He put on his hat. It was dark. Lights began to flicker in the fort and the chateau. The resolution seemed to give him new strength, and he squared his shoulders, took in deep breaths, entered the officers’ mess and dined.
The men about him were for the most part manly men, brave, open-handed, rough outwardly and soft within. And as they saw him take his seat quietly, a sparkle of admiration gleamed from every eye. The vicomte and Victor, both out on parole, took their plates and glasses and ranged alongside of the Chevalier. In France they would have either left the room or cheered him; as it was, they all finished the evening meal as if nothing extraordinary had happened.
So the Chevalier won his first victory.
WHAT THE SHIP HENRI IV BRINGS TO QUEBEC
The ship Henri IV dropped anchor before Quebec on the seventh day of August. This being the Company’s vessel, hundreds of Canadians flocked to the wharves. And again flags decked the chateau and town, and cannon roared. The Henri IV was part merchantman and part man-of-war. Her ports bristled with cannon, her marines wore formidable cutlasses, and the law on board was military in the strictest sense. Stores and ammunition filled her hull; carpenters’ tools, tea-chests, bags of plaster, uniforms, cannon, small arms, beads and trinkets of no value save to the Indian, silk and wool and a beautiful window for the cathedral. And in return she was to carry away mink, otter and beaver skins.
Breton had been left behind by the Chevalier, who had joined a scouting party up the river. Love and anxiety had made the lad thin. Any night might bring disastrous news from Three Rivers, the burning of the settlement and the massacre. Such speculation counteracted his usually good appetite. So Breton mooned about the wharves day by day, always looking up the river instead of down.
To-day he lingered to witness the debarkation. Besides, the Henri IV was a great ship, bringing with her a vague perfume from France. Listlessly he watched the seamen empty the hold of its treasures; carelessly he observed the meeting of sweethearts and lovers, wives and husbands. Two women in masks meant nothing to him. . . Holy Virgin! it was not possible! Was his brain fooling him? He grew faint. Did he really see these two old men climbing down the ship’s ladder to the boats? He choked; tears blinded him. He dashed aside the tears and looked once more. Oh! there could be no doubt; his eyes had not deceived him. There was only one face like that in the world; only one face like that, with its wrinkles, its haughty chin, its domineering nose. He had seen that lean, erect figure, crowned with silver-white hair, too many times to mistake it. It was the marquis, the grim and terrible marquis, the ogre of his dreams. The lad had always hated the marquis,