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Title: Sketches and Tales Illustrative of Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick - Gleaned from Actual Observation and Experience During a Residence - Of Seven Years in That Interesting Colony
Author: Beavan, Mrs. F.
Language: English
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with thanks to www.canadiana.org,



SKETCHES AND TALES ILLUSTRATIVE OF LIFE IN THE BACKWOODS
OF NEW BRUNSWICK, NORTH AMERICA,


Gleaned From Actual Observation And Experience During A
Residence Of Seven Years In That Interesting Colony.


BY MRS. F. BEAVAN.

    "Son of the Isles! talk not to me,
    Of the old world's pride and luxury!
    Tho' gilded bower and fancy cot,
    Grace not each wild concession lot;
    Tho' rude our hut, and coarse our cheer,
    The wealth the world can give is here."


1845.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  Introductory Remarks
  New Brunswick--by whom settled
  Remarks on State of Morals and Religion
  American Physiognomy
  The Spring Freshets
  Cranberries
  Stream Driving
  Moving a House
  Frolics
  Sugar Making
  Breaking up of the Ice
  First appearances of Spring
  Burning a Fallow
  A Walk through a Settlement
  Log Huts
  Description of a Native New Brunswicker's House
  Blowing the Horn
  A Deserted Lot
  The Bushwacker
  The Postman
  American Newspapers
  Musquitoes
  An Emigrant's House
  Unsuccessful Lumberer
  The Law of Kindness exemplified in the Case of a Criminal
  Schools
  The School Mistress
  The Woods
  Baptists' Association
  A Visit to the House of a Refugee
  The Indian Bride, a Refugee's Story
  Mr. Hanselpecker
  Burning of Miramichi
  The Lost One--a tale of the Early Settlers
  The Mignionette
  Song of the Irish Mourner
  A Winter's Evening Sketch
  The School-mistress's Dream
  Library in the Backwoods
  The Indian Summer
  The Lost Children--a Poem
  Sleigh Riding
  Aurora Borealis
  Getting into the Ice
  Conclusion



These sketches of the Backwoods of New Brunswick are intended to
illustrate the individual and national characteristics of the settlers,
as displayed in the living pictures and legendary tales of the country.
They have been written during the short intervals allowed from domestic
toils, and may, perhaps, have little claim to the attention of the
public, save that of throwing a faint light upon the manners and customs
of that little-known, though interesting, appendage of the British
empire. A long residence in that colony having given me ample means of
knowing and of studying them in all their varying hues of light and
shade. There, in the free wide solitude of that fair land whose youthful
face "seems wearing still the first fresh fragrance of the world," the
fadeless traces of character, peculiar to the dwellers of the olden
climes, are brought into close contrast with the more original feelings
of the "sons of the soil," both white and red, and are there more fully
displayed than in the mass of larger communities. Of political, or depth
of topographical information, the writer claims no share, and much of
deep interest, or moving incident, cannot now be expected in the life of
a settler in the woods. The days when the war-whoop of the Indian was
yelled above the burning ruins of the white man's dwelling are
gone--their memory exists but in the legend of the winter's eve, and
the struggle is now with the elements which form the climate; the
impulse of "going a-head" giving impetus to people's "getting
along"--forcing the woods to bow beneath their sturdy stroke, and fields
to shine with ripened grain, where erst the forest shadows fell; or
floating down the broad and noble streams the tall and stately pine,
taken from the ancient bearded wilderness to bear the might of England's
fame to earth and sea's remotest bounds.

New Brunswick is partly settled by French Acadians from the adjoining
province of Nova Scotia, but these, generally speaking, form a race by
themselves, and mingle little with the others, still retaining the
peculiarities of their nation, although long separated from it--they
like gaiety and amusement more than work, and consequently are rather
poorer than the other inhabitants; but, of course, there are exceptions.
In the winter I have often seen them on their way to market, with loads
of frozen oysters, packed in barrels, and moss cranberries (rather a
chance crop); but they looked happy and comfortable, and went singing
merrily to the ringing of their horse bells. The French were the
pioneers of the province, and often had to do battle with the Indians,
the ancient possessors of the soil: of these last there now remains but
a fast-fading remnant--objects more of pity or laughter than of dread.
Of the other original settlers, or, as they are particularly termed,
"blue noses," they are composed of the refugees and their descendants,
being those persons who, at the separation of England from America,
prefering the British government, sought her protection and came,
another band of pilgrims, and swore fealty to that land from whence
their fathers had so indignantly fled--they are certainly a most
indescribable genus those blue noses--the traces of descent from the
Dutch and French blood of the United States, being mingled with the
independent spirit of the American and the staunch firmness of the
"Britisher," as they delight to call themselves, showing their claim to
it by the most determined hatred of the Yankees, whose language and
features they yet retain: yet these differing qualities blend to form a
shrewd, intelligent, active, and handsome people--intelligence and
strong sense, to a far greater amount than could be found in persons of
the same class in England. A trace, albeit a faint one of the Saxon
serf, still lingers with the English peasant; but the free breeze of
America soon sweeps the shadows from his brow, and his sons all, proudly
take their place as men, knowing that by their own conduct and talents
they may work their way to fortune, or, at least, "rough hew" it,
without dread that the might of custom's icy breath can blight their
fate for lack of birth or fortune. This gives a noble feeling to the
heart and a higher tone to the character, although a sense of the
ridiculous is often attached to this by a native of the old countries,
when it is shown forth by the "squire" yoking his oxen, a major selling
turkies, and the member for the county cradling buckwheat. Yet all this
is productive of good, and opens a path for intellect and genius, and
when a colonel and member of the Legislative Council eats _pancakes and
molasses_ in a friendly way with his poorer neighbours, is it not likely
(as the Persian fable tells us of the pebble lying near the rose, and
thereby imbibing some of its fragrance) that some of the graces and
politeness of the higher circles, to which these gentlemen belong both
by fortune and education, should be imparted, in some degree, to those
with whom they converse. So it undoubtedly does, and the air of
refinement, native to the New Brunswicker, is never so strongly visible
as when contrasted with the new-caught emigrant. Rudeness and vulgarity
in glaring forms one never meets from them; odd and inquisitive ways may
be thought impertinent, and require both time and patience to be rightly
understood.

The state of morals and religion is fast progressing; these, of course,
have all their mainspring from education, for an uneducated people can
never be, rightly speaking, either moral or religious. So New Brunswick
may have the apology for whispered tales that float about, of corn being
reaped and wood being felled on the Sabbath-day, and of sacred rites
being dispensed with. She is yet in her infancy, and when one thinks
that 'tis but sixty years since they first set foot on the shore, where
stood one lonely hut, on the site of the now flourishing city of St.
John, we must know that their physical wants were then so many that but
little attention could be given to the wants of the mind. But now,
thanks to the parental care of Britain, schools and churches are rising
fast throughout the country, and learning is received with an avidity
that marks the active intellect it has to work upon; besides, all these
old stories of failings occurred long before the tide of emigration
caused them to be enlightened by the visitation of the inhabitants of
the gifted climes of the olden world. Well would it be if all those
showed as much desire to avail themselves of their means of
improvement, as a New Brunswicker does of those enjoyed by him. Their
personal appearance differs much from the English. Cooper says, "the
American physiognomy has already its own peculiar cast"--so it has, and
can easily be distinguished--in general they are handsomer than the
emigrants--darker in complexion, but finer in feature and more graceful
in form--not so strong, and fading sooner. Many of the children are
perfectly beautiful, but the cherub beauty changes soon, and the women
particularly look old and withered while yet young in years. Infantine
beauty seems peculiar to the country, for even the children of emigrants
born there are much handsomer than those born at home. Such are some of
the traits of the natives--then comes the wide circle of emigrants, each
(at least the older ones) retaining the peculiarities of their different
countries. Many of them, although better off than they could possibly
expect to be at home, yet keep railing at the country, and thirsting
after the "flesh-pots of Egypt." The Yorkshireman talks of nothing but
the "white cakes and bag puddings" of old England, regardless of the
"pumpkin pies and buckwheat pancakes" of New Brunswick; and one old lady
from Cornwall (where they say the Devil would not go for fear of being
transformed into a pasty) revenges herself on the country by making pies
of everything, from apples and mutton down to parsley, and all for the
memory of England; while, perhaps, were she there, she might be without
a pie. The honest Scotchman is silent upon the subject of "vivers," and
wisely talks not of either "crowdy" or barley meal, but tells of the
time when he was a sitter in the kirk of the Rev. Peter Poundtext,
showing his Christian charity by the most profound contempt as well for
the ordinances of the Church of England as for the "dippings" of the
Baptists. He attends none of them, for he says "he canna thole it," but
when by chance a minister of the kirk comes his way, then you may see
him, with well-saved Sabbath suit, pressing anxiously forward to catch
the droppings of the sanctuary: snows or streams offering no obstacle to
his zeal. The Irishman, too, is there seen all in his glory--one with a
medal on his breast, flinging his shillalagh over his head and shouting
for O'Connell, while another is quaffing to the "pious, glorious, and
immortal memory of King William," inviting those around him to join
together in an Orange Lodge, of which community he certainly shows no
favourable specimen; but by degrees these national feelings and
asperities become more softened, and the second generation know little
of them. The settlement from whence these sketches are drawn, was formed
of a motley mixture of all the different nations--Blue Nose, English,
Scotch, Irish, Welch, and Dutch.

We had been living for some time at a place called _Long Creek_, on the
margin of a broad and rapid stream, which might well have borne the more
dignified appellation of river--the land on its borders was the flat,
rich "_intervale_," so highly prized, formed by alluvial deposits. There
are, I believe, two descriptions of this _intervale_,--one covered with
low small bushes, and, therefore, more easily cleared--the other with a
gigantic growth of the butternut, the oak, and the elm. This where we
lived was of the latter description. A few of the stately monarchs of
the forest yet stood upon the emerald plains, spreading their
magnificent branches to the sunlight, and telling of the kindly soil
that nourished them. Along the fences wild hops festooned themselves in
graceful wreaths of wild luxuriance. A few clumps of cranberry bushes
had also been permitted to remain, notwithstanding the American's
antipathy to trees or bushes is such, that his axe, which he hardly ever
stirs without, is continually flying about him; but this berry, one
amongst the many indigenous to the country, is a useful addition to the
winter store--they grow abundantly, and, after the first frost which
ripens them they have a brilliant appearance, hanging like clustering
rubies, reminding one of the gem-clad boughs of Aladdin. When gathered,
they are hung up in bunches, when they become frozen, keeping good till
the spring. They are used for tarts and jellies, the frost neither
altering their colour nor flavour. Those places are overflown in the
spring; the "freshets" caused by the melting of the snow raising the
waters above their ordinary level. I have often sailed over them, and
'twas strange to see each familiar footpath and strawberry bank far down
beneath the shining waves. As the creek goes onward to the river the
_intervale_ disappears, and the banks become grey and steep, crowned
with the tall and slender stems of the spruce and cedar. New Brunswick
is rich in minerals, and veins of coal and iron abound at this place;
but many years must elapse ere mines are worked to any extent. A few are
in operation at present; but while the pine waves the wealth of her
green plumage to the lumber-man, or the new-cleared ground will yield
its virgin crop to the farmer, the earth must keep her deeper treasures.
In the spring, this creek presents a busy picture. The rivers of New
Brunswick are to her what the railroads are now to other countries: and
richly is she blessed with sparkling waters from the diamond flashings
of the mountain rill to the still calm beauty of the sheltered lake, the
silvery streams, the sweeping river, and the unfrozen width of the
winter harbour of her noble bay. True, much can be done on the icy ways
of winter, but then the home work must be minded, and market attended.
Fire-wood for the year must be _hauled_; the increasing _clearings_ call
for extended fences, and these also must be drawn from the woods on the
snow, so that when the spring opens, the roots and other spare produce
are quickly shipped off (boated would be a better expression) into large
open boats, called market-boats. Another description, called wood-boats,
are used for carrying deals and cord-wood, so called from the stick
forming the measure of a cord, which is the mode of selling it in the
city for fuel. The deals are floated from the saw mills over the
shallows, and piled into the boats. One could sometimes walk across the
river on the quantities of wood floating about. The larger pieces of
wood or timber are floated singly down the stream nearest to the place
whence they are cut. This operation is called stream-driving, and
commences as soon as the rapid melting of the snow and ice has so
swollen the small streams as to give them power to force and carry the
huge pieces of timber, until, at the confluence of the streams, the
water becomes wide enough to enable them to form it into rafts, on which
raft a hut is built and furnished with the necessaries for subsistence.
The gang who have been employed in bringing it so far lay themselves
upon it, and allow it to float down the stream, until the breeze wafts
them to their destination. These are the scenes of the spring, when all
life seems awakening. The tree-buds are bursting their cerements--the
waters are dancing in light and song--and the woods, before all still,
now echo a few wild notes of melody. The blue wing of the halycon goes
dazzlingly past, and tells us his own bright days are come; and the
"_whip-poor-will_" brings his lay so close, that the ear is startled
with the human sound on the soft damp air. The scene is changed when
Sirius is triumphant, telling us of the tropics, and that we live in
rather an inexplicable climate. Beneath his burning influence I have
glided down this creek when no sound was heard on earth or air save the
ripples of the paddle as it rose or fell at the will of the child-like
form which guided the fragile bark. The dwellers on the margin of these
fair waters are as much at home upon them as on land, and the children
in particular are as amphibious as the musk rats which people its banks,
and which scent the air somewhat heavily with what, in a fainter degree,
would be thought perfume. One can hardly recall these dog-star days at
that later season when the pearly moon and brilliant stars shine down
from the deep blue sky on the crusted snows; when fairy crystals are
reflecting their cold bright beams on the glistening ice, while the
sleigh flies merrily along, "with bell and bridle ringing," on the same
path we held in summer with the light canoe; when the breath congeals in
a sheet of ice around the face, and the clearness of the atmosphere
makes respiration difficult. To tell us that we are in the same latitude
with the sunny clime of Boulogne, in France, shows us that America
cannot be measured by the European standard. A quarter of the globe lies
between us; they go to bed four hours before we do, and are fast asleep
while we are wide awake. No one attempts to live in the country
districts without a farm. As the place where we lived had but a house
and one acre of land, none being vacant in that immediate neighbourhood,
and finding firing and pasturage expensive, and furthermore wishing to
raise our own potatoes, and, if we liked, live in _peas_, a lot of two
hundred acres was purchased in the settlement, styled, "_par
excellence_," "the English," (from the first settlers being of that
illustrious nation,) a distance of two miles from where we then lived.
Our house was a good one. We did not like to leave it. Selling was out
of the question: so we e'en resolved to take it with us, wishing, as the
Highland robber did of the haystack, that it had legs to walk. A
substitute for this was found in the universal resource of New
Brunswickers for all their wants, from the cradle to the coffin, "the
tree, the bonny greenwood tree," that gives the young life-blood of its
sweet sap for sugar--and even when consumed by fire its white ashes
yield them soap. I have even seen wooden fire-irons, although they do
not go quite so far as their Yankee neighbours, who, letting alone
wooden clocks, deal besides in _wooden hams_, nutmegs, and cucumber
seeds. Two stout trees were then felled (the meanest would have graced a
lordly park), and hewed with the axe into a pair of gigantic sled
runners. The house was raised from its foundation and placed on these.
Many hands make light work; but, had those hands been all hired
labourers, the expense would have been more than the value of the house,
but 'twas done by what is called a "frolic." When people have a
particular kind of work requiring to be done quickly, and strength to
accomplish it, they invite their neighbours to come, and, if necessary,
bring with them their horses or oxen. Frolics are used for building log
huts, chopping, piling, ploughing, planting, and hoeing. The ladies also
have their particular frolics, such as wool-picking, or cutting out and
making the home-spun woollen clothes for winter. The entertainment given
on such occasions is such as the house people can afford; for the men,
roast mutton, pot pie, pumpkin pie, and rum dough nuts; for the ladies,
tea, some scandal, and plenty of "_sweet cake_," with stewed apple and
custards. There are, at certain seasons, a great many of these frolics,
and the people never grow tired of attending them, knowing that the logs
on their own fallows will disappear all the quicker for it. The house
being now on the runners, thirty yoke of oxen, four abreast, were
fastened to an enormous tongue, or pole, made of an entire tree of ash.
No one can form any idea, until they have heard it, of the noise made in
driving oxen; and, in such an instance as this, of the skill and tact
required in starting them, so that they are all made to pull at once. I
have often seen the drivers, who are constantly shouting, completely
hoarse; and after a day's work so exhausted that they have been unable
to raise the voice. Although the cattle are very docile, and understand
well what is said to them, yet from the number of turnings and twistings
they require to be continually reminded of their duty. Amid, then, all
the noise and bustle made by intimating to such a number whether they
were to "haw" or "gee," the shoutings of the younger parties assembled,
the straining of chains and the creaking of boards, the ponderous pile
was set in motion along the smooth white and marble-like snow road,
whose breadth it entirely filled up. It was a sight one cannot well
forget--to see it move slowly up the hill, as if unwilling to leave the
spot it had been raised on, notwithstanding the merry shouts around, and
the flag they had decked it with streaming so gaily through the green
trees as they bent over it till it reached the site destined for it,
where it looked as much at home as if it were too grave and steady a
thing to take the step it had done. This was in March--we had been
waiting some time for snow, as to move without it would have been a
difficult task; for, plentifully as New Brunswick is supplied with that
commodity, at some seasons much delay and loss is experienced for want
of it--the sleighing cannot be done, and wheel carriages cannot run, the
roads are so rough and broken with the frost--the cold is then more
intense, and the cellars, (the sole store-houses and receptacles of the
chief comforts) without their deep covering of snow, become penetrated
by the frost, and their contents much injured, if not totally
destroyed--this is a calamity that to be known must be experienced--the
potatoes stored here are the chief produce of the farm, at least the
part that is most available for selling, for hay should never go off the
land, and grain is as yet so little raised that 'tis but the old farmers
can do what is called "_bread themselves:_" thus the innovation of the
cellars by the _frost fiend_ is a sad and serious occurrence--of course
a deep bank of earth is thrown up round the house, beneath which, and
generally its whole length and breadth, is the cellar; but the snow over
this is an additional and even necessary defence, and its want is much
felt in many other ways--in quantity, however, it generally makes up for
its temporary absence by being five and six feet deep in April. About
this season the warm sun begins to beam out, and causes the sap to flow
in the slumbering trees--this is the season for sugar-making, which,
although an excellent thing if it can be managed, is not much attended
to, especially in new settlements, and those are generally the best off
for a "_sugar-bush_;" but it occurs at that season when the last of the
winter work must be done--the snow begins to melt on the roads, and the
"saw whet," a small bird of the owl species, makes its appearance, and
tells us, as the natives say, that "_the heart of the winter is
broken_." All that can be done now must be done to lessen the toils of
that season now approaching, from which the settler must not shrink if
he hope to prosper. Sugar-making, then, unless the farmer is strong
handed, is not profitable. A visit to a sugar-camp is an interesting
sight to a stranger--it may, perhaps, be two or three miles through the
woods to where a sufficient number of maple trees may be found close
enough together to render it eligible for sugar-making. All the
different kinds of maple yield a sweet sap, but the "rock maple" is the
species particularly used for sugar, and perhaps a thousand of these
trees near together constitute what is called a _sugar-bush_. Here,
then, a rude hut, but withal picturesque in its appearance, is
erected--it is formed of logs, and covered with broad sheets of birch
bark. For the universal use of this bark I think the Indians must have
given the example. Many beautiful articles are made by them of it, and
to the back settlers it is invaluable. As an inside roofing, it
effectually resists the rain--baskets for gathering the innumerable
tribe of summer berries, and boxes for packing butter are made of
it--calabashes for drinking are formed of it in an instant by the bright
forest stream. Many a New Brunswick belle has worn it for a head-dress
as the dames of more polished lands do frames of French willow; and it
is said the title deeds of many a broad acre in America have been
written on no other parchment than its smooth and vellum-like folds. The
sugar-maker's bark-covered hut contains his bedding and provisions,
consisting of little save the huge round loaf of bread, known as the
"shanty loaf"--his beverage, or substitute for tea, is made of the
leaves of the winter green, or the hemlock boughs which grow beside him,
and his sweetening being handy bye, he wants nothing more. A notch is
cut in the tree, from which the sap flows, and beneath it a piece of
shingle is inserted for a spout to conduct it into troughs, or bark
dishes, placed at the foot of the tree. The cold frosty nights, followed
by warm sunny days, making it run freely, clear as water, and slightly
sweet--from these troughs, or bark dishes, it is collected in pails, by
walking upon the now soft snow, by the aid of snow shoes, and poured
into barrels which stand near the boilers, ready to supply them as the
syrup boils down. When it reaches the consistence required for sugar, it
is poured into moulds of different forms. Visits to these sugar camps
are a great amusement of the young people of the neighbourhood in which
they are, who make parties for that purpose--the great treat is the
candy, made by dashing the boiling syrup on the snow, where it instantly
congeals, transparent and crisp, into sheets. At first the blazing fire
and boiling cauldron look strange, amid the solemn loneliness of the
forest, along whose stately aisles of cathedral-like grandeur the eye
may gaze for days, and see no living thing--the ear hear no sound, save
it may be the tapping of the woodpecker, or the whispering of the wind
as it sighs through the boughs, seeming to mourn with them for the time
when the white man knew them not. But these thoughts pass away when the
proprietor, with his pale intelligent face, shaded by a flapping sun hat
from the glaring snow, presses us hospitably to "take along a junk of
candy, a lump of sugar," or a cup of the syrup. He sees nothing
picturesque or romantic in the whole affair, and only calculates if it
will pay for the time it occupies; at the same time, with the produce of
his labours he is extremely "_clever_," this being the term for generous
or hospitable, and one is sometimes startled at its application,
especially to women; the persons in England, to whom it is applied, are
so unlike the clever women of New Brunswick, those dear old creatures,
who know not the difference between Milton and Dilworth, and whose very
woollen gowns are redolent of all-spice and apples.

