Days of the Discoverers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 247 pages of information about Days of the Discoverers.
the privilege of De Monts withdrawn.  Hardly more than a year after his arrival Lescarbot left his beloved gardens, and in October all the colonists were once more in France.  Membertou and his Indians bewailed their departure, and held them in long remembrance.  Wilderness houses soon go back to their beginnings, and it was not long before all that was left of the brave and gay French colony was a little clearing where the herb of immortality, the tansy of Saint Athanase, lifted its golden buttons and thick dark green foliage above the remnant of the garden of Helene.

Yet the experience of that year was not lost.  It was the first instance of a company of settlers in that northern climate passing the winter without illness, discord or trouble with the Indians.  Later, in the little new settlements of Quebec and Montreal, some of the colonists met again under the wise and kindly rule of Champlain.  Little Helene lived to bring her own roses to a garden in New France, and teach Indian girls the secrets which old Jacqueline taught her.  And it is recorded in the history of the voyageurs, priests and adventurers of France in the New World that wherever they went they were apt to take with them seeds and plants of wholesome garden produce, which they planted along their route in the hope that they might thus be of service to those who came after them.

THE WOODEN SHOE

    Amsterdam’s the cradle where the race was rocked—­
    All the ships of all the world to her harbor flocked. 
    Rosy with the sea-wind, solid, stubborn, sweet,
    Played the children by canals, up and down the street. 
    Neltje, Piet and Hendrik, Dirck and Myntje too,—­
    Little Nick of Leyden sailed his wooden shoe.

    “Quarter-deck and cabin—­rig her fore-and-aft,”—­
    Thus he murmured wisely as he launched his craft. 
    “Cutlass, pike and musquetoun, howitzer and shot—­
    But our knives and mirrors and beads are worth the lot.” 
    Room enough for cargo to last a year or two,
    In the round amidships of a wooden shoe!

    Bobbing on the waters of the Nieuwe Vlei
    See the bantam galleot, short and broad and high. 
    Laden for the Indies, trading all the way,
    Frank and shrewd and cautious, fiery in a fray,—­
    Sagamore and mandarin are all the same to you,
    Little Nick of Leyden with your wooden shoe!

XVIII

THE FIRES THAT TALKED

All along the coast of Britain, from John o’ Groat’s to Beachey Head, from Saint Michael’s Mount to Cape Wrath, twinkled the bonfires on the headlands.  Henry Hudson, returning from a voyage among icebergs, guessed at once what this chain of lights meant.  The son of Mary Queen of Scots had been crowned in London.[1]

Hudson’s keen eyes were unusually grave and thoughtful as the Muscovy Duck sailed up to London Pool on the incoming tide.  The sailors looked even more sober, for most of them were English Protestants, with a few Flemings, and John Williams the pilot was an Anabaptist.  It was he who asked the question of which all were thinking.

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Days of the Discoverers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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