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UNIVERSITY 




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BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

JEANNE LA FILEUSE — Episode de I'Emigration Franco- 
Canadienne aux Etats-Unis — Premiere edition 1878 — 
Deuxiemc Edition — Montreal, 1888,^ .^ ^ 

LE VIEUX MONTREAL, 1611-1803 — Album historique, 
chronologique et topographique de la ville de Montreal 
depuis sa fondation — 13 planches en couleurs — Des- 
sins de P. L. Morin — Montr^l, 1884^ <^ <^ 

MELANGES - Trois Conferences— Montreal, 1888^ ^ J« 

LETTRES DE VOYAGE — France — Italie — Sicile — 
Malte — Tunisic — Algerie — Espagne — Montreal, 
J 887!^ 1^ ^ 

SIX MOIS DANS LES MONTAGNES ROCHEUSES — 
Colorado — Utah — Nou'bea.u Mexique — Edition 
iliostrec — Montreal, I890J« ^ ^ 



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CONTENTS 

LA CHASSE-GALERIE 
THE WERWOLVES . 
LA QUETE DE L'ENFANT JESUS 



9 

39 
69 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

By Henri Julien, Sandham and Raoul Barr^ 

U LA CHASSE GALERIE .... 8 

2. THE DANCE AT BATISSETTE AUGE'S 23 

3. LA DEGRINGOLADE . . . . 3J 

4. FORT RICHELIEU 38 

5. THE DELIVERANCE . . . . 6J 

6. LIGHTS OUT I 67 

7. STARTING FOR THE CHRISTMAS 

COLLECTIONS 89 

9. GOING TO MIDNIGHT MASS ... 97 



465178 

LIB SETS 



AVANT-PROPOS 

Quelqucs mots sont nccessaires pour ex- 
pliquer la mise en volume, sous un meme 
titre et sous une meme couverture, d^une 
serie de legendes qui ont defa ete publiees 
dans les revues Canadiennes et Americaines, 
en anglais et en fran^ais. Un simple coup 
d^oeil fera comprendre au lecteur, qu^a part 
la legende de la Chasse-Galerie qui est a 
peu pres la meme, sans etre une traduction 
litterale, les autres recits ne se ressemblent 
gucre, si ce n^est dans Tintention qui a en- 
gage Tauteur a sauver de Toubli, quelques- 
uns de ces contes du cru qui pourront servir 
plus tard a completer une etude ou meme a 
faire une simple compilation du Folk-Lore 
franco-canadien et de nos legendes popu- 
lairese^ «^ ^ 




o 
> 

'5 
o- 

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The following story was published in French in La. PairiCf 
some years ago, and in English in the Century Magazine of 
New York, in August, 1892, with illustrations by Henri Julien. 

The narrative is founded on a popular superstition dated 
back to the days of the coureurs des bois, under the French 
regime, and perpetuated among the voyageurs in the Canadian 
Northwest. The shantymen of a later date have taken up 
the tradition, and it is in the French settlements, bordering the 
St. Lawrence River, that the legends of la chasse-galerie arc 
specially well known at the present time. The writer has 
met many an old 'voyageurv/ho ZiHitmed most positively that 
he had seen bark canoes traveling in mid-air, full of men 
paddling and singing away, under the protection of Beelzebub, 
on their way from the timber camps of the Ottawa to pay a 
flying visit to their sweethearts at home,^ ^ ^ 

It is hardly necessary to apologize for having used in the 
narrative expressions typical of the rude life and character of 
the men whose language and superstition it is the intention of 
the w^riter to portray. H. B. 

LA CHASSE-GALERIE 

*ELL, then, since you seem to 
desire it so very much, I will 
tell you a roarin^ story that 
ought to be a lesson to all of 
you. If there is among the crowd any ren- 
egade who intends to run la chasse-galerie 
or the loup-garoUf he had better skip and 
go outside to see whether the owls are 
screeching in the storm, in converse with 
Old Nick himself, because I intend to begin 9 




Ca my story by making a big sign of the cross* 
CftassC' That will be a regular set-back to le diahiej 
Galcrfe ^j^q always tries, at this time, to snatch a 
poor shantyman^s soul by promising him 
all kinds of nonsense^ I have had enough 
of that in my young days to understand his 
tricksc^ e^ ^ 

Not a man moved«^ On the contrary, all 
gathered closer round the fireplace, where 
the cook had dragged the provision-chest, 
and upon which he had taken his seat on a 
camp-stool, preparatory to relating his ex- 
perience under the wiles of the mauvais 
esprit^ ^ ^ 

It was on New Yearns eve of the year 
J 858, in the depth of the forest, in the Ross 
timber camp, at the head of the Gatineau 
Rivere^ The winter had fairly set in, and 
the snow outside had already piled up to 
the roof of the shanty.^ The boss, accord- 
ing to custom, had ordered the distribution 
of the contents of a small barrel of Jamaica 
rum among the men, and the cook had 
terminated early his preparations of a suc- 
culent ragout of pig^s feet and of a large tin 
JO full of glissantes for the New Yearns dinner* 



A big kettle^ half full of molasses^ was ta 
already simmering: on the fire, as there was ^ . ^^^' 
to be a candy-pull to iinish the evening s 
entertainments^ «^ ^ 

Every man had filled his pipe with good 
strong Canadian tobacco, and a thick cloud 
of smoke darkened the interior of the shanty. 
A few pine-branches thrown at intervals on 
the fire produced a reddish glare that illu- 
minated the rude faces of the men with 
curious effects of ctdir-obscur^ ^ ^ 

Joe, the cook, was a homely little man 
who laughed at his own physical defects, 
and who did not take offense when his 
comrades chaffed him on the subject, and 
called him le bossu^ the hunchbacked He 
had worked in the shanties for the last forty 
years and his experience was only equaled 
by the facility with which he could relate 
his adventures when he had taken a glass 
of bonne 'hieille Jamaiqaet^ ^ ^ 

**\ was telling you,*^ said Joe, **that I 
was a pendard in my youth, but it is long 
since I mended my ways, and now I never 
joke about religious matters.^ I go to con- 
fession regularly every year, and what I am \ \ 



Ca about to relate took place years and years 
£Da$$C' ago, when I feared nt T)ieUf ni diable^ It 
ttdlcrie ^^5 Qj^ ^ night like this, a New Yearns eve, 
thirty-four or thirty-five years ago. Gathered 
round the fireplace with all the camarades, 
we made merry ; and if it is true, as we 
say in French, that * small rivulets make 
large rivers,* it is just as true that small 
drinks empty large barrels*^ And in those 
days, people drank more than to-day, and 
evenings of this kind generally ended in a 
boxing-match, outside, in the snow.^ The 
rham was no better than it is to-night, but 
it was bougrement bon, I can assure you. 
I will be frank with you and tell you that 
about eleven o^clock my head began to feel 
dizzy f and I lay down on my buffalo-robe 
to take a nap, while waiting for the mid- 
night jump that we always take over the 
head of a pork-barrel, from the old year into 
the new one.^ We will repeat the same 
thing to-night before we go to visit the 
neighboring camps to wish them the com- 
pliments of the season.^ e^ «^ 

J2 



n Ca 



CDa$$c» 
6aicrie 



**l had slept for quite a while, when I 
was rudely awakened by a second boss, 
Baptiste Durand, who said to me : Joe, it 
is past midnight, and you are late for the 
barrel-jumped The camarades have gone to 
the other camps, and I am going to Laval- 
trie to see my sweetheart*^ Will you come 
with me ? ** «^ e^ «^ 

** * To Lavaltrie,' said I, * are you crazy ? 
We are three hundred miles away from 
there, and you could not travel the distance 
in two months, through the forest, when 
there are no roads beaten in the snow. And 
what about our work the day after to- 
morrow }* ^ ^ ^ 

** * Imbecile I don't you understand me ? 
We will travel in our bark canoe, and to- 
morrow morning at six o'clock we will be 
back here for breakfast/ ^ ^ ^ 

** I understood. Baptiste Durand proposed 
that I should join him and run ta chasse- 
galerie ; risk the salvation of my soul for the 
fun of going to give a New Year's kiss to 
my blonde at Lavaltrie*^ That was a little J 3 



■-^ too much for mee^ It was true that I was 
Aal^riJ ^ tnaul?ais sujet, that I did not practise la 
religion^ and that I took a drink too much 
now and then ; but between that and the 
fact of selling my soul to le diable there was 
a big difference, and I said ♦ * No, siree ! 
Pas un tonnerre F ^ ^ ^ 

** * Oh, you are a regular old woman/ 
answered Baptiste tauntingly.^ * There is 
no danger whatever. We can go to Laval- 
trie and back in six hours* Don^t you know 
that with la chasse-galerie we can travel 
150 miles an hour, when one can handle 
the paddles as well as we all do.^ All there 
is to it is that we must not pronounce le 
nom da bon Dieu during the voyage, and 
that we must be careful not to touch the 
crosses on the steeples when we travel. 
That^s easy enough, and, to be all right, all 
a man has to do is to look where he goes, 
think about what he says, and not touch a 
drop of liquor on the way^^ I have made 
the trip five times, and le diable has not 
got me yete^ Come, mon vieuXf stiffen up 
your courage, and in two hours we will be 
J 4 at Lavaltrie.^ Think of Liza Guimbette, 



and the pleasure you will have in kissing £a 
her ** a happy New Year/^ There are al- Cft<l$$e- 
ready seven of us to make the trip, but we fi^'^rt^ 
must be two, four, six, or eight, to make up 
the crew of the canoe/ ^ ^^ ^ 

** * Yes, that^s all right, but you must 
make an engagement with le diabiey and he 
is not the kind of a bourgeois that I want to 
make any bargain with/ ^ ^ ^ 

** A simple formality if we are careful 
where we go and not to drinkeM A man is 
not a child, pardieu I Come on ! The ca- 
marades are waiting outside, and the canoe 
is already in the clearing^ Come, come ! ^ 

** And I was led outside of the shanty, 
where I saw the six men who were await- 
ing us, paddle in hand«^ The large canoe 
was lying on a snowbank, and before I had 
time to think twice about it, I was seated 
in the bow, awaiting the signal to go=^ I 
must say that my mind was somewhat 
confused, but Baptiste Durand, who was a 
hard customer, — for, it was said, he had 
not been to confession for seven years, — 
gave me no time for reflection.^ He was 



ealerie 






Ea standing in the stem, and exclaimed in a 
£l)a$$e' ringing voice \ ^ ^ ^ 

* * Are you ready ? ^ e^ *^ .^ 

* Ready/ ^ ,^ ^ 

* Repeat after me/ ^ ^ ^ 
** * And we repeated together : t^ ^ ^ 
** * Satan ! king of the infernal regions, 

we promise to sell you our souls, if within 
the following six hours we pronounce le 
nom da bon DieUf your master and ours, or 
if we touch a cross on the voyage. On that 
condition you will transport us through the 
air, wherever we may want to go, and 
bring us back sound and safe to the shanty. 
cAcabriSf Acabrast Acabram I Fais-nous 
voyager par-dessus tes montagnes I* ^ *^ 



