Captain Louis de Galisonniere proved to be a genial host, pleased with his guests, pleased with himself, and pleased with the situation. Brave and alert, he had also a certain amount of vanity which Robert had tickled. It was not for nothing that he was a nephew of Count de Galisonniere, once Governor General of Canada, rank and birth counting for so much then with the French nation, and it was not for nothing, either, that he had won his captaincy by valiant and diligent service of his own. So it afforded him great satisfaction to be hospitable now, and also to patronize slightly these men from the south, with whom in all probability New France would be at war before another year had passed. It was well also to impress the Onondaga, whom his vigilant mind recognized at once as a youth of station. None knew better than de Galisonniere the power and importance of the Iroquois, and how they might tip the scale in a great war between the French and British colonies.
His boat, which he proudly called the Frontenac, after the early and great Governor General of Canada, was equipped with supplies needed on trips between ports on the St. Lawrence. After providing stools for his guests, he offered them the light wine of France, even as de Courcelles had done, but Robert and Tayoga declined, although Willet accepted a glass.
"We appreciate your courtesy," said Robert, "but we descendants of the English in America do not take much to wine. I find that my head is much better without it."
"The intoxicating drinks of the white men are not good for the red race," said Tayoga gravely. "The warriors of the Hodenosaunee are able to fight anything else, but strong liquors take away their brains and make them like little children who fly into passions over trifles."
De Galisonniere looked with great interest at the young Onondaga, being impressed by the dignity of his manner and the soberness of his speech.
"You speak perfect English," he observed.
"I learned it in a white man's school at Albany," said Tayoga. "Lennox was my comrade there, just as he has been in the woods."
"You will see a much greater town than Albany when you arrive at Quebec. You will see a noble city, on a noble site, an impregnable fortress, guarded by the most valiant troops in the world. For its like you would have to cross the sea to our old land of France."
"I have heard much of Stadacona, which you call Quebec," said Tayoga, without any alteration of tone. "Our old men speak often of it, when it belonged to our brethren, the Ganeagaono, known to you as the Mohawks, who never sold or ceded it to anybody."
De Galisonniere's face fell a little, but he recovered himself quickly.
"That was generations ago," he said, "and time makes many shifts and changes. There is a flux and efflux of all people, including the white, like the ceaseless movement of sand upon a beach."
The Onondaga was silent, but Robert saw that he did not unbend, and de Galisonniere, feeling that it was unwise to pursue the topic, turned his attention to the mighty river and its lofty wooded banks.
"I don't believe there's another river in the world the equal of this giant French stream of ours," he said.
"Our noble British river, the Hudson, has much to say for itself," said Robert.
"A grand river, in truth. I have seen it, but large and splendid as it is it lacks the length and size of the St. Lawrence."
"It is beyond question a noble stream to travel on. One makes greater speed here and suffers less hardship than in the forest."
"I am glad that I can take you to Montreal."
"Your hospitality to us, Captain de Galisonniere, is appreciated. I have found French officers courteous and ready to share with us all they had. You are not the first whom we have met on this journey. We encountered far down in our province of New York the Chevalier Raymond de St. Luc."
"St. Luc! St. Luc! The very flower of French chivalry! He is a relative of the famous La Corne de St. Luc, of whom you have doubtless heard, and at Quebec he is considered a model of all the qualities that make a soldier and a gentleman."
"He made a like impression upon me. Farther north we were so fortunate as to meet more of your countrymen, Colonel de Courcelles and Captain de Jumonville."
"I know them both! Brave officers!" said de Galisonniere.
But he turned away the conversation from the Frenchmen who had gone down into territory that Robert considered a portion of the Province of New York, and the lad surmised that, knowing a good deal about the nature of their errands, he feared lest he might reveal something through chance allusions. Instead, he talked of the St. Lawrence, Montreal, and the glories of Quebec to which he hoped he might return soon. He addressed most of his talk to Robert, but he spoke at times to Willet and Tayoga, both of whom responded briefly. The wind meanwhile remained strong, and it was not necessary to use the oars, the large sail carrying them swiftly toward Montreal. Robert, while talking with de Galisonniere, watched eagerly the two shores, seeing the smoke rise from the stout log houses of the Canadians, and once the tall steeple of a church dominating a little village, and seeming out of all proportion to the congregation that surrounded it.
