Part 3 out of 13
bored her with all the current gossip of the day. They were rich
and fashionable, perfect in etiquette, costume, and most particular
in their society; but the rank and position of the noble Lady de
Tilly made her friendship most desirable, as it conferred in the
eyes of the world a patent of gentility which held good against
every pretension to overtop it.
The stream of city talk from the lips of the two ladies had the
merit of being perfect of its kind--softly insinuating and sweetly
censorious, superlative in eulogy and infallible in opinion. The
good visitors most conscientiously discharged what they deemed a
great moral and social duty by enlightening the Lady de Tilly on all
the recent lapses and secrets of the capital. They slid over
slippery topics like skaters on thin ice, filling their listener
with anxiety lest they should break through. But Madame de
Grandmaison and her companion were too well exercised in the
gymnastics of gossip to overbalance themselves. Half Quebec was
run over and run down in the course of an hour.
Lady de Tilly listened with growing impatience to their frivolities,
but she knew society too well to quarrel with its follies when it
was of no service to do so: she contented herself with hoping it was
not so bad. The Pope was not Catholic enough to suit some people,
but, for her part, she had generally found people better than they
A rather loud but well-bred exclamation of Madame de Grandmaison
roused Amélie from her day-dream.
"Not going to the Intendant's ball at the Palace, my Lady de Tilly!
neither you nor Mademoiselle de Repentigny, whom we are so sorry not
to have seen to-day? Why, it is to be the most magnificent affair
ever got up in New France. All Quebec has rung with nothing else
for a fortnight, and every milliner and modiste in the city has gone
almost insane over the superlative costumes to be worn there."
"And it is to be the most select in its character," chimed in Madame
Couillard; "all gentry and noblesse, not one of the bourgeois to be
invited. That class, especially the female portion of them, give
themselves such airs nowadays! As if their money made them company
for people of quality! They must be kept down, I say, or--"
"And the Royal Intendant quite agrees with the general sentiment of
the higher circles," responded Madame de Grandmaison. "He is for
"Noblesse! Noblesse!" The Lady de Tilly spoke with visible
impatience. "Who is this Royal Intendant who dares cast a slight
upon the worthy, honest bourgeoisie of this city? Is he noble
himself? Not that I would think worse of him were he not, but I
have heard it disputed. He is the last one who should venture to
scorn the bourgeoisie."
Madame de Grandmaison fanned herself in a very stately manner.
"Oh, my Lady, you surely forget! The Chevalier Bigot is a distant
relative of the Count de Marville, and the Chevalier de Grandmaison
is a constant visitor at the Intendant's! But he would not have sat
at his table an hour had he not known that he was connected with the
nobility. The Count de Marville--"
"The Count de Marville!" interrupted the Lady de Tilly, whose
politeness almost gave way. "Truly, a man is known by the company
he keeps. No credit to any one to be connected with the Count de
Madame de Grandmaison felt rather subdued. She perceived that the
Lady de Tilly was not favorably impressed towards the Intendant.
But she tried again: "And then, my Lady, the Intendant is so
powerful at Court. He was a particular friend of Madame d'Étioles
before she was known at Court, and they say he managed her
introduction to the King at the famous masked ball at the Hôtel de
Ville, when His Majesty threw his handkerchief at her, and she
became first dame du palais and the Marquise de Pompadour. She has
ever remained his firm friend, and in spite of all his enemies could
do to prevent it His Majesty made him Intendant of New France."
"In spite of all the King's friends could do, you mean," replied the
Lady de Tilly, in a tone the sound of which caught the ear of
Amélie, and she knew her aunt was losing patience with her visitors.
Lady de Tilly heard the name of the royal mistress with intense
disgust, but her innate loyalty prevented her speaking disparagingly
of the King. "We will not discuss the Court," said she, "nor the
friendships of this Intendant. I can only pray his future may make
amends for his past. I trust New France may not have as much
reason as poor lost Acadia to lament the day of his coming to the
The two lady visitors were not obtuse. They saw they had roused
the susceptibilities--prejudices, they called them--of the Lady de
Tilly. They rose, and smothering their disappointment under well-
bred phrases, took most polite leave of the dignified old lady, who
was heartily glad to be rid of them.
"The disagreeable old thing--to talk so of the Intendant!" exclaimed
Madame Couillard, spitefully, "when her own nephew, and heir in the
Seigniory of Tilly, is the Intendant's firmest friend and closest
"Yes, she forgot about her own house; people always forget to look
at home when they pass judgment upon their neighbors," replied
Madame de Grandmaison. "But I am mistaken if she will be able to
impress Le Gardeur de Repentigny with her uncharitable and
unfashionable opinions of the Intendant. I hope the ball will be
the greatest social success ever seen in the city, just to vex her
and her niece, who is as proud and particular as she is herself."
Amélie de Repentigny had dressed herself to-day in a robe of soft
muslin of Deccan, the gift of a relative in Pondicherry. It
enveloped her exquisite form, without concealing the grace and
lissomeness of her movements. A broad blue ribbon round her waist,
and in her dark hair a blue flower, were all her adornments, except
a chain and cross of gold, which lay upon her bosom, the rich gift
of her brother, and often kissed with a silent prayer for his
welfare and happiness. More than once, under the influence of some
indefinable impulse, she rose and went to the mirror, comparing her
features now with a portrait of herself taken as a young girl in the
garb of a shepherdess of Provence. Her father used to like that
picture of her, and to please him she often wore her hair in the
fashion of Provence. She did so to-day. Why? The subtile thought
in many Protean shapes played before her fancy, but she would not
try to catch it--no! rather shyly avoided its examination.
She was quite restless, and sat down again in the deep recess of the
window, watching the Place d'Armes for the appearance of her brother.
She gave a sudden start at last, as a couple of officers galloped in
to the square and rode towards the great gate of the Château; one of
them she instantly recognized as her brother, the other, a tall
martial figure in full uniform, upon a fiery gray, she did not
recognize, but she knew in her heart it could be no other than
Amélie felt a thrill, almost painful in its pleasure, agitating her
bosom, as she sat watching the gateway they had entered. It was
even a momentary relief to her that they had turned in there instead
of riding directly to the house. It gave her time to collect her
thoughts and summon all her fortitude for the coming interview. Her
fingers wandered down to the rosary in the folds of her dress, and
the golden bead, which had so often prompted her prayer for the
happiness of Pierre Philibert, seemed to burn to the touch. Her
cheek crimsoned, for a strange thought suddenly intruded--the boy
Pierre Philibert, whose image and memory she had so long and
innocently cherished, was now a man, a soldier, a councillor,
trained in courts and camps! How unmaidenly she had acted,
forgetting all this in her childish prayers until this moment! "I
mean no harm," was all the defence she could think of. Nor had she
time to think more of herself, for, after remaining ten minutes in
the Château, just long enough to see the Governor and deliver the
answer of the Intendant to his message, the gray charger emerged
from the gate. His rider was accompanied by her brother and the
well-known figure of her godfather, La Corne St. Luc, who rode up
the hill and in a minute or two dismounted at the door of the
mansion of the Lady de Tilly.
The fabled lynx, whose eye penetrates the very earth to discover
hidden treasure, did not cast a keener and more inquisitive glance
than that which Amélie, shrouded behind the thick curtains, directed
from the window at the tall, manly figure and handsome countenance
of him whom she knew to be Pierre Philibert. Let it not detract
from her that she gave way to an irresistible impulse of womanly
curiosity. The Queen of France would, under the same temptation,
have done the same thing, and perhaps without feeling half the
modest shame of it that Amélie did. A glance sufficed--but a glance
that impressed upon her mind forever the ineffaceable and perfect
image of Pierre Philibert the man, who came in place of Pierre
Philibert the boy friend of Le Gardeur and of herself.
THE SOLDIER'S WELCOME.
The voices of the gentlemen mingled with her aunt's in eager
greetings. She well knew which must be the voice of Colonel
Philibert--the rest were all so familiar to her ear. Suddenly
footsteps ran up the grand stair, clearing three at a time. She
waited, trembling with anticipation. Le Gardeur rushed into the
room with outstretched arms, embraced her, and kissed her in a
transport of brotherly affection.
"Oh, Le Gardeur!" cried she, returning his kiss with fond affection,
and looking in his face with tenderness and joy. "O my brother, how
I have prayed and longed for your coming. Thank God! you are here
at last. You are well, brother, are you not?" said she, looking up
with a glance that seemed to betray some anxiety.
"Never better, Amélie," replied he, in a gayer tone than was quite
natural to him, and shyly averting his eyes from her tender
scrutiny. "Never better. Why, if I had been in my grave, I should
have risen up to welcome a friend whom I have met to-day after years
of separation. Oh, Amélie, I have such news for you!"
"News for me, Le Gardeur! What can it be?" A blush stole over her
countenance, and her bosom heaved, for she was very conscious of the
nature of the news her brother was about to impart.
"Guess! you unsuspecting queen of shepherdesses," cried he, archly
twisting a lock of her hair that hung over her shoulder. "Guess,
you pretty gipsy, you!"
"Guess? How can I guess, Le Gardeur? Can there be any news left in
the city of Quebec after an hour's visit from Madame de Grandmaison
and Madame Couillard? I did not go down, but I know they inquired
much after you, by the way!" Amélie, with a little touch of
feminine perversity, shyly put off the grand burst of Le Gardeur's
intelligence, knowing it was sure to come.
"Pshaw! who cares for those old scandal-mongers! But you can never
guess my news, Amélie, so I may as well tell you." Le Gardeur
fairly swelled with the announcement he was about to make.
"Have mercy then, brother, and tell me at once, for you do now set
my curiosity on tiptoe." She was a true woman, and would not for
anything have admitted her knowledge of the presence of Colonel
Philibert in the house.
"Amélie," said he, taking her by both hands, as if to prevent her
escape, "I was at Beaumanoir--you know the Intendant gave a grand
hunting party," added he, noticing the quick glance she gave him;
"and who do you think came to the Château and recognized me, or
rather I recognized him? A stranger--and not such a stranger,
"Nay; go on, brother! Who could this mysterious stranger and no
stranger have been?"
"Pierre Philibert, Amélie! Pierre--our Pierre, you know! You
recollect him, sister!"
"Recollect Pierre Philibert? Why, how could I ever forget him while
you are living? since to him we are all indebted for your life,
"I know that; are you not glad, as I am, at his return?" asked Le
Gardeur, with a penetrating look.
She threw her arms round him involuntarily, for she was much
agitated. "Glad, brother? Yes, I am glad because you are glad."
"No more than that, Amélie? That is a small thing to be glad for."
"Oh, brother! I am glad for gladness's sake! We can never overpay
the debt of gratitude we owe Pierre Philibert."
"O my sweet sister," replied he, kissing her, "I knew my news would
please you. Come, we will go down and see him at once, for Pierre
is in the house."
