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Canadian Crusoes by Catherine Parr Traill

Part 3 out of 4

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parched rice, Indian fashion, with venison, and they enjoyed the novelty
very much--it made an excellent substitute for bread, of which they had
been so long deprived.

Indiana gave them to understand that the rice harvest would soon be ready
on the lake, and that now they had got a canoe, they would go out and
gather it, and so lay by a store to last them for many months.

This little incident furnished the inhabitants of the shanty with frequent
themes for discussion. Hector declared that the Indian corn was the most
valuable of their acquisitions. "It will insure us a crop, and bread and
seed-corn for many years," he said; he also highly valued the tomahawk, as
his axe was worn and blunt.

Louis was divided between the iron pot and the canoe. Hector seemed to
think the raft, after all, might have formed a substitute for the latter;
besides, Indiana had signified her intention of helping him to make a
canoe. Catharine declared in favour of the blanket, as it would make, after
thorough ablutions, warm petticoats with tight bodices for herself and
Indiana. With deer-skin leggings, and a fur jacket, they should be
comfortably clad. Indiana thought the canoe the most precious, and was
charmed with the good jar and the store of rice: nor did she despise the
packing rope, which she soon showed was of use in carrying burdens from
place to place, Indian fashion: by placing a pad of soft fur in front of
the head, she could carry heavy loads with great ease. The mat, she said,
was useful for drying the rice she meant to store. The very next day after
this adventure, the two girls set to work, and with the help of Louis's
large knife, which was called into requisition as a substitute for
scissors, they cut out the blanket dresses, and in a short time made two
comfortable and not very unsightly garments: the full, short, plaited
skirts reached a little below the knee; light vests bordered with fur
completed the upper part, and leggings, terminated at the ankles by knotted
fringes of the doe-skin, with mocassins turned over with a band of squirrel
fur, completed the novel but not very unbecoming costume; and many a glance
of innocent satisfaction did our young damsels cast upon each other, when
they walked forth in the pride of girlish vanity to display their dresses
to Hector and Louis, who, for their parts, regarded them as most skilful
dress-makers, and were never tired of admiring and commending their
ingenuity in the cutting, making and fitting, considering what rude
implements they were obliged to use in the cutting out and sewing of the

The extensive rice beds on the lake had now begun to assume a golden tinge
which contrasted very delightfully with the deep blue waters--looking, when
lighted up by the sunbeams, like islands of golden-coloured sand. The ears,
heavy laden with the ripe grain, drooped towards the water. The time of
the rice-harvest was at hand, and with light and joyous hearts our young
adventurers launched the canoe, and, guided in their movements by the
little squaw, paddled to the extensive aquatic fields to gather it in,
leaving Catharine and Wolfe to watch their proceedings from the raft, which
Louis had fastened to a young tree that projected out over the lake, and
which made a good landing-place, likewise a wharf where they could stand
and fish very comfortably. As the canoe could not be overloaded on account
of the rice-gathering, Catharine very readily consented to employ herself
with fishing from the raft till their return.

The manner of procuring the rice was very simple. One person steered the
canoe with the aid of the paddle along the edge of the rice beds, and
another with a stick in one hand, and a curved sharp-edged paddle in the
other, struck the heads off as they bent them over the edge of the stick;
the chief art was in letting the heads fall into the canoe, which a little
practice soon enabled them to do as expertly as the mower lets the grass
fall in ridges beneath his scythe.

Many bushels of wild rice were thus collected. Nothing could he more
delightful than this sort of work to our young people, and merrily they
worked, and laughed, and sung, as they came home each day with their light
bark, laden with a store of grain that they knew would preserve them from
starving through the long, dreary winter that was coming on.

The canoe was a source of great comfort and pleasure to them; they were now
able to paddle out into the deep water, and fish for masquinonje and black
bass, which they caught in great numbers.

Indiana seemed quite another creature when, armed with a paddle of her own
carving, she knelt at the head of the canoe and sent it flying over the
water; then her dark eyes, often so vacant and glassy, sparkled with
delight, and her teeth gleamed with ivory whiteness as her face broke into
smiles and dimples.

It was delightful then to watch this child of nature, and see how
innocently happy she could be when rejoicing in the excitement of healthy
exercise, and elated by a consciousness of the power she possessed of
excelling her companions in feats of strength and skill which they had yet
to acquire by imitating her.

Even Louis was obliged to confess that the young savage knew more of
the management of a canoe, and the use of the bows and arrows, and the
fishing-line, than either himself or his cousin. Hector was lost in
admiration of her skill in all these things; and Indiana rose highly in his
estimation, the more he saw of her usefulness.

"Every one to his craft," said Louis, laughing; "the little squaw has been
brought up in the knowledge and practice of such matters from her babyhood;
perhaps if we were to set her to knitting, and spinning, and milking of
cows, and house-work, and learning to read, I doubt if she would prove half
as quick as Catharine or Mathilde."

"I wonder if she knows anything of God or our Saviour," said Hector,

"Who should have taught her? for the Indians are all heathens;" replied

"I have heard my dear mother say, the Missionaries have taken great pains
to teach the Indian children down about Quebec and Montreal, and that so
far from being stupid, they learn very readily," said Catharine.

"We must try and make Indiana learn to say her prayers; she sits quite
still, and seems to take no notice of what we are doing when we kneel down,
before we go to bed," observed Hector.

"She cannot understand what we say," said Catharine; for she knows so
little of our language yet, that of course she cannot comprehend the
prayers, which are in other sort of words than what we use in speaking of
hunting, and fishing, and cooking, and such matters."

"Well, when she knows more of our way of speaking, then we must teach her;
it is a sad thing for Christian children to live with an untaught pagan,"
said Louis, who, being rather bigoted in his creed, felt a sort of
uneasiness in his own mind at the poor girl's total want of the rites of
his church; but Hector and Catharine regarded her ignorance with feelings
of compassionate interest, and lost no opportunity that offered, of trying
to enlighten her darkened mind on the subject of belief in the God who
made, and the Lord who saved them. Simply and earnestly they entered into
the task as a labour of love, and though for a long time Indiana seemed to
pay little attention to what they said, by slow degrees the good seed took
root and brought forth fruit worthy of Him whose Spirit poured the beams of
spiritual light into her heart: but my young readers must not imagine
these things were the work of a day--the process was slow, and so were the
results, but they were good in the end.

And Catharine was glad when, after many go months of patient teaching, the
Indian girl asked permission to kneel down with her white friend, and pray
to the Great Spirit and His Son in the same words that Christ Jesus gave
to his disciples; and if the full meaning of that holy prayer, so full of
humility and love, and moral justice, was not fully understood by her whose
lips repeated it, yet even the act of worship and the desire to do that
which she had been told was right, was, doubtless, a sacrifice better than
the pagan rites which that young girl had witnessed among her father's
people, who, blindly following the natural impulse of man in his depraved
nature, regarded deeds of blood and cruelty as among the highest of human
virtues, and gloried in those deeds of vengeance at which the Christian
mind revolts with horror.

Indiana took upon herself the management of the rice, drying, husking and
storing it, the two lads working under her direction. She caused several
forked stakes to be cut and sharpened and driven into the ground; on these
were laid four poles, so as to form a frame, over which she then stretched
the bass-mat, which she secured by means of forked pegs to the frame on
the mat; she then spread out the rice thinly, and lighted a fire beneath,
taking good care not to let the flame set fire to the mat, the object being
rather to keep up a strong, slow heat, by means of the red embers. She next
directed the boys to supply her with pine or cedar boughs, which she stuck
in close together, so as to enclose the fire within the area of the stakes.
This was done to concentrate the heat and cause it to bear upwards with
more power; the rice being frequently stirred with a sort of long-handled,
flat shovel. After the rice was sufficiently dried, the next thing to be
done was separating it from the husk, and this was effected by putting it
by small quantities into the iron pot, and with a sort of wooden pestle
or beetle, rubbing it round and round against the sides. [Footnote: The
Indians often make use of a very rude, primitive sort of mortar, by
hollowing out a bass-wood stump, and rubbing the rice with a wooden
pounder.] If they had not had the iron pot, a wooden trough must have been
substituted in its stead.

When the rice was husked, the loose chaff was winnowed from it in a flat
basket like a sieve, and it was then put by in coarse birch baskets,
roughly sewed with leather-wood bark, or bags made of matting, woven by the
little squaw from the cedar-bark. A portion was also parched, which was
simply done by putting the rice dry into the iron pot, and setting it on
hot embers, stirring the grain till it burst: it was then stored by for
use. Rice thus prepared is eaten dry, as a substitute for bread, by the
Indians. The lake was now swarming with wild fowl of various kinds; crowds
of ducks were winging their way across it from morning till night, floating
in vast flocks upon its surface, or rising in noisy groups if an eagle or
fish-hawk appeared sailing with slow, majestic circles above them, then
settling down with noisy splash upon the calm water. The shores, too, were
covered with these birds, feeding on the fallen acorns which fell ripe and
brown with every passing breeze; the berries of the dogwood also furnished
them with food; but the wild rice seemed the great attraction, and small
shell-fish and the larvae of many insects that had been dropped into the
waters, there to come to perfection in due season, or to form a provision
for myriads of wild fowl that had come from the far north-west to feed upon
them, guided by that instinct which has so beautifully been termed by one
of our modern poetesses, "God's gift to the weak" [Footnote: Mrs. Southey.]


"Oh, come and hear what cruel wrongs Befel the Dark Ladye."--COLERIDGE.

THE Mohawk girl was in high spirits at the coming of the wild fowl to the
lake; she would clap her hands and laugh with almost childish glee as she
looked at them darkening the lake like clouds resting on its surface.

"If I had but my father's gun, his good old gun, now!" would Hector say, as
he eyed the timorous flocks as they rose and fell upon the lake; "but these
foolish birds are so shy, that they are away before an arrow can reach

Indiana smiled in her quiet way; she was busy filling the canoe with green
boughs, which she arranged so as completely to transform the little vessel
into the semblance of a floating island of evergreen; within this bower she
motioned Hector to crouch down, leaving a small space for the free use of
his bow, while concealed at the prow she gently and noiselessly paddled the
canoe from the shore among the rice-beds, letting it remain stationary or
merely rocking to and fro with the undulatory motion of the waters. The
unsuspecting birds, deceived into full security, eagerly pursued their
pastime or their prey, and it was no difficult matter for the hidden archer
to hit many a black duck or teal or whistlewing, as it floated securely on
the placid water, or rose to shift its place a few yards up or down the
stream. Soon the lake around was strewed with the feathered game, which
Wolfe, cheered on by Lewis, who was stationed on the shore, brought to

Indiana told Hector that this was the season when the Indians made great
gatherings on the lake for duck-shooting, which they pursued much after the
same fashion as that which has been described, only instead of one, a dozen
or more canoes would be thus disguised with boughs, with others stationed
at different parts of the lake, or under the shelter of the island, to
collect the birds. This sport was generally finished by a great feast.

The Indians offered the first of the birds as an oblation to the Great
Spirit, as a grateful acknowledgment of his bounty in having allowed them
to gather food thus plentifully for their families; sometimes distant
tribes with whom they were on terms of friendship were invited to share the
sport and partake of the spoils. Indiana could not understand why Hector
did not follow the custom of her Indian fathers, and offer the first duck
or the best fish to propitiate the Great Spirit. Hector told her that the
God he worshipped desired no sacrifice; that his holy Son, when he came
down from heaven and gave himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world,
had satisfied his Father, the Great Spirit, an hundred-fold.

