congregation to send a direct order on board the ships to prepare for
action.  The night was unusually dark; not a breath of wind rippled the
surface of the mighty estuary; and the ships, which were at anchor close
together off the usual landing-place near the fort, could not move to
any other position, where they might assist in the defence of the
island, three sides of which were thus left unprotected.  The enemy
would certainly make their attack where they would not be exposed to the
fire of the ships or that of the fort.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

ATTACKED BY ENEMIES.

Tecumah urged the count and his friends to make all haste.  Even now he
feared that there would be barely time for the French to assemble and
prevent the enemy from landing.  Once on shore both parties would be on
equal terms, and the most numerous would probably gain the victory.  He
had despatched a messenger, however, he said, to his father, to come
with his warriors to the assistance of their friends, as, unfortunately,
they were at a distance from their usual dwelling-place, engaged in
hunting, and might not be able quickly to collect.  The count had sent
word to Nigel to warn him and the other officers of the squadron to be
prepared for an attack, and also to entreat as many as could be spared
to come on shore to be in readiness for the defence of the island.  The
Protestants had also got under arms, so that they might be able to march
in any direction where their presence might be required.

The governor received the count and his companions in the haughty and
insolent manner he had of late assumed, and at first appeared inclined
to discredit the account Tecumah had brought; but when the young Indian,
with all the eloquence of his race, assured him of the truth of his
statement, and warned him of the danger of delay, he changed his tone.
He was too sagacious an officer not to see in reality that the warning
must not be despised, but, without deigning to thank the count and his
companions for the information they had brought, he desired them to go
back to their friends.  They obeyed his orders; while Tecumah, having
fulfilled his mission, hurried away to his canoe, intending to cross to
the mainland for the purpose of urging his tribe to use all speed in
coming to the assistance of the French.  The governor, meantime, ordered
the troops to get under arms, and sent off a despatch to the ships,
directing the captains, some to get under weigh and to sail round to the
other side of the island, others to remain ready for an attack near the
landing-place.  The calm, however, prevented the first part of his order
from being obeyed.

The whole population of the island was speedily aroused, and began to
assemble at a central spot appointed by the governor.  Scouts were also
sent out along the shore, and every precaution was taken which the
sagacity of an experienced officer like Villegagnon could suggest.  The
women and children, whose houses were in the more exposed situations,
were brought to the fort, though it was hoped that the enemy might be
driven back before they could effect a landing.  Scarcely, however, had
the armed men collected, than the sound of firing was heard coming from
the end of the island, where a little bay was situated.  It was a spot
which afforded an easy landing-place; but a fort had been built upon it,
which it was supposed was of sufficient strength to drive back any enemy
who might approach it.  Several shots followed the first, and then came
through the calm night air the sounds of strife, the victorious
warwhoops of the Indians, and the shrieks and cries of the conquered.

"Forward, my men, and drive back the enemy," exclaimed Villegagnon.
"The fort has, I fear, been surprised, and the garrison cut to pieces,
and, if so, the enemy have landed, and we must be prepared to encounter
them on shore."

Saying this, the governor, who was not destitute of courage, led forward
the main body of his men, while he despatched a messenger to the ships
with an order for the seamen to advance to his support.  The count with
a small number of his men was ordered to keep in the rear, to act as he
might think necessary.  The darkness of the night prevented the French
from seeing their invaders.  They had not got far when they found
themselves in the face of a force which they could only estimate by the
hot fire which was opened on them.  They fired in return with equal
vigour, but it was soon evident that they were greatly outnumbered.
Several of them fell.  Showers of bullets whistled amidst them, while
flights of arrows came flying into their ranks.  In vain the governor
endeavoured to repel the foe.  At last he gave the order to sound the
retreat, intending to fall back on the fort.  The unseen enemy pressed
him hard, and their fire increased rather than diminished, showing that
more had landed.  The count had now led his men up to take part in the
fight, but they could do no more than check the advance of the enemy,
and prevent them from overpowering the party under the governor.  Even
the bravest began to despair of success.  The flashes of the guns
lighted up the darkness of the night, and where the fire was the hottest
there the governor and Count de Tourville threw themselves fearlessly,
exposing their own lives to encourage their followers.  It was very
evident that they had not only Indians, but civilised Europeans to fight
against.  Notwithstanding their bravery, they were quickly driven back;
and, before long, the count saw that his own and the surrounding houses
would be exposed to destruction.  At length a shout was heard on one
side.  It was recognised as coming from the body of seamen who were
advancing to their support.  The governor immediately despatched an
officer to lead them to a position he wished them to occupy; but, before
they had reached it, they found themselves engaged with a strong party
of the enemy who had been sent to intercept them.  The fight was now
raging in two quarters, but still the enemy appeared to be gaining
ground.

Constance de Tourville had remained at home unwilling to desert the
house till compelled to do so.  Several other ladies, whose houses were
in more exposed situations, had come there for shelter, and stood
listening with anxious hearts to the hot strife going forward within a
short distance.  At length some of the party proposed that they should
fly to the fort; though, dreading the governor, they were unwilling, if
it could be avoided, to place themselves in his power.  Constance
preferred remaining, her father having promised to send timely notice to
her should the French find themselves compelled to retreat.  The sounds
of the battle came nearer and nearer.  Several of the ladies declared
that they could remain no longer, and hurried to the door to make their
escape; Constance remained firm.

"I will obey my father," she said; "and when he sends me word that it is
time to fly, I will go."

The other ladies, influenced by her example, hesitated, when a shower of
bullets came whistling above their heads, and shouts and shrieks and
cries of the combatants sounded as if they were close at hand.  It was
too evident that such was the case.  Constance herself began to await
anxiously for the order from her father to quit the house; when
suddenly, in addition to the other sounds, a chorus of wild warwhoops
burst on their ears.  The savage cries were replied to by the shouts and
cheers of the French.  The musketry rattled as loud as ever, but none of
the shots came near them.  In truth, the Tamoyos had arrived just at the
moment the governor had determined to retreat and take shelter in the
fort, leaving the rest of the island to the mercy of the invaders.
Tecumah was at the head of his tribe, who fought with the most desperate
fury against their hereditary enemies the Tuparas.  The Portuguese were
now in their turn compelled to retreat; the French and Indians pressed
them hard, and, finding their expectation of surprising the settlement
defeated, they took to flight towards the bay where they had left their
boats.  Nigel had landed with a naval force, and, feeling that he was
fighting for everything he held clear, he was regardless of his own
safety.  Again and again he led his men on against greatly superior
numbers of the enemy, but till the arrival of Tecumah and his party all
his efforts had been in vain.  Again he was leading them on, when he
felt himself struck by a bullet, and, staggering a few paces, fell to
the ground.  Still he called on his men to advance.  The Portuguese and
Tuparas every now and then faced about in order to cover the embarkation
of those who first reached the boats.  Their bravery secured the retreat
of their friends, but the greater portion of the rear-guard were
overtaken and cut to pieces, while the main body shoved off from the
shore and made their escape.

Constance and her friends had been anxiously awaiting the issue of the
strife.  When they heard the sounds of battle receding, their courage
rose, and they hoped that their countrymen were gaining the victory.
Still they were left for a long interval.  At length Constance
determined to go out and ascertain what had taken place.  They provided
themselves with lanterns, several of which had been brought to the house
by those who had taken refuge in it, and, aided by their light, they
went courageously forward.  They had a higher motive also.  They knew
too well that many must have fallen, and they hoped to carry succour to
some of the wounded, who might have been left behind by their advancing
comrades.  After going some way, they reached a spot where the strife
had been hottest.  Here lay friends and foes mingled together, Frenchman
and Portuguese; the Indians only being distinguished by their war-paint
and fantastic costume.  On all the bullet, or arrow, or the deadly
hatchet, had done its work.  As they cast their lanterns on the forms
stretched on the ground they saw that their help could not avail.  The
wounded had either been carried off by their companions, or had dragged
themselves away to seek assistance.  Still they persevered in their
mission of mercy, searching for others who might be still breathing.
They were attracted by the sound of a groan, which proceeded from a spot
not far off.  Again all was silent.

"Here is a wounded man!" exclaimed one of the ladies, calling to
Constance.  "He is a naval officer, I see, by his dress."

Constance and her other friends hurried to the spot, and, by the light
of a lantern cast on the countenance of the officer, Constance saw at a
glance that he was Nigel.  She threw herself on the ground, and
endeavoured, with the help of her companions, to staunch the blood
flowing from a wound in his side.  He was pale as death, but another
groan escaping from his lips showed her that he still breathed.  At
length they succeeded in stopping the effusion of blood.  She called on
his name, but he was too weak to answer, though once she felt, as she
took his hand, a slight pressure returned, which showed that he
recognised her voice.

"Oh, Marie, hasten to the house, and entreat some of our friends to come
and assist in carrying him there!" she exclaimed to one of her
companions.  "Bring a bed, or a door torn from its hinges, on which he
can be placed.  We must not allow him to remain here longer than is
possible.  Quick, my dear, if you love me!"

Her friend hurried away, eager to bring assistance which the young
officer so greatly needed.  Constance in the mean time sat by the side
of Nigel, resting his head on her arm, while she bent over him, and
assured herself that he still breathed.  Though dreading every moment to
hear his last sigh, with loving and gentle words she endeavoured to
recall him to consciousness.  How fearfully long the time seemed.  The
sounds of the strife still going forward reached her ears, though she
scarcely heeded them, for all her thoughts and all her feelings were
centred on Nigel.  Anxiously she and her friend waited the arrival of
the party from the house.  The latter every now and then got up and
advanced a few paces to listen.  At length lights were seen in the
distance, and footsteps were heard approaching.  Constance uttered an
exclamation of thankfulness when she saw her friends approaching with a
litter they had hastily constructed with three poles supporting a
mattress.  With gentle care Nigel was placed upon it, and the ladies
lifting it from the ground proceeded towards the house.  Soon after they
had reached it, the count arrived with the intelligence that the enemy
had been driven off the island, and that the boats of the squadron had
gone in pursuit of them.  His sorrow at hearing of Nigel's dangerous
state was very great, and, ordering restoratives to be given him, he
immediately set off in search of the surgeon, who had come out with the
first party of the settlers, and had remained faithful to the truth.  He
happily discovered him attending to some of the wounded men who had been
carried to one of the neighbouring houses.  As soon as he could leave
them he hastened to Nigel's side.  After examining his wound, he
expressed a hope that, by constant watchfulness and care, he would
recover, though the loss of blood had greatly exhausted him, and all
would depend on his being kept perfectly quiet.  One thing was certain,
that he would be unable to move for many weeks to come, without risking
his life.  On hearing the surgeon's report, Constance entreated her
father not to carry out his intention of proceeding to Europe.

"I will certainly on no account leave him," he answered.  "Possibly the
ships may be delayed, or the governor will be unwilling to let them
sail, on the probability of the island being again attacked; but if so,
he must treat the Protestants with more justice than he has been doing
for some time, and we must live in hopes that fresh arrivals from Europe
will again turn the scale in our favour."

Whether or not the governor suspected that the Protestants hoped, with
increased numbers, to recover their influence, it was difficult to say.

