University of Virginia Library

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A few years since a gentleman, on his way from
Niagara to Montreal, arrived at Coteau du Lac. While
the pilot, in conformity to the law, was obtaining a
clearance for the lower province, the clouds, which
had been all day threatening a storm, poured out their
stores of thunder, lightning, and rain with such violence,
that it was deemed most prudent to defer the
conclusion of the voyage till the following day. The
Boatmen's Inn was the only place of refuge, and the
stranger was at first glad of a shelter within it. But
he was an amateur traveller, and gentlemen of that
fastidious class do not patiently submit to inconveniences.
The inn was thronged with a motley crew
of Scotch and Irish emigrants—Canadians—and boatmen,
besides loiterers from the vicinity, who were just
reviving from the revels of the preceding night. The
windows were obscured with smoke, and the walls
tapestered with cobwebs. The millenium of spiders
and flies seemed to have arrived, for myriads of this
defenceless tribe buzzed fearlessly around the banners
of their natural enemy, as if, inspired by the kindliness
of my uncle Toby, he had said, “poor fly this world
is wide enough for thee and me.”

The old garments and hats that had been substituted
for broken panes of glass, were blown in, and the
rain pattered on the floor. Some of the doors hung
by one hinge—others had no latches; some of the
chairs were without bottoms; and some without legs;


Page 46
—the bed-rooms were unswept; the beds unmade;
and in short the whole establishment, as a celebrated
field-preacher said of a very incommodious part of the
other world, was “altogether inconvenient.”

The traveller, in hopes of winning the hostess' good
will, and thereby securing a clean pair of sheets, inquired
his way to the kitchen, where he found her surrounded
by some half dozen juvenile warriors in a
state of open hostility, far more terrible than the war
of the elements. Having succeeded by means of a
liberal distribution of sugar-plumbs, in procuring a
temporary suspension of arms, he introduced himself
to his hostess by some civil inquiries, in answer to
which he ascertained that she was a New England
woman, though unfortunately she possessed none of
those faculties for getting along, which are supposed to
be the birthright of every Yankee. She did express
a regret that her children were deprived of “school
and meeting privileges,” and entertained something
of a puritanical aversion to her Catholic neighbours;
but save these relics of local taste or prejudice, she
retained none of the peculiarities of her native land.
The gentleman was not long in discovering that the
unusual ingress of travellers reduced them all to the
level of primitive equality, and that so far from the
luxury of clean sheets, he must not hope for the exclusive
possession of any.

On further inquiry he learnt, that there was a French
village at a short distance from the inn, and after waiting
till the fury of the storm had abated, he sallied
forth in quest of accommodation and adventure. He
had not walked far, when his exploring eye fell on a
creaking sign-board, on which was inscribed “Auberge
et laugement.” But lodgment it would not afford to
our unfortunate traveller. Every apartment—every
nook and corner was occupied by an English party,
on their way to the Falls.

Politeness is an instinct in French nature, or if not


Page 47
an instinct, it is so interwoven in the texture of their
character, that it remains, a fast colour, when all other
original distinctions have faded. The Canadian peasant,
though he retains nothing of the activity and ingenuity
of his forefathers, salutes the stranger with an
air of courtesy rarely seen in any other uneducated
American. The landlord of the Auberge was an honourable
exemplification of this remark. He politely
told the stranger that he would conduct him to a farm
house, where he might obtain a clean room and a nice
bed. The offer was gratefully accepted, and our traveller
soon found himself comfortably established in a
neat white-washed cottage, in the midst of a peasant's
family, who were engaged in common rural occupations.
The wants of his body being thus provided
for, he resorted to the usual expedients to enliven the
hours that must intervene before bed-time. He inquired
of the master of the house how he provided
for his family, and after learning that he lived, as his
father and grandfather had before him, by carrying
the few products of his farm to Montreal, he turned
to the matron, and asked her why her children were
not taught English. “Ah!” she replied, “the English
have done us too much wrong.” She then
launched into a relation of her sufferings during the
last war. She had, like honest Dogberry, “had her
losses,” and found the usual consolation in recounting
them. The militia officers had spoiled her of her
flocks and herds, and des veaux—des moutons—des
dindons—et des poulets
, bled afresh in her sad tale.
If her children were not taught English, one of them,
the mother said, had been sent to a boarding-school at
the distance of twenty miles, and she could now read
like any priest. Little Marie was summoned, and she
read with tolerable fluency from her school-book a collection
of extracts from the fathers, while her simple
parents sat bending over her with their mouths wide
open, and their eyes sparkling and occasionally turning


Page 48
on the stranger with an expression of wonder and
delight, as if they would have said, “did you ever see
any thing equal to that?”

