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      CHAPTER XI.


      A few days after Easter he left the village, escorted by a crowd of Indians, who followed him as far as Lake Michigan. Here he embarked with his two companions. Their destination was Michilimackinac, and their course lay along the eastern borders of the lake. As, in the freshness of advancing spring, Pierre and Jacques urged their canoe along that lonely and savage shore, the priest lay with dimmed sight and prostrated strength, communing with the Virgin and the angels. On the nineteenth of May, he felt that his hour was near; and, as they passed the mouth of a small river, he requested his companions to land. They complied, built a shed of bark on a rising ground near the bank, and carried thither the dying Jesuit. With perfect cheerfulness and composure, he gave directions for his burial, asked their forgiveness for the trouble he had caused them, administered to them the sacrament of penitence, and thanked God that he was permitted to die in the wilderness, a missionary of the Faith and a member of the Jesuit brotherhood. At night, seeing that they were fatigued, he told them to take rest, saying that he would call them when he felt his time approaching. Two or three hours after, they heard a feeble voice, and, hastening to his side, found him at the point of death. He expired calmly, murmuring [Pg 81] the names of Jesus and Mary, with his eyes fixed on the crucifix which one of his followers held before him. They dug a grave beside the hut, and here they buried him according to the directions which he had given them; then, re-embarking, they made their way to Michilimackinac, to bear the tidings to the priests at the mission of St. Ignace.[65]


      Perrot, M?urs des Saurages, 113. La Potherie also tells it,

      And why not? replied Phorion gravely. Of what consequence here is the mere tie of blood? Nothing is needed except a sons affection. Yes, he added warmly, among those who have known Simonides in his days of happiness, why should there not be one person that would take pleasure in coming to the sick mans help and making amends for the wrong others have done him?

      ** Rglement de 1691, extract in Ferland.


      FOREBODINGS.

      Business discussions had not yet commenced; Thuphrastos and Hipyllos were talking about armor and weapons. Xenocles had several times given signs of impatience, till at last Sthenelus laughed, saying:[75] Ante, p. 17.

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      opposite to mine cannot do better than consult the work ofTheir chamber, which they occupied for many years, being hastily built of ill-seasoned planks, let in the piercing cold of the Canadian winter through countless cracks and chinks; and the driving snow sifted through in such quantities that they were sometimes obliged, the morning after a storm, to remove it with shovels. Their food would freeze on the table before them, and their coarse brown bread had to be thawed on the hearth before they could cut it. These women had been nurtured in ease, if not in luxury. One of them, Judith de Brsoles, had in her youth, by advice of her confessor, run away from parents who were devoted to her, and immured herself in a convent, leaving them in agonies of doubt as to her fate. She now acted as superior of the little community. One of her nuns records of her that she had a fervent devotion for the Infant Jesus; and that, along with many more spiritual graces, he inspired her with so transcendent a skill in cookery, that with a small piece of lean pork and a few herbs she could make soup of a marvellous relish. * Sister Mac was charged with the care of the pigs and hens, to whose wants she attended in person, though she, too, had been delicately bred. In course of time, the sisterhood was increased by additions from without; though more than twenty girls who entered the hospital as novices recoiled from the hardship, and took husbands in the colony. Among

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      Go to the banks of the Illinois where it flows by the village of Utica, and stand on the meadow that borders it on the north. In front glides the river, a musket-shot in width; and from the farther bank rises, with gradual slope, a range of wooded hills [Pg 221] that hide from sight the vast prairie behind them. A mile or more on your left these gentle acclivities end abruptly in the lofty front of the great cliff, called by the French the Rock of St. Louis, looking boldly out from the forests that environ it; and, three miles distant on your right, you discern a gap in the steep bluffs that here bound the valley, marking the mouth of the river Vermilion, called Aramoni by the French.[184] Now stand in fancy on this same spot in the early autumn of the year 1680. You are in the midst of the great town of the Illinois,hundreds of mat-covered lodges, and thousands of congregated savages. Enter one of their dwellings: they will not think you an intruder. Some friendly squaw will lay a mat for you by the fire; you may seat yourself upon it, smoke your pipe, and study the lodge and its inmates by the light that streams through the holes at the top. Three or four fires smoke and smoulder on the ground down the middle [Pg 222] of the long arched structure; and, as to each fire there are two families, the place is somewhat crowded when all are present. But now there is breathing room, for many are in the fields. A squaw sits weaving a mat of rushes; a warrior, naked except his moccasins, and tattooed with fantastic devices, binds a stone arrow-head to its shaft, with the fresh sinews of a buffalo. Some lie asleep, some sit staring in vacancy, some are eating, some are squatted in lazy chat around a fire. The smoke brings water to your eyes; the fleas annoy you; small unkempt children, naked as young puppies, crawl about your knees and will not be repelled. You have seen enough; you rise and go out again into the sunlight. It is, if not a peaceful, at least a languid scene. A few voices break the stillness, mingled with the joyous chirping of crickets from the grass. Young men lie flat on their faces, basking in the sun; a group of their elders are smoking around a buffalo-skin on which they have just been playing a game of chance with cherry-stones. A lover and his mistress, perhaps, sit together under a shed of bark, without uttering a word. Not far off is the graveyard, where lie the dead of the village, some buried in the earth, some wrapped in skins and laid aloft on scaffolds, above the reach of wolves. In the cornfields around, you see squaws at their labor, and children driving off intruding birds; and your eye ranges over the meadows beyond, spangled with the yellow blossoms of the resin-weed and the Rudbeckia, [Pg 223] or over the bordering hills still green with the foliage of summer.[185] * La Hontan, II. 81 (ed. 1709).

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      From the vast meadows of the parish of St. Joachim, that here border the St. Lawrence, there rises like an island a low flat hill, hedged round with forests like the tonsured head of a monk. It was here that Laval planted his school. Across the meadows, a mile or more distant, towers the mountain promontory of Cape Tourmente. You may climb its woody steeps, and from the top, waist-deep in blueberry-bushes, survey, from Kamouraska to Quebec, the grand Canadian world outstretched below; or mount the neighboring heights of St. Anne, where, athwart the gaunt arms of ancient pines, the river lies shimmering in summer haze, the cottages of the habitants are strung like beads of a rosary along the meadows of Beaupr, the shores of Orleans bask in warm light, and far on the horizon the rock of Quebec rests like a faint gray cloud; or traverse the forest till the roar of the torrent guides you to the rocky solitude where it holds its savage revels. High on the cliffs above, young birch-trees stand smiling in the morning sun; while in the abyss beneath the snowy waters plunge from depth to depth, and, half way down, the slender hare-bell hangs from its mossy nook, quivering in the steady thunder of the cataract. Game on the river; trout in lakes, brooks, and pools; wild fruits and flowers on meadows and mountains,a thousand resources of honest and wholesome recreation here wait the student emancipated from books, but not parted for a moment from the pious influence that hangs about the old walls embosomed in the woods of St. Joachim. Around on plains and hills stand the dwellings of a peaceful peasantry, as different from the restless population of the neighboring states as the denizens of some Norman or Breton village. * Those who wish to see the subject from a point of view


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