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      The singer approached, and Callippides heart throbbed faster.Food was placed before them; and, as the Illinois code of courtesy enjoined, their entertainers conveyed the morsels with their own hands to the lips of these unenviable victims of their hospitality, while others rubbed their feet with bear's grease. La Salle, on his part, made them a gift of tobacco and hatchets; and when he had escaped from their caresses, rose and harangued them. He told them that he had been forced to take corn from their granaries, lest his men should die of hunger; but he prayed them not to be offended, promising full restitution or ample payment. He had come, he said, to protect them against their enemies, and teach them to pray to the true God. As for the Iroquois, they were subjects of the Great King, and therefore brethren of the French; yet, nevertheless, should they begin a war and invade the country of the Illinois, he would [Pg 174] stand by them, give them guns, and fight in their defence, if they would permit him to build a fort among them for the security of his men. It was also, he added, his purpose to build a great wooden canoe, in which to descend the Mississippi to the sea, and then return, bringing them the goods of which they stood in need; but if they would not consent to his plans and sell provisions to his men, he would pass on to the Osages, who would then reap all the benefits of intercourse with the French, while they were left destitute, at the mercy of the Iroquois.[149]

      [11] The allusion is, of course, to the siege of Fort William Henry in 1757, and the ensuing massacre by Montcalm's Indians. Charlevoix, with his usual carelessness, says that Jogues's captors took a circuitous route to avoid enemies. In truth, however, they were not in the slightest danger of meeting any; and they followed the route which, before the present century, was the great highway between Canada and New Holland, or New York.

      The pestilence, which for two years past had from time to time visited the Huron towns, now returned with tenfold violence, and with it soon appeared a new and fearful scourge,the small-pox. Terror was universal. The contagion increased as autumn advanced; and when winter came, far from ceasing, as the priests had hoped, its ravages were appalling. The season of Huron festivity was turned to a season of mourning; and such was the despondency and dismay, that suicide became frequent. The Jesuits, singly or in pairs, journeyed in the depth of winter from village to village, ministering to the sick, and seeking to commend their religious teachings by their efforts to relieve bodily distress. Happily, perhaps, for their patients, they had no medicine but a little senna. A few raisins were left, however; and one or two of these, with a spoonful of sweetened water, were always eagerly accepted by the sufferers, who thought them endowed with some mysterious and sovereign efficacy. No house was left unvisited. As the missionary, physician at once to body and soul, entered one of these smoky dens, he saw the inmates, their heads muffled in their robes of skins, seated around the fires in silent dejection. Everywhere was heard the wail of sick and dying children; and on or under the platforms at the sides of the house crouched squalid men and women, in all the stages of the distemper. The Father approached, made 88 inquiries, spoke words of kindness, administered his harmless remedies, or offered a bowl of broth made from game brought in by the Frenchman who hunted for the mission. [4] The body cared for, he next addressed himself to the soul. "This life is short, and very miserable. It matters little whether we live or die." The patient remained silent, or grumbled his dissent. The Jesuit, after enlarging for a time, in broken Huron, on the brevity and nothingness of mortal weal or woe, passed next to the joys of Heaven and the pains of Hell, which he set forth with his best rhetoric. His pictures of infernal fires and torturing devils were readily comprehended, if the listener had consciousness enough to comprehend anything; but with respect to the advantages of the French Paradise, he was slow of conviction. "I wish to go where my relations and ancestors have gone," was a common reply. "Heaven is a good place for Frenchmen," said another; "but I wish to be among Indians, for the French will give me nothing to eat when I get there." [5] Often the patient was stolidly silent; sometimes he was hopelessly perverse and contradictory. Again, Nature triumphed over Grace. "Which will you choose," demanded 89 the priest of a dying woman, "Heaven or Hell?" "Hell, if my children are there, as you say," returned the mother. "Do they hunt in Heaven, or make war, or go to feasts?" asked an anxious inquirer. "Oh, no!" replied the Father. "Then," returned the querist, "I will not go. It is not good to be lazy." But above all other obstacles was the dread of starvation in the regions of the blest. Nor, when the dying Indian had been induced at last to express a desire for Paradise, was it an easy matter to bring him to a due contrition for his sins; for he would deny with indignation that he had ever committed any. When at length, as sometimes happened, all these difficulties gave way, and the patient had been brought to what seemed to his instructor a fitting frame for baptism, the priest, with contentment at his heart, brought water in a cup or in the hollow of his hand, touched his forehead with the mystic drop, and snatched him from an eternity of woe. But the convert, even after his baptism, did not always manifest a satisfactory spiritual condition. "Why did you baptize that Iroquois?" asked one of the dying neophytes, speaking of the prisoner recently tortured; "he will get to Heaven before us, and, when he sees us coming, he will drive us out." [6]

      The next death among the Jesuits was that of Masse, who died at Sillery, on the twelfth of May of this year, 1646, at the age of seventy-two. He had come with Biard to Acadia as early as 1611. (See "Pioneers of France," 262.) Lalemant, in the Relation of 1646, gives an account of him, and speaks of penances which he imposed on himself, some of which are to the last degree disgusting.In other Tobacco towns their reception was much the same; but at the largest, called by them St. Peter and St. Paul, they fared worse. They reached it on a winter afternoon. Every door of its capacious bark houses was closed against them; and they heard the squaws within calling on the young men to go out and split their heads, while children screamed abuse at the black-robed sorcerers. As night approached, they left the town, when a band of young men followed them, hatchet in hand, to put them to death. Darkness, the forest, and the mountain favored them; and, eluding their pursuers, they escaped. Thus began the mission of the Tobacco Nation.

