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Title:      The Power And The Glory (1925)
Author:     Gilbert Parker (1862-1932)
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Date first posted:          March 2004
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      The Power And The Glory (1925)
Author:     Gilbert Parker (1862-1932)

To My Beloved Niece
Lucille Aspegren

While this book is going through the press there comes the cable
announcement from Rome of the beatification of Isaac Jogues, John
de Brbeuf, Gabriel Lalemant and five other Jesuit oruests who were
martyred in Canada in the days of Louis XIV of France. Pope Pius,
carried in the Sedia Gestatoria, "descended into St. Peter's, which
was crowded by sixty thousand people, and knelt and venerated the new
beatified priests."

How strange it is that only hundreds of years after the wonderful
sacrifice of their lives, gladly, fearlessly, the formal recognition
should come today when the religious faith of the world has been
deepened by the late war and the souls of men freshly stimulated. I
am not a Roman Catholic, but, a wide traveler, I have seen missions
throughout the world, and today, as in the days of Brbeuf and
Jogues, they have missionaries who give all for Christianity.

No greater heroism, no greater devotion to an ideal, ever inspired
any men than that which led the Jesuit missionaries and explorers to
the remote corners of North America. Though a layman, La Salle was of
this noble company, and if the intense political hatreds of the time
forced him into an opposing camp, it did nothing to dim the luster of
his great spirit of the power and the glory of his achievement, which
he shares with Jogues, Brbeuf and the others. Canada and the United
States are the heirs of their splendor.

   August 1925.
      Gilbert Parker.


        I  At the Chteau Saint Louis
       II  Have Care, La Salle!
      III  The Man That Mattered
       IV  The First Fort in the West
        V  The Fountain of Power
       VI  La Salle and Abb Renaudot
      VII  At Versailles
     VIII  Defeat
       IX  Foes Meet
        X  Lya
       XI  La Salle Receives a Loan
      XII  The Man, Nicolas Perrot
     XIII  Lya Makes a Discovery
      XIV  The Cross-Roads
       XV  The Argonauts
      XVI  Face to Face
     XVII  The Way Out
    XVIII  The Pow Pow
      XIX  At the Gateway
       XX  The Building of the "Griffon"
      XXI  The Dark Corners
     XXII  "Spy of the Hudson's Bay Company--Go!"
    XXIII  La Salle Sees Light
     XXIV  Tonty and Mutiny
      XXV  The Light from the Ruins
     XXVI  A Visitor from France
    XXVII  The End of the Day
   XXVIII  A Blow at Frontenac
     XXIX  The New Governor
      XXX  La Salle Struck Hard
     XXXI  The Other Cheek Also
    XXXII  Once More Versailles
   XXXIII  Old Friends Meet
    XXXIV  The King and Seignelay
     XXXV  Point to Point
    XXXVI  Again Ranard
   XXXVII  "Forty Stripes"
  XXXVIII  The Day of Fate
    XXXIX  God Knows
       XL  "All Shall Be Well"
      XLI  Two Women
     XLII  In the Hour of Trial
    XLIII  Au 'Voir La Salle
     XLIV  "Oh, Tender Heart!"

  "List to the Lark!
   He soars and sings,
   Wake to your work,
   The Matin rings!
   Praise God for work!

   Noon-tide is near,
   The board is spread;
   Thanks be to Him
   Who giveth bread!
   Praise God for bread!

   Sinks to his sleep
   The pilgrim Sun,
   Homeward to rest,
   The day is done!
   Praise God for rest!"

     --Albert R. Ledoux

Chapter I

At the Chteau Saint Louis

High above the St. Lawrence stood Louis, Count Frontenac alone, soon
after his arrival at Quebec as Governor. From a window of the Chteau
St. Louis he was looking across the vast stream which is more renowned
than any other in that hemisphere. As his eyes scanned the immense flood
and saw the exquisite coloring of the foliage on the farther shore in the
bright sunlight, his cheek flushed with admiration. He was now fifty-two,
but in years only. His mind was twenty-five, his body framed to endure
hardships and trials, and these were before him in immense degree.

As looking out he dreamed big dreams--he had a fiery, eloquent soul
full of imagination and temperament--and compared his humble court with
that of Louis XIV, where he had so much been, grim humor came to his
eye. He could not feel he had mistaken his course. He was poorly paid,
but the destiny of this unknown land had entered into his bones, and
it remained there till the end of his powerful career in Canada, where
he yielded up his breath to the suspirations of millions yet to come
of another race, but bound to him as the skin is to the flesh.

There were not so very many homes in tower Town far below the cliffs
where was the Chteau St. Louis, but people were moving about briskly,
and there came to Frontenac's ears the refrain of a song:

  "In Heaven there is a dance,
   All the young Virgins danced,
   Benedicamus Domino,
       Alleluia! Alleluia!

   It is for you and me,
   We dance like the young Virgins,
   Benedicamus Domino
       Alleluia! Alleluia!"

These were only two of many verses, but the eyes of the Governor
lighted, for they were the spirit of the place; at the same time
there was the ringing of bells in the towers of the cathedral, and
around the Bishop's palace came people eager for the blessing of
Laval, the Bishop of Quebec, poor, unhandsome, but a power always.

From Lower Town there came the words of another song, that of the
Fte of St. Anne:

  "Now is the Fte of St. Anne,
     Eh! courage, hurrah!
   Already at the bell one struts about,
     Eh! courage, hurrah! sa, sa!
   Eh! courage, hurrah!"

The air was so clear that the Governor could hear the words floating
up the cliffside to the Chteau from which could be seen Upper and
Lower Town; and through it all there came the steady tramp, tramp of
feet of soldiers near the citadel. Frontenac closed his eyes and he
heard the footfalls of soldiers in his beloved France and other lands
where he had led them.

His lips moved, speaking to himself, then he opened his eyes again.
He now saw a canoe approach the shore hundreds of feet below, and a
figure issue from it and begin to climb the hill leading to his
Chteau St. Louis. Somehow this figure fitted in with his late
dreaming. It belonged to one who knew the life of Canada,--bold,
strong, in tattered clothes, as though he had come a long distance,
with rugged, dauntless air, and yet with a curious union of triumph
and tragedy. Presently he lost sight of the man, and turned to his desk.

As he did so, the door opened and his orderly announced:

"Le Sieur de la Salle!"

This was not the man Frontenac had seen leaving the canoe, but a tall,
alert, handsome, rather grim-faced man whose eyes looked clearly at
those of Frontenac and at whose lips was a faint smile. He was clearly
a man of splendid physique, and of iron will. Frontenac had immediately
taken to him, for he saw in him, Rn Robert Cavelier, better known
as La Salle, the true pioneer, who would put all away from him but the
land he loved, and would live for that alone. Also he knew him opposed
by the Jesuits who once had controlled in Canada by influencing Governor
and Intendant, but had seen their power gradually decline.

Frontenac advanced to La Salle with outstretched hands, a warm smile
on his distinguished face.

"You come at the right moment, Sieur de la Salle--I think of
Canada's future! Who more welcome then than you!"

La Salle's face lighted. He had come to urge Frontenac to found a
fort at the head of Lake Ontario where the Iroquois could be held
in check, and trade with the English and Dutch from the Upper Lakes
could be stayed. La Salle had discovered the Ohio and the Illinois,
and was eager to trade and explore, the latter most to him of all.
Hunger for wealth never entered his head, and all his life proved
his freedom from lust of gain.

"Your Excellency! I am your faithful and devoted servant, and I
have come to beg--"

"La Salle a beggar, but tell that to the wild men of China--you come
not to beg, my friend!"

"I come to urge your building a fort at Lake Ontario, and if I may
command it, good things may come to our dear France and Canada."

Frontenac laughed. "Yes, yes, that was in my mind. We shall do it,
yet we are fought by powerful forces. We think alike, La Salle."
He turned to a table on which lay a map and portfolio.

"You shall go ahead to Onondaga, the headquarters of the Iroquois,
and ask their sachems to meet me in council. Then we, shall build
the fort. That is not popular, but we must stand firm or Laval--the
starved and wonderful Monsieur de Quebec of high birth and educated
by the Jesuits--will have us under his thumb." He laughed softly.
"He is a big man, but there can only be one authority in Canada--the
King, and not the Church. There is our fighting ground, La Salle,
there and nowhere else. But we shall win, for God and the King will
be with us--eh!"

La Salle bowed. "Though much be against us--the Bishop and Duchesneau
and all, we shall win by the grace of God."

"Jacques Duchesneau--an Intendant that makes trouble, and will
make more! The tool of the Jesuits, but not strong enough to conquer
me, La Salle!"

At that moment came a tapping at the door, and an orderly entered.
"M'sieu' Joliet would speak with Your Excellency."

"Joliet, the explorer--good!" said Frontenac. "Admit him."

Joliet entered, a man of vigor, firm and good to see, and about
the same age as La Salle. He was tattered and wayworn, but determined
and keen-eyed. He had studied for the Jesuit priesthood in Canada, where
he was born, and had left it to become a fur-trader.

Frontenac saw he had news of importance. He offered his hand and
said: "Well, M. Joliet, you have traveled far"--he pointed to his
ragged clothes--"that have you to tell?"

Joliet bowed. "With Pre Marquette we were sent by M. Talon, the late
Intendant, to explore, and after trials and dangers on the Illinois,
we entered the muddy surge of the Missouri. Out of this chaos we came
at last upon the great quiet waters of the Mississippi."

"The Mississippi--the Mississippi!" said Frontenac astonished. "So,
it flows south, not west."

"To the Gulf of Mexico!" said Joliet.

"It is a great deed," interposed La Salle. "By that, trade will not
be stopped for months by ice in the river there. All the year round
to France!"

"And the records of the journey?" said Frontenac.

"Naught, naught! We had escaped every peril from the Indians. I had
passed forty-two rapids, and was landing at La Chine when my canoe
was wrecked. I lost two men and my box of papers within sight of the
settlements I had left years before. Nothing remains but my life--to
use it as Your Excellency may direct, if you will!"

Frontenac's face was a study in pride, regret and sympathy. "What matter
your records, man! The Mississippi! France will thank you, as it does
now through its Governor. You shall have service with me, Joliet, and
henceforth, so far as I can, all shall go well with you."

Joliet bowed low with gratitude. Then he said: "I will serve you
proudly, monseigneur." He turned to leave, his eyes alight with pleasure.

"But a moment, Joliet. Here is to relieve your instant wants," and
Frontenac placed a few gold pieces in his hand.

Joliet shook his head. "But no, Your Excellency. You need them more,
for you must spend whether you will or no."

Frontenac smiled and took back the gold. "I have not seen such great
faith, no, not in Israel!" he said cheerfully.

When Joliet had gone La Salle said: "The finding of the Mississippi is
the summit of all. It opens up a marvelous field of trade for Louis,
the Sun King!" His head lifted, his face shone, vision filled his
eyes. "I see great things for France."

Frontenac, hand at his chin, looked meditatively at La Salle for a
moment, and then said: "You live for your country and naught else,
La Salle. You have the unselfish soul." He dropped a hand on La Salle's
shoulder. "We can make New France the wider power of Old France--you
and I!"

He smiled. The proud, irascible Frontenac felt himself in accord with
this well-born son of Rouen, who was to bring to France and the new
world high honor. La Salle, shy, and with few popular gifts, still
with the power to win all who were not selfishly against him, said

"You honor me, Excellency. We have far to go. I shall find the mouth
of the Mississippi and make from here to the Caribbean Sea subject
to the King of France."

Frontenac laughed quietly. "You see far, La Salle! You have been at
work here seven years and you have paid the utmost price for all you
have got and done. For your first trip of exploration you sold your
seigneury of La Chine and spent the money in exploration. You are a
dreamer, but that you have vast practical qualities, your deeds show.
All you have you give."

The sun shone brilliantly in the room where were few signs of
distinction save the fleur-de-lis, a portrait of Louis XIV, of
Cartier, and of Champlain, and a map roughly drawn of New France, old
oak chairs, wooden walls, dark with time, and a statue head of Brebeuf,
the famous Jesuit missionary who had given his life under dreadful
torture without a sign of pain. Frontenac's eyes were on this statue
now. The Jesuits were against him, but his soul was too big to let
his own wrongs affect his historical sense, and he had profound
admiration for their courage and devotion, though he would fight
to the last their national ambitions. The State first and last was
his theory. Frontenac had vision and the sense of progress, and he
was at one with La Salle.

La Salle said: "Excellency, I would receive direct from His Majesty my
right to work in the Far West where foes retard all I do. The Church
is against you as the head of all, and it is against me."

Frontenac interrupted: "I may be the head, but you are not the tail.
You belong to our full body of progress. No, no, La Salle, you shall
not fail. You must go to France. I will give you a letter to Colbert,
the great minister of Louis." His eyes brightened, his lips laughed
gently. "You will come back bigger than you went, and always, I hope,
a friend of Frontenac."

La Salle inclined his head gratefully. "But not till you have opened
the new Fort. We must have a large background of western trade before
I go to France. It will have weight at Court."

Frontenac nodded.

At that moment came a tapping at the door, and an orderly announced
the Intendant Duchesneau, the foe of Frontenac, and of La Salle
whom he hated for his trade ambitions and because of his friendship
with the Governor. A look of distrust crossed Frontenac's face,
but he greeted the Intendant courteously. Duchesneau's eyes lowered
sullenly when he saw La Salle, but he bowed to him with exaggerated
impressiveness, while La Salle looked him steadily in the eyes and
responded with grave precision. The Governor seeing, moved forward
and shook La Salle warmly by the hand.

"Bon voyage, cher Sieur de la Salle," he said, in courteous and suggestive

"I thank Your Excellency," responded La Salle and left the room,
knowing why the Governor had spoken as he did.

The Intendant's eyes showed he did not understand Frontenac's "Bon
voyage," but he did grasp the warm friendliness of the Governor.

"Your Excellency," he said, "that man has neither birth nor position
in Canada. Your favor to him is not popular."

Frontenac's face showed satire. "Well, his family were burghers of
Rouen. They were wealthy merchants with the elements of nobility,
and La Salle was trained for a Jesuit. That's why he came to Canada
poor--training for a Jesuit priest deprived him of his natural
inheritance by the laws of France. I find him patriotic, unselfish,
and sincere."

The Intendant scowled. "Sincere--a wild discoverer who sought to
reach the Vermilion Sea on the way to China, and that's why his
little Seigneury above Montreal was called La Chine!"

Frontenac sardonically replied; "La Chine! a good name, and his China
will be here. He need not discover China. There is enough discovery
here to last a lifetime."

Duchesneau smiled satirically. "Bon voyage to Sieur de la Salle!"

"Bon voyage, it shall be. Before him lies a wonder of achievement.
History will record him, France will be proud of him, this continent
will adore him."

"His brother, the Abb Cavelier, does not adore him, Your Excellency.
He is older and a good priest, and often disapproves of him."

"The Abb Cavelier is a priest of St. Sulpice. He received part of
La Salle's inheritance, and he is cold to La Salle as are those
who receive something for nothing. Is the Abb Cavelier a man
of unselfishness and patriotism?"

"He is a devoted priest, and Your Excellency should like him for
he is not a Jesuit."

Frontenac's eyes rested on the statue of Brebeuf. He pointed: "Tiens,
there is proof that I love the Jesuit for his piety, fearlessness,
and faith. In all spiritual matters I am his perfect friend. Now
let us to business, Intendant. What surprises have you! What
grievances and public virtues!" He spoke satirically.

"No surprises. The English and Dutch at Albany, as you know, mean
to get the trade of our Indians and to set the Iroquois against us."

"Bon voyage, Sieur de la Salle!" said the Governor with deep meaning.

Chapter II

Have Care, La Salle!

When La Salle left the Chteau St. Louis, he walked towards the
house of Rojet Ranard, Farmer of the King's Revenue, where he was
an honored guest. The wife of Ranard was beautiful and her Christian
name was Barbe. She, like Ranard, was a Jesuit and full of hatred for
the man who had growing power in the country and had vast influence
already with the Indians. La Salle had hesitated to accept the
invitation, but did so because it might lessen Jesuit opposition;
and so far nothing could have been more charming than Monsieur and
Madame Ranard's treatment of him. They had a comfortable house just
inside St. John's Gate, with a splendid view over the St. Lawrence,
and he had been used with handsome familiarity.

Barbe Ranard was fair-haired, buoyant, graceful, slim, and of a vivacious
temperament. She was quick of tongue, clever at repartee, and had the
manner of the accomplished woman of the type of De Montespan and that
class who prey upon the susceptibilities of men and their love of the
beautiful and amusing. Barbe Ranard, at twenty-four, had beauty and
distinction and was now the mistress of Duchesneau, who guessed why
La Salle had been asked to stay with the Farmer of the King's Revenue.
The Intendant would do much to destroy La Salle, and this way seemed
possible and sure. Ranard, who did not know Duchesneau's relations
with his wife--or pretended not to do so--was bent to secure
advancement, and by playing up to Duchesneau and the Jesuits, saw
his chance. He was a man of slower wit than his wife, but of straggling
force and with a soul for mean things as had she, or they could not
have plotted as they did.

When La Salle reached Montneuve, he entered full of joy at his interview
with Frontenac and was going to his room, when he was met in the hall
by his hostess.

She held up a hand in greeting: "Ah, dear monsieur, it is good we
meet, for I wish a little talk, if you are not too busy. In my
boudoir if you will."

Her eyes were laughing and innocent and she was becomingly dressed
in a severely plain gown of pale gray, cut very low in front and
showing soft shy breasts; and there was naught around her gracious
neck save the glow of perfect health. Her golden hair hung in profusion,
and her lips were like ripe cherries, soft, amorous, and tempting. As
she ran up the stairs softly, La Salle could see her dress was pulled
up so that her fine ankles showed, and her stockings were of tender
pink. She was, as women go, a flower of the garden of Hesperides,
and made a picture that to a lesser man than La Salle would have
been all captivating. He had eyes for women, for grace and beauty,
but there was that far deeper in his life--love of his work--and all
else must yield to that.

Inside her boudoir, an exquisite room, brightly colored with silk
and linen of grace and sweet design, she motioned him to a sofa,
while she took a huge armchair beside the sofa. As La Salle sat down
his mind was busy. Why had she brought him? It was as sweet a room
as he had ever entered in Canada, and appealed to the sensuous side
of him. For a few moments she gazed at him with a curious warm light
in her eyes and sweet seduction in her carriage. She was essentially
one of the women who helped at last to bring the French Revolution,
and who have been at once the flaming morn and the somber sunset
of more than one great land. She had brains to go far and she would
go far; and this enterprise meant that favor with people in high
places which could advance her own and her husband's interests--with
the all-powerful Jesuit body, and with court life through
Jacques Duchesneau, who stood well in France. She would have played
for Frontenac, but he was too old, too uncertain, and he was opposed
by the Jesuits, whose career he was retarding in Canada. Besides,
Frontenac was not subject to women's wiles. He had, like La Salle,
an ambition that was the State and its power. He was not selfish,
but he was always, and to the end, the devout lover of France and
her advancement. Barbe Ranard read him as such women do, with vital
inseeing. She had the gift of the perfect Delilah.

Never had she looked better than she did this afternoon. She had no
soul, but she had a marvelously sensitive temperament, and she was
full of emotion, but was incapable of fidelity or true feeling. She
was not immoral, she was non-moral. She could not see the vileness in
her own mind and body. Truth and honor had never been a part of her,
and never could be. From her birth she had gone the crooked path.
Well born, she had married Rojet Ranard because he was in the
Government, and her fixed idea was to get foot on the ladder and
let her brains, body, and good fortune do the rest.

After a few moments in which she tried to impress the senses of La
Salle, she said: "You have the mind that wins, Sieur de la Salle.
You were trained for a Jesuit priest, but the wider things caught
you--not the bigger things, but the wider things, and you would
now do immense things for the land you love--we both love. I hate
to say it, but I have studied you while you have stayed with us,
and all I see makes me know the really patriotic thing is in you."

She blushed slightly and lowered her eyes with the skill of her
wonderful duplicity, and she added, almost brokenly: "I should like
to help you--oh, I should! You will do so much for France in Canada!

La Salle was impressed. It was an age when women played upon the
senses of the biggest men. In sudden unsuspicious sympathy he half
stretched a hand towards her, and she slid forward on her knees,
buried her face in her hands and wept some fickle and easily
commanded tears.

He almost touched her, but suddenly he felt it was not right to
do so as a guest in the house, or at all, and in a voice of some
emotion he said: "You are all too kind, madame. I wish I could
accept your help, but I may not--I must not do so."

"Why must you not?" she sobbed, and bent over so that he could look
down between her most attractive breasts and could smell the exquisite
perfume she used. It was this act of hers that brought him to his
feet in his fight for safety and escape.

"No, no, no I cannot accept your aid. You are not of the women
one can meet in affairs of business and let it stay at that. No,
no, madame, it must not be. It cannot be."

She sprang to her feet and threw her hands on his shoulders. "Oh,
La Salle, most dear and wonderful La Salle, let me give you my
help in all you do. I can influence so many--I can be what no
wife could ever be to you. Can you not see, La Salle?"

He withdrew her hands from his shoulders, looked her in the
eyes, and felt her utter shamelessness, her disregard of all
the conventions of life, the utter rule of sex in her, and he
said, firmly, "It shall not be," and hastened to the door and
opened it.

Outside stood Rojet Ranard, who had helped to plan this hideous thing.
Glancing back, La Salle saw Barbe with bitter passion in her eyes
and lip curled in revolt. With a look of contempt at Ranard he left
the house in anger.

"God save us!" he said, in stern appeal. "Is this what I shall have
to face? Henceforth those two are against me--and the Jesuits and the
Court folk behind them--Duchesneau and his kind here and in Paris."
He went to old quarters he had known before and sent to Montneuve
for his clothes.

Behind in Montneuve the humiliated wife said: "Rojet, that man has
the nerve of the devil and the blood of an icicle. He has escaped us,
and he will go on--curse him, like an eagle flamboyant--unless
we do for him in another way. Yet he is handsome, too, in his grim
way and I could almost have wished we were not playing a part. He
has big things in him or he could not have withstood me. I am not
easy to withstand, am I, dear Rojet?"

"No one could withstand you, Barbe, who was not sunk in his own
importance. That man is a danger here, and we have failed. I almost
wish I had challenged him."

A queer smile passed over the face of Barbe as she turned her head
away. "He is a trained swordsman, Rojet, and you would have had a
hard time. You did not mean to kill him, but to drive him from
Quebec. It could have been done so easily if he had taken me in
his arms--so easily!"

"Easy as eating. Not Frontenac--he is La Salle's friend--but the
Intendant and the Jesuits would have made life unbearable for him
here. He would have been ruined--and forever!"

"He will be ruined _forever_ yet," she said. "Do you think a woman
ever forgives such a slight? No, no, no! See you, Rojet, I will
pursue him wherever he goes, till I defeat him in the end. He shall
pay to the last centime for what he did today. Does he think he
is bigger than Barbe Ranard? He shall see. I have brains. I have
what he has not, duplicity. See you"--the beautiful savage teeth
showed in menace, the blue eyes danced fire. "I will fight him every
step of his way. He defeated me to-day. I will spend life and
time in putting a blight on all he does, I will prevent his fame
coming to fruition. When he goes to France--he is going, he told
me so yesterday--I will be there."

"Why should he go to France?" he asked: "What can he do there?"

Her brilliant eyes answered. There flashed into them the look that
has entered the brains of such women as Medea, or Lady Macbeth, and
she said with ruthless lips: "Why indeed? It will be not so difficult
to make France impossible. I see my way--I see it."

Ranard laughed. "You have resources, Barbe. If you say you will do a
thing, it is done one way or another in the end. See, there has
lately come into my employ a clever man from the North, Tuke Darois,
who hates La Salle, and Du Lhut, the great coureur de bois, and we
can use him at need. He has an eye for dark things--I see that."

"Tuke Darois! I like the 'Tuke,' it has dark possibilities. Who is
the man? What has been his work?"

"He has been a trapper in the far North. His wife was Scotch and he
has a daughter, a very pretty girl of eighteen or so. She is not
like him--looks straight and honest; but he! well, behind his calm
face is the soul of the devil. He is a most capable accountant, so
I employ him. I have clearly instructed him to watch Du Lhut, and
I know he hates La Salle--why I know not."

Barbe smiled. "Good, my Rojet. All comes our way. That man should
help in good time--and his daughter, too!"

He shook his head. "No, she is of a different breed. I don't think
we can use her."

"Well, let me try." Her face took on a look of rancor.

She turned to a table and picked up a letter. "I see one way here--in
this letter. Read it. There's no reason why you should not. It is
one of many that come into my life. Read it, Rojet."

He took the letter and read it, and a sour smile passed over his face.

"Nicolas Perrot, the explorer, too, and in love with you. What will
come of this? What a fool to write like that!"

"It is not a fool of a letter, though. It tells the honest mind
of the man. Suppose I"--she drew his head to her mouth and whispered.
"Suppose--_that!_ And when it is done, he cannot compel me--do you
see, because by accident you had discovered the part he played--do
you not see? La Salle goes to the West before he goes to France.
If not there, then here."

Ranard was a bad man and lived in an age of good and evil, with, on the
whole, the dominance of good, yet he almost shrank from the vile plot
in her mind. He looked at her--so fair, and yet so black with dishonor
behind her radiant face and exquisite hair and luring eyes! He felt
stunned, for wickedness should not go with so much charm and soft

"By the eternal, you have the thing that knows not eclipse! You have
no soul--"

"Don't say that. I am confessed and pardoned and go on again as
before. No soul--eh, la la--"

"Do you confess all your sins?"

"Not all at once. Life is not so short as that. But a sin committed
for the Church is forgiven. So I shall be forgiven--always."

He shook his head in pretended horror. "When shall you see Nicolas
Perrot? He is in Quebec, I know."

"Yes, I saw him on Wednesday, and I can have him here at any time,
and with your consent I will."

"Send for him now."

"The sooner the better. La Salle has raised what he cannot lay. He
shall pay to the utmost."

Her note was of the briefest, "Dear Monsieur, come at once, please."

When she had dusted the ink and folded and sealed the letter, she
said, "How long do you think La Salle can contend against me?"

Her eyes were still bitter, her cheek was flushed, her lithe figure
was tense, and yet, resist it as she would, a longing for La Salle
was on her. All the more she would destroy him--the paramount fool!

"As long as he lives, no longer," said Ranard, with enmity. "His sun
does not rise far," she replied.

She rang a bell and a man-servant entered. "Bear this to M. Nicolas
Perrot at Terre Bonne House, and answer no questions. Do you understand?"

The man bowed his head. "Perfectly, madame."

There was a queer look in Auguste's eyes. He had borne messages before
to M. Duchesneau, and he was well paid for his services. If he betrayed
his mistress, his life would end, and he knew it. He was a man of sound

"Come soon, Nicolas," said Barbe Ranard, aloud, with a satirical smile.

"He will not tarry. I go to my office," said Ranard.

Chapter III

The Man That Mattered

Barbe Ranard was not long alone. She heard a voice in the hall, and in
a moment the Intendant was in the room. He bowed over her hand and kissed
it with passion, but malevolence was in his eyes. She saw both.

"What is it, dear monsieur?" she asked. "You have news."

"Always coming from the Chteau St. Louis, I have news."

"What is it now, Jacques?"

"Only that Frontenac and La Salle are closer than ever, and La Salle
is going West--'Bon Voyage, Sieur de la Salle,' said Frontenac,
and I said it later."

"Going West--yes, but he goes to France also."

"How do you know that?"

"He has been staying here, and he told me yesterday. What he is going
for I know not and I care not. He left this house in anger a half-hour

"In anger--why?"

"He is quick tempered, and--"

"Yes, yes, I know. Well?"

"I said something in jest, and he left in a fury. He is never
returning here," she added viciously.

"Your humor is not bitter to your guests, I'm sure of that."

"You never found it so. I'll tell you what I tried to do. He was too
hard to move, so he left us."

She then told Duchesneau much, and at first he quivered with anger; then
he burst into laughter at the failure of it.

"You were balked, then, for the first time in your life. So that was your
jest--a scurvy one--and he shall pay for it! You were working for a
good end--he is a danger to this province of great Louis. He is a foe
of the Jesuits who are my uncompromising support. So, I am grateful to
you, Barbe."

"Why did I do it? For you and our friends, and, as it is, I will
publish in a quiet way at the Sainte Famille on Thursday, that he
courted me and that I rejected him with scorn."

He caught her in his arms. "Your love is as deep as mine--and
deeper--eh, my Barbe!"

He drank the sweetness of her lips, and for a moment she lay
quiescent in his arms. Suddenly, however, she disengaged herself.

"This is madness in the daytime in my salon. It is madness. Suppose
a servant entered--suppose my husband came!"

"Oh, it is worth running risks for a million times, and it is good
he does not know. Are you sure he does not know?"

She showed her pretty teeth. "I am sure of naught in this sad world
except you. I cannot think he knows, or he would not be so loving
to me. We worked together as to La Salle, but why should he as to
you? That was pretense--this is reality--don't you understand?"

He inclined his head. "Of course. Now see: we must deal roughly with
La Salle. He is not under my control--only that of Frontenac, who
is his friend. But I can cripple him indirectly--as to trade and
supplies, as to finance. I can set people in Quebec against him.
They are increasing steadily. We must retard him in every way, and
the end is ours."

"The end shall be ours beyond doubt," was Barbe's reply. "Beloved,
it is not wise to stay longer. I expect one whom I shall use against
La Salle. He is a rugged son of New France in his own line of life."

"I can't think who it is," said Duchesneau.

"Do not try to guess, but go now, best beloved, go."

The Intendant would have embraced her again, but she refused, and he
kissed her hand avidly.

"When will you come to me?" he entreated.

She declined to say. "There is always faithful Auguste," she said.

[image: Robert Cavelier]

Chapter IV

The First Fort in the West

Frontenac made the journey to Lake Ontario to build a fort and cement
relations with the Five Nations Indians who almost controlled the new
West and were being influenced by the English and the Dutch of New York.
They had no great power on the water, but were very strong on land.
Combination was their secret.

The center of their power was the Long House, where in goodly numbers
they lived, sometimes five hundred at a time. It was like living in at
college. It bred a tribal spirit, a sense of communion, of purpose,
of identity, and even those they conquered, whom they did not kill
and eat, felt it. The palace of Versailles was the same. It combined,
it produced a settled system. It brought the nobles under the direct
influence of the King. It simplified government. It did in a week in
administration of government what would have taken a month in Paris.

Frontenac had sent La Salle to Onondaga, the headquarters of the Iroquois,
to invite their chiefs to council at Cataraqui, now Kingston. Frontenac
ordered the people of Quebec and Montreal to furnish armed men and canoes,
and asked regular and militia officers in the province to accompany him.
At the beginning of June he left with his guard, his staff, volunteers,
and part of the guard of the Chteau St. Louis.

At Montreal he was received by the governor, Perrot, a nominee of the
Jesuits, his soldiers and the people, and, after salutation of
firearms and speeches, went to the fort, where means was taken to
prevent his proceeding, even by the lie that a Dutch fleet had taken
Boston and were about to attack Quebec. But Frontenac would not be
beguiled. So, with four hundred men, one hundred and twenty canoes,
and two large flatboats painted in strange devices to dazzle the
Iroquois, he moved westward. On their way disaster almost overcame
them, owing to bad weather and swollen waters. They made their way
slowly but bravely, sometimes in flood to the knees or their armpits,
feet cut by stones, and nearly swept away, but they toiled on, the
Indians working under Frontenac as they worked for no one else save
such as La Salle. Frontenac's authoritative spirit was to their liking
and they obeyed him. Frontenac, without his cloak and drenched,
directed them, and once he lay awake, anxious lest the biscuits should
be wet--this would have meant the failure of the mission. But Frontenac,
the once admired darling of the court of the Sun King, was a born
pioneer, and asked men to do naught which he would not do himself.
That was the character of the man in an era of feudalism, with the
gifts and habits of democracy; he would have been successful in
any age or time.

On the way, and beyond the Thousand Islands, a canoe brought La
Salle to Frontenac.

"How now, La Salle?" he said, warmly, as La Salle stepped into
his canoe.

"All well, Your Excellency! They are in big numbers at Cataraqui,
but I beg you go as to a great battle with all force arrayed. Nothing
impresses Indians like show of power in the Governor."

Frontenac smiled. "You have the gift for the Indian mind, La Salle,"
and nodded.

It was an imposing sight--four divisions in the first line, after
which two flatboats filled with men, then himself and La Salle, the
guards, the staff, and the gentlemen volunteers, followed by canoes
and two remaining divisions. Slowly they went to Cataraqui and met on
the shore vast numbers of Iroquois, who had been amazed by the show
of strength, the display of the old soldiers of the Carignan-Sallires
regiment, and the uniforms of the Governor's guard.

The next morning the drums beat and all were drawn up under arms. A
double line of men extended from Frontenac's tent to the Indian camp,
and along this line sixty savage deputies came to the council. The
deputies squatted on the sails of the flatboats in a ring and smoked
their pipes. Once La Salle stooped and whispered to a chief called
Garakonti, a friend of the French, and grunts of applause came
from the Indians. At length Frontenac, La Salle, and his officers
were all seated. They surveyed the assembled Indians, taking measure
of their mettle, and gifts to the Iroquois were made ready. Behind
the Indian warriors stood the squaws who had influence with their men.

At length Garakonti rose and in the name of the Five Nations paid
deference and respect to Frontenac in a friendly speech to which his
chiefs said loudly, "Hoh! Hoh!"

Then Frontenac in his splendid uniform spoke:

"Children! Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, I am glad
to see you here, where I have had a fire lighted for you to smoke by
and for me to talk to you. You have done well, my children, to obey
the command of your father. Take courage--you will hear his voice,
which is full of power and tenderness. For do not think I have come
to make war. My mind is full of peace and she walks by my side.
Courage then, children, and take rest."

During the long speech the gifts were distributed--cloth, tinseled
dresses, tobacco, beads. Never before had a Governor addressed
them as "Children," but always as "Brothers," and yet this did
not offend them, for Frontenac was dominant and decisive, and
behind him was force. They would not have borne it from another.
They accepted with applause, for they knew a man when they saw him.
Frontenac gave guns to the men, and prunes and raisins and dried
fruits to the wives and children.

This was the preliminary meeting. Afterwards the fort was begun, and
the Indians were astounded at the order and alacrity of the work.
Meanwhile Frontenac asked the chiefs constantly to his table, fondled
the Iroquois children, gave them sweetmeats, and feasted the squaws,
and they all danced before him. When the fort was nearly finished,
Frontenac held a grand council with state and ceremony. His
perceptions were remarkable. He felt the Indians as an artist
feels the true atmosphere of a man, or a place.

He spoke, begging them to become Christians, and his conscience and
his policy were at one in this. His tone was soft and gentle. Then
he changed it, and he said, pointing to his troops:

"If your father can come so far to make you a visit of friendship,
what would he do if you should rouse his anger, so that he must
punish his disobedient children? He is the arbiter of peace and war.
Beware how you offend him. You must not molest Indian friends of the
French--other tribes and peoples." He added, sharply, that he would
chastise them for any breaches of the peace.

After these threats he spoke with paternal kindness, saying he meant
to build at Cataraqui a storehouse where they could buy all they
needed. They must not listen to bad men, but only to such as Sieur
de la Salle, whom he asked now to address them.

La Salle had in mind the dreadful Iroquois in the past, and recalled
when Father Poncet, after sleeping in dank weeds, had colic as he
waded waist deep through a noxious stream--how his feet were
blistered, his legs benumbed. The priest begged for a bowl of broth
and he was given wild plums, and only at night as he lay fainting did
he receive the broth. At last an old Indian took his hands, examined
them, and told a child of five years old to cut off the left forefinger
with a knife, which he did while Poncet sang the "Vexilla Regis." This
was one of the innumerable tortures the fathers had borne at the hands
of the Iroquois.

La Salle had great gifts of simple utterance, no rhetoric, no eloquence;
his was straight and forceful speech, and he knew how to speak to Indians.
His words were a true supplement to those of the Governor.

"Brothers, friends," he said, while Frontenac listened, delighted,
"we have far to go together. The Governor gives me control of this
fort. Food and supplies will come, and you shall have what you need
in return for your peltries. In me you have a friend. I would not
deceive you. My life among you will prove my fidelity. Brothers of
the Five Nations, the French are your friends--King Louis, greatest
of monarchs, is your father. He is of vast power and in Count Frontenac
he sends one of his mightiest here. This Governor is kind, but he is
firm and strong, and under him you may rest in peace and prosper.
Here at Fort Frontenac is your cache for all good things. Brothers,
I give you greeting!"

All this was well received--Indians shouting "Hoh! Hoh!" and the
calumet chant was sung as the Indians rose to their feet and tramped
round. The calumet is like a flag of truce and is the sign of good
will and peace. This was the chant:

  "Heia, Heia, Yonkennonou.
   Heia, Heia, Yonkennonou."

The mission had been successful, and Frontenac left Cataraqui
to the loud applause of the Iroquois. It was clear that the fort,
with the aid of a vessel, could command Lake Ontario, help to keep
peace with the Iroquois, and stop the trade with the English. With
a fort at Niagara and another vessel on Lake Erie the French could
command all the upper lakes. All this was part of La Salle's scheme.

Chapter V

The Fountain of Power

With letters of commendation from Frontenac to Colbert, the great
minister of King Louis, La Salle, went to France, but Barbe Ranard
preceded him, knowing his purposes.

She had naught save malice for La Salle. The Intendant had written to
Colbert that La Salle was a madman and should receive no favors from
the King. To the enmity of the priests was added the malice of a woman
who had failed of her purpose, and who, in truth, cared for La Salle
in her own vicious, curious way.

Her bitterness came from defeat. Her husband had made much money in
Canada, and she felt that at court she could defeat La Salle at every
corner. She knew well the Abb Potin, who was a prominent figure at
court, the confessor of De Montespan, and the faithful friend of the
Jesuits of Canada, and to him she went on arrival.

The apartments of the Abb were near those of the Prince de Conti,
Louis Armand de Bourbon, a cousin of King Louis, and a younger brother
of the great Cond who had influence at court and was a favorite
of King Louis.

The Abb lived outwardly with austerity, but he had luxurious tastes
and, though a Jesuit, had license from the Pope to spend money freely
for the good of the Church. He had a mind not wholly Eden-like and a
great vanity, for he was handsome and his cassock was ever scrupulously
clean and fitted well his lean and graceful figure.

"So, my charming madame, you have come back to the gilded cage," he
said to Barbe when she kissed his hand.

Her bright eyes shone as she said, "To the cage, yes, from the aviary,
and it has nests of many strange birds."

The Abb caught her meaning and he motioned her to a seat. Then he
looked at her meditatively for a moment and said, "So I have heard,
and another of the birds is to visit the court soon." He saw her
surprise and added, "You see, I have the clairvoyant sense, _ptite

"Is it clairvoyance or an excellent correspondent in Quebec?"

He smiled with a subtle look in his eyes. "I speak of a foe of my
Order who is coming to France. His name is Robert Cavelier, Sieur
de la Salle, and he has a brother an abb, an old acquaintance of
mine. So I may be clairvoyant--eh!"

"Because I wished to pay humble respects to you, and to tell you of
La Salle I come to you soon after I landed, Abb. La Salle has come
for favors from the court, and your Order in Canada and the Intendant
wish to stay his hand."

"And as a true daughter of the Order, you would serve us with your
beauty and your intellect--eh, madame?"

She read the double meaning in his words, yet only a flash of resentment
came to her eyes. Such men as he, long trained in court life, could not
easily be deceived, and she replied, "All I am is at the service of our
Order, so I come direct to you."

Suddenly his manner changed. The careful, benignant look fled from his
face and a steely expression came. He leaned a forearm on his knee and
looked her steadily in the eyes:

"You wish me to help you, so let us bargain with clear minds. It is
not our Order alone, though you are faithful to it, but you would not
come to France at great expense for that alone. You hate La Salle,
is it not so?"

She hesitated, then conquered by his infrangible mind and the danger
of deception, she said:

"It is as you say, and for good reason."

He smiled subtly. "I know. You would have done a good thing for our
Order, and, resisting you, you loathed him, and now you would bring
him to naught at the court of the King. Is it that?"

She had regained her composure and she looked at him with the eyes
of a child, and her sensitive smiling mouth told what she felt more
surely than her eyes.

"Yes, be sure it is that--but first it was for our Order."

"And for the Intendant, the foe of La Salle and Frontenac?"

Now she flushed slightly and inclined her head.

"Yet you would have played with La Salle in spite of Duchesneau?"

"A woman is never sure of herself till she is tried to the full,
M. l'Abb."

"Quite so, I understand. You have the big thing in you, and we shall
find you successful at Court, Madame Barbe."

He lingered over the last word, for it was a challenge of her purity of
life. She understood, and she could not resist, for this man could help
her in what she would do, and he was handsome and graceful, and if he
had not been a priest--!

"With your help, dear Abb, I hope to defeat La Salle. He is a menace
to the good of that land where our Order ruled so well and so long.
Under Laval's influence Canada did well; under Frontenac not so well.
He grows rich with trade, and the land grows poorer. As Frontenac
has increased, Canada has decreased."

"I understand. We have now clear way to walk and we must find what
to do. The great Colbert--you would meet him? I can get to him through
his son, Marquis de Seignelay. I expect him here to day. His
message said he wished to see me--I know not on what business."

At that moment came a soft knocking on the door, and a Jesuit
brother entered. He held a card in his hand. The Abb took it.

"Admit him:"

She was about to leave, but the Abb, tapping her cheek with a finger,

"No, meet him before you go. It is well worth while."

Seignelay entered. He was to become Naval Minister soon. The Abb
saluted him with deference, and he turned to Barbe. The Abb said:
"Madam Ranard has just come from Quebec, Monsieur. May I present

Seignelay gave Barbe his hand, which she kissed, then a curious look
flashed across his face.

"I have heard of the fame and position of madame. Has she a special
mission here?"

"If Monsieur would allow me to call on him one day I could make
all clear. It could not be done in a few words. But may I, Monsieur?"
Barbe added, with an ingratiating smile, for the minister looked
like one who could be impressed by a clever, pretty woman. Yet a
queer look came into the Abb's eyes. _He_ knew that Seignelay was
not easily moved by women--had he not seen it with the friends of the
King's favorites, Vallire, Fontanges, De Montespan and De Maintenon.

Seignelay said to her: "I shall welcome madame to-morrow at twelve
noon at Versailles--if that may please?"

Barbe curtsied. "I will joy to wait upon Monseigneur," and she met the
enigmatical look in Seignelay's eyes with no real understanding. With
a deep bow to them, both she left the room.

"You have known madame long, Abb? Handsome but not of noble family, eh?"

"I have known her ten years, Monsieur. She is not of noble family,
but she married one in the government--Rojet Ranard, Farmer of His
Majesty's revenue."

"Ah yes. I have heard--a man who blinks an eye, I fear. She plays a
part with--one who matters in Canada. Now, Abb"--with a friendly
wave of the hand--"you can do the King's Government service by
seeing the learned Abb Renaudot. I would have him get from Madame
Frontenac the latest inside news of her husband. He and she have
not lived together many years, but she is a sagely clever woman,
and she has, though poor, wide influence, yet she never appears
at Court. She is the daughter of La Grange Trianon and once close
friend of Montpensier, Louis' cousin, but they fell apart. She is
still beautiful. She is devoted to his interests, and my father
would know what Frontenac tells her about the Intendant and
Indian affairs. They get official reports, but more is needed--if
administration is to be handled well. Only one like Abb Renaudot
could gain her confidence, and he would do that for the King,
of course."

"Monsieur, I will do what I can. I know the abb fairly well. We are
all patriots, are we not?"

Seignelay took a pinch of snuff and offered his box to the Abb. He
ignored the remark about patriotism.

"There are bad days in Canada, Abb."

"Yet never better in France, Monsieur."

"As you say, never better in France."

"France has gone farther than in all her history--thanks to your
father, Monseigneur Colbert, Monsieur."

"Thanks to the King," said Seignelay, with a reproving smile.

Chapter VI

La Salle and Abb Renaudot

La Salle lodged in the Rue de la Truanderie at Paris, and he
presently came to know the Abb Renaudot, whom he met at the
house of Comtesse Frontenac and with whom he immediately made
friendship. The society at the home of Madame Frontenac and
Mademoiselle Outrelaise did not appeal to him, for he was shy
by nature, but he had from madame assurances that she would do
all in her power for him, though her influence with the court
was not direct.

The Abb Renaudot had seen the Abb Potin, and had accepted the
commission to get from Madame Frontenac information, but to get
it openly, and he presently told the countess all.

She smiled, for she had been a close friend of Madame de Montpensier--the
granddaughter of Henry IV and cousin of King Louis XIV--and
she knew Court life well--but she worked for Frontenac from outside,
and she gave the Abb all she could with intelligence and

To La Salle she said, before he left her house:

"Here you shall always be welcome, Sieur de la Salle, and we will
help you when we can." She had still great beauty and charm and wit,
and he trusted her and liked her much.

The Abb Renaudot was at once taken to his heart, for he was learned,
reliable, a patriot, and superbly honest, and La Salle saw that at
once. La Salle had few gifts for ingratiating himself at Court, and
could not push his cause like most among his contemporaries.

So it was the Abb Renaudot came to see him with a rarely aroused
interest. He had many talks with La Salle in the rooms in the
Rue de la Truanderie, and he learned of La Salle's troubles,
ambitions, and enterprises.

La Salle made it clear to the Abb Renaudot that Frontenac had resource
and determination and was to play a big part in the history of New
France. His faults were on the surface--a quick temper, a stern will
to have his dignity recognized, but a consummate courage where he
had to contend against the Church and the Intendant, and the difficult,
lawless folk of a new land.

Duchesneau had declared that Frontenac used the coureurs de bois
to promote trade, compelled the Indians to pay his guards for
protecting them, and he never allowed the inhabitants to trade
until the Indians had given him packs of beaver skins, which
he called "presents."

La Salle said to the Abb Renaudot: "There never was a man who served
the King more faithfully than he, and time and history will prove this.
The best proof is he has taken the harder course--he has fought the
old, powerful body of Jesuits, and they have fought him with the
concentrated force of the Church. There was a time when four-fifths
of the funds of the Province went to the Church, and there must come
an end to that--_there must!_ A lesser man would have sought the easier
way. He chose the harder, and he is poor. He has not enough salary
to support him. The man who did the most for Canada preceding
Frontenac was Talon. That handsome man with his oval face and his
shower of curls, his smooth features, the mouth formed for feminine
sensibility than for masculine force, did great work; he opened the
field for Frontenac. Talon prepared the way for Frontenac, my
unconquerable leader."

Then La Salle told the Abb of Madame Ranard, of her presence in
France now, to spoil his chances of help in his explorations from
the King and Colbert, and of her trap with her husband, for himself.
He also said she was a member of a Jesuit society called the Sainte
Famille, which met every Thursday at the cathedral with closed
doors, where they told of all that had happened during the week,
and nothing was told against the Jesuits. It was a sort of female
inquisition, and the week after the trap had been laid for La
Salle, Barbe told the assembled ladies of La Salle's attempt
to conquer her virtue and of the opportune arrival of her husband.
She told it with tears in her evil, beautiful eyes.

So it was that many left the Sainte Famille believing La Salle guilty
of the crime, though there was no supporting evidence from his past
history. Yet Barbe had done her work well, and, were it not that
her relations with Duchesneau were guessed, there would have been
greater effect, but it had set the unthinking against La Salle.

The Abb shifted in his seat. "If Bishop Laval gives assent to
this evil society, it is a dangerous precedent. We have naught
like it in France, and the King would not permit it."

He laid a hand on La Salle's knee: "You were wise to come to France,
and all will go well. You have foes, but you can overcome them. I
do not fear the end."

La Salle lifted his head in gratitude. "You are a good friend,
Abb, but I have not met my powerful foes here. Duchesneau, the
Intendant, has written, and Madame Ranard is here, and she can
bring big guns to bear. An able lying woman is a dangerous foe."
His eyes became darker in anxiety, his face looked troubled. "I
can fight men--I know their games--but I cannot fight women. I am
at sea till I find what she has done."

"She has seen the Abb Potin, who came to me concerning the Comtesse
Frontenac, and she has seen Seignelay--this I know--and also the
Prince de Conti, who married a daughter of the King, Mademoiselle
de Blois, and has tried to influence him."

"The Prince de Conti, eh, that great man, and twice most kind to me.
He is interested in exploration, and I counted on his help. I named
a post after him."

"You think she influenced him? But not at all. No woman, however
adroit, can deceive him. He is sending here to-day Henri de Tonty,
an Italian officer whose father was Governor of Gaeta and had to
flee from Naples to France. In France he has invented the Tontine
insurance policy and here his son has come--a young man of powerful
intellect and great charm, as you shall see. He has a metal hand,
for one was blown off at Libieso in the Sicilian wars. He became a
captain. The Prince Conti has sent him, and that shows Madame Ranard
has not influenced the great cousin of the King. I see in young De
Tonty a comrade of yours. He has tact and skill, and the loyalty and
enthusiasm of the Italian. He is poor, but he has what you lack, the
great social gift, though he cannot impress people better with his
honesty. Your foes are powerful, but the good God is with the right
thing, and for you there shall be a secure future. You need one like
Tonty with you. You can trust him, and able men in France are few."

La Salle's figure became more restful. "Dear Abb, you have helped
me much already. I shall be glad to see him."

"You shall see him now, I think, for there is a knocking at the door."

Silence a moment, and then a servant entered and said, "Monsieur de

Tonty entered, a tall spare figure with a face of dark color
lightened by a pair of brilliant honest eyes with a feeling that
comes of the soul within--the soul of a fighter, whose own native
land was denied him, and who looked at La Salle after the first
greetings with eager eyes. What La Salle saw pleased him. He felt he
could trust this man, who was the more appealing because of his metal
left hand covered with a glove. He gave his right hand to La Salle,
of whom he had heard, not always to his credit. But Tonty was a man
who formed his own judgment, and that the Prince de Conti had sent
him was sufficient.

La Salle smiled at him, and in the frank smile was a covert
invitation, for at once La Salle wished to work with him. Tonty had
the prodigious gift--he was a man of character, and he was, as the
Abb has said, unmarried and free for a life of peril and

"I have come from the Prince de Conti to a valued friend whom
all France trusts--the Abb here. We are fortunate, for men of
trust are not plentiful in these days."

The Abb's smile was that of content, for he saw these two men
had made alliance of the heart already, and the way of success was more
possible to La Salle. He knew that La Salle was lacking in those lighter
qualities which Tonty had, and with character, too. He had the insight
of the perfect priest who sees men as they not always see themselves,
for his class are removed from the ambitions that influence others, and
see more clearly than the average man.

"Sieur de la Salle has been telling me of life in Canada, and
it is thrilling. It is full of danger and anxiety, but it is the
upbuilding of an Empire of the West."

Tonty smiled and nodded. "I cannot return to Naples to build
empire there, and France is now my nation. I would help build up
New France. There is this drawback, of course"--lifting up his metal
hand--"but it would not prevent me, if I got the chance--if I got

He looked La Salle in the eyes, and La Salle said: "There is
naught I wish more than to work with you. I need much a man of your
caliber, for in Canada most men are out against me, even those I much
admire. They are big, and they work against me and with the Intendant
and certain old friends now hostile through trade, and others. I have
far to go before I can win them to me--far to go."

Chapter VII

At Versailles

The court assembled in the vast suite of apartments decorated by
pictures and sculptures, tapestries, mosaics in light and splendor.
Throngs feasted, gamed, promenaded, talked, and nowhere else in the
world was there such magnificence. The suite was called the "Halls
of Abundance"--of Venus, Mars, Diana, Mercury, Apollo; and Louis
XIV met in the salon of Apollo with his courtiers, affable, gracious,
august, a marvel of hard work and love of country, which under him
was growing great and powerful.

Louis was his own Prime Minister and at the head of each department
of state. His brain knew every important detail of every court in
Europe. He formed his own policy and had an organization throughout
France such as no government ever had. He was behind all the amazing
progress of France. He had built it up from a series of fighting
duchies from the days of the Fronde.

Louis has been traduced as the most arrogant ruler, who, a beardless
king of seventeen, after a ride from Vincennes, strode, whip in hand,
into the Parliament of Paris when they were discussing coinage, and
said, sternly: "I forbid you, M. le Prsident, to discuss _my_ edicts."
The key to his policy lay in the words, "L'tat, C'est moi." It has
been called the sublimity of arrogance; yet his was the most brilliant
reign of any modern French king; under him science and art flourished.
Could it be that a man, however vain, who was an indefatigable worker,
and who by his attitude to the world and to Canada, his new territory,
shows his real nature by letters of such discernment and even justice,
was so bad as has been painted? At one time he controlled Europe in
effect. His army worshiped him.

We must not view the time of Louis XIV as we view life to-day--not
in England, America, or in any other country. We must compare it
with contemporary days. So doing, life under Louis in his seventy-two
years' reign was most creditable to France. Vanity and arrogance
are not crimes, else few great men would stand the test of time,
and under Louis' powdered periwig and ringlets there was a brain
of power; under his lace cravat there were a heart and mind that
did honor to France; and behind his broad-skirted velvet coat and
gold-headed cane and diamond-mounted stud, and jeweled snuff-box
there was the courage of a man and the soul of a statesman. Extravagant
he was and he loved display, but he worked like a slave with his
Ministers, and no important detail escaped him. The letters he wrote
to Frontenac and other Governors and Intendants, and to officials
in New France are best tribute to a rare personality. Under the
Generals Cond and Turenne, with Louvois as Minister of War;
under Gremonville and Lionne as ambassadors, with Generals Vauban
and Crequi and D'Enghien to come--France had reached to greater
and greater days.

While the salon was full of courtiers awaiting the entrance of the
Grand Monarch, things were happening on which depended the future
of France in the New World. Were it not for La Salle, the vast
territory from Fort Frontenac to the Gulf of Mexico would not have
been taken in the name of France. We shall see how things went
with La Salle.

It was at the house of the Prince de Conti that a meeting chanced
which would influence the future of Canada. Tonty had given the
Prince the result of his visit to the Abb Renaudot, and Conti
heard with pleasure that La Salle had asked Tonty to go to Canada.
He said:

"I do not hear so well of La Salle's prospects as I had hoped, Tonty.
He has bitter, powerful foes. If they influence King Louis and Colbert
and Seignelay I shall have anxiety."

"But, Your Highness's influence is great at court, and you can
set back the trio against La Salle."

The Prince smiled and tossed his fingers. "One never knows one's
influence to be small or large till one tries, and I shall try
to-day, but on the whole La Salle must fight his own fight, win
his own case."

La Salle had done his best. He had written Colbert an account of
his discoveries in modest yet convincing terms; had said that the
new country of the far West was so fertile and beautiful that all
could be produced that was produced in France; and more, that
flocks and herds could be left out to pasture all winter, that
the wild cattle had a fine wool for making cloth and hats, that
hemp and cotton grew there naturally, that the Indians would adopt
French ways and modes of life, and it was the knowledge of the
poverty of Quebec, its dense forests, its harsh climate that had
led him to plant colonies in the beautiful lands of the far West.
He wrote of the dangers from the Iroquois and other tribes, the
rapids and cataracts, the cost of men and provisions, and the
rivalry of the English--of the Hudson's Bay Company and at Albany.
But this last reason only animated La Salle the more and impelled
him to confuse them by promptness of action as to settlement
and forts.

The simplicity and directness of La Salle's appeal had good effect
on Colbert, and he was ready to speak favorably to King Louis
concerning his appeal. But meanwhile La Salle's foes were at
work, and one of the most capable was the Abb Potin. But Colbert,
clean of mind and not corruptible, waited his opportunity. In
the far West he saw a new empire for France, and not one to
be a constant drain on the pocket of the King, who gave as freely
as he could. Louis gave bounties on early marriages in Canada.
Twenty livres were given to each youth who married before the age
of twenty, and to each girl before sixteen. This was called the
King's Gift, and exclusive of the dowry given every girl brought
over by his orders, of whom about a thousand were sent over between
1665 and 1673. The dowry was sometimes a home, provisions for
eight months, and often fifty livres and household supplies, and a
barrel of salted meat. Also all habitants of Canada who had living
ten children each received a pension.

Was all this direct out of King Louis' purse the act of a tyrant
and a Nero?

As Prince Conti and Tonty talked in the Prince's house, La Salle and
Barbe Ranard met in his anteroom, for both had come to see him. La
Salle bowed to her with cold courtesy, and she, the perfect intrigante,
came to him with outstretched hand.

"Ah, M. la Salle, we meet in France at last. May all you come to
do be as the gods decide!"

La Salle looked at the insincere eyes, the smiling mouth, the powdered
hair, with no nerve of assent roused, and with repugnance in his heart,
but he said in reply to her equivocal words:

"As King Louis may decide--after such advice as Madame Ranard may
give him direct or indirect, right or wrong, just or unjust, good
or bad."

His face was composed as he spoke, but at his lips was a cold,
ironical smile. He added:

"I do not forget, madame, what happened long ago, nor what you said
at the Sainte Famille. Shall you use the same grotesque falsehood
here in France--and to the ministers of the King?"

Her face underwent a sudden change. Her eyes became brilliant and
fierce, her lips had a vicious look:

"I have told the minister what is well known in Quebec. I have not
the gifts of fiction of the explorer. I think my word counts in
France--my husband is in the Government service."