Towards the latter part of March and April the breaking up of the ice
goes on gradually--some seasons, however, a sudden storm causes the ice
and snow to disappear rapidly, but generally a succession of soft warm
winds, and days partly sunshine and rain, does it more effectually, and
prevents the heavy freshets in the rivers, which are often destructive,
overflowing the low banks and carrying away with resistless force
whatever buildings may be on them. After the disappearance of the snow,
some time must elapse ere the land be in a fit state for sowing,
consequently fencing, and such like, is now the farmer's employment,
either around the new clearings, or in repairing those which have fallen
or been removed during the winter. This, with attending to the stock,
which at this season require particular care, gives them sufficient
occupation--the sheep, which have long since been wearied of the
"durance vile" which bound them to the hay-rick, may now be seen in
groups on the little isles of emerald green which appear in the white
fields; and the cattle, that for six long weary months have been
ruminating in their stalls, or "chewing the cud of sweet and bitter
fancy" in the barn yards, now begin to extend their perigrinations
towards the woods, browsing with delight on the sweet young buds of the
birch tree. At this season it is, for obvious reasons, desirable that
the "milky mothers" should not stray far from home--many "a staid brow'd
matron" has disappeared in the spring, and, after her summer rambles in
the woods, returned in the "fall" with her full-grown calf by her side,
but many a good cow has gone and been seen no more, but as a white
skeleton gleaming among the green leaves. To prevent these mischances, a
bell is fastened on the leader of the herd, the intention of which is to
guide where they may be found. This bell is worn all summer, as their
pasture is the rich herbage of the forest. It is taken off during the
winter, and its first sounds now tell us, although the days are cold,
and the snow not yet gone, that brighter times are coming. The clear
concerts of the frogs ring loudly out from marsh and lake, and at this
season alone is heard the lay of the wood-robin, and the blackbird. The
green glossy leaves of the winter green, whose bright scarlet berries
look like clusters of coral on the snow, now seem even brighter than
they were--the blue violet rises among the sheltered moss by the old
tree roots, and the broad-leaved adder tongue gives out its orange and
purple blossoms to gladden the brown earth, while the trees are yet all
black and barren, save the various species of pine and spruce, which now
wear a fringe of softer green. The May flowers of New Brunswick seldom
blossom till June, which is rather an Irish thing of them to do, and
although the weather has been fine, and recalls to the memory the balmy
breath of May, yet I have often seen a pearly wreath of new fallen snow,
deck the threshhold on that 'merrie morn'. After the evaporation of the
steaming vapour of spring has gone forward, and the farmer has operated
in the way of ploughing and sowing, on whatever ready-prepared land he
may have for the purpose, the first dry "_spell_" is looked forward to
most anxiously to burn off the land which has been chopped during the
winter--it is bad policy, however, to depend for the whole crop on this
"_spring burn_," as a long continuance of wet weather may prevent it.
The new settler, on his first season, has nothing else to depend upon;
but the older ones chop the land at intervals during the summer, and
clear it off in the autumn, and thus have it ready for the ensuing
spring. Burning a chopping, or _fallow_, as it is called, of twelve or
fourteen acres in extent, is a grand and even awful sight: rushing in
torrents of flame, it rolls with the wind, crackling and roaring through
the brushwood, and often extending beyond the limits assigned it,
catching the dry stems of ancient trees, the growth of the earlier ages
of this continent, which lie in gigantic ruins, half buried in the
rising soil, and which will be themes of speculation to the geologists
of other days--it rushes madly among the standing trees of the woods,
wreathing them to their summits in its wild embrace--they stand at night
like lofty torches, or a park decked out with festal lamps for some
grand gala. After this first burn, a _fallow_ presents a blackened scene
of desolation and confusion, and requires, indeed, a strong arm and a
stout heart to undertake its clearance; the small branches and
brush-wood alone have been burnt, but the large logs or trunks lie all
blackened but unconsumed. These must all be placed in regular piles or
heaps, which are again fired, and burn steadily for a few hours, after
which all traces of the noble forest are gone, save the blackened stumps
and a few white ashes; it is then ready for planting or sowing, with the
assistance of the hoe or harrow.

And now, kind reader, if you have accompanied me thus far, will you have
the kindness to suppose us fixed at last in our habitation--whitewashing,
painting, and scrubbing done, and all the fuss of moving over--our
fallow fenced and filled--the dark green stems of the wheat and oats
standing thick and tall--the buck-wheat spreading its broad leaves, and
the vines of the pumpkins and cucumbers running along the rich soil,
where grows in luxuriance the potatoe, that root, valuable to New
Brunswick

    "As the bread-fruit tree
    To the sunny isles of Owhyhee."

Suppose it, then, a bright and balmy day in the sunny ides of June--the
earth is now in all the luxuriant pride of her summer beauty; for
although the summer is long coming, yet, when it does begin, vegetation
is so rapid that a few short days call it forth in all its loveliness;
nay, the transition is so quick, that I have observed its workings in an
hour's space. In the red sunlight of the morn I have seen the trees with
their wintry sprays and brown leaf-buds all closed--when there fell a
soft and refreshing shower--again the sunbeams lit the sky, and oh! the
glorious change--the maple laughed out with her crimson blossoms and
fair green leaves--the beech-tree unfolded her emerald plumes--the fairy
stems of the aspen and birch were dancing in light, and the stately ash
was enwreathed with her garland of verdant green--the spirit of spring
seemed to have waved o'er them the wand of enchantment. On this bright
day, of which I now speak, all this mighty change had been accomplished,
and earth and air seemed all so delightful, one could hardly imagine
that it could be improved by aught added to or taken from it.

I am now just going to walk along the settlement to visit a friend, and
if you will accompany me, I shall most willingly be your Asmodeus. A
straight and well-worked road runs through the settlement, which is
about nine miles in length. This part of the country is particularly
hilly, and from where we now stand we have a view of its whole extent.
Twenty years ago a blazed track was the only path through the dense
forest to where, at its furthest extremity, one adventurous settler had
dared to raise his _log hut_. The older inhabitants, who lived only on
the margin of the rivers, laughed at the idea of clearing those high
"_back lands_" where there was neither intervale or rivers, but he
heeded them not, and his lonely hut became the nucleus of one of the
most flourishing settlements in New Brunswick. The woods have now
retreated far back from the road, and at this season the grass and grain
are so high that the stumps are all concealed. The scene is very
different to the country landscapes of England. There there are square
smooth fields enclosed with stone walls, neat white palings, or the
hawthorn hedge, scenting the breezes with its balmy "honeysuckle," or
sweet wild rose--song-birds filling the air with melody, and stately
castles, towering o'er the peasant's lowly home, while far as the eye
can reach 'twill rest but on some fair village dome or farm. Here the
worm or zigzag fence runs round the irregularly-shaped clearings, in the
same rustic garb it wore when a denizen of the forest. The wild flowers
here have no perfume, but the raspberries, which grow luxuriantly in the
spaces made by the turnings of the fences, have a sweet smell, and there
is a breath which tells of the rich strawberry far down among the
shadowy grass. The birds during the hot months of summer have no song,
but there are numbers of them, and of the brightest plumage. The fairy
humming-bird, often in size no larger than a bee, gleams through the air
like a flower with wings, and the bald eagle sits majestically on the
old grey pines, which stand like lone monuments of the past, the storms
and the lightnings having ages ago wreaked their worst upon them, and
bereft them of life and limb, yet still they stand, all lofty and
unscathed by the axe or the fire which has laid the younger forest low.
The dwellings, either the primitive log-hut, the first home of the
settler, or the more stately frame-buildings, stand each near the road,
on the verge of its own clearing, which reaches back to where the dark
woods form a back-ground to the scene. These stretch far and wide over
the land, save where appears, amid their density, some lonely settlement
or improvement of adventurous emigrant. Those little spots, of how much
importance to their owners, yet seem as nothing amid the vast forest.
Each dwelling in this country is in itself a theme for study and
interest. Here, on one side, is the home of an English settler--amid all
the bustle and chopping and burning of a new farm, he has found time to
plant a few fruit trees, and has now a flourishing young orchard, and a
garden wherein are herbs of "fragrant smell and spicy taste," to give a
warm relish to the night's repast. For the cultivation of a garden the
natives, unless the more opulent of them, seem to care little; and
outside the dwelling of a blue nose there is little to be seen, unless
it be a cucumber bed among the chips, or a patch of Indian corn. Again,
the Scotch settlers may be known by the taste shown in selecting a
garden spot--a gentle declivity, sloping to a silvery stream, by which
stand a few household trees that he has permitted to remain--beneath
them a seat is placed, and in some cherished spot, watched over with the
tenderest care, is an exotic sprig of heath or broom. About the
Hibernian's dwelling may be a mixture of all these differing tastes,
while perhaps a little of the national ingenuity may be displayed in a
broken window, repaired with an old hat, or an approximation towards
friendliness between the domestic animals and the inmates. With the
interior of these dwellings one is agreeably surprised, they (that is,
generally speaking), appear so clean and comfortable. Outside the logs
are merely hewed flat, and the interstices filled up with moss and clay,
the roof and ends being patched up with boards and bark, or anything to
keep out the cold. They certainly look rough enough, but within they are
ceiled above and around with smooth shining boards; there are no walls
daubed with white-wash, nor floors strewn with vile gritty sand, which
last certainly requires all the sanctity of custom to render it
endurable, but the walls and floors are as bright and clean as the
scrubbing-brush and plenty of soap can make them. This great accessary
to cleanliness, _soap_, is made at home in large quantities, the ashes
of the wood burnt in the fire-place making the "ley," to which is added
the coarser fat and grease of the animals used for home consumption. It
costs nothing but the trouble of making, and the art is little. As
regards cleanliness, the natives have something almost Jewish in their
personal observances of it as well as of their food. The blood of no
animal is ever used, but flows to the earth from whence it sprung, and
the poorest of them perform their ablutions before eating with oriental
exactness; these habits are soon imparted to the emigrants, many of
whom, when they first come out, all softly be it said, are by no means
so nice.

The large bright fires of the log house prevent all possible ideas of
damp; they certainly are most delightful--those magnificent winter fires
of New Brunswick--so brilliant, so cheerful, and so warm--the charred
coals, like a mass of burning rubies, giving out their heat beneath,
while between the huge "_back-log_" and "_fore-stick,_" the bright
flames dance merrily up the wide chimney. I have often heard people
fancy a wood fire as always snapping and sparkling in your face, or
green and smoky, chilling you with its very appearance, but those would
soon change their opinion if they saw a pile of yellow birch and rock
maple laid right "fore and aft" across the bright fire-dogs, the hearth
swept up, and the chips beneath fanned with the broom, they would then
see the union of light and heat in perfection. In one way it is
preferable to coals, that is, while making on the fire you might if you
chose wear white kid gloves without danger of soiling them. Another
comfort to the settler in the back woods is, that every stick you burn
makes one less on the land. Stoves, both for cooking and warming the
houses, have long been used in the United States, and are gradually
coming into common use in New Brunswick. In the cities they are
generally used, where fuel is expensive, as they require less fuel, and
give more heat than open "fire-places;" but the older inhabitants can
hardly be reconciled to them; they prefer the rude old hearth stone,
with its bright light, to the dark stove. I remember once spending the
evening at a house where the younger part of the family, to be
fashionable, had got a new stove placed in the fire-place of "_'tother
room_," which means, what in Scotland is termed "_ben_" the house, and
in England "the _parlour_." This was the first evening of its being put
in operation. I observed the old gentleman (a first-rate specimen of a
blue nose) looked very uncomfortable and fidgetty. For a time he sat
twirling his thumbs in silence, when suddenly a thought seemed to strike
him: he left the room, and shortly after the draught-hole of the stove
grew dark, and a cloud of smoke burst forth from it. The old gentleman
came in, declaring he was almost suffocated, and that it was "all owing
to _that nasty ugly Yankee critter_," the stove. He instantly had it
taken down, and was soon gazing most comfortably on a glorious pile of
burning wood, laid on by himself, with the most scientific regard to the
laws of _levity, concavity_, and _contiguity_ requisite in fire-making;
and by the twinkle of his eye I knew that he was enjoying the ruse he
had employed to get rid of the stove, for he had quietly stopped the
flue. For the mere convenience of the thing, I think a stove is
decidedly preferable. In this country, where people are generally their
own cooks as well as everything else, they learn to know how the most
and the best work can be done with the least time and trouble. With the
stove there is not that roasting of the face and hands, nor confused
jumble of pots and pans, inseparable from a kitchen fire; but upon the
neat little polished thing, upon which there is nothing to be seen but a
few bright covers, you can have the constituents of a New Brunswick
breakfast, "_cod-fish and taters_," for twice laid, fried ham, hot
rolls, and pancakes, all prepared while the tea kettle is boiling, and
experience whilst arranging them no more heat than on a winter morning,
is quite agreeable. In the furniture of these back-wood dwellings there
is nothing rich or costly, yet there is such an air of neatness diffused
over it, and effect brought out, that they always recalled to me the
painted cottage scenes of a theatre. But here is a house at which I have
a call to make, and which will illustrate the "_mènage_" of a New
Brunswicker. Remember, this is not one of the old settlers, who have
overcome all the toil and inconvenience of clearing and building, and
are now enjoying the comforts they have earned, but it is the log-house
of a new farm, around which the stumps yet stand thick and strong, and
where the ringing of the axe is yet heard incessantly. In this working
country people are, in general, like the famous Mrs. Gilpin, who, though
on pleasure bent, had yet a frugal mind, and contrive to make business
and amusement go together; and although I had left home with the
intention of paying a visit, a little business induces me to pause here,
ere I proceed to where I intended; and even here, while arranging this,
I shall enjoy myself as much as though I were sackless of thought or
interest in anything save amusement. The manufacture of the wool raised
on the farm is the most important part of the women's work, and in this
the natives particularly excel. As yet I knew not the mysteries of
colouring brown with butternut bark, nor the proper proportion of _sweet
fern_ and indigo to produce green, so that our wool, on its return from
the carding mill, had been left with this person--lady, "par
courtesie,"--who was a perfect adept in the art, to be spun and wove:
and the business on which I now call is to arrange with her as to its
different proportions and purposes. What for blankets, for clothing, or
for socks and mittens, which all require a different style of
manufacture, and are all items of such importance during the winter
snows. Melancthon Grey, whose most Christian and protestant appellation
was abbreviated into "Lank," was a true-blooded blue nose. His father
had a noble farm of rich intervale on the banks of the river Saint John,
and was well to do in the world. Lank was his eldest son, yet no
heritage was his, save his axe and the arm which swung it. The law of
primogeniture exists not in this country, and the youngest son is
frequently heir to that land on which the older ones have borne the
"heat and burthen of the day," and rendered valuable by their toil,
until each chooses his own portion in the world, by taking unto himself
a wife and a lot of forest land, and thus another hard-won _homestead_
is raised, and sons enough to choose among for heirs. Melancthon Grey
had wedded his cousin, a custom common among the "blue noses," and which
most likely had its origin in the patriarchal days of the earlier
settlers, when the inhabitants were few. Sybèl was a sweet pretty girl,
deficient, as the Americans all are, in those high-toned feelings which
characterise the depth of woman's love in the countries of Europe, yet
made, as they generally do, an affectionate wife, and a fond and doating
mother. Those two names, Sybèl and Melancthon, had a strange sound in
the same household, awaking, as they always did in my dreamy fancy, a
train of such differing memories. Sybèl recalling the days of early
Rome, the haughty Tarquin and his mysterious prophetess, while
Melancthon brought back the "Reformation," and the best and most pious
of its fathers. In the particular of names, the Americans have a decided
"penchant" for those of euphonious and peculiar sound--they are selected
from sacred and profane history, ancient and modern. To them, however,
there is little of meaning attached by those who give them save the
sound. I have known one family reckon among its members a Solon and
Solomon, a Hector and Wellington, a Bathsheba and Lucretia; and the two
famous Johns, Bunyan and Wesley, have many a name-sake. These, in their
full length, are generally saved for holiday terms, and abbreviations
are made for every-day use. In these they are ingenious in finding the
shortest, and _Theodore_, that sweetest of all names, I have heard
curtailed to "_Od_," which seems certainly an odd enough cognomen.
Sybèl's bridal portion consisted of a cow and some sheep--her father's
waggon which brought her home contained some household articles her
mother's care had afforded--Melancthon had provided a barrel of pork and
one of flour, some tea and molasses, that staple commodity in
transatlantic housekeeping. Amongst Sybèl's chattels were a bake-pan and
tea-kettle, and thus they commenced the world. Melancthon has not yet
had time to make a gate at his dwelling, and our only mode of entrance
must be either by climbing the "fence" or unshipping the "_bars_," which
form one pannel, and which are placed so as to be readily removed for
the passage of a carriage, but from us this will require both time and
strength, so at the risk of tearing our dress we will e'en take the
fence. This is a feat which a novice does most clumsily, but which those
who are accustomed to it do most gracefully.

As we approach the dwelling, the housewife's handy-work is displayed in
a pole hung with many a skein of snow white yarn, glistening in the
sunlight. Four years have passed since Sybèl was a bride---her cheek has
lost the bloom of girlhood, and has already assumed the hollow form of
New Brunswick matrons; her dress is home-spun, of her own manufacture,
carded and spun by her own hands, coloured with dye stuffs gathered in
the woods, woven in a pretty plaid, and neatly made by herself. This is
also the clothing of her husband and children; a bright gingham
handkerchief is folded inside her dress, and her rich dark hair is
smoothly braided. In this particular the natives display a good
taste--young women do not enshroud themselves in a cap the day after
their marriage, as if glad to be done with the trouble of dressing their
hair; and unless from sickness a cap is never worn by any one the least
youthful. The custom commences with the children, for infants never have
their heads covered during the day. At first the little bald heads seem
unsightly to a stranger, but when the eye gets accustomed, they look
much better in their own natural beauty then when decked out in lace and
muslin. The plan of keeping the head cool seems to answer well, for New
Brunswick may rival any country in the world for a display of lovely
infants. Sybèl has the delicacy of appearance which the constant in-door
occupation of the women gives them, differing much from the coarse, but
healthier look of those countries where the females assist in field
labours. The "blue nose" considers it "_agin all nature_" for women to
work out, and none are ever seen so employed, unless it be the families
of emigrants before they are naturalised. A flush of delight crimsons
Sybèl's pale face as she welcomes me in, for simple and retired as her
life is, she yet cherishes in her heart all the fondness for company and
visiting inherent to her sex, and loves to enjoy them whenever
opportunity permits. No excuse would be listened to,--I must stay
dinner--my bonnet is untied, and placed upon the bed--Sybèl has churned
in the early cool of the morning, and she has now been working over the
golden produce of her labours with a wooden ladle in a tray. With this
ladle the butter is taken from the churn; the milk beaten out, and
formed by it into rolls--nothing else is employed, for moulds or prints
are not used as in England. She has just finished, and placed it in her
dairy, a little bark-lined recess adjoining the house--and now, on
hospitable thoughts intent, she has caught up her pail and is gone for
water--in this we are most luxurious in New Brunswick, never keeping any
quantity in the house, but using it bright and sparkling as it gushes
from the spring. While she is gone, we will take a pencilling of her
dwelling. A beautiful specimen of still-life, in the shape of a baby six
months old, reposes in its cradle--its eye-lids' long and silky fringes
are lightly folded in sleep on its smooth round cheek. Another older one
is swinging in the rocking chair, playing with some chips and bark, the
only toys of the log house--this single apartment serves the family for
parlour, for kitchen, and hall--the chamber above being merely used as a
store room, or receptacle for lumber--'tis the state bed-room as well,
and on the large airy-looking couch is displayed a splendid coverlet of
home-spun wool, manufactured in a peculiar style, the possessing of
which is the first ambition of a back-wood matron, and for which she
will manoeuvre as much as a city lady would for some _bijou of a
chiffionier_, or centre table--Sybèl has gained her's by saving each
year a portion of the wool, until she had enough to accomplish this sure
mark of industry, and of _getting along in the world_; for if they are
not getting along or improving in circumstances their farms will not
raise sheep enough to yield the wool, and if they are not industrious
the yarn will not be spun for this much-prized coverlet, which, despite
the local importance attached to it, is a useful, handsome and valuable
article in itself. On a large chest beside the bed are laid piles of
snow white blankets, and around the walls are hung the various woollen
garments which form the wardrobe of the family. Bright-hued Indian
baskets stand on top of each other--a pair of beaded moccasins and a
reticule of porcupine quills are hung up for ornament. The pine table
and willow-seated chairs are all made in the "bush," and even into this
far back settlement has penetrated the prowess of the renowned "Sam
Slick, of Slickville." One of his wooden-made yankee clocks is here--its
case displaying "a most elegant picture" of Cupid, in frilled trowsers
and morocco boots, the American prototype of the little god not being
allowed to appear so scantily clad as he is generally represented. A
long rifle is hung over the mantle-piece, and from the beams are
suspended heads of Indian corn for seed; by them, tied in bunches, or in
paper bags, is a complete "hortus siccus" of herbs and roots for
medicinal as well as culinary purposes. Bone set and lobelia, sage and
savory, sarsaparilla, and that mysterous bark which the natives say acts
with a different effect, according as it is peeled up or down the
tree--cat-nip and calamus root for the baby, with dried marigold leaves,
balm of gilead buds, and a hundred others, for compounding the various
receipts they possess, as remedies for every complaint in the world.
Many of these they have learnt from the Indians, whose "ancient medicine
men" are well versed in the healing powers with which the herbs of the
forest and the field are gifted. On a small shelf is laid the library,
which consists but of the bible, a new almanac, and Humbert's Union
Harmony, the province manual of sacred music, of which they are most
particularly fond; but the air of the country is not favourable to song,
and their melody always seemed to me "harmony not understood,"
Meanwhile, for the last half-hour, Sybèl has been busily engaged in
cooking, at which the natives are most expeditious and expert. I know
not how they would be in other countries, but I know that at home they
are first-rate--no other can come up to them in using the materials and
implements they are possessed of. By the accustomed sun-mark on the
floor, which Sybèl prefers to the clock, she sees 'tis now the hungry
hour of noon, and blows the horn for Lank to come to dinner. This horn
is a conk shell, bored at one end, and its sound is heard at a great
distance. At the hours of meal-time it may be heard from house to house,
and, ringing through the echoing woods from distant settlements, telling
us, amid their loneliness, of happy meetings at the household board; but
it comes, too, at times, when its sounds are heralds of trouble and
dismay. I have heard it burst upon the ear at the silent hour of
midnight, and, starting from sleep, seen the sky all crimsoned with the
flames of some far off dwelling, whose inmates thus called for
assistance; but long ere that assistance could be given, the fire would
have done its worst of destruction, perhaps of death. I have also heard
it, when twilight gathered darkly o'er the earth, floating sad and
mournfully since sun-set, from some dwelling in the forest's depths,
whose locality, but for the sounds, would not be known. Some member of
the family has been lost in the woods, and the horn is blown to guide
him homewards through the trackless wilderness. How sweet must those
sounds be to the benighted wanderer, bearing, as they do, the voice of
the heart, and telling of love and affectionate solicitude! But
Melancthon has driven his ox-team to the barn, and now, with the baby on
his lap, which, like all the blue-noses, he loves to nurse, sits down to
table, where we join him. The dinner, as is often the case in the
backwoods in summer, is "a regular pick-up one," that is, composed of
any thing and every thing. People care little for meat in the hot
weather; and, in fact, a new settler generally uses his allowance of
beef and pork during the long winter, so that the provision for summer
depends principally on fish, with which the country is amply supplied,
and the produce of the dairy. The present meal consists of fine trout
from the adjoining stream, potatoes white as snow-balls, and,
pulverising on the dish, some fried ham, and young French beans, which
grow there in the greatest luxuriance, climbing to the top of their
lofty poles till they can grow no higher. I have often thought them
scions of that illustrious bean-stalk owned by Jack in the fairy tale.
We have also a bowl of salad, and home-made vinegar prepared from maple
sap, a large hot cake, made with Indian meal, and milk and dried
blue-berries, an excellent substitute for currants. Buscuits, of snow
white Tenessee flour, raised with cream and sal-a-ratus. This last
article, which is used in place of yeast, or eggs, in compounding light
cakes, can also be made at home from ley of the wood ashes, but it is
mostly bought in town. The quantity of this used is surprising, country
"store-keepers" purchasing barrels to supply their customers. A
raspberry pie, and a splendid dish of strawberries and cream, with tea
(the inseparable beverage of every meal in New Brunswick), forms our
repast; and such would it be in ninety-nine houses out of a hundred of
the class I am describing. Many of the luxuries, and all the necessaries
of life, can be raised at home, by those who are industrious and
spirited enough to take advantage of their resources. Melancthon this
year expects to _bread himself_, as well as grow enough of hay to winter
his stock. Since he commenced farming he purchased what was not raised
on the land by the sale of what was cut off it--that is, by selling ash
timber and cord-wood he procured what he required. This, however, can
only be done where there is water conveyance to market. The
indefatigable Melancthon had four miles to "haul" his marketable wood;
but, when the roads were bad, he was chopping and clearing at the same
time, and when the snow was well beaten down, with his little French
horse and light sled he soon drew it to the place from whence the boats
are loaded in the spring. Dinner being now finished, and after some
conversation, which must of course be of a very local description,
although it is brightened with many a quiet touch of wit, of which the
natives possess a great original fund, and Melancthon, having finished
in the forenoon harrowing in his buck-wheat, has now gone with his axe
to hew at a house-frame which he has in preparation, and Sybèl and I
having settled our affair of warp and woof, it is now time for me to
proceed. She with her large Swiss-looking sun-hat, placed lightly on
her brow, accompanies me to the "bars," and there, having parted with
her, we will now resume our walk. The next lot presents one of those
scenes of desolation and decay which will sometimes appear even in this
land of improvement. What had once been a large clearing is now grown
wild with bushes, the stumps have all sprouted afresh, and the fences
fallen to the ground. The house presents that least-respectable of all
ruins, a deserted _log-building._ There is no solidity of material nor
remains of architectural beauty to make us respect its fate. 'Tis decay
in its plainest and most uninteresting aspect. A few flowers have been
planted near the house, and even now, where the weeds grow dark and
rank, a fair young rose is waving her lovely head. The person who had
gone thus far on in the toils of settling was from England, but the love
of his native land burned all too bright within his heart. In vain he
toiled on those rude fields, and though his own, they seemed not his
home. The spirit voices of the land of his childhood called him back--he
obeyed their spell, and just at the time his labours would have been
repaid, he left, and, with all the money he could procure, paid his
passage to England, where he soon after died in the workhouse of his
parish. Yet even there the thought, perhaps, might soothe him, that
though he filled a pauper's grave, it was in the soil where his fathers
slept. The forsaken lot is still unclaimed, for people prefer the
woodlands to those neglected clearings, from which to procure a crop
infinitely more trouble and expense would be required than in taking it
at once from the forest. Our way is not now so lonely as it was in the
morning. Parties of the male population are frequently passing. One of
the settlers has to-day a "barn-raising frolic," and thither they are
bound. They present a fair specimen of their class in the forest
settlements. The bushwhacker has nothing of the "bog-trotter" in his
appearance, and his step is firm and free, as though he trod on marble
floor. The attire of the younger parties which, although coarse, is
perfectly clean and whole, has nothing rustic in its arrangement. His
kersey trowsers are tightly strapped, and the little low-crowned hat,
with a streaming ribbon, is placed most jauntily on his head. His axe is
carried over one shoulder and his jacket over the other, which in summer
is the common mode of carrying this part of the apparel. Those who have
been _lumbering_ may easily be known among the others, by sporting a
flashy stock or waistcoat, and by being arrayed in "_boughten_" clothes,
procured in town at a most expensive rate in lieu of their _lumber_.
Little respect is, however, paid here to the cloth, (that is,
broadcloth), for it is a sure sign of bad management, and most likely of
debt, for the back settlers to be arrayed in any thing but their own
home-made clothing. The grave and serious demeanour of these people is
as different from the savage scowl of the discontented peasant,
murmuring beneath the burthen of taxation and ill-remunerated toil, as
from the free, light-hearted, and careless laughter, both of which
characterise the rural groups in the fertile fields of England. New
Brunswick is the land of strangers; even the first settlers, the "sons
of the soil," as they claim to be, have hardly yet forgot their exile,
a trace of which character, be he prosperous as he may, still hovers
over the emigrant. Their early home, with its thousand ties of love,
cannot be all forgotten. This feeling descends to their children, losing
its tone of sadness, but throwing a serious shade over the national
character, which, otherwise has nothing gloomy or melancholy in its
composition. There is also a kind of "_looking a-head_" expression of
countenance natural to the country, which is observed even in the
children, who are not the careless frolicsome beings they are in other
countries, but are here more truly miniature men and women, looking, as
the Yankees express it, as if they had all cut their "_eye-teeth_."

