THE cry of those rapids in Ste. Marie’s River called the Sault could be heard at all hours through the settlement on the rising shore and into the forest beyond. Three quarters of a mile of frothing billows, like some colossal instrument, never ceased playing music down an inclined channel until the trance of winter locked it up. At August dusk, when all that shaggy world was sinking to darkness, the gushing monotone became very distinct.

Louizon Cadotte and his father’s young seignior, Jacques de Repentigny, stepped from a birch canoe on the bank near the fort, two Chippewa Indians following with their game. Hunting furnished no small addition to the food supply of the settlement, for the English conquest had brought about scarcity at this as well as other Western posts. Peace was declared in Europe ; but soldiers on the frontier, waiting orders to march out at any time, were not abundantly supplied with stores, and they let season after season go by, reluctant to put in harvests which might be reaped by their successors.

Jacques was barely nineteen, and Louizon was considerably older. But the Repentignys had gone back to France after the fall of Quebec; and five years of European life had matured the young seignior as decades of border experience would never mature his half-breed tenant. Yet Louizon was a fine dark-skinned fellow, well made for one of short stature. He trod close by his tall superior with visible fondness ; enjoying this spectacle of a man the like of whom he had not seen on the frontier.

Jacques looked back, as he walked, at the long zigzag shadows on the river. Forest fire in the distance showed a leaning column, black at base, pearl-colored in the primrose air, like smoke from some gigantic altar. He had seen islands in the lake under which the sky seemed to slip, throwing them above the horizon in mirage, and trees standing like detached bushes on a world rim of water. The Ste. Marie River was a beautiful light green in color, and sunset and twilight played upon it all the miracles of change.

“ I wish my father had never left this country,” said young Repentigny, feeling that spell cast by the wilderness. “ Here is his place. He should have withdrawn to the Sault, and accommodated himself to the English, instead of returning to France. The service in other parts of the world does not suit him. Plenty of good men have held to Canada and their honor also.”

“Yes, yes,” assented Louizon. “The English cannot be got rid of. For my part, I shall be glad when this post changes hands. I am sick of our officers.”

He scowled with open resentment. The seigniory house faced the parade ground, and they could see against its large low mass, lounging on the gallery, one each side of a window, the white uniforms of two French soldiers. The window sashes, screened by small curtains across the middle, were swung into the room ; and Louizon’s wife leaned on her elbows across the sill, the rosy atmosphere of his own fire projecting to view every ring of her bewitching hair, and even her long eyelashes as she turned her gaze from side to side.

It was so dark, and the object of their regard was so bright, that these buzzing bees of Frenchmen did not see her husband until lie ran up the steps facing them. Both of them greeted him heartily. He felt it a peculiar indignity that his wife’s danglers forever passed their good will on to him ; and he left them in the common ball, with his father and the young seignior, and the two or three Indians who congregated there every evening to ask for presents or to smoke.

Louizon’s wife met him in the middle of the broad low apartment where he had been so proud to introduce her as a bride, and turned her cheek to be kissed. She was not fond of having her lips touched. Her hazel - colored hair was perfumed. She was sd supple and exquisite, so dimpled and aggravating, that the Chippewa in him longed to take her by the scalplock of her light head; but the Frenchman bestowed the salute. Louizon had married the prettiest woman in the settlement. Life overflowed in her, so that her presence spread animation. Both men and women paid homage to her. Her very mother-in-law was her slave. And this was the stranger spectacle because Madame Cadotte the senior, though born a Chippewa, did not easily make herself subservient to anybody.

The time had been when Louizon was proud of any notice this siren conferred on him. But so exacting and tyrannical is the nature of man that when he got her he wanted to keep her entirely to himself. From his Chippewa mother, who, though treated with deference, had never dared to disobey his father, he inherited a fond and jealous nature ; and his beautiful wife chafed it. Young Repentigny saw that she was like a Parisian. But Louizon felt that she was a spirit too fine and tantalizing for him to grasp, and she had him in her power.

He hung his powderhorn behind the door, and stepped upon a stool to put his gun on its rack above the fireplace. The fire showed his round figure, short but well muscled, and the boyish petulance of his shaven lip. The sun shone hot upon the Snult of an August noon, but morning and night were cool, and a blaze was usually kept in the chimney.

