Arthur Conan Doyle
Part 8 out of 8
at his last visit to Quebec, and yet it might be useful, too, and it was
loaded in both barrels.
"I meant to use it on myself," said she, as she slipped it into the hand
of De Catinat. "But now I am minded to show them that I can die as an
Onondaga should die, and that I am worthy to have the blood of their
chiefs in my veins. Take it, for I swear that I will not use it myself,
unless it be to fire both bullets into that Bastard's heart."
A flush of joy shot over De Catinat as his fingers closed round the
pistol. Here was indeed a key to unlock the gates of peace. Adele laid
her cheek against his shoulder and laughed with pleasure.
"You will forgive me, dear," he whispered.
"Forgive you! I bless you, and love you with my whole heart and soul.
Clasp me close, darling, and say one prayer before you do it."
They had sunk on their knees together when three warriors entered the
hut and said a few abrupt words to their country-woman. She rose with a
"They are waiting for me," said she. "You shall see, White Lily, and
you also, monsieur, how well I know what is due to my position.
Farewell, and remember Onega!"
She smiled again, and walked from the hut amidst the warriors with the
quick firm step of a queen who sweeps to a throne.
"Now, Amory!" whispered Adele, closing her eyes, and nestling still
closer to him.
He raised the pistol, and then, with a quick sudden intaking of the
breath, he dropped it, and knelt with glaring eyes looking up at a tree
which faced the open door of the hut.
It was a beech-tree, exceedingly old and gnarled, with its bark hanging
down in strips and its whole trunk spotted with moss and mould.
Some ten feet above the ground the main trunk divided into two, and in
the fork thus formed a hand had suddenly appeared, a large reddish hand,
which shook frantically from side to side in passionate dissuasion.
The next instant, as the two captives still stared in amazement, the
hand disappeared behind the trunk again and a face appeared in its
place, which still shook from side to side as resolutely as its
forerunner. It was impossible to mistake that mahogany, wrinkled skin,
the huge bristling eyebrows, or the little glistening eyes. It was
Captain Ephraim Savage of Boston!
And even as they stared and wondered a sudden shrill whistle burst out
from the depths of the forest, and in a moment every bush and thicket
and patch of brushwood were spouting fire and smoke, while the snarl of
the musketry ran round the whole glade, and the storm of bullets whizzed
and pelted among the yelling savages. The Iroquois' sentinels had been
drawn in by their bloodthirsty craving to see the prisoners die, and now
the Canadians were upon them, and they were hemmed in by a ring of fire.
First one way and then another they rushed, to be met always by the same
blast of death, until finding at last some gap in the attack they
streamed through, like sheep through a broken fence, and rushed madly
away through the forest, with the bullets of their pursuers still
singing about their ears, until the whistle sounded again to recall the
woodsmen from the chase.
But there was one savage who had found work to do before he fled.
The Flemish Bastard had preferred his vengeance to his safety!
Rushing at Onega, he buried his tomahawk in her brain, and then, yelling
his war-cry, he waved the blood-stained weapon above his head, and flew
into the hut where the prisoners still knelt. De Catinat saw him
coming, and a mad joy glistened in his eyes. He rose to meet him, and
as he rushed in he fired both barrels of his pistol into the Bastard's
face. An instant later a swarm of Canadians had rushed over the
writhing bodies, the captives felt warm friendly hands which grasped
their own, and looking upon the smiling, well-known faces of Amos Green,
Savage, and Du Lhut, they knew that peace had come to them at last.
And so the refugees came to the end of the toils of their journey, for
that winter was spent by them in peace at Fort St. Louis, and in the
spring, the Iroquois having carried the war to the Upper St. Lawrence,
the travellers were able to descend into the English provinces, and so
to make their way down the Hudson to New York, where a warm welcome
awaited them from the family of Amos Green. The friendship between the
two men was now so cemented together by common memories and common
danger that they soon became partners in fur-trading, and the name of
the Frenchman came at last to be as familiar in the mountains of Maine
and on the slopes of the Alleghanies as it had once been in the _salons_
and corridors of Versailles. In time De Catinat built a house on Staten
Island, where many of his fellow-refugees had settled, and much of what
he won from his fur-trading was spent in the endeavour to help his
struggling Huguenot brothers. Amos Green had married a Dutch maiden of
Schenectady, and as Adele and she became inseparable friends, the
marriage served to draw closer the ties of love which held the two
As to Captain Ephraim Savage, he returned safely to his beloved Boston,
where he fulfilled his ambition by building himself a fair brick house
upon the rising ground in the northern part of the city, whence he could
look down both upon the shipping in the river and the bay. There he
lived, much respected by his townsfolk, who made him selectman and
alderman, and gave him the command of a goodly ship when Sir William
Phips made his attack upon Quebec, and found that the old Lion Frontenac
was not to be driven from his lair. So, honoured by all, the old seaman
lived to an age which carried him deep into the next century, when he
could already see with his dim eyes something of the growing greatness
of his country.
The manor-house of Sainte Marie was soon restored to its former
prosperity, but its seigneur was from the day that he lost his wife and
son a changed man. He grew leaner, fiercer, less human, forever heading
parties which made their way into the Iroquois woods and which
outrivalled the savages themselves in the terrible nature of their
deeds. A day came at last when he sallied out upon one of these
expeditions, from which neither he nor any of his men ever returned.
