The Lily and the Cross
by James De Mille
[Illustration: A Meeting In Mid Ocean.]
LILY AND THE CROSS.
A Tale of Acadia.
PROF. JAMES DE MILLE,
Author Of the Dodge Club, Cord And Creese, the B. O. W. C.
Stories, the Young Dodge Club, Etc
BOSTON: LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, By LEE AND
SHEPARD, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
THE LILY AND THE CROSS.
A TALE OF ACADIA.
CHAPTER I. A
VOICE OUT OF THE
CHAPTER II. A
MEETING IN MID
CHAPTER III. NEW
CHAPTER IV. MIMI
CHAPTER V. A
CHAPTER VI. A
CAUGHT IN A
CHAPTER X. ALONE
IN THE WORLD.
CHAPTER XI. A
FRIEND IN NEED.
CHAPTER XII. THE
PARSON AMONG THE
CHAPTER XIII. A
CHAPTER XIX. THE
CAPTIVE AND THE
CHAPTER XXI. A
RAY OF LIGHT.
ZAC AND MARGOT.
CHAPTER XXV. THE
NEWS FROM HOME.
CHAPTER I. A VOICE OUT OF THE DEEP.
Once upon a time there was a schooner belonging to Boston which was
registered under the somewhat singular name of the Rev. Amos Adams.
This was her formal title, used on state occasions, and was, no doubt,
quite as appropriate as the more pretentious one of the Duke of
Marlborough, or the Lord Warden. As a general thing, however, people
designated her in a less formal manner, using the simpler and shorter
title of the Parson. Her owner and commander was a tall, lean, sinewy
young man, whoso Sunday-go-to-meeting name was Zion Awake Cox, but who
was usually referred to by an ingenious combination of the initials of
these three names, and thus became Zac, and occasionally Zachariah.
This was the schooner which, on a fine May morning, might have been
seen bounding over the billows on her way to the North Pole.
About her motion on the present occasion, it must be confessed there
was not much bounding, nor much billow. Nor, again, would it have been
easy for any one to see her, even if he had been brought close to her;
for the simple reason that the Parson, as she went on her way,
carrying Zac and his fortunes, had become involved in a fog bank, in
the midst of which she now lay, with little or no wind to help her out
Zac was not alone on board, nor had the present voyage been
undertaken on his own account, or of his own motion. There were two
passengers, one of whom had engaged the schooner for his own purposes.
This one was a young fellow who called himself Claude Motier, of
Randolph. His name, as well as his face, had a foreign character; yet
he spoke English with the accent of an Englishman, and had been brought
up in Massachusetts, near Boston, where he and Zac had seen very much
of one another, on sea and on shore. The other passenger was a Roman
Catholic priest, whose look and accent proclaimed him to be a
Frenchman. He seemed about fifty years of age, and his bronzed faced,
grizzled hair, and deeply-wrinkled brow, all showed the man of action
rather than the recluse. Between these two passengers there was the
widest possible difference. The one was almost a boy, the other a
world-worn old man; the one full of life and vivacity, the other sombre
and abstracted; yet between the two there was, however, a mysterious
resemblance, which possibly may have been something more than that air
of France, which they both had.
Whatever it may have been, they had been strangers to one another
until the past few days, for Claude Motier had not seen the priest
until after he had chartered the schooner for a voyage to Louisbourg.
The priest had then come, asking for a passage to that port. He gave
his name as the Abbé Michel, and addressed Claude in such bad English
that the young man answered in French of the best sort, whereat the
good priest seemed much delighted, and the two afterwards conversed
with each other altogether in that language.
Besides these three, there were the ship's company dispersed about
the vessel. This company were not very extensive, not numbering over
three, in addition to Zac. These three all differed in age, in race,
and in character. The aged colored man, who was at that moment washing
out some tins at the bows, came aboard as cook, with the understanding
that he was to be man of all work. He was a slave of Zac's, but, like
many domestic slaves in those days, he seemed to regard himself as part
of his master's family,in fact, a sort of respected relative. He
rejoiced in the name of Jericho, which was often shortened to Jerry,
though the aged African considered the shorter name as a species of
familiarity which was only to be tolerated on the part of his master.
The second of the ship's company was a short, athletic, rosy-cheeked,
bright-eyed, round-faced lad, who was always singing and dancing except
when he was whistling. His name was Terry, and his country Ireland. In
addition to Jerry and Terry, there was a third. He was a short, dull,
and somewhat doleful looking boy of about twelve, who had a crushed
expression, and seemed to take gloomy views of life. The only name by
which he was known to himself and others was Biler; but whether that
was a Christian name, or a surname, or a nickname, cannot be said.
Biler's chief trouble in life was an inordinate and insatiable
appetite. Nothing came amiss, and nothing was ever refused. Zac had
picked the boy up three years before, and since that time he had never
known him to be satisfied. At the present moment, Terry was standing at
the tiller, while Biler was at the masthead, to which he had climbed to
get rid of the disappointments of the world below, in a more elevated
sphere, and from his lofty perch he was gazing with a hungry eye forth
into space, and from time to time pulling bits of dried codfish from
his pocket, and thrusting them into his mouth.
Hy da! suddenly shouted the aged Jericho, looking up. You da,
Biler? You jis come down heah an' help me fotch along dese yar tings.
Ef you ain't got notin' to do, Ise precious soon find you lots ob
tings. Hurry down, da; make haste; relse I'll pitch some hot water up
at you. I can't be boddered wid dese yer pots an' pans any longer, cos
Ise got de dinna to meditate 'bout.
With these words Jericho stood up, regarding Biler with an
appearance of grave dignity, which would have overawed even a less
solemn lad than this. Biler did not refuse obedience, but thrusting a
few fragments of dried codfish into his mouth, heaved a sigh, gave
another dejected look at surrounding space, and then slowly and
mournfully descended to the lower world.
The priest was seated on a water-cask, reading his Breviary, while
Zac stood not far off, looking thoughtfully over the vessel's side.
Terry was at the tiller, not because there was any steering to be done,
but because he thought it would be as well for every one to be at his
post in the event of a change of wind. He had whistled St. Patrick's
Day in the Morning, and was about beginning another interminable
strain of the same kind. Claude was lounging about, and gradually drew
nearer to the meditative Zac, whom he accosted.
Well, we don't appear to be making much progressdo we? said he.
Zac slowly shook his head.
No, said he; I must say, I don't like this here one mite. 'Tain't
quite right. Seems kin' o' unlucky.
Wal, fust and foremost, ef it hadn't been you, you'd never a' got
me to pint the Parson's nose for that French hole, Louisbourg.
Why not? asked Claude, in some surprise; you don't suppose that
there's any dangerdo you?
Wal, it's a risky businessno doubt o' that thar. You see, my
'pinion is this, that Moosoo's my nat'ral born enemy, an' so I don't
like to put myself into his power.
O, there's no danger, said Claude, cheerily. There's peace now,
you knowas yet.
Zac shook his head.
No, said he, that ain't so. There ain't never real peace out
here. There's on'y a kin' o' partial peace in the old country. Out
here, we fight, an' we've got to go on fightin', till one or the other
goes down. An' as to peace, 'tain't goin' to last long, even in the old
country, 'cordin' to all accounts. There's fightin' already off in
Germany, or somewhars, they say.
But you know, said Claude, you thought you could manage this for
me somehow. You said you could put me ashore somewhere without trusting
yourself in Louisbourg harborsome bay or otherwasn't it? I forget
what the name is. There's no trouble about that nowis there?
Wal, not more'n thar was afore, said Zac, slowly; on'y it seems
more resky to me here, jest now, settin' here this way, inactive like;
p'aps it's the fog that's had a kin' o' depressin' effect on my
sperrits; it's often so. Or mebbe it's the effect of the continooal
hearin' of that darned frog-eatin' French lingo that you go on a
jabberin' with the priest thar. I never could abide it, nor my fathers
afore me; an' how ever youyou, a good Protestant, an' a Massachusetts
boy, an' a loyal subject of his most gracious majesty, King Georgecan
go on that way, jabberin' all day long with that thar priest in that
darned outlandish lingo,wal, it beats me,it doos clar.
At this Claude burst into a merry laugh.
Well, by George, he cried, if this ain't the greatest case of
patriotic prejudice! What's the matter with the French language? It's
better than English to talk with. Besides, even if it wern't, the
French can't help their language. If it were yours, you'd like it, you
know. And then I hope you're not beginning to take a prejudice against
the good Père Michel. He's as fine a fellow as ever lived, by George!
O, mind you, now, I wan't intendin' to say anythin' agin him, said
Zac. I like him, an' can't help it, he's so gentle, an' meek, an' has
sech a look out of his eyes. Blamed if I don't sometimes feel jest as
though he's my father. O, no, I ain't got anythin' agin' him. Far from
it. But it's the idee. For here, you seethis is the way it is; here
aboard the Parson I see a Roman Catholic priest; I hear two people
jabber French all day long. It makes me feel jest for all the world as
though I'd got somehow into the hands of the Philistines. It seems like
bein' a captive. It kin' o' seems a sort o' bad lookout; a kin' o' sort
o' sign, you know, of what's a goin' to happen afore I git back agin.
At this, which was spoken with much earnestness, and with a very
solemn face, Claude gave another laugh.
O, that's all nonsense, said he, gayly. Why, you don't really
think, now, that you're going to get into trouble through medo you?
And then as to Père Michel, why, I feel as much confidence in him as I
do in myself. So come, don't get into this low state of mind, but pluck
up your spirits. Never mind the fog, or the French language. They
oughtn't to have such an effect on a fellow of your size and general
build. You'll put us ashore at that bay you spoke of, and then go home
all right. That's the way of it. As to the land, you can't have any
danger from that quarter; and as to the sea, why, you yourself said
that the French cruiser was never built that could catch you.
Wal, said Zac, that's a fac', an' no mistake. Give me any kin' of
wind, an' thar ain't a Moosoo afloat that can come anywhar nigh the
Parson. Still, jest now, in this here fog,an' in the calm, too,if a
Moosoo was to come along, why, I railly don'tquiteknowwhatI
The fog! O, in the fog you'll be all right enough, you know, said
O, but that's the very thing I don't know, said Zac. That thar
pint's the very identical pint that I don't feel at all clear about,
an' would like to have settled.
Claude said nothing for a few moments. He now began to notice in the
face, the tone, and the manner of Zac something very different from
usuala certain uneasiness approaching to anxiety, which seemed to be
founded on something which he had not yet disclosed.
What do you mean? he asked, rather gravely, suddenly dropping his
air of light banter.
Zac drew a long breath.
Wal, said he, this here fog makes it very easy for a Moosoo to
haul up alongside all of a suddent, an' ax you for your papers. An'
what's more, he continued, dropping his voice to a lower tone, and
stooping, to bring his mouth nearer to Claude's ear, what's more, I
don't know but what, at this very moment, there's a Moosoo railly an'
truly a little mite nearer to us than I altogether keer for to hev
What! exclaimed Claude, with a start; do you really think so?
What! near us, here in this fog?
Railly an' truly, said Zac, solemnly, that's my identical
meanin'jest it, exactly; an' 'tain't overly pleasant, no how. See
here; and Zac dropped his voice to still lower tones, and drew still
nearer to Claude, as he continuedsee here, now; I'll tell you what
happened jest now. As I was a standin' here, jest afore you come up, I
thought I heerd voices out thar on the starboard quarter voices
Voices! said Claude. O, nonsense! Voices! How can there be voices
out there? It must have been the water.
Wal, continued Zac, still speaking in a low tone, that's the very
thing I thought when I fust heerd 'em; I thought, too, it must be the
water. But, if you jest take the trouble to examine, you'll find that
thur ain't enough motion in the water to make any sound at all. 'Tain't
as if thar was a puffin' of the wind an a dashin' of the waves. Thar
ain't no wind an' no waves, unfort'nat'ly; so it seems beyond a doubt
that it must either be actooal voices, or else somethin' supernat'ral.
An' for my part I'd give somethin' for the wind to rise jest a leetle
mite, so's I could step off out o' this, an' git out o' hearin', at
At this Claude was again silent for some time, thinking to himself
whether the possibility of a French ship being near was to be wished or
dreaded. Much was to be said on both sides. To himself it would,
perhaps, be desirable; yet not so to Zac, although he tried to reassure
the dejected skipper by telling him that if a French vessel should
really be so near, it would be all the better, since his voyage would
thereby be made all the shorter, for he himself could go aboard, and
the Parson might return to Boston. But Zac refused to be so easily
No, said he; once I git into their clutches, they'll never let me
go; and as for the poor old Parson, why, they'll go an' turn her into a
Papist priest. And that, he added, with a deep sigh, would be
Claude now found that Zac was in too despondent a mood to listen to
what he called reason, and therefore he held his tongue. The idea that
a French ship might be somewhere near, behind that wall of fog, had in
it something which to him was not unpleasant, since it afforded some
variety to the monotony of his situation. He stood, therefore, in
silence, with his face turned towards the direction indicated by Zac,
and listened intently, while the skipper stood in silence by his side,
There was no wind whatever. The water was quite smooth, and the
Parson rose and fell at the slow undulations of the long ocean rollers,
while at every motion the spars creaked and the sails flapped idly. All
around there arose a gray wall of fog, deep, dense, and fixed, which
shut them in on every side, while overhead the sky itself was concealed
from view by the same dull-gray canopy. Behind that wall of fog
anything might lie concealed; the whole French fleet might be there,
without those on board the Parson being anything the wiser. This Claude
felt, and as he thought of the possibility of this, he began to see
that Zac's anxiety was very well founded, and that if the Parson should
be captured it would be no easy task to deliver her from the grasp of
the captor. Still there came no further sounds, and Claude, after
listening for a long time without hearing anything, began, at length,
to conclude that Zac had been deceived.
Don't you think, he asked, that it may, after all, have been the
rustle of the sails, or the creaking of the spars?
Zac shook his head.
No, said he; I've heerd it twice; an' I know very well all the
sounds that sails an' spars can make; an' I don't see as how I can be
mistook. O, no; it was human voice, an' nothin' else in natur'. I
wouldn't mind it a mite if I could do anythin'. But to set here an'
jest git caught, like a rat in a trap, is what I call
At this very instant, and while Zac was yet speaking, there came
through the fog the sound of a voice. Claude heard it, and Zac also.
The latter grasped the arm of his friend, and held his breath. It was a
human voice. There was not the slightest doubt now of that. Words had
been spoken, but they were unintelligible. They listened still. There
was silence for a few moments, and then the silence was broken once
more. Words were again heard. They were French, and they heard them
this time with perfect distinctness. They were these:
Put her head a little over this way.
CHAPTER II. A MEETING IN MID OCEAN.
Put her head a little over this way!
They were French words. To Claude, of course, they were perfectly
intelligible, though not so to Zac, who did not understand any language
but his mother Yankee. Judging by the distinctness and the loudness of
the sound, the speaker could not be very far away. The voice seemed to
come from the water astern. No sight, however, was visible; and the
two, as they stared into the fog, saw nothing whatever. Nor did any of
the others on board seem to have heard the voice. The priest was still
intent on his Breviary. Terry was still whistling his abominable tune.
Jericho was below with his pots and pans; and Biler, taking advantage
of his absence, was seated on the taffrail devouring a raw turnip,
which he chewed with a melancholy air. To none of these had the voice
been audible, and therefore Claude and Zac alone were confronted with
this mystery of the deep. But it was a mystery which they could not
fathom; for the fog was all around, hiding everything from view, and
the more they peered into the gloom the less were they able to
Neither of them spoke for some time. Zac had not understood the
words, but was more puzzled about the fact of a speaker being so near
on the water, behind the fog, than he was about the meaning of the
words which had been spoken. That seemed to be quite a secondary
consideration. And it was not until he had exhausted his resources in
trying to imagine what or where the one might be, that, he thought of
asking about the other.
What did it mean? he asked, at length.
Claude told him.
Zac said nothing for some time.
I wonder whether they've seen us, said he, at length. No'tain't
possible. The fog's too thickand we're as invisible to them as they
are to us. Besides, these words show that they ain't thinkin' about
anybody but themselves. Well, all we've got to do is to keep as still
as a mouse, an' I'll jest go an' warn the boys.
With these words Zac moved softly away to warn his crew. First he
went to Terry, and informed him that the whole fleet of France was
around the Parson, and that their only chance of safety was to keep
silenta piece of information which effectually stopped Terry's
singing and whistling for some time; then he told Biler, in a friendly
way, that if he spoke above a whisper, or made any noise, he'd pitch
him overboard with an anchor tied to his neck. Then he warned Jericho.
As for Père Michel, he felt that warning was unnecessary, for the
priest was too absorbed in his book to be conscious of the external
world. After this, he came back to Claude, who had been listening ever
since he left, but without hearing anything more.
We must have drifted nearer together, said Zac. The voice was a
good deal louder than when I fust heerd it. My only hope is, that
they'll drift past us, an' we'll git further away from them. But I
wonder what they meant by bringin' her head around. P'aps they've seen
us, after allan' then, again, p'aps they haven't.
He said this in a whisper, and Clause answered in another whisper.
It seems to me, said Claude, that if they'd seen us, they'd have
said something moreor at any rate, they'd have made more noise. But
as it is, they've been perfectly silent.
WalI on'y hope we won't hear anythin' more of them.
For more than two hours silence was observed on board the Parson.
Terry stopped all whistling, and occupied himself with scratching his
bullet head. The priest sat motionless, reading his book. Jericho drew
the unhappy Biler down below for safe keeping, and detained him there a
melancholy prisoner. Claude and Zac stood listening, but nothing more
To Claude there seemed something weird and ghostly in this
incidenta voice thus sounding suddenly forth out of nothingness, and
then dying away into the silence from which it had emerged: there was
that in it which made him feel a sensation of involuntary awe; and the
longer the silence continued, the more did this incident surround
itself with a certain supernatural element, until, at length, he began
to fancy that his senses might have deceived him. Yet he knew this had
not been the case. Zac had heard the voice as well as he, and the words
to him had been perfectly plain. Put her head a little over this way! Singular words, too, they seemed to be, as he turned them over in his
mind. Under other circumstances they might have been regarded as
perfectly commonplace, but now the surroundings gave them the
possibility of a varied interpretation. Who was the her? What was
meant? Was it a ship or a woman? What could the meaning be? Or, again,
might not this have been some supernatural voice speaking to them from
the Unseen, and conveying to them some sentence either of good or evil
omen, giving them some direction, perhaps, about the course of the
schooner in which he was?
Not that Claude was what is called a superstitious man. From
ordinary superstition he was, indeed, quite as free as any man of his
age or epoch; not was he even influenced by any of the common
superstitious fancies then prevalent. But still there is a natural
belief in the unseen which prevails among all men, and Claude's fancy
was busy, being stimulated by this incident, so that, as he endeavored
to account for it, he was as easily drawn towards a supernatural theory
as to a natural one. Hundreds of miles from land, on the broad ocean, a
voice had sounded from behind the impenetrable cloud, and it was
scarcely to be wondered at that he considered it something unearthly.
Under other circumstances Zac might also have yielded to
superstitious fancies; but as it was, his mind had been too completely
filled with the one absorbing idea of the French fleet to find room for
any other thought. It was not an unsubstantial ghost which Zac dreaded,
but the too substantial form of some frigate looming through the fog,
and firing a gun to bring him on board. Every additional moment of
silence gave him a feeling of relief, for he felt that these moments,
as they passed, drew him away farther from the danger that had been so
At length a new turn came to the current of affairs. A puff of wind
suddenly filled the sails, and at its first breath Zac started up with
a low chuckle.
I'd give ten guineas, said he, for one good hoorayI would, by
George! But bein' as it is, I'll postpone that till I haul off a few
miles from this.
Why, what's the matter? said Claude, rousing himself out of
Matter? repeated Zac. Why, the wind's hauled round to the
nor'west, and the fog's goin' to lift, an' the Parson's goin' to show
With these words, Zac hurried to the tiller, which he took from the
smiling Terry, and began to being the vessel around to run her before
Don't care a darn whar I go jest now, said he, so's I on'y put a
mile or two between us and the Frenchman. Arter that we can shape our
And now the wind, which had thus turned, blew more steadily till it
became a sustained breeze of sufficient strength to carry the schooner,
with very satisfactory speed, out of the unpleasant proximity to the
Frenchman. And as it blew, the clouds lessened, and the circle of fog
which had surrounded them was every moment removed to a greater
distance, while the view over the water grew wider and clearer. All
this was inexpressibly delightful to Zac, who, as it were, with one
bound passed from the depths of despondency up to joyousness and hope.
But suddenly a sight appeared which filled him with amazement, a
sight which attracted all his thoughts, and in an instant changed all
his feelings and plans. It was a sight which had become revealed on the
dispersion of the fog, showing itself to their wondering eyes out there
upon the sea astern, in the place where they had been looking for that
French cruiser, which Zac had feared.
No French cruiser was it that they saw, no ship of war with a
hostile flag and hostile arms, no sight of fear; but a sight full of
infinite pathos and sadnessa pitiable, a melancholy sight. It was
about half a mile behind them, for that was about the distance which
they had traversed since the wind had changed and the schooner's
direction had been altered.
It seemed at first like a black spot on the water, such as a
projection rock or a floating spar; but as the fog faded away the
object became more perceptible. Then they could see human figures, some
of whom were erect, and others lying down. They were on what seemed to
be a sort of raft, and the whole attitude of the little group showed
most plainly that they had suffered shipwreck, and were here now
floating about helplessly, and at the mercy of the tide, far out at
sea. Moreover, these had already seen the schooner, for they were
waving their arms and gesticulating wildly.
One glance was enough for both Zac and Claude, and then the
exclamation which they gave drew there the attention of all the others.
The priest looked up, and putting his book back in his pocket, walked
towards them, while Terry gave one swift look, and then disappeared
Quick wid ye, he called to Jericho; put on a couple of barls o'
taters to bile. There's a shipwrecked raft afloat out there beyant, an'
they're all dyin' or dead av starvation, so they are.
O, you jes go long wid yer nonsensical tomfoolery, said Jericho.
Tomfoolery, is it? Go up, thin, an' luk for yerself, cried Terry,
who bounded up on deck again, and began to prepare for action. At this
Jericho put on his nose an enormous pair of spectacles, and thus
equipped climbed upon deck, followed closely by the melancholy Biler,
who devoured a carrot as he went up.
By this time Zac had brought the Parson's head round once more, and
steered for the raft, calling out to Terry to get the boat afloat.
Terry and Jerry then went to work, assisted by Biler, and soon the boat
was in the water.
Ef I hadn't ben sich a darned donkey, said Zac, in a tone of
vexation, I might have got at 'em before an' saved them all these
hours of extra starvation. Ef I'd only yelled back when I fust heerd
the voice! Who knows but that some of 'em hev died in the time that's
Can't we run alongside without the boat? asked Claude.
Wal, yes, said Zac; but then, you know, we couldn't stay
alongside when we got that, an' so we've got to take 'em off with the
boat the best way we can.
They were not long in retracing their way, and soon came near
enough. Zac then gave up the tiller to Terry, telling him to keep as
near as possible. He then got into the boat, and Claude followed, by
Zac's invitation, as well as his own urgent request. Each took an oar,
and after a few strokes, they were up to the raft. The raft was on a
level with the water and was barely able to sustain the weight of those
who had found refuge on it. It seemed like the poop or round house of
some ship which had been beaten off by the fury of the waves, and had
afterwards been resorted to by those who now clung to it.
The occupants of the raft were, indeed, a melancholy group. They
were seven in number. Of these, two were common seamen; a third looked
like a ship's officer, and wore the uniform of a second lieutenant; the
fourth was a gentleman, who seemed about forty years of age. These four
were standing, and as the boat approached them they gave utterance to
every possible cry of joy and gratitude. But it was the other three
occupants of the raft that most excited the attention of Claude and
An old man was seated there, with thin, emaciated frame, and
snow-white hair. He was holding in his arms a young girl, while beside
her knelt another young girl who seemed like the attendant of the
first, and both the old man and the maid were most solicitous in their
attentions. The object of these attentions was exquisitely beautiful.
Her slender frame seemed to have been worn by long privation, and
weakened by famine and exposure. Her face was pale and wan, but still
showed the rounded outlines of youth. Her hair was all dishevelled, as
though it had been long the sport of the rude tempest and the ocean
billow, and hung in disordered masses over her head and shoulders. Her
dress, though saturated with wet from the sea and the fog, was of rich
material, and showed her to belong to lofty rank; while the costume of
the old man indicated the same high social position. The young lady was
not senseless, but only weak, perhaps from sudden excitement. As she
reclined in the old man's arms, her eyes were fixed upon the open boat;
and Claude, as he turned to grasp the raft, caught her full gaze fixed
upon him, with a glance from her large dark eyes that thrilled through
him, full of unutterable gratitude. Her lips moved, not a word escaped,
but tears more eloquent than words rolled slowly down.
Such was the sight that greeted Claude as he stepped from the boat
upon the raft. In an instant he was caught in the embraces of the men,
who, frenzied with joy at the approach of deliverance, flung themselves
upon him. But Claude had no eyes for any one but the lovely young girl,
whose gaze of speechless gratitude was never removed from him.
Messieurs, said Claude, who knew them to be French, and addressed
them in their own language, you shall all be saved; but we cannot all
go at once; we must save the weakest first; and will, therefore, take
these now, and come back for you afterwards.
Saying this, he stooped down so to raise the young lady in his arms,
and carry her aboard. The old man held her up, uttering inarticulate
murmurs, that sounded like blessings on their deliverer. Claude lifted
the girl as though she had been a child, and stepped towards the boat.
Zac was already on the raft, and held the boat, while Claude stepped
aboard. The old man then tried to rise and follow, assisted by the
maid, but, after one or two efforts, sank back, incapable of keeping
his feet. Upon this Zac flung the rope to the French lieutenant, and
walked over to the old man. Claude now had returned, having left the
girl in the stern of the boat.
Look here, said Zac, as he came up; the old gentleman can't walk.
You'd best carry him aboard, and I'll carry the gal.
With these words Zac turned towards the maid; she looked up at him
with a shy glance and showed such a pretty face, such black eyes and
smiling lips, that Zac for a moment hesitated, feeling quite paralyzed
by an overflow of bashfulness. But it was not a time to stand on
ceremony; and so honest Zac, without more ado, seized the girl in his
arms, and bore her to the boat, where he deposited her carefully by the
side of the other. Claude now followed, carrying the old man, whom he
placed beside the young lady, so that he and the maid could support her
as before. There was yet room for one more, and the gentleman still on
the raft came forward at Claude's invitation, and took his place in the
bows. The rest waited on the raft. The boat then returned to the
schooner, which now had come very close. Here Claude lifted the lady
high in the air, and Père Michel took her from his arms. Claude then
got on board the schooner, and took her to the cabin, where he laid her
on a couch. Zac then lifted up the maid, who was helped on board by
Père Michel, where Claude met her, and took her to the cabin. Zac then
lifted up the old man, and Père Michel stood ready to receive him also.
And now a singular incident occurred. As Zac raised the old man,
Père Michel caught sight of the face, and regarded it distinctly. The
old man's eyes were half closed, and he took no notice of anything; but
there was something in that face which produced a profound impression
on Père Michel. He stood rigid, as though rooted to the spot, looking
at the old man with a fixed stare. Then his arms sank down, his head
also fell forward, and turning abruptly away, he walked forward to the
bows. Upon this Jericho came forward; and he it was who lifted the old
man on board and assisted him to the cabin.
After this, the other gentleman got on board, and then the boat
returned and took off the other occupants of the raft.
CHAPTER III. NEW FRIENDS.
Every arrangement was made that could be made within the confines of
a small schooner to secure the comfort of the strangers. To the young
lady and her maid Claude gave up the state-room which he himself had
thus far occupied, and which was the best on board, while Zac gave up
his to the old man. The others were all comfortably disposed of, and
Zac and Claude stowed themselves away as best they could feeling
indifferent about themselves as long as they could minister to the
wants of their guests. Food and sleep were the things that were the
most needed by all these new-comers, and these they had in abundance.
Under the beneficial effects of these, they began to regain their
strength. The seaman rallied first, as was most natural; and from these
Claude learned the story of their misfortunes.
The lost ship had been the French frigate Arethuse, which had left
Brest about a moth previously, on a voyage to Louisbourg and Quebec.
The old gentleman was the Comte de Laborde, and the two girls whom they
had saved, one was his daughter, and the other her maid. The other
gentleman was the Comte de Cazeneau. This last was on his way to
Louisbourg, where an important post was awaiting him. About a week
before this the Arethuse had encountered a severe gale, accompanied by
a dense fog, in which they had lost their reckoning. To add to their
miseries, they found themselves surrounded by icebergs, among which
navigation was so difficult that the seamen all became demoralized. At
length the ship struck one of these floating masses, and instantly
began to fill. The desperate efforts of the crew, however, served to
keep her afloat for another day, and might have saved her, had it not
been for the continuation of the fog. On the following night, in the
midst of intense darkness, she once more struck against an iceberg, and
this time the consequences were more serious. A huge fragment of ice
fell upon the poop, shattering it and sweeping it overboard. In an
instant all discipline was at an end. It was sauve qui peut. The
crew took to the boats. One of these went down with all on board, while
the others passed away into the darkness. This little handful had
thrown themselves upon the ship's poop, which was floating alongside
within reach, just in time to escape being dragged down by the sinking
ship; and there, for days and nights, with scarcely any food, and no
shelter whatever, they had drifted amid the dense fog, until all hope
had died out utterly. Such had been their situation when rescue came.
Claude, upon hearing this story, expressed a sympathy which was most
sincere; and to the seamen it was all the pleasanter as his accent
showed him to be a countryman. But the general sympathy which the young
man felt, sincere though it was, could not be compared with that
special sympathy which he experienced for the lovely young girl whom he
had borne from the raft into the schooner, and whose deep glance of
speechless gratitude had never since faded from his memory. She was now
aboard, and was occupying his own room. More than this, she had already
taken up a position within his mind which was a pre-eminent one. She
had driven out every thought of everything else. The highest desire
which he had was to see once again that face which had become so
vividly impressed upon his memory, and find out what it might be like
in less anxious moments. But for this he would have to wait.
Meanwhile the schooner had resumed her voyage, in which, however,
she made but slow progress. The wind, which had come up so opportunely,
died out again; and, though the fog had gone, still for a few days they
did little else than drift.
After the first day and night the Count de Laborde came upon deck.
He was extremely feeble, and had great difficulty in walking; with him
were his daughter and her maid. Although her exhaustion and prostration
on the raft had, apparently, been even greater than his, yet youth was
on her side, and she had been able to rally much more rapidly. She and
her maid supported the feeble old count, and anxiously anticipated his
wants with the fondest care.
Claude had hoped for this appearance, and was not disappointed. He
had seen her first as she was emerging from the valley of the shadow of
death, with the stamp of sorrow and despair upon her features; but now
no trace of despair remained; her face was sweet and joyous beyond
expression, with the grace of a child-like innocence and purity. The
other passenger, whom the lieutenant of the Arethuse had called the
Count de Cazeneau, was also on deck, and, on seeing Laborde and his
daughter, he hastened towards them with the utmost fervor of
congratulations. The lieutenant also went to pay his respects. The
young countess was most gracious, thanking them for their good wishes,
and assuring them that she was as well as ever; and then her eyes
wandered away, and, after a brief interval, at length rested with a
fixed and earnest look full upon Claude. The glance thrilled through
him. For a moment he stood as if fixed to the spot; but at length,
mastering his emotion, he went towards her.
Here he is, papa, dearest, said she,our noble deliverer.And,
O, monsieur, how can we ever find words to thank you?
Dear monsieur, said the old count, embracing Claude, Heaven will
reward you; our words are useless.Mimi, he continued, turning to his
daughter, your dream was a true one.You must know, monsieur, that
she dreamed that a young Frenchman came in an open boat to save us. And
so it really was.
Mimi smiled and blushed.
Ah, papa, dear, she said, I dreamed because I hoped. I always
hoped, but you always desponded. And now it has been better than our
hopes.But, monsieur, may we not know the name of our deliverer?
She held out her little hand as she said this. Claude raised it
respectfully to his lips, bowing low as he did so. He then gave his
name, but hastened to assure them that he was not their preserver,
insisting that Zac had the better claim to that title. To this,
however, the others listened with polite incredulity, and Mimi
evidently considered it all the mere expression of a young man's
modesty. She waved her little hand with a sunny smile.
Eh bien, she said, I see, monsieur, it pains you to have
people too grateful; so we will say no more about it. We must satisfy
ourselves by remembering and by praying.
Here the conversation was interrupted by the interposition of the
Count de Cazeneau, who came forward to add his thanks to those of
Laborde. He made a little set speech, to which Claude listened with
something of chagrin, for he did not like being placed in the position
of general savior and preserver, when he knew that Zac deserved quite
as much credit for what had been done as he did. This was not
unobserved by Mimi, who appreciated his feelings and came to his
M. Motier does not like being praised, said she. Let us respect
But Cazeneau was not to be stopped so easily. He seemed like one who
had prepared a speech carefully and with much labor, and was,
accordingly, bound to give it all; so Claude was forced to listen to an
eloquent and inflated panegyric about himself and his heroism, without
being able to offer anything more than an occasional modest disclaimer.
And all the time the deep, dark glance of Mimi was fixed on him, as
though she would read his soul. If, indeed, he had any skill in reading
character, it was easy enough to see in the face of that young man a
pure, a lofty, and a generous nature, unsullied by anything mean or
low, a guileless and earnest heart, a soul sans peur et sans
reproche; and it did seem by the expression of her own face as
though she had read all this in Claude.
Further conversation of a general nature followed, which served to
explain the position of all of them with reference to one another.
Claude was the virtual master of the schooner, since he had chartered
it for his own purposes. To all of them, therefore, he seemed first
their savior, and secondly their host and entertainer, to whom they
were bound to feel chiefly grateful. Yet none the less did they
endeavor to include the honest skipper in their gratitude; and Zac came
in for a large share of it. Though he could not understand any of the
words which they addressed to him, yet he was easily able to guess what
they were driving at, and so he modestly disclaimed it all with the
O, sho! sho, now! sho, sho!
They now learned that Claude was on his way to Louisbourg, and that
they would thus be able to reach their original destination. They also
learned the circumstances of Zac, and his peculiar unwillingness to
trust his schooner inside the harbor of Louisbourg. Zac's scruples were
respected by them, though they all declared that there was no real
danger. They were sufficiently satisfied to be able to reach any point
near Louisbourg, and did not seek to press Zac against his will, or to
change his opinion upon a point where it was so strongly expressed.
No sooner had these new passengers thus unexpectedly appeared, than
a very marked change came over Père Michel, which to Claude was quite
inexplicable. To him and to Zac the good priest had thus far seemed
everything that was most amiable and companionable; but now, ever since
the moment when he had turned away at the sight of the face of Laborde,
he had grown strangely silent, and reticent, and self-absorbed. Old
Laborde had made advances which had been coldly repelled. Cazeneau,
also, had tried to draw him out, but without success. To the lieutenant
only was he at all inclined to unbend. Yet this strange reserve did not
last long, and at length Père Michel regained his old manner, and
received the advances of Laborde with sufficient courtesy, while to
Mimi he showed that paternal gentleness which had already endeared him
to Claude and to Zac.
Several days thus passed, during which but little progress was made.
The schooner seemed rather to drift than to sail. Whenever a slight
breeze would arise, it was sure to be adverse, and was not of long
duration. Then a calm would follow, and the schooner would lie idle
upon the bosom of the deep.
During these days Mimi steadily regained her strength; and the bloom
and the sprightliness of youth came back, and the roses began to return
to her cheeks, and her wan face resumed its plumpness, and her eyes
shone with the light of joyousness. Within the narrow confines of a
small schooner, Claude was thrown in her way more frequently than could
have been the case under other circumstances; and the situation in
which they were placed towards one another connected them more closely,
and formed a bond which made an easy way to friendship, and even
intimacy. As a matter of course, Claude found her society pleasanter by
far than that of any one else on board; while, on the other hand, Mimi
did not seem at all averse to his companionship. She seemed desirous to
know all about him.
But, monsieur, she said once, in the course of a conversation, it
seems strange to me that you have lived so long among the English here
It is strange, said Claude; and, to tell the truth, I don't
altogether understand myself how it has happened.
Ah, you don't understand yourself how it has happened, repeated
Mimi, in a tone of voice that was evidently intended to elicit further
No, said Claude, who was not at all unwilling to receive her as
his confidante. You see I was taken away from France when I was an
When you were an infant! said Mimi. How very, very sad! and
saying this, she turned her eyes, with a look full of deepest
commiseration, upon him. And so, of course, you cannot remember
anything at all about France.
Claude shook his head.
No, nothing at all, said he. But I'm on my way there now; and I
hope to see it before long. It's the most beautiful country in all the
Beautiful! exclaimed Mimi, throwing up her eyes; there are no
words to describe it. It is heaven! Alas! how can I ever bear to live
here in this wild and savage wilderness of America!
You did not wish to leave France then? said Claude, who felt
touched by this display of feeling.
I! exclaimed Mimi; I wish to leave France! Alas, monsieur! it was
the very saddest day of all my life. But dear papa had to go, and I do
not know why it was. He offered to let me stay; but I could not let him
go alone, for he is so old and feeble, and I was willing to endure all
for his sake.
What part of France did you live in? asked Claude.
That is where the court is, said Claude.
Of course, said Mimi, with a smile. But how funny it seems to
hear a Frenchman make such a remark, and in such an uncertain way, as
though he did not feel quite sure. Why, monsieur, in France Versailles
is everything; Versailles is the king and court. In a word, monsieur,
Versailles is France.
