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Meanwhile, winter closed in with a severity rare even in Canada. The St. Lawrence and the St. Charles were hard frozen; rivers, forests, and rocks were mantled alike in dazzling sheets of snow. The humble mission-house of Notre-Dame des Anges was half buried in the drifts, which, heaped up in front where a path had been dug through them, rose two feet above the low eaves. The priests, sitting at night before the blazing logs of their wide-throated chimney, heard the trees in the neighboring forest cracking with frost, with a sound like the report of a pistol. Le Jeune's ink froze, and his fingers were benumbed, as he toiled at his declensions and conjugations, 19 or translated the Pater Noster into blundering Algonquin. The water in the cask beside the fire froze nightly, and the ice was broken every morning with hatchets. The blankets of the two priests were fringed with the icicles of their congealed breath, and the frost lay in a thick coating on the lozenge-shaped glass of their cells. On the opposite side of the couch sat a little man of grave and dignified bearing, dressed in a white robe. Lycon instantly saw that this was the physician; for ever and anon he took the sick mans hand to judge of his condition by the pulse, and on a little table close beside him lay his pouch of medicines and the instruments used in his profession. At the foot of the bed stood the overseer, Carion, with clasped hands and eyes fixed on his suffering master.
The due subordination of households had its share of attention. Servants who deserted their masters were to be set in the pillory for the first offence, and whipped and branded for the second; while any person harboring them was to pay a fine of twenty francs. ** On the other hand, nobody was allowed to employ a servant without a license. ***
FOOTNOTES: The above incidents are from Le Mercier, Lalemant, Bressani, the autobiography of Chaumonot, the unpublished writings of Garnier, and the ancient manuscript volume of memoirs of the early Canadian missionaries, at St. Mary's College, Montreal.
The fifth, being pronounced out of his wits by the physicians, was sent home to his mother, at a village near Argentan, where two or three of his fellow zealots presently joined him. Among them, they persuaded his mother, who had hitherto been, devoted to household cares, to exchange them for a life of mystical devotion. These three or four persons, says Nicole, attracted others as imbecile as themselves. Among these recruits were a number of women, and several priests. After various acts of fanaticism, two or three days before last Pentecost, proceeds the narrator, they all set out, men and women, for Argentan. The priests had drawn the skirts of their cassocks over their heads, and tied them about their necks with twisted straw. Some of the women had their heads bare, and their hair streaming loose over their shoulders. They picked up filth on the road, and rubbed their faces with it, and the most zealous ate it, saying that it was necessary to mortify the taste. Some
The seneschal of New France, son of the governor Lauson, was surprised and killed on the island of Orleans, along with seven companions. About the same time, the same fate befell the son of Godefroy, one of the chief inhabitants of Quebec. Outside the fortifications there was no safety for a moment. A universal terror seized the people. A comet appeared above Quebec, and they saw in it a herald of destruction. Their excited imaginations turned natural phenomena into portents and prodigies. A blazing canoe sailed across the sky; confused cries and lamentations were heard in the air; and a voice of thunder sounded from mid-heaven. * The Jesuits despaired for their scattered and persecuted flocks. Everywhere, writes their superior, we see infants to be saved for heaven, sick and dying to be baptized, adults to be instructed, but everywhere we see the Iroquois. They haunt us like persecuting goblins. They kill our new-made Christians in our arms. If they meet us on the river, they kill us. If they find us in the huts of our Indians, they burn us and them together. ** And he appeals urgently for troops to destroy them, as a holy work inspired by God, and needful for his service.