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Title: What Norman Saw in the West
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  THE FALLS OF MINNEHAHA.]


WHAT NORMAN SAW IN THE WEST.

by the Author of
“Four Days in July,” and “A Winter at Woodlawn.”


   “Much is my life enriched by the images of the great Niagara, of the
   vast lakes, and of the heavenly sweetness of the prairie
   scenes.”—MARGARET FULLER.


Eight Illustrations.



New York:
Published by Carlton & Porter,
Sunday-School Union, 200 Mulberry-Street.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859,
by Carlton & Porter,
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of
New-York.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CONTENTS.


             CHAPTER                                  PAGE

                  I. ON THE RAILWAY                      9

                 II. TWO DAYS AT NIAGARA                17

                III. CHILDREN MADE HAPPY                27

                 IV. THE QUEEN CITY OF THE LAKE         40

                  V. ON THE ROCK RIVER                  54

                 VI. INDIAN STORIES                     65

                VII. SECOND DAY UPON THE MISSISSIPPI    87

               VIII. OWAH-MENAH; OR THE FALLING WATER  100

                 IX. DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI              115

                  X. FOURTH DAY UPON THE MISSISSIPPI   124

                 XI. A SUNDAY IN DUBUQUE               134

                XII. DOWN THE RIVER                    138

               XIII. THE PICNIC                        151

                XIV. THE CAMP-MEETING                  158

                 XV. A SABBATH-DAY                     168

                XVI. ON THE RAIL                       178

               XVII. THE PRAIRIES                      190

              XVIII. CHICAGO, AND THE RIDE THITHER     202

                XIX. ON THE LAKES                      208

                 XX. MACKINAW AND LAKE HURON           218

                XXI. COLLINGWOOD                       240

               XXII. A SUNDAY IN TORONTO               247

              XXIII. ONCE MORE AT NIAGARA              255

               XXIV. HOME AGAIN                        263



                             Illustrations.


                                                 PAGE

                  FALLS OF MINNEHAHA                2

                  NEW YORK CITY                    12

                  PRAIRIE DU CHIEN                 73

                  INDIANS KILLING A WHITE FAMILY   79

                  MAIDEN’S ROCK                    93

                  FALLS OF ST. ANTHONY            103

                  WESTERN SETTLER’S FIRST HOME    175

                  COMMON GULL                     237



                            WHAT NORMAN SAW

                                   IN

                               THE WEST.



                               CHAPTER I.
                            ON THE RAILWAY.

             “The black steam-engine! steed of iron power;
             The wondrous steed of the Arabian tale,
             Launched on its course by pressure of a touch;
                       Ha! ha! it shouts, as on
             It gallops, dragging in its tireless path,
                       Its load of fire.”


“How still Broadway looks so early in the morning,” said Norman Lester
to his mother, as they drove down the street to take the early train.

It was an unusual sight, the long vista of the beautiful street in deep
shadow, peaceful and calm as if it knew no trampling footsteps nor
jostling vehicles. It was just waking up from its brief hour of repose.
Here and there a market cart, laden with vegetables, was jogging
leisurely on, then a carriage with travelers and trunks hastened onward.
A few waiters were standing at the doors of the hotels to speed the
parting guests, and pedestrians not ignorant of sunrise and its demands
were walking on the broad pavement. Soon the swelling tide of life would
rush through this great channel; the anxious, earnest brow, the sad and
troubled countenances; light and trifling, and bright and joyous faces,
would all be borne down that mighty stream. Business and pleasure,
noise, and hurry, and confusion would come, as the ascending sun chased
away the shadows of the great thoroughfare, and with them its brief
repose.

Norman’s thoughts went beyond Broadway and its contrast.

[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  NEW YORK CITY]

“I have actually set out on my journey to the West to see my uncle, a
journey I have been thinking of for two or three years. How I wish you
were going with us, Edward,” he said to his tall cousin, whose manliness
Norman greatly admired.

“You are to be your mother’s escort to-day, Norman,” replied Edward; “I
hope you will take good care of her. You are tall enough to make quite a
respectable escort, but I have my doubts as to your care and
thoughtfulness. I think you are rather a heedless boy, but I hope you
will come back greatly improved.”

“There is no saying,” said Norman, “what this journey may do for me.”

“We shall see; but here we are at the depôt,” was Edward’s reply.

The ferry was crossed, some oranges bought to quiet the noisy demands of
the orange woman, seats secured, good-by said to Edward, and Norman and
his mother were fairly off for a few days ride on the Erie Railroad to
Niagara.

How that terrible, untiring iron horse bore them on; how rapidly was the
panorama of wood and plain, of rock, river, and valley, unrolled before
them; how he snorted and panted, and shot onward, after a short pause
now and then to refresh the mighty giant.

              “A little water, and a grasp
              Of wood sufficient for its nerves of steel.”

The shifting landscape looked very lovely in the softened lights of that
pleasant June day. The tender green of the foliage, orchards in full
bloom, neat farm-houses, glimpses of the river Passaic, and their noble
views of a beautiful valley, in the midst of which rose the spires of
Port Jervis, lying prettily among the hills, were presented to the eye
and as rapidly withdrawn. Then the scenery became more wild as the train
rushed along the high embankment, following the course of the Delaware,
and looking down upon its rapid waters. It is a wild, rugged region;
huge trees, great prostrate trunks, scarred and blackened trophies of
the progress of the advancing settler wrestling with his gigantic foes;
log-cabins surrounded by unsightly clearings marred with frequent
stumps; fields of wheat struggling for existence in the scanty soil;
fantastical fences formed of twisted, gnarled, antler-like roots. A most
picturesque region, which might, however, call forth the comment of the
sturdy Sussex farmer: “_Picturesque!_ I don’t know what you call
picturesque; but I say, give me a soil that when you turn it up you have
something for your pains; the fine soil makes the fine country, madam.”

Norman looked with astonishment on the lofty and massive arches of the
bridges over which the railroad crosses the valley, and had a glimpse of
the water leaping down the ravine at Cascade Bridge. A number of men
were working there on the steep sandy sides of the cliff, that seemed to
afford them a most perilous footing.

One noble view he had of the Susquehanna with its islands; and then, as
they changed cars at Elmira, the rain obscured the lake and the fine
country on their way northward to Niagara.



                              CHAPTER II.
                          TWO DAYS AT NIAGARA.

             “As if God poured it from his hollow hand,
                       And had bid
             Its flood to chronicle the ages back,
             And notch his centuries in the eternal rock.”


“No clearing to-day, Norman,” said Mrs. Lester, as they left the
Cataract Hotel in the drizzling rain to cross over to Goat Island. They
paused upon the bridge, and looked upon the rapids, foaming, and
dashing, and roaring beneath.

“I can understand now,” said Norman, “what I have read about morbid
impulses, for I feel as if I would like to jump into the rushing water.”

The path down the hill to Juna Island was very muddy and slippery, and
they were obliged to walk down very carefully, lest a misstep should
plunge them into the mighty current.

Mrs. Lester told Norman of a happy party that once crossed the bridge to
this island; of the little girl playfully thrown toward the fall by a
young man; of the sudden terror that led her to jump from his arms; of
his fearful plunge to save the life he had periled, and of the twain
borne over that giddy verge. Those fresh young lives, gone in one
moment, with all of earthly hope and aspiration.

It was fearful to think of; but how many are daily and hourly borne, by
the mighty tides of worldliness and sin, over a more tremendous
precipice; and there are no cries or prayers of pitying love; no man
careth for their souls!

Norman was very silent as he looked for the first time on that wondrous
fall, the sight of which, he said, took away his strength. He felt awed
and solemnized by this mighty display of God’s mighty works.

By the path on Goat Island, not beautiful and attractive as usual, for
the trees had not put on their heavy foliage, and the path was wet and
muddy, they walked to a little rural building, where, sheltered from the
falling rain, they could look down upon the Horse-Shoe Fall. On one
point in this magnificent cataract Norman loved to look; it was the
angular central point where the stream is greatest in volume, and where
its exquisite hue of emerald green continually breaks into snowy
whiteness.

“I have heard those falling waters compared to the robes of a goddess
continually falling from her shoulders,” said Mrs. Lester; “but the
thought is scarcely spiritual enough to satisfy one.”

“It seems too grand to say anything about it,” said Norman; “it makes me
so silent.”

           “‘Come then, expressive Silence, muse thy praise,’

is a most fitting invocation at this place,” replied his mother.

“I have been looking all round for you,” said a lady, whom they had
found the day before to be a most agreeable fellow-traveler, as she
alighted from the carriage, “and they told me at the hotel that you had
gone to Goat Island, so I came here with the expectation of finding
you.”

After looking awhile at the fall, they descended the hill, crossed the
Terrapin bridge, and ascending the winding staircase in the stone tower,
they came out on the circular balcony above. It was fearful to look from
that giddy height down into the foaming depths below, and in the midst
of those maddening waters one could scarcely believe that the town had a
foundation sufficiently firm to resist their onward course. The columns
of spray, driven by the east wind, almost obscured the opposite cliffs.

Mrs. Bushnell wished Mrs. Lester and Norman to accompany her in her
drive round Goat Island home; but they preferred another hour spent in
sight of the fall. Many carriages drove up while they sat there, and men
with cigars in their mouths jumped out, ran down the hill, over the
bridge, and up the stairs to the tower, where they took a hurried look
at the mighty torrent, and speedily regained their carriages and were
off.

“I really think, mother,” said Norman, “that we are enjoying Niagara
more than any one. We are having such a long look.”

In the afternoon they accompanied Mrs. Bushnell and her nephew to the
British side of the river. They crossed the Suspension Bridge, about two
miles below the falls. It is a miracle of art, a beautiful work of man,
in harmonious contrast with the stupendous works of God. Norman, who had
been studying his guide book, told them that there were more than
eighteen million feet of wire, and that the aggregate length of wire was
more than four thousand miles.

They rode over the lower carriage way of the bridge, which is a single
span, eight hundred feet in length between the massive towers by which
it is supported. In crossing they had a fine distant view of the two
falls, and of the fearful chasm beneath, with its solemn deep waters,
quiet as if exhausted by their recent plunge.

The afternoon was decidedly stormy, the rain fell fast, dimming the
glass of the carriage, and driving in upon them, when the window was
open. The spray hung before the falls as a dense cloud, obscuring more
than half of them from view.

On their return Mr. White, Mrs. Bushnell’s nephew, took Norman by the
hand, and walked over the railroad bridge, while the carriage passed
beneath. Norman looked with wonder at those mighty cables, twisted with
so many wires, and supporting with their interlacing ropes that great
structure weighing eight hundred tons. It seemed so solid and
substantial, that Norman did not think of any danger in crossing it, air
hung as it is over the great abyss.

Another cloudy day, but it was a happy day to Norman and his mother. As
they loitered at Point View and on Goat Island, Norman took three or
four pencil sketches, to be copied and filled up at his leisure. He
gathered some pretty white and blue flowers on Goat Island, and arranged
them fancifully in an Indian birch-bark canoe which he had just
purchased.

“Mother,” said he, holding it up to her, “this canoe looks just like one
of which I have seen a picture. It illustrates an Indian legend of the
paradise of flowers. They are represented as still retaining their
flowerlike forms, leisurely reclining in canoes, floating gently in the
placid streams of the spirit land.”

“How pretty it looks,” said his mother, “with those pendant white
blossoms; I shall always associate this flowery canoe and its graceful
legend with this turn in the path on Goat Island.”

“Are we not having a delightful afternoon, mother? the air is so
pleasant, and there are patches of blue sky, and it is nice not to carry
an umbrella,” said Norman.

“We should not have thought of that element of satisfaction, but for the
experience of these two days; as it is, we are prepared fully to
appreciate it.”

They very much enjoyed their walk up to the “Three Sisters;” the rapids
were of the most beautiful green, flecked with white foam, and in the
absence of sunlight they could look, without being dazzled, upon the
graceful majestic flow of waters. How many longing, lingering looks were
given from each spot as, at the approach of evening, they reluctantly
retraced their steps.

Norman had amused himself during the day in looking over Indian
curiosities, and in addition to a birch-bark canoe worked in porcupine
quills, pincushions, and mats worked in beads, had purchased a
Derbyshire-spar cup and whistle at the store near the bridge to Goat
Island, with the assurance that they were turned at Niagara, out of
Table Rock!

A parting glance from Point View the next morning before breakfast,
after which they took the cars for Buffalo, where they found Professor
L. awaiting them. A long ride on the railroad, near the shore of Lake
Erie, (which was not however often visible,) carried them through
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, and then through Indiana and Illinois.
All these states looked very much alike to Norman as he hurried past
groves, ravines, towns, and prairies, and after a day and night’s travel
arrived at E., a village near Chicago, without any very definite
impressions of the shifting scenery that had passed before his vision.



                              CHAPTER III.
                          CHILDREN MADE HAPPY.

               “We are willing, we are ready;
                 We would learn, if you would teach,
               We have hearts that yearn to duty;
               We have minds alive to beauty,
                 Souls that any height can reach.”

                                             MARY HOWITT.


Most grateful was the quiet repose of Mrs. Rivers’s pretty home after
the long wearisome ride in the cars, most pleasant was it to be kindly
welcomed by old friends in their new homes. The village seemed full of
purpose and aspiration, springing up in an oak opening on the shore of
Lake Michigan, and clustering round the two literary institutions that
have called it into existence. The familiar faces gathered around Mrs.
Rivers’s tea-table recalled many dear and cherished associations, and
brought back pleasant pictures of the past.

Norman’s pleasures were in the present. He was soon off to the lake with
George Rivers, wandering a while on its pebbly shore, and then sitting
on the pier fishing. They dropped their lines in the water, and sat
waiting for a bite. Long and patiently they sat, the sun burning their
faces, but their patience was not rewarded with success, for they got no
fish. Norman found more companions in the little Randolphs and Henrys,
who were fishing at the same time. They lived a few doors from George
Rivers, and they came to see Norman, and invited him to dinner and to
tea. He had many pleasant talks, and many games with his new friends,
who were very kind to him.

Sunday morning came; the weather doubtful, uncertain, showery. Mrs.
Lester heard with great pleasure a lecture from her former pastor, and a
sermon from an old friend. The Sunday school was invited to visit the
Biblical Institute that afternoon, to see some idols that had just
arrived from China, and to hear Profesor L. lecture upon them. The
children were on tip-toe with expectation; but the superintendent, after
consultation with the teachers, decided that it would not be prudent to
go; the clouds were threatening, and the grass was wet with the recent
rain. With his pleasant face and his kindly voice, he told the children
of this decision, and then asked all who were in favor of going to the
Biblical Institute the next afternoon, at four o’clock, to raise their
hands. Every hand was raised, but there was a new difficulty. A
professor in the Institute said that it would be better to defer the
visit till the next Sabbath, as it would interfere with the students’
recitations on Monday afternoon.

“Not the next Sabbath,” said another gentleman; “there will be a general
class-meeting here then, which we all wish to attend.”

“All, then,” said the superintendent, “who are in favor of visiting the
Institute this day fortnight, will signify it by holding up their
hands.”

Not an uplifted hand was seen; the expression of opinion was very
decided. The children did not believe in a pleasure so long delayed. The
professor, with great good-humor, then said that they were disposed to
gratify the children, and that they would so arrange their recitations
as to give them a cordial welcome.

“My text is at the Institute,” said Professor L., as he rose to speak to
the children, “and my audience here;” but he contrived to talk to them
without a text so agreeably, that the children voted that he should be
invited to address them the next afternoon, which he partly consented to
do.

It was a very pleasant looking Sunday school, teachers and children all
in their places, notwithstanding the wet walks and the dark clouds. The
children looked bright and happy, interested in their lessons, attentive
to their teachers, and they sang sweet hymns with great spirit and
earnestness.

Monday was bright and beautiful, and many little hearts beat high with
the thoughts of the afternoon’s pleasure. How glad they were that it had
not been put off for a fortnight. It was a pretty sight to see the
procession of children winding through the grove of grand old trees on
the high bank of the lake, whose blue waters sparkled in the sunlight.
The white sails of schooners were seen in the distant horizon, and the
lake looked so peaceful that it was difficult to imagine it roughened by
the tempest, uttering its loud roar as its great waves dashed against
the bank, tearing it away, and prostrating the lofty trees that adorned
it.

The children walked into the Institute, and entering the room on the
right, saw the walls covered with pictures of hideous Chinese idols. One
of the great idols they had come to see was a gigantic figure, dressed
in flowing robes of white muslin, with a ghastly face, rolling eyes,
grinning mouth, and a crown on his head. He was attended by his servant,
who had a horrible black face, and long flowing black garments. Such
figures as these are carried through the streets in China to receive the
worship of the people; and thus religion, which should elevate, only
debases them; and fear is the ruling motive instead of love.

Norman thought of that scene in the idol temple in Rangoon: the room
lined with images of Boodh, in a sitting posture, with folded hands,
bearing lamps to give light to a Christian prayer-meeting; Havelock,
with his Bible in his hand, surrounded by a hundred Christian soldiers,
praying to the God of heaven, and singing praises to the Lord Christ in
this famous idol temple. Well, the day will come when all the idols will
be cast to the moles and the bats, and when from every hill-top and
valley, from the broad prairie and the green savannah, the incense of
praise shall ascend to the one living and true God.

After the children had passed around the rooms, and looked at the idols,
they went up stairs and seated themselves in the chapel to hear
Professor L. The fresh breeze blew in the window, and the lake spread
its broad bosom beneath the eye; stripes of green and blue gave variety
to its surface; little sail-boats sailed rapidly by; and a large steamer
went proudly on its way. It was pleasant to look out upon this noble
view, and listen at the same time to Professor L.’s narration of what he
had seen during his three years in China.

He gave an interesting account of Miss Aldersey, a noble English woman,
who, while in her pretty English home, in the midst of kind friends, and
social joys, and religious privileges, felt her heart so moved by the
spiritual destitution of the Chinese, that she left home and friends,
and all pleasant, familiar things, and went over the seas to China.
Freely she had received; freely she gave fortune, time, and toil to the
great work to which she had consecrated her life. She opened a school,
and gathered in the poor neglected children. Female children are
despised in China, and many of these poor little things, who had no one
to love them, found a home beneath Miss Aldersey’s roof. Day after day
she sat teaching these ignorant little girls, and telling them of Jesus
and the home he has gone to prepare for his people. They listened to the
new and wonderful story, and their hearts were opened to receive these
heavenly truths.

One of them, after the custom of the country, had been bethrothed when
she was four years old, to a boy several years older, and the time
approached when she was called upon to be married. Part of the marriage
ceremony consists of bowing down before ancestral tablets, containing
images of their ancestors, and burning incense to them. This the young
Christian Chinese girl refused to do. She loved Jesus, she worshiped
God, and she would not bow down before any idol.

In vain her parents expostulated and entreated. In vain they offered her
reward, and threatened punishment. She was firm in her refusal to break
the law of God. They beat her and tortured her, but her steadfast heart,
stayed upon God, knew no fear. Faithful to her Christian profession,
this brave girl continued in the path of Christian duty, unmoved by
tribulation and wrath and all the devices of wicked men.

The children then sang the noble missionary hymn,

                    “From Greenland’s icy mountains,
                    From India’s coral strand,”

and were dismissed for a little recreation in the grove, where there was
a swing, and cool shade, and grassy turf. Just before sunset the
children were called together, and again in regular order walked
homeward, with faces glowing with enjoyment, and minds and hearts filled
with happy thoughts and memories.

Wednesday morning Norman went with his mother to the lake, just after
breakfast. The waves were gently kissing the shore, and hours passed
swiftly away as they listened to the soothing sound and gathered curious
pebbles. They found some small fossils, with the remains of shells and
animals in them, and Norman was greatly delighted with one that his
mother picked up, that looked as if it had on it a single pearl set in
gold. They felt sorry to leave the pleasant beach; but the morning had
already gone, and it was time to go to Mr. Henry’s to dinner. On their
return they found a kind invitation from Mrs. Harris to take tea at the
Institute. There were about forty students at the tea-table, and after
tea they had prayers. Instead of the reading of the Scripture, verses
were repeated, thus enabling all who wished to participate in the
devotional exercises; and noble and comforting promises, and precious
truths, were uttered in varying tones. That company of young men were
girding on their armor, that they might fight as good soldiers under the
Captain of their salvation. They were preparing themselves for their
life-work; some of them to sow the “precious seed” over the broad
prairies of Illinois, by the rocky bluffs and wood-crowned hills of
Wisconsin, and the blue waters of Minnesota; while others were looking
to the lands of the East—to Bulgaria, and India, and China. It was
pleasant to exchange a few brief words with these young men who, by the
eye of faith, could see more abundant harvests than those which reward
the Western husbandmen. They had asked the Lord of the harvest to send
them as reapers into these fields of promise, looking forward to that
blessed time when they shall “return with joy bringing their sheaves
with them.”

Mrs. Lester afterward looked upon the portrait of the Christian woman to
whose liberality this institution owes its existence. That portrait
ought to hang on its walls. There is a queenly look about the fine
figure, and the way the head is set on the shoulders, and blended
goodness and intelligence in the countenance. In the evening of the same
day Mrs. Lester was in the room where Mrs. Garrett died, and she thought
of the blissful visions that may have floated about that dying pillow
glimpses of refreshing and perennial streams to make the wilderness
rejoice and blossom as the rose. Her life was not spent in vain on the
earth. Regular and consistent in her daily walks of duty and piety, she
has, by the judicious bestowment of ample means, prolonged her
usefulness on the earth, linked herself to holy activities through
coming time, and set in motion trains of influence, the mighty results
of which may only be known in the morning of the resurrection. She made
to herself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when she
failed they might receive her into everlasting habitations.