But here we are, for the present, arrived at the bourne of our journey.
High on a lofty hill before us stands a large frame building, the place
of worship as well as the principal school-house of the settlement. This
double purpose it is not, however, destined long to be devoted to, for
the building of a church is already in contemplation, and will, no
doubt, soon be proceeded with. The beaming sun is shining with dazzling
radiance on its white walls, telling, in fervent whispers, that a
shelter from the heat will be desirable; so here we will enter, where
the shadowy trees, and bright stream glancing through the garden
flowers, speak of inhabitants from the olden world. A frame building has
been joined to the original log-house, and the dwelling thus made large
enough to accommodate the household. Mrs. Gordon, the lady of the
mansion, and the friend I have come thus far to see, is one of those
persons the brilliance of whose gem-like character has been increased
by the hard rubs of the world. She has experienced much of Time's
chance and change--experiences and trials which deserve relating at
large, and which I shall hereafter give, as they were told me by
herself. Traces of the beauty she once possessed are yet pourtrayed on
her faded but placid brow, and appear in brighter lines on the fair
faces of her daughters. Her husband is from home, and the boys are gone
to the frolic, so we will have a quiet evening to ourselves. The
arrangement of this dwelling, although similar in feature to Sybèl
Gray's, is yet, as it were, different in expression; for instance, there
is not such a display made of the home-manufactured garments, which it
is the pride of her heart to look upon. These, of course, are here in
existence, but are placed in another receptacle; and the place they hold
along the walls of Sybèl's dwelling is here occupied by a book-case, in
which rests a store of treasured volumes; our conversation, too, is of a
different cast from the original, yet often commonplace, remarks of
Melancthon. 'Tis most likely a discussion of the speculative fancies
contained in those sweet brighteners of our solitude, the books; or in
tracing the same lights and shadows of character described in them, as
were occurring in the passages of life around us; or, perhaps, something
leads us to talk of him whose portrait hangs on the wall, the peasant
bard of Scotland, whose heart-strung harp awakens an answering chord in
every breast. The girls--who although born in this country and now
busied in its occupations, one in guiding the revolving wheel, and the
other in braiding a hat of poplar splints--join us in a manner which
tells how well they have been nurtured in the lore of the "mountain
heathery land," the birth-place of their parents; and the younger sister
Helen's silvery voice breathes a soft strain of Scottish melody.

Meanwhile a pleasant interruption occurs in the post-horn winding loud
and clear along the settlement. This is an event of rare occurrence in
the back woods, where the want of a regular post communication is much
felt, not so much in matters of worldly importance in business--these
being generally transacted without the medium of letters--as by those
who have loved ones in other lands. Alas! how often has the heart pined
with the sickness of hope deferred, in waiting in vain for those
long-expected lines, from the distant and the dear, which had been duly
sent in all the spirit of affection, but which had been mislaid in their
wanderings by land or sea; or the post-masters not being particularly
anxious to know where the land of Goshen, the Pembroke, or the Canaan
settlements were situated, had returned them to the dead letter office,
and thus they never reached the persons for whom they were intended, and
who lived on upbraiding those who, believing them to be no longer
dwellers of the earth, cherished their memory with fondest love. Taking
all these things into consideration, a meeting had been called in our
settlement to ascertain if by subscription a sufficient sum could be
raised to pay a weekly courier to assert our rights at the nearest
post-office. This was entered into with spirit, all feeling sensible of
the benefits which it would bring; they who could afford it giving
freely of their abundance, and those who could not pay their
subscription all in money, giving half a dollar cash, and a bushel or
half a bushel of buck wheat or potatoes to the cause; and thus the sum
necessary was soon raised--the courier himself subscribing a dollar
towards his own salary. The thing had gone on very well--communication
with the world seemed to have commenced all at once. Nearly every family
took a different newspaper, and these being exchanged with each other,
afforded plenty of food for the mind, and prevented it brooding too
deeply over the realities of life.

The newspapers in this country, especially those of the United States,
are not merely dull records of parliamentary doings, of bill and debate,
the rising of corn or falling of wheat, but contain besides reviews and
whole copies of the newest and best works of the day, both in science
and lighter literature. We dwellers of the forest had no guineas to give
for new books, and if we had, unless we freighted ships home on purpose,
we could not have procured them. But this was not felt, while for our
few yearly dollars the Albion's pearly paper and clear black type
brought for society around our hearths the laughter-loving "Lorrequer,"
the pathos of the portrait painter, or the soul-winning Christopher
North, whose every word seems written in letters of gold, incrusted with
precious jewels. In the "New World" Froissart gave his chronicles of the
olden time, and the mammoth sheets of "Era" and "The Notion" brought us
the peerless pages of "Zanoni," or led us away with "Dickens" and
"Little Nell," by the green glades and ancient churches of England.
Little did we think while we read with delight of this author's
princely welcome to the American continent, what would be the result of
his visit, he came and passed like the wild Simoom. Soon after his
return to England an edict came, forbidding in the British provinces of
America publications containing reprints of English works. Of the deeper
matters connected with the copyright question I know not, but this I do
know, that our long winter nights seemed doubly long and drear, with
nothing to read but dark details of horrid murder, or deadly doings of
Rebeccaite and Chartist. As yet, however, this time was not come, and
each passing week saw us now enlightened with the rays of some new
bright gem of genius.

The postman blew his horn as he passed each dwelling for whose inmates
he had letters or papers; and for those whose address lay beyond his
route, places of depository were appointed in the settlement. Mrs.
Gordon's was one of these, from whence they were duly despatched by the
first chance to their destinations on the Nashwaak, Waterloo, or Windsor
clearings. Although our Mercury would duly have signalised his approach
as he passed our own dwelling, I possessed myself of my treasure
here--my share of the priceless wealth of that undying intellect which
is allowed to pour its brilliant flood, freely and untramelled, to the
lowliest homes of the American world. Having glanced along the lines and
seen that our first favourites had visited us this week, our tea seemed
to bear with it an added fragrance; and this, although the walls around
us were of logs, we had in fairy cups of ancient porcelain from the
distant land of Scotland. And now the sun's broad disc having vanished
behind the lofty pines, and the young moon rising in the blue heavens,
tell us our short twilight will soon be gone, and that if we would reach
home before the stars look out upon our path, 'tis time we were on our
way.

The cow bells are ringing loud and clear as the herd winds slowly
homeward, looking most luxuriantly comfortable, and bearing with them
the spicy scent of the cedar-woods in which they have been wandering,
and which they seem to leave so unwillingly. Philoprogenitiveness, or a
deep feeling of motherly affection, being the only thing that does
voluntarily induce them to come home. To encourage this desirable
feeling the leader of the herd, the lady of the bell, is allowed to
suckle her calf every evening. For this happy task she leaves all the
delights of her pasture, plodding regularly homeward at the hour of
sunset, the rest all meekly following in her train.

The evening is dry and clear, with no trace of rain in the atmosphere,
or we would be surrounded with clouds of those _awful critturs_, the
musquitoes, which the cattle bring home. These are often a dreadful
annoyance, nothing but a thick cloud of smoke dispelling them, and that
only for a time. At night they are particularly a nuisance, buzzing and
stinging unceasingly through the silent hours, forbidding all thought of
sleep till the dawn shows them clinging to the walls and windows,
wearied and bloated with their night's amusement. Those who are
sufficiently acclimated suffer comparatively little--'tis the rich blood
of the stranger that the musquito loves, and emigrants, on the first
season, especially in low marshy situations, suffer extremely from their
attacks.

Mary Gordon having now gone with her pails to meet her milky charge,
while her mother arranges the dairy within, Helen comes to set me on my
way. Again we meet the frolickers returning rather earlier than is usual
on such occasions; but there was sickness at the dwelling where they had
been, which caused them to disperse soon after they had accomplished the
"raising." Kindly greetings passed between us; for here, in this little
world of ours, we have hardly room for the petty distinctions and
pettier strifes of larger communities. We are all well acquainted with
each other, and know each other's business and concerns as well as our
own. There is no concealment of affairs. This, however, saves a vast
deal of trouble--people are much easier where there is no false
appearance to be kept up; and in New Brunswick there is less of "behind
the scenes" than in most places. Many a bright eye glances under Helen's
shadowy hat: and, see, one gallant axe-man lingers behind the others--he
pauses now by the old birch tree--I know he is her lover, and in charity
to their young hearts I must allow her to turn, while we proceed onward.

The fire-flies now gleam through the air like living diamonds, and the
evening star has opened her golden eye in the rich deep azure of the
sky. Our home stands before us, with its white walls thrown in strong
relief by the dark woods behind it: and here, on this adjoining lot,
lives our neighbour who is ill--he who to-day has had the "barn
raising." It would be but friendly to call and enquire for him. The
house is one of the best description of log buildings. The ground floor
contains two large apartments and a spacious porch, which extends along
the front, has the dairy in one end and a workshop in the other, that
most useful adjunct to a New Brunswick dwelling, where the settlers are
often their own blacksmiths and carpenters, as well as splint pounders
and shingle weavers. The walls are raised high enough to make the
chamber sufficiently lofty, and the roof is neatly shingled. As we
enter, an air of that undefinable English ideality--comfort--seems
diffused, as it were, in the atmosphere of the place. There is a look of
retirement about the beds, which stand in dim recesses of the inner
apartment, with their old but well-cared-for chintz hangings, differing
from the free uncurtained openness of the blue nose settler's couch; a
publicity of sleeping arrangements being common all over America, and
much disliked by persons from the old countries, a bed being a prominent
piece of furniture in the sitting and keeping rooms of even those
aristocratic personages, the first settlers. The large solid-looking
dresser, which extends nearly along one side of the house, differs too
from the light shelf of the blue nose, which rests no more crockery than
is absolutely necessary. Here there is a wide array of dishes, large and
small--old China tea-cups, wisely kept for show,--little funny mugs,
curious pitchers, mysterious covered dishes, unearthly salad bowls, and
a host of superannuated tea-pots. Above them is ranged a bright copper
kettle, a large silvery pewter basin, and glittering brazen
candlesticks, all brought from their English home, and borne through
toil and danger, like sacred relics, from the shrine of the household
gods. The light of the fire is reflected on the polished surface of a
venerable oaken bureau, whose unwieldy form has also come o'er the deep
sea, being borne along the creeks and rivers of New Brunswick, and
dragged through forest paths to its present resting place. In the course
of its wanderings by earth and ocean it has become minus a foot, the
loss of which is supplied by an unsmoothed block of pine, the two
forming not an inapt illustration of their different countries. The
polished oaken symbol of England receiving assistance in its hour of
need from the rude but hardy pine emblem of New Brunswick. The room is
cool and quiet; the young people being outside with a few who have
lingered after the frolic. By the open window, around which a hop vine
is enwreathed, in memory of the rose-bound casements of England, and
through which comes a faint perfume from the balm of gilead trees, sits
the invalid, seemingly refreshed with the pleasant things around him. He
has been suffering from rheumatic fever caught in the changeful days of
the early spring, when the moist air penetrates through nerve and bone,
and when persons having the least tendency to rheumatism, or pulmonary
complaints, cannot use too much caution. At no other season is New
Brunswick unhealthy; for the winter, although cold, is dry and bracing.
The hot months are not so much so as to be injurious, and the bland
breezes of the fall and Indian summer are the most delightful that can
be imagined.

Stephen Morris had come from England, like the generality of New
Brunswick settlers, but lightly burthened with worldly gear--but gifted
with the unpurchasable treasures of a strong arm and willing spirit,
that is, a spirit resolved to do its best, and not be overcome with the
difficulties to be encountered in the struggle of subduing the mighty
wilderness. While he felled the forest, his wife, accustomed in her own
country to assist in all field labours, toiled with him in piling and
fencing as well as in planting and reaping. Even their young children
learned to know that every twig they lifted off the ground left space
for a blade of grass or grain; beginning with this, their assistance
soon became valuable, and the labour of their hands in the field soon
lightened the burthen of feeding their lips. Slowly and surely had
Stephen gone onward, keeping to his farm and minding nothing else,
unlike many of the emigrants, who, while professing to be farmers, yet
engage in other pursuits, particularly lumbering, which, although the
mainspring of the province and source of splendid wealth to many of the
inhabitants, has yet been the bane of others. Allured by the visions of
speedy riches it promises, they have neglected their farms, and engaged
in its glittering speculations with the most ardent hopes, which have
far oftener been blighted than realised. A sudden change in trade, or an
unexpected storm in the spring, having bereft them of all, and left them
overwhelmed in debt, with neglected and ruined lands, with broken
constitutions, (for the lumberer's life is most trying to the health,)
and often too with broken hearts, and minds all unfitted for the task of
renovating their fortune. Their life afterwards is a bitter struggle to
get above water; that tyrant monster, their heavy debt, still chaining
them downwards, devouring with insatiate greed their whole means, for
interest or bond, until it be discharged; a hard matter for them to
accomplish--so hard that few do it, and the ruined lumberer sinks, to the
grave with its burthen yet upon him. Stephen had kept aloof from this,
and now surveyed,

    "----With pride beyond a monarch's spoil,
    His honest arm's own subjugated toil."

A neighbour of his had come out from England at the same time he had
done and commenced farming an adjoining lot, but he soon wearied of the
slow returns of his land and commenced lumbering. For a time he went on
dashingly, the merchants in town supplying him freely with provisions
and everything necessary to carry on his timber-making--whilst Stephen
worked hard and lived poor, he enjoyed long intervals of ease and fared
luxuriantly. But a change came: one spring the water was too low to get
his timber down, the next the freshet burst at once and swept away the
labour of two seasons, and ere he got another raft to market, the price
had fallen so low that it was nearly valueless. He returned dispirited
to his home and tried to conceal himself from his creditors, the
merchants whom the sale of his timber was to have repaid for the
supplies they had advanced; but his neglected fields showed now but a
crop of bushes and wild laurel, or an ill-piled clearing, with a scanty
crop of buck-wheat; while Stephen Morris looked from his window on fair
broad fields from whence the stumps had all disappeared, where the long
grass waved rich with clover-flowers between, and many a tract that
promised to shine with autumn wreaths of golden grain; leaflets and
buds were close and thick on the orchard he had planted, and where erst
the wild-bush stood now bloomed the lovely rose. On a green hill before
him stood the lofty frame of the building this evening raised, with all
its white tracery of beam and rafter, a new but welcome feature in the
landscape. A frame barn is the first ambition of the settler's heart;
without one much loss and inconvenience is felt. Hay and grain are not
stacked out as in other countries, but are all placed within the shelter
of the barn; these containing, as they often do, the whole hay crop,
besides the grain and accommodation for the cattle, must, of course, be
of large dimensions, and are consequently expensive. With this Stephen
had proceeded surely and cautiously as was his wont. In the winter he
had hauled logs off his own land to the saw-mill to be made into boards.
He cut down with much trouble some of the ancient pines which long stood
in the centre of his best field, and from their giant trunks cut
well-seasoned blocks, with which he made shingles in the stormy days of
winter. Thus by degrees he provided all the materials for enclosing and
roofing, and was not obliged, as many are, to let the frame, (which is
the easiest part provided, and which they often raise without seeming
even to think how they are to be enclosed,) stand for years, like a huge
grey skeleton, with timbers all warped and blackened by the weather.
Steadily as Stephen had gone on, yet as the completion of his object
became nearer he grew impatient of its accomplishment, and determined to
have his barn ready for the reception of his hay harvest; and for this
purpose he worked on, hewing at the frame in the spring, reckless of the
penetrating rain, the chill wind, or the damp earth beneath, and thus,
by neglect of the natural laws, he was thrown upon the couch of
sickness, where he lay long. This evening, however, he was better, and
sat gazing with pleased aspect on the scene, and then I saw his eyes
turn from the fair green hill and its new erection to where, in the
hollow of a low and marshy spot of land, stood the moss-grown logs and
sunken walls of the first shelter he had raised for his cattle--his old
log barn, which stood on the worst land of the farm, but when it was
raised the woods around were dark and drear, and he knew not the good
soil from the bad; yet now he thought how, in this unseemly place, he
had stored his crop and toiled for years with unfailing health, where
his arm retained its nerve, unstrung neither by summer's heat nor
winter's cold, when the voice of his son, a tall stripling, who had
managed affairs during his illness, recalled him to the present, which
certainly to him I thought might wear no unfavourable aspect. He had
literally caused the wilderness to blossom as the rose, and saw rising
around him not a degenerate but an improving race, gifted far beyond
himself with bright mental endowments, the spontaneous growth of the
land they lived in, and which never flourish more fairly than when
engrafted on the old English stem; that is, the children of emigrants,
or the Anglo-bluenoses, have the chance of uniting the high-aspiring
impulses of young America to the more solid principles of the olden
world, thus forming a decided improvement in the native race of both
countries. But Stephen has too much of human nature in him not to
prefer the past, and I saw that the sunbeams of memory rested brightly
on the old log barn, obscuring the privations and years of bitter toil
and anxiety connected with it, and dimming his eyes to ought else,
however better; so that I left him to his meditations, and after a step
of sixty rods, the breadth of the lot, I am once more at home, where, as
it is now dark, we will close the door and shut out the world, to this
old country prejudice has made us attach a small wooden button inside,
the only fastening, except the latch, I believe, in the settlement.
Bolts and bars being all unused, the business of locksmith is quite at a
discount in the back woods, where all idea of a midnight robbery is
unknown; and yet, if rumour was true, there were persons not far from us
to whom the trade of stealing would not be new. One there was of whom it
was said, that for this reason alone was New Brunswick graced with his
presence. He had in his own country been taken in a daring act of
robbery, and conveyed in the dark of night to be lodged in gaol. The
officers were kind-hearted, and, having secured his hands, allowed his
wife to accompany him, themselves walking a short distance apart. At
first the lady kept up a most animated conversation, apparently
upbraiding the culprit for his conduct. He answered her, but by degrees
he seemed so overcome by her remarks that he spoke no more, and she had
all the discourse to herself. Having arrived at their destination, the
officers approached their prisoner, but he was gone, the wife alone
remained. The darkness of the night bad favoured his escape while she
feigned to be addressing him, and, having thus defeated the law, joined
her spouse, and made the best of their way to America, where the
workings of the law of kindness were exemplified in his case. His
character being there generally unknown, he was treated and trusted as
an honest man, and he broke not his faith. The better feelings were
called into action; conscientiousness, though long subdued, arose and
breathed through his spirit the golden rule of right.

The days in America are never so short in winter as they are in Europe,
nor are they so long in summer, and there is always an hour or two of
the cool night to be enjoyed ere the hour of rest comes. Our evening
lamp is already lighted, and our circle increased by the presence of the
school-mistress.

