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Title: Stories and Sketches
Author: Caswell, Harriet S.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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STORIES AND SKETCHES

BY

H.S. CASWELL,

AUTHOR OF ERNEST HARWOOD, CLARA ROSCOM, OR
THE PATH OF DUTY, &C.


MONTREAL:
PRINTED BY JOHN LOVELL, ST. NICHOLAS STREET.

1872



CONTENTS.


TERRY DOLAN                                                   5

THE FAITHFUL WIFE                                            15

EMMA ASHTON                                                  24

THOUGHTS ON AUTUMN                                           47

WANDERING DAVY                                               50

LOOKING ON THE DARK SIDE                                     57

EDWARD BARTON                                                62

THE WEARY AT REST                                            71

THE RAINY AFTERNOON                                          75

THE STUDENT'S DREAM                                          85

UNCLE EPHRAIM                                                88

STORY OF A LOG CABIN                                         93

HAZEL-BROOK FARM                                            106

OLD RUFUS                                                   127

THE DIAMOND RING                                            135

THE UNFORTUNATE MAN                                         146

THE OLD SCHOOLHOUSE                                         150

ARTHUR SINCLAIR                                             154

THE SNOW STORM                                              173

THE NEW YEAR                                                177



TERRY DOLAN.


Some years since circumstances caused me to spend the summer months in
a farming district, a few miles from the village of E., and it was there
I met with Terry Dolan. He had a short time previous come over from
Ireland, and was engaged as a sort of chore boy by Mr. L., in whose
family I resided during my stay in the neighborhood. This Terry was the
oddest being with whom I ever chanced to meet. Would that I could
describe him!--but most of us, I believe, occasionally meet with people,
whom we find to be indescribable, and Terry was one of those. He called
himself sixteen years of age; but, excepting that he was low of stature,
you would about as soon have taken him for sixty, as sixteen. His
countenance looked anything but youthful, and there was altogether a
sort of queer, ancient look about him which caused him to appear very
remarkable. When he first came to reside with Mr. L. the boys in the
neighborhood nicknamed him "The little Old Man," but they soon learned
by experience that their wisest plan was to place a safe distance
between Terry and themselves before applying that name to him, for the
implied taunt regarding his peculiar appearance enraged him beyond
measure. Whenever he entered the room, specially if he ventured a
remark--and no matter how serious you might have been a moment
before--the laugh would come, do your best to repress it. When I first
became an inmate with the family, I was too often inclined to laugh at
the oddities of Terry--and I believe a much graver person than I was at
that time would have done the same--but after a time, when I learned
something of his past life, I regarded him with a feeling of pity,
although to avoid laughing at him, at times, were next to impossible.

One evening in midsummer I found him seated alone upon the piazza, with
a most dejected countenance. Taking a seat by his side I enquired why he
looked so sad;--his eyes filled with tears as he replied--"its of ould
Ireland I'm thinkin' to-night, sure." I had never before seen Terry look
sober, and I felt a deep sympathy for the homesick boy. I asked him how
it happened that he left all his friends in Ireland and came to this
country alone. From his reply I learned that his mother died when he was
only ten years old, and, also, that his father soon after married a
second wife, who, to use Terry's own words, "bate him unmercifully."
"It's a wonder," said he, "that iver I lived to grow up, at all, at all,
wid all the batins I got from that cruel woman, and all the times she
sint me to bed widout iver a bite uv supper, bad luck to her and the
like uv her!" He did live, however, but he certainly did not grow up to
be very tall. "Times grew worse an' worse for me at home," continued he,
"and a quare time I had of it till I was fourteen years of age, when one
day says I to mesilf, 'flesh and blood can bear it no longer,' and I ran
away to the city uv Dublin where an aunt by me mother's side lived. Me
aunt was a poor woman, but she gave a warm welcim to her sister's
motherless boy; she trated me kindly and allowed me to share her home,
although she could ill afford it, till I got a place as sarvant in a
gintleman's family. As for my father, he niver throubled his head about
me any more; indade I think he was glad to be rid uv me, an' all by
manes of that wicked woman. It was near two years afther I lift home
that I took the notion of going to Ameriky; me aunt advised me against
going, but, whin she saw that me mind was set on it, she consinted, and
did her best, poor woman, to sind me away lookin' dacent and
respectable. I niver saw me father or me stepmother agin. I had no wish
to see her; but, although I knew me father no longer loved me, I had
still some natral-like feelin's for him; but, as I had runaway from
home, I durst not go back, an' so I lift Ireland widout a sight uv him.
But I _could_ not lave it foriver, as it might be, widout one more sight
uv me mother's grave. I rached the small village where me father lived
about nightfall, and lodged in the house uv a kind neighbor who
befrinded me, an he promised, at my earnest wish, to say nothing to any
one uv my visit. Early in the morning, before any one was astir in the
village, I stole away to the churchyard where they buried me mother. I
knelt down, I did, an' kissed the sods which covered her grave, an'
prayed that the blessin' which she pronounced before she died, wid her
hand restin' on me head, might follow me wheriver I might go." The boy
took from his pocket a small parcel, carefully inclosed in a paper,
which he handed to me, saying: "I gathered these shamrocks from off me
mothers grave, before I lift it forever."

My own eyes; grew moist as I gazed upon the now withered shamrock leaves
which the poor boy prized so highly. Would that they had proved as a
talisman to guard him from evil! I listened with much interest to
Terry's story till our conversation was suddenly interrupted by Mr. ----
calling him, in no very gentle tones, to go and drive home the cows from
the far pasture. To reach this pasture he must needs pass through about
a quarter of a mile of thick woods. He had a great dread of walking
alone in the woods, which his imagination filled with wild animals. When
he returned that evening he seemed very much terrified, and, when
questioned as to the cause, he replied that he "had met a wild baste in
the woods, and was kilt entirely wid the fright uv it."

We endeavoured to gain from him a description of the animal he had seen,
but for some time were unable. "What color was the animal?" enquired
Mrs. ----, "Indade Ma'am an' its jist the color uv a dog he was,"
answered Terry. This reply was greeted with a burst of laughter from all
present, at which he was highly offended. In order to pacify him I said,
"we would not laugh at you, Terry, only that dogs are of so many
different colors that we are as much in the dark as ever regarding the
color of the animal you saw." "Well thin," replied he, "if you must
know, he was a dirthy brown, the varmint, that he was." From what we
could learn from him we were led to suppose that he had met with one of
those harmless little creatures, called the "Woodchuck," which his
nervous terror aided by the deepening twilight, had magnified into a
formidable wild beast.

A few evenings after, two or three friends of the family chanced to
call; and in course of conversation some one mentioned an encampment of
Indians, who had recently located themselves in our vicinity, for the
purpose of gathering material for the manufacture of baskets, and other
works of Indian handicraft. Terry had never seen an Indian, and
curiosity, not unmixed with fear, was excited in his mind, when he
learned that a number of those dark people were within three miles of
us. He asked many questions regarding their personal appearance, habits,
&c. It was evident that he entertained some very comical ideas upon the
subject. After sitting for a time silent, he suddenly enquired, "Do they
ate pratees like other people?" A lady, present, in order to impose upon
his credulity, replied, "Indeed Terry they not only eat potates, but
they sometimes eat people." His countenance expressed much alarm, as he
replied, "Faix thin, but I'll kape out o'their way." After a short time
he began to suspect they were making game of him, and applied to me for
information, saying, "Tell me, sir, if what Mrs ---- says is true?" "Do
not be alarmed, Terry," I replied, "for if you live till the Indians eat
you, you will look even older than you now do."

This allusion to his ancient appearance was very mischievous on my part,
and I regretted it a moment after; but he was so much pleased to learn
that he had nothing to fear from the Indians that he readily forgave me
for alluding to a subject upon which he was usually very sensitive. I
remember taking a walk one afternoon during the haymaking season to the
field where Terry was at work. Mr. ---- had driven to the village with
the farm horses, leaving Terry to draw in hay with a rheumatic old
animal that was well nigh unfit for use. But as the hay was in good
condition for getting in, and the sky betokened rain, he told Terry,
upon leaving home, to accomplish as much as possible, during his
absence, and he would, if the rain kept off, draw in the remainder upon
his return. As I drew nigh I spied Terry perched upon the top of a load
of hay holding the reins, and urging forward the horse, in the ascent of
a very steep hill. First, he tried coaxing, and as that proved of little
avail, he next tried the effect of a few vigorous strokes with a long
switch which he carried in his hand. When the poor old horse had dragged
the heavy load about half way up the hill, he seemed incapable of
further exertion, and horse, cart, Terry and all began a rapid backward
descent down the hill.

Here the boy's patience gave way entirely. "Musha thin, bad luck to ye
for one harse," said he as he applied the switch with renewed energy.
Just then I arrived within speaking distance and said, "Do you think,
Terry, you would be any better off if you had two of them." "Not if they
were both like this one," answered he. I advised Terry to come down from
his elevated position, and not add his weight to the load drawn by the
overburdened animal. He followed my advice, and when with some
difficulty we had checked the descending motion of the cart-wheels, we
took a fair start, and the summit of the hill was finally gained.

"Its often," said Terry, "that I've seen a horse draw a cart, but I
niver before saw a cart drawing a horse." There was one trait in the
character of the boy which pleased me much; he was very grateful for
any little act of kindness. He often got into difficulties with the
family, owing to his rashness and want of consideration, and I often
succeeded in smoothing down for him many rough places in his daily path;
and when he observed that I interested myself in his behalf, his
gratitude knew no bounds. I believe he would have made almost any
sacrifice to please me. He surprised me one day by saying suddenly,
"Don't I wish you'd only be tuck sick." "Why, Terry," replied I, "I am
surprised indeed, that you should wish evil to me." "Indade thin,"
answered he, "its not for evil that I wish it, but for your good, jist
to let ye see how tinderly I would take care uv ye." I thanked him for
his kind intentions, saying that I was very willing to take the will for
the deed in this case, and had no wish to test his kindness by a fit of
sickness.

He came in one evening fatigued with a hard day's work, and retired
early to bed. His sleeping apartment adjoined the sitting-room. I had
several letters to write which occupied me till a late hour; the family
had all retired. I finished writing just as the clock struck twelve. At
that moment, I was almost startled by Terry's voice singing in a very
high key. My first thought was that he had gone suddenly crazy. With a
light in my hand I stepped softly into the room, to find Terry sitting
up in bed and singing at the top of his voice, a song in the "Native
Irish Tongue." By this time he had roused every one in the house; and
others of the family entered the room. By the pauses which he made, we
knew when he reached the end of each verse. He sang several verses; at
the time I knew how many, but am unable now to recall the exact number.
He must surely have been a sound sleeper, or the loud laughter which
filled the room would have waked him, for the scene was ludicrous in the
extreme: Terry sitting up in bed, sound asleep, at the hour of midnight,
and singing, with a loud voice and very earnest manner, to an audience
who were unable to understand one word of the song. At the close of the
last verse he lay quietly down, all unconscious of the Musical
Entertainment he had given. The next morning some of the family began
teasing him about the song he had sung in his sleep. He was loth to
believe them, and as usual, enquired of me if they were telling him the
truth. "I'll believe whatever you say," said he, "for its you that niver
toult me a lie yet." "You may believe them this time," said I, "for you
certainly did sing a song. The air was very fine, and I have no doubt
the words were equally so, if we could only have understood them."

"Well thin," replied he, "but I niver heard more than that; and if I
raaly did sing, I may as well tell yee's how it happint. I dramed, ye
see, that I was at a ball in Ireland, an' I thought that about twelve
o'clock we got tired wid dancin and sated ourselves on the binches
which were ranged round the walls uv the room, and ache one was to sing
a song in their turn, an' its I that thought my turn had come for sure."
"Well Terry," said I, "you hit upon the time exact at any rate, for it
was just twelve o'clock when you favoured us with the song."

Soon after this time I left the neighborhood, and removed to some
distance. Terry remained for considerable time with the same family;
after a time I learned that he had obtained employment in a distant
village. The next tidings I heard of him was that he had been implicated
in a petty robbery, and had run away. His impulsive disposition rendered
him very easy of persuasion, for either good or evil; and he seldom
paused to consider the consequences of any act. From what I could learn
of the matter it seemed he had been enticed into the affair by some
designing fellows, who judged that, owing to his simplicity, he would be
well adapted to carry out their wicked plans; and, when suspicion was
excited, they managed in some way to throw all the blame upon Terry,
who, fearing an arrest, fled no one knew whither. Many years have passed
since I saw or heard of Terry Dolan, but often, as memory recalls past
scenes and those who participated in them, I think of him, and wonder if
he is yet among the living, and, if so, in what quarter of the world he
has fixed his abode.



THE FAITHFUL WIFE.


It was a mild and beautiful evening in the early autumn. Mrs. Harland
is alone in her home; she is seated by a table upon which burns a shaded
lamp, and is busily occupied with her needle. She has been five years a
wife; her countenance is still youthful, and might be termed beautiful,
but for the look of care and anxiety so plainly depicted thereon. She
had once been happy, but with her now happiness is but a memory of the
past. When quite young she had been united in marriage to William
Harland, and with him removed to the City of R., where they have since
resided. He was employed as bookkeeper in a large mercantile house, and
his salary was sufficient to afford them a comfortable support,--whence
then the change that has thus blighted their bright prospects, and
clouded the brow of that fair young wife with care? It is an unpleasant
truth, but it must be told. Her husband has become addicted to the use
of strong drink, not an occasional tippler, but a confirmed and habitual
drunkard. His natural disposition was gay and social, and he began by
taking an occasional glass with his friends--more for sociability than
for any love of the beverage. His wife often admonished him of the
danger of tampering with the deadly vice of intemperance, but he only
laughed at what he termed her idle fears. Well had it been for them both
had the fears of his wife proved groundless! It is needless for me to
follow him in his downward path, till we find him reduced to the level
of the common drunkard. Some three months previous to the time when our
story opens his employers were forced to dismiss him, as they could no
longer employ him with any degree of safety to their business. It was
fortunate for Mrs. Harland that the dwelling they occupied belonged to
her in her own right--it had been given her by her father at the period
of her marriage--so that notwithstanding the dissipated habits of the
husband and father they still possessed a home, although many of the
comforts of former days had disappeared before the blighting influence
of the demon of intemperance. After being dismissed by his employers Mr.
Harland seemed to lose all respect for himself, as well as for his wife
and children, and, but for the unceasing toil of the patient mother, his
children might have often asked for bread in vain.

So low had he now fallen that almost every evening found him in some low
haunt of drunkenness and dissipation; and often upon returning to his
home he would assail his gentle wife with harsh and unfeeling language.
Many there were who advised Mrs. Harland to return with her children to
her parents, who were in affluent circumstances, but she still cherished
the hope that he would yet reform. "I pray daily for my erring husband,"
she would often say, "and I feel an assurance that, sooner or later, my
prayers will be answered; and I cannot feel it my duty to forsake him."
But on this evening, as she sits thus alone, her mind is filled with
thoughts of the past, which she cannot help contrasting with the
miserable present, till her reverie is interrupted by the sound of
approaching footsteps, which she soon recognizes as those of her
husband; she is much surprised--for it is long, very long, since he has
returned to his home at so early an hour--and, as he enters the room,
her surprise increases when she perceives that he is perfectly sober. As
he met her wondering gaze a kind expression rested upon his countenance,
and he addressed her saying: "I do not wonder at your astonishment, dear
Mary, when I call to mind my past misconduct. I have been a fiend in
human shape thus to ill-treat and neglect the best of wives; but I have
made a resolve, 'God helping' me, that it shall be so no longer."
Seating himself by her side, he continued: "If you will listen to me,
Mary, I will tell you what caused me to form this resolution. When I
went out this evening I at once made my way to the public house, where I
have spent so much of my time and money. Money, I had none, and, worse
than this, was owing the landlord a heavy bill. Of late he had assailed
me with duns every time I entered the house; but so craving was the
appetite for drink that each returning evening still found me among the
loungers in the bar-room, trusting to my chance of meeting with some
companion who would call for a treat. It so happened that to-night none
of my cronies were present. When the landlord found that I was still
unable to settle the 'old score,' as he termed it, he abused me in no
measured terms; but I still lingered in sight of the coveted beverage;
and knowing my inability to obtain it my appetite increased in
proportion. At length, I approached the bar, and begged him to trust me
for one more glass of brandy. I will not wound your ears by repeating
his reply; and he concluded by ordering me from the house, telling me
also never to enter it again till I was able to settle the long score
already against me. The fact that I had been turned from the door,
together with his taunting language, stung me almost to madness. I
strolled along, scarce knowing or caring whither, till I found myself
beyond the limits of the city; and seating myself by the roadside I
gazed in silent abstraction over the moonlit landscape; and as I sat
thus I fell into a deep reverie. Memory carried me back to my youthful
days, when everything was bright with joyous hope and youthful ambition.
I recalled the time when I wooed you from your pleasant country home,
and led you to the altar, a fair young bride, and there pledged myself
before God and man to love, honour and cherish you, till death should us
part. Suddenly, as if uttered by an audible voice, I seemed to hear the
words 'William Harland, how have you kept your vows?' At that moment I
seemed to suddenly awake to a full sense of my fallen and degraded
position. What madness, thought I, has possessed me all this time, thus
to ruin myself and those dear to me? And for what? for the mere
indulgence of a debasing appetite. I rose to my feet, and my step grew
light with my new-formed resolution, that I _would_ break the slavish
fetters that had so long held me captive; and now, my dear wife, if you
can, forgive the past and aid me in my resolutions for amendment there
is hope for me yet." Mrs. Harland was only too happy to forgive her
erring but now truly penitent husband; but she trembled for the future,
knowing how often he had formerly made like resolutions, but to break
them. She endeavoured, however, to be hopeful, and to encourage him by
every means which affection could devise.

Through the influence of friends, his former employers were induced to
give him another trial. He had many severe struggles with himself ere he
could refrain from again joining his dissipated companions; but his
watchful wife would almost every evening form some little plan of her
own for his amusement, that he might learn to love his home. In a short
time their prospects for the future grew brighter, his wife began to
smile again; and his children, instead of fleeing from his approach, as
they had formerly done, now met him upon his return home with loving
caresses and lively prattle. Some six months after this happy change,
Mrs. Harland one evening noticed that her husband seemed very much
downcast and dejected. After tea, she tried vainly to interest him in
conversation.

He had a certain nervous restlessness in his manner, which always
troubled her, knowing, as she did, that it was caused by the cravings of
that appetite for strong drink, which at times still returned with
almost overwhelming force. About eight o'clock he took down his hat
preparatory to going out. She questioned him as to where he was going,
but could obtain no satisfactory reply; her heart sank within her; but
she was aware that remonstrance would be useless. She remained for a few
moments, after he left the house, in deep thought, then suddenly rising
she exclaimed aloud, "I will at least make one effort to save him." She
well knew that should he take but one glass, all his former resolves
would be as nothing. As she gained the street she observed her husband a
short distance in advance of her, and walking hastily she soon overtook
him, being careful to keep on the opposite side of the street, that she
might be unobserved by him. She had formed no definite purpose in her
mind; she only felt that she must endeavor to save him by some means. As
they drew nigh the turn of the street she saw two or three of his former
associates join him, and one of them addressed him, saying, "Come on,
Harland; I thought you would get enough of the cold water system. Come
on, and I'll stand treat to welcome you back among your old friends."
For a moment he paused as if irresolute; then his wife grew sick at
heart, as she saw him follow his companions into a drinking saloon near
at hand. Mrs. Harland was by nature a delicate and retiring woman; for a
moment she paused; dare she go further? Her irresolution was but
momentary, for the momentous consequences at stake gave her a fictitious
courage. She quickly approached the door, which at that moment some one
in the act of leaving the house threw wide open, and she gained a view
of her husband in the act of raising a glass to his lips; but ere he had
tasted its fiery contents it was dashed from his hand, and the shattered
fragments scattered upon the floor. Mr. Harland, supposing it the act of
one of his half-drunken companions, turned with an angry exclamation
upon his lips; but the expression of anger upon his countenance suddenly
gave place to one of shame and humiliation when he saw his wife standing
before him, pale but resolute. In a subdued voice he addressed her,
saying, "Mary, how came you here?" "Do not blame me, William," she
replied; "for I could not see you again go astray without, at least,
making an effort to save you. And now will you not return with me to
your home?" The other occupants of the room had thus far remained silent
since the entrance of Mrs. Harland; but when they saw that Mr. Harland
was about to leave the house by her request, they began taunting him
with his want of spirit in being thus ruled by a woman. One of them, who
was already half drunk, staggered toward him, saying, "I'd just like to
see my old woman follerin' me round in this way. I'll be bound I'd teach
her a lesson she would'nt forget in a hurry," Many similar remarks were
made by one and another present. The peculiar circumstances in which
Mrs. Harland found herself placed gave her a degree of fortitude, of
which upon ordinary occasions she would have found herself incapable.
Raising her hand with an imperative gesture she said in a firm voice:
"Back tempters, hinder not my husband from following the dictates of his
better nature." For a few moments there was silence in the room, till
one of the company, more drunken and insolent than the others, exclaimed
in a loud, derisive voice; "Zounds, madam, but you would make a capital
actress, specially on the tragedy parts; you should seek an engagement
upon the stage." Mr. Harland's eyes flashed angrily as he listened to
the insulting words addressed to his wife, and, turning to the man who
had spoken, he addressed him, saying, in a decided tone of voice: "I
wish to have no harsh language in this room while my wife is present,
but I warn each one of you to address no more insulting language to
her." The manner in which Mr. Harland addressed them, together with the
gentle and lady-like appearance of his wife had the effect to shame them
into silence. His voice was very tender as he again addressed his wife,
saying, "Come Mary I will accompany you home--this is no place for you."
When they gained the street the unnatural courage which had sustained
Mrs. Harland gave way, and she would have fallen to the earth, but for
the supporting arm of her husband. For a few moments they walked on in
silence, when Mr. Harland said, in a voice choked with emotion, "You
have been my good angel, Mary, for your hand it was which saved me from
violating a solemn oath; but I now feel an assurance that I have broken
the tempter's chains forever." I am happy to add that from this hour he
gained a complete victory over the evil habit which well-nigh had proved
his ruin; and in after years, when peace and prosperity again smiled
upon them, he often called to mind the evening when his affectionate and
devoted wife, by her watchful love, saved him from ruin, and perchance
from the drunkard's grave.



EMMA ASHTON.


