The Beauport Loup-Garou

OCTOBER dusk was bleak on the St. Lawrence, an east wind feeling along the river’s surface and rocking the vessels of Sir William Phips on tawny rollers. It was the second night that his fleet sat there inactive. During that day a small ship had approached Beauport landing; but it stuck fast in the mud and became a mark for gathering Canadians until the tide rose and floated it off. At this hour all the habitants about Beauport except one, and even the Huron Indians of Lorette, were safe inside the fort walls. Cattle were driven and sheltered inland. Not a child’s voice could be heard in the parish of Beauport, and not a woman’s face looked through windows fronting the road leading up toward Montmorenci. Juchereau de Saint-Denis, the seignior of Beauport, had taken his tenants with him as soon as the New England invaders pushed into Quebec Basin. Only one man of the muster hid himself and stayed behind, and he was too old for military service. His seignior might lament him, but there was no woman to do so. Gaspard had not stepped off his farm for years. The priest visited him there, humoring a bent which seemed as inelastic as a vow. He had not seen the ceremonial of high mass in the cathedral of Upper Town since he was a young man.

Gaspard’s farm was fifteen feet wide and a mile long. It was one of several strips lying between the St. Charles River and those heights east of Beauport which rise to Montmorenci Falls. He had his front on the greater stream, and his inland houndary among woods skirting the mountain. He raised his food and the tobacco he smoked, and braided his summer hats of straw and knitted his winter caps of wool. One suit of well-fulled woolen clothes should have lasted a habitant a lifetime. But Gaspard had been unlucky. He lost all his family by smallpox, and the priest made him burn his clothes, and ruinously fit himself with new. There was no use in putting savings in the stocking any longer, however ; the children were gone. He could only buy masses for them. He lived alone, the neighbors taking that loving interest in him which French Canadians bestow on one another.

More than once Gaspard thought he would leave his farm and go into the world. When Frontenac returned to take the paralyzed province in hand, and fight Iroquois, and repair the mistakes of the last governor, Gaspard put on his best moccasins and the red tasseled sash he wore only at Christmas. “ Gaspard is going to the fort,” ran along the whole row of Beauport houses. His neighbors waited for him. They all carried their guns and powder for the purpose of firing salutes to Frontenac. It was a grand day. But when Gaspard stepped out with the rest, his countenance fell. He could not tell what ailed him. His friends coaxed and pulled him; they gave him a little brandy. He sat down, and they were obliged to leave him, or miss the cannonading and fireworks themselves. From his own river front Gaspard saw the old lion’s ship come to port, and, in unformed sentences, he reasoned then that a man need not leave his place to take part in the world.

Frontenac had not been back a month, and here was the New England colony of Massachusetts swarming against New France. “ They may carry me away from my hearth feet first,” thought Gaspard, “but I am not to be scared away from it.”

Every night, before putting the bar across his door, the old habitant went out to survey the two ends of the earth typified by the road crossing his strip of farm. These were usually good moments for him. He did not groan, as at dawn, that there were no children to relieve him of labor. A noble landscape lifted on either hand from the hollow of Beauport. The ascending road went on to the little chapel of Ste. Anne de Beaupré, which for thirty years had been considered a shrine in New France. The left hand road forded the St. Charles and climbed the long slope to Quebec rock.

Gaspard loved the sounds which made home so satisfying at autumn dusk. Faint and far off he thought he could hear the lowing of his cow and calf. To remember they were exiled gave him the pang of the unusual. He was just chilled through, and therefore as ready for his own hearth as a long journey could have made him, when a gray thing loped past in the flinty dust, showing him sudden awful eyes and tongue of red fire.

Gaspard clapped the house door to behind him and put up the bar. He was not afraid of Phips and the fleet, of battle or night attack, but the terror which walked in the darkness of sorcerers’ times abjectly bowed his old legs.