      These proposals were set forth in two memorials. The first of them states that the late Monseigneur Colbert deemed it important for the service of his Majesty to discover a port in the Gulf of Mexico; that to this end the memorialist, La Salle, made five journeys of upwards of five thousand leagues, in great part on foot; and traversed more than six hundred leagues of unknown country, among savages and cannibals, at the cost of a hundred and fifty thousand francs. He now proposes to return by way of the Gulf of Mexico and the mouth of the Mississippi to the countries he has discovered, whence great benefits may be expected: first, the cause of God may be advanced by the preaching of the gospel to many Indian tribes; and, secondly, great conquests may be effected for the glory of the King, by the seizure of provinces rich in silver mines, and defended only by a few indolent and effeminate Spaniards. The Sieur de la Salle, pursues the memorial, binds himself to be ready for the accomplishment of this enterprise within one year after his arrival on the spot; and he asks for this purpose only one vessel and two hundred men, with their arms, munitions, pay, and maintenance. When Monseigneur shall direct him, he will give the details of what he proposes. The memorial then describes the boundless extent, the fertility and [Pg 346] resources of the country watered by the river Colbert, or Mississippi; the necessity of guarding it against foreigners, who will be eager to seize it now that La Salle's discovery has made it known; and the ease with which it may be defended by one or two forts at a proper distance above its mouth, which would form the key to an interior region eight hundred leagues in extent. "Should foreigners anticipate us," he adds, "they will complete the ruin of New France, which they already hem in by their establishments of Virginia, Pennsylvania, New England, and Hudson's Bay."[264]


      Glaucusthe merchants namewas a man of five and twenty, with a handsome, somewhat pallid face. He was clad in a reddish-brown robe with a broad white border and, as the summer day was scorching hot, he wore no girdle around his waist. In his hand he held a manuscript, but had let it fall by his side as though his thoughts were not fixed on the contents.


      He had several conspicuous rivals, besides a host of humbler competitors. One of these magician-doctors, who was nearly blind, made for himself a kennel at the end of his house, where he fasted for seven days. [11] On the sixth day the spirits appeared, and, among other revelations, told 93 him that the disease could be frightened away by means of images of straw, like scarecrows, placed on the tops of the houses. Within forty-eight hours after this announcement, the roofs of Onnentisati and the neighboring villages were covered with an army of these effigies. The Indians tried to persuade the Jesuits to put them on the mission-house; but the priests replied, that the cross before their door was a better protector; and, for further security, they set another on their roof, declaring that they would rely on it to save them from infection. [12] The Indians, on their part, anxious that their scarecrows should do their office well, addressed them in loud harangues and burned offerings of tobacco to them. [13]


      Soon after leaving the Cenis villages, both La Salle and his nephew Moranget were attacked by fever. This caused a delay of more than two months, during which the party seem to have remained encamped on the Neches, or possibly the Sabine. When at length the invalids had recovered sufficient strength to travel, the stock of ammunition was nearly spent, some of the men had deserted, and the condition of the travellers was such that there seemed no alternative but to return to Fort St. Louis. This they accordingly did, greatly aided in their march by the horses bought from the Cenis, and suffering no very serious accident by the way,excepting the loss of La Salle's servant, Dumesnil, who was seized by an alligator while attempting to cross the Colorado.lxxxv The prophet, or diviner, had various means of reading the secrets of futurity, such as the flight of birds, and the movements of water and fire. There was a peculiar practice of divination very general in the Algonquin family of tribes, among some of whom it still subsists. A small, conical lodge was made by planting poles in a circle, lashing the tops together at the height of about seven feet from the ground, and closely covering them with hides. The prophet crawled in, and closed the aperture after him. He then beat his drum and sang his magic songs to summon the spirits, whose weak, shrill voices were soon heard, mingled with his lugubrious chanting, while at intervals the juggler paused to interpret their communications to the attentive crowd seated on the ground without. During the whole scene, the lodge swayed to and fro with a violence which has astonished many a civilized beholder, and which some of the Jesuits explain by the ready solution of a genuine diabolic intervention. [87]


      Rhaiboskels! Bow-legs! he shouted, his voice echoing far over the plain, where did you get your shield? latter council the women had an orator, often of their own