Sketches And Tales Illustrative Of Life In The Backwoods Of New Brunswick
Mrs. F. Beavan

Part 1 out of 2

Produced by Dave Morgan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team,
with thanks to,


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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

The evening, with one of those sudden changes of New Brunswick, had
become cold and chilly. The sun looked red and lurid through the heavy
masses of fog clouds drifting through the sky; this fog, which comes all
the way from the Banks of Newfoundland, and which is particularly
disagreeable sometimes along the Bay shore and in St. John, in
opposition to the general clearness of the American atmosphere is but
little known in the interior of the country. Numerous summer fallows are
burning around, and the breeze flings over us showers of blackened
leaves and blossoms. As we approached home, we were accosted by one Mr.


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