The good-natured stranger listened and lavished his
praises, and then, in the hope of escaping from any
further display of the child's erudition, he offered to
assist her elder sister, who was winding a skein of
yarn—this proved a more amusing resource. The
girl was pretty, and lively, and showed by the upward
inclination of the corners of her arch mouth, and the
flashes of her laughing eye, that she could understand
the compliments, and return the raillery of her assistant.
The pretty Louise had been living at the Seigniorie
with madame, a rich widow—“si riche—si
,” she said, but “trop agee pour Monsieur, parce
qu'elle a peut être trente ans; et d'ailleurs, elle n'est
pas assez belle pour Monsieur
.” Monsieur was a
bachelor of forty years' standing, and his vanity was
touched by Louise's adroit compliment. The skein
slipped off his hands, Louise bent her head to arrange
it, her fair round cheek was very near Monsieur's lips,
perhaps her mother thought too near, for she called to
Louise to lay aside her yarn and prepare the tea, and
after tea the pretty girl disappeared. Our traveller
yawned for an hour or two over the only book the
house afforded, Marie's readings from St. Augustine
and St. Chrysostom, and then begged to be shown to
his bed. On entering his room, his attention was attracted
to an antique, worm-eaten, travelling port-folio.
It was made of morocco, and bound and clasped with
silver, and, compared with the rude furniture of the
humble apartment, it had quite an exotic air. He took
it up, and looked at the initials on the clasp. “That is
a curious affair,” said his landlord, “and older than
either you or I.”

“Some relic, I suppose,” said the stranger, “which
you have inherited.”

“Something in that way,” replied the landlord—


Page 49
“there is a big letter in it which has been like so much
blank paper to us, for we have never had a scholar in
the family that could read it. I have thought to take
it some day to Pere Martigne at the Cedars, but I shall
let it rest till next year when Marie—bless her! will
be able to read writing.” The stranger said that if
his landlord had no objection, he would try to read
it. The old man's eyes glistened—he unclasped the
port-folio, took out the manuscript, and put it into the
stranger's hands. “You are heartily welcome,” he
said, “it would at best be an uncouth task for Marie,
for, as you see, the leaves are mouldy, and the ink has

The stranger's zeal abated when he perceived the
difficulty of the enterprise. “It is some old family
record, I imagine,” he said, unfolding it with an air of

“Heaven knows,” replied the landlord, “I only
know that it is no record of my family. We have
been but simple peasants from the beginning, and not
a single line has been written about us, except what is
on my grandfather's grave-stone at the Cedars—God
bless him! I remember as well as if it were yesterday,
his sitting in that old oaken chair by the casement,
and telling us all about his travels to the great
western lakes, with one Bouchard, a young Frenchman,
who was sent out to our trading establishments
—people did not go about the world then, as they do
now-a-days, just to look at rapids and waterfalls.”

“Then this,” said the stranger, in the hope of at last
obtaining a clew to the manuscript, “this I presume is
some account of the journey?”

“Oh no,” replied the old man. “Bouchard found
this on the shore of Lake Huron, in a strange wild
place—sit down, and I will tell you all I have heard
my grandfather say about it; bless the good old man,
he loved to talk of his journey.” And so did his
grandson, and the stranger listened patiently to the following


Page 50
particulars, which are only varied in language
from the landlord's narration.

It appeared that about the year 1700, young Bouchard
and his attendants, on their return from Lake
Superior, arrived on the shore of Lake Huron, near
Saganaw Bay. From an eminence, they descried an
Indian village, or to use their descriptive designation,
a “smoke.” Bouchard despatched his attendants with
Seguin, his Indian guide, to the village, to obtain canoes
to transport them over the lake, and in the mean
time he sought for some place that might afford him
shelter and repose. The shore was rocky and precipitous.
Practice and experience had rendered Bouchard
as agile and courageous as a Swiss mountaineer,
and he descended the precipice leaping from crag to
crag as unconscious of an emotion of fear, as the wild
bird that flapped her wings over him, and whose
screeches alone broke the stillness of the solitude.
Having attained the margin of the lake, he loitered
along the water's edge, till turning an angle of a rock,
he came to a spot which seemed to have been contrived
by nature for a place of refuge. It was a little
interval of ground in the form of an amphitheatre,
nearly infolded by the rocks, which as they projected
boldly into the lake at the extremities of the semicircle,
looked as if their giant forms had been set there
to defend this temple of nature. The ground was probably
inundated after easterly winds, for it was soft
and marshy, and among the rank weeds that covered
it there were some aquatic flowers. The lake had
once washed the base of the rocks here as elsewhere;
they were worn perfectly smooth in some places,
and in others broken and shelving. Bouchard was
attracted by some gooseberries that had forced themselves
through crevices in the rocks, and which seemed
to form, with their purple berries and bright green
leaves, a garland around the bald brow of the precipice.
They are among the few indigenous fruits of