III 



'The last words were hardly pronounced, 
when we felt the canoe rising in the air to 
a height of five or six hundred feet.^ I felt 
as light as a feather, and at Baptiste^s com- 
mand, we commenced paddling like sor- 
cerers that we were«3* At the first stroke of 
the paddle, the canoe shot out like an arrow, 
16 and off we went under the protecting wing 



oi te dtablehimselL It fairly took my breath Ca 
away, and I could hear the bow of the €fta$$C* 
canoe whizzing through the crisp air of the '**'**'** 
nights^ e^ t^ 

**We went faster than the wind, and 
during the first fifteen minutes we sailed 
over the forest, without perceiving anything 
else than the dark heads of the great pines. 
It was a beautiful night, and a full moon 
lighted up the sky like the midday sun«56 It 
was terribly cold though, and our mus- 
taches were fairly frozen, while our bodies 
were all in a perspiration,^ We were pad- 
dling like demons at work in the lower 
regions*^ We soon perceived a bright, glis- 
tening belt of clear ice, that shone like a 
mirror.^ That was the Gatineau River; 
and then the lights in the farm-houses, which 
were mostly lit up on New Yearns eve. We 
began passing the tin-covered steeples as 
quickly as telegraph-poles fly past in a rail- 
way-train, and the spires shone in the air 
like the bayonets of the soldiers drilling on the 
Champ de Mars, in Montreal. On we went 
like tous les dtahteSf passing over forests, 
rivers, towns, villages, and leaving behind J 7 



ta us a trail of sparks. It was Baptiste Durand, 

Cl^assC" the possede^ who steered the canoe because 

Valerie jjg knew the route, and we soon came to 

the Ottawa River, which we followed down 

to the Lac des Deux Montagnes ! ^ ^ ^ 

** * Look out there ! said Baptiste ; * we 
will just skim over Montreal and frighten 
some of the fellows who may be out at this 
hour of the nights Joe, clear your whistle 
and get ready to sing your best canoe-song, 
** Canot d'ecorce" my boy/ ^ ^ ^ 

** The excitement of the trip had braced 
me up, and I was ready for anything.^ Al- 
ready we could see the lights of the great 
city, and with an adroit stroke of his paddle, 
Baptiste brought us down on a level with 
the summit of the towers of Notre-Dame* I 
cleared my throat and sang * Canot d'ecorceJ 
while my camarades joined heartily in the 
chorus*^ ^ .^ 

** * Mon perc n'avait fille que moi, 
Canot d'ecofce qui va voler, 

Et dessus la mer il m'envoie : 
Canot d'ecorcc qui vole, qui vole, 
Canot d'ecorce qui va voler ! * 

18 



Et dessos la mer il m'cnvoic, 
Canot d'ecorce qui va voleft 

Le marinier qui me menait : 

Canot d'^cof ce qui vole, qui vole, 
Canot d'ecorcc qui va volcf 1 

Le marinier qui me meaait, 
Canot d'&corce qui va voler. 

Me dit ma belle embrassez-moi : 
Canot d'^corce qui vole, qui vole, 
Canot d'^corce qui va voler I 

Me dit ma belle embrassez-moi, 
Canot d'^corce qui va voler, 

Non, non, monsieur, je ne saurais : 
Canot d'ecorce qui vole, qui vole, 
Canot d'ecorce qui va voler I 

Non, non, monsieur, je ne saurais^ 
Canot d^ecorce qui va voler. 

Car si mon papa le savait: 

Canot d'ecorce qui vole, qui vole, 
Canot d'ecorce qui va voler I 

Car si mon papa le savait, 
Canot d'ecorce qui va voler. 

Ah ! c'est bien sur qu'il me battrait : 
Canot d'^orce qui vole, qui vole, 
Canot d'ecorce qui va voler I 



CDa$$e« 
Gdlcrk 



\9 



U IV 

Gdletie ''Although it was well on toward two 
o^cIock in the morning, we saw some groups 
of men who stopped in th^ middle of the 
street to watch us go by, but we went so 
fast that in a twinkle we had passed Mon- 
treal and its suburbs*^ We were nearing 
the end of our voyage, and we commenced 
counting the steeples, e^ Longue-Pointe, 
Pointe-aux-Trembles, Repentigny, St. Sul- 
pice, ^ and at last we saw the two shining 
spires of Lavaltric that gleamed among the 
dark-green pines of the domain «5* .^ ^ 

** * Look out over there* shouted Baptiste. 
* We will land on the edge of the wood, in 
the field of my godfather, Jean-Jean-Gabriel. 
From there we will proceed on foot to go 
and surprise our acquaintances in some 
fricot or dance in the neighborhood/ ^ ^ 

"We did as directed, and five minutes later 
our canoe lay in a snowbank, at the edge of 
the wood of Jean-Jean-Gabriel. We started 
in Indian file to go to the village. It was no 
small job, because the snow reached to our 
20 waists and there was no trace of any kind 



of a road«^ Baptiste, who was the most Ca 
daring of the crowd, went and knocked at Cl)a$$e» 
the door of his godfather^s house, where we ®*'^**^^ 
could see a light, but there was no one there 
except a servant, who told us that the old 
folks had gone to a snaque at old man Ro- 
billard^s place, and that the young people of 
the village — boys and girls — were across 
the St. Lawrence at Batissette Augers, at 
the Petite Misere^ below Contrecoeur, where 
there was a New Yearns hop.^ ^ ^ 

** * Let us go to the dance at Batissette 
Auge^s,^ said Baptiste ; * we are sure to find 
our sweethearts over there .^ ^ e^ 

** * Let us go to Batissette Augers \* ^ ^ 
**And we returned to our canoe, while cau- 
tioning one another against the great danger 
that there was ^ in pronouncing certain . 
words, in touching anything in the shape of 
a cross, and especially in drinking liquor of 
any kind^ We had only four hours before 
us, and we must return to the shanty before 
six oVlock in the morning, if we wanted to 
escape from the clutches of Old Nick, with 
whom we had made such a desperate bar- 2 1 



Ca gain^ And wc all knew that he was not 
ChiSSt' the kind of a customer to let us off, in the 
QalClic event of any delay on our part^ e^ «^ 

** * cAcabriSt AcabraSt Acabram I Fats- 
nous voyager par-dessus tes mont agues ! ' 
shouted Baptiste once moree^ ^ ^ 

"And off we went again, paddling through 
the air, like renegades that we were, every 
one of use^ We crossed the river in less 
time than it requires to tell it, and we de- 
scended in a snowbank close to Batissette 
Augers house, where we could hear the 
laughter of the dancers,and see their shadows 
through the bright windows«^ e^ ^ 

** We dragged our canoe on the riverside, 
to hide it among the hummocks produced 
by the ice-shove«^ «^ e^ 

** * Now,* said Baptiste, in a last warning, 
* no nonsense !.^ Do you hear ?e^ Dance as 
much as you can, but not a single glass of 
rum or whisky s^ And at the first sign, fol- 
low me out without attracting attention. 
We can^t be too careful l*c^ t^ t^ 

** And we went and knocked at the door. 

22 



it 



Qalcrie 



** Old Batissette came and opened the 
door himself, and we were received with 
opened arms by the guests, who knew us 

* Where do you come from }* t^ ^ ^ 

* I thought you were in the chantiers, 
up the Gatineau }* ^ ^ ^ 

** * What makes you come so late }*,^ ^ 
** * Come and take a smile/ ^ ^ ^ 
** Baptiste came to the rescue by saying : 
* First and foremost, let us take our coats 
off, and give us a chance to dance. That's 
what we came here for, and if you still feel 
curious in the morning, I will answer all 
your questions/ ^ ^ ^ 

** For my part, I had already spied Liza 
Guimbette, who was chatting away with 
little Boisjoli, of Lanoraie*^ I made my rev- 
erence in due style, and at once asked for 
the favor of the next dance, which was a 
four-handed reel. She accepted with a smile 
that made me forget that I had risked the 
salvation of my soul to have the pleasure of 
pressing her soft white hand in mine and of 25 



Ea cutting pigeonwings as her partner. During 
CftasJC* two hours the dancing went on without 
liaienc stopping, and, if I do say so myself, we 
shanty fellows cut a shine in the dance that 
made the hayseeds tired before morning. I 
was so busy with my partner that at first I 
did not notice that Baptiste was visiting the 
buffet rather often with some of the other 
boys, and once I caught him lifting his elbow 
in rather a suspicious manner.^ But I had 
no idea that the fellow would get tipsy, 
after all the lecturing he had given us on 
the road. When four o^clock struck, all the 
members of our crew began to edge out of 
the house without attracting attention, but 
I had to drag Baptiste before he would con- 
sent to goe^ At last we were all out, with 
just two hours before us to reach the camp, 
and three hundred miles to ride in our 
canoe, under the protection of Beelzebub. 
We had left the dance like wild Indians 
without saying good-bye to anybody, not 
even to Liza Guimbette, whom I had in- 
vited for the next cotillon, I always thought 

that she bore me a grudge for that, because 
26 



when I reached home the next summer she Ca 
was Madame Boisjoli*^ «^ ^ Cl)4$$<" 

** We found our canoe all right in the fi^^^^t 
hummocks, but I need hardly tell you that 
we were all put out when we found that 
Baptiste Durand had been drinking*?* He 
was to steer the boat, and we had no time 
to lose in humoring the fancies of a drunken 
man.^ The moon was not quite so bright 
as when we started from the camp, and it 
was not without misgivings that I took my 
place in the bow of the canoe, well decided 
to keep a sharp lookout ahead for accidents. 
Before starting I said to Baptiste \ ^ ^ ^ 

** * Look out, Baptiste, old fellow ! Steer 
straight for the mountain of Montreal, as 
soon as you can get a glimpse of it/ J^ ^ 

