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      V2 dismal one. As yet there was no sign of spring. Each leafless bush and tree was dark with clammy moisture; patches of bare earth lay oozy and black on the southern slopes: but elsewhere the ground was still covered with snow, in some places piled in drifts, and everywhere sodden with rain; while each hollow and depression was full of that half-liquid, lead-colored mixture of snow and water which New England schoolboys call "slush," for all drainage was stopped by the frozen subsoil. The troops had with them two howitzers and twenty field-pieces, which had been captured when Quebec surrendered, and had formed a part of that very battery which Ramesay refused to Montcalm at the battle of the autumn before. As there were no horses, the cannon were dragged by some of the soldiers, while others carried picks and spades; for as yet Murray seems not to have made up his mind whether to fortify or fight. Thus they advanced nearly half a mile; till reaching the Buttes--Neveu, they formed in order of battle along their farther slopes, on the same ground that Montcalm had occupied on the morning of his death.[250] Williamson, Hist. of Maine, ii. 119; Penhallow. Rale's account of the affair, found among his papers at Norridgewock, is curiously exaggerated. He says that he himself was with the Indians, and "to pleasure the English" showed himself to them several times,a point which the English writers do not mention, though it is one which they would be most likely to seize upon. He says that fifty houses were burned, and that there were five forts, two of which were of stone, and that in one of these six hundred armed men, besides women and children, had sought refuge, though there was not such a number of men in the whole region of the Kennebec.

      [326] Minutes of a Council of War at Oswego, 27 Sept. 1755.The Orator. "Great in the midst of difficulties, by that consummate prudence, that solid judgment, that presence of mind, that breadth and elevation of thought, which he retained to the last moment of his life,"

      She pulled him after her towards the stairs. She made no allowance for his unfamiliarity with the place, and he fell over the bottom step with a clatter. Don went rigid. Pen laughed as women do in the dark.[309] Letter to the Governors of the several Colonies, 9 Sept. 1755.

      The fleet anchored a little below Quebec; and towards ten o'clock the French saw a boat put out from the admiral's ship, bearing a flag of truce. Four canoes went from the Lower Town, and met it midway. It brought a subaltern officer, who announced himself as the bearer of a letter from Sir William Phips to the French commander. He was taken into one of the canoes and paddled to the quay, after being completely blindfolded by a bandage which covered half his face. Prvost received him as he landed, and ordered two sergeants 265 to take him by the arms and lead him to the governor. His progress was neither rapid nor direct. They drew him hither and thither, delighting to make him clamber in the dark over every possible obstruction; while a noisy crowd hustled him, and laughing women called him Colin Maillard, the name of the chief player in blindman's buff. [4] Amid a prodigious hubbub, intended to bewilder him and impress him with a sense of immense warlike preparation, they dragged him over the three barricades of Mountain Street, and brought him at last into a large room of the chateau. Here they took the bandage from his eyes. He stood for a moment with an air of astonishment and some confusion. The governor stood before him, haughty and stern, surrounded by French and Canadian officers, Maricourt, Sainte-Hlne, Longueuil, Villebon, Valrenne, Bienville, and many more, bedecked with gold lace and silver lace, perukes and powder, plumes and ribbons, and all the martial foppery in which they took delight, and regarding the envoy with keen, defiant eyes. [5] After a moment, he recovered his breath and his composure, saluted Frontenac, and, expressing a wish that the duty assigned him had been of a more agreeable nature, handed him the letter of Phips. Frontenac gave it to an interpreter, who read it aloud in French that all might hear. It ran thus:

      [362] The account of Montcalm up to this time is chiefly from his unpublished autobiography, preserved by his descendants, and entitled Mmoires pour servir l'Histoire de ma Vie. Somervogel, Comme on servait autrefois; Bonnechose, Montcalm et le Canada; Martin, Le Marquis de Montcalm; loge de Montcalm; Autre loge de Montcalm; Mmoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760, and other writings in print and manuscript have also been consulted."But Don! After all the trouble I have had to get you here! You're in my castle, and I must know where I have you. Mustn't you let me decide for the time being?"

      Yet the interests of the kingdom required that Louisiana should be sustained. The illusions that had given to the Mississippi Company a morbid and intoxicated vitality were gone, but the Company lingered on, and the government still lent it a helping hand. A French writer remarks that the few Frenchmen who were famishing on the shores of the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico had cost the King, since the colony began, more than 150,000 livres a year. The directors of the Company reported that they had shipped 7,020 persons to the colony, besides four hundred already there when they took possession, and that 5,420 still remained, the rest having died or escaped.[313] Besides this importation of whites, they had also brought six hundred slaves from Guinea. It is reckoned that the King, Crozat, and the Mississippi Company had spent among them[Pg 320] about eight million livres on Louisiana, without any return.[314][27] For the treaty in full, Mather, Magnalia, II. 625.


      "Yes sir?"[762] Vaudreuil au Ministre, 5 Oct. 1759.