"Yes, the church is very powerful with us," said de Galisonniere, following his eyes and noting his expression. "It suits our people, particularly our good Canadian French. Our priests are patriotic, brave, self-sacrificing, and are a power in our dealings with the Indians."
"I know it," said Robert.
At night they reached Montreal, then much inferior in size and importance to Quebec, the canoe was lifted from the Frontenac, and after many exchanges of courtesies, the three went to an inn.
"If chance offers," said Robert, "we shall be glad to help you as you have helped us."
"One never knows," said de Galisonniere. "You and I need not conceal from each other that there is much talk of war between England and France, which, of course, would mean war also between the English and French colonies. If it comes, and come it will, I think, I trust that no ill luck will befall you upon the battlefield."
"And I wish you as well," said Robert, sincerely.
The canoe was left in trustworthy hands, it being their purpose to sell it on the morrow and buy a larger boat, and they walked through the streets of this town of Hochelaga toward their inn. There were other Indians on the street--French Indians they were called to distinguish them from those who formed a British alliance--but none could be compared with Tayoga, arrayed in the full splendor of a coming chief of the clan of the Bear, of the nation Onondaga, of the League of the Hodenosaunee. Never had he borne himself more haughtily, never had his height appeared greater or his presence grander. Robert, looking at him, felt that if St. Luc was the very flower of French chivalry, this young comrade of his was to an even greater degree the very spirit and essence of all that was best in the great League of the Hodenosaunee.
The Indians--Hurons, Abenakis, St. Regis, Ottawas, and warriors from farther west--watched Tayoga with fascinated eyes. They knew perfectly well who the tall youth was, that he belonged to the great Iroquois league, and they knew, too, in their secret hearts that he had the superiority which Onondaga, Mohawk and their allied nations claimed. Hence, while their looks sometimes expressed an unwilling admiration, they were also charged always with hostility and hate. But Tayoga apparently took no notice. Once more he was the Greek to whom all outer peoples were barbarians.
"I don't think the French can make much progress with him," whispered Willet to Robert. "As the Indian has no written language, his memory is long. When we reach Quebec he'll never forget for an instant that it was once Stadacona, a village of the Mohawks, the Keepers of the Eastern Gate, and one of the great nations of the Hodenosaunee."
"No, he will not," said Robert, "and look who is waiting to meet us!"
Standing before a low house, which was crowded with the goods of a fur trader, were a half-dozen Indians, wild and savage in looks to the last degree, and in the center was one whose shoulder was bound tightly with a great roll of deerskin. In stature he rose far above the other warriors, and he had a thickness in proportion. The hate that the rest had shown when they looked upon Tayoga was nothing to his, which was the very concentrated essence of all malice.
"Our good friend, Tandakora, despite his wound seems to have arrived ahead of us," said Willet to Robert.
"Yes, and he shows very clearly that he would like to give Tayoga to the torture with himself as torturer, and yet he must know that it was you who put the bullet through his shoulder."
"Quite true, Robert, but he resents the Onondaga more than he does us. We are strangers, aliens to him, and he makes no comparisons with us, but Tayoga is an Indian like himself, whom he has fought against, and against whom he has failed. Watch us pass. For Tayoga, Tandakora will not exist, and it will instill more poison into the heart of the Ojibway."
Willet was a good prophet. The Onondaga walked within five feet of the Ojibway, but he did not show by the slightest sign that he was aware of the existence of Tandakora. The entire little drama, played by the children of the forest, was perfectly clear. Tandakora was dirt under the feet of Tayoga, and Tandakora felt that it was so. His heart burned within him and a twinge through his shoulder added to his anger. Yet he was powerless there in Montreal with the French troops about, and he could merely glare impotently while the three walked by ignoring his existence. But they did not forget him, and each in his heart resolved to be on watch against treacherous attack.