Page 51
the wilderness, and doubtless looked as tempting to
Bouchard, as the most delicious fruits of the Hesperides
would, in his own sunny valleys of France. In
reconnoitring for the best mode of access to the
fruit, he discovered a small cavity in the rock, that
so much resembled a birth in a ship, as to appear to
have been the joint work of nature and art. It had
probably supplied the savage hunter or fisherman with
a place of repose, for it was strewn with decayed
leaves, so matted together as to form a luxurious couch
for one accustomed for many months to sleeping on a
blanket, spread on the bare ground. After possessing
himself of the berries, Bouchard crept into the recess,
and, (for there is companionship in water,) he forgot,
for a while, the tangled forests, and the wide unbroken
wilderness that interposed between him and his country.
He listened to the soft musical sounds of the
light waves, as they broke on the shelving rock and
reedy bank; and he gazed on the bright element
which reflected the blue vault of Heaven, and the
fleecy summer cloud, till his senses became oblivious
of this, their innocent and pure indulgence, and he
sunk into a deep sleep, from which he was awakened
by the dashing of oars.

Bouchard looked out upon the lake, and saw,
approaching the shore, a canoe in which were three
Indians—a young man who rowed the canoe, an old
man, and a maiden. They landed not far from him,
and without observing him, turned towards the opposite
extremity of the semicircle—the old man proceeded
with a slow measured step, and removing a
sort of door, formed of flexible brush-wood and matting,
(which Bouchard had not before noticed,) they
entered an excavation in the rocks—deposited something
which they had brought in their hands—prostrated
themselves for a few moments, and then slowly
returned to the canoe; and as long as Bouchard could
discern the bark, glancing like a water-fowl over the


Page 52
deep blue waters, he heard the sweet voice of the girl,
accompanied at regular intervals by her companions
hymning, as he fancied, some explanation of their mute
worship, for their expressive gestures pointed first to
the shore, and then to the skies.

As soon as the canoe disappeared, Bouchard crept
out of his birth and hastened to the cell. It proved
to be a natural excavation, was high enough to admit
a man of ordinary stature, and extended for several
feet, when it contracted to a mere channel in the rocks.
On one side, a little rivulet penetrated the arched roof,
and fell in large crystal drops into a natural basin
which it had worn in the rock. In the centre of the
cell there was a pyramidal heap of stones—on the top
of the pile lay a breviary and santanne; and on the
sides of it were arranged the votive offerings Bouchard
had seen deposited there. He was proceeding to examine
them, when he heard the shrill signal whistle
of his guide—he sounded his horn in reply, and in a
few moments Sequin descended the precipice and was
at his side. Bouchard told him what he had seen, and
Sequin after a moment's reflection, said, “this must
be the place of which I have so often heard our ancients
speak—a good man died here. He was sent
by the Great Spirit to teach our nation good things,
and the Hurons yet keep many of his sayings in their
hearts. They say he fasted all his life time, and he
should feast now, so they bring him provisions from
their festivals. Let us see—what offerings are these?”
Sequin first took up a wreath of wild flowers, and
evergreens interwoven—“this,” he said, “was a nuptial
offering,” and he inferred that the young people
were newly married. Next was a calumet—“this,”
said Sequin, “is an emblem of peace—an old man's
gift—and these,” he added, unrolling a skin that
enveloped some ripe ears of Indian corn, “are the
emblems of abundance, and the different occupations
of the man and woman. The husband hunts the deer


Page 53
—the wife cultivates the maize, and those,” he concluded,
pointing to some fresh scalps, and smiling at
Bouchard's shuddering, “those are the emblems of
victory.” Bouchard took up the breviary, and as he
opened it, a manuscript dropped from between its
leaves—he eagerly seized, and was proceeding to
examine it, when his guide pointed to the lengthening
shadows on the lake, and informed him that the canoes
were to be ready at the rising of the full moon. Bouchard
was a good Catholic, and like all good Catholics,
a good Christian. He reverenced all the saints in the
calendar, and he loved the memory of a good man,
albeit never canonized. He crossed himself and repeated
a paternoster, and then followed his guide to
the place of rendezvous. The manuscript he kept as
a holy relic, and that which fell into the hands of our
traveller, at the cottage of the Canadian peasant, was
a copy he had made to transmit to France. The original
was written by Pere Mesnard, (whose blessed
memory had consecrated the cell on Lake Huron,) and
contained the following particulars.