It was on La Salle's tongue to say that her husband's wife was in
the service of the Intendant of Canada, but he forbore. He only
said, satirically: "Madame is working for Canada here, Of course.
She has the patriot mind and the good of the Church at heart!"

"It is the strife between man and woman, Monsieur de la Salle,
and in such contests it is not the man who wins. I have the secret
of success in my pocket."

"Oh, in your pocket, madame! I knew you thought you had it--but
not in your pocket! It is a powerful secret, but it does not
always win."

"It wins when those who matter find it, M. de la Salle."

"We shall know about that soon, madame."

"Won't that depend on who sees the Minister last?"

"As for me, Madame Ranard, I abide by the customs of the place."

"Do you know the customs of this place so well, monsieur?" There
was biting insult in her tone.

"Not so well as madame, I suppose, but enough to find my way about."

"The ways are dark, monsieur, and you will lose your path. You are
not on the St. Lawrence or Lake Ontario. You are a backwoodsman. You
do not know the halls of Versailles."

"I am a backwoodsman, as you say, yet I came from France and I am
not so verdant. My family were of the Caveliers of Rouen, and I
was educated for the priesthood of the Jesuits."

"You were a master in a Jesuit school!"

La Salle flushed slightly, for her tone and manner were contemptuous.

"Madame was never a mistress in a Jesuit school. She is the donne
of the Jesuits now, and what else be the will of God."

Barbe's anger now was great. Stepping close to La Salle, she slapped
his face. "You insult a lady like that! If I were a man I would fight
you--low born, low bred, thief of trade, tool of Frontenac, grotesque
ape of social life, most in debt of any man of Canada, and most loathed."

La Salle smiled coldly. "If I am most in debt, it is proof I am not
so much loathed, and as for my breeding, it ranks with that of a
woman and her husband who stooped to the tricks of the ditch to
bring a gentleman into disrepute. If you were a man I would make
the world too small to hold you, madame."

Barbe turned and saw Tonty leaving the Prince de Conti's salon.

"Monsieur de Tonty, behold the man who abused the hospitality of
my house, and now insults me at the door of the Prince de Conti."

Tonty looked at her satirically. "I think Sieur de la Salle never
abused the hospitality of any household and never insulted a lady
in his life. Madame Ranard, you have lost your temper--why I know

His handsome face had contempt for this brilliant and seductive
figure, and he knew La Salle had in her a dangerous foe--one who
would lose no chance to hurt him--by falsehood and every vile act
of such a woman.

She saw his metal hand, and she now hit him with all malice:
"Not only is your hand metal, Henri de Tonty, your mind is also."

The insult brought a flush to Tonty's face, but he kept himself in
hand. If a man had said such a thing--but it did not matter! She was
of the most incroyable kind, and she was clever and vicious enough
to give La Salle a bad time.

He turned from her slowly. "The Prince will see you now, La Salle."

La Salle said, with a courteous bow, "But ladies first!"

Madame Ranard moved forward, but Tonty said: "The Prince wished
to speak to the Sieur de la Salle, madame. He knew, however, that
you were here."

"I shall prefer to have the last word with the Prince," she said,
with irony at her lips.

Bowing low, La Salle entered the salon and left her alone with Tonty.

"They will be some time. Will you not be seated, madame?" He
courteously offered her a chair.

Her urbanity had returned. She smiled and seated herself and parted
the ribbons at her throat. He could not fail to see how taking and
alluring she was. All passions in her were in good control. She
gave, she took away, with perfect measurement; her whole figure was
alert, delicate, delicious. Even now her bosom throbbed as she
looked sweetly at him. She was making a sudden and last attempt
to win his approval.

He understood, and a strange drooping light came into his eyes. But
all he said was:

"The roads are bad, madame, and the sky threatens."

She made no reply at once, then saw the curious look in his eyes and
she quoted viciously lines from a song of Bourgoyne:

     "Eho! Eho! Eho!
   The lambs are on the plains.
     Eho! Eho! Eho!
   The wolves are in the woods!"

Chapter VIII


Never had the court at Versailles been more given to gayety and
splendor. Yet behind all was an air of drama and grim event. Bright
colors, perukes, swords, uniforms, laces, exquisite skirts, flamboyant
ribbons, orders, velvet coats sometimes pure white, and everywhere
signs of brilliance. Yet it was all possible, for Colbert had by his
great finance made France rich, and unlike his predecessor, Cardinal
Mazarin, he did not seek riches, and yet he could have made himself
immensely rich. He was a figure as dear to France as later was Cavour
to Italy, or Pitt to England, and he and his son Seignelay stood apart
from the splendid superficial flippancy of Louis' reign. Marital
felicity was derided in France, it was the sport of the theaters,
but that was only at the capital; provincial France then, as now,
was free from the sordid disregard of marital faith. Moscow was not
Russia, Paris was not France, London was not England, Vienna was
not Austria, home was not Italy, and behind all the outer show great
causes and great minds were working, and all for the good of the land.

In the great Hall of Apollo stood Madame de Montespan, the favorite
of Louis, surrounded by devoted courtiers, and she was not far from
the King's throne. She was a most handsome woman, graceful in
figure and with liquid and exasperating eyes. She knew well why
these courtiers surrounded her, and she did not dislike it, for it
was a tribute to her power with the monarch. But she was not deceived
by it. She had a mind that would not stop at small things.

Barbe Ranard was of her class, but on a lower range of intellect and
influence and poise. Even as a model to an artist takes on the air
and imbibes the principles of art, so does the favorite of a great
monarch grow more interesting because of her experience.

Madame de Montespan, the mother of seven children by Louis, seemed
in excellent spirits, and was all smiles to those who flattered her,
and she was as popular with the women as the men. She had that in
her favor. She looked round the wonderful hall with pride. Here were
princes, warriors, statesmen, philosophers, poets, artists, dramatists,
all in the gaudy clothes of the court and all in the picture in
sympathy with the magnificent architecture and decoration. She had
worked her way brilliantly to her high place, yet she was not so
vain as to believe that she might not be supplanted some day, and
there was Fontanges, and there had been Vallire and others--and
her mind was alert to hold Louis fast.

As she looked down the huge rooms, she saw approaching Abb Potin,
her confessor and secret-service agent. There was an ominous look
in his face. She did not give her hand as he came near, but her
suitors saw she wished to speak alone with him, and they draw aside.

She looked him in the eyes. "Well, Abb, what is it? There's trouble.
Is it grave?"

A satirical look crossed his face. "To have our plans thwarted is
grave even in small things. This is not the biggest thing in the
life of the Court, but it is a big thing in New France, in which
His Majesty is so concerned. It would be bad for defeat to come now."

"Ah, it is the matter of La Salle--that?"

"Even that, madame. The Abb Renaudot brought La Salle in touch
with the Prince de Conti, and through him with Henri de Tonty,
and through him with La Motte de Lussire, and Barbe Ranard has
not been able to influence Colbert or Seignelay or Prince de Conti."

"She is naught, but you, have you also failed? Tell me all, Abb."

"I induced Abb Renaudot, an astute and able man, to get information
from the Comtesse Frontenac for Colbert, and he got what was required.
But we could not win him to us. He is no friend of the Jesuits; he
is a Recollet, if he is aught, and he made close friends with La
Salle, whom he met at the home of Comtesse Frontenac. That we did
not foresee. He has visited La Salle in his quarters, and La Salle
has made progress. Yesterday La Salle and Tonty met Barbe Ranard
at the house of Prince Conti, and Seignelay, would have naught to
do with her action against La Salle--influenced perhaps by Conti."

De Montespan frowned. "Conti--Conti--he is pestilent! Louis'

"He has weight, and has become a friend of La Salle. It is said by
the servant of Conti who is in my pay, that Barbe Ranard failed to
influence either the Prince or Seignelay, though she tried hard.
She is handsome, captivating, and clever, and could influence men--and
has influenced many."

"She is the friend of Duchesneau, the Intendant, in Quebec. She must
have brains as well as charm. I would like to see her."

"She is here, madame. She shall be brought, if you so wish."

She inclined her head. "Is that all you have to tell?"

"But no, madame. Much more. There has been a meeting of Colbert,
Seignelay, and the Grand Monarch. Colbert, insensible to my influence
and to Barbe Ranard, has found much in La Salle to commend, and La
Salle wrote a strikingly attractive report to the Minister of all
that he has done and proposes to do. It has influenced the powerful
and successful Colbert."

"Too powerful and too successful, Abb, but it would be madness to
try to move him, for the King gives him high place in affection."

"He cannot be removed, for he is the financial bulwark of France--an
able man whom we detest, but he is incorruptible--as I know well."

"No blandishment of woman could move him!"

"You have not tried, madame!"

She looked at him with meaning in her eyes. "I have and failed, but
I shall try again, for there is much against me. It will be worth
while testing my power. La Salle's report seems to have influenced
them all. Ah, there Colbert is!"

In the distance Colbert could be seen, with Seignelay, coming slowly
up the hall, and he was not surrounded, for few sought his company;
he was too austere. But Seignelay had a more adaptable personality.
He was a man not so great as his father, but he could not be
purchased by gold or the Magdalene, and that was rare at Court.

"His Majesty will soon be here--his Ministers have come."

"And there is Barbe Ranard," said the Abb. He sighed. "I have known
her some years. She is a faithful friend of the Church."

"Summon her to me, Abb."

The Abb did not go himself, but sent a young officer of the King's
Guard for her, and she came gracefully forward, her step light, her
manner with an assumed modesty, her eyes tremulous with mock humility.
She was becomingly dressed, her taking neck and fascinating face
showing to advantage. She was no rival in beauty and distinction to
De Montespan, and her pretended modesty pleased the favorite, though
she saw through it; but seeing through it did not perturb her. The
deceit was a tribute to herself, and she held out a hand in response
to Barbe's curtsey. Barbe kissed it, and De Montespan said:

"You are welcome to old France, dear madame. You have lived in the
wild places--how long?"

"Long enough to make me glad to feel the air of old France around me,
madame. New France is not the same, though we have a small court there
and we have a life that stirs in us the spirit of progress."

"So the Intendant, M. Duchesneau, says," she replied, with her eyes
fixed on Barbe's face, "and Count Frontenac says it even more
vigorously, I hear."

Barbe felt the thrust concerning Duchesneau, but she did not resent
it, as why should she in a court like this, and before the favorite
of the King.

"Count Frontenac has many foes in Canada," said Barbe. "I am addressing
one of them now, am I not? It is a contest between the Governor and
the Intendant and you are with the Intendant. Between ourselves, I
do not blame you, for I too am a Jesuit. I know all you have tried
to do, and you have failed."

Barbe's face showed disconcerting changes of expression, but she
looked respectfully at De Montespan.

"And will the great Madame la Marquise, perhaps, try now?" she said.

Montespan's face smiled inscrutably. "To try with so much against
one is not easy. Your own failure and that of Abb Potin is the best
proof. Who am I that I should try? If they would not listen to you,
do you guess they would heed me?"

She said this to flatter and also to tempt Barbe, for it would try
her skill at reply.

"If they will not listen to madame, then no one need essay. For
madame has gifts beyond all others--man or woman--in France."

She was pleased. "Why not in all the world?"

"I only know France," was the adroit reply, "and France is all
the world."

"Well said, well said, vain patriot," declared De Montespan.

"Madame, His Majesty," said the Abb Potin, drawing near.

Slowly, yet with portentous dignity and magnificence, Louis came slowly
up the room, preceded by his lords-in-waiting and his aides, and all
the vast audience bowed low as the little man with his high red-heeled
shoes came up the room.

As he advanced he spoke to Louvois, his Minister of War, to Madame
de Longueville and the Duchess Chevreuse, the most skillful and
persistent intrigantes of the time, and Mazarin had said of the
former that she was equal to ten provinces. But she had no weight
with Louis. He also gave a word to Madame de Rambouillet, the owner
of a great salon where many came, and to La Rochefoucauld, the
Duchess de Chantillon; to the poets Racine and Molire; to Lalli,
the composer, and Quinault, who wrote with him--and Louis spoke as
warmly to them as to the more highly titled. Near his throne he
saw mademoiselle the Duchess de Montpensier, who was his cousin
and who lived at the Luxembourg, where she received in as picturesque
a state as did no one else in Louis' empire. He had banished her
more than once, but in the end he always pardoned her, though he
never forgave her for having ordered attack upon his own soldiers
at the Bastille. With her were Madame de Scudery, who gave famous
Saturdays; the Abb de Choisy, Madame de Lafayette, Madame de Svign.
Nearer still to the throne stood the Dauphin, fat, over-dressed,
handsome, brainless, and a danger to France, so lacking in kingly
qualities was he. Not far from him stood Bossuet, his old tutor,
whom Louis made Bishop of Metz, and also the Duc d'Enghien, son
of the great Cond.

He had pride in picking out the "Untitled nobles"--like Molire
and Lalli--as he called them, to receive recognition. It was not
all vanity, for he was a man with artistic leanings and vast ambitious
purposes, and he had faith that in good time he would, like Alexander,
command the world. Littleness was in him, but also greatness, and
his littleness was his age, and his greatness was for all time.

As he neared his throne he inclined his head to De Montespan and
she came to him. He gave her his hand and she kissed it, and other
courtiers drew near, and among them were the Abb Potin, whom he
did not wholly like, though he was De Montespan's confessor.

"Well, eyes of heaven, what have you to say. I see there is something,"
he said to De Montespan with a railing kind of tenderness.

"About New France, Sire. I would speak of that. Things go not well
there, as you have told me."

"And so it vexes my sweetheart. And have only I, then, told you?" he
asked, his eyes turning to the Abb Potin and then to Barbe Ranard.

"I am concerned only with what you tell me, Sire."

"Well, I have decided about New France. M. Colbert," he said, in a
voice raised a little, and the courtiers made way for Colbert.
"Colbert, concerning New France, there is only one grave question
there, and it is that of the Sieur de la Salle. I have decided,
have I not?"

Colbert inclined his head. Montespan turned to Louis, and in a soft
voice said:

"To give De la Salle no encouragement?"

King Louis smiled and gently replied: "What is encouragement? Is it
the right to build forts and to find the way to the mouth of the
Mississippi, to carry on trade with the Indians, and solely at
his own cost? If that is encouragement, then I shall encourage
La Salle."

"But, Sire, you have never approved of settlements in the West--it
removed your subjects too far from your own control. You refused one,
Louis Joliet, an explorer, to found a trading station in the
Mississippi Valley."

"And may not a king change his mind? La Salle has the true thing in
him, and I trust him. Frontenac supports him."

"And Duchesneau, the Intendant, and the Church and the principal
people of Quebec distrust him, bear him no good will. Besides--"

King Louis frowned. "Yes, I know that 'Besides,' and it is in our
presence now. It is not far from me. But no woman save one ever
traduced La Salle. Quote not 'Besides,' for she does not influence me."

"Nor do I, Sire, any more."

The King pretended not to hear. "Colbert," said he, "is the Sieur
de la Salle here to-night?"

"Sire, I think so."

Louis made a motion of his hand.

Officers of the King went searching, while De Montespan made effort
to turn Louis' mind, but he did not listen gravely to her, and
gently smiled and said: "If you had the facts as I know them, my
dulciana, you would not be so vexed. You are too much of a Jesuit.
The Church shall not control my Canada."

At that moment La Salle, with Tonty behind him, came forward, and
all the court observed him. He was a figure men would turn to see,
having looked once. It was not alone his handsomeness, for men
like Tonty were handsomer. It was the upright precision and physical
grace of his person; it was the honesty in his face, his masculinity
of form, his indomitable look, his apparent haughtiness, his clear
energy, his concentrated look of inspiration, as though he had no
thought but one, and that was his mission in life. As he came
forward not only Colbert and Louis so appraised him, but he was
such a contrast to the Court in the simplicity of his dress and
the quiet nobility of his bearing, that all felt him to be a
tower of courage and faith against whom danger and hardship would
beat in vain.

The apparent haughtiness of his manner was understood by all. It
was the self-reliance of a man that lived alone, the spirit
overpowering what came before it. Never a wincing courtier, he
would have foes always, but at King Louis' court he had made
friends of four wise men--King Louis, Colbert, Seignelay, and Conti.

As he bowed to the King with profound respect, for he felt the
august majesty of the scene, he won many hearts present, and even
De Montespan was moved, for she had never seen him before, and she
felt him a man who would do no mean thing--would never have done
what Barbe Ranard had said! Women know men well--such women.

"Sieur de la Salle," said Louis, "we welcome you. It is our first
sight of you, but we know your work and what you would do. This
France of ours has vast designs--not only European; they include
America and beyond--far beyond. We will be all-powerful, all-controlling,
and we are giving you large powers of exploration and settlement
in the sure hope that we shall not be dismayed. We would have you
find the way to Mexico from Fort Frontenac, and you shall build
forts as it seems good to you at your own cost, and you shall have
sole right to trade in buffalo hides. That is our reply to your
appeal, and may God be with you and strengthen you, Robert Cavelier,
Sieur de la Salle." His hand was raised in kindly feeling.

Across La Salle's face there passed a swift emotion and his eyes grew
dim. He was receiving far more than he had asked and it was given
him in the most public manner and with all display and honor. When
Louis ceased speaking, the attendant courtiers said in loud whispers:
"How noble! How great! How like Jove! How dear to France!" All
present seemed to bend in flattery save the Abb Potin and a few
of his Jesuit brothers, and De Montespan--yet even they put on airs
of devotion to the Grand Monarch and hid the bitterness in their

As for De Montespan, she looked at Barbe and was almost startled
by the fierce fire of her eyes and the tragedy of her figure. She
had failed in what she had come from Quebec to do, and her wild spirit
was breaking loose upon this court, yet not to other eyes than those
of De Montespan, who had a gift of seeing. She also had failed, and
had suffered an affront which would trouble her vain, proud heart.
Not far away stood Prince de Conti, and the quiet triumph in his eyes
was like a stripe upon the raw flesh. He was a strong, loyal, able man,
and, though Louis did not love him, he had pride that Conti was of his,
own blood and family.

La Salle replied to King Louis briefly, and all present were impressed
by the calm, piercing emotion of his tone. He had a voice with few
inflections; it was rather monotonous, but that gave it power, and
it moved even the blas circle of courtiers in the great hall. It
was like the man himself, direct, incisive, convincing, enduring,
and he stood a reproach to the phantasmagoria of life of which
they were. It was all poppyland, and he the wide wastes, the dark
forests, the barren plains, the evil citizens of the Indian world,
ready to burn and destroy and never rebuild--treacherous, brave yet
cowardly, insolent yet amenable. Yet this Court had seen and should
see again Jesuits who had been tortured and burned till their hands
and limbs were like grotesque imitations of humanity. This King Louis
had seen the broken relics of men who had escaped from the farthest
regions where the fleur-de-lis waved, and yet returned to face it
all again. A Court like this, outwardly insecure, had the elements
of right, as was later shown when France, torn by revolution, would
send to the guillotine just such people as these, and they would
face their tragic end with a smile of disdain.

The flippancy and evil of the court were only the clothes. Beneath
it all was the kind of truth that was in Cartier, Champlain, Frontenac,
Maissoneuve, Marquette, Brebeuf Jogues and La Salle. Tear away the
laces, the velvets, the wigs and the outer fripperies, and, stark,
brave, true human life would prove that France at her worst was better
than the surface showed. This court was a magnificent contradiction.
Evil, yet good.

La Salle said: "Sire, I am honored by your commission. I have one
thought, and shall ever have but one--the increase of the greatness
of your realm. Naught shall divert me from that purpose. I have
seen"--his eyes looked through Louis and far beyond--"the ways open
to an overseas empire that shall be a home for millions of my
fellow-countrymen, and for France a new garden where all things
shall flourish. You give me hope that my life may prove evidence
of your noble purposes and, labors, and imperishable patriotism.
I shall be ever Your Majesty's most faithful and devoted servant,

During these words the little, efficient, skilful, and powerful
monarch looked at La Salle and round his Court with the air of
the maker of the world. His ears were tuned to flattery, but in
the words of La Salle was a new note--it gave his soul a spring
of virtue and purpose, it lifted him to the height of his tallest
grenadier morally. He smiled and gave him a hand to kiss, and when
La Salle rose he met the eyes of Barbe Ranard, who would have killed
him now if she could, for he saw the savage hatred in her eyes,
though her lips were smiling.

In his heart was triumph but his nature was free from guile or the
smaller things. He knew he was now on a new and wider pathway of
life and that behind him was--for the moment--the greatest monarch of
the world, and a Minister--Colbert--who had even greater things in him
than his master. Colbert was then in an age and at a Court where the
small and the great were in sharp contrast, in hideous, yet beautiful

King Louis saw Prince Conti near, and inclined his head, and Conti
came. Louis said: "My cousin, you have an eye--you see far. Is it
done well to-day."

Conti's face showed no feeling. "Your Majesty is right to-day, as he
always is. In the Sieur de la Salle is a subject who will bring honor
to France--to you. I have no tongue for flattery, Sire."

"I know it well," and Louis lightly dusted some powder from a scarf
and gazed round him kindly. He saw La Salle talking to Tonty.
"Ah, that Henri de Tonty, the Italian, is he a friend of La Salle,
my cousin?"

"I brought them together, and Tonty goes to Canada with La Salle. He
is a strong, brave man."

"I am glad. I have honored La Salle before my court. He knows all it
means to him."

"Did not his speech assure?"

"I have never heard such a speech at Court and I have heard many. There
is something in his voice that gets to the core of things."

Louis turned to De Montespan. "Well, my seraph, what think you of
La Salle?"

De Montespan, who had the true sense of things behind her fripperies
and sordidness, said: "My sovereign was benign, and La Salle is a
man of men. He has not the Church behind him, but he is the soul of,
the new life--over there."

Louis was pleased now. He did not see the falsehood in the woman,
for he was fond of her as yet, and he thought that he--not La Salle--had
conquered her. He whispered in her ear, and what he said brought
a slight flush to her face. Her eyes looked into his and dropped so
that their light was for him only.

Barbe Ranard and Abb Potin watched them. She said:

"La Salle has beaten us Abb, but he has not yet left Paris for
New France. There is still that to do!"

The Abb touched her arm. "Not _that_. It must not be. He must return
to Quebec, and then! Not here. Louis would search it out after
to-night. Let be. It is not the way to fly in the face of Fate."

She clenched her hands. "The face of Fate shall be with me yet, then."

Chapter IX

Foes Meet

La Salle found his reception at Court had done great things for him,
but he needed money. Through the Abb Renaudot and Henri de Tonty
he came to Simmonet, a notary, and Raoul, an advocate, and one Dumont,
who between them lent him thirty-four thousand francs, and his cousin
Franois Plet, a merchant, lent him a large sum at the stiff rate of
forty per cent. His chief helpers were his family, his brothers who
gave all they could at last, and before his discoveries were ended
he had cost them, so they said in their extravagant memorial to King
Louis, five hundred thousand francs. And on his return even Frontenac
found a loan secured by a mortgage on Fort Frontenac.

The Abb Renaudot had proved a stalwart friend by tongue and pen,
and did his best to prevent Bellinzani, director of trade, who
had been trained by Cardinal Mazarin, from extorting money from
La Salle, but did not succeed. He thought it well, as did La Salle
and Tonty, not to appeal to Colbert or Seignelay lest worst might
chance in the end, but the money the director got was later reclaimed
by the Abb when Bellinzani fell into disgrace with Seignelay.

One day before La Salle sailed from Rochelle he was summoned to the
home of the Comtesse Frontenac, where she lived with Mademoiselle
Outrelaise--and the two were known in France and Canada as
"The Divines," so popular and courted were they. Outrelaise
was not present at this visit. The Comtesse was in high spirits,
and gave him warm commendation for having triumphed at Court and
she said:

"You have done great service to my husband, for your success has
strengthened him against intrigues. He cannot well meet all
the charges made, and I stay here to help him, for I have no love
for the primitive life, and yet I never go to Court. I am too poor
for that life but I will not live in the dark!"

"Madame la Comtesse could never live in the dark," said La Salle.
"Her life is too bright and Les Divines are more powerful than if
they were at court. I have named a river 'Les Divines.'"

This pleased the Comtesse. "You will be surprised to hear that Madame
Ranard is coming to-day and that is one reason why I asked you. I
know what she has done and still tries to do against you, but you
will conquer in the end, though she represents the Jesuits--but
herself before all and most of all! I know madame is a foe of my
Frontenac, too, but I shall see her here and find what real stuff
she is. She has some power through Duchesneau, the Intendant, but
that is insufficient. Frontenac--and you will win!"

La Salle smiled. "I shall be pleased to see madame again. She is
vastly able, but she did not have power against the friends of Count
Frontenac--Prince de Conti, Colbert, Seignelay, and King Louis himself,
though she had Madame de Montespan behind her."

At that moment a servant announced Madame Ranard, and she entered
with aplomb. She could never be nonplused, and not even now
when she saw La Salle near Comtesse Frontenac. After Madame
Frontenac had greeted her with cordiality and had motioned her
to a chair, she turned to La Salle, who bowed low.

"Ah, Sieur de la Salle," she said, "last time I saw you,
you were in close touch with the Grand Monarch. You were in high
favor--for the moment--but prince's favors are like spring showers.
They do not much enrich the ground. Is it not so?"

La Salle smiled. "I am new to Court life and I am glad to have the
moment's favors. Better these than naught. The favors of King
Louis have their uses, and in Canada their perfect potential uses,
as Madame Ranard knows. When they cease, those who lived by them
cease. It is a place of mixed interests."

"A salad--a French salad, which the oil of the Grand Monarch's favor
makes good for all," said Madame Ranard, lightly.

"And the acid of intrigue makes bad for all," said the Comtesse

"But the oil endures to the good of all," said La Salle.

Madame Ranard smiled subtly and her tongue was soft. "The good of
all is not found without some contest of mixed interests. The
Sieur de la Salle has far to go in the wild West and much to
do--at his own expense!"

There was that in her tone which La Salle and the Comtesse did not
miss. "Nothing can be got for nothing in this world," said La Salle.
"The expense may be high, but I can meet it and outlast it."

As he said this he met the eyes of Barbe, which had a veiled but
bitter malice, and yet she waved a hand cheerfully:

"Prophet--prophet! God save the prophet! May he outlast his prophecy!"

For the first time in his life La Salle was the sinister courtier.
He leaned over, took Barbe's fingers and kissed them, as they turned
cold at his lips.

"Ah, Madame Ranard, you have given me the great hope. May it
be fulfilled!"

This was too much. She withdrew her hand sharply and looked him
fiercely in the eyes:

"Your experience at Court has given you grace of words, Sieur de la
Salle, but there is no grace of heart behind. Your path will be
steep--and hideous!"

"Yet, as you said, with God's help I shall win, madame."

The Comtesse interposed: "Madame sees that Sieur de la Salle has the
true spirit of the pioneer. With Frontenac's help he will win."

Suddenly Madame Ranard rose and turned on her with savage irony.
"You brought me here to meet this man, Comtesse. Know then that I
understand. I go back to Canada with the spirit you have shown me
here. You brought me here to shame me; in Canada I will bring
shame to you."

"You are wrong, madame. I brought you not to shame you, but in the
hope that you and the Sieur de la Salle might find peace here in
the house of the Governor of Canada."

"Peace--peace, to talk of peace between us! He used me vilely in Quebec."

"Madame, that has no glint of truth," said La Salle.

Without a word, but with a sweeping curtesy to Madame Frontenac,
she turned brusquely with an acrid laugh, and left the room.

The Comtesse raised her hand in disdain.

"I am glad she came, rude as she was, for now I understand her. She
is able and beautiful and bad. She will stop at naught!"

"She has been stopped. She will start again. I go back to Count
Frontenac with a strong heart."

The Comtesse looked at him sadly: "Strength is good, but love is
better, Sieur de la Salle."

La Salle inclined his head and smiled as he looked into the distance:

"There is a wonderful Canadian chanson, madame: The sentimentalists
sing it there. It is popular--and forceful!"

  "Il ya longtemps que je t'aime,
   Jamais je ne t'oublierai."

The Comtesse turned away sadly.

Chapter X


Tuke Darois had found employment in the offices of the Farmer of
the King's revenue. He had been in the employ of the Hudson's
Bay Company. He spoke the French language perfectly and came as
a spy on the doings of La Salle and the coureurs de bois, who were
rivals in trade with the Hudson's Bay Company in the far West and
North. With his combined origin, Darois was a capable man and
had no morals. He had a good-looking and enterprising face, he
was bearded, was about medium height, and had an attractive
personality. He did not say he had been with the Hudson's Bay
Company, but had been a trapper in the North, and he was welcomed
to Quebec by officials of the Province, for he had the rare ability
to write and keep accounts, and his services were welcome in the
department of Rojet Ranard.

His daughter, Lya, with brown hair, brown eyes, rather a large mouth
exquisitely shaped, and a broad, low, fine forehead, lived with him.
Her hands were capable and fine and she had a long firm grip. From
her hand you would judge her character. It told so much. She had been
commanded not to say they had been with the Hudson's Bay Company;
and this was to prevent prejudice against her father. She had no
mother--her mother had died at giving her birth, and she had living
with her an old black-eyed, lame Frenchwoman called Luce Hontard,
who was devoted to her. She was one who might go far in the world,
if aught could be judged by outer form.

One day after La Salle and Tonty had arrived from France with La Motte
de Lussire, they were coming from the citadel where Frontenac had
received them with cordiality, and La Salle saw Lya walking towards
her father's office. She had so much spirit, yet was so modest, so
simply yet becomingly dressed, with none of the hair-dressings and
flounces of other girls of the city, and with a resolution of her
slight figure at variance with her vivacious face. Somehow she
arrested La Salle's attention. He had never been impressionable,
and no woman ever had a hold on him. He drew Tonty's attention
to her. Tonty was also attracted and was unable to say why.

"A newcomer and a beauty. Who?" said Tonty.

La Salle shook his head in negation. They saw her enter her father's

Tonty spoke. "Ah, Tuke Darois's daughter, no doubt! That is his
office. I met him this morning. He is watching the coureurs de
bois, of whom Du Lhut is chief. How do I know? I don't. It is
only instinct, but I'm right, for I saw signs of it in his office.
He does not ring true. He's got a twist somewhere. I saw on his
table a manuscript marked Du Lhut. So, I made up my mind. He is
working against the coureurs de bois and Du Lhut. But not his
beautiful daughter--no, if that is she! She is as straight as the

La Salle nodded and gave a short, hasty laugh. "Perhaps you are right.
Let us go to his office. I have some business with him. It concerns
the accounts of Fort Frontenac. He is a man to know. We start for
the West in two days, my friend. See! There is Rojet Ranard coming
towards us. How cheerful--as though he had not a care in the world.
But he is Mephistopheles--as black as a pan."

Tonty nodded, and M. Ranard came towards them, smiling. He knew Tonty
and had not seen him yet, as he had been in the West.

He raised a hand in greeting. "Ah, M. Tonty, I welcome you to Quebec.
You would do much here, I know, and you have left much behind you."
He held out a hand and Tonty took it with a bow.

"I greet you well, M. Ranard, and. I left behind naught I could
not afford to leave. I work with my friend Sieur de la Salle."

M. Ranard turned slowly to La Salle. "Sieur de la Salle and I are
old friends, and we meet as always--in good feeling."

La Salle looked coldly at him. "It is as M. Ranard says, we meet
in the feeling we had when I left for France."

"I am told you met my wife there, Sieur de la Salle."

"I had that felicity, monsieur--at the home of Comtesse de Frontenac,
and before that at the palace of the Prince de Conti."

"She was charmed by your success--you were received by the Grand Monarch
at Versailles and were given your commission before the court. It
was a triumph for you, Sieur de la Salle." There was veiled sarcasm
in Ranard's tone.

"It was a triumph for New France, let us say," remarked Tonty. "It
had the soul of exploration and trade."

"It had the soul of Sieur de la Salle," said Ranard, with a biting tongue.

"And his is the soul of New France," said Tonty.

"May it flourish for the good of old France!" returned Ranard.

"If all here say Yea, who shall say Nay?" said La Salle, ironically.

"But all say Yea," sneered Ranard.

"Then things have changed since I went to France," said La Salle.

"What else could happen. Your absence is a vast event," remarked
Ranard maliciously.

"Especially when Madame Ranard was gone also, bent upon the good of
Canada, and helpful to me in France!"

A dark light came into Ranard's eyes. "She will always help you in the
same way, as you well know, Sieur de la Salle. She never changes, and
if you but visited our house again, you would flourish more."

"I have flourished because I did not remain in your house, monsieur,
and I hope I shall never enter it again!"

"Yet we shall meet often in this small place, Quebec, and we cannot
escape each other's influence, can we?"

"That is made plain by the difference between the Governor and the
Intendant, and yet we know our influence on the Intendant," said Tonty.

The eyes of Ranard grew sullen, for he felt what Tonty would convey,
but with a sneer he said:

"Monsieur Duchesneau is not like you or me--or he would take return
for your insolence, M. Tonty."

He laid his hand angrily upon his sword, and Tonty shrugged a shoulder.
"I was not insolent to the Intendant, monsieur."

"You were insolent to me--then draw, monsieur, and see which can
uphold his honor best."

A cold light blazed in Tonty's eyes. "I do not care to fight you,
monsieur, but you have ways I do not like. I would find what is
inside you--blood or ditch water."

They at once began to fight, and had made but a few strokes,
in which Tonty was at an advantage, when Bishop Laval came
upon them on his way from the Church council. He was, as always,
plainly dressed, and his striking face with long nose and piercing
eyes gave him a singular personality. He had been master of New
France in other days.

"Messieurs, messieurs," the bishop said, in amazement, "what do you
broiling in the street! Is Canada to be governed thus! Stop fighting,

"He insulted the Intendant," said Ranard.

"I did not insult the Intendant, Monsieur de Quebec. I said what
monsieur thought reflected on the Intendant, but it was not meant
so. I came with Sieur de la Salle from France."

The Bishop turned towards La Salle and smiled in a frigid way.
"The Sieur de la Salle has a high place in the heart of Canada,
M. Tonty."

He held out his hand, this spare, almost emaciated bishop, but there
was power in his whole bearing and authority in all he said. He lived
a life of abject poverty, had been a Jesuit in his youth, and had
brought to Canada two things--self-effacement physically, and the
ever-present love of his Church--its advancement. He had no love for
La Salle, for he would extend immigration in the West, and that he
and the Church did not wish. His Church had once been all-powerful,
and received four-fifths of the revenue sent by the King, but of
late years that power had declined, and the old man resented it in
so far as his nature could. The Bishop had done much for Canada,
and his thin lips now drew tighter as he turned to M. Ranard.

"It is not seemly, M. Ranard, that you should act so--an officer
of the Government; yet maybe your temper took umbrage where none
was meant."

At first Tonty would say that umbrage was meant to Ranard, but
he abstained; and all seemed settled, for the two men put up
their swords, but La Salle said:

"M. Tonty took up the quarrel on his own part, but the difference
of opinion was with me, monseigneur, and I would gladly have fought
with M. Ranard, for a reason which he and you will understand. I do
not forget what happened in his house and what was said at the Saint
Famille. These things should not be handed over to one's friends. M.
Tonty said what I would have said with more point."

The Bishop's face flushed slightly at the mention of Saint Famille,
for he knew what had been said there, and he had given this society
of Jesuit ladies his approval; but he said:

"Sieur de la Salle, we have no knowledge of your difference with
M. Ranard--"

"And his wife," interrupted La Salle.

"And his wife; but this is a small place and we should live in
peace. There have been misunderstandings, no doubt, but we
should overcome our feelings for the sake of unity in this pioneer
land. Why should we not all be friends?"

"Why not?" said Ranard.

"I will say, why not, then!" said La Salle. "The greatest Governor
Canada ever had is opposed by good men like Le Moyne and his sons,
and Le Ber and La Chesnaye; Damours, De Villeray and De Lotbinire,
and many others, and they are all against me because I open new
territory and advance new trade in furs. I know what forces are
against me, and what intrigue goes to hurt good things, but the good
will prevail, monseigneur. I will help advance that, but I will
yield naught in all I do to open up the West and South."

He held himself modestly, firmly erect, for this was the first time
he had opened his mind to the Bishop, and he wished it to be plain
what sort of man he was and what he meant to do. Bishop Laval liked
La Salle--he knew him as one who never spared himself and fought
with clean hands. But his ambitions clashed with those of the Church
and the Intendant, and that was against him sorely.

He said, quietly: "Your designs have support from all who care for
Canada, but your methods are not those we all approve. Our ways are
not your ways, and we work by different rules. Yet"--he raised his
hand in benediction, and the men dropped to their knees--"I give you
blessing in your work, for I know your heart is full of high purpose."

As they all stood up, Ranard said: "Monsieur de Quebec, I shall wipe
this dark thing from my mind. I will be a friend to Sieur de la Salle.
I offer him my hand."

La Salle instantly said: "I have no faith in the friendship of M.
Ranard. I cannot take his hand."

The Bishop looked at him sternly for a moment, then his face cleared
and he said, "At least the Sieur de la Salle is an honest man," and
he turned and went towards his palace.

Habitants and rivermen and a few coureurs de bois and a burgher
or two had gathered, but they came not among them, and though they
wondered what the quarrel and the consultation were, they were too
much in awe of Bishop Laval to come too near. Quebec was too often
roused by combats to be astonished.

Ranard looked at La Salle with grim irony. "You have refused my hand;
be sure you can justify that."

"I am ready to sustain it," answered La Salle, with bitter coolness,
for this man and his wife were the limit of endurance--so clever, so
corrupt, so bad, and yet outwardly so fair.

Lifting his hand in courtesy La Salle moved away with Tonty, while
Ranard stood for a moment in furtive mood, and then walked on with
malign purpose.

As they passed along the street there came to their ears a song of
the pioneers of France, brought to Canada by the Carignan-Sallires
Regiment. It floated out on the clear air with sweet melody and
happy resonance:

  "I am a very good knife-grinder,
   I am a very good knife-grinder,
   And for my daughter I have great fear--
   And in the islands I have a great fear
         When I am there,
   As she is very good."

  "If I go on the sea,
   If I go on the sea,
   It will be never to return,
   And, in the islands I have a great fear,
         When I am there,
   For she is very good."

As they listened, Tonty laughed: "He may be a good knife-grinder but
I doubt it, and for his daughter, he may well have a great fear,
for she _is_ good! That's so, isn't it?"

La Salle nodded. "He's bad enough, I doubt not, and she's good, I
doubt not, and we shall see them both soon. Here we are at his door."
La Salle flow said to Tonty: "We are on the bank of a turbulent river,
but we shall cross it safely. Our heaviest trials are before us.
Naught borne in the past can equal what I must bear--what we must
bear--in the future. As I open this door, I open a new and horrible
chapter of life. This I know."

He opened the door and Father Louis Hennepin stepped out. Hennepin
was clothed in a coarse gray capote and peaked hood, with sandaled
feet, a crucifix at his side, and a cord of St. Francis at his waist.
From a convent at Artois he had gone to Calais at the herring-fishing
season, had made friends of sailors and become enamored of foreign
lands. After many requests there came permission to go to Canada,
and he sailed in the same ship as La Salle, and scolded a party of
girls who were enjoying themselves with officers and passengers on
deck. La Salle had told him he was acting like a pedagogue, and
Hennepin retorted that La Salle had once been a pedagogue in a Jesuit
school! This La Salle resented, for his foes were now Jesuits and he
wished not to be linked with them. Besides, he pierced the hollowness
of Hennepin's character.

Hennepin had a quick, cheerful spirit, and his enthusiasm, physical
health, and stature were great. Now when he saw La Salle, he bowed
and smiled, and said:

"I am deeply glad to see you, Sieur de la Salle. I would join you
in your explorations. If I had permission from my superior-- Ah,
may I not go?"

La Salle had mind to see all sides of a question, and, while he had
not faith in him, Hennepin was not a Jesuit. After studying the
friar briefly, he said:

"I will get you permission, and you must start at once. We shall meet
at Fort Frontenac."

Hennepin raised hands in joy.

"You give me great news, and I will serve you to my life's end."

It was clear Hennepin wished to stand well with him, and that was
much in Canada where so many were against him. La Salle said:

"Be ready to start to-morrow."

With an exclaimed blessing Hennepin paced away, bold and hardy and
daring, but as fake a friar as ever wore the gray capote, who would
grossly exaggerate, a conscious but contented liar.

As Hennepin walked away, Tonty said: "Are you sure of that man,
La Salle? What is he doing here with Darois?"

"He is strong, he has a vivid mind, and he will succeed with the
Indians, and we need that. He is a Recollet, and not a Jesuit. Who
knows what he has been doing here? One is sure of this--he is not
deliberately my foe! That is not in his mind now."

By this time they were inside the office of Darois. He was standing
with back to them, talking to a clerk in a silky voice with ragged
edges. At last, the clerk disappearing, he swung slowly on La Salle
and Tonty, and looking at them softly said:

"I welcome Sieur de la Salle and M. de Tonty."

La Salle bowed: "I have come upon business, Monsieur Darois--the
accounts of Fort Frontenac. They are not complicated, and they
are few."

Darois bowed, and his bearded face showed no apparent feeling, yet his
eyes had a furtive look which did not escape Tonty.

"Will you sit down, messieurs?" he said.

In Tonty's mind was the thought about the girl, Lya Darois. She
was not here, but she had evidently gone into another room--that
into which the clerk had entered. Tonty liked the face and figure
of the girl. It did not seem possible she was the daughter of this
smooth and subtle man who was now examining accounts of La Salle.
It is clear he had a mind of business capacity, and a tongue that
did its work well, but he was sure he was a spy on the coureurs
de bois.

These coureurs de bois were indocile, debauched, wearing the sword
and decked out with lace. They would not cultivate the soil, swaggered
like lords, spent all their gains in dress and revelry, and despised
the peasants. Yet they were a wonderful body of men, brave, chivalrous,
carrying all before them when properly led, and expert traders
with the Indians, and that was why the Hudson's Bay Company had
sent Darois--he did not yet know that Darois had been sent to spy
upon La Salle as well. But he disliked Darois' face as he bent
over the papers with La Salle.

Lya Darois, that unusual and reliant girl, that pure product of
the northern plains--where was she? Tonty wished to know.

Chapter XI

La Salle Receives a Loan

The Abb Jean Cavelier was La Salle's eldest brother, a priest of
St. Sulpice who had gone to Canada before La Salle, and he proved
of far less caliber than the great explorer. He impeded rather than
assisted La Salle by his small character and his interfering ways.
He was in Quebec, though he lived at Montreal, and La Salle want
to see him before starting for the West. The Abb's thin, almost
cadaverous face was in sharp contrast to that of La Salle--strong,
vigorous, immobile, handsome, full of character. In his quarters
at the small Seminary of St. Sulpice he awaited La Salle, and when
he came, said:

"I come from Montreal to welcome you. You did well in France, brother."

La Salle shook hands warmly and received the Abb's blessing.

"I have Fort Frontenac, and the rights to build forts and to find
the mouth of the Mississippi, and have been raised to the nobility.
All this was given me at Versailles by King Louis and with my foes
at work. Even De Montespan with a Jesuit confessor was against me,
and Madame Ranard was there--acting for Duchesneau, but Louis is
his own adviser, and he and Colbert and Seignelay were with me."

The Abb chuckled, for he was a courtier and he loved success.
He could not condone effort with failure. His soul was small.
La Salle recalled how, when it was reported that he was living
at Fort Frontenac--this lie was spread by his foes--with a
girl he had seduced, the Abb had gone out in great indignation
and had found him at the head of an exemplary household with two
Recollet friars in attendance and had come back to Montreal a wiser
man. The Abb had borne the hard journey well, for he was a healthy
man, and as a St. Sulpice priest he could save money, which he
did; but he helped his brother little.

His thin hand fluttered over La Salle's head in blessing, and
seemed full of piety, but this had little effect upon La Salle,
who knew the Abb had not come to help him. If his journey to
France had been a failure, he would have been cold and unsympathetic.
La Salle wished to keep a friendly attitude, for it would go
ill if in the minds of the public, dissonance were known between
him and his brother.

Presently the Abb said: "Have you enough funds for your work?"

"I have not funds enough. Our cousin, Franois Plet, loaned
me money at forty per cent--"

"Forty per cent--avaricious cousin!" said the Abb.

"More came from other sources in France, and Count Frontenac has
raised some by mortgage on Fort Frontenac. The Governor is my
friend and I have a few others I can trust So I can go on."

"I have some money--not much, but I can loan you twenty thousand
at half the interest of Franois Plet--his is excessive--and you
will pay me back in good time, is it not so?"

La Salle at once said: "I will take the twenty thousand gladly,
and at twenty per cent interest, which is better than Franois
Plet, but it came from one who does not know Canada and before
I received my commission from King Louis at court."

The Abb rubbed his hands together, for he was an avaricious man.

"You shall have the twenty thousand to-morrow--no, now!"

He went to a drawer and counted out the money, then sat at a table
and drafted the note-of-hand at twenty per cent.

As he wrote the explorer watched him. La Salle knew him to be without
human sympathy--a time-server, a courtier, a priestly follower of the
Church, because it was part of his attitude towards life. He had
started fair--honestly, so far as was in him, a priest. Then he had
fallen from his original honesty and was now of the false life of
France transplanted to Quebec. He would sacrifice anyone for gold,
even his own brother.

La Salle's spirit revolted, but yet they were of the same father,
had lived in the same house, drawn milk from the same breast, had
the same country and the same God!

At last the Abb stood up. "You have many foes, but in me you have
a friend."

He gave La Salle the money and La Salle took it and sat down at a
table to sign the note.

"One true friend is worth ten foes!" said La Salle, with grim softness,
and he smiled at his brother, who did not realize the satire.

Chapter XII

The Man, Nicolas Perrot

At Fort Frontenac La Salle entered upon a new and interesting phase.
He had De Tonty with him and La Motte de Lussire and Father
Hennepin, and soon after his arrival there came to him Nicolas
Perrot, called Jolycoeur, who had been employed by the Jesuits and
was an explorer of courage and skill. La Salle welcomed Perrot
warmly, and did not know that he now worked for Barbe Ranard, so
had the beauty of the woman acted upon the impressionable nature
of the brave explorer.

La Salle had a servant, Nika, a Shawanoe hunter, ever with him,
and from the first this acute native suspected Perrot, though he
could not tell why. Yet he kept watch.

Time was spent in improving the fort and attracting Indians. Trade
in fur steadily grew, while La Salle planned to build the first vessel
that ever sailed the western Lakes, the Griffon, at Niagara.

La Salle liked Perrot, but could not understand why there shot into
his mind at times a doubt--yet the man worked hard and had influence
with the natives. One day Nika, La Salle's servant, was absent, and
La Salle and Perrot had a meal together. Before the dinner Perrot
mixed a salad and La Salle ate it, but three hours later was seized
with convulsions. He had no suspicion of poison, yet it was one of
the most frequent crimes in all Europe.

In the night he called and Perrot came to his bed.

"I am ill--most ill," said La Salle. "Give me an emetic. It may
do me good."

Perrot mixed an emetic with no joy, for it might save La Salle's life,
and he was thinking only of Barbe Ranard. La Salle took the emetic,
yet it seemed not to cure him, for in the morning he was again seized
by convulsions, and would have died had it not been for Nika, who,
returning, at once guessed the truth and gave La Salle a drink of
Indian herbs. He found what La Salle had eaten the night before,
and discovered a few leaves of the salad, saw they were discolored,
and wrapped them in paper and kept them. At last Tonty returned,
and Nika told him what he feared. Tonty, who had some medical
knowledge, analyzed the leaves and found in them hemlock and verdegris.

Perrot was kept away from La Salle's bed. He seemed now morose, now
cheerful, and both kept strict watch of him and fought for La
Salle's life. At last La Salle was out of danger, and then Tonty
acted. He told La Salle of his analysis, and La Salle was convinced.
He had studied medicine first in France, and afterwards with a
doctor in Quebec for the good of his explorations.

"Why should he wish to kill me?" asked La Salle. "He is able, well
known, himself an explorer. It is incredible."

"He is working for the Jesuits," said Tonty.

"No. They would not go so far with me," said La Salle. "I will
accuse Perrot. He made the salad--the cook cannot make one; and
I trust my cook. He has been with me five years."

"I will speak to Perrot first, and I will do it carefully," said Tonty.

"Very well," said La Salle, now thin, worn and feeble.

In another room Tonty, smoking a pipe, said to Perrot:

"This is a curious illness of Sieur de la Salle. I think he has been
foully treated. I was not here when he was seized. You were. What
were the symptoms, Perrot?"

Perrot told him briefly, a startled look in his eyes, for he knew
Tonty to be an able man.

"That looks like poison," said Tonty, looking steadily into the gray
eyes of Perrot, his own black ones subtly shining.

"That cook--I can hardly think it," said Perrot.

"But did he cook all the meal--all?" said Tonty, fastening the now
shifting eyes of Jolycoeur.

"He prepared the dinner."

"What did you have?" asked Tonty.

"Fish from the lake, a black squirrel, some potatoes grown here, and
a raisin pudding. Naught else, I think."

"But yes--a salat, m'sieu'," said Nika, standing near. "I saw the leafs,
and the cook he can no make a salat--no."

"You made the salad," said Tonty, with sudden anger, and he clenched
the table with one hand and stared into the fluttering eyes of Perrot.

Perrot suddenly seized a knife at his belt, but Tonty's pistol was in
his face. "None of that, Nicolas Perrot. Come and say to La Salle what
you've said to us. Come--now!"

Perrot saw no chance of resistance. A glance at the eyes of Nika,
who hated him, hastened his footsteps to La Salle's bedside.

La Salle looked at him without speaking, then at last he said:

"I heard what passed. You have had my hospitality--we have worked--fought
together--had the same trade of exploration. Why did you
poison me?"

Perrot at once lied. "The Jesuits hate you. One will do much for
one's church."

La Salle frowned. He was at first inclined to believe Perrot, then
his mind revolted. He could not think the Jesuits would do that.
Cold-blooded murder, and the tool a well-known explorer like
Jolycoeur, seemed beyond comprehension.

Nika put it right: "That man, he lie--it is no Jesuits--no."

La Salle looked at Nika. Nika had instincts, and these were
all-important. Nika's instinct was poison, and poison it had
been. Right once by instinct, why not right twice.

"It was not the Jesuits, Perrot. Who was it? Answer, man! Who
was it?"

"I have naught to say," said Perrot.

"Was it the Jesuits? Answer me," said La Salle. "You have but a short
time to live, so tell the truth. Do not enter your grave with a lie
on your lips. Was it the Jesuits?"

"It was not," said Perrot, sullenly, for he was in their power.

La Salle's forehead cleared. He was glad, for, foes as the Jesuits
were, they had done vast service for the country and for France; and
murder like this had seemed too shameless.

"Then who was it--your own evil heart, Jolycoeur?"

"I had no hate of Sieur de la Salle."

Now Tonty spoke. "We believe you. Then it was a woman--eh?"

Perrot did not answer, but his head hung low and despair was in
his body.

"It was Madame Ranard," said Tonty; but before he said this he
motioned Nika out of the room. "She--eh?"

Perrot inclined his head. He had lost all he had hoped to win by
La Salle's death, and his mind was sullen.

La Salle's eyes flared. That woman still pursued him and was the
agent of so much that had been done against him. She was still active,
and she had brains and skill, and her soul was like the pit of Avernus.
What should he do? The right thing was to have Perrot shot at once
as a would-be murderer, or sent to Quebec to be tried, but in that
case notoriety would ensue and the end would be bad.

"Have him disarmed, Tonty, and kept a prisoner, and come to me again."

Perrot, conscious of Tonty's and Nika's arms, yielded up at once his
knife and pistol, and soon afterwards was in a small room by himself,
unbound, but guarded by Nika, who had fastened the door.

Tonty returned to La Salle.

"What will you do, La Salle?" asked Tonty, with anger on his cheek.
To think that La Salle, the man who was to do so much for Canada and
France in this hemisphere, should have been so near death! As La
Salle lay feeble, but with so stern a face and so resolute a look,
Tonty almost wept, for in this explorer he found that new thing--an
absolutely honest man, with no fear and with high faith.

After a moment's silence La Salle said: "I shall pardon him, Tonty.
He has been sent mad by that woman, and in his heart he does not hate
me. He would have killed me for her sake, but so would many a man
have done. Perrot is not a bad man--he is simply a mad-man, and I
shall set him free."

Tonty protested. This shocked him. "It is most unwise, La Salle. He
will be your foe in the future."

"Nearness to death makes the brain clear and the spirit understand;
besides, Perrot is a fine explorer and he will do good work. I shall
free him."

Tonty sat with bowed head for a moment, and when he raised it again
his eyes were smiling. He grasped one of La Salle's hands.

"In my soul I know you are right, La Salle. Shall I bring Perrot to
you? Is that it?"

"At once, Tonty--he must not remain here under guard. Bring him,

In a few moments Perrot was again in La Salle's room. He held himself
erect, for his manhood had reasserted itself and he was ready for
all that might come. He came to La Salle's bedside and La Salle said,
"Sit down, Perrot."

Perrot sat. La Salle looked at him a moment sternly, yet sadly, and
said: "I am glad you did not succeed, Perrot, not only for my own
life's sake, but for that I wish to do for our beloved land. I am of
no account, but Canada is and France is. For a wicked moment you forgot
both. But you are a man who can do great work for your land, and I
implore you to do it, and--"

Perrot looked up astonished. Was he then to live? His eyes became

"You shall go from here with no stain on your character, so far as
the world is concerned. It was not your real self that attempted my
life, but a woman who would injure me and who had no regard for you.
Did you think she would turn to you when you had killed me? You were
in her power and you could do naught; you would have been a murderer.
Did you not know that? She is the friend of the Intendant. Do you
not see how she inveigled you?"

Perrot's face underwent many changes, but the last expression was
one of sullenness. Suddenly he shivered with fury. He had been made
a tool and would have killed this man. And for what? For a sordid
passion which made him slay his own soul for a woman's body, for
the rage of the flesh which had twisted his life to do a brutal deed.

La Salle felt the thoughts passing through Perrot's mind and his great
spirit spoke. He saw how distraught Perrot's face was, and he knew
the man truly repented of his dastardly act. He was not all bad--he
had had a fit of elemental lunacy, and he now saw himself as he really
was--the victim of an evil force which would have sacrificed him
in the end. And how easy! To make him the victim of public disapproval,
of her husband's sword or the Intendant's power, and she to go through
it all unmoved save in her vanity, with smiling face. That was what
vexed him now, which made him see himself in the light of this man's
face whom he had tried to kill. He saw her now in her graceful,
luxurious gown, her pale face and dark, fascinating eyes, her slight
yet sumptuous figure, her ravishing power over the lower side of man.

Suddenly he dropped on his knees and his head bowed in shame. With
a broken voice he said:

"Sieur, I have naught to say. My eyes are open. May God forgive me
for the evil I have done you and myself! I am the scum--the dregs--I,
Nicolas Perrot, once an honest man, now the dung of the world."

His body shook. But La Salle touched his shoulder.

"Be still, Perrot. I shall soon be at work again, and you shall work
for your native land. I cannot employ you. Your evil deed would be
ever before your eyes. But be my friend in the world where I need
friends. Speak of me as you know me, a man who is the lover of his
land and his King. Speak me fair, Perrot--eh?"

Perrot rose to his feet. His eyes shone, his face lighted.

"You spare my life! You spare my life! You are of the greatest
of the world, and I will help you when I can. My tongue will always
speak for you. I go not to Quebec, for I should do some mad thing
to that woman, but into the northern fields. May I go now, Sieur
de la Salle?"

A smile seldom came to La Salle's face, but one came now and he said,
gently, "Go in peace, Jolycoeur--and may God be with you."

For a moment Perrot stood looking at him with strange intentness;
then he stretched out a hand as if in good-by, and, turning, left
the room, meeting Tonty at the door.

Tonty knew what La Salle had done, and his eyes gazed sternly at
Perrot, for it was too bad that he should go free. But to arrest
him or have him shot was not good, for it would be evil for La Salle
in the end. Yes, La Salle was right, so Tonty made way for Perrot
to pass, with the words:

"Adieu, Perrot! May the path you tread be clean!"

Perrot looked him firmly in the eyes. "Merci, M. Tonty. It shall
not be a bog."

As he passed out of the fort, Nika's eyes watched him with anger,
for he was of a race that never forgave, and he could not grasp La
Salle's action. Yet he fought the thought of having Perrot captured
by Indians and tortured, for that would be unfair to La Salle, whom
he loved. But he followed Perrot to the door, gave him his arms,
and said, with eyes glowering:

"It is good luck to you--no. Good to torture you, but for Sieur's
sake, no!"

When he was gone Nika stood still looking at the door. Unmoved he
stood for five minutes, brooding, his mind alive with evil thoughts.
He saw Perrot tied to a tree, and his tribe peeling bits of skin
from his body and burning it and eating it. He saw little stabs in
every part of his body and live coals thrust in the wounds made.
He saw the white body grow red and purple and a mass of gashes, and
a face contorted with pain. He heard a voice in horrible agony,
and then Tonty's voice behind him:

"Wake up, Nika. It is all over. He is gone. Go in to your master."

Nika drew himself together and slowly, heavily, he went to La Salle's
room with a look at Tonty which had in it the primitive faith that
would know no change. He was true.