"But, Le Gardeur!" She blushed and hesitated. "Pierre Philibert I
knew--I could speak to him; but I shall hardly dare recognize him in
the stately soldier of to-day. Voilà la différence!" added she,
repeating the refrain of a song very popular both in New France and
in Old at that period.
Le Gardeur did not comprehend her hesitation and tone. Said he,--
"Pierre is wonderfully changed since he and I wore the green sash of
the seminary. He is taller than I, wiser and better,--he was always
that,--but in heart the same generous, noble Pierre Philibert he was
when a boy. Voilà la ressemblance!" added he, pulling her hair
archly as he repeated the antistrophe of the same ditty.
Amélie gave her brother a fond look, but she did not reply, except
by a tight pressure of the hand. The voices of the Chevalier La
Corne and the Lady de Tilly and Colonel Philibert were again heard
in animated conversation. "Come, brother, we will go now," said
she; and quick in executing any resolution she had formed, she took
the arm of her brother, swept with him down the broad stair, and
entered the drawing-room.
Philibert rose to his feet in admiration of the vision of loveliness
that suddenly beamed upon his eyes. It was the incarnation of all
the shapes of grace and beauty that had passed through his fervid
fancy during so many years of absence from his native land.
Something there was of the features of the young girl who had ridden
with flying locks, like a sprite, through the woods of Tilly. But
comparing his recollection of that slight girl with the tall, lithe,
perfect womanhood of the half-blushing girl before him, he hesitated,
although intuitively aware that it could be no other than the idol
of his heart, Amélie de Repentigny.
Le Gardeur solved the doubt in a moment by exclaiming, in a tone of
exultation, "Pierre Philibert, I bring an old young friend to greet
Philibert advanced, and Amélie raised her dark eyes with a momentary
glance that drew into her heart the memory of his face forever. She
held out her hand frankly and courteously. Philibert bent over it
as reverently as he would over the hand of the Madonna.
The greeting of the Lady de Tilly and La Corne St. Luc had been
cordial, nay, affectionate in its kindness. The good lady kissed
Pierre as a mother might have done a long-absent son.
"Colonel Philibert," said Amélie, straining her nerves to the
tension of steel to preserve her composure, "Colonel Philibert is
most welcome; he has never been forgotten in this house." She
glanced at her aunt, who smiled approvingly at Amélie's remark.
"Thanks, Mademoiselle de Repentigny; I am indeed happy to be
remembered here; it fulfils one of my most cherished hopes in
returning to my native land."
"Ay, ay, Pierre," interrupted La Corne St. Luc, who looked on this
little scene very admiringly, "good blood never lies. Look at
Colonel Philibert there, with the King's epaulets on his shoulders.
I have a sharp eye, as you know, Amélie, when I look after my pretty
goddaughter, but I should not have recognized our lively Pierre in
him, had Le Gardeur not introduced him to me, and I think you would
not have known him either."
"Thanks for your looking after me, godfather," replied Amélie,
merrily, very grateful in her heart for his appreciation of Pierre,
"but I think neither aunt nor I should have failed to recognize
"Right, my Amélie!" said the Lady de Tilly. "We should not, and we
shall not be afraid, Pierre,--I must call you Pierre or nothing,--
we shall not be afraid, although you do lay in a new stock of
acquaintances in the capital, that old friends will be put aside as
"My whole stock of friendship consists of those remnants, my Lady,--
memories of dear friends I love and honor. They will never be
unfashionable with me: I should be bankrupt indeed, were I to part
with one of them."
"Then they are of a truer fabric than Penelope's web, for she, I
read, pulled in pieces at night what she had woven through the day,"
replied Lady de Tilly. "Give me the friendship that won't unravel."
"But not a thread of my recollections has ever unravelled, or ever
will," replied Pierre, looking at Amélie as she clasped the arm of
her aunt, feeling stronger, as is woman's way, by the contact with
"Zounds! What is all this merchant's talk about webs and threads
and thrums?" exclaimed La Corne. "There is no memory so good as a
soldier's, Amélie, and for good reason: a soldier on our wild
frontiers is compelled to be faithful to old friends and old
flannels; he cannot help himself to new ones if he would. I was
five years and never saw a woman's face except red ones--some of
them were very comely, by the way," added the old warrior with a
"The gallantry of the Chevalier La Corne is incontestable," remarked
Pierre, "for once, when we captured a convoy of soldiers' wives from
New England, he escorted them, with drums beating, to Grand Pré, and
sent a cask of Gasçon wine for them to celebrate their reunion with
"Frowzy huzzies! not worth the keeping, or I would not have sent
them; fit only for the bobtailed militia of New England!" exclaimed
"Not so thought the New Englanders, who had a three days feast when
they remarried their wives--and handsome they were, too," said
Philibert; "the healths they drank to the Chevalier were enough to
make him immortal."
La Corne always brushed aside compliments to himself: "Tut, my Lady!
it was more Pierre's good-nature than mine--he out of kindness let
the women rejoin their husbands; on my part it was policy and
stratagem, of war. Hear the sequel! The wives spoiled the
husbands, as I guessed they would do, taught them to be too late at
reveille, too early at tattoo. They neglected guards and pickets,
and when the long nights of winter set in, the men hugged their
wives by the firesides instead of their muskets by their watch-
fires. Then came destruction upon them! In a blinding storm, amid
snow-drifts and darkness, Coulon de Villiers, with his troops on
snow-shoes, marched into the New England camp, and made widows of
the most of the poor wives, who fell into our hands the second time.
Poor creatures! I saw that day how hard it was to be a soldier's
wife." La Corne's shaggy eyelash twinkled with moisture. "But it
was the fortune of war!--the fortune of war, and a cruel fortune it
is at the best!"
The Lady de Tilly pressed her hand to her bosom to suppress the
rising emotion. "Alas, Chevalier! poor widows! I feel all they
suffered. War is indeed a cruel fortune, as I too have had reason
"And what became of the poor women, godfather?" Amélie's eyes were
suffused with tears: it was in her heart, if ever in any mortal's,
to love her enemies.
"Oh, we cared for them the best we could. The Baron de St. Castin
sheltered them in his château for the winter, and his daughter
devoted herself to them with the zeal and tenderness of a saint from
Heaven--a noble, lovely girl, Amélie!" added La Corne, impressively;
"the fairest flower in all Acadia, and most unfortunate, poor girl!
God's blessing rest upon her, wherever she may be!" La Corne St.
Luc spoke with a depth of emotion he rarely manifested.
"How was she unfortunate, godfather?" Philibert watched the cheek
flush and the eyelid quiver of the fair girl as she spoke, carried
away by her sympathy. His heart went with his looks.
"Alas!" replied La Corne, "I would fain not answer, lest I distrust
the moral government of the universe. But we are blind creatures,
and God's ways are not fashioned in our ways. Let no one boast that
he stands, lest he fall! We need the help of the host of Heaven to
keep us upright and maintain our integrity. I can scarcely think of
that noble girl without tears. Oh, the pity of it! The pity of it!"
Lady de Tilly looked at him wonderingly. "I knew the Baron de St.
Castin," said she. "When he came to perform homage at the Castle of
St. Louis, for the grant of some lands in Acadia, he was accompanied
by his only daughter, a child perfect in goodness, grace, and
loveliness. She was just the age of Amélie. The ladies of the city
were in raptures over the pretty Mayflower, as they called her.
What, in heaven's name, has happened to that dear child, Chevalier
La Corne St. Luc, half angry with himself for having broached the
painful topic, and not used to pick his words, replied bluntly,--
"Happened, my Lady! what is it happens worst to a woman? She loved
a man unworthy of her love--a villain in spite of high rank and
King's favor, who deceived this fond, confiding girl, and abandoned
her to shame! Faugh! It is the way of the Court, they say; and the
King has not withdrawn his favor, but heaped new honors upon him!"
La Corne put a severe curb upon his utterance and turned impatiently
away, lest he might curse the King as well as the favorite.
"But what became of the poor deceived girl?" asked the Lady de
Tilly, after hastily clearing her eyes with her handkerchief.
"Oh, the old, old story followed. She ran away from home in an
agony of shame and fear, to avoid the return of her father from
France. She went among the Indians of the St. Croix, they say, and
has not been heard of since. Poor, dear girl! her very trust in
virtue was the cause of her fall!"
Amélie turned alternately pale and red at the recital of her
godfather. She riveted her eyes upon the ground as she pressed
close to her aunt, clasping her arm, as if seeking strength and
Lady de Tilly was greatly shocked at the sad recital. She inquired
the name of the man of rank who had acted so treacherously to the
"I will not utter the name to-day, my Lady! It has been revealed to
me as a great secret. It is a name too high for the stroke of the
law, if there be any law left us but the will of a King's mistress!
God, however, has left us the law of a gentleman's sword to avenge
its master's wrong. The Baron de St. Castin will soon return to
vindicate his own honor, and whether or no, I vow to heaven, my
Lady, that the traitor who has wronged that sweet girl will one day
have to try whether his sword be sharper than that of La Corne St.
Luc! But pshaw! I am talking bravado like an Indian at the war
post. The story of those luckless New England wives has carried us
beyond all bounds."
Lady de Tilly looked admiringly, without a sign of reproof, at the
old soldier, sympathizing with his honest indignation at so foul a
wrong to her sex. "Were that dear child mine, woman as I am, I
would do the same thing!" said she, with a burst of feeling. She
felt Amélie press her arm as if she too shared the spirit of her
"But here comes Felix Baudoin to summon us to dinner!" exclaimed
Lady de Tilly, as an old, white-headed servitor in livery appeared
at the door with a low bow, announcing that dinner was served.
Le Gardeur and La Corne St. Luc greeted the old servitor with the
utmost kindness, inquired after his health, and begged a pinch from
his well-worn snuff-box. Such familiarities were not rare in that
day between the gentlemen of New France and their old servants, who
usually passed their lifetime in one household. Felix was the
majordomo of the Manor House of Tilly, trusty, punctilious, and
polite, and honored by his mistress more as an humble friend than as
a servant of her house.
"Dinner is served, my Lady!" repeated Felix, with a bow. "But my
Lady must excuse! The kitchen has been full of habitans all day.
The Trifourchettes, the Doubledents, and all the best eaters in
Tilly have been here. After obeying my Lady's commands to give them
all they could eat we have had difficulty in saving anything for my
Lady's own table."
"No matter, Felix, we shall say grace all the same. I could
content myself with bread and water, to give fish and flesh to my
censitaires, who are working so willingly on the King's corvée! But
that must be my apology to you, Pierre Philibert and the Chevalier
La Corne, for a poorer dinner than I could wish."