Although in this country the local government has done much towards the
advancement of schools, yet much improvement requires to be made--not in
their simple internal arrangements, for which there is no regular
system, but in the more important article of remuneration. The
government allows twenty pounds a year to each school; the proprietors,
or those persons who send their children to the school, agreeing to pay
the teacher a like sum at least (though in some of the older settled
parts of the country from forty to fifty pounds is paid by them); as
part payment of this sum providing him with board, &c., &c., and this
alone is the evil part of the scheme; this boarding in turn with the
proprietors, who keep him a week or a month in proportion to the number
of the pupils they send, and to make up their share of the year, for
which term he is hired, as his engagement is termed--an expression how
derogatory to the dignity of many a learned dominie? From this cause the
teacher has no home, no depository for his books, which are lost in
wandering from place to place; and if he had them, no chance for study:
for the log-house filled with children and wheels is no fit abode for a
student. This boarding system operates badly in many ways. The nature of
the blue nose is still leavened with that dislike of coercive measures
inherited from their former countrymen, the Yankees. It extends to their
children, and each little black-eyed urchin, on his wooden bench and
dog-eared dilworth in hand, must be treated by his teacher as a free
enlightened citizen. But even without this, where is there in any
country a schoolmaster daring enough to use a ratan, or birch rod, to
that unruly darling from whose mother he knows his evening reception
will be sour looks, and tea tinged with sky-blue, but would not rather
let the boy make fox-and-geese instead of, ciphering, say his lesson
when he pleased, and have cream and short-cake for his portion. Another
disagreeable thing is, that fond and anxious as they are for
"_larning_," they have not yet enough of it to appreciate the value of
education. The schoolmaster is not yet regarded as the mightiest moral
agent of the earth; the true vicegerent of the spirit from above, by
which alone the soul is truly taught to plume her wings and shape her
course for Heaven. And in this country, where operative power is certain
wealth, he who can neither wield axe or scythe may be looked on with a
slight shade of contempt: but this only arises from constant
association with the people; for were the schoolmaster more his own
master, and less under their surveillance by having a dwelling of his
own, his situation otherwise would be comfortable and lucrative.

The state of school affairs begins to attract much notice from the
legislature, and no doubt the present system of school government will
soon be improved. A board of education is appointed in each county,
whose office it is to examine candidates for the office of parish school
teacher, and report to the local governor as to their competency,
previous to his conferring the required license. Trustees are also
appointed in the several parishes, who manage the other business
connected with them, such as regulating their number, placing masters
where they are most wanted, and receiving and apportioning the sum
appropriated to their support, or encouragement, by the government. Mr.
B. held this situation, and frequent were the visits of the lords of the
birch to our domicile, either asking redress for fancied wrongs, or to
discuss disputed points of school discipline.

The female teachers are situated much the same, save that many of them,
preferring a quiet home to gain, pay for their board out of their cash
salary, and give up that which they could otherwise claim from the
people. This, however, is by no means general, and the present mistress
has come to stay her term with us, although having no occasion for the
school, yet wishing to hasten the march of intellect through the back
woods, we paid towards it, and boarded the teacher, as if we had. Grace
Marley, who held this situation now, was a sweet wild-flower from the
Emerald Isle, with spirits bright and changeful as the dewy skies of
her own loved Erin. Her graceful but fully rounded figure shows none of
those anatomical corners described by Captain Hamilton in the appearance
of the native American ladies. Her dark eye speaks with wondrous truth
the promptings of her heart, and her brown hair lies like folds of satin
on her cheek, from which the air of America has not yet drank all the
rose light. From her fairy ear of waxen white hangs a golden pendant,
the treasured gift of one far distant. Before her, on the table, lies
_Chambers' Journal_, which always found its way a welcome visitant to
our settlement, soon after the spring fleet had borne it over the
Atlantic. She has been reading one of Mrs. Hall's stories, which, good
as they are, are yet little admired by the Irish in America. The darker
hues which she pourtrays in the picture of their native land have become
to them all softened in the distance; and by them is their country
cherished there, as being indeed that beautiful ideal "first flower of
the earth, and first gem of the sea." A slight indignant flush, raised
by what she had been reading, was on her brow as I entered; but this
gave place to the heart-crushing look of disappointment I had often seen
her wear, as I replied in the negative to her question, if there was a
letter for her. From where, or whom she expected this letter I knew not,
yet as still week after week passed away and brought her none, the same
shade had passed over her face.

And now, reader, as the night wanes apace, and you no doubt are wearied
with this day's journey through our settlement, I shall wish to you

    "A fair good night, with easy dreams and slumbers light,"

while I, who like most authors am not at all inclined to sleep over my
own writing, will sketch what I know of the history of Grace Marley,
whose memory forms a sweet episode in my transatlantic experiences.

Grace had been left an orphan and unprovided for in her own country,
when a relation, who had been prosperous here, wrote for her to come
out. She did come, and at first seemed happy, but 'twas soon evident her
heart was not here, and she sighed to return to her native land, where
the streams were brighter, and the grass grew greener than elsewhere.
Her friends, vexed at her obstinacy in determining so firmly to return,
would give her no assistance for this purpose, fancying that she felt
but that nostalgic sickness felt by all on their first arrival in
America, and that like others she would become reconciled in time. But
she was firm in her resolve, and to procure funds wherewithal to return
she commenced teaching a school, for which her education had well
qualified her. It was not likely that such a girl as Grace would, in
this land of marrying and giving in marriage, be without fonder
solicitations to induce her to remain, and a tall blue nose, rejoicing
in the appellation of Leonidas van Wort, and lord of six hundred noble
acres, was heard to declare one fall, that she, for an Irish girl, was
"raal downright good-looking," and guessed he knew which way "his tracks
would lay when snow came." Snow did come, and Leonidas, arrayed in his
best "go-to-meeting style," geared up his sleigh, and what with bear
skins and bells, fancying himself and appurtenances enough to charm the
heart of any maid or matron in the back woods, set off to spark Grace
Marley. "Sparking," the term used in New Brunswick for courtship, now
that the old fashion of "bundling" is gone out, occupies much of the
attention (as, indeed, where does it not?) of young folks. They, for
this purpose, take Moore's plan of lengthening their days, by "stealing
a few hours from the night," and generally breathe out their tender
vows, not beneath the "milk-white thorn," but by the soft dim light of
the birch-wood fire; the older members of the family retiring and
leaving the lovers to their own sweet society.

Although it has been sometimes observed that mothers who, in their own
young days, have been versed in this custom, insist most pertinaciously
in sitting out the wooer, in spite of insinuations as to the pleasure
their absence would occasion, still keep their easy chair, with
unwearied eyes and fingers busied in their everlasting knitting. Grace's
beau was most hospitably received by her aunt and uncle, who considering
him quite an "eligible," wished to further him all in their power, soon
left the pair to themselves, telling Grace that it would be the height
of rudeness not to follow the custom of the country. She politely waited
for Leonidas to commence the conversation, but he, unused to her
proceeding, could say nothing, not even ask her if she liked maple
sugar; and so, being unused to deep study, while thinking how to begin,
fell asleep, a consummation Grace was most delighted to witness. By the
fire stood the small American churn, which, as is often the case in cold
weather, had been placed there to be in readiness for the morrow; this
Grace, with something of the quiet humour which made Jeanie Deans treat
Dumbie-dykes to fried peats in place of collops, she lifted and placed
it by the sleeper's side, throwing over it a white cloth, which fell
like folds of drapery, and softly retired to rest herself. Her uncle, on
coming into the room at the dawn of morning, beheld the great Leonidas
still sleeping, and his arm most lovingly encircling the churn dash,
which no doubt in his dreams he mistook for the taper waist of Grace,
when the loud laugh of the old man and his "helps," who had now risen,
roused him. He got up and looked round him, but, with the Spartan
firmness of his name-sake, said nothing, but went right off and married
his cousin Prudence Prague, who could do all the sparking talk herself.

Many another lover since then had Grace--many a mathematical
schoolmaster, to whom Euclid was no longer a mystery, became, for her
sake, puzzled in the problem of love, and earnestly besought her to
solve the question he gave, with the simple statement of yes. But still
her heart was adamant, and still she was unwon, and sighed more deeply
for her island home. She disliked the country, and its customs more. Her
religion was Roman catholic, and she cherished all the tenets of her
faith with the deepest devotion. I remember calling on her one Sunday
morning and finding her alone in her solitary dwelling; her relations,
themselves catholics, having gone, and half the settlement with them, to
meeting, but she preferred her solitude rather than join in their
unconsecrated worship. This want of their own peculiar means of grace is
much felt by religiously inclined persons in the forest settlements, and
this made her wish more earnestly for the closing of the year to come,
when, with the produce of her school labours, she would be enabled to
leave.

Such was, up to this period, what I knew of Grace's character and
history. I was extremely fond of her society and conversation, as she,
coming from that land of which 'tis said, her every word, her wildest
thought, is poetry, had, in her imaginings, a twilight tinge of blue,
which made her remarks truly delightful. She had become a little more
softened in her prejudice, especially as she expected soon to leave the
country, so that one day during her stay with us, in this same bright
summer weather, I induced her to accompany me to a great baptist
meeting, to be held in a river settlement some four or five miles off.
On reaching the creek, the rest of our party, who had acquired the true
American antipathy to pedestrianism, proceeded in canoes and punts to
the place, but we preferred a walk to the dazzling glare of the sunshine
on the water, so took not the highway, but a path through the forest,
called the blazed track, from a chip or slice being made on the trees to
indicate its line, and which you must keep sight of, or else go astray
in the leafy labyrinth.

When I first trod the woods of New Brunswick, I fancied wild animals
would meet me at each step--every black log was transformed into some
shaggy monster--visions of bears and lucifee's were ever before me--but
these are now but rarely seen near the settlements, although bruin will
sometimes make a descent on the sheepfolds; yet they have generally
retreated before the axe, along with the more valuable moose deer and
caraboo, with which the country used to abound. The ugliest animal I
ever saw was a huge porcupine, which came close to the door and carried
off, one by one, a whole flock of young turkies; and the boldest, the
beautiful foxes, which are also extremely destructive to the poultry; so
that in walking the woods one need not be afraid, even if a bear's
foot-print be indented in the soil, as perhaps he is then far enough
off, and besides 'tis only in the hungry spring, after his winter's
sleep, he is carniverous, preferring in summer the roots, nuts, and
berries with which the forest supplies him. The living things one sees
are quite harmless--the bright eyed racoon looking down upon us through
the branches, or the squirrels hopping from spray to spray, a mink or an
otter splashing through the pond of a deserted beaver dam, from which
the ancient possessors have also retired, and a hare or sable gliding in
the distance, are all the animals one usually sees, with flocks of
partridges, so tame that they stir not from you, and there being no game
laws, these free denizens of the wild are the property of all who choose
to claim them.

The forests, especially in the hard wood districts, are beautiful in
their fresh unbroken solitude--not the solitude of desolation, but the
young wild loveliness of the untamed earth. The trees stand close and
thick, with straight pillar-like stems, unbroken by leaf or bough, which
all expand to the summit, as if for breathing space. There is little
brush wood, but myriads of plants and creepers, springing with the
summer's breath. The beautiful dog-wood's sweeping sprays and broad
leaves, the maiden-hairs glossy wreathes and pearly buds, and the soft
emerald moss, clothing the old fallen trees with its velvet tapestry,
and hiding their decay with its cool rich beauty, while the sun light
falls in golden tracery down the birch trees silver trunk, and the
sparkling water flashes in the rays, or sings on its sweet melody unseen
amid the luxuriant vegetation that conceals it.

Through this sweet path we held on our way, talking of every bard who
has said or sung the green wood's glories, whose fancied beauties were
here all realized. As we neared the clearings, we met frequent groups of
blue nose children gathering, with botanical skill, herbs for dyeing, or
carrying sheets of birch bark, which, to be fit for its many uses, must
be peeled from the trees in the full moon of June. On these children,
beautiful as young Greeks, with lustrous eyes and faultless features,
Grace said she could hardly yet look without an instinctive feeling of
awe and pity, cherishing as she did the partiality of her creed and
nation for infant baptism. To her there was something awful, in sight of
those unhallowed creatures, whose brows bore not the first symbol of
christianity. We having passed through the woods, were soon in a large
assemblage of native and adopted colonists.

The greater number of the native population, I think, are baptists, and
their ministers are either raised among themselves, or come from the
United States; or Nova Scotia. Once in every year a general association
is convened of the members of the society throughout the province, the
attendance on which gives ample proof of the greatness of their numbers,
as well as their fervency of feeling. This association is held in a
different part of the province each season--and generally lasts a week.
Reports are here made of the progress of their religion, the state of
funds, and of all other matters connected with the society. There is,
generally, at these conventions a revival of religious feeling, and
during the last days numerous converts are made and received by baptism
into the church. This meeting is looked forward too by the colonists
with many mingled feelings. By the grave and good it is hailed as an
event of sacred importance, and by the gay and thoughtless as a season
of sight-seeing and dress-displaying. Those in whose neighbourhood it
was last year are glad it is not be so this time; and those near the
place it is to be held, are calculating the sheep and poultry, the
molasses and flour it will take to supply the numerous guests they
expect on the occasion--open tables being kept at taverns, and private
houses are so no longer, but hospitably receive all who come. No harvest
is reaped by exorbitant charges for lodging, and all that is expected in
return, is the same clever treatment when their turn comes. This
convocation, occurring in the leisure spell between the end of planting
and the commencement of haying, is consequently no hindrance to the
agricultural part of the community; and old and young "off they come"
from Miramichi, from Acadia, and the Oromocto, in shay and waggon,
steam-boat and catamaran, on horseback or on foot, as best they can.
This day, one towards the conclusion, the large frame building was
crowded to excess, and outside were gathered groups, as may be seen in
some countries around the catholic chapels. Within, the long tiers of
benches display as fair an array of fashion and flowers as would be
seen in any similar congregation in any country. The days of going to
meeting in home-spun and raw hide moccasins are vanishing fast all
through the province. These are the solid constituents of every-day
apparel, but for holidays, even the bush maiden from the far-off
settlements of the gulph shore has a lace veil and silken shawl, and
these she arranges with infinitely more taste and grace than many a
damsel whose eye has never lost sight of the clearings. By far the
greater portion of the assembly have the dark eyes and intellectual
expression of face which declares them of American origin; and,
sprinkled among them, are the features which tell of England's born. The
son of Scotland, too, is here, although unwont to grace such gatherings
with his presence; yet this is an event of rare importance, and from its
occurrence in his immediate neighbourhood, he has come, we dare not say
to scoff, and yet about his expressive mouth their lingers a slight curl
of something like it. And here, too, the Hibernian forgets his
prejudices in the delight of being in a crowd. I do not class my friend
Grace along with this common herd, but even she became as deeply
interested as others in the discussion which was now going forward--this
was the time of transacting business, and the present subject one which
had occupied much attention. It was the appropriation of certain
funds--whether they should be applied towards increasing their seminary,
so as to fit it for the proper education of ministers for their church,
or whether they should not be applied to some other purpose, and their
priesthood be still allowed to spring uncultured from the mass. The
different opinions expressed regarding this, finely developed the
progress of mind throughout the land. Some white-headed fathers of the
sect, old refugees, who had left the bounds of civilization before they
had received any education, yet who had been gifted in the primitive
days of the colony to lead souls from sin, sternly declaimed against the
education system, declaring that grace, and grace alone, was what formed
the teacher. All else was of the earth earthy, and had nought to do with
heavenly things. One said that when he commenced preaching he could not
read the bible--he could do little more now, and yet throughout the
country many a soul owned its sickness to have been healed through him.
Another then rose and answered him--a native of the province, and of his
own persuasion, but who had drank from the springing fountains of
science and of holiness--the bright gushing of whose clear streams
sparkled through his discourse. I have since forgotten his language, but
I know that at the time nothing I had ever heard or read entranced me as
did it, glowing as it was with the new world's fervency of thought, and
the old world's wealth of learning. He pleaded, as such should, for
extended education, and his mighty words had power, and won the day. The
old men, stern in their prejudices as their zeal, were conquered, and
the baptists have now well conducted establishments of learning
throughout the province.

This discussion occupied the morning, and, at noon, we were invited home
to dinner by a person who sat next us at the meeting, but whom we had
never before seen. Some twelve or fourteen others formed our party,
rather a small one considering, but we were the second relay, another
party having already dined and proceeded to the meeting house, where
religious worship had commenced as soon as we left. Our meal was not so
varied in its details of cookery as the wealthier blue noses love to
treat their guests with. The number to be supplied, and the quantity of
provisions required, prevented this. It consisted of large joints of
veal and mutton, baked and boiled, with a stately pot-pie, on its
ponderous platter,--the standing dish in all these parts. Soon after
dinner we were given to understand the dipping was about to commence;
and walked along the shore to the place appointed for the purpose, in
the bright blue waters of the bay, which is here formed by an inlet of
the chief river of the province, the silver-rolling St. John. The scene
around us was wondrously rich and lovely--the bright green intervale
meadows with their lofty trees, the cloudless sky, the flashing waters,
and the balmy breeze, which bore the breath of the far-off spruce and
cedars. From the assembled throng, who had now left the meeting-house,
arose the hymns which form the principal part of their worship.

I have said the New Brunswickers are not, as yet, greatly favoured with
the gift of music; this may, in a great measure, arise from deficient
cultivation of the science, but at this time there was something strange
and pleasant in the quick chaunting strain they raised, so different
from the solemn sounds of sacred melody usual in other countries; and
even Grace, accustomed to the organ's pealing grandeur and lofty
anthems of her own church, was pleased with it. Still singing the
minister entered the water, the converts one by one joining him, and
singly became encircled in the shining waves: many of them were aged and
bowed with time, and now took up the cross in their declining days; and
others of the young and fair, who sought their creator in youth. It was
wondrous now to think of this once lonely stream of the western world,
the Indian's own Ounagandy. A few years since no voice had broke on its
solitude save the red man's war-whoop, or his shrieking death song--no
form been shadowed on its depths but the wild bird's wing, or the savage
speeding on the blood chase. Now its living pictures told the holy
records of the blessed east, and its waters typed the healing stream of
Jordan. After some more singing and prayers offered for the
newly-baptized, the ceremony was finished. 'Tis strange that on these
dipping occasions no cold is caught by the converts. I suppose the
excitement of the mind sustains the body; but persons are often baptised
in winter, in an opening made through the ice for the purpose, and walk
with their garments frozen around them without inconvenience, seeming to
prove the efficacy of hydropathy, by declaring how happy and comfortable
they feel. We, at the conclusion of the prayers, left the place, and
proceeded homewards in a canoe; this is a mode of locomotion much liked
by the river settlers, but to a stranger anything but agreeable. They
glide along the waters swift and smooth, but a slight cause upsets them,
and as perhaps you are not exactly certain about being born to be
hanged, you must sit perfectly still--you are warned to do this, but if
you are the least nervous, you will hardly dare to breathe, much less
move, and this, in a journey of any length, is not so pleasant. This
feeling, however, custom soon dispels; and when one sees little fairy
girls paddling themselves and a cargo of brothers and sisters to school,
or women with babies taking their wool to the carding mill, they feel
ashamed, and learn to keep the true balance.

Our light skiff, or bark rather, as it might be truely styled, being a
veritable Indian canoe, made of birch bark most cunningly put together,
these being so light as to float in shallow water, and to be easily
removed, are for this reason preferred by the Indians to more solid
materials, who carry them on their backs from stream to stream during
their peregrinations through the country, soon bore us over the diamond
water, whose mirrored surface we scarcely stirred, to the landing place,
whose marshy precincts were now all gemmed with the golden and purple
flowers of the sweet flag or calamus; and as the sun was yet high in the
glorious blue, we resolved to spend the remainder of the day with a
family living near; feeling, in this land of New Brunswick, no qualms
about a sudden visitation, knowing that a people so proverbial for being
"wide awake" can never be taken unawares. Their dwelling, a large frame
building painted most gaily in the bright warm hues the old Dutch
fancies of the states love to cherish, stands in the centre of rich
parks of intervale. The porch is here, as well as at the more humble
log-house, answering as it does in summer for a cool verandah, and in
winter as a shelter from the snows. This, the taste of the country
artist has erected on pillars, not recognisable as belonging to any
known order of architecture, yet here esteemed as tasty and beautiful,
and, as is his custom in the afternoon, is seated the owner of the
dwelling, Silas Mavin, one of that fast declining remnant--the refugees.
He had come from the United States at the revolution, and possessed
himself of this fair heritage in the days when squatting was in vogue;
those palmy days which the older inhabitants love to recall, when
government had not to be petitioned, as it has now, for leave to
purchase land, and when, in place of the now many-worded grant, with its
broad seals and official signatures, people made out their own right of
possession by raising their log-house, and placing the sign manual of
their axe in whatever trees they chose; when moose and caraboo were
plentiful as sheep and oxen are now; when salmon filled each stream, and
the wood-sheltered clearings ripened the Indian corn without failing.

In this land, young as it is, there are those who mourn for the times
gone by, and consider the increasing settlement of the country as their
worst evil; wilfully closing their eyes against improvement, they see
not the wide fields, waving fair with grass and wheat, but think it was
better when the dense forest shut out the breeze and reflected the
sunbeams down with greater strength on the corn, so dearly loved by the
American. They hear not the sound of the busy mill when they mourn for
the fish-deserted brooks, and forget that when moose meat was more
plentiful than now bread stuffs were ground in the wearying hand-mill.
One of this respectable class of grumblers was our present
acquaintance, and here he sat in his porch, with aspect grave as the
stoics--his tall form, although in ruins now, was stately in decay as
the old forest's pines. His head was such as a phrenologist would have
loved to look upon; the true platonic breadth of brow, and lofty
elevation of the scalp silvered over, told of a mind fitting in its
magnitude to spring from that gigantic continent whose streams are
mighty rivers and whose lakes are seas; but, valueless as these, when
embosomed in their native woods, were the treasures of the old man's
mind, unawakened as they were by education, and unpolished even by
contact with the open world, yet still, amid the crust contracted in the
life he had led, rays of the inward diamond glittered forth. The
wilderness had always been his dwelling--in the land he had left, his
early days had been passed in hunting the red deer or the red man on the
Prairie fields--there, with the true spirit of the old American, he had
learned to treat the Indian as "varment," although a kindlier feeling
was awakened towards them in this country, where white as well as red
were recipients of England's bounty, and many a tale of wild pathos or
dark horror has he told of the experience of his youth with the people
of the wild. In New Brunswick his days had passed more peacefully. He
sat this evening with his chair poised in that aerial position on one
leg which none but an American can attain. Ambitious emigrants, wishing
to be thought cute, attempt this delicate point of Yankee character, but
their awkwardness falling short of the easy swing necessary for the
purpose, often brings them to the ground. A beautiful English cherry
tree, with its snowy wreathes in full blow, stood before him; he had
raised it from the seed, and loved to look upon it. It had evidently
been the object of his meditations, and served him now as a type
wherewith to illustrate his remarks respecting the meeting we had
attended--like those professors of religion we to-day heard, he said,
was his beautiful cherry tree. It gave forth fair green leaves of
promise and bright truth-seeming blossoms, but in summer, when he sought
for fruit there was none; and false as it, were they of words so fair
and deeds so dark, and he'd "double sooner trust one who laughed more
and prayed less, than those same whining preachers." This was the old
man's opinion, not only respecting the baptists, but all other sects as
well. What his own ideas of religion were I never could make out.
Universalism I fancied it was, but differing much from the theories of
those evanescent preachers who sometimes flashed like meteors through
the land, leaving doubt and recklessness in their path. The first truths
of Christianity had been imparted to him, and these, mingling with his
own innate ideas of veneration, formed his faith; as original, though
more lofty in its aspirations, than the wild Indian's who tells of the
flowery land of souls where the good spirit dwells, and where buffalo
and deer forsake not the hunting grounds of the blessed. He held no
outward form or right of sanctity. The ceremony which bound him to his
wife was simply legal, having been read over by the nearest magistrate.
His children were unbaptised, and the green graves of his household were
in his own field, although a public burying-ground was by the
meeting-house of the settlement.