“You found plenty of game?” said his wife ; and it was one of this woman’s wickedest charms that she could be so interested in her companion of the moment.

“Yes,” he answered, scowling more, and thinking of the brace on the gallery whom he had not shot, but wished to.

She laughed at him.

“ Archange Cadotte,” said Louizon, turning around on the stool before he descended ; and she spread out her skirts, taking two dancing steps to indicate that she heard him. “ How long am I to be mortified by your conduct to Monsieur de Repentigny ? ”

“ Oh — Monsieur de Repentigny. It is now that boy from France, at whom I have never looked.”

“ The man I would have you look at, madame, you scarcely notice.”

“ Why should I notice him ? He pays little attention to me.”

“ Ah, he is not one of your danglers, madame. He would not look at another man’s wife. He has had trouble himself.”

“ So will you have if you scorch the backs of your legs,” observed Archange.

Louizon stood obstinately on the stool and ignored the heat. He was in the act of stepping down, but he checked it as she spoke.

“ Monsieur de Repentigny came back to this country to marry a young English lady of Quebec. He thinks of her, not of you.”

“ I am sure he is welcome,” murmured Archange. “ Rut it seems the young English lady prefers to stay in Quebec.”

“ She never looked at any other man, madame. She is dead.”

“ No wonder. I should be dead, too, if I had looked at one stupid man all my life.”

Louizon’s eye sparkled. “ Madame, I will have you know that the seignior of Sault Ste. Marie is entitled to your homage.”

“ Monsieur, I will have you know that I do not pay homage to any man.”

“ You. Archange Cadotte ? You are in love with a new man every day.”

“ Not in the least, monsieur. I only desire to have a new man in love with me every day.”

Her mischievous mouth was a scarlet button in her face, and Louizon leaped to the Hoor, and kicked the stool across tile room.

“ The devil himself is no match at all for you ! ”

“ But I married him before I knew that,” returned Archange ; and Louizon grinned in his wrath.

“ I don’t like such women.”

“ Oh yes, you do. Men always like women whom they cannot chain.”

“ I have never tried to chain you.” Her husband approached, shaking his finger at her. “ There is not another woman in the settlement who has her way as you have. And see how you treat me 1 ”

“ How do I treat you ? ” inquired Archange, sitting down and resigning herself to statistics.

“ Ste. Marie ! St. Joseph ! ” shouted the Frenchman. “ How does she treat me ! And every man in the seigniory dangling at her apron string ! ”

“ You are mistaken. There is the young seignior; and there is the new English commandant, who must be now within the seigniory, for they expect him at the post to-morrow morning. It is all the same : if I look at a man you are furious, and if I refuse to look at him you are more furious still.”

Louizon felt that inward breaking iqi which proved to him that lie could not stand before the tongue of this woman. Groping for expression, he declared. —

“ If thou wert sickly or blind, I would be just as good to thee as when thou wert a bride. I am not the kind that changes if a woman loses her fine looks.”

“ No doubt you would like to see me with the smallpox,” suggested Archange.

“ But it is never best to try a man too far.”

“ You try me too far, — let me tell you that. Bat you shall try me no further.”

The Indian appeared distinctly on his softer French features, as one picture may be stamped over another.

“Smoke a pipe, Louizon,” urged the thorn in his flesh. “ You are always so much more agreeable when your mouth is stopped.”

But he left the room without looking at her again. Archange remarked to herself that he would he better natured when his mother had given him his supper ; and she yawned, smiling at the maladroit creatures whom she made her sport. Her husband was the best young man in the settlement. She was entirely satisfied with him, and grateful to him for taking the orphan niece of a poor post commandant, without prospects since the conquest, and giving her sumptuous quarters and comparative wealth; but she could not forbear amusing herself with his masculine weaknesses.

Archange was by no means a slave in the frontier household. She did not spin, or draw water, or tend the oven. Her mother-in-law, Madame Cadotte, had a hold on perennially destitute Chippewa women who could be made to work for longer or shorter periods in a Frenchman’s kitchen or loom-house instead of with savage implements. Archange’s bed had ruffled curtains, and her pretty dresses, carefully folded, tilled a large chest.

