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Villegagnon - A Tale of the Huguenot Persecution
by W.H.G. Kingston
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Villegagnon, by W.H.G. Kingston. The date is sometime during the reign of Philip and Mary, the Catholic interlude between the Protestant times of Henry the Eighth and his son Edward the Sixth, and Queen Elizabeth. Religious intolerance was at an extreme, with burnings at the stake and other very nasty tortures being applied to persons of an opposite sect.

Nigel Melvin comes to the Court of France with some letters to deliver. His young cousin Mary Seton is with him in the opening scene, and she introduces him to the young royals who happen to be walking in the same garden. We find that there are several with Protestant leanings even in that setting. Nigel is conducted to a house where he is to find Admiral Coligny, who is setting up an expedition to found a Protestant colony the other side of the Atlantic in the bay now known as Rio de Janeiro, and idea that had been propounded by Monsieur Villegagnon. Nigel is given command of one of the ships. They set off for Havre, where the vessels are, but on the way Nigel overhears a conversation between Villegagnon and a monk, which makes it plain that Villegagnon is no Protestant, and that there is a dubious motive in all these plans.

On arrival at Rio they meet with a local Indian chief who warns them about some white settlers nearby who appear to have a religion not at all satisfactory to Indian tastes. These are the Portuguese, Catholics. They are permitted to settle on any island in the bay. There is a gale and it becomes plain they must move to a more sheltered island than the one they started on. Nigel falls in love with the fair lady Constance, but so also does the Indian, Tecumah.

Nigel returns to France to pick up more Protestant emigrants, who have to run the gauntlet of a Catholic mob apparently led by the monk who had been plotting before the first voyage, with Villegagnon. The voyage proceeds well but the five French ships were attacked by five Portuguese, whom they routed except for one, which they captured. They were unable to shut up the shot-holes in her, and she sinks. On arrival in Brazil they set her passengers and crew ashore in a Portuguese-held part of the territory, and continue to their settlement in the bay of Rio. Thereafter the story gets more and more exciting, and we hope that you will read it for yourself.

VILLEGAGNON, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.

CHAPTER ONE.

THE TWO COUSINS.

"And what brought you to France, fair cousin?"

The question was put by a beautiful girl scarcely yet verging on womanhood to a fine intelligent youth, two or three years her senior, as they paced slowly on together through the gardens of the Louvre on the banks of the Seine, flowing at that period bright and clear amid fields and groves. Before them rose the stately palace lately increased and adorned by Henry the Second, the then reigning monarch of France, with its lofty towers, richly carved columns, and numerous rows of windows commanding a view over the city on one side, and across green fields and extensive forests, and far up and down the river on the other.

The walk along which the young people were proceeding was shaded by tall trees, the thick boughs of which kept off the rays of the sun, shining brightly on the gay flowers and glittering fountains, seen in the open space beyond them.

The young girl had the air and manner of a grown-up person, with that perfect self-possession which seems natural to those brought up in the atmosphere of a court.

Her companion's manner formed a contrast to hers; but though evidently not at all at his ease, as a brave man does when called upon to encounter danger, he had braced himself up to face those he might have to meet, who would, he naturally felt, look down on him on account of his travel-stained dress, his Scottish accent, and rustic appearance.

"In truth, Cousin Mary, I left Scotland as many of our countrymen are compelled to do, to seek my fortune abroad, and have come with letters of introduction to several noblemen and others; among them to Admiral Coligny, my father's old comrade in arms. Our castle is well-nigh in ruins, and my estate yields scarcely revenue sufficient to supply me with clothes and arms, much less to restore it as I wished to have done. I have already made two voyages to far-off lands, and come back no richer than I went, and have at length resolved to take service in the navy of France, in which I may hope to carve out my way to distinction, with the help of the admiral."

"He may be ready enough to receive you and afford you his patronage; but I warn you, Cousin Nigel, that he may be less able to forward your interests than you may suppose. He is known to hold the principles of the leaders of those dangerous people the Protestants, who are hated and feared at court, where the Guises, the brothers of the Queen Regent of Scotland, have of late gained the chief influence. Take my advice, Cousin Nigel, seek some more profitable patron, and have nothing to do with the Huguenots."

"I thank you for your advice, cousin. I must confess, however, that I do not hold the opinion you express of the Protestants, but on the contrary, am greatly inclined to agree with their principles. I lately heard a wonderful preacher, one John Knox, who has appeared in Scotland, and brought thousands to see the gross errors of the papal system. He proves clearly that the Pope of Rome has no real ground for his pretensions to be the head of Christ's Church on earth; that he cannot be the successor of the apostle Peter, who never was Bishop of Rome; but that he is rather the successor of the great heathen high priest, whose idolatries he perpetuates and supports, and that therefore he and his cardinals and priests are impostors, who should on no account be obeyed. He clearly explains indeed that those who rule in the Seven-hilled city represent no other than the Scarlet Woman spoken of in the Apocalypse, their system being in truth the Mystery of Iniquity."

"Oh, dreadful!" exclaimed the young lady. "Why, Cousin Nigel, you are a rank heretic, and were you to express such opinions as these in public, your life would be in danger. Hundreds of Frenchmen have already been burned for holding opinions not half as bad as those you have expressed. I am almost afraid to listen to you; not that we trouble ourselves much about such matters at court, where people are allowed to think what they like, provided they do not utter their thoughts too loudly, or in the hearing of the doctors of the Sarbonne (the theological college of France), who have of late become rigidly orthodox, and are resolved to put down the reformers. I must advise you, at all events, to keep your own counsel; and if you are still determined to apply to Admiral Coligny, as your views agree with his, they will be in your favour."

"Thank you for your advice, sweet cousin," answered Nigel. "I will follow it so far as not to parade my opinions; but should they be attacked, I shall be ready, if necessary, to defend them either with my tongue or my sword."

"You are not likely to be called upon to use either of those formidable weapons, provided you are discreet," said the young lady, laughing. "You may occasionally at court hear the Protestants satirised, or made subjects of lampoons; but it would be folly to take notice of such trivialities, and you would be in continual hot water with worthy people, perfectly ready otherwise to treat you as a friend. I will speak to some I know, who will assist your object and forward you to the admiral, should you determine to seek his patronage."

"I would rather trust to so great and good a man than to any one else I have heard of in France," said Nigel; "and am anxious, as soon as possible, to make myself known to him."

By this time the young people had got within a few paces of the termination of the shady walk, when before them appeared a gay company of ladies and gentlemen, most of the former being very young, while the latter were, on the contrary, advanced in life, as their snowy locks and white beards betokened, though they were richly dressed, and were doing their utmost to assume a youthful and debonnaire manner. Nigel on seeing the gay company instinctively drew back into a recess by the side of the walk, unwilling, if possible, to present himself before them. His cousin being ready to humour him, placed herself on a garden seat, and invited him to sit by her. Perhaps she was unwilling that the interview with her near relative should be brought to an end sooner than could be helped. They could from this spot observe what was going forward without being seen. Merry laughter came from the party of gaily dressed people who passed along the walks, several approaching near enough to allow their features easily to be distinguished.

"Who are those?" asked Nigel, as several young people came slowly by, following a fair girl, whose beautiful countenance and graceful figure distinguished her from the rest, though many of her companions were scarcely less lovely. So thought the young Scotchman, as he stood watching them with admiring eyes.

"The first is our Lady Mary, about to wed the Dauphin of France," answered his cousin. "You must, as a loyal Scot, be introduced to her. Perchance if you are inclined to take service at court you may obtain a post, though his Majesty King Henry does not generally bestow such without an ample equivalent."

"My taste does not lead me to covet such an honour," said Nigel. "I should soon weary of having to dress in fine clothes and spend my time in idleness, waiting in ante-chambers, or dangling after the lords and ladies of the court. Pardon me, sweet cousin, for saying so. I came to France to seek for more stirring employment than such a life could afford. I will do my devoir to our young queen, and must then proceed on my journey to find the admiral. Had it not been for the packet of letters with which I was entrusted, as also for the sake of seeing you, I should not have come to Paris at all. But tell me, who are her Majesty's attendants? There is one whose countenance, were I long to gaze at it, would, I am sure, become indelibly fixed on my heart. What a sweet face! How full of expression, and yet how modest and gentle!"

"They are my two sister Maries, Mary Beaton and Mary Carmichael [see Note]; but it is neither of them you speak of. I see now; the damsel you describe is Constance de Tourville, whose father, by-the-by, is a friend of Coligny's. The admiral, I am informed, is staying with the count at this very time, and when I tell Constance who you are, she will, I am sure, find an excuse for despatching an attendant with you to her father. I can without difficulty make you known to her, as the etiquette of the court is not very rigid, or I should not have been allowed to wander about the gardens with a gallant young gentleman like yourself, albeit you claim to be my cousin and an old playmate."

"I see several gentlemen among the fair damsels, so I conclude that my presence is not altogether an irregularity," said Nigel.

"They are privileged persons, however," said Mary Seton. "That sickly youth who has just joined the queen and is awkwardly endeavouring to make himself agreeable is her affianced husband, the Dauphin. For my part I would rather not be a queen than be compelled to wed so miserable an object; but I am talking treason. Here comes one of the queen's uncles, the Duke de Guise—that tall, dark, ill-favoured gentleman. He is, notwithstanding, one of the most powerful men in France, and intends to be more, powerful still when his niece and her young husband ascend the throne. But come; the party are moving, on, and as Constance de Tourville is lingering behind, we can quickly overtake her, and when I have made you known to her, you can tell her of your wish to see the admiral."