Chapter XIII

Lya Makes a Discovery

Lya Darois was fitting her life to that of the capital. Sometimes
she went to her father's office, but she kept much to herself, though
young ladies sought her company. She was more plainly dressed than
they, and she wore no glittering bodkins or aigrettes. The hair of
the young ladies of Quebec was always curled and powdered. Those
of high rank got up at seven, dressed till nine, drinking coffee
at the same time, then they placed themselves at a window and, in
a dirty jacket and a coarse petticoat not reaching to the middle
of the legs, they took up some needlework and kept their eyes on
the street. They were lazy, but on the whole they had good manners,
wit, and delicacy, and good voices, and a great fondness for dancing.
When they undertook to catch a lover he could not easily escape.

Lya had little to do with them. She lived with her father and old Luce
Hontard, and she had not yet been to the court of Frontenac. But one
day Frontenac saw her with her father and she was invited to his next
reception. Frontenac, a good judge of character, distrusting Darois,
for there was a look in his face he did not like, had confidence in
the daughter, and felt her to be honest, true, and very intelligent,
though so young--only eighteen.

So, simply yet prettily dressed, Lya went to Frontenac's reception,
and was cordially received. The lady who acted hostess was the
wife of Count Louvigny on Frontenac's staff, a relative of the
Governor, and she at once liked the young girl, but presently
Lya was left to herself and she stood not far from the Intendant and
Madame Ranard. With rare gift of hearing the words of Madame Ranard
came to her:

"That leper, La Salle, escaped Nicolas Perrot, who did his work ill.
Now this must follow."

She then begged Duchesneau to incite La Salle's creditors to seize
his properties at Quebec, and put men in his employ who would desert
and leave him too few to meet the demands of his title-deeds.

Duchesneau said: "With the help of Tuke Darois we will destroy him.
Darois is our man. Why he hates La Salle I know not, care not, but he
can do our will. He watches Du Lhut there and does not hate Du Lhut,
as who could, but he watches and hates La Salle."

This startled Lya, as she had not known her father's especial task,
but if it was to watch La Salle and Du Lhut and be foes to them both,
then he was a spy--a spy--her father a spy! It made her sick in mind,
for such a life was detestable and low. A spy! her father a spy! She
shuddered slightly, but she listened sharply still.

Madame Ranard's eyes glinted wickedly. "His daughter--I'll make up to
her. There's more in her than in her father. I'll find what she
knows. That Nicolas Perrot, it sickens me! He, an explorer too, and
to fail! He has not come to Quebec since."

Barbe went slowly to Lya, unaware that all between them had been
heard. She said:

"Ah, dear mademoiselle, I am glad to meet you--very."

Lya curtsied. "I do not know your name, madame, but that does not

Barbe looked alertly at her, but felt no intended insult in the
words. She was, however, piqued, for that anyone should not know
Madame Ranard seemed too ignorant--in so small a place as Quebec!
She hid her irritation and smoothly said:

"I am Madame Ranard and my husband is Farmer to the King's Revenue.
Your father works for him."

Lya showed mock surprise. "Ah yes, I have heard of you, madame. You
belong to that wonderful society, the Sainte Famille."

Barbe looked at her rather suspiciously now, but before she could reply
Madame Louvigny came and said to Lya:

"Will you not hear Monsieur Du Lhut talk? He is of the interesting men
in Canada. He has done great service for the King."

Barbe slightly sneered. "He is a coureur de bois who breaks the laws
of the King. His reputation is known."

"If the laws are broken, His Excellency, the Governor, is responsible
for him."

So said Madam Louvigny with point, for she knew the dark nature
of this radiant woman.

"His Excellency, I have been told, is responsible for trade with the
English at Albany, Madame Louvigny."

Madame Louvigny shrugged her shoulder slightly.

"Madame Ranard has listened too intently to the gossip of the
Intendant's office. It has been written to France by the Intendant
we know, but we kill that in this salon, madame. It does not last,
that sort of falsehood."

Then turning to Lya she said: "Come and hear Du Lhut, my dear. The
King is proud of him."

"Monsieur Darois is a faithful listener to Monsieur Du Lhut, madame.
So his daughter should listen also."

Something in her words wrung Lya's spirit, but she smiled at Madame
Louvigny and said: "I would like to hear monsieur. His face is well
known. He leads men."

Madame Ranard's eyes had smothered fires as she said:

"He leads the coureurs de bois, who break the laws of trade in
fur that the King has made."

Madame Louvigny smiled serenely at Barbe and led Lya away from the
malicious foe of La Salle. Barbe watched them until they drew near
to Du Lhut, then she returned to the Intendant.

"They fight, but we shall win in the end, Jacques."

"It is not so easy winning here. What did they say?"

Madame Ranard told him, and the Intendant frowned.

"The girl has brains. She is not all on the surface. I wonder does she
know what her father is?"

"I'm sure she does not," answered Barbe. "She is demure and
ignorant, but clever in her way. She has a mind of her own--that's

Presenting Lya to Du Lhut--to her father's disgust--madame presently
left the powerful Du Lhut talking with respect and vivacity to Lya.
He was won by her winsome honesty, and others listened with envy,
for he talked directly to her.

Madame Louvigny went to Frontenac and told him quietly what Madame
Ranard had said, and Frontenac showed naught in his face, knowing
that the Intendant and Madame Ranard were watching, but he nodded
sedately and smiled, as though listening to pleasant things. Then
he turned to Louvigny.

"Sedition is spoken here, Louvigny. The Intendant says I am trading
through Du Lhut with the English and Dutch at Albany. What fools!
Do they think they can defeat Louis Frontenac?"

A frown showed on his forehead, a sneer touched his lips.

"Am I so small, think you, my Louvigny?"

"The sparrow fights the eagle, Excellency. We know which will win."

Louvigny smiled, for he knew the Intendant's eyes were on him, while
Frontenac's back was towards them.

Frontenac laughed now. "Due care should be had when the crows are
flying low, Louvigny."

"The crows and the vultures, Monseigneur," said Louvigny, smiling
grimly, for he was thinking of the Intendant and Madame Ranard and
the Jesuits.

"They may all work together, Louvigny, but when I move they must give
way. Here Bishop Laval comes. Now for frontier diplomacy--and the
eagle's claw!"

So saying, Frontenac met Bishop Laval with friendly courtesy. The
Bishop was a big man in reputation and character--one of the biggest
Quebec had known. As he came to Frontenac, his ugly nose seemed
larger than usual, but his eyes were glowing, his figure thin,
yet slightly stooped, and one hand fingered gently the crucifix
on his breast.

"I am proud to greet you here, Monsieur de Quebec. You give distinction
to my poor court," said Frontenac, with courtesy.

He looked on the assembly where were penniless and improvident nobles
like the Marquis de la Sablonnire and numerous, black-robed
Jesuits, Recollets in gray robes, beautiful women from the Court
of France. Also men who had left France broken in fortune and
were living here as officials or adventurers, officers of the
Carignan-Sallires Regiment, who had received seignories, gentlemen
of Canada like the Le Moyne family, Le Ber, Chesnaye, Du Villiers,
Lotbinires, Robillards, Martinoyes, Caron, Sechets, Benjoinville,
Lauriers, and others all in laces and velvets and swords, all
eager to serve their own interest. Many of them were foes of
Frontenac, who, as they thought, stole from them, by support
of La Salle, their share of the fur trade. Among them were
coureur de bois, who were welcome at Frontenac's court, and
who, many of them, were little removed from peasants, while some
were nobly born like Du Lhut, and lived lives of adventure and
profit and would fight with lan and success at any time. They
were the figures in the life of Quebec, bold, strident, conquering.
Frontenac eyed the throng with no emotion except that which said:
"Of these I am the master, and none shall defeat me. I know my way."

It was not a scene like that at the Palais Royal at Versailles or
Fontainebleu, for there was none of the glittering architecture
of those places, no vast tapestries and paintings and sculpture,
no lofty ceilings, yet it had distant view like Versailles. It
was however a court with brilliant charm, for the dresses of all
were showy and were a gallant foreground for the dark timbers of
the ceilings and the brown wood of the walls, along which there
showed a few good pictures of France and the ancient spears and
flags of armies of kings that lived before Louis XIV. It was a
large room, and it looked important. It had a glamour of its own.

Laval quietly said, in a smooth and careful voice: "Your court does
no dishonor to Versailles, though it is smaller, but here there are
fewer shreds of humanity. We are a people with good things in us."

"I like to hear you say so, Monseigneur, for sometimes I have doubted
it, yet you should know better than anyone else. Perhaps my office
makes me too exacting."

"Your office has been filled by none more distinguished than Count
Frontenac. I have seen many come and go."

"That says much, for some Governors were of your own choosing. You
honor me."

"There have been moments when I doubted Your Excellency was the best
fitted for the post, but I have faith now."

His keen eyes shone. He was evidently anxious to get something from
Frontenac. He continued: "Even a bishop can make mistakes in a land
where mistakes are common. We have crossed swords, Your Excellency,
but I found you most competent."

Frontenac felt some purpose in these compliments, but he could say
naught to help the matter on.

"I have never crossed swords with a bishop in my life, but if our
wills are meant--yes. I found Monsieur de Quebec no amateur
in mind and purpose."

The Bishop smiled. Presently he said, softly:

"I wish to know if you approve the purposes of Sieur de la Salle. He
would extend discovery and the King's rule on this continent and
develop settlement largely. Is that good? Is life to be lived with
gold and silver as the end of all? Are not the souls of men more?
We Churchmen wish to convert the Indians and to save their souls for
God, but we seek not money. To us it is better to make the Indians
true sons of the Church than to use them for gain, as do the new
settlers La Salle takes to the West. Is that not so?"

Frontenac looked with a grave smile at the Bishop.

"I do not understand. The Church had been the true servant of exploration
and trade. I do not forget the martyrs who have given their lives,
like Brebeuf and Lalemant and Jogues and so many others. And they
were traders, too. Even Marquette, whose late discovery of the
Mississippi with Joliet would develop territory, and with it trade.
The greatest Intendant ever here, Talon, who increased trade and
showed the way to manufacture of many things, knew that this land
could not always be the foster-child of King Louis. It would
pay its way, and only by trade can it do so. Eyen the house the
present Intendant lives in was a brewery built by Talon, and you
have schools for children which he started. Your Church has ever
been the friend of exploration and trade, but now you wish the
Indians only to be sons of the Church!"

The Bishop's face hardened as he listened to the Governor.

"We have had first in our minds the salvation of the Indians, and
that could only be by exploration. We have been friends of trade,
but it is not our chief aim. The soul--the soul of the Indian,
that is first."

"Yet, frankly, Monsieur de Quebec, your missions only prove that you
can give the world great martyrs. There you are supreme. To be sons
of the Church only is not the policy of King Louis."

"It was until lately," was the rather tart reply of Laval. "Your
Excellency changed it. He would not let Joliet build forts on the
Illinois and the Mississippi. La Salle would not have received
these wide powers save through Your Excellency's intervention.
Your Excellency has great influence at Court."

Frontenac smiled. "Monseigneur, I had no influence. He himself did all,
save for the letter I gave him, to Colbert. But others had written to
Colbert--the Intendant and his friends here. No, La Salle himself carved
his own way in France. He had against him--so the Comtesse Frontenac
wrote me--the constant efforts of Madame Ranard"--the Bishop
stiffened--"who was acting indirectly for the Intendant. La Salle
convinced them all, and before the whole Court King Louis gave him his
commission. But La Salle did it in spite of De Montespan and her Jesuit
confessor, and the Intendant, I chance to know, and not through me. I
have good correspondents in France, and my wife is on the spot."

"We have always lamented she is not here, Your Excellency."

"We cannot say all, my lord Bishop. She has no love of frontier
life. She is not strong. It is better to have in France some one
wholly loyal to me, and so she stays there. Her use to me in
France has been shown again and again. She does not go to Court,
but she is a perfect chronicler."

"They say she has the golden key to the Court, though she does not
enter it. You will not try to influence La Salle against his present
course--is that your will, Excellency?"

Frontenac said, firmly: "I have helped La Salle in every way possible.
I borrowed money for him. To all he does I give assent, for he is an
honest man, and that cannot be said of many in New France--as
I have found."

The Bishop had good self-control. He showed no feeling, but he said:
"I regret to oppose you in this policy, Your Excellency. You may
find it successful, but I doubt it--ah, I really doubt it."

"When the Bishop doubts, the Governor must take heed!" said Frontenac,
with quiet point, and then they moved away from the crowd, the
Intendant and Madame Ranard watching intently.

From the side of Du Lhut, Lya at length detached herself. She felt
him a man of rare ability and she liked him; and upon this man her
own father was a spy, and upon a far greater man, La Salle.

She went to her father. "I would go home," she said.

Darois saw a shadow in her eyes and he thought it fatigue.

"Come then. We will have a quiet walk in the bright night. I have
had enough of this."

Outside he said, "You found Monsieur De Lhut interesting?"

"One of the most interesting men in Canada, don't you think?"

"To me one of the most interesting."

Darois smiled grimly as he said it.

Chapter XIV

The Cross-Roads

News of La Salle and Tonty came but slowly to Quebec city, and meanwhile
life went on. Du Lhut vanished with his coureurs de bois. Not very
many of these were nobly born like Du Lhut, and some of the best men
of the colony pleaded with Duchesneau to obey the King's orders and
suppress them.

It was an old source of trouble between Frontenac and the Intendant,
and letters had gone to France in protest from the latter and in
defiance from the former. King Louis and Colbert believed in Frontenac,
but they both reproved him and they both chided Duchesneau. The
difference was that Frontenac would develop the King's estate regardless
of himself, but to do so he must evade the commands of the King in
this one respect, while Jacques Duchesneau was only, and always,
for himself, with no high patriotism, and with intent to grow rich.

Word had come that La Salle was building a ship which was to go over
the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi, and the ship was to be called
the Griffon in honor of the coat of arms of Frontenac, and against the
purposes of the Jesuits. Yet La Salle had got from Louis the right to
build forts and to open up trade on the Mississippi.

Here it was Tuke Darois did his work. He was intent to destroy Du Lhut
and ten times more eager to ruin La Salle, for increase of trade meant
injury to the Hudson's Bay Company, and he was their spy in the
service of Duchesneau. His enmity to Du Lhut and La Salle had the
support of the Jesuits and the Intendant and Ranard, who did not know
that he was a spy of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Darois at last determined to go to Fort Frontenac and to try and spoil
the purposes of La Salle in two ways--by letting the Griffon be built
at considerable cost, and then giving her a pilot who would sink her,
and by weaning from La Salle his workers and so place him in difficulty
with Louis and Colbert, who has demanded that he keep so many men at
his fort. La Salle had borrowed money in France and in Canada and
to ruin him financially would be the last great blow.

He did not tell his daughter where he was going when he started.
She thought it was only to Montreal and Three Rivers, for he was
astute. He did not know she had an inkling of his real position,
and he hid the truth from her. Lya visited but little, yet she had
many invitations, for the notice taken of her at the Chteau
by Frontenac and Madame Louvigny and Du Lhut had its influence. It
was only by chance that Lya found her father's true purpose, for
one day, coming past the Bishop's palace, she met Madame Ranard,
who stopped and spoke to her.

"Ah, dear mademoiselle, you are alone, I hear." She smiled sweetly,
but Lya was not to be deceived by that. She smiled also, and said:

"No, not alone, dear madame. Our old servant is with me, and I have
much to keep me busy."

"But busy--for so long alone!" said Madame Ranard, raising her

At once Lya seized some hidden meaning in the words "so long."

She said, "What is a few weeks in a lifetime, madame?"

"A few weeks--but no, a few months, my child."

"Well, even a few months--what of that? I did not know my father would
stay so long in Montreal." Her eyes caught those of Madame Ranard with
a hidden suspicion, for she recalled that night at the Chteau.

Madame Ranard now struck with venom, but softly and subtly:

"Montreal is naught--weeks--but your father goes far beyond that!"

Lya shrugged a shoulder. "Does my father, then, confide his plans
to madame?" she asked in irony.

"He is under my husband in office, and I know where he goes, and why."

Madame Ranard smiled. She was convinced that Lya did not know her
father's purposes or where he was going. So it was she had struck
so deftly. She wished Lya to be hurt, for she felt the girl against

Lya's face showed naught of what she felt, but her tongue said:

"Well, _why_ may I ask?"

Madame Ranard thought hard. What difference could it make if she told
that which would irritate the girl, who loved her father, would not
expose him to Frontenac or seek to remove him from his post. Lya was
in a quandary, and it did Ranard's dark spirit good to think she was
stabbing this slim, lonely girl through her gentle bosom.

"Oh, you shall know, if you do not. He goes to bring La Salle to his
senses and to do true service for King Louis."

"You mean he goes to ruin La Salle?" asked Lya, intently.

"Your father does his duty--as do all who love France and the King
more than themselves."

"But the Governor is La Salle's friend and believes in him!"
said the girl, with slightly heightened color--she wished to show
she had been struck hard.

"Frontenac--oh, he--yes, he is La Salle's friend, but Frontenac's
days are numbered here, as are La Salle's. Do you think that Frontenac
and La Salle can fight the Church and the Bishop and the great traders
forever? Why, no, my child, that can't be done, and the biggest man
in this country is the Intendant!"

She had calculated her stroke well. The girl would not go to Frontenac
and tell him what she, Madame Ranard, had said, for she loved her father,
and if she told Frontenac anything, she must tell all, and that she
would not do.

"Well, madame, if what you say is true, I am sorry we came here, that
is all. Oh, why did you tell me? I must fight it all out by myself."

"Oh no, not that. There's always the Church. You can unburden your
heart to a priest."

"No priest can help me. For months--for months! Madame, you have--"

She stopped as though her feelings had overcome her. They had walked
far, and she was now near her own home. She had fully deceived Madame
Ranard, who left her with a furtive look and with the certainty that
the girl's lips were sealed.

When she had gone Lya's face lost its affected misery and her eyes
blazed up.

"My God! does she think me made of wood? Does she think I know not
what to do? My father gone to Fort Frontenac, has he? And to destroy
La Salle! Well, there is a way for me, too. She knew well I would
not go to Frontenac. But she forgets--forgets I have courage and
endurance. I am--"

She said no more, but quickly reached her home.

Chapter XV

The Argonauts

It was late Autumn and in the East snow had not yet begun to fall.
Lya had made her arrangements quickly and told no one save Luce
Hontard of her destination. She found two faithful habitants of the
Du Lhut corps, who knew the woods as they knew their own hands.
These men, who loved mystery, assented gladly, for they meant to
join Du Lhut in the West, and to them she was like some sweet bird
flying to a new nest. Lya had a gift of inspiring confidence, given
to few, and she had no fear in travelling with these two. In her
heart of hearts she knew life, and her soul was as radiant as the
drops of water hanging in the leaves after a rain, through which
the sun shines.

It was Luce Hontard who put her in the way of getting these good men,
both of whom were near fifty years of age, both bearded and with eyes
that showed not singular integrity, but temperament which would honor
every law that made a girl safe in the darkest places. Both had been
married and both were as widowers, though one had lost his wife by
desertion and not by death. This made him not gloomy, but firm, and
with a sense of chivalry which is and always had been characteristic
of the French Canadian. He was Jules Ladaux and he was short, thick-set
and with endurance and great skill of the woods.

The other was Luc Maste, whose wife was true and faithful, and he was
built like wire, and his roving nature had a stern sense of duty. He
had wandered far, had been in danger often, had been prisoner of the
Iroquois, had even been tortured, but he had come through all with
a nature which would not stoop to the mean thing. He had killed
Indians, had been in raids for skins against the law, had the air of
a petit gentilhomme and was at times dressed like other courtiers,
with velvet and lace, and he did this solely to make the coureurs de
bois more prominent. His was the vanity of the good men of the lower
orders. He was a habitant, and yet was a cut above, with a kind of
natural dignity, and it was strengthened by the gallantry and grace
of the well-born Du Lhut.

At their first meeting with Lya, she said:

"I am told you are going West to join the great Du Lhut. Is it so?"

"It's so, for sure;" said Luc Maste, and Jules Ladaux nodded.

"I wish you to go with me farther West than you have meant perhaps.
I cannot tell you where yet. I cannot pay you high, for I am poor,
but I will give you each--"

Luc Maste interrupted her.

"We will serve you, m'm'selle, without bargain. We are not
hucksters--nom de pipe."

Her eyes lighted and a smile came to her lips. "Let it be so, then.
I like you to feel you are doing good to one who loves France and
Canada and all that concerns their good, as you do."

"Your love of both would not be doubted--no!" said Jules.

"I do not mean myself. I mean one who has many foes, yet thinks
not of himself."

[image: Jacques Duchesneau]

"Your father?" said Luc Maste, with a faintly furtive eye, for he had
his doubts about Tuke Darois, and this was Tuke Darois' daughter! The
instinct of the French Canadian is always acute, and he feels where
he cannot think--he feels first. Luc caught the swift flash of her
eye as she said in reply:

"I do not mean my father. He has many friends and he does think much
of himself."

Jules interposed: "It matters not. We shall go where you will, seek
whom you seek, and our mouths will be like ice in winter. You want
that, is it not?"

Lya's breast heaved: "It is so. You will not regret it. I will start
in twenty-four hours. Can you be ready then?"

They both looked at the young, slight, yet firm figure, at the composed
yet fiery face, at the self-reliant eye, and their reply was instant:
"We can be ready--bagosh."

She gave a hand to each, and they took them in their own, and with
the other hand raised above their heads made a silent vow, looking
into her eyes the while. A glimmer of a tear showed in her eyes,
but her lips were firm, and she said:

"No one must know till we are on our way. No one must guess where
we are going."

"We do not know, m'm'selle, and we do not gossip. You can trust us.
Tiens! we have never been one of those who blabbed."

"Yes, yes, I know."

"No lady has ever taken the risks you are about to take, m'm'selle."

"I do my duty, that's all."

"There will be great dangers and we are but three."

"I understand. I have been brought up with a gun in my hands. When
great things are at stake, risks must be."

At that moment Luce Hontard entered. She was portly and slow, but she
had a body of great endurance and an unwavering mind. She did not
hesitate to let Lya go, for, though no one had said why the journey
was taken, she understood. She had an uncanny gift of prescience. Her
eyes settled on the three for a moment. She saw that all was well. Then
she looked the two men in the eyes.

"You, you--good, good!" she said, and no more.

Both men kissed her on the cheek. She flushed slightly, she even smiled:

"Me--good, good!" she said, and no more.

"Tonnerre!--but yes," said Luc Maste.

Twenty hours later, at break of day, when the broad river was flowing
gently past Quebec, the three started in a canoe with no watchers
near--only a stray habitant who had no interest in the three and gave
them scarce a glance. It was no unusual thing for man to start on
journeys at dawn. The canoe was well loaded, yet not so heavy that
they could not carry it, and all, beyond the rapids of La Chine.
After those were passed there would be no further trouble, and at
La Chine they could get help, if needed, from habitants.

As the canoe sped away quickly Lya looked back. There was the Chteau
of St. Louis on the heights, looking grim and stern in the early light;
there was the palace of the Intendant Duchesneau, massive and striking
and long; there was the Jesuit College buildings in the square, with
the glow of the rising sun touching the white walls; there was the
palace of the Bishop, the cathedral, and the house of M. Rojet Ranard
by itself, and in it was the woman who had done harm to La Salle and
would do more, if she could; and there was her own small house which
maybe she might never see again. Then there were the homes of Lower
Town, the warehouses, the few shops, the places of business, the mart.

Lya was dressed in chamois from head to foot, her cap was Indian
with a small tail, and she looked like a priestess of the wilds.
This was an expedition which would demand all the endurance of a
stern pioneer, all the courage of La Salle himself, all the faith
of a saint. At last with a tremor, not of fear, but of excitement,
she looked ahead.

There was the broad river, there were the mists, and there was the
lovely shore of the river at the North; there were the sure dangers,
but the sun was breaking through the mists, and she suddenly felt all
would be well. Here and there along the shore was a house, here and
there a habitant at his plow or in the field, and now and then an
Indian with his bow and arrow or a gun. All the land seemed a place
of beauty and strength, and to Lya there came visions of the future
when these shores would be inhabited and all this land a glorious
empire of the King of France.

At last she took a paddle as well, and worked like a man, while the
two coureurs de bois sang one of the songs so much beloved in Canada:

  "There is no land like this--no, no;
     Fly away, my heart, fly away!
   There is no hope like this--no, no;
     Fly away, my heart, fly away!
   Here is a bride to kiss, yes, yes;
     Stay here, my heart, oh, stay!"

Softly Lya joined in the song, and the lilt of their voice's with the
strange deep feeling of these people came out like the song of the
birds in the trees of the shore. Somehow, at the very start of their
voyage the fibre of these people of the woods and streams was a
guaranty of success. Yet Lya knew that few dangers would come till
they had passed Montreal and were far up the river by Lake Ontario.
She liked these men; they were of the right sort, and it touched
her grimly that it was they, with La Salle, her father was set
against in his work.

Their meals were made on the shore--game, Indian corn, bread, prunes,
baked pumpkin, and spring water and tea and coffee, of which they
had plenty, and she quickly tidied up after the meals. When night
came, after a thirty-miles' row, they camped on the shore; and she
slept in a tent, but the men on the open ground. She slept soundly,
and at dawn she went for a bathe at a secluded spot; yet she knew
that this could not continue, for, once they had passed Montreal it
would not be safe, and so Luc Maste made plain to her when she said
at breakfast that she had had a bathe.

"It would be madness in the wilds--bidemme!" said Luc, and he
looked her straight in the eyes.

"I know. When we pass Montreal I will not bathe in the river. But till
then, oh yes! I know how careful we must be."

"You have the woodman's sense," said Jules.

"And the riverman's mind," said Luc.

"And the woman's instinct," said Lya, and she laughed.

"And some other things also, bless the good God, or we should not
be here," added Luc.

It was after passing the rapids of La Chine, and the river widened
and grew more beautiful with the maples, elms, and oaks deepening in
exquisite color on the banks, and the air was like a vivid wine, that
the real dangers came. One night they camped on shore, and Lya did
not undress, for she felt peril near. Her sleep was not sound, and
she was suddenly waked by seeing the cloth of her small tent raised.
She softly drew her gun to her. Then the body of a man appeared. It
was an Indian, and there were two others behind him. They were in war
paint and feathers. As the Indian stooped to enter, there was the sound
of two shots, and two Indians fell, but not him who was now inside her
tent. As he half turned to the door she fired. He fell at her feet
with a sharp cry, but raised his tomahawk to strike. She seized his
arm, and with her knife struck him in the chest, and he fell and lay
still. Outside there was further discharge of guns and wild whoops of
fury, and then sudden silence, and Lue Maste came running to her
tent. He saw the dead Indian at her feet, and said:

"They nearly caught us, the five of them, but they are all dead.
They think we were no good--eh! Jules has a very slight wound in
the leg, but we're both all right." They both looked at her with
grave, proud eyes. "You are a true coureur de bois, but yes!"

At that point Jules appeared, and the two men carried out the body
of the Iroquois. They carried the five into the woods and left
them without burial. It was near morning and they did not lie down
again, but built a fire and waited for the dawn.

As they sat waiting, an anxious, drawn look came into the face of
Lya. This Indian was the first man she had ever killed. She had
seen many, many killed, and thrice had wounded Indians, but had
never killed till now. Her youth, her composed beauty, her
self-possession, were all there, and the two men worshipped her.

Looking up from the fire, she at last said:

"You have trusted me. You have followed my will. Now I tell you
where we go. It is to Fort Frontenac, where my father has gone."
They both nodded, and Luc Maste said, sarcastically, yet carefully:

"Your father goes upon the finances of the Fort, and to see that
all is after the will of the King."

"That is so. Yet why not trust La Salle, who is a good friend of
France? I did not know my father was going to Fort Frontenac!"
Her eyes were searching those of the men.

Luc Maste laughed a little. "Yet you go--and why? It is a hard
journey, and we are not yet there. You go not upon the finances of
Fort Frontenac. It is much danger for one so young--and a woman!"

Lya gave a low half-ironical laugh. "Well, my father and I are queer.
We are mysteries, and why he went, and why I go, are mysteries. Let
it stand. Danger--I am used to that, and so are you. You work for
nothing, and you risk your lives for me. I will never forget while
I live. How long before we reach Fort Frontenac?"

Jules Ladaux' eyes were shining. The French love mystery and melodrama,
and this adventure was meat and drink and inspiration. "It all
depends--yes. If it freezes and we have to walk much, it will be long.
If we can go by canoe all the way--another week. Yes, if it freezes
we shall have to leave the canoe, and we must take our chances on
that--sacre bleu. Then we shall be in danger always, for the Indians
are many on shore."

"We are in the hands of God," said Lya.

"Then God be with us," said Jules Ladaux, and they both signed the
cross with their fingers.

At last dawn broke, and the reddish glow made the river very beautiful,
and all the vast expanse a glory of wild life. It did not seem that
death and danger could be near. The roseate glow was like a balm to
a troubled world--the sun was a feast of the eye.

To Luc Maste his friend said, while Lya made breakfast:

"It isn't plain why he or she should go to Fort Frontenac." Luc Maste
laughed low. "It's plain to me. Darois is the foe of La Salle and means
him harm and our Du Lhut also, and this girl goes to stop the harm, if
she can. She is as straight as her father is crooked--that's my view.
I've not seen one like her since I was born. Mystery, she says, but
we know it's no mystery. We will get her there safely, in the name
of God!"

When they were within two days of Fort Frontenac by river it froze, and
they had to take to the land. They could only carry enough to feed them,
and enough clothing for the heavy frost. The tent for Lya had to be
left behind, and much else, but this they had known from the start,
and so they turned the canoe on the few things they abandoned, and
walked on, each loaded to the limit. As they marched, Luc ahead and
Lya in the middle, the men sang softly a chanson:

  "Peasant, give me your daughter,
     And that is all!
   Peasant give me your daughter,
     And that is all!
   I pray you give her to me,
     You will make my heart happy!
   I pray you give her to me,
     You will make my heart happy,
   And that is all."

They had no want of food, and they had hominy and brandy. They had
seen Indians now and then, and more than once they were anxious, but
they were not attacked, for the Indians were not Iroquois, but
Algonquins, and were not inimical to whites. One of the men slept
for four hours by turn, and they would not let Lya take turn at
watching. As they each got at least seven hours' sleep a night,
each morning found them vital. They had no more adventures till
they reached Fort Frontenac and saw the bastions, the narrow gateway,
and the strong walls, and round these walls tribes of Indians La
Salle had gathered there.

As they neared the fort of a late afternoon, Indians came to greet
them, and there was warm welcome, and Indian women made special welcome
by clapping hands on open mouths, and they gathered round Lya excitedly,
fingering her dress and admiring her. She was the first white woman
who had ever come this hard journey to Fort Frontenac. They took what
she was carrying, the Indians did the same with Jules and Luc, and
they entered the gateway of the fort with much clamor. Inside were
Indians. Some had brought furs to exchange for goods, and bartering
was at its height. It all had color and display.

Now suddenly there appeared in the doorway of the fort three white
men. Two were Recollet friars, and one had the air of an official.
They did not at first see the newcomers, but presently the
hurly-burly reached them and one priest, pointing, said:

"Arrivals from the East. Two men and a woman."

"Two men and a woman? That's strange!" said Tuke Darois, and came
forward. He was amazed to see his daughter, and he turned pale.
A frown came, then he hurried forward. With a searching look at
her two escorts he embraced Lya and said:

"God in Heaven! What brings you here?"

Her reply was firm, "Not what brings you here, father?"

Of the two men who had come with her, Luc said:

"Now begins the real story. What is it?"

Chapter XVI

Face to Face

To her father Lya said, "Why did you come, please?" With a scowl
he replied, "When I know why you have come."

Lya shook her head. "Anyone will tell me. I know why you came."
Her voice was pierced and strong. "Why did you say you were going
to Montreal only? Why did you deceive me?"

"I have my own business."

She came close to him, her eyes flashing. "You are a spy and the foe
of La Salle. You came to injure him. There are those who know."

He was startled. An ugly look came into his face. "Who told you
that? Who says I am a spy? If so, you are, then, the daughter of a
spy. Do you like it?"

Her face was flushed, her mouth bitter. "I could kill you for degrading
yourself and me. You hid it all from me. You--a spy! A spy!"

"You could kill me--you!" he seized her arm. "Who told you I was a
spy? Who? What devil lied so?"

"No one lied. That night at the Chteau St. Louis I heard it,
and now I know it true."

"You heard it--from whom?" There was anger, yet a fear in his eyes.

"From Madame Ranard and the Intendant. You are their agent and they
know why you are in Quebec. You spy for the Hudson's Bay Company,
but they do not know that, and you spy for them. Why do you hate La
Salle and what he does?"

"Spying is not dishonorable. Better men have done it. It is the clash
of race and interests--two vast concerns one against the other."
He said this roughly.

"So you are more English than French--is that it? You work for
French Canada as well as the Hudson's Bay Company? Does the Intendant
know that? You don't want the French to trade, therefore you hate La
Salle because he does trade. His foes don't want him to trade, and
so you spy for them on La Salle and Du Lhut. That is it, is it?"

"They don't know I'm a spy of the Hudson's Bay Company. They only
know I am against La Salle and Du Lhut. It coincides, that is all."

"You are here to hurt La Salle, and I have come against you. If you
go on against La Salle, I will expose you."

Scorn, anger, and sorrow were in her voice. All her being revolted
at his work.

"You would tell then what I am--you, my daughter!"

"I will tell them, and I will tell Count Frontenac. If he knew, your
life would be worth little."

His eyes grew big with amazement. He had a child that would send him
to his death--to oblivion--because her soul was just and true.
He had known she had ability, but this new vein was bigger than all.
She had character, and her journey out was wonderful. No woman had ever
made it, and she had done it with two men whom it was his duty to
overcome. She had gone through how much danger and anxiety for the
sake of conscience. He had to deal with a brain better than his own,
and a character to which his own was as a distant star to the sun.
Down deep in his crooked nature was love of her. His mind was confused,
his purposes seemed suddenly dark and treacherous, his soul was
awakened a little. Yet he was bitter that she should oppose him so.
He caught her arm fiercely.

"Let go my arm," she said, with sudden anger. "I am not your slave.
You shall treat me with respect, even if you do not love me."

He dropped her arm at once. He saw that he must go warily, or it
could be ill for him, for she loved truth more than she loved him.

"What is it you would have me do?" he asked.

"Cease to spy for the Hudson's Bay Company. You are your own foe.
I will not bear your treachery. I can make my own living, and
I will."

For a moment he looked at her with malice.

"You will do this, you will do that, and you will give me up to
the hands of Count Frontenac. Then I will make you no promise. I
will go on as I have done. If you and I clash, then the stronger
wins, and I am the stronger." He added, moodily, "Do these who brought
you know what I am?"

She waved an indignant hand. "They know naught. They brought me here
free of charge. They risked their lives for me. Once I was near death
and they fought to protect me."

She told in a few words the attack by the Iroquois, and her father's
face was a study. He realized that she was one in ten million, and that
she would carry through what she meant to do. But he must make a fight
for his authority or all would be lost. He would see it through in
his own way.

"Come into the fort," he said, "and we will talk of this later."

Her face hardened. "Unless you promise, I will take my own course,"
she said. "You are not all I have in the world."

"Who have you, then?" he asked, in a surly voice.

"What you have forgotten--the truth of things."

They were now at the door of the fort, and they were admitted with
no formalities. The first person they saw was the astounded Tonty.
His fine, distinguished figure, his black handsome eyes, his healthy
face, his air of ease and culture, fascinated her at once and she
smiled into his face.

"Ah, you came to see your father do his duty here," he said, with
outstretched hand which took her own.

"I came to see my father do his duty," she said, with a curious grave
smile, which did not escape the quick thought of Tonty, for he felt
things more than saw them.

"You show no ill-effects from your long hard journey--no lady has ever
taken it! You shall rest here while your father does his duty."

There was a delicate inflection in his voice which did not escape the
girl, and she knew it was in reply to her, but Tuke Darois did not
feel or see it.

"You shall see the Sieur de la Salle at dinner--or perhaps before," he
said, as he showed her into a room some distance from her father's.
There with a bow he left her, and with a pleasant nod she saw her
bundle placed in her bedroom, and with a scowl her father disappear.

Left alone, Lya looked round the room. It was bare, yet from the few
drawings on the wall, the narrow bed, the plain deal table and the
chairs and washstand, she had a sense of home. It was a new feeling,
and after unpacking her few things she sat on the edge of the bed
and looked at the opposite wall. It had a shelf on which were two
books, and one of these was the plays of Corneille, and one the
essays of Bossuet, and her sense of culture awoke. Culture? What
had she to do with culture? She had lived in the wilds always, and
she had read much, but never the plays of Corneille or the essays of
Bossuet. She went over, brought them back, and opened them. In the
Corneille volume the first words she saw were:

"The spirit is a fire, and it burns up all that shames;" and from
Bossuet these words met her eyes:

"Blessed is the soul that holds the truth."

She laid the books beside her on the bed. So this was the first
message she had after her dangerous journey! She was to burn up all
that shamed, and hold to the truth. She must hold fast on the course
she had entered, and she would warn--carefully--both Tonty and La
Salle. She looked at herself in a small mirror on the wall. Yes, hers
was an honest face, and a kind one, and in her eyes was a steady
light which would not be diminished. She sighed heavily and sat down
on the bed again. What should she do? In any case she would warn La
Salle that the Jesuits and the Intendant were out against him, and
that Madame Ranard was a constant and deadly foe, and she could do
this without implicating her father. Perhaps he knew all this; but
he did not know that her father was a spy, and she could not tell
him that; yet she would go far to save La Salle. She had made a
desperate journey, and she would go through with it. In a sense she
felt responsible, for she was the daughter of a man who was La Salle's
foe and who would go far to ruin him. Her coming would at best put
them on their guard. She was glad she had come.

For a half-hour she sat in meditation, then there came a firm knock
on her door. She opened it. Luc Maste and Jules Ladaux stood there.
Luc Maste smiled and he said:

"We come to ask if all is well with m'm'selle?"

She gave each a hand. "All is well, dear friends, and you shall have
commends from me to Sieur de la Salle. Will you go into his service?
Is that possible?"

They both shook heads. "No, we go to follow the great Du Lhut,"
said Luc Maste. "He is not so big as La Salle, but we cannot
change our service."

"Are you well roomed in the fort?" she asked.

"As well as can be, after our outdoor nights. This is the best fort
in Canada. It is managed like a game of chess."

At that moment Tonty entered. He saw the two men and shook them warmly
by the hand. "You good men brought mademoiselle a hard and dangerous

They smiled and bowed low. Luc Maste said:

"It was not work, it was honor. We were glad all came right, even
when attacked by the Iroquois!"

"Attacked by the Iroquois!"

They told him briefly what had happened. Tonty turned to Lya with pride
in his eyes. "We are glad you are here--safe. Now enjoy your rest, my
men, and be sure La Salle will thank you."

The two disappeared. Then Tonty turned to Lya.

"La Salle will see you now if you will come."

Lya lifted up her head in pride. So she was to talk with La Salle. Her
hands clenched at her side and her face turned slightly pale, and Tonty
saw both. He had had more than one love-affair in his life, yet never
had he felt what was in him now for this girl. She had a way with her,
greater than any lady he had ever known. It was not the airs or graces
of the life in Paris or in Rome, but those of a capital city called
Nature, in which she was supreme. She was sensitive, but composed and
self-possessed--she was alive in the highest and truest sense. She had
culture which comes from pure heart and soul, the grace of perfect
naturalness. He was moved in some deep part of him, as he had been
when he first saw her in Quebec. As he walked beside her he was aware
how soft and gliding was her footstep, how lissom was her figure,
how buoyant was her carriage. She was not tall, yet she was perfectly
made, and had rare dignity. Presently they stopped before a door and
Tonty turned the handle and they entered. La Salle was seated with
a map before him on the table, but he rose and came forward.

Like Tonty, he had been impressed at Quebec by her appearance, but
here, shut off from the world where no ladies had ever been, she
was like a ray of sunlight in a dark place, and for the first time
in his life his soul was stirred by a woman. How wonderful she was,
her eyes shining, her face aglow with health and understanding, her
sense of being like a thread of fire in the cold.

After a word of introduction Tonty left, and Lya was alone with this
great man. His handsome face was not like Tonty's, full of temperament;
it was rather set and a little stern, but there was in it the purpose
of a lifetime, and the unchanging faith and hope of a patriot who
would sacrifice himself and all with him for his cause. Only his
marvelous eyes showed the soul of the man. They were alive and ample
and lustrous, and in them was his life-long ambition, which for the
first time was caught on its course by the spirit of a woman. He
smiled at her.

"You are welcome, and may your stay be long, mademoiselle."

At first her heart had throbbed so that it was difficult to speak,
but the quiet steadiness of La Salle's personality restored her
balance and her heart ceased its wild beating. Yet it was not easy
to hold her poise. Her lips trembled a little as she said:

"My stay cannot be long, monsieur, but I am better for the coming. I
am where the wheel of your great work is."

In La Salle's mind was the sudden wish to say: "Stay here where the
pivot is and help me," but that was madness and he did not say it.
Why did this one girl of all he had seen or known seize so upon his
powerful being?

Others were as beautiful and more beautiful, others were as clever,
no doubt--others as graceful, others as fine, and yet she had her
own place unrivaled. She was unique--one of those flashes of Time that
have no explanation and no traceable origin. When her hand touched
his a fire swept through his arm and body, a vivid life. Her fingers
were slim, yet her hand had firm softness.

"Will you not sit down?" he said, and she took a chair.

For a moment neither spoke, but at last he said:

"You made this dangerous journey to be with your father, I suppose;
yet why did you not come with him?"

She hesitated, then she said: "He would not have brought me, so I
came after him. We girls are not so weak as he thinks. I've proved
it to him."

For a moment La Salle looked as though he believed her, then he said:

"He might have known you would do all man could do to the level of
your strength. Women have not the same physical endurance as men."

Suddenly he stood up and bent towards her, looking her steadily in

the eyes.

"Will you not tell me frankly why you came?"

Slowly she rose. "Yes, I will tell you, monsieur. I came to warn you
that you have foes in Quebec who plot your fall. They will leave no
stone unturned to do it. You have great purposes, and they have not.
You would increase trade and immigration, and they would not--you
have foes high up. That is why I came--to warn you!"

La Salle smiled grimly:

"All this I know. But tell me how you came to know, and your special
reason for coming. I have many foes, yet I surmount them all. Will
you not say more?"

She pointed to the map on the table: "There lies your chart of action,
I suppose. You are studying the possible course of the Mississippi.
You mean to build a ship and go down the Mississippi. Is it not so?"

"It is so. What then, mademoiselle?"

"May I look at your map, Sieur?"

"Surely. It is for your eyes. There is not much to see yet, but
it is the rough drawings of what we know and what we expect to find."

As she bent over the map and saw spread out the course of the tributaries
of the Mississippi, her heart rose in her like a wave. She felt his
great dream and ambition, and she would give all she was, and could
be, to help him.

"I see--I see," she said, and her eyes glowed, and she pointed to
the map. "To here you know, but beyond this you do not know, and you
work to know for France's--for Canada's sake."

His fine head bent over, his hand also touched the map, his eyes shone
and he had the sudden will to take her fingers in his own and clasp
her to his breast, but he put the wild thought from him, for he had
one idea and one only, and there could be no diversion from the
straight course he had drawn for himself. He must fight down this
sudden swell of human feeling. He drew back from the map.

Then Lya said: "I will tell you what I know." She then told of the
evening at the Chteau St. Louis, and what Duchesneau and Madame
Ranard had said, and how it had weighed on her mind, and that was
why she had come to Fort Frontenac.

For an instant it seemed she spoke the truth, and then he felt it was
not the whole truth. Where was her father in all this? Why had she come
where her father came? What Tonty had said about Darois in Quebec came
to his mind. Was he a spy upon Du Lhut? If on Du Lhut--why not on
himself? Suddenly it flashed upon him that she had come to warn him
against her father. Why had Darois come to Fort Frontenac? It was not
imperative. Why had he come?

Tonty doubted him from the first, and his daughter, whose truth
was clear, had come after Darois, daring the perils of the wilds--not
on account of Duchesneau and Madame Ranard, but because of
her father. He was their agent, but the girl would not betray her
father. Yet he determined that she should--not directly, but
sufficiently. He said, seriously:

"Yes, yes, I know that Duchesneau and Madame Ranard and the Jesuits
are against me. I have known it long, but how does that concern the
visit of your father here? What has he to do with Duchesneau and
Madame Ranard?"

She turned slowly towards him, and her eyes took in his face with
a hidden anxiety that could not be seen save by one like La Salle.

"My father came on his usual business, I suppose, but how should I
know if he acts for Duchesneau and Madame Ranard and the rest?
I do not know. I am not in his mind, but if he works for them,
then I am against him too."

This was what La Salle suspected, but he took no advantage of it.

"How could his coming affect my future plans? How could he or they
injure me?"

"Are you not obliged in your contract with King Louis to keep so many
soldiers here, and will you not build a ship? Could they not hurt
you there?"

"Ah, that--yes! They could seduce away my white men, and they could
put a false pilot on my ship, that's true! Also they could stir up
the Iroquois against me! All this I know."

"But do you feel it in the deepest part of you? Is that so?" She asked
it with all her soul, for it seemed that she was on the verge of tragedy
and in that tragedy her father played a part. She was set that her visit
should not prove a failure. She did not wish her father exposed, and yet
she would expose him in the last resort. Also, La Salle felt it would
be unwise, even had he proof, and there was none, to have Darois exposed
and dismissed, for that would be rupture with all concerned. They were
powerful and combined, and an open break would be bad. He was not
sure that silent watching was not best. Yet somehow, this girl's
agitation, however controlled, was not burdened by the fact that
Darois was an agent of his foes.

"Yes, I feel it in the deepest part of me," he replied, with a stern
hand on himself, for her pleading eyes got into his soul. He knew she
had not told him all, yet he could not guess what more there was to
tell, and he would not try further to make her confess. "I am glad
you came," he continued, "for I will keep my eyes open better now,
and your father will return soon to Quebec. I have employed one of
his men to stay here. Deslaurier is his name, and he will work
with me."

"Deslaurier," said the girl, in slight confusion, for she did
not know the name.

"Frankly, I would not employ any of my father's men. Suppose he works
against you--acts as agent for your foes at Quebec?"

"My eyes are wide open since you came, and so are Tonty's, and we
will try to keep things in the path of safety. I shall begin my
ship the Griffon very soon, and then we shall have the test of
loyalty and devotion."

Suddenly all she was, and had done, overcame him. Never had there
come to La Salle such tumult in his mind. Never had passion and love
stormed so across the moat and assailed the towers. He first flushed
red, then he turned pale, then his face became set, and only his
eyes showed what was going on in him.

The girl was woman enough to understand, yet it only confounded her--that
this big man should be enamored of her was like some wild dream.

As it was, she could have thrown herself at his feet, so big was her
spirit with what he meant to Canada and to France. She had the great
thing in her, and yet she had no glint of love for him. He was too
far removed, too prodigious. Yet she remained looking at him with eyes
that saw what he felt, and also the fight going on in him. She could
have loved him if she had not realized that he was not for her--that he
was for the far bigger end--the immortal hours. To be loved by such a
man was a vision of life, but she knew it was not for her. Some lesser
man. She loyed La Salle as only they can love who are free from self.
It would carry her to farthest heights of self-sacrifice and endeavor--not
the love of mother for child, or sister for brother, or child
for parent--but the holier thing, for it was removed from all sense
of relationship, except that larger affinity born of the Eternal.

So she looked at him as he looked at her, and both knew, with no
words spoken, that the tale of their lives in this one sense had
been told, and that never again would such vital speech be between
them. His lips opened to speak, but no words came, and for an
instant they stood looking at each other, as though they were
meeting for the last time. He took her hand at length, and then
he spoke. There was in his face now strength of purpose, though
the fight was not all over, and could not be while she was still
at Fort Frontenac.

With slow, firm voice he said, "I understand _altogether_ why you
have come, and while I live I shall be grateful."

He went to a window and opened it. The strong sharp air of early
winter came in, and the sun beat down upon the opening. The
window looked into the deep, decoying woods far off, and between
were the high walls of the fort and an empty space, for no one
ever camped before this window--that La Salle had insisted on,
that he had as part of his daily rules of life, and that was
why he had such power--discipline!

"These woods look south, and it is south that I am making
for--south and always south. The mouth of the Mississippi shall be mine
in the name of the King!"

For a moment there was deep silence, and in it the future with
all its care and trouble and tragedy and triumph gleamed.

"All in the name of the King!" said Lya--no more.

As she left the room his eyes followed her, and when the door closed
he sat down at the table and his head dropped in his hand. For
long he sat so.

At last he rose, went to the window and opened the heavy shutters.
Beyond them were the dark woods, and beyond these dark woods was
his future, his destiny, the carrying out of his commission. He
turned from the window towards the table where his map was, then
there came softly through the night the sound of an instrument and
a voice singing--a man's voice. It was that of Jules Ladaux, who
had with Luc Maste brought Lya to Fort Frontenac. The song was
tender and in the kind night mystical. These were the words:

  "I did plant a rose-tree,
     Small, very pretty,
   I did plant it at night;
   The next morning,
     The next morning I took it up."

La Salle did not speak aloud, but in his heart he said: "That is
it! Sweet girl! To-night yes, but to-morrow--no."

Chapter XVII

The Way Out

Perhaps the most acute of La Salle's followers was Nika, the Indian,
who had but one thought--to serve his chief with a constant and faithful
mind always. He had the native's instinct, and from the first he had
no faith in Tuke Darois, and yet he had instant faith in Lya, as all
did. When she came from La Salle's room Nika saw glow in her face,
and he knew there had been a meeting which would affect their lives.
He had never seen his chief touched by thought of any woman, yet he
felt she had transformed Fort Frontenac since her coming. He could
see the change in Tonty, and he was sure that when he saw La Salle
again he would see a change in him. He watched Lya move towards her
own room, and then waited immovable, and with bowed head till he
should be summoned by La Salle. In about a half hour the summons
came, and when he entered on La Salle he saw a man over whom had
passed some vast influence. He was not outwardly changed, and yet
his bearing was more forceful, his eyes more alive than he had
ever seen them.

La Salle looked at Nika steadfastly for a moment, and then said:

"Nika, you will bring all Tuke Darois' movements to me. You

Nika understood. He made an assenting gesture. There was between
these two a perfect respect--the barbarian and the high and cultured
chief, and they needed few words.

Presently Nika said, "I have watch him since he come--he must to be

"Ah--what have you seen, Nika?"

"With the eyes, so little, but with the mind--" he made a big
enveloping gesture with his arms.

"Quite so. Tell me the little."

Nika said he had seen Tuke Darois speaking to the men and with
Deslaurier in the woods, and he thought him a twisted stick. La
Salle smiled slowly, for this man was a good judge of devotion and
he was faithful. Then Nika said, "To watch _her_--no!"

La Salle's eyes half closed, for there shot into them the memory
of her. "No, not her--Nika, never!"

That night after dinner, Tuke Darois came to his daughter's room.
His face was gloomy and his eyes were hard, but he knew he must go
warily. He had seen no signs of doubt in either La Salle or Tonty,
and yet he felt they did not trust him. There was no warmth in
their talk with him, yet to his daughter there was apparent confidence.

He shut the door and came towards her. "You had talks with La Salle
and Tonty," he said. "What was said between you?"

"I warned La Salle of danger to his plans."

"What did you say of me?"

"Can you not judge? If I had told the truth would you have been sitting
at their dinner table? They do not trust you, but not because of me.
Such men are not blind--even to you so clever and so bad!"

There was scorn in her tone. He came close to her. "So bad, am I? What
will you do when you go to Quebec again? Tell me that, my wench. Is
it war between us?"

"War! Oh no! You are my father. I will not give you up. I will watch
you in Quebec, and if you try to injure La Salle there I will
see you are stopped."

Her eyes filled with tears, then became dry and cold and hard. "I
hate you for what you are, and yet I love you in a way as my father.
I could kill you and love, and because I love you kill you. You are
a pest to Canada. I will not expose you now, for that would not be
good for La Salle. It would only bring disaster to you and evil to
La Salle, for all his foes would work harder; but I will see that
La Salle is kept safe from you and all who work with you."

The man was moved by the wonderful uprightness and wisdom of his
girl. He had arranged for a false pilot for the Griffon, and he
had also set an evil influence in young Deslaurier at work, and
he thought that La Salle and Tonty did not know. He feared his
daughter, yet he loved her, but not sufficiently to alter his
way of life--not yet. He felt himself secure, and yet he knew
she was the strongest foe to his purposes. He could not see his
way clearly, but he knew that he must return to Quebec. He had
sowed the wind and La Salle must reap the whirlwind.

"We start in two days for Quebec," he said. "Why should we wait
longer here?"

"I would start to-morrow," said Lya. "I have done what I planned to
do. If ill comes, you will be the cause."

His face became relieved and he said, "Well, kiss me good night,
and to-morrow make ready."

Lya's face took on a somber look. "No, I will not kiss you good
night, and to-morrow I shall make ready for our return the day after."

He frowned. "You would control the King's officer, eh?"

"Shall we go at dawn the day after to-morrow? That I wish to

He saw that if he wished to retain her affection he must be temperate,
so he said: "Very well, your father will start when you say, and the
King's officer will go also. I can influence him." He smiled
futilely at his feeble joke.

The attempt at humor was lost on her. It was cheap, but Lya had an inner
satisfaction, for she saw that he was coming to do her will, and that
was much.

"I wish to go to bed," she said. "Good night." She paused an instant,
then she added, "Good night--father."

"Good night, my daughter," and with a face in which love and gloom
and bitterness showed, he turned and left the room. On the whole Lya
had triumphed.

She watched him go with a strange sinking at the heart. Here was the
one being on earth related to her, and he was such a man! For a moment
she looked at the closed door, then she began to undress. She bolted
the door and then sat on the side of the bed, and her thoughts dwelt
on La Salle and Tonty. Presently she knelt and said a prayer for
herself, and for her father, with a heart that hurt her. Then she blew
out the candle. There in the dark of the night she thought of La Salle
and Tonty again, and her heart grew big with joy to think that La Salle
had been drawn towards her--to her! Had their stars been the same, she
could have loved him--she loved him now in an everlasting way, but he
was not for her. As for Tonty, her heart leapt up. There was a man of
men--on a lower scale than La Salle, but big in his way, and upright
and a patriot, and, oh, so handsome! His metal hand was but evidence
of his bravery in war, and it gave new interest to him. Already there
was growing in her the feeling that only comes once in this world,
the first opening of the imagination and heart to love, and imagination
is bigger in all such feelings. In the soft embrace of this exquisite
illusion she slept till daylight.

The first person she saw when she issued from her room was Nika.
She offered him her hand.

"Nika," she said, softly, "you serve one of the greatest men in
all the world."

"Him--me always," was the slow reply.

So it was with Nika. He would never leave La Salle, and was with
him till the end.

The next person Lya saw was Tonty. Her eyes were like soft pools of
light and Tonty met her with outstretched hand. "I am glad that to-day
we will have here a gathering of the Iroquois, and you will see how
La Salle controls them--the cleverest, cruelest, deadliest foes that
France and La Salle could have."

"To be here at such a time is good," said Lya, with features alive.
"Did you know it yesterday?"

"No. Only this morning. Couriers from the Iroquois brought us word."

Lya thought of her father. Would he try to influence the Iroquois?
Here was something she did not like. Her father--her spying,
treacherous father! She would warn him and watch him. She would see
him at his evil work among the terrible Iroquois, who had slain and
tortured so many and who were the best governed of all the natives
in Canada--the renowned Five Nations. She saw in Tonty's eyes an
understanding of herself. The light in them was true, and she felt
him the perfect friend of La Salle.

"How long will the Iroquois stay?" she asked.

"Two days, perhaps--not more."

These foes of France were here with one of the best friends of
France--La Salle--and one of the worst foes of France--her
father, and he would be free to talk with them.

"They will be here in about three hours," said Tonty. "Come to
breakfast now."

At breakfast La Salle was silent, watchful, filling the place with
his presence. He had no word for Darois--he only inclined his head;
but for Lya he had a gentle smile and a word of cordial courtesy.
Then the breakfast of sagamite, fruits, salads, and fish from the
lake was eaten. La Salle ate little, but Darois prodigiously.

After breakfast she went into the yard of the fort, and saw Indians
and half-breeds and Frenchmen--Luc Maste and Jules Ladaux and others
of the men who followed Du Lhut or La Salle, and a picturesque sight
it was.

Her father had been very silent at breakfast, but she saw his eyes
subtly flash at talk of the arrival of the Iroquois, and she waited
for him in the yard. There she said to him:

"The Iroquois are coming. Remember you may pay for treachery with
your life."

Anger leapt up in him. "I will do what I wish, with no thought of anyone."

"But you will think of me," she sweetly said, "and that will keep you
from doing all you wish. Your love for your daughter will keep you
from mad things."

At the moment Nika passed them.

"That Indian is not an Iroquois and he hates them--and you, too,"
she said.

"Nika--yes, he hates the Iroquois and me," was the reply.
"I feel that."

"Then beware of what will put you in his power."

"In _his_ power--tush! I am an officer of King Louis."

"You are an official of the Hudson's Bay Company," she said,
with bitter taunt.

"Well, watch the day's doings," he replied.

"I shall watch _you_," was her reply.