This holy man was educated at the seminary of St.
Sulpice. The difficult and dangerous enterprise of
propagating his religion among the savages of the
western world appears early to have taken possession
of his imagination, and to have inspired him with the
ardour of an apostle, and the resolution of a martyr.
He came to America under the auspices of Madame de
Bouillon, who had, a few years before, founded the
Hotel Dieu at Montreal. With her sanction and aid
he established himself at a little village of the Utawas,
on the borders of lake St. Louis, at the junction of the
Utawa river and the St. Lawrence. His pious efforts
won some of the savages to his religion, and to the
habits of civilized life, and others he persuaded to bring
their children to be trained in a yoke which they could
not themselves bear.

On one oceasion an Utawa chief appeared before


Page 54
Pere Mesnard with two girls whom he had captured
from the Iroquois—a fierce and powerful nation, most
jealous of the encroachment of the French, and resolute
to exclude from their territory the emissaries of
the Catholic religion. The Utawa chief presented
the children to the father, saying “they are the daughters
of my enemy—of Talasco, the mightiest chief of the
Iroquois—the eagle of his tribe—he hates Christians
—he calls them dogs—make his children Christians,
and I shall be revenged.” This was the only revenge
to which the good father would have been accessory.
He adopted the girls in the name of the church and St.
Joseph, to whom he dedicated them, intending that
when they arrived at a suitable age to make voluntary
vows they should enroll themselves with the religieuses
of the Hotel Dieu. They were baptized by
the Christian names of Rosalie and Françoise. They
lived in Pere Mesnard's cabin, and were strictly trained
to the prayers and penances of the church; Rosalie
was a natural devotee—the father has recorded surprising
instances of her voluntary mortifications.
When only twelve years old, she walked on the ice
around an island, three miles in circumference, on her
bare feet—she strewed her bed with thorns, and seared
her forehead with a red hot iron, that she might, as
she said, bear the mark of the “slave of Jesus.” The
father magnifies the piety of Rosalie with the exultation
of a true son of the church, yet, as a man, he
appears to have felt far more tenderness for Françoise,
whom he never names without some epithet, expressive
of affection or pity. If Rosalie was like the sunflower,
that lives but to pay homage to a single object,
Françoise resembled a luxuriant plant, that shoots out
its flowers on every side, and imparts the sweetness of
its perfume to every passer-by. Pere Mesnard says
she could not pray all the time—she loved to rove in
the woods—to sit gazing on the rapids, singing the
wild native songs for which the Iroquois are so much


Page 55
celebrated—she shunned all intercourse with the Utawas,
because they were the enemies of her people.
Pere Mesnard complains that she often evaded her
penances, but, he adds, she never failed in offices of

On one occasion, when the father had gone to the
Cedars on a religious errand, Françoise entered the
cabin hastily—Rosalie was kneeling before a crucifix.
She rose at her sister's entrance, and asked her
with an air of rebuke, where she had been sauntering?
Françoise said she had been to the Sycamores, to get
some plants to dye the quills for Julie's wedding moccasins.

“You think quite too much of weddings,” replied
Rosalie, “for one whose thoughts should all be upon
a heavenly marriage.”

“I am not a nun yet,” said Françoise, “but oh!
Rosalie, Rosalie, it was not of weddings I was thinking—as
I came through the wood I heard voices
whispering—our names were pronounced—not our
Christian names, but those they called us by at Onnontague.”

“You surely dared not stop to listen,” exclaimed
her sister.

“I could not help it, Rosalie—it was our mother's
voice”—An approaching footstep at this moment
startled both the girls. They looked out, and beheld
their mother, Genanhatenna, close to them. Rosalie
sunk down before the crucifix, Françoise sprang towards
her mother in the ecstacy of youthful and
natural joy. Genanhatenna, after looking silently at
her children for a few moments, spoke to them with
all the energy of strong and irrepressible feeling. She
entreated, she commanded them to return with her to
their own people. Rosalie was cold and silent, but
Françoise laid her head on her mother's lap, and wept
bitterly. Her resolution was shaken, till Genanhatenna
arose to depart, and the moment of decision


Page 56
could not be deferred, she then pressed the cross that
hung at her neck to her lips and said, “mother, I have
made a Christian vow, and must not break it.”