Nigel felt very unwilling to quit his hiding-place, but his cousin, taking him by the hand, playfully led him forward. They quickly overtook the interesting girl of whom they had been speaking. Nigel, as he was introduced, made a bow which would not have disgraced the most polished gentleman at court. The young lady smiled as she cast a glance at his handsome, honest countenance, with the glow of health on it, increased somewhat by the blush which rose on finding himself in circumstances so unusual to him.

"My cousin Nigel Melvin has come with an introduction to the admiral, who is, I understand, staying with your father, and he desires to set out to the chateau, though I would fain persuade him to take service at the court, instead of tempting the dangers of the sea, which he has the extraordinary taste to desire."

"Our house steward, Maitre Leroux, is at present in Paris, and will return to-morrow; and should your cousin desire his escort, I will direct him to await his orders," said the young lady in a sweet voice. "Where are you lodging, fair sir?"

"I arrived but this morning, and left my valise at L'Auberge de l'Ange," answered Nigel.

"I know not where that is; but Maitre Leroux will easily find it out, and will call for you at any hour you may name."

"A thousand thanks, lady, for your kindness," answered Nigel, "I gladly accept your offer, and shall be ready to set out at early dawn if the landlord will permit me to depart at that hour."

"Maitre Leroux will be at the palace this evening to receive a letter I am sending home, and I will direct him to call as you desire, though, as he loves his ease, he perchance may not be ready to commence the journey at quite so early an hour as you name."

While Constance was speaking, one of the ladies in attendance on the young queen turned back and beckoned to Mary Seton, who, hurrying forward, left Nigel with her friend.

"You will surely not take your cousin's advice, and seek for a post at this frivolous court," said Constance hurriedly, again looking up at Nigel's countenance. "Catholics alone are in favour, while the Protestants are detested. To which party do you belong?"

"I might say to neither, as I am not a Frenchman," answered Nigel, surprised at the young lady's question. "At the same time I have heartily abjured the errors of Rome."

"I am glad to hear it; I thought so," said Constance. "I myself am a Protestant. I am here on sufferance, or rather a hostage, and would gladly return to my home if I had permission. Persevering efforts have been made to pervert me, but I have had grace to remain firm to the true faith, and now I am simply exposed to the shafts of ridicule, and the wit and sneers of those who hold religious truth in contempt. You may be astonished at my thus venturing to speak to you, a perfect stranger, but I am sure that I may trust Mary Seton's cousin; and if you have the opportunity, I will beg you to tell my father or the good admiral what I say. I dare not write on the subject, nor can I venture to send a verbal message by Maitre Leroux."

"I faithfully promise to convey your sentiments to either one or the other," answered Nigel, casting a glance of admiration at the young girl, who could thus stand alone in her innocence amid the follies of that vicious and frivolous court. "As to accepting a place at court, even should it be offered me, I would refuse it, for my tastes lead me to seek my fortune on the wild ocean or in foreign lands; and it is with this object that I am about to visit the admiral, who will, I have been led to hope, forward my views."

"You cannot apply to a wiser or truer man in France," answered Constance. She was about to say more, when they were rejoined by Mary Seton, who came to conduct Nigel into the presence of the queen.

"As a loyal Scot you are bound to pay your devoir to her Majesty," she said. "Though neither of us have much recollection of our native wilds, we still regard our country with affection."

Nigel felt that there was no escaping, and mustering courage, went boldly forward till he reached the spot where the young queen was standing with several lords and ladies in attendance. Though unaccustomed to courts, he had too much native dignity to be overawed, and bending on his knee he lifted the hand of the young queen to his lips and reverently kissed it. Mary bestowed on him one of those fascinating smiles which in after years bound many a victim to her feet, and bidding him rise, questioned him about the affairs of Scotland, and various particulars regarding her lady mother the Regent, from whom he had been the bearer of a package. Nigel, gaining courage, replied discreetly to the young queen's questions. The Dauphin, however, made some remark which induced her to dismiss her countryman, when Nigel fell back to where he had left Constance, who had been rejoined by his cousin.

"You comported yourself admirably, and I congratulate you," said the latter. "You will, I am sure, after a little experience become a perfect courtier."

"I would not advise him to make the experiment," said Constance.

"There is little fear of it," answered Nigel. "I hope ere long to find myself on the wide ocean, where I may breathe the free air of heaven, which I much prefer to the atmosphere of a court; but I must crave your pardon, fair ladies, for showing a disinclination to live where I might bask in the sunshine of your smiles."

"That speech is truly worthy of a courtier," said Mary Seton, laughing. "Come, come, cousin, change your mind. Constance, you will help me to bring this gentleman to reason?"

"I would not attempt to influence him, even if I could," answered the young lady. "He has decided wisely. In your heart you know, Mary, that he is right; you yourself despise the miserable butterflies who hover round us with their sweet speeches, empty heads, and false hearts."

Constance de Tourville was continuing in the same strain, when the young queen, with her attendants and the other ladies and gentlemen of the court, was seen moving towards the palace, and she and Mary Seton were compelled to follow them. While Nigel was paying his parting adieus to the young ladies, a sigh escaped his cousin as he pressed her hand to his lips, for she knew the probability that they might not meet again. Her heart was still faithful to Scotland, and she loved her kith and kindred.

"Remember," said Constance, as he paid her the same mark of respect. "Be careful what you say to strangers: but you may trust Maitre Leroux; he is honest."

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Note. Three Scottish young ladies were sent over to France to attend on Queen Mary. They were Mary Seton, Mary Beaton, and Mary Carmichael, and were named the Queen's Maries.



CHAPTER TWO.

A WALK THROUGH PARIS.

On reaching the gate of the palace, Nigel had met the captain of the Scottish guard, Norman Leslie, a distant relative, by whose means he had gained admission to the palace, and had been able to enjoy the interview with his cousin, Mary Seton.

"How fared it with you, Nigel, among the gay ladies of the court?" asked the captain, one of those careless characters, who receive their pay and fight accordingly, very little troubled as to the justice of the cause they support.

"I had a talk with my cousin, and had the honour of paying my devoirs to the queen," answered Nigel, cautiously. "Having now no longer any business in Paris, I am about to set out on a visit to Admiral Coligny. Can you direct me to my hostelry, at the sign of the Angel, and tell me where I can find a steed to carry me on my journey? for, albeit it would best suit my purse to trudge on foot, I would wish to present myself to the admiral in a way suitable to the character of a Scottish gentleman."

"As I am off guard I will accompany you, my good kinsman, and will assist you in procuring a horse," was the answer.

Nigel gladly accepted Leslie's offer, and the two Scotchmen set forth together. Nigel, being totally ignorant of the city, had no notion in what direction they were going. They were passing through the Rue Saint Antoine, when they saw before them a large crowd thronging round a party of troopers and a body of men-at-arms, who were escorting between them several persons, their hands bound behind their backs, and mostly without hats, the soldiers urging them on with the points of their swords or pikes; Nigel also observed among them three or four women, who were treated with the same barbarous indignity as the men.

"Who are those unhappy people?" he asked.

"Heretics on their way to prison, to be burnt, probably, in a few days for the amusement of the king, who, ambitious of surpassing his sister sovereign, Queen Mary of England, and to exhibit his love for religion, manages to put to death ten times as many as she ventures to send to the stake, unless they recant, when they will have the honour of being strangled or hung instead," answered Leslie, in a nonchalant tone. "He and his counsellors are determined to extirpate heresy; but as the Protestants are numbered by hundreds of thousands, and as there are a good many men of high rank and wealth among them, his Majesty has undertaken a difficult task."

"I pray that he may alter his mind, or fail in the attempt," exclaimed Nigel, indignantly.

"I may whisper amen; although, as the foolish people bring the punishment on their own heads, I am not inclined to throw down the gauntlet in their cause, and must e'en do my duty and carry out the orders of the master whose bread I eat," said Leslie.

Nigel did not reply, but he felt more than ever determined not to take service on shore, however tempting the offers he might receive. Leslie told him that of late years, throughout France, many hundreds, nay, thousands of persons, after being broken on the wheel, or having had their tongues cut out, or being tortured in some other way, had been burnt at the stake for their religious opinions; but that, notwithstanding, the Protestants increased in numbers, and that, for his part, though himself a faithful son of the Church, he thought that a wiser plan might have been adopted.

"For my part, I believe that had not the Pope and the priests and monks interfered, and worked up some of our fanatic nobles and the ignorant populace to persecute their fellow-countrymen, they might have lived together on friendly terms; and, for the life of me, I cannot see why people should not be allowed to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences," added the shrewd Scotchman, with a shrug of his shoulders.

Nigel, who had only heard rumours of such proceedings, felt his blood boil with indignation, and instinctively touching the hilt of his sword, he vowed that he was ready to do battle in the cause of justice and humanity. His kinsman, who saw the act, smiled; and divining his thoughts, said, "Let me advise you to avoid interference in quarrels not your own, unless you receive a due recompense in pay, and then the less you trouble yourself about the rights of the case the better. Come along. The first thing we are to do is to look out for your steed. Honest Jacques Cochut will supply you with one which will bear you from one end of France to the other, and an attendant to bring the animal back. It will be more economical than purchasing a horse, unless you have a long journey to make."

Nigel accompanied his friend to the stables of Jacques Cochut, to whom Leslie was well known. A strong and active steed was soon engaged, with the promise that it should be ready at the door of the hostelry at an early hour next morning.

Leslie, leaving Nigel at the Angel inn, returned to his duty at the palace, while the latter, having ordered his supper, retired to his room to think over the events of the day.