They found on the slope of a high hill the inn to which de Galisonniere had recommended them, and obtained quarters for the night. Monsieur Jolivet, the proprietor, had lodged Indians before, great chiefs treating with the French Government, and he did not think it strange that Tayoga should come there. In truth, Monsieur Jolivet was a thrifty man who despised no patronage for which the pay was assured, and since peace still existed between France and Great Britain he was quite willing to entertain any number of Bostonnais at his most excellent inn on the slope of a high hill overlooking the St. Lawrence. Willet had shown him the color of gold, and from natural ability and long experience as an innkeeper being a shrewd reader of faces he was sure that his three unusual guests could be trusted.
Willet knew Canada better than Robert, and now he acted as spokesman.
"We will sleep here only one night," he said, "because early tomorrow morning we take boat for Quebec. We three will occupy one large room. You have such a room with three beds, have you not?"
"I have the room," responded Monsieur Jolivet promptly, "and the beds can be put in it at once. Then all will be arranged quickly by Lizette and Marie, the maids. Will you permit my man, Francois, to carry your weapons to the chamber now?"
"I think not," replied Willet, giving his rifle an affectionate look. "I've lived so long with this good old rifle of mine that we hate to be parted even for an hour. Tayoga and Mr. Lennox are younger than I am, but they're beginning to feel the same way about their arms. If you don't mind, Monsieur Jolivet, we'll keep our weapons with us."
"Ah, I see, sir, that you're a man of sentiment," said Monsieur Jolivet, laughing and rubbing his hands. "It is well that one can feel it in this rough world of ours. But will Monsieur see a young officer who has come from the commandant? Merely a little inquiry about your identity and an examination of your papers, if you have any. It's according to our custom, and it's just a formality, nothing more."
Robert knew that it was far from being a formality, but his comrades and he had nothing to fear, as their mission was duly accredited and they carried the letters to the Marquis Duquesne. The young officer, a Frenchman of Canadian birth, entered presently, and with the courtesy characteristic of the French race, a trait that Robert liked, asked for an account of themselves, which was given readily. As usual the effect of the letters addressed to the Marquis Duquesne was magical, and, as the officer withdrew, he tendered them all the help he could give for a speedy and pleasant voyage to Quebec.
Monsieur Jolivet gave them a supper in his best style. Although a native of New France he was of Provencal blood, and he had a poetic strain. He offered to his guests not an excellent inn alone, but a magnificent view also, of which he made full use. The evening being warm with a soft and soothing wind, Marie and Lizette set the table in a little garden, in which early flowers were blooming already, offering delicate colors of pink and rose and pale blue. The table was spread with a white cloth, and silver and china were not lacking. The eyes of Robert, who had a fastidious taste, glistened.
"Monsieur Jolivet may be our enemy or not," he said, "but I like him. It is not often that one can dine at such an inn, with such a view of mountain, forest and magnificent river. In truth, the French do some things well."
"They surpass us in the matter of inns," said Willet. "They think more about it--and take more trouble. I'm sorry we have to quarrel with the French. They're good people, though they haven't been oversqueamish in the use of savages against us, and they're really responsible for the cruelties done by the painted demons."
He spoke freely of red "savages" before Tayoga, knowing that the young Onondaga would never think of applying the word to himself. Willet had shown too often that he considered the people of the Hodenosaunee the equals of anybody. Then he took their three rifles, laid them together on the grass by the side of a graveled walk and, looking at the vast expanse of mountain, forest and river, drew a deep breath.
"It's not much like fighting for our lives back there in the gorge, is it, Robert?" he asked. "It's a strange world here in America. We're lying in a rocky hollow one day, shooting at people who are shooting at us, and both sides shooting to kill, and two or three days later we're sitting at an inn in a town, eating off silver and china."
"It's a quick and pleasant transformation," said Robert, appreciatively.
