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Lost in the Wilds

De Brunier would not call that facing his trouble


was master, before the golden

lilies on our snow-white banner were torn down to make room for your Union Jack! Why am I telling you this to-night? Just to show you, when all seems lost in the present, there is the future beyond, and no one can tell what that may hold. The pearl lies hidden under the stormiest waters. Do you know old Cumberland House? A De Brunier built it, the first trading-fort in the Saskatchewan. It was lost to us when the cold-hearted Bourbon flung us like a bone to the English mastiff. Our homes were ours no longer. Our lives were in our hands, but our honour no one but ourselves could throw away. What did we do? What could we do? What all can do--our duty to the last. We braved our trouble; and when all seemed lost, help came. Who was it felt for us? The men who had torn from us our colours and entered our gates by force. Under the British flag our homes were given back, our rights assured. Our Canadian Quebec remains unaltered, a transplant from the old France of the Bourbons. In the long years that have followed the harvest has been reaped on both sides. Now, my boy, don't break your heart with thinking, If there had been anybody to care for me, I should not have been left senseless in a snow-covered wilderness; but rouse your manhood and face your trouble, for in God's providence it may be more than made up to you. Here you can stay until some opportunity occurs to send you to this hunters' camp. You are sure it will be your best way to get home again?"

justify;">"Yes," answered Wilfred decidedly. "I shall find Bowkett there, and I am sure he will take me back to Acland's Hut. But please, sir, I did not mean aunt and uncle were unkind; but I had been there such a little while, and somehow I was always wrong; and then I know I teased."

The cloud was gathering over him again.

"If--" he sighed.

"Don't dwell on the _ifs_, my boy; talk of what has been. That will teach you best what may be," inter posed Mr. De Brunier.

Gaspe saw the look of pain in Wilfred's eyes, although he did not say again, "Please don't talk about it," for he was afraid Mr. De Brunier would not call that facing his trouble.

Gaspe came to the rescue. "But, grandfather, you have not told us what the harvest was that Canada reaped," he put in.

"Cannot you see it for yourself, Gaspard?" said Mr. De Brunier. "When French and English, conquered and conqueror, settled down side by side, it was their respect for each other, their careful consideration for each other's rights and wrongs, that taught their children and their children's children the great lesson how to live and let live. No other nation in the world has learned as we have done. It is this that makes our Canada a land of refuge for the down-trodden slave. And we, the French in Canada, what have we reaped?" he went on, shaking the ashes from his pipe, and looking at the two boys before him, French and English; but the old lines were fading, and uniting in the broader name of Canadian. "Yes," he repeated, "what did we find at the bottom of our bitter cup? Peace, security, and freedom, whilst the streets of Paris ran red with Frenchmen's blood. The last De Brunier in France was dragged from his ancestral home to the steps of the guillotine by Frenchmen's hands, and the old chateau in Brittany is left a moss-grown ruin. When my father saw the hereditary foe of his country walk into Cumberland House to turn him out, they met with a bonjour [good day]; and when they parted this was the final word: 'You are a young man, Monsieur De Brunier, but your knowledge of the country and your influence with the Indians can render us valuable assistance. If at any time you choose to take office in your old locale, you will find that faithful service will be handsomely requited.' We kept our honour and laid down our pride. Content. Your British Queen has no more loyal subjects in all her vast dominions than her old French Canadians."


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