Jesuit On Liturgy

Ever Old and Ever New

A Review of Martin Mosebach's The Heresy of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy

Rev. Brian Van Hove, S.J.
An excerpt.

Nearly everywhere, the Mass today fails to unite Latin Rite Catholics, even juridically. Liturgical law is rejected, ignored or paid mere lip service by the modernizers (whom Mosebach calls "late Catholic Puritans", p. 135) who always know more than the Church. Some years ago, reformers replaced the older formalism and legalism with the formlessness decried by Mosebach in his book's title. Formlessness is the enemy. (For an articulate discussion of what he means by the contemporary rebellion against "form", see pp. 104-106; 147). A denial of beauty produces formlessness.

Formlessness is a heresy when it refuses certain revealed truths. They are mediated by material, concrete signs and symbols which are in themselves beautiful. In a word, Mosebach is preaching sacramentalism. Loss of form means loss of content!

Thanks and a tip of the beret to Joseph Fromm, at Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit.

de Brantigny

June 13

Other than being Friday the 13th, today had the following weddings occur on this date:

1525 - Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, against the celibacy rule of the Roman Catholic Church.

1625 - King Charles I marries French princess Henrietta Maria de Bourbon

de Brantigny

The Hope Diamond Mystery

I love mysteries, but I hate to wear jewelry. While I was buying some ruby earings and necklace for my wife Suzanne yesterday, my mind drifted towards the story of this diamond. The history of the stone which was eventually named the Hope diamond began when the French merchant traveller, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, purchased a 112 3/16-carat diamond. This diamond, which was most likely from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India, was somewhat triangular in shape and crudely cut. Its color was described by Tavernier as a "beautiful violet."

Tavernier sold the diamond to King Louis XIV of France in 1668 with 14 other large diamonds and several smaller ones. In 1673 the stone was recut by Sieur Pitau, the court jeweler, resulting in a 67 1/8-carat stone. In the royal inventories, its color was described as an intense steely-blue and the stone became known as the "Blue Diamond of the Crown," or the "French Blue." It was set in gold and suspended on a neck ribbon which the king wore on ceremonial occasions.

King Louis XV, in 1749, had the stone reset by court jeweler Andre Jacquemin, in a piece of ceremonial jewelry for the Order of the Golden Fleece (Toison D'Or). In 1791, after an attempt by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to flee France, the jewels of the French Royal Treasury were turned over to the government and placed in the national archives. During the period of 10th, 11th, 14th, and 16th of September 1792 looters stole the crown jewels including the French Blue diamond.

Out of the 24 million pounds (English money) only 600,000 pounds remained. An investigation was held. However for what ever reason, of the 17 arrested, 5 were acquitted, 7 received short sentences and 5 went to the guillotine. many of the thieves were even allowed to keep some of the diamonds. All this had been done under the guidance and authority of Danton, Minister of Justice.

At the same time, the Duke of Bruswick was fast approaching Valmy in command of the army of Prussia. Brunswick was the preeminent general of Europe. Bruswick had been in converstation with Dumouriez revolutionary commanding General of the French and a delegate from the commune Carra. Carra was chosen by the commune on 17 September, the same date as the theft from the national archives was discovered. Carra was a freemason, and friend of Bruswick. Carra was also a friend of Danton. Carra is known to have spoken to Dumouriez, it is not known if the the Duke of Bruswick had spoken to his friend and fellow freemason.

On 20 September the battle of Valmy was fought. Or as it is sometimes called the canonade of Valmy because no infantry were actually engaged, either by the Prussians under the Duke of Bruswick, or the revolutionary army of Durmouriez. In a battle which should have spelled the extinction of the revolution, rescue and restoration of the French crown, each side bombarded each other for 2 hours and then the Prussians, turned and marched away. When the King of Prussia questioned as to why they had not attacked, the Duke of Bruswick replied, "We will not give battle here, under any circumstances." Two days later an armistice was concluded between Dumouriez and Bruswick. There were only 500 casualties at Valmy.

14 years later the Duke of Bruswick died in battle against the self same French Army at the battle of Auerstadt among his estate was the Blue Diamond of the Golden Fleece, minus a 40 carat fragment. Earlier, in 1795 the Duke's daughter Caroline had married the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV of England. The marriage was unhappy to say the least possibly because the Prince was already married to a Catholic woman among other reasons. Upon his accession to the throne the 40 carat fragment of the Blue Diamond was placed. The marriage between The now King George IV and Caroline was dissolved. She departed England in possession of the 40 Carat Blue Diamond.