He would have called it supper, but in Montreal it was dinner, and it was served by Lizette and Marie. There was fish from the St. Lawrence, chicken, beef, many vegetables, good white bread and coffee, all prepared in the excellent manner characteristic of Monsieur Jolivet's famous inn. Tayoga ate abundantly but delicately. He had learned the use of knife and fork at the school in Albany, and, like Robert, he was fastidious at the table.
Monsieur Jolivet, after his manner, gave them much of his own presence. One must be polite to the Bostonnais at such a time. He discoursed quite freely of Montreal, and of its advantages as a great trading post with the Indians, who already brought there vast quantities of furs. It would become one of the greatest and most brilliant jewels in the French crown, second perhaps only to Paris. But for the present, the chief glory of New France could be seen only at Quebec Ah, when the Bostonnais arrived there they would behold great lords and great ladies!
The three listened, each interested in his own way. Robert's fancy saw the silken splendor of a vice-regal court, and, anxious to know the larger world, he was more glad than ever that he had come upon this errand, dangerous though it had proved to be.
They sat a while after the dinner was over, looking down at the town and the great view beyond, a clear moon and brilliant stars casting a silver light which illuminated almost like the day. They saw lights gleaming in houses, and now and then shadowy figures passing. Out in the river a boat with a mast rocked in the current, and Robert believed it was the Frontenac of Louis de Galisonniere.
As the dusk thickened over the great river, the island, the hills and the forest, Hochelaga seemed very small, and the inn of the excellent Monsieur Jolivet was just a tiny point of light in all that vast darkness. It shone, nevertheless, by contrast, and was a little island of warmth and comfort in the sea of the wilderness. Monsieur Jolivet, who was deeply interested in the Bostonnais and the proud young Iroquois, talked freely. Under his light and chattering manner lay great powers of perception, and he saw that he had guests of quality, each in his own way. The hunter even was not an ordinary hunter, but, as Monsieur Jolivet judged, a man of uncommon intellectual power, and also of education. He would discover as much about them as he could, for his own personal gratification, because he might give valuable information to the commandant at Montreal, who was his friend, and because later on he might speak a useful word or two in the ear of Louis de Galisonniere, whom he knew well and whose good opinion he valued.
Robert, who was in a cheerful mood and who wished to exercise his gift of golden speech, met him half way, and enlarged upon the splendor and power of Britain, the great kingdom that bestrode the Atlantic, seated immovable in Europe, and yet spreading through her colonies in America, increasing and growing mightier all the time. It was soon a test of eloquence between him and Monsieur Jolivet, in which each was seeking to obtain from the other an expression of the opinion that swayed his country. The Onondaga was silent, and the hunter spoke only a word or two, but each listened intently to the dialogue, which, however earnest it might be, never went beyond the bounds of good humor.
"I cannot make you see the truth," said Monsieur Jolivet, at last, smiling and spreading his hands. "I cannot convince you that France is the first of nations, the nation of light and learning and humanity, and yet it is so. And seated here upon the St. Lawrence we shall build up another France, the New France of America, which will shed light upon you English or Bostonnais down below, and teach you the grace and beauty of civilization."
"We should be willing to learn from any who can teach us," said Robert, "and such a willingness I claim is a chief merit of us English who are born in America, or Bostonnais, as you would call us."
Monsieur Jolivet once more spread out his hands in deprecation.
"We argue in vain," he said. "But now Lizette comes with the coffee, which is one of the most glorious triumphs of my inn. Does the young chief drink coffee?"
"Yes," replied Robert, "he learned at Albany all the white man's habits."
After the coffee they rose from the table and mine host prepared to show them to their room. The darkness had thickened meanwhile and glimpses of the river and the hills were faint. The little garden was enclosed by three walls of darkness, being lighted on the side where it joined the inn. Yet Robert thought he saw a shifting figure blacker than the shadows in which it moved.
Marie and Lizette took away the silver and china and Monsieur Jolivet went ahead to show them to their room. Then something whistled in the darkness, and an arrow buried to the head of the barb stood out in the rear wall of the inn. The three seized their rifles, but the darker shadow in the shadows was gone. Tayoga broke off the arrow level with the wall, and threw the shaft into the garden.
