PATENTS OF NOBLESSE.
“Light the lamps,” my father ordered.
Tardif, the butler, did so with alacrity.
“Tardif, thou canst withdraw,” added my father.
“Oui, monseigneur,” replied Tardif, bowing respectfully, and went.
The room and its antiquated splendors looked ancestral to me. Its size struck me. It was larger than any in our town house. The family portraits and furniture revived lifelong memories. We had a fine collection of forefathers.
“Chamilly”—began my father, walking up before the picture of one who was to me childhood’s holy dream. He stopped for some moments, gazing up to her face with intense affection, and then turning to me, said in a broken voice—“Never forget your mother.”
“No, sir,” I replied, bending my head.
In a moment he went on to the other portraits, and his manner altered to more of pride.
“Your grandfather, the Honorable Chateauguay, this. This is his Lady, your grandmother. Here is her father, a LeGardeur de Repentigny. There is the old Marshal in armor. Here is Louise d’Argentenaye, of the time of Henry IV., who married a Montcalm. Here is the Count d’Argentenaye in armor.” And thus he took me about on a singular round, and informed me concerning the whole gallery.
He stopped at an old, solid wood cabinet, with spiral legs, bent over and opened it with a key.
“Now,” thought I, “these mysteries are going to be explained.”
“This is a dress sword,” he went on, “worn in France, at the court of Louis XIII. It was worn by one of your forefathers. Here are two decorations—Crosses of St. Louis—what beautiful little things they are. They belong to two of us who were Chevaliers.”
I was only still more mystified.
“Come into the office, my son,” said he, leading me into a room used for collecting the feudal rents and other business.
“It is coming now,” I exclaimed to myself.
My father lifted out an iron box, ornamented with our arms in color, and handed to me a parchment, having an immense wax seal, which I took and read.
Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, Councillor of the King in his Councils of the State and Privy Council, Governor and Lieutenant-General of His Majesty in Canada, Acadia, and other countries of Septentrional France. To All Those who shall see these present letters: HIS MAJESTY having at all times sought to act with “zeal proper to the just title of Eldest Son of the Church, has passed into this Country good number of his subjects, Officers of his troops in the Regiment of Carignan and others, whereof the most part desiring to attach themselves to the country by founding Estates and Seigniories proportionate to their force; and the Sieur JEAN CHAMILIE D’ARGENTENAY, Lieutenant of the Company of D’Ormilliere, having prayed us to grant him some such: WE, in consideration of the good, useful, and praiseworthy services he has