“ O good Ste. Anne, pray for us ! ” he whispered, using an invocation familiar to his lips. “ If loups-garous are abroad, also, what is to become of this unhappy land ? ”

There was a rattling knock on his door. It might be made by the hilt of a sword ; or did a loup-garou ever clatter paw against man’s dwelling ? Gaspard climbed on his bed.

“ Father Gaspard ! Father Gaspard ! Are you within ? ”

“ Who is there ? ”

“ Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène. Don’t you know my voice ? ”

“ My master Sainte-Hélène, are you alone ? ”

“ Quite alone, except for my horse tied to your apple-tree. Let me in.”

The command was not to be slighted. Gaspard got down and admitted his visitor. More than once had SainteHélène come to this hearth. He appreciated the large fire, and sat down on a chair with heavy legs which were joined by bars resting on the floor.

“ My hands tingle. The dust on these flint roads is cold.”

“ But Monsieur Sainte-Hélène never walked with his hands in the dust,” protested Gaspard. The erect figure, bright with all the military finery of that period, checked even his superstition by imposing another kind of awe.

“The New England men expect to make us bite it yet,” responded SainteHélène. “Saint-Denis is anxious about you, old man. Why don’t you go to the fort ? ”

“ I will go to-morrow,” promised Gaspard, relaxing sheepishly from terror. “ These New Englanders have not yet landed, and one’s own bed is very comfortable in the cool nights.”

“ I am used to sleeping anywhere.”

“ Yes, monsieur, for you are young.”

“ It would make you young again, Gaspard, to see Count Frontenac. I wish all New France had seen him yesterday when he defied Phips and sent the envoy back to the fleet. The officer was sweating; our mischievous fellows had blinded him at the water’s edge, and dragged him, to the damage of his shins, over all the barricades of Mountain Street. He took breath and courage when they turned him loose before the governor, — though the sight of Frontenac startled him, — and handed over the letter of his commandant requiring the surrender of Quebec.”

“ My faith, Monsieur Sainte-Hélène, did the governor blow him out of the room ? ”

“ The man offered his open watch, demanding an answer within the hour. The governor said, ‘ I do not need so much time. Go back at once to your master and tell him I will answer this insolent message by the mouths of my cannon.’ ”

“ By all the saints, that was a good word! ” swore Gaspard, slapping his knee with his wool cap. “ Neither the Iroquois nor the Bostonnais will run over us, now that the old governor is back. You heard him say it, monsieur ? ”

“ I heard him, yes; for all his officers stood by. La Hontan was there, too, and that pet of La Hontan’s, Baron de SaintCastin’s half-breed son, of Pentegoet.”

The martial note in the officer’s voice sunk to contempt. Gaspard was diverted from the governor to recognize, with the speechless perception of an untrained mind, that jealousy which men established in the world have of very young men. The male instinct of predominance is fierce even in saints. Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène, though of the purest stock in New France, had no prejudice against a half-breed.

“ How is Mademoiselle Clementine ? ” inquired Gaspard, arriving at the question in natural sequence. “You will see her oftener now than when you had to ride from the fort.”

The veins looked black in his visitor’s face. “ Ask the little Saint-Castin. Boys stand under windows and talk to women now. Men have to be reconnoitring the enemy.”

“ Monsieur Anselm de Saint-Castin is the son of a good fighter,” observed Gaspard. “ It is said the New England men hate his very name.”

“Anselm de Saint-Castin is barely eighteen years old.”

“ It is the age of Mademoiselle Clementine.”

The old habitant drew his three-legged stool to the hearth corner, and took the liberty of sitting down as the talk was prolonged. He noticed the leaden color which comes of extreme weariness and depression dulling Sainte-Hélène’s usually dark and rosy skin. Gaspard had heard that this young man was quickest afoot, readiest with his weapon, most untiring in the dance, and keenest for adventure of all the eight brothers in his noble family. He had done the French arms credit in the expedition to Hudson Bay and many another brush with their enemies. The fire was burning high and clear, lighting rafters and their curious brown tassels of smoked meat, and making the crucifix over the bed shine out the whitest spot in a smoke-stained room.