The next day was devoted to rejoicings for the victory.  The bells of
the Romish church rang out, the fort fired salutes, and a procession
with crucifixes, banners, and images, marched through the island.  The
priests sang praises in honour of the Virgin Mary, whom they asserted
had given them the victory, in answer to their petitions.  The
Protestants assembled in their place of worship to return thanks to God
for their deliverance.  While the service, which had taken place at an
earlier hour than usual, was going forward, an officer and party of
soldiers arrived in front of the chapel.  Without knocking, or asking
for admission, the officer entered the chapel with his hat on his head,
and, in a loud voice, exclaimed--

"I bring you an order from the governor to disperse.  He will allow of
no meetings, except in the church he has built for the use of the
colony."

"Allow us, sir, to finish the service in which we are engaged," answered
the minister, in a deep tone.  "It may be the last many of us will enjoy
for some time to come."

"My orders are to put a stop to your meeting," said the officer.  "If
you refuse to obey, I must use force to compel you."

Several of the persons present showed an inclination to dispute the
point, but the minister and count urged them to yield obedience to the
orders of the governor, and they quickly departed, when the officer,
closing the door, put a seal on it, cautioning the people not again to
enter, the governor having threatened severely to punish any who might
do so.  With sad hearts they returned to their homes.  The victory over
their enemies, instead of having improved their condition, appeared to
have made it still more unbearable.  Many who had before intended to
remain on the island now determined to proceed in the ships which the
governor announced would sail in a couple of days.  When, however, they
went on board to arrange their sleeping places they found the vessels in
so battered and unseaworthy a condition, and so overrun with vermin,
that many resolved to remain rather than undergo the risk of a voyage on
board them.  The officers and crews confessed that they were very
unwilling to sail; at the same time, as they were all Protestants, they
were anxious to get away from the island.  The governor had also
threatened them with punishment should they refuse.  They promised, for
their own sakes, as well as for that of their passengers, to repair the
ships as much as time would allow.  Indeed, the crews were already
working hard to fit them for sea.  If the governor would permit them to
remain another week, they might, it was hoped, be placed in a tolerably
efficient state to cross the Atlantic.  The governor, however, would
only allow them two more days, at the end of which time he insisted that
all who intended to go must embark.  A third of the original number,
therefore, abandoned their purpose and resolved to remain and endure all
the indignities to which they were likely to be subjected, while the
rest, with many forebodings, went on board the two ships.  They were, as
it was, much overcrowded, and it was with difficulty that they could
obtain sufficient provisions for the voyage, the governor asserting that
no more could be spared from the stores of the garrison.

When all were on board, and the anchors were about to be weighed,
Captain Beauport was led out from prison in chains under a strong guard,
and, not being allowed to communicate with any of his friends on shore,
was conveyed on board; the captain to whose charge he was committed
being directed by the governor to deliver up his prisoner to the
authorities at the first port at which he could touch, charged with
rebellion and heresy.  Captain Dupre merely replied that he would do his
duty, as far as he had the power.  He was a silent undemonstrative man,
not given unnecessarily to express his opinions.  He had never shown a
disposition to disregard the orders of the governor, who was, therefore,
persuaded that he would carry them out on the present occasion.  With
sad hearts those remaining saw their countrymen sail away.  They were
anxious about their fate; but they had still greater cause to be anxious
about their own.

In the mean time, Nigel, under Constance's unremitting care, and that of
the good surgeon who remained, was progressing favourably.  Some days
passed before he had sufficient strength to speak, and not till more
than a week had elapsed would the surgeon allow him to be told what had
happened; he was then deeply grieved to hear that the count and
Constance had remained behind for his sake.  He dreaded even more than
they did the treachery and cruelty of Villegagnon, knowing him as he did
to be so completely under the influence of the priests.

"He is but a wretched tool in their hands; and they, acting according to
the dictates of their accursed system, which they call `The Church,' are
determined to drive every Protestant out of the island, so that they may
again be masters over the consciences of all the inhabitants.  Why,"
exclaimed poor Nigel to Constance, "did I not denounce the traitor to
the admiral, who would not then, I feel convinced, have trusted the
colony to his government?  Even had I failed to convince him, it would
have been better to have been dismissed, and to have sought my fortune
elsewhere.  But then, Constance, I should not have met you; and even
now, if God wills that I should recover, I may be the means of
preserving you from the dangers by which you are surrounded."

"You acted as you believed right, and you must not blame yourself," said
Constance.  "We must trust in God, and remember that, whatever happens,
He orders all things for the best.  Should He permit these wicked men to
triumph, let us feel sure that He has some object in view, though we may
not see it."

The count also exonerated Nigel from any blame, and was much inclined to
find fault with himself for having quitted France, instead of remaining
at his post, and looking after his dependants.

"We are but weak fallible creatures at best," he observed.  "We often
fancy that we are following God's will when we are pursuing only the
promptings of our own inclinations.  It shows how absolutely necessary
it is to seek for guidance at the throne of grace in all our actions,
even in what we may consider the most minute.  When we remember that the
hairs of our head are all numbered, and that God has told us that not a
sparrow falls to the ground but He knows of it, we should remember that
no act is too minute and inconsiderable to seek for counsel from Him
regarding it.  I might say that at every word we utter we should ask Him
to direct us, for a single word may have an effect for good or for evil
on those who hear it."

Still Nigel was not satisfied with himself.  Few people can be so, when
they review their past actions, unless they have acted as the count
advised, and sought for guidance from above.

For a short time the Protestant settlers were left to act as they
thought fit; but their place of worship continued shut up, and they were
not allowed to enter it.  They met, however, at each other's houses to
read the Scriptures and offer up prayer and praise together.  But they
thought it wise to do so with closed doors, and they always had some one
on the watch outside to give notice of the approach of any of the
Papists.  Indeed, they found it necessary to use the same precautions
which they had been accustomed to employ in France.  They were now
subjected to the same persecuting spirit as that from which they had
attempted to escape.  Their only hope of being freed from their present
galling condition was by a large influx of Protestant settlers, when the
scales might be again turned in their favour.  Would Villegagnon,
however, allow such to land?  In all probability he would send them over
to settle on the southern shore.

This state of affairs continued for some weeks, during which Nigel
slowly recovered, much owing to the loving care of Constance, and the
skill of their friend, the surgeon.  At length his health was considered
fairly re-established.  The count, however, advised him not to return to
his ship until absolutely compelled to do so; indeed, having the
permission of the admiral to quit the service, Villegagnon could not
legally insist on his remaining in it.

"Indeed, my dear friend," said the count, "I feel that my own life is so
uncertain, and should I be taken away, my daughter would be left without
a protector in whom I could place confidence, that I desire forthwith to
commit her to your care.  You will, I know, devote yourself to her, and,
as far as a human being has power, defend her from all dangers."

Nigel grasped the count's hand, and with a proud joy at his heart,
promised not to disappoint his expectations.  He took no vain oath: he
did not call on God to witness that he intended to fulfil his promise,
for he and the count knew that what he uttered was heard in heaven, and
required no other ratification.  Constance willingly agreed to her
father's wishes, and it was settled that in a few days the marriage
ceremony should be performed by their minister and friend, Monsieur
Laporte.  Their love was mutual and equally intense, and they felt that
they could together face the dangers of many sorts surrounding them far
better than apart.  Constance implicitly confided in Nigel, and he felt
unspeakable pride and joy in having the power of supporting and
protecting her.



CHAPTER NINE.

PROCEEDINGS OF "THE INQUISITION."

Ten days had passed since Nigel and Constance were united.  He had not
ventured beyond the precincts of the garden; and it might have been
supposed that Captain Villegagnon had forgotten his existence, as no
order had been sent him to join his ship.  He intended, should he
receive one again, to plead the admiral's permission to quit the
service, Coligny having indeed accepted his resignation.  As long,
however, as he was not interfered with he resolved to remain quiet.  He
employed his time in assisting the count in the cultivation of the
ground, and in devising plans for the future.  Rumours were abroad that
the governor intended on the arrival of fresh colonists to found a town
on the north side of the harbour, to be named Nitherohy.  The count
determined to move there, and to purchase a plot of land on which to
build a residence and form an estate, as he hoped before that time to
receive remittances from his steward.

"I should not have thought of it, my dear Nigel, had it not been for you
and Constance," he observed.  "Though as regards myself all worldly
pride and ambition have been laid aside, I should like to see you the
master of a property suitable to your birth and education."

The idea was naturally consonant with Nigel's wishes, and he promised to
labour hard in bringing the proposed estate into cultivation.

"It will afford me ample employment for the future," he observed; "and
employment, of course, I must have."

Tecumah and Cora had during this time made frequent visits to the
island.  Tecumah was welcomed by the governor, as he was always well
informed of the movements of the Portuguese and hostile Indians, besides
having already rendered important services to the colony.  The governor
only looked on him in the light of an intelligent young savage and a
faithful ally to the French.  He had, however, already advanced in a
knowledge of Christian truth, and had become an earnest and believing
follower of the Lord.  He one day came over to report that a party of
the Tuparas had been seen on the high ground beyond the southern
extremity of the harbour, making their way to the Portuguese settlement.
He advised that boats should be sent out and advanced posts stationed,
to give due notice of an attack, should one be contemplated.  These
arrangements having been made, the governor invited Tecumah to accompany
him in a walk to a part of the island which he was about to visit.  The
strains of solemn music reached their ears.  Tecumah attentively
listened with much delight, and inquired whence they proceeded.

"The ministers of our religion are performing a sacred service, my
friend," answered the governor.  "If you please, we will enter and pay
our devotions to the Holy Virgin and saints."

"I thought that Christians worship God alone," observed the Indian.

"Of course, so we do," said the governor; "but we worship also, in a
different way, the mother of God and His holy saints and apostles."

"I have heard that God is a jealous God, and will have none other gods
worshipped but Himself," said the Indian.

"But the mother of God; surely He will have us worship her?" observed
the governor.

"The Bible does not say so," answered Tecumah, boldly, "When Jesus hung
on the cross He said to John, `Behold thy mother,' and to His mother,
`Behold thy son;' and looking round on His disciples, He once observed,
when He was told that His mother and brethren were near, `Behold My
mother, and My brethren.'"

"Where did you learn all that?" asked the governor, in an angry tone.

"From one of your good ministers; and I am sure he spoke the truth,"
answered Tecumah, innocently.

"He shall suffer for it," muttered the governor.

They had just then reached the door of the church, and Tecumah followed
the governor, who went up towards the so-called "holy altar."  The
Indian gazed around with astonishment at the gorgeous drapery, the
images, the lighted candles, and the large silver crucifix, with the
figure of the Virgin on one side, and Saint John on the other, and the
vases of flowers, and numerous other ornaments.  He said not a word
during the whole ceremony, but watched attentively what took place.
There was the usual chanting in Latin, and so-called prayers muttered
over in the same language; while the church was filled with incense from
censers waved to and fro.  Then, during a solemn silence, the chief
officiating priest lifted up something (what it was he could not make
out) above his head.  He then observed that they put something into
their mouths and drank wine, which they had mixed with water from a
silver cup.  Then the people came up and the priests put something into
their mouths, and there was more chanting and prayers in an unknown
tongue.  Then those who had been on their knees rose and filed out of
the church, laughing and talking and making jokes with each other.
Tecumah followed the governor, anxious to know what had taken place, and
inquired what the priests were about when they muttered prayers over the
silver dish and wine.

"They were then performing the greatest miracle of our Church," answered
the governor.  "They were converting the wafer and wine into the body
and blood of Christ."