I suppose you saw very much of the splendor and magnificence of the
court? said Claude.
I! said Mimi; splendor and magnificence! the court! Ma foi, monsieur, I did not see any of it at all. In France young girls are
kept close-guarded. You have lived among the English, and among them I
have heard that young girls can go anywhere and do anything. But for my
part I have always lived most secludedsometimes at school, and
afterwards at home.
How strange it is, said Claude, that your father should leave
France, when he is so old and feeble, and take you, too, and come to
this wild country!
O, it is very strange, said Mimi, and very sad; and I don't know
why in the world it was, for he will never tell me. Sometimes I think
that something unfortunate has happened, which has made him go into
exile this way. But then, if that were so, I don't see why he should
remain in French possessions. If his political enemies have driven him
away, he would not be safe in French colonies; and so I don't know why
in the world he ever left home.
Does he intend to remain at Louisbourg, or go farther? asked
Claude, after a thoughtful pause.
I'm sure I don't know, said Mimi; but I don't think he has
decided yet. It is just as if he was looking for something, and as if
he would travel about till he found it; though what it is that he wants
I can hardly tell. And such, monsieur, is our mournful position. We may
remain at Louisbourg a short time or a long time: it depends upon
circumstances. We may go to Quebec, or even to New Orleans.
New Orleans! exclaimed Claude.
Yes; I heard him hint as much. And he said, also, that if he did go
as far as that, he would leave me at Quebec or Louisbourg. But I will
never consent to that, and I will go with him wherever he goes.
I should think that such a roving life would make you feel very
O, no; I am not unhappy, said Mimi, cheerfully. I should, indeed,
feel unhappy if I were left behind in France, or anywhere else, and if
poor papa should go roaming about without any one to care for him. I am
not much; but I know that he loves me dearly, and that he is very much
happier with me than without me. And that is the reason why I am
determined to go with him wherever he goes,yes, even if he goes among
the savages. Besides, while I am with him, he has a certain amount of
anxiety about me, and this distracts his thoughts, and prevents him
from brooding too much over his own personal troubles. But O, how I
envy you, Monsieur Motier, and O, how I should love to be going back to
France, if dear papa were only going there too! I shall never be happy
again, I know, never, till I am back again in France.
CHAPTER IV. MIMI AND MARGOT.
While Claude was doing the honors of hospitality to the guests aft,
the crew of the Parson was fraternizing with the seamen of the wrecked
Arethuse, forward. The first and most important act of friendly
intercourse was the work of Jericho, who put forth all his skill in
preparing for the half-starved sailors a series of repasts upon which
he lavished all his genius, together with the greater part of the
stores of the schooner. To these repasts the seamen did ample justice,
wasting but little time in unnecessary words, but eating as only those
can eat who have been on the borders of starvation. Yet it may be
questioned whether their voracity exceeded that of a certain melancholy
boy, who waited on the banquet, and whose appetite seemed now even more
insatiable in the midst of the abundant supplies which Jericho
produced, than it had been in former days, when eatables had been less
choice and repasts less frequent. In fact, Biler outdid himself, and
completely wore out the patience of the long-suffering Jericho.
You jes look heah, you Biler, he said; you better mind, for I
ain't goin' to stand dese yer goins on no longer. Bar's limits to
eberytingand dese yer 'visiums has got to be 'commonized, an' not to
be all gobbled up by one small boy. Tell you what, I got a great mind
to put you on a lowns, an' gib you one rore turnip a day, an' ef you
can ketch a fish I'll 'gree to cook it. Why, dar ain't de vessel afloat
dat can stand dis yer. You eat fifty-nine meals a day, an' more. You
nebber do notin' else but eatmorn', noon, an' night.
Arrah, Jerry, let the b'y ate his fill, said Terry: sure an' a
growin' b'y has to ate more'n a grown man, so as to get flesh to grow
Can't do it, said Jerry, an' won't do it. Didn't mind it so much
afore, but now we'se got to 'commonize. Bar's ebber so many more moufs
aboard now, an' all on 'em eat like sin. Dis yer calm keeps us out heah
in one spot, an' when we're ebber a goin' to get to de end ov de vyge's
more'n I can tell. No use frowin' away our val'ble 'visiums on dis yer
boymake him eat soap fat and oakumgood enough for him. No 'casium
for him to be eatin' a hundred times more'n all de res ob us. If he
wants to eat he'll hab to find his own 'visiums, an' ketch a shark, an'
I'll put it in pickle for he own private use.
With these words Jericho turned away with deep trouble and
perplexity visible on his ebon brow, and Biler, pocketing a few
potatoes and turnips, climbed to the mast-head, where he sat gazing in
a melancholy way into space.
To Terry these new comers were most welcome. At a distance he
professed to hate and despise the French; but now that they appeared
face to face, his hate was nowhere, and in its place there was nothing
but a most earnest desire to form an eternal friendship with the
shipwrecked seamen. There was certainly one difficulty in the way which
was of no slight character; and that was, that neither of them knew the
language of the other. But Terry was not easily daunted, and the very
presence of a difficulty was enough to make him feel eager to triumph
In his first approaches he made the very common mistake of
addressing the French sailors as though they were deaf. Thus he went up
to them one after the other, shaking hands with each, and shouting in
their ears as loud as he could, How do yez do? Good day. The top av the mornin' to yez. To which the good-natured
Frenchmen responded in a sympathetic way, shaking his hand
vigorously,and grinning and chattering. Terry kept this up for some
time; but at length it became somewhat monotonous, and he set his wits
to work to try to discover some more satisfactory mode of effecting a
communication with them. The next way that he thought of was something
like the first, and, like the first, is also frequently resorted to by
those who have occasion to speak to foreigners. It was to address them
in broken English, or rather in a species of baby talk; for to Terry it
seemed no more than natural that this sort of dialect would be more
intelligible than the speech of full-grown men.
Accordingly, as soon as Terry thought of this, he put it in
practice. He began by shaking hands once more, and then said to them,
Me berry glad see youme sposy you berry hundy. Polly want a cracker.
He sall hab penty mate den, so he sall. Did de naughty water boos um
But unfortunately this effort proved as much of a failure as the
other; so Terry was once more compolled to trust to his wits. Those
wits of his, being active, did not fail, indeed, to suggest many ways,
and of the best kind, by which he brought himself into communication
with his new friends. At the first repast he found this out, and
insisted upon passing everything to them with his own hands,
accompanying each friendly offer with an affectionate smile, which went
straight to the hearts of the forlorn and half-starved guests. This was
a language which was every way intelligible, the language of universal
humanity, in which the noblest precept is, to be kind to enemies and to
feed the hungry.
In addition to this, Terry also found out other ways of holding
communication with them, the chief of which was by the language of
song. Terry's irrepressible tendency to singing thus burst forth in
their presence, and after trolling out a few Irish melodies, he
succeeded in eliciting from them a sympathetic response in the shape of
some lively French songs. The result proved most delightful to all
concerned; and thereafter the muse of Ireland and the muse of France
kept up a perpetual antiphonal song, which beguiled many a tedious
While the various characters on board the schooner were thus
entering into communication with one another, Zac endeavored also to
scrape an acquaintance with one of the rescued party, who seemed to him
to be worth all the rest put together. This was Mimi's maid, Margot, a
beautiful little creature, full of life and spirit, and fit companion
for such a mistress as hers. The good little Margot was very
accessible, and had not failed to pour forth in language not very
intelligible her sense of gratitude to Zac. She had not forgotten that
it was Zac who had conveyed her in his strong arms from death to life,
and therefore persisted in regarding him not only as the preserver of
her own self, but as the real and only preserver of all the others.
Margot had one advantage which was delightful to Zac; and that was,
she could speak a little English. She had once spent a year in England,
where she had picked up enough of the language to come and go upon, and
this knowledge now proved to be of very great advantage.
The calm weather which continued gave Zac many opportunities of
drifting away towards Margot, and talking with her, in which talks they
gradually grew to be better acquainted.
I am so happy zat I spik Ingelis! said Margot; I nevar did sink
dat it was evare useful.
An' pooty blamed lucky it's ben for me, too, said Zac, in a joyous
tone; for as I don't know French, like Claude over there, I have to
trust to you to keep up the conversation.
I not know mooch Ingelis, said Margot, for I not understan de
mooch of what you say.
O, you'll learn dreadful fast out here, said Zac.
But I not weesh to stay here so long as to learn, said Margot.
Not wish! Sho, now! Why, it's a better country than France.
Than Francebetter! cried Margot, lifting her hands and throwing
up her eyes in amazement. France! Monsieur, France is a
Why, what's the matter with America? said Zac.
Amériqueeet ees all full of de sauvagede Indiande wild
menan' wild beastsan' desert.
O, you ain't ben to Boston; that's clar, said Zac, mildly. Jest
you wait till you see Boston; that's all.
Boston! I nevare hear of Boston, said Margot, till you tell me. I
do not believe eet it is more magnifique dan Paris.
The most magnificent town in the hull world, said Zac, calmly.
You take the House of Assembly an' Govement Housetake King Street
and Queen Street, an' I'd like to know whar you'll find a better show
any whar on airth.
Sais pas, said Margot; nevare see Boston. Mais vousyou nevare
see Parisso we are not able to compare.
O, well, it's nat'ral enough for you, said Zac, with magnanimity,
nat'ral enough for you, course, to like your own place
best'twouldn't be nat'ral ef you didn't. All your friends live thar,
course. You were born thar, and I s'pose your pa an' ma may be there
now, anxiously expectin' to hear from you.
Zac put this in an interrogative way, for he wanted to know. But as
he said these words, the smiling face of Margot turned sad; she shook
her head, and said,
No; I have no one, no one!
What! no relatives! said Zac, in a voice full of commiseration and
Margot shook her head.
An' so you've got no father nor mother, an' you're a poor little
orphan girl! said Zac, in a broken voice.
Margot shook her head, and looked sadder than over.
Tears came to Zac's eyes. He felt as he had never felt before. There
was something so inexpressibly touching about this orphan! He took her
little hand tenderly in his own great, brown, toil-worn fist, and
looked at her very wistfully. For a few moments he said nothing. Margot
looked up at him with her great brown eyes, and then looked meekly at
the deck. Zac heaved a deep sigh; then he placed his disengaged hand
solemnly upon her head.
Wal, said he, gravely, I'll protect you. Ef anybody ever harms
you, you jest come to me. I'llI'll bea father to you.
Again Margot looked up at him with her great brown eyes.
O, dat's noting, she said. I don't want you to be my fader. But,
all de same, I tink you one very nice man; an' you safe my life; an' I
sall not forgetnevare; an' I weesh. Sall I tell you what I weesh?
Yes, yes, said Zac, eagerly, with a strange thrill of excitement.
Margot threw a quick look around.
Dees Monsieur de Cazeneau, said she, drawing nearer to Zac, and
speaking in a low, quick voice, I 'fraid of heem. Dere is danjaire for
my mademoiselle. He is a bad man. He haf a plota plan. You moos safe
us. Dees Monsieur Motier is no good. You haf safe us from death; you
moos safe us from dees danjaire.
How? asked Zac, who took in at once the meaning of Margot's words,
though not fully understanding them.
I will tell. Dess Monsieur de Cazeneau wish to get us to
Louisbourg, where he will ruin us alldat is, de ole count and de
mademoiselle. You moos turn about, and take us to Boston.
Take you to Boston! But this schooner is engaged to go to
Louisbourg with Mr. Motier.
Margot shook her head.
You moos do it, said she, or we sall be ruin. You moos tell
Zac now began questioning her further; but Margot could not remain
any longer; she therefore hurried away, with the promise to see him
again and explain more about it; and Zac was left alone with his own
thoughts, not knowing exactly what he could say to Claude, or how he
could make up, out of Margot's scanty information, a story which might
offer sufficient ground for a change in the purpose of the voyage.
Meanwhile Claude had seen Mimi at various times, and had conversed
with her, as before, in a very confidential manner. The danger of which
Margot had spoken was present in Mimi's thoughts, also; and she was
anxious to secure Claude's assistance.
Thus it was that Mimi communicated to Claude all about her personal
affairs. There was something almost childish in this ready
communicativeness; but she knew no reason for concealing anything, and
therefore was thus frank and outspoken. Claude, also, was quite as
willing to tell all about himself; though his own story was somewhat
more involved, and could not be told piecemeal, but required a longer
and more elaborate explanation.
Have you many friends in France? asked Mimi, in an abrupt sort of
way, the next time they met.
Friends in France? repeated Claude; not one, that I know of.
No friends! Then what can you do there? she asked, innocently.
Well, I don't know yet, said he. I will see when I get there. The
fact is, I am going there to find out something about my own familymy
parents and myself.
At this Mimi fastened her large eyes upon Claude with intense
How strangely you talk! said she.
I'll tell you a secret, said Claude, after a pause.
What? she asked.
You will never tell it to any one? It's very important.
I tell it? repeated Mimi; I! Never. Of course not. So, now, what
is the secret?
Well, it's this: my name is not Motier.
Well, said Mimi, I'm sure I'm very glad that it isn't; and it
seemed strange when you told me first, for Motier is a plebeian name;
and you certainly are no plebeian.
I am not a plebeian, said Claude, proudly. You are right. My name
is one of the noblest in France. I wonder if you can tell me what I
want to know!
I! Why, how can I? said Mimi. But I should so like to know what
it is that you want to know! And O, monsieur, I should so love to know
what is your real name and family!
Well, said Claude, I don't as yet know much about it myself. But
I do know what my real name is. I am the Count de Montresor.
Montresor, exclaimed Mimi, Montresor!
As she said this, there was an evident agitation in her voice and
manner which did not escape Claude.
What's the matter? said he. You know something. Tell me what it
is! O, tell me!
Mimi looked at him very earnestly.
I don't know, said she; I don't know anything at all. I only know
this, that poor papa's troubles are connected in some way with some one
whose name is Montresor. But his troubles are a thing that I am afraid
to speak about, and therefore I have never found out anything about
them. So I don't know anything about Montresor, more than this. And the
trouble is something terrible, I know, continued Mimi, for it has
forced him, at his time of life, to leave his home and become an exile.
And I'm afraidthat is, I imaginethat he himself has done some wrong
in his early life to some Montresor. But I'm afraid to ask him; and I
think now that the sole object of his journey is to atone for this
wrong that he has done. And O, monsieur, now that you tell your name,
now that you say how you have been living here all your life, I have a
fearful suspicion that my papa has been the cause of it. Montrosor! How
Mimi was very much agitated; so much so, indeed, that Claude
repented having told her this. But it was now too late to repent, and
he could only try to find some way of remedying the evil.
Suppose I go to your father, said he, and tell him who I am, and
all about myself.
No, no, cried Mimi, earnestly; do not! O, do not! I would not
have you for worlds. My hope is, that he may give up his search and go
home again, and find peace. There is nothing that you can do. What it
is that troubles him I don't know; but it was something that took place
before you or I were bornmany, many years ago. You can do nothing.
You would only trouble him the more. If he has done wrong to you or
yours, you would only make his remorse the worse, for he would see in
you one whom his acts have made an exile.
O, nonsense! said Claude, cheerily; I haven't been anything of
the kind. For my part, I've lived a very happy life indeed; and it's
only of late that I found out my real name. I'll tell you all about it
some time, and then you'll understand better. As to anybody feeling
remorse about my life, that's all nonsense. I consider my life rather
an enviable one thus far.
At this Mimi's agitation left her, and she grew calm again. She
looked at Claude with a glance of deep gratitude, and said,
O, how glad, how very glad, I am to hear you say that! Perhaps you
may be able yet to tell that to my dear papa. But still, I do not wish
you to say anything to him at all till I may find some time when you
may do it safely. And you will promise mewill you not?that you will
keep this a secret from him till he is able to bear it.
Promise? Of course, said Claude.
She held out her hand, and Claude took it and carried it to his
lips. They had been sitting at the bows of the schooner during this
conversation. No one was near, and they had been undisturbed.
CHAPTER V. A STRANGE REVELATION.
The old Count Laborde had been too much weakened by suffering and
privation to recover very rapidly. For a few days he spent most of his
time reclining upon a couch in the little cabin, where Mimi devoted
herself to him with the tenderest care. At times she would come upon
deck at the urgent request of her father, and then Claude would devote
himself to her with still more tender care. The old man did not take
much notice of surrounding things. He lay most of the time with his
eyes closed, in a half-dreamy state, and it was only with an effort
that he was able to rouse himself to speak. He took no notice whatever
of any one but his daughter. Cazeneau made several efforts to engage
his attention, but he could not be roused.
Thus there were short intervals, on successive days, when Claude was
able to devote himself to Mimi, for the laudable purpose of beguiling
the time which he thought must hang heavy on her hands. He considered
that as he was in some sort the master of the schooner, these strangers
were all his guests, and he was therefore bound by the sacred laws of
hospitality to make it as pleasant for them as possible. Of course,
also, it was necessary that he should exert his hospitable powers most
chiefly for the benefit of the lady; and this necessity he followed up
with very great spirit and assiduity.
By the conversation which he had already had with her, it will be
seen that they had made rapid advances towards intimacy. Claude was
eager to extend this advance still farther, to take her still more into
his confidence, and induce her to take him into hers. He was very eager
to tell her all about himself, and the nature of his present voyage; he
was still more eager to learn from her all that she might know about
the Montresor family. And thus he was ever on the lookout for her
appearance on deck.
These appearances were not so frequent as he desired; but Mimi's
devotion to her father kept her below most of the time. At such times
Claude did the agreeable to the other passengers, with varying success.
With the lieutenant he succeeded in ingratiating himself very rapidly;
but with Cazeneau all his efforts proved futile. There was about this
man a sullen reserve and hauteur which made conversation
difficult and friendship impossible. Claude was full of bonhomie, good-nature generally, and sociability; but Cazeneau was more than he
could endure; so that, after a few attempts, he retired, baffled, vexed
at what he considered the other's aristocratic pride. What was more
noticed by him now, was the fact that Père Michel had grown more
reserved with him; not that there was any visible change in the good
priest's friendly manner, but he seemed pro-occupied and strangely
self-absorbed. And so things went on.
Meantime the schooner can hardly be said to have gone on at all.
What with light head winds, and currents, and calms, her progress was
but slow. This state of things was very irritating to Zac, who began to
mutter something about these rascally Moosoos bringing bad luck, and
he'd be darned if he wouldn't like to know where in blamenation it was
all going to end. But as Claude was no longer so good a listener as he
used to be, Zac grew tired of talking to empty space, and finally held
his peace. The winds and tides, and the delay, however, made no
difference with Claude, nor did it interfere in the slightest with his
self-content and self-complacency. In fact, he looked as though he
rather enjoyed the situation; and this was not the least aggravating
thing in the surroundings to the mind of the impatient skipper.
Thus several days passed, and at length Claude had an opportunity of
drawing Mimi into another somewhat protracted conversation.
I am very much obliged to you, said Claude, gayly, for making
your appearance. I have been trying to do the agreeable to your
shipmate Cazeneau, but without success. Is he always so amiable? and is
he a friend of yours?
Mimi looked at Claude with a very serious expression as he said
this, and was silent for a few minutes.
He is a friend of papa's, said she at last. He came out with
Is he a great friend of yours? asked Claude.
Mimi hesitated for a moment, and then said,
No; I do not like him at all.
Claude drew a long breath.
Nor do I, said he.
Perhaps I am doing him injustice, said Mimi, but I cannot help
feeling as though he is in some way connected with dear papa's
troubles. I do not mean to say that he is the cause of them. I merely
mean that, as far as I know anything about them, it is always in such a
way that he seems mixed up with them. And I don't think, either, that
his face is very much in his favor, for there is something so harsh and
cruel in his expression, that I always wish that papa had chosen some
different kind of a person for his friend and confidant.
Is he all that? asked Claude.
O, I suppose so, said Mimi. They have secrets together, and make,
together, plans that I know nothing about.
Do you suppose, asked Claude, that you will ever be in any way
connected with their plans?
He put this question, which was a general one, in a very peculiar
tone, which indicated some deeper meaning. It seemed as though Mimi
understood him, for she threw at him a hurried and half-frightened
Why? she asked. What makes you ask such a question as that?
O, I don't know, said Claude. The thought merely entered my
mindperhaps because I dislike him, and suspect him, and am ready to
imagine all kinds of evil about him.
Mimi regarded him now with a very earnest look, and said nothing for
Have you any recollection, she asked, at length, of ever having
seen his face anywhere, at any time, very long ago?
Claude shook his head.
Not the slightest, said he. I never saw him in all my life, or
any one like him, till I saw him on the raft. But what makes you ask so
strange a question?
I hardly know, said Mimi, except that he seems so in papa's
confidence,and I know that papa's chief trouble arises from some
affair that he had with some Montresor,and I thoughtwell, I'll tell
you what I thought. I thought that, as this Montresor had to leave
Francethat perhaps he had been followed to America, or sought after;
and, as you are a member of that family, you might have seen some of
those who were watching the family; and the Count do Cazeneau seemed to
be one who might be connected with it. But I'm afraid I'm speaking in
rather a confused way; and no wonder, for I hardly know what it is that
I do really suspect.
O, I understand, said Claude; you suspect that my father was
badly treated, and had to leave France, and that this man was at the
bottom of it. Well, I dare say he was, and that he is quite capable of
any piece of villany; but as to his hunting us in America, I can acquit
him of that charge, as far as my experience goes, for I never saw him,
and never heard of any one ever being on our track. But can't you tell
me something more definite about it? Can't you tell me exactly what you
Mimi shook her head.
I don't know anything, said she, except what little I told
youthat poor papa's trouble of mind comes from some wrong which he
did to some Montresor, who had to go to America. And you may not be
connected with that Montresor, after all; but I'm afraid you must be,
and thatyouwill have to bepoor papa'senemy.
Never! said Claude, vehemently; never! not if your
fatherWhatever has happened, I will let it passso far as I am
O, you don't know what it is that has happened.
Neither do you, for that matter; so there now; and for my part I
don't want to know, and I won't try to find out, if you think I'd
I don't dare to think anything about it; I only know that a good
son has duties towards his parents, and that he must devote his life to
the vindication of their honor.
Undoubtedly, said Claude, placidly; but as it happens my parents
have never communicated to me any story of any wrongs of theirs, I know
very little about them. They never desired that I should investigate
their lives; and, as I have never heard of any wrongs which they
suffered, I don't see how I can go about to vindicate their honor. I
have, by the merest chance, come upon something which excited my
curiosity, and made me anxious to know something more. I have had no
deeper feeling than curiosity; and if you think that my search will
make me an enemy of your father, I hereby give up the search, and
decline to pursue it any farther. In fact, I'll fall back upon my old
name and rank, and become plain Claude Motier.
Claude tried to speak in an off-hand tone; but his assumed
indifference could not conceal the deep devotion of the look which he
gave to Mimi, or the profound emotion which was in his heart. It was
for her sake that he thus offered to relinquish his purpose. She knew
it and felt it.
I'm sure, said she, I don't know what to say to that. I'm afraid
to say anything. I don't know what may happen yet; you may at any time
find out something which would break through all your indifference, and
fill you with a thirst for vengeance. I don't know, and you don't know,
what may bebefore us. So don't make any rash offers, but merely do as
I asked you before; and that is,while papa is here,refrain from
mentioning this subject to him. It is simply for the sake of hishis
peace of mindandandhis health. I know it will excite him so
dreadfullythat I tremble for the result.
O, of course, said Claude, I promise, as I did before. You
needn't be at all afraid.
Would you have any objection, she asked, after a short silence,
to tell me how much you do really know?
Of course not, said Claude, with his usual frankness. I'll tell
you the whole story. There isn't much of it. I always believed myself
to be the son of Jean Motier, until a short time ago. We lived near
Boston, a place that you, perhaps, have heard of. He was always careful
to give me the best education that could be had in a colony, and
particularly in all the accomplishments of a gentleman. We were both
very happy, and lived very well, and I called him father, and he called
me son; and so things went on until a few weeks ago. I went off hunting
with some British officers, and on my return found the old man dying.
The shock to me was a terrible one. At that time I believed that it was
my father that I was losing. What made it worse, was the evident fact
that there was something on his mind, something that he was longing to
tell me; but he could not collect his thoughts, and he could only speak
a few broken words. He kept muttering, 'Mon trésor, Mon
trésor;' but I thought it was merely some loving words of
endearment to me, and did not imagine what they really meant. Still I
saw that there was something on his mind, and that he died without
being able to tell it.
Claude paused for a moment, quite overcome by his recollections, and
Mimi's large dark eyes filled with tears in her deep sympathy with his
Well, said Claude, regaining his composure with an effort, I'll
go on. As soon as he was buried I began to search the papers, partly to
see how the business was, and how I was situated in the world; but more
for the sake of trying to find out what this secret could be. There was
an old cabinet filled with papers and parcels, and here I began my
search. For a long time I found nothing but old business letters and
receipts; but at last I found some religious bookswith a name written
in them. The name was Louise de Montresor. Well, no sooner had I seen
this than I at once recollected the words of my father, as I supposed
him, which I thought words of endearmentMontresor, Montresor. I saw
now that it was the name of a personof a woman; so this excited me
greatly, and I continued the search with greater ardor.
After a while I came to a drawer in which was a quantity of gold
coins, amounting to over a hundred guineas. In this same drawer was a
gold watch; on the back of it were engraved the letters L. D. M.,
showing that it was evidently the property of this Louise de Montresor.
A gold chain was connected with it, upon which was fastened a seal. On
this was engraved a griffin rampant, with the motto, Noblesse oblige.
Well, after this I found another drawer, in which were several
lady's ornaments, and among them was a package carefully wrapped up. On
opening it I found the miniature portrait of a lady, and this lady was
the same Louise de Montresor, for her name was written on the back.
Have you it now? asked Mimi, with intense interest.
Yes, said Claude; and I'll show it to you some time. But I have
something else to show you just now. Wait a minute, and I'll explain.
After I found the portrait, I went on searching, and came to another
package. On opening this I found some papers which seemed totally
different from anything I had seen as yet. The ink was faded; the
writing was a plain, bold hand; and now I'll let you read this for
yourself; and you'll know as much as I do.
Saying this, Claude produced from his pocket a paper, which he
opened and handed to Mimi. It was a sheet of foolscap, written on three
sides, in a plain, bold hand. The ink was quite faded. As Mimi took the
paper, her hand trembled with excitement, and over her face there came
a sudden anxious, half-frightened look, as though she dreaded to make
herself acquainted with the contents of this old document.
After a moment's hesitation she mustered up her resolution, and
began to read. It was as follows:
QUEBEC, June 10, 1725.
Instructions to Jean Motier with reference to my son, Claude de
Montresor, and my property.
As I do not know how long I shall be absent, I think it better to
leave directions about my son, which may be your guide in the event of
my death. I must stay away long enough to enable me to overcome the
grief that I feel. Long, long indeed, must it be before I shall feel
able to settle in any one place. The death of my dearest wife, Louise,
has left me desolate beyond expression, and there is no home for me any
more on earth, since she has gone.
I have property enough for you to bring up Claude as a gentleman. I
wish him to have the best education which he can get in the colonies. I
do not wish him to know about his family and the past history of his
unhappy parents until he shall be old enough to judge for himself. In
any case, I should wish him not to think of France. Let him content
himself in America. It is done. In France there is no redress. The
government is hopelessly corrupt, and there is no possibility of wrong
being righted. Besides, the laws against the Huguenots are in full
force, and he can never live with his mother's enemies. I revere the
sacred memory of my Huguenot wife, and curse the knaves and fanatics
who wronged her and cast her out; yet I thank God that I was able to
save her from the horrible fate that awaited her.
I wish my son, therefore, to know nothing of France, at least until
he shall be of age, and his own master; and even then I should wish him
never to go there. Let him content himself in the colonies. For how
could he ever redeem the position which is lost? or how could he hope
to face the powerful and unscrupulous enemies who have wrought my ruin;
the false friend who betrayed me; his base and infernal accomplice; the
ungrateful government which did such foul wrong to a loyal servant? All
is lost. The estates are confiscated. The unjust deed can never be
undone. Let my son, therefore, resign himself to fate, and be content
with the position in which he may find himself.
The property will be sufficient to maintain him in comfort and
independence. Here he will have all that he may want; here the church
will give him her consolations without bigotry, or fanaticism, or
corruption, or persecution. He will be free from the vices and
temptations of the old world, and will have a happier fate than that of
his unhappy father.
EUGENE DE MONTRESOR.
Another paper was folded up with this. It was written in a different
hand, and was as follows:
BOSTON, June 20, 1740.
Count Eugene de Montresor left on the 2d July, 1725, and has never
since been heard of. I have followed all his instructions, with one
exception. It was from the countess that I first heard the word of
life, and learned the truth. The priests at Quebec gave me no peace;
and so I had to leave and come here, among a people who are of another
nation, but own and hold my faiththe faith of the pure worship of
Christ. The count wished me to bring you up a Catholic; but I had a
higher duty than his will, and I have brought you up not in your
father's religion, but in your mother's faith. Your father was a good
man, though in error. He has, no doubt, long since rejoined the saint
who was his wife on earth; and I know that the spirits of your father
and mother smile approvingly on my acts.
If I die before I tell you all, dear Claude, you will see this, and
will understand that I did my duty to your parents and to you
Here it ended abruptly. There was no name, and it was evidently
CHAPTER VI. A FRENCH FRIGATE.
Mimi read both papers through rapidly and breathlessly, and having
finished them, she read them over once more. As she finished the second
reading, Claude presented to her in silence a small package. She took
it in the same silence. On opening it, she saw inside a miniature
portrait of a ladythe same one which Claude had mentioned. She was
young and exquisitely beautiful, with rich dark hair, that flowed
luxuriantly around her head; soft hazel eyes, that rested with
inexpressible sweetness upon the spectator; and a gentle, winning
smile. This face produced an unwonted impression upon Mimi. Long and
eagerly did she gaze upon it, and when, at length, she handed it back
to Claude, her eyes were moist with tears.
Claude replaced the portrait in its wrapper, and then restored it,
with the letters, to his pocket. For some time they sat in silence, and
then Claude said,
You see there is no great duty laid on me. Judging by the tone of
that letter, I should be doing my duty to my father if I did not go to
Franceand if I did not seek after anything.
Ah! but how could you possibly live, and leave all this
I could do it very easily, said Claude.
You don't know yourself.
O, yes, I could; I could live very easily and very happilyif I
only had your assistance.
At these words, which were spoken in a low, earnest voice, full of
hidden meaning, Mimi darted a rapid glance at Claude, and caught his
eyes fixed on her. Her own eyes fell before the fervid eagerness of the
young man's gaze, a flush overspread her face, and she said not a word.
Nor did Claude say anything more just then; but it was rather as though
he felt afraid of having gone too far, for he instantly changed the
I'm afraid, said he, that I shall not be able to find out very
much. You cannot give me any enlightenment, and there is nothing very
precise in these papers. The chief thing that I learned from them was
the fact that Jean Motier was not my father, but my guardian. Then a
few other things are stated which can easily be mentioned. First, that
my father was the Count Eugene de Montresor; then that he was driven to
exile by some false charge which he did not seem able to meet; then,
that his estates were confiscated; then, that his wife, my mother, was
a Huguenot, and also in danger. I see, also, that my father considered
his enemies altogether too powerful for any hope to remain that he
could resist them, and that finally, after my mother's death, he grew
weary of the world, and went away somewhere to die.
Now, the fact that he lived two years in Quebec made me have some
thoughts at first of going there; but afterwards I recollected how long
it had been since he was there, and it seemed quite improbable that I
should find any one now who could tell me anything about him; while, if
I went to France, I thought it might be comparatively easy to learn the
cause of his exile and punishment. And so, as I couldn't find any
vessels going direct from Boston, I concluded to go to Louisbourg and
take ship there. I thought also that I might find out something at
Louisbourg; though what I expected I can hardly say.
You spoke as though you supposed that this Cazeneau had something
to do with my father's trouble. Do you think that his present journey
has anything to do with it? That is, do you think he is coming out on
the same errand as your father?
I really do not know what to say about that. I should think not. I
know that he has some office in Louisbourg, and I do not see what
motive he can have to search after the Montresors. I believe that papa
hopes to find your papa, so as to make some atonement, or something of
that sort; but I do not believe that Cazeneau is capable of making
atonement for anything. I do not believe that Cazeneau has a single
good quality. Cazeneau is my father's evil genius.
Mimi spoke these words with much vehemence, not caring, in her
excitement, whether she was overheard or not; but scarce had she
uttered them than she saw emerging from the forecastle the head of
Cazeneau himself. She stopped short, and looked at him in amazement and
consternation. He bowed blandly, and coming upon deck, walked past her
to the stern. After he had passed, Mimi looked at Claude with a face
full of vexation.
Who could have supposed, said she, that he was so near? He must
have heard every word!
Undoubtedly he did, said Claude, and he had a chance of verifying
the old adage that 'listeners never hear good of themselves.'
O, I wish you would be on your guard! said Mimi, in real distress.
It makes me feel very anxious.
She threw at Claude a glance so full of tender interest and pathetic
appeal, that Claude's playful mood gave way to one of a more
sentimental character; and it is quite impossible to tell what he would
have done or said had not Cazeneau again made his appearance, on his
way back to the forecastle.
He smiled a cold smile as he passed them.
Charming weather for a tête-à-tête, mademoiselle, said he.
Parbleu! Monsieur Motier, I don't wonder you don't make your
vessel go faster. I quite envy you; but at present I must see about my
fellows below here.
With these words he turned away, and descended into the forecastle.
Mimi also turned away, and Claude accompanied her to the stern.
How old do you suppose he is? asked Claude, very gravely.
How old? What a funny question! Why, he must be nearly fifty by
Fifty! exclaimed Claude, in surprise.
Why, I thought he was about thirty, or thirty-five.
Well, he certainly doesn't look over forty; but he is a wonderfully
well-kept man. Even on the raft, the ruling passion remained strong in
the very presence of death, and he managed to keep up his youthful
appearance; but I know that he is almost, if not quite, as old as
Is it possible? cried Claude, in amazement.
Mimi turned, and with her face close to Claude's, regarded him with
an anxious look, and spoke in a low, hurried voice:
O, be on your guardbeware of him. Even now he is engaged in some
plot against you. I know it by his face. That's what takes him down
there to confer with the seamen. He is not to be trusted. He is all
falsein face, in figure, in mind, and in heart. He knows nothing
about honor, or justice, or mercy. He has been the deadly enemy of the
Montresors, and if he finds out who you are, he will be your deadly
enemy. O, don't smile that way! Don't despise this enemy! Be
carefulbe on your guard, I entreat youfor my sake!
These last words were spoken in a hurried whisper, and the next
moment Mimi turned and hastened down into the cabin to her father,
while Claude remained there, thinking over these words. Yet of them all
it was not the warning contained in them that was present in his
memory, but rather the sweet meaning convoyed in those last three
words, and in the tone in which they were utteredthe words for my
Out of his meditations on this theme he was at length aroused by an
exclamation from Zac. Looking up, he saw that worthy close beside him,
intently watching something far away on the horizon, through a glass.
I'll be darned if it ain't a French frigate!
This was the exclamation that roused Claude. He at once returned to
himself, and turning to Zac, he asked him what he meant. Zac said
nothing, but, handing him the spy-glass, pointed away to the west,
where a sail was visible on the horizon. That sail was an object of
curious interest to others on board; to the lieutenant and seamen of
the wrecked vessel, who were staring at her from the bows; and to
Cazeneau, who was with them, staring with equal interest. Claude took
the glass, and raising it to his eye, examined the strange sail long
and carefully, but without being able to distinguish anything in
particular about her.
What makes you think that she is a French frigate? he asked, as he
handed the glass back to Zac. I cannot make out that she is French any
more than English.
O, I can tell easy enough, said Zac, by the cut of her jib. Then,
too, I judge by her course. That there craft is comin' down out of the
Bay of Fundy, which the Moosoos in their lingo call Fonde de la Baie.
She's been up at some of the French settlements. Now, she may be goin'
to Franceor mayhap she's goin' to Louisbourgan' if so be as she's
goin' to Louisbourg, why, I shouldn't wonder if it mightn't be a good
idee for our French friends here to go aboard of her and finish their
voyage in a vessel of their own. One reason why I'd rather have it so
is, that I don't altogether like the manoeuvrin's of that French count
over thar. He's too sly; an' he's up to somethin', an' I don't fancy
havin' to keep up a eternal watch agin him. If I was well red of him I
could breathe freer; but at the same time I don't altogether relish the
idee of puttin' myself into the clutches of that thar frigate. It's
easy enough for me to keep out of her way; but if I was once to get
under her guns, thar'd be an end of the Parson. This here count ain't
to be trusted, no how; an' if he once got into communication with that
there frigate, he'd be my master. An' so I'm in a reg'lar quan-dary,
an' no mistake. Darned if I know what in the blamenation to do about
Zac stopped short, and looked with an air of mild inquiry at Claude.
Claude, on his part, was rather startled by Zac's estimate of the
character of Cazeneau, for it chimed in so perfectly with Mimi's
opinion that it affected him in spite of himself. But it was only for a
moment, and then his own self-confidence gained the mastery.
CHAPTER VII. CAUGHT IN A TRAP.
The schooner was now directed towards the stranger, and before very
long they saw that her course had been changed, and that she was now
bearing down upon them. Zac stood at the helm saying nothing, but
keeping his eyes fixed upon the frigate, which drew nearer and nearer,
till finally she came near enough for her flag to be plainly seen. They
had been right in their conjectures, and the new comer was a French
frigate. This assurance seemed to open the mouth of Zac.
I must say, he remarked to Claude, the nearer I get to her, the
less I like it. I've met Moosoo before this on the high seas, but I
allus went on the plan of keepin' out of his way. This here system of
goin' right into his jaws don't suit me at all.
