On a morning in the latter part of October, Le Jeune embarked with the Indians, twenty in all, men, women, and children. No other Frenchman was of the party. Champlain bade him an anxious farewell, and commended him to the care of his red associates, who had taken charge of his store of biscuit, flour, corn, prunes, and turnips, to which, in an evil hour, his friends had persuaded him to add a small keg of wine. The canoes glided along the wooded shore of the Island of Orleans, and the party landed, towards evening, on the small island immediately below. Le Jeune was delighted with the spot, and the wild beauties of the autumnal sunset.

His reflections, however, were soon interrupted. While the squaws were setting up their bark lodges, and Mestigoit was shooting wild-fowl for supper, Pierre returned to the canoes, tapped the keg of wine, and soon fell into the mud, helplessly drunk. Revived by the immersion, he next appeared at the camp, foaming at the mouth, threw down the lodges, overset the kettle, and chased the shrieking squaws into the woods. His brother Mestigoit rekindled the fire, and slung the kettle anew; when Pierre, who meanwhile had been raving like a madman along the shore, reeled in a fury to the spot to repeat his former exploit. Mestigoit anticipated him, snatched the kettle from the fire, and threw the scalding contents in his face. "He was never so well washed before in his life," says Le Jeune; "he lost all the skin of his face and breast. Would to God his heart had changed also!" [ 1 ] He roared in his frenzy for a hatchet to kill the missionary, who therefore thought it prudent to spend the night in the neighboring woods. Here he stretched himself on the earth, while a charitable squaw covered him with a sheet of birch-bark. "Though my bed," he writes, "had not been made up since the creation of the world, it was not hard enough to prevent me from sleeping."

[ "Iamais il ne fut si bien laue, il changea de peau en la face et en tout l'estomach: pleust a Dieu que son ame eust change aussi bien que son corps!" - Relation, 1634, 59. ]

Such was his initiation into Indian winter life. Passing over numerous adventures by water and land, we find the party, on the twelfth of November, leaving their canoes on an island, and wading ashore at low tide over the flats to the southern bank of the St. Lawrence. As two other bands had joined them, their number was increased to forty-five persons. Now, leaving the river behind, they entered those savage highlands whence issue the springs of the St. John, - a wilderness of rugged mountain-ranges, clad in dense, continuous forests, with no human tenant but this troop of miserable rovers, and here and there some kindred hand, as miserable as they. Winter had set in, and already dead Nature was sheeted in funereal white. Lakes and ponds were frozen, rivulets sealed up, torrents encased with stalactites of ice; the black rocks and the black trunks of the pine-trees were beplastered with snow, and its heavy masses crushed the dull green boughs into the drifts beneath. The forest was silent as the grave.

Through this desolation the long file of Indians made its way, all on snow-shoes, each man, woman, and child bending under a heavy load, or dragging a sledge, narrow, but of prodigious length. They carried their whole wealth with them, on their backs or on their sledges, - kettles, axes, hides of meat, if such they had, and huge rolls of birch-bark for covering their wigwams. The Jesuit was loaded like the rest. The dogs alone floundered through the drifts unburdened. There was neither path nor level ground. Descending, climbing, stooping beneath half-fallen trees, clambering over piles of prostrate trunks, struggling through matted cedar-swamps, threading chill ravines, and crossing streams no longer visible, they toiled on till the day began to decline, then stopped to encamp. [ 1 ] Burdens were thrown down, and sledges unladen. The squaws, with knives and hatchets, cut long poles of birch and spruce saplings; while the men, with snow-shoes for shovels, cleared a round or square space in the snow, which formed an upright wall three or four feet high, inclosing the area of the wigwam. On one side, a passage was cut for an entrance, and the poles were planted around the top of the wall of snow, sloping and converging. On these poles were spread the sheets of birch-bark; a bear-skin was hung in the passage-way for a door; the bare ground within and the surrounding snow were covered with spruce boughs; and the work was done.