** * I know my business,^ answered Bap- 
tiste sharply, 'and you had better mind 
yours/ ^ t^ t^ 

** What could I do ? e^ And before I had 
time for further reflections : *^ ^^ ^ 

** *AcabriSf AcabraSf Acabram I Fats- 
nous 'boyager par-dessas les montagnes ! ' 

27 



Ea VI 

Q jl^Pl^ ** And up we went again like lightning, 
steering southwest, if the wild way in which 
Baptiste managed our boat could be called 
steering,^ We passed over the steeple of 
the church of Contrecoeur, coming pretty 
close to it, but instead of going west Bap- 
tiste made us take a sheer toward the 
Richelieu River«^ A few minutes later we 
were skimming over Beloeil Mountain, and 
we came within ten feet of striking the big 
cross that the bishop of Quebec planted 
there, during a temperance picnic held a few 
years before by the clergy of his diocese, e^ 

" * To the right, Baptiste I steer to the 
right, or else you will send us all to te 
diable if you keep on going that way/«^ «^ 

** And Baptiste did instinctively turn to 
the right, and we steered straight for the 
mountain of Montreal, which we could 
perceive in the distance by the dim lights of 
the city*^ I must say that I was becoming 
frightened, because if Baptiste kept on steer- 
ing as he had done, we would never reach 
28 the Gatineau alive, and le diable was prob- 



ably smacking his lips, as I supposed, at the Ca 
bare idea of making a New Yearns mess of Ch^sse- 
us. And I can tell you that the disaster was ^^'^"^ 
not long in coming*^ While we were pass- 
ing over the city, Baptiste Durand uttered 
a yell, and, flourishing his paddle over his 
head, gave it a twist that sent us plung- 
ing into a snowdrift, in a clearing on the 
mountain-side. Luckily the snow was soft, 
and none of us were hurt, nor was the 
the canoe injured in anyway. But Baptiste 
got out and declared most emphatically 
that he was going down-town to have un 
verre^ We tried to reason with him, but 
our efforts proved useless, as is generally 
the case with les ivrognes^ He would go 
down if le diable himself were to catch hold 
of him on the way.^ I held a moment^s 
consultation with mes c2Lma.ra.deSy and be- 
fore Baptiste knew what we were about, 
we had him down in the snow, where we 
bound him hand and foot so as to render 
him incapable of interfering with our move- 
ments.^ We placed him in the bottom of 
the canoe, and gagged him so as to prevent 



eaicrie 



^^ him from speaking any words that might 
give us up to perdition«^ t^ *^ 

** And *cAcabris ! c/lcabras I <Aca.bra.m I ' 
up we went again, this time steering straight 
for the Gatineau.^ I had taken Baptiste's 
place in the stern*^ We had only a little 
over an hour to reach camp, and we all 
paddled away for dear life and eternal sal- 
vation. We followed the Ottawa River as 
far as the Pointe-Gatineau, and then steered 
due north by the polar star for our shanty. 
We were fairly flying in the air, and every- 
thing was going well when that rascal of a 
Baptiste managed to slip the ropes we had 
bound him with and to pull off his gag. 
We had been so busy paddling that, the 
first thing we knew, he was standing in the 
canoe, paddle in hand, and was swearing 
like a pagan. I felt that our end had come if 
he pronounced a certain sacred word, and it 
was out of the question to appease him in 
his frenzy. We had only a few miles to go 
to reach camp, and we were floating over 
the pine forests The position was really 
terrible*^ Baptiste was using his paddle 
30 like a shillalah and making a mouUnet 



<^S:I»: 



■N.^ \^ 




La dc^rin^olade 



VII 

it 



Galcrie ] 



that threatened every moment to crush in Ca 
some one's head. I was so excited that by ^,*|^^f 
a false movement of my own paddle I let 
the canoe come down on a level with the 
pines, and it was upset as it struck the 
head of a big tree. We all fell out and be- 
gan dropping down from branch to branch 
like partridges shot from the tamarack-tops. 
I don't know how long I was coming down, 
because I fainted before we reached the snow 
beneath, but my last recollection was like 
the dream of a man who feels himself drop- 
ping down a well without ever reaching 
bottom ^ ^ ^ 



About eight o'clock the next morning, 
I awoke in my bunk, in the cabin, whither 
some of our camarades had conveyed us 
after having found us to our necks in a 
neighboring snow-bank, at the foot of a 
monster pine-tree.^ Happily, no one was 
seriously hurt, although we were all more 
or less bruised and scratched, some having 
secured even black eyes in our way down 
from the tree-top.^ We were all thankful 33 



ti that nothing worse had befallen us, and 
€Da$$C- -^hen the camarades said that they had 
ttaienc fQund us sleeping away in the snow the 
effects of the previous night^s frolic, not 
one of us had anything to say to the con- 
trary*^ We all felt satisfied that our esca- 
pade with Old Nick remained unknown 
in the camp, and we preferred leaving our 
chums under the impression that we had 
taken an verre too many, to telling them 
of the bargain we had made to satisfy a 
passing fancy t^ So far as Baptiste Durand 
was concerned, there is no doubt that he 
had forgotten the latter part of his voyage, 
but he never alluded to the fact, and we fol- 
lowed his example.^ It was not till many 
years afterward that I related the story of 
our aventureSf just as they happened on 
that memorable New Yearns evee^ e^ *^ 

** All I can say, my friends, is that it is 
not so amusing as some people might think, 
to travel in mid-air, in the dead of winter, 
under the guidance of Beelzebub, running 
la chasse-galeriey and especially if you have 
un iVrogne to steer your bark canoe. Take 
34 my advice, and don^t listen to any one who 



would try to rope you in for such a trip. C^ 
Wait until summer before you eo to see ^^^*^' 
your sweethearts, for it is better to run all 
the rapids of the Ottawa and the St. 
Lawrence on a raft, than to travel in 
partnership with le diable himself/^ 
And Joe, the cook, dipped a la- 
dleful of boiling molasses from 
the big kettle on the fire, 
and declared that every- 
thing was now ready 
for the candy- 
pull. 




35 





3 






o 

Li. 




'^ 




ii 




fU2A 




ii. 





ts^ 



THE WERWOLVES 




-"»-" 



l^' 



MOTLEY and ^ picturesque- 
looking crowd had gathered 
within the walls ^ of Fort 
Richelieu to attend the an- 
nual distribution of powder 
and lead, to take part in the 
winter drills and target prac- 
tice, and to join in the Christ- 
mas festivities, that would last 
until the fast-approaching New 
Year.56 e^ ^ 

Coureurs des bois from the 
Western country, scouts, hunt- 
ers, trappers, militiamen, and 
habitants from the surrounding 
settlements, ^ Indian warriors 
from the neighboring tribe of 
friendly Abenakis, e^ were all 
placed under the military in- 
struction of the company of 
regular marine infantry that 



39 



C1)C garrisoned the fort constructed in 1665, by 
Uicrwolm M^ ^e Saurel, at the mouth of the Richelieu 
River, where it flows into the waters of the 
St. Lawrence, forty-five miles below Mon- 
treal*^ J* ^ 

It was on Christmas eve of the year 
\ 706, and the dreaded Iroquois were com- 
mitting depredations in the surrounding 
country, burning*^ farm-houses, stealing 
cattle and horses, and killing every man, 
woman, and child whom they could not 
carry away to their own villages to torture 
at the stake.^ ^ *^ 

The Richelieu River was the natural 
highway to the Iroquois country during 
the open season, but now that its waters 
were ice-bound, it was hard to tell whence 
the attacks from those terrible savages 
could be expected^ t^ ^ 

The distribution of arms and ammuni- 
tion having been made, under the joint 
supervision of the notary royal and the 
commandant of the fort, the men had re- 
tired to the barracks, where they were 
drinking, singing, and telling storiese^ ^ 
40 Tales of the most extraordinary adven- 



turcs were being unfolded by some of the CI)C 
hunters, who were vying with one another WcrwclVCS 
in their attempts at relating some unheard- 
of and fantastic incidents that would create 
a sensation among their superstitious and 
wonder-loving comrades*^ ^ <^ 

A sharp lookout was kept outside on 
the bastions, where four sentries were pa- 
cing up and down, repeating every half- 
hour the familiar watch-cry \ ^ ^ ^ 

** Sentinelle ! prenez garde a 'vous I ** ^ 

Old Sergeant Bellehumeur of the regu- 
lars, who had seen forty years of service 
in Canada, and who had come over with 
the regiment of Carignan-Salieres, was 
quietly sitting in a comer of the guard- 
room, smooking his Indian calumet, and 
watching over and keeping order among 
the men who were inclined to become 
boisterous over the oft-repeated libations. 

One of the men, who had accompanied 
La Salle in his first expedition in search of 
the mouths of the Mississippi, was in the 
act of reciting his adventures with the hos- 
tile tribes that they had met in that far-off 
country, when the crack of a musket was 4 J 



C^e heard from the outside, through the battle- 
UPcrwolPCS ments.^ A second report immediately fol- 
lowed the first one, and the cry: ** c/lux 
armes I ** was soon heard, with two more 
shots following close on each other.^ e^ 

The four sentries had evidently fired 
their muskets at some enemy or enemies, 
and the guard tumbled out in a hurry, fol- 
lowed by all the men, who had seized their 
arms, ready for an emergency.^ e^ ^ 

The officer on duty was already on the 
spot when Sergeant Bellehumeur arrived 
to inquire into the cause of all this tur- 
moil.^ *^ ^ 

The sentry who had fired the first shot 
declared excitedly that all at once, on turn- 
ing round on his beat, he had seen a party 
of red devils dancing around a bush fire, a 
couple of hundred yards away, right across 
the river from the fort, on the point covered 
with tall pine-trees. He had fired his mus- 
ket in their direction, more with the inten- 
tion of giving alarm than in the hope of 
hitting any of them at that distance*^ ^ 

The second, third, and fourth shots had 
42 been successively fired by the other sen- 



tries, who had not seen anything of the CftC j 

Indians, but who had joined in the firing Ulerwcloes ! 

with the idea of calling the guard to the 

spot, and scaring away any enemy who 

might be prowling around.^ ^ .^ , 

'* But where are the Indians now ? *' in- | 

quired the officer, who had climbed on the i 

parapet, ** and where is the fire of which | 

you speak ? ** .^ ^ e^ 

** They seem to have disappeared as by 
enchantment, sir,*^ answered the soldier, in 
astonishment ; ^* but they were there a few | 

moments ago, when I fired my musket at i 

them/^e^ 6^6 e^ 

** Well, we will see '' ; and, turning to j 

Bellehumeur : ** Sergeant, take ten men j 

with you, and proceed over there cau- 
tiously, to see whether you can discover 
any signs of the presence of Indians on the j 

points Meanwhile, see to it that the guard \ 

is kept under arms until your return, to j 

prevent any surprise/^.^ ^ ^ 

Bellehumeur did as he was ordered, 
picking ten of his best men to accompany i 

hims^ The gate of the fort was opened, I 

and the drawbridge was lowered to give 43 ij 



CftC passage to the party, who proceeded to 
UPCrwcioes cross the river, over the ice, marching at 
first in Indian file.^ When nearing the op- 
posite shore, near the edge of the wood, the 
men were seen to scatter, and to advance 
carefully, taking advantage of every tree 
to protect themselves against a possible 
ambushed ^ ^ 

