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Mars, 1676. la justice et la distribution des terres du Canada, Jan. 24,
When the Indians woke in the morning, dull and stupefied from their nightmare slumbers, they were astonished at the silence that reigned in the mission-house. They looked through the palisade. Nothing was stirring but a bevy of hens clucking and scratching in the snow, and one or two dogs imprisoned in the house and barking to be set free The Indians waited for some time, then climbed the palisade, burst in the doors, and found the house empty. Their amazement was unbounded. How, without canoes, could the French have escaped by water? and how else could they escape? The snow which had fallen during the night completely hid their footsteps. A superstitious awe seized the Iroquois. They thought that the black-robes and their flock had flown off through the air.Whatever the motives of the expedition, it left Montreal in June, under the Sieur de Lignery, followed the rugged old route of the Ottawa, and did not reach Michilimackinac till after midsummer. Thence, in a flotilla of birch canoes carrying about a thousand Indians and five hundred French, the party set out for the fort at the head of Green Bay. Here they caught one Outagamie warrior and three Winnebagoes, whom the Indian allies tortured to death. Then they paddled their canoes up Fox River, reached a Winnebago village on the twenty-fourth of August, followed the channel of the stream, a ribbon of lazy water twisting in a vague, perplexing way through the broad marsh of wild rice and flags, till they saw the chief village of the Outagamies[Pg 339] on a tract of rising ground a little above the level of the bog. It consisted of bark wigwams, without palisades or defences of any kind. Its only inmates were three squaws and one old man. These were all seized, and, to the horror of Pre Crespel, the chaplain, were given to the Indian allies, who kept the women as slaves, and burned the old man at a slow fire. Then, after burning the village and destroying the crop of maize, peas, beans, and squashes that surrounded it, the whole party returned to Michilimackinac.
Shirley followed, embarking at the Dutch village of Schenectady, and ascending the Mohawk with about two hundred of the so-called regulars in bateaux. They passed Fort Johnson, the two villages of the Mohawks, and the Palatine settlement of German Flats; left behind the last trace of civilized man, rowed sixty miles through a wilderness, and reached the Great Carrying Place, which divided the waters that flow to the Hudson from those that flow to Lake Ontario. Here now stands the city which the classic zeal of its founders has adorned with the name of Rome. Then all was swamp and forest, traversed by a track that led to Wood Creek,which is not to be confounded with the Wood Creek of Lake Champlain. Thither the bateaux were dragged on sledges and launched on the dark and tortuous stream, which, fed by a decoction of forest leaves 322
masters of small river craft. The rest belonged to religious Plan for the Termination of the Iroquois War, N. Y. Col. Docs., IX. 375.
Though not himself of the highest rank, his 10 position at court was, from the courtier point of view, an enviable one. The princess, after her banishment had ended, more than once mentions incidentally that she had met him in the cabinet of the queen. Her dislike of him became intense, and her fondness for his wife changed at last to aversion. She charges the countess with ingratitude. She discovered, or thought that she discovered, that in her dispute with her father, and in certain dissensions in her own household, Madame de Frontenac had acted secretly in opposition to her interests and wishes. The imprudent lady of honor received permission to leave her service. It was a woful scene. "She saw me get into my carriage," writes the princess, "and her distress was greater than ever. Her tears flowed abundantly: as for me, my fortitude was perfect, and I looked on with composure while she cried. If any thing could disturb my tranquility, it was the recollection of the time when she laughed while I was crying." Mademoiselle de Montpensier had been deeply offended, and apparently with reason. The countess and her husband received an order never again to appear in her presence; but soon after, when the princess was with the king and queen at a comedy in the garden of the Louvre, Frontenac, who had previously arrived, immediately changed his position, and with his usual audacity took a post so conspicuous that she could not help seeing him. "I confess," she says, "I was so angry that I could find no pleasure in the play; but I said nothing to the king and queen, fearing that 11 they would not take such a view of the matter as I wished."