[ 1 "S'il arriuoit quelque degel, o Dieu quelle peine! Il me sembloit que ie marchois sur vn chemin de verre qui se cassoit a tous coups soubs mes pieds: la neige congelee venant a s'amollir, tomboit et s'enfoncoit par esquarres ou grandes pieces, et nous en auions bien souuent iusques aux genoux, quelquefois iusqu'a la ceinture. Que s'il y auoit de la peine a tomber, il y en auoit encor plus a se retirer: car nos raquettes se chargeoient de neiges et se rendoient si pesantes, que quand vous veniez a les retirer il vous sembloit qu'on vous tiroit les iambes pour vous demembrer. I'en ay veu qui glissoient tellement soubs des souches enseuelies soubs la neige, qu'ils ne pouuoient tirer ny iambes ny raquettes sans secours: or figurez vous maintenant vne personne chargee comme vn mulet, et iugez si la vie des Sauuages est douce." - Relation, 1034, 67. ]

This usually occupied about three hours, during which Le Jeune, spent with travel, and weakened by precarious and unaccustomed fare, had the choice of shivering in idleness, or taking part in a labor which fatigued, without warming, his exhausted frame. The sorcerer's wife was in far worse case. Though in the extremity of a mortal sickness, they left her lying in the snow till the wigwam was made, - without a word, on her part, of remonstrance or complaint. Le Jeune, to the great ire of her husband, sometimes spent the interval in trying to convert her; but she proved intractable, and soon died unbaptized.

Thus lodged, they remained so long as game could be found within a circuit of ten or twelve miles, and then, subsistence failing, removed to another spot. Early in the winter, they hunted the beaver and the Canada porcupine; and, later, in the season of deep snows, chased the moose and the caribou.

Put aside the bear-skin, and enter the hut. Here, in a space some thirteen feet square, were packed nineteen savages, men, women, and children, with their dogs, crouched, squatted, coiled like hedgehogs, or lying on their hacks, with knees drawn up perpendicularly to keep their feet out of the fire. Le Jeune, always methodical, arranges the grievances inseparable from these rough quarters under four chief heads, - Cold, Heat, Smoke, and Dogs. The bark covering was full of crevices, through which the icy blasts streamed in upon him from all sides; and the hole above, at once window and chimney, was so large, that, as he lay, he could watch the stars as well as in the open air. While the fire in the midst, fed with fat pine-knots, scorched him on one side, on the other he had much ado to keep himself from freezing. At times, however, the crowded hut seemed heated to the temperature of an oven. But these evils were light, when compared to the intolerable plague of smoke. During a snow-storm, and often at other times, the wigwam was filled with fumes so dense, stifling, and acrid, that all its inmates were forced to lie flat on their faces, breathing through mouths in contact with the cold earth. Their throats and nostrils felt as if on fire; their scorched eyes streamed with tears; and when Le Jeune tried to read, the letters of his breviary seemed printed in blood. The dogs were not an unmixed evil, for, by sleeping on and around him, they kept him warm at night; but, as an offset to this good service, they walked, ran, and jumped over him as he lay, snatched the food from his birchen dish, or, in a mad rush at some bone or discarded morsel, now and then overset both dish and missionary.

Sometimes of an evening he would leave the filthy den, to read his breviary in peace by the light of the moon. In the forest around sounded the sharp crack of frost-riven trees; and from the horizon to the zenith shot up the silent meteors of the northern lights, in whose fitful flashings the awe-struck Indians beheld the dancing of the spirits of the dead. The cold gnawed him to the bone; and, his devotions over, he turned back shivering. The illumined hut, from many a chink and crevice, shot forth into the gloom long streams of light athwart the twisted boughs. He stooped and entered. All within glowed red and fiery around the blazing pine-knots where, like brutes in their kennel, were gathered the savage crew. He stepped to his place, over recumbent bodies and leggined and moccasined limbs, and seated himself on the carpet of spruce boughs. Here a tribulation awaited him, the crowning misery of his winter-quarters, - worse, as he declares, than cold, heat, and dogs.

