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He then proceeds to recount at length the particulars of his alleged exploration. The story was distrusted from the first. Why had he not told it before? An excess of modesty, a lack of self-assertion, or a too sensitive reluctance to wound the susceptibilities of others, had never been found among his foibles. Yet some, perhaps, might have believed him, had he not in the first edition of his book gratuitously and distinctly declared that he did not make the voyage in question. "We had some designs," he says, "of going down the river Colbert [Mississippi] as far as its mouth; but the tribes that took us prisoners gave us no time to navigate this river both up and down."]
CHAPTER XXX.Maintenons seated with his minister at a small table beside the fire, the king in an arm-chair, the minister on a stool with his bag of papers on a second stool near him. In another arm-chair, at another table, on the other side of the fire, sat the sedate favorite, busy to all appearance with a book or a piece of tapestry, but listening to every thing that passed. She rarely spoke, says Saint-Simon, except when the king asked her opinion, which he often did; and then she answered with great deliberation and gravity. She never or very rarely showed a partiality for any measure, still less for any person; but she had an understanding with the minister, who never dared do otherwise than she wished. Whenever any favor or appointment was in question, the business was settled between them beforehand. She would send to the minister that she wanted to speak to him, and he did not dare bring the matter on the carpet till he had received her orders. Saint-Simon next recounts the subtle methods by which Maintenon and the minister, her tool, beguiled the king to do their will, while never doubting that he was doing his own. He thought, concludes the annalist, that it was he alone who disposed of all appointments; while in reality he disposed of very few indeed, except on the rare occasions when he had taken a fancy to somebody, or when somebody whom he wanted to favor had spoken to him in behalf of somebody else. *
** Dumesnil goes further than this, for he plainly
 The above particulars are drawn from a long letter of Fran?ois Du Peron to his brother, Joseph-Imbert Du Peron, dated at La Conception (Ossossan), April 27, 1639, and from a letter, equally long, of Chaumonot to Father Philippe Nappi, dated Du Pays des Hurons, May 26, 1640. Both are in Carayon. These private letters of the Jesuits, of which many are extant, in some cases written on birch-bark, are invaluable as illustrations of the subject.
be remembered, consisted of five nations, or tribes,theUnder such leaders as Du Lhut, the coureurs de bois built forts of palisades at various points throughout the West and Northwest. They had a post of this sort at Detroit some time before its permanent settlement, as well as others on Lake Superior and in the valley of the Mississippi. They occupied them as long as it suited their purposes, and then abandoned them to the next comer. Michillimackinac was, however, their chief resort; and thence they would set out, two or three together, to roam for hundreds of miles through the endless meshwork of interlocking lakes and rivers which seams the northern wilderness.
Rumor says that prisoners walk into them, but are carried out, feet foremost.