O, come now, said Claude, don't begin again. I thought you'd
given up all anxiety. There's not the slightest occasion for being
worried about it. I'll find out whether they can take me to Louisbourg,
and so I'll leave you, and you'll get back to Boston quicker than if
you took me where you first proposed.
Yes; but suppose she's goin' to France, and chooses to take me
prisoner? said Zac.
O, nonsense! said Claude. They couldn't. What, after saving so
many lives, and conveying these rescued fellow-countrymen to their own
flag, do you suppose they could think of arresting you? Nonsense! The
Zac said no more, but was evidently ill at ease, and in his own mind
there was no end of dark forebodings as to the event of this meeting.
These forebodings were in no way lessened as the schooner rounded to
under the lee of the frigate, and Zac saw a row of guns heavy enough to
blow him and his Parson to atoms. The frigate did not wait for the
schooner to send a boat aboard, for her own boat was all ready, and
soon appeared, well manned, rowing towards the schooner. On coming
alongside, the officer in command stepped on board, and Claude at once
went forward to meet him. Cazeneau also walked forward with the same
Claude politely raised his hat, and the officer civilly returned his
This, monsieur, is the schooner Amos Adams, of Boston. We have
recently picked up the survivors of His Royal French Majesty's frigate
'Arethuse,' which has been lost at sea, and we have come to see whether
you could take them. Will you have the goodness to tell me where you
Mon Dieu! exclaimed the officer, the Arethuse lost! Is it
possible? What a terrible misfortune! And she had on board the new
commandant for Louisbourg.
At this Cazeneau came forward.
He is safe, monsieur, for I am he.
The officer respectfully removed his hat, and bowed very low.
What ship is this? asked Cazeneau, in the tone of a superior.
L'Aigle, replied the officer.
Where are you bound?
To Brest. We have just been cruising to the different settlements
and forts on the Bay of Fundy, with some supplies which were sent from
Ah! And you are now on your return to France?
Who commands your ship?
Ah! Very good. You see, monsieur, said Cazeneau to Claude, this
ship is bound to France; and that destination will not suit any of us.
I think I had better go aboard and see the captain, with whom I may
have some little influence. Perhaps, as my command is an important one,
he may be persuaded to alter his course, and land us at Louisbourg, or
some other place.And so, monsieur, he continued, turning to the
officer, I shall be obliged to you if you will put me aboard the
The officer assured him that the boat was altogether at his service;
whereupon Cazeneau stepped aboard, followed by the officer, and in a
short time the boat was on its way back to the frigate. Claude watched
this in silence, and without any misgivings. It seemed to him quite
natural, and, indeed, the best thing that could be done, under the
circumstances. If the ship was going to France, she could not be of
service to them; but if her captain could be induced to change his
course and land them at Louisbourg, this would be exactly what they
wanted; and Cazeneau seemed to be the only one on board who was at all
likely to persuade the captain of the Aigle to do such a thing as this.
It seemed a long time before any further notice was taken of the
schooner. Meanwhile, all on board were watching the frigate with much
anxiety, and wondering what the result would be. In any case it did not
seem a matter of very great importance to any one; for the lieutenant
and the two sailors, who might have been most concerned, were very well
treated on board the schooner,better, perhaps, than they would be on
board a frigate,and evinced no particular desire to leave. The priest
said nothing; and to him, as well as to Claude, there was nothing to be
gained by taking to the ship. As for the aged Laborde, he was still too
weak to take any notice of events going on around him; while Mimi,
perhaps, found herself as well situated here, under the care of Claude,
as she could possibly be on the larger ship, under the care of one who
might be less agreeable. Claude himself would certainly have preferred
letting things remain as they were. The situation was very pleasant.
Mimi's occasional companionship seemed sweeter than anything he had
ever known; and, as he was master on board, he naturally had a certain
right to show her attentions; which right he could not have under other
circumstances. He would have liked to see Cazeneau take his departure
for good, together with the French sailors, leaving Laborde and Mimi on
board the schooner. Finally, Zac was not at all pleased with anything
in his present situation. The thought of possible foul play never left
his mind for an instant; and though the blow was delayed for a
considerable time, he could not help feeling sure that it would fall.
During this period of waiting, the aged Laborde had been brought up
on deck, and placed there on a seat. This was done from a hope which
Mimi had that he would be benefited by the excitement of the change.
The sight of the ship, however, produced but little effect of any kind
upon the languid and worn-out old man. He gave an indifferent glance at
the frigate and the surrounding scene, and then subsided into himself,
while Mimi in vain strove to rouse him from his indifference.
At last their suspense came to an end, and they saw preparations
making for another visit to the schooner. This time a second boat was
lowered, which was filled with marines. The sight of this formidable
boat's crew produced on Claude an impression of surprise; while in Zac
it enforced a conviction that his worst fears were now to be realized.
Look thar! said he in a hoarse whisper. Now you see what's a
comin'! Good by, poor old Parson! Yer in the claws of the Philistines
now, an' no mistake.
To this Claude made no reply, for he began to feel rather perplexed
himself, and to imagine that Cazeneau might have been playing him
false. All that Mimi had said about him now came to his mind, and the
armed boat's crew seemed like the first act of a traitor. He tried to
account for this in some other way, but was not able. He could no
longer laugh away Zac's fears. He could only be still and wait.
The two boats rowed towards the schooner. Cazeneau was not in either
of them. He had remained on board. At length one of the boats touched
the schooner, and the same officer who had visited her before again
stepped on board.
Is the Count de Laborde here? he asked.
Claude pointed to where the old man was seated. The officer
advanced, and removed his hat with a bow to the old count, and another
to the beautiful Mimi.
Monsieur le Comte, said he, I have the honor to convoy to you the
compliments of Captain Ducrot, with the request that you would honor
him with your company on board the Aigle. His excellency the Comte de
Cazeneau, commandant of Louisbourg, has persuaded him to convey
himself, and you, and some others, to the nearest French fort. It is
the intention of Captain Ducrot to sail back up the Bay of Fundy, and
land you at Grand Pré, from which place you can reach Louisbourg by
To this Laborde murmured a few indistinct words in reply, while Mimi
made no remark whatever. She was anxious to know what Claude was
intending to do. The officer now turned away to the others.
My instructions, said he, are, to convey the invitation of
Ducrot to Monsieur l'Abbé Michel and Lieutenant d'Angers, whom he
will be happy to receive on board the Aigle, and convey them to Grand
Pré, or France. The two seamen of the Arethuse will also go on board
and report themselves.
The officer now went back to Laborde, and offered, to assist him.
The old man rose, and taking his arm, walked feebly towards the
vessel's side, whence he descended into the boat, and was assisted to
the stern by the seamen. The officer then assisted Mimi to a place by
her father's side, anticipating Claude, who stepped forward with the
offer of his assistance. Then followed Père Michel, and Lieutenant
d'Angers, of the Arethuse; then Margot; and, finally, the two seamen.
Meanwhile nothing was said to Claude. He was not included in the
compliments of Captain Ducrot, nor was any notice taken of him in any
way. He could not help feeling slighted and irritated at the whole
proceeding. To himself and to Zac this whole party owed their lives,
and they were all leaving him now with no more regard for him than if
he were, a perfect stranger. But the fact was, the whole party took it
for granted that he and Zac would be invited on board, and that they
would see them both again, and supposed that they were coming in the
same boat. Mimi and Père Michel both thought that Claude, at least, was
going with them; for he had told them both that he was going to leave
the schooner and send Zac home.
But Claude's feelings were somewhat embittered by this whole
incident, and were destined to be still more so before it was all over.
The lieutenant remained on board. The boat rowed back to the Aigle,
carrying the passengers above named, after which the lieutenant
motioned to the other boat. This one moved alongside, and a half-dozen
armed seamen stepped on board.
Monsieur, said the lieutenant, advancing to Claude, I hope you
will pardon me for being the instrument in a very unpleasant duty. I am
pained to inform you that you are my prisoner, on the command of his
excellency the commandant of Louisbourg, whose instructions I am
ordered to fulfil. I deeply regret this painful necessity, and most
sincerely hope that it may prove only a temporary inconvenience.
At this Claude was so astounded that for some time he could only
stare at the officer, without being able to utter a syllable. At length
What, monsieur! A prisoner? You must be mistaken! And whoThe
commandant of Louisbourgis not that the Count de Cazeneau?
But, monsieur, it must be a mistake. I have never injured him or
any one. I have done nothing but good to him. My friend here, the
captain of this schooner, and I, saved his life; and we have treated
him with the utmost kindness since he was on board here. Finally, we
sailed towards you, and put ourselves in your power, solely that these
shipwrecked passengers, of whom the Count de Cazeneau was one, might
reach their friends sooner. How, then, can he possibly mean to arrest
Monsieur, I assure you that it grieves mo most deeply, said the
officermost exquisitely. I know all thisall, and so does Captain
Ducrot; but there is no mistake, and it must be.
But what authority has he here, and why should your captain do his
Monsieur, I am only a subordinate, and I know nothing but my
orders. At the same time, you must know that the commandant of
Louisbourg has general control, by land and sea, and is my captain's
Claude made no reply. He saw that this man was but, as he said, a
subordinate, and was only obeying his orders. But the officer had
something still on his mind. His words and his looks all showed that
the present business was exceedingly distasteful to him, and that he
was only doing it under pressure.
Monsieur, said he, after a pause, I have another painful duty to
perform. I am ordered to take possession of this schooner, as a prize
of war, and take the captain and crew as prisoners of war.
At this Claude stared at the officer once more, utterly stupefied.
Mon Dieu! he cried, at length. Are you a Frenchman? Is your
captain a French gentleman? Do you know, monsieur, what you are doing?
We have saved some shipwrecked Frenchmen; we have carried them to a
place of safety; and for this we are arrested! This honest man, the
captain, might expect a reward for his generosity; and what does he
get? Why, he is seized as a prisoner of war, and his schooner is made a
prize! Is there any chivalry left in France? Are these the acts of
Frenchmen? Great Heavens! Has it come to this?
Monsieur, said the officer, be calm, I implore you. All this
gives me the most exquisite distress. But I must obey orders.
You are right, said Claude. You are a subordinate. I am wasting
words to talk with you. Take me to your captain, or to the Count de
Cazeneau. Let me learn what it is that induces him to act towards us
with such unparalleled baseness.
Monsieur, I shall be happy to do all that I can. I will take you to
the Aigle,under guard,and you will be a prisoner there. I hope that
his excellency will accord you the favor of an interview.
All this time Zac had been a silent spectator of the scene. He had
not understood the words that were spoken, but he had gathered the
general meaning of this scene from the gestures and expression of the
two speakers. The presence, also, of the armed guard was enough to show
him that the blow which he dreaded had fallen. And now, since the worst
had happened, all his uneasiness departed, and he resumed all the vigor
of his mind. He at once decided upon the best course to follow, and
that course was to be emphatically one of quiet, and calmness, and cool
watchfulness. Claude had become excited at this event; Zac had become
Wal, said he, advancing towards Claude, it's just as I said. I
allus said that these here frog-eatin' Frenchmen wan't to be trusted;
and here, you see, I was right. I see about how it is. The poor,
unfort'nate Parson's done for, an' I'm in for it, too, I s'pose.
Claude turned, and gave Zac a look of indescribable distress.
There's some infernal villain at work, Zac, said he, out of the
common course, altogether. I'm arrested myself.
You? Ah! said Zac, who did not appear to be at all surprised. You
don't say so! Wal, you've got the advantage of me, since you can speak
their darned lingo. So they've gone an' 'rested you, toohave they?
It's that infernal Cazeneau, said Claude; and I haven't got the
faintest idea why.
Cazeneau, is it? O, well, said Zac, they're all alike. It's my
opinion that it's the captain of the frigate, an' he's doin' it in
Cazeneau's name. Ye see he's ben a cruisin' about, an' hankers after a
prize; an' I'm the only one he's picked up. You're 'restedcourseas
one of the belongin's of the Parson. You an' I an' the hull crew:
that's it! We're all prisoners of war!
O, no, said Claude. It isn't that, altogether; there's some
Pooh! said Zac; the game ain't a deep one, at all; it's an
every-day game. But I must say it is hard to be done for jest because
we had a leetle too much hooman feelin'. Now, ef we'd only let them
Frenchies rot and drown on their raft,or ef we'd a' taken them as
prisoners to Boston,we'd ben spared this present tribulation.
Zac heaved a sigh as he said this, and turned away. Then a sudden
thought struck him.
O, look here, said he; jest ask 'em one thing, as a partiklar
favor. You needn't mention me, though. It's this. Ask 'em if they won't
leave me freethat is, I don't want to be handcuffed.
Handcuffed! exclaimed Claude, grinding his teeth in futile rage.
They won't dare to do that!
O, you jest ask this Moosoo, as a favor. They needn't object.
Upon this Claude turned to the officer.
Monsieur, said he, I have a favor to ask. I and my friend here
are your prisoners, but we do not wish to be treated with unnecessary
indignity or insult. I ask, then, that we may be spared the insult of
being bound. Our offence has not been great. Wo have only saved the
lives of six of your fellow-countrymen. Is it presumption to expect
Monsieur, said the officer, I assure you that, as far as I have
anything to say, you shall not be bound. And as to this brave fellow,
he may be at liberty to move about in this schooner as long as he is
quiet and gives no offencethat is, for the present. And now,
monsieur, I will ask you to accompany me on board the Aigle.
With these words the officer prepared to quit the schooner. Before
doing so he addressed some words to the six seamen, who were to be left
in charge as a prize crew, with one midshipman at their head. He
directed them to follow the frigate until further orders, and also,
until further orders, to leave the captain of the schooner unbound, and
let him have the run of the vessel.
After this the officer returned to the Aigle, taking Claude with
CHAPTER VIII. UNDER ARREST.
By the time that Claude reached the Aigle, the evening of this
eventful day was at hand. He was taken to a room on the gun-deck, which
seemed as though used for a prison, from the general character of the
bolts and bars, and other fixtures. Claude asked to see the captain,
and the lieutenant promised to carry the message to him. After about an
hour he came back with the message that the captain could not see him
that evening. Upon this Claude begged him to ask Count de Cazeneau for
an interview. The officer went off once more, and returned with the
same answer. Upon this Claude was compelled to submit to his fate as
best he might. It was a hard thing for him, in the midst of health, and
strength, and joy, with all the bounding activity and eager energy of
youth, to be cast down into a prison; but to be arrested and imprisoned
under such circumstances; to be so foully wronged by the very man whose
life he had saved; to have his own kindness and hospitality repaid by
treachery, and bonds, and insult,all this was galling in the highest
degree, and well nigh intolerable.
That night Claude did not sleep. He lay awake wondering what could
be the cause of Cazeneau's enmity, and trying in vain to conjecture.
All the next morning Claude waited for some message from Captain
Ducrot; but none came. His breakfast was brought to him, consisting of
the coarse fare of common seamen, and then his dinner; but the captain
did not make his appearance. Even the officer who had arrested him, and
who had hitherto shown himself sufficiently sympathetic, did not
appear. The sailor who brought his meals gave no answer to his
questions. It seemed to Claude as though his captors were unwilling to
give him a hearing.
At length, in about the middle of the afternoon, Claude heard the
tramp of men approaching his prison; the door was opened, and he saw an
officer enter, while three marines, with fixed bayonets, stood outside.
Have I the honor of speaking to Captain Ducrot? asked Claude.
I am Captain Ducrot, said the other.
He was a small, wiry man, dressed with extreme neatness, who looked
rather like an attorney than a seaman. His voice was thin and
harsh,his manner cold and repulsive, with an air of primness and
formality that made him seem more like a machine than a man. The first
sight of him made Claude feel as though any appeal to his humanity or
generosity, or even justice, would be useless. He looked like an
automaton, fit to obey the will of another, but without any independent
will of his own. Nevertheless, Claude had no other resource; so he
I have asked for this interview, monsieur, said he, from a
conviction that there must be some mistake. Listen to me for a moment.
I have lived in Boston all my life. I was on my way to Louisbourg,
intending to go to France from there, on business. I had engaged a
schooner to take me to Louisbourg; and at sea I came across a portion
of the wreck of the Arethuse, with six people on board, one of whom was
the Count de Cazeneau. I saved them allthat is, with the assistance
of the captain of the schooner. After I brought them on board the
schooner, I treated them all with the utmost kindness; and finally,
when I saw your ship in the distance, I voluntarily sailed towards you,
for the purpose of allowing my passengers to go on board. I had
designed coming on board myself also, if your destination suited my
views. And now, monsieur, for all this I find myself arrested, held
here in prison, treated as a common felon, and all because I have saved
the lives of some shipwrecked fellow-beings. Monsieur, it is not
possible that this can be done with your knowledge. If you want
confirmation of my words, ask the good priest Père Michel, and he will
confirm all that I have said.
The captain listened to all this very patiently, and without any
interruption. At length, as Claude ended, he replied,
But you yourself cannot suppose that you, as you say, are
imprisoned merely for this. People do not arrest their benefactors
merely because they are their benefactors; and if you have saved the
life of his excellency, you cannot suppose that he has ordered your
arrest for that sole reason. Monsieur has more good sense, and must
understand well that there is some sort of charge against him.
Monsieur, said Claude, I swear to you I not only know no reason
for my arrest, but I cannot even imagine one; and I entreat you, as a
man of honor, to tell me what the charge against me is.
Monsieur, said the captain, blandly, we are both men of honor, of
course. Of your honor I have no doubt. It is untouched. Every day men
of honor, and of rank, too, are getting into difficulties; and whenever
one meddles with political affairs it must be so.
Political affairs! cried Claude. What have I to do with political
The captain again smiled blandly.
Parbleu, monsieur, but that is not for me to say.
But is that the charge against me?
Most certainly. How could it be otherwise?
Politics, politics! cried Claude. I don't understand you! I must
be taken for some other person.
O, no, said the captain; there's no mistake.
Pardon me, monsieur, there must be.
Then, monsieur, allow me to indulge the hope that you may be able
to show where the mistake is, at your trial.
The captain made a movement now as though he was about to leave; but
Claude detained him.
One moment, monsieur, said he. Will you not tell me something
more? Will you not tell me what these political charges are? For, I
swear to you, I cannot imagine. How can I, who have lived all my life
in Boston, be connected with politics in any way? Let me know, then,
something about these charges; for nothing is more distressing than to
be in a situation like this, and have no idea whatever of the cause of
[Illustration: Of Your Honor I Have No Doubt.]
Eh bien, monsieur, said the captain, since you wish it, I
have no objection whatever to state what they are; and if you can clear
yourself and show your innocence, I shall be the first to congratulate
you. His excellency will not object to my telling you, I am sure, for
he is the soul of goodness, and is full of generous impulses. Very
well, then. In the first place you call yourself Claude Motier. Now,
this is said to be an assumed name. Your real name is said to be Claude
de Montresor; and it is said that you are the son of a certain Eugene
de Moutresor, who committed grave offences about twenty years ago, for
which he would have been severely punished had he not fled from the
country. His wife, also,your mother, perhaps,was proscribed, and
would have been arrested and punished had she not escaped with her
husband. They were then outlawed, and their estates were confiscated.
The wife died, the husband disappeared. This is what happened to them.
That is all true, said Claude. But my father and mother were both
most foully wronged
Pardon, monsieur, said the captain. That is very probable; but I
am not here as judge; I am only giving you information about the charge
against you. I have not time to listen to your answer; and I would
advise you not to speak too hastily. You have already confessed to the
assumed name. I would advise you to be careful in your statements. And
now, monsieur, should you like to hear any more?
Yes, yes! cried Claude, eagerly; tell me all that there is to
Very well, said the captain. Now you, under an assumed name,
engage a schooner to take you, not to Louisbourg, but to some place in
the vicinity of Louisbourg. Being the son of two dangerous political
offenders, who were both outlawed for grave crimes, you are found
coming from Boston to Louisbourg under an assumed name, and upon a
secret errand, which you keep to yourself. Under these circumstances
the commandant could not overlook your case. It seemed to him one which
was full of suspicion, and, in spite of the gratitude which he felt for
your kind offices, he nevertheless was compelled, by a strong sense of
public duty, to order your arrest. You will be accorded a fair trial;
and, though appearances are against you, you may succeed in proving
your innocence; in which case, monsieur, I am sure that no one will be
more rejoiced than myself and his excellency.
You have also complained, monsieur, of the arrest of your captain.
That was done on account of his unfortunate connection with you. He may
be innocent, but that remains to be seen. At present appearances are
against him, and he must take his share of the guilt which attaches to
you. His arrest was a political necessity.
After this the captain left; and, as Claude saw how useless it was
to attempt to plead his cause to this man, he made no further attempt
to detain him.
Left once more to his own reflections, Claude recalled all that the
captain had said, and at first was lost in wonder at the gravity of the
charges that had been raised up against him. Nor could he conceal from
himself that, though they were based on nothing, they still were
serious and formidable. Even in France charges of a political kind
would lead to serious consequences; and here in the colonies he felt
less sure of justice. Indeed, as far as justice was concerned, he
hardly hoped to experience anything of the kind, for his judge would be
the very man who had got up these charges, and had treated him with
such baseness and treachery. The fact was, that he would be called
before a court where accuser, witness, and judge would all be one and
the same person, and, what was more, the person who for some reason had
chosen to become his bitterest enemy. Dark indeed and gloomy was the
prospect that now lowered before him.
Before an impartial court the charges against him might be answered
or refuted; but where could he find such a court? Cazeneau had created
the charges, and would know how to make them still more formidable. And
now he felt that behind these charges there must lurk something more
Already there had arisen in his mind certain suspicions as to
Cazeneau's designs upon Mimi. These suspicions he had hinted at in
conversation with her, and his present circumstances deepened them into
convictions. It began now to seem to him that Cazeneau had designs to
make the beautiful, high-born girl his wife. Everything favored him. He
was supreme in authority out here; the old Laborde was under his
influence; the daughter's consent alone was wanting. Of that consent,
under ordinary circumstances, he could make sure. But he had seen a
close and strong friendship arising between Mimi and her preserver.
This Claude considered as a better and more probable cause for his
hate. If this were indeed so, and if this hate grew up out of jealousy,
then his prospects were indeed dark, for jealousy is as cruel as the
The more Claude thought of this, the greater was the importance
which he attached to it. It seemed to be this which had made Cazeneau
transform himself into an eavesdropper; this which had occasioned his
dark looks, his morose words, and haughty reticence. In his
eavesdropping he must have heard enough to excite his utmost jealousy;
and Claude, in recalling his conversations with Mimi, could remember
words which must have been gall and bitterness to such a jealous
CHAPTER IX. GRAND PRE.
Nearly thirty years before this, the French government had been
compelled to give up the possession of Acadie to the English, and to
retire to the Island of Cape Breton. Here they had built a stronghold
at Louisbourg, which they were enlarging and strengthening every year,
to the great disgust and alarm of the New England colonies. But though
Acadie had been given up to the English, it could hardly be said to be
held by them. Only two posts were occupied, the one at Canso, in the
strait that separated Cape Breton from Acadie, and the other at
Annapolis Royal. At Canso there was a wooden block-house, with a
handful of soldiers: while at Annapolis Royal, where the English
governor resided, the fortifications were more extensive, yet in a
miserable condition. At this last place there were a few companies of
soldiers, and here the governor tried to perform the difficult task of
transforming the French Acadians to loyal British subjects.
But the French at Louisbourg never forgot their fellow-countrymen,
and never relinquished their designs on Acadie. The French inhabitants
of that province amounted to several thousands, who occupied the best
portions of the country, while the English consisted of only a few
individuals in one or two posts. Among the French Acadians emissaries
were constantly moving about, who sought to keep up among them their
old loyalty to the French crown, and by their pertinacity sorely
disturbed the peace of the English governor at Annapolis Royal. The
French governor at Louisbourg was not slow to second these efforts by
keeping the Acadians supplied with arms and ammunition; and it was for
this purpose that the Aigle had been sent to the settlements up the Bay
Up the bays he now sailed, in accordance with the wish of Cazeneau.
His reason for this course was, that he might see the people for
himself, and judge how far they might be relied on in the event of war,
which he knew must soon be declared. It was his intention to land at
Grand Pré, the chief Acadian settlement, and thence proceed by land to
Louisbourg. He had understood from Captain Ducrot that an Indian trail
went all the way through the woods, which could be traversed on
horseback. Such a course would impose more hardship upon the aged
Laborde and Mimi than would be encountered on shipboard; but Cazeneau
had his own purposes, which were favored, to a great extent, by the
land route. Besides, he had the schooner with him, so that if, after
all, it should be advisable to go by water, they could make the journey
The Aigle sailed, and the schooner followed. The wind had changed,
and now blew more steadily, and from a favorable quarter. The currents
delayed them somewhat; but on the third morning after the two vessels
had met, they reached the entrance of the Basin of Minas.
The scenery here was wild and grand. A few miles from the shore
there rose a lofty rocky island, precipitous on all sides save one, its
summit crested with trees, its base worn by the restless waves.
Opposite this was a rocky shore, with cliffs crowned with the primeval
forest. From this pond the strait began, and went on for miles, till it
reached the Basin, forming a majestic avenue, with a sublime gateway.
On one side of this gateway were rocky shores receding into wooded
hills, while on the other was a towering cliff standing apart from the
shore, rising abruptly from the water, torn by the tempest and worn by
the tide. From this the precipitous cliff ran on for miles, forming one
side of the strait, till it terminated in a majestic promontory.
This promontory rose on one side, and on the other a lofty, wooded
island, inside of which was a winding shore, curving into a harbor.
Here the strait terminated, and beyond this the waters of the Basin of
Minas spread away for many a mile, surrounded on every side by green,
wooded shores. In one place was a cluster of small islands; in another,
rivers rolled their turbid floods, bearing with them the sediment of
long and fertile valleys. The blue waters sparkled in the sun under the
blue sky; the sea-gulls whirled and screamed through the air; nowhere
could the eye discern any of the works of man. It seemed like some
secluded corner of the universe, and as if those on board the ship
were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
But, though not visible from this point, the settlements of man were
here, and the works of human industry lying far away on the slopes of
distant hills and the edges of low, marshy shores.
It was not without much caution that they had passed through the
strait. They had waited for the tide to come in, and then, with a
favorable wind, they had made the venture. Borne onward by wind and
tide together, they sailed on far into the bay, and then, directing
their course to the southward, they sailed onward for a few miles
farther. The captain had been here before, and was anxious to find his
former anchorage. On the former occasion he had waited outside and sent
in for a pilot, but now he had ventured inside without one, trusting to
his memory. He knew well the perils that attend upon navigation in this
place, and was not inclined to risk too much. For here were the highest
tides in the world to be encountered, and swift currents, and sudden
gusts of wind, and far-spreading shoals and treacherous quicksands,
among which the unwary navigator could come to destruction only too
But no accident happened on this occasion; the navigation was made
with the utmost circumspection, the schooner being sent ahead to sound
all the way, and the ship following. At length both came to anchor at a
distance from the shore of about five miles. Nearer than that the
captain did not dare to go, for fear of the sand-banks and shoals.
Here a boat was lowered, and Cazeneau prepared to land, together
with the aged Laborde and Mimi. The Abbé Michel also prepared to
Ever since Laborde had been saved from the wreck, he had been weak
and listless. It seemed as though the exhaustion, and exposure, and
privation of that event had utterly broken down his constitution. Since
he had been taken to the ship, however, he had grown much worse, and
was no longer able to walk. He had not risen from his berth since he
had come on board the Aigle. Mimi's anxiety about him had been
excessive, and she had no thought for anything else. The situation of
Claude was unknown to her, and her distress about her father's
increasing weakness prevented her from thinking much about him. Her
only hope now was, that on reaching the shore her father would
experience a change for the better, and be benefited by the land air.
On removing Laborde from his berth, it was found that he not only
had not strength to stand, but that he was even so weak that this
motion served of itself to exhaust him fearfully. He had to be placed
on a mattress, and carried in that way by four sailors to the ship's
side, where he was carefully let clown into the boat. There the
mattress was placed in the boat's stern, and Laborde lay upon this,
with his head supported against Mimi, who held him encircled in her
arms. In this way he was taken ashore.
It was a long row, but the water was comparatively smooth, and the
landing had been postponed until the flood tide, which made the boat's
progress easier and swifter.
The nearest shore was very low, and the landing-place was two or
three miles farther on. In the distance the land rose higher, and was
covered with trees, with here and there a clearing. The land which they
first approached was well wooded on the water side, but on passing this
the whole scene changed. This land was an island, about two miles
distant from the shore, with its inner side cleared, and dotted with
houses and barns. Between this and the shore there extended a
continuous tract of low land, which had evidently once been a
salt-water marsh, for along the water's edge the coarse grass grew
luxuriantly; but a little distance back there was a dike, about six or
eight feet high, which ran from the island to the shore, and evidently
protected the intervening level from the sea. The island itself thus
served as a dike, and the artificial works that had been made ran where
the sea had the least possible effect.
At length they approached the main land, and here they saw the low
marsh-land all around them. Here a turbid river ran into the Basin,
which came down a valley enclosed between wooded hills, and, with
voluminous windings, terminated its course.
At this place there was a convenient beach for landing, and here
Laborde was removed from the boat and carried up on the bank, where he
was laid on his mattress under a shadowy willow tree. This point,
though not very elevated, commanded a prospect which, to these new
comers who had suffered so much from the sea, might have afforded the
highest delight, had they been sufficiently free from care to take it
all in. All around them lay one of the most fertile countries in all
the world, and one of the most beautiful. The slopes of the hills rose
in gentle acclivities, cultivated, dotted with groves and orchards, and
lined with rows of tall poplars. The simple houses of the Acadian
farmers, with their out-buildings, gave animation to the scene. At
their feet lay a broad extent of dike-land, green and glowing with the
verdure of Juno, spreading away to that island, which acted as a
natural dike against the waters of the sea. Beyond this lay the blue
waters of Minas Basin, on whose bosom floated the ship and the
schooner, while in the distance rose the cliff which marked the
entrance into the Basin, and all the enclosing shores.
But none of the party noticed this. Cazeneau was absorbed with his
own plans; Laborde lay extended on the mattress, without any appearance
of life except a faint breathing and an occasional movement; over him
Mimi hung in intense anxiety, watching every change in his face, and
filled with the most dreadful apprehensions; at a little distance stood
Père Michel, watching them with sad and respectful sympathy.
Captain Ducrot had come ashore in the boat, and, leaving Laborde, he
accompanied Cazeneau to a house which stood not far away. It was rather
larger than the average, with a row of tall poplars in front and an
orchard on one side. A road ran from the landing, past this house, up
the hill, to the rest of the settlement farther on.
An old man was seated on a bench in the doorway. He rose as he saw
the strangers, and respectfully removed his hat.
How do you do, Robicheau? said Ducrot. You see I have come back
again sooner than I expected. I have brought with me his excellency the
governor of Louisbourg, who will be obliged if you can make him
comfortable for a few days. Also there are the Count de Laborde and his
daughter, whom I should like to bring here; but if you cannot make them
comfortable, I can take them to Comeau's.
Upon this, Robicheau, with a low bow to Cazeneau, informed him that
he thought there might be room for them all, if they would be willing
to accept his humble hospitality. The old man spoke with much
embarrassment, yet with sincere good will. He was evidently overwhelmed
by the grandeur of his visitors, yet anxious to do all in his power to
give them fitting entertainment. Ducrot now informed him that the Count
de Laborde needed immediate rest and attention; whereupon Robicheau
went in to summon his dame, who at once set to work to prepare rooms
for the guests.
Ducrot now returned to the landing, and ordered the sailors to carry
Laborde to Robicheau's house. They carried him on the mattress,
supporting it on two oars, which were fastened with ropes in such a way
as to form a very easy litter. Mimi walked by her father's side, while
Père Michel followed in the rear. In this way they reached Robicheau's
house. The room and the bed were already prepared, and Laborde was
carried there. As he was placed upon that bed, Mimi looked at him with
intense anxiety and alarm, for his pale, emaciated face and weak,
attenuated frame seemed to belong to one who was at the last verge of
life. An awful fear of the worst came over herthe fear of bereavement
in this distant land, the presentiment of an appalling desolation,
which crushed her young heart and reduced her to despair. Her father,
her only relative, her only protector, was slipping away from her; and
in the future there seemed nothing before her but the very blackness of
The good dame Robicheau saw her bitter grief, and shed tears of
sympathy. She offered no word of consolation, for to her experienced
eyes this feeble old man seemed already beyond the reach of hope. She
could only show her compassion by her tears. Père Michel, also, had
nothing to say; and to all the distress of the despairing young girl he
could offer no word of comfort. It was a case where comfort could not
be administered, and where the stricken heart could only be left to
struggle with its own griefsalone.
A few hours after the first boat went ashore, a second boat landed.
By this time, a large number of the inhabitants had assembled at the
landing-place, to see what was going on; for to these people the sight
of a ship was a rare occurrence, and they all recognized the Aigle, and
wondered why she had returned. This second boat carried Claude, who had
thus been removed from the ship to the shore for the purpose of being
conveyed to Louisbourg. Captain Ducrot and Cazeneau had already
succeeded in finding a place where he could be kept. It was the house
of one of the fanners of Grand Pré, named Comeau, one of the largest in
the whole settlement.
Claude landed, and was committed to the care of Comeau, who had come
down to receive his prisoner. It was not thought worth while to bind
him, since, in so remote a place as this, there would be scarcely any
inducement for him to try to escape. If he did so, he could only fly to
the woods, and, as he could not support his life there, he would be
compelled to return to the settlement, or else seek shelter and food
among the Indians. In either case he would be recaptured; for the
Acadians would all obey the order of the governor of Louisbourg, and
deliver up to him any one whom he might designate; while the Indians
would do the same with equal readiness, since they were all his allies.
Under these circumstances, Claude was allowed to go with his hands
free; and in this way he accompanied Comeau, to whose charge he was
committed. He walked through the crowd at the landing without exciting
any very particular attention, and in company with Comeau he walked for
about half a mile, when he arrived at the house. Here he was taken to a
room which opened into the general sitting-room, and was lighted by a
small window in the rear of the house, and contained a bed and a chair.
The door was locked, and Claude was left to his own reflections.
Left thus to himself, Claude did not find his own thoughts very
agreeable. He could not help feeling that he was now, more than ever,
in the power of the man who had shown himself so relentless and
persevering in his enmity. He was far away from any one whom he could
claim as a friend. The people here were evidently all the creatures of
Ducrot and Cazeneau. He saw that escape was useless. To get away from
this particular place of imprisonment might be possible, for the window
could be opened, and escape thus effected; but, if he should succeed in
flying, where could he go? Annapolis Royal was many miles away; He did
not know the way there; he could not ask; and even if he did know the
way, he could only go there by running the gantlet of a population who
were in league with Cazeneau.
That evening, as old Comeau brought him some food, he tried to enter
into conversation with him. He began in a gradual way, and as his host,
or, rather, his jailer, listened, he went on to tell his whole story,
insisting particularly on the idea that Cazeneau must be mistaken; for
he thought it best not to charge him with deliberate malice. He hinted,
also, that if he could escape he might bestow a handsome reward upon
the man who might help him. To all this Comeau listened, and even gave
utterance to many expressions of sympathy; but the end of it all was
nothing. Either Comeau disbelieved him utterly, but was too polite to
say so, or else he was afraid to permit the escape of the prisoner who
had been intrusted to his care. Claude then tried another means of
influencing him. He reminded him that the governor of Louisbourg had no
jurisdiction here; that the Acadians of Grand Pré were subject to the
King of England, and that all concerned in this business would be
severely punished by the English as soon as they heard of it. But here
Claude utterly missed his mark. No sooner had he said this, than old
Comeau began to denounce the English with the utmost scorn and
contempt. He told Claude that there were many thousands of French in
Acadia, and only a hundred English; that they were weak and powerless;
that their fort at Annapolis was in a ruinous state; and that, before
another year, they would be driven out forever. He asserted that the
King of France was the greatest of all kings; that France was the most
powerful of all countries; that Louisbourg was the strongest fortress
in the universe; and that the French would drive the English, not only
out of Acadia, but out of America. In fact, Claude's allusion to the
English proved to be a most unfortunate one; for, whereas at first the
old man seemed to feel some sort of sympathy with his misfortunes, so,
at the last, excited by this allusion, he seemed to look upon him as a
traitor to the cause of France, and as a criminal who was guilty of all
that Cazeneau had laid to his charge.
CHAPTER X. ALONE IN THE WORLD.
The condition of the old Count de Laborde grew steadily worse. The
change to the land had done him no good, nor was all the loving care of
Mimi of any avail whatever. Every one felt that he was doomed: and Mimi
herself, though she struggled against that thought, still had in her
heart a dark terror of the truth. This truth could at last be concealed
no longer even from herself, for Père Michel came to administer the
holy eucharist to the dying man, and to receive his last confession.
Mimi could not be present while the dying man unfolded to his priest
the secrets of his heart, nor could she hope to know what those secrets
were. But dark indeed must they have been, and far, very far, beyond
the scope of ordinary confessions, for the face of Père Michel, as he
came forth from that room, was pale and sombre; and so occupied was he
with his own thoughts that he took no notice of the weeping girl who
stood there, longing to hear from him some word of comfort. But Père
Michel had none to give. He left the house, and did not return till the
By that time all was over. Laborde had passed away in the night. The
priest went in to look upon the form of the dead. Mimi was there, bowed
down in the deepest grief, for she felt herself all alone in the world.
The priest stood looking at the face of the dead for some time with
that same gloom upon his face which had been there on the preceding
day, when he left that bedside. At length he turned to Mimi.
