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      [25] "Il y en a qui en mangent auec plaisir."Brbeuf, Relation des Hurons, 1636, 121.Le Mercier gives a description of one of these scenes, at which he was present. (Ibid., 1637, 118.) The same horrible practice prevailed to a greater extent among the Iroquois. One of the most remarkable instances of Indian cannibalism is that furnished by a Western tribe, the Miamis, among whom there was a clan, or family, whose hereditary duty and privilege it was to devour the bodies of prisoners burned to death. The act had somewhat of a religious character, was attended with ceremonial observances, and was restricted to the family in question.See Hon. Lewis Cass, in the appendix to Colonel Whiting's poem, "Ontwa."

      When the vessel anchored before Port Royal, Biencourt, with disgust and anger, saw another Jesuit landed at the pier. This was Gilbert du Thet, a lay brother, versed in affairs of this world, who had come out as representative and administrator of Madame de Guercheville. Poutrincourt, also, had his agent on board; and, without the loss of a day, the two began to quarrel. A truce ensued; then a smothered feud, pervading the whole colony, and ending in a notable explosion. The Jesuits, chafing under the sway of Biencourt, had withdrawn without ceremony, and betaken themselves to the vessel, intending to sail for France. Biencourt, exasperated at such a breach of discipline, and fearing their representations at court, ordered them to return, adding that, since the Queen had commended them to his especial care, he could not, in conscience, lose sight of them. The indignant fathers excommunicated him. On this, the sagamore Louis, son of the grisly convert Membertou, begged leave to kill them; but Biencourt would not countenance this summary mode of relieving his embarrassment. He again, in the King's name, ordered the clerical mutineers to return to the fort. Biard declared that he would not, threatened to excommunicate any who should lay hand on him, and called the Vice-Admiral a robber. His wrath, however, soon cooled; he yielded to necessity, and came quietly ashore, where, for the next three months, neither he nor his colleagues would say mass, or perform any office of religion. At length a change came over him; he made advances of peace, prayed that the past might be forgotten, said mass again, and closed with a petition that Brother du Thet might be allowed to go to France in a trading vessel then on the coast. His petition being granted, he wrote to Poutrincourt a letter overflowing with praises of his son; and, charged with this missive, Du Thet set sail.

      This, or something like it, one may safely affirm, was the aspect of the Illinois village at noon of the tenth of September.[186] In a hut apart from the rest, you would probably have found the Frenchmen. Among them was a man, not strong in person, and disabled, moreover, by the loss of a hand, yet in this den of barbarism betraying the language and bearing of one formed in the most polished civilization of Europe. This was Henri de Tonty. The others were young Boisrondet, the servant L'Esprance, and a Parisian youth named tienne Renault. The [Pg 224] friars, Membr and Ribourde, were not in the village, but at a hut a league distant, whither they had gone to make a "retreat" for prayer and meditation. Their missionary labors had not been fruitful; they had made no converts, and were in despair at the intractable character of the objects of their zeal. As for the other Frenchmen, time, doubtless, hung heavy on their hands; for nothing can surpass the vacant monotony of an Indian town when there is neither hunting, nor war, nor feasts, nor dances, nor gambling, to beguile the lagging hours.CHAPTER XV.

      **** Talon a Colbert, 2 Nov., 1671.

      the charges.I think the steersman is right, said the youth. If that vessel is as fleet as is said, yet holds back, there is surely some evil intended, which will not appear until the time seems favorable.

      How eagerly Hipyllos listened. Here was something he did not understand.

      [193] "Cependant les Iroquois, aussit?t aprs le dpart du Sr. de Tonty, exercrent leur rage sur les corps morts des Ilinois, qu'ils dterrrent ou abbattrent de dessus les chafauds où les Ilinois les laissent longtemps exposs avant que de les mettre en terre. Ils en br?lrent la plus grande partie, ils en mangrent mme quelques uns, et jettrent le reste aux chiens. Ils plantrent les ttes de ces cadavres demi dcharns sur des pieux," etc.Relation des Dcouvertes.


      On the 2d of July, 1659, the ship St. Andr lay in the harbor of Rochelle, crowded with passengers for Canada. She had served two years as a hospital for marines, and was infected with a contagious fever. Including the crew, some two hundred persons were on board, more than half of whom were bound for Montreal. Most of these were sturdy laborers, artisans, peasants, and soldiers, together with a troop of young women, their present or future partners; a portion of the company set down on the old record as sixty virtuous men and thirty-two pious girls. There were two priests also, Vignal and Le Ma?tre, both destined to a speedy death at the hands of the Iroquois. But the most conspicuous among these passengers for Montreal were two groups of women in the habit of nuns, under the direction of Marguerite Bourgeoys and Jeanne Mance. Marguerite Bourgeoys, whose kind, womanly face bespoke her fitness for the task, was foundress of the school for female children at Montreal; her companion, a tall, austere figure, worn with suffering and care, was directress of the hospital. Both had returned to France for aid, and were now on their way back, each with three recruits, three being the mystic number, as a type of the Holy Family, to whose worship they were especially devoted.


      Go to the banks of the Illinois where it flows by the village of Utica, and stand on the meadow that borders it on the north. In front glides the river, a musket-shot in width; and from the farther bank rises, with gradual slope, a range of wooded hills [Pg 221] that hide from sight the vast prairie behind them. A mile or more on your left these gentle acclivities end abruptly in the lofty front of the great cliff, called by the French the Rock of St. Louis, looking boldly out from the forests that environ it; and, three miles distant on your right, you discern a gap in the steep bluffs that here bound the valley, marking the mouth of the river Vermilion, called Aramoni by the French.[184] Now stand in fancy on this same spot in the early autumn of the year 1680. You are in the midst of the great town of the Illinois,hundreds of mat-covered lodges, and thousands of congregated savages. Enter one of their dwellings: they will not think you an intruder. Some friendly squaw will lay a mat for you by the fire; you may seat yourself upon it, smoke your pipe, and study the lodge and its inmates by the light that streams through the holes at the top. Three or four fires smoke and smoulder on the ground down the middle [Pg 222] of the long arched structure; and, as to each fire there are two families, the place is somewhat crowded when all are present. But now there is breathing room, for many are in the fields. A squaw sits weaving a mat of rushes; a warrior, naked except his moccasins, and tattooed with fantastic devices, binds a stone arrow-head to its shaft, with the fresh sinews of a buffalo. Some lie asleep, some sit staring in vacancy, some are eating, some are squatted in lazy chat around a fire. The smoke brings water to your eyes; the fleas annoy you; small unkempt children, naked as young puppies, crawl about your knees and will not be repelled. You have seen enough; you rise and go out again into the sunlight. It is, if not a peaceful, at least a languid scene. A few voices break the stillness, mingled with the joyous chirping of crickets from the grass. Young men lie flat on their faces, basking in the sun; a group of their elders are smoking around a buffalo-skin on which they have just been playing a game of chance with cherry-stones. A lover and his mistress, perhaps, sit together under a shed of bark, without uttering a word. Not far off is the graveyard, where lie the dead of the village, some buried in the earth, some wrapped in skins and laid aloft on scaffolds, above the reach of wolves. In the cornfields around, you see squaws at their labor, and children driving off intruding birds; and your eye ranges over the meadows beyond, spangled with the yellow blossoms of the resin-weed and the Rudbeckia, [Pg 223] or over the bordering hills still green with the foliage of summer.[185]


      [96] This agrees with expressions used by La Salle in a memoir addressed by him to Frontenac in November, 1680. In this, he intimates his belief that Joliet went but little below the mouth of the Illinois, thus doing flagrant injustice to that brave explorer.