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      [18] Meules au Ministre, 8-11 Juillet, 1684.When La Salle reached Paris, he went to his old lodgings in Rue de la Truanderie, and, it is likely enough, thought for an instant of the adventures and vicissitudes he had passed since he occupied them before. Another ordeal awaited him. He must confront, not painted savages with tomahawk and knife, butwhat he shrank from morethe courtly throngs that still live and move in the pages of Svign and Saint-Simon.

      One day, early in the morning, the old mansion was adorned with garlands and the door, especially, was decked and surrounded with ropes of flowers decorated with tassels of blossoms. Polycles house, the brides present home, was ornamented in the same way.A DOOMED NATION.

      [3] Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1646, 55.There had been a time, and that not remote, when these fair meadows were a waste of death and desolation, scathed with fire, and strewn with the ghastly relics of an Iroquois victory. Now all was changed. La Salle looked down from his rock on a concourse of wild human life. Lodges of bark and rushes, or cabins of logs, were clustered on the open plain or along the edges of the bordering forests. Squaws labored, warriors lounged in the sun, naked children whooped and gambolled on the grass. Beyond the river, a mile and a half on the left, the banks were studded once more with the lodges of the Illinois, who, to the number of six thousand, had returned, since their defeat, to this their favorite dwelling-place. [Pg 316] Scattered along the valley, among the adjacent hills, or over the neighboring prairie, were the cantonments of a half-score of other tribes and fragments of tribes, gathered under the protecting ?gis of the French,Shawanoes from the Ohio, Abenakis from Maine, Miamis from the sources of the Kankakee, with others whose barbarous names are hardly worth the record.[248] Nor were these La Salle's only dependants. [Pg 317] By the terms of his patent, he held seigniorial rights over this wild domain; and he now began to grant it out in parcels to his followers. These, however, were as yet but a score,a lawless band, trained in forest license, and marrying, as their detractors affirm, a new squaw every day in the week. This was after their lord's departure, for his presence imposed a check on these eccentricities.

      Serious in all things, incapable of the lighter pleasures, incapable of repose, finding no joy but in the pursuit of great designs, too shy for society and too reserved for popularity, often unsympathetic and always seeming so, smothering emotions which he could not utter, schooled to universal distrust, stern to his followers and pitiless to himself, bearing the brunt of every hardship and every danger, demanding of others an equal constancy joined to an implicit deference, heeding no counsel but his own, attempting the impossible and grasping at what was too vast to hold,he contained in his own complex and painful nature the chief springs of his triumphs, his failures, and his death.173 Take all this down! said the impetuous little man. The bride is ill. There will be no wedding.

      CHAPTER XIV.[6] Considerations for the Plantation in New England.See Hutchinson, Collection, 27. Mr. Savage thinks that this paper was by Winthrop. See Savage's Winthrop. I. 360, note.

      ** Ibid., Avril, 1661.

      la Compagnie de Jsus, le 28 de Juillet de lanne 1658. Thewho went the rounds with the soldiers and compelled women and girls to shut themselves up in their houses at nine oclock of summer evenings; if he had forbidden the wearing of lace, and made no objection to the refusal of the communion to women of quality because they wore a fontange; if he had not opposed excommunications flung about without sense or reason; if, I say, the count had been of this way of thinking he would have stood as a nonpareil, and have been put very soon on the list of saints, for saint-making is cheap in this country. *



      It is difficult not to suspect that the current belief at Rochefort had some foundation; and that the deadly strain of extreme hardship, prolonged anxiety, and alternation of disaster and success, joined to the fever which nearly killed him, had unsettled his judgment and given a morbid development to his natural defects. His universal suspicion, which included even the stanch and faithful Henri de Tonty; his needless provocation of persons whose good-will was necessary to him; his doubts whether he should sail for the Gulf or for Canada, when to sail to Canada would have been to renounce, or expose to almost certain defeat, an enterprise long cherished and definitely planned,all point to one conclusion. It may be thought that his doubts were feigned, in order to hide his destination to the last moment; but if so, he attempted to blind not only his ill wishers, but his mother, whom he also left in uncertainty as to his route. of the niece of Gaudais was Marie Nau. It was, in fact,


      [1] Saint-Vallier, tat Prsent de l'glise, 4 (Quebec, 1856).He gained audience of the Queen, and displayed his list of baptisms; while the ever present Jesuits failed not to seize him by the button, assuring him, not only that the late King had deeply at heart the establishment of their Society in Acadia, but that to this end he had made them a grant of two thousand livres a year. The Jesuits had found an ally and the intended mission a friend at court, whose story and whose character are too striking to pass unnoticed.