Child, said he, in a voice full of pity, I will not attempt to
utter any words of condolence. I know well how the heart feels during
the first emotions of sorrow over bereavement. Words are useless. I can
only point you to Heaven, where all comfort dwells, and direct you to
remember in your prayers him who lies here. The church is yours, with
all her holy offices. The dearest friend must turn away from the dead,
but the church remains, and follows him into the other world. Your
heart may still be consoled, for you can still do something for the
dear father whom you loved. You can pray for the soul of the departed,
and thus it will seem to you as though you have not altogether lost
him. He will seem near you yet when you pray for him; your spirit will
seem to blend with his; his presence will seem about you. And besides,
my dear child, this also I wish to say: you are not altogether alone in
the world. I will watch over you till you go wherever you may wish. It
is not much that I can do; but perhaps I can do for you all that you
may now wish to be done for yourself. Think of this, then, dear child,
and whenever you wish to have a friend's advice or assistance, come to
To this Mimi listened with streaming eyes; and as the priest ended,
she pressed his hand gratefully, and uttered some unintelligible words.
His offer had come to her like balm. It did not seem now as though she
was so desolate, for she had learned already to love the good priest
with something of a daughter's feelings, and to trust in him
Laborde was buried in the little churchyard of Grand Pré; and now,
in addition to the pangs of bereavement, Mimi began to feel other cares
about her future. What was she to do? Could she go back to France? That
was her only present course. But how? She could not go in the Aigle,
for that frigate had left the day after her arrival, not having any
time to spare. There was no other way of going to France now, except by
going first to Louisbourg, and taking a ship from that place. But she
was not left very long in suspense, for, two or three days after her
father's burial, the Count de Cazeneau came to see her.
I hope, he began, that it is not necessary for me to say to you
how deeply I sympathize with you in your bereavement, for I myself have
my own bereavement to mourn overthe loss of my best, my only friend,
the friend of a lifetime, the high-minded, the noble Laborde. The loss
to me is irrevocable, and never can I hope to find any mere friend who
may fill his place. We were always inseparable. We were congenial in
taste and in spirit. My coming to America was largely due to his
unfortunate resolve to come here, a resolve which I always combated to
the best of my ability, and over which you and I must now mourn. But
regrets are useless, and it remains for both of us to see about the
This somewhat formal opening was quite characteristic of Cazeneau,
who, being of a distant, reserved nature, very seldom allowed himself
to unbend; and, though he threw as much softness into his voice and
manner as he was capable of using, yet Mimi felt repelled, and dreaded
what might be coming.
When we were first picked up by the Aigle, he continued, it was
in my power either to go direct to Louisbourg, or to come here, and
then go on by land. I chose to come here, for two reasons; first,
because I hoped that my dear friend would be benefited by reaching the
land as soon as possible, and I thought that the pure, fresh air, and
genial climate, and beautiful scenery of this lovely place would
exercise upon him an immediate effect for the better. Another purpose
which I had was an official one. I wished to see this place and this
people with reference to my own administration and designs for the
future. Unhappily, my hopes for my friend have proved unfounded, and my
only consolation is that, though I have been disappointed as a private
man in my affections, yet, as a public official, I have been able,
during my short stay here, to do good service to my country, in a way
which my country's enemies shall feel at a vital point before another
year has passed away.
To this Mimi had nothing to say, for it was all preliminary, and she
expected something more. She therefore waited in silence, though with
much trepidation, to see what it might be that this man had in view
with regard to her. Cazeneau then continued:
As I have now done all that I intended to do in this place, it is
my intention to set forth for Louisbourg by land. I have some faithful
Indians as guides, and the journey is not very fatiguing. In Louisbourg
you will be able to obtain every comfort, and there will be friends and
associates for you, your own social equals, who may make your life
pleasanter than it has been for a long time.
By this Cazeneau directly stated his intention of taking Mimi with
him to Louisbourga statement which did not surprise Mimi, for it was
what she had expected. Now, however, that he said this, and in this
way, without pretending to ask her consent, her trepidation increased,
and she thought with terror over that long and lonely journey, which
she would have to make with this man and a band of savages. There was
nothing else, however, to be done. She could neither hope nor desire to
remain in Grand Pré. Her position was a painful one, and the only hope
remaining was that of returning to France. And to go to Louisbourg was
the surest way of doing that. One thing, however, she could not help
asking, for this she felt to be a matter of extreme importance.
Is Père Michel going?
He is, said Cazeneau. He has asked permission to go with our
party, and I have granted it.
At this answer a great relief was felt by Mimi, and the future
seemed less dark.
I have granted it, said Cazeneau, because he seems a harmless
man, and may be useful in various ways to me, hereafter, in my plans.
He seems to know the people about here. I dare say he's been here
Your position at Louisbourg, continued Cazeneau, will be one
which will be most honorable: as the daughter of the Count de Laborde,
you will receive universal attention, and my influence shall be exerted
to make everything contribute to your happiness. As commandant, I
shall, of course, be supreme; my house will be like a small vice-regal
court, and the little world of Louisbourg will all do homage to any one
whom I may hold up before them as a worthy object.
Cazeneau paused after he had said this. It was a speech which was
uttered slowly and with emphasis, but its meaning was not altogether
apparent to Mimi. Still there was enough of it intelligible to her to
make it seem excessively unpleasant. What he exactly meant was of no
importance, the general meaning being certainly this: that he designed
for her some prolonged stay there, during which he intended to secure
homage and respect for her. Now, that was a thing that Mimi recoiled
from with distaste. She had always detested this man, she had always
shrunk from him. Her present position of dependence was most bitter;
but to have that position continue was intolerable. It was as though he
tried to put himself into the place of her beloved father,he, whom
she regarded as her father's evil genius,as though he intended to
make himself her guardian, and introduce her as his ward.
You speak, said she, in a trembling voice, just asas ifIyou
supposed that I was going to live at Louisbourg.
And where else do you wish to live? asked Cazeneau, placidly.
I want to go home, said Mimi, her eyes filling with tears, and her
voice sounding like the wail of a child that has lost its way.
My poor child, said Cazeneau, more tenderly than he had yet
spoken, you evidently do not understand your position as yet. I did
not intend to say anything about it; but, since you feel this way, and
have spoken so, I suppose I must make some explanation. Well, then, my
poor child, when your father left France on this unfortunate errand, he
turned all his property into money, expecting to use that money in
America in some way, in that mysterious design of his which brought him
out here. All this money was on board the Arethuse with him, and it is
hardly necessary to say that it was all lost. I know that his grief
over this, and the thought that he was leaving you penniless, did more
to shorten his life than the sufferings which he had on the sea. He
sank under it. He told me that he could not rally from it; and it was
his utter hopelessness that made him give way so completely. So, my
poor child, this is your present situation: your father's estates are
sold, and are now in the hands of strangers; your father's money is now
at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean; so that to return to France is,
for the present, at least, not to be thought of.
For my part, continued Cazeneau, as Mimi sat there dumb with
horror at hearing this fresh and crushing news, I do not see anything
in your situation which need give you one moment's uneasiness. You have
lost your father, but your father's best friend still lives, and he
will never see the daughter of his friend know one single trouble, if
he can help it. We were more than brothers. Suppose you try to think of
me with something of the same confidence that your father felt. I, for
my part, will put you in his place. You shall never know a care. You
may consider yourself rich. You shall have no trouble except that deep
sorrow which you feel as a fond daughter.
I cannot live in America, moaned Mimi, despairingly, recoiling in
her heart from Cazeneau, and dreading him more than ever. I cannot. I
want to go home; or, if I have no home, I want to go to France. I will
enter a convent.
Cazeneau smiled at this.
Such a wish, dear child, said he, is quite natural now, in the
first freshness of your bereavement; but time alleviates all sorrow,
and you may think differently hereafter. As to returning to France, you
shall most certainly do that. I intend to go back after a time; and you
will once more live in our dear, native land. But, for the present, let
us not talk of these things. Louisbourg is now our destination. Fear
nothing. You shall not know a care. You shall be guarded from every
want, and every wish shall be gratified. You shall find yourself
surrounded by the most anxious, and tender, and solicitous care for
These last words were spoken in a warmer and more impassioned manner
than Cazeneau had thus far used, and their effect upon Mimi was so much
the more unpleasant. He then raised her hand to his lips with
respectful affection, and took his departure.
Mimi was for a time quite overwhelmed. The sorrow which she had
experienced for her father gave way to a new feelingone of terror,
deep, dark, and irremovableabout herself and her own future. All
Cazeneau's words recurred to her, and the more she thought of them, the
more hateful did they seem. Out of them all several things appeared
plain to her mind.
First, that she was a pauper. Of Cazeneau's words she did not doubt
the truth. It seemed in the highest degree probable. She had all along
known that her father had come to America to search after some of the
Montresors, and to made reparation. Cazeneau now had informed her that
he had turned all his property into money. It must have been for that
purpose. The thought had never occurred to her before; but, now that it
was stated, she did not dream of doubting it. It seemed too true.
Secondly, she saw that Cazeneau, for some reason or other, was
determined to keep her under his control. He was determined not to
allow her to return to France, and not to enter a convent. He was bent
upon associating her with his own life, and causing her to be admired
in Louisbourg. Added to this was his promise to take her back to France
with himself. All this showed that he would on no account allow her to
part with him. What was the meaning of it all? And now the thought
could no longer be kept out of her mind: Cazeneau's purpose was to make
her his wife.
The thought was to her most odious; but, having once presented
itself, she could not argue it away, nor could she get rid of it at
all. Yes, that was the meaning that lurked behind his words all the
time. That was the meaning of his promise to make her admired and
Finally, she remembered how he had stated to her the fact that he
was supreme in Louisbourg, and that through his grandeur she was to
receive homage from all the lesser throng. To her this seemed like a
plain statement that she was in his power, and entirely at his mercy.
And now, what could she do? The future was worse than ever. She was
completely in the power of a man whom she detesteda man upon whom she
looked as her father's evil genius, as one whose evil counsel had long
ago led her father to that act which he had atoned for by remorse and
death. She was now in the hands of this villain. Escape seemed
impossible. He was supreme here. From him there was no appeal. And she
was a beggar. But, even if she were rich, what hope could she have
As she asked herself this question, there was no answer. She did not
know what she could do, and could scarcely hope that she would ever
It was in this state of mind that Père Michel found her, on the
evening of that day. Mimi saw his arrival with intense delight. Here
seemed one who might relieve her in her distress. Accordingly she
proceeded to tell him her whole story, all the words of Cazeneau, with
all their implied meaning, and all her own fears, from beginning to
The priest heard her narration in profound silence, and after she
had told him all, he remained in deep thought for some time, while Mimi
sat anxiously awaiting what he might say.
My dear child, said the priest, at length, it is difficult for me
to give you advice, for your situation is most unpleasant, and most
distressing to me. I can only entreat you to put your trust in that
Heaven who never deserts the innocent. You must go to Louisbourgthere
is no hope of escaping that. Besides, you yourself wish to go there.
The Count de Cazeneau certainly has the chief power there; but whether
he is omnipotent remains to be seen. Who knows what other powers may be
there? I have known cases where the commandant has had powerful
rivals,such as the admiral of the fleet, or some subordinate who had
influence at court at home. I have known places where the bishop could
interfere and prevent his doing wrong. So, be calm, my daughter, put
your trust in Heaven, and recollect that the commandant cannot break
through all restraints, but that there must be some barriers that he
cannot force. If you wish the protection of the church, that will
always be yours. Beware how you do anything rashly. Confide in me.
Perhaps, after all, these troubles may have a good end.
CHAPTER XI. A FRIEND IN NEED.
For more than a week Claude had been kept in confinement, and had
seen nothing of any of his former acquaintances. The confinement was
not so close as it might have been, and escape was not absolutely
impossible, for the window which lighted the chamber was merely a
wooden sash, with four panes of glass, which Claude could have removed,
had he been so disposed; but this he was not inclined to do, and for
two reasons. One reason was, because, if he did get out, he had no idea
where to go. Annapolis Royal was the nearest settlement belonging to
the English; but he did not know in which direction it lay. He knew,
however, that between Grand Pré and that place the country was settled
by the French, among whom he could not go without being captured by his
pursuers, while if he took to the woods he would be sure to fall into
the hands of the Indians, who were the zealous allies of the French.
Such a prospect was of itself sufficient to deter him from the attempt
to escape. But there was also another reason. He could not bear the
thought of leaving Mimi forever, and never seeing her again. If he
should succeed in escaping to Annapolis Royal, it would be an eternal
separation between her and himself. Grand Pré seemed pleasant to him
since she was here; and he thought it better to be a prisoner here than
a free man elsewhere. He, therefore, deliberately preferred to run any
risk that might be before him, with the faint hope of seeing Mimi
again, rather than to attempt flight.
What had happened since he had come here he did not know very
clearly. From conversation which he had overheard he had gathered that
Labordo was dead; but, when he asked any of them about it, they refused
to tell him anything at all. Claude was, therefore, left to make the
most that he could out of this vague information. But the intelligence
caused him to feel much anxiety about Mimi. He remembered well all that
she had ever told him, and could not help wondering what she would do
under present circumstances. Would she be willing to remain in the
neighborhood of Cazeneau? But how could she help it? Would not Cazeneau
take advantage of her present loneliness to urge forward any plans that
he might have about her?
Already the suspicion had come to Claude that Cazeneau had certain
plans about Mimi. What he thought was this: that Laborde was rich, that
Mimi was his heiress, and that Cazeneau was a man of profligate life
and ruined fortunes, who was anxious to repair his fortunes by marrying
this heiress. To such a man the disparity in their years would make no
difference, nor would he particularly care whether Mimi loved him or
not, so long as he could make her his wife, and gain control over her
property. What had given him this idea about Cazeneau's position and
plans it is difficult to say; but it was probably his own jealous fears
about Mimi, and his deep detestation of his enemy.
And now he began to chafe against the narrow confines of his chamber
with greater impatience. He longed to have some one with whom he could
talk. He wondered whether Cazeneau would remain here much longer, and,
if he went away, whether he would take Mimi or leave her. He wondered,
also, whether he would be taken to Louisbourg. He felt as if he would
rather go there, if Mimi was to go, even at the risk of his life, than
remain behind after she had left. But all his thoughts and wonders
resulted in nothing whatever, for it was impossible to create any
knowledge out of his own conjectures.
He was in the midst of such thoughts as these when his ears were
attracted by the sound of a familiar voice. He listened attentively. It
was the voice of Père Michel. No sooner had Claude satisfied himself
that it was indeed the priest, than he felt sure that he had come here
to visit him; and a little longer waiting showed that this was the
case. There were advancing footsteps. Madame Comeau opened the door,
and Père Michel entered the chamber. The door was then shut, and the
two were alone.
So overcome was Claude by joy that he flung himself into the
priest's arms and embraced him. The good priest seemed to reciprocate
his emotion, for there were tears in his eyes, and the first words that
he spoke were in tremulous tones.
My son, the priest commenced, in gentle, paternal tones, and in a
voice that was tremulous with emotion, you must calm yourself. Then,
suddenly speaking in English, he said, It is necessaire dat we sall
spik Ingeles, for ze peuple of ze house may suspeck
Upon this Claude poured forth a torrent of questions in English,
asking about Laborde, Cazeneau, Zac, and Mimi. It will not be necessary
to report the words of the priest in his broken English, but rather to
set them down according to the sense of them. So the priest said,
You speak too fast, my son. One thing at a time. The poor Laborde
is dead and buried. The Count Cazeneau is about to go to Louisbourg.
Mimi is going with him.
Mimi going with him! cried Claude, in deep agitation.
Be calm, my son. Do not speak so loud. I have told the people of
this house that your life is in danger, and that I have come as a
priest, to hear your last confession. I do not wish them to suspect my
real errand. We may talk as we wish, only do not allow yourself to be
But tell me, said Claude, in a calmer voice, how is it possible
that Mimi can trust herself with Cazeneau?
Ma foi, said the priest, it is possible, for she cannot
help it. But do not fear. I am going to accompany them, and, as far as
my feeble power can do anything, I will watch over her, and see that
she suffers no injustice. I hope that Heaven will assist her innocence
and my protection; so do not allow yourself to be uneasy about her; but
hope for the best, and trust in Heaven.
At this Claude was silent for a few moments. At length he said,
O, Père Michel, must I stay here when she goes? Can you tell me
what they are going to do with me?
It is about yourself that I am going to speak, and it was for this
that I came, said the priest.
Can I go with the others to Louisbourg? asked Claude, eagerly; for
he thought only of being near Mimi.
Heaven forbid! said the priest. It is in a for different way that
you are to go. Listen to me. The Count de Cazeneau is going to set out
to-morrow, with a party of Indians as escort. Mimi is to be taken with
him. I am going, too. It is his intention to leave you here for a time,
till his escort can return. They will then take you to Louisbourg. If
he can find any Indians on the way whom he can make use of, he will
send them here for you. But meantime you are to be kept imprisoned
Now, I am acquainted with the Indians better than most men. I lived
in Acadie formerly, long enough to be well known to the whole tribe. I
am also well known to the Acadians. Among the Indians and the Acadians
there are many who would willingly lay down their lives for me. I could
have delivered you before this, but I saw that you were not in any
immediate danger; so I preferred postponing it until the Count de
Cazeneau had left. I do not wish him to suspect that I have any
interest in you; and when he hears of your escape, I do not wish him to
think that I had anything to do with it. But I have already made all
the plans that are necessary, and the men are in this neighborhood with
whom I have arranged for your escape.
What is the plan? asked Claude, eagerly.
I will tell you, said the priest. There are six Indians, all of
them devoted to me. They will guide you to a place of safety, and will
be perfectly faithful to you as long as they are with you. They are
ready to go anywhere with you, to do anything for you, even to the
extent of laying down their lives for you. It is for my sake that they
are willing to show this devotion. I have presented you to them as my
representative, and they look upon you as they would look upon me. But,
first of all, you are to get out of this. Can you open that window?
It was fastened tight when I first came, said Claude; but I have
loosened it, so that I can take it out very quickly.
Very good. Now, one of these Indians will be here to-morrow night.
We shall leave to-morrow morning; and I do not want you to be rescued
till after our departure. At midnight, to-morrow, then, the Indian will
be here. He will give a sound like a frog, immediately outside, under
the window. You must then open the window. If you see him, or hear him,
you must then get out, and he will take you to the woods. After that he
and the rest of the Indians will take you through the woods to Port
Royal, which they call Annapolis Royal. Here you will be safe from
Cazeneau until such time as may suit you to go back to Boston.
Annapolis Royal is about twenty-four leagues from this place, and you
can easily go there in two days.
Claude listened to all this without a word; and, after the priest
had ended, he remained silent for some time, with his eyes fixed on the
The Indians will be armed, said the priest, and will have a rifle
and a sword for you. So you need have no trouble about anything.
My dear Père Michel, said Claude, at last, you lay me under very
great obligations; but will you not add to them by allowing me to
select my own route?
Your own route? asked the priest. What do you mean? You don't
know the country, especially the woods, while these Indians will be at
What I mean is this, said Claude: will you not allow me the use
of this Indian escort in another direction than the one you mention?
Another direction? Why, where else can you possibly go? Annapolis
is the nearest place for safety.
I should very much prefer, said Claude to go to Canso.
To Canso! said the priest, in great surprise; to Canso! Why, you
would come on our track!
That is the very reason why I wish to go there. Once in Canso, I
should be as safe as in Annapolis.
The priest shook his head.
From what I hear, Canso cannot be a safe place for you very long.
England and France are on the eve of war, and Cazeneau expects to get
back Acadiea thing that is very easy for him to do. But why do you
wish to venture so near to Louisburg? Cazeneau will be there now; and
it will be a very different place from what it would have been had you
not saved Cazeneau from the wreck, and made him your enemy.
My dear Père Michel, said Claude, I will be candid with you. The
reason why I wish to go in that direction is for the sake of being near
to Mimi, and on account of the hope I have that I may rescue her.
Mimi! Rescue her! exclaimed the priest, astonished, not at the
young man's feelings towards Mimi, for those he had already discovered,
but rather at the boldness of his plan,rescue her! Why how can you
possibly hope for that, when she will be under the vigilant eye of
I will hope it, at any rate, said Claude. Besides, Cazeneau will
not be vigilant, as he will not suspect that he is followed. His
Indians will suspect nothing. I may be able, by means of my Indians, to
entice her away, especially if you prepare her mind for my enterprise.
The priest was struck by this, and did not have any argument against
it; yet the project was evidently distasteful to him.
It's madness, said he. My poor boy, it may cost you your life.
Very well, said Claude; let it go. I'd rather not live, if I
can't have Mimi.
The priest looked at him sadly and solemnly.
My poor boy, said he, has it gone so far as that with you?
As far as thatyes, said Claude, and farther. Recollect I saved
her life. It seems to me as if Heaven threw her in my way; and I'll not
give her up without striking a blow. Think of that scoundrel Cazeneau.
Think of the danger she is in while under his power. There is no hope
for her if he once gets her in Louisbourg; the only hope for her is
before she reaches that place; and the only one who can save her is
myself. Are my Indians faithful for an enterprise of that kind?
I have already told you, said the priest, that they would all lay
down their lives for you. They will go wherever you lead. And now, my
dear son, continued the priest, I did not think that you would dream
of an enterprise like this. But, since you have made the proposal, and
since you are so earnest about it, why, I make no opposition. I say,
come, in Heaven's name. Follow after us; and, if you can come up with
us, and effect a communication with Mimi, do so. Your Indians must be
careful; and you will find that they can be trusted in a matter of this
kind. If I see that you are coming up with us, and find any visitors
from you, I will prepare Mimi for it. But suppose you succeed in
rescuing her, added the priest; have you thought what you would do
No, said Claude; nor do I intend to think about that. It will
depend upon where I am. If I am near Canso, I shall go there, and trust
to finding some fisherman; if not, I shall trust to my Indians to take
us back through the woods to Annapolis. But there's one thing that you
Zacis he on board the schooner, or ashore?
The skipper? said the priest. No. I have not seen him. I think he
must be aboard the schooner. It is my intention to communicate with him
before I leave this place.
Do so, said Claude, eagerly; and see if you can't get him free,
as you have managed for me; and if you can persuade him, or beg him for
me, to sail around to Canso, and meet me there, all will be well. That
is the very thing we want. If he will only promise to go there, I will
push on to Canso myself, at all hazards.
The priest now prepared to go. A few more words were exchanged,
after which Claude and Père Michel embraced. The priest kissed him on
Adieu, my dear son, said he. I hope we may meet again.
Adieu, dear Père Michel, said Claude. I shall never forget your
With this farewell the two separated; the priest went out, and the
door was fastened again upon Claude.
For the remainder of that night, Claude did not sleep much. His mind
was filled with the new prospect that the priest's message had opened
before him. The thought of being free once more, and at the head of a
band of devoted followers, on the track of Mimi, filled him with
excitement. That he would be able to overtake the party of Cazeneau, he
did not doubt; that he would be able to rescue Mimi, he felt confident.
The revulsion from gloom and despondency to hope and joy was complete,
and the buoyant nature of Claude made the transition an easy one. It
was with difficulty that he could prevent himself from bursting forth
into songs. But this would have been too dangerous, since it would have
attracted the attention of the people of the house, and led them to
suspect that the priest had spoken other words to him than those of
absolution; or they might report this sudden change to Cazeneau, and
thereby excite his suspicions.
The next day came. Claude knew that on this day Cazeneau and his
party had left, for he overheard the people of the house speaking about
it. According to their statements, the party had left at about four in
the morning. This filled Claude with a fever of impatience, for he saw
that this first day's march would put them a long way ahead, and make
it difficult for him to catch up with them. But there was only one day,
and he tried to comfort himself with the thought that he could travel
faster than the others, and also that the priest and Mimi would both
manage to retard their progress, so as to allow him to catch up.
The day passed thus, and evening came at last. Hour after hour went
by. All the family retired, and the house was still. Claude then
slowly, and carefully, and noiselessly removed the window from its
place. Then he waited. The hours still passed on. At last he know that
it must be about midnight.
Suddenly he heard, immediately outside, a low, guttural soundthe
well-known sound of a frog. It was the signal mentioned by the priest.
The time had come.
He put his head cautiously outside. Crouched there against the wall
of the house, close underneath, he saw a dusky figure. A low, whispered
warning came up. Claude responded in a similar manner. Then, softly and
noiselessly, he climbed out of the window. His feet touched the ground.
No one had heard him. He was saved.
CHAPTER XII. THE PARSON AMONG THE
A map of this part of America, in this year, 1743, would show a very
different scene from that which is presented by one of the present
date. The country held by the English did not reach beyond the
Kennebec, although claimed by them. But north of this river it was all
in the virtual possession of the French, and on the map it was
distinguished by the French colors. A line drawn from the mouth of the
Penobscot, due north, to the River St. Lawrence, divided New England
from the equally extensive territory of New Scotland, or Nova Scotia.
This New England was bordered on the east by Nova Scotia, on the north
by the River St. Lawrence, and on the west by the province of New York.
But in New England the French colors prevailed over quite one half of
this territory; and in Nova Scotia, though all was claimed by the
English, every part was actually held by the French, except one or two
points of a most unimportant character.
Looking over such a map, we perceive the present characteristics all
gone, and a vast wilderness, full of roaming tribes of Indians, filling
the scene. North of Boston there are a few towns; but beyond the little
town of Falmouth, the English settlements are all called Fort this and
Fort that. Up the valley of the Kennebec is the mark of a road to
Quebec; and about half way, at the head waters of the Kennebec, a point
is marked on the map with these words: Indian and French
rendezvous. Extremely proper for a fort, which mould restrain the
French and curb the Abenakki Indians. And also: From Quebec to
Kennebek River mouth, not much above half way to Boston, and one third
to New York, thence by that R. and ye Chaudiere ye road to Canada is
North of the St. Lawrence is a vast country, which is called New
France. As Old France and Old England struggle for the supremacy in the
old world, so New France and New England struggle for the supremacy in
the new world, and the bone of contention is this very district alluded
to,this border-ground,called by the French L'Acadie, but claimed by
the English as Nova Scotia, which bordered both on New England and New
This debatable territory on the map is full of vast waste spaces,
together with the names of savage tribes never heard of before or
since, some of which are familiar names, merely spelled in an unusual
manner, while others owe their origin, perhaps, to the imagination of
the map-maker or his informant. Thus, for example, we have Massasuk,
Arusegenticook, Saga Dahok, and others of equally singular sound.
In this debatable territory are numerous forts, both French and
English. These are situated, for the most part, in the valleys of
rivers, for the very good reason that these valleys afford the best
places for settlement, and also for the further reason that they are
generally used as the most convenient routes of travel by those who go
by land from one post to another. These forts are numerous on the west
of New England; they also stud the map in various places towards the
north. The valley of the St. John, in Nova Scotia, is marked by several
of these. Farther on, the important isthmus which connects the
peninsula of Nova Scotia with the main land is protected by the strong
post called Fort Beausejour.
In this peninsula of Nova Scotia, various settlements are marked.
One is named Minas, which is also known as Grand Pré, a large and
important community, situated in one of the most beautiful and fertile
valleys in America. In the neighborhood of this are a half dozen
points, marked with the general name of French settlements, while the
vacant places between and beyond are marked with the name Mic Macs,
which is the title of the Indians who inhabit Nova Scotia. One post
here, however, possesses a singular interest in the eyes of the good
people of Boston. It is marked on the map by the name of Annapolis,
once the French Port Royal, but now the only English post of any
consequence in all Nova Scotia. Here resides the handful of Englishmen
who claim to rule the province. But the government is a mockery, and
the French set it at defiance. If England wishes to assert her power
here, she must have a far different force in the country from the
handful of ragged and ill-armed soldiers who mount guard on the
tumble-down forts at Annapolis.
Beyond all these, at the extreme east of the peninsula, is an island
called by the French Ile Royale, and by the English Cape Breton. This
is held by the French. Here is their greatest stronghold in America,
except Quebec, and one, too, which is regarded by Boston with greater
jealousy and dread than the latter, since it is actually nearer, is
open winter and summer, and can strike a more immediate blow.
This was the extreme eastern outpost of French power in America.
Here the French colonies reached out their arms to the mother country.
Here began that great chain of fortresses, which ran up the valleys of
navigable rivers, and connected with the great fortress of Quebec the
almost impregnable outpost of Ticonderoga, and the posts of Montreal
Island. From these the chain of military occupation extended itself
towards the south, through the valleys of the Ohio and the Mississippi,
until they were connected with the flourishing colony at New Orleans.
Thus it was, and with these advantages, that the French engaged in
the great and momentous conflict with the English for the possession of
America, and on the side of the former were the greater part of the
wild and warlike Indians.
And now let us return to our friend Zac, who for some time has been
lost sight of.
When the Aigle came to anchor, the schooner did the same, and lay
under her guns some miles out from the shore. Zac had been allowed a
certain amount of freedom, for, as the lieutenant had promised, his
hands had not been bound. The same liberty was allowed to the others on
board. Six French seamen were on board, who navigated the schooner, and
acted as her guard. These were armed, while Zac and his friends were
all unarmed. While sailing up the bay this guard was hardly necessary,
as the schooner was under the guns of the frigate; but afterwards the
necessity was more apparent.
The Aigle could not wait at Grand Pré longer than was requisite to
land those who were going ashore. The boat that landed these brought
back a half dozen Acadians from Grand Pré, whom it left on board the
schooner. Then, taking back again her own seamen, the Aigle spread her
white wings and sailed away for La Belle France.
Zac saw this change in affairs with varied feelings. First of all,
he had half hoped that he might be let off, after all; partly because
it was not a time of formal war, and partly because the schooner had
saved some important lives, and therefore, at the very least, ought to
be let off. But this change in her masters dispelled Zac's hope, and
made him see that there was not at all any prospect of an immediate
release. From that moment Zac gave up all hope of any release whatever,
and began to see that, if escape were to be made, it must be effected
by his own skill and daring.
The new comers seemed willing to maintain the old state of things,
and showed no inclination to keep their prisoners in bonds. They were a
good-natured lot, with simple, unsophisticated faces, and looked with
amiable smiles upon the schooner and its company. Still, they were all
stout, able-bodied fellows, and all were armed. The leader was a man of
about forty, who seemed to be regarded by the rest with considerable
respect. He was also able to speak a few words of English. They
contented themselves with keeping a general lookout over the schooner
and its crew, and taking turns at the night watch.
In fact, the simple confidence of the Acadians in the security of
their guard seemed to be justified by circumstances. These six stout
men wore armed; Zac and his followers were unarmed. All the floating
craft in the Basin belonged to the Acadians, and all the settlements.
For Zac to escape by water was scarcely possible, and to get off by
land was not to be thought of. The nearest English settlement was many
miles away, and to reach it he would have to run the gantlet of a
population of French and Indians.
Day after day passed, and Zac spent most of the time in meditating
over his situation and keeping his eyes and ears on the alert. He
understood pretty well that to the villany of Cazeneau were due both
his own captivity and the more serious danger which threatened his
friend. It was from Margot that he had first heard of Cazeneau as an
enemy, and little more had he been able to find out beyond what she had
told him in the brief conversation already related. The illness of
Laborde had necessitated her attendance on her master and mistress, and
prevented any further confidences. Only a few occasional greetings were
possible after that. Then followed the arrival of the Aigle, and the
transfer of Margot, with the rest, to the French frigate. Zac had
consequently been left in the dark as to the particular villany of
Cazeneau towards Laborde and Mimi. But he had seen enough and felt
enough to be sure that his enmity, from whatever cause it arose, was of
no common kind, that Claude was in great danger, and that he himself
was involved in the same peril, though to a less degree. This
conviction served, therefore, to keep his mind continually on the
alert, so as to find out what was the present situation of Claude, and
also to devise and lay hold of some plan of action for himself.
In his thoughts the good Père Michel was suggested as the only one
who could do anything for either of them. What his influence might be,
he could not guess; but he at least believed in his friendliness and
good faith, and he could not help feeling that the priest would do all
that was possible. It seemed to him not unlikely that the priest might
come out to see him, and convey to him some information about the
present state of affairs in Grand Pré. And besides this, he could not
help feeling a vague hope that, even if the priest were unable to do
anything, he might receive some sort of a message from one whom he
could not help as regarding in the light of a friendnamely, the
The situation had been accepted by the rest of the ship's company
without any great display of emotion. Biler's melancholy remained
unchanged, and still, as of yore, he passed much of his time at the
mast-head, contemplating the universe, and eating raw turnips. Jericho
remained as busy as ever, and cared for his pots, and his kettles, and
his pans, without apparently being conscious that his master was a
slave now, as well as himself. Upon Terry, also, the yoke of captivity
lay but lightly. It was not in the nature of Terry to be downcast or
sullen; and the simple expedients which had led him to fraternize with
the shipwrecked sailors had afterwards enabled him to fraternize
equally well with the crew of the Aigle that had been put on board.
These had gone, and it remained now for him to come to an understanding
with the Acadians. Constant practice had made him more capable, and, in
addition to his own natural advantages, he had also learned a few
French words, of which he made constant use in the most efficient way.
The Acadians responded to Terry's advances quite as readily as any of
the others had done; and before they had been on board one day they
were all singing and laughing with the merry Irish lad, and going into
fits of uproarious mirth at Terry's incessant use of the few French
words which he had learned; for it was Terry's delight to stop each one
of them, and insist on shaking hands, whenever he met them, saying at
the same time, with all the gravity in the world,
Commy voo party voo, bong tong. Bon jure, moosoo!
Thus nearly a week passed, and during all that time Zac had heard
nothing about the fate of his friends ashore. Neither the priest nor
Margot sent him any message whatever. The Acadians themselves did not
hold any communication with the shore, but remained on board quite
placidly, in a state of calm contentas placidly, indeed, as though
they had been living on board the Parson all their lives.
During all the time Zac had been meditating over his situation, and
trying to see his way out of it. At length a ray of light began to dawn
into his mind, which illuminated his present position, and opened up to
him a way of action. One day after dinner, while the Acadians were
lolling in the sun, and while Terry was smoking his pipe forward, Zac
sauntered up to him in a careless fashion, and placing himself near
Terry, where he could not be overheard, he began to talk in an easy
tone with the other,
Terry, lad, said he, I'm getting tired o' this here.
Faix, an' it's mesilf that's been waitin' to hear ye say that same
for a week an' moreso it is.
[Illustration: I Think We Can Manage To Get The Schooner From These
Wal, ye see, I ben a turnin' it over in my mind, and hain't
altogether seen my way clear afore; but now it seems to me as how it's
a burnin' shame to stand this here any longer.
Thrue for you; an' so it is, said Terry. An' so, ef ye've got
anythin' on yer mind that ye want to do, why, out with it, for I'm your
Wal, ye see, resumed Zac, it's this here; I don't want to go away
out o' this jest yet.
Not go away! Tare an ages, cried Terry; d'ye want to be a
Course not. I mean this: I don't want to go an' leave my friend
here, Motier, in the hands of the Philistines.
Sure ye can't do anythin' for him; an' he's among his own kinso
he is; for he jabbers French ayqual to the best of thim.
No, I can't do anything for him as I am; that's a fact; and so I'm
bound to put myself in a position whar I can do somethin'; that is, I'm
bound to seize this here schewner, an' bring the old Parson back to the
Arrah, sure, an' that's the right sort of talkso it is; an' it's
mesilf that's glad to hear ye. An' so, what is it, captain dear? Out
with it. Tell me what yer plan is, an' I'm wid yeso I am.
I think, Terry, that we can manage to get the schewner from these
Sure we can. Sure, an' I'd ingage to do it alone, almost.
They don't watch much.
Not a bit of it.
The two that watch at night sleep half the time.
Sure, an' that's thrue for you, for I've seed thim at it whin I was
We can git Jericho to bar down the cabin door, Terry, an' then you
an' I can seize the two on deck.
Aisy enoughso it is. They'll all be dead asleepso they will.
Wal, thar we'll have them; an' then I hope to be able to bring a
pressure on the natyves of these regions by which I may git my friend
out of their clutches.
Sure, an' I don't onderstand ye at all, at all.
Why, I'll have these six Acadians prisoners, an' then I'll sail up
off Grand Pré, an' threaten to cut the throats of all of them if they
don't send off Motier to me in ten minutes.
Tare an' ages! cried Terry. Whoroo! but isn't that the plan? It
is. It bates the wurruldso it does. An whin'll ye begin, captain
To-night, said Zac.
CHAPTER XIII. A STROKE FOE LIBERTY.
Zac and Terry talked for a long time over the plan, trying to chat
in an off-hand and careless manner, so as not to excite any suspicion.
No suspicion appeared to be raised among the Acadians, who took no
notice of them whatever. So Zac and Terry had sufficient opportunity to
arrange all the details of the plan, and it was decided that Terry
should indicate to Jericho what was to be done by him. It was agreed
that the best time would be about three o'clock in the morning; for
then the Acadians below would all be in their soundest sleep, while
those who kept watch on deck would probably, in accordance with their
usual careless fashion, be sunk into a slumber no less sound. Terry at
length left Zac, and moved about in a desultory fashion, after which he
finally settled down among the Acadians, and began to sing to them the
immortal strain of St. Patrick.
Although Zac had upon his mind the weight of such an important
enterprise, yet it did not at all interfere with his usual slumbers. He
went to bed at nine, and slept soundly. At about half past two he
awoke, and waited a little longer. Then he roused Terry and Jericho.