Eventually the Blue Diamond found it's way to an American named Hope. It now resides in The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. The other 75 Carat passed to the son of the Duke of Brunswick's son, who upon his overthrow by revolution travelled through out Europe with this and other diamonds in a suitcase. Dying in Geneva in 1871 he bequeathed the Blue Diamond to that city. Geneva sold it a banker named Lyon who died still in possession of it in 1963.

So here is the mystery. DidDanton, through Carra bribe the Duke of Bruswick to throw the invasion of France by Prussia? It appears so. To whom does the Hope Diamond belong, the United States or the descendants of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette from whom it was originally stolen?

An interesting story of how the Diamond was formed and looked, is here.

The Wiki entry on the Hope may be found here.

More information on this subject my be read in The Fatal Friendship, Stanley Loomis, Garden City, NY. 1972

de Brantigny

Concerto per arpa e orchestra op4 nr6 (1); G.F. Händel

Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, Opus 4 number 6, first movement, by
Georg Fredrich Handel

St Anthony's Day

St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)

The gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Anthony’s life. Over and over again God called him to something new in his plan. Every time Anthony responded with renewed zeal and self-sacrificing to serve his Lord Jesus more completely.His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians, giving up a future of wealth and power to be a servant of God. Later, when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the Portuguese city where he was stationed, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest to Jesus himself: those who die for the Good News.

So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. But an illness prevented him from achieving that goal. He went to Italy and was stationed in a small hermitage where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks.

The call of God came again at an ordination where no one was prepared to speak. The humble and obedient Anthony hesitantly accepted the task. The years of searching for Jesus in prayer, of reading sacred Scripture and of serving him in poverty, chastity and obedience had prepared Anthony to allow the Spirit to use his talents. Anthony’s sermon was astounding to those who expected an unprepared speech and knew not the Spirit’s power to give people words.

Recognized as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars. Soon he was called from that post to preach to the heretics, to use his profound knowledge of Scripture and theology to convert and reassure those who had been misled.

Prayer to St Anthony.

O my God, may the pious commemoration of St. Anthony, your Confessor and Doctor, give joy to your Church, that she may ever be strengthened with your spiritual assistance and merit to attain everlasting joy. Through Christ our Lord.

de Brantigny


I am sorry I did not blog yesterday, I was at the VA all day.

de Brantigny


Sir Gawain Against Individualism

Mark Amesse has posted this gem on Durandal

Sir Gawain Against Individualism
By M.D. Amesse

The tales of Arthur and his Table Knights, Charlemagne and his Peers, to the knight these works were not just poems and works of art, though they most assuredly are that, they were and are manuals of chivalry. Thence we see Geoffroi De Charny[1], though inappropriately, appealing to Lancelot in his Book of Chivalry when he defends courtly love. The early authors, not infrequently churchmen, were conscious of the instruction they were giving.

Whether it is art imitating life, or whether it be something more sinister, our modern characters show little of the heroic, and great deal of the weak and ghastly. The modern “hero” has no control over his own passions; he is seen as heroic on account of his ability to accomplish his will by force, his autonomy from all, and his penchant for and success at amorous conquests. The modern “hero” is in fact a weak and vain man. Not so with the stories of old, and it is time for us to recover the great literature and heroes from the past.

Through the magnificent works of literature, you can associate with the great minds, the noble hearts, and shining characters of all history. Saints and heroes of hundreds of years offer you there knowledge and companionship on the great shelves of libraries. Hence one can form in himself the best of all characters.[2]More

Smetana "Prodaná nevěsta

The Bartered Bride overture.
Mariss Jansons: Conductor
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

de Brantigny

Le Prince Louis de Bourbon

Le Prince Louis de Bourbon, duc d'Anjou Chef de la Maison de Bourbon successeur légitime des rois de France, honorera de sa présence la réception donnée à l'occasion de la sortie du livre Le Comte de Chambord dernier roi de France de Daniel de Montplaisir aux éditions Perrin le mercredi 11 juin 2008 à partir de 19 h 30 dans les Salons de la Maison Boucheron 26, Place Vendôme Paris 1er.