“Father Gaspard,” inquired SainteHélène suddenly, “ did you ever hear of such a thing as a loup-garou ? ”

The old habitant felt terror returning with cold feet up his back, and crowding its blackness upon him through the windows. Yet as he rolled his eyes at the questioner he felt piqued at such ignorance of his natural claims.

“ Was I not born on the island of Orleans, monsieur ? ”

Everybody knew that the island of Orleans had been from the time of its discovery the abode of loups-garous, sorcerers, and all those uncanny cattle that run in the twilights of the world. The western point of its wooded ridge, which parts the St. Lawrence for twenty-two miles, from Beauport to Beaupré, lay opposite Gaspard’s door.

“ Oh, you were born on the island of Orleans ? ”

“ Yes, monsieur,” answered Gaspard, with the pride we take in distinction of any kind.

“ But you came to live in Beauport parish.”

“ Does a goat turn to a pig, monsieur, because you carry it to the north shore ? ”

“ Perhaps so : everything changes.” Sainte-Hélène leaned forward, resting his arms on the arms of the chair. He wrinkled his eyelids around central points of fire.

“ What is a loup-garou ? ”

“Does monsieur not know? Monsieur Sainte-Hélène surely knows that a loup-garou is a man-wolf.”

“A man-wolf,” mused the soldier.

“ But when a person is so afflicted, is he a man or is he a wolf ? ”

“ It is not an affliction, monsieur ; it is sorcery.”

I think you are right. Then the wretched man-wolf is past being prayed for ? ”

“ If one should repent ” —

“ I don’t repent anything,” returned Sainte-Hélène; and Gaspard’s jaw relaxed, and he had the feeling of pinfeathers in his hair. " Is he a man or is he a wolf ? ” repeated the questioner.

“ The loup-garou is a man, but he takes the form of a wolf.”

“ Not all the time ? ”

“ No, monsieur, not all the time.”

“ Of course not.”

Gaspard experienced with us all this paradox: that the older we grow, the more visible becomes the unseen. In childhood the external senses are sharp; but maturity fuses flesh and spirit. He wished for a priest, desiring to feel the arm of the Church around him. It was late October, — a time which might be called the yearly Sabbath of loupsgarous.

“ And what must a loup-garou do with himself ? ” pursued Sainte-Hélène. “ I should take to the woods, and sit and lick my chaps, and bless my hide that I was for the time no longer a man.”

“ Saints! monsieur, he goes on a chase. He runs with his tongue lolled out, and his eyes red as blood.”

“ What color are my eyes, Gaspard ? ”

The old Frenchman sputtered, “ Monsieur, they are very black.”

Sainte-Hélène drew his hand across them.

“ It must be your firelight that is so red. I have been seeing as through a glass of claret ever since I came in.”

Gaspard moved further into the corner, the stool legs scraping the floor. Though every hair on his body crawled with superstition, he coulcl not suspect Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène. Yet the familiar face altered strangely while he looked at it: the nose sunk with sudden emaciation, and the jaws lengthened to a gaunt muzzle. There was a crouching forward of the shoulders, as if the man were about to drop on his hands and feet. Gaspard had once fallen down unconscious in haying time ; and this recalled to him the breaking up and shimmering apart of a solid landscape. The deep cleft mouth parted, lifting first at the corners and showing teeth, then widening to the utterance of a low howl.

Gaspard tumbled over the stool, and, seizing it by a leg, held it between himself and Sainte-Hélène.

“ What is the matter, Gaspard ? ” exclaimed the officer, clattering his scabbard against the chair as he rose, his lace and plumes and ribbons stirring anew. Many a woman in the province had not as fine and sensitive a face as the one confronting the old habitant.

