“While another contingent meets it further south, where our progress is well known. So we shall win the centre itself of the Dominion. Let us possess the North, says our Peter the Hermit, and we can rest sure of the whole. Yes, let us possess the North! let us populate the shores of Hudson’s Bay!” the enthusiast cried, losing himself in his vision, “Let us possess the shores of Hudson’s Bay, where d’Iberville of old dislodged our enemies!”
“Peter the Hermit!” laughed Chamilly. “What a name for our jolly old Cure of Colonization. But all that is well enough for ecclesiastics to recommend, since none others would invite their friends to die on those refrigerated wastes.—Yet the people themselves are heroically willing.”
“Our next ambition,” proceeded De La Lande, absorbed in his enthusiasm and quite guileless of any personal enmities, “is the conquest of the United States. Northern Maine is French Canadian. In New England we count half a million. Lowell, Worcester, Lawrence, Nashua and Fall River are ours. In farms, in parishes, in solid masses, we shall establish ourselves on the banks of the Merrimac as we have on our own historic streams, to increase and multiply and possess the land, replacing the degenerate New Englander, possedentes januas hostium, performing a divine mission, working out a high destiny for our language and the Catholic faith, and establishing a new, magnificent State out of the portions of those destroyed, over which shall fly the lilies of old—”
“And perhaps reign a duly fat Bourbon,” interrupted Quinet over his salad.
“We shall re-unite at last again with France! The affection of this remnant of her children, turned adrift in their few arpents of snow, has never died towards the land so changed from the time of our forefathers. It is still to us the Palestine of our speech, our history and our faith of St. Louis! We are the American France! We are all ready. We are the people of God. In the words of a brother: ’This blood was set in America in the midst of a material world, like France in Europe, to regenerate these peoples and perpetuate the reign of ideals. God has willed it: ‘GESTA DEI PER FRANCOS!’”
Chamilly turned to Chrysler as the school master ended, and said with a smile: “Do you not think there is enterprise in a people like this?”
A DISAPPEARING ORDER.
“Qu’il est triste d’etre vaincu!—”
From Quinet who had been deliberately dealing with his dessert, now came words:
“Mistaken impulses! Led after will o’ the wisps by dreamers and designers! If it were not that all movements work but one way, like the backward and forward of a machine—towards advancement, these things would make a man despond.”
“What then, sir,” Chrysler asked, “are your ideas?”