Le Prince Louis de Bourbon et La Duchesse Marie-Marguerite

Le Comte de Chambord (1820-1883) fut la figure marquante du royalisme français durant tout le milieu du XIXème siècle. Il mena la vie d'un haut personnage de son temps en relation avec toutes les Cours d'Europe et toutes les élites françaises. L'étude de nouvelles archives qui permettent de mieux cerner sa personnalité, son rôle et son influence est à la base de cette étude.

Daniel de Montplaisir, Conseiller à l'Assemblée nationale et historien, a publié avant cet ouvrage La monarchie aux éditions Le Cavalier bleu, coll. Idées reçues, 2003.

Le Prince Louis de Bourbon, duc d'Anjou, héritier des droits du Comte de Chambord, est depuis la mort de son père le Prince Alphonse de Bourbon (1936-1989) le chef de la maison de Bourbon, successeur des rois de France.


Un descendant de Louis XIV à l'Élysée

Le prince Louis de Bourbon, duc d'Anjou, assistera à la remise des
insignes d'officier de la Légion d'honneur au père de La Morandais,
jeudi prochain, par Nicolas Sarkozy. Un descendant de Louis XIV dans un
palais de la République, le symbole est fort...

Le Figaro 06/06/08

Dieu Sauve Le Roy! Vive Le Roy!
de Brantigny

The Failure of the Distributists

Being a monarchist, it wasn't too long before I realized that the current system of the distribution of means would have to be substantially changed. In those countries which call themselves "consitutional Monarchies (constipational moanarchies)" the system of economics is Capitalism. How" that been working? Perhaps the problem with the Distributionists is that we only challenge those capitalists only with moral reasoning.

The blog "Diligite iustitiam" (The author reads Dante) the blogger whose nom-de-plume is Papabear explores a chapter of Dr. Médaille's book, "The Political Economy of Distributism."

Although this book must be a critique of modern economics, it must start with a critique of modern distributists. I say “modern” distributists because distributism itself is nothing more than the rediscovery of an older view of economics. Until the 16th century, there was no real dispute that economics was a colony of ethics, rooted in the political order and dependent on distributive justice. No philosopher or theologian worthy of the name, beginning with Aristotle, was without his economic commentary. He felt it merely part of his natural function to comment on the real affairs of real men, and the economic and political orders were simply part of that commentary. So very nearly the full weight of human opinion, taken as a whole, comes down on the side of the distributists. While distributism adds to modern economics precisely what it lacks to become to a real science—the science of Political Economy—distributists themselves have often been reluctant to put their case in economic terms. They have often argued from moral terms; they have placed their arguments in the necessary connection between free property and free men; they have argued on agrarian terms, on the natural rhythms of life and social order often disrupted by modern capitalism; they have argued from Catholic teaching and the social encyclicals. But on the whole, they have been unwilling or (I’m afraid) unable to enter the economic debate on purely economic terms. more...

Dieu le Roy,
de Brantigny


The massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane

Two events among many from Second World War have become infamous for Nazis atrocitites perpetrated by the SS. Both happened on the same day two years apart. The massare of Lidice in Bohemia, and Oradour sur-Glane. Although Lidice is remembered by the renaming of towns across the world, Oradour-sur-Glane is only remembered by the French and by we too few historians...

Around 2 p.m. on 10 June 1944, four days after the Allied invasion of Normandy, approximately 150 Waffen-SS soldiers entered the tranquil village of Oradour-sur-Glane in the Limosin region of south central France. For no apparent reason, Hitler's elite troops destroyed every building in this peaceful village and brutally murdered a total of 642 innocent men, women and children, an unexplained tragedy which has gone down in history as one of the worst war crimes committed by the German army in World War II.

On that beautiful Summer day, the defenseless inhabitants of Oradour-sur-Glane were rudely dragged out of their homes, including the sick and the elderly, and ordered to assemble on the Fairgrounds on the pretext of checking their identity papers. After all had been assembled, they were forced to wait in suspense with machine guns pointed at them. Then the women were separated from the men and marched a short distance to the small Catholic Church, carrying infants in their arms or pushing them in baby carriages.