It was a sad day for Emma Ashton, when, with her widowed mother, she
turned from her father's new-made grave, and again entered their
desolate home. None but those who have experienced a like sorrow can
fully understand their grief as they entered their now lonely home,
where a short time since they had been so happy. But the ways of
Providence are, to our feeble vision, often dark and incomprehensible,
and the only way by which we can reconcile ourselves to many trials
which we are called to endure is by remembering that there is a "need
be" for every sorrow which falls to our lot, in the journey of life.
Emma was an only child and had been the idol of her father's heart, and
no marvel if the world, to her, looked dark and dreary when he was
removed by death. Added to the grief occasioned by their bereavement,
the mother and daughter had yet another cause for anxiety and
disquietude, for the home where they had dwelt for so many years in the
enjoyment of uninterrupted happiness was now no longer theirs. Since
quite a young man, Mr. Ashton had held the position of overseer, in a
large manufactory in the village of W. Owing to his sober and
industrious habits he had saved money sufficient to enable him, at the
period of his marriage, to purchase a neat and tasteful home, to which
he removed with his young wife. He still continued his industry, and
began in a small way to accumulate money, when, unfortunately, he was
persuaded by one whom he thought a friend to sign bank-notes with him to
a large amount; but, ere the notes became due, the man he had obliged
left the country, and he was unable to gain any trace of him, and was
soon called upon to meet the claim. Bank-notes must be paid, and to
raise money to meet the claim he was forced to mortgage his house for
nearly its full value. His health failed; and for two years previous to
his death he was unable to attend to his business. The term of the
mortgage was five years, which time expired soon after his death. During
the few last weeks of his life his mind was very much disturbed
regarding the destitute condition in which he must leave his beloved
wife and daughter; for he was too well acquainted with the man who held
the claim to expect any lenity to his family when it should become due,
and he was sensible that the hour of his own death was fast approaching.
His wife tried to cheer him by hopeful words, saying: "Should it please
our Heavenly Father to remove you, fear not that He will fail to care
for the fatherless and widow." A short time before his death a sweet
peace and hopeful trust settled over his spirit, and the religion he had
sought in health afforded him a firm support in the hour of death. When
all was over, and the mother and daughter found themselves left alone,
their fortitude well-nigh forsook them, and they felt almost like
yielding to a hopeless sorrow. Emma was at this time but fifteen years
of age, possessed of much personal beauty, and also a very amiable and
affectionate disposition. Since the age of six years she had attended
school, and made rapid progress in her various studies till the sad
period of her father's death. As Mr. Ashton had foreseen, Mr. Tompkins,
the man who held the mortgage, soon called upon the widow, informing her
that the time had already expired, and, unless she found herself able to
meet the claim, her dwelling was legally his property; but, as a great
favor, he granted her permission to occupy the house till she could make
some arrangement concerning the future, giving her, however, distinctly
to understand, that he wished to take possession as soon as she could
find another home. Mrs. Ashton thanked him for the consideration he had
shown her, little as it was, telling him she would as soon as possible
seek another home, however humble it might be; and Mr. Tompkins departed
with a polite bow and a bland smile upon his countenance, well pleased
that he had got the matter settled with so little difficulty. I presume
he never once paused to think of the grief-stricken widow and her
fatherless daughter, whom he was about to render homeless. Money had so
long been his idol that tender and benevolent emotions were well-nigh
extinguished in his world-hardened heart. For a long time after Mr.
Tompkins left the house Mrs. Ashton remained in deep thought. There are,
dear reader, dark periods in the lives of most of us, when, turn which
way we will, we find ourselves surrounded, as by a thick hedge, with
difficulties and troubles from which we see no escape.

At such periods it is good for us to call to mind the fact, that the
darkest cloud often has a silver lining, and that if we discharged, to
the best of our ability, our duties for the time being, the cloud,
sooner or later, will be reversed, and display its bright side to our
troubled view. The time had now arrived, when Mrs. Ashton must come to
some decision regarding the future. She had no friends to whom she could
turn for aid or counsel in this season of trial. When quite young she
had emigrated from England with her parents and one sister, and settled
in Eastern Canada. About the time of her marriage and removal to W. her
parents, with her sister, removed to one of the Western States; and it
may be the knowledge that she must rely solely upon herself enabled her
to meet her trials with more fortitude than might have been expected.
Some fifty miles from W. was the large and thriving village of Rockford,
and thither Mrs. Ashton at length decided to remove. One reason for
this decision was the excellent institution for the education of young
ladies, which was there located. She was very anxious that her daughter
should obtain a good education, but was sorely puzzled as to raising the
money needful for defraying her expenses. There were a few debts due her
husband at the time of his death; these she collected with little
difficulty. Their dwelling had been handsomely furnished, and she
decided to sell the furniture, as she could easily, upon their arrival
at Rockford, purchase what articles were necessary for furnishing their
new home, which must, of necessity, be humble. One article she felt they
must retain if possible, and that was the piano given her by her father
at the period of her marriage. She did at first entertain the idea of
parting with it, thinking how far the money it would bring would go in
defraying the expenses attendant upon Emma's education, but upon second
consideration, she resolved that they would not part with her father's
parting gift to her, unless compelled to do so by actual want; and so
when their old home was broken up the piano was carefully packed and
forwarded to Rockford. The home where they had resided so long was very
dear to them, and it would have grieved them, to leave it at any time;
but to leave at the glad season of spring, when the trees which shaded
their dwelling were beginning to put forth their leaves, and the flowers
which adorned their garden were bursting into bloom, seemed to them
doubly sad. But their preparations for removal were finally completed,
and they left their home followed by the good wishes of many who had
long known and loved them. Upon their arrival at Rockford, Mrs. Ashton
hired a cheap tenement in a respectable locality, which she furnished in
a plain but decent manner. When they became settled in their new home
they had still in hand money sufficient to secure them from immediate
want, but as Mrs. Ashton wished Emma to enter at once upon her studies,
she was very anxious to devise some means of earning money to meet
necessary expenses. There was one family residing in Rockford with whom
Mrs. Ashton had several years before been intimately acquainted: their
name was Lebaron, and they had at one time resided in the same village
with the Ashtons. Mr. Lebaron had opened a store upon removing to
Rockford; the world had smiled upon him, and he was now considered one
of the most wealthy and influential men in the village.

It has been often said that "prosperity hardens the heart of man," but
if such is the case in general, Mr. Lebaron proved an exception to the
general rule. He had heard with much sorrow of the death of Mr. Ashton,
and also of the other misfortunes which had overtaken the family; and no
sooner did he learn of the arrival of the widow and daughter in
Rockford, than, accompanied by his wife, he hastened to call upon them,
to renew their former acquaintance, and in a delicate and considerate
manner to enquire if he could assist them in any way? Mrs. Ashton
thanked them for their kindness, saying that although in no immediate
need of assistance, yet she would be very thankful if they would assist
her in obtaining employment. "If such is the case," replied Mrs.
Lebaron, "I can easily secure you employment, as I am acquainted with
many ladies who give out work, and will gladly use my influence in your
favor." "You will confer a favour upon me by so doing," replied Mrs.
Ashton, "for I must rely upon my labor for a support for the future."
Through the influence of these kind friends Mrs. Ashton soon obtained an
abundant supply of work; and, when she became somewhat acquainted with
the people of Rockford, her gentle and unobtrusive manner gained her
many warm friends. Agreeable to her mother's wishes, Emma soon became a
pupil in the seminary for young ladies, which was at that time under the
direction of Miss Hinton, a lady who possessed uncommon abilities as a
teacher, and was also aided by several competent assistants. Mrs.
Lebaron had two daughters attending the institution at the time, and
this circumstance, in a great measure, relieved Emma from the feeling of
diffidence she might have experienced in entering a large school a
stranger to both teachers and pupils; but her modest and unassuming
manners, added to her diligence in study, soon caused her to become a
general favorite with her teachers. In schools, as well as other places,
we often meet with those who are inclined to be jealous of merit
superior to their own, and the seminary at Rockford was no exception in
this matter. Her teachers were guilty of no unjust partiality; true,
they oftener commended her than some other members of her class, but not
oftener than her punctual attendance, perfect recitations, and correct
deportment generally, justified them in doing. But it soon became
evident that, if Emma was a favourite with her teachers, she was far
from being such with many members of her class. At the time she entered
school Miss Hinton found, after examining her in her various studies,
that her attainments were already superior to those of several young
ladies who had been for some time members of the school. Among the
pupils who at the time attended the institution was a Miss Carlton, from
the distant city of H. She was the petted and only child of wealthy
parents; and, as is often the case, her disposition, which, under proper
training, might have been amiable, had been spoiled by unwise indulgence
on the part of her parents. Her capacity for learning was not good; she
was also sadly wanting in application, and, at the time Emma entered the
school, although Miss Carlton had attended for more than a year, her
progress in study was far from being satisfactory to her teachers. She
was at much pains to inform her classmates of her wealth and position,
seeming to entertain the idea that this would cover every defect. Owing
to Emma's superior attainments, compared with her own, she soon learned
to regard her with a feeling of absolute dislike, which she took little
pains to conceal; and many were the petty annoyances she endured from
the vain and haughty Julia Carlton. She soon learned that Emma was poor,
and that her mother toiled early and late to defray the expenses of her
education; and more than once she threw out hints regarding this fact,
among the other pupils, even in hearing of Emma; and, as often as
opportunity offered, she slighted the unoffending girl, and treated her
with all the rudeness of which she was capable. "Let those who wish
associate with Miss Ashton," she would often say to her companions; "but
I am thankful that I have been better taught at home than to make a
companion of a girl whose mother is obliged to take in sewing to pay her
school bills." These and other remarks equally malicious were daily made
by Miss Carlton; and I am sorry that she soon found others in the school
who were weak enough to be influenced by her also to treat Emma with
coldness and contempt. Emma could not long fail to notice the many
slights, both direct and indirect, which she endured from many members
of the school, and she taxed her memory to recall any act by which she
might have given offence; but, finding herself unable to recollect any
thing on her part which could have offended any member of the school,
she was not a little puzzled to account for the rudeness with which she
was treated. It happened one day that during recess she remained at her
desk in the school-room to complete an unfinished French exercise.
Several of her companions soon after entered the adjoining recitation
room, and, as they were not aware of her proximity, she became an
unwilling listener to a conversation which pained her deeply. As Sarah
Lebaron entered the room one of the girls addressed her, saying:--"When
you first introduced Miss Ashton among us, I supposed her to be at least
a companionable girl, but I have lately been informed that she resides
in a cheap tenement, and, farther, that her mother takes in sewing, and,
if such is the case, I wish to cultivate no further acquaintance with
her." "But then," added another girl, "Miss Hinton thinks her almost a
saint, and sets her up as a model for us all; if there's any thing I do
detest, it's these model girls, and I don't believe she's half as fond
of study as she pretends; and, in my opinion, its only to hear the
commendations of the teachers that she applies herself with such
diligence; but Miss Hinton is so taken with her meek face and lady-like
manners that she places her above us all, and, I suppose, we must
submit, for as the old song says:

    'What can't be cured must be endured.'

"Well, I for one shall try some method of cure, before I put up with
much more of her impudence and assumption," chimed in the amiable Miss
Carlton; "pay attention now, girls," continued she, "while I take my
place in the class like Emma Ashton;" and separating herself from her
companions, she crossed the room to one of the class-seats, with such a
ludicrous air of meekness and decorum, that the girls were almost
convulsed with laughter. Starting up and tossing her book from her hand
she exclaimed, "It is so disgusting to see a girl in _her_ position put
on such airs." Miss Lebaron had not before spoken, but, when at length
there was silence, she addressed her companions, saying, "if no other
young lady present has any further remarks to make, I will myself say a
few words if you will listen to me. I must say, I am surprised at the
unkindness, even rudeness, which many of you have exhibited towards Miss
Ashton. If she is poor it is death, and other misfortunes, which have
caused her to become so; and this circumstance should excite your
sympathy, but surely not your contempt and ridicule. Poor as she is, she
is my friend, and I am proud to claim her as such. As to her being
companionable that is a matter of taste; I shall continue to follow
mine, and each young lady present is at liberty to do the same; but be
assured that unless you can furnish some more satisfactory reason for
your disparaging remarks than you have yet done, they will bear no
weight with me." With much irony in her voice Miss Carlton replied,
"Really, Miss Lebaron, I am unable to reply to your very able defence of
your charming friend, and will only say that I shall avail myself of the
liberty you have kindly granted us, for each to follow her own taste in
the choice of associates, and avoid Miss Ashton as much as possible."
"As you please," replied Miss Lebaron, "it is a matter of perfect
indifference to me;" and just then the school bell put an end to further
conversation. As may be easily supposed, the delicate and sensitive
spirit of Emma was deeply wounded by the above conversation; and it was
with much difficulty that she maintained her composure for the remaining
portion of the day. For once her lessons were imperfect; and with a
heavy heart she returned to her home. That evening she, for the first
time, mentioned to her mother the daily annoyances she suffered from her
companions at school; and concluded by relating the conversation she had
that day chanced to overhear. Mrs. Ashton could not feel otherwise than
grieved; but as much as possible she concealed the feeling from her
daughter. "My dear Emma," she replied, "their unkind words can do you no
real harm; although they may render you unhappy for the time being. But
keep the even tenor of your way; and they will, probably, after a time
become ashamed of their folly. Should they make any further remarks
regarding my laboring to give you an education, you may tell them that
I esteem it at one of my chief blessings that I have health granted me
so to do." Time passed on; and the invariable kindness with which Emma
treated her classmates finally gained her several warm friends; and some
of them even apologised for their past unkindness. Miss Carlton still
regarded her with a feeling of enmity and dislike; but as Emma seemed
not to notice the many annoyances she experienced she was at length
forced to desist, although the same resentful feeling remained in her
heart. When Emma left the seminary, after attending it for four years,
her departure was deeply regretted by both teachers and pupils. As she
had pursued her studies in a very systematic manner, she had acquired,
before leaving school, a thoroughly good education, which she intended
turning to account by teaching. Miss Carlton also left school at the
same time to return to her elegant home in the city of H. It was
fortunate for her that she was not obliged, as was Emma, to teach as a
means of support; for, notwithstanding the unwearied pains of her
teachers, her education, when she left school, was very superficial.
Emma soon obtained a situation as teacher in a small village some twenty
miles from Rockford, where she remained for two years. During her
absence, her mother, to avoid being left alone, received as boarders two
or three young ladies who attended school in the village. Emma's
success as a teacher became so well known that she was at length offered
a high salary to accept of the position of assistant teacher in an
academy in the city of H., the same city where Miss Carlton resided. As
the salary offered was very liberal, she decided to accept of the
position, and as situation was likely to prove a permanent one she was
very anxious that her mother should accompany her; and after some
deliberation upon the subject, Mrs. Ashton consented, thinking they
would both much happier together than otherwise. Emma proved quite as
successful in this her second situation as in the first; and owing to
her position as teacher she soon formed acquaintance with several
families of cultivated tastes and high respectability. She often
received invitations to parties; but her tastes were quiet, and she
usually preferred spending her evenings with her mother in the quiet of
their own home, to mingling in scenes of mirth and gaiety; and it was
only upon a few occasions that she attended parties, that her friends
might not think her unsocial. At one of these parties she chanced to
meet her former schoolmate, Miss Carlton, whose only sign of recognition
was a very formal bow. This gave her no uneasiness; she cherished no
malice towards Miss Carlton; but her ideas and tastes so widely differed
from her own that she did not covet her friendship, even had she been
inclined to grant it her. Meanwhile, with the widow and her daughter,
time passed happily away. Emma's salary was more than sufficient for
their support, and they were happy in the society of each other. There
was one family, by the name of Milford, who had treated them with much
kindness since their residence in the city. Mrs. Milford at first placed
two little girls under Emma's instruction, and thus began an
acquaintance which soon ripened into intimate friendship; for, although
occupying a position of wealth and influence, Mrs. Milford was one of
the few who place "mind above matter," and respected true worth wherever
she met with it. Her eldest daughter, having finished her education at a
distant boarding school, returned home about the same time her two
sisters were placed in charge of Emma; and the little girls were so
eloquent in their praises of their teacher, that their elder sister
became interested, and decided to call upon her at her home; and the
lady-like appearance of both mother and daughter, together with the
appearance of good taste which their home exhibited, strongly interested
her in their favor.

Some six months previous to the period of which I am writing a young
physician from the Upper Province located himself in the city of H. for
the practice of his profession. According to common report, he was
wealthy, and the study of a profession had with him been a matter not of
necessity but of choice. Owing to his pleasing manners, as well as his
reputed wealth, he soon became an object of much interest to many of
the match-making mammas and marriageable young ladies of the city of H.
He was soon favored with numerous invitations to attend parties, where
he formed acquaintance with most of the young people in the fashionable
circles of the city; and he soon became a general favorite in society.
Among others, he attended a large party given by the Carltons, and by
this means became acquainted with the family. He had called
occasionally, and during one of those calls Mrs. Carlton very feelingly
lamented that her daughter was often obliged to forego the pleasure of
attending concerts, lectures and other places of public amusement for
want of a suitable escort; and courtesy to the family would of course
allow him to do no less than offer to become her attendant upon such
occasions. Mrs. Carlton, however, put a very different construction upon
these slight attentions, and already looked upon him as her future
son-in-law. When Dr. Winthrop had resided for about a year in the city,
the Milfords also gave a large party, and Miss Ashton was included among
their guests. The party was a brilliant affair, for the Milfords were a
family of wealth and high social position. The young physician was among
their guests; and Miss Carlton managed some way or other to claim his
attention most of the evening. There was the usual amount of small talk,
common to such occasions; about the usual number of young ladies were
invited to sing and play, and, as usual, they were either out of
practice or were afflicted with "bad colds." But it so happened that
several young ladies who at the first begged to be excused, after much
persuasion allowed themselves to be conducted to the piano, and played
till it was evident from the manner of many that the music had become an
infliction instead of a pleasure. When after a time Miss Ashton was
invited to play, she took the vacant seat at the piano without any of
the usual apologies; and began playing the prelude to a much admired
song of the day; and before she reached the close of the first verse
there was a hush through the room, and the countenance of each evinced
the pleasure with which they listened to her performance. As she rose
from the instrument Dr. Winthrop addressed Miss Carlton, saying: "Can
you inform me who is that young lady? I never met her before; but she
has favored us with the first real music I have listened to this
evening." The young physician was not wanting in politeness, and he
certainly must have forgotten that Miss Carlton occupied the seat at the
piano a short time before. That young lady colored with anger as she
replied: "Her name is Miss Ashton, and I understand she is engaged as an
assistant teacher in one of the Academies in the city." "It is
singular," replied Dr. Winthrop, "that I have never before met her at
any of the numerous parties I have attended during the past year."
"There is nothing very singular in that," replied Miss Carlton, "for I
presume she is not often invited to fashionable parties, and I suppose
it is owing to Mrs. Milford's two little girls being her pupils that we
find her among their guests; but as you seem so much interested, I will
tell you all I know of the _person_ in question. When I attended school
in Rockford, Miss Ashton was a pupil in the same institution; but, when
I learned that her mother, who is a widow, took in sewing, to pay her
school bills, I did not care to cultivate her acquaintance. She left
school about the same time with myself, and I heard no more of her till
she obtained a situation in this city." "Pardon me," replied the young
physician; "but I see nothing in what you have stated that is in the
least disparaging to the young lady; and I should be much pleased to
make her acquaintance." "Our ideas slightly vary, in these matters,"
replied Miss Carlton, with a haughty toss of her head; "but I will not
detain you from seeking the introduction for which you seem so anxious.
I am sorry I cannot oblige you by introducing you myself; but as I did
not associate with her when at school, I am still leas inclined to do so
at the present time; I hope, however, you may find her an agreeable
acquaintance;" and with a haughty manner she swept from his side in
quest of companions whose tastes were more congenial. Dr. Winthrop
obtained the desired introduction; and if Miss Carlton indulged the
hope that he would find Miss Ashton an agreeable acquaintance, there was
soon a fair prospect that her wishes would be realized; for the marked
attention which Dr. Winthrop paid the lovely and engaging Miss Ashton
soon formed the chief topic of conversation among the circle of their
acquaintances. For once, public rumor was correct. Dr. Winthrop was very
wealthy; but when a mere youth he had a decided taste for the study of
medicine; and his parents allowed him to follow the bent of his own
inclinations, in fitting himself for a profession for which he
entertained so strong a liking. He had an uncle residing in a distant
city, who was also a physician of high reputation, and, after passing
through the necessary course of study, he had practiced his profession
for two years under the direction of his uncle, before removing to the
city of H. Up to the time when we introduced him to the reader matrimony
was a subject to which he had never given a serious thought, and until
he met with Miss Ashton he had never felt any personal interest in the
matter. From what I have already said the reader will not be surprised
to learn that the acquaintance begun at Mrs. Milford's party terminated
in a matrimonial engagement; with the free consent of all who had a
right to a voice in the matter. When the matter became known it caused
quite a sensation in the circles in which Dr. Winthrop had moved since
his residence in the city; but, happily for him, he was possessed of
too independent a spirit to suffer any annoyance from any malicious
remarks which chanced to reach his ears. When Miss Carlton first learned
of the engagement, she indulged in a long fit of spiteful tears, to the
imminent risk of appearing with red eyes at the forthcoming evening
party. In due time the marriage took place; and the young physician and
his lovely bride set out on their wedding tour amid the congratulations
and good wishes of many true friends. After their departure Mrs. Carlton
remarked to several of her 'dear friends' "that she had long since
discovered that Dr. Winthrop was not possessed of refined tastes; and
for her part she thought Miss Ashton much better suited to be his wife
than many others which she could name." Had the doctor been present to
express his sentiments regarding this matter, they would in all
probability have exactly agreed with those already expressed by Mrs.
Carlton. During their wedding tour, which occupied several weeks, they
visited many places of note, both in Canada and the United States. Upon
their return to the city Dr. Winthrop purchased an elegant house in a
central location, which he furnished in a style justified by his
abundant means; and with his wife and her mother removed thither.

In conclusion, we will again bestow a passing glance upon this happy
family after the lapse of some twenty years. We find Dr. Winthrop now
past the meridian of life, surrounded by an interesting family of sons
and daughters, whom he is endeavoring to train for spheres of usefulness
in this life, as well as for happiness in the "life to come." His
graceful and dignified wife still gladdens his heart and home. Time has
dealt very gently with her; she is quite as good and almost as beautiful
as when we last saw her twenty years ago. The two eldest of their family
are boys, and this is their last year in College. Mrs. Winthrop has thus
far attended herself to the education of her two daughters. Along with
many other useful lessons, she often seeks to impress upon their minds
the sin and folly of treating with contempt and scorn those who may be
less favored than themselves in a worldly point of view; and to impress
the lesson more strongly upon their young minds, she has more than once
spoken to them of her own early history, and of the trials to which she
was subject in her youthful days. But what of Mrs. Ashton? She still
lives; although her once active form is beginning to bow beneath the
weight of years, and her hair has grown silvery white. This year Dr.
Winthrop has completed his preparations for leaving the city after more
than twenty years close application to his profession. He resolved to
remove with his family to some quiet country village, which would afford
sufficient practice to prevent time from hanging heavily upon his hands;
but he now felt quite willing to resign his fatiguing and extensive
practice in the city. When he first formed the idea of seeking a
country home, he enquired of his wife, if she had any choice regarding a
location. "If it meets your wishes," replied she, "no other place would
please me so well as the village of W, the home of my childhood and
youth, and where my dear father is buried." He soon after made a journey
to W, and was so much pleased with the thriving appearance of the
village, and the industry and sobriety of the inhabitants, that he
decided to seek there a home. Before he left his home, his wife
requested him, should he decide upon removing to W, if possible to
re-purchase their old home, knowing how much this would please her now
aged mother. The purchase was soon completed, and ere he left the
village the old house was in the hands of workmen, with his instructions
as to improvements and repairs. Mrs. Ashton was very happy when she
learned that they were to return to W. "I have been happy here," said
she, "but I shall be still happier there." In a short time they removed
from the city to take possession of the "dear old home" in W, now
enlarged and adorned in various ways; but the same clear brook still
flowed at the foot of the garden, and the same trees, only that they
were older, and their branches had grown more wide spreading, shaded the
dwelling. As they passed beneath the shade of those well-remembered
trees, Mrs. Winthrop addressed her mother, saying, "Do you remember,
mamma, how sad we felt the morning we left our home so many years ago,
and we little thought it would ever again be ours." Mrs. Ashton gazed
fondly upon her daughter and the blooming children at her side, as she
replied in the language of the Psalmist, "I have been young and now am
old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging
bread."



