Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/408

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356
AUDUBON

jargon, about one third of which I understood, and abandoned the rest to a better linguist, should one ever come to the island. She was a plain, good woman, I doubt not, and the wife of an industrious fisherman. We walked through the woods, and followed the road to the church. Who would have thought that on these wild islands, among these impoverished people, we should have found a church; that we should have been suddenly confronted with a handsome, youthful, vigorous, black-haired, black-bearded fellow, in a soutane as black as the Raven's wedding-dress, and with a heart as light as a bird on the wing? Yet we met with both church and priest, and our ears were saluted by the sound of a bell which measures one foot by nine and a half inches in diameter, and weighs thirty pounds; and this bell may be heard a full quarter of a mile. It is a festival day, La Petite Fête de Dien. The chapel was illuminated at six o'clock, and the inhabitants, even from a distance, passed in; among them were many old women, who, staff in hand, had trudged along the country road. Their backs were bent by age and toil, their eyes dimmed by time; they crossed their hands upon their breasts, and knelt before the sacred images in the church with so much simplicity and apparent truth of heart that I could not help exclaiming, "This is indeed religion!" The priest, Père Brunet, is originally from Quebec. These islands belong, or are attached, to Lower Canada; he, however, is under the orders of the Bishop of Halifax. He is a shrewd-looking fellow, and, if I mistake not, has a dash of the devil in him. He told me there were no reptiles on the island, but this was an error; for, while rambling about, Tom Lincoln, Ingalls, and John saw a snake, and I heard Frogs a-piping. He also told me that Black and Red Foxes, and the changeable Hare, with Rats lately imported, were the only quadrupeds to be found, except cows, horses, and mules, of which some had been brought over many years ago, and which had multiplied, but to no great extent. The