Chapter XVIII

The Pow Pow

Under instructions from La Salle a feast had been arranged for the
Iroquois and all at the fort were excited. There were Algonquins,
Winnebagoes, Ottawas, Miamis, and other Indians camped about the fort.
At the coming of their ancient foes, they were holding themselves
erect and confident, for here was their friend, La Salle, and his
few soldiers, and the Iroquois would stand no chance if they meant

The faces of the Iroquois were painted in all colors, and so were
their bodies, blue and red and yellow, and above all was their marvelous
headdress--distinguished and impressive. A Jesuit writer had said of
the Iroquois that "they approach like foxes, attack like lions, and
disappear like birds." Yet it was only in the woods that their great
fighting qualities showed. They seldom could defeat the French in
the open, even with more men. Their gifts were woodland gifts, their
subtle minds worked only well in the umbrage of the forest.

Their women, who had great influence and even became chiefs, were
experts on torture. When a prisoner was fed up against his burning,
the women were assiduous in their attentions, bringing broth and corn
and beans and wild oats or rice and a drink of dried bilberries, and
oil of sunflower to anoint them, and enticing food; and stroked their
cheeks as though they loved them.

The prisoner was ready for his torture when it came, and would run
the gantlet through a myriad of fires, being beaten by flaming torches
as he leaped from one end of the encampment to the other. For hours
this would go on, till at last, burned and lacerated and broken, he
would fall, never to rise again, having borne tortures with stoic

If a French prisoner, he was tortured terribly. A nail would be torn
off, a finger cut off with a scallop, a piece of skin peeled from
the body, the eyes scorched out, and strips of flesh eaten. Jogues,
the Jesuit priest, when he at last escaped to France from Albany,
had been so tortured that his hands were useless, and as no one with
mutilated hands could say mass, and he was received at court and the
people surrounded and kissed his mangled fingers, Louis XIV got
from the Pope permission for Jogues to say mass again.

And Jogues came back to Canada and went among the Indians who had
tortured him before; and was at last again tortured and killed. Too
much cannot be said for the Jesuits who surrendered estates and great
social place and gave themselves to hideous poverty and danger in the
wilds of Canada. Nowhere in history is there such record of noble
defiance of danger and death, and there was no Jesuit but looked
forward to being tortured and slain for the faith to which in a vicious
age he had given all that he had and was. In their long history the
evil the Jesuits did was little beside all the good they did, for they
showed in Canada the basis of the steady discipline which, after the
British conquest, gave a quiet, steady people whose only guide was
the Church, and whose steadying influence goes on even to this day.

It was about noon when the first Iroquois came, and the cries of
those assembled Indians and French could be heard like a vast wind.
They came in war dress and with tomahawks raised and it looked like
war, and as they circled round, whooping, and La Salle and Tonty
watched them, they filled the yard, about two hundred, beating their
tomahawks and shrieking. The other Indians, the French and the
coureurs de bois watched them with malice, for their blood was up and
they would willingly have fought now, and then the worst would have
come for Canada, for the Iroquois were many and combined. At last
their Chief shouted:

"Farewell war, farewell tomahawks. We have been fools till now.
Henceforth we will be brothers; we will be brothers."

Then they put up their tomahawks, and after the Chief had embraced La
Salle they all sat down on the mats which had been spread, and for a
long time there was a deep silence, broken only by a concerted "Hoh!
Hoh! Hoh!" from the Iroquois. It was a strange sight on this lovely,
bright morning. Behind La Salle stood Tonty, Lya, her father, and
Jules Ladaux and Luc Maste and De Lussire and Hennepin, and at the
sides the Indians who were the ancient foes of the Iroquois--squaws,
and others, even many girls, some almost beautiful, and in their eyes
hatred of their foes. Here they all were in these far spaces, laying
the foundation of which are now vast cities of the West and South,
and would embrace Chicago, Toronto, St. Louis, New Orleans, and vast

At last La Salle stood up and began to speak with belts of wampum in
his hands. He said he was their faithful friend save when attacked,
and that his great master Frontenac, who acted for the King of all
the world, had ordered him to give presents, and so he now gave them
cloth. There lay before the chiefs rolls of cloth. Then overcoats
were given, and tobacco, to the shrill applause of the Iroquois; then
other presents--hatchets and knives and axes--La Salle walking up
and down like an actor, opening his heart to them, eloquent and
convincing. In dealing with natives, La Salle could succeed where
others failed. Though he had no confidence that what he was now doing
would have permanent results, he did it with an air of certainty.
He said:

"We have been foes, my brothers, now we are one family. Here at Fort
Frontenac you come and get all you need for your camps. You are
powerful, but I come of a race more powerful. You may defeat us
once or twice, or ten times, but we have men without number and
untold wealth, and in the end we triumph. We mean well by you--we
are your brothers--we are sworn to you by the crucifix which
here we raise above you." He pointed to the crucifix near the
building. It stood high and dominant. "It is our totem, and all
our sachems and councilors and chiefs of the Grand Monarch bow
before it. It is the only symbol that lasts, it belongs to all
the ages. It is the one thing that lives when we all go to the
happy hunting grounds where there is peace for all. It has been
the conquering sign for sixteen hundred years. It is the key of
the Hereafter--the only oki in the universe. It is the true
hope and faith of millions who are to you as the stars of heaven
to the leaves upon one tree. Be sure, my brothers, that we are
here to stay. Yesterday we saw sun dogs--a sign of warmer weather.
You point your javelins upward against Jannava, the Thunder Demon,
to divert him from his purposes. We also point our javelins
upward in defiance against the demons of disorder and misrule.

"We wish only to clasp you to our hearts and live in peace. The sky
of our God and His Church is over all, and while life lasts we are
your brothers. Look how glad the world is to-day--all sun. It is
the sun of life that is in our hearts to you. Our King is called
the Sun King. He warms all those who serve him well. I pray you
be his children."

When he had finished, the Chief stood up and, clasping his arms
around La Salle in his handsome scarlet tunic and laces and plumed
hat, said to his men, his black eyes glowing: "As I embrace this
brother, so we all embrace their faith. Their Oki shall be our Oki,
their God our God--and I have spoken!"

"Hoh! Hoh! Hoh!" said all the Iroquois, their hands clapping their
mouths with assent, and all in the yard shouted assent, for La Salle's
speech had conquered all--save a few like Darois--and some Iroquois,
who yet were for combat.

When this was ended, the feast was brought--after the calumet pipe
had been smoked by La Salle and the chief, and it had been passed to
others. It was in great kettles and apart--Indian corn, green peas,
beans, prunes, eels and fat, fresh salmon, sturgeon and wild pigeons,
squirrels, deer's meat, partridge, quail, black birds, owls, and fish
from the lake. Dried berries soaked in warm water were used as a
sauce to the food not in the kettles, and a nut-meat gravy used with
squash, and pumpkins and potatoes; and all ate greedily with spoons
made of bark. La Salle had arranged that as they ate there should
be music, and so there was music by drum, trumpet and cymbal, and
a violin played by Jules Ladaux, and as they all gazed and ate freely,
hens fluttered about picking up bits dropped by the feasters, and
dogs snatched pieces of food let fall.

Tuke Darois had listened to La Salle with hidden hatred, for he saw
the effect on the Iroquois, but Lya felt the greatness of the man.
His gifts were rare, and he had captured the Iroquois, who loved
rhetoric and saw in him a master of it. She stood near La Salle,
with Tonty beside her, and her face shone while La Salle talked.
Many eyes were turned to her, and she knew she was watched closely
by the Iroquois, who had tried to kill her as she came to Fort
Frontenac. That did not disturb her. She was alive to their
duplicity, yet she saw that all was well for the moment. She
watched her father. She knew he was not the fool--to be treacherous
in the open day with Nika watching. The day drew on, and it was
late in the afternoon the feasting ceased. It was clear at last
that the Iroquois meant to stay the night. La Salle had prepared.
He ordered that they should all sleep in the huge yard, and that
they should not go among the other Indians or into the woods.

Chapter XIX

At the Gateway

Night fell under a shower of stars and a young moon. The Iroquois
wrapped themselves in their robes of beaver furs decorated inside
with painted figures and by the quills of the hedgehog. Some wore
their hair loose on one side and tight-braided on the other. Others
were close shaved, with one or more cherished locks. A few women with
long black hair gathered behind their necks wore disks of copper and
were gay in beads, and lay among them, and Fort Frontenac was in the
circle of peace--outwardly.

Yet La Salle took no chances. It would have been impossible for the
foe--if such they still were--to have made successful attack.
Indeed, they had no wish to do so. They were for the moment at
peace and the presents given had been ample. Besides, they were
in numbers fewer than their hosts.

One chief had noticed a curious look in the face of an official--Tuke
Darois--and had gathered that he wished speech with him. He
knew the official not to belong to La Salle, but to Quebec--told so
by one of the coureurs do bois. For long he lay on the edge of the
crowd of Indians and at last fell asleep. He was waked about three
in the morning by a tug at his robe, and a voice whispered, "Follow
me, chief."

He rose and followed Tuke Darois to a corner of the yard where there
was little light. Darois, speaking Iroquois well, said in a low voice:
"Why are you friends with La Salle--you and your Five Nations? He is
your foe and the foe of all great merchants in this country. He does
not mean well by you."

"What is to-day is not to-morrow," said the Chief, ironically, and
his look was ugly.

"But what is to-day should not be at all."

Treachery was part of the policy of the Chief and all his friends, but
he had not looked for it in a Frenchman. His black eyes fastened on

"Your King gives him orders--your Governor helps him. What then?"

"He takes away your trade and the trade of the merchants. He will
become rich and powerful and a tyrant here."

The Chief said naught at first; then he laughed a low, morose laugh.

"We can destroy them all, but we choose not yet."

"If there should come to you all--wealth, eh?"

He got no further, for Nika, the servant of La Salle, came softly
and he said: "Sleep time. Let be."

Then Darois with anger turned away, and the Chief sullenly went
back and lay down. At the door of the fort Nika said to Darois,
"Night is sleep time--yes." With a look of fury Darois entered
the fort and went to his room.

In the morning Nika reported the meeting to La Salle, who had
expected it, but the explorer said naught save that he would
see Darois left that day for Quebec. His face clouded, for
he was sorry for Lya, and he told all to Tonty.

At breakfast time Du Lhut and twenty of his men arrived on the scene,
and they were received with clamor by the Indians and all at the
fort, who had not expected them. The Iroquois were preparing to
leave, but they joined in the welcome, and Du Lhut gave all
cheerful greetings. The Iroquois and the French respected him,
for, though he broke the law, he was high in favor with Frontenac.

After greetings with La Salle and Tonty he saw Tuke Darois and his
daughter. He had heard of their coming, and he felt by instinct
that Darois was his own foe and the foe of La Salle. His greeting
to Darois was distant, but to his daughter sincere and emphatic.
To her he gently said: "I see you here in the wilds where never
has been a white woman. Your coming has done good!"

She raised her eyes in friendship. "I have seen what never else I
could have seen, and I return with my father."

At that moment Luc Maste and Jules Ladaux came to Du Lhut, and their
welcome was warm. "We brought her here, m'sieu'," they said.

"You brought her here? Then she did not come with her father!"

La Salle intervened. "Her father would not bring her, but she came.
He will, however, take her back to Quebec. All has goe well!"

As he said these last words, he looked hard at Darois, who bowed
low. "It goes well with Sieur de la Salle always," he said.

Three hours later, when the sun was hot and the woods showy with
autumn colors, and the Iroquois had gone, Darois and Lya stood
at the gate with three habitants, and said farewell to La Salle
and Tonty and Du Lhut.

"A safe journey," said Du Lhut.

"A strong tide with you," said Tonty.

"You will soon be there," said La Salle.

Darois made no reply, but shrank a little from the stern eyes of
La Salle. As she looked into La Salle's eyes Lya said: "You will
find your way to the mouth of the Mississippi. That will be yours
and France's glory."

La Salle's face shone with the light of ambition and hope, and
then came another look--it was the struggle between love and duty
to a cause, and it turned her eyes to Tonty. Tonty came close to
Lya. He took her hand, pressed it warmly, and looked into his eyes.
This look said to her:

"You have given a new sun for my sky. You have planted in my heart
the seeds of love. You have set aflame the vast prairie of the future.
I shall walk in the fire and shall come out ready to kill Goliath.
Look into my eyes--tell me if you understand child of life and love!"

All this was said without words, but the girl understood, and into
her eyes there came a moisture of Eden. There were no words, but
the language of the soul was there. She smiled at him, and he
breathed quickly in emotion, and then kissed her hand.

La Salle saw all and at first he had a bitter pang, then the spirit
of renunciation came upon him. He knew that the girl loved him in a
deep, mysterious way in which there was no passion. He knew she felt
him far removed from her, and with powerful will he mastered himself
and said, "So--so, it is the hand of God!"

La Salle watched her go with conquest in his eyes. _That_ was over,
and he must fact the unknown but hopeful future. He smiled at Tonty.

"All shall go well," he said.

Chapter XX

The Building of the "Griffon"

One day months after their journey to Fort Frontenac Lya
received a letter from Tonty.

Dear Mademoiselle:

I know you would hear what has chanced since you left us that black
day, taking the sun from our sky. I have never forgotten you one
moment--never can. You are always here. La Salle and I started for
Niagara to the fort built by Hennepin and De Lussire. On Christmas Eve
we were near wrecked in the Bay of Quint by a treacherous pilot. La
Salle would do naught with this pilot, for he risked his own life with
that of La Salle, and so a Jesuit would without hesitation--eternal
reward would be his. I see La Salle with the man before him. "Not again,
not again, monsieur!" he said and dismissed him. In such wise had La
Salle conquered the would-be murderer, Jolycoeur, and it will ever be
so with him. He is too gigantic to be moved.

When we came to the Seneca town, he spoke to the assembled chiefs,
who had been eloquently but hopelessly addressed by Hennepin, and
his reasoning, that building a vessel for trade would be good, at
last convinced them, and they smoked the pipe of peace and took
his presents with applause. When things are at their worst with
La Salle, he can get money for his enterprises and gain the
confidence of the most unlikely people. His cousin, Franois Plet,
from whom he borrowed, is coming to Canada, and La Salle will have
him conduct the business at Port Frontenac.

So with the Senecas, he left them with good will behind him, and
came on to the lovely, stupendous and gorgeous Niagara, all
thundering and bright with color and shining! At Niagara La Salle's
vessel was wrecked on the coast, and only the anchors and cables for
a new vessel to be built were saved. On the high point where Fort
Niagara now stands, La Salle marked out two block-houses, one of
which he called Fort Conti. Then, after a time, hearing bad news
from Quebec, he set out on foot for Fort Frontenac--two hundred and
fifty miles through the Iroquois country and ice of Lake Ontario.
He and his comrades had at last only a bag of parched corn and
they made the last two days fasting.

It was left for me to finish the vessel at Niagara, which I did.
She was forty-five tons and she was called the Griffon. When she
was finished a Te Deum was sung and the Indians were loud in their
excitement. La Salle had said he would make the Griffon fly above
the crows--make Frontenac triumph over the Jesuits! We made her
fast in the swift current and waited long for La Salle. Spring and
more than half the summer passed and only in August he appeared,
calm and reserved. He brought a tale of disaster. His foes had
seized all his property and the Intendant had placed a seal on
his furs at Quebec.

The Griffon was forced up the current by tow-ropes and sails till
she reached Lake Erie. So we sailed this great lake to the Strait
of Detroit, entered Lake St. Clair, and went on to Lake Huron. We
had a wonderful journey, and passed through a noble country--had
plenty of game and were in high spirits. Then a vast storm came and
we were in grave danger. All fell to prayers and La Salle vowed
that St. Anthony of Padua should have a chapel if we were saved.
St. Anthony heard our prayers! We moved on till we came to St.
Ignace of Michillimackinac. Here were Jesuit priests, their home
and chapel, inclosed with palisades, compact houses of French traders,
and grouped wigwams of an Ottawa village, a Huron village with its
cabins and its fence of tall pickets, and they all gave La Salle
warm welcome. At the Ottawa village La Salle heard mass in mantle
of scarlet fringed with gold, with soldiers, sailors, artisans,
black Jesuits, gray Recollets and Indians who called the Griffon
"a floating fort."

You see how troubled is our way. Thus we move forward over seamy
cracks and on the edge of chasms. If my will was not as hard as
my left hand, I could not carry on. When I strike a bad Indian
with my metal hand, he says, not knowing what it is, "Great medicine!"
He does not know it is artificial. He thinks it is the devil in me.
So with the will, when it strikes with Heaven behind it--the reply
is "Great medicine!" Even the Church cannot conquer when the saints
are with the metal will. That is how it will be with La Salle in
the end.

At Green Bay, near Lake Michigan in the country of the Menomonies
and Sacs Indians, La Salle made the one great error of his career.
Here he found faithful servants who had collected furs, and he sent
these furs in the Griffon to satisfy his creditors. She set sail
for Niagara, and I cannot forget how I felt when it was done, for
the Griffon was his true source of income, his perfect capital for
the future. Yet he trusted her to an inimical pilot, he who had
lost the small vessel on the Niagara. Then La Salle with fourteen
men and loaded canoes left for the Illinois River. It was a hard
journey for La Salle. Storms pursued him, and great difficulties
stayed their progress. Things grew bad. The men paddled all day
with only Indian corn, and sick with haws and wild berries, and
La Salle gave them a confection of hyacinth to make them well.
But we came at last upon plenty of bear's meat and buzzards and
wild grapes.

Then the boatmen began to pick up spirit and to sing. They had great
numbers of chansons, and, though primitive, have point always and an
allusiveness not found among the Latins and the Celts. As they paddled
one started a song of the river which I have often heard. He was
thinking of his home, and of the market-place, and as he sang all
his comrades joined him:

  "When the lame girl goes to market,
     She never goes without her basket,
   She never goes without her basket,
     Niou, ioup--nif, -nif, -nif, -nif,
   She never goes without her basket.
       "Lir lon, fa, ma lura dond."

As he sang in the bright morning, a tender bite in the air and the
sky cloudless and vibrant, all the voyageurs' eyes shone and they
were transformed from wild woodmen and boatmen into men of home
and quiet days. Even La Salle's eyes showed how much this domestic
spirit touched him. He smiled and he joined in the refrain:

  "Lir lon, fa, ma lura dond."

The party in eight canoes, numbering thirty-three, ascended the St.
Joseph, looking for the portage leading to the headquarters of the
Illinois. As we made our way to the head of the Illinois and could
see far off the lodges of the Miamis, one Duplessis, an agent of
Darois, raised his gun to shoot La Salle in the back, but his comrades
stopped him. I knew of this, but did not tell La Salle, for it could
do no good and Duplessis stayed with us. But I challenged him and
he has now promised loyalty. He was a man of spasmodic emotions. In
this I followed the example of La Salle.

Right and left were the prairies, with gray wintry forests and strewn
with carcasses of buffaloes. Food became scarce, and all Nika, the
Shawanoe, could shoot were two lean deer with a few wild geese and
swans, and crows and owls. At length came a wonderful country with
wooded hills and green prairie, a pasturage for buffalo and deer.
Near by was a high cliff called Starved Rock, crested with trees,
and along the right bank of the river were the lodges of a great
Indian settlement built of frame-work of poles, covered with mats
and rushes. This vast town was empty of people, but we found the
caches in covered pits where was hid their stock of corn. La Salle
hesitated, but at last took thirty minots of corn, hoping to
compensate the Indians later.

At last they saw the Illinois wigwams on both sides of the river.
The eight canoes were placed in line abreast. The men laid down
their paddles and seized their guns, and the current brought them
to the Indian camp. Here came immense excitement. The Indians
snatched bows and war clubs, and all fiercely shrieked and howled,
but La Salle with his little group of armed men landed and prepared
to light. But a chief came with a calumet, and La Salle showed another.
The uproar was stopped, and feasting began, and the Frenchmen were
fed by the fingers of the Indians, and their feet were rubbed with
bear's grease.

La Salle gave tobacco and hatchets, and told them of the thirty minots
of corn, for which he offered, and they accepted payment. He told them
he meant to travel the Mississippi to the sea, and if they would not
help him he would go to the Osages, their foes, who would reap the
benefits of trade. This conquered them, and they feasted late, but
still La Salle kept watch.

That night a Mascoutin chief, Monso, brought knives, hatchets, and
kettles to the Illinois. He warned them against La Salle, and denounced
him as a friend of the Iroquois, who would stir up the Mississippi
tribes to join against the Illinois. Omawha, a friendly chief,
came secretly to La Salle and told him all.

Next day Nicanop, brother of the head chief, gave a feast. Before
the feast Nicanop warned them against the Mississippi, saying it
had savage tribes, and the waters were full of alligators and
serpents and whirlpools.

This had effect upon La Salle's followers, but La Salle coolly told
them he knew what Monso had done, and as for enmity, they could have
slain their tribes without help from the Iroquois.

"Even now," La Salle said, boldly, "we could put you all to death with
your young men away. But we have brought you goods and tools! Bring
back this coward, Monso, who comes and goes in the night, and let me
face him." After a moment, Nicanop grunted assent, and the feast
went on all day. But La Salle kept guard at night as before, and in
the morning found that six of his men had fled. He summoned the rest
before him and said they should all return to Quebec in the spring
if they would have it so.

La Salle left the Indian camp, and a half league below, on a low hill
two hundred yards from the southern beach, he set his camp. On either
side was a deep ravine and in front a marshy tract overflowed at high
water. They dug a ditch between the two ravines, and an embankment
was made and it was guarded by a chevaux-de-frise and a palisade
twenty-five feet high was built. The fort was called Fort Crvecoeur.

Here came news to La Salle that the Griffon was no more. A young
Indian joined his camp and told him that he saw a white man of the
description of the pilot of the Griffon among a tribe beyond the
Mississippi. With four others he had been captured while traveling
to the Sioux in canoes loaded with goods. This fixed in La Salle's
mind that the Griffon was lost. One day a young Illinois coming from
a distant war excursion came upon La Salle, who gave him a turkey
and other presents, and learned the truth about the Mississippi. La
Salle added to his presents a hatchet, and made him promise to say
naught to his people.

Then he went to the camp of the Illinois, and at a feast of bear's
meat sat upon the rushes and smoked with them. At last he rose and
said they had tried to deceive him, but the Master of Life had said
to him all was well on the Mississippi. He told them something of
what he had heard. His astonished hearers clapped their mouths and
confessed that all they had said meant that he should stay with them.
Later when a band of Chickasaws, Arkansas, and Osages warriors told
him that the river was navigable to the sea, La Salle's followers
took heart again.

Then La Salle said he would not wait to get pit-sawyers, but would
himself build a vessel, if he could get men to help him. They responded,
and within six weeks the hold of the vessel was half finished.

I shall never forget the parting with La Salle when, with Nika and
four Frenchmen he marched to Fort Frontenac for necessities lost in
the Griffon, or we should be retarded a whole year. The forest was
still leafless, and the ground frozen. Near by was the unfinished
ship upon the stocks. In La Salle was not only unconquerable will,
but anxiety, too, for this journey would test not only his endurance,
but his faith in himself. Yet to the eye, all to be seen was a firm,
serene face.

I was to remain behind with about three honest men and a dozen
scoundrels to hold Fort Crvecoeur in his absence. It was a journey
of about five hundred leagues in a direct line, and the dangers of
meeting hostile Indians was great. They watched by night and marched
by day, loaded with baggage-blankets, clothing, kettles, hatchets,
gunpowder, lead, and skins to make moccasins. Sometimes pushing
through marshes, they had to carry their canoes. Again and again
progress was barred.

Day by day they toiled among pools and snow and ice, and at last
they came to Peoria Lake, sheeted with ice, and dragged canoes half
a league, launched them, and again had to take to the woods; but a
sharp frost came and they could use their snowshoes. At last they
reached the great town of the Illinois, empty of its people, where
they got food by killing buffalo, and they met Illinois Indians. La
Salle feasted then, and induced a promise to send food to us at Fort
Crvecoeur. Later they made a desperate journey in the bitter cold,
when the prairie was mud and water and snow, and came at length to
the fort they had raised at the mouth of the St. Joseph. At length
after hard trials, dogged by sickness, they built a canoe and floated
in it down the Huron River. Lake Erie was reached, and in snow,
sleet, and rain they made for Niagara.

Here La Salle found men who confirmed not only that the Griffon
was lost, but that a ship from France loaded with goods for him
had been wrecked, and that twenty hired men had been detained by
his foe, Duchesneau, at Quebec.

Undaunted still, he traveled a thousand miles through a country
beset with perils to Fort Frontenac. There he found his friends
had plundered him, his creditors had seized his property, and
canoes laden with furs had been lost in the St. Lawrence. So he
hastened to Montreal there to face the enmity against him.

This is my sad tale, and it only tells a true friend what we have
been doing since the winter fell between us and her good eyes. Our
ship has far to go, and the perils are great, but we have one
unchangeable star and by it we sail. It is La Salle. He is our
North Star and our Southern Cross. And so, with quenchless
admiration, most dear mademoiselle, goes to you the friendliest

Henri De Tonty.

Chapter XXI

The Dark Corners

Arriving at Quebec City, La Salle went at once to the Chteau St.
Louis and was received most warmly by Count Frontenac. He had come
straight from the shore to the Chteau in the dim evening, and was
recognized by very few as he passed; but one of the few was Darois,
who took the news to the house of Madame Ranard.

"Welcome, thrice welcome, La Salle," said Frontenac. "God knows, I wished
news of you, and you bring them! Black things are said about you, and
done to you, but you survive them all. What has chanced since you left

In the long two hours La Salle took in telling his grim tale,
Frontenac sat enthralled, or walked slowly up and down, having
given orders against interruption, his big eyes fixed on La Salle's
face. Now and then he would ask a swift question.

When La Salle had finished his rare and piercing story, Frontenac
said: "The facts are these, then: you have lost the Griffon, you
have lost canoes of furs, your goods from France has been wrecked
in the St. Lawrence, your property has been seized, your men from
France have been detained, your credit is at its lowest ebb, your
forts have been destroyed, your men have deserted from you, you
have been the victim of treachery. They think you are ruined. Your
foes and mine would destroy us both. Is that not so?"

"It is so, Your Excellency, but I have no fear while you believe in
me. With you behind me, I can live on--fight on--and win in the end."
La Salle reached out a firm hand and opened and shut it with vigor.

Frontenac smiled and laid a hand on his shoulder. "La Salle, La Salle,
if there were a few like you in this country, naught could defeat
us. We have against us powerful folk--the Bishop, the Jesuits, the
Intendant, and their friends, but we must be confident and fearless.
In Paris you fought them and you won, and in Canada you will do
the same. What I fear most is that they will poison the minds of
the Iroquois, who will destroy the Hurons, the Neutrals, the
Eries, Andastes and Algonquins; inveigle the Miamis, and attack
and destroy the Illinois. They league to prevent your trading,
and they will stop at naught. They care not for consequences,
if you are destroyed and trade is prevented and they can sell
brandy and furs themselves."

His eyes darkened, a frown came on his forehead, then suddenly
his face cleared and he said: "They cannot beat me thus. I have
the King and Colbert and Seignelay with me, and so have you. They
can injure, but they cannot destroy. We shall win--you and I!"

La Salle got to his feet, for this was one who had in him the splendid
faith that made himself what he was--intrepid and unshakable. He
now determined to tell Frontenac about Tuke Darois.

He said: "Excellency, there is in the employ of the Intendant and the
Ranards an astute foe. It is Tuke Darois."

The Governor's eyes flashed. "Tuke Darois--that man! Yes, it may be
so. I have never trusted him. Yet his daughter--I think there is a
girl of truth and faith."

La Salle smiled half pensively. "She--she is straight and true."
Then he told of her visit to Fort Frontenac and what had chanced
there. "She is as true as he is false, and she is with us."

Frontenac laughed outright: "Yes, yes, I heard she had gone the
stark journey to Fort Frontenac, but I did not guess why. He can
do less harm with her watching him than if he were dismissed. I
could have him dismissed, but is it wise?"

La Salle's face shone now with a new light. "It is not wise, Your
Excellency, and he should be left where he is at present--the tool
of the Intendant and Madame Ranard."

Frontenac stamped a foot lightly on the floor. "Do they think, these
silly folk, that they ruin us! I say us, because your fate and mine
are one. Both want the glory of France and Canada more than aught
else, and Canada first--always first."

Frontenac then went into the question of furs--trade in the West.
He questioned concerning trade with the tribes in the Huron and
Illinois country, and applauded the effective concentration at Fort
Frontenac. He said La Salle would find money in Quebec, and he would
see that his men should be released by the Intendant and be free
to work for him. La Salle had been wise to Visit Quebec, for he
could start again with new power.

La Salle's face underwent many changes as they talked. It was as
though Frontenac gave him a new commission, new impetus. He had
little demonstration, but he showed in his eyes the enthusiasm of
his soul. They were the windows of his inner life, the power-house
of his purposes.

When he left the Chteau St. Louis, he walked towards his lodgings
with a heart cheered by his talk with Frontenac. Somehow he felt that
in spite of all he would prevail. As he passed from the Chteau
and footed it in the moonlit night, he heard from the windows of
a house this song:

  "Michau kept vigil
   The evening in his cottage,
   Near the hamlet
   He guarded his flock.
   The heavens sparkled
   With a brilliant light,
   And he began to sing:
   'I am, I am the star of the shepherd,
   I am, I am the star of the shepherd.'"

This was a chanson of his native Normandy, and it startled him now.
He raised his face to the star-lit sky and his heart beat faster. It
cheered and inspired him--the Star of the Shepherd. He was the shepherd
and his star was above him. A quiet smile lighted his face.

In this city were forces working against him of which he knew, but it
did not affect him now.

Tuke Darois had gone straight to Madame Ranard and in her house
had said, "That mad devil has come again to Quebec and has gone
to the Chteau St. Louis, madame."

Madame Ranard fiercely said: "He is mad, but he is clever, and he
is hard to defeat with Frontenac at his back. He is on the verge
of financial and political ruin. You did well to come at once. You
had his Griffon sunk, and other of his vessels and canoes, and
the work you do is good. But in your daughter we have a foe. She
went to Fort Frontenac to stop you. It was brave, but it was as
mad as aught that La Salle or his friend Tonty do. You have little
power over her, I fear."

"Power to prevent her having me dismissed!"

"Dismissed! Why dismissed? You are not Frontenac's servant. You are
employed by the Intendant under my husband."

She did not know that he was a Hudson's Bay Company spy, and no one
save his daughter knew, and her tongue was tied. Even Madame Ranard
and Duchesneau would not have kept a spy of the Hudson's Bay Company
in their employ. They only knew him as the foe of Du Lhut and La Salle
and so they had employed him.

It enraged Barbe Ranard to think that La Salle should defeat her
purposes, and always when she seemed on the edge of success. She
was a woman who would sell her soul for men's favors, and she could
not resist now playing, even with her tool, as he was. She looked
into his eyes with a soft passion that inflamed his blood. She
uncovered herself spiritually before his eyes, and he thirsted
for this exquisite being higher in social life.

At last she said: "I will see the Intendant and he must stop this
madman from restoring himself. If there were men in Quebec of real
character he would have no chance. He is a cog in the wheel that
stops its progress, and that cog should not be there."

Darois knew what she meant. "There _are_ men of character in Quebec,"
he said, "and that cog can be removed."

She eyed him sharply, and when she heard his words, with a smile she
bade him good-by. With a dark look, she saw him leave the room. Then
she put on a cloak and hat and went to the Intendant's palace.

It was a huge building, once a brewery built by Talon, and had been
a center of intrigue and evil, and here Madame Ranard came to plot
with this good-looking, dark and able cavalier. He was the slave of
his passion, and, now that her husband was away, she could go
more freely to him. She arrived at the palace in about a half an
hour and was at once shown into the office of Duchesneau. She
accepted his embrace, and said: "We have work to do, my Jacques.
La Salle has returned to Quebec." He started.

"My secret service lack precision. Who has seen him?"

"Tuke Darois saw him and came straight to me. La Salle went at
once to the Chteau, less than an hour ago. He is there with
Frontenac. The two can do bad work."

[image: Franois de Laval]

"They cannot put La Salle back where he was. He is financially ruined;
his day is over."

"Not over. If he had not come to Quebec--yes; but he is here and he
gets what he wants, as he did at Versailles with so much against
him--with you and the Jesuits and myself against him. Yet he
triumphed in a big way."

Her foot beat the floor angrily, her eyes flashed fire, her face
took on the look of one who would ruin the world for her own dark
purposes. "Oh, I could tear my eyes out when I think of it, and even
Frontenac's wife insulted me. The female Mephisto!"

Duchesneau almost laughed. It was so strange to see this clever,
beautiful woman in a rage. "Yes, he beat us all there, but he cannot
do it here, for we have the whip hand. All--nearly all merchants are
against him. I see no chance for him."

She had the brains of a born diplomatist, the heart of a vulture, yet
her lips werd like rose leaves, and her eyes like lights of heaven.
She said:

"Be not so sure. Do not think him of no account. Something in him gets
what he wants in the end. Somehow--somehow--" She shivered, for it seemed,
no matter what was done, he conquered. She had set Jolycoeur to poison
him, she had incited Darois to get Duplessis to kill him, she had arranged
again for him to be poisoned by an evil huntsman, and yet he had
come through it all with no ill results. Somehow he baffled her, and
she showed perturbation now. This great Intendant had not defeated him.
He controlled finance and justice, and was the big policeman of the
country, and yet was beaten. She wished she was in the Intendant's
place, and yet what could she do? It did not matter that they were
acting against the best interests of the country. They did not think
of that. It was each for himself, and the devil take the rest!

"Somehow he arrives," she said, with despairing malice.

"Do not yield like that," said Duchesneau. "We have work to do. We
shall beat him even with Frontenac behind him. Frontenac is with him
for gain's sake, for naught else, and together they work for money,
not for France."

"But they are two clever men together!"

"Aren't you and I as clever as they?" he asked, almost sullenly.

She looked him in the eyes. "Yes, we are--almost, but not quite,
for they are concentrated and work in one mind--two powerful factors
toiling as one. We are powerful, but we are concentrated in _ourselves_
and that makes all the difference. We are less powerful because we
love, and they do not love each other, but they love what they do!"

"And we only think of the state!" Duchesneau said with a hoarse
laugh, for he had a sense of humor, and was only small because he
was in the hands of this creature who would imperil the biggest man
that ever lived. "Only the state!" he repeated.

She flushed with anger. "Only the state--only that which would make
the state better than it is. But if it were only the state we
should never be successful."

"We get nowhere just the same," he said, sententiously.

"Let us plan to get somewhere while La Salle is in Quebec. He thinks
of one thing ever. We are not bound to one idea for every hour in
our days."

"Yes, we are bound to one idea always," he said--"you and I. From that
we shall win what we will."

A little later she laid her hands on his shoulders. She said with irony:
"My friend, while we play he works, and we must act now, if we are to
win. France is at stake, and we should think of her and of Canada, which
would be lost to France if this man has his way."

Duchesneau laughed softly. "France--yes, we think of her always;
and are working against King, Minister, and Governor to save this
child of France from everlasting perdition. Now what shall we do

For long they sat and talked with ominous look; their hands came close
together and they nodded and affirmed.

Meanwhile in another home a girl was learning from her father that La
Salle was in Quebec.

"What do you mean to do?" she asked, with trouble in her eyes.

"It is not for me to do aught," he said.

"Only for the Intendant and Madame Ranard!" Lya replied, and from his
face she knew that she had guessed right--in a way.

Chapter XXII

"Spy of the Hudson's Bay Company--Go!"

Next day all Quebec was excited by the news that La Salle had
returned. He had a bitter interview with his brother, the Abb,
who sharply told him that his misfortunes were due to his own
lack of judgment.

"Brother Abb," said La Salle, "you have not yet lost by me, and you
never shall. I have been struck hard before, yet I have won, and I
shall win again. I turn my face to each blow, and you see it determined
still. You never wholly believed in me--never!"

The Abb twisted in his chair, and his thin, ascetic face wrinkled,
for he had not the great control of his brother--priest though he was--and
he said, acidly: "I have always believed in your will and purposes,
but not always in your way of doing things. You see far for this
country, but you spoil all by mistaken ways."

"Mistaken ways? Abb, how can you judge? You don't see my daily life,
and you would not wholly understand it--I know not why. At times you
have helped me, as when I came from France last, but again you obstruct
me. The world is not blind, and when a brother is not upheld by brother,
that shakes their faith. I have been hard hit of late, but it does
not break me. I go on."

He got to his feet and held out his hands in appeal. "I never _beg_
assistance, yet here now I beg you to stand by me. You shall lose
naught. I can pay you back all I owe you, and will before I leave
Quebec. I want more than your money. I want your faith, your love,
your outstretched hand. I live a life that bears scrutiny. I am sober,
honest, and clean in spirit. Never have my foes proved a single bad
act on my past. Jean--Jean, stand by me, and give me your blessing."

His eyes were hot, his face was shining with rapt faith, his body was
tense with feeling, and even the Abb's small soul was impressed. He
had some temperament, he felt the force of all La Salle said. His
hand suddenly came out in blessing, and he said with feeling:

"Yes, I will have faith. The great thing is in you. God be good to
you and give you success in this world and peace in the next."

The shoulders of La Salle straightened, his face grew brighter,
his lips pressed firmly together, and his inner life was shown,
for he said in almost broken tones:

"You give me greater faith in myself than I have ever known. I feel
I am at one of the turning points of my fate. Something will happen
before I leave Quebec to put me right--something!"

His eyes were looking far beyond his brother and this room. The Abb's
eyes were moist, and they were seldom moist with feeling, and he said:

"You have much against you, but you have that which conquers all. What
can I do to help you?"

La Salle smiled softly. "You have helped me. You are with me, and that
is the great thing. I do not fear the future. My work will live when
I am done with life and time."

Soon after they parted, and the Abb watched him go with the first
stirring of real affection he had ever had. As the door closed behind
La Salle, he said: "Robert, you have the soul of a pioneer and a martyr,
of a soldier and a poet--of a patriot; first and last!"

Hardly had La Salle left his brother's door when he was met by a
messenger from the Intendant, who brought a note with a flourish. La
Salle looked at the vain messenger with inimical eyes--he saw behind
the insolent face the harsh face of his master.

He took the note, read it, and said: "Go tell his honor that I shall
wait upon him presently--and go quickly," he added, sharply, as he saw
the man moving slowly away. The messenger saw La Salle's stern eyes
and gave haste to his footsteps.

La Salle sought his lodgings first, and took there from papers of Fort
Frontenac and the West that he wished to show the Intendant; then he
went to the palace. On the way he met men he knew and they saluted
him, some mockingly, some in a half-friendly way, and one or two in
doubtful courtesy; but on the way he met Barrois, the secretary of
the Governor. He asked him to tell Count Frontenac whither he was
going. Barrois' eyes showed the faith he had in La Salle, and a
curious hard smile played at his lips.

"The Intendant will try to overcome you--but at least you will
leave the palace safe!"

La Salle smiled. "If I can deal with the master, I can, I hope, deal
with him. Colbert is his master!"

When La Salle entered the palace, he saw leaving by another door
Tuke Darois, and he said to himself, "Here's what wants heeding."

In the Intendant's office he was met with courtesy and sly satire.
"Ah, M. de la Salle, we find you in Quebec again, bringing reports
of your doings in the West, I suppose. I wished to see you before
you went among your friends here. I ask you to give up your work in
the West. It comes to naught--to naught."

La Salle shrugged a shoulder and said, bitingly: "The Governor
wishes me to continue the work which the Grand Monarch gave me to
do. Shall I heed words against the commands of those above you,
Your Honor?"

"I have never believed in your work, as you know, and your late
mishaps prove I am right."

"Right! And so you detain my men come from France, and seize my
property and my furs, and--"

"_Your_ furs! The furs of the King whose laws you break, you and
the Governor. You have done illegal things, but, now you have come,
I shall release your men. I detained them, for they are sons of
France whose lives should be spared the fate awaiting them with

La Salle drew from his pocket a report. "I have had this made out for
Your Honor. It gives my doings since I left Quebec last. I shall leave
it with you, for naught can be said till you have all the facts. Those
you receive from the Jesuit fathers are not correct."

"Have you then seen them--eh?"

"I have not seen _them_, but I know the Jesuit fathers, and all they
say is tinctured by their hate of me. Perhaps they do not mean to
deceive, but they do."

"Those are hard sayings. I have asked you here, Sieur de la Salle,
to make you an offer. I have long valued your ability and zeal,
and if you will abandon Fort Frontenac and the West I will give you
a post under myself here where you will win high place and be a
blessing to France."

La Salle grimly looked the Intendant in the eyes. "If it is to abandon
the work given me by the King to do, you have grossly mistaken me. No
obstruction and no mishap prevents me."

"Your Griffon was lost and nearly all else, and you have no hope,
no chance!"

"I have hope that in the end my name will live in the story of Canada
when yours may be forgotten save as my foe," was the stern reply of La
Salle. "But I beg you to read my report, and I will come again if
you wish, Your Honor."

"I may not wish you to come again, but I will read your report. Do you
expect to get money in Quebec to put you on your feet again? Do you?"

"It is all in the hands of God, and so far God has been with me,"

"Well, well, we shall see--we shall see!"

"Yes, we shall see," was La Salle's response, and there was that in
the reply of the Intendant which La Salle did not like. He recalled
Tuke Darois at the door.

With all due courtesy La Salle left the Intendant and busied himself in
the city, trying to get money for his purposes--and failing. He had
seen old friends, and they all declined to help him, and men to whom
he owed money were unfriendly at first. Yet the calm will of the man
impressed them, and their anger became less insistent as he talked.
Somehow the bigness of his purposes influenced them.

In the distance La Salle had seen Madame Ranard, and she was more radiant
than ever, and he had also seen going into her father's office Lya
Darois, buoyant and entrancing. His heart gave a great leap for this
was what came nearer to La Salle's inner life than aught he had known.
He did not wish to speak with her, and though she knew he was in Quebec,
she did not wish to speak with him, she knew not why. She was perplexed,
for her father was strangely set in manner, and she felt it had to do
with La Salle. She knew he had been at the Intendant's palace, and she
was now going to his office to discover why, if possible. She was in
a sore position and it vexed her.

That night at ten o'clock, La Salle was going to his lodgings, when he
was met by two masked men who blocked his way and then set upon him with
swords. Two to one and a bright moon and a lonely street. For five
minutes they fought hard and La Salle knew he was against men who
used the sword skilfully. Behind them, not far, were two other figures
that came no nearer, but watched the fight. At length La Salle knew
that one of the men attacking him was Tuke Darois. By a brilliant stroke
he brought one of his foes to the ground, and then he fought Tuke
Darois. Now a small crowd began to gather, and La Salle fought
on. At last the mask dropped from the face of Tuke Darois, and La
Salle pressed him hard. This man must die. He was a traitor, a spy and
a rogue, and the truth must now be known. At last he had his foe at
his mercy, and with a sudden deft stroke he struck him to the heart
with the words.

"Spy of the Hudson's Bay Company--go!" and Darois fell with a cry.

"'Spy of the Hudson's Bay Company!' Was that the work of Tuke Darois?"
The few people present murmured these words, and they stared at the
dead men.

"I was set upon by two of them, and both are done for." La Salle said.

At this moment a figure came forward. It was that of Duchesneau,
the Intendant. He knelt beside Darois. "Speak," he said to the
dying man. "Is it true? Are you a Hudson's Bay Company spy?"

Darois raised himself slightly on his elbow. "Yes, a spy--God forgive,"
and he dropped back dead.

Duchesneau turned to La Salle. "You have done good work for France
to-day, Sieur de la Salle. You have taken the life of a foe of France.
In France's name I thank you."

"Yet he was in your employ, Your Honor. You did not know, but I
suspected at Fort Frontenac, and I did not speak."

"Not speak--why?" The Intendant's face was disturbed.

"What good? I was far away. I thought you knew, and yet I could not
understand it. Had it happened in Quebec, I would have exposed him,
but the only one who knew the truth was his daughter, who came to Fort
Frontenac to warn me--he had not told her he was going there--and she
came back as a watch upon him. I cannot tell how she came to know. Why
he hated me I could not tell at first, but when I guessed he was a spy
of the Hudson's Bay Company, I understood."

"The truth must be told now," said the Intendant in anxiety, for be
had employed this man.

"Quebec knows it at his death," said La Salle, pointing to the few men.

"Take up the bodies and bear them to their homes," said the Intendant.

The bodies were lifted and carried slowly away, and La Salle followed
that of Darois to his home. The Intendant went heavily to his palace
and La Salle knocked at the door of Darois' house. The old French
servant came to the door, and behind her was Lya.

In the moonlight the picture was a grim one. Lya saw the body and
ran forward.

"Mademoiselle, you have lost your father," said La Salle. "He with
another attacked me and I killed him. To the Intendant he said he
was a spy, after I had accused him."

The girl's face was set. "The Intendant was there?"

"Yes, there."

"Then I know who drove my father to attack you, monsieur!"

"And so do I, mademoiselle."

"Bring the body into the house," she said, and the men laid it on
a couch in a downstairs room.

She looked at La Salle with half-blinded eyes of misery.

"You killed my father!" she said.

"He would have killed me. What else to do?"

In his eyes was the bitter truth that now and forever all was over
between them. He had killed her father, and while they lived they
could never be aught to each other save friends.

Chapter XXIII

La Salle Sees Light

The next day all Quebec knew that La Salle had been set upon by Tuke
Darois and his friend, and had killed them both. It showed that La
Salle was an accomplished swordsman, and the killing of a spy was
published by Count Frontenac as patriotism of which Canada could not
be too grateful. No one supposed the Intendant or the Ranards knew
of his being a spy of the Hudson's Bay Company. They did not, but they
used the spy for their own dark designs, and the Intendant set Darois and
his friend on La Salle on the suggestion of the Ranards, and Ranard was
with the Intendant when the attack took place.

On the night of the killing, Duchesneau, Ranard, and Madame Ranard
met at the palace, and Madame Ranard, with fierce anger, said: "That
pest La Salle has skill with the sword given to few, and now in the
eyes of Canada he will be a bigger man than he has ever been."

"He killed a spy--Darois was a spy of the Hudson's Bay Company," said
the Intendant.

"I did not know that when I engaged him," said Ranard. "It is the most
damnable luck, and now La Salle will return to his work with money and
with glory."

Barbe spoke. "We shall do well to applaud meanwhile, and you will make
your statement about Darois at once, else folk will say you hired a spy
of the foes of New France!"

"His daughter--did she not know he was a spy?" asked Ranard.

"Who knows? She is a pretty vixen, and she plays her part well," said
the Intendant. "Somehow, I don't think she knew the truth."

Barbe shrugged a shoulder. "You are too gentle-minded, Intendant. She is
bad to her last inch, and so Quebec will believe. She cannot live here
now. No. The world will be against her."

The Intendant nodded, yet after a moment said: "But wait. La Salle will
say something. He knows why she followed her father to Fort Frontenac.
We must wait for La Salle to speak. He has a dark spirit, but he is able."

"If he _knew_, and did not expose Darois at once, he was as guilty
as Darois," said Madame Ranard, keenly. Her eyes lighted, her fingers

"He could not know unless the girl told him," said the Intendant.

"She would not betray her father," was the alert reply. "She can have
no home in Quebec. She should go to prison, and you will do well to
place her there, Intendant."

"I will see how the wind blows," was the reply. "She has not yet spoken.
Wait till Darois is buried."

The day was bright and glowing, and the river, big and splendid, seemed
like a conscious spectator, for it gently rippled, as though with
laughter, and on its broad bosom Indian canoes and little ships moved

In the palace of Bishop Laval was a stern judge of events. La Salle was
not loved by the Bishop or by the Jesuits, but he had done a fine piece
of work. As for Darois, he did not deserve Christian burial; he must be
put in unconsecrated ground, with the sparsest ceremonies. Also he must
be buried that very day. None could say no to Laval's decisions in such
things. He sent his chaplain to Darois' house, and gave orders for the
body to be placed at once in a coffin and buried before sunset.

When the chaplain arrived he found the undertaker there, and Lya
stood like one over whom there hung an ugly cloud. Her eyes were
sad, her face was drawn, yet it had sincerity and honesty. She bowed
her head to the order the chaplain brought, for she knew her father
had cruelly earned his disgrace.

The chaplain said to her: "My daughter, have you naught to say?"

"Naught, but this--the Bishop must be obeyed. My heart and conscience
are clear before God. I have not sinned against France or Canada. I
am the friend of both, and my father earned his wicked end. There
is no more to say. For me there is no future."

The chaplain was moved. His thin lips quivered slightly as he said:
"Your future is in the hands of God, and He knows your heart. Have no
fear, the Church will be your friend. I will report to Monsieur de

When he had gone, Lya said: "The Church will be my friend! No, never that.
Death were easier than that."

She did not see La Salle until the burial came. He had been received by
his old friends in much applause, and the Governor had sent word that
he would have him dine that night at the Chteau. Meanwhile La Salle
raised the money he wished for his purposes, and not at too high a rate
of interest, and was ready for his work in the West again. One man, the
greatest merchant in the city, Charles Le Moyne, who had gallant sons,
D'Iberville, Bienville, St. Helene, and Longueil, said:

"You have much against you, yet you always win--and this last deed
brings you close to all of us. What you need for your work you can
have--you have placed us all in your debt!"

So, it was that as the coffin of Darois was carried to his grave,
the only mourner was Lya; some of the population followed in curiosity.
With Lya was the old Frenchwoman who had brought her up. She gave
no thought to anyone else, but saw his coffin lowered, with meager
rites and scant formality, in unconsecrated ground. She knew that
while she lived she must bear her father's shame and must ever suffer.
Strangely enough, La Salle stood not far from the grave when Darois
was lowered, and her heart went out in gratitude. He had killed her
father, who had tried to ruin and kill him, yet he came to see him put
away so darkly, with many near who did not grasp the spirit of his
chivalry. He was bigger than any of them knew, but the girl understood.
He did not speak to her, and she knew that feeling was high against
her, but that did not shake her. Besides, here was a true and honest
friend, Luce Hontard, who knew her life as no one else knew it and
who would have given every drop of blood in her fat body to shield
this girl.

The priest said but one word to her when he had ended his brief ceremony,
and it was, "Peace!"

He could have said naught so comforting to her, and she turned from
the grave of dishonor with a heaving heart, but with a spirit that
would not be daunted. She would face whatever might be with valor.

La Salle saw her go with pain and a sorrow that would be with him
while he lived, for he had sunk an everlasting chasm between them.
She left with head erect and body firm, but with woe dragging her
footsteps, and she knew that no one dared show her kindness--yet.

That night at six o'clock La Salle sat at the Governor's table, and
the dinner served was delicate and plentiful. Frontenac had a good
cook and he had a gift for entertainment as for administration. He
raised his glass to La Salle soon after they were seated.

"I drink to my friend, Robert, Sieur de la Salle, and may his work

La Salle drank with glowing eyes. "All is well with me now, Excellency,
but is it so with all here? I have been loaned money to-day, and I
shall leave soon, for my work calls. But the daughter of Tuke Darois
is alone and disgraced and poor. What of her?"

Frontenac smiled: "Think you I forget these things? I know what the
Intendant and others will try to do, but I have faith in the girl.
She is as straight as the candle and burns as pure a flame. She shall
not suffer."

La Salle shook his head. "She will have the Intendant and the Jesuits
against her, and they are powerful. She lives alone with old Luce
Hontard. I fear for her."

Frontenac laughed and his face showed a sense of triumph.

"Suppose she came to live at this Chteau!"

La Salle put down his knife and fork: "Came--to live here!" he said,
in dismay.

"Why not! Madame Louvigny, a cousin of mine, lives here now, and she
likes the girl and has ever done so."

La Salle could scarcely believe his ears. "What will the Intendant and
the people of Quebec say--do you not see, Your Excellency?"

"I see, but what difference can it make! The Intendant would put the
girl in prison if she did not live at the Chteau; but he dare
not arrest one who has the protection of the Governor's house. Can
you not see?"

"I see. Good God, how strange! To live here--But suppose she will
not come. Suppose she sees the danger of it--?"

"Danger--to whom?" Frontenac gazed, surprised, at La Salle.

"Danger to you, Excellency! If the Intendant reports the fact to the
King, or Colbert, how will it seem to them?"

"But if I report that the Intendant and Darois tried to murder you, and
that they used consciously a spy of the Hudson's Bay Company, how would
that strike the great men in France! Am I so blind?"

La Salle saw that Frontenac would strike ruthlessly at the Intendant
if need be. "Excellency, you are bigger than any of these folks and
they cannot defeat you, and mademoiselle will be safe from the Intendant.
A proud position for a girl so badly born. Even the people of Quebec
cannot question what the Governor does, when they know that the
girl came to Fort Frontenac to circumvent her father. She did not
tell me this, but I guessed it, and so did Tonty; and she prevented
him in so far as she could."

"It was not wholly good," said the Governor, "but it cannot be helped,
and she was not with him. People will say she should have denounced
him, but shall you ask a girl to destroy her own father? The girl
shall live here as a ward of mine, and who shall fight me on the
point? I am free from stain. I have no axes to grind, save one, and
we will, grind it together. While we dine here, Madame Louvigny
has gone to Tuke Darois home, and before dinner is over we may
know whether the girl will come."

An hour passed and there came a soft knocking at the door. Frontenac
gave the order to enter, and Madame Louvigny came forward smiling:

"Excellency," she said, "I have good news. The girl consents."

Frontenac and La Salle rose at her entrance.

"Good! good! Be seated, madame," said Frontenac.

"No, not yet. She would not at first listen to me--save in thanks,
but when I said it was for her own safety and that she could not refuse
the Governor, she said sadly, yet proudly, she would come. Her tears of
gratitude wet my hand. So she came, and even as we left with old Luce
Hontard, a soldier came from M. Duchesneau to summon her to the palace.
I said the Intendant would find her at the Chteau, and she is here."

"Here now at the, Chteau! That's as it should be," exclaimed Frontenac.

"Here now--Excellency--outside," said the sweet-faced woman.

"Here now!" said La Salle, and his heart gave a leap, then seemed
to stop beating.

"Bring her in, please," said Frontenac, and Madame Louvigny vanished
for a moment.

Presently the door opened again. Madame Louvigny entered, and with her
was Lya Darois, who stood with steadfast, wondering eyes, looking at

Chapter XXIV

Tonty and Mutiny

Tonty had been left to make good foothold in the Illinois at Fort
Crvecoeur. He had fifteen men, smiths, ship carpenters, housewrights,
and soldiers, with l'Esperance and Friar Membr and the gentle and
devoted Father Gabriel de la Rabourde. After work for some time on a
new boat, Tonty went to fortify a cliff not far away. The day after
he had gone the men mutinied--ten only remained faithful. They destroyed
the fort, stole all the lead, provisions, and furs, inscribed on the
small vessel "We are all savages," and took to the woods.

Thus in one day was the work of weeks destroyed, and La Salle injured
by those who served him. It was beautiful weather and the spot was
lovely, but the men were offscourings, and, with La Salle and Tonty
absent, gave themselves the freedom of pirates.

The opposition of the faithful ten nearly lost them their lives, but
they had courage and adroitness and escaped before the worst was done
and the mutineers had left. They made their way under great hardship
to Tonty, and the rebels completed their work of destruction. That
such things could be done is a sign of the vast spirit of evil in a
beautiful new world. These men shared no joys of discovery or
settlement; they saw naught save the hour in which they lived, the
food which they ate, the furs got by hunting. To them life was daily
toil and struggle, and ended with the day, but they were capable of
enthusiasm and great braveries.

Here was a fort at the start of the Mississippi adventure, broken by
those who helped to build it, here was the ship on which they had
labored inscribed with the cynical comment, "We are all savages." They
were not far removed from the primitive debauchery and cruelty of the
Iroquois, but they had no gifts of organization which made that body so
successful. These men had no Long House like the Iroquois--sometimes five
hundred feet long and containing many fires and great numbers of savages.
These Iroquois watched women prepare great kettles of food while
themselves played with cherry stones, games of chance, at times
bartering all they had, or made arrowheads, or smoked, or sat with
girls, making love in silence, or quarreled, or slept, or slapped the
bare bodies of children who crawled round.

Life in the Long House was like that of a university, where men live
in--the spirit of the tribe holds all, and one house becomes a center
of tribal spirit. The Long House was the most powerful thing among
the Iroquois, for, while there were innumerable small quarrels,
these were overcome by the general tribal feeling. Looking through
the Long House, one was conscious of organized life in which dark
things might be done, but all was held by the strong circle of
visible being.

It was like the court at Versailles--huge, with small rooms, where
all met. Union, concentration, were the pervading influences. Louis
lived an open life like the chief in the Long House. There was little
privacy at Versailles; there was little privacy at the Long House, but
in France it turned a series of duchies into a great kingdom, and it
was as successful as with the Iroquois. Versailles was more than a
palace, it was a nation. In it the nobles were under the eye of the
King, and if he said of those he never saw, "I do not know them," their
life was over. It was France concentrated.

In Canada two Systems were working, and the one bound to last was
struggling for life. History says which was greater, Frontenac or
those who opposed him, La Salle or his foes. This was the period,
more than at any other, when the fate of Canada was in the scales.
With the discovery of the Mississippi to its mouth, with the establishment
of Louisiana, was to come the building of an empire. And this period
after La Salle had triumphed at Quebec was the most acute in his whole
history and in that of Canada.

When word came to Tonty of the mutiny he sent four men, two by one
route and two by another, to find La Salle. Boisrondet and l'Esperance,
a youth called Renault, and one hired man, and the friars remained with
him. They lodged in the empty town of the Illinois until the spring,
when thousands of natives returned and life became perilous. The
Iroquois had started strife between the Miamis and the Illinois.
All summer Tonty waited, and La Salle did not come. At last after
vain efforts to convert the Illinois, the two friars withdrew to a
lodge a league away, and the remaining Frenchmen did what they could
to pass away the time.

