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Title: Cameron of Lochiel
Author: Aubert de Gaspé, Philippe
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.

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 Transcriber's Notes

    [oe] replaces the oe ligature
    bold text: =equals signs=
    small caps: +plus signs+
    italic text: _underscores_

    imflammable typo replaced with inflammable
    musquitoes replaced with mosquitoes
    dazzingly replaced with dazzlingly
    Ææan replaced with Ægean
    harrasses replaced with harasses
    vail replaced with veil
    seige replaced with siege
    beseiged replaced with besieged
    vengance replaced with vengeance
    Acadie replaced with Acadia

Uncommon and inconsistent hyphenation and spelling have been retained;
typographical errors have been corrected.



CAMERON OF LOCHIEL



    Works of
    Charles G. D. Roberts

    [Illustration]


    The Prisoner of Mademoiselle
    The Watchers of the Trails
    The Kindred of the Wild
    The Heart of the Ancient Wood
    Earth's Enigmas
    Barbara Ladd
    The Forge in the Forest
    A Sister to Evangeline
    By the Marshes of Minas
    A History of Canada
    The Book of the Rose
    Poems
    New York Nocturnes
    The Book of the Native
    In Divers Tones (_Out of print_)
    Songs of the Common Day (_Out of print_)


    [Illustration]

    Cameron of Lochiel

    (_Translated from the French of Philippe Aubert
    de Gaspé_)

    [Illustration]


    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
    New England Building
    Boston, Mass.


    [Illustration

     Illustration: _Cameron of Lochiel._]


    (_See page 68._)



    CAMERON OF
    LOCHIEL


    BY
    PHILIPPE AUBERT DE GASPÉ

    TRANSLATED BY
    CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS


    NEW EDITION
    _With a frontispiece by_
    H. C. EDWARDS

    [Illustration]


    BOSTON
    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
    _MDCCCCV_



    _Copyright, 1890_
    +By D. Appleton and Company+

    _Copyright, 1905_
    +By L. C. Page & Company+
    (INCORPORATED)



PREFACE TO NEW EDITION


This leisurely and loose-knit romance of de Gaspé's, which he called
"Les Anciens Canadiens," has for hero one who was not a Canadian, but
a Scotch exile sojourning in Canada. It is on the creation of this
character, consistently developed and convincingly presented, that the
book must mainly base its claim to be called a work of fiction, rather
than a volume of memoirs and folklore. I have ventured, therefore, at
the suggestion of my publishers, to take a liberty with the author's
title, and name the story after this young Scotch exile, "Cameron of
Lochiel." I am the more willing to take this liberty because I feel
that de Gaspé has not hitherto been granted the place he is entitled to
in the ranks of Canadian fictionists. Considered purely as a romance,
it seems to me that the sincerity, simplicity, and originality of this
work quite outweigh its sprawling looseness of structure, and make it
one of the unique ornaments of the composite literature which we are
building up in Canada. If by so changing its title as to emphasize the
fictional character of the work I can the better call attention to the
worth of de Gaspé's achievement, I feel that I am justified, even in
the face of such anticipatory protest as may seem to be implied in the
author's too modest introduction.

When all this has been said, however, the fact remains that it was
not its many merits as a romance that induced me to translate this
work, but the riches of Canadian tradition, folk-lore, and perished
customs embalmed in the clear amber of its narrative, coupled with my
own anxiety to contribute, in however humble a way, to the increase
of understanding and confidence between the two great branches of the
Canadian people. It is a beautiful and gracious life, that of old
French Canada, as depicted in de Gaspé's lucent pages,--a life of high
ideals, and family devotion, and chivalry, and courage. This is an
atmosphere it is wholesome to breathe. These are people it is excellent
to know; and the whole influence of the story makes for trust and a
good understanding.

C. G. D. R.

+Fredericton, N. B.+, _May, 1905_.



PREFACE.

In Canada there is settling into shape a nation of two races; there
is springing into existence, at the same time, a literature in
two languages. In the matter of strength and stamina there is no
overwhelming disparity between the two races. The two languages are
admittedly those to which belong the supreme literary achievements of
the modern world. In this dual character of the Canadian people and the
Canadian literature there is afforded a series of problems which the
future will be taxed to solve. To make any intelligent forecast as to
the solution is hardly possible without a fair comprehension of the two
races as they appear at the point of contact. We, of English speech,
turn naturally to French-Canadian literature for knowledge of the
French-Canadian people. The romance before us, while intended for those
who read to be entertained, and by no means weighted down with didactic
purpose, succeeds in throwing, by its faithful depictions of life and
sentiment among the early French Canadians, a strong side-light upon
the motives and aspirations of the race.

In spite of the disclaimer with which the author begins, the romance
of Les Anciens Canadiens is a classic. From the literary point of
view it is markedly the best historical romance so far produced in
French Canada. It gathers up and preserves in lasting form the songs
and legends, the characteristic customs, the phases of thought and
feeling, the very local and personal aroma of a rapidly changing
civilization. Much of what de Gaspé has so vividly painted from his
boyish reminiscences had faded out of the life upon which his alert
eyes rested in old age. The origin of the romance, as given by his
biographer, the Abbé Casgrain, is as follows:

When, in 1861, that patriotic French-Canadian publication the _Soirées
Canadiennes_ was established, its inaugurators adopted as their motto
the words: "Let us make haste to write down the stories and traditions
of the people, before they are forgotten." M. de Gaspé was struck with
the idea; and seeing that the writers who were setting themselves the
laudable task were all young men, he took the words as a summons to his
old age, and so the book came to be written.

Patriotism, devotion to the French-Canadian nationality, a just pride
of race, and a loving memory for his people's romantic and heroic
past--these are the dominant chords which are struck throughout the
story. Of special significance, therefore, are the words which are put
in the mouth of the old seigneur as he bids his son a last farewell.
The father has been almost ruined by the conquest. The son has left
the French army and taken the oath of allegiance to the English crown.
"Serve thy new sovereign," says the dying soldier, "as faithfully as I
have served the King of France; and may God bless thee, my dear son!"

In the present day, when nationalism in Quebec appears rather given
to extravagant dreams, it would be well for the distant observer to
view the French Canadians through the faithful medium which de Gaspé's
work affords him. Under constitutional forms of government it is
inevitable that a vigorous and homogeneous minority, whose language
and institutions are more or less threatened by the mere preponderance
of the dominant race, should seem at times overvehement in its
self-assertion. A closer knowledge leads us to conclude that perhaps
the extreme of Quebec nationalism is but the froth on the surface of a
not unworthy determination to keep intact the speech and institutions
of French Canada. However this may be, it is certain that the point of
contact between the two races in Canada is at the present day as rich
a field for the romancer as de Gaspé found it at the close of the _old
régime_.

According to the Histoire de la littérature Canadienne of Edmond
Lareau, Philippe Aubert de Gaspé was born in Quebec on the 30th of
October, 1786. He died in 1871. He belonged to a noble French-Canadian
family. At the manor of St. Jean-Port-Joli, of which he was seigneur,
he passed a large part of his life; and there he laid the chief scenes
of his great romance. He was educated at the seminary of Quebec, and
then studied law in the city, under Sewell, afterward chief-justice.
Only for a few years, however, did he devote himself to his
profession--one from which so many a poet and man of letters has broken
loose. He accepted the position of sheriff of Quebec, and afterward
came misfortunes which Lareau passes over with sympathetic haste. His
lavish generosity to his friends and the financial embarrassments into
which he fell, his four years' confinement in the debtors' prison, his
sufferings of soul and body, all doubtless contributed to the poignant
coloring with which he has painted the misfortunes of M. d'Egmont,
_le bon gentilhomme_. On his release from prison he retired to his
estate of St. Jean-Port-Joli, but not to the solitude and benevolent
melancholy of D'Egmont. The romancer was of too sunny a disposition,
he was too genuine and tolerant a lover of his kind, to run much
risk of becoming a recluse. A keynote to his nature may be found in
the bright _Bonsoir la compagnie_ with which, in the words of an old
French-Canadian song, he closed his literary labors at the age of
seventy-nine, when the last page of the Mémoires was completed.

The story we have translated, under the title of The Canadians of Old,
was published in 1862. It is accompanied in the original by a mass of
curious information, in the shape of notes and _addenda_, such as would
hardly interest the general reader. They will more than repay, however,
the attention of any one who wishes to study the French-Canadian people
as they were in their early days. The story itself has the air of being
the product of a happy leisure. The style is quaint and unhurried,
with no fear of the printer's devil before its eyes. The stream of the
narrative, while swift enough and direct enough at need, is taught
to digress into fascinating cross-channels of highly colored local
tradition, or to linger felicitously in eddies of feast and song.

The work begun in Les Anciens Canadiens De Gaspé carried to completion
in his second and last composition, the Mémoires, published in 1866.
As the former work is a vivid epitome of life at the _seigneuries_ and
among the _habitants_ of those days, so the latter reproduces and fixes
for us the picturesque effects of life in the city of Quebec itself in
the generation or two succeeding the conquest--a period during which
the French-Canadian _noblesse_ yet maintained, about the person of
the English governor, something of the remembered splendor of the old
vice-regal court.

C. G. D. R.

_Windsor, Nova Scotia, 1890._



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER   PAGE


   +Foreword+      ix

    I. +D'Haberville and Cameron of Lochiel+                          19

    II. +A Night with the Sorcerers+                                  31

    III. +La Corriveau+                                               45

    IV. +The Breaking up of the Ice+                                  56

    V. +A Supper at the House of a French-Canadian
    Seigneur+                                                         76

    VI. +D'Haberville Manor House+                                    99

    VII. +The May-Feast+                                             115

    VIII. +The Feast of St. Jean-Baptiste+                           124

    IX. "+The Good Gentleman+"                                       137

    X. +Madame D'Haberville's Story+                                 154

    XI. +The Burning of the South Shore+                             167

    XII. +A Night Among the Savages+                                 180

    XIII. +The Plains of Abraham+                                    198

    XIV. +The Shipwreck of the Auguste+                              213

    XV. +Lochiel and Blanche+                                        228

    XVI. +The Family Hearth+                                         254

    XVII. +Conclusion+                                               269



FOREWORD.


As my story lays no claim to classicism, either in style or structure,
this foreword may as well be made to play the part of a preface. My
acquaintances will, doubtless, open their eyes on seeing me thus
enter, at the age of seventy-six, on the perilous paths of authorship.
Possibly I owe them an explanation. Although tired of reading all these
years with so little profit either to myself or others, I yet dreaded
to pass the Rubicon. A matter small enough in itself in the end decided
me.

One of my friends, a man of parts, whom I met last year in St Louis
Street, in our good city of Quebec, grasped me warmly by the hand and
exclaimed:

"Awfully glad to see you! Do you know, my dear fellow, I have talked
this morning with no fewer than eleven people, not one of them with
half an idea in his noddle!" And he wrung my arm almost out of joint.

"Really," said I, "you are very complimentary; for I perceive by the
warmth of your greeting that I am the exception, the man you--"

"Oh, yes, indeed," he cried, without letting me finish my sentence,
"those are the only sensible words I have heard this morning." And he
crossed the street to speak to some one, probably his addle-pate number
twelve, who was seeking to attract his attention.

"The devil!" thought I to myself, "if what I just said is in any way
brilliant, it would seem easy enough to shine. Though I have never yet
been suspected of it, I must be rather a clever fellow."

Much elated with this discovery, and congratulating myself that I had
more brains than the unhappy eleven of whom my friend had spoken, I
hurry to my library, I furnish myself, perhaps all too appropriately,
with a ream of the paper called "foolscap," and I set myself to work.

I write for my own amusement, at the risk of wearying the reader who
may have the patience to go through this volume. But, as Nature has
made me compassionate, I will give this dear reader a little good
advice. He had better throw away the unlucky book without taking the
trouble to criticise it, which would be making it much too important,
and would be, moreover, but wasted labor for the serious critic; for,
unlike that old Archbishop of Granada, so touchy on the subject of his
sermons, of whom Gil Blas has told us, I am, for my part, blessed with
an easy humor, and, instead of retorting to my critic, "I wish you good
luck and very much better taste," I will frankly admit that my book has
a thousand faults, of most of which I have a lively consciousness.

As for the unfriendly critic, his work will be all in vain, debarred as
he will be from the privilege of dragging me into a controversy. Let me
say beforehand that I grieve to deprive him of his gentle diversion,
and to clip his claws so soon. I am old and indolently content, like
Figaro of merry memory. Moreover, I have not enough self-conceit to
engage in any defense of my literary productions. To record some
incidents of a well-loved past, to chronicle some memories of a youth
long flown--this is my whole ambition.

Many of the anecdotes, doubtless, will appear insignificant and
childish to some readers. Let these lay the blame upon certain of our
best men-of-letters, who besought me to leave out nothing which could
illustrate the manners and customs of the early Canadians. "That which
will appear insignificant and childish to the eyes of strangers," they
urged, "in the records of a septuagenarian, born but twenty-eight years
after the conquest of New France, will yet not fail to interest true
Canadians."

This production of mine shall be neither very dull nor surpassingly
brilliant. An author should assuredly have too much self-respect to
make his appeal exclusively to the commonplace; and if I should make
the work too fine, it would be appreciated by none but the _beaux
esprits_. Under a constitutional government, a candidate must concern
himself rather with the number than the quality of his votes.

This work will be Canadian through and through. It is hard for an old
fellow of seventy to change his ancient coat for garb of modern pattern.

I must have also plenty of elbow-room. As for rule and precept--which,
by the way, I am well enough acquainted with--I can not submit myself
to them in a work like this. Let the purists, the past masters in the
art of literature, shocked at my mistakes, dub my book romance, memoir,
annals, miscellany, hotch-potch. It is all the same to me.

Having accomplished my preface, let me make a serious beginning with
the following pretty bit of verse, hitherto unpublished, and doubtless
now much surprised to find itself in such unworthy company:



QUEBEC, 1757.


    An eagle city on her heights austere,
      Taker of tribute from the chainless flood,
    She watches wave above her in the clear
      The whiteness of her banner purged with blood.

    Near her grim citadel the blinding sheen
      Of her cathedral spire triumphant soars,
    Rocked by the Angelus, whose peal serene
      Beats over Beaupré and the Lévis shores.

    Tossed in his light craft on the dancing wave,
      A stranger where he once victorious trod,
    The passing Iroquois, fierce-eyed and grave,
      Frowns on the flag of France, the cross of God.


Let him who knows this Quebec of ours betake himself, in body or in
spirit, to the market of the Upper Town, and consider the changes which
the region has undergone since the year of grace 1757, whereat my story
opens. There was then the same cathedral, minus its modern tower, which
seems to implore the charitable either to raise it to its proper height
or to decapitate its lofty and scornful sister.

The Jesuits' College, at a later date transformed into a barrack,
looked much the same as it does to-day; but what has become of the
church which stood of old in the place of the present halls? Where
is the grove of venerable trees behind the building, which adorned
the grounds, now so bare, of this edifice sacred to the education of
Canadian youth? Time and the axe, alas! have worked their will. In
place of the merry sports, the mirthful sallies of the students, the
sober steps of the professors, the high philosophic discourse, we hear
now the clatter of arms, the coarse jest of the guard.

Instead of the market of the present day, some low-built butchers'
stalls, perhaps seven or eight in number, occupied a little plot
between the cathedral and the college. Between these stalls and the
college prattled a brook, which, after descending St. Louis Street and
dividing Fabrique, traversed Couillard and the hospital garden, on its
way to the river St. Charles. Our fathers were bucolic in their tastes!

It is the end of April. The brook is overflowing; children are amusing
themselves by detaching from its edges cakes of ice, which, shrinking
as they go, overleap all barriers, and lose themselves at last in the
mighty tide of the St. Lawrence. A poet, who finds "sermons in stones,
books in the running brooks," dreaming over the scene, and marking
the descent of the ice-cakes, their pausings, their rebuffs, might
have compared them to those ambitious men who, after a restless life,
come with little wealth or fame to the end of their career, and are
swallowed up in eternity.

The houses neighboring the market-place are, for the most part, of
but one story, unlike our modern structures, which tower aloft as if
dreading another deluge.

It is noon. The Angelus rings out from the cathedral belfry. All the
city chimes proclaim the greeting of the angel to the Virgin, who is
the Canadian's patron saint. The loitering _habitants_, whose calashes
surround the stalls, take off their caps and devoutly murmur the
Angelus. All worshiping alike, there is none to deride the pious custom.

Some of our nineteenth-century Christians seem ashamed to perform
before others an act of worship; which is proof, to say the least, of a
shrinking or cowardly spirit. The followers of Mohammed, who have the
courage of their convictions wherever they may chance to be, will seven
times daily make their prayers to Allah under the eyes of the more
timid Christians.

The students of the Jesuits' College, noisy enough on ordinary
occasions, move to-day in a serious silence from the church wherein
they have been praying. What causes this unusual seriousness? They are
on the eve of separation from two beloved fellow-students. The younger
of the two, who, being more of their age, was wont to share more often
in their boyish sports, was the protector of the feeble against the
strong, the impartial arbitrator in all their petty disagreements.

The great door of the college opens, and two young men in traveling
dress join the group of their fellow-students. Two leathern
portmanteaus, five feet long, adorned with rings, chains, and padlocks
which would seem strong enough for the mooring of a ship, lie at their
feet. The younger of the two, slight and delicate-looking, is perhaps
eighteen years old. His dark complexion, great black eyes, alert and
keen, his abruptness of gesture, proclaim his French blood. His name is
Jules D'Haberville. His father is one of the seigneurs, captain of a
company in the colonial marine.

His companion, who is older by two or three years, is much taller and
more robust of frame. His fine blue eyes, his chestnut hair, his blonde
and ruddy complexion with a few scattered freckles on face and hands,
his slightly aggressive chin--all these reveal a foreign origin. This
is Archibald Cameron of Lochiel, commonly known as Archie of Lochiel, a
young Scotch Highlander who has been studying at the Jesuits' College
in Quebec. How is it that he, a stranger, finds himself in this remote
French colony? We will let the sequel show.

The young men are both notably good looking. They are clad alike with
hooded overcoat, scarlet leggings edged with green ribbon, blue woolen
knitted garters, a broad belt of vivid colors embroidered with glass
beads, deer-hide moccasins tied in Iroquois fashion, the insteps
embroidered with porcupine-quills, and, finally, caps of beaver-skin
fastened over the ears by means of a red silk handkerchief knotted
under the chin.

The younger betrays a feverish eagerness, and keeps glancing along
Buade Street.

"You are in a hurry to leave us, Jules," said one of his friends,
reproachfully.

"No," replied D'Haberville, "oh, no, indeed, my dear De Laronde, I
assure you; but, since this parting must take place, I wish it over. It
unnerves me; and it is natural that I should be in a hurry to get back
home again."

"That is right," said De Laronde; "and, moreover, since you are a
Canadian, we hope to see you again before very long."

"But with you the case is different, my dear Archie," said another. "I
fear this parting will be forever, if you return to your own country."

"Promise us that you will come back," cried all the students.

During this conversation Jules darts off like an arrow to meet two men,
each with an oar on his right shoulder, who are hastening along by the
cathedral. One of them wears the costume of the _habitants_--capote
of black homespun, gray woolen cap, gray leggings and garters, belt
of many colors, and heavy cowhide larrigans tied in the manner
of the Iroquois. The dress of the other is more like that of our
young travelers, although much less costly. The first, tall and
rough-mannered, is a ferryman of Point Lévis. The second, shorter,
but of athletic build, is a follower of Captain D'Haberville, Jules's
father. In times of war, a soldier; in peace, he occupies the place of
a favored servant. He is the captain's foster-brother and of the same
age. He is the right hand of the family. He has rocked Jules in his
arms, singing him the gay catches of our up-river boatmen.

"Dear José, how are you? How have you left them all at home?" cried
Jules, flinging his arms about him.

"All well enough, thank God," replied Jose; "they send you all kinds o'
love, and are in a great way to see you. But how you have grown in the
last few months! Lord! Master Jules, but it is good to set eyes on you
again."

In spite of the familiar affection lavished upon José by the whole
D'Haberville family, he never forgot to be scrupulously respectful.

Jules overwhelms him with eager inquiries. He asks about the
servants, about the neighbors, and about the old dog whom, when in
his thirty-sixth lesson, he had christened _Niger_ to display his
proficiency in Latin. He has forgiven even the greedy cat who, the year
before, had gobbled up a young pet nightingale which he had intended to
take to college with him. In the first heat of his wrath, it is true,
he had hunted the assassin with a club, under tables, chairs, and beds,
and finally on to the roof itself, which the guilty animal had sought
as an impregnable refuge. Now, however, he has forgiven the creature's
misdeeds and makes tender inquiry after its health.

"Hello there!" grumbles the ferryman, who takes very little interest in
the above scenes, "when you have done slobbering and chattering about
the cat and dog, perhaps you'll make a move. The tide won't wait for
nobody."

In spite of the impatience and ill-humor of the ferryman, it took long
to say farewell. Their instructors embraced them affectionately.

"You are to be soldiers, both of you", said the principal. "In daily
peril of your life upon the battle-field, you must keep God ever
before you. It may be the will of Heaven that you fall. Be ready,
therefore, at all times, that you may go before the judgment-seat with
a clear conscience. Take this for your battle-cry--'God, the King, and
Fatherland!'"

"Farewell!" exclaimed Archie--"you who have opened your hearts to the
stranger. Farewell, kind friends, who have striven to make the poor
exile forget that he belonged to an alien race. Farewell, perhaps
forever."

"This parting would be hard indeed for me," said Jules, deeply moved,
"had I not the hope that my regiment will soon be ordered to Canada."
Then, turning to his instructors, he said:

"I have tried your patience sorely, gentlemen, but you know that my
heart has always been better than my head; I beg that you will forgive
the one for the sake of the other.--As for you, my fellow-students," he
continued, with a lightness that was somewhat forced, "you must admit
that, if I have tormented you sadly with my nonsense during the last
ten years, I have at least succeeded in sometimes making you laugh."

Seizing Archie by the arm, he hurried him off in order to conceal his
emotion.

We may leave our travelers now to cross the St. Lawrence, and rejoin
them a little later at Point Lévis.

+The Author.+



CAMERON OF LOCHIEL


CHAPTER I.

D'HABERVILLE AND CAMERON OF LOCHIEL.


    Give me, oh! give me back the days
    When I--I too--was young,
    And felt, as they now feel, each coming hour,
    New consciousness of power....

    The fields, the grove, the air was haunted,
    And all that age has disenchanted....

    Give me, oh! give youth's passions unconfined,
    The rush of joy that felt almost like pain.

+Goethe.+


Archibald Cameron of Lochiel, son of a Highland chief who had wedded
a daughter of France, was but four years old when he lost his mother.
Brought up by his father, who was, in the language of the Scriptures,
a valiant hunter in the sight of God, ever since ten years old he had
followed him in the chase of the roebuck and other wild beasts, scaling
the highest mountains, swimming the icy torrents, making his couch on
the wet sod with no covering but his plaid, no roof but the vault of
heaven. Under such a Spartan training the boy came to find his chief
delight in this wild and wandering life.

When Archie was but twelve years old, in the year 1745, his father
joined the standard of that unhappy young prince who, after the
old romantic fashion, threw himself into the arms of his Scottish
countrymen, and called upon them to win him back a crown which the
bloody field of Culloden forced him to renounce forever.

In the early days of this disastrous struggle, courage was triumphant
over numbers and discipline, and their mountains re-echoed to their
outmost isles the songs of victory. The enthusiasm was at its height.
The victory seemed already won. But short-lived was their triumph.
After achievements of most magnificent heroism they were forced to bow
their necks to defeat. Lochiel shared the fate of the many brave whose
blood reddened the heather on Culloden.

An uncle of Archie's, who had also followed the standard and fortunes
of the unhappy prince, had the good fortune, after the disaster of
Culloden, to save his head from the scaffold. Through a thousand
perils, over a thousand obstacles, he made good his flight to France
with his orphan nephew. The old gentleman, ruined in fortune and under
sentence of banishment, was having a hard struggle to support himself
and his charge, when a Jesuit, an uncle of the boy on his mother's
side, undertook a share of the burden. Archie was sent to the Jesuits'
College in Quebec. Having completed a thorough course in mathematics,
he is leaving college when the reader makes his acquaintance.

Archibald Cameron of Lochiel, whom the harsh hand of misfortune had
brought to an early maturity, knew not at first what to make of a boy
noisy, troublesome and mocking, who seemed the despair alike of masters
and students. To be sure, the boy had not all the fun on his own side.
Out of twenty canings and impositions bestowed upon his class, Jules
D'Haberville was sure to pocket at least nineteen for his share.

It must be acknowledged, also, that the older pupils, driven to the
end of their patience, bestowed upon him sometimes more knocks than
nuts; but you would have thought the youngster regarded all this as an
encouragement, so ready was he to resume his tricks. We may add that
Jules, without being vindictive, never wholly overlooked an injury.
In one way or another he always made matters even. His satire, his
home thrusts, which could bring a flush to the face of even the most
self-possessed, served his purpose very effectually with the masters or
with those larger students whom he could not otherwise reach.

He had adopted it as his guiding principle, that he would never
acknowledge himself beaten; and it was necessary, therefore, for his
opponents, when weary of war, to make him proposals of peace.

The reader will doubtless conclude that the boy was cordially disliked;
on the contrary, every one was fond of him; he was the pet of the
college. The truth is, Jules had such a heart as pulses all too rarely
in the breast of man. To say that he was generous to a fault, that he
was ever ready to defend the absent, to sacrifice himself in order to
conceal the faults of others, would not give an adequate description of
his character. The following incident will reveal him more effectively:
When he was about twelve years old, a senior student got out of
patience and kicked him; with no intention, however, of hurting him
much. It was contrary to Jules's code of honor to carry complaints to
the masters. He contented himself with replying to his assailant: "You
are too thick-headed, you big brute, for me to waste any sarcasm on
you. You would not understand it. One must pierce your hide in some
other way; but be patient, you will lose nothing by waiting!"

After rejecting certain more or less ingenious schemes of vengeance,
Jules resolved to catch his enemy asleep and shave his eyebrows--a
punishment which would be easy to inflict, as Dubuc, the youth who had
kicked him, was a mighty heavy sleeper. This plan had the further
advantage of touching him on a most sensitive point, for he was a
handsome fellow and a good deal of a dandy.

Jules had just decided on this revenge, when he heard Dubuc say to one
of his friends, who had rallied him on looking gloomy:

"Indeed, I have good reason to be, for I expect my father to-morrow. I
have got into debt with the shop-keepers, hoping that my mother would
come to Quebec ahead of him, and would relieve me without his knowing
anything about it. Father is close-fisted and violent. He will probably
strike me in the first heat of his anger; and I don't know where to
hide my head. I have a mind to run away until the storm is over."

"Oh," said Jules, "why don't you let me help you out of the scrape?"

"The devil you say!" exclaimed Dubuc, shaking his head.

"Why," said Jules, "do you think that on account of a kick, more or
less, I would leave a fellow-student in a scrape and exposed to the
violence of his amiable papa? To be sure, you almost broke my back, but
that is another affair, which we will settle later. How much cash do
you want?"

"My dear fellow," answered Dubuc, "that would be abusing your kindness.
I need a large sum, and I know you are not in funds just now; for you
emptied your purse to help that poor woman whose husband was killed the
other day."

"A pretty story," said Jules. "As if one could not always find money
to save a friend from the wrath of a father who is going to break his
neck! How much do you want?"

"Fifty francs!"

"You shall have them this evening," said the boy.

Jules, an only son, belonging to a rich family, indulged by everybody,
had his pockets always full of money. Father and mother, uncles and
aunts, godfathers and godmothers, they all kept loudly proclaiming that
boys should not have too much money to spend. At the same time they
outdid each other in surreptitiously supplying his purse!

Dubuc, however, had spoken truly; the boy's purse was empty for the
moment. Fifty francs was, moreover, quite a sum in those days. The King
of France was paying his red allies only fifty francs for an English
scalp. His Britannic Majesty, richer or more generous, was paying a
hundred for the scalp of a Frenchman!

Jules did not care to apply to his uncles and his aunts, the only
relations he had in the city. His first thought was to borrow fifty
francs by pawning his gold watch, which was worth at least twenty-five
louis. Revolving the matter, however, he bethought himself of a certain
old woman, a servant of the house, whom his father had dowered at her
marriage, and to whom he had afterward advanced enough money to set
her up in business. The business had prospered in her hands. She was a
widow, rich and childless.

There were difficulties to surmount, however. The old dame was rather
avaricious and crusty; and on the occasion of Jules's last visit they
had not parted on the best terms possible. She had even chased him
into the street with a broomstick. The boy had done nothing more,
however, than play her a little trick. He had given her pet spaniel a
dose of snuff, and when the old lady ran to the help of her dog, who
was conducting himself like a lunatic, he had emptied the rest of the
snuff-box into a dandelion salad which she was carefully picking over
for her supper.

"Hold on, mother," he cried, as he ran away, "there is a good seasoning
for you."

Jules saw that it was very necessary to make his peace with the good
dame, and hence these preliminaries. He threw his arms about her neck
on entering, in spite of the old woman's attempt to shield herself from
these too ardent demonstrations, after the way he had affronted her.

"See, my dear Madeleine," he cried, "I am come to pardon thine offenses
as thou must pardon all who have offended against thee. Everybody says
thou art stingy and revengeful, but that is no business of mine. Thou
wilt get quit of it by roasting a little while in another world. I wash
my hands of it entirely."

Madeleine hardly knew whether to laugh or be angry at this fantastic
preamble; but, as she was fond of the boy, for all his tricks, she took
the wiser course and smiled good-naturedly.

"Now that we are in a better humor," continued Jules, "let us proceed
to business. I have been a little foolish and have got into debt, and I
dread to trouble my good father about it. In fact, I want fifty francs
to settle the unfortunate business. Can you lend me that much?"

"Indeed, now, Master D'Haberville," answered the old dame, "if that
were all I had in the world, I would give it all to save your father
any trouble. I owe so much to your father."

"Tut!" said Jules, "if you talk of those ha'pennies, there's an end of
business. But listen, my good Madeleine, since I might break my neck
when I least expect it, or still more probably when climbing on the
roof or among the city bells, I must give you a bit of writing for
security. I hope, however, to pay you back in a month at latest."

At this Madeleine was seriously offended. She refused the note, and
counted him out the money. Jules almost choked her with his embrace,
sprang through the window into the street and hurried back to the
college.

At recess time that evening Dubuc was freed from all anxiety on the
score of his amiable papa.

"But remember," said D'Haberville, "I still owe you for that kick."

"Hold on, dear boy," exclaimed Dubuc, with feeling. "I wish you would
settle that right now. Break my head or my back with the poker, only
let us settle it. To think that, after all you have done for me, you
are still bearing me a grudge, would be nothing less than torture."

"A fine idea that," exclaimed the boy, "to think that I bear any one
a grudge because I am in his debt in regard to a little exchange of
compliments! So that is how you take it, eh? Shake, then, and let us
think no more about it. You may brag of being the only one to scratch
me without my having drawn his blood in return."

With these words he sprang upon the young man's shoulders like a
monkey, pulled out a few hairs to satisfy his conscience, and scampered
off to join the merry group which was waiting for him.

Archibald of Lochiel, matured by bitter experiences, and on that
account more self-contained and more reserved than other boys of his
age, on his first coming to college hardly knew whether to smile or
be angry at the frolics of the little imp who seemed to have taken
him for his special butt, and who hardly left him any peace. He could
not be expected to divine that this was Jules's manner of showing his
affection for those he loved the most. One day, driven to the end of
his forbearance, Archie said to him:

"Do you know, you would try the patience of a saint! Verily I don't
know what to do with you."

"But you have a way out of your difficulties," answered Jules. "My skin
itches; give me a good hiding, and I'll leave you in peace. That will
be easy enough for you, you young Hercules."

Lochiel, indeed, accustomed from his infancy to the trying sports of
the young Highlanders, was at fourteen marvelously strong for his years.

"Do you think," exclaimed Archie, "that I am such a coward as to strike
a boy younger and weaker than myself?"

"Oh, no," said Jules; "I see we agree on that score--never a knock for
a little fellow. What suits me is a good tussle with a fellow of my
own age, or even a little older; then shake hands and think no more
about it. By the way," continued Jules, "you know that comical dog De
Chavigny? He is older than I am, but so weak and miserable that I have
never had the heart to punch him, although he has played me such a
trick as even St. Francis himself would hardly pardon. Just think of
him running to me all out of breath and exclaiming: 'I've just snatched
an egg from that greedy Letourneau, who had stolen it out of the
refectory. Here, hide it; he's after me!'

"'Where do you want me to hide it?' said I.

"'Oh, in your hat,' he answered; 'he'll never think of looking for it
there.'

"As for me, I was fool enough to do it. I ought to have mistrusted him."

In a moment Letourneau came up and jammed my cap down over my eyes.
The accursed egg nearly blinded me, and I swear did not smell like a
rose-garden! It was an addled egg found by Chavigny in a nest which the
hen had probably abandoned a month before. I got out of that mess with
the loss of a cap, a vest, and other garments. Well, after the first
of my fury was over, I could not help laughing; and if I bear him any
grudge at all, it is for having got ahead of me with so neat a trick. I
should love to get it off on Derome, who keeps his hair so charmingly
powdered. As for Letourneau, since he was too stupid to have invented
the trick myself, I contented myself with saying to him, 'Blessed are
they of little wit'; and he professed himself proud of the compliment,
being glad enough, after all, to get off so cheaply.

"And now, my dear Archie," continued Jules, "let us come to terms. I
am a kindly potentate, and my conditions shall be most easy. To please
you, I undertake, on the word of a gentleman, to diminish by one third
those tricks of mine which you lack the good taste to appreciate.
Come, now, you ought to be satisfied with that if you are not utterly
unreasonable, for you see, my dear boy, I love you. I would not have
made peace with any one else on such advantageous terms."

Lochiel could not help laughing as he shook the irrepressible lad. It
was from this conversation that the friendship between the two boys
took its beginning--on Archie's part with a truly Scottish restraint,
on the side of Jules with the passionate warmth of which the French
heart is capable.

A few weeks later, about a month before the vacation, which began then
on the 15th of August, Jules seized his friend's arm and whispered:

"Come into my room. I have just had a letter from father which concerns
you."

"Concerns me!" exclaimed the other in astonishment.

"Why are you surprised?" retorted D'Haberville. "Do you think you
are not of sufficient importance for any one to concern himself about
you? Why, all New France is talking about the handsome Scotchman. The
mammas, fearing your influence on the inflammable hearts of their
daughters, talk seriously of petitioning our principal never to let you
appear in public except with a veil on, like the women of the East."

"Come, stop your fooling, and let me go on with my reading."

"But I am very much in earnest," said Jules. And, dragging his friend
along with him, he read him part of a letter from his father, which ran
as follows:

"What you tell me about your young friend, Master de Lochiel, interests
me very much. I grant your request with the greatest pleasure. Give
him my compliments, and beg him to come and spend his next vacation
with us, and all his vacations so long as he is attending college. If
he does not consider this invitation sufficiently formal, I will write
to him myself. His father sleeps upon a glorious field. Soldiers are
brothers everywhere; so should their sons be likewise. Let him come to
our own hearth-stone, and our hearts shall open to him as to one of our
own blood."

Archie was so affected by the warmth of this invitation that for some
moments he could not answer.

"Come, my haughty Scotlander, will you do us the honor?" said his
friend. "Or must my father send, on a special embassy, his chief
butler, José Dubé, with the bagpipes slung on his back in the form of
a St. Andrew's cross--as is the custom, I believe, among your Highland
chiefs--to present you his invitation with all due formality?"

"As, fortunately, I am no longer in my Highlands," said Archie,
laughing, "we can dispense with these formalities. I shall write at
once to Captain D'Haberville, and thank him with my whole heart for his
noble generosity to the exiled orphan."

"Then, let us speak reasonably for once," said Jules, "if only
for the novelty of the thing. You think me very light, silly, and
scatter-brained. I acknowledge that there is a little of all that in
me, which does not prevent me from being in earnest more often than
you think. I have long been seeking a friend, a true and high-hearted
friend. I have watched you very closely, and I find you all I could
wish. Lochiel, will you be my friend?"

"Without a moment's question, my dear boy," answered Archie, "for I
have always felt strongly attracted toward you."

"Well, then," cried Jules, grasping his hand warmly, "it is for life
and death with us Lochiel!"

Thus, between a boy of twelve and a boy of fourteen, was ratified a
friendship which in the sequel will be exposed to the crudest tests.

"Here's a letter from mother," said Jules, "in which there is a word
for you":

"I hope your friend, Master de Lochiel, will do us the pleasure of
accepting your father's invitation. We are all eager to meet him. His
room is ready, alongside of your own. In the box which José will hand
you there is a parcel for him which he would grieve me greatly by
refusing. In sending it I am thinking of the mother he has lost."


The box contained equal shares for the two boys of cakes, sweetmeats,
jams, and other dainties.

The friendship between the two boys grew stronger day by day. They
became inseparable. Their college-mates dubbed them variously Damon and
Pythias, Orestes and Pylades, Nisus and Euryalus. At last they called
them the brothers.

All the time Lochiel was at college he spent his vacations with the
D'Habervilles, who made no difference between the two boys unless to
lavish the more marked attentions upon the young Scotchman who had
become as it were a son of the house. It was most natural, then, that
Archie, before sailing for Europe, should accompany Jules on his
farewell visit to his father's house.

The friendship between the two young men, as we have already said, is
destined to be put to the bitterest trial, when that code of honor
which has been substituted by civilization for the truest sentiments
of the human heart, shall come to teach them the obligations of men
who are fighting under hostile flags. But why anticipate the dark
future? Have they not enjoyed during almost ten years of college life
the passing griefs, the little jealousies, the eager pleasures, the
differences and ardent reconciliations which characterize a boyish
friendship?



CHAPTER II.

A NIGHT WITH THE SORCERERS.

    Angels and ministers of grace, defend us!
    Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damned,
    Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell.

_Hamlet._

    Ecoute comme les bois crient. Les hiboux fuient épouvantés....
    Entends-tu ces voix dans les hauteurs, dans le lointain, ou près
       de nous?...
    Eh! oui! la montagne retentit, dans toute sa longueur, d'un furieux
    chant magique.

_Faust._

    Lest bogles catch him unawares....

    Where ghaits and howlets nightly cry....

    When out the hellish legion sallied.

+Burns.+


As soon as our young travelers, crossing the St. Lawrence opposite
Quebec, have reached Point Lévis, José makes haste to harness a
splendid Norman horse into one of those low sledges which furnish the
only means of transport at this season, when the roads are only covered
here and there with snow or ice, and when overflowing streams intercept
the way at intervals. When they come to one of these obstacles José
unharnesses the horse, all three mount, and the brook is speedily
forded. It is true that Jules, who clasps José around the waist, tries
every now and then to throw him off, at the risk of partaking with him
the luxury of a bath at a little above zero. He might as well have
tried to throw Cape Tourmente into the St. Lawrence. José, who, in
spite of his comparatively small stature, is as strong as an elephant,
laughs in his sleeve and pretends not to notice it. The brook forded,
José goes back for the sledge, reharnesses the horse, climbs into the
sledge with the baggage in front of him lest he should get it wet, and
speedily overtakes his fellow-travelers, who have not halted a moment
in their march.

Thanks to Jules, the conversation never flags during the journey.
Archie does nothing but laugh over the witticisms that Jules
perpetrates at his expense. He has long given up attempting any retort.

"We must hurry," exclaimed D'Haberville; "it is thirty-six miles from
here to St. Thomas. My uncle De Beaumont takes supper at seven. If we
get there too late, we shall probably make a poor meal. The good things
will be all gobbled up. You know the proverb, _tarde venientibus ossa_."

"Scotch hospitality is proverbial," exclaimed Archie. "With us the
welcome is the same day or night. That is the cook's business."

"Verily," said Jules, "I believe it as if I saw it with my own eyes;
were it otherwise it would show a plentiful lack of skill or good-will
on the part of your peticoated cooks. It is delightfully primitive,
that Scotch cookery of yours. With a few handfuls of oatmeal sodden in
cold water--since you have neither wood nor coal in your country--you
can make an excellent soup at little cost and with no great expenditure
of culinary science, and feast your guests as well in the night as in
the daytime. It is quite true that, when some distinguished personage
seeks your hospitality--which often happens, since Scotland is loaded
down with enough coats-of-arms to crush a camel--it is true I say, that
you set before him, in addition to your oatmeal soup, the head, feet,
or nice, juicy tail of a sheep, with salt for sauce; the other parts
of the animal never seem to grow in Scotland."

Lochiel contented himself with glancing at Jules over his shoulder and
repeating:

"'Quis talia fando Myrmidonum, Dolopumve'--"

"What's that?" exclaimed Jules, in assumed indignation; "you call me
a Myrmidon, a Dolopian--me, the philosopher! And, moreover, my worthy
pedant, you abuse me in Latin--you who so murder the accent with your
Caledonian tongue that Virgil must squirm in his grave! You call me
a Myrmidon--me, the geometrician of my class! You remember that the
Professor of Mathematics predicted that I should be another Vauban--"

"Yes, indeed," interrupted Archie, "in recognition of your famous
perpendicular line, which leaned so much to the left that all the class
trembled lest it should fall and crush its base; seeing which, our
professor sought to console you by predicting that your services would
be required in case of the reconstruction of the Tower of Pisa."

Jules struck a tragic attitude and cried:

"'Tu t'en souviens, Cinna! et veux m'assassiner.'

"You are going to stab me upon the king's highway, beside this mighty
St. Lawrence, untouched by all the beauty of nature which surrounds
us--untouched by yon lovely cascade of Montmorency, which the
_habitants_ call 'The Cow,' a title very much the reverse of poetic,
but which, nevertheless, expresses well enough the exquisite whiteness
of the stream which leaps from its bosom like the rich and foaming flow
from the milch-cow's udder. You are going to stab me right in sight
of the Isle of Orleans, which, as we go on, conceals from our view
the lovely waterfall which I have so poetically described! Heartless
wretch! will nothing make you relent--not even the sight of poor José
here, who is touched by all this wisdom and eloquence in one so young,
as Fénelon would have said could he have written my adventures?"

"Do you know," interrupted Archie, "you are at least as remarkable in
poetry as you are in geometry?"

"Who can doubt it?" answered Jules. "No matter, my perpendicular made
you all laugh and myself most of all. You know, however, that that
was only another trick of that scamp De Chavigny, who had stolen my
exercise and rolled up another in place of it, which I handed in to the
teacher. You all pretended not to believe me, since you were but too
glad to see the trickster tricked."

José, who ordinarily took little part in the young men's conversation,
and who, moreover, had been unable to understand what they had just
been talking about, now began to mutter under his breath:

"What a queer kind of a country that, where the sheep have only heads,
feet, and tails, and not even a handful of a body! But, after all, it
is none of my business; the men who are the masters will fix things to
suit themselves; but I can't help thinking of the poor horses!"

José, who was a regular jockey, had a most tender consideration for
these noble beasts. Then, turning to Archie, he touched his cap and
said:

"Saving your presence, sir, if the gentry themselves eat all the oats
in your country, which is because they have nothing better to eat, I
suppose, what do the poor horses do? They require to be well fed if
they do much hard work."

The young men burst out laughing. José, a little abashed by their
ridicule, exclaimed:

"Excuse me if I have said anything foolish. One may make mistakes
without being drunk, just like Master Jules there, who was telling you
that the _habitants_ call Montmorency Falls 'The Cow' because their
foam is white as milk. Now, I have a suspicion that it is because they
bellow like a cow in certain winds. At least that is what the old
bodies say when they get chattering."

"Don't be angry, old boy," answered Jules, "you are probably quite
right. We were laughing because you thought there were horses in
Scotland. The animal is unknown in that country."

"What! no horses, sir? What do the folks do when they want to travel?"

"When I say no horses," answered D'Haberville, "you must not understand
me too literally. They have an animal resembling our horses, but not
much taller than my big dog Niger. It lives in the mountains, wild as
our caribous, and not altogether unlike them. When a Highlander wants
to travel, he sounds his bagpipe; all the villagers gather together
and he unfolds to them his project. Then they scatter through the
woods, or rather through the heather, and after a day or two of toil
and tribulation they succeed, occasionally, in capturing one of these
charming beasts; then, after another day or two, if the brute is not
too obstinate, and if the Highlander has enough patience, he sets out
on his journey, and sometimes even succeeds in coming to the end of it."

"Well, I must say," retorted Lochiel, "you are a pretty one to be
making fun of my Highlanders! You have good right to be proud of this
princely turn-out of your own! It will be hard for posterity to believe
that the high and mighty lord of D'Haberville sends for his son and
heir in a sort of dung-cart without wheels! Doubtless he will send some
outriders on ahead of us, in order that nothing shall be lacking in our
triumphal approach to the manor of St. Jean Port Joli!"

"Well done, Lochiel! you are saved, brother mine," cried Jules. "A
very neat home thrust. Claws for claws, as one of your Scottish saints
exclaimed one day, when he was having a scrimmage with the devil."

José, during this discussion, was scratching his head disconsolately.
Like Caleb Balderstone, in The Bride of Lammermoor, he was very
sensitive on all subjects touching his master's honor.

"What a wretched fool I am!" he cried in a piteous voice. "It is all my
fault. The seigneur has four carryalls in his coach-house, of which
two are brand new and varnished up like fiddles, so that I used one
for a looking-glass last Sunday. So, then, when the seigneur said to
me yesterday morning, 'Get ready, José, for you must go to Quebec to
fetch my son and his friend Mr. de Lochiel; see that you take a proper
carriage'--I, like a fool, said to myself that when the roads were so
bad the only thing to take was a sled like this! Oh, yes, I'm in for a
good scolding! I shall get off cheap if I have to do without my brandy
for a month! At three drinks a day," added José, "that will make a loss
of ninety good drinks, without counting extras. But it's all the same
to me; I'll take my punishment like a man."

The young men were greatly amused at José's ingenious lying for the
honor of his master.

"Now," said Archie, "since you seem to have emptied your budget of all
the absurdities that a hair-brained French head can contain, try and
speak seriously, and tell me why the Isle of Orleans is called the
Isle of the Sorcerers."

"For the very simple reason," answered Jules, "that a great many
sorcerers live there."

"There you begin again with your nonsense," said Lochiel.

"I am in earnest," said Jules. "These Scotch are unbearably conceited.
They can't acknowledge any excellence in other nations. Do you think,
my dear fellow, that Scotland has the monopoly of witches and wizards?
I would beg you to know that we too have our sorcerers; and that two
hours ago, between Point Lévis and Beaumont, I might as easily as not
have introduced you to a very respectable sorceress. I would have you
know, moreover, that on the estate of my illustrious father you shall
see a witch of the most remarkable skill. The difference is, my dear
boy, that in Scotland you burn them, while here we treat them in a
manner fitting their power and social influence. Ask José if I am not
telling the truth?"

José did not fail to confirm all he said. In his eyes the witches of
Beaumont and St. Jean Port Joli were genuine and mighty sorceresses.

"But to speak seriously," continued Jules, "since you would make a
reasonable man of me, _nolens volens_, as my sixth-form master used to
say when he gave me a dose of the strap, I believe the fable takes its
rise from the fact that the _habitants_ on the north and south shores
of the river, seeing the islanders on dark nights go out fishing with
torches, mistake their lights for will-o'-the-wisps. Then, you know
that our country folk regard the will-o'-the-wisps as witches, or as
evil spirits who endeavor to lure the wandering wretch to his death.
They even profess to hear them laugh when the deluded traveler falls
into the quagmire. The truth is, that there is an inflammable gas
continually escaping from our bogs and swampy places, from which to the
hobgoblins and sorcerers is but a single step."

"Impossible," said Archie; "your logic is at fault, as the professor so
often had to tell you. You see the inhabitants of the north and south
shores themselves go fishing with torches, whence, according to your
reasoning, the islanders should have called them sorcerers; which is
not the case."

While Jules was shaking his head, with no answer ready, José took up
the word.

"If you would let me speak, gentlemen, I might explain your difficulty
by telling you what happened to my late father who is now dead."

"Oh, by all means, tell us that; tell us what happened to your late
father who is now dead," cried Jules, with a marked emphasis on the
last four words.

"Yes, my dear José, do us the favor of telling us about it," added
Lochiel.

"I can't half tell the story," answered José, "for, you see, I have
neither the fine accent nor the splendid voice of my lamented parent.
When he used to tell us what happened to him in his vigil, our bodies
would shake so, as if with ague, as would do you good to see. But I'll
do my best to satisfy you:

"It happened one day that my late father, who is now dead, had left the
city for home somewhat late. He had even diverted himself a little, so
to speak, with his acquaintances in Point Lévis. Like an honest man, he
loved his drop; and on his journeys he always carried a flask of brandy
in his dogfish-skin satchel. They say the liquor is the milk for old
men."

"_Lac dulce_," interjected Archie, sententiously.

"Begging your pardon, Mr. Archie," answered José, with some warmth, "it
was neither _sweet water_ (_de l'eau_ _douce_) nor _lake-water_ (_eau
de lac_), but very good, unadulterated brandy which my late father, now
dead, was carrying in his satchel."

"Capital, upon my word!" cried Jules. "It serves you right for your
perpetual Latin quotations!"

"I beg your pardon, José," said Lochiel, very seriously. "I intended
not the shadow of disrespect to your late father."

"You are excused, sir," said José, entirely mollified. "It happened
that it was quite dark when my father at last got under way. His
friends did their best to keep him all night, telling him that he would
have to pass, all by himself, the iron cage wherein _La Corriveau_ did
penance for having killed her husband.

"You saw it yourselves, gentlemen, when leaving Point Lévis at one
o'clock. She was quiet then in her cage, the wicked creature, with her
eyeless skull. But never you trust to her being blind. She is a cunning
one, you had better believe! If she can't see in the daytime, she knows
well enough how to find her way to torment poor folks at night. Well,
as for my late father, who was as brave as his captain's sword, he told
his friends that he didn't care--that he didn't owe _La Corriveau_ a
farthing--with a heap more reasons which I can not remember now. He put
the whip to his horse, a fine brute that could travel like the wind,
and was gone in a second.

"As he was passing the skeleton, he thought he heard a noise, a sort
of wailing; but, as a heavy southwest wind was blowing, he made up his
mind it was only the gale whistling through the bones of the corpse. It
gave him a kind of a start, nevertheless, and he took a good pull at
the flask to brace himself up. All things considered, however, as he
said to himself, Christians should be ready to help each other; perhaps
the poor creature was wanting his prayers. He took off his cap and
devoutly recited a _de profundis_ for her benefit, thinking that, if it
didn't do her any good, it could at least do her no harm, and that he
himself would be the better for it. Well, then he kept on as fast as he
could; but, for all that, he heard a queer sound behind him--tic-tac,
tic-tac, like a piece of iron striking on the stones. He thought it
was the tire of his wheel, or some piece of the wagon, that had come
unfastened. He got out to see, but found everything snug. He touched
the horse to make up for lost time, but after a little he heard again
that tic-tac, tic-tac, on the stones. Being brave, he didn't pay much
attention.