"It was Tandakora," he said, "seeking revenge. But since the arrow has sped wrong he will not loose another shaft tonight. If it had not been for his wounded shoulder the arrow might have gone true. It was a treacherous deed, worthy of the savage Ojibway."
"I hope the time will come," said Willet, "when I shall send a bullet not through Tandakora's shoulder, but through his heart. I don't love the shedding of blood, but the forest will be a better forest without him. Meanwhile, say nothing, lads. Monsieur Jolivet is coming back, but don't mention the arrow to him. He may find the head of it later on in the wall, and then he can wonder about it as much as he pleases."
Mine host bustled back. The foul and treacherous attempt, the breaking off of the arrow, and the comment upon it had taken less than a minute, and, good observer though he was, he noticed nothing unusual in the appearance of his guests. They carried their rifles in their hands, but many visitors to Montreal did the same, and as they were beautiful weapons they might well guard against their loss.
"Follow me, my Bostonnais," he said lightly. "I have the great room with three beds for you, and I trust that you have enjoyed the dinner."
"We have enjoyed it greatly, all of it, Monsieur Jolivet, and especially the dessert," replied Robert with meaning.
"Ah, the pastry," said Monsieur Jolivet, clasping his hands. "It is Marie who made it. It is the gift that she has, and I shall tell her of your praise."
But Robert was not thinking of the pastry. It was of the arrow that he spoke as dessert, although the excellent Monsieur Jolivet was destined never to know the hidden significance of his words. The room which he showed them with so much pride was a large apartment worthy of their praise, having a polished, shining floor of oak, with furs spread here and there upon it, and a low ceiling crossed with mighty beams also of oak. Robert looked at the windows, three in number, and he saw with satisfaction that they had heavy shutters. Monsieur Jolivet's glance followed his own, and he said:
"The shutters are for use in the winter, when the great colds come, and the fierce winds rage. But you, messieurs, who live so much in the forest, will, of course, prefer to keep them wide open tonight."
Robert murmured assent, but when Monsieur Jolivet departed, wishing them a polite good night, he looked at his comrades.
"We are used to air," said Willet, "and lots of it, but those shutters will be closed until morning. As Tayoga truly said, he will hardly dare another arrow, but we mustn't take any risk, however small."
Tayoga nodded approval, and drawing the shutters close, they fastened them. Then they undressed and lay down upon their beds, but each prepared to sleep with his rifle beside him.
"The catches on those shutters are good and strong," said Willet, "and Tandakora, even if he should come again, won't try to break them. It wouldn't suit the purposes of the French for a warrior of a tribe allied with them to be caught trying to murder English visitors, and, that being the case, I expect to go to sleep soon and sleep well."
He was as good as his word. Robert, who blew out the candle, soon heard his regular breathing. Tayoga, who was used to rooms, the Iroquois themselves having strong log houses, quickly followed him in slumber, but young Lennox was not able to compose his nerves for a little while. He was perhaps more sensitive and imaginative than his comrades, or the close air may have kept him awake. He could not help feeling that Tandakora was outside trying the fastenings of the shutters, and at last rising, he walked on tiptoe and listened at every window in turn. He heard nothing without but the breathing of the gentle wind, and then, knowing that it had been only his vivid fancy, he went back to bed and slept soundly.
"Wake up, Robert, and breathe this air! After our having been sealed up in a room all night the breeze is heavenly."
The shutters were thrown back, and the hunter and Tayoga, fully dressed, stood by the windows. The air, fresh, life-giving, coming over the great forests and the mighty river, was pouring into the room in streams, and Tayoga and Willet were facing it, in order that they might receive it straight upon their foreheads. Robert joined them, and soon felt as if he had been created anew and stronger.
"I'll never again sleep in a room closed tight and hard," said Willet, "not even to protect my life. I've roamed the free woods for so many years that I think another such experience would make me choke to death."
