The Heartbreak Cameo by Lizzie W. Champney
"It is a cameo to break one's heart!" said Mrs. Dalliba, as she toyed with the superb jewel. "The cutting is unmistakably Florentine, and yet you have placed it among your Indian curiosities. I do not understand it at all."
Mrs. Dalliba was a connoisseur in gems; she had travelled from one extremity of Europe to the other; had studied the crown jewels of nearly every civilized nation, haunted museums, and was such a frequent visitor at the jewellers' of the Palais Royal, that many of them had come to regard her as an individual who might harbor burglarious intentions. She was a very harmless specialist, however, who, though she loved these stars of the underworld better than any human being, could never have been tempted to make one of them unfairly her own, and she seldom purchased, for she never coveted one unless it was something quite extraordinary, beyond the reach of even her considerable fortune. Meanwhile few of the larger jewelry houses had in their employ lapidaries more skilled than Mrs. Dalliba. She pursued her studies for the mere love of the science, devoting a year in Italy to mosaics, cameos, and intaglios. And yet the Crevecoeur cameo had puzzled wiser heads than Mrs. Dalliba's, adept though she was. It was cut from a solid heart-shaped gem, a layer of pure white, shading down through exquisite gradations into deep green, and representing Aphrodite rising from the sea; the white foam rose gracefully, with arms extended, scattering the drops of spray from her hands and her wind-blown hair; the foamy waves were beautifully cut with their intense hollows and snowy crests; it was evidently the work of a cultivated as well as a natural artist; it was not surprising that Mrs. Dalliba should insist that it could not have been executed out of Italy.
But Prof. Stonehenge was right too; it was a stone of the chalcedonic family, resembling sardonyx, except in color; others, similar to it both in a natural state and wrought into arrow-heads, had been found along the shores of Lake Superior. This seemed to have been brought away from its associates by some wandering tribe, for it had been discovered in Central Illinois. The nearest point at which other relics belonging to the same period had been found was the site of Fort Crevecoeur, near Starved Rock, Illinois. After all, the stone only differed from the arrow-heads of Lake Superior in its beautiful carving and unprecedented size--and, ah, yes! there was another difference, the mystery of its discovery. No other skeleton among all the buried braves unearthed by scientific research at Crevecoeur had been found with a gem for a heart--a gem that glittered not on the breast, but within a chest hooped with human bone. Mrs. Dalliba had just remarked that she had never felt so strong a desire to possess and wear any jewel as now; but when Prof. Stonehenge told how the uncanny thing rattled within the white ribs of the skeleton in which it was found, she allowed the gem to slip from her hand, while something of its own pale green flickered in the disgusted expression which quivered about the corners of her mobile mouth. The cameo was a mystery which had baffled geologist, antiquarian, and sculptor alike, for Father Francis Xavier had gone down to his grave with his secret and his cameo hidden in his heart. He had kept both well for two centuries, and when the heart crumbled in dust it took its secret with it, leaving only the cameo to bewilder conjecture.
Its story was, after all, a simple one. On the southern shore of Michillimackinac, in the romantic days of the first exploration of the great lakes by the Courreurs de Bois and pioneer priests, had settled good Pere Ignace, a devoted Jesuit missionary. The old man was revered and loved by the Indians among whom he dwelt. His labors blossomed in a little village, called from his patron saint the mission of St. Ignace, that displayed its cluster of white huts and wigwams like the petals of a water-lily on the margin of the lake. Just back of the village was a round knoll which served as a landmark on the lake, for the shore near St. Ignace was remarkably level. On the summit of this mound the good father had reared a great white cross, and at its foot the superstitious Indians often laid votive offerings of strongly incongruous character. Here he had lived and taught for many years, succeeding in instructing his little flock in the French tongue, and in at least an outward semblance of the Catholic religion. Even the rude trappers, who came to trade at regular intervals, revered him, and lived like good Christians while at the mission, so as not to counteract his teaching by their lawless example. Here Pere Ignace was growing old, and even this grasshopper of a spiritual charge was becoming a burden. His superior, at Montreal, understood this, and sent him an assistant.