The men were then ordered to line up in three rows and face a wall that bordered on the Fairgrounds. A short time later, they were randomly divided into groups and herded into six buildings: barns, garages, a smithy, and a wine storehouse. Around 4 p.m., a loud explosion was heard which was interpreted by the men to be a signal for the SS soldiers to begin firing their machine guns. Most of the men were wounded in the legs and then burned alive when every building in the village was set on fire at around 5 p.m. By some miracle, 6 of the men managed to escape from one of the burning barns and 5 of them survived. They testified in court about this completely unjustified German barbarity against blameless French civilians.

The Oradour church only had a seating capacity of 350 persons, but 245 frightened women and 207 sobbing children were forced inside at gunpoint while the men were still sitting on the grass of the Fairgrounds, awaiting their fate. The women and children were locked inside the church while the SS soldiers systematically looted all the homes in this prosperous farming village. Then around 4 p.m. a couple of SS soldiers carried a gas bomb inside this holy place and set it off, filling the church with a cloud of noxious black smoke. Their intention had been to asphyxiate the women and children in the House of God, but their plan failed.

As the women and children pressed against the doors, trying to escape and struggling to breathe, SS soldiers then entered the crowded, smoke-filled church and fired hundreds of shots at the hapless victims, while other SS men stood outside ready to machine-gun anyone who attempted to escape. The soldiers fired low inside the church in order to hit the small children. Babies in their prams were blown up by hand grenades, filled with gas, that were tossed into the church. Then brushwood and straw was carried into the stone church and piled on top of the writhing bodies of those that were not yet dead. The church was then set on fire, burning alive the women and babies who had only been wounded by the shots and the grenades. The clamour coming from the church could be heard for a distance of two kilometers, according the Bishop's office report.

The fire inside the church was so intense that the flames leaped up into the bell tower; the bronze church bells melted from the heat of the flames and fell down onto the floor of the church. One SS soldier was accidentally killed by falling debris when the roof of the church steeple collapsed.

Only one woman, a 47-year-old grandmother, escaped from the church. Taking advantage of a cloud of smoke, she hid behind the main altar where she found a ladder that had been left there for the purpose of lighting the candles on the altar. Madame Marguerite Rouffanche, the lone survivor of the massacre in the church, managed to escape by using the ladder to climb up to a broken window behind the altar, then leaping out of the window, which was 9 feet from the ground. Although hit by machine gun fire and wounded 4 times in the legs and once in the shoulder, she was able to crawl to the garden behind the presbytery where she hid among the rows of peas until she was rescued, 24 hours later, at 5 p.m. the next day, and taken to the hospital in Limoges where she was admitted under an assumed name. It took a full year for her to recover from her wounds. In 1953, she testified before a French military tribunal in Bordeaux about the massacre of the women and children in the church.

After the war, the village received a citation from the Nation of France, which reads as follows:

"The methodical rounding up, the deliberate massacre of these 700 men, women and children, the systematic destruction of these 328 buildings, is the archetypal example of a French community that suffered under barbarism. A motiveless crime, an unthinking cruelty which did nothing but lift the patriotic fervour of the French people, stiffen their desire for liberation, and add to, if possible, the dishonour of Germany and the disgust it engendered."

The "fateful day" of the massacre was a Saturday. The villagers were looking forward to the Sunday Mass the next day, which was to be the First Communion day for some of the children. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article the 10th of June was also the date of the German destruction of the town of Lidice, two years earlier, in what is now the Czech Republic. At the trial of the perpetrators in 1953, the survivors of Lidice were invited to witness the proceedings, along with the survivors of Oradour-sur-Glane.

Oui, je me souviens...
de Brantigny

Other photographs of Oradour sur-Glane may be found here...


Ice, ice, baby ice.

A scenic view of a New Foundland house from across the bay. Springtime in New Foundland always brings it's icebergs. Pass that bottle of Screech. My brother-in-law Raymond sent me these today and I thought I would share. God knows how to make the mundane picturesque.

A short video of waves freezing as they wash ashore in New Foundland may be found here...

de Brantigny

Sacred Heart Badge

Elena-Maria reminds us of the Sacred Heart today at Tea at Trianon. We know that her Sacred Heart Badge brought the Reine-Martyre Marie-Antoinette much comfort in her last days.

"We rose hastily," says Madame Royale . . . "My poor brother was asleep; they pulled him roughly from his bed to search it . . . They took from my mother the address of a shop, from my Aunt Élisabeth a stick of sealing-wax, and from me a Sacred Heart of Jesus and a Prayer for France."
That Sacred Heart of Jesus and that Prayer for France were closer bound together than would seem at first; and perhaps she needed all her faith in the one to be able at that moment to pray for the other.