They feasted now continually upon the waterfowl, and Catharine learned from
Indiana how to skin them, and so preserve the feathers for making tippets,
and bonnets, and ornamental trimmings, which are not only warm, but light
and very becoming. They split open any of the birds that they did not
require for present consumption, and these they dried for winter store,
smoking some after the manner that the Shetlanders and Orkney people smoke
the solan geese: their shanty displayed an abundant store of provisions,
fish, flesh, and fowl, besides baskets of wild rice, and bags of dried

One day Indiana came in from the brow of the hill, and told the boys that
the lake eastward was covered with canoes; she showed, by holding up her
two hands and then three fingers, that she had counted thirteen. The tribes
had met for the annual duck-feast, and for the rice harvest. She advised
them to put out the fire, so that no smoke might be seen to attract them;
but said they would not leave the lake for hunting over the plains just
then, as the camp was lower down on the point [Footnote: This point,
commonly known as _Anderson's Point_, now the seat of the Indian village,
used in former times to be a great place of rendezvous for the Indians,
and was the site of a murderous carnage or massacre that took place about
eighty years ago; the war-weapons and bones of the Indians are often turned
up with the plough at this day.] east of the mouth of a big river, which
she called "Otonabee."

Hector asked Indiana if she would go away and leave them, in the event of
meeting with any of her own tribe. The girl cast her eyes on the earth in
silence; a dark cloud seemed to gather over her face.

"If they should prove to be any of your father's people, or a friendly
tribe, would you go away with them?" he again repeated, to which she
solemnly replied,

"Indiana has no father, no tribe, no people; no blood of her father's warms
the heart of any man, woman or child, saving myself alone; but Indiana is
a brave, and the daughter of a brave, and will not shrink from danger: her
heart is warm; red blood flows warm here," and she laid her hand on her
heart. Then lifting up her hand, she said with slow but impassioned tone,
"They left not one drop of living blood to flow in any veins but these,"
and her eyes were raised, and her arms stretched upwards towards heaven, as
though calling down vengeance on the murderers of her father's house.

"My father was a Mohawk, the son of a great chief, who owned these
hunting-grounds far as your eye can see to the rising and setting sun,
along the big waters of the big lakes; but the Ojebwas, a portion of the
Chippewa nation, by treachery cut off my father's people by hundreds in
cold blood, when they were defenceless and at rest. It was a bloody day and
a bloody deed."

Instead of hiding herself, as Hector and Louis strongly advised the young
Mohawk to do, she preferred remaining as a scout, she said, under the cover
of the bushes on the edge of the steep that overlooked the lake, to watch
their movements. She told Hector to be under no apprehension if the Indians
came to the hut; not to attempt to conceal themselves, but offer them food
to eat and water to drink. "If they come to the house and find you away,
they will take your stores and burn your roof, suspecting that you are
afraid to meet them openly; but they will not harm you if you meet them
with open hand and fearless brow: if they eat of your bread, they will not
harm you; me they would kill by a cruel death--the war-knife is in their
heart against the daughter of the _brave_."

The boys thought Indiana's advice good, and they felt no fear for
themselves, only for Catharine, whom they counselled to remain in the
shanty with Wolfe.

The Indians seemed intent only on the sport which they had come to enjoy,
seeming in high glee, and as far as they could see quite peaceably
disposed; every night they returned to the camp on the north side, and the
boys could see their fires gleaming among the trees on the opposite shore,
and now and then in the stillness of the evening their wild shouts of
revelry would come faintly to their ears, borne by the breeze over the
waters of the lake.

The allusion that Indiana had made to her own history, though conveyed in
broken and hardly intelligible language, had awakened feelings of deep
interest for her in the breasts of her faithful friends. Many months
after this she related to her wondering auditors the fearful story of the
massacre of her kindred, and which I may as well relate, as I have raised
the curiosity of my youthful readers, though to do so I must render it in
my own language, as the broken half-formed sentences in which its facts
were conveyed to the ears of my Canadian Crusoes would be unintelligible to
my young friends. [Footnote: The facts of this narrative were gathered from
the lips of the eldest son of a Rice Lake chief. I have preferred giving it
in the present form, rather than as the story of the Indian girl. Simple as
it is, it is matter of history.]

There had been for some time a jealous feeling existing between the chiefs
of two principal tribes of the Ojebwas and the Mohawks, which like a
smothered fire had burnt in the heart of each, without having burst into a
decided blaze--for each strove to compass his ends and obtain the advantage
over the other by covert means. The tribe of the Mohawks of which I now
speak, claimed the southern shores of the Rice Lake for their hunting
grounds, and certain islands and parts of the lake for fishing, while that
of the Ojebwas considered themselves masters of the northern shores and
certain rights of water beside. Possibly it was about these rights that the
quarrel originated, but if so, it was not openly avowed between the "Black
Snake," (that was the totem borne by the Mohawk chief,) and the "Bald
Eagle" (the totem of the Ojebwa).

These chiefs had each a son, and the Bald Eagle had also a daughter of
great and rare beauty, called by her people, "The Beam of the Morning;" she
was the admiration of Mohawks as well as Ojebwas, and many of the young men
of both the tribes had sought her hand, but hitherto in vain. Among
her numerous suitors, the son of the Black Snake seemed to be the most
enamoured of her beauty; and it was probably with some intention of winning
the favour of the young Ojebwa squaw for his son, that the Black Snake
accepted the formal invitation of the Bald Eagle to come to his hunting
grounds during the rice harvest, and shoot deer and ducks on the lake, and
to ratify a truce which had been for some time set on foot between them;
but while outwardly professing friendship and a desire for peace, inwardly
the fire of hatred burned fiercely in the breast of the Black Snake against
the Ojebwa chief and his only son, a young man of great promise, renowned
among his tribe as a great hunter and warrior, but who had once offended
the Mohawk chief by declining a matrimonial alliance with one of the
daughters of a chief of inferior rank, who was closely connected to him
by marriage. This affront rankled in the heart of the Black Snake, though
outwardly he affected to have forgiven and forgotten the slight that had
been put upon his relative. The hunting had been carried on for some days
very amicably, when one day the Bald Eagle was requested, with all due
attention to Indian etiquette, to go to the wigwam of the Black Snake. On
entering the lodge, he perceived the Mohawk strangely disordered; he rose
from his mat, on which he had been sleeping, with a countenance fearfully
distorted, his eyes glaring hideously, his whole frame convulsed, and
writhing as in fearful bodily anguish, and casting himself upon the ground,
he rolled and grovelled on the earth, uttering frightful yells and groans.

The Bald Eagle was moved at the distressing state in which he found his
guest, and asked the cause of his disorder, but this the other refused to
tell. After some hours the fit appeared to subside, but the chief remained
moody and silent. The following day the same scene was repeated, and on the
third, when the fit seemed to have increased in bodily agony, with great
apparent reluctance, wrung seemingly from him by the importunity of his
host, he consented to reveal the cause, which was, that the Bad Spirit had
told him that these bodily tortures could not cease till the only son of
his friend, the Ojebwa chief, had been sacrificed to appease his anger--
neither could peace long continue between the two nations until this deed
had been done; and not only must the chief's son be slain, but he must be
pierced by his own father's hand, and his flesh served up at a feast at
which the father must preside. The Black Snake affected the utmost horror
and aversion at so bloody and unnatural a deed being committed to save his
life and the happiness of his tribe, but the peace was to be ratified for
ever if the sacrifice was made,--if not, war to the knife was to be ever
between the Mohawks and Ojebwas.

The Bald Eagle seeing that his treacherous guest would make this an
occasion of renewing a deadly warfare, for which possibly he was not at the
time well prepared, assumed a stoical calmness, and replied,

"Be it so; great is the power of the Bad Spirit to cause evil to the tribes
of the chiefs that rebel against his will. My son shall be sacrificed by my
hand, that the evil one may be appeased, and that the Black Snake's body
may have ease, and his people rest beside the fires of their lodges in

"The Bald Eagle has spoken like a chief with a large heart," was the
specious response of the wily Mohawk; "moreover, the Good Spirit also
appeared, and said, 'Let the Black Snake's son and the Bald Eagle's
daughter become man and wife, that peace may be found to dwell among the
lodges, and the war-hatchet be buried for ever.'"

"The Beam of the Morning shall become the wife of the Young Pine," was the
courteous answer; but stern revenge lay deep hidden beneath the unmoved
brow and passionless lip.

The fatal day arrived; the Bald Eagle, with unflinching hand and eye that
dropped no human tear of sorrow for the son of his love, plunged the weapon
into his heart with Spartan-like firmness. The fearful feast of human flesh
was prepared, and that old chief, pale but unmoved, presided over the
ceremonies. The war-dance was danced round the sacrifice, and all went
off well, as if no such fearful rite had been enacted: but a fearful
retribution was at hand. The Young Pine sought the tent of the Bald Eagle's
daughter that evening, and was received with all due deference, as a son
of so great a chief as the Black Snake merited; he was regarded now as
a successful suitor, and intoxicated with the beauty of the Beam of the
Morning, pressed her to allow the marriage to take place in a few days.
The bride consented, and a day was named for the wedding feast to be
celebrated, and that due honour might be given to so great an event,
invitations were sent out to the principal families of the Mohawk tribe,
and these amounted to several hundreds of souls, while the young Ojebwa
hunters were despatched up the river and to different parts of the country,
avowedly to collect venison, beaver, and other delicacies to regale their
guests, but in reality to summon by means of trusty scouts a large war
party from the small lakes, to be in readiness to take part in the deadly
revenge that was preparing for their enemies.

Meantime the squaws pitched the nuptial tent, and prepared the bridal
ornaments. A large wigwam capable of containing all the expected guests was
then constructed, adorned with the thick branches of evergreens so artfully
contrived as to be capable of concealing the armed Ojebwas and their
allies, who in due time were introduced beneath this leafy screen, armed
with the murderous tomahawk and scalping-knife with which to spring upon
their defenceless and unsuspecting guests. According to the etiquette
always observed upon such occasions, all deadly weapons were left outside
the tent. The bridegroom had been conducted with songs and dancing to the
tent of the bride. The guests, to the number of several hundred naked and
painted warriors were assembled. The feast was declared to be ready; a
great iron pot or kettle occupied the centre of the tent. According to the
custom of the Indians, the father of the bridegroom was invited to lift
the most important dish from the pot, whilst the warriors commenced their
wardance around him. This dish was usually a bear's head, which was
fastened to a string left for the purpose of raising it from the pot.

"Let the Black Snake, the great chief of the Mohawks, draw up the head and
set it on the table, that his people may eat and make merry, and that his
wise heart may be glad;" were the scornful words of the Bald Eagle.

A yell of horror burst from the lips of the horror-stricken father, as
he lifted to view the fresh and gory head of his only son, the _happy_
bridegroom of the lovely daughter of the Ojebwa chief.

"Ha!" shouted the Bald Eagle, "is the great chief of the Mohawks a squaw,
that his blood grows white and his heart trembles at the sight of his son,
the bridegroom of the Beam of the Morning? The Bald Eagle gave neither sigh
nor groan when he plunged the knife into the heart of his child. Come,
brother, take the knife; taste the flesh and drink the blood of thy son:
the Bald Eagle shrank not when you bade him partake of the feast that was
prepared from his young warrior's body." The wretched father dashed himself
upon the earth, while his cries and howlings rent the air; those cries were
answered by the war-whoop of the ambushed Ojebwas, as they sprang to their
feet, and with deafening yells attacked the guests, who, panic-stricken,
naked and defenceless, fell an easy prey to their infuriated enemies. Not
one living foe escaped to tell the tale of that fearful marriage feast. A
second Judith had the Indian girl proved. It was her plighted hand that had
severed the head of her unsuspecting bridegroom to complete the fearful
vengeance that had been devised in return for the merciless and horrible
murder of her brother.

