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      The Fathers had escaped for the time; but they were still in deadly peril. They had taken pains to secure friends in private, and there were those who were attached to their interests; yet none dared openly take their part. The few converts they had lately made came to them in secret, and warned them that their death was determined upon. Their house was set on fire; in public, every face was averted from them; and a new council was called to pronounce the decree of death. They appeared before it with a front of such unflinching assurance, that their judges, Indian-like, postponed 122 the sentence. Yet it seemed impossible that they should much longer escape. Brbeuf, therefore, wrote a letter of farewell to his Superior, Le Jeune, at Quebec, and confided it to some converts whom he could trust, to be carried by them to its destination.

      At the Bazaar that evening, when Charlie and grandma and the crowd were gone, Flora handled the unlovely curiosity. She and Irby had seen Hilary and Anna and the Hyde & Goodrich man on guard just there draw near the glass case where it lay "like a snake on a log," as Charlie had said, take it in their hands and talk of it. The jeweller was expressing confidentially a belief that it had once been set with real stones, and Hilary was privately having a sudden happy thought, when Flora and Adolphe came up only in time to hear the goldsmith's statement of its present poor value.

      That noise is dearer to me than the notes of the nuptial hymn. Now we are alone; now I have you forever."Madame our foundress (Madame de la Peltrie) sends you relics of our holy martyrs; but she does it secretly, since the reverend Fathers would not give us any, for fear that we should send them to France: but, as she is not bound by vows, and as the very persons who went for the bodies have given relics of them to her in secret, I begged her to send you some of them, which she has done very gladly, from the respect she has for you." She adds, in the same letter, "Our Lord having revealed to him (Brbeuf) the time of his martyrdom three days before it happened, he went, full of joy, to find the other Fathers; who, seeing him in extraordinary spirits, caused him, by an inspiration of God, to be bled; after which time surgeon dried his blood, through a presentiment of what was to take place, lest he should be treated like Father Daniel, who, eight months before, had been so reduced to ashes that no remains of his body could be found."

      [67] Mr. Schoolcraft has collected many of these tales. See his Algic Researches, Vol. I. Compare the stories of Messou, given by Le Jeune (Relations, 1633, 1634), and the account of Nanabush, by Edwin James, in his notes to Tanner's Narrative of Captivity and Adventures during a Thirty-Years' Residence among the Indians; also the account of the Great Hare, in the Mmoire of Nicolas Perrot, Chaps. I., II.

      Suddenly a very young girl, scarcely beyond childhood, came running towards them, beckoning with agitated gestures while still a long way off. The men suspected that something unusual must have happened and hurried to meet the messenger, though without forgetting the hare. Weeping bitterly, she told them what had occurred.

      G It was the custom to punish suicides by cutting off the right hand.

      Famine and desperation now reigned at Fort Caroline. The Indians had killed two of the carpenters; hence long delay in the finishing of the new ship. They would not wait, but resolved to put to sea in the "Breton" and the brigantine. The problem was to find food for the voyage; for now, in their extremity, they roasted and ate snakes, a delicacy in which the neighborhood abounded.


      Their late enemies, now become friends, spent the next day in dances, feasts, and speeches. They entreated La Salle not to advance farther, since the Illinois, through whose country he must pass, would be sure to kill him; for, added these friendly counsellors, they hated the French because they had been [Pg 162] instigating the Iroquois to invade their country, Here was another subject of anxiety. La Salle was confirmed in his belief that his busy and unscrupulous enemies were intriguing for his destruction.


      Perhaps we ought to have waited for a lucky day.The last proposal was greeted with shrill laughter.