                              CHAPTER IV.
                      THE QUEEN CITY OF THE LAKE.

              “I saw the domes before me rise,
                The lake behind me swell;
              I thought upon the bygone days,
              When nature wore a different phase,
                And man a different skin;
              And stretching far, through plain and swamp,
              I saw the Indian’s fiery camp,
              And heard the buffalo’s marching tramp,
              And felt the mammoth’s earthquake stamp,
                And all that once had been.

              “A sudden change came o’er my dream;
              I must have waked and dropp’d my theme.
              For ships and cars, in fire and steam,
                Begirt the horizon round;
              Tall houses rose, with shops in front,
              And bricks piled up, as bricks are wont,
                In cloud-capp’d turrets frown’d;
              And through the living, boiling throng
              Thunder’d a thousand carts along,
              And railroads howl’d their shrieking song,
                Across the groaning ground.”


Norman had many little friends to say good-by to as he left for the cars
on Thursday morning, and very many pleasant memories to take with him.

Kind friends were waiting for them at the station at Chicago, and they
were soon driving through its busy streets. They approached the river,
which has _made_ the town, affording as it does a safe harbor for
vessels. This river runs due east and falls into the lakes, receiving,
about a mile from its mouth, branches from the north and the south. The
river and its branches, lined with substantial warehouses, divide the
city into the north, south and west side. On approaching the bridge it
suddenly swung round to give passage to a large schooner towed by a
little puffing black tug, which gave its shrill whistle as a signal for
the drawbridge to open, and then went panting and snorting through.

While waiting for the bridge to resume its place, Emily Percy, a
blue-eyed, fair-haired little girl who was seated beside Norman, showed
him an old wooden house that formerly belonged to Fort Dearborn, and
that, with the light-house, was the only thing left to tell of its
existence.

“Norman,” said Mrs. Lester, “this is the fort spoken of in those lines
you are so fond of repeating about the Indians:

                ‘Where, to repel their fierce attack,
                Fort Dearborn rear’d across their track
                  Its log-constructed walls.
                For forty years these fronts of wood
                The tempest and the foe withstood;
                And many a night of fire and flood,
                The dauntless garrison made good
                  Their supper in its halls.’”

“It is difficult to fancy any Indians here, in the heart of this busy
city,” said Norman.

“And yet this great city,” said Mrs. Percy “is the growth of twenty-five
years. In 1831 there were but four arrivals, two brigs and two
schooners, and now there are eight thousand.”

“The lonely garrison that abandoned this fort in 1812,” said Mrs.
Lester, “would have been rather astonished, could the vision of this
city have risen up: before them.”

“Why did they abandon the fort, mother?” asked Norman.

“They thought it best when they heard of General Hull’s surrender at
Detroit. Soon after leaving the fort they were attacked by a large body
of Indians, to whom they surrendered, on condition that their lives
should be spared. Notwithstanding this promise, the Indians cruelly
murdered several of them.”

“You must not forget to tell of Mrs. Heald,” said Mrs. Percy, “for I
think we may call her the heroine of Chicago.”

“I leave that to you,” replied Mrs. Lester.

“An Indian,” said Mrs. Percy, “approached her with uplifted tomahawk,
when, with great presence of mind, she looked him full in the face, and
smilingly said, ‘Surely you would not kill a squaw!’ This Indian warrior
was disarmed by this appeal, and the lady’s life was saved.”

The schooner towed by the potent little tug soon passed through, but
they were detained by a sloop that made its way very slowly, and Norman
had time to look at the vessels in the river, many of them loaded with
grain, twenty-five millions of bushels being annually received at this
grain port. He also watched with great interest the working of a
dredging machine used to take mud out of the river and thus deepen its
channel.

A great number of carriages and carts awaited the return of the moving
bridge, and many, pedestrians were ready to leap upon it as it
approached. The bridges are a daily school of patience for the citizens
of Chicago.

The few days at Mrs. Percy’s Norman enjoyed very much. He took long
walks with Emily about the north side of the city, which is pleasantly
shaded with trees and adorned with many fine residences. They drove out
too with Mrs. Percy on Michigan Avenue, a noble street, with rows of
fine houses built of beautiful cream-colored stone, and pretty cottages
embowered in shrubbery, fronting on the lake. The railway is laid
through the water, at a short distance from the shore, and the interval
affords a fine safe place for rowing, sheltered as it is from the sudden
storms of the lake. There were a number of pretty row boats rapidly
darting to and fro, and young people enjoying the air and exercise on
the quiet waters.

They returned by Wabash Avenue, adorned with its noble churches. They
alighted, and went in to look at the new Methodist church, which was
nearly finished. Norman thought it very beautiful. This, and the
handsome Presbyterian church at the next corner, are built of the
cream-colored stone which gives such a cheerful light aspect to the
edifices in Chicago. The Second Presbyterian church is the most
antique-looking structure in the city. It is built of a whitish stone,
spotted with black, giving it somewhat the aspect of the white marble of
St. Paul’s begrimed with the smoke and dust of London. This stone was
found on the prairies; the black is a sort of bitumen that exudes from
it, and as the quarry is exhausted, this church will be unique as well
as antique in its appearance.

Norman was amused at the inequality of the sidewalks, sometimes rising
above the carriage way, sometimes depressed far below, so that the
pedestrian is obliged continually to go up and down steps, or inclined
planes, and to mind his ways if he wishes to avoid a fall. The new
stores open finely on the elevated sidewalks, and Norman was astonished
to see the splendid rows of stores with elaborate iron fronts. The older
houses and stores must be entered by descending steps to reach their
level. Mrs. Percy told Norman the reason of this, that the city was
built on a flat prairie, so low that the water would not run off, and
the streets could not be drained; and so this enterprising people are
lifting up the whole city six or seven feet, and there must be
inequality of surface while this transition process is going on. Norman
saw a frame house, mounted on rollers, leisurely making its way through
the streets.

Charlie Percy, who was several years older than Norman had a chemical
cabinet, and the boys had a very animated evening, trying a number of
experiments, making colored fires, and making fire jump about the
surface of the water.

“Here is an invitation for you, children,” said Mr. Percy, “which I have
no doubt you will be very glad to accept. Mr. and Mrs. Bowers called to
invite us to accompany them to Green Park, where they are to have a
pic-nic.”

“How pleasant that will be,” exclaimed Emily; “I am sure you will like
to go, Norman.”

The children were ready immediately after dinner, when Mr. Bowers’s
carriage drove up for them, and at the station they found quite a party
of children, baskets in hand, with their mothers and fathers, bound for
the pic-nic. They were a joyous family party, Mr. Bowers’s sisters and
their families. Norman looked from the cars upon the stately buildings
of Michigan Avenue, and there was not time to look at much more, for a
few minutes brought them to Green Park, and the party were soon out of
the cars, and on a bank overlooking the lake. It is a pretty place,
grassy turf, graveled walks, grateful shade, and rustic summer houses;
better than all, the pleasant beach with its rounded pebbles, and the
constant dash of its gentle waves. The children had merry games of tag
and puss-in-the-corner, then they wandered along the beach, and then
they came with sharpened appetites to inquire when the baskets were to
be opened. “You may go and bring them now,” was the welcome response.

“Are we not to sit round the table in the summer-house?” asked one of
the little girls.

“No,” replied her mamma, “it is cooler here.”

Willing feet ran to the rustic arbor, and willing hands brought the
baskets from the rustic table. They seated themselves on the grass and
ate the biscuits and sardines and sandwiches, and the gingerbread and
cake. A little girl whom they did not know was playing near her father
and mother, who were seated on a bench at a little distance. One of the
children, with thoughtful kindness, asked her mother’s permission to
take some biscuits and cake to the little stranger, and joyfully she ran
off to offer of their abundance to the little one.

After they had done full justice to the contents of the baskets, and
picked up pebbles on the beach, they sat in the large summer house and
sang hymns, sweet familiar hymns, sung by sweet childish voices,
sobering and sanctifying the pleasures of that happy Saturday afternoon.

At the station they found a merry party of school-girls who had walked
out in the morning to gather flowers on the prairie. They were in high
glee; their large straw hats were wreathed with oak leaves, and their
hands were filled with great bunches of flowers,

                “The golden and the flame-like flower.”

Norman said good-by to Emily Percy at her door, for he and his mother
were to spend the Sabbath with Mrs. Bowers, and a pleasant Sabbath it
was. The conversation, in harmony with the day, on the piazza, after
breakfast, beneath the shade of lofty spreading trees; the sermons and
services of morning, afternoon, and evening, different in tone and
character, but all profitable and pleasing; the visit to the large and
interesting Sunday school, in which Mrs. Bowers taught a class, made the
Sabbath a delightful one.

Monday morning Mrs. Percy took Mrs. Lester and Norman and Emily to her
husband’s grain warehouse, the top of which they reached after ascending
many flights of steps. The roof is of canvas, covered with tar, upon
which, while it is warm, pebbles are thrown, making a durable and fire
proof roof. The city lay beneath them; they could mark its great extent,
trace the course of its dividing rivers, with their sails, and steamers,
and propellers; see trains of cars arriving and departing; count the
spires which

                 “With silent fingers point to heaven,”

and around all see the great lake and the encircling prairie.

The warehouse was filled with dust, as the machinery was in motion.
Norman watched the elevators lifting up the grain from the rail-car on
one side to the fifth story of the warehouse, where it is weighed and
poured into great bins, whence it is discharged into vessels on the
other side. The elevator is a series of buckets on an endless band.
Thousands of bushels, from the wide prairies of Illinois, are thus
elevated, weighed, and transferred from car to boat, to be sent to the
Eastern states or to Europe.

The saddest sight Norman saw in this city was the great number of
saloons, as they call the shops where liquor is sold, where drunkards
are made, and where many an unwary victim is lured to destruction. In
almost every block, they tempt the thoughtless; music sounds her
welcome; vice puts on her most attractive mien; and young men forget a
father’s counsel, a mother’s prayers; and for the momentary
gratification of their appetites they offer up reputation, character,
health, life, and their eternal all; a costly sacrifice! Everything
lost, and nothing gained but degradation, misery, and death.



                               CHAPTER V.
                           ON THE ROCK RIVER.

            “These are the gardens of the desert; these,
            The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful,
            For which the speech of England has no name,
            The prairies.... Lo! they stretch
            In airy undulations far away,
            As if the ocean, in his gentlest swell,
            Stood still, with all his rounded billows, fix’d
            And motionless forever.”—BRYANT.


A railway ride over the beautiful prairies took Norman and his mother to
their place of destination. How soft and gentle were those prairie
swells, looking like English park scenery, relieved as is the vast
expanse of meadow by scattered groves of trees. The fine unbroken
horizon line tells you that you do not see a greater extent of country,
only because your eye has no greater capabilities; that onward, and all
around, the vast prairie lies in its verdure and beauty; that there, as
here, the flowers are springing; that you may travel north, south, east,
and west, hundreds of miles, and still that undulating prairie, in its
“encircling vastness,” will lie around you like the sea.

At the station Norman found his uncle looking out anxiously for him, and
he was soon pressed tenderly in his arms.

“Well, my boy,” said his uncle, “I feared we should be disappointed
again to-day. How glad I am to see you once more, though you have so
grown I would not have known you.”

“How is Aunt Ellen?” asked Norman.

“Very well, she is waiting anxiously for you at home; she has been
counting the days since you wrote you were coming.”

“How well I remember,” said Norman, “when I was a little boy, how she
let me whittle in her room, and how she brought me bread and butter with
white sugar on it.”

“That bread and butter and sugar made a deep impression on his mind,”
said Mrs. Lester; “he has always connected the thought of it with his
Aunt Ellen.”

“And there is your Aunt Ellen at the gate looking for you,” said his
uncle.

Norman loved his uncle and aunt very much, and was very glad to be with
them once more. He loved to sit by his uncle’s side and read to him, and
tell him about his school, and about his cottage home, and about his
little cousins, Bessie and Edith, with whom he spent so many pleasant
summer days, rambling about the woods and among the rocks.

His uncle was an invalid, obliged continually to recline on his couch,
but he was always cheerful, always happy. A sister said of him, that if
you put him on the top of a rock he would be happy; and the secret of
this was, that his heart was filled with love to God, and that he had
constant communion with his blessed Saviour. The peace of God lay upon
his countenance; he had no troubled or vexing thoughts.

He loved to read and hear about the progress of Christ’s kingdom, and
about what good men are doing to bring about the fulfillment of that
prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Norman was very busy for several days, copying his sketches of Niagara,
and doing them in pastil, and his uncle took great interest in the
progress of his work.

One day they went with a clergyman, Aunt Ellen’s brother, to a seminary,
built on a commanding eminence above the town. After seeing the scholars
do their sums very rapidly on the black-board, they went to the upper
story of the building, and looked upon an extensive view. To the north
the rapid river, with its high banks and wooded islands; to the east,
the prairie, stretching out far in the distance. The spires and
buildings of the town toward the south, with the fine arches of the
railing embankments, while the river, whose falls filled the air with
sound, was spanned with the noble arches of the railroad bridge, and the
broken ones of several ruined bridges, swept away by the recent floods.

After leaving the seminary they wandered in the oak grove that adorns
the bluff upon which it stands, and looked down on the ravine which
bounds the grounds to the north.

“Now, mother,” said Norman, one morning after breakfast, “for a walk on
the prairies.”

“I am ready,” replied Mrs. Lester; “it is a cool, gray morning; just the
day for such a ramble.”

On and on they wandered; Norman running to and fro, as the brilliant
tint of some flower caught his eye, made his mother the bearer of all
his floral treasures. A fine bouquet he had after a while, yellow
lupins, the blue spiderwort, the purple phlox, an orange flower very
much like the wallflower, and the painted cup, made classic by Bryant’s
verse:

                               “Scarlet tufts
           Are glowing in the green, like flakes of fire;
           The wanderers of the prairies know them well,
           And call that brilliant flower, the Painted Cup.”

They first walked toward the south, where they could have glimpses of
the river; but at length they directed their course to the east, to an
octagon house, that stood like a light-house on a hill. Crossing the
railroad, they paused a while to see the gravel-train get its load of
sand from the banks.

“There,” said Norman, as the locomotive gave a snort or two, as if in
impatience at the pause; “there stands the grand old fellow to be looked
at, as Mr. Beecher says.”

A far-reaching view of the undulating prairie, heightened at intervals
by flashes of the river gliding among the fertile meadows, repaid them
for the ascent to the octagon house.

On their return they stood beneath a railroad bridge, and saw two long
freight trains pass over it. They passed a rural town that had recently
sprung up in an “oak opening,” and arrived at home with flowers and
pleasant remembrances of their four-mile walk on the prairies.

Norman’s quiet pleasures by his uncle’s side, his reading and sketching,
soon gave place to more active out-of-door amusements. He formed a
friendship with two boys who lived in the neighborhood, who were so
well-trained, that his uncle readily consented to his intimacy with
them.

“Even a child is known by his doings;” and it is well when a boy has
already formed a character which inspires confidence, and allows parents
and friends safely to trust in him. Such a lad will probably retain in
manhood the respect and confidence he has won in boyhood.

Norman went every evening with Alfred and Herbert Walduf to bathe in the
Rock river, and sometimes he went with them to fish, or walked with them
in the woods.

These boys were regular attendants at the Sunday school of which Mr.
Laurence, Aunt Ellen’s brother, was superintendent, and they asked
Norman to go with them to school. How earnestly the children listened
when their superintendent told them of the sad fate of four of their
number who had recently joined with them in their hymns of praise. They
had removed a short time before with their parents to a town not far
distant, where their father had received a call to preach. A letter had
been received from their mother, describing the situation of their new
home, by the side of a little stream, and saying that she thought she
had found a pleasant resting-place.

Father, mother, and eight children were all gathered together one
peaceful Sabbath; the two elder sons having come home from their places
of business to spend a few days with their family. Kind and affectionate
words were spoken—a thankful retrospect of the past, and hopeful
glancings to the future.

The next day the little stream began to rise and swell, and the children
greatly enjoyed the transformation of their quiet brook into the rushing
torrent. Enjoyment, however, gave place to alarm as the waters rose
higher and higher, till they reached the house.

Some men from the village came down and advised them to seek a more
secure shelter. On measuring the waters, however, they found that they
had fallen four inches; and the father, thinking that the worst was
over, concluded that they had better remain in the house. The men,
gathering up some clothes that had been left out to dry, handed them to
the inmates of the house, and left them.

There were anxious hearts in that lonely dwelling that night, as they
listened to the rushing waters without. The baby wakened, and the elder
brother, to amuse and quiet the little thing, gave it his watch to play
with. Suddenly there was a crash, and the house was loosened from its
foundations. There was a cry heard from the wife and mother, and then
all other sounds were lost in the roar of the waters. Stunned, half
unconscious, the father felt himself borne onward by the rushing flood.
As the stream carried him past an overhanging tree, he caught hold of
its branches, and there he hung till the morning light brought help and
rescue. He was a childless man; the loving faces of wife and children he
was to see no more till the morning of the resurrection. Four of the
bodies were found the next morning beneath the ruins of the house. The
infant’s hand clasped the watch, still ticking, while its own pulse was
stopped forever. The waters of the stream, swelled by the great freshet,
had been obstructed by a culvert on the railway till it gave way, and
the accumulated mass of waters had swept on with resistless impetuosity,
working ruin and death.

And then Mr. Laurence enforced the lesson so often taught, so soon
forgotten, of so living that when the cry is heard, “Behold the
bridegroom cometh!” whether at midnight or in the morning, we may go
forth with joy to meet him.



                              CHAPTER VI.
                            INDIAN STORIES.

              Home of the Indian’s wild-born race,
                The stalwart and the brave;
              Alike their camp and hunting-place,
                Their battle-field and grave;
              Where late gigantic warriors stood,
              As thick as pine-trees in the wood,
                Or snipes on Jersey shore;
              “Tecumseh,” “Beaver,” and “Split Log,”
              And “Keokuk,” and “Horned Frog,”
              And “Blackhawk,” “Wolf,” and “Yelping Dog,”
              And “Possum Tail,” and “Pollywog,”
                And many hundred more.—F. G. H.


Again in the cars for a journey to St. Anthony’s Falls, and again the
fertile rolling prairie met the eye on every side. The view was somewhat
marred by the high board fences of the railroad, that in some places hid
those broad flowery fields. Some curious mounds, round, smooth, and
green, extended like a chain from east to west, and looked as if they
were artificial formations, lying as they do on the bosom of the
prairie; perhaps the burial-place of a departed race.

Soon the high lands on the Mississippi were seen. A portly gentleman of
Galena, just returning from a convention at Springfield, pointed them
out to Mrs. Lester, and said, “Ma’am, there is no such river in the
world; you never saw such scenery; you would not look at the Hudson
after it.”

“That would be unfortunate,” replied Mrs. Lester, “as my home is on the
Hudson. Is the scenery finer than the Highlands and the Catskills?”

“Well, ma’am, I can’t exactly say as to that; I have not been below
Albany.”

“Ah, then, you have not seen our beautiful river, as it cannot boast of
much grandeur above Albany.”

Galena is a curious town, built on the side of a very steep hill; the
houses rising one above another, and in a picturesque, romantic region.
The road lay for some time along the bank of the Fever River, and Norman
looked in vain for the lead mines, for which this part of the country is
so famous. A very fine specimen of the lead ore was afterward given him.

“Ah! look, mother!” he exclaimed, as the descending sun that had been
partially vailed, shone through a rift in the clouds, and was brightly
mirrored in the placid waters of the river. Low wooded banks and islands
were also mirrored there as well as the shining orb and the large dark
masses of clouds. It was the great sight of the afternoon.

At Dunleith, on the line between Illinois and Wisconsin, the terminus of
the Illinois Central road, they went on board the Grey Eagle, the best
boat on the Upper Mississippi.

A sunset on the _Missi-sepe_, the Great River! It was radiant and
golden, but without any pomp of crimson clouds, of long-trailing glory.

Norman had a fine view of Dubuque, built on a natural terrace on the
opposite shore, and creeping up four of five ravines between the great
bluffs which rise directly behind the town. After tea, as the boat was
not to leave till morning, he watched the lights gleaming out from the
city below, and the scattered dwellings above, and then went to bed in
his state-room.

His mother had not met the friends whom she had expected to join at
Dunleith for this excursion, and she felt somewhat disappointed. The
morning came in clouds and drizzling rain. The hills were vailed; but as
the boat went very near the western shore, the passengers could admire
the wealth of foliage, and the rich greens of those primeval forests. A
road ran along the river bank, and some men were quarrying stone; near
this was a deserted log-house.

On passing a very high red bluff, that stood in the forest, like an
Egyptian idol, so curiously was it fashioned, Mrs. Lester ran to the
east side of the boat to call Norman to look at it. He came, but after a
hasty glance returned to his play, which for the time wholly absorbed
him. He was engaged in some merry games with Helen and Frank Lisle, and
he had no thought for anything else. Mrs. Lisle found that Norman was
the son of a minister who had been an intimate friend of her sister’s.
“My sister has very frequently spoken to me of him,” she said; “I almost
think I had known him. My sister named her eldest son after your father,
Norman, and I have been strangely reminded of Lester at your age all the
morning.”