Nor was the sacrifice yet finished, for with fearful cries the Indians
seized upon the canoes of their enemies, and with the utmost speed, urged
by unsatisfied revenge, hurried down the lake to an island where the women
and children and such of the aged or young men as were not included among
the wedding guests, were encamped in unsuspecting security. Panic-stricken,
the Mohawks offered no resistance, but fell like sheep appointed for the
slaughter: the Ojebwas slew there the grey-head with the infant of days.
But while the youths and old men tamely yielded to their enemies, there was
one, whose spirit roused to fury by the murder of her father, armed herself
with the war club and knife, and boldly withstood the successful warriors.
At the door of the tent of the slaughtered chief the Amazon defended her
children: while the war lightning kindled in her dark eye, she called aloud
in scornful tones to her people to hide themselves in the tents of their
women, who alone were _braves_, and would fight their battles. Fiercely she
taunted the men, but they shrank from the unequal contest, and she alone
was found to deal the death-blow upon the foe, till overpowered with
numbers, and pierced with frightful wounds, she fell singing her own
death-song and raising the wail for the dead who lay around her. Night
closed in, but the work of blood still continued, till not a victim was
found, and again they went forth on their exterminating work. Lower down
they found another encampment, and there also they slew all the inhabitants
of the lodges; they then returned back to the island, to gather together
their dead and collect the spoils of their tents. They were weary with
the fatigue of the slaughter of that fearful day; they were tired of
blood-shedding; the retribution had satisfied even their love of blood: and
when they found, on returning to the spot where the heroine had stood at
bay, one young solitary female sitting beside the corpse of that dauntless
woman, her mother, they led her away, and did all that their savage nature
could suggest to soften her anguish and dry her tears. They brought her
to the tents of their women, and clothed and fed her, and bade her
be comforted; but her young heart burned within her, and she refused
consolation. She could not forget the wrongs of her people: she was the
only living creature left of the Mohawks on that island. The young girl
was Indiana, the same whom Hector Maxwell had found, wounded and bound, to
perish with hunger and thirst on Bare-hill.

Brooding with revenge in her heart, the young girl told them that she had
stolen unperceived into the tent of the Bald Eagle, and aimed a knife at
his throat, but the fatal blow was arrested by one of the young men, who
had watched her enter the old chiefs tent. A council was called, and she
was taken to Bare-hill, bound, and left in the sad state already described.

It was with feelings of horror and terror that the Christian children
listened to this fearful tale, and Indiana read in their averted eyes and
pale faces the feelings with which the recital of the tale of blood had
inspired them. And then it was that as they sat beneath the shade of the
trees, in the soft misty light of an Indian summer moon, that Catharine,
with simple earnestness, taught her young disciple those heavenly lessons
of mercy and forgiveness which her Redeemer had set forth by his life, his
doctrines, and his death.

And she told her, that if she would see that Saviour's face in Heaven, and
dwell with him in joy and peace for ever, she must learn to pray for those
dreadful men who had made her fatherless and motherless, and her home a
desolation; that the fire of revenge must be quenched within her heart, and
the spirit of love alone find place within it, or she could not become the
child of God and an inheritor of the kingdom of Heaven. How hard were these
conditions to the young heathen,--how contrary to her nature, to all that
she had been taught in the tents of her fathers, where revenge was virtue,
and to take the scalp of an enemy a glorious thing!

Yet when she contrasted the gentle, kind, and dovelike characters of her
Christian friends, with the fierce bloody people of her tribe and of her
Ojebwa enemies, she could not but own they were more worthy of love and
admiration: had they not found her a poor miserable trembling captive,
unbound her, fed and cherished her, pouring the balm of consolation into
her wounded heart, and leading her in bands of tenderest love to forsake
those wild and fearful passions that warred in her soul, and bringing her
to the feet of the Saviour, to become his meek and holy child, a lamb of
his "extended fold?"*

[*Footnote: The Indian who related this narrative to me was a son of a
Rice Lake chief, Mosang Poudash by name, who vouched for its truth as an
historic fact remembered by his father, whose grandsire had been one of the
actors in the massacre. Mosang Poudash promised to write down the legend,
and did so in part, but made such confusion between his imperfect English
and Indian language, that the MS. was unavailable for copying.]


"The horn of the hunter is heard on the hill"
_Irish Song._

WHILE the Indians were actively pursuing their sports on the lake, shooting
wild fowl, and hunting and fishing by torch-light, so exciting was the
amusement of watching them, that the two lads, Hector and Louis, quite
forgot all sense of danger, in the enjoyment of lying or sitting on the
brow of the mount near the great ravine, and looking at their proceedings.
Once or twice the lads were near betraying themselves to the Indians, by
raising a shout of delight, at some skilful manoeuvre that excited their
unqualified admiration and applause.

At night, when the canoes had all retired to the camp on the north shore,
and all fear of detection had ceased for the time, they lighted up their
shanty fire, and cooked a good supper, and also prepared sufficiency of
food for the following day. The Indians remained for a fortnight; at the
end of that time Indiana, who was a watchful spy on their movements, told
Hector and Louis that the camp was broken up, and that the Indians had gone
up the river, and would not return again for some weeks. The departure of
the Indians was a matter of great rejoicing to Catharine, whose dread of
these savages had greatly increased since she had been made acquainted with
the fearful deeds which Indiana had described; and what reliance could
she feel in people who regarded deeds of blood and vengeance as acts of
virtuous heroism?

Once, and only once during their stay, the Indians had passed within a
short distance of their dwelling; but they were in full chase of a bear,
which had been seen crossing the deep ravine near Mount Ararat, and they
had been too intent upon their game to notice the shanty, or had taken it
for the shelter of some trapper if it had been seen, for they never turned
out of their path, and Catharine, who was alone at the time, drawing water
from the spring, was so completely concealed by the high bank above her,
that she had quite escaped their notice. Fortunately, Indiana gave the two
boys a signal to conceal themselves when she saw them enter the ravine; and
effectually hidden among the thick grey mossy trunks of the cedars at the
lake shore, they remained secure from molestation, while the Indian girl
dropped noiselessly down among the tangled thicket of wild vines and
brushwood, which she drew cautiously over her, and closed her eyes, lest,
as she naively remarked, their glitter should be seen and betray her to her

It was a moment of intense anxiety to our poor wanderers, whose terrors
were more excited on behalf of the young Mohawk than for themselves, and
they congratulated her on her escape with affectionate warmth.

"Are my white brothers afraid to die?" was the young squaw's half-scornful
reply. "Indiana is the daughter of a brave; she fears not to die?"

The latter end of September, and the first week in October, had been stormy
and even cold. The rainy season, however, was now over; the nights were
often illuminated by the Aurora borealis, which might be seen forming
an arch of soft and lovely brightness over the lake, to the north and
north-eastern portions of the horizon, or shooting upwards, in ever-varying
shafts of greenish light, now hiding, now revealing the stars, which shone
with softened radiance through the silvery veil that dimmed their beauty.
Sometimes for many nights together the same appearance might be seen, and
was usually the forerunner of frosty weather, though occasionally it was
the precursor of cold winds, and heavy rains.

The Indian girl regarded it with superstitious feelings, but whether as an
omen for good or ill, she would not tell. On all matters connected with
her religions notions she was shy and reserved, though occasionally she
unconsciously revealed them. Thus the warnings of death or misfortunes were
revealed to her by certain ominous sounds in the woods, the appearance of
strange birds or animals, or the meanings of others. The screeching of the
owl, the bleating of the doe, or barking of the fox, were evil auguries,
while the flight of the eagle and the croaking of the raven were omens of
good. She put faith in dreams, and would foretel good or evil fortune from
them; she could read the morning and evening clouds, and knew from various
appearances of the sky, or the coming or departing of certain birds or
insects, changes in the atmosphere. Her ear was quick in distinguishing the
changes in the voices of the birds or animals; she knew the times of their
coming and going, and her eye was quick to see as her ear to detect sounds.
Her voice was soft, and low, and plaintive, and she delighted in imitating
the little ballads or hymns that Catharine sung; though she knew nothing of
their meaning, she would catch the tunes, and sing the song with Catharine,
touching the hearts of her delighted auditors by the melody and pathos of
her voice.

The season called Indian summer had now arrived: the air was soft and mild,
almost oppressively warm; the sun looked red as though seen through the
smoke clouds of a populous city. A soft blue haze hung on the bosom of the
glassy lake, which reflected on its waveless surface every passing shadow,
and the gorgeous tints of its changing woods on shore and island. Sometimes
the stillness of the air was relieved by a soft sighing wind, which rustled
the dying foliage as it swept by.

The Indian summer is the harvest of the Indian tribes. It is during this
season that they hunt and shoot the wild fowl that come in their annual
flights to visit the waters of the American lakes and rivers; it is then
that they gather in their rice, and prepare their winter stores of meat,
and fish, and furs. The Indian girl knew the season they would resort to
certain hunting grounds. They were constant, and altered not their customs;
as it was with their fathers, so it was with them.

Louis had heard so much of the Otonabee river from Indiana, that he was
impatient to go and explore the entrance, and the shores of the lake on
that side, which hitherto they had not ventured to do for fear of being
surprised by the Indians. "Some fine day," said Louis, "we will go out in
the canoe, explore the distant islands, and go up the river a little way."

Hector advised visiting all the islands by turns, beginning at the little
islet which looks in the distance like a boat in full sail; it is level
with the water, and has only three or four trees upon it. The name they had
given to it was "Ship Island." The Indians have some name for it which I
have forgotten; but it means, I have been told, "Witch Island." Hector's
plan met with general approbation, and they resolved to take provisions
with them for several days, and visit the islands and go up the river,
passing the night under the shelter of the thick trees on the shore
wherever they found a pleasant halting-place.

The weather was mild and warm, the lake was as clear and calm as a mirror,
and in joyous mood our little party embarked and paddled up the lake, first
to Ship Island, but this did not detain them many minutes; they then went
to Grape Island, which they so named from the abundance of wild vines, now
rich with purple clusters of the ripe grapes,--tart, but still not to be
despised by our young adventurers; and they brought away a large birch
basket heaped up with the fruit. "Ah, if we had but a good cake of maple
sugar, now, to preserve our grapes with, and make such grape jelly as my
mother makes!" said Louis.

"If we find out a sugar-bush we will manage to make plenty of sugar," said
Catharine; "there are maples not two hundred yards from the shanty, near
the side of the steep bank to the east. You remember the pleasant spot
which we named the Happy Valley, [Footnote: A lovely valley to the east of
Mount Ararat, now belonging to a worthy and industrious family of the name
of Brown. I wish Hector could see it as it now is,--a cultivated fertile
farm.] where the bright creek runs, dancing along so merrily, below the

"Oh, yes, the same that winds along near the foot of Bare-hill, where the
water-cresses grow."

"Yes, where I gathered the milk-weed the other day."

"What a beautiful pasture-field that will make, when it is cleared!" said
Hector, thoughtfully.

"Hector is always planning about fields, and clearing great farms," said
Louis, laughing. "We shall see Hec a great man one of these days; I think
he has in his own mind brushed, and burned, and logged up all the fine
flats and table-land on the plains before now, ay, and cropped it all with
wheat, and peas, and Indian corn."

"We will have a clearing and a nice field of corn next year, if we live,"
replied Hector; "that corn that we found in the canoe will be a treasure."

"Yes, and the corn-cob you got on Bare-hill," said Catherine. "How lucky
we have been! We shall be so happy when we see our little field of corn
flourishing round the shanty! It was a good thing, Hec, that you went to
the Indian camp that day, though both Louis and I were very miserable while
you were absent; but you see, God must have directed you, that the life
of this poor girl might be saved, to be a comfort to us. Everything has
prospered well with us since she came to us. Perhaps it is because we try
to make a Christian of her, and so God blesses all our endeavours."

"We are told," said Hector, "that there is joy with the angels of God over
one sinner that repenteth; doubtless, it is a joyful thing when the heathen
that knew not the name of God are taught to glorify his holy name."