THOUGHTS ON AUTUMN.


Again has the season of Autumn arrived. The stated changes of the
seasons serve as monitors to remind us of the flight of time; and upon
such occasions the most unthinking can hardly avoid pausing to reflect
upon the past, the present, and the probable future. Autumn has been
properly styled the "Sabbath of the year." Its scenes are adapted to
awaken sober and profitable reflection; and the voice with which it
appeals to our reflective powers is deserving of regard. This season is
suggestive of thoughts and feelings which are not called forth by any
other; standing, as it were, a pause between life and death; holding in
its lap the consummate fruits of the earth, which are culled by the hand
of prudence and judgment, some to be garnered in the treasury of useful
things, while others are allowed to return to their primitive elements.
When spring comes smiling o'er the earth, she breathes on the ice-bound
waters, and they flow anew. Frost and snow retreat before her advancing
footsteps. The earth is clothed with verdure, and the trees put forth
their leaves. Again, a few short months, and where has all this beauty
fled? The trees stand firm as before; but, with every passing breeze, a
portion of their once green leaves now fall to the ground. We behold the
bright flowers, which beautify the earth, open their rich petals, shed
their fragrance on the breeze, and then droop and perish. Sad emblem of
the perishing nature of all things earthly. May we not behold in the
fading vegetation, and the falling leaves of autumn, a true type of
human life? Truly "we all do fade as a leaf." Life at the best is but a
shadow that passes quickly away. Why then this love of gain, this thirst
for fame and distinction? Let us approach yonder church-yard and there
seek for distinction. There we may behold marble tablets cold as the
clay which rests beneath them: their varied inscriptions of youth,
beauty, age, ambition, pride and vanity, are all here brought to one
common level, like the leaves which in autumn fall to the earth, not one
pre-eminent over another. The inspired writers exhibit the frailty of
man by comparing him to the grass and the flowers withering and dying
under the progress and vicissitudes of the year; and with the return of
autumn we may behold in the external appearance of nature the changes to
which the sacred penman refers, when he says, "So is man. His days are
as grass; as a flower of the field so he flourisheth. For the wind
passeth over it and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no
more." Autumn too, is the season of storms. Let this remind us of the
storms of life. Scattered around us, are the wrecks of the tempests
which have beaten upon others, and we cannot expect always ourselves to
be exempt. Autumn is also the season of preparation for winter. Let us
remember that the winter of death is at hand, and let us be impressed
with the importance of making preparation for its approach. Let us then,
as we look upon the changed face of nature, take home the lesson which
it teaches; and, while we consider the perishable nature of all things
pertaining to this life, may we learn to prepare for another and a
happier state of being.



WANDERING DAVY.


It was while I was spending a few days in the dwelling of Mr. C., a
Scottish immigrant, that he received a long letter from his friends in
Scotland. After perusing the letter he addressed his wife, saying: "So
auld Davy's gone at last." "Puir man," replied Mrs. C. "If he's dead let
us hope that he has found that rest and peace which has been so long
denied him in this life." "And who was old Davy? may I enquire," said I,
addressing Mr. C. "Ay, man," he replied, "tis a sad story; but when my
work is by for the night, I'll tell ye a' that I ken o' the life o' Davy
Stuart." I was then young and very imaginative; and a story of any kind
possessed much interest for me; and the thought that the story of Old
Davy was to be a true one, rendered it doubly interesting; so I almost
counted the hours of the remaining portion of the day; and when evening
came I was not slow to remind Mr. C. of his promise. Accordingly he
related to me the following particulars of the life of David Stuart;
which I give, as nearly as possible, in his own words; for it seems to
me that the story would lose half its interest were I to render it
otherwise.

"Davy Stuart was an aul' man when I was a wee boy at the school. I had
aye been used wi' him; for he often bided wi' us for days thegither; and
while a boy I gave little heed to his odd ways an' wanderin' mode o'
life; for he was very kind to mysel' an' a younger brither, an' we
thought muckle o' him; but when we had grown up to manhood my father
tell'd us what had changed Davy Stuart from a usefu' an' active man to
the puir demented body he then was. He was born in a small parish in the
south of Scotland, o' respectable honest parents, who spared nae pains
as he grew up to instruct him in his duty to baith God an' man. At quite
an early age he was sent to the parish school; where he remained maist
o' the time till he reached the age o' fourteen years. At that time he
was apprenticed to learn the trade o' a shoemaker, in a distant town. It
wad seem that he served his time faithfully, an' gained a thorough
knowledge o' his trade. Upon leaving his master, after paying a short
visit to his native parish, he gie'd awa' to the City of Glasgow, to
begin the warld for himself. He continued steady and industrious, and
was prospered accordingly; and at the age o' twenty-five he had saved
considerable money. It was about this time, that he was married to a
worthy young woman, to whom he had been long deeply attached. They had
but one bairn, a fine boy, who was the delight o' his father's heart,
and I hae heard it said by they who kenn'd them at the time, that a
bonnier or mair winsome hoy could'na hae been found in the city, than
wee Geordie Stuart. Time gied on till Geordie was near twelve year aul',
when it began to be talked o' among Mr. Stuart's friends that he was
becoming owre fond o' drink. How the habit was first formed naebody
could tell; but certain it was, that during the past year he had been
often seen the war o' drink. His wife, puir body, admonished an'
entreated him to break awa' frae the sinfu' habit, and he often, when
moved by her tears, made resolutions o' amendment, which were broken
maist as soon as made; an' it was during a longer season o' sobriety
than was usual wi' him, that his wife thinkin' if he was once awa' frae
the great city he would be less in the way o' temptation, persuaded him
to leave Glasgow an' remove to the sma' village o' Mill-Burn, a little
way frae the farm which my father rented.

"I well mind, said my father, o' the time when they first cam' among us,
an' how kin' was a' the neebors, to his pale sad-lookin' wife and the
bonny light-hearted Geordie, who was owre young at the time, to realize
to its fu' extent the sad habit into which his father had fa'n. When Mr.
Stuart first came to our village he again took up his aul' habits o'
industry, an' for a long time would'na taste drink ava; but when the
excitement o' the sudden change had worn off, his aul' likin' for strong
drink cam' back wi' fu' force, an' he, puir weak man, had'na the
strength o' mind to withstand it. He soon became even war than before;
his money was a' gane, he did'na work, so what was there but poverty for
his wife an' child. But it is useless for me to linger o'er the sad
story. When they had lived at Mill-Burn a little better than a twelve
month; his wife died, the neebors said o' a broken heart. A wee while
afore her death she ca'd Davy to her bed-side, an' once mair talked lang
an' earnestly to him o' the evil habit which had gotten sic a hold o'
him, an' begged him for the sake o' their dear Geordie, who; she
reminded him, would soon be left without a mither to care for him, to
make still anither effort to free himself frae the deadly habit. I
believe Davy was sincere when he promised the dyin' woman that he wad
gie up drink. Wi' a' his faults, he had tenderly loved his wife, an' I
hae nae doubt fully intended keepin' the promise he made her. For a lang
time after her death, he was ne'er seen to enter a public house ava',
an' again he applied himsel' to his wark wi' much industry. After the
death o' Mrs. Stuart Geordie an' his father bided a' their lane. Their
house was on the ither side o' the burn which crossed the high-road, a
wee bit out o' the village. Time gie'd on for some time wi' them in this
way. Davy continued sober and industrious, an' the neebors began to hae
hopes that he had gotten the better o' his evil habit; he had ne'er been
kenned to taste strong drink o' ony kin' sin' the death o' his wife.
One evening after he an' Geordie had ta'en their suppers, he made
himsel' ready to gang out, saying to Geordie that he was gaun' doon to
the village for a wee while, and that he was to bide i' the house an' he
would'na be lang awa'. The hours wore awa' till ten o'clock, an' he
had'na cam' hame. It was aye supposed that the boy, becoming uneasy at
his father's lang stay, had set out to look for him, when by some
mishap, it will ne'er be kenned what way, he lost his footin', an' fell
frae the end o' the narrow brig which crossed the burn. The burn was'na
large, but a heavy rain had lately fa'n, an' there was aye a deep bit at
one end o' the brig. He had fa'n head first into the water in sic a way
that he could'na possibly won 'oot. It was a clear moonlicht night, an'
when Davy reached the brig, the first thing he saw was his ain son lyin
i' the water. I hae often been told that a sudden shock o' ony kind will
sober a drunken man. It was sae wi' Davy; for the first neebor who,
hearin' his cries for assistance, ran to the spot, found him standin i'
the middle o' the brig, perfectly sober, wi' the drooned boy in his
arms; although it was weel kenned that he was quite drunk when he left
the village. Every means was used for the recovery o' the boy, but it
was a' useless, he was quite deed an' caul'. "Ah," said Davy, when
tell'd by the doctor that the boy was indeed dead, "my punishment is
greater than I can bear." Geordie had aye been as "the apple o' his
een"; never had he been kenned to ill use the boy, even when under the
influence o' drink; and the shock was too much for his reason. Many
wondered at his calmness a' the while the body lay i' the house afore
the burial--but it was the calmness o' despair; he just seemed like ane
turned to stane. The first thing that roused him was the sound o' the
first earth that fell on puir Geordie's coffin. He gie'd ae bitter
groan, an' wad' hae fa'n to the earth had'na a kind neebor supported
him. His mind wandered frae that hour; he was aye harmless, but the
light o' reason never cam' back to his tortured mind. Sometimes he wad
sit for hours by Geordie's grave, an' fancy that he talked wi' him. On
these occasions nothing wad induce him to leave the grave till some
ither fancy attracted his mind. As I hae before said he was never
outrageous, but seemed most o' the time, when silent, to be in deep
thought; but his reason was quite gone, and the doctors allowed that his
case was beyond cure. Many questioned them as to whether it were safe to
allow him his liberty, lest he might do some deed o' violence; but they
gave it as their opinion that his disease was'na at a' likely to tak'
that turn wi' him, an' so he was left to wander on. He never bided verra
lang in a place, but wandered frae house to house through a' the
country-side: and every one treated him wi' kindness. The sight o' a
bonny fair-haired boy aye gave him muckle pleasure, an' he wad whiles
hae the idea that Geordie had cam' back to him. From the day o'
Geordie's death to that o' his ain', which took place a month sine, he
was ne'er kenned to taste strong drink; he could'na bear even the sight
o' it. He lived to a verra great age, an' for many years they who did'na
ken the story o' his early life ha'e ca'd him Wanderin' Davy. I hae noo
tell'd you his story," said Mr. C. addressing me; "an' I hope it may
prove a warnin' to you an' ithers o' the awfu' evils o' intemperance;
an' I think it's high time my story was finished, for I see by the clock
that it's growin' unco late." When the evening psalm had been sung, Mr.
C. read a portion of the Scriptures and offered the usual nightly
prayer, and soon after we all sought repose; but it was long ere I
slept. The story I had listened to still floated through my mind, and
when sleep at length closed my eyes it was to dream of "Wandering Davy,"
and the poor drowned boy.



LOOKING ON THE DARK SIDE.


It is an old but true saying, that "troubles come soon enough without
meeting them half way." But I think my friend Mrs. Talbot had never
chanced to hear this saying, old as it is; for she was extremely prone
at all times to look only upon the dark side, and this habit was a
source of much trouble to herself as well as her family. Mr. Talbot
might properly have been called a well-to-do farmer. They were
surrounded by an intelligent and interesting family; and a stranger, in
taking a passing view of their home and its surroundings, would have
been strongly inclined to think that happiness and contentment might be
found beneath their roof; but a short sojourn in the dwelling alluded to
would certainly have dispelled the illusion. This Mrs. Talbot was
possessed of a most unhappy disposition. She seemed to entertain the
idea that the whole world was in league to render her miserable. It has
often struck me with surprise, that a person surrounded with so much to
render life happy should indulge in so discontented and repining a
temper as did Mrs. Talbot. She was famous for dwelling at length upon
her trials, as often as she could obtain a listener; and when I first
became acquainted with her I really regarded her with a feeling of pity;
but after a time I mentally decided that the greater part of her
grievances existed only in her own imagination. She spent a large
portion of her time in deploring the sins of the whole world in general,
and of her own family and immediate neighbors in particular; while she
looked upon herself as having almost, if not quite, attained to
perfection.

I recollect calling one day upon Mr. Talbot; he was of a very social
disposition, and we engaged for a short time in a lively conversation.
Mrs. Talbot was present, and, strange to tell, once actually laughed at
some amusing remark made by her husband. He soon after left the room,
and her countenance resumed its usual doleful expression as she
addressed me, saying, "I wish I could have any hopes of Mr. Talbot; but
I am afraid the last state of that man will be worse than the first." I
questioned her as to her meaning; and she went on to tell me that her
husband had once made a profession of religion; but she feared he was
then in a "backslidden state," as she termed it. I know not how this
matter might have been; but during my acquaintance with Mr. Talbot I
never observed any thing in his conduct which to me seemed inconsistent
with a profession of religion. He certainly excelled his wife in one
thing, and that was christian charity; for he was seldom if ever heard
to speak of the shortcomings of others. It is quite possible that he
thought his wife said enough upon the subject to suffice for both. Mrs.
Talbot made a point of visiting her neighbors, if she chanced to hear of
their meeting with any trouble or misfortune. The reason she gave for so
doing was that she might sympathize with them; and if sickness invaded a
household Mrs. Talbot was sure to be there; but I used often to think
that her friends must look upon her as one of "Job's comforters," for no
sickness was so severe, no misfortune so great, that she did not
prophesy something worse still. According to her own ideas she was often
favored with warnings of sickness and misfortune both to her own family
and others. She was also a famous believer in dreams; and often
entertained her friends at the breakfast table by relating her dreams of
the previous night. I remember meeting with her upon one occasion, when
it struck me that her countenance wore a look of unusual solemnity, even
for her, so much so, that I enquired the cause, "Ah!" said she, "we are
to have sickness, perhaps death, in our family very soon; for only last
night I dreamed I saw a white horse coming toward our house upon the
full gallop; and to dream of a white horse is a sure sign of sickness,
and the faster the horse seems in our dream to be approaching us the
sooner the sickness will come." Her husband often remonstrated with her
upon the folly of indulging in these idle fancies. I remember a reply
he once made to some of her gloomy forebodings "I think the best way is
for each one to discharge their duty in the different relations of life;
and leave the future in the hands of an All-wise Providence." "That is
always the way with you," was her reply. "You have grown heedless and
careless with your love of the world; but you will perhaps think of my
warnings when too late." Before meeting with Mrs. Talbot I had often
heard the remark that none were so cheerful as the true Christian; but I
soon saw that her views must be widely different. A hearty laugh she
seemed to regard as almost a crime. A cheerful laugh upon any occasion
would cause her to shake her head in a rueful manner, and denounce it as
untimely mirth. Upon one occasion she went to hear a preacher that had
lately arrived in the neighboring village. This same preacher was
remarkable for drawing dismal pictures, and was very severe in his
denunciations, while he quite forgot to offer a word of encouragement to
the humble seeker after good. Upon the Sabbath in question Mrs. Talbot
returned from church, and seated herself at the dinner table with a
countenance of moot woeful solemnity. Her husband at length enquired,
how she had enjoyed the sermon. "O!" replied she, "he is a preacher
after my own heart, and his sermon explained all my views clearly."
"Indeed," replied Mr. Talbot, "he must have a wonderful flow of
language to have handled so extensive a subject, in the usual time
allotted to a sermon." His answer displeased her very much. Among her
other gloomy forebodings she always seemed sure of the fact that Mr.
Talbot would survive her; and she replied: "That is always the way. You
make light of every thing I say; and I only hope you won't have all
these things to repent of when I shall be no more." Mr. Talbot seemed
sorry he had wounded her feelings, and replied: "We shall both live our
appointed time, and it is not for us to decide which of us will be first
removed." The last time I saw Mrs. Talbot she was indulging in her
anticipation of some coming calamity. I have learned from various
sources, that since I last saw her she has met _real_ afflictions of a
very trying nature, even to the most hopeful; and it may be that the
presence of real troubles have put to flight many which were only
imaginary; and she may by this time have learned to be thankful for
whatever of blessings may yet be left her in her path through life.



EDWARD BARTON.


My schoolmate Edward Barton, or 'Ned,' as he was usually called by the
boys, was such an odd character in his way, that I trust my readers will
pardon me for introducing him to their notice. His father was a
physician in a distant village, and was justly esteemed among the
residents of the place. He had an extensive practice both in the village
and surrounding country, and his time was very much occupied; and as Ned
grew up he proved a source of constant anxiety to his father, who, being
unable to keep him under his own eye, at length decided to send him to
reside with some relatives in a farming district some twenty miles from
his home. Ned's disposition was a singular compound of good and evil,
and his conduct depended, in a great measure, upon the companions he
associated with. He was easily persuaded, and often during his father's
frequent and lengthened absences from home he played truant from school,
and associated with the worst boys in the village. I well remember the
morning he first entered our school. He was then about twelve years of
age; but owing to his carelessness and inattention, he had made but
slight progress in study. I learned afterward that he had so long borne
the names of "dunce" and "blockhead" in the school he attended in his
own village that he supposed himself to be really such, and made up his
mind that it was useless for him to try to be anything else: and I think
when our teacher first called him up for examination he was inclined to
be of the same opinion. The teacher first addressed him by saying, "How
far have you advanced in reading, my boy?" "Don't know, sir, never
thought any thing about how far I've been." "Well, at least," replied
the master, "you can tell me the names of the books you have studied, in
reading and spelling." "Oh, yes," replied the boy. "I've been clean
through 'Webster's Elementary and the Progressive Reader.'" "Can you
tell me the subject of any of your lessons?" "I can just remember one
story, about a dog that was crossing a river on a plank with a piece of
meat in his mouth, and when he saw his shadder in the water, made a
spring at it, and dropped the meat which he held in his mouth, and it
was at once carried away by the current." "Well," said the teacher, "as
you remember the story so well, you can perhaps tell me what lesson we
can learn from this fable." "I thought," replied the boy, "when I read
the story, that the best way is to hold on to what we are sure of, and
not grab after a shadder and lose the whole." "Your idea is certainly a
correct one," said the master, "and now we will turn to some other
branch of study; can you cipher?" "Don't know, I never tried," replied
the boy, with the greatest coolness imaginable. "Well," replied the
teacher, "we will, after a time, see how you succeed, when you _do_ try.
Can you tell me what the study of Geography teaches us?" "O," said the
boy, "geography tells all about the world, the folks who live in it, and
'most everything else." The master then asked him some questions
regarding the divisions of land and water, and for a short time he
answered with some degree of correctness. At length, while referring to
the divisions of water, the master said, "Can you tell me what is a
strait?" This question seemed a "puzzler" to him, and for some moments
he looked downward as if studying the matter; when the question was
repeated in rather a sharp tone, it seemed he thought it wiser to give
an answer of some kind than none at all, and he replied: "When a river
runs in a straight course, we call it straight, and when it twists and
winds about, we call it crooked." "A river is not a strait," replied the
teacher with the manner of one who prayed for patience. "Well! at any
rate," said the boy, "straight is straight, and crooked is crooked, and
that is all I know about it." It was evident from the teacher's manner
that he was half inclined to think the boy was endeavoring to impose
upon him by feigning ignorance; and he dismissed him to his seat for
the time being, thinking, no doubt, that he had met with a case out of
the common order of school experience. It seems that the boy had never
before attended school with punctuality, and it required a long time, to
teach him to observe anything like system, either in his conduct or
studies. Our teacher, though very firm, was mild and judicious in his
government; and, thinking that possibly Ned's disposition had been
injured by former harshness at school, resolved to avoid inflicting
corporal punishment as long as possible; and try upon him the effect of
kindness and mild persuasion. He had one very annoying habit, and that
was he would very seldom give a satisfactory answer if suddenly asked a
direct question, and often his reply would be very absurd, sometimes
bordering on downright impudence. The master noticed one afternoon,
after calling the boys from their play at recess, that Ned had not
entered the school-room with the others. Stepping to the door, he found
him seated very composedly in the yard, working busily upon a toy he was
fashioning with a knife from a piece of wood. "Why do you remain
outside, Edward, after the other boys are called in?" said the master.
"Cos I did'nt come in, sir," replied Ned, without looking up, or even
pausing in his employment This was too much for the patience of any one;
and seizing him by the arm the master drew him into a small room which
adjoined the school-room; and bestowed upon him, what Ned afterward
confidentially informed us, was "a regular old-fashioned thrashing." I
was not aware till then that the style of using the rod was liable to
change, but it would seem that Ned thought otherwise; and if his screams
upon this occasion were taken as proof in the matter, I should be
inclined to think the old-fashioned method very effective. The whipping
which Ned received created quite a sensation among us boys, for it was
not often that Mr. S. used the rod; We began to have our fears that as
he had got his "hand in," more of us might share the fate of poor Ned.
In a very serious conversation which we held upon the matter, on our way
home that evening, some of us asked Ned why he screamed so loud. "I
thought," said he, "if I hollered pretty well, he would think he'd
licked me enough and stop; but I don't see what great harm I did any
way. He asked why I stayed out; and I said, cos I did't go in, and I am
sure I could'nt give a better reason than that." Time passed on, and by
degrees Ned dropped many of his odd ways; and began to make tolerable
progress in study; but still much patience and forbearance was necessary
on the part of the teacher. He had the same habit of frequently giving
absurd answers in his class, as well as upon other occasions; but after
a time his stupid answers were much less frequent, and Mr. S. began to
indulge the hope that he would soon overcome the habit entirely. When
he had attended school for about six months, as was the custom two or
three times a year, we passed under what to the school boys was an
"awful review" in presence of those awe-inspiring personages, termed in
those days the school-trustees, and any other friends of the school, who
might chance to be present. We all, even to the teacher, had our fears
lest Ned (who had not yet entirely discontinued the practice) should
give some of his comical answers when questioned by our visitors; but
the day came, and with it the school-trustees and a number of other
friends. The classes were first examined in reading and spelling; and
Ned acquitted himself much better than we had dared to hope; and we
began to think he might pass the afternoon without making any serious
blunder. After the reading and spelling lessons, the class was summoned
for examination in Geography. Elated by his success in reading and
spelling, Ned took his place with a pompous consequential manner, as if
expecting to win countless laurels for his proficiency. He got along
very well till some one put the question, "What may the Island of
Australia properly be called on account of its vast size?" "One of the
Pyramids," answered Ned, in a loud confident voice. The gentleman who
was questioning us looked astounded, and there fell an awkward silence,
which only was broken by the half-smothered laughter of the others in
the class. The teacher, wishing to get over the matter in some way, at
length said, "I am surprised, Edward, that you should give so senseless
an answer to so simple a question." Now, one very striking peculiarity
in Ned's character was his unwillingness to acknowledge himself in the
wrong, however ridiculous his answer might be; and he was disposed to
argue his point upon this occasion. "Any way," said he, "the Pyramids
are large, and so is Australia; and I thought it might sometimes be
called a pyramid for convenience of description." The idea of Ned
entering into an argument with the trustees of the school struck the
rest of the boys as so extremely ludicrous, that our long pent-up mirth
found vent in a burst of laughter through the whole class, and no one
present had the heart to chide us; for it was with intense difficulty
that the elderly gentlemen maintained their own gravity. The teacher was
obliged to exercise his authority before Ned could be silenced; and the
remaining part of the examination proved rather a failure. I know not
how it happened, but from that day there was a marked improvement in
Edward Barton, in every respect. He attended the school for two years;
and when he left us it was to accompany his parents to one of the far
Western States. His father had relatives residing in the west, and had
received from them such glowing accounts of the country, that he decided
upon removing thither. Any one who saw Ned when he left us would almost
have failed to recognize him as the same boy who entered the school two
years previous. Mr. S. was his friend as well as his teacher; and during
the second year of his stay took a deep interest in him; he had
thoroughly studied his disposition, and learned to bear with his faults,
and under his judicious management Ned began really to make good
progress in study. We had all become attached to him, and were all sorry
when he left us. He was much elated with the prospect of his journey to
the West; and talked much of the wonders he expected to behold on his
way thither. He came one day at the noon-hour to collect his books and
bid us good-bye, his father having come to take him home for a short
time before setting out on their journey. The boys were all on the
play-ground when he entered the school-room to bid his teacher good-bye.
When he came out he looked very sober, and there was a suspicious
moisture in his eyes which very much resembled tears. Instead of the
usual noisy mirth on the play-ground there was almost complete silence,
while Ned shook hands with us one by one, saying, "he would tell us all
the wonders of the Western World when he came back." Years have rolled
by with their various changes since that day; he has never yet returned;
and I have only heard from him two or three times during the time. My
last tidings were, that he was married and settled down to a life of
industry upon a fine farm, in his western home; but I sometimes, when I
think of him, even yet wonder, if he has learned the difference between
the "Pyramids of Egypt" and the "Island Continent of Australia."