It is needless to say that Constance de Tourville frequently recurred to his thoughts. He had heard enough to make him understand the dangerous position of the Protestants in France, even of the highest rank, and the fearful persecutions to which all classes were exposed. From the remarks Constance had made, it was evident that she herself was exposed to much annoyance, if not danger, even within the precincts of the palace, and he earnestly hoped that he might have an opportunity of speaking to her father, and obtaining her release.

He had sat for some time when he was aroused by a knock at the door, and the servant of the inn announced that a person desired to speak with him.

"Let him come in," said Nigel; and a respectable-looking man, somewhat advanced in life, as was shown by his silvery locks, stepped forward.

"I am attached to the house of the Count de Tourville, whose daughter despatched me to seek you out, and place myself at your service."

"Come in, my friend," said Nigel, offering him a chair. "You are, I presume, Maitre Leroux, and I am grateful to the young lady for her kindness, of which I will gladly avail myself. Shall you be ready to set out to-morrow morning?"

"I had intended to do so, but business will keep me in Paris for another day," answered Maitre Leroux; "and if you, fair sir, do not object to remain, I will gladly set forth with you at any hour you may name on the following morning. You may, in the mean time, find amusement in this big city of Paris."

Nigel, who was pleased with Maitre Leroux, though anxious to continue his journey, willingly agreed to wait for the purpose of having his escort.

"But I have engaged my horse for to-morrow," he added.

"I will easily settle that matter with Jacques Cochut; and if you will accept of my company I will call for you, and show you some of the sights of our city, as you will, alone, be unable to find your way about the streets, and may chance to lose yourself, or get into some difficulty."

"Thank you," said Nigel. "I shall indeed be glad of your society, for, except a kinsman in the guards, I know no one in the whole of Paris."

These arrangements having been made, Maitre Leroux took his departure; and Nigel was not sorry, soon after supper, to throw himself on his bed, and seek the repose which even his well-knit limbs required.

Nigel, who slept longer than was his wont, waited at the inn some time for Maitre Leroux. He was afraid to go out, lest the steward might arrive during his absence. At length his guide appeared.

"I have been detained longer than I expected," said Maitre Leroux; "but monsieur will pardon me. We have still time to see much of the city."

They set out, and during their walk visited many places of interest, of which the steward gave the history to the young Scotchman.

"Your Paris buildings surpass those of our bonny Edinburgh in size and number, I must confess," remarked Nigel; "but still we have our Holyrood, and our castle, and the situation of our city is unrivalled, I am led to believe, by that of any other in the world."

"As I have not seen your city I am unable to dispute the point," answered the steward. "Would you like to visit one of our courts of justice? Though not open to the public, I may be able to gain admittance, and I am deeply interested in the case, albeit it would be wise not to show that, and having a stranger with me will be a sufficient excuse."

"Under those circumstances I will gladly accompany you," said Nigel.

They soon reached the portals of a large building, through which, after some hesitation on the part of the guards, the steward and his companion were admitted. Nigel observed that Maitre Leroux slipped some money into the hands of two or three people, this silver key evidently having its usual power of opening doors otherwise closed. Going through a side door they reached a large hall, crowded with persons. Among those seated were numerous ecclesiastics, a judge in his robes, and lawyers and their clerks; while a strong body of men-at-arms were guarding a party of some fifty or sixty persons, who, from their position and attitudes, were evidently prisoners. They were men of different ranks; several, from their costume, being gentlemen, and others citizens and artisans. There were a few women among them also. All looked deadly pale, but their countenances exhibited firmness and determination.

"Of what crime have these people been guilty?" asked Nigel.

"Of a fearful one in the eyes of their judges," answered Maitre Leroux. "They have been worshipping God according to the dictates of their consciences, and were found assembled together in a house at Meaux, listening to the gospel of the mild and loving Saviour. They have already been put to the torture to compel them to recant and betray their associates, but it has not produced the desired effect. In vain their advocate has pleaded their cause. Listen! the judge is about to pronounce their sentence."

Dreadful indeed that was. With blasphemous expressions, which cannot be repeated, the condemned were sentenced to be carried back to Meaux; fourteen, after being again put to the torture, were to be burnt alive in the market-place; most of the others were to be hung up by their shoulders during the execution of their brethren, and then to be flogged and imprisoned for life in a monastery, while the remainder were to receive somewhat less severe, though still grievous punishment.

The hardy young Scot almost turned sick with horror and indignation as he heard the sentence; and putting his hand to his sword, he was about to cry out and demand, in the name of justice, that instead of being punished, the prisoners should be released, when his companion grasped him by the arm, whispering, "Be calm, my friend; such events are so common in France, that we have grown accustomed to them. Hundreds have already died as these men are about to die; and we, their countrymen, have been compelled to look on without daring to raise our voices in their cause, or, as you are inclined to do, to draw a sword for their defence."

Maitre Leroux, after exchanging a few sentences in an undertone with three or four people they met, whose sad countenances showed the interest they took in the condemned, led his young friend from the so-called hall of justice. On their way they looked into the magnificent church of Notre Dame. Priests in gorgeous dresses were chanting mass; music was pealing through the building, and incense was ascending to the roof.

"Impious mockery," muttered Nigel. "Well may Calvin and John Knox desire the overthrow of such a system, and desire to supplant it by the true faith of the Gospel."

"Hush! hush! my young friend," whispered Maitre Leroux, hurrying him out of the church, regretting that he had entered it. "Though many may think as you do, it's dangerous to utter such opinions in this place."

"Can nothing be done to save these poor men?" asked Nigel. "Surely the king cannot desire the destruction of his subjects?"

"The king, like Gallio, cares for none of these things. He is taught to believe that the priests are the best supporters of his crown: and, at all events, he knows that they allow him full licence in the indulgence of his pleasures, which the Protestants, he supposes, would be less inclined to do."

"I would that I were out of this city of Paris, and away from France itself," said Nigel.

"Many think and feel as you do, and are acting upon it," answered the steward. "Already many thousand men of science and clever artisans have left, to carry their knowledge and industry to other lands; and others, in all directions, are preparing to follow. You will hear more about the matter when you visit the admiral, and my good master, who does not look unmoved on such proceedings. More on the subject it would not become me to say. Not long ago an edict was issued, by which all the old laws on heresy were revived, it being the resolution of the king to purge and clear the country of all those who are deemed heretics. Magistrates are ordered to search unceasingly for them, and to make domiciliary visits in quest of forbidden books, while the informer is to obtain one-third of the heretic's confiscated property. Should a person be acquitted of heresy in any ordinary court of justice, he may be again tried before an ecclesiastical tribunal, thus depriving him of all chances of escape. Even interference on behalf of a heretic is made penal, and should a person be suspected, he must exhibit a certificate of orthodoxy, or run the risk of being condemned. You see, therefore, young sir, that I am right in recommending caution as to what you say; not that these edicts have the effect expected, for Calvinism increases rapidly, and the stream of emigration continues from all parts of the kingdom."

They walked on in silence, Nigel meditating on what he had heard.

"Some fresh air will do you good after the scenes we have witnessed," observed Maitre Leroux. "We will take a turn in the Pre-aux-Clercs. It is but a short distance past the Invalides."

It was evening, and a number of people were thronging that pleasant meadow on the banks of the Seine, the Hyde Park of that period. A party of young men coming by struck up one of the hymns of Marot, a translation of one of the psalms of David, written some years before by the Protestant poet. Others joined in, and evidently sang them heartily; several other parties, as they passed along, were indulging in the same melodies.

"How is it, after what you have told me, that the people venture to sing these hymns?" asked Nigel. "I know them well, for they have already been introduced into our Protestant congregations in Scotland."

"They became the favourites of the king and court before they had the significance they now possess," answered the steward; "and it is only thus that many who hate the papal system can give expression to their sentiments. Before long, however, I fear that they will be prohibited, or those who sing them will be marked as suspected. Alas, alas! our lovely France will be deprived of all freedom of thought, opinion, and action."

The worthy Maitre Leroux seemed greatly out of spirits as they took their way back to the inn. They parted at the door, for Nigel felt no inclination to go forth again, and the steward had business, he said, to attend to. He promised to call for Nigel at an early hour the next morning to set out for Meaux, undertaking to direct Jacques Cochut to have his horses in readiness.



CHAPTER THREE.

THE VISIT TO THE ADMIRAL.

Maitre Leroux did not call at as early an hour as Nigel expected. His own horse and attendant had been at the door for some time before the steward made his appearance. He had an ample apology to offer, having been employed in an important matter till late at night.

"Come," he said, "we will make up for it. The lateness of the hour matters not, for, with your permission, we will halt on the road, so as to arrive early at the chateau to-morrow."

They set out, followed by their two attendants. After leaving the gates of Paris they continued some distance along the banks of the Marne. The road was rough in places, and often deep in dust; full of holes and ruts in others, which made it necessary for the riders to hold a tight rein on their steeds, and prevented them generally from going out of a walk.

Maitre Leroux carried a brace of huge pistols in his holsters, while Nigel had a sword and a light arquebus, both their attendants being also armed; so that they were well able to defend themselves against any small party of marauders such as infested the roads in the neighbourhood of the capital.

"We must make but a short stage to-day," said Maitre Leroux. "In truth, I am unwilling to travel late in the evening, and prefer stopping at the house of a friend to taking up our quarters at an inn where we might meet with undesirable companions."

"But I shall be intruding on your friend," said Nigel.

"Pardon me; you will, on the contrary, be heartily welcomed. I am very sure of your principles, and they agree with those of our host and his family, so you need not be under the restraint which would be necessary were we to sleep at a public inn."