"Oh, I feel no misgivings, my Lady!" remarked La Corne St. Luc,
laughing. "Felix Baudoin is too faithful a servitor to starve his
mistress for the sake of the Trifourchettes, the Doubledents, and
all the best eaters in the Seigniory! No! no! I will be bound your
Ladyship will find Felix has tolled and tithed from them enough to
secure a dinner for us all--come, Amélie, with me."
Lady de Tilly took the arm of Colonel Philibert, followed by Le
Gardeur, La Corne, and Amélie, and, marshalled by the majordomo,
proceeded to the dining-room--a large room, wainscotted with black
walnut, a fine wood lately introduced. The ceiling was coved, and
surrounded by a rich frieze of carving. A large table, suggestive
of hospitality, was covered with drapery of the snowiest linen, the
product of the spinning-wheels and busy looms of the women of the
Seigniory of Tilly. Vases of china, filled with freshly-gathered
flowers, shed sweet perfumes, while they delighted the eye with
their beauty, etherializing the elements of bread and meat by
suggestions of the poetry and ideals of life. A grand old buffet, a
prodigy of cabinet-maker's art, displayed a mass of family plate,
and a silver shield embossed with the arms of Tilly, a gift of Henry
of Navarre to their ancient and loyal house, hung upon the wall over
In spite of the Trifourchettes and the Doubledents, Felix Baudoin
had managed to set an excellent dinner upon the table of his lady,
who looked archly at the Chevalier La Corne, as if assenting to his
remark on her old servitor.
The lady remained standing at the head of her table until they all
sat down, when, clasping her hands, she recited with feeling and
clearness the old Latin grace, "Benedic, Domine, nos et haec tua
dona," sanctifying her table by the invocation of the blessing of
God upon it and upon all who sat round it.
A soup, rich and savory, was the prelude at all dinners in New
France. A salmon speared in the shallows of the Chaudière, and a
dish of blood-speckled trout from the mountain streams of St.
Joachim, smoked upon the board. Little oval loaves of wheaten bread
were piled up in baskets of silver filigree. For in those days the
fields of New France produced crops of the finest wheat--a gift
which Providence has since withheld. "The wheat went away with the
Bourbon lilies, and never grew afterwards," said the old habitans.
The meat in the larder had all really been given to the hungry
censitaires in the kitchen, except a capon from the basse cour of
Tilly and a standing pie, the contents of which came from the
manorial dovecote. A reef of raspberries, red as corals, gathered
on the tangled slopes of Côte à Bonhomme, formed the dessert, with
blue whortleberries from Cape Tourment, plums sweet as honey drops,
and small, gray-coated apples from Beaupré, delicious as those that
comforted the Rose of Sharon. A few carafes of choice wine from the
old manorial cellar, completed the entertainment.
The meal was not a protracted one, but to Pierre Philibert the most
blissful hour of his life. He sat by the side of Amélie, enjoying
every moment as if it were a pearl dropped into his bosom by word,
look, or gesture of the radiant girl who sat beside him.
He found Amélie, although somewhat timid at first to converse, a
willing, nay, an eager listener. She was attracted by the magnetism
of a noble, sympathetic nature, and by degrees ventured to cast a
glance at the handsome, manly countenance where feature after
feature revealed itself, like a landscape at dawn of day, and in
Colonel Philibert she recognized the very looks, speech, and manner
of Pierre Philibert of old.
Her questioning eyes hardly needed the interpretation of her tongue
to draw him out to impart the story of his life during his long
absence from New France, and it was with secret delight she found in
him a powerful, cultivated intellect and nobility of sentiment such
as she rightly supposed belonged only to a great man, while his
visible pleasure at meeting her again filled her with a secret joy
that, unnoticed by herself, suffused her whole countenance with
radiance, and incited her to converse with him more freely than she
had thought it possible when she sat down at table.
"It is long since we all sat together, Mademoiselle, at the table of
your noble aunt," remarked Philibert. "It fulfills an often and
often repeated day-dream of mine, that I should one day find you
just the same."
"And do you find me just the same?" answered she, archly. "You take
down the pride of ladyhood immensely, Colonel! I had imagined I was
something quite other than the wild child of Tilly!"
"I hardly like to consider you as in the pride of ladyhood,
Mademoiselle, for fear I should lose the wild child of Tilly, whom I
should be so glad to find again."
"And whom you do find just the same in heart, mind, and regard too!"
thought she to herself, but her words were,--"My school mistresses
would be ashamed of their work, Colonel, if they had not improved
on the very rude material my aunt sent them up from Tilly to
manufacture into a fine lady! I was the crowned queen of the year
when I left the Ursulines, so beware of considering me 'the child of
Tilly' any longer."
Her silvery laugh caught his heart, for in that he recognized
vividly the gay young girl whose image he was every instant
developing out of the tall, lovely woman beside him.
La Corne St. Luc and the Lady de Tilly found a thousand delights in
mutual reminiscences of the past. Le Gardeur, somewhat heavy,
joined in conversation with Philibert and his sister. Amélie
guessed, and Philibert knew, the secret of Le Gardeur's dulness;
both strove to enliven and arouse him. His aunt guessed too, that
he had passed the night as the guests of the Intendant always passed
it, and knowing his temper and the regard he had for her good
opinion, she brought the subject of the Intendant into conversation,
in order, casually as it were, to impress Le Gardeur with her
opinion of him. "Pierre Philibert too," thought she, "shall be put
upon his guard against the crafty Bigot."
"Pierre," said she, "you are happy in a father who is a brave,
honorable man, of whom any son in the world might be proud. The
country holds by him immensely, and he deserves their regard. Watch
over him now you are at home, Pierre. He has some relentless and
powerful enemies, who would injure him if they could."
"That has he," remarked La Corne St. Luc; "I have spoken to the
Sieur Philibert and cautioned him, but he is not impressible on the
subject of his own safety. The Intendant spoke savagely of him in
public the other day."
"Did he, Chevalier?" replied Philibert, his eyes flashing with
another fire than that which had filled them looking at Amélie.
"He shall account to me for his words, were he Regent instead of
La Corne St. Luc looked half approvingly at Philibert.
"Don't quarrel with him yet, Pierre! You cannot make a quarrel of
what he has said."
Lady de Tilly listened uneasily, and said,--
"Don't quarrel with him at all, Pierre Philibert! Judge him and
avoid him, as a Christian man should do. God will deal with Bigot
as he deserves: the crafty man will be caught in his own devices
"Oh, Bigot is a gentleman, aunt, too polite to insult any one,"
remarked Le Gardeur, impatient to defend one whom he regarded as a
friend. "He is the prince of good fellows, and not crafty, I think,
but all surface and sunshine."
"You never explored the depths of him, Le Gardeur," remarked La
Corne. "I grant he is a gay, jesting, drinking, and gambling fellow
in company; but, trust me, he is deep and dark as the Devil's cave
that I have seen in the Ottawa country. It goes story under story,
deeper and deeper, until the imagination loses itself in
contemplating the bottomless pit of it--that is Bigot, Le Gardeur."
"My censitaires report to me," remarked the Lady de Tilly, "that his
commissaries are seizing the very seed-corn of the country. Heaven
knows what will become of my poor people next year if the war
"What will become of the Province in the hands of François Bigot?"
replied La Corne St. Luc. "They say, Philibert, that a certain
great lady at Court, who is his partner or patroness, or both, has
obtained a grant of your father's sequestered estate in Normandy,
for her relative, the Count de Marville. Had you heard of that,
Philibert? It is the latest news from France."
"Oh, yes, Chevalier! Ill news like that never misses the mark it is
aimed at. The news soon reached my father!"
"And how does your father take it?"
"My father is a true philosopher; he takes it as Socrates might have
taken it; he laughs at the Count de Marville, who will, he says,
want to sell the estate before the year is out, to pay his debts of
honor--the only debts he ever does pay."
"If Bigot had anything to do with such an outrage," exclaimed Le
Gardeur warmly, "I would renounce him on the spot. I have heard
Bigot speak of this gift to De Marville, whom he hates. He says it
was all La Pompadour's doing from first to last, and I believe it."
"Well," remarked La Corne, "Bigot has plenty of sins of his own to
answer for to the Sieur Philibert, on the day of account, without
reckoning this among them."
The loud report of a cannon shook the windows of the room, and died
away in long-repeated echoes among the distant hills.
"That is the signal for the Council of War, my Lady," said La Corne.
"A soldier's luck! just as we were going to have music and heaven,
we are summoned to field, camp, or council."
The gentlemen rose and accompanied the ladies to the drawing-room,
and prepared to depart. Colonel Philibert took a courteous leave of
the ladies of Tilly, looking in the eyes of Amélie for something
which, had she not turned them quickly upon a vase of flowers, he
might have found there. She plucked a few sprays from the bouquet,
and handed them to him as a token of pleasure at meeting him again
in his own land.
"Recollect, Pierre Philibert!" said the Lady de Tilly, holding him
cordially by the hand, "the Manor House of Tilly is your second
home, where you are ever welcome."
Philibert was deeply touched by the genuine and stately courtesy of
the lady. He kissed her hand with grateful reverence, and bowing to
both the ladies, accompanied La Corne St. Luc and Le Gardeur to the
castle of St. Louis.
Amélie sat in the recess of the window, resting her cheek upon her
tremulous hand as she watched the gentlemen proceed on their way to
the castle. Her mind was overflowing with thoughts and fancies,
new, enigmatical, yet delightful. Her nervous manner did not escape
the loving eye of her aunt; but she spoke not--she was silent under
the burden of a secret joy that found not vent in words.
Suddenly Amélie rose from the window, and seated herself, in her
impulsive way, at the organ. Her fingers touched the keys timidly
at first as she began a trembling prelude of her own fantasy. In
music her pent-up feelings found congenial expression. The fire
kindled, and she presently burst out with the voice of a seraph in
that glorious psalm, the 116th:
"'Toto pectore diligam
Unice et Dominum colam,
Qui lenis mihi supplici
Non duram appulit aurem.
Aurem qui mihi supplici,
Non duram dedit; hunc ego
Donec pectora spiritus
Pulset semper, amabo.'"
The Lady de Tilly, half guessing the truth, would not wound the
susceptibilities of her niece by appearing to do so; so rose quietly
from her seat and placed her arms gently round Amélie when she
finished the psalm. She pressed her to her bosom, kissed her
fondly, and without a word, left her to find in music relief from
her high-wrought feelings. Her voice rose in sweeter and loftier
harmonies to the pealing of the organ as she sang to the end the
joyful yet solemn psalm, in a version made for Queen Mary of France
and Scotland when life was good, hope all brightness, and dark days
as if they would never come.
THE CASTLE OF ST. LOUIS.