"When he got to the high ground of St. Michel, which we passed a little
way back, he grew very drowsy. 'After all,' said my late father, 'a
man is not a dog! let us take a little nap; we'll both be the better
for it, my horse and I.' Well, he unharnessed his horse, tied his legs
so he would not wander too far, and said: 'There, my pet, there's good
grass, and you can hear the brook yonder. Good-night.'

"As my late father crawled himself into the wagon to keep out of the
dew, it struck him to wonder what time it was. After studying the
'Three Kings' to the south'ard and the 'Wagon' to the north'ard, he
made up his mind it must be midnight. 'It is time,' said he, 'for
honest men to be in bed.'

"Suddenly, however, it seemed to him as if Isle d'Orléans was on fire.
He sprang over the ditch, leaned on the fence, opened his eyes wide,
and stared with all his might. He saw at last that the flames were
dancing up and down the shore, as if all the will-o'-the-wisps, all
the damned souls of Canada, were gathered there to hold the witches'
sabbath. He stared so hard that his eyes which had grown a little dim
grew very clear again, and he saw a curious sight; you would have said
they were a kind of men, a queer breed altogether. They had a head big
as a peck measure, topped off with a pointed cap a yard long; then they
had arms, legs, feet, and hands armed with long claws, but no body
to speak of. Their crotch, begging your pardon, gentlemen, was split
right up to their ears. They had scarcely anything in the way of flesh;
they were kind of all bone, like skeletons. Every one of these pretty
fellows had his upper lip split like a rabbit's, and through the split
stuck out a rhinoceros tusk a foot long, like you see, Mr. Archie, in
your book of unnatural history. As for the nose, it was nothing more
nor less, begging your pardon, than a long pig's snout, which they
would rub first on one side and then on the other of their great tusk,
perhaps to sharpen it. I almost forgot to say that they had a long
tail, twice as long as a cow's, which they used, I suppose, to keep off
the flies.

"The funniest thing of all was that there were but three eyes to every
couple of imps. Those that had but one eye, in the middle of the
forehead, like those Cyclopes that your uncle, who is a learned man,
Mr. Jules, used to read to us about out of that big book of his, all
Latin, like the priest's prayer-book, which he called his Virgil--those
that had but one eye held each by the claw two novices with the proper
number of eyes. Out of all these eyes spurted the flames which lit up
Isle d'Orléans like broad day. The novices seemed very respectful to
their companions, who were, as one might say, half blind; they bowed
down to them, they fawned upon them, they fluttered their arms and
legs, just like good Christians dancing the minuet.

"The eyes of my late father were fairly starting out of his head. It
was worse and worse when they began to jump and dance without moving
from their places, and to chant in a voice as hoarse as that of a
choking cow, this song:

    "Hoary Frisker, Goblin gay,
    Long-nosed Neighbor, come away!
    Come my Grumbler in the mud,
    Brother Frog of tainted blood!
    Come, and on this juicy Christian
    Let us feast it while we may!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"'Ah! the accursed heathens,' exclaimed my late father, 'an honest
man can not be sure of his property for a moment! Not satisfied with
having stolen my favorite song, which I always keep to wind up with at
weddings and feasts, just see how they've played the devil with it! One
would hardly recognize it. It is Christians instead of good wine that
they are going to treat themselves to, the scoundrels!'

"Then the imps went on with their hellish song, glaring at my late
father, and curling their long snouts around their great rhinoceros
tusks:

    "Come, my tricksy Traveler's Guide,
    Devil's Minion true and tried.
    Come, my Sucking-Pig, my Simple,
    Brother Wart and Brother Pimple;
    Here's a fat and juicy Frenchman
    To be pickled, to be fried!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"'All that I can say to you just now, my darlings,' cried my late
father, 'is that if you get no more fat to eat than what I'm going to
bring you on my lean carcass you'll hardly need to skim your broth.'

"The goblins, however, seemed to be expecting something, for they kept
turning their heads every moment. My late father looked in the same
direction. What was that he saw on the hill-side? A mighty devil, built
like the rest, but as long as the steeple St. Michel, which we passed
awhile back. Instead of the pointed bonnet, he wore a three-horned
hat, topped with a big thorn bush in place of a feather. He had but
one eye, blackguard that he was, but that was as good as a dozen. He
was doubtless the drum-major of the regiment, for he held in his hand
a saucepan twice as big as our maple-sugar kettles, which hold twenty
gallons, and in the other hand a bell-clapper, which no doubt the dog
of a heretic had stolen from some church before its consecration. He
pounded on his saucepan, and all the scoundrels began to laugh, to
jump, to flutter, nodding to my late father as if inviting him to come
and amuse himself with them.

"'You'll wait a long time, my lambs,' thought my late father to
himself, his teeth chattering in his head as if he had the shaking
fever--'you will wait a long time, my gentle lambs. I'm not in any
hurry to quit the good Lord's earth to live with the goblins!'

"Suddenly the tall devil began to sing a hellish round, accompanying
himself on the saucepan, which he beat furiously, and all the goblins
darted away like lightning--so fast, indeed, that it took them less
than a minute to go all the way around the island. My poor late father
was so stupefied by the hubbub that he could not remember more than
three verses of the song, which ran like this:

  "Here's the spot that suits us well
  When it gets too hot in hell--
      Toura-loura;
  Here we go all round,
    Hands all round,
  Here we go all round.

  "Come along and stir your sticks,
  You jolly dogs of heretics--
      Toura-loura;
  Here we go all round,
    Hands all round,
  Here we go all round.

  "Room for all, there's room for all
  That skim or wriggle, bounce or crawl--
      Toura-loura;
  Here we go all round,
    Hands all round,
  Here we go all round."

"My late father was in a cold sweat; he had not yet, however, come to
the worst of it."

Here José paused. "But I am dying for a smoke, and, with your
permission, gentlemen, I'll light my pipe."

"Quite right, my dear José," answered D'Haberville. "For my own part,
I am dying for something else. My stomach declares that this is
dinner-hour at college. Let's have a bite to eat."

Jules enjoyed the privilege of aristocratic descent--he had always a
magnificent appetite. This was specially excusable to-day, seeing that
he had dined at noon, and had had an immense deal of exercise since.



CHAPTER III.

LA CORRIVEAU.

Sganarelle.--Seigneur commandeur, mon maitre, Don Juan, vous demande
si vous voulez lui faire l'honneur de venir souper avec lui.

Le même.--La statue m'a fait signe.

+Le Festin de Pierre.+

  What? the ghosts are growing ruder,
  How they beard me....

  To-night--why this is Goblin Hall,
  Spirits and specters all in all.

+Faustus.+


José, after having unbridled the horse and given him what he called
a mouthful of hay, made haste to open a box which he had ingeniously
arranged on the sled to serve, as needs might be, both for seat and
larder. He brought out a great napkin in which were wrapped up two
roast chickens, a tongue, a ham, a little flask of brandy, a good big
bottle of wine. He was going to retire when Jules said to him:

"Come along and take a bite with us, José."

"Yes, indeed, come and sit here by me," said Archie.

"Oh, gentlemen," said José, "I know my place too well--"

"Come now, no affectations," said Jules. "We are here like three
soldiers in camp; will you be so good as to come, you obstinate fellow?"

"Since you say so, gentlemen, I must obey my officers," answered Jules.

The two young men seated themselves on the box which served them also
for a table. José took his place very comfortably on a bundle of hay,
and all three began to eat and drink with a hearty appetite.

Archie, naturally abstemious, had soon finished his meal. Having
nothing better to do, he began to philosophize. In his lighter moods he
loved to propound paradoxes for the pleasure of the argument.

"Do you know, brother mine, what it was that interested me most in my
friend's story?"

"No," exclaimed Jules, attacking another drumstick; "and what's more,
for the next quarter of an hour I don't care. The hungry stomach has no
ears."

"Oh, that's no matter," said Archie. "It was those devils, goblins,
spirits, or whatever you choose to call them, with only one eye; I
wish that the fashion could be adopted among men; there would be fewer
hypocrites, fewer rogues, and therefore fewer dupes. Assuredly, it
is some consolation to see that virtue is held in honor even among
hobgoblins. Did you notice with what respect those one-eyed fellows
were treated by the other imps?"

"That may be," said Jules, "but what does it prove?"

"It proves," answered Lochiel, "that the one-eyed fellows deserved the
special attentions that were paid them; they are the _haute noblesse_
among hobgoblins. Above all they are not hypocrites."

"Nonsense," said Jules, "I begin to be afraid your brain is softening."

"Oh, no, I'm not so crazy as you think," answered Archie. "Just watch
a hypocrite with somebody he wants to deceive. With what humility he
keeps one eye half shut while the other watches the effect of his
words. If he had but one eye he would lose this immense advantage,
and would have to give up his _rôle_ of hypocrite which he finds
so profitable. There, you see, is one vice the less. My Cyclops of
a hobgoblin has probably many other vices, but he is certainly no
hypocrite; whence the respect to which he is treated by a class of
beings stained with all the vices in the category."

"Here's your health, my Scottish philosopher," exclaimed Jules, tossing
off a glass of wine. "Hanged if I understand a word of your reasoning
though."

"But it's clear as day," answered Archie. "The heavy and indigestible
stuff with which you are loading down your stomach must be clogging
your brains. If you ate nothing but oatmeal, as we Highlanders do, your
ideas would be a good deal clearer."

"That oatmeal seems to stick in your throat, my friend," said Jules;
"it ought to be easy enough to digest, however, even without the help
of sauce."

"Here's another example," said Archie. "A rogue who wishes to cheat an
honest man in any kind of a transaction always keeps one eye winking
or half shut, while the other watches to see whether he is gaining
or losing in the trade. One eye is plotting while the other watches.
That is a vast advantage for the rogue. His antagonist, on the other
hand, seeing one eye clear, frank, and honest, can not suspect what
is going on behind the eye which blinks, and plots, and calculates,
while its fellow keeps as impenetrable as fate. Now let us reverse the
matter," continued Archie. "Let us suppose the same rogue in the same
circumstances, but blind of one eye. The honest man watching his face
may often read in his eye his inmost thoughts; for my Cyclops, being
himself suspicious, is constrained to keep his one eye wide open."

"Rather," laughed Jules, "if he doesn't want to break his neck."

"Granted," replied Lochiel, "but still more for the purpose of reading
the soul of him he wants to deceive. He finds it necessary, moreover,
to give his eye an expression of candor and good-fellowship in order to
divert suspicion--which must absorb a portion of his wits. Then, since
there are few men who can follow, without the help of both their eyes,
two different trains of thought at the same time, our rogue finds that
he has lost half of his advantage. He renounces his wicked calling, and
society is the richer by one more honest man."

"My poor Archie," murmured Jules, "I see that we have exchanged
_rôles_; that I am now the Scotch philosopher, as I so courteously
entitle you, while you are the crazy Frenchman, as you irreverently
term me. For, don't you see, my new Prometheus, that this one-eyed race
of men, endowed with all the virtues which you intend to substitute,
might very readily blink, if that is an infallible recipe for
deception, and for the purpose of taking observations just open their
eye from time to time."

"Oh, you French, you frivolous French, you deluded French, no wonder
the English catch you on the hip in diplomacy!"

"It would seem to me," interrupted Jules, "that the Scotch ought to
know something by this time about English diplomacy!"

Archie's face saddened and grew pale; his friend had touched a sore
spot. Jules perceived this at once and said:

"Forgive me, dear fellow, if I have hurt you. I know the subject is one
that calls up painful memories. I spoke, as usual, without thinking.
One often thoughtlessly wounds those one best loves by a retort which
one may think very witty. But come, let us drink to a merry life! Go
on with your remarkable reasoning; that will be pleasanter for both of
us."

"The cloud has passed over, and I resume my argument," said Lochiel,
repressing his emotion. "Don't you see that my rascal could not shut
his eye for an instant without the risk of his prey escaping him? Do
you remember the squirrel that we saved last year from that great
snake, at the foot of the old maple-tree in your father's park;
remember how the snake kept its glowing eyes fixed upon the poor little
creature in order to fascinate it; how the squirrel kept springing from
branch to branch with piteous cries, unable to remove its gaze for an
instant from that of the hideous reptile? When we made it look away it
was saved. Do you remember how joyous it was after the death of its
enemy? Well, my friend, let our rogue shut his eye and his prey escapes
him."

"Verily," said Jules, "you are a mighty dialectician. I shouldn't
wonder if you would some day eclipse, if you don't do it already, such
prattlers as Socrates, Zeno, Montaigne, and other philosophers of that
ilk. The only danger is lest your logic should some day land you in the
moon."

"You think you can make fun of me," said Archie. "Very well, but only
let some pedant, with his pen behind his ear, undertake to refute my
thesis seriously, and a hundred scribblers in battle array will take
sides for and against, and floods of ink will flow. The world has been
deluged with blood itself in defense of theories about as reasonable as
mine. Why such a thing has often been enough to make a man famous."

"Meanwhile," answered Jules, "your argument will serve as one of those
after-pieces with which Sancho Panza used to put Don Quixote to sleep.
As for me, I greatly prefer the story of our friend José."

"You are easily pleased, sir," said the latter, who had been taking a
nap during the scientific discussion.

"Let us listen," said Archie; "_Conticuêre omnes, intentique ora
tenebant._"

"_Conticuêre_ ... you irrepressible pedant," cried D'Haberville.

"It's not one of the priest's stories," put in José briskly; "but it is
as true as if he had told it from the pulpit; for my late father never
lied."

"We believe you, my dear José," said Lochiel. "But now please go on
with your delightful narrative."

"Well," said José, "it happened that my late father, brave as he was,
was in such a devil of a funk that the sweat was hanging from the end
of his nose like a head of oats. There he was, the dear man, with his
eyes bigger than his head, never daring to budge. Presently he thought
he heard behind him the 'tic tac,' 'tic tac,' which he had already
heard several times on the journey; but he had too much to occupy his
attention in front of him to pay much heed to what might pass behind.
Suddenly, when he was least expecting it, he felt two great bony hands,
like the claws of a bear, grip him by the shoulders. He turned around
horrified, and found himself face to face with La Corriveau, who was
climbing on his back. She had thrust her hands through the bars of her
cage and succeeded in clutching him; but the cage was heavy, and at
every leap she fell back again to the ground with a hoarse cry, without
losing her hold, however, on the shoulders of my late father, who bent
under the burden. If he had not held tight to the fence with both
hands, he would have been crushed under the weight. My poor late father
was so overwhelmed with horror that one might have heard the sweat
that rolled off his forehead dropping down on the fence like grains of
duck-shot.

"'My dear Francis,' said La Corriveau, 'do me the pleasure of taking me
to dance with my friends of Isle d'Orléans?'

"'Oh, you devil's wench!' cried my late father. That was the only oath
the good man ever used, and that only when very much tried."

"The deuce!" exclaimed Jules, "it seems to me that the occasion was a
very suitable one. For my own part, I should have been swearing like a
heathen."

"And I," said Archie, "like an Englishman."

"Isn't that much the same thing," answered D'Haberville.

"You are wrong, my dear Jules. I must acknowledge that the heathen
acquit themselves very well; but the English? Oh, my! Le Roux who, soon
as he got out of college, made a point of reading all the bad books
he could get hold of, told us, if you remember, that that blackguard
of a Voltaire, as my uncle the Jesuit used to call him, had declared
in a book of his, treating of what happened in France in the reign
of Charles VII, when that prince was hunting the islanders out of
his kingdom--Le Roux told us that Voltaire had put it on record that
'every Englishman swears.' Well, my boy, those events took place about
the year 1445--let us say, three hundred years ago. Judge, then, what
dreadful oaths that ill-tempered nation must have invented in the
course of three centuries!"

"I surrender," said Jules. "But go on, my dear José."

"'Devil's wench!' exclaimed my late father, 'is that your gratitude for
my _de profundis_ and all my other prayers? You'd drag _me_ into the
orgie, would you? I was thinking you must have been in for at least
three or four thousand years of purgatory for your pranks; and you had
only killed two husbands--which was a mere nothing. So having always a
tender heart for everything, I felt sorry for you, and said to myself
we must give you a helping hand. And this is the way you thank me, that
you want to straddle my shoulders and ride me to hell like a heretic!'

"'My dear Francis,' said La Corriveau, 'take me over to dance with my
dear friends;' and she knocked her head against that of my late father
till her skull rattled like a dry bladder filled with pebbles.

"'You may be sure,' said my late father, 'You hellish wench of Judas
Iscariot, I'm not going to be your jackass to carry you over to dance
with those pretty darlings!'

"'My dear Francis,' answered the witch, 'I can not cross the St.
Lawrence, which is a consecrated stream, except with the help of a
Christian.'

"'Get over as best you can, you devilish gallows bird,' said my late
father. 'Get over as best you can; every one to his own business. Oh,
yes, a likely thing that I'll carry you over to dance with your dear
friends; but that will be a devil of a journey you have come, the Lord
knows how, dragging that fine cage of yours, which must have torn up
all the stones on the king's highway! A nice row there'll be when the
inspector passes this way one of these days and finds the road in such
a condition! And then, who but the poor _habitant_ will have to suffer
for your frolics, getting fined for not having kept the road properly!'

"The drum-major suddenly stopped beating on his great sauce-pan. All
the goblins halted and gave three yells, three frightful whoops, like
the Indians give when they have danced that war-dance with which they
always begin their bloody expeditions. The island was shaken to its
foundation, the wolves, the bears, all the other wild beasts, and the
demons of the northern mountains took up the cry, and the echoes
repeated it till it was lost in the forests of the far-off Saguenay.

"My poor, late father thought that the end of the world had come, and
the Day of Judgment.

"The tall devil with the sauce-pan struck three blows; and a silence
most profound succeeded the hellish hubbub. He stretched out his arm
toward my late father, and cried with a voice of thunder: 'Will you
make haste, you lazy dog? will you make haste, you cur of a Christian,
and ferry our friend across? We have only fourteen thousand four
hundred times more to prance around the island before cock-crow. Are
you going to make her lose the best of the fun?'

"'Go to the devil, where you all belong,' answered my late father,
losing all patience.

"'Come, my dear Francis,' said La Corriveau, 'be a little more
obliging. You are acting like a child about a mere trifle. Moreover,
see how the time is flying. Come, now, one little effort!'

"'No, no, my wench of Satan,' said my late father. 'Would to Heaven you
still had on the fine collar which the hangman put around your neck two
years ago. You wouldn't have so clear a wind-pipe.'

"During this dialogue the goblins on the island resumed their chorus:

  "'Here we go all round,
    Hands all round,
  Here we go all round.'

"'My dear Francis,' said the witch, 'if your body and bones won't carry
me over, I'm going to strangle you. I will straddle your soul and ride
over to the festival.' With these words, she seized him by the throat
and strangled him."

"What," exclaimed the young men, "she strangled your poor, late father,
now dead?"

"When I said strangled, it was very little better than that," answered
José, "for the dear man lost his consciousness."

"When he came to himself he heard a little bird, which cried _Qué-tu_?
(Who art thou?)

"'Oh, ho!' said my late father, 'it's plain I'm not in hell, since I
hear the dear Lord's birds!' He opened first one eye, then the other,
and saw that it was broad daylight. The sun was shining right in his
face; the little bird, perched on a neighboring branch, kept crying
_qué-tu_?'

"'My dear child,' said my late father, 'it is not very easy to answer
your question, for I'm not very certain this morning just who I am.
Only yesterday I believed myself to be a brave, honest, and God-fearing
man; but I have had such an experience this night that I can hardly be
sure that it is I, Francis Dubé, here present in body and soul. Then
the dear man began to sing:

  'Here we go all round,
    Hands all round,
  Here we go all round.'

"In fact, he was half bewitched. At last, however, he perceived that
he was lying full length in a ditch where, happily, there was more mud
than water; but for that my poor, late father, who now sleeps with the
saints, surrounded by all his relations and friends, and fortified by
all the holy sacraments, would have died without absolution, like a
monkey in his old tree, begging your pardon for the comparison, young
gentlemen. When he had got his face clear from the mud of the ditch,
in which he was stuck fast as in a vise, the first thing he saw was
his flask on the bank above him. At this he plucked up his courage and
stretched out his hand to take a drink. But no such luck! The flask was
empty! The witch had drained every drop."

"My dear José," said Lochiel, "I think I am about as brave as the next
one. Nevertheless, if such an adventure had happened to me, never again
would I have traveled alone at night."

"Nor I either," said D'Haberville.

"To tell you the truth, gentlemen," said José, "since you are so
discriminating, I will confess that my late father, who before this
adventure would not have turned a hair in the graveyard at midnight,
was never afterward so bold; he dared not even go alone after sunset to
do his chores in the stable."

"And very sensible he was; but finish your story," said Jules.

"It is finished," said José. "My late father harnessed his horse, who
appeared, poor brute, to have noticed nothing unusual, and made his way
home fast as possible. It was not till a fortnight later that he told
us his adventure."

"What do you say to all that, my self-satisfied skeptic who would
refuse to Canada the luxury of witches and wizards?" inquired
D'Haberville.

"I say," answered Archie, "that our Highland witches are mere infants
compared with those of New France, and, what's more, if ever I get
back to my Scottish hills, I'm going to imprison all our hobgoblins in
bottles, as Le Sage did with his wooden-legged devil, Asmodeus."

"Hum-m-m!" said José. "It would serve them just right, accursed
blackguards; but where would you get bottles big enough? There'd be the
difficulty."



CHAPTER IV.

THE BREAKING UP OF THE ICE.

On entendit du côté de la mer un bruit epouvantable, comme si des torrents
d'eau, mêlés à des tonnerres, eussent roulé du haut des montagnes;
tout le monde s'écria: voilà l'ouragan.

+Bernardin de Saint-Pierre.+

  Though aged, he was so iron of limb
  Few of your youths could cope with him.

+Byron.+

Que j'aille à son secours, s'écria-t-il, ou que je meure.

+Bernardin de Saint-Pierre.+

Les vents et les vagues sont toujours du côté du plus habile nageur.

+Gibbon.+


The travelers merrily continued their journey. The day drew to a close,
and they kept on for a time by starlight. At length the moon rose and
shone far over the still bosom of the Saint Lawrence. At the sight of
her, Jules broke out into rhapsodies, and cried:

"I feel myself inspired, not by the waters of Hippocrene, which I
have never tasted and which, I trust, I never shall taste, but by the
kindly juice of Bacchus, dearer than all the fountains in the world,
not even excepting the limpid wave of Parnassus. Hail to thee, fair
moon! Hail to thee, thou silvern lamp, that lightest the steps of two
men free as the children of our mighty forests, two men but now escaped
from the shackles of college! How many times, O moon, as thy pale rays
pierced to my lonely couch, how many times have I longed to break my
bonds and mingle with the joyous throngs at balls and routs, while a
harsh and inexorable decree condemned me to a sleep which I abhorred!
Ah, how many times, O moon, have I sighed to traverse, mounted upon
thy crescent at the risk of breaking my neck, the regions thou wast
illuminating in thy stately course, even though it should take me to
another hemisphere! Ah, how many times--"

"Ah, how many times in thy life hast thou talked nonsense!" exclaimed
Archie. "But, since frenzy is infectious, listen now to a true poet,
and abase thyself, proud spirit. O moon, thou of the threefold essence,
thou whom the poets of old invoked as Artemis the Huntress, how sweet
it must be to thee to forsake the dark realms of Pluto, and not less
the forests wherein, with thy baying pack, thou raisest a din enough
to deafen all the demons of Canada! How sweet it must be to thee, O
moon, to journey now in tranquil dominance, in stupendous silence, the
ethereal spaces of heaven! Repent of thy work, I beseech thee! Restore
the light of reason to this poor afflicted one, my dearest friend,
who--"

"O Phoebe, patron of fools," interrupted Jules, "not for my friend have
I any prayer to make thee. Thou art all guiltless of his infirmity, for
the mischief was done--"

"I say, gentlemen," exclaimed José, "when you are done your
conversation with my lady moon--I don't know how you find so much to
say to her--would it please you to notice what a noise they are making
in St. Thomas yonder?"

All listened intently. It was the church bell pealing wildly.

"It is the Angelus," exclaimed Jules D'Haberville.

"Oh, yes," exclaimed José, "the Angelus at eight o'clock in the
evening."

"Then it's a fire," said Archie.

"But we don't see any flames," answered José. "Whatever it is let's
make haste. There is something unusual going on yonder."

Driving as fast as they could, half an hour later they entered the
village of St. Thomas. All was silence. The village appeared deserted.
Only the dogs, shut up in some of the houses, were barking madly.
But for the noise of the curs they might have thought themselves
transported into that city which we read of in the Arabian Nights whose
inhabitants had all been turned into marble.

Our travelers were on the point of entering the church, the bell of
which was still ringing, when they noticed a light and heard shouts
from the bank by the rapids near the manor house. Thither they made
their way at full speed.

It would take the pen of a Cooper or a Chateaubriand to paint the scene
that met their eyes on the bank of South River.

Captain Marcheterre, an old sailor of powerful frame, was returning to
the village toward dusk at a brisk pace, when he heard out on the river
a noise like some heavy body falling into the water, and immediately
afterward the groans and cries of some one appealing for help. It was
a rash _habitant_ named Dumais, who, thinking the ice yet sufficiently
firm, had ventured upon it with his team, about a dozen rods southwest
of the town. The ice had split up so suddenly that his team vanished
in the current. The unhappy Dumais, a man of great activity, had just
succeeded in springing from the sled to a stronger piece of ice, but
the violence of the effort had proved disastrous; catching his foot in
a crevice, he had snapped his leg at the ankle like a bit of glass.

Marcheterre, who knew the dangerous condition of the ice, which was
split in many places, shouted to him not to stir, and that he was going
to bring him help. He ran at once to the sexton, telling him to ring
the alarm while he was routing out the nearest neighbors. In a moment,
all was bustle and confusion. Men ran hither and thither without
accomplishing anything. Women and children began to cry. Dogs began to
howl, sounding every note of the canine gamut; so that the captain,
whose experience pointed him out as the one to direct the rescue, had
great difficulty in making himself heard.

However, under the directions of Marcheterre, some ran for ropes and
boards while others stripped the fences and wood-piles of their cedar
and birch bark to make torches. The scene grew more and more animated,
and by the light of fifty torches shedding abroad their fitful glare
the crowd spread along the river bank to the spot pointed out by the
old sailor.

Dumais waited patiently enough for the coming of help. As soon as
he could make himself heard he implored them to hurry, for he was
beginning to hear under the ice low grumbling sounds which seemed to
come from far off toward the river's mouth.

"There's not a moment to lose, my friends," exclaimed the old captain,
"for that is a sign the ice is going to break up."

Men less experienced than he wished immediately to thrust out upon the
ice their planks and boards without waiting to tie them together; but
this he forbade, for the ice was already full of cracks, and moreover
the ice cake which supported Dumais was isolated, having on the one
side the shattered surface where the horse had been engulfed, and on
the other a large air-hole which cut off all approach. Marcheterre, who
knew that the breaking up was not only inevitable, but to be expected
at any moment, was unwilling to risk the life of so many people
without taking every precaution that his experience could dictate.

Some thereupon with hatchets began to notch the planks and boards; some
tied them together end to end; some, with the captain at their head,
dragged them out on the ice, while others were pushing from the bank.
This improvised bridge was not more than fifty feet from the bank when
the old sailor cried: "Now, boys, let some strong active fellows follow
me at a distance of ten feet from one another, and let the rest keep
pushing as before!"

Marcheterre was closely followed by his son, a young man in the prime
of life, who, knowing his father's boldness, kept within reach in
order to help him in case of need, for lugubrious mutterings, the
ominous forerunners of a mighty cataclysm, were making themselves heard
beneath the ice. But every one was at his post and every one doing his
utmost; those who broke through, dragged themselves out by means of the
floating bridge, and, once more on the solid ice, resumed their efforts
with renewed zeal. Two or three minutes more and Dumais would be saved.

The two Marcheterres, the father ahead, were within about a hundred
feet of the wretched victim of his own imprudence, when a subterranean
thunder, such as precedes a strong shock of earthquake, seemed to
run the whole length of South River. This subterranean sound was at
once followed by an explosion like the discharge of a great piece of
artillery. Then rose a terrible cry. "The ice is going! the ice is
going! save yourselves!" screamed the crowd on shore.

Indeed the ice cakes were shivering on all sides under the pressure
of the flood, which was already invading the banks. Then followed
dreadful confusion. The ice cakes turned completely over, climbed
upon each other with a frightful grinding noise, piled themselves to
a great height, then sank suddenly and disappeared beneath the waves.
The planks and boards were tossed about like cockle-shells in an ocean
gale. The ropes and chains threatened every moment to give away.

The spectators, horror-stricken at the sight of their kinsfolk exposed
to almost certain destruction, kept crying: "Save yourselves! save
yourselves!" It would have been indeed tempting Providence to continue
any longer the rash and unequal struggle with the flood.

Marcheterre, however, who seemed rather inspired than daunted by the
appalling spectacle, ceased not to shout: "Forward boys! forward, for
God's sake!"

This old sea-lion, ever cool and unmoved when on the deck of his
reeling ship and directing a man[oe]uvre on whose success the lives of
all depended, was just as calm in the face of a peril which froze the
boldest hearts. Turning round, he perceived that, with the exception of
his son and Joncas, one of his sailors, the rest had all sought safety
in a headlong flight. "Oh, you cowards, you cowards!" he cried.

He was interrupted by his son, who, seeing him rushing to certain
death, seized him and threw him down on a plank, where he held him some
moments in spite of the old man's mighty struggles. Then followed a
terrible conflict between father and son. It was filial love against
that sublime self-abnegation, the love of humanity.

The old man, by a tremendous effort, succeeded in throwing himself off
the plank, and he and his son rolled on to the ice, where the struggle
was continued fiercely. At this crisis, Joncas, leaping from plank to
plank, from board to board, came to the young man's assistance.

The spectators, who from the shore lost nothing of the heart-rending
scene, in spite of the water already pursuing them, made haste to draw
in the ropes, and the united efforts of a hundred brawny arms were
successful in rescuing the three heroes. Scarcely, indeed, had they
reached a place of safety, when the great sheet of ice, which had
hitherto remained stationary in spite of the furious attacks of the
enemy assailing it on all sides, groaning, and with a slow majesty of
movement, began its descent toward the falls.

All eyes were straightway fixed upon Dumais. He was a brave man. Many a
time had he proved his courage upon the enemies of his country. He had
even faced the most hideous of deaths, when, bound to a post, he was on
the point of being burned alive by the Iroquois, which he would have
been but for the timely aid of his friends the Melicites. Now he was
sitting on his precarious refuge calm and unmoved as a statue of death.
He made some signs toward the shore, which the spectators understood as
a last farewell to his friends. Then, folding his arms, or occasionally
lifting them toward heaven, he appeared to forget all earthly ties and
to prepare himself for passing the dread limits which divide man from
the eternal.

Once safely ashore, the captain displayed no more of his anger.
Regaining his customary coolness he gave his orders calmly and
precisely.

"Let us take our floating bridge," said he, "and follow yonder sheet of
ice down river."

"What is the use?" cried some who appeared to have had experience. "The
poor fellow is beyond the reach of help."

"There's one chance yet, one little chance of saving him," said the
old sailor, giving ear to certain sounds which he heard far off to the
southward, "and we must be ready for it. The ice is on the point of
breaking up in the St. Nicholas, which, as you know, is very rapid.
The violence of the flood at that point is likely to crowd the ice of
South River over against our shore; and what's more, we shall have no
reason to reproach ourselves."

It fell out as Captain Marcheterre predicted. In a moment or two there
was a mighty report like a peal of thunder; and the St. Nicholas,
bursting madly from its fetters, hurled itself upon the flank of the
vast procession of ice floes which, having hitherto encountered no
obstacle, were pursuing their triumphant way to the St. Lawrence.
It seemed for a moment that the fierce and swift attack, the sudden
thrust, was going to pile the greater part of the ice cakes upon
the other shore as the captain hoped. The change it wrought was but
momentary, for the channel getting choked there was an abrupt halt,
and the ice cakes, piling one upon another, took the shape of a lofty
rampart. Checked by this obstacle, the waves spread far beyond both
shores and flooded the greater part of the village. This sudden deluge,
driving the spectators from the banks, destroyed the last hope of poor
Dumais.

The struggle was long and obstinate between the angry element and
the obstacle which barred its course; but at length the great lake,
ceaselessly fed by the main river and the tributaries, rose to the top
of the dam, whose foundations it was at the same time eating away from
beneath. The barrier, unable to resist the stupendous weight, burst
with a roar that shook both banks. As South River widens suddenly below
its junction with the St. Nicholas, the unchained mass darted down
stream like an arrow, and its course was unimpeded to the cataract.

Dumais had resigned himself to his fate. Calm amid the tumult, his
hands crossed upon his breast, his eyes lifted heavenward, he seemed
absorbed in contemplation.

The spectators crowded toward the cataract to see the end of the
tragedy. Numbers, roused by the alarm bell, had gathered on the other
shore and had supplied themselves with torches by stripping off the
bark from the cedar rails. The dreadful scene was lighted as if for a
festival.

One could see in the distance the long, imposing structure of the
manor house, to the southwest of the river. It was built on the top
of a knoll overlooking the basin and ran parallel to the falls. About
a hundred feet from the manor house rose the roof of a saw mill, the
sluice of which was connected with the fall itself. Two hundred feet
from the mill, upon the crest of the fall, were sharply outlined the
remnants of a little island upon which, for ages, the spring floods
had spent their fury. Shorn of its former size--for it had once been a
peninsula--the islet was not now more than twelve feet square.

Of all the trees that had once adorned the spot there remained but a
single cedar. This veteran, which for so many years had braved the fury
of the equinoxes and the ice floods of South River, had half given way
before the relentless assaults. Its crown hung sadly over the abyss in
which it threatened soon to disappear. Several hundred feet from this
islet stood a grist mill, to the northwest of the fall.

Owing to a curve in the shore, the tremendous mass of ice which,
drawn by the fall, was darting down the river with frightful speed,
crowded all into the channel between the islet and the flour mill, the
sluice of which was demolished in a moment. Then the ice cakes, piling
themselves against the timbers to the height of the roof, ended by
crushing the mill itself as if it had been a house of cards. The ice
having taken this direction, the channel between the saw mill and the
island was comparatively free.

The crowd kept running along the bank and watching with horrified
interest the man whom nothing short of a miracle could save from a
hideous death. Indeed, up to within about thirty feet of the island,
Dumais was being carried farther and farther from his only hope of
rescue, when an enormous ice cake, dashing down with furious speed,
struck one corner of the piece on which he was sitting, and diverted
it violently from its course. It wheeled upon the little island and
came in contact with the ancient cedar, the only barrier between Dumais
and the abyss. The tree groaned under the shock; its top broke off and
vanished in the foam. Relieved of this weight, the old tree recovered
itself suddenly, and made ready for one more struggle against the
enemies it had so often conquered.

Dumais, thrown forward by the unexpected shock, clasped the trunk
of the cedar convulsively with both arms. Supporting himself on one
leg, he clung there desperately while the ice swayed and cracked and
threatened every instant to drag him from his frail support.

Nothing was lacking to the lurid and dreadful scene. The hurrying
torches on the shores threw a grim light on the ghastly features and
staring eyes of the poor wretch thus hanging by a hair above the gulf
of death. Unquestionably Dumais was brave, but in this position of
unspeakable horror he lost his self-control.

Marcheterre and his friends, however, still cherished a hope of saving
him.

Descrying on the shore near the saw mill two great pieces of squared
timber, they dragged these to a rock which projected into the river
about two hundred feet above the fall; to each of these timbers they
attached a cable and launched them forth, in hopes that the current
would carry them upon the island. Vain attempt! They could not thrust
them far enough out into the stream, and the timbers, anchored, as it
were, by the weight of the chains, kept swaying mid way between shore
and island.

It seemed impossible to add to the awful sublimity of the picture, but
on the shore was being enacted a most impressive scene. It was religion
preparing the Christian to appear before the dread tribunal; it was
religion supporting him to endure the final agony.

The parish priest, who had been at a sick bed, was now upon the
scene. He was a tall old man of ninety. The burden of years had not
availed to bend this modern Nestor, who had baptized and married all
his parishioners, and had buried three generations of them. His long
hair, white as snow and tossed by the night wind, made him look like a
prophet of old. He stood erect on the shore, his hands stretched out
to the miserable Dumais. He loved him; he had christened him; he had
prepared him for that significant rite of the Catholic Church which
seems suddenly to touch a child's nature with something of the angelic.
He loved him also as the husband of an orphan girl whom the old priest
had brought up. He loved him for the sake of his two little ones, who
were the joy of his old age. Standing there on the shore, like the
Angel of Pity, he not only administered the consolations of his sacred
office, but spoke to him tender words of love. He promised him that the
seigneur would never let his family come to want. Finally, seeing the
tree yield more and more before every shock, he cried in a loud voice,
broken with sobs: "My son, make me the 'Act of Contrition' and I will
give you absolution." A moment later, in a voice that rang clear above
the roaring of the flood and of the cataract, the old priest pronounced
these words: "My son, in the name of God the Father, in the name of
Jesus Christ, his Son, by whose authority I speak, in the name of
the Holy Ghost, your sins are forgiven you. Amen." And all the people
sobbed, "Amen."

Then Nature reasserted herself, and the old man's voice was choked with
tears. Again he regained his self-control, and cried: "Kneel, brethren,
while I say the prayers for the dying."

Once more the old priest's voice soared above the tumult, as he cried:

"Blessed soul, we dismiss you from the body in the name of God
the Father Almighty who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ
who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Ghost in whom you
were regenerate and born again, in the name of the angels and the
archangels, in the name of the thrones and the dominions, in the
name of the cherubim and seraphim, in the name of the patriarchs and
prophets, in the name of the blessed monks and nuns and all the saints
of God. The peace of God be with you this day, and your dwelling
forever in Sion; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." And all the
people wailed "Amen."

A death-like silence fell upon the scene, when suddenly shrieks were
heard in the rear of the crowd, and a woman in disordered garments,
her hair streaming out behind her, carrying a child in her arms and
dragging another at her side, pushed her way wildly to the river's
edge. It was the wife of Dumais.

Dwelling about a mile and a half from the village, she had heard the
alarm bell; but being alone with her children, whom she could not
leave, she had resigned herself as best she could till her husband
should return and tell her the cause of the excitement.

The woman, when she saw her husband thus hanging on the lip of the
fall, uttered but one cry, a cry so terrible that it pierced every
heart, and sank in a merciful unconsciousness. She was carried to the
manor house, where every care was lavished upon her by Madame de
Beaumont and her family.

As for Dumais, at the sight of his wife and children, a hoarse scream,
inarticulate and like the voice of a wounded beast, forced its way from
his lips and made all that heard it shudder. Then he appeared to fall
into a kind of stupor.

At the very moment when the old priest was administering the absolution
our travelers arrived upon the scene. Jules thrust through the crowd
and took his place between the priest and his uncle de Beaumont.
Archie, on the other hand, pushed forward to the water's edge, folded
his arms, took a rapid survey of the situation, and calculated the
chances of rescue.

After a moment's thought, he bounded rather than ran toward the group
surrounding Marcheterre. He began to strip off his clothes and to give
directions at the same time. His words were few and to the point:
"Captain, I am like a fish in the water; there is no danger for me,
but for the poor fellow yonder, in case I should strike that block of
ice too hard and dash it from its place. Stop me about a dozen feet
above the island, that I may calculate the distance better and break
the shock. Your own judgment will tell you what else to do. Now, for a
strong rope, but as light as possible, and a good sailor's knot."

While the old captain was fastening the rope under his arms, he
attached another rope to his body, taking the coil in his right hand.
Thus equipped, he sprang into the river, where he disappeared for an
instant, but when he came to the surface the current bore him rapidly
toward the shore. He made the mightiest efforts to gain the island, but
without succeeding, seeing which Marcheterre made all haste to draw
him back to land before his strength was exhausted. The moment he was
on shore, he made his way to the jutting rock. The spectators scarcely
breathed when they saw Archie plunge into the flood. Every one knew
of his giant strength, his exploits as a swimmer during his vacation
visits to the manor house of Beaumont. The anxiety of the crowd,
therefore, had been intense during the young man's superhuman efforts,
and, on seeing his failure, a cry of disappointment went up from every
breast.

Jules D'Haberville was all unaware of his friend's heroic undertaking.
Of an emotional and sympathetic nature, he could not endure the
heart-rending sight that met his view. After one glance of measureless
pity, he had fixed his eyes on the ground and refused to raise them.
This human being suspended on the verge of the bellowing gulf, this
venerable priest administering from afar under the open heaven the
sacrament of penance, the anguished prayers, the sublime invocation,
all seemed to him a dreadful dream.

Absorbed in these conflicting emotions, Jules D'Haberville had no idea
of Archie's efforts to save Dumais. He had heard the lamentations which
greeted the first fruitless effort, and had attributed them to some
little variation in the spectacle from which he withheld his gaze.

The bond between these two friends was no ordinary tie; it was the love
between a David and a Jonathan, "passing the love of woman."

Jules, indeed, spared Archie none of his ridicule, but the privilege
of tormenting was one which he would permit no other to share. Unlucky
would he be who should affront Lochiel in the presence of the impetuous
young Frenchman!

Whence arose this passionate affection? The young men had apparently
little in common. Lochiel was somewhat cold in demeanor, while Jules
was exuberantly demonstrative. They resembled one another, however, in
one point of profoundest importance; they were both high-hearted and
generous to the last degree.

José, who had been watching Lochiel's every movement, and who well knew
the extravagance of Jules's devotion, had slipped behind his young
master, and stood ready to restrain, by force, if necessary, this fiery
and indomitable spirit.

The anxiety of the spectators became almost unendurable over Archie's
second attempt to save Dumais, whom they regarded as utterly beyond
hope. The convulsive trembling of the unhappy man showed that his
strength was rapidly ebbing. Nothing but the old priest's prayers broke
the deathly silence.

As for Lochiel, his failure had but strengthened him in his heroic
purpose. He saw clearly that the effort was likely to cost him his
life. The rope, his only safety, might well break when charged with a
double burden and doubly exposed to the torrent's force. Too skillful
a swimmer was he not to realize the peril of endeavoring to rescue one
who could in no way help himself.

Preserving his coolness, however, he merely said to Marcheterre:

"We must change our tactics. It is this coil of rope in my right hand
which has hampered me from first to last."

Thereupon he enlarged the loop, which he passed over his right shoulder
and under his left armpit, in order to leave both arms free. This
done, he made a bound like that of a tiger, and, disappearing beneath
the waves, which bore him downward at lightning speed, he did not
come to the surface until within about a dozen feet of the island,
where, according to agreement, Marcheterre checked his course. This
movement appeared likely to prove fatal, for, losing his balance, he
was so turned over that his head remained under the waves while the
rest of his body was held horizontally on the surface of the current.
Happily his coolness did not desert him in this crisis, so great was
his confidence in the old sailor. The latter promptly let out two
more coils of rope with a jerky movement, and Lochiel, employing one
of those devices which are known to skillful swimmers, drew his heels
suddenly up to his hips, thrust them out perpendicularly with all his
strength, beat the water violently on one side with his hands, and so
regained his balance. Then, thrusting forward his right shoulder to
protect his breast from a shock which might be as fatal to himself as
to Dumais, he was swept upon the island in a flash.

Dumais, in spite of his apparent stupor, had lost nothing of what was
passing. A ray of hope had struggled through his despair at sight of
Lochiel's tremendous leap from the summit of the rock. Scarcely had
the latter, indeed, reached the edge of the ice, where he clung with
one hand while loosening with the other the coil of rope, than Dumais,
dropping his hold on the cedar, took such a leap upon his one uninjured
leg that he fell into Archie's very arms.

The torrent at once rose upon the ice, which, borne down by the
double weight, reared like an angry horse. The towering mass, pushed
irresistibly by the torrent, fell upon the cedar, and the old tree,
after a vain resistance, sank into the abyss, dragging with it in its
fall a large portion of the domain over which it had held sway for
centuries.

Mighty was the shout that went up from both banks of South River--a
shout of triumph from the more distant spectators, a heart-rending cry
of anguish from those nearer the stage whereon this drama of life and
death was playing itself out. Indeed, all had disappeared, as if the
wand of a mighty enchanter had been waved over scene and actors. From
bank to bank, in all its breadth, the cataract displayed nothing but a
line of gigantic waves falling with a sound of thunder, and a curtain
of pale foam waving to the summit of its crest.

Jules D'Haberville had not recognized his friend till the moment when,
for the second time, he plunged into the waves. Having often witnessed
his exploits as a swimmer, and knowing his tremendous strength, Jules
had manifested at first merely a bewildered astonishment; but when he
saw his friend disappear beneath the torrent, he uttered such a mad cry
as comes from the heart of a mother at sight of the mangled body of an
only son. Wild with grief, he was on the point of springing into the
river, when he felt himself imprisoned by the iron arms of José.

Prayers, threats, cries of rage and despair, blows and bites--all were
utterly wasted on the faithful José.

"There, there, my dear Master Jules," said José, "strike me, bite me,
if that's any comfort to you, but, for God's sake, be calm. You'll see
your friend again all right enough; you know he dives like a porpoise,
and one never knows when he is going to come up again when once he goes
under water. Be calm, my dear little Master Jules, you wouldn't want
to be the death of poor José, who loves you so, and who has so often
carried you in his arms. Your father sent me to bring you from Quebec.
I am answerable for you, body and soul, and it won't be my fault if I
don't hand you over to him safe and sound. Otherwise, you see, Master
Jules, why just a little bullet through old José's head! But, hold on,
there's the captain hauling in on the rope with all his might, and you
may be sure Master Archie is on the other end of it and lively as ever."

It was as José said; Marcheterre and his companions, in furious haste,
were running down the shore and by mighty armfuls dragging in the rope,
at the end of which they felt a double burden.

In another moment the weight was dragged ashore. It was all that they
could do to set Lochiel free from the convulsive clasp of Dumais, who
gave no other sign of life. Archie, on the other hand, when delivered
from the embrace which was strangling him, vomited a few mouthfuls of
water, breathed hoarsely, and exclaimed:

"He is not dead; it is nothing more than a swoon; he was lively enough
a minute ago."

Dumais was carried in all haste to the manor house, where everything
that the most loving care could suggest was done for him. At the end of
a half-hour some drops of wholesome moisture gathered upon his brow,
and a little later he reopened haggard eyes. After staring wildly
around the room for a time, he at length fixed his regard upon the old
priest. The latter placed his ear to Dumais's lips, and the first words
he gathered were: "My wife! My children! Mr. Archie!"

"Be at ease, my dear Dumais," said the old man. "Your wife has
recovered from her swoon; but, as she believes you to be dead, I must
be careful how I tell her of your deliverance, lest I kill her with
joy. As soon as prudent I will bring her to you. Meanwhile, here is Mr.
de Lochiel, to whom, through God, you owe your life."

At the sight of his deliverer, whom he had not yet recognized among the
attendants who crowded about him, a change came over the sick man. He
embraced Archie, he pressed his lips to his cheek, and a flood of tears
broke from his eyes.

"How can I ever repay you," said he, "for all you have done for me, for
my poor wife, and for my children?"

"By getting well again as soon as possible," answered Lochiel gayly.
"The seigneur has sent a messenger post-haste to Quebec to fetch the
most skillful surgeon, and another to place relays of horses along the
whole route, so that by midday to-morrow, at the latest, your leg will
be so well set that within two months you will be able again to carry
the musket against your old enemies the Iroquois."

When the old priest entered the room whither they had taken his adopted
daughter, the latter was sitting up in bed, holding her youngest child
in her arms while the other slept at her feet. Pale as death, cold, and
unresponsive to all that was said by Madame de Beaumont and the other
women, she kept repeating incessantly: "My husband! my poor husband!
I shall not even be allowed to kiss the dead body of my husband, the
father of my children!"

When she saw the old priest she stretched out her arms to him and
cried: "Is it you, my father, you who have been so kind to me since
childhood? Is it you who can have the heart to come and tell me all is
over? No, I know your love too well; you can not bring such a message.
Speak, I implore you, you whose lips can utter nothing but good!"

"Your husband," said the old man, "will receive Christian burial."

"He is dead, then," cried the unhappy woman; and for the first time she
burst into tears.

This was the reaction which the old priest looked for.

"My daughter," said he, "but a moment ago you were praying as a
peculiar favor that you might be permitted once more to embrace the
body of your husband, and God has heard your petition. Trust in him,
for the mighty hand which has plucked your husband out of the abyss is
able also to give him back to life." The young woman answered with a
fresh storm of sobs.

"He is the same all-merciful God," went on the old priest, "who said to
Lazarus in the tomb, 'Friend, I say unto you arise!' All hope is not
yet lost, for your husband in his present state of suffering--"

The poor woman, who had hitherto listened to her old friend without
understanding him, seemed suddenly to awaken as from a horrible
nightmare, and clasping her sleeping children in her arms she sprang to
the door.

On the meeting between Dumais and his family we will not intrude.

"Now, let us go to supper," said the seigneur to his venerable friend.
"We all need it, but more especially this heroic young man," added he,
bringing Archie forward.

"Gently, gently, my dear sir," said the old priest. "We have first
a more pressing duty to fulfill. We have to thank God, who has so
manifested his favor this night."

All present fell on their knees; and the old priest in a short but
touching prayer rendered thanks to Him who commands the sea in its
fury, who holds His creatures in the hollow of His hand.



CHAPTER V.

A SUPPER AT THE HOUSE OF A FRENCH-CANADIAN
SEIGNEUR.

  Half-cut-down, a pasty costly made,
  Where quail and pigeon, lark and leveret, lay
  Like fossils of the rock, with golden yolks
  Imbedded and injellied.

+Tennyson.+


The table was spread in a low but spacious room, whose furniture,
though not luxurious, lacked nothing of what an Englishman calls
comfort.

A thick woolen carpet, of Canadian manufacture and of a diamond
pattern, covered the greater part of the dining-room floor. The bright
woolen curtains, the backs of the mahogany sofa, ottomans, and chairs
were embroidered with gigantic birds, such as it would have puzzled the
most brilliant ornithologist to classify.

A great sideboard, reaching almost to the ceiling, displayed on its
many shelves a service of blue Marseilles china, of a thickness to defy
the awkwardness of the servants. Over the lower part of this sideboard,
which served the purpose of a cupboard and which might be called the
ground floor of the structure, projected a shelf a foot and a half
wide, on which stood a sort of tall narrow cabinet, whose drawers,
lined with green cloth, held the silver spoons and forks. On this shelf
also were some bottles of old wine, together with a great silver jar
of water, for the use of those who cared to dilute their beverage.

A pile of plates of the finest porcelain, two decanters of white wine,
a couple of tarts, a dish of whipped cream, some delicate biscuits, a
bowl of sweetmeats, on a little table near the sideboard covered with a
white cloth, constituted the dessert. In one corner of the room stood
a sort of barrel-shaped fountain of blue and white stone china, with
faucet and basin, where the family might rinse their hands.

In an opposite corner a great closet, containing square bottles filled
with brandy, absinthe, _liqueurs_ of peach kernel, raspberry, black
currant, anise, etc., for daily use, completed the furnishing of the
room.