"What?" asked the Indian.  "Christ has assumed His glorified body, and
is now in heaven at the right hand of God.  Which body, may I ask, do
they think they eat, His human body or His glorified body?  I cannot
understand the matter."

"Nor can I enlighten you," answered the governor, looking much
perplexed.  "I am not fond of having such questions put to me."

"Pardon me if I ask one more," said the Indian, who was eager to gain
information on the subject.  "What were they doing when they lifted the
wafer above their heads?"

"They were then offering up to God the great sacrifice, the real body
and blood of His dear Son."

"Christ was once offered up as a sacrifice for sinners on the cross,"
said the Indian; "surely they cannot offer Him again?"

"Our Church says they can; and that's all we know about the matter,"
answered the governor, in a tone of irritation.

"Let me then ask you another question," said Tecumah.  "What were they
doing when they ate the wafers and drank the wine, and then put the
wafers into the mouths of the people?"

"They were eating the real body and drinking the blood of Christ,"
answered the governor, "and feeding the people with the body, for the
priests alone are allowed to drink the blood.  They were, in other
words, performing the sacrifice of the mass."

"What?" exclaimed the Indian, starting back.  "It is too solemn a thing
to joke about; but do you wish to make me believe that the people can
really believe that they eat the body of their God, and that human
beings can change pieces of paste into that body?  No, no, no!  Monsieur
Governor.  We Indians have not a knowledge of the numerous arts you
Frenchmen possess, but we are not so foolish as to believe such a gross
imposture as that.  I am afraid that your priests are like our
medicine-men, in whom we trusted till we found them to be rogues and
deceivers."

These words were uttered by Tecumah in a loud, indignant tone, and were
overheard by one of the priests, who, having changed his gorgeous robes,
had followed the governor out of the church in order to speak to him.

"Beware, young man, what you say!" he exclaimed, in an angry tone.  "How
can you understand the mysteries of our faith?  But I know well where
you received your instruction, and he who taught you shall have his just
reward."

Tecumah stood calmly listening to the priest's angry threats.  "He who
taught me is under the protection of my tribe," he answered, "and those
who injure him will be our foes.  I now see that you are one of the men
who played the tricks in the church hard by, and deceived the people by
persuading them that you have the power which belongs to God alone, to
work a miracle."

These words so enraged the priest, that he would have struck the Indian
had he dared.  The governor observed his anger, and being well aware of
the importance of not offending their Indian allies, on whose support
their very existence depended, now interfered and tried to soothe the
angry priest as well as Tecumah.  The latter, however, felt more scorn
than anger towards the man whom he, with his acute and unprejudiced
mind, looked upon as guilty of practising a gross imposture, and he was
therefore quickly pacified; but the priest, grinding his teeth,
continued to mutter threats of vengeance, till the governor, drawing him
aside, reminded him of the importance of not offending the Indians.

"You may do what you like with the heretic minister," he observed; "but
the services of these Indians are required, and we cannot afford to lose
them."

"The guilty one shall feel the vengeance of our Church, then," answered
the priest.  "We cannot allow a doctrine which so greatly supports our
authority to be called in question."

"Of course not, my friend, of course not," said the governor; "though,
as men of sense, you and I no more believe in it than does that clever
young Indian."

"As to that, Monsieur Governor, we keep our opinions to ourselves," said
the priest, with as near an approach to a laugh as he ever indulged in.
"At the same time, the sooner we put that acute, clever-minded young
Indian out of the way, together with his instructor, Monsieur Laporte,
the better for the maintenance of our holy religion."  The countenance
of the priest had assumed its usual undemonstrative expression as he
continued, "Listen, Monsieur Governor.  I believe that the Count de
Tourville and his daughter and son-in-law are equally dangerous.  That
young Indian and his sister are constantly at their house, and have
imbibed their pestiferous notions from them.  I have had my eye on them
for some time, when they were not aware that they were watched.  I do my
duty in looking after the spiritual interests of my countrymen"--the
priest crossed his arms and cast his eyes on the ground--"but I feel
that my humble efforts unaided are not sufficient.  When our community
increases, we shall have many of these accursed Protestants among us,
and it will be absolutely necessary to devise effectual means for the
preservation of our authority.  I would therefore suggest the
establishment of the Holy Inquisition, by which alone heresy can be
rooted out.  It will prove our zeal for religion, and gain the
approbation of our patrons, the excellent Duke de Guise and his brother,
the Cardinal of Lorraine."

"You will have my permission to carry out your plan as you may wish,
holy father," said the governor.  "You may exercise your authority on
our countrymen as you may deem necessary to bring them under the
wholesome control of the Church; but I cannot have the Indians
interfered with until we are strong enough to do without them.  When we
are, you will have my full permission to manage them as you think best
for the purpose of bringing them into the true fold; but in the mean
time their savage relatives may not understand your object in burning
them for the good of their souls, and may be apt in their ignorance to
revenge their deaths by cutting us to pieces."

"I understand your wise policy," answered the priest.  "We will bide our
time, then, for commencing the conversion of the Indians.  But I have
your permission to act towards the count and his family, and that
pestiferous heretic minister, as I may judge necessary for the full
establishment of the faith in our colony?"

"Certainly, certainly," answered the governor; "I willingly grant you
all the power you ask."

The priest returned into the church to hear the confessions of several
of his congregation, who were waiting to get absolution that they might
sin again without having too great a load on their shoulders; as also to
put out the candles, which he in his hurry had left burning.  The
governor returned to the fort, while Tecumah went to pay his usual visit
to Monsieur Laporte.  He naturally expressed his astonishment at what he
had seen and heard.

"Surely," he exclaimed, "sensible men do not really believe that, by the
words of a priest, Jesus Christ, sitting at the right hand of God,
really does allow His body to descend into the bits of paste which the
priest puts into the mouths of the people.  The Bible, as you read it to
me, says that He is seated at the right hand of God, to make
intercession for us sinners, and that He acts as our great High Priest."

"I cannot tell what the poor ignorant people may really believe, though
it does seem astounding that they should be so imposed on by their
priests," answered Monsieur Laporte.  "It was many centuries even before
the corrupted Church of Rome introduced the dogma or notion, which was
invented by a monk in the eighth century, when it was eagerly seized
upon by the Pope, who saw that it would enable him and his army of
subordinates to become sacrificing priests, which would give them
immense influence over the minds of people, if they could persuade them
to believe it.  They had taught the great mass of the people to believe
in the power of dead men's bones and other relics to work miracles; in
the heathen notion of purgatory for cleansing the soul by fire; to
worship idols with the names of saints; to pray for the dead; and to
pray to dead men whom they had dubbed saints, as well as to put faith in
many other abominable falsehoods.  They found, therefore, no difficulty
in persuading the more ignorant people to believe this most blasphemous
fable, which from henceforth became one of the most powerful engines for
increasing the influence of the priests over the minds of men, though
many, both learned and unlearned persons in our own and other countries
loudly protested against the novel doctrine, as contrary to the true
meaning of our Lord's language at the last supper and the teaching and
practice of the apostles."

"I thought that you and other sensible men could not possibly believe so
outrageous a notion, and so contrary to God's word," observed Tecumah.
"But how comes it that men can be so wicked as to teach what is in
direct opposition to the Bible?"

"Influenced by Satan, they make use of every means, however impious, to
gain an influence over their fellow-creatures.  It has been the same
everywhere from the earliest ages of the world.  They are like your
medicine-men, whom you now know to be gross impostors.  In all countries
there have been found men, for their own ends, or for the support of the
authority they serve, willing to deceive their fellow men, in many
instances, as is often the case with these priests of Rome, being
deceived themselves.  Our only sure guide and prevention against such
impostures is the study of God's Word and constant obedience to its holy
precepts.  As Jesus withstood the temptations of Satan by replying to
him with the Scriptures, so must we arm ourselves, and ever be ready to
withstand our foes, in whatever form they come, by the same blessed word
of God.  A sure sign that the Romish system is the invention of Satan is
that it dreads the Word, and whenever it has the power, keeps it from
the people or grossly misinterprets its meaning."

"I would that I could have that blessed Book translated into the
language of my people," exclaimed Tecumah.  "I can now understand it in
French, and may be able to explain it to those who are willing to hear
me; but I should desire to send it throughout the whole country, that
all the native tribes might hear the glad tidings that there is a loving
Saviour ready to receive them into the kingdom."

The above conversation occupied a much longer time than we have in
repeating it, and both the minister and young chief used very different
language to that which has been employed.  Tecumah showed by his
questions and replies how completely he understood it, and how his pure
unprejudiced mind revolted against the falsehoods of Rome, while it
quickly embraced the truth of the Gospel.

After quitting Monsieur Laporte, he paid a visit to the count.  He found
Nigel hard at work in the garden, and Constance helping him.  He
repeated to them what he had seen and the impression formed on his mind,
and they explained the truth much as the minister had done; to which
Constance added an account of the horrible system of the confessional,
which she had heard from some of her Papist friends, who had been
subjected to it, and the abominable questions which had been put to them
by the priests.

"That alone would have been sufficient to convince me that this system
is not of God.  And He tells us from the mouth of the Apostle Paul that
we may come boldly to the throne of grace, trusting in the all cleansing
blood of Jesus; and Jesus Himself says, `Come unto Me, all ye that
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'  I am sure that
He never refuses to hear when a human being comes trusting to His blood
shed on Calvary.  Monsieur Laporte was reading from the Epistle of
Timothy a prophecy that there should come `some who shall depart from
the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot
iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which
God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe
and know the truth,' who would advocate will-worship and their own good
deeds in opposition to the all perfect atonement of Jesus.  Such truly
is what the priests of Rome teach, though nearly for a thousand years
after Christ came Christian ministers, whom they acknowledged as
belonging to their communion, were allowed to marry like other men; and
certainly those who did so were less corrupt than the celibates who,
having no family ties, became the servile tools of Rome's tyranny."

Constance had now to go in to prepare for dinner, and Nigel then asked
Tecumah what remarks he had made to the governor and the priest.  The
Indian told him.

"You spoke truly; but knowing what these priests are, I fear much that
they will endeavour to entrap you; and if they find that they cannot
compel you to believe in their false doctrines and to acknowledge their
authority, they will use other means to bring about your destruction."

"I will be watchful, and keep out of their power," said Tecumah.  "I
fear much, though, that they will equally endeavour to persecute you
whom they look upon as my instructor; but I will be on the watch, and
try to defend you as well as myself."

Tecumah spent the rest of the day with his friends, and it was late in
the evening when his canoe was seen gliding rapidly across the harbour
towards the mainland.

Villegagnon and the priests did not long allow the Protestant settlers
to remain in quiet.  The governor announced that he had received orders
from France to allow no Bibles to remain in the hands of any of the
people, declaring that they made a bad use of them by seeking an excuse
from their pages for rebellion.  The count resolved to go in person to
the governor, and reminding him that he had ever been loyal, to claim
exemption from the tyrannical law.  He went, but was haughtily told that
rich and poor must be treated alike, and that no exception would be made
in his favour.  Should he not deliver up all the Bibles in his house, he
must be prepared for the consequences.  Monsieur Laporte and the good
surgeon were treated in the same manner.  Nigel, however, resolved, as
he was not a Frenchman, not to part with his Bible; and, in case a
domiciliary visit should be paid by the "inquisitors," having placed it
in a box and buried it in the garden among some thick trees, he and
Constance could thus take it out and read it, which they did every day,
without risk, as they supposed, of being discovered.  Before long a
party of men appeared, headed by an officer, with an authority from the
governor to collect all the Bibles and Protestant sermons and hymns to
be found.  The count, knowing that resistance was vain, delivered up
those he possessed, protesting, however, against the injustice of the
act.