The Count de la Galissonière, with a number of officers of rank in
full uniform, was slowly pacing up and down the long gallery that
fronted the Castle of St. Louis, waiting for the Council of War to
open; for although the hour had struck, the Intendant, and many
other high officials of the Colony, had not yet arrived from
The Castle of St. Louis, a massive structure of stone, with square
flanking towers, rose loftily from the brink of the precipice,
overlooking the narrow, tortuous streets of the lower town. The
steeple of the old Church of Notre Dame des Victoires, with its
gilded vane, lay far beneath the feet of the observer as he leaned
over the balustrade of iron that guarded the gallery of the Château.
A hum of voices and dense sounds rose up from the market of Notre
Dame and from the quay where ships and bateaux were moored. The
cries of sailors, carters, and habitans in thick medley floated up
the steep cliffs, pleasant sounds to the ear of the worthy Governor,
who liked the honest noises of industry and labor better than all
the music of the Academy.
A few merchantmen which had run the blockade of the English
cruisers lay at anchor in the stream, where the broad river swept
majestically round the lofty cape. In the midst of them a newly-
arrived King's ship, the Fleur-de-Lis, decorated with streamers,
floated proudly, like a swan among a flock of teal.
Le Gardeur, as an officer of the garrison, went to report himself to
the military commandant, while La Corne St. Luc and Colonel
Philibert proceeded to the gallery, where a crowd of officers were
now assembled, waiting for the Council.
The Governor at once called Philibert aside, and took his arm.
"Philibert," said he, "I trust you had no difficulty in finding the
"No difficulty whatever, your Excellency. I discovered the
Intendant and his friends by ear long before I got sight of them."
An equivocal smile accompanied Philibert's words, which the Governor
"Ah! I understand, Philibert; they were carousing at that hour of
daylight? Were they all--? Faugh! I shame to speak the word. Was
the Intendant in a condition to comprehend my summons?" The
Governor looked sad, rather than surprised or angry, for he had
expected no less than Philibert had reported to him.
"I found him less intoxicated, I think, than many of his guests. He
received your message with more politeness than I expected, and
promised to be here punctually at the hour for opening the Council."
"Oh, Bigot never lacks politeness, drunk or sober: that strong
intellect of his seems to defy the power of wine, as his heart is
proof against moral feeling. You did not prolong your stay in
Beaumanoir, I fancy?" remarked the Governor, dinting the point of
his cane into the floor.
"I hastened out of it as I would out of hell itself! After making
prize of my friend De Repentigny and bringing him off with me, as I
mentioned to you, I got quickly out of the Château."
"You did rightly, Philibert: the Intendant is ruining half the young
men of birth in the Colony."
"He shall not ruin Le Gardeur if I can save him," said Philibert,
resolutely. "May I count upon your Excellency's coöperation?" added
"Assuredly, Philibert! Command me in anything you can devise to
rescue that noble young fellow from the fatal companionship of
Bigot. But I know not how long I shall be permitted to remain in
New France: powerful intrigues are at work for my removal!" added
the Governor. "I care not for the removal, so that it be not
accompanied with insult."
"Ah! you have received news to-day by the frigate?" said Philibert,
looking down at the King's ship at anchor in the stream.
"News? Yes; and such news, Philibert!" replied the Governor in at
one of despondency. "It needs the wisdom of Solon to legislate for
this land, and a Hercules to cleanse its Augean stables of official
corruption. But my influence at Court is nil--you know that,
"But while you are Governor your advice ought to prevail with the
King," replied Philibert.
"My advice prevail! Listen, Philibert: my letters to the King and
the Minister of Marine and Colonies have been answered by whom,
"Nay, I cannot conceive who, out of the legal channel, would dare to
reply to them."
"No! no man could guess that my official despatches have been
answered by the Marquise de Pompadour! She replies to my despatches
to my sovereign!"
"La Pompadour!" exclaimed Philibert in a burst of indignation.
"She, the King's mistress, reply to your despatches! Has France
come to be governed by courtesans, like imperial Rome?"
"Yes! and you know the meaning of that insult, Philibert! They
desire to force me to resign, and I shall resign as soon as I see my
friends safe. I will serve the King in his fleet, but never more in
a colony. This poor land is doomed to fall into the hands of its
enemies unless we get a speedy peace. France will help us no more!"
"Don't say that, your Excellency! France will surely never be
untrue to her children in the New World! But our resources are not
yet all exhausted: we are not driven to the wall yet, your
"Almost, I assure you, Philibert! But we shall understand that
better after the Council."
"What say the despatches touching the negotiations going on for
peace?" asked Philibert, who knew how true were the Governor's
"They speak favorably of peace, and I think, correctly, Philibert;
and you know the King's armies and the King's mistresses cannot all
be maintained at the same time--women or war, one or other must give
way, and one need not doubt which it will be, when the women rule
Court and camp in France at the same time!"
"To think that a woman picked out of the gutters of Paris should
rule France and answer your despatches!" said Philibert, angrily;
"it is enough to drive honorable Frenchmen mad. But what says the
Marquise de Pompadour?"
"She is especially severe upon my opposing the fiscal measures and
commercial policy, as she calls it, of her friend the Intendant!
She approves of his grant of a monopoly of trade to the Grand
Company, and disputes my right, as Governor, to interfere with the
Intendant in the finances of the Colony."
Philibert felt deeply this wound to the honor and dignity of his
chief. He pressed his hand in warmest sympathy.
The Governor understood his feelings. "You are a true friend,
Philibert," said he; "ten men like you might still save this Colony!
But it is past the hour for the Council, and still Bigot delays! He
must have forgotten my summons."
"I think not; but he might have to wait until Cadet, Varin,
Deschenaux, and the rest of them were in a condition fit to travel,"
answered Philibert with an air of disgust.
"O Philibert! the shame of it! the shame of it! for such thieves to
have the right to sit among loyal, honorable men," exclaimed, or
rather groaned, the Governor. "They have the real power in New
France, and we the empty title and the killing responsibility! Dine
with me to-night after the Council, Philibert: I have much to say to
"Not to-night, your Excellency! My father has killed the fatted
calf for his returned prodigal, and I must dine with him to-night,"
"Right! Be it to-morrow then! Come on Wednesday," replied the
Governor. "Your father is a gentleman who carries the principles of
true nobility into the walks of trade; you are happy in such a
father, Philibert, as he is fortunate in such a son." The Governor
bowed to his friend, and rejoined the groups of officers upon the
A flash, and a column of smoke, white and sudden, rose from the
great battery that flanked the Château. It was the second signal
for the Council to commence. The Count de la Galissonière, taking
the arm of La Corne St. Luc, entered the Castle, and followed by
the crowd of officers, proceeded to the great Hall of Council and
Audience. The Governor, followed by his secretaries, walked forward
to the vice-regal chair, which stood on a daïs at the head of a long
table covered with crimson drapery. On each side of the table the
members of the Council took the places assigned to them in the order
of their rank and precedence, but a long array of chairs remained
unoccupied. These seats, belonging to the Royal Intendant and the
other high officers of the Colony who had not yet arrived to take
their places in the Council, stood empty.
The great hall of the Castle of St. Louis was palatial in its
dimensions and adornments. Its lofty coved ceiling rested on a
cornice of rich frieze of carved work, supported on polished
pilasters of oak. The panels of wainscoting upon the walls were
surrounded by delicate arabesques, and hung with paintings of
historic interest--portraits of the kings, governors, intendants,
and ministers of state who had been instrumental in the colonization
of New France.
Over the Governor's seat hung a gorgeous escutcheon of the royal
arms, draped with a cluster of white flags sprinkled with golden
lilies, the emblems of French sovereignty in the Colony.
Among the portraits on the walls, besides those of the late and
present King,--which hung on each side of the throne,--might be seen
the features of Richelieu, who first organized the rude settlements
on the St. Lawrence into a body politic--a reflex of feudal France;
and of Colbert, who made available its natural wealth and resources
by peopling it with the best scions of the motherland, the noblesse
and peasantry of Normandy, Brittany, and Aquitaine. There too might
be seen the keen, bold features of Cartier, the first discoverer,
and of Champlain, the first explorer of the new land and the founder
of Quebec. The gallant, restless Louis Buade de Frontenac was
pictured there side by side with his fair countess, called by reason
of her surpassing loveliness "the divine;" Vaudreuil too, who spent
a long life of devotion to his country, and Beauharnais, who
nourished its young strength until it was able to resist not only
the powerful confederacy of the Five Nations but the still more
powerful league of New England and the other English Colonies.
There, also, were seen the sharp, intellectual face of Laval, its
first bishop, who organized the Church and education in the Colony;
and of Talon, wisest of intendants, who devoted himself to the
improvement of agriculture, the increase of trade, and the well-
being of all the King's subjects in New France. And one more
striking portrait was there, worthy to rank among the statesmen and
rulers of New France,--the pale, calm, intellectual features of Mère
Marie de l'Incarnation, the first superior of the Ursulines of
Quebec, who, in obedience to heavenly visions, as she believed, left
France to found schools for the children of the new colonists, and
who taught her own womanly graces to her own sex, who were destined
to become the future mothers of New France.
In marked contrast with the military uniforms of the officers
surrounding the council-table were the black robes and tonsured
heads of two or three ecclesiastics, who had been called in by the
Governor to aid the council with their knowledge and advice. There
were the Abbé Metavet, of the Algonquins of the North; Père Oubal,
the Jesuit missionary of the Abenaquais of the East, and his
confrère, La Richardie, from the wild tribes of the Far West; but
conspicuous among the able and influential missionaries who were the
real rulers of the Indian nations allied with France was the famous
Sulpicien, Abbé Piquet, "the King's missionary," as he was styled in
royal ordinances, and the apostle to the Iroquois, whom he was
laboring to convert and bring over to the side of France in the
great dispute raised between France and England for supremacy in
Upon the wall behind the vice-regal chair hung a great map, drawn by
the bold hand of Abbé Piquet, representing the claims as well as
actual possessions of France in America. A broad, red line,
beginning in Acadia, traversed the map westerly, taking in Lake
Ontario and running southerly along the crests and ridges of the
Appalachian Mountains. It was traced with a firm hand down to far-
off Louisiana, claiming for France the great valleys of the Ohio,
the Mississippi, and the vast territories watered by the Missouri
and the Colorado--thus hemming the English in between the walls of
the Appalachian range on the west and the seacoast on the east.
The Abbé Piquet had lately, in a canoe, descended the Belle Rivière,
as the voyageurs called the noble Ohio. From its source to its
junction with the solitary Mississippi the Abbé had planted upon its
conspicuous bluffs the ensigns of France, with tablets of lead
bearing the fleur-de-lis and the proud inscription, "Manibus date
lilia plenis,"--lilies destined, after a fierce struggle for empire,
to be trampled into the earth by the feet of the victorious English.