At last a Shawanoe Indian, who had been visiting and was returning
home, reappeared and gave word that the Iroquois army was near. There
was immediate excitement and natives threatened Tonty. They threw into
the river the tools of the French, greased their bodies, painted their
faces, befeathered their heads, and shook their hatchets to work up their
courage. With morning came the Iroquois. They were over five hundred with
one hundred Miamis.

It was a strange sight, tall, naked warriors, some in buffalo robes,
some with shirts of deerskins fringed with dyed porcupine quills, with
clubs and quivers with stone-headed arrows. Some were armed with guns,
pistols, and swords; others had bucklers of wood or rawhide and wore
corselets of rough twigs. The scouts declared they had seen a Jesuit
among the Iroquois, and it would seem that the French and the Iroquois
were working together. Tonty's life hung by a hair, but when he said
he and his men would fight the Iroquois the danger lessened.

The fight began and Tonty saw it would all end in disaster, so with
the assent of the Illinois he would mediate. He took a wampum belt
and holding it up walked forward to meet the savage multitude. Soon
he was in the midst of the furious warriors and the guns of the Iroquois
were still firing. It was an odious sight--the writhing bodies, the
fiendish yells, every passion of an Indian war at work. Tonty was
dressed half savagely, and a young Indian stabbed him, but the blade
struck a rib, and then a chief said he was a Frenchman, for his ears
were not pierced! The wounded Tonty told them the Illinois were twelve
hundred and that there were sixty Frenchmen to help them. So, at last
they let Tonty go back with a flag of truce. Then the Illinois sent a
young Indian with Tonty, but this youth nearly proved the ruin of the
negotiation, for he betrayed the weakness in number of the Illinois.
Tonty, however, by skill, address, and coolness, was able to complete
the treaty. But the Iroquois grew hourly more jealous of Tonty and
would have killed him, but it was not their policy to fight the French
at the moment. At last they called a council, and Tonty and Membr
were bidden to it. With six packs of beaver skins, it was made clear
that the Illinois should not be fought; then came plaster to heal
Tonty's wound, and sunflower oil to anoint him; and they would strike
camp and go home. All seemed well. But now some of the Iroquois
shouted they would eat Illinois flesh before they went home!

Then Tonty at once kicked away the pledges in rejection and the
chiefs, in rage, drove them from the lodge. In the morning, after a
night of alarm, they left, followed by the curses of the Iroquois.
They went in a leaky canoe and paddled about five leagues, then landed
to dry their baggage and repair their canoe, and the noble Father
Rabourde landed and wandered across the meadows with his breviary.
He never returned. He was captured by Indians and scalped; and so
another son of a great Burgundian house gave his life for his cause
in an age of vice and virtue and chivalry.

In the Illinois town dreadful things were seen. The fury of the Iroquois
was spent upon the dead. They ravaged the graveyards, burned and threw
bodies to the dogs, placed skulls on stakes as trophies, and some of the
hideous remains they ate. Then, later, when the Illinois broke up into
their several tribes, the Tamaroas remaining near the mouth of the Illinois
were assailed. The men fled, but seven hundred women and children were
captured, and revolting torture and lust took place. At length they passed
with hosts of captives, triumphing over women, children, and the dead.

Tonty and his men went on and gathered acorns and roots for food. They
lacked ammunition and Boisrondet melted a pewter dish for musket balls,
and they made moccasins of the leather mantle of Father Rabourde. They
abandoned their canoe and set out on foot for Lake Michigan. The cold
was intense, and they grubbed up wild onions from the frozen ground to
prevent starvation. They reached the bay and patched up an old canoe,
but again they had to leave it in a great storm. Etienne Renault was
taken ill from eating a piece of an Indian rawhide shield. And this
was their salvation, for the next day a party of Kickapoo Indians came
upon them. These they welcomed how gladly! After this they passed through
matted forests where the squirrels chattered. At night, after passing
far-reaching sheets of water and grassy heights and crags, they smoked
pipes by the fire and slept at peace beneath the stars. They were carried
at last to an Indian village of the Pottawattamies, who were under a
chief friendly to La Salle. They were given to eat, in birch-bark
dishes, wild rice with dried whortle-berries.

Here there was naught to do but wait for the coming of La Salle. Tonty
was sure La Salle would at last find them. Among the Kickapoo Indians
they were safe and at peace, but Tonty kept the men building huts and
making moccasins and mantles. The Indians came and went, and they sang
their native monotonous chants and more than once arranged a war dance
in which the latent furies of primeval life had play--tattooed and
painted and feathered, and pagan in their gesture's and language as
they were. They also had other dances, and these they did with a curious
fantastic grace, and even their squaws and girls were permitted to
join them--the women almost naked, oiled, and rankly perfumed--in
their grotesque gyrations.

Then they asked the Frenchmen to sing to them, and this they did with
consummate point, for the squaws shook with laughter and the girls
hung their heads or peeped through their fingers. This was one of
the songs:

  "Who will buy from us,
     These skins of cat, of she-goat, of hare,
   Ah, who will take them--
     I have skins of dog, of she-goat, of cat.
   When you marry,
     My advice is that you take them,
   Taking them young,
     The cuckoos will sing.
   Taking them old,
     It will already have sung--
   Laire, laire, la, la lon laire, laire, laire, lainderira."

This song was sung in their own language in a translation made by
Boisrondet and it was most popular, for life among these Indians
was free and vicious, and they well knew what the song meant. Even
the young girls made suggestive motions and the eyes of the older
ones glowed viciously. So the weeks wore on, and again at a catch
of fish in the lake, this song the explorers sang to the assembled
Indians to applause:

  "In the water the fish frisks about,
     Who will catch it?
   In the water the fish frisks about,
     Who will catch it?
   You the young girl
     They will love you!
   You the young girl,
     They will love you!"

By such primitive ways with friendly Indians they held their own and
waited for La Salle. Their food was plentiful of its kind and there
were plantations of beans and corn for which they paid by presents
of knives, hatchets, sweetmeats, and crude utensils, but ever there
was the danger of hostile Indian attack. It was a cold and raw region,
but when the sun shone it gave their spirits impulse, and there was
sun in plenty now and rain but seldom. Tonty was most successful with
Indians, and while he was impatient he had a feeling that all would
be better when La Salle arrived.

Chapter XXV

The Light from the Ruins

When La Salle left Quebec after killing Darois and getting
money from those who had before refused him, he went again to Fort
Frontenac where La Forest was in charge, and, taking a surgeon,
ship carpenters, joiners, masons, soldiers, voyageurs, and
laborers--twenty-five in all--needed for the outfit of a vessel, he
at length reached Michillimackinac, and was again faced by hostility.
He went forward with six Frenchmen and an Indian. If the Iroquois had
invaded the land of the Illinois it would be ill. In all his travels
he had met with discouragement, but difficulty only braved his spirit.
When at last he made the journey all was lonely, now all was life to
the full. The plains were alive with buffalo, and they killed buffalo
and deer, geese and swans. They cut the meat into flakes and dried it.
The men were in good fettle and they looked forward to seeing Tonty.
They passed the cliff called the Rock of St. Louis where Tonty had
been ordered to build his stronghold, but it had no signs of life. No
work had been done on it. They gazed on a scene of desolation--ashes,
charred poles, human skulls, wolves, crows and buzzards, open graves,
bones, mangled corpses. The contents of the caches--store of corn--were
scattered and cornfields burned.

As La Salle gazed on the terrible scene, a vast comet appeared. It
was the largest and most lurid in recorded history and came nearer
to the earth than any other. Many believed it a portent against the
earth, but not La Salle; it had for him only scientific interest. For
days he watched it and marveled at the excitement of the Frenchmen
and the Indians. To him, if aught, it was a beacon to march forward.

There was an abandoned camp of the Iroquois. One hundred and thirteen
huts stood in the meadow, and the trees were covered with their insignia,
and marks of Illinois killed or captured, but none showing that Frenchmen
had been slain. At last they came to Fort St. Louis and found it a ruin
and a hideous scene, and with horror La Salle and his men descended the
broad current and at length reached the Mississippi, the lode-star
of his dreams and hopes.

Who can say what were his feelings then? The blazing comet was only
a token of better days to come. It awoke in his firm breast a deeper
faith than he had ever known. It was the sign from Heaven that all
would be well with his schemes. The glowing sky above was the glamour
of his dreams come true. He raised his head, and invoked it with
the persistent faith of the zealot and the pioneer. It was like a
hand beckoning him. Then they turned back toward Lake Michigan
to find Tonty.

Hardships followed. Snow fell in vast quantities for nearly three
weeks, and through forty leagues of open country they fought their way.
Furious winds blew, and the snow was so light they could not wear their
snowshoes, so La Salle went ahead, pushing his way through drifts,
and at length they reached Fort Miami, but no news had come of Tonty,
and all they could do was to wait.

He spent the winter at Fort Miami by the borders of Lake Michigan. He
knew his foes in Quebec city had leagued with the Iroquois, and he
planned to bring together the tribes of the West and colonize them at
this fort in the valley of the Illinois. There were friends and allies
near--refugees from Virginia and Maine, Abenakis and Mohegans--they
were of a hero-worshiping clan. Also Ouiatenons, Kickapoos, Mascoutins,
Kilaticas. These swore to follow him, no matter what the perils or
hardships. Then came new allies--Shawanoes from the valley of the Ohio,
and La Salle urged them to come also, and planned to negotiate with the
Miamis and the Illinois, for the Iroquois had murdered a band of Miamis
and had intrenched themselves in rush forts in the Miami country.

La Salle set out to negotiate, and reached the prairies where at a camp
of Outagamis, he got news that Tonty was with the Pottawattamies. This
news made La Salle's heart sing. He met bands of Illinois whom he placated
and won, and then he went to the Miamis. Three Iroquois warriors had
been among these traducing the explorer, but La Salle confronted them
and said they dared not repeat in his presence what they had said behind
his back. They were silent and confounded, and secretly left the town
in the night.

At last at Michillimackinac La Salle found Tonty and told tales of
disaster, and listened to tales of woe that would have overcome lesser
men, but they were not of the lesser kind, and they paddled their
canoes for a thousand miles south. At last La Salle determined to
lead his men to the mouth of the Mississippi.

So they started in fine weather and with cheerful hearts. They passed
through a wonderful country where was now plenty of game, and Nika,
ever silent and watchful, was busy directing the skinning and drying
of the flesh of deer and buffalo, and all seemed going well.

One day as the canoes went swiftly, there came a song from a canoe
which was at last taken up by them all, and it floated over the
shining waters:

  "My father married me to
     Petite Jeannete, glon, glon,
   And knowing nothing except
     To guard the house,
   To the sound of the bigournoise
     Sound of nuts and apples,
   Of figs and strawberries,
     These are the steps of la glon, glon, glon,
   Gloria de la ladereta,
   De la bigournoise, o gai,
     L'espoir, c'est de la bigournoise."

It was a happy and exciting song, and La Salle and Tonty listened,
and Tonty joined in it. La Salle's lips murmured with the rest, and
he waved a hand towards the south:

"It is there--I know all is coming now, Tonty--to the sound of the
bigournoise. I hear the steps of la glon, glon, glon!"

He laughed softly, and Tonty nodded.

"The hope, it is bigournoise," he said.

The days went on.

So it was that at last with a hundred Shawanoes and others, and
thirty Frenchmen, with Tonty he drew up his canoes on the shore.

Chapter XXVI

A Visitor from France

Soon after La Salle left Quebec there arrived his cousin, Franois
Plet, whom he had asked to come. He had high character and much vigor,
middle aged, strong, and reliable, a brain not easily turned, and a
patriot. He had lent La Salle money when in France, no one had yet
done so, and his confident faith brought other sums to La Salle. La
Salle had, in truth, no head for commercial enterprises, and in a
letter written to one of his creditors he begs his correspondent to
send out an agent of his own:

"He need not be very savant, but he must be faithful, patient of labor,
and fond neither of gambling nor women, nor good cheer, for he will
find none of these things with me." He further adds, "I have neither
the habit nor the inclination to keep books, nor have I anybody with
me who knows how." Elsewhere he says:

The twenty-two men who deserted and robbed me are not to be believed
on their word, deserters and thieves as they are. . . . It needs as
unjust a judge as the Intendant to prompt such rascals to enter
complaint against a person to whom he had given a warrant to arrest
them. . . Those who remain with me are the first I had, and they have
been with me for six years. . . . I do not know what you mean by having
popular manners. There is nothing special in my food or clothing,
which are all the same for me and my men. . . . You do not know the
men one must employ out here, when you exhort me to make merry with
them. They are incapable of that, for they are never pleased unless
we give free rein to their drunkenness and debauchery and other vices.
If that is what you call unpopular manners, neither honor nor inclination
would let me stoop to gain their favor in a way so disreputable;
and besides, the consequence would he dangerous, and they would have the
same contempt for me that they have for all who treat them in this
fashion. . . . As for what you say about my looks and manner, I confess
that you are not far from right. But naturem espellas and if I am
wanting in impassiveness and show of feeling towards those with whom I
associate, it is only through a timidity which is natural to me, and
which has made me leave various employments where without it I could
have succeeded . . . . Abb Renaudot knows with what repugnance I had
the honor to appear before Monseigneur de Conti, and sometimes it takes
me a week to make up my mind to go to an audience. . . . It is a defect
of which I shall never rid myself as long as I live, often as it spites
me against myself, and often as I quarrel with myself about it.

This was La Salle's picture of himself, and it explained some of his
failures, for his mind was shadowed by great timidity. He could inspire
respect always, but only those who came near him loved him, yet he could
influence men high and low, from the accomplished Louis himself, and
Colbert and Seignelay to the poorest Indian in the West. The note in
his life counting most was character, and that he had in unmatched degree.
Self-concentration gave him powerful steadiness, and he kept his head
up where most men would fail. He was first in any hard work with his
men; he marched at their head; he took the worst of the blows; and he
stands a magnificent figure in the early history of the land he did so
much to create. Like all great men, he could get nearer to the primitive
mind than most others; he could sway Indians where none but Frontenac
could do so.

When Franois Plet came to Canada he was at once received by Frontenac
at dinner, and said he had come at La Salle's request to take charge of
trade at Fort Frontenac. To this Frontenac replied:

"Your cousin I have always upheld, for he is the true pioneer and
explorer, but he has, alas! small gifts for merchanting. He has made
money enough to pay all his debts over and over again, but he has not
the great trader's caution, and he has had bad luck--heavy losses with
boats and furs. He has powerful foes, but he will succeed. He has the
soul and the face of a majestic dreamer."

Franois Plet inclined his head. "Excellency, he not only dreams, he
acts, and his acts approved by Count Frontenac shall be upheld by
the King."

Frontenac smiled, then laughed outright: "I saw what was in him from
the first, and so did his foes. He has won his way in spite of them."

Then he told of Darois and his daughter and the plot, and how La Salle
killed both men, and had gone West with fresh loans got by his killing
of a Hudson's Bay Company spy.

At that moment Barrois, the secretary, came with a letter, giving it
to Plet, who opened it and presently said to Barrois: "Say that I will
go to the palace within the hour, if you please."

He added to Frontenac: "It is from the Intendant. He wishes to see
me. It was taken to my lodgings and brought on to me here."

Frontenac nodded. "He will try to influence you. He has a gift of
tongue, but he is too clever. He is the foe of La Salle."

At the Intendant's palace there was a party and guests were dancing
and playing cards. Among them were new arrivals from France who had
come in the same ship as Franois Plet, and they were mixing with
local guests, flaunting their ribbons and laces as though they
owned New France.

The whole atmosphere was different from that of the Chteau St.
Louis. It was more frivolous and buoyant; it had an air of garish
splendor, a kind of gayety in keeping with the gorgeous candelabra
that hung from the ceiling. It was vivacious and gay in a vicious
sort, and because of that was dangerous. Here the pleasure-loving
folk came, and here was bred the spirit which had made Madame Ranard
the mistress of the Intendant--it was the air of the place. Here men
and women played with the sobor realities of life, and gave cause
for anxiety to the Bishop and the priests. In shadowed corners could
be seen careless triflers caressing each other, and girls receiving
gifts of jewelry as was the custom of the time. No girl was ashamed
to receive gifts, for what was done at Versailles could be done in
Quebec, and yet there was little grave immorality in the city, for
girls married so young and there were fewer maids than men. It all
had not the splendor of furniture, paintings, and sculpture of
Versailles, but there was light and decoration and good music,
and influence deadly to perfect civil life.

At one card table sat Rojet Ranard and a seigneur and two ladies;
they were playing at high stakes with happy turmoil. When Franois
Plet passed through the room, Ranard whispered to the seigneur and
watched him till he disappeared. The eyes of many followed Plet, for
all knew him as a cousin of La Salle. They had heard this after the
ship, the Carcassone, arrived, and yet few had seen him until now.
His name passed from lip to lip, and heads nodded, for they guessed
what the Intendant meant to do, and a very few of them hoped that
Plet would remain true to La Salle.

A moment later Franois Plet entered the Intendant's room, and Duchesneau
came forward from the table, laying down a pen as though he had been
at work. He shook hands cordially.

"Ah, Monsieur Plet, I welcome you to Quebec. I only knew of your
arrival just before I wrote. You have come, monsieur, to do business at
Fort Frontenac for the intrepid La Salle."

"I have come to take charge of Fort Frontenac, and trade in his name
for a time. He is as just a man as belongs to France."

"He has reputation for fairness and honesty, and yet he has not
succeeded. He cannot succeed unless I hold out a hand to help, for
he has no business instinct. I would not lend him money--no--for the
chance of getting it back is small."

"My own view is the chance is excellent!"

"Excellent? Excellent? Is that why you are here?"

"That is why. Nothing will be lost by any who loans to La Salle.
He may not have great gifts for making money, but none has yet lost
by him."

"That is because I have given him my support, for I am head of finance
and the law in this province."

"I cannot think your support is so great as that of Count Frontenac,
the Governor, who is over you and is head of all."

"Count Frontenac is not over me in aught," said the Intendant, sharply.

"Excuse me, Your Honor, yours is the mechanism, but his the policy.
Working together, you can do much--apart, his policy counts--he can do
all needed to make this land worthy of its origin."

Monsieur Plet had touched the Intendant on the raw, and had done
it purposely. He hit hard when he hit.

"You have not the turn of it all, monsieur. The late Intendant Talon
built this palace as a brewery, and he had policy of commercial
development which did Canada great good. He controlled commerce,
shipping, and the policy of trade. He built great industries--he
taught trades--he explored the West--through him the Mississippi
was discovered--and he even opened up trade with the West Indies.
It was more than mechanism, it was policy, and I, and not Frontenac,
am responsible for the commercial welfare of the province. In my field
I am supreme."

"I see. I see. But you and Count Frontenac work together, then, and
you both would advance La Salle's interests. That is great news. I
had heard that Frontenac had ever been with my cousin, and you when
it pleased you!"

"I have never been with him as Count Frontenac has been--never, for
his plans would not bear faithful scrutiny."

"They are the King's plans."

The Intendant bristled. "Not the King's plans! They are his own, and
the King assented to them, because he did not fully understand them,
but he is doing so now."

"Your Honor keeps the King and his Minister informed, of course?"

"As is my duty. I am a friend of La Salle, but he will not succeed in
the end; he has too much against him--the Church, the merchants, and
the spirit of the community. We all believe in trade, but are not
with him in his methods."

"You are one in policy, but opposed in administration--is that it?"

"That is it. If there is too much settlement in the West and South,
the difficulties of government are increased. Do you see?"

"Yet the King gave La Salle right to trade in the farther West, and
to build forts and so on. I do not understand."

Monsieur Plet looked dumfounded, but he was a good actor, and he
knew he was in the presence of one who was a great comedian--a
tragic comedian. Now that he had got the true measure of the
man, he played with one object only--to protect La Salle's interests.

"The King was at Versailles and La Salle was there. Had
I been there, the King would not, I think, have given La Salle so
many concessions. It was a grevious error."

"But now that La Salle is in the work, you would not have him withdraw
yet--not immediately, perhaps."

"That is it--I would have him withdraw, but not at once. I hope you
will get what is due you at Fort Frontenac."

"I am glad of your approval. I am not going for myself only, but for
all of La Salle's creditors. I will only take my fair share. That is all."

The Intendant was astounded. Here was a really honest man, who would work
for others as well as for himself! If he could work with this man he
might himself get profit out of La Salle. With enthusiasm he said:

"You are the kind of man Canada needs. Can you and I not work

Franois Plet was in a quandary. He could not work with Frontenac and
this man also, and yet he wished to save La Salle from attack. So he
said, calmly: "I told Count Frontenac I would work for La Salle, with
his support, and I will gladly work for La Salle with Your Honor's
support. We all shall be working for the same thing."

"Not quite, for the Governor approves of La Salle's methods, and I do
not. Yet that we should work in harmony for a while is good. Change
of method, that is the thing, and when you get to Fort Frontenac you
will see what I mean. I will send a man with you. You will need help."

"Your Honor, do not send your man till I give you word I would like
to start the work alone. When I have mastered the present methods
of trade I will send for your man, if I may."

In agitation well hidden the Intendant bowed his head "It shall be
as you say."

Then they left the library and passed into the great ball-room. It was
all revelry and gayety, and through clouds of tobacco smoke could be
seen dancers holding each other close, and eyes of sensual heat looking
over broad shoulders, while loose folds of linen showed breasts beating
with the excitement of the hour. Behind her husband, who had been
losing heavily, stood Barbe Ranard. She was brilliant with color and
she dropped a curtsy as the Intendant with Monsieur Plet appeared.
Plet observed her closely. At the door of the salon the Intendant
said good-by to him.

As Piet left the palace he shook his head. "An able and a dangerous
man. This fight demands every atom of resource. He tried to win me,
and to perdition with him! That woman, Ranard, is the devil's own
dam. She has gifts and a soul of shame."

As he walked on alone the wonderful air crept into his bones. The
moonlight was like a silver fire, the stars like tender far-off
friends, the St. Lawrence a broad path of radiance, the Laurentian
Hills the coverts of great souls, the home of everlasting hopes, the
place where men could go to hide their failures or recall their glories.
They belonged to the everlasting history of the seventeenth century.
His eyes lighted.

Chapter XXVII

The End of the Day

In the black days of late November, La Salle, Tonty, and D'Autray,
and Abenakis and Mohegan allies--eighteen in all, with wives of
ten Indians who La Salle did not wish to take, and twenty-three
Frenchmen, among whom were Friar Membr and Pierre Prudhomme--making
fifty-four altogether--started from Fort St. Louis for the
Mississippi. La Salle had abandoned building a vessel, and they
made the journey in canoes. Yet with canoes he could not carry
enough furs and produce to repay his creditors.

At the beginning of the journey Tonty said to him: "It is in my
bones that this time you will succeed. I am only sorry we have
not a ship. It would impress the natives, it would carry furs and
goods--but to impress the natives is the chief thing."

La Salle replied: "You are right, but I cannot wait to build a vessel.
My needs are urgent. To find the mouth of the Mississippi will be
the reply to my foes and it will secure me with my creditors. Even
Count Frontenac could not see ahead at first. He is powerful, but
he cannot do all, he can only help when I have opened up the way."

Tonty nodded. "Next to news of the money, what you told me about
Lya Darois was the best you brought."

La Salle saw the gleam in Tonty's eye, and it pleased him, for
between himself and the girl was now an impassable barrier.

"She is a true friend of this great land. She can make all believe
in her that do not wish to hurt her. At the Chteau St. Louis
she is safe."

"But this courageous act of Frontenac may make feeling against
him at Versailles."

La Salle shook his head somberly. "I thought of that, but it would
need much more to influence King Louis. They are big men and
Frontenac's wife is a good agent. He is better served by his wife
than if she were here. She is more powerful because she does not
go to court."

Tonty smiled. "It is said that Louis was once in love with Madame
la Comtesse, and it may be so. But women do not influence him. He
makes up his own mind. He has broken the power of the nobles and
built up that of the middle class, and his generals, Cond, Turenne,
Vauban, Villars, and Luxembourg are masters of war."

La Salle nodded. "He sees for himself and he works like a slave."

He threw back his head and laughed softly. Then he grasped Tonty
by the arm. "We are not old friends, Tonty, as time goes, but we
come nearer than do those I have known all my life. Time is not
all. I seem to have known you always, and I never feel shy in
talking to you--yes, I am a shy man, Tonty."

Tonty smiled. "You are a combination of shyness and bigness--as
big as any man this land has known, and as shy as a child--Goliath
and Garonne!"

La Salle laughed again. "Certainly not David and Delilah!"

He was thinking of Barbe Ranard. Then he pointed towards the Gulf
of Mexico. "My goal! There must be no delay. Yonder is my land of
promise. I see the reward of all our toil and misery. Ours is the
biggest enterprise this land has known. I have no fear now, whatever
lies between."

They stood in silence and looked towards the south. To both came
happy prescience and melancholy. Their bodies were tense, their
eyes were alight, but their faces had a strange pensiveness. Long
afterwards, when strange things happened, Tonty remembered it.

They moved on down the Illinois, and at last in February came to
the dark and tumbling waters of the Mississippi.

They built camp fires in the forest on the banks, and next morning,
after singing hymns and a "Te Deum" and listening to the words of
Friar Membr, they set canoes again on the muddy rushing stream,
and further on found a deserted town of the Tamaroas. Then a
fortnight later they came upon three Chickasaw towns. Here Pierre
Prudhomme, one of the company, was lost, and for days they hunted
him without avail, but at last Prudhomme appeared, to their great
joy. La Salle hastily built a fort here and called it Fort

Three weeks later they found themselves in a thick fog. When it cleared
they saw Indians on the far bank of the river. The Indians were excited,
but La Salle sent a Frenchman with a calumet decorated with ribbons to
meet them. They all were warmly welcomed to the town of Kappa of the
Arkansas Indians, who were of great civility and handsomeness. La
Salle and his company had heard the throb of the war drum and the
sounds of an Indian war dance, but that was because the Indians did
not know the purpose of these strangers. Dances and functions were
held; La Salle, Tonty, and their followers marched to the center of
the town, a hymn was sung, Vive le Roi! was shouted, and La Salle
in Louis' name took possession of the country. La Salle drew from
the chief fealty to Louis, and a gayer, kinder, more companionable
lot of Indians La Salle had never seen. When they left it was with
cheers of good will following them.

As they rowed down the river, moving swiftly, one of the company, a
Frenchman, who had been a cook in France, started a kind of chanson
doggerel, making it up as they went on, and his friends joined in
with him, and the river rang with it:

  "He who made
     This jolly song,
   This jolly song,
     Who came from Lyons,
   Cook in the galley,
     And handled the oar,
   Always in great misery,
     Hlas! always in great misery--
   Because he was a slave.
     But now he is free in a free land,
   And out of his great misery.
     Tra la, tra la, tra la,
   Tra la, tra la, tra la,
     Tra la for the Sun King!"

La Salle in the same canoe as Tonty said: "That's the spirit, my
friend. In France he was a slave, and here he is free. In France
it was Hlas! Hlas! Here it is tra la, tra la!"

Tonty nodded: "They feel success at last in their bones. How could
it be otherwise in this sweet, smooth air, in this exquisite land.
Yet though the air is soft it stings with life! Even the Indians
hereabouts are quieter, more civilized. Those we have just visited
are the finest we have seen. They have better homes, better food,
and they have a religion that lifts them up."

La Salle nodded. "None of the Indians of Canada are as far advanced
as these. These"--he motioned backwards--"are a progressive people
and this is a beautiful land."

They were floating down through lovely prairie where game was in
plenty and birds innumerable sang, and flowers bloomed in profusion.
Even a snake ten feet long hanging from the branch of a tree on the
bank seemed out of place. La Salle nodded towards the reptile.

"Yet everywhere the tongue of evil shows. There's a Jesuit even here

Tonty laughed. "But its head hangs down!"

"Yet if you were beneath it and it-- See!"

The snake dropped from the tree, a loathsome, wriggling thing.

"No, it is not a Jesuit," said La Salle. "No Jesuit is ugly. He is
as taking as he is deadly, and he is a blessing, not a curse--save
to me."

About three hundred miles below the town of the Arkansas, they stopped
by the edge of a swamp. Here, as their two guides told them, was a
path that led to the great town of the Taensas. Tonty and Membr
and others were sent to visit it. Their men shouldered the birch
canoe through the swamp and launched it on a lake which had once
been of the channel of the river. At length they reached the town,
and Tonty had seen naught like it--large square brick buildings
with dome-shaped roofs. Two of them were very large. One was the
home of the chief and the other was a Temple or House of the Sun.

Tonty and Membr visited this Chief. His tribe was the Taensas,
and they were affable, distinguished in bearing, and hospitable.
They were received in the Chief's lodge. The Chief was seated
with three of his wives at his side, and sixty old men in white
cloaks of mulberry bark made his court. He received their gifts,
treated them with high honor, and addressed them graciously.

Tonty made brief reply, for he wished La Salle to speak to them
and he said so. His master would presently pay his respects--he
was a friend of the King of France, the greatest country in the
world. In numbers it had fifty times the population of the whole
American continent, and had vast cities, while this of the Taensas,
though grand, was but the head of a pin to a kettle; and yet this
was the finest native town, and the people the most advanced he
or his friends had seen.

Then Tonty and Membr went to visit the Temple, where were kept the
bones of dead chiefs, and it was built like the royal lodge. The
inside was crude, yet there was a sort of altar in the center, and
before it burned a fire that never died, and two old men always
watched it. The place was full of smoke and there were dark,
forbidden recesses. They held the riches of this people--pearls
from the Gulf and other jewels.

At the entrance were three wooden eagles faced towards the east,
and a mud wall with stakes on which were hung skulls of foes sacrificed
to the sun, and at the door was a block of wood in a shell decorated
with the hair of the victims. It was impressive and powerful.

The next day the Chief came to La Salle's camp at the river-side,
in great pomp for a native. He was preceded by a master of ceremonies
and six attendants to clear the path for him, and carried an awning
to shield him from the sun. He was clothed in a white robe, preceded
by two men with fans of white plumes, and a third carried before
him two plates of bright copper.

Then ensued a scene of beauty and friendliness. La Salle spoke
eloquently, and the Chief with great dignity and force replied,
and concluded by saying: "We give you our hearts and our love.
We bury the hatchet of war. We are brothers. We are at peace."
They all feasted and La Salle gave presents, and they embraced
at last and said farewell.

Then La Salle and his people visited the Coroas, were threatened
by the Quinipissas, a troublesome tribe of these south lands behind
the canebrakes, found the village of Tangibao, and three lodges
filled with corpses--a sack of their foes a few days before.

Moving on, happy that there had been no bloodshed, La Salle looked
back at the country they had visited, from which they had only
kindness in spite of the gloomy predictions of the Illinois, the
Miamis, and the Iroquois, and his heart swelled with pride. The
brine of the sea came to his nostrils, and his eyes shone. They
were in a land all sun and warmth, all goodness to the sense a
land like none they had ever seen--glorious in its softness and
fertility. His heart swelled within him. He stretched out a hand,
looking back.

"I have come from darkness to light; I have beaten the evil thing;
I am content. God is with us." He made the sign of the cross.
"Thanks be to Him."

Early in April they came upon three broad channels. La Salle took
one, Tonty another, and D'Autray a third. As they drifted down between
the low marshy shores, the brackish water changed to brine. Then at
last came the broad bosom of the Gulf, and La Salle saw for the first
time the waters destined to be the center of tragedy and the source
of sorrow and happiness and immortality. On its restless surface was
shown the strife of the undercurrents, which were to destroy not the
dreams of his life but the value of his great discovery to France
for the moment. They had come a journey which could be made from
the Atlantic Ocean up the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes and the
Illinois and the Mississippi to the Southern Sea--a journey of
thousands of miles--and all by canoe! It was marvelous, and at last
La Salle and Tonty and the rest met on a spot of dry ground not far
from the mouth of the river. There they erected a column bearing
the arms of France and inscribed:

  Louis the Great, King of France and of Navarre, Reigns:
                  the Ninth of April, 1682.

Under arms the Frenchmen stood, the Indians looked on in silence.
They chanted now the "Te Deum," the "Exaudiat," and the
"Domine salvum fac Regem." Then came volleys of musketry, shouts of
"Live the King!" and La Salle, standing near the column, read in a
loud voice the proclamation naming the new country Louisiana, and
taking in all the nations, peoples, provinces, cities, towns,
villages, mines, minerals, fisheries, streams. The territory should
extend from the mouth of the Ohio along the Mississippi to the Gulf
of Mexico. He declared they were the first Europeans to descend
the River Colbert, or Mississippi, and protested against any nation
invading these lands. Then a cross was planted beside the column,
and a leaden plate with the arms of France and in Latin the inscription,
Louis the Great Reigns. Then they all sang the grand hymn "Vexilla Regis":

  "The banners of Heaven's King advance,
     "The mystery of the cross shines forth."

Chapter XXVIII

A Blow at Frontenac

One day Frontenac received a letter from La Salle. It told of the
discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi. Here is the letter in

Excellency, at last I have found our goal. A canoe can come from the
Gulf of the St. Lawrence thousands of miles to the Gulf of Mexico,
and it passes through a land rich and fertile, with vast opportunities
for furs, farming, and ranching, and with the hope of a great future.
Nothing can stop me now, save only if you should be taken from this
land. Then I could not count on getting arms and goods to keep my
work going along the Mississippi.

I was seized with illness and for months I lay near to death's door
at Fort Prudhomme, then I recovered slowly, came to Fort St. Louis,
or Starved Rock, and here I have a wonderful settlement. I have
Indians of many tribes, Shawanoes, Abenakis, Miamis, Illinois,
in all near four thousand warriors, and they live at peace with
each other and with me. From my high fort at Starved Rock I look
on a marvelous country, and here I am founding a colony of French
and Indians as a bulwark against the Iroquois, and as a storage
of furs. These furs will go down the Mississippi to its mouth.
I will found a fort there, and they can be sent direct by ship to
France. I know they try to rouse the Iroquois against us, and they
may succeed. That is why it is good to have at this fort so many
brave men combined against our common foe. I should go to Quebec
at once, but if I do, and the Iroquois should attack, it would
be said I had led the Indians into a trap. Tonty and I have built
here a fort which, with proper supplies, cannot be taken, for it
can be mounted only at one side and then one man at a time and with
great difficulty, and we have here stores and dwellings, and have
encircled the summit with a palisade. This fort will hold some of
the French settlers and with the Indians combined at the bottom,
and with proper armament, it cannot be taken. It is small at the
top, but with Fort Frontenac, and Michillimackinac, and this fort
as distributing centers, all capable of good defense, a way may be
found for building here a great granary for France, and a fur
trade which the King will applaud.

All I ask is that I be furnished with arms and goods, and even with
the Intendant against me that is possible. With you behind me, Excellency,
I have no fear. So I shall stay here till I have made the post secure.
I see no chance of getting to Quebec till next autumn. Meanwhile,
may I beg you, Excellency, to present my discovery to the Minister
of the Navy, Seignelay, and to King Louis. I am writing to Marquis
de Seignelay, but if you will permit me, your official report
should uphold what I say.

When Frontenac in pride read the letter he decided to go to Fort
Frontenac, and have La Salle meet him there, even though it would
give a freer hand to Duchesneau and his friends. Frontenac shrank
not from any course he thought his duty: but he called in Louvigny
before he made his plans.

He spoke with elation. "Louvigny, La Salle has reached the mouth of
the Mississippi, as we had heard in rumor, and he is building a fort
on the Illinois, and gathering forces which will be a center of
resistance to the Iroquois. I have decided to go to the far West.
I should give strength to his hands. What think you?"

Louvigny shook his head. "You should not leave Quebec now, Excellency.
Your foes are hard at work. They may influence the King. Your
protection of Mademoiselle Darois gave them a point of fresh
attack. You are far from the center."

After a frown had come to his face, Frontenac smiled. He felt
that Louvigny was right.

"Very well, Louvigny, but I shall see that La Salle has the arms
and goods he needs. No evil shall befall him--not while I am here."

At that moment there was at the Intendant's palace a scene full of
portent for Frontenac and La Salle. A voyageur had arrived and had
gone at once to the palace. He was admitted to the Intendant, for
he was a servant of the Intendant's office. With the Intendant was
Madame Ranard, and the face of the voyageur was excited. When he
entered, the Intendant and his favorite saw there was great news.

"Your Honor, I have sailed swiftly in my small boat, for I bring
word you have triumphed in France. Within four hours there will
arrive a ship, the Narbonne, and she brings the dismissal of
Count Frontenac!"

Madame Ranard's hand went swiftly to her breast in agitation. This
was news indeed. Her brilliant face even turned pale.

"How do you know?" asked the Intendant.

"I went on board with the pilot, and the captain told me. He showed
me the envelope to Count Frontenac, and one to yourself, and there
can be no doubt."

"But sometimes the Intendant as well as the Governor goes. That has
been." There was great excitement in the Intendant's face.

The man nodded. "The captain said he was told by Monseigneur Seignelay,
that Your Honor was to remain and that Frontenac was to go, and that
La Salle's discoveries were no longer agreeable to the Grand Monarch."

"What--all--all--like that!" said Madame Ranard, in excitement. "It is
too splendid to be true."

"It is true, gracious madame, as people will know soon. I slipped
from the Narbonne when she was anchored for repairs, and in my little
boat reached here but now."

The Intendant opened his purse. "You have brought great news, Marsolet,
so take this gift from the state." He placed some of the contents
in Marsolet's hands. With many words of gratitude the man received
the gift, but ere he left the Intendant said:

"You are not to speak of this to anyone, Marsolet. You think the
Governor does not know?"

"Who is to tell him, Your Honor? I only know."

"Good--most good!"

When the man had gone, the Intendant and Barbe were so elated they
could scarcely speak. "It has come--it has come at last. Heaven be
praised!" said Barbe.

"My letter about the Darois girl had much to do with it, I'm sure.
He played into my hands when he took the daughter of the spy into the
Chteau St. Louis. That is the kind of mad thing he does."

"You can arrest the girl when he goes--yes?"

"He may take her to France."

Barbe shook her head. "He is no such fool. Besides, the girl is too
clever to go. Her head is better than that of most. She is as straight
as her father was crooked, and she has deepened Frontenac's friendship
for La Salle. I loathe her. She is a curse to our country."

Duchesneau laughed, and his creased cheek showed his evil spirit.
"She will have short shrift with me. I will imprison her--at once."

"But that will depend upon Bishop Laval, beloved."

The Intendant tossed his head. "If I have defeated Frontenac, I
will defeat the Bishop--yet."

"But not you alone have defeated Frontenac; it is the Bishop and
his friends. They are powerful in France. You have not all the kudos,
but you have the bulk of it!"

With a deprecating gesture the Intendant said:

"I wonder who is the new Governor--some one not in sympathy with
La Salle, I'm sure. La Salle troubles Church and State, and it is
good the King sees at last."

Madame Ranard was a woman of intelligence and vision.

"Somehow, I do not feel so positively sure. The trouble is Frontenac
has a clever wife, and he has friends at Court. He is a man of power--that,
at least, or he could not have fought us all so long."

"He has no such power as will save him from fresh defeat; Once a man
is recalled by the Grand Monarch, he ceases to exist."

He opened and shut his hand with anger. "I--I--have fought him always,
and at last I have spoiled him. And now La Salle shall fail completely.
He shall not explore and administer beyond this year. I have provoked
the Iroquois against him; I have said they might take his life and
that France will not object, and if the new Governor says the same--and
he will soon be here--what can he do? Naught--naught!"

"Yet when we had him in just such a net before, he escaped," said
Barbe sagely.

"Ah, but Frontenac was behind him, and Frontenac is no more! La Salle
found the mouth of the Mississippi. That's big, yet Frontenac is
recalled, and La Salle is done--forever!"

Four and a half hours later, the bells of the Jesuit College and the
cathedral rang, and there was the boom of big guns, for the Narbonne
was entering the harbor of Quebec, and word had been passed by
Frontenac to welcome the ship. He did not know it contained the
record of his removal, but when the letter from Seignelay was brought
inclosing a brief one from King Louis, his breath came in quick gasps,
his eyes went hard and fiery, he stamped his foot, he burst into
oaths which came from a tortured mind. He had been defeated by lesser
men--the Intendant and others. It struck him where he was tender--it
was his one drawback, but he had always been vain from a child,
and his heart was strong against defeat. He had ever proved himself
of unflinching courage and of inflexible will. This blow was a sad
stroke to his pride, but after a short time he calmed himself and
he would face the population calmly. They should not see he had been
struck in a vital spot. They should respect him to the last, yet to
his immense credit in his own beaten state, he said in bitter regret:

"La Salle--poor La Salle!"

That was the man. For an instant his mind dwelt upon La Salle, then
he returned to his own affairs. He called his secretary, and Barrois

"Barrois, I have been recalled by the King, and our work together is
at an end," he said, quietly.

Barrois' face turned pale. "Oh, Excellency! Excellency! That they
should be able to do it--God torture them!"

"God does not torture, Barrois, he does justice, and out of this will
come justice to me. I see myself once more Governor of Canada. When
I get to France--"

"When you get to France the King and Monseigneur Seignelay will take
a new view of you and your work. They will miss things here--"

"Yes, there will be war with the Iroquois and those who play with
them now will pay a bitter price for their folly and crime. You
cannot play with such two-edged tools. They can never be trusted.
I would wipe them from the earth. They bring only evil with them.
They are powerful because they are well organized. When our foes
try to work them for their evil ends, they cut off their own heads."

[image: Colbert]

Frontenac dropped a hand on Barrois shoulder. "We shall await composedly
the coming of the new Governor. He is not a strong man or they would
not recall me. What lies they have told I know not, but the King's
letter says I have not lived at peace with the Intendant and the Church
and the merchants; and so they reap the ugly harvest--my recall! Live
at peace--who could live at peace here who does right? I love the
land with my whole heart, and I'd give my life for it, and that _they_
would not do. They are honest--the Jesuits--but Duchesneau is
not honest."

He paused, then a curious look came into his eyes.

"Barrois, no man can do well in his office, who is moved by a woman.
She plays him, and he pays--he pays!"

Chapter XXIX

The New Governor

A month later a ship, the Boulogne, arrived bringing the new
Governor, Lefebre de la Barre, an ex-naval officer, and Frontenac
received him with good will and all display at the shore of the
St. Lawrence. There were present militia and officers and soldiers
of France who had come years before--of the Carignan-Sallires Regiment
and of Bearne, and gentlemen of his court in uniform and laces and
colors, and many local gentlemen and their families, and among them
were Madame Louvigny and Lya Darois, quietly dressed. Some women
looked at them adversely, for they were of Frontenac's household,
and Frontenac was hated by many--not because of himself, but because
of what he did. They admired his splendid appearance, his undeniable
courage, his power of administration, but that turned them against
him; they were influenced by men folk who thought him evil to the
country's best interests, and they believed it for the moment.

Yet when they saw who succeeded him they turned to Frontenac with
a sense of loss; for Frontenac had presence and great character,
and their new man, in splendid uniform and laces, had neither character
nor dignity. None would turn to look at him twice, and even Bishop
Laval, no friend of Frontenac, shrank from the hopeless figure. He
had no distinction and seemed narrow and fussy and petty. Even
Duchesneau, who had presence, saw in him a tool.

Frontenac saluted La Barre with elaborate courtesy, then they
embraced, and the Intendant and the Bishop were presented, and a few
others, and Frontenac saw what gave him sorrow--the thin character
of the man, his pompous vanity, his unreliable soul.

Frontenac said: "Your Excellency, I greet you in the name of the
dominions now extending to the Gulf of Mexico and west beyond to
the Great Lakes; you will find it a good and a true land. It will
bring wealth to the Crown. We all love it, as you will do, and we
serve it with whole-hearted love, as will you. You will have great
problems to solve, but we pray your stay here may be for the good
of Canada."

The new Governor cleared his throat, and with uneasy eyes and a
fluttering hand replied--his body restless, his legs rigid, his
face without intellect--fierce with a passion he could not
have explained.

"I have no words for what is in my heart, Count Frontenac. I will do
my duty, remembering His Majesty's commands--to keep a steady,
conciliatory course. Yes, yes, the King must be obeyed, and I shall
approach all questions carefully after consulting with the Intendant,
the Bishop and the Council, and local men of influence!"

Frontenac's eyes did not show disdain, but he glanced at Duchesneau
and Monsieur de Quebec, and saw satisfaction in their faces, and
disdain in that of the Bishop. He escorted the new Governor to
the Chteau St. Louis and gave up the books of office, and
before he left, five days later, he handed over La Salle's
letter, and asked for him due help and men and goods, that his
great discovery should be supported by the Government. La Barre
said he would give it all serious thought, but he was not sure
these discoveries were for the good of the Province of France,
and he would no doubt hear from the Minister upon the matter.

"Meanwhile, what is to become of Sieur de la Salle, Excellency?
He is at Fort St. Louis and needs men and stores, and before you can
hear from France he may be wholly ruined. I beg Your Excellency not
to delay bending succor. The King gave him title of nobility and
his commission."

"I will give it all most careful thought," said La Barre,

Frontenac was enraged, but protest could do no good. It would only,
maybe, make things worse, so he held his peace, but he said to

"There is no hope for La Salle from the new Governor, but I will
see Seignelay. It is all so grave, so tragic, so critical for
France and Canada!"

Madame Louvigny was not going to France. Her husband still stayed--on
the staff of the Governor--but she no longer lived at the
Chteau, and Lya still was with her.

At her new home Frontenac saw Lya. He said:

"Madame Louvigny will be good to you. These are dark days, I fear.
The future of La Salle is in the hands of God. The new Governor is
not friendly, and dark things may he done, but not so dark that
Heaven cannot make them bright. All will be well with La Salle in
the end." After a moment's silence he added, "I would ask you to
come to France, but it might not be understood."

"Excellency," replied Lya, modestly, "here is my place at present.
The great man, La Salle, was not born to fail--no."

He looked at her with satisfaction, and smiled.

"You will have trials--one cannot know what the new Governor and
the Intendant may do, but you will surmount all dangers--and we
shall meet again."

Frontenac left Quebec with little show of farewell, save for the
booming of the guns that La Barre had ordered, and the hoisting
of the fleur-de-lys on the Chteau.

Frontenac had scarcely left the harbor of Quebec when the Intendant
summoned Lya to the Chteau, and, though Madame Louvigny opposed
it, Lya said: "I shall go, though he means no good. God has kept
me in the past; he will keep me now."

On the way to the palace she saw Bishop Laval in the distance.
"He is not cruel, he is sincere, and I would not fear him. He
is not small," she said.

At the palace she was shown into the Intendant's office. She wore a
dress most plainly cut, but it suited her figure, and her fine face
was full of expression. Her eyes were steady and her forehead
clear of lines. Her hair hung loose about her neck, as was the
custom of the time.

His eyes absorbed her with the look of one that desired women. There
were none in Quebec with a figure like hers, save one, and this
girl was much younger, and no one had yet had her love--or so he
thought. He smiled at her.

"You have a new home, mademoiselle--yes?"

She inclined her head. "Since Count Frontenac left the Chteau St.
Louis, yes. I am with Madame Louvigny, as Your Honor knows."

The Intendant motioned her to a chair. "Will you not sit? You will
be more at ease."

Lya did not like his eyes. She kept her head, however, for what
could he do? She sat in a big low-backed chair, and leaned her
arms on the sides of it. There was determination in her face, and
her eyes bravely met his. He could not read her, clever though
he was. To him all women were alike, to be got at a price high or
low, and he was in power now far greater than when Frontenac was
in Quebec. The new man had no will to follow in Frontenac's footsteps.

"I have asked you here, mademoiselle, to say that for your father's
crime you must be kept in prison. I never shared Frontenac's
view that you were wholly innocent. You hid his crime, enjoyed
his immunity and the salary of his office. You had too much liberty
under Frontenac."

The girl's face flushed with anger and her eyes grew brighter.
"Count Frontenac had means of judging my guilt, Your Honor, and
so had Bishop Laval. Do you think the Governor would shelter a
criminal against the land he loved so well?"

The Intendant smiled. Her anger pleased him. He knew she was innocent
and that she had only done what any woman would have done for a criminal
father, but that was naught to him. He observed how fine her hands
were, how delicate her ankles, how radiant was the air about her.
She had the gift of radiance. She was like a planet with an aureole
of her own, and all who met her felt it, though they loved or hated
her. She had an atmosphere as definite as her person.

"Whatever knowledge Count Frontenac had, I, as head of the law, have
better. Sieur de la Salle gave your father his deserved end--a good
act done by one who is no savior of this land. He hurts it. Although
he killed your father, you are his friend--eh?"

She bowed her head. "My father and his comrade meant to kill him.
He did what any man would do. I have thought, Your Honor, that
there was behind my father a great figure in this land."

Duchesneau got slowly to his feet. The challenge had been bold, and
she had courage to face him so. He frowned, his eyes glistened with
malice. Did she think she could say such things? She had more than
courage, she had rashness. He spoke with control:

"All men in high places are slandered. I need not answer your mad
challenge. Do you think I would put myself behind a traitor? Am
I that sort of man--the Intendant who has triumphed over its Governor?
Is it thought I was behind your damnable father?"

Her reply was quiet: "I do not work things out by logic; they come
through my soul. You have prevailed--over Count Frontenac, by what
means I know not, but when he comes again you will not be here, Your
Honor! The land will be better for it."

The Intendant laughed sarcastically: "Well, well, you are bold;
mademoiselle, and you take risks, for I shall have you imprisoned.
The new Governor will not prevent it, and the Church will not defend

"I will not accept the protection of the Church. I am a good
Catholic, but I must be free from such control. No one can point
to crime of mine to warrant prison. One can live but once, and I
will live in my own way in so far as I can. You cannot prevent
that I know."

Duchesneau delighted in her noble courage, and she was so enticing,
this orphan girl. He did not reply at once. He walked to the window
and looked out over the great St. Lawrence River to the Levis shore,
and he wondered what to do or say next. The girl was worth many
risks; she was beautiful, valiant, and clever. She was here in
his palace, and he could do what he would. Suppose she should cry
out? Well, and if she should, how would that affect him! No one
would come. Somehow Lya felt what was passing in his mind. She had
in her dim way expected it, and it did not frighten her. At last
he turned from the window.

Coming slowly back towards her chair, he said: "Very well, you
shall be put in confinement here in Quebec."

He was behind her now, and he suddenly stopped, caught her head back
quickly, and before she could prevent it kissed her mouth again and
again. She sprang to her feet, and her eyes loathed him.

"You are my prisoner in just that kind of way," he laughed. "Your
lips are honey, your person is as sweet as your mind is reckless.
Did you think I would hear all you said and not reply? You drove me
to it. No, no, you need not go to the door, for I will put you at
once in prison!"

"Your Honor has played a devilish part," she said, with low anger.
"Do you think you can make that kind of prisoner of me? In your
mind am I so low as that?"

"You are the most perfect girl on all this continent, and you can be
a great figure here in Quebec, as my friend and confidante. You
have the gifts. You can be to me what--"

"Yes, what Madame Ranard is! You may be a great, Intendant, but your
kisses were blotches of mud in my face. You are not for me--no--never!"

"Very well, mademoiselle, you shall go to prison. I am head of the
law in this country."

She waved an angry hand. "I shall be free to tell the world what you
did to-day, and to turn against you Madame Ranard. If you imprison me,
I, a girl of the people, will fight you to the end. You are high, and
I am low, but right will be with me and I shall win."

"You will win--at the price of all you hold most dear. It will be
when I have drunk your sweetness. You think you can influence Madame
Ranard? Try it. She will know you stooped to slander to gain your

He came nearer her, but she did not move. She simply said: "If you
touch me again, I will kill you--not now, for I have no weapon, but
before you are much older. You are base and bad, and should not be
in power here."

He laughed. "You will not kill me, and you shall taste solitary

"Oh, that is what you would do! You would give me freedom if I went
to your arms; if not, you will imprison me. You want my body, and
if you cannot get it you do what Indians do, you torture. That is
how the man who fought Frontenac would win. Give me your prison
cell, but remember there is one above all ministers on earth--One
who controls the world for its own good--who is a friend to
the helpless!"

He felt he had gone too far. He must retract, for she was unlike any
woman he had ever known. She had overwhelmed him by her innocence and
grace; she was the very heart of purity. He could not fight her and
win--not yet! She was too dangerous to play with, for she had brains
and character. He admired her as she stood with cheeks glowing,
breast heaving, fingers clenched.

His tone changed. "Mademoiselle, I have spoken thus and acted so to
try you, and I find you perfect in goodness. I do not regret, for you
have won with flying flags. You have a soul of heavenly make, a heart
of singular goodness. I know the Governor did well in trusting you."

His face was soft and alluring, and, his manner was that of a born
actor. For so clever a man, he had been reckless, and he was wise
in his present attitude. He civilly waved her to a seat. He had
not convinced her in the least; but it was well to allow him retreat,
for he had power and could defeat her with the people ready to hear
evil of her. She veiled her real feelings.

Her face was still pale, her eyes flashed, her hands were tense,
but she said: "It is not the custom to go so far and it is dangerous.
What is it you would have me do?"

He swiftly had changed his method. He smiled. "You shall not go to
prison yet. You shall be free to live your own life. You are
in good care with Madame Louvigny. If you and she would help me
as you helped Frontenac, it would be for the good of Canada.
Will you?"

"We did not knowingly help Count Frontenac, though madame acted
as hostess. We cannot do that for Your Honor."

"And why?"

"It would not be understood."

"By whom, dear mademoiselle?"

"By the public and by Madame Ranard!"

He frowned. "Leave Madame Ranard's name out of it. You think Madame
Louvigny would not help me?"

"Never, Your Honor. She does not believe in you. She knows what a
foe you were to Count Frontenac--that through you he was recalled."

Duchesneau preened himself. "That is correct, mademoiselle. I did it,
and for the good of the land."

She bristled up. "You think the new Governor compares with Count

"In no sense, but he will do what the Bishop and I ask him, and the
Bishop and I agree in most things concerning Canada."

"You tried to ruin Count Frontenac, and you would ruin Sieur de la
Salle; that is your purpose, and as Madame Louvigny believed in La
Salle as she believed in Frontenac, she cannot work with you."

"You speak for Madame Louvigny assuredly."

"I think I know her mind, Your Honor."

Duchesneau rose to his feet. "If not with me, you will not work against

"I cannot speak for Madame Louvigny in that."

"Only for yourself! Well, so be it. I cannot complain. You have a
patriotic mind, destined for high places."

He went courteously to the door and slowly opened it, smiling, and
so they parted, admiration and black passion in his being.

As she left the palace, every vein in her body tingled with hatred.
She understood him. She knew his malice would still go on--that he
had tried to deceive her--that his change of manner was only due to
caution. She had waked him in two things--a desire for her, and a
devilish purpose to do her harm in all ways, if she did not come to
him. He knew no such thing as loyalty even to Madame Ranard. She
should be his or he would destroy her if he could.

When she left the palace he paced up and down in anger. "God, she was
clever, and she was skilful! She will not give me away now--no. I did
not foresee how she would twist things. She is an artist. I must go
carefully with her."

At last he was roused by a knock on the door, and there entered on
him Madame Ranard, her face was shining, her eyes were brilliant.

Chapter XXX

La Salle Struck Hard

At Fort St. Louis things came to a climax with La Salle. There were
signs of an attack by the Iroquois, and he had not enough arms or
soldiers to resist them fully. He said to Tonty "I doubt the new
Governor, La Barre, means well by us. He sends naught for which I
ask. I have scarce a hundred pounds of powder here."

Tonty nodded, but his face was cheerful. "You stay here yet, lest the
Illinois should think you were not their friend, and if the Iroquois
strike it would be bad. Yet it would be well to go to Quebec, and
from Quebec to France, and meet your foes and fight them."

La Salle's face showed his perplexity. "It is a knot hard to untie,
but it will unravel."

It unraveled that very day, and La Salle decided to go to France.

There came from Fort Frontenac news that it had been seized by Le
Chesnaye and Le Ber in the name of the Governor, La Barre, and they
had sold for their own profit the provisions sent by the King, had
lived on La Salle's stores and had turned cattle to graze on the
growing crops. La Forest, in command, was told he might stay if be
joined those against La Salle, but declined to do so, and with the
excellent Franois Plet, who had been successful, started for
France after having written La Salle at Fort St. Louis:

I have not asked your permission, beloved Sieur, but you will
understand. We will go at once to Paris. Count Frontenac will
be there and we shall prepare the way for you. That you will come
to Paris now, there can be no doubt. You have been vilely used--vilely!

Reaching Quebec, they at once set sail for France in a ship that had
brought strange news. They declined invitations to the houses of
people of Quebec, for they trusted none save the Louvignys, and there
they supped and were well received. Louvigny had lost his place with
the Governor, but he had interests in trade; he was well-to-do and
had weight with some people. His name was above reproach, and that
he was a cousin of Du Lhut, the famous coureur de bois, was to his
advantage, for he was a man whom all admired, even though detested
by the merchants from whom he took trade.

They were not invited to the Chteau or the Intendant's palace,
because La Barre and Duchesneau did not wish to hear what had been
done at Fort Frontenac. Their own agents had brought word, and they
had accurate record of all the two did in Quebec. They knew that
at the house of Louvigny they had met the Abb Cavelier.

The Abb was as thin as ever, and as difficult of temper, and Franois
Plet did not like him, cousin though he was. But the Abb had
invested cash in his brother, and he was keen to get it back.

"You are coming to France to help Robert?" asked Franois Plet.