Very unlike Father Ignatius was Pere Francois Xavier, a man with all the fire and enthusiasm of youth in his blood--just the one for daring, hazardous enterprises; just the one to undergo all the privation and toil of planting a mission; to undertake plans requiring superhuman efforts, and to carry them through successfully by main force of will. A better assistant for Father Ignatius could not have been found. It was force, will, and intellect in the service of love and meekness; only there was a doubt if the servant might not usurp the place of the master, and the sway of love be not materially advanced by its new ally. Indeed, if the truth had been known, even the Bishop of Montreal had felt that Father Francis Xavier was too ambitious a character to reside safely in too close proximity to himself; and engrossing employment at a distance for him, rather than the expressed solicitude for Father Ignatius, prompted this appointment. The results of the following year approved the arrangement. The mission received a new accession of life; its interests were pushed forward energetically.
Father Francis Xavier devoted himself to an acquisition of the various Indian dialects, and to excursions among the neighboring tribes. Converts were made in astonishing numbers, and they brought liberal gifts to the little church from their simple possessions. Father Ignatius had never thought to barter with the trappers and traders, but his colleague did; large church warehouses were erected, and the mission soon had revenues of importance. Away in the interior Father Xavier had discovered there was a silver mine; but this discovery, for the present, he made no attempt at exploiting. He had secured it to the church by title deed and treaty with the chief who claimed it; had visited it and assured himself that it would some day be very valuable, and he contented himself with this for the present, and even managed to forget its acquisition in his yearly report sent to Montreal. Father Francis Xavier was something of a geologist; his father was a Florentine jeweller, and the son had studied as his apprentice, not having at first been destined for the church. Even after taking holy orders, Father Francis Xavier had labored over precious stones designed for ecclesiastical decoration. His specialty had been that of a gem engraver, and his long white fingers were remarkably skilful and delicate. This northern region, with all its wealth of precious stones, was a great jewel casket for him, and he became at once an enthusiastic collector.
Before the coming of his assistant, Father Ignatius had managed his own simple housekeeping in all its most humble details. Now they had the services of an Indian maid of all work, who had been brought up under the eyes of Father Ignatius, and whom the old man regarded rather as a daughter than as a servant. Her moccasined feet fell as silently as those of spirits as she glided about their lodge. She never sang at her work, and rarely spoke, but she smiled often with a smile so childlike as to be almost silly in expression. Father Ignatius loved the silent smile, and a word from him was always sure to bring it; but it angered Father Francis Xavier more than many a more repulsive thing would have done. It seemed so utterly imbecile and babyish to him, he had got so far away from innocence and smiles and childhood himself, that the sight of them irritated him. The young Indian girl had a long and almost unpronounceable name. Pere Ignace had baptized her Marie, and the new name had gradually taken the place of the old.
One day, as she was silently but dexterously putting to order the large upper room, which served Pere Francis Xavier as study and dormitory, she paused before his collection of agates and minerals, and stroking the stones, said in her soft French and Indian patois, "Pretty, pretty." Father Xavier was seated at the great open window, looking over the top of his book away across the breezy lake. He heard the words, and knew that she was looking at him from the corner of her eye, but his only reply was a deeper scowl and a lowering of his glance to the printed page. The silly smile which he felt sure was upon her face faded out, but the girl spoke again, and this time more resolutely, determined to attract his attention. "Pretty stones. Marie's father many more, much prettier--much."
Father Xavier laid down his book. He was all attention. "Where did your father get them?" he asked.
"In the mountains climb, in the mines dig, in the lake dive, he seek them all the time summer."
"What does he do with them?"
"Cuts them like mon pere," and Marie imitated in pantomime the use of the hammer and chisel. "Cut them all time winter, very many."
"What does he do that for?" asked the priest, surprised.
"All the same you," replied the girl--"make arrow-heads."
"Oh! he makes arrow-heads, does he? Mine are not arrow-heads, but I should like to see what your father does. Does he live far from here?"
"Marie take you to-night in canoe."
"Very well, after supper."