"That's not our affair, Count de Tourville," answered the officer; "but
I will report what you say to the governor.  Now, let me ask you, have
you any other books?"

"I have given you all that are to my knowledge in the house," answered
the count.  "If you are not satisfied you must search for them."

"We cannot take the word of an heretic," said the officer, insolently.
"We intend to search, and if we find any it will be the worse for you."

Providentially, Nigel was away, and thus escaped having questions asked
him.  Poor Constance endeavoured to console her father while the
officers were searching in every corner and cranny of the house.  No
books, however, were discovered; and at length, threatening to pay
another visit shortly, the inquisitors went away to search other houses
in the neighbourhood; and in two or three, meeting with opposition, they
carried the owners off to prison.  The most severe sufferer was Monsieur
Laporte, the whole of whose library was carried off, all his books more
or less being of a theological character.

The following day, in an open space in front of the fort, a pile of
faggots was seen, when the books were brought forth from the house into
which they had been thrown.  Most of the population turned out to
witness the expected sight, shouting and jeering as book after book was
thrown on the pile, to which fire had been set.  As each fresh batch of
books began to burn they shouted loudly, and when it was seen that most
of the books were Bibles, their shouts and cries and fierce execrations
grew louder and louder.  This went on till all were consumed.  The
Protestants remained at home during the period, sorrowful and cast down.
No one knew what persecutions they might be doomed to bear.  Monsieur
Laporte went from house to house, endeavouring to console and support
his flock, reminding them all of the sufferings Christ's people had been
called on to bear from the earliest days to the present time, and urging
them to keep in view that crown of glory which He had prepared for all
who hold fast to the truth.  So much had his faithful and gentle
character won the love of all except the most brutal, that many even
among those who had been perverted regarded him with affection, while
the priests, hearing him so highly spoken of, were afraid for the
present to persecute him further.  They were, however, very active among
his congregation, whom they endeavoured by soft words and plausible
arguments to win over; but finding that they did not succeed, as in
reality only the frivolous and irreligious had hitherto been gained to
their side, they determined to use harsher measures.

One evening Nigel and Constance had gone to their bower in the woods,
where, concealed by the thickness of the surrounding foliage, they took
out their Bible and sat down on a bench Nigel had placed there.  He had
been reading for some time to his young wife, occasionally stopping to
explain a verse or to ask her opinion; now turning back and comparing
text with text, both of them being so absorbed that they did not know
how long they had been thus engaged, when they were suddenly aroused by
hearing a footstep, and looking up they saw a priest standing before
them, while a little way off appeared a party of armed men.

"You have been discovered engaged in an unlawful act, Monsieur Nigel, by
which you have made yourself liable to the just vengeance of the law!"
exclaimed the priest, in a triumphant tone.  "You have been suspected
for some time.  In the name of the governor, therefore, I order you to
yield yourself prisoner.  Take this gentleman into custody," he added,
turning to the armed men, who, as he spoke, sprang eagerly forward.

Nigel was too much astonished for the moment to reply.  Constance
uttered a cry of alarm, and clung to his arm.

"You cannot, you must not take him from me!" she exclaimed, in a
terrified tone.

"You are equally guilty, young lady, in listening to him," said the
priest.  "In all probability you will share his fate."

"Oh, let me go with him now, then, if you insist on taking him," she
said, still holding Nigel's arm.

"No, no, lady.  Don't fancy that you will be allowed to keep him
company," said the priest, in a harsher tone.  "For the present you may
remain with your father, till the governor thinks fit to summon you."

"Fly rather to the faithful Indians," whispered Nigel; "do not put
yourself in the traitor's power."

He could say no more, for the armed men seizing him took him off, while
the priest held Constance in his arms.  She in vain struggled to free
herself from his loathsome grasp, while she entreated to be set free,
ever and anon uttering shrieks for help; but not till the priest was
sure that the party with Nigel were out of sight did he allow her to
escape, when seeing her father, who had been attracted by her cries,
coming from the house, she flew towards him, the priest in the mean time
hurrying after his companions.  It was fortunate for him that he got
away, for the count, with a thick stick in his hand, forgetting the
danger of doing so, would have made him feel the effects of his just
anger.

"Oh, save him, save him!  They have seized Nigel.  What will they do to
him?" cried Constance, as she sank into her father's arms.

The count saw that pursuit was hopeless, for the priest, tucking up his
long dress to enable him to scramble over the fences, had already got to
a considerable distance; besides, it would have been vain to attempt
rescuing Nigel from a party of armed men.  The count could only say,
"Trust in God, my child.  He alone can help us."

Poor Constance, overcome with grief and terror, could scarcely, even
with her father's assistance, reach the house.  He placed her on a couch
by his side, vainly endeavouring to console her.  He indeed feared that
the priests would not allow them to escape with impunity, and he guessed
truly that it had been only for the sake of inflicting a greater cruelty
that Nigel had first been carried off.

Monsieur Laporte with the good doctor happily came in, having heard a
rumour of what had occurred.  Both were required, for Constance became
seriously ill; but the words of the former were of more value than any
medicine the latter could prescribe.  The minister at, once turned to
God's word; not to the Book itself, for that he did not dare to carry
about, but to the numerous blessed texts which he had committed to
memory, and from these he was able to draw that effectual comfort which
could alone avail with the poor young wife.  No one dared to speak of
the future, for they knew well the bitter hatred felt by the governor
and priests towards Nigel, and that they would rejoice at having a
victim in their power on whom they would wreak their vengeance.  While
they were seated with Constance and the count, Tecumah and his sister
arrived, on their way to pay their usual visit to Monsieur Laporte.
They were overwhelmed with grief and indignation when they heard what
had occurred.  Cora threw herself by the side of Constance, and poured
out her expressions of sympathy from her woman's heart.  Indian as she
was, she could feel for her white sister, her affectionate tones tending
somewhat to soothe her friend's outraged feelings.

"Do not give up hope," she whispered, "We will gladly devote our lives,
if necessary, to save him.  We Indians are accustomed to do many things
which would astonish the white people, and if a friend is in danger,
every one of our tribe is ready to help him."

"They dare not kill him!" exclaimed Tecumah, "and if a hair of his head
is injured I will arouse our people, and instead of being friends and
ready to fight on their side, we will come over with our strong bows and
attack them."

"Even for the sake of a friend we would not urge you to use violent
measures," said the minister.  "Remember the precepts of our blessed
Lord and Master; He who was ever mild, gentle, and forgiving, doing good
to those who injured Him."

"Yes, I know that, and desire to obey our Saviour's law; but He does not
forbid us to help our friends," exclaimed the young Indian.



CHAPTER TEN.

IMPRISONMENT AND RESCUE.

Tecumah and his sister remained for some time with their friend.
Tecumah then accompanied the minister to his house.  They passed on
their way through the count's garden, as it afforded them a shorter cut
than the public path.  As they got to the further end of the garden they
turned aside to visit the spot where Nigel had been seized.  On reaching
it, Tecumah sprang forward, for there he saw before him on the ground
the Bible, which the priest, in his eagerness to hold back Constance,
had let drop, and had forgotten to take with him when the count
appeared.

"Blessed Book!" exclaimed Tecumah.  "Let me be its guardian.  Your cruel
persecutors shall not burn it while I have it in charge, and you may
come over to read it, or when the search is over I will bring it back to
you."

To this proposal Monsieur Laporte willingly agreed; and while the
Indian, wrapping it up carefully, concealed it beneath his cloak, the
minister closed the box in which it was wont to be put, and covered it
over again with earth and leaves.

Cora begged that she might be allowed to continue with Constance till
the following morning or longer.  "We were not observed coming into the
house," she said, "and it will not be known that I am here.  I have my
reasons for wishing to remain."

The count and Constance of course agreed to what Cora wished.  Before
her brother quitted the house she had a short and earnest conversation
with him.  Tecumah, having spent some time with the minister, hurried to
his canoe and rapidly crossed to the north side of the harbour.

Meanwhile, Nigel was dragged along by his captors.  He had been so
completely surprised that it was impossible for him to escape; and
finding this, he walked along without making any further resistance.

The priest soon overtook the party.  In vain Nigel tried to learn from
him what had become of Constance.

"It's not my duty to answer questions," he replied; "but I have some,
notwithstanding, to ask you.  How is it that, knowing the orders of the
governor, you ventured to read that book from which you draw all your
heresies?"

"I am not aware that I have drawn anything but truth through the
teaching of the Holy Spirit," answered Nigel.

"That is the notion all you heretics hold!" exclaimed the priest.  "It
is the origin of your pestiferous principles."

"I was not prohibited from reading it in my own country, and I claim as
a Scotchman the right to do so wherever I am," answered Nigel.

"No person of whatever country has the right to act contrary to the
commands of the Catholic Church," answered the priest, furiously; "and
that Church positively forbids laymen from reading the Bible, or putting
their own interpretations on it, therefore to whatever nation you belong
you are under its rule, and are equally guilty.  But I waste words in
arguing with a heretic.  Your only hope of escape from death is to
recant without delay and become a faithful Catholic, and the governor,
at my intercession, will overlook your offence.  Come, you will be wise;
so give up your errors."

"Never will I give up my faith," answered Nigel, firmly.

"Ah, my young friend, you say so now; but think of the advantages you
will gain.  You will at once be restored to your young wife, and will
undoubtedly be raised to a post of honour and wealth in our new
settlement; and when the count dies you will inherit his property and
found a noble family in Antarctic France."

Nigel felt that the temptations held out were powerful, but he prayed
that were they ten times more so he might have grace to resist them.  He
doubted also very much whether the wily priest was not mocking him.  He
knew full well from the accounts he had heard in France of the treachery
of which the emissaries of Rome were guilty, and he would not place any
confidence in the most specious promises any of them might have made to
him.  He therefore let the priest talk on, endeavouring as far as he
could not to listen to him.  At length the fort was reached.  Nigel was
forthwith thrust into a cell, ordinarily used for the confinement of a
refractory or drunken soldier, and was there left to his own
meditations.  He walked up and down, considering what he should do and
what he should say.  Now and again he stopped, and earnestly prayed for
guidance and direction.  The governor and priests were too eager to
condemn the Protestants to allow an accused person to remain long in
prison without trial.

That very afternoon Nigel was carried into the public hall where the
governor held his court.  The priest was his accuser, and the men by
whom he was captured were the witnesses against him.  Of course he had
no defence to make, except his claim of right to read whatever books he
pleased.

"Before he is condemned there is another charge of a still more heavy
nature," said the governor.  "Stand forward, men, and say what you have
got to state;" and Nigel was, to his astonishment, charged with abetting
Captain Beauport in heaving overboard the images of the saints, the
relics, and papal dispensations.

"Even had I actually assisted I should only have been obeying the orders
of my superior officer," said Nigel.

"You confess that you were guilty of standing by and witnessing such a
proceeding without remonstrating?" exclaimed one of the priests who was
seated near the governor.  "Such enormities must meet with severe
punishment, or our holy religion will be held in disrespect."

