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XVIII. Bragg's gray army, he heard, was in far Chattanooga facing Rosecrans, and all the slim remnants of Johnston's were hurrying to its reinforcement. Mobile was merely garrisoned. Little was there save artillery. Here in New Orleans lay thousands of veterans flushed with their up-river victories, whose best and quickest aid to Rosecrans would be so to move as to turn Bragg's reinforcements back southward. A cavalry dash across the pine-barrens of East Louisiana to cut the railroad along the Mississippi-Alabama line, a quick joint movement of land and naval forces by way of the lakes, sound, and gulf, and Mobile would fall. These things and others, smaller yet more startling, the listener learned of, not as pastime talk, but as a vivid scheme already laid, a mine ready to be sprung if its secret could be kept three days longer; and now he hurried after his four compatriots, his own brain teeming with a counter-plot to convey this secret through the dried-up swamps to the nearest Confederate telegraph station while Anna should bear it (and the recovered treasure) by boat to Mobile, two messengers being so many times surer than one.  The above particulars are gathered from the Relations of 1626 (Lalemant), and 1632, 1633, 1634, 1635 (Le Jeune), but chiefly from a long letter of the Father Superior to the Provincial of the Jesuits at Paris, containing a curiously minute report of the state of the mission. It was sent from Quebec by the returning ships in the summer of 1634, and will be found in Carayon, Premire Mission des Jsuites au Canada, 122. The original is in the archives of the Order at Rome. 53 They reckoned the distance at nine hundred miles; but distance was the least repellent feature of this most arduous journey. Barefoot, lest their shoes should injure the frail vessel, each crouched in his canoe, toiling with unpractised hands to propel it. Before him, week after week, he saw the same lank, unkempt hair, the same tawny shoulders, and long, naked arms ceaselessly plying the paddle. The canoes were soon separated; and, for more than a month, the Frenchmen rarely or never met. Brbeuf spoke a little Huron, and could converse with his escort; but Daniel and Davost were doomed to a silence unbroken save by the occasional unintelligible complaints and menaces of the Indians, of whom many were sick with the epidemic, and all were terrified, desponding, and sullen. Their only food was a pittance of Indian corn, crushed between two stones and mixed with water. The toil was extreme. Brbeuf counted thirty-five portages, where the canoes were lifted from the water, and carried on the shoulders of the voyagers around rapids or cataracts. More than fifty times, besides, they were forced to wade in the raging current, pushing up their empty barks, or dragging them with ropes. Brbeuf tried to do his part; but the boulders and sharp rocks wounded his naked feet, and compelled him to desist. He and his companions bore their share of the baggage across the portages, sometimes a distance of several miles. Four trips, at the least, were required to convey the whole. The way was through the dense forest, incumbered with rocks 54 and logs, tangled with roots and underbrush, damp with perpetual shade, and redolent of decayed leaves and mouldering wood.  The Indians themselves were often spent with fatigue. Brbeuf, a man of iron frame and a nature unconquerably resolute, doubted if his strength would sustain him to the journey's end. He complains that he had no moment to read his breviary, except by the moonlight or the fire, when stretched out to sleep on a bare rock by some savage cataract of the Ottawa, or in a damp nook of the adjacent forest.