The table was set for eight persons. A silver fork and spoon, wrapped
in a napkin, were placed at the left of each plate, and a bottle of
light wine at the right. There was not a knife on the table during the
serving of the courses; each was already supplied with this useful
instrument, which only the Orientals know how to do without. If the
knife one affected was a clasp knife, it was carried in the pocket;
if a sheath-knife, it was worn suspended from the neck in a case of
morocco, of silk, or even of birch-bark artistically wrought by the
Indians. The handles were usually of ivory riveted with silver; those
for the use of ladies were of mother-of-pearl.

To the right of each plate was a silver cup or goblet. These cups were
of different forms and sizes, some being of simple pattern with or
without hoops, some with handles, some in the form of a chalice, some
worked in relief, and very many lined with gold.

A servant, placing on a side-table the customary appetizers, namely,
brandy for the men and sweet cordials for the women, came to announce
that the supper was served. Eight persons sat down at the table--the
Seigneur de Beaumont and his wife; their sister, Madame Descarrières;
the old priest; Captain Marcheterre and his son Henri; and lastly
Archie and Jules. The lady of the house gave the place of honor at
her right to the priest, and the next place, at her left, to the old
captain. The _menu_ opened with an excellent soup (soup was then _de
rigueur_ for dinner and supper alike), followed by a cold pasty, called
the Easter pasty, which, on account of its immense proportions, was
served on a great tray covered with a napkin. This pasty, which would
have aroused the envy of Brillat-Savarin, consisted of one turkey, two
chickens, two partridges, two pigeons, the backs and thighs of two
rabbits, all larded with slices of fat pork. The balls of force-meat
on which rested, as on a thick, soft bed, these gastronomic riches,
were made of two hams of that animal which the Jew despises, but which
the Christian treats with more regard. Large onions scattered here
and there and a liberal seasoning of the finest spices completed the
appetizing marvel. But a very important point was the cooking, which
was beset with difficulty; for should the gigantic structure be allowed
to break, it would lose at least fifty per cent of its flavor. To guard
against so lamentable a catastrophe, the lower crust, coming at least
three inches up the sides, was not less than an inch thick. This crust
itself, saturated with the juices of all the good things inside, was
one of the best parts of this unique dish.

Chickens and partridges roasted in slices of pork, pigs feet _à la
Sainte-Ménéhould_, a hare stew, very different from that with which the
Spanish landlord regaled the unhappy Gil Blas--these were among the
other dishes which the seigneur set before his friends.

For a time there was silence with great appetites; but when dessert was
reached, the old sailor, who had been eating like a hungry wolf and
drinking proportionately, and all the time managing to keep his eyes on
Archie, was the first to break the silence.

"It would seem, young man," said he facetiously, "that you are not
much afraid of a cold in your head. It would seem, also, that you
don't really need to breathe the air of heaven, and that, like your
cousins the beaver and otter, you only put your nose out of water every
half-hour, for form sake, and to see what's going on in the upper
world. You are a good deal like a salmon--when one gives him line he
knows how to profit by it. It's my opinion, however, that gudgeons like
you are not found in every brook."

"It was only your presence of mind, captain," said Archie, "your
admirable judgment in letting out the exact quantity of rope, that
prevented me smashing my head or my stomach on the ice; and but for
you, poor Dumais, instead of being warm in bed would now be rolling
under the St. Lawrence ice."

"A nice joke," cried Marcheterre; "to hear him talk as if I had done
the thing! It was very necessary to give you line when I saw that
you threatened to stand on your head, which would have been a very
uncomfortable position in those waves. I wish to the d--Beg pardon,
your reverence, I was just going to swear; it is a habit with us
sailors."

"Nonsense," laughed the old priest, "you have been accustomed to it so
long, you old sinner, that one more or less hardly matters; your record
is full, and you no longer keep count of them."

"When the tally-board is quite full, reverend father," said
Marcheterre, "you shall just pass the plane over it, as you have done
so often before, and we'll run up another score. Moreover, I am sure
not to escape you, for you know so well when and where to hook me and
drag me into a blessed harbor with the rest of the sinners."

"You are too severe, sir," said Jules. "How could you wish to deprive
our dear captain of the comfort of swearing a little, if only against
his darky cook, who burns his fricassees as black as his own phiz?"

"You hair-brained young scoundrel," cried the captain with a comical
assumption of anger, "do you dare talk to me so after the trick you
played me?"

"I!" said Jules innocently, "I played you a trick? I am incapable of
it, dear captain. You are slandering me cruelly."

"Just listen to the young saint!" said Marcheterre. "I slandering him!
No matter, let us drop the subject for a moment. 'Lay to' for a bit,
boy; I shall know how to find you again soon. I was going to say,"
continued the captain, "when his reverence tumbled my unfortunate
exclamation to the bottom of the hold and shut the hatch down on it,
that if out of curiosity, Mr. Archie, you had gone down to the foot of
the fall, then, like your _confrère_ the salmon, you would probably
have shown us the trick of swimming up it again."

The spirit of mirth now ruled the conversation, and in repartee and
witticism the company found relief from the intense emotions to which
they had been subjected.

"Fill your glasses! Attention, everybody," cried the Seigneur de
Beaumont. "I am going to propose a health which will, I am very sure,
be received with acclamation."

"It is very easy for you to talk," said the old priest, whom they had
honored especially by giving him a goblet richly carved, but holding
nearly double what those of the other guests could contain. "I am over
ninety, and I have no longer the hard head of a twenty-five year old."

"Come, my old friend," said the seigneur, "you will not have far to go,
for you must sleep here to-night. Moreover, if your legs should become
unsteady, it will pass for the weakness of old age, and no one will be
shocked."

"You forget, seigneur," said the priest, laughing, "that I have
accepted your kind invitation to help take care of poor Dumais
to-night. I intend to sit up with him. If I take too much wine, what
use do you think I could be to the poor fellow?"

"Indeed, you shall go to bed," said the seigneur. "The master of the
house decrees it. We will rouse you in case of need. Have no anxiety
as to Dumais and his wife; their friend Mrs. Couture is with them. I
am even sending home, after they have supped, a lot of their gossips
and cronies, who wanted to be in the way all night and use up the fresh
air which the sick man is so much in need of. We will all be up if
necessary."

"You argue so well," answered the priest, "that I must even do as you
say," and he poured a fair quantity of wine into his formidable cup.

Then the Seigneur de Beaumont said to Archie, with solemn emphasis:
"What you have done is beyond all praise. I know not which is most
admirable, the splendid spirit of self-sacrifice which moved you to
risk your life for that of a stranger, or the courage and coolness
which enabled you to succeed. You possess all the qualities most
requisite to the career you are to follow. A soldier myself, I prophesy
great success for you. Let us drink to the health of Mr. de Lochiel!"

The toast was drunk with ardent enthusiasm.

In returning thanks, Archie said modestly:

"I am bewildered by so much praise for so simple a performance. I was
probably the only one present who knew how to swim; for any one else
would have done as I did. It is claimed that your Indian women throw
their infants into the water and let them make the best of their way to
shore; this teaches them to swim very early. I am tempted to believe
that our mothers in the Scottish Highlands follow the same excellent
custom. As long as I can remember I have been a swimmer."

"At your fooling again, Mr. Archie," said the captain. "As for me, I
have been a sailor these fifty years, and I have never yet learned how
to swim. Not that I have never fallen into the water, but I have always
had the good luck to catch hold of something. Failing that, I always
kept my feet going, as cats and dogs do. Sooner or later some one
always hauled me out; and here I am.

"That reminds me of a little adventure which happened to me when I was
a sailor. My ship was anchored by the banks of the Mississippi. It
might have been about nine o'clock in the evening, after one of those
suffocating days which one can experience only in the tropics. I had
made my bed up in the bows of my ship, in order to enjoy the evening
breezes. But for the mosquitoes, the sand flies, the black flies, and
the infernal noise of the alligators, which had gathered, I think,
from the utmost limits of the Father of Streams to give me a good
serenading, a monarch of the East might have envied me my bed. I am not
naturally timid, but I have an unconquerable horror of all kinds of
reptiles, whether they crawl on land or wriggle in the water."

"Captain, you have a refined and aristocratic taste which does you much
honor," said Jules.

"Do you dare to speak to me again, you disreputable," cried
Marcheterre, shaking his great fist at him. I was about forgetting you,
but your turn will come very soon. Meanwhile, I go on with my story.
I was feeling very safe and comfortable on my mat, whence I could
hear the hungry monsters snapping their jaws. I derided them, saying:
'You would be delighted, my lambs, to make a meal off my carcass, but
there's one little difficulty in the way of it; though you should have
to fast all your lives through like hermits I would never be the one to
break your fasting, for my conscience is too tender.'

"I don't know exactly how the thing happened, but I ended by falling
asleep, and when I awoke I was in the midst of these jolly companions.
You could never imagine the horror that seized me, in spite of my
customary coolness. I did not lose my presence of mind, however.
While under water I remembered that there was a rope hanging from the
bowsprit. As I came to the surface I had the good fortune to catch it.
I was as active as a monkey in those days; but I did not escape without
leaving as a keepsake in the throat of a very barbarous alligator one
of my boots and a valued portion of the calf of my leg.

"Now for your turn, you imp," continued the captain, turning to Jules.
"I must get even with you, sooner or later, for the trick you played
me. On my return from Martinique last year, I met monsieur one morning
in Quebec Lower Town as he was on the point of crossing the river to
return home for his vacation. After a perfect squall of embraces,
from which I escaped with difficulty by sheering off to larboard, I
commissioned him to tell my family of my arrival, and to say that I
could not be at St. Thomas for several days. What did this young saint
do? He went to my house at eight o'clock in the evening, shouting, like
all possessed: 'Oh, joy! oh, rapture! Three cheers and a tiger!'

"'My husband has come!' exclaimed Madame Marcheterre. 'Father has
come!' cried my two daughters.

"'Certainly,' said he; 'what else could I be making all this fuss
about?'

"Then he kissed my good wife--there was no great difficulty in that.
He wanted to kiss the girls, too, but they boxed his ears and sheered
off with all sails set. What does your reverence think of this for a
beginning, to say nothing of what followed?"

"Ah, Mr. Jules," cried the old priest, "these are nice things I am
hearing about you. Queer conduct this for a pupil of the Jesuit
fathers."

"You see, Mr. Abbé," said Jules, "that all that was only a bit of fun
to enable me to share the happiness of that estimable family. I knew
too well the ferocious virtue, immovable as the Cape of Storms, of
these daughters of the sea. I well knew that they would box my ears
soundly and sheer off with all sails set."

"I begin to believe that you are telling the truth, after all," said
the old priest, "and that there were no evil designs on your part. I
know my Jules pretty thoroughly."

"Worse and more of it," said the captain. "Take his part, do; that's
all he was wanting. But we'll see what you think when you hear the
rest. When my young gentleman had finished his larking, he said to my
wife: 'The captain told me to say he would be here to-morrow evening,
in the neighborhood of ten o'clock, and that, as his business had
prospered exceedingly (which, indeed, was all true), he wished that his
friends should celebrate his good luck with him. He wished that there
should be a ball and supper going on at his house when he arrived,
which would be just as the guests were sitting down to table. Make
ready, therefore, for this celebration, to which he has invited myself
and my brother de Lochiel. This puts me out a little,' added the young
hypocrite, 'for I am in a great hurry to get home, but for you ladies
there is nothing that I would not do.'

"'My husband does not consider that he is giving me too little time,'
said Madame Marcheterre. 'We have no market here. My cook is very old
to undertake so much in one day. The case is desperate, but to please
him we must accomplish the impossible.'

"'Perhaps I can be of some use to you,' said the hypocrite, pretending
to sympathize with her. 'I will undertake with pleasure to send out the
invitations.'

"'My dear Jules,' said my wife, 'that would be the greatest help. You
know our society. I give you _carte blanche_.'

"My wife ran all over the parish to get provisions for the feast. She
and the girls spent the greater part of the night helping the old cook
make pastries, whipped creams, blanc-mange, biscuits, and a lot of
sweet stuff that I wouldn't give for one steak of fresh codfish, such
as one gets on the Banks of Newfoundland. Mr. Jules, for his part, did
things up in style. That night he sent out two messengers, one to the
northeast, the other to the southwest, carrying invitations; so that by
six o'clock the next evening, thanks to his good management, my house
was full of guests, who were whirling around like so many gulls, while
I was anchored in Quebec, and poor madame, in spite of a frightful
cold, was doing the honors of the house with the best grace possible.
What do you think, gentlemen, of a trick like that; and what have you
to say in your defense, you wolf in sheep's clothing?"

"I wished," said Jules, "that everybody should share beforehand
in the joy of the family over the good fortune of so dear and so
generous a friend. Also, if you could have seen the regret and general
consternation when, toward eleven o'clock, it was found necessary
to sit down at table without waiting for you any longer, you would
certainly have been moved to tears. The morrow, you will remember, was
a fast day. As for your wife, she seems to be without the smallest idea
of gratitude. Observing, a little before eleven, that she was in no
hurry to bring on the supper, and that she was beginning to be anxious
about her dear husband, I whispered a word in her ear, and for thanks
she broke her fan over my back."

Everybody, the captain himself included, burst out laughing.

"How is it you never told us of this before, Marcheterre?" said the
Seigneur de Beaumont.

"It was hardly necessary," said the captain, "to publish it to the
world that we had been tricked by this young rascal. Moreover, it would
have been no particular satisfaction to us to inform you that you owed
the entertainment to the munificence of Mr. Jules D'Haberville; we
preferred to have the credit of it ourselves. I only tell it to you
to-day because it is too good to keep any longer."

"It seems to me, Mr. Diver," continued Marcheterre, addressing Archie,
"that, in spite of your reserved and philosophical demeanor, you were
an accomplice of Master Jules."

"I give you my word," replied Lochiel, "that I knew nothing of it
whatever. Not till the next day did Jules take me into his confidence,
whereupon I gave him a good scolding."

"You could hardly say much," said Jules, "after the rate at which
you kicked round your great Scotch legs with great peril to the more
civilized shins of your neighbors. You have doubtless forgotten that,
since you were not content with French cotillons, such as are accepted
among all civilized people, to please you we had to have Scotch reels.
The music for these our fiddler picked up by ear in an instant. It was
a very simple matter; he merely had to scrape his strings till they
screeched as if a lot of cats were shut up in a bag and some one were
pulling their tails."

"Oh, you are a bad lot," said the captain; "but won't you come and take
supper with us to-morrow, you and your friend, and make your peace with
the family?"

"That's the way to talk, now!" said Jules.

"Listen to the irrepressible," retorted Marcheterre.

As it was now very late, the party broke up, after drinking the health
of the old sailor and his son and pronouncing the eulogies they
deserved for the part they had played that night.

The young men had to stay some days at St. Thomas. The flood continued.
The roads were deluged. The nearest bridge, even supposing it had
escaped the general disaster, was some leagues southwest of the
village, and the rain came down in torrents. They were obliged to wait
till the river should be clear of ice, so as to cross in a boat below
the falls. They divided their time between the seigneur's family, their
other friends, and poor Dumais, whom the seigneur would not permit to
be moved. The sick man entertained them with stories of his fights
against the English and their savage allies, and with accounts of the
manners and customs of the aborigines.

"Although I am a native of St. Thomas," said Dumais one day, "I was
brought up in the parish of Sorel. When I was ten years old and my
brother nine, while we were in the woods one day picking raspberries
a party of Iroquois surprised and captured us. After a long march, we
came to the place where their canoe was hidden among the brambles by
the water's edge; and they took us to one of the islands of the St.
Lawrence. My father and his three brothers, armed to the teeth, set out
to rescue us. They were only four against ten; but I may say without
boasting that my father and my uncles were not exactly the kind of men
to be trifled with. They were tall, broad-chested fellows, with their
shoulders well set back.

"It might have been about ten o'clock in the evening. My brother and
I, surrounded by our captors, were seated in a little clearing in the
midst of thick woods, when we heard my father's voice shouting to
us: 'Lie flat down on your stomachs.' I immediately seized my little
brother around the neck and flattened him down to the ground with me.
The Iroquois were hardly on their feet when four well-aimed shots rang
out and four of the band fell squirming like eels. The rest of the
vermin, not wishing, I suppose, to fire at hazard against the invisible
enemies to whom they were serving as targets, started for the shelter
of the trees; but our rescuers gave them no time. Falling upon them
with the butts of their muskets, they beat down three at the first
charge, and the others saved themselves by flight. Our mother almost
died of joy when we were given back to her arms."

In return, Lochiel told the poor fellow about the combats of the
Scottish Highlanders, their manners and customs, and the semi-fabulous
exploits of his hero, the great Wallace; while Jules amused him with
the story of his practical jokes, or with such bits of history as he
might appreciate.

When the young men were bidding Dumais farewell, the latter said to
Archie with tears in his eyes:

"It is probable, sir, that I shall never see you again, but be sure
that I will carry you ever in my heart, and will pray for you, I and
my family, every day of our lives. It is painful for me to think that
even should you return to New France, a poor man like me would have no
means of displaying his gratitude."

"Who knows," said Lochiel, "perhaps you will do more for me than I have
done for you."

Was the Highlander gifted with that second sight of which his
fellow-countrymen are wont to boast? Let us judge from the sequel.

On the 30th day of April, at ten o'clock in the morning, with weather
magnificent but roads altogether execrable, our travelers bade farewell
to their friends at St. Thomas. They had yet six leagues to go before
arriving at St. Jean-Port-Joli, and the whole distance they had to
travel afoot, cursing at the rain which had removed the last traces
of ice and snow. In traversing the road across the plain of Cape St.
Ignace it was even worse. They sank to their knees, and their horse was
mired to the belly and had to be dug out. Jules, the most impatient of
the three, kept grumbling:

"If I had had anything to do with the weather we would never have had
this devil of a rain which has turned all the roads into bogholes."

Perceiving that José shook his head whenever he heard this remark, he
asked him what he meant.

"Oh, Master Jules," said José, "I am only a poor ignorant fellow, but I
can't help thinking that if you had charge of the weather we shouldn't
be much better off. Take the case of what happened to Davy Larouche."

"When we get across this cursed boghole," said Jules, "you shall tell
us the story of Davy Larouche. Oh, that I had the legs of a heron, like
this haughty Scotchman who strides before us whistling a pibroch just
fit for these roads."

"What would you give," said Archie, "to exchange your diminutive
French legs for those of the haughty Highlander?"

"Keep your legs," retorted Jules, "for when you have to run away from
the enemy."

Once well across the meadow, the young men asked José for his story.

"I must tell you," said the latter, "that a fellow named Davy Larouche
once lived in the parish of St. Roch. He was a good enough provider,
neither very rich nor very poor. I used to think that the dear fellow
was not quite sharp enough, which prevented him making great headway in
the world.

"It happened that one morning Davy got up earlier than usual, put
through his chores in the stable, returned to the house, fixed his
whiskers as if it were Sunday, and got himself up in his best clothes.

"'Where are you going, my good man?' asked his wife. 'What a swell you
are! Are you going to see the girls?'

"You must understand that this was a joke of hers; she knew that her
husband was bashful with women, and not at all inclined to run after
them. As for La Thèque herself, she was the most facetious little body
on the whole south side, inheriting it from her old Uncle Bernuchon
Castonguay. She often used to say, pointing to her husband, 'You see
that great fool yonder?' Certainly not a very polite way to speak of
her husband. 'Well, he would never have had the pluck to ask me in
marriage, though I was the prettiest girl in the parish, if I had not
met him more than half-way. Yet, how his eyes used to shine whenever
he saw me! I took pity on him, because he wasn't making much progress.
To be sure, I was even more anxious about it than he; he had four good
acres of land to his name, while I had nothing but this fair body of
mine.'

"She was lying a little to be sure, the puss," added José. "She had a
cow, a yearling bull, six sheep, her spinning-wheel, a box so full of
clothes that you had to kneel on it to shut it, and in the box fifty
silver francs.

"'I took pity on him one evening,' said she, 'when he called at our
house and sat in the corner without even daring to speak to me. "I know
you are in love with me, you great simpleton," said I. "Go and speak
to my father, who is waiting for you in the next room, and you can get
the banns published next Sunday." Moreover, since he sat there without
budging and as red as a turkey-cock, I took him by the shoulders and
pushed him into the other room. My father opened a closet and brought
out a flask of brandy to encourage him. Well, in spite of all these
hints, he had to get three drinks into his body before he found his
tongue.'

"Well, as I was saying," continued José, "La Thèque said to her
husband: 'Are you going to see the girls, my man? Look out for
yourself! If you get off any pranks I will let you into the soup.'

"'You know very well I'm not,' said Larouche laughingly, and flicking
her on the back with his whip. 'Here we are at the end of March, my
grain is all thrashed out, and I'm going to carry my tithes to the
priest.'

"'That's right, my man,' said his wife, who was a good Christian; 'we
must render back to God a share of what he has just given us.'

"Larouche then threw his sacks upon the sled, lit his pipe with a hot
coal, sprang aboard, and set off in high spirits.

"As he was passing a bit of woods he met a traveler, who approached by
a side path.

"This stranger was a tall, handsome man of about thirty. Long fair hair
fell about his shoulders, his blue eyes were as sweet as an angel's,
and his countenance wore a sort of tender sadness. His dress was a
long blue robe tied at the waist. Larouche said he had never seen any
one so beautiful as this stranger, and that the loveliest woman was
ugly in comparison.

"'Peace be with you, my brother,' said the traveler.

"'I thank you for your good wishes,' answered Davy; 'a good word burns
nobody's mouth. But that is something I don't particularly need. I am
at peace, thank God, with everybody. I have an excellent wife, good
children, we get on well together, all my neighbors love me. I have
nothing to desire in the way of peace.'

"'I congratulate you,' said the traveler. 'Your sled is well loaded;
where are you going this morning?'

"'It is my tithes which I am taking to the priest.'

"'It would seem, then,' said the stranger, 'that you have had a good
harvest, reckoning one measure of tithes to every twenty-six measures
of clean grain.'

"'Good enough, I confess; but if I had had the weather just to my fancy
it would have been something very much better.'

"'You think so,' said the traveler.

"'No manner of doubt of it,' answered Davy.

"'Very well,' said the stranger; 'now you shall have just what weather
you wish, and much good may it do you.'

"Having spoken thus, he disappeared around the foot of a little hill.

"'That's queer now,' thought Davy. 'I know very well that there are
wicked people who go about the world putting spells on men, women,
children, or animals. Take the case of the woman, Lestin Coulombe,
who, on the very day of her wedding, made fun of a certain beggar who
squinted in his left eye. She had good cause to regret it, poor thing;
for he said to her angrily: "Take care, young woman, that your own
children don't turn out cross-eyed." She trembled, poor creature, for
every child she brought into the world, and not without good cause; for
the fourteenth, when looked at closely, showed a blemish on its right
eye.'"

"It seems to me," said Jules, "that Madame Lestin must have had a
mighty dread of cross-eyed children if she could not be content to
present her dear husband with one even after twenty years of married
life. Evidently she was a thoughtful and easy-going woman, who took her
time about whatever she was going to do."

José shook his head with a dubious air and continued:

"'Well,' thought Larouche to himself, 'though bad folk go about
the country putting spells on people, I have never heard of saints
wandering around Canada to work miracles. After all, it is no business
of mine. I won't say a word about it, and we'll see next spring.'

"About that time the next year Davy, very much ashamed of himself, got
up secretly, long before daylight, to take his tithes to the priest.
He had no need of horse or sleigh. He carried the whole thing in his
handkerchief.

"As the sun was rising he once more met the stranger, who said to him:

"'Peace be with you, my brother!'

"'Never was wish more appropriate,' answered Larouche, 'for I believe
the devil himself has got into my house, and is kicking up his pranks
there day and night. My wife scolds me to death from morn till eve, my
children sulk when they are not doing worse, and all my neighbors are
set against me.'

"'I am very sorry to hear it,' said the traveler, 'but what are you
carrying in that little parcel?'

"'My tithes,' answered Larouche, with an air of chagrin.

"'It seems to me, however,' said the stranger, 'that you have been
having just the weather you asked for.'

"'I acknowledge it,' said Davy. 'When I asked for sunshine, I had it;
when I wanted rain, wind, calm weather, I got them; yet nothing has
succeeded with me. The sun burned up the grain, the rain caused it
to rot, the wind beat it down, the calm brought the night frosts. My
neighbors are all bitter against me; they regard me as a sorcerer, who
has brought a curse on their harvests. My wife began by distrusting me,
and has ended by heaping me with reproaches. In a word, it is enough to
drive one crazy.'

"'Which proves to you, my brother,' said the traveler, 'that your wish
was a foolish one; that one must always trust to the providence of God,
who knows what is good for man better than man can know it for himself.
Put your trust in him, and you will not have to endure the humiliation
of having to carry your tithes in a handkerchief.'

"With these words, the stranger again disappeared around the hill.

"Larouche took the hint, and thenceforth acknowledged God's providence,
without wishing to meddle with the weather."

As José brought his tale to an end, Archie said: "I like exceedingly
the simplicity of this legend. It has a lofty moral, and at the same
time it displays the vivid faith of the _habitants_ of New France.
Shame on the heartless philosopher who would deprive them of that
whence they derive so many a consolation in the trials of life!

"It must be confessed," continued Archie later, when they were at a
little distance from the sleigh, "that our friend José has always an
appropriate story ready; but do you believe that his father really told
him that marvelous dream that was dreamed on the hillsides of St.
Michel?"

"I perceive," said Jules, "that you do not yet know José's talents; he
is an inexhaustible _raconteur_. The neighbors gather in our kitchen on
the long winter evenings, and José spins them a story which often goes
on for weeks. When he feels his imagination beginning to flag he breaks
off, and says: 'I'm getting tired; I'll tell you the rest another day.'

"José is also a much more highly esteemed poet than my learned uncle
the chevalier, who prides himself on his skill in verse. He never fails
to sacrifice to the Muses either on flesh days or on New Year's Day. If
you were at my father's house at such times, you would see messengers
arrive from all parts of the parish in quest of José's compositions."

"But he does not know how to write," said Archie.

"No more do his audience know how to read," replied Jules. "This is how
they work it. They send to the poet a good chanter (_chanteux_), as
they call him, who has a prodigious memory; and, presto! inside of half
an hour said chanter has the whole poem in his head. For any sorrowful
occasion José is asked to compose a lament; and if it be an occasion of
mirth he is certain to be in demand. That reminds me of what happened
to a poor devil of a lover who had taken his sweetheart to a ball
without being invited. Although unexpected, they were received with
politeness, but the young man was so awkward as to trip the daughter of
the house while dancing, which raised a shout of laughter from all the
company. The young girl's father, being a rough fellow and very angry
at the accident, took poor José Blais by the shoulders and put him out
of the house. Then he made all manner of excuses to the poor girl whose
lover had been so unceremoniously dismissed, and would not permit her
to leave. On hearing of this, our friend José yonder was seized with an
inspiration, and improvised the following naïve bit of verse:

  "A party after vespers at the house of old Boulé;
  But the lads that couldn't dance were asked to stay away:
      Mon ton ton de ritaine, mon ton ton de rité.

  "The lads that couldn't dance were asked to stay away,
  But his heart was set on going, was the heart of José Blai:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "His heart was set on going, was the heart of José Blai.
  'Get done your chores,' said his mistress, 'and I will not say you
  nay':
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "'Get done your chores,' said his mistress, 'and I will not say you
  nay':
  So he hurried out to the barn to give the cows their hay:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "He hurried out to the barn to give the cows their hay.
  He rapped Rougett' on the nose, and on the ribs Barré:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "He rapped Rougett' on the nose, and on the ribs Barré,
  And then rubbed down the horses in the quickest kind of way:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "He rubbed down the horses in the quickest kind of way;
  Then dressed him in his vest of red and coat of blue and gray:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "He dressed him in his vest of red and coat of blue and gray,
  And black cravat, and shoes for which he had to pay:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "His black cravat, and shoes for which he had to pay;
  And he took his dear Lizett', so proud of his display:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "He took his dear Lizett', so proud of his display;
  But they kicked him out to learn to dance, and call another day:
      Mon ton ton, etc.

  "They kicked him out to learn to dance, and call another day;
  But they kept his dear Lizett', his pretty _fiancée_:
      Mon ton ton de ritaine, mon ton ton de rité."

"Why, it is a charming little idyl!" cried Archie, laughing. "What a
pity José had not an education! Canada would possess one poet the more."

"But to return to the experiences of his late father," said Jules,
"I believe that the old drunkard, after having dared La Corriveau
(a thing which the _habitants_ consider very foolhardy, as the dead
are sure to avenge themselves, sooner or later)--I believe the old
drunkard fell asleep in the ditch just opposite Isle d'Orléans, where
the _habitants_ traveling by night always think they see witches; I
believe also that he suffered a terrible nightmare, during which he
thought himself attacked by the goblins of the island on the one hand
and by La Corriveau on the other. José's vivid imagination has supplied
the rest, for you see how he turns everything to account--the pictures
in your natural history, for instance, and the Cyclopes in my uncle's
illustrated Virgil, of which his dear late father had doubtless never
heard a word. Poor José! How sorry I am for the way I abused him the
other day. I knew nothing of it until the day following, for I had
entirely lost my senses on seeing you disappear in the flood. I begged
his pardon very humbly, and he answered: 'What! are you still thinking
about that trifle? Why, I look back upon it with pleasure now all the
racket is over. It made me even feel young again, reminding me of your
furies when you were a youngster--when you would scratch and bite like
a little wild cat, and when I would carry you off in my arms to save
you from the punishment of your parents. How you used to cry! And then,
when your anger was over, you would bring me your playthings to console
me."

"Faithful José! what unswerving attachment to our family through every
trial! Men with hearts as dry as tinder often look with scorn on such
people as José, though possessed of none of their virtues. A noble
heart is the best gift of God to man."

As our travelers drew near the manor house of St. Jean-Port-Joli, whose
roof they could see under the starlight, the conversation of Jules
D'Haberville, ordinarily so frivolous and mocking, grew more and more
thoughtful and sincere.



CHAPTER VI.

D'HABERVILLE MANOR HOUSE.

Je bénis le soleil, je bénis la lune et les astres qui étoilent le ciel. Je
bénis aussi les petits oiseaux qui gazouillent dans l'air.

+Henri Heine.+


+D'Haberville Manor House+ was situated at the foot of a bluff which
covered about nine acres of the seigniory, on the south side of the
highway. This bluff was about a hundred feet high and very picturesque.
Its summit was clothed with pines and firs, whose perpetual green
formed a cheerful contrast with the desolation of the winter landscape.
Jules D'Haberville used to compare these trees, triumphing on their
height and flaunting their fadeless green in the face of the harshest
seasons, to the mighty ones of the earth whose strength and happiness
are beyond the reach of vicissitude, however much the poor may shiver
at their feet.

One might well believe that the brush of a Claude Lorraine had
exercised itself in adorning the flanks and base of this hill, so
endless was the variety of the trees which had gathered thither from
all the neighboring woodlands. Elm, maple, birch, and beech, red
thorn, cherry, ash, and cedar, sumach, and all the other native trees
which are the glory of our forests, combined to throw a cloak of all
imaginable greens over the rugged outlines of the bluff.

A wood of ancient maples covered the space between the foot of the
bluff and the highway, which was bordered with hedges of hazel and
cinnamon rose.

The first object to attract the eye on approaching the manor house was
a brook, which, falling through the trees in a succession of foamy
cascades down the southwest slope of the hill, mingled its clear
current with that of a fountain which burst forth some distance below.
After winding and loitering through a breadth of meadow country, the
wedded streams slipped reluctantly into the St. Lawrence.

The spring, bubbling from the very heart of the hill into a basin cut
from the living rock, preserves its icy coolness, its crystal purity,
through the fiercest heats of summer. It was inclosed in those days
in a little white-washed pavilion, thick shaded by a group of ancient
trees. The seats arranged within and without this cool retreat, the
cone-shaped drinking-cups of birch bark hanging on the wall, served as
so many invitations from the nymph of the fount to wayfarers oppressed
by the dog-star.

Fresh as of old, to this day the hill-top keeps its crown of emerald,
the slope preserves its varied verdure; but of the ancient grove there
remain but five gnarled maples. These trees, decaying little by little
beneath the touch of time, like the closing years of the master of the
domain, appear almost like a visible and ceaseless prophecy that his
life will fade out with that of the last veteran of the grove. When
the last log shall have been consumed in warming the old man's frozen
limbs, its ashes will mingle with his own--a grim admonition, like that
of the priest on Ash Wednesday: "Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, ut in
pulverem reverteris."

The manor house, situated between the river St. Lawrence and the
bluff, was divided from the water only by the highway, the grove, and
a spacious yard. It was a one-storied structure with high gables,
about a hundred feet long, with two wings of fifty feet. A bake-house,
built into the northeast corner of the kitchen, served also the purpose
of a laundry. A small attachment, adjoining the great drawing-room on
the southwest, gave symmetry to the proportions of this piece of early
Canadian architecture.

Two other small buildings at the southeast served, the one for a dairy,
the other for a second wash-house. This wash-house stood over a well,
which was connected by a long trough with the kitchen of the main
building. Coach-houses, barns, stables, five small sheds (three of them
standing in the grove), a kitchen garden to the southwest of the manor
house, two orchards on the north and northeast, respectively--all these
went to make up the establishment of one of the old French Canadian
seigneurs. The _habitants_ called the establishment "le village
D'Haberville."

Sitting on the crest of the bluff, it mattered little in what direction
one allowed his gaze to wander. Immediately below the little village,
dazzlingly white, appeared to spring from the green bosom of the
meadows. On all sides a panorama of splendid magnificence unrolled
itself. There was the sovereign of streams, already seven leagues in
width, confined on the north by the ancient barrier of Laurentians,
whose feet it washes, and whose peopled slopes are in view from Cape
Tourmente to Malbaie; yonder, to the west, _Ile aux Oies_ and _Ile
aux Grues_; right in front, the Piliers Islands, one of which is as
arid as the Ægean rock of Circe, the other always green, like the
Ogygian paradise of Calypso; northward, the reefs and shoals of the
Loups-Marins, so dear to Canadian hunters; and, lastly, the hamlets of
l'Islet and St. Jean-Port-Joli, crowned with their gleaming spires.

It was nearly nine in the evening when the young men arrived on the
slope overlooking the manor. At the first glimpse of the scene which
recalled the happiest days of his existence, Jules paused and exclaimed:

"Never have I approached this home of my ancestors without being
deeply impressed. Let them boast as they will the scenes of beauty or
sublimity which abound in our fair Canada, among them all there is but
one for me, this spot where I was born, where I passed my childhood
under such tender cherishing! I used to think the days too short for my
childish sports. I rose at dawn, I dressed in haste, my thirst for my
enjoyments was feverish and unfailing.

"I love everything about us. I love the moon which you see climbing
over the wooded crest of the bluff; nowhere else does she appear to me
so beautiful. I love yonder brook which used to turn my little water
mills. I love the fountain which refreshed me in the August heats.

"Yonder my mother used to sit," continued Jules, pointing out a mossy
rock in the shadow of two great beeches. "Thither I used to bring her
in my little silver cup the ice-cool water from the spring. Ah! how
often this tender mother, watching by my pillow, or awakened suddenly
by my cries, brought me that same cup filled with sweet milk! And to
think that I must leave all this--perhaps forever! O mother, mother!"

Jules burst into tears.

Lochiel, much moved, grasped his friend's hand and answered:

"You will come back again, my brother. You will come back, bringing
glory and good fortune to your family."

"Thank you, dear old boy," said Jules, "but let us hurry on. The
greetings of my parents will soon scatter this little cloud."

Archie, who had never before visited the country in spring-time, wished
to know the meaning of those white objects which he saw at the dusky
foot of every maple.

"Those are the three-cornered spouts," said Jules, "which catch the sap
for making sugar. The sugar-maker cuts a notch in the tree and right
beneath it he drives in one of these affairs."

"One might almost say," replied Archie, "that these trees were vast
water-pipes, with their funnels ready to supply a crowded city."

He was interrupted by the barking of a great dog, which came running to
meet them.

"Niger! Niger!" shouted Jules. At the sound of the well-loved voice the
dog paused, then ran up and snuffed at his master to assure himself of
his identity. He returned Jules's caresses with a howling half joyous,
half plaintive, which expressed his love as well as words could have
done.

"Ah, poor Niger," said Jules, "I understand your language perfectly. It
is half a reproach to me for having stayed away from you so long, and
it is half delight at seeing me again, with forgiveness of my neglect.
Poor Niger, when I come again after my long, long journey, you will
not even have the happiness that was granted to the faithful hound of
Ulysses, of dying at your master's feet."

The reader is doubtless ready by this time to make the acquaintance of
the D'Haberville family. Let me introduce them according to their rank
in the domestic hierarchy:

The Seigneur D'Haberville was scarcely forty-five years old, but the
toils of war had so told on his constitution that he looked a good ten
years older. His duties as captain in the Colonial Marine kept him
constantly under arms. The ceaseless forest warfare, with no shelter,
according to the stern Canadian custom, except the vault of heaven,
the expeditions of reconnoissance or surprise against the Iroquois
or against the English settlements, carried on during the severest
weather, produced their speedy effect on the strongest frames.

Captain D'Haberville might fairly have been called handsome. A little
below the medium height, his regular features, his vivid complexion,
his great black eyes which softened at will but whose intensity when
aroused few men could face, the simple elegance of his manners, all
combined to give him an air of extreme distinction. A severe critic
might perhaps have found fault with the great length and thickness of
his black eyebrows.

As to character, the Seigneur D'Haberville was possessed of all those
qualities which distinguished the early Canadians of noble birth. It
is true, on the other hand, that he might fairly have been charged
with vindictiveness. An injury, real or supposed, he found it hard to
forgive.

Madame D'Haberville, a devout and gentle woman of thirty-six, was
endowed with that mature beauty which men often prefer to the freshness
of youth. Blonde and of medium height, her countenance was of an
angelic sweetness. Her sole object seemed to be the happiness of those
about her. The _habitants_, in their simple way, used to call her "the
perfect lady."

Mademoiselle Blanche D'Haberville, younger than her brother Jules, was
the image of her mother, but of a somewhat graver temperament. Wise
beyond her years, she had a great influence over her brother, whose
outbursts she often checked with one imploring glance. While apparently
absorbed in her own thoughts, the girl was capable, on occasion, of
acting with energy and effect.

Madame Louise de Beaumont, younger sister of Madame D'Haberville, had
lived with her ever since her marriage. Though rich and independent,
she was altogether devoted to her sister's family. Sharing their
happiness, she was equally ready to share, should need arise, the
utmost that adversity could bring upon them.

Lieutenant Raoul D'Haberville, or rather the Chevalier D'Haberville,
whom everybody called Uncle Raoul, was a younger brother of the captain
by two years. He looked fully ten years his senior. A little man was
Uncle Raoul, almost as broad as he was long, and walking with the
assistance of a stick; he would have been remarkably ugly even if the
small-pox could have been induced to spare his countenance. It is hard
to say how he came by his nickname. One may say of a man, he has a
paternal air, he is _un petit père_; but one accuses nobody of having
an avuncular appearance. For all that, Lieutenant D'Haberville was
everybody's uncle. Even his soldiers, unknown to him, used to call
him Uncle Raoul. In like manner, to compare great things with small,
Napoleon was to the grumblers merely "the little corporal."

Uncle Raoul was the _littérateur_ of the D'Haberville family, and,
therefore, something of a pedant, like almost all men who live in daily
contact with people less learned than themselves. Uncle Raoul was the
best fellow in the world when he had his own way; but he had one little
defect. He held the profound conviction that he was always right, which
made him very bad tempered with any who might dare to differ with him.

Uncle Raoul prided himself on his knowledge of Latin, fragments of
which language he was wont to launch freely at the heads of cultured
and ignorant alike. Endless were his discussions with the curé over
some line of Horace, Ovid, or Virgil, who were his favorite authors.
The curé, who was of a mild and peaceable humor, almost always grew
weary of the contest and gave way before his fiery opponent. But Uncle
Raoul also prided himself on being a profound theologian, which was the
cause of much embarrassment to the poor curé. The latter was deeply
concerned for the soul of his friend, who had been in his youth a
rather risky subject, and whom he had had great difficulty in leading
into better courses. He found it necessary, however, sometimes to give
way on points not absolutely essential to the safety of Uncle Raoul's
soul. When points were attacked which he durst not yield he was wont to
call in the aid of Blanche, whom her uncle idolized.

"Dear uncle," she would say to him with a caress, "are you not already
learned enough without encroaching on the field of our good pastor?
You are victorious on all the other points under discussion," she
would add, with a sly glance at the curé; "be generous, then, and
suffer yourself to be convinced on those points which are the especial
province of God's ministers."

Thereupon, as Uncle Raoul argued simply for the pleasure of argument, a
peace would be concluded between the disputants.

Uncle Raoul was by no means the least important personage at
D'Haberville manor. Since his retirement from the army, the captain,
whom military service kept much away from home, left the management
of affairs entirely in his hands. His occupations were very numerous.
He kept account of the receipts and expenditures of the family; he
collected the rents of the seigniory; he managed the farm; he betook
himself every Sunday, rain or shine, to mass to receive the Easter
water in the seigneur's absence; and, among other minor duties which
devolved upon him, he presented for baptism all the first-born children
of the tenants of the estate--an honor which belonged to his elder
brother, but of which the latter had freed himself in favor of Raoul.

A little incident may be cited to show Uncle Raoul's importance. Let us
imagine ourselves in the month of November, when the seigneurial rents
fall due. Uncle Raoul, with a long quill pen behind his ear, sits in
a great armchair as on a throne. Beside him is a table covered with
green cloth, and on this table rests his sword. As the tenant appears,
he assumes an expression of severity, which does not greatly alarm the
debtor, for the Seigneur D'Haberville is an indulgent landlord, and his
tenants pay when they please.

But Uncle Raoul is more deeply concerned for the form than for the
substance; the appearance of power pleases him even as power itself. He
will have everything done with due ceremony.

"How do you do, my--my--lieutenant?" says the _censitaire_, accustomed
to call him uncle behind his back.

"Very well. And thyself? What wilt thou?" replies Uncle Raoul, with an
air of great importance.

"I have come to pay the rent, my--my lieutenant; but the times are
so hard that I have no money," says Jean Baptiste, ducking his head
penitently.

"_Nescio vos!_" exclaims Uncle Raoul in a sonorous voice; "_reddite quæ
sunt Cæsaris Cæsari_."

"That's fine what you say, my--my captain, so fine that I can't
understand it at all," murmurs the _censitaire_.

"It's Latin, blockhead!" exclaims Uncle Raoul, "and this Latin means,
pay your lawful rents to the Seigneur D'Haberville, on pain of being
taken before the King's courts and of being condemned in first and
second instance to pay all expense, damages, claims, and costs."

"It would go hard with me," murmurs the _censitaire_.

"Heavens, you may well say so!" exclaims Uncle Raoul, raising his eyes
to the ceiling.

"I know very well my--my seigneur, that your Latin threatens me with
all these punishments; but I had the misfortune to lose my filly of
last spring."

"What, you rascal! On account of having lost a wretched brute of six
months old you wish to evade the seigneurial claims, which have been
established by your sovereign on a foundation as enduring as yonder
mountains. _Quos ego ...!_"

"I believe," murmurs the _habitant_ to himself, "that he is speaking
Indian to frighten me."

Then he adds aloud: "You see, my filly, according to what all the best
judges declared, would have been in four years' time the best trotter
on all the south shore, and worth a hundred francs if a penny."

"Oh, to the devil with you!" replied Uncle Raoul. "Go and tell Lisette
to give you a good drink of brandy, to console you for the loss of your
filly. These scoundrels," adds Uncle Raoul, "drink more of our brandy
than their rents will ever pay for."

The _habitant_, going into the kitchen, remarks to Lisette with a
chuckle: "I've had a bad job with Uncle Raoul; he even threatened to
haul me up before the courts."

As Uncle Raoul was very devout after his fashion, he failed not to
tell his beads and read his primer daily. In singular contrast with
this devotion, however, his leisure moments were occupied in cursing,
with an edifying fervor, his enemies the English, who had broken a leg
for him at the capture of Louisburg. It was this accident which had
compelled him to relinquish the life of a soldier.

When the young men arrived before the manor-house, they were
astonished at the sight that met their eyes. Not only were all the
rooms lit up, but also some of the out-buildings. There was an
unaccustomed stir, a strange hurrying to and fro. As the whole yard
was illuminated by the blaze of lights, they could distinguish six men
armed with guns and axes and seated on a log.

"I perceive," remarked Archie, "that the lord of the manor has called
out his guard to give us a fitting reception, just as I predicted."

José, who did not understand this sort of chaffing, shifted his pipe
from one corner of his mouth to the other, muttered something between
his teeth, and began to smoke fiercely.

"I can not tell why my father's guards, as you do them the honor to
call them, are under arms," answered Jules, laughing, "unless it is
that they are expecting an attack from our friends the Iroquois. But,
come on, we'll soon solve the problem."

As they entered the yard the six men rose simultaneously and came
forward to welcome their young master and his friend.

"What, you here!" exclaimed Jules, grasping their hands cordially;
"you, Father Chouinard! you, Julien! and Alexis Dubé, and Father
Tontaine, and François Maurice, the incorrigible! Why, I thought the
parish would have taken advantage of my absence to rise as one man
and chuck you into the St. Lawrence, as a proper punishment for the
infernal tricks you play on peaceable people."

"Our young seigneur," said Maurice, "always has his joke ready; but,
if they were to drown all those who put other folk into a rage, I know
some one who would have got his deserts long ago."

"You think so!" said Jules, laughing. "Perhaps that all comes from the
bad milk on which I was nursed. Remember that it was at the breast of
your own dear mother I was nourished. But, to change the subject, what
in the mischief are you all doing here at this hour? Are you gaping at
the stars and moon?"

"There are twelve of us," said Father Chouinard. "We are taking turns
in guarding the May-pole which we are going to present to your honored
father to-morrow. Six are in the house, having a good time, while we
are taking the first watch."

"I should have thought that the May-pole might safely have been left to
guard itself," said Jules. "I don't think there is anybody crazy enough
to get out of his warm bed for the pleasure of breaking his back in
dragging away this venerable timber, at least while there are May-poles
on all sides to be had for the cutting."

"You are off there, young master," answered Chouinard. "You see there
are always some folks jealous because they have not been invited to the
May-feast. It was only last year some scoundrels who had been invited
to stay at home had the audacity to saw up, during the night, the
May-pole which the folks of Ste. Anne were going to present to Captain
Besse. Think of the poor peoples' feelings when they gathered in the
morning and saw that their fine tree was nothing more nor less than so
much firewood!"

Jules burst out laughing at a trick which he could so well appreciate.

"Laugh as much as you like," said Father Tontaine, "but t'ain't hardly
Christian to put up tricks like that. You understand," he added
seriously, "we don't think no such trick is going to be played on our
good master; but there be always some rascals everywhere, so we're
taking our precautions."

"I am a poor man," interposed Alexis Dubé, "but not for all I own
would I see such an insult put on our captain."

The others spoke to the same effect, but Jules was already in the arms
of his family, while the worthy _habitants_ went on muttering their
imprecations against the imaginary, though improbable, wretches who
would have the hardihood to cut up the good fir log which they were
going to present to their seigneur on the morrow. It may be suspected
that the liberal cups and ample supper of May-day eve, together with
the sure anticipation of a toothsome breakfast, were not without their
effect on the zeal of the honest _habitants_.

"Come," said Jules to his friend after supper, "let us go and see
the preparations for the May-day feast. As neither of us has had the
advantage of being present at those famous nuptials of the opulent
Gamache, which so ravished the heart of Sancho Panza, the present
occasion may give us some faint idea of that entertainment."

In the kitchen all was bustle and confusion. The laughing shrill voices
of the women were mixed with those of the six men off guard, who were
occupied in drinking, smoking, and chaffing. Three servants, armed
each with a frying-pan, were making, or, to use the common expression,
"turning" pancakes over the fire in an ample fireplace, whose flames
threw ruddy lights and shadows, _à la_ Rembrandt, over the merry faces
thronging the great kitchen. Some of the neighbor women, armed with
dish and spoon and seated at a long table, kept dropping into the
frying-pans, as fast as they were emptied, the liquid paste of which
the pancakes were made; while others sprinkled them with maple sugar as
they were piled upon the plates. A great kettle, half full of boiling
lard, received the doughnuts which two cooks kept incessantly dropping
in and ladling out.

The faithful José, the right hand of the establishment, seemed to be
everywhere at once on these solemn occasions.

Seated at the end of a table, coat thrown off, sleeves of his shirt
rolled up to the elbows, his inseparable knife in hand, he was hacking
fiercely at a great loaf of maple-sugar and at the same time urging
on two servants who were engaged at the same task. The next moment he
was running for fine flour and eggs, as the pancake paste got low in
the bowls; nor did he forget to visit the refreshment table from time
to time to assure himself that nothing was lacking, or to take a drink
with his friends.

Jules and Archie passed from the kitchen to the bake-house, where
the cooks were taking out of the oven a batch of pies, shaped like
half-moons and about fourteen inches long; while quarters of veal and
mutton, spare-ribs, and cutlets of fresh pork, ranged around in pans,
waited to take their places in the oven. Their last visit was to the
wash-house where, in a ten-gallon caldron, bubbled a stew of pork and
mutton for the special delectation of the old folks whose jaws had
grown feeble.

"Why!" exclaimed Archie, "it is a veritable feast of Sardanapalus--a
feast to last six months!"

"But you have only seen a part of it," said Jules. "The dessert is yet
ahead of us. I had imagined, however, that you knew more about the
customs of our _habitants_. If at the end of the feast the table were
not as well supplied as at the beginning, the host would be accused of
stinginess. Whenever a dish even threatens to become empty, you will
see the servants hasten to replace it."

"I am the more surprised at that," said Archie, "because your
_habitants_ are generally economical, even to the point of meanness.
How do you reconcile this with the great waste which must take place
after a feast?"

"Our _habitants_, scattered wide apart over all New France, and
consequently deprived of markets during spring, summer, and autumn,
live then on nothing but salt meat, bread, and milk, and, except in
the infrequent case of a wedding, they rarely give a feast at either
of those seasons. In winter, on the other hand, there is a lavish
abundance of fresh meats of all kinds; there is a universal feasting,
and hospitality is carried to an extreme from Christmas time to Lent;
there is a perpetual interchange of visits. Four or five _carrioles_,
containing a dozen people, drive up; the horses are unhitched, the
visitors take off their wraps, the table is set, and in an hour or so
it is loaded down with smoking dishes."

"Your _habitants_ must possess Aladdin's lamp!" exclaimed Archie.

"You must understand," said Jules, "that if the _habitants'_ wives had
to make such preparations as are necessary in higher circles, their
hospitality would be much restricted or even put a stop to, for few
of them are able to keep a servant. As it is, however, their social
diversions are little more trouble to them than to their husbands.
Their method is very simple. From time to time, in their leisure
moments, they cook three or four batches of various kinds of meat,
which in our climate keeps without difficulty; when visitors come,
all they have to do is to warm up these dishes in their ovens, which
at this season of the year are kept hot enough to roast an ox. The
_habitants_ abhor cold meat. It is good to see our Canadian women,
so gay at all times, making ready these hasty banquets--to see them
tripping about, lilting a bit of a song, or mixing in the general
chatter, and dancing backward and forward between the table and the
stove. Josephte sits down among her guests, but jumps up to wait upon
them twenty times during the meal. She keeps up her singing and her
chaffing, and makes everybody as merry as herself.