"Undoubtedly Captain Beauport escaped with too lenient a sentence," said
the governor, "though probably the vengeance of heaven has overtaken him
ere this: he and all on board the ship in which he sailed are beneath
the ocean."

"Because one has escaped, are other criminals to go unpunished?"
exclaimed the priest who had before spoken.  "Death by shooting or
hanging would be too mild a sentence: he deserves the stake, unless by
confessing his fault and abjuring his errors he returns to the loving
bosom of our holy Church."

Similar remarks were made by the other priest in a manner not usual in a
court of law.  For some time this mockery of a trial went on.  Nigel
prayed for strength, for he felt how greatly he needed it.  He stood
calm and apparently unmoved, listening to the abusive remarks of the
vindictive priests.  No one raised a voice in his favour.  There might
have been many who felt for him, but they feared to speak.  The men who
were judging him were also his accusers.  Still he felt bound to defend
himself, although he knew full well that the most able defence would not
avail him.  He pleaded that, with regard to reading the Bible, he was a
foreigner and was but doing what was allowed in his own country; that he
was not even attempting to make proselytes, and was simply obeying the
command of his Lord to search the Scriptures.  And that, as to the
second accusation, whether or not he approved of what had been done, had
he acted otherwise and interfered, he would have been guilty of an
infraction of naval discipline; therefore he could not be made
answerable for what had been done.

"He acknowledges himself guilty of sacrilege, for ecclesiastical law is
above all other law, and that would have compelled him to interfere,"
cried the priest.  "Death, death, to the heretic!" and several voices
echoed the savage cry.

"You are undoubtedly guilty of the crime alleged against you, Monsieur
Lieutenant," said the governor, after consulting in an undertone with
the two priests at his side.  "Your being a foreigner, as you are in the
service of France, will not avail you.  You will have two days given you
to consider whether you will recant, and if not, your sentence is `That
you be bound to a stake, with fire kindled around you till your body is
consumed, and your soul is carried off by the emissaries of Satan, who
are certainly waiting for it.'"

Nigel listened calmly while the governor was pronouncing his terrible
doom--one to which the Church of Rome had already condemned tens of
thousands of human beings for simply reading the Bible.

Without being allowed to say another word, he was seized by the guards
waiting the beck of the governor, and dragged out of the court.
Instead, however, of being led back to the prison where he had
previously been confined, he found that he was actually leaving the
fort.  The governor was, in truth, afraid to keep him there, for a
considerable number of the _Madeline's_ crew, who were much attached to
him, were doing duty on shore, and, although they attended the Romish
service, he was well aware that still in their hearts they were
Protestants, and he feared that they might rescue him and assist in his
escape.

The priests had of late erected close to the church a small building
which they intended should serve as an inquisitorial prison where they
might keep in confinement any heretics on whom they were desirous of
expending their religious zeal.  To this place Nigel was taken, and
thrust into one of its dungeons built especially under the priests'
directions.  It was, in truth, little better than a pit dug in the
ground, with a small aperture towards the roof to admit light.  On this
occasion they had obtained a party of soldiers from the governor to
guard their prison.

Nigel had not been long shut up in this dreadful place when night came
on, and he was left in total darkness, with only a bundle of dry grass
on which to lie down and rest himself.  Brave as he was, he could not
but look forward with painful feelings to the fate prepared for him.  He
thought, however, more of his young wife and the poor count.  He feared,
too, that the hatred of the priests might drag them into the same fate.
Perhaps even now they were seized and accused of crimes for which their
tyrannical oppressors might condemn them to death.  Sleep was
impossible, while the darkness prevented him from pacing up and down his
narrow cell, which would have been some relief to his tortured mind.  He
felt for the pile of grass and lay down, considering that it would be
wiser to try and obtain some rest to prepare himself for the future
trials he would have to go through.  The sudden destruction of all his
happiness, separation from his beloved Constance, and the agonising
death speedily to overtake him, made him have recourse to prayer to
obtain that strength ever awarded to those who seek it from on high.

Nigel had been sleeping for some time, when, suddenly awaking, he became
conscious that some one was in the vault, by hearing a footstep and a
low sound of breathing.  A feeling of horror for a moment ran through
him.  Could it be an assassin sent by the governor or priests to put him
secretly to death, and so to save themselves from carrying out the
sentence passed on him, from which even they might shrink, aware of the
horror it would create among the greater number of the colonists, who,
not having been educated in their school, would, whatever their
religious sentiments, look at it with disapprobation.  Still, for
himself it would matter nothing, except being deprived of a few hours of
life, and he would thus be saved from the tortures of the flames.  Such
thoughts rapidly passed through his mind; but in another moment he had
nerved himself, like a brave man, to meet whatever might occur.  His
very natural feeling was to struggle desperately with his supposed
assassin.  He might even gain the victory and thus make his escape.
Full of youth and strength, he felt that it would be better far to die
struggling bravely, should the guard set upon him, than to sink down
tamely where he lay.  Springing to his feet, he stood with his arms
prepared for defence.

"Hush!" said a voice.  "I thought you were still sleeping.  Make no
noise--give me your hand and come quickly; there is not a moment to
lose."

Nigel knew by the voice and the mode of expression that it was the
Indian Cora who spoke.  He put out his hand and felt it grasped by her
small and delicate fingers.  To his surprise he found himself led almost
instantly into a narrow passage, with room sufficient only for one
person to pass through at a time.

"Stoop low," said Cora, as she conducted him into apparently a small
alcove on one side.  "Step back and remain a moment," she added,
disengaging her hand, immediately after which he heard a grating sound
as if a heavy stone were being moved.

Quickly returning, she again took his hand, and led him down a slope of
some feet, and then again along a level; when once more they ascended
another slope, at the top of which, mounting a few steps, he found
himself standing in the open air, surrounded by a thick grove, beyond
which he could distinguish the wooden tower of the church.  Once more
Cora desired him to remain, while she was engaged in closing up the
aperture through which they had emerged.  Putting her finger on her lips
to enforce silence, she once more led him forward at a rapid rate,
keeping under the shelter of the trees; where the gloom was such that he
could not possibly by himself have made his way.  At length they reached
a small beach with low cliffs on either side.  Keeping under their shade
they proceeded till he discovered a canoe concealed beneath a rock.
Cora, without requiring his assistance, quickly launched it, and then
again taking his hand, bade him, in a whisper, step in and lie down his
length at the bottom.  Instantly grasping a paddle, she began to make
her way rapidly from the shore.  She had not got far, when a voice from
the cliff hailed, ordering the canoe immediately to come back.  Cora
took no notice, but paddled on with renewed efforts.  Again the person
on the cliff shouted, and threatened to fire if his orders were not
obeyed.  A few seconds only had passed when a shot whistled close to the
canoe.  Cora bravely paddled on.  The man on the cliff must have
reloaded quickly, for soon afterwards another shot came, but happily
without touching the canoe.  The darkness must have soon hid so small an
object from the soldier's sight, though the shore was still visible.  A
third and fourth shot followed, but still wider of the mark.  Cora did
not relax her efforts till they had got more than half way across the
harbour.  She then stopped for a moment to listen, but no sound of oars
indicated that they were pursued.

"We are safe now," she said, "and you may raise yourself; but don't
attempt to stand up.  Thankful I am that we have escaped.  I have no
fear for myself, but I dreaded every moment lest you might have been
retaken by your cruel enemies.  My brother gave me the task to do, and I
gladly accepted it.  He himself has gone to summon our tribe to arms,
having resolved to rescue you by force had my undertaking failed."

"I am most grateful to you," said Nigel.  "But by what wonderful means
were you able to enter my prison and liberate me without apparent
difficulty?"

"By means which these cruel priests themselves afforded," answered Cora.
"When they were building their prison-house, Tecumah and I happened to
pass that way and observed that they were placing it on the ground once
occupied by an ancient temple at which, in days gone by, our tribe were
wont to worship.  One of our medicine-men, who had listened to the truth
from Tecumah's mouth, told us that there were several passages running
underground which had possibly been undiscovered by the builders.  He is
a sagacious man, and, finding that the new building was intended for a
prison, advised us to visit the ancient passage and endeavour to keep it
concealed, so that a way might be made if necessary into the dungeon.
`The whites treat us at present with respect,' he observed; `but the
time may come when they may act towards us as the Portuguese have long
been acting towards the Indians in their neighbourhood, imprisoning and
murdering those who refuse to adopt their faith.'  My brother
accordingly, with several other young men, led by the medicine-man, paid
numerous visits, at night, to the place, unknown to the French.  It was
thus discovered that an underground passage was being formed between
some of the cells of the prison and the church.  Fortunately this was
found out before the old passage was cut through, and by placing a large
stone, turning on a sort of hinge, on one side, they were able to secure
a way into the new passage without betraying the existence of their own.
By constantly being on the watch, they ascertained that only one cell
had as yet been formed into which the passage led.  I had resolved when
you were made prisoner to attempt your rescue even from the fort; but
when I found that you were, carried to the priests' prison my hopes of
success arose.  I had one night, from curiosity, gone with my brother to
visit the spot.  We then discovered that the door which led into your
prison had no lock, but was merely closed with smooth sliding bolts.  I
thus knew my way, and was able to set you free."

Nigel had no doubt that the object of the passage was to enable the
priests either to work on the minds of the prisoners by pretended
miraculous appearances; or else, should they desire to murder one of
their captives, to convey the body secretly away.  He, indeed, knew that
such arrangements were common throughout Europe, and that numberless
impostures had thus been carried out.

They quickly reached the shore, which had of late been entirely deserted
by the Tamoyos, who had, influenced by what had been told them by
Tecumah, moved some distance further inland.  Cora, who feared that the
direction they had taken would be suspected by the French, when Nigel's
escape was discovered, advised that they should go forward till he was
safe among her tribe.

Dark as the night was, she knew her way, and, light and active, she led
him forward at a rapid rate.  They had gone some distance, when she
exclaimed, "Here come my brother and his people.  They will indeed
rejoice to find you free."

Nigel was welcomed by Tecumah and his party.  They were on their way to
the shore, intending immediately to cross, and hoping before daylight to
reach the prison.  Tecumah, in his anxiety to save Nigel, had induced
his followers to swear that they would rescue him by force if they could
succeed in no other way.  Their intention was to attack the guards and
break open the prison, expecting to get off again before the governor
and his people had time to pursue them.  Nigel assured them how thankful
he was that they had not been compelled to resort to such a proceeding.
Too probably the governor and priests would wreak their vengeance on his
wife and father-in-law.  As it was, he felt very anxious as to what
would happen when his escape was discovered.  It would certainly baffle
the sagacity of the priests to ascertain how it had been accomplished,
and would undoubtedly make them more savage, as they might naturally
suspect that some of their own followers had proved treacherous, and yet
not know whom to accuse.

"They shall not injure the count or any of our friends," exclaimed
Tecumah.  "We can distinguish between the true men and the bad.  The
last, as God's Word tells us, are always the most numerous, and it shall
be our care to defend the innocent and weaker ones.  My people shall
remain ready with their canoes to cross over at a moment's notice, while
I go to the island and learn what has taken place."

Nigel expressed his wish to accompany the Tamoyos, but both Tecumah and
Cora urged him to proceed to a further distance, as, should the governor
suspect where he had gone, he would in all probability send an
expedition over to bring him back, and as they would refuse to give him
up, an open rupture would be the consequence.  Nigel at last agreed to
accompany Cora to her father's abode, which was above five miles from
the shore of the harbour, while Tecumah carried out his proposed
project.