She returned to the high window sill, and watched the purple distances growing black. She could smell the tobacco the men were smoking in the open hall, and hear their voices. Archange knew what her mother-in-law was giving the young seignior and Louizon for their supper. She could fancy the officers laying down their pipes to draw to the board, also, for the Cadottes kept open house all the year round.

The thump of the Indian drum was added to the deep melody of the rapids. There were always a few lodges of Chippewas about the Sault. When the trapping season and the maple-sugar making were over and his profits drunk up, time was the largest possession of an Indian. He spent it around the door of his French brother, ready to fish or to drink whenever invited. If no one cared to go on the river, he turned to his hereditary amusements. Every night that the rapids were void of torches showing where the canoes of whitefishera darted, the thump of the Indian drum and the yell of Indian dancers could be heard.

Archange’s mind was running on the new English garrison who were said to he so near taking possession of the picketed fort, when she saw something red on the parade ground. The figure stood erect and motionless, gathering all the remaining light on its indistinct coloring, and Archange’s heart gave a leap at the hint of a military man in a red uniform. She was all alive, like a whitefisher easting the net or a hunter sighting game. It was Archange’s nature, without even taking thought, to turn her head on her round neck so that the illuminated curls would show against a background of wall, and wreathe her half-bare arms across the sill. To be looked at, to lure and tantalize, was more than pastime. It was a woman’s chief privilege. Archange held the secret conviction that the priest himself could be made to give her lighter penances by an angelic expression she could assume. It is convenient to have large brown eyes and the trick of easting them sidewise in sweet distress.

But the Chippewa widow came in earlier than usual that evening, being anxious to go back to the lodges to watch the dancing. Archange pushed the sashes shut, ready for other diversion, and Michel Pensonneau never failed to furnish her that. The little boy was at the widow’s heels. Michel was an orphan.

“ If Archange had children,” Madame Cadotte had said to Louizon, “ she would not seek other amusement. Take the little Pensonneau lad that his grandmother can hardly feed, He will give Archange something to do.”

So Louizon brought home the little Pensonneau lad. Archange looked at him, and considered that here was another person to wait on her. As to keeping him clean and making clothes for him, they might as well have expected her to train the sledge dogs. She made him serve her, but for mothering he had to go to Madame Cadotte. Yet Archange far outweighed Madame Cadotte with him. The labors put upon him by the autocrat of the house were sweeter than moeocks full of maple sugar from the hand of the Chippewa housekeeper. At first Archange would not let him come into her room. She dictated to him through door or window. But when he grew fat with good food and was decently clad under Madame Cadotte’s hand, the great promotion of entering that sacred apartment was allowed him. Michel came in whenever he could. It was his nightly habit to follow the Chippewa widow there after supper, and watch her brush Archange’s hail.

Michel stood at the end of the hearth with a roll of pagessanung or plum-leather in his fist. His cheeks had a hard garnered redness like polished apples. The Chippewa widow set her husband carefully against the wall. The husband was a bundle about two feet long, containing her best clothes tied up in her dead warrior’s sashes and rolled in a piece of cloth. His arm-hands and his necklace of bear’s-claws appeared at the top as a grotesque head. This bundle the widow was obliged to carry with her everywhere. To be seen without it was a disgrace, until that time when her husband’s nearest relations should take it away from her and give her new clothes, thus signifying that she had mourned long enough to satisfy them. As the husband’s relations were unable to cover themselves, the prospect of her release seemed distant. For her food she was glad to depend on her labor in the Cadotte household. There was no hunter to supply her lodge now.

The widow let down Archange’s hair and began to brush it. The long mass was too much for its owner to handle. It spread around her like a garment, as she sat on her chair, and its ends touched the floor. Michel thought there was nothing more wonderful in the world than this glory of hair, its rings and ripples shining in the firelight. The widow’s jaws worked in unobtrusive rumination on a piece of pleasantly hitter fungus, the Indian substitute for quinine, which the Chippewas called waubudone. As she consoled herself much with this medicine, and her many-syllabled name was hard to pronounce, Archange called her Waubudone, an offense against her dignity which the widow might not have endured from anybody else, though she bore it without a word from this soft-haired magnate.