Gaspard stood back against the wall, holding the stool with its legs bristling towards Sainte-Hélène. He shook from head to foot.

“ Have I done anything to frighten you ? What is the matter with me, Gaspard, that people should treat me as they do ? It is unbearable ! I take the hardest work, the most dangerous posts ; and they are against me — against me.”

The soldier lifted his clenched fists, and turned his back on the old man. The fire showed every curve of his magnificent stature. Wind, diving into the chimney, strove against the sides for freedom, and startled the silence with its hollow rumble.

“I forded the St. Charles when the tide was rising, to take you back with me to the fort. I see you dread the New Englanders less than you do me. She told her father she feared you were ill. But every one is well.” said Sainte-Hélène, lowering his arms and making for the door. And it sounded like an accusation against the world.

He was scarcely outside in the wind, though still holding the door, when Gaspard was ready to put up the bar.

“ Good-night, old man.”

“ Good-night, monsieur, good-night, good-night! ” called Gaspard, with quavering dispatch. He pushed the door, but Sainte-Hélène looked around its edge. Again the officer’s face had changed, pinched by the wind, and his eyes were full of mocking laughter.

“ I will say this for a loup-garou, Father Gaspard : a loup-garou may have a harder time in this world than the other beasts, but he is no coward ; he can make a good death.”

Ashes spun out over the floor, and smoke rolled up around the joists, as Sainte-Hélène shut himself into the darkness. Not satisfied with barring the door, the old habitant pushed his chest against it. To this he added the chair and stool, and barricaded it further with his night’s supply of firewood.

“ Would I go over the ford of the St. Charles with him ? ” Gaspard hoarsely whispered as he crossed himself. “ If the New England men were burning my house, I would not go. And how can a loup-garou get over that water ? The St. Charles is blessed ; I am certain it is blessed. Yet he talked about fording it like any Christian.”

The old habitant was not clear in his mind what should be done, except that it was no business of his to meddle with one of Frontenac’s great officers and a noble of New France. But as a measure of safety for himself he took down his bottle of holy water, hanging on the wall for emergencies, and sprinkled every part of his dwelling.

Next morning, however, when the misty autumn light was on the hills, promising a clear day and penetrating sunshine, as soon as he awoke he felt ashamed of the barricade, and climbed out of bed to remove it.

“ The time has at last come when I am obliged to go to the fort,” thought Gaspard, groaning. “Governor Frontenac will not permit any sorcery in his presence. The New England men might do me no harm, but I cannot again fain a loup-garou.”

He dressed himself accordingly, and, taking his gathered coin from its hidingplace, wrapped every piece separately in a bit of rag, slid it into his deep pocket, and sewed the pocket up. Then he cut off enough bacon to toast on the rakedout coals for his breakfast, and hid the rest under the floor. There was no fastening on the outside of Gaspard’s house. He was obliged to latch the door, and leave it at the mercy of the enemy.

Nothing was stirring in the frosted world. He could not yet see the citadel clearly, or the heights of Levis ; but the ascent to Montmorenci bristled with naked trees, and in the stillness he could hear the roar of the falls. Gaspard ambled along his belt of ground to take a last look. It was like a patchwork quilt: a square of wheat stubble showed here, and a few yards of brown prostrate peavines showed there ; his hayfield was less than a stone’s throw long; and his garden beds, in triangles and sections of all shapes, filled the interstices of more ambitious crops.

He had nearly reached the limit of the farm, and entered his neck of woods, when the breathing of a cow trying to nip some comfort from the frosty sod delighted his ear. The pretty milker was there, with her calf at her side. Gaspard stroked and patted them. Though the New Englanders should seize them for beef, he could not regret they were wending home again. That invisible cord binding him to his own place, which had wrenched his vitals as it stretched, now drew him back like fate. He worked several hours to make his truants a concealing corral of hay and stakes and straw and stumps, at a place where a hill spring threaded across his land, and then returned between his own boundaries to the house again.