Leaving his people encamped on the shore with their canoes ready to
embark, he paddled across towards the island.  He was well aware of the
risk he was running, for the governor, should he suspect that he had
been instrumental in rescuing Nigel, would in all probability seize him
and shut him up in prison.  He had taken the precaution, however, of
charging the next chief in common after him to come across and demand
his liberation.

Daylight broke as he reached the place at which he was accustomed to
land.  He proceeded at once to the house of the count, who was already
on foot, and he had the satisfaction of giving him tidings of Nigel's
safety.

"The knowledge that he is free will restore life to my poor daughter,"
said the count.  "But we are still in the power of the governor and
those revengeful priests, and I fear much that they will not allow us
long to remain in quiet."

"Then come over and live with us!" exclaimed Tecumah.  "We will build a
house for you and hunt for you, and do our utmost to enable you to live
as you are now doing."

"We cannot be thus burdensome to you; and we should have no means of
paying your people for labouring in our service," answered the count.
"Still, I am most grateful to you, and will think over the matter."

Constance came out of her room as soon as she had risen to thank
Tecumah, who then, hoping that his friends would not be interfered with,
went on to see the minister.

He had been there for some time, and was about to return, when one of
the count's servants rushed into the house, out of breath from running.

"Sad news, Monsieur Laporte!" he explained.  "Just ten minutes ago one
of those ill-conditioned priests, with half a dozen ruffians of
soldiers, came to my master's house and carried him and Madame Nigel off
on an accusation of having assisted Monsieur Nigel to escape, and of
reading the Bible.  What will they do with them?  They say Monsieur
Nigel was condemned to be burnt, and they will burn them in revenge;"
and the poor fellow wrung his hands and burst into tears.

"God will protect them, though I don't see how," said the minister.
"Alas! alas!  These persecutors of ours have already put many innocent
persons to death, and will not scruple to destroy all those who oppose
them."

"They must not be allowed to suffer," exclaimed Tecumah, when he heard
what had occurred.  "I will away to my people before they can stop me;
and we will one and all perish before we allow a hair of their heads to
be injured."

"I would seek to avoid bloodshed, and must urge you, my friend, to try
peaceable measures _first_," said Monsieur Laporte.

"We will endeavour, at all events, to rescue the innocent.  You, my
friend, come with me; you are in danger here, for they will assuredly
seize you," said the Indian, taking the minister's hand.

"I must remain at the post where duty calls me," answered Monsieur
Laporte.  "I may be the means of leading some perishing soul to turn to
God, and should I be imprisoned with my friends I may be a comfort to
them.  But bear my love and blessing to Nigel, should I be destined
never again to see him."

At length Tecumah, finding that the minister was firm, set off, keeping
himself concealed as much as possible among the trees, and made his way
to his canoe.  He had scarcely pushed off from the shore, when he saw
several people rushing down to the beach.  They had, he guessed rightly,
been sent to capture him.  There was no boat near at hand or they would
have pursued him, though had they done so, his light canoe would quickly
have left them astern.

On landing, he found his father and several other chiefs.  He narrated
to them what had occurred, but, greatly to his disappointment, he found
that they objected to do anything which might put an end to the
peaceable terms on which they had hitherto lived with the French.  They
had seen how the Portuguese treated the Indians who opposed them, and
they dreaded, they said, the vengeance of the white men.

Tecumah was indignant.  The white men who now were in the ascendency
were no longer deserving of their friendship, he argued.  By treachery
and deceit they had overcome those who were their proper leaders, and
they were even now about to put them to a cruel death.  Tuscarora was
grieved that his son's friends should suffer; but he could not for their
sakes risk the safety of his tribe.  Again Tecumah addressed them with
all the eloquence of which he was master.  "If," he observed, "they were
treacherous towards their own people, they would surely be more likely
to ill-treat their dark-skinned allies should it at any time be to their
interest to do so, and it would be better to strike a blow at once and
prevent them from doing harm, rather than allow them, after they had cut
off all those who were worthy of confidence, to destroy us."  Tecumah
saw that he was winning many to his side, and persevered.  At length one
of the chiefs proposed that he should be allowed to go over with a
select body of men, and rescue the prisoners.

To this Tuscarora agreed, and Tecumah was obliged to content himself
with this plan, trusting that no harm would be done in the mean time to
the count and his daughter.

Some hours had passed when, as Tecumah was eagerly waiting on the beach
for the moment fixed for the expedition to set out, he saw a canoe
paddling down the harbour.  He recognised it as one of those sent up the
estuary to keep watch and to give timely notice of the approach of an
enemy.  As the occupant leapt on shore, he exclaimed--

"Haste! haste!  The Portuguese and Tuparas, and several other tribes in
alliance with them, are on the war-path.  They have hundreds of canoes,
and they will soon after nightfall attack the island unless they first
land and try to destroy us."



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

CAPTURE OF THE FORT.

Constance and her father, rudely dragged from their home, were hurried
off to the fort.  No allowance was made for the weakness of her sex, and
no pity was shown her by the savage priests, who, supposing that she was
not aware of her husband's escape, endeavoured still more to wound her
feelings by telling her that he was condemned to death, and that, unless
she and her father recanted, they would meet with the same fate.

"Silence, priest, silence!  It is cowardly and unmanly to speak thus to
my daughter," exclaimed the count.  "Add not insult to the injury you
have already inflicted.  We have broken no laws; we have done harm to no
one; and we find ourselves treated as if we were the vilest of
malefactors."

The count's address had no effect upon the priest, who took a cruel
pleasure in annoying them.  Such is ever the character of the emissaries
of Rome when they are in the ascendency and are opposed; when in the
minority, they are humble and meek, plausible and silver-tongued; and
when there are none to oppose them, haughty, indolent, sensual, and
self-indulgent.  Such they have been in all ages and in every country,
with the exception of the devoted Jesuit slaves, who have gone forth to
carry their spurious gospel into heathen lands.

On arriving at the fort, the mockery of a trial was gone through; the
priest's myrmidons swore to having seen Constance reading the Bible, and
that, as the crime had been committed on the count's property, he was
therefore equally guilty.  Having been a lawyer in his youth, the count
was able to defend himself, and had a jury of twelve honest men been
present, he would have undoubtedly been acquitted; but, unhappily, that
system being unknown among the French, he had no such advantage.  The
governor and the priest, exasperated at Nigel's escape, grossly abused
him, and interrupted him with shouts and execrations whenever he
especially pointed to the proofs of his innocence.  The count, of
course, defended Constance, and argued that she was but listening to her
husband, whom she was bound to obey, and was therefore guiltless.

"It is false!" exclaimed the priest, starting up; "her duty to the
Church is above all others.  It was for her to denounce her husband
rather than to listen to him.  Such heretical notions as yours, Count de
Tourville, must be destroyed.  The Church would lose her authority and
power were they to prevail."

"Ma foi!" exclaimed the count; "in that case no husband can venture to
trust his wife with the slightest secret.  It would not be confided to
her keeping, but to that of the confessor.  For that reason, and many
others, we repudiate the system you, for your own ends, are anxious to
maintain.  I advise those who are husbands never to tell to their wives
words they would not have known where the system prevails."

"Silence!  Count de Tourville," exclaimed the priest, foaming with rage,
"you shall answer for these insulting words."

The count, it must be confessed, regretted having touched on the
subject, as it was like throwing pearls to swine; but he felt for the
moment that he might shield his daughter by drawing the anger of the
priests on himself.

The mockery of a trial came to a conclusion, and the governor, who had
taken upon himself the office of judge and inquisitor-general, found the
count and his daughter guilty of the crimes with which they were
charged, and condemned them both to death.  In consequence of Nigel's
escape, the priest begged that they might be kept for safe custody in
the prison within the fort; the same wretched place in which Nigel had
first been confined, and utterly unfit for the reception of any female.
Poor Constance shuddered as she was led into it.  Her father begged that
he might send to his house for such necessaries as his daughter
required, but his request was roughly refused.  It was not without
difficulty even that he obtained some matting, and a few armfuls of
rushes on which she might rest.

"Lie down, my child," said the count to Constance, when they were at
length left alone.  "We will not altogether despair, but look to Him who
is always ready to protect us.  You require rest; and we know not what
we may have to go through."

Constance obeyed her father, while he continued pacing up and down the
narrow space allowed him, to collect his thoughts.  He harboured no
ill-feeling towards his persecutors, but, following the example of his
Master, he prayed for their forgiveness, while he looked forward with
joy, rather than fear, to the time when he should be welcomed into His
presence.  He knew, too, that his beloved daughter, should her life be
taken, would bear him company to that home where their Saviour had gone
before to prepare a place for all those who love Him.

The night passed on.  Constance was sleeping.  Still the count felt no
desire to lie down and rest.  The whole fort seemed wrapped in silence,
except when the voice of a distant sentry reached his ear.  The silence
was suddenly broken by a shot fired from the fort.  Others followed in
rapid succession.  Then arose loud shouts and shrieks, and the Indian
warwhoop rising above all others.  Constance started from her slumbers,
and clung to her father.  The noises grew louder and louder.

"The fort is attacked.  The enemy are scaling the walls!" exclaimed the
count.  "Both parties are fighting desperately.  Constance, there is
hope for us, for even the Portuguese would scarcely wish to injure those
who are unable to oppose them."

The sounds of strife increased.  The count could with difficulty judge
how the fight was going.  Supporting his daughter on his arm, he awaited
the issue.  The great guns roared, the bullets rattled, and presently
there came an uproar which showed that the assailants had gained the
fort, and the shriek and cries of the combatants, and other sounds of a
desperate struggle, approached their prison.  Just at that juncture the
warwhoops of apparently a fresh party burst forth within the fort.  The
count recognised the cry as that of the Tamoyos.  On they came from the
opposite side of the fort, and the battle seemed to rage hotter than
ever.  In the midst of the fierce turmoil the door of their prison was
burst open, and Tecumah, leaping in, seized Constance in his arms, while
a companion took charge of the count, and hurried him off.

"I promised to save you or perish," said the Indian.  "We had a hard
matter to enter the fort, and it will be no less difficult to escape;
but I have succeeded thus far, and trust to place you in safety."

These words were uttered hurriedly, as Tecumah, surrounded by a faithful
band, was fighting his way across the fort, in all parts of which a
furious battle was raging; the Portuguese and their Indian allies, the
Tuparas, having forced an entrance, being engaged with the French and
Tamoyos, who were struggling desperately for life.

Bullets were whizzing and arrows flying in all directions; the fierce
shouts and shrieks of the combatants sounding above the clash of steel
and the rattle of musketry.  Numbers and discipline favoured the
Portuguese, who had well trained their native allies, while the French
mistrusted each other, and had but little confidence in the natives,
who, however, were gallantly doing their utmost to assist them, headed
by their brave chief, Tuscarora.  Tecumah and his faithful band had but
one object in view, to rescue Constance and her father.  Like a wedge,
with their most stalwart warriors in the van, they fought their way
through the mass of foes entering the fort towards the outlet which had
allowed the latter ingress.  Several of their number fell; scarcely one
escaped a wound.  Still Constance was untouched.  Often they were almost
overwhelmed.  Still on they went, their track marked by the bodies of
their foes, and many of their own party.  The gateway was reached.
Constance felt Tecumah stagger.  A fear seized her that he had received
a wound; but no cry escaped him, and, recovering himself, he bore her
onwards.  Scarcely had they emerged into the open, when they encountered
a fresh party of the Portuguese.  The Tamoyos halted for a moment to
draw their bows, and not a shaft failed to pierce a foe, the shower of
bullets, which came in return, passing mostly over their heads.

