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Montlivet   By:

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E text prepared by Al Haines

MONTLIVET

by

ALICE PRESCOTT SMITH

New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers Houghton, Mifflin and Co.

1907

TO

M. C. H. AND A. E. H.

CONTENTS

I. THE KEY II. THE CAPTIVE III. BEHIND THE COMMANDANT'S DOOR IV. IN THE OTTAWA CAMP V. A DECISION VI. DAME OPPORTUNITY VII. THE BEGINNING VIII. PARTNERS IX. WESTWARD X. I WAKE A SLEEPER XI. MARY STARLING XII. A COMPACT XIII. WE REACH THE ISLANDS XIV. A PROVISIONAL BARGAIN XV. I TAKE A NEW PASSENGER XVI. THE STORM XVII. AFTER THE STORM XVIII. IN WHICH I USE OPPORTUNITY XIX. IN THE MIST XX. WHAT I FOUND XXI. THE PIVOT XXII. THE PRICE OF SLEEP XXIII. I ENCOUNTER MIXED MOTIVES XXIV. I MEET VARIOUS WELCOMES XXV. OVER CADILLAC'S TABLE XXVI. FROM HOUR TO HOUR XXVII. IN COUNCIL XXVIII. CHILDREN OF OPPORTUNITY XXIX. I FOLLOW MY PATH XXX. THE MEANING OF CONQUEST XXXI. THE UNDESERVED XXXII. I TELL THE WOMAN XXXIII. TO US AND TO OUR CHILDREN

MONTLIVET

CHAPTER I

THE KEY

The May sun was shining on Michillimackinac, and I, Armand de Montlivet, was walking the strip of beach in front of the French garrison.

I did not belong to Michillimackinac. I had come in only the day before with two canoes and four men, and I was bound for the beaver lands further west. A halt was necessary, for the trip had been severe, and remembering that it was necessity, and not idleness, that held me, I was enjoying the respite. My heart was light, and since the heart is mistress of the heels, I walked somewhat trippingly. I was on good terms with myself at the moment. My venture was going well, and I was glad to be alone, and breathe deep of the sweet spring air, and let my soul grow big with the consciousness of what it would like to do. So content was I, that I was annoyed to see La Mothe Cadillac approach.

Yet Cadillac was important to me then. He was commandant at Michillimackinac, the year was 1695, and so was in control of the strategic point of western New France. The significance of all that he stood for, and all that he might accomplish, filled my thought as he swaggered toward me now, and I said to myself, somewhat complacently, that, with all his air of importance, I had a fuller conception than he of what lay in his palm.

He hailed me without preface. "Where do you find food for your laughter in this forsaken country, Montlivet? I have watched you swagger up and down with a smile on your face for the last hour. What is the jest?"

In truth, there was no jest in me by the time he finished. My own thought had just called him a swaggerer, and now he clapped the same phrase back at me.

"There are more swaggerers upon this beach than I," I cried hotly, and I felt my blood rise.

My tone was more insulting than my words, and Cadillac, too, grew red. I saw the veins upon his neck begin to swell, and all my childish irritation vanished.

"Come, monsieur," I hastened; "I was wrong. But I meant no harm, and surely here is a jest fit for your laughter, that two grown men should stand and swell at each other like turkeycocks, all because they are drunk with the air of a May day. Come, here is my hand."

"But you said that I"

"And what if I did?" I interrupted. I had fallen into step, and was pacing by his side. "What is there in the term that we should hold it in slight esteem? I swagger. What does that mean, after all, but my acknowledgment of the presence of Dame Opportunity, and my admission that I would like to impress her; to draw her eye in my direction. Surely that is laudable, monsieur."

Cadillac laughed. His tempers were the ruffle of a passing breeze upon deep water. "So you think that I swagger to meet opportunity? Well, if I do, I get but little out of it. Sometimes I push myself near enough to pluck at the sleeve of the dame; oftener she passes me by."

"Yet she gave you this key to an empire," I suggested... Continue reading book >>




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