Indiana, while exploring, had captured a porcupine; she declared that she
should have plenty of quills for edging baskets and mocassins; beside, she
said, the meat was white and good to eat. Hector looked with a suspicious
eye upon the little animal, doubting the propriety of eating its flesh,
though he had learned to eat musk rats, and consider them good meat, baked
in Louis's Indian oven, or roasted on a forked stick, before the fire. The
Indian porcupine is a small animal, not a very great deal larger than the
common British hedgehog; the quills, however, are longer and stronger, and
varied with alternate clouded marks of pure white and dark brownish grey;
they are minutely barbed, so that if one enters the flesh it is with
difficulty extracted, but will work through of itself in an opposite
direction, and can then be easily pulled out. Dogs and cattle often suffer
great inconvenience from getting their muzzles filled with the quills of
the porcupine, the former when worrying the poor little animal, and
the latter by accidentally meeting a dead one among the herbage; great
inflammation will sometimes attend the extraction. Indians often lose
valuable hounds from this cause. Beside porcupines, Indiana told her
companions, there were some fine butter-nut trees on the island, and they
could collect a bag full in a very short time. This was good news, for the
butter-nut is sweet and pleasant, almost equal to the walnut, of which it
is a species. The day was passed pleasantly enough in collecting nuts and
grapes; but as this island did not afford any good cleared spot for passing
the night, and, moreover, was tenanted by black snakes, several of which
made their appearance among the stones near the edge of the water, they
agreed by common council to go to Long Island, where Indiana said there was
an old log-house, the walls of which were still standing, and where there
was dry moss in plenty, which would make them a comfortable bed for the
night. This old log-house she said had been built, she heard the Indians
say, by a French Canadian trapper, who used to visit the lake some years
ago; he was on friendly terms with the chiefs, who allowed him many
privileges, and he bought their furs, and took them down the lake, through
the river Trent, to some station-house on the great lake. They found they
should have time enough to land and deposit their nuts and grapes and
paddle to Long Island before sunset. Upon the western part of this fine
island they had several times landed and passed some hours, exploring its
shores; but Indiana told them, to reach the old log-house they must enter
the low swampy bay to the east, at an opening which she called Indian Cove.
To do this required some skill in the management of the canoe, which was
rather over-loaded for so light a vessel; and the trees grew so close and
thick that they had some difficulty in pushing their way through them
without injuring its frail sides. These trees or bushes were chiefly black
elder, high-bush cranberries, dogwood, willows, and, as they proceeded
further, and there was ground of a more solid nature, cedar, poplar, swamp
oak, and soft maple, with silver birch and wild cherries. Long strings of
silvery-grey tree-moss hung dangling over their heads, the bark and roots
of the birch and cedars were covered with a luxuriant growth of green moss,
but there was a dampness and closeness in this place that made it far from
wholesome, and the little band of voyagers were not very sorry when the
water became too shallow to admit of the canoe making its way through the
swampy channel, and they landed on the banks of a small circular pond, as
round as a ring, and nearly surrounded by tall trees, hoary with moss and
lichens; large water-lilies floated on the surface of this miniature lake,
and the brilliant red berries of the high-bush cranberry, and the purple
clusters of grapes, festooned the trees.

"A famous breeding place this must be for ducks," observed Louis.

"And for flowers," said Catharine, "and for grapes and cranberries. There
is always some beauty or some usefulness to be found, however lonely the

"A fine place for musk-rats, and minks, and fishes," said Hector, looking
round. "The old trapper knew what he was about when he made his lodge near
this pond. And there, sure enough, is the log-hut, and not so bad a
one either," and scrambling up the bank he entered the deserted little
tenement, well pleased to find it in tolerable repair. There were the
ashes on the stone hearth, just as it had been left years back by the old
trapper; some rough hewn shelves, a rude bedstead of cedar poles still
occupied a corner of the little dwelling; heaps of old dry moss and grass
lay upon the ground; and the little squaw pointed with one of her silent
laughs to a collection of broken egg-shells, where some wild duck had sat
and hatched her downy brood among the soft materials which she had found
and appropriated to her own purpose. The only things pertaining to the
former possessor of the log-hut were an old, rusty, battered tin pannikin,
now, alas! unfit for holding water; a bit of a broken earthen whisky jar; a
rusty nail, which Louis pounced upon, and pocketed, or rather pouched,--for
he had substituted a fine pouch of deer-skin for his worn-out pocket; and
a fishing-line of good stout cord, which was wound on a splinter of red
redar, and carefully stuck between one of the rafters and the roof of the
shanty. A rusty but efficient hook was attached to the line, and Louis,
who was the finder, was quite overjoyed at his good fortune in making so
valuable an addition to his fishing-tackle. Hector got only an odd worn-out
mocassin, which he chucked into the little pond in disdain; while Catharine
declared she would keep the old tin pot as a relic, and carefully deposited
it in the canoe.

As they made their way into the interior of the island, they found that
there were a great many fine sugar maples which had been tapped by some
one, as the boys thought, by the old trapper; but Indiana, on examining the
incisions in the trees, and the remnants of birch-bark vessels that lay
mouldering on the earth below them, declared them to have been the work
of her own people; and long and sadly did the young girl look upon these
simple memorials of a race of whom she was the last living remnant. The
young girl stood there in melancholy mood, a solitary, isolated being, with
no kindred tie upon the earth to make life dear to her; a stranger in the
land of her fathers, associating with those whose ways were not her ways,
nor their thoughts her thoughts; whose language was scarcely known to her,
whose God was not the God of her fathers. Yet the dark eyes of the Indian
girl were not dimmed with tears as she thought of these things; she had
learned of her people to suffer, and be still.

Silent and patient she stood, with her melancholy gaze bent on the earth,
when she felt the gentle hand of Catharine laid upon her arm, and then
kindly and lovingly passed round her neck, as she whispered,--

"Indiana, I will be to you as a sister, and will love you and cherish you,
because you are an orphan girl, and alone in the world; but God loves you,
and will make you happy. He is a Father to the fatherless, and the Friend
of the destitute, and to them that have no helper."

The words of kindness and love need no interpretation; no book-learning is
necessary to make them understood. The young, the old, the deaf, the dumb,
the blind, can read this universal language; its very silence is often more
eloquent than words--the gentle pressure of the hand, the half-echoed sigh,
the look of sympathy will penetrate to the very heart, and unlock its
hidden stores of human tenderness and love. The rock is smitten and the
waters gush forth, a bright and living stream, to refresh and fertilize the
thirsty soul. The heart of the poor mourner was touched; she bowed down her
head upon the hand that held her so kindly in its sisterly grasp, and wept
soft sweet human tears full of grateful love, while she whispered, in her
own low plaintive voice, "My white sister, I kiss you in my heart; I will
love the God of my white brothers, and be his child."

The two friends now busied themselves in preparing the evening meal: they
found Louis and Hector had lighted up a charming blaze on the desolate
hearth. A few branches of cedar twisted together by Catharine, made a
serviceable broom, with which she swept the floor, giving to the deserted
dwelling a neat and comfortable aspect; some big stones were quickly rolled
in, and made to answer for seats in the chimney corner. The new-found
fishing-line was soon put into requisition by Louis, and with very little
delay a fine dish of black bass, broiled on the coals, was added to their
store of dried venison and roasted bread-roots, which they found in
abundance on a low spot on the island. Grapes and butternuts which Hector
cracked with stones by way of nut-crackers, finished their sylvan meal. The
boys stretched themselves to sleep on the ground, with their feet, Indian
fashion, to the fire; while the two girls occupied the mossy couch which
they had newly spread with fragrant cedar and hemlock boughs.

The next island that claimed their attention was Sugar-Maple Island,
[Footnote: Sugar Island, a charming object from the picturesque cottage
of Alfred Hayward, Esq.] a fine, thickly-wooded island, rising with steep
rocky banks from the water. A beautiful object, but too densely wooded to
admit of our party penetrating beyond a few yards of its shores.

The next island they named the Beaver, [Footnote: The Beaver, commonly
called Sheep Island, from some person having pastured a few sheep upon it
some few years ago. I have taken the liberty of preserving the name, to
which it bears an obvious resemblance; the nose of the Beaver lies towards
the west, the tail to the east. This island is nearly opposite to Gore's
Landing, and forms a pleasing object from the windows and verandah of
Claverton, the house of my esteemed friend, William Falkner, Esq., the
Patriarch of the Plains, as he has often been termed; one of the only
residents on the Rice Lake plains for many years; one of the few gentlemen
who had taste enough to be charmed with this lovely tract of country, and
to appreciate its agricultural resources, which, of late, have been so
fully developed.] from its resemblance in shape to that animal. A fine,
high, oval island beyond this they named Black Island, [Footnote: Black
Island, the sixth from the head of the lake; an oval island, remarkable for
its evergreens.] from its dark evergreens; the next was that which seemed
most to excite the interest of their Indian guide, although but a small
stony island, scantily clothed with trees, lower down the lake. This place
she called Spooke Island, [Footnote: Appendix H.] which means in the
Indian tongue, a place for the dead; it is sometimes called Spirit Island,
and here, in times past, used the Indian people to bury their dead. The
island is now often the resort of parties of pleasure, who, from its being
grassy and open, find it more available than those which are densely
wooded. The young Mohawk regarded it with feelings of superstitious awe,
and would not suffer Hector to land the canoe on its rocky shores.

"It is a place of spirits," she said; "the ghosts of my fathers will be
angry if we go there." Even her young companions felt that, they were upon
sacred ground, and gazed with silent reverence upon the burial isle.

Strongly imbued with a love of the marvellous, which they had derived from
their Highland origin, Indiana's respect for the spirits of her ancestors
was regarded as most natural, and in silence, as if fearing to disturb the
solemnity of the spot, they resumed their paddles, and after awhile reached
the mouth of the river Otonabee, which was divided into two separate
channels by a long, low point of swampy land covered with stunted, mossy
bushes and trees, rushes, driftwood, and aquatic plants. Indiana told
them this river flowed from the north, and that it was many days' journey
up to the lakes; to illustrate its course, she drew with her paddle a long
line with sundry curves and broader spaces, some longer, some smaller, with
Bays and inlets, which she gave them to understand were the chain of lakes
that she spoke of. There were beautiful hunting grounds on the borders of
these lakes, and many fine water-falls and rocky islands; she had been
taken up to these waters during the time of her captivity. The Ojebwas, she
said, were a branch of the great Chippewa nation, who owned much land and
great waters thereabouts.

Compared with the creeks and streams that they had seen hitherto, the
Otonabee appeared a majestic river, and an object of great admiration and
curiosity, for it seemed to them as if it were the high road leading up
to an unknown far-off land--a land of dark, mysterious, impenetrable
forests,--flowing on, flowing on, in lonely majesty, reflecting on its
tranquil bosom the blue sky, the dark pines, and grey cedars,--the pure
ivory water-lily, and every passing shadow of bird or leaf that flitted
across its surface--so quiet was the onward flow of its waters.

A few brilliant leaves yet lingered on the soft maples and crimson-tinted
oaks, but the glory of the forest had departed; the silent fall of many a
sear and yellow leaf told of the death of summer and of winter's coming
reign. Yet the air was wrapt in a deceitful stillness; no breath of wind
moved the trees or dimpled the water. Bright wreaths of scarlet berries and
wild grapes hung in festoons among the faded foliage. The silence of the
forest was unbroken, save by the quick tapping of the little midland
wood-pecker, or the shrill scream of the blue jay; the whirring sound of
the large white and grey duck, (called by the frequenters of these lonely
waters the whistle-wing,) as its wings swept the waters in its flight; or
the light dripping of the paddle;--so still, so quiet was the scene.

As the day was now far advanced, the Indian girl advised them either to
encamp for the night on the river bank, or to use all speed in returning.
She seemed to view the aspect of the heavens with some anxiety. Vast
volumes of light copper-tinted clouds were rising, the sun seen through its
hazy veil looked red and dim, and a hot sultry air unrelieved by a breath
of refreshing wind oppressed our young voyagers; and though the same
coppery clouds and red sun had been seen for several successive days, a
sort of instinctive feeling prompted the desire in all to return; and after
a few minutes' rest and refreshment, they turned their little bark towards
the lake; and it was well that they did so: by the time they had reached
the middle of the lake, the stillness of the air was rapidly changing.
The rose-tinted clouds that had lain so long piled upon each other in
mountainous ridges, began to move upwards, at first slowly, then with
rapidly accelerated motion. There was a hollow moaning in the pine tops,
and by fits a gusty breeze swept the surface of the water, raising it into
rough, short, white-crested ridges.

