Page images

coarse veil of her order had fallen quite off from her head, and her flaxen hair, and her pure white neck and forehead, were before me uncovered.

O, Marquis,' she panted, and in her agitation she grasped one of my hands with both hers, do not-do not go forth! You are seriously wounded I assure you! Father Ambrose, who bound up your head, told me so.'

" Have you heard, Mademoiselle, what is the matter ? I breathlessly asked. As I spoke there was a shout without, and I distinctly heard the cry—The English! —the English! They have scaled Cape Diamond ! they have reached the citadel !—they have taken possession of the ramparts !!

“ Mademoiselle, you must not detain me—for my life I would not linger here another moment! I cried.

“She sunk at my feet. • Farewell then, thou preserver of my life !' she exclaimed.

• Marie will see you no more in this world !you will perish, but I will pray that we may meet in heaven!'

“ It was not a moment for hesitation. I kissed her hand, and hurried into the street. I met my friend and commander, de Bougainville, hurrying along. Louis,' said he, with tears in his eyes, all is over with the French here, mark my words.'

6. What do you mean ?? inquired I.

“I mean what I say,' he answered, all is over for us. That English lion, Wolfe, has actually led his army up the face of the rock-how, heaven only knows, I do not. Three hundred and fifty feet they have climbed while we were sleeping !

« • Is it possible! I articulated.

“• If you look down upon the plains of Abraham you may convince yourself,' drily remarked my friend; and, taking my elbow, he impelled me forwards at a quick pace, until stopping, he expressively pointed with his finger down into the vale. There, indeed, I beheld the British troops spreading themselves out nearly to the river in battle array. Their bright sabres and ban. ners glittered in the sun; the Scotch highlanders in their strange national costume, with their heavy claymores, forming no inconsiderable part of the martial show, on which I gazed with a soldier's admiration as well as with astonishinent.

“ Bougainville, this is incredible to me! I exclaimed. “What says the Major-general, could be not have prevented them at least from obtaining this favourable position !

No; but he intends to give them a pitched battle. I am now on my way to prepare my men for the fight,' said my friend, coolly.

“ I could hardly helieve it. I remarked that the fortress would defy a hundred armies, but that for us to leave it in our weakened condition was giving the Eng. lish a great advantage.

“. You speak my thoughts exactly; but I cannot stay now to discuss the point,' said my friend te shall soon see. You, Louis, I have heard, and now perceive, are in no condition for the battle. Shake hands --we part-perhaps for a long time! I fought with your gallant father, and for his sake I value you; I wish you a reputation as high as bis—higher you could hardly hope for."

“ But I insisted on going with de Bougainville to the

field. The results of that battle all the civilised world know. The French and English generals both fell mortally wounded, while advancing on the last deadly charge at th- head of their respective troops. An obelisk is now erected on the spot to their united memories. Wolfe died exulting that he heard the French were flying, and Montcalm rejoicing that he should not live to see the surrender of Quebec. My friend, also, felland the English were masters of the Canadas !

“ No soones did I see that we had entirely lost the day, than I hurried to the citadel, and, finding all the doors of the jesuits monastery open, and the interior in disorder, entered, and anxiously sought to assure myself of the safety of the nuns. The domestics of the house, a few superannuated brethren, and a number of the lay people of the neighbourhood, were talking loudly and confusedly in the church—they dispersed into the streets, one and all, when they heard that the city was taken. I pushed open the door of a room that led from the church-Marie was there alone, kneeling before a crucifix. The sound of my spurs on the marble pavement, caused her to look up. Her very pale face faintly flushed -sudden joy irradiated it—she sprang up, and cried

"" You live-you are safe! I see you again, when I had given up hope.' I inquired after the sisters, she replied they were just leaving the monastery by the back gate, under the protection of some of the brethren who had returned from the field of battle, whither they had gone to urge the French soldiers on against the heretic English. Marie had lingered here to supplicate the Virgin, she said, for her preserver, but every moment she expected a message. I told her that a single moment

delayed here might be the means of exposing her to the insults of the English soldiers, who already were in the streets, flushed with victory, as with wine.

« • I will go immediately,' said she, moving to the door in alarm. · Then go with me!' said I, eagerly; 'I have a horse at hand—1 will place you in safety whereever you please-only let me protect you from this place! On my honour-on my soul-I will take you wherever you choose.'

· I am sure I do not doubt you,' said she, with charming simplicity, produced by perfect ignorance of the world; butI took advantage of her look of hesitation, and bore her away.

“I solemnly assure you I had then no intention of persuading her to break her sacred vows. She had indeed made a deep impression on me, but the sin of sacrilege was too awful in my sight to permit me to give way to one serious thought of her.

“ I stopped with Marie at a tavern a few miles from Quebec, and engaged a private room. I had previously enveloped her figure in my cloak, so that her nun's habit could not be seen. We had found a crowd at the door of the house expecting news of the battle, and when I had told them of the overthrow of the French, they became too much occupied in discussing the prospects of the province under a new government to trouble us much with their notice, especially as three other flying French soldiers rode up to them immediately after me, and fastened all their attentions by a very extravagant description of the great event in question.

“ The good people were so deeply engaged, that nearly an hour passed before the refreshments I had ordered for Marie were brought in to us. I employed the time

in endeavouring to calm her mind, and in drawing from her some account of her connexions and of her entrance into the convent of St. Clare. I learnt that she was the orphan daughter of a Portuguese gentleman, in good circumstances, who, in his last sickness, sent her, then a child, to this convent, with a considerable sum of money, which, if Marie took the veil, was to be at the disposal of the superior, but which, if Marie chose to marry, was to belong to her husband. Marie had had little inducement to quit the convent, knowing no one without the walls, and though the rigours of the rules of her order were peculiarly trying to her delicate frame, yet the friendships she had forraed with the sisters had lightened her feeling of them, and made a garden in the desert of her life.

“ The superior, Marie turned pale as she named. She was, Marie said, a woman very strict in enforcing the rules of her house, and very severe against an offending sister. She was feared much more than loved; indeed Marie had not known one sister who loved her ; yet, as if my lovely nun thought she had done wrong in so speaking of her, she took care to impress upon me, that this person, in spite of her hard, cold, nay, cruel temper, was very pious, very talented, and surprisingly energetic and resolute. I said nothing that might alarm the scrupulous conscience of Marie, but formed my own conclusions.

“ After she had taken part of a glass of wine, and a little spiced Indian cake, which was all I could urge upon her, I returned her confidence, by entering into particulars concerning myself and my family. Her eyes glistened with a sensibility that was most gratifying to

« PreviousContinue »