Of the three brothers who had invited him to join the party, one, we have seen, was the hunter, Mestigoit; another, the sorcerer; and the third, Pierre, whom, by reason of his falling away from the Faith, Le Jeune always mentions as the Apostate. He was a weak-minded young Indian, wholly under the influence of his brother, the sorcerer, who, if not more vicious, was far more resolute and wily. From the antagonism of their respective professions, the sorcerer hated the priest, who lost no opportunity of denouncing his incantations, and who ridiculed his perpetual singing and drumming as puerility and folly. The former, being an indifferent hunter, and disabled by a disease which he had contracted, depended for subsistence on his credit as a magician; and, in undermining it, Le Jeune not only outraged his pride, but threatened his daily bread. [ 1 ] He used every device to retort ridicule on his rival. At the outset, he had proffered his aid to Le Jeune in his study of the Algonquin; and, like the Indian practical jokers of Acadia in the case of Father Biard, [ See "Pioneers of France," 268. ] palmed off upon him the foulest words in the language as the equivalent of things spiritual. Thus it happened, that, while the missionary sought to explain to the assembled wigwam some point of Christian doctrine, he was interrupted by peals of laughter from men, children, and squaws. And now, as Le Jeune took his place in the circle, the sorcerer bent upon him his malignant eyes, and began that course of rude bantering which filled to overflowing the cup of the Jesuit's woes. All took their cue from him, and made their afflicted guest the butt of their inane witticisms. "Look at him! His face is like a dog's!" - "His head is like a pumpkin!" - "He has a beard like a rabbit's!" The missionary bore in silence these and countless similar attacks; indeed, so sorely was he harassed, that, lest he should exasperate his tormentor, he sometimes passed whole days without uttering a word. [ 2 ]

[ 1 "Ie ne laissois perdre aucune occasion de le conuaincre de niaiserie et de puerilite, mettant au iour l'impertinence de ses superstitions: or c'estoit luy arracher l'ame du corps par violence: car comme il ne scauroit plus chasser, il fait plus que iamais du Prophete et du Magicien poor conseruer son credit, et pour auoir les bons morceaux; si bien qu'esbranlant son authorite qui se va perdant tous les iours, ie le touchois a la prunelle de l'oeil." - Relation, 1634, 56. ]

[ 2 Relation, 1634, 207 (Cramoisy). "Ils me chargeoient incessament de mille brocards &de mille injures; je me suis veu en tel estat, que pour ne les aigrir, je passois les jours entiers sans ouvrir la bouche." Here follows the abuse, in the original Indian, with French translations. Le Jeune's account of his experiences is singularly graphic. The following is his summary of his annoyances: -

"Or ce miserable homme" (the sorcerer), "&la fumee m'ont este les deux plus grands tourmens que i'aye endure parmy ces Barbares: ny le froid, ny le chaud, ny l'incommodite des chiens, ny coucher a l'air, ny dormir sur un lict de terre, ny la posture qu'il faut tousiours tenir dans leurs cabanes, se ramassans en peloton, ou se couchans, ou s'asseans sans siege &sans mattelas, ny la faim, ny la soif, ny la pauurete &salete de leur boucan, ny la maladie, tout cela ne m'a semble que ieu a comparaison de la fumee &de la malice du Sorcier." - Relation, 1684, 201 (Cramoisy). ]

Le Jeune, a man of excellent observation, already knew his red associates well enough to understand that their rudeness did not of necessity imply ill-will. The rest of the party, in their turn fared no better. They rallied and bantered each other incessantly, with as little forbearance, and as little malice, as a troop of unbridled schoolboys. [ 1 ] No one took offence. To have done so would have been to bring upon one's self genuine contumely. This motley household was a model of harmony. True, they showed no tenderness or consideration towards the sick and disabled; but for the rest, each shared with all in weal or woe: the famine of one was the famine of the whole, and the smallest portion of food was distributed in fair and equal partition. Upbraidings and complaints were unheard; they bore each other's foibles with wondrous equanimity; and while persecuting Le Jeune with constant importunity for tobacco, and for everything else he had, they never begged among themselves.

[ 1 "Leur vie se pass a manger, a ire, et a railler les vns des autres, et de tous les peuples qu'ils cognoissent; ils n'ont rien de serieux, sinon par fois l'exterieur, faisans parmy nous les graues et les retenus, mais entr'eux sont de vrais badins, de vrais enfans, qui ne demandent qu a rire." - Relation, 1634, 30. ]

When the fire burned well and food was abundant, their conversation, such as it was, was incessant. They used no oaths, for their language supplied none, - doubtless because their mythology had no beings sufficiently distinct to swear by. Their expletives were foul words, of which they had a superabundance, and which men, women, and children alike used with a frequency and hardihood that amazed and scandalized the priest. [ 1 ] Nor was he better pleased with their postures, in which they consulted nothing but their ease. Thus, of an evening when the wigwam was heated to suffocation, the sorcerer, in the closest possible approach to nudity, lay on his back, with his right knee planted upright and his left leg crossed on it, discoursing volubly to the company, who, on their part, listened in postures scarcely less remote from decency.

