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CHAPTER VII.And her eyes stood out with wonder
This is a history of hearts. Yet, time flying as it does, the wild fightings even in those hearts, the famishing, down-breaking sieges in them, must largely be left untold--Hilary's, Anna's, Flora's, all. Kincaid was in greater temptation than he knew. Many a battery boy, sick, sound or wounded--Charlie for one--saw it more plainly than he. Anna, supposed to be far away and away by choice, was still under the whole command's impeachment, while Flora, amid conditions that gave every week the passional value of a peacetime year, was here at hand, an ever-ministering angel to them and to their hero; yet they never included him and Flora in one thought together but to banish it, though with tender reverence. Behind a labored disguise of inattention they jealously watched lest the faintest blight or languor should mar, in him, the perfect bloom of that invincible faith to, and faith in, the faithless Anna, which alone could satisfy their worship of him. Care for these watchers brought the two much together, and in every private moment they talked of the third one; Flora still fine in the role of Anna's devotee and Hilary's "pilot," rich in long-thought-out fabrications, but giving forth only what was wrung from her and parting with each word as if it cost her a pang. Starving and sickening, fighting and falling, the haggard boys watched; yet so faultless was the maiden's art that when in a fury of affright at the risks of time she one day forced their commander to see her heart's starvation for him the battery saw nothing, and even to him she yet appeared faultless in modesty and utterly, marvelously, splendidly ignorant of what she had done.
But while he went for them whom should Greenleaf light upon around a corner of the panelled chimney-breast but that secret lover of the union and all its defenders, Mademoiselle Valcour. Her furtive cordiality was charming as she hurriedly gave and withdrew a hand in joy for his liberation. Juchereau, 14; Le Clerc, II. 33; Ragueneau, Vie de Catherine de St. Augustin, "Epistre ddicatoire;" Le Jeune, Relation, 1639, Chap. II.; Charlevoix, Vie de Marie de l'Incarnation, 264; "Acte de Reception," in Les Ursulines de Qubec, I. 21.
THE MISSION AT KASKASKIA. Le Jeune, Relation, 1638, 6.
Zeus Philios and Nike.The colony could ill spare him. For twenty-seven years he had labored hard and ceaselessly for its welfare, sacrificing fortune, repose, and domestic peace to a cause embraced with enthusiasm and pursued with intrepid persistency. His character belonged partly to the past, partly to the present. The preux chevalier, the crusader, the romance-loving explorer, the curious, knowledge-seeking traveler, the practical navigator, all claimed their share in him. His views, though far beyond those of the mean spirits around him, belonged to his age and his creed. He was less statesman than soldier. He leaned to the most direct and boldest policy, and one of his last acts was to petition Richelieu for men and munitions for repressing that standing menace to the colony, the Iroquois. His dauntless courage was matched by an unwearied patience, proved by life-long vexations, and not wholly subdued even by the saintly follies of his wife. He is charged with credulity, from which few of his age were free, and which in all ages has been the foible of earnest and generous natures, too ardent to criticise, and too honorable to doubt the honor of others. Perhaps the heretic might have liked him more if the Jesuit had liked him less. The adventurous explorer of Lake Huron, the bold invader of the Iroquois, befits but indifferently the monastic sobrieties of the fort of Quebec, and his sombre environment of priests. Yet Champlain was no formalist, nor was his an empty zeal. A soldier from his youth, in an age of unbridled license, his life had answered to his maxims; and when a generation had passed after his visit to the Hurons, their elders remembered with astonishment the continence of the great French war-chief.