Norman remained a while to look at a large raft which his mother had
called him to see. There were twenty men upon it; some of them with red
shirts, and another wrapping a white blanket around him. There was a
shed where one man was cooking the dinner, and a board table in front
for their meals. A gentleman said that a raft of that size was worth
about seven thousand dollars. There were a number of rafts floating by
this western shore. One misses the white sails of the Hudson on the
Mississippi, where rafts, and steamboats, and an occasional sail-boat,
are the only craft on its waters.

There were ravines running up among the hills, and near the shore were
layers of white stone piled regularly as if laid in mortar. Castellated
bluffs peeped out from the encircling verdure, and low islands, covered
with willows, were emerging from the recent floods. From behind one of
these the steamer Northern Light appeared, her bright golden star on a
back ground of green.

After dinner the aspect of things brightened. The clouds rolled away,
and the clear blue sky appeared in its soft beauty. The eastern now
became the most interesting side; noble bluffs were seen far above the
lofty oaks and maples, like some ancient towers, the strongholds of the
former lords of the soil. The town of Guttenbay is on a table land at
the foot of one of these bluffs, and beyond it a range of rounded hills,
softly rising above wooded islands. “O look!” said Helen Lisle, “at that
beautiful rainbow in the spray.” It was no fleeting vision, but all the
afternoon the radiant bow, with its hues of blended brightness, afforded
them a beautiful object for contemplation.

“See those trees,” cried Norman; “they look as if they were running a
race down hill.”

In crossing from the east to the west side they passed an island shaped
like a bowl, the center filled with water, and a broad green brim.
M’Gregor’s landing is a small busy town of one long street, there being
no place for another in the narrow ravine. The street was filled with
wagons, and many passengers landed to go out on the rich prairies of
Iowa, to which this ravine leads.

There is a noble view of the broad river and its wooded islands, in
crossing to _Prairie du Chien_ on the east side. Norman was amused at
seeing three dogs on this prairie, the first he had seen on the shores
of the river. The town derives its name from a family of Fox Indians,
who formerly lived there, and were known by the name of Dogs.

The fort, though now deserted, looked very finely with its white walls,
and its pleasant site, commanding the far reaches of the Mississippi,
and the prairie opening into the interior.

[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  PRAIRIE DU CHIEN.]

“Keokuk used to live here, Norman; do you remember the story you were
reading about him?”

“O yes, mother, he was such a brave man. He was chief of the Sacs and
Foxes, and yet he was such a firm friend to the whites that he exerted
all his influence to prevent his tribe from going to war with them. At
one time when the nation had determined upon a war with the United
States, he told them to burn their wigwams, kill their squaws, and then
to go into the enemy’s country to conquer or to die. This speech
convinced them of the folly of engaging in a war that could only
terminate in their ruin, and they followed his peaceful counsels.”

“And then,” asked Mrs. Lester, “how did he show his magnanimity when the
people were wearied with his goodness, as the Athenians of old were at
hearing Aristides called the Just?”

“O yes, that was at Prairie du Chien too. They chose a young man for
chief instead of the noble chief who so long had led them. He quietly
took the lower place, and introduced his youthful successor to the
United States agent, asking him to treat him as kindly as he had treated
Keokuk. This noble conduct showed the tribe their folly, and Keokuk was
soon restored to his place as their chief.”

“Poor Red Bird,” said Mrs. Lester, “this spot was a fatal one to him. He
was a real Indian hero; tall, lithe, and beautiful, graceful in
movement, skilled in feats of agility, daring and brave.”

“Why was this spot fatal to him?” asked Helen.

“He was a great friend to the whites,” replied Mrs. Lester, and dealt
kindly and truly with them. An Indian had been killed by a white man,
and his tribe demanded scalps to atone for this murder. Red Bird was
sent to obtain the scalp of the white man, but he returned, saying he
could find none.

Then came the cruel taunts of the revengeful savages; “Red Bird was no
brave;” “he feared the pale-faces;” “he cared not to avenge the blood of
one of their tribe.” “Red Bird must go again,” and this time not alone,
but accompanied by cruel Indians, to watch his movements. Poor Red Bird
had never met the pale-faces but with truth and kindness, and now a
hundred voices clamored for their destruction; and these voices
overpowered the still small voice within him.

Red Bird and his two companions entered a cabin, a little below Prairie
du Chien, at noon-day. It was a peaceful family group, fearing no evil.
The woman was washing near the window that looked toward the river; her
husband was seated by the cradle of his sleeping child, while an old
soldier sat near the door. The Indians asked for something to eat, and
as the woman gave them some bread and milk, she saw an expression in
their faces that led her to fly from the cabin to call for help. No help
could reach the ill-fated occupants of the cabin. The tomahawk of the
Indians rapidly descended; Red Bird scalped the husband and father, the
second Indian the soldier, while the fair hair of the infant was
dangling at the belt of the third savage, as he left the cabin.

“And what became of Red Bird?” asked Helen.

“He was taken by the United States officers, and brought to trial. Red
Bird, sad and stately, drew himself up to his full height, and said that
he had always been a friend of the white man, that he had never before
injured them, and that he had been forced to this act of retaliation by
the taunts of his tribe; that he thought they ought not to condemn him
for a single offense.”

[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  INDIANS KILLING A WHITE FAMILY.]

“He was put in irons, an indignity that so wrought upon his lofty
spirit, that he pined to death.”

“Look at that log-cabin on the bank,” said Norman; “perhaps that is the
one Keokuk slept in one night.”

“Why did he go there?” asked Helen.

“He came in and asked for a night’s lodging. The settler’s family, who
had seen many Indians about in the afternoon, were afraid; but the noble
countenance of their guest reassured them, and they gave him permission
to stay. In the morning he told them that his tribe were returning up
the river, after having received their money from the United States, and
that as some of them had drunk the firewater, he feared they might alarm
the pale-faces in the cabin, and therefore he had come to project them.”

Painted Rock, so called because there are Indian paintings upon it, was
on the opposite side of the river, in deep shadow, while the green hill
sloping toward the south, lay in broad sunshine.

Dwellings nestled in a pretty ravine were frowned upon by four lofty
cliffs, whose rugged rocks resembled fortifications. One rock looked
precisely like the fragment of a massive wall. Just beyond, a valley,
branching in three directions, ran up among the hills. Over one of
these, to the south, the dark shadow of the bluff was thrown, while the
soft rounded hills to the north were covered with scattered trees,
resembling orchards on the hillside, giving a cultivated look to the
scene.

No docks are needed, as the steamer, that only draws about eighteen
inches of water, runs up anywhere close to the shore. As it was
approaching the bank they saw a log-cabin, in the door of which stood a
man, and a little child in red frock and white pantalets, making a
pretty picture.

On the jutting point where the boat touched was a white house, and a
young girl, with an earthen pitcher, was walking down the stone steps
leading to the water.

A great yellow Egyptian-looking cliff threw a shadow over this peaceful
scene.

“There are the nine passengers who are to land at this place,” exclaimed
Norman, as a man walked up the road followed by eight sheep. “He has
been surrounded by that family ever since we left Dunleith.”

“He looks very well satisfied now to have them all safely landed,” said
Helen Lisle; “how pleased his children will be at the grand arrival.”

The bluffs were now magnificent. The limestone strata extended in
straight lines, looking like streets; then a bold red bluff towered up
like a great cathedral; then a building resembling the New York Free
Academy, while lofty masses of rock, crowned and encircled with verdure,
continually remind one of the feudal castles of the Rhine. It was with
reluctance they obeyed the summons to tea, which withdrew them from the
ruddy cliffs of Wisconsin; but on returning to the deck they saw them
still, glowing in the light of the setting sun:

                 “Each rosy peak, each flinting spire,
                 Was bathed in floods of living fire;
                 Their rocky summits, split and rent,
                 Form’d turret, dome, or battlement;
                 Or seem’d fantastically set,
                 With cupola or minaret.”

There is the mouth of the Upper Iowa River, on the boundary line of Iowa
and Minnesota. “Good-by, Iowa,” said Norman, taking off his hat and
waving it to the receding state.

“Crossing the river again,” said Mrs. Lester. “We will soon be at the
mouth of the Bad Axe River, but the light is fading so rapidly that we
will not be able to see the spot of the decisive conflict between the
Indian and white man.”

“I never heard of that battle mother, will you tell me something about
it?”

“It was at the close of the Black Hawk war, in 1832. The Indians were
entirely defeated by the United States troops at this place. A number of
squaws were slain in the wild confusion of battle, not being
distinguished from the Indians in the long grass into which they had
fled for refuge. One poor woman, as she received her mortal wound,
clasped her child close to her bosom, and fell over upon it, thus
pinioning it to the ground. The poor little thing was found the next day
under the lifeless body of its mother. Its arm was broken, and the child
was so starved that, even during the painful operation of setting the
broken bone, it eagerly devoured some meat given to it by the
compassionate soldier who had rescued it from the arms now powerless for
its protection. The love of another mother bore her safely over the deep
waters. She placed her papoose in her blanket, and holding it between
her teeth, she swam across the broad river, and reached the opposite
shore in safety.”



                              CHAPTER VII.
                    SECOND DAY UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.

                   “It seems to float ever, forever,
                   Upon that many winding river,
                   Between mountains, woods, abysses,
                   A paradise of wildernesses.”


“It must have been a proud moment for De Soto when he first looked upon
the lower waters of this magnificent river,” said Mrs. Lester, as she
sat with Norman on the guards of the boat the next morning; “what a
scene it must have been; the canoes of the Indians floating on the
waters, while on the banks hundreds of the red men, with white feathers
waving o’er their brows, were gazing with wonder at their new visitors.

“And when he and his followers had crossed the bank, and the Indians
knelt to the white chief, whom they thought was one of the children of
the sun, to ask him for life for the dying, he told them to pray to God,
who alone could help them.

“Soon in this dreary western wilderness the princely De Soto breathed
his last. His people, fearing to let the Indians know of his death,
wrapped up his body, and buried it beneath the waters of the great river
he had discovered; while, for the first time, a Christian requiem,
softly chanted in the darkness, mingled with the music of its winds and
waves.”[1]

Footnote 1:

  De Soto never saw the Upper Mississippi. He ascended the Lower
  Mississippi as far as the Missouri. He died and was buried somewhere
  near the mouth of the Arkansas River.—ED.

“And so,” said Norman, “the mighty river is a memorial of him. How much
I would like to have seen birch-canoes floating on the river. And I do
believe there is one made fast to the shore just by that ‘dug-out.’”

“What an ugly word ‘dug-out’ is; so different from the birch canoe,”
said Mrs. Lester.

“But, mother, it just tells what it is; a trunk of a tree, hollowed or
dug out in the shape of a boat. But see how pretty that bark canoe is!
Don’t you remember we were reading about it in Hiawatha; how he girdled
the birch-tree just above its roots, and just below its lower branches,
then cut it from top to bottom, and stripped it, unbroken, from the tree
with a wooden wedge?”

“Well, what did he do then?”

“He made a framework of cedar-boughs, like two bended bows, and then he
sewed the bark together with the roots of the larch-tree; bound it to
the framework, and stopped up all the seams and crevices with resin from
the fir-tree. And then he embroidered it with porcupine quills.”

“You remember pretty well how the canoe was made, Norman. I wish you
could recall some of those lines about the birch canoe you were so fond
of repeating.”

“I think I can, mother,” said Norman; “at any rate I will repeat what I
remember:”

                  “Thus the birch canoe was builded
                  In the valley, by the river,
                  In the bosom of the forest;
                  And the forest’s life was in it,
                  All its mystery, and its magic,
                  All the lightness of the birch-tree,
                  All the toughness of the cedar,
                  All the larch’s supple sinews;
                  And it floated on the river
                  Like a yellow leaf in autumn,
                  Like a yellow water-lily.”

“I am very glad that I have seen a birch canoe; but I would like to see
some Indians in it; not an Indian have I seen on the banks of this
river. Now we are going to take in wood. I wish I could go on shore.”

It did, indeed, look most inviting, that piece of woodland, with its
high umbrageous roof, and deep dark recesses; and many of the gentlemen
went on shore to gather flowers and cut sticks for canes; one of these
was handed to Norman as a remembrance of the woods of Minnesota.

The bank was bordered with two long wood-piles; and one of the officers
of the boat measured the height and length of a section; and, at a word,
twelve stout Irishmen sprung on shore, and seizing each his half dozen
sticks, trotted on board. Rapid as were their movements, it was a long
time before the great wood-pile was transferred to the deck of the
steamer, but it was pleasant to enjoy the fragrance of the forest and
the sweet songs of its birds.

About mid-day they entered Lake Pepin, an expansion of the river
twenty-four miles long, and from two to four miles wide. It is a
beautiful sheet of water, with high rocky bluffs on the eastern, and
rounded wooded hills on the western bank, while it is bordered with a
broad beach of white gravel. A fresh breeze crossed its waters, almost
rising into a stiff gale. Sudden gales of wind are not uncommon on this
lake, often obliging steamers to lay to until their violence is over.

On the western shore is the celebrated Maiden’s Rock, a bold,
precipitous bluff, rising four hundred feet above the lake. All eyes
were turned toward its towering height. Its story is one of great
beauty.

A maiden of the Sioux had given her heart to a chief of her own tribe,
who had sought her love. The parents, however, would not consent to her
alliance with the young brave, but insisted on her marrying an old
chief, of great wisdom and influence in the nation. The marriage-day was
fixed, and Oola-Ita, with other Indian maidens, was gathering berries on
the brow of this cliff for the wedding-feast. Suddenly a plaintive song
rose on the sea, and they saw the beautiful Oola-Ita poised gracefully
on the very edge of the precipice, her head upraised, and her long hair
floating in the wind, as she warbled her parting song. In a moment,
before a friendly hand could arrest her, she leaped from the precipice,
and was dashed to pieces on the rocks below.

[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  MAIDEN’S ROCK.]

Six miles above Lake Pepin is the town of Red Wing, finely situated on
the river bank, beneath the shadow of a towering bluff. There was
formerly the village of Talangamane, or the Red Wing, esteemed the first
chief of his nation. The university which bears Bishop Hamline’s name,
and which has been founded by his liberal gift, may be seen from the
water, and near it is a large Methodist church.

Two weeks after a terrible accident happened at this town. The steamer
Galena took fire. The pilot manfully kept his place at the wheel; amid
the scorching flames he brought the boat to the shore, and kept her
there till the passengers had escaped. A mother and three children were
lost, but the rest stood in their night-clothes on the shore; some of
them stripped of the means which were to provide them with a home in the
new country to which they were going, but thankful for lives saved from
flood and flame.

The presiding elder of the district came on board at Red Wing. He was
introduced to Mrs. Lester by a Baptist minister, who was returning to
St. Paul with his bride. He had been in the country for twelve years,
and his varied knowledge made him a most agreeable companion. He had
been brought in familiar contact with the Indians and with the settlers;
he could tell of the wigwam, and the log cabin, and the thriving towns
now replacing them; he knew the character of the strata of the river
bank and the names of the trees in the forest. He had visited an Indian
mission four hundred miles above the Falls of St. Anthony; had ascended
part of it in a canoe carried over the portage past the rapids, by
half-breeds. A most quiet, domestic river it is above St. Anthony,
flowing through beautiful prairies covered with grapes and wild flowers,
diversified with gentle hills and groves of oak. These prairies were
formerly the resort of herds of buffaloes and deer; wolves, too, roamed
over them, and just before dawn might be heard the hideous cry of the
great white owl. Abundance of water-fowl used to be seen here; ducks,
geese, pelicans, swans, and snipe; while the hawk, buzzard, and eagle
sailed on lofty wing in the regions of upper air.

The waters of the St. Croix River looked blue and beautiful as they
flowed from the lovely lake at its mouth into the more turbid waters of
the Mississippi, with which they refuse for some time to mingle, the
currents of different hues running side by side. Magnificent forests,
huge trees (primeval) of stately trunk and deep rich foliage, adorn the
shores of the river, or the large islands in its broad bosom.

Norman saw three wigwams on one of these islands, and two Indian boys
seated on the shore. Not very far from this was formerly a Sioux village
of _Le Petit Corbeau_, or the Little Raven. An anecdote is told of this
Indian chief, which very finely illustrates the Saviour’s precept: “If
any man take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”

The Little Raven, going one morning to examine his beaver-trap, found a
_sauteur_ in the act of stealing it. The thief, looking up, saw the
chief of a nation with which his own was at war, standing looking at him
with a loaded rifle in his hands. The culprit expected instant death.
How great then was his astonishment when the Sioux chief, approaching
him, said: “Be not alarmed, I come to present you the trap, of which I
see you stand in need. You are entirely welcome to it. Take my gun also,
as I perceive you have none of your own, and depart with it to the land
of your countrymen; but linger not here, lest some of my young men, who
are panting for the blood of their enemies, should discover your
footsteps in our country, and should fall upon you.” So saying, he gave
him his gun and his accoutrements, and returned unarmed to his village.

One would think that this Indian chief must have heard and received the
sublime words of the apostle:

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto
wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the
Lord; therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him
drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not
overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”



                             CHAPTER VIII.
                     OWAH-MENAH, THE FALLING WATER.

                  “In the land of the Dacotahs,
                  Where the Falls of Minnehaha,
                  Flash and gleam among the oak-trees,
                  Laugh and leap into the valley.”


St. Paul, “the diadem city of the northwest,” situated on high bluffs,
at a bend of the river, looked very imposing in the light of a glowing
sunset. The noisy cries of the hackmen and runners for the different
hotels filled the air as the boat touched the wharf. Fourteen of the
passengers took the stage for St. Anthony’s Falls. Norman was seated on
the top of the stage-coach. The glimmering twilight and the pale
moonlight were not, however, very favorable for distant views of a new
country. Companies of emigrants had pitched their tents and kindled
their fire to cook their evening meal. The light played upon the faces
of parents and children grouped around the fire, and fell upon the white
cover of the prairie wagons, near which the horses were tied.

There were glimpses of the Mississippi, of a large hotel and a high
observatory; and exclamations from sleepy children at the great
musquetos lighting upon their faces in the darkness. There was a sound
of waters in the air, and a great building loomed up in the dim light,
and they were at the Winslow House. Great halls, large parlors richly
furnished, and bed-rooms with velvet carpets and luxuriously stuffed
chairs. Very grand for the northwest. It was past eleven o’clock, and
the wearied travelers were glad to seek repose.

At four o’clock in the morning Mrs. Lester was awakened by a knock at
her door. It was from an untiring fellow-traveler, who wished to see all
that was to be seen in time to return to the Grey Eagle at ten. Mrs.
Lester thanked her, but said she could not get ready in time, and from
her window she watched the lady, her brother, and her niece on their way
to the falls and the bridge. Sightseeing seemed particularly
unattractive in that grey morning twilight that clothes the landscape
with a more sober livery than that of evening.

After some ineffectual attempts to arouse Norman, Mrs. Lester went to
the observatory, at the top of the great hotel, to see the sun rise. It
was a noble view; the town of St. Anthony immediately beneath the eye;
the Mississippi, with its falls, suspension bridge, and wooded island
above, and the rocky chasm below; Minneapolis, with its spires and fine
hotels, on the opposite side of the river, and the boundless prairie
meeting the sky in that encircling horizon.

[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  FALLS OF ST. ANTHONY.]

At length Norman was awakened, and after sundry calls from his mother to
hasten his movements, he sallied forth with her for a walk. Walking down
the street for some distance, they crossed a little bridge leading past
a large stone mill, and after scrambling over a stony path, they came to
the edge of the river and in view of the falls. Norman’s disappointment
was great. “Why, mother,” said he, “have we come all this distance to
see these falls?”

In truth they were not very imposing. The stream above was filled with
logs, floated down to be sawed in the mill, and many of them were lodged
above and below the fall, while a shingle-machine was built in the
center. Man’s work had taken away all the wild grace of nature.

The fall is only seventeen feet high, but the whole scene looks finely
from the bridge below, and from the Minneapolis side, whence it was seen
by the party that set out on their rambles at four o’clock in the
morning.

It was a very warm morning, but near the river the air was cool and
refreshing, and Norman gathered wild roses and rose-buds in all their
dewy freshness. The charm of early birds, too, was not wanting at
_Owah-Menah_, the musical Indian name, changed by Father Hennepin, a
French missionary, who visited this spot in 1680, to St. Anthony’s
Falls.

As the falls of a mighty river, they are worth seeing; and they are at
the point of transition from the prairies of the Upper Mississippi, to
the rugged limestone bluffs below; oaks growing above, and cedars and
pines below.

On their way to the hotel Norman gathered some purple flowers growing in
great profusion, while his mother wandered to the suspension bridge so
gracefully thrown over the river, looked at the pretty wooded island,
and at the mass of drift logs collected in the boom.

After a nice and beautifully served breakfast, Norman and his mother got
into a carriage to return to St. Paul and the Grey Eagle. They would
have liked to spend the day at St. Paul, but Mrs. Lester was anxious to
return home, as she thought she would be able to do, before the Sabbath.
They crossed the suspension bridge, drove through Minneapolis, called to
say good-by to Mrs. Lisle and the children, who had added so much to the
pleasure of their river travel, and then rapidly over the broad prairie.

Their attention was attracted by a lonely tomb, deeply shaded with
trees, on the banks of the Minnehaha, and the driver told them that it
was the tomb of the young wife and child of an officer of the army, who,
when stationed at Fort Snelling, buried his beloved ones on the banks of
this romantic stream.

