Chapter 15: Dollard's Paris secret and The Lake of Two Mountains.

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Battle of the Long Sault

CHAPTER 15: Dollard's secret in Paris and The Lake of Two Mountains.

Dollard sat under a fir tree near the water. All along the river bank there were fir trees and each had its branches cut off about three and a half feet from the ground. They looked like ballet dancers in green costumes. It reflected how the deer fed in winter. Wandering on lakes and rivers, they simply walked up to the trees. The snow was high on the ground, so the branches were accessible. When the deer could not reach higher they moved to the next tree so when one looked you saw that all the trees were cropped evenly.

Sitting under one of these natural awnings, Dollard thought that finally, he was getting his chance. His work as a soldier had won the governor's confidence; he had made friends with some of the most influential people in Montreal. He was considered honorable, often asked to witness agreements in Montreal. He was eager to begin his career in Canada ever since an incident had left stagnant his then current one in France.

Some people in Montreal wondered about his reason for coming to Canada. The usual reasons were land, money, opportunity, and war. Many of the French who went to Montreal were illiterate, but Dollard had been a commissioned officer. Some said he had made a wealthy man's daughter pregnant, some said he had legal difficulties. Many wondered about him because he was not forthcoming. He just quoted the usual reasons.

The incident had occurred one day while Dollard walked through the streets of Paris. A coach pulled up a few yards ahead of him and before the coachman could alight, a lady's foot reached for the pedal to step down. It missed, and she slipped, scraping her shin so that it bled through her stocking. Dollard ran to her assistance. Putting his right hand on her waist and the other on her arm, he helped her rise. Her leg came up between the step and the side of the coach. She gripped the handles on each side of the coach door and pulled herself up, and with Dollard's help, she backed down the step. The coachman was picking up her parcels when a man's voice thundered down on them.

"Here! What are you doing?"

Then a huge, bearded man, dressed in an elegant gray coat appeared from a doorway on the street. He had apparently been awaiting the arrival of his wife. His face was first ashen, then purple as he rushed to the side of the coach. He looked as though he was about to burst.

"What is going on here!

"It's quite all right, Edgard," said the lady soothingly. "This gentleman was just..."

"I can see what this 'gentleman' was doing!" he raged.

Dollard saw that the situation needed some explanation.

"Well, sir, the lady was descending from the carriage and..."

"And you decided to assist her by pawing her.... taking an opportunity ... it's reprehensible...

"I assure you, sir...

"You assure me of nothing. I will not speak of where you had your hand since my wife is present, but...

"Edgard," pleaded his wife, "this man helped me from falling. If it were not for him..."

"If it were not for him and people like him..."

The man seemed to be propelled by repeating other people's words. He interrupted at an apt moment and turned the remark to his advantage. Later, Dollard was to learn that the man was a lawyer.

"If people like this would mind their own business ... but of course, they think it is their business to touch a lady whenever the opportunity presents itself. These young soldiers are all the same."