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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

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      Mathieu Sagean is a personage less known than Hennepin or La Hontan; for though he surpassed them both in fertility of invention, he was illiterate, and never made a book. In 1701, being then a soldier in a company of marines at Brest, he revealed a secret which he declared that he had locked within his breast for twenty years, having been unwilling to impart it to the Dutch and English, in whose service he had been during the whole period. His story was written down from his dictation, and sent to the minister Ponchartrain. It is preserved in the Bibliothque Nationale, and in 1863 it was printed by Mr. Shea.The Indians, it proved, and not the flood, had robbed him of the remains of his friend. Early in the spring, when the snows were melting in the woods, he was told by Mohawk children that the body was lying, where it had been flung, in a lonely spot lower down the stream. He went to seek it; found the scattered bones, stripped by the foxes and the birds; and, tenderly gathering them up, hid them in a hollow tree, hoping that a day might come when he could give them a Christian burial in consecrated ground.


      Hush! she muttered. I hear dogs barking. Hecate is nearin the cross-road yonder, where her altar stands. Strike these metal basins against each otherlet the sound tell her that we feel her approach. Oh, Hecate, stern, exalted goddess, I will pour three libations in thy honor! Thrice accursed be each new fancy of the man this maiden loves. Let him instantly desert her rivals, as Theseus deserted the hapless Ariadne.On the third of December the party re-embarked, thirty-three in all, in eight canoes,[140] and ascended the chill current of the St. Joseph, bordered with dreary meadows and bare gray forests. When they approached the site of the present village of South Bend, they looked anxiously along the shore on their right to find the portage or path leading to the headquarters of the Illinois. The Mohegan was absent, hunting; and, unaided by his practised eye, they passed the path without seeing it. La Salle landed to search the woods. Hours passed, and he did not return. Hennepin and Tonty grew uneasy, disembarked, bivouacked, ordered guns to be fired, and sent out men to scour the country. Night came, but not their lost leader. Muffled in their blankets and [Pg 165] powdered by the thick-falling snow-flakes, they sat ruefully speculating as to what had befallen him; nor was it till four o'clock of the next afternoon that they saw him approaching along the margin of the river. His face and hands were besmirched with charcoal; and he was further decorated with two opossums which hung from his belt, and which he had killed with a stick as they were swinging head downwards from the bough of a tree, after the fashion of that singular beast. He had missed his way in the forest, and had been forced to make a wide circuit around the edge of a swamp; while the snow, of which the air was full, added to his perplexities. Thus he pushed on through the rest of the day and the greater part of the night, till, about two o'clock in the morning, he reached the river again, and fired his gun as a signal to his party. Hearing no answering shot, he pursued his way along the bank, when he presently saw the gleam of a fire among the dense thickets close at hand. Not doubting that he had found the bivouac of his party, he hastened to the spot. To his surprise, no human being was to be seen. Under a tree beside the fire was a heap of dry grass impressed with the form of a man who must have fled but a moment before, for his couch was still warm. It was no doubt an Indian, ambushed on the bank, watching to kill some passing enemy. La Salle called out in several Indian languages; but there was dead silence all around. He then, with admirable coolness, took possession of the quarters he had found, shouting to [Pg 166] their invisible proprietor that he was about to sleep in his bed; piled a barricade of bushes around the spot, rekindled the dying fire, warmed his benumbed hands, stretched himself on the dried grass, and slept undisturbed till morning.


      These Sioux, it may be observed, were the ancestors of those who committed the horrible but not unprovoked massacres of 1862, in the valley of the St. Peter. Hennepin complains bitterly of their treatment of him, which, however, seems to have been tolerably good. Afraid that he would lag behind, as his canoe was heavy and slow,[210] they placed several warriors in it to aid him and his men in paddling. They kept on their way from morning till night, building huts for their bivouac when it rained, and sleeping on the open ground when the weather was fair,which, says Hennepin, "gave us a good opportunity to contemplate the moon and stars." The three Frenchmen took the precaution of sleeping at the side of the young chief who had been the first to smoke the peace-pipe, and who seemed inclined to befriend them; but there was another chief, one Aquipaguetin, a crafty old savage, who having lost a son in war with the Miamis, was angry that the party had abandoned their expedition, and thus deprived him of his revenge. He therefore kept up a dismal lament through half the night; while other old men, crouching over Hennepin as he lay trying to sleep, stroked him with their hands, and uttered wailings so lugubrious that he was forced to [Pg 255] the belief that he had been doomed to death, and that they were charitably bemoaning his fate.[211]There were allies close at hand. Near Fort Miami were the huts of twenty-five or thirty savages, exiles [Pg 285] from their homes, and strangers in this western world. Several of the English colonies, from Virginia to Maine, had of late years been harassed by Indian wars; and the Puritans of New England, above all, had been scourged by the deadly outbreak of King Philip's war. Those engaged in it had paid a bitter price for their brief triumphs. A band of refugees, chiefly Abenakis and Mohegans, driven from their native seats, had roamed into these distant wilds, and were wintering in the friendly neighborhood of the French. La Salle soon won them over to his interests. One of their number was the Mohegan hunter, who for two years had faithfully followed his fortunes, and who had been four years in the West. He is described as a prudent and discreet young man, in whom La Salle had great confidence, and who could make himself understood in several western languages, belonging, like his own, to the great Algonquin tongue. This devoted henchman proved an efficient mediator with his countrymen. The New-England Indians, with one voice, promised to follow La Salle, asking no recompense but to call him their chief, and yield to him the love and admiration which he rarely failed to command from this hero-worshipping race.