The driver stopped; they were on the prairie, with nothing to excite
expectation.

                     “The falls of Minnehaha[2]
                   Did not call them from a distance;
                   Did not cry to them afar off.”

Footnote 2:

  See Frontispiece.

Then getting out of the carriage, and descending a narrow path, the fall
was before them, perfectly satisfying in its beauty; a gem of a fall, at
once stamping its image on the memory; “a thing of beauty” to be “a joy
forever.”

The fall is sixty feet high, and makes one graceful leap over an
amphitheater of rock, that recedes far enough to enable one to walk
round behind the fall, beneath the overhanging cliff. One large tree
grew on the steep bank on which they stood, sufficiently near to make a
fine foreground to the picture, and throw its masses of foliage across
the fall. There was nothing to mar the perfect loveliness of the scene.
A stir in the branches of the great tree against which Norman leaned
induced him to look up, and there, upon the bough,

                             “With tail erected
                   Sat the squirel, Adjidanmo;
                   In his fur the breeze of morning
                   Play’d as in the prairie grasses.”

Norman watched him leap surely from branch to branch, over the deep
abyss below, and then gathered some pretty flowers within reach, and
asked the guide to gather some graceful hare-bells that hung over the
steep cliff.

Another look from the head of the falls, and a few more flowers
gathered, which they pressed, together with the rose-buds from
Owah-Menah, and they got into the carriage.

Soon they reached Fort Snelling, in which Norman was very much
interested. They drove round the deserted barracks, no longer astir with
“the pomp and circumstance of war.” Norman would have enjoyed seeing the
sentinel on duty and the soldiers on parade. His mother thought of the
lonely lives the officers and their families must have led on that
frontier post, far, far as it then was from the center of civilized
life.

The fort commands a noble view, placed as it is on a commanding bluff at
the junction of the Mississippi and the St. Peters rivers. The valley of
the St. Peters, sloping upward, with its sunny fields, its aromatic
grasses, and noble groves, stretches onward in its beauty as far as the
eye can reach. In this valley is found the fine red stone of which the
Indians make the bowls of their pipes; the red paint the Sioux use so
much, and the blue and green clay used in painting, are also found here.
This lovely valley had recently been the scene of a bloody battle
between the Sioux and Chippewas, and the driver told Norman that he had
seen some of wounded Indians carried through St. Anthony by some of
their tribe.

From the earliest times these two nations have been at war; a feud
transmitted from generation to generation.

How few of these Indians have learned the great lessons of loving
kindness which the white men ought to have taught them. Steadily
retreating from their broad prairies, their great lakes and rivers,
before the advancing tread of the white man, they have not, as they gave
up their beautiful homes, got a title to a grander and more glorious
inheritance in the spirit land. How many have received firewater and
fire-arms, at the hand of the white man! how few have taken from him the
cup of salvation! Some of the customs of the Sioux seem to indicate that
they have come from Asia, across the narrow straits that divide the two
continents. They offer sacrifices and prayers to an unknown God; they
have feasts of thanksgiving after deliverance from danger; they offer
meat and burnt-offerings; they burn incense. These customs, together
with their peculiar countenances and utterances, their own traditions,
and the testimony of other nations, have convinced careful observers
that they are descendants of a race of Asiatics.[3]

Footnote 3:

  Pike’s Expedition.

The road winds around the hill on which the fort is built, and Norman
saw many swallows flying into nests excavated in the banks of white
sand-stone.

Crossing the river by a rope ferry, they ascended the opposite bank, and
drove rapidly onward till they stopped to visit Carver’s Cave.

There are several large rooms rounded in the white sand-stone, which
crumbles at the touch. The floor was of pure white fine sand, powdered,
while through the cave flowed a stream clear as crystal. Norman stooped
and drank freely of the cool refreshing water. He was delighted. “How
beautiful these arched walls are,” he exclaimed; “how curious to have
such rooms hollowed out of the earth.”

There were other apartments to be reached, through a narrow passage, but
the driver had no torch with him, and it was not advisable to venture in
the darkness. Norman broke off a piece of the sand-stone as a memorial
of the cave, and then hastened to the carriage.

Over the prairie, with its abundant blossoms; along the high bluffs upon
which St. Paul is built; through a long busy street; a pause at the door
of a gentleman whom Mrs. Lester had known in her old home in the East,
and they were once more on the Grey Eagle.

And there was the lady whom they had left at the Winslow House, just
getting out of the stage. Her face brightened as she heard of Fort
Snelling, the lovely Minnehaha, and Carver’s Cave; but then she had had
a very satisfactory view of St. Anthony’s Falls, and had been able to
verify, in the truth-telling daylight, the vague and indistinct
impressions of a moonlight drive.



                              CHAPTER IX.
                         DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI.

          Thus our idle fancies shaped themselves that day,
          Mid the bluffs, and headlands, and the islets gray,
          As we travel’d southward in our gallant ship,
          Floating, drifting, dreaming down the Mississippi.

                                                    MACKAY.


The gentleman whom Mrs. Lester had called to see, and who was out
driving at the time, came to the boat to see her, and promised her many
lovely drives if she would prolong her visit. There were many things to
say of old friends and scenes, and he sat talking in the saloon till
Norman ran in to say that the boat had left the wharf. Good-by was
hurriedly said, and Mr. —— hastened to the captain to ask him to put him
ashore, as he was not prepared for a voyage down the Mississippi.

“That is the way,” said the captain; “people do not mind their own
business, and then I have to attend to it.”

He good-humoredly, however, gave the order to arrest the course of the
proud steamer, and direct its prow to the opposite shore. It was the
work of some minutes, for they are obliged, in stopping at a landing
going down stream, to turn the bow up the current.

“Well, captain,” said Mr. ——, as he sprang on shore, “I promise you to
go down twice in the Grey Eagle for this.”

There were some curious caves on the eastern bank of the river, walled
up and with windows in them. In one of these the owner keeps his
vegetables, as it is perfectly protected from the frost.

Going down the river was the going up reversed, and yet the same scenery
became new, seen under different aspects. The broad sunlight that now
lay on land and water was not so favorable to artistic effect as the
softened light and the lengthening shadows of the previous evening.

After dinner the Rev. Mr. Maynard asked Mrs. Lester to go into the bow
of the boat, where there was a cool breeze, most welcome in that sultry
summer day, and a fine view of the scenery. Norman would not go; he was
tired, and preferred reading in the saloon, where his mother left him.
Nearly an hour passed away, and as they were, approaching the St. Croix
River, Mrs. Lester said: “I must show Norman this beautiful sheet of
water; he did not see it when we went up.”

Through the long saloon she went, opened her state-room door, he was not
there; out on the guards, not there. She asked the stewardess, who had
not seen him since dinner. Breathless with agitation, Mrs. Lester rushed
upstairs to the hurricane-deck, meeting Mr. Maynard, who had come up the
opposite side to look in the pilot-house; the boy was not there! where
could he be?

Mr. Maynard had looked in the steerage, the barber’s shop; there was no
corner of the boat unvisited, and the terrible dread that he had fallen
overboard was settling down on his mother’s heart as she sank down on a
chair in the saloon, when the stewardess exclaimed, as she opened the
door of the state-room, “Here he is, asleep in the upper berth!” And
there he was, fast asleep, with two life-preservers, which he had tied
around him, and which his mother had mistaken for a gray comforter.

Norman, awakened, looked down with some wonder at the group at the door.
It was very hot; the sun’s fervent rays were shining upon the
state-room, and the life-preservers rather added to the heat, so that
Norman had had a pretty warm time. But he had made up by a sound sleep
for the late sitting up of the night before, and the early rising at St.
Anthony, and he was now quite ready to enjoy the afternoon.

Mr. Maynard, greatly relieved that Norman was found, pointed out his
house on the high bank of the river at Prescott, and then said good-by,
as he was going home.

Lake Pepin looked finely, with the “wavy curvature of its guardian
hills;” and again the Maiden’s Rock attracted all eyes. Lake City is
prettily situated beneath the bluffs on the western bank. A young girl,
who there came on the boat, told a sad story.

A few days before, a party of merry young people got into a boat, to
sail over to Maiden’s Rock. The party was planned to celebrate the
birthday of a young girl who, with her sister, and two friends, sisters,
on a visit to them, had just returned from school for their vacation.
Two young gentlemen and another young lady completed the party. The
morning was bright, and the sail charming. There was no cloud in the
sky, no shadow on that youthful group. They climbed the Maiden’s Rock,
gathered berries like those Indian maidens, and talked of the sad fate
of the chief’s daughter; little dreaming that in a few short hours the
fate of Oola-Ita was to be theirs, that they, too, were looking for the
last time on the waters of Lake Pepin!

On their return a sudden flaw of wind upset their boat in the middle of
the lake. The young men charged the young girls to hold fast to the boat
as it floated, upturned, in the water. They did so till, one by one,
their hands becoming numb and powerless, and their strength exhausted,
they sunk to rise no more! The long hair of one of the girls became
entangled around the button of the coat of one of the young men, and he
succeeded in lifting her up, and reaching the shore with her. The four
sisters were gone, and as the three survivors entered the town with
their heavy tidings, the friends of the two sisters visiting Lake City
drove in to take them home. Alas, they were already beyond the reach of
earthly help or love!

In a few days the bodies of these four young girls were found, two of
them far down at the other end of the lake. Every heart sympathized with
the bereaved parents, and while their house was left to them desolate,
the shadow of grief rested on the whole town.

A clear sunset and fading twilight gave place to the rising glories of
the queen of night.

About ten o’clock the boat stopped by the side of a forest to take in
wood. Pine fagots, lighted on the shore, cast a ruddy glow on the men,
who ran rapidly to and fro with their burden.

The moonlight slept peacefully on the waters, while from out of the
shadowy recesses of the grove a whippowill charmed the night into
silence. Rapid, clear, and distinct were those sweet sounds, as if he
wished to sing his song for the listening ears soon to be far away. He
seemed to have all the wood to himself, as he warbled his delicious
notes. In harmony were they with the still beauty of that summer night,
with the mystery of that woodland scene, and the quiet ripple of the
moonlit waters.

“Loud, and sudden, and near, the note of the whippowill sounded, like a
flute in the woods; and anon, through the neighboring thickets. Further
and further away it floated, and dropped into silence.”

Later in the night there was alarm and confusion on board. The steamer
Itasca, at a landing, ran into the Grey Eagle, breaking her
paddle-wheel. There was a crash, and for some time none knew the extent
of the injury received. The engines were stopped. The emigrants sleeping
on the deck, near the broken wheel, roused by the collision, were
transferred, with their sleeping children, to the other side, and
fruitless attempts were made to repair the injury. After a delay of two
hours the machinery was again set in motion, and the one paddle-wheel
had to do all the work. Happily Norman and his mother, who were on the
quiet side of the boat, slept through all the noise and confusion.



                               CHAPTER X.
                    FOURTH DAY UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.

      Safely led and guided by pilots who could tell
      The pulses of the river, its windings, and its swell;
      Who knew its closest secrets, by dark as well as light,
      Each bluff and ringing forest, each swamp or looming height.

                                                MACKAY.


Early in the morning Winona appeared, surrounded by its protecting
hills, reposing, as do most of those pretty towns, in the shadow of the
great bluffs, “like peace in the bosom of strength.”

The boat stopped for some time at La Crosse, a very nourishing town.
Here Mrs. Lester saw two Indians in blankets and leggings, a sight
Norman missed, to his great disappointment. He was at the other end of
the boat, too far off to be summoned in time.

The pilot, having just left his watch of six hours, came and invited
them to come up to the pilot-house in the afternoon. It was a welcome
invitation, for the day was very warm, and the pilot-house, with its
cool breeze, and its commanding view of the scenery, was a most
desirable place. Norman admired the handsome pilot as, with steadfast
eye and erect figure, he stood at the wheel, scanning the waters, and
guiding the vessel in the channel, winding round the islands, and from
one shore to the other of the great river. Turning the wheel, first to
the right, and then to the left, it seems very easy work, a very simple
operation; and yet what destinies depend upon those movements; fortune,
happiness, life, all involved! Hundreds of human beings pass days of
enjoyment and nights of quiet rest because they have faith in their
pilot.

And there are men who, as they guide the pen, or utter calm, truthful
words, or pray in the deep of their hearts, seem to be doing very
little, and yet those pen traces, those simple words, those earnest
prayers, may guide hundreds in the perilous voyage of life, may direct
their course away from the shoals and snags that threaten destruction,
and float them safely to their desired haven.

Norman was greatly mortified at the disabled state of the Grey Eagle,
one wing broken, how could she maintain her triumphant flight? Others
accustomed to yield the palm, now passed her with ease.

“I hope they know that her paddle-wheel is broken,” said Norman; “just
look at those boats; what efforts they are making to pass us!”

Norman watched the boats with great interest, as they put on more steam,
and darted past the Grey Eagle, making the landings before her, and
carrying off the waiting passengers.

The view, crossing the river from Prairie du Chien, overlooking the
islands as they now could from their elevated position, was extremely
fine.

The Northern Light and the Grey Eagle met at M’Gregor’s Landing, and the
captain of the latter was telling the captain of the former about his
broken paddle-wheel and his consequently tardy progress.

“There is a lady trying to speak to you,” said the pilot. On the
Northern Light was Mrs. Ralston, with whom Mrs. Lester had intended to
journey to St. Paul. Handkerchiefs were waved and mute signals
attempted, but the few desired words of explanation were wanting. Near
and yet afar off. The boats soon parted for their opposite points of
destination, and Mr. and Mrs. Ralston, from the hurricane deck, waved
their good-by. Nearly opposite M’Gregor’s landing is the mouth of the
Wisconsin River.

“There was a memorable voyage on that river nearly two hundred years
ago,” said Mrs. Lester. “Two canoes, containing seven men, floated down
these waters, ‘entering happily this great river with a joy that could
not be expressed.’”

“Who were they, mother?”

“Father Marquette, the gentle, good missionary; Joliet, a citizen of
Quebec, and five Frenchmen, their companions. They had left the Fox
River, which flows into Green Bay, and carrying their canoes, they
crossed the narrow portage that divides it from the Wisconsin on the
10th of June, 1673. Down the river for seven days, floating in those
majestic solitudes, seeing neither man nor beast, passing beautiful
prairies, and green hillsides, the discoverers at length reached the
great river which they were seeking to find.

“And where did they go then?” asked Norman. “Over these waters the light
birch bark canoes floated for about sixty leagues. Then they landed on
the western bank of the river, where they saw foot-prints on the shore.
They followed them till they came in sight of an Indian village.

“They commended themselves to God, and cried aloud. Four old men
advanced to meet them, bearing the calumet, the peace-pipe, adorned with
brilliant feathers, and saying, “We are Illinois,” which means, “We are
men.” The Indians invited the strangers to their village, prepared a
feast in their honor, and entertained them for six days. Several hundred
warriors then escorted them to their canoes, hanging around the neck of
Marquette, on parting, the calumet, with its plumage of various hues, a
pledge of safety for the wanderers among savage tribes.”

“Do go on, mother, and tell me something more about Marquette. I think
his adventures are very interesting.”

“I know little more about him, except that he sailed down the river past
the Missouri and the Ohio, and that some warlike Indians, armed with
clubs, axes, bows and arrows, came out to meet them with the fearful
war-whoop. Marquette stood up, holding the sacred peace-pipe, and God
touched the hearts of the Indians, so that at the sight of this symbol
they threw their bows and arrows into the canoes, and welcomed the
strangers.

“On their return they sailed up the river Illinois, through the
beautiful prairies. The tribe of Illinois that live on its banks wanted
the good missionary to remain with them, and one of their chiefs, with
his young men, led the party to Lake Michigan, by way of Chicago. Here
Marquette remained to preach to the Miamis north of Chicago, and Joliet
returned to Quebec, to announce the discovery of the upper Mississippi.

“And what became of the good Marquette?”

“Two years afterward, as he was going to Mackinaw, he entered a little
river in Michigan, which, for a long time afterward, was called by his
name. He requested the men who paddled his canoe to carry him ashore.
They did so; and there, with no shelter but the little bark cabin which
his men hastily erected, he endured great agony. But he seems to have
had faith in Christ, and died in great peace. In the gloom of the vast
forests he slept to wake again in the green solitudes of the New World.
His companions dug his grave on a rising ground near the river, and
buried his body, which was afterward taken up by the Indians, and
carried with great respect to old Mackinaw, and placed in a little vault
of a Catholic church, which has long since disappeared.”

The scenery that on their upward course was vailed in mist and drizzling
rain, was now seen in its “fairest, happiest attitude.” Nothing was
wanting to “the gentle grace” of that parting day. Purple, crimson, and
gold painted the western sky, as the sun sank slowly below the horizon,
lighting up a fairy scene on the placid waters of the river. Then, as
the onward motion of the boat rudely disturbed the sleeping glory, new
combinations of beauty sought to make amends for the loss of the serene
picture of the radiant heavens. Golden ripples, a honeycomb of black and
gold, lay between them and the wooded banks toward which, as the
gorgeous tints now faded on earth and sky, Norman directed his
attention.

Rocks, decayed trees and branches covered with moss and lichen, were
faithfully mirrored in the waters, giving a kaleidescopic effect to
every object. Norman saw, simultaneously with his mother, exquisitely
tinted butterflies, insects of green and gray, stone altars, rustic
letters, and many other objects. Exclamations of wonder and admiration
were echoed from one to the other at some of these marvelous
combinations; and it was with reluctance they turned, as the twilight
deepened, from the margin of the woodland to the clear outline of the
trees against the western sky. There was still room for fancy to sketch
her pictures, and call up birds and beasts in that varied outline.

“This is the pleasantest afternoon of all,” cried Norman; “it is so nice
for us to be by ourselves.”

“And yet you forsook me first, Norman, and, absorbed in your play, lost
the first views of the Mississippi. You said there was a want with
children which children alone could supply—a demand of the social
nature.”

“I know it, mother; I know that I said so, and I enjoyed those merry
games very much; but after all this has been the happiest time.”



                              CHAPTER XI.
                          A SUNDAY IN DUBUQUE.

              “O day most calm, most bright,
                The fruit of this, the next world’s bud;
              The indorsement of supreme delight,
                Writ by a Friend and with his blood;
              The couch of time; care’s balm and bay;
              The week were dark, but for thy light:
                Thy torch doth show the way.”

                                          GEORGE HERBERT.


A very pleasant room at the Julien House afforded a welcome retreat on
the Sabbath. It was intensely hot; the burning rays of the sun were
reflected from the towering bluffs that shield the town from the west
wind. A walk of a mile and a half through the main street led them to
the Methodist church, where the services were very animating and
delightful.

A cordial greeting from the minister, who had known Mrs. Lester in the
East, was followed by a kind invitation to the parsonage, next door to
the church. There was a beautiful bunch of flowers on the table,
gathered on the prairies the day before. One, the moccasin flower, a
large yellow flower, with a sort of pouch like a gigantic calceolaria,
Norman had never seen before, and he was very much pleased when a number
of them were given to him.

Several churches to which Mrs. Lester went in the afternoon were closed,
so she continued her walk to the same church, where she heard a very
good sermon from the Presbyterian minister, to whose congregation the
use of the Methodist church was given while their own was being
repaired.

The street she took on her return home led her nearer to the bluff, up
which people were creeping to get some cool air in the oppressive
stillness of that summer afternoon. Every door was open, and quiet
pleasant interiors were revealed to the passer-by; family groups, seated
on the porch or in the parlor, reading or taking their tea.

Toward evening, as he was sitting on the window, Norman saw a number of
people flocking to the Levee, and he asked his mother’s permission to
follow them, and ascertain what had happened. He soon returned, looking
very grave and downcast. He had been in the presence of death. A young
man of nineteen had been drowned the evening before, seized with sudden
cramps while bathing, and they had just found his body. There it lay,
floating on the water, the head downward, the limbs drawn up; and in the
solemn presence of death light and careless words had been spoken that
shocked Norman, touched as he was by the unfamiliar sight. The drowned
lad was French, an orphan and a stranger in the land, with no one to
miss him or mourn for him, save one loving heart, that of a sister, left
alone without kindred or friends. Later in the evening the vehicle
containing the body stopped at a confectioner’s, on the opposite side of
the street, and the young man was carried in to the room he had left the
evening before, in the fullness of life and health.

                 “Death enters and there’s no defense;
                   His time there’s none can tell;
                 He’ll in a moment bear thee hence,
                   To heaven, or down to hell.”

Well is it in this life of uncertainty, when the happiest moments may be
darkened by the presence of this grim visitor, to be prepared for his
coming; to have our fear of him taken away; to be able to look upon him
as the messenger sent to call us to our Father’s house.

“In the midst of life we are in death: to whom then, O Lord, can we turn
but unto thee!”



                              CHAPTER XII.
                            DOWN THE RIVER.

             Down the river went they
             In and out among its islands,
             Sailed through all its bends and windings,
             Sailed through all its deeps and shallows.

                                                 HIAWATHA.


The morning came bright and warm as ever.

At the boat Norman was delighted to see his friend, the pilot of the
Grey Eagle, who introduced them to Captain Gray, of the Kate Cassel.
There he saw too the lady who brought with her memories of the early
dawn at St. Anthony. “You like to see everything that is to be seen,”
she said to Mrs. Lester; “under that bare spot you see on the bluff
south of the town is the grave of Dubuque, the Indian chief who once
owned all this land.”