~from The Duchesse d'Angoulême by C-A Sainte-Beuve

my own article my be found here.

Vive Le roy!
de Brantigny

Madeleine de Verchères

I have been doing some articles on the people who founded Canada. Today I enter the story of another heroine Madeleine de Verchères. Like Jehanne courage was required at a young age.

Founding a colony is hard, thankless work; founding a colony amongst a hostile indigenous population is doubly hard. Sometimes it takes a cool head and a bit of courage in order to stave off tragedy. The affair of Madeleine de Verchères is just one such episode. France did not send it's weakest to New France, she sent her best and bravest to establish the colony.

Below is a narrative written in 1716 for the Governor of New France, the Marquis de Beauharnois by Madeleine, in her own words.

October 22-30, 1692

I was five arpents away from the fort of Verchères, belonging to Sieur De Verchères, my father, who was then at Kebek by order of M. Le Chevalier De Callières, governor of Montreal, my mother being also in Montreal. I heard several shots without knowing at whom they were fired I soon saw that the Iroquois were firing at our settlers, who lived about a league and a-half from the fort. One of our servants called out to me:

"Fly, mademoiselle, fly! the Iroquois are upon us!"

I turned instantly and saw some forty-five Iroquois running towards me, and already within pistol shot. Determined to die rather than fall into their hands, I sought safety in flight. I ran towards the fort, commending myself to the Blessed Virgin, and saying to her from the bottom of my heart: "Holy Virgin, mother of my God, you know I have ever honoured and loved you as my dear mother; abandon me not in this hour of danger! I would rather a thousand times perish than fall into the hands of a race that know you not."

Meantime my pursuers, seeing that they were too far off to take me alive before I could enter the fort, and knowing they were near enough to shoot me, stood still in order to discharge their guns at me. I was under fire for quite a time, at any rate I found the time long enough! Forty-five bullets whistling past my ears made the time seem long and the distance from the fort interminable, though I was so near. When within hearing of the fort, I cried out: "To arms! To arms!"

I hoped that someone would come to help me, but it was a vain hope. There were but two soldiers in the fort and these were so overcome by fear that they had sought safety by concealing themselves in the redoubt. Having reached the gates at last, I found there two women lamenting for the loss of their husbands, who had just been killed. I made them enter the fort, and closed the gates myself. I then began to consider how I might save myself and the little party with me, from the hands of the savages. I examined the fort, and found that several of the stakes had fallen, leaving gaps through which it would be easy for the enemy to eater. I gave orders to have the stakes replaced, and heedless of my sex and tender age, I hesitated not to seize one end of the heavy stake and urge my companions to give a hand in raising it. I found by experience that, when God gives us strength, nothing is impossible.

The breaches having been repaired, I betook myself to the redoubt, which served as a guard-house and armoury. I there found two soldiers, one of them lying down and the other holding a burning fuse. I said to the latter:

"What are you going to do with that fuse?"

"I want to set fire to the powder," said he, "and blow up the fort."

"You are a miserable wretch," I said, adding: "Begone, I command you!"

I spoke so firmly that he obeyed forthwith. Thereupon putting aside my hood and donning a soldier's casque, I seized a musket and said to my little brothers:

"Let us fight to the death for our country and for our holy religion. Remember what our father has so often told you, that gentlemen are born but to shed their blood for the service of God and the king!"

Stirred up by my words, my brothers and the two soldiers kept up a steady fire on the foe. I caused the cannon to be fired, not only to strike terror into the Iroquois and show them that we were well able to defend ourselves, since we had a cannon, but also to warn our own soldiers, who were away hunting, to take refuge in some other fort. But alas! what sufferings have to be endured in these awful extremities of distress! Despite the thunder of our guns, I heard unceasingly the cries and lamentations of some unfortunates who had just lost a husband, a brother, a child or a parent. I deemed it prudent, while the firing was still kept up, to represent to the grief- stricken women that their shrieks exposed us to danger, for they could not fail to be heard by the enemy, notwithstanding the noise of the guns and the cannon. I ordered them to be silent and thus avoid giving the impression that we were helpless and hopeless.

