The account of Acadia (Nova-Scotia) will, it is to be hoped, appear not uncurious; allowance being made for its being only in form of a letter.
Micmaki-Country, March 27, 1755.
I should long before now have satisfied you in those points of curiosity you expressed, concerning the savages amongst whom I have so long resided, if I could have found leisure for it. Literally true it is, that I have no spare time here, unless just in the evening, and that not always. This was my case too in Louisbourg; and I do not doubt but you will be surprised at learning, that I enjoy as little rest here as there.
Had you done me, Sir, the honor of passing with me but three days only, you would soon have seen what sort of a nation it is that I have to deal with. I am obliged to hold frequent and long parleys with them, and, at every occasion, to heap upon them the most fair and flattering promises. I must incessantly excite them to the practice of acts of religion, and labor to render them tractable, sociable, and loyal to the king (of France). But especially, I apply myself to make them live in good understanding with the French.
With all this, I affect a grave and serious air, that awes and imposes upon them. I even take care of observing measure and cadence in the delivery of my words, and to make choice of those expressions the properest to strike their attention, and to hinder what I say from falling to the ground. If I cannot boast that my harangues have all the fruit and success that I could wish, they are not however wholly without effect. As nothing inchants those people more than a style of metaphors and allegories, in which even their common conversation abounds, I adapt myself to their taste, and never please them better than when I give what I say this turn, speaking to them in their own language. I borrow the most lively images from those objects of nature, with which they are so well acquainted; and am rather more regular than even themselves, in the arrangement of my phrases. I affect, above all, to rhime as they do, especially at each member of a period. This contributes to give them so great an idea of me, that they imagine this gift of speaking is rather an inspiration, than an acquisition by study and meditation. In truth, I may venture to say, without presumption, that I talk the Micmaki language as fluently, and as elegantly, as the best of their women, who most excel in this point.
Another of my occupations is to engage and spur them on to the making a copious chace, when the hunting-season comes in, that their debts to the dealers with them may be paid, their wives and children cloathed, and their credit supported.