Terry then went upon deck noiselessly, and reconnoitred. It was as they
had hoped it would be. Two men were on deck as a watch, but both were
crouched under the taffrail fast asleep. Terry proposed to go and shut
down the cabin door, where the rest of the Acadians were; but Zac
concluded that it would be best for Jericho to do this, so that in case
the noise should wake the watch, he and Terry might be on hand to deal
with them. Jericho was now sent aft, charged with the burden of an
important commission. He went softly and swiftly, like a spirit of
night. His whole nature seemed changed by the purpose before him. In an
instant he had ceased to be the lowly slave intent on cookery, and had
started up into the attitude of an African warrior. As he glided along,
Zac and Terry, with equal noiselessness, moved towards the slumbering
watch, and then waited. It was necessary that the cabin should first be
closed, so that those within, if alarmed by the outcry of their
friends, should not be able to help them.
All went on well. Jericho reached the cabin, and then swiftly, and
with as little noise as possible, shut the door and fastened it. Upon
this, Zac and Terry each seized one of the slumbering Acadians, and
before they were fairly awake they were disarmed.
Zac and Terry both scorned to bind them, partly out of kindly
feeling towards them, partly because they themselves had not been
bound, and partly out of the pride of their manhood. The Acadians at
first stood stupefied, and then, recognizing the whole truth, they
slunk forward, and stood dejectedly in the bows, where they awaited
with fear the further action of their late prisoners.
Both Terry and Zac made friendly signs to them, pressing their hands
on their hearts, smiling, nodding, and so forth; while Terry even went
so far as to whistle one of their favorite melodies. But the Acadians
were not to be reassured. They looked upon themselves as lost men, and
evidently regarded Terry as a traitor of the deepest dye.
They now waited till the others in the cabin should make some sign.
Jericho had armed himself with an axe, with which he stood ready to act
in case of a fight. It was evident that the Acadians in the cabin had
heard nothing whatever, and not one of them awaked before the usual
time. Then, of course, the painful discovery was made by them. At
first, loud cries and threats were made; but these were stilled by Zac,
who in a voice of thunder awed them into silence.
You are prisoners! said he. Give up your arms.
The one who understood a little English was able to comprehend this.
The command was followed by an excited debate among the four, which was
at last ended by a second mandate from Zac, accompanied by a threat to
fire upon them. At this a hurried answer was given:
We render. We render. Fire not.
A small skylight was then opened, and all the arms and equipments of
the prisoners were passed up. These were appropriated by Zac. The door
of the cabin was then unfastened and opened, and the prisoners called
upon to come forth. They came looking fearful and dejected, as though
apprehending the worst. Zac, Terry, and Jericho, each with his musket,
stood at the stern, and as they came out they motioned to them to go to
the bows. The Acadians obeyed in silence, and soon joined their two
Some time was now occupied by Zac in talking over with Terry the
best course to be pursued. They at length decided to allow the Acadians
to remain unbound by day, and to shut them down at night, or while
sailing. As long as these men were unarmed and themselves armed, they
had not the slightest fear of any trouble arising. For the Acadians,
though stout, muscular fellows, were all so good-natured and phlegmatic
in their faces that no danger of anything so desperate as an attack on
their part was to be anticipated. It was decided, however, while they
were on deck, to keep them confined to the forward part of the
This Zac succeeded in making known to them.
We won't do you no harm, said he. We won't tie you or bind you.
At night you must go below to sleep. If any of you make an attack, we
won't show you any mercy. So you'd best keep quiet.
The chief Acadian understood this as well by the signs with which it
was accompanied as from the words, and he explained it to his
followers. He then informed Zac that they would be quiet; whereupon
Terry went forward and shook hands with each and all of them. Commy
porty-voo? Bon jure, moosoo, said he; to which the Acadians,
however, made no response. They did indeed allow him to shake their
hands; but they would not say anything, and evidently regarded him as a
perjured villain, and traitor to their cause.
Biler! roared Zac. Whar are you, you young cuss of life?
Upon this the young cuss of life slowly emerged from the forecastle,
holding a cold potato in his hand. The scene on deck made no impression
on him, but he walked aft with his eyes fixed on Zac.
Stand there! commanded Zac; and Biler stood.
Feller seamen and comrades at arms, said Zac, stretching out his
arm in the oratorical fashion which he had seen used at town meetings
to hum. This is a gellorious day for his great and gracious majesty
King George, whose loyal subjects we air, as we have proved by this
rescoo of his ship from the hands of the Philistines. It air all very
well for the king to send out his red-coats; but I tell you what it is,
I ain't seen a red-coat that lives that's equal to the natyve
pro-vincial. Who air the ones that doos the best fightin' out here? The
pro-vincials! Who air the men that's druv the wild and bloodthusty
Injin back to his natyve woods? The pro-vincial! And who air the men
that's goin' to settle the business of Moosoo, an' make America too hot
to hold him an' his'n? The red-coats? Nay; but rayther the
pro-vincials, the men that's fit the catamounts, an' bars, an' Injins,
an' turned the waste an' howlin' wilderness into a gardin', an' made
the desert blossom like a rose. So, I say, Hooray for the
At this Zac removed his hat. Terry did the same; so did Jericho.
Biler had none to remove, but he raised his potato in the air. Zac led
offHip, hip, hip, h-o-o-o-r-a-a-a-y!
Arrah, captain, darlint, an' while yo's about it, sure ye won't be
forgettin' ould Ireland, cried Terry, as the ringing cheers died away
over the waters.
Certingly, said Zac. Course. Here goes!
And three cheers in the same fashion followed for Terry's native
Tare an' ages! cried Terry; an' while we're about it, sure an'
we's ought to give three chairs for Africa, in honor of Jericho.
Hooray! cried Zac. Here goes! And three cheers followed for
Africa. Whether Jericho knew much about Africa, may be a question; but
he understood at least that this honor was offered to himself, and
accepted it accordingly. It almost overwhelmed him. A wild chuckle of
spasmodic delight burst from him, which threatened to end in a
convulsion. And though he rallied from this, yet he was quite
demoralized, and it was a long time before he settled down into that
sedate old darky which was his normal condition.
And now Zac waited. Finding himself in command of his own schooner
again, he felt more able to act in case of necessity. He was so far out
from the shore that he was easily able to guard against the unexpected
arrival of any boat. By day he lay at anchor; but when night came the
Acadians were sent below, the anchor was raised, and the schooner
cruised about the bay. The strong tides and currents caused a little
trouble, but Zac soon got the run of them, at least in a general way,
and several nights were thus passed. At length he began to grow
impatient, and felt quite at a loss what to do. He was half inclined to
send one of the Acadians ashore with a message, but as yet concluded to
wait a little longer.
The Acadians, whether from fear or policy, did as they promised, and
kept quiet. They kept by themselves always, and refused to accept the
advances of Terry, though they were frequently made. They all appeared
listless and dejected, and the smiles, the laughter, and the singing
which had characterized their first days on board had all passed away,
and given place to low, murmured conversation or silence.
At length, one evening at about six o'clock, Zac saw a solitary boat
coming from the shore. It was a long way off when he first saw it, and
it seemed to be coming towards the schooner. The tide was unfavorable,
so that the progress was quite slow; but its course lay steadily
towards him, and Zac, who watched it intently, was turning over in his
mind his best plan of action. It did not seem large enough to contain
any very formidable force; but Zac thought best to take every
precaution, and so sent all the Acadians below, while Terry and Jericho
stood ready for action.
The time passed away, and the boat drew steadily nearer. At length
it came near enough for Zac to see that it was rowed by two men, which
sight was most welcome, since it assured him that no danger was to be
apprehended. As he watched it, the boat drew nearer and nearer. He said
nothing, but waited for them to speak first. He could see that both of
the men were unarmed.
At last the boat touched the schooner's side. One of the men leaped
on board, securing the boat, and the other followed immediately. They
were both dressed like all the Acadians, but the second boatman had a
slouched hat, which concealed his face. Zac, who carelessly regarded
him, noticed that he was a smooth-faced boy, while the first boatman
was a grizzled old man.
Both of these looked around, and seemed surprised. At length the boy
advanced towards Zac.
Capitaine, said this boy, what ees dees? You no seem a
preesonaire. You haf a gun. Air you free?
At the sound of this voice Zac started back a step or two in utter
amazement. Could it be possible? Yet that voice could not belong to any
other. It must be. And even as he stood thus bewildered, the boy raised
his hat with a shy smile, with which there was also much sadness
mingled, and revealed the face of the little Margot.
Wal, exclaimed Zac, this doos beat creation!
Zac then caught both her hands, and held them in a tight grip, and
for a few moments could not speak.
I do feel good, little one, said he, in a tremulous voice. This
here's what I ben a waitin' forto see youan' you onlythough I
skurse dared to hope it. At any rate, I did hope and feel that you
wouldn't go off without a word, and no more you heven't; an' I feel so
happy that I could cry.
It was not exaggerated. Honest Zac was unused to such emotions, and
hardly understood them. His eyes were moist as he looked upon Margot,
and she saw that his simple confession was true. Her own emotion was as
great as his. Tears started to her own eyes, and in her sadness she
leaned on his arm and wept. Whereupon Zac's tears fell in spite of him,
and he began to call himself a darned fool, and her a dear little pet;
till the scolding of himself and the soothing of Margot became so
hopelessly intermingled that he called her a darned old pet, and
himself a dear little fool. Whereupon Margot burst into a laugh, dashed
her tears away, and started off from Zac's grasp.
And now Margot proceeded to tell Zac the reason of her journey. From
her he learned for the first time the events that had taken place on
shore. First, she informed him that Claude was in confinement, and that
Cazeneau intended to take him or send him to Louisbourg; that Cazeneau
himself was bitterly hostile to him. She informed him that Laborde was
dead; that Mimi was in terrible distress, and in mortal terror of
Cazeneau; and finally, that she was to be taken to Louisbourg. All this
filled Zac with concern and apprehension. She informed Zac that she and
her mistress were to be taken away early on the following morning, and
that she had slipped off thus in disguise, with the consent of her
mistress, to let him know the danger of his friend; for Claude was to
remain in Grand Pré for some time longer, and her mistress thought that
after Cazeneau had departed, it might be possible to do something to
This occupied some time, and Zac interrupted her with many
questions. At length, having told her story, Margot turned away. This
What! said he; you're not a goin' to leave me! and poor Zac's
voice was like a wail of despair.
Why, what ees eet posseeble to do? I moos go to ma maitresse.
But-but what'll become of me? mourned Zac. I may never see you
Margot sighed. I moos go to ma maitresse, she murmured.
O, don't! don't now! cried Zac. She ain't half as fond of you as
me. She can take care of herself. The priest'll watch over her. O,
don't go, don't! I declar I feel like droundin' myself at the bare
Zac, upon this, seized her hand, and begged, and coaxed, and prayed
her to stay; till poor little Margot began to cry bitterly, and could
only plead in broken tones her love for her dear mistress, who was in
such danger, and how base it would be to desert her at such a time.
Wal, walwould youwould you come with me ifif it warn't for
her? mourned Zac.
Margot looked up at his face with a slight smile shining through her
tears, which seemed to reassure poor Zac.
We sall meet again, said Margot, in a more cheerful voice.
Zac shook his head disconsolately.
And so, adieu, said Margot, in a low voice.
Zac said nothing, but with an expression of despair he took her in
his arms, kissed her, and then turned away and wept.
Margot cried bitterly, and got into the boat. The old Acadian
followed. The boat rowed away.
Adieu, et au revoir, cher Zac, said Margot, calling back
and waving her hat.
Goo-oo-d by-ye, said Zac, in a wail of despair.
For hours Zac stood looking after the boat in perfect silence. At
last he turned away, gulping down a sigh.
Darned ef I know what on airth's the matter with me, he murmured.
CHAPTER XIV. MANOEUVRES OF ZAC.
Zac slept but little that night. There were two causes for
wakefulness. The first was Margot, who had wrought such mischief with
his thoughts and feelings that he did not know what was the matter with
him. The second cause was the condition of Claude.
Gradually Margot's image faded away, and he began to turn his
thoughts towards the problem of delivering Claude. How was that to be
Over this he thought for the greater part of that night. Towards
morning he called Terry, who was to watch for the remainder of the
night, and proceeded to hold a council of war.
First of all he acquainted Terry with the general state of affairs.
Part of Margot's information had been overheard by him; but Terry,
seeing how things were, had discreetly withdrawn aft, and kept up a
loud whistle, so as to prevent himself from overhearing their words; so
that now the greater part of this information was news to the Irish
And have ye thought of anythin' at all, at all? he asked.
Wal, I've thought over most everythin', said Zac. You see, the
state of the case is this: they've got one of us a prisoner ashore over
there, but we've got six of them a prisoner out here.
Thrue for you, said Terry.
Wal, now, you see, if this Cazeneau was here, he hates Motier so
like pison that he'd sacrifice a hundred Frenchmen rayther'n let him
goan' in my 'pinion he's worth a hundred Frenchmen, an' more. But
now, bein' as Cazeneau's goin' away to-morrer, we'll be in a position
to deal with the people here that's a keepin' Motier; an' when it comes
to themwhy, they won't feel like losin' six of their men for the sake
of one stranger.
I wonder, said Terry, whether the owld boy that came out in the
boat found out anythin'. 'Deed, if he'd had his wits about him, an'
eyes in his head, he'd have seen it all,so he would.
Wal, we'll hev to let 'em know, right straight off.
To-morra'd be best.
Yes; an' then Cazeneau'll be off. I'd rayther wait till then; it'll
be better for us to have him out of the way.
What'll ye do?
Wal, I'll sail up, and send word ashore.
How'll you sind word? We can't spake a word of the lingo.
Wal, I ben a thinkin' it over, an' I've about come to the
conclusion that the old Frenchman down thar in the cabin'll be the best
one to send.
Sure, an' ye won't sind the Frenchman ashore in yer own boat!
He'll niver bring it back; so he won't.
Then we'll keep the other five Frenchmen.
Sure, an' it's a hard thing altogether, so it is, to hev to thrust
him. He'll be after rousin' the country, an' they'll power down upon us
in five hundred fishin' boats; so they will.
Wal, if I staid here to anchor, that might be dangerous, said Zac;
but I ain't got no idee of standin' still in one place for them to
Sure, an' it'll be best to let him see that if he don't come back
wid Misther Motier, the whole five'll hev their brains blown out.
Sartin. He'll have to go with that in his mind; an' what's more,
I'll make him swear an oath to come back.
Sure, an' it'll be the hard thing to do when neither of yez
ondherstan' enough of one another's lingo to ax the time af day.
Wal, then I'll have to be satisfied with the other five Moosoos. If
the first Moosoo runs for it, he'll leave the other five, an' I ain't
goin' to b'lieve that the farmers here air goin' to let five of their
own relatives and connections perish, rayther'n give up one stranger.
A few more words followed, and then Zac retired below, leaving Terry
A few hours' sleep sufficed for Zac, and not long after sunrise he
was all ready for action. But the tide was not quite high enough for
his purposes. The long-extended mud flats lay bare in the distance for
miles, and Zac had to wait until a portion, at least, of this space
should be covered. At length the water had spread over as much of the
red mud as seemed desirable, while every hour the schooner would have a
greater depth beneath her; so Zac concluded to start. Up then went the
anchor, the sails were set, and yielding to the impulse of a favorable
breeze, the Parson turned her head towards the landing-place at Grand
Various preparations had to be made, and these now engaged the
attention of Zac, who committed the care of the helm to Terry. The
first was the composition of a letter. It was to be short and to the
point. Zac had already settled in his own mind about the wording of
this, so that the writing of it now occupied but a little time. It was
To any Magistrate at Grand Pré:
Know all men by this, that the six Acadians sent to take charge of
the schooner 'Rev. Amos Adams,' are now held by me as my prisoners
until such time as Mr. Claude Motier shall be delivered free from
prison. And if Mr. Claude Motier shall not be set free, these six shall
be carried to prison to Boston. And if Mr. Claude Motier be put to
death, these six shall one and all be put to death likewise.
An answer is required within three hours.
Zion Awake Cox,
Master of the schooner 'Rev. Amos Adams.'
Minas Basin, May 28, 1743.
This Zac folded and addressed, thinking that if no one in Grand Pré
could read English, it would be taken to Claude himself for
He next prepared to hoist a large British ensign. It was not often
that the Parson showed her colors, but on this occasion it was
necessary, and Zac saw that this display of English colors would be an
act which would tell its own story, and show Moosoo that the schooner
had once more changed masters. The colors lay on deck, ready to be
hoisted at the proper moment. What that moment was to be he had already
decided. Zac, in his preparations on this occasion, showed that he
possessed a line eye for dramatic effect, and knew how to create a
sensation. There was a small howitzer amidships,Zac's joy and
pride,which, like the ensign, was made use of only on great and rare
occasions, such as the king's birthday, or other seasons of general
rejoicing. This he determined to make use of at the present crisis,
thinking that it would speak in tones that would strike terror to the
heart of Moosoo, both on board and ashore.
Last of all, it remained to explain to the Acadians on board the
purposes upon which he was bent. They were still below. Jericho had
supplied them with their breakfast there, but Zac had not allowed them
on deck. Now, however, he summoned forth their chief man, leaving the
others behind, and proceeded to endeavor, as far as possible, to
explain to this man what he wished.
The Acadian's stock of English words was but small, yet Zac was
able, after all, by the help of signs, to give him some idea of his
purpose. The letter also was shown him, and he seemed able to gather
from it a general idea of its meaning. His words to Zac indicated a
very lively idea of the danger which was impending over the prisoners.
Me go, he said. Put me 'shore. Me go tout de suite; me
deliver M. Motier; make come here tout de suitebon!
All right, said Zac; but mind you, he must be here in three
hoursthree, he repeated, holding up three fingers; three hours.
O, ouiyescertainementtree hour.
These others will be all prisoners if he don't come.
O, ouiyes; all personaire; mais he vill come,
You und'stand now, Moosoo, sure?
O, oui; me comprendsond'standcertainement.
Well, then, you wait up here till we get nearer, and then you can
go ashore in the boat.
But Zac's preparations were destined to undergo some delay, for the
wind died out, and the schooner lay idle upon the surface of the water.
For several hours Zac waited patiently, hoping for a change; but no
change came. At length the tide turned, and after a time the schooner,
which had already been drifting helplessly, now began to be carried
back towards the place from which she had started.
Zac was now left to his own invention, and could only decide that on
the following day, if the wind should fail him, he would send the boat
ashore from his present anchorage, and wait the result. For various
reasons, however, he preferred going nearer; and therefore he had
refrained from sending the boat ashore that day.
The next day came. There was a fresh breeze and a favorable one. The
waters began to rise. Zac was all ready. Up went the anchor, the sails
were set, and once more the Parson was turned towards the landing. The
breeze now blew steadily, and in course of time Zac found himself
sufficiently near for his purposes, and he began to act.
First of all, up went the British ensign. Then, the howitzer was
fired. The noise of the report did not fail of the effect which Zac had
anticipated. He saw the people turning out from their houses, some
standing still and looking, others running towards the landing. Again
and again the gun was fired, each report serving to increase the
excitement among the people ashore. The British ensign was fully
visible, and showed them what had taken place.
After this Zac sent Jericho ashore in the boat, along with the chief
Acadian. The others were confined below. Zac saw the Acadian land, and
Jericho return. Then he waited.
But it was not possible for him to wait here, nor was it safe. The
tide would soon fall, leaving, as it retreated, a vast expanse of bare
mud flats. He did not wish to run any risk of the schooner grounding in
a place like this, and therefore allowed her to fall with the tide, and
gradually move back to the bay without. All the time, however, he kept
one eye on the shore. The three hours passed. He had drifted down again
for several miles, and it was no longer easy to discern objects. But at
length he saw a boat sailing from the shore to the schooner.
As the boat came nearer, he saw that Claude was not on board. Two
men were in her, one of whom was the man whom he had sent away, and the
other was a stranger. This stranger was an elderly man, of venerable
appearance. They came up, and both went on board.
The elderly man was one of the chief men of the settlement, and
spoke English sufficiently well to carry on a conversation. The
information which he gave Zac was not at all to the satisfaction of the
latter. It was to the following effect:
That M. Motier had been kept in confinement at the house of Comeau;
that early on the previous day M. Cazeneau had departed for Louisbourg,
with the Abbé Michel, and the Countess de Laborde and her maid; that M.
Motier, however, on the previous night, had somehow effected his
Then the old man tried to induce Zac to set the Acadians free,
except one, arguing that one life was enough to hold against that of
Motier. But to this Zac sternly responded that one hundred Acadians
would not be of sufficient value to counterbalance the sacred life of
his friend. The only thing that Zac conceded was the liberty of the
Acadian whom he had sent ashore; for he felt touched by the plucky
conduct of this man in returning to the schooner. To his amazement,
however, this man refused to go, declaring that he had come back to
stand by his friends, and one of the others might be freed instead. On
referring the matter to them, one was found who was weak enough to take
advantage of this offer, and he it was who rowed the old man ashore.
Towards evening a canoe came gliding over the water, containing a
single Indian. This Indian held aloof at a certain distance, scanning
the schooner curiously. Zac, seeing this, sprang upon the taffrail, and
called and beckoned to him; for a sudden thought came to him that the
Indian might have been despatched by Claude to tell him something, and
not knowing that he was no longer a prisoner, might be hesitating as to
the best way of approaching. His conjecture seemed to be right, for
this Indian, on seeing him, at once drew near, and came on board.
The Indian said not a word, but handed Zac a letter. Zac opened it,
and read the following:
Claude Motier is free. Indians hafe safed him, and guide him to
Louisbourg on the trail of Cazeneau. He wishes that you go to Canso,
where you will be useful. He hope to safe Comtesse de Laborde, and want
you to help to safe she. Go, then, to Canso; and if you arrive
immediately, you sall see Indians, and must tell. They sall bing the
intelligence to us.
The Père Michel.
On reading this, Zac understood all. He saw that Père Michel had
been a friend, and had engaged the Indians to help Claude. He at once
determined to go to Canso. That very night he sent the Acadians ashore,
and set sail.
CHAPTER XV. FLIGHT.
On leaving the house, the Indian led the way in silence for some
distance. In the immediate neighborhood of the house were open fields,
while in front of it was the road which ran down to the river. The
house was on the declivity of a hill, at the foot of which were broad
dike-lands, which ran far out till they terminated at the island
already mentioned. Beyond this lay the Basin of Minas, and in the
distance the shadowy outline of the surrounding shores.
The Indian led the way for some distance across the fields, and then
turned into the road. Along this he passed till he reached the river.
It was the Gaspereaux, at the mouth of which was the place where Claude
had landed. Here the Indian crossed, and Claude followed, the water not
being much above their knees. On reaching the other side, the Indian
walked down the stream, keeping in the open as much as possible.
At length they left the river, and went on where the ground rose
gradually. Here they soon entered the woods. It was a broad trail, and
though in the shadow of the trees it was rather dark, yet the trail was
wide enough to allow of Claude following his guide without any
difficulty whatever. For about an hour they walked on in this way,
ascending steadily most of the time, until at length Claude found
himself upon an open space overgrown with shrubbery, and altogether
bare of trees. Here several dusky figures appeared, and the guide
conversed with them for some time.
Claude now seated himself on the ground. He felt so fatigued already
from this first tramp, that he began to experience a sense of
discouragement, and to think that his confinement had affected his
strength. He gazed wearily and dreamily upon the scene before him.
There, spread out at his feet, was a magnificent prospect. The land
went sloping down to the water. Towards the left were the low
dike-lands running out to the island; beyond this the waters of Minas
Basin lay spread out before him. Thus far there had been no moonlight;
but now, as he looked towards the east, he noticed that the sky was
already flushing with the tints of dawn. But even this failed to rouse
him. A profound weariness and inertness settled slowly over every sense
and limb, and falling back, he fell into a deep sleep.
When he awaked, he saw that it was broad day, and that the sun was
already high up in the sky. He started to his feet, and his first
thought was one of joy at finding that his strength had all returned.
At his question, the Indian who was the spokesman told him that
Louisbourg was more than twelve days' journey away, and that the path
lay through the woods for the whole distance.
Before setting forth, the Indian gave him a rifle and a sword, which
he said Père Michel had requested him to give him. There was also a
sufficient supply of powder and ball. Taking these, Claude then set out
on his long tramp. There were six Indians. Of these, three went in
front, and three in the rear, the whole party going in single file. The
trail was a wide one, and comparatively smooth. The guide drew Claude's
attention to tracks on the ground, which could easily be recognized as
the prints of horse hoofs. To Claude's inquiry how many there were, the
Indian informed him that there were four. By this it seemed to Claude
that Mimi and her maid had each one, while the other two were used by
Cazeneau and the priest.
After several hours they at length came to a river. It was like the
Gaspereaux in one respect, for it was turbid, and rolled with a swift
current. The banks also were lined with marshes, and the edges were
composed of soft mud. No way of crossing it appeared, and as they
approached it, the Indians turned away to go up the stream. The
prospect of a long detour was very unpleasant to Claude; and when at
length he came to a place where the tracks of the horses went towards
the river, he asked why this was. The Indians informed him that the
horses had crossed here, but that they would have to go farther up. It
did not turn out so bad as Claude had feared, for after about half an
hour's further walk, they stopped at the bank of the river, and waited.
To Claude's question why they waited, an extraordinary answer was
given. It was, that they were waiting till the water ran out. This
reminded him of the old classic story about the fool who came to a
river bank and waited for the water to run out, so that he might cross.
Claude could not understand it; but, supposing that his guides knew
what they were about, he waited for the result, taking advantage of
this rest to fortify his inner man with a sound repast. After this was
over, he rose to examine the situation; and the first sight showed him
an astonishing change. He had lingered over his repast, now eating, now
smoking, for about an hour, and in that time there had been wrought
what seemed to him like a wonder of Nature. The water of the river had
indeed been running out, as the Indian said; and there before him lay
the channel, running low, with its waters still pouring forward at a
rate which seemed to threaten final emptiness. And as he looked, the
waters fell lower and lower, until at length, after he had been there
three hours, the channel was almost empty.
This particular spot was not so muddy as other parts of the river
bed, and therefore it had been chosen as the best place for crossing.
It was quite hard, except in the middle, where the mud and water
together rose over their knees; and thus this mighty flood was crossed
as though it had been some small brook.
A few hours more served to bring them to the foot of some hills; and
here the party halted. They had once more picked up the trail, and
Claude was encouraged by the sight of the horse tracks.
He now unfolded to the Indian his design. To his great pleasure he
found that Père Michel had already anticipated him, and that the Indian
understood very well what was wanted. He assured Claude that he could
easily communicate with the others so as not to be suspected, and lead
back Père Michel and the women to him. His plan was to make a detour, and get ahead of them, approaching them from that direction, so as to
avoid suspicion, while Claude might remain with the other Indians in
some place where they could be found again. This plan seemed to Claude
so simple and so feasible that he grew exultant over the prospect,
forgetting the many difficulties that would still be before him, even
if this first enterprise should succeed.
Their repast was simple and easily procured. The woods and waters
furnished all that they required. A hare and some snipe and plover,
with a few trout and a salmon, were the result of a short excursion,
that did not extend much farther than a stone's throw from the
The next day they resumed their journey. It lay over the hills,
which were steep, though not very high. The trail now grew rougher,
being covered with stones in many places, so as to resemble the dry
channel of a mountain torrent, while in other places the roots of trees
which ran across interfered with rapid progress. This Claude saw with
great satisfaction, for he knew that horses could go but slowly over a
path like this; and therefore every step seemed to lessen the distance
between him and Mimi. All that day they were traversing these hills.
The next day their journey lay through a gentle, undulating country,
where the towering trees of the forest rose high all around, while at
their feet were mosses, and wild grasses, and ferns, and flowers of a
kind that were utterly strange to Claude. It was the month of June, the
time when all nature in Acadie robes herself in her fairest charms.
Thus day after day passed, each day being the counterpart of the
other in its cloudless skies, its breath from the perfumed woods, and
the song of birds. On the sixth day the tracks of the horses seemed to
be fresher than usual; and to Claude's question the Indian replied that
they must be close by them. At this Claude hurried on more vigorously,
and kept up his march later than usual. He was even anxious to go
forward all night; but the Indian was unwilling. He wished to approach
them by day rather than by night, and was afraid of coming too suddenly
upon them, and thus being discovered, if they went on while the others
might be resting. Thus Claude was compelled to restrain his impatient
desires, and wait for the following day.
When it came they set forth, and kept up a rapid pace for some
hours. At length they came to an opening in the woods where the scene
was no longer shut in by trees, but showed a wide-extended prospect. It
was a valley, through which ran a small stream, bordered on each side
with willows. The valley was green with the richest vegetation.
Clusters of maples appeared like groves, here and there interspersed
with beech and towering oaks, while at intervals appeared the
magnificent forms of grand elms all covered with drooping foliage, and
even the massive trunks green with the garlands of tender and
For a moment Claude stood full of admiration at this lovely scene,
and then hurried on after his guide. The guide now appeared desirous of
slackening his pace, for he saw that if the other party were not far
away he would be more liable to discovery in this open valley; but it
was not very wide. About half a mile farther on, the deep woods arose
once more; and, as there were no signs of life here, he yielded to
Claude's impatient entreaty, and went on at his usual pace.
Half way across the valley there was a grove of maple trees; the
path ran close beside it, skirting it, and then going beyond it. Along
this they went, and were just emerging from its shelter, when the guide
made a warning movement, and stood still. The next instant Claude was
at his side. The Indian grasped Claude's arm, and made a stealthy
That very instant Claude saw it all. A man was therea European.
Two Indians were with him. He was counting some birds which the Indians
were carrying. It seemed as though they had been shooting through the
valley, and this was their game. They could not have been shooting very
recently, however, as no sound had been heard. This was the sight that
met Claude's eyes as he stood by the Indian, and as the Indian grasped
It was too late. The European looked up. It was Cazeneau!
For a moment he stood staring at Claude as though he was some
apparition. But the Indians who were behind, and who came forward, not
knowing what was the matter, gave to this vision too practical a
character; and Cazeneau saw plainly enough that, however unaccountable
it might be, this was in very deed the man whom he believed to be in
safe confinement at Grand Pré. A bitter curse escaped him. He rushed
towards Claude, followed by his Indians.
Scoundrel, he cried, you have escaped! Aha! and do you dare to
come on my track! This time I will make sure of you.
He gnashed his teeth in his fury, and, snatching a rifle from one of
his Indians who were near him, aimed it at Claude, and pulled the
But the trigger clicked, and that was all. It was not loaded. With
another curse Cazeneau dashed the rifle to the ground, and turned
towards the other Indian. All this had been the work of a moment. The
next moment Claude sprang forward with drawn sword.
Villain, he cried, and assassin! draw, and fight like a man!
At these words Cazeneau was forced to turn, without having had time
to get the other Indian's rifle, for Claude was close to him, and the
glittering steel flashed before his eyes. He drew his sword, and
retreating backward, put himself on guard.
Seize this fellow! he cried to his Indians; seize him! In the
name of your great father, the King of France, seize him, I tell you!
The Indians looked forward. There, behind Claude, they saw six other
Indianstheir own friends. They shook their heads.
Too many, said they.
You fellows! cried Cazeneau to Claude's Indians, I am the officer
of your great father, the King of France. This man is a traitor. I
order you to seize him, in the king's name.
Claude's Indians stood there motionless. They did not seem to
All this time Cazeneau was keeping up a defence, and parrying
Claude's attack. He was a skilful swordsman, and he wished to take
Claude alive if possible, rather than to fight with him. So he tried
once more. He supposed that Claude's Indians did not understand. He
therefore told his Indians to tell the others in their language what
was wanted. At this the two walked over to the six, and began talking.
Caseneau watched them earnestly. He saw, to his infinite rage, that his
words had no effect whatever on Claude's Indians.
Coward, cried Claude, coward and villain! you must fight. My
Indians are faithful to me. You hate to fight,you are afraid,but
you must, or I will beat you to death with the blade of my sword.
At this Cazeneau turned purple with rage. He saw how it was. He
determined to show this colonist all his skill, and wound him, and
still take him alive. So, with a curse, he rushed upon Claude. But his
own excitement interfered with that display of skill which he intended
to show; and Claude, who had regained his coolness, had the advantage
in this respect.
A few strokes showed Cazeneau that he had found his master. But this
discovery only added to his rage. He determined to bring the contest to
a speedy issue. With this intent he lunged forward with a deadly
thrust. But the thrust was turned aside, and the next instant Claude's
sword passed through the body of Cazeneau.
CHAPTER XVI. REUNION.
The wounded man fell to the ground, and Claude, dropping his sword,
sank on his knees beside him. In that one instant all his anger and his
hate fled away. It was no longer Cazeneau, his mortal enemy, whom he
saw, but his fellow-creature, laid low by his hand. The thought sent a
quiver through every nerve, and it was with no ordinary emotion that
Claude sought to relieve his fallen enemy. But Cazeneau was unchanged
in his implacable hate; or, if possible, he was even more bitter and
more malignant now, since he had thus been beaten.
Away! he cried, in a faint voice. Away! Touch me not. Do not
exult yet, Montresor. You think you haveavengedyour cursed
fatherand your mother. Do not exult too soon; at least you area
paupera paupera pauper! Away! My own peoplewill care for me.
Claude rose at this, and motioned to Cazeneau's Indians. They came
up. One of them examined the wound. He then looked up at Claude, and
solemnly shook his head.
May Heaven have mercy on his soul! murmured Claude. I thank
Heaven that I do not know all the bitter wrong that he has done to my
parents. What he has done to me I forgive.
Then, by a sudden impulse, he bent down over the fallen man.
Cazeneau, said he, you're a dying man. You have something on your
conscience now. What you have done to me I forgive. May others whom you
have injured do the same.
At this magnanimous speech Cazeneau rolled his glaring eyes
furiously towards the young man, and then, supplied with a sudden
spasmodic strength by his own passion, he cried out, with bitter oaths
Curse you! you and all your race!
He raised himself slightly as he said this. The next instant he fell
back, senseless. For a moment Claude stood looking at the lifeless
form, undecided what to do. Should he remain here longer? If Cazeneau
should revive, it would only be to curse him; if he died, he could do
nothing. Would it not be better to hurry forward after the rest of the
party, who could not be very far away? If so, he could send back the
priest, who would come in time either for life or death. The moment
that he thought of this he decided that he would hurry forward for the
priest. He then explained to his guide what he wished, and asked the
Indians of Cazeneau how far the rest of the party were. They could
speak but very little French, but managed to make Claude understand
that they were not far. To his Indian they said more, and he told his
employer. What they said was to this effect: that on this morning
Cazeneau had left the party with these two Indians, for the sake of a
little recreation in hunting. The rest had gone forward, with the
understanding that they should not go more than two or three hours.
Then they were to halt and wait. Cazeneau was just about to go after
them as Claude came up.
[Illustration: Curse You And All Your Race.]
This information showed Claude that the rest of the party were
within easy distance, and that the priest could be reached and sent
back before evening. Accordingly he hesitated no longer, but set forth
at once in the greatest haste.
The thought that Mimi was so near inspired Claude with fresh energy.
Although he had been on the tramp all day, and without rest,although
he had received a severe and unparalleled shock in the terrible fate of
Cazeneau,yet the thought of Mimi had sufficient power over him to
chase away the gloom that for a time had fallen over his soul. It was
enough to him now that a priest was within reach. Upon that priest he
could throw all the responsibility which arose out of the situation of
his enemy. These were the thoughts that animated him, and urged him
The Indians of Cazeneau had made him understand that they were only
a few hours ahead; but Claude thought that they were even nearer. He
thought it unlikely that Cazeneau would let them go very far, and
supposed that he had ordered the other Indians to go slowly, and halt
after about three or four miles. He therefore confidently expected to
come up with them after traversing about that distance.
With this belief he urged on his attendants, and himself put forth
all his powers, until at length, after nearly two hours, he was
compelled to slacken his speed. This showed that they were not so near
as he had expected; yet still he believed that they were just ahead,
and that he would come up with them every moment.
Thus his mind was kept upon a constant strain, and he was always on
the lookout, watching both with eyes and ears either to see some sign
of them, or to hear them as they went on before him. And this constant
strain of mind and of sense, and this sustained attitude of
expectation, made the way seem less, and the time seem short; and thus,
though there was a certain disappointment, yet still the hope of seeing
them every next minute kept up his spirits and his energies. Thus he
went on, like one who pursues an ignis fatuus, until at length
the light of day faded out, and the shades of night settled down over
He would certainly have thought that he had missed the way, had it
not been for one fact; and that was, that the track of the party whom
he was pursuing was as plain as ever, and quite fresh, showing that
they had passed over it this very day. The Indians with him were all
certain of this. It showed him that however fast he had gone, they had
been going yet faster, and that all his eagerness to catch up with them
had not been greater than their eagerness to advance. Why was this?
Suddenly the whole truth flashed upon his mind.
The priest had unexpectedly shaken off Cazeneau. He had evidently
resolved to try to escape. His strange influence over the Indians had,
no doubt, enabled him to make them his accomplices. With the hope,
therefore, of shaking off Cazeneau, he had hurried on as fast as
Still there was one thing, and that was, that they would have to
bring up somewhere. It was more than probable that the priest would try
to reach Canso. In that case Claude had only to keep on his track, and
he would get to that place not very long after him; sufficiently soon,
at any rate, to prevent missing him. As to Louisbourg, if the priest
should go there, he also could go there, and with impunity now, since
his enemy was no more. As for the unhappy Cazeneau, he found himself no
longer able to send him the priest; but he did not feel himself to
blame for that, and could only hope that he might reach the priest
before it should be altogether too late.
A slight repast that night, which was made from some fragments which
he had carried in his pocket, a few hours' sleep, and another slight
repast on the following morning, made from an early bird which he had
shot when it was on its way to get its worm, served to prepare him for
the journey before him.