She had often taken him out upon the lake before, for she managed their birch-bark canoe with more skill than himself, and it was convenient to have some one to paddle while he fished or read or dreamed. She rowed him swiftly up the lake for several miles, then, fastening the canoe, led the way through a trail in the forest. The sun was setting, and "the whispering pines and the hemlocks" of the forest primeval formed a tapestry of gloom around the paternal wigwam as they reached it. Black Beaver, her father, reclined lazily in the door, watching the coals of the little fire in front of his tent. He was always lazy. It was difficult to believe that he ever climbed or dug or dived for agates as Marie had said, so complete a picture he seemed of inaction. The girl spoke a few words to him in their native dialect, and he grumblingly rose, shuffled into the interior of the wigwam, and brought out two baskets. One was a shallow tray filled with the finished heads in great variety of material and color. There were white carnelian, delicately striped with prophetic red, blood-stone deep colored and hard as ruby, agates of every shade and marking, flinty jasper, emerald-banded malachite, delicate rose color, and purple one made from shells, and various crystals with whose names Father Francis Xavier was unfamiliar. There was one shading from dark green through to red, only a drop of the latter color on the very tip of the arrow where blood would first kiss blood. Father Xavier looked at it in wondering admiration, and at last asked Black Beaver what he called it.
"It is a devil-stone," replied the Indian. "More here," and he opened the deeper basket in which were stored the unground and uncut stones, and placed a superb gem in Father Xavier's hand. He had ground it sufficiently to show that it was in two layers, white and green; in this there was no touch of red, but in every other respect it was the handsomer stone.
"Will you sell it to me?" asked the priest. "How much?"
The Indian smiled with an expression strangely like that of his daughter, and put it back with alacrity in his basket, saying, "Me no sell big devil-stone. No money buy."
"What do you mean to do with it?" asked Father Xavier.
"Make arrow-head--very hungry--no blood;" and he indicated the absence of the red tint. "Very hungry--kill very much--never have enough!"
"Then you mean to keep it and use it yourself?"
"No," said the other. "Me no hunt game--hunt stones."
"What will you do with it?" asked the puzzled priest.
"Give it away," said Black Beaver--"give away to greatest--"
"Chief?" asked Father Xavier.
Black Beaver shook his head.
"No," grunted the arrow-head maker--"give away to big enemy!"
"What did he mean by that?" Father Xavier asked of Marie on their way back to the mission. And the girl explained the superstition that Indians of their own tribe never killed an enemy with ordinary weapons, for fear that his soul would wait for theirs in the Happy Hunting Grounds; but if he was shot with a devil-stone, the soul could not fly upward, but would sink through all eternity, until it reached the deepest spot of all the great lakes under the stony gaze of the Doom Woman.
When he inquired further as to the whereabouts of the Doom Woman's residence he ascertained that she was only a sharp cliff among "the pictured rocks of sandstone" of the upper lake--a cliff that viewed from either side maintained its resemblance to a female profile looking sternly down at the water beneath it, which was here believed to be unfathomable. The Doom Woman still exists. Strange to say, under its sharp-cut features a steamer has since been wrecked and sunk, and its expression of gloomy fate is now awfully appropriate. Marie had visited "the great Sea Water" with her father. Nature's titanic and fanciful frescoing and cameo-cutting had strongly wrought upon her impressionable mind, and the old legends and superstitions of paganism had been by no means effaced by the very slight veneer of Christianity which she had received at the mission.
From this evening Father Xavier's manner toward her changed. Her smile no longer seemed to irritate him, and a close observer might have noticed that she smiled less than formerly. He talked with her more, paid closer attention to her studies, made her little presents from time to time, and spoke to her always with studied gentleness that was quite foreign to his nature. And Marie watched him at work over his stones, spent her spare time in rambling in search of those which she had learned he liked, and laid upon his table without remark each new discovery of quartz, or crystal, or pebble. She had been in the habit of making little boxes which she decorated with a rude mosaic of small shells, and Father Xavier noticed that these gradually acquired more taste and were arranged with some eye to the harmonies of color, while the forms were copied with Chinese accuracy from patterns on the bindings of his books or the borders of the religious pictures. Marie was developing under an art education which, if carried far enough, might effect great things. She even managed his graving tools with a good deal of accuracy, copying designs which he set her, until he wondered what his father would have thought of so apt an apprentice.
Suddenly, one morning in midsummer, Marie announced that she should leave them. Her father was going on a long expedition for stones to the head of Lake Superior, and she did not know when she might return. As she imparted this information she watched Father Xavier from the corner of her eye, and something of the old childish smile reappeared as he showed that he was really annoyed.