"You will, doubtless, imagine that these warmed-up dishes lose a good
deal of their flavor; but habit is second nature, and our _habitants_
do not find fault. Moreover, as their taste is more wholesome and
natural than ours, I imagine that these dinners, washed down with a
few glasses of brandy, leave them little cause to envy us. But we
shall return to this subject later on; let us now rejoin my father and
mother, who are probably getting impatient at our absence. I merely
wanted to initiate you a little beforehand in the customs of our
_habitants_, whom you have never before observed in their winter life."

Everybody sat up late that night at D'Haberville Manor. There was
so much to talk about. It was not till the small hours that the
good-nights were said; and soon the watchers of the May-pole were the
only ones left awake in the manor house of St. Jean-Port-Joli.



CHAPTER VII.

THE MAY-FEAST.

  Le premier jour de Mai,
      Labourez,
  J'm'en fus planter un mai,
      Labourez,
  A la porte à ma mie.

_Ancienne Chanson._


It was scarcely five o'clock in the morning when Jules, who slept
like a cat, shouted to Lochiel in the next room that it was high time
they were up; but as the latter would make no response, Jules took
the surest way of arousing him by getting up himself. Arming himself
with a towel dipped in cold water, he entered his friend's bedroom
and squeezed the icy fluid in his face. In spite of his aquatic
inclinations, Archie found this attention very little to his taste; he
snatched the towel, rolled it into a ball, and hurled it at Jules's
head. Then he turned over and was preparing to go to sleep again, when
Jules snatched off all the bed-clothes. It looked as if the fortress,
in this extremity, had nothing to do but surrender at discretion;
but the garrison, in the person of Lochiel, was more numerous than
the besieging force in the person of Jules, and, shaking the latter
fiercely, he asked if sleeping was forbidden at D'Haberville Manor.
He was even proceeding to hurl the besieger from the ramparts when
Jules, struggling in his adversary's mighty arms, begged him to listen
a moment before inflicting such a disgrace upon a future soldier of
France.

"What have you to say for yourself, you wretched boy?" exclaimed
Archie, now thoroughly awake. Is it not enough for you that all day
long you give me no peace, but even in the night you must come and
torment me?"

"I am grieved, indeed," said Jules, "at having interrupted your
slumbers; but as our folk have to set up another May-pole at the
place of Bélanger of the Cross, a good mile and a half from here,
they intend to present my father with his at six o'clock; and if you
don't want to lose any of the ceremony it is time for you to dress. I
declare, I thought everybody was like myself, wrapped up in everything
that can bring us more in touch with our _habitants_. I do not know
anything that moves me more than this sympathy between my father and
his tenants, between our family and these brave lads; moreover, as my
adopted brother, you will have your part to play in the approaching
spectacle."

As soon as the young men had finished dressing, they passed from their
room to one which looked out on the yard, where a lively scene met
their view. There were at least a hundred _habitants_ scattered about
in groups. With their long guns, their powder-horns suspended from the
neck, their tomahawks stuck in the girdle, their inseparable axes,
they looked less like peaceful tillers of the soil than a band of
desperadoes ready for a foray.

Lochiel was much amused by the spectacle, and wished to go out and join
the groups, but Jules vetoed his proposal, saying that it would be
contrary to etiquette. He explained that the family were all supposed
to be unaware of what was going on outside, no matter how great the
noise and excitement. Some were decorating the May-pole, others were
digging the hole in which it was to be planted, while yet others were
sharpening long stakes to be used in bracing it firmly. As for the
May-pole itself, it was of the utmost simplicity. It consisted of a
tall fir tree, with its branches cut off and peeled to within two or
three feet of the top. Here a tuft of greenery, about three feet long,
was permitted to remain, and dignified with the title of "the bouquet."
This "bouquet" was ornamental enough so long as it kept green, but
when withered by the heat of summer its appearance became anything but
cheerful. A rod six feet long, painted red, surmounted with a green
weather cock and adorned with a large red ball, was thrust between the
branches of "the bouquet" and nailed to the tree, which completed the
decoration of the May-pole. It is necessary to add that strong wooden
pegs, driven into the trunk at regular intervals, facilitated the
climbing of the May-pole, and served also as points of support for the
props by aid of which it was raised into position.

The firing of a gun before the main entrance announced that every
thing was ready. Immediately on this signal the seigneur and his
family gathered in the drawing-room to receive the deputation which
would follow immediately after the report. The seigneur occupied a
great arm-chair, with Lady D'Haberville seated at his right and his
son Jules at his left. Uncle Raoul, erect and leaning upon his sword,
stood immediately behind this first group, between Blanche and Madame
de Beaumont who were seated. Archie stood at Blanche's left. They
were scarcely in position when two old men, introduced by José, the
major-domo, approached Seigneur D'Haberville, saluted him with that
courteous air which was natural to the early Canadians and begged his
permission to plant a May-pole before his threshold. This permission
granted, the deputation withdrew and acquainted the crowd with their
success. Everybody then knelt down and prayed for protection throughout
the day. In about fifteen minutes the May-pole rose over the crowd with
a slow, majestic motion, and its green top looked down upon all the
buildings surrounding it. A few minutes more and it was firmly planted.

A second gunshot announced a new deputation, and the same two old men,
carrying their guns, escorted in two of the leading _habitants_. One of
the _habitants_ carried a little greenish goblet, two inches high, on a
plate of faïence, while the other bore a bottle of brandy. Introduced
by the indispensable José, they begged the seigneur to come and receive
the May-pole which he had so graciously consented to accept. Upon the
seigneur's response, one of the old men added:

"Would our seigneur be pleased to 'wet' the Maypole before he blackens
it?" With these words he handed the seigneur a gun and a glass of
brandy.

"We will 'wet' it together, my friends," said M. D'Haberville, making
a sign to José, who at once hastened forward with a tray containing
four glasses of the same cordial fluid. Then the seigneur rose, touched
glasses with the four delegates, swallowed at a draught their brandy,
which he pronounced excellent, took up the gun and started for the
door, followed by all that were in the room.

As soon as he appeared on the threshold a young man clambered up the
May-pole with the nimbleness of a squirrel, gave three twirls to the
weather-cock, and shouted: "Long live the King! Long live the Seigneur
D'Haberville!" And the crowd yelled after him with all the vigor of
their lungs: "Long live the King! Long live the Seigneur D'Haberville!"
Meanwhile the young man had clambered down again, cutting off with his
tomahawk as he descended all the pegs of the May-pole.

Thereupon the seigneur proceeded to blacken the May-pole by firing at
it a blank charge from his musket. The other members of the family
followed his example in the order of their rank, the ladies firing as
well as the men.

Then followed a rattling _feu-de-joie_, which lasted a good half-hour.
One might have fancied the manor house was besieged by a hostile army.
The May-pole, so white before, seemed suddenly to have been painted
black, so zealous were all to do it honor. Indeed, the more powder one
could burn on this occasion, the greater the compliment to him for whom
the May-pole was erected.

As every pleasure comes to an end, M. D'Haberville seized a moment
when the firing appeared to slacken a little to invite the crowd in to
breakfast. There was another rattling discharge by way of temporary
farewell to the May-pole, some splinters of which were now scattered
about the ground beneath, and every one moved silently into the house.

The seigneur, the ladies, and a dozen of the oldest among the leading
_habitants_, were seated at a table in the seigneurial dining-room.
This table was set with the plain dishes, wines, and coffee which
constituted a Canadian breakfast among the upper classes; there was
added also to gratify the guests some excellent brandy, and some
sugar-cakes in lieu of bread.

It was no offense to the other guests to be excluded from this table;
they were proud, on the contrary, of the compliment paid to their more
venerable relations and friends.

The second table in the adjoining room, where Uncle Raoul presided,
was supplied as would have been that of a rich _habitant_ on a similar
occasion. Besides the superfluity of viands already enumerated, each
guest found beside his plate the inevitable sugar-cake, a cruller,
a tart about five inches in diameter and more rich in paste than in
jam, and an unlimited supply of brandy. There were also some bottles
of wine on the table, to which nobody paid the least attention; to use
their own energetic expression, it did not "scratch the throat enough."
The wine was placed there chiefly for the women, who were occupied in
serving the breakfast, and who would take their places at the table
after the men's departure. Josephte would take a glass or two of wine
without much pressing after she had had her accustomed appetizer.

Over the third table, spread in the mighty kitchen, presided Jules,
with Archie to assist him. This was the table for the young men, and it
was supplied like that of Uncle Raoul. While there was gayety enough
at the first two tables, there was at the same time a certain decorum
observed; but at the third, especially toward the end of the repast,
which lasted far on into the morning, there was such a perpetual
applause that one could hardly hear himself speak.

The reader is much deceived if he imagines that the May-pole was all
this time enjoying repose. Almost every moment one or other of the
guests would get up, run out and fire his gun at the May-pole, and
return to his place at the table after this act of courtesy.

At the beginning of dessert the seigneur, accompanied by the ladies,
visited the second and third tables, where they were rapturously
received. A friendly word was on his lips for every one. He drank the
health of his tenants, and his tenants drank to himself and his family,
to the accompaniment of the reports of twenty muskets, which were
blazing away outside.

This ceremony at an end, the seigneur returned to his own table, where
he was induced to sing a little song, in the chorus of which all joined.

                "Oh, here's to the hero,
                  The hero, the hero;
                Oh, here's to the hero
                  That taught men to dine!
                When joy is at zero,
                  At zero, at zero;
                When joy is at zero,
                  What solace like wine!

    _Chorus._  Till he's drunk, or quite near it,
                  No soldier will shrink,
                But cry shame on the spirit
                  Too craven to drink.

                "When we taste the rare liquor,
                  Rare liquor, rare liquor;
                When we taste the rare liquor
                  That tickles our throats,
                Our hearts they beat quicker,
                  Beat quicker, beat quicker;
                Our hearts they beat quicker,
                  Which clearly denotes

    _Chorus._  That till drunk, or quite near it,
                  No soldier should shrink,
                But cry shame on the spirit
                  Too craven to drink."

Scarcely was this song ended when the sonorous voice of Uncle Raoul
arose:

                "Oh, I am a drinker, I,
                  For I'm built that way;
                Let every man stick to his taste,
                  Each dog have his day!
                The drinker he frights dull care
                  To flight with a song--
                He serves the jolliest god,
                  And he serves him long!

    _Chorus._  Oh, I am a drinker, I, etc.

               "Let José go fighting and put
                 The Dutchman to rout,
               But I'll win my laurels at home
                 In the drinking-bout!

    _Chorus._ Oh, I am a drinker, I, etc."

"Your turn now, young master!" cried the third table. "Our elders have
set us the proper example to follow."

"With all my heart," replied Jules; and he sang the following verses:

      "God Bacchus, throned upon a cask,
        Hath bid me love the bell-mouthed flask;
      Hath bid me vow these lips of mine
        Shall own no drink but wine!

    _Chorus._ But wine, boys, but wine!
               We'll drain, we'll drain the bottles dry,
               And swear the drink divine!

      "Nor emperor nor king may know
        The joys that from our bumpers flow--
      The mirth that makes the dullest shine--
        Who owns no drink but wine!

    _Chorus._ But wine, boys, but wine! etc.

      "Let wives go knit and sweethearts spin,
        We've wine to drown our troubles in.
      We'll sing the praises of the vine,
        And own no drink but wine!

    _Chorus._ But wine, boys, but wine! etc."

The example once set by the hosts, everybody made haste to follow
it, and song succeeded song with ever-increasing fervor. Then Father
Chouinard, a retired veteran of the French army after two songs which
won great applause, suggested that it was time to withdraw. He thanked
the seigneur for his hospitality, and proposed to drink his health
once again--a proposition which was received with loud enthusiasm.

After this the joyous throng took its departure singing, with the
accompaniment of musket-shots, whose echoes, thrown back by the bluff,
appeared to linger reluctantly behind them.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE FEAST OF ST. JEAN-BAPTISTE.


Every parish used to keep holiday on the feast of its patron saint.
The feast of St. John the Baptist, the patron of the parish of St.
Jean-Port-Joli, falling in the most delightful season of the year,
never failed to attract a host of pilgrims, even from the remotest
parishes. The _habitant_, kept very busy with his farm-work, was ready
by this time for a little rest, and the fine weather was an invitation
to the road. In every family grand preparations were made for this
important occasion. Within doors there was great cleaning up; the
whitewash brush went everywhere; the floors were scrubbed and strewed
with pine-needles; the fatted calf was killed, and the shopkeepers
drove a thriving trade in drinks. Thus by the twenty-third day of June,
the eve of the feast, every house was thronged with pilgrims from the
manor and the presbytery down.

The seigneur used to present the consecrated bread; while the
collection at the high mass was taken up by two young gentlemen and
two young ladies, friends of the seigneur, invited down from Quebec
long beforehand. For the consecrated bread and for the little cakes
(_cousins_) which accompanied it there was no small need in that
multitude which thronged not only the church, but the surrounding yard.
All the doors of the church stood wide open, that everybody might have
his share in the service.

It was an understood thing that the seigneur and his friends should
dine that day at the presbytery, and that the curé and his friends
should take supper at the manor house. Very many of the _habitants_,
too far away from home to go and come between mass and vespers, took
lunch in the little wood of cedars, pines, and firs which covered the
valley between the church and the St. Lawrence. Nothing can be imagined
more picturesque and bright than the groups scattered over the mossy
green, and gathered merrily around their snowy tablecloths. The curé
and his guests never failed to visit the picnickers and exchange a few
words with the men.

On all sides rose rude booths, after the fashion of wigwams, covered
with branches of maple and spruce, wherein refreshments were sold. In a
monotonous voice, with strong emphasis on the first and last words, the
proprietors kept crying incessantly, "Good beer for sale here!" And all
the papas and the amorous gallants, coaxed up for the occasion, would
fumble dubiously in the depths of their wallets for the wherewith to
treat youngster or sweetheart.

The _habitants_ had preserved an impressive ceremony handed down from
their Norman ancestors. This ceremony consisted of a huge bonfire at
sunset of the eve of St. Jean-Baptiste. An octagonal pyramid, about
ten feet high, was constructed before the main entrance of the church.
Covered with branches of fir interwoven amid the strips of cedar which
formed its surface, this structure was eminently ornamental. The curé,
accompanied by his assistants, marched out and recited certain prayers
belonging to the occasion; then, after having blessed the structure,
he set a torch to the little piles of straw arranged at the eight
corners of the pyramid. Straightway the whole pile burst crackling into
flame, amid the shouts and gun-firing of the crowd which remained in
attendance till the pyramid was burned to ashes.

At this joyous ceremony, Blanche D'Haberville did not fail to assist,
in company with Jules, Lochiel, and Uncle Raoul. A malicious critic,
observing Uncle Raoul as he stood leaning on his sword a little in
advance of the throng, might have been reminded of the late lamented
Vulcan of game-legged memory, so lurid and grotesque an effect was
cast upon his figure; which by no means prevented Uncle Raoul from
considering himself the most important personage present.

Uncle Raoul had a very good and sufficient reason for taking part
in the bonfire. It was the day of the salmon sale. Every _habitant_
who stretched a net came to sell his first salmon at the church door
for the benefit of the souls in purgatory; in other words, with the
money obtained for the fish he would pay for a mass to be said for the
souls about which he was most concerned. The auctioneer announcing the
object of the sale, all strove to outbid each other. Nothing could be
more touching than this closeness of communion between friends and
relations beyond the grave, this anxious concern extending even to the
invisible world. Our brethren of other creeds shed, indeed, as we do,
the bitterest of tears over the tomb which covers away their dearest,
but there they cease their solicitude and their devotion.

When I was a child my mother taught me to conclude all my prayers with
this appeal: "Receive, O Lord, soon into thy blessed paradise the souls
of my grandfather and grandmother." My prayers were then for kinsfolk
few in number and unknown to me. Now, alas, in my old age, how many
names would have to pass my lips were I to enumerate in my prayers all
the loved ones who have left me!

It was some time after dark when Uncle Raoul, Blanche, Jules, and
Archie quitted the presbytery where they had taken supper. Uncle Raoul,
who had a smattering of astronomy, explained to his niece, as they
drove along, the mysteries of the starry vault, marvels of which, for
all the efforts of their professor in astronomy, our young men knew but
little.

The young men were in high spirits, and, excited by the splendor of the
night in mid-forest, they laid aside their decorum and began a host of
antics, in spite of the frowns of Blanche, who dreaded lest they should
displease her uncle.

The road followed the banks of the St. Lawrence. It was bordered by
thick woods, with here and there a clearing through which was commanded
a perfect view of the giant stream. Coming to one of these clearings,
where they could sweep the whole river from Cape Tourmente to Malbaie,
Archie was unable to repress a cry of surprise, and, turning to Uncle
Raoul, he said:

"You, sir who explain so well the marvels of the heaven, might I beg
you to lower your gaze to earth a moment and tell me the meaning of all
those lights which are flashing along the north shore as far as eye can
see? Verily, I begin to believe José's story. Canada appears to be that
land of goblins, imps, and witches of which my nurse used to tell me
amid my Scottish hills."

"Ah," said Uncle Raoul, "let us stop here a moment. That is the people
of the north shore sending messages to their friends and relations on
this side, according to their custom on the eve of St. Jean-Baptiste.
They need neither pen nor ink for their communications. Let us begin
at Eboulements: Eleven adults have died in that parish since autumn,
three of them in one house, that of my friend Dufour. The family must
have been visited by small-pox or some malignant fever, for those
Dufours are vigorous and all in the prime of life. The Tremblays are
well, which I am glad to perceive; they are worthy people. At Bonneau's
somebody is sick, probably the grandmother, who is getting well on in
years. There is a child dead at Bélair's house. I fear it is their only
child, as theirs is a young household."

Thus Uncle Raoul ran on for some time gathering news of his friends at
Eboulements, at Isle aux Coudres, and at Petite-Rivière.

"I understand without having the key," said Lochiel. "Those are certain
prearranged signals which are exchanged between the dwellers on the
opposite shores in order to communicate matters of personal interest."

"Yes," answered Uncle Raoul; "and if we were on the north shore we
should observe similar signals on this side. If a fire burns long and
steadily, that is good news; if it sinks gradually, that is a sign of
sickness; if it is extinguished suddenly, that means death; if it is
so extinguished more than once, that signifies so many deaths. For a
grown person, a strong blaze; for a child, a feeble one. The means
of intercourse being scanty enough even in summer, and entirely cut
off during winter, the _habitants_, made ingenious by necessity, have
invented this simple expedient.

"The same signals," continued Uncle Raoul, "are understood by all the
sailors, who use them in time of wreck to convey information of their
distress. Only last year five of our best huntsmen would have starved
to death but for this on the shoals of the Loups-Marins. Toward the
middle of March there was a sudden change in the weather. The ice went
out all at once and the ducks, geese, and brant made their appearance
in astonishing numbers. Five of our hunters, well supplied with
provisions--for the weather is treacherous in Canada--set out at once
for the Loups-Marins; but the birds were so numerous that they left
their provisions in the canoe (which they tied carelessly in front of
their hut), and ran to take their places in the ditch which they had
to get scooped out before the return of the tide. This ditch, you must
know, is a trough dug in the mud to a depth of three or four feet,
wherein the hunter lies in wait for his game, which are very wary, the
geese and brant particularly. It is a wretchedly uncomfortable kind of
hunting, for you have to crouch in these holes, with your dog, often
for seven or eight hours at a stretch. You have no lack of occupation
to kill time, however, for you have to keep bailing out the muddy water
which threatens to drown you.

"All was in proper shape, and our hunters were expecting with the
rising tide an ample reward for their pains, when suddenly there came
up a frightful storm. The sleet was driven by the wind in such dense
clouds that the birds could not be seen six feet away. Our hunters,
having waited patiently until flood tide, which drove them from their
posts, returned to their hut, where a dreadful surprise awaited them;
their canoe had been carried away by the storm, and there remained, to
feed five men, only one loaf of bread and one bottle of brandy, which
they had taken into the hut on their arrival, that they might indulge
in a snack before getting to work. They went to bed without supper, for
the snow-storm might last three days, and, being about three leagues
from either shore, it would be impossible, in such weather, for their
signals of distress to be seen. But their calculations fell far short
of the fact. A second winter had set in. The cold became very severe,
the snow continued falling for eight days, and the river was once more
filled with ice as in January.

Then they began to make their signals, which could be seen from both
shores; but it was impossible to go to their aid. The signals of
distress were followed by those of death. The fire was lighted every
evening and immediately extinguished. When three of the party were
reported dead, some _habitants_, at the imminent risk of their lives,
did all that could be expected of the bravest men; but in vain, for
the river was so thick with ice cakes that the canoes were carried up
and down with the ebb and flow of the tide, and could not get near
the scene of the disaster. It was not until the seventeenth day that
they were rescued by a canoe from Isle aux Coudres. When the rescuing
party arrived they heard no sound in the hut, and feared they were too
late. The sufferers were still alive, however, and after a few weeks of
care were quite themselves again; but they had learned a lesson they
were not likely to forget, and the next time they go hunting on the
Loups-Marins they will haul their canoe up out of reach of high tide."

At last Uncle Raoul came to an end, just as anybody else would.

"Dear uncle," said Blanche, "do you not know a song appropriate to so
delicious a night as this, and so enchanting a scene?"

"Hear! hear!" exclaimed the young men, "a song from Uncle Raoul!"

This was assailing the chevalier on his weak point. He was a singer,
and very proud of it. Without further pressing he began, in a splendid
tenor voice, the following song, which he sang with peculiar feeling
as a brave hunter adorned with his scars. While acknowledging that his
verses took many a liberty with the rules of rhyme, he declared that
these defects were redeemed by the vividness and originality of the
composition.


UNCLE RAOUL'S SONG.

  As I was walking, somewhat late,
  A-through a lonely wood and great,
  Hunting partridge, snipe, and cock,
  And careless of the clock,
  I raised my gun to drop a bird,
  When in the bushes something stirred;
  I heard a cry--and saw the game
  That love alone can tame.

  I saw a fair one all alone,
  Lamenting on a mossy stone,
  Her hair about so fair a face
  As lightened that dark place.
  I called my dog to heel, and there
  I fired my gun into the air.
  So loud with fear the lady cried,
  I hastened to her side.

  I said to her, I said, "Sweet heart,
  Be comforted, whoe'er thou art.
  I am a valiant cavalier,
  Have thou of me no fear.
  Beholding thee, my lovely one,
  Thus left lamenting and alone,
  I fain would be thy knight-at-arms,
  And shield thee from alarms."

  "Oh, succor me, fair sir," she saith,
  "My heart with fear was nigh to death.
  I am benighted and astray,
  Oh, show me, sir, my way!
  Oh, show me, gentle sir, the road,
  For Mary's sake, to mine abode.
  My heart, fair sir, but for your grace,
  Had died in this dark place."

  "Now, lady, give thy hand to me.
  Not far the way--not far with thee.
  Right glad am I to do thee pleasure,
  And I have the leisure.
  But might I crave before we part,
  Oh, lady dear, oh, fair sweet heart--
  Might I dare to beg the bliss
  Of one small kiss?"

  Saith she, "I can not say thee nay;
  Thy service can I ne'er repay.
  Take one, or even two, or three,
  If so it pleaseth thee.
  More gallant sir was never seen;
  Much honored have my kisses been."
  (This was the last I heard of her)
  "And now farewell, kind sir."

"The devil," said Jules, "I perceive, dear sir, that you did not waste
any time. I will wager, now, that you have been a terrible gallant in
your younger days, and can count your victims by the score. It is so,
eh, uncle mine? Do tell us some of your conquests."

"Ugly, my dear boy," replied Uncle Raoul, with a gratified air, "ugly I
certainly am, but very agreeable to the ladies."

Jules was going on in the same vein, but seeing the way his sister was
frowning at him, he bit his lips to keep from laughing, and repeated
the last four lines:

  "'More gallant sir was never seen;
  Much honored have my kisses been'
  (This was the last I heard of her)
  'And now farewell, kind sir.'"

The young men continued the singing till they reached a clearing, where
they saw a fire in the woods a little way from the road.

"That is the witch of the manor," said Uncle Raoul.

"I have always forgotten to ask why she was called the witch of the
manor," said Archie.

"Because she has established herself in this wood, which formerly
belonged to the D'Haberville estate," said Uncle Raoul. "My brother
exchanged it for a part of his present domain, in order to get nearer
his mill at Trois Saumons."

"Let us go and see poor old Marie," said Blanche. "When I was a
child she used to bring me the first spring flowers and the first
strawberries of the season."

Uncle Raoul made some objections on account of the lateness of the
hour, but he could refuse Blanche nothing, and presently the horses
were hitched on the edge of the wood and our party were on their way to
the witch's abode.

The dwelling of old Marie by no means resembled that of the Cumæan
sybil, or of any other sorceress, ancient or modern. It was a sort of
patchwork hut, built of logs and unquarried stones, and carpeted within
with many colored mosses. The roof was cone-shaped and covered with
birch-bark and spruce branches.

Old Marie was seated on a log at the door of her hut, cooking something
in a frying-pan over a fire which was surrounded with stones to keep it
from spreading. She paid no attention to her visitors, but maintained
a conversation with some invisible being behind her. She kept waving
first one hand and then the other behind her back, as if attempting to
drive away this being, and the burden of her utterance was: "Avaunt,
avaunt! it is you that bring the English here to eat up the French!"

"Oh, ho, my prophetess of evil," exclaimed Uncle Raoul, "when you get
done talking to the devil, would you be kind enough to tell me what you
mean by that threat?"

"Come, Marie," interposed Jules, "tell us if you really think you are
talking to the devil? You can fool the _habitants_, but you must know
that we put no faith in such delusions."

"Avaunt! Avaunt!" continued the witch with the same gestures, "you that
are bringing the English to eat up the French."

"I am going to speak to her," said Blanche; "she loves me, and I am
sure she will answer me."

Approaching the old woman, she laid her hand on her shoulder and said
gently:

"Do you not know me, my good Marie? Do you not recognize _la petite
seigneuresse_, as you used to call me?"

The old woman interrupted her monologue and looked tenderly at the
girl. A tear even gathered in her eyes, but could not overflow, so few
such were there in her burning brain.

"Why, dear Marie, do you lead this wild and vagabond life?" exclaimed
Blanche. "Why do you live in the woods, you who are the wife of a
rich _habitant_, the mother of a numerous family? Your poor children,
brought up by strangers, are crying for their dear mother. Mamma and I
were looking for you at your house after the feast. We were talking to
your husband who loves you. How unhappy you must be!"

The poor woman sprang upon her seat and her eyes shot flames, as she
cried, pale with anger:

"Who is it dare speak of my misfortunes? Is it the fair young girl, the
darling of her parents, who will never be wife and mother? Is it the
rich and noble lady, brought up in silk and fine linen, who will soon,
like me, have but a hut to shelter her? Woe! Woe! Woe!"

She was about to retire into the forest, but seeing Jules much moved,
she cried again:

"Is it Jules D'Haberville who is so concerned at my wretchedness? Is
it, indeed, Jules D'Haberville, bravest of the brave, whose bleeding
body I see them dragging over the Plains of Abraham? Is it, indeed, his
blood that crimsons the last glorious field of my country? Woe! Woe!
Woe!"

"This poor woman moves my heart strangely," said Lochiel, as she was
disappearing in the thicket.

The creature heard him. She returned once more, folded her arms, turned
upon him a gaze of calm bitterness, and said:

"Keep your pity for yourself, Archibald de Lochiel. The family fool has
no need of your pity! Keep your pity for yourself and for your friends!
Keep it for yourself on that day when, forced to execute a cruel order,
you shall tear with your nails that breast that hides a noble and
generous heart! Keep it for your friends, Archibald de Lochiel, on that
day when you shall set the torch to their peaceful dwellings, that day
when the old and feeble, the women and the children, shall flee before
you as sheep before the wolf! Keep your pity! You will need it all when
you carry in your arms the bleeding body of him you call your brother!
I have but one grief at this hour, Archibald de Lochiel, it is that I
have no curse to utter against you. Woe! Woe! Woe!" And she disappeared
into the forest.

"May I be choked by an Englishman," said Uncle Raoul, "if poor silly
Marie has not shown herself tonight a sorceress of the approved type,
the type which has been celebrated by poets ancient and modern. I
wonder what mad weed she has been rubbing against, she who is always so
polite and gentle with us."

All agreed that they had never heard anything like it before. The rest
of the drive was passed in silence; for, though attaching no credence
to the witch's words, they could not at once throw off their ominous
influence.

On their arrival at the manor house, however, where they found a number
of friends awaiting them, this little cloud was soon scattered.

The joyous laughter of the party could be heard even to the highway,
and the echoes of the bluff were kept busy repeating the refrain:

  "Ramenez vos moutons, bergère,
  Belle bergère, vos moutons."

The dancers had broken one of the chains of their dance, and were
running everywhere, one behind the other, around the vast court-yard.
They surrounded the chevalier's carriage, the chain reunited, and they
began dancing round and round, crying to Mademoiselle D'Haberville,
"Descend, fair shepherdess."

Blanche sprang lightly out of the carriage. The leader of the dance at
once whisked her off, and began to sing:

  "Hail to the fairest in the land!
    (Hail to the fairest in the land!)
  "Now I take you by the hand.
    (Now I take you by the hand.)
  I lead you here, I lead you there;
  Bring back your sheep, O shepherdess fair.
  Bring back your sheep and with care them keep,
  Shepherdess fair, bring back your sheep.
  Bring back, bring back, bring back with care,
  Bring back your sheep, O shepherdess fair!"

After making several more rounds, with the chevalier's carriage in the
middle, and all the time singing:

  "Ramenez, ramenez, ramenez donc,
  Belle bergère, vos moutons."

They at length broke up the chain, and all danced merrily into the
house.

Uncle Raoul, at last set at liberty by the inexorable dancers,
descended as he could from the carriage and hastened to join the party
at the supper-table.



CHAPTER IX.

"THE GOOD GENTLEMAN."

Tout homme qui, à quarante ans, n'est pas misanthrope, n'a jamais
aimé les hommes.--+Champfort.+

J'ai été prodigieusement fier jusqu'à quarente-cinq ans: mais le malheur
m'a bien courbé et m'a rendu aussi humble que j'étais fier. Ah!
c'est une grande école que le malheur! j'ai appris à me courber et à
m'humilier sous la main de Dieu.--+Chenedollé.+


The two months which Jules had to spend with his family before his
departure for Europe had come to an end, and the vessel in which he had
taken passage was to sail in two or three days. Lochiel was at Quebec,
making preparations for a voyage which could hardly take less than two
months. Abundant provisions were necessary, and Seigneur D'Haberville
had intrusted this point to the young Scotchman's care, while Jules's
mother and sister were loading down the young men's valises with all
the comforts and dainties they could think of. As the time drew near
for a separation which might be forever, Jules was drawn closer and
closer to his family, whom he could hardly bear to leave even for a
moment. One day, however, he remarked:

"As you know, I promised 'the good gentleman' that I would go and stay
a night with him before my departure. I will be back to-morrow morning
in time to breakfast with you."

With these words, he picked up his gun and started for the woods, in
order to take a short cut and have a little hunting by the way.

M. d'Egmont, whom everybody called "the good gentleman," dwelt in a
cottage on the Trois Saumons River, about three quarters of a league
from the manor house. With him there lived a faithful follower who had
shared alike his good and his evil fortunes. André Franc[oe]ur was of
the same age as his master, and was also his foster-brother. Having
been the playfellow of his childhood, and the trusted friend rather
than the valet of his riper years, André Franc[oe]ur had found it as
natural to follow D'Egmont's fortunes in adversity as in prosperity.

D'Egmont and his servant were living on the interest of a small capital
which they had in common. One might even say that the savings of the
valet were even greater than those of the master. Was it consistent
with D'Egmont's honor to be thus, in a way, dependent on his own
servant? Many will answer no; but "the good gentleman" argued otherwise.

"When I was rich I spent my wealth for my friends, and how have my
friends rewarded me? André, alone, has shown himself grateful and
noble-hearted. In no way, therefore, do I lower myself by associating
my fortune with his, as I would have done with one of my own station
had one been found as noble as my valet."

When Jules arrived, the good gentleman was busy weeding a bed of
lettuce in his garden. Entirely absorbed, he did not see his young
friend, who overheard the following soliloquy:

"Poor little insect! I have wounded you, and lo! all the other ants,
just now your friends, are falling upon you to devour you. These tiny
creatures are as cruel as men. I am going to rescue you; and as for
you, my good ants, thanks for the lesson; I have now a better opinion
of my kind."

"Poor fellow!" thought Jules, "with a heart so tender, how he must have
suffered!"

Withdrawing noiselessly, he entered by the garden gate.

M. d'Egmont uttered an exclamation of delight on seeing his young
friend, whom he loved as a son. Although, during the thirty years
that he had lived on Captain D'Haberville's estate, he had constantly
refused to take up his abode at the manor house, he yet was a frequent
visitor there, often remaining a week at a time when there were no
strangers present. Without actually shunning society, he had suffered
too much in his relations with men of his own class to be able to
mingle cordially in their enjoyments.

Although poor, M. d'Egmont was able to do a great deal of good. He
comforted the afflicted; he visited the sick, whom he healed with herbs
whose virtues were revealed to him by his knowledge of botany; and if
his alms-giving was not lavish, it was accompanied by such sympathy and
tact that it was none the less appreciated by the poor, who had come to
know him by no other title than that of _le bon gentilhomme_.

When D'Egmont and his young friend entered the house, André set before
them a dish of fine trout and a plate of broiled pigeons, garnished
with chives.

"It is a frugal supper, indeed," said D'Egmont, "I caught the trout
myself in yonder brook, about an hour ago, and André bagged the doves
this morning at sunrise, in yonder dead tree, half a gunshot from the
cottage. You see that, without being a seigneur, I have a fish-pond
and dove-cote on my estate. Now for a salad of lettuce with cream, a
bowl of raspberries, a bottle of wine--and there is your supper, friend
Jules."

"And never fish-pond and dove-cote supplied better meal to a hungry
hunter," exclaimed Jules.

The meal was a cheerful one, for M. d'Egmont seemed to have recovered
something of the gayety of his youth. His conversation was no less
instructive than amusing; for, although he had mingled much with men in
his early days, he had found in study a refuge from his unhappiness.

"How do you like this wine?" said he to Jules, who was eating like a
hungry wolf, and had already quaffed several bumpers.

"It is capital, upon my word."

"You are a connoisseur, my friend," went on M. d'Egmont. "If it is true
that wine and men improve with age, that wine must indeed be excellent;
and as for me, I must be approaching perfection, for I am very nearly
ninety."

"Thus it is," said Jules, "that they call you 'the good gentleman.'"

"The Athenians, my son, sent Aristides into exile, and at the same time
called him the Just. But let us drop men and speak of wine. For my own
part, I drink it rarely. As with many other useless luxuries, I have
learned to do without it, and yet I enjoy perfect health. This wine
is older than you are; its age, for a man, would not be much, but for
wine it is something. Your father sent me a basket of it the day you
were born. In his happiness he made gifts to all his friends. I have
kept it with great care, and I only bring it out on such rare occasions
as this. Here is a health to you, my dear boy. Success to all your
undertakings; and when you come back to New France, promise that you
will come and sup here with me, and drink a last bottle of this wine,
which I will keep for you. You look astonished. You think it likely
that when you return I shall have long since paid that debt which is
paid even by the most recalcitrant debtor. You are mistaken, my son;
a man like me does not die. But come, we have finished supper, let us
go and sit _sub tegmine fagi_, which may be interpreted to mean, under
that splendid walnut-tree whose branches are reflected in the river."

The night was magnificent. The ripple of running water was the only
sound that broke the moonlit stillness. M. d'Egmont was silent for some
moments, and Jules, not caring to disturb his reverie, began tracing
hieroglyphics with his finger in the sand.

"I have greatly desired," said "the good gentleman," "to have a talk
with you before your departure, before you go out into the world. I
know that we can profit little by the experience of others, but that
each must purchase his own. No matter, I shall at least have the
consolation of having opened my heart to you, a heart which should have
been dried up long since, but which yet beats as warmly as when I led
the joyous troops of my companions more than half a century ago. Just
now you looked at me with surprise when I said that a man like me does
not die; you thought I spoke in metaphor, but I was sincere at the
moment. So often on my knees have I begged for death that I have ended
by almost doubting Death's existence. The heathen have made of him a
divinity, doubtless that they might call him to their aid in time of
heavy sorrow. If it is as physiology teaches us, and our sufferings
depend upon the sensitiveness of our nerves, then have I suffered what
would have killed fifty strong men." M. d'Egmont was silent once more,
and Jules flung some pebbles into the river.

"See," resumed the old man, "this stream which flows so quietly at our
feet. Within an hour it mingles with the troubled waters of the St.
Lawrence, and in a few days it will be writhing under the scourge of
the Atlantic storms. Behold therein an image of our life! Thy days
hitherto have been like the current of this stream; but soon you will
be tossed on the great river of life, and will be carried into the
ocean of men, whose waves rage ceaselessly. I have watched you from
child-hood up; I have studied your character minutely, and that is
what has caused me to seek this conversation. Between your character
and mine I have found the closest resemblance. Like you, I was born
kind-hearted, sympathetic, generous to a fault. How has it come that
these virtues, which should have secured me happiness, have rather been
the cause of all my ills? How comes it, my son, that these qualities,
so applauded among men, have risen against me as my most implacable
enemies and beaten me to the dust? I can not but think that I deserved
a kindlier fate. Born, like you, of rich and loving parents, I was
free to follow my every inclination. Like you, I sought nothing so
much as the love of those about me. Like you, in my childhood I would
not willingly injure the most insignificant of God's creatures, and to
the beggar child I gave the very clothes I wore. Needless to add that,
again like you, my hand was ever open to all my comrades, so that I was
said to have 'nothing of my own.' It is curious to consider that, at
the hands of my playfellows, I never tasted ingratitude. Is ingratitude
the attribute only of the full-grown man? Or is it a snare which this
human nature casts about the feet of generous childhood, the better
to despoil the prey when grown to be a richer prize! But, no; it is
impossible that youth could be so depraved.

"And you, Jules," continued the old man after this semi-soliloquy,
"have you yet experienced the ingratitude of those you have befriended,
the ingratitude which pierces the heart like a blade of steel?"

"Never," said the young man.

"It is self-interest, then, bitter fruit of civilization, which causes
ingratitude; the more a man needs, the more ungrateful he becomes. This
reminds me of a little story. About twenty years ago a poor savage
of the Huron tribe came to me in a pitiable state. It was spring. He
had made a long and painful march, he had swum the icy streams when
overheated, and as a result he was seized with a violent attack of
pleurisy, accompanied by inflammation of the lungs. I judged that only
a copious bleeding could save him, and I made shift to bleed him with
my penknife. In a word, with care and simple remedies, I effected a
cure; but his convalescence was slow, and he stayed with me more than
two months. In a little while André and I could talk to him in his own
tongue. He told me that he was a great warrior and hunter, but that
fire-water had been his ruin. His thanks were as brief as his farewells:

"'My heart is too full for many words,' said he; 'the Huron warrior
knows not how to weep like a woman. I thank you, my brothers,' And he
vanished in the forest.

"I had entirely forgotten my Indian, when about four years later he
arrived at my door, accompanied by another savage. I could scarcely
recognize him. He was splendidly clad, and everything about him
bespoke the great hunter and the mighty warrior. In one corner of my
room he and his companion laid down two bundles of merchandise of
great value--the richest furs, moccasins splendidly embroidered with
porcupine quills, and exquisite pieces of work in birch bark, such as
the Indians alone know how to make. I congratulated him upon the happy
turn his affairs had taken.

"'Listen to me, my brother,' said he. 'I owe you much, and I am come
to pay my debt. You saved my life, for you know good medicine. You
have done more, for you know the words which reach the heart; dog of
a drunkard as I was, I am become once more a man as I was created by
the Great Spirit. You were rich when you lived beyond the great water.
This wigwam is too small for you; build one large enough to hold your
great heart. All these goods belong to you,' The gratitude of this
child of the forest brought tears to my eyes; for in all my long life
I had found but two men who could be grateful--the faithful André, my
foster-brother, and this poor Indian, who, seeing that I was going to
accept nothing but a pair of deer-hide moccasins, struck three fingers
rapidly across his mouth with a shrill cry of 'houa,' and took himself
off at top speed with his companion. Never after could I find a trace
of him. Our good curé undertook the sale of the goods, the product of
which, with interest, was lately distributed among his tribe."

The good gentleman sighed, reflected a moment, then resumed his speech:

"I am now going to tell you, my dear Jules, of the most happy and most
wretched periods of my life. Five years of happiness! Five years of
misery! O God! for one single day of the joy of my youth, the joy as
keen as pain, which could make me forget all that I have suffered! Oh,
for one of those happy days when I believed in human friendship, when I
knew not the ingratitude of men!

"When I had completed my studies, all careers were open to me. That
of arms seemed most suitable, but I hated to shed blood. I obtained a
place of trust under the government. For me such a place was ruin. I
had a great fortune of my own, my office was a lucrative one, and I
scattered by handfuls the gold which I despised.

"I do not accuse others in order to palliate my own follies. But one
thing is sure, I had more than enough for all my own expenses, though
not for those of my friends and my friends' friends, who rushed upon
me like hungry wolves. I bear them no grudge; they but acted according
to their nature. As for me, my hand was never shut. Not only my purse,
but my signature was at everybody's disposal. There was my greatest
mistake; for I may say in all sincerity that ninety-nine times out
of a hundred, in my times of greatest embarrassment, I had to meet
their liabilities with my own cash in order to save my credit. A great
English poet has said:

  "Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
  For borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry,
  And loan oft loses both itself and friend.

"Give, my dear boy, with both hands; but be chary of your signature.

"My private affairs were so mingled with those of my office that it
was long before I discovered how deeply I was involved. The revelation
came upon me like a thunderbolt. Not only was I ruined, but I was on
the verge of a serious defalcation. At last I said to myself, 'what
matters the loss of the gold, so long as I pay my debts? I am young,
and not afraid to work, and I shall always have enough. Moreover, my
friends owe me considerable sums. When they see my difficulties, not
only will they hasten to give back what they owe, but they will do for
me as I have so often done for them.' What a fool I was to judge others
by myself! For me, I would have moved heaven and earth to save a friend
from ruin. How innocent and credulous I was! They had good reason, the
wretches, to laugh at me.

"I took account of what was owed me and of the value of my property,
and then perceived that with these affairs settled up there would
remain but a small balance, which I could cover with the help of
my relations. The load rolled off my heart. How little I knew of
men! I told my debtors, in confidence, how I was situated. I found
them strangely cold. Several to whom I had lent without written
acknowledgment had even forgotten that they owed me anything. Those
whose notes I held, declared it was ungenerous of me to take them
unawares. The greater number, who had had business at my office,
claimed boldly that I was in debt to them. I did, indeed, owe them
a trifle, while they owed me considerable sums. I asked them for a
settlement, but they put me off with promises; and meanwhile undermined
my credit by whispering it about that I was on the verge of ruin.
They even turned me into ridicule as a spendthrift fool. One wag of a
fellow, whom but eighteen months before I had saved not only from ruin
but from disgrace (his secret shall die with me), was hugely witty at
my expense. His pleasantries had a great success among my old friends.
Such measureless ingratitude as this completely crushed me. One only,
and he a mere acquaintance, hearing that I was in difficulties,
hastened to me with these words:

"'We have had some little transactions together; I think you will find
here the correct balance in your favor. Please look up the matter in
your books and see if I am right.'

"He is dead long since. Honor to his memory, and may the blessings of
an old man descend upon his children!

"The inevitable day was close at hand, and even had I had the heart to
make further struggle nothing could save me. My friends and enemies
alike were intriguing for the spoils. I lowered my head before the
storm and resigned.

"I will not sadden you with the story of all I suffered; suffice to
say that, fallen into the claws of pitiless creditors, I drank the cup
of bitterness to the dregs. Apart from the ingratitude of my friends,
I was not the sort of man to grieve greatly over my mere personal
misfortunes. Even within the walls of the Bastille my gayety would not
have deserted me; I might have danced to the grim music of the grating
of my bolts. But my family! my family! Oh, the gnawing remorse which
harasses the day, which haunts the long sleepless night, which suffers
you neither forgetfulness nor rest, which wrenches the nerves of one's
heart as with pincers of steel!

"I believe, my boy, that with a few exceptions every man who can do so
pays his debts; the torments he endures at the sight of his creditor
would constrain him to this, even without the terrors of the law.
Glance through the ancient and modern codes, and you will be struck
with the barbarous egotism which has dictated them all alike. Can one
imagine, indeed, any punishment more humiliating than that of a debtor
kept face to face with his creditor, who is often a skinflint to whom
he must cringe with fearful deference? Can anything be more degrading
than to be obliged to keep dodging a creditor?

"It has always struck me that civilization warps men's judgment, and
makes them inferior to primitive races in mere common sense and simple
equity. Let me give you an amusing instance. Some years ago, in New
York, an Iroquois was gazing intently at a great, forbidding structure.
Its lofty walls and iron-bound windows interested him profoundly. It
was a prison. A magistrate came up.

"'Will the pale face tell his brother what this great wigwam is for?'
asked the Indian. The citizen swelled out his chest and answered with
an air of importance:

"'It is there we shut up the red-skins who refuse to pay the furs which
they owe our merchants.'

"The Iroquois examined the structure with ever-increasing interest,
walked around it, and asked to see the inside of this marvelous
wigwam. The magistrate, who was himself a merchant, was glad to grant
his request, in the hope of inspiring with wholesome dread the other
savages, to whom this one would not fail to recount the effective and
ingenious methods employed by the pale faces to make the red-skins pay
their debts.

"The Iroquois went over the whole building with the minutest care,
descended into the dungeons, tried the depth of the wells, listened
attentively to the smallest sounds, and at last burst out laughing.

"'Why,' exclaimed he, 'no Indian could catch any beaver here.'

"In five minutes the Indian had found the solution of a problem which
civilized man has not had the common sense to solve in centuries of
study. This simple and unlearned man, unable to comprehend such folly
on the part of a civilized race, had naturally concluded that the
prison had subterranean canals communicating with streams and lakes
where beaver were abundant, and that the savages were shut up therein
in order to facilitate their hunting of the precious animals, and the
more prompt satisfaction of their creditors' claims. These walls and
iron gratings seemed to him intended for the guarding of the treasure
within.

"You understand, Jules, that I am speaking to you now on behalf of the
creditor, who gets all the sympathy and pity, and not on behalf of the
debtor who, with his dread and suspicion ever before his eyes, gnaws
his pillow in despair after watering it with his tears.

"I was young, only thirty-three years of age. I had ability, energy,
and a sturdy faith in myself. I said to my creditors, take all I have
but leave me free, and I will devote every energy to meeting your
claims. If you imprison me you wrong yourselves. Simple as was this
reasoning, it was incomprehensible to civilized man. My Iroquois would
have understood it well enough. He would have said: 'My brother can
take no beaver if the pale face ties his hands.' My creditors, however,
took no account of such simple logic as this, and have held the sword
of Damocles over my head for thirty years, the limit allowed them by
the laws of France."

"What adorable stupidity!" cried Jules.

"One of them, however," continued M. d'Egmont, "with a delightful
ingenuity of torture, obtained a warrant for my arrest, and with a
refinement of cruelty worthy of Caligula himself, did not put it in
execution till eighteen months later. Picture me for those eighteen
months, surrounded by my family, who had to see me trembling at every
noise, shuddering at the sight of every stranger who might prove to be
the bearer of the order for my imprisonment.

"So unbearable was my suspense that twice I sought out my creditor and
besought him to execute his warrant without delay. At last he did so,
at his leisure. I could have thanked him on my knees. From behind my
bars I could defy the malice of men.

"During the first month of his captivity the prisoner experiences a
feverish restlessness, a need of continual movement. He is like a caged
lion. After this time of trial, this feverish disquiet, I attained in
my cell the calm of one who after being tossed violently by a storm
at sea, feels no longer anything more than the throb of the subsiding
waves; for apart from the innumerable humiliations of imprisonment,
apart from my grief for my family, I was certainly less wretched. I
believed that I had drunk the last drop of gall from the cup which
man holds to his brother's fevered lips. I was reckoning without the
hand of God, which was being made heavy for the insensate fool who
had wrought his own misfortune. Two of my children, at two different
periods, fell so dangerously ill that the doctors gave them up and
daily announced to me that the end was near. It was then I felt the
weight of my chains. It was then I learned to cry, like the mother of
Christ, 'Approach and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.'
I was separated from my children only by the breadth of a street.
During the long night watches I could perceive the stir about their
couch, the lights moving from one room to another; and I trembled
every moment lest the stillness should fall which would proclaim them
no longer in need of a mother's care. I blush to confess that I was
sometimes tempted to dash my life out against the bars.

"Meanwhile my persecutor knew as well as I what was passing in my
family. But pity is fled from the breast of man to take refuge in brute
beasts that have no understanding. The lamb bleats sadly when one of
his companions is slaughtered, the ox bellows with rage and pain when
he smells the blood of his kind, the horse snorts sharply and utters
his doleful and piercing cry at the sight of his fellow struggling in
the final agony, the dog howls with grief when his master is sick; but
with whisperings and gossip and furtive pleasantry man follows his
brother to the grave.

"Lift up your head in your pride, lord of creation! You have the right
to do so. Lift your haughty head to heaven, O man whose heart is as
cold as the gold you grasp at day and night! Heap your slanders with
both hands on the man of eager heart, of ardent passions, of blood
burning like fire, who has fallen in his youth! Hold high your head,
proud Pharisee, and say, 'As for me, I have never fallen!'" "The
good gentleman" pressed his hands to his heart, kept silent for some
minutes, and at length resumed:

"Pardon me, my son, that, carried away by the memory of my sufferings,
I have spoken the whole bitterness of my heart. It was but seven days
after the coming of his friends when the great Arabian poet Job, the
singer of so many sorrows, broke out with this heart-rending cry,
'_Pereat dies in quâ natus sum!_' As for me, these fifty years have I
buried my lamentations in my heart, and you will pardon me if I have
spoken now with bitterness, if I have calumniated mankind.

"As I had long ago given up to my creditors all that I possessed, and
had sold my real estate and personal property for their benefit, after
four years' imprisonment I petitioned the King for my release. The
Government was of the opinion that I had suffered enough, but there
remained one great difficulty--when a debtor has given up everything,
does anything yet remain? The question was a knotty one. Nevertheless,
after long debate, it was decided in the negative, and very politely
they showed me the door.

"My future was broken, like my heart, and I had nothing to do but
vegetate without profit to myself or others. But observe the fatality
that pursued me. When making my surrender to my creditors I begged them
to leave me a certain property of very small immediate value, which I
foresaw that I might turn to good account. I promised that whatever I
could make out of it should go to wiping out the debt. They laughed me
in the face; and very naturally, for there was a beaver to catch. Well,
Jules, this same property, which brought hardly enough to cover costs
of sale, sold ten years later for a sum which would have covered all my
debts and more.

