Thanks Sandra for allowing me to showcase my work here each week. Life is forever complicated. We never know what fate will throw at us next. It takes a strong individual to roll with all of life’s punches. It takes a stronger one yet, to pick themselves up and get back into the fight.
Guy took a mouthful of the brandy Nicolas had poured and sat across from him. “What is it, Nicolas?” he asked. “I saw your face when the coureur de bois arrived earlier. It’s obvious he gave you bad news.”
Nicolas picked up a woven belt sitting on the table in front of him. “Have you ever seen one of these?” He handed it to Guy.
“Yes; it’s a wampum belt similar in design to that of the flag of the Iroquois Confederacy—the five united tribes including the Mohawk. Where does it come from? Who gave it to you?”
“One of my trappers brought it back from a Mi’kmaq village on la Baie Française. As I told you yesterday, relations with the local tribes have been strained over the muskets and whiskey. This could pose a threat to Port Royal. An alliance between the Iroquois Confederacy and the other tribes south of here such as the Abenaki could have disastrous consequences for all of France’s settlements in the New World. We’ve lived at peace with the Mi’kmaq for several years; I don’t want to see that end. You must take this information to de Courcelle as soon as possible; he can verify the authenticity of the belt. If it’s real, without soldiers, we can’t hope to protect the colonies from a full scale war. If it isn’t, someone is trying to start a war and that could be even worse.”
“Agreed. I’ll speak to Captain Étier. We’ll cut our visit here short and try to leave as soon as we can. Most of the new provisions are aboard. High tide is around noon.” He folded the belt, slipped it into his coat pocket, and rose. Together he and Nicolas returned to the sitting room where Isabelle and Marguerite were having a lively discussion. Guy watched her animated face.
“She’s the one, isn’t she? It’s written all over your face. Don’t wait too long to stake your claim; once you land in Quebec, she’ll have more admirers that you can fight off. She’s a rare jewel.” Nicolas raised his brandy to his lips.
Guy smiled. “Marrying her is my heart’s desire, but she sees me only as a friend. I’ve known her family for years.” The ruse that Isabelle was his mother’s godchild had to be continued. “We played together as children. She recently lost her father and her fiancé. Since she was alone in the world, Maman offered to take her with us. She agreed. She has my friendship and protection. I wish it could be more.”
Nicolas looked at Isabelle who’d spotted them in the doorway. “Friendship isn’t a bad basis on which to build a marriage, my friend, but I think you mean more to the lady than you know.”
Guy walked over to Isabelle. “I hate to interrupt your conversation, Izzy, but we have to leave now. It’s late, and Captain Étier likes to pull up the gangplank at night for the passengers’ safety. I need to speak with him as soon as we board. The ship must sail sooner than expected.” He turned to his hosts and bowed. “Nicolas, Marguerite, thank you for everything. I know you’ll see to it that letters are sent to protect your new settlers as well as the colony. Goodnight.”
“Have a safe voyage, Guy. I look forward to hearing from the governor general in the near future.”
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