“Come with me then to the wood,” replied her
mother, “if we must part, let it be there—come
quickly—the young chief Allewemi awaits me—he
has ventured his life to attend me here. If the Utawas
see him their cowardly spirits will exult in a victory
over a single man.”

“Do not go,” whispered Rosalie, “you are not safe
beyond the call of our cabins.” Françoise's feelings
were in too excited a state to regard the caution, and
she followed her mother. When they reached the
wood Genanhatenna renewed her passionate entreaties.
“Ah! Françoise,” she said, “they will shut you
within stone walls, where you will never again breathe
the fresh air—never hear the songs of birds, nor the
dashing of waters. These Christian Utawas have slain
your brothers—your father was the stateliest tree in
in our forests, but his branches are all lopped, or withered,
and if you return not, he perishes without a
single scion from his stock. Alas! alas! I have borne
sons and daughters, and I must die a childless mother.”

Françoise's heart was touched—“I will—I will return
with you, mother,” she said, “only promise me
that my father will suffer me to be a Christian.”

“That I cannot, Françoise,” replied Genanhatenna,
“your father has sworn by the God Areouski,[1] that
no Christian shall live among the Iroquois.”

“Then, mother,” said Françoise, summoning all her
resolution, “we must part—I am signed with this holy
sign,” she crossed herself, “and the daughter of Talasco
should no longer waver.”

“Is it so?” cried the mother, and starting back from
Françoise's offered embrace, she clapped her hands
and shrieked in a voice that rung through the wood,


Page 57
the shriek was answered by a wild shout, and in a moment
after Talasco and the young Allewemi rushed
on them. “You are mine,” said Talasco, “in life and
in death you are mine.” Resistance would have been
vain. Françoise was placed between the two Indians,
and hurried forward. As the party issued from the
wood, they were met by a company of Frenchmen,
armed, and commanded by a young officer eager for adventure.
He perceived at a glance Françoise's European
dress—knew she must be a captive, and determined
to rescue her. He levelled his musket at
Talasco, Françoise sprang before her father, and
shielded him with her own person, while she explained
in French that he was her father. “Rescue me,” she
said, “but spare him—do not detain him—the Utawas
are his deadly foes—they will torture him to death,
and I, his unhappy child, shall be the cause of all his

Talasco said nothing. He had braced himself to the
issue, whatever it might be, with savage fortitude.
He disdained to sue for a life which it would have
been his pride to resign without shuddering, and when
the Frenchmen filed off to the right and left, and
permitted him to pass, he moved forward without one
look or word that indicated he was receiving a favour
at their hands. His wife followed him. “Mother—
one parting word,” said Françoise, in a voice of tender

“One word,” echoed Genanhatenna, pausing for an
instant, “Yes, one word—Vengeance. The day of
your father's vengeance will come—I have heard the
promise in the murmuring stream and in the rushing
wind—it will come.”

Françoise bowed her head as if she had been smitten,
grasped her rosary, and invoked her patron saint. The
young officer, after a moment's respectful silence, asked
whither he should conduct her? “To Pere Mesnard's”—she


Page 58

“Pere Mesnard's,” reiterated the officer. “Pere
Mesnard is my mother's brother, and I was on my
way to him when I was so fortunate as to meet

The officer's name was Eugene Brunon. He remained
for some days at St. Louis. Rosalie was engrossed
in severe religious duties, preparatory to her
removal to the convent. She did not see the strangers,
and she complained that Françoise no longer participated
her devotions. Françoise pleaded that her time
was occupied with arranging the hospitalities of their
scanty household; but when she was released from
this duty by the departure of Eugene, her spiritual
taste did not revive. Eugene returned successful from
the expedition, on which he had been sent by the
government; then, for the first time, did Pere Mesnard
perceive some token of danger, that St. Joseph
would lose his votary; and when he reminded Fran
çoise that he had dedicated her to a religious life, she
frankly confessed that she and Eugene had reciprocally
plighted their faith. The good Father reproved and
remonstrated—and represented in the strongest colours,
“the sin of taking the heart from the altar, and
devoting it to an earthly love,”—but Françoise answered
that she could not be bound by vows she had
not herself made. “Oh! Father,” she said, “let Rosalie
be a nun and a saint—I can serve God in some
other way.”

“And you may be called to do so in a way, my
child,” replied the Father with solemnity, “that you
think not of.”