"That is my one desire," replied the Abb, with set lips, but he could
not have told truthfully what was in his own mind.

Chapter XXXI

The Other Cheek Also

"Fire! Fire! Fire! Name of God, Fire!"

This was the cry that rang out one night in the Lower Town of Quebec,
and at once the tocsin began to ring and people to assemble, though
many Lower Town folk were away at Montreal on affairs of business.
It began in the home of Esteere Blanchon and, consuming it, seized
that of Philippe Nepsert and destroyed it.

Chartier de Lotbinire, Lieutenant-General, summoned carpenters
and hastened to the scene of the fire, down the one precipitous street
from the Chteau St. Louis, where dwelt the new Governor, La
Barre, the obtuse and obdurate tool of Monsieur de Quebec and the
Intendant. He hastened to the fire, but De Lotbinire and the
Intendant were already there and were in control. Besides, it
was the business of the Intendant to control in such an event,
though Frontenac would at once have commanded all.

There were present, among many others, Duquet de la Chesnaye, public
prosecutor; M. de Pstray, councilor of the Supreme Court; M. de
Louvigny, M. de La Moyne with two of his sons, and many others. The
Lieutenant-General had ordered the carpenters to pull down the small
home of De Saintre and that of the Sieur de L'Espeires to try to
stop the fire, but to no purpose. In increased in great volume and
had covered the street and attacked shops of merchandise and at
last was to _attack_ the shop of the Jesuit fathers.

And here at the fire was La Salle. Madame Louvigny and Lya Darois
were also there, and had withdrawn to the great square, though they
worked hard to help poor people, half mad with terror, to save some
of their belongings. Two-thirds of Lower Town had already been
destroyed and the road to the Upper Town was made almost impassable
by subsidence of rock and earth, and even the palace of the Intendant
caught fire. The Intendant left the square, followed by the
Ranards, and hastened to the big house which was the pretentious
rival of the Chteau St. Louis.

La Salle would not go to the Intendant's palace; he stayed in Lower
Town and saw it the victim of the destroying force. Even the
carpenters could do little to resist the hellish sword of flame
which cut wide swathes even upon the waters of the river and
lighted up the shores of Levis opposite. Many people took refuge
in the square and watched the engulfing flood of fire until
between fifty and sixty buildings had been destroyed.

Meanwhile the tocsin still sounded at intervals, and Bishop Laval
encouraged the people to increase their efforts to save Lower
Town from complete ruin. The heat was great, the excitement immense,
and Laval said sadly to La Salle, "Who shall increase when God
says decrease?"

"Monsieur de Quebec, none--but has God said decrease?"

The Bishop frowned and waved a hand towards the smoking ruins, and at
that moment the Jesuit shop, which so far had escaped destruction,
caught fire. Priests and others ran forward to enter the building,
and could not at first, but at length two entered, and one, scorched
badly, brought out books of account; but the other did not come. The
first arrived stumbling into the square. The building was now all
aflame and the face of the aged Bishop turned pale, for he had human
sympathy and great natural heroism. To go himself--he was ready to do
that--but he had little physical strength, and the priest would have
to be carried. He looked round among the priests who were near him,
but none moved. It was too dangerous. At that instant La Salle rushed
forward into the sink of flame.

In the square the Bishop and all others watched with deepest anxiety,
but most concerned of all was Lya Darois. It was not alone La Salle's
life, but what would happen to his work of life. It had entered
deeply into her soul. It was her daily thought, her exquisite indirect
ambition. He was on his way to France, he had come, discouraged, from
the far West, through innumerable dangers, safe; would he come through
this? The hand of Madame Louvigny found hers, and for two minutes,
which seemed like ten years, they stood and watched; the girl grew
rigid with intense feeling, her heart panting like a rock-drill, her
face grown haggard. Even Monsieur de Quebec's face showed anxiety,
and all men and women stared in hopelessness and murmurs ran through
the unhappy crowd. Even La Barre, the Governor, was nervous and
agitated and his eyes were blazing with a fire that could burn

At last from the flaming mass there emerged La Salle, carrying
the unconscious Jesuit. His clothing was aflame, but he staggered
forward till men ran out, among them Monsieur de Quebec, put out
the flames, and took the priest from his arms. The courageous
priest had fainted in the heat and would have been lost forever
had it not been for La Salle.

Monsieur de Quebec raised his hand above La Salle:

"God be good to you, my son," he said.

La Salle, badly but not dangerously burned, replied, "But God did
not say 'decrease,' Monsieur de Quebec. Your priest lives and I live."

Laval felt the sting of the reproof. "You are near, then, to God,
Sieur de la Salle?" His voice was friendly.

"I hope I am not far, Monsieur de Quebec."

Louvigny said: "Come, La Salle, come with us." He took La Salle's
arm. La Salle's hands and face were scorched.

"Thank you, I can walk to my lodgings," La Salle said, and he slowly
climbed the steep road with Louvigny, Lya Darois, and Governor La
Barre close behind.

"Plenty of courage at least," said the Governor.

"At least that," said the girl.

Behind in the square, the Bishop, turning from the now recovered
priest to watch La Salle and the Governor climb the steep hill,
shook his head mournfully.

"La Salle is a mistaken gentleman. He has no fear, and helps his foes.
Duchesneau thinks only of himself; and the Governor--pah!" He looked
at the ruins of Lower Town. He sighed. He was a patriot. "It will
take long to rebuild--and we are poor." Then he looked towards the
Intendant's palace, where the fire had been stayed.

"The Intendant and the Ranard--oh, my beloved Quebec!"

He saw the futile Governor from the heights looking down. Laval
shook his head somberly as De Lotbinire drew near to him.

As Duchesneau was sitting down to dinner, days after the fire, his
secretary brought a letter just sent from a ship arrived from

It had a royal crest and it came from King Louis. As Duchesneau
read it, his face went white.

Your usefulness as Intendant is at an end, and you will return to
France by the next boat leaving Quebec. You have made me see where
Count Frontenac erred, and now I see where you erred--grievously--in
making La Salle's path too hard. Sieur de la La Salle has been wrong
in much, but you--in far more. So, forthwith return to France.

Duchesneau could scarcely believe. Here after these long years he was
master of Canada, and he was recalled by the King, beaten at his
own game--by himself. La Salle had been wrong in much, but he,
Duchesneau, in far more. That was his fate--to be cast aside when
his work was finding true fruition!

As he walked up and down in angry agitation he knew that he had
been his own undoing. He had fought Frontenac and had prevailed;
he had fought La Salle and had prevailed: and yet had not prevailed;
for at his feet lay his own career--a base and useless thing.

An hour later Madame Ranard came to him, summoned by a message. When
she saw his face she felt ill had come.

"What is it--oh, what is it?"

He gave her King Louis' letter. She read it with trembling fingers
and a tumultuous heart.

"Good God--good God--after all these years!" she said, in anguish.

"After all I have done for Canada--this!"

She pulled herself together. "One thing is to do. Get Bishop Laval to
help you. I, too, will go to France, and together we will put things

Duchesneau's face had anger and despair. "The Bishop will not help,
after the fire. La Salle saved his priest. No help will come from
there. Yes, come to France, but that devil, La Salle, may prevail
again. He, too, will come to France."

Barbe went to the window and looked down in the moonlight to
ruined Lower Town. She shuddered and came back.

"All goes against La Salle, but he reappears. This is our last effort,
Jacques. Let us make it invincible. We will restore you to the good
will of the King, and you shall have another post. But you shall--you

She kept her head up, but furtive tears were in her eyes.

Chapter XXXII

Once More Versailles

"No, no, Monsieur l'Abb, I am come not in defeat, but in victory.
I found the mouth of the Mississippi, with Tonty, the best friend
man ever had, and, after dark dangers, reached my goal. This was
my commission from King Louis, and I was proud of it."

He paused, and the Abb Renaudot said: "You have forced success over
bad dangers, and your way may be dark now, but you will succeed again.
Frontenac is here, La Forest and Franois Plet are here, and Prince
Conti is your friend."

La Salle looked at the Abb with glowing eyes. "Frontenac, the best
Governor Canada ever had, is in disgrace. He was my true friend in
Canada. Where is he now?"

"He is not in Paris. The King would not see him, and Seignelay would
only give him a cold reception; and the big man, fierce and insistent
as ever, spoke angrily to Seignelay, which was not for his good."

La Salle shook his head with a smile. "That is Frontenac. They shall
know his sharp tongue is the most honest thing France has at the
moment. They will know it in good time. La Barre has slandered me,
has robbed my Fort Frontenac of its provisions and its furs, and
has turned cattle on the growing crops. He is a malicious machine,
with little brain and a hateful heart. I shall never forget the
day I left my fort on the Illinois. I looked down on a big valley,
once a place of massacre of the Iroquois, and there were gathered
four thousand Illinois, Shawanoes and Abenakis, Oujatenons, Nation
du Feus, Killaticas, Chaouanons, Kickapoos and Miamis, and many
others, all under my control against the Iroquois. Here was a colony
at peace which had been at war; here is the center of a new life for
Canada. Here when I looked back I saw the nucleus of a new empire--Fort
Frontenac, Michillimackinac, Fort St. Louis, thousands of miles apart,
and with the mouth of the Mississippi, making vast links in the chain
of territories of the King. All this had been done with the help of
Count Frontenac."

He got slowly to his feet and stretched an arm, while his handsome
eyes glowed. "My God, I see out there a tremendous power. It will
make for France a new home for millions of her subjects; it will be
a profitable heritage for all time. It is the work to which I give
myself and all that I am. It is my life's love!"

"My life's love!" Did thought of Lya come to his mind then? Did her
face shine between? His eyes took on a weird, determined look, and
he knew that for him there was no love as men know love, for he had
killed the father of the only woman who had ever moved him in his
adventurous life. He put her endless distance from him, and yet she
would always be with him, an inspiring force, a friend and only
a friend--forever!

The Abb's heart was filled with pride. Here was a man of men, on
whom could be placed all reliance and in whom was all hope. La Salle
stood like a pioneer prophet, with one idea--the glory and development
of France. No Jesuit was ever more concentrated than he, no saint
more absorbed in the one thing to do. He was a religious man, but
religion was not the first and last thing with him; he had left its
active forces for wider, more active forces. To him the fear of death
was naught. He had seen the terrible end of life's activities, how
often! All motion, all vitality, all vigorous movements suddenly
stopped forever, and all that man did immersed in the sea of inactivity.
The man himself became a rigid, cold, and emotionless thing; he
was engulfed in Time's blankness: and yet Personality went on forever.
To the eyes of the mortal who does not see the invisible activities
that never die a man's work might be arrested. Personality is memory,
and memory is the biggest thing that comes to life. It never dies.
All the great men that ever lived go on in the memory of mankind,
and from Adam until now are in the world's archives. Christ, Moses,
and all the prophets, if their active mortal life is apparently
stayed, that which they were goes on. Time is the friend of all,
it is the solace for all ills, the chain which binds all men together
in the workings of the world. There is no disappearance; it is
only transformation.

The Abb said: "My son, you have the unconquerable soul. You shall
not fail. There are those who can help you, and they will. But it is
yourself that helps you most, for you can make people believe in you
even when they are warned against you. Frontenac and La Forest and
Franois Plet as expert witnesses stand beside you."

La Salle smiled; for he knew these men could do naught by themselves.
He had not yet seen either, for La Forest was away at his father's
home, and Franois Plet of the Rue St. Martin had been ill, and they
had not yet talked together.

"They are all good men--Frontenac great--and they will play their part,
but they have no power to open gates--none. They can do little alone.
Duchesneau, the Intendant, is here, and the woman, his mistress, but
Duchesneau is in disgrace like Frontenac, and the woman is the only
vital spirit in the group. She is able and persistent and pernicious,
and she is at work now, we may be sure. Her husband is still an
officer of the Government of Canada, and she has entrance to official
quarters here. She is more powerful than them all, but--" He paused.

Then the Abb said: "But even she shall not prevail. She did not
before, and she shall not now. She has the Abb Potin, who was the
confessor of De Montespan, and the Jesuit influence with her. That
she was the mistress of Duchesneau does not count, for such women
have nine lives to their lover's one. In France women are powerful,
but not with King Louis. No one influences him, not even De Maintenon,
who brought up the children of De Montespan and is now the secret
wife of the King. She was the widow of the dissolute poet Scarron,
and has risen to highest place. The beautiful De Montespan was
capricious and difficult, and De Maintenon is of smooth, placid temper
and gradually got a hold upon King Louis. She reconciled him to his
Queen, and the Queen was grateful, and De Maintenon's place is
forever secure."

La Salle nodded. "She has supplanted the woman whose children
she raised! She is not ambitious, Abb?"

"Ambitious? Yes, but in a wholesome way. She would not bear all
she has suffered if not ambitious. Her ambition is the good of
France. She is not like De Montespan--or others who were playing
their own hands always. We priests see, we understand."

The Abb paused a moment, then rose and laid a hand on La Salle's
shoulder. He looked in his eyes long and earnestly. "You are
experienced, La Salle, but you have little worldly wisdom. I, a
priest, have more. The obvious things are not for you. You forget
that men are won as much by diplomacy as by character. Like all
great men, you are a child--yes, a child!"

La Salle's lips took on a whimsical look. "I am as Heaven made me."

While this scene went on between the Abb Renaudot and La Salle,
at the Htel des Invalides, Madam Ranard was talking to the Abb
Potin, the confessor of the deposed De Montespan. It was through her
he had been made the clerical head of the new Invalides, and he did
his work well. They were in a room of the vast building which had
all the details of noble surroundings. Not far away was the big tomb
with its chapels, all empty as yet, save for one where was the last
resting-place of a great general of King Louis. From above and from
the side windows the sun beat down with soft power. Of the soldiers
who had fought for Louis, numbers were in the rooms and grounds, and
they wandered about with faces that knew no want, for they were well
cared for, were the pride of the nation. Louis kept his army faithful,
and the people faithful to the army.

The myriad life of the vast hospital gave a new turn to the splendid
career of Louis. It marked the period when he put old things behind
and turned his face to quiet work and the fulfillment of great
ambitions. When he buried his Queen he showed real grief, and he
said the only tears she had ever made him shed was when she left
him forever.

The Invalides was a monument to Louis' vision and patiotism, and
it stands now as a hospital and a tomb and memorial--national and
imperialistic. He had made De Montespan a duchess, put her into a
convent, parted from her peaceably, had listened to her request to
do something for the Abb Potin, and so had made him Superior here.

Into the room where was a bust of Louis, and a crucifix, and shelves
of books and heavy curtains of purple, and an air of piety, Madame
Ranard was shown. Through the shaded windows there came the low
rumbling sounds of the life of the vast place; it was like a soft
and vivid overture to the drama which would presently be played.
Barbe's eyes fell on the crucifix and she made the sacred gesture,
for she had a superstitious element, and in her crooked way she was
a devout Jesuit. Then she turned to the bust of Louis and she shook
her head, for he did not inspire her. To her he was a hard machine
that would not beat time to her song of life--a great man of whom she
had a wholesome fear. Even as she sat in this big handsome room she
shivered, for he had seemed to her a personal danger, yet she knew
not why.

Her hand went to her eyes with a sudden start of anxiety, and at
the moment the Abb Potin entered, quiet, smooth, dignified, yet
with a stealthiness which was part of his equipment. He had brains
and no real religion. His faith was the business of his life and
valuable only in what it did to advance his interests. His most
striking features were his eyes, which had a look of imagination
and dominance, and yet the rest of his face was an oil of gladness
that soothed the tyrannical glance falling from them. He had a sense
of humor and cynicism not natural to a priest.

"So you are again to France, and your friend the Intendant, once so
powerful in Canada, has come too."

She bowed now and kissed his fingers. "We have come to see if
justice can still be got from the court of France. _You_ have
got it, Abb!"

He smiled. "I am well placed here, but I miss the life at court.
Since De Montespan has gone I am naught there."

"But you must still be much nearer the throne. Surely that is so,
dear Abb?"

He reached out slim fingers and raised her chin. "Look at me. I had
naught save influence with De Montespan. The Grand Monarch has done
well by me. I am master here and it is comfortable and interesting, but
I am naught at court." His fingers strayed from her chin to her cheek,
and in his eyes was what should not be in the eyes of a priest. She saw
the look and, great actress and hypocrite as she was, she suddenly rose,
wrapped her arms round his neck, burst into tears, and her lips
found his.

"Oh, I cannot bear it, I cannot bear it! I have no power now in Quebec--and
none in Paris, but I felt you could help me, dear Abb; I felt
that. Can you not help me--please say!"

His face was flushed, his heart beating hard, but after a moment of
rapture he drew back and controlled himself. She was beautiful, she
was enticing, her touch was so magnetic, her luxuriance so thrilling,
and yet he must not! "You should not kiss me," he said, in a husky
voice. "It is not what I can bear--no. But I will try to help you."
He stepped back from her. "You work for our Church and that means
much even in Paris. Now what wish you to do at court? What?"

"To let me talk with Marquis Seignelay. The Queen is dead and De
Maintenon is now the wife of Louis, is it not so?"

The Abb nodded. "It is so, and she has vast power, but in a quiet
way. I am told that at conference's with his Ministers Louis turns
to her and says: 'And what does your Solidity think of it?' He pays
no attention to ladies of the court, is set only on his work. Life
is still brilliant at court, it always will be so while Louis lives,
but not in the old dazzling way--its gorgeousness and licentiousness.
I have no weight now with De Montespan gone. I have no power. Yet
I know Seignelay well, and in times past have been of service to
him. I can perhaps help you to see him. You did not influence
him before!"

She nodded: "But I have seen enough life to know that to-day's _No_
may be to-morrow's _Yes_."

The Abb smiled, and a hand went up in amused protest. "You have
much wisdom for one so young."

Her face was that of a child as she glanced up roguishly at him. "I
am as old as all the hills, and as young as the flowers in your
garden, Abb. Make it possible for me to meet Seignelay. I will
try again."

He looked with eyes that saw far, and he realized that she was able,
resolute, and very bad, but she was a good agent of the Jesuits and
that was enough for him. "You shall see him--in good time. I will
arrange it."

Her eyes gleamed; she would have kissed him again, but he gave no help
in this, for he did not wish to give her any power over him. He had no
virtues, yet he had tact and a subtle mind. He looked at her handsome
face, at her exquisite figure, at her fluttering breasts, and he knew
she was ready to give him what he would, but for him not yet, and not
now. She must await events.

"You will go now," he said, gently but firmly, "and you will hear from
me when I have seen Seignelay."

He drew himself up with pious austerity and held out his hand. She
was quick to understand. No more emotion. She kissed his fingers,
and her hot lips thrilled them and his veins, but he had the gift
of self-control.

He gravely opened the door for her, and she looked at him with eager
feeling in her eyes, but his face was calm.

After she had gone he sat down in a chair meditatively. After a
time he said:

"She has greater gifts than De Maintenon or any of them. She is
the everlasting Sybil!"

Chapter XXXIII

Old Friends Meet

Comtesse Frontenac lived at an apartment in the old Arsenal, the gift
of a French general, Duc de Lude, with Mademoiselle Outrelaise, and
together they were called "The Divines," and this name had been given
to the Illinois by La Salle, but mademoiselle was now visiting her
family and the Comtesse was alone. She and Frontenac had not lived
together for many years, yet she was proud of him and had in these
later times the wish to help him in all ways. She had come of a
good family, the daughter of La Grange Trianon Sieur de Nouville,
and she had run away with him to be married at the little church
St. Pierre aux Boeufs, which could unite couples without the consent
of their parents.

This was in 1648, when Frontenac was a brigadier-general at twenty-six.
Their married happiness was short, for she was witty and brilliant and
self-willed, and Frontenac was masterful and vain and loved display,
and, though not of the highest rank, his position was an enviable one,
for he had been a close friend of Louis XIII. They had fallen apart,
but the years went on. She had been popular at court, and had at
last retired, having little money. She and Mademoiselle Outrelaise,
who never went near the court, still played a great part in
Parisian life, and after Frontenac went to Canada from the Venetian
Embassy where French troops had been under his command, she who
knew now his prodigious worth helped him all she could, but would
not go with him. They were again the closest friends.

La Salle visited the Comtesse de Frontenac at her home by appointment,
and there he met the returned ruler, who gave him a hand of warm welcome.
The stalwart, self-possessed ex-Governor was no older; his face was
more seamed, but his virile voice rang.

"La Barre did not help you--hurt you every way, and despoiled our
fort, and used you like carrion. He has the soul of a beetle--no
more, La Salle."

La Salle smiled and turned to the Comtesse. "Your great husband has
the soul of a lion--and more!"

"They do not lionize him now," she replied, "but I do not fear the
end. So much was made against Frontenac because he housed the
daughter of the spy."

Frontenac laughed "There will be trouble again with the Iroquois,
and La Barre cannot long resist. I have told all to Seignelay, and
he said he would speak to the King, who will not see me--yet. These
are bad days!"

"You found the mouth of the Mississippi," said the Comtesse, "and that
should influence Louis. There is trouble with Spain, and the Gulf of
Mexico can be used for attack."

Frontenac nodded grimly and his eyes became somber. "But there is a
Count Penalossa here, born in Peru, who was Governor in Mexico,
quarreled with the Inquisition, and came to France. He has seen
Seignelay, and offers to attack Mexico."

La Salle's lips set sternly. "A Frenchman should lead Frenchmen, and
I hope M. Seignelay does not encourage him."

"Penalossa knows the country, but he should not be employed by France
against his own people. Seignelay takes a wiser view of things in
Canada now, but all moves slowly here, and our foes work. They are
deadly and resourceful. I can do little. But La Forest and Franois
Plet must see Seignelay, and, if possible, the King. The way seemed
clear--the Mississippi mouth was found by you, and the way was open
to big things in New France--and then came my fall and your temporary

"Both temporary," said Madame la Comtesse.

Frontenac shook his head with an ironical smile. "I cannot see far
ahead. That fiend, Madame Ranard, is here. She has the subtle skill
of her accomplished kind. She was seen at the Invalides--the Abb
Potin--and she influences those much bigger than herself." He laughed
sharply. "A daughter of Satan, surely."

They talked no further, for there came knocking at the door and a
servant entered. "Two ladies to see Count Frontenac," he said.
"They will not give their names, but they know Count Frontenac well.
They come from Canada."

All three started; the eyes of Frontenac grew bright and he
understood who they were.

"Admit them," said the Comtesse.

La Salle's perceptions were not so swift as those of Frontenac, save
with exploration, and he was astounded to see Madame Louvigny and
Lya Darois enter.

"Good God!" he said under his breath.

Lya was composed and quiet, yet in her shining eyes was a light of
purpose and high character. The vivid North was in her spirit, something
unlike the artificial ways of Canada and France--something mysterious,
original; but she had no Indian blood--it was the far North, the
everlasting pulses of life.

After the Comtesse and Frontenac had kissed Madame Louvigny and
warmly received Lya, and La Salle had cordially greeted them,
Frontenac said, "May I ask why this descent on France?"

Madame Louvigny replied:

"Things are bad in Canada. The Governor and the Intendant, Muelles,
work with the Jesuits and all goes ill. I thought it well to bring
mademoiselle here. There is a tale she must tell Seignelay and the
King, concerning the late Intendant. Writing is not sufficient. The
evidence and the presence of mademoiselle are important to you and
to the Sieur la Salle. Words are good, but personality more."

The eyes of the three listeners grew deeply interested, and Frontenac
brought his hand down on his knee with an ejaculation of emotion.
"Well said, madame! For myself, I am glad." He turned to La Salle.
"You, La Salle, agree?"

The eyes of La Salle looked at Frontenac, then turned gravely to
Lya Darois.

"It is good they have come. Mademoiselle can do most to show what
kind of man defeated the great Governor."

The Comtesse Frontenac smiled and said: "Not defeated, tricked,
and the trick shall not succeed." She looked at Madame Louvigny.
"By what vessel did you come?"

"The Anticosti," said Madame Louvigny. "She was not expected; she came
with cargo from the West Indies. We decided quickly, and came by her.
So we are in France--at the court of the King!"

Frontenac nodded. "And now perhaps Mademoiselle will tell us of her
meeting with Duchesneau."

There was an instant's hesitation on the part of Lya Darois, and
tears came to her eyes, due to the presence of La Salle. As La Salle
looked at Lya there came to his mind one of the old chansons of Canada
he had heard sung on the great rivers. It rang in his ears now:

  "It was a frigate,
   My pretty heart of rose,
   But, oh, why do you weep so,
   My pretty heart of rose?"

Flushing first, and then turning a little pale, Lya said: "I will
tell all that happened at the Intendant's palace," and exactly all
she told--quietly, yet with a restrained emotion which stirred them
all. She kept her eyes on those of Count Frontenac and more than
once his hand clenched and fierce resentment came to his face.

When she finished there was profound silence for a moment. Then Frontenac
got to his feet. "The black-souled rogue!" he said, fiercely. "Ranard
was not enough, but he must pursue an innocent, parentless girl!"

He and La Salle looked into each other's eyes with the anger of
clean-minded men, and La Salle stood up.

They said naught at first, but their hands grasped, and at last
Frontenac said: "For Canada's sake, for France's sake, we must
fight it through!"

In La Salle's face was the old, indomitable look. He turned to
the Comtesse Frontenac. "Madame, I have faith. There is much to
do. We have many foes. The way is dark, but dawn is breaking."

Lya slowly rose to her feet, a strange mystic look in her shining face.

"The day will come, in God's name!" she said.

Tears dimmed her eyes, for she felt herself with two great men,
whose names would live throughout the history of France and it
touched her deeply--Frontenac greater, because of his past office
and his imperial work; La Salle great in a different way. He
loved his country as Frontenac loved it. He felt the stirrings of
the future awaiting this vast new empire reaching from the far
north to the mouth of the Mississippi, and in him were forces
that would provide for him a glorious immortality. Lya was the
daughter of a spy, but her work would play its part in the
life of a vast continent.

"The day will come, in God's name," she had said.

Chapter XXXIV

The King and Seignelay

  "Grand Dieu, sauvez le Roi
   Grand Dieu, vengez le Roi
       Vive le Roi.

   Qu'a jamais glorieux
   Louis Victorieux
   Voye ses enemis
       Toujours soumis."

These were the words by which the Grand Monarch was awakened from
his sleep at Versailles.

The bedchamber of Louis had white-and-gold blinds, mantels of bluish
marble and large mirrors, richly carved cornices; the west wall hung
with crimson velvet bordered with gold, and his bed was on an estrade
under a high canopy adorned with white plumes. As a rule the first
valet de chambre, Bontemps, woke him. Then a garon came to light
the fire, and others opened the blinds and removed the night lamp.

Then came the entre familire--Monseigneur the Grand Dauphin, his
sons, the King's brother, and Louis' illegitimate sons. The Grand
Dauphin was fat and good-looking, but the Prince de Conti had broken
his nose when young, and it a little disfigured him. He had a fine
fair complexion, a face of a healthy red, handsome legs, delicate
feet, was fond of the table, avaricious, idle, with little discernment,
and would have made a pernicious King. Few understood him. When he
looked good-humored he was angry; when he seemed amicable he was
ill-tempered; and yet he was no fool.

Louis, knowing his bad qualities, was not fond of him, yet he had
given him the best of tutors--Bossuet, who became Bishop of Meux, and
Montausieur, and Blondel, and for him Louis wrote his incomparable
memoirs; and all pains were taken to prepare him for his great
responsibilities; but it was of no avail. He had married the Dauphine
of Bavaria and was good to his family, however great his faults, and
they were many.

When he entered the chamber this morning, bedecked with laces and
ribbons as was his wont, the King said: "You have the air of a
chanticleer and the gayety of the morning. Listen to that singing.
It gives me good spirit for the day."

The Dauphin, ever respectful to his father, bowed, smiled, and
said, "The spirit of the Sun King, Sire!"

The King nodded, pleased. Then the nurse who had been with Louis
from childhood came, and she kissed him. With her was admitted the
Grand Chamberlain, M. d'Aumont, first gentleman of the chamber, and
Doctor Fagan and the surgeon who rubbed him--for he sweated much--and
changed his shirt.

Next to Louis' bedchamber was the Oeil de Boeuf, the grand antechamber,
and here were gathered the great people who were privileged
to be at the second entre. Among them this morning were, Louis'
chaplain, Pre la Chaise; the Prince de Lorraine; the Duc de
Guiche; the Marquis de Seignelay; Louvois, Minister of War;
Turenne, the great general; Chamillart, the chancellor; Molire,
who was to breakfast with Louis; Pelletier, who succeeded Colbert;
Duc de Chartres; the Prince de Joinville; Marquis de Dangeau; Duc
de Vendome; Marchal de Loges; La Comte de Brienne, and many others.

After the choice of wigs for the day came the King's prayers, and
Louis shaved himself every other day with a mirror held before him
by Quentin, his barber. Upon arising Louis had taken two glasses of
sage and veronca, and always on going to bed he had glasses of water
with orange flowers in them. Fully two hundred people saw him dress,
and after dressing he breakfasted simply on the fare provided by
La Quintinie, his cook, after due trial of the food had been made.
This food was always tasted by three people before Louis ate, and
this morning he had Molire to breakfast with him, autocrat monarch
though he was. So it was that princes and nobles saw Louis at table,
while beside him sat a man of the people whose plays he had helped
to make successful, and who with Racine came as close to Louis as
man ever did. Quinault and Lulli, composers, were praised and encouraged
by Louis, and in his time France rose to greater heights than she had
ever done in war, in literature, in art, and in trade and commerce.
Besides, Molire, and Racine were Corneille, La Fontaine, Lebrun,
Claud Lorraine; Le Notre, Mansart, Massilon, Girardon, Fenelon,
Bourdaloue, and very many others. There was no foppery in Louis. He
was simply dressed, with slight embroidery, sometimes with naught
save a gold button. His vest was of cloth, or red, blue, or green
satin. He wore no ring, no jewels except buckles on his shoes.
Yet he ever wore the cordon bleu over his coat.

Every morning after prayers Louis went to his cabinet, and there
for a few moments he played with the dogs of whom he was fond--Diane,
Nonne, Folle, Nitte, Blonde, and the rest. He talked to them as
though they were children, and showed his intensely human character,
so much obscured by the conventions and duties of court life. No
King had ever such outer control. His intense suffering as a youth
when in the Fronde rebellion he and his mother had to flee from
Paris influenced greatly his mind. He had endured cold and hunger
and lack of a good bed, and it made an ineffaceable effect. All
he fought for he held, most that he tried to do he did. Europe
fought him as it fought Napoleon. He was forty-six when he married
De Maintenon, and from that day for thirty years no other woman
entered his life. One must think of him not as of to-day. He was
of his time. As Napoleon was hated, so was Louis hated, but the
Revolution which was said to come from his extravagance, eighty-five
years after his death--after Louis XV, who reigned sixty years, a
bad King, and Louis XVI, who was stupid, had other origin. Had the
Duke of Burgundy, son of the Dauphin, a brilliant, moral, clear-headed
boy, lived, there would have been no Revolution.

As Louis and Molire sat at breakfast, there was little talking.
With the Grand Monarch, "voices were silent; with Louis XV men
whispered; and with Louis XVI they shouted!" During breakfast
two sounds came through the windows, the fountains in the vast
gardens with their fourteen hundred jets of water, and the voice of
a woman singing:

  "Lovely dragon coming back from the war,
     Lovely dragon, ran pata, pata plan,
   Lovely dragon coming back from the war!"

Louis, smiling sedately, said: "Such singing goes well with the tune
of the water jets in my gardens, yes?"

Molire replied, "Sire, it is the throat of France that sings?
Then there floated in another song:

  "Out there on the prairie,
     I hear my love singing.
   Out there on the prairie,
     I hear my love singing.
   Out there on the prairie,
     I hear Nanon singing."

Louis smiled again. "A soldier of my army who has been to Canada--the
prairie and Nanon! Well, well, our explorer La Salle is from
the prairie--yes, yet he has no Nanon there, I hear."

After breakfast the captain of the bodyguard said in a loud voice,
"Gentlemen, the King!"

On his way to chapel anyone who wished could speak with Louis. The
work of the day was ever carefully planned. So long as he lived,
this small but impressive figure worked as few men worked then or
now. His own Prime Minister, the head of all departments, his
own Foreign Minister, writing or dictating letters to ambassadors,
and every detail of domestic political economy was at his finger's
ends. Little escaped his notice, little happened that he did
not realize, for his observers were everywhere. Vanity he had,
but the vanity of a trained, precise, observant mind, without
vast temperament, but with the imagination of the French people
which lifts its owner out of the commonplace--the dust, the
ditch, and the stable-yard of life. Bolingbroke, the great English
ambassador of Charles, said, "If King Louis was not the greatest
King that ever lived, he was the best actor of majesty, at least,
that ever filled a throne."

Two days after the meeting at the house of the Comtesse Frontenac,
King Louis was closeted with his Minister, Seignelay, and near by
sat Madame de Maintenon. De Maintenon, the widow of Scarron, the
poet, born a lady, had seen the entry into Paris of King Louis in
1660 on the occasion of his marriage with Maria Therese; had admired
him then and had served him ever since, directly and indirectly.

No one knows whether De Maintenon had planned for dominance in his
inner life over Louis, but slowly, surely, she had come through a
series of hateful attacks and cruel crises to the time when in the
third of the four phases of his life he needed her most--if he needed
anyone. Her friendship with De Montespan had founded her fortune.
Even her title and estate were got on the effort of De Montespan.
At first Louis had not liked her, but her letters to De Montespan
converted him, they were so well expressed and interesting. De
Montespan's capricious ill-humor at length alienated the King,
and Louis turned to Maintenon more and more.

Then he fell in love with her, but she acted the coquette and
wore her garb of piety, and fascinated and evaded him. And so it
was that in June, 1684, De Maintenon was married to Louis in the
Chapel of Versailles at night. Pre la Chaise said mass at the
altar prepared by Bontemps, the King's first valet, and Archbishop
Harley of Paris read the service, and Louvois and Montchevreuil
were witnesses.

At length De Montespan came to pay her respects to De Maintenon, the
wife of King Louis. All her friends--the Mortemarts, the Thianges,
the Rochehouarts--her own family--and the Marchal de Vivonne urged
her to pay homage.

So in a robe of gold and silver she went, and De Maintenon sat in
a chair of rich brocade. Louis was present and De Maintenon did
not rise, but after some talk while Louis worked, told the still
beautiful De Montespan what was intended for "_Our_ Duc de Maine,"
De Montespan's own child by Louis, and other plans for Montespan's
children, the Count of Toulouse, Madamoiselle de Blois, Louise
of Bourbon, and Franois of Bourbon, all of whom had been
legitimatized by Louis!

On her stool the humiliated but proud De Montespan saw De Maintenon
whom she had made, at the head of all, though not declared Queen,
and she never was, though Louvois, who influenced the King against
the formal declaration, was never forgiven by De Maintenon.

As De Montespan left Maintenon's presence, the latter said, "Do not
let us cease to love each other, I implore you."

Among those who waited outside to see the fallen favorite were the
astute and able Duc de Saint-Simon, the insufferable Princess
d'Harcourt, tall, fat, ugly and gluttonous, Duc and Duchess de
Beauvilliers, Duc de Coislin, and Prince Salm, who pressed her
hand tenderly and said, "You are flushed and I can well
understand why."

Ere long the pensive but bitter Montespan was to retire, spend her
last days in a convent, and hold a kind of court, receiving in
sumptuous style.

After the chief business of the day had been settled, Seignelay
spoke to the King about La Salle, of his strife with the Church
in Quebec, of his finding the mouth of the Mississippi, and of
his proposal to settle it with Frenchmen. He would later bring
down from the North Indians to invade and conquer Mexico, and
provide a port to which trading vessels could sail the year round
as they could not do in the St. Laurence.

At the mention of Mexico, Louis' eyes lighted. He grew at once
interested. "Mexico--Mexico--yes! Things go ill in Canada,"
he said. "Much trouble falls there."

Seignelay shook his head. "De la Barre has destroyed Fort Frontenac,
stolen its stores, and ordered your supplies to be scattered, and
lets the Indians destroy the crops."

Louis' brows knitted. "Destruction, eh! Evacuation, theft. Come,
come, La Barre! Who brings this to us?"

"De la Forest, in late control, and Franois Plet, who loaned La Salle
money and was asked to go to Fort Frontenac and administer its finance,
because La Salle has little gift that way, but has genius for
exploration and settlement."

For a moment there was silence. Then Louis shook his head.

"It was folly to recall Frontenac. As for Duchesneau, he is the cause
of all. He lied, I suppose, about that girl, the daughter of the spy.
Frontenac sheltered her at the Chteau St. Louis, although her
father was a traitor. That influenced my mind, yet who could tell!
Frontenac was bitter, quarrelsome, and difficult."

Seignelay quietly said: "Sire, the girl has come to France with Madame
Louvigny, who cared for her after she went to the Chteau, and
she, Lya, I hear, has that to tell of the Intendant which may affect
your policy in Canada."

Louis looked up sharply. "Where is she?"

Seignelay glanced at his watch. "She should be in the palace now,
Sire. At the request of Prince Conti I consented to see her."

"Oh, good, good! Bring her to me here."

Seignelay seemed astounded. "You wish to see her here, Sire?"

The King laughed. "Even as I said--if her Solidity makes
no objection--here."

Madame De Maintenon, who had not spoken, smiled and inclined her

"Then bring her, Seignelay. I would see her--and one moment, I would
see La Salle also."

Seignelay was pleased. "I fear, Sire, I could not reach La Salle
at once, but within the day, at your will, he shall be brought."

Louis nodded. "Then the girl at once."

Seignelay rose. A moment later a messenger was on the way to
Lya Darois.

Louis turned to Madame de Maintenon: "Since La Salle found the mouth of
the Mississippi it is a vast estate I have yonder. I could put in it
provinces of France and have enough left for ten Englands and twenty
Belgiums. I see now clearly this New France which Cartier, Champlain,
Maisonneuve and La Salle have made possible to my France. Yes, yes, I
see. What will come of it? Who knows?"

After an instant De Maintenon carefully said: "Sire, you know. It all
is yours, your fate, your destiny. What you do will be right, Sire.
You are France."

He stretched himself proudly to his brief height, but there was
greatness in him from first to last. As a child of ten he had said
to his mother at Fontainebleu, "I will govern now," and from that
time to the day when, his work done, he sent De Maintenon to the
convent of St. Cyr and closed his eyes to the pomps and vanities,
the powers and achievements of his great time--he governed.

"Then I must obey the soul of France, and that soul says, 'Be just,
be generous to Canada.'"

Whereupon he sat down and worked silently. De Maintenon, handsome,
quiet, with beautiful eyes, watching--watching. No time of hers was
her own. She was the galley slave of state from the moment of her
waking till Louis bade her good night. Even her meals were interrupted.
If physically unfit, it made no difference. She paid the heavy
price for what she was.

At last the door opened. With Seignelay, Lya Darois entered the presence.
Her face was pale, but her eyes shone, she trembled slightly. Seeing
the King, she bowed her head, dropped to her knees, and kissed his
outstretched hand. She did not dare look up. Much honor had been done
her. No lady had ever before been admitted to the workshop of Louis
XIV. With self-control she remained kneeling.

[image: Madam de Montespan]

If there was one on earth who understood the human heart in a vague
yet certain way, it was King Louis. Her humility touched him. Her
curious beauty, so unlike that of any woman he had ever seen,
impressed him. His words to De Maintenon: "I am France, the soul of
France," came to his mind now, and he said to her, "Arise and look
at me."

She got to her feet slowly, looked him in the eyes, and, as she looked,
a strange, passionate simplicity and beauty filled them, but it was
all joined to such modesty, to such demure dignity, that Louis gently
said: "Mademoiselle, tell me why you came to France? I will understand."

She could not speak instantly, but after a moment she told him of
her stay at the Chteau St. Louis, of all that Frontenac had
done for her, of the shame and disgrace of her parentage, of her
faith in and her admiration for the man who had killed her father.
Then she told of the visit to Duchesneau at the palace and all
that happened there.

When she had finished in tears and her lips trembling, Louis said:
"The low dog! So ho influenced us, eh! Before God, I will attend
to him. The woman, Ranard, she is here too, Seignelay?"

Seignelay bowed his head: "She also is here, Sire, and is a friend
of the Abb Potin. She has seen him."

Louis smiled grimly: "Potin! Potin! whom I put at the head of the
Invalides. Not a good man, but an able abb--reward for useful
service. He confessed one who was once"--he glanced curiously
towards De Maintenon--"in a post of some importance."

Chapter XXXV

Point to Point

A few hours later Seignelay was visited by the Abb Potin, who came
to influence him against La Salle. They were both astute men, but
Seignelay was far the bigger in character and in intellect, and he
was without prejudice against La Salle--and now without prejudice
against Frontenac. His face showed little emotion. It was calm,
powerful, implacable, determined. He was handsomer than his father
Colbert, and nearly as able. He had the greater spirit of France
conceived by Richelieu, developed by Mazarin, and continued by
Colbert with Louis XIV.

As the Abb approached the palace, full of sophistry and subtlety,
his whole being alert, he heard a young woman singing:

  "Ah, if I had a round penny,
   Ah, if I had a round penny,
   I could buy a white lamb,
         La verdi, la verdon,
   Et loupe, sautez, donc, la verdon."

The Abb's attention was arrested. He knew the song. It was of Touraine,
where he was born, and he had heard it as a child. The girl was a
Touranian. She was comely and joyous, yet there was sadness in her
voice. She would buy a white lamb, would she? Buy a white lamb! There
flashed to his mind the Lamb of Calvary, and so it had seemed to him
in his youthful days before he decided to become a priest. The Lamb
of Calvary--and he was on his way to belie all his earlier hopes to
waste his naturally big soul in a pernicious cause. He watched this
girl till she disappeared, and then, shaking his head, went on his
way. He was touched somehow by this quaint doggerel ballad, for he
sighed and a somber look came to his eyes.

When he entered Seignelay's room, the glimmer of a smile played at the
Minister's lips, for he knew there would now come contest between the
Church as represented by the Jesuit body and Abb Potin, and the King
as represented by himself. The immediate issue might not be immense, but
the principle at stake was as big as France itself and greater than
France itself.

There they were, Seignelay soberly but elegantly dressed--though not
so gorgeous as many of his confrres--with ribbons and color and bright
lapels and soft lace, and above all a head with long hair, vigorous,
powerful, and resolute. The glitter below was as naught to the quiet
dignity above. That was France under Louis XIV. There was great
ceremony and color and swords and ribbons and laces, and the outer
flamboyance of life and society, but above all was firm unshaking

Opposite was the lean, clean-shaven, handsome, sensuously ascetic
face of the representative of the Church, in his plain cassock and
plain black belt, lightened by the glimmer of white collar at the
throat. The Abb Potin represented the austerity of the Roman Church,
but behind this austerity was the same glitter and show which marked
the court and the social life of France. Richelieu, Mazarin, both
cardinals, lived in magnificence, and the Palais Royale, next to
Versailles the greatest building in the French Empire, was the
home of Richelieu and Mazarin, and now a palace of the King.

Never in history had there been such state power in France; never
such power of the Church as was to be seen at Notre Dame and in
the great cathedrals. Money, the Church had as much as the state.
Power, it was worldwide. Purpose, it was touched, how terribly,
by ambition to control. All these things were in the mind of
Seignelay as he looked at this quiet, self-assured, ingratiating
figure before him.

"Well, Abb, how like you your new office at the Invalides? Well,
I hope:"

The Abb bowed and smiled. "The honor is great, the duties are many. I
can but regret it has no higher governor than the poor Abb who comes
to you to-day."

Irony was in the face of Seignelay as he said: "Time works in all
development, but it cannot tarnish the present ruler of France."
His eyes lighted. "Far beyond our dear land, on that vast continent
of America, the state--with the Church--plays its prodigious part.
Missionaries--the Recollets, the Sulpitians, and the Jesuits--have proved
that France is not the slave of luxury, expenditure, and vapid social

Seignelay said these things not with his tongue in his cheek, but
preparing for the encounter to come. "Listen, Abb," he continued,
"everywhere in Europe, France is at the head. We have the greatest
generals the modern world has known. As for our navy, my father built
it up from fifty ships to its present force of three hundred men-of-war.
France is now at her greatest period in literature, in art, in sculpture.
Trade flourishes and will flourish more and more, because the Sieur
de la Salle has opened the way to the conquest of Mexico, and the
increase of our trade and commerce."

The Abb bowed and his face flushed a little. "That has brought me
here, Monseigneur. Is Sieur La Salle then to form settlements near
the mouth of the Mississippi? Is that the purpose of His Majesty
of France?"

"No one knows the purpose of France until he himself has spoken. What
I know I do not know. What I think I do not think. It is not the duty
of a Minister to declare the high master's will until commanded to
do so."

A sly, sardonic smile touched his lips. "The Church is no friend of La
Salle, Abb," he said. "It has pursued and defeated him where possible,
tried indirectly to poison him, destroyed his ships, captured his men,
wasted his goods--No, no, no, do not object. What I say can be said
to all the world, but I do not choose to do so."

The Abb's eyes flashed and indignation touched his lips. "The Church
has been true to the policy of the King, and that our missionaries gave
their lives after torture is best proof of the fidelity, honor and
piety of our Church."

"But not best proof of its imperial wisdom, no. You would convert the
Indians, but make them always the servants of the Church. It is not
white settlement you want in the West and the South. It is native
settlement which the Church would forever control."

He got slowly to his feet. "And there can be no question of who shall
control within the territories of Louis XIV, none. His policy prevails.
Pope or priest are as naught to him when it is a question which shall
be the final power where his flag flies. The fleur-de-lys always,
before all else always. Also Christ and his Church always, but not
to control the state. No, no, Abb, be sure of this--New France with
all its magnificent possibility belongs to the people of France,
and the people of France are the rulers of France. You wish to
influence His Majesty against La Salle through me. To be frank,
enough of that influence has been shown. Through it Frontenac and
the Intendant have been recalled--the one a good great man, the
other a low bad man. The Intendant lied to me and to the King.
We know the truth. While the world stands, Duchesneau shall never
again represent France in any part of her dominions. Frontenac is,
and has always been, an honest man; La Salle, one of the best of
the King's loyal subjects. No, Abb, come not here against La Salle."

The face of the Abb Potin was white and rigid. "I came because it was
my duty. I am faithful to my Church and to my vows. The Church has
naught against La Salle. It only opposes his mad policy, which was
against the policy of the King, who told us he wished no settlement
on the Mississippi."

Seignelay smiled. "Then Kings may not change their minds and alter
their policies? Greatness lies in the power to change the mind and
have a masterly retreat if necessary; but there is no retreat! King
Louis does not retreat or retract. He restrains those who fight him;
he develops those who march with him. La Salle is marching with him."

"I am nobody," replied the Abb Potin, bitterly. "I came because you
have known me long and well and to plead with you."

"Yes, I know you well, Abb, and while I would work with you, I would
never let your influence touch my judgment. I used you years ago
concerning the Abb Renaudot, and you did well. You have your reward--the
Invalides. There is naught more to say. I trust your Church will
not oppose La Salle, for it is to oppose France. Did you ever think
how poor La Salle is? He is vastly in debt, and yet he can get money.
Is that one in whom confidence may not be placed?" Seignelay came
forward and held out his hand: "Say not more, Abb, but bid me
au revoir. You will have no place for me at the Htel des Invalides.
I am no soldier and no general, and shall have no monument there, so
be content that in death I shall not disturb your peace."

The grim humor of the Minister overcame, for a moment, the anger of
the Abb Potin.

"You have never disturbed my peace in life, and could not in death,
monsieur," and in the note of the Abb's voice was also a touch
of satire.

Chapter XXXVI

Again Ranard

That night late, La Salle was walking to his apartments. The street
was narrow, deserted, and unlighted, though a faint moon was showing.
He had spent the evening with the Abb Renaudot after visiting the Prince
de Conti, where with La Forest and Franois Plet he had made a convincing
statement to Conti. He had been told of the visit of Lya Darois to
King Louis and of her triumph there, and somehow hope, faith, and a
new ambition stirred deeply in him.

With a spring in his step he neared his apartments. At about fifteen
feet from the door, with the instinct of the trained woodsman, he
felt stealthy steps behind him and swung round. As he did so a lariat
flew over his head and would have garroted him, but his hand shot
up to the leathern ropes. Then two men sprang towards him. With one
swift, prodigious kick he struck one of his assailants well below
the belt, and with a shriek of pain, the man fell backwards and
writhed on the ground, and the other he caught by the throat. The
struggle was fierce, for the man was strong and a trained murderer,
but La Salle had the gifts of an Indian fighter, and he freed the
rope from the hand of the garroter, swung him to the ground, and
buried powerful fingers in his throat. The murderer's tongue came
out of his mouth, his face turned purple, his struggle became fiercer,
and then suddenly relaxed, and he was gone. La Salle sprang to
the other man, whose agony was still great, and said:

"Tell me who sent you, or you shall die also. Speak--my hands are
at your throat!"

Still twisted with pain, the murderer said, "Madame Ranard!"

So this was her last attempt to drive him from the field. She had heard
of Lya Darois' success with King Louis, and now would put him out of
the battle by garroting. Taking a small whistle from his pocket, he
blew it. Presently he saw running to him through the street three
gendarmes. He pointed to the two men and to the lariat, and said:
"They tried to garrot me. The one I killed, the other is there
injured. I am the Sieur de la Salle, explorer from Canada."

The gendarme in command looked closely at the faces of the two men
on the ground. "I know them," he said; "they are notorious. You
have a strong arm, Sieur de la Salle. Two men at once is immense.
Why did they attack you?"

La Salle was about to reply, when the man on the ground still in
agony, said: "We were paid by Madame Ranard. We know not why."

With a firm voice La Salle said: "My address"--he pointed to
the door--"is this. Come when you have disposed of these men
and I will explain. Will you?"

The gendarme looked him up and down, smiled grimly, and said, "Yes,
m'sieu', I will come." He turned to his comrades and they lifted the
dead man and carried him, while the chief gendarme gave his
attention to the living criminal, and La Salle entered his rooms.

Seated in the small salon dimly lighted, La Salle considered his
position. Surely God had been good to him, for again and again his
life had been attempted, and yet he had escaped. Every pulse was
beating hard and his heart was high. He believed he was now on
the road to definite success. The odds against him had been innumerable,
but here he was at the foot of the throne, waiting the final judgment
of the ruler of France, for the new commission which would send him
to lay the foundation of a great empire of the South.

As he sat, the three mouths of the Mississippi were before him, and
the broad water and the tang and the smell of the Gulf of Mexico. Once
again he saw the clear blue sky, the bright sun, the everlasting sea.
He stood up, and slowly paced the room with elation and resolute will.
He could not exactly forecast what the State would do, but it was
clear it meant good to him or Barbe Ranard would not have sent these
criminals to drive him from the field.

At last there came a tapping at the outer door. Presently there
entered the gendarme who was in some ways a cut above his business.
He had a face of intelligence, though a tongue that did not speak
good French and a heart that would not do bad things. He doffed his
head-gear and would not be seated until La Salle motioned to a chair.
In it he sat like some uncouth baron of an uncouth county, but with
a far-seeing eye.

He had not yet opened his mouth. He waited. They measured each other.
The judgment on both sides was good. At last La Salle said: "My life
is of value to myself, but it is also of value to our nation--I have
discovered the mouth of the Mississippi!"

"The mouth of the Mississippi!" said the gendarme. "The mouth of the
Mississippi! Think of that! I had a brother who served under Du
Lhut in the Western country. The mouth of the Mississippi! Oh,

"I discovered it, and I see a vast field of settlement, but I have
bitter foes. The Jesuits are against me, and Madame Ranard, the
mistress of the late Intendant, Duchesneau, is their tool. Now you
know why I have been attacked to-night. My foes stop at nothing."

"You don't think the Jesuits ordered this attack, m'sieu'. But no, eh?"

"They order no attacks, but they have agents, and the agents do as
Madame Ranard tried to do more than once to me in Canada. I tell
you because I do not wish this man to be tried in public. If he is
tried the truth must be told, and at this moment I do not wish France
to know that behind this woman was the Church, and yet that truth
must be told at the trial."

The gendarme frowned. "The woman should die, m'sieu'. She had not
courage to kill, but she got hireling beasts to do it. It is vile, so."

"I know how vile, but I know what is best. That is why I tell you
the whole truth."

"God knows I like the truth!" said the gendarme. "There is too
little truth in France. Yes, par la baptme! I like the truth."

La Salle thought for a minute, then he said: "It will be enough to
get power from the King to continue my work. I am willing this man
should escape, if you can permit it, and that the woman shall not
be punished. If I get the rights I seek, she cannot touch me again.
The Intendant is gone from Quebec, and I am told the King has no
will to give him place again, but may send him to the Bastille."

"The woman is foul; she should die--but yes!" said the gendarme.

La Salle did not speak at once; he poured out a goblet of wine and
gave it to the gendarme, then poured one for himself. They drank,
and La Salle filled the gendarme's goblet again.

"The woman is foul, as you say, but she gets punishment in the failure
of her plans, which is a torture to her. I ask that this man shall
escape, and the woman be free from state reprisal."

"By the Lord, one would think you loved her, m'sieu'!" said the
gendarme, bluntly.

A grim smile played at La Salle's lips. "She is beautiful--she is
young--she has the grace of a great lady, but love her! It would be

The gendarme frowned. "Then why in God's name should she go free,
I ask you?"

"It is clear I have told you badly, for you don't understand. Will you
give me word that you will let this man escape and not inform on the

There was something communistic in the gendarme. He had no love for
beautiful ladies of society, nor for society itself. His one passion
was doing his duty--a rare thing in corrupt but imperishable France.

The gendarme did not at once reply, but moved his head from side to
side in cogitation, but at last he thumped his knee: "Very well. It
shall be so. But I am not alone. My comrades heard what that murderer
said, and they may talk. I cannot clinch their tongues, but no!"

"Good!" said La Salle. "Good! We must take our chances on that. I
do not like to offer--"

The gendarme looked up quickly. "Offer naught, m'sieu'. Do not try to
buy a gendarme of France. That's too ugly in an ugly world! I'm not
for sale; nom de chien!"

La Salle smiled: "I would not try to buy you, my friend, yet I beg you
to accept now, since you have promised, this small gift from a poor
man who wishes--for France's sake--he had riches."

He pressed a purse into the hand of the gendarme.

The gendarme's face was now a study. "Well, if you had offered it
before I'd promised, I'd have thrown it at your feet, m'sieu', but
I'll take it now because you have not tried to buy me."

"Well done, well done!" said La Salle. "Give me your name and address.
I shall care to meet you again before I start my long journey to the
mouth of the Mississippi."

A moment later he had the address on a slip of paper, and presently
the gendarme was gone with these words:

"M'sieu', but, m'sieu', I could follow you--to hell!"

Chapter XXXVII

"Forty Stripes"

The gendarme who had promised La Salle was right. Before he could arrange
the escape of the prisoner, one of his comrades had told a spy of Seignelay
that La Salle had been set upon by two garroters paid for by Madame Ranard.
He did not discover this until he learned that Barbe had been arrested
secretly by command of the Ministers. It was too late to do aught. He
could not find La Salle and tell him.

La Salle's anxiety was great. His big heart was against harsh punishment
to the woman. She deserved the worst that might be, as Nicolas Perrot,
the explorer, had done, but he had forgiven Jolycoeur, behind whom she
was. It was little to conquer the violence of one of the weaker but
subtler, more dangerous and more bitter sex. She was as bad as any
woman had been in the history of France, but he hoped for fresh commission
for settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi, and this dark incident
might prevent its fulfillment.

In confinement, Barbe Ranard, with the vigor of mind which had not
yet deserted her, thought that if she might reach the cathedral of
Notre Dame she would be safe. _There_ was sanctuary, as Cardinal Retz
in the early part of Louis' reign had found. She had much money
with her, and she arranged to bribe one of her guards. He was a
man of dissolute habits and of polluted soul, and she was ever a
master of such men.

She smiled at him, and with a graciousness for which she had a reputation
said, "This is no place for a lady, my friend."

He twisted a leg. "Ladies come here just the same!"

"But never a lady like me."

He nodded. "None so beautiful, maybe."

"Then why should I remain? It is the evening, and all is dark. Why
should I remain here?"

"Because King Louis says so, madame."

"I cannot buy King Louis!" she replied, meaningly. His face took on
an acquisitive look, for he had no cash, and he was thirsty and poor,
and his nature was carnal and selfish, and he had no sense of duty. He
had risked his life often, and had escaped, and he could risk his life
again if it was worth while.

"It would take more cash than anyone has to buy him, madame. Not all the
gold in France buys him. He is France, he buys. He has bought other
kings and rulers and bishops, yes."

She came close to him, so near that the perfume of her clothes came to
him, and, oh, but she was ravishing, and perhaps it was intended to
behead her--this exquisite creature!

She said: "No, I could not buy King Louis, but is your price so high?"

The gendarme drew his hand across his mouth. "I ain't got any price--but
no. I'm a soldier on duty."

"Then I will name the price, soldier: A kiss, and--" She whispered to him.

His face grew inflamed. "So much? What proof!"

"Here is the kiss," she said, and she kissed him with a smile--his
big fat, preposterous mouth. Then she drew from her bosom a silk
purse and thrust it into his hand. "There is a fortune for you,
my friend!"

His eyes blinked. "I could take this and not do you service, madame."

"But you will, for I have kissed you? You will set me free--is it not so?"