THE WEARY AT REST.


The weary at rest. This idea was very strongly impressed upon my mind
by a funeral which I once attended in the distant village of C. It was
that of a very aged woman, whom I had often heard mentioned as one who
had been subjected for many years to bodily suffering in no ordinary
degree. I had never seen her, but was acquainted with many who visited
her frequently; and I became interested from hearing her so often spoken
of as a bright example of patience and resignation under affliction; and
I was accustomed to enquire for her as often as I had opportunity. Owing
to a rheumatic affection of her limbs, she had, as I was informed, been
unable, for several years, to rise from her bed without assistance, and
much of the time experienced severe pain. I was informed by her friends
that through her protracted period of suffering she was never heard to
utter a complaining or repining word, but was found daily in a calm,
even cheerful frame of mind. After a time I left the village and
returned to my home. Returning thither to visit some relatives after the
lapse of a few months, I met with a friend, soon after my arrival, who
informed me of the death of old Mrs. H., which had taken place the day
previous. Two days later I joined the large numbers who assembled to pay
their last tribute of respect to one of the oldest residents of their
village. As is usual upon funeral occasions, the coffin was placed in
front of the pulpit, and a large number occupied the front pews which
were appropriated to the friends of the deceased. In those pews were
seated men in whose hair the silver threads were beginning to mingle,
and women who were themselves mothers of families, who all met around
the coffin of their aged mother. Childhood, youth and middle age was all
represented in that company of mourners. Their pastor, Mr. M., delivered
a very appropriate discourse from the words. "Blessed are the dead who
die in the Lord." In the course of his sermon he took occasion to
remark, that a funeral discourse should apply to the living--not the
dead. I had before listened to different sermons from this same text;
but I never listened to a more searching application of the words than
upon this occasion.

Near the close of his sermon, he said: "I presume many of you are aware
that I deem it unnecessary as well as unwise, on occasions of this kind,
for a minister to dwell at length, upon the life and character of the
deceased, for, as I have before said, our duty is with the living; but
upon the present occasion, I think I may with propriety say, that we see
before us the lifeless remains of one who has 'died in the Lord.' I
have been for many years acquainted with our aged sister now departed,
and have ever regarded her as an humble and earnest christian. I have
frequently visited her during her lengthened period of suffering; and
have felt deeply humbled for my own want of resignation to the ills of
life, when I observed the exemplary manner with which this aged woman
bore her sufferings, which at times were very severe; and more than
this, I stood by her dying bed, which I can truly say presented a
foretaste of heavenly triumph."

At the close of the service permission was given for any one who was
desirous of so doing to look upon the "corpse," and with many others I
drew nigh the coffin. I had been told that the habitual expression of
her countenance was one of pain, and I was surprised by the calm and
peaceful expression which rested upon the face of the dead. There was no
sign of past suffering visible; and the idea of perfect rest was
conveyed to my mind, as I gazed upon her now lifeless features. When the
strangers had all retired the relatives and near friends drew nigh to
take their last sad look of the aged one who in life had been so dear to
them. It seemed that her age and utter helplessness had all the more
endeared her to her children and other friends; and many of them wept
audibly as they retired from the coffin. As the coffin was borne from
the church, the choir sung in subdued tones, accompanied by the solemn
notes of the organ, the beautiful hymn commencing with the lines.

    "Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee,
    Though sorrows and darkness encompass the tomb;
    The Saviour hath passed through its portals before thee,
    And the lamp of his love is thy guide through the gloom."

When the long procession reached the church yard, the coffin was lowered
to its final resting place, and the Burial Service was read by their
pastor, and most of the company departed to their homes. I know not how
it was, but, although a stranger to the deceased, I was among the few
who lingered till the grave was filled up. That funeral impressed me
deeply; and has often since recurred to my mind, amid the cares and
turmoil of after life.



THE RAINY AFTERNOON.


"It's too bad," exclaimed Harry Knights, as he turned from the window,
where for the last ten minutes he had been silently watching the heavy
drops of rain as they pattered against the glass. "It's too bad,"
repeated he, "we can have no out-of-door play this afternoon;" and as he
spoke his face wore a most rueful expression. I was one among a number
of Harry's school-mates who had gone to spend the day at the farm of Mr.
Knights, Harry's father. The eldest of our number was not more than
fourteen; and for a long time we had looked forward to this day with
many bright anticipations of fun and enjoyment. The important day at
length arrived, and so early did we set out upon our excursion that we
reached Harry's home before eight o'clock in the morning. We spent the
forenoon in rambling over the farm, searching out every nook and corner
which possessed any interest to our boyish minds. Accompanied by Harry
we visited all his favourite haunts--which included a fine stream of
water, where there was an abundance of fish; also a ledge of rocks
which contained a curious sort of cave, formed by a wide aperture in the
rocks; and, last, though "not least," a pond of water which, owing to
its extreme beauty of appearance, Harry had named the "Enchanted Pond."
He had said so much to us regarding the uncommon beauty of this spot
that some of the boys, myself among the number, had often been inclined
to ridicule him; but when we came within view of it, I for one ceased to
wonder at his admiration; for, before nor since, I never looked upon so
lovely a scene. The pond was situated upon the back portion of the farm,
in a clearing which had been made by a settler who had occupied the land
for some years before it was purchased by Mr. Knights. The form of the
pond was entirely circular, and it was surrounded by a green field, in
which had been left standing, here and there, some fine old trees to add
to the effect. I remember when I first gained a view of the spot, it
reminded me of a surface of polished silver, bordered with emeralds. As
we drew nigh we could see that its smooth waters were thickly dotted
with the pure blossoms of the pond-lily. I have never since visited the
spot, but the view I obtained of it that day, now so long ago, is still
vividly present to my mind. By the time we again reached the farm-house
the dinner-hour had arrived; and our long continued exercise in the open
air had so much improved our appetites that we did ample justice to the
good things set before us. Dinner being over we observed, what had
before escaped our notice, that the sky was becoming overcast with dark
clouds, and soon a heavy rain began to fall, which put an end to all our
plans of out-of-door enjoyment for the afternoon. As I mentioned at the
beginning, Harry was very much disappointed, for outside sports were his
especial delight; and for a time his face looked almost as dark and
forbidding as the sky itself. We tried to cheer him up, saying we would
have some quiet games in the large dining-room, and we did succeed in
getting him to join us; but somehow or other our games afforded us no
enjoyment, and the question, "what shall we do with ourselves?" began to
pass from one to the other among the group of eager, restless boys.
"Would you like me to tell you a story, boys?" enquired Harry's mother,
after observing for a time our vain attempts at enjoyment. Mrs. Knights
was a lady of high culture, and possessed the happy faculty of rendering
herself an agreeable companion to either the young or old; and more than
one pair of eyes grew bright with pleased anticipation, when she
proposed telling us a story; and, of course, we as eagerly assented to
her proposal. Seating herself our midst, she took up a piece of
needlework, saying, "I can always talk best, when my hands an employed,"
and began as follows:

"I suppose none of you, perhaps not even my own Harry is aware that my
home has not always been in Canada; but I will now inform you that the
days of my childhood and youth were passed in a pretty town near the
base of the Alleghany Mountains in the State of Virginia. I will not
pause at present to give you any further particulars regarding my own
early years, as the story I am about to relate is concerning one of my
schoolmates who was a few years older than myself. The Pastor of the
Church in the small village where my parents resided had but one son;
and, when quite a little girl, I remember him as one of the elder pupils
in the school I attended. I was too young at that time to pay much
attention to passing events, but I afterward learned that, even then,
his conduct was a source of much anxiety and sorrow to his parents, his
ready talent, great vivacity, and love of amusement continually led him
into mischief and caused him to be disliked by many of their neighbors.
It was in vain that the villages complained, in vain that his father
admonished and his mother wept; still the orchards were robbed, the
turkeys chased into the woods, and the logs of wood in the fireplaces
often burst into fragments by concealed powder. Time passed on, till he
reached the age of sixteen years, when, spurning the restraints of home,
the erring boy left his father's house and became a wanderer, no one
knew whither; but it was rumored that reaching a sea-port town he had
entered a merchant vessel bound upon a whaling voyage for three years.
During the last year of his stay at home his conduct had been very
rebellious, and his father almost looked upon him as given over to a
reprobate mind. After his departure, his father was seldom heard to
mention his name, but his friends observed that his hair fast grew
white, and upon his brow rested an expression of constant grief and
anxiety. He was a man that seldom spoke of his own troubles to any one,
but it was plain to be seen that his erring boy was never absent from
his thoughts, and there was a feeling and pathos in his voice when he
addressed his congregation, especially the younger portion of it, which
had never been noticed before. It was his custom upon the first sabbath
evening in each month to deliver an address to the youth of his flock
and it was noticed that his appeals had never been so earnest before, as
after the departure of his son; but he seldom, if ever, mentioned his
name, not even to his grief-stricken wife. Our pastor was not what could
be properly styled an old man, but it was thought that his grief, like a
canker-worm, sapped the fountains of life, his bodily health became
impaired, his vigor of mind departed, and, ere he had seen sixty years,
death removed him from earth, to a home of happiness in Heaven. The
widow was now bereft of both husband and child. She was comforted
concerning her departed husband, knowing that it was well with him; but
she sorrowed continually for her absent boy; and often, during the
lonely hours of night, as the moaning of the winds fell upon her ear,
she would start from her sleepless pillow and utter a prayer for her
poor boy who might even then be tossing on the restless ocean, or
perhaps wrecked upon a dangerous coast. She was a woman of good
education, and much power of thought, and she at length found a partial
relief from her sorrow by writing small works for publication. But how
is it all this time with the wandering "Prodigal?" Nine years have
passed away since he left his home, when an agent for the sale of books
for a large publishing house was spending a few days in one of the large
cities of the west. During his stay in the place, his business as agent
often led him into public places, and on several occasions he noticed a
young man that attracted his attention. There was nothing prepossessing
in his appearance; on the contrary he bore the marks of dissipation in
his countenance; his clothing was old and soiled, and once or twice he
saw him when partially intoxicated. The agent was a middle-aged man, and
was a close observer of those with whom he came in contact, and somehow
or other he felt a strange interest in this young man for which he could
not account; and meeting him so frequently, he determined to speak to
him. As a pretext for accosting him he offered to sell him some books,
although he had no hopes of success. The young man regarded him with
visible surprise, when he enquired if he would not like to purchase a
book. "I have no money to spend for books," replied the man, yet as if
unable to resist the impulse, he leaned over the table, on which the
agent had placed several books, and began looking them over; and finally
selecting one, enquired the price, and paid for it. They soon after
parted, and the agent thought they should probably meet no more, as he
expected soon to leave the city. He returned to the hotel where he
boarded, and after tea seated himself on the piazza, to enjoy the cool
evening air; when the same young man suddenly approached him, and
grasping his hand said in a voice choked with emotion: "Tell me, Sir,
where, O where did you get that book?" This young man was the erring but
still loved son of the Virginian widow, who for these long dreary years
had roamed over the earth, unfriended and unaided, vainly imagining his
own arm sufficient towards the ills of life. He had wandered here from
the coasts of the Pacific, where he had been wrecked; his money was
nearly gone, and his health had become impaired by hardship and exposure
as well as his dissipated course of life. As he afterwards said, he had
no intention of reading the book when he purchased it, merely out of
civility to the stranger who accosted him so kindly, but after the agent
left him he opened the book, and a cold dew broke out upon his forehead,
for on the title-page he read the name of his _mother_ as the author.
Her thoughts were continually upon her lost son, and in her mind's eye
she often traced his downward career. She imagined him worn and weary,
his days spent in unsatisfying folly; and his moments of reflection
embittered by remorse; unconsciously, in writing this little book she
had drawn from her own feelings and addressed one in this situation. She
pointed to him the falseness of the world, and bade him judge of the
fidelity of the picture by his own experience; and she taught him the
way of return to the paths of peace. And thus it was that the little
book which the wretched young man had selected--one would say so
accidentally, others, so Providentially,-proved the means of his return
from the paths of sin and folly to those of sobriety and usefulness. He
soon told his story to his attentive listener, and informed him of the
relationship he bore to the author of the book he had purchased. As he
concluded, he said, "Oh, my mother, why did I leave you to become the
hopeless being I am?" "Not hopeless," replied his companion in gentle
tones, "you have youth on your side and may yet be a useful and happy
man. I now understand the unaccountable interest which I felt in you
when meeting you on several occasions before I spoke to you, and I feel
that Providence directed me in the matter." The agent stayed two days
longer in the city, and then departed; the young man with him, for with
the promptitude of his nature, to resolve was to act. He directed his
course toward Virginia, the star of hope leading him on, and finally
approached his native village. No words are adequate to describe the
meeting between the lonely widow and her long lost, but now returning
and penitent son. When informed that his father had been for some years
dead, the shock to him was great, overpowering, but he uttered no
repining word. "I could not," said he, "expect the happiness of meeting
both my parents again after causing them so much sorrow, and let me be
humbly thankful that it is allowed me to cheer the declining years of my
aged mother." "I well remember," said Mrs. Knights, "the return of the
young man to his home, it was but a short time before I left Virginia,
but I have been informed by friends, still residing there, that he was
for several years the staff and support of his mother, of whom it might
be said, "her last days were her best days." After the death of his
mother, as he had no living tie to bind him to the spot, he removed to
another section of country, where he married and is now a useful and
respected member of society. "And now boys," said Mrs. Knights, "allow
me in conclusion to say to you all as one, as you value your own
well-being in time and eternity, be sure that you honour and obey your
parents, think of what the end of this young man might have been, and
shun his example. But I see that the hour for tea is near at hand; and
for a time I will leave you to amuse yourselves, while I assist in
preparing your tea; and if you have been interested in my story, I may
tell you another when you next pass a rainy afternoon at our house." We
all thanked the kind lady for the interesting story, and I for one very
much hoped that the next day we chanced to pass at Mrs. Knights' farm,
would prove to be rainy in the afternoon.



THE STUDENTS DREAM.


Arthur Wilton had been for several years a student; but he was one of
the plodding sort, who make but slow progress. The principal barrier to
his improvement arose from one defect in his character; and that was the
habit in which he constantly indulged, of deploring the past, without
making any very strong efforts toward amendment in the future. He was
one evening seated in his room; a ponderous volume lay open, on his
study-table; and for a time he vainly tried to fix his attention
thereon, till finally he closed the book; and leaning back in his chair,
his brows contracted, and the lines about his mouth grew tense, as if
his thoughts were anything but pleasing. As usual he was bemoaning his
misspent hours.

"Ah," said he, speaking in soliloquy, "they are gone never more to
return. The careless happy days of childhood, the sunny period of youth,
and the aspiring dreams of mature manhood. I once indulged in many
ambitious dreams of fame, and these dreams have never been realised.
Many with whom I set out on equal ground have outstripped me in the
race of life, and here am I alone. Many who were once my inferiors have
nearly overtaken me, and doubtless they too will soon pass me by. What I
very much prize is a true friend, and yet no friend approaches with a
word of sympathy or encouragement; would that some would counsel me, as
to how I may better my condition." Thus far had Arthur Wilton proceeded
in his soliloquy, when his eyelids were weighed down by drowsiness, and
he soon sank into a deep slumber. In his dream an aged man, with a most
mild and venerable countenance stood before him, who, addressing him by
name, said; "Thy heart is full of sorrow; but if you will listen to, and
profit by my words, your sorrow shall be turned into joy. You have been
grieving over the hours which have been run to waste, without pausing to
reflect, that while you have been occupied with these unavailing
regrets, another hour has glided away past your recall forever; and will
be added to your already lengthened list of opportunities misimproved.
You grieve that your name is not placed on the lists of fame. Cease from
thy fruitless longings. Discharge faithfully your present duties, and if
you merit fame it will certainly be awarded you. You also complain that
no friend is near you. Have you ever truly sought a friend, by the
unwearied exercise of those affections, and in the performance of those
numberless offices of kindness by which alone friendship is secured and
perpetuated?

    'All like the _purchase, few_ the _price_ will pay';

"And this makes friends such miracles below.

"Hast thou hoped for the society of the wise and good? Then with
diligence and untiring zeal you should seek to fit yourself for such
companionship. Have your early companions got before you in the race of
life; and yet you remain at ease, dreaming over the past. Awake, young
man, ere yet your day is done; and address yourself to your work with
renewed energy, look forward to your future instead of brooding over the
past, and be assured you will acquire wisdom, friends and every other
needful blessing." With these words the aged man disappeared and the
student awoke. His fire had gone out and his lamp burned but dimly. He
rose, replenished his fire, trimmed his lamp, and resumed his studies
with ardour. This dream was not lost upon Arthur Wilton. Instead of now
wasting his time in regrets for the past, he looked forward with a stead
purpose of improvement, and from that period no harder student was to be
found in the college; and he finally graduated with high honours. In
after years he often related this dream to those of his acquaintances
whom he thought in danger of falling into the same habit to which he
himself had been so prone in his youthful days.



UNCLE EPHRAIM.


For years, when a child, I used daily to pass the dwelling of Uncle
Ephraim, on my way to and from school. He was not my uncle; indeed he
bore no relationship whatever to me, but Uncle Ephraim was the familiar
appellation by which he was known by all the school-boys in the
vicinity. He was among the oldest residents in that section, and
although a very eccentric person, was much respected by all his
neighbours. How plainly do I yet remember him, after the lapse of so
many years. His tall figure, shoulders that slightly stooped, his florid
complexion, clear blue eyes, and hair bleached by the frosts of time to
snowy whiteness. The farm on which he resided had improved under the
hand of industry, till since my earliest recollection, it was in a state
of high cultivation. His dwelling was an old-fashioned structure, placed
a little back from the main road, and almost hidden from view by thick
trees. In an open space, a little to one side, was the draw-well with
its long pole and sweep; and I have often thought that I have never
since tasted such water as we used to draw from that well, at we used
often to linger for a few moments in Uncle Ephraim's yard on our return
from school during the hot summer afternoons. He must have been fond of
children; for he was a great favourite among the boys, and he often gave
us permission to gather fruit from the trees in the garden, provided we
broke none of his prescribed rules. But the unlucky urchin who
transgressed against a command, forfeited his good opinion from
henceforth; and durst no more be seen upon his premises. I happened to
be among the fortunate number who retained his approbation and good-will
during all our acquaintance.

It was from Uncle Ephraim I received the first money I could call my
own. In those days school-boys were not supplied very liberally with
pocket money, and when on one occasion I rendered him some slight
service, for which he bestowed upon me a piece of money, I felt myself
rich indeed, and the possession of as many hundreds now would fail to
afford me the same pleasure as did the few cents which made up the value
of the coin.

Like all others, he had his failings and weak points; but he had also
many very estimable traits of character. Among his failings very strong
prejudices were most noticeable, and if for any reason he became
prejudiced against one, he could never after see any good whatever in
them. He also possessed rather an unforgiving temper when injured by any
one. But on the other hand he was a friend to the poor; and seldom sent
the beggar empty-handed from his door. He also gave largely to the
support of the gospel, as well as to benevolent institutions. One very
noticeable and oftentimes laughable peculiarity was his proneness to
charge every thing that went wrong to the state of the weather. I think
it was more from a habit of speech than from any wish to be
unreasonable. I remember one day passing a field when he was trying to
catch a horse that, to all appearance had no idea of being captured. He
tried various methods of coaxing him into the halter, and several times
nearly succeeded, but just when he thought himself sure of him, the
animal would gallop off in another direction. Out of all patience, he at
length exclaimed. "What does possess that critter to act so to-day?"
then glancing at the sky, which at the time happened to be overcast by
dull murky clouds, he said; "It must be the weather." I chanced one day
to be present when Uncle Ephraim was busily occupied in making some
arithmetical calculations regarding his farm-products. The result not
proving satisfactory he handed his slate to a friend for inspection, and
it was soon discovered that he had made a very considerable error in his
calculation. When the error was pointed out to him, he looked up with a
perplexed countenance, saying; "It is the weather: nothing else would
have caused me to make such a blunder." His son happened to marry
against his wishes, so much so, that he had the ceremony performed
without his father's knowledge, who afterwards, making a virtue of
necessity, wisely made the best of the matter. On learning that his son
was actually married without his knowledge the only remark he made was
this: "What could have induced Ben to cut up such a caper as to go and
get married without my leave; it must have been the weather, nothing
else," and as if he had settled the question to his own satisfaction he
was never heard to allude to the matter again. Years passed away, till
one day the tidings reached us that Uncle Ephraim was dangerously ill.
He grew rapidly worse, and it was soon evident that his days on earth
would soon be numbered. I have a very distinct recollection of stealing
quietly in, to look upon him as he lay on his dying bed; of the tears I
shed when I gazed upon his fearfully changed features. He was even then
past speaking or recognizing one from another; and before another sun
rose he had passed from among the living. I obtained permission to go in
once more and look upon him as he lay shrouded for the grave. I was then
a child of ten years, but even at that early age I had not that morbid
terror of looking upon death, so common among children. With my own
hands, I folded back the napkin which covered his face, and gazed upon
his aged, but now serene countenance. There was nothing in his
appearance to inspire terror, and for a moment I placed my hand on his
cold brow. He had ever been very kind to me, and I regarded him with
much affection, and the tears coursed freely down my cheeks when I
looked my last upon his familiar countenance now lifeless and sealed in
death. I have forgotten his exact age, but I know it exceeded seventy
years. It so happened that I did not attend his funeral; but he was
followed to the grave by a large number of friends and neighbours, many
of whom still live to cherish his memory.