The homesick zest of one who has traveled made his lips and unshaven chin protrude, as he smelled the good interior. There was the wooden crane. There was his wife’s old wheel. There was the sacred row of children’s snowshoes, which the priest had spared from burning. One really had to leave home to find out what home was.

But a great hubbub was beginning in Phips’s fleet. Fifes were screaming, drums were beating, and shouts were lifted and answered by hearty voices. After their long deliberation, the New Englanders had agreed upon some plan of attack. Gaspard went down to his landing, and watched boatload follow boatload, until the river was swarming with little craft pulling directly for Beauport. He looked uneasily toward Quebec. The old lion in the citadel hardly waited for Phips to shift position, but sent the first shot booming out to meet him. The New England cannon answered, and soon Quebec height and Levis palisades rumbled prodigious thunder, and the whole day was black with smoke and streaked with fire.

Gaspard took his gun, and trotted along his farm to the cover of the trees. He had learned to fight in the Indian fashion ; and Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène fought the same way. Before the boatloads of New Englanders had all waded through tidal mud, and ranged themselves by companies on the bank, SainteHélène, who had been dispatched by Frontenac at the first drumbeat on the river, appeared, ready to check them, from the woods of Beauport. He had, besides three hundred sharpshooters, the Lorette Hurons and the muster of Beauport militia, all men with homes to save.

The New Englanders charged them, a solid force, driving the light-footed bush fighters. But it was like driving the wind, which turns, and at some unexpected quarter is always ready for you again.

This long-range fighting went on until nightfall, when the English commander, finding that his tormentors had disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared in the morning, tried to draw his men together at the St. Charles ford, where he expected some small vessels would be sent to help him across. He made a night camp here, without any provisions.

Gaspard’s house was dark, like the deserted Beauport homes all that night; yet one watching might have seen smoke issuing from his chimney toward the stars. The weary New England men did not forage through these places, nor seek shelter in them. It was impossible to know where Indians and Frenchmen did not lie in ambush. On the other side of the blankets which muffled Gaspard’s windows, however, firelight shone with its usual ruddiness, showing the seignior of Beauport prostrate on his old tenant’s bed. Juchereau de Saint - Denis was wounded, and La Hontan, who was with the skirmishers, and Gaspard had brought him in the dark down to the farmhouse as the nearest hospital. Baron La Hontan was skillful in surgery; most men had need to be in those days. He took the keys, and groped into the seigniory house for the linen chest, and provided lint and bandages, and brought cordials from the cellar; making his patient as comfortaide as a wounded man who was a veteran in years could be made in the first fever and thirst of suffering. La Hontan knew the woods, and crept away before dawn to a hidden bivouac of Hurons and militia ; wiry and venturesome in his age as he had been in his youth. But Saint - Denis lay helpless and partially delirious in Gaspard’s house all Thursday, while the bombardment of Quebec made the earth tremble, and the New England ships were being splintered by Frontenac’s cannon ; while Sainte-Hélène and his brother themselves manned the two batteries of Lower Town, aiming twenty-four-pound balls directly against the fleet; while they cut the cross of St. George from the flagstaff of the admiral, and Frenchmen above them in the citadel rent the sky with joy ; while the fleet, ship by ship, with shattered masts and leaking hulls, drew off from the fight, some of them leaving cable and anchor, and drifting almost in pieces ; while the land force, discouraged, sick, and hungry, waited for the promised help which never came.

Thursday night was so cold that the St. Charles was skimmed with ice, and hoar frost lay white on the fields. But Saint-Denis was in the fire of fever, and Gaspard, slipping like a thief, continually brought him fresh water from the spring.

