“Adele”, said her father, while a smile played round his mouth and twinkled in his usually grave eyes, “can’t you let Mrs. McNab have any peace?”
“Is Mr. Brown a friend of yours?” inquired Mr. Norton of his host.
“I met him for the first time at Fredericton. He was at the hotel when I arrived there. We accidentally fell into conversation one evening. He made, then and subsequently, many inquiries about this region, and when I was ready to start for home, said that, with my permission, he would travel with me. I fancy”, Mr. Dubois added, “he was somewhat ill when we left, but he did not speak of it. We had a rough journey and I think the exposure to which he was subjected has increased his sickness. If he proves to be no better to-day, I shall send Micah for Dr. Wright”, said he, turning to his wife. “I hope you will, father”, said Adele, speaking very decidedly. “I should be sorry to have him consigned over wholly to the tender mercies of Mrs. McNab”.
“Mr. Dubois”, said the missionary, laying down his knife and fork, suddenly, “I must confess, I am perfectly surprised to find such a family as yours in this place. From previous report, and indeed from my own observation in reaching here, I had received the idea, that the inhabitants were not only a wicked, but a very rude and uncouth set of people”.
“Whatever may be your opinion of ourselves, sir”, replied his host, “you are not far amiss in regard to the character of the people. They are, in general, a rough set”.
“Well, sir”, said Mr. Norton, “as an honest man, I must inform you, that I came here with a purpose in view. I have a message to this people,—a message of love and mercy; and I trust it will not be displeasing to you, if I promulgate it in this neighborhood”.
“I do not understand your meaning”, said Mr. Dubois.
“I wish, sir, to teach these people, some of the truths of morality and religion such as are found in the Bible. I have ventured to guess that you and your family are of the Roman Catholic faith”.
“We belong to the communion of that church, sir”.
“That being the case, and thinking you may have some interest in this matter, I would say, that I wish to make an attempt to teach the knowledge of divine things to this people, hoping thereby to raise them from their present state to something better and holier”.
“A worthy object, sir, but altogether a hopeless one. You have no idea of the condition of the settlers here. You cannot get a hearing. They scoff at such things utterly”, said Mr. Dubois.
“Is there any objection in your own mind against an endeavor to enlist their interest?” asked Mr. Norton.
“Not the least”, said Mr. Dubois.
“Then I will try to collect the people together and tell them my views and wishes. Is there any man here having influence with this class, who would be willing to aid me in this movement?”