The Abbé, deeply impressed with the dangers that impended over the
Colony, labored zealously to unite the Indian nations in a general
alliance with France. He had already brought the powerful
Algonquins and Nipissings into his scheme, and planted them at Two
Mountains as a bulwark to protect the city of Ville Marie. He had
created a great schism in the powerful confederacy of the Five
Nations by adroitly fanning into a flame their jealousy of English
encroachments upon their ancient territory on Lake Ontario; and
bands of Iroquois had, not long since, held conference with the
Governor of New France, denouncing the English for disregarding
their exclusive right to their own country. "The lands we possess,"
said they at a great council in Ville Marie, "the lands we possess
were given to us by the Master of Life, and we acknowledge to hold
of no other!"
The Abbé had now strong hopes of perfecting a scheme which he
afterwards accomplished. A powerful body of the Iroquois left their
villages and castles on the Mohawk and Genesee rivers, and under the
guidance of the Abbé settled round the new Fort of La Presentation
on the St. Lawrence, and thus barred that way, for the future,
against the destructive inroads of their countrymen who remained
faithful to the English alliance.
Pending the arrival of the Royal Intendant the members of the
Council indulged freely in conversation bearing more or less upon
the important matters to be discussed,--the state of the country,
the movements of the enemy, and not seldom intermingled remarks of
dissatisfaction and impatience at the absence of the Intendant.
The revel at Beaumanoir was well known to them; and eyes flashed and
lips curled in open scorn at the well-understood reason of the
"My private letters by the Fleur-de-Lis," remarked Beauharnais,
"relate, among other Court gossip, that orders will be sent out to
stop the defensive works at Quebec, and pull down what is built!
They think the cost of walls round our city can be better bestowed
on political favorites and certain high personages at Court."
Beauharnais turned towards the Governor. "Has your Excellency heard
aught of this?" asked he.
"Yes! It is true enough, Beauharnais! I also have received
communications to that effect!" replied the Governor, with an effort
at calmness which ill-concealed the shame and disgust that filled
There was an indignant stir among the officers, and many lips seemed
trembling with speech. The impetuous Rigaud de Vaudreuil broke the
fierce silence. He struck his fist heavily on the table.
"Ordered us to stop the building of the walls of Quebec, and to pull
down what we have done by virtue of the King's corvée!--did I hear
your Excellency right?" repeated he in a tone of utmost incredulity.
"The King is surely mad to think of such a thing!"
"Yes, Rigaud! it is as I tell you; but we must respect the royal
command, and treat His Majesty's name as becomes loyal servants."
"Ventre saint bleu!--heard ever Canadian or Frenchman such moonshine
madness! I repeat it, your Excellency--dismantle Quebec? How in
God's name are the King's dominions and the King's subjects to be
defended?" Rigaud got warmer. He was fearless, and would, as every
one knew, have out his say had the King been present in person. "Be
assured, your Excellency, it is not the King who orders that affront
to his faithful colony; it is the King's ministers--the King's
mistresses--the snuff-box-tapping courtiers at Versailles, who can
spend the public money in more elegant ways than in raising up walls
round our brave old city! Ancient honor and chivalry of France!
what has become of you?"
Rigaud sat down angrily; the emotion he displayed was too much in
accord with the feelings of the gallant officers present to excite
other than marks of approbation, except among a few personal friends
of the Intendant, who took their cue from the avowed wishes of the
"What reason does His Majesty give," asked La Corne St. Luc, "for
this singular communication?"
"The only reason given is found in the concluding paragraph of the
despatch. I will allow the Secretary to read so much of it, and no
more, before the Intendant arrives." The Governor looked up at the
great clock in the hall with a grim glance of impatience, as if
mentally calling down anything but a blessing upon the head of the
"The Count de le Galissonière ought to know," said the despatch
sneeringly, "that works like those of Quebec are not to be
undertaken by the governors of colonies, except under express orders
from the King; and therefore it is His Majesty's desire that upon
the reception of this despatch your Excellency will discontinue the
works that have been begun upon Quebec. Extensive fortifications
require strong garrisons for their defence, and the King's treasury
is already exhausted by the extraordinary expenses of the war in
Europe. It cannot at the same time carry on the war in Europe and
meet the heavy drafts made upon it from North America."
The Secretary folded the despatch, and sat down without altering a
line of his impassive face. Not so the majority of the officers
round the table: they were excited, and ready to spring up in their
indignation. The King's name restrained them all but Rigaud de
Vaudreuil, who impetuously burst out with an oath, exclaiming,--
"They may as well sell New France at once to the enemy, if we are
not to defend Quebec! The treasury wants money for the war in
Europe forsooth! No doubt it wants money for the war when so much
is lavished upon the pimps, panders, and harlots of the Court!"
The Governor rose suddenly, striking the table with his scabbard to
stop Rigaud in his rash and dangerous speech.
"Not a word more of comment, Chevalier Rigaud!" said he, with a
sharp imperative tone that cut short debate; "not another word! His
Majesty's name and those of his ministers must be spoken here
respectfully, or not at all! Sit down, Chevalier de Vaudreuil; you
"I obey your Excellency--I am, I dare say, inconsiderate! but I am
right!" Rigaud's passion was subsiding, but not spent. He obeyed
the order, however. He had had his say, and flung himself heavily
upon his chair.
"The King's despatch demands respectful and loyal consideration,
remarked De Lery, a solid, grave officer of engineers, "and I doubt
not that upon a proper remonstrance from this council His Majesty
will graciously reconsider his order. The fall of Louisbourg is
ominous of the fall of Quebec. It is imperative to fortify the city
in time to meet the threatened invasion. The loss of Quebec would
be the loss of the Colony; and the loss of the Colony, the disgrace
of France and the ruin of our country."
"I cordially agree with the Chevalier de Lery," said La Corne St.
Luc; "he has spoken more sense than would be found in a shipload of
such despatches as that just read! Nay, your Excellency," continued
the old officer, smiling, "I shall not affront my sovereign by
believing that so ill-timed a missive came from him! Depend upon
it, His Majesty has neither seen nor sanctioned it. It is the work
of the minister and his mistresses, not the King's."
"La Corne! La Corne!" The Governor raised his finger with a
warning look. "We will not discuss the point further until we are
favored with the presence and opinion of the Intendant; he will
surely be here shortly!" At this moment a distant noise of shouting
was heard in some part of the city.
An officer of the day entered the hall in great haste, and whispered
something in the Governor's ear.
"A riot in the streets!" exclaimed the Governor. "The mob attacking
the Intendant! You do not say so! Captain Duval, turn out the
whole guard at once, and let Colonel St. Remy take the command and
clear the way for the Intendant, and also clear the streets of all
A number of officers sprang to their feet. "Keep seated, gentlemen!
We must not break up the Council," said the Governor. "We are sure
to have the Intendant here in a few minutes and to learn the cause
of this uproar. It is some trifling affair of noisy habitans, I
have no doubt."
Another loud shout, or rather yell, made itself distinctly heard in
the council-chamber. "It is the people cheering the Intendant on
his way through the city!" remarked La Corne St. Luc, ironically.
"Zounds! what a vacarme they make! See what it is to be popular
with the citizens of Quebec!"
There was a smile all round the table at La Corne's sarcasm. It
offended a few friends of the Intendant, however.
"The Chevalier La Corne speaks boldly in the absence of the
Intendant," said Colonel Leboeuf. "A gentleman would give a louis
d'or any day to buy a whip to lash the rabble sooner than a sou to
win their applause! I would not give a red herring for the good
opinion of all Quebec!"
"They say in France, Colonel," replied La Corne de St. Luc,
scornfully, "that 'King's chaff is better than other people's corn,
and that fish in the market is cheaper than fish in the sea!' I
believe it, and can prove it to any gentleman who maintains the
There was a laugh at La Corne's allusion to the Marquise de
Pompadour, whose original name of Jeanne Poisson, gave rise to
infinite jests and sarcasms among the people of low and high degree.
Colonel Leboeuf, choleric as he was, refrained from pressing the
quarrel with La Corne St. Luc. He sat sulkily smothering his wrath--
longing to leave the hall and go to the relief of the Intendant,
but kept against his will by the command of the Governor.
The drums of the main guard beat the assembly. The clash of arms
and the tramp of many feet resounded from the court-yard of the
Château. The members of the Council looked out of the windows as
the troops formed in column, and headed by Colonel St. Remy, defiled
out of the Castle gate, the thunder of their drums drowning every
other sound and making the windows shake as they marched through the
narrow streets to the scene of disturbance.
THE CHIEN D'OR.
On the Rue Buade, a street commemorative of the gallant Fontenac,
stood the large, imposing edifice newly built by the Bourgeois
Philibert, as the people of the Colony fondly called Nicholas Jaquin
Philibert, the great and wealthy merchant of Quebec and their
champion against the odious monopolies of the Grand Company favored
by the Intendant.
The edifice was of stone, spacious and lofty, but in style solid,
plain, and severe. It was a wonder of architecture in New France
and the talk and admiration of the Colony from Tadousac to Ville
Marie. It comprised the city residence of the Bourgeois, as well as
suites of offices and ware-rooms connected with his immense
The house was bare of architectural adornments; but on its façade,
blazing in the sun, was the gilded sculpture that so much piqued the
curiosity of both citizens and strangers and was the talk of every
seigniory in the land. The tablet of the Chien D'or,--the Golden
Dog,--with its enigmatical inscription, looked down defiantly upon
the busy street beneath, where it is still to be seen, perplexing
the beholder to guess its meaning and exciting our deepest
sympathies over the tragedy of which it remains the sole sad
Above and beneath the figure of a couchant dog gnawing the thigh
bone of a man is graven the weird inscription, cut deeply in the
stone, as if for all future generations to read and ponder over its
"Je suis un chien qui ronge l'os,
En le rongeant je prends mon repos.
Un temps viendra qui n'est pas venu
Que je mordrai qui m'aura mordu."
Or in English:
"I am a dog that gnaws his bone,
I couch and gnaw it all alone--
A time will come, which is not yet,
When I'll bite him by whom I'm bit."
The magazines of the Bourgeois Philibert presented not only an
epitome but a substantial portion of the commerce of New France.
Bales of furs, which had been brought down in fleets of canoes from
the wild, almost unknown regions of the Northwest, lay piled up to
the beams--skins of the smooth beaver, the delicate otter, black and
silver fox, so rich to the eye and silky to the touch that the
proudest beauties longed for their possession; sealskins to trim the
gowns of portly burgomasters, and ermine to adorn the robes of
nobles and kings. The spoils of the wolf, bear, and buffalo, worked
to the softness of cloth by the hands of Indian women, were stored
for winter wear and to fill the sledges with warmth and comfort when
the northwest wind freezes the snow to fine dust and the aurora
borealis moves in stately possession, like an army of spear-men,
across the northern sky. The harvests of the colonists, the corn,
the wool, the flax; the timber, enough to build whole navies, and
mighty pines fit to mast the tallest admiral, were stored upon the
wharves and in the warehouses of the Bourgeois upon the banks of the
St. Lawrence, with iron from the royal forges of the Three Rivers
and heaps of ginseng from the forests, a product worth its weight in
gold and eagerly exchanged by the Chinese for their teas, silks, and
The stately mansion of Belmont, overlooking the picturesque valley
of the St. Charles, was the residence proper of the Bourgeois
Philibert, but the shadow that in time falls over every hearth had
fallen upon his when the last of his children, his beloved son
Pierre, left home to pursue his military studies in France. During
Pierre's absence the home at Belmont, although kept up with the same
strict attention which the Bourgeois paid to everything under his
rule, was not occupied by him. He preferred his city mansion, as
more convenient for his affairs, and resided therein. His partner
of many years of happy wedded life had been long dead; she left no
void in his heart that another could fill, but he kept up a large
household for friendship's sake, and was lavish in his hospitality.
