“And you would go back into the wilderness with one who was as false as you say.”
“Never!” replied John Law, swiftly. “’Tis as you yourself say. ’Tis all over. Hell itself hath followed me. Now let it all go, one with the other, little with big. I did not forget, nor should I though I tried again. Back to Europe, back to the gaming tables, to the wheels and cards I go again, and plunge into it madder than ever did man before. Let us see if chance can bring John Law anything worse than what he has already known. But, Madam, doubt not. So long as you claim my protection, here or anywhere on earth—in the West, in France, in England—it is yours; for I pay for my folly like a man, be assured of that. The child is ours, and it must be considered. But once let me find you in unfaithfulness—once let me know that you resign me—then John Law is free! I shall sometime see Catharine Knollys again. I shall give her my heart’s anguish, and I shall have her heart’s scorn in return. And then, Mary Connynge, the cards, dice, perhaps drink—perhaps gold, and the end. Madam, remember! And now come!”
THE GREAT PEACE
Of the long and bitter journey from the Iroquois towns to Lake St. George, down the Richelieu and thence through the deep snows of the Canadian winter, it boots little to make mention; neither to tell of that devotion of Raoul de Ligny to the newly-rescued lady, already reputed in camp rumor to be of noble English family.
“That sous-lieutenant; he is tete montee regarding madame,” said Pierre Noir one evening to Jean Breboeuf. “As to that—well, you know Monsieur L’as. Pouf! So much for yon monkey, par comparaison.”
“He is a great capitaine, Monsieur L’as,” said Jean Breboeuf. “Never a better went beyond the Straits.”
“But very sad of late.”
“Oh, oui, since the death of his friend, Monsieur le Capitaine Pembroke—may Mary aid his spirit!”
“Monsieur L’as goes not on the trail again,” said Pierre Noir. “At least not while this look is in his eye.”
“The more the loss, Pierre Noir; but some day the woods will call to him again. I know not how long it may be, yet some day Mother Messasebe will raise her finger and beckon to Monsieur L’as, and say: ‘Come, my son!’ ’Tis thus, as you know, Pierre Noir.”
Yet at length the straggling settlements at Montreal were reached, and here, after the fashion of the frontier, some sort of menage was inaugurated for Law and his party. Here they lived through the rest of the winter and through the long, slow spring.
And then set on again the heats of summer, and there came apace the time agreed upon, in the month of August, for the widely heralded assembling of the tribes for the Great Peace; one of the most picturesque, as it was one of the most remarkable and significant meetings of widely diverse human beings, that ever took place within the ken of history.