"I'm not in love with it myself," said Robert, "but it makes the world outside look all the grander and all the more beautiful."
At their wish breakfast was served for them by Monsieur Jolivet in the garden, Willet insisting that for the present he could not stay any longer in a house. Robert from his seat could see the end of the broken barb embedded in the wall, but neither mine host nor any of his assistants had yet noticed it.
Monsieur Jolivet was pleased that they should have such a brilliant day to begin their journey to Quebec, and he was telling them where they could sell their canoe and buy a good boat when Louis de Galisonniere appeared in the garden and presented them the compliments of the morning. He looked so trim and so gay that he brought with him a cheerful breeze, and the three felt the effect of it, although they wondered at the nature of his errand there. Robert invited him to join them at breakfast and he accepted their invitation, taking a roll and butter and a cup of coffee after the French custom which even then prevailed.
"I see that you've slept well," he said, "and that the inn of Monsieur Jolivet is as kind to the Bostonnais as it is to the French and the Canadians."
"Its hospitality to us could be no finer if we came from Paris itself, instead of the Province of New York," said Robert. "Our stay in Canada has been short, but most interesting."
Monsieur Jolivet had gone into the inn, and de Galisonniere said:
"Montreal is a fine town and I would not depreciate it in the presence of our host, but as I have told you before, our Quebec to which you are going is the true glory of New France. My knowledge that you're going there is the reason why I've come here this morning."
"How is that?" asked Robert
"Because I received orders last night to depart in the Frontenac for Quebec, a journey that I undertake with great willingness, since it takes me where I wish to go. I have also the authority of the commandant to ask your presence as guests for the voyage on board my vessel. Until we French and you English actually go to war we might as well be friends."
Robert glanced at Tayoga and Willet and they nodded slightly. Then he replied warmly that they accepted the invitation and would go with much pleasure in the Frontenac. After breakfast they sold the canoe and embarked presently, having first said goodby to Monsieur Jolivet, who with his best napkin, waved them farewell.
Robert was more than pleased at their good luck. The Frontenac offered them a better passage than any boat they could buy and have to row perhaps with their own strength. Moreover, they were already on excellent terms with de Galisonniere, and it would be a good thing for them to arrive at Quebec in his company.
A strong wind was blowing, and the Frontenac moved swiftly over the surface of the great stream which was like liquid green glass that morning. The three had put their weapons, including Tayoga's bow and arrows, in the cabin, and they sat on deck with de Galisonniere, who looked with pride at the magnificent river which was the very artery of life in the New France of the chevaliers. Robert's own heart throbbed as he knew that this last stage of their journey would take them to famous Quebec.
"If the St. Lawrence didn't freeze over for such a long period," said de Galisonniere, "this region would become in time the greatest empire in the world."
"But isn't that a huge 'if'?" asked Robert, laughing.
De Galisonniere smiled.
"It is," he said, "but New France is the chief jewel in the French crown, nevertheless. In time the vice-regal court at Quebec will rule an empire greater than that of France itself. Think of the huge lakes, the great rivers, the illimitable forests, beyond them the plains over which the buffalo herds roam in millions, and beyond them, so they say, range on range of mountains and forests without end."
"I have been thinking of them," said Robert, "but I've been thinking of them in a British way."
De Galisonniere laughed again and then grew serious.
"It's natural," he said, "that you should think of them in a British way, while I think of them in a French way. I suppose we shall have war, Mr. Lennox, but doesn't it seem strange that England and France should fight about American territory, when there's so much of it? Here's a continent that civilized man cannot occupy for many generations. Both England and France could be hidden away in its forests, and it would take explorers to find them, and yet we must fight over a claim to regions that we cannot occupy."
Robert decided then that he liked young de Galisonniere very much. Some such thoughts had been passing through his own mind, and he was glad that he could talk frankly about the coming war with one who would be on the other side, one who would be an official but not a personal enemy. As the Frontenac slid on through the tumbling green current they talked earnestly. Willet, sitting near, glanced at them occasionally, but he too had plenty of thoughts of his own, while Tayoga, saying nothing, gazed at the high green southern shore. This, so the old men said, had once been the land of the Mohawks, one of the great nations of the Hodenosaunee, and now the children of Onontio, who had come with firearms against bows and arrows, spoke of it as theirs since Manitou first made the land rise from the deep. Tayoga was silent but he had many thoughts, and they were thoughts that came to him often and stayed long.