In secret he was a grave, solitary man, caring for the present only
for the sake of the thousands dependent on him--living much with the
memory of the dear dead, and much with the hope of the future in his
The Bourgeois was a man worth looking at and, at a glance, one to
trust to, whether you sought the strong hand to help, the wise head
to counsel, or the feeling heart to sympathize with you. He was
tall and strongly knit, with features of a high patrician cast, a
noble head, covered thick with grizzly hair--one of those heads so
tenacious of life that they never grow bald, but carry to the grave
the snows of a hundred years. His quick gray eyes caught your
meaning ere it was half spoken. A nose and chin, moulded with
beauty and precision, accentuated his handsome face. His lips were
grave even in their smile, for gaiety was rarely a guest in the
heart of the Bourgeois--a man keenly susceptible to kindness, but
strong in resentments and not to be placated without the fullest
The Bourgeois sat by the table in his spacious, well-furnished
drawing-room, which overlooked the Rue Buade and gave him a glimpse
of the tall, new Cathedral and the trees and gardens of the
Seminary. He was engaged in reading letters and papers just arrived
from France by the frigate, rapidly extracting their contents and
pencilling on their margins memos, for further reference to his
The only other occupant of the room was a very elderly lady, in a
black gown of rigid Huguenot fashion. A close white cap, tied under
her chin, set off to the worst advantage her sharp, yet kindly,
features. Not an end of ribbon or edge of lace could be seen to
point to one hair-breadth of indulgence in the vanities of the world
by this strict old Puritan, who, under this unpromising exterior,
possessed the kindliest heart in Christendom. Her dress, if of
rigid severity, was of saintly purity, and almost pained the eye
with its precision and neatness. So fond are we of some freedom
from over-much care as from over-much righteousness, that a stray
tress, a loose ribbon, a little rent even, will relieve the eye and
hold it with a subtile charm. Under the snow white hair of Dame
Rochelle--for she it was, the worthy old housekeeper and ancient
governess of the House of Philibert--you saw a kind, intelligent
face. Her dark eyes betrayed her Southern origin, confirmed by her
speech, which, although refined by culture, still retained the soft
intonation and melody of her native Languedoc.
Dame Rochelle, the daughter of an ardent Calvinist minister, was
born in the fatal year of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes,
when Louis XIV. undid the glorious work of Henri IV., and covered
France with persecution and civil war, filling foreign countries
with the elect of her population, her industry, and her wealth,
exiled in the name of religion.
Dame Rochelle's childhood had passed in the trying scenes of the
great persecution, and in the succeeding civil wars of the Cevennes
she lost all that was nearest and dearest to her--her father, her
brothers, her kindred nearly all, and lastly, a gallant gentleman of
Dauphiny to whom she was betrothed. She knelt beside him at his
place of execution--or martyrdom, for he died for his faith--and
holding his hands in hers, pledged her eternal fidelity to his
memory, and faithfully kept it all her life.
The Count de Philibert, elder brother of the Bourgeois, was an
officer of the King; he witnessed this sad scene, took pity upon the
hapless girl, and gave her a home and protection with his family in
the Château of Philibert, where she spent the rest of her life until
the Bourgeois succeeded to his childless brother. In the ruin of
his house she would not consent to leave them, but followed their
fortunes to New France. She had been the faithful friend and
companion of the wife of the Bourgeois and the educator of his
children, and was now, in her old age, the trusted friend and
manager of his household. Her days were divided between the
exercises of religion and the practical duties of life. The light
that illumined her, though flowing through the narrow window of a
narrow creed, was still light of divine origin. It satisfied her
faith, and filled her with resignation, hope, and comfort.
Her three studies were the Bible, the hymns of Marot, and the
sermons of the famous Jurieu. She had listened to the prophecies of
Grande Marie, and had even herself been breathed upon on the top of
Mount Peira by the Huguenot prophet, De Serre.
Good Dame Rochelle was not without a feeling that at times the
spiritual gift she had received when a girl made itself manifest by
intuitions of the future, which were, after all, perhaps only
emanations of her natural good sense and clear intellect--the
foresight of a pure mind.
The wasting persecutions of the Calvinists in the mountains of the
Cevennes drove men and women wild with desperate fanaticism. De
Serre had an immense following. He assumed to impart the Holy
Spirit and the gift of tongues by breathing upon the believers. The
refugees carried his doctrines to England, and handed down their
singular ideas to modern times; and a sect may still be found which
believes in the gift of tongues and practises the power of
prophesying, as taught originally in the Cevennes.
The good dame was not reading this morning, although the volume
before her lay open. Her glasses lay upon the page, and she sat
musing by the open window, seldom looking out, however, for her
thoughts were chiefly inward. The return of Pierre Philibert, her
foster child, had filled her with joy and thankfulness, and she was
pondering in her mind the details of a festival which the Bourgeois
intended to give in honor of the return of his only son.
The Bourgeois had finished the reading of his packet of letters, and
sat musing in silence. He too was intently thinking of his son.
His face was filled with the satisfaction of old Simeon when he
cried, out of the fulness of his heart, "Domine! nunc dimittis!"
"Dame Rochelle," said he. She turned promptly to the voice of her
master, as she ever insisted on calling him. "Were I superstitious,
I should fear that my great joy at Pierre's return might be the
prelude to some great sorrow."
"God's blessing on Pierre!" said she, "he can only bring joy to this
house. Thank the Lord for what He gives and what He takes! He took
Pierre, a stripling from his home, and returns him a great man, fit
to ride at the King's right hand and to be over his host like
Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, over the host of Solomon."
"Grand merci for the comparison, dame!" said the Bourgeois, smiling,
as he leaned back in his chair. "But Pierre is a Frenchman, and
would prefer commanding a brigade in the army of the Marshal de Saxe
to being over the host of King Solomom. But," continued he,
gravely, "I am strangely happy to-day, Deborah,"--he was wont to
call her Deborah when very earnest,--"and I will not anticipate any
mischief to mar my happiness. Pshaw! It is only the reaction of
over-excited feelings. I am weak in the strength of my joy."
"The still, small voice speaks to us in that way, master, to remind
us to place our trust in Heaven, not on earth, where all is
transitory and uncertain; for if a man live many years, and rejoice
in them all, let him remember the days of darkness, for they are
many! We are no strangers to the vanity and shadows of human life,
master! Pierre's return is like sunshine breaking through the
clouds. God is pleased if we bask in the sunshine when he sends
"Right, dame! and so we will! The old walls of Belmont shall ring
with rejoicing over the return of their heir and future owner."
The dame looked up delightedly at the remark of the Bourgeois. She
knew he had destined Belmont as a residence for Pierre; but the
thought suggested in her mind was, perhaps, the same which the
Bourgeois had mused upon when he gave expression to a certain
"Master," said she, "does Pierre know that the Chevalier Bigot was
concerned in the false accusations against you, and that it was he,
prompted by the Cardinal and the Princess de Carignan, who enforced
the unjust decree of the Court?"
"I think not, Deborah. I never told Pierre that Bigot was ever more
than the avocat du Roi in my persecution. It is what troubles me
amidst my joy. If Pierre knew that the Intendant had been my false
accuser on the part of the Cardinal, his sword would not rest a day
in its scabbard without calling Bigot to a bloody account. Indeed,
it is all I myself can do to refrain. When I met him for the first
time here, in the Palace gate, I knew him again and looked him full
in the eyes, and he knew me. He is a bold hound, and glared back at
me without shrinking. Had he smiled I should have struck him; but
we passed in silence, with a salute as mortal as enemies ever gave
each other. It is well, perhaps, I wore not my sword that day, for
I felt my passion rising--a thing I abhor. Pierre's young blood
would not remain still if he knew the Intendant as I know him. But
I dare not tell him! There would be bloodshed at once, Deborah!"
"I fear so, master! I trembled at Bigot in the old land! I tremble
at him here, where he is more powerful than before. I saw him
passing one day. He stopped to read the inscription of the Golden
Dog. His face was the face of a fiend, as he rode hastily away. He
knew well how to interpret it."
"Ha! you did not tell me that before, Deborah!" The Bourgeois rose,
excitedly. "Bigot read it all, did he? I hope every letter of it
was branded on his soul as with red-hot iron!"
"Dear master, that is an unchristian saying, and nothing good can
come of it. 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord!' Our worst enemies
are best left in His hands."
The dame was proceeding in a still more moralizing strain, when a
noise arose in the street from a crowd of persons, habitans for the
most part, congregated round the house. The noise increased to such
a degree that they stopped their conversation, and both the dame and
the Bourgeois looked out of the window at the increasing multitude
that had gathered in the street.
The crowd had come to the Rue Buade to see the famous tablet of the
Golden Dog, which was talked of in every seigniory in New France;
still more, perhaps, to see the Bourgeois Philibert himself--the
great merchant who contended for the rights of the habitans, and who
would not yield an inch to the Friponne.
The Bourgeois looked down at the ever-increasing throng,--country
people for the most part, with their wives, with not a few citizens,
whom he could easily distinguish by their dress and manner. The
Bourgeois stood rather withdrawn from the front, so as not to be
recognized, for he hated intensely anything like a demonstration,
still less an ovation. He could hear many loud voices, however, in
the crowd, and caught up the chief topics they discussed with each
His eyes rested several times on a wiry, jerking little fellow, whom
he recognized as Jean La Marche, the fiddler, a censitaire of the
manor of Tilly. He was a well-known character, and had drawn a
large circle of the crowd around himself.
"I want to see the Bourgeois Philibert!" exclaimed Jean La Marche.
"He is the bravest merchant in New France--the people's friend.
Bless the Golden Dog, and curse the Friponne!"
"Hurrah for the Golden Dog, and curse the Friponne!" exclaimed a
score of voices; "won't you sing, Jean?"
"Not now; I have a new ballad ready on the Golden Dog, which I shall
sing to-night--that is, if you will care to listen to me." Jean
said this with a very demure air of mock modesty, knowing well that
the reception of a new ballad from him would equal the furor for a
new aria from the prima donna of the opera at Paris.