While I was speaking thus, I caught sight of a canoe on the river, opposite the fort. It was Sieur Pierre Fontaine with his family, who were about to land at the spot where I had just barely escaped from the Iroquois, the latter being still visible on every hand. The family must fall into the hands of the savages if not promptly succoured.

I asked the two soldiers to go to the landing place, only five arpents away, and protect the family. But seeing by their silence, that they had but little heart for the work, I ordered our servant, Laviolette, to stand sentry at the gate of the fort and keep it open, while I would myself go to the bank of the river, carrying a musket in my hand and wearing my soldier's casque. I left orders on setting out, that if I was killed, they were to shut the gates and continue to defend the fort sturdily. I set out with the heaven-sent thought that the enemy, who were looking on, would imagine that it was a ruse on my part to induce them to approach the fort, in order that our people might make a sortie upon them.

This is precisely what happened, and thus was I enabled to save poor Pierre Fontaine, with his wife and children. When all were landed, I made them march before me as far as the fort, within sight of the enemy. By putting a bold face upon it, I made the Iroquois think there was more danger for them than for us.

They did not know that the whole garrison, and only inhabitants of the fort of Verchères, were my two brothers aged 12 years, our servant, two soldiers, an old man of eighty, and some women and children.

Strengthened by the new recruits from Pierre Fontaine's canoe, I gave orders to continue firing at the enemy. Meantime the sun went down and a fierce northeaster accompanied by snow and hail, ushered in a night of awful severity. The enemy kept us closely invested and instead of being deterred by the dreadful weather, led me to judge by their movements that they purposed assaulting the fort under cover of the darkness.

I gathered all my troops - six persons - together, and spoke to them thus: "God has saved us to-day from the hands of our enemies, but we must be careful not to be caught in their snares to-night. For my part, I want to show you that I am not afraid. I undertake the fort for my share, with an old man of eighty, and a soldier who has never fired a gun. And you, Pierre Fontaine, with La Bonté and Galhet (our two soldiers), will go to the redoubt, with the women and children, as it is the strongest place. If I am taken, never surrender, even though I should be burnt and cut to pieces before your eyes. You have nothing to fear in the redoubt, if you only make some show of fighting."

Thereupon, I posted my two young brothers on two of the bastions, the youth of 80 on a third bastion and myself took charge of the fourth. Each one acted his part to the life. Despite the whistling of the northeast wind, which is a fearful wind in Canada, at this season, and in spite of the snow and hail, the cry of "All's well," was heard at close intervals, echoing and re-echoing from the fort to the redoubt and from the redoubt to the fort.

One would have fancied, to hear us, that the fort was crowded with warriors. And in truth the Iroquois, with all their astuteness and skill in warfare were completely deceived, as they afterwards avowed to M. De Callières, They told him they had held a council with a view to assaulting the fort during the night, but that the increased vigilance of the guard had prevented them from accomplishing their design, especially in view of their losses of the previous day (under the fire maintained by myself and my two brothers).

About an hour after midnight, the sentinel at the gate bastion, cried out:

"Mademoiselle! I hear something!"

I walked towards him, in order to see what it was, and through the darkness, aided by the reflection from the snow, I saw a group of horned cattle, the remnant escaped from the hands of our enemies.

"Let me open the gates for them," said the sentry.

"God forbid," I answered, "you do not know all the cunning of the savages; they are probably marching behind the cattle, covered with the hides of animals, so as to get into the fort, if we are simple enough to open the gates."

I saw danger everywhere, in face of an enemy so keen and crafty as the Iroquois. Nevertheless, after adopting every precaution suggested by prudence under the circumstances, I decided that there would be no risk in opening the gate. I sent for my two brothers, and made them stand by with their muskets loaded and primed, in case of a surprise, and then we let the cattle enter the fort.

At last the day dawned, and the sun in scattering the shades of the night seemed to banish our grief and anxiety. Assuming a joyful countenance I gathered my garrison around me and said to them:

"Since, with God's help, we have got through the past night with all its terrors, we can surely get through other nights by keeping good watch and ward and by firing our cannon hour by hour, so as to get help from Montreal, which is only eight leagues off."