"Europe was now too populous for me, and I embarked with my faithful
André for New France. I chose out this peaceful dwelling place, where
I might have lived happily could I have drunk the waters of Lethe. The
ancients, our superiors in point of imagination, knew the needs of the
human heart when they created that stream. Long tainted with the errors
of the sixteenth century, I used once to cry in my pride, 'O men, if I
have shared your vices, I have found few among you endowed with even
one of my virtues.' But religion has taught me to know myself better,
and I have humbled myself beneath God's hand, convinced at length that
I could claim but little credit for merely following the inclinations
of my nature.

"You are the only one, Jules, to whom I have hinted the story of my
life, suppressing the cruelest episodes because I know the tenderness
of your heart. My end is attained; let us now go and finish the evening
with my faithful André, who will keenly appreciate this attention on
the eve of your departure."

When they re-entered the house André was making up a bed on a sofa, a
piece of furniture which was the result of the combined skill of master
and man. This sofa, of which they were both very proud, had one leg
shorter than the others, but this little inconvenience was remedied
with the aid of a chip.

"This sofa," said "the good gentleman," with an air of pride, "has cost
André and me more elaborate calculations than Perrault required for
the construction of the Louvre; but we accomplished it at last to our
satisfaction. One leg, to be sure, presents arms to all comers. But
what work is perfect? You must have remembered, my André, that this
camp-bed was to be a soldiers' couch."

André, though not quite relishing this pleasantry, which jarred a
little on his vanity, nevertheless could not help laughing.

Late in the evening M. d'Egmont handed Jules a little silver
candlestick exquisitely wrought.

"There, my dear boy, is all that my creditors have left me of my
ancient fortune. They intended it, I suppose, to solace my sleepless
nights. Good-night, dear boy; one sleeps well at your age; and when,
after my prayers beneath the vault of that great temple which is
forever declaring the glory of God, I once more come under my roof, you
will be deep in your slumbers."



CHAPTER X.

MADAME D'HABERVILLE'S STORY.

    Saepè malum hoc nobis, si mens non læva fuisset,
    De c[oe]lo tactas memini praedicere quercus.

+Virgil.+


All was silence and gloom at D'Haberville Manor; the very servants went
about their work with a spiritless air, far unlike their usual gayety.
Madame D'Haberville choked back her tears that she might not add to her
husband's grief, and Blanche, for her mother's sake, did her weeping
in secret; for in three days the vessel was to set sail. Captain
D'Haberville had bidden his two friends, the priest and M. d'Egmont,
to meet Jules and Archie at a farewell dinner. At this meal every one
strove to be cheerful, but the attempt was a conspicuous failure. The
priest, wisely concluding that a sober conversation would be better
than the sorrowful silence into which the party was continually
dropping, introduced a subject which was beginning to press on all
thoughtful minds.

"Do you know, gentlemen," said he, "that a storm is gathering dark
on the horizon of New France. The English are making tremendous
preparations, and everything seems to indicate an early attack."

"And then?" exclaimed Uncle Raoul.

"Then, whatever you like, my dear chevalier," answered the curé; "but
it must be acknowledged that we have hardly forces enough at our
command to long resist our powerful neighbors."

"My dear abbé," exclaimed Uncle Raoul, "I think that in your reading
this morning you must have stumbled on a chapter of the lamentations of
Jeremiah."

"I might turn your weapon against yourself," retorted the priest, "by
reminding you that those prophecies were fulfilled."

"No matter," almost shouted Uncle Raoul, clinching his teeth. "The
English, indeed! The English take Canada! By heaven, I would undertake
to defend Quebec with my crutch. You forget, it seems, that we have
always beaten the English; that we have beaten them against all
odds--five to one--ten to one--sometimes twenty to one! The English,
indeed!"

"_Concedo_," said the curé; "I am ready to grant all you claim, and
more too if you like. But mark this. We grow weaker and weaker with
every victory, while the enemy, thanks to the foresight of England,
rises with new strength from each defeat; meanwhile, France leaves us
to our own resources."

"Which shows," exclaimed Captain D'Haberville, "the faith our King
reposes in our courage."

"Meanwhile," interposed M. d'Egmont, "he sends us so few soldiers that
the colony grows weaker day by day."

"Give us but plenty of powder and lead," answered the captain,
"and a hundred of my militia will do more in such a war as that
which is coming upon us--a war of reconnoitrings, ambuscades, and
surprises--than would five hundred of the best soldiers of France. I
speak from experience. For all that, however, we stand in great need
of help from the mother country. Would that a few of those battalions
which our beloved monarch pours into the north of Europe to fight the
battles of Austria, might be devoted to the defense of the colony."

"You might rather wish," said "the good gentleman," "that Louis XV had
left Maria Theresa to fight it out with Prussia, and had paid a little
more attention to New France."

"It is perhaps hardly becoming in a young man like me," said Lochiel,
"to mix myself up in your arguments; but, to make up for my lack of
experience, I will call history to my aid. Beware of the English,
beware of a government ever alive to the interests of its colonies,
which it identifies with the interests of the empire; beware of a
nation which has the tenacity of the bull-dog. If the conquest of
Canada is necessary to her she will never swerve from her purpose or
count the sacrifice. Witness my unhappy country."

"Bah!" cried Uncle Raoul, "the Scotch, indeed!"

Lochiel began to laugh.

"Gently, my dear Uncle Raoul," said "the good gentleman"; "and, to make
use of your favorite maxim when you are collecting the rents, let us
render unto Cæsar that which is Cæsar's. I have studied the history of
Scotland, and I can assure you that neither in valor nor in patriotism
need the Scotch yield place to any other nation, ancient or modern."

"Oh, you see, I only wanted to tease this other nephew of mine,"
exclaimed Uncle Raoul, swelling his chest; "for we know a little
history ourselves, thank God. No one knows better than Archie my esteem
for his fellow-countrymen, and my admiration for their dashing courage."

"Yes, dear uncle, and I thank you for it," said Archie, grasping him
by the hand; "but distrust the English profoundly. Beware of their
perseverance, and remember the _Delenda est Carthago_ of the Romans."

"So much the better," said Jules. "I will be grateful to their
perseverance if it brings me back to Canada with my regiment. May I do
my first fighting against them here, on this soil of Canada, which I
love and which holds all that is dearest to me! You shall come with me,
my brother, and shall take revenge in this new world for all that you
have suffered in your own country."

"With all my heart," cried Archie, grasping the handle of his knife as
if it were the terrible claymore of the Camerons. "I will serve as a
volunteer in your company, if I can not get a commission as an officer;
and the simple soldier will be as proud of your exploits as if he had a
hand in them himself."

The young men warmed into excitement at the thought of heroic deeds;
the great black eyes of Jules shot fire, and the old warlike ardor of
the race suddenly flamed out in him. This spirit was infectious, and
from all lips came the cry of _Vive le Roi_! From the eyes of mother,
sister, and aunt, in spite of all their efforts to restrain them, there
escaped a few tears silently.

The conversation became eager. Campaigns were planned, the English were
beaten by sea and land, and Canada was set upon a pinnacle of splendor
and prosperity.

"Fill up your glasses," cried Captain D'Haberville, pouring himself out
a bumper. "I am going to propose a health which everybody will drink
with applause: 'Success to our arms; and may the glorious flag of the
_fleur-de-lys_ float forever over every fortress of New France!'"

Just as they were raising the glasses to their lips a terrific report
was heard. It was like a stupendous clap of thunder, or as if some
huge body had fallen upon the manor house, which shook to its very
foundations. Every one rushed out of doors. The sun was shining with
all the brilliance of a perfect day in July. They scaled the roof, but
there was no sign anywhere that the house had been struck. Every one
was stupefied with awe, the seigneur himself appearing particularly
impressed. "Can it be," he exclaimed, "that this phenomenon presages
the fall of my house!"

In vain did M. d'Egmont, the priest, and Uncle Raoul endeavor to
refer the phenomenon to ordinary causes; they could not remove the
painful impression it had left. The glasses were left unemptied in the
dining-room, and the little company passed into the drawing-room to
take their coffee.

What took place afterward only confirmed the D'Haberville family in
their superstitious fears. Who knows, after all, whether such omens,
to which the ancient world lent implicit belief, may not indeed be
warnings from heaven when some great evil threatens us? If, indeed,
we must reject all that our feeble reason comprehends not, we should
speedily become Pyrrhonists, utter skeptics, like Molière's Marphorius.
Who knows? But one might write a whole chapter on this "who knows."

The weather, which had been so fine all day, began to cloud up toward
six o'clock in the evening. By seven the rain fell in torrents; the
thunder seemed to shatter the vault of heaven, and a great mass of
rock, struck by a thunder-bolt, fell from the bluff with terrific noise
and obliterated the highway.

Captain D'Haberville, who had carried on an immense deal of forest
warfare along with his Indian allies, had become tinctured with many of
their superstitions; and when the disasters of 1759 fell upon him, he
was convinced that they had been foretold to him two years before.

Jules, seated at supper between his mother and sister and holding
their hands in his, shared in their depression. In order to turn their
thoughts into another channel, he asked his mother to tell one of those
stories with which she used to amuse his childhood.

"It would give me," said he, "yet another memory of the tenderest of
mothers to take with me to Europe."

"I can refuse my boy nothing," said Madame D'Haberville; and she began
the following story:

"A mother had an only child, a little girl, fair as a lily, whose great
blue eyes wandered from her mother to heaven and back from heaven to
her mother, only to fix themselves on heaven at last. How proud and
happy was this loving mother when every one praised the beauty of her
child! Her cheeks like the rose just blown, her tresses fair and soft
as the beaten flax and falling over her shoulders in gracious waves!
Immeasurably happy was this good mother.

"At last she lost the child she idolized; and, like Rachel, she would
not be comforted. She passed her days in the cemetery embracing the
little grave. Mad with grief, she kept calling to the child with
ceaseless pleadings:

"'My darling! my darling! listen to your mother, who is come to carry
you to your own bed, where you shall sleep so warmly! Oh, how cold you
must be under the wet sod!'

"She kept her ear close to the earth, as if she expected a response.
She trembled at every slightest noise, and sobbed to discover that
it was but the murmur of the weeping willow moved by the breeze. The
passers-by used to say: 'This grass, so incessantly watered by her
weeping, should be always green; but her tears are so bitter that they
wither it, even like the fierce sun of midday after a heavy shower.'

"She wept beside a brook where the little one had been accustomed to
play with pebbles, and in whose pure stream she had so often washed the
little feet. The passers-by used to say:

"'This mother sheds so many tears that she swells the current of the
stream!'

"She nursed her grief in every room wherein the little one had played.
She opened the trunk in which she kept religiously all the child's
belongings--its clothes, its playthings, the little gold-lined cup of
silver from which she had last given it to drink. Passionately she
kissed the little shoes, and her sobs would have melted a heart of
steel.

"She went continually to the village church to pray, to implore God to
work one miracle in her behalf, and give her back her child. And the
voice of God seemed to answer her:

"'Like David you shall go to her, but she shall not return to you.'

"Then she would cry:

"'When, Lord, when shall such joy be mine?'

"She threw herself down before the image of the blessed Virgin, our
Lady of Sorrows; and it seemed to her that the eyes of the Madonna
rested upon her sadly, and that she read in them these words:

"'Endure with patience, even as I have done, O daughter of Eve, till
the day when your mourning shall be turned into gladness.'

"And the unhappy mother cried anew:

"'But when, when will that blessed day come, O Mother of God?'

"One day the wretched mother, having prayed with more than her usual
fervor, having shed, if possible, more tears than was her wont, fell
asleep in the church, exhausted with her grief. The sexton shut the
doors without noticing her. It must have been about midnight when
she awoke. A ray of moonlight illuminating the altar revealed to her
that she was yet in the church. Far from being terrified, she rather
rejoiced at her situation, if such a thing as joy could be said to find
any place in her sad heart.

"'Now,' said she, 'I can pray alone with God, alone with the Blessed
Virgin, alone with myself!'

"Just as she was going to kneel down a low sound made her raise her
head.

"She saw an old man, who, entering by one of the side doors of the
sacristy, made his way to the altar with a lighted taper in his hand.
She saw with astonishment that it was the former sexton, dead twenty
years before. She felt no fear at the sight, for every sentiment of her
breast had been swallowed up in grief. The specter climbed the altar
steps, lighted the candles, and made the customary preparations for the
celebration of a _requiem_ mass. When he turned she saw that his eyes
were fixed and expressionless, like those of a statue. He re-entered
the sacristy, but reappeared almost at once, followed this time by a
venerable priest bearing a chalice and clothed in full vestments. His
great eyes, wide open, were filled with sadness; his movements were
like those of an automaton. She recognized the old priest, twenty years
dead, who had baptized her and given her her first communion. Far from
being terrified by this marvel, the poor mother, wrapped up in her
sorrow, concluded that her old friend had been touched by her despair,
and had broken the bonds of the sepulchre for her sake.

"All was somber, grim, and silent in this mass thus celebrated and
ministered by the dead. The candles cast a feeble light like that of
a dying lamp. At the moment when the bell of the '_Sanctus_,' striking
with a dull sound, as when a bone is broken by the grave-digger in
some old cemetery, announced the descent of Christ upon the altar, the
door of the sacristy opened anew and admitted a procession of little
children, marching two and two, who traversed the choir and filed into
the space to the right of the altar. These children, the oldest of whom
had had scarce six years of life upon earth, wore crowns of immortelles
and carried in their hands, some of them baskets of flowers, some of
them little vases of perfume, others cups of gold and silver filled
with a transparent liquid. They stepped lightly, and a celestial
rapture shone upon their faces. One only, a little girl at the end of
the procession, appeared to follow the others painfully, loaded down
as she was with two great jars which she could hardly drag. Her little
feet, reddening under the pressure, were lifted heavily, and her crown
of immortelles seemed withered. The poor mother strove to reach out
her arms, to utter a cry of joy on recognizing her own little one, but
she found that she could neither move nor speak. She watched all the
children file past her into the place to the left of the altar, and she
recognized several who had but lately died. When her own child, bending
under her burden, passed before her, she noticed that at every step
the two jars besprinkled the floor with the water that filled them to
the brim. When the little one's eyes met those of her mother, she saw
in their depths a mingling of sadness, tenderness, and reproach. The
poor woman strove to clasp her in her arms, but sight and consciousness
alike fled from her. When she recovered from her swoon the church was
empty.

"In a monastery about a league from the village, dwelt a monk who was
renowned for his sanctity.

"This old man never left his cell, save to listen with sympathy to the
bitter confessions of sinners, or to succor the afflicted. To the first
he said:

"'I know the corruptness of man's nature, so be not cast down; come to
me with confidence and courage every time you fall, and my arms shall
ever be open to lift you up again.'

"To the second he said: 'Since God, who is so good, lays this burden
upon you now, he is reserving you for infinite joys hereafter.'

"To all he said: 'If I should confess to you the story of my life, you
would be astonished to behold in me a man who has been the sport of
unbridled passion, and my misfortunes would melt you to tears.'

"The poor mother threw herself sobbing at his feet, and told him
the marvelous thing she had seen. The compassionate old man, who
had sounded the depths of the human heart, beheld here a favorable
opportunity to set bounds to this excessive anguish.

"'My dear child,' said he, 'our overwrought imagination often cheats
us with illusions which must be relegated to the realms of dream.
Nevertheless, the Church teaches us that such marvels can really take
place. It is not for us in our ignorance to set limit to the power
of God. It is not for us to question the decrees of Him who took the
worlds into his hand and launched them into space. I accept, then, the
vision, and I will explain it to you. This priest, coming from the tomb
to say a mass, doubtless obtained God's permission to fulfill part
of his sacred ministry which he had left undone; and the sexton, by
forgetfulness or negligence, was probably the cause of his omission.
The children crowned with immortelles are those who died with their
baptismal grace unimpaired. They who carried baskets of flowers or
vases of perfume are those whose mothers gave them up to God with
holy resignation, comforted by the thought that they were exchanging
this world of pain for the celestial country and the ineffable light
about the throne. In the little cups of gold and silver were the tears
of mothers who, though torn by the anguish of their loss yet taught
themselves to cry: "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed
be the name of the Lord."'

"On her knees the poor mother drank in the old man's words. As Martha
exclaimed at the feet of Christ, 'Lord, if thou hadst been here, my
brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatever thou wilt ask
of God, God will give it thee,' even so the poor mother cried in her
ardent faith, 'If thou hadst been with me, my father, my little one
would not have died; but I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask
of God, God will give it thee.'

"The good monk reflected a moment and prayed God for wisdom. It was a
sentence of life or of death that he was about to pronounce upon this
mother who appeared inconsolable. He was about to strike a blow which
should either restore her to reason or break her heart forever. He took
her hands in his withered and trembling clasp, and said gently:

"'You loved, then, this child whom you have lost?'

"'Loved her? My God, what a question!' And she threw herself moaning at
his feet. Then, raising herself suddenly, she grasped the skirt of his
cassock and besought him through her sobs: 'You are a saint, my father;
oh, give me back my child--my darling!'

"'Yes,' said the monk, 'you loved your little one. Doubtless you would
have done much to spare her even the lightest grief?'

"'Anything, everything, my father!' exclaimed the poor woman; 'I would
have been rolled on the hot coals to spare her a little burn.'

"'I believe you,' said the monk; 'and doubtless you love her yet?'

"'Do I love her? Merciful Heaven!' cried the wretched mother, springing
to her feet as if bitten by a serpent; 'I see, priest, that you know
little of a mother's love if you imagine death can efface it.' And
trembling from head to foot, she burst again into a torrent of tears.

"'Begone, woman,' said the old man, forcing himself to speak with
sternness; 'begone, woman, who hast come to impose upon me; begone,
woman, who liest to God and to his priest. Thou hast seen thy little
one staggering under the burden of thy tears, which she gathers drop
by drop, and thou tellest me that thou lovest her! She is near thee
now, toiling at her task; and thou sayest that thou lovest her! Begone,
woman, for thou liest to God and to his minister!'

"The eyes of the poor woman were opened as if she were awaking from a
frightful dream. She confessed that her grief had been insensate, and
she besought the pardon of God.

"'Go in peace,' said the old man; 'resign yourself to God's will, and
the peace of God will be shed upon your soul.'

"Some days after, she told the good monk that her little one, radiant
with joy and carrying a basket of flowers, had appeared to her in a
dream and thanked her for having ceased from her tears. The good woman,
who was rich in this world's goods, devoted the rest of days and her
substance to charity. To the children of the poor she gave most loving
attention, and adopted several of them. When she died they wrote upon
her tomb, 'Here lies the mother of the orphans.'"

All were deeply moved by Madame D'Haberville's story, and some were
even in tears. Jules embraced his mother, and left the room to hide his
emotion.

"O God," he cried, "guard this life of mine! for if evil should befall
me, my loving mother would be as inconsolable as the mother in the
story she has just told us."

A day or two later Jules and Archie were tossing upon the Atlantic; and
at the end of two months, after a prosperous voyage, they reached the
shores of France.



CHAPTER XI.

THE BURNING OF THE SOUTH SHORE.

  They came upon us in the night,
  And brake my bower and slew my knight:
  My servant a' for life did flee
  And left us in the extremitie.

  They slew my knight, to me so dear;
  They slew my knight, and drove his gear;
  The moon may set, the sun may rise,
  But a deadly sleep has closed his eyes.

_Waverley._


The trees were once more clothed in their wonted green after the
passing of a northern winter. The woods and fields were enameled in a
thousand colors, and the birds were raising their cheerful voices to
greet the spring of the year 1759. All Nature smiled; only man seemed
sorrowful and cast down; and the laborer no more lifted his gay song,
and the greater portion of the lands lay fallow for lack of hands to
till them. A cloud hung over all New France, for the mother country, a
veritable step-mother, had abandoned her Canadian children. Left to its
own resources, the Government had called to arms every able-bodied man
to defend the colony against the invasion that menaced it. The English
had made vast preparations. Their fleet, consisting of twenty ships of
the line, ten frigates, and eighteen smaller vessels, accompanied by a
number of transports, and carrying eighteen thousand men, was ascending
the St. Lawrence under the command of General Wolfe; while two land
armies, yet more numerous, were moving to effect a junction under the
very walls of Quebec.

The whole adult population of Canada capable of bearing arms had
responded with ardor to their country's appeal; and there remained
at home none but the old and feeble, the women and the children. To
resist an army more numerous than the entire population of New France
the Canadians had little but the memory of past exploits, and of their
glorious victory at Carillon in the preceding year. Of what avail their
proved courage against an enemy so overpowering and sworn to their
defeat?

You have long been misunderstood, my brethren of old Canada! Most
cruelly have you been slandered. Honor to them who have lifted
your memory from the dust! Honor, a hundred times honor, to our
fellow-countryman, M. Garneau, who has rent the veil that covered
your exploits! Shame to us who, instead of searching the ancient and
glorious annals of our race, were content to bow before the reproach
that we were a conquered people! Shame to us who were almost ashamed
to call ourselves Canadians! Dreading to confess ourselves ignorant of
the history of Assyrians, Medes, and Persians, that of our own country
remained a sealed book to us.

Within the last few years there has come a glorious reaction. Every one
sets his hand to the work and the Canadian can now say with Francis I,
"All is lost save honor." I am far from believing, however, that all
is lost. The cession of Canada was, perhaps, a blessing in disguise;
for the horrors of '93 failed to touch this fortunate colony which
was protected by the flag of Britain. We have gathered new laurels,
fighting beneath the banner of England and twice has the colony been
saved to England by the courage of her new subjects. In Parliament, at
the bar, upon the field of battle, everywhere in his small sphere, the
French Canadian has proved himself inferior to none. For a century have
you struggled, O my countrymen, to preserve your nationality, and you
behold it yet intact. The future perhaps holds for you another century
of effort and struggle to guard it. Take heart and stand together,
fellow-countrymen.

Two detachments of the English army were disembarked at Rivière Ouelle,
at the beginning of June, '79. Some of the _habitants_ of the parish,
concealed in the skirts of the wood, received them with a sharp fire
and killed several men. The commander, exasperated at this loss,
resolved to take signal vengeance. The two detachments ascended the
river and encamped toward evening beside a brook which empties in Bay
Ste. Anne, southwest of where the college now stands. On the following
morning the commander ordered one of the companies to get ready to
march, and summoning the lieutenant gave him the following orders:

"Every house you come across belonging to these dogs of Frenchmen, set
fire to it. I will follow you a little later."

"But," said the young officer, who was a Scotchman, "must I burn the
dwellings of those who offer no resistance? They say there is no one
left in these houses except old men, women, and children."

"I think, sir," replied Major Montgomery, "that my orders are quite
clear. You will set fire to every house belonging to these dogs of
Frenchmen. I had forgotten your weakness for our enemies."

The young man bit his lips till they bled, and marched his men away.
The reader has, doubtless, recognized in this young man none other
than Archie de Lochiel, who, having made his peace with the British
Government, had recovered possession of his estates and had obtained
a lieutenancy in a regiment which he had himself recruited among the
Highlanders of his own clan. Archie marched off groaning and muttering
all the curses he could think of in English, Gaelic, and French. At the
first house where he stopped a young woman flung herself weeping at his
feet, crying piteously:

"Good sir, do not kill my poor old father. Do not shorten his days. He
has but a little while to live."

A little boy eleven or twelve years old grasped him about the knees and
exclaimed:

"Mister Englishman, do not kill grandpapa! If you only knew how good he
is!"

"Do not fear," said Archie, entering the house, "I have no orders to
kill old men, women, and children. They doubtless supposed," he added
bitterly, "that I should meet none such on my route."

Stretched on a bed of pain lay a decrepit old man.

"I have been a soldier all my life, monsieur," said he. "I do not fear
death, with whom I have been often face to face, but, in the name of
God, spare my daughter and her child!"

"They shall not be injured," replied Archie, with tears in his eyes;
"but if you are a soldier, you know that a soldier has to obey
orders. I am ordered to burn all the buildings on my line of march,
and I have to obey. Whither shall we move you, father? Listen," he
added, speaking close in the old man's ear. "Your grandson appears
active and intelligent. Let him get a horse and hasten to warn your
fellow-countrymen that I have to burn down all the houses on my road.
They will, perhaps, have time to save the most valuable of their
belongings."

"You are a good and brave young man!" cried the old man. "If you were
a Catholic I would give you my blessing; but thank you a thousand
times, thank you!"

"I am a Catholic," said Lochiel.

The old man raised himself with difficulty, lifted his eyes toward
heaven, spread his hands over Archie's bended head, and cried: "May God
bless you for this act of humanity! In the day of heavy affliction,
when you implore the pity of Heaven, may God take count of your
compassion toward your enemies and give ear to your prayers! Say to him
then with confidence in the sorest trials, 'I have the blessing of a
dying old man, my enemy.'"

The old man in his bed was hastily carried by the soldiers to an
adjoining wood, and when he resumed his march Lochiel had the
satisfaction of seeing the little boy mounted on a swift horse and
devouring the miles beneath him. Archie breathed more freely at the
sight.

The work of destruction went on; but from time to time, whenever he
reached the top of a hill, Archie had the satisfaction of seeing old
men, women, and children, loaded down with their possessions, taking
refuge in the neighboring woods. If he wept for their misfortunes,
he rejoiced in his heart that he had done everything in his power to
mitigate them.

All the houses of a portion of Rivière Ouelle, and of the parishes of
Ste. Anne and St. Roch, along the edge of the St. Lawrence, were by
this time in ashes, yet there came no order to cease from the work
of destruction. From time to time, on the contrary, Lochiel saw the
division of his superior officer, following in his rear, come to a halt
on a piece of rising ground, doubtless for the purpose of permitting
Major Montgomery to gloat over the results of his barbarous order.

The first house of St. Jean-Port-Joli was that of a rich _habitant_,
a sergeant in Captain D'Haberville's company. Frequently during his
vacations had Archie lunched at this house with Jules and his sister.
With what a pang he recalled the eager hospitality of these people.
On their arrival, Mother Dupont and her daughters used to run to the
dairy, the barn, the garden, for eggs, butter, cream, parsley, and
chervil, to make them pancakes and herb omelettes. Father Dupont and
his sons would hasten to put up the horses and give them a generous
measure of oats. While Mother Dupont was preparing the meal, the young
people would make a hasty toilet. Then they would get up a dance, and
skip merrily to the notes of the violin which screeched beneath the
old sergeant's bow. In spite of the remonstrances of Blanche, Jules
would turn everything upside down and tease everybody to death. He
would snatch the frying-pan from the hands of Mother Dupont, throw
his arm around her waist, and compel her, in spite of her struggles,
to dance with him; and these good people would shout with laughter
till one would think they could never get too much of the racket. All
these things Lochiel went over in the bitterness of his soul, and a
cold sweat broke out on his brow as he ordered the burning of this
hospitable home.

Almost all the houses in the first concession of St. Jean-Port-Joli
were by this time in ruins, yet there came no order to desist. About
sunset, however, coming to the little river Port Joli, a few arpents
from the D'Haberville place, Lochiel took it upon himself to halt his
company. He climbed the hillside, and there, in sight of the manor, he
waited; he waited like a criminal upon the scaffold, hoping against
hope that a reprieve may come at the last moment. His heart was big
with tender memories as he gazed upon the dwelling where for ten
years the exiled orphan had been received as a child of the house.
Sorrowfully he looked down on the silent village which had been so
full of life when last he saw it. Some pigeons fluttering over the
buildings and from time to time alighting on the roofs appeared to be
the only living creatures about the manor. Sighing, he repeated the
words of Ossian:

"'Selma, thy halls are silent. There is no sound in the woods of
Morven. The wave tumbles alone in the coast. The silent beam of the sun
is on the field.'

"_Oh! Oui! Mes amis!_" cried Lochiel, in the language that he loved,
"_vos salons sont maintenant, hélas! deserts et silencieux!_ There is
no sound upon this hill which so lately was echoing your bright voices.
I hear only the ripples lapping upon the sand. One pale ray from the
setting sun is all that lights your meadows.

"What shall I do, kind Heaven, if the rage of the brute who commands me
is not yet sated? Should I refuse to obey him? Then am I dishonored. A
soldier can not in time of war refuse to carry out the orders of his
commander. This brute could have me shot upon the spot, and the shield
of the Camerons would be forever tarnished. Who would trouble himself
to see that justice was done to the memory of the soldier who chose
death rather than the stain of ingratitude? On the contrary, that which
was with me but an emotion of grateful remembrance, would certainly
be imputed to me for treason by this creature who hounds me with his
devilish malice."

The harsh voice of Major Montgomery put an end to these reflections.

"What are you doing here?" he growled.

"I have left my men by the edge of the river, and was proposing to
encamp there after our long march."

"It is not late," answered the major, "and you know the country better
than I. You will easily find for your encampment another place than
that which I have just chosen for myself."

"I will march at once," said Archie. "There is another river about a
mile from here where we can camp for the night."

"Very well," said Montgomery, in an insolent voice; "and as you have
but a few more houses to burn in this district, your men will soon be
able to rest."

"It is true," said Lochiel, "for there remain but five more dwellings.
Two of these, however, the group of buildings which you see yonder and
a mill on the stream where I am going to camp, belong to the Seigneur
D'Haberville, the man who during my exile took me in and treated me as
a son. For God's sake, Major Montgomery, give the order yourself for
their destruction!"

"I never should have believed," replied the major, "that a British
officer would have dared to utter treason."

"You forget, sir," said Archie, restraining himself with difficulty,
"that I was then a mere child. But once more I implore you, in the name
of all you hold most dear, give the order yourself, and do not force
upon me the dishonor of setting the torch to the home of them who in my
days of adversity heaped me with benefits."

"I understand," replied the major, with a sneer, "you wish to keep a
way open to return to the favor of your friends when occasion shall
arise."

At this insulting sarcasm Archie was tempted for an instant to draw his
claymore and cry:

"If you are not as cowardly as you are insolent, defend yourself, Major
Montgomery!"

Happily, reason came to his aid. Instead of grasping his sword, his
hand directed itself mechanically toward his breast, which he tore
fiercely. Then he remembered the words of the witch:

"Keep your pity for yourself, Archibald de Lochiel, when, forced to
execute a barbarous order, your nails shall tear that breast which
covers, nevertheless, a noble heart."

"She was indeed taught of hell, that woman," thought he, "when she
uttered that prophecy to a Cameron of Lochiel."

With malicious pleasure Montgomery watched for a moment the strife of
passions which tortured the young man's heart. He gloated over his
despair. Then, persuaded that Archie would refuse to obey, he turned
his back upon him. Lochiel, perceiving his treacherous design, hastened
to rejoin his men, and a half-hour later the buildings were in flames.
Archie paused beside the fountain where in happier days he had so often
refreshed himself with his friends; and from that spot his lynx-like
eyes discerned Montgomery, who had returned to the hill-top, and there
with folded arms stood feasting on the cruel scene.

Foaming with rage at the sight of his enemy, Archie cried:

"You have a good memory, Montgomery. You have not forgotten the time
when my ancestor beat your grandfather with the flat of his saber in an
Edinburgh tavern. But I, also, have a good memory. I shall not always
wear this uniform that now ties my hands, and sooner or later I will
redouble the dose upon your own shoulders, for you would be too much
of a coward to meet me in fair fight. A beast like you can not possess
even the one virtue of courage. Curse be you and all your race! When
you come to die may you be less fortunate than those whose dwellings
you have desolated to-day, and may you have no place to lay your head!
May all the pangs of hell--"

Then, ashamed of the impotence of his rage, he moved away with a groan.

The mill upon the Trois-Saumons River was soon but a heap of cinders,
and the burning of Captain D'Haberville's property in Quebec, which
took place during the siege, was all that was needed to complete his
ruin.

After taking the necessary precautions for the safety of his company,
Archie directed his steps to the desolated manor. There, seated on the
summit of the bluff, he gazed in the silence of anguish on the smoking
ruins at his feet. It must have been about nine o'clock. The night
was dark, and few stars revealed themselves in the sky. Presently,
however, he made out a living creature wandering among the ruins. It
was old Niger, who lifted his head toward the bluff and began howling
piteously. Archie thought the faithful animal was reproaching him with
his ingratitude, and bitter tears scalded his cheeks.

"Behold," said he, "the fruits of what we call the code of honor of
civilized nations! Are these the fruits of Christianity, that religion
of compassion which teaches us to love even our enemies? If my
commander were one of these savage chiefs, whom we treat as barbarians,
and I had said to him: 'Spare this house, for it belongs to my friends.
I was a wanderer and a fugitive, and they took me in and gave me a
father and a brother,' the Indian chief would have answered: 'It is
well; spare your friends; it is only the viper that stings the bosom
that has warmed it.'

"I have always lived in the hope," went on Lochiel, "of one day
rejoining my Canadian friends, whom I love to-day more than ever, if
that were possible. No reconciliation would have been required. It was
natural I should seek to regain my patrimony, so nearly dissipated
by the confiscations of the British Government. There remained to
me no career but the army, the only one worthy of a Cameron. I had
recovered my father's sword, which one of my friends had bought back
from among the spoils of Culloden. Bearing this blade, which had never
known a stain, I dreamed of a glorious career. I was grieved, indeed,
when I learned that my regiment was to be sent against New France;
but a soldier could not resign in time of war without disgrace. My
friends would have understood that. But what hope now for the ingrate
who has ravaged the hearth of his benefactors! Jules D'Haberville,
whom I once called my brother, his gentle and saintly mother, who
took me to her heart, the fair girl whom I called my sister to hide a
deeper feeling--these will, perhaps, hear my justification and end by
forgiving me. But Captain D'Haberville, who loves with all his heart,
but who never forgives an injury, can it be imagined that he will
permit his family to utter my name, unless to curse it?

"But I am a coward and a fool," continued Archie, grinding his teeth,
"I should have declared before my men my reasons for refusing to obey,
and, though Montgomery had had me shot upon the spot, there would
have been found loyal spirits to approve my refusal and to right my
memory. I have been a coward and a fool, for in case the major, instead
of having me shot, had tried me before a court-martial, even while
pronouncing my death sentence they would have appreciated my motives.
I would have been eloquent in the defense of my honor, and of that
noblest of human sentiments, gratitude. Oh, my friends, would that you
could see my remorse! Coward, ten thousand times coward!--"

A voice near him repeated the words "Coward, ten thousand times
coward!" He thought at first it was the echo from the bluff. He
raised his head and perceived the witch of the manor standing erect
on a projecting rock. She stretched out her hands over the ruins, and
cried: "Woe! woe! woe!" Then she descended like lightning, by a steep
and dangerous path, and wandered to and fro among the ruins, crying:
"Desolation! desolation! desolation!" At length she raised her arm with
a gesture of menace, pointed to the summit of the bluff, and cried in a
loud voice: "Woe to you, Archibald de Lochiel!"

The old dog howled long and plaintively, then silence fell upon the
scene.

Archie's head sank upon his breast. The next moment four savages sprang
upon him, hurled him to the ground, and bound his hands. These were
four warriors of the Abénaquis, who had been spying upon the movements
of the English ever since their landing at Rivière Ouelle. Relying upon
his tremendous strength, Archie made desperate efforts to break his
bonds. The tough moose-hide which enwound his wrists in triple coils
stretched mightily, but resisted all his efforts. Seeing this, Archie
resigned himself to his fate, and followed his captors quietly into the
forest. His vigorous Scottish legs spared him further ill treatment.
Bitter were the reflections of the captive during the rapid southward
march through the forest, wherein he had so often hunted with his
brother D'Haberville. Heedless of the fierce delight of the Indians,
whose eyes flashed at the sight of his despair, he exclaimed:

"You have conquered, Montgomery; my curses recoil upon my own head. You
will proclaim that I have deserted to the enemy, that I am a traitor as
you long suspected. You will rejoice indeed, for I have lost all, even
honor." And like Job, he cursed the day that he was born.

After two hours' rapid marching they arrived at the foot of the
mountain which overlooks Trois Saumons Lake, on which water Archie
concluded that they would find an encampment of the Abénaquis. Coming
to the edge of the lake, one of his captors uttered three times the
cry of the osprey; and the seven echoes of the mountain repeated, each
three times, the piercing and strident call of the great swan of Lower
Canada. At any other time Lochiel would have thrilled with admiration
at the sight of this beautiful water outspread beneath the starlight,
enringed with mountains and seeded with green-crowned islets. It was
the same lake to which, for ten happy years, he had made hunting and
fishing excursions with his friends. It was the same lake which he had
swum at its widest part to prove his prowess. But to-night all Nature
appeared as dead as the heart within him. From one of the islets came
a birch canoe, paddled by a man in Indian garb, but wearing a cap of
fox-skin. The new comer held a long conversation with the four savages,
but Archie was ignorant of the Abénaquis tongue, and could make out
nothing of what they said. Two of the Indians thereupon started off to
the southwest; but Archie was put into the canoe and taken to the islet.



CHAPTER XII.

A NIGHT AMONG THE SAVAGES.

  What tragic tears bedew the eye!
  What deaths we suffer ere we die!
  Our broken friendships we deplore,
  And loves of youth that are no more.

+Logan.+

  All, all on earth is shadow, all beyond
  Is substance; the reverse is folly's creed.
  How solid all where change shall be no more!

+Young's+ _Night Thoughts._


Having cursed his enemy and the day of his birth, Lochiel had gradually
come to a more Christian frame of mind, as he lay bound to a tree and
all hope banished from his heart. He knew that the savages scarcely
ever spared their captives, and that a slow and hideous death was in
store for him. Recovering his natural force of mind, he hardly took
care to pray for his deliverance; but he implored of Heaven forgiveness
for his sins and strength to bear the tortures that were before him. Of
what account, thought he, the judgment of men when the dream of life is
over? And he bowed himself beneath the hand of God.

The three warriors were seated around within a dozen feet of Lochiel,
smoking in silence. The Indians are naturally reserved, regarding light
conversation as only suitable to women and children. One of them,
however, by name Talamousse, speaking to the man of the island, made
inquiry:

"Will my brother wait long here for the warriors from the Portage?"

"Three days," answered the latter, lifting up three fingers.
"Grand-Loutre and Talamousse will depart to-morrow with the prisoner.
The Frenchman will rejoin them at the encampment of Captain Launière."

"It is well," said Grand-Loutre, extending his hand toward the south.
"We are going to take the prisoner to the camp at Petit-Marigotte,
where we will wait three days for my brother and the warriors from the
Portage, and then go to the camp of Captain Launière."

For the first time Lochiel perceived that the voice of the man with
the fox-skin cap was not like that of the other two men, although he
spoke their language fluently. Hitherto he had suffered in silence the
torments of a burning thirst. It was a veritable torture of Tantalus,
with the crystal lake waters lapping at his feet, but, under the
impression that the man might be a Frenchman, he made bold to say:

"If there is a Christian among you, for God's sake let him give me a
drink."

"What does the dog want?" said Grand-Loutre to his companion.

The man addressed made no answer for some moments. His whole body
trembled, his face became pale as death, a cold sweat bathed his
forehead; then, controlling himself sternly, he answered in his natural
voice:

"The prisoner asks for a drink."

"Tell the dog of an Englishman," said Talamousse, "that he shall be
burned to-morrow; and that if he is very thirsty he shall have boiling
water to drink."

"I am going to tell him," replied the Canadian presently, "that my
brothers permit me to give their captive a little water."

"Let my brother do as he will," said Talamousse; "the pale faces have
hearts like young girls."

The Canadian curled a piece of birch bark into the form of a cup,
filled it with fresh water, and handed it to the prisoner, saying:

"Who are you, sir? In the name of God who are you? Your voice is like
that of a man who is very dear to me."

"I am Archibald Cameron, of Lochiel," came the answer, "once the friend
of your countrymen; now their enemy, and well deserving the fate which
is in store for him."

"Mr. Archie," replied Dumais, for he it was, "although you had slain my
brother, although it should be necessary for me to cut down these two
red rascals with my tomahawk, in an hour you shall be free. I shall try
persuasion before resorting to violent measures. Now silence."

Dumais resumed his place with the Indians, and after a time he remarked:

"The prisoner thanks the red-skins for promising him the death of a
man; he says that the song of the pale face will be that of a warrior."

"Houa!" said Grand-Loutre, "the Englishman will screech like an owl
when he sees the fires of our wigwams." And he went on smoking and
casting glances of contempt upon Lochiel.

"The Englishman," said Talamousse, "speaks like a man while the stake
is yet far off. The Englishman is a coward who could not suffer thirst.
He has begged his enemies for a drink like a baby crying for its
mother." And the Indian spit upon the ground contemptuously.

Dumais opened a wallet, took out some provisions, and offered a portion
to the savages, who refused to eat. Then he stepped into the woods,
and after a short search brought out a bottle of brandy. He took a
drink and began to eat. The eyes of one of the Indians dwelt longingly
on the bottle.

"Talamousse is not hungry, my brother," said he, "but he is very
thirsty. He has made a long march to-day and he is very tired. The
fire-water is good to rest one's legs."

Dumais passed him the bottle. The Indian seized it with a trembling
hand and gulped down a good half of the contents.

"Ah, but that's good," said he, handing back the bottle; and presently
his piercing eyes grew glazed, and a vacant look began to creep into
his face.

"Dumais does not offer any to his brother Grand-Loutre," said the
Canadian; "he knows that he does not drink fire-water."

"The Great Spirit loves Grand-Loutre," said the latter, "and made him
throw up the only mouthful of fire-water he ever drank. The Great
Spirit made him so sick that he thought he was going to visit the
country of souls. Grand-Loutre is very thankful, for the fire-water
takes away man's wisdom."

"It is good fire-water," said Talamousse after a moment's silence,
stretching out his hand toward the bottle, which Dumais removed from
his reach. "Give me one more drink, my brother, I beg you."

"No," said Dumais, "not now; by and by, perhaps." And he put the bottle
back into his knapsack.

"The Great Spirit also loves the Canadian," resumed Dumais after a
pause; "he appeared to him last night in a dream."

"What did he say to my brother?" asked the Indians.

"The Great Spirit told him to buy back the prisoner," answered Dumais.

"My brother lies like a Frenchman," replied Grand-Loutre. "He lies like
all the pale faces. The red-skins do not lie to them."

"The French never lie when they speak of the Great Spirit," said the
Canadian; and, opening his knapsack, he took a small sip of brandy.

"Give me, my brother, give me one little drink," said Talamousse,
stretching out his hand.

"If Talamousse will sell me his share of the prisoner," said Dumais,
"he shall have another drink."

"Give me all the fire-water," said Talamousse, "and take my share of
the English dog."

"No," said Dumais, "one more drink and that will be all;" and he made a
movement to put away the bottle.

"Give it to me, then, and take my share of him."

He seized the bottle in both hands, took a long pull at the precious
fluid, and then fell asleep on the grass.

"There's one of them fixed," thought Dumais.

Grand-Loutre had been watching all this with an air of defiance, but
had kept on smoking indifferently.

"Now will my brother sell me his share of the prisoner?" asked Dumais.

"What do you want of him?" replied the savage.

"To sell him to Captain D'Haberville, who will have him hung for
burning his house. The prisoner will endure like a warrior the tortures
of the stake, but at sight of the rope he will weep like a girl."

"My brother lies again," replied Grand-Loutre. "All the English that
we have burned cried out like cowards, and not one of them sang his
death-song like a man. They would have thanked us to hang them. It is
only the red warrior who prefers the stake to the disgrace of being
hung like a dog."

"Let my brother heed my words," said Dumais. "The prisoner is not an
Englishman, but a Scotchman, and the Scotch are the savages of the
English. Let my brother observe the prisoner's clothing, and see how
like it is to that of a savage warrior."

"That is true," said Grand-Loutre. "He does not smother himself in
clothes like the other soldiers whom the Great Ononthio sends across
the water. But what has that to do with it?"

"Why," replied the Canadian, "a Scotch warrior would rather be burned
than be hung. Like the red-skins of Canada, he considers that one hangs
only dogs, and that if he were to go to the country of souls with the
rope about his neck the savage warriors would refuse to hunt with him."

"My brother lies again," said the Indian, shaking his head
incredulously. "The Scotch savages are nevertheless pale faces, and
they can not have the courage to endure pain like a red-skin." And he
went on smoking thoughtfully.

"Let my brother hearken, and he will see that I speak the truth," said
Dumais.

"Speak, thy brother gives ear."

"The English and the Scotch," continued the Canadian, "dwell in a great
island beyond the great water. The English dwell on the plains, while
the Scotch inhabit the mountains. The English are as many as the grains
of sand about the shores of this lake, while the Scotch are but as the
sands of this little island. Yet the Scotch have withstood the English
in war for as many moons as there are leaves on this great maple. The
English are rich, the Scotch poor. When the Scotch beat the English,
they return to their mountains laden with booty; when the English beat
the Scotch, they get nothing. The profit is all on one side."

"If the English are so numerous," said Grand-Loutre, "why do they not
pursue their enemies into the mountains and kill every man of them?
They could not escape, since, as my brother says, they live on the same
island."

"Houa!" cried Dumais, after the fashion of the savages, "I will show my
brother why. The Scotch mountains are so high that if an army of young
Englishmen were to ascend them but half way, they would be an army of
graybeards before they got down again."

"The French are always tomfools," said the Indian. "They can't do
anything but talk nonsense. Soon they will put on petticoats and go
and sit with our squaws, and amuse them with their funny stories. They
never talk seriously like men."

"My brother ought to understand," said Dumais, "that what I said was
merely to impress upon him the remarkable height of the Scottish
mountains."

"Let my brother continue. Grand-Loutre hears and understands," said the
Indian, accustomed to this figurative style of speech.

"The Scotch legs are as strong as those of a moose and active as those
of a roebuck," continued Dumais.

"True," said the Indian, "if they are all like the prisoner here, who,
in spite of his bonds, kept right on my heels all the way. He has the
legs of an Indian."

"The English," said Dumais, "are large and strong, but they have soft
legs and huge bellies. When they pursue their more active enemies into
the mountains the Scotchmen lie in ambush and kill them by the score.
The war seemed as if it would last forever. When the English took
prisoners they used to burn many of them; but these would sing their
death-song at the stake and heap insult on their torturers by telling
them that they had drunk out of the skulls of their ancestors."

"Houa!" cried Grand-Loutre, "they are men these Scotch."

"The Scotch had a great chief named Wallace, a mighty warrior. When he
set out for war the earth trembled under his feet. He was as tall as
yonder fir-tree and as strong as an army. An accursed wretch betrayed
him for money, he was taken prisoner and sentenced to be hung. At
this news a cry of rage and grief went up from all the mountains of
Scotland. All the warriors painted their faces black, a great council
was held, and ten chiefs bearing the pipe of peace set out for England.
They were conducted into a great wigwam, the council fire was lighted,
and for a long time every one spoke in silence. At length an old chief
took up the word, and said: 'My brother, the earth has drunk enough of
the blood of these two great nations, and we wish to bury the hatchet.
Give us back Wallace and we will remain hostages in his place. You
shall put us to death if ever again he lifts the tomahawk against you.'
With these words he handed the pipe of peace to the Great Ononthio of
the English, who waved it aside, saying sternly, 'Within three days
Wallace shall be hung.' 'Listen my brother,' said the great Scotch
chief, 'if Wallace must die let him die the death of a warrior. Hanging
is a death for dogs.' And again he presented the pipe of peace, and
Ononthio refused it. The deputies withdrew and consulted together. On
their return the great chief said: 'Let my brother hearken favorably
to my last words. Let him fix eleven stakes to burn Wallace and these
ten warriors, who will be proud to share his fate and will thank their
brother for his clemency.' Once more he offered the pipe of peace, and
once more Ononthio rejected it."

"Houa!" cried Grand-Loutre, "those were noble and generous words. But
my brother has not told me how the Scotch are now friends with the
English and fighting against the French."

"With rage in their hearts, the deputies returned to their mountains.
At their death-cries, which they uttered at the gate of every town and
village to announce the fate of Wallace, every one rushed to arms; and
the war between the two nations continued for as many moons as there
are grains of sand here in my hand," said Dumais, picking up a handful.
"The Scotch were generally beaten by their swarming enemies, and their
rivers ran with blood, but they knew not how to yield. The war would
have been going on still but for a traitor who warned the English that
nine Scotch chiefs, having gathered in a cavern to drink fire-water,
had fallen to sleep there like our brother Talamousse."

"The red-skins," said Grand-Loutre, "are never traitors to their own
people. They deceive their enemies, but never their friends. Will my
brother tell me how it comes that there are traitors among the pale
faces?"

Dumais, a little puzzled to answer this question, went on as if he had
not heard it.

"The nine chiefs were taken to a great city and condemned to be hung
within a month. On this sad news fires were lighted on all the hills
of Scotland to summon a grand council of all the warriors. The wise
men spoke fine words for three days and three nights, but came to no
conclusion. Then they consulted the spirits, and a great medicine-man
declared that the Manitou was angry with his children, and that they
must bury the hatchet forever. Twenty warriors with blackened faces
betook themselves to the chief town of the English, and before the
gates they uttered a death-cry for every captive chief. A great council
was held, and Ononthio granted peace on condition that they should
give hostages, that they should deliver up their strongholds, that
the two nations should henceforth be as one, and that the English and
Scotch warriors should fight shoulder to shoulder against the enemies
of the great Ononthio. A feast was made which lasted three days and
three nights, and at which so much brandy was drunk that the women took
away all the tomahawks. Had they not done so the war would have broken
out anew. The English were so rejoiced that they promised to send the
Scotch all the heads, feet, and tails of the sheep which they should
kill in the future."

"The English must be generous, indeed," said the Indian.

"My brother must see by this," continued Dumais, "that a Scotch warrior
would rather be burned than hung, and he will sell me his share of the
prisoner. Let my brother fix his price, and Dumais will not count the
cost."

"Grand-Loutre will not sell his share of the prisoner," said the
Indian. "He has promised Taoutsi and Katakoui to hand him over
to-morrow at Petit-Marigotte, and he will keep his word. The council
will be assembled, and Grand-Loutre will speak to the young men. If the
young men consent not to burn him, it will then be time to hand him
over to D'Haberville."

"My brother knows Dumais," said the Canadian. "He knows that he is rich
and a man of his word. Dumais will pay for the prisoner six times as
much as Ononthio pays the Indians for every one of his enemies' scalps."

"Grand-Loutre knows," said the Indian, "that his brother speaks the
truth, but he will not sell his share of the prisoner."

The eyes of the Canadian shot flame, and instinctively he grasped his
hatchet; but, suddenly changing his mind, he assumed an indifferent
air, and knocked the ashes out of the bowl of his tomahawk, which
served the Canadians as well as the savages for tobacco-pipe when on
the march. Although the first hostile movement of the Canadian had
not escaped the keen eye of his companion, the latter went on smoking
tranquilly.

The words of Dumais had revived the spark of hope in Archie's heart. In
spite of his bitter remorse, he was too young to bid farewell without
regret to all that made life dear. Could he, the last of his race,
willingly suffer the shield of the Camerons to go to the tomb with a
stain? Could he endure to die, leaving the D'Habervilles to think that
they had cherished a viper in their bosom? He thought of the despair
of Jules, the curses of the implacable captain, the silent grief of
the good woman who used to call him her son, the sorrow of the fair
girl whom he had hoped one day to call by a tenderer name than that of
sister. Archie was, indeed, young to die; and with the renewal of hope
in his heart, he again clung desperately to life.