“And if I am,” said Françoise smiling, “I doubt
not, good Father, that I shall feel the virtue of all your
prayers and labours in my behalf.” This was the
sportive reply of a light, unapprehensive heart, but
it sunk deeply into the Father's mind, and was indelibly
fixed there by subsequent circumstances. A year
passed on—Rosalie was numbered with the black nuns


Page 59
of the Hotel Dieu. Eugene paid frequent visits to
St. Louis, and Pere Mesnard finding further opposition
useless, himself administered the holy sacrament of
marriage. Here the Father pauses in his narrative, to
eulogize the union of pure and loving hearts, and pronounces
that, next to a religious consecration, this is
most acceptable to God.

The wearisome winter of Canada was past—summer
had come forth in her vigour, and clothed with
her fresh green the woods and valleys of St. Louis;
the full Utawa had had thrown off its icy mantle, and
proclaimed its freedom in a voice of gladness. Pere
Mesnard had been, according to his daily custom, to
visit the huts of his little flock. He stopped before the
crucifix which he had caused to be erected in the centre
of the village—he looked about upon the fields prepared
for summer crops—upon the fruit trees gay with
“herald blossoms,” he saw the women and children
busily at work in their little garden patches, and he
raised his heart in devout thankfulness to God, who
had permitted him to be the instrument of redeeming
these poor savages from a suffering life. He cast his
eye on the holy symbol before which he knelt, and
saw, or fancied he saw, a shadow flit over it. He
thought it was a passing cloud, but when he looked
upward, he perceived the sky was cloudless, and then
he knew full well it was a presage of coming evil. But
when he entered his own cabin, the sight of Françoise
dispelled his gloomy presentiments. “Her face,” he
says, “was as bright and clear as the lake, when not a
breath of wind was sweeping across it, and the clear
sun shone upon it.” She had, with her simple skill,
been ornamenting a scarf for Eugene. She held it up
to Pere Mesnard as he entered. “See, Father,” she
said, “I have finished it, and I trust Eugene will never
have a wound to soil it. Hark!” she added, “he will
be here presently, I hear the chorus of his French boatmen
swelling on the air.” The good Father would


Page 60
have said, “you think too much of Eugene, my child,”
but he could not bear to check the full tide of her
youthful happiness, and he only said with a smile,
“when your bridal moon is in the wane, Françoise, I
shall expect you to return to penances and prayers.”
She did not heed him, for at that instant she caught a
glimpse of her husband, and bounded away, fleet as a
startled deer, to meet him. Pere Mesnard observed
them as they drew near the cabin. Eugene's brow
was contracted, and though it relaxed for a moment at
the fond caresses of Françoise, it was evident from his
hurried step and disturbed mien, that he feared some
misfortune. He suffered Françoise to pass in before
him, and unobserved by her, beckoned to Pere Mesnard.
“Father,” he said, “there is danger near.
An Iroquois captive was brought into Montreal
yesterday, who confessed that some of his tribe were
out on a secret expedition; I saw strange canoes moored
in the cove at Cedar Island—you must instantly return
with Françoise in my boat to Montreal.”

“What!” exclaimed the Father, “think you that I
will desert my poor lambs at the moment the wolves
are upon them!”

“You cannot protect them, Father,” replied Eugene.

“Then I will die with them.”

“Nay, Father,” urged Eugene, “be not so rash.
Go—if not for your own sake, for my poor Françoise
—what will become of her if we are slain?—The Iroquois
have sworn vengeance on her, and they are
fierce and relentless as tigers. Go, I beseech you—
every moment is winged with death. The boatmen
are ordered to await you at Grassy Point. Take your
way through the maple wood—I will tell Françoise
that Rosalie has sent for her—that I will join her to-morrow—any
thing to hasten your departure.”

“Oh, my son—I cannot go—the true Shepherd will
not leave his sheep.”


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The good Father continued inexorable, and the only
alternative was to acquaint Françoise, and persuade
her to depart alone. She positively refused to go without
her husband. Eugene represented to her that he
should be for ever disgraced if he deserted a settlement
under the protection of his government, at the moment
of peril.—“My life, Françoise,” he said, “I would lay
down for you—but my honour is a trust for you—for
my country—I must not part with it.” He changed
his intreaties into commands.

“Oh, do not be angry with me,” said Françoise;
“I will go, but I do not fear to die here with you,”
She had scarcely uttered these words when loud yells
were heard—“It is my father's war-whoop,” she cried
—“St. Joseph aid us!—we are lost.”

“Fly—fly, Françoise,” exclaimed Eugene—“To
the maple wood, before you are seen.”