These arguments at once overcame any scruples Nigel might have felt at going to a stranger's house uninvited.

It yet wanted a couple of hours to sunset when they reached a good-sized mansion, though not possessing the pretensions of a nobleman's chateau. The owner, a man advanced in life, of gentlemanly refined manner, received Maitre Leroux in a friendly way, and on hearing from him who Nigel was, welcomed him cordially. Nigel was conducted into a saloon, where he was introduced to his host's wife and daughters and several other members of the family. Supper was quickly prepared, and Nigel found himself at once at home.

As soon as the meal was over several other persons came in, some apparently of the same rank as the host, and others of an inferior order, but all staid and serious in their demeanour. The doors and windows were then carefully closed, and Nigel observed that two of the party went out armed with swords and pistols, apparently to watch the approach to the house.

A large Bible was now produced, and several of the party drew forth smaller editions from beneath their garments. The host then offered up a prayer, and opening the Bible, read a portion, commenting as he proceeded. A hymn was then sung and more of the Scriptures read, after which the host delivered an address full of gospel truth, while he exhorted his hearers to hold fast to the faith, but at the same time remarked that they would be justified in flying from persecution if no other means could be found of avoiding it at home. He reminded all present, however, that their duty was to pray for their persecutors, and however cruelly treated, not to return evil for evil. Nigel was reminded of various meetings of the same character he had attended in Scotland, where, however, every man could speak out boldly, without the fear of interruption which seemed to pervade the minds of those present. He now knew that his host was one of the many Protestants existing in the country who ventured thus in secret to worship God according to their consciences, even though running the risk of being condemned to death as heretics.

After the guests had retired, the family spent some time in singing Marot's hymns.

"Ah!" said the host, "it is only in praising God and reading His blessed words that we can take any pleasure. It is our consolation and delight, and enables us without complaining to endure the sad condition to which bigotry and tyranny have reduced our unhappy country. The only prospect now before us is exile, or imprisonment and death."

Nigel answered without hesitation that he felt much satisfaction in again having the opportunity of worshipping, as he had been accustomed to do at home, according to his conscience, and hearing the Bible read and faithfully explained.

His host wishing him and his companion a friendly farewell, and expressing a hope that he should see him again, they took their departure at an early hour the next morning.

They had proceeded some distance when they entered a forest, through the centre of which the high road passed. They had been pushing on rather faster than usual, Maitre Leroux being anxious to get through it as soon as possible, when they saw before them a body of soldiers. As they got nearer they found that they were escorting a number of prisoners seated in rough country carts, into which they were fastened with heavy chains.

"Who are these unhappy people?" inquired Nigel.

"The same we saw condemned in Paris," answered Maitre Leroux with a sigh. "If we do not wish to share their fate we must exhibit no sympathy for them, as the wretches who have them in charge would rejoice to add to their number. As it will be impossible to pass them at present, we will drop slowly behind."

"Would that I had a band of Protestant Scots with me, we would soon set them at liberty!" exclaimed Nigel.

"Hush, hush! my friend," whispered the steward; "it becomes us not to fight with carnal weapons; such is Dr Calvin's advice."

Just at that moment a voice exclaimed, "Brethren, remember Him who is in heaven above!"

Some of the rear-guard immediately turned round, and with drawn swords dashed furiously towards Nigel and Maitre Leroux, believing, evidently, that one of them had uttered the exclamation they had heard. They both drew up, for flight would have been useless, when, just as the troopers had got some fifty yards from them, a man advanced from among the trees and repeated the words in a loud tone. He was instantly seized by the soldiers, and being dragged back along them, was thrown into one of the carts among the other prisoners. His appearance probably saved the lives of Nigel and his companion, for the doughty Scot had drawn his sword, and would have fought desperately before he would have yielded himself a prisoner.

"Pull in your rein, I entreat you," said the steward; "we must not turn round, and the sooner we let these people get to a distance from us, the better."

Nigel, seeing that it would be hopeless to attempt assisting the unfortunate man, did as his companion advised, and they accordingly waited till the troopers were out of sight, taking good care not again to overtake them. Their progress was thus considerably delayed, and not till they came to a road passing outside the town of Meaux did they again venture to push forward.

They managed before sunset to reach the Chateau de Tourville, a high conical-roofed pile, with numerous towers and a handsome gateway. Maitre Leroux, conducting Nigel to a waiting-room near the entrance, went at once to the count, taking his letter of introduction. Nigel had not been left long alone when the steward returned with the request that he would accompany him to the hall, where, he told him, he would find the count and admiral with several other persons. Nigel, not being troubled by bashfulness, quickly followed his guide.

The count, who was of middle age and handsome, courteously rose from his seat at the top of the table to welcome him. At the right hand of the count Nigel observed a person of middle height, ruddy complexion, and well-proportioned figure, with a calm and pleasant, if not decidedly handsome countenance. On the other side sat a tall man, whose sunburnt features, though regular, wore an expression which at the first glance gave Nigel the feeling that he was not a person in whom he would place implicit confidence, though directly afterwards, as he again looked at him, his manner seemed so frank and easy, that the impression vanished. Several other persons of different ages, and apparently of somewhat inferior rank, sat on either side of the table.

"Which of those two can be the admiral?" thought Nigel; "the last looks most like a naval commander."

"The Lady Mary Seton, your cousin, and my daughter, have written in your favour, young sir, and I am glad to see you at the chateau; you have, I understand, also a letter of introduction to Admiral Coligny, to whom allow me to make you known." Saying this, the count presented Nigel to the gentleman on his right side, who requested the person next him to move further down, bidding Nigel to take the vacant seat.

Nigel observed that the meal was over, but the count ordered the servant to bring in some viands for the newly arrived guest.

"As I take no wine you will allow me to read the letter brought by this young gentleman," said the admiral, turning to the count; "I never defer looking at an epistle if it can possibly be helped."

The count bowed his acquiescence, and the admiral quickly glanced over the letter which Nigel had presented to him.

"I shall be glad to forward your object," he said, turning round with a calm smile, and playing with a straw, which he was wont to carry in his mouth.

"Fortunately, I have an opportunity of doing so. I am about to fit out an expedition to form a settlement in the southern part of America, and if your qualifications are such as I am led to believe, I will appoint you as an officer on board one of the ships. You will have but little time to remain idle in France, as we wish the ships to sail as soon as the emigrants who are going on board them can be collected. They will undoubtedly be anxious without delay to leave our unhappy country, where they are constantly subjected to the cruel persecutions of their opponents in religious opinions. Would the service I propose suit your taste?"

"Though I might wish to engage in some more warlike expedition, yet I am willing and glad to go wherever you, sir, may think fit to send me," answered Nigel.

"Well spoken, young man," said the admiral. "War is a necessity which cannot be avoided, but there are other employments in which a person may nobly engage with far greater advantage to himself and his fellow-creatures. Such is the work in which I desire to employ you—the noble undertaking of founding a new colony, and planting the banner of pure religion and civilisation in the far-off wilds of the Western world."

The admiral spoke on for some time in the same strain, till Nigel felt inspired with the same noble enthusiasm which animated the bosom of the brave and enlightened nobleman who was speaking to him.

Many questions were put to him concerning his nautical knowledge and religious belief, to which he answered in a satisfactory manner.

"I believe you are well suited for the undertaking, and I will forthwith make you known to the commander of the expedition, my friend Captain Villegagnon," said the admiral.

The dark man Nigel had remarked, hearing his name mentioned, looked toward him. Nigel bowed. The admiral, after explaining Nigel's qualifications, went on to inquire what posts were vacant in the squadron?

"That of the second officer on board my own ship, the Madeline; and I shall be pleased to have a seaman of experience to fill it, although he is not a native of France," answered the captain.

"You may consider your appointment as settled, my young friend," said the admiral. "I will desire my secretary to make it out, and as you assure me that you are a true Protestant, I willingly appoint you, such being the religious opinions of all those who are about to form the colony of Antarctic France, which I trust will be well-established under the wise government of Monsieur Villegagnon. Many other ships will sail forth with emigrants seeking an asylum from the persecutions they are subjected to in France on account of their religious opinions."

Nigel warmly thanked the admiral for the prompt way in which he had met his request.

"Say nothing about that, my young friend; we are too glad to find Protestant officers ready to engage in the expedition," was the answer.

The conversation now became general, and the plans for the future colony were freely discussed, the count, who appeared as much interested as the admiral, taking a leading part—indeed, Nigel gathered from what he heard, that he himself intended to go out among the first colonists.

The idea of establishing the colony had been started, so Nigel understood, by Monsieur Villegagnon, who had chosen the Bay of Nitherohy, since known as that of Rio de Janeiro, as the site of the first town to be built. It was a place which he had visited some years before on a trading voyage, when he and his companions had been well received by the natives, though they were at enmity with the Portuguese, already established in the country, who claimed it as their own. This latter circumstance Monsieur Villegagnon remarked was of little consequence, as they were few in numbers, and, with the assistance of the natives, could easily be driven out.

The repast being over, the admiral rose from the table, the other guests following his example. Calling to Captain Villegagnon, he took him and Nigel into the deep recess of a window to have some further conversation on the subject of the proposed colony.

"Monsieur de Villegagnon sets out to-morrow to take command of the squadron, and you will do well to accompany him, young sir," he said, turning to Nigel. "You will thus be able to superintend the fitting out of your ship, and see that the stores come on board, and that proper accommodation is prepared for the emigrants; many are of rank and position in society, and there are merchants, soldiers, and artificers, and you will have to consider how best to find room for them. I am glad to say that the king himself takes great interest in the success of the colony, and under the able management of so skilled a leader as he who has been appointed to the command, we may hope that the flag of France will wave proudly ere long over many portions of the continent."

