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231 T he Governor visited me. His attitude was marked by nothing so much as a supercilious courtesy, a manner which said, You must see I am not to be trifled with; and though I have you here in my château, it is that I may make a fine scorching of you in the end. He would make of me an example to amaze and instruct the nations—when I was robust enough to die. I might easily have flattered myself on being an object of interest to the eyes of nations. I almost pitied him. He appeared so lost in selfadmiration that he would never see disaster when it came. “There is but one master here in Canada,” he said, “and I am he. If things go wrong it is because my orders are not obeyed. Your people have taken Louisburg; had I been there, it should never have been given up. Drucour was hasty—he listened to the women. I should allow no woman to move me. I should be inflexible. They might send two Amhersts and two Wolfes against me, I would hold my fortress.” “They will never send two, your Excellency,” said I. He did not see the irony, and he prattled on: “That Wolfe, they tell me, is bandy-legged; is no better than a girl at sea, and never well ashore. I am always in raw health—the strong mind in the potent body. Had I been at Louisburg, I should have held it as I held Ticonderoga last July, and drove the English back with monstrous slaughter.” Chapter XX Upon the Ramparts 232 Here was news. I had had no information in many months, and all at once two great facts were brought to me. “Your Excellency, then, was at Ticonderoga?” said I. “I sent Montcalm to defend it,” he replied pompously. “I told him how he must act; I was explicit, and it came out as I had said: we were victorious. Yet he would have done better had he obeyed me in everything . If I had been at Louisburg—” I could not at first bring myself to flatter the vice-regal peacock; for it had been my mind to fight these Frenchmen always; to yield in nothing; to defeat them like a soldier, not like a juggler. But I brought myself to say, half ironically, “If all great men had capable instruments, they would seldom fail.” “You have touched the heart of the matter,” said he, credulously. “It is a pity,” he added, with complacent severity, “that you have been so misguided and criminal; you have, in some things, more sense than folly.” I bowed, as to a compliment from a great man. Then, all at once, I spoke to him with an air of apparent frankness, and said that if I must die, I cared to do so like a gentleman, with some sort of health, and not like an invalid. He must admit that at least I was no coward. He might fence me about with what guards he chose, but I prayed him to let me walk upon the ramparts, when I was strong enough to be abroad under all due espionage. I had already suffered many deaths, I said, and I would go to the final one looking like a man, and not like an outcast of humanity. “Ah, I have heard this before,” said he. “Monsieur Doltaire, who is in prison here, and is to fare on to the Bastile, was insolent enough to send me a message yesterday that I should keep you close in your dungeon. But I had had enough of Monsieur Doltaire; and, indeed, it was through me that the Grande Marquise had him called to durance. He was a muddler here. They must not interfere with me; I am not to be cajoled or crossed in my plans. We shall see, we shall see about the 233 ramparts,” he continued. “Meanwhile prepare to die.” This he said with such importance that I almost laughed in his face. But I bowed with a sort of awed submission, and he turned and left the room. I grew stronger slowly day by day, but it was quite a month before Alixe came again. Sometimes I saw her walking on the banks of the river, and I was sure she was there that I might see her, though she made no sign towards me, nor ever seemed to look towards my window. Spring was...


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