He sniffed, looked at the purse in his hand, then said, "I take bad
risks, madame, but yes." He looked into the purse. "Here is enough
for many a year. See--in ten minutes or so we take you to another prison
en route to Notre Dame! On the way there you will escape--and we will
follow you. You will not be bound, for we are armed and you have no
weapons. There--if that may suit you, madame!"

Ten minutes later she was taken from this cell and was marched
through the streets and, thank God, towards Notre Dame. Suddenly,
when they were not far from the great cathedral, she jumped and ran.
The gendarmes did not fire, for they had no such orders, but they
followed through the dimly lighted streets, her own gendarme purposely
leading his comrades away from her. As she ran swiftly, for she was
fleet of foot, she heard a voice in the street shouting after her:

      "When Marion goes out,
       When Marion goes out,
       She never walks, she always runs,
       Deriron, bah, bah, derirette,
       Gai, gai, oh, gai, gai,
   And I am the shepherdess of all,
   And I am the shepherdess of all,
   I will give her to the wolf,

So that was it--and the wolf might get her. She ran. She was now
near Notre Dame, and people watched excitedly the flying criminal. The
dark walls of the great church came up before her eyes. She rushed
for them and reached them, ran up the steps, but now behind her
she heard swift feet, and the doors of the church were shut.
She beat on them with her frenzied hands, crying:

"Sanctuary! Sanctuary! O God, Sanctuary!"

But before the doors were opened the gendarmes were upon her, and
even as they swung back to the hands of a priest they came between.
She was captured again, and she fell fainting in the arms of the
gendarmes, among whom, vastly perturbed, was the man who had helped
her. He had in vain tried to misdirect them.

"Oh, Heaven and Hell!" he said, bitterly.

La Salle arrived at the court-room, and he learned that at the suggestion
of King Louis, before whom it had all been put by Seignelay, Barbe
Ranard was to be branded on the shoulder with the broad arrow. The
branding was to take place at once. There was no chance to go to
the Minister or to invoke the assistance of the Prince de Conti
or anyone.

Through the permission of the captain of the gendarmes, with whom
La Salle's gendarme had influence, La Salle was admitted to the
branding by the white-hot iron.

To the hour of his death La Salle could never forget the woman's
face. It was distorted, pale as death, her eyes staring in terror.

La Salle felt ill, and a sense of degradation entered his soul. He
could only do one thing. He could plead with the captain of the
gendarmes to wait until he has seen the Minister, Seignelay.

Forgetful of his own safety or the peril to himself in going against
the command of the monarch, which he did not fully realize, to the
captain of the gendarmes, he said: "In God's name wait, monsieur.
This crime was against me, the Sieur de la Salle. I wish to beg
the Minister of the King to remit this sentence. One day, one day

Until his eyes closed on life and time he could never forget the
woman's face as he made this appeal. In it were amazement and
remorse. Something divine had struck at the farthest corner of
her nature. It soothed her horror.

The captain of the gendarmes shook his head sternly and said: "Not
one day, nor one hour. You have no right to speak here. It is not a
question of wrong to you, but to the state of France. Punishment
shall be according to the King's command. You show a spirit which
commends itself to all who feel, but there is something deeper."

La Salle broke in: "I know, but the deepest thing of all is not
France, but the eternal spirit behind France, behind all the world.
In the name of God, wait!"

The face of the captain of the gendarmes hardened. "I will not wait.
The garrotte is a Spanish means of death, and her attempt to bring
Spanish crime into France which angered our King. Sieur de la Salle,
be still."

La Salle knew the man was right. "I will not stay to see it done."
he said, in horror. "No, I cannot stay."

His eyes met those of Barbe Ranard, and she said to him, not in words,
"Go, and because you have done this I shall bear my punishment better."
Her head sank upon her breast.

La Salle, shaken to the innermost, left the room, and as the door
closed he heard the voice of the captain of the gendarmes:


Within an hour the knowledge of these events came to Seignelay,
whose duty it was to explain all to the King. He was fearful of
the result to La Salle, but when next day he met the King, he told
him quietly of what had happened. He did not wish to prejudice His
Majesty against La Salle, but he feared the result.

The usually immobile face of King Louis flushed slightly. His hand

"And who dare intervene between me and my will? The man's a madman and
a fool. By God, he shall be branded too!"

Seignelay's reply was calm. "Sire, with all respect, he was neither
madman nor fool. It was the Sieur de la Salle! He said to the captain
of the gendarmes who declared it was France and the spirit of France
that imposed the punishment, that there was a greater spirit behind
the spirit of France--the eternal spirit. Sire, it is not for me, your
faithful servant, to suggest what judgment Your Majesty should impose,
but I beg you assent to one thing."

He paused. With an impatient gesture, Louis said: "Before God, La
Salle! La Salle!

"What is it then?"

"I have sent for La Salle to meet me in the palace here today. No
doubt he is come. I ask but this; that Your Majesty will hear the
talk between La Salle and myself, seated behind that screen, and
impose your judgment, Sire, after you have heard. The judgment of
the God of all the world is like that; He does not refuse to hear.
The King of France represents that eternal judgment. Will he refuse
to hear?"

If there was one thing that impressed Louis in his Minister, it was
the calmness of his logic, and himself had the logician's spirit.
He did not analyze the astuteness of his Minister's request. After
an instant he said:

"So be it. My judgment will be afterwards."

Seignelay was too trained a diplomatist to smile; he bowed his
head humbly. "Sire, Sire," he said, and that was all.

Soon, with the King behind the screen, this conversation took
place between Seignelay and La Salle.

"Sieur de la Salle, you sought to change the judgment of France upon
Madame Ranard."

"No, no, Monseigneur, not that. Crime had been committed against
me. I have seen torture without end in my explorations on the far
continent. I only sought to say some things to you which might
perhaps induce the Grand Monarch to lessen the punishment. Three
times I have been poisoned in New France; twice I have known my
poisoners and have forgiven them."

Seignelay interrupted. "You have forgiven because it was a matter
between you and the criminal, but behind you both was the State, and
the question was whether the State should forgive, not whether you
should forgive."

Behind the screen, King Louis, with ears intent, rubbed his palms

"Yes, Monsieur, but should the agonies of torture such as Jesuits have
endured be imposed by the State? Let me speak from the depths of my
soul. The Jesuits have persecuted me, tortured me, not directly, but
indirectly, have destroyed my ships and would have destroyed my life.
You say that behind the criminals is the spirit of the State. I
say that behind this criminal is the spirit of the Jesuits. If
the King of Kings must punish, then let him punish the spirit of
the Jesuits, of whom this woman is one."

Seignelay smiled inwardly. It was the very reply he hoped La Salle
would make. "It is the tool that is punished so often, not the hand
behind the tool. I say to you that France is bitter against you. Who
are you? You come of a good burgher family--you were at a Jesuit
school--you were educated for a Jesuit priest--the King gave you a
title of nobility--you are one among the millions of the subjects of
France. Why should you step between the executioner and the criminal?"

"I did not step between. I am naught but a faithful servant whose
life, since I was among the Jesuits, has been given for the good of
my native land and of my King. But I have something of the spirit of
France, that spirit which is King Louis. God above! I have offered
my life, risked it again and again for France. It was the soul of France
in me made me ask that this woman, who has pursued me for years, should
not suffer the hot iron on her shoulder. I beg you, try to know what I
sought to do. I have one love, one love only--the love of my native land;
for that I have striven; for that I am here. I ask that he who is the
spirit of France shall understand me. That is all."

Seignelay rose to his feet. "I think you will realize, Sieur de la
Salle, that I can promise nothing. You have offended the head of

Shaken, but powerful, and with his head up, La Salle turned to go.
Seignelay followed him and said:

"You are coming to the gala at the palace to-night, are you not?"

"As the servant of my sovereign, I shall be there," said La Salle.


The Day of Fate

It was a day of sunshine, freshness, and gayety of nature in France.
Good news had come to Louis of his armies and never had his heart
been lighter or his faith in France greater. The courtyards of the
Palace of Versailles held many people. He had returned from the
chapel, with a company of bodyguards, preceded by pages of the court,
all gentlemen of birth, and all ambitious and good-looking. It was
their duty to carry candles before the King at night and to attend
him on all his appearances in public.

This was a great day at court for there was to be an embassy from
Siam, and the people of Paris, and the nobility, and the "camp-followers"
had gathered. When Louis had entered the palace, followed by members
of his family, and nobles among whom were his Ministers, the Duc
d'Alba, M. d'Aumont, first gentleman of the Chamber, Duc de Grammonet,
Comte de Brionne, Marchal Bellefonds, Duc de Fronsac, Marquis
Sourdes, Marquis de Torcy, Marchals de Vauban and Turenne, and
many others. La Salle entered the courtyard. He was not in high
feather; he was depressed and lonely. With him was the Abb de Renaudot,
his faithful friend. As they stood in the resplendent crowd, nobles
and gentry being carried in sedan chairs to the entrance of the palace,
there passed a company of grenadiers in handsome uniforms, and near
the two, three young girls, daughters of men employed at the palace,

  "There is the beauty who sleeps,
         Oger!    Oger!
   There is the beauty who sleeps,
         Oger!    Oger!"

This "Oger!" "Oger!" was ever the greeting to the cavaliers. The
cavaliers bowed their heads and laughed, and the girls tossed a scarf
towards them. They were pretty, naive, bouyant, like the day, and yet
La Salle was heavy with gloom.

Then one of the girls began to sing again, looking after the cavaliers,
and presently the others joined in softly. Their voices were very
little raised. They were wholesome, healthy girls, with knowledge
of life:

  "When I go to the garden, garden of love,
   I think I hear steps--
   I would fly and dare not.
   Here is the end of the day,
   I fear and I hesitate,
   My heart beats wildly,
   When I go to the garden, garden of love."

They did not realize the full significance of the words. It was only
happy youth in them that sang. None of them was over twenty, and
they were dressed in gay colors and had aigrettes in their hair,
and white stomachers and frilled dresses. La Salle, looking at
them, thought of Lya Darois. She was like them, comprehending and
yet not comprehending, naive, true, wise, with all nature alive
in her, and yet had made friends by her exquisite uprightness and
charm. These girls were like her, but in many ways so infinitely
less. He shook his head sadly, then drew himself together.

They had heard the great cheering as Louis entered his palace,
they had seen the fluttering of handkerchiefs and scarfs, of
saluting hands, and it was as though France stood still to see
the Sun King shine. They were to see stranger things before
the day was over. They must watch the vast crowd until the reception
of the King, to which La Salle looked forward with moroseness.

The Abb Renaudot understood, and he did what he could to cheer him
by quiet ascetic remarks on people they saw, and the troops of
soldiers in the vast courtyards. For one who had mingled so
sparsely with the world, the Abb had some wit.

"This is more than tinsel, it is the cake itself. This is the gay
music of the august opera of France, which Lulli or Quinault could
not compose. It is France as Louis has made it."

La Salle looked at Renaudot with resolute eyes, but did not speak.
Renaudot continued. "Every petty German prince tries to build a
Versailles, and our language is spoken in all the courts of Europe

Now La Salle spoke: "King Louis is like the comet of four years ago.
He lightens up the world. It is only of its day. Its day passes,
and the world is no longer dazzled."

The Abb laid a hand on La Salle's arm. "No, the light is permanent,
it will not pass. King Louis is for all time. He is France."

La Salle stood silent for a moment, then he gave one of his rare smiles
and nodded. "Abb, you are right. It will not pass, this light. It is
the way of toil and torture, and happiness and peace." All at once
his eyes lighted and a new spirit entered into him.

Inside the palace King Louis went towards the salon where he would
dine, and in passing spoke to Comte de Brionne, the master of his
stables, where two horses gay with ribbons for him to ride were kept,
and where one hundred English hunters--the amaze and wonder of the
world--were housed; to Grammonville, the great diplomatist; and to
Duc de Saint-Aignan, First Gentleman of the Chamber, who passed
the word that the dinner of the Grand Monarch was to be served.
Then Louis stopped and spoke to Marchals de Boufflers and Duras;
to the Duc de Guise, his old boyhood friend; to M. de Chamillard,
Secretary of State; then to an architect, Coyzevox, and a painter
like Lebrun; to the Countess de Bethune, Princesse de Carignan,
Duchesse de Toscane, Madame Svign, the accomplished writer,
and friendily to his most severe but admiring critic, the Duc de
Saint-Simon. No face of note escaped him, and all his salutations
were marked by the way he touched or raised his hat. To each a
greeting with his hat according to rank, and to ladies he took off
his hat and held it in his hand while he spoke to them. It was
the nature of the man, not affectation or pretense.

This day Louis had four plates of soup, a whole pheasant, partridge,
a large plate of salad, mutton au jus, two big slices of ham,
a whole plateful of pastry and fruit and hard-boiled eggs. It
was a meal which in these days would quickly send the stoutest
constitution to Vichy or Plombires. The King was over an hour
eating it, and meanwhile he eyed his courtiers with benign austerity
and talked sparingly with the Dauphin.

When the meal was finished, Louis rose and summoned Seignelay and
Louvois, his Ministers. "Messieurs," he said, with a finger tossed
towards the gardens where the people and his soldiers were singing
and people of Paris were assembling, "all this means well. We are
at the summit of my reign. We have made peace with the Dutch, with
the Duke of Brunswick, Luxemburg, and the Bishop of Munster, and
with Sweden. Now Frederick William of Brandenburg and Charles II
of England and Bishop Francis Egon of Furstenburg are in our pay.
Genoa has almost been destroyed, the Spaniards have been compelled
to agree to my terms. All goes well with us, messieurs. We flourish."

They bowed, and he carried his head in pride.

They were going to the Throne Room, the King wearing a gold-laced
coat with large diamonds, which was his way on such great occasions,
and he was now to receive two ambassadors of Phra-Narai, the King of
Siam. It was a scene of unparalleled splendor. Louis, in his silk
stockings and shoes with red high heels and a long cane, walked as
though he were the master of the world. His long hair was brown and
curling on his shoulders, and in his face was the lofty look of one
who counted himself France.

Now as he came to his silver throne he bowed to right and left and
took his seat.

As Louis had said, he was at the apogee of his power and influence.
While he waited for the ambassadors of Siam in the salon of Apollo--he
talked to the Prince de Conti.

As he had walked he had seen Rose, his Secretary, who for long years
did him service. Rose was neither fat nor lean and had a taking face
and radiantly clever black eyes. He had art, too, and a real literary
touch. He wore a little cloak, a smooth collar, and satin skull cap
over his graying hairs, and was a great judge of men. Rose wrote many
letters for the King, but Louis revised them all, and his choice of
words was worthy of the time when France had vast distinction in art
and letters. To them who served him well Louis was gracious, and
now he summoned Rose and in the presence of his Court said kind
words which were acknowledged with humble dignity.

Behind his throne was Pre la Chaise, his confessor, and near was
Harley, the Archbishop of Paris, who had married him to De Maintenon.
Near the throne stood Madame de Maintenon, richly dressed and looking
not more than thirty-five, though she was forty-eight--three years
older than Louis--whose marriage was never formally acknowledged,
yet was fully recognized. She was ever addressed as Madame by
members of the Court. Her face was agreeable, she had a beautiful
forehead, eloquent eyes, and a more graceful carriage than any other
lady present. It was a winning personality, though a little too
imposing, but alleviated by her smile, which was entrancing. She
had great purpose, and gave her life to turning Louis from domestic
infelicities. She had influence on his character, but none upon
his policy. Charlotte Elizabeth, Duchess of Orlans, who stood
not far from her, whispered to a friend, "All the Ministers have
placed themselves under the heel of this woman!"

Among the many guests at the palace were General Du Quesne, and
Liebniz, who had urged Louis to take Egypt; and if he had done
so, the fate of the world would have been different. Napoleon
understood this, but he failed, and Louis had succeeded. Also
there was there the Marquis de Soyecourt, who had been the dear
friend of the infamous but beautiful Lenclos; Despraux, the poet;
Girardon, the sculptor; Princess de Montbazon and Mademoiselle
Nantes, the Comtesse de Fiesque. These were all not far from De
Maintenon, and near her stood the Grand Mademoiselle, the King's
cousin, whom he had never forgiven for turning the guns of the
Bastille on his troops long ago. She was able and powerful in her
way, but had been more than once exiled and now lived at the
Luxemburg in great splendor. She, like the Duchess d'Orlans,
was clever and pointed, and in spite of all had her way with
King Louis in much. She had no love for De Maintenon and now
said to her:

"France has gone far and not stumbled. When will she stumble?"

De Maintenon, who foresaw the revocation of the Edict of Nantes,
though she had dared to speak against it said:

"The Grand Monarch does not stumble. He is France. If stumbling
comes, it will be those near him."

"Well said, old Maintenon," declared Duchess Charlotte in a whisper
to Cardinal Bouillon of Nantes.

At last the Siamese ambassadors appeared, and there were murmurs of
excitement at seeing these representatives of Phra-Narai in their
long robes of silk and glittering swords and peaked hats, slowly
approaching the throne. On being presented they remained so long
upon their knees that Louis, growing impatient, asked his chancellor,
in an undertone if they were never going to rise.

The Abb Lyonne interpreted the speeches. Standing up at last, they
said that Phra-Narai had been greatly touched by the letter from
Louis with his miniature. They spoke of commercial privileges and
begged that a French embassy should be sent to Siam.

Louis welcomed the delegates warmly and said they had done well to
come; that never had France been so powerful. He had an army of
400,000 defended by a hundred fortresses; a huge navy and wealth
greater than that of any other power in the world. He bade the
ambassadors look round and see in this circle of magnificence the
overwhelming character of France. He was pleased that Siam wished
treaty, and he asked if their king would accept the Christian
religion. The chief mandarin, replying, said it would be difficult
for Siam to discard a religion she had held for over two thousand
years, but this was not for him. It belonged to the King of Siam

Louis then said France's greatness had come under the Christian
religion and no doubt his good brother, the King of Siam, would
sign a treaty to make Siam the greatest country in the Oriental

He bade the mandarins study France and see its vast cathedrals, and
above all Notre Dame; to visit the Louvre and the Tuileries and the
Palais Royale, and his last great work for France; the Htel des
Invalides, where the soldiers of France were cared for when their
fighting was done. He bade them see the vast fortifications everywhere,
the institutions he had founded for the benefit of France. His ships
went to the farthest seas, to the West Indies, where France owned
San Domingo, Martinque, Guadaloupe, Tabago, Granada, and the Barbados;
to America, Africa, Asia and Siam.

Through the windows of the huge Throne Room came from the splendid
gardens of Versailles a song which softly sounded in the ears of all:

  "This is the day of France,
   The day of France, the day of France,
   This is the day of France,
   Oh, gai, vive le Roi--
   Oh, gai, vive le Roi!"

When the ambassadors had again made obeisance and retired, Louis
said to Seignelay, "La Salle has come?"

Seignelay bowed. "Sire, I will send for him."

King Louis beckoned to Harlay, the Archbishop of Paris, who drew
near with anxious eye.

"Archbishop," said King Louis, "the progress of our Faith in France
is slow, but it reaches far?"

"The Church progresses with you, Sire, its head--as far as God permits."

"Well said, Archbishop, but that is within, our borders here. I am not
sure that overseas the Church acts always with its King."

The words of Louis filtered through the vast audience as a kind of
subtle irritant. Men and women looked at one another and murmured.
Nobles thrust heads forward, listening intently.

Seignelay's messenger found La Salle in the gardens with the Abb
Renaudot. He was summoned to the Presence, and with a nod he looked
curiously at the Abb and moved quickly toward the palace. As they
went a lame soldier who had done duty for a quarter of a century
and had but one leg, sang softly--for he had come from the Invalides
ruled over by the astute Abb Potin.

  "Brave Captain,
   Coming from the war,
   Searches for his honors--
   He has searched so far,
   Searched so long,
   Searched with no reward,
   That now he bows his head
   And goes with boding tread--
   Oh! Brave Captain,
   Coming from the war!"

With the Abb Renaudot not far behind, La Salle, with the sad song
still in his ears, went forward, brooding but composed.

In the palace La Salle walked behind Seignelay, with head erect, but
with despair in his eyes. He knew not why he had been summoned. All
seemed ill to him. He was pale, almost haggard, and yet he bore
himself with that spirit which had made France the greatest factor
in the world of struggle, strife, exploration, conquest, and

La Salle was conscious of the excited spirit of the great crowd, but
as he neared the throne he bowed low. Then as he came closer he bowed
once more and stood still. In Seignelay's face there was naught of
hope. Seignelay had learned immobility.

There was deep silence for a moment, and then Louis said: "Sieur de
la Salle, you have come again to my court after years have passed.
You have been on a far continent working for France. After toil,
anxiety, and danger you have discovered the mouth of the Mississippi.
Is it not so?"

La Salle's face did not change its look, but in his eyes was amazement,
for Louis' tone was kind. "When France speaks, who shall gainsay?"

Internally the King smiled, for these words gave naught, sought
naught, revealed naught, save an astute and comprehensive mind.
Louis' voice came again, clear and strong:

"They have destroyed your forts, monsieur, and that against
my will!"

La Salle's eyes startled, looked at Louis with a new sense.

"At Fort St. Louis," continued the King, "you have gathered
thousands of Indians faithful to you and to that behind you, the
will of France. Come nearer, Sieur de la Salle."

La Salle's face had lost its pallor. A new look came into it.

"You asked for two ships; well, I shall give you four--one, the
Joly, armed with thirty-six guns. You asked for a hundred men, I
shall give you two hundred and fifty, and, besides, on these ships
men and women of France shall go for a settlement at the mouth of
the Mississippi. One of my best naval captains, Captain Beaujeu,
shall go with you. I resolve that Spain be conquered, and you will
bring your Indians down from Fort St. Louis and we shall break the
power of Spain in Mexico. Spain would rival us, but we are supreme
in Europe, and we shall be supreme over there."

While Louis spoke every pulse of La Salle had pounded life, hope
and vitality back. He could scarce believe that all he asked for
had been granted, and he knew not why, for yesterday Seignelay had
given him no hope. How his future was spread before him! All that
he had planned would come to pass. He raised his head slowly and
moisture came to his eyes. He saw he was expected to reply. He
controlled himself.

"Sire, I have but this to say: Louis, the great, King of France,
by the grace of God, rules. The work you have set me, Sire, I will
do. I will obey the spirit of France in all things. I have lived
for my native land; I have loved her, and to my last moment I am
the faithful son and friend of France. I am the King's loving,
true devoted servant."

Louis stretched out a hand, and La Salle knelt and kissed the fingers
which had carried on the work of Richelieu and Mazarin and Colbert.

As La Salle stood again, King Louis said to all: "I would I had a hundred
such as he. The name of France would be secure."

As La Salle drew slowly back and mingled with the excited, admiring
crowd on the way to exit, Seignelay came to him. There was a look in
Seignelay's eyes which said:

"Well done, La Salle. The way is now clear!"

He whispered, however, "I knew yesterday what the King would do,
for he heard our talk, Sieur de la Salle."

La Salle's eyes were startled. "Name of God!" he said, and
that was all.

Chapter XXXIX

God Knows

All Versailles and Paris rang with the triumph of La Salle. Outwardly
he was not changed. His motions were as deliberate as usual. His walk
was firm and quiet, but in his voice and eyes was the spirit of conquest.
He had seen the Abb Potin as he left Versailles, and in the priest's
face was the hatred of one beaten in the struggle for the favor of
the King.

Few knew of the branding of Barbe Ranard, but every official of the
Church understood why she had been punished. Weeks passed. She saw
the Abb Potin but once since her branding, for a few moments. She
was on her way to the Invalides when she met him in the street,
and stopped him. Looking at her haggard face and piteous, beautiful
eyes, he said, sadly: "You have failed. Henceforth you work no more
in the service of our Order."

Bitterness and revolt were in her heart, but she answered, quietly:
"So, only success matters! If that were true, Abb Potin, what of
the priests who have given all after torture." She bowed her head.
"For me--for me--all is done forever!" and she buried her face in
her hands.

When she looked up again the Abb was gone, and she would never see
his face as a friend again. His lips she had kissed, upon his breast
her face had lain, but it was all over, and forever, and she shrank
into her dark and everlasting torture.

As she returned slowly to her apartments, her feet heavy as the
gargoyles on Notre Dame, her eyes with all brightness gone, her soul
in dark turmoil, for her husband had been dismissed from his post
in Canada and he had deserted her before her branding; she shuddered.
Every face that looked at her had in her thought stark reproof.
The world turned its shoulders on her, and she knew that she was
alone in the universe. Even Duchesneau never came now. He had
broken with her, the discredited official whom Louis might send
to the Bastille! He, even he to whom she had been so much, turned
his back on her too. Her shoulder was unhealed still, and it gave
her pain as she walked. Voices rang out in the street around her,
songs were sung in cafs, and one came to her ears:

  "I have to take a long journey,
   I don't know who will go with me:
   I have to take a long journey,
   I don't know who will go with me:
   It will be Rossignolette
   Who will go with me,
   La violette double, double,
   La violette doubleron,
   La violette, double, double,
   La violette, doubleron."

Again she shuddered, and her face became tortured. She was
no longer beautiful.

"Yes, I must take a long journey," she said in an agonized
voice, "and there is no Rossignolette. I am alone. Oh, God
in Heaven!"

La Salle's four ships, the Joly, which had thirty-six guns; the
Aimable, with six guns; the Belle, the direct gift of Louis; and
a ketch, St. Franois, loaded with stores and ammunition, tools
and implements and things needed at the mouth of the Mississippi--all
these were at Rochelle. Here began La Salle's dealings with
Captain Beaujeu, whom he distrusted because Beaujeu's wife was a
friend of the Jesuits, and he could trust no one under their
influence. Difficulties started at once between him and Beaujeu,
who wrote protesting letters to Seignelay.

He said in one letter:

I find it very hard to submit to the orders of the Sieur de la Salle,
whom I believe to be a man of merit, but who has no experience of war
except with savages, and who has no rank, while I have been captain
of a ship for thirteen years and have served thirty by sea and land.
Besides, he has told me that in case of his death you have directed
that the Sieur, de Tonty shall succeed him. . . . I beg, Monseigneur,
that I may at least share the command with them.

Seignelay rebuffed him, told him to have no further anxiety about
the command, for it was settled.

This irritated Beaujeu, who wrote again:

Monseigneur, I represented to you the hardship of compelling me to
obey Monsieur de la Salle, who has no rank and never commanded
anybody but schoolboys. . . . He pretends that I am only to command
the sailors and have no authority over the volunteer officers and
the hundred soldiers who are to take passage in the Joly, and that
they are not to recognize or obey me in any way during the voyage. . . .
He is a man who wants smoke. I will give him his fill of it, perhaps
more than he likes.

To his friend, Cabart de Villermont, one of his friends in Paris
with whom La Salle was also on friendly terms, he wrote:

I do not like his suspiciousness. I think him a good honest Norman,
but Normans are out of fashion. It is one thing to-day and another
to-morrow. . . . Pray do not show my letters for fear of committing
me with him, but he is too suspicious already, and never was a
Norman so Norman as he, which is a great hindrance to business.
I am myself _Un bon gros Normand_, but I have traveled far, have
seen much, and am broad in mind. I shall go straight forward
without regarding a thousand whims and bagatelles. His continual
suspicion would drive anybody mad except a Norman like me; but I
shall humor him as I have always done, even to sailing my ship on
dry land, if he likes. I could not help telling him that I saw he
was brought up in the provinces. . . Let Abb Renaudot glorify
Monsieur de la Salle as much as he likes, and make him a Cortez, a
Pizarro, or an Almagro. That is nothing to me, but do not let him
speak of me as an obstacle in his hero's way. Let him understand
that I know how to execute the orders of the court as well as he.

It will thus be seen that Beaujeu was a man of irritable nature,
generous impulses, and distinct capacity. He was round, plump, and
vigorous, with blazing eyes, grayish hair, and a pugnacious nose,
but he was a man through and through, and La Salle could have
trusted him more than he did at the start; but he had been beset
by too much exterior friendliness to accept any man at his own
valuation, and Beaujeu did not lack in self-importance.

Nika, the Indian, servant, with whom La Salle had more in common
than with Beaujeu, one day said to him:

"Great chief, that captain he not so bad. Him honest fool. His
ways, not yours--no, but Nika could march with him, yes."

He looked at Nika with understanding eyes, and far beyond Nika into
the past out on the great Lakes of the far continent and into the
future with its hoped--for success, and he smiled and nodded, but
made no reply in words.

Time went on, difficulties arose not only with Beaujeu, but with
the officials who superintended the loading of the ships and
provided the stores--things done at the expense of the King.
La Salle could not object, but when Louis complained of delay,
La Salle said to Seignelay by letter:

I am eager to start, but delay comes from official tardiness. They
do not expedite purchase of stores or loading of the ships. They
recruit the soldiers slowly, and not always from the best class,
and I do not wish to take off scourings of the prisons of France.
Be sure, monsieur, that I mean well by my native land and by
the great monarch who has commissioned me.

Then came a sharp command from King Louis that new officials be
appointed, and they were chosen by Seignelay himself. Then the
work moved on. King Louis became aware that even yet the foes of
La Salle were working.

To Rochelle came Joutel, the son of a gardener, who had once been
in the employ of La Salle's uncle and was a native of Rouen, had
been sixteen years in the army and was to become the honest
historian of the expedition. Father Le Clerc and the Abb Cavelier
also wrote, but the Abb was at no time an honest chronicler of
his brother's deeds and doings. The Abb Cavelier had arrived in
France and come to Rochelle with Moranget, nephew of La Salle,
and another nephew, Cavelier, a schoolboy, to join the expedition.
La Salle's faith in his brother was small, but this was no time for
personal distrust, and he accepted the Abb and also his two nephews.

La Salle said: "You have seen me in dark days with death with in
and disaster round me. Now you see my face in the rising sun, and
my life stirring with new purpose. All goes well with me."

The Abb's reply was significant. He was fundamentally unsound and
the good streaks in him were the feeblest muscles of his whole
constitution. He should never have been a priest. He was La Salle's
antithesis, a man with meager face, long nose acquisitive hands,
and attenuated soul. Yet La Salle loved his captious brother as
he loved his devoted mother, to whom he wrote a letter just before
he sailed. These were among his words to her:

We are setting sail with four vessels and nearly four hundred men on
board. We all have good hope of a happy success. I passionately
wish, and so do we all, that the success of this voyage may
contribute to your repose and comfort. . . . Madame, my most
honored mother, from your most humble and obedient servant and son,
de la Salle.

My brother, my nephews, and all the others greet you, and take
their leave of you.

The ships were loaded and they were ready to start, but they awaited
a favorable wind. Louis had at once sent La Forest to Fort
Frontenac, commanding him to take control there, and Tonty to
continue in control at Fort St. Louis on the Illinois. He
wrote as well to La Barre, the Governor, a scathing letter
which warned him that he had lied about La Salle. He concluded
with these words: "I am satisfied that Fort Frontenac was
not abandoned, as you wrote to me that it had been."

He wrote also to the Intendant of Canada, Meulles, that La Forest
was to suffer no impediment and that La Barre was to surrender to
him without reserve all that belonged to La Salle.

A letter has also come from Frontenac, full of delight that La Salle
had triumphantly overcome difficulties, that Barbe Ranard had been
punished, that La Forest had been returned to Canada, and that the
girl, Lya, had been a pivot on which La Salle success had swung.

My wife sends you her good wishes and hopes and for myself I give
you, as I always have, my entire faith and deep affection. As for
myself, I shall go to Canada again. Please God, I shall leave my
bones in that great land which in centuries to come shall be the
memorial of endurance, power, and glorious endeavor and achievement.
My hand is on your shoulder, dear La Salle. I bid you Godspeed.

On the four ships a goodly sprinkling of gentlemen and women of the
middle and lower class made up the members of the new colony who were
to settle at the mouth of the Mississippi. Among these were the Marquis
de la Sablonnire, a noble whose only fortune was his sword; the Sieur
le Gros; Sieur de Merle; Bartholemy, a young Parisian; Barbier and
Talon, Canadians; Liotot, a surgeon, the brothers Duhaut, Paget,
a Huguenot; Heins, a Wurtemberger, an ex-buccaneer, known as "English
Jem"; Friar Zenobe Membr and others; Recollet Friars and the priests
Esmanville and Desloges; Minet, the engineer; and so many others.

The day before La Salle sailed, there came to Rochelle with Madame
Louvigny Lya Darois, and he did not know. She did not seek La Salle,
or try to speak with him. She only wished to see him start upon his
long journey, though she did not know it was to be his last. They
must not meet and greet and say farewell.

Standing with Madame Louvigny, she saw him pass to his ship with
firm, quiet tread, Saget, his, servant, and Nika, his Shawanoe
hunter, behind him. The look in his face was that of one who was
entering on his greatest achievement. She knew, as Frontenac had
said, her interview with King Louis had been one of the swivels on
which had swung La Salle's fortunes, and she was glad. In her heart
was that which deepens faith and hope in all mankind. She watched
the evening mists fall upon this little fleet, and she did not know
what its fate would be, but in her heart was an unexplainable
sadness, with sure sense of victory.

She saw night descend and she returned to her apartments with Madame
Louvigny, but next morning at daybreak in a favoring wind she was out
upon the dock with numbers of folk who had come to see the ships
depart. She saw Captain Beaujeu, the Abb Cavelier, and the priests
Zenobe Membr, Douay, and Le Clerc. She saw the soldiers and the
settlers, the women and girls who were bidding farewell to friends
on shore and were kissing their hands and waving handkerchiefs in
good-bye. She saw La Salle's face in the distance, the upright
resolution of his figure, the look of command on him, and she said

"Great man, great patriot, farewell!"

La Salle did not hear this, but he looked at the four ships and the
people on them, and he too felt a strange sadness and an enormous
exhilaration as he gazed into the far distance to the sky-line
beyond which were the Mississippi and Mexico.

The wind caught the sails, they filled, and with the rising sun upon
the canvas they moved upon the infinite sea. Lya did not go until the
ships were almost lost to view beyond the horizon's line.

"God knows--God knows!" she said.

[image: Louis the Fourteenth]

Chapter XL

"All Shall Be Well"

In two months after leaving France the four vessels reached the
island of St. Domingo. Here came the first misfortune of the expedition,
owing to the mistake of Beaujeu, who ran past the Port de Paix and
cast anchor at Petit Goave on the other side of the island. La Salle
was indignant, because he wished to meet the Marquis de Saint-Laurent,
Lieutenant-General of the island, at Port de Paix, Bgon, the
Intendant, and De Cussy, Governor of La Tortue, who had orders
to supply him with provisions.

La Salle and others of the expedition were ill and the Joly had more
than fifty sick men on board. The Joly was alone, the other vessels
having sailed slowly. A "Te Deum" for safe arrival had scarcely been
sung, when two of the delayed vessels came, bringing news that the
ketch, St. Franois, had been taken by Spanish buccaneers. She had
carried provisions, tools, and other needs of the colony, and the
loss was irreparable. Not La Salle alone, but the Lieutenant-General
spoke scathingly to Beaujeu, who was answerable for the loss of the
ketch and all that it involved. In vain Beaujeu protested; they turned
and left him, bitter and difficult. Meanwhile, La Salle's illness
increased and he was taken to the house of a goldsmith in the town,
where he lay near to death. The men of the ships roamed on shore
and plunged into excess of debauchery, contracting dire diseases.
Joutel in his journal said, "The air of this place is bad and so
are the fruits, and there are plenty of women worse than either."

In his bed, La Salle could hear the songs of the evil streets, and he
knew the men were on the broad path to perdition. To his troubled
brain the songs and noise were horrible and disgraceful. They
shouted outside the home where he lay so ill. One of the chansons
struck him like a blow in the face, it was so vile:

  "To the Saint Jean I was welcome,
     I was welcome for six francs all round.
   La vesi, la veson,
     La veson don don,
   Dancing la vesi,
   Jumping la veson,

This would be followed by shrieks of laughter, and salacious mutterings,
and ugly little simperings and ejaculations, and the shame of it all
lowered his vitality. He was helpless, he could do naught, and again
the tide seemed against him. Even the Intendant and Governor did not
visit him. They were little better than their people, and were aware
of the strife between La Salle and Beaujeu, and had no faith in the

There was a mirror opposite La Salle's bed; it was evening, the blinds
were up, and all was dark in his room. His servant, Saget, had left
him, as he thought, asleep, and had not pulled down the blinds. La
Salle could see the soldiers in the street--his own soldiers, sailors,
and colonists--and the negro women and girls, some of them half
dressed, some of them drunk, and all of them exalt in a crude,
primitive way. There was an attempt at a procession in which black
and white were one, and Frenchmen were masked like Indians. It was
a melancholy sight for La Salle to see men of his ships with their
arms around black women. He had seen posts in the far West when
Indian girls were brought in numbers, but the licentiousness of the
barbaric West was not like the shameless abandon of this civilized
island under the French flag.

The men seemed lost in the ribaldry of it all, and among them was
the Marquis de la Sablonnire, and Duhaut and Hiens and Teissier,
the pilot, and many others, and La Salle's pulses of indignation
beat faster. To think that a marquis of France should be in such
a crowd! Thank God, none of the women and girls of the ships were
present, for the priests had seen to that, but they had no control
over the men, now that La Salle, the leader, was ill and Beaujeu
was not in command. They had no regard for their leader when they
were in this salacious circle and they were nearly all drunk.

More than once La Salle in his black misery tried to rise from
his bed to command them to begone. He heard one shrill voice

  "My father married me,
   On one of the harvest days, laridon,
   He gave me a man who wouldn't listen to reason,
   So, laridon, don dame, I love you!
   Laridon, don, don!"

This was sung by a pretty drunken girl of not more than sixteen
years of age, only partially dressed, with lovely neck and shapely
legs, and she now threw herself in the arms of the Marquis de la
Sablonnire, whose name was already at a discount in the expedition.
La Salle saw them hurrying up the street, but among the revelers
came Barbier, a young Frenchman born in Quebec, and he stormed with
good round oaths. He asked them if they wished to make their leader,
La Salle, worse that they rioted so near his sick-room. Had they
no feeling, no decency? Were they abandoned beasts?

It was now that the Abb Cavelier and Friar Membr came and with sharp
commands drove the crowd away and threatened them with punishment
by the Intendant.

"He is not on this island now--ha! ha! ha! ha!" they shouted as they
ran away, the women and girls gathering their gay clothes about them.

"And he not say no!" said a native girl, sticking her tongue out as
she tossed a skirt at the priests, showing her bare limbs. She was
very young and very bad.

The priests entered La Salle's room and found him excited and almost
delirious. "I will stay no longer here. It is infamous," he said.

"My brother," said the Abb, "we take you away from this shamelessness
to the home of a Capuchin friar."

At this moment Saget and Nika entered and they helped La Salle to
dress. Then he was led shaking from the house, and presently the
Capuchin friar met them in the street, a little godly man of gentle
heart and cheerful eyes.

"In my home you shall have peace, Sieur de la Salle," he said, and La
Salle liked the man and took his arm, and the peace promised was his
in the friar's home.

The expedition was now without a recognized head, and Beaujeu, in a
letter to Seignelay, told him that La Salle was dangerously ill; that
great numbers were sick; that the Abb Cavelier had asked him to
take charge, but he had refused; that the Spaniards are well armed
with six vessels, but that he is not afraid, and if Sieur de la
Salle died he should go a different course, for he did not approve
of his plans.

La Salle could not resume the voyage until near the end of November,
and the stay in the island had been bad for all the men in the ship.
The island had bad government and the place was a hotbed of vice
and evil living. Even the clergy had limited influence over the
soldiers, sailors and colonists. Most had become demoralized
already. La Salle, as he grew better, hoped that the life at sea
would greatly help. He stiffened his courage.

He was ever on ill terms with Aigron, the captain of the Aimable,
whom he had reason to distrust, for Aigron was an agent of La Salle's
foes, who had placed him on the ship in spite of King Louis' caution.
Fearing some mishap might befall the Aimable, La Salle embarked
on her himself with his brother, Membr, Douay, and the trustiest
of his followers. On the Aimable they coasted the shores of Cuba.
La Salle meanwhile, haggard from his recent illness, was buried in
meditation, because of the apparent enmity of Beaujeu and the loss
of the St. Franois. Weeks passed. The spirits of nearly all grew again
discontented, for there were three ships, and La Salle could only
be on one where he had influence and he kept his fellow-passengers
fairly contented in spite of Aigron.

At length a sailor at the masthead of the Aimable saw land,
and on New-Year's Day they anchored three league's from the shore.
Then came a thick fog, and when it cleared the Joly was not to be
seen, but La Salle, in the Aimable, with the Belle explored
the coast. He was not aware that they had already passed the mouth
of the Mississippi. At length they came upon a wide opening between
two points of land, and the adjacent sea was discolored with mud.
It was no doubt the entrance to Galveston Bay. La Salle lay there
five or six days, waiting for Beaujeu. Then thinking that Beaujeu
must have passed the Aimable, he resolved to follow. They coasted
the shores of Texas. Indians swam out and were taken on board, but
their language was not understood, and as he approached the land he
saw vast plains and a dim expanse of forest and prairie and buffalo
and deer. At length he landed between Matagorda Island and Corpus
Christi Bay. Into the lagoons where he was he thought the Mississippi
must empty itself. At last the Joly drew near and all were
encouraged again.

La Salle and Beaujeu met upon the deck of the Joly. Beaujeu was
irritated; the coast was dangerous, the weather bad, and supplies

La Salle said to him: "I fear we have missed the principal mouth
of the river. I ask you to sail back in search of it."

Beaujeu replied that La Salle was to blame for their separation, but
he would Sail back if the ship was given provisions.

La Salle said, "I will give rations for fifteen days, no longer."

Beaujeu replied: "Fifteen days' rations are not enough. I decline."

La Salle retorted, bitterly: "Very well. I will land soldiers and
they shall find the chief mouth of the Mississippi."

Minet, the engineer, standing by, said he doubted that the Mississippi
discharged into the lagoon at all. La Salle, in his confusion and
uncertainty, resented this, and Minet shrugged his shoulders and
turned away, saying, afterwards, "He treated me as if I were the
meanest of mankind."

La Salle persisted, and sent Joutel and Moranget with soldiers to
explore the coast.

Joutel in his diary said: "The difficulty was that few of our men were
fit for anything except eating. Our company was like Noah's Ark, which
contained animals of all sorts."

At last they set themselves to build a raft on a good shore into
which a great stream flowed, but before it was finished they saw
the ships which had followed them along the coast. La Salle now
landed, announcing that here was the western mouth of the Mississippi.
He decided to bring the Aimable and the Belle to safe harborage.

The Aimable was ordered to enter, and she weighed anchor, La Salle
watching her from the shore.

Suddenly there came word to La Salle that the Marquis de Sablonnire
with several men had been set upon by Indians and carried off. The
moment was critical; the men must be recovered. He led his followers
in haste towards the camp. There behind him was the Aimable nearing
the shoals. They reached the Indian huts. As they entered the camp
there was a report of cannon on the seashore. La Salle knew the
shot was a signal for disaster, and, looking back, he saw the Aimable
furling her sails, and knew she had struck a reef. With his
followers he entered the chief's lodge, where the men were naked
and the women nearly so, and an ugly crew swarmed round them. They
were given buffalo meat and dried porpoise meat and pipes to smoke,
but La Salle hastily closed the interview, with difficulty recovering
the kidnapped men, and returning to the beach. On his way he saw the
Aimable on the reef. She contained nearly all the colony's
provisions--sixty barrels of wine, cannon, grenade, vast amounts
of iron and lead, tools, a forge, a mill, cordage, boxes of arms,
nearly all the medicines, and most of the baggage of the soldiers
and colonists. Aigron had disobeyed orders, and, though little else
was saved, his own personal property was landed safely!

La Salle had always doubted Aigron, and now he recalled the face
of the Abb Potin when he left the palace of Versailles after being
commissioned by the King. He was convinced that the delays at Rochelle
and the sinking of the Aimable were due to his enemies, who still
defeated him in these smaller but terrible ways. The loss of the St.
Franois had been bad, the loss of the Aimable was infinitely worse.
He was convinced that the power which had indirectly tried to kill
him had destroyed the Griffon, ruined Fort Frontenac and strove
so persistently against him, was that which now broke before his eyes
another of his tools to achievement. When Joutel said the boat
which hung at the stern of the Aimable had been staved in, he
was the more convinced.

Beaujeu sent a boat from the Joly and La Salle urged his men to
hasten the saving of the cargo. Gunpowder and flour were landed.
Indians came, greedy for plunder, but all night long sentinels
guarded the miserable bivouac among the casks and boxes yielded
up by the sea, and La Salle, encompassed by treachery, darkness,
and the storm, straightened his shoulders, set his teeth, and
fought on. It was useless to put Aigron under arrest. That would
be done in France, and in time it was so done.

On the morning after the wreck of the Aimable, La Salle, who
believed profoundly in the fidelity of Joutel, said to him: "These
are dark days, but I have had darker and may have darker still.
That is the fate of all explorers, of whom I am--"

He paused. He had meant to say, "not the most important," but
his inveterate honesty prevented; he felt beneath all the
far-reaching effects of this expedition, no matter what its
present fate. His native land would see that its purpose was
fullfilled. His eyes lighted. He drew his shoulders up and added
to his words. "Of whom I am the most opposed, but the more
persistent, Joutel."

Joutel's reply was: "Many have been against you, Sieur, but you
conquer. You have conquered even Captain Beaujeu. He was against
you at first; he did not believe in you. He thought you distrusted
him. Now he knows what you are, and his energy and capacity are
for you."

La Salle smiled. "We Normans do not long misunderstand each other.
We have a faith of our own, and it makes us greater patriots. This
Captain Aigron"--La Salle's brow darkened--"is a servant of my foes,
and through them again I have been struck. We are not at the chief
mouth of the Mississippi, I know now, but in the Belle we shall find
it, and there build a fort and start again upon the long path of
France's glory."

Joutel nodded, and after a moment said: "There is great sickness now,
due to brackish water and bad food, and many of our people have died.
The sailors eat wild fruits to excess. Men have died from diseases
caught at St. Domingo. Fifty of our company are already gone. Besides,
we are unsafe here with the Indians near and the Spaniards possible.
We are defenseless in some sense."

La Salle replied: "I understand. We must make a rampart to protect
the camp." Here, among bales, boxes, casks, and pens for fowls and
swine, were gathered the sorrowful men and women who came to hold
for France a region larger than half of Europe, and they built a fort
under the eye and with the help of La Salle.

Slowly but surely the settlement grew. There were quarters for the
women and the men, and a small chapel was built, and at length a sort
of village became evident and Indians came and traded, and gardens
were planted, and men hunted and women and girls sewed and gave a sense
of settled life to the transitory place. It was all lonely, but not
secluded. Vast plains stretched behind them, a wide and beautiful sky
was above them, and they were free from all danger of cold and only
the bad water was their foe in the daily life. Wells were sunk, but
still the water was brackish, and there was food in plenty from the
prairie, and oysters from the beds near by, and, had it not been for
discordant elements, all would have seemed in some degree promising.

Never did priests behave better than on this expedition. Not one of
them but would have cut off his hand rather than have gone back to
France with Beaujeu. They went among the people guiding, encouraging,
hopeful, sustaining. They had the social gifts of women, the piety
of saints, the adaptability which was so needed in the pioneer life.
They had the primitive sense. Some of them came of high lienage in
France, they were ever faithful and useful, advising well, attending
the sick, administering to the dying, and burying the dead. Their
cassocks might be worn and frayed, but their vestments of the Mass
were ever clean and rich and beautiful, and attendance at Mass was
a comfort to those whose clothes were becoming worn and grimy, and
not easily renewed, for much cloth had been lost in the St. Franois
and the Aimable.

It was hard to imagine that this expedition would prove in the end
a failure.

"Shall we lose faith in our great star, La Salle." said the wife of
a dissident mason. "But no, he may not always succeed, but he
triumphs as he has always done. I am for standing steady--yes."

"Zut! the man is a wonder for sure," said a builder from Rochelle,
"I take my compass from his pocket."

"I drink to him," said a laborer who had a bottle of wine for his
dinner. "This is good enough for me. We have enough to eat, and if
the water ain't good, then drink wine, say I. Parbleu, drink wine,
say I."

Father Le Clerc, in passing, said, "The wine of life for you, my
friend, and don't forget that, either."

The laborer made the sign of the cross. "That's my answer, pardieu!"

On the whole the settlement was very busy, for La Salle realized
that only by work could discontent be diminished, and Joutel, his
faithful friend, fought his fight with understanding heart.

One of the wives of the settlers came to Joutel. "You think we shall
come through this all right, M. Joutel? Are we at the mouth of the
Mississippi. Is it now--that?"

"Do you think the Sieur de la Salle would rest until the expedition
was a success? But no, madame, we are on the way to happiness. Be
sure of that."

The woman smiled. "You are like the priests, M. Joutel; you make
us believe the best."

"If I am like a priest that is good for me. If they believe, trust
them, and all will come right."

"Come right--yes, comme ci, comme ca," she replied.

A girl went by singing:

  "We were ten girls in a meadow
   All ten waiting to marry,
   There was Diane, there was Chine,
   There was Claudine, et Martine,
   Ah, ah, Cath'rinette et Cathrina--
   Finally they sent us away,
   All were sent away,
   Drove away, Diane,
   Drove away Chine--ah!"

The woman laughed. "There is spirit for ye!"

Joutel exclaimed: "Comme ci, comme ca," and he laughed.

As time passed disaffection grew. There were, from the first,
discordant elements. These became vocal. Such men at Liotot, the
surgeon, the brothers Duhaut, Hiens, Teissier, the pilot, young
Barthelemy, and one or two others sought to increase the disaffection.
They moved about sowing discord, unmindful of the fact that without
La Salle the project must wholly fail. They were never successful
among the few women, with whom La Salle was popular, and the priests,
aware of the conspiracy, did their best to stem it, though they did
not speak of it to La Salle. They were loyal from first to last, and
admired and loved him. They succeeded in preventing the worst.

Said Friar Membr, head of the priests on the expedition, to Father
Esmonville, "We must cheer the settlers, or all will be hopeless."

Esmonville replied, "We are in the hands of God--it shall be well with us."

His cassock was torn and mended; he was lean and ill fed, for the water
was poor and many were ill because of it, but he held himself, as did
all his colleagues, with heroic dignity. His sunburnt face showed little,
but it had a look of patient hope.

"Naught can come of naught," said Duhaut, passing them with a sarcastic

"We do not know the word," said Friar Membr.

It became known that the Indians had set fire to the prairie, meaning
them ill, but La Salle caused the grass to be cut about the camp,
especially near where the powder was. Then the Indians stole and
carried things away.

La Salle sent his nephew, Moranget, and others to reclaim them, which
they did, and they seized canoes and made slow progress back. They
were attacked by Indians at night and two men were killed, and Moranget
was wounded by an arrow through the arm.

When they returned, La Salle sternly reproved Moranget and placed him
in the hands of Liotot, the surgeon. Liotot detested Moranget, as he
saw how selfish and mean he was and how little likely to help La Salle.
Liotot had invested money in the expedition and was eager for its success.

At last Beaujeu, who in the Joly was slowly coming to understand La
Salle and did all possible to help him, prepared to return to France.
His ship was in danger on this exposed coast and he was anxious to
find shelter. Two days before the wreck of the Aimable he had said
to La Salle: "I wish you to have more confidence in me. I will always
make the first advances and I will follow your counsel whenever I can
do so without risking my ship. If you wish, I will go to Martinique
for provisions and reinforcements. There is nothing I am not ready
to do. You have only to speak."

La Salle replied with emotion: "I am proud of your confidence. I ask you
to send ashore a quantity of iron stowed in the Joly for the use of
the colony."

Beaujeu shook his head sorrowfully: "It is almost impossible save in
harbor, for it is on my ballast and under my spare anchors and all my
stowage. It will take days to get it here where the sea runs like
mountains when the slightest wind blows."

To this La Salle replied: "I am near the place I sought; my expedition
will succeed if I can have the iron stowed on board the Joly."

Beaujeu shook his head in negation and his round face seemed troubled,
but after some further talk, a glass of wine and a biscuit, while
the Joly scorched in the sun, and seagulls fluttered and sailors
quarreled, La Salle returned to shore.

Beaujeu looked after him with admiration and said to himself: "We Normans
must stand together. The man is wholly to be trusted. He is a great
patriot and gives all for the love of our native land."

Suddenly he sent for his lieutenant, Aire. "I shall get out the iron
for La Salle. See that it is done."

Aire's face clouded and he said, "In this uncertain sea?" Beaujeu
hardened. "Carry out my commands. There is naught to fear."

Beaujeu now wrote to La Salle:

I have ordered your iron to be got out in spite of my officers, who
tell me I endanger my ship. I will bring provisions from Martinique.
My work is over, the settlers are landed, and your responsible work
begins. With all my heart I wish you well, my good Norman comrade.

When La Salle received this letter he said to Joutel: "You are right.
Now our way seems clearer, and Beaujeu will carry the good news that
my work is well begun."

Joutel raised an arm in salutation. "Good master, all comes your
way in time."

At last La Salle bade good-by to Beaujeu on the shore. With great
respect Beaujen had come to say farewell, and in the wretched camp,
with its poor ramparts and surrounded by oyster beds and broad flats
of mud, the farewell took place with all the colonists present.
Some had lost heart and nine embarked for home with Beaujen. Among
these was Minet, the engineer.

This bright day, the sun shining, the mists clearing, the waters of
the great Gulf rippling in the light (for there was no roughness),
faced by the departure of the Joly, La Salle smiled upon his followers,
then swept the land in a vast semicircle with an outstretched arm:

"This land, Captain Beaujeu, will bring honor and great prosperity.
Spain shall be conquered in Mexico, and France shall be triumphant
there and here. Take with you the message of our hope and love. To
Monseigneur Seignelay please say all shall end well here."

In Beaujeu's eyes was not the light of confidence, save in La Salle
himself. "I shall take to France, Sieur, my faith in you and in your
vast energy and patriotism and administration. Hardships lie before
you, but prosperity shall come. It is a great land and I shall speak
of it well and warmly."

They were dressed in the best they had, La Salle in his laced scarlet
coat, Beaujeu in the uniform of the navy, which had distinction and
handsomeness, and behind Beaujen were his officers in showy uniforms.
Behind La Salle were his chief men, all dressed in their best--laces
and ribbons and swords, and all the women and girls in their gayest
clothing in the bright sun. It was outwardly promising.

When Beaujeu entered his small boat he was acclaimed, and there
were tears and waving handkerchiefs of the women, but in the eyes
of some behind La Salle were anxiety and the glimmer of tragedy.
They watched the Joly disappear, and as they turned to the camp
again one of the chief men was bitten by a snake in the ankle, and
though Joutel killed the snake, a sudden depression went through
the crowd. They were superstitious and this was like a warning.

La Salle turned again to where he could see the tips of the sails
of the Joly. He laid a hand upon his sword. "All shall be well,"
he said.

A pretty young girl heard him and she shook her head and said to
Barbier, "Shall all be well, m'sieu'?"

Barbier, a good colonist, looked at her forlornly, but made no reply
at first. The girl's name was Babette Laroque. She came from La
Salle's old home, Rouen, and she was of the lower middle-class,
with an intelligent mind, and in her was the rare spirit of adventure
and travel which few women have. She had come because she had a
brother of whom she was fond and they were orphans, and when he
said he would go with the expedition, she willed to go with him;
and she was heart free when she started, but was not heart free now.

From the first she had liked Barbier, who was a man of men and as
loyal to the expedition as though it was his own, and an intense
admirer of La Salle, in whom he ever believed.

At last, as he walked with Babette and they turned and watched the
Joly grow smaller as she sailed, he said: "If La Salle says it
shall be well, then we must believe, but to be _well_ has many meanings.
He has the big view his well may not be ours."

She raised her head swiftly and she said, "Well, and well, and
well--haven't we the big view, too?"

He turned and looked into her deep-blue eyes. "You give me hope,
Babette." This was the first time he had called her by her
Christian name.

Chapter XLI

Two Women

"So, Captain Beaujeu, you come from the mouth of the Mississippi,
where you left the Sieur de la Salle?"

"Monseigneur," replied Beaujeu to Seignelay, "I am not sure I left
Sieur de la Salle at the mouth of the Mississippi--no."

Seignelay lifted his eyebrows and said, sternly, "If not the mouth
of the Mississippi, then where?"

Beaujeu, though frightened by the sarcastic voice of the Minister,
tried to fortify himself. "I am a Norman, monseigneur, and--"

Seignelay interrupted: "That touches not the point. You are a Frenchman.
Where did you leave La Salle?"

Beaujen wilted before the hard voice and said: "I know not, but it
was not the mouth of the Mississippi discovered by the Sieur de la
Salle, and not only I, but Monsieur Minet, the engineer--"

Seignelay interrupted: "Oh, Minet the engineer! Then by the Heaven
above, in the confinement to which I shall assign him Monsieur Minet
shall have time to think why he deserted La Salle. Go on, if you

Beaujeu was now thoroughly upset, but he controlled himself and said:
"Monseigneur, the Sieur had never seen the Mississippi from the sea.
I am sure we passed it and came to the mouth of a river further west,
which also has lagoons and mud flats. I do not think Sieur de la
Salle himself believes he has found the Mississippi mouth."

Something like satire filled the quiet but severe face of the Minister.
"So much for that, then. Why did you leave the Sieur de la Salle?"

"Because the St. Franois, the ketch, had been wrecked at Saint
Domingo and it contained tools and ammunitions, and the Aimable
was wrecked and it contained provisions and other things needful
for the colony, so it was that I left--"

Seignelay intervened again: "The ketch, St. Franois, was wrecked
and the Aimable was wrecked. Where is Aigron, captain of the Aimable?
France would lay hands upon him."

