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      LA SALLE'S EXPLORATIONS.The second town or fort was taken as easily as the first; so, too, were the third and the fourth. The Indians yelled, and fled without killing a man; and still the troops pursued, following the broad trail which led from town to town along the valley of the Mohawk. It was late in the afternoon when the fourth town was entered, * and Tracy thought that his work was done; but an Algonquin squaw who had followed her husband to the war, and who had once been a prisoner among the Mohawks, told him that there was still another above. The sun was near its setting, and the men were tired with their pitiless marching; but again the order was given to advance. The eager squaw showed the way, holding a pistol in one hand and leading Courcelle-with the other; and they soon came in sight of Andaraqu, the largest and strongest of the Mohawk forts. The drums beat with fury, and the troops prepared to attack, but there were none to oppose them. The scouts sent forward, reported

      [4] Ibid., 1637, 176.Young warriors had gone out as scouts, and now they returned. They had seen the enemy in the line of forest that bordered the river Aramoni, or Vermilion, and had stealthily reconnoitred them. They were very numerous,[187] and armed for the most part with guns, pistols, and swords. Some had bucklers of wood or raw-hide, and some wore those corselets of tough twigs interwoven with cordage which their fathers had used when fire-arms were unknown. The scouts added more, for they declared that they had seen a Jesuit among the Iroquois; nay, [Pg 226] that La Salle himself was there, whence it must follow that Tonty and his men were enemies and traitors. The supposed Jesuit was but an Iroquois chief arrayed in a black hat, doublet, and stockings; while another, equipped after a somewhat similar fashion, passed in the distance for La Salle. But the Illinois were furious. Tonty's life hung by a hair. A crowd of savages surrounded him, mad with rage and terror. He had come lately from Europe, and knew little of Indians, but, as the friar Membr says of him, "he was full of intelligence and courage," and when they heard him declare that he and his Frenchmen would go with them to fight the Iroquois, their threats grew less clamorous and their eyes glittered with a less deadly lustre.

      Why, why, said Phanos, is this the hero who banishes officials and erects pillars of infamy? Who would believe it? Does he look like a murderer?Just at that moment a dazzling flash of lightning darted from the dark sky far away, followed in a few moments by the roll of distant thunder. Three white birds, one small and two large ones, flew with rapid strokes of their long wings over the ship, following each other at precisely the same distance, as though bound together by some invisible chain. They mounted higher and higher as if they wanted to soar into the sky and soon became mere indistinct specks.

      The seignior was a proprietor holding that relation to the feudal superior which, in its pristine[3] Lalemant, Relation des Hurons, 1640, 96.

      The uncertain, vacillating temper common to all Indians now began to declare itself. Some of the Iroquois were for going home. Others revolted at the thought, and declared that it would be an eternal disgrace to lose so many men at the hands of so paltry an enemy, and yet fail to take revenge. It was resolved to make a general assault, and volunteers were called for to lead the attack. After the custom on such occasions, bundles of small sticks were thrown upon the ground, and those picked them up who dared, thus accepting the gage of battle, and enrolling themselves in the forlorn hope. No precaution was neglected. Large and heavy shields four or five feet high were made by lashing together three split logs with the aid of cross-bars. Covering themselves with these mantelets, the chosen band advanced, followed by the motley throng of warriors. In spite of a brisk fire, they reached the palisade, and, crouching below the range of shot, hewed furiously with their hatchets to cut their way through. The rest followed close, and swarmed like angry hornets around the little fort, hacking and tearing to get in.

      find husbands, to send no more girls from France at present.

      every imaginable expedient for preserving the inhabitants,After this fashion, they entered the town of Argentan, and marched, two by two, through all the streets, crying with a loud voice that the Faith was perishing, and that whoever wished to save it must quit the country and go with them to Canada, whither they were soon to repair. It is said that they still hold this purpose, and that their leaders declare it revealed to them that they will find a vessel ready at the first port to which Providence directs them. The reason why they choose Canada for an asylum is, that Monsieur de Montigny (Laval), Bishop of Petr?a, who lived at the Hermitage a long time, where he was instructed in mystical theology by Monsieur de Bernires, exercises episcopal functions there; and that the Jesuits, who are their oracles, reign in that country.


      LA SALLE EXCULPATES THE JESUITS.Even with this madcap enterprise lopped off, La Salle's scheme of Mississippi trade and colonization, perfectly sound in itself, was too vast for an individual,above all, for one crippled and crushed with debt. While he grasped one link of the great chain, another, no less essential, escaped from his hand; while he built up a colony on the Mississippi, it was reasonably certain that evil would befall his distant colony of the Illinois.


      [2] Charlevoix, I. 280, gives this as a motive of the mission. permettent eux mesmes sans aucune difficult ce mesme


      had noblesse already fallen from its old estate.For some time neither spoke.