As she carefully carded the mass of hair lock by lock, thinking it an unnecessary nightly labor, the restless head under her hands was turned towards the portable husband. Archange had not much imagination, but to her the thing was uncanny. She repeated what she said every night: —

“ Do stand him in the hall and let him smell the smoke. Waubudone.”

“ No,” refused the widow.

“ But I don’t want him in my bedroom. You are not obliged to keep that thing in your sight all the time.”

“Yes,” said the widow.

A dialect of mingled French and Chippewa was what they spoke, and Michel knew enough of both tongues to follow the talk.

Are they never going to take him from you? If they don’t take him from you soon, I shall go to the lodges and speak to his people about it myself.

The Chippewa widow usually passed over this threat in silence; but, threading a lock with the comb, she now said,

“ Best not go to the lodges awhile.”

“ Why ? ” inquired Archange. “ Have the English already arrived ? Is the tribe dissatisfied ? ”

“ Don’t know that.”

“ Then why should I not go to the lodges ? ”

“ Windigo at the Sault now.”

Archange wheeled to look at her face. The widow was unmoved. She was little older than Archange, but her features showed a stoical harshness in the firelight. Michel, who often went to the lodges, widened his mouth and forgot to till it with plum-leather. There was no sweet which Michel loved as he did this confection of wild plums and maple sugar boiled down and spread on sheets of birch bark. Madame Cadotte made the best pagessanung at the Sault.

“ Look at the boy,” laughed Archange. “ He will not want to go to the lodges any more after dark.”

The widow remarked, noting Michel’s fat legs and arms, —

“ Windigo like to eat him.”

“ I would kill a windigo,” declared Michel, in full revolt.

“ Not so easy to kill a windigo. Bad spirits help windigos. If man kill windigo and not tear him to pieces, he come to life again.”

Archange herself shuddered at such a tenacious creature. She was less superstitious than the Chippewa woman, but the Northwest had its human terrors as dark as the shadow of witchcraft.

Though a Chippewa was bound to dip his hand in the war kettle and taste the flesh of enemies after victory, there was nothing he considered more horrible than a confirmed cannibal. He believed that a person who had eaten human flesh to satisfy hunger was never afterwards contented with any other kind, and, being deranged and possessed by the spirit of a beast, he had to be killed for the safety of the community. The cannibal usually became what he was by stress of starvation: in the winter when hunting failed and he was far from help, or on a journey when provisions gave out, and his only choice was to eat a companion or die. But this did not excuse him. As soon as he was detected the name of “ windigo ” was given him, and if he did not betake himself again to solitude he was shot or knocked on the head at the first convenient opportunity. Archange remembered one such wretched creature who had haunted the settlement awhile, and then disappeared. His canoe was known, and when it hovered even distantly on the river every child ran to its mother. The priest was less successful with this kind of outcast than with any other barbarian on the frontier.

“ Have you seen him, Waubudone? ” inquired Archange. “ I wonder if it is the same man who used to frighten us ? ” “ This windigo a woman. Porcupine in her. She lie down and roll up and hide her head when you drive her off.” "Did you drive her off ? ”

“No. She only come past my lodge in the night.”

“ Did you see her ? ”

“ No, I smell her.”

Archange had heard of the atmosphere which windigos far gone in cannibalism carried around them. She desired to know nothing more about the poor creature. or the class to which the poor creature belonged, if such isolated beings may be classed. The Chippewa widow talked without being questioned, however, preparing to reduce Archange’s mass of hair to the compass of a nightcap.