Poor Françoise, threw her arms around her husband
—clung to him in one long, heart-breaking embrace,
and then ran towards the wood. The terrible war-cry
followed, and there mingled with it, as if shrilly whispered
in her ear, “Vengeance—the day of your father's
vengeance will come.” She attained the wood, and
mounted a sheltered eminence, from which she could
look back upon the green valley. She stopped for an instant.
The Iroquois canoes had shot out of the island
cove, and were darting towards St. Louis, like vultures
eager for their prey. The Utawas rushed from their
huts, some armed with muskets, others simply with bows
and arrows. Pere Mesnard walked with a slow but
assured step towards the crucifix, and having reached
it, he knelt, seemingly insensible to the gathering
storm, and as calm as at his usual vesper prayer. “Ah,”
thought Françoise, “the first arrow will drink his lifeblood.”—Eugene
was every where at the same instant
—urging some forward, and repressing others; and in
a few moments all were marshalled in battle array
around the crucifix.


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The Iroquois had landed. Françoise forgot now
her promise to her husband, forgot every thing in her
intense interest in the issue of the contest. She saw
Pere Mesnard advance in front of his little host, and
make a signal to Talasco. “Ah, holy Father,” she exclaimed,
“thou knowest not the eagle of his tribe—
thou speakest words of peace to the whirlwind.”
Talasco drew his bow—Françoise sunk on her knees,
“God of mercy shield him,” she cried. Pere Mesnard
fell pierced by the arrow—the Utawas were
panic struck. In vain Eugene urged them forward—
in vain he commanded them to discharge their muskets.
All with the exception of five men turned and
fled. Eugene seemed determined to sell his life as
dearly as possible. The savages rushed on him and
his brave companions with their knives and tomahawks.
“He must die!” exclaimed Françoise; and
instinctively she rushed from her concealment. A
yell of triumph apprized her that her father's band
descried her—she faltered not—she saw her husband
pressed on every side. “Oh, spare him—spare him!”
she screamed—“he is not your enemy.” Her father
darted a look at her—“A Frenchman!—a Christian!”
he exclaimed, “and not my enemy,” and turned again
to his work of death. Françoise rushed into the
thickest of the fray—Eugene uttered a faint scream at
the sight of her. He had fought like a blood hound
while he believed he was redeeming moments for her
flight; but when the hope of saving her forsook him,
his arms dropped nerveless, and he fell to the ground.
Françoise sunk down beside him—she locked her
arms around him, and laid her cheek to his. For one
moment her savage foes fell back, and gazed on her in
silence—there was a chord in their natures that vibrated
to a devotedness which triumphed over the fear
of death; but their fierce passions were suspended
only for a moment. Talasco raised his tomahawk—
“Do not strike, father,” said Françoise, in a faint calm


Page 63
voice, “he is dead.” “Then let him bear the death-scar,”
replied the unrelenting savage, and with one
stroke he clove her husband's head asunder. One
long loud shriek pealed on the air, and Françoise sunk
into as utter unconsciousness as the mangled form she
clasped. The work of destruction went on—the huts
of the Utawas were burned, and women and children
perished in one indiscriminate slaughter.

The Father relates that he was passed, wounded,
and disregarded, in the fury of the assault—that he remained
in a state of insensibility till midnight, when
he found himself lying by the crucifix with a cup of
water, and an Indian cake beside him. He seems at
a loss whether to impute this succour to his saint, or
to some compassionate Iroquois. He languished for a
long time in a state of extreme debility, and when he
recovered, finding every trace of cultivation obliterated
from St. Louis, and the Utawas disposed to impute
their defeat to the enervating effect of his peaceful
doctrines—he determined to penetrate further into the
wilderness; faithfully to sow the good seed, and to
leave the harvest to the Lord of the field. In his
pilgrimage he met with a Utawas girl who had been
taken from St. Louis with Françoise, and who related
to him all that happened to his beloved disciple after
her departure, till she arrived at Onnontagué, the chief
village of the Iroquois.

