ST. LOUIS ON FIRE. -- INVASION. -- ST. IGNACE CAPTURED. -- BRÉ-
BEUF AND LALEMANT. -- BATTLE AT ST. LOUIS. -- SAINTE MARIE
THREATENED. -- RENEWED FIGHTING. -- DESPERATE CONFLICT. --
A NIGHT OF SUSPENSE. -- PANIC AMONG THE VICTORS. -- BURN-
ING OF ST. IGNACE. -- RETREAT OF THE IROQUOIS.
MORE than eight months had passed since the catastrophe of St. Joseph. The winter was over, and that dreariest of seasons had come, the churlish forerunner of spring. Around Sainte Marie the forests were gray and bare, and, in the cornfields, the oozy, half-thawed soil, studded with the sodden stalks of the last autumn's harvest, showed itself in patches through the melting snow.
At nine o'clock on the morning of the sixteenth of March, the priests saw a heavy smoke rising over the naked forest towards the southeast, about three miles distant. They looked at each other in dismay. "The Iroquois! They are burning St. Louis!" Flames mingled with the smoke; and, as they stood gazing, two Christian Hurons came, breathless and aghast, from the burning town. Their worst fear