Beaujeu told him Aigron's address in Paris.

In Seignelay's mind was the belief that the Aimable had been purposely
wrecked and that behind the false captain was what prevented the quick
loading of the ships at Rochelle, the power of the Jesuits. His lips
compressed, his eyes grew cold with indignation.

"Well then, what more?"

"The Sieur de la Salle needed iron and provisions, and so I made for
Cuba to get him both; but head winds were against me. My crew were
discontented, and so I did not touch at Cuba but came direct to

Beaujeu almost sank through the floor before the anger in the eyes
of the Minister.

Seignelay looked at him for a moment without speaking, and then these
harsh words came: "Captain Beaujeu, as master of your ship why should
discontent stop you from doing your duty. Does, then, a captain of
the navy of France kneel before the will of his crew?" Seignelay got
to his feet. "By God! I would rather see the ship sunk, and you with
it, than that you should come to France with this dastardly tale."

When he had finished, Beaujeu's face was haggard. "Monseigneur, I did
my duty after the light given me. On my word of honor, at last I acted
to the Sieur de la Salle as I would to my own brother. His greatness
conquered me and I came to respect and love him. He was worth all of
us put together--an explorer without parallel, a patriot without
measurement. I take back every word I ever said against the Sieur
de la Salle. At last I gave him all I had, the best that was in me.
The man conquered me." There were tears in his eyes, his head drooped.

Seignelay looked for a moment, then placed a hand upon his shoulder.
"Captain Beaujeu, that redeems you in my eyes. What you have said I
believe, but you must not repeat elsewhere your uncertainty as to the
mouth of the Mississippi. It should not reach the ears of the King,
who sent this expedition at his own expense. Captain Beaujeu, the
Bastille was for you, but your words assure me you are an honest man
and a faithful servant of the King--according to your lights--not
the lights of Heaven! You have an obtuse but an honest mind.
Now get you gone, Captain Beaujeu."

With tears streaming down his cheeks, Captain Beaujeu said: "Monseigneur,
with all my soul I thank you. God preserve the Sieur de la Salle."

With these words he left the room and Seignelay watched him go with
unhappy premonition of La Salle's defeat. He sat slowly down and thought.
The St. Franois had been lost, the Aimable had been lost, and there
was some black conspiracy behind it all. Minet and Captain Aigron!
He took a pen, wrote an order, blotted the ink, and rang a bell.
His secretary answered.

"This is for the arrest of Minet, the engineer who went with the Sieur
de la Salle, and Captain Aigron. Have them brought to my office."

The secretary bowed and retired, and Seignelay made his way to King Louis.

He told King Louis of the loss of the St. Franois and of the Aimable,
at which King Louis' eyes and face grew stern and hard, and of the
return of Captain Beaujeu and Minet, the engineer. He did not tell
Beaujeu's suspicions about the mouth of the Mississippi, but he spoke
well of Beaujeu and harshly of Minet and Aigron, who had deserted La
Salle and returned to France.

After a moment's silence King Louis said: "Captain Beaujeu did his
duty, I suppose. But why did these men desert their master, La Salle?"

"Sire, I ordered the arrest of Minet and Aigron, believing it Your
Majesty's will. I took the responsibility."

After a moment Louis said, "You believe that La Salle will succeed, then?"

There was an instant's pause, and then Seignelay said: "He has never
yet failed, Sire, but has done honor to you who are his country. All
will come right to the Sieur de la Salle--all in time. In him I have
unchangeable faith and hope."

King Louis' face lighted. "This I like to hear. That vast new empire
must conquer Spain in Mexico. That was why I sent La Salle. Settlement
there, and the conquest of Spain. Now, Seignelay, what are your
latest news from Quebec?"

"The very worst, Sire. The Iroquois are more than troublesome and De
la Barre has failed."

"I gave La Barre warning, and now he shall retire--the useless one!
In his place I will send Denonville, a better man. He may succeed."

"Sire, do you not think that Count Frontenac should return?"

Louis smiled now. "If Denonville does not succeed I can turn to Frontenac
and say: 'Go back to the land where you ruled so well--yes, in spite of
all--conquer the vile Iroquois, and lay the stable base for the future
of my Canada.'" He added: "Frontenac is poor. I will send him three
thousand livres. So he will know I have forgiven him and he will have

Seignelay bowed his head. France was greater than she had been in all
her history, and it was due to this sage being who, like all great men,
made mistakes, but did his own thinking, played his own great part,
and loved France more than aught else in all the world.

Rojet Ranard had been recalled from Quebec, and at first lived with
his beautiful, dejected, humiliated wife in complete seclusion in
Paris. Then he left her forever, as Duchesneau had done, and she
lived alone. No old friends visited her, for the shame of her
punishment had gone abroad.

On the day that Lya Darois, with Madame Louvigny, returned to Canada,
she and the girl met. It was in the street where La Salle had lived--La
Truanderie--for Lya had come to see where he had defeated the
garrotters at the door of his apartments. She looked at it as though
while life remained the picture of it would stay in her mind.

Barbe Ranard had not passed through this street since her own tragedy,
but as a murderer comes again to the scene of his crime, so she had
been drawn against her will to the spot where the great explorer had
defeated her murderers. She went with bowed head, and was astounded
to meet Lya coming from the door where La Salle had been the cause
of her banishment from all civilized life. For a moment they looked
at each other and then Barbe Ranard said, bitterly, "So, mademoiselle,
you come to see where Sieur de la Salle made my tragedy."

"No, madame. I came to see the home where lived in anxiety one of the
noblest men God ever gave the world. I had no thought of the crime
committed here."

The honesty of her eyes and the sweet beauty of her face conquered
this lost woman, as La Salle had conquered her at her branding. For
a moment she looked at Lya without speaking. Then she turned gravely
away, weeping, and walked swiftly to her own home. Lya watched her
go with pity in her heart, for the woman had paid her price.

That night when the clocks struck twelve Barbe Ranard in her lonely
room walked up and down in misery. As in her terrible shame she walked,
now a little bent to one side as though her seared shoulder still hurt
her, and her lips moaning and her body trembling, she raged in
impotency. She had had place and even power; she had none now. Pictures
of Versailles, of Quebec, of Paris in days past came to her mind's
eye, and they tortured her as no martyr had ever been tortured by
natives in the frozen wastes of Canada. Now there came to her
sounds of singing from the street:

  "Pass, pass, Tribonet,
   Through the door of Saint-Jacquet,
   Pass, pass, Tribonot,
   Through the door of Saint-Jacquot."

As she listened she shook her head and said: "'Pass, pass, Tribonot!'
Yes, that is it--to Saint Jacquot! There is naught left for me.
Even Duchesneau deserted me and he is in confinement. All my friends
are gone forever. O God, I am alone--all alone! No one cares now."
She suddenly stood still and tore open her gown, exposing her bare
breasts. "They are beautiful still," she said, "but none
shall ever kiss them now. Behind them is the mark of the red-hot
iron!" She gave a frenzied laugh. Again she walked, swaying from
side to side. The clock of a church now began to strike, and the
words of a chanson came to her:

  "Orleans, Boisgency,
     Notre Dame of Clery,
   Vendome, Vendome,
     What sorrow, what a bore,
   To count all the night,
     The hours, the hours!"

That was it--"to count all the night, the hours, the hours!" No,
she could hot do it--no! It was too black, too awful. "What sorrow,
what a bore!" She ran to a cupboard and took out a bottle of poison.
Pouring out some, she added a little wine and, looking round the room,
so loathsome to her eyes, with a sudden cry she closed her eyes,
raised the glass, and drank her own eternal silence.

Then she knelt upon the floor blindly, her brilliant eyes opened,
glazing with torture. For a moment or two she swayed, her fingers
closihg and unclosing, at last raised in agonized prayer, and then
she fell. There in the ghostly silence she lay still, the light
burning until morning. And the life in the streets went on.

Lya landed in Quebec with Madame Louvigny and was met with honor,
for news had come of her reception by King Louis, of how she had
helped in the success of La Salle, and of the favor shown by
distinguished folk in France; though certain members of the Sainte
Famille were still secretly bitter against her.

As she and Madame Louvigny came to the cathedral to Mass, little
groups of people gathered to see them pass. Never before had Mass
seemed so comforting to Lya. She had in her pocket a letter from
Henri de Tonty.

Denonville, the new Governor, had come from France, and Tonty had
received a letter from him. This was Tonty's letter to her; it was
in her pocket as she attended Mass:

Dear Mademoiselle: I regret I have bitter news. I was displaced
by La Barre, the Governor, from command of Fort St. Louis on the
Illinois, but I was reinstated by the King, and, having had word
from Denonville, the new Governor, of the loss of the Aimable, the
return of Beaujeu, the arrest of Aigron, the captain of the Aimable,
and Minet, I determined to go to La Salle. So I gathered twenty-five
Frenchmen and eleven Indians. Leaving here, I swiftly descended the
Mississippi, where I had been with La Salle, and reached its mouth in
Holy Week. I came upon loneliness and desolation. There were no white
men on river, marsh, or sea. I sent canoes to search the coast for
many leagues, but found no trace of La Salle, so I wrote him a letter,
leaving it in charge of an Indian chief, hoping he would receive
it at some time. I cannot tell you with what sorrow I ascended the
Mississippi, some of my men remaining at the villages of Arkansas,
Couture, Delaunay, and four others.

One thing, alas, seems clear, that La Salle missed the mouth of the
Mississippi, and is no doubt in territory farther west which from the
sea resembles the Mississippi mouth. He must be in a sad way, for he
lacks tools and food and stores, but in the past he has overcome all
obstacles, no matter how tremendous. I doubt not the end will be all
we can desire, but it may not be soon. I must consolidate the work he
so splendidly began here. The Iroquois are troublesome, but I have
other tribes whom La Salle conquered by his indomitable soul, and
here, at Fort Frontenac, at Michillimackinac, and elsewhere they
will be kept ready to resist attack but no permanent good will come
to this vast region, unless Frontenac returns. Everything depends on
that. The great coureur de bois, Du Lhut, a cousin of Louvigny, will
take this letter to you. He is a man of worth and enormous skill in
trade and with the Indians, and a gentleman in all. He takes this to
you with the loving respect and timeless admiration of


Lya had not yet seen Du Lhut, but the letter from Tonty had been left
with Monsieur Louvigny, and she read it with mournful heart, for she
realized that all was not well with La Salle.

In vain Madame Louvigny sought to cheer her; an unexplainable pathos
was in her eyes and around her lips. She read again with how proud
and, strangely enough, how happy a heart, the words, "With the loving
respect and timeless admiration of Henri de Tonty." It sent her to
sleep that night depressed and yet elated, sorrowful in anticipation
of bad news, but hopeful.

Next night at dinner she met the big and adventurous Du Lhut, but he
knew no more than Tonty had told him and he had learned in Quebec,
but he was high in praise of La Salle and in admiration of Tonty.
"He has a metal hand," he said, "but his heart is of true metal
also. The hand can kill, but the heart can save. He is a man of
a million!"

There was in Du Lhut the wide spirit of a man without jealousy,
without smallness, without malice; trusted, beloved, criminal if
you will, but a great man after his kind. There was no Governor
but spoke well of him. It was only the Intendants who persecuted
him, and they, like Duchesneau, were rivals in trade, or, like
Ranard, were corrupt officials.

"Will you tell me, monsieur," said Lya, her eyes intent on his,
"whether the Iroquois are likely to conquer?"

All three watched closely the face of Du Lhut. It grew somber, but
behind the somberness there was the light of hope.

"They are powerful, the Iroquois. The Indians of the West cannot
stand against them, for they are not combined as the Six Nations
are. I do not say they will take Quebec, because it is not the destiny
of this vast estate to be under the rule of the heathen. The lives
of Jesuit priests and Recollets--how many--are proof that the
white man has come to stay!"

He suddenly got to his feet and both hands went up. "By the souls
of all the saints it shall not be. Frontenac must return. With him,
all shall be safe."

He walked the room for a moment, excited, dominant, then sat down
again with a little laugh. "We primitive people are easily roused
but not easily conquered . . . and a little more of that excellent
ragot, my cousin!"

Lya watched him, and her figure trembled with happy agitation. For
long they talked, though Lya little. She watched and listened, and
when Du Lhut kissed her hand in good-bye she suddenly said: "May I
kiss you, monsieur? May I kiss you?"

She put her hands on his shoulder and kissed each cheek. With his
arms he drew her close: "God be good to you, my dear," he said. The
Louvignys smiled. They loved the girl.

Outside in the hallway, where he would not let them come--for
he hated this sort of formality; to his mind it was enfeebling--Du
Lhut was faced by Luce Hontard who happened to pass to the
staircase. He stopped her and he learned by shrewd questioning
of this noble soul, fat, faithful and silent, that Lya had enough
to live on humbly but comfortably all her days.

Du Lhut laughed. "She kissed me, Luce Hontard, just now. May I
kiss you, good woman?"

"Oh, m'sieu', m'sieu'! Oh, la! la!" she said, and he kissed her on
both cheeks and on the lips.

"Now Time be good to us all," he said, and a moment later he was
in the street with a new pulse of adventure and hope in his veins.

Chapter XLII

In the Hour of Trial

On the last day of October La Salle started with fifty men to
find the mouth of the Mississippi, and they were saluted by cannons
and were cheered as they started. Some wore corselets made of staves
to ward off arrows, and they descended the La Vache, where La Salle
had built a temporary post. It was two leagues above the mouth of
the river and Joutel was in command. Lodgings were built for the
women and girls, separate lodgings for the men, a small chapel was
added, and the whole was palisaded. At the four corners of the house
were mounted pieces of cannon and all the surrounding prairie swarmed
with game--buffalo, deer, turkeys, ducks--there were plenty of
turtles in the river and the bay was full of oysters.

Yet death, meanwhile, made withering havoc among La Salle's
followers. Many of the soldiers were useless, nearly all fell ill,
and the graveyard received more than thirty tenants that summer.
The new post was given the name of Fort St. Louis. Under the eye
of La Salle the men had worked hard. The carpenters brought from
Rochelle proved worthless and La Salle himself had made the plans
of the work and directed the whole.

After La Salle's going Joutel kept all at work, for busy folk had not
time for disillusion. Plenty of buffalo were killed. A scaffold was
built near the fort and all were set to work to smoke buffalo meat
against the day of scarcity.

Autumn passed and January came, but without snow or bitter weather,
for it was far south. One day from the opposite side of the river
came a shout of, "Dominic!" One man was in a canoe, and as it came
near Joutel recognized the elder, Duhaut, the rascal who had gone
with La Salle. Duhaut, well born, had deserted La Salle, but to
Joutel he falsely said he had stopped to mend his moccasins and,
trying to overtake the party, had lost his way. He had fired his
gun to no answering shot, and under great hardship he returned to
Fort St. Louis. Dominic was his younger brother.

Time dragged on and at last Joutel saw seven or eight men approaching.
La Salle headed them. They were greeted with joy by all, but La
Salle, seeing Duhaut, asked why this deserter had been received.
Then the wily and clever Duhaut explained, and La Salle's anger
at length grew less.

La Salle had come upon a large river which he at first mistook for
the Mississippi, and building a palisaded fort, he left there
several of his men whose fate was now unknown to him. He found he
was mistaken about the river. After long search he had at length
returned slowly to Fort St. Louis.

Presently La Salle was taken ill. His strength had been overcome,
but not his courage or fortitude. In the fort he could command the
care of all whom his brother, the Abb, and Joutel, would let come
to him. Liotot, the surgeon, looked after him, not loving him, but
doing his duty. He had money in the expedition, and in France had
not been a bad man, but here in the wilds a crude strain in him
showed, and he was now disappointed and surly. Yet their only safety
lay in keeping La Salle alive now, and Liotot admitted to himself
that no man ever in this hemisphere had proved so great as La Salle.

As he lay sick, and at times delirious, due to over anxiety and
a sense of bitter mistake, he had visions. As a rule La Salle preferred
to be waited on by men--by Saget and Nika, who loved the ground he
trod--but Liotot urged that one of the women of the expedition should
come to his room. She was a woman of about forty-five, a mother, and
of the lower middle class, and she was swift and gentle in her ways.

La Salle was but dimly aware of her presence, and why she was there
he did not know. One night she came out of the dark with a lantern
and La Salle in semi-delirium said:

  "The poor woman,
   She is the wife of a carter,
   She goes all about the country,
   From tavern to tavern,
   Searching for her husband,
   With a lantern."

The woman was the widow of a man who had died on the expedition
and for an instant her eyes gazed wildly at La Salle. She saw,
however, that he was delirious and her distress abated. She put
out the lantern, went to his bed, lifted up his head, and gave him
a cup of soup to drink. He nodded at her kindly and she said:

"God save you to us, exalted man!" Then she made the sign of the
cross, and presently sat down and watched him, with Nika
standing near.

La Salle had visions again, but now with eyes closed. He dreamed
he was in vast fields of settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi,
and he saw oxen in the fields, and at the threshings, and all was
prosperity. He remembered the splendid work done by the farmers
of France, and with quivering voice said:

  "Thresh out for yourselves,
     Thresh out for yourselves,
   Thresh out for yourselves,
     Thresh out for yourselves,
   Many bushels for your masters!"

His was a strange elation in the leader of an expedition which had
not in some ways justified itself in its time, but was for all time.
Death and disaster had followed it, yet here was its sick leader
exultant in his dream. He saw in prophetic vision the fulfillment of
his hopes, and these lines are written not so far from the spot
where he had his vision and the oxen threshed out prosperity to
their masters.

One by one members of the expedition came to inquire, for he was
its life and soul. Others might despair, but never he. Gentlemen
in faded uniforms came, peasants, woodmen, mechanics, some of the
offscourings of the streets of Rochelle and elsewhere, and even
young girls were permitted to inquire. To these Saget and Nika were
kind, for they were chaste and they were giving all for no present
return, and these servants of La Salle knew it--for these girls there
was no future; they could not marry among the men of the expedition,
for the best were dead.

The Abb Cavelier came much to his brother's bedside, and Friar
Membr the head of the priests, knelt and prayed for the recovery
of this stricken hero, and at Mass in the small chapel he was
remembered. At last their prayers were heard, and La Salle came
out again into the open world on the arm of Liotot, and greeted
kindly those who were to do him ill Duhaut, Hiens, Teissier,
and the rest.

He determined to make his way by the Mississippi and Illinois to
Canada to bring succor to his colonists. The Abb, his brother,
Moranget, his nephew, the Friar Anastase Douay, and twenty
altogether were chosen to go with him. The whole colony was ransacked
for outfit. Men labored to patch their fading garments or take
their place with buffalo or deer skins.

In April, loaded with weapons, kettles, axes, and gifts for Indians,
they issued from the gate, and bravely set forth once more. They
disappeared into the misty waste, the sun behind them and all the
country glowing with the verdure of spring. Again La Salle
cheered his followers.

Left with a gradually dwindling colony, Joutel kept the people
occupied building, hunting, and planting vegetables. Meanwhile
Duhaut the elder, a vain man, had fomented discontent among the
colonists, telling them that La Salle would never return, and he
tried to make himself their leader. The priests did their best
to counteract these disgraceful acts, watched Liotot and Duhaut
continually and reasoned with the settlers, trying to stem the
conspiracy, and at last they spoke to Joutel.

Joutel sternly rebuked the offenders and did his best to encourage
the dejected settlers. To Duhaut he said: "You are no explorer,
you have few qualities of worth. You have no gift for leadership
at all. You are as a pinhead beside the Sieur de la Salle. Have

The strange thing was that, like Father Anastase Douay, Friar Membr
was injured by a furious buffalo bull, and Father Maxime LeClerc by
a boar. Thus the three priests had come to grief in the wild life,
and Friar Membr was three months before he recovered. Women and
girls went out with the hunters to aid in cutting up the meat. The
young Canadian, Barbier, became enamored of one of the girls, and
he came to Joutel:

"Monsieur, Babette Laroque is beautiful and young and sweet, and
I would marry her."

Joutel replied, "I must consult the clergy."

This was done, and consent was given, and in these strange surroundings
came the happy sacrament of matrimony with what gayety and cheerful
rites as were possible. There were few ribbons, but a feast of wild
meat and fancy pudding and pies and cakes were repared, but all the
wine was gone. There was but one bottle of brandy for all, and each
had a sip. In these somber surroundings--somber not where nature
was concerned, because it was bright and buoyant--the awful isolation
preyed upon the minds of all and they were lost in melancholy.

One day the Marquis de la Sablonnire begged leave to marry another
of the girls:

"Monsieur Joutel, I would give myself the honor to marry Manette Ridot.
I am lonely, and she is beautiful and would be a good wife to me."

Joutel, the gardener's son, gazed at him with stern reserve. Two things
weighed with him. The Marquis de la Sablonnire was of the aristocracy;
this girl was of the peasant class! His mind revolted from it.
Besides, the Marquis was suffering from disease got at St. Domingo
and it would be shameless and criminal to marry Manette.

He said, sternly, "Monsieur le Marquis, if she married you she would
have a quicker dispatch from this world than by the bite of a
venomous snake."

The Marquis was furious. He dropped a hand upon his sword, but Joutel
said, sternly: "Stop that! You know what you are. Keep what you are
to yourself. In a few months you will not be able to join any expedition,
Monsieur le Marquis."

De la Sablonnire was of the outcasts of high society. He was
young, corrupt, kindly, hopeless. He had no real courage. This
gardener's son was far beneath him socially, but as high above
him morally as the sky is from the earth. He plucked at his small
moustache, but his weak eyes could not face the resolute Joutel.
He turned on his heel and walked away.

This was not the kind of man to build up a new colony, but three-fourths
of the people who came were right, and one-fourth were worthless.
The women and girls were of the better peasant and lower middle
class. They were decent, wholesome, and upright. There was no
immorality in the camp. They lived in hope of a ship coming from
France to rescue them, and in dread of Spanish ships landing
troops to destroy them, for Spaniards had been here, as they all
knew from the Indians who came and went.

At last one evening they heard shouts from beyond the river, and
Joutel recognized La Salle's voice. Twenty men had gone with La
Salle and eight returned with him. Four had deserted, one had been
lost, one had been killed by an alligator, and the rest had perished
in regaining the fort. The joy of the settlers was great because
La Salle had that which gave them confidence and faith. His
failures did not put the colony against him--only the few!

These were Joutel's words to La Salle when asked about the Belle:

"Alas! On May day I heard a voice crying out, 'Qui vive!' I answered,
'Versailles!' which was the password given to Barbier should he come
back in the night, but I heard other voices than his. Among the rest
was Sieur Chefdeville, who told me that the Belle was wrecked on the
other side of the bay, and that all were drowned save the six in the
canoe--himself, Teissier the pilot, a soldier, and three others."

"This is indeed disaster," said La Salle in a troubled voice.
"She contained my papers, our baggage, and what was needed to
take us from this spot."

"But they brought back your papers and some baggage," replied Joutel.

La Salle and his followers had journeyed towards the northeast
over green plains and through prairie covered with buffalo. They
reached the bank of a river, where Hiens was mired and nearly suffocated
in a mud-hole and was saved by La Salle. They came upon Indian towns,
and the Cenis Indians, then powerful but now extinct, overwhelmed
them with kindness. The lodges of the Cenis were forty or fifty feet
high, covered with meadow grass, looking like huge beehives. The
spoil of the Spaniards was seen on every side. These Cenis spoke
with contempt of the Spaniards. They moved on, but after two months
they found the stock of ammunition nearly spent and their condition
was such that they could do naught but return to Fort St. Louis.

The excitement of La Salle's return soon gave place to deep
dejection. They watched with anxious eyes for an approaching sail,
but none came. Less than forty-five remained out of near two
hundred colonists. La Salley by his composure, his hardihood, his
adamantine temper, his audacity of hope, his words of encouragement
and cheer, was the breath of life of this unhappy company.

He prepared once more to go to Canada and to take Joutel with him,
intending to send Joutel to France with his brother to ask succor
for the colony. They were in sad straits for clothing, but the sails
of the Belle were cut up to make coats for the adventurers, and
the colony was racked to find odd bits of clothing for the neat but
ragged members of the expedition.

Here in his little colony, reduced now, La Salle looked back at all
he had tried to do. His heart was strong within him. He and his friends
might pass, but what he had done would stay.

Looking back, La Salle saw Fort Frontenac enlarged, Fort Louis on
the Illinois the center of great development, Fort Louis on the
Mississippi the beginning of greatest development; all under the
will of God. He had become responsible for those thousands of
leagues of luxurious land: his hand, his brain, his soul had made
all possible. On Christmas day there was to be Mass in the crude,
unhandsome chapel, and he and his colony would be there in the best
clothes they had--and they were meager and patched and worn, except
for his own wonderful scarlet tunic, which he had scarcely worn.
The festivities of the day had, of course, been limited. There was
no wine or brandy left, but there was good coffee and bread, and
fresh meat from the prairies, and at dinner, soup, entre and
roast and vegetables, and pudding made of flour and rice and raisins.
All were in cheerfulness, because, somehow, the spirit of La Salle,
which again was self-possessed and resolute, affected all. It was
folly to say he had only influence with Indians. It was his nearness
to the elemental soul that gave him power over the Indians, but
he had also power to influence great minds in Europe, to get
money when he was bankrupt, to found faith when he stood almost
alone in the entire sphere of French influence. Wherein he lacked
was the capacity of Tonty--to give himself freely in the casual
ways of life; his spiritual concentration made him a lonely,
isolated figure, and yet he was the heart and soul of this martyr
expedition. How few of all who had come from France would ever
see it again--how few! Yet these men and women would live on.

At the Christmas dinner La Salle made a brief speech. On his left
was his brother, on his right was Friar Membr and at the same table
were the other priests of the expedition and its few dissident and
some faithful members.

La Salle rose. His soul was in his dark eyes. Somehow, all applauded,
for he seemed lifted up. They were all lost, even the worst of them,
in his atmosphere for the moment.

"Fellow-countrymen," he said, "this is the day of Christ, and in the
chapel we shall celebrate Mass in honor of the blessedness of life.
We have had trials and misfortunes. The Joly has returned to
France, the Aimable was wrecked, the St. Franois, the Belle,
were lost, but behind these misfortunes is the everlasting truth:
that we, a few faithful souls, have started for France a work which
will live long. Many of our fellow-settlers are gone, but we live
on. I go with a small company to Canada and rescue shall come for
those who stay behind. We cannot all go. The women may not, they
could not endure the journey. We must not yield this settlement;
it shall stay." He raised his hand. "Please God, prosperity will
come to those left behind; to the vast populations of Frenchmen
who will live in these wide spaces. Two years have passed since
we landed. They have been filled with toil and faith and loss and
love. I have gone on explorations three times; I now go the fourth
time, and this will be the last, for I shall come to a happy
destiny for us all. Now may the love of God sustain us!"

He made the sign of the cross and everyone present did the same,
and all stood up and with smiles and tears cheered.

In the crude, unhandsome chapel, in primeval surroundings, the
priests officiated, and when Friar Membr raised the consecrated
wafer, and the lamps shone dimly through the mists of incense, the
kneeling group knew well that the beautiful vestments of the priests,
compared with their own humble clothing, was the difference between
the permanent success of this expedition and its momentary relapse.
Some spirit of divinity seemed to fill the space. It was like a
strange dream through which shone the glorious splendor of France
and of the Church. The humblest intelligence present was under a
hypnotic spiritual influence. Even Liotot, Duhaut, and Hiens
were impressed.

Through the mists came the ringing of the bell twice--first for
the elevation of the Host, and then for the chalice, and as Friar
Membr raised the sacred vessel there came the words from all
the congregation:

"Savior of the world, save us, for by Thy Cross and by Thy Blood
Thou hast redeemed us. Help us, we beseech Thee, O our God. Amen."

After the "Agnus Dei," these words pierced the tender mists:

"In saying to thine apostles, 'My peace I leave with you, iny peace
I give unto you,' Thou hast promised, O Lord, to all Thy Church
that peace which the world cannot give--peace with Thee and peace
with ourselves."

Chapter XLIII

Au 'Voir La Salle

Twelfth Night came, and on the morrow, La Salle and his little
expedition would start for Canada. They met in the hall where they
dined on Christmas Eve, and held the Twelfth Night revels. Twelfth
Night cake made of good flour and raisins and some dried orange
peel and other pleasant ingredients was brought in with burning
candles, and it was cut by La Salle. All had their share, and it
was small, and when they had eaten it La Salle stood up. He
raised a glass high. In it showed no wine or brandy. There
was none left:

"The King drinks!" he said, and everyone present raised a tin cup
holding a little cold water.

"The King drinks!" said every voice, and as they drank hearts
grew suddenly hopeful, then presently sad.

The King was drinking at Versailles, with all the wealth and splendor
of modern France round him, and not in spaces like these. King Louis
and his courtiers, with wine in plenty, drank to the happiness and
peace of all the French Empire. He and they were in luxury and
plenty. La Salle and his people were in misery and lonely fear,
but as La Salle lowered his cup he looked round and said:

"We go a long travel, a hard path. We shall have much to endure.
Will the friar bless us?"

With bowed heads before him, Friar Membr lifted up his arm and
solemnly said:

"The peace of God which passeth all understanding be with you
and remain with you forever. Amen."

The next morning at daylight La Salle's company, with five horses
bought from the Indians, stood in the yard of the fort, ready for
the march. Barbier was to remain behind in control, with Sablonnire,
the Friar Membr and the Sieur Chefdeville, with a surgeon, soldiers,
laborers, women and girls and several children, who faced the dark
uncertainty of the future. With the sun shining bright, and equipped
and weaponed for their journey, the little band turned and looked
upon those who they were leaving behind. They were laden with meager
baggage and presents for Indians.

With La Salle were his brother, the Abb, his two nephews, Moranget
and the boy Cavelier, Joutel, and Friar Anastase Douay. Besides
these were Duhaut, and Liotot, both now evil-hearted men who were
ready to do dark things, though in France they had held good positions.
Hardship and misfortune had poisoned them. There were also the
German Hiens, the Sieur de Marle, Teissier, a pilot, Barthelemy and
Talon, L'Archeveque, a servant of Duhaut, and Nika and Saget, La
Salle's servant and guide. In all were seventeen.

La Salle shook hands warmly with all who were to stay and he stooped
and kissed a little girl, his eyes amiable, yet mystical. Then
standing at salute, he raised a hand to his cap, as though to say
farewell and God be with you, but he did not speak. In his face was
the pathos of his one awful mistake, hidden from them, and the
resolution of his grave, enduring character. Slowly he and his
friends filed silently from the gate, crossed the river, and marched
slowly through the staring sun and over the limitless prairies where
wild life teemed, till Fort St. Louis was hidden from their sight.

When they were far out La Salle, at the head of his company, turned
to Joutel and said, "This journey solves my fate."

"And the fate of us all, Sieur de la Salle," was Joutel's reply.

La Salle nodded. "Yes, the fate of all."

Joutel was young and full of vigor, not a gentleman, but with the
spirit of the best that belongs to France--a man, an ardent follower
of La Salle, the reliable friend. Of him La Salle had never had the
shadow of a doubt. He had not the same thought concerning others,
and yet he felt himself on the highway to better days.

As they trudged on, Duhaut and Liotot, who walked together, talked in
low words, glaring darkly at La Salle. The priests walked together,
and the Abb Cavelier, lean, ascetic wiry, and physically strong,
conversed in a low voice with Father Douay, and in his keen furtive
eyes was the look of the pioneer. It had got there at last. He
had never talked much to his brother, and he talked less as time went
on. His coming at all had been one of the mysteries of his nature
and life. He had never been a traveling missionary like Pre Marquette
and many others. The soul of the life was not in him. But he adored
success, and by instinct he was a courtier and a miser, and riches
were his ever-present thought. If La Salle had not succeeded at
Versailles he would have abandoned him; because he has succeeded
he would be his critical follower; but since the expedition had
started he had shown a fluttering interest and at last something
of the pioneer spirit had entered him. He had little heart.
Friar Membr was nearer to La Salle than his own brother--his
was an unwholesome nature.

Father Douay said to him: "I feel, somehow, we are on the way to
better days. But we shall have hard going--eh?"

[image: Marquis de Seignelay]

The Abb shook his head somberly. "I know not, but I hope." Then
he shook his head again. "I like not that Duhaut and Liotot. They
will give trouble. We are not united--no."

Moranget, his nephew, was in talk with Duhaut and Liotot now,
and he said, "I'll eat my pantaloons if we don't come out of
this all right." He laughed vapidly, for he was of thin intellect
and had a quarrelsome and violent temper.

Both these men hated him, for he had more than ever shown stupid
braggadocio, and they looked furtively at him. "Well, you'll have
a filthy meal," said Duhaut.

Moranget with an oath flung away from him.

Nika and Saget walked together. They did not speak at all, but in
Nika's eyes were forebodings of tragedy and he could not have told
why, but they were present. Faithful and devoted to La Salle, he
had been with him many years. How often had he provided food for
them all when they were near starvation!

Hiens, behind them, alone, as though to himself said, "It's a
long way to the Mississippi, that's so!" He laughed satirically.

Nika heard but his eyes only glowed the deeper.

Prairie and forest, wood and river, rain and shine, buffalo and
wild game in plenty, and so they trudged on day after day. They
were sadly in want of shoes, so they made coverings of buffalo
hide, which they must keep always wet, because when dry it hardened
about the foot like iron, and they bought deer skins from the
friendly Indians to make good moccasins. Herds of buffalo, whose
tread through the forest made good paths for the weary travelers,
passed them. When bad weather came they built huts of bark and
meadow grass; they set a rude stockade about their camp. They
met Indians constantly, visited them in their camps, sat within
their lodges on buffalo robes, and watched them killing herds of
buffalo with lances of sharpened bone.

Keeping a northerly course, they reached the waters of the Trinity
and they endured unfavorable weather for days at a time. It was not
a happy company. La Salle, who could not pretend, became cold and
reserved to those in whom he had no faith, like Liotot and Duhaut.
They had money in the enterprise, and were bitter. Liotot was at
heart a foe of La Salle. He charged him with the death of a relative
who, on a previous journey, had failed in strength and was ordered by
La Salle to return to the fort, and was killed by Indians on the way.
Besides, young Moranget, with foolishly impulsive temper, was hated
by Liotot, who had treated him for a wound by an Indian arrow and
nursed him with care and had been rewarded with abuse.

They came at last in the middle of March to a spot not far from
where La Salle had, on a preceding journey, left a quantity of
Indian corn and beans in cache. He sent Liotot and Duhaut and
l'Archeveque and Nika to bring in the corn. When the cache was
opened the contents were spoiled, but as they were returning
Nika shot two buffalo, and a servant was sent to inform La Salle
that he might send horses to bring in the meat.

La Salle directed Moranget and De Marie to go with his servant,
Saget, to the hunter's camp. There Moranget found that Duhaut and
the others, having cut up the meat, had reserved for themselves
the marrow bones, to which by custom they had right, but Moranget
violently scolded them, and ended by seizing the whole of the meat.
Thereupon Liotot, Duhaut, and Hiens resolved to kill Moranget that
night. Also, Nika and Saget must die with him, for they were faithful
to La Salle.

It was a night ill suited to crime, with the young moon, bright
stars, the fresh smell of the green wood and the verdure round.
They ate their evening meal and pipes were smoked, apparently at
peace, but there was no peace. Rancor, hatred, dark purpose were
in the minds of those who arranged that the first three guards
of the night should be Moranget, Saget, and Nika.

Each in his turn stood watching, and saw the moon slowly rise, and
the stars glimmer in the far blue sky; then at last each rolled in
his blanket and was soon deep in slumber. The night was beautiful
and clear. The moon shone.

Slowly Liotot with an ax stole towards the three sleepers and struck
a rapid blow at each. Duhaut and Hiens stood with guns cocked, but
there was no need to fire. All three were killed instantly, and the
murderers looked scornfully at these men, of whom Nika was an
infinite loss to this little company--faithful, skillful, wise in
his primitive way, and he had been with La Salle so many years
and was trusted and resourceful.

Liotot turned to Duhaut. "Now for the dastardly La Salle!"

Duhaut grimly inclined his head, but Hiens hesitated, for La Salle
had saved his life and there was in him some touch of definite
loyalty. They did not bury the men. They left them in their
blankets with stark eyes staring at their eternal night.

Only six miles away, with all the details of a camp about him, with
idle Indians lounging or strolling, with men sleeping or smoking,
with black kettles hung from tripods over the fires, and the horses
grazing near by, La Salle sat silent, but disturbed. His nephew,
Moranget, and Saget and De Marie had been expected the night before,
but they had not come. La Salle resolved to go and find them.
To Joutel he said, "Have you heard of any evil purposes against
Moranget and the others?"

"Nothing. They have complained and blasphemed, that is all. They
would not tell me of evil purpose; they know me loyal."

La Salle shook his head and a grim look came to his eyes and mouth.
He smoked hard, he thought much, but he was silent. The next morning
he started with an Indian guide. He now directed Joutel to remain
in charge of the camp and to keep faithful watch. He summoned Friar
Douay to go with him and they borrowed Joutel's gun and pistol.

During the six miles walk La Salle spoke of naught at first but
religion, of grace and predestination, acknowledging the debt he
owed to God in all his twenty years of exploration. Then suddenly
he became overwhelmed with profound sadness, for which he did not
seek to account. He sat down on the bough of a fallen tree and buried
his face in his hands. At last he rose, grown serene and calm,
and there came from his lips the sixteenth-century prayer. He
lifted his face to the quiet sky and said:

O Lord support us all the day long of this troublous life until the
shades lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed
and the fever of life is over and our work done. Then in Thy mercy
grant us safe lodging and holy rest and peace at the last.

When he had finished, the Friar made the sign of the cross and
his lips murmured the benediction. After a moment they moved on.

They came near to the camp of Duhaut on the farther side of the
small river. La Salle fired his gun as a summons to any of his
followers. Guessing he had fired the shots, Duhaut and his evil
friends crossed the river, though trees hid them from sight.
Liotot and Duhaut crouched like Indians in the long dry grass,
while l'Archeveque stood in sight near the bank.

La Salle advancing, saw l'Archeveque, and asked where was Moranget.

The servant did not lift his hat, but replied in a tone of studied
insolence that Moranget was no doubt strolling somewhere.

La Salle rebuked him. L'Archeveque's insolence increased, drawing
back as he spoke, towards the ambuscade, while La Salle advanced
upon him. The day was beautiful, the trees whispered in a slight
breeze, birds sang, and the sun was like a soft cauldron of light.
It was not a scene for trouble, but for peace. Yet a copperhead
snake crossed the path, the deadly venom of the wilds. In the air
some distant spirit sang--a low, clear, loving sound. All seemed
well, and yet the devil's son, l'Archeveque, backed towards the

Then suddenly there came from the grass a shot, followed by another,
and, stricken through the brain, the intrepid La Salle dropped
to the ground dead.

Thus, at the age of fourty-three, one of the greatest men of all
the ages, Rn Robert Robert Cavelier de la Salle, whose name abides
forever, disappeared from the scene of his work, but enshrined
himself immortality which comes to such as he.

The Friar was terror-stricken, but Duhaut called out that he had
naught to fear. They came forward and with wild looks gazed at
La Salle.

"There thou liest, great Bashaw! There thou liest!" exclaimed Liotot,
in gross exultation over the quiet body.

With mockery and insult they stripped it and dragged it into the bushes.

Friar Anastase Douay returned to La Salle's camp in horror, and
rushed into the hut of the Abb Cavelier. At the sight of him the
priest, reading the catastrophe in his face, cried out, "My poor
brother is dead!"

Then entered on them. Liotot, Duhaut, and the rest.

The Abb, his young nephew, and Douay fell on their knees, expecting
instant death, the Abb begging piteously for half an hour to prepare.
But Duhaut shook his head. "No more blood shall be shed. We have
done our duty. The tyrant is gone forever."

The party was now reduced to Joutel, Douay, Cavelier, Teissier, De
Marle, and Hiens, and his young nephew, two other boys, the orphan
Talon, and a lad called Barthelemy, and Liotot, Duhaut, and

Joutel was absent, and l'Archeveque, who liked him, went to find him.
When Joutel saw him coming he was astounded and anxious. L'Archeveque
seemed all confusion.

"You have bad news. What is it?" Joutel's voice was broken.

L'Archeveque, faltering, answered that La Salle was dead, also that
Moranget, Nika, and Saget had been killed.

Joutel was overcome. "Good God! Do they mean to kill me too!"

"They said no more blood was to be shed."

Joutel did not know what to do. He had no gun, only one pistol, no
balls or powder.

L'Archeveque read the look in his face: "Do not fear, m'sieu' Joutel;
they will not kill you--no. I beg you return to camp."

After a moment's study Joutel raised his head and returned to camp.
In the tent he saw the Abb Cavelier and Father Douay praying in a
corner, but he did not go towards them until he knew the will of
the assassins.

They were in terrible excitement and uneasy and embarrassed.

Duhaut at length said: "No more killing! Each will take command in
turn, and all shall be well now."

At dinner that night, when the murderers shared out the meat without
regard to proportion, as had been the past custom, the Abb, Father
Douay, Joutel, and others were told to mount guard as usual; that what
was done came through despair, and they meant no more harm to anybody.

To this the Abb Cavelier said that when they slew the Monsieur de la
Salle they had slain themselves for there was no one else who could
get them out of this country. To this Duhaut and Liotot made angry
replies, Liotot saying: "He was not the only bushman or voyageur.
We too have traveled, and we will find our way."

Then they quieted, and arms were handed to their former comrades.
The Abb Cavelier, Joutel, and the others spent a sleepless night,
but they pledged themselves to stand together to the last and to
escape as soon as possible.

Joutel said they should kill the murderers in their sleep, but the
Abb Cavelier said vengeance should be left to God, and that he
himself had more to revenge than the others, having lost his brother
and his nephew. So Duhaut and Liotot were for the moment safe. In
the morning Duhaut and Liotot determined to go to the Cenis village
and to take Joutel with them. At the Cenis Indian villages they were
received with honor and sumptuously fed with sagamite, corn cake,
beans, bread made of the meal of parched corn, and other bread made
of the kernels of nuts and the seeds of sunflowers. Then the pipe
of peace was lighted and all smoked together. The Frenchmen proposed
traffic in provisions, and they exchanged knives, beads, and other
trinkets for corn and beans.

In Indian villages they were well received, and some of these
dwellings were of great size. The travelers were lodged in one
of the largest. One night as Joutel lay between sleeping and waking
on buffalo robes that covered his bed of canes, and all round the
lodge the inmates were buried in sleep, with the fire still burning,
the sound of a footstep wakened him. He saw at his side the figure
of an Indian armed with bows and arrows.

Joutel said, "Who are you?" in a hoarse whisper, reaching for
his pistol.

As, not answering, the intruder turned and sat by the fire, Joutel
followed and saw that the face and body, though tattooed, were not
that of an Indian. Indeed, the figure presently rose and threw his
arms around Joutel's neck, saying he was a Breton sailor named Ruter;
that he and his sailor friend, Grollet, had feared to come to the
village lest they should meet La Salle, whom they had once deserted.

Joutel said, "Have no fear, the Sieur de la Salle has gone to Heaven.
He was sent there by Duhaut, Liotot and Hiens, having also killed
Moranget, La Salle's nephew, and Nika and Saget, his servant and his

Joutel bowed his head in sorrow, but Ruter replied: "I deserted from
the Sieur de la Salle, but he was great. What devils they were to
kill that man!"

He moved his body backwards and forwards in agitation. He left in the
morning, carrying with him a present of beads for his wives, of whom
he had several, and in a few days he returned, bringing Grollet with
him, each wearing a bunch of turkey feathers dangling from his head
and wrapped in native blankets.

Duhaut and Liotot had separate camps, and Douay and the two Caveliers
had been treated with harshness and disdain and were obliged to eat
their meals apart. The assassins quarreled among themselves, and
Hiens, fierce against Duhaut and Liotot, who had seized all the plunder,
went about morosely.

Joutel and his comrades talked of naught but how to make their way
to Canada; and so they devised a simple plan of escape.

The Abb Cavelier was to be too tired for the journey and wished
to stay among the Cenis Indians. To this the old priest consented,
for truth was not an indispensable thing to him, and they gained
the assent of Liotot and Duhaut, but Ruter, the French savage, told
Duhaut of Joutel's plan and Duhaut said that he and his men would
also go to Canada.

"We have had enough of lies and tricks," he said, fiercely, "and we
will go to Quebec city, where we shall be well received."

He said this with a disdainful smile, for he knew that many merchants
would welcome the disappearance of the Sieur de la Salle. Hiens and
the others, hearing of Duhaut's plan of going to Canada, said they
would not consent.

One morning Hiens appeared at the came of Duhaut and Liotot with Ruter
and Grollet and about twenty Indians. Duhaut and Liotot were practicing
with bows and arrows in front of their hut. They were excitedly
rivaling each other.

"Good morning," said Liotot to Hiens, but Hiens said, sullenly,
"Good night!"

Hiens then said to Duhaut, "I want my share of the goods."

Duhaut's reply was: "The goods are ours. La Salle owed them for
what we invested and lost."

He looked at Hiens fiercely.

Hiens then said: "So you will not give them to me--no? You are a
wretch; you killed my master," and, flashing a pistol from his belt,
he fired at Duhaut, who staggered and fell dead.

At the same instant Ruter fired at Liotot, shot three balls into his
body, and mortally wounded him.

Joutel, Douay, and the two Caveliers stood in terror, thinking that their
turn would come next, and they held their guns ready to defend themselves,
but Hiens said:

"Have no fear. I killed them to avenge the death of La Salle."

Liotot, still alive, tried to raise himself and said to Hiens: "I
killed La Salle; this man has killed me. I pay my price. God forgive
me for my sin. O God forgive--forgive!" He sank slowly back, and
was killed by Ruter exploding a pistol with a blank charge of powder
against his head.

While this was done the Indians looked on amazed, for here were
Frenchmen killing one another in a most atrocious way. Joutel
anxiously said to them: "These men murdered our great leader, La
Salle, and he has been avenged; that is all. They earned death,
and it is theirs."

Hiens and others of the French promised to join the Cenis against a
neighboring tribe, and six Frenchmen went with Hiens and the rest,
including Joutel, Douay, and the Caveliers. They remained a week or
more among the Cenis, but at length came news of a great victory,
and with the return of the Indians it was said that the French guns
had won the battle, and several days were spent in ceremonies and
feasts of triumph.

Joutel and his comrades explained to Hiens their plan to reach home
by way of the Mississippi, but he angrily said he would not run the
risk of losing his life; but after argument he agreed to their going,
but the Abb Cavelier must give him a certificate of innocence of the
murder of La Salle, and this the priest did.

"Good," said Hiens as he read the certificate. "You are free to go!"

He supplied them with hatchets, knives, beads, and other articles of
trade, and several horses, showing that, with all his evil, there was
some good in him, yet he walked about the camp in a scarlet coat laced
with gold, which had belonged to La Salle!

Joutel's party consisted of the Caveliers, Father Douay, De Marle,
Teissier, and the young Parisian named Barthelemy. Teissier had
received from Cavelier a form of pardon in the crime against
Moranget and La Salle.

Hiens embraced them at parting and said, "Go in peace, and may the
end be good!"

So they left the Cenis villages and Hiens, on the morning when the sun
was bright and all the trees and all the grass was green. After a
safe journey of about two months, in which De Marle was drowned while
bathing, they approached the river Arkansas, not far from its junction
with the Mississippi. Beneath the forests of the farther shore they
saw the lodges of a large Indian town and their weary bodies and sad
hearts became elated. They saw a tall wooden cross, and near it a
small house evidently built by Christian hands. Falling on their knees
they raised their arms to Heaven in thanksgiving.

Two men in European dress fired welcoming guns for the excited travelers.
Canoes came and they were ferried to the town, where they were welcomed
by Couture and De Launay, two assistants of Henri de Tonty!

The Indian town was moved to tears by the stories of their disasters.
La Salle's death was carefully hidden from the Indians, who had
held him in respect. They feasted and danced before Joutel, Cavelier,
and the others, from sunset until dawn.

With guides they continued their journey in a canoe on the 1st of
August, went down the Arkansas, and reached the bleak, powerful
Mississippi in its shady provinces of loneliness and shadow. They
passed the mouth of the Ohio, saw Marquette's picture rock and the
line of craggy heights called on old French maps "The Ruined Castles."
In September they saw the cliff of Fort St. Louis, and as they came
near, a troop of friendly Indians, headed by a Frenchman, fired guns.
They replied, and Boisrondet, Tonty's comrade in the Iroquois war,
greeted them and asked where was La Salle.

The Abb Cavelier, with a glance of understanding at Joutel, concealed
his brother's death, and replied that La Salle had been with them as
far as the Cenis villages and that they had left him in good health.

They waited at the fort for Tonty, who was absent, fighting the
Iroquois, but his garrison of bushrangers greeted them with salutes
of musketry and the whoops of Indians. In the spacious chapel the
"Te Deum" was sung, and thanks were given to God who had preserved
and guided them. At length October arrived, and meanwhile Tonty
returned from the Iroquois war, where he had fought Senecas with
Du Lhut.

Tonty listened with profound interest to the mournful story of his
guests. The Abb Cavelier knew his generous character and his faithful
service to La Salle.

Tonty said to him: "I had every faith in him, and I have still.
Nothing overcomes him, nothing can. Life, wealth, is naught to
him save for his native land."

In Tonty's eyes, always generous, was a glimmer of tears; in the face
of La Salle's brother was deception. Four thousand livres in furs,
besides other goods and a canoe, were delivered to him by the
unsuspecting Tonty. At the doors of the settlement they bade good-by
to the man who had cared for them for months and whom the Abb
Cavelier had so brutally misled.

Tonty watched them go, with a sudden inexplainable sense of mistrust.
He did not suspect the real truth, for he believed in Joutel, but
the face of the Abb Cavelier had always been to him a symbol of

Chapter XLIV

"Oh, Tender Heart!"

"No, La Salle is dead," said Louvigny.

Lya's face turned almost white and her lips trembled.

"But the Abb Cavelier who passed through Quebec, said he left him
in good health among Cenis Indians."

Louvigny shook his head. "Yes, I know. He had got money and skins
from Monsieur Tonty. He sold the skins at a profit before he came
to Quebec, then he went to France. There for long he hid the death
of La Salle because he hoped that Seignelay would pay what his
brother owed him. At last he told the truth and petitioned the King
for all La Salle's property in Canada. This I came to know to-day.
I have a letter from the Abb Renadout."

Louvigny paused. The face of the girl was shocked and bitter. "The
Abb has a heart of stone," she said, "and from first to last he has
been false to his great brother. A liar, and a thief!" she added.

"Some good was in him or he would not have gone with La Salle. He
loaned his brother money. If he could love anyone, he loved La Salle."

"God save the world from love like that," was the response. "He went
because La Salle owed him money. He was only the friend of success."

At that moment a servant entered. "Monsieur Tonty has come," he said.

Lya's hand went swiftly to her breast. It seemed all was coming at
once. Her eyes dimmed, she trembled.

Louvigny smiled, because he and his wife had long known the deep
friendly spirit Lya had for Henri de Tonty.

"I will see monsieur first," he said, "then send him in to you."

It was the time of year when all the trees were taking on the colors
of the rainbow, when a wild blaze of tender color lay upon all the
land in the bright sun. Flights of gulls were overhead, droves of
pigeons sailed by, wild geese and turkeys honked past, and all over
was the splendor of autumn, the sweetest season in this new land.
She saw the habitants coming to market with vegetables, jars of maple
syrup and slabs of maple sugar, and all kinds of cordials. How good,
how bad it was, for behind it all was the threat of the Iroquois,
who, reduced in numbers, were daily becoming more menacing. Peace
was here, but not a permanent peace, for weakness was in high places.

She saw the Chteau St. Louis, high above the waters, the Bishop's
palace, the seminary, the hospital, the Basilica and the residence
of the Intendant where had been her unhappy interview with Duchesneau.
All was not well in Quebec, for Denonville, the Governor, had
completely failed to destroy the Iroquois.

She raised her eyes. White clouds were moving fast, but in the air
of this new land was the thrill of life, of hope, of faith, of noble
destiny. La Salle was gone forever. She recalled his leaving
Rochelle with the four ships and her words as she saw them pass.

"God knows, God knows!" she had said.

She had only met Tonty once, yet there had grown up between them
a sense of deep comradeship and what was far deeper still. It
was the soul of this land.

Now Henri de Tonty was here. She turned from the window, the door
opened, and Tonty made a swift, sad gesture and with glowing eyes
came forward. She gave him her hand; he kissed it, then, after a
few moments of broken words, he said: "I have come from where La
Salle was murdered."

"And gained his immortality," she said, nodding. "I have just learned
that the Abb had hidden his brother's death to get goods and money
from you."

Tonty waved a hand, then said, satirically: "The Abb Cavelier will
die rich, but none will mourn his going."

"Will you not sit down?" Lya said.

They seated themselves in the big comfortable room where the rugs
were the skins of wild animals and on the walls were trophies of
the chase, and ever the bright happy sun shone through the window.

Tonty spoke again: "Over a year ago I learned from Couture and De
Launay, whom I had left at Fort Illinois, that La Salle had been
slain. With five Frenchmen and a Shawanoe Indian I set out for the
abandoned colony. After hard trials we reached the Red River, where
the Caddoes Indians were, and learned that Hiens was about eighty
leagues distant. Here the men would go no farther, and I could not
force them. The Shawanoe and one Frenchman stayed with me. When
I came to the village where Hiens had remained, I did not find him.
I charged the Indians with killing him, and when the women raised
their voices in wailing, I knew that what I said was true. And one
of the squaws, an old woman, came in the night and told me all.

"So we retraced our steps to the Red River and found the whole country
flooded. It rained night and day. We fought through canebrakes with
hatchets, and sometimes were to the neck in water. We had no meat;
we were forced to eat our dogs. Never have I suffered so much, and
never with greater grief. I was detained in the Arkansas villages
by but at last I reached my fort on the Illinois!"

Tears were in the girl's eyes. She rose to her feet.

"You have the soul of a martyr--yes that!"

"I am naught, but La Salle!"

"La Salle will live forever," she said.

Their eyes met and all each felt rose and conquered them. Tonty
reached out an arm with love and passion in his handsome eyes.
She understood. With a little cry she put her hands on his
shoulders and he drew her close.

An instant after, with tears in her eyes, she reached down and raised
his metal hand and kissed it.

"Oh, hard hand! Oh, tender heart!" she said.


Never had the city of Quebec been in such gorgeous spirit, never so
gay with flags and bunting or brighter with sun or more vital with
crisp, inspiring air. From every public building flags flew and every
house had a touch of color on the Heights and in Lower Town.

A ship had just anchored in the harbor and eager crowds could see
three boats row towards the shore. When the first boat touched land
all shouted with joy, and the aged ecclesiastic, Laval, greatly
changed, noble, serenely glad, with the Lieutenant-General De
Lothbinire and many others, proudly hailed it. They had come to
welcome again to New France Louis, Count Frontenac. The greeting
was like the laugh of a man saved from drowning. Presently, the
excited crowd behind him, Laval made a short, sincere, congratulatory
speech, to which Frontenac, much moved, replied.

Cannon roared from the cliffs, people shouted from the shore.
The green meadows, the cloudless blue sky, declared eloquently
that once again New France looked up with a sense of security.
Even in the fields the cattle seemed to stand at gaze, birds
fluttered overhead.

All day it was so, and at night were full illuminations, making the
ancient place a scene of gayety, and a few Iroquois looked on with
indignant gaze, they knew their master was come again. All night
the splendid carnival went on, and Quebec flamed forth in certain

Not far behind the main body of sightseers were Luc Maste, Jules
Ladaux and Luce Hontard.

Luc Maste said to Luce Hontard: "Tonnerre!--Canada shall now be
safe. The Iroquois shall be beaten--yes."

Fat, silent, beautiful in her simplicity, Luce Hontard said, "So--so--so!"
and a smile showed at her slow lips.

Then Jules Ladaux said, "Bidemme, but it is good!"

Suddenly Luc Maste's face darkened. "Nearly all Sieur de la Salle's
colony have gone to Heaven. How know I? A French prisoner led
Spaniards to the fort where all had been and none were left, but
near were skeletons, and fragments of a dress showed one was a
woman. So--so! In the fort itself were rags of the life--kettles,
well-bound books in the mud. Near by stood Indians in buffalo robes
to the chin, speechless. Indians had come to trade at the settlers'
camp. They would not let them into the fort, but trade began outside.
Then up from ambuscade sprang hosts of Indians and killed them all,
priests and people, and so the end."

Luce Hontard's brow knitted. "Who brought this news to Canada--eh?"

"Ah, that is it, name of God! The Frenchman escaped from the
Spaniards and came here. From him--the truth!"

Luce Hontard's eyes were dim; yet she was happy.

Behind the three, a voice said: "Sacr bleu, that Frontenac he
too old--yes, much too old!"

The fingers of Luc Maste dropped to the sword at his hip. His
face went black. He turned savagely and said: "Tiens, not too old
to save clean and sweet New France and your dirty skin, pig!"

With fright in his face the little riverman turned and ran.

Slowly up the steep hill towards the Chteau St. Louis, Count
Frontenac, erect, powerful, the exile returned in triumph, with
Laval beside him, made his way to the ringing of bells and wild
shouts of welcome.

Luce Hontard gazed with shining eyes. "Ah, God is good--but
yes!" she said.

La Salle lives on.


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