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      The Fathers are well agreed that their difficulties did not arise from any natural defect of understanding on the part of the Indians, who, according to Chaumonot, were more intelligent than the French peasantry, and who, in some instances, showed in their way a marked capacity. It was the inert mass of pride, sensuality, indolence, and superstition that opposed the march of the Faith, and in which the Devil lay intrenched as behind impregnable breastworks. [11]It was easy to see that Acestor had had some great plan in view. He was clad in all the splendor with which he appeared in the popular assemblies; his long, carefully arranged hair was perfumed, he had donned a dazzlingly white chiton, adorned around the neck and at the bottom with an embroidered blue border, and on the fore-finger of his right hand he wore a large seal ring.

      [6] "The prudent young widow answered him with much respect and modesty, that, as she knew M. de Bernires to be a favorite with him, she also preferred him to all others."

      [17] 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.MONEY AND MEANS.

      The mystery of the Cross shines forth;"

      Following the shores of Long Island, they came to an island, which may have been Block Island, and thence to a harbor, which was probably that of Newport. Here they stayed fifteen days, most courteously received by the inhabitants. Among others appeared two chiefs, gorgeously arrayed in painted deer-skins,kings, as Verrazzano calls them, with attendant gentlemen; while a party of squaws in a canoe, kept by their jealous lords at a safe distance from the caravel, figure in the narrative as the queen and her maids. The Indian wardrobe had been taxed to its utmost to do the strangers honor,copper bracelets, lynx-skins, raccoon-skins, and faces bedaubed with gaudy colors.


      In spite of one or two palpable falsehoods that embellished his oratory, the Jesuits were delighted with him. "Every one admitted," says Vimont, "that he was eloquent and pathetic. In short, he showed himself an excellent actor, for one who has had no instructor but Nature. I gathered only a few fragments of his speech from the mouth of the interpreter, who gave us but broken portions of it, and did not translate consecutively." [14]



      To this end he must return to Canada, appease his creditors, and collect his scattered resources. Towards the end of May he set out in canoes from [Pg 292] Fort Miami, and reached Michilimackinac after a prosperous voyage. Here, to his great joy, he found Tonty and Zenobe Membr, who had lately arrived from Green Bay. The meeting was one at which even his stoic nature must have melted. Each had for the other a tale of disaster; but when La Salle recounted the long succession of his reverses, it was with the tranquil tone and cheerful look of one who relates the incidents of an ordinary journey. Membr looked on him with admiration. "Any one else," he says, "would have thrown up his hand and abandoned the enterprise; but, far from this, with a firmness and constancy that never had its equal, I saw him more resolved than ever to continue his work and push forward his discovery."[228]