"We will all come to hear it, Jean!" cried they: "but take care of
your fiddle or you will get it crushed in the crowd."
"As if I did not know how to take care of my darling baby!" said
Jean, holding his violin high above his head. "It is my only child;
it will laugh or cry, and love and scold as I bid it, and make
everybody else do the same when I touch its heart-strings." Jean
had brought his violin under his arm, in place of a spade, to help
build up the walls of the city. He had never heard of Amphion, with
his lyre, building up the walls of Thebes; but Jean knew that in his
violin lay a power of work by other hands, if he played while they
labored. "It lightened toil, and made work go merrily as the bells
of Tilly at a wedding," said he.
There was immense talk, with plenty of laughter and no thought of
mischief, among the crowd. The habitans of en haut and the habitans
of en bas commingled, as they rarely did, in a friendly way. Nor
was anything to provoke a quarrel said even to the Acadians, whose
rude patois was a source of merry jest to the better-speaking
The Acadians had flocked in great numbers into Quebec on the seizure
of their Province by the English, sturdy, robust, quarrelsome
fellows, who went about challenging people in their reckless way,--
Etions pas mon maître, monsieur?--but all were civil to-day, and
tuques were pulled off and bows exchanged in a style of easy
politeness that would not have shamed the streets of Paris.
The crowd kept increasing in the Rue Buade. The two sturdy beggars
who vigorously kept their places on the stone steps of the barrier,
or gateway, of the Basse Ville reaped an unusual harvest of the
smallest coin--Max Grimau, an old, disabled soldier, in ragged
uniform, which he had worn at the defence of Prague under the
Marshal de Belleisle, and blind Bartemy, a mendicant born--the
former, loud-tongued and importunate, the latter, silent and only
holding out a shaking hand for charity. No Finance Minister or
Royal Intendant studied more earnestly the problem how to tax the
kingdom than Max and Blind Bartemy how to toll the passers-by, and
with less success, perhaps.
To-day was a red-letter day for the sturdy beggars, for the news
flew fast that an ovation of some popular kind was to be given to
the Bourgeois Philibert. The habitans came trooping up the rough
mountain-road that leads from the Basse Ville to the Upper Town; and
up the long stairs lined with the stalls of Basque pedlars--
cheating, loquacious varlets--which formed a by-way from the lower
regions of the Rue de Champlain--a break-neck thoroughfare little
liked by the old and asthmatical, but nothing to the sturdy
"climbers," as the habitans called the lads of Quebec, or the light-
footed lasses who displayed their trim ankles as they flew up the
breezy steps to church or market.
Max Grimau and Blind Bartemy had ceased counting their coins. The
passers-by came up in still increasing numbers, until the street,
from the barrier of the Basse Ville to the Cathedral, was filled
with a noisy, good-humored crowd, without an object except to stare
at the Golden Dog and a desire to catch a glimpse of the Bourgeois
The crowd had become very dense, when a troop of gentlemen rode at
full speed into the Rue Buade, and after trying recklessly to force
their way through, came to a sudden halt in the midst of the surging
The Intendant, Cadet, and Varin had ridden from Beaumanoir, followed
by a train of still flushed guests, who, after a hasty purification,
had returned with their host to the city--a noisy troop, loquacious,
laughing, shouting, as is the wont of men reckless at all times, and
still more defiant when under the influence of wine.
"What is the meaning of this rabble, Cadet?" asked Bigot; "they seem
to be no friends of yours. That fellow is wishing you in a hot
place!" added Bigot, laughing, as he pointed out a habitan who was
shouting "A bas Cadet!"
"Nor friends of yours, either," replied Cadet. "They have not
recognized you yet, Bigot. When they do, they will wish you in the
hottest place of all!"
The Intendant was not known personally to the habitans as were
Cadet, Varin, and the rest. Loud shouts and execrations were freely
vented against these as soon as they were recognized.
"Has this rabble waylaid us to insult us?" asked Bigot. "But it can
hardly be that they knew of our return to the city to-day." The
Intendant began to jerk his horse round impatiently, but without
"Oh, no, your Excellency! it is the rabble which the Governor has
summoned to the King's corvée. They are paying their respects to
the Golden Dog, which is the idol the mob worships just now. They
did not expect us to interrupt their devotions, I fancy."
"The vile moutons! their fleece is not worth the shearing!"
exclaimed Bigot angrily, at the mention of the Golden Dog, which,
as he glanced upwards, seemed to glare defiantly upon him.
"Clear the way, villains!" cried Bigot loudly, while darting his
horse into the crowd. "Plunge that Flanders cart-horse of yours
into them, Cadet, and do not spare their toes!"
Cadet's rough disposition chimed well with the Intendant's wish.
"Come on, Varin, and the rest of you," cried he, "give spur, and
fight your way through the rabble."
The whole troop plunged madly at the crowd, striking right and left
with their heavy hunting-whips. A violent scuffle ensued; many
habitans were ridden down, and some of the horsemen dismounted. The
Intendant's Gascon blood got furious: he struck heavily, right and
left, and many a bleeding tuque marked his track in the crowd.
The habitans recognized him at last, and a tremendous yell burst
out. "Long live the Golden Dog! Down with the Friponne!" while the
more bold ventured on the cry, "Down with the Intendant and the
thieves of the Grand Company!"
Fortunately for the troop of horsemen the habitans were utterly
unarmed; but stones began to be thrown, and efforts were made by
them, not always unsuccessfully, to pull the riders off of their
horses. Poor Jean La Marche's darling child, his favorite violin,
was crushed at the first charge. Jean rushed at the Intendant's
bridle, and received a blow which levelled him.
The Intendant and all the troop now drew their swords. A bloody
catastrophe seemed impending, when the Bourgeois Philibert, seeing
the state of affairs, despatched a messenger with tidings to the
Castle of St. Louis, and rushed himself into the street amidst the
surging crowd, imploring, threatening, and compelling them to give
He was soon recognized and cheered by the people; but even his
influence might have failed to calm the fiery passions excited by
the Intendant's violence, had not the drums of the approaching
soldiery suddenly resounded above the noise of the riot. In a few
minutes long files of glittering bayonets were seen streaming down
the Rue du Fort. Colonel St. Remi rode at their head, forming his
troops in position to charge the crowd. The colonel saw at once the
state of affairs, and being a man of judgment, commanded peace
before resorting to force. He was at once obeyed. The people stood
still and in silence. They fell back quietly before the troops.
They had no purpose to resist the authorities--indeed, had no
purpose whatever. A way was made by the soldiers, and the Intendant
and his friends were extricated from their danger.
They rode at once out of the mob amid a volley of execrations, which
were replied to by angry oaths and threats of the cavaliers as they
galloped across the Place d'Armes and rode pell-mell into the
gateway of the Château of St. Louis.
The crowd, relieved of their presence, grew calm; and some of the
more timid of them got apprehensive of the consequences of this
outrage upon the Royal Intendant. They dispersed quietly, singly
or in groups, each one hoping that he might not be called upon to
account for the day's proceedings.
The Intendant and his cortège of friends rode furiously into the
courtyard of the Château of St. Louis, dishevelled, bespattered, and
some of them hatless. They dismounted, and foaming with rage,
rushed through the lobbies, and with heavy trampling of feet,
clattering of scabbards, and a bedlam of angry tongues, burst into
the Council Chamber.
The Intendant's eyes shot fire. His Gascon blood was at fever heat,
flushing his swarthy cheek like the purple hue of a hurricane. He
rushed at once to the council-table, and seeing the Governor,
saluted him, but spoke in tones forcibly kept under by a violent
"Your Excellency and gentlemen of the Council will excuse our
delay," shouted Bigot, "when I inform you that I, the Royal
Intendant of New France, have been insulted, pelted, and my very
life threatened by a seditious mob congregated in the streets of
"I grieve much, and sympathize with your Excellency's indignation,"
replied the Governor warmly; "I rejoice you have escaped unhurt. I
despatched the troops to your assistance, but have not yet learned
the cause of the riot."
"The cause of the riot was the popular hatred of myself for
enforcing the royal ordinances, and the seditious example set the
rabble by the notorious merchant, Philibert, who is at the bottom
of all mischief in New France."
The Governor looked fixedly at the Intendant, as he replied
quietly,--"The Sieur Philibert, although a merchant, is a gentleman
of birth and loyal principles, and would be the last man alive, I
think, to excite a riot. Did you see the Bourgeois, Chevalier?"
"The crowd filled the street near his magazines, cheering for the
Bourgeois and the Golden Dog. We rode up and endeavored to force
our way through. But I did not see the Bourgeois himself until the
disturbance had attained its full proportions."
"And then, your Excellency? Surely the Bourgeois was not
encouraging the mob, or participating in the riot?"
"No! I do not charge him with participating in the riot, although
the mob were all his friends and partisans. Moreover," said Bigot,
frankly, for he felt he owed his safety to the interference of the
Bourgeois, "it would be unfair not to acknowledge that he did what
he could to protect us from the rabble. I charge Philibert with
sowing the sedition that caused the riot, not with rioting himself."
"But I accuse him of both, and of all the mob has done!" thundered
Varin, enraged to hear the Intendant speak with moderation and
justice. "The house of the Golden Dog is a den of traitors; it
ought to be pulled down, and its stones built into a monument of
infamy over its owner, hung like a dog in the market-place."
"Silence, Varin!" exclaimed the Governor sternly. "I will not hear
the Sieur Philibert spoken of in these injurious terms. The
Intendant does not charge him with this disturbance; neither shall
"Par Dieu! you shall not, Varin!" burst in La Corne St. Luc, roused
to unusual wrath by the opprobrium heaped upon his friend the
Bourgeois; "and you shall answer to me for that you have said!"
"La Corne! La Corne!" The Governor saw a challenge impending, and
interposed with vehemence. "This is a Council of War, and not a
place for recriminations. Sit down, dear old friend, and aid me to
get on with the business of the King and his Colony, which we are
here met to consider."
The appeal went to the heart of La Corne. He sat down. "You have
spoken generously, Chevalier Bigot, respecting the Bourgeois
Philibert," continued the Governor. "I am pleased that you have
done so. My Aide-de-Camp, Colonel Philibert, who is just entering
the Council, will be glad to hear that your Excellency does justice
to his father in this matter."
"The blessing of St. Bennet's boots upon such justice," muttered
Cadet to himself. "I was a fool not to run my sword through
Philibert when I had the chance."
The Governor repeated to Colonel Philibert what had been said by
Colonel Philibert bowed to the Intendant. "I am under obligation to
the Chevalier Bigot," said he, "but it astonishes me much that any
one should dare implicate my father in such a disturbance.
Certainly the Intendant does him but justice."