These signs were pointed out by Indiana as the harbinger of a rising
hurricane; and now a swift spark of light like a falling star glanced on
the water, as if there to quench its fiery light. Again the Indian girl
raised her dark hand and pointed to the rolling storm-clouds, to the
crested, waters and the moving pine tops; then to the head of the Beaver
Island--it was the one nearest to them. With an arm of energy she wielded
the paddle, with an eye of fire she directed the course of their little
vessel, for well she knew their danger and the need for straining every
nerve to reach the nearest point of land. Low muttering peals of thunder
were now heard, the wind was rising with electric speed. Away flew the
light bark, with the swiftness of a bird, over the water; the tempest was
above, around and beneath. The hollow crash of the forest trees as they
bowed to the earth could be heard, sullenly sounding from shore to shore.
And now the Indian girl, flinging back her black streaming hair from her
brow, knelt at the head of the canoe, and with renewed vigour plied the
paddle. The waters, lashed into a state of turbulence by the violence of
the storm, lifted the canoe up and down, but no word was spoken--they each
felt the greatness of the peril, but they also knew that they were in the
hands of Him who can say to the tempest-tossed waves, "Peace, be still,"
and they obey Him.

Every effort was made to gain the nearest island; to reach the mainland
was impossible, for the rain poured down a blinding deluge; it was with
difficulty the little craft was kept afloat, by baling out the water; to do
this, Louis was fain to use his cap, and Catharine assisted with the old
tin-pot which she had fortunately brought from the trapper's shanty.

The tempest was at its height when they reached the nearest point of the
Beaver, and joyful was the grating sound of the canoe as it was vigorously
pushed up on the shingly beach, beneath the friendly shelter of the
overhanging trees, where, perfectly exhausted by the exertions they had
made, dripping with rain and overpowered by the terrors of the storm,
they threw themselves on the ground, and in safety watched its
progress--thankful for an escape from such imminent peril.

Thus ended the Indian summer--so deceitful in its calmness and its beauty.
The next day saw the ground white with snow, and hardened into stone by a
premature frost. Our poor voyagers were not long in quitting the shelter of
the Beaver Island, and betaking them once more to their ark of refuge--the
log-house on Mount Ararat.

The winter, that year, set in with unusual severity some weeks sooner than
usual, so that from the beginning of November to the middle of April the
snow never entirely left the ground. The lake was soon covered with ice,
and by the month of December it was one compact solid sheet from shore to


"Scared by the red and noisy light."--COLERIDGE.

Hector and Louis had now little employment, excepting chopping fire-wood,
which was no very arduous task for two stout healthy lads, used from
childhood to handling the axe. Trapping, and hunting, and snaring hares,
were occupations which they pursued more for the excitement and exercise
than from hunger, as they had laid by abundance of dried, venison, fish,
and birds, besides a plentiful store of rice. They now visited those trees
that they had marked in the summer, where they had noticed the bees hiving,
and cut them down; in one they got more than a pailful of rich honey-comb,
and others yielded some more, some less; this afforded them a delicious
addition to their boiled rice, and dried acid fruits. They might have
melted the wax, and burned candles of it; but this was a refinement of
luxury that never once occurred to our young house-keepers: the dry pine
knots that are found in the woods are the settlers' candles; but Catharine
made some very good vinegar with the refuse of the honey and combs, by
pouring water on it, and leaving it to ferment in a warm nook of the
chimney, in one of the birch-bark vessels, and this was an excellent
substitute for salt as a seasoning to the fresh meat and fish. Like the
Indians, they were now reconciled to the want of this seasonable article.

Indiana seemed to enjoy the cold weather; the lake, though locked up to
every one else, was open to her; with the aid of the tomahawk she patiently
made an opening in the ice, and over this she built a little shelter of
pine boughs stuck into the ice. Armed with a sharp spear carved out of
hardened wood, she would lie upon the ice and patiently await the rising
of some large fish to the air-hole, when dexterously plunging it into the
unwary creature, she dragged it to the surface. Many a noble fish did the
young squaw bring home, and lay at the feet of him whom she had tacitly
elected as her lord and master; to him she offered the voluntary service of
a faithful and devoted servant--I might almost have said, slave.

During the middle of December there were some days of such intense cold,
that even our young Crusoes, hardy as they were, preferred the blazing
log-fire and warm ingle nook, to the frozen lake and cutting north-west
wind which blew the loose snow in blinding drifts over its bleak,
unsheltered surface. Clad in the warm tunic and petticoat of Indian blanket
with fur-lined mocassins, Catharine and her Indian friend felt little cold
excepting to the face when they went abroad, unless the wind was high, and
then experience taught them to keep at home. And these cold gloomy days
they employed in many useful works. Indiana had succeeded in dyeing the
quills of the porcupine that she had captured on Grape Island; with these
she worked a pair of beautiful mocassins and an arrow case for Hector,
besides making a sheath for Louis's _couteau-du-chasse_, of which the young
hunter was very proud, bestowing great praise on the workmanship.

Indiana appeared to be deeply engrossed with some work that she was engaged
in, but preserved a provoking degree of mystery about it, to the no
small annoyance of Louis, who, among his other traits of character, was
remarkably inquisitive, wanting to know the why and wherefore of everything
he saw.

Indiana first prepared a frame of some tough wood, it might be the inner
bark of the oak or elm or hiccory; this was pointed at either end, and wide
in the middle--not very much unlike the form of some broad, flat fish; over
this she wove an open network of narrow thongs of deer-hide, wetted to make
it more pliable, and securely fastened to the frame: when dry, it became
quite tight, and resembled a sort of coarse bamboo-work such as you see on
cane-bottomed chairs and sofas.

"And now, Indiana, tell us what sort of fish you are going to catch in your
ingenious little net," said Louis, who had watched her proceedings with
great interest. The girl shook her head, and laughed till she showed all
her white teeth, but quietly proceeded to commence a second frame like the

Louis put it on his head. No: it could not be meant to be worn there, that
was plain. He turned it round and round. It must be intended for some kind
of bird-trap: yes, that must be it; and he cast an inquiring glance at
Indiana. She blushed, shook her head, and gave another of her silent

"Some game like battledore and shuttlecock,"--and snatching up a light
bass-wood chip, he began tossing the chip up and catching it on the netted
frame. The little squaw was highly amused, but rapidly went on with her
work. Louis was now almost angry at the perverse little savage persevering
in keeping him in suspense. She would not tell him till the other was done:
then there were to be a pair of these curious articles: and he was forced
at last to sit quietly down to watch the proceeding of the work. It was
night before the two were completed, and furnished with straps and loops.
When the last stroke was put to them, the Indian girl knelt down at
Hector's feet, and binding them on, pointed to them with a joyous laugh,
and said, "Snow-shoe--for walk on snow--good!"

The boys had heard of snow-shoes, but had never seen them, and now seemed
to understand little of the benefit to be derived from the use of them. The
young Mohawk quickly transferred the snow-shoes to her own feet, and soon
proved to them that the broad surface prevented those who wore them from
sinking into the deep snow. After many trials Hector began to acknowledge
the advantage of walking with the snow-shoes, especially on the frozen snow
on the ice-covered lake. Indiana was well pleased with the approbation that
her manufactures met with, and very soon manufactured for "Nee-chee," as
they all now called Louis, a similar present As to Catharine, she declared
the snow-shoes made her ancles ache, and that she preferred the mocassins
that her cousin Louis made for her. During the long bright days of February
they made several excursions on the lake, and likewise explored some of the
high hills to the eastward. On this ridge there were few large trees; but
it was thickly clothed with scrub oaks, slender poplars, and here and there
fine pines, and picturesque free-growing oaks of considerable size and
great age--patriarchs, they might be termed, among the forest growth.
[Footnote: One of these hoary monarchs of the Oak-lulls still stands at the
head of the lawn at Oaklands, formerly the property of Mr, W. Falkner, now
the residence of the Authoress.] Over this romantic range of hill and
dale, free as the air they breathed, roamed many a gallant herd of deer,
unmolested unless during certain seasons when the Indians came to hunt over
these hills. Surprised at the different growth of the oaks on this side the
plains, Hector could not help expressing his astonishment to Indiana, who
told him that it was caused by the custom that her people had had from time
immemorial of setting fire to the bushes in the early part of spring. This
practice, she said, promoted the growth of the deer-grass, made good cover
for the deer themselves, and effectually prevented the increase of the
large timbers. This circumstance gives a singular aspect to this high ridge
of hills when contrasted with the more wooded portions to the westward.
From the lake these eastern hills look verdant, and as if covered with
tall green fern. In the month of October a rich rosy tint is cast upon the
leaves of the scrub oaks by the autumnal frosts, and they present a glowing
unvaried crimson of the most glorious hue, only variegated in spots by a
dark feathery evergreen, or a patch of light waving poplars turned by the
same wizard's wand to golden yellow.

There were many lovely spots,--lofty rounded hills, and deep shady dells,
with extended tableland, and fine lake views; but on the whole our young
folks preferred the oak openings and the beautiful wooded glens of the
western side, where they had fixed their home.

There was one amusement that they used greatly to enjoy during the cold
bright days and moonlight nights of midwinter. This was gliding down the
frozen snow on the steep side of the dell near the spring, seated on small
hand-sleighs, which carried them down with great velocity. Wrapped in their
warm furs, with caps fastened closely over their ears, what cared they for
the cold? Warm and glowing from head to foot, with cheeks brightened by the
delightful exercise, they would remain for hours enjoying the amusement
of the snow-slide; the bright frost gemming the ground with myriads of
diamonds, sparkling in their hair, or whitening it till it rivalled the
snow beneath their feet. Then, when tired out with the exercise, they
returned to the shanty, stirred up a blazing fire, till the smoked rafters
glowed in the red light; spread their simple fare of stewed rice sweetened
with honey, or maybe a savoury soup of hare or other game; and then, when
warmed and fed, they kneeled together, side by side, and offered up a
prayer of gratitude to their Maker, and besought his care over them during
the dark and silent hours of night.

Had these young people been idle in their habits and desponding in their
tempers, they must have perished with cold and hunger, instead of enjoying
many necessaries and even some little luxuries in their lonely forest home.
Fortunately they had been brought up in the early practice of every sort of
usefulness, to endure every privation with cheerful fortitude; not, indeed,
quietly to sit down and wait for better times, but vigorously to create
those better times by every possible exertion that could be brought into
action to assist and ameliorate their condition.

To be up and doing, is the maxim of a Canadian; and it is this that nerves
his arm to do and bear. The Canadian settler, following in the steps of the
old Americans, learns to supply all his wants by the exercise of his own
energy. He brings up his family to rely upon their own resources, instead
of depending upon his neighbours.

The children of the modern emigrant, though enjoying a higher degree of
civilization and intelligence, arising from a liberal education, might not
have fared so well under similar circumstances as did our Canadian Crusoes,
because, unused to battle with the hardships incidental to a life of
such privation as they had known, they could not have brought so much
experience, or courage, or ingenuity to their aid. It requires courage to
yield to circumstances, as well as to overcome them.

Many little useful additions to the interior of their dwelling were made by
Hector and Louis during the long winter. They made a smoother and better
table than the first rough one that they put together. They also made
a rough partition of split cedars, to form a distinct and separate
sleeping-room for the two girls; but as this division greatly circumscribed
their sitting and cooking apartment, they resolved, as soon as the spring
came, to cut and draw in logs for putting up a better and larger room to be
used as a summer parlour. Indiana and Louis made a complete set of wooden
trenchers out of butter-nut, a fine hard wood of excellent grain, and less
liable to warp or crack than many others.

