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      Besides the Saut Ste. Marie and Michilimackinac, both noted fishing-places, there was another spot, no less famous for game and fish, and therefore a favorite resort of Indians. This was the head of the Green Bay of Lake Michigan.[30] Here and in adjacent districts several distinct tribes had made their abode. The Menomonies were on the river which bears their name; the Pottawattamies and Winnebagoes were [Pg 43] near the borders of the bay; the Sacs, on Fox River; the Mascoutins, Miamis, and Kickapoos, on the same river, above Lake Winnebago; and the Outagamies, or Foxes, on a tributary of it flowing from the north. Green Bay was manifestly suited for a mission; and, as early as the autumn of 1669, Father Claude Allouez was sent thither to found one. After nearly perishing by the way, he set out to explore the destined field of his labors, and went as far as the town of the Mascoutins. Early in the autumn of 1670, having been joined by Dablon, Superior of the missions on the Upper Lakes, he made another journey, but not until the two fathers had held a council with the congregated tribes at St. Fran?ois Xavier; for so they named their mission of Green Bay. Here, as they harangued their naked audience, their gravity was put to the proof; for a band of warriors, anxious to do them honor, walked incessantly up and down, aping the movements of the soldiers on guard before the governor's tent at Montreal. "We could hardly keep from laughing," writes Dablon, "though, we were discoursing on very important subjects; namely, the mysteries of our religion, and the things necessary to escaping from eternal fire."[31]353 It is not surprising, then, that proselytes were difficult to make, or that, being made, they often relapsed. The Jesuits complain that they had no means of controlling their converts, and coercing backsliders to stand fast; and they add, that the Iroquois, by destroying the fur-trade, had broken the principal bond between the Hurons and the French, and greatly weakened the influence of the mission. [7]

      Bad as was the state of things, it soon grew worse. Renaudot wrote to La Salle that Beaujeu was writing to Villermont everything that happened, and that Villermont showed the letters to all his acquaintance. Villermont was a relative of the Jesuit Beschefer; and this was sufficient to suggest some secret machination to the mind of La Salle. Villermont's fault, however, seems to have been simple indiscretion, for which Beaujeu took him sharply to task. "I asked you to burn my letters; and I cannot help saying that I am angry with you, not because you make known my secrets, but because you show letters scrawled in haste, and sent off without being even read over. M. de la Salle not having told me his secret, though M. de Seignelay ordered him to tell me, I am not obliged to keep it, and have as good a right as anybody to make my [Pg 361] conjectures on what I read about it in the Gazette de Hollande. Let Abb Renaudot glorify M. 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...."Oh, not as an office, I hope?"

      After waiting a few days, and saving a few more stragglers from the marsh, they prepared to sail. Young Ribaut, though ignorant of his father's fate, assented with something more than willingness; indeed, his behavior throughout had been stamped with weakness and poltroonery. On the twenty-fifth of September they put to sea in two vessels; and, after a voyage the privations of which were fatal to many of them, they arrived, one party at Rochelle, the other at Swansea, in Wales.COMPLAINTS OF BEAUJEU.

      Charles Garnier.

      [3] This story is taken from the Relation of 1647, and the letter of Marie de l'Incarnation to her son, before cited. The woman must have 313 descended the great rapids of Lachine in her canoe: a feat demanding no ordinary nerve and skill.

      The fame of this chef-d'aeuvre of Christian piety, as Lescarbot gravely calls it, spread far and wide through the forest, whose denizens,partly out of a notion that the rite would bring good luck, partly to please the French, and partly to share in the good cheer with which the apostolic efforts of Father La Fleche had been sagaciously secondedcame flocking to enroll themselves under the banners of the Faith. Their zeal ran high. They would take no refusal. Membertou was for war on all who would not turn Christian. A living skeleton was seen crawling from hut to hut in search of the priest and his saving waters; while another neophyte, at the point of death, asked anxiously whether, in the realms of bliss to which he was bound, pies were to be had comparable to those with which the French regaled him.


      Next, they became entangled in a cane-brake, where La Salle, as usual with him in such cases, took the lead, a hatchet in each hand, and hewed out a path for his followers. They soon reached the villages of the Cenis Indians, on and near the river Trinity,a tribe then powerful, but long since extinct. Nothing could surpass the friendliness of their welcome. The chiefs came to meet them, bearing the calumet, and followed by warriors in shirts of embroidered deer-skin. Then the whole village swarmed out like bees, gathering around the [Pg 414] visitors with offerings of food and all that was precious in their eyes. La Salle was lodged with the great chief; but he compelled his men to encamp at a distance, lest the ardor of their gallantry might give occasion of offence. The lodges of the Cenis, forty or fifty feet high, and covered with a thatch of meadow-grass, looked like huge bee-hives. Each held several families, whose fire was in the middle, and their beds around the circumference. The spoil of the Spaniards was to be seen on all sides,silver lamps and spoons, swords, old muskets, money, clothing, and a bull of the Pope dispensing the Spanish colonists of New Mexico from fasting during summer.[317] These treasures, as well as their numerous horses, were obtained by the Cenis from their neighbors and allies the Camanches, that fierce prairie banditti who then, as now, scourged the Mexican border with their bloody forays. A party of these wild horsemen was in the village. Douay was edified at seeing them make the sign of the cross in imitation of the neophytes of one of the Spanish missions. They enacted, too, the ceremony of the mass; and one of them, in his rude way, drew a sketch of a picture he had seen in some church which he had pillaged, wherein the friar plainly recognized the Virgin weeping at the foot of the cross. They invited the French to join them on a raid into New Mexico; and they spoke with contempt, as their tribesmen will speak to this day, of the Spanish [Pg 415] creoles, saying that it would be easy to conquer a nation of cowards who make people walk before them with fans to cool them in hot weather.[318]Do you know the dungeons in the cliff? asked Phanos sternly.


      About noon he gave his farewell feast, after the 81 custom of those who knew themselves to be at the point of death. All were welcome to this strange banquet; and when the company were gathered, the host addressed them in a loud, firm voice: "My brothers, I am about to die. Do your worst to me. I do not fear torture or death." Some of those present seemed to have visitings of real compassion; and a woman asked the priests if it would be wrong to kill him, and thus save him from the fire.The Adelantado pretended not to hear.


      XVI.Embarked in two large boats and followed by twelve canoes filled with Hurons, Onondagas, and a few Senecas lately arrived, they set out on the 17th of May to attack the demons, as Le Mercier writes, in their very stronghold. With shouts, tears, and benedictions, priests, soldiers, and inhabitants waved farewell from the strand. They passed the bare steeps of Cape Diamond and the mission-house nestled beneath the heights of Sillery, and vanished from the anxious eyes that watched the last gleam of their receding oars. *