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THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL. 237 ing javelins. . . . Late at night our host came back from the council, where the two Huron emissaries had made their gift of hatchets to have us killed. He wakened us to say that three times we had been at the point of death; for the young men had offered three times to strike the blow, and three times the old men had dissuaded them. This explained the meaning of Father Bre"beuf's vision."1 They had escaped for the time; but the Indians agreed among themselves that thenceforth no one should give them shelter. At night, pierced with cold and faint with hunger, they found every door closed against them. They stood and watched, saw an Indian issue from a house, and by a quick movement pushed through the half-open door into this abode of smoke and filth. The inmates, aghast at their boldness, stared in silence. Then a messenger ran out to carry the tidings, and an angry crowd collected.
"Go out, and leave our country," said an old chief, "or we will put you into the kettle, and make a feast of you."
"I have had enough of the dark-colored flesh of our enemies," said a young brave; "I wish to know the taste of white meat, and I will eat yours."A warrior rushed in like a madman, drew his bow, and aimed the arrow at Chaumonot. "I looked at him fixedly," writes the Jesuit, "and commended myself in full confidence to St. Michael. Without 1 Chaumonot, Vie, 50.
doubt, this great archangel saved us; for almost immediately the fury of the warrior was appeased, and the rest of our enemies soon began to listen to the explanation we gave them of our visit to their country."1 The mission was barren of any other fruit than hardship and danger, and after a stay of four months the two priests resolved to return. On the way, they met a genuine act of kindness. A heavy snowstorm arresting their progress, a Neutral woman took them into her lodge, entertained them for two weeks with her best fare, persuaded her father and relatives to befriend them, and aided them to make a vocabulary of the dialect. Bidding their generous hostess farewell, they journeyed northward, through the melting snows of spring, and reached Sainte Marie in safety.2 The Jesuits had borne all that the human frame seems capable of bearing. They had escaped as by miracle from torture and death. Did their zeal flag or their courage fail? A fervor intense and unquenchable urged them on to more distant and more 1 Chaumonot, Vie, 07.
2 Lalemant, in his Relation of 1641, gives the narrative of this mission at length. His account coincides perfectly with the briefer notice of Chaumonot in his Autobiography. Chaumonot describes the difficulties of the journey very graphically in a letter to his friend, Father Nappi, dated Aug. 3, 1640, preserved in Carayon. See also the next letter, Brebeuf au T. R. P. Mutio Vitellesehi, 20 Aoul, 1641.
The Re'collet La Roche Dallion had visited the Neutrals fourteen years before (see Introduction, 35, note), and, like his two successors, had been seriously endangered by Huron intrigues.
MENTAL EXALTATION. 239 deadly ventures. The beings, so near to mortal sympathies, so human, yet so divine, in whom their faith impersonated and dramatized the great principles of Christian truth, — virgins, saints, and angels, — hovered over them, and held before their raptured sight crowns of glory and garlands of immortal bliss. They burned to do, to suffer, and to die; and now, from out a living martyrdom, they turned their heroic gaze towards an horizon dark with perils yet more appalling, and saw in hope the day when they should bear the cross into the blood-stained dens of the Iroquois.1 But in this exaltation and tension of the powers was there no moment when the recoil of Nature claimed a temporary sway? When an exile from his kind, alone, beneath the desolate rock and the gloomy pine-trees, the priest gazed forth on the pitiless wilderness and the hovels of its dark and ruthless tenants, his thoughts, it may be, flew longingly beyond those wastes of forest and sea that lay between him and the home of his boyhood; or rather, led by a deeper attraction, they revisited the ancient centre of his faith, and he seemed to stand once more in that gorgeous temple, where, shrined in lazuli and gold, rest the hallowed bones of Loyola. Column and arch and dome rise upon his vision, radiant in painted light, and trembling with celestial music. 1 This zeal was in no degree due to success; for in 1641, after seven years of toil, the mission counted only about fifty living converts, — a falling off from former years.
Again he kneels before the altar, from whose tablature beams upon him that loveliest of shapes, in which the imagination of man has embodied the spirit of Christianity. The illusion overpowers him. A thrill shakes his frame, and he bows in reverential rapture. No longer a memory, no longer a dream, but a visioned presence, distinct and luminous in the forest shades, the Virgin stands before him. Prostrate on the rocky earth, he adores the benign angel of his ecstatic faith, then turns with rekindled fervors to his stern apostleship. Now, by the shores of Thunder Bay, the Huron traders freight their birch vessels for their yearly voyage; and, embarked with them, let us, too, revisit the rock of Quebec. CHAPTER XIII. 1636-1646.
Phe New Governor. — Edifying Examples. — Le Jecne's Corre Spondents. — Rank And Devotion. — Xuns. — Priestly AuTHORITY.— Condition Ok Quebec. — The Hundred Associates. — Church Discipline. — Plays. — Fireworks. — ProcesSions. — Catechising. — Terrorism. — Pictures. —The ConVerts— The Society Of Jesus.—The Foresters.
I Have traced, in another volume, the life and death of the noble founder of New France, Samuel de Champlain. It was on Christmas Day, 1635, that his heroic spirit bade farewell to the frame it had animated, and to the rugged cliff where he had toiled so long to lay the corner-stone of a Christian empire. Quebec was without a governor. Who should succeed Champlain; and would his successor be found equally zealous for the Faith, and friendly to the mission? These doubts, as he himself tells us, agitated the mind of the Father Superior, Le Jeune; but they were happily set at rest, when, on a morning in June, he saw a ship anchoring in the basin below, and hastening with his brethren to the landing-place, was there met by Charles Huault de Montmagny, a Knight of Malta, followed by a train of officers and gentlemen. As they all climbed the