“Mother,” said Norman, as their kindly informant left them, “Dubuque is
a very strange name for an Indian chief to have; he must have been named
by the French when he was a child.”

“Julien Dubuque,” replied his mother, “was not an Indian, but a
Frenchman, who bought all this valuable mining region, so rich in fine
lead ore, from the Indians, in 1788. They had been discovered two years
before by the wife of Peosta, an Indian warrior. Dubuque died in 1810.
The Julien House is named, I suppose, in his honor.”

For a hot and weary hour the deck hands were busy taking on freight:
first barrels from a warehouse on the Levee at Dubuque; then at
Dunleith, a number of reapers and mowers, very heavy and cumbersome to
be moved.

As soon as the boat was in motion Captain Gray asked Mrs. Lester if she
would go to the pilot-house, as that was the coolest part of the boat.
Very kindly he escorted her thither across the hurricane-deck. It was a
delightful change from the heated atmosphere below to the cool
refreshing breezes above.

“Two eagles at once,” said the captain. “There is something for you to
look at, my boy.”

There was the Grey Eagle, her paddles both in motion, and the War Eagle
following her in her northward course; a great sight for Norman.

The banks are well wooded, and of some elevation, and there are pretty
islands; but the scenery is more monotonous and not so grand as that of
the Upper Mississippi. The river is much more shallow, and can be
navigated only by a smaller class of steamboats.

The captain pointed out to them, on the banks of the river, the entrance
to a lead mine, and a hill-top called Pilot Knob.

At two o’clock they approached Fulton, and the captain courteously took
them on shore.

Fulton, the terminus of an air-line road from Chicago, is rather an
uninviting looking place, with a grand hotel, suitable for a great city;
a destiny Fulton does not seem likely to achieve.

Seated in the cars, Norman saw the sun set for the last time on the
great river that had become to him a familiar friend; saw the Rock River
gleam in the moonlight; and soon after the welcome lights of his uncle’s
home.

Norman had a great deal to tell his uncle and aunt about the
Mississippi, and Minnehaha, and the boats, and the little incidents of
their journey, and the week he was to spend at Dixon passed rapidly
away.

One day Norman’s aunt took Mrs. Lester to see Father Dixon, the
patriarch of the place to which his name is given. The hotel also bears
the name given to him by the Indians, Nachusah, or the White Haired. His
long flowing white hair makes him look very venerable; and there is an
expression of gentleness in his delicate features that wins the love of
the children of the town, who all call him Grandpapa. He established a
ferry over the Rock River thirty years ago, when there were no white
people in all the country round, and lived here in his solitary dwelling
by the river side.

He lives there still; and Mrs. Lester was very much interested in her
visit to him, and in his accounts of the Indians who formerly roamed
over these prairies, now the fruitful farms of the white men.

One day a gentleman, who lived on the opposite side of the river, sent
his two carriages over for Norman’s uncle and aunt, his mother and
himself. As Norman was in the woods with Herbert Waldorf, they went
without him. The bridge had been carried away by the flood, so they
crossed by the rope ferry. A very stout wire rope was stretched across
the river, and a scow was fastened to this by a rope which slipped by a
wheel along the iron cable. When they drove on the scow, the man turned
the prow of the boat up the current, which at once urged the boat
onward. It is a very pleasant and rapid way of crossing the river,
allowing one to have a near look of the swiftly flowing waters.

Mr. Dexter had a pretty cottage and fifty acres of prairie land just on
the edge of the town. Mrs. Lester went up stairs to see the extensive
view of prairie from Ernest Dexter’s window, and then she looked at a
cabinet of fossils, most of which he had collected himself in Illinois.
There were some very fine specimens, and he was kind enough to give Mrs.
Lester a number of them.

The music of the piano called forth the rival notes of the mocking bird,
and, accompanied by several canaries, he made the air vocal with sweet
sounds. Mrs. Lester forgot what she was playing, so charmed was she with
these delicious songsters. Strawberries and ice-cream were fully
appreciated after the music, and the evening’s entertainment concluded
with a magnificent sunset on the prairie. Golden clouds were penciled
softly on the clear amber sky, while rugged wild clouds towered up in
stern contrast with this calm serenity. One could imagine the cliffs of
Sinai in those gray clouds, so bold and lofty, while through a torn rift
gleamed the soft blue sky. It was a memorable sunset even in the West,
where they claim for their sunsets a peculiar beauty.

Norman was very sorry when he heard how much he had missed, especially
as Mr. Dexter had been kind enough to send over twice for him. So he
told Harold Dexter, when he saw him at church the next day, that he
would walk over with Herbert Waldorf on Monday morning.

After breakfast Norman and Herbert walked over to Mr. Dexter’s, where
they found the boys waiting for them. After a careful survey of Ernest’s
treasury, and of a smaller cabinet belonging to Harold and his brother,
they set off, with baskets and hammers, in search of minerals. They went
to a quarry and found a very fine fossil, a portion of a petrified
snake. They hammered at this for a long time, but they broke it all to
pieces in endeavoring to get it out. Harold found, however, a large
stone filled with petrified shells, which he kindly gave to Norman, who
came home in the afternoon with his basket filled with pieces of rock.

One afternoon Norman saw three “prairie schooners” in the street before
his uncle’s door. These are the emigrant wagons with their white tops,
which look not unlike sails as you see them quietly moving on over the
far reaches of the prairie. A number of horses and boys were standing
near them. The party were hesitating as to their course; wishing to
cross the river, and seeing no bridge but the railroad bridge, they were
making their way to that, when they found they could not cross it. Hence
the halt and the consultation.

“Norman,” said his mother, “do go and find out where those emigrants are
going.”

“O mother,” said Norman, “I would not ask them for anything.”

“I will go then,” replied his mother, as she opened the garden gate, and
walked up to the last prairie wagon, in which a woman was seated with
her four children.

She seemed pleased to hear the accents of a friendly voice, and soon
told her simple story.

Eight years before she had been left a widow, with six children. The
boys of twelve and fourteen did not wish to learn a trade, and farming
was not very profitable in the part of Pennsylvania where she lived; so
she had come to seek, in the fertile fields of Iowa, bread for her
children. She had worked hard, and days of toil were still before her,
but there was more hope in that virgin soil of securing a competence.
The rich deep black loam of these prairies often, at its first sowing,
bears a golden harvest, that gives back to the farmer the amount he has
paid for the land, and the expense of its cultivation.

Mrs. Lester asked the emigrant, in whose patient face she had taken much
interest, if she had any friends in the new and strange country to which
she was going.

“O yes,” she replied; she had a married daughter there, and a church and
Sunday school for her children. She was a Methodist, as were the two
families with whom she was journeying; and she would have been unwilling
to go where her children would be deprived of their religious
privileges.

There were fifteen persons in the company. They had driven from
Pennsylvania to Cleveland, where they had taken the cars for Chicago.
The wagon was lifted on the car, the cover taken off, and the woman said
she had had the pleasantest ride she had ever taken in her life, looking
over the lake and the prairie from her elevated position. From Chicago
they had journeyed on, sometimes sleeping in their wagons, and sometimes
on the floor of some house opened for them. There were bright,
black-eyed children peeping from the recesses of the covered wagon, as
their mother was talking to Mrs. Lester, and one little girl sat
intently reading. Mrs. Lester bade her goodspeed, and the woman, with
brightened face, thanked her for her words of kindness and sympathy.

The last day of their stay in Dixon at length arrived, and with it came
Aunt Clara, whom Norman had never seen before, but whom he very soon
learned to love. She showed him his picture when a baby, which his
mother had sent her, and she found it difficult to trace any resemblance
to the tall boy before her.

Norman stayed with her and his uncle in the evening, while his mother
went out with a gentleman and lady to take a drive on the prairies. The
day had been very warm, but there was a cool breeze on those boundless
meadows that undulated peacefully, in their rounded swells, to the far
horizon. The corn was laughing in rich abundance, the wheat standing
thick on the fields, after the sun had set, leaving its luminous track
of light in wavy radiance; one huge cloud towered up in solitary
grandeur, its bold outline gilded by those parting rays.



                             CHAPTER XIII.
                              THE PICNIC.

                A joyful hour! anticipated keen,
                With zest of youthful appetite ...
                To spread that table in the wilderness;
                The spot selected with deliberate care,
                Fastidious from variety of choice,
                Where all was beautiful ...
                With joyous exultation, guests were led
                To our green banquet-room.

                                        CAROLINE BOWLES.


Norman was very sorry to part with his dear young friends, Alfred and
Herbert; but he was very glad that his Aunt and Uncle Lester, and his
Aunt Clara, were going with them, so that he had not to say good-by to
them. As he had traveled over this road when he came west, he had seen
these broad prairies before, but they were now enameled with brighter
hues. Great patches of purple phlox, a profusion of yellow flowers, and
bright red lilies, made all the broad expanse a vast flower-garden. His
Aunt Clara said that many of the prairie flowers were disappearing in
the progress of cultivation. The cattle that now covered the plains
destroyed them, and the plow rooted them up.

“Yes,” said his uncle to Norman, “your Aunt Clara sometimes fancies her
mission is to cultivate a blooming inclosure, in which she will preserve
all the prairie flowers from the extinction to which they are rapidly
tending.”

Geneva, which they soon reached, is a pretty town on the Fox River, and
the house of Henry’s aunt, whom they had come to visit, had a view of
the river and its wooded islands. Norman’s Aunt Clayton was very glad to
see him, and very kind to him, so that he was very happy with his new
relations. His aunt would bring him, several times a day, a great
tumbler of good rich milk, the like of which he had not often seen. She
sent for Willie Clayton to meet Norman, and the boys asked permission to
bathe in the river, Willie assuring Mrs. Lester that it was perfectly
safe. They were absent for a long time, and as neither of the boys could
swim, Mrs. Lester became very anxious as the dinner-hour approached, and
they had not yet returned. Mr. Clayton very kindly offered to go in
search of them, and while he was gone the boys made their appearance.
They did not know that they had been so long away; they had waded over
to the island, and the time slipped away more quickly than they thought.

After dinner Norman said his back was very much burned, exposed, as it
had been, to the fierce rays of the sun. His mother put some flour on
it, but after a while, it became so painful that he had to lie down on
the bed and have it covered with flour. His neck, and back, and arms
were all bright scarlet, and he suffered very much from the intense
burning.

The next day there was to be a school picnic in the grove, and Willie
was to speak on the occasion. Norman said it would be impossible for him
to dress himself; but when the animating strains of the band floated in
his window, as the procession marched to the grove, he thought he might
make the effort. His mother helped him to put on his clothes, as his
back was all blistered, and he walked with her and his aunt and uncle
rather soberly to the picnic.

The children were seated on benches under the trees, and a platform was
erected for the speakers. Norman was soon seated beside Willie, who was
also suffering from his sun-burned back. The band was stationed near
them, and between the recitations and declamations of the children,
“discoursed most excellent music.”

After a while the company were invited to partake of refreshments, and,
preceded by the band, they marched to another part of the grove, where
tables were tastefully arranged, covered with an abundance of good cake,
and ornamented with flowers.

Norman and Willie were in the front rank next to the rope that separated
the children from the tables; but the pressure from behind was rather
severe on their tender backs, so they came to where their mothers and
aunts were standing.

Mrs. Lester was happy to recognize in one of the young men most active
in providing for the wants of the children, one whom she had known in
her former beloved home in the East. Of his mother, who had been a near
neighbor, she retained a most kindly remembrance; and as she had been
suddenly and recently called to her home in the heavens, Mrs. Lester was
glad to learn that her son, left with his brother almost alone in the
world, was active in this western town in the Sabbath school and in the
temperance cause, maintaining a consistent religious character. A great
field for usefulness is opened in the West to Christian young men. So
many young men, in seeding their fortunes in these new and thriving
towns, throw off the restraining influence of their pious homes; absent
themselves from the house of God, and are thus easily led aside by a
thousand encircling temptations.

Exercises in geography, arithmetic, and declamation followed the feast,
some of which the band applauded in a very graceful manner. A number of
children gathered around the musicians, and one little boy, in a bright
red frock, stood leaning against his father, close by the great drum,
his eyes fixed on its great circumference, and his eyelids winking every
time it was struck.

After the exercises one of the ministers made a very good speech, in
which he told the children that if they wanted to rise above being mere
drudges at the dictation of others, they must study, they must work,
they must learn to think. What they did, they must do with their might;
when they played, they must play in earnest; and when they studied, they
must study in earnest; and that to be industrious and to be in earnest,
was the only way to be anything, or to do anything in the world.

He made the children laugh when he told them that in some parts of New
Hampshire the fields were so stony, that it was jocosely said that the
farmers sharpened their sheep’s noses that they might eat the grass
growing between the stones. This was a wonderful story for western
children, who never saw stones on their broad fertile prairies.

As the band played its farewell, the company left the ground greatly
pleased with the day’s entertainment.



                              CHAPTER XIV.
                           THE CAMP-MEETING.

               The holy sounds float up the dell
                 To fill my ravish’d ear,
               And now the glorious anthems swell
                 Of worshipers sincere;
               Of hearts bow’d in the dust that shed
                 Faith’s penitential tear.

                                             MOTHERWELL.


The next day Norman was to go with his mother and aunt to a
camp-meeting. It had rained the night before, and the clouds were
gathering in rather a threatening manner, obscuring the heavens, and
forming in dark masses at several points on the horizon. It was thought
not very prudent to go, but the strong desire in Mrs. Lester’s face
overpowered the cooler judgment of the others.

“If it does not rain,” said Mrs. Lester, “those clouds will certainly be
better than the broad glare of sunshine we have had for some days past.”

The carriage drove up to the door, and calling for some friends who
lived near, they were soon on their way. The drive was very pleasant
through the Fox valley, with frequent groves and pretty views of the
river. They drove into the pretty town of St. Charles, across its fine
bridge, with its noble piers, through the town on the east of the river,
and after a little while into the deep woods in which the camp-meeting
was held. The road through the woods was very bad: deep mud, and several
sloughs, called in the west _slews_. All these critical spots were
happily passed, and reaching the grove they got out of the carriage and
walked on the camp-ground.

The gentleman who accompanied them brought the carriage cushions to put
on the plank seats, which were rather damp with the heavy rains of the
night previous. There were ministers in the elevated covered stand,
appropriated to them, and a large congregation gathered for a
love-feast. It was pleasant to hear them speak of the happiness of
religion, to see the calm peace on their countenances, and to listen to
their expressions of love to their Saviour, of faith in him, and fixed
resolve to live to his service.

An intermission of a few minutes before the public service gave Norman
an opportunity of looking about him. About thirty tents were pitched in
a circle, and in the center of the amphitheater thus formed, seats were
arranged for the congregation beneath the shade of fine noble trees that
spread wide their branches. One, beneath which the preachers’ stand was
placed, threw itself toward the other trees, that bent as if to meet it,
making a most picturesque group. At each corner of the area there was a
structure formed of four stout sticks, about five feet high, on which
rested a platform covered with turf. On these rude candelabras, at dark,
they kindled pine knots, to give light to the evening meetings and to
the encampment. How much Norman would like to have seen this wild
woodland thus illuminated, the broad glare flashing on the gathered
groups.

An excellent sermon was preached on “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and
so fulfill the law of Christ;” and then a young minister, with the sweet
expression of whose face Norman had been struck, got up and made an
address full of beauty. It was enforcing the law of kindness. He said
that when they drove to the camp-ground the day before they had got into
a slough on the road, and there they were fast, the horses remaining
quiet after some ineffectual attempts to move forward. The driver, he
was glad to say, betrayed no impatience, and did not swear at the delay.
Soon another wagon drove up, and the driver, seeing the difficulty they
were in, at once unhitched his own horses and drew them out. And that
was what, he said, we ought to do when we saw people in trouble, draw
them out if we had the power. He then spoke of the harsh judgment we
often form of others, because they are deficient in some point upon
which we lay stress. “Now,” he continued, “these trees that bend over us
are not rounded and full on every side; some have their wealth of
branches on one side, and some on another. And so Christians seldom
present full symmetry of growth. One brother has a great deal of
patience and very weak faith; and one sister has faith almost strong
enough to remove mountains and very little patience. Now we should
rather contemplate the excellences of our Christian friends than their
deficiencies.”

He exhorted the people not to be like those trees that are slow to yield
their fruit, whose fruit, hard and green, required a vigorous shake to
loosen its hold. “Rather,” said he, “be like those generous trees, borne
down with their golden fruit, blessing the eye, and the touch, and the
taste of all around—trees of blessing, making glad the heritage of God.”
He spoke of words of kindness and sympathy, how often they cheered the
heart of the desolate, and brightened the path of the wayfarer. How
often those who were collecting for benevolent objects were more cheered
with the kind words of one who had no money to give, than with the large
gifts of another, grudgingly bestowed.

One word of counsel he gave, rather at variance with ordinary
exhortation. He charged his hearers to try not to be first, but to be
second. “In your plans and pleasures think of some one before yourself;
prefer the comfort of some friend to your own; sacrifice your own ease
to promote the well-being of another, and you will tread in the
footsteps of Him who pleased not himself.”

Norman saw the tears in his Aunt Lester’s eyes, as he turned to look at
her, and he thought that she had learned that lesson well, that she was
always thinking of other people, and preferring their comfort to her
own.

The hymn, swelled by the united voices of that large congregation,
filled the grove with its solemn harmony, and then the words of the
benediction fell like dew upon them.

Norman had never been to a camp-meeting before, and the scene had all
the charm of novelty to him. He saw the people preparing their meals in
the rear of their tents, the fire made of dry sticks on the grounds, and
the kettle hung on a cross stick, placed in the notches of two upright
ones. The tables were spread in the tents, and soon surrounded by family
groups. A lady, who knew Norman’s aunt, invited them to dinner, after
which they returned to their seats, when the bell was rung for the
afternoon service.

The sermon was a good one, on “Gather up the fragments that remain, that
nothing may be lost.”

Norman did not remember much of the sermon; but one fact, given by the
minister who rose to exhort, made a great impression upon him.

“At a time of great religious interest,” said he, “when many persons,
awakened to a sense of their danger, were inquiring what they should do
to be saved, I spoke to three boys, and asked them if they could not, by
personal effort, lead some of their companions to the Saviour. One of
the boys, a tall and thoughtful lad, stood a little apart from the rest,
his eyes fixed on the ground, while I was talking to them. He said
nothing, but it was an hour of fixed resolve.

“Three days after one of the boys came to me, and said: ‘Sir, do you
remember the tall boy that stood near when you were talking to us?’
‘Yes, I do,’ I replied. ‘Well, sir, he has been trying ever since to
lead sinners to Christ; and he has persuaded three men, and two women,
and a little boy to give their hearts to the Saviour; and there he is,
sir, talking to that gray-haired man!’ I followed the direction of the
boy’s eye, and there stood the lad, his thoughtful face all aglow with
feeling, as he spoke earnestly to the old man, who shortly after came
forward, and knelt as a penitent at the altar of prayer. Who can
estimate the good thus accomplished by the earnest efforts of this lad;
and why may not every one follow his example, and make it his business
to lead souls to Christ?”

It was with reluctance they left this hallowed scene, where they had
been permitted to join the swell of holy song, and to hear so much that
was profitable; teachings that ought to make them better. Norman would
gladly have stayed for the evening services, to have seen those trees
gleaming out in the ruddy light, but they would not venture to travel
that road in the darkness. As it was they had a very pleasant drive
home, where they came just in time for tea.



                              CHAPTER XV.
                             A SABBATH-DAY.

         Types of eternal rest, fair buds of bliss,
           In heavenly flowers unfolding week by week
         The next world’s gladness imaged forth in this,
           Days of whose worth the Christian’s heart can speak.

                                                   VAUGHAN.


The Sabbath dawned clear and beautiful, bringing refreshing breezes
after the intense heat of the past fortnight. After the morning service
in the Methodist church Mrs. Lester stayed to the Bible class led by the
minister. The lesson was the eighth chapter of Romans, and it was
interesting to see two old men, with spectacles, bending earnestly over
one book, and talking over the meaning of the passage. The members of
the class were all men and women, and there was a very free interchange
of thought, as they looked into the Scriptures of truth. One face
especially attracted Mrs. Lester’s attention. It was a youthful face,
rather large, very fair, with light hair, blue eyes, and regular
features, not beautiful, but with a sweet, heavenly expression on the
high brow, and in the untroubled eye. In the class-meeting that followed
the Bible class, she spoke calmly, but with an unfaltering trust, of her
love to the Saviour, as being the master-passion of her soul; that she
loved God supremely, and found him to be a satisfying portion. Her
father, who led the class, spoke to her, with tears in his eyes, of the
time when her decrepit form would put on immortality, and would shine
with glorious beauty; when she would know no weary hours of pain, but
would dwell in the land where the inhabitants shall no more say, I am
sick, but where all tears shall be wiped away.

Yes, that sweet face was the face of a cripple. Her form was shrunken
and withered, and her limbs had never carried her whithersoever she
would. Her father took her into his arms at the close of the service,
her limbs hanging limp and as if without life, and carried her to the
little wagon in which he had drawn her to church. Mrs. Lester asked her
if she was not tired with the long service.

“O no,” she said; she would like to stay there till the evening
prayer-meeting at five o’clock.

It was not very often she could go to the house of God. She felt with
David, “A day in thy courts is better than a thousand: I had rather be a
doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of
wickedness.” O how she loved the house of God, the place where his honor
dwelleth.