“ My grandmother told me there was a man dreamed he had to eat seven persons. He sat by the fire and shivered. If his squaw wanted meat, he quarreled with her. ‘ Squaw, take care. Thou wilt drive me so far that I shall turn windigo.’ ”

People who did not give Archange the keen interest of fascinating them were a great weariness to her. Humble or wretched human life filled her with disgust. She could dance all night at the weekly dances, laughing in her sleeve at girls from whom she took the best partners. But she never helped nurse a side child, and it made her sleepy to hear of windigos and misery. Michel wanted to squat by the chimney and listen until Louizon came in; but she drove him out early. Louizon was kind to the orphan, who had been in some respects a failure, and occasionally let him sleep on blankets or skins by the hearth instead of groping to the dark attic. And if Michel ever wanted to escape the attic, it was to-night, when a windigo was abroad. But Louizon did not come.

It must have been midnight when Archange sat up in bed, startled out of sleep by her mother-in-law, who held a candle between the curtains. Madame Cadotte’s features were of a mild Chippewa type, yet the restless aboriginal eye made Archange uncomfortable with its anxiety.

“ Louizon is still away,” said his mother.

“ Perhaps he went whitefishing after he had his supper.” The young wife yawned and rubbed her eyes, beginning to notice that her husband might be doing something unusual.

“ He did not come to his supper.”

“ Yes, mamma. He came in with Monsieur de Repentigny.”

“I did not see him. The seignior ate alone.”

Archange stared, fully awake. “ Where does the seignior say he is ? ”

“ The seignior does not know. They parted at the door.”

“ Oh, he has gone to the lodges to watch the dancing.”

“ I have been there. No one has seen him since he set out to hunt this morning.”

“ Where are Louizon’s canoemen ?” Jean Boucher and his son are at the dancing. They say he came into this house.”

Archange could not adjust her mind to anxiety without the suspicion that her mother-in-law might be acting as the instrument of Louizon’s resentment. The huge feather heel was a tangible comfort interposed betwixt herself and calamity.

“He was sulky to-night,” she declared.

He has gone up to sleep in Michel’s attic to frighten me.”

I have been there. I have searched the house.”

“ But are you sure it was Michel in the bed ? ”

“ There was no one. Michel is here.”

Archange snatched the curtain aside, and leaned out to see the orphan sprawled on a bearskin in front of the collapsing logs, lie had pushed the sashes inward from the gallery and hoisted himself over the high sill after the bed drapery was closed for the night, for the window yet stood open. Madame Cadotte sheltered the candle she carried, hut the wind blew it out. There was a rich glow from the fireplace upon Michel’s stuffed legs and arms, his cheeks, and the full parted lips through which his breath audibly flowed. The other end of the room, lacking the candle, was in shadow. The thump of the Indian drum could still be heard, and distinctly and more distinctly, as if they were approaching the house, the rapids.

Both women heard more. They had not noticed any voice at the window when they were speaking themselves, but some offensive thing scented the wind, and they heard, hoarsely spoken in Chippewa from the gallery, —

How fat he is ! ”

Archange, with a gasp, threw herself upon her mother-in-law for safety, and Madame Gadotte put both arms and the smoking candle around her. A feeble yet dexterous scramble on the sill resulted in something dropping into the room. It moved toward the hearth glow, a gaunt vertebrate body scarcely expanded by ribs, but covered by a red blanket, and a head with deathlike features overhung by straps of hair. ibis vision of famine leaned forward and indented Michel with one finger, croaking again, —

“ How fat he is!”

The boy roused himself, and, for one instant stupid and apologetic, was going to sit up and whine. He saw what bent over him, and, bristling with unimaginable revolutions of arms and legs, he yelled a yell which seemed to sweep the thing back through the window.

Next day no one thought of dancing or fishing or of the coming English. Frenchmen and Indians turned out together to search for Louizon Gadotte. Though he never in his life had set foot to any expedition without first notifying Ids household, and it was not the custom to hunt alone in the woods, his disappearance woidd not have roused the settlement in so short a time had there been no windigo hanging about the Sault. It was told that the windigo, who entered his house again in the night, must have made way with him.

Jacques Repentigny heard this with some amusement. Of windigos he had no experience, hut lie had hunted and camped much of the summer with Louizon.

“ I do not think he would let himself be knocked on the head by a woman,” said Jacques.

“ White chief does n’t know what helps a windigo,” explained a Chippewa ; and the canoeman Jean Boucher interpreted him. “ Bad spirit makes a windigo strong as a bear. I saw this one. She stole my whitefish and ate them raw.”