      Heresy was a plague-spot, an ulcer to be eradicated with fire and the knife, and this foul abomination was infecting the shores which the Vicegerent of Christ had given to the King of Spain, and which the Most Catholic King had given to the Adelantado. Thus would countless heathen tribes be doomed to an eternity of flame, and the Prince of Darkness hold his ancient sway unbroken; and for the Adelantado himself, the vast outlays, the vast debts of his bold Floridan venture would be all in vain, and his fortunes be wrecked past redemption through these tools of Satan. As a Catholic, as a Spaniard, and as an adventurer, his course was clear.We hear no more of the negotiations between the Onondagas and the Hurons. They and their results were swept away in the storm of events soon to be related.

      At St. Michel, Maisonneuve employed his men in building boats to ascend to Montreal, and in various other labors for the behoof of the future colony. Thus the winter wore away; but, as celestial minds are not exempt from ire, Montmagny and Maisonneuve fell into a quarrel. The twenty-fifth of January was Maisonneuve's fte day; and, as he was greatly beloved by his followers, they resolved to celebrate the occasion. Accordingly, an hour and a half before daylight, they made a general discharge of their muskets and cannon. The sound reached Quebec, two or three miles distant, startling the Governor from his morning slumbers; and his indignation was redoubled when he heard it again at night: for Maisonneuve, pleased at the attachment of his men, had feasted them and warmed their hearts with a distribution of wine. Montmagny, jealous of his authority, resented these demonstrations as an infraction of it, affirming that they had no right to fire their 205 pieces without his consent; and, arresting the principal offender, one Jean Gory, he put him in irons. On being released, a few days after, his companions welcomed him with great rejoicing, and Maisonneuve gave them all a feast. He himself came in during the festivity, drank the health of the company, shook hands with the late prisoner, placed him at the head of the table, and addressed him as follows:


      How did it fare with the missions in these days of woe and terror? They had thriven beyond hope. The Hurons, in their time of trouble, had become tractable. They humbled themselves, and, in their desolation and despair, came for succor to the priests. There was a harvest of converts, not only exceeding in numbers that of all former years, but giving in many cases undeniable proofs of sincerity and fervor. In some towns the Christians outnumbered the heathen, and in nearly all they formed a strong party. The mission of La Conception, or Ossossan, was the most successful. Here there were now a church and one or more resident Jesuits,as also at St. Joseph, St. Ignace, St. Michel, and St. Jean Baptiste: [1] for we have seen that the Huron towns were christened with names of saints. Each church had its bell, which was 350 sometimes hung in a neighboring tree. [2] Every morning it rang its summons to mass; and, issuing from their dwellings of bark, the converts gathered within the sacred precinct, where the bare, rude walls, fresh from the axe and saw, contrasted with the sheen of tinsel and gilding, and the hues of gay draperies and gaudy pictures. At evening they met again at prayers; and on Sunday, masses, confession, catechism, sermons, and repeating the rosary consumed the whole day. [3]

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      "Dat neveh trouble Dandy DanHave you ever heard of stones animated with souls, which have fallen from the skies? We call them baetyli, but among your people they are known by the name of orites or siderites.

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      Hipyllos was universally praised; for he had not only summoned the Messenians to the rescue, but had fought bravely and killed a brother of Lycophron, one of the commanders of the hostile fleet.

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      "My soul's-mate, war-mate soldier-girl," he murmured on.Among a pastoral race like the Pelasgians the sling was an indispensable implement. It served to keep the herds together; for when a goat or any of the cattle had been hit once or twice by a stone from a sling the shepherd-dog noticed it and kept a strict watch upon the animal. By skill in the use of the sling the herdsman23 thus saved himself the trouble of running after the beasts which strayed away from the flocks, and in a mountainous region like Attica, where one can scarcely walk a few hundred paces without going up or down, it is well to spare the legs.


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