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      Happy as was this consummation, Father Poncets path to it had been a thorny one. He has left us his own rueful story, written in obedience to the command of his superior. He and his companion in misery had been hurried through the forests, from Cap Rouge on the St. Lawrence to the Indian towns on the Mohawk. He tells us how he slept among dank weeds, dropping with the cold dew; how frightful colics assailed him as he waded waist-deep through a mountain stream; how one of his feet was blistered and one of his legs benumbed; how an Indian snatched away his reliquary and lost the precious contents. I had, he says, a picture of Saint Ignatius with our Lord bearing the cross, and another of Our Lady of Pity surrounded by the five wounds of her Son. They were my joy and my consolation; but I hid them in a bush, lest the Indians should laugh at them. He kept, however, a little image of the crown of thorns, in which he found great comfort, as well as in communion with his patron saints, Saint Raphael, Saint Martha, and Saint Joseph. On one occasion he asked these celestial friends for something to soothe his thirst, and for a bowl of broth to revive his strength. Scarcely had he framed the petition when an Indian gaveIt was then that Le Jeune had embarked for the New World. He was in his convent at Dieppe when he received the order to depart; and he set forth in haste for Havre, filled, he assures us, with inexpressible joy at the prospect of a living or a dying martyrdom. At Rouen he was joined by De Nou?, with a lay brother named Gilbert; and 15 the three sailed together on the eighteenth of April, 1632. The sea treated them roughly; Le Jeune was wretchedly sea-sick; and the ship nearly foundered in a gale. At length they came in sight of "that miserable country," as the missionary calls the scene of his future labors. It was in the harbor of Tadoussac that he first encountered the objects of his apostolic cares; for, as he sat in the ship's cabin with the master, it was suddenly invaded by ten or twelve Indians, whom he compares to a party of maskers at the Carnival. Some had their cheeks painted black, their noses blue, and the rest of their faces red. Others were decorated with a broad band of black across the eyes; and others, again, with diverging rays of black, red, and blue on both cheeks. Their attire was no less uncouth. Some of them wore shaggy bear-skins, reminding the priest of the pictures of St. John the Baptist.


      FRANCE TAKES POSSESSION OF THE WEST.


      "The rain," says La Salle, "which lasted all day, and the raft we were obliged to make to cross the river, stopped us till noon of the twenty-fifth, when we continued our march through the woods, which was so interlaced with thorns and brambles that in two days and a half our clothes were all torn, and our faces so covered with blood that we hardly knew each other. On the twenty-eighth we found the woods more open, and began to fare better, meeting a good deal of game, which after this rarely failed us; so that we no longer carried provisions with us, but made a meal of roast meat wherever we happened to kill a deer, bear, or turkey. These are the choicest feasts on a journey like this; and till now we had generally gone without them, so that we had often walked all day without breakfast.But how entirely transformed was the stately Acestor! A couple of small metal jars filled with powdered sulphur had been placed under the basket, ready for the next days bleaching. In his confusion and terror Acestor had overturned them and, as he had afterwards pressed his hands on his head, he had filled his hair, eye-brows, and beard with sulphur, besides yellow spots on his nose, forehead, and cheeks. He had no sooner taken a few long breaths when he began to sneeze as though his head would burst. He seemed to be completely stupefied; his limbs tottered under him and he allowed himself to be led like a child.

      "On'y fitten' way, missie. House so full o' comin' and goin', and me havin' dis cullud man wid me."But Gourgues's vengeance was not yet appeased. Hard by the fort, the trees were pointed out to him on which Menendez had hanged his captives, and placed over them the inscription, "Not as to Frenchmen, but as to Lutherans."


      I will think of it, replied Xenocles coldly, and went away even more displeased with Acestor than with himself.

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      Druilletes was evidently struck with the thrift and vigor of these sturdy young colonies, and the strength of their population. He says that Boston, meaning Massachusetts, could alone furnish four thousand fighting men, and that the four united colonies could count forty thousand souls. [15] These numbers may be challenged; but, at all events, the contrast was striking with the attenuated and suffering bands of priests, nuns, and fur-traders on the St. Lawrence. About twenty-one thousand persons had come from Old to New England, with the resolve of making it their home; and though this immigration had virtually ceased, the natural increase had been great. The necessity, or the strong desire, of escaping from persecution had given the impulse to Puritan colonization; while, on the other hand, none but good Catholics, the favored class of France, were tolerated in Canada. These had no motive for exchanging the comforts of home and the smiles of Fortune for a starving wilderness and the scalping-knives of the Iroquois. The Huguenots would have emigrated in swarms; but they were rigidly forbidden. The zeal of propagandism and the fur-trade were, as we have seen, the vital forces of New France. Of her feeble population, the best part was bound to perpetual chastity; while the fur-traders and those in their 329 service rarely brought their wives to the wilderness. The fur-trader, moreover, is always the worst of colonists; since the increase of population, by diminishing the numbers of the fur-bearing animals, is adverse to his interest. But behind all this there was in the religious ideal of the rival colonies an influence which alone would have gone far to produce the contrast in material growth.[279] Mmoire de MM. de Saint-Laurens et Bgon (Margry, ii. 499); Joutel, Journal Historique, 28.

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      But the largest crowd outside of the theatre was not disturbed by the police. It consisted of slaves waiting for the close of the assembly to attend their masters to the market, baths, or gymnasium. These slaves were no less merry than the citizens. Their attention was specially directed to the flat roofs of the nearest houses, where a group of young slave-girls were busily sunning rugs and cushions, to get an opportunity to see the throngs of men and be seen by them. Signs, not always the most seemly, were sometimes exchanged between the square before the theatre and the roofs.


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