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      Offer your thanks to Doris, said the veiled figure. She persuaded me to come. She has told you all, even that terrible thingthe worst misfortune which could befall me.[6] Abrg de la Vie du P. No?l Chabanel. MS.


      Days passed, and no sign of man enlivened the rocky desolation. Hunger was pressing them hard, for the ten gluttonous Indians had devoured already nearly all their provision for the voyage, and they were forced to subsist on the blueberries and wild raspberries that grew abundantly in the meagre soil, when suddenly they encountered a troop of three hundred savages, whom, from their strange and startling mode of wearing their hair, Champlain named the Cheveux Releves. "Not one of our courtiers," he says, "takes so much pains in dressing his locks." Here, however, their care of the toilet ended; for, though tattooed on various parts of the body, painted, and armed with bows, arrows, and shields of bison-hide, they wore no clothing whatever. Savage as was their aspect, they were busied in the pacific task of gathering blueberries for their winter store. Their demeanor was friendly; and from them the voyager learned that the great lake of the Hurons was close at hand.


      It is here we may safest be brief. The literature of prison escapes is already full enough. Working in the soft mortar of so new a wall and worked by one with a foundryman's knowledge of bricklaying, the murdered Italian's stout old knife made effective speed as it kept neat time with the racket maintained for it. When the happiest man in New Orleans warily put head and shoulders through the low gap he had opened, withdrew them again and reported to his fellows, the droll excess of their good fortune moved the five to livelier song, and as one by one the other four heads went in to view the glad sight the five gave a yet more tragic stanza from the farewell to Jane. The source of their delight was not the great ragged hole just over the intruding heads, in the ceiling's lath and plaster, nor was it a whole corner torn off the grand-piano by the somersaulting shell as it leaped from the rent above to the cleaner one it had left at the baseboard in the room's farther end. It was that third hole, burned in the floor; for there it opened, shoulder wide, almost under their startled faces, free to the basement's floor and actually with the rough ladder yet standing in it which had been used in putting out the fire. That such luck could last a night was too much to hope.This was unanswerableDoris thought her cause164 lost. But the very magnitude of the danger forced her to calm herself. She drew a long breath, and once more felt in possession of her wits. She would have the key. And all the resolution and defiance that exist in a firm determination suddenly filled her soul so completely that, heedless whether she roused Xenocles or not, she went straight to her goal.

      The river twisted among lakes and marshes choked with wild rice; and, but for their guides, they could scarcely have followed the perplexed and narrow channel. It brought them at last to the portage, where, after carrying their canoes a mile and a half over the prairie and through the marsh, they launched them on the Wisconsin, bade farewell to the waters that flowed to the St. Lawrence, and committed themselves to the current that was to bear them they knew not whither,perhaps to the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps to the South Sea or the Gulf of California. They glided calmly down the tranquil stream, by [Pg 64] islands choked with trees and matted with entangling grape-vines; by forests, groves, and prairies, the parks and pleasure-grounds of a prodigal Nature; by thickets and marshes and broad bare sand-bars; under the shadowing trees, between whose tops looked down from afar the bold brow of some woody bluff. At night, the bivouac,the canoes inverted on the bank, the flickering fire, the meal of bison-flesh or venison, the evening pipes, and slumber beneath the stars; and when in the morning they embarked again, the mist hung on the river like a bridal veil, then melted before the sun, till the glassy water and the languid woods basked breathless in the sultry glare.[53]

      CHAPTER XIV.


      "Oh, how true! and ah, dearie!"--she pressed her sister's hand amid the silver and porcelain on the old mahogany--"that news (some item read earlier, about the battery), why, Miranda, just that is a sign of impending victory! Straws tell! and Kincaid's Battery is the--"

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      Did you hear? he said to Manes, the dumb soles spoke. It was their farewell.

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      The sea-nymph Melite stronger than Zeus Hypsistos! You cannot believe that.Pelasgians! The land where we have built was desolate and uninhabited; it belonged to us as much as to you. When you demand slaves and wish me to be delivered over to you, the answer is: Come and take us. But mark this: it is you, not we, who begin the war; we only defend ourselves against assault. This answer is deserved, and approved by our people.

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      lxxx The primitive Indian believed in the immortality of the soul, [82] but he did not always believe in a state of future reward and punishment. Nor, when such a belief existed, was the good to be rewarded a moral good, or the evil to be punished a moral evil. Skilful hunters, brave warriors, men of influence and consideration, went, after death, to the happy hunting-ground; while the slothful, the cowardly, and the weak were doomed to eat serpents and ashes in dreary regions of mist and darkness. In the general belief, however, there was but one land of shades for all alike. The spirits, in form and feature as they had been in life, wended their way through dark forests to the villages of the dead, subsisting on bark and rotten wood. On arriving, they sat all day in the crouching posture of the sick, and, when night came, hunted lxxxi the shades of animals, with the shades of bows and arrows, among the shades of trees and rocks: for all things, animate and inanimate, were alike immortal, and all passed together to the gloomy country of the dead.


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