This poor, crippled girl, who had known no happy childhood, who had
never been able to participate in its sports, who had always been
confined to the narrow precincts of a home destitute of all the luxuries
of life, who had been daily accustomed to pain and privation, had yet
found the true secret of happiness. It lay like moonlight on her
countenance. She had that within which many of the rich and wise and
great, who look at will on the glorious scenery of earth, who command
the treasures of literature and art, who surround themselves with all
the comforts and appliances of a home of elegant sufficiency, fail to
gain—calm peace in her heart, perfect contentment with her lot, and a
spring of never-failing happiness. Nor is she useless in the world,
though she has no worldly means to give, nor hands or feet to do her
bidding. The light of her holy example, her patience, meekness,
resignation, and faith, are treasures to the Church. Every Wednesday
there is a prayer-meeting in her room, of which she takes the charge, as
she can be always present, and the beauty and propriety with which she
speaks of divine things make her words very profitable.

In the afternoon Mrs. Lester and Norman went to the prayer-meeting. At
the close of the service Mrs. Day, to whom Mrs. Clayton had introduced
her in the morning, came up and asked her to go home by the way of her
house, as she wished to gather some flowers for her. The large garden,
filled with flowers and shrubbery, blooming most luxuriantly in that
fertile soil, looked cool and inviting. Mrs. Day handed Norman some
flowers as the beginning of his bouquet, and told him to go and pick
what he liked. Pink and white spireces, double China pinks, a few
lingering June roses, the pretty bee larkspur, the coreopsis, candytuft,
and verbenas, were gathered in profusion by Mrs. Day’s lavish hand, and
arranged in two bouquets for Mrs. Clayton and Mrs. Lester. “Four years
ago,” said she, “this garden was a bare field. I never was so
discouraged in coming to any new place.”

“You certainly have transformed it into a very pleasant home,” replied
Mrs. Lester. “Taste and cultivation, with such a soil as this, can soon
work wonders. You can truly sit under your own vine and fig-tree,”
continued she, pointing to a beautiful grape-vine that had crept up a
lattice, and inclosed with its graceful green curtain a verandah in the
rear of the house.

“Yes,” said she, “I planted that vine myself, and it is a daily
rejoicing to me, and a sermon too. It reminds me continually of that
true Vine from which we must draw all our life and sustenance.”

“It is well,” said Mrs. Lester, “to have divine truths thus brought to
our minds by the objects that surround us.”

“My prairie home,” said Mrs. Day, “was really beautiful; that was quite
to my mind; a nice house shaded with trees, adorned with shrubbery and
flowers, and looking upon broad fertile fields.”

“Why did you leave so pretty a home?” asked Mrs. Lester.

“We came here to be near a church, and to enjoy religious privileges.
For years after we went on the prairie our house was the home of the
preachers, and meetings were always held there. As the country became
more settled the services were transferred to a church, four miles from
us, and we at length concluded to give up our home to our son, and come
to spend the evening of our lives in a place where we could constantly
enjoy the services of God’s house. We have tried to make religion the
chief business of our life, and God has prospered us.”

“And you enjoy this new country?” inquired Mrs. Lester.

[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  WESTERN SETTLER’S FIRST HOME.]

“It seems to me,” she replied, “the oldest country God has made; such
riches as these are in the soil all ready and prepared for the seed of
the sower, only waiting for man’s coming to yield of its abundance.”

The sun was tinging town and prairie with his parting beams, and the
garden was already in deep shadow when Norman and his mother, loaded
with bright and fragrant flowers, returned home.



                              CHAPTER XVI.
                              ON THE RAIL.

                   “All the while the swaying cars
                     Kept rumbling o’er the rail,
                   And the frequent whistle sent
                     Shrieks of anguish to the gale;
                   And the cinders pattered down
                     On the grimy floor like hail.”


Early, very early the next morning, the fifth of July, Mrs. Lester was
aroused by the firing of cannon, to celebrate our national independence.
Norman and Willie had kept the third, by firing off crackers all day,
and winding up with wheels, Roman candles, and blue lights, exhibited to
an appreciating audience on the portico in the evening. After breakfast
Norman, his Aunt Clara, and his mother bade good-by, and got in the
carriage which was to convey them to Batavia, the spires of which were
visible from Mr. Clayton’s. It was a pleasant drive of two miles in the
Fox River valley. The man drove very fast, and they were sorry to arrive
so soon at the place of their destination, especially when they were
told that they were to wait two hours for the arrival of the train. The
hackman, who had come for them before the time, had many demands for the
carriage, for which he charged an extra price in honor of the holiday. A
number of passengers were waiting for the train; many of them going to
the celebration at Aurora, a pretty town, all astir with gaily dressed
people, and a procession marching to the grove where already a crowd was
gathered. It was a most lovely country, soft rolling prairie, with its
wealth of golden wheat, of waving corn, of graceful barley, bordered by
rich groves of timber, and dotted here and there with towns and
villages.

At Mendota they left their cars, and entered those of the Illinois
Central Railroad. There were several trains there, and a great number of
passengers hurrying to and fro, and rushing in to dinner. Norman ran
first into one store, and then into another, to buy some torpedoes, as
he was very anxious to make some noise, to give vent to his patriotic
feeling. He came back with a large box full, just in time, for the train
was soon in motion. And the passengers too, for the road was so rough
that the people went dancing up and down in the most violent manner.
Mrs. Lester asked the conductor if the road was so rough all the way?
No, he said; they had passed over the worst of it. And with that hope
Mrs. Lester tried to enjoy the beautiful prairies, and the noble view of
the Illinois River as seen from the high embankment over which the road
passes.

Norman would like to have seen the “Starved Rock,” somewhere on this
river, whither some Indians, pursued by their enemies, fled for refuge.
They were surrounded, and all escape from the rock prevented by their
encircling foes, who, day after day, waited for them to surrender. At
length they scaled the rock, and found the garrison all starved to death
but one squaw, who calmly awaited the entrance of her enemies.

The Starved Rock, however, was not in sight, nor was any rock recalling
thrilling legend and heroic story; but another prospect, not so
agreeable, from the rear of the car near which they were seated—a long
strait road, the rails of which were rather too much curved to suggest
ideas of safety. “Don’t you think this road very unsafe?” inquired Mrs.
Lester of a gentleman who was contemplating this retrospective view of
dangers passed.

“Not _very_, but it might be safer.”

Up and down jumped all that car-load of passengers, whose faces wore not
the calmest and brightest expression. Suddenly there was an explosion
that startled people rather ready to be startled, and Mrs. Lester,
remembering the torpedoes, turned to Norman, who was looking out of the
rear window, and said reproachfully, “Norman, how can you do so?”

Every eye was directed toward the blushing lad, as he earnestly
exclaimed, “Mother, it was not me.”

Returning to his seat he looked for the torpedoes, which he found had
been jolted off the seat on the floor under his mother’s feet, and a
sudden movement of her foot had caused the explosion of ten or twelve of
them. “There, mother, it was you after all,” said Norman, as he gathered
up his remaining torpedoes.

Again they were startled—a prolonged whistle, and a stoppage of the cars
on an embankment at a distance from any station. Every head went out of
the windows, and some enterprising passengers went out on the platform
to learn the cause of this ominous pause. Again and again that warning
whistle; what did it mean? At length the matter was explained. About
twenty horses were on the track, galloping on in front of the
locomotive, which was obliged to pause till they separated to the right
and the left.

Right glad were the party when they arrived at Bloomington. Mrs. Lester
wished to go to a very handsome hotel, the photograph of which had been
shown to her on the Grey Eagle by the proprietor thereof. A large
unfinished building seemed to her very like the photograph she had seen;
but that could not be, as the photograph must have been taken from the
hotel in its finished, occupied state, with handsome stores beneath. On
inquiry she found this was the hotel in question, which stood there, an
arrested monument of western enterprise. They went to the hotel
opposite, and after tea some friends of Aunt Clara’s called to see them,
and to ask them to walk.

Bloomington is a large, finely situated town, on the rising prairie, not
far from the fine groves that mark the course of Sugar Creek. The
president of the Illinois University (situated in a grove near the town)
walked with them, and took them to the observatory on the Female
College, where they had a lovely sunset view of the town, the prairie,
and the distant woods. How cool and refreshing were those prairie
breezes after the intense heat of the day; but they were warned by the
fading light that it was time to return. No mountains or hills to
prolong the twilight in these regions. The sun sinks, and speedily the
darkness comes on. Miss Allen, Aunt Clara’s friend, insisted upon their
coming in to see her. With kindly hospitality she had sent for several
of Aunt Clara’s friends to meet her; and while Norman was amused with
some fireworks in the court-yard, they were refreshed with cake and
ice-cream. Miss Allen, her brothers, and Mrs. Lester had very pleasant
conversation about some mutual friends, and thus passed the evening to
an hour rather late for travelers who were to rise at two o’clock in the
morning.

At that early hour they were aroused, and the omnibus conveyed them to
the station at three o’clock, where they had the satisfaction of being
told that the cars had stopped above the junction, cause unknown.
Probably they had run off the track, and they might not arrive before
eight o’clock.

“There is the locomotive that is to take us,” said a gentleman, pointing
to the expectant iron horse, panting and snorting, and rushing to and
fro, as if impatient at the delay. “I saw him in the bank on Saturday,
just below here. But he has suffered no harm from running off the
track.”

“Near them stood an engineer with his arm in a sling. He had been
returning to his post, as he had been off duty, when he threw himself
forward to rescue a man who, having missed his footing on the step,
would have been under the wheel of the car. As it was, his struggles
loosened the footing of his deliverer, who succeeded in dragging him on
the truck, from which precarious position they were rescued as soon as
the train could be stopped. The engineer’s arm was badly broken, but the
man whose life he had saved never came to thank him. “I have no money to
give him, why should I go?” said he to the conductor, who told him to
thank the man who had periled life and limb to save him.”

“Men do not risk their lives for money,” replied the conductor, turning
away from the ungrateful man.

“The prospect looks rather dim,” said Aunt Clara, the first discouraging
word she had spoken.

“How calm and quiet she was,” said Norman, “when we were so frightened
in the rail car.”

The waiting-room of the station-house was not very comfortable for weary
passengers; Norman established himself on three chairs, and was soon
fast asleep on his hard bed; nor was he wakened when his mother slipped
her carpet-bag under his head.

A group near the door was more picturesque. It was a German family whom
they had seen the day before at the cars, and who had passed all night
at the station. One little girl lay across a bag, her head tending
toward the floor. The younger brother was on his knees, resting his head
on a chair, fast asleep; while near them, her head erect, as if watching
over her goods and chattels, sat the elder sister, a quaint,
prim-looking girl of thirteen, with a short waist, and a little shawl
pinned round it, and a broad flat over her braids of light hair; while
round her were bags, and boxes, and bundles, an incongruous heap, in
which it was at first somewhat difficult to distinguish the sleeping
children. The little boy at length, weary of his constrained position on
his knees, had pillowed his head on his sleeping sister’s foot, which,
by sundry twitches, and a few energetic kicks, freed itself from the
encumbering weight. But still the children slept on. The mother was
sitting outside of the door, silent, because none knew her language. At
length a telegram announced that the cars would be there at five. The
locomotive had been stopped because the rails were slippery.

The early twilight brightened into day, the train arrived, the
passengers stepped in, and a very short time brought Norman, his mother
and aunt to their point of destination; a few houses had been dropped
down on the prairie, as the nucleus of a town; not very promising as a
resting-place. Soon, however, a buggy and a wagon drove up for the
travelers, who, after a short drive, were welcomed by their relatives.



                             CHAPTER XVII.
                             THE PRAIRIES.

              “The wondrous, beautiful prairies,
      Billowy bays of grass, ever rolling in shadow and sunshine,
      Bright with luxuriant clusters of roses and purple amorphas;
      And over all is the sky, the clear and crystalline heaven,
      Like the protecting hands of God inverted above them.”

                                              EVANGELINE.


It looked quite homelike; the house shaded by tall trees, the garden,
the hedge of Osage orange shutting out the wide expanse of prairie. The
house was in the corner of Tazewell county; the barn in McLean, and the
greater part of the farm in a third county. Norman found two new aunts
to know and love, and a tall cousin of six feet three.

It was not long before he became acquainted with two little girls of ten
and twelve, cousins, who lived on a farm near, with whom he had many
pleasant hours of play. They had, too, a great deal to talk over of
their journings in the West, for these little girls had always before
lived in a New England home. They had seen a great many Indians, painted
in all their bravery, in Wisconsin. They had seen a squaw, with her
papoose strapped on her back, riding on a small Indian pony, with a
child before and a child behind.

“This, mother,” said Norman, “is pleasanter than all; one day on a
prairie is worth ten days in town.” He was up early in the morning to
see the horses watered before they were sent off to the field. There
were more then twenty of them, and Norman’s cousin, Justin, selected the
handsomest colt on the farm, and gave it to Norman for his own. Norman
was enchanted. He took an ear of corn, and Prince followed him about,
eating it from his hand. Even after Prince had gone down into the field,
he followed Norman and the ear of corn home.

“Mother, look at my colt,” said Norman in triumph; “how am I to get him
home?” There were various plans discussed, as the one idea took
possession of his mind, but no satisfactory conclusions were arrived at.
The glow of delight somewhat faded away. “I really do not know what good
my colt is going to do me,” said Norman, despondingly; “I cannot ride
him here, and I cannot take him home.”

His face brightened, however, when David brought up a horse for him to
ride. He had never rode before but once, when the pony threw him over
his head; but he said this was the sort of riding he would like, to
charge over the prairies.

He did ride off several miles over the prairies by himself, and then he
rode four miles with his Aunt Clara.

It was the time of harvest, and Norman loved to watch the mowing machine
as it so rapidly cut down the tall grass, and the hay-making, and the
tossing it into the great hay-stack. But what most interested him was to
watch the progress of the great header, with its three attendant wagons,
as it loomed up so grandly in the harvest field. Three horses urged
onward the machine, which cut off the heads of the wheat and threw it on
a platform, whence it was taken up in an elevator and received into a
wagon, which accompanied the gigantic machine till it was loaded, and
then, giving place to another, drove to the great stack with its burden.
This machine requires three attendant wagons and six men, who thus cut
down as much wheat as fifteen men can do in the ordinary way, and stack
it to boot. These mowing and reaping machines seem especially intended
for the extensive level grain fields of Illinois, which would look in
vain for reapers and mowers with the old sickle and scythe. Something is
lost however in picturesque effect, as was most manifest in the field
next to that which the great header was so rapidly despoiling of its
riches. This field was dotted over with the graceful sheaves of wheat,
while a number of men were engaged in the work of binding and stacking
them together.

Norman had watched too the ploughman, who, with a cultivator passing
between the shining corn, did the work more laboriously done at the East
by hoeing.

He liked to watch the herds of cattle and sheep feeding on the prairies;
great herds, for everything was on a great scale on these western farms.

But better even than this were the stories his cousin Justin told him
about his boyish days. He was twenty-three years old, and he had lived
on the prairie sixteen years. It used to be the custom, he said, to
plant a flagstaff in some central position, and invite horsemen to leave
the groves all around and ride to this point at a certain hour. As the
hour approached horsemen would be seen issuing from all the groves,
riding rapidly onward, driving before them wolves, and the timid deer,
till a dense ring of three or four hundred horsemen inclosing the
frightened animals who were then dispatched by the clubs with which the
men were armed. Sometimes the desperate wolves broke through the ring
where it was weakest, and then there was waving of hats, and cheering,
and galloping after the animals, and all was wild uproar. “I can
remember” said he “the charm these wolf-hunts had for me when I was a
boy of twelve; how I armed myself with my club, mounted my spirited
horse, and galloped off to the stirring scene.”

“My cousin Walter,” continued Justin, “liked to hunt the wolf alone. One
day he encountered a prairie wolf, whom he pursued till the wolf plunged
into the stream to escape him. Seizing him by the tail, he cut the
strings of his hind legs, during which operation the wolf bit his foot,
leaving the mark of his long teeth through his boot. The disabled wolf,
however, as it emerged from the water, made but slow progress, and
Walter, disengaging his stirrups, gave him a blow in the forehead which
killed him, and stripping off his skin, he returned home with his
trophy, afterward to do good service in the form of a muff for his
sister.”

Then he told of the prairie fires that came every year. To be prepared
for the approach of this fiery invader they ploughed several furrows
near the fence of their farm, and then several furrows at the distance
of about four rods, and to the grass on that interval they set fire,
that this bared strip might oppose a barrier to the flames. Onward they
would come when the wind was from the same quarter, with the speed of a
locomotive, crackling, flashing, leaping high in the air, rolling great
waves of lurid light onward with fierce rapidity. They would watch the
on-coming of this sheeted flame, terrible in its fiery glare, crimsoning
the heavens with its ruddy glow, consuming everything in its path,
sending up fiery messengers into the sky, and wonder whether it would be
possible for them to escape. “It was a magnificent sight,” continued he;
“never do I expect to see anything so terrible in its sublimity and
beauty. Now that the prairies are covered over with the habitations of
men, we have no more prairie fires, and no more wolf hunts. No more
fierce pursuer did the prairie wolf find than this untiring adversary of
flame, driving before it the terrified wolves and the gentle deer,
flying for life till they reached some timber where the fire would be
arrested.”

Norman was very sorry when the day came for him to leave. He was sorry
to leave his aunts and cousins, to whom he had become very much
attached; he was sorry to leave his colt, and to give up his pleasant
rides on horseback. The day they were to leave they were to dine with
another aunt of Norman’s, and Norman, accompanied by David, rode there
on horseback, while his cousin Justin was to drive his mother in his
buggy. She had very much enjoyed her daily drives over the prairies,
enamelled with flowers, of every new variety of which Justin stopped to
gather for her, and which she prized as memorials of those pleasant
hours.

At his aunt’s Norman saw the picture of his Cousin Walter—the hero of
the wolf story—a face full of intelligence and sweetness, a slender
form. He was a brilliant youth, with high hopes and aspirations, when,
in the midst of his collegiate course, he was stricken down by cholera,
and in a few days was numbered with the dead.

After dinner Norman mounted his horse, and, attended by David, who rode
beautifully, he took his way toward the station. His mother and his
cousin started about half an hour afterward, and pursued their winding
way. The road on the prairies is continually changing; as the new farms
are fenced, the owners divert the road from their fields to the exterior
of their farms. One memorable place Mrs. Lester had passed on her drive
to the village the evening before. It was a slough where, in the spring,
a pair of horses were so completely buried that it was necessary to
employ oxen to drag them out by the head. One field, on their way to the
station, looked as if it were covered with pansies, the rather coarse
flowers with which it was filled being softened by distance into this
likeness.

They drove across a grassy field that looked as if it must at some time
have been the bed of a great river, so strikingly did the woodlands
resemble the banks. Indeed, one is often struck, in looking out upon the
prairies, with the resemblance to a sea view. At the margin there will
frequently be a mist, such as bounds the view on the water; the groves
of timber jut out into the prairie like headlands, and the eye often
follows these indentations as if tracing the shore of a vast lake.
Proofs are not wanting to establish the fact that Illinois was once the
bed of a great lake, probably an expansion of the Mississippi, till it
broke though on its headlong course to the Gulf of Mexico. The prairie
breezes come every day to moderate the intense heat of summer, and sweep
over these vast plains as on the bosom of a great inland sea. Those who
build in the timber lose these refreshing winds.

Mrs. Lester was somewhat troubled on arriving at the station to find
that Norman was not there, though he had left so long before her, and
she looked rather anxiously over the prairie for some signs of his
coming. The boys were not visible, and she was contemplating the
prospect of returning to the kind friends whom she had left when they
came in sight. She waved her handkerchief to them to hasten, as the
train was due in five minutes. Just in time; the train was in sight as
Norman stepped on the platform; and as Justin accompanied them into the
cars to find them seats, Mrs. Lester hurried him off, lest he should be
taken on, so short was the pause at the station.



                             CHAPTER XVIII.
                     CHICAGO, AND THE RIDE THITHER.

                 Chicago! thou shalt shine in verse,
                   As my adopted pet;
                 Thou newest slice of this New World,
                   Save what is newer yet.
                 Thy structures seem of yesterday,
                 And shine like scenery in the play
                   Just pushed upon the stage.—F. G. H.


The ride was very agreeable: boundless views of rolling prairie, that
looked like English park scenery; scattered groves, pretty farm houses,
thriving villages, afforded a constant succession of agreeable objects.
Far to the west was seen a threatening cloud, at length descending in
torrents of rain to the westward, while the sudden, violent wind that
swept across the track of the cars was succeeded by dashes of rain. A
curious optical illusion was produced by the sun shining from behind a
dark cloud, and throwing lines of light across the prairie, producing
the effect of a fort, and of long rows of white buildings. The sun was
setting behind clouds of crimson and gold when the train arrived at
Joliet, and stopped twenty minutes for refreshments.

Joliet, named in honor of the citizen of Quebec who first trod the soil
of Iowa, is a handsome town, ornamented with numerous spires. Here are
fine quarries of the beautiful cream-colored stone used so much in
Chicago, and transported thither by a canal running over the low wet
prairies parallel with the railroad.

While waiting till the train from Chicago should pass them, Norman had a
fine view of some splendid rockets in honor of the arrival of a noted
politician in the city.

