I laid down the parchment.
“This is the original grant of the seigniory?”
“Yes,” he replied with animation, “The ‘HIS MAJESTY’ there is the Grand Monarque himself! De Frontenac is the Great Count, and that Jean Chamilly D’Argentenaye, cadet of the Chamillys of Rouen, is our first predecessor on these lands.”
Taking a large genealogical tree out of the box, and spreading it on the table, he showed me my descent. “The Honorable Chateauguay drew this up at the time of my marriage,” he began.
“The whole tree is mine then?” I ventured, surveying it.
“Yes,” he cried, “and these are brave and honorable names! The wish of my heart has been that you preserve their record. See: the first marriage is a Mlle. Boucher de Boucherville, whose father, Pierre, Governor of Three Rivers, was so honest and wise in the perilous early course of the Colony! Madeline de Vercheres, heroic holder of the fort surprised by Iroquois, is near her. See! we date from the fourteenth century, and are allied with the Montaignes, Grammonts, Sullys, La Rochefoucaulds. Here is Le Moyne d’Iberville, and there De Hertel, brave and able,—a Juchereau du Chesnay; a Joybert de Soulanges. Down here is De Salaberry, the Leonidas of Lower Canada. There behold Philippe de Gaspe, who wrote ‘Les Anciens Canadiens;’ there Gaspard Joly, the Knight of Lotbiniere.—But you can inform yourself about these names. They will be useful in your enterprises by raising you above the reproach of being an adventurer. Seat yourself over there.”
“My father,” thought I to myself, “you and your pride are both very much out of date,” but I obeyed him and seated myself where he indicated.
“The reason why I have brought you here, is to tell you, that it has always been intended that you should in some way, succeed in these properties. Before you developed, it was not possible to predict exactly how you might do it; but within the last few years you have surpassed our hopes; and I have no trepidation in putting before you my views of your future position. You may think I am strong in health, but I shall soon pass away.”
My heart suddenly started.
“And you will find yourself here with revenues ample for the moderate purposes of a gentleman. You may live in the country, or in the city, as you please; but my desire is that you should live here, and continue in the paths of your grandfather and myself: for he was a just Englishman, and taught me that no one must take without an equivalent; and that a landlord owed duties to his people, of the value of the moneys they paid him. Formerly the lord gave his vassals armed protection for their rents: now there is nothing to which the law forces him; thus his returns must be fixed by his sense of duty.”