[1]STORY OF A LOG CABIN.


It was a dreary day in autumn. Like the fate which attends us all, the
foliage had assumed the paleness of death; and the winds, cold and damp,
were sighing among the branches of the trees, and causing every other
feeling rather than that of comfort. Four others and myself had been out
hunting during the day, and we returned at nightfall tired and hungry to
our camp. The shades of night were fast gathering around us; but being
protected by our camp with a blazing fire in front, we soon succeeded in
cooking some of the game we had shot during the day; and as we ate, the
old hunters who were my companions grew garrulous, and in turn related
their numerous adventures. "You have lived in Dayton for some time,"
said an old hunter, addressing one of his companions. "Have you ever
seen during your rambles the remains of a log cabin about two miles down
the Miami Canal? I recollect it well, but there is a mystery attached to
those ruins which no one living can solve. The oldest settlers found
that cabin there; and it _then_ appeared in such a dilapidated state as
to justify the belief that it had been built many years previous." "Do
you know anything about it?" I eagerly asked. "I know all about it,"
replied the old hunter; "for I assisted in building it, and occupied it
for several years, during the trapping season. That cabin," he
continued, as a shade passed over his features, "has been the scene of
carnage and bloodshed. But why wake up old feelings--let them sleep, let
them sleep;" and the veteran drew his brawny hand over his eyes. All the
curiosity of my nature was roused; and the old men seated by his side
gazed upon him enquiringly, and put themselves in a listening attitude.
The speaker observing this, sat silent for a few moments, as if
collecting his thoughts; and then related the following tale:

"There has come a mighty change over the face of this country since the
time when I first emigrated here. The spot where now stand your
prettiest towns and villages, was then a howling wilderness. Instead of
the tinkling of the cow-bells and the merry whistle of the farmer-boy as
he calls his herd to the fold, might be heard the wild cry of the
panther, the howl of the wolf; and the equally appalling yell of the
aborigines. These were "times to try men's souls;" and it was then the
heart of oak and the sinews of iron which commanded respect. Let me
describe to you some scenes in which such men were the actors; scenes
which called forth all the energy of man's nature; and in the depths of
this western wilderness, many hundreds of Alexanders and Cæsars, who
have never been heard of. At the time I emigrated to Ohio the deadly
hatred of the red men toward the whites had reached its acme. The rifle,
the tomahawk and the scalping knife were daily at work; and men, women
and children daily fell victims to this sanguinary spirit. In this state
I found things when I reached the small village opposite the month of
Licking river, and now the great city of Cincinnati. Here in this great
temple of nature man has taken up his abode, and all that he could wish
responds to his touch. The fields and meadows yield their produce, and
unmolested by the red man whom he had usurped, he enjoys the bounties of
a beneficent Creator. And where is the red man? Where is he! Like wax
before the flame he has melted away from before the white man, leaving
him no legacy save that courageous daring which will live in song long
after their last remnant shall have passed away. At the time when I
first stepped upon these grounds the red man still grasped the sceptre
which has since been wrenched from his hand. They saw the throne of
their fathers beginning to totter. Their realm had attracted the
cupidity of a race of strangers, and with maddening despair, they
grasped their falling power; and daily grew more desperate as they
became more endangered. I among the rest had now a view of this
exuberant west, this great valley of the Hesperides; and I determined to
assist in extirpating the red man, and to usurp the land of his fathers.
Among the men who were at the village, I found one who for magnanimity
and undaunted courage merits a wreath which should hang high in the
temple of fame, and yet like hundreds of others, he has passed away
unhonored, unsung. His name was Ralph Watts, a sturdy Virginian, with a
heart surpassing all which has been said of Virginia's sons, in those
qualities, which ennoble the man; and possessing a courage indomitable,
and a frame calculated in every way to fulfil whatever his daring spirit
suggested. Such was Ralph Watts. I had only been in the town a few days,
when Ralph and I contracted an intimacy which ended only with his death.
I was passing the small inn of the town, when a tall man, with a hunting
shirt and leggins on stepped out and laying his hand on my shoulder
said: "Stranger, they say you have just come among us, and that you are
poor; come along. I have got just five dollars, no man shall ever say
that Ralph Watts passed a moneyless man, without sharing with him the
contents of his pocket--come along." Ralph and I soon became inseparable
friends. His joys as well as his sorrows were mine; in a word, we shared
each others sympathies; and this leads me to the scene of the log
cabin. We often hunted together, and while on our last expedition, took
an oath of friendship which should end only with death--and how soon was
it to end. We left the infant Cincinnati one summer morning at the
rising of the sun, and with our guns on our shoulders, and our pouches
well supplied with ammunition, we struck into the deep wilderness,
trusting to our own stout hearts, and woodscraft for our food and
safety. We journeyed merrily along, whiling away the hours in recounting
to each other those trivial incidents of our lives which might be
interesting, or in singing snatches of song and listening to its solemn
echo as it reverberated among the tall trees of the forest. Towards
evening we reached our first camping ground--a spot near where the town
of Sharon now stands. Here we pitched our tent, built our fire, cooked
our suppers, and prepared to pass away the evening as comfortably as two
hunters possibly could. All at once the deep stillness which reigned
around us was broken by a low cry similar to that of a panther. We both
ceased speaking and listened attentively, when the cry was repeated
still nearer, as if the arrival was rapidly advancing upon us; and thus
the cry was repeated, again and again, till its shrillness seemed not
more than a hundred yards distant, when the voice changed to that of a
yell, whose tones were so familiar to the ear of my companion as to
exert quite a visible effect upon his actions. We both sprang to our
feet and seizing our guns, stood ready to fire at a moment's warning,
"Halloo!" cried a deep voice, just outside our camp, but instead of
answering it we nerved ourselves for a desperate encounter, feeling
assured that several Indians were lurking outside our tent. "Halloo!
white brudder, come out," cried the same voice in broken English. We
consulted for a moment and finally decided to trust, for once, to Indian
faith. Ralph first stepped forth and demanded in no very amiable voice;
"what was wanting." "Come out white brudder," was the answer. After
assuring ourselves that there was but one person near we walked forward
and found a large Indian sitting by the fire, both hands spread before
the flame to protect his eyes from the light, that his keen gaze might
rest unmolested upon us. As soon as he saw us a writhing grin spread
over his painted features, and rising he offered us each his hand in a
very friendly manner. The Indian drew from his belt a large pipe,
gaudily painted, and from which depended a profusion of wampum, beads,
and eagles' feathers. He lighted the pipe, and after taking a whiff,
passed it to Ralph, who following his example passed it to me. After
taking a puff I handed it to the Indian, who replaced it in his belt.
This very important ceremony being finished, the Indian made known his
business. After bestowing a thousand anathemas upon his red brethren, he
informed us that he had left the red man forever, and was willing to
join his white brothers, and to wage an exterminating warfare against
his own kindred. We strove to extort from him the cause of this
ebullition of passion, but he only shook his head in reply to our
questions, and uttered a guttural "ough," We at first suspected him of
some treacherous plot; but there was such an air of candor and
earnestness in the communication he now made, that we threw aside all
suspicion and confided in him. He stated that there was a large party of
Indians in our rear, who had been tracking us for several hours; and
that it was their intention early in the morning to surround us, and
take us prisoners for victims at the stake, "but," said he, "if my white
brudder will follow his red brudder he will lead him safe." We instantly
signified our willingness to trust ourselves to his guidance, and
shouldering our blankets and guns, we left our camp, and followed our
guide due north at a rapid gait. For several miles we strode through the
thick woods, every moment scratching our faces and tearing our clothing,
with the thick tangled brush through which we had to pass, but
considering this of minor importance we hurried on in silence, save when
we intruded too near the nest of the nocturnal king of the forest, when
a wild hoot made us start and involuntarily grasp our rifles. "Sit on
this log and eat," said our red guide. Finding our appetites sharpened
by vigorous exercise, we sat on the log and commenced our repast, when
our guide suddenly sprang from his seat, and with a hideous yell bolted
into the forest and was soon lost to our sight. This conduct instantly
roused our fear; and with one accord we sprang to our feet. We gazed
around. Turn which way we would, the grim visage of a painted warrior
met our terrified gaze, with his tomahawk in one hand, and his rifle in
the other. "Perfidious villain," exclaimed Ralph, "and this is an
Indian's faith." An Indian of gigantic size, dressed in all the gaudy
trappings of a chief, now strode, towards us. Ralph raised his gun, and
closed his eye as the sight of the weapon sought the warrior's breast.
"Don't shoot, and you will be treated friendly," cried the savage in
good English. "So long as I live," said Ralph, "I'll never put faith
again in an Indian's word." The gun went off, and the savage, with an
unearthly cry, bounded high in the air, and fell upon his face a corpse.
A scream as if ten thousand furies had been suddenly turned loose upon
the earth, rang around us; and ere we could start ten steps on our
flight, we were seized by our savage foes, and like the light barque
when, borne on the surface of the angry waves, were we borne equally
endangered upon the shoulders of these maddened men. We were thrown upon
the earth, our hands and feet were bound till the cords were almost
hidden in the flesh; and then with the fury of madmen they commenced
beating us with clubs, when another chief, who appeared to be of higher
standing than the one who had just lost his life, rushed into the
crowd, hurling the excited warriors to the right and left in his
progress, and mounting upon a log he harangued them for a few moments
with a loud voice. They at once desisted, perhaps reconciled by the
prospect of soon seeing us burnt at the stake. We were carried to their
encampment, where we were still left bound, with two sentinels stationed
to guard us. In this painful state we remained all day, when towards
evening another company of warriors arrived, and then vigorous
preparations were made for burning us. A stake was planted in the
ground, and painted a variety of fantastic colors; the brush was piled
around it at a proper distance; and every other necessary arrangement
made; while we sat looking on, subject to the continual epithets of an
old squaw, whose most consoling remarks were: "How will white man like
to eat fire," and then she would break out into a screeching laugh,
which sounded perfectly hideous. A cold chill pervaded my frame as I
gazed upon these ominous signs of death; but how often is our misery but
the prelude of joy. At the moment that these horrid preparations were
finished, a bright flash of lightning shattered a tall hickory, nearby;
and then the earth was deluged with rain. The Indians sought the
shelter, but left us beneath the fury of the storm, where we remained
for several hours; but seeing that it increased rather than diminished,
they forced us into a small log hut and leaving a man to guard us,
bolted the door firmly and left us for the night. What were our
reflections when left alone? Your imagination must supply an answer. But
we did not entirely gave way to despondency. We were young and robust,
and our spirits were not easily subdued. Instead of becoming
disheartened our approaching fate emboldened us, and by looks, whose
expression made known our minds to each other, we resolved to effect our
escape or be slain in striving for it. Anything was preferable to the
fiery torture which awaited us. Our guard proved just the man we wanted,
for, having during the evening indulged rather freely in drinking
whiskey, he soon sank into a profound slumber. Long and anxiously had we
watched the man, and now our wishes were consummated. I contrived with
much exertion to draw my knife from my pocket, and commenced sawing at
the tough thong which confined my wrist. My heart beat high with joy,
and already we felt that we were free, when the guard sneezed, opened
his eyes, rolled them round the room, and discovered that he had been
asleep. I slipped the knife into my pocket without his notice, and he
discovered nothing to rouse his suspicions, although he regarded us
closely for a long time. He finally sat down, lit his pipe and commenced
smoking. After puffing away for half an hour, which seemed to drag by
with the tediousness of a week, he laid his tomahawk (which contains
the pipe) by his side, and after nodding for some time he again
stretched himself upon the rough floor, and soon his deep snoring fell
upon our ears. O! what music was that sound to us. I again drew the
knife from my pocket, and with desperation freed my hands, and in one
minute more Ralph stood like myself a free man. With the stealthy tread
of a cat we reached the door, softly slid back the bolt, and once more
we stood in the open air. The rain had ceased, the clouds had swept by,
and the full moon pale and high in the heavens threw her light upon the
tree tops, bathing them in liquid silver. Silently but rapidly we
bounded through the forest, our fears of pursuit urging us onward; and
by daylight were within twelve miles of the log cabin whose history I am
telling. At that time there dwelt in that cabin, with his family, a
trapper by the name of Daniel Roe. When we reached there we found Roe at
home, to whom we recounted our adventure. He only laughed at our fears
that the Indians might track us thus far, and we finally listened to his
laughing remarks and concluded to rest in his cabin for several days. We
heaped folly upon folly; for instead of putting the house in a state of
defence, and preserving as much silence as possible we commenced trying
our skill by shooting at a mark. We continued this exercise through the
afternoon, partook of a hearty supper, chatted till bed-time, and then
retired. Ralph soon fell sound asleep, but I could not; I felt a
presentiment of approaching danger; still there were no visible signs of
it, yet I could not shake off a peculiar nervousness which agitated me.
I lay still for some time listening to the deep and regular breathing of
Ralph, and ever and anon as an owl screamed I would start, despite the
familiarity of the cry. Just as I turned in my bed, and was trying to
compose myself for sleep, I heard a cry very similar to the hoot of an
owl; still there was something about the sound which did not sound
right. My heart commenced beating rapidly and a sweat started from my
brow. I rose softly and looked through the chinks of the logs, but there
was nothing to be seen. I listened attentively for at least an hour; but
heard no sound to confirm my fears; and finally ashamed of my own
nervousness, I could not call it _cowardice_, I slipped into bed,
determined to sleep if possible. But soon I heard that same sound on the
still air. I rose, dressed myself, but still I could see no form like
that of an Indian. Just as I was on the point of abandoning my fears as
idle and childish, I cast my eyes through an aperture between the logs;
and saw the dusky forms of several Indians moving about the yard. I
sprang to the bedside and awoke Ralph, and in a few moments more, Roe,
Ralph and myself, stood with ready guns, waiting for a chance to shoot.
A shot passing through one of the savages, told the rest they were
discovered; and now a regular firing began. The Indians simultaneously
uttered a fiendish shout, such as no person can imagine who has not
heard the Indian war-scream; and then brandishing their tomahawks rushed
upon the house and began hewing at the door. In a moment we were all
down stairs, and our fire became so fatal they were forced to retire
several times; but with desperate courage they returned to the attack. I
never experienced the feeling of utter despair but once in my life; and
that was then. Roe came running down stairs (whither he had gone for
more ammunition) and with a face white from terror, informed us that the
ammunition was expended. Here we were, surrounded by a host of savages,
fastened in a small house, with nothing to defend ourselves, and the
helpless women and children under the roof. "Let us open the door, and
decide the contest hand to hand," said Ralph Watts. 'O! my family, my
wife and children,' groaned Daniel Roe, 'let us defend the house to the
last.' And with nerves strung like iron, and hearts swelled to
desperation, we waited in silence for the savages to hew their way
through the door. The work was soon over, the savages uttered one
deafening yell as the door gave way; and clubbing our guns we wielded
them with giant energy. The dark forms of the savages crowded the
door-way, their eyes glared madly at us, and their painted features
working into a hundred malignant and fiendish expressions, which,
together with their horrid yells, and the more heart-rending cries of
women and children, all formed a scene of the most harrowing
description. The battle was soon over. By some mishap I was hurled head
foremost out of the door; but so intent were the savages upon the battle
within, that they did not once notice me, as they rushed forward to the
scene of action. Seeing that all was lost, and that to remain would only
be throwing away my life uselessly, I sprang to my feet and slipping
around the corner of the house I made my way over the old
fortification[2] and soon left the noise far behind me. Much has been
written and said of grief, but how little do we know of its poignant
nature, till we suffer the loss of some dear friend. 'Tis when we behold
an object of deep affection lying passive and dead--but a thing of clay
unconscious of the pain it gives, that we feel _that_ sorrow, which
language is too feeble to express. I found it so, when upon returning to
the cabin a few hours afterward, I found the dead bodies of all my
friends mutilated and weltering in their blood. Around the body of poor
Ralph lay six Indians, with their skulls beat in; his gun furnishing
evidence, by its mutilated state, of the force with which he had used
it. My story is soon finished. As the tears streamed from my eyes, I
dug a grave where I deposited the remains of my friends, and after
placing a large stone above their resting-place, I departed, wishing
never to return to the spot again, and I never have."

FOOTNOTES:

[1] I lately came across this sketch in an old Magazine, bearing the
date of 1842, and thinking others might be as much interested by it as I
was myself, I transcribed it in an abridged form to the pages of this
volume.

[2] Near the spot where the cabin stands are the remains of immense
works, but by whom and when built will forever remain hidden.



HAZEL-BROOK FARM.


Robert Ainslie, with his family, emigrated from Scotland about the year
of 1843, and settled upon a new farm in the backwoods, in the township
of R. in Eastern Canada. I can say but little regarding his early life,
but have been informed that he was the eldest of quite a large family of
sons and daughters; and also that he was a dutiful son as well as a kind
and affectionate brother. It seems that he married quite early in life,
and at that period he tended a small farm adjoining the one occupied by
his father. The utmost harmony existed between the two families, and
they lived in the daily interchange of those little offices of love and
kindness which render friends so dear to each other. Several years
glided by in this happy manner, but reverses at length came; and Robert
formed the plan of emigrating to America. But when he saw how much his
parents were grieved by the thought of his seeking a home on the other
side of the Atlantic, he forbore to talk further of the matter, and
decided to remain at home for another year at least. That year however
proved a very unfortunate one; his crops were scanty; and toward the
spring he met with some severe losses, by a distemper which broke out
among his farm stock. As the season advanced, he became so disheartened
by his gloomy prospects, that he decided to carry out his former plan of
emigrating to Canada; where he hoped by persevering industry to secure a
comfortable home for himself, and those dear to him. He had little
difficulty in persuading his wife to accompany him, as her parents, with
her two brothers and one sister, had emigrated some two years previous.
It was more difficult however for him to persuade his father and mother
that his decision was a wise one. "If ye maun leave us," said his
mother, "can ye no seek anither hame nearer han' an' no gang awa across
the water to yon' wild place they ca' Canada?" "We maun try to be
reasonable, woman," said his father, "but I canna deny that the thought
o' our first born son gaun sae far awa gie's me a sair heart." It was
equally hard for the son to bid farewell to the land of his birth, and
of a thousand endearing ties; but prudence whispered that now was his
time to go, while he had youth and health, to meet the hardships that
often fall to the lot of the emigrant. When his parents saw how much his
mind was set upon it they ceased to oppose his wishes, and with his wife
and children, he soon joined the large numbers who, at that period, were
leaving the British, for the Canadian shores.

As may be readily supposed, the parting between the two families was a
very sad one; but the last adieus were finally exchanged, and the poor
emigrants were borne away on the billows of the Atlantic. During the
first few days of their voyage they all, with the exception of their
youngest child, suffered much from sea-sickness. This child was a little
girl about three years old; and it seemed singular to them, that she
should escape the sickness, from which nearly all the passengers
suffered, more or less. They soon recovered; the weather was fine, and
many of their fellow passengers were very agreeable companions, and they
began really to enjoy the voyage. But this happy state of things was but
of short duration. Their little girl, wee Susie, as they called her, was
seized with illness. They felt but little anxiety at the first, thinking
it but as light indisposition from which she would soon recover; but
when day after day passed away with no visible change for the better
they became alarmed, and summoned the physician, who pronounced her
disease a kind of slow fever, which he said often attacked those who
escaped the sea-sickness. He told the anxious parents not to be alarmed,
as he hoped soon to succeed in checking the disease. But with all the
physician's skill, aided by the unceasing attention of her fond parents,
the sad truth that wee Susie was to die soon became evident. When the
sorrowing parents became sensible that their child must die, they
prayed earnestly that her life might be prolonged till they should
reach the land. But for some wise reason their prayer was not granted;
and when their voyage was but little more than half accomplished she
died, and they were forced to consign her loved form to a watery grave.
The lovely prattling child had been a general favourite with all on
board, and her sudden death cast a gloom over the minds of all. Words
would fail me to describe the grief of the parents and the two
affectionate little brothers when they realised that "wee Susie" was
indeed gone, and that they could never enjoy even the melancholy
satisfaction of beholding her resting-place. Mr. Ainslie's domestic
affections were very strong, and to him the blow was terrible. He now
deeply regretted removing his family from their Scottish home,
entertaining the idea, that had they not undertaken this journey their
child might have been spared; and he wrote bitter things against himself
for the step he had taken. Deep as was the mother's grief, she was
forced to place a restraint upon it that she might comfort her almost
heart broken husband. Upon one occasion, in reply to some of his self
upbraidings, she said, "I think, Robert, you're owre hard on yoursel'
now, when ye tak the blame o' puir Susie's death; ye surely canna think
itherwise than the dear bairn's time had come; an' had we bided at hame
it would ha' been a' the same; for we dinna leeve an' dee by chance, and
the bounds o' our lives are set by Him who kens a' things." These
consoling words from his sympathising wife tended to lighten, in some
measure, the burden of sorrow which oppressed his heart. The weather
during the latter part of their voyage was stormy and uncomfortable, and
they were truly glad when they at length reached the Canadian port. At
the city of Montreal they parted with all those who had been their
fellow passengers, as all except themselves were bound for the Upper
Province, while they intended joining their friends in Lower Canada.