The summer passed profitably for the Black Beaver, and he began to think of returning to St. Ignace with his small store of valuable stones before the fall gales should set in. He was just a few days too late. When within sight of Michillimackinac a storm arose driving them out upon the open lake, and playing with their canoe as though it were a cockle-shell. When the storm abated a cloudy night had set in; no land was visible in any direction; they had completely lost their direction, and knew not toward which point to seek the shore. Paddling at hazard might take them further out into the centre of the lake, and indeed they were too worn with battling with the storm to do any more than keep the tossed skiff from capsizing. Morning dawned wet and gray, after a miserable night; they were drenched to the skin, and almost spent with weariness and hunger, and now that a wan and ghostly daylight had come they were no better for it, for an impenetrable fog shut them in on every side. Marie and her mother began to pray. The Black Beaver sat dogged and inert, with upturned face, regarding the sky.
The day wore by wearily; some of the time they paddled straight onward, with sinking hearts, knowing not toward what they were going, and at others rested with the inaction of despair. When the position of the bright spot which meant the sun told that it lacked but an hour of sunset, and the clouds seemed to be thickening rather than dispersing, the Black Beaver gave a long and hideous howl. His wife and daughter shuddered when they heard it, as would any one, for a more unearthly and discordant cry was never uttered by man or beast; but they had double reason to shudder; it was the death cry of their nation.
"We can never live through another night," said he, and he covered his face with his arms.
"Father," said Marie, "try what power there is in the white man's God. Say that you will give Him your devil-stone if He will save us now."
"The priest may have it," said the Black Beaver, and he uncovered his face and sat up as though expecting a miracle. And the miracle came. The sun was setting behind them, and in front, somewhat above the horizon, the clouds parted, forming a circle about a white cross which hung suspended in the air. They all saw it distinctly, but only for a few moments; then the clouds closed and the vision vanished. With new hope the little party rowed toward the spot where they had last seen it, and through the fog they could dimly discern the outlines of the coast--they were nearing land. A little further on, and a village was visible, which gained a more and more familiar aspect as they approached. Night settled down before they reached it, but ere their feet touched the land they had recognized the mission of St. Ignace. The cross was not a vision. The clouds had parted to show them the great white landmark and sign which Father Ignatius had raised upon the little knoll.
The next day the Black Beaver unearthed his devil-stone, and fastening a silver chain to it, was about to carry it away and attach it to the cross, which was already loaded with the gifts of the little colony; but Marie took it from his hand. "I will give it to the good priest myself," she said. "He may see fit to place it on the image of the Virgin in the church."
A few days later Marie placed the coveted stone in Father Xavier's hand; but what was his bitter disappointment to find that she had marred the exquisite thing by a rude attempt at a delineation upon it of the vision of the cross. She had carefully chiselled away the milky white layer, excepting on the crests of some very primitive representations of waves, and within the awkwardly plain cross in the centre of the gem. All his hopes of cutting a face upon this lovely jewel were crushed; it was ruined by her unskilful work. Father Xavier was completely master of his own emotions. He took the stone without remark, and hung it, as Marie requested, about the neck of the Madonna. Each day as he said mass the sight of the mutilated jewel roused within him resentful feelings against poor, well-wishing little Marie. He had been very kind to her since he had first seen the stone in the possession of her father, but now it was worse than before. He avoided her markedly, for the smile which so annoyed him still lighted her face whenever she saw him, and there was in it a reproachful sadness which was even more aggravating than its simple childishness had been.
One day Father Xavier, in turning over his papers, came across an old etching of Venus rising from the sea. The figure, with its outstretched arms, suggested a possibility to him. He made a careful tracing of it, took it to the church, and laid it upon the stone. All of its outlines came within the white cross; there was still hope for the cameo. All that winter Father Xavier toiled upon it, exhausting his utmost skill, but never exhausting his patience. His chief trial was in the extreme hardness of the stone, which rapidly wore out his graving tools. At last it was finished, and Father Xavier confessed to himself, in all humility, that he had not only never executed so delicate a piece of workmanship, but he had never seen its equal. Every curve of the exquisite-hued waves was studied from the swell that sometimes swept grandly in from the lake on the long reef of rocks a few miles above St. Ignace. The form of the goddess was modelled from his remembrance of the Greek antique. It was a gem worthy of an emperor. What should he do with it?