I saw that my address made an impression on their minds. But Marguerite Antoine, the wife of Sieur Pierre Fontaine, being extremely timorous, as is natural to all Parisian women, asked her husband to take her to another fort, representing to him that while she had been lucky enough to escape the fury of the savages the first night, she had no reason to expect a like good fortune for the coming night; that the fort of Verchères was utterly worthless, that there were no men to hold it, and that to remain in it would be to expose one's self to evident danger, or to run the risk of perpetual slavery or of death by slow fire. The poor husband, finding that his wife persisted in her request and that she wanted to go to Fort Contrecoeur, three hours distant from Verchères, said to her: "I will fit you out a good canoe, with a proper sail, and you will have your two children, who are accustomed to handle it. I myself will never abandon the fort of Verchères, so long as Mademoiselle Magdelon (this was the name I went by in my childhood) holds it."

I spoke up firmly then, and told him that I would never abandon the fort; that I would sooner perish than deliver it up to our enemies; that it was of the last importance that the savages should never enter one of our French forts; that they would judge of the rest by the one they got possession of, and that the knowledge thus acquired could not fail to increase their pride and courage.

I can truthfully say that I was on two occasions, for twenty-four hours without rest or food. I did not once enter my father's house. I took up my station on the bastion, and from time to time looked after things on the redoubt. I always wore a smiling and joyful face, and cheered up my little troop with the prospect of speedy assistance.

On the eighth day (for we were eight days in continual alarms, under the eyes of our enemies and exposed to their fury and savage attacks), on the eighth day, I say, M. De La Monnerie, a lieutenant detached from the force under M. De Callières, reached the fort during the night with forty men. Not knowing but the fort had fallen, he made his approach in perfect silence. One of our sentries hearing a noise, cried out: "Qui vive?"

I was dozing at the moment, with my head resting on a table and my musket across my arms.

The sentry told me he heard voices on the water. I forthwith mounted the bastion in order to find out by the tone of the voice whether the party were savages or French. I called out to them:

"Who are you?"

They answered: "French! It is La Monnerie come to your assistance."

I caused the door of the fort to be opened and put a sentry to guard it, and went down to the bank of the river to receive the party. So soon as I saw the officer in command I saluted him, saying:

"Sir, you are welcome, I surrender my arms to you."

"Mademoiselle," he answered, with a courtly air, "they are in good hands."

"Better than you think," I replied.

He inspected the fort and found it in a most satisfactory condition, with a sentry on each bastion. I said to him:

"Sir, kindly relieve my sentries, so that they may take a little rest, for we have not left our posts for the last eight days."

I was forgetting one circumstance which will give an idea of my confidence and tranquility. On the day of the great battle, the Iroquois who were around the fort, were sacking and burning the houses of our settlers and killing their cattle before our eyes, when I called to mind, about one o'clock in the afternoon, that I had three sacks of linen and some quilts outside the fort. I asked my soldiers to take their guns and accompany me while I went out for the clothes; but their silence and sullen looks convinced me of their lack of courage, so I turned to my young brothers and said to them:

"Take your guns and come with me! As to you," I said to the others, "keep your fire against the enemy while I go for my linen."

I made two trips, in sight of the enemy, in the very place where they had so narrowly missed taking me prisoner, a few hours before. They must have suspected some plot under my proceedings, for they did not venture to try to capture me, or even to take my life with their guns. I felt then that when God overrules matters, there is no danger of failure....

This is a simple and truthful account of the adventure which secured for me His Majesty's favour, and which I would not have undertaken to put in writing had not M. Le Marquis De Beauharnais, our governor, whose one care is to protect our colony against the incursions of the barbarians, and to promote therein the glory of France, by rendering the name of her illustrious monarch formidable to all her enemies and respected and loved of all his subjects, induced me to prepare this detailed narrative. Our governor, in his wisdom, is not content with constraining all the tribes by whom we are surrounded to hold us in respect and fear, and keeping the enemies of the state at a distance of four or five hundred leagues. His indefatigable devotion to the most weighty matters is interrupted only by the attention he gives to the more striking events which have occurred since the establishment of this colony, using them on occasion with the goodness and distinction of manner which are natural to him, in order to encourage every subject of His Majesty to seek distinction by performing heroic deeds, whensoever the opportunity presents itself.

*French measurement of length, approximately 58.4713 meters (approximately 191.835 feet).

Seigneurial System of New France.

A high school report on Madeleine de Verchères in French may be found here...

Vive Le Roy.