« PreviousContinue »
arrival, the pretty face and bright eyes of the mademoiselle attracted his attention and he sought her acquaintance; but a youthful Acadian, Jean Baptiste De Barre, had already won the heart of the Mademoiselle. The light hair and blue eyes of Jean might lead one to suspect that he was an Anglo-Saxon rather than of French extraction. Captain Winslow, depending on his rank and superior accomplishments, sought to win the mademoiselle despite her betrothal vows, and never for a moment doubted that he would succeed. To his amazement, all his accomplishments, rank and position, availed him nothing. He grew exasperated and threatened to call out the young Frenchman. He did do so; but Jean proved to be so skilful with the rapier, that, after twice wounding his antagonist, he disarmed and humiliated him. Captain Winslow swore vengeance, and he never rode past the home of Adrianne, that his eyes did not flash
“I wish he had not come this morning,” Adrianne said to herself. “There is something evil in his look.”
It would not be many hours ere she would wed Jean, and then she felt that no harm could befall her.
Nearer to the village, in one of the largest and most pretentious houses, lived Pierre De Barre,
the father of Jean Baptiste. Monsieur De Barre was a quiet, unassuming man, who had devoted his life, ambition and energies to his wife Adele, as long as she lived; but Adele had been five years in her grave, sleeping by the side of her father, Monsieur De Vere, and two infant children gone before. Monsieur De Barre and Jean, his only heir, lived alone in their home at Grand Pre. Monsieur De Barre took but little interest in the politics of his wretched country. He spoke both English and French fluently, and had taught both languages to his son. He was a moody, taciturn man, and there had been many strange stories about his early life. A servant, who had seen him bathing one day, reported that he had on his shoulder the number 39, as if burned into the flesh. This discovery was reported to two or three, until it reached the master's ears, and he ordered the slave, under pain of severe punishment, to deny the story. Monsieur De Barre was a hale old man, whose age might be anywhere from fifty to seventy years. His form was as erect as a soldier of twenty. He mingled little in society and, since his wife's death, seemed to live only for his son. All the broad acres and fine estates which were his, came through his wife, for there was a strange story of Monsieur De Barre, a poor ship-wrecked mariner, romantically saving the life of the only daughter of the wealthy Monsieur De Vere, who fell in love with the sailor and married him. No one ever claimed that she had married beneath her station, or that the marriage was not entirely satisfactory to her father. He made Adele a loving, faithful husband who had never been known to smile since her death. His only child, Jean, was to wed the prettiest maiden in Acadia, which was saying a great deal. The father, who seldom sought to curb the will of his son, heartily approved the marriage, and on this morn, as was his habit, rose before the sun to gaze about the town. His son came to the piazza, his handsome young face glowing in the fresh light of the new day. “Jean, did you see the Englishman, Captain Winslow 2° ... No. *: “There is something peculiarly menacing about him this morning. I think we will sail for Virginia soon after your marriage.” “Will you leave Acadia?” “Yes, my son.” “ Why?" Monsieur De Barre pointed toward the fort, over which the English flag was waving, and said: “We can no longer call this wretched country our own. In a land where all religions are tolerated, we may live happily; but in this there must come at an early day ruin and devastation. Let us flee the wrath which threatens us.” “Have you heard any confirmation of the late : rumors?” “War really exists in the colonies between the French and English, and by those loving peace a neutral ground should be selected.” “Did not Newcastle assure us there would be no war?” “The French have no faith in Newcastle, and when Keppel sailed with Braddock's troops a few months ago, Baron Dieskau was sent to reinforce the French army on the St. Lawrence.” “There has as yet been no formal declaration of war?” “No; but there has been fighting all along the frontier, and there is actual war which must in the end bring about a declaration of hostilities. On the sea Admiral Boscawen pursued and captured two English ships.” Monsieur De Barre knew that three thousand men had sailed from Boston on the 20th of May, 1755, under command of General John Winslow, a great-grandson of Edward Winslow of the Mayflower, and at this time major-general of the Massachusetts militia. They landed near the head of the
Bay of Fundy, where they were joined by General Monckton with three hundred British regulars and a small train of artillery from a neighboring garrison. The French at Beau-Sejour and other military posts on the peninsula were ignorant of the hostile preparations of the two governments, until the appearance of this armament. Resistance being vain, they yielded, and before June 30th, 1755, the peninsula was in the hands of the British. The French soldiers were sent to Louisburg, and the Acadians, many of whom had been forced into service, were granted an amnesty. If the poor Acadians thought their troubles over,
they were very greatly mistaken. Many went on hoping against hope that the conquerors would not further molest them; but the more thinking citizens seemed to realize that great trials were in store for them. They went on cultivating their lands, took the oath of allegiance, but would not pledge themselves to bear arms against their kindred and nation in religion. The avaricious English coveted their fertile lands, and made their refusal a pretext for possessing them. A question of law was raised as to whether one refusing to take all oaths required could hold lands in the British dominions. In other words, having refused to take an oath to bear arms against the French, had they not forfeited their lands? The case was referred to Belcher,