He lay there on Friday, while the land force, refreshed by half rations sent from the almost wrecked fleet, made a last stand, fighting hotly as they were repulsed from New France. It was twilight on Friday when Sainte-Hélène was carried into Gaspard’s house and laid on the floor. Gaspard felt emboldened to take the blankets from a window and roll them up to place under the soldier’s head. Many Beauport people were even then returning to their homes. The land force did not reëmbark until the next night, and the invaders did not entirely withdraw for four days ; but Quebec was already yielding up its refugees. A disabled foe — though a brave and stubborn one — who had his ships to repair, if he would not sink in them, was no longer to be greatly dreaded.

At first the dusk room was packed with Hurons and Montreal men. This young seignior Sainte-Hélène was one of the best leaders of his time. They were indignant that the enemy’s last scattering shots had picked him off. The surgeon and La Hontan put all his followers out of the door, — he was scarcely conscious that they stood by him, — and left, beside his brother Longueuil, only one young man who had helped carry him in.

Saint-Denis, on the bed, saw him with the swimming eyes of fever. The seignior of Beauport had hoped to have Sainte-Hélène for his son-in-law. His little Clementine, the child of his old age, — it was after all a fortunate thing that she was shut for safety in Quebec, while her father depended for care on Gaspard. Saint-Denis tried to see SainteHélène’s face ; but the surgeon’s helpers constantly balked him, stooping and rising and reaching for things. And presently a face he was not expecting to see grew on the air before him.

Clementine’s foot had always made a light click, like a sheep’s on a naked floor. But Saint-Denis did not hear her enter. She touched her cheek to her father’s. It, was smooth and cold from the October air. Clementine’s hair hung in large pale ringlets; for she was an ashen maid, gray-toned and subdued; the roughest wind never ruffled her smoothness. She made her father know that she had come with Beauport women and men from Quebec, as soon as any were allowed to leave the fort to escort her. She leaned against the bed, soft as a fleece, yielding her head to her father’s painful fondling. There was no heroism in Clementine; but her snug domestic ways made him happy in his house.

“ Sainte-Hélène is wounded,” observed Saint-Denis.

She cast a glance of fright over her shoulder.

“Did you not see him when you came in ? ”

“ I saw some one ; but it is to you that I have been wishing to come since Wednesday night,”

“ I shall get well ; they tell me it is not so bad with me. But how is it with Sainte-Hélène ? ”

“ I do not know, father.”

“ Where is young Saint-Castin ? Ask him.”

“ He is helping the surgeon, father.”

“ Poor child, how she trembles! I would thou hadst stayed in the fort, for these sights are unfit for women. New France can as ill spare him as we can, Clementine. Was that his groan ? ”

She cowered closer to the bed, and answered, “I do not know.”

Saint-Denis tried to sit up in bed, but was obliged to resign himself, with a gasp, to the straw pillows.

Night pressed against the unblinded window. A stir, not made by the wind, was heard at the door, and Frontenac, and Frontenac’s Récollet confessor, and Sainte-Hélène’s two brothers from the citadel came into the room. The governor of New France was imposing in presence. Perhaps there was no other officer in the province to whom he would have galloped in such haste from Quebec. It was a tidal moment in his affairs, and Frontenac knew the value of such moments better than most men. But SainteHélène did not know the governor was there. The Récollet father fell on his knees and at once began his office.

Longueuil sat down on Gaspard’s stool and covered his face against the wall. He had been hurt by a spent bullet, and one arm needed bandaging, but he said nothing about it, though the surgeon was now at liberty, standing and looking at a patient for whom nothing could be done. The sterner brothers watched, also, silent, as Normans taught themselves to be in trouble. The sons of Charles Le Moyne carried his name and the lilies of France from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico.

Anselm de Saint-Castin had fought two days alongside the man who lay dying. The boy had an ardent face, like his father’s. He was sorry, with the skindeep commiseration of youth for those who fall, whose falling thins the crowded ranks of competition. But he was not for a moment unconscious of the girl hiding her head against her father from the sight of death. The hope of one man forever springing beside the grave of another must work sadness in God. Yet Sainte-Hélène did not know any young supplanter was there. He did not miss or care for the fickle vanity of applause; he did not torment himself with the spectres of the mind, or feel himself shrinking with the littleness of jealousy ; he did not hunger for a love that was not in the world, or waste a Titan’s passion on a human ewe any more. For him, the aching and bewilderment, exaltations and self-distrusts, animal gladness and subjection to the elements, were done.