Meanwhile the old lady, who had hailed our advent with the hospitality
of her country, set about preparing our entertainment. Tradition says of
the puritans, the pilgrims of New England, that when they first stood on
Plymouth Rock, on their first arrival from Europe, they bore the bible
under one arm and a cookery book under the other. Now, as to their
descendants, the refugees, I am not exactly sure if, when they
pilgrimised to New Brunswick, they were so careful of the bible, but I
am certain they retain the precepts of the cookery book, and love to
embody them when they may. Soon as a guest comes within ken of a blue
nose, the delightful operations commence. The poorer class shifting with
Johnny-cake and pumpkin, while, with the better off, the airy phantoms
of custard and curls, which flit through their brains, are called into
tangible existence. The air is impregnated with allspice and
nutmeg--apple "sarce" and cranberry "persarves" become visible, while
sal-a-ratus and molasses are evidently in the ascendant.

And now, while our hostess of this evening busied herself in compounding
these sweet mysteries, the old man related to us the following love
passage of his earlier days, which I shall give in my own language,
although his original expressions rendered it infinitely more
interesting.



THE INDIAN BRIDE,

A REFUGEE'S STORY.


On the margin of a bright blue western stream stood a small fort,
surrounding the dwellings of some hunters who had penetrated thus far
into the vast wilderness to pursue their calling. The huts they raised
were rude and lowly, and yet the walls surrounding them were high and
lofty. Piles of arms filled their block house, and a constant guard was
kept. These precautions were taken to protect them from the Indians,
whose ancient hunting grounds they had intruded on, and whose camp was
not far distant. Deadly dealings had passed between them, but the
whites, strong in number and in arms, heeded little the settled malice
of their foes, and after taking the usual precautions of defence,
carried on their hunting, shooting an Indian, or ought else that came
across them, while the others, savage and unrelenting, kept on their
trail in hope of vengeance.

Strange was it, that in an atmosphere dark as this, the light of love
should beam. Leemah, a beautiful Indian girl, met in the forest a young
white hunter. She loved, and was beloved in return. The roses of the few
summers she had lived glowed warm upon her cheek, and truth flashed in
the guileless light of her deep dark eyes--but Leemah was already a
bride, betrothed in childhood to a chieftain of her tribe; he had now
summoned her to his dwelling, and her business in the forest was
collecting materials for her bridal store of box and basket. Her
sylph-like form of arrowy grace was arrayed in his wedding gifts of
costly furs, and glittering bright with bead and shell. But few were the
stores that Leemah gathered for her Indian chief. The burning noon was
passed with her white love in the leafy shade--there she brought for him
summer berries, and gathered for him the water cup flower, with its
cooling draught of fragrant dew. Her time of marriage came, and at
midnight it was to be celebrated with torch light and dance. The other
hunters knew the love of Silas for the gem of the wilderness, and
readily offered their assistance in his project of gaining her. To them,
carrying off an Indian girl was an affair of light moment, and at dark
of night, with their boat and loaded rifles, they proceeded up the
stream towards the Indian village. As they drew near, the wild chaunt of
the bridal song was heard, and as all silently they approached the
shore, the red torch light gleamed out upon the scene of mystic
splendour. The chieftains of the tribe in stately silence stood around.
The crimson beams lit up the plumes upon their brow, and showed in more
awful hues the fearful lines of their painted faces, terrible at the
festival as on the field of battle. The squaws, in their gayest garb,
with mirrors flashing on their breasts, and beads all shining as they
moved, danced round the betrothed; and there she stood, the love-lorn
Leemah, her black hair all unbraided, and her dark eyes piercing the far
depths of night, as if looking for her lover. Nor looked she long in
vain, for suddenly and fearlessly Silas sprung upon the shore, dashed
through the circle, and bore off the Indian bride to his bark. Then rose
the war-shout of her people, while pealed among them the rifles of the
hunters. Again came the war-whoop, mingled with the death shriek of the
wounded. A hunter stood up and echoed them in mockery, but an arrow
quivered through his brain and he was silent, while the stream grew
covered with shadowy canoes, filled with dark forms shouting for
revenge. On came they with lightning's speed, and on sped the hunters
knowing now that their only safety was in flight. On dashed they through
the waters which now began to bear them forward with wondrous haste. A
thought of horror struck them: they were in the rapids, while before
them the white foam of the falls flashed through the darkness. The tide
had ebbed in their absence, and the river, smooth and level when full,
showed all across it, at the flood, a dark abyss of fearful rocks and
boiling surf. This they knew, but it was now too late to recede; the
dark stream bore them onward, and now even the Indians dare not follow,
but landed and ran along the shore shouting with delight at their
inevitable destruction. It was a moment of dread, unutterable horror to
Silas and his comrades. Their bark whirled round in the giddy
waves--then was there a wild plunge--a fearful shock--a shriek of death,
and the flashing foam gathered over them, while loudly rang the voices
from the shore. But suddenly, by some mighty effort, the boat was flung
clear of the rocks and uninjured into the smooth current of the lower
stream. A few strokes of the oar brought them to the fort, which they
entered; and heard the Indians howling behind them like wolves baffled
of their prey. But they and the dangers they had so lately passed were
alike forgotten in the night's carousal; and, when the season was ended,
they returned to their homes in the settlements, enriched with the
spoils they had gained in hunting, and Silas with his treasured pearl of
the prairie.

But here, some months after they returned, and while, his heart was yet
brightened with her smiles, a dark shade passed over her sunny brow, and
she vanished from his home. An Indian of her tribe was said to have been
lingering near the village, and she no doubt had joined him and returned
to her kindred. Other tidings of her fate Silas heard not. Alas! she
knew the undying vengeance of her people, and by giving herself up to
them thought to shield him from their hatred.

Again the time of hunting came, and the same party occupied the fort in
the wilderness. As yet they had been unmolested by the Indians: they
even knew not of their being in the neighbourhood, yet still a form of
guarding was kept up, and Silas and a comrade held the night-watch in
the block house. The others had fallen asleep, and Silas, as he sat with
half-closed eyes, fancied he saw before him his lost love, Leemah; he
started as he thought from a dream, but 'twas real, and 'twas her own
cool fingers pressed his brow--by the clear fire light he saw her cheek
was deadly pale, but her eyes were flashing like sepulchral lamps, and a
white-browed babe slept upon her bosom. In a deep thrilling whisper she
bade him rise and follow her. Wondering how she had found entrance, he
obeyed, and she led him outside the walls of the fort; a murmuring
sound as of leaves stirred by the wind was heard.

'Tis the coming of the Red Eagle, said Leemah, his beak is whetted for
the blood draughts; here enter, and if your own life or Leemah's be
dear, keep still;--as she spoke she parted aside the young shoots which
had sprung tip from the root of a tree, and twined like an arbour about
it. Her deep earnestness left no time for speculation; he entered the
recess, and hardly had the flexile boughs sprung back to their places,
when the fleet footsteps of the Indians came nearer, and the fort was
surrounded by them; the building was fired, and then their deadly yell
burst forth, while the unfortunate inmates started from sleep at the
sound of horror. Mercy for them there was none; the relentless savage
knew it not; but the shout of delight rose louder as they saw the flames
dance higher o'er their victims; and Silas looked on all--but Leemah's
eye was on his--he knew his slightest movement was death to her as well
as to himself. Like a demon through the flame leaped the ghastly form of
the Red Eagle, (he to whom Leemah had been espoused) and with searching
glance glared on his victims, but saw not there the one he sought with
deeper vengeance than the others--'twas Silas he looked for; and, with
the speed of a winged fiend, he bounded to where Leemah stood, and
accused her of having aided in his escape. She acknowledged she had, and
pointed to the far-off forest as his hiding place. In an instant his
glittering tomahawk cleft the hand she raised off at the wrist. Silas
knew no more. Leemah's hot blood fell upon his brow, and he fainted
through excess of agony, but like Mazeppa, he lived to repay the Red
Eagle in after-years for that night of horror--when his eyes had been
blasted with the burning fort, his ears stunned with the shrieks of his
murdered friends, and his brain scorched through with Leemah's life
blood.

Long years after, when he had forsaken the hunter's path, and fought as
a loyalist in the British ranks, among their Indian allies who smoked
with them the pipe of peace and called them brothers, was one, in whose
wild and withered features he recalled the stern Red Eagle; blood called
for blood; he beguiled the Indian now with copious draughts of the white
man's fire-water, and he and another (brother of one of the murdered
hunters) killed him, and placing him in his own canoe with the paddle in
his hand, sent the fearful corpse down the rapid stream, bearing him
unto his home. The wild dog and wolf howled on the banks as it floated
past, and the raven and eagle hovered over it claiming it as their prey.
The tribe, at the death of their Sagamore, withdrew from their allies,
and, following the track of the setting sun, waged war indiscriminately
with all.

And long after, though more than half a century had elapsed since the
death of the Red Eagle, and when the snows of eighty winters had
whitened the dark tresses of the young hunter, and bowed the tall form
of the loyalist soldier; when he who had trod the flowery paths of the
prairie, and slept in the orchard bowers by the blue stream of the
Hudson, had, for love of England's laws, become a refugee from his
native land; and when here, in New Brunswick, he beheld raised around
him a happy and comfortable home--his house, which had always been
freely opened to religious worship, and in which had been held the
prayer-meetings of the baptists and love-feasts of the methodists,
became one day transformed into a catholic chapel.

A bishop of the Romish church was passing through the province, and his
presence in this sequestered spot was an event of unwonted interest;
many who had forgotten the creed of their fathers returned to the faith
of their earlier days, and among the most fervent of those assembled,
there was a small group of Milicete Indians from the woods hard by. With
the idolatrous devotion of their half savage nature they fell prostrate
before the priest. Among them was an ancient woman, but not of their
tribe, who, while raising her head in prayer, or in crossing herself,
Silas observed she used but one hand--the other was gone. This
circumstance recalled to light the faded love-dream of his youth. He
questioned her and found her to be Leemah, his once beautiful Indian
bride, who had wandered here to escape the dark tyranny of her savage
kindred. She died soon after, and "she sleeps there," said the old man,
pointing to where a white cross marked a low grassy mound before us, and
time had not so dried up his heart springs but I saw a tear drop to her
memory.

       *       *       *       *       *

I turned my eyes from Leemah's grave to see what effect the tale had
made on the old lady, but she was so engaged in contemplating the golden
curls of her doughnuts, and feathery lightness of her pound cake, she
had heard it not; and even if she had, it had all happened such a long
time ago, that her impressions respecting it must all have worn out by
now. After having partaken of the luxurious feast she set before us, and
hearing some more of the old man's legends, we proceeded forward.

The evening, with one of those sudden changes of New Brunswick, had
become cold and chilly. The sun looked red and lurid through the heavy
masses of fog clouds drifting through the sky; this fog, which comes all
the way from the Banks of Newfoundland, and which is particularly
disagreeable sometimes along the Bay shore and in St. John, in
opposition to the general clearness of the American atmosphere is but
little known in the interior of the country. Numerous summer fallows are
burning around, and the breeze flings over us showers of blackened
leaves and blossoms. As we approached home, we were accosted by one Mr.
Isaac Hanselpecker, a neighbour of ours; he was leaning over the bars,
apparently wanting a lounge excessively. He had just finished milking,
and had handed the pails to Miss Hanselpecker, as he called his wife. If
there be a trait of American character peculiar to itself, displayed
more fully than another by contrast with Europeans, it is in the
treatment of the gentler sex, differing as it does materially from the
picture of the Englishman, standing with his back to the fire, while the
ladies freeze around him; or the glittering politeness of the Frenchman,
hovering like a butterfly by the music stand; it has in it more of
intellect and real tenderness than either, although tending as it does
to the advancement of national character, some of their own talented
ones begin to complain that in the refined circles of the States they
are becoming almost too civilised in this respect: the ladies requiring
rather more than is due to them. Yet among the working classes it has a
sweet and wholesome influence, softening as it does the asperities of
labour, and lightening the burthen to each. Here woman's empire is
within, and here she shines the household star of the poor man's hearth;
not in idleness, for in America, of all countries in the world,
prosperity depends on female industry. Here "she looketh well to the
ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness," and for
this reason, perhaps, it is, that their husbands arise and call them
blessed. Now Mr. Hanselpecker had all the respect for his lady natural
to his country, and assisted her domestic toils by milking the cows,
making fires, and fetching wood and water. Yet there was one material
point in which he failed: she was often "scant of bread," he being one
who, even in this land of toil, got along, somehow or other, with
wondrous little bodily labour; professing to be a farmer, he held one of
the finest pieces of land in the settlement, but his agricultural
operations, for the most part, consisted in hoeing a few sickly stems of
corn, while others were reaping buckwheat, or sowing a patch of flax,
"'cause the old woman wanted loom gears;" shooting cranes, spearing
salmon, or trapping musquash on the lake, he prefers to raising fowl or
sheep, as cranes find their own provisions, and fish require no fences
to keep them from the fields. His wife's skill, however, in managing the
dairy department, is, when butter rates well in the market, their chief
dependence; and he, when he chooses to work, which he would much rather
do for another than himself, can earn enough in one day, if he take
truck, to keep him three, and but that he prefers fixing cucumbers to
thrashing, and making moccasins to clearing land, he might do well
enough. Though poor, he is none the least inclined to grovel, but, with
the spirit of his land, feels quite at ease in company with any judge or
general in the country.

Having declined his invitation to enter the log erection,--which in
another country would hardly be styled a house, he having still delayed
to enclose the gigantic frame, whose skeleton form was reared hard
by--he gave his opinion of the weather at present, with some shrewd
guesses as to what it would be in future; regarding the smoke wreaths
from the fires around (there were none on his land however), he said, it
reminded him of the fire in Miramichi. "How long is it, old woman," said
he, turning to his wife, who had now joined us, "since that ere
burning?" "Well," said she, "I aint exactly availed to tell you right
off how many years it is since, but I guess our Jake was a week old when
it happened."

Now, as the burning of Miramichi was one of the most interesting
historical events in the province records, we gave him the date, which
was some twenty years since; this also gave us the sum of Jacob's
lustres--rather few considering he had planted a tater patch on shares,
and laid out to marry in the fall.

"Well," said he, "You may depend that was a fire--my hair curls yet when
I think of it--it was the same summer we got married, and Washington
Welford having been out a timber-hunting with me the fall afore, we
discovered a most elegant growth of pine--I never see'd before nor since
the equal on it--regular sixty footers, every log on 'em--the trees
stood on the banks of the river, as if growing there on purpose to be
handy for rafting, and we having got a first-rate supply from our
merchants in town, toted our things with some of the old woman's house
trumpery to the spot--we soon had up a shanty, and went to work in right
airnest. There was no mistake in Wash; he was as clever a fellow as ever
I knowed, and as handsome a one--seven feet without his shoes--eyes like
diamonds, and hair slick as silk; when he swung his axe among the
timber, you may depend he looked as if he had a mind to do it--our
felling and hewing went on great, and with the old woman for cook we
made out grand--she, however, being rather delicate, we hired a help, a
daughter of a neighbour about thirty miles off. Ellen Ross was as smart
a gal as ever was raised in these clearings--her parents were old
country folks, and she had most grand larning, and was out and out a
regular first-rater. Washington and her didn't feel at all small
together--they took a liking to each other right away, and a prettier
span was never geared. Well, our Jake was born, and the old woman got
smart, and about house again. Wash took one of our team horses, and he
and Ellen went off to the squire's to get yoked. It was a most beautiful
morning when they started, but the weather soon began to change--there
had been a most uncommon dry spell--not a drop of rain for many weeks,
nor hardly a breath of air in the woods, but now there came a most
fearful wind and storm, and awful black clouds gathering through the
sky--the sun grew blood red, and looked most terrible through the smoke.
I had heard of such things as 'clipses, but neither the almanac, nor the
old woman's universal, said a word about it. Altho' there was such a
wind, there was the most burning heat--one could hardly breathe, and the
baby lay pale and gasping--we thought it was a dying. The cattle grew
oneasy, and all at once a herd of moose bounded into our chopping, and a
lot of bears after them, all running as if for dear life. I got down the
rifle, and was just a going to let fly at them, when a scream from the
old woman made me look about. The woods were on fire all round us, and
the smoke parting before us, showed the flames crackling and roaring
like mad, 'till the very sky seemed on fire over our heads. I did'nt
know what to do, and, in fact, there was no time to calculate about it.
The blaze glared hotly on our faces, and all the wild critturs of the
woods began to carry on most ridiculous, and shout and holler like all
nature I caught up my axe, and the old woman the baby, and took the only
open space left for us, where the stream was running, and the fire
couldn't catch. Just as we were going, a horse came galloping most awful
fast right through the fire--it was poor Washington; his clothes all
burnt, and his black hair turned white as snow, and oh! the fearful
burden he carried in his arms. Ellen Ross, the beautiful bright-eyed
girl, who had left us so smilingly in the morning, lay now before us a
scorched and blackened corpse--the scared horse fell dead on the ground.
I hollered to Washington to follow us to the water, but he heard me
not; and the flames closed fast o'er him and his dead bride--poor
fellow, that was the last on him--and creation might be biled down, ere
you could ditto him any how. By chance our timber was lying near in the
stream, and I got the old woman and the baby on a log, and stood beside
them up to the neck in water, which now grew hot, and actilly began to
hiss around me. The trees on the other side of the river had caught, and
there was an arch of flame right above us. My stars! what a time we had
of it! Lucifees and minks, carraboo and all came close about us, and an
Indian devil got upon the log beside my wife; poor critturs, they were
all as tame as possible, and half frightened to death. I thought the end
of the world was come for sartain. I tried to pray, but I was got so
awful hungry, that grace before meat was all I could think off. How long
we had been there I couldn't tell, but it seemed tome a 'tarnity--fire,
howsomever, cannot burn always--that's a fact; so at the end of what we
afterwards found to be the third day, we saw the sun shine down on the
still smoking woods. The old woman was weak, I tell you; and for me, I
felt considerably used up--howsomever I got to the shore, and hewed out
a canoe from one of our own timber sticks--there was no need of lucifers
to strike a light--lots of brands were burning about. I laid some on to
it and burnt it out, and soon had a capital craft, and away we went down
the stream. Dead bodies of animals were floating about, and there were
some living ones, looking as if they had got out of their latitude, and
didn't think they would find it. I reckon we weren't the only sufferers
by that ere conflagration. As we came down to the settlements folks took
us for ghosts, we looked so miserable like--howsomever, with good
tendin, we soon came round again; but, to tell you the truth, it makes
me feel kind a narvous, when I see a fallow burning ever since. Tho'
folks could'nt tell how that ere fire happened, and say it was a
judgment on lumber men and sich like, I think it came from some
settlers' improvements, who, wishing to raise lots of taters, destroyed
the finest block of timber land in the province, besides the ships in
Miramichi harbour, folks' buildings, and many a clever feller, whose
latter end was never known."

"And so I suppose Mr. H.," said his wife, "that is the reason you make
such slim clearings." "I estimate your right," said he; and we, not
expecting the spice of sentiment which flavored Mr. H.'s story, left
him, and reached home, where we closed the evening by putting into the
following shape one of Silas Marvin's legends, not written with a
perryian pen and azure fluid, but with a quill from the wing of a wild
goose, shot by our friend Hanselpecker, (who by the way was fond of such
game,) as last fall it took its flight from our cold land to the sunny
south, and with home-made ink prepared from a decoction of white maple
bark.



THE LOST ONE,

A TALE OF THE EARLY SETTLERS.


Beyond the utmost verge of the limits which the white settlers had yet
dared to encroach on the red owners of the soil, stood the humble
dwelling of Kenneth Gordon, a Scotch emigrant, whom necessity had driven
from the blue hills and fertile vallies of his native land, to seek a
shelter in the tangled mazes of the forests of the new world. Few would
have had the courage to venture thus into the very power of the
savage--but Kenneth Gordon possessed a strong arm and a hopeful heart,
to give the lips he loved unborrowed bread; this nerved him against
danger, and, 'spite of the warning of friends, Kenneth pitched his tent
twelve miles from the nearest settlement. Two years passed over the
family in their lonely home, and nothing had occurred to disturb their
peace, when business required Kenneth's presence up the river. One calm
and dewy morning he prepared for his journey; Marion Gordon followed her
husband to the wicket, and a tear, which she vainly strove to hide with
a smile, trembled in her large blue eye. She wedded Kenneth when she
might well have won a richer bridegroom: she chose him for his worth;
their lot had been a hard one--but in all the changing scenes of life
their love remained unchanged; and Kenneth Gordon, although thirteen
years a husband, was still a lover. Marion strove to rally her spirits,
as her husband gaily cheered her with an assurance of his return before
night. "Why so fearful, Marion? See here is our ain bonny Charlie for a
guard, and what better could an auld Jacobite wish for?" said Kenneth,
looking fondly on his wife; while their son marched past them in his
Highland dress and wooden claymore by his side. Marion smiled as her
husband playfully alluded to the difference in their religion; for
Kenneth was a staunch presbyterian, and his wife a Roman catholic; yet
that difference--for which so much blood has been shed in the
world--never for an instant dimmed the lustre of their peace; and Marion
told her glittering beads on the same spot where her husband breathed
his simple prayer. Kenneth, taking advantage of the smile he had roused,
waved his hand to the little group, and was soon out of sight.

The hot and sultry day was passed by Marion in a state of restless
anxiety, but it was for Kenneth alone she feared, and the hours sped
heavily till she might expect his return. Slowly the burning sun
declined in the heavens, and poured a flood of golden radiance on the
leafy trees and the bright waves of the majestic river, which rolled its
graceful waters past the settlers dwelling. Marion left her infant
asleep in a small shed at the back of the log-house, with Mary, her
eldest daughter, to watch by it, and taking Charlie by the hand went out
to the gate to look for her husband's return. Kenneth's father, an old
and almost superannuated man, sat in the door-way, with twin girls of
Kenneth's sitting on his knees, singing their evening hymn, while he
bent fondly over them.

Scarcely had Marion reached the wicket, when a loud yell--the wild
war-whoop of the savage--rang on her startled ear. A thousand dark
figures seemed to start from the water's edge--the house was surrounded,
and she beheld the grey hairs of the old man twined round in the hand of
one, and the bright curls of her daughters gleamed in that of another;
while the glittering tomahawk glared like lightning in her eyes. Madly
she rushed forward to shield her children; the vengeance of the Indian
was glutted, and the life-blood of their victims crimsoned the hearth
stone! The house was soon in flames--the war dance was finished--and
their canoes bounded lightly on the waters, bearing them far from the
scene of their havoc.

As the sun set a heavy shower of rain fell and refreshed the parched
earth--the flowers sent up a grateful fragrance on the evening air--the
few singing birds of the woods poured forth their notes of melody--the
blue jay screamed among the crimson buds of the maple, and the humming
bird gleamed through the emerald sprays of the beech tree.