Louis's skill as a carpenter was much greater than that of his cousin. He
not only possessed more judgment and was more handy, but he had a certain
taste and neatness in finishing his work, however rough his materials and
rude his tools. He inherited some of that skill in mechanism for which the
French have always been remarked. With his knife and a nail he would carve
a plum-stone into a miniature basket, with handle across it, all delicately
wrought with flowers and checker-work. The shell of a butter-nut would be
transformed into a boat, with thwarts, and seats, and rudder; with sails of
bass-wood or birch-bark. Combs he could cut out of wood or bone, so that
Catharine could dress her hair, or confine it in braids or bands at will.
This was a source of great comfort to her; and Louis was always pleased
when he could in any way contribute to his cousin's happiness. These little
arts Louis had been taught by his father. Indeed, the entire distance that
their little, settlement was from any town or village had necessarily
forced their families depend on their own ingenuity and invention to supply
many of their wants. Once or twice a year they saw a trading fur-merchant,
as I before observed; and those were glorious days for Hector and Louis,
who were always on the alert to render the strangers any service in their
power, as by that means they sometimes received little gifts from them, and
gleaned up valuable information as to their craft as hunters and trappers.
And then there were wonderful tales of marvellous feats and hair-breadth
escapes to listen to, as they sat with eager looks and open ears round the
blazing log-fire in the old log-house. Now they would in their turns have
tales to tell of strange adventures, and all that had befallen them since
the first day of their wanderings on the Rice Lake Plains.

The long winter passed away unmarked by any very stirring event. The
Indians had revisited the hunting-grounds; but they confined themselves
chiefly to the eastern side of the plains, the lake, and the islands, and
did not come near their little dwelling to molest them. The latter end of
the month of March presented fine sugar-making weather; and as they had
the use of the big iron pot, they resolved to make maple sugar and some
molasses. Long Island was decided upon as the most eligible place: it
had the advantage over Maple Island of having a shanty ready built for
a shelter during the time they might see fit to remain, and a good
boiling-place, which would be a comfort to the girls, as they need not be
exposed to the weather during the process of sugaring. The two boys soon
cut down some small pines and bass-woods, which they hewed out into
sugar-troughs; Indiana manufactured some rough pails of birch-bark; and the
first favourable day for the work they loaded up a hand-sleigh with their
vessels, and marched forth over the ice to the island, and tapped the trees
they thought could yield sap for their purpose. And many pleasant days they
passed during the sugar-making season. They did not leave the sugar-bush
for good till the commencement of April, when the sun and wind beginning to
unlock the springs that fed the lake, and to act upon its surface, taught
them that it would not long be prudent to remain on the island. The loud
booming sounds that were now frequently heard of the pent-up air beneath
striving to break forth from its icy prison, were warnings not to be
neglected. Openings began to appear, especially at the entrance of the
river, and between the islands, and opposite to some of the larger creeks;
blue streams that attracted the water-fowl, ducks, and wild geese, that
came, guided by that instinct that never errs, from their abiding-places
in far-off lands; and Indiana knew the signs of the wild birds coming and
going with a certainty that seemed almost marvellous to her simple-minded

How delightful were the first indications of the coming spring! How
joyously our young Crusoes heard the first tapping of the redheaded
woodpecker, the low, sweet, warbling note of the early song-sparrow, and
twittering chirp of the snow-bird, or that neat quakerly-looking bird, that
comes to cheer us with the news of sunny days and green buds, the low,
tender, whispering note of the chiccadee, flitting among the pines or in
the thick branches of the shore-side trees! The chattering note of the
little striped chitmunk, as it pursued its fellows over the fallen trees,
and the hollow sound of the male partridge heavily striking his wings
against his sides to attract the notice of the female birds--were among the
early spring melodies, for such they seemed to our forest dwellers, and for
such they listened with eager ears, for they told them--

"That winter, cold winter, was past,
And that spring, lovely spring, was approaching at last."

They watched for the first song of the robin, [Footnote: _Turdus
miyratorius_, or American robin.] and the full melody of the red thrush
[Footnote: _Turdus melodus,_ or wood-thrush.]; the rushing sound of the
passenger-pigeon, as flocks of these birds darted above their heads,
sometimes pausing to rest on the dry limb of some withered oak, or darting
down to feed upon the scarlet berries of the spicy winter-green, the acorns
that still lay upon the now uncovered ground, or the berries of hawthorn
and dogwood that still hung on the bare bushes. The pines were now putting
on their rich, mossy, green spring dresses; the skies were deep blue;
nature, weary of her long state of inaction, seemed waking into life and

On the Plains the snow soon disappears, for the sun and air has access to
the earth much easier than in the close, dense forest; and Hector and Louis
were soon able to move about with axe in hand, to cut the logs for the
addition to the house which they proposed making. They also set to work as
soon as the frost was out of the ground, to prepare their little field
for the Indian corn. This kept them quite busy. Catharine attended to the
house, and Indiana went out fishing and hunting, bringing in plenty of
small game and fish every day. After they had piled and burned up the loose
boughs and trunks that encumbered the space which they had marked out, they
proceeded to enclose it with a "brush fence", which was done by felling the
trees that stood in the line of the field, and letting them fall so as to
form the bottom log of the fence, which they then made of sufficient height
by piling up arms of trees and brush-wood. Perhaps in this matter they were
too particular, as there was no fear of "breachy cattle," or any cattle,
intruding on the crop; but Hector maintained that deer and bears were as
much to be guarded against as oxen and cows.

The little enclosure was made secure from any such depredators, and was as
clean as hands could make it, and the two cousins were sitting on a log,
contentedly surveying their work, and talking of the time when the grain
was to be put in. It was about the beginning of the second week in May,
as near as they could guess from the bursting of the forest buds and the
blooming of such of the flowers as they were acquainted with. Hector's eyes
had followed the flight of a large eagle that now, turning from the lake,
soared away majestically towards the east or Oak-hills. But soon his
eye was attracted to another object. The loftiest part of the ridge was
enveloped in smoke. At first he thought it must be some mist-wreath
hovering over its brow; but soon the dense rolling clouds rapidly spread
on each side, and he felt certain that it was from fire, and nothing but
fire,[Footnote: Appendix I.] that those dark volumes arose.

"Louis, look yonder! the hills to the east are on fire."

"On fire, Hector? you are dreaming!"

"Nay, but look there!"

The hills were now shrouded in one dense, rolling, cloud; it moved on with
fearful rapidity down the shrubby side of the hill, supplied by the dry,
withered foliage and deer-grass, which was like stubble to the flames.

"It is two miles off, or more," said Louis; "and the creek will stop its
progress long before it comes near us--and the swamp there, beyond Bare

"The cedars are as dry as tinder; and as to the creek, it is so narrow, a
burning tree falling across would convey the fire to this side; besides,
when the wind rises, as it always does when the bush is on fire, you know
how far the burning leaves will fly. Do you remember when the forest was on
fire last spring, how long it continued to burn, and how fiercely it raged!
It was lighted by the ashes of your father's pipe, when he was out in the
new fallow; the leaves were dry, and kindled; and before night the woods
were burning for miles." "It was a grand spectacle, those pine-hills, when
the fire got in among them," said Louis.. "See, see how fast the fires
kindle; that must be some fallen pine that they have got hold of; now, look
at the lighting up of that hill--is it not grand?"

"If the wind would but change, and blow in the opposite direction!" said
Hector, anxiously.

"The wind, mon ami, seems to have little influence; for as long as the fire
finds fuel from the dry bushes and grass, it drives on, even against the

As they spoke the wind freshened, and they could plainly see a long line of
wicked, bright flames, in advance of the dense mass of vapour which hung
in its rear. On it came, that rolling sea of flame, with inconceivable
rapidity, gathering strength as it advanced. The demon of destruction
spread its red wings to the blast, rushing on with fiery speed; and soon
hill and valley were wrapped in one sheet of flame.

"It must have been the work of the Indians," said Louis. "We had better
make a retreat to the island, in case of the fire crossing the valley. We
must not neglect the canoe; if the fire sweeps round by the swamp, it may
come upon us unawares, and then the loss of the canoe would prevent escape
by the lake. But here are the girls; let us consult them.

"It is the Indian burning," said Indiana; "that is the reason there are so
few big trees on that hill; they burn it to make the grass better for the

Hector had often pointed out to Louis the appearance of fire having
scorched the bark of the trees, where they were at work, but it seemed to
have been many years back; and when they were digging for the site of the
root-house [Footnote: Root-houses are built over deep excavations below the
reach of the frost, or the roots stored would be spoiled.] below the bank,
which they had just finished, they had met with charred wood, at the depth
of six feet below the soil, which must have lain there till the earth had
accumulated over it; a period of many years must necessarily have passed
since the wood had been burned, as it was so much decomposed as to crumble
beneath the wooden shovel which they were digging with.

All day they watched the progress of that, fiery sea whose waves were
flame--red, rolling flame. Onward it came, with resistless speed,
overpowering every obstacle, widening its sphere of action, till it formed
a perfect semicircle about them. As the night drew on, the splendour of the
scene became more apparent, and the path of the fire better defined; but
there was no fear of the conflagration spreading as it had done in the
daytime. The wind had sunk, and the copious dews of evening effectually put
a stop to the progress of the fire. The children could now gaze in security
upon the magnificent spectacle before them, without the excitement produced
by its rapid spread during the daytime. They lay down to sleep in perfect
security that night, but with the consciousness that, as the breeze sprung
up in the morning, they must be on the alert to secure their little
dwelling and its contents from the devastation that threatened it. They
knew that they had no power to stop its onward course, as they possessed
no implement better than a rough wood shovel, which would be found very
ineffectual in opening a trench or turning the ground up, so as to cut off
the communication with the dry grass, leaves, and branches, which are the
fuel for supplying the fires on the Plains. The little clearing on one side
the house they thought would be its safeguard, but the fire was advancing
on three sides of them.

"Let us hold a council, as the Indians do, to consider what is to be done."

"I propose," said Louis, "retreating, bag and baggage, to the nearest point
of Long Island." "My French cousin has well spoken," said Hector, mimicking
the Indian mode of speaking; "but listen to the words of the wise. I
propose to take all our household stores that are of the most value, to the
island, and lodge the rest safely in our new root-house, first removing
from its neighbourhood all such light, loose matter as is likely to take
fire; the earthen roof will save it from destruction; as to the shanty, it
must take its chance to stand or fall."

"The fence of the little clearing will be burned, no doubt. Well, never
mind, better that than our precious selves; and the corn, fortunately, is
not yet sown," said Louis.

Hector's advice met with general applause, and the girls soon set to work
to secure the property they meant to leave.

It was a fortunate thing that the root-house had been finished, as it
formed a secure storehouse for their goods, and would also be made
available as a hiding-place from the Indians, in time of need. The boys
carefully scraped away all the combustible matter from its vicinity, and
also from the house; but the rapid increase of the fire now warned them to
hurry down to join Catharine and the young Mohawk, who had gone off to the
lake shore, with such things as they required to take with them.


"I know a lake where the cool waves break,
And softly fall on the silver sand,
And no stranger intrudes on that solitude,
And no voices but ours disturb the strand."

The breeze had sprung up, and had already brought the fire down as far as
the creek. The swamp had long been on fire, and now the flames were leaping
among the decayed timbers, roaring and crackling among the pines, and
rushing to the tops of the cedars, springing from heap to heap of the
fallen branches, and filling the air with dense volumes of black and
suffocating smoke. So quickly did the flames advance that Hector and Louis
had only time to push off the canoe before the heights along the shore were
wrapped in smoke and fire. Many a giant oak and noble pine fell crashing to
the earth, sending up showers of red sparks, as its burning trunk shivered
in its fall. Glad to escape from the suffocating vapour, the boys quickly
paddled out to the island, enjoying the cool, fresh air of the lake.
Reposing on the grass beneath the trees, they passed the day, sheltered
from the noonday sun, and watched the progress of the fires upon the shore.
At night the girls slept securely under the canoe, which they raised on one
side by means of forked sticks stuck in the ground.