Clementine’s father beckoned to the boy, and put her in his care.

“Take her home to the women,” SaintDenis whispered. “ She is not used to war and such sights as these. And bid some of the older ones stay with her.”

Anselm and Clementine went out, their hands just touching as he led her in wide avoidance of the figure on the floor. Sainte-Hélène did not know the boy and girl left him, for starlight, for silence together, treading the silvered earth in one cadenced stop, as he awaited that moment when the solitary spirit finds its utmost loneliness.

Gaspard also went out. When the governor sat in his armchair, and his seignior lay on the bed, and Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène was stretched that way on the door, it could hardly be decent for an old habitant to stand by, even cap in hand. Yet he could scarcely take his eyes from the familiar face as it changed in phosphorescent light. The features lifted themselves with firm nobility, expressing an archangel’s beauty. SainteHélène’s lips parted, and above the patter of the reciting Récollet the watchers were startled by one note like the sigh of a wind-harp.

The Montreal militia, the Lorette Hurons, and Beauport men were still thronging about, overflowing laterally upon the other farms. They demanded word of the young seignior, hushing their voices. Some of them had gone into Gaspard’s milk cave and handed out stale milk for their own and their neighbors’ refreshment. A group were sitting on the crisp ground, with a lantern in their midst, playing some game; their heads and shoulders moving with an alacrity objectless to observers, so closely was the light hemmed in.

Gaspard reached his gateway with the certainty of custom. He looked off at both ends of the world. The starlit stretch of road was almost as deserted as when Quebec shut in the inhabitants of Beauport. From the direction of Montmorenci he saw a gray thing come loping down, showing eyes and tongue of red fire. He screamed an old man’s scream, pointing to it, and the cry of “ Loup-garou ! ” brought all Beauport men to their feet. The flints clicked. It was a time of alarms. Two shots were fired together, and an under officer sprung across the fence of a neighboring farm to take command of the threatened action.

The camp of sturdy New Englanders on the St. Charles was hid by a swell in the land. At the outcry, those Frenchmen around the lantern parted company, some recoiling backwards, and others scrambling to seize their guns. But one caught up the lantern, and ran to the struggling beast in the road.

Gaspard pushed into the gathering crowd, and craned himself to see the thing, also. He saw a gaunt dog, searching yet from face to face for some lost idol, and beating the flinty world with a last thump of propitiation.

Frontenac opened the door and stood upon the doorstep. His head almost reached the overhanging straw thatch.

“ What is the alarm, my men ? ”

“ Your excellency,” the subaltern answered, “ it was nothing but a dog. It came down from Montmorenci, and some of the men shot it.”

“ Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène, " declared Frontenac, lowering his plumed hat, “has just died for New France.”

Gaspard stayed out on his river front until he felt half frozen. The old habitant had not been so disturbed and uncomfortable since his family died of smallpox. Phips’s vessels lay near the point of Orleans Island, a few portholes lighting their mass of gloom, while two red lanterns aloft burned like baleful eyes at the lost coast of Canada. Nothing else showed on the river. The distant wall of Levis palisades could be discerned, and Quebec stood a mighty crown, its gems all sparkling. Behind Gaspard, Beauport was alive. The siege was virtually over, and he had not set foot off his farm during Phips’s invasion of New France. He did not mind sleeping on the floor, with his heels to the fire. But there were displacements and changes and sorrows which he did mind.

“ However,” muttered the old man, and it was some comfort to the vague aching in his breast to formulate one fact as solid as the heights around, “ it is certain that there are loups-garous.”

Mary Hartwell Catherwood.