In the days of which I am speaking the emigrants' journey from the city
of Montreal to the townships was toilsome in the extreme; and the same
journey, which is now accomplished in a few hours by railway, was then
the work of several days; and the only mode of conveyance for themselves
and their luggage, were the horse-carts hired for the occasion. But
their fatiguing journey was at length terminated; and they arrived
safely at the bush settlement in R., where the friends of Mrs. Ainslie
resided. That now thriving and prosperous settlement was then in its
infancy, and possessed but few external attractions to the newcomer; for
at the period when Mrs. Ainslie's parents settled there it was an
unbroken wilderness. It is needless for me to add that the wayworn
travellers met with a joyous welcome from the friends who had been long
anxiously looking for their arrival. Mr. and Mrs. Miller were overjoyed
to meet again their daughter, from whom they had been so long separated
by the deep roll of the ocean; and almost their first enquiry was for
the "wee lassie," who when they left Scotland was less than a twelve
month old. Mr. Ainslie was unable to reply, and looked toward his wife
as if beseeching her to answer to their enquiry. She understood the mute
appeal, and composing herself by a strong effort said: "My dear father
an' mither, a great grief has o'erta'en us sin' we left hame', an' our
hearts are wellnigh broken; we buried wee Susie in the caul waters o'
the ocean." She endeavoured to relate to them the particulars of the
child's death; but her feelings overcame her, and for some moments they
could only weep together. When Mr. Miller was able to command his voice
he said, "God is good, my children, an' overrules a' things for our
good, let us bow before him in prayer;" and when they rose from their
knees, they felt calmed and comforted, by the soothing influence of
prayer. With the two boys, Geordie and Willie, fatigue soon got the
better of their joy at meeting with their friends, and they were soon
enjoying the sound sleep of healthful childhood; but with the elder
members of the family, so much was there to hear and to tell that the
hour was very late when they separated to seek repose. Mr. Ainslie
decided upon purchasing a lot of land, lying some two miles north of the
farm occupied by Mr. Miller. Although it was covered with a dense
forest, its location pleased him, and the soil was excellent, and he
looked forward to the time when he might there provide a pleasant home.
They arrived at R. on the first of July. There were beside Mr. Miller
but three other families in the settlement; but they were all very kind
to the newly arrived strangers, and they assisted Mr. Ainslie in various
ways while he effected a small clearing upon his newly purchased farm.
They also lent him a willing hand in the erection of a small log house,
to which he removed his family in the fall; Mrs. Ainslie and the
children having remained with her parents during the summer; and kind as
their friends had been, they were truly glad when they found themselves
again settled in a home of their own, however humble. They were people
of devoted piety, and they did not neglect to erect the family altar the
first night they rested beneath the lowly roof of their forest home. I
could not, were I desirous of so doing, give a detailed account of the
trials and hardships they endured during the first few years of their
residence in the bush; but they doubtless experienced their share of the
privations and discouragements which fall to the lot of the first
settlers of a new section of country. The first winter they passed in
their new home was one of unusual severity for even the rigorous climate
of Eastern Canada, and poor Mrs. Ainslie often during that winter
regretted the willingness with which she bade adieu to her early home,
to take up her abode in the dreary wilderness. They found the winter
season very trying indeed, living as they did two miles from any
neighbour; and the only road to the dwelling of a neighbour was a
foot-track through the blazed trees, and the road such as it was, was
too seldom trodden during the deep snows of winter, to render the
footmarks discernible for any length of time. Their stores had all to be
purchased at the nearest village, which was distant some seven miles,
and Mr. Ainslie often found it very difficult to make his way through
the deep snows which blocked up the roads, and to endure the biting
frost and piercing winds on his journeys to and from the village. In
after years when they had learned to feel a deep interest in the growth
of the settlement, they often looked back with a smile to the
"homesickness" which oppressed their hearts, while struggling with the
first hardships of life in the bush. Mr. Ainslie and his family,
notwithstanding their many privations, enjoyed uninterrupted health
through the winter, and before the arrival of spring they already felt a
growing interest in their new home. Mrs. Ainslie regarded the labours of
the workmen with much attention during the winter, while they felled the
trees which had covered nearly ten acres of their farm. As each tree
fell to the ground it opened a wider space in the forest and afforded a
broader view of the blue sky. A stream of water, which in many places
would have been termed a river, but which there only bore the name of
Hazel-Brook, flowed near their dwelling, and as the spring advanced, the
belt of forest which concealed it from view having been felled, she
gained a view of its sparkling waters when the warm showers and genial
rays of the sun loosened them from their icy fetters; and she often
afterward remarked that the view of those clear waters was the first
thing which tended to reconcile her to a home in the forest. With the
coming of spring their "life in the woods," began in earnest. When the
earth was relieved of its snowy mantle, the fallen trunks of the trees,
with piles of brush-wood were scattered in every direction about their
dwelling. But the fallow was burned as soon as it was considered
sufficiently dry, the blackened logs were piled in heaps, and the ground
was prepared for its first crop of grain. The green blades soon sprang
up and covered the ground, where a short time before was only to be seen
the unsightly fallow or the remains of the partially consumed logs.

It was a long time before Mr. and Mrs. Ainslie became reconciled to the
change in their circumstances, when they exchanged the comforts and
conveniences of their home beyond the sea, for the log cabin in the
wilderness. Cut off as they were from the privileges of society to which
they had been accustomed from childhood, they felt keenly the want of a
place of worship, with each returning Sabbath; and next to this, the
want of a school for their two boys; for taken as a people the Scotch
are intelligent; and we rarely meet with a Scotchman, even among the
poorer classes, who has not obtained a tolerable education. And the
careful parents felt much anxiety when they beheld their children
debarred from the advantages of education; but to remedy the want as
much as lay in their power, they devoted the greater part of what little
leisure time they could command to the instruction of their boys. They
had been regular attendants at their own parish church in the old
country; and very sensibly they felt the want, as Sabbath after Sabbath,
passed away, with no service to mark it from other days. "It just
seems," said Mr. Ainslie, "that sin' we cam' to America we ha'e nae
Sabbath ava." In order to meet the want in some measure, he proposed to
the few neighbours which there formed the settlement, that they should
assemble at one house, on each Sabbath afternoon, and listen to the
reading of a sermon by some one present. "I think it our duty," said he,
"to show our respect to the Sabbath-day by assembling ourselves
together, and uniting in worship to the best, o' our ability. I ha'e
among my books a collection o' sermons by different divines, an' I am
verra willin' to tak' my turn in the readin' o' ane, an' I'm sure you
should a' be agreeable to do the same." His proposal met with the hearty
approval of all his neighbours, and for some years each Sabbath
afternoon saw most of the neighbours collected together for the best
mode of worship within their reach. The bush settlements at this period
were much infected by bears, and they often proved very destructive to
the crop of the early settler, and also a cause of no little fear. I
believe the instances have been rare when a bear has been known to
attack a person, although it has happened in some cases; but the
immigrant has so often listened to exaggerated accounts regarding the
wild animals of America, that those who settle in a new section of
country find it difficult to get rid of their fears. On one occasion
when the Sabbath meeting met at Mr. Ainslie's house, Mrs. Ainslie urged
her mother to remain and partake of some refreshment before setting out
on her walk homeward. "Na, na'" replied the old lady, "I maun e'en gang
while I ha'e company, I dinna expec' to leeve muckle longer at ony rate,
but wouldna' like to be eaten by the bears;" and for several years the
one who ventured alone to the house of a neighbour after dark was looked
upon as possessing more courage than prudence. But although the settlers
often came across these animals, on the bush-road, I never heard of one
being attacked by them. An old man upon one occasion returning in the
evening from the house of a friends, and carrying in his hand a
torchlight composed of bark from the cedar tree, suddenly met a large
bear in the thick woods. Being asked if he was not frightened, he
replied, "Deed I think the bear was 'maist frightened o' the twa', for
he just stood up on his twa hind legs, and glowered at me for a wee
while till I waved the torch light toward him, when he gi' an awfu'
snort, and ran into the woods as fast's ever he was able, an' I cam awa'
hame no a bit the war, an' I think I'll never be sae' muckle feared
about bears again." But these early settlers certainly found these
animals very troublesome from their frequent depredations upon their
fields of grain, and they often spent a large portion of the night
watching for them, prepared to give them battle, but it was not often
they saw one on these occasions, for these animals are very cunning, and
seem at once to know when they are watched. It sometimes also happened
that during the early period of this settlement people lost their way in
the bush while going from one house to another. A woman once set out to
go to the house of a neighbour who lived about a mile distant. Supposing
herself on the right path she walked onward, till thinking the way
rather long she stopped and gazed earnestly around her, and became
terrified as she noticed that the trees and rocks, and every other
surrounding object had a strange unfamiliar look; and she knew at once
that she had taken a wrong path.

Becoming much alarmed she endeavoured to retrace her steps, but after
walking a long time would often return to the spot from which she set
out. She left home about ten o'clock in the forenoon, and her friends,
alarmed at her long stay, called together some of their neighbours and
set out to look for her, knowing that she must have lost her way in the
forest. They continued their search through the afternoon, sounding
horns, hallooing, and calling her name, as they hurried through the
tangled underbrush, and other obstructions, and at sunset they returned
to procure torches with which to continue their search through the
night; her friends were almost beside themselves with terror, and all
the stories they had heard or read of people being devoured by wild
animals rushed across their minds. But just when they had collected
nearly every settler in the vicinity, and were preparing their torches
to continue the search, the woman arrived safely at home, with no
further injury than being thoroughly frightened, and very much fatigued.
She stated that she had walked constantly, from the time when she became
aware she was lost, and that she was so much bewildered that she at the
first did not know their own clearing, till some familiar object
attracted her attention. As the neighbours were going to their homes,
after the woman's return, they were, naturally enough, talking of the
matter, regarding it as a cause of deep thankfulness that no harm had
befallen her. Mr. G., one of the number, although a very kind hearted
man, had an odd dry manner of speaking which often provoked a laugh. It
so happened that the woman who was lost was very small, her stature
being much below the medium height. Laughter was far enough from the
mind of any one, till old Mr. G., who had not before made a remark,
suddenly said, "sic a wee body as you should never attemp' to gang awa'
her lane through the bush without a bell hanged aboot her neck to let
people ken where to find her in case she should gang off the richt
road." This was too much for the gravity of any one; and the stillness
of the summer night was broken by a burst of hearty laughter from the
whole company; and the old man made the matter little better, when the
laugh had subsided, by saying in a very grave manner, "well, after a' I
think it would be a verra wise-like precaution wi' sic a wee bit body as
her." Time passed on; other settlers located themselves in the vicinity,
and the settlement soon began to wear a prosperous appearance. As soon
as circumstances allowed, a school-house was erected, which, if rude to
structure, answered the purpose very well. For some time the school was
only kept open during the summer and autumn, as the long distance and
deep snows forbade the attendance of young children during the winter
season. They had as yet no public worship, except the Sabbath meetings
before mentioned, which were now held in the schoolhouse for the
greater convenience of the settlers. Mr. Ainslie was a man of much
industry; and although his home was for some years two miles from any
neighbour, it soon wore a pleasing appearance. The most pleasing feature
in the scene was the beautiful stream of water which ran near his
dwelling, and after which he named his farm. In five years from the time
when he first settled in the bush, he exchanged his rude log house for a
comfortable and convenient framed dwelling, with a well-kept garden in
front, and near his house were left standing some fine shade-trees which
added much to the beauty of the place. In process of time, the excellent
quality of the soil in that range of lots attracted others to locate
themselves in the vicinity; and Hazel-Brook farm soon formed the centre
of a fast growing neighbourhood. Two sons and another daughter had been
added to Mr. Ainslie's family during this time; and the birth of the
little girl was an occasion of much joy to all the family. They had
never forgotten "wee Susie," and all the love which they bore to her
memory was lavished upon this second daughter in the family. The elder
brothers were anxious to bestow the name of their lost favourite, upon
their infant sister, but the parents objected, having rather a dislike
to the practice, so common, of bestowing upon a child a name that had
belonged to the dead; and so the little girl was named Jennette, after
her grandmother, Mrs. Miller. About this time old Mr. Miller died. He
was an old man, "full of days," having seen nearly eighty years of life.
He had ever been a man of strong constitution and robust health, and his
last illness was very short; and from the first he was confident that he
should never recover. When he first addressed his family upon the
subject they were overwhelmed with grief. "Dinna greet for me," said he
in a calm and hopeful voice, "I ha'e already leeved ayont the period
allotted to the life o' man; I ha'e striven in my ain imperfect way to
do my duty in this life, an' I am thankfu' that I am able to say that I
dinna fear death; and I feel that when I dee I shall gang hame to the
house o' a mercifu' Father." So peaceful was his departure, that
although surrounded by his mourning friends, they were unable to tell
the exact moment of his death, like a wearied child that sleeps, he
quietly passed away. They had no burial ground in the settlement, and he
was laid to rest several miles from his home. His family, with the
exception of one son, had all married and removed to homes of their own
some time previous to his death; and to this son was assigned the happy
task of watching over the declining years of his widowed mother. Mr.
Miller, as a dying injunction, charged this son never to neglect his
mother in her old age, and most sacredly did he observe the dying wishes
of his father. Mrs. Miller was also of advanced age. For three years
longer she lingered, and was then laid to rest beside her departed
husband.

Twenty years have passed away since we introduced Robert Ainsley with
his family to the reader. Let us pay a parting visit to Hazel-Brook farm
and note the changes which these twenty years have effected. The forest
has melted away before the hand of steady industry, and we pass by
cultivated fields on our way to the farm of Mr. Ainslie. The clearings
have extended till very few trees obstruct our view as we gaze over the
farms of the numerous settlers, which are now separated by fences
instead of forest trees. But the loveliest spot of all is Hazel-Brook
farm. The farm-house of Robert Ainslie, enlarged and remodelled
according to his increased means, is painted a pure white, and very
pleasant it looks to the eye, through the branches of the shade-trees
which nearly surround it. The clear waters of Hazel-Brook are as bright
and sparkling as ever. The banks near the dwelling are still fringed
with trees and various kinds of shrubs; but farther up the stream all
obstructions have been cleared away, and the sound of a saw-mill falls
upon the ear. Let us enter the dwelling. Mr. and Mrs. Ainslie, although
now no longer young, evince by their cheerful countenance that they yet
retain both mental and bodily vigor. As yet their children all remain at
home, as the boys find ample employment upon the farm, and at the mill;
while Jennette assists her mother in the labours of the household. For
many years the setting sun has rested upon the gleaming spire of the
neat and substantial church erected by the settlers; and now upon the
Sabbath day, instead of listening to a sermon read by a neighbour, they
listen to the regular preaching of the gospel, and each one according to
his means contributes to the support of their minister. It was Mr.
Ainslie who first incited the settlers to exert themselves in the
erection of a suitable place for worship. Some of his neighbours at the
first were not inclined to favour the idea, thinking the neighbourhood
too poor for the undertaking. But he did not suffer himself to become
discouraged, and after considerable delay the frame of the building was
erected. When the building was once begun, they all seemed to work with
a will, and to the utmost of their ability. Those who were unable to
give money brought contributions of lumber, boards, shingles, &c.,
besides giving their own labour freely to the work; and in a short time
the work had so far advanced that they were able to occupy the building
as a place of worship, although in an unfinished state. But the
contributions were continued year after year, till at length they were
privileged to worship in a church which they could call their own. Mr.
Ainslie was a man of talents and education, superior to most of the
early settlers in that section, and it was his counsel, administered in
a spirit of friendship and brotherly kindness, which worked many
improvements and effected many changes for the better as the years
rolled by. As we turn away with a parting glance at the pleasing scene,
we cannot help mentally saying,--surely the residents in this vicinity
owe much to Robert Ainslie for the interest he has ever taken in the
prosperity and improvements of the place, and long may both he and they
live to enjoy the fruit of their united labours.



OLD RUFUS.


The memory of Old Rufus is so closely connected with the days of my
childhood that I cannot refrain from indulging in a few recollections of
him. The name of Old Rufus was not applied to him from any want of
respect; but it was owing to his advanced age, and long residence in our
vicinity, that he received this appellation. His name was Rufus Dudley.
I remember him as an old man when I was a very young child; and his
residence in the neighbourhood dated back to a period many years
previous to the time of which I speak. He was born in the state of New
York, where he resided during the early portion of his life, and where
he married. His wife died before his removal to Canada. When he first
came to the Province he located himself in a town a few miles from the
Village of C., where he married a second time. When first he removed to
R, he was for some years employed in a saw-mill and earned a comfortable
support for his family. My knowledge of his early residence in R. is
indefinite, as he had lived there for many years previous to my
recollection, and all I know concerning the matter is what I have heard
spoken of at different times by my parents and other old residents of
the place. It would seem however that his second marriage was, for him,
very unfortunate, for to use his own words, "he never afterward had any
peace of his life." I have been informed that his wife was possessed of
a pleasing person and manners, but added to this she also possessed a
most dreadful temper; which when roused sometimes rendered her insane
for the time being; and finally some trouble arose between them which
ended in a separation for life. They had two grown-up daughters at the
time of their separation, who accompanied their mother to a town at
considerable distance from their former home. In a short time the
daughters married and removed to homes of their own. Their mother
removed to one of the Eastern States. She survived her husband for
several years, but she is now also dead. Soon after he became separated
from his family Old Rufus gave up the saw-mill and removed to a small
log house, upon a piece of land to which he possessed some kind of
claim, and from that time till his death, lived entirely alone. He
managed to cultivate a small portion of the land, which supplied him
with provisions, and he at times followed the trade of a cooper, to eke
out his slender means. His family troubles had broken his spirits, and
destroyed his ambition, and for years he lived a lonely dispirited man.
He was possessed of sound common sense and had also received a tolerable
education, to which was added a large stock of what might be properly
termed general information; and I have often since wondered how he could
have reconciled himself to the seemingly aimless and useless life which
he led for so many years. But in our intercourse with men, we often meet
with characters who are a sore puzzle to us; and old Rufus was one of
those. When quite young I have often laughed at a circumstance I have
heard related regarding the violent temper of his wife; but indeed it
was no laughing matter. It seems that in some instances she gave vent to
her anger by something more weighty than words. Old Rufus one day
entered the house of a neighbor with marks of blows on his face, and was
asked the cause. He never spoke of his wife's faults if he could avoid
it; but on this occasion he sat for a moment as though considering what
reply to make, and finally said: "O! there is not much the matter with
my face any way, only Polly and I had a little brush this morning." I
know not how serious the matter was, but Old Rufus certainly came off
second in the encounter. This aged man is so deeply connected with the
early scenes of my home life that I yet cherish a tender regard for his
memory; although the flowers of many summers have scattered their
blossoms, and the snows of many winters have descended upon his grave.
He was on familiar terms with almost every family in the neighbourhood,
and every one made him welcome to a place at their table, or a night's
lodging as the case might be; and I well remember the attention with
which I used to listen to his conversation during the long winter
evenings, when, as was often the case, he passed a night in our
dwelling. I recollect one time when the sight of Old Rufus was very
welcome to me. When about nine years of age, I accompanied my brothers
to the Sugar bush one afternoon in spring; and during a long continued
run of the sap from the maple trees it was often necessary to keep the
sugar kettles boiling through the night to prevent waste. On the
afternoon in question, my brothers intended remaining over night in the
bush, and I obtained permission to stay with them, thinking it would be
something funny to sleep in a shanty in the woods. The sugar-bush was
about two miles from our dwelling, and I was much elated by the prospect
of being allowed to assist in the labors of sugar-making. My brothers
laughingly remarked that I would probably have enough of the woods, and
be willing to return home when night came, but I thought otherwise.
During the afternoon I assisted in tending the huge fires, and the
singing of the birds, and the chippering of the squirrels as they hopped
in the branches of the tall trees, delighted me, and the hours passed
swiftly by, till the sun went down behind the trees and the shades of
evening began to gather about us. As the darkness increased, I began to
think the sugar-bush not the most desirable place in the world, in which
to pass the night, and all the stories I had ever heard of bears,
wolves, and other wild animals rushed across my mind, and filled me with
terror. I would have given the world, had it been at my disposal, to
have been safely at home; and it was only the dread of being laughed at,
which prevented me from begging my brothers to take me there. And when
darkness had entirely settled over the earth, and the night-owls set up
their discordant screams, my fears reached a climax. I had never before
listened to their hideous noise, and had not the slightest idea of what
it was. I had often heard old hunters speak of a wild animal, called the
catamount, which they allowed had been seen in the Canadian forests
during the early settlement of the country. I had heard this animal
described as being of large size, and possessing such strength and
agility, as enabled then to spring from the boughs of one tree to those
of another without touching the ground, and at such times their savage
cries were such as to fill the heart of the boldest hunter with terror.
I shall never forget the laugh which my grown-up brothers enjoyed at my
expense, when trembling with terror, I enquired if they thought a
catamount was not approaching among the tree-tops. "Do not be alarmed,"
said they, "for the noises which frighten you so much proceeds from
nothing more formidable than owls." Their answer, however, did not
satisfy me, and I kept a sharp look-out among the branches of the
surrounding trees lest the dreaded monster should descend upon as
unawares. Old Rufus was boiling sap, half a mile from us, and it was a
joyful moment to me, when he suddenly approached us out of the darkness,
saying, "Well, boys, don't you want company? I have got my sap all
boiled in, and as I felt kinder lonesome, I thought I would come across,
and sleep by your shanty fire." The old man enquired why I seemed so
much terrified, and my brothers told him that I would persist in calling
a screech-owl, a catamount. Old Rufus did not often laugh, but he
laughed heartily on this occasion, and truly it was no wonder, and when
he corroborated what my brothers had already told me, I decided that
what he said must be true. His presence at once gave me a feeling of
protection and security, and creeping close to his side on the cedar
boughs which formed our bed, while the immense fire blazed in front of
our tent, I soon forgot my childish fears, in a sound sleep which
remained unbroken till the morning sun was shining brightly above the
trees. But it was long before I heard the last of the night I spent in
the bush; and as often as my brothers wished to tease me, they would
enquire if I had lately heard the cries of a catamount? Time passed on
till I grew up, and leaving the paternal home went forth, to make my own
way in the world. Old Rufus still resided in R. When a child I used to
fancy that he would never seem older than he had appeared since my
earliest recollection of him; but about the time I left home there was a
very observable change in his appearance. I noticed that his walk was
slow and feeble, and his form was bending beneath the weight of years,
and his hair was becoming white by the frosts of time. I occasionally
visited my parents, and during these visits I frequently met with my old
friend; and it was evident that he was fast failing, and was fast losing
his hold of life. He still resided alone, much against the wishes of his
neighbours, but his old habits still clung to him. I removed to a longer
distance and visited my early home less frequently. Returning to R.,
after a longer absence than usual, I learned that the health of Old
Rufus had so much failed, that the neighbours, deeming it unsafe for him
to remain longer alone, at length persuaded him to remove to the house
of a neighbour, where each one contributed toward his support. His mind
had become weak as well as his body; indeed he had become almost a child
again, and it was but a short time that he required the kind attentions
which all his old neighbours bestowed upon him. I remained at home for
several weeks, and ere I left, I followed the remains of Old Rufus to
the grave. I have stood by many a grave of both kindred and stranger;
never before or since have I seen one laid in the grave without the
presence of some relative; but no one stood by his grave who bore to him
the least relationship. It was on a mild Sabbath afternoon in midsummer
that we laid him to rest in the burial ground of R.; and if none of his
kindred stood by to shed the tear of natural affection, there was many a
cheek wet with the tear of sensibility when the coffin was lowered to
its silent abode. I am unable to state his exact age, but I am certain
that it considerably exceeded eighty years; and from what I can
recollect of his life, I have a strong hope, that death opened to him a
blessed immortality beyond the grave.



THE DIAMOND RING.