[ 1 "Aussi leur disois-je par fois, que si les pourceaux et les chiens scauoient parler, ils tiendroient leur langage. . . . Les filles et les ieunes femmes sont a l'exterieur tres honnestement couuertes, mais entre elles leurs discours sont puants, comme des cloaques." - Relation, 1634, 32. - The social manners of remote tribes of the present time correspond perfectly with Le Jeune's account of those of the Montagnais. ]

There was one point touching which Le Jeune and his Jesuit brethren had as yet been unable to solve their doubts. Were the Indian sorcerers mere impostors, or were they in actual league with the Devil? That the fiends who possess this land of darkness make their power felt by action direct and potential upon the persons of its wretched inhabitants there is, argues Le Jeune, good reason to conclude; since it is a matter of grave notoriety, that the fiends who infest Brazil are accustomed cruelly to beat and otherwise torment the natives of that country, as many travellers attest. "A Frenchman worthy of credit," pursues the Father, "has told me that he has heard with his own ears the voice of the Demon and the sound of the blows which he discharges upon these his miserable slaves; and in reference to this a very remarkable fact has been reported to me, namely, that, when a Catholic approaches, the Devil takes flight and beats these wretches no longer, but that in presence of a Huguenot he does not stop beating them."

[ "Surquoy on me rapporte vne chose tres remarquable, c'est que le Diable s'enfuit, et ne frappe point ou cesse de frapper ces miserables, quand vn Catholique entre en leur compagnie, et qu'il ne laiss point de les battre en la presence d'vn Huguenot: d'ou vient qu'vn iour se voyans battus en la compagnie d'vn certain Francois, ils luy dirent: Nous nous estonnons qua le diable nous batte, toy estant auec nous, veu qu'il n'oseroit le faire quand tes compagnons sont presents. Luy se douta incontinent que cela pouuoit prouenir de sa religion (car il estoit Caluiniste); s'addressant donc a Dieu, il luy promit de se faire Catholique si le diable cessoit de battre ces pauures peuples en sa presence. Le voeu fait, iamais plus aucun Demon ne molesta Ameriquain en sa compagnie, d'ou vient qu'il se fit Catholique, selon la promesse qu'il en auoit faicte. Mais retournons a nostre discours." - Relation, 1634, 22. ]

Thus prone to believe in the immediate presence of the nether powers, Le Jeune watched the sorcerer with an eye prepared to discover in his conjurations the signs of a genuine diabolic agency. His observations, however, led him to a different result; and he could detect in his rival nothing but a vile compound of impostor and dupe. The sorcerer believed in the efficacy of his own magic, and was continually singing and beating his drum to cure the disease from which he was suffering. Towards the close of the winter, Le Jeune fell sick, and, in his pain and weakness, nearly succumbed under the nocturnal uproar of the sorcerer, who, hour after hour, sang and drummed without mercy, - sometimes yelling at the top of his throat, then hissing like a serpent, then striking his drum on the ground as if in a frenzy, then leaping up, raving about the wigwam, and calling on the women and children to join him in singing. Now ensued a hideous din; for every throat was strained to the utmost, and all were beating with sticks or fists on the bark of the hut to increase the noise, with the charitable object of aiding the sorcerer to conjure down his malady, or drive away the evil spirit that caused it.

He had an enemy, a rival sorcerer, whom he charged with having caused by charms the disease that afflicted him. He therefore announced that he should kill him. As the rival dwelt at Gaspe, a hundred leagues off, the present execution of the threat might appear difficult; but distance was no bar to the vengeance of the sorcerer. Ordering all the children and all but one of the women to leave the wigwam, he seated himself, with the woman who remained, on the ground in the centre, while the men of the party, together with those from other wigwams in the neighborhood, sat in a ring around. Mestigoit, the sorcerer's brother, then brought in the charm, consisting of a few small pieces of wood, some arrow-heads, a broken knife, and an iron hook, which he wrapped in a piece of hide. The woman next rose, and walked around the hut, behind the company. Mestigoit and the sorcerer now dug a large hole with two pointed stakes, the whole assembly singing, drumming, and howling meanwhile with a deafening uproar. The hole made, the charm, wrapped in the hide, was thrown into it. Pierre, the Apostate, then brought a sword and a knife to the sorcerer, who, seizing them, leaped into the hole, and, with furious gesticulation, hacked and stabbed at the charm, yelling with the whole force of his lungs. At length he ceased, displayed the knife and sword stained with blood, proclaimed that he had mortally wounded his enemy, and demanded if none present had heard his death-cry. The assembly, more occupied in making noises than in listening for them, gave no reply, till at length two young men declared that they had heard a faint scream, as if from a great distance; whereat a shout of gratulation and triumph rose from all the company.