"On! on!" shouted Tecumah, though his voice no longer rang with its
usual clear tone.

Constance observed with grief that he was faint and hoarse.  His band,
obeying him, turned round and shot their arrows as they advanced.
Scarcely, however, had they moved forward, when the Portuguese, seeing
the handful of men opposed to them, fiercely charged their ranks,
Tecumah and only a few of the warriors surrounding him, having got some
way in advance, escaping the onslaught; the rest, who had the count in
charge, were compelled to halt, in a vain endeavour to withstand their
overwhelming foes.  The darkness enabled Tecumah, and the few who
remained by him, to push on without being observed.

"On! on!" again cried Tecumah.  "The rest will follow when they have
driven back our enemies."

"Oh, my father! my father!  Where is he?" exclaimed Constance.

Tecumah did not answer her.

Making their way towards the shore, they reached it at length.

"Where are the canoes?" exclaimed Tecumah, looking along the beach where
they had been left hauled up.

His companions dispersed on either side to look for them.  Their cries
told what had happened.  Some had been sent adrift, and others had been
battered in, and utterly destroyed by a band of Tuparas, as the Tamoyos
truly surmised.

"We must make our way to the spot where they have left their canoes,"
exclaimed Tecumah; and he again attempted to lift up Constance, who had
earnestly entreated to be placed on the ground.

The din of battle still sounded as loud as ever, and the rattle of
musketry was heard close at hand.  It was evident that the combatants
were approaching the shore.

"On! on!" again cried Tecumah; and, lifting up Constance, he was
staggering forward, when, faint from loss of blood, he sank on the
ground.

At that moment an Indian rushed out of the wood behind them.  "Fly! fly!
our enemies are at hand.  All, all have been cut to pieces.  I alone
have escaped."

His arm, as he spoke, dropped by his side, while the blood flowed
rapidly from his head, giving evidence of the truth of his assertion.

Constance was kneeling down, trying to staunch the blood flowing from
Tecumah's wound.  He raised himself on one arm.

"Think not of me," he said, "but endeavour, with my faithful friends,
who will accompany you, to find concealment among the rocks."

"We cannot leave you," answered Constance; "better to yield ourselves
prisoners, than to allow you to perish alone."

"You know not the nature of our enemies," said Tecumah, faintly; "they
spare no one.  Fly, fly, while there is time."

The sounds of fighting were drawing rapidly nearer.  All prospect of
escape seemed cut off.  Constance gazed up for a moment from the task at
which she was engaged.  Bullets were striking the branches of the trees
a short distance from them.  Her heart sank with grief.  She felt the
probability that her father had been cut off with the rest of the brave
Tamoyos.  Just then one of the Indians exclaimed, "See, see! a canoe
approaches."  Constance cast a glance across the waters, and caught a
glimpse of a canoe emerging from the darkness.  It rapidly approached
the beach.  The shouts of the Indians showed that friends were on board.
Their hails were answered.  In another moment Nigel leapt on shore.
Tecumah recognised him.

"Save her first--care not for me," he exclaimed.

Nigel was not likely to disobey such a command, and, taking Constance in
his arms, he bore her to the canoe.

"Oh, save our brave friend," she cried, as she pressed her lips to her
husband's, who immediately sprang back to the beach, and, listening not
to Tecumah's request to be allowed to die where he lay, he carried him,
with the assistance of the Indians who still had strength to exert
themselves, to the canoe.

Holding the steering paddle in her hands, stood Cora.  The instant her
brother and Nigel were on board, she gave it a dexterous turn, and the
canoe shot away from the shore, impelled by the strokes of two lads who
formed the crew.  Nigel and an Indian seized two other paddles, and with
all their strength urged on the canoe.  There was no time to be lost;
already they could see a number of dark forms emerging from the wood,
while numerous bullets splashed into the water astern.  The veil of
night would prove their best protection, and every effort was made to
get ahead.  Cora, believing that they could no longer be seen, directed
the canoe on a different course, to one side parallel with the shore,
thus avoiding the bullets which were fired in the direction it had last
been seen.  After going on for some distance, she again steered directly
for the opposite shore, which her keen sight could distinguish through
the darkness.  Meantime, Constance, seated at the bottom of the canoe,
supported Tecumah's head.  He gently took her hand, and pressed it to
his lips.

"I have more to thank you for than I can express by words," he
whispered, in a low, faltering voice.  "I first followed a shadow, but
you showed me the glorious reality, and led me to Him, whom to know is
life eternal.  I die happy, resting in His love, with the thought also
that I have preserved your life to be a blessing to one who is worthy of
you.  I am going quickly, but do not mourn aloud, lest you paralyse the
efforts of our friends."

Constance felt the hand which held hers relax its grasp, and ere long
she knew that the spirit of the young Indian had taken its flight to the
realms of bliss.  She placed his hand on his breast, and, obeying his
dying injunctions, refrained from giving way to her feelings.  Not till
they were near the north shore, and safe for the present from their
enemies, did she speak.  She then endeavoured to prepare Cora for the
discovery of her brother's death.

"I feared it was so," replied Cora, when Constance had told her clearly
what had happened.  "I know, however, that no joy on earth could be more
exquisite than that he felt in the consciousness that he had given his
life to save yours.  I must not mourn for him as those who have no hope.
We must not remain here," continued Cora, as they disembarked from the
canoe.  "They will certainly pursue us, and we shall not be in safety
till we reach our village, where the remnant of our tribe is collected.
Alas! there will be bitter grief and loud wailing for the many who have,
I fear, fallen."

With perfect calmness Cora gave directions to her people to convey the
body of her brother, and follow quickly, while she led Nigel, who
supported Constance, through the woods.  Faint and overcome with grief
as Constance was, Cora urged, notwithstanding, that they should continue
their course without stopping, for she felt convinced that a fearful
loss had overtaken her tribe from the account which the last-arrived
Indian had given her.  He had, he affirmed, before Tecumah and his party
had cut their way out of the fort, seen Tuscarora and many of their
tribe shot down by the enemy; and he had also witnessed the death of the
count.  Nigel questioned him narrowly, but could elicit nothing that
could shake his testimony.

Sad, indeed, as Cora had expected, was the way in which they were
received at her village, and it was feared, indeed, that even it might
be attacked while there only remained the old men and boys for its
defence.  It was proposed, therefore, that they should move further into
the country; but Cora urged them to remain, and, as a precaution against
surprise, sent out scouts to give timely notice of the appearance of an
enemy, or the return of their friends.  They all, however, packed up
their property, and remained prepared for instant flight.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

CONCLUSION.

Just as dawn was breaking, a warrior was seen approaching the village.
His bow was broken; his dress torn and besmeared with blood.  The
inhabitants, who were on the watch, anxiously went out to meet him.  He
hung down his head without uttering a word, and not for some time could
he be induced to speak.

At length, a groan bursting from his breast, he exclaimed--

"All, all, are lost!  In vain our warriors, led by Tuscarora, fought to
the last.  One after another they were shot down by the bullets of the
white faces, or cut to pieces by the war hatchets of the hated Tuparas.
Our French allies, deserting the fort, fought their way to their boats,
and, embarking, fled to their ships, leaving us to our fate.  Two only
with myself escaped by leaping over the walls, and swimming to a canoe
floating by.  Both of my companions were wounded.  As we were paddling
on, as fast as our strength would allow, we caught sight of a canoe with
two Portuguese boats in pursuit.  We were unobserved, but we had too
much reason to fear that the canoe was overtaken.  Just as we reached
the shore, the paddles dropped from the hands of my two companions, and
they sank down from loss of blood.  When I called to them, they gave no
answer.  They were both dead.  I waited in vain for the arrival of our
friends, but none appeared, and I at length came on to bring the sad
tidings."

As the wounded warrior finished his narrative, loud wailings rose from
the women in the camp.  No threats of vengeance were uttered, for they
felt their utter helplessness, and they knew that they themselves might
become the prey of any of their foes who might be induced to attack
them.  At length an old man arose in their midst.

"Give not way to despair, my daughters," he exclaimed; "you have still
many sons.  We will fly with them to a place of safety, and there teach
them how their brave fathers fought and died with their faces to the
foe.  They will grow up, and, hearing of their deeds, will imitate their
valour, and revenge the deaths of their sires."

The words of the aged warrior restored the drooping courage of the poor
women, and they resolved to follow his counsel.  A few men, who from
sickness or other causes had not gone forth to battle, and the youths
who had not sufficient strength to draw their mighty bows, vowed to
defend them and the chief's daughter to the last gasp.  Cora deputed the
old warrior to take the lead, and, as they believed the Tuparas, flushed
with victory, would ere long pursue them, they immediately set out on
their sad journey to the north.

Surrounding Nigel and Constance, they vowed fidelity, promising to obey
the last behests of their beloved young chief Tecumah, and to afford
them all the support in their power.  A small band only of the bravest
and most active remained behind to collect any stragglers who might
arrive, and to cover the retreat of the main body.  Nigel, communicating
with the old chief, found that he proposed proceeding northward to a
region bordering the sea, inhabited by a scanty tribe, with whom the
Tamoyos were on friendly terms, the former having been driven from their
own hunting-grounds by a more powerful tribe.  This intelligence was
satisfactory to Nigel and Constance, as they thus had hopes of being
able to communicate with some English or French ship which might appear
off the shore.

The spot to which the Tamoyos were directing their course was at length
gained.  It was a deep wide valley, surrounded by rugged hills, and
could not be approached towards the sea except by a narrow gorge, which
could be defended by a few brave men, who could lie concealed among the
rocks, and hurl down stones on the heads of invaders.  The Indians
carried with them, as was their custom, cuttings and roots of fruit
trees and plants, which they had cultivated in their native district.
Without loss of time, they began erecting huts and laying out
plantations, the old men and women being generally employed in such
occupations, while the young men went out hunting, they having at
present to depend on the produce of the chase for their subsistence.
The tribe showed the greatest attention to Nigel and Constance, whom
they considered committed to their care by their beloved young chief,
doing their utmost to secure their comfort and convenience.  Indeed,
they treated them with the same respect they bestowed on Cora, who was
now the acknowledged chieftainess of the tribe.  They built a cottage
after the model of those they had seen on the island, and laid out a
garden, which they planted with fruit trees and vegetables.  Nigel and
his wife in return, aided by Cora, instructed them in Gospel truth.
They also taught them, as far as they had the means, the arts of
civilised life.  Thus the days went rapidly by.  Still, though the young
couple enjoyed much happiness, they could not help wishing to return to
Europe, while they often thought, with grief, of the loss of the count
and of their other beloved friend.

Besides the account brought by the Indian who escaped from the fort,
they could gain no further tidings of their fate.  Nigel would, had he
had himself only to consider, have set out to try and ascertain what had
become of the colony, but he could not bring himself to leave Constance,
even though he had full confidence in the fidelity of their Indian
friends.  Cora, to whom Constance expressed Nigel's wishes, at length
promised to send out a scout, who would endeavour to find out what had
happened.  Nigel gladly accepted Cora's offer.

