The Refugees eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about The Refugees.

A large ship was lying under the very shadow of the iceberg.  They looked straight down upon her snow-white decks, fringed with shining brass cannon, and dotted with seamen.  A little clump of soldiers stood upon the poop going through the manual exercise, and it was from them that the call had come which had sounded so unexpectedly in the ears of the castaways.  Standing back from the edge, they had not only looked over the top-masts of this welcome neighbour, but they had themselves been invisible from her decks.  Now the discovery was mutual, as was shown by a chorus of shouts and cries from beneath them.

But the three did not wait an instant.  Sliding and scrambling down the wet, slippery incline, they rushed shouting through the crack and into the cave where their comrades had just been startled by the bugle-call while in the middle of their cheerless breakfast.  A few hurried words and the leaky long-boat had been launched, their possessions had been bundled in, and they were afloat once more.  Pulling round a promontory of the berg, they found themselves under the stern of a fine corvette, the sides of which were lined with friendly faces, while from the peak there drooped a huge white banner mottled over with the golden lilies of France.  In a very few minutes their boat had been hauled up and they found themselves on board the St. Christophe man-of-war, conveying Marquis de Denonville, the new Governor-General of Canada, to take over his duties.



A singular colony it was of which the shipwrecked party found themselves now to be members.  The St. Christophe had left Rochelle three weeks before with four small consorts conveying five hundred soldiers to help the struggling colony on the St. Lawrence.  The squadron had become separated, however, and the governor was pursuing his way alone in the hope of picking up the others in the river.  Aboard he had a company of the regiment of Quercy, the staff of his own household, Saint Vallier, the new Bishop of Canada, with several of his attendants, three Recollet friars, and five Jesuits bound for the fatal Iroquois mission, half-a-dozen ladies on their way out to join their husbands, two Ursuline nuns, ten or twelve gallants whom love of adventure and the hope of bettering their fortunes had drawn across the seas, and lastly some twenty peasant maidens of Anjou who were secure of finding husbands waiting for them upon the beach, if only for the sake of the sheets, the pot, the tin plates and the kettle which the king would provide for each of his humble wards.

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The Refugees from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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