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      In the morning, the third of March, they dragged [Pg 191] their canoes half a league farther; then launched them, and, breaking the ice with clubs and hatchets, forced their way slowly up the stream. Again their progress was barred, and again they took to the woods, toiling onward till a tempest of moist, half-liquid snow forced them to bivouac for the night. A sharp frost followed, and in the morning the white waste around them was glazed with a dazzling crust. Now, for the first time, they could use their snow-shoes. Bending to their work, dragging their canoes, which glided smoothly over the polished surface, they journeyed on hour after hour and league after league, till they reached at length the great town of the Illinois, still void of its inhabitants.[164]On the morrow, the band of adventurers mustered for the fatal journey.[320] The five horses, bought by [Pg 418] La Salle of the Indians, stood in the area of the fort, packed for the march; and here was gathered the wretched remnant of the colony,those who were to go, and those who were to stay behind. These latter were about twenty in all,Barbier, who was to command in the place of Joutel; Sablonnire, who, despite his title of marquis, was held in great contempt;[321] the friars, Membr and Le Clerc,[322] and the priest Chefdeville, besides a surgeon, soldiers, laborers, seven women and girls, and several children, doomed, in this deadly exile, to wait the issues of the journey, and the possible arrival of a tardy succor. La Salle had made them a last address, delivered, we are told, with that winning air which, though alien from his usual bearing, seems to have been at times a natural expression of this unhappy man.[323] It was a bitter parting, one of sighs, tears, and embracings,the farewell of those on whose souls had sunk a heavy boding that they would never [Pg 419] meet again.[324] Equipped and weaponed for the journey, the adventurers filed from the gate, crossed the river, and held their slow march over the prairies beyond, till intervening woods and hills shut Fort St. Louis forever from their sight.

      *** Dpche de Colbert, 11 Fev., 1671.

      Perrot, as he had doubtless foreseen, found himself in an excellent position for making money. The tribes of the upper lakes, and all the neighboring regions, brought down their furs every summer to the annual fair at Montreal. Perrot took his measures accordingly. On the island which still bears his name, lying above Montreal and directly in the route of the descending savages, he built a storehouse, and placed it in charge of a retired lieutenant named Brucy, who stopped the Indians on their way, and carried on an active trade with them, to the great profit of himself and his associate, and the great loss of the merchants in the settlements below. This was not all. Perrot connived at the desertion of his own 29 soldiers, who escaped to the woods, became coureurs de bois, or bush-rangers, traded with the Indians in their villages, and shared their gains with their commander. Many others, too, of these forest rovers, outlawed by royal edicts, found in the governor of Montreal a protector, under similar conditions.If the bay had been a drinking cup, he said,275 and there was an invisible mouth reaching from one shore to the other, the water could not have been drained quickerin five, six long swallows.

      34,000, including Acadia.On reaching France, Dumesnil contrived to draw the attention of the minister Colbert to his accusations, and to the treatment they had brought upon him. On this Colbert demanded of Gaudais, who had also returned in one of the autumn ships, why he had not reported these matters to him. Gaudais made a lame attempt to explain his silence, gave his statement of the seizure of the papers, answered in vague terms some of Dumesnils charges against the Canadian financiers, and said that he had nothing to do with the rest. In the following spring Colbert wrote as follows to his relative Terron, intendant of marine:

      [323] "Il fit une Harangue pleine d'loquence et de cet air engageant qui luy estoit si naturel: toute la petite Colonie y estoit presente et en f?t touche jusques aux larmes, persuade de la ncessit de son voyage et de la droiture de ses intentions."Douay in Le Clerc, ii, 330.Simonides could scarcely believe his ears, and turned to his guest in speechless surprise. Lycon laughed in his sleeve.

      The luckless intendant was liable to be held to account for the action of natural laws. If the population does not increase in proportion to the pains I take, writes the king to Duchesneau, you are to lay the blame on yourself for not having executed my principal order (to promote marriages) and for having failed in the principal object for which I sent you to Canada. **

      CHAPTER X.Fortunately Acestors house stood in the Melitan quarter so Xenocles, while on his way to it, had time to clear his brain.


      he went abroad.In the morning the French landed again, and found their new friends on the same spot, to the number of eighty or more, seated under a shelter of boughs, in festal attire of smoke-tanned deer-skins, painted in many colors. The party then rowed up the river, the Indians following them along the shore. As they advanced, coasting the borders of a great marsh that lay upon their left, the St. John's spread before them in vast sheets of glistening water, almost level with its flat, sedgy shores, the haunt of alligators, and the resort of innumerable birds. Beyond the marsh, some five miles from the mouth of the river, they saw a ridge of high ground abutting on the water, which, flowing beneath in a deep, strong current, had undermined it, and left a steep front of yellowish sand. This was the hill now called St. John's Bluff. Here they landed and entered the woods, where Laudonniere stopped to rest while his lieutenant, Ottigny, with a sergeant and a few soldiers, went to explore the country.


      Justice, Police, et Finances en Canada, etc., pour M. Talon,


      ages of the cures, and other details. See Abeille, I. ThisPROJECTS OF FRONTENAC.