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1633-34.] LE JEUNE AND THE SORCERER. 117 every device to retort ridicule upon his rival. At the outset, he had proffered his aid to Le Jeune in his study of the Algonquin; and, like the Indian practical jokers of Acadia in the case of Father Biard,1 palmed off upon him the foulest words in the language as the equivalent of things spiritual. Thus it happened, that, while the missionary sought to explain to the assembled wigwam some point of Christian doctrine, he was interrupted by peals of laughter from men, children, and squaws. And now, as Le Jeune took his place in the circle, the sorcerer bent upon him his malignant eyes, and began that course of rude bantering which filled to overflowing the cup of the Jesuit's woes. All took their cue from him, and made their afflicted guest the butt of their inane witticisms. "Look at him! His face is like a dog's!" — " His head is like a pumpkin!" — "He has a beard like a rabbit's!" The missionary bore in silence these and countless similar attacks j indeed, so sorely was he harassed, that, lest he should exasperate his tormentor, he sometimes passed whole days without uttering a word.2 perdant tons les iours, ie le touehois a la prunelle de l'ceil."— Relation, 1034, 56.
1 Sec " 1'ioneers of France in the New World," 301.
2 Relation, 1634, 207 (Cramoisy). lis me chargeoient incessament de mille brocards & de mille injures; je me suis veu en tel estat, que pour ne les aigrir, je passois les jours entiers sans ouvrir la bouche." Here follows the abuse, in the original Indian, with French translations. Lc Jeune'a account of his experience is singularly graphic. The following is his summary of his annoyances
"Or ce miserable homme [the sorcerer] & la fumée m'ont esté les
Le Jeune, a man of excellent observation, already knew his red associates well enough to understand that their rudeness did not of necessity imply ill-will. The rest of the party, in their turn, fared no better. They rallied and bantered each other incessantly, with as little forbearance and as little malice as a troop of unbridled school-boys.1 No one took offence. To have done so would have been to bring upon one's self genuine contumely. This motley household was a model of harmony. True, they showed no tenderness or consideration towards the sick and disabled; but for the rest, each shared with all in weal or woe: the famine of one was the famine of the whole, and the smallest portion of food was distributed in fair and equal partition. Upbraidings and complaints were unheard; they bore each other's foibles with wondrous equanimity; and while persecuting Le Jeune with constant importunity for tobacco, and for everything else he had, they never begged among themselves. deux plus grands tourmens que i'aye endure ' parmy ces Barbares: ny le froid, ny le chaud, ny l'incommodité des chiens, ny coucher a l'air, ny dormir sur un lict de terre, ny la posture qu'il faut tousiours tenir dans leurs cabanes, se ramassans en peloton, ou se couchans, ou s'asseans sans siege & sans mattelas, ny la faim, ny la soif, ny la pauureté & salete ' de leur boucan, ny la maladie, tout cela ne m'a semble ' que ieu à comparaison de la fumee' & de la malice du Sorcier."— Relation, 1634, 201 (Cramoisy).
1,1 Leur vie se passe ā manger, à rire, et b. railler les vns des autres, et de tous les peuples qu'ils cognoissent; ils n'ont rien de serieux, sinon par fois l'exterieur, faisans parmy nous les graues et les retenus, mais entr'eux sont de vrais badins, de vrais enfans, qui ne demandent qu'à rire." — Relation, 1634,30.
1633-34] HIS INDIAN COMPANIONS. 119 When the fire burned well and food was abundant, their conversation, such as it was, was incessant. They used no oaths, for their language supplied none, — doubtless because their mythology had no beings sufficiently distinct to swear by. Their expletives were foul words, of which they had a superabundance, and which men, women, and children alike used with a frequency and hardihood that amazed and scandalized the priest.1 Nor was he better pleased with their postures, in which they consulted nothing but their ease. Thus, of an evening when the wigwam was heated to suffocation, the sorcerer, in the closest possible approach to nudity, lay on his back, with his right knee planted upright and his left leg crossed on it, discoursing volubly to the company, who, on their part, listened in postures scarcely less remote from decency. There was one point touching which Le Jeune and his Jesuit brethren had as yet been unable to solve their doubts. Were the Indian sorcerers mere impostors, or were they in actual league with the Devil? That the fiends who possess this land of darkness make their power felt by action direct and potential upon the persons of its wretched inhabi
i "Aussi leur disois-je par fois, que si les pourceaux et les chiens sjauoient parler, ils tiendroient leur langage. . . . Les filles et les ieunes femmes sont a l'exterieur tres honnestement couuertes, mais entre elles leurs discours sont puants, comme des cloaques." — Relation, 1634, 32. The social manners of remote tribes of the present time correspond perfectly with Le Jeune's account of those of the Montagnais.
tants there is, argues Le Jeune, good reason to conclude; since it is a matter of grave notoriety that the fiends who infest Brazil are accustomed cruelly to beat and otherwise torment the natives of that country, as many travellers attest. "A Frenchman worthy of credit," pursues the Father, "has told me that he has heard with his own ears the voice of the Demon and the sound of the blows which he discharges upon these his miserable slaves; and in reference to this a very remarkable fact has been reported to me, — namely, that when a Catholic approaches, the Devil takes flight and beats these wretches no longer, but that in presence of a Huguenot he does not stop beating them."1
Thus prone to believe in the immediate presence of the nether powers, Le Jeune watched the sorcerer with an eye prepared to discover in his conjurations the signs of a genuine diabolic agency. His observations, however, led him to a different result; and i "Surquoy on me rapporte vne chose tres remarquable, c'est que le Diable s'enfuit, et ne frappe point ou cesse de frapper ces miserables, quand vn Catholique entre en leur compagnie, et qu'il ne laiss point de les battre en la presence d'vn Huguenot: d'où vient qu'vn iour se voyans battus en la compagnie d'vn certain François, ils luy dirent: Nous nous estonnons que le diable nous batte, toy estant auec nous, veu qu'il n'oseroit le faire quand tes compagnons sont presents. Luy se douta incontinent que cela pouuoit prouenir de sa religion (car il estoit Caluiniste); s'addressant donc ā Dieu, il luy promit de se faire Catholique si le diable cessoit de battre ces panures peuples en sa presence. Le vœu fait, iamais plus aucun Demon ne molesta Ameriquain en sa compagnie, d'où vient qu'il se fit Catholique, selon la promesse qu'il en auoit faicte. Mais retour nous à nostre discours "—" r'-nn, 1034, 22.
he could detect in his rival nothing but a vile compound of impostor and dupe. The sorcerer believed in the efficacy of his own magic, and was continually singing and beating his drum to cure the disease from which he was suffering. Towards the close of the winter, Le Jeune fell sick, and in his pain and weakness nearly succumbed under the nocturnal uproar of the sorcerer, who hour after hour sang and drummed without mercy, —sometimes yelling at the top of his throat, then hissing like a serpent, then striking his drum on the ground as if in a frenzy, then leaping up, raving about the wigwam, and calling on the women and children to join him in singing. Now ensued a hideous din; for every throat was strained to the utmost, and all were beating with sticks or fists on the bark of the hut to increase the noise, with the charitable object of aiding the sorcerer to conjure down his malady, or drive away the evil spirit that caused it. He had an enemy, a rival sorcerer, whom he charged with having caused by charms the disease that afflicted him. He therefore announced that he should kill him. As the rival dwelt at Gaspe", a hundred leagues off, the present execution of the threat might appear difficult; but distance was no bar to the vengeance of the sorcerer. Ordering all the children and all but one of the women to leave the wigwam, he seated himself, with the woman who remained, on the ground in the centre, while the men of the party, together with those from other wig