The Indians informed him that the Strait of Canso was now not more
than a day and a half distant. The news was most welcome to Claude. The
Strait of Canso seemed like a place where the priest would be compelled
to make some sort of a halt, either while waiting for a chance to cross
or while making a detour to get to Canso. For his part, he would have
one great advantage, and that was, that he would not be compelled to
think about his course. All that he had to do was to follow the track
before him as rapidly and as perseveringly as possible.
All that day Claude hurried onward without stopping to halt, being
sustained by his own burning impatience, and also by that same hope
which had supported him on the preceding day. But it was, as before,
like the pursuit of an ignis fatuus, and ever the objects of his
pursuit seemed to elude him.
At length, towards the close of the day, they reached a river, and
the trail ran along by its side for miles, sometimes leaving it, and
again returning to it. The path was broad, the woods were free from
underbrush, and more open than usual.
Suddenly the guide stopped and looked forward, with the instinct of
his Indian caution. But Claude had one idea only in his mind, and
knowing well that there could be no enemy now, since Cazeneau was out
of the way, he hurried onward. Some moving figures attracted his gaze.
Then he saw horses, and some men and women. Then he emerged from the
trees, bursting forth at a run into an open place which lay upon the
river bank. One glance was sufficient. It was the priest and his party.
With a cry of joy he rushed forward. The others saw him coming. The
priest turned in amazement; for he had no idea that Claude was so near.
Before he could speak a word, however, the young man had flung himself
into his arms, and the priest returned his embrace with equal warmth.
Claude then turned to Mimi, who was standing near, and in the rapture
of that meeting was on the point of catching her in his arms also; but
Mimi saw the movement, and retreated shyly, while a mantling blush over
her lovely features showed both joy and confusion. So Claude had to
content himself with taking her hand, which he seized in both of his,
and held as though he would never let go.
After these first greetings, there followed a torrent of questions
from both sides. The priest's story was but a short one. On the day
when Cazeneau had left them, he had gone on a short hunting excursion,
simply for the sake of relieving the monotony of the long tramp. He had
charged the Indians not to go farther than two hours ahead. His
intention was to make a circuit, and join them by evening. But the
Indians were altogether under the influence of Père Michel, and were
willing to do anything that he wished. The Great Father,the French
king,with whom Cazeneau thought he could overawe them, was in truth a
very shadowy and unsubstantial personage. But Père Michel was one whom
they knew, and for some reason regarded with boundless veneration.
When, therefore, he proposed to them to go on, they at once acceded.
For Père Michel caught at this unexpected opportunity to escape, which
was thus presented, and at once set forth at the utmost possible speed.
He travelled all that day and far into the night, until he thought that
a sufficient distance had been put between himself and Cazeneau to
prevent capture. He would have gone much farther on this day had it not
been for Mimi, who, already fatigued by her long journey, was unable to
endure this increased exertion, and after trying in vain to keep up,
was compelled to rest. They had been encamping here for about three
hours, and were already deliberating about a night journey, when Claude
The time had been spent in constructing a sort of litter, which the
priest intended to sling between two horses, hoping by this means to
take Mimi onward with less fatigue. He had made up his mind, as Claude
indeed had suspected, to make for Canso, so as to put himself out of
the reach of Cazeneau.
Claude then told the priest his story, to which the latter listened
with deep emotion. He had not anticipated anything like this. Amazed as
he had been at the sudden appearance of Claude, he had thought that by
some happy accident the young man had eluded Cazeneau, and he now
learned how it really was.
For some time he said not a single word, and indeed there was
nothing that he could say. He knew well that Claude had been deeply and
foully wronged by Cazeneau, and he knew also that this last act was
hardly to be considered as anything else than the act of Cazeneau
himself, who first attacked Claude, and forced him to fight.
But there still remained to be considered what might now be done.
Claude's first thought was the one which had been in his mind during
the past day; that is to say, he still thought of sending the priest
back to Cazeneau, without thinking of the distance, and the time that
now lay between. His excitement had prevented him from taking this into
consideration. The priest, however, at once reminded him of it.
I do not see, said he, what I can do. You forget how long it is
since you left him. He must be dead and buried by this time. Even if he
should linger longer than you expected, I could not hope to reach that
place in time to do anything, not even to bury him. It is a good two
days' journey from here to there. It is two days since you left him. It
would take two days more for me to reach him. That makes four days. By
that time, if he is dead, he would already be buried; and if he is
living, he would be conveyed by the Indians to some place of rest and
As long as I thought that Cazeneau was pursuing us, continued the
priest, I tried to advance as rapidly as possible, and intended to go
to Canso, where I should be safe from him. But now that he can trouble
us no more, there is no reason why we should not go to Louisbourg. That
will be better for Mimi, and it will also suit my views better. You,
too, may as well go there, since you will be able to carry out your own
plans, whatever they are, from that place better than from any other.
The result of this conversation was, that they decided to go to
CHAPTER XVII. AMONG FRIENDS.
In order to make their escape the more certain, the priest had
carried off the horse which Cazeneau had used, so that now Claude was
no more obliged to go on foot. Mimi no longer complained of fatigue,
but was able to bear up with the fatigues of the rest of the journey in
a wonderful way. Claude did not seem inclined to make much use of the
spare horse, for he walked much of the way at Mimi's side, and where
there was not room, he walked at her horse's head.
The remainder of the journey occupied about four days, and it was
very much like what it had been; that is, a track through the woods,
sometimes rough, sometimes smooth. The whole track showed marks of
constant use, which the priest explained to Claude as being caused by
droves of cattle, which were constantly being sent from Grand Pré to
Louisbourg, where they fetched a handsome price. The Indian trails in
other places were far rougher and narrower, besides being interrupted
by fallen trees. The only difficulty that they had to encounter was in
crossing the Strait of Canso; but after following the shore for a few
miles, they came to a place where there was a barge, used to transport
cattle. Two or three French fishermen lived here, and they took the
whole party over to the opposite side. After this they continued their
That journey seemed to Claude altogether too short. Each day passed
away too rapidly. Wandering by the side of Mimi through the fragrant
forests, under the clear sky, listening to her gentle voice, and
catching the sweet smile of her innocent face, it seemed to him as
though he would like to go on this way forever. A cloud of sadness
rested on her gentle brow, which made her somewhat unlike the sprightly
girl of the schooner, and more like the despairing maid whom he had
rescued on the raft.
But there was reason for this sadness. Mimi was a fond and loving
daughter. She had chosen to follow her father across the ocean, when
she might have lived at home in comfort; and the death of that father
had been a terrible blow. For some time the blow had been alleviated by
the terrors which she felt about Cazeneau and his designs. But now,
since he and his designs were no more to be thought of, the sorrow of
her bereavement returned.
Still, she was not without consolation, and even joy. It was joy to
her to have escaped from the man and from the danger that she dreaded.
It was also joy to her to find herself once more in company with
Claude, in whom she had all along taken a tender interest. Until she
heard his story from his own lips she had not had any idea that he had
been the victim of Cazeneau. She had supposed that he was in the
schooner all the time, and had wondered why he did not make his
appearance. And her anxiety about her father, and grief over his death,
prevented her from dwelling much upon this.
At length they came in sight of the sea. The trees here were small,
stunted, and scrubby; the soil was poor, the grass coarse and
interspersed with moss and stones. In many places it was boggy, while
in others it was rocky. Their path ran along the shore for some miles,
and then entered the woods. For some distance farther they went on, and
then emerged into an open country, where they saw before them the goal
of their long journey.
Open fields lay before them, with houses and barns. Farther on there
lay a beautiful harbor, about five or six miles long and one mile wide,
with a narrow entrance into the outer sea, and an island which
commanded the entrance. Upon this island, and also on one side of the
entrance, were batteries, while on the side of the harbor on which they
were standing, and about two miles away, was another battery, larger
than either of these. At the farthest end of the harbor were small
houses of farmers or fishermen, with barns and cultivated fields. In
the harbor were some schooners and small fishing vessels, and two large
But it was upon the end of the harbor nearest to themselves that
their eyes turned with the most pleasure. Here Louisbourg stood, its
walls and spires rising before them, and the flag of France floating
from the citadel. The town was about half a mile long, surrounded by a
stockade and occasional batteries. Upon the highest point the citadel
stood, with the guns peeping over the parapet. The path here entered a
road, which ran towards the town; and now, going to this road, they
went on, and soon reached the gate.
On entering the gate, they were stopped and questioned; but the
priest, who seemed to be known, easily satisfied his examiners, and
they were allowed to go on. They went along a wide street, which,
however, was unpaved, and lined on each side with houses of
unpretending appearance. Most of them were built of wood, some of logs,
one or two of stone. All were of small size, with small doors and
windows, and huge, stumpy chimneys. The street was straight, and led to
the citadel, in which was the governor's residence. Other streets
crossed at right angles with much regularity. There were a few shops,
but not many. Most of these were lower down, near the water, and were
of that class to which the soldiers and sailors resorted. Outside the
citadel was a large church, built of undressed stone, and without any
pretensions to architectural beauty. Beyond this was the entrance to
the citadel. This place was on the crest of the hill, and was
surrounded by a dry ditch and a wall. A drawbridge led across the ditch
to the gate. On reaching this place the party had to stop, and the
priest sent in his name to the governor or commandant. After waiting
some time, a message came to admit them. Thereupon they all passed
through, and found themselves inside the citadel.
They found this to be an irregular space, about two hundred feet in
length and width, surrounded by walls, under which were arched cells,
that were used for storage or magazines, and might also serve as
casemates in time of siege. There were barracks at one end, and at the
other the governor's residence, built of stone. Upon the parade troops
were exercising, and in front of the barracks a band was playing. The
whole scene was thus one of much animation; indeed, it seemed very much
so to the eyes of these wanderers, so long accustomed to the solitude
of the sea, or of the primeval forest. However, they did not wait to
gaze upon the scene, but went on at once, without delay, to the
The commandantMonsieur Auguste de Florianreceived them with much
politeness. He was a man of apparently about forty years of age, medium
stature, and good-natured face, without any particular sign of
character or talent in his general expression. This was the man whom
Cazeneau was to succeed, whose arrival he had been expecting for a long
time. He received the new comers politely, and, after having heard the
priest's account of Mimi,who she was, and how he had found her,he
at once sent for his wife, who took her to her own apartments, and
informed her that this must be her home as long as she was at
The commandant now questioned the priest more particularly about the
Arethuse. Père Michel left the narration to Claude. He had been
introduced under the name of M. Motier, and did not choose to say
anything about his real name and rank, for fear that it might lead him
into fresh difficulties. So Claude gave an account of the meeting
between the schooner and the raft, and also told all that he knew about
the fate of the Arethuse. The priest added something more that he had
learned, and informed the commandant that he could learn all the rest
The governor's polite attention did not end with this visit. He at
once set about procuring a place where Claude might stay, and would
have done the same kind office to Père Michel, had not the priest
declined. He had a place where he could stay with one of the priests of
the town, who was a friend; and besides, he intended to carry on the
duties of his sacred office. Claude, therefore, was compelled to
separate himself from the good priest, who, however, assured him that
he would see him often. Before evening he found himself in comfortable
quarters in the house of the naval storekeeper, who received him with
the utmost cordiality as the friend of the commandant.
The next day Claude saw Père Michel. He seemed troubled in mind,
and, after some questions, informed him that he had come all the way to
Louisbourg for the express purpose of getting some letters which he had
been expecting from France. They should have been here by this time,
but had not come, and he was afraid that they had been sent out in the
Arethuse. If so, there might be endless trouble and confusion, since it
would take too long altogether to write again and receive answers. It
was a business of infinite importance to himself and to others; and
Père Michel, who had never before, since Claude had known him, lost his
serenity, now appeared quite broken down by disappointment.
His present purpose was to go back and see about the burial of
Cazeneau; but he would wait for another week, partly for the sake of
rest, and partly to wait until Cazeneau's Indians had been heard from.
He had sent out two of the Indians who had come with him to make
inquiries; and when they returned, he would go. He was also waiting in
the hope that another ship might arrive. There was some talk of a
frigate which was to bring out some sappers and engineers for the
works. It was the Grand Monarque. She had not come as yet, nor had she
left by last advices; but still she was liable to leave at any moment.
Still, said the priest, it is useless to expect anything or to
hope for anything. The king is weak. He is nothing. How many years has
he been a roi fainéant? Fleury was a fit minister for such a
king. Weak, bigoted, conceited, Fleury had only one policy, and that
was, to keep things quiet, and not suffer any change. If wrongs had
been done, he refused to right them. Fleury has been a curse to France.
But since his death his successors may be even worse. The state of
France is hopeless. The country is overwhelmed with debt, and is in the
hands of unprincipled vagabonds. The king has said that he would govern
without ministers; but that only means that he will allow himself to be
swayed by favorites. Fleury has gone, and in his place there
comeswho? Why, the Duchesse de Chateauroux. She is now the minister
The priest spoke with indescribable bitterness; so much so, indeed,
that Claude was amazed.
The latest news, continued Père Michel, is, that England is going
to send an army to assist Austria. The queen, Maria Theresa, will now
be able to turn the scales against France. This means war, and the
declaration must follow soon. Well, poor old Fleury kept out of war
with England till he died. But that was Walpole's doing, perhaps. They
were wonderful friends; and perhaps it was just as well. But this new
ministrythis woman and her friendsthey will make a change for
France; and I only hope, while they are reversing Fleury's policy in
some things, they'll do it in others.
France, continued Père Michel, in a gloomy tone, France is rotten
to the coreall France, both at home and abroad. Why, even out here
the fatal system reigns. This commandant, he went on, dropping his
voice, is as deeply implicated as any of them. He was appointed by a
court favorite; so was Cazeneau. He came out with the intention of
making his fortune, not for the sake of building up a French empire in
It's no use. France can't build up an empire here. The English will
get America. They come out as a people, and settle in the forest; but
we come out as officials, to make money out of our country. Already the
English are millions, and we are thousands. What chance is there for
us? Some day an English army will come and drive us out of Ile Royale,
and out of Canada, as they've already driven us out of Acadie. Our own
people are discouraged; and, though they love France, yet they feel
less oppressed under English rule. Can there be a worse commentary on
French rule than that?
And you, my son, continued the priest, in a milder tone, but one
which was equally earnest, don't think of going to France. You can do
nothing there. It would require the expenditure of a fortune in bribery
to get to the ears of those who surround the king; and then there would
be no hope of obtaining justice from them. All are interested in
letting things remain as they were. The wrong done was committed years
ago. The estates have passed into other hands, and from one owner to
another. The present holders are all-powerful at court; and if you wore
to go there, you would only wear out your youth, and accomplish
CHAPTER XVIII. LOUISBOURG.
There was a little beau monde at Louisbourg, which, as might
be expected, was quite gay, since it was French. At the head stood, of
course; the commandant and his lady; then came the military officers
with their ladies, and the naval officers without their ladies,
together with the unmarried officers of both services. As the gentlemen
far outnumbered the ladies, the latter were always in great demand; so
that the ladies of the civilians, though of a decidedly inferior grade,
were objects of attention and of homage. This being the case, it will
readily be perceived what an effect was produced upon the beau monde
at Louisbourg by the advent of such a bright, particular star as Mimi.
Young, beautiful, accomplished, she also added the charms of rank, and
title, and supposed wealth. The Count de Laborde had been prominent at
court, and his name was well known. His daughter was therefore looked
upon as one of the greatest heiresses of France, and there was not a
young officer at Louisbourg who did not inwardly vow to strive to win
so dazzling a prize.
She would at once have been compelled to undergo a round of the most
exhaustive festivities, had it not been for one thingshe was in
mourning. Her bereavement had been severe, and was so recent that all
thoughts of gayety were out of the question. This fact lessened the
chances which the gallant French cavaliers might otherwise have had,
but in no respect lessened their devotion. Beauty in distress is always
a touching and a resistless object to every chivalrous heart; and here
the beauty was exquisite, and the distress was undeniably great.
The commandant and his lady had appropriated Mimi from the first,
and Mimi congratulated herself on having found a home so easily. It was
pleasant to her, after her recent imprisonment, to be among people who
looked up to her with respectful and affectionate esteem. Monsieur de
Florian may not have been one of the best of men; indeed, it was said
that he had been diligently feathering his nest at the expense of the
government ever since he had been in Louisbourg; but in spite of that,
he was a kindhearted man, while his wife was a kind-hearted woman, and
one, too, who was full of tact and delicacy. Mimi's position,
therefore, was as pleasant as it could be, under the circumstances.
After one or two days had passed, Claude began to be aware of the
fact that life in Louisbourg was much less pleasant than life on the
road. There he was all day long close beside Mimi, or at her horse's
bridle, with confidential chat about a thousand things, with eloquent
nothings, and shy glances, and tender little attentions, and delicate
services. Here, however, it was all different. All this had come to an
end. The difficulty now was, to see Mimi at all. It is true there was
no lack of friendliness on the part of the commandant, or of his good
lady; but then he was only one among many, who all were received with
the same genial welcome by this genial and polished pair. The chivalry
of Louisbourg crowded to do homage to the beautiful stranger, and the
position of Claude did not seem to be at all more favorable than that
of the youngest cadet in the service.
His obscurity now troubled Claude greatly. He found himself quite
insignificant in Louisbourg. If he had possessed the smallest military
rank, he would have been of more consequence. He thought of coming out
in his true name, as the Count de Montresor, but was deterred by the
thought of the troubles into which he had already fallen by the
discovery of his name. How much of that arrest was due to the ill will
of Cazeneau, and how much to the actual dangers besetting him as a
Montresor, he could not know. He saw plainly enough that the
declaration of his name and rank might lead to a new arrest at the
hands of this commandant, in which case escape could hardly be thought
of. He saw that it was better far for him to be insignificant, yet
free, than to be the highest personage in Louisbourg, and liable to be
flung into a dungeon. His ignorance of French affairs, and of the
actual history of his family, made him cautious; so that he resolved
not to mention the truth about himself to any one. Under all these
circumstances, Claude saw no other resource but to endure as best he
could the unpleasantness of his personal situation, and live in the
hope that in the course of time some change might take place by which
he could be brought into closer connection with Mimi.
Fortunately for him, an opportunity of seeing Mimi occurred before
he had gone too deep down into despondency. He went up one day to the
citadel, about a week after he had come to Louisbourg. Mimi was at the
window, and as he came she saw him, and ran to the door. Her face was
radiant with smiles.
O, I am so glad, she said, that you have come! I did so want to
see you, to ask you about something!
I never see you alone now, said Claude, sadly, holding her hand as
though unwilling to relinquish it.
No, said Mimi, with a slight flush, gently withdrawing her hand,
I am never alone, and there are so many callers; but M. Florian has
gone out, taking the madame, on an affair of some importance; and so,
you see, we can talk without interruption.
Especially if we walk over into the garden, said Claude.
Mimi assented, and the two walked into the garden that was on the
west side of the residence, and for some time neither of them said a
word. The trees had just come into leaf; for the season is late in this
climate, but the delay is made good by the rapid growth of vegetation
after it has once started; and now the leaves were bursting forth in
glorious richness and profusion, some more advanced than others, and
exhibiting every stage of development. The lilacs, above all, were
conspicuous for beauty; for they were covered with blossoms, with the
perfume of which the air was loaded.
I never see you now, said Claude, at length.
No, said Mimi, sadly.
It is not as it used to be, said Claude, with a mournful smile,
when I walked by your side day after day.
Mimi sighed, and said nothing.
It is different with you, said Claude; you are the centre of
universal admiration, and everybody pays you attention. The time never
passes heavily with you; but think of memiserable, obscure,
Mimi turned, and looked at him with such a piteous face that Claude
stopped short. Her eyes were fixed on his with tender melancholy and
reproach. They were filled with tears.
And do you really believe that? she saidthat the time never
passes heavily with me? It has been a sad time ever since I came here.
Think how short a time it is since poor, dear papa left me! Do you
think I can have the heart for much enjoyment?
Forgive me, said Claude, deeply moved; I had forgotten; I did not
think what I was saying; I was too selfish.
That is true, said Mimi. While you were suffering from
loneliness, you should have thought that I, too, was suffering, even in
the midst of the crowd. But what are they all to me? They are all
strangers. It is my friends that I want to see; and you are away, and
the good Père Michel never comes!
Were you lonely on the road? asked Claude.
Never, said Mimi, innocently, after you came.
As she said this, a flush passed over her lovely face, and she
looked away confused. Claude seized her hand, and pressed it to his
lips. They then walked on in silence for some time. At last Claude
The ship will not leave for six weeks. If I were alone, I think I
should go back to Boston. But if you go to France, I shall go, too.
Have you ever thought of what you will do when you get there?
I suppose I shall have to go to France, said Mimi; but why should
you think of going to Boston? Are you not going on your family
I am not, said Claude. I am only going because you are going. As
to my family business, I have forgotten all about it; and, indeed, I
very much doubt whether I could do anything at all. I do not even know
how I am to begin. But I wish to see you safe and happy among your
Mimi looked at him in sad surprise.
I do not know whether I have any friends or not, said she. I have
only one relative, whom I have never seen. I had intended to go to her.
I do not know what I shall do. If this aunt is willing to take me, I
shall live with her; but she is not very rich, and I may be a burden.
A burden! said Claude; that is impossible! And besides, such a
great heiress as you will be welcome wherever you go.
He spoke this with a touch of bitterness in his voice; for Mimi's
supposed possessions seemed to him to be the chief barrier between
himself and her.
A great heiress! said Mimi, sadly. I don't know what put that
into your head. Unfortunately, as far as I know, I have nothing. My
papa sold all his estates, and had all his money on board the Arethuse.
It was all lost in the ship, and though I was an heiress when I left
home, I shall go back nothing better than a beggar, to beg a home from
my unknown aunt. Or, she continued, if my aunt shows no affection, it
is my intention to go back to the convent of St. Cecilia, where I was
educated, and I know they will be glad to have me; and I could not find
a better home for the rest of my life than among those dear sisters who
love me so well.
O, Mimi, he cried, O, what joy it is to hear that you are a
beggar! Mimi, Mimi! I have always felt that you were far above metoo
far for me to raise my thoughts to you. Mimi, you are a beggar, and not
an heiress! You must not go to France. I will not go. Let us remain
together. I can be more to you than any friend. Come with me. Be mine.
O, let me spend my life in trying to show you how I love you!
He spoke these words quickly, feverishly, and passionately, seizing
her hand in both of his. He had never called her before by her name;
but now he called her by it over and over, with loving intonations.
Mimi had hardly been prepared for this; but though unprepared, she was
not offended. On the contrary, she looked up at him with a face that
told him more than words could convey. He could not help reading its
eloquent meaning. Her glance penetrated to his hearther soul spoke to
his. He caught her in his arms, and little Mimi leaned her head on his
breast and wept.
But from this dream of hope and happiness they were destined to have
a sudden and very rude awakening. There was a sound in the shrubbery
behind them, and a voice said, in a low, cautious tone,
At this they both started, and turned. It was the Père Michel.
Both started as they saw him, partly from surprise, and partly,
also, from the shock which they felt at the expression of his face. He
was pale and agitated, and the calmness and self-control which usually
characterized him had departed.
My dear friend, said Claude, hurriedly, turning towards him and
seizing his hand, what is the matter? Are you not well? Has anything
happened? You are agitated. What is the matter?
The very worst, said Père MichelM. de Cazeneau!
What of him? Why, he is dead!
Dead? No; he is alive. Worsehe is hereherein Louisbourg. I
have just seen him!
What! cried Claude, starting back, M. de Cazeneau alive, and here
in Louisbourg! How is that possible?
I don't know, said the priest. I only know this, that I have just
Where? You must be mistaken.
No, no, said the priest, hurriedly. I know himonly too well. I
saw him at the Ordnance. He has just arrived. He was brought here by
Indians, on a litter. The commandant is even now with him. I saw him go
in. I hurried here, for I knew that you were here, to tell you to fly.
Fly then, at once, and for your life. I can get you away now, if you
fly at once.
Fly? repeated Claude, casting a glance at Mimi.
Yes, fly! cried the priest, in earnest tones. Don't think of her,
or, rather, do you, Mimi, if you value his life, urge him, entreat
him, pray him to fly. He is lost if he stays. One moment more may
Mimi turned as pale as death. Her lips parted. She would have
spoken, but could say nothing.
Come, cried the priest, come, hasten, fly! It may be only for a
few weeksa few weeks onlythink of that. There is more at stake than
you imagine. Boy, you know not what you are riskingnot your own life,
but the lives of others; the honor of your family; the hope of the
final redemption of your race. Hastefly, fly!
The priest spoke in tones of feverish impetuosity. At these words
Claude stood thunder-struck. It seemed as though this priest knew
something about his family. What did he know? How could he allude to
the honor of that family, and the hope of its redemption?
O, fly! O, fly! Haste! cried Mimi, who had at last found her
voice. Don't think of me. Flysave yourself, before it's too late.
What! and leave you at his mercy? said Claude.
O, don't think of me, cried Mimi; save yourself.
Hastecome, cried the priest; it is already too late. You have
wasted precious moments.
I cannot, cried Claude, as he looked at Mimi, who stood in an
attitude of despair.
Then you are lost, groaned the priest, in a voice of bitterest
[Illustration: Mimi Suddenly Caught Claude By The Arm.]
CHAPTER XIX. THE CAPTIVE AND THE
Further conversation was now prevented by the approach of a company
of soldiers, headed by the commandant. Mimi stood as if rooted to the
spot, and then suddenly caught Claude by the arm, as though by her weak
strength she could save him from the fate which was impending over him;
but the priest interposed, and gently drew her away.
The soldiers halted at the entrance to the garden, and the
commandant came forward. His face was clouded and somewhat stern, and
every particle of his old friendliness seemed to have departed.
I regret, monsieur, said he, the unpleasant necessity which
forces me to arrest you; but, had I known anything about your crime,
you would have been put under arrest before you had enjoyed my
O, monsieur! interrupted Mimi.
The commandant turned, and said, severely, I trust that the
Countess de Laborde will see the impropriety of her presence here.
Monsieur L'Abbé, will you give the countess your arm into the house?
Père Michel, at this, led Mimi away. One parting look she threw upon
Claude, full of utter despair, and then, leaning upon the arm of the
priest, walked slowly in.
Claude said not a word in reply to the address of the commandant. He
knew too well that under present circumstances words would be utterly
useless. If Cazeneau was indeed alive, and now in Louisbourg, then
there could be no hope for himself. If the former charges which led to
his arrest should be insufficient to condemn him, his attack upon
Cazeneau would afford sufficient cause to his enemy to glut his
The soldiers took him in charge, and he was marched away across the
parade to the prison. This was a stone building, one story in height,
with small grated windows, and stout oaken door studded with iron
nails. Inside there were two rooms, one on each side of the entrance.
These rooms were low, and the floor, which was laid on the earth, was
composed of boards, which were decayed and moulded with damp. The
ceiling was low, and the light but scanty. A stout table and stool
formed the only furniture, while a bundle of mouldy straw in one corner
was evidently intended to be his bed. Into this place Claude entered;
the door was fastened, and he was left alone.
On finding himself alone in this place, he sat upon the stool, and
for some time his thoughts were scarcely of a coherent kind. It was not
easy for him to understand or realize his position, such a short
interval had elapsed since he was enjoying the sweets of an interview
with Mimi. The transition had been sudden and terrible. It had cast him
down from the highest happiness to the lowest misery. A few moments
ago, and all was bright hope; now all was black despair. Indeed, his
present situation had an additional gloom from the very happiness which
he had recently enjoyed, and in direct proportion to it. Had it not
been for that last interview, he would not have known what he had lost.
Hope for himself there was none. Even under ordinary circumstances,
there could hardly have been any chance of his escape; but now, after
Cazeneau had so nearly lost his life, there could be nothing in store
for him but sure and speedy death. He saw that he would most
undoubtedly be tried, condemned, and executed here in Louisbourg, and
that there was not the slightest hope that he would be sent to France
for his trial.
Not long after Claude had been thrust into his prison, a party
entered the citadel, bearing with them a litter, upon which reclined
the form of a feeble and suffering man. It was Cazeneau. The wound
which Claude had given him had not been fatal, after all; and he had
recovered sufficiently to endure a long journey in this way; yet it had
been a severe one, and had made great ravages in him. He appeared many
years older. Formerly, he had not looked over forty; now he looked at
least as old as Père Michel. His face was wan; his complexion a grayish
pallor; his frame was emaciated and weak. As he was brought into the
citadel, the commandant came out from his residence to meet him,
accompanied by some servants, and by these the suffering man was borne
into the house.
All is ready, my dear count, said the commandant. You will feel
much better after you have some rest of the proper kind.
But have you arrested him? asked Cazeneau, earnestly.
I have; he is safe now in prison.
Very good. And now, Monsieur Le Commandant, if you will have the
kindness to send me to my room
Monsieur Le Commandant, you reign here now, said the other. My
authority is over since you have come, and you have only to give your
At any rate, mon ami, you must remain in power till I get
some rest and sleep, said Cazeneau.
Rest, food, and, above all, a good night's sleep, had a very
favorable effect upon Cazeneau, and on the following morning, when the
commandant waited on him, he congratulated him on the improvement in
his appearance. Cazeneau acknowledged that he felt better, and made
very pointed inquiries about Mimi, which led to the recital of the
circumstances of Claude's arrest in Mimi's presence. Whatever
impression this may have made upon the hearer, he did not show it, but
preserved an unchanged demeanor.
A conversation of a general nature now followed, turning chiefly
upon affairs in France.
You had a long voyage, remarked the commandant.
Yes; and an unpleasant one. We left in March, but it seems longer
than that; for it was in February that I left Versailles, only a little
while after the death of his eminence.
I fancy there will be a great change now in the policy of the
O, of course. The peace policy is over. War with England must be.
The king professes now to do like his predecessor, and govern without a
minister; but we all know what that means. To do without a minister is
one thing for Louis Quatorze, but another thing altogether for Louis
Quinze. The Duchesse de Chateauroux will be ministerfor the present.
Then we have D'Aguesseau, D'Argenson, and Maurepas. O, there'll be war
at once. I dare say it has already been declared. At any rate, it's
best to act on that principle.
Well, as to that, monsieur, we generally do act on that principle
out here. But Fleury was a wonderful old man.
Yes; but he died too soon.
Too soon! What, at the age of ninety?
O, well, I meant too soon for me. Had he died ten years ago, or had
he lived two years longer, I should not have come out here.
I did not know that it was a matter of regret to monsieur.
Regret? said Cazeneau, in a querulous toneregret? Monsieur, one
does not leave a place like Versailles for a place like Louisbourg
True, said the other, who saw that it was a sore subject.
With Fleury I had influence; but with the present company at
Versailles, it iswell, different; and I am better here. Out of sight,
out of mind. It was one of Fleury's last actsthis appointment. I
solicited it, for certain reasons; chiefly because I saw that he could
not last long. Well, they'll have enough to think of without calling me
to mind; for, if I'm not mistaken, the Queen of Hungary will find
occupation enough for them.
After some further conversation of this kind, Cazeneau returned to
the subject of Mimi, asking particularly about her life in Louisbourg,
and whether Claude had seen her often. The information which he
received on this point seemed to give him satisfaction.
Does this young man claim to be a Montresor? asked the commandant,
or is he merely interesting himself in the affairs of that family by
way of au intrigue?
It is an intrigue, said Cazeneau. He does not call himself
Montresor openly, but I have reason to know that he is intending to
pass himself off as the son and heir of the Count Eugene, who was
outlawed nearly twenty years ago. Perhaps you have heard of that.
O, yes; I remember all about that. His wife was a Huguenot, and
both of them got off. His estates were confiscated. It was private
enmity, I believe. Some one got a rich haul. Ha, ha, ha!
At this Cazeneau's face turned as black as a thundercloud. The
commandant saw that his remark had been an unfortunate one, and
hastened to change the conversation.
So this young fellow has a plan of that sort, you think. Of course
he's put up by otherssome wirepullers behind the scenes. Well, he's
safe enough now, and he has that hanging over him which will put an end
to this scheme, whoever may have started it.
At this Cazeneau recovered his former calmness, and smiled somewhat
I can guess pretty well, said Cazeneau, how this plot may have
originated. You must know that when the Count de Montresor and his
countess fled, they took with them a servant who had been their
steward. This man's name was Motier. Now, both the count and countess
died shortly after their arrival in America. The countess died first,
somewhere in Canada, and then the count seemed to lose his reason; for
he went off into the wilderness, and has never been heard of since. He
must have perished at once. His steward, Motier, was then left. This
man was a Huguenot and an incorrigible rascal. He found Canada too hot
to hold him with his infidel Huguenot faith, and so he went among the
English. I dare say that this Motier, ever since, has been concocting a
plan by which he might make his fortune out of the Montresor estates.
This Claude Motier is his son, and has, no doubt, been brought up by
old Motier to believe that he is the son of the count; or else the
young villain is his partner. You see his game nowdon't you? He hired
a schooner to take him here. He would have began his work here by
getting some of you on his side, and gaining some influence, or money,
perhaps, to begin with. Very well; what then? Why, then off he goes to
France, where he probably intended to take advantage of the change in
the ministry to push his claims, in the hope of making something out of
them. And there is no doubt that, with his impudence, the young villain
might have done something. And that reminds me to ask you whether you
found anything at his lodgings.
He should be searched. He must have some papers.
He shall be searched to-night.
I should have done that before. I left word to have that done
before sending him from Grand Pré; but, as the fellow got off, why, of
course that was no use. And I only hope he hasn't thought of destroying
the papers. But if he has any, he won't want to destroy themtill the
last moment. Perhaps he won't even think of it.
Do you suppose that this Motier has lived among the English all his
I believe so.
His manner, his accent, and his look are all as French as they can
How he has done it I am unable to conjecture. This Motier, père,
must have been a man of superior culture, to have brought up such a
very gentlemanly young fellow as this.
Well, there is a difficulty about that. My opinion of the New
Englanders is such that I do not think they would allow a man to live
among them who looked so like a Frenchman.
Bah! his looks are nothing; and they don't know what his French
accent may be.
Do you think, after all, that his own story is true about living in
New England? May he not be some adventurer, who has drifted away from
France of late years, and has come in contact with Motier? Or, better
yet, may he not have been prepared for his part, and sent out by some
parties in France, who are familiar with the whole Montresor business,
and are playing a deep game?
Cazeneau, at this, sat for a time in deep thought.
Your suggestion, said he, at length, is certainly a good one, and
worth consideration. Yet I don't see how it can be so. Nofor this
reason: the captain of the schooner was certainly a New Englander, and
e spoke in my hearing, on several occasions, as though this Motier was,
like himself, a native of New England, and as one, too, whom he had
known for years. Once he spoke as though he had known him from boyhood.
I know enough English to understand that. Besides, this fellow's
English is as perfect as his French. No, it cannot be possible that he
has been sent out by any parties in France. He must have lived in New
England nearly all his life, even if he was not born there; and I
cannot agree with you.
O, I only made the suggestion. It was merely a passing thought.
Be assured this steward Motier has brought him up with an eye to
using him for the very purpose on which he is now going.
Do you suppose that Motier is alive?
He may be dead.
And what then?
In that case this young fellow is not an agent of anybody, but is
acting for himself.
Even if that were so, I do not see what difference it would make.
He has been educated for the part which he is now playing.
Do you think, asked the commandant, after a pause, that the Count
de Montresor had a son?
He may have had, and this young fellow may be the one.
That's what he says, said Cazeneau; but he can never prove it;
and, besides, it was impossible, for the count would never have left
him as he did.
CHAPTER XX. EXAMINATIONS.
Cazeneau improved in health and strength every day. A week passed,
during which period he devoted all his attention to himself, keeping
quietly to his room, with the exception of an occasional walk in the
sun, when the weather was warm, and letting Nature do all she could.
The wound had been severe, though not mortal, and hardly what could be
called even dangerous. The worst was already past on the journey to
Louisbourg; and when once he had arrived there, he had but to wait for
his strength to rally from the shock.
While thus waiting, he saw no one outside of the family of the
commandant. Mimi was not interfered with. Claude received no
communications from him for good or evil. Père Michel, who expected to
be put through a course of questioning, remained unquestioned; nor did
he assume the office of commandant, which now was his.
At the end of a week he found himself so much better that he began
to think himself able to carry out the various purposes which lay in
his mind. First of all, he relieved the late commandant of his office,
and took that dignity upon himself.
All this time Mimi had been under the same roof, a prey to the
deepest anxiety. The poignant grief which she had felt for the loss of
her father had been alleviated for a time by the escape of Claude; but
now, since his arrest, and the arrival of the dreaded Cazeneau, it
seemed worse than ever; the old grief returned, and, in addition, there
were new ones of equal force. There was the terror about her own
future, which looked dark indeed before her, from the purposes of
Cazeneau; and then there was also the deep anxiety, which never left
her, about the fate of Claude. Of him she knew nothing, having heard
not one word since his arrest. She had not seen Père Michel, and there
was no one whom she could ask. The lady of the commandant was kind
enough; but to Mimi she seemed a mere creature of Cazeneau, and for
this reason she never dreamed of taking her into her confidence, though
that good lady made several unmistakable attempts to enter into her
Such was her state of mind when she received a message that M. Le
Comte de Cazeneau wished to pay his respects to her.
Mimi knew only too well what that meant, and would have avoided the
interview under any plea whatever, if it had been possible. But that
could not be done; and so, with a heart that throbbed with painful
emotions, she went to meet him.
After waiting a little time, Cazeneau made his appearance, and
greeted her with very much warmth and earnestness. He endeavored to
infuse into his manner as much as possible of the cordiality of an old
and tried friend, together with the tenderness which might be shown by
a father or an elder brother. He was careful not to exhibit the
slightest trace of annoyance at anything that had happened since he
last saw her, nor to show any suspicion that she could be in any way
implicated with his enemy.