The pearly moon was slowly rising in the blue aether, when Kenneth
Gordon approached his home. He was weary with his journey, but the
pictured visions of his happy home, his smiling wife, and the caresses
of his sunny haired children, cheered the father's heart, though his
step was languid, and his brow feverish. But oh! what a sight of horror
for a fond and loving heart met his eyes, as he came in sight of the
spot that contained his earthly treasures--the foreboding silence had
surprised him--he heard not the gleeful voices of his children, as they
were wont to bound forth to meet him, he saw not Marion stand at the
gate to greet his return--but a thick black smoke rose heavily to the
summits of the trees, and the smouldering logs of the building fell with
a sullen noise to the ground. The rain had quenched the fire, and the
house was not all consumed. Wild with terror, Kenneth rushed forward;
his feet slipped on the bloody threshhold, and he fell on the mangled
bodies of his father and his children. The demoniac laceration of the
stiffening victims told too plainly who had been their murderers. How
that night of horror passed Kenneth knew not. The morning sun was
shining bright--when the bereaved and broken-hearted man was roused from
the stupor of despair by the sound of the word "father" in his ears; he
raised his eyes, and beheld Mary, his eldest daughter, on her knees
beside him. For a moment Kenneth fancied he had had a dreadful dream,
but the awful reality was before him. He pressed Mary wildly to his
bosom, and a passionate flood of tears relieved his burning brain. Mary
had heard the yells of the savages, and the shrieks of her mother
convinced her that the dreaded Indians had arrived. She threw open the
window, and snatching the infant from its bed, flew like a wounded deer
to the woods behind the house. The frightened girl heard all, remained
quiet, and knowing her father would soon return, left the little Alice
asleep on some dried leaves, and ventured from her hiding place.

No trace of Marion or of Charles could be found--they had been reserved
for a worse fate; and for months a vigilant search was kept up--parties
of the settlers, led on by Kenneth, scoured the woods night and day.
Many miles off a bloody battle had been fought between two hostile
tribes, where a part of Marion's dress and of her son's was found, but
here all trace of the Indians ended, and Kenneth returned to his
desolated home. No persuasion could induce him to leave the place where
the joys of his heart had been buried: true, his remaining children yet
linked him to life, but his love for them only increased his sorrow for
the dead and the lost. Kenneth became a prematurely old man--his dark
hair faded white as the mountain snow--his brow was wrinkled, and his
tall figure bent downwards to the earth.

Seventeen years had rolled on their returnless flight since that night
of withering sorrow. Kenneth Gordon still lived, a sad and
broken-spirited man; but time, that great tamer of the human heart,
which dulls the arrows of affliction, and softens the bright tints of
joy down to a sober hue, had shed its healing influence even over his
wounded heart. Mary Gordon had been some years a wife, and her children
played around Kenneth's footsteps. A little Marion recalled the wife of
his youth; and another, Charlie, the image of his lost son, slept in his
bosom. There was yet another person who was as a sunbeam in the sight of
Kenneth; her light laugh sounded as music in his ears, and the joy-beams
of her eyes fell gladly on his soul. This gladdener of sorrow was his
daughter Alice, now a young and lovely woman; bright and beautiful was
she, lovely as a rose-bud, with a living soul--

    "No fountain from its native cave,
    E'er tripped with foot so free;
    She was as happy as a wave
    That dances o'er the sea."

Alice was but five months old when her mother was taken from her, but
Mary, who watched over her helpless infancy with a care far beyond her
years, and with love equal to a mother's, was repaid by Alice with most
unbounded affection; for to the love of a sister was added the
veneration of a parent.

One bright and balmy Sabbath morning Kenneth Gordon and his family left
their home for the house of prayer. Mary and her husband walked
together, and their children gambolled on the grassy path before them.
Kenneth leaned on the arm of his daughter Alice; another person walked
by her side, whose eye, when it met her's, deepened the tint on her fair
cheek. It was William Douglas--the chosen lover of her heart, and well
worthy was he to love the gentle Alice. Together they proceeded to the
holy altar, and the next Sabbath was to be their bridal day.

A change had taken place since Kenneth Gordon first settled on the banks
of the lonely river. The white walls and graceful spire of a church now
rose where the blue smoke of the solitary log-house once curled through
the forest trees; and the ashes of Kenneth's children and his father
reposed within its sacred precincts. A large and populous village stood
where the red deer roved on his trackless path. The white sails of the
laden barque gleamed on the water, where erst floated the stealthy canoe
of the savage; and a pious throng offered their aspirations where the
war-whoop had rung on the air.

Alice was to spend the remaining days of her maiden life with a young
friend, a few miles from her father's, and they were to return together
on her bridal eve. William Douglas accompanied Alice on her walk to the
house of her friend. They parted within a few steps of the house.
William returned home, and Alice, gay and gladsome as a bird, entered a
piece of wood, which led directly to the house. Scarcely had she entered
it when she was seized by a strong arm; her mouth was gagged, and
something thrown over her head; she was then borne rapidly down the bank
of the river, and laid in a canoe. She heard no voices, and the swift
motion of the canoe rendered her unconscious. How long the journey
lasted she knew not. At length she found herself, on recovering from
partial insensibility, in a rude hut, with a frightful-looking Indian
squaw bathing her hands, while another held a blazing torch of pine
above her head. Their hideous faces, frightful as the imagery of a
dream, scared Alice, and she fainted again.

The injuries which Kenneth Gordon had suffered from the savages made him
shudder at the name of Indian--and neither he nor his family ever held
converse with those who traded in the village. Metea, a chief of the
Menomene Indians, in his frequent trading expeditions to the village,
had often seen Alice, and became enamoured of the village beauty. He had
long watched an opportunity of stealing her, and bearing her away to his
tribe, where he made no doubt of winning her love. When Alice recovered
the squaws left her, and Metea entered the hut; he commenced by telling
her of the great honour in being allowed to share the hut of Metea, a
"brave" whose bow was always strung, whose tomahawk never missed its
blow, and whose scalps were as numerous as the stars in the path-way of
ghosts; and he pointed to the grisly trophies hung in the smoke of the
cabin. He concluded by giving her furs and strings of beads, with which
the squaws decorated her, and the next morning the trembling girl was
led from the hut, and lifted into a circle formed of the warriors of the
tribe. Here Metea stood forth and declared his deeds of bravery, and
asked their consent for "the flower of the white nation" to be his
bride. When he had finished, a young warrior, whose light and graceful
limbs might well have been a sculptor's model, stood forward to speak.
He was dressed in the richest Indian costume, and his scalping knife and
beaded moccasins glittered in the sunshine. His features bore an
expression very different from the others. Neither malice nor cunning
lurked in his full dark eye, but a calm and majestic melancholy reposed
on his high and smooth brow, and was diffused over his whole mein; and,
in the clear tones of his voice, "Brothers," said he to the warriors,
"we have buried the hatchet with the white nation--it is very deep
beneath the earth--shall we dig it because Metea scorns the women of his
tribe, because he has stolen 'the flower of the white nation?' Let her
be restored to her people, lest her chiefs come to claim her, and Metea
lives to disgrace the brave warriors of the woods?" He sat down, and the
circle rising, said, "Our brother speaks well, but Metea is very
_brave_." It was decided that Alice should remain.

Towards evening Metea entered the hut, and approaching Alice, caught
hold of her hand,--the wildest passion gleamed in his glittering eyes,
and Alice, shrieking, ran towards the door. Metea caught her in his arms
and pressed her to his bosom. Again she shrieked, and a descending blow
cleft Metea's skull in sunder, and his blood fell on her neck. It was
the young Indian who advised her liberation in the morning who dealt
Metea's death-blow. Taking Alice in his arms, he stepped lightly from
the hut. It was a still and starless night, and the sleeping Indians saw
them not. Unloosing a canoe, he placed Alice in it, and pushed softly
from the shore.

Before the next sunset Alice was in sight of her home. Her father and
friends knew nothing of what had transpired. They fancied her at her
friend's house, and terror at her peril and joy at her return followed
in the same breath. Mary threw a timid, yet kind glance on the Indian
warrior who had saved her darling Alice, and Kenneth pressed the hand of
him who restored his child. In a few minutes William Douglas joined the
happy group, and she repeated her escape on his bosom. That night
Kenneth Gordon's prayer was longer and more fervent than usual. The
father's thanks arose to the throne of grace for the safety of his
child; he prayed for her deliverer, and for pardon for the hatred he had
nurtured against the murderers of his children. During the prayer the
Indian stood apart, his arms were folded, and deep thought was marked on
his brow. When it was finished, Mary's children knelt and received
Kenneth's blessing, ere they retired to rest. The Indian rushed forward,
and, bursting into tears, threw himself at the old man's feet--he bent
his feathered head to the earth. The stern warrior wept like a child.
Oh! who can trace the deep workings of the human heart? Who can tell in
what hidden fount the feelings have their spring? The forest chase--the
bloody field--the war dance--all the pomp of savage life passed like a
dream from the Indian's soul; a cloud seemed to roll its shadows from
his memory. That evening's prayer, and a father's blessing, recalled a
time faded from his recollection, yet living in the dreams of his soul.
He thought of the period when he, a happy child like those before him,
had knelt and heard the same sweet words breathed o'er his bending head:
he remembered having received a father's kiss, and a mother's smile
gleamed like a star in his memory; but the fleeting visions of childhood
were fading again into darkness, when Kenneth arose, and, clasping the
Indian wildly to his breast, exclaimed, "My son, my son! my long lost
Charles!" The springs of the father's love gushed forth to meet his son,
and the unseen sympathy of nature guided him to "The Lost One." 'Twas
indeed Charles Gordon, whom his father held to his breast, but not as he
lived in his father's fancy. He beheld him a painted savage, whose hand
was yet stained with blood; but Kenneth's fondest prayer was granted,
and he pressed him again to his bosom, exclaiming again, "He is my son."
A small gold cross hung suspended from the collar of Charles. Kenneth
knew it well; it had belonged to Marion, who hung it round her son's
neck e'er her eyes were closed. She had sickened early of her captivity,
and died while her son was yet a child: but the relics she had left
were prized by him as something holy. From his wampum belt he took a
roll of the bark of the birch tree, on which something had been written
with a pencil. The writing was nearly effaced, and the signature of
Marion Gordon was alone distinguishable. Kenneth pressed the writing to
his lips, and again his bruised spirit mourned for his sainted Marion.
Mary and Alice greeted their restored brother with warm affection.
Kenneth lived but in the sight of his son. Charles rejoiced in their
endearments, and all the joys of kindred were to him

    "New as if brought from other spheres,
     Yet welcome as if known for years."

But soon a change came o'er the young warrior; his eye grew dim, his
step was heavy, and his brow was sad: he sought for solitude, and he
seemed like a bird pining for freedom. They thought he sighed for the
liberty of his savage life, but, alas! it was another cause. The better
feelings of the human heart all lie dormant in the Indian character, and
are but seldom called into action. Charles had been the "stern stoic of
the woods" till he saw Alice. Then the first warm rush of young
affections bounded like a torrent through his veins, and he loved his
sister with a passion so strong, so overwhelming, that it sapped the
current of his life. The marriage of Alice had been delayed on his
return--it would again have been delayed on his account, but he himself
urged it forward. Kenneth entered the church with Charles leaning on his
arm. During the ceremony he stood apart from the others. When it was
finished, Alice went up to him and took his hand; it was cold as
marble--he was dead; his spirit fled with the bridal benediction.
Kenneth's heart bled afresh for his son, and as he laid his head in the
earth he felt that it would not be long till he followed him. Nor was he
mistaken; for a few mornings after he was found dead on the grave of
"_The Lost One_."

       *       *       *       *       *

And now the bright summer of New Brunswick drew onward to its close. The
hay, which in this country is cut in a much greener state than is usual
elsewhere, and which, from this cause, retains its fragrance till the
spring, was safely lodged in the capacious barns. The buck wheat had
changed its delicate white flower for the brown clusters of its grain,
and the reaper and the thrasher were both busied with it, for so loosely
does this grain hang on its stem that it is generally thrashed out of
doors as soon as ripe, as much would be lost in the conveyance to the
barn.

Grace Marley's time of departure now drew near; her government stipend
had arrived. The proprietors, who paid in trade, had deposited the
butter and oats equivalent to her hire in the market boat, in which she
intended to proceed to town. And as this is decidedly the pleasantest
method of travelling, I laid out to accompany her by the same
conveyance, and we were spending the last evening with Mrs. Gordon, who
also was to be our companion to St. John; we walked with Helen through
her flower-garden, who showed us some flowers, the seeds of which she
had received from the old country. I saw a bright hue pass o'er the brow
of Grace as we walked among them, and tears gushed forth from her warm
and feeling heart. Next day she explained what occasioned her emotion, a
feeling which all must have felt, awakened by as slight a cause, when
wandering far from their native land. Thus she pourtrayed what she then
felt--


    THE MIGNIONETTE.

    'Twas when the summer's golden eve
    Fell dim o'er flower and fruit,
    A mystic spell was o'er me thrown,
    As I'd drank of some charmed root.
    It came o'er my soul as the breeze swept by,
    Like the breath of some blessed thing;
    Again it came, and my spirit rose
    As if borne on an angel's wing.
    It bore me away to my native land,
    Away o'er the deep sea foam;
    And I stood, once more a happy child,
    By the hearth of my early home.
    And well-loved forms were by me there,
    That long in the grave had lain;
    And I heard the voices I heard of old,
    And they smiled on me again.
    And I knew once more the dazzling light,
    Of the spirit's gladsome youth;
    And lived again in the sunny light
    Of the heart's unbroken truth.
    Yet felt I then, as we always feel,
    The sweet grief o'er me cast,
    When a chord is waked of the spirit's harp,
    Which telleth of the past.
    And what could it be, that blissful trance?
    What caused the soul to glide?
    Forgetting alike both time and change,
    So far o'er memory's tide.
    Oh! could that deep mysterious power
    Be but the breath of an earthly flower?
    'Twas not the rose with her leaves so bright,
    That flung o'er my soul such dazzling light,
    Nor the tiger lily's gorgeous dies,
    That changed the hue of my spirit's eyes.
    'Twas not from the pale, but gifted leaf,
    That bringeth to mortal pain relief.
    Not where the blue wreaths of the star-flower shine,
    Nor lingered it in the airy bells
    Of the graceful columbine.
    But again it cometh, I breathe it yet,
    'Tis the sigh of the lowly mignionette.
    And there, 'mid the garden's leafy gems,
    Blossomed a group of its fairy stems;
    Few would have thought of its faint perfume,
    While they gazed on the rosebud's crimson bloom.
    But to me it was laden with sighs and tears,
    And the faded hopes of by-gone years.
    Many a vision, long buried deep,
    Was waked again from its dreamless sleep.
    Thoughts whose light was dim before,
    Lived in their pristine truth once more.
    Well might its form with my fancies weave,
    For in youth it seemed with me to joy,
    And in woe with me to grieve.
    Oft have I knelt in the cool moonlight,
    Where it wreathed the lattice pane,
    'Till I felt that He who formed the flower
    Would hear my prayer again.
    Then, welcome sweet thing, in this stranger land,
    May it smile upon thy birth,
    Light fall the rain on thy lovely head,
    And genial be the earth;
    And blest be the power that gave to thee,
    All lowly as thou art,
    The gift unknown to prouder things,
    To soothe and teach the heart.


Next day we proceeded on our journey, and, preferring the coolness of
the deck to the heated atmosphere of the cabin, seated ourselves there
to enjoy the quiet beauty of the night. The full glory of a September's
moon was beaming bright in the clear rich blue of heaven; the stars were
glittering in the water's depths, and ever and anon the fire flies
flashed like diamonds through the dark foliage on the shore--the light
fair breeze scarce stirred the ripples on the stream--when, from one of
the white dwellings on the beach in whose casement a light was yet
burning, came a low, sad strain of sorrow. I had heard that sound once
before, and knew now it was the wail of Irish grief. Strange that
mournful dirge of Erin sounded in that distant land. Grace knew the
language of her country, and ere the "keen" had died upon the breeze,
she translated thus


    THE SONG OF THE IRISH MOURNER.

    Light of the widow's heart! art thou then dead?
    And is then thy spirit from earth ever fled?
    And shall we, then, see thee and hear thee no more,
    All radiant in beauty and life as before?

    My own blue-eyed darling, Oh, why didst thou die,
    Ere the tear-drop of sorrow had dimmed thy bright eye,
    Ere thy cheek's blooming hue felt one touch of decay,
    Or thy long golden ringlets were mingled with grey?

    Why, star of our path-way, why didst thou depart?
    Why leave us to weep for the pulse of the heart?
    Oh, darkened for ever is life's sunny hour,
    When robbed of its brightest and loveliest flower!

    Around thy low bier sacred incense is flinging,
    And soft on the air are the silver bells ringing;
    For the peace of thy soul is the holy mass said,
    And on thy fair forehead the blessed cross laid.

    Soft, soft be thy slumbers, our lady receive thee,
    And shining in glory for ever thy soul be;
    To the climes of the blessed, my own grama-chree,
    May blessings attend thee, sweet cushla ma-chree.

As we passed the jemseg, we spoke of the time when Madame la Tour so
bravely defended the fort in the absence of her husband--this occurred
in the early times of the province, and strange stories are told of
spirit forms which glide along the beach, beneath whose sands the white
bones of the French and Indians, who fell in the deadly fight, lie
buried. Talking of these things, induced Mrs. Gordon to tell us the
following tale, which she had heard, and which I have entitled



A WINTER'S EVENING SKETCH,

WRITTEN IN NEW BRUNSWICK.

    "Oh! there's a dream of early youth,
    And it never comes again;
    'Tis a vision of joy, and light, and truth,
    That flits across the brain;
    And love is the theme of that early dream,
    So wild, so warm, so new.
    And oft I ween, in our after-years,
    That early dream we rue."---Mrs. HEMANS.


The winter's eve had gathered o'er New Brunswick, and the snow was
falling, as in that clime it only knows how to fall. The atmosphere was
like the face of Sterne's monk, "calm, cold, and penetrating," and the
faint tinkling of the sleigh bells came mournfully on the ear as a knell
of sadness--so utterly cheerless was the scene. Another hour passed, and
our journey was ended. The open door of the hospitable dwelling was
ready to receive us, and in the light and heat of a happy home, toil and
trouble were alike forgotten.

There is always something picturesque in the interior of a New Brunswick
farm house, and this evening everything assumed an aspect of interest
and beauty. It might have been the comfortable contrast to the scene
without that threw its mellow tints around. Even the homely loom and
spinning-wheel lost their uncouthness, and recalled to the mind's
imagery the classic dreams of old romance--Hercules in the chambers of
Omphale the story of Arachne and Penelope, the faithful wife of brave
Ulysses; but there was other food for the spirit which required not the
aid of fancy to render palatable. On the large centre table, round which
were grouped the household band, with smiling brows and happy hearts,
lay the magazines and papers of the day, with their sweet tales and
poetic gems. The "Amulet" and "Keepsake" glittering in silk and gold,
and "Chambers," with plain, unwinning exterior, the ungarnished casket
of a mine of treasure, gave forth, like whisperings from a better land,
their gentle influence to soothe and cheer the heart, and teach the
spirit higher aspirations, while breathing the magic spells raised by
their fairy power--those sweet creators of a world unswayed by earth,
where hope and beauty live undimmed by time or tears--givers to all who
own their power, a solace 'mid the pining cares of life. Thus, with the
aid of these, and the joys of converse, sped the night; and as the wind
which had now arisen blew heavy gusts of frozen rain against the
windows, we rejoiced in our situation all the more, and looked
complacently on the great mainspring of our comfort, the glowing stove,
which imparted its grateful caloric through the apartment, and bore on
its polished surface shining evidence of the housewife's care. 'Twas
apparently already a favourite, and the storm without had enhanced its
value. Without dissent, all agreed in its perfection and superiority
over ordinary fire-places.

Twas a theme which called forth conversation, and when all had given
their opinion, uncle Ethel was asked for his.

The person so addressed was an aged man, who reclined in an arm chair
apart from the others, sharing not in words with their discourse or
mirth, but smiling like a benignant spirit on them. More than eighty
years of shade and sunshine had passed o'er him. The few snowy locks
which lingered yet around his brow were soft and silky as a
child's--time and sorrow had traced him but a gentle path, 'twould seem
by the light which yet beamed in his calm blue eye and placid smile, the
expression was far different from mirthful happiness, but breathed of
holy peace and spirit pure, tempered with love and kindness for
all--living in the past dreams of youth, he loved the present, when it
recalled their sweet memories in brighter beauty from the tomb of faded
years, and then it seemed as if a secret woe arose and dimmed the vision
when it glowed brightest. A deeper sorrow than for departed youth
flashed o'er his brow, brief but fearful, as though he once, and but
once only, had felt a pang of agony which had deadened all other lighter
woes, and, overcome by resignation, left the spirit calmer as its strong
feeling passed away. Such was what we knew of uncle Ethel, but ere the
night had worn we knew him better. Joining us in our conversation
regarding the stove, he smiled, and said he agreed not with us--our
favourite was more sightly, and more useful, but it bore not the
friendly face of the old hearthstone--one of memory's most treasured
spots was gone--the _fireside_ of our home--the thought of whose
hallowed precincts cheers the wanderer's heart, and has won many from
the path of error, to seek again its sinless welcome.

'Tis while sitting by the fireside at eve, said he, that the vanished
forms of other days gather round me--there where our happiest meetings
were in the holy sanctity of our _home_. Where peace and love hovered
o'er us, I see again kind faces lit by the ruddy gleam, and hear again
the evening hymn, as of old it used to rise from the loving band
assembled there. Alas! long years have passed since I missed them from
the earth, but there they meet me still--in the glowing fire's bright
light I trace their sweet names, and the vague fancies of childhood are
waked again from their dim repose to live in light and truth once more,
amid the fantastic visions and shadowy forms, flitting through the red
world of embers, on which I loved to gaze when thought and hope were
young. I love it even now--the sorrow that is written there makes it
more holy to my mind, telling me, as it does, of a clime where grief
comes not, and where the blighted hope and broken heart will be at rest.

But why, said the old man, do I talk so long--I weary you, my children,
for the fancies of age are not those of youth--hope's fairy flowers are
bright for you--the faded things of memory are mine alone--with them I
live, but rejoice ye in your happiness, and gather now, in the spring
time of your days, treasures to cheer you in the fall of life. As to
your favourite, the stove, although I love it not so well as the old
familiar fire-place, I can admire and value it as part of the spirit of
improvement which is spreading o'er our land--her early troubles are
passing away, and she is rising fast to take her place among the nations
of the earth--bitter has been her struggle for existence, but the clouds
are fading in the brightness of her coming years, and her past woes
will be forgotten.

He ceased, but we all loved to hear him talk, he was so kind and good,
and he was earnestly requested for one of those tales of the early times
of our own land, which had often thrilled us with their simple, yet
often woeful interest.

I am become an egotist to-night, for self is the only theme of which I
can discourse. My spirit, too, is like the minstrel harp of which you
have to-night been reading, 'twill "echo nought but sadness;" but if it
please you, you shall have uncle Ethel's love story--well may we say
alas! for time,

    "For he taketh away the heart of youth,
    And its gladness which hath been
    Like the summer's sunshine on our path,
    Making the desert green."