He had followed with ever-increasing anxiety the scene that was passing
before him. He endeavored to comprehend it by watching the faces of
the speakers. Dark as was the night, he had lost nothing of the hate
and scorn which were flashed upon him from the cruel eyes of the
savages. Knowing the ferocity of the Indians when under the influence
of alcohol, it was not without surprise he saw Dumais passing them the
bottle; but when he saw one refuse to drink and the other stretched
in drunken stupor on the sand, he understood the Canadian's tactics.
When he heard the name of Wallace, he remembered that during Dumais's
illness he had often entertained him with fabulous stories about his
favorite hero, but he was puzzled to guess the Canadian's purpose in
talking about the deeds of a Scottish warrior. If he had understood the
latter part of Dumais's story, he would have recalled the chaffing of
Jules in regard to the pretended delicacies of his countrymen. When he
saw the angry gleam in the Canadian's eyes, when he saw him grasp his
tomahawk, he was on the point of crying not to strike. His generous
soul foresaw the dangers to which his friend would be exposed if he
should kill an Indian belonging to a tribe allied with the French.

The Canadian was silent for some time. He refilled his pipe, began to
smoke, and at length said quietly:

"When Grand-Loutre, with his father, his wife, and his two sons, fell
sick of the small-pox over by South River, Dumais sought them out. At
the risk of bringing the disease upon himself and family, he carried
them to his own wigwam, where he nursed them for three moons. It was
not the fault of Dumais if the old man and the two boys died; Dumais
had them buried like Christians, and the Black Robe has prayed to the
Great Spirit for their souls."

"If Dumais," replied the Indian, "if Dumais and his wife and his
children had fallen sick in the forest, Grand-Loutre would have
carried them to his wigwam, would have fished for them and would have
hunted for them, would have bought them the fire-water which is the
Frenchman's medicine, and would have said, 'Eat and drink my brothers,
and recover your strength.' Grand-Loutre and his squaw would have
watched day and night by the couch of their French friends; and never
would Grand-Loutre have said, 'Remember that I fed you and took care
of you and bought fire-water for you with my furs.' Let my brother take
the prisoner," continued the Indian, drawing himself up proudly; "the
red-skin is no longer in debt to the pale face!" And he calmly resumed
his smoking.

"Listen, my brother," said the Canadian, "and pardon Dumais that he has
hidden the truth. He knew not thy great heart. Now he is going to speak
in the presence of the Great Spirit himself, in whose presence he dare
not lie."

"That is true," said the Indian, "let my brother speak."

"When Grand-Loutre was sick two years ago," continued the Canadian,
"Dumais told him about his adventure when the ice went out that spring
at the Falls of St. Thomas, and how he was saved by a young Scotchman
who had arrived that very evening at the house of the Seigneur de
Beaumont."

"My brother has told me," said the Indian, "and he has shown me the
little island suspended over the abyss, whereon he awaited death.
Grand-Loutre knew the place and the old cedar to which my brother
clung."

"Very well!" replied Dumais, rising and taking off his cap, "thy
brother swears in the presence of the Great Spirit that the prisoner is
none other than the young Scotchman who saved his life!"

The Indian gave a great cry which went echoing wildly round the lake.
He sprang to his feet, drew his knife, and rushed upon the captive.
Lochiel thought his hour had come and commended his soul to God. What
was his surprise when the savage cut his bonds, grasped his hands with
every mark of delight, and pushed him into the arms of his friend.
Dumais pressed Archie to his breast, then sank upon his knees and
cried:

"I have prayed to thee, O God, to extend the right arm of your
protection over this noble and generous man. My wife and my children
have never ceased to make the same prayer. I thank thee, O God, that
thou hast granted me even more than I had dared to ask. I thank thee, O
God, for I should have committed a crime to save his life, and should
have gone to my grave a murderer."

"Now," said Lochiel, after endeavoring to thank his rescuer, "let us
get off as quickly as possible, my dear Dumais; for if my absence from
camp is perceived I am ruined utterly. I will explain as we go."

Just as they were setting foot in the canoe the cry of the osprey was
heard three times from the lake shore opposite the island. "It is the
young men from Marigotte coming to look for you, my brother," said
Grand-Loutre, turning to Lochiel. "Taoutsi and Katakoui must have met
some of them, and told them they had an English prisoner on the island;
but they will shout a long time without awakening Talamousse, and as
to Grand-Loutre, he is going to sleep till the Canadian gets back.
_Bon voyage_, my brothers." As Archie and his companion directed their
course toward the north they heard for a long time the cries of the
osprey, which were uttered at short intervals by the Indians on the
south shore.

"I fear," said Archie, "that the young Abénaquis warriors, foiled
in their amiable intent, will make a bad quarter of an hour for our
friends on the island."

"It is true," replied his companion, "that we are depriving them
of a very great pleasure. They find the time long at Marigotte,
and to-morrow might have been passed very pleasantly in roasting a
prisoner."

Lochiel shuddered in spite of himself.

"As for the two _canaouas_ (red rascals) we have left, do not trouble
yourself for them, they will know how to get out of the scrape. The
Indian is the most independent being imaginable, and renders account to
nobody for his actions unless it suits him. Moreover, the worst that
could happen to them in the present instance would be, using their own
expression, to cover the half of the prisoner with beaver skins or
their equivalent--in other words, to pay their share in him to Taoutsi
and Katakoui. It is more probable, however, that Grand-Loutre, who is
a kind of a wag among them, would choose rather to raise a laugh at
the expense of his two disappointed comrades, for he is never without
resource. He will say, perhaps, that Talamousse and he had a perfect
right to dispose of their half of the prisoner; that the half which
they had set free had run away with the other half; that they had
better hurry after him, for the prisoner was loaded with their share of
himself and therefore could not travel very fast; with other waggery
that would be hugely relished by the Indians. It is more probable,
however, that he will speak to them of my adventure at the falls of St.
Thomas, which the Abénaquis know about, and will tell them that it was
to your devotion I owed my life. Then, as the Indians never forget a
good turn, they will cry, 'Our brothers have done well to set free the
savior of our friend the pale face!'"

Lochiel wished to enter into full details in order to excuse himself in
the eyes of Dumais for his cruel conduct on the day preceding; but the
latter stopped him.

"A man like you, sir," said the Canadian, "need make me no explanation.
I could hardly suspect a heart so noble and so self-forgetful of
failing at all in the sentiments of humanity and gratitude. I am
a soldier, and I know all the duties imposed upon one by military
discipline. I have assisted at hideous performances on the part of
our barbarous allies, which in my position as sergeant I might have
been able to prevent had not my hands been tied by the orders of my
superiors. It is a hard calling for sympathetic hearts, this profession
of ours.

"I have been witness of a spectacle," continued Dumais, "which makes
me shudder now when I think of it. I have seen these barbarians burn
an English woman. She was a young woman of great beauty. I still
see her tied to the stake, where they tortured her for eight mortal
hours. I still see her in the midst of her butchers, clothed, like
our first mother, in nothing but her long, fair hair. I shall hear
forever her heart-rending cry of 'My God! my God!' We did all we could
to buy her back, but in vain; for her father, her husband, and her
brothers, in defending her with the courage of despair, had killed
many of the savages, and among them two of their chiefs. We were but
fifteen Canadians, against at least two hundred Indians. I was young
then, and I wept like a child. Ducros, who was nicknamed the Terror,
foamed with rage and cried to Franc[oe]ur: 'What! sergeant, shall we,
who are men and Frenchmen, let them burn a poor woman before our eyes?
Give the order, sergeant, and I will split the skulls of ten of these
red hounds before they have time to defend themselves.' And he would
have done it, for he was a mighty man--was the Terror--and quick as a
fish. Black Bear, one of their greatest warriors, approached us with
a sneer. Ducros sprang toward him with his tomahawk uplifted, crying:
'Take your hatchet, coward, and you shall see that you have no woman
to deal with!' The Indian shrugged his shoulders with an air of pity,
and said slowly; 'The pale face is childish; he would kill his friend
to defend the squaw of a dog of an Englishman, his enemy.' The sergeant
put an end to the argument by ordering Ducros back into the ranks. He
was a brave and generous heart, this sergeant, as his name attested.
With tears in his eyes, he said to us: 'It would be useless for me to
disobey my orders; we would all be massacred without doing the poor
woman any good. What would be the consequence? The great tribe of the
Abénaquis would forsake its alliance with the French, would join our
enemies, and our own women and children would share the fate of this
unhappy English woman. Their blood would be upon my head.' Well, Mr.
Archie, for six months after this hideous scene I used to start from my
sleep bathed in sweat, with those heart-rending cries of 'My God! My
God!' shrieking in my ears. They wondered at my coolness when the ice
was bearing me down to the falls of St. Thomas. Here is the explanation
of it. Through the tumult and uproar I was hearing the screams of the
unhappy English woman, and I believed that Heaven was punishing me, as
I deserved, for not having succored her. For, you see, Mr. Archie, that
man often makes laws which God is very far from sanctioning."

"True, indeed," said Archie, sighing.

During the rest of their journey the two friends talked about the
D'Habervilles. Archie learned that the ladies and Uncle Raoul, on the
appearance of the English fleet in the St. Lawrence, had taken refuge
within the walls of Quebec. Captain D'Haberville and Jules were in camp
at Beaupré, with their respective regiments.

Fearing lest Archie should fall in with some of the Abénaquis spies who
were hanging on the skirts of the English, he escorted Archie all the
way to his encampment. Archie's parting words were as follows:

"You have paid me life for life, my friend; but, for my part, I
shall never forget what I owe you. How strangely our lives have come
together, Dumais! Two years ago I came all the way from Quebec to
South River just in time to snatch you from the abyss. Yesterday,
having but just landed from a voyage across the ocean, I am made
prisoner; and you find yourself waiting on a little island in
Trois-Saumons Lake to save my honor and my life. The hand of God is in
it. Farewell, dear friend. However adventurous the soldier's career, I
cling to the hope that Fate will bring us again together, and that I
may give your children further cause to bless my memory."

When the sun arose, the Highlanders remarked the strange pallor of
their young chief. They concluded that, dreading a surprise, he had
passed the night in wandering about the camp. After a light meal,
Archie gave the order to burn the house beside the mill. He had
scarcely resumed the march when a messenger came from Montgomery,
ordering him to cease from the work of destruction.

"It is time!" cried Archie, gnawing his sword-hilt.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM.

Il est des occasions dans la guerre où le plus brave doit fuir.

+Cervantes.+


_Vae victis!_ says the wisdom of the nations. Woe to the
conquered!--not only because of the ruin which follows defeat, but
because the vanquished are always in the wrong. They suffer materially,
they suffer in their wounded self-love, they suffer in their reputation
as soldiers. Let them have fought one against twenty, let them have
performed prodigies of heroism, they are nevertheless and always the
vanquished. Even their fellow-countrymen forgive them hardly. History
records but their defeat. Here and there they get a word of approval
from some writer of their race; but the praise is almost always mixed
with reproach. Pen and compass in hand, we fight the battle over again.
We teach the generals, whose bodies rest on the well-fought field, how
they might have managed affairs much better. Seated in a well-stuffed
arm-chair, we proudly demonstrate the skillful man[oe]uvres by which
they might have snatched the victory; and bitterly we reproach them
with their defeat. They have deserved a more generous treatment. A
great general, who has equaled in our own day the exploits of Alexander
and of Cæsar, has said: "Who is he that has never made a mistake in
battle?" _Vae victis!_

It was the 13th day of September, 1759, a day accursed in the annals
of France. The English army, under General Wolfe, after having eluded
the vigilance of the French sentinels and surprised the pickets under
cover of the darkness, were discovered at daybreak on the Plains of
Abraham, where they were beginning to entrench themselves. Montcalm was
either carried away by his chivalrous courage, or he concluded that the
work of entrenchment had to be at once interrupted; for he attacked
the English with only a portion of his troops, and was defeated, as
he might have foreseen, by the overwhelming numbers of the enemy. On
this memorable battle field both generals laid down their lives--Wolfe
bestowing upon his country a colony half as large as Europe, Montcalm
losing to France a vast territory which the King and his improvident
ministers knew not how to appreciate.

Woe to the vanquished! Had Montcalm been victorious he would have been
lauded to the skies, instead of being heaped with reproaches for not
awaiting the re-enforcements which would have come from De Vaudreuil
and De Bougainville. We would have praised his tactics in hurling
himself upon the enemy before the latter had had time to establish
himself. We would have said that a hundred men behind cover were equal
to a thousand in the open. We would never have imputed to General
Montcalm any jealous and unworthy motives. His shining laurels, gained
on so many glorious fields, would have shielded him from any such
suspicions.

_Vae victis!_ After the fatal battle of the 13th the city of Quebec was
little more than a heap of ruins. Not even the fortifications furnished
shelter, for a portion of the ramparts had been shattered to fragments.
The magazines were empty of ammunition, and the gunners, rather to
conceal their distress than with any hope of injuring the enemy,
answered the English batteries only with an occasional cannon-shot.
There were no provisions left. Yet they bring the charge of cowardice
against the brave garrison which endured so much and defended itself
so valiantly. If the governor, a new Nostradamus, had known that the
Chevalier de Lévis was bringing succor to the city, and, instead of
capitulating, had awaited the arrival of the French troops, it is
certain that the garrison would have been lavishly applauded for its
courage. To be sure the garrison showed itself most pusillanimous in
giving up a city which it was no longer able to defend! To be sure it
should rather have put its trust in the humanity of an enemy who had
already carried fire and sword through all the peaceful villages, and
should have refused to consider the lives of the citizens, the honor of
their wives and daughters, exposed to all the horrors of a capture by
assault! Assuredly this unhappy garrison was very pusillanimous! Woe to
the vanquished!

After the capitulation the English left nothing undone to secure
themselves in the possession of a place so important. The walls
were rebuilt, new fortifications added, and the batteries immensely
strengthened. It was conceivable that the besiegers might become the
besieged. This foresight was justified, for in the following spring
General Lévis took the offensive with an army of eight thousand men,
made up of regulars and militia in about equal numbers.

At eight o'clock in the morning, April 28, 1760, the English army was
drawn up in order of battle on the same field where it had moved to
victory seven months before. General Murray, with this army of six
thousand men and twenty guns, held a very strong position, while the
French army, a little more numerous, but supported by only two guns,
occupied the heights of St. Foy. The French were wearied with their
painful march over the marshes of La Suède, but they burned to wipe out
the memory of their defeat. The hate of centuries stirred the bosoms
of both armies. The courage of both was beyond question, and fifteen
thousand of the best troops in the world only awaited the word of their
commanders to spring at each other's throats.

Jules D'Haberville, who had distinguished himself in the first battle
on the Plains of Abraham, was with a detachment commanded by Captain
d'Aiguebelle. By order of General de Lévis, this detachment had at
first abandoned Dumont's mill under the attack of a much superior
force. Jules was severely wounded by the explosion of a shell,
which had shattered his left arm, but he refused to go to the rear.
Presently the general concluded that the mill was a position of supreme
importance, and, when he gave the order to recapture it, Jules led his
company to the charge, carrying his arm in a sling.

Almost all Murray's artillery was directed to the maintenance of
this position. The French grenadiers charged on the run. The bullets
and grape decimated their ranks, but they closed up as accurately
as if they were on parade. The mill was taken and retaken several
times during this memorable struggle. Jules D'Haberville, "the little
grenadier," as the soldiers called him, had hurled himself, sword
in hand, into the very midst of the enemy, who yielded ground for a
moment; but scarcely had the French established themselves, when the
English returned to the attack in overwhelming numbers, and took the
position after a most bloody struggle.

The French grenadiers, thrown for a moment into disorder, reformed at
a little distance under a scathing fire; then, charging for the third
time, they carried the position at the point of the bayonet, and held
it.

One would have thought, during this last charge, that the love of
life was extinct in the soul of Jules, who, his heart torn by what he
thought the treason of his friend, and by the total ruin of his family,
appeared to seek death as a blessing. As soon as the order for that
third charge was given he sprang forward like a tiger with the cry
of, "_À moi grenadiers!_" and hurled himself single handed upon the
English. When the French found themselves masters of the position they
drew Jules from under a heap of dead and wounded. Seeing that he was
yet alive, two grenadiers carried him to a little brook near the mill,
where he soon returned to consciousness. It was rather loss of blood
than the severity of his hurt that had caused the swoon. A blow from a
saber had split his helmet and gashed his head without fracturing the
skull. Jules wished to return to the fight, but one of the grenadiers
said to him:

"Not for a little while, my officer. You have had enough for the
present, and the sun beats like the devil out there, which is very
dangerous for a wound on the head. We are going to leave you in the
shade of these trees." D'Haberville, too weak to oppose them further,
soon found himself lying among a number of the wounded, who had had
strength enough to drag themselves into the grove. Every one knows
its result, this second battle of the Plains of Abraham. The victory
was dear bought by the French and the Canadians, who suffered no less
severely than their enemies. It was a useless bloodshed. New France,
abandoned by the mother country, was ceded to England by the careless
Louis three years after the battle.

Lochiel had cleared himself nobly of the suspicions which his foe,
Montgomery, had sought to fix upon him. His wide knowledge, his zeal
in the study of his profession, his skill in all military exercises,
his sobriety, his vigilance when in guard of a post, all these had put
him high in esteem. His dashing courage tempered with prudence in the
attack on the French lines at Montmorency and on the field of the first
Battle of the Plains had been noticed by General Murray, who commended
him publicly.

On the defeat of the English army at this second battle, Lochiel,
after tremendous fighting at the head of his Highlanders, was the
last to yield a position which he had defended inch by inch. Instead
of following the throng of fugitives toward Quebec, he noticed that
Dumont's Mill was now evacuated by the French, who were pursuing their
enemies with great slaughter. To conceal his route from the enemy,
Archie led his men between the mill and the adjoining wood. Just then
he heard some one calling his name; and turning, he saw an officer, his
arm in a sling, his uniform in tatters, his head wrapped in a bloody
cloth, staggering to meet him sword in hand.

"What are you doing, brave Cameron of Lochiel?" cried the unknown.
"The mill has been evacuated by our brave soldiers, and is no longer
defended by women and children and feeble old men. Return, valorous
Cameron, and crown your exploits by burning it down."

It was impossible to mistake the mocking voice of Jules D'Haberville,
although his face was unrecognizable for blood and powder.

On hearing these insulting words, Archie felt nothing but tenderest
loving pity for the friend of his youth. His heart beat as if to break;
a sob labored from his bosom, and again he seemed to hear the witch of
the manor crying ominously: "Keep your pity for yourself, Archibald de
Lochiel. You will have need of it all on that day when you shall carry
in your arms the bleeding body of him you now call your brother!"

Forgetting the critical position in which he was keeping his men,
Archie halted his company and went forward to meet Jules. For one
moment all the young Frenchman's love for his adopted brother seemed to
revive, but, restraining himself sternly, he cried in a bitter voice:

"Defend yourself, M. de Lochiel; you, who love easy triumphs, defend
yourself, traitor!"

At this new insult, Archie folded his arms and answered, in a tone of
tender reproach:

"Thou, too, my brother Jules, even thou, too, hast thou condemned me
unheard?"

At these words a nervous shock seemed to paralyze the little remaining
strength of poor Jules. The sword dropped from his hand and he fell
forward on his face. Archie sent one of his men to the brook for water,
and, without thinking of the danger to which he exposed himself, took
his friend in his arms and carried him to the edge of the woods, where
some of the wounded Canadians, touched at the sight of an Englishman
bestowing so much care on their young officer, made no move to injure
him, although they had reloaded their guns at the approach of his men.
Archie examined his friend's wounds, and saw that he had fainted from
loss of blood. A little cold water in his face soon brought him back
to consciousness. He opened his eyes and looked at Archie, but made no
attempt to speak. The latter clasped his hand, which seemed to return a
gentle pressure.

"Farewell, Jules," said Archie. "Farewell, my brother. Harsh duty
forces me to leave you; but we shall meet again, in better days." And
he turned back sorrowfully to his troop.

"Now, my boys," said Lochiel, after throwing a rapid glance over the
plain and listening to the confused noises of the distant flight, "now,
my boys, no false delicacy, for the battle is hopelessly lost. We must
now display the agility of our Highland legs, if we want to take a hand
in future battles. Forward now, and do not lose sight of me."

Taking advantage of every inequality of the ground, lending heedful ear
to the shouts of the French, who were endeavoring to crowd the English
into the St. Charles, Lochiel led his men into Quebec without further
loss. This valiant company had already suffered enough. Half its men
had been left on the field of battle, and of its officers Lochiel was
the sole survivor.

All honor to vanquished heroism! Honor to the English dead, whose
bodies were buried in confusion with those of their enemies on the
twenty-eighth day of April, 1760! Honor to the soldiers of France, over
whose bodies grows green, with every succeeding spring, the turf of
the Plains of Abraham! When the last trump shall sound, and these foes
shall rise from their last sleep side by side, will they have forgotten
their ancient hate, or will they spring once more at each other's
throats?

Honor to the vanquished brave! Among the soldiers whose names are
bright on the pages of history there is but one who, on the morrow of
a glorious triumph, uncovered his head before his captives and cried,
"All honor to the vanquished brave!" He knew that his words would last
forever, graven on the heart of France. Great soldiers there are many;
but niggard Nature takes centuries to frame a hero.

The field of battle after the victory presented a ghastly sight.
Men and horses, the wounded and the dead, were frozen into the mire
of blood and water, and could be extricated only with pain and
difficulty. The wounded of both nations were treated by the Chevalier
de Lévis with the same tender care. Most of them were carried to the
Convent of the Hospital Nuns. The convent and all its outbuildings were
crowded. All the linen, all the clothing of the inmates was torn up for
bandages, and the good nuns had nothing left for themselves but the
clothes they were wearing upon the day of battle.

Taking refuge after his defeat behind the ramparts of Quebec, General
Murray made a vigorous resistance. As they had but twenty guns with
which to arm their siege-batteries, the French could do little more
than blockade the city and wait for the re-enforcements which never
came. The English general requested permission to send an officer
three times a week to visit his wounded in the hospital. This request
was readily granted by the humane De Lévis. Lochiel knew that his
friend must be lying in the hospital, but he could get no news of him.
Although consumed with anxiety, he dreaded to put himself in a false
position by inquiries too minute. It might have been considered natural
that he would wish to visit his wounded countrymen, but with true
Scotch caution he let none of his anxiety appear. It was not till the
tenth day after the battle, when his regular turn came, that he found
himself approaching the hospital under the escort of a French officer.

"I wonder," said Lochiel, "if you would consider it an indiscretion on
my part were I to ask for a private interview with the lady superior?"

"I see no indiscretion in it," answered the Frenchman," but I fear I
would be exceeding my orders were I to permit it. I am ordered to lead
you to your countrymen and nothing more."

"I am sorry," said the Scotchman indifferently. "It is a little
disappointing to me; but let us speak no more of it."

The French officer was silent some minutes; he thought to himself that
the Scotchman, speaking French like a Parisian, had probably made the
acquaintance of some Canadian families shut up in Quebec; that he was
perhaps charged with some message from the relations or friends of the
superior, and that it would be cruel to refuse his request. Presently
he said:

"As I am persuaded that neither you nor the lady superior can be
forming any designs against our batteries, I think that perhaps, after
all, I might grant your request without exceeding my duty."

Lochiel, who had been staking all his hopes of a reconciliation with
the D'Habervilles upon this interview, could scarcely conceal his joy;
but he answered quietly:

"Thank you, monsieur, for your courtesy to myself and the good lady.
Your batteries, protected by French valor, might feel reasonably secure
even if we were conspiring against them."

The corridors of the hospital which he had to traverse before reaching
the parlor of the superior were literally thronged with the wounded;
but Archie, seeing none of his own men, hastened on. After ringing the
bell, he walked restlessly up and down the room. It was the same room
in which he and Jules had had so many a dainty lunch in their happy
school days; for the good superior was Jules's aunt.

The superior received him with cold politeness, and said:

"I am very sorry to have kept you waiting, sir; please take a seat."

"I fear," said Archie, "that madam does not recognize me."

"A thousand pardons," replied the superior. "You are Mr. Archibald
Cameron of Lochiel."

"Once you called me Archie," said the young man.

"The times are changed, sir," replied the nun, "and many things have
happened since those days."

Sighing deeply, Lochiel echoed her words:

"The times are indeed changed, and many things have happened since
those days. But at least, madam, tell me how is my brother, Jules
D'Haberville?"

"He whom you once called your brother, sir, is now, I hope, out of
danger."

"Thank God!" answered Lochiel, "now all hope is not utterly dead in my
heart! If I were speaking to an ordinary person there would be nothing
more for me to do but thank you for your condescension and retire;
but I have the honor to address the sister of a brave soldier, the
inheritor of a name made illustrious by many heroic deeds; and if madam
will permit, if she will forget for a moment the ties which bind me to
her family, if she will judge impartially between me and that family,
then I might dare attempt, with some hope of success, to justify myself
before her."

"Speak, M. de Lochiel," replied the superior, "and I will listen, not
as a D'Haberville but as a stranger. It is my duty as a Christian
to hear impartially anything that might palliate your barbarous and
heartless conduct toward a family that loved you so well."

The sudden flush which covered the young man's face was followed by a
pallor so ghastly that the superior thought he was about to faint. He
grasped the grating between them with both hands, and leaned his head
against it for some moments; then, mastering his emotion, he told his
story as the reader already knows it.

Archie went into the most minute details, down to his misgivings when
his regiment was ordered to leave for Canada, down to the hereditary
hatred of the Montgomerys for the Camerons; and he accused himself of
cowardice in not having sacrificed even his honor to the gratitude he
owed the D'Habervilles. From the utterance of Montgomery's barbarous
order he omitted not the smallest incident. He described the anguish of
his despair, his curses, and his vows of vengeance against Montgomery.
In painting the emotions which had tortured his soul, Lochiel had small
need to add anything in the way of justification. What argument could
be more eloquent than the plain story of his despair! Lochiel's judge
was one well fitted to understand him, for she it was who in her youth
had one day said to her brother Captain D'Haberville: "My brother,
you have not the means to worthily sustain the dignity of our house,
except with the help of my share of the patrimony. To-morrow I enter a
convent. Here is the deed wherein I renounce all claim in your favor."

The good woman had heard Archie's story with ever-increasing emotion.
She stretched out her clasped hands to him as he described his
anguished imprecations against Montgomery. The tears flowed down her
cheeks as he described his remorse and his resignation while, bound to
the tree, he awaited a hideous death.

"My dear Archie," exclaimed the holy woman.

"Oh! thank you, thank you a thousand times for those words," cried
Lochiel, clasping his hands.

"My dear Archie," exclaimed the superior, "I absolve you with all my
heart. You have but done your painful duty in obeying your orders.
By any other course you would have destroyed yourself irretrievably
without preventing the ruin of our family. Yes, I forgive you freely,
but I hope that you will now pardon your enemy."

"He who was my enemy, madam, has gone to solicit pardon from him who
will judge us all. He was one of the first to fly from the field of
battle which proved so disastrous to our arms. A bullet stretched him
upon the ice, wounded to the death. He had not even a stone on which to
rest his head. A tomahawk ended his sufferings, and his scalp hangs now
at the belt of an Abénaquis warrior. May God pardon him, as I do, with
all my heart!"

A divine light beamed softly in the eyes of the nun. Born as revengeful
as her brother the seigneur, her religion of love and charity had made
her as all charitable as itself. After a moment of rapt meditation, she
said:

"With Jules, I doubt not, you will find reconciliation easy. He has
been at death's door. During his delirium your name was forever on his
lips, sometimes with the fiercest reproaches, but more often with words
of love and tenderest endearment. One must know my nephew well, must
know the sublime self-abnegation of which his soul is capable, in order
to comprehend his love for you. Many a time has he said to me: 'If it
were necessary for me to-morrow to sacrifice my life for Archie, I
would die with a smile on my lips, for I should be giving him the only
worthy proof of my love.' Such love, in a heart so noble as his, is not
soon or easily extinguished. He will rejoice to hear your justification
from my lips, and you may be sure that I will spare no effort to
reunite you. Since recovering from his delirium he has never mentioned
your name; and as he is yet too weak to discuss a subject that would
excite so much emotion, I must wait till he gets stronger. I shall hope
to have good news for you at our next interview. Meanwhile, farewell
till I see you again!"

"Pray for me, madam, for I have great need of it," exclaimed Archie.

"That is what I do daily," answered the nun. "They say, perhaps
wrongly, that people of the world, and young officers particularly,
have more need of prayer than we; but as for you, Archie, you must have
greatly changed if you are not one of those who have least need of it,"
she added, smiling affectionately. "Farewell once more, and God bless
you, my son!"

The superior succeeded in satisfying Jules with Archie's explanation.
About a fortnight after Archie's first visit, Jules was awaiting him,
filled with a nervous anxiety to prove to him that all the old love
was yet warm in his heart. It was understood that there should be no
allusion to certain events, too painful for either to dwell upon.

Archie was ushered into a little chamber which Jules, as nephew of
the lady superior, was occupying in preference to certain officers of
higher rank. Jules stretched out his arms and made a vain effort to
rise from his armchair. Archie threw himself upon his neck, and for a
time neither spoke. D'Haberville, after controlling his emotion with an
effort, was the first to break silence:

"The moments are precious, my dear Archie, and we must endeavor, if
possible, to lift the veil which hangs over our future. We are no
longer children; we are soldiers fighting under glorious banners,
brothers in love but enemies upon the field of battle. I have grown
ten years older during my sickness. I am no longer the broken-hearted
young fool who rushed upon the enemy's battalions seeking death. No, my
dear brother, let us live rather to see better days. Those were your
last words when you handed over my bleeding body to the care of my
grenadiers.

"You know as well as I the precarious condition of this colony; all
depends upon a mere throw of the dice. If France leaves us to our own
resources, as it seems but too probable she will do, and if your
Government, attaching so grand an importance to the conquest of Canada,
send you re-enforcments in the spring, we must raise the siege of
Quebec and leave the country to you. In the opposite contingency we
recapture Quebec and keep the colony. Now, my dear Archie, I want to
know what you will do in the one case or the other."

"In either case," said Lochiel, "as long as the war lasts I can not
honorably resign my commission. But when peace comes, I propose to sell
the poor remnant of my Highland estate and come and establish myself on
this side of the water. My deepest affections are here. I love Canada,
I love the simple and upright manners of your good _habitants_; and
after a quiet but busy life, I would rest my head beneath the same sod
with you, my brother."

"My position is very different from yours," answered Jules. "You are
the master of your actions; I am the slave of circumstance. If we lose
Canada, it is probable that most of the Canadian nobility will move to
France, where they will find protection and friends. If my family is
of this number I can not leave the army. In the contrary case I shall
return after some years of service, to live and die with my own people;
and, like you, to sleep at last in the land I love so well. Everything
leads me to hope, my brother, that after a storm-tossed youth we shall
come to see happier days."

The two friends parted after a long and loving talk, the last they were
to have while the colony remained New France. When the reader meets
them again after some years, the country will have changed both name
and masters.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE SHIPWRECK OF THE AUGUSTE.


The predictions of the witch of the manor were accomplished. After the
surrender of Quebec, the rich D'Habervilles had been but too glad to
accept the hospitality of M. d'Egmont's cabin, whose remoteness had
saved it from the flames. "The good gentleman" and Uncle Raoul, with
the faithful André, had gone at once to work and raised the narrow
attic, so as to leave the ground floor to the use of the ladies. To
cheer the latter, the men affected a gayety which they were far from
feeling; and their songs were often heard, mingled with the rapid
strokes of the axe, the grating of the saw, the sharp whistling of the
plane. By dint of toil and perseverance, they succeeded in sheltering
themselves tolerably from the severity of the season; and had it
not been for the anxiety which they suffered in regard to Captain
D'Haberville and Jules, the winter would have passed pleasantly enough
in their solitude.

Their most difficult problem was that of provisions, for a veritable
famine held sway in all the country-side. The little grain which
the _habitants_ had harvested was for the most part eaten boiled,
in default of mill to grind it. The sole remaining resource lay in
fishing and hunting, but M. d'Egmont and his servant were rather old
to indulge in such exercises during the severe weather. Uncle Raoul,
lame as he was, took charge of the commissariat. He set snares to
catch rabbits and partridges, and his fair niece helped him. Blanche
made herself a sort of hunting costume; and simply ravishing she looked
in her half-savage garb, her petticoat of blue cloth falling half-way
below the knee, her scarlet gaiters, her deer-hide moccasins worked
with beads and porcupine quills in vivid colors. Lovely, indeed, she
looked as she returned to the house on her little snow-shoes, her
face delicately flushed, her hands laden with her spoils. During the
famine the _habitants_ frequented Trois Saumons Lake in great numbers;
they had beaten a hard road over the snow, which enabled Uncle Raoul
to visit the lake on a sledge drawn by a huge dog. He always returned
with an ample provision of trout and partridge. On such fare they
got through the long winter. In the spring a veritable manna of wild
pigeons came to the salvation of the colony; they were so innumerable
that they could be knocked down with a stick.

When Captain D'Haberville returned to his _seigneurie_ he was utterly
ruined, having saved nothing but the family plate. He did not care to
come down on his impoverished tenants for their arrearages of rent,
but rather hastened to their aid by rebuilding his mill on the Trois
Saumons River. In this mill he lived several years with his family,
till able to build a new manor house.

A poor lodging, truly--three narrow chambers in a mill--for a family
once so wealthy as the D'Habervilles! But they bore their misfortunes
cheerfully. Only Captain D'Haberville, toiling with tireless energy,
seemed unable to reconcile himself to his losses. His grief gnawed at
his heart, and for six years there was never a smile upon his lips.
It was not till the manor was rebuilt and the household restored to a
certain degree of comfort and prosperity that he regained his native
cheerfulness.

It was the 22d of February, 1762, and about nine o'clock in the
evening, when an ill-clad stranger entered the mill and begged shelter
for the night. As was his custom when not occupied in work, Captain
D'Haberville was seated in a corner of the room, his head hanging
dejectedly on his breast. The voice of the stranger made him tremble
without knowing why. It was some moments before he could answer, but at
last he said:

"You are welcome, my friend; you shall have supper and breakfast here,
and my miller will give you a bed for the night."

"Thank you," said the stranger, "but I am very tired; give me a glass
of brandy."

M. D'Haberville was not disposed to bestow upon a vagabond stranger
even one drink of the meager supply of brandy, which he was keeping in
case of absolute necessity. He answered that he had none.

"If thou didst know me, D'Haberville," replied the stranger, "thou
wouldst certainly not refuse me a drink of brandy, though it were the
last drop in thy house."

The first feeling of the captain was one of wrath on hearing himself
addressed so familiarly by one who appeared to be a tramp; but there
was something in the hoarse voice of the unknown which made him tremble
anew, and he checked himself. At this moment Blanche appeared with a
light, and every one was stupefied at the appearance of this man, a
veritable living specter, who stood with folded arms and gazed upon
them sadly. So deathlike was his pallor that one would have thought a
vampire had sucked all the blood from his veins. His bones threatened
to pierce his skin, which was yellow like that of a mummy; and his dim
and sunken eyes were vacant--without speculation, like those of the
ghost of Banquo. Everybody was astonished that such a corpse could
walk.

After one moment of hesitation, Captain D'Haberville threw himself into
the stranger's arms, crying:

"You here, my dear Saint-Luc! The sight of my bitterest enemy could not
cause me such dismay. Speak; and tell us that all our relations and
friends who took passage in the Auguste are buried in the sea, and that
you, the one survivor, are come to bring us the sad tidings!"

The silence of M. Saint-Luc de Lacorne, the grief stamped upon his
countenance, confirmed Captain D'Haberville's worst fears.

"Accursed be the tyrant," cried the captain, "who in the bitterness of
his hate against the French sent so many good men to their death in an
old ship utterly unseaworthy!"

"Instead of cursing your enemies," said M. de Saint-Luc in a hoarse
voice, "thank God that you and your family got leave to remain in the
colony two years longer. And now, a glass of brandy and a little soup.
I have been so nearly starved that my stomach refuses solid food. Let
me also take a little rest before telling you a story which will call
forth many tears."

In the neighborhood of half an hour, for this man of iron needed but
little rest to recover his strength, M. de Saint-Luc began as follows:

"In spite of the English governor's impatience to banish from New
France those who had so valiantly defended her, the authorities had
placed at our disposal only two ships, which were found utterly
insufficient for the great number of French and Canadians who were
waiting to sail. I pointed this out to General Murray, and proposed to
buy one at my own expense. This he would not hear, but two days later
he placed at our disposal the ship Auguste, hastily commissioned for
the purpose. By a payment of five hundred Spanish piasters, I obtained
from the English captain the exclusive use of his cabin for myself and
family.

"I then pointed out to General Murray the danger to which we should be
exposed at this stormy season with a captain not familiar with the St.
Lawrence. I offered to hire and pay for a pilot myself. His answer was,
that we would have the same chance as the rest; but he ended by sending
a little vessel to pilot us clear of the river.

"We were all in deep dejection, a prey to the gloomiest forebodings,
when we raised anchor on the 15th of October last. Many of us, forced
to sell our properties at a ruinous sacrifice, had but a future of
poverty to look forward to in the mother country. Speeding at first
before a favorable wind, with swelling hearts we saw the cherished and
familiar scenes fade out behind us and fall below the horizon.

"I will not detail the many perils we underwent before the great
calamity out of which but myself and six others escaped alive. On the
16th we came within an ace of shipwreck on the Isle aux Coudres, after
the loss of our main anchor.

"On the 4th of November we were struck by a terrific gale, which lasted
two days, and which we weathered with difficulty. On the 7th a fire
broke out three times in the cook's galley, and was extinguished only
after a desperate struggle. I shall not endeavor to paint the scenes on
shipboard while it seemed likely we should be burned in the open sea.

"On the 11th we escaped as by a miracle from being dashed to pieces on
a rock off Isle Royale.

"From the 13th to the 15th we were driven blindly before a hurricane,
not knowing where we were. As many of us as could do so were obliged
to fill the places of the crew, who were so exhausted with their
incessant labors that they had taken refuge in their hammocks, from
which neither bribes, threats, nor blows could drive them. Our foremast
was gone, our tattered sails could no longer be either hoisted or
furled, and, as a last resort, the mate proposed that we should run the
ship ashore. It was a desperate expedient. The fatal moment arrived.
The captain and mate looked at me despairingly, clasping their hands. I
understood but too well the silent speech of these men inured to peril.
We made for land to starboard, where we saw the mouth of a little river
which might perhaps prove navigable. I explained our situation to all
the passengers, concealing nothing. Then what entreaties and what vows
to the Almighty! But, alas! in vain the vows, and of no avail the
prayers!

"Who can paint the madness of the waves? Our masts seemed to touch
the sky and then vanish in the deep. A frightful shock announced that
the ship had grounded. We cut away the masts and cordage to lighten
her, but the waves rolled her on her side. We were stranded about
five hundred feet from shore, in a little sandy bay at the mouth of
the river in which we had hoped to find refuge. As the ship was now
leaking at every joint, the passengers rushed upon deck; and some even,
thinking themselves within reach of safety, threw themselves into the
sea and perished miserably.

"At this moment Madame de Tillac appeared on deck, holding her little
one in her arms, her long hair and her garments streaming about her in
confusion. She was the picture of hopeless anguish. She fell on her
knees. Then, perceiving me, she cried in a piercing voice: 'My dear
friend, must we die like this?'

"I was running to her aid, when a giant wave thundered down upon the
deck and swept her into the sea."

"My poor friend," sobbed Madame D'Haberville; "companion of my
childhood, my foster-sister, nourished at the same breast with me? They
tried to persuade me that it was merely my overwrought imagination that
made me see you in my sleep, that 17th of November! I saw you weeping
on the deck of the Auguste, your baby in your arms; and I saw you swept
into the waves. I was not deceived, my sister! You came to bid me
farewell before vanishing to heaven with the angel that nestled in your
bosom!"

After a pause, M. de Lacorne went on:

"Crew and passengers were lashed to the shrouds, to escape the waves
which dashed ceaselessly over the doomed ship, every moment carrying
away new victims. The ship carried but two small boats, one of
which was already crushed into splinters. The remaining one, a mere
cockle-shell, was launched, and a servant named Étienne threw himself
into it, followed by the captain and two or three others. I did not
perceive this till one of my children, whom I held in my arms, while
the other was tied to my belt, cried eagerly: 'Save us now, father;
the boat is going away!' I seized the rope fiercely. At this moment a
terrific wave struck us, and hurled me headlong into the boat. The same
wave which saved my life swept away my children."

At this point the narrator's voice failed him, and his listeners sobbed
aloud. Regaining his self-control, he continued:

"Although under the lee of the ship, the boat was almost swamped by
another wave; and the next hurled us landward. In what seemed but a few
seconds, in that awful and stupefying tumult, we found ourselves dashed
upon the sand. Above the uproar we heard the heart-rending shrieks of
those who remained upon the ship.

"Of the seven men thus miraculously thrown upon the unknown shore,
I was the only one capable of action. I had just seen my brother and
my little ones snatched away, and I strove to keep down my agony of
soul by striving for the safety of my fellow-sufferers. I succeeded,
after a time, in bringing the captain back to consciousness. The others
were numbed with cold, for an icy rain was falling in torrents. Not
wishing to lose sight of the ship, I handed them my flint and steel
and powder-horn, telling them to light a fire at the edge of the wood.
In this they failed signally; scarcely had they strength enough to
come and tell me of their failure, so weak were they and numbed with
cold. After many attempts, I succeeded in making a fire just in time
to save their lives. Then I returned to the beach, hoping to save some
poor creatures who might be washed ashore. I remained there from three
in the afternoon till six o'clock in the evening, when the ship went
to pieces. Never, never shall I forget the sight of the dead bodies
stretched upon the sand, more than a hundred in number, many of them
with legs or arms broken, their faces battered out of all recognition.

"Half stupefied by the calamity, we passed a sleepless and silent
night, and on the morning of the 16th we betook ourselves again to the
fatal shore. We passed the day in bestowing upon the dead such sad last
rites as were possible to such poor wretches as we.

"On the morrow we left this desert and inhospitable coast, and
directed our course into the interior. The winter had set in in all
its severity. We marched through snow up to our knees. Sometimes we
came to deep and rapid rivers, which forced us to make long _détours_.
My companions were so enfeebled by fatigue and famine that sometimes
I had to retrace my steps more than once to get their bundles, which
they had been compelled to drop. Their courage was utterly broken; and
sometimes I had to stop and make them rude moccasins to cover their
bleeding feet.

"Thus we dragged ourselves on, or rather I dragged them in tow, for
neither courage nor strength once failed me till at length, on the 4th
of December, we met two Indians. Imagine if you can the delirious joy
of my companions, who for the last few days had been looking forward to
death itself as a welcome release from their sufferings! These Indians
did not recognize me at first, so much was I changed by what I had
gone through, and by the long beard which had covered my face. Once I
did their tribe a great service; and you know that these natives never
forget a benefit. They welcomed me with delight. We were saved. Then I
learned that we were on the island of Cape Breton, about thirty leagues
from Louisbourg.

"I made haste to leave my companions at the first Acadian settlement,
where I knew they would be nursed back to health. I was eager to return
to Quebec, that I might be the first to inform General Murray of our
shipwreck. I need not detail to you the incidents of the journey.
Suffice to say that with the greatest peril I crossed from Cape Breton
to the main-land in a birch canoe, through the sweeping ice cakes; and
that I have covered now about five hundred leagues on my snow-shoes.
I have had to change my guides very frequently, for after eight days'
marching with me, Indian and Acadian alike find themselves utterly used
up."

After this story, the family passed the greater part of the night in
bewailing the fate of their friends and kinsfolk, the victims of a
barbarous decree.

M. de Saint-Luc allowed himself but a few hours rest, so eager was he
to present himself before Murray at Quebec as a living protest against
the vindictive cruelty which had sent to their death so many brave
soldiers, so many unoffending women and little ones. It had been
thought that Murray's unreasoning bitterness was due to the fact that
he could not forget his defeat of the previous year.

"Do you know, D'Haberville," said M. de Saint-Luc at breakfast, "who
was the friend so strong with Murray as to obtain you your two years'
respite? Do you know to whom you owe to-day the life which you would
probably have lost in our shipwreck?"

"No," said Captain D'Haberville. "I have no idea what friend we can
have so powerful. But whoever he is, never shall I forget the debt of
gratitude I owe him."

"Well, my friend, it is the young Scotchman Archibald de Lochiel to
whom you owe this eternal gratitude."

"I have commanded," almost shouted Captain D'Haberville, "that the name
of this viper, whom I warmed in my bosom, should never be pronounced in
my presence." And the captain's great black eyes shot fire.

"I dare flatter myself," said M. de Saint-Luc, "that this command
hardly extends to me. I am your friend from childhood, your brother in
arms, and I know all the obligations which bind us mutually. I know
that you will not say to me, as you said to your sister, the superior,
when she sought to plead the cause of this innocent young man: 'Enough,
my sister. You are a holy woman, bound to forgive your enemies, even
those who have been guilty of the blackest ingratitude against you. But
as for me, you know that I never forgive an injury. That is my nature.
If it be a sin, God has not given me strength to conquer it. Enough,
my sister; and never again pronounce his name in my presence, or all
intercourse between us shall cease.' No, my dear friend," continued
Saint-Luc, "you will not make me this answer; and you will hear what I
have to say."

M. D'Haberville knew too well the requirements of hospitality to impose
silence upon his friend under his own roof. His thick eyebrows gathered
in a heavy frown, he half closed his eyes as if to veil his thoughts,
and resigned himself to listen with the air of a criminal to whose
satisfaction the judge is endeavoring to prove that he deserves his
sentence.

M. de Saint-Luc detailed Archie's conduct from the beginning, and his
struggle with his implacable foe Montgomery. He spoke energetically of
the soldier's obligation to obey the commands of his superior, however
unjust. He drew a touching picture of the young man's despair, and
added:

"As soon as Lochiel learned that you and yours were ordered to embark
at once for Europe, he requested an audience with the general, which
was granted.

"'_Captain_ de Lochiel,' said Murray, handing him the brevet of his new
rank, 'I was going to look for you. Having witnessed your exploits on
the glorious field of 1759, I hastened to ask for your promotion; and I
may add that your subsequent conduct has proved you worthy of the favor
of His Majesty's Government, and of my utmost efforts on your behalf.'

"'I am most glad, sir,' answered Lochiel, 'that your recommendation has
obtained me a reward far beyond anything my poor services could entitle
me to expect; and I beg you will accept my grateful thanks for the
favor, which emboldens me to ask yet one more. General, it is a great,
an inestimable favor which I would ask of you.'"

"'Speak, captain,' said Murray, 'for I would do much to gratify you.'

"'If it were myself that was concerned,' said Archie, 'I should
have nothing further to desire. It is for others I would speak. The
D'Haberville family, ruined, like so many others, by our conquest, has
been ordered by Your Excellency to depart at once for France. They have
found it impossible to sell, even at the greatest sacrifice, the small
remnants of their once considerable fortune. Grant them, I implore
you, two years in which to set their affairs in order. Your Excellency
is aware how much I owe to this family, which loaded me with kindness
during my ten years' sojourn in the colony. It was I who, obeying the
orders of my superior officer, completed their ruin by burning their
manor and mill at St. Jean-Port-Joli. For the love of Heaven, general,
grant them two years, and you will lift a terrible burden from my soul!'

"'Captain de Lochiel,' said Murray severely, 'I am surprised to hear
you interceding for the D'Habervilles, who have shown themselves our
most implacable enemies.'

"'It is but just to them, general,' answered Archie, 'to recognize that
they have fought bravely to defend their country, even as we have done
to conquer it. It is with some confidence I address myself to a brave
soldier, on behalf of truly valiant enemies.'

"Lochiel had touched the wrong cord, for Murray was brooding over his
defeat of the preceding year, and, further, he was hardly susceptible
to anything like chivalry of sentiment. He answered icily:

"'Impossible, sir! I can not recall my order. The D'Habervilles must
go.'

"'In that case, will Your Excellency be so kind as to accept my
resignation?' said Archie.

"'What, sir!' exclaimed the general, paling with anger.

"'Will Your Excellency,' repeated Archie coldly, 'be so good as to
accept my resignation, and permit me to serve as a common soldier? They
who will seek to point the finger at me as the monster of ingratitude,
who, after being loaded with benefits by a family to whom he came a
stranger, achieved the final ruin of that family without working any
alleviation of their lot--they who would hold me up to scorn for this
will find it harder to discover me when buried in the ranks than when I
am at the head of men who have no such stain upon them.' Once more he
offered his commission to the general.

"The latter became first red and then pale, turned upon his heel, bit
his lips, passed his hand across his forehead, muttered something like
a 'G--d d--n!' between his teeth, and remained for a moment plunged in
thought. Then he calmed himself suddenly, put out his hand, and said:

"'I appreciate your sentiments, Captain de Lochiel. Our sovereign must
not be deprived of the services which you can render him as one of his
officers, you who are ready to sacrifice your future for a debt of
gratitude. Your friends shall remain.'

"'A thousand thanks!' cried Archie. 'You may count on my devotion
henceforth, though I be required to march alone to the cannon's mouth
to prove it. A mountain of remorse lay on my heart. Now I feel as light
as one of our mountain roebucks!'"

Of all the passions that sway men's wills, jealousy and revenge are
perhaps the hardest to control. Captain D'Haberville, after having
listened with a frown, said merely:

"I perceive that the services of M. de Lochiel have met with due
appreciation. As for me, I was unaware that I was so indebted to him."
And he turned the conversation into another channel.

M. de Saint-Luc glanced at the other members of the family, who had
listened with eyes cast down, not daring to discuss the subject.
Rising from the table, he added:

"This respite, D'Haberville, is a most fortunate thing; for you
may rest assured that within two years you will find yourself
free to go or come as you will. The English governor incurred too
heavy a responsibility when he doomed to death so many persons of
prominence--persons allied to the most illustrious families, not only
on the Continent, but in England as well. He will seek to conciliate
the Canadians in order to ward off the consequences of this dreadful
catastrophe. Now, farewell, my friends; and remember they are weak
souls who let themselves be beaten down by misfortune. One great
consolation we have in considering that we did all that could be
expected of the bravest, and that, if our country could have been
preserved, our arms and our courage would have preserved it."

The night was far advanced when M. de Saint-Luc reached Quebec and
presented himself at the Château St.-Louis, where he was at first
refused admission. But he was so determined, declaring that his tidings
were of the most immediate importance, that at length an aide consented
to awaken the governor, who had been some hours in bed. Murray at first
failed to recognize M. de Saint-Luc, and asked him angrily how he dared
disturb him at such an hour, or what tidings he could bring of such
pressing importance.

"An affair which you will assuredly consider worthy of some attention,
sir, for I am Captain de Saint-Luc, and my presence here will tell you
the rest."

General Murray turned as pale as death. Presently he called for
refreshments, and, treating Saint-Luc with the most profound
consideration, he inquired of him the fullest particulars of the wreck.
He was no longer the same man who had carelessly consigned so many
brave officers to their doom just because the sight of their uniforms
displeased him.

What M. de Saint-Luc had foreseen presently came to pass. Thenceforward
Governor Murray, conscience-stricken by the loss of the Auguste, became
very lenient toward the Canadians, and those who wished to remain in
the colony were given liberty to do so. M. de Saint-Luc, in particular,
whose possible revelations he may have dreaded, became the special
object of his favor, and found nothing to complain of in the governor's
attitude. He set his tremendous energies to the work of repairing his
fortunes, and his efforts were crowned with well-merited success.