The night was a bright one, and any 
dark object could be plainly seen on the 
white snow, in the clearing that surrounded 
the forta^ e^ e^ 

The men disappeared for a short time, 
but were soon seen again, coming back in 
the same order and by the same route*^ e^ 

** Nothing, sir, '* said the sergeant, in 
saluting the officered ** Not a sign of fire of 
any kind, and not a single Indian track, in 
the snow, over the point/'e^ >^ «^ 

** Well, that is curious, I declare ! e^ Had 
the sentry been drinking, sergeant, before 
going on post ? '*^ «^ ^ 

** No more than the rest of the men, sir ; 
and I could see no sign of liquor on him 
when the relief was sent out, an hour 
44 ago ^'«^ ^ ^ 



**WcU^ the man must be a fool or a CDe 
poltroon to raise such an alarm without iUcrwol«>c$ 
any cause whatever.^ See that he is im- 
mediately relieved from his post, sergeant, 
and have him confined in the guard-house 
until he appears before the commandant in 
the morning **^ ^ ^ 

The sentry was duly relieved, and calm 
was restored among the garrison.^ The 
men went back to their quarters, and the 
conversation naturally fell on the peculiar 
circumstances that had just taken place«^ 

II 

An old weather-beaten trapper who had 
just returned from the Great Lakes volun- 
teered the remark that, for his part, he was 
not so very sure that the sentry had not 
acted in perfect good faith, and had not been 
deceived by a band of loaps-garoas, — ^wer- 
wolves, — who came and went, appeared 
and disappeared, just as they pleased, under 
the protection of old Nick himself^?* ^ ^ 

** I have seen them more than once in my 
travels,*' continued the trapper ; ** and only 
last year I had occasion to fire at just such 45 



Cftf a band of miscreants, up on the Ottawa 
UlcnvolOCS River, above the portage of the Grandes- 
Chaudieres **^ ^ ^ 

** Tell us about it 1 ** chimed in the crowd 
of superstitious adventurers, whose credu- 
lous curiosity was instantly awakened by 
the promise of a story that would appeal to 
their love of the supematural«^ e^ «^ 

And every one gathered about the old 
trapper, who was evidently proud to have 
the occasion to recite his exploits before as 
distinguished an assemblage of dare-devils 
as one could find anywhere, from Quebec to 
Michilimackinac.^ ^ ^ 

"We had left Lachine, twenty-four of 
us, in three war-canoes, bound for the 
Illinois country, by way of the Ottawa 
River and the Upper Lakes ; and in four 
days we had reached the portage of the 
Grandes-Chaudieres, where we rested for 
one day to renew our stock of meat, which 
was getting exhausted*^ Along with one 
of my companions, I had followed some 
deer-tracks, which led us several miles up 
the river, and we soon succeeded in killing 
46 a splendid animalt^ We divided the meat so 



as to make it easier for us to carry, and it CftC 
was getting on toward nightfall when we UI«rwolP<$ 
began to retrace our steps in the direction 
of the camp.^ Darkness overtook us on the 
way, and as we were heavily burdened, 
we had stopped to rest and to smoke a pipe 
in a clump of maple-trees on the edge of the 
river.^ All at once, and without warning 
of any kind, we saw a bright fire of balsam 
boughs burning on a small island in the 
middle of the river.^ Ten or twelve ren- 
egades, half human and half beasts, with 
heads and tails like wolves, arms, legs, and 
bodies like men, and eyes glaring like burn- 
ing coals, were dancing around the fire, 
and barking a sort of outlandish chant that 
was now and then changed to peals of in- 
fernal laughter*^ We could also vaguely 
perceive, lying on the ground, the body of 
a human being that two of the imps were 
engaged in cutting up, probably getting it 
ready for the horrible meal that the miscre- 
ants would make when the dance would 
be over.^ Although we were sitting in the 
shadow of the trees, partly concealed by 
the underbrush, we were at once discov- 47 



Cftc cred by the dancers, who beckoned to us to 
UlcrwOlVCS go and join them in their disgusting feast.^ 
That is the way they entrap unwary hunters 
for their bloody sacrifices. Our first impulse 
was to fly toward the woods ; but we soon 
realized that we had to deal with loups-ga- 
rous ; and as we had both been to confes- 
sion and taken holy communion before em- 
barking at Lachine, we knew we had noth- 
ing to fear from them^^ While toaps-garoas 
are bad enough at any time, and you all 
know that only those who have remained 
seven years without performing their Eas- 
ter duties are liable ^ to be changed into 
wolves, condemned to prowl about at night 
until they are delivered by some Christian 
drawing blood from them by inflicting a 
wound on their forehead in the form of a 
cross, e^ but we had to deal with Indian 
renegades, who had accepted the sacra- 
ments only in mockery, and who had never 
since performed any of the duties comman- 
ed by the Church.^ They are the worst 
loups-garous that one can meet, because 
they are constantly ^ intent on capturing 

48 some misguided Christian, e^ to drink his 



blood and to eat his flesh in their horrible tft« 
fricots^ Had we been in possession of holy Werwolves 
water to sprinkle at them, or of a four- 
leaved clover to make wadding for our 
muskets, we might have exterminated the 
whole crowd, after having cut crosses on 
the lead of our bullets.^ But we were pow- 
erless to interfere with them, knowing full 
well that ordinary ammunition was useless, 
and that bullets would flatten out on their 
tough and impenetrable hidese^ Wolves at 
night, those devils would assume again, 
during the day, their appearance of ordinary 
Indians ; but their hide is only turned inside 
out, with the air growing inward*^ We 
were about to proceed on our way to the 
camp, leaving the loups-garoas to continue 
their witchcraft unmolested, when a thought 
struck me that we might at least try to give 
them a couple of parting shotse^ We both 
withdrew the bullets from our muskets, cut 
crosses on them with our hunting-knives, 
placed them back in the barrels, along with 
two dizatnes (a score) of beads from the 
blessed rosary which I carried in my pocket. 

49 



CftC That would surely make the renegades 
UiClWOlm sick, if it did not kiU them outright.^ ^ ^ 
" We took good aim, and fired together. 
Such unearthly howling and yelling I have 
never heard before or sincee^ Whether we 
killed any of them I could not say ; but the 
fire instantly disappeared, and the island 
was left in darkness, while the howls grew 
fainter and fainter as the loups-garoas seem- 
ed to be scampering in the distance.^ We 
returned to camp, where our companions 
were beginning to be anxious about our 
safety.^ We found that one man, a hard 
character who bragged of his misdeeds, had 
disappeared during the day, and when we 
left on the following morning he had not yet 
returned to camp, neither did we ever hear 
of him afterward*^ In paddling up the river 
in our canoes we passed close to the island 
where we had seen the loups-garous the 
night before,^ We landed, and searched 
around for some time ; but we could find no 
traces of fire, or any signs of the passage of 
werwolves or of any other animals-^ I knew 
that it would turned out just so, because it 
50 is a well-known fact that those accursed 



brutes never leave any tracks behind them. CbC 
My opinion was then, and has never chang- WciWOlPCS 
ed to this day, that the man who strayed 
from our camp, and never returned, was 
captured by the loups-garous and was being 
eaten up by them when we disturbed their 
horrible feast **^ t^ ^ 

** Well, is that all ? ** inquired Sergeant 
Bellehumeur, ^ with an ill-concealed con- 
tempteM *^ *^ 

** Yes, that is all ; but is it not enough to 
make one think that the sentry who has 
just been confined in the guard-house by the 
lieutenant for causing a false alarm has been 
deceived by a band of loups-garous who 
were picknicking on the point, and who dis- 
appeared in a twinkle when they found out 
that they were discovered ? "^ ^ ^ 

III 

A murmur of assent greeted these last re- 
marks of the speaker, and a number of cou- 
reurs des bois were ready to corroborate the 
absolute likelihood of his story by relating 
some of their own experiences with the 
loups-garous^ ^ ^ 51 



Cl)« One of them, however, in his dislike for 

merwolvcs anything connected with military discipline, 

ventured to add some offensive remarks for 

the young officer who had ordered the sentry 

to be placed in confinement.^ e^ .^ 

**Halte-U " growled the sergeant,^ "The 
first one who dares insinuate anything con- 
trary to the discipline, or show a want of 
respect for any of our officers, will be placed 
in the dungeon without further ado«^ Tell 
as many stories as you please, but as long 
as you are under my orders you will have 
to remember that you are not roaming at 
large in the wilderness, and that you are 
here in one of the forts of His Majesty the 
King of France "^ ^ ^ 

This had the effect of producing an im- 
mediate silence, and the sergeant continued : 

** I am not ready to gainsay the truthful- 
ness of the story that has just been told, be- 
cause I am myself inclined to believe in 
loups-garouSf akhough I have never met 
one face to face ; but I will not suffer any 
one to speak disrespectfully of my superior 
officerse^fe I will however, if you desire it, tell 
52 you the experience of one of my old copains, 



now dead and gone these many years, with Cl)e 
a female loup-garou, ^ who lived in the UlcrwoH^cs 
Iroquois village of Caughnawaga, ^ near 
Montreal*^ e^ e^ 

At the unanimous request of the crowd, 
the sergeant went on : e^ .M «^ 

** Baptiste Tranchemontagne was a cor- 
poral with me, in the company of M. de 
Saurel, in the old regiment of Carignan- 
Salierese^ We had come from France to- 
gether, and he and I made a pair in every- 
thing connected with the service, having 
fought side by side in many an encounter 
with the redskinse^ The poor fellow fell 
into the hands of the Iroquois at Cataracoui, 
and he was tortured at the stake in the 
village of the Mohawks*^ He died like a 
man, smiling when they tore the flesh from 
his body with red-hot tongs, and spitting in 
the faces of his tormentors when they ap- 
proached him to cut off his lips and to pull 
out his eyes. May God have mercy on his 
brave soul ! **j^ ^ ^ 