"It will not be my fault if the noble enterprise fails to succeed," said the captain, drawing himself up proudly, and then bowing to the admiral in acknowledgment of the compliment. "My chief satisfaction is, however, that a home will be found for so many of the persecuted Protestants who are compelled for conscience sake to leave their native land."

"You are right, my friend; that is a noble sentiment," observed the admiral; "and I would urge our friends who are dissatisfied with the state of affairs at home to place themselves under your command."

"From the expressions our host has uttered, I may hope that he also will render valuable aid to our undertaking," observed the captain.

"No one, be assured, more warmly enters into our views," answered the admiral, "and he will both with his purse and influence assist us, if he does not do so in a more effectual way."

They were soon after joined by the count, who requested the captain to reserve two cabins for some persons who intended going on board just before the squadron put to sea.

From the conversation which ensued, Nigel found that most of the persons present purposed joining the expedition. They were all, he found from the remarks they made, Protestants, and haters of the system of persecution which had so long been the curse of France. Most of them had already disposed of their possessions, and were only waiting till the squadron was completely equipped to go on board. Among them was a Protestant minister, and, notwithstanding the edicts against meeting for public or private worship, the doors of the chateau being closed, before retiring to rest all the inmates were collected, the Bible was read and prayers offered up, those for the success of the undertaking and the preservation of the persons about to embark not being forgotten.

Maitre Leroux accompanied Nigel to his chamber. He expressed his pleasure on hearing that he had obtained the object of his wishes.

"Would that I could accompany you," he said, with a sigh; "but my duty compels me to remain, and watch over my master's property, should he be called away. Ah, he is a kind, good master, and his daughter is an angel. I would lay down my life for her sake, should she be deprived of her father—and we never know what may happen in these times. Alack! I fear that she is in society little congenial to her taste and opinion, for she is a true Protestant, as was her sainted mother, now in heaven."

Nigel felt deeply interested in listening to the garrulous steward's account of his young mistress, and encouraged him to go on. She had been compelled, against her father's and her own wish, to reside at court, for the evident purpose of perverting her faith; "but she is too sound, and too wise to allow them to succeed," he added, "though I would the dear young lady were back with us again."



CHAPTER FOUR.

WHAT NIGEL OVERHEARD.

All arrangements having been made, the next morning, shortly after the sun had risen, Captain Villegagnon, with a considerable party, were ready to set out for Havre de Grace, the port at which the squadron was fitting out.

They purposed to avoid Paris, but had to pass through Meaux on their way to join the high road leading to Havre.

The good admiral and Monsieur de Tourville came out to wish them farewell as they mounted their horses, and Maitre Leroux was waiting at a little distance, where he might have a few last words with Nigel.

"Farewell, my young friend," he said, putting a small Testament into his hand; "you will find this an inestimable treasure. I dare not keep it long, as it is considered treason for a Frenchman to possess God's Word, though I have hidden away another copy to which I may go when unobserved to refresh my soul; and, mark you, should my master and young mistress ever have occasion to seek for your assistance, you will, I am sure, afford it."

"I promise you that I will most gladly," answered Nigel, wondering what the old steward could mean. Wishing his worthy friend good-bye, he pushed on to overtake his travelling companions.

On entering Meaux, they found the town in a strange commotion, the people all rushing with eager looks to the market-place, in which, as they reached it, they found a large crowd assembled. They caught sight of a number of high gibbets erected at intervals round it, while in the centre was a circle of stakes surrounded by faggots. The travellers would have passed on, but the dense crowd prevented them from moving, and their leader himself showed no inclination to press forward.

Presently shouts arose, and, the crowd opening, a horse was seen dragging a hurdle, on which a human being lay bound, the blood flowing from his mouth. A party of soldiers next appeared with a number of persons, their hands bound behind them, in their midst; while priests, carrying lighted tapers, were seen among them, apparently trying to gain their attention. Some of the prisoners were singing a hymn of Marot's, and all carried their heads erect, advancing fearlessly to the place of execution. On arriving, they were seized by savage-looking men, while some were speedily hoisted up to the gibbets by their shoulders, where they hung, enduring, it was evident, the greatest agony. Fourteen of the party were then bound to as many stakes, the unhappy man on the hurdle being the first secured. Among them Nigel recognised the person who had been seized in the forest on the previous day for shouting, "Brethren, remember Him who is in heaven above." Though the cords were drawn so tight as to cut into their wrists and ankles, no one uttered a cry for mercy, but, lifting their eyes to heaven, continued singing, or exhorting their companions to be firm.

The faggots being now piled round them, the priests retired, uttering curses on their heads; while bands of music struck up to drown the voices of the sufferers. At the sight of two men approaching with torches, the people raised loud shouts of savage joy, and one of the piles of faggots surrounding the stake, that to which the chief person, whose tongue had been cut out, was bound, was speedily kindled.

"All! all! Let them all be burned together," shouted the mob, dancing frantically.

The other piles were quickly lighted, the smoke ascending from the fourteen fires forming a dark canopy overhead.

The victims, as long as they could be distinguished, were seen with their eyes turned to heaven, singing and praising God with their last breath.

The savage fury of the ignorant populace was not yet satiated. Those who had been hung up by the shoulders were now taken down, and so dreadfully flogged, that some of them petitioned that they might be thrown into the flames amid the ashes of their martyred friends; but this was a mercy their cruel executioners had no intention of affording them. Bleeding, they were dragged off to be imprisoned in a monastery, where they were to be shut up for life.

At length Villegagnon, who had looked on with perfect indifference, called to his companions to follow, and, the crowd beginning to disperse, they were able with less difficulty to advance.

The lowest of the rabble only had exulted in the dreadful scene; the greater number of the people exhibited very different feelings. Nigel observed many in tears, or with downcast looks, returning to their homes; others exchanging glances of indignation; and he heard several exclaiming, "They died in a righteous cause. May we have grace to suffer as they have done."

"Truly, as I have heard it said in Scotland, 'The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,'" observed Nigel to another of his companions, whose tears and groans showed the grief he suffered at the spectacle he had just witnessed.

Villegagnon kept his party together, for more than once some of the more ferocious persons of the mob cast suspicious looks at them, and mutterings arose, "Who are these? They have the air of Lutherans, or they would look more joyous at the destruction of heretics."

"I hold the king's commission, and these are under my orders," cried Villegagnon. "Make way, good people, make way, and allow us to proceed on our journey."

Still the mob pressed round, and where showing a determination to stop the travellers, when a monk stepped forward, and exclaimed, "I know that gentleman, and he is a true son of the Church. Interfere not, at your peril, with him and his companions."

Nigel fancied that he observed glances of intelligence exchanged between the captain and the monk, who had so opportunely come to their rescue. The mob, at length pacified, drew back, and the party were allowed to leave the town without being again molested.

They pushed on as fast as their horses could go.

"We have had a happy escape," observed Nigel's companion, "for although a large portion of the population of Meaux are Protestant, yet the rabble, supported by the troops and some of the government authorities, have the upper hand, and it would have fared ill with us had we been stopped and our object discovered."

Night had already set in when they reached a hostelry where they were to remain till the morning. As most of the travellers were fatigued, they retired to rest as soon as supper was over, with their saddles as pillows, and their cloaks wrapped round them, lying down in the chief saloon, wherever space could be found. Nigel, with two or three others, sat up some time longer, when, having got his saddle and cloak, intending to seek repose, he found every place occupied. While hunting about, he entered a small room in which were a couple of truckle bedsteads. Neither was occupied.

"I am in luck," he said to himself, and placing his saddle and other property by his side, having taken off his riding boots and some of his clothes, he threw himself upon one of the beds which stood in a corner.

Drawing the coverlid over him, he was soon, sailor-like, fast asleep. After some time, he was awakened by hearing the door open, and, looking up, he saw two persons enter the room. One was Villegagnon, who carried a lamp in his hand; the other was, he saw by the person's costume, an ecclesiastic. They advanced across the room towards the window, where stood a table and a couple of chairs. Villegagnon threw himself into one of them, with his back towards him, the other imitating his example. The latter produced writing materials, and several papers, which Villegagnon held to the lamp to read.

"You have made a happy commencement of your work, my friend," said the priest. "If you carry it out thoroughly, the Church, the Duke of Guise, and the Cardinal of Lorraine will be deeply indebted to you. Twenty Calvinist nobles, and some four score of the commonalty, have, I see, determined to accompany you, and they will entice many more. We shall be glad to be rid of them at present out of France, and we will then send out a larger number of faithful Catholics, so that you will reap the honour of founding a French colony in the New World, the Church will triumph, and the Calvinists be extirpated."

"But the proceeding smacks somewhat of treachery, and it can matter but little to you at home whether the colony is established by Calvinists or Catholics, so that it is firmly grounded and adds to the honour and glory of France," observed Villegagnon.

"Nay, nay, my friend," said the priest, putting his hand on the captain's arm; "remember that the means sanctifies the end. We can allow no Calvinists to exist, either here or abroad. They would be continually coming back with their pestiferous doctrines, or, finding themselves in the majority, would speedily put an end to our holy Church. They must be extirpated, root and branch."

"I have no wish to support the Protestants, as thou knowest right well, reverend father," answered the captain; "but they are countrymen, and fight well, and labour well, and count among their number the cleverest mechanics in France. I know not how it is, but it seems to me that everywhere the most intelligent men have become Calvinists."

