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      CHAPTER VIII


      295


      The cathedral clock struck ten of the night. Yonder its dial shone, just across that quarter of Jackson Square nearest the Valcours' windows, getting no response this time except the watchman's three taps of his iron-shod club on corner curbstones.

      The attempts of Sir William Alexander to colonize Acadia had of late turned attention in England towards the New World; and on the breaking out of the war an expedition was set on foot, under the auspices of that singular personage, to seize on the French possessions in North America. It was a private enterprise, undertaken by London merchants, prominent among whom was Gervase Kirke, an Englishman of Derbyshire, who had long lived at Dieppe, and had there married a Frenchwoman. Gervase Kirke and his associates fitted out three small armed ships, commanded respectively by his sons David, Lewis, and Thomas. Letters of marque were obtained from the King, and the adventurers were authorized to drive out the French from Acadia and Canada. Many Huguenot refugees were among the crews. Having been expelled from New France as settlers, the persecuted sect were returning as enemies. One Captain Michel, who had been in the service of the Caens, "a furious Calvinist," is said to have instigated the attempt, acting, it is affirmed, under the influence of one of his former employers.

      Their eyes met. The master looked so sharply at the servant that for the first time in many years the old mans pale, wrinkled cheeks flushed.Would there were time for its story! The boys had been sent up the state to reinforce Forrest. Having one evening silenced an opposing battery, and stealing over in the night and bringing off its best gun, they had slept about "her" till dawn, but then had laughed, hurrahed, danced, and wept round her and fallen upon her black neck and kissed her big lips on finding her no other than their own old "Roaring Betsy." She might have had a gentler welcome had not her lads just learned that while they slept the "ladies' man" had arrived from Mobile with a bit of news glorious alike for him and them.


      Such were the vast projects that unfolded themselves in the mind of La Salle. Canada must needs be, at the outset, his base of action, and without the [Pg 85] support of its authorities he could do nothing. This support he found. From the moment when Count Frontenac assumed the government of the colony, he seems to have looked with favor on the young discoverer. There were points of likeness between the two men. Both were ardent, bold, and enterprising. The irascible and fiery pride of the noble found its match in the reserved and seemingly cold pride of the ambitious burgher. Each could comprehend the other; and they had, moreover, strong prejudices and dislikes in common. An understanding, not to say an alliance, soon grew up between them.

      "No," cried Constance, "it's the second day's, that Beauregard calls 'a great and glorious victory!'"

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      And I, replied Thuphrastos, have always seen the crow, never the eagle.Anna beamingly laid her fingers on the lips of the enthusiast: "Con!--Miranda!--we can have a bazaar right in this house! Every friend we've got, and every friend of the bat'--Oh, come in, Flora Valcour! you're just in the nick o' time--a second Kirby Smith at Manassas!"

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      "If I am slain in this most just enterprise," he said, "I leave all in your charge, and pray you to carry back my soldiers to France."Lycon took the clay lamp, shaped like a couch on which lay a sleeping Eros, and pointing to the little god, said:

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      This resolve was soon to be tested. 1650-1652.


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