For some days she remained in a state of torpor,
and was borne on the shoulders of the Indians. Her
father never spoke to her—never approached her, but
he permitted Allewemi to render her every kindness.
It was manifest that he intended to give his daughter
to this young chieftain. When they arrived at Onnontagué,
the tribe came out to meet them, apparelled in
their garments of victory, consisting of beautiful skins
and mantles of feathers, of the most brilliant colours.
They all saluted Françoise, but she was as one deaf,
and dumb, and blind. They sung their songs of greeting


Page 64
and of triumph, and the deep voice of the old chief
Talasco swelled the chorus. Françoise's step did not
falter nor her cheek blench; her eyes were cast down,
and her features had the fixedness of death. Once,
indeed, when she passed her mother's hut, some tender
recollection of her childhood seemed to move her
spirit, for tears were seen to steal from beneath her eye-lids.
The wild procession moved on to the green, a
place appropriated in every Indian village to councils
and sports. The Indians formed a circle around an
oak tree—the ancients were seated—the young men
stood respectfully without the circle. Talasco arose,
and drawing from his bosom a roll, he cut a cord that
bound it, and threw it on the ground—“Brothers and
sons,” he said, “behold the scalps of the Christian
Utawas!—their bodies are mouldering on the sands of
St. Louis—thus perish all the enemies of the Iroquois.
Brothers, behold my child—the last of the house of
Talasco. I have uprooted her from the strange soil
where our enemies had planted her; she shall be reset
in the warmest valley of the Iroquois, if she marries
the young chief Allewemi and abjures that sign,” and
he touched with the point of his knife the crucifix that
hung at Françoise's neck. He paused for a moment,
Françoise did not raise her eyes, and he added, in a
voice of thunder, “Hear me, child, if thou dost not
again link thyself in the chain of thy people—if thou
dost not abjure that badge of thy slavery to the Christian
dogs, I will sacrifice thee—as I swore before I
went forth to battle, I will sacrifice thee to the God
Areouski—life and death are before thee—speak.”

Françoise calmly arose, and sinking on her knees,
she raised her eyes to Heaven, pressed the crucifix
to her lips, and made the sign of the cross on her
forehead. Talasco's giant frame shook while he looked
at her—for one brief moment the flood of natural affection
rolled over his fierce passions, and he uttered a
piercing cry as if a life-cord were severed, but after


Page 65
one moment of agony, the sight of which made the
old men's heads to shake, and young eyes to overflow
with tears, he brandished his knife, and commanded
the youths to prepare the funeral pile. A murmur
arose among the old men.

“Nay, Talasco,” said one of them, “the tender sapling
should not be so hastily condemned to the fire.
Wait till the morning's sun—suffer thy child to be
conducted to Genanhatenna's hut—the call of the
mother bird may bring the wanderer back to the

Françoise turned impetuously towards her father,
and clasping her hands, she exclaimed, “Oh do not—do
not send me to my mother—this only mercy I ask of
you—I can bear any other torture—pierce me with
those knives on which the blood of my husband is
scarcely dry—consume me with your fires—I will
not shrink from any torment—a Christian martyr can
endure as firmly as the proudest captive of your

“Ha!” exclaimed the old man, exultingly, “the pure
blood of the Iroquois runs in her veins—prepare the
pile—the shadows of this night shall cover her ashes.”

While the young men were obeying the command,
Françoise beckoned to Allewemi. “You are a chieftain,”
she said, “and have power—release that poor
Utawas child from her captivity—send her to my
sister Rosalie, and let her say to her, that if an earthly
love once came between me and Heaven, the sin is
expiated—I have suffered more in a few hours—in a
few moments, than all her sisterhood can suffer by
long lives of penance. Let her say that in my extremity
I denied not the cross, but died courageously.”
Allewemi promised all she asked, and faithfully performed
his promise.

A child of faith—a martyr does not perish without
the ministry of celestial spirits. The expression of
despair vanished from Françoise's face. A supernatu


Page 66
ral joy beamed from her eyes, which were cast upward—her
spirit seemed eager to spring from its prison-house—she
mounted the pile most cheerfully, and
standing erect and undaunted, “Happy am I,” she exclaimed,
“thus permitted to die in my own country,
and by the hand of my kindred, after the example of
my Saviour, who was nailed to the cross by his own
people.” She then pressed the crucifix to her lips,
and signed to her executioners to put fire to the pile.
They stood motionless with the fire-brands in their
hands—Françoise appeared to be a voluntary sacrifice,
not a victim.

Her father was maddened by her victorious constancy.
He leaped upon the pile, and tearing the crucifix
from her hands, he drew his knife from his girdle,
and made an incision on her breast in the form of a
cross—“Behold!” he said, “the sign, thou lovest—the
sign of thy league with thy father's enemies—the
sign that made thee deaf to the voice of thy kindred.”

“Thank thee, my father!” replied Françoise, with
a triumphant smile; “I might have lost the cross thou
hast taken from me, but this which thou hast given me,
I shall bear even after death.”[2]

The pile was fired—the flames curled upwards; and
the Iroquois Martyr perished.


The God of War


This circumstance in the martyrdom of an Indian girl, is related
by Charlevoix.