And the sergeant devoutly crossed him- 
self.^ e^ ^ 

** Baptiste, in one of our expeditions on 53 



ClK the south shore of Lake Ontario, had made 
Uicrwolves ^he acquaintance of a young Indian maiden 
who was known as La-Unotte-qui-chante 
among the warriors of her tribee^ An inti- 
macy sprang up between Baptiste and the 
young squaw, and they were married, In- 
dian fashion, without much ceremony, the 
father^s consent having been obtained by 
the gift of an old musket.^ The girl follow- 
ed us back, and joined the tribe that had 
settled at Caughnawaga, «^ under the pro- 
tection of the guns of Fort St. Louis, oppo- 
site Lachine, *^ where our company was 
stationed for nearly a whole year«^ Every- 
thing went well as long as we remained at 
Fort St. Louis, although, Indian-like, the 
young squaw was fearfully jealous of Bap- 
tiste, and at times would threaten him with 
acts of direful vengeance if he ever became 
unfaithful to her,^ ^ ^ 

** One day our command was ordered to 
Fort St. Frederic, on Lake Champlain, and 
our captain gave the strictest order that no 
camp-follower of any kind, men, women, or 
children, should be allowed to accompany 
54 us in the expedition.^ We started in the 



middle of the night, and Baptiste hurriedly Zht 
said good-by to his Indian wife, telling her Werwolves 
that he would return to see her in a short 
time«^ The squaw answered sulkily that 
she would follow him anywhere, and that, 
in spite of the captain or any one else, she 
would reach the fort before we dide^ We 
knew the Indian character too well to doubt 
that she would do as she promised, and 
when we marched over the drawbridge of 
Fort St. Frederic, five days afterward, we 
were not too much astonished to see, among 
the throng of Indians who had gathered to 
see us arrive, the face of Baptiste^s squaw, 
half concealed under her blanketed Baptiste 
was slightly annoyed at her presence, be- 
cause he feared that the officers might think 
that, contrary to orders, he had encouraged 
her to follow the company,^ But we had no 
time to reflect on the situation before our 
company was ordered to embark in canoes, 
to proceed at once to Lake St. Sacrament 
(now Lake George)*^ Baptiste did not even 
have the chance to speak to his squaw be- 
fore we got under way, with three more 
companies of our regiment, under the com- 55 



ClK mand of Colonel dc Ramezay.^ Wc were 
Uicrwoivcs away for three months, engaged in an expe- 
dition against the Mohawks ; and we gave 
the red devils such a thrashing that they 
pleaded for peace, and we returned victorious 
to enjoy a few weeks of well-earned repose 
in the garrison of MontreaI«56 Baptiste had 
lost sight of La-Unotte-qui-chantef and he 
supposed that she had either returned to her 
tribe or else formed new ties with' some of 
the trappers who regularly visited the forts 
to sell their furs and squander the proceeds 
in riotous living^ ^ ^ 

** The Indians having buried the toma- 
hawk, there came a period of peace, when 
the governor-general at Quebec offered a 
grant of land to any soldier who would quit 
the regular service, and a dowry of eighty 
pistoles in money to any woman, provided 
that they got married and settled in the 
country.^ I never had any taste for wedded 
life or for the career of a pekin, but Baptiste 
was not slow in casting his eyes upon a 
pretty girl who lived at Laprairie across the 
river from Montreal«^ He told me confi- 
S6 dentially that he had made up his mind to 



leave the service and to profit by the liberal Che 
offers of the government.^ I attempted to lUcrwcH?c$ 
dissuade him from his project, because I 
hated to part with my best friend ; but he 
was smitten, and I had to make up my 
mind to bow to the inevitable when strange 
and unexpected occurrences soon took place 
that upset all his plans.^ One day, when we 
were both lounging about the market-place, 
Baptiste suddenly found himself face to face 
with La-linotte-qui-chantet whom he had 
last seen some six months before at Fort St. 
Frederick To say that he fek embarrassed 
would be putting it very mildly ; but he as- 
sumed a bold countenance, and spoke words 
of welcome that were received with apparent 
indifference by the Indian girl. She had re- 
turned to Caughnawaga, where she was 
now living, and she had come to Montreal 
with some Indian hunters who had brought 
their furs to markets She spoke not a word, 
but looked reproachfully at her old lover 
with her piercing black eyes, and disappear- 
ed in the crowded Baptiste was seriously 
annoyed at this unexpected meeting, but as 
the girl had left without uttering any re- 57 



^^ proaches^ he took it for granted that she had 
ttPerwoiOCS jjg^Qi^g reconciled to the idea of a final 

separation between them*^ My chum had 
applied for his discharge, and was to be 
married on the coming Easter Monday, and, 
as a matter of course, I was to act as his 
best man — his garcon d'honneur^ Pre- 
parations were being made for the wedding, 
and there was hardly a day that Baptiste 
did not cross over the river to go and see 
his fiancee«^ Ten days before the date 
appointed for the ceremony, Baptiste return- 
ed one night in great trouble^^ His intended 
had been taken ill, seriously ill, with a 
violent fever, and no one at Laprairie seem- 
ed to understand the nature of her sickness. 
He would ask the post surgeon to go and 
see her in the morning. And besides, on 
leaving Laprairie, that very night, he had 
met La-linotte-gai-chante at the cross-road 
that led to Caughnawaga.^ No words had 
been exchanged between them, but her pres- 
ence there at such a time was sufficient to 
give him food for presages of no pleasant 
nature-^ Accompanied by the surgeon, he 
58 repaired to Laprairie on the following mom- 



ingf and he was horrified to learn that his ClK 
fiancee had been stricken down with the ^CWOlPes 
smallpox, that was then raging among our 
Indian allies encamped about Fort St. Louis. 
Baptiste insisted at once that he should 
nurse his sweetheart through her dangerous 
illness, and the doctor returned to Montreal 
after having prescribed the necessary treat- 
ment.^ It was useless, however, for five 
days later my friend returned to Montreal 
with the sad news that his fiancee was 
dead^ The poor fellow, in despair, rein- 
listed at once in our company, and declared 
that he would end his life in the ranks. He 
then took me aside and related to me the 
following incidents that had occurred on the 
night before the death of his betrothed.^ 
During the day he had been astonished, on 
entering the large family living-room, to 
find La-Unotte-qui-chdnte sitting by the fire- 
place, as the Indians are wont to do, coming 
and going oftentime without asking per- 
mission of any kind from the inmates, and 
even without speaking a single word«^ Sus- 
picious of her presence at such a place and 
under such circumstances, he immediately 59 



Cftc went to her and asked her what she was 
Werwclm ^joing there^ ^ d>- 

** * I have come to offer you help in your 
trouble and consolation in your sorrow.^ 
The white maiden whom you love so much 
will be dead before morning, if I do not come 
to the rescue*^ I will go back to Caughna- 
waga, and ask for a potion that will cure 
her, from our medicine-mane^ Meet me to- 
night, at twelve o^cIock, at the first turn of 
the road, among the pine trees on the river- 
side/ 

** And before Baptiste could answer she 
had left the house, going in the direction of 
the Indian village.^ Although he did not 
half like the mysterious ways of the squaw, 
Baptiste said to himself that no harm could 
come of trying the decoction as a last resort, 
because the dreadful disease had made such 
progress that it was evident that his sweet- 
heart was likely to die at any moment. 

" Shortly before midnight Baptiste took 

his musket and went out to the rendez-vous. 

He had been waiting for some time, and 

was getting impatient, when he heard a 

60 noise behind him, and in turning round 







^f^ ■"".., 




-trfg^ ^i l^^iJ^^^B^EwHHs^^^ 




.*>! 


IhSBI^^h^^^^^E^H^^^I 


^^^^^H^ 


M 


^r^PHBH^f^^^^^^^HglHH^^BIJ^^^^H^H 


I^H 


"'WuKt 


HI 




i^H 




^^^^^^^^^H^Vv>^^^F 




RHu^S^^Hm^ ^^^H^BIK' "^a 


H^^^ffiil^K' 




BubQ^^I^^IB^^I^^V^^S^^ "^^^9^^^1^H^I^Bhl'^''9h 


^^HH|^nH 




BBHBE^^'^^H^^^^B 


^^IHp^^^S^k" **'' 






H^^^^^^HSnt^m' A^ 








m^^' ^SkT 


. . , t*^,^, ^- , 


m'^ 




\ ■ 


"■• ff 




^*^''' " ' '- -^^^'^^ 




% 




■ 



The Dclivrancc 



perceived a pair of eyes glaring at him from Cfte 
a small distance in the underbrush. It could W«rwclP« 
not be the squaw^ and he supposed that it 
was some wild animal prowling about, 
probably a bear, a wolf, or a wild-cat.^ He 
instinctively shouldered his musket, and 
although he could not take a good aim in 
the dark, he fired, missing the beast, who 
sprang at him with a terrible growl.^ ^ 

** It was a wolf of enormous size, and for 
the first time Baptiste thought of a toap- 
garou^ He was too well accustomed to 
danger to lose his presence of mind, and 
throwing his empty musket in the snow, he 
seized his hunting-knife, and made a lunge 
at the beast ; but the blade bent on the hide 
of the animal as if it had been thrust into a 
side of sole-leather. Baptiste now bethought 
himself of the only way of getting at the 
wolf, by drawing its blood in cutting a cross 
in its forehead*^ The wolf seemed to realize 
the fact, and fought at paw's length with its 
powerful claws, tearing Baptiste's flesh into 
shreds, and trying to strike at his face so as 
to blind him, if possible, while keeping its 
own head out of the reach of the gleaming 63 



ClK knifed The fight had lasted for some time, 
UPcrwollKS and Baptiste was getting exhausted, when 
by an adroit stroke of his weapon, always 
as sharp as a razor, he completely cut off 
one of the fore paws of the animal, who 
uttered a terrible yell resembling the scream 
of a woman, and fled through the woods, 
where it disappeared in an instant.^ .^ ^ 

** Baptiste now understood the situation 
in a moment.^ La-linotte-gui-chantef who 
had been baptized and duly received in our 
holy religion, having afterward relapsed into 
idolatry, had been turned into a loup-gdrou^ 
condemned to roam by night, while keeping 
her usual apparance during the day«^ Jeal- 
ousy and revenge had induced her to attack 
her former lover, hoping to take him un- 
awares, and to kill him in the woods, while 
his new love was lying on her death-bed, a 
victim to the terrible scourge that the squaw 
had brought to the house. Baptiste learned 
that La-Unotte-qui-chante had been a fre- 
quent visitor for some time past, having 
succeed in ingratiating herself with the poor 
dead girl, undoubtedly bringing to her the 
64 germ of the disease that was raging at the 



Indian village*^ Such was the savage re- OK 
venge of the young squaw to punish the WcrwclPCS 
faithlessness of Baptiste to his former vows 
of love and affection«^ It was also learned 
afterward that a human arm, evidently that 
of an Indian woman, had been found in the 
snow by some children who had strayed in 
the woods, at the very spot where the fight 
had taken place between Baptiste and the 
loup-garou^ It was undoubtedly the fore 
paw of the wolf, which had resumed its 
former shape as the arm of the renegade 
squaws^ ^ ^ 

** I have already told you,'* continued Ser- 
geant Bellehumeur, ** that poor Baptiste was 
later on taken prisoner by the Iroquois at 
Cataracoui, and that he was burned at the 
stake by the Mohawks.^ One of the pris- 
oners who escaped from the redskins, and 
returned to Montreal, told me that he had 
remarked a one-armed squaw, who seemed 
to take special pleasure in inventing the 
most abominable devices to add to the suf- 
ferings of poor Baptiste*^ It was she who 
pulled out his tongue by the root, and who 

65 



Cbe crushed in his skull with a tomahawk when 
Olcnvolm he fainted from pain and loss of bloods 

" Now/' summed up the sergeant, so as 
to cut short any more story-telling, ** this is 
a real loup-garou story that I can vouch 
for, and that I would not permit any 
one to gainsay ; and I now would 
call your attention to the fact that 
I will order the cou'hre-feu to be 
sounded, and that I shall ex- 
pect every one of you to 
be snoring at the bugle- 
call, so as to observe 
the rules of this 
garrison* 
** Lights out I and silence in the barracks I ** 




'^>Vj 



66 




Lights Out ! 



