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      [22] Vimont, Relation, 1642, 112 (Cramoisy).369 These missions were more laborious, though not more perilous, than those among the Hurons. The Algonquin hordes were never long at rest; and, summer and winter, the priest must follow them by lake, forest, and stream: in summer plying the paddle all day, or toiling through pathless thickets, bending under the weight of a birch canoe or a load of baggage,at night, his bed the rugged earth, or some bare rock, lashed by the restless waves of Lake Huron; while famine, the snow-storms, the cold, the treacherous ice of the Great Lakes, smoke, filth, and, not rarely, threats and persecution, were the lot of his winter wanderings. It seemed an earthly paradise, when, at long intervals, he found a respite from his toils among his brother Jesuits under the roof of Sainte Marie.

      I fear nothing for myself, he replied and I cannot aid the doomed man.

      [Pg 446]At Dieppe there is a curious old manuscript, in clear, decisive, and somewhat formal handwriting of the sixteenth century, garnished with sixty-one colored pictures, in a style of art which a child of ten might emulate. Here one may see ports, harbors, islands, and rivers, adorned with portraitures of birds, beasts, and fishes thereto pertaining. Here are Indian feasts and dances; Indians flogged by priests for not going to mass; Indians burned alive for heresy, six in one fire; Indians working the silver mines. Here, too, are descriptions of natural objects, each with its illustrative sketch, some drawn from life and some from memory,as, for example, a chameleon with two legs; others from hearsay, among which is the portrait of the griffin said to haunt certain districts of Mexico,a monster with the wings of a bat, the head of an eagle, and the tail of an alligator.

      ** Rglement de Police, 1676. Art. xxxvii.

      Xenocles gazed at Maira as though she were a stranger. He understood that it was maternal affection which made her so strong, and at the same time dimly felt that perhaps he had some reason to reproach himself.To wait until to-morrow.

      * His portrait is at the H?tel Dieu of Quebec. An engraving

      Vitrys porpoise-fishing appears to have ended in failure.Yet life was not wholly silent. Laughter and song echoed from the wine-shops, and the heavy grating of the stone-saws was heard from many a sculptors; for in those days sculptors had so much to do that their slaves were often obliged to work in the evening and part of the night. Ever and anon the hooting of owls sounded from their countless hidden holes in the cliffs and, as usual in the autumn, there was heard, like voices from another world, the wailing notes of invisible birds of passage calling to each other in the night as they flew at a dizzy height above the city.


      When all this hubbub of rejoicing had subsided, Joutel and his companions broke to Hiens their plan of attempting to reach home by way of the Mississippi. As they had expected, he opposed it vehemently, declaring that for his own part he would not run such a risk of losing his head; but at length he consented to their departure, on condition that the elder Cavelier should give him a certificate of his entire innocence of the murder of La Salle, which the priest did not hesitate to do. For the rest, Hiens treated his departing fellow-travellers with the generosity of a successful free-booter; for he gave them a good [Pg 451] share of the plunder he had won by his late crime, supplying them with hatchets, knives, beads, and other articles of trade, besides several horses. Meanwhile, adds Joutel, "we had the mortification and chagrin of seeing this scoundrel walking about the camp in a scarlet coat laced with gold which had belonged to the late Monsieur de la Salle, and which he had seized upon, as also upon all the rest of his property." A well-aimed shot would have avenged the wrong, but Joutel was clearly a mild and moderate person; and the elder Cavelier had constantly opposed all plans of violence. Therefore they stifled their emotions, and armed themselves with patience.Bourdon and Villeray took with them ten soldiers, well armed, together with a locksmith and the secretary of the council. Thus prepared for every contingency, they set out on their errand, and appeared suddenly at Dumesnil's house between seven and eight oclock in the evening. The aforesaid Sieur Dumesnil, further says Gaudais, did not refute the opinion entertained of his violence; for he made a great noise, shouted robbers! and tried to rouse the neighborhood, outrageously abusing the aforesaid Sieur de Villeray and the attorney-general, in great contempt of the authority of the council, which he even refused to recognize.


      The Indians of this village were the Natchez; and their chief was brother of the great chief, or Sun, of the whole nation. His town was several leagues distant, near the site of the city of Natchez; and thither the French repaired to visit him. They saw what they had already seen among the Taensas,a religious and political despotism, a privileged caste descended from the sun, a temple, and a sacred fire.[241] [Pg 305] La Salle planted a large cross, with the arms of France attached, in the midst of the town; while the inhabitants looked on with a satisfaction which they would hardly have displayed had they understood the meaning of the act.


      [16] I have followed Dollier de Casson. Vimont's account is different. He says that the Iroquois fell upon the Hurons at the outset, and took twenty-three prisoners, killing many others; after which they made the attack at Villemarie.Relation, 1643, 62.