This remark was not pleasing to Bigot, who hated Colonel Philibert
equally with his father. "I merely said he had not participated in
the riot, Colonel Philibert, which was true. I did not excuse your
father for being at the head of the party among whom these outrages
arise. I simply spoke truth, Colonel Philibert. I do not eke out
by the inch my opinion of any man. I care not for the Bourgeois
Philibert more than for the meanest blue cap in his following."
This was an ungracious speech. Bigot meant it to be such. He
repented almost of the witness he had borne to the Bourgeois's
endeavors to quell the mob. But he was too profoundly indifferent
to men's opinions respecting himself to care to lie.
Colonel Philibert resented the Intendant's sneer at his father.
He faced Bigot, saying to him,--"The Chevalier Bigot has done but
simple justice to my father with reference to his conduct in regard
to the riot. But let the Intendant recollect that, although a
merchant, my father is above all things a Norman gentleman, who
never swerved a hair-breadth from the path of honor--a gentleman
whose ancient nobility would dignify even the Royal Intendant."
Bigot looked daggers at this thrust at his own comparatively humble
origin. "And this I have further to say," continued Philibert,
looking straight in the eyes of Bigot, Varin, and Cadet, "whoever
impugns my father's honor impugns mine; and no man, high or low,
shall do that and escape chastisement!"
The greater part of the officers seated round the council-board
listened with marks of approval to Philibert's vindication of his
father. But no one challenged his words, although dark, ominous
looks glanced from one to another among the friends of the
Intendant. Bigot smothered his anger for the present, however; and
to prevent further reply from his followers he rose, and bowing to
the Governor, begged His Excellency to open the Council.
"We have delayed the business of the King too long with these
personal recriminations," said he. "I shall leave this riot to be
dealt with by the King's courts, who will sharply punish both
instigators and actors in this outrage upon the royal authority."
These words seemed to end the dispute for the present.
THE COUNCIL OF WAR.
The Council now opened in due form. The Secretary read the royal
despatches, which were listened to with attention and respect,
although with looks of dissent in the countenances of many of the
The Governor rose, and in a quiet, almost a solemn strain, addressed
the Council: "Gentlemen," said he, "from the tenor of the royal
despatches just read by the Secretary, it is clear that our beloved
New France is in great danger. The King, overwhelmed by the powers
in alliance against him, can no longer reinforce our army here. The
English fleet is supreme--for the moment only, I hope!" added the
Governor, as if with a prevision of his own future triumphs on the
ocean. "English troops are pouring into New York and Boston, to
combine with the militia of New England and the Middle Colonies in a
grand attack upon New France. They have commenced the erection of a
great fort at Chouagen on Lake Ontario, to dispute supremacy with
our stronghold at Niagara, and the gates of Carillon may ere long
have to prove their strength in keeping the enemy out of the Valley
of the Richelieu. I fear not for Carillon, gentlemen, in ward of
the gallant Count de Lusignan, whom I am glad to see at our Council.
I think Carillon is safe.
The Count de Lusignan, a gray-headed officer of soldierly bearing,
bowed low to this compliment from the Governor. "I ask the Count de
Lusignan," continued the Governor, "what he thinks would result from
our withdrawing the garrison from Carillon, as is suggested in the
"The Five Nations would be on the Richelieu in a week, and the
English in Montreal a month after such a piece of folly on our
part!" exclaimed the Count de Lusignan.
"You cannot counsel the abandonment of Carillon then, Count?" A
smile played over the face of the Governor, as if he too felt the
absurdity of his question.
"Not till Quebec itself fall into the enemy's hands. When that
happens, His Majesty will need another adviser in the place of the
old Count de Lusignan."
"Well spoken, Count! In your hands Carillon is safe, and will one
day, should the enemy assail it, be covered with wreaths of victory,
and its flag be the glory of New France."
"So be it, Governor. Give me but the Royal Roussillon and I pledge
you neither English, Dutch, nor Iroquois shall ever cross the waters
of St. Sacrament."
"You speak like your ancestor the crusader, Count. But I cannot
spare the Royal Roussillon. Think you you can hold Carillon with
your present garrison?"
"Against all the force of New England. But I cannot promise the
same against the English regulars now landing at New York."
"They are the same whom the King defeated at Fontenoy, are they
not?" interrupted the Intendant, who, courtier as he was, disliked
the tenor of the royal despatches as much as any officer present,--
all the more as he knew La Pompadour was advising peace out of a
woman's considerations rather than upholding the glory of France.
"Among them are many troops who fought us at Fontenoy. I learned
the fact from an English prisoner whom our Indians brought in from
Fort Lydius," replied the Count de Lusignan.
"Well, the more of them the merrier," laughed La Corne St. Luc.
"The bigger the prize, the richer they who take it. The treasure-
chests of the English will make up for the beggarly packs of the New
Englanders. Dried stock fish, and eel-skin garters to drive away
the rheumatism, were the usual prizes we got from them down in
"The English of Fontenoy are not such despicable foes," remarked the
Chevalier de Lery; "they sufficed to take Louisbourg, and if we
discontinue our walls, will suffice to take Quebec."
"Louisbourg was not taken by THEM, but fell through the mutiny of
the base Swiss!" replied Bigot, touched sharply by any allusion to
that fortress where he had figured so discreditably. "The vile
hirelings demanded money of their commander when they should have
drawn the blood of the enemy!" added he, angrily.
"Satan is bold, but he would blush in the presence of Bigot,"
remarked La Corne St. Luc to an Acadian officer seated next him.
"Bigot kept the King's treasure, and defrauded the soldiers of their
pay: hence the mutiny and the fall of Louisbourg."
"It is what the whole army knows," replied the officer. "But hark!
the Abbé Piquet is going to speak. It is a new thing to see clergy
in a Council of War!"
"No one has a better right to speak here than the Abbé Piquet,"
replied La Corne. "No one has sent more Indian allies into the
field to fight for New France than the patriotic Abbé."
Other officers did not share the generous sentiments of La Corne St.
Luc. They thought it derogatory to pure military men to listen to a
priest on the affairs of the war.
"The Marshal de Belleisle would not permit even Cardinal de Fleury
to put his red stockings beneath his council-table," remarked a
strict martinet of La Serre; "and here we have a whole flock of
black gowns darkening our regimentals! What would Voltaire say?"
"He would say that when priests turn soldiers it is time for
soldiers to turn tinkers and mend holes in pots, instead of making
holes in our enemies," replied his companion, a fashionable
freethinker of the day.
"Well, I am ready to turn pedlar any day! The King's army will go
to the dogs fast enough since the Governor commissions Recollets
and Jesuits to act as royal officers," was the petulant remark of
another officer of La Serre.
A strong prejudice existed in the army against the Abbé Piquet for
his opposition to the presence of French troops in his Indian
missionary villages. They demoralized his neophytes, and many of
the officers shared in the lucrative traffic of fire-water to the
Indians. The Abbé was zealous in stopping those abuses, and the
officers complained bitterly of his over-protection of the Indians.
The famous "King's Missionary," as he was called, stood up with an
air of dignity and authority that seemed to assert his right to be
present in the Council of War, for the scornful looks of many of the
officers had not escaped his quick glance.
The keen black eyes, thin resolute lips, and high swarthy forehead
of the Abbé would have well become the plumed hat of a marshal of
France. His loose black robe, looped up for freedom, reminded one
of a grave senator of Venice whose eye never quailed at any policy,
however severe, if required for the safety of the State.
The Abbé held in his hand a large roll of wampum, the tokens of
treaties made by him with the Indian nations of the West, pledging
their alliance and aid to the great Onontio, as they called the
Governor of New France.
"My Lord Governor!" said the Abbé, placing his great roll on the
table, "I thank you for admitting the missionaries to the Council.
We appear less as churchmen on this occasion than as the King's
ambassadors, although I trust that all we have done will redound to
God's glory and the spread of religion among the heathen. These
belts of wampum are tokens of the treaties we have made with the
numerous and warlike tribes of the great West. I bear to the
Governor pledges of alliance from the Miamis and Shawnees of the
great valley of the Belle Rivière, which they call the Ohio. I am
commissioned to tell Onontio that they are at peace with the King
and at war with his enemies from this time forth forever. I have
set up the arms of France on the banks of the Belle Rivière, and
claimed all its lands and waters as the just appanage of our
sovereign, from the Alleghanies to the plantations of Louisiana.
The Sacs and Foxes, of the Mississippi; the Pottawatomies,
Winnebagoes, and Chippewas of a hundred bands who fish in the great
rivers and lakes of the West; the warlike Ottawas, who have carried
the Algonquin tongue to the banks of Lake Erie,--in short, all
enemies of the Iroquois have pledged themselves to take the field
whenever the Governor shall require the axe to be dug up and lifted
against the English and the Five Nations. Next summer the chiefs of
all these tribes will come to Quebec, and ratify in a solemn General
Council the wampums they now send by me and the other missionaries,
my brothers in the Lord!"
The Abbé, with the slow, formal manner of one long accustomed to the
speech and usages of the Indians, unrolled the belts of wampum, many
fathoms in length, fastened end to end to indicate the length of the
alliance of the various tribes with France. The Abbé interpreted
their meaning, and with his finger pointed out the totems or signs
manual--usually a bird, beast, or fish--of the chiefs who had signed
The Council looked at the wampums with intense interest, well
knowing the important part these Indians were capable of assuming in
the war with England.
"These are great and welcome pledges you bring us, Abbé," said the
Governor; "they are proofs at once of your ability and of your
zealous labors for the King. A great public duty has been ably
discharged by you and your fellow-missionaries, whose loyalty and
devotion to France it shall be my pleasure to lay before His
Majesty. The Star of Hope glitters in the western horizon, to
encourage us under the clouds of the eastern. Even the loss of
Acadia, should it be final, will be compensated by the acquisition
of the boundless fertile territories of the Belle Riviere and of the
Illinois. The Abbé Piquet and his fellow-missionaries have won the
hearts of the native tribes of the West. There is hope now, at
last, of uniting New France with Louisiana in one unbroken chain of
"It has been my ambition, since His Majesty honored me with the
Government of New France, to acquire possession of those vast
territories covered with forests old as time, and in soil rich
and fertile as Provence and Normandy.
"I have served the King all my life," continued the Governor, "and
served him with honor and even distinction,--permit me to say this
much of myself."
He spoke in a frank, manly way, for vanity prompted no part of his
speech. "Many great services have I rendered my country, but I feel
that the greatest service I could yet do Old France or New would be
the planting of ten thousand sturdy peasants and artisans of France
in the valley of the far West, to make its forests vocal with the
speech of our native land.
"This present war may end suddenly,--I think it will: the late
victory at Lawfelt has stricken the allies under the Duke of
Cumberland a blow hard as Fontenoy. Rumors of renewed negotiations
for peace are flying thick through Europe. God speed the
peacemakers, and bless them, I say! With peace comes opportunity.
Then, if ever, if France be true to herself and to her heritage in
the New World, she will people the valley of the Ohio and secure