More than sixty years have elapsed since the time of which I now shall
speak. We lived then, a large and happy family, in the dwelling where
our fathers' sires had died--sons and daughters had married, but still
remained beneath the shadow of the parent roof tree, which seemed to
extend its wings like a guardian spirit, as they increased in number.
'Twas near the city of New York, and stood in the centre of sunny
fields, which had been won from the forest shade. Our parents were
natives of the soil, but theirs had come from the far land of Germany,
and the memories of that land were still fondly cherished by their
descendants. The low-roofed cottage, with its many-pointed gables and
narrow casement, was gay with the bright flowers of that home of their
hearts--cherished and guarded there with the tenderest care--all hues
of earth seemed blended in the bright parterre of tulips, over which the
magnificent dahlia towered, tall and stately as a queen--the rich scent
of the wallflower breathed around, and the jessamine went climbing
freely o'er the trellissed porch and arching eaves--each flower around
my home bore to me the face of a friend--they bore to me the poetry of
the earth, as the stars tell the sweet harmonies of heaven--but there is
a vision of fairer beauty than either star or flower comes with the
thought of these bye-gone days--the face of my orphan cousin Ella Werner
arises in the brightness of its young beauty, as it used to beam upon me
from the latticed window of my home: for her's, indeed,

    "Was a form of life and light,
    That seen became a part of sight,
    And comes where'er I turn mine eye,
    The morning star of memory."

Ella's mother was sister to my father: she lived but long enough to look
upon her child, and her husband died of a broken heart soon after her.
Thus the very existence of the fair girl was fatal to those who best
loved her--not best, for all living loved her. In after-years it seemed
as though it was her beauty, that fatal gift, which ne'er for good was
given to many, caused her woe. Ella's spirit was pure and bright as the
eyes through which it beamed--the gladness of her young heart's
happiness rung in the silvery music of her voice, and in the fairy magic
of her smile she looked as if sorrow could never dim the golden lustre
of her curls, or trace a cloud on her snowy brow--gentle and lovely she
was, and that was all. There was no depth of thought, no strength of
mind, to form the character of one so gifted. Her faculties for
reasoning were the impulses of her own heart: these were generally good,
and constituted her principle of action--but changeful as the summer sky
are the feelings of the human heart, unswayed by the deeper power of the
head. Such were Ella's, and their power destroyed her. Alas! how calmly
can I talk now of her faults; but who could think of them when they
looked upon her, and loved her as I did--'tis only since she is gone I
discover them.

Of the other members of the family I need not speak, as you already know
of them; but there is one whose name you have never heard, for crime and
sorrow rest with it, and oblivion shrouds his memory. Conrad Ernstein
was also my cousin, and an orphan--he was an inmate of our dwelling, and
my mother was to him as a parent. He was some years older, but his
delicate constitution and studious mind withdrew him from the others,
and made him the companion of Ella and myself. I have said that Ella's
mind was too volatile, so in like degree was Conrad's, in its deep
unchanging firmness and immutability of purpose. Nothing deterred him
from the pursuit of any object he engaged in--obstacles but increased
his energy to overcome and call forth stronger powers of mind--this was
observable in his learning. Science the most abstruse and difficult was
his favourite study, and in these he attained an excellence rarely
arrived at by one so situated.

Wondered at and admired by all, his pride which was great was amply
gratified, and what was evil in his nature was not yet called into
being--his disposition was melancholy, and showed none of the joyousness
of youth--yet that very sadness seemed to make us love him all the
more--his air of suffering asked for pity--'twas strange to see the
glad-hearted Ella leave my mother's side, while she sang to us the songs
of the blue Rhine, and bend her sunny brow with him over the ancient
page of some clasped volume, containing the terrific legends of the
"black forest," till the tales of the wild huntsmen filled her with
dread--then again would she spring to my mother, and burying her head in
her bosom, ask her once more to sing the songs of her native land, for
so we still called Germany; and, as you see, the romances and legends of
that country formed our childhood's lore, my early love for Ella grew
and increased with my years, and I fancied that she loved me.

On the first of May, or, as it was by us styled, "Walburga's eve," the
young German maidens have a custom of seeking a lonely stream, and
flinging on its waters a wreath of early flowers, as an offering to a
spirit which then has power. When, as the legend tells, the face of
their lover will glide along the water, and the name be borne on the
breeze, if the gift be pleasing to the spirit. Ella, I knew, had for
some time been preparing to keep this ancient relic of the pagan
rites--she had a treasured rose tree which bloomed, unexpectedly, early
in the season--these delicate things she fancied would be a fitting
offering to the spirit. She paused not to think of what she was about to
do--the thing itself was but a harmless folly--from aught of ill her
nature would have drawn instinctively; but evil there might have
been--she stayed not to weigh the result--at the last hour of sunset she
wreathed her roses, and set out. In the lightness of my heart I followed
in the same path, intending to surprize her. I heard her clear voice
floating on the air, as she sung the invocation to the spirit--the words
were these:--

    Blue-eyed spirit of balmy spring,
    Bright young flowers to thee I bring,
    Wreaths all tinged with hues divine,
    Meet to rest on thy fairy shrine.
    With these I invoke thy gentle care,
    Queen of the earth and ambient air,
    Come with the light of thy radiant skies,
    Trace on the stream my true love's eyes,
    Show me the face in the silvery deep,
    Whose image for aye my heart may keep;
    Bid the waters echoing shell,
    Whisper the name thy breezes tell.
    And still on the feast of Walburga's eve,
    Bright young flowers to thee I'll give;
    Beautiful spirit I've spoken the spell,
    And offered the gift thou lovest well."

The last notes died suddenly away, and Ella, greatly agitated, threw
herself into my arms. I enquired the cause of her terror, and forgetting
her secrecy, she said a face had appeared to her on the stream. Just
then we saw Conrad, who had followed on the same purpose I had, but had
fallen and hurt his ancle, and was unable to proceed. He joined not with
me when I laughed at Ella's fright, but a deeper paleness overspread his
countenance. Raising his eyes to the heavens, they rested on a star
beaming brightly in the blue--its mild radiance seemed to soothe him.
See ye yonder, said he, how clear and unclouded the lustre of that
shining orb--these words seemed irrelevant, but I knew their meaning.
His knowledge of German literature had led him into the mazes of its
mingled philosophy and wild romance. Astronomy and astrology were to him
the same; the star to which he pointed was what he called the planet of
his fate, and its brightness or obscurity were shadowed in his mind--its
aspect caused him either joy or woe. The incident of Ella's fright
agitated him much, for the occurrences of this real world were to him
all tinged with the supernatural; but he looked again at the heavens,
and the mild lustre of the star was reflected in his eyes; he leaned
upon my arm, and we passed onward. I knew not then that his dark spirit
felt the sunbeams which illumined mine own.

That same balmy evening I stood with Ella by the silver stream which
traced its shining path around our home, watching the clear moonbeams as
they flashed in the fairy foambells sparkling at our feet. There I first
told my love--her hand was clasped in mine--she heard me, and raising
her dewy eyes, said, "Dearest Ethel, I love you well; but not as she who
weds must love you--be still to me my own dear friend and brother, and
Ella will love you as she ever has. Ask not for more." She left me, and
I saw a tear-drop gem the silken braid on her cheek, and thus my dream
of beauty burst. My spirit's light grew dark as the treasured spell
which bound me broke. Some hours passed in agony, such as none could
feel but those who loved as I did--so deep, so fondly.

As I approached my home the warm evening light was streaming from the
windows, and I heard her rich voice thrilling its wild melody. Every
brow smiled upon her: even Conrad's was unbent. I looked upon her, and
prayed she might never know a grief like mine. The ringing music of her
laugh greeted my entrance, and ere the night had passed she charmed away
my woe.

While these things occurred with us, the aspect of the times without had
changed. America made war with England. What were her injuries we asked
not, but 'twas not likely that we, come of a race who loved so well
their "fatherland and king," would join with those who had risen against
theirs. As yet the crisis was not come, and in New York British power
was still triumphant.

Among the many festivities given by the officers, naval and military,
then in the country, was a splendid ball on board a British frigate then
in the harbour. To this scene of magic beauty and delight I accompanied
Ella--'twas but a few days after that unhappy first of May; but the
buoyant spirits of youth are soon rekindled, and Ella yet, I thought,
might love me. The scene was so new, and withal so splendid in its
details, that it comes before me now fresh and undimmed. The night was
one of summer's softest, earliest beauty: the moonlight slept upon the
still waters, and the tall masts, with all their graceful tracery of
spar and line, were bathed with rich radiance, mingled with the hundred
lights of coloured lamps, suspended from festoons of flowers; low
couches stood along the bulwarks of the noble ship, and the meteor flag
of England, which waved so oft amid the battle and the breeze, now
wafted its ruby cross o'er fair forms gliding through the dance, to the
rich strains of merry music--'twas an hour that sent glad feeling to the
heart. The gay dresses and noble bearing of the military officers, all
glistening in scarlet and gold, contrasted well with the white robes and
delicate beauty of the fair girls by their sides. But they had their
rivals in the gallant givers of the fete. Many a lady's heart was lost
that night. "What is it always makes a sailor so dangerous a rival?"
Ella used to say, when rallied on her partiality for a "bluejacket,"
that she loved it because it was the colour of so many things dear to
her: the sky was blue, the waves of the deep mysterious sea were blue,
and the wreaths of that fairy flower, which bears the magic name
forget-me-not, were of the same charmed hue. Some such reason, I
suppose, it is that makes every maiden love a sailor.

While we stood gazing on the scene, enchanted and delighted, one came
near and joined our group. Nobility of mind and birth was written on his
brow in beauty's brightest traits. He seemed hardly nineteen, but, young
as he was, many a wild breeze had parted the wavy ringlets of his hair,
and the salt spray of the ocean raised a deeper hue on his cheek. His
light and graceful figure was clad in the becoming costume of his rank,
and on his richly braided bosom rested three half blown roses. Ella's
eyes for an instant met his, they fell upon the flowers, and she dropped
fainting from my arm. The mystery was soon explained. De Clairville,
such was the stranger's name, had been walking on the cliffs when Ella
sought the stream--he heard her voice and approached to see from whence
it came--his was the face she had seen upon the waters; he heard her
scream, and descended to apologise, but she was gone, and he had found
and worn her rose buds--

    "Oh! there are looks and tones that dart
    An instant sunshine through the heart,
    As if the soul that instant caught
    Some treasure it through life had sought;
    As if the very lips and eyes,
    Predestined to have all our sighs,
    And never be forgot again,
    Sparkled and spoke before us then."

So sings the poet, and so seemed it with Ella and De Clairville; and
when the rosy morn, tinging the eastern sky, announced to the revellers
the hour of parting, that night of happiness was deemed too short.

To hasten on my story, I must merely say that they became fondly
attached, and when De Clairville departed for another station, he left
Ella as his betrothed bride. On love such as theirs 'twould seem to all
that heaven smiled; but inscrutable to human eyes are the ways of
Providence, for deadly was the blight thrown o'er them.

Meanwhile the events in which the country was engaged drew to a close.
England acknowledged the independence of America, and withdrew her
forces; but while she did so, offered a home and protection to those who
yet wished to claim it. We were among the first to embrace the proposal:
and though with sadness we left our sunny home with all its fond
remembrances, yet integrity of mind was dearer still. We might not stay
in the land with whose institutions we concurred not. Conrad, with his
learning and talents, 'twas thought, might remain to seek the path of
fame already opening to him; but what to him were the dreams of
ambition, compared to the all-engrossing thought which now bound each
faculty of his mind beneath its power. Ella, my mother also wished to
stay, nor attempt with us the perils of our new life; for here her
betrothed, when he returned, expected to meet her; but she flung her
arms around my mother, saying in the language of Ruth, "thy home,
dearest, shall be mine," and there shall De Clairville join us. Suffice
it, then, to say, that after bidding farewell to scenes we loved, our
wearisome voyage was ended, and we landed on these sterile and dreary
shores. We dared not venture from the coast, and our abode was chosen in
what appeared to us the best of this bleak and barren soil. 'Twas a sad
change, but those were the days of strong hearts and trusting hopes.

Our settlement was formed of six or eight different households, all
connected, and all from the neighbourhood of the beautiful Bowery. Each
knew what the other had left, and tried to cheer each other with
brighter hopes than they hardly dared to feel; but sympathy and kindness
were among us.

Why need I tell you of our blighted crops and scanty harvests, and all
the toil and trouble which we then endured. I must go on with what I
commenced--the story of my own love. Shall I say that when Ella
accompanied us I hoped De Clairville might never join us. 'Tis true, but
what were my feelings to discover the love of Conrad for the gem of my
heart, and that he cherished it with all the deep strength of his
nature. I saw Ella's manner was not such as became a betrothed maiden,
but she feared Conrad, and trembled beneath the dark glance of his eye.
A feeling more of fear and pity than of love was her's; but I was
fearful for the result, for I knew he was one not to be trifled with.

The last dreary days of the autumn were gathered round us--the earth
was already bound in her frozen sleep, and all nature stilled in her
silent trance--all, save the restless waves, dashing on the rocky shore;
or the wind, which first curled their crests, and then went sweeping
through the wiry foliage of the pines--when, at the close of the short
twilight, we were all gathered on the highest point which overlooked the
sea, earnestly gazing o'er the dim horizon, where night was coming fast.
Ere the sun had set a barque had been seen, and her appearance caused
unwonted excitement in our solitudes. Ships in those days were strange
but welcome visitants. Not merely the necessaries of life, but kind
letters and tidings from distant friends were borne by them. As the
darkness increased, signal fires were raised along the beach, and ere
long a gun came booming o'er the waters; soon after came the noble ship
herself; her white sails gleaming through the night, and the glittering
spray flashing in diamond sparkles from her prow. She came to, some
distance from the shore, and, as if by magic, every sail was furled. A
boat came glancing from her side; a few minutes sent it to the beach,
and a gallant form sprung out upon the strand. It was De Clairville come
to claim his affianced bride; and with a blushing cheek and tearful eye
Ella was once more folded to his faithful heart.

A pang of jealous feeling for an instant darted through me, but Conrad's
face met mine, and its dark expression drove the demon power from me. I
saw the withering scowl of hate he cast upon De Clairville, and I
inwardly determined to shield the noble youth from the malice of that
dark one; for, bright as was to me the hope of Ella's love, I loved her
too well to be ought but rejoiced in her happiness. Although it brought
sorrow to myself, yet she was blessed. Mirth and joy, now for a while
cheered our lonely homes; we knew we were to lose our flower; but love
like theirs is a gladsome thing to look at. Many were the gifts De
Clairville brought his bride from the rich shore of England. Bracelets,
radiant as her own bright eyes, and pearls as pure as the neck they
twined. Among other things was a fairy case of gold, in the form of a
locket, which he himself wore. Ella wished to see what it contained, and
laughingly he unclosed it before us: 'twas the faded rose leaves of her
offerings to the love spirit on Walburga's eve. They had rested on his
heart, he said, in the hours of absence; and there, in death, should
they be still. Ella blushed and hid her face upon his bosom. I sighed at
the memory of that day, but Conrad's gloomy frown recalled me to the
present--this was their bridal eve. Our pastor was with us, and the
lowly building where we worshipped was decorated with simple state for
the occasion.

It stood on an eminence some distance from the other houses. That night
I was awakened from sleep by a sudden light shining through the room--a
wild dream' was yet before me, and a death snriek seemed ringing in my
ears. I looked from the window; our little church was all in flames;
'twas built of rough logs, and was of little value, save that it was
hallowed by its use. A fire had-probably been left on to prepare it for
the morrow, and from this the mischief had arisen. I thought little
about it, and none knew of its destruction till the morn.

The sun rose round and red, and sparkled o'er the glittering sheen of
the frost king's gems, flung in wild symmetry o'er the earth, till all
that before looked dark and drear was wreathed with a veil of dazzling
beauty; even the blackened logs where the fire had been had their
delicate tracery of pearly fringe. The guests assembled in our dwelling,
and the pastor stood before the humble altar, raised for the occasion.
The walls were rude, but the bride in her young beauty might have graced
a palace. She leaned on Conrad's arm, according to our custom, as her
oldest unmarried relative. The tables were spread with the bridal cheer,
and the blazing fire crackled merrily on the wide hearth-stone. The
bridegroom's presence alone was waited for. Gaily hung with flags was
the ship, and cheers rung loudly from her crew as a boat left her side.
It came, but bore but the officers invited to the wedding. Where was De
Clairville? None knew! We had expected he passed the night on board; but
there he had not been. 'Twas most strange! The day passed away, and
others like it, and still he came not. He was gone for ever. Had he
proved false and forsaken his love? Such was the imputation thrown on
his absence by Conrad.

The sailors joined us; a band of Indian hunters led the way, and for
miles around the woods were searched, but trace of human footsteps, save
our own, we saw not. Long did the vessel's crew linger by the shore,
hoping each day for tidings of their loved commander's fate, but of him
they heard no more, and it was deemed he had met his death by drowning.

Conrad, whose morose manner suddenly disappeared for a bold and forward
tone, so utterly at variance from his usual that all were surprized,
still persisted in asserting that he had but proceeded along the coast,
and would join his vessel as she passed onward. One of the sailors, an
old and grey-haired man, who loved De Clairville as a son, indignantly
denied the charge. He was incapable of such an action. "God grant," said
he, "he may have been fairly dealt with." "You would not say he had been
murdered," said Conrad. "No," said the old man, "I thought not of that:
if he were, not a leaflet in your woods but would bear witness to the
crime."

We were standing then by the ruined church--a slender beech tree grew
beside it--one faded leaf yet hovered on its stem--for an instant it
trembled in the blast, then fell at Conrad's feet, brushing his cheek as
it passed. If the blow of a giant had struck him he could not have
fallen more heavily to the ground. An inward loathing, such as may
mortal man never feel to his fellow, forbade me to assist him. He had
fainted; but the cold air soon revived him, and he arose, complaining of
sudden illness. The sailors left us, and the ship sailed slowly from our
waters, with her colours floating sadly half-mast high.

Ella thus suddenly bereaved, mourned in wild and bitter grief, but
woman's pride, at times her guardian angel, at others her destroyer,
took up its stronghold in her heart. The tempter Conrad awoke its
tones--with specious wile he recalled De Clairville's lofty ideas of
name and birth--how proudly he spoke of his lady mother and the castled
state of his father's hall. Was it not likely that, at the last, this
pride had rallied its strength around him, and bade him seek a nobler
bride than the lowly maiden of the "Refugees?" Too readily she heard
him, for love the fondest is nearest allied to hate the deepest, and De
Clairville's name became a thing for scorn and hate. 'Twas vain for me
to speak--what could I say? A species of fascination seemed to be
obtained by Conrad o'er her--a witching spell was in his words--'twas
but the power, swayed by his strong and ill-formed mind, over her weak
but gentle one--which, if rightly guided, would have echoed such sweet
music--and, ere the summer passed, she had forgotten her lost lover, and
was to wed him.

To others there was nothing strange in this, but to me it brought a wild
and dreary feeling; not that my early dreams were unchanged, for I had
learned to think a love like her's, so lightly lost and won, was not the
thing to be prized. Alas! I knew not the blackness of the spirit that
beguiled her, and wrought such woe. Still she had done wrong--the
affections of man's heart may not be idly dealt with--the woman who
feigns what she feels not, has her hand on the lion's mane. Ella at one
time had done this, and she reaped a dark guerdon for her falsehood. Yet
in her it might have been excused, for the very weakness of her nature
led her to it. Let those who are more strongly gifted beware of her
fate.

The earth was in the richest flush of her green beauty. On the morn,
Ella was again to be a bride--the golden light streamed through the glad
blue sky, and all looked bright and fair--the remains of the church,
which had long looked black and dreary, were gay with the richness of
vegetation--the bracken waved its green plumes, and the tall mullen
plant, with its broad white leaves, raised its pale crest above the
charred walls. While the dew was shining bright I had gone
forth--surprise and consternation greeted my solitary approach when I
returned. Again the holy book had been opened--the priest stood ready
with the bride, and tarried for the lover--they thought he was with me,
but I had not seen him--daylight passed away, night came, but brought
him not--the moon arose, and her shadowy light gave to familiar things
of day the spectral forms of mystery.

While we sat in silence, thinking of Conrad's absence, a dog's mournful
whine sounded near--it grew louder, and attracted our attention. We
followed the sound--it came from the ruins of the church, and there,
among the weeds and flowers lay Conrad stiff and cold--he was dead, and,
oh the horrible expression of that face, the demoniac look of despair
was never written in such fearful lines on human face before. All felt
relief when 'twas covered from the sight. One hand had 'twined in the
death grasp round the reed-like stem of the mullen plant--we unclosed
it, and it sprung back, tall and straight as before; something glittered
in the other--'twas the half of De Clairville's golden locket--how it
came to be in his possession was strange, but we thought not of it then.

Events like these have a saddening influence on the mind, and the gloom
for Conrad's sudden death hung heavy o'er us--Ella's mourning was long
and deep. I was not grieved to see it, for sorrow makes the spirit
wiser.

Three years passed away--little change had been among us, save that some
of our aged were gone, and the young had risen around us. Once more it
was the first of May--the night was dark and still, but the silvery
sounds of the waging earth came like balm o'er the soul--there was a
murmur in the forest, as though one heard the song of the young leaves
bursting into life, and the glad gushing of the springing streams rose
with them. The memory of other days was floating o'er my mind, when a
soft voice broke on my reverie. Her thoughts had been with
mine--"Ethel," said she, "remember you, how on such a night as this, you
once sought my love. Alas! how little knew I then of my own
heart--your's it should then have been--you know the shades that have
passed over it. Is Ella's love a worthless gift, or will you accept it
now as freely as 'tis offered. How long and sternly must we be trained
e'er love's young dream can be forgotten." The events that intervened
all passed away, and Ella was again the same maiden that stood with me
so long ago by the streamlet's side on Walburga's eve. My heart's long
silenced music once more rung forth its melody at her sweet words, and
life again was bright with the gems of hope and fond affection.

