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      The Indians gradually drew off, and the forest was silent again. Two of the French had been killed and twenty-two wounded, several so severely that they were supported to the boats with the utmost difficulty. Of the corn, two bags only had been brought off. 1667-1672.


      [51] The Malhoumines, Malouminek, Oumalouminek, or Nation des Folles-Avoines, of early French writers. The folle-avoine, wild oats or "wild rice" (Zizania aquatica), was their ordinary food, as also of other tribes of this region.The Jesuits at St. Joseph knew not what course to take. The doom of their flock seemed inevitable. When dismay and despondency were at 414 their height, two of the principal Huron chiefs came to the fort, and asked an interview with Ragueneau and his companions. They told them that the Indians had held a council the night before, and resolved to abandon the island. Some would disperse in the most remote and inaccessible forests; others would take refuge in a distant spot, apparently the Grand Manitoulin Island; others would try to reach the Andastes; and others would seek safety in adoption and incorporation with the Iroquois themselves.


      [37] The Hurons became very jealous, when La Roche Dallion visited the Neutrals, lest a direct trade should be opened between the latter and the French, against whom they at once put in circulation a variety of slanders: that they were a people who lived on snakes and venom; that they were furnished with tails; and that French women, though having but one breast, bore six children at a birth. The missionary nearly lost his life in consequence, the Neutrals conceiving the idea that he would infect their country with a pestilence.La Roche Dallion, in Le Clerc, I. 346.

      At intervals of ten or twelve years, the Hurons, the Neutrals, and other kindred tribes, were accustomed to collect the bones of their dead, and deposit them, with great ceremony, in a common place of burial. The whole nation was sometimes assembled at this solemnity; and hundreds of corpses, brought from their temporary resting-places, were inhumed in one capacious pit. From this hour the immortality of their souls began. They took wing, as some affirmed, in the shape of pigeons; while the greater number declared that they journeyed on foot, and in their own likeness, to the land of shades, bearing with them the ghosts of the wampum-belts, beaver-skins, bows, arrows, pipes, kettles, beads, and rings buried with them in the common grave. [84] But as the spirits of the old and of children are too feeble for the march, they are forced to stay behind, lingering near their earthly villages, where the living often hear the shutting of their invisible cabin-doors, and the weak lxxxii voices of the disembodied children driving birds from their corn-fields. [85] An endless variety of incoherent fancies is connected with the Indian idea of a future life. They commonly owe their origin to dreams, often to the dreams of those in extreme sickness, who, on awaking, supposed that they had visited the other world, and related to the wondering bystanders what they had seen.


      But at the same instant he beheld, as he had done in his dream, the oil-jar suspended by a blue ribbon over the door of his house. He pressed his hands upon his eyes and, when he entered his lonely sleeping-room, he said, sighing:

      "Our old horse fell into the wellThe master and slave continued their way towards the Cerameicus.

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      The interior of the theatre presented a deep, semi-circular recess, surrounded by a mound of earth slanting upward, covered with stone benches, and supported by a thick encircling wall. About the center of the place, between the seats rising around, stood the altar, where, at the moment Polycles and Lycon entered, a priest in a long white robe, with a garland on his hair, was in the act of offering the customary sacrifice of purification. When this short ceremony was over the chief magistrate took his seat and a struggle, half jest, half earnest, followed, for all wanted places in the front row where they could hear best.

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      Holy Mother Church, linked in sordid wedlock to governments and thrones, numbered among her servants a host of the worldly and the proud, whose service of God was but the service of themselves,and 84 many, too, who, in the sophistry of the human heart, thought themselves true soldiers of Heaven, while earthly pride, interest, and passion were the life-springs of their zeal. This mighty Church of Rome, in her imposing march along the high road of history, heralded as infallible and divine, astounds the gazing world with prodigies of contradiction: now the protector of the oppressed, now the right arm of tyrants; now breathing charity and love, now dark with the passions of Hell; now beaming with celestial truth, now masked in hypocrisy and lies; now a virgin, now a harlot; an imperial queen, and a tinselled actress. Clearly, she is of earth, not of heaven; and her transcendently dramatic life is a type of the good and ill, the baseness and nobleness, the foulness and purity, the love and hate, the pride, passion, truth, falsehood, fierceness, and tenderness, that battle in the restless heart of man.

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      77 During these harangues, other functionaries were lining the grave throughout with rich robes of beaver-skin. Three large copper kettles were next placed in the middle, [6] and then ensued a scene of hideous confusion. The bodies which had been left entire were brought to the edge of the grave, flung in, and arranged in order at the bottom by ten or twelve Indians stationed there for the purpose, amid the wildest excitement and the uproar of many hundred mingled voices. [7] When this part of the work was done, night was fast closing in. The concourse bivouacked around the clearing, and lighted their camp-fires under the brows of the forest which hedged in the scene of the dismal solemnity. Brbeuf and his companions withdrew to the village, where, an hour before dawn, they were roused by a clamor which might have wakened the dead. One of the bundles of bones, tied to a pole on the scaffold, had chanced to fall into the grave. This accident had precipitated the closing act, and perhaps increased its frenzy. Guided by the unearthly din, and the broad glare of flames fed with heaps of fat pine logs, the priests soon reached the spot, and saw what seemed, in their eyes, an image of Hell. All around blazed countless fires, and 78 the air resounded with discordant outcries. [8] The naked multitude, on, under, and around the scaffold, were flinging the remains of their dead, discharged from their envelopments of skins, pell-mell into the pit, where Brbeuf discerned men who, as the ghastly shower fell around them, arranged the bones in their places with long poles. All was soon over; earth, logs, and stones were cast upon the grave, and the clamor subsided into a funereal chant,so dreary and lugubrious, that it seemed to the Jesuits the wail of despairing souls from the abyss of perdition. [9]


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