LA QUETE DE ^ ^ 
08 ^ L'ENFANT JESUS 

11 est ai le divin Enfant, 
Jouez hautbois ! R^nnez musette I 
II est ni le divin Enfant, 
Chantons tous son avenement* 

{Old French Noel.) 
I 

fHEN Fanfan Dalcour received 
a message from M'sieu le Cure 
of Lanoraie, asking him to call 
at the presbyt ere on the follow- 
ing Sunday, after Vespers, he hardly knew 
what to say, and hesitated for a moment or 
two before lifting his eyes towards the 
beadle, who stood waiting for an answer : 
** Well, teU Wsieu le Cure that I will go : '' 
and after another pause : ** that's all ***^ 
** "Bonjour, Wsieu fanfan ' > 
" c4u revoirt pere Landry ! ** 
Fanfan Dalcour was a robust and hand- 
some young farmer, who had lately returned ^9 




ta from the North-west country, where he had 
QnSfe dc been hunting and trapping e^ among the 
I Emant Indians and Half-breeds on the head waters 
of the Saskatchewan Rivere^ ^ 

His sudden departure from home, some 
two years before, had been connected with 
a scandal in the rural parish of Lanoraie, 
and since his return he had not yet been to 
pay his respects to the venerable old priest 
who had baptized him twenty years before. 
Fanfan was sulking, and even appeared 
inclined to forego his allegiance to his old 
parish church.^ Instead of accompanying 
his father and mother to the church at La- 
noraie, as he was wont to do with pride in 
the days of his boyhood, he had always, 
since his return, started alone, before the 
others, to go to the neighbouring village of 
Lavaltrie to perform his Sunday devotions. 
And that, much to the chagrin and disap- 
pointment of the old curCf who had always 
taken great interest in him, and who, pro- 
bably, wanted to gvvz him a bit of pastoral 
advice.^ t^ e^ 

There was no way of avoiding the meet- 
70 ing since he had formally promised to go. 



and Fanfan began at once to build up a ^^ 
defensive argument against the reproaches ^^'^^^ "^ 
that he thought would surely fall upon his 
guilty head.^ *^ ^ 



rcnTant 
3e$u$ 



II 



Fanfan Dalcour, from his earliest boy- 
hood, had always been considered as a pro- 
tege of M'siea le Cure^ and specially so, 
when at the age of ten he became an enfant 
de choeuTf with a black soutanelle and a 
little daintily plaited white muslin surplice 
that M^amselle Marguerite, the cure^s house- 
keeper, had made expressly for him.^ He 
had then learned his catechism and made 
his first communion, and had soon become 
noted as the favorite altar boy who could 
most prettily make a bow and a genuflec- 
tion, and most carefully pour the wine out 
of the burettes for the holy sacrifice of the 
the mass«^ e^ «^ 

His father, Pierriche Dalcour, who was 
a well-to-do habitant^ took great pride in 
the accomplishments of his son, and his 
heart fairly thumped with delight when, 
one evening at the service of the cMois de 71 



Ca cMariet he recognized the voice of Fanfan 
Qttctc 0< leading the first verse of a sacred song to the 

Salut 1 O vierge immaculee 1 
Brillaate ^toile du matin. 

And Fanfan had also become the smart- 
est pupil of the old village schoolmaster, and 
it had even been rumoured that he had 
begun to study Latin with the intention of 
going to college to become a priest, a lawyer, 
a doctor or a notary.^ But that was only 
idle talk, and old Pierriche Dalcour declared 
that he wanted his first-bom to stay at home 
to till the farm as he and his father and his 
fore-fathers had done for two hundred years 
before him, on the banks of the St. Law- 
rence.^ And that suited Fanfan^s inclin- 
ations.^ He loved to rise with the lark in 
summer, and to work in the broad fields with 
the farm hands.^ In the evening he enjoyed 
boating and swimming in the waters of the 
big river that flowed lazily and majestically 
past his father's old homestead.^ He would 
shoot ducks and wild geese as they passed 
every spring and autumn in their regular 
72 migrations, and in winter time he loved to 



speed his horse on the polished surface of D 
the ice-bound river.^ Fanfan had grown to ^^^^^ ^^ 
be a strong, active lad who took the lead in _, " 
all the sports of the parish, but as he reached 
manhood he remained faithful in his attend- 
ance at church, and in his gratitude for the 
unbounded kindness of M'sieu le Cure^ 

He had also become the leading singer in 
the church choir, and the whole congrega- 
tion was proud of his deep, powerful voice 
when he led the Kyrie Eleisorit the Gloria, 
in excelsis, the Credo or the Sanctus* 

III 

The old secular parish church of Lanoraie 
had ever been without an organ, and it was 
an eventful Sunday when M'siea le Care 
announced from the pulpit that, after due 
consultation with ces messieurs du banc- 
d'oeuvre* he had come to the conclusion 
of purchasing an instrument in Montreal, 
and that it would be put up in the jube, 
during the following week, in time for the 
approaching Christmas celebration.^ ^ 

* Literally ** those gentlemen of the work bench **^ The 
expression is popularly used in French Canadian churches to 
designate the Board of ChurchwardenstM J^ J* ' <^ 



C4 The daughter of the village trader, Ju- 
OttCfc de liette Leblanc, who had just completed her 
cmani studies at the convent of Berthicr, had vo- 
lunteered her services as organist gratuitous- 
ly, for the first year.^ ^ «^ 

This naturally brought Fanfan Dalcourt 
in contact with Juliette Leblanc, who was 
a pretty girl just budding into womanhood. 
And the usual result followed. La vieillet 
vieille histoire was repeated.^ e^ «^ 

A few rehearsals became necessary before 
the inauguration of the organ, which would 
take place on the occasion of the midnight 
mass on Christmas Eve, and Fanfan and 
Juliette, who had merely known each other 
by sight from childhood, were now brought 
together almost every day for the purpose 
of choral practice and service organization. 

Juliette Leblanc, who was naturally en- 
dowed with musical talents, had received a 
fairly good training from her teachers at 
school, and with much patience and a few 
days^ hard work, she succeeded in prepar- 
ing a Messe Bordelaise that was sure to 
create a sensation among the music-loving 
74 population of a French- Canadian parish*^ 



Fanfan now assumed the duties of maitre- ^^^ 
chantre in the choir,.^ and naturally took Jf J, * . 
great pride in his new position.^ ^ ^ '\i%vA 

Every thing was in readiness for la. messe 
de minuitf and the church had been elab- 
orately decorated and illuminated .M for the 
occasion,^ When the last stroke of the bell 
had finished tolling ^ the midnight hour, 
every pew was filled.^ with a pious and 
expectant congregation.^ A soft prelude 
was heard, and every one instinctively held 
breath to listen to Fanfan's voice, accom- 
panied by the swelling chords of the organ, 
in the ancient canticle*^ announcing the 
coming of the Messiah :^ ^^ ^ 

Qi, bergers, assetnblons-nous : 
Aliens voir le Messie, 
Cherchons cet enfant si douz 
Dans les bras de Marie. 
Je I'entendst il nous appelle tous, 
O sort dignc d'cnvie I 

Wsiea le Ct/re, who was putting on his 
sacred vestments in the sacristies stopped 
and wept like a child and declared that his 
musique was sweeter than any thing he 
had ever heard in the cathedral of Notre 
Dame, in Montreale^ ^ ^ 75 



ta The old choral service.^ was indeed a 

Qlicte de success, ^ as well as the rendering of the 

I tnTant ^^^ient NoelSf ^ sacred echoes of distant 

France, that had, from time immemorial, 

been sung in the old churched during the 

Christmas festivities.^ ^ ^ 

And when the service was over, the old 
priest in a simple allocution t^ related the 
incidents of the birth of the Infant Saviour, 
and the whole congregation^ joined with 
him in a sacred song of exaltation \^ ^ ^ 

Nouvelle agreable ! 
Un Sauveur enfant nous est ne. 
Cest dans une etable, 
Qu^il nous est donn^. 