In places so lone as that in which we lived, the fancies of superstition
have ample scope to range. It had long been whispered through the
settlement that the spirit of Conrad appeared on the spot where he had
died at certain times. When the moon beamed, a shadowy form was seen to
wave its pale arms among the ruins of the church, which yet remained
unchanged. So strongly was the story believed, that after night-fall
none dared to pass the spot alone. Ella, too, had heard it, and trembled
whilst she disbelieved its truth. Our marriage morning came, and Ella
was for the third time arrayed in her bridal dress. A wreath of pearl
gleamed through her hair, and lace and satin robed her peerless
form--the tinge upon her cheek might not have been so bright as once it
was, but to me she was lovely--more of mind was blended with the
feelings of the heart, and gave a higher tone to her beauty. The holy
words were said, and my fondest hopes made truth. Is it, that because in
our most blissful hours the spirits are most ready fall, or was it the
sense of coming ill that threw its dreary shade of sadness o'er me all
that day? The glorious sun sunk brightly to his rest, but the rose cloud
round his path seemed deepened to the hue of blood. A wailing sound came
o'er the waters, and a whispering, as of woe, sighed through the leafy
trees. This feeling of despondency I tried in vain to banish; as the
evening came, it grew deeper, but Ella was more joyous than ever, for a
long time, she had been. All the fairy wiles of her winning youth seemed
bright as of old--glad faces were around us, and she was the gayest of
them all; when, suddenly, something from the open door met her eyes--one
loud shriek broke from her, and she rushed wildly from among us. I saw
her speed madly up the hill, where stood the church. I was hastening
after, when strong arms held me back, and fingers, trembling with awe
and dread, pointed to the object of their terror--there among the ruins
stood a tall and ghost-like form, whose spectral head seemed to move
with a threatening motion--for an instant I was paralysed, but Ella's
white robes flashed before me, and I broke from their grasp. Again I
heard her shriek--she vanished from me, but the phantom form still
stood. I reached it, and that thing of fear was but a gigantic weed--a
tall mullen that had outgrown the others on the very spot where we had
found the body of Conrad; the waving of its flexile head and long pale
leaves, shining with moonlight, were the motions we had seen--but where
was Ella? The decaying logs gave way beneath her, and she had fallen
into a vault or cellar beneath the building. Meanwhile those at the
house recovered their courage, and came towards us, bearing lights. We
entered the vault, and, on her knees before a figure, was Ella--the form
and dress were De Clairville's, such as we had seen him in last, but the
face, oh! heaven, the face showed but the white bones of a skeleton. The
rich brown curls still clung to the fleshless skull, and on the finger
glittered the ring with which Ella was to have been wed. The half of the
golden locket was clasped to his breast--the ribbon by which it hung
seemed to have been torn rudely from its place, but the hand had kept
its hold till the motion caused by our descent--it fell at Ella's feet,
a sad memento of other days, and recalled her to sensation. Horror paled
the brows of all, but to me was given a deeper woe, to think and know
what Ella must have felt.

Every feeling was deepened to intensity of agony in the passing of that
night--that dreary closing of my bridal day. How came the morning's
light I know not, but when it did, the fresh breeze blew on my brow, and
I saw the remains of De Clairville lying on the grass before me--they
had borne him from below, and it showed more plainly the crime which had
been among us. The deep blue of the dress was changed to a darker hue
where the red life blood had flowed, and from the back was drawn the
treacherous implement of death. The hearts of all readily whispered the
murderer's name, and fuller proof was given in that ancient dagger that
had long been an heir-loom in the family of Conrad--a relic of the old
Teutonic race from whence they sprung--well was it known, and we had
often wondered at its disappearance. He, Conrad, was the murderer--he
had slain De Clairville, and fired the building to conceal his crime.
God was the avenger of the dark deed--the mighty hand of conscience
struck him in his proudest hour--the humblest things of earth, brought
deathly terror to his soul. 'Twas evident the appearance of the mullen
plant, which drew us to the spot, had been the cause of his death. The
words of the old sailor seemed true. The lowly herb had brought the
crime to light, and in the hand of heaven had punished the murderer.

We buried De Clairville beneath a mossy mound, where the lofty pine and
spicy cedar waved above, and hallowed words were said o'er his rest. A
blight seemed to hover o'er our lonely settlement by the deed which had
been done within it. Nothing bound us to the spot; but hues of sadness
rested with it, and ever would. 'Twas an unhallowed spot, and we
prepared to leave it, and seek another resting place.

Our boats lay ready by the beach, and some were already embarked. I
took a last look around--something white gleamed among the trees around
De Clairville's grave--'twas Ella, who lay there dead. She always
accused herself as the cause of De Clairville's death, and indirectly,
too, she had been--but restitution now was made. We laid her by his
side, and thus I lost my early, only love.

Here then was it where we chose our heritage, and here we have since
remained, but everything is changed since then. Many an aged brow has
passed from earth, and many a bright eye closed in death. Every trace of
old is passing away, save where their shadows glide in the memory. Even
the grave where Ella slept is gone from earth.

Twenty years after her death I made a pilgrimage to the place--the young
sapling pines which shaded it had grown to lofty trees--human voice
seemed never to have broken in tones of joy or woe the deep solitude
around--the long grass waved rank and dark above the walls we had
raised, and the red berries hung rich and ripe by the ruined
hearthstone. Again, when another twenty years passed, I came to it once
more--the weight of age had gathered o'er me, but there lay the buried
sunlight of my youth, and the spirit thoughts of other days drew me to
it. Again there was a change--a change which told me my own time drew
near. The woods were gone long since--the reaper had passed o'er the
lowly graves, and knew them not. The last record of my love and of my
woe, was gone. Dwellings were raised along the lonely beach, and laden
ships floated on the long silent waters. I bade the place farewell for
ever, and returned to await in peace and hope my summons to the promised
rest.

The old man paused--the dreams of the past had weakened him, and he
retired for the night. Next morn we waited long for his presence, but he
came not. We sought his chamber, and found him dead. The soul had passed
away--one hand was folded on his heart, and oh! the might of earthly
love. It clasped a shining braid of silken hair, and something, of which
their faint perfume told to be the faded rose leaves--frail memorials of
his fondly loved Ella, but lasting after the warm heart which cherished
them was cold. He was gone where, if it be not in heaven "a crime to
love too well," his spirit may yet meet with her's, in that holy light,
whose purity of bliss may not be broken by the vain turmoil of earthly
feelings. So ends the story of uncle Ethel.

       *       *       *       *       *

Well, said Grace, after we had discussed Ethel's melancholy story,
although I don't believe in ghosts, I cannot do away with my faith in
dreams, and last night I had a most disagreeable one, which disturbed me
much. I thought I had engaged my passage, and when I unclosed my purse
to pay down the money, nothing was in it but a plain gold ring and a
ruby heart. My money was gone, and, oh! the grief I felt was deeper than
waking language can describe. Then, Grace, said I, you must receive
consolation for your disagreeable dream, in the words of your own
favourite song, "Rory o'More," that dreams always go by contrary you
know, and so I shall read your dream. The plain gold ring means that
tie, which, like it, has no ending. The heart has, in all ages, been
held symbolical of its holiest feeling, and thus unite love and
marriage, and your sorrow will be turned to joy. So I prognosticate your
dream to mean. And time told I had foretold aright--for soon after we
had arrived in St. John's, the entrance to which, from the main river,
is extremely beautiful, showing every variety of scenery, from the green
meadows of rich intervale, where stand white dwellings and orchard
trees, to the grey and barren rocks, with cedary plumage towering to the
sky.

Grace having engaged her passage home, we were turning from the office,
when a stranger bounded to us, and caught her by the hand. Grace Marley,
he exclaimed--my own, my beautiful. I felt her lean heavily on my arm;
she had fainted. And so deep was that trance, we fancied she was
gone--but joy rarely kills, and she awoke to the passionate exclamations
of her lover--for such he was, come o'er the deep sea to seek her. An
explanation ensued. Their letters to each other had all miscarried. None
had been received by either. (All this bitter disappointment, however,
happened before the establishment of our post.) So Grace, instead of
returning to Ireland, was wedded next day, her husband having brought
means with him to settle in the country. The magician, Love, flung his
rose-light o'er her path, and, when I saw her last, she fancied the
emerald glades of Oromot, where her home now lay, almost as beautiful as
those by the blue lakes of Killarney, in the land of her birth.

With the end of September commence the night frosts. The woods now lose
their greenness; and the most brilliant hues of crimson, and gold, and
purple, are flung in gorgeous flakes of beauty over their boughs, as
though each leaf were crystal, and reflected and retained the light of
some glorious sunset. In this lovely season, which is most appropriately
termed the fall, we wished to _get along_ with our church, and have it
enclosed before the winter. This was rather an arduous undertaking in
young settlement like ours; but there were those here who loved

    "Old England's holy church,
    And loved her form of prayer right well."

And liberally they came forward to raise a temple to their faith in the
wilderness. The "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign
Lands" had promised assistance; but the frame must first be erected and
enclosed ere it could be claimed. In this country cash is a most scarce
commodity, and many species of speculation are made with the aid of
little real specie. Large sums are spoken of, but rarely appear bodily:
and our church got on in the same way. The owner of the saw-mill signed
twenty pounds as his subscription towards it, and paid it in boards--the
carpenters who did the work received from the subscribers pork and flour
for their pay--and our neighbour, the embarrassed lumber-man, who was
still wooden-headed enough to like anything of a _timber spec_, got out
the frame by contract, himself giving most generously five pounds worth
of work towards it. And thus the church was raised, and now it stands,
with white spire, pointing heavenward, above the ancient forest trees.

As winter was now approaching, how to pass its long evenings agreeably
and rationally was a question which was agitated. The dwellers of
America are more enlightened now than in those old times when dancing
and feasting were the sole amusements, so a library was instituted and
formed by the same means as the church had been--a load of potatoes, or
a barrel of buckwheat, being given by each party to purchase books with.
The selection of these, to suit all tastes, was a matter of some
difficulty, the grave and serious declaiming against light reading, and
regarding a novel as the climax of human wickedness. One old lady, who
by the way was fond of reading, and had studied the ancient tale of
Pamela regularly, at her leisure, for the last forty years, was the
strongest against these, and, on being told that her favourite tome was
no less than a novel, she consigned it to oblivion, and seemed, for a
time, to have lost all faith in sublunary things. After some little
trouble, however, the thing was satisfactorily arranged. Even here, to
this lone nook of the western world, had reached the fame of the Caxtons
of modern times. Aught that bore the name of Chambers, had a place in
our collection, and the busy fingers of the little Edinburgh 'devils'
have brightened the solitude of many a home on the banks of the
Washedemoak.

The Indian summer, which, in November, comes like breathing space, ere
the mighty power of winter sweeps o'er the earth, is beautiful, with its
balmy airs and soft bright skies, yet melancholy in its loveliness as a
fair face in death--'tis the last smile of summer, and when the last
wreath of crimson leaves fall to earth, the erratic birds take their
flight to warmer lands--the bear retires to his hollow tree--the
squirrel to his winter stores--and man calls forth all his genius to
make him independent of the storm king's power. In this country we have
a specimen of every climate at its utmost boundary of endurance; in
summer we have breathless days of burning heat shining on in shadowless
splendour of sunlight; but it is in the getting up of a winter's scene
that New Brunswick is perfect. True, a considerable tall sample of a
snow-storm can sometimes be enjoyed in England, but nothing to compare
with the free and easy sweep with which the monarch of clouds flings his
boons over this portion of his dominions. After the first snow-storm the
woods have a grand and beautiful appearance, festooned with their
garlands of feathery pearls--the raindrops which fall with the earlier
snows hang like diamond pendants, and flash in the sun, "As if gems were
the fruitage of every bough."

I remember once coming from St. John's by water. The frost set in rather
earlier than we expected. The farther from the sea the sooner it
commences; so as we proceeded up the river our boat was stopped by the
crystal barrier across the stream, not strong enough yet to admit of
teaming, and we had nothing for it but a walk of seven miles through the
forest,--home we must proceed, though evening was closing in and
darkness would soon be around us, the heavy atmosphere told of a coming
storm, and ere to-morrow our path would be blocked up. America is the
land of invention; and here we were, on the dreary shore, in the dusky
twilight--a situation which requires the aid of philosophy. We were
something in the predicament of the Russian sailors in Spitzbergen, we
wanted light to guide us on the "blaze," without which we could not keep
it; but beyond the gleam of a patent congreve, our means extended not.
One of our company, however, a native of the country, took the matter
easy. Some birch trees were growing near, from which he stripped a
portion of the silvery bark, which being rolled into torches, were
ignited; each carried a store, and by their brilliant light we set out
on our pilgrimage. The effect of our most original Bude on the
snow-wreathed forest was magical--we seemed to traverse the palace
gardens of enchantment, so strange yet splendid was the scene--the snow
shining pure in the distance, and the thousand ice gems gleaming ruby
red in the rays of our torches. They are wondrous to walk through, those
boundless forests, when one thinks that by a slight deviation from the
track the path would be lost; and, ere it could be found again, the
spirit grow weary in its wanderings, and, taking its flight, leave the
unshrouded brows to bleach on summer flowers or winter snows, in the
path where the graceful carraboo bounds past, or the bear comes guided
by the tainted breeze to where it lies.

It was on this midnight ramble that the facts of the following lines
were related to me, ending not, as such tales generally do, in death,
but in what perchance was worse,--civilisation lost in barbarism.


Many years ago two children, daughters of a person residing in this
province, were lost in the woods. What had been their fate none knew
--no trace of them could be found until, after a long period of time
had elapsed, one of them was discovered among some Indians, by whom they
had been taken, and with whom this one had remained, the other having
joined another tribe. She appeared an Indian squaw in every respect--her
complexion had been stained as dark as theirs--her costume was the same,
but she had blue eyes. This excited suspicion, which proved to be
correct. The story of the lost children was remembered, which event
occurred thirty years before. With some difficulty she was induced to
meet her mother, her only remaining parent. The tide of time swept back
from the mother's mind, and she hastened to embrace the child of her
memory, but, alas! the change. There existed for her no love in the
bosom of the lost one. Her relatives wishing to reclaim her from her
savage life, earnestly besought her to remain with them, but their ways
were not as her's--she felt as a stranger with them, and rejoined the
Indian band, with whom she still remains.



    THE LOST CHILDREN.

    At early morn a mother stood,
      Her hands were raised to heaven.
    And she praised Almighty God
      For the blessings He had given;
    But far too deep were they
      Encircled in her heart,--
    Too deep for human weal,
      For earth and love must part.
    She looked with hope too bright
      On the forms that by her bent,
    And loved, by far too fondly,
      Those treasures God had sent.
    They bound her to the earth,
      With love's own golden chain,
    How were its bright links severed
      By the spirit's wildest pain?
    She parted the rich tresses,
      And kissed each snowy brow,
    And where, oh! happy mother,
      Was one so blest as thou?
    The summer sun was shining
      All cloudless o'er the lea,
    When forth her children bounded,
      In childhood's summer glee.
    They strayed along the woody banks,
      All fringed with sunny green,
    Where, like a silver serpent,
      The river ran between.
    Their glad young voices rose,
      As they thought of flower or bird,
    And they sang the joyous fancies
      That in each spirit stirred.
    Oh! sister, see that humming bird;
      Saw ye ever ought so fair?
    With wings of gold and ruby,
      He sparkles through the air;
    Let us follow where he flies
      O'er yonder hazel dell,
    For oh! it must be beautiful
      Where such a thing can dwell.
    Yet to me it seemeth still,
      That his rest must be on high;
    Methinks his plumes are bathed
      In the even's crimson sky:
    How lovely is this earth,
      Where such fair things we see,
    And yet how much more glorious
      The power that bids them be!
    Nay, sister, let us stay
      Where those water lilies float,
    So spotless and so pure
      Like a fairy's pearly boat.
    Listen to the melody
      That cometh soft and low,
    As through the twining tendrils
      The water glides below.
    Perchance 'twas in a spot like this,
      And by a stream as mild,
    Where the Jewish mother laid
      Her gentle Hebrew child.
    Then rested they beneath the trees,
      Where, through the leafy shade,
    In ever-changing radiance,
      The broken sun-light played;
    And spoke in words, whose simple truth
      Revealed the guileless soul,
    Till softly o'er their senses
      A quiet slumber stole.
    Lo! now a form comes glancing
      Along the waters blue,
    And moored among the lilies
      Lay an Indian's dark canoe.
    The days of ancient feud were gone.
      The axe was buried deep.
    And stilled the red man's warfare,
      In unawaking sleep.
    Why stands he then so silently,
      Where those fair children lie?
    And say, what means the flashing
      Of the Indian's eagle eye?
    He thinks him of his lonely spouse,
      Within her forest glade;
    Around her silent dwelling
      No children ever played.
    No voice arose to greet him
      When he at eve would come,
    But sadness ever hovered
      Around his dreary home.
    Oh! with those lovely rose-buds
      Were my lone hearth-stone blest,
    My richest food should cheer them,
      My softest furs should rest.
    Their kindred drive us onward,
      Where the setting sunbeams shine;
    They claim our father's heritage,
      Why may not these be mine?
    He raised the sleeping children,
      Oh! sad and dreary day!
    And o'er the dancing waters
      He bore them far away.
    He wiled their hearts' young feelings
      With words and actions kind,
    And soon the past went fading
      All dream-like from their mind.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Oh! brightly sped the beaming sun
      Along his glorious way,
    And feathery clouds of golden light
      Around his parting lay.
    In beauty came the holy stars,
      All gleaming mid the blue,
    It seemed as o'er the lovely earth
      A blessed calm they threw.
    A sound of grief arose
      On the dewy evening air,
    It bore the bitter anguish
      Of a mortal's wild despair;
    A wail like that which sounded
      Throughout Judea's land,
    When Herod's haughty minions
      Obeyed his dark command.
    The mourning mother wept
      Because her babes were not,
    Their forms were gone for ever
      From each familiar spot.
    Oh! had they sought the river,
      And sunk beneath its wave;
    Or had the dark recesses
      Of the forest been their grave.
    The same deep tinge of sorrow,
      Each surmise ever bore;
    Her gems from her were taken;
      Of their fate she knew no more.
    Long years of withering woe went on,
      Each sadly as the last,
    To other's ears the theme became
      A legend of the past.
    But she, oh! bright she cherished
      Their memory enshrined,
    With all a mother's fondness
      And fadeless truth entwined.
    Many a hope she treasured
      In sorrow's gloom had burst,
    But still her spirit knew
      No grieving like the first.
    Along her faded forehead
      The hand of time had crost,
    And every furrow told
      Her mourning for the lost.
    With such deep love within her,
      What words the truth could give,
    Howe'er she heard the tidings--
      "Thy children yet they live."
    But one alone was near,
      And with rushing feelings wild,
    The aged mother flew
      To meet once more her child.
    A moment passed away--
      The lost one slowly came,
    And stood before her there--
      A tall and dark-browed dame.
    Far from her swarthy forehead
      Her raven hair was roll'd;
    She spoke to those around her,
      Her voice was stern and cold:
    "Why seek ye here to bind me,
      I would again be free;
    They say ye are my kindred--
      But what are ye to me?
    My spring of youth was past
      With the people of the wild:
    And slumber in the green-wood
      My husband and my child.
    'Tis true I oft have seen ye
      In the visions of the night;
    But many a shadow comes
      From the dreamer's land of light.
    If e'er I've been among ye,
      Save in my wandering thought,
    The memory has passed away--
      Ye long have been forgot."
    And were not these hard words to come
      To that fond mother's heart,
    Who through such years of agony
      Had kept her loving part.
    Her wildest wish was granted--
      Her deepest prayer was heard--
    Yet it but served to show her
      How deeply she had err'd.
    The mysteries of God's high will
      May not be understood;
    And mortals may not vainly ask,
      To them, what seemeth good.
    With spirit wrung to earth,
      In grief she bowed her head:
    "Oh! better far than meet thee thus,
      To mourn thee with the dead."
    But, think ye, He who comforted
      The widowed one of Nain--
    Who bade the lonely Hagar
      With hope revive again?
    Think ye that mother's trusting love
      Should bleed without a balm?
    No! o'er the troubled spirit
      There came a blessed calm.
    Amid the savage relics
      Around her daughter flung,
    Upon her naked bosom
      A crucifix there hung.
    And though the simple Indian
      False tenets might enthral--
    Yet, 'twas the blessed symbol
      Of Him who died for all.
    And the mourner's heart rejoiced
      For the promise seemed to say--
    She shall be thine in Heaven,
      When the world has passed away.
    Tho' now ye meet as strangers,
      Yet there ye shall be one;
    And live in love for ever,
      When time and earth are gone.

In the days of the early settling of the country, marriages were
attended with a ceremony called stumping. This was a local way of
publishing the banns, the names of the parties and the announcement of
the event to take place being written on a slip of paper, and inserted
on the numerous stumps bordering the corduroy road, that all who ran
might read, though perchance none might scan it save some bewildered fox
or wandering bear; the squire read the ceremony from the prayer-book,
received his dollar, and further form for wedlock was required not. Now
they order these things differently. A wedding is a regular frolic, and
generally performed by a clergyman (though a few in the back settlements
still adhere to the custom of their fathers), a large party being
invited to solemnise the event. The last winter we were in the country
we attended one some distance from home; but here, while flying along
the ice paths, distance is not thought of. Nothing can be more
exhilarating than sleigh-riding, the clear air bracing the nerves, and
the bells ringing gladly out. These bells are worn round the horse's
neck and on the harness, to give warning of the sleigh's approach, which
otherwise would not be heard over the smooth road. The glassy way was
crowded with skaters, gliding past with graceful ease and folded arms,
"as though they trod on tented ground." We soon reached our destination,
and found assembled a large and joyous party. The festival commenced in
the morning, and continued late. The fare was luxuriant, and the bride,
in her white dress and orange blossoms (for, be it known, such things
are sometimes seen, even in this region of spruce and pine), looked as
all brides do, bashful and beautiful. The "grave and pompous father,"
and busy-minded mother, had a look which, though concealed, told that at
heart they rejoiced to see their "bairn respeckit like the lave," and
"all indeed went merry as a marriage bell." We and some others left at
midnight. The air was piercingly cold, and the bear skins in which we
were wrapped soon had a white fringe, where fell the fast congealing
breath. There was no moon, and the stars looked dim, in the fitful gleam
of the streamers of the aurora borealis, which were glancing in
corruscations of awful grandeur along the heavens, now throwing a blood
red glare on the snow, their pale sepulchral rays of green or blue
imparting a ghastly horror to the scene, or arranging themselves like
the golden pillars of some mighty organ, while, ever and again, a wild
unearthly sound is heard, as if swords were clashing. Those mysterious
northern lights, whose appearance in superstitious times was supposed to
threaten, or be the forerunner, of dire calamity; and no wonder was it,
for even now, with all the light science has thrown upon such things,
there is attached to them, seen as they are in this country, a feeling
of dread which cannot all be dispelled.

Travelling on the ice is not altogether free from danger; and even when
it is thought safe, there are places where it is dangerous to go. The
best plan of avoiding these is to follow the track of those who have
gone before--never, but with caution, and especially at night, striking
out a new one.

One of the parties who accompanied us wished to reach the shore. There
was a path which, though rather longer, would have led him safely to
it, but he determined to strike across the unmarked ice, to where be
wished to land. All advised him to take the longer way, but he was
resolute, and turned his horse's head from us. The gallant steed bounded
forward--the golden light was beaming from the sky--and we paused to
watch his progress. A fearful crashing was heard--then a sharp crack,
and sleigh, horse, and rider vanished from our sight. 'Twas horrible to
see them thus enclosed in that cold tomb.

Assistance was speedily sought from the shore, but ere it came I heard
the horrid shout of "steeds that snort in agony," while the blue
sulphurous flash from above showed the man struggling helplessly among
the breaking ice. Poles were placed from the solid parts to where he
was, and he was rescued. He was carried to the nearest house, and with
some difficulty restored to warmth. The sleighing rarely passes without
many such accidents occurring, merely through want of caution.

When the balmy breezes of spring again blew ever New Brunswick,
circumstances had arisen which induced me to leave it, and though I
loved it not as my native land, I sighed to go, so much of kindness and
good feeling had I enjoyed among its dwellers; and I stood on the
vessel's deck, gazing on it till the green trees and white walls of
Partridge-Island faded in the distance, and the rolling waves of the Bay
of Fundy, throwing me into that least terrestrial of all maladies, the
"mal du mer," rendered me insensible of all sublunary cares.





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