At the station they found their kind friend, Mr. Percy, and he drove
them to his house very rapidly. Late as it was, Mrs. Percy and Miss Ray
were at the door to welcome them, and, after a few words of greeting, to
show them to their rooms.

The next morning Norman went fishing with Charley Percy, and while he
was gone his Uncle and Aunt Lester came in Mrs. Hunter’s carriage to
take them for a drive. Mrs. Hunter took them to her house, where they
had iced lemonade; and Mrs. Lester returned, promising to take tea and
stay all night with Mr. and Mrs. Lester at her brother’s, where they
were staying. This brother was a minister, and his home had an
atmosphere of taste and refinement and piety. Choice books, in every
room, invited perusal; illustrated works attracted the eye; a canary
warbled its sweet notes, especially when the piano was touched; and the
mistress of the house sang the songs her husband had written. Most
pleasantly did every object harmonize with the repose of the Sabbath.
The new Methodist church edifice was in the next street, and the
services were held for the last time in the lecture-room, as on next
Thursday the church was to be dedicated to the worship of God. At the
love-feast in the afternoon there was an earnest expression of gratitude
to God for the abundant mercies he had showered upon them during the
past winter, and for the prosperity that had attended their efforts to
erect a house to his service.

Mrs. Percy sent the carriage for them in the afternoon, and they found
the family assembled in the parlor, singing sacred songs. Each one had
the music of the hymns, and the hour before tea thus passed most
pleasantly. In the evening Norman and his mother went with Mr. and Mrs.
Percy to church, and heard an excellent sermon from Dr. Rice, on the
breast-plate of faith and love, and the helmet, the hope of salvation.
“How much reason have we for thankfulness,” said Mrs. Lester to Norman
in the evening, “that everywhere we have found Christian homes;
everywhere family prayer, and a love for God’s house and service. How
many such privileges have we enjoyed!”

The next morning Dr. Davis called to invite them to pay him a visit;
Norman went with Albert Davis, and a few hours afterward the doctor
called in his carriage for Mrs. Lester. Norman’s uncle and aunt were in
the carriage, and when they arrived at the doctor’s country place, they
found Norman lying on the grass, contemplating Albert’s pony.

Norman found some very interesting books filled with large colored
plates of birds, and plants, and Indians. He looked at these portraits
of the red men, taken by Mr. Catlin, and read sketches of their history
with great interest

In the afternoon Dr. Davis drove them to see the pretty grounds of a
gentleman in the neighborhood, and to the Lake View House, where they
drank some iced lemonade, and wandered on the beach. It seemed very much
like the sea-shore, the great waves rolling in and dashing against the
sand, and, a little below, the hulk of a vessel blown ashore and
stranded in the recent storm. Such proofs of the power of old Michigan,
when its waves rise up in their might, may be seen all along its shores,
unprovided as they are with harbors for vessels to take refuge in at the
approach of the tempest.



                              CHAPTER XIX.
                             ON THE LAKES.

                “On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
                Westward by the Big-Sea Water.

                       *       *       *       *       *

                Can it be the sun descending,
                Sinking down into the water?
                All the sky is stain’d with purple,
                All the water flush’d with crimson!”


Lake Superior, the mighty lake, fed by two hundred rivers and streams,
plunging down falls and rapids to mingle their waters with those of this
inland ocean; with its stern rocky walls, and overhanging crags; with
its rich mines of copper, silver, and iron; with its abundant fisheries
of trout, pickerel, pike, carp, black fish, and white fish; and with its
grand pictured rocks, presenting columns, towers, arches, and ruins, and
hollowed out into vast caverns, echoing with tremendous roar to the dash
of the waves. An excursion proposed to this lake offered great
attractions, and Mrs. Lester was tempted to go on the fine steamer that
was to take a party thither.

Norman supplied himself with trolling-hook and fishing tackle, as the
steamer was to stop frequently to allow the passengers to fish in those
cold, clear, transparent waters. Charley Percy and his friend, Alfred
Scarborough, somewhat older than himself, were going in the steamer to
Collingwood, on their way to Niagara; so in the evening they went to the
boat, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Percy, and Alfred’s father and mother.
The saloon was gayly lighted up, the band playing; the state-rooms were
very comfortable, and the beginning of the voyage at least was very
promising.

Good-by was said to their kind friends, and the steamer moved slowly
down the river, past the warehouses, and through the bridges, in the
darkness, amid the gleaming lights here and there, and to the sound of
music, and it all seemed very dream-like. At length they reached the
lake, and the regular lines of light on Michigan Avenue sparkled as they
sailed away. It was very late, near eleven o’clock, and the travelers
soon sought the repose of their berths. Mrs. Lester only wakened in the
morning in time to see the graceful spires of Racine, sleeping in the
early morning light.

About ten o’clock they sailed into the harbor of Milwaukee, built on
both sides of the Milwaukee River, on a high bluff overlooking the lake.
Most of the town is built of the Milwaukee brick, which is of a light
straw-color; and though this brick is a very fine building material, yet
it harmonizes too much with the color of the sandy streets and sandy
bluff to give a fine effect to the town. A stronger contrast would be
better. There are some very fine buildings; a hotel of beautiful and
elaborate design, and a custom-house of fine architecture, built of
white stone.

Until one o’clock “The Planet” remained at Milwaukee, awaiting the
arrival of a party who wished to go on the excursion, and who had
telegraphed them from Chicago, and this delay enabled the passengers to
ride and walk about the town.

A sad sight met the eyes of those who remained on the boat. The
steamboat Traveler was just passing them, on its way out of the harbor,
when the mate, who had given some orders not followed to his
satisfaction, let himself down from the upper deck, by catching hold of
the middle rail of the balustrade. The rail broke, and the man was
thrown into the water, probably receiving some mortal blow on the way,
as he never rose. Truly there is but a step between us and death. In
that calm water, on that still, sunny day, the hardy seaman who had
braved death in the darkness and tempest, found a grave.

It was very warm, and all were glad when the steamer was once more in
motion, and the fresh breezes of the lake came with their cooling for
heated brows. It was rather too fresh after a while, and there was more
motion than was consistent with the enjoyment of some of the passengers.
There was a shower, too, dimpling the lake, and driving most of the
people into the saloon.

Norman had his first experience of seasickness, and retiring to his
berth at five o’clock, he slept there till the morning. His mother was
very sorry to have him miss that magnificent sunset on Lake Michigan.
The rain had passed away, and a light breeze crisped the waters. The
boat had made its last landing, and the little town they were leaving
was glorified by its back ground of amber, deepening into a brilliant
orange. Every house and tree came out with marvelous distinctness, as
the sun dipped behind the western horizon, and painted, after he had
passed from view, a gorgeous picture as his parting gift—a gift not to
be lost with the fleeting hour, or to be confounded with other gifts
from the same source. It was marvelous in its beauty. Clouds of rich
crimson, fading into brown, were festooned on the serene radiance of the
clear sky. A wealth of celestial drapery seemed drawn aside to reveal
the far-off glory. As these kindling hues faded away, a cloud nearer the
horizon assumed the aspect of a woodland scene receding from the shore
of the lake. There were the headlands jutting into the water, the
nodding groves, the bays running into the land. It was difficult to make
all this extensive country only cloud-land, and the little company at
the stern of the boat gazed upon it till the gathering darkness hid it
from view.

It was a night of glorious shows; about ten o’clock the northern lights
threw up their quivering brilliant scintillations far up into the
heavens, glorifying the north with a bow of flickering beauty, even as
the west had been glorified with masses of magnificent clouds. The lake,
however, was almost too rough to allow many spectators to enjoy this
glimpse of northern splendors, and most of the passengers sought the
safe security of their berths.

Early in the morning Norman was called by his mother to come out on deck
and see the Manitou Islands, with their sandy bluffs and crown of green
trees. Norman looked at them a long time in silence by himself. When he
came to his mother he said: “I feel almost as if I had been looking at
the Holy Land; those islands were the holy land to the Indians, the
dwelling-place of the Great Spirit, not to be approached by mortals.”

“It made me very fanciful to look at them,” continued Norman. “The great
cloud of smoke that our steamer is sending toward the island, and that
now hovers over it, seemed to me an oblation to the great Manitou of the
Indians.”

There was a visitor from those islands; a pretty little bird that
lighted on the ropes, and jumped about the deck till frightened away.

They passed Beaver Island, once inhabited by the Mormons, who, the
captain said, seemed a very quiet, inoffensive people when they lived
there. He said they had been very kind in assisting him once when he ran
ashore near their island.

After breakfast Norman, his mother, and Alfred Scarborough went to the
hurricane deck. Soon a gentleman came up, and walked vigorously up and
down, giving at each turn some good advice to Norman. He was an English
clergyman, hale and fresh complexioned, with a bright eye, and firm,
quick step, though he was seventy years of age. “I have come out,” he
said, “to get some fresh air before breakfast. There are not many young
men that can run up a mountain like me. Many young men only smoke, and
sleep, and eat; they never think of taking vigorous exercise. They will
never be able to walk as I do at my age.

“Walk, my boy,” said he, putting his hand on Norman’s shoulder “run,
leap, and you will grow strong. Those are the Fox Islands, are they?
Well, I must go down to my breakfast, they will not make much on me; I
can eat a pound more than I could have when I came up.” And thus ending
his walk and sentences together, he went down stairs.

It was a lovely morning; the cool breeze was exhilarating, and the
morning passed quickly away as they glided through the straits that
connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron; the straits so long known under
the formidable name of the Straits of Michilimackinac, now abridged to
Mackinaw.



                              CHAPTER XX.
                        MACKINAW AND LAKE HURON.

          In our wake there follow’d, white as flakes of snow,
          Seven adventurous sea-gulls, floating to and fro;
          Diving for the bounty of the bread we threw,
          Dipping, curving, swerving—fishing as they flew.

                                                    MACKAY.


Just after dinner they reached Mackinaw, where a number of the
excursionists were to remain until the boat returned from Collingwood.
The captain said they would remain at Mackinaw time enough to visit the
fort.

Ready at the gangway as the boat touched the shore, Mrs. Lester, Norman,
with a number of others, rushed on shore, scarcely pausing to look
through the clear, transparent water at the white pebbles of the beach.
Up the hill to the fort, the sun shining down on them with fervent heat,
while his rays were reflected from the white walls. It was, however, a
short, direct road, and the lovely view fully repaid them for the
momentary heat. A peaceful scene lay beneath them; the quiet little
village of Mackinaw, with its humble dwellings; the beach, sweeping
round in the form of a crescent, and the placid waters of Lake Huron
beyond, made a pretty picture; the sentinel walking to and fro on his
post; the heavy pieces of artillery, and piles of shot and shell.
Soldiers, grouped here and there, greatly interested Norman. The descent
was very steep, and Norman in one minute found himself at the foot of
the walled-in road which they had ascended. On arriving at the boat they
found the men engaged in putting on shore sheep and cattle for the
support of the soldiers, whose provision is thus brought to them. Taking
advantage of the delay, Norman rushed on shore to buy some birch bark
boxes, filled with maple sugar, and embroidered in porcupine quills. As
he showed them to his mother on his return, she ventured up the street
to buy some Indian work, emboldened by the sight of the captain walking
before her.

A group of Indian women, in their own dress, with blue cloth blankets
and leggings, attracted their attention as they entered the shop. They
were Ottawas, and one of them had a face of great beauty. It was oval:
her features were fine, and there was a pensive expression, a look of
sadness on her face, that made her very interesting. Mrs. Lester wanted
to look at that face of sorrowful meaning, and learn something of her
history; but the sight of the captain, on his return to the boat,
hastened her movements, and hastily selecting some fans and boxes of
maple sugar, with an embroidered canoe of birch bark, she hurried away.

Nine more sheep to land; there would have been a few moments to spare
for a longer perusal of the face of that Ottawa maiden, but it was safe
to come when they did, and not run the risk of being left. And so they
were once more in motion, with hastily gathered memories of Mackinaw,
its town and fort.

“Norman,” said Mrs. Lester, “did you ever hear of a famous game of ball
at Mackinaw?”

“No, mother; please tell me about it.”

“It was in June. A number of Indians had arrived near the fort,
apparently to trade, and a day was appointed for a game of ball, of
which they are very fond. Stakes were planted, and the game, in playing
which the great object is to keep the ball beyond the adversary’s goal,
began. The Indians uttered loud cries in the wild excitement of the
game, and the commandant of the fort and his lieutenant stood outside of
the gate to watch them. The ball was tossed nearer and nearer the fort,
and the excited crowd of Indians ran and leaped after it, when suddenly
they rushed upon the two officers at the gate, and imprisoned them. At
once they joined some Indians who had come into the fort under pretense
of trading, and imprisoned the whole garrison, seventeen of whom they
put to death.

“This was the beginning of Pontiac’s war.”

“I never heard of this game of ball,” said Norman; “but I can tell as
good a story of a pair of moccasins. May I?”

“Certainly,” said his mother. “I would like to hear it.”

“Well, mother, I believe this was at the beginning of Pontiac’s war too.
An Indian woman had made some moccasins for Major Gladstone, who
commanded the fort at Detroit. They were made of a curious elk-skin that
he valued very much. He paid her for them, and gave her the rest of the
skin, asking her to make another pair for a friend of his. The squaw
seemed unwilling to go home, and the major sent for her, and asked her
what she was waiting for. She said she did not like to take the elk-skin
that he thought so much of, as she could not make another pair of
moccasins. He asked her why she could not make them. At first she would
not tell; but then she said he had been very good to her, and she would
tell him the secret, that she might save his life.

“The Indians, who had asked permission to visit the fort the next day,
that they might present the calumet to Major Gladstone, were coming with
their guns cut off, that they might hide them under their blankets;
then, when Pontiac presented the calumet in some peculiar way, they were
to fire upon the officers.

“The soldiers were stationed outside of the room where the council was
to be held; the officers were armed, and when Pontiac was about to
present the calumet, the officers partially drew their swords from their
scabbards, and the clank of the soldiers’ arms was heard outside.
Pontiac turned pale, and presented the calumet without the preconcerted
signal.

“Major Gladstone then stepped up to one of the Indians, pulled aside his
blanket, and revealed the gun cut short, just as the squaw had said. He
accused Pontiac of treachery, but said that as he had promised them a
safe audience, they might go out of the town unharmed.”

“Perhaps if he had kept them prisoners,” said Mrs. Lester, “he might
have prevented the war that ensued.”

How beautiful the island looked in its commanding position! The high
land in the center, with its lofty forests rising like a curve. How much
they would have enjoyed the day that had been promised them at Mackinaw
to visit the old fort on its central heights, the arched rock, and the
wild solitudes of this picturesque region. The bold rock known as the
Lover’s Leap stood out finely from the greenwood behind, and Norman
listened to its story told him by Mr. Bard. An Indian maiden, who had
refused to marry a brave who loved her very much, was one day seated on
this lofty rock, looking out on the grand view beneath her, when she
heard a stealthy step, and her rejected lover stood by her side. The
hour, the scene were propitious to his suit, and again it was urged with
all the warmth of earnest affection. The maiden listened, hesitated, and
at length told him that if he would leap off that cliff she would marry
him. The Indian raised his tall form to its utmost height, looked at the
sea, the sky, and then at the beautiful face for which he periled the
sight of both, and leaped from the giddy verge. Strange to say, without
loss of life or limb, with the agility and skill of a well-trained
Indian, he took the fearful leap, which was broken by the branches of
trees and shrubbery beneath. And thus he won his Indian bride.

Mr. Bard, who had come to the country when there were but two houses in
Chicago out of the fort, had been familiar with it when the Indian
tribes roved at will over the vast prairies of Illinois. He spoke four
of their languages, and could sing their songs. He had been twice cast
away on the shores of Lake Michigan, and he could tell many a tale of
wild adventure. More wonderful than any fairy tale was the aspect of the
cultivated farms, the neat farm-houses, the numerous villages and towns,
with their spires pointing skyward, the great city that had all grown up
in a few years beneath his eye. And those red men, with whom he had been
so familiarly associated, where had they gone? How rapidly those western
regions are losing the element of the picturesque that the Indian with
his bark canoe and his wigwam give to their lakes and rivers, with their
wooded shores.

He told Norman of a most curious scene he had once witnessed. An Indian
had a very handsome pony, which another Indian was anxious to purchase,
but which he resolutely refused to sell. They were both drinking, when
the owner of the pony, finding his stock of whisky exhausted, asked the
other to give or sell him a mouthful from his remaining bottle. He at
first declined, but, on being entreated, said that he would give him a
mouthful of whisky for the pony. The Indian at once consented to give up
his favorite horse for the momentary gratification, and putting his lips
to those which had recently imbibed the whisky, he received the
stipulated mouthful.

It was a repetition, in these western wilds, of the old Hebrew story,
the sacrifice of a birthright by the hungry hunter for the mess of
pottage given him by the plain man dwelling in tents. Well, were this
the solitary repetition! but, alas! Esaus are found in all our borders,
giving up, for the indulgence of present clamorous desires, an
inheritance more glorious than any to which the first-born of earth
could ever lay claim.

The captain asked Norman if he had seen the northern lights the evening
before. Norman said that he was asleep, and asked the captain if he
frequently saw them.

“O yes,” he replied, “they are very brilliant in these high latitudes.
The Indians think they are the dance of the dead. One evening I came on
deck, and looking up at that pole I saw a bird just resting on the gilt
ball that surmounts it. I seemed to hear the soft flutter of her wings.
I watched it for some time, and then went in and called the engineer to
look at it. He too saw it, and when I turned to look at the boat every
line and point seemed luminous. He was showing it to some ladies, and
pointing toward it a light blue flame streamed from his finger.
Everything was highly charged with electricity, which produced the
semblance of the bird on the flagstaff on the bow. I never saw anything
like it.”

“How long did it last?” asked Norman.

“About two hours.”

Norman then asked him about Lake Superior, and he told him of the
wonderful beauty of the pictured rocks, of the castles and temples
jutting out of their bold front, of their arched caverns; that those
majestic rocks, three hundred feet high, extend ten miles, and the
Indians passed them with awful reverence, thinking that they were the
dwelling-place of the great Manitou.

The captain spoke of the sudden storms so violent in this “Big Sea
Water” in the autumn, and showed Norman a very beautiful gold watch that
had been presented to him by the citizens of Superior City, in honor of
his courage, skill, and fidelity when his vessel was exposed to a severe
storm, and he brought her safely through the snow, and ice, and tempest.
On the case was engraved a picture of the “Lady Elgin,” and on the heavy
gold chain, secured by an anchor to his buttonhole, were his initials,
in massive gold letters.

The captain showed Norman the straits that led up into Lake Superior,
and he regretted his mother had given up the excursion around the lake.
She concluded that as they had been gone two months from home, it would
not be well to set out on an excursion that would detain them ten or
twelve days longer, and expose them, moreover, to traveling on the
Sabbath. The home prospect looked so bright, however, that they did not
regret very much the loss of the sight of the prairies and rocks, and
all the desolate glories of this great lake.

“Norman,” said his mother, “just think of the courage it must have
required when, more than two hundred years ago, two French missionaries
sailed over these lonely lakes. They were seventeen days in a light bark
canoe. They sailed past the pretty islands we shall soon see in Georgian
Bay, and over the clear waters upon which we are now sailing, up the
river St. Mary, which the captain showed you, which leads to Lake
Superior, and there, at the Sault St. Marie, they told the Indians about
Jesus:

                        “‘A birch canoe with, paddles,
                Rising, sinking on the water,
                Dripping, flashing in the sunshine,
                And within it came a people
                From the distant land of Wabrun,
                From the farthest realms of morning
                Came the black-robe chief, the prophet,
                He the priest of prayer; the pale-face
                With his guides and his companions.’”

A lady showed Norman a picture of the rapids at the Sault St. Marie,
with a number of Indians in their canoes; and the captain said they
would paddle their canoes up the rapids, and then throwing their nets in
the water as they came down, would catch the fish going up the stream.

After tea they seated themselves in the stern of the vessel, and looked
at her track far over the lake. The air was cool and exhilarating, and
it was with devout gratitude to God for the wonderful display of his
mighty works, and for his abundant blessings, that some of the company
gazed upon the serene glory of the sunsetting. It was not gorgeous, as
was the sunset on Lake Michigan, with clouds of purple and crimson, but
slowly, slowly the shining orb dipped behind the waters. The evening
star hung trembling in the sky, faintly shining out from that region of
pale gold; while the moon, high in the western heavens, promised for
many hours her silvery light.

Norman brought out his trolling-hook, that he might have the pleasure of
throwing it into Lake Huron, as he was denied that of fishing in Lake
Superior. He let it out at the end of a long and strong fishing line,
and amused himself watching it bounce out of the water, and feeling the
twitches it gave his hand as the boat moved rapidly onward. A lady, who
sat near, was very much amused at the stout resistance of the waves. At
length Norman drew in his line, and lo! and behold the hook was gone.
The action of the waves had worn away the stout cord, made still
stronger by being wound around with thread.

“There,” said Norman, “I have lost the hook which cost me twenty-five
cents.”

“I think it has given us twenty-five cents’ worth of pleasure,” said the
lady, who had been watching the dancing line.

“And you have the honor of having lost your hook in the clear waters of
Lake Huron,” added his mother. Norman was meanwhile tying to the end of
his line the little board on which the line had been wound, and he threw
that in the water in place of the hook. This was a more stirring
pastime. The board offered so much stronger resistance to the waves,
that Norman had to wind the line several times around his hand to retain
his hold. At one moment the jerk was so violent, that the cord drew the
boy toward the low balustrade, over which he might have easily gone, but
for the interposing arms of the lady and his mother, at once thrown
round him. There was a start among the little company as they perceived
the boy’s danger, and Mrs. Lester told Norman he had now better draw in
his line.