CHAPTER XV.

LOCHIEL AND BLANCHE.


After seven long years of severe privation, content and even happiness
came back to the D'Habervilles. It is true that the great manor
house had been replaced by a somewhat humble dwelling; but it was a
palace compared to the mill they had just left. The D'Habervilles
had, moreover, suffered less than many others in the same position.
Loved and respected by their tenants, they had suffered none of
those humiliations which the vulgar often inflict upon their betters
in distress. The D'Habervilles had never forgotten that it is the
privilege of the upper classes to treat their inferiors with respect.
They were besieged with offers of service. When it was decided to
rebuild the manor, the whole parish volunteered its assistance to help
along the work. Every man labored with as much zeal as if it were his
own house he was building. With the delicate tact of the Frenchman,
they never entered, except as invited guests, the poor chambers which
the family had set apart in the mill. If they had been affectionate
toward their seigneur in his prosperity, when the iron hand of
adversity was laid upon him they became his devoted disciples.

Only they who have known great reverses, who have suffered long and
cruelly, can appreciate the blissful content of them who again see
better days. Hitherto all had respected Captain D'Haberville's grief,
and in his presence had scarcely spoken above their breath; but now
the natural gayety of the French heart reasserted itself, and all was
changed as by enchantment.

The captain laughed and joked as he used to before the war, the ladies
sang as they busied themselves about the house, and again the sonorous
voice of Uncle Raoul was heard on fine evenings arousing the echoes of
the cape. The faithful José was everywhere at once, and tales of the
experiences of his "late father, now dead" flowed incessantly from his
lips.

One morning toward the end of August, that same year, Captain
D'Haberville was returning from the river Port-Joli, his gun on one
shoulder and a well-filled game-bag slung over the other, when he saw a
small boat put off from a ship which was anchored a little way out. The
boat made directly for the D'Habervilles' landing. The captain sat on a
rock to wait for it, imagining that it contained some sailors in quest
of milk and fresh victuals. As they landed he was hastening forward
to meet them, when he saw with surprise that one of them, who was
dressed as a gentleman, was handing a packet to one of the sailors and
directing him to take it to the manor house. At the sight of Captain
D'Haberville this gentleman seemed to change his mind suddenly, for he
stepped forward and handed him the packet with these words:

"I have hardly dared hand you this packet myself, Captain D'Haberville,
although it contains news at which you will rejoice."

"Why, sir," replied the captain, searching his memory for the name of
this person, whose face seemed half familiar, "why should you have
hesitated to hand me the packet yourself if chance had not thrown me in
your way?"

"Because, sir," said the other, hesitating, "I might have feared that
it would be disagreeable to you to receive it at my hands. I know that
Captain D'Haberville never forgets either a benefit or an injury."

Captain D'Haberville stared at the stranger; then, frowning heavily, he
shut his eyes and was silent for some moments. The stranger, watching
him intently, could see that a violent struggle was raging in his
breast. Presently Captain D'Haberville recovered his self-possession
and said, with scrupulous politeness:

"Let us leave to each man's own conscience the remembrance of past
wrongs. You are here, Captain de Lochiel, and as the bearer of letters
from my son you are entitled to every welcome on my part. The family
will be glad to see you. You will receive at my house--a cordial
hospitality." He was going to say bitterly a princely hospitality, but
the reproach died upon his lips. The lion was as yet but half appeased.

Archie instinctively put out his hand to grasp that of his old friend;
but Captain D'Haberville responded with a visible effort, and his hand
lay passive in the young man's clasp.

A sigh burst from Archie's lips, and for a time he seemed uncertain
what to do. At length he said sorrowfully:

"Captain D'Haberville can refuse to forgive him whom once he loved and
overwhelmed with benefits, but he has too noble a soul to wantonly
inflict a punishment too great to be endured. To see again the places
which will recall such poignant memories will be trial enough in
itself, without meeting there the cold welcome which hospitality
extends to the stranger. Farewell, Captain D'Haberville; farewell
forever to him whom I once called my father, if he will no longer
regard me as a son. I call Heaven to witness that every hour has
been embittered with remorse since the fatal day when my duty as a
soldier under orders forced me to enact a barbarism at which my very
soul sickened. I swear to you that a great weight has lain ceaselessly
upon my heart, through the hours of excitement on the battle-field, of
gayety at ball and festival, not less than through the silence of the
long and weary nights. Farewell forever, for I perceive that you have
refused to hear from the lips of the good superior the story of my pain
and my despair. Farewell for the last time, and, since all intercourse
must cease between us, tell me, oh, tell me, I implore you, that some
measure of peace and happiness has been restored to your family! Oh,
tell me that you are not continually miserable! Nothing remains for me
but to pray God on my knees that he will shed his best blessings on a
family which I so deeply love! To offer to repair with my own fortune
the losses which I caused would be an insult to a D'Haberville."

Though M. D'Haberville had refused to listen to his sister, he had
none the less been impressed by the recital of M. de Saint-Luc, and by
Archie's devotion in offering to sacrifice his fortune and his future
to a sentiment of gratitude. Hence the degree of welcome with which he
had received him. Otherwise, it is probable he would have turned his
back upon him.

The suggestion of pecuniary compensation made M. D'Haberville start as
if he had been touched with a red-hot iron; but this passing emotion
was forgotten in the conflict of his feelings. He clasped his breast
with both hands, as if he would tear out the bitterness which, in spite
of him, clung to his heart. Making Lochiel a sign to remain where he
was, he strode rapidly down the shore; then he came back slowly and
thoughtfully, and said:

"I have done my utmost, Archie, to banish the last of my bitterness;
but you know me, and you know it will be a work of time to blot it
completely from my remembrance. All that I can say is that my heart
forgives you. My sister the superior told me all. I listened to her,
after hearing of your good offices in interceding with the governor
on my behalf, of which I learned through my friend de Saint-Luc.
I concluded that he who was ready to sacrifice rank and fortune
for his friends could only have been acting by compulsion in those
circumstances to which I now allude for the last time. If you should
notice occasionally any coldness in my attitude toward yourself, please
pay no attention to it. Let us leave it all to time."

He pressed Lochiel's hand cordially. The lion was appeased.

"As it is probable," said M. D'Haberville, "that the calm is going to
continue, send back your sailors after they have had something to eat;
and if by chance a favorable wind should arise, my good nag Lubine will
carry you to Quebec in six hours--that is, if your business prevents
your staying with us so long as we would wish. This will be convenient
for you, will it not?"

With these words, he passed his arm under that of Archie and they
walked together toward the house.

"Now, Archie," said the captain, "how does it happen that you bring
letters and good news from my son?"

"I left Jules in Paris seven weeks ago," answered Archie, "after having
stayed a month with him at the house of his uncle M. de Germain, who
did not wish me to be separated from my friend during my stay in
France; but it will be pleasanter for you to learn all from his own
hand, so permit me to say no more."

If it saddened Lochiel to see what one would have called before the
conquest the D'Haberville village replaced by three or four poor
cottages, nevertheless, he had an agreeable surprise in the prosperous
appearance of the manor. These buildings, new and freshly white-washed,
this garden gay with flowers, these two orchards laden with fine fruit,
the harvesters returning from the meadows with fragrant loads of
hay--all this tended to dissipate the impression of gloom that had at
first almost overwhelmed him. With the exception of a sofa and a dozen
arm-chairs of mahogany, and a few other small articles of furniture
snatched from the flames, everything was of extreme simplicity within
the new dwelling. All the furniture was in plain wood. The walls were
guiltless of pictures, as the floors of carpets. The family portraits,
which had been the pride of the D'Habervilles, no longer occupied
their places in the dining-room; the only ornaments of the new rooms
were some fir-boughs standing in the corners and a generous supply
of flowers in baskets made by the natives. This absence of costly
adornment, however, was not without its charm. One breathed deeply in
that atmosphere, wholesome with the fragrance of fir-boughs, flowers,
and new wood. There was everywhere a flavor of freshness, which made it
hard to regret the absence of more costly appointments.

All the family, having seen M. D'Haberville in the distance accompanied
by a stranger, had gathered in the drawing-room to receive him. Not
having seen Archie for ten years, nobody but Blanche recognized him.
The girl grew pale at the sight of the friend whom she had never
thought to see again; but recovering herself promptly, as women will to
conceal their strongest feelings, like the other two ladies she made
the deep courtesy which she would have bestowed upon a stranger. As for
Uncle Raoul, he bowed with chilly politeness. He had little love for
the English, and ever since the conquest he had been cursing them with
an eloquence not edifying to pious ears.

"May I be roasted by an Iroquois," exclaimed the captain, addressing
Archie, "if a single one of us knew you. Come, look at this gentleman;
ten years ought not to have blotted him from your memory. As for me, I
knew him at once. Speak, Blanche, you being the youngest should have
better eyes than the rest."

"I think," said Blanche in a low voice, "that it is M. de Lochiel."

"Yes," said M. D'Haberville, "it is Archie, who has seen Jules very
lately in Paris. He brings us letters from him, full of good news. What
are you doing, Archie, that you do not embrace your old friends?"

The family, ignorant of the change in the captain's feelings, were only
awaiting his consent to give Archie a welcome whose warmth brought
tears into his eyes.

The last letter from Jules contained the following passage:

"I have been taking the waters of Baréges for my wounds, and though I
am still weak, I am getting well rapidly. The doctors say that I must
have rest, and that it will be long before I am able to take the field
again. I have obtained an unlimited furlough. Our relative the minister
and all my friends counsel me to leave the army and return to Canada,
the new country of all my family. They advise me to establish myself
there, after taking the oath of allegiance to the English crown; but
I will do nothing without consulting you. My brother Archie, who has
influential friends in England, has sent me a letter of recommendation
from one high in authority to your governor, Sir Guy Carleton, who,
they say, shows great consideration for the Canadian nobility. If
on your advice I decide to remain in Canada, I shall hope to be of
some use to my poor fellow-countrymen. God willing, I shall have the
pleasure of embracing you all again toward the end of September next.
Oh, what happiness, after so long a separation!"

In a postscript Jules added:

"I was forgetting to tell you that I have been presented to the King,
who received me most kindly. He even praised me for what he was pleased
to call my noble conduct, and made me a Knight of the Grand Cross of
the Most Honorable Order of St. Louis. I know not to what pleasantry
I owe this favor, which every Frenchman who carried a sword has as
much deserved as I. I could name ten officers in my own division who
should have been decorated in my place. It is true that I have had the
precious advantage of getting carved up like a fool in every battle.
Truly it is a pity that there was not an order for fools; then I should
have fairly won the distinction which his Most Christian Majesty has
just bestowed upon me. I hope, however, that this act will not shut
the gates of paradise against him, and that St. Peter will find some
other little peccadilloes to object to. Otherwise, I should be greatly
concerned."

Lochiel could scarcely keep from laughing at the words "Most Christian
Majesty." He could see the mocking smile with which his friend would
write the phrase.

"Always the same," exclaimed M. D'Haberville.

"And thinking only of others!" exclaimed the rest, with one voice.

"I will wager my head to a shilling," said Archie, "that he would
rather have seen the honor bestowed upon one of his friends."

"What a son!" exclaimed the mother.

"What a brother!" added Blanche.

"You may well say what a brother," exclaimed Archie fervently.

"And what a nephew have I trained up!" cried Uncle Raoul, making passes
in the air with his cane, as if it were a saber and he on horseback.
"There is a prince who can distinguish merit, and who knows how to
reward it. His Majesty of France shows great discernment. He knows
that with a hundred officers like Jules he could resume the offensive,
overrun Europe with triumphant armies, overleap the Detroit like
another William, crush proud Albion, and reconquer the colonies!"
Again Uncle Raoul carved the air in every direction with his cane, to
the imminent peril of the eyes, noses, and chins of the rest of the
company. Then the chevalier looked about him proudly, and, with the
aid of his cane, he dragged himself to an arm-chair, to repose after
the laurels he had won for the King of France by the help of a hundred
officers like his nephew.

The letters from Jules, and Archie's coming, made that day one of
feverish delight at D'Haberville Manor; and Archie was pursued with
incessant questions about Jules, about their friends in France,
about the Faubourg St. Germain, about the court, and about his own
adventures. Archie wished then to see the servants. In the kitchen,
getting dinner, he found the mulatto woman Lisette, who threw herself
upon his neck as she used to do when he came home for his holidays with
Jules. Her voice was choked with sobs of delight.

This woman, whom Captain D'Haberville had bought when she was only
four years old, had some failings, but she was deeply attached to the
family. She stood in awe of no one but the master. Her mistress she
regarded as a sort of new comer, whom she obeyed or not according to
her whim.

Blanche and her brother were the only ones who could do what they liked
with her. Though Jules often tormented her sorely, she was always
ready to laugh at his tricks and shield him from their consequences.

Tried beyond all patience, M. D'Haberville had long ago given her her
freedom; but, to use her own words, "she laughed at his emancipation
like that," snapping her fingers, "for she had as good a right as he
and his to remain in the house where she had been brought up." If her
master, too utterly exasperated, would dismiss her by one door, she
would promptly re-enter by the other.

This irrepressible woman was as much affected by the misfortunes of her
master as if she had been a daughter of the family; and, strange to
say, during all the years when the captain was immersed in bitterness
and gloom, she was a model of obedience and submission, and did the
work of at least two servants. When she was alone with Blanche she
would sometimes throw herself sobbing on her neck, and the brave girl
would forget her own griefs in comforting those of the slave. It is
necessary to add that when prosperity returned to the family Lisette
became as willful as before.

Leaving the kitchen, Lochiel ran to meet José, who came singing up from
the garden, laden with fruit and vegetables.

"Excuse me if I give you my left hand," said José; "I left the other
behind me on the Plains of Abraham. I bear no grudge, however, against
the 'short petticoat' (begging your pardon) who relieved me of it.
The thing was done so neatly right at the joint that the surgeon had
nothing left to do but bandage up the stump. We came off about quits,
nevertheless, the 'short petticoat' and I, for I ran my bayonet through
his body. It's just as well after all, however, for what use would my
right hand be to me when there is no more fighting? No more war now
that the Englishman is master of the land," added José, sighing.

"It seems, my dear José," answered Lochiel, laughing, "that you know
pretty well how to do without your right hand as long as the left
remains to you."

"Very true," said José. "I can manage when I'm driven to it, as in the
scrimmage with the 'short petticoat'; but I confess that it grieves me
to be thus crippled. Both hands would have been none too many to serve
my master with. The times have been hard, indeed; but, thank God, the
worst is over." And tears welled up in the faithful José's eyes.

Lochiel then betook himself to the harvesters, who were busy raking the
hay and loading the carts. They were all old acquaintances, who greeted
him warmly for all the family, the captain excepted, had been at pains
to exonerate him. The dinner, served with the greatest simplicity, was
nevertheless lavish in its abundance, thanks to the game with which
shore and forest were swarming at this season. The silver had been
reduced to the limits of strict necessity; besides the spoons, forks,
and drinking-cups, there remained but a single jug of ancient pattern,
graven with the D'Haberville arms, to attest the former opulence of the
family. The dessert consisted of the fruits of the season, brought in
on maple leaves, in birch-bark _cassots_ and baskets ingeniously woven
by the Indians. A little glass of black-currant ratafia before dinner
to sharpen the appetite, spruce beer made out of the branches of the
tree, and Spanish wine which they drank much tempered with water, these
were the only liquors that the hospitality of Seigneur D'Haberville
could set before his guest. This did not prevent the meal from being
pervaded with kindly gayety; the family seemed to be entering upon a
new life. But for his dread of wounding Archie, Captain D'Haberville
would not have failed to joke upon the absence of champagne, which was
replaced by the sparkling spruce beer.

"Now that we are _en famille_," said the captain, smiling at Archie,
"let us talk of the future of my son. As for me, old and worn out
before my time with the fatigues of war, I have a good excuse for not
serving the new government. It would not be for me, moreover, at my
age, to draw the sword against France, whom I have served for more than
thirty years. Rather death, a hundred times!"

"And, like Hector the Trojan," interrupted Uncle Raoul, "we can all say:

                      _Si Pergama dextra
  Defendi possent, etiam hâc defensa fuissent_."

"Never mind Hector the Trojan," exclaimed M. D'Haberville who, not
being as learned as his brother, had small taste for his quotations.
"Never mind Hector the Trojan, who was not greatly concerned with
our family affairs. Let us return to Jules. His health compels him
to withdraw from the service, perhaps for a long time, or even
permanently. His dearest interests are here where he was born. Canada
is his true fatherland. He can not have the same affection for the
land of his ancestors. His position, moreover, is very different from
mine. What would be cowardice for me, standing on the edge of the tomb,
is but an act of duty for him who is but on the threshold of life.
Splendidly has he paid his debt to the country of his fathers. He
retires honorably from a service which the doctors order him to leave.
Now let him consecrate his energy and his abilities to the service of
his fellow Canadians. The new governor is already well disposed toward
us. He welcomes those of my countrymen who have intercourse with him.
He has many times expressed his sympathy for the brave officers whom
he had met face to face on the battle-field, and whom fate, not their
courage, had betrayed. In the gatherings at Chateau St. Louis he shows
the same regard for Canadians as for his own countrymen, as much for
those of us who have lost all as for those more fortunate who can
maintain a dignity suitable to their rank. Under his administration and
supported by the strong recommendations which our friend Lochiel has
procured for him, Jules has every reason to hope for a high position in
the colony. Let him take the oath of allegiance to the English crown;
and my last words when I bid him a final farewell shall be: 'Serve your
English sovereign with the same zeal, devotion, and loyalty with which
I have served the French King, and receive my blessing.'"

Every one was struck by this sudden change of sentiment in the head of
the family. They forgot that Adversity is a hard master, who bends the
most stubborn heart beneath his grasp of steel. Captain D'Haberville,
too proud and too loyal to acknowledge openly that Louis XV had
wronged the subjects who had served him with a heroism so devoted,
nevertheless, felt keenly the ingratitude of the French court. Although
stung to the quick by such treatment, he was ready to shed the last
drop of his blood for this voluptuous monarch given over to the whims
of his mistresses. But there his devotion ceased. He would have refused
for himself the favors of the new government; but he was too just to
sacrifice his son's future to a sentiment with so slight a basis.

"Let each one now express his opinion freely," said the captain,
smiling, "and let the majority decide." The ladies answered this appeal
by throwing themselves into his arms. Uncle Raoul seized his brother's
hand, shook it vigorously, and exclaimed:

"Nestor of old could not have spoken more wisely."

"Nor could we have been more delighted," said Archie, "if we had had
the advantage of listening to the very words of that most venerable
Grecian."

As the tide was full and the river beautifully calm, Archie proposed
to Blanche a walk along the lovely shore, which stretches--varied with
sandy coves--from the manor to the little Port-Joli River.

"Everything I see," said Archie, as they moved along the river's edge,
the level rays of the sunset making a path of red gold from their
feet to the far-off mountains, "everything I see is rich with sweet
memories. Here, when you were a child, I taught you to play with the
shells which I picked up along this shore. In this little bay I taught
my brother Jules to swim. There are the same strawberry beds and
raspberry thickets whence we plucked the fruit you were so fond of.
Here, seated, book in hand, on this little rock, you used to wait the
return of Jules and me from hunting, to congratulate us on our success
or mock at our empty game-bags. Not a tree, a bush, a shrub, but looks
to me like an old and dear acquaintance. Oh, happy childhood, happy
youth! Ever rejoicing in the present, forgetful of the past, careless
of the future, life rolls along as gently as the current of this pretty
stream which we are now crossing. It was then that we were wise, Jules
and I, when our highest ambition was to pass our days together here,
happy in our work and our hunting."

"Just such a life of monotony and peace," interrupted Blanche, "is that
to which our sex is doomed. God in giving man strength and courage set
him apart for the loftier destinies. What must be the enthusiasm of a
man in the midst of the battle! What sight more sublime than that of
the soldier facing death a hundred times in the tumult for all he holds
most dear! What must be the fierce exultation of the warrior when the
bugles sound for victory!"

This noble girl knew of no glory but that of arms. Her father, almost
incessantly in the field, came back to the bosom of his family only to
rehearse the exploits of his comrades-in-arms; and Blanche, while yet a
child, had become steeped with martial ardor.

"There are triumphs all too dearly bought," answered Archie, "when
one considers the disasters that have followed in their train, when
one remembers the tears of the widow and the orphan, robbed of their
dearest! But here we are at the Port-Joli, well named, with its sunny
banks gay with wild-rose thickets, its groves of fir and spruce, and
its coverts of red willow. What memories cling about this lovely
stream! I see again your gentle mother and your good aunt seated
here on the grass on a fair evening in August, while we are paddling
up-stream, in our little green canoe, to Babin's Islet, keeping time
with our paddles as we sing in chorus the refrain of your pretty song:

  We're afloat, we're afloat, on the water so blue,
  We are bound for our isle of delight.

I hear again the voice of your mother calling repeatedly: 'Go and get
Blanche at once, you incorrigibles; it is supper-time, and you know
your father expects punctuality at meals.' And Jules would answer,
paddling with all his might, 'Do not fear my father's anger. I will
take the whole responsibility on my own shoulders. I will make him
laugh by telling him that, like His Majesty Louis XIV, he had expected
to wait. You know I am a spoiled child in the holidays.'"

"Dear fellow!" said Blanche, "he was sad enough that day when you and I
found him hiding in this fir grove, where he had concealed himself to
escape the first heat of father's indignation.

"And he had not done anything so very dreadful after all," said Archie,
laughing.

"Let us enumerate his crimes," replied Blanche, counting on her
fingers. "First, he had disobeyed father's orders by harnessing to
the carriage an unruly three-year-old filly which was scarcely to be
managed even in a sleigh. Secondly, after a hard tussle with the rash
young driver, the filly had taken the bit in her teeth, and as the
first proof of her freedom had crushed the unhappy cow belonging to our
neighbor Widow Maurice."

"A most happy accident for said widow," interposed Archie, "for
your father replaced the old animal with two of the finest heifers
in his pastures. I remember the anxiety of the poor woman when she
learned that some officious spectator had informed your father of the
accident. How does it happen that the people whom Jules tormented most
assiduously are just the ones who were most devoted to him? What is the
spell by which he compels everybody to love him? Widow Maurice used to
have hardly a moment's peace while we were home for the holidays; yet
she was always in tears when she came to bid Jules good-by."

"The reason is not far to seek," said Blanche. "It is that all know his
kind heart. You know, moreover, by experience, Archie, that those whom
he loves best are just the ones that he teases most unremittingly. But
let us continue our enumeration of his misdemeanors on that unlucky
day! Thirdly, after killing the cow, the ugly brute ran against a
fence, broke one of the wheels, and hurled the driver fifteen feet into
the meadow beyond; but Jules, who always falls on his feet, like a cat,
was in no way the worse for this adventure. Fourthly, and lastly, after
smashing the carriage to splinters on the rocks of the Trois Saumons
River, the mare ended by breaking her own legs on the shore, over in
the parish of L'Islet."

"Yes," added Archie, "and I remember how eloquently you pleaded for the
culprit, who, in despair at having so deeply offended so good a father,
was in danger of proceeding to rash extremities against himself.
'Dear papa,' you said, 'should you not rather thank heaven for having
preserved Jules's life? What matters the loss of a cow, a horse, a
carriage? You might have seen his bleeding body brought home to you!'
'Come, let us talk no more about it,' was your father's reply. 'Go
and look for your rascal of a brother, for I doubt not you and Archie
know where he has taken refuge after his nice performances!' "I see
yet," continued Archie, "the half-penitent, half-comical air of Jules
when he knew the storm had blown over. 'What, my father,' he ended by
saying, after listening to some energetic remonstrances, 'would you
have preferred to see me dragged to my death, like another Hippolytus,
by the horse which your hands had nourished to be the murderer of your
son? Would you have chosen to see my ensanguined locks dangling on
the brambles?' To which the captain answered: 'Come, let's to supper,
since there seems to be a God for such madcaps as you.' 'Now, that's
more like the way to talk to a fellow,' was Jules's response. I never
could quite understand," continued Archie, "why your father, who is
ordinarily so unforgiving, used to forgive and forget so easily any
offense of Jules."

"Father knows," said Blanche, "that Jules loves him devotedly,
and would endure anything to spare him pain. For all his headlong
thoughtlessness, Jules could never offend my father deeply."

"Now that we have called up so many pleasant memories," said Archie,
"let us sit down on this hillock where we have so often before rested,
and let us speak of more serious matters. I have decided to settle in
Canada. I have lately sold a property which was left to me by one of
my cousins. My fortune, although but moderate in the old country, will
be counted large out here, where my happiest days have been spent, and
where I propose to live and die among my friends. What do you say,
Blanche?"

"Nothing in the world could please us more. Oh, how happy Jules will
be, how glad we will all be!"

"Yes, you will all be pleased, doubtless; but my happiness can never be
perfect, Blanche, unless you will consent to make it so by giving me
your hand. I love--"

The girl sprang to her feet as if an adder had stung her. With
trembling lips and pale with anger, she cried:

"You offend me, Captain de Lochiel! You have not considered the cruelty
of the offer you are making me! Is it now you make me such a proposal,
when the flames that you and yours have lighted in my unhappy country
are hardly yet extinguished? Is it now, while the smoke yet rises from
our ruined homes, that you offer me the hand of one of our destroyers?
There would, indeed, be a bitter irony in lighting the marriage torch
at the smoking ashes of my unhappy country! They would say, Captain
de Lochiel, that your gold had bought the hand of the poor Canadian
girl; and never will a D'Haberville endure such humiliation. O Archie!
Archie! I would never have expected it of you, you the friend of my
childhood! You know not what you are doing!" And Blanche burst into
tears.

Never had the noble Canadian girl appeared so beautiful in Archie's
eyes as now, when she rejected with proud disdain the hand of one of
her country's conquerors.

"Calm yourself, Blanche," answered Lochiel. "I admire your patriotism.
I appreciate the exalted delicacy of your sentiments, however unjust
they may be toward the friend of your childhood. Never would a Cameron
of Lochiel give offense to any lady, least of all to the sister of
Jules D'Haberville, to the daughter of his benefactor. You know,
Blanche, that I never act without due reflection. For you to reject
with scorn the hand of an Englishman so soon after the conquest would
be but natural in a D'Haberville; but as for me, Blanche, you know
that I have loved you long--you could not be ignorant of it, in spite
of my silence. The penniless young exile would have failed in every
honorable sentiment had he declared his love for the daughter of his
rich benefactor. Is it because I am rich now, is it because the chance
of war has made us victorious in the struggle, is it because fate made
of me an unwilling instrument of destruction, is it because of all this
that I must bury in my heart one of the noblest emotions of our nature,
and acknowledge myself defeated without an effort? No, Blanche, you
surely can not think it; you have spoken without reflection; you regret
the harsh words which have escaped you. Speak, Blanche, and say that
you did not mean it."

"I will be candid with you, Archie," replied Blanche. "I will be as
frank as a peasant girl who has studied neither her feelings nor her
words--as a country girl who has forgotten the conventionalities of
that society from which she has so long been banished--and I will speak
with my heart upon my lips. You had all that could captivate a girl of
fifteen years--noble birth, wit, beauty, strength, and a generous and
lofty heart. What more could be needed to charm an enthusiastic girl?
Archie, if the penniless young exile had asked my parents for my hand,
and they had granted his request, I should have been proud and happy
to obey. But, Captain de Lochiel, there is now a gulf between us which
I will never cross." And again the girl's voice was choked with sobs.

"But I implore you, my brother Archie," continued she, taking his hand,
"do not alter your intention of settling in Canada. Buy property in
our neighborhood, so that we can see you continually. And if, in the
ordinary course of nature (for you are eight years older than I), I
should have the unhappiness to lose you, be sure that you would be
mourned as bitterly by your sister Blanche as if she had been your
wife. And now it is getting late, Archie, and we must return to the
house," she added, pressing his hand affectionately between both of
hers.

"You will never be so cruel toward me and toward yourself," cried
Archie, "as to persist in this refusal! Yes, toward yourself, Blanche,
for the love of a heart like yours does not die out like a common
passion; it resists time and all vicissitudes. Jules will plead my
cause on his return, and his sister will not refuse him his first
request. Oh, tell me that I may hope!"

"Never, Archie, never," said Blanche. "The women of my family, as well
as the men, have never failed in their duty--have never shrunk from any
sacrifice, however painful. Two of my aunts, while yet very young, said
one day to my father: 'You have no more than enough, D'Haberville, to
maintain the dignity of the house. Our dowry would make a considerable
breach in your means. To-morrow we shall enter a convent, where all is
prepared to receive us.' Prayers, threats, the fury of my father--all
proved vain; they entered the convent, where they have not wearied
of good deeds to this day. As for me, Archie, I have other duties
to perform--duties very dear to me. I must sweeten life as far as
possible for my parents, must help them to forget their misfortunes,
must care for them in their old age, and must close their eyes at the
last. My brother Jules will marry; I will nurse his children, and share
alike his good and evil fortune."

Lochiel and Blanche walked toward the house in silence. The last rays
of the setting sun, mirrored in the swelling tide, lent a new charm to
the enchanting scene; but to their eyes the loveliness of nature seemed
to have suddenly faded out. The next day, toward evening, a favorable
wind arose. The vessel which had brought Lochiel weighed anchor at
once, and M. D'Haberville instructed José to convey his young friend to
Quebec.

During the journey there was no lack of conversation between the two
travelers; their subjects were inexhaustible. Toward five o'clock in
the morning, however, as they were passing Beaumont, Lochiel said to
José:

"I am as sleepy as a marmot. We sat up late yesterday, and I was so
feverish that I got no sleep for the rest of the night. Do sing me a
song to keep me awake."

He knew the hoarseness and vigor of his companion's voice, and he put
great faith in it as an anti-soporific.

"I can not refuse," answered José, who, like many others blessed
with a discordant voice, prided himself greatly on his singing. "The
more sleepy you are the more risk you run of breaking your head on
the rocks, which have never been cleared away since La Corriveau's
memorable trip; but I hardly know what to begin with. How would you
like a song on the taking of Berg-op-Zoom?"

"Berg-op-Zoom will do," said Archie, "though the English were pretty
badly treated there."

"Hem! hem!" coughed José. "Nothing like a little revenge on the enemy
that handled us so roughly in '59." And he struck up the following:

  "A Te Deum for him who was born the doom (_repeat_)
  Of the stout-walled city of Berg-op-Zoom (_repeat_).
  By'r lady, he wants the best that's going,
  Who can do up a siege in a style so knowing."

"How charmingly _naïve_!" cried Lochiel.

"Is it not, captain?" said José, very proud of his success.

"Indeed, yes, my dear José; but go on. I am in a hurry to hear the end.
Do not halt upon so good a road."

"Thank you, captain," said José, touching his cap.

  "Like Alexander who lived of old (_repeat_),
  His body is small, but his heart is bold (_repeat_).
  God gave him all Alexander's wit,
  And Cæsar's wisdom on top of it!"

"'His body is small but his heart is bold,'" repeated Archie, "is a
very happy touch! Where did you pick up this song?"

"A grenadier who was at the siege of Berg-op-Zoom sang it to my late
father. He said that it was terribly hot work there, and he carried the
marks of it. He had only one eye left, and the skin was torn off his
face from his forehead to his jaw-bone; but, as all these damages were
on the left side, he still could manage his gun properly on the right.
But let us leave him to look out for himself. He is a jolly lad who
would dance a jig on his own grave, and I need not concern myself about
him. Here's the third and last verse:

  "Oh, we combed the hides of the English well (_repeat_),
  A very bad lot, as I've heard tell! (_repeat_)
  They'll shake, by'r lady, till they get home,
  For fear of our boys and their curry-comb."

"Delightful, 'pon honor!" cried Lochiel. "These English who were a very
bad lot! These soldiers armed with the curry-comb! How exquisitely
_naïve_! Charming!"

"By our lady, though, captain," said José, "they are not always so
easy to comb, these English. Like our good horse Lubine here, they are
sometimes very bad-humored and ugly to handle if one rubs them too
hard. Witness the first battle of the Plains of Abraham!"

"It was the English, was it not, who carried the curry-comb then?"
remarked Archie.

For reply, José merely lifted up the stump of his arm, around which he
had twisted the leather of his whip.

For a time our travelers journeyed on in silence, and again Archie grew
heavy with sleep. Perceiving this, José cried:

"Captain, captain, you're nearly asleep! Take care, or you're going to
break your nose, begging your pardon. I think you want another song to
wake you up. Shall I sing you the Complaint of Biron?"

"Who was Biron?" inquired Lochiel.

"Uncle Raoul, who is so learned, told me that he was a prince, a great
warrior, the relative and friend of our late King Henry IV; which did
not prevent the latter from having him executed just as if he was a
nobody. When I made my lament upon his death, Uncle Raoul and the
captain told me that he had proved a traitor to the king, and forbid me
even to sing the complaint in their presence. This struck me as rather
droll, but I obeyed them all the same."

"I have never heard of this lament," said Archie; "and as I am not
particularly sensitive in regard to the kings of France, I wish you
would sing it for me."

Thereupon José struck up, in a voice of thunder, the following lament:

  "The king he had been warned by one of his _gens d'armes_,
  (His name it was La Fin, that gave him the alarm,)
  'Your Majesty, I pray you, of Prince Biron beware,
  For he's plotting wicked deeds, and there's treason in the air.'

  "La Fin had hardly spoke when Prince Biron came in,
  His cap was in his hand, and he bowed before the king.
  Said he: 'Will't please Your Majesty to try your hand at play?
  Here's a thousand Spanish doubloons that I have won this day.'

  "'If you have them with you, prince,' replied His Majesty,
  'If you have them with you, prince, go find the queen, and she
  Will play you for the Spanish gold you have not long to see!'

  "He had not played two games when the constable came in,
  And bowing, cap in hand, right courtly said to him:
  'Oh, will you rise up, prince, and come along with me?
  This night in the Bastile your bed and board shall be!'

  "'Oh, had I but my sword, my weapon bright and keen,
  Oh, had I but my saber, my knife of golden sheen,
  No constable could capture me that ever I have seen!'

  "It might have been a month, or may be two weeks more,
  That no friends came to see him or passed his prison door;
  At last came judges three, pretending not to know,
  And asked of him, 'Fair prince, oh, who has used you so?'

  "'Oh, they who used me so had power to put me here;
  It was the king and queen, whom I served for many a year;
  And now for my reward my death it draweth near!

  "'And does the king remember no more the Savoy War?
  And has the king forgotten the wounds for him I bore?
  And is it my true service now that I must suffer for?

  "'And has the king forgotten that if I have to die,
  The blood of Biron may to Heaven for vengeance cry?
  Or does the king remember I have a brother yet?
  But when _he_ sees the king he will not me forget.'"

By this time Lochiel was thoroughly awake. The tremendous voice of José
would have awakened the sleeping beauty herself from the depths of her
hundred years' slumber.

"But you, sir," said José, "you who are nearly as learned as Uncle
Raoul, you could perhaps tell me something of this wicked king who so
ungratefully put this poor M. Biron to death."

"Kings, my dear José, never forget a personal offense, and, like a
great many smaller people who can not overlook the faults of others, no
matter how well atoned for, for faithful services, their memory is very
short."

"Well, now, but that seems very queer to me, when I was thinking that
the good God had given them everything that heart could wish! A short
memory! But that is droll."

Smiling at his companion's innocence, Archie replied:

"King Henry IV, however, had an excellent memory, although it failed
him in that one instance. He was a good prince and loved his subjects
as if they were his own children, and he did all he could to make them
happy. It is not surprising that his memory is cherished by all good
Frenchmen, even after a lapse of one hundred and fifty years."

"By our lady," exclaimed José, "there's nothing surprising in that, if
the subjects have a better memory than their princes! It was cruel of
him, however, to hang this poor M. Biron."

"The nobility of France were never hung," said Archie. "That was one of
their special privileges. They simply had their heads cut off."

"That was indeed a privilege. It may perhaps hurt more, but it is much
more glorious to die by the sword than by the rope," remarked José.

"To return to Henry IV," said Archie; "we must not be too severe in
our condemnation of him. He lived in a difficult period, a period of
civil war. Biron, his kinsman and former friend, turned traitor, and
was doubly deserving of his fate."

"Poor M. Biron!" said José; "but he speaks finely in his lament."

"It is not always they who speak the best who have most right on their
side," remarked Archie. "There is no one so like an honest man as an
eloquent knave."

"All very true, Mr. Archie. We have one poor thief in our district,
and as he doesn't know how to defend himself, everybody is continually
getting his teeth into him, while his brother, who is a hundred times
worse than he, has so smooth a tongue that he passes himself off for a
little saint. Meanwhile, yonder is Quebec! But no more the white flag
waving over her," added José, sighing.

To hide his emotion, he went searching in all his pockets for his pipe,
grumbling to himself and repeating his old refrain:

  "Our good folk will come again."

José spent two days in Quebec, and returned loaded with all the
presents that Archie thought would find acceptance at D'Haberville
Manor. Such rich gifts as he would have sent under other circumstances
he dared not send now, for fear of wounding his friends. In bidding
José farewell, he said:

"I left my prayer-book at the manor house. Beg Miss Blanche to take
care of it till I return. It was a keepsake."



CHAPTER XVI.

THE FAMILY HEARTH.


Many a calamity had swept over the land since the day when the
relations and friends of Jules had gathered at the manor house to bid
him farewell before his departure for France. Among the old men time
had made his customary inroads. The enemy had carried fire and sword
into the peaceful dwellings of the _habitants_. The famine numbered its
victims by the hundred. The soil had been drenched with the blood of
its brave defenders. Wind and sea had conspired against many of those
brave officers from whom sword and bullet had turned aside. Nature was
satiated with the blood of the children of New France. The future was
dark indeed for the upper classes, already ruined by the havoc of the
enemy, for those who, in laying by the sword, were compelled to lay
by the main support of their families, and for those who foresaw that
their descendants, reduced to a lower walk in life, would be compelled
to till the soil which their valiant ancestors had made illustrious.

The city of Quebec, which of old had seemed to brave, upon its hill
summit, the thunders of the heaviest guns and the assaults of the
most daring battalions, the proud city of Quebec, still incumbered
with wreckage, raised itself with difficulty out of its ruins. The
British flag streamed triumphant from its overbearing citadel, and the
Canadian who, by force of habit, used to raise his eyes to the height
in expectation of seeing the lily banner, would drop them again sadly,
repeating with a sigh these touching words, "But our good kin will come
again."

The reader will doubtless be gratified to see his old acquaintances,
after so many disasters bravely endured, once more gathered together at
a little banquet. This was a feast given by M. D'Haberville in honor of
his son's return. Even "the good gentleman" himself, though nearing the
close of his century, had responded in person to the summons. Captain
des Ecors, a comrade of M. D'Haberville, a brave officer who had been
brought to ruin by the conquest, formed with his family a congenial
addition to the gathering. One of Jules's kinsfolk who perished in
the wreck of the Auguste had left him a small legacy, which brought
a new comfort to the D'Habervilles, and enabled them to exercise a
hospitality from which they had been long and reluctantly debarred.

All the guests were at table, after vainly waiting for the arrival of
Lochiel, who was as a rule the most punctual of men.

"Well, my friends," said M. D'Haberville, "what think you now of
the omens which so saddened me ten years ago? What is your opinion,
Monsieur the Curé, of those mysterious warnings which Heaven appeared
to send me?"

"I think," answered the priest, "that every one has had, or imagined
himself to have, more or less mysterious warnings, even in the most
remote epochs. But, without going too far back, Roman history is rife
with prodigies and portents. Occurrences the most insignificant were
classed as good or bad omens. The soothsayers consulted the flight of
birds, the entrails of the sacrificial victims, and what not! Further,
they say that no two of these holy and veracious personages could look
at each other without laughing."

"And you conclude from this--?" queried M. D'Haberville.

"I conclude," said the priest, "that we need not greatly concern
ourselves about such manifestations. Supposing Heaven were pleased, in
certain exceptional cases, to give visible signs as to the future, this
would but add one more to the already numberless ills of poor humanity.
We are by nature superstitious, and we should be kept in a state of
feverish apprehension, far worse than the actual evils supposed to be
foreshadowed."

"Well," said M D'Haberville, who, like many more, consulted others
merely as a matter of form, "my own experience compels me to believe
that such omens are very often to be trusted. To me they have never
played false. Besides those which you yourselves have witnessed, I
could cite you a host of others. For instance, about fifteen years ago
I was leading a war party against the Iroquois. My band was made up
of Canadians and Huron Indians. We were on the march, when suddenly I
felt a sharp pain in my thigh, as if I had been struck by some hard
substance. The pang was sharp enough to make me halt a moment. I told
my Indians about it. They looked at each other uneasily, consulted the
horizon, and breathed deeply, sniffing the air in every direction, like
dogs in quest of game. Then, certain that there were no enemies in the
neighborhood, they resumed their march. I asked Petit-Étienne, the
chief, who appeared uneasy, if he was dreading a surprise. 'Not that I
know of,' said he, 'but at our first encounter with the enemy you will
be wounded just where you felt the pain.' Of course I laughed at the
prediction; but for all that, not two hours later an Iroquois bullet
went through my thigh at the spot in question, fortunately escaping the
bone. No, gentlemen; omens have proved faithful in my own case."

"And what thinks Monsieur the Chevalier?" asked the priest.

"I think," said Uncle Raoul, "that there is good wine on the table, and
that it is our pressing duty to attack it."

"An admirable decision!" cried everybody.

"The wine," remarked Jules, "is the most faithful of presages, for
it announces happiness and mirth. In proof of it, here is our friend
Lochiel coming up the avenue. I am going to meet him."

"You see, my dear Archie," said the captain, greeting him warmly,
"you see that we have treated you without ceremony, as a child of the
family. We only waited for you half an hour. Knowing your soldierly
punctuality, we feared that some unavoidable business had prevented
your coming."

"I should have been much grieved if you had treated me otherwise than
as a child of the family," answered Archie. "I had planned to be here
quite early this morning, but I did not make sufficient allowance for
your fine quagmire at Cap St.-Ignace. First of all, my horse got into a
bog-hole, whence I extricated him at the cost of the harness, which I
had to do without as best I could. Then I broke a wheel of my carriage,
whereupon I had to go and seek help at the nearest house, about a mile
and a half away. For most of the distance I was wading through mud up
to my knees, and when I got there I was half dead with fatigue."

"Ah, my dear Archie," said Jules, the ceaseless mocker, "_quantum
mutatus ab illo_, as Uncle Raoul would have said if I hadn't got ahead
of him. Where are your mighty legs, of which you were once so proud
in that same morass? Have they lost their agility since the 28th of
April, 1760? They served you admirably in that retreat, as I predicted
they would."

"It is true," replied Lochiel, laughing heartily, "that they did not
fail me in the _retreat_ of 1760, as you so considerately call it, but,
my dear Jules, you had no reason to complain of your own, short as they
are, in the retreat of 1759. One compliment deserves another you know,
always with due regard to a soldier's modesty."

"Ah, but you're all astray there, my dear fellow. A scratch which I
had received from an English bullet was interfering very seriously
with my flight, when a tall grenadier who had somehow taken a fancy to
me, threw me over his shoulder with no more ceremony than as if I were
his haversack, and, continuing his retreat at full speed, deposited me
at length within the walls of Quebec. It was time. In his zeal, the
creature had carried me with my head hanging down his rascally back,
like a calf on the way to the butcher's, so that I was almost choked
by the time he landed me. Would you believe it, the rascal had the
audacity some time afterward, to ask me for a _pour-boire_ for himself
and his friends, who were so glad to see their little grenadier once
more upon his feet; and I was fool enough to treat the crowd. You see,
I never could keep up a grudge. But here is your dinner, piping hot,
which your friend Lisette has kept in the oven for you. To be sure, you
deserve to take your dinner in the kitchen, for the anxiety that you
have been causing us; but we'll let that pass. Here is José bringing
you an appetizer, according to the custom of all civilized nations. The
old fellow is so glad to see you that he is showing his teeth from ear
to ear. I assure you that he is not one-handed when he is giving his
friends a drink, and still less so when, like his late father, he is
taking one himself."

"Our young master," answered José, putting the empty plate under his
arm in order to shake Archie's hand, "our young master is always at
his jokes; but Mr. Archie knows very well that if there was only one
glass of brandy left in the world I should give it to him rather than
drink it myself. As for my poor late father, he was a very systematic
man; so many drinks a day and not a drop more--always barring weddings
and festivals and other special occasions. He knew how to live with
propriety, and also how to take his little recreations from time to
time, the worthy man! All I can say is, that when he entertained his
friends he didn't keep the bottle under the table."

In The Vicar of Wakefield Goldsmith makes the good pastor say:

"I can't say whether we had more wit among us than usual, but I'm
certain we had more laughing, which answered the end as well."

The same might be said of the present gathering, over which there
reigned that French light-heartedness which seems, alas, to be
disappearing in what Homer would call these degenerate days.

"Neighbor," said Captain D'Haberville to Captain des Ecors, "if your
little difficulty with General Murray has not spoiled your throat for
singing, please set a good example by giving us a song."

"Indeed," said Archie, "I heard that you had great difficulty
in escaping the clutches of our bad-tempered general, but I am
unacquainted with the particulars."

"When I think of it, my friend," exclaimed Captain des Ecors, "I
feel something of a strangling sensation in my throat. I should not
complain, however, for in my case the general conducted affairs in due
order; instead of hanging me first and trying me afterward, he came to
the wise conclusion that the trial had better precede the hanging.
The fate of the unhappy miller Nadeau, my fellow-prisoner, who was
accused of the same crime as myself, and who was not tried until after
his execution--the sad fate of this respectable man, whose innocence
he heard too late, led him to hesitate before hanging me untried. In
my captivity I passed many a bad quarter of an hour. All communication
with the outside world was forbidden me. I had no means of learning
what fate was in store for me. Every day I asked the sentinel who was
walking up and down beneath my window if he had any news for me, and
ordinarily I received in answer a cordial 'goddam.' At last a soldier,
more accessible and good-humored, who could jabber a scrap of French,
replied to my question, '_Vous pendar sept heures le matingul!_' I
believe this jolly and sympathetic creature put all his knowledge of
French into that one phrase, for to every other question I asked I
received the same reply--'_Vous pendar sept heures le matingul!_' It
was easy to gather from this that I was to be hung some morning at
seven o'clock, but what morning I could not learn. The outlook was
anything but cheerful. For three whole days I had seen the body of the
unfortunate Nadeau hanging from one of the arms of his wind mill, the
plaything of the gale. Every morning I expected that I should be called
to take his place on this novel and ingenious gibbet."

"Infamous!" cried Archie. "And the man was innocent!"

"This was proved at the inquest which was held after the execution,"
replied Captain des Ecors. "I should add that General Murray appeared
to repent with bitterness for this murder, which he had committed in
his haste. He heaped Nadeau's family with benefits, and adopted his
two little orphan daughters, whom he took with him to England. Poor
Nadeau!"

All the company echoed the words "Poor Nadeau!"

"Alas!" said Des Ecor philosophically, "if we were to set ourselves
lamenting for all who have lost their lives by--But let us change a
subject so painful." Then he sang the following song:

  "The new Narcissus am I named,
    Whom all men most admire;
  From water have I been reclaimed,
    In wine to drown my fire.
  When I behold the rosy hue
    That gives my face renown,
  Enraptured with the lovely view,
    I drink my image down.

  "In all the universe is naught
    But tribute pays to thee;
  Even the winter's ice is brought
    For thy benignant glee.
  The Earth exerts her anxious care
    Thy nurture to assist;
  To ripen thee the sun shines fair;
    To drink thee I exist."

The songs and choruses succeeded each other rapidly. That contributed
by Madame Vincelot wrought up the merriment of the party to a high
pitch.

  "This festal board, this royal cheer,
    They clearly tell
      (They clearly tell)
  Our host is glad to have us here,
    And feast us well
      (And feast us well);
  For even he permits that we
  Make Charivari! Charivari! Charivari!

  "Now pour me out a glass, kind host,
      Of this good wine (_repeat_),
  For I would drink a loving toast--
      This wife of thine (_repeat_),
  Who smilingly permits that we
  Make Charivari! Charivari! Charivari!"

To this Madame D'Haberville added the following impromptu stanza:

  "If our endeavor to make your cheer
      Be not in vain (_repeat_),
  Consider you're the masters here,
      And come again (_repeat_),
  And it shall be your care that we
  Make Charivari! Charivari! Charivari!"

Then Jules added a verse:

  "Without a spice of rivalry
      Dan Cupid nods (_repeat_),
  But challenge him to cups, and he
      'Ll accept the odds (_repeat_).
  Bacchus and he, as well as we,
  Make Charivari! Charivari! Charivari!"

At the end of each stanza every one pounded on the table with their
hands or rapped on the plates with their forks and spoons, till the din
became something indescribable.

Blanche, being asked to sing her favorite song of Blaise and Babette,
endeavored to excuse herself and substitute another; but the young
ladies insisted, crying: "Let us have Blaise and Babette by all means;
the minor is so touching."

"Yes," said Jules, "that is a minor, with its 'My love it is my life';
a minor to touch the tenderest chord in the feminine heart. Quick, let
us have the sweet minor, to touch the hearts of these charming young
ladies!"

"We'll make you pay for that in blindman's buff," said one of them.

"And in the game of forfeits," said another.

"Look out for yourself, my boy," said Jules, addressing himself, "for
in the hands of these young ladies you stand no better chance than
a cat without claws would in--hades! No matter. Sing away, my dear
sister. Your voice, perhaps, like that of Orpheus, will assuage the
fury of your enemies."

"The wretch!" chorused the young ladies, "to compare us--But, never
mind, we'll settle with you later. Meanwhile, sing us the song,
Blanche, dear."

The latter still hesitated. Then, fearing to attract attention by her
refusal, she sang the following song with tears in her voice. It was
the cry of a pure love finding utterance, in spite of all her efforts
to bury it in her heart:

  "For thee, dear heart, these flowers I twine.
    My Blaise, accept of thy Babette
  The warm rose and the orange-flower,
    And jessamine and violet.
  Be not thy passion like the bloom,
    That shines a day and disappears.
  My love is an undying light,
    And will not change for time or tears.

  "Dear, be not like the butterfly
    That knows each blossom in the glades,
  And cheapen not thy sighs and vows
    Among the laughing village maids.
  Such loves are but the transient bloom
    That shines a day and disappears.
  My love is an undying light,
    And will not change for time or tears.

  "If I should find my beauty fade,
    If I must watch these charms depart,
  Dear, see thou but my tenderness--
    Oh, look thou only on my heart!
  Remember how the transient bloom
    Shines for a day and disappears.
  My love is an undying light,
    And will not change for time or tears."

Every one was moved by her touching pathos, of which they could not
guess the true cause. They attributed it, lamely enough, to her emotion
on seeing Jules thus brought back to the bosom of his family. To divert
their attention, Jules hastened to say:

"But it's myself that has brought the pretty song with me from France."

"Let us have your pretty song," arose the cry on all sides.

"No," said Jules, "I am keeping it for Mademoiselle Vincelot, to whom I
wish to teach it."