“ Why did n’t you give her cooked food when you saw her ? ’ demanded Jacques.

“ She would not eat that now. She likes offal better.”

“Yes, she was going to eat me,” declared Michel Pensonneau. “ After she finished Monsieur Louizon, she got through the window to carry me off .

Michel enjoyed the windigo. Though he strummed on his lip and mourned aloud whenever Madame Gadotte was by, he felt so comfortably full of food and horror, and so important with his story, that life threatened him with nothing worse than satiety.

While parties went up the river and down the river, and talked about the chutes in the rapids where a victim could he sucked down to death in an instant, or about tracing the windigo’s secret camp, Archange hid herself in the attic. She lay upon Michel’s bed and wept, or walked the plank floor. It was no place for her. At noon the bark roof heated her almost to fever. The dormer windows gave her little air, and there was dust as well as something like an individual sediment of the poverty from which the boy had come. Yet she could endure the loft dungeon better than the face of the Chippewa mother who blamed her, or the bluff excitement of Monsieur Cadotte. She could hear his voice from time to time, as he ran in for spirits or provisions for parties of searchers. And Archange had aversion, like the instinct of a maid, to betraying fondness for her husband. She was furious with him, also, for causing her pain. When she thought of the windigo, of the rapids, of any peril which might be working his limitless absence, she set clenched hands in her loosened hair and trembled with hysterical anguish. But the enormity of his behavior if he were alive made her hiss at the rafters. “ Good, monsieur ! Next time I will have four officers. I will have the entire garrison sitting along the gallery! Yes, and they shall be English, too. And there is one thing you will never know, besides.” She laughed through her weeping. You will never know I made eyes at a windigo.”

The preenings and posings of a creature whose perfections lie once thought were the result of a happy chance had made Louizon roar. She remembered all their life together, and moaned, “ I will say this : he was the best husband that any girl ever had. We scarcely had a disagreement. But to be the widow of a man who is eaten up — O Ste. Marie ! ”

In the clear August weather the wide river seemed to bring its opposite shores nearer. Islands within a stone’s throw of the settlement, rocky drops in a boiling current, vividly showed their rich foliage of pines. On one of these islands Father Dablon and Father Marquette had built their first mission chapel; and though they afterwards removed it to the mainland, the old tracery of foundation stones could still be seen. The mountains of Lake Superior showed like a cloud. On the ridge above fort and houses the Chippewa lodges were pleasant in the sunlight, sending ribbons of smoke from their camp fires far above the serrated edge of the woods. Naked Indian children and their playmates of the settlement shouted to one another, as they ran along the river margin, threats of instant seizure by the windigo. The Chippewa widow, holding her husband in her arms, for she was not permitted to hang him on her back, stood and talked with her red-skinned intimates of the lodges. The Frenchwomen collected at the seigniory house. As for the men of the garrison, they were obliged to stay and receive the English then on the way from Detour. But they came out to see the boats off with the concern of brothers, and Arcliange’s uncle, the post commandant, embraced Monsieur Cadotte.

The priest and Jacques Repentigny did not speak to each other about that wretched creature whose hoverings around the Sault were connected with Louizon Cadotte’s disappearance. But the priest went with Louizon’s father down the river, and Jacques led the party which took the opposite direction. Though so many years had passed since Father Dablon and Father Marquette built the first bark chapel, their successor found his work very little easier than theirs had been.

A canoe was missing from the little fleet usually tied alongshore, but it was not the one belonging to Louizon. The young seignior took that one, having Jean Boucher and Jean’s son to paddle for him. No other man of Sault Ste. Marie could pole up the rapids or paddle down them as this expert Chippewa could. He had been baptized with a French name, and his son after him, but no Chippewa of pure blood and name looked habitually as he did into those whirlpools called the chutes, where the slip of a paddle meant death. Yet nobody feared the rapids. It was common for boys and girls to flit around near shore in birch canoes, balancing themselves and expertly dipping up whitefish.