Nearly a month had passed since the scout set out, and fears were
entertained that he had perished.  At last, however, one evening, he was
seen descending the side of the hill, along the steep and difficult path
by which, as has been said, the valley could alone be reached from the
southward; he was accompanied by a white man, whose tottering steps he
supported in the difficult descent.  As they approached the village, the
gaunt form and haggard features of the latter prevented Nigel, who went
out to meet them, from recognising him.

"You don't know me, Monsieur Lieutenant; I am Jacques Baville, whom you
knew well as a true Protestant.  I assisted the escape of our good
minister, Laporte, who was committed to the care of some of the brave
Indians by the young chief Tecumah.  We fought our way to the water's
side, and embarked in a canoe; but before we had got far, we were chased
by two of the enemy's boats, and captured.  We expected instant death,
but were reserved for a more cruel fate.  We were conveyed to the south
shore, where we heard that the forts on the island had all been
destroyed, and our countrymen, with the traitor Villegagnon, had sailed
away, leaving most of the Protestants to the cruel vengeance of our
foes.  To commemorate their victory, the Portuguese had resolved, we
found, on building a city.  One of the first edifices erected was a
prison, into which the good minister and several other persons were
thrown; while the Tamoyos, who had been taken prisoners, with two other
artisans, like myself, were employed, with many people of other tribes,
who had been reduced to slavery by the Portuguese, in labouring at the
work going forward.  A church was next built, and filled full of idols
for the people to worship.  As soon as it was finished, the minister and
other captives were led from the prison, and dragged into it, when they
were ordered to worship, as the other people were doing.  They refused,
however, to bow their heads to the saints, or other false gods, but
stood motionless, with their arms folded.  The priests, on this, reviled
them, and threatened them with death if they refused.  Still they were
firm, declaring that they would not mock God with such senseless
ceremonies.  On this they were taken back to prison; and we, seeing how
they behaved, resolved to imitate them.  Several times they were carried
before the priests, who sat in the church to try them for what was
called their heresy.  The trial was still going on when two priests
arrived, who declared they had been on board a Portuguese ship, bringing
over numerous images and relics and indulgences to Saint Vincente, when
she was captured by a French man-of-war, the captain of which had
sacrilegiously thrown them into the sea.  I, of course, knew that they
spoke of the _Madeline_; and, as you remember, Monsieur Lieutenant, I
was on board, I began to fear that I might be recognised.  Monsieur
Laporte, of course, stated that he was not there, and could, therefore,
not be considered guilty of the act of which they complained, supposing
that it had taken place.  The priests, however, who were eager to find
some one on whom to wreak their vengeance, declared that it mattered
nothing, even had he not been there, as the act was performed by those
of his faith, and was the result of the pernicious doctrines he taught.
He defended himself nobly, but was condemned to be burnt alive in the
centre of a wide spot, which had been marked out for a square.

"Hoping that I had not been recognised by the priests, I was making my
way out of the church, when the keen eyes of one of them fell on me.  He
instantly ordered me to be seized, and at once declared that he had seen
me on board the _Madeline_, engaged in throwing the trumpery overboard.
I would not deny this, but said that I was but doing my duty, and
obeying my captain, and that, had he ordered me to throw the two priests
themselves overboard, to look after their saints, I should certainly
have done so.  This enraged them more than ever, and they threatened to
burn me with the minister.  As I was, however, known to be a good
carpenter, the civil officers were not willing to lose my services, and
I was sent back to prison.

"In vain they tried to make the good minister recant.  He refused to do
so.  They promised him his life and full pardon, and a good post under
government, but he refused all their offers, saying that he would rather
die a hundred deaths than abandon the faith of the pure gospel.  The
next day he was led to the place of execution.  We were compelled to be
present.  The faggots were piled round him.  Some of the people, moved
with pity, cried out that he should be strangled first, and the
executioner himself seemed unwilling to light the pile; when one of the
priests, seizing the torch, set fire to the faggots, which quickly
blazed up, and our good minister's soul went to that happy home prepared
for him.  The priests, having caught sight of me, insisted that I should
be thrown into prison to await their pleasure, which I knew very well
would be ere long to burn me at the stake.

"Some of our countrymen, I am sorry to say, recanted, and were set free,
but others held fast.  I determined, however, if I could, to make my
escape, should I have strength enough to do so; for we were so poorly
fed that I expected, before long, to be starved.  All the prisoners had
hitherto been confined in a common cell; but after I was condemned, I
was placed in one by myself.  It was in a new part of the prison, which
I had actually been employed in building.  The whole structure was of
wood, though, at the same time, very strong.  I knew that I could not
make my way through the walls, nor underground, as the stakes were
driven down deep, and no human strength could force them up; but I
recollected the way I had put on the roof; and, though the slabs were
heavy, I was certain that I could force one of them up sufficiently to
allow me to get through.  I had not been long shut up, when a priest
came, and endeavoured to make me recant, picturing the horrible tortures
I should suffer in this world, and in the next, if I refused.  I asked
him whence he got his authority.  He answered from the Church.  I
replied that the Bible was before the Church; and that the Bible says,
`Whosoever believeth on Me shall not perish, but have everlasting life;'
and that, though he might burn my body, Christ could save my soul.  He
replied that the Bible must not be interpreted by laymen, and that the
Church had alone the power to explain it.  I observed that the Church of
Christ had ever explained it exactly as I did, and to that Church I
belonged; that the system which he called `The Church,' was built up at
Rome by pagan priests, and had ever since been employed in adding
falsehood to falsehood, for the sake of imposing on the minds of the
people, and compelling them to do their will; and that, if he wished to
serve Christ, he must leave his false church, as thousands of my
countrymen had done, and tens of thousands in Germany and England, or
that he himself would perish eternally.  Without saying another word, he
left the cell, and I felt pretty sure would not come back again.

"I had a sheath knife, which I had managed to conceal inside my
trousers, and immediately set to work, and wrenched up a stool fixed
against the wall.  There were several nails in it, which I cut out; and
then, making a couple of deep notches in one of the angles of the wall,
I fixed the bench a certain height below the roof, which enabled me, by
standing on it, to force up one of the slabs with my back.  Knowing
where the nails were driven in, I carefully cut around them, making as
little noise as possible.  It was, I calculated, about midnight when I
had finished my preparations.  The slab lifted even more easily than I
had expected.  I listened for some minutes, expecting to hear the tread
of a sentry, but not a sound reached my ears.  I had great hopes that he
had fallen asleep.  Creeping through, I replaced the slab, and dropped
without noise to the ground.  There were numerous Indians in the camp,
many of whom had canoes, for the purpose of fishing.  Without loss of
time, I crept away, stooping low down, so that, had I been seen, I might
be mistaken, in the darkness, for a large dog, or some wild animal
prowling about in search of food.  I thus, without interruption, made my
way down to the shore.  There were several canoes hauled up, as I had
expected, with paddles left in them.  To launch one and to shove off did
not occupy much time.  The night was dark, but I could make out the
opposite shore.  With all my might I paddled towards it.  On landing, I
shoved off the canoe, in the hopes that it would float away, and thus
not betray the direction I had taken.  Scarcely had I got a hundred
yards from the beach, when I encountered this my friend, who conducted
me here.  I am grieved to bring such tidings, and I fear much that those
who remain will be put to death, if they refuse to abandon their faith;
and I pray that they may have grace and spirit to continue in it.  But I
myself must not boast, as I know not what torture and starvation would
have led me to do."

Nigel and Constance heard, with deep sorrow, this account of the
martyrdom of their beloved friend and minister; but they were comforted
with the knowledge that he had exchanged a life of trial and suffering
for a glorious existence in heaven.

Several months passed by.  Jacques Baville completely recovered, and was
of great assistance in improving their cottage home.  He felt, however,
even a greater longing than they did to return to his native land.

"Ships may come and go, and we may not see them, unless we are
constantly on the watch," he observed.  "I have bethought me of building
a hut on the height near the shore; and if you, Monsieur Lieutenant,
will supply me with food, I will undertake to keep a bright look-out as
long as my eyes last me.  We will have a flagstaff and flag, and it will
not be my fault if we don't manage to communicate with any ship which
appears off the coast."

Nigel gladly entered into honest Jacques's plan, and assisted him in
building his hut, and putting up a flagstaff.  Still week after week
passed by, and Jacques had always the same answer to give when Nigel
visited him.  Nigel himself had ample occupation in cultivating his
garden, varied by hunting expeditions with the Indians.  He was
returning home one evening, when, as he approached his cottage,
Constance came running out to meet him.  Her agitation would scarcely
allow her to speak.

"Come, Nigel, come!  I have been longing for your arrival," she
exclaimed, taking his hand.  "An old friend has arrived, and is waiting
to see you."

She led him on, when great was his joy and surprise to see standing in
the porch, with outstretched hands, his former commander, Captain
Beauport.  They entered the cottage, when, sitting down, the captain
briefly narrated his history, and the circumstances which had brought
him again to the coast of South America.  He little expected to find
Nigel and Constance alive.  The crew and passengers of the ship which
was conveying him as a prisoner to France, who were all Protestants, had
insisted on his liberation; and the commander, who was well-disposed
towards him, had, without much difficulty, yielded to their wishes.  By
great exertions the ships had been kept afloat; and, after enduring
severe hardships, had reached Hennebonne, in France.  Here the
commander, as directed, delivered his despatches to the chief
magistrate, who, providentially for the passengers, was a staunch
Protestant.  On opening them, he found that the traitor, Villegagnon,
had denounced them as arch-heretics, worthy of the stake, and advised
that they should be immediately delivered up to punishment.  The worthy
magistrate, indignant at the treachery with which they had been treated,
assisted them by every means in his power; while Captain Beauport,
knowing that his life would not be safe should he remain in France,
immediately embarked on board a vessel bound for England.  He there
found many Protestant friends, who had fled to escape the fearful
persecutions to which they were subjected in France.  By their means he
obtained the command of an English ship.  He had made two or three short
voyages, and had, some time before, come out on an exploring expedition
to South America, from which he was returning.  He was sailing
northward, on his way to England, when he observed Jacques Baville's
signal.

As may be supposed, Nigel and Constance, with honest Jacques, did not
lose the opportunity of returning with him.  They parted from Cora with
sincere regret.

"It is but natural that you should wish to dwell in your own country,
and among your own people," said the Indian girl.  "My love makes me
wish to accompany you, but my duty compels me to remain with my tribe.
On our hearts your images will remain engraved as long as they beat with
life."

She, with all her people, attended them to the beach, as they put off
towards the ship, which lay at anchor in the harbour.  As long as any
object was visible on the shore, Cora was seen waving her adieus.  The
sails were spread to the wind, and the ship glided out into the ocean on
her destined course towards the shores of England.

They reached that land of freedom in safety, and Nigel resolved to take
up his residence here, with his young wife, rather than expose her to
the dangers to which she would be subjected in her native land.  He
wrote to honest Maitre Leroux, who had heard from the count of
Constance's marriage, and was ready to pay over to Nigel the rents of
the estate.

During the occasional intervals of peace, Nigel paid several visits to
Tourville, and, on the death of the steward, sold the estate, and
invested the money in an English property, both he and his wife agreeing
that it was far better to live on moderate means in a land where they
could enjoy the blessings of civil and religious liberty, than in any
country under the galling yoke of Papal tyranny.





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