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He looked to Miranda, but she faltered. Flora, in her own way, felt all the moment's rack and stress, but some natures are built for floods and rise on them like a boat. So thought she of herself and had parted her lips to speak for all, when, to her vexed surprise, Anna lifted a hand and in a clear, firm tone inquired, "Is there any bad news for us five?" The youth's tongue failed; he nodded.
A week or two ran by, and now again it was March. Never an earlier twelvemonth had the women of New Orleans--nor of any town or time--the gentlewomen--spent in more unselfish or arduous toil.Her thought was of him. Her mind's eye saw him on his homeward ride. It marked the erectness of his frame, the gayety of his mien, the dance of his locks. By her inner ear she heard his horse's tread passing up the narrow round-stone pavements of the Creole Quarter, presently to echo in old St. Peter Street under the windows of Pontalba Row--one of which was Flora's. Would it ring straight on, or would it pause between that window and the orange and myrtle shades of Jackson Square? Constance had said that day to Miranda--for this star-gazer to overhear--that she did not believe Kincaid loved Flora, and the hearer had longed to ask her why, but knew she could not tell. Why is a man's word. "They're as helpless without it," the muser recalled having very lately written on a secret page, "as women are before it. And yet a girl can be very hungry, at times, for a why. They say he's as brave as a lion--why is he never brave to me?"
Acestor made a sign of assent.
Why, why, said Phanos, is this the hero who banishes officials and erects pillars of infamy? Who would believe it? Does he look like a murderer?
The first point with the priests was of course to bring the objects of their zeal to an acceptance of the fundamental doctrines of the Roman Church; but, as the mind of the savage was by no means 134 that beautiful blank which some have represented it, there was much to be erased as well as to be written. They must renounce a host of superstitions, to which they were attached with a strange tenacity, or which may rather be said to have been ingrained in their very natures. Certain points of Christian morality were also strongly urged by the missionaries, who insisted that the convert should take but one wife, and not cast her off without grave cause, and that he should renounce the gross license almost universal among the Hurons. Murder, cannibalism, and several other offences, were also forbidden. Yet, while laboring at the work of conversion with an energy never surpassed, and battling against the powers of darkness with the mettle of paladins, the Jesuits never had the folly to assume towards the Indians a dictatorial or overbearing tone. Gentleness, kindness, and patience were the rule of their intercourse.  They studied the nature of the savage, and conformed themselves to it with an admirable tact. Far from treating the Indian as an alien and barbarian, they would fain have adopted him as a countryman; and they 135 proposed to the Hurons that a number of young Frenchmen should settle among them, and marry their daughters in solemn form. The listeners were gratified at an overture so flattering. "But what is the use," they demanded, "of so much ceremony? If the Frenchmen want our women, they are welcome to come and take them whenever they please, as they always used to do."  "Les enfans ne succedent iamais aux biens et dignitez de leurs peres, doubtant comme i'ay dit de leur geniteur, mais bien font-ils leurs successeurs et heritiers, les enfans de leurs s?urs, et desquels ils sont asseurez d'estre yssus et sortis."Champlain (1627), 91.