"And has it indeed come to this," said Mrs. Harris, addressing her
daughter Ellen, "must I part with my mother's last gift to obtain
bread?" Mrs. Harris, as she spoke, held in her hand a costly diamond
ring, and the tears gathered in her eyes, as the rays of light falling
upon the brilliants caused them to glow like liquid fire. This costly
ornament would have struck the beholder as strangely out of place in the
possession of this poor widow, in that scantily furnished room; but a
few words regarding the past history of Mrs. Harris and her daughter
will explain their present circumstances. Mrs. Harris was born and
educated in England, and when quite young was employed as governess in a
gentleman's family. Circumstances at length caused the family with whom
she resided to cross the Atlantic and take up their abode in the ancient
city of Quebec. The young governess had no remaining ties to bind her to
England. Her parents had been dead for many years; she had no sisters,
and her only brother, soon after the death of their parents, went to
seek his fortune in the gold regions of California. Some years had
passed since she heard any tidings from him, and she feared he was no
longer among the living, and when the family with whom she had so long
resided left England for America, they persuaded her to accompany them.
In process of time she was married to a wealthy merchant, and removed to
Western Canada. Their union was a very happy one, and for some years,
they lived in the enjoyment of worldly prosperity and happiness. But it
often happens that sad and unlooked-for reverses succeed a season of
long continued prosperity; and it was so in this case. I am not aware
that Mr. Harris's failure in business was brought about through any
imprudence on his part; but was owing to severe and unexpected losses.
He had entered into various speculations, which bid fair to prove
profitable, but which proved a complete failure, and one stroke of ill
fortune followed another in rapid succession, till the day of utter ruin
came. He gave up every thing; even his house and furniture was
sacrificed to meet the clamorous demands of his hard-hearted creditors;
and his family was thus suddenly reduced from a state of ease and
affluence to absolute poverty. Mr. Harris possessed a very proud spirit,
and his nature was sensitive, and he could not endure the humiliation of
remaining where they had formerly been so happy. He knew the world
sufficiently well to be aware that they would now meet with coldness and
neglect even from those who had formerly been proud of their notice,
and shrank from the trial, and with the small amount he had been able to
secure out of the general wreck, he removed to the city of Toronto, some
three hundred miles from their former home. They had but little money
remaining when they reached the city, and Mr. Harris felt the necessity
of at once seeking some employment, for a stranger destitute of money in
a large city is in no enviable position. For some time he was
unsuccessful in every application he made for employment, and he was
glad at length to accept the situation of copyist in a Lawyer's Office,
till something better might offer. His salary barely sufficed for their
support, yet they were thankful even for that. His constitution had
never been robust, and the anxiety of mind under which he labored told
severely upon his health. He exerted himself to the utmost, but his
health failed rapidly; he was soon obliged to give up work, and in a
little more than a year from the time of their removal to Toronto, he
died, leaving his wife and daughter friendless and destitute. Their
situation was extremely sad, when thus left alone; they had made no
acquaintances during the year they had resided in the city, and had no
friend to whom they could apply for aid; after paying her husband's
funeral expenses, Mrs. Harris found herself well-nigh destitute of
money, and she felt the urgent necessity of exerting herself to obtain
employment by which they at least might earn a subsistence. The widow
and her daughter found much difficulty at first in obtaining employment.
Some to whom they applied had no work; others did not give out work to
strangers; and for several days Mrs. Harris returned weary and
desponding to her home, after spending a large portion of the day in the
disagreable task of seeking employment from strangers; but after a time
she succeeded in obtaining employment, and as their work proved
satisfactory they had soon an ample supply; but just when their
prospects were beginning to brighten Mrs. Harris was visited by a severe
illness. They had been able to lay by a small sum previous to her
illness, and it was well they had done so, for during her sickness she
required almost the constant attention of her daughter, which deprived
them of any means of support; but after several weeks of severe illness
she began slowly to recover, and this brings us to the time where our
story opens. The ring which Mrs. Harris held in her hand, had been for
many, many years an heir-loom in the English family to which she
belonged. To her it was the dying gift of her mother, and the thoughts
of parting with it cost her a bitter pang. But she had no friends to
whom she might apply for aid; and to a refined and sensitive nature,
almost anything else is preferable to seeking charity from strangers.
The ring was the only article of value which she retained, and sore as
was the trial, she saw no other way of meeting their present wants,
than by disposing of this her only relic of former affluence and
happiness; and she trusted, that by the time the money which the sale of
the ring would bring should be expended, they would be again able to
resume their employment. With a heavy heart Ellen Harris set out to
dispose of this cherished memento. She remembered an extensive jewelry
shop, which she had often passed, as she carried home parcels of work,
and thither she made her way. The shop-keeper was an elderly man with
daughters of his own, and he had so often noticed this pale sad-looking
young girl as she passed his window, that he recognized her countenance
the moment she entered the shop; and when in a low timid voice she
enquired if he would purchase the ring, he was satisfied that he was
correct in his former conjecture, that she belonged to a family of
former wealth and respectability. But young as she was there was a
certain reserve and dignity in her manner, which forbade any questions
on his part. The man had for many years carried on a lucrative business
in his line, and he was now wealthy; and knowing that he could afford to
wait till the ring should find a purchaser he had no fears of losing
money on so valuable an article; and, as is not often the case in such
transactions, he paid her a fair price for the ring, although less than
its real value. Ellen returned, much elated by her success; the money
she had received for the ring seemed to them in their present
circumstances a small fortune. "Little did once I think" said the widow,
as she carefully counted the bank-notes, "that a few paltry pounds would
ever seem of so much value to me; but perhaps it is well that we should
sometimes experience the want of money, that we may learn how to make a
proper use of it, and be more helpful to those less favoured than
ourselves." The money they obtained more than sufficed for their
support, till Mrs. Harris so far recovered, as to allow them again to
resume their employment. They now had no difficulty in obtaining work,
and although obliged to toil early and late, they became cheerful and
contented; although they could not but feel the change in their
circumstances, and often contrast the happy past, with their present lot
of labor and toil.

The shopkeeper burnished up the setting of the diamonds and placed the
ring among many others in the show-case upon his counter. But so
expensive an ornament as this does not always find a ready purchaser,
and for some months it remained unsold. One afternoon a gentleman
entered the shop to make some trifling purchase, and, as the shopkeeper
happened to be engaged with a customer, he remained standing at the
counter, till he should be at leisure, and his eye wandered carelessly
over the articles in the show-case. Suddenly he started, changed
countenance, and when the shopkeeper came forward to attend to him he
said in a voice of suppressed eagerness, "will you allow me to examine
that ring," pointing as he spoke to the diamond ring sold by Ellen
Harris. "Certainly Sir, certainly," said the obliging shop-keeper, who,
hoping that the ring had at last found a purchaser, immediately placed
it in his hand for inspection. The gentleman turned the ring in his
hand, and carefully examined the sparking diamonds as well as the
antique setting: and when he observed the initials, engraved upon the
inside, he grew pale as marble, and hurriedly addressed the astonished
shopkeeper saying, "In the name of pity, tell me where you obtained this
ring?" "I am very willing to inform you," said the man "how this ring
came into my possession. Several months ago a young girl, of very
delicate and lady-like appearance, brought this ring here and desired me
to purchase it. She seemed very anxious to dispose of the ornament, and,
thinking I could easily sell it again, I paid her a fair price and took
the ring, and that is all I can tell you about the matter." "You do not
know the lady's name?" said the gentleman anxiously. "I do not," replied
the man, "but I have frequently seen her pass in the street. The
circumstance of her selling me this valuable ring caused me to notice
her particularly, and I recognised her countenance ever after." "Name
your price for the ring," said the gentleman,--"I must purchase it at any
price; and the next thing, I must, if possible, find the lady who
brought it here, I have seen this ring before, and that is all I wish
to say of the matter at present; but is there no way in which you can
assist me in obtaining an interview with this young lady?" "I have no
knowledge of her name or residence; but if you were in my shop when she
chanced to pass here I could easily point her out to you in the street."
"You may think my conduct somewhat strange," said the gentleman, "but
believe me my reasons for seeking an interview with this young lady are
most important, and if you can point her out to me in the street I will
endeavour to learn her residence, as that will be something gained."
Before the gentleman left the shop he paid for the ring, and placed it
in his pocket. For several days, he frequented the shop of the jeweller
with the hope of gaining a view of the lady. At length one morning the
shop-keeper suddenly directed his attention to a lady passing in the
street, saying, "there, Sir, is the young lady from whom I purchased the
ring." He waited to hear no more, but, stepping hastily into the street,
followed the lady at a respectful distance; but never losing sight of
her for a moment till she entered her home two streets distant from the
shop of the jeweller. He approached the door and rang the bell; The door
was opened by the same young lady, whose manner exhibited not a little
embarrassment, when she beheld a total stranger; and he began to feel
himself in an awkward position. He was at a loss how to address her
till, recollecting that he must explain his visit in some way, he said:
"Pardon the intrusion of a stranger; but, by your permission, I would
like to enter the house, and have a word of conversation with you." The
young girl regarded the man earnestly for a moment; but his manner was
so gentlemanly and deferential that she could do no less than invite him
to enter the little sitting-room where her mother was at work, and ask
him to be seated. He bowed to Mrs. Harris on entering the room, then
seating himself he addressed the young lady saying. "The peculiar
circumstances in which I am placed must serve as my apology for asking
you a question which you may consider impertinent. Are you the young
lady who, some months since, sold a diamond ring to a jeweller on
Grafton street?" Mrs. Harris raised her eyes to the stranger's face; and
the proud English blood which flowed in her veins mantled her cheek as
she replied, "Before I permit my daughter to answer the questions of a
stranger, you will be so kind as explain your right to question." The
stranger sprang from his seat at the sound of her voice, and exclaimed
in a voice tremulous from emotion, "don't you know me Elisa, I am your
long lost brother George." The reader will, doubtless, be better able to
imagine the scene which followed than I am to describe it. Everything
was soon explained, many letters had been sent which never reached their
destination; he knew not that his sister had left England, and after
writing again and again and receiving no reply, he ceased altogether
from writing. During the first years of his sojourn in California, he
was unfortunate, and was several times brought to the brink of the grave
by sickness. After a time fortune smiled upon his efforts, till he at
length grew immensely rich, and finally left the burning skies of
California to return to England. He landed at New York and intended,
after visiting the Canadas, to sail for England. The brother and sister
had parted in their early youth, and it is no wonder that they failed to
recognise each other when each had passed middle age. The brother was
most changed of the two. His complexion had grown very dark, and he had
such a foreign look that, when convinced of the fact, Mrs. Harris could
hardly believe him to be one and the same with the stripling brother
from whom she parted in England so many years ago. He was, of course,
not aware of his sister's marriage, and he listened with sorrow to the
story of her bereavement and other misfortune. "You must now place a
double value upon our family ring," said he, as he replaced the lost
treasure upon his sister's hand; "for it is this diamond ring which has
restored to each other the brother and sister which otherwise might
never have met again on earth. And now both you and your daughter most
prepare for a voyage to dear old England. You need have no anxiety for
the future; I have enough for us all and you shall want no more." Before
leaving the City, accompanied by her brother, Mrs. Harris visited the
grave of her husband; and the generous brother attended to the erection
of a suitable tomb-stone, as the widow had before been unable to meet
the expenses of it. Passing through the Upper Province they reached
Montreal, whence they sailed for England. After a prosperous voyage they
found themselves amid the familiar scenes of their childhood, where they
still live in the enjoyment of as much happiness as usually falls to the
lot of mortals.



THE UNFORTUNATE MAN.


On a sultry afternoon in midsummer I was walking on a lonely,
unfrequented road in the Township of S. My mind was busily occupied, and
I paid little attention to surrounding objects till a hollow, unnatural
voice addressed me saying: "Look up my friend, and behold the
unfortunate man." I raised my eyes suddenly, and, verily, the appearance
of the being before me justified his self-bestowed appellation--the
unfortunate man. I will do my best to describe him, although I am
satisfied that my description will fall far short of the reality. He was
uncommonly tall, and one thing which added much to the oddity of his
appearance was the inequality of length in his legs, one being shorter
by several inches than the other, and, to make up for the deficiency, he
wore on the short leg a boot with a very high heel. He seemed to be past
middle age, his complexion was sallow and unhealthy, he was squint-eyed,
and his hair, which had once been of a reddish hue, was then a grizzly
gray. Taken all together he was a strange looking object, and I soon
perceived that his mind wandered. At first I felt inclined to hurry
onward as quickly as possible, but, as he seemed harmless and inclined
to talk to me, I lingered for a few moments to listen to him. "I do not
wonder," said he, "that you look upon me with pity, for it is a sad
thing for one to be crazy." Surprised to find him so sensible of his own
situation, I said: As you seem so well aware that you are crazy, perhaps
you can inform me what caused you to become so. "Oh yes," replied he, "I
can soon tell you that: first my father died, then my mother, and soon
after my only sister hung herself to the limb of a tree with a skein of
worsted yarn; and last, and worst of all, my wife, Dorcas Jane, drowned
herself in Otter Creek." Wondering if there was any truth in this
horrible story, or if it was only the creation of his own diseased mind,
I said, merely to see what he would say next, "What caused your wife to
drown herself; was she crazy too?" "Oh, no," replied he, "she was not
crazy, but she was worse than that; for she was jealous of me, although
I am sure she had no cause." The idea of any one being jealous of the
being before me was so ridiculous that it was with the utmost difficulty
that I refrained from laughter; but, fearing to offend the crazy man, I
maintained my gravity by a strong effort. When he had finished the story
of his misfortunes, he came close to me and said, in slow measured
tones: "And now do you think it any wonder that I went raving distracted
crazy?" "Indeed I do not," said I; "many a one has gone crazy for less
cause." Thinking he might be hungry, I told him I would direct him to a
farm-house, where he would be sure to obtain his supper. "No," replied
he, "this is not one of my hungry days; I find so many who will give me
nothing to eat that when I get the offer of a meal I always eat whether
I am hungry or not, and I have been in luck to-day, for I have eaten
five meals since morning; and now I must lose no more time, for I have
important business with the Governor of Canada and must reach Quebec
to-morrow." I regarded the poor crazy being with a feeling of pity, as
he walked wearily onward, and even the high-heeled boot did not conceal
a painful limp in his gait. But I had not seen the last of him yet. Some
six months after, as I was visiting a friend who lived several miles
distant, who should walk in, about eight o'clock in the evening, but the
"unfortunate man." There had been a slight shower of rain, but not
enough to account for the drenched state of his clothing. "How did you
get so wet?" enquired Mr. ---- "O," replied he, "I was crossing a brook
upon a log, and I slipped off into the water; and it rained on me at the
same time, and between the two, I got a pretty smart ducking." They
brought him some dry clothing, and dried his wet garments by the kitchen
fire, and kindly allowed him to remain for the night. For several years,
this man passed through S. as often as two or three times during each
year. He became so well known in the vicinity, that any one freely gave
him a meal, or a night's lodging as often as he sought it. Every time he
came along his mind was occupied by some new fancy, which seemed to him
to be of the utmost importance, and to require prompt attention. He
arrived in S. one bitter cold night in the depth of winter, and remained
for the night with a family who had ever treated him kindly, and with
whom he had often lodged before. He set out early the next morning to
proceed (as he said) on his way to Nova Scotia. Years have passed away,
but the "unfortunate man" has never since been seen in the vicinity. It
was feared by some that he had perished in the snow; as there were some
very severe storms soon after he left S; but nothing was ever learned to
confirm the suspicion. According to his own statement he belonged to the
state of Vermont, but, from his speech, he was evidently not an
American. Several years have passed away since his last visit to S. and
it is more than probable that he is no longer among the living.



THE OLD SCHOOLHOUSE.


I lately visited the timeworn building where for a lengthened period,
during my early years, I studied the rudiments of education; and what a
host of almost forgotten memories of the past came thronging back upon
my mind, as I stood alone--in that well remembered room. I seemed again
to hear the hum of youthful voices as they learned or recited their
daily tasks, and, as memory recalled the years that had passed since we
used there to assemble, I could not avoid saying mentally: "My
schoolmates, where are they?" Even that thought called to mind an
amusing story related by a much loved companion who for a time formed
one of our number.

He was older than most of the other boys, and was a general favourite
with all. He was famous for relating funny stories, of which he had a
never-failing supply; and when the day was too stormy to allow of
out-of-door sports, during the noon hour, we used to gather around the
large stove which stood in the centre of the room and coax H.M. to tell
us stories. The story which recurred to my mind was of a poor Irishman,
who, in describing a visit which he paid to the home of his childhood
after a long absence, said: "At the sober hour of twilight, I entered
the lonely and desarted home uv me forefathers, an' as I gazed about the
silent walls, I said, 'me fathers, where are they?' an' did not echo
answer, 'Is that you Pathrick O'Flannigan, sure?'"

I was in no mood for laughter, and yet I could not repress a smile, as
memory recalled the comical voice and inimitable gestures with which
young H.M. related the story. He was beloved by us all, and when he left
school we parted from him with real sorrow. As I walked around, and
looked upon the worn and defaced desks, I observed the initials of many
once familiar names, which many years before had been formed with a
knife, which were not so much obliterated but I could easily decipher
the well known letters. That desk in the corner was occupied by two
brothers who when they grew up removed to one of the Eastern States,
where they enlisted as soldiers in the war between the North and South.
One of the brothers received his death-wound on the battlefield. In a
foreign hospital he lingered in much suffering for a brief period, when
he died and was buried, far from his home and kindred. The younger
brother was naturally of a tender constitution and was unable to endure
the hardships and privations of a soldier's life. His health failed him,
and he returned to his friends, who had left their Canadian home, and
removed to the State of Massachusetts; but all that the most skilful
physicians could do, aided by the most watchful care of his tender
mother, failed to check the ravages of disease. Consumption had marked
him for its prey, and he died a few months after leaving the army; and,
as his friends wept on his grave, they could see with their mind's eye
another nameless grave in a far-away Southern State, where slept the
other son and brother. The desk on my left hand was occupied by a youth,
who has been for many years toiling for gold in California; and I have
learned that he has grown very rich. I often wonder if, in his eager
pursuit after riches, in that far-off clime, he ever thinks of the
little brown school-house by the butternut trees, and of the smiling
eager group who used daily to meet there. One large family of brothers
and sisters, who attended this school for several years, afterward
removed, with their parents, to one of the Western States, and years
have passed away since I heard of them; but along with many others they
were recalled to mind by my visit to the old School-House.

On the opposite side of the room is the range of desks which were
occupied by the girls, and I could almost fancy that I again saw the
same lively, restless group who filled those desks in the days of
long-ago. Again I saw the bright smile which was often hidden from the
searching eye of our teacher, behind the covers of the well-worn
spelling-book, again I saw the mischievous glances, and heard the
smothered laughter when the attention of the teacher was required in
some other part of the room. But these happy, careless days of childhood
are gone never to return. Were I inclined, I could trace the
after-history of most of the companions whom I used daily to meet in
this school-room. With many of them "life's history" is done, and they
sleep peacefully in the grave. Others have gone forth to the duties of
life; some far distant, others near their paternal homes. Many of the
number have been successful in life, and prospered in their
undertakings, while others have met with disappointment and misfortune.
It seemed somewhat singular to me that, as I stood alone in that room
(after the lapse of so many years), I could recollect, by name, each
companion I used to meet there; yet so it was, and it seemed but as
yesterday since we used daily to assemble there; and when I reflected
for a moment on the many changes to which I have been subjected since
that period I could hardly realize that I was one and the same. I
lingered long at the old School-House, for I expected never to behold it
again, having been informed that it was shortly to give place to a
building of a larger size, and of more modern structure.



ARTHUR SINCLAIR.


For several hours we had endured the jolting of the lumbering
stage-coach over a rough hilly road which led through a portion of the
State of New Hampshire; and, as the darkness of night gathered around
us, I, as well as my fellow-travellers, began to manifest impatience to
arrive at our stopping-place for the night; and we felt strongly
inclined to find fault with the slow motion of the tired horses, which
drew the heavily-loaded vehicle. Thinking it as well to know the worst
at once, I asked the driver "what time we might expect to reach our
destination for the night?" "It will be midnight at the least, perhaps
later," replied he. This news was not very cheering to the weary
travellers who filled the coach; and I almost regretted having asked the
question. The roughness of the roads, together with the crowded state of
the vehicle, made it impossible for any one to sleep, and it became an
important question how we should pass away the tedious hours. A
proposition was at length made, that some one of the passengers should
relate a story for the entertainment of the others. This proposal met
with the hearty approval of all, as a means of making our toilsome
journey seem shorter; and the question of who should relate the story
was very soon agitated. There was among the passengers one old gentleman
of a very pleasant and venerable appearance, and judging from his
countenance that he possessed intelligence, as well as experience, we
respectfully invited him to relate a story for our entertainment. "I am
not at all skilled in story-telling," replied the old gentleman, "but,
as a means of passing away the tedious hours of the uncomfortable ride,
I will relate some circumstances which took place many years since, and
which also have a connection with my present journey, although the
narrative may not possess much interest for uninterested strangers." We
all placed ourselves in a listening attitude, and the old man began as
follows: "I was born in the town of Littleton in this state, and when a
boy, I had one schoolmate, whom I could have loved no better had he been
a brother. His name was Arthur Sinclair. And the affectionate intimacy
which existed between us for many years, is yet, to me, a green spot in
the waste of memory. I was about twelve years of age, when Arthur's
parents came to reside in Littleton. That now large and thriving village
then contained but a few houses, and when the Sinclairs became our
neighbours, we soon formed a very pleasing acquaintance. I was an only
child, and had never been much given to making companions of the
neighbouring boys of my own age; but from the first, I felt strongly
attracted toward Arthur Sinclair. He was two years younger than myself.
At the time when I first met him, he was the most perfect specimen of
childish beauty I ever saw, and added to this he possessed a most
winning and affectionate disposition, and in a short time we became
almost inseparable companions. My nature was distant and reserved, but
if once I made a friend, my affection for him was deep and abiding. We
occupied the same desk in the village school, and often conned our daily
lessons from the same book, and out of school hours, shared the same
sports; and I remember once hearing our teacher laughingly remark to my
parents, that he believed, should he find it necessary to correct one of
us, the other would beg to share the punishment. Notwithstanding the
strong friendship between us, our dispositions were very unlike. From a
child I was prone to fits of depression, while Arthur on the other hand
possessed such a never failing flow of animal spirits, as rendered him
at all times a very agreeable companion; and it may be that the
dissimilarity of our natures attracted us all the more strongly to each
other; be that as it may the same close intimacy subsisted between us
till we reached the years of early manhood. The only fault I could ever
see in Arthur was that of being too easily persuaded by others, without
pausing to think for himself; and being the elder of the two, and of a
reflective cast of mind, as we grew up, I often had misgivings for him
when he should go forth from his home, and mingle with the world at
large. The intimacy between us allowed me to speak freely to him, and I
after reminded him of the necessity of watchfulness and consideration,
when he should go forth alone to make his way in a selfish and unfeeling
world.