At the reveillon that followed the mid- 
night mass, at the residence of Jean-Jean 
Leblanc, Juliette and Fanfan ^ were con- 
gratulated and toasted on the success that 
they had achieved in so short a time of 
practice.^ *^ ^ 

And the old people, in returning home 

that night, declared that such a talented 

young man ^ and such a pretty girl who 

could so well sing and play together, would 

76 naturally fall in love with each other and 



that there certainly was a new ma.na.ge a ^^ 

V horizon^ ^ ^ f^^^^^^ 

The prediction was soon realized, for at -. 
the New Yearns gatherings, it became a 
matter of public gossip ^ that Fanfan and 
Juliette were fiances and that they were to 
be married aux jours gras^ at carnival time. 
Both families were respectable and well to 
do, and it was universally acknowledged 
that it was a manage de bon sens ^ as well 
as a manage d'amoar^ ^ ^ 

The old priest was all smiles when he 
heard the news, and he sent for Fanfan and 
Juliette to tell them of the gladness of his 
heart and to give them his blessing in an- 
ticipation of the marriage ceremony «^ ^ ^ 

His protege and master-singer wedded to 
his organist I — what a boon for the church 
and what a happy realization of his own 
dreams l^ ^ ^ 

But ** he that reckons without his host 
must reckon twice,'' says an old French 
proverb, and M'sieu le Cure had not reck- 
oned with ** politics,'' when he had con- 
sidered the future organization of his choir 

77 



ta as settled beyond .^ paradventure by the 

Qnitt dc marriage of Fanfan and Juliette*^ *^ ^ 
renfant 
3e$tt$ IV 

Early in January, the news came that an 
election to choose a member of Parliament 
for the county of Berthier would take place 
on the first day of the following month, to 
replace ^ the old member, who had been 
called to the Senate.^ ^ ^ 

And with the new election came a host 
of stump speakers and district canvassers 
from Montreal, with the usual accompani- 
ment of committee-meetings and other evils 
inseparable from the free and untrammelled 
judgment of the people on such occasions.^ 

The parish soon became infested with a 
spirit of acrimonious discussion that often- 
times degenerated into enmity and quarrels 
among the younger voters.^ «^ ^ 

Old Pierriche Dalcour was an outspoken 
liberal, un rouge^^ and Jean-Jean Leblanc 
always voted with les bleuSf the conserva- 
tives«5* Fanfan, as a matter of course, fol- 
lowed his father^s political proclivities, but 
78 on the other hand, it is hardly necessary to 



state that Juliette knew nothing of party Ca 
preferences and intrigues, and that she was Qw^te de 
absolutely indifferent to the burning topics ' ^nfaitt 
that were discussed around her.^ She was 
all wrapped up in Fanfan's love, and was 
awaiting with delight the hour when she 
would become his wife*^ ^ ^ 

Not so with the old folks, who generally 
became quite excited when, once in four 
years, they were called to vote against each 
other^s favorite candidate.^ ^ ^ 

Pierriche Dalcour had said to Fanfan : 

''Until after election, you had better be 
on your guard, when you go to see Juliette, 
You know that her father^s house is looked 
upon as the headquarters of the conserva- 
tives, and that it is always filled with can- 
vassers and speakers from the city«^ They 
might think it to their advantage to say 
that you have joined the bleus and use your 
name in connection with their party.^ My 
father fought at St» Denis, under Papineau, 
and I would not have it said e^ for all the 
world that one of us has gone back on the 
party *'«^ «^ ^ 

** Never fear, father,'^ answered Fanfan, 79 



E3 smiling.^ ** Juliette and I never talk *poIi- 
Qttctc ac ^j^g t ^^^ J gj^jj jjg ^gj.y careful with the 



renfant 
3esu$ 



V 



There was to be a grand rally of the 
voters on the following Sunday afternoon, 
after Vespers, when speakers of both parties 
were to meet at the church door to discuss 
public matters^ ^ ^ 

Two young advocates from Montreal 
had already arrived and were the guests of 
Jean-Jean Leblanc.^ One of them had even 
offered to join the church choir for the occa- 
sion*^ As he was known as a singer of 
considerable repute in the great city,.^ the 
offer was thankfully accepted by Fanfan, 
and at High Mass, the congregation were 
delighted to hear a stranger sing an cAve 
cMdria. in a clear, cultivated tenor voice*^ 
It was even acknowledged, after the service, 
that the young man ^ from the city could 
sing almost as well as Fanfan Dalcoure^ 

Fanfan himself had been the first to offer 

his congratulations as he was leaving the 

80 church to go «^ and take his dinner with 



M*sieu le Cure^ as he had been in the habit Ea 

of doing, every Sunday, for many years ^^^^^ ^* 

pasted ^ ^ !*^"^^"^ 

The repast over, and after a few mo- 
ment's conversation with the priest, Fanfan 
lighted his pipe and walked leisurely towards 
Jean-Jean Leblanc's, to have a chat with 
his comrades, before Vespers*^ The house 
was full of people and when he entered it 
he heard the voice of his new acquaintance, 
the tenor, rehearsing ^ a Magnified^ with 
piano accompaniment, in the sitting-room, 
up stairse^ The men down stairs were dis- 
cussing the political situation, and one of 
them, at the sight of Fanfan, said taunt- 
ingly \^ t^ ^ 

** Look out, Fanfan, mon garcon !^ The 
Conservatives are going to defeat you in 
this election, and if you are not very careful 
the young advocate, up there, after disput- 
ing your laurels as a singer, will also beat 
you out of your sweethearte^ Don't you 
hear them warble together ? **,^ ^ ^ 

A peal of laughter greeted these remarks, 
because, politically, Fanfan found himself 
alone among his opponents, at this particular 8 \ 



C* moment.^ He felt somewhat embarrassed 
ve^f t ^^^ ^^ hardly knew whether to laugh or 
lesuj *° ^^ vexed, but he passed on without an- 
sweringft^ With his accustomed familiarity- 
he walked up stairs, where the women had 
been listening to the music that had just 
stopped.^ eM t^ 

Juliette Leblanc was sitting at the piano 
with her back turned to the door, and the 
young advocate, with the assumed freedom 
of an old acquaintance, was just bending 
over her and whispering in her ears words 
that made the young girl laugh and blush 
at the same timec^ And then, raising his 
voice so that he could be heard by every 
one in the room \t^ ^ ^ 

** I have been told, Mademoiselle Juliette, 
that you are engaged to be married to the 
Mattre-chantre of your choir, an obstinate 
liberal who surely does not deserve such a 
prize, the prettiest girl of conservative par- 
entage in the parish**.^ e^ «^ 

But cMonsieur I pleaded the girl*^ 
Well, Mademoiselle^ I am sorry to see 
it, and were it not for the fact that I am 
82 probably too late, I would myself 1 '* 






** What would you do yourself Monsieur t^ 
le godelareau ? " interrupted Fanfan, taking 0«^tc <Jc 
a step forward toward the speaker, who ' ^"'^"^ 
was somewhat e^ nonplussed at his ap- 
pearance, but who prided himself as a poli- 
tician, in never being taken by surprise*^ 

** I would enter the field against you, 
Monsieur Fanfan, and with a little patience, 
I think I would be as sure of winning the 
contest against you as we are of beating you 
and your friends in the coming election "^^ 

This was said with an air of conceit and 
sarcasm that put Fanfan fairly beside him- 
selfe^ e^ ^ 

Poor Juliette saw that a quarrel was im- 
minent, and she got up pale and trembling, 
and attempted to interpose herself between 
the two men^ But before she had time to 
act, Fanfan had stepped up to the young 
politician and with glaring eyes and clench- 
ed fits : — 

^^You are both a braggart and a mat- 
appriSf M'sieu Val^ocat I ^ to act and 
speak as you have done«^ And if it were not 
for the respect I have for the ladies here 
present, and for the house of Mr. Leblanc, 83 



Ca I would give you a thrashing that would 
i»c f i *^^^ *^^ conceit out of you before you rc- 
1^u$ *"^^ *° Montreal *'.^ t^ ^ 

The advocate turned pale, but did not 
lose his seIf-controI«^ With a constrained 
smile : — 

*' Oh, you are also a village bully, Mon- 
sieur Fanfan, but need I tell you that such 
as I are not afraid of such as you ^^^ ^ 

The words were hardly out of his mouth 
before Fanfan had caught him by the throat, 
and heedless of the shrieks of the women 
present, and before any one could interfere, 
he lifted him from his feet, carried him 
towards the door at the head of the stairs 
and flung him down among the crowd be- 
low.^ e^ 0^ 

All this had happened so quickly that 
Fanfan had time to run down stairs himself 
and to make his way out of the house before 
the people knew what it was all about ^ 

Juliette had fainted upstairs and could not 

answer the inquiries of her father, who had 

come to see what was the trouble, and it 

took fully ten minutes before the circum- 

84 stances were explained*^ ^ J'* 



The lawyer was not seriously hurt, al- Ca 
though badly shaken up, but the scandal QuctC dc 
was greats^ The news spread like wildfire • ^'^'^W^ 
among the crowd that were now wending 
their way toward the church to attend the 
afternoon servicee^ ^ ^ 

The psalms and the hymns, at Vespers, 
that afternoon, were chanted without the 
organ accompaniment, and the old cure who 
inquired the cause, was told that Mam^selle 
Juliette had suddenly been taken sick and 
that there was no one to replace her«^ ^ 

** But where is Fanfan Dalcour ? " conti- 
nued the pastor.^ e^ e^ 

No one seemed to know, or cared to tell 
him the news<^ t^ ^ 

Fanfan, on coming out of the house of 
Jean-Jean Leblanc, had driven home at full 
speed, and had told to his father about what 
had just taken place.^ «M e^ 

** Oh I les bleus ! les bleus I the rascals ! 
Did I not tell you to look out for them ! You 
did right, Fanfan, to resent the insult of that 
young coxcombs^ But what are you going 
to do now ? 

'* Do ? I don^t know, but I suppose that 85 



ti the best thing that the lawyer can do him- 
QllStc de ggif jg ^Q j^^yg mg arrested for assault, and 

''^1lI$U$ P"* "^ ^^*^' ^"* ^ ^°"'* ^^^^ ^"^ *^^ chance 
to do that«^ I will keep away from home 

for some time to let the thing blow over.^ 

Anyhow, my engagement with Juliette is 

at an end, and I don^t care what I do now. 

What, if I go to Manitoba to see uncle 

Thomas, who lives at St. Boniface ?«^ He 

has often written to us inviting me to go. 

