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As the voyagers descended the river, they had a serious alarm. Their scouts came in, and reported that they had found fresh footprints of men in the forest. These proved, however, to be the tracks, 417 not of enemies, but of friends. In the preceding autumn Bressani had gone down to the French settlements with about twenty Hurons, and was now returning with them, and twice their number of armed Frenchmen, for the defence of the mission. His scouts had also been alarmed by discovering the footprints of Ragueneau's Indians; and for some time the two parties stood on their guard, each taking the other for an enemy. When at length they discovered their mistake, they met with embraces and rejoicing. Bressani and his Frenchmen had come too late. All was over with the Hurons and the Huron mission; and, as it was useless to go farther, they joined Ragueneau's party, and retraced their course for the settlements.CHAPTER XXIX.
Lycon saw that he had been on the point of betraying himself, but he was quick-witted.To return to Lavals industrial school. Judging from repeated complaints of governors and intendants of the dearth of skilled workmen, the priests in charge of it were more successful in making good Catholics than in making good masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, and weavers; and the number of pupils, even if well trained, was at no time sufficient to meet the wants of the colony; ** for, though the Canadians showed an aptitude for
** Lachenaye, Mmoire sur le Canada.2,200 2,150
At Quebec, there was a grave, thoughtful, self-contained young man, who soon found his way into Frontenac's confidence. There was between them the sympathetic attraction of two bold and 27 energetic spirits; and though Cavelier de la Salle had neither the irritable vanity of the count, nor his Gallic vivacity of passion, he had in full measure the same unconquerable pride and hardy resolution. There were but two or three men in Canada who knew the western wilderness so well. He was full of schemes of ambition and of gain; and, from this moment, he and Frontenac seem to have formed an alliance, which ended only with the governor's recall.Lamon, he said, in so loud a tone that the officer and slaves could hear, it is fortunate for you that I meet men like Thuphrastos and Xenocles here. I know themthey are plotting no evil. Your hetaeria does not seem to be of the sort we so rigidly pursue. You are office-seekers, not men striving to usurp the government. I have now seen with my own eyes.... Yetdid I not hear a chatterer shrieking among you? He has shouted intolerably long; Ill close his lips.
 Relation de Minet; Lettre de Minet Seignelay, 6 July, 1685 (Margry, ii. 591, 602).While New England prospered and Canada did not prosper, the French system had at least one great advantage. It favored military efficiency. The Canadian population sprang in great part from soldiers, and was to the last systematically reinforced by disbanded soldiers. Its chief occupation was a continual training for forest war; it had little or nothing to lose, and little to do but fight and range the woods. This was not all. The Canadian government was essentially military. At its head was a soldier nobleman, often an old and able commander, and those beneath him caught his spirit and emulated his example. In spite of its political nothingness, in spite of poverty and hardship, and in spite even of trade, the upper stratum of Canadian society was animated by the pride and fire of that gallant noblesse which held war as its only worthy calling, and prized honor more than life. As for the habitant, the forest, lake, and river were his true school; and here, at least, he was an apt scholar. A skilful woodsman, a bold and adroit canoe-man, a willing fighter in time of need, often serving without pay, and receiving from government only his provisions and his canoe, he was more than ready at any time for any hardy enterprise; and in the forest warfare of skirmish and surprise there were few to match him. An absolute government used him at will, and experienced leaders guided his rugged valor to the best account.
A few, however, were spared. "I saved," writes Menendez, "the lives of two young gentlemen of about eighteen years of age, as well as of three others, the fifer, the drummer, and the trumpeter; and I caused Juan Ribao [Ribaut] with all the rest to be put to the knife, judging this to be necessary for the service of God our Lord and of your Majesty. And I consider it great good fortune that he [Juan Ribao] should be dead, for the King of France could effect more with him and five hundred ducats than with other men and five thousand; and he would do more in one year than another in ten, for he was the most experienced sailor and naval commander known, and of great skill in this navigation of the Indies and the coast of Florida. He was, besides, greatly liked in England, in which kingdom his reputation was such that he was appointed Captain-General of all the English fleet against the French Catholics in the war between England and France some years ago."