As the spring ripened into summer, ambitious thoughts flowered in Pere Francis Xavier's soul. What a grand bishopric this whole western country would make with its unexplored wealth of mines, and furs, and forest! Why should he be obliged to make reports of the revenue which his own financiering had secured to the mission, to the head at Montreal? Why should not his reverence the Lord Bishop Francis Xavier dwell in an episcopal palace built somewhere on these lakes, with unlimited spiritual and temporal sway over all this country? To effect such a scheme it would be necessary for him to see both the King of France and the Pope. He was not sure that even if he could return to Europe immediately, he had the influence necessary in either quarter, but the cameo was a step in the right direction. Something of the same thought occurred at the same time to the Bishop of Montreal. Father Xavier's reports showed the mission to be in a flourishing condition. The first struggles of the pioneer were over. Father Xavier must not be left in too luxurious a position. The Chevalier La Salle was now fitting out his little band designed to explore the lakes and follow the Mississippi from its source to the Gulf. A most important expedition; it would be well that the Jesuit fathers should share in the honors if it proved successful, and if the little party perished in its hazardous enterprise Pere Francis Xavier could perhaps be spared as easily as any member of his spiritual army.
And so, in the summer of 1679, the Chevalier sailed up the Lac du Dauphin, as Lake Erie was then called, into the Lac d'Orleans, or Huron, carrying letters in which Pere Francis Xavier was ordered to leave his charge for a time in order to render all the assistance in his power to the explorers. The Bishop of Montreal could never have guessed with what heartfelt joy his command was obeyed. Father Xavier was tired of this peaceful life, tired of "the endless wash of melancholy waves," of the short cool summers, and long white blank of winter; tired of inaction, of the lack of stimulating surroundings, of the gentleness of Father Ignatius and Marie's haunting smile. Here, too, might be the very occasion he craved of making himself famous and deserving of reward as an explorer. It was true that he started as a subordinate, but that was no reason that he should return in the same capacity. Marie had served the noble guests with pleasant alacrity, passing the rainbow-tinted trout caught as well as broiled by her own hand, and the luscious huckleberries in tasteful baskets of her own braiding, and Tontz Main de Fer, the chivalric companion and friend of La Salle, was moved like Geraint, served by Enid, "to stoop and kiss the dainty little thumb that crossed the trencher." The salutation was received with unconscious dignity by little Marie; once only was Pere Francois Xavier annoyed by the absence of a display of childish pleasure in an ever-ready smile.
History tells how trial and privation of every kind waited on this little band of heroic men; how hunger, and cold, and fever dogged their steps; how the Indians proved treacherous and hostile; how, having reached central Illinois, after incredible exertion, they found themselves in the dead of winter unable to proceed further, and surrounded by tribes incited against them by some unknown enemy. A fatality seemed to hang over them; suspicious occurrences indicated that they had a traitor among their number, but he was never discovered. La Salle did not despair or abandon the enterprise; but when six of his most trusted men mutinied and deserted, he lost hope, and became seized with a presentiment that he would never return from his expedition. Father Xavier was his confidant as well as confessor, but he seems not to have been able to disperse the gloom which settled over the leader's mind. Perhaps he did not endeavor to do so. Hopeless but still true to his trust, La Salle constructed near Peoria a fort which he named Crevecoeur, in token of his despondency and disappointment. Leaving Tontz Main de Fer in command here with the greater part of his men, he set out with five for Frontenac, on the 2d of March, 1680, intending to return with supplies to take command again of his party, and to proceed southward. It was at this point that the most inexplicable event of the entire enterprise occurred. Before the party divided some one attempted to poison the Chevalier La Salle. The poison was a subtle and slow one, similar in its effects to those used by the Borgia family; the secret of its manufacture was thought to be unknown out of Italy. Fortunately he had taken an under or overdose of it, and the effects manifested themselves only in a long illness. He was too far on his journey from Fort Heartbreak when stricken down to return to it, and was mercifully received and nursed back to health by the friendly Pottawottamies.
While the leader was lying sick in an Indian lodge, the knightly Tontz, ignorant of the fate of his friend, was having his troubles at the little fort of Heartbreak. Pere Francois Xavier had remained with him, and aided him with counsels and personal exertions; he had made himself so indispensable that he was now lieutenant; if anything should happen to Tontz, he would be commander. He was secretary of the expedition, drew careful maps, and made voluminous daily entries in a journal, which was afterward found to be a marvel of painstaking both in the facts and fictions which it contained. Scanty mention was there of La Salle and Tontz Main de Fer, and much of Pere Francois Xavier, but it was clear, explicit, depicting the advantages of an acquisition of this territory to the crown of France in glowing terms, and strongly advising that the man who had most distinguished himself in the difficulties of its discovery should be appointed as governor, or baron, under the royal authority.
