chapter  XVI
8 Pages

The Condition of the Corn which they sowed

THE public rejoicing being finished, Monsieur de Poutrincourt had a care to see his corn, the greatest part whereof he had sowed two leagues off from our fort, up the river l'EquiIle, and the other part about our said fort; and found that which was first sown very forward, but not the last that had been sowed the sixth and tenth days of November, which notwithstanding did grow under the snow during winter, as I have noted it in my sowings. It would be a tedious thing to particularize all that was done amongst us during winter: as to tell how the said Monsieur de Poutrincourt caused many times coals to be made, the forge-coal being spent: that he caused ways to be made through the woods: that we went through the forests by the guide of the com pass; and other things of such nature. But I will relate that, for to keep us merry and cleanly concerning victuals, there was an order established at the table of the said Monsieur de Poutrincourt, which was named" L'Ordre de bon temps" (the order of good time, or the order .of mirth),75 at first invented by Monsieur Champlain, wherein they (who were of the same table) were everyone at his turn and day (which was in fifteen days once) steward and caterer. Now his care was that we should have good and worshipful fare, which was so well observed that (although the bellygods of these parts do often reproach unto us that we had not La Rue aux Ours76 of Paris with us) we have ordinarily had there as good cheer as we could have at La Rue aux Ours, and at far lesser charges. For there was none but (two days before his turn came) was careful to go a-hunting or fishing, and brought some

dainty thing, besides that which was of our ordinary allowance. So well, that at breakfast we never wanted some modicum or other of fish or flesh; and, at the repast of dinners and suppers, yet less; for it was the great banquet, where the Governor of the feast or Steward (whom the savages do call atoaegic), having made the cook to make all things ready, did march with his napkin on his shoulder and his staff of office in his hand, with the collar of the order about his neck, which was worth above four crowns, and all of them of the order following of him, bearing everyone a dish. The like also was at the bringing in of the fruit, but not with so great a train. And at night, after grace was said, he resigned the collar of the order, with a cup of wine, to his successor in that charge, and they drank one to another. I have heretofore said that we had abundance of fowl, as mallards, outards, geese, grey and white, partridges, and other birds: item, of eIans (or srag-flesh), of caribous (or deer), beavers, otters, bears, rabbits, wild-cats (or leopards), nibaches, and such like,77 which the savages did take, wherewith we made as good dishes of meat as in the cook's-shops that be in La Rue aux Ours (Bear Street) and greater store; for of all meats none is so tender as elan's flesh (whereof we made good pasties), nor so delicate as the beaver's tail. Yea, we have had sometimes half a dozen sturgeons at one clap, which the savages did bring to us, part whereof we did take, paying for it, and the rest was permitted them to sell publicly, and to truck it for bread, whereof our people had abundantly. And as for the ordinary meat brought out of France, that was distributed equally, as much to the least as to the biggest. And the like with wine, as we have said. In such actions we had always twenty or thirty savages, men, women, girls, and boys, who beheld us doing our offices. Bread was given them gratis, as we do here to the poor. But as for the Sagamos Membertou

and other Sagamos (when any came to us), they sat at table eating and drinking as we did; and we took pleasure in seeing them, as contrariwise their absence was irksome unto us: as it came to pass three or four times that all went away to the places where they knew that game and venison was, and brought one of our men with them, who lived some six weeks as they did without salt, without bread and without wine, lying on the ground upon skins, and that in snowy weather. Moreover, they had greater care of him (as also of others that have often gone with them) than of themselves, saying that, if they should chance to die, it would be laid to their charges to have killed them. And hereby it may be known that we were not (as it were) pent up in an island as Monsieur de Villegagnon was in Brazil. For this people love Frenchmen, and would all, at a need, arm themselves for to maintain them.