A new entertainment succeeded. Norman had been watching a sea-gull that
had been following directly in the track of their vessel for many miles
long before sunset; those untiring wings of snowy white had borne the
graceful bird onward, and ever and anon she made a circling sweep, and
rested a while on the bosom of the water.

“Norman,” said Mrs. Bard, “you go to the pantry, and ask for some pieces
of bread, and throw them in the water, and you will soon have a flock of
sea-gulls following you.”

Norman waited not a second bidding, and soon came back with some rolls
and pieces of bread. He threw some in, and the gull did not see them. He
then waited till the bird came quite near the vessel, and threw it up
toward her. Then he had the satisfaction of seeing the gull slowly
circle round and round, till it picked up the morsel of bread. In a few
minutes another gull came, and then another, and then another, till six
white birds, on rapid wing, were hovering over the vessel’s track, and
picking up the bread cast upon the waters.

Norman’s delight knew no bounds. It is pleasant to feed chickens in a
barn-yard; but what is that compared to feeding gulls on Lake Huron, and
seeing them wing their flight at your call through the trackless
solitudes of air. He was sorry when the darkness prevented the sea-gulls
from seeing the pieces of bread, and they

                 “Wing’d their way to far-off islands,
                 To their nests among the rushes.”

The evening star soon set, and the moon was left pale empress of the
sky. How glorious was the path of silvery light she threw across the
water. Sweet strains of music sounded from the band, and the eye,
following that radiant pathway, would see in it now a silvery cascade,
and now a shining road to a niche, in which hung the moon, the crescent
lamp of night. It was a sweet conclusion to a day rich in enjoyment.
Sea, sky, and air had brought their tribute; and the heart of man had
rejoiced, as the eye took in this wealth of beauty. What suitable
expression those feelings found in the language of the nineteenth Psalm!

[Illustration:

  No. 666.

  COMMON GULL.]

             “The heavens declare the glory of God,
             And the firmament showeth his handy work.
             Day unto day uttereth speech,
             And night unto night showeth knowledge.
             There is no speech nor language
             Where their voice is not heard.
             Their line is gone out through all the earth,
             And their words to the end of the world.”



                              CHAPTER XXI.
                              COLLINGWOOD.

      “Forests burned for clearing, to spare the woodman’s stroke,
      Buttonwood and chestnut, and ash, and giant oak.”


A bright band of light clearly defined the eastern horizon, and heralded
the approach of the sun. A steamer, making its way along the shore,
stood out with great distinctness in the clear atmosphere. They were in
Georgian Bay, dotted with pretty islands, and near the southwestern
shore, deeply indented and covered with timber.

“There are our friends, the sea-gulls,” exclaimed Norman. Yes, there
they were—

                      “The hungry sea-gulls
                  Came back from the reedy islands,
                  Clamorous for the morning banquet,”

their white wings glancing in the sunlight. At length Collingwood was
visible, a stone light-house, on an island, passed, then another wooden
light-house, and they were in the harbor.

Norman saw two wigwams among the trees, and a “dug-out” with four or
five Indians in it.

The train had left twenty minutes before the smoke of the Planet was
seen, and a telegram was sent to Toronto requesting a special train,
which it was thought would be granted. The passengers were all seated in
the cars, the locomotive had its steam up, when a telegram came to say
that there could be no train before four o’clock.

Collingwood is a collection of unpainted houses built in the sand, most
dreary and uninviting in its aspect. Norman and his mother, and Alfred
Scarborough, walked through its streets. The stores are shaded by
evergreens, stuck in the ground, to afford a temporary shade. They went
into several stores, to buy some Indian things, but there was no one in
the store to sell them, and after waiting a while they were obliged to
leave. At length Mrs. Lester found some pretty boxes, worked with
porcupine quills, and Norman bought an Indian battle-axe.

After wandering a while on the shores of the lake, looking down into its
clear transparent waters, and gathering some wild flowers, they returned
to the boat, where they found the other passengers. The view of the
harbor of Collingwood was very pretty, the waters were blue and
beautiful, and the breezes cool and bracing.

Norman watched with great interest a race between a little sloop and
schooner, round the light-house. The wind was so fresh that the vessels
leaned very far over, and seemed in some danger of being capsized.

While the train was coming slowly up from the pier to the station, where
the passengers awaited it, a gentleman, with a baby in his arms, was
walking on the track. The English clergyman rushed forward before it,
waving his umbrella and crying, “Off, man, off the track, or in one
moment you will be crushed to atoms.”

Again they were seated in the cars. “What beautiful spikes of purple
flowers,” exclaimed Mrs. Lester, “and close by the station. I wish we
had seen them.”

“And those brilliant red flowers,” said Norman, “Did you ever see
anything prettier?”

“Do you think they are flowers or berries” asked his mother; “we go so
fast that I cannot tell which they are.”

At a station where they stopped, a gentleman got out and gathered some
of these red berries, handing them to Mrs. Lester through the window.

“Red elderberries,” said Mrs. Lester; “very pretty, but not the gorgeous
flowers we thought them; we cannot press these.”

The road lay through timber, and the stations were groups of unpainted
houses in the clearings. Felled trees and blackened stumps met the eye
in every direction.

At a station near Lake Simcoe the train stopped for two or three
minutes, and Norman and his mother rushed to an opening, where they had
a lovely view of the pretty sheet of water.

A longer view they had, though not so lovely, when the train went down
on a short railroad running to the lake, to take the passengers who had
made the circuit of it in the little steamboat. The boat was in sight,
but some distance off, so that the passengers seated themselves on the
pier, or on the piles of boards that encumbered it. Logs and boards met
the eye in every direction, and an immense steam saw-mill was at work,
converting the felled trees of the great forest through which they had
passed, into the boards with which the settler builds his house.

“Where is Norman?” asked Mrs. Lester anxiously of Mr. Campbell, a Scotch
gentleman. “I do not see him anywhere.” The gentleman told her he would
look for him, and in a few minutes he returned with the boy.

“Mother, I went up to that wood to gather some of these beautiful purple
flowers for you, and for that young lady. She said she would like some
of them, and I saw that the steamboat was so far off that I had time.”

“You should have told me where you were going, my child, and you would
have spared me some moments of anxiety.”

“I am sorry, mother, but I was in no danger. I wanted to get some red
berries for that young lady, but I could not find any.”

“You may have these,” replied his mother; “I do not want them;” and
while Norman went to give his berries and flowers to the young lady,
with whom he had had many pleasant talks on the Planet, his mother
pressed the pretty spikes of purple flowers in her guidebook.

The English clergyman stayed that he might go around Lake Simcoe, of
which most of the passengers thought they had seen enough. It was dark
when they reached Toronto, and Norman did not see much, roused as he was
from a sound sleep, till he walked through the stately halls and parlors
of the Rossin House, and into his comfortable room.



                             CHAPTER XXII.
                          A SUNDAY IN TORONTO.

          What spell has o’er the populous city pass’d!
            The wonted current of its life is stay’d:
          Its sports, its gainful schemes, are earthward cast,
            As though their vileness were at once display’d;
          The roar of trade has ceased, and on the air
            Come holy songs, and solemn sounds of prayer.

                                        WILLIAM HOWITT.


A bright, clear, cool Sabbath! Perfect peace reigned in that city; not a
sound disturbed its quiet. All the stores closed; no riding or driving;
no groups of idle people congregated anywhere; clean quiet streets only
filled with people on their way to the house of God. It was a striking
contrast to many of our towns in the States, where multitudes of people
are riding and driving, buying and selling, crowding to the drinking
saloons, and in many other ways desecrating God’s holy day.

Mrs. Lester told Norman that she wished him to learn that beautiful
promise in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.

“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on
my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord,
honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding
thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.

“Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to
ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage
of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

“Mother,” said Norman, “people do not seem to mind traveling on Sunday.
Every one was surprised that you hurried from St. Paul, so as not to be
on board the boat on Sunday.”

“I think, my dear child, that those who fear God will keep his
commandments. And this commandment to keep holy the Sabbath-day was
spoken not only amid the thunders of Sinai, but amid the blissful
solitudes of Eden. Prophet after prophet warned the Sabbath-breaker of
coming woe, and promised blessings to those who remembered the Sabbath
to keep it holy. Listen to the beautiful promise God gives to those who
keep his Sabbaths: ‘Even unto them will I give in my house, and within
my walls, a place and a name better than of sons and daughters: I will
give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.’

“Just think of the things here promised, a home, a place in God’s house,
a position better than that even of sons and daughters, and a name never
to be forgotten. What a reward for the faithful and joyful keeping of
the Sabbath, in itself a happiness. But, Norman, read the seventh verse
of the same chapter, (Isaiah lvi,) and you will find more blessings
promised.”

Norman found the place and read:

“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my
house of prayer: their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be
accepted upon mine altar.”

In the morning Norman and his mother, accompanied by Mr. Campbell, went
to the cathedral. It is a large handsome new church, and the grassy turf
around it, shaded by fine trees, gave a very pleasant aspect to the
entrance. As they stood near the door awaiting the pew-opener to show
them to seats, a lady in a large square pew in the corner invited them
in. It was very warm; the pew was under the gallery and closely
curtained, and the words of the unseen minister, as he began the
service, were inaudible. Mrs. Lester whispered to Mr. Campbell, “Had we
not better go somewhere where we can see and hear?”

With words of apology to the lady who had kindly offered them seats,
they left the pew, and were shown to another in the nave, the body of
the church. It was a new thing for Norman to hear prayers for Queen
Victoria and the Prince Consort, and all the royal family, instead of
the President of the United States.

Another thing showed him that he was in a foreign country. On the front
of the gallery, just above him, were a gilt lion and unicorn, with a
crown above them. The royal arms of England were in front of the pew of
Sir Edmund Head, the Governor General of Canada. The sermon was preached
by the curate, a slender young man, who was soon to go to Europe for his
health. After the service the two aids-de-camp of the Governor General,
in full uniform, waited for him at the church door, to attend him to his
carriage. He keeps up a sort of court, as the representative of royalty,
and his salary is $35,000.

After dinner Mrs. Lester, with Norman, went to see Dr. G., a Wesleyan
minister, once a fellow passenger across the Atlantic. His house is very
pleasantly situated, overlooking the pretty grounds of the normal
school, whose fine buildings are an ornament to the city. Once, many
years before, Mrs. Lester had taken tea with Mrs. G., and it was very
pleasant to renew an acquaintance made under very happy auspices. The
evening service in the Wesleyan churches did not begin till six, and
Mrs. G. asked Mrs. Lester to remain and go to the Adelaide church with
them. Mrs. Lester, however, found it necessary to return to the hotel,
and before she went Dr. G. showed her, from the top of the house, the
numerous churches whose spires adorn the fair city of Toronto.

They had a pleasant walk to their hotel, at the far end of the town; on
their way they passed several handsome churches, one situated in a sort
of court, the street terminating at the church. It was a pleasant
evening service at the Richmond-street church: a very large
congregation, hearty singing, and a good earnest sermon.

On passing the pretty Congregational church on the corner of Adelaide
and Bay streets, they walked in and found that the minister had just
begun his sermon on, “At midnight there was a cry heard, Behold the
Bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet him.” The minister, with a strong
Scotch accent was saying, as they entered, “Who of you would be willing
to fix a time when you would be ready to hear that cry?” He spoke of the
stillness and solemnity of the hour—midnight silence and darkness, when
the slightest sound startles one; when the wind, or the rustling of a
branch against the window, often terrifies one when sitting alone or
suddenly awakened from sleep. What then will it be to hear the piercing
tones of that trumpet that will rouse the universe?

And then he said that that night might the cry sound to one who was
listening to him, that suddenly, in the still watches of the night, that
soul might be called to meet the Bridegroom. The morning would come; the
family assembled at breakfast would miss the absent one, and on going to
his room they would find only his lifeless remains; he would never meet
with them again on earth.

                 “Great God, is this our certain doom,
                   And are we still secure?
                 Still walking downward to the tomb,
                   And yet prepared no more?”



                             CHAPTER XXIII.
                         ONCE MORE AT NIAGARA.

              Flow on forever in thy glorious robe
              Of terror and of beauty. God has set
              His rainbow on thy forehead, and the clouds
              Mantled around thy feet.—MRS. SIGOURNEY.


Ontario was sleeping in the sunshine when they crossed it on Monday
morning.

“Is this an English or American fort?” asked Norman, as he looked at the
massive walls of Fort Niagara at the mouth of the river. “It is an
American fort,” said a young English officer, who stood near, “but we
will come down and take it soon.”

“Not so easily as you think,” replied Norman.

“Yes we will,” said the Lieutenant; “we will come down and take it, and
keep it too.”

“I don’t believe you will,” said Norman.

“We took it once,” rejoined the officer, “in the last war.”

“But you did not keep it,” Norman replied.

As Norman was going off the boat the Englishman said: “We will soon come
and annex the United States.”

From the boat to the cars, for the short ride to Clifton Station, there
is a superb view of the Queenstown Heights, and Brock’s monument rising
proudly on its grand pedestal.

The window of Mrs. Lester’s room, at the Clifton House, commanded a fine
view of the falls, so that they could be enjoyed even in the moments of
rest and dressing.

It was a lovely day, and the walk to Table Rock is probably the most
magnificent in the world, commanding as it does, through its entire
length, a noble view of both falls. The sunlight on the white foaming
water made it almost painful for the eyes to look upon.

They sat on Table Rock and looked down upon the dazzling beauty of those
falling waters so quaintly described by the French missionary, Father
Hennepin, who saw them in 1678. “A vast and prodigious cadence of water,
which falls down after a surprising and astonishing manner, insomuch
that the universe does not afford its parallel.”

They had a more extensive view of the rapids, in connection with the
falls, from the observatory of the house near Table Rock. Then they went
to the Pagoda, and after ascending several flights of stairs, entered a
small room containing a round table covered with white muslin. Norman
wondered why they had come, when the old man closed the window, and on
this white table was thrown a picture that the greatest painter of earth
cannot equal.

Soft and beautiful, a moving picture first of the American falls, then
of the brown crags of Goat Island, and the soft foliage of its forests,
then of the Horse-Shoe Fall, with its brown stone tower. And while they
were looking at this the little steamer Maid of the Mist, was seen
making its way through the foam and spray to the foot of that mighty
cataract, and then turning for its return voyage.

“What a beautiful picture!” cried Norman, laughing aloud with delight;
“what would not the Queen of England give for such a table in her
drawing room?”

“No table of mosaic or enamel can ever equal the soft tints of that
lovely picture,” replied his mother.

“O look there! look there!” cried Norman, as Table Rock and the road
leading to it appeared on the wonderful table. “See those ladies with
their parasols seated on the rock, and that little girl with her brown
straw flat, and that carriage filled with gentlemen driving up there;
and look at these ladies walking away; how little do they know that
their portraits are painted on this table?

“In old times, mother,” continued Norman, “people would have thought
this a magic table, but because we know that it is a camera obscura we
do not think it so wonderful.”

“There is the Clifton House,” said the man, “and see that bit of
foreground, masses of foliage.”

“Norman, we must leave this enchanted picture, for it will soon be time
for us to go back to dinner.”

One more view from Table Rock, more beautiful than ever, crowned as it
was with a brilliant rainbow spanning the British and American Falls, a
type of the bow of peace which should unite the nations.

Once more the Maid of the Mist was seen urging her way close beneath the
American Falls. The figures on her deck, in their waterproof dresses,
looked weird and unearthly as they stood looking up to that mass of
descending waters, and enveloped in the clouds of spray. On their way
home Mrs. Lester stopped to purchase some curious fossils from a man who
had his stand under some trees, and she sat awhile on a chair he placed
for her on the grass, looking at the view, which is exceedingly fine
from this point, commanding the fearful chasm and the rugged rocks on
the Canada side.

The same walk in the afternoon, when they descended the stone steps
leading to the path under Table Rock: down, down by the side of those
stupendous cliffs, towering upward in their might, the water trickling
along the crevices, till they stood beneath the overhanging Table Rock
and looked upward at that mass of falling waters.

“This I like better than all,” said Norman; “how much I would like to go
behind the sheet of water.”

“No, indeed,” replied his mother, “I do not mean that you shall go
there. But is not this grand!”

A few minutes only and they retraced their steps, gathering some blue
hare-bells growing out of the crevices of these rude cliffs.

Slowly, slowly the shadow of the hills crept up the falls, vailing their
dazzling beauty, and obscuring their radiant bows. The sunset came too
soon to close that day of exceeding beauty; but then the moon faintly
lighted up the splendors of the scene, kindling the rapids above the
falls, and making a path of light in the profound depths below. A little
way in the moonlight, down the road to the ferry, to gaze on the wonders
of that fearful chasm, softened rather than heightened by that silvery
light.

No lunar bow to be seen till late in the night from the Canada side.
Those who looked that night from Goat Island and the Tower saw it in
great beauty.



                             CHAPTER XXIV.
                              HOME AGAIN.

  Then tell me, what have you brought home? If but an olive leaf, let
  us have it; come, unpack your budget.

                                                         MRS. JAMESON.


Up at four o’clock; the Falls yet unvisited by the sun’s early beams.
The birds were singing their merriest song, as Norman and his mother,
after an early breakfast, got into the carriage, and rode along that
wonderful river to the Suspension Bridge. A wondering glance at the
fearful depths below, as the water rolled on beneath, mighty in its
seeming stillness, a last lingering look at the Falls as they crossed
the Suspension Bridge, and they were at the station.

In the cars of the Central Railroad; how rapidly they were borne onward!
how hot and dusty it soon became! Lockport, with its wild scenery, its
commanding views, and its splendid locks on the canal, letting down its
waters from a great height, interested Norman more than anything he saw.
Then the salt lakes, near Syracuse, and the great salt works there!

But Norman was in no mood for enjoyment. The water, of which he drank so
freely at Niagara, had disagreed with him, and he suffered a good deal
of pain.

“Mother, please do not go to Trenton Falls.”

“O Norman, you would enjoy seeing them very much; they are so very
beautiful!”

“I would not enjoy them at all now; but do not let me keep you from
going.”

Mrs. Lester hesitated. She was most anxious to visit that spot, so
perfectly satisfying in its wild beauty; but it would be a great
drawback to enjoy it alone, and she concluded to defer it till some more
auspicious moment. She little thought of the tragedy that would have
saddened her visit!

That afternoon a boy of fourteen fell from one of the rocky ledges, and
was at once swallowed up in those engulfing waters. His brother, who was
with him, missed him, and saw his hat floating in the rapid stream. They
had been brought there, with their mother, to spend a few weeks, by
their father, who had returned to his business in town.

And so, at Utica, instead of going to Trenton, as she anticipated, Mrs.
Lester resumed her place in the cars, and looked that afternoon upon the
lovely Mohawk Valley, as it was unrolled before her view.

At East Albany Norman was looking out of the cars at the up-train, which
had just arrived, and at a little boy running under the cars, in front
of those great wheels that would crush him to atoms if the train moved
while he was in his perilous position, when Mrs. Lester exclaimed, “Why,
there’s your Aunt Augusta and Aunt Helen!” Glances of recognition, mute
gestures, but no words possible, as the train was just starting.

“They are going to Trenton and Niagara,” said Mrs. Lester. “If we had
gone to Trenton we would have met them there. There is your Uncle
Charles waving good-by from the platform.”

“And there were Bessie and Edith,” said Norman, mournfully.

“I think not,” replied Mrs. Lester. “I did not see them.”

“But I am sure I saw them,” said Norman; “and that will take away half
my pleasure in getting home. I was looking forward to telling them about
all what I had seen.”

At the depôt Mrs. Lester was kindly greeted by Mrs. Eiledon, who
insisted upon sending her home in her carriage. After leaving Mrs.
Eiledon at Ellesmere, they drove on to the Glen. How beautiful
everything looked in this region of valleys and hills! How glorious was
the sunset behind those grand, blue mountains! How refreshing the soft
evening breezes, after the heat and dust of the cars!

Home again. Norman’s heart leaped up within him.

“How surprised they will be! Mother, put your vail down, and they will
think it is Mrs. —— come to pay a visit.”

As they drove through the wood, and came in sight of the cottage, Norman
sprang to his feet, and waving his hat round and round, shouted a loud
hurra. Even then the party on the veranda did not recognize the
returning travelers in the gathering twilight. They fancied them on the
distant waters of Lake Superior, and were greatly astonished to see
their familiar faces, as they sprung out of the carriage. There was a
loud and prolonged shout of welcome, and cordial embraces from mother,
and sisters, and aunts, and cousins. Yes, Norman’s little cousins,
Bessie and Edith, were there, in spite of the vision he had had of them
in the up-train, and their voices were loud and merry all the evening.

It was with deep gratitude to God that Norman and his mother retired to
rest that evening. They were thankful that his kind providence had
watched over them in their journey of more than three thousand miles,
and had brought them home again, to find those whom they loved well and
happy.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



Transcriber’s note:

 1. Changed “take them a drive” to “take them for a drive” on p. 204.

 2. Changed “h  ls and parlors of the Rossin House, a     to” to “halls
      and parlors of the Rossin House, and into” on p. 246.

 3. Silently corrected typographical errors.

 4. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.





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