"Their father Satan gives them wisdom. Take care, captain, that you are not carried away by their doctrines. The true faith will triumph, depend on that," said the priest, frowning as he spoke.

"Your arguments are conclusive. It will not be my fault if the plan miscarries," answered Villegagnon. "I will keep on the mask till I feel myself strong enough to throw it off."

"You will do well. Do not be in a hurry. We must get as many of these pestiferous sectarians into the net as possible."

Further conversation of the same character was held between the two worthies for some time. Nigel had found himself most unintentionally acting the part of an eavesdropper. He had at first felt inclined to start up and make the captain and priest aware of his presence; but as the conversation went on he felt that he was justified in thus learning the character of the leader of the expedition, whose evil intentions he hoped he might be the means of counteracting. He determined, therefore, to appear to be fast asleep should they, on quitting the room, discover him.

As he saw them rise, he closed his eyes. He heard their footsteps as they approached the door. Just then the light which Villegagnon carried fell upon him.

"I had no idea that anyone was in the room," whispered the captain, holding the lamp towards Nigel.

"Who is he?" asked the priest, in a low voice.

"A young pig of a Scotchman, whom the admiral insisted on my taking on board as an officer."

"Should he have overheard what was said, he might interfere with our proceedings," observed the priest. "Your dagger would most speedily settle the question, and prevent mischief."

"I am not fond of killing sleeping men, holy father," answered the captain, in a somewhat indignant tone. "Even had the youth been awake, he is so little acquainted with French that he could not have understood what we were saying; but, you see, he is fast asleep. I, however, will keep an eye upon him, and shall soon learn whether he knows anything. If he does, we have frequently dark and stormy nights at sea, when men get knocked overboard. Such may be his fate; you understand me."

"A good idea. I will trust to your discretion," said the priest, and, greatly to Nigel's relief, they left the room.

He remained awake, considering how he should act. At length he heard some one enter the room; it was the captain, who, just taking a glance at him, threw himself on the bed, and was soon fast asleep.

At early dawn Nigel awoke, and, putting on his garments, went down into the yard to get some water to wash his hands and face. The rest of the party were soon on foot.

The captain met him in the morning with a smiling countenance, and, as he did not even allude to his having shared his room, Nigel thought it better to say nothing about the matter. He looked about for the priest, but he was nowhere to be found, nor did Nigel hear any one allude to him. It was evident that he had come and gone secretly.

The rest of the journey to Havre was performed without any other incident worthy of note. Three stout ships were found in the harbour, already in a forward state of equipment. Nigel went on board the Madeline, with several of his travelling companions, and at once took possession of the cabin intended for his use. The officers and the crew, as far as he could learn, were all Protestants, as were undoubtedly the passengers who had already come on board.

He found plenty of occupation in receiving and stowing the provisions and stores, and in setting up the rigging and bending sails. He was thus kept actively employed for several days, till the Madeline, the most advanced ship, was fully ready for sea. All the passengers, he observed, came off at night, to avoid the observation of their countrymen. Although the ships were already crowded with almost as many people as they could carry, there were still two vacant cabins on board the Madeline.



CHAPTER FIVE.

UNDER WEIGH—ARRIVAL.

Morn had just broken; a southerly wind blew gently down the harbour, and Captain Villegagnon gave the order to lift the heavy anchors from their oozy beds. "A boat is coming from the shore and pulling rapidly towards us," said Nigel to the captain. "The people on board her are making signals. Shall we stop weighing the anchor?"

"Yes, without doubt," answered the commander, looking towards the boat. "I thought that they had abandoned their design. We are still to have the advantage of the count's assistance and company."

Nigel looked eagerly towards the approaching boat. Besides the rowers, there were several passengers, two of whom he saw were females, and at length, as they approached, he recognised the Count de Tourville. His heart began to beat more violently than it was wont to do. He felt almost sure that the lady by the count's side was his daughter Constance. All doubt in a few minutes was set at rest, when the count, leading his daughter, came up the broad ladder which had been lowered to allow them to ascend. Constance gave him a smile of recognition as he bowed low, as did the other officers standing round, to welcome her and her father on board.

The squadron was now quickly under weigh, and gliding rapidly down the river. The weather looked fine, and all hoped for a prosperous voyage. Many who had narrowly escaped with their lives from the Romanists began to breathe more freely as the ships, under all sail, stood down the channel. Yet there were sad hearts on board, for they were leaving their beloved France a prey to civil strife, and their fellow religionists to the horrors of persecution, so that for the time they forgot their high hopes of founding another France in the New World.

As Nigel paced the deck in the performance of his duty, he was often able to stop and speak to the count and his daughter, and to render her those attentions which a lady so frequently requires on board ship. Often they stood together watching the distant shore or passing vessels, or the porpoises as they gambolled in the waves. Insensibly they became more and more drawn together. Constance told him of the difficulty she had experienced in escaping from the court. Had not her father himself, at a great risk, gone to Paris, she would have been unable to accomplish her object. Fortunately for her, a relative residing in the capital having fallen ill, had sent an earnest request to see her. She had been allowed to go, and had the same night left Paris with her father in disguise, travelling night and day in time to reach Havre just as the ship was on the point of sailing.

"We may hope now, however, to get far away from the follies of courts and the trickeries of politics to found a new home where, with none but true Protestants around us, we may enjoy the exercise of our religion undisturbed," she said, looking up at her companion with a smile.

"I trust that it may be so," said Nigel.

"What! have you any doubts on the subject?" she asked.

"I would not willingly throw a dark shade across the prospect you contemplate," he answered, "but we should be prepared for disappointment, and I believe few on board have thought sufficiently of the difficulties and dangers we shall have to encounter."

Nigel had expressed his thoughts more plainly than he had intended, and he regretted immediately afterwards having said so much. The conversation he had overheard at the inn frequently recurred to him, and considerably damped his ardour. To whom could he venture to communicate the knowledge he had obtained of the commander's character?

Who would, indeed, believe the young foreigner thus bringing so serious an accusation against the officer selected by Coligny himself, and of considerable renown as a naval chief? If he were not accused of malicious motives, the meeting would be looked upon as having only taken place in his dreams, for he should have to confess that he remained perfectly still during the time, with his eyes closed, as the captain and priest entered and quitted the room. He resolved, therefore, simply to keep a watch on Villegagnon, and to endeavour, if possible, to counteract his schemes.

Sometimes he thought of speaking to Count de Tourville, for he had, at all events, full confidence in his honour and discretion; but even he, knowing how much the admiral esteemed Villegagnon, might disbelieve him. He was compelled, therefore, to keep the knowledge he had obtained shut up in his own bosom. His chief satisfaction arose from the thought that Constance de Tourville was on board, and that it would be his joy and pride to defend her from all danger.

The weather, which had hitherto been fine, gave signs of changing. The wind shifted more to the west, and dark clouds came rolling up. The vessels, instead of gliding smoothly on, were now tossed about. The storm increased. The sails were reduced to the smallest proportions, but yet the stout ships could with difficulty battle with the waves.

Under other circumstances, the emigrants would have loudly petitioned to put back; but as it was, they were afraid, should they again set foot in France, of being seized by their persecutors; nevertheless, as the storm increased, the terror of the emigrants, unaccustomed to the sea, became greater and greater. Loud cries of alarm arose; some mourned their folly in having left their native shores to perish in the ocean. Nigel and the other officers did their utmost to calm their fears, and assured them that should the ships be in real danger they would return to the port.

Constance was among the few ladies who exhibited no undue alarm, and expressed their confidence in the skill of the officers. But even they at length acknowledged that they should be thankful could they find themselves again safe in port. The Count de Tourville especially was unwilling to return; but for his daughter's sake, however, he at length consented to ask the captain to do what he considered best for the safety of the ships.

"They will probably, if we continue at sea, become so battered, that we shall hardly reach our destination," was the answer.

The signal thereon was hoisted from the commander's ship, and the squadron stood back for France. On making the land, they found that they were to the eastward of the port from which they started, and at length they entered that of Dieppe. Here several of the artificers, and even some of the men of higher rank, resolved to abandon the expedition, rather than again risk the dangers of the sea. Their places, however, were supplied by others collected by the captain, who had gone on shore for the purpose. So many of these men were received on board each of the ships, that they became overcrowded; but the captain silenced all complaints by asserting that, if they would consent to suffer a little present inconvenience, they would have a greater number to defend themselves against any enemies they might meet with.

Once more the squadron sailed, and succeeded in getting clear of the Channel. They had not, however, been long at sea before Nigel began to suspect the character of the new-comers, of which his own ship carried the greater number. They herded together, and showed little respect to the services which the chaplain was wont to hold on board for the spiritual benefit of the colonists. They were even seen to mock while he preached, till complaints, being made to the captain, he ordered them to behave themselves.

Day after day the ships sailed on, keeping close together, the wind being fair and moderate. Sometimes it fell a calm, when the officers and gentlemen Calvinists of the different ships visited one another, and discussed their plans for the future. The chief delight, however, of most on board was to hold religious services, which they could now do without fear of interruption; and hymns of praise arose from amid the desert ocean, their voices, when the ships were close to each other, uniting together in harmony.

Often had Constance expressed her feelings at the thought that they might in future thus worship God. Before, however, they reached their destination, they encountered several violent gales, during which, whenever his duty would allow him, Nigel made his way to the side of Constance to afford her comfort and support.

"Do not be afraid," he said; "our ships are strong, and our commander experienced. I have been in a worse found vessel in a more violent gale, and we reached port in safety."

"But the waves look so terrible, threatening every moment to come down and overwhelm us," said Constance, who was seated on deck, gazing at the tumultuous ocean.