It was a grand sight to see the burning plains at night, reflected on the
water. A thousand naming torches flickered upon its still surface, to which
the glare of a gas-lighted city would have been dim and dull by contrast.

Louis and Hector would speculate on the probable chances of the shanty
escaping from the fire, and of the fence remaining untouched. Of the safety
of the root-house they entertained no fear, as the grass was already
springing green on the earthen roof; and below they had taken every
precaution to secure its safely, by scraping up the earth near it.
[Footnote: Many a crop of grain and comfortable homestead has been saved
by turning a furrow round the field; and great conflagrations have been
effectually stopped by men beating the fire out with spades, and hoeing
up the fresh earth so as to cut off all communication with the dry roots,
grass, and leaves that feed its onward progress. Water, even could it be
got, which is often impossible, is not near so effectual in stopping
the progress of fire; even women and little children can assist in such

Catharine lamented for the lovely spring-flowers that would be destroyed
by the fire. "We shall have neither huckleberries nor strawberries this
summer," she said, mournfully; "and the pretty roses and bushes will be
scorched, and the ground black and dreary."

"The fire passes so rapidly over that it does not destroy many of the
forest trees, only the dead ones are destroyed; and that, you know, leaves
more space for the living ones to grow and thrive in," said Hector. "I have
seen, the year after a fire has run in the bush, a new and fresh set of
plants spring up, and even some that looked withered recover; the earth is
renewed and manured by the ashes; and it is not so great a misfortune as it
at first appears."

"But how black and dismal the burnt pine-woods look for years!" said Louis;
"I do not think there is a more melancholy sight in life than one of those
burnt pine-woods. There it stands, year after year, the black, branchless
trees pointing up to the blue sky, as if crying for vengeance against those
that kindled the fires."

"They do, indeed, look ugly," said Catharine; "yet the girdled ones look
very nearly as ill." [Footnote: The girdled pines are killed by barking
them round, to facilitate the clearing.]

At the end of two days the fires had ceased to rage, though the dim
smoke-wreaths to the westward showed where the work of destruction was
still going on.

As there was no appearance of any Indians on the lake, nor yet at the point
(Andersen's Point, as it is now called), on the other side, they concluded
the fires had possibly originated by accident,--some casual hunter or
trapper having left his camp-fire unextinguished; but as they were not
very likely to come across the scene of the conflagration, they decided
on returning back to their old home without delay; and it was with some
feeling of anxiety that they hastened to see what evil had befallen their

"The shanty is burned!" was the simultaneous exclamation of both Louis and
Hector, as they reached the rising ground that should have commanded a
view of its roof. "It is well for us that we secured our things in the
root-house," said Hector.

"Well, if that is safe, who cares? we can soon build up a new house, larger
and better than the old one," said Louis. "The chief of our fence is gone,
too, I see; but that we can renew at our leisure; no hurry, if we get it
done a month hence, say I. Come, _ma belle_, do not look so sorrowful.
There is our little squaw will help us to set up a capital wigwam, while
the new house is building." "But the nice table that you made, Louis, and
the benches and shelves!"

"Never mind, Cathy, we will have better tables, and benches, and shelves
too. Never fear, _ma chere_, the same industrious Louis will make things
comfortable. I am not sorry the old shanty is down; we shall have a famous
one put up, twice as large, for the winter. After the corn is planted we
shall have nothing else to do but to think about it."

The next two or three days was spent in erecting a wigwam, with poles and
birch bark; and as the weather was warm and pleasant, they did not feel the
inconvenience so much as they would have done had it been earlier in the
season. The root-house formed an excellent store-house and pantry; and
Indiana contrived, in putting up the wigwam, to leave certain loose folds
between the birch-bark lining and outer covering, which formed a series of
pouches or bags, in which many articles could be stowed away out of sight.
[Footnote: In this way the winter wigwams of the Indians are constructed so
as to give plenty of stowing room for all their little household matters,
materials for work, &c.]

While the girls were busy contriving the arrangements of the wigwam,
the two boys were not idle. The time was come for planting the corn; a
succession of heavy thunder-showers had soaked and softened the scorched
earth, and rendered the labour of moving it much easier than they had
anticipated. They had cut for themselves wooden trowels, with which they
raised the hills for the seed. The corn planted, they next turned their
attention to cutting house-logs; those which they had prepared had been
burned up; so they had their labour to begin again.

The two girls proved good helps at the raising; and in the course of a few
weeks they had the comfort of seeing a more commodious dwelling than the
former one put up. The finishing of this, with weeding the Indian corn,
renewing the fence, and fishing, and trapping, and shooting partridges and
ducks and pigeons, fully occupied their time this summer. The fruit season
was less abundant this year than the previous one. The fire had done this
mischief, and they had to go far a-field to collect fruits during the
summer months.

It so happened that Indiana had gone out early one morning with the boys,
and Catharine was alone. She had gone down to the spring for water, and on
her return was surprised at the sight of a squaw and her family of three
half-grown lads, and an innocent little brown papoose. [Footnote: An Indian
baby; but "papoose" is not an Indian word. It is probably derived from the
Indian imitation of the word "baines."] In their turn the strangers seemed
equally astonished at Catharine's appearance.

The smiling aspect and good-natured laugh of the female, however, soon
reassured the frightened girl, and she gladly gave her the water which she
had in her birch dish, on her signifying her desire for drink. To this
Catharine added some berries, and dried venison, and a bit of maple sugar,
which was received with grateful looks by the boys; she patted the brown
baby, and was glad when the mother released it from its wooden cradle, and
fed and nursed it. The squaw seemed to notice the difference between the
colour of her young hostess's fair skin and her own swarthy hue; for she
often took her hand, stripped up the sleeve of her dress, and compared her
arm with her own, uttering exclamations of astonishment and curiosity;
possibly Catharine was the first of a fair-skinned race this poor savage
had ever seen. After her meal was finished, she set the birchen dish on the
floor, and restrapping the papoose in its cradle prison, she slipped the
basswood-bark rope over her forehead, and silently signing to her sons to
follow her, she departed. That evening a pair of ducks were found fastened
to the wooden latch of the door, a silent offering of gratitude for the
refreshment that had been afforded to this Indian woman and her children.

Indiana thought, from Catharine's description, that these were Indians with
whom she was acquainted she spent some days in watching the lake and the
ravine, lest a larger and more formidable party should be near. The squaw,
she said, was a widow, and went by the name of Mother Snow-storm, from
having been lost in the woods, when a little child, during a heavy storm of
snow, and nearly starved to death. She was a gentle, kind woman, and, she
believed, would not do any of them hurt. Her sons were good hunters; and
though so young, helped to support their mother, and were very good to her
and the little one.

I must now pass over a considerable interval of time, with merely a brief
notice that the crop of corn was carefully harvested, and proved abundant,
and a source of great comfort. The rice was gathered and stored, and plenty
of game and fish laid by, with an additional store of honey.

The Indians, for some reason, did not pay their accustomed visit to the
lake this season. Indiana said they might be engaged with war among some
hostile tribes, or had gone to other hunting grounds. The winter was
unusually mild, and it was long before it set in. Yet the spring following
was tardy, and later than usual. It was the latter end of May before
vegetation had made any very decided progress.

The little loghouse presented a neat and comfortable appearance, both
within and without. Indiana had woven a handsome mat of bass bark for the
floor; Louis and Hector had furnished it with very decent seats and a
table, rough, but still very respectably constructed, considering their
only tools were a tomahawk, a knife, and wooden wedges for splitting the
wood into slabs. These Louis afterwards smoothed with great care and
patience. Their bedsteads were furnished with thick, soft mate, woven by
Indiana and Catharine, from rushes which they cut and dried; but the little
squaw herself preferred lying on a mat or deer-skin on the floor before the
fire, as she had been accustomed.

A new field had been enclosed, and a fresh crop of corn planted, and
was now green and flourishing. Peace and happiness dwelt within the
loghouse;--but for the regrets that ever attended the remembrance of all
they had left and lost, no cloud would have dimmed the serenity of those
who dwelt beneath its humble roof.

The season of flowers had again arrived,--the earth, renovated by the fire
of the former year, bloomed with fresh beauty,--June, with its fragrant
store of roses and lilies, was now far advanced,--the anniversary of that
time when they had left their beloved parents' roofs, to become sojourners
in the lonely wilderness, had returned. Much they felt they had to be
grateful for. Many privations, it is true, and much anxiety they had felt;
but they had enjoyed blessings above all that they could have expected, and
they might, like the Psalmist when recounting the escapes of the people
of God, have said,--"Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for his
goodness, and the wonders that he doeth for the children of men." And now
they declared no greater evil could befal them than to lose one of their
little party, for even Indiana had become as a dear and beloved sister; her
gentleness, her gratitude and faithful trusting love, seemed each day to
increase. Now, indeed, she was bound to them by a yet more sacred tie, for
she knelt to the same God, and acknowledged, with fervent love, the mercies
of her Redeemer. She had made great progress in learning their language,
and had also taught her friends to speak and understand much of her own
tongue; so that they were now no longer at a loss to converse with her on
any subject. Thus was this Indian girl united to them in bonds of social
and Christian love.

Hector, Louis, and Indiana had gone over the hills to follow the track of
a deer which had paid a visit to the young corn, now sprouting and showing
symptoms of shooting up to blossom. Catharine usually preferred staying at
home, and preparing the meals against their return. She had gathered some
fine ripe strawberries, which, with plenty of stewed rice, Indian meal
cake, and maple sugar, was to make their dinner. She was weary and warm,
for the day had been hot and sultry. Seating herself on the threshold of
the door, she leaned her tack against the doorpost, and closed her eyes.
Perhaps the poor child's thoughts were wandering back to her far-off,
never-to-be-forgotten home, or she might be thinking of the hunters and
their game. Suddenly a vague, undefinable feeling of dread stole over her
mind: she heard no steps, she felt no breath, she saw no form; but there
was a strange consciousness that she was not alone--that some unseen being
was near, some eye was upon her. I have heard of sleepers starting from
sleep the most profound when the noiseless hand of the assassin has been
raised to destroy them, as if the power of the human eye could be felt
through the closed lid.

Thus fared it with Catharine: she felt as if some unseen enemy was near
her; and, springing to her feet, she cast a wild, troubled glance around.
No living being met her eye; and, ashamed of her cowardice, she resumed her
seat. The tremulous cry of her little grey squirrel, a pet which she had
tamed and taught to run to her and nestle in her bosom, attracted her

"What aileth thee, wee dearie?" she said, tenderly, as the timid little
creature crept, trembling, to her breast. "Thy mistress has scared thee by
her own foolish fears. See now, there is neither cat-a-mount nor weasel
here to seize thee, silly one;" and as she spoke she raised her head, and
flung back the thick clusters of soft fair hair that shaded her eyes. The
deadly glare of a pair of dark eyes fixed upon her met her terrified gaze,
gleaming with sullen ferocity from the angle of the door-post, whence the
upper part of the face alone was visible, partly concealed by a mat of
tangled, shaggy, black hair. Paralysed with fear, the poor girl neither
spoke nor moved; she uttered no cry; but pressing her hands tightly across
her breast, as if to still the loud beating of her heart, she sat gazing
upon that fearful appearance, while, with stealthy step, the savage
advanced from his lurking-place, keeping, as he did so, his eyes riveted
upon hers, with such a gaze as the wily serpent is said to fascinate his
prey. His hapless victim moved not; whither could she flee to escape one
whose fleet foot could so easily have overtaken her in the race? where
conceal herself from him whose wary eye fixed upon her seemed to deprive
her of all vital energy?