Jean Boucher thrust out his boat from behind an island, and, turning it as a fish glides, moved over thin sheets of water spraying upon rocks. The fall of the ,Ste. Marie is gradual, but even at its upper end there is a little hill to climb. Jean set his pole into the stone door of the river, and lifted the vessel length by length from crest to crest of foam. His paddles lay behind him, and his arms were bare to the elbows, showing their strong red sinews. He had let his hair grow like a Frenchman’s, and it hung forward shading his hatless brows. A skin apron was girded in front of him to meet waves which frothed up over the canoe’s high prow. Blacksmith of the waters, he beat a path between juts of rock ; struggling to hold a point with the pole, calling a quick word to his helper, and laughing as he forged his way. Other voyagers who did not care to tax themselves with this labor made a portage with their canoes alongshore, and started above the glassy curve where the river bends down to its leap.

Gros Cap rose in the sky, revealing its peak in bolder lines as the searchers pushed up the Ste. Marie, exploring mile after mile of pine and white birch and fantastic rock. The shaggy bank stooped to them, the illimitable glory of the w dderness witnessing a little procession of boats like chips floating by.

It was almost sunset when they came back, the tired paddlers keeping near that shore on which they intended to land. No trace of Louizon Cadotte could be found ; and those who had not seen the windigo were ready to declare there was no such thing about the Sault, when, just above the rapids, she appeared from the dense up-slope of forest.

Jacques Repentigny’s canoe had kept the lead, but a dozen light-bodied Cliippewas sprung on shore and rushed past him into the bushes.

The woman had disappeared in underbrush, but, surrounded by hunters in full chase, she came running out, and fell on her hands, making a hoarse noise in her throat. As she looked up, all the marks in her aged aboriginal face were distinct to Jacques Repentigny. I he sutures in her temples were parted. She rolled herself around in a ball, and hid her head in her dirty red blanket. Any wild beast was in harmony with the wilderness, but this sick human being was a blot upon it. Jacques felt the compassion of a god for her. Her pursuers were after her, and the thud of stones they threw made him heartsick, as if the thing were done to the woman he loved.

“ Let her alone ! ” he commanded fiercely.

“ Kill her I ” shouted the hunters. “ Hit the windigo on the head ! ”

All that world of northern air could not sweeten her, but Jacques picked her up without a thought of her offensiveness and ran to his canoe. The hones resisted him ; the claws scratched at him through her blanket. Jean Boucher lifted a paddle to hit the creature as soon as she was down.

“ If you strike her, I will kill you. warned Jacques, and he sprung into the boat.

The superstitious Chippewas threw themselves madly into their canoes to follow. Lt would go hard, but they would get the windigo and take the young seignior out of her spell. The Frenchmen, with mail’s instinct for the chase, were in full cry with them.

Jean Boucher laid down his paddle sulkily, and his son did the same. Jacques took a long pistol from his belt and pointed it at the old Indian.

“ If you don’t paddle for life, I will shoot you.”And his eyes were eyes which Jean respected as he never had respected anything before. The young man was a beautiful fellow. If he wanted to save a windigo, why, the saints let him. The priest might say a good word about it when you came to think, also.

“ Where shall I paddle to ? ” inquired Jean Boucher, drawing in his breath. The canoe leaped ahead, grazing hands stretched out to seize it.

“ To the other side of the river.”

“ Down the rapids ? ”


“ Go down rough or go down smooth ?

“ Rough — rough — where they cannot catch you.”

The old canoeman snorted. He would like to see any of them catch him. They were straining after him, and half a dozen canoes shot down that glassy slide which leads to the rocks.

It takes three minutes for a skillful paddler to run that dangerous race of three quarters of a mile. Jean Boucher stood at the prow, and the waves boiled as high as his waist. Jacques dreaded only that the windigo might move and destroy the delicate poise of the boat; but she lay very still. The little craft quivered from rock to rock without grazing one, rearing itself over a great breaker or sinking under a crest of foam. Now a billow towered up, and Jean broke it with his paddle, shouting his joy. Showers fell on the woman coiled in £he bottom of the boat. They were going down very rough indeed. Yells from the other canoes grew less distinct. Jacques turned his head, keeping a true balance, and saw that their pursuers were skirting toward the shore. They must make a long detour to catch him after he reached the foot of the fall.