Many a terrible secret is hid by those silent woods, and the fate of
Charles de la Noue, Seigneur de Sainte Marie, is among them.
NOTE ON THE HUGUENOTS AND THEIR DISPERSION.
Towards the latter quarter of the seventeenth century there was hardly
an important industry in France which was not controlled by the
Huguenots, so that, numerous as they were, their importance was out of
all proportion to their numbers. The cloth trade of the north and the
south-east, the manufacture of serges and light stuffs in Languedoc, the
linen trade of Normandy and Brittany, the silk and velvet industry of
Tours and Lyons, the glass of Normandy, the paper of Auvergne and
Angoumois, the jewellery of the Isle of France, the tan yards of
Touraine, the iron and tin work of the Sedanais--all these were largely
owned and managed by Huguenots. The numerous Saint days of the Catholic
Calendar handicapped their rivals, and it was computed that the
Protestant worked 310 days in the year to his fellow-countryman's 260.
A very large number of the Huguenot refugees were brought back, and the
jails and galleys of France were crowded with them. One hundred
thousand settled in Friesland and Holland, 25,000 in Switzerland, 75,000
in Germany, and 50,000 in England. Some made their way even to the
distant Cape of Good Hope, where they remained in the Paarl district.
In war, as in industry, the exiles were a source of strength to the
countries which received them. Frenchmen drilled the Russian armies of
Peter the Great, a Huguenot Count became commander-in-chief in Denmark,
and Schomberg led the army of Brandenburg, and afterwards that of
In England three Huguenot regiments were formed for the service
of William. The exiles established themselves as silk workers in
Spitalfields, cotton spinners at Bideford, tapestry weavers at Exeter,
wool carders at Taunton, kersey makers at Norwich, weavers at
Canterbury, bat makers at Wandsworth, sailcloth makers at Ipswich,
workers in calico in Bromley, glass in Sussex, paper at Laverstock,
cambric at Edinburgh.
Early Protestant refugees had taken refuge in America twenty years
before the revocation, where they formed a colony at Staten Island.
A body came to Boston in 1684, and were given 11,000 acres at Oxford,
by order of the General Court at Massachusetts. In New York and
Long Island colonies sprang up, and later in Virginia (the Monacan
Settlement), in Maryland, and in South Carolina (French Santee and
NOTE ON THE FUTURE OF LOUIS, MADAMS DE MAINTENON, AND MADAME DE
It has been left to our own century to clear the fair fame of Madame de
Maintenon of all reproach, and to show her as what she was, a pure woman
and a devoted wife. She has received little justice from the memoir
writers of the seventeenth century, most of whom, the Duc de St. Simon,
for example, and the Princess Elizabeth of Bavaria, had their own
private reasons for disliking her. An admirable epitome of her
character and influence will be found in Dr. Dollinger's _Historical
Studies_. She made Louis an excellent wife, waited upon him assiduously
for thirty years of married life, influenced him constantly towards
good--save only in the one instance of the Huguenots, and finally died
very shortly after her husband.
Madame de Montespan lived in great magnificence after the triumph of her
rival, and spent freely the vast sums which the king's generosity had
furnished her with. Eventually, having exhausted all that this world
could offer, she took to hair-shirts and nail-studded girdles, in the
hope of securing a good position in the next. Her horror of death was
excessive. In thunderstorms she sat with a little child in her lap, in
the hope that its innocence might shield her from the lightning. She
slept always with her room ablaze with tapers, and with several women
watching by the side of her couch. When at last the inevitable arrived
she left her body for the family tomb, her heart to the convent of La
Fleche, and her entrails to the priory of Menoux near Bourbon.
These latter were thrust into a box and given to a peasant to convey to
the priory. Curiosity induced him to look into the box upon the way,
and, seeing the contents, he supposed himself to be the victim of a
practical joke, and emptied them out into a ditch. A swineherd was
passing at the moment with his pigs, and so it happened that, in the
words of Mrs. Julia Pardoe, "in a few minutes the most filthy animals
in creation had devoured portions of the remains of one of the
haughtiest women who ever trod the earth."
Louis, after a reign of more than fifty years, which comprised the most
brilliant epoch of French history, died at last in 1715 amidst the
One by one those whom he loved had preceded him to the grave, his
brother, his son, the two sons of his son, their wives, and finally his
favourite great-grandson, until he, the old dying monarch, with his
rouge and his stays, was left with only a little infant in arms, the Duc
D'Anjou, three generations away from him, to perpetuate his line.
On 20th August, 1715, he was attacked by senile gangrene, which
gradually spread up the leg until on the 30th it became fatal.
His dying words were worthy of his better self. "Gentlemen, I desire
your pardon for the bad example which I have set you. I have greatly to
thank you fur the manner in which you have served me, as well as for the
attachment and fidelity which I have always experienced at your hands.
I request from you the same zeal and fidelity for my grandson.
Farewell, gentlemen. I feel that this parting has affected not only
myself but you also. Forgive me! I trust that you will sometimes think
of me when I am gone."
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