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      "Oh God, if I could believe you!" groaned Riever.460


      Loudon, on his way back from Halifax, was at sea off the coast of Nova Scotia when a despatch-boat from Governor Pownall of Massachusetts startled him with news that Fort William Henry was attacked; and a few days after he learned by another boat that the fort was taken and the capitulation "inhumanly and villanously broken." On this he sent Webb orders to hold the enemy in check without risking a battle till he should himself arrive. "I am on the way," these were his words, "with a force sufficient to turn the scale, with God's assistance; and then I hope we shall teach the French to comply with the laws of nature and humanity. For although I abhor barbarity, the knowledge I have of Mr. Vaudreuil's 2The coming of Riever had changed the situation not a little. Riever moved like an unacknowledged monarch. The tale of his wealth compelled men's homage. In his presence all voices were prone to become silky and backs to bend. Riever like many another monarch despised this homage while he insisted on it. His more intimate creatures therefore were careful to cultivate an offhand, man-to-man air towards their master while they utterly subordinated their souls to his. This just suited him.


      [Pg 368]The bold exploit of the brothers Mallet attracted great attention at New Orleans, and Bienville resolved to renew it, find if possible a nearer and better way to Santa F, determine the nature and extent of these mysterious western regions, and satisfy a lingering doubt whether they were not contiguous to China and Tartary.[382] A naval officer, Fabry de la Bruyre, was sent on this errand, with the brothers Mallet and a few soldiers and Canadians. He ascended the Canadian Fork of the Arkansas, named by him the St. Andr, became entangled in the shallows and quicksands of that difficult river, fell into disputes with his men, and, after protracted efforts, returned unsuccessful.[383]V2 Montcalm had intrusted Bougainville with another mission, widely different. This was no less than the negotiating of suitable marriages for the eldest son and daughter of his commander, with whom, in the confidence of friendship, he had had many conversations on the matter. "He and I," Montcalm wrote to his mother, Madame de Saint-Vran, "have two ideas touching these marriages,the first, romantic and chimerical; the second, good, practicable." [690] Bougainville, invoking the aid of a lady of rank, a friend of the family, acquitted himself well of his delicate task. Before he embarked for Canada, in early spring, a treaty was on foot for the marriage of the young Comte de Montcalm to an heiress of sixteen; while Mademoiselle de Montcalm had already become Madame d'Espineuse. "Her father will be delighted," says the successful negotiator. [691]

      Under the name of a trader named Claverie, Bigot, some time before the war, set up a warehouse on land belonging to the King and not far from his own palace. Here the goods shipped from Bordeaux were collected, to be sold in retail to the citizens, and in wholesale to favored merchants and the King. This establishment was popularly known as La Friponne, or The Cheat. There was another Friponne at Montreal, which was leagued with that of Quebec, and received goods from it.Many incidents of this troubled time are preserved, but none of them are so well worth the record as the defence of the fort at Verchres by the young daughter of the seignior. Many years later, the Marquis de Beauharnais, governor of Canada, caused the story to be written down from the recital of the heroine herself. Verchres was on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, about twenty miles below Montreal. A strong blockhouse stood outside the fort, and was connected with it by a covered way. On the morning of the twenty-second of October, the inhabitants were at work in the fields, and nobody was left in the place but two soldiers, two boys, an old man of eighty, 303 and a number of women and children. The seignior, formerly an officer of the regiment of Carignan, was on duty at Quebec; his wife was at Montreal; and their daughter Madeleine, fourteen years of age, was at the landing-place not far from the gate of the fort, with a hired man named Laviolette. Suddenly she heard firing from the direction where the settlers were at work, and an instant after Laviolette cried out, "Run, Mademoiselle, run! here come the Iroquois!" She turned and saw forty or fifty of them at the distance of a pistol-shot. "I ran for the fort, commending myself to the Holy Virgin. The Iroquois who chased after me, seeing that they could not catch me alive before I reached the gate, stopped and fired at me. The bullets whistled about my ears, and made the time seem very long. As soon as I was near enough to be heard, I cried out, To arms! to arms! hoping that somebody would come out and help me; but it was of no use. The two soldiers in the fort were so scared that they had hidden in the blockhouse. At the gate, I found two women crying for their husbands, who had just been killed. I made them go in, and then shut the gate. I next thought what I could do to save myself and the few people with me. I went to inspect the fort, and found that several palisades had fallen down, and left openings by which the enemy could easily get in. I ordered them to be set up again, and helped to carry them myself. When the breaches were stopped, I went to the blockhouse where the ammunition is kept, and 304 here I found the two soldiers, one hiding in a corner, and the other with a lighted match in his hand. 'What are you going to do with that match?' I asked. He answered, 'Light the powder, and blow us all up.' 'You are a miserable coward,' said I, 'go out of this place.' I spoke so resolutely that he obeyed. I then threw off my bonnet; and, after putting on a hat and taking a gun, I said to my two brothers: 'Let us fight to the death. We are fighting for our country and our religion. Remember that our father has taught you that gentlemen are born to shed their blood for the service of God and the king.'"

      [19] See Discovery of the Great West. La Barre denies the assertion, and says that he merely told the Iroquois that La Salle should be sent home.


      "But if I was his mark, why didn't he take a shot direct at me?" said Don.

      Pitt resigned, and his colleagues rejoiced. [871] Power fell to Bute and the Tories; and great was the fall. The mass of the nation was with the defeated Minister. On Lord Mayor's Day Bute and Barrington were passing St. Paul's in a coach, which the crowd mistook for that of Pitt, and cheered lustily; till one man, looking in at the window, shouted to the rest: "This isn't Pitt; it's Bute, and be damned to him!" The cheers turned forthwith to hisses, mixed with cries of "No Bute!" "No Newcastle salmon!" "Pitt forever!" Handfuls of mud were showered against the coach, and Barrington's ruffles were besmirched with it. [872]

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      "I intended to mend the churn," he explained, "but in Friday's Sun-paper, as you know, another correspondent undertook to refute the arguments in my letter on the Mendelian theory. And in answering him I clean forgot about the churn!"

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      [117] William Dudley to Governor Dudley, 24 June, 1707.[708] This number was found after the siege. Knox, II. 151. Some French writers make it much greater.

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      March of Frontenac ? Flight of the Enemy ? An Iroquois Stoic ? Relief for the Onondagas ? Boasts of Frontenac ? His Complaints ? His Enemies ? Parties in Canada ? Views of Frontenac and the King ? Frontenac prevails ? Peace of Ryswick ? Frontenac and Bellomont ? Schuyler at Quebec ? Festivities ? A Last Defiance.266


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