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Finally, when La Barre received the two letters from La Salle, of which the substance is given above, he sent copies of them to the Minister Seignelay, with the following comment: "By the copies of the Sieur de la Salle's letters, you will perceive that his head is turned, and that he has been bold enough to give you intelligence of a false discovery, and that, instead of returning to the colony to learn what the King wishes him to do, he does not come near me, but keeps in the backwoods, five hundred leagues off, with the idea of attracting the inhabitants to him, and building up an imaginary kingdom for himself, by debauching all the bankrupts and idlers of this country. If you will look at the two letters I had from him, you can judge the character of this personage better than I can. Affairs with the [Pg 324] Iroquois are in such a state that I cannot allow him to muster all their enemies together and put himself at their head. All the men who brought me news from him have abandoned him, and say not a word about returning, but sell the furs they have brought as if they were their own; so that he cannot hold his ground much longer." Such calumnies had their effect. The enemies of La Salle had already gained the ear of the King; and he had written in August, from Fontainebleau, to his new governor of Canada: "I am convinced, like you, that the discovery of the Sieur de la Salle is very useless, and that such enterprises ought to be prevented in future, as they tend only to debauch the inhabitants by the hope of gain, and to diminish the revenue from beaver-skins."
"Are you convinced now," he asked, "that what I have told you is true?" Relation des Hurons, 1636, 116.
Till the horns grew out of her tail, tail, tail,
267 At the same moment the curtain at the door of a side-chamber stirred slightly, and soon after Myrtale entered and silently seated herself on the edge of the couch at her fathers feet. She was very pale, and through the folds of her thin dress the rapid rising and falling of her bosom showed that she was struggling for breath. Simonides scarcely seemed to notice her and, without moving or looking up, she waited patiently for him to speak.
He had caused the grass to be cut near the fort, so as to form a sort of playground; and here, one evening, he and some of the party were trying to amuse themselves, when they heard shouts from beyond the river, and Joutel recognized the voice of La Salle. Hastening to meet him in a wooden canoe, he brought him and his party to the fort. Twenty men had gone out with him, and eight had returned. Of the rest, four had deserted, one had been lost, one had been devoured by an alligator; and the others, giving out on the march, had probably perished in attempting to regain the fort. The travellers told of a rich country, a wild and beautiful landscape,woods, rivers, groves, and prairies; but all availed nothing, and the acquisition of five horses was but an indifferent return for the loss of twelve men.About the middle of the street the way led close by a side-building, doubtless the womens apartment of a stately house that apparently belonged to a wealthy citizen. From one of the sparsely scattered thyrides, a kind of air-hole, the light of a lamp streamed into the darkness. Hipyllos paused. This light must have had some peculiar charm for him, he could not turn his eyes from it.
This enabled them to reach the bay, and having patched an old canoe which they had the good luck to find, they embarked in it; whereupon, says Tonty, [Pg 237] "there rose a northwest wind, which lasted five days, with driving snow. We consumed all our food; and not knowing what to do next, we resolved to go back to the deserted town, and die by a warm fire in one of the wigwams. On our way, we saw a smoke; but our joy was short, for when we reached the fire we found nobody there. We spent the night by it; and before morning the bay froze. We tried to break a way for our canoe through the ice, but could not; and therefore we determined to stay there another night, and make moccasins in order to reach the town. We made some out of Father Gabriel's cloak. I was angry with tienne Renault for not finishing his; but he excused himself on account of illness, because he had a great oppression of the stomach, caused by eating a piece of an Indian shield of raw-hide, which he could not digest. His delay proved our salvation; for the next day, December fourth, as I was urging him to finish the moccasins, and he was still excusing himself on the score of his malady, a party of Kiskakon Ottawas, who were on their way to the Pottawattamies, saw the smoke of our fire, and came to us. We gave them such a welcome as was never seen before. They took us into their canoes, and carried us to an Indian village, only two leagues off. There we found five Frenchmen, who received us kindly, and all the Indians seemed to take pleasure in sending us food; so that, after thirty-four days of starvation, we found our famine turned to abundance."