"Remember, God tells us that it is He who rules the waves; and should it be His will, they cannot hurt us," answered Nigel.

"Yes, yes," said Constance; "I was wrong to express fear. Happy are we who possess the Bible, of which the followers of the tyrant Pope and his pretended priests are deprived."

"Think how many thousands of our countrymen would thankfully go through far greater dangers than we are enduring to reach a country where they may enjoy freedom from persecution," observed Nigel.

The young couple, however, talked on many other subjects; and when the storm ceased, and favourable breezes wafted them over the ocean, their spirits rose, and they spoke of the happy future in store for them. Nigel, however, was not altogether free from anxiety. He could not forget the conversation he had overheard between the captain and priest, though sometimes he almost fancied that it must have been a dream, Villegagnon was so courteous and polite to all his passengers, and expressed sentiments so in accordance with theirs.

At length "Land! land!" was shouted from the mast-head. The goal of their hopes was near, and the ships, getting close together, glided with a fair breeze towards the magnificent Bay of Nitherohy. Lofty and fantastic mountains, then unnamed by Europeans, rose out of the blue waters before them. On the left, appeared the conical-shaped height, since known as the Sugar Loaf. Further on, on the same side, the Three Brothers reared their heads to the skies, and still more to the south was seen the Corcovada and Gavia, the green mountains of the Three Brothers strongly contrasting with the latter-named peaks, while the distant ranges of the Blue Mountains rose in the interior. On the right was seen another range of varied-shaped heights, extending far away to the north. Passing beneath the lofty Sugar Loaf, the flotilla sailed through the entrance, when the magnificent land-locked expanse opened out before them, surrounded on all sides by hills and lofty mountains; while lovely little verdant and palm-clad islands appeared dotting the dark bosom of the water. Words, indeed, fail to describe the beautiful and varied scenery. The anchors were dropped close to one of the first isles they reached. On this spot Villegagnon told the eager crowd who surrounded him that he had determined to form the first settlement of the new colony. Here, at the entrance of the harbour, and surrounded by water, they might defy the attacks of enemies from without, or the Portuguese or natives who might venture to dispute their possession of the country. From this they might extend to others on either side, and then form a settlement on the shore, thus advancing till they had brought under subjection the whole of the surrounding country.

The settlers expressed their satisfaction at the captain's plan, as they gazed at the richly coloured woods which covered the sides of the surrounding hills, at the purple blooming quaresma, the snake-like cacti, and the gorgeous flowering parasites hanging down even from the jagged and precipitous sides of the Sugar Loaf, and the rich verdure starting forth from every nook and crevice of the fantastically shaped rocks. Scarcely had the anchor been dropped, than the sun set behind the distant mountains, and, as darkness rapidly followed, they remained on board during the night.

Next morning, Constance and her father came on deck, where they found the young lieutenant attending to his duties. Again they gazed with renewed pleasure at the wild and the sublime outline of the surrounding mountains with their varied combinations, while the richness and beauty of colouring thrown over and around the whole, by the purple and rose colours and ethereal blue of the sky, imparted to the scene a beauty which no fancy sketch of fairyland could surpass. As they turned their eyes towards the nearest shore of the main land, they saw the beach and fringing rocks covered by a multitude of natives, waving green boughs as a sign of welcome; while, on the heights above, they had kindled numerous bonfires, to show their satisfaction at the arrival of the French, whom they believed had come to protect them from their enemies, the Portuguese. Preparations were being made on board the ships to land the officers and artisans, with materials for building the proposed fort. Villegagnon, in his barge of state, proceeded towards the shore to open negotiations with the native chiefs. He had requested the Count de Tourville to accompany him, and Constance begged that she might also go. As it was a mission of peace, no danger was apprehended; and it was thought that a lady being seen in the boat would give further assurance to the natives of the pacific intentions of their visit. Nigel, being one of the tallest and best-looking of the officers, was selected to steer the barge. Four other boats followed at a short distance. Their crews were fully armed, but were ordered to keep their weapons out of sight, and only to advance should the Indians show any sign of hostility.

As the barge neared the shore, a tall and dignified chief, his dress of the richest skins, and ornamented with gaily-coloured feathers, with a circle of plumes on his head, holding an unstrung bow of great strength in his hand, was seen standing on the beach to receive the new-comers. By his side was a youth, strongly resembling him in features, bearing his shield and quiver, and also handsomely dressed, while other chiefs were drawn up in a semi-circle a short distance behind him, with the rest of his people collected on either side. He advanced a few paces with dignified steps, and, stretching forth his hand to offer a friendly grasp to the captain as he landed, announced himself as Tuscarora, chief of the Tamoyos. According to Indian custom, he made a long harangue, welcoming the strangers to his country, and assuring them of his friendship.

"You come at a fortunate moment, when your aid may render us essential service in assisting us to defend ourselves against the assaults of a tribe of white men, who, for some years past, have attempted to establish themselves on our shores. They call us idolaters, and pretend to be of a religion which hates idolaters; but they themselves have numerous figures of men and women, before which they bow down and worship, and they fail not to shoot or cruelly ill-treat those of our people who fall into their hands; we, therefore, do not trust to their religion or promises."

The chief concluded by assuring the French that they were welcome to take possession of the island off which their ships lay, or of any other they might select in the bay. Villegagnon replied that he and his people came in the character of true friends to the Indians, and his great object was to obtain their friendship and support, and that their religion taught them to consider all worshippers of figures and pictures and any visible object as idolaters; their desire being to serve the great Spirit who watched over the Indians as well as over themselves, and that by their acts they would show that they were worthy of the confidence their new friends were evidently disposed to place in them. He expressed a hope, also, that by an exchange of commodities, and by mutual support, they would learn to regard each other as brothers.

During this address the Indians preserved the most perfect silence, though the eyes of the young chief, who stood by his father's side, wandered towards the boat in which the rest of the visitors still retained their seats. An attendant, now advancing, lighted the calumet of peace, which Tuscarora presented to the captain, who, after drawing a few whiffs, returned it to the chief, who performed the same ceremony. The rest of the party now landing, the pipe was passed round among them. Constance, who stood by her father's side, regarded the scene with much interest. She could not avoid remarking the glances of admiration which the young chief cast at her, and was compelled more than once to turn round and speak to Nigel, who remained close to her. He himself observed the looks of the young chief, which created an undefined feeling in his breast, though his pride forbade him in any way to exhibit it.

"These Indians are of a far more martial and gallant bearing than I had supposed; but still they are savages, and we should be wise if we are on our guard against them," he observed to Constance.

This was said aside, while Villegagnon was replying to the address delivered by the Tamoyo chief, who then introduced the handsome youth standing by his side as his son Tecumah, "who will ever, as he regards my injunctions, be a friend and ally of the French," he added.

The young man in a few words expressed his desire to act according to his father's wishes, winding up, as he pointed to the sky, "Should Tecumah fail to fulfil his promise, may the great Spirit punish him as he will deserve."

Thus far the interview had passed off in a most satisfactory manner. The chief expressed his desire to visit his new allies, but Villegagnon thought it prudent to decline the honour till the fort was erected, and the colonists were in a position to defend themselves, and at the same time to make such a show of their strength as might overawe the Indians, in whom they were not inclined to place more than a very limited amount of confidence. The Portuguese were at this time settled in a town which they called Saint Vincente, about fifty miles to the south, the first colony founded by them under Martin Alfonso de Souza; and as there were many brave adventurers among them, Villegagnon thought it probable that as soon as they heard of his arrival, they would send an expedition against him.

The meeting with the chiefs having been brought to a conclusion, the boats returned to the ships, on board which every one was now engaged in landing stores for the construction of the proposed fort. As numerous trees grew on the island, they were cut down, and formed an abundance of material for the purpose. The artisans, who knew the importance of speed, laboured assiduously, and the work made rapid progress. The chief fort was built on the eastern side of the island, to resist the attack of a hostile fleet; and in the course of a few days the guns were mounted, and the colonists considered themselves fully prepared for defence. Houses were also commenced, and those weary of their long confinement on board ship hoped soon to take up their residence on shore. The natives brought over in their canoes an abundant supply of provisions, and, delighted with the beauty of the climate, the settlers felt thankful that their steps had been directed to so happy a spot, and looked forward with confidence to the time when they might see a handsome city rise on the shores of the bay. Now, too, they could all meet together to read God's Word, and to listen to the preaching of their minister without dread of interruption.

The chief of the Tamoyos, with his son Tecumah, attended by a number of the principal men of the tribe, arrived in a fleet of canoes to pay their promised visit to the white men. Villegagnon received them at the head of his seamen, and all the settlers drawn up under arms. The Indians were evidently much struck by the martial appearance of their new allies, and almost as much so by the progress which had been made in the settlement, as the fort, with its guns, and the houses, were already erected. It was a Sabbath morning, and at the usual hour a bell summoned the settlers to worship. Tuscarora seemed to fancy that some magical ceremony was going forward, and was afraid to enter; but Tecumah, less superstitious than his father, and prompted by curiosity, begged leave to attend, accompanied by several other young men. Though they were unable to comprehend a word, their countenances exhibited the most perfect seriousness and apparent interest in what was going forward. The count, who had observed Tecumah, whose eyes, indeed, had seldom been turned away from the spot where he and his daughter sat, sent for the interpreter to inquire of the young chief what opinion he had formed.

"It is clear to me that you worship a great unknown Spirit, and that you sing to Him songs of praise, while your teachers exhort you to love and obey Him, and He is, I am sure, pleased with such worship. I remarked how it differs from that of the Portuguese, who make idols of painted wood, and bow before them as if such things could hear, or understand, or give help to the foolish men who put faith in such nonsense."