Now the young lady in question had for some years been declaring
herself very hostile to the idea of marriage; indeed, she had avowed
a pronounced preference for celibacy. But Jules knew that a certain
widower, not waiting quite so long as decorum required, had overcome
the strange repugnance of this tigress of chastity, and had even
prevailed upon her to name the day. This declared opponent of marriage
was in no hurry to thank Jules, whose malicious waggery she knew too
well; but every one cried persistently: "The song! Give us the song,
and you can teach it to Elise at your leisure."

"As you will," said Jules. "It is very short, but is not wanting in
spice:

  "A maiden is a bird
  That seems to love the cage,
  Enamored of the nest
  That nursed her tender age;
  But leave the window wide
  And, presto! she's outside
  And off on eager wing
  To mate and sing."

They chaffed Elise a good deal, who, like all prudes, took their
pleasantries with rather a bad grace, seeing which, Madame D'Haberville
gave the signal, and the company arose and went into the drawing-room.
Elise, as she was passing Jules, gave him a pinch that nearly brought
the blood.

"Come, my fair one, whose claws are so sharp," exclaimed Jules, "is
this such a caress as you destined for your future spouse, this which
you are now bestowing on one of your best friends? Happy spouse! May
Heaven keep much joy for him at the last!"

After the coffee and the customary _pousse-café_ the company went out
into the court-yard to dance country dances and to play fox and geese
and my lady's toilet. Nothing could be more picturesque than this
latter game, played in the open air in a yard studded with trees. The
players took their places each under a tree. One only remained in the
open. Each furnished his or her contribution to my lady's toilet--one
being her dress, another her necklace, another her ring, and so forth.
It was the office of one of the players to direct the game. As soon
as he called for one of these articles the one representing this
article was obliged at once to leave his post, which was promptly taken
possession of by another. Then, as the different articles of my lady's
toilet were called for rapidly, a lively interchange of positions
was set up between the players, the one left out in the first place
striving to capture any post that might be left for an instant vacant.
This merry game was continued until my lady considered her toilet
complete. Then, on the cry, "My lady wants all her toilet," all the
players change places with alacrity, and the one who was left out had
to pay a forfeit. It is not to be supposed that this game was conducted
without a vast deal of laughter and clamor and ludicrous mishaps.

When the ladies were tired the party went into the house to amuse
themselves less vigorously with such games as "does the company please
you," or "hide the ring," "shepherdess," or "hide and seek," or "hot
cockles," etc. They ended up with a game proposed by Jules, which was
ordinarily productive of much laughter.

The early Canadians, though redoubtable warriors on the battle-field,
were thorough children in their social gatherings. Being nearly all
kinsfolk or friends of long standing, many of their games which in
these days might be regarded in the best circles as overfamiliar were
robbed of the objectionable element. The stranger would have said that
they were a lot of brothers and sisters letting their spirits have free
play within the privacy of the family.

It was not without deliberate purpose that Jules, who still felt the
pinch Elise had given him, proposed a game by which he hoped to get
his revenge. This is the game: A lady seated in an arm-chair begins by
choosing some one as her daughter. Her eyes are then blindfolded, and,
by merely feeling the faces of the players, who kneel before her one by
one, with their heads enveloped in a shawl or scarf, she is required to
pick out her daughter. Every time she makes a mistake she has to pay a
forfeit. It is often a man or an old woman who kneels before her thus
disguised, whence arises many a laughable mistake.

When it came the turn of Elise to take the arm-chair, she did not fail
to select Jules for her daughter, with the purpose of tormenting him a
little during the inspection. As each person knelt at the feet of the
blindfolded lady, all the others sang in chorus:

  "Oh, lady, say, is this your daughter?
  Oh, lady, say, is this your daughter?
  In buckles of gold and rings galore,
  The watermen bold are at the oar."

The blindfolded lady responds in the same fashion:

  "Oh, yes, it is, it is my daughter, etc."

Or else:

  "Oh, no, it is not, it is not my daughter;
  Oh, no, it is not, it is not my daughter.
  In buckles of gold and rings galore,
  The watermen bold are at the oar."

After having inspected several heads, Elise, hearing under the shawl
the stifled laughter of Jules, imagined she had grasped her prey. She
feels his head. It is not unlike that of Jules. The face, indeed,
seems a trifle long, but this rascally Jules has so many tricks for
disguising himself! Did he not mystify the company for a whole evening,
having been introduced as an old aunt just arrived that very day from
France? Under this disguise, did he not have the audacity to kiss all
the pretty women in the room, including Elise herself? The wretch! Yes,
Jules is capable of anything! Under this impression she pinches an ear.
There is a cry of pain and a low growl, followed by a loud barking. She
snatches the bandage from her eyes, to find herself confronted with two
rows of threatening teeth. It was Niger. Just as at the house of Farmer
Dinmont, of whom Scott tell us, all the dogs were named Pepper, so at
the D'Haberville mansion all the dogs were called Niger or Nigra, in
memory of their ancestor, whom the little Jules had named to show his
progress in Latin.

Elise at once snatched off her high-heeled shoe, and made an attack on
Jules. The latter held poor Niger as a shield, and ran from room to
room, the girl following him hotly amid roars of laughter.

Oh, happy time when lightness of heart made wit unnecessary! Oh, happy
time when the warmth of welcome made superfluous the luxury which
these ruined Canadians were learning to do without! The houses, like
the hearts of their owners, seemed able to enlarge themselves to meet
every possible demand of hospitality. Sleeping-places were improvised
upon the slightest occasion; and when once the ladies were comfortably
provided for the sterner sex found no difficulty in shifting for
themselves. These men, who had passed half their life in camp during
the harshest seasons; who had journeyed four or five leagues on
snow-shoes, resting by night in holes which they dug in the snow (as
they did when they went to attack the English in Acadia), these men of
iron could do without swan's-down coverlets to their couches.

The merry-making paused only for sleep, and was renewed in all its
vigor in the morning. As every one then wore powder, the more skillful
would undertake the _rôle_ of hairdresser, or even of barber. The
subject, arrayed in an ample dressing-gown, seated himself gravely in a
chair. The impromptu hairdresser rarely failed to heighten the effect
of his achievement, either by tracing with the powder puff an immense
pair of whiskers on those who lacked such adornment, or, in the case of
those who were already provided, by making one side a great deal longer
than the other. The victim frequently was made aware of his plight only
by the peals of laughter which greeted him on entering the drawing-room.

The party broke up at the end of three days, in spite of the efforts
of M. and Madame D'Haberville to keep them longer. Archie alone, who
had promised to spend a month with his old friends, kept his word and
remained.



CHAPTER XVII.

CONCLUSION.

Ainsi passe sur la terre tout ce qui fut bon, vertueux, sensible!
Homme, tu n'es qu'un songe rapide, un rêve douloureux; tu n'existes que
par le malheur; tu n'es quelque chose que par la tristesse de ton âme et
l'eternelle mélancolie de ta pensée!--_Chateaubriand._


After the departure of the guests the family fell back into the sweet
intimacy of former days. Jules, whom his native air had restored to
health, passed the greater part of the day in hunting with Archie.
The abundance of game at that season made the pastime very agreeable.
They took supper at seven, they went to bed at ten, and the evenings
seemed all too short even without the help of cards. Jules, who was
ignorant of what had passed between his sister and Archie, could not
but be struck with his friend's unusual sadness, of which, however, he
failed to guess the cause. To all questions on the subject he received
an evasive answer. Finally, imagining that he had found the root of
the difficulty, one evening when they were alone together he put the
question directly.

"I have noticed, my brother," said he, "the sadness which you endeavor
to conceal from us. You are unjust to us, Archie, you do yourself an
injustice. You should not brood over the past. In saving the lives
which would otherwise have been lost in the shipwreck of the Auguste,
you have done my family a service which more than compensates for what
took place before. It is we now who owe you a debt of gratitude which
can never be repaid. It was very natural that, prejudiced by report
and for the moment forgetful of your noble heart, even such friends as
we, imbittered by our losses, should lend an ear to calumnies against
you; but you know that a simple explanation was enough to re-cement
our old friendship. If my father bore his grudge for a long time, you
know his nature and must make allowance for it. He feels now all his
old affection for you. Our losses have been in great part repaired,
and we live more tranquilly under the British Government than we did
under the rule of France. Our _habitants_ have followed the example of
Cincinnatus, as Uncle Raoul would say, and exchanged the musket for
the plow-share. They are opening up new land, and in a few years this
_seigneurie_ will be in a most prosperous condition. With the help of
the little legacy which I lately received, we shall soon be as rich
as we were before the conquest. Therefore, my dear Archie, drive away
this gloom which is making us all miserable and resume thy former
lightheartedness."

Lochiel was silent for some time, and only answered after a painful
effort.

"Impossible, my brother. The wound is more recent than you imagine and
will bleed all my life, for all my hopes are destroyed. But let us
leave the subject; for I have already been wounded in my tenderest and
purest emotions, and an unsympathetic word from you would finish me."

"An unsympathetic word from my lips, do you say, Archie? What can you
mean by that? The friend whom I have sometimes vexed with my raillery
knows very well what my heart is toward him, and that I was always
ready to crave his pardon. You shake your head sadly! Great heaven,
what is the matter? What is there that you can not confide to your
brother, the friend of your boyhood? Never have I had anything to
conceal from you. My thoughts were as open to you as your own, and I
had imagined that you were as frank with me. A curse upon whatever has
been able to come between us!"

"Stop, Jules, stop," cried Archie. "However painful my confidences
may be to you, I must tell you all rather than let you harbor such
a cruel suspicion. I am going to open my heart to you, but on the
express condition that you shall hear me uninterruptedly to the end,
as an impartial judge. Not till to-morrow will we return to this sore
subject. Meanwhile, promise to keep the secret that I am going to
confide to you."

"I give you my word," said Jules, grasping his hand.

Thereupon Lochiel recounted minutely the conversation that he had had
with Blanche. As soon as he came to an end he lit a candle and withdrew
to his own room.

As for Jules, he stormed within himself all night. Having studied women
only in the _salons_ of St. Germain, his vigorous common sense could
ill appreciate the sublimity that there was in the sacrifice which his
sister was imposing upon herself. Such sentiments appeared to him mere
romantic and exaggerated nonsense, or the product of an imagination
rendered morbid by calamity. With his heart set upon an alliance which
would gratify his dearest wishes, he resolved that, with the consent of
Archie, he would have a very serious conversation with Blanche, from
which he felt confident he would come off victorious. "She loves him,"
thought he, "and therefore my cause is already gained."

Man, with all his apparent superiority, with all his self-confident
vanity, has never yet sounded the depths of the feminine heart, that
inexhaustible treasure-house of love, devotion, and self-sacrifice.
The poets have sung in every key this being who came all beauty
from the hands of her Creator; but what is all this physical beauty
compared to the spiritual beauty of a noble and high-souled woman?
Indeed, who is more miserable than man in the face of adversity,
when, poor pygmy, he leans on the fortitude of a woman, who bears the
burden uncomplainingly. It is not surprising then that Jules, knowing
woman only on the surface, expected an easy triumph over his sister's
scruples.

"Come, Blanche," said Jules to his sister, the next day, after dinner,
"there's our Scottish Nimrod setting out with his gun to get some birds
for our supper. Let's you and I see if we can scale the bluff as nimbly
as we used to."

"With all my heart," answered Blanche. "You shall see that my Canadian
legs have lost none of their agility."

The brother and sister, assisting themselves by the projecting rocks,
and by the shrubs which clung in the crevices of the cliff, speedily
scaled the difficult path that led to the summit. After gazing in
silence for a time at the magnificent panorama unrolled before them,
Jules said to his sister:

"I had an object in bringing you here. I wanted to talk to you on
a subject of the greatest importance. You love our friend Archie;
you have loved him for a long time; yet for reasons that I can not
comprehend, for over-exalted sentiments which warp your judgment, you
are imposing upon yourself an unnatural sacrifice and preparing for
yourself a future of wretchedness. As for me, if I loved an English
girl, and she returned my affection, I would marry her just as readily
as if she were one of my own countrywomen."

Blanche's eyes filled with tears. Taking her brother's hand
affectionately, she answered:

"If you were to marry an English girl, my dear Jules, I should take her
to my heart as a sister; but that which you could do without incurring
any reproach, would be cowardice on my part. Nobly have you paid your
debt to your country. Your voice has nerved your soldiers through the
most terrible conflicts. Twice has your bleeding body been dragged from
our battle-fields, and three times have you been wounded in Old World
struggles. Yes, my beloved brother, you have fulfilled all your duty
to your country, and you can afford to indulge, if you wish, the whim
of taking a daughter of England to wife. But I, a weak woman, what
have I done for this enslaved and now silent land, this land which
has rung so often of old with the triumphant voices of my countrymen?
Shall a daughter of the D'Habervilles be the first to set the example
of a double yoke to the daughters of Canada? It is natural and even
desirable that the French and English in Canada, having now one country
and the same laws, should forget their ancient hostility and enter
into the most intimate relationships; but I am not the one to set the
example. They would say, as I told Archie, that the proud Briton, after
having vanquished and ruined the father, had purchased with his gold
the poor Canadian girl! Never, never shall it be said!" And the girl
wept bitterly on her brother's shoulder.

"No one will know of it," she continued, "and you yourself will never
realize the full extent of the sacrifice I am making, but fear not,
Jules, I have the strength for it. Proud of the sentiments by which
I have been inspired, I shall pass my days serenely in the bosom of
my family. Of this be sure," she continued in a voice that thrilled
with exaltation, "that she who has loved the noble Cameron of Lochiel
will never soil her bosom with another earthly love. You made a
mistake in selecting this spot, Jules, wherein to talk to me on such a
subject--this spot whence I have so often gazed proudly on the mansion
of my fathers, which is now replaced by yonder poor dwelling. Let us go
down now, and if you love me never mention this painful subject again."

"Noble soul!" cried Jules, and he held her sobbing in his arms.

Archie, having lost all hope of wedding Blanche D'Haberville, set
himself to repaying the debt of gratitude which he owed Dumais. The
refusal of Blanche changed his first intentions and left him more
latitude; for he now resolved upon a life of celibacy. Archie, whom
misfortune had brought to an early maturity, had studied men and things
with great coolness of judgment; and he had come to the wise conclusion
that marriage is rarely a success unless based on mutual love. Unlike
most young men, Lochiel was genuinely modest. Though endowed with
remarkable beauty, and with all those qualities which go to captivate
women, he nevertheless remained always simple and unassuming in his
manner. He further believed, with Molière's Toinette, that the pretense
of love often bears a very close resemblance to the reality. "When I
was poor and in exile," thought he, "I was loved for my own sake; now
that I am rich, who knows that another woman would love in me anything
but my wealth and my rank, even supposing that I should succeed in
banishing from my heart my first and only love." Archie decided then
that he would never marry.

The sun was disappearing behind the Laurentian hills, when Lochiel
arrived at the farm of Dumais. The order and prosperity which reigned
there gave him an agreeable surprise. The good wife, busy in her
dairy, where a fat servant girl was helping her, came forward to meet
him without recognizing him, and invited him to enter the house.

"This is the house of Sergeant Dumais, I believe," said Archie.

"Yes, sir, and I am his wife. My husband should be back presently from
the fields with a load of grain. I will send one of the children to
hurry him up."

"There is no hurry, madam. I have called to give you news of a certain
Mr. Archie de Lochiel, whom you once knew. Perhaps you have forgotten
him."

Madame Dumais came nearer. After studying his face intently for some
moments, she said:

"There is certainly a resemblance. Doubtless you are one of his
kinsfolk. Forget Mr. Archie! He could never think us capable of such
ingratitude. Do you not know, then, that he faced almost certain death
to save my husband's life, and that we pray to God every day that he
will bless our benefactor? Forget Mr. Archie! You grieve me, sir."

Lochiel was much moved. Lifting into his lap the little seven-year-old
Louise, Dumais's youngest child, he said to her:

"And you, my little one, do you know Mr. Archie?"

"I have never seen him," said the child, "but we pray for him every
day."

"What do you pray?" asked Archie.

"O God, bless Mr. Archie, who saved papa's life, as long as he lives;
and, when he dies, take him to your holy paradise."

Lochiel continued to chat with Madame Dumais till the latter heard
her husband's voice at the barn. She ran to tell him that there was a
stranger in the house with news from Mr. Archie. Dumais was preparing
to pitch off his load, but he threw down the fork and rushed into the
house. It was by this time too dark for him to make out the stranger's
face.

"You are indeed welcome," said he, "coming with news from one so dear
to us."

"You are--Sergeant Dumais?" inquired Archie.

"You are Mr. Archie!" cried Dumais, clasping him in his arms. "Do you
think I could forget the voice that cried to me 'Courage!' when I was
hanging on the brink of the abyss--the voice I heard so often in my
sickness?"

Toward the end of the evening Archie said:

"My dear Dumais, I am come to ask a great favor."

"A favor!" exclaimed Dumais. "Could I, a poor farmer, be so fortunate
as to do you a favor? It would be the happiest day of my life."

"Well, Dumais, it depends upon you to restore me to health. Though I
may not look it, I am sick, more sick than you could imagine."

"Indeed," said Dumais, "you are pale, and sadder than of old. Good
heaven! What is the matter?"

"Have you ever heard of a malady to which the English are very subject,
and which they call the spleen, or blue devils?"

"No," said Dumais. "I have known several of your English who, if I may
say it without offense, seemed to have the devil in them; but I had
imagined that these devils were of a darker hue."

Archie began to laugh.

"What we, my dear Dumais, call the blue devils is known among you
Canadians as '_peine d'esprit_.'"

"I understand now," said Dumais, "but what astonishes me is that a man
like you, with everything heart could wish, should be amusing himself
with blue devils."

"My dear Dumais," replied Archie, "I might answer that every one in
the world has his sorrows, however fortunate he may seem; but it is
enough now to say that the malady is upon me, and that I count upon you
to help me to a cure."

"Command me, Mr. Archie; for I am at your service day and night."

"I have tried everything," continued Archie. "I have tried study, I
have tried literary work. I am better in the day-time, but my nights
are usually sleepless, and when I do sleep, I wake up as miserable as
ever. I have concluded that nothing but hard manual labor can cure me.
After toiling all day, I imagine that I shall win such a slumber as has
long been denied me."

"Very true," said Dumais. "When a man has labored all day with his
hands, I defy him to suffer from sleeplessness at night. But how shall
I have the pleasure of helping you?"

"I expect you to cure me, my dear Dumais. But listen while I explain my
plans. I am now rich, and since Providence has given me riches which I
had never expected, I should employ a portion of them in doing good.
In this parish and the neighborhood there is an immense deal of land
unoccupied, either for sale or to be granted. My plan is to take up a
large acreage of such lands, and not only superintend the clearing, but
work at it myself. You know that I have good arms; and I will do as
much as any of the rest."

"I know it," said Dumais.

"There are many poor fellows," continued Archie, "who will be glad
enough to get work at such good wages as I shall give. You understand,
Dumais, that I shall have to have some one to help me. Moreover, what
would I do in the evening and during bad weather, without a friend to
keep me company? It is then that my melancholy would kill me."

"Let us set out to-morrow," cried Dumais, "and visit the best lots,
which, for that matter, I already know pretty well."

"Thank you," said Archie, grasping his hand; "but who will take care of
your farm in your frequent absences?"

"Don't be anxious on that score, sir. My wife could manage very well
alone, even without her brother, an old bachelor, who lives with us. My
farm has never suffered much from my absence. I have always preferred
the musket to the plow. My wife scolds me occasionally on this subject;
but we are none the worse friends for that."

"Do you know," said Archie, "that yonder by the edge of the river, near
that maple grove, is the most charming situation for a house. Yours is
old. We will build one large enough for us all. I will build it, on
condition that I have the right to occupy half of it during my life;
and on my death all will belong to you. I have resolved to remain a
bachelor."

"Men like you," said Dumais, "are altogether too scarce. It would be
wrong to let the breed die out. But I begin to understand that you are
thinking less about yourself than about me and my family, and that you
are seeking to make us rich."

"Let us speak frankly," answered Archie. "I have no true friends in the
world but the D'Haberville family and yours."

"Thank you, sir," said Dumais, "for classing us poor farmers with that
illustrious family."

"I only consider the virtues and good qualities of men," answered
Lochiel. "To be sure, I love and respect birth and breeding, which does
not prevent me from loving and respecting all men who are worthy of
such sentiments. I want to give you a fourth part of my fortune."

"Oh, sir!" cried Dumais.

"Listen a moment, my friend," continued Lochiel. "When I told you that
I was suffering from what you call '_peine d'esprit_,' I was telling
the literal truth. I have found the remedy for this trouble. It lies
in plenty of hard work and in helping my friends. I am going to give
you during my life-time a quarter of my fortune. Look out for yourself,
Dumais! I am obstinate, like all Scotchmen. If you trifle with me,
instead of a quarter, I am as likely as not to give you a half. But, to
speak seriously, my dear Dumais, you would be doing me a very ill turn,
indeed, if you should refuse me."

"If this is the case, sir," said Dumais, with tears in his eyes, "I
accept your gift."

Let us leave Lochiel busying himself in heaping benefits on Dumais, and
let us return to our other friends.

"The good gentleman," now almost a hundred years old, lived but a year
after Jules's return. He died surrounded by his friends, having been
most lovingly nursed by Blanche and Jules throughout the month of his
last illness. A little while before his death he begged Jules to open
his bed-room window, and, casting a feeble glance toward the stream
which rolled peacefully past his door, he murmured:

"There it is, my friend; there's the walnut tree in whose shadow I told
you the story of my misfortunes; it was there I counseled you from my
own experience. I die content, for I see that you have profited by my
words. When I am gone, take this little candlestick. It will remind you
of the vigils it has witnessed and of the advice which I have given you.

"As for you, my dear and faithful André," exclaimed M. d'Egmont, "it
grieves me to leave you alone in this world where you have shared my
sorrows. You have promised me to pass the rest of your days with the
D'Habervilles, who will care for your old age tenderly. You know that
after your death the poor are to be our heirs."

"My dear master," said Franc[oe]ur, sobbing, "the poor will not have
long to wait for their inheritance."

Having bid farewell to all his friends, "the good gentleman" asked the
priest to say the prayers for the dying. Just at the words, "_Partez
âme Chrétienne, au nom du Dieu tout-puissant qui vous a créé_," he
breathed his last. Sterne would have said:

"The recording angel of the court of heaven shed a tear upon the
follies of his youth, and blotted them out forever." The angels are
more compassionate than men, who neither forget nor forgive the faults
of others!

André Franc[oe]ur was struck with paralysis on the day of his master's
burial, and survived him but three weeks.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Jules had said to his sister: "If I loved an English girl and
she would have me, I would marry her as readily as one of my own
countrywomen," Blanche had been far from suspecting her brother's
real intentions. The truth was that Jules, on his voyage across the
Atlantic, had made the acquaintance of a young English girl of great
beauty. A second Saint-Preux, Jules had given her lessons in something
more than French grammar during a passage that lasted two months. He
had shown excellent taste. The young girl, in addition to her beauty,
possessed the qualities to inspire a true passion.

All obstacles being at length overcome, and the consent of both
families obtained, in the following year Jules married the fair
daughter of Albion, who soon won the hearts of all about her.

Uncle Raoul, always bitter against the English on account of the
leg which he had lost in Acadia, but too well bred to fail in the
proprieties, used at first to shut himself up whenever he wanted to
swear comfortably at the compatriots of his lovely niece; but by the
end of a month she had entirely captivated him, whereupon he suddenly
suppressed his oaths, to the great benefit of his soul and of the pious
ears which he had scandalized.

"That rascal of a Jules," said Uncle Raoul, "showed very good taste
in wedding this young English woman. His Holiness the Pope of old was
quite right when he said that these young islanders would be angels if
only they were Christians; _non angli, sed angeli fuissent, si essent
Christiani_."

It was another thing when the dear uncle, trotting a little nephew on
one knee and a little niece on the other, used to sing them the songs
of the Canadian _voyageurs_. How proud he was when their mother used to
cry:

"For pity sake, come to my help, dear uncle, for the little demons
won't go to sleep without you."

Uncle Raoul had charged himself with the military education of his
nephew. Therefore, before he was four years old, this pygmy warrior,
armed with a little wooden gun, might be seen making furious attacks
against the ample stomach of his instructor, who was obliged to defend
with his cane the part assaulted.

"The little scamp," said the chevalier recovering himself, "is going to
have the dashing courage of the D'Habervilles, with the persistence and
independence of the proud islanders from whom he is descended through
his mother."

José had at first shown himself rather cool toward his young mistress,
but he ended by becoming warmly attached to her. She had speedily
found the weak point in his armor of reserve. José, like his late
father, dearly loved his glass, which, however, produced very little
effect upon his hard head. It was as if one should pour the liquor
upon the head of the weather-cock, and expect to confuse the judgment
of that venerable but volatile bird. His young mistress was forever
offering José a drop of brandy to warm him or a glass of wine to
refresh him; till José ended by declaring that if the Englishmen were
somewhat uncivil, their countrywomen by no means resembled them in that
regard.

With their minds at ease as to the future of their children, M. and
Madame D'Haberville lived happily to extreme old age. The captain's
last words to his son were:

"Serve your new sovereign as faithfully as I have served the King of
France; and may God bless you, my dear son, for the comfort that you
have been to me!"

Uncle Raoul, dying three years before his brother, bid farewell to
life with but one regret. He would have liked to see his little nephew
fairly launched on the career of arms, the only career he considered
quite worthy of a D'Haberville. Having perceived, however, that the
child made great progress in his studies, he comforted himself with the
thought that, if not a soldier, his nephew might turn out a _savant_
like himself and keep the torch of learning lighted in the family.

José, who had a constitution of iron and sinews of steel, who had never
had an hour of sickness, regarded death as a sort of hypothetical
event. One of his friends said to him one day after his master's death:

"Do you know, José, you must be at least eighty years old, and one
would scarcely take you to be fifty."

José leaned upon his hip to show his steadiness, blew through his pipe
to expel a bit of ashes, fumbled in his pocket with his one remaining
hand till he found his tobacco and his flint and steel, and at length
replied with great deliberation.

"As you know, I am the foster-brother of our late captain; I was
brought up in his house; I have followed him in every campaign that he
has made; I have trained his two children; I have begun, do you see,
upon a new charge, the care of his grandchildren. Very well, then! As
long as a D'Haberville needs my services, I don't propose to leave."

"Do you think, then, that you will live as long as the late
Maqueue-salé [Methuselah]?" asked the neighbor.

"Longer still, if need be," replied José.

Then, having taken from his pocket everything which he needed, he
filled his pipe, put a bit of lighted tinder on the bowl, and applied
himself to smoking while he regarded his friend with the air of a man
convinced of the truth of everything which he has said.

José kept his word for a dozen years; but it was in vain that he
endeavored to strengthen himself against old age by occupying himself
with his usual tasks, despite the remonstrances of his masters, and at
last he was forced to keep the house. All the family were anxious about
him.

"What is the matter, my dear José?" said Jules.

"Bah! only laziness," replied José, "or perhaps my rheumatics."

But José had never had an attack of that malady. This was only an
excuse.

"Give the good old fellow, ma'am, his morning glass, it will revive
him," said Archie.

"I am going to bring you a little glass of excellent brandy," said
Madame Jules.

"Not just now," replied José, "I always have some in my trunk, but
this morning it doesn't appeal to me."

They began to be seriously alarmed; this was a bad symptom.

"Then I am going to make you a cup of tea," said Madame Jules, "and you
will feel better."

"My English wife," said Jules, "thinks tea a remedy for all ills."

José drank the tea, and declared that it was a fine medicine and that
he felt better, but this did not prevent the faithful servant from
taking to his bed that very evening never to leave it alive.

When the brave fellow knew that his end was drawing near, he said to
Jules, who watched with him through the night:

"I have prayed the good God to prolong my life to your childrens' next
holidays, so that I might see them once more before I die, but I shall
not have that consolation."

"You shall see them to-morrow, my dear José."

An hour later Lochiel was on the way to Quebec, and on the next evening
all those who were the dearest in the world to that faithful and
affectionate servant were gathered around his death-bed. After talking
with them for some time and bidding them a most tender farewell, he
summoned all his strength in order to sit up in bed, and when Jules
approached to support him, a burning tear fell on his hand. After this
last effort of that strong nature, he who had shared the good and the
bad fortune of the D'Habervilles fell back and ceased to breathe.

"Let us pray for the soul of one of the best men that I have known,"
said Archie, closing his eyes.

Jules and Blanche, in spite of remonstrances, would not resign to any
one the task of watching beside their old friend during the three days
that his body remained at the manor house.

"If one of our family had died," they said, "Jules would not have left
him to another's care."

One day when Archie, in the course of one of his frequent visits to the
D'Habervilles, was walking with Jules in front of the manor house, he
saw approaching on foot an old man, decently clad, carrying a sealskin
bag on his shoulders.

"Who is that man?" he asked.

"Ah," said Jules, "that is our friend, M. D----, carrying his office on
his back."

"What! His office?" said Archie.

"Certainly. He is an itinerant notary. Every three months he travels
through certain districts, drawing up new deeds and finishing up copies
of the rough drafts which he always carries with him in order that he
may not be taken unawares. He is an excellent and very amiable man,
French by birth, and very intelligent. On coming to Canada he began
with a small trade in pictures which proved unprofitable, and then,
remembering that he had formerly studied for two years with an advocate
in France, he boldly presented himself before the judges, and passed an
examination, which, if not brilliant, was at least satisfactory enough
for his new country, and then returned home in triumph with a notary's
commission in his pocket. I assure you that every one gets on well with
his deeds, which are drawn with a most scrupulous honesty that supplies
the place of the diction, purer but often tarnished by bad faith, of
more learned notaries."

"Your nomadic notary," replied Archie, smiling, "arrives opportunely. I
have work for him."

In fact, Lochiel, who was already well advanced in the task of clearing
which he was so actively engaged upon for the benefit of his friend
Dumais, made over to him in due form all his real estate, reserving
only for himself during his life-time the half of the new and spacious
house which he had built.

The visits of Archie to the manor house became more frequent as he
advanced in age, and he ended by establishing himself there altogether.
Blanche was no longer in his eyes anything more than an adopted sister;
and the sweet name of brother, which Blanche had given him, purified
the remnant of passion which yet clung to the heart of this noble woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

The author has become so attached to the chief characters in this
veracious history that it costs him a pang to banish them from the
scene. He fears also to grieve those of his readers who may share this
attachment should he kill them all off with one stroke of the pen. Time
will do the fatal work without the author's assistance.

It is eleven o'clock in the evening, toward the end of October. The
D'Haberville family are gathered in a little parlor sufficiently
illuminated, without the help of the candles, by the flame from an
armful of dry cedar chips which are blazing in the great chimney.
Lochiel, now nearly sixty years of age, is playing a game of draughts
with Blanche. Jules, seated between his wife and daughter, near the
fire, is teasing them both without altogether neglecting the players.

Young Archie D'Haberville, only son of Jules and godson of Lochiel,
is in a brown study. He is following the fantastic figures which his
imagination has created in the flames now dying slowly on the hearth.

"What are you thinking about, my grave philosopher?" said his father.

"I have been watching with intense interest," answered the young man,
"a little group of men, women, and children who have been walking,
dancing, rising, falling, and who have at length all vanished."

The cedar fire had just died out.

"You are the true son of your mother, a godson worthy of your
godfather," said Jules D'Haberville, rising to bid good-night.

Like the fantastic figures which young D'Haberville was watching in
the flames, my characters, dear reader, have been moving for some time
before your eyes, to vanish suddenly, perhaps forever, with him who set
them in motion.

Farewell, then, dear reader, before my hand, growing more cold than our
Canadian winters, refuses any longer to trace my thoughts.


THE END.



L. C. Page and Company's
Announcement List
of New Fiction



The Flight of Georgiana


+A Romance of the Days of the Young Pretender.+ By +Robert Neilson
Stephens+, author of "The Bright Face of Danger," "An Enemy to the
King," "The Mystery of Murray Davenport," etc.


Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated      $1.50


Mr. Stephens's novels all bear the hall-mark of success, for his men
are always live, his women are always worthy of their cavaliers, and
his adventures are of the sort to stir the most sluggish blood without
overstepping the bounds of good taste.

The theme of the new novel is one which will give Mr. Stephens splendid
scope for all the powers at his command. The career of "Bonnie Prince
Charlie" was full of romance, intrigue, and adventure; his life was a
series of episodes to delight the soul of a reader of fiction, and Mr.
Stephens is to be congratulated for his selection of such a promising
subject.



Mrs. Jim and Mrs. Jimmie

By +Stephen Conrad+, author of "The Second Mrs. Jim."


Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated      $1.50



This new book is in a sense a sequel to "The Second Mrs. Jim," since
it gives further glimpses of that delightful step-mother and her
philosophy. This time, however, she divides the field with "Mrs.
Jimmie," who is quite as attractive in her different way. The book has
more plot than the former volume, a little less philosophy perhaps, but
just as much wholesome fun. In many ways it is a stronger book, and
will therefore take an even firmer hold on the public.



The Story of Red Fox


Told by +Charles G. D. Roberts+, author of "The Watchers of the
Trails," "The Kindred of the Wild," "Barbara Ladd," etc.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, with fifty illustrations and cover
design by Charles Livingston Bull


$2.00



Mr. Roberts's reputation as a scientifically accurate writer, whose
literary skill transforms his animal stories into masterpieces, stands
unrivalled in his particular field.

This is his first long animal story, and his romance of Red Fox, from
babyhood to patriarchal old age, makes reading more fascinating than
any work of fiction. In his hands Red Fox becomes a personality so
strong that one entirely forgets he is an animal, and his haps and
mishaps grip you as do those of a person.

Mr. Bull, as usual, fits his pictures to the text as hand to glove, and
the ensemble becomes a book as near perfection as it is possible to
attain.



Return


+A Story of the Sea Islands in 1739.+ By +Alice MacGowan+ and
+Grace MacGowan Cooke+, authors of "The Last Word," etc. With six
illustrations by C. D. Williams. Library 12mo, cloth


$1.50


A new romance, undoubtedly the best work yet done by Miss MacGowan and
Mrs. Cooke. The heroine of "Return," Diana Chaters, is the belle of the
Colonial city of Charles Town, S. C., in the early eighteenth century,
and the hero is a young Virginian of the historical family of Marshall.
The youth, beauty, and wealth of the fashionable world, which first
form the environment of the romance, are pictured in sharp contrast to
the rude and exciting life of the frontier settlements in the Georgia
Colony, and the authors have missed no opportunities for telling
characterizations. But "Return" is, above all, a _love-story_.

We quote the opinion of Prof. Charles G. D. Roberts, who has read the
advance sheets: "It seems to me a story of quite unusual strength and
interest, full of vitality and crowded with telling characters. I
greatly like the authors' firm, bold handling of their subject."



Lady Penelope


By +Morley Roberts+, author of "Rachel Marr," "The Promotion of the
Admiral," etc. With nine illustrations by Arthur W. Brown.


Library 12mo, cloth      $1.50


Mr. Roberts certainly has versatility, since this book has not a
single point of similarity with either "Rachel Marr" or his well-known
sea stories. Its setting is the English so-called "upper crust" of
the present day. Lady Penelope is quite the most up-to-date young
lady imaginable and equally charming. As might be expected from
such a heroine, her _automobiling_ plays an important part in the
development of the plot. Lady Penelope has a large number of suitors,
and her method of choosing her husband is original and provocative of
delightful situations and mirthful incidents.



The Winged Helmet


By +Harold Steele MacKaye+, author of "The Panchronicon,"
etc. With six illustrations by H. C. Edwards.


Library 12mo, cloth      $1.50


When an author has an original theme on which to build his story,
ability in construction of unusual situations, skill in novel
characterization, and a good literary style, there can be no doubt
but that his work is worth reading. "The Winged Helmet" is of this
description.

The author gives in this novel a convincing picture of life in the
early sixteenth century, and the reader will be delighted with its
originality of treatment, freshness of plot, and unexpected climaxes.



A Captain of Men


By +E. Anson More+.


Library 12mo, cloth, illustrated      $1.50


A tale of Tyre and those merchant princes whose discovery of the value
of tin brought untold riches into the country and afforded adventures
without number to those daring seekers for the mines. Merodach, the
Assyrian, Tanith, the daughter of the richest merchant of Tyre,
Miriam, her Hebrew slave, and the dwarf Hiram, who was the greatest
artist of his day, are a quartette of characters hard to surpass in
individuality. It has been said that the powerful order of Free Masons
first had its origin in the meetings which were held at Hiram's studio
in Tyre, where gathered together the greatest spirits of that age and
place.



The Paradise of the Wild Apple


By +Richard LeGallienne+, author of "Old Love Stories
Retold," "The Quest of the Golden Girl," etc.


Library 12mo, cloth decorative      $1.50


The theme of Mr. LeGallienne's new romance deals with the instinct of
wildness in human nature,--the wander spirit and impatience of tame
domesticity, the preference for wild flowers and fruits, and the glee
in summer storms and elemental frolics. A wild apple-tree, high up in
a rocky meadow, is symbolic of all this, and Mr. LeGallienne works out
in a fashion at once imaginative and serious the romance of a young man
well placed from the view of worldly goods and estate, who suddenly
hungers for the "wild apples" of his youth. The theme has limitless
possibilities, and Mr. LeGallienne is artist enough to make adequate
use of them.



The Grapple


Library 12mo, cloth decorative      $1.50


This story of a strike in the coal mines of Pennsylvania gives both
sides of the question,--the Union and its methods, and the non-Union
workers and their loyal adherents, with a final typical clash at the
end. The question is an absorbing one, and it is handled fearlessly.

For the present at least "The Grapple" will be issued anonymously.



Brothers of Peril


By +Theodore Roberts+, author of "Hemming the Adventurer."


Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated      $1.50


"Brothers of Peril" has an unusual plot, dealing with a now extinct
race, the Beothic Indians of the sixteenth century, who were the
original inhabitants of Newfoundland when that island was merely a
fishing-station for the cod-seeking fleets of the old world.

The story tells of the adventures of a young English cavalier, who,
left behind by the fleet, finds another Englishman, with his daughter
and servants, who is hiding from the law. A French adventurer and
pirate, who is an unwelcome suitor for the daughter, plays an important
part. Encounters between the Indians and the small colony of white men
on the shore, and perilous adventures at sea with a shipload of pirates
led by the French buccaneer, make a story of breathless interest.



The Black Barque


By +T. Jenkins Hains+, author of "The Wind Jammers," "The Strife of the
Sea," etc. With five illustrations by W. Herbert Dunton.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


According to a high naval authority who has seen the advance sheets,
this is one of the best sea stories ever offered to the public. "The
Black Barque" is a story of slavery and piracy upon the high seas about
1815, and is written with a thorough knowledge of deep-water sailing.
This, Captain Hains's first long sea story, realistically pictures
a series of stirring scenes at the period of the destruction of the
exciting but nefarious traffic in slaves, in the form of a narrative
by a young American lieutenant, who, by force of circumstances, finds
himself the gunner of "The Black Barque."



Cameron of Lochiel


Translated from the French of +Philippe Aubert de Gaspé+ by +Prof.
Charles G. D. Roberts+.


Library 12mo, cloth decorative $1.50


The publishers are gratified to announce a new edition of a book by
this famous author, who may be called the Walter Scott of Canada.
This interesting and valuable romance is fortunate in having for its
translator Professor Roberts, who has caught perfectly the spirit of
the original. The French edition first appeared under the title of "Les
Anciens Canadiens" in 1862, and was later translated and appeared in an
American edition now out of print.

Patriotism, devotion to the French-Canadian nationality, a just pride
of race, and a loving memory for his people's romantic and heroic past,
are the dominant chords struck by the author throughout the story.



Castel del Monte


By +Nathan Gallizier+. Illustrated by H. C. Edwards.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


A powerful romance of the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in Italy,
and the overthrow of Manfred by Charles of Anjou, the champion of Pope
Clement IV. The Middle Ages are noted for the weird mysticism and
the deep fatalism characteristic of a people believing in signs and
portents and the firm hand of fate. Mr. Gallizier has brought out these
characteristics in a marked degree.



Slaves of Success


By +Elliot Flower+, author of "The Spoilsmen," etc. With twenty
illustrations by different artists.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


Another striking book by Mr. Flower, whose work is already so well
known, both through his long stories and his contributions to
_Collier's_, the _Saturday Evening Post_, etc. Like his first success,
"The Spoilsmen," it deals with politics, but in the broader field of
state and national instead of municipal. The book has recently appeared
in condensed form as a serial in _Collier's Magazine_, where it
attracted wide-spread attention, and the announcement of its appearance
in book form will be welcomed by Mr. Flower's rapidly increasing
audience. The successful delineation of characters like John Wade, Ben
Carroll, Azro Craig, and Allen Sidway throws new strong lights on the
inside workings of American business and political "graft."



Silver Bells


By +Col. Andrew C. P. Haggard+, author of "Hannibal's Daughter," "Louis
XIV. in Court and Camp," etc. With cover design and frontispiece by
Charles Livingston Bull.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


Under the thin veneer of conventionality and custom lurks in many
hearts the primeval instinct to throw civilization to the winds and
hark back to the ways of the savages in the wilderness, and it often
requires but a mental crisis or an emotional upheaval to break through
the coating. Geoffrey Digby was such an one, who left home and kindred
to seek happiness among the Indians of Canada, in the vast woods which
always hold an undefinable mystery and fascination. He gained renown as
a mighty hunter, and the tale of his life there, and the romance which
awaited him, will be heartily enjoyed by all who like a good love-story
with plenty of action not of the "stock" order. "Silver Bells," the
Indian girl, is a perfect "child of nature."



Selections from L. C. Page and Company's List of Fiction

WORKS OF ROBERT NEILSON STEPHENS


=Captain Ravenshaw=; +Or, The Maid of Cheapside+. (40th thousand.) A
romance of Elizabethan London. Illustrations by Howard Pyle and other
artists.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


Not since the absorbing adventures of D'Artagnan have we had anything
so good in the blended vein of romance and comedy. The beggar student,
the rich goldsmith, the roisterer and the rake, the fop and the maid,
are all here: foremost among them Captain Ravenshaw himself, soldier
of fortune and adventurer, who, after escapades of binding interest,
finally wins a way to fame and to matrimony.



=Philip Winwood.= (70th thousand.) A Sketch of the Domestic History
of an American Captain in the War of Independence, embracing events
that occurred between and during the years 1763 and 1785 in New York
and London. Written by his Enemy in War, Herbert Russell, Lieutenant
in the Loyalist Forces. Presented anew by +Robert Neilson Stephens+.
Illustrated by E. W. D. Hamilton.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


"One of the most stirring and remarkable romances that have been
published in a long while, and its episodes, incidents, and actions are
as interesting and agreeable as they are vivid and dramatic."--_Boston
Times._



=The Mystery of Murray Davenport.= (30th thousand.) By +Robert Neilson
Stephens+, author of "An Enemy to the King," "Philip Winwood," etc.


Library 12mo, cloth, with six full-page illustrations by H. C. Edwards
$1.50


"This is easily the best thing that Mr. Stephens has yet done. Those
familiar with his other novels can best judge the measure of this
praise, which is generous."--_Buffalo News._

"Mr. Stephens won a host of friends through his earlier volumes, but
we think he will do still better work in his new field if the present
volume is a criterion."--_N. Y. Com. Advertiser._



=An Enemy to the King.= (60th thousand.) From the "Recently Discovered
Memoirs of the Sieur de la Tournoire." Illustrated by H. De M. Young.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


An historical romance of the sixteenth century, describing the
adventures of a young French nobleman at the Court of Henry III., and
on the field with Henry of Navarre.


"A stirring tale."--_Detroit Free Press._

"A royally strong piece of fiction."--_Boston Ideas._

"Interesting from the first to the last page."--_Brooklyn Eagle._

"Brilliant as a play; it is equally brilliant as a romantic
novel."--_Philadelphia Press._



=The Continental Dragoon=: +A Romance of Philipse Manor House in 1778+.
(43d thousand.) Illustrated by H. C. Edwards.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


A stirring romance of the Revolution, the scene being laid in and
around the old Philipse Manor House, near Yonkers, which at the time of
the story was the central point of the so-called "neutral territory"
between the two armies.



=The Road to Paris=: +A Story of Adventure+. (25th thousand.)
Illustrated by H. C. Edwards.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


An historical romance of the 18th century, being an account of the life
of an American gentleman adventurer of Jacobite ancestry, whose family
early settled in the colony of Pennsylvania.



=A Gentleman Player:= +His Adventures on a Secret Mission for Queen
Elizabeth+. (38th thousand.) Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill.


Library 12mo, cloth $1.50


"A Gentleman Player" is a romance of the Elizabethan period. It relates
the story of a young gentleman who, in the reign of Elizabeth, falls so
low in his fortune that he joins Shakespeare's company of players, and
becomes a friend and protégé of the great poet.



WORKS OF CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS


=Barbara Ladd.= With four illustrations by Frank Verbeck.


Library 12mo, gilt top $1.50


"From the opening chapter to the final page Mr. Roberts lures us on by
his rapt devotion to the changing aspects of Nature and by his keen and
sympathetic analysis of human character."--_Boston Transcript._



=The Kindred of the Wild.= +A Book of Animal Life.+ With fifty-one
full-page plates and many decorations from drawings by Charles
Livingston Bull.


Small quarto, decorative cover $2.00


"Professor Roberts has caught wonderfully the elusive individualities
of which he writes. His animal stories are marvels of sympathetic
science and literary exactness. Bound with the superb illustrations by
Charles Livingston Bull, they make a volume which charms, entertains,
and informs."--_New York World._

" ... Is in many ways the most brilliant collection of animal stories
that has appeared ... well named and well done."--_John Burroughs._



=The Forge in the Forest.= Being the Narrative of the Acadian Ranger,
Jean de Mer, Seigneur de Briart, and how he crossed the Black Abbé,
and of his Adventures in a Strange Fellowship. Illustrated by Henry
Sandham, R.C.A.


Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top $1.50


A romance of the convulsive period of the struggle between the French
and English for the possession of North America. The story is one of
pure love and heroic adventure, and deals with that fiery fringe of
conflict that waved between Nova Scotia and New England. The Expulsion
of the Acadians is foreshadowed in these brilliant pages, and the part
of the "Black Abbé's" intrigues in precipitating that catastrophe is
shown.



=The Heart of the Ancient Wood.= With six illustrations by James L.
Weston.


Library 12mo, decorative cover $1.50


"One of the most fascinating novels of recent days."--_Boston Journal._

"A classic twentieth-century romance."--_New York Commercial
Advertiser._



=A Sister to Evangeline.= Being the Story of Yvonne de Lamourie, and
how she went into Exile with the Villagers of Grand Pré.


Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top, illustrated $1.50


This is a romance of the great expulsion of the Acadians, which
Longfellow first immortalized in "Evangeline." Swift action, fresh
atmosphere, wholesome purity, deep passion, searching analysis,
characterize this strong novel.



By the Marshes of Minas.


Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top, illustrated $1.50


This is a volume of romance, of love and adventure in that picturesque
period when Nova Scotia was passing from the French to the English
régime. Each tale is independent of the others, but the scenes are
similar, and in several of them the evil "Black Abbé," well known from
the author's previous novels, again appears with his savages at his
heels--but to be thwarted always by woman's wit or soldier's courage.



=Earth's Enigmas.= A new edition, with the addition of three new
stories, and ten illustrations by Charles Livingston Bull.


Library 12mo, cloth, uncut edges $1.50


"Throughout the volume runs that subtle questioning of the cruel,
predatory side of nature which suggests the general title of the book.
In certain cases it is the picture of savage nature ravening for
food--for death to preserve life; in others it is the secret symbolism
of woods and waters prophesying of evils and misadventures to come. All
this does not mean, however, that Mr. Roberts is either pessimistic or
morbid--it is nature in his books after all, wholesome in her cruel
moods as in her tender."--_The New York Independent._



WORKS OF LILIAN BELL


=Hope Loring.= Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill.


Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover $1.50


"Lilian Bell's new novel, 'Hope Loring,' does for the American girl in
fiction what Gibson has done for her in art.

"Tall, slender, and athletic, fragile-looking, yet with nerves and
sinews of steel under the velvet flesh, frank as a boy and tender and
beautiful as a woman, free and independent, yet not bold--such is 'Hope
Loring,' by long odds the subtlest study that has yet been made of the
American girl."--_Dorothy Dix, in the New York American._



=Abroad with the Jimmies.= With a portrait, in duogravure, of the
author.


Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover $1.50


"A deliciously fresh, graphic book. The writer is so original
and unspoiled that her point of view has value."--_Mary Hartwell
Catherwood._

"Full of ozone, of snap, of ginger, of swing and momentum."--_Chicago
Evening Post._

" ... Is one of her best and cleverest novels ... filled to the brim
with amusing incidents and experiences. This vivacious narrative needs
no commendation to the readers of Miss Bell's well-known earlier
books."--_N. Y. Press._



=The Interference of Patricia.= With a frontispiece from drawing by
Frank T. Merrill.


Small 12mo, cloth, decorative cover $1.00


"There is life and action and brilliancy and dash and cleverness and
a keen appreciation of business ways in this story."--_Grand Rapids
Herald._

"A story full of keen and flashing satire."--_Chicago Record-Herald._



=A Book of Girls.= With a frontispiece.


Small 12mo, cloth, decorative cover $1.00


"The stories are all eventful and have effective humor."--_New York
Sun._

"Lilian Bell surely understands girls, for she depicts all the
variations of girl nature so charmingly."--_Chicago Journal._

_The above two volumes boxed in special holiday dress, per set, $2.50._



=The Red Triangle.= Being some further chronicles of Martin Hewitt,
investigator. By +Arthur Morrison+, author of "The Hole in the Wall,"
"Tales of Mean Streets," etc.


Library 12mo, cloth decorative $1.50


This is a genuine, straightforward detective story of the kind that
keeps the reader on the _qui vive_. Martin Hewitt, investigator, might
well have studied his methods from Sherlock Holmes, so searching and
successful are they.


"Better than Sherlock Holmes."--_New York Tribune._

"The reader who has a grain of fancy or imagination may be defied to
lay this book down, once he has begun it, until the last word has been
reached."--_Philadelphia North American._

"If you like a good detective story you will enjoy this."--_Brooklyn
Eagle._

"We have found 'The Red Triangle' a book of absorbing
interest."--_Rochester Herald._

"Will be eagerly read by every one who likes a tale of mystery."--_The
Scotsman, England._



=Prince Hagen.= By +Upton Sinclair+, author of "King Midas," etc.


Library 12mo, cloth decorative $1.50


In this book Mr. Sinclair has written a satire of the first order--one
worthy to be compared with Swift's biting tirades against the follies
and abuses of mankind.


"A telling satire on politics and society in modern New
York."--_Philadelphia Public Ledger._

"The book has a living vitality and is a strong depiction of political
New York."--_Bookseller, Newsdealer, and Stationer._



=The Silent Maid.= By +Frederic W. Pangborn+.


Large 16mo, cloth decorative, with a frontispiece by Frank T. Merrill
$1.00


A dainty and delicate legend of the brave days of old, of sprites and
pixies, of trolls and gnomes, of ruthless barons and noble knights.
"The Silent Maid" herself, with her strange bewitchment and wondrous
song, is equalled only by Undine in charm and mystery.


"Seldom does one find a short tale so idyllic in tone and so fanciful
in motive. The book shows great delicacy of imagination."--_The
Criterion._





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