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8   THE RENUNCIATION OF

preparations. They were all young, the three eldest twenty - eight, thirty, and thirty - one respectively, the rest ranging from twenty - one upwards, and their occupations those of soldiers, armourers, lock-smiths, lime-burners, &c., and settlers without trade. None were natives of the colony, nor had been away from France for more than seven years. With one consent each made his will, all of which are preserved among the notarial deeds of that year in Montreal ; then, having disposed of temporal affairs, they turned their thoughts to more important matters. For the last time they solemnly knelt before the altar in the little Chapel of the Hotel Dieu, now in the vigour and beauty of young manhood, to receive the sacrament for the dying. With blinding tears priest and friends witnessed the act of renunciation. When they arose it was to feel themselves filled with a spirit that leaves the impression of a crusade.

It was early spring, still cold, with ice and snow in heaps upon land and floating down with the current of the great river ; but though influence was brought to defer it, their desire to set out could not be changed. Possibly they did not wish their enthusiasm to cool, or more likely, the movements of a large number of Iroquois


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