Now is the time ; I can leave for Montreal 

by the next train and escape the vengeance 

which that pettifogger of a lawyer will surely 

try to take on me.^^«^ ^ ^ 

** Well, I suppose it is the best thing that 
you can do under the circumstances.^ Get 
your things ready, and I will drive you to 
the stationed I will write soon to let you 
know the effects of your escapade.^'.^ «^ 

And Fanfan had disappeared from La- 
noraie without giving any explanations to 
the care or to his fiancee^ ^ ^ 

Poor Juliette Leblanc had been ill for 
some time after Fanfan*s departure and it 
had been fully three months before she had 
86 resumed her place at the organ.^ ^ ^ 



She had never spoken about Fanfan, had C^ 
never even pronounced his name, but she ^^^^^ ^* 
was known to have said that '* politics ** 1!^^^"^ 
were not only delusive, but they were also 
mendacious and pitiless*^ She never would 
permit any one to allude to the trouble be- 
tween her lover and the Montreal politician, 
and when the young man had called to say 
good-by before leaving Lanoraie, she had 
refused to see him,^ «^ ^ 

The old cure had called to comfort her, 
and she had resigned herself to a state of 
apparent indifference that puzzled her father* 
Fully half-a-dozen offers of marriage had 
since been made to her, but she had refused 
every one, declaring that she would not 
marry.^ That was all.^ «^ ^ 

VI 

Such were the causes of Fanfan Dalcour's 
trip to the North- West country, whence he 
had lately returned after a two years' 
absence, when the Cure of Lanoraie had 
sent him that message, to ask his presence 
at the presbytere on the following Sunday, 
after Vespers.^ ^ ^ 87 



Ca Fanfan kept his own counsel until the 

Quite dc appointed hour, when he simply said to his 

renfant old mother:— 

•* ** I am going to harness up to pay a visit 

to cM*sieu le Cure^ I will return for supper/' 

And he went, wondering what reception 

the good old cure would give him ; because, 

apart from the scandal his departure had 

caused, the church choir had been very 

badly disorganized by his absence*^ ^ ^ 

When Fanfan drove up to the presbyterCf 
he found the old priest awaiting him alone 
in his reception room*^ He embraced him 
affectionately, asked him about the most 
important events that had taken place dur- 
ing his journey, but never alluded to the 
cause of his sudden departure for the North- 
West.^ ^ ^ 

** Now that you are back among your 
friends, I hope to see you take your place in 
the parish among your old comrades*^ 
Meanwhile, I desire you to accompany me 
next week for la quete de V enfant Jesus^ 
Fanfan was deeply moved by the kind- 
ness of his old pastor, and could not refuse 
88 




c 

■© 
U 






c 






r€nfant I 



his request, although he dreaded the ordeal Ca 

of facing every household in the parish.^ ^*^y ^l 

Ld quete de t Enfant Jesus^ — ** the col- -^ 
lection for the Infant Jesus/^ — is an annual 
visit made in every French parish in Can- 
ada, for the purpose of gathering candles 
for the illumination of the church at the 
Christmas midnight mass.^ The women 
also contribute bits of lace, and ribbons, and 
artificial flowers, for decoration of the holy 
manger, where a scene representing the 
birth of the infant Saviour is exposed for 
the veneration of the faithful.^ ^ *^ 

The parish priest makes that his annual 
call, and is usually accompanied by the 
margatller en charge^ the oldest among the 
church- wardens M'sieu le Care, in his father- 
ly affection for Fanfan, had selected him this 
year, for the purpose of facilitating his first 
meeting, since his return, with all the pa- 
rishioners, who would be sure to welcome 
him cordially on such an errand, and es- 
pecially in such company e^ e^ ^ 

The following Monday, Fanfan harness- 
ed his favorite horse to his best sleigh, and 
at the hour appointed, 9 o'clock in the mom- 9 \ 



1 



Ca ing, knocked at the door of the presbyfere, 
Qll^tc dc where M*sieu le Cure was already waiting: 
" for him«^ The collection having been an- 
nounced in the pulpit the day before, every 
one was on the alert to welcome the vis- 
itors, who stopped at every house as they 
proceeded on their way^ Fanf an was thus 
brought in contact with every family, until 
he stopped his horse at the door of the re- 
sidence of Jean-Jean Leblanc.^ Here, he 
hesitated a moment before following his old 
friend, who led the way«^ The curCf who 
had expected as much, came to the rescue : 

** Come Fanfan, you cant stop now that 
you have come so far.M CouragCf mon ami I 

And while speaking, the priest had al- 
ready knocked at the door, and before Fan- 
fan had time to reply, Jean-Jean Leblanc 
stood on the threshold : 

" Welcome, cM*sieu le Cure ; do me the 
honor to walk in *^^ ^ ^ 

And perceiving Fanfan, who held back, 
pretending to be busy with his horse : — 

** toujour t Fanfan I come in, mon ami^ 

Happy to see you.M ODme in, come in I **^ 

92 And he walked down the steps, and ex- 



tended his hand in such a cordial manner C^ ' 

that Fanfan could not help accepting it as jjj^^^ ^^ \ 
heartily as it was offered.^ «^ «^ m^ i 

The visit was necessarily a short one, ' 

but the ice was broken, and when Jean-Jean 
Leblanc had contributed his donation : — | 

** My wife and Juliette are away at Ber- ' 

thier, but they will return to-morrow, to be 
on hand to help in decorating the church for 
the midnight mass.^ Come and see us, Fan- j 

fan^ I know the ladies will be happy to | 

meet you.^ Bon/our M^sieu le Cure ! ^on- i 

Jour fanfan I give my regards to your \ 

father and mother, and bring them along j 

with you when you return this way/^«^ 

And late in the evening, after the visits i 

had all been made, and when the priest had i 

insisted that Fanfan should take his supper 
with him before returning home : — \ 

** We have done a good day^s work, have 1 

we not Fanfan ? The collection has been j 

a large one, and our old church will look 
beautiful at the midnight mass«^ What \ 

kind, generous souls we have in our parish ! 
And then the day has not been a bad one 
for you, Fanfan^ You have met all your 93 



lA old friends and acquaintances after a pro 

QhcIC dc longed absence, and I only need your pro- 

]J mise that you will take your place in the 

choir, now«^ The people will be so happy 

to hear you/**^ .^ t^ 

**I will M'sieu le CurCf and I hardly 
know how to express my thanks for your 
kind offices in arranging my reconciliation 
with so many persons that I had offended by 
my childish display of anger two years ago. 
It will be a lesson to me, and you can rest 
assured that I watch over my temper in the 
future/^e^ ^ ^ 

** Well, well ! '* interrupted the old priest, 
** let bygones be bygones, and let us see 
that we take good care of the present/^.^ 

When Fanfan went home that night it 
had been arranged that he would bring a 
load of pine boughs and evergreens some- 
time during the week, and that he would 
help the beadle to put up and decorate the 
old-fashioned branch chandeliers that were 
always used to light up the church during 
the Christmas festivities.^ ^ t^ 

Old Pierriche Dalcour, when he was told 
94 of what had happened, was delighted to 



hear the good newse^ The absence of his E* 
son, for two long years, had appeased his re- «**^^^ ^^ 
sentment, and he declared that, for his part, _ 
he would be the first, under the circum- 
stances, to go and offer his hand to Jean- 
Jean Leblanc, and that no later than the 
following Sunday, when he went to church. 

Christmas was now fast approaching, and 
the young girls were busy with the church 
decorationse^ One of the lateral chapels had 
been converted into a bower of verdure, 
where could be seen a representation of the 
interior of a stabled According to custom, 
a dainty wax figure of the Infant Saviour 
would be laid upon the straw of the holy 
manger, during the celebration of the mid- 
night Masss^ ^ ^ 

Fanfan Dalcour, in fulfilment of his pro- 
mise, had brought a load of green boughs 
and had unloaded them at the church door. 
Taking an armful of the fragrant greens, he 
walked into the temple, looking for a place 
where he could deposit them, when he sud- 
denly found himself face to face with Juliette 
Leblanc, who was perched upon a step 

95 



Ca ladder, arranging some draperies above the 
Onctc dc crecheJ^ ^ ^ 

I EnTant They had both been looking forward to 
an early meeting, but neither of them had 
dreamed that it would be brought about in 
such an embarrassing mannered They stood 
for a moment staring at each other, being 
quite incapable of making a move, or saying 
a word that would relieve the awkwardness 
of the situation^ ^ ^ 

Happily for them, M'sieu le Cure was in 
the chancel at the same time supervising the 
ornamentation of the great altar, and the 
noise made by Fanfan in entering the church 
had attracted his attentione^ oS* .^ 

The good old pastor took in the situation 
at a glance, and came to the rescuee^ .^ 

** That^s right, ^ Fanfan, drop those 
branches just where you are.^ Mademoi- 
selle Juliette needs them to complete her de- 
corations **t^ ^ ^ 

And with a twinkle, full of engaging 
kindness, in his merry eye : — 

** Come down, Juliette, from the ladder, 

and let Fanfan help you to do that part of 

% the work, while I return to my altar«^ And 




•Of) 

c 



c 
'o 
o 



rEnfaitt 



do not forget that the members of your choir Ca 
will soon be here for practice/'^ ^ ^ ?I!!lf.?! 

And cM*sieu le Cure went away, leaving 
the young couple together to heal the breach 
that had caused a separation of two long 
yearse^ ^ t^ \ 

Few words were spoken, and scarcely ] 

any allusions were made to the misunder- ) 

standing that had estranged them from one 
another,^ ^ ^ 

** Will you forgive me, Juliette ? said Fan- ] 

fan, simply, in taking a hand that she did 
not attempt to withdraw.^ ^ *^ 

**\ was probably as indiscreet as you i 

were hasty^ Let us forget the past,*' in- i 

genuously answered the young girl.^ «^ | 

And the conversation turned on the in- \ 

cidents of Fanfan's journey and his life 
among the Indians and Half-breeds.^ When i 

the priest returned, half an hour later, he ] 

found his young friends quietly conversing 
together.^ ^ ^ 

** Now, Fanfan, with the permission of 
Mademoiselle Juliette, I expect you to take 
your place as leader of our choir for the 
coming midnight Mass, and I think that 99 1 



Ca you might take this occasion to have a little 
QttCtCde practice together. What say you Juliette?'* 
J!?** ^ voire servicCf M*stett te Cure*^ I am 
entirely at your disposal/**^ ^ ^ 

And the reconciliation was sealed by Fan- 
fan and Juliette going to the organ and sing- 
ing together the old Christmas song of joy 
and praise : — 

Les anges dans nos campagnes^ 
Ont cntonn^ Itymme des cieux ; 
Et r^cho de nos montagnes 
Redit ce chant m^Iodieux 
Gloria m excelsis 'Deo, 

VII 

Among the public announcements that 
were made from the pulpit by the pastor at 
the Christmas midnight service, was the 
following : — 

**\ call the banns of marriage between 
Francois Dalcour, minor son, born of the 
sacred wedlock of Pierre Dalcour and Ma- 
deleine Hervieu, of the first part ; and Ju- 
liette Leblanc, minor daughter, bom of the 
sacred wedlock of Jean-Jean Leblanc and 
Angelique Lafontaine, of the second part. 
J 00 First and last banns. The marriage will be 



celebrated ^ on the second day of January 
next, at the parish church of Lanoraie, at 
9 o^cIock in the morning/*.^ «^ t^ 
And again at the reveillon that followed 
the Mass, the fiances were toasted 
and congratulated by their friends, 
and Jean-Jean Leblanc and Pier- 
riche Dalcour united their 
voices in the solemn decla- 
ration that no ** politics/* 
could interfere this time 
with the happiness 
of their chil- 
dren. 



Ca 

I'Enfam 





V)fV(t 



JOI 



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