"He used to make light of what he termed my "croaking" and say I need
have no fears for him; and I believe he spoke from the sincerity of his
good intentions; he thought all others as sincere and open-hearted as
himself, and happy had it been for him if he had found them so. Arthur
received a very good business education, and when he reached the age of
twenty-one, obtained the situation of book-keeper in an extensive
mercantile house in the city of Boston. There was a young girl in our
village to whom Arthur had been fondly attached since the days of his
boyhood, and I need scarcely say the attachment was reciprocal, and that
before he left home he placed the engagement ring upon her finger,
naming no very distant period when he hoped to replace it by the wedding
ring. Belinda Merril was worthy in every way of his affection, and loved
him with all the sincerity of a pure and guileless heart. I almost
wonder that the shadows which were even then gathering in what to them
had ever been a summer sky, did not cast a chill over her heart. In due
time Arthur went to the city. I could not help my fears, lest his
pleasing manners and love of company should attract to him those who
would lead him into evil; but I strove to banish them, and hope for the
best. Our pastor, an old man, who had known Arthur from his childhood,
called upon him, previous to his departure from home, and without
wearying him with a long list of rules and regulations regarding his
future conduct, spoke to him as friend speaks to friend, and in a
judicious manner administered some very good advice to the youth, who
was almost as dear to him as his own son. The young man listened
attentively to the words of his faithful friend and sincerely thanked
him for the advice which he well knew was prompted by affection. During
the first year of his residence in the city, we wrote very frequently to
each other, and the tone of his letters indicated the same pure
principles which had ever governed his actions. Time passed on, and
by-and-bye, I could not fail to notice the change in the style of his
letters. He spoke much of the many agreeable acquaintances he had
formed, and of the amusements of the city, and was warm in his
commendations of the Theatre. My heart often misgave me as I perused his
letters, and I mentally wondered where all this was to end? After a two
years' absence, he returned to spend a few weeks at home in Littleton,
but he seemed so unlike my former friend, that I could hardly feel at
ease in his society. He never once alluded to any incidents of our
school days, as he used formerly so frequently to do, and objects of
former interest possessed none for him now. He called Littleton a
"terribly stupid place," and seemed anxiously to look forward to his
return to Boston. "Surely," said I to him one evening as we were engaged
in conversation, "Littleton must still contain one attraction for you
yet." He appeared not to comprehend my meaning, but I well knew his
ignorance was only feigned. But when he saw that I was not to be put off
in that way, he said with a tone of assumed indifference, "O! if it is
Belinda Merril you are talking about, I have to say that she is no
longer an object of interest to me." "Is it possible, Arthur," said I,
"that you mean what you say; surely an absence of two years has not
caused you to forget the love you have borne Miss Merril from childhood.
I am very much surprised to hear you speak in this manner." A flush of
anger, at my plain reply, rose to his cheek, and he answered in a tone
of displeasure: "I may as well tell you first as last, my ideas have
undergone a change. I did once think I loved Belinda Merril, but that
was before I had seen the world, and now the idea to me is absurd of
introducing this awkward country girl as my wife among my acquaintances
in the city of Boston. I once had a sort of liking for the girl, but I
care no longer for her, and the sooner I break with her the better, and
I guess she won't break her heart about me." "I hope not indeed," I
replied, "but I must be allowed to say that I consider your conduct
unmanly and dishonourable, and I would advise you, before proceeding
further, to pause and reflect whether it is really your heart which
dictates your actions, or only a foolish fancy." Knowing how deeply Miss
Merril was attached to Arthur, I hoped he would reconsider the matter,
and I said as much to him; but all I could say was of no avail, and that
very evening he called and, requesting an interview with his betrothed,
informed her that, as his sentiments toward her had changed, he presumed
she would be willing to release him from their former engagement.
Instantly Miss Merril drew from her finger the ring he had placed there
two years before, and said, as she placed it in his hand, "I have long
been sensible of the change in your sentiments, and am truly glad that
you have at last spoken plainly. From this hour you may consider
yourself entirely free, and you have my best wishes for your future
happiness and prosperity," and, bidding him a kind good-evening, the
young lady left the apartment. Her spirit was deeply wounded, but she
possessed too much good sense to be utterly cast down for the
wrong-doing of another. Whatever were Arthur's feelings after he had
taken this step, he spoke of them to no one. I never again mentioned the
subject to him, but, knowing him as I did, I could see that he was far
from being satisfied with his own conduct, and he departed for the city
some weeks sooner than he had at first intended. Owing to the friendly
feeling I had ever cherished for him, I could not help a feeling of
anxiety after his departure, for I feared that all was not right with
him. He did not entirely cease from writing to me; but his letters were
not frequent, and they were very brief and formal--very unlike the
former brotherly communications which used to pass between us. A year
passed away. I obtained a situation nearly a hundred miles from home. I
had heard nothing from Arthur for a long time, and, amid my own cares,
he recurred to my mind with less frequency than formerly; yet often
after the business of the day was over, and my mind was at leisure,
memory would recall Arthur Sinclair to my mind with a pained sort of
interest. About six months after I left home I was surprised by
receiving from Mr. Sinclair a hastily written letter, requesting me, if
possible, to lose no time in hastening to Littleton, stating also that
he was obliged to take a journey to Boston on business which vitally
concerned Arthur, and he wished me to accompany him. He closed by
requesting me to mention the letter I had received from him to no one,
saying that he knew me and my regard for Arthur sufficiently well to
trust me in the matter. My fears were instantly alive for Arthur, and I
feared that some misfortune to him was hidden behind this veil of
secresy; and I soon found that my fears were well founded. I set out at
once for Littleton, and upon arriving there, I proceeded directly to the
residence of Mr. Sinclair. When he met me at the door I was struck by
the change in his countenance; he appeared as if ten years had been
added to his age since I last saw him, six months ago. He waited not for
me to make any inquiries, but, motioning me into a private apartment, he
closed the door, and, seating himself by my side, said in a hoarse
voice: "I may as well tell you the worst at once: my son, and also your
once dear friend, Arthur, is a thief, and, but for the lenity and
consideration of his employer, before this time would have been lodged
within the walls of a prison." I made no reply, but gazed upon him in
silent astonishment and horror. When he became more composed, he
informed me that he had lately received a letter from Mr. Worthing
(Arthur's employer) informing him that he had detected Arthur in the
crime of stealing money from the safe, to quite a large amount. In
giving the particulars of the unfortunate circumstance, he further
stated, for some time past he had missed different sums of money, but
was unable to attach suspicion to any one; "and, although," said he, "I
have been for some time fearful that your son was associating with evil
companions, I never once dreamed that he would be guilty of the crime of
stealing, till I lately missed bank-notes from the safe, to quite a
large amount, having upon them some peculiar marks which rendered them
easy to be identified. For some time the disappearance of those notes
was a mystery, and I was beginning to despair of detecting the guilty
one, when I obtained proof positive that your unfortunate son parted
with those identical notes in a noted gambling saloon in the city; and,
as I have also learned that he has spent money freely of late, I have no
longer any doubt that it is he who has stolen the other sums I have
lost. Out of regard to you and your family I have kept the matter
perfectly quiet; indeed, I never informed the parties who told me of his
losing the notes at the gaming-table that there was anything wrong about
it. I have not mentioned the matter to your son, and shall not do so
till I see or hear from you. I presume you will be willing to make good
to me the money I have lost. Of course I cannot much longer retain your
son in my employ, but he _must_ not be utterly ruined by this affair
being made public. I would advise you to come at once to Boston, and we
will arrange matters in the best possible manner, and no one but
ourselves need know anything of the sad affair; let him return with you
for a time to his home, and I trust the lesson will not be lost upon
him. When he first came to the city, I am positive that he was an
honourable and pure-minded young man, but evil companions have led him
astray, and we must try and save him from ruin."

"I had never seen Mr. Worthing, but I at once felt much respect for him,
for the lenity and discretion he had shown in the matter. To no one but
his own family and myself did Mr. Sinclair reveal the contents of that
letter; but the very evening after my arrival in Littleton we set out on
our journey to Boston, and, upon arriving there, we proceeded at once to
the residence of Mr. Worthing, where we learned all the particulars of
Arthur's guilt. Mr. Worthing stated that he had ever entertained a very
high opinion of Arthur, and, when he missed various sums of money in a
most unaccountable manner, he never thought of fixing suspicion upon
him, till circumstances came to his knowledge which left no room for
doubt; but, owing to the high regard he entertained for his parents,
with whom he had (years since) been intimately acquainted, he said
nothing to the young man of the proofs of his dishonesty, which had come
to his knowledge, and still retained him in his employ till he could
communicate with his father, that they together might devise some means
of preventing the affair from becoming public. After Mr. Sinclair had
listened to the plain statement of the affair by Mr. Worthing, he
requested him as nearly as possible to give him an estimate of the
amount of money he had lost. He did so, and Mr. Sinclair immediately
placed an equivalent sum in his hands, saying: "I am glad to be able so
far to undo the wrong of which my son has been guilty," All this time
Arthur knew nothing of our arrival in the city; but when his father
dispatched a message, requesting him to meet him at the house of his
employer, he was very soon in our presence. I hope I may never again
witness another meeting like that one, between the father and son. When
charged with the crime, Arthur at first made a feeble attempt at denial,
till finding the strong proofs against him, he owned all with shame and
humiliation of countenance. The stern grief of Mr. Sinclair was
something fearful to witness. "How _could_ you," said he, addressing
Arthur, "commit so base a deed? Tell me, my son, in what duty I have
failed in your early training? I endeavored to instil into your mind
principles of honor and integrity, and to enforce the same by setting
before you a good example. If I have failed in any duty to you, it was
through ignorance, and may God forgive me if I have been guilty of any
neglect in your education."

"Trembling with suppressed emotion Arthur replied: "You are blameless, my
father; on me alone must rest my sin, for had I obeyed your kind
counsels, and those of my dearest friend, (pointing to me) I should
never have been the guilty wretch I am to-day." Turning to me, he said:
"Many a time within the last few months have I called to mind the
lightness with which I laughed away your fears for my safety, when I
left home for the city. O! that I had listened to your friendly
warning, and followed the path which you pointed out for me. When I
first came to the great city, I was charmed with the novelty of its
never ceasing scenes of amusement and pleasure. I began by mingling with
company, and participating in amusements, which, to say the least of
them, were questionable; and I soon found my salary inadequate to meet
my fast increasing wants for money; and, as many an unfortunate youth
has done before, I began the vice of gambling with the hope of being one
of the lucky ones. My tempters, no doubt, understood their business, and
at first allowed me to win from them considerable sums of money; till,
elated with my success, I began playing for higher stakes, and when I
lost them, I grew desperate, and it was then that I began adding the sin
of theft to the no less heinous one of gambling. But it is no use now to
talk of the past; my character is blasted, and all I wish is to die and
hide my guilt in the grave, and yet I am ill prepared to die." He became
so much excited, that we endeavored to soothe him by kind and
encouraging words. His father bade him amend his conduct for the future,
and he would freely forgive and forget the past. In my pity for my early
friend, I almost forgot the wrong he had done, and thought only of the
loved companion of my boyhood and youth. I cannot describe my feelings,
as I gazed upon the shame-stricken young man, whom I had so often
caressed in the days of our boyish affection and confidence. Little did
I then think I should ever behold him thus. The utmost secrecy was
observed by all parties; and it was decided that we would remain for the
night with Mr. Worthing, and, accompanied by Arthur, set out early the
next morning on our homeward journey. But it was ordered otherwise. The
next morning Arthur was raving in the delirium of brain fever, brought
on doubtless by the mental torture he had endured. Mr. Sinclair
dispatched a message, informing his wife of Arthur's illness, and three
days later she stood by the bed-side of her son. For several days the
fever raged. We allowed no strangers to watch by him, for in his
delirium his mind dwelt continually upon the past, and no one but
ourselves must listen to his words. Mr. Worthing was very kind, and
shared the care of the poor young man with his parents and myself. At
length came the crisis of his disorder. "Now," said the physician, "for
a few hours, his life will hang, as it were, upon a thread. If the
powers of life are not too far exhausted by the disease he may rally,
but I have many fears, for he is brought very low. All the encouragement
I dare offer is, that while there is life there is hope." He sank into a
deep slumber, and I took my place to watch by him during the night. Mr.
Worthing persuaded his parents to seek a few hours rest, as they were
worn out with fatigue and anxiety; and exacting from me a promise that I
would summon them if the least change for the worse should take place,
they retired, and I was left to watch alone by my friend. All I could
do, was to watch and wait, as the hours passed wearily on. A little
before midnight the physician softly entered, and stood with me at his
bed-side; soon after he languidly opened his eyes, and in a whisper he
pronounced my name. As I leaned over him, and eagerly scanned his
countenance, I perceived that the delirium of fever was gone. The
physician, fearing the effect upon him of the least excitement, made a
motion to me enjoining silence, and mixing a quieting cordial, held it
to his lips. He eagerly quaffed the cooling draught, and again fell into
a quiet slumber. "Now," said the physician, "I have a faint hope that he
may recover, but he is so weak that any excitement would prove fatal;
all depends upon keeping him perfectly quiet for the next few hours."
The doctor departed and again I was left alone to watch over his
slumber. Before morning, anxiety brought Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair to the
room, to learn if there had been any change. In a whisper I informed
them of the favorable symptoms he had evinced upon waking, and persuaded
them again to retire from the apartment. When Arthur again awoke, the
favorable symptoms still continued, and the physician entertained strong
hopes of his recovery. By degrees he was allowed to converse for a few
moments at a time. It seemed to him, he said, as though he had awakened
from a frightful dream; and he begged to know how long he had been ill,
and what had happened during the time. We were all very cautious to say
nothing to excite him; and by degrees as his mind grew stronger,
everything came back clearly to his mind, his father's visit, and the
circumstances which had brought him to the city. It is needless for me
to dwell upon the long period, while he lay helpless as an infant,
watched over by his fond mother, who felt that he had almost been given
back from the dead. But he continued slowly to recover, and being unable
to remain longer, I left his parents with him, and returned to my home
in Littleton, and soon after went back to my employer. Mr. and Mrs.
Sinclair remained with Arthur till he was able to bear the journey to
Littleton, and it was to them a happy day, when they arrived safely at
their home, accompanied by their son, who seemed to them almost as one
restored from the dead. The unfortunate circumstances connected with
Arthur's illness, were a secret locked in the bosoms of the few faithful
friends to whom it was known. Arthur arose from that bed of sickness a
changed man, and it was ever after to him a matter of wonder how he
could have been so far led astray, and he felt the most unbounded
gratitude to Mr. Worthing, for the kindness and consideration he had
shown him. His father did quite an extensive business as a merchant in
Littleton, and as Arthur became stronger he assisted in the store; and
after a time his father gave him a partnership in the business, which
rendered his again leaving home unnecessary. A correspondence, varied
occasionally by friendly visits, was kept up between the Sinclairs and
the family of Mr. Worthing; for Arthur never could forget the debt of
gratitude he owed his former employer. I have little more to tell, and I
will bring my long and I fear somewhat tedious story to a close, by
relating one more event in the life of my friend. I resided at quite a
long distance from Littleton, and some two years after Arthur's return
home, I was surprised by receiving an invitation from him to act as
groomsman at his wedding, and the bride was to be Miss Merril. I know
not exactly how the reconciliation took place. But I understood that
Arthur first sought an interview with the young lady, and humbly
acknowledged the wrong of which he had been guilty, saying, what was
indeed true, that he had ever loved her, and he knew not what
infatuation influenced him in his former conduct. Many censured Miss
Merril for her want of spirit, as they termed it, in again receiving his
addresses, but I was too well pleased by this happy termination of the
affair to censure any one connected with it. The wedding-day was a happy
one to those most deeply concerned, and such being the case, the opinion
of others was of little consequence; and the clouds which had for a time
darkened their sky, left no shadow upon the sunshine of their wedded
life. Arthur and his father were prospered in their business, and for
many years they all lived happily together. In process of time his
parents died, and Arthur soon after sold out his share in the business
to a younger brother, as he had received a tempting offer to remove to
Boston, and enter into partnership with Mr. Worthing's son, as the old
gentleman had some time before resigned any active share in the
business. When Arthur learned their wishes he was very anxious to return
to them; "For," said he, "it is to Mr. Worthing I owe my salvation from
disgrace and ruin." For many years he has carried on a lucrative
business with the son of his former employer and friend. An interesting
family of sons and daughters have grown up around him, and I may with
truth call them a happy family. Old Mr. Worthing has been for some years
dead; and his earthly remains quietly repose amid the peaceful shades of
Mount Auburn. My own life has been a busy one, and twenty years have
passed away since I met with Arthur Sinclair; but the object of this
journey is to visit my early friend, who as well as myself is now an old
man." As the old gentleman finished the story, to which we had all
listened with much interest, we arrived at our stopping-place for the
night, and fatigued with the day's journey, we were soon conducted to
our several apartments. The next morning we parted with the kind old
man, as his onward route lay in another direction, but I could not help
following him in thought, and picturing the joyous meeting between
himself and his early friend Arthur Sinclair.



THE SNOW STORM.


The event I am about to relate, happened many years ago; but I have
often heard it mentioned by those to whom all the circumstances were
well known; and when listening to this story, I have often thought that
there is enough of interest attached to many events which took place
during the period of the early settlement of that portion of Eastern
Canada which borders on the River St. Francis, to fill volumes, were
they recorded.

The morning had been clear and pleasant, but early in the afternoon the
sky became overcast with dark clouds, and for several hours the snow
fell unceasingly, and now the darkness of night was added to the gloomy
scene. As the night set in, the snow continued to fall in a thick
shower, and a strong easterly wind arose, which filled the air with one
blinding cloud of drifting snow; and the lights in the scattered
habitations, in the then primitive settlement of D. could scarcely be
distinguished amid the thick darkness. It was a fearful night to be
abroad upon that lonely and almost impassible road; and Mrs. W. fully
realized the peril to which her husband was exposed on that inclement
night. He had set out that morning, on foot, to visit a friend, who
resided at a distance of several miles, intending to return to his home
at an early hour in the evening. It was a lonely road over which he had
to pass; the habitations were few and far between, and as the storm
increased with the approach of night. Mrs. W. strongly hoped that her
husband had been persuaded to pass the night with his friend; for she
feared that, had he been overtaken by the darkness of night, he would
perish in the storm; and the poor woman was in a state of painful
anxiety and suspense. The supper-table was spread, but Mrs. W. was
unable to taste food; and, giving the children their suppers, she
awaited with intense anxiety the return of her husband. The storm
increased till it was evident that it was one of unusual severity, even
for the rigorous climate of Canada, and, as the wind shook the windows
of their dwelling, the children often exclaimed in tones of terror: "O!
what will become of poor father if he is out in this storm." Bye-and-bye
the tired children fell asleep, and Mrs. W. was left alone by her
fireside. She endeavoured to quiet her fears by thinking him safe in the
house of his friend, but she could not drive away the thought that he
had set out upon his return home, and she feared, if such was the case,
he had met his death in that pitiless storm. She was two miles from any
neighbour, surrounded by her family of young children; so all she could
do was to wait and watch as the hours wore on. Sleep was out of the
question, and the dawn of day found her still keeping her lonely vigil.
As the Sun rose the wind calmed, but the thick drifts of snow rendered
it impossible for her to leave the house, and she watched anxiously if
any one might chances to pass, to whom she could apply for assistance in
gaining tidings of her husband. Alas! her fears of the previous night
were but too well founded. He _had_ perished in the storm. His friend
tried his utmost to persuade him to remain for the night when the storm
began, but he was anxious to return to his home, fearing the anxiety of
his family: and he left his friend's house about four o'clock in the
afternoon. The weather was intensely cold, as well as stormy, and, owing
to the depth of snow which had already fallen, he could make but slow
progress, and, when overtaken by darkness and the increasing tempest,
benumbed with cold, and blinded by the whirling drifts of snow, he sank
down by the road side to die, and the suspense of his wife was at length
relieved by the painful certainty of his fate.

About noon on the day succeeding the storm, as Dr S. was slowly urging
his horse onward, in order to Visit a patient who resided in the
vicinity, he observed some object lying almost concealed in the snow.
Stopping his horse, he left his sleigh to examine it, and was
horrorstruck to find it the body of a man. Thinking that, possibly,
life was not extinct, he took the body into his sleigh, and made all
possible haste to the nearest dwelling, where every means was used for
the recovery of Mr. W.; but all was of no avail, he was frozen to death.
It was the kind physician himself who first bore the sad tidings to Mrs.
W. When the lifeless body of the husband and father was borne to his own
dwelling, I have heard the scene described by those who witnessed it, as
most heart-rending. On the day of his burial the settlers in the
vicinity came from a long distance to pay their last tribute of respect
to one who had been much esteemed as a friend and neighbour. The widow
of Mr. W. is still living, but she now is of a very advanced age. His
children grew up and settled in various places, and the elder ones among
them retained a distinct recollection of the sad death of their father.



THE NEW YEAR.


Another year has just glided away, and it seems but as yesterday that we
stood at its threshold, and looked forward over its then seemingly
lengthened way, and fancy was busy with many plans and projects for
future happiness and delight. We looked forward through the whole border
of its months, weeks, days, and hours, and life grew bright with pleased
anticipation. The year has now passed away, and how few, very few, of
all our bright hopes have been realized. With how many of us have
unexpected and unwished for events taken the place of those to which we
looked forward with so much delight.

As the hours and moments of the past year have slowly glided into the
ocean of the past, they have borne with them the treasures of many a
fond heart. The sun shines as brightly as ever, the moon and stars still
look placidly down upon the sleeping earth, and life is the same as it
has ever been; but for these their work is over, and they have done with
time. As I sat watching the fast gathering shadows over the last night
of the old year, I fell into a sort of waking dream, and I seemed to
hear the slow measured tread of one wearily approaching. Turning my eyes
in the direction of the approaching footsteps. I beheld the form of a
very aged man; his countenance appeared somewhat familiar, yet it was
furrowed by many wrinkles, and on his once high and beautiful forehead
were the deep lines of corroding care and anxiety. His step was slow and
heavy, and he leaned for support on his now well-nigh failing staff. He
bore the marks of extreme feebleness, and gazed forward with a manner of
timidity and uncertainty, and on his changeful countenance was expressed
all the multitudinous emotions of the human breast. His garments had
once been white and shining, but they were now stained and darkened by
travel, and portions of them trailed in the dust. As he drew nigh I
observed that the carried in his hand a closely written scroll, on which
was recorded the events of the past year. As I gazed upon the record, I
read of life begun, and of death in every circumstance and condition of
mortal being, of happiness and misery, of love and hate, of good and
evil,--all mingling their different results in that graphic record; and
I trembled as my own name met my view, with the long list of
opportunities for good unimproved, together with the many sins, both of
omission and commission, of which I had been guilty during the past
year; but there was nothing left out,--the events in the life of every
individual member of the human family were there all recorded in
legible characters. As the midnight hour struck, the aged, man who
typified the old year faded from my view, and, almost before I was aware
of the change, youth and beauty, stood smiling before me. The old year
gone, the new year had begun. His robes where white and glistening, his
voice was mirthful, and his step buoyant; health and vigor braced his
limbs. He too, bare in his hand a scroll, but white as the unsullied
snow; not a line was yet traced upon its pure surface except the title,
Record of 1872. I gazed on its fresh and gladsome visage with mingled
emotions of sorrow and joy, and I breathed my prayer for forgiveness,
for the follies and sins of the departed year.





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