"De Courcelles and Jumonville, whom you met in the forest," said de Galisonniere, at length, "arrived in Montreal early last night, and after a stay of only two or three hours sailed in a schooner for Quebec."
"Did you see them at all while they were in Montreal?" asked Robert, who seemed to detect significance in the young Frenchman's tone.
"Only for a few moments," replied de Galisonniere, and Robert, judging that he wished to avoid more talk on the subject, made no further reference to de Courcelles. But the knowledge that he had gone on ahead to Quebec troubled him. De Courcelles was not so young and frank as de Galisonniere, nor did he seem to have the fine soul and chivalric spirit of St. Luc. Robert felt the three had cause to fear him.
But the journey down the St. Lawrence continued without serious delay, although the wind failed now and then and they took to the oars. It was a voyage full of variety and interest to Robert. He slept that night with his comrades on the deck of the Frontenac, and the next morning he found a strong wind again blowing.
In time they approached Quebec, and saw the increasing signs of population that betokened proximity to what was then in the eyes of North Americans a great capital. On either shore they saw the manor houses of the seigneurs, solid stone structures, low, steep of roof and gabled, with clustering outhouses, and often a stone mill near by. The churches also increased in numbers, and at one point the Frontenac stopped and took on a priest, a tall strongly built man of middle years, with a firm face. De Galisonniere introduced him as Father Philibert Drouillard, and Robert felt his penetrating gaze upon his face. Then it shifted to Willet and Tayoga, resting long upon the Onondaga.
Robert, knowing the great power of the church in Canada, was curious about Father Drouillard, whom he knew at once to be no ordinary man. His lean ascetic face seemed to show the spirit that had marked Jogues and Goupil and those other early priests whom no danger nor Indian torture could daunt. But he was too polite to ask questions, feeling that time would bring him all the information he wanted, in which he was right, as de Galisonniere said later in the day when Father Drouillard was sitting in the little cabin out of hearing:
"A man of influence at Quebec. He has no parish, nor seems to wish any, but he is deep in the councils of the Church. It is known, too, that he corresponds with Rome, with the Holy Father himself, 'tis said, and there are men high in office at Quebec who wish that he might be called from New France back to the old land. Francois Bigot, the Intendant, does not love him, nor does anyone of the group about Bigot, neither his commissary general, Cadet, nor Pean, the Town Mayor of Quebec, nor Descheneaux, nor the others of that group. It's a gorgeous life that our own court circle leads at Quebec, and at the great Chateau Bigot, in the midst of its walks and flowers and gardens. I don't know why I'm telling you these things, Mr. Lennox! It seems they should be the very last to say to one's official enemy, but I can't feel that I'm doing anything wrong when I do tell them to you."
His bright face was in gloom for a few moments, and Robert, quick in perception, had a sudden feeling that this brilliant Quebec, enveloped in so much color and glamour, might not be so sound within as the English towns to the south, despite their wrangling. But it merely increased his anxiety to see Quebec. Life would be all the more complex there.
The great river spread before them, blue now under a dazzling blue sky, and the stout Frontenac left a long white trailing wake. A stone house, larger than usual, showed through the green foliage on the south bank. Father Drouillard gazed at it, and his face darkened. Presently he arose and shook his hand towards the house, as if he were delivering a curse.
"The chateau that you see belongs to the young Count Jean de Mezy, a friend of the Intendant, Bigot. Sometimes they come from their revels at Beaumanoir to the Chateau de Mezy, and continue them there. Now you can see why Father Drouillard, who sympathizes with our honnetes gens, delivers his malediction."
The priest returned to his seat, and averted his face. An hour later the mighty rock of Quebec rose before them.