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15
BIENVILLE

the Great, should think of selling for a few paltry livres such an heritage as this. Shame to you Louis, shame!"

His tone had grown so loud, so peremptory, I interrupted.

"Caution, sire; who knows what tattler's ears are listening, or where your thoughtless words may be repeated."

He stood moodily with hands behind him gazing into the fire. For years I had known Bienville the soldier, the stern and unyielding governor, with the hand of iron and the tongue of suasion.

Now I saw for the first time Bienville the man, Bienville the visionary, Bienville the enthusiast, the dreamer of dreams and the builder of castles. I watched him in amazement.

"Then these miserable women whom our good father, the Bishop of Quebec, was so kind as to send us, bringing from their House of Correction all the airs and graces of a court. Bringing hither their silly romances of a land of plenty; they vow they came not here to work, and by the grace of God, work they will not. They declare they are not horses to eat of the corn of the fields, and clamor for their dear Parisian dainties. Against such a petticoat insurrection the governor is helpless. Bah! it sickens me. I wonder not that our men prefer the Indian maidens, for they at least have common sense. But by my soul, Captain, here I stand and rant like some schoolboy mouthing his speech. Tush, it is forgotten."