[ "Le magicien tout glorieux dit que son homme est frappe, qu'il mourra bien tost, demande si on n'a point entendu ses cris: tout le monde dit que non, horsmis deux ieunes hommes ses parens, qui disent auoir ouy des plaintes fort sourdes, et comme de loing. O qu'ils le firent aise! Se tournant vers moy, il se mit a rire, disant: Voyez cette robe noire, qui nous vient dire qu'il ne faut tuer personne. Comme ie regardois attentiuement l'espee et le poignard, il me les fit presenter: Regarde, dit-il, qu'est cela? C'est du sang, repartis-ie. De qui? De quelque Orignac ou d'autre animal. Ils se mocquerent de moy, disants que c'estoit du sang de ce Sorcier de Gaspe. Comment, dis-je, il est a plus de cent lieues d'icy? Il est vray, font-ils, mais c'est le Manitou, c'est a dire le Diable, qui apporte son sang pardessous la terre." - Relation, 1634, 21. ]

There was a young prophet, or diviner, in one of the neighboring huts, of whom the sorcerer took counsel as to the prospect of his restoration to health. The divining-lodge was formed, in this instance, of five or six upright posts planted in a circle and covered with a blanket. The prophet ensconced himself within; and after a long interval of singing, the spirits declared their presence by their usual squeaking utterances from the recesses of the mystic tabernacle. Their responses were not unfavorable; and the sorcerer drew much consolation from the invocations of his brother impostor. [ See Introduction. Also, "Pioneers of France," 315. ]

Besides his incessant endeavors to annoy Le Jeune, the sorcerer now and then tried to frighten him. On one occasion, when a period of starvation had been followed by a successful hunt, the whole party assembled for one of the gluttonous feasts usual with them at such times. While the guests sat expectant, and the squaws were about to ladle out the banquet, the sorcerer suddenly leaped up, exclaiming, that he had lost his senses, and that knives and hatchets must be kept out of his way, as he had a mind to kill somebody. Then, rolling his eyes towards Le Jeune, he began a series of frantic gestures and outcries, - then stopped abruptly and stared into vacancy, silent and motionless, - then resumed his former clamor, raged in and out of the hut, and, seizing some of its supporting poles, broke them, as if in an uncontrollable frenzy. The missionary, though alarmed, sat reading his breviary as before. When, however, on the next morning, the sorcerer began again to play the maniac, the thought occurred to him, that some stroke of fever might in truth have touched his brain. Accordingly, he approached him and felt his pulse, which he found, in his own words, "as cool as a fish." The pretended madman looked at him with astonishment, and, giving over the attempt to frighten him, presently returned to his senses.

[ The Indians, it is well known, ascribe mysterious and supernatural powers to the insane, and respect them accordingly. The Neutral Nation (see Introduction, p. xliv) was full of pretended madmen, who raved about the villages, throwing firebrands, and making other displays of frenzy. ]

Le Jeune, robbed of his sleep by the ceaseless thumping of the sorcerer's drum and the monotonous cadence of his medicine-songs, improved the time in attempts to convert him. "I began," he says, "by evincing a great love for him, and by praises, which I threw to him as a bait whereby I might catch him in the net of truth." [ 1 ] But the Indian, though pleased with the Father's flatteries, was neither caught nor conciliated.

[ "Ie commencay par vn temoignage de grand amour en son endroit, et par des loueanges que ie luy iettay comme vne amorce pour le prendre dans les filets de la verite. Ie luy fis entendre que si vn esprit, capable des choses grandes comme le sien, cognoissoit Dieu, que tous les Sauuages induis par son exemple le voudroient aussi cognoistre." - Relation, 1634, 71. ]

Nowhere was his magic in more requisition than in procuring a successful chase to the hunters, - a point of vital interest, since on it hung the lives of the whole party. They often, however, returned empty-handed; and, for one, two, or three successive days, no other food could be had than the bark of trees or scraps of leather. So long as tobacco lasted, they found solace in their pipes, which seldom left their lips. "Unhappy infidels," writes Le Jeune, "who spend their lives in smoke, and their eternity in flames!"