But Mimi did not meet him half way. She was cold and repellent; or,
rather, perhaps it may with more truth be said, she was frightened and
In spite of Cazeneau's determination to touch on nothing unpleasant,
he could not help noticing Mimi's reserve, and remarking on it.
You do not congratulate me, said he. Perhaps you have not heard
the reason why I left your party in the woods. It was not because I
grew tired of your company. It was because I was attacked by an
assassin, and narrowly escaped with my life. It has only been by a
miracle that I have come here; and, though I still have something of my
strength, yet I am very far from being the man that I was when you saw
At these words Mimi took another look at Cazeneau, and surveyed him
somewhat more closely. She felt a slight shock at noticing now the
change which had taken place in him. He looked so haggard, and so old!
She murmured a few words, which Cazeneau accepted as expressions of
good will, and thanked her accordingly. The conversation did not last
much longer. Cazeneau himself found it rather too tedious where he had
to do all the talking, and where the other was only a girl too sad or
too sullen to answer. One final remark was made, which seemed to Mimi
to express the whole purpose of his visit.
You need not fear, mademoiselle, said he, that this assassin will
escape. That is impossible, since he is under strict confinement, and
in a few days must be tried for his crimes.
What that meant Mimi knew only too well; and after Cazeneau left,
these words rang in her heart.
After his call on Mimi, Cazeneau was waited on by the ex-commandant,
who acquainted him with the result of certain inquiries which he had
been making. These inquiries had been made by means of a prisoner, who
had been put in with Claude in order to win the young man's confidence,
and thus get at his secret; for Cazeneau had been of the opinion that
there were accomplices or allies of Claude in France, of whom it would
be well to know the names. The ex-commandant was still more eager to
know. He had been very much struck by the claim of Claude to be a De
Montresor, and by Cazeneau's own confession that the present régime
was unfavorable to him; and under these circumstances the worthy
functionary, who always looked out for number one, was busy weighing
the advantages of the party of Claude as against the party of Cazeneau.
On the evening of the day when he had called on Mimi, Cazeneau was
waited on by Père Michel. He himself had sent for the priest, whom he
had summoned somewhat abruptly. The priest entered the apartment, and,
with a bow, announced himself. As Cazeneau looked up, he appeared for a
moment struck with involuntary respect by the venerable appearance of
this man, or there may have been something else at work in him; but,
whatever the cause, he regarded the priest attentively for a few
moments, without saying a word.
Père Michel, said he, at length, I have called you before me in
private, to come to an understanding with you. Had I followed my own
impulses, I would have ordered your arrest, on my entrance into
Louisbourg, as an accomplice of that young villain. I thought it
sufficient, however, to spare you for the present, and keep you under
surveillance. I am, on the whole, glad that I did not yield to my first
impulse of anger, for I can now, in perfect calmness, go with you over
your acts during the journey here, and ask you for an explanation.
The priest bowed.
Understand me, Père Michel, said Cazeneau; I have now no hard
feeling left. I may say, I have almost no suspicion. I wish to be
assured of your innocence. I will take anything that seems like a
plausible excuse. I respect your character, and would rather have you
as my friend thanthan not.
The priest again bowed, without appearing at all affected by these
After I was assassinated in the woods, said Cazeneau, I was saved
from death by the skill and fidelity of my Indians. It seems to me
still, Père Michel, as it seemed then, that something might have been
done by you. Had you been in league with my enemy, you could not have
done worse. You hastened forward with all speed, leaving me to my fate.
As a friend, you should have turned back to save a friend; as a priest,
you should have turned back to give me Christian burial. What answer
have you to make to this?
Simply this, said the priest, with perfect calmness: that when
you left us you gave orders that we should go on, and that you would
find your way to us. I had no thought of turning back, or waiting. I
knew the Indians well, and knew that they can find their way through
the woods as easily as you can through the streets of Paris. I went
forward, then, without any thought of waiting for you, thinking that of
course you would join us, as you said.
When did Motier come up with you? asked Cazeneau.
On the following day, answered the priest.
Did he inform you what had taken place?
Why, then, did you not turn back to help me?
Because Motier informed me that you were dead.
Very good. He believed so, I doubt not; but, at any rate, you might
have turned back, if only to give Christian burial.
I intended to do that at some future time, said Père Michel; but
at that time I felt my chief duty to be to the living. How could I have
left the Countess Laborde? Motier would not have been a proper guardian
to convey her to Louisbourg, and to take her back with me was
impossible. I therefore decided to go on, as you said, and take her
first to Louisbourg, and afterwards to return.
You showed no haste about it, said Cazeneau.
I had to wait here, said the priest.
May I ask what could have been the urgent business which kept you
from the sacred duty of the burial of the dead?
A ship is expected every day, and I waited to get the letters of my
superiors, with reference to further movements on my mission.
You say that Motier informed you about my death. Did he tell you
how it had happened?
He said that you and he had fought, and that you had been killed.
Why, then, did you not denounce him to the authorities on your
On what charge?
On the charge of murder.
I did not know that when one gentleman is unfortunate enough to
kill another, in fair fight, that it can be considered murder. The duel
is as lawful in America as in France.
This was not a duel! cried Cazeneau. It was an act of
assassination. Motier is no better than a murderer.
I only knew his own account, said the priest.
Besides, continued Cazeneau, a duel can only take place between
two equals; and this Motier is one of the canaille, one not
worthy of my sword.
Yet, monsieur, said the priest, when you arrested him first, it
was not as one of the canaille, but as the son of the outlawed
Count de Montresor.
True, said Cazeneau; but I have reason to believe that he is
merely some impostor. He is now under a different accusation. But one
more point. How did Motier manage to escape?
As to that, monsieur, I always supposed that his escape was easy
enough, and that he could have effected it at once. The farm-houses of
the Acadians are not adapted to be very secure prisons. There were no
bolts and bars, and no adequate watch.
True; but the most significant part of his escape is, that he had
external assistance. Who were those Indians who led him on my trail?
How did he, a stranger, win them over?
You forget, monsieur, that this young man has lived all his life in
America. I know that he has been much in the woods in New England, and
has had much intercourse with the Indians there. It was, no doubt, very
easy for him to enter into communication with Indians here. They are
But how could he have found them? He must have had them at the
house, or else friends outside must have sent them.
He might have bribed the people of the house.
Monsieur does not mean to say that anything is impossible to one
who has gold. Men of this age do anything for gold.
Cazeneau was silent. To him this was so profoundly true that he had
nothing to say. He sat in silence for a little while, and then
I understand that at the time of the arrest of Motier, he was in
the garden of the residence, with the Countess de Laborde, and that you
were with them. How is this? Did this interview take place with your
sanction or connivance?
I knew nothing about it. It was by the merest accident, as far as I
You did not help them in this way?
I did not.
Monsieur L'Abbé, said Cazeneau, I am glad that you have answered
my questions so fully and so frankly. I confess that, in my first
anger, I considered that in some way you had taken part against me. To
think so gave me great pain, as I have had too high an esteem for you
to be willing to think of you as an enemy. But your explanations are in
every way satisfactory. T hope, monsieur, that whatever letters you
receive from France, they will not take you away from this part of the
world. I feel confident that you, with your influence over the Indians
here, will be an invaluable ally to one in my position, in the
endeavors which I shall make to further in these parts the interests of
France and of the church.
CHAPTER XXI. A RAY OF LIGHT.
After leaving Cazeneau, Père Michel went to the prison where Claude
was confined. The young man looked pale and dejected, for the
confinement had told upon his health and spirits; and worse than the
confinement was the utter despair which had settled down upon his soul.
At the sight of the priest, he gave a cry of joy, and hurried forward.
I thought you had forgotten all about me, said Claude, as he
embraced the good priest, while tears of joy started to his eyes.
I have never forgotten you, my son, said the priest, as he
returned his embrace; that is impossible. I have thought of you both
night and day, and have been trying to do something for you.
For me, said Claude, gloomily, nothing can be done. But tell me
about her. How does she bear this?
Badly, said the priest, as you may suppose.
My son, said the priest, I have come to you now on important
business; and, first of all, I wish to speak to you about a subject
that you will consider most important. I mean that secret which you
wish to discover, and which drew you away from your home.
Do you know anything about it?
Much. Remember I was with Laborde in his last hours, and received
his confession. I am, therefore, able to tell you all that you wish to
know; and after that you must decide for yourself another question,
which will grow out of this.
About twenty years ago there was a beautiful heiress, who was
presented at court. Her name was the Countess de Besançon. She was a
Huguenot, and therefore not one whom you would expect to see amid the
vicious circles at Versailles. But her guardians were Catholic, and
hoped that the attractions of the court might weaken her faith. She
became the admired of all, and great was the rivalry for her favor.
Two, in particular, devoted themselves to herthe Count de Montresor
and the Count de Laborde. She preferred the former, and they were
married. After this, the count and countess left the court, and retired
to the Chateau de Montresor.
Laborde and Montresor had always been firm friends until this; but
now Laborde, stung by jealousy and hate, sought to effect the ruin of
Montresor. At first his feeling was only one of jealousy, which was not
unnatural, under the circumstances. Left to himself, I doubt not that
it would have died a natural death; but, unfortunately, Laborde was
under the influence of a crafty adventurer, who now, when Montresor's
friendship was removed, gained an ascendency over him. This man was
this Cazeneau, who has treated you so shamefully.
I will not enlarge upon his character. You yourself know now well
enough what that is. He was a man of low origin, who had grown up amid
the vilest court on the surface of the earth. At that time the Duke of
Orleans and the Abbé Dubois had control of everything, and the whole
court was an infamous scene of corruption. Cazeneau soon found means to
turn the jealousy of Laborde into a deeper hate, and to gain his
co-operation in a scheme which he had formed for his own profit.
Cazeneau's plan was this: The laws against the Huguenots were very
stringent, and were in force, as, indeed, they are yet. The Countess de
Montresor was a Huguenot, and nothing could make her swerve from her
faith. The first blow was levelled at her, for in this way they knew
that they could inflict a deeper wound upon her husband. She was to be
arrested, subjected to the mockery of French justice, and condemned to
the terrible punishment which the laws inflicted upon heretics. Had
Montresor remained at court, he could easily have fought off this pair
of conspirators; but, being away, he knew nothing about it till all was
ready; and then he had nothing to do but to fly, in order to save his
Upon this, fresh charges were made against him, and lettres de
cachet were issued. These would have flung him into the Bastile, to rot
and die forgotten. But Montresor had effectually concealed himself,
together with his wife, and the emissaries of the government were
baffled. It was by that time too late for him to defend himself in any
way; and the end of it was, that he decided to fly from France. He did
so, and succeeded in reaching Quebec in safety. Here he hoped to remain
only for a time, and expected that before long a change in the ministry
might take place, by means of which he might regain his rights.
But Fleury was all-powerful with the king, and Cazeneau managed
somehow to get into Fleury's good graces, so that Montresor had no
chance. The Montresor estates, and all the possessions of his wife,
were confiscated, and Laborde and Cazeneau secured much of them. But
Montresor had other things to trouble him. His wife grew ill, and died
not long after his arrival, leaving an infant son. Montresor now had
nothing which seemed to him worth living for. He therefore left his
child to the care of the faithful Motier, and disappeared, as you have
told me, and has never been heard of since.
Of course Laborde knew nothing of this, and I only add this to the
information which he gave, in order to make it as plain to you as it is
to me. Laborde asserted that after the first blow he recoiled,
conscience-stricken, and refused further to pursue your father, though
Cazeneau was intent upon his complete destruction; and perhaps this is
the reason why Montresor was not molested at Quebec. A better reason,
however, is to be found in the merciful nature of Fleury, whom I
believe at bottom to have been a good man.
After this, years passed. To Laborde they were years of remorse.
Hoping to get rid of his misery, he married. A daughter was born to
him. It was of no use. His wife died. His daughter was sent to a
convent to be educated. He himself was a lonely, aimless man. What was
worse, he was always under the power of Cazeneau, who never would let
go his hold. This Cazeneau squandered the plunder of the Montresors
upon his own vices, and soon became as poor as he was originally. After
this he lived upon Laborde. His knowledge of Laborde's remorse gave him
a power over him which his unhappy victim could not resist. The false
information which Laborde had sworn to against the Count de Montresor
was perjury; and Cazeneau, the very man who had suggested it, was
always ready to threaten to denounce him to Fleury.
So time went on. Laborde grew older, and at last the one desire of
his life was to make amends before he died. At length Fleury died. The
new ministry were different. All of them detested Cazeneau. One of
themMaurepaswas a friend to Laborde. To this Maurepas, Laborde told
his whole story, and Maurepas promised that he would do all in his
power to make amends. The greatest desire of Laborde was to discover
some one of the family. He had heard that the count and countess were
both dead, but that they had left an infant son. It was this that
brought him out here. He hoped to find that son, and perhaps the count
himself, for the proof of his death was not very clear. He did, indeed,
find that son, most wonderfully, too, and without knowing it; for, as
you yourself see, there cannot be a doubt that you are that son.
Now, Laborde kept all this a profound secret from Cazeneau, and
hoped, on leaving France, never to see him again. What, however, was
his amazement, on reaching the ship, to learn that Cazeneau also was
going! He had got the appointment to Louisbourg from Fleury before his
death, and the appointment had been confirmed by the new ministry, for
some reason or other. I believe that they will recall him at once, and
use his absence to effect his ruin. I believe Cazeneau expects this,
and is trying to strengthen his resources by getting control of the
Laborde estates. His object in marrying Mimi is simply this. This was
the chief dread of Laborde in dying, and with his last words he
entreated me to watch over his daughter.
Cazeneau's enmity to you must be accounted for on the ground that
he discovered, somehow, your parentage. Mimi told me afterwards, that
he was near you one day, concealed, while you were telling her. He was
listening, beyond a doubt, and on the first opportunity determined to
put you out of the way. He dreads, above all things, your appearance in
France as the son of the unfortunate Count de Montresor. For now all
those who were once powerful are dead, and the present government would
be very glad to espouse the Montresor cause, and make amends, as far as
possible, for his wrongs. They would like to use you as a means of
dealing a destructive blow against Cazeneau himself. Cazeneau's first
plan was to put you out of the way on some charge of treason; but now,
of course, the charge against you will be attempt at murder.
To all this Claude listened with much less interest than he would
have felt formerly. But the sentence of death seemed impending, and it
is not surprising that the things of this life seemed of small moment.
Well, said he, with a sigh, I'm much obliged to you for telling
me all this; but it makes very little difference to me now.
Wait till you have heard all, said the priest. I have come here
for something more; but it was necessary to tell you all this at the
first. I have now to tell you thatyour position is full of hope; in
fact Here the priest put his head close to Claude's ear, and
whispered, I have come to save you.
What! cried Claude.
The priest placed his hand on Claude's mouth.
No one is listening; but it is best to be on our guard, he
whispered. Yes, I can save you, and will. This very night you shall be
free, on your way to join your friend, the captain. To-day I received a
message from him by an Indian. He had reached Canso. I had warned him
to go there. The Indians went on board, and brought his message. He
will wait there for us.
At this intelligence, which to Claude was unexpected and amazing, he
could not say one word, but sat with clasped hands and a face of
rapture. But suddenly a thought came to his mind, which disturbed his
Mimiwhat of her?
You must go alone, said the priest.
Claude's face grew dark. He shook his head.
Then I will not go at all.
Not go! Who is shedo you know? She is the daughter of Laborde,
the man who ruined your father.
Claude compressed his lips, and looked with fixed determination at
She is not to blame, said he, for her father's faults. She has
never known them, and never shall know them. Besides, for all that he
did, her father suffered, and died while seeking to make atonement. My
father himself, were he alive, would surely forgive that man for all he
did; and I surely will not cherish hate against his memory. So Mimi
shall be mine. She is mine; we have exchanged vows. I will stay here
and die, rather than go and leave her.
Spoken like a young fool, as you are! said the priest. Well, if
you will not go without her, you shall go with her; but go you must,
What? can she go too, after all? O, my best Père Michel, what can I
Say nothing as yet, for there is one condition.
What is that? I will agree to anything. Never mind conditions.
You must be married before you go.
Married! cried Claude, in amazement.
Married! How? Am I not here in a dungeon? How can she and I be
I will tell you how presently. But first, let me tell you why.
First of all, we may all get scattered in the woods. It will be very
desirable that she should have you for her lawful lord and master, so
that you can have a right to stand by her to the last. You can do far
more for her than I can, and I do not wish to have all the
responsibility. This is one reason.
But there is another reason, which, to me, is of greater
importance. It is this, my son: You may be captured. The worst may come
to the worst. You maywhich may Heaven forbidyet you may be put to
death. I do not think so. I hope not. I hope, indeed, that Cazeneau may
eventually fall a prey to his own machinations. But it is necessary to
take this into account. And then, my son, if such a sad fate should
indeed be yours, we must both of us think what will be the fate of
Mimi. If you are not married, her fate will be swift and certain. She
will be forced to marry this infamous miscreant, who does not even
pretend to love her, but merely wants her money. He has already told
her his intentiontelling her that her father left nothing, and that
he wishes to save her from want, whereas her father left a very large
estate. Such will be her fate if she is single. But if she is your
wife, all will be different. As your widow, she will be safe. He would
have to allow her a decent time for mourning; and in any case he would
scarce be able so to defy public opinion as to seek to marry the widow
of the man whom he had killed. Besides, to gain time would be
everything; and before a year would be over, a host of friends would
spring up to save her from him. This, then, is the reason why I think
that you should be married.
I am all amazement, cried Claude, I am bewildered. Married! Such
a thing would be my highest wish. But I don't understand all this. How
is it possible to think of marriage at such a time as this?
Well, I will now explain that, said the priest. The late
commandant is a friend of mine. We were acquainted with each other
years ago in France. As soon as Cazeneau made his appearance here, and
you were arrested, I went to him and told him the whole story of your
parents, as I have just now told you. He had heard something about
their sad fate in former years, and his sympathies were all enlisted.
Besides, he looks upon Cazeneau as a doomed man, the creature of the
late regime, the fallen government. He expects that Cazeneau will be
speedily recalled, disgraced, and punished. He also expects that the
honors of the Count de Montresor will be restored to you. He is
sufficient of an aristocrat to prefer an old and honorable name, like
Montresor, to that of a low and unprincipled adventurer, like Cazeneau,
and does not wish to see the Countess Laborde fall a victim to the
machinations of a worn-out scoundrel. And so the ex-commandant will do
all that he can. Were it not for him, I do not think I could succeed in
freeing both of you, though I still might contrive to free you alone.
O, my dear Père Michel! What can I say? I am dumb!
Say nothing. I must go now.
When will you come?
At midnight. There will be a change of guards then. The new sentry
will be favorable; he will run away with us, so as to save himself from
And when shall we be married?
To-night. You will go from here to the commandant's residence, and
then out. But we must haste, for by daybreak Cazeneau will discover
allperhaps before. We can be sure, however, of three hours. I hope it
will be light. Well, we must trust to Providence. And now, my son,
farewell till midnight.
CHAPTER XXII. ESCAPE.
Claude remained alone once more, with his brain in a whirl from the
tumult of thought which had arisen. This interview with the priest had
been the most eventful hour of his life. He had learned the secret of
his parentage, the wrongs and sufferings of his father and mother, the
villany of Cazeneau, the true reason for the bitter enmity which in him
had triumphed over gratitude, and made him seek so pertinaciously the
life of the man who had once saved his own.
It seemed like a dream. But a short time before, not one ray of hope
appeared to illuminate the midnight gloom which reigned around him and
within him. Now all was dazzling brightness. It seemed too bright; it
was unnatural; it was too much to hope for. That he should escape was
of itself happiness enough; but that he should also join Mimi once
more, and that he should be joined to her, no more to part till death,
was an incredible thing. Mimi herself must also know this, and was even
now waiting for him, as he was waiting for her.
Claude waited in a fever of impatience. The monotonous step of the
sentry sounded out as he paced to and fro. At times Claude thought he
heard the approach of footsteps, and listened eagerly; but over and
over again he was compelled to desist, on finding that his senses
deceived him. Thus the time passed, and as it passed, his impatience
grew the more uncontrollable. Had it been possible, he would have burst
open the door, and ventured forth so as to shorten his suspense.
At length a sound of approaching footsteps did in reality arise.
This time there was no mistake. He heard voices outside, the challenge
and reply of the changing guard. Then footsteps departed, and the tramp
died away, leaving only the pacing of the sentinel for Claude to hear.
What now? Was this the sentinel who was to be his friend? He thought
so. He believed so. The time passedtoo long a time, he thought, for
the sentinel gave no sign: still he kept up his monotonous tramp.
Claude repressed his impatience, and waited till, to his astonishment,
what seemed an immense time had passed away; and the sentinel came not
to his aid.
Still the time passed. Claude did not know what to think. Gradually
a sickening fear arosethe fear that the whole plan had been
discovered, and that the priest had failed. Perhaps the commandant had
played him false, and had pretended to sympathize with him so as to
draw out his purpose, which he would reveal to Cazeneau, in order to
gain his gratitude, and lay him under obligation. The priest, he
thought, was too guileless to deal with men of the world like these. He
had been caught in a trap, and had involved himself with all the rest.
His own fate could be no worse than it was before, but it was doubly
bitter to fall back into his despair, after having been for a brief
interval raised up to so bright a hope.
Such were the thoughts that finally took possession of Claude, and,
with every passing moment, deepened into conviction. Midnight had
passed; the sentry had come, and there he paced mechanically, with no
thought of him. Either the ex-commandant or the sentinel had betrayed
them. Too many had been in the secret. Better never to have heard of
this plan than, having heard of it, to find it thus dashed away on the
very eve of its accomplishment. Time passed, and every moment only
added to Claude's bitterness; time passed, and every moment only served
to show him that all was over. A vague thought came of speaking to the
sentinel; but that was dismissed. Then another thought came, of trying
to tear away the iron grating; but the impossibility of that soon
showed itself. He sank down upon his litter of straw in one corner, and
bade adieu to hope. Then he started up, and paced up and down wildly,
unable to yield so calmly to despair. Then once more he sank down upon
Thus he was lying, crouched down, his head in his hands, overwhelmed
utterly, when suddenly a deep sound came to his ears, which in an
instant made him start to his feet, and drove away every despairing
thought, bringing in place of these a new wave of hope, and joy, and
amazement. It was the single toll of the great bell, which, as he knew,
always sounded at midnight.
Midnight! Was it possible? Midnight had not passed, then. The change
of sentry had been at nine o'clock, which he, deceived by the slow
progress of the hours, had supposed to be midnight. He had been
mistaken. There was yet hope. He rushed to the grating, and listened.
There were footsteps approachingthe tramp of the relieving guard. He
listened till the guard was relieved, and the departing footsteps died
away. Then began the pace of the new sentry.
What now? Was there to be a repetition of his former experience? Was
he again to be dashed down from this fresh hope into a fresh despair?
He nerved himself for this new ordeal, and waited with a painfully
throbbing heart. At the grating he stood, motionless, listening, with
all his soul wrapped and absorbed in his single sense of hearing. There
were an inner grating and an outer one, and between the two a sash with
two panes of glass. He could hear the sentry as he paced up and down;
he could also hear, far away, the long, shrill note of innumerable
frogs; and the one seemed as monotonous, as unchangeable, and as
interminable as the other.
But at length the pacing of the sentry ceased. Claude listened; the
sentinel stopped; there was no longer any sound. Claude listened still.
This was the supreme hour of his fate. On this moment depended all his
future. What did this mean? Would the sentry begin his tramp?
He would; he did. In despair Claude fled from the grating, and fell
back upon the straw. For a time he seemed unconscious of everything;
but at length he was roused by a rattle at the door of his cell. In a
moment he was on his feet, listening. It was the sound of a key as it
slowly turned in the lock. Claude moved not, spoke not; he waited. If
this was his deliverer, all well; if not, he was resolved to have a
struggle for freedom. Then he stole cautiously to the door.
It opened. Claude thrust his hand through, and seized a human arm. A
man's voice whispered back,
H-s-s-t! Suivez moi.
A thrill of rapture unutterable passed through every nerve and fibre
of Claude. At once all the past was forgotten; forgotten, also, were
all the dangers that still lay before him. It was enough that this hope
had not been frustrated, that the sentinel had come to deliver him from
the cell at the midnight hour. The cool breeze of night was wafted in
through the open door, and fanned the fevered brow of the prisoner,
bearing on its wings a soothing influence, a healing balm, and life,
and hope. His presence of mind all came back: he was self-poised,
vigilant, cool: all this in one instant. All his powers would be needed
to carry him through the remainder of the night; and these all were
summoned forth, and came at his bidding. And so Claude followed his
The sentinel led the way, under the shadow of the wall, towards the
Residency. At one end of this was the chapel. Towards this the sentinel
guided Claude, and, on reaching it, opened the door. A hand seized his
arm, a voice whispered in his ear,
Welcome, my son. Here is your bride.
And then a soft hand was placed in his. Claude knew whose hand it
was. He flung his arms around the slender figure of Mimi, and pressed
her to his heart.
Come, said the priest.
He drew them up towards the altar. Others were present. Claude could
not see them; one, however, he could see, was a female, whom he
supposed to be Margot. The moonlight shone in through the great window
over the altar. Here the priest stood, and placed Claude and Mimi
Then he went through the marriage service. It was a strange wedding
there at midnight, in the moonlit chapel, with the forms of the
spectators so faintly discerned, and the ghostly outline of priest,
altar, and window before them as they knelt. But they were married; and
Claude once more, in a rapture of feeling, pressed his wife to his
They now left the chapel by another door in the rear. The priest led
the way, together with the sentinel. Here was the wall. A flight of
steps led to the top. On reaching this they came to a place where there
was a ladder. Down this they all descended in silence, and found
themselves in the ditch. The ladder was once more made use of to climb
out of this, and then Claude saw a figure crouched on the ground and
creeping towards them. It was an Indian, with whom the priest conversed
in his own language for a moment.
All is well, he whispered to Claude. The captain is waiting for
us many miles from this. And now, forward!
The Indian led the way; then went the priest; then Claude with Mimi;
then Margot; last of all came the sentinel, who had deserted his post,
and was now seeking safety in flight under the protection of Père
Michel. Such was the little party of fugitives that now sought to
escape from Louisbourg into the wild forest around. After walking for
about a mile, they reached a place where five horses were bound. Here
they proceeded to mount.
I sent these out after sundown, said the priest to Claude. There
are not many horses in Louisbourg. These will assist us to escape, and
will be lost to those who pursue. Here, my son, arm yourself, so as to
defend your wife, in case of need.
With these words the priest handed Claude a sword, pointing also to
pistols which were in the holster. The Indian alone remained on foot.
He held the bridle of the priest's horse, and led the way, sometimes on
what is called an Indian trot, at other times on a walk. The others
all followed at the same pace.
The road was the same one which had been traversed by Claude and
Mimi when they first came to Louisbourga wide trail, rough, yet
serviceable, over which many pack-horses and droves of cattle had
passed, but one which was not fitted for wheels, and was rather a trail
than a road. On each side the trees arose, which threw a deep shade, so
that, in spite of the moon which shone overhead, it was too dark to go
at any very rapid pace.
We must make all the haste we can, said the priest. In three
hours they will probably discover all. The alarm will be given, and we
shall be pursued. In these three hours, then, we must get so far ahead
that they may not be able to come up with us.
At first the pathway was wide enough for them all to move at a rapid
pace; but soon it began to grow narrower. As they advanced, the trees
grew taller, and the shadows which they threw were darker. The path
became more winding, for, like all trails, it avoided the larger trees
or stones, and wound around them, where a road would have led to their
removal. The path also became rougher, from stones which protruded in
many places, or from long roots stretching across, which in the
darkness made the horses stumble incessantly. These it was impossible
to avoid. In addition to these, there were miry places, where the
horses sank deep, and could only extricate themselves with difficulty.
Thus their progress grew less and less, till at length it dwindled
to a walk, and a slow one at that. Nothing else could be done. They all
saw the impossibility of more rapid progress, in the darkness, over
such a path. Of them all, Claude was the most impatient, as was
natural. His sense of danger was most keen. The terror of the night had
not yet passed away. Already, more than once, he had gone from despair
to hope, and back once more to despair; and it seemed to him as though
his soul must still vibrate between these two extremes. The hope which
was born out of new-found freedom was now rapidly yielding to the fear
of pursuit and re-capture.
In the midst of these thoughts, he came forth suddenly upon a broad,
open plain, filled with stout underbrush. Through this the trail ran.
Reaching this, the whole party urged their horses at full speed, and
for at least three miles they were able to maintain this rapid
progress. At the end of that distance, the trail once more entered the
woods, and the pace dwindled to a walk. But that three-mile run cheered
the spirits of all.
How many miles have we come, I wonder? asked Claude.
About six, said the priest.
How many miles is it to the schooner?
Claude drew a long breath.
It must be nearly three o'clock in the morning now, said he. I
dare say they are finding it out now.
Well, we needn't stop to listen, said the priest.
No; we'll hear them soon enough.
At any rate, the dawn is coming, said the priest. The day will
soon be here, and then we can go on as fast as we wish.
CHAPTER XXIII. PURSUIT.
As they hurried on, it grew gradually lighter, so that they were
able to advance more rapidly. The path remained about the same, winding
as before, and with the same alternations of roots, stones, and swamp;
but the daylight made all the difference in the world, and they were
now able to urge their horses at the top of their speed. The Indian who
was at their head was able to keep there without much apparent effort,
never holding back or falling behind, though if the ground had been
smoother he could scarcely have done so. With every step the dawn
advanced, until at last the sun rose, and all the forest grew bright in
the beams of day. A feeling of hope and joy succeeded to the late
despondency which had been creeping over them; but this only stimulated
them to redoubled exertions, so that they might not, after all, find
themselves at last cheated out of these bright hopes.
That they were now pursued they all felt confident. At three o'clock
the absence of the sentry must have been discovered, and, of course,
the flight of Claude. Thereupon the alarm would at once be given.
Cazeneau would probably be aroused, and would proceed to take action
immediately. Even under what might be the most favorable circumstances
to them, it was not likely that there would be a delay of more than an
Besides, the pursuer had an advantage over them. They had a start of
three hours; but those three hours were spent in darkness, when they
were able to go over but little ground. All that they had toiled so
long in order to traverse, their pursuers could pass over in one
quarter the time, and one quarter the labor. They were virtually not
more than one hour in advance of the enemy, who would have fresher
horses, with which to lessen even this small advantage. And by the most
favorable calculation, there remained yet before them at least thirty
miles, over a rough and toilsome country. Could they hope to escape?
Such were the thoughts that came to Claude's mind, and such the
question that came to him. That question he did not care to discuss
with himself. He could only resolve to keep up the flight till the last
moment, and then resist to the bitter end.
But now there arose a new danger, which brought fresh difficulties
with it, and filled Claude with new despondency. This danger arose from
a quarter in which he was most assailable to fear and anxietyfrom
He had never ceased, since they first left, to watch over his bride
with the most anxious solicitude, sometimes riding by her side and
holding her hand, when the path admitted it, at other times riding
behind her, so as to keep her in view, and all the time never ceasing
to address to her words of comfort and good cheer. To all his questions
Mimi had never failed to respond in a voice which was full of
cheerfulness and sprightliness, and no misgivings on her account
entered his mind until the light grew bright enough for him to see her
face. Then he was struck by her appearance. She seemed so feeble, so
worn, so fatigued, that a great fear came over him.
O, Mimi, darling! he cried, this is too much for you.
O, no, she replied, in the same tone; I can keep up as long as
you wish me to.
But you look so completely worn out!
O, that's because I've been fretting about youyou bad boy; it's
not this ride at all.
Are you sure that you can keep up?
Why, of course I am; and I must, for there's nothing else to be
O, Mimi, I'm afraidI'm very much afraid that you will break
At this Mimi gave a little laugh, but said nothing, and Claude found
himself compelled to trust to hope. Thus they went on for some time
But at length Claude was no longer able to conceal the truth from
himself, nor was Mimi able any longer to maintain her loving deception.
She was exceedingly weak; she was utterly worn out; and in pain Claude
saw her form sway to and fro and tremble. He asked her imploringly to
stop and rest. But at the sound of his voice, Mimi roused herself once
more, by a great effort.
O, no, she said, with a strong attempt to speak unconcernedly; O,
no. I acknowledge I am a little tired; and if we come to any place
where we may rest, I think I shall do so; but not here, not here; let
us go farther.
Claude drew a long breath. Deep anxiety overwhelmed him. Mimi was,
in truth, right. How could they dare to pause just here? The pursuer
was on their track! No; they must keep on; and if Mimi did sink, what
then? But he would not think of it; he would hope that Mimi would be
able, after all, to hold out.
But at length what Claude had feared came to pass. He had been
riding behind Mimi for some time, so as to watch her better, when
suddenly he saw her slender frame reel to one side. A low cry came from
her. In an instant Claude was at her side, and caught her in his arms
in time to save her from a fall.
Mimi had not fainted, but was simply prostrated from sheer fatigue.
No strength was left, and it was impossible for her to sit up any
longer. She had struggled to bear up as long as possible, and finally
had given way altogether.
I cannot help it, she murmured.
O, my darling! cried Claude, in a voice of anguish.
Forgive me, dear Claude. I cannot help it!
O, don't talk so, said Claude. I ought to have seen your weakness
before, and given you assistance. But come now; I will hold you in my
arms, and we will still be able to go on.
I wish you would leave me; only leave me, and then you can be
saved. There is no danger for me; but if you are captured, your life
will be taken. O, Claude, dearest Claude, leave me and fly.
You distress me, Mimi, darling, by all this. I cannot leave you; I
would rather die than do so. And so, if you love me, don't talk so.
At this, with a little sob, Mimi relapsed into silence.
Courage, darling, said Claude, in soothing tones. Who knows but
that they are still in Louisbourg, and have not yet left? We may get
away, after all; or we may find some place of hiding.
The additional burden which he had been forced to assume
overweighted very seriously Claude's horse, and signs of this began to
appear before long. No sooner, however, had Claude perceived that it
was difficult to keep with the rest of the party, than he concluded to
shift himself, with Mimi, to the horse which Mimi had left. This was
one of the best and freshest of the whole party, and but a slight delay
was occasioned by the change.
After this they kept up a good rate of speed for more than two
hours, when Claude once more changed to another horse. This time it was
to Margot's horse, which had done less thus far than any of the others.
Margot then took the horse which Claude had at first, and thus they
went on. It was a good contrivance, for thus by changing about from one
to another, and by allowing one horse to be led, the endurance of the
whole was maintained longer than would otherwise have been possible.
But at length the long and fatiguing journey began to tell most
seriously on all the horses, and all began to see that further progress
would not be much longer possible. For many hours they had kept on
their path; and, though the distance which they had gone was not more
than twenty-five miles, yet, so rough had been the road that the labor
had been excessive, and all the horses needed rest. By this time it was
midday, and they all found themselves face to face with a question of
fearful import, which none of them knew how to answer. The question
was, what to do. Could they stop? Dare they? Yet they must. For the
present they continued on a little longer.
They now came to another open space, overgrown with shrubbery,
similar to that which they had traversed in the night. It was about two
miles in extent, and at the other end arose a bare, rocky hill, beyond
which was the forest.
We must halt at the top of that hill, said Claude. It's the best
place. We can guard against a surprise, at any rate. Some of the horses
will drop if we go on much farther.
I suppose we'll have to, said the priest.
We must rest for half an hour, at least, said Claude. If they
come up, we'll have to scatter, and take to the woods.
With these words they rode on, and at length reached the hill. The
path wound up it, and in due time they reached the top.
But scarcely had they done so, than a loud cry sounded out, which
thrilled through all hearts. Immediately after, a figure came bounding
Hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! shouted the new comer.
Heavens! Zac! cried Claude; you here?
Nobody else, replied Zac, wringing his hand. But what are you
going to do?
Our horses are blown; we are pursued, but have to halt for a half
hour or so. If they come up, we'll have to scatter, and take to the
woods, and start the horses ahead on the path. This is a good lookout
With these words Claude began to dismount, bearing his beloved
burden. The priest assisted him. Zac, after his first hurried greeting,
had moved towards Margot, around whom he threw his arms, with an
energetic clasp, and lifted her from the saddle to the ground. Then he
shook hands with her.
I'm ver mooch glad to see you, said Margot. Ees your sheep far
So, they're after youair they? said he. Wal, little one, when
they come, you stick to memind that; an' I engage to get you off
free. Stick to me, though. Be handy, an' I'll take you clar of them.
Claude was now engaged in finding a comfortable place upon which
Mimi might recline. The Indian stood as lookout; the deserter busied
himself with the horses; the priest stood near, watching Claude and
Mimi, while Zac devoted himself to Margot. In the midst of this, the
Indian came and said something to the priest. Claude noticed this, and
What is it? he asked.
He hears them, said the priest, significantly.
So soon! exclaimed Claude. Then we must scatter. The horses will
be of no use. Our last chance is the woods.
In a moment the alarm was made; hasty directions were given for each
one to take care of himself, and if he eluded the pursuers, to follow
the path to the place where the schooner lay. Meanwhile the horses were
to be driven ahead by the Indian as far as possible. The Indian at once
went off, together with the deserter, and these two drove the horses
before them into the woods, along the path. Then Zac followed. Lifting
Margot in his arms, he bore her lightly along, and soon disappeared in
Then Claude took Mimi in his arms, and hastened as fast as he could
towards the shelter of the woods. But Claude had not Zac's strength,
and besides, Mimi was more of a dead weight than Margot, so that he
could not go nearly so fast. Zac was in the woods, and out of sight,
long before Claude had reached the place; and by that time the rest of
the party, both horses and men, had all disappeared, with the exception
of Père Michel. The good priest kept close by the young man, as though
resolved to share his fate, whether in life or death. If it was
difficult while carrying Mimi over the path, Claude found it far more
so on reaching the woods. Here he dared not keep to the path, for the
very object of going to the woods was to elude observation by plunging
into its darkest and deepest recesses. Zac had gone there at a headlong
rate, like a fox to his covert. Such a speed Claude could not rival,
and no sooner did he take one step in the woods, than he perceived the
full difficulty of his task. The woods were of the wildest kind, filled
with rocks and fallen trees, the surface of the ground being most
irregular. At every other step it was necessary to clamber over some
obstacle, or crawl under it.