While Father Xavier was compiling this remarkable piece of authorship, the Iroquois descended in warlike array upon the somewhat friendly disposed Illinois Indians, in whose midst Fort Crevecoeur had been built. The suspicious Indian mind immediately connected the advent of their enemies with the building of the fort, and regarded the little garrison with distrust. Tontz, at the instance of Father Xavier, presented himself to their chief, and offered to do anything in his power to prove his friendly intentions. The chief accepted his services, and sent him as ambassador to inquire into the cause of the coming of the Iroquois. This mission had nearly been his last, for Tontz was received with stabs, and hardly allowed to give the message of the chief. His ill-treatment at the hands of their enemies did not reassure the suspicious Illinois, who ordered Tontz to immediately evacuate the fort and return with his forces to the country whence he had come. In his wounded condition such a journey was extremely hazardous, and it must have been with grave doubts as to his surviving it that Father Xavier took temporary command of the returning expedition.
It was in the spring of 1681. Father Xavier had been absent nearly two years. Father Ignatius missed him sadly--all the life and fire seemed have gone out of the mission. Even Marie moved about her work in a listless, languid way, which contrasted markedly with her once lithe and rapid movements. They had not once heard from the explorers, and Father Ignatius shook his head sadly, and feared that he would never see his energetic colleague again. The Black Beaver had slept through the last months of winter, and, as with the general awakening of spring the bears came out of their dens, and the snakes sunned themselves near their holes, he too stretched himself lazily and awoke to a consciousness of what was passing around him. In the first place something was amiss with Marie. When she came to the wigwam it was not to chat merrily of the affairs of the mission. She did not braid as many baskets as formerly, and no longer showed him new patterns in shell mosaic on the lids of little boxes. He was a curious old man, and he soon drew her secret from her. Marie loved Pere Francois Xavier, and he had gone.
The Black Beaver went down to the mission one evening and had a long talk with Father Ignatius. He ascertained first that Pere Francois Xavier really meant to return; then, with all the dignity of an old feudal baron, he offered Marie as a bride for his spiritual son. Very gently the good Pere Ignace explained that Romish priests were so nearly in the kingdom of heaven that the question of marrying and giving in marriage was not for them to consider. The Black Beaver went home, told no one of his visit, and for several days indulged in the worst drunken spree of which he was capable. When he came out of it he announced to his wife and Marie that he was going away on his annual trip for stores, but that they need not accompany him.
Marie knelt as usual in the little church on the evening of the day on which her father had gone away. Pere Francois Xavier had replaced the cameo on the Virgin's breast before he went; it was a safer place than the vault of a bank would have been, had such a thing existed in the country. There was no one in the island sacrilegious enough to rob the church. Marie had gazed at the stone each time that she repeated the prayer which he had taught her. She looked up now, and it was gone.
Half way upon their northward route, Tontz's band were struggling wearily on when they were met by a solitary Indian, who, though he carried a long bow, had not an unfriendly aspect. He eyed the little band silently as they passed by him in defile, then ran after them, and inquired if the Pere Francois Xavier, of Mission St. Ignace, was not of their number. He was informed that the reverend father had remained a short distance behind to write in his journal, but that he would soon overtake them; and he was warmly pressed to remain with them if he had messages for the priest, and give them to him when he arrived; but the Indian shook his head and passed on in the direction in which they told him he would be likely to meet Father Xavier. The party halted and waited hour after hour for the priest, but he did not come. Finally two went back in search, and found him lying upon the sod with upturned face--the place where he had written last in his journal marked by a few drops of his heart's blood, and the long shaft of an arrow protruding from his breast. They drew it out, but the arrow-head had been attached as is the custom in some Indian tribes, by means of a soft wax, which is melted by the warmth of the body, and it remained in the heart. Father Xavier had been dead some hours. They buried him where they found him, and proceeded on their march. Tontz recovered on the way. They reached Michillimackinac in safety, where they were joined two months later by La Salle; and the world knows the result of his second expedition.
Little Marie learned by degrees to smile again, and in after years married another arrow-head maker, as swarthy and as shaggy as the Black Beaver. There is no moral to my story except that of poetic justice. Pere Francois Xavier had sown a plentiful crop of stratagems, and he learned in the lonely forest that "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."
Meanwhile to all but you, my readers, the Crevecoeur cameo remains as great a mystery as ever.