"And is such the opinion you have formed without having the principles of our faith explained to you?" asked the count, astonished at the intelligence displayed by the young chief.

"I have said what I conceive to be the truth," answered Tecumah. "I would like to know more of your faith, since it enables you to be as wise and powerful as I see you are. Some time since, during an interval of peace, I visited the settlement of the Portuguese. There I saw bearded men bowing down, some before a cross with a figure nailed on it, others before a woman with a child in her arms; others, again, were adoring an infant in a cradle; and others, men and women, in long robes, with books or staffs in their hands. Some were worshipping even pictures, and I thought that all these things were the gods of the Portuguese. When they told me that the woman with the child in her arms was the Holy Virgin, and that the child was also a god, I could stop to hear no more, feeling sure that the great Spirit to whom the Indian looks up as God would be displeased with such blasphemy."

"Undoubtedly He is," said the count; "but had you inquired further, you would have been told that the figure on the cross and the child in the woman's arms and the one in the cradle represented the same person, the Saviour of mankind, who is now in heaven, at the right hand of God."

"Then, how can He be in heaven and on earth at the same time?" asked the Indian. "And if He is in heaven, surely men of sense should lift up their hearts to Him there, and not bow before figures which can have no resemblance to him; for I observed that even the infants differed from each other. And who, tell me, does the figures of the woman represent?"

"She was one especially honoured among women, but who the Saviour expressly showed He did not desire should be worshipped," answered the count. "She was chosen to be the earthly mother of the Son of God, who so loved the world, that He desired to become man, that He might be punished instead of all men; for all, being by nature sinful, deserve punishment, and God, who is all just and all merciful, decreed that all who believe that Jesus, His Son, was punished for our sins, should have those sins washed away, and be received into favour again by Him. Thus, Jesus came into the world as an infant, grew up to manhood, and, after setting an example to mankind by the obedient, pure, holy life He led, He allowed Himself to be put to the most cruel of deaths on the cross, such as the vilest of malefactors were alone considered deserving of. To prove that He was God, by His own will and power He rose again and ascended into heaven, there to be the Advocate and Mediator of those He had redeemed. Through Him alone the prayers of those who believe in Him can be offered and be received acceptably by God."

The young chief listened attentively to what the count said, "This is very wonderful, very wonderful," he observed, after being for some time lost in meditation. "I would wish to hear more about the matter; yet it strikes me as strange that God should allow His name to be profaned, and these senseless images to be worshipped instead of Himself."

"You are right, my friend," said the count. "God is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. He is also long-suffering and kind, and therefore He does not punish men as they deserve, that they may have an opportunity of turning from their sins and being reconciled to Him."

The count gladly took the opportunity of explaining further the truths of the Christian faith to the young chief, who seemed to drink in eagerly every word he heard. It was the first of many visits he paid, and often was his canoe to be seen, as the shades of evening drew on, skimming across the tranquil waters of the harbour towards the mainland.

The Indians received such entertainment on their first visit as the French could afford; and while it was yet daylight they returned in their canoes to the shore.

One evening the count and his daughter were sitting in their house with several guests, among whom Nigel was one. They had met to read God's Word and to sing the hymns of Marot, which the French Protestants loved so well. The weather, hitherto fine, had, before sunset, given signs of changing. Dark clouds were seen gathering eastward, and already a damp and chilly wind blew up the harbour's mouth, while the sea rolled in, sending its billows with an angry roar against the foundations of the new fort. As the tempest increased, a gun fired from each of the ships summoned their respective officers and men on board, and Nigel had unwillingly to hasten away from the house of his friend. It was not without difficulty that the boats reached the ships. The topmasts and topgallant masts were sent down on deck, and fresh anchors were got out. The settlers, as they saw the masts of the ships through the gloom, rolling from side to side, and watched the furious waves rushing in from the sea, began to tremble for their safety. They had, however, to think of themselves. The wind rapidly increased, the tall trees still remaining on the island bent before it, and the waves washed over the walls of the fort with relentless fury, threatening every moment to overwhelm them. Villegagnon, who had remained on shore, fearing that the guns might be lost, ordered them to be dragged out of the fort to a place of safety. It was a task of no slight danger, for already the woodwork trembled at each assault of the billows, and scarcely were the guns removed than, crash succeeding crash, large fragments of the fort, the construction of which had cost them so many days of labour, were rent away, and either carried off by the retiring seas, or thrown high up on the shore.

Constance de Tourville anxiously watched the progress of the storm. She had accompanied her father and several of their friends to watch the ships which lay in the harbour exposed to its fury. They could see the foaming waves dashing against them, and breaking high over their bows. Soon one was seen to be moving, when a single sail was set, and away she sped into the darkness up the harbour. The others dragged their anchors, or were torn from them, and were likewise compelled to seek for safety in some sheltered spot. With good pilots on board, this might easily have been done, but no one had a knowledge of the upper parts of the harbour, and it was impossible to say in what direction they might seek for safety.

That night was one of deep anxiety to all the settlers. The furious waves, surging round the little island, swept over the lower parts, and threatened at times to overwhelm it. Many of the trees, deprived of the support of their neighbours, which had been cut down, bent before the gale. Branches of some were torn away, others were broken off, and some uprooted from the ground. Several of the newly built houses were unroofed, and others were thrown down altogether by the wind. That of the count stood firm, and he and his daughter gladly offered shelter to as many of their friends as it could contain.

Constance, who had had a sleepless night, waiting till dawn broke, sallied forth to look for the ships.

Not one of them was in sight. In vain she made inquiries of those who had come, like herself, to look for them. No boats remained on shore; indeed, with the waters of the harbour tossing about as furiously as they were, even the largest could not have made her way amidst them. The Indians, from whom alone they could obtain any information, dared not venture across, and thus they must remain in ignorance of what had become of the ships till, the tempest being over, those which had escaped destruction should return.

"Vain is the help of man. In God let us put our trust. He may think fit to preserve them; if not, we must say with confidence, 'His will be done,'" said the minister Laporte, addressing those assembled on the beach.



CHAPTER SIX.

NIGEL'S RETURN TO FRANCE.

Meantime the governor had been surveying the damages committed by the storm, and, summoning the count and other leading people, announced his intention of abandoning the island before more labour had been expended, and settling on another higher up the harbour. All approved of his proposal, for though they saw that the island was well placed for defence, it was also exposed to the fury of the sea when excited by tempests. They now awaited anxiously for news of the ships, but still the wind blew furiously up the harbour, and would prevent them from coming down, even should they have escaped shipwreck. Fears were entertained that they might have been cast on the northern shore, when their crews would most probably have fallen into the hands of the Portuguese. For two days more the tempest continued, and the hearts of the colonists remained agitated with doubts and fears. The third morning broke bright and clear, the clouds dispersed, and the wind, changing, blew with a gentle breath down the harbour. Had a boat remained on the island she would have been sent in search of the missing ships. Some proposed building a flat-bottomed raft, which might be finished in a few hours and serve to navigate the smooth waters of the bay. Villegagnon gave the order to commence the work, and already it had made some progress, when a shout was raised of "A sail! a sail!" It was one of the ships standing down before the wind from the upper part of the harbour. Another and another appeared, till at length the minds of the colonists were set at rest. They all had had narrow escapes, but had succeeded in bringing up under the lee of different islands, where, the water being smooth, they had ridden out the storm. Every one capable of labouring immediately set to work to reship the guns, and stores, and even the woodwork of the houses and forts, to convey them to an island Villegagnon had fixed on in a more secure part of the harbour. The task occupied several days, and sorely tried the patience of those who were anxious at once to commence their intended agricultural pursuits. The advantages possessed by the new spot selected were evidently superior to those of Lange Island which they had left. The count proposed that the name of their patron, "Admiral Coligny," should be given to their present resting-place, and he was supported by the leading colonists. The governor, with a bad grace, consented, though it was evident that he had intended to bestow his own name on their new acquisition.

With the exception of the losses caused by the storm, all hitherto seemed to be going on well; and Nigel began to hope that Villegagnon had abandoned his design, and really intended to establish a colony on the principles proposed by the admiral. He was glad, indeed, that he had not spoken of his suspicions to Constance or her father, as they must have been, had he done so, greatly troubled about the future. He, in common with all the officers and men of the expedition, was busily engaged from morn till night in erecting the new fortifications, which were laid out on a much larger scale, and were built far more substantially than the last had been. The colonists' dwellings were also re-erected, and, wood being abundant, many of them were of considerable size, though only one storey in height. Within the fort were the barracks for the soldiers, while a number of houses to afford shelter to the inhabitants, should the settlement be attacked, were erected. The larger residences were scattered about over the island, and a village sprang up on the shores of the chief landing-place. It was, however, well protected by the fort, off which lay the ships, and it was considered that while they remained it would be secured against an attack. Four smaller forts were also built on commanding situations in the more accessible parts of the island, so Villegagnon considered that the settlement was well able to resist the assaults of either a civilised or barbarous foe. The friendly disposition shown by the Tamoyos, the most numerous and powerful tribe in the neighbourhood, gave him no anxiety on the latter account; while, although by this time the Portuguese settlement in the south had greatly increased, the Portuguese had shown no disposition to advance towards the shores of the bay of Nitherohy. It was the intention of the French to form a settlement on the southern shore of the bay as soon as their numbers were sufficiently increased; and Villegagnon, relying on his secure position, resolved at length to send back the fleet for reinforcements.

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