As Christmas approached, their condition grew desperate. Beavers and porcupines were scarce, and the snow was not deep enough for hunting the moose. Night and day the medicine-drums and medicine-songs resounded from the wigwams, mingled with the wail of starving children. The hunters grew weak and emaciated; and, as after a forlorn march the wanderers encamped once more in the lifeless forest, the priest remembered that it was the eve of Christmas. "The Lord gave us for our supper a porcupine, large as a sucking pig, and also a rabbit. It was not much, it is true, for eighteen or nineteen persons; but the Holy Virgin and St. Joseph, her glorious spouse, were not so well treated, on this very day, in the stable of Bethlehem."

[ "Pour nostre souper, N. S. nous donna vn Porc-espic gros comme vn cochon de lait, et vn lieure; c'estoit peu pour dix-huit ou vingt personnes que nous estions, il est vray, mais la saincte Vierge et son glorieux Espoux sainct Ioseph ne furent pas si bien traictez a mesme iour dans l'estable de Bethleem." - Relation, 1634, 74. ]

On Christmas Day, the despairing hunters, again unsuccessful, came to pray succor from Le Jeune. Even the Apostate had become tractable, and the famished sorcerer was ready to try the efficacy of an appeal to the deity of his rival. A bright hope possessed the missionary. He composed two prayers, which, with the aid of the repentant Pierre, he translated into Algonquin. Then he hung against the side of the hut a napkin which he had brought with him, and against the napkin a crucifix and a reliquary, and, this done, caused all the Indians to kneel before them, with hands raised and clasped. He now read one of the prayers, and required the Indians to repeat the other after him, promising to renounce their superstitions, and obey Christ, whose image they saw before them, if he would give them food and save them from perishing. The pledge given, he dismissed the hunters with a benediction. At night they returned with game enough to relieve the immediate necessity. All was hilarity. The kettles were slung, and the feasters assembled. Le Jeune rose to speak, when Pierre, who, having killed nothing, was in ill humor, said, with a laugh, that the crucifix and the prayer had nothing to do with their good luck; while the sorcerer, his jealousy reviving as he saw his hunger about to be appeased, called out to the missionary, "Hold your tongue! You have no sense!" As usual, all took their cue from him. They fell to their repast with ravenous jubilation, and the disappointed priest sat dejected and silent.

Repeatedly, before the spring, they were thus threatened with starvation. Nor was their case exceptional. It was the ordinary winter life of all those Northern tribes who did not till the soil, but lived by hunting and fishing alone. The desertion or the killing of the aged, sick, and disabled, occasional cannibalism, and frequent death from famine, were natural incidents of an existence which, during half the year, was but a desperate pursuit of the mere necessaries of life under the worst conditions of hardship, suffering, and debasement.

At the beginning of April, after roaming for five months among forests and mountains, the party made their last march, regained the bank of the St. Lawrence, and waded to the island where they had hidden their canoes. Le Jeune was exhausted and sick, and Mestigoit offered to carry him in his canoe to Quebec. This Indian was by far the best of the three brothers, and both Pierre and the sorcerer looked to him for support. He was strong, active, and daring, a skilful hunter, and a dexterous canoeman. Le Jeune gladly accepted his offer; embarked with him and Pierre on the dreary and tempestuous river; and, after a voyage full of hardship, during which the canoe narrowly escaped being ground to atoms among the floating ice, landed on the Island of Orleans, six miles from Quebec. The afternoon was stormy and dark, and the river was covered with ice, sweeping by with the tide. They were forced to encamp. At midnight, the moon had risen, the river was comparatively unencumbered, and they embarked once more. The wind increased, and the waves tossed furiously. Nothing saved them but the skill and courage of Mestigoit. At length they could see the rock of Quebec towering through the gloom, but piles of ice lined the shore, while floating masses were drifting down on the angry current. The Indian watched his moment, shot his canoe through them, gained the fixed ice, leaped out, and shouted to his companions to follow. Pierre scrambled up, but the ice was six feet out of the water, and Le Jeune's agility failed him. He saved himself by clutching the ankle of Mestigoit, by whose aid he gained a firm foothold at the top, and, for a moment, the three voyagers, aghast at the narrowness of their escape, stood gazing at each other in silence.

It was three o'clock in the morning when Le Jeune knocked at the door of his rude little convent on the St. Charles; and the Fathers, springing in joyful haste from their slumbers, embraced their long absent Superior with ejaculations of praise and benediction.