We cannot hope to go far, said the priest. Our only course now
will be to find some convenient hiding-place. Perhaps they will pass on
ahead, and then we can go farther on.
At this very moment the noise of horses and men sounded close
behind. One hurried look showed them all. Their pursuers had reached
their late halting-place, and were hurrying forward. The place bore
traces of their halt, which did not escape the keen eyes of their
enemies. At the sight, Claude threw himself down in a hollow behind a
tree, with Mimi beside him, while the priest did the same.
The suspicions of the pursuers seemed to have been awakened by the
signs which they had seen at the last halting-place. They rode on more
slowly. At length they divided, half of them riding rapidly ahead, and
the other half moving forward at a walk, and scanning every foot of
ground in the open and in the woods.
At last a cry escaped one of them. Claude heard it. The next moment
he heard footsteps. The enemy were upon him; their cries rang in his
ears. In all the fury of despair, he started to his feet with only one
thought, and that was, to sell his life as dearly as possible. But Mimi
flung herself in his arms, and the priest held his hands.
Yield, said the priest. You can do nothing. There is yet hope.
The next moment Claude was disarmed, and in the hands of his
CHAPTER XXIV. ZAC AND MARGOT.
Seizing Margot in his arms at the first alarm, Zac had fled to the
woods. Being stronger than Claude, he was fortunate in having a less
unwieldy burden; for Margot did not lie like a heavyweight in his arms,
but was able to dispose herself in a way which rendered her more easy
to be carried. On reaching the woods, Zac did not at once plunge in
among the trees, but continued along the trail for some distance,
asking Margot to tell him the moment she saw one of the pursuing party.
As Margot's face was turned back, she was in a position to watch. It
was Zac's intention to find some better place for flight than the stony
and swampy ground at the outer edge of the forest; and as he hurried
along, he watched narrowly for a good opportunity to leave the path. At
length he reached a place where the ground descended on the other side
of the hill, and here he came to some pine trees. There was but little
underbrush, the surface of the ground was comparatively smooth, and
good progress could be made here without much difficulty. Here, then,
Zac turned in. As he hurried onward, he found the pine forest
continuing along the whole slope, and but few obstacles in his way.
Occasionally a fallen tree lay before him, and this he could easily
avoid. Hurrying on, then, under these favorable circumstances, Zac was
soon lost in the vast forest, and out of sight as well as out of
hearing of all his purposes. Here he might have rested; but still he
kept on. He was not one to do things by halves, and chose rather to
make assurance doubly sure; and although even Margot begged him to put
her down, yet he would not.
Wal, said he, at last, 'tain't often I have you; an' now I got
you, I ain't goin' to let you go for a good bit yet. Besides, you can't
ever tell when you're safe. Nothin' like makin' things sure, I say.
With these words Zac kept on his way, though at a slower pace. It
was not necessary for him to fly so rapidly, nor was he quite so fresh
as when he started. Margot also noticed this, and began to insist so
vehemently on getting down, that he was compelled to grant her request.
He still held her hand, however, and thus the two went on for some
At last they reached a point where there was an abrupt and almost
precipitous descent. From this crest of the precipice the eye could
wander over a boundless prospect of green forest, terminated in the
distance by wooded hills.
Wal, said Zac, I think we may as well rest ourselves here.
Dat is ver nice, said Margot.
Zac now arranged a seat for her by gathering some moss at the foot
of a tree. She seated herself here, and Zac placed himself by her side.
He then opened a bag which he carried slung about his shoulders, and
brought forth some biscuit and ham, which proved a most grateful repast
to his companion.
Do you tink dey chase us here? asked Margot.
Wal, we're safer here, ef they do, said Zac. We can't be taken by
surprise in the rear, for they can't climb up very easy without our
seein' 'em; an' as for a front attack, why, I'll keep my eye open: an'
I'd like to see the Injin or the Moosoo that can come unawars on me. I
don't mind two or three of 'em, any way, continued Zac, for I've got
a couple of bulldogs.
Boul-dogs? said Margot, inquiringly.
Yes, these here, said Zac, opening his frock, and displaying a
belt around his waist, which held a brace of pistols. But I don't
expect I'll have to use 'em, except when I heave in sight of the
skewner, an' want to hail 'em.
But we are loss, said Margot, in dis great woos. How sall we ever
get any whar out of him?
O, that's easy enough, said Zac. I know all about the woods, and
can find my way anywhars. My idee is, to go back towards the trail,
strike into it, an' move along slowly an' cautiously, till we git nigh
the place whar I left the skewner.
Zac waited in this place till towards evening, and then started once
more. He began to retrace his steps in a direction which he judged
would ultimately strike the trail, along which he had resolved to go.
He had weighed the chances, and concluded that this would be his best
course. He would have the night to do it in; and if he should come
unawares upon any of his enemies, he thought it would be easy to dash
into the woods, and escape under the cover of the darkness. Vigilance
only was necessary, together with coolness and nerve, and all these
qualities he believed himself to have.
The knowledge of the woods which Zac claimed stood him in good stead
on the present occasion; he was able to guide his course in a very
satisfactory manner; and about sundown, or a little after, he struck
the trail. Here he waited for a short time, watching and listening; and
then, having heard nothing whatever that indicated danger, he went
boldly forward, with Margot close behind. As they advanced, it grew
gradually darker, and at length the night came down. Overhead the moon
shone, disclosing a strip of sky where the trees opened above the path.
For hours they walked along. No enemy appeared; and at length Zac
concluded that they had all dispersed through the woods, at the point
where they had first come upon them, and had not followed the path any
farther. What had become of Claude he could not imagine, but could only
hope for the best.
They rested for about an hour at midnight. Then Zac carried Margot
for another hour. After this, Margot insisted on walking. At length,
after having thus passed the whole night, the path came to a creek.
Here Zac paused.
Now, little gal, said he, you may go to sleep till mornin', for I
think we've got pooty nigh onto the end of our tramp.
With these words Zac led the way a little distance from the path,
and here Margot flung herself upon a grassy knoll, and fell sound
asleep, while Zac, at a little distance off, held watch and guard over
Several hours passed, and Zac watched patiently. He had not the
heart to rouse her, unless compelled by absolute necessity. In this
case, however, no necessity arose, and he left her to wake herself.
When at length Margot awoke, the sun was high in the heavens, and Zac
only smiled pleasantly when she reproached him for not waking her
O, no harm; no 'casion has riz, an' so you were better havin' your
nap. You'll be all the abler to do what you may hev yet before you. An'
now, little un, if you're agreed, we'll hev a bite o' breakfast.
A short breakfast, composed of hard biscuit and ham, washed down
with cool water from a neighboring brook, served to fortify both for
the duties that lay before them; and after this Zac proposed an
He led the way along the bank of the creek, and Margot followed.
They walked here for about two miles, until at length they came in
sight of a small harbor, into which the creek ran. In the distance was
the sea; nearer was a headland.
This here's the place, the i-dentical place, said Zac, in joyous
tones. I knowed it; I was sure of it. Come along, little un. We ain't
got much further to goonly to that thar headland; and then, ef I
ain't mistook, we'll find the end to our tramp.
With these cheering words he led the way along the shore, until at
last they reached the headland. It was rocky and bare of trees. Up this
Zac ran, followed by Margot, and soon reached the top.
All right! he cried. See thar! and he pointed out to the sea.
Margot had Already seen it: it was the schooner, lying there at
Eet ees de sheep, said Margot, joyously; but how sall we geet to
O, they're on the lookout, said Zac. I'll give signals.
The schooner was not more than a quarter of a mile off. Zac and
Margot were on the bare headland, and could easily be seen. On board
the schooner figures were moving up and down. Zac looked for a few
moments, as if to see whether it was all right, and then gave a
peculiar cry, something like the cawing of a crow, which he repeated
three times. The sound was evidently heard, for at once there was a
movement on board. Zac waved his hat. Then the movement stopped, and a
boat shot out from the schooner, with a man in it, who rowed towards
the headland. He soon came near enough to be recognized. It was Terry.
Zac and Margot hurried to the shore to meet it, and in a short time
both were on board the Parson.
Great was the joy that was evinced by Terry at the return of his
captain. He had a host of questions to ask about his adventures, and
reproached Zac over and over for not allowing him to go also. Jericho
showed equal feeling, but in a more emphatic form, since it was evinced
in the shape of a substantial meal, which was most welcome to Zac, and
to Margot also. As for Biler, he said not a word, but stood with his
melancholy face turned towards his master, and his jaws moving as
though engaged in devouring something.
Sure, an' it's glad I am, said Terry, for it's not comfortable
I've beenso it ain't. I don't like bein' shut up here, at all, at
all. So we'll just up sail, captain dear, an' be off out of this.
O, no, said Zac; we've got to wait for the others.
Waitis it? said Terry.
Sure, thin, an' there's a sail out beyant. Ye can't see it now, but
ye'll see it soon, for it's been batin' up to the land all the
A sail! exclaimed Zac.
Yis; an' it's a Frinchmanso it is; an' big enough for a dozen of
the likes of us.
Further inquiry elicited the startling information that early in the
morning Terry had seen, far away in the horizon, a large ship, which
had passed backward and forward while beating up towards the land
against a head wind, and was just now concealed behind a promontory on
the south. At this Zac felt that his situation was a serious one, and
he had to decide what to do. To hoist sail and venture forth to sea
would be to discover himself, and lay himself open to certain capture;
while to remain where he was gave him the chance of being overlooked.
So he decided to remain, and trust to luck. Once, indeed, he thought of
going ashore once more, but this thought was at once dismissed. On
shore he would be lost. The woods were full of his enemies, and he
could hardly hope to reach any English settlement. To himself alone the
chance was but slight, while for Margot it was impossible. To leave her
now was not to be thought of, and besides, the schooner was the only
hope for Claude, who might still be in the neighborhood. The
consequence was, that Zac decided to do nothing but remain here and
meet his fate, whatever that might be.
Scarcely had he come to this decision, when a sight met his eyes out
beyond the southern promontory, where his gaze had been turned. There,
moving majestically along the sea, he saw a large frigate. It was not
more than a mile away. For about a quarter of an hour the ship sailed
along, and Zac was just beginning to hope that he had not been seen,
when suddenly she came to, and a boat was lowered.
She sees us! said Terry.
Zac made no reply.
Yes; there was no doubt of it. They had been seen. Those on board
the ship had been keeping a sharp lookout, and had detected the outline
of the schooner sharply defined against the light limestone rock of the
headland near which she lay. To escape was not to be thought of. The
boat was coming towards them, filled with armed men. Zac stood quite
overwhelmed with dejection; and thus he stood as the Parson was boarded
and seized by the lieutenant of his French majesty's Vengeur, who took
possession of her in the name of his king.
No sooner had Zac found himself in the power of the enemy, than a
remarkable change took place in the respective positions of himself and
Margot with regard to one another. Thus far he had been her protector;
but now she became his. The first words that she spoke to the
lieutenant served to conciliate his favor, and secure very respectful
treatment for Zac, and seemed to convey such important intelligence
that he concluded at once to transfer Margot to the Vengeur, where she
could tell her story to the captain.
Adieu, said she. We sall soon see again. Do not fear. I make zem
let you go.
Wal, little un, I'll try an' hope. But, mind, unless I get you, I
don't much mind what becomes o' me.
Margot, on being taken on board the Vengeur, was at once examined by
the captainthe Vicomte de Brissac, who found her statement most
important. She contented herself with telling everything that was
essential, and did not think it at all necessary for her to state that
Zac had already been in the hands of French captors, and had effected
an escape. She announced herself as the maid of the Countess Laborde,
who had accompanied her father in the ship Arethuse. She narrated the
shipwreck, and the rescue by Zac and the young Count de Montresor, the
encounter with the Aigle, and the subsequent arrest of Claude. She
mentioned the death of Laborde, and the journey to Louisbourg by land,
with the escape and pursuit of Claude, the fight with Cazeneau, and his
subsequent arrival. She then described their escape, their pursuit and
separation, down to the time of speaking. She affirmed that Zac had
come here from Minas Basin to save his friend, and was awaiting his
arrival when the Vengeur appeared.
The captain listened with the most anxious attention to every word;
questioned her most minutely about the reasons why Cazeneau had
arrested Claude, and also about his designs on Louisbourg. Margot
answered everything most frankly, and was able to tell him the truth,
inasmuch as she had enjoyed very much of the confidence of Mimi, and
had learned from her about Cazeneau's plans. Captain de Brissac showed
no emotion of any kind, whether of sympathy or indignation; but Margot
formed a very favorable estimate of his character from his face, and
could not help believing that she had won him over as an ally. She
could see that her story had produced a most profound impression.
Captain de Brissac was anxious to know what had been the fate of the
other fugitives, especially of Claude and Mimi; but of this Margot
could, of course, give no information. When she had last seen them they
were flying to the woods, and she could only hope that they had been
sufficiently fortunate to get under cover before the arrival of the
Captain de Brissac then sent a crew aboard the Parson, and ordered
them to follow the Vengeur to Louisbourg. Upon this new crew Terry
looked with careful scrutiny.
Whisper, captain dear, said he, as he drew up to the meditative
Zac. Here's another lot o' Frinchmen. Is it afther thrying agin that
ye are, to give 'em the slip?
Zac drew a long breath, and looked with a melancholy face at the
Vengeur, which was shaking out her sails, and heading east for
Louisbourg. On the stern he could see a female figure. He could not
recognize the face, but he felt sure that it was Margot.
Wal, said he, I guess we'd better wait a while fust, and see how
things turn out. The little un's oncommon spry, an' may give us a lift
CHAPTER XXV. THE COURT MARTIAL.
Claude was treated roughly, bound, and sent forward on foot; but the
representations of Père Michel secured better treatment for Mimi. A
litter was made for her, and on this she was carried. As for Père
Michel himself, he, too, was conducted back as a prisoner; but the
respect of the commander of the soldiers for the venerable priest
caused him to leave his hands unbound. After a weary tramp they reached
Louisbourg. Cazeneau was at the gate, and greeted them with a sinister
smile. Mimi, utterly worn out, both by fatigue and grief, took no
notice of him, nor did she hear what he said.
Take the Countess de Laborde to the Residency.
Pardon, said the priest; that lady is now the Countess de
At this Cazeneau turned upon him in fury.
Traitor! he hissed; what do you mean?
I mean that I married her to the Count de Montresor last night.
It's a lie! It's a lie!
There are witnesses, said Père Michel, who can prove it.
It's a lie, said Cazeneau; but even if it is true, it won't help
her. She'll be a widow before two days. And as for you, you villain and
traitor, you shall bitterly repent your part in last night's work.
Père Michel shrugged his shoulders, and turned away. This act seemed
to madden Cazeneau still more.
Why did you not bind this fellow? he cried, turning to the
commander of the detachment.
Your excellency, I had his parole.
A curse on his parole! Take him to the prison with Motier, and bind
him like the other.
Upon this, Mimi was taken to the Residency, and Claude and Père
Michel were conducted to prison, where both of them were confined.
Cazeneau himself then returned to the Residency. The ex-commandant,
Florian, was at the door. He saw the whole proceeding, but showed no
Cazeneau regarded him coldly, and Florian returned his gaze with
Your plans have not succeeded very well, you see, monsieur, said
It is not time enough yet to decide, said Florian.
To-morrow will decide.
I think not. You will find, Monsieur le Commandant, that there is
public opinion, even in Louisbourg, which cannot be despised.
Public opinion which favors traitors may safely be despised.
True, said Florian; and with these words the two parted.
The following day came. A court martial had been called to sit at
two in the afternoon. At that hour the session was opened by Cazeneau.
The chief officers of the garrison were present. With them came
I am sorry, monsieur, said Cazeneau, that I cannot invite you to
a seat in this court.
By virtue of my military rank, said Florian, I claim a seat here,
if not as judge, at least as spectator. I have come to see that the
Count de Montresor has justice.
There is no such person. We are to try one Motier.
It can be proved, said Florian, that he is the Count de
Montresor. You yourself arrested him first as such.
I was mistaken, said Cazeneau.
As a peer of France, he can appeal to the king; and this court has
no final jurisdiction. I call all present to witness this. If my
warning is neglected here, it will be felt in a higher quarter.
Recollect, monsieur, that I shall soon be able to report to his majesty
himself. I flatter myself that my influence at court just now is not
inferior to that of the Count de Cazeneau.
Perhaps, monsieur, said Cazeneau, with a sneer, you would wish to
be commandant a little longer.
All present, said Florian, have heard my words. Let them remember
that the prisoner is undoubtedly the Count de Montresor, a peer of
France. Witnesses can be produced; among others, the Countess de
There is no such person, said Cazeneau, angrily. That lady is the
Countess de Laborde.
She was married two nights since. All present may take warning by
what I have announced. I will say no more.
The words of Florian had made a profound impression. It was no light
thing for a colonial court martial to deal with a peer of France.
Besides, Florian himself would soon be at court, and could tell his own
story. Cazeneau saw that a limit would be placed to his power if he did
not manage carefully. He decided to act less harshly, and with more
cunning. He therefore assumed a milder tone, assured the court that
Florian was mistaken, disclaimed any personal feeling, and finally
invited Florian to sit among the judges. Upon this Florian took his
seat. The prisoner was now brought forward, and the witnesses prepared.
The charges were then read. These were to the effect that he had
been captured while coming to Louisbourg under a suspicious character,
calling himself Motier, but pretending to be the son of the outlawed De
Montresor; that afterwards he had escaped from confinement, and
followed Cazeneau, upon whom he had made a murderous attack.
Claude was then questioned. He told his story fully and frankly as
has already been stated. After a severe questioning, he was allowed to
sit down, and Père Michel was then summoned.
Père Michel was first asked what he knew about the prisoner. The
priest answered, simply,
What do you mean? Go on and tell what you know about him.
Père Michel hesitated for a moment, and then, looking at Claude,
with a face expressive of the deepest emotion, he said in a low
He is my son.
At this declaration amazement filled all present. Claude was
affected most of all. He started to his feet, and stood gazing at Père
Michel with wonder and incredulity.
[Illustration: Claude In His Father's Arms.]
I don't understand, said Cazeneau; at any rate, this shows that
he is a low-born adventurer.
At this Père Michel turned to Cazeneau, and said,
He is my son, yet neither low-born nor an adventurer. Do you not
knowyouwho I am? Often have we seen one another face to face within
the last few weeks; and yet you have not recognized me! What! have I so
changed that not a trace of my former self is visible? Yet what I was
once you see now in my son, whom you best know to be what he claims.
Yes, gentlemen, I am Eugene, Count de Montresor, and this is my son
Claude.Come, Claude, he continued, come, my son, to him who has so
often yearned to take you to a father's embrace. I hoped to defer this
declaration until my name should be freed from dishonor; but in such an
hour as this I can keep silent no longer. Yet you know, my son, that
the dishonor is not real, and that in the eyes of Heaven your father's
name is pure and unsullied.
As he said these words, he moved towards Claude. The young man
stood, as pale as death, and trembling from head to foot with excessive
agitation. He flung himself, with a low cry, into his father's arms,
and leaned his head upon his breast, and wept. The whole court was
overcome by this spectacle. There seemed something sacred in this
strange meeting of those so near, who for a lifetime had been
separated, and had at length been brought together so wonderfully. The
silence was oppressive to Cazeneau, who now felt as though all his
power was slipping away. It was broken at last by his harsh voice.
It's false, he said. The Count de Montresor has been dead for
years. It is a piece of acting that may do for the Théâtre Français,
but is absurd to sensible men. Gentlemen, these two concocted this
whole plan last night when together in their cell. I once knew old
Montresor well, and this priest has not a feature in common with him.
The Count de Montresor turned from his son, and faced the court.
Cazeneau, said he, with scornful emphasis, now commandant of
Louisbourg, once equerry to the Count de Laborde, you never knew me but
at a distance, and as your superior. But Florian, here, remembers me,
and can testify to my truth. To this court I have only to say that I
fled to this country from the result of a plot contrived by this
villain; that on the death of my beloved wife I committed my infant son
to the care of my faithful valet,Motier,and became a missionary
priest. For twenty years, nearly, I have labored here among the
Acadians and Indians. This year I went to New England in search of
Motier. I had already been carrying on correspondence with friends in
France, who held out hopes that my wrongs would be righted, and my name
saved from dishonor. I did not wish to make myself known to my son till
I could give him an unsullied name. I found Motier dead, and learned
that my son was going to Louisbourg, en route, to France. I
asked for a passage, and was thus able to be near my son, and study his
character. It was I who saved him from prison at Grand Pré; it was I
who heard the last words of my former enemy, Laborde; it was I who
saved my son, two nights since, from prison. He is guilty of nothing.
If any one is guilty, that one am I alone. I ask, then, that I be
considered as a prisoner, and that this innocent young man be set free.
But as a peer of France, I claim to be sent to France, where I can be
tried by my peers, since this court is one that can have no
jurisdiction over one of my rank.
Here the Count de Montresor ceased, and turning to his son, stood
conversing with him in a low whisper.
Every word is true, said Florian. I assert that Père Michel is
the Count de Montresor. I had noticed the likeness formerly; but, as I
believed the count to be dead, I thought it only accidental, until a
few days ago, when he revealed the truth to me. I recognized him by
facts and statements which he made. He has changed greatly since the
old days, yet not beyond recognition by a friend. This being the case,
then, we have nothing to do, except to send him to France by the next
ship. As to the young count, his son, I cannot see that we have any
charge against him whatever.
All present, with one exception, had been profoundly moved by the
meeting between father and son, nor had they been much less deeply
moved by the words of the old count, which, though somewhat incoherent,
had been spoken with impressiveness and dignity. The announcement of
his lofty rank; the remembrance of his misfortunes, of which most
present had heard, and which were universally believed to be unmerited;
the assertion that Cazeneau had been the arch villain and plotter,all
combined to increase the common feeling of sympathy for the two before
them. This feeling was deepened by Florian's words. His influence, but
recently so strong, had not yet passed away. The new commandant, even
under ordinary circumstances, would have been unpopular; but on the
present occasion he was detested. The feeling, therefore, was general
that nothing ought to be done; and Cazeneau, his heart full of
vengeance, found himself well nigh powerless. But he was not a man who
could readily give up the purpose of his heart; and therefore he
quickly seized the only resource left him.
Gentlemen, said he, we must not allow ourselves to be influenced
by purely sentimental considerations. I believe that this priest speaks
falsely, and that he has imposed upon the sympathies of M. de Florian.
Besides, he is an outlaw and a criminal in the eyes of French justice.
As to the young man, whom he calls his son, there is the charge of a
murderous assault upon me, the commandant of Louisbourg. This must be
investigated. But in the present state of mind of those present, I
despair of conducting any important trial, and I therefore declare this
court adjourned until further notice. Guards, remove these two
prisoners, and this time place them in separate cells, where they can
no longer have communication with each other.
To this no one raised any objection. As commandant, Cazeneau had the
right to adjourn; and, of course, until some actual decision had been
reached, he could dispose of them as he saw fit. They could only bring
a moral pressure to bear, at least for the present. Father and son were
therefore taken back to their prison, and Cazeneau quitted the court,
to take counsel with himself as to his future course. He hoped yet to
have the game in his own hands. He saw that until Florian was gone it
would be difficult, but after that he might manage to control the
opinions of the majority of the officers. Florian, however, could not
go until the next ship should arrive, and he now awaited its coming
with curiosity and eagerness.
He did not have to wait very long.
The court broke up, and the officers talked over the matter among
themselves. Florian was now quite communicative, and told them all
about the early career of Montresor, and his misfortunes. Cazeneau was
the evil cause of all; and Florian was bitter and unsparing in his
denunciations of this man's villany. He took care to remind them that
Mimi, though the wife of Claude, was still held by him under the
pretence that she was his ward, and that Cazeneau, being the creature
of the defunct ministry of the late Fleury, could not be kept long in
his present office by the hostile ministry which had succeeded. He also
assured them that the Montresors had friends among those now in power,
and that the old count was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next
ship, in the confident hope that justice would at last be done to him.
By these words, and by this information about things unknown to
Cazeneau, Florian deepened the impression which had been made by the
events of the trial. All were desirous that the Montresors should at
last escape from the machinations of Cazeneau. All looked for the
speedy recall and disgrace of Cazeneau himself, and therefore no one
was inclined to sacrifice his feelings or convictions for the purpose
of gaining favor with one whose stay was to be merely temporary.
While they were yet gathered together discussing these things, they
were disturbed by the report of a gun. Another followed, and yet
another. All of them hurried to the signal station, from which a view
of the harbor was commanded.
There a noble sight appeared before their eyes. With all sail set, a
frigate came into the harbor, and then, rounding to, swept grandly up
towards the town. Gun after gun sounded, as the salute was given and
returned. After her came a schooner.
It's the Vengeur, said Florian. I wonder whether Montresor will
get his despatches. Gentlemen, I must go aboard.
With these words Florian hurried away from the citadel to the shore.
CHAPTER XXVI. NEWS FROM HOME.
Cazeneau had heard the guns, and had learned that the long-expected
frigate had arrived, together with a schooner that looked like a prize.
To him the matter afforded much gratification, since it offered a quick
and easy way of getting rid of Florian, and of making the way easier
towards the accomplishment of his own purposes. He did not know that
Florian had hurried aboard, nor, had he known, would he have cared. For
his own part he remained where he was, awaiting the visit which the
captain of the Vengeur would make, to report his arrival. After more
than two hours of waiting, it began to strike him that the said captain
was somewhat dilatory, and he began to meditate a reprimand for such a
neglect of his dignity.
All this time had been spent by Florian on board, where he had much
to say to De Brisset, and much to ask of him and also of Margot.
At length a boat came ashore. In the boat were Florian, De Brisset,
and Margot. On landing, these three went up to the citadel; and on
their way De Brisset was stopped by several of the officers, who were
old acquaintances, and were anxious to learn the latest news. Florian
also had much to tell them which he had just learned. While they were
talking, Margot hurried to the Residency, where she found Mimi, to whom
she gave information of a startling kind; so startling, indeed, was it,
that it acted like a powerful remedy, and roused Mimi from a deep
stupor of inconsolable grief up to life, and hope, and joy, and
The information which De Brisset gave the officers was of the same
startling kind, and Florian was able to corroborate it by a despatch
which he had received. The despatch was to the effect that hethe
Count de Florianwas hereby reinstated in his office as commandant of
Louisbourg, and conveyed to him the flattering intelligence that his
former administration was favorably regarded by the government, who
would reward him with some higher command. With this despatch there
came also to Florian, as commandant, a warrant to arrest Cazeneau, the
late commandant, on certain charges of fraud, peculation, and
malversation in office, under the late ministry. De Brisset also had
orders to bring Cazeneau back to France in the Vengeur. These documents
were shown to the officers, who were very earnest in their
congratulations to Florian.
There were also despatches to the Count de Montresor, the contents
of which were known to De Brisset, who also knew that he was now
laboring in the colonies as the missionary priest Père Michel. Florian
at once took these to the prison where he was confined, acquainted him
with the change that had taken place, and set both him and Claude free
with his own hands. Then he presented the despatches.
Père Michel, as we may still call him, tore open the despatch with a
trembling hand, and there read that, at last, after so many years, the
wrong done him had been remedied, as far as possible; that all his
dignities were restored, together with his estates. These last had
passed to other hands, but the strong arm of the government was even
now being put forth to reclaim them, so that they might be rendered
back to the deeply injured man to whom they rightly belonged.
There, my boy, said Père Michel, as he showed it to his son, all
is right at last; and now you can wear your name and dignity in the
face of the world, and not be ashamed.
O, my father! said Claude, in a voice which was broken with
emotion, Heaven knows I never was ashamed. I believed your innocence,
and wept over your wrongs. I am glad now, not for myself, but for you.
Where is the Countess de Montresor? said Père Michel. She should
not be kept in restraint any longer.
Cazeneau all this time sat in his apartment, awaiting the arrival of
the captain of the Vengeur and the despatches. The captain at length
appeared; but with him were others, the sight of whom awakened strange
sensations in his breast. For there was Florian, and with him was Père
Michel; Claude was there also, and beyond he saw some soldiers. The
sight was to him most appalling, and something in the face and bearing
of De Brisset and Florian was more appalling still.
Monsieur le Comte de Cazeneau, said Florian, I have the honor to
present you with this commission, by which you will see that I am
reappointcd commandant of Louisbourg. I also have the honor to state
that I hold a warrant for your arrest, on certain charges specified
therein, and for sending you back to France for trial in the Vengeur,
on her return voyage.
Cazeneau listened to this with a pallid face.
Impossible! he faltered.
It's quite true, said De Brisset; I also have orders to the same
effect, which I have already shown to Monsieur le Commandant Florian.
There is no possibility of any mistake, or of any resistance. You will
therefore do well to submit.
Cazeneau had remained seated in the attitude which he had taken up,
when he expected to receive the respectful greeting of his subordinate.
The news was so sudden, and so appalling, that he remained motionless.
He sat staring, like one suddenly petrified. He turned his eyes from
one to another, but in all those faces he saw nothing to reassure him.
All were hostile except Père Michel, who alone looked at him without
hate. The priest showed the same mild serenity which had always
distinguished him. He seemed like one who had overcome the world, who
had conquered worldly ambition and worldly passion, and had passed
beyond the reach of revenge.
Cazeneau saw this. He rose from his seat, and fell at the feet of
Pardon, he faltered; Comte de Montresor, do not pursue a fallen
man with your vengeance.
At this unexpected exhibition, all present looked with scorn. They
had known Cazeneau to be cruel and unscrupulous; they had not suspected
that he was cowardly as well. Père Michel also preserved an unchanged
You are mistaken, Cazeneau, he said. I feel no desire for
vengeance. I seek none. Moreover, I have no influence or authority. You
must direct your prayers elsewhere.
Upon this the wretched man turned to Florian.
Come, come, said Florian, impatiently. This will never do. Rise,
monsieur. Remember that you are a Frenchman. Bear up like a man. For my
part, I can do nothing for you, and have to obey orders.
Cazeneau's break down was utter, and effectually destroyed all
sympathy. His present weakness was compared with his late
vindictiveness, and he who had just refused mercy to others could
hardly gain pity on himself. He only succeeded in utterly disgracing
himself, without inspiring a particle of commiseration. Still Florian
was not cruel, and contented himself with keeping his prisoner in a
room in the Residency, satisfied that there was no possibility of
escape. Some of the officers, however, were loud in their condemnation
of Florian's mildness, and asserted that the dungeon and the chains,
which had been inflicted by him on the Montresors, should be his doom
also. But Florian thought otherwise, and held him thus a prisoner until
the Vengeur returned. Then Cazeneau was sent back to be tried and
convicted. His life was spared; but he was cast down to hopeless
degradation and want, in which state his existence ultimately
Before the scene with Cazeneau was over, Claude had gone away and
found his wife. Already Mimi's strength had begun to return, and her
new-born hope, and the rush of her great happiness, coming, as it did,
after so much misery and despair, served to restore her rapidly.
I should have died if this had lasted one day more, said she.
But now it is all over, Mimi, dearest, said Claude, and you must
live for me. This moment repays me for all my sufferings.
And for mine, sighed Mimi.
Margot saw that her mistress had for the present an attendant who
was more serviceable than herself, and now all her thoughts turned to
that faithful friend whom she had been compelled for the time to leave,
but whom she had not for one moment forgotten. She waited patiently
till she could get a chance to speak to Claude, and then told him what
he did not know yetthat Zac was still a prisoner. At that
intelligence, his own happiness did not allow him to delay to serve his
friend. He at once hurried forth to see De Brisset. To him he explained
Zac's position in such forcible language, that De Brisset at once
issued an order for the release of himself and his schooner, without
any conditions, and the recall of his seamen. To make the act more
complete, the order was committed to Margot, who was sent in the ship's
boat to the schooner.
On the arrival of this boat, Zac seemed quite indifferent to the
safety of the schooner, and only aware of the presence of Margot. He
held her hand, and stood looking at her with moistened eyes, until
after the seamen of the Vengeur had gone. Terry looked away; Jericho
vanished below, with vague plans about a great supper. Biler gazed upon
Louisbourg with a pensive eye and a half-eaten turnip.
I knowed you'd be back, little un, said Zac; I felt it; an', now
you've come, don't go away agin.
O, but I haf to go to ze comtesse, said Margot; zat
Go back to the countess! Why, you ain't goin' to give me upair
you? said Zac, dolefully.
O, no, not eef you don't want me to, said Margot. But to-day I
moos go to ze comtesse, an' afterward you sall ask her, eef you want
At this, which was spoken in a timid, hesitating way, Zac took her
in his arms, and gave her a tremendous smack, which Terry tried hard
not to hear.
Wal, said he, thar's Père Michel, that's a Moosoo an' a Roman
Catholic; but he'll do.
O, but you moos not talk of Père Michel till you see ze comtesse,
said Margot; an' now I sall tank you to take me back to her, or send
me back by one of de men.
Zac did not send her back, but took her back to the shore himself.
Then the fortifications of Louisbourgthe dread and bugbear of all New
Englandclosed him in; but Zac noticed nothing of these. It was only
Margot whom he saw; and he took her to the citadel, to the Residency.
On his arrival, Claude came forth to greet him, with beaming eyes and
open arms. Père Michel greeted him, also, with affectionate cordiality.
For the simple Yankee had won the priest's heart, as well on account of
his own virtues as for his son's sake. He also took enough interest in
him to note his dealings with Margot, and to suggest to him, in a sly
way, that, under the circumstances, although Zac was a bigoted
Protestant, a Roman Catholic priest could do just as well as a
Protestant parson. Whereupon Zac went off with a broad grin, that
lasted for weeks.
The postponement of Florian's departure caused some disappointment
to that worthy gentleman, which, however, was alleviated by the thought
that he had been able to benefit his injured friend, and bring a
villain to punishment; and also by the thought that his departure to
France would not be long delayed. To those friends he devoted himself,
and sought by every means in his power to make their recollections of
Louisbourg more pleasant than they had thus far been. Claude, and his
bride, and his father were honored guests at the Residency, where they
were urged to remain as long as they could content themselves, and
until they could decide about their future movements.
For now, though the name of Montresor had been redeemed, and justice
had at last been done, it was not easy for them to decide about their
future movements. Père Michel, after some thought, had at length made
up his mind, and had given Claude the benefit of his opinion and his
I have made up my mind, said he. I will never go back to France.
What can I do in France? As a French noble, I should be powerless; as a
priest, useless. France is corrupt to the heart's core. The government
is corrupt. The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint. Ministry
succeeds to ministry, not by means of ability, not from patriotism or a
public spirit, but simply through corrupt favoritism. There are no
statesmen in France. They are all courtiers. In that court every man is
ready to sell himself for money. There is no sense of honor. At the
head of all is the worst of all, the king himself, who sets an example
of sin and iniquity, which is followed by all the nation. The peasantry
are slaves, trodden in the dust, without hope and without spirit. The
nobles are obsequious time-servers and place-hunters. The old sentiment
of chivalry is dead. I will never go to such a country. Here, in this
land, where I have lived the best part of my life, I intend to remain,
to labor among these simple Acadians, and these children of the forest,
and to die among them.
As for you, my son, France is no place for you. The proper place
for you, if you wish to lead a virtuous and honorable life, is among
the people who look upon you as one of themselves, with whom you have
been brought up. Your religion, my son, is different from mine; but we
worship the same God, believe in the same Bible, put our trust in the
same Saviour, and hope for the same heaven. What can France give you
that can be equal to what you have in New England? She can give you
simply honors, but with these the deadly poison of her own corruption,
and a future full of awful peril. But in New England you have a virgin
country. There all men are free. There you have no nobility. There are
no down-trodden peasants, but free farmers. Every man has his own
rights, and knows how to maintain them. You have been brought up to be
the free citizen of a free country. Enough. Why wish to be a noble in a
nation of slaves? Take your name of Montresor, if you wish. It is yours
now, and free from stain. Remember, also, if you wish, the glory of
your ancestors, and let that memory inspire you to noble actions. But
remain in New England, and cast in your lot with the citizens of your
own free, adopted land.
Such were the words of the priest, and Claude's training had been
such that they chimed in altogether with his own tastes. He did not
feel himself entirely capable of playing the part of a noble in such a
country as that France which his father described; of associating with
such a society, or of courting the favor of such a king. Besides, his
religion was the religion of his mother: and her fate was a sufficient
warning. And so it was that Claude resolved to give up all thoughts of
France, and return to the humble New England farm. If from the wreck of
the Montresor fortunes anything should be restored, he felt that he
could employ it better in his own home than in the home of his fathers;
while the estate of Laborde, which Mimi would inherit, would double his
own means, and give him new resources.
This, then, was his final decision; and, though it caused much
surprise to Florian, he did not attempt to oppose it. Mimi raised no
objection. She had no ties in France; and wherever her husband might be
was welcome to her. And so Zac was informed that Claude would hire his
schooner once more, to convey himself and his wife back to Boston,
together with his father, who, at their urgent solicitation, consented
to pay them a visit.
But Zac had purposes of his own, which had to be accomplished before
setting forth on his return. He wished to secure the services of Père
Michel, which services were readily offered; and Zac and Margot were
made one in the very chapel which had witnessed the marriage of Claude