The roar of awful waters met him as he looked ahead. Jean Boucher drove the paddle down and spoke to his son. The canoe leaned sidewise, sucked by the first chute, a caldron in the river bed where all Ste. Marie’s current seemed to go down, and whirl, and rise, and froth, and roar.

“ Ha ! ” shouted Jean Boucher. His face glistened with beads of water and the glory of mastering Nature.

Scarcely were they past the lirst pit when the canoe plunged on the verge of another. This sight was a moment of madness. The great chute, lined with moving water walls and floored with whirling foam, bellowed as if it were submerging the world. Columns of green water sheeted in white rose above it and fell forward on the current. As the canoemen held on with their paddles and shot by through spuine and rain, every soul in the boat exulted except the woman who lay flat on its keel. The rapids gave a voyager the illusion that they were running uphill to meet him, that they were breasting and opposing him instead of carrying him forward. There was scarcely a breath between riding the edge of the bottomless pit and shooting out on clear water. The rapids were past, and they paddled for the other shore, a mile away.

On the west side the green water seemed turning to fire, but as the sunset went out shadows sunk on the broad surface. The fresh evening breath of a primitive world blew across it. Down river the channel turned, and Jacques could see nothing of the English or of the other party. His pursuers had decided to land at the settlement.

It was twilight when Jean Boucher brought the canoe to pine woods which met them at the edge of the water. The young Renpentigny had been wondering what he should do with his windigo. There was no settlement on this shore, and had there been one it would offer no hospitality to such as she was. His canoemen would hardly camp with her, and he had no provisions. To keep her from being stoned or torn to pieces be had made an inconsiderate flight. But his perplexity dissolved in a moment before the sight of Louizon Cadotte coming out of the woods towards them, having no hunting equipments and looking foolish.

“ Where have you been ? ” called Jacques.

“ Down this shore,” responded Louizon.

“ Did you take a canoe and come out here last night ? ”

“ Yes, monsieur. I wished to be by myself. The canoe is below. I was coining home.”

“ It is time you were coming home, when all the men in the settlement are searching for you, and all the women trying to console your mother and your wife.”

“ My wife — she is not then talking with any one on the gallery ? ” Louizon’s voice betrayed gratified revenge.

“ I do not know. But there is a woman in this canoe who might talk on the gallery and complain to the priest against a man who has got her stoned on his account.”

Louizon did not understand this, even when he looked at the heap of dirty blanket in the canoe.

“ Who is it ? ” he inquired.

“ The Chippewas call her a windigo. They were all chasing her for eating you up. But now we can take her back to the priest, and they will let her alone when they see you. Where is your canoe ? ”

“ Down here among the bushes,” answered Louizon. He went to get it, ashamed to look the young seignior in the face. He was light-headed from hunger and exposure, and what followed seemed to him afterwards a piteous dream.

“ Come hack ! ” called the young seignior, and Louizon turned back. The two men’s eyes met in a solemn look.

“ Jean Boucher says this woman is dead.”

Jean Boucher stood on the bank, holding the canoe with one hand, and turning her unresisting face with the other. Jacques and Louizon took off their hats.

They heard the cry of the whip-poorwill. The river had lost all its green and was purple, and purple shadows lay on the distant mountains and opposite ridge. Darkness was mercifully covering this poor demented Indian woman, overcome by the burdens of her life, aged without being venerable, perhaps made hideous by want and sorrow.

When they had looked at her in silence, respecting her because she could no longer be hurt by anything in the world, Louizon whispered aside to his seignior. —

“What shall we do with her? ”

“ Bury her,” the old canoeman answered for him.

One of the party yet thought of taking her back to the priest. But she did not belong to priests and rites. Jean Boucher said they could dig in the forest mould with a paddle, and he and his son would make her a grave. The two Chippewas left the burden to the young men.

Jacques Repentigny and Louizon Cadotte took up the woman who perhaps had never been what they considered woman ; who had missed the good, and got for her portion the ignorance and degradation of the world ; yet who must be something to the Almighty, for he had sent youth and love to pity and take care of her in her death. They carried her into the woods between them.

Mary Hartwell Catherwood.