Uttering that singular, expressive guttural which seems with the Indian to
answer the purpose of every other exclamation, he advanced, and taking the
girl's ice-cold hands in his, tightly bound them with a thong of deer's
hide, and led her unresistingly away. By a circuitous path through the
ravine they reached the foot of the mount, where lay a birch canoe, rocking
gently on the waters, in which a middle-aged female and a young girl were
seated. The females asked no questions, and expressed no word indicative of
curiosity or surprise, as the strong arm of the Indian lifted his captive
into the canoe, and made signs to the elder squaw to push from the shore.
When all had taken their places, the woman, catching up a paddle from the
bottom of the little vessel, stood up, and with a few rapid strokes sent it
skimming over the lake.

The miserable captive, overpowered with the sense of her calamitous
situation, bowed down her head upon her knees, and concealing her agitated
face in her garments, wept in silent agony. Visions of horror presented
themselves to her bewildered brain--all that Indiana had described of the
cruelty of this vindictive race, came vividly before her mind. Poor child,
what miserable thoughts were thine during that brief voyage!

Had the Indians also captured her friends? or was she alone to be the
victim of their vengeance? What would be the feelings of those I beloved
ones on returning to their home and finding it desolate! Was there no hope
of release? As these ideas chased each other through her agitated mind, she
raised her eyes all streaming with tears to the faces of the Indian and his
companions with so piteous a look, that any heart but the stoical one of an
Indian would have softened at its sad appeal; but no answering glance of
sympathy met hers, no eye gave back its silent look of pity--not a nerve
or a muscle moved the cold apathetic features of the Indians, and the
woe-stricken girl again resumed her melancholy attitude, burying her
face in her heaving bosom to hide its bitter emotions from the heartless

She was not folly aware that it is part of the Indian's education to hide
the inward feelings of the heart, to check all those soft and tender
emotions which distinguish the civilized man from the savage.

It does indeed need the softening influence of that powerful Spirit, which
was shed abroad into the world to turn the hearts of the disobedient to the
wisdom of the just, to break down the strongholds of unrighteousness, and
to teach man that he is by nature the child of wrath and victim of sin, and
that in his unregenerated nature his whole mind is at enmity with God and
his fellow-men, and that in his flesh dwelleth no good thing. And the
Indian has acknowledged that power,--he has cast his idols of cruelty and
revenge, those virtues on which he prided himself in the blindness of his
heart, to the moles and the bats; he has bowed and adored at the foot of
the Cross;--but it was not so in the days whereof I have spoken. [Footnote:
Appendix K.]


"Must this sweet new-blown rose find such, a winter
Before her spring be past?"

The little bark touched the stony point of Long Island. The Indian lifted
his weeping prisoner from the canoe, and motioned to her to move forward
along the narrow path that led to the camp, about twenty yards higher up
the bank, where there was a little grassy spot enclosed, with shrubby
trees--the squaws tarried at the lake-shore to bring up the paddles and
secure the canoe.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an enemy, but doubly so,
when that enemy is a stranger to the language in which we would plead for
mercy--whose God is not our God, nor his laws those by which we ourselves
are governed. Thus felt the poor captive as she stood alone, mute with
terror among the half-naked dusky forms with which she now found herself
surrounded. She cast a hurried glance round that strange assembly, if by
chance her eye might rest upon some dear familiar face, but she saw not
the kind but grave face of Hector, nor met the bright sparkling eye of her
cousin Louis, nor the soft, subdued, pensive features of the Indian girl,
her adopted sister--she stood alone among those wild gloomy-looking men;
some turned away their eyes as if they would not meet her woe-stricken
countenance, lest they should be moved to pity her sad condition; no wonder
that, overcome by the sense of her utter friendliness, she hid her face
with her fettered hands and wept in despair. But the Indian's sympathy is
not moved by tears and sighs; calmness, courage, defiance of danger and
contempt of death, are what he venerates and admires even in an enemy.

The Indians beheld her grief unmoved. At length the old man, who seemed to
be a chief among the rest, motioned to one of the women who leant against
the side of the wigwam, to come forward and lead away the stranger;
Catharine, whose senses were beginning to be more collected, heard the old
man give orders that she was to be fed and cared for. Gladly did she escape
from the presence of those pitiless men, from whose gaze she shrunk with
maidenly modesty. And now when alone with the women she hesitated not to
make use of that natural language which requires not the aid of speech to
make itself understood; clasping her hands imploringly, she knelt at the
feet of the Indian woman, her conductress--kissed her dark hands and bathed
them with her fast flowing tears, while she pointed passionately to the
shore where lay the happy home from which she had been so suddenly torn.

The squaw, though she evidently comprehended the meaning of her imploring
gestures, shook her head, and in plaintive earnest tone replied in her own
language, that she must go with the canoes to the other shore,--and she
pointed to the north as she spoke. She then motioned to the young girl--the
same that had been Catharine's companion in the canoe--to bring a hunting
knife, which was thrust into one of the folds of the birch-bark of the
wigwam. Catharine beheld the deadly weapon in the hands of the Indian woman
with a pang of agony as great as if its sharp edge was already at her
throat. So young--so young, to die by a cruel bloody death! what had been
her crime?--how should she find words to soften the heart of her murderess?
The power of utterance seemed denied--she cast herself on her knees and
held up her hands in silent prayer; not to the dreaded Indian woman, but to
Him who heareth the prayer of the poor destitute--who alone can order the
unruly wills and affections of men.

The squaw stretched forth one dark hand and grasped the arm of the
terror-struck girl, while the other held the weapon of destruction; with a
quick movement she severed the thongs that bound the fettered wrists of the
pleading captive, and with a smile that seemed to light up her whole face
she raised her from her prostrate position, laid her hand upon her young
head, and with an expression of good-humoured surprise lifted the flowing
tresses of her sunny hair and spread them over the back of her own swarthy
hand; then, as if amused by the striking contrast, she shook down her own
jetty-black hair and twined a tress of it with one of the fair haired
girl's--then laughed till her teeth shone like pearls within her red lips.
Many were the exclamations of childish wonder that broke from the other
females, as they compared the snowy arm of the stranger with their own
dusky skins; it was plain that they had no intention of harming her, and by
degrees distrust and dread of her singular companions began in some measure
to subside.

The squaw motioned her to take a seat on a mat beside her, and gave her a
handful of parched rice and some deer's flesh to eat; but Catharine's heart
was too heavy; she was suffering from thirst, and on pronouncing the Indian
word for water, the young girl snatched up a piece of birch-bark from the
floor of the tent, and gathering the corners together, ran to the lake, and
soon returned with water in this most primitive drinking vessel, which
she held to the lips of her guest, and she seemed amused by the long deep
draught with which Catharine slaked her thirst; and something like a gleam
of hope came over her mind as she marked the look of kindly feeling with
which she caught the young Indian girl regarding her, and she strove to
overcome the choking sensation that would from time to time rise to her
throat, as she fluctuated between hope and fear. The position of the Indian
camp was so placed that it was quite hidden from the shore, and neither
could Catharine see the mouth of the ravine, nor the steep side of the
mount that her brothers were accustomed to ascend and descend in their
visits to the lake shore, nor had she any means of making a signal to them
even if she had seen them on the beach.

The long, anxious, watchful night passed, and soon after sunrise, while
the morning mists still hung over the lake, the canoes of the Indians
were launched, and long before noon they were in the mouth of the river.
Catharine's heart sunk within her as the fast receding shores of the lake
showed each minute fainter in the distance. At midday they halted at a
fine bend in the river, where a small open place and a creek flowing down
through the woods afforded them cool water; and here they found several
tents put up and a larger party awaiting their return. The river was here
a fine, broad, deep and tranquil stream; trees of many kinds fringed the
edge; beyond was the unbroken forest, whose depths had never been pierced
by the step of man--so thick and luxuriant was the vegetation that even the
Indian could hardly have penetrated through its dark swampy glades: far
as the eye could reach, that impenetrable interminable wall of verdure
stretched away into the far off distance.

On that spot where our Indian camp then stood, are now pleasant open
meadows, with an avenue of fine pines and balsams; showing on the eminence
above, a large substantial dwelling-house surrounded by a luxuriant orchard
and garden, the property of a naval officer, [Footnote: Lt. Rubidge,
whose interesting account of his early settlement may be read in a letter
inserted in Captain Basil Hall's Letters from Canada.] who with the
courage and perseverance that mark brave men of his class, first ventured
to break the bush and locate himself and his infant family in the lonely
wilderness, then far from any beaten road or the haunts of his fellow-men.

But at the period of which I write, the axe of the adventurous settler had
not levelled one trunk of that vast forest, neither had the fire scathed
it; no voices of happy joyous children had rung through those shades, nor
sound of rural labour nor bleating flock awakened its echoes.

All the remainder of that sad day, Catharine sat on the grass under a shady
tree, her eyes mournfully fixed on the slow flowing waters, and wondering
at her own hard fate in being thus torn from her home and its dear inmates.
Bad as she had thought her separation from her father and mother and her
brothers, when she first left her home to become a wanderer on the Rice
Lake Plains, how much more dismal now was her situation, snatched from the
dear companions who had upheld and cheered her on in all her sorrows! But
now she was alone with none to love or cherish or console her, she felt a
desolation of spirit that almost made her forgetful of that trust that had
hitherto always sustained her in time of trouble or sickness. She looked
round, and her eye fell on the strange unseemly forms of men and women,
who cared not for her, and to whom she was an object of indifference or
aversion: she wept when she thought of the grief that her absence would
occasion to Hector and Louis; the thought of their distress increased her

The soothing quiet of the scene, with the low lulling sound of the little
brook as its tiny wavelets fell tinkling over the massy roots and stones
that impeded its course to the river, joined with fatigue and long exposure
to the sun and air, caused her at length to fall asleep. The last rosy
light of the setting sun was dyeing the waters with a glowing tint when she
awoke; a soft blue haze hung upon the trees; the kingfisher and dragon-fly,
and a solitary loon, were the only busy things abroad on the river; the
first darting up and down from an upturned root near the water's edge,
feeding its youngings; the dragon-fly hawking with rapid whirring sound for
insects, and the loon, just visible from above the surface of the still
stream, sailed quietly on companionless, like her who watched its

The bustle of the hunters returning with game and fish to the encampment
roused many a sleepy brown papoose, the fires were renewed, and the evening
meal was now preparing,--and Catharine, chilled by the falling dew, crept
to the enlivening warmth. And here she was pleased at being recognised by
one friendly face--it was the mild and benevolent countenance of the widow
Snowstorm, who, with her three sons, came to bid her to share their camp
fire and food. The kindly grasp of the hand, the beaming smile that was
given by this good creature, albeit she was ugly and ill-featured, cheered
the sad captive's heart. She had given her a cup of cold water and what
food her log-cabin afforded, and in return the good Indian took her to her
wigwam and fed, and warmed, and cherished her with the loving-kindness of
a Christian; and during all her sojourn in the Indian camp she was as a
tender mother over her, drying her tears and showing her those little
acts of attention that even the untaught Indians know are grateful to the
sorrowful and destitute. Catharine often forgot her own griefs to repay
this worthy creature's kindness, by attending to her little babe and
assisting her in some of her homely preparations of cookery or household
work. She knew that a selfish indulgence in sorrow would do her no good,
and after the lapse of some days she so well disciplined her own heart as
to check her tears at least in the presence of the Indian women, and to
assume an air of comparative cheerfulness. Once she found Indian words
enough to ask the Indian widow to convey her back to the lake, but she
shook her head and bade her not think anything about it; and added, that in
the fall, when the ducks came to the rice-beds, they should all return, and
then if she could obtain leave from the chief, she would restore her to
her lodge on the plains; but signified to her that patience was her only
present remedy, and that submission to the will of the chief was her wisest
plan. Comforted by this vague promise, Catharine strove to be reconciled to
her strange lot, and still stranger companions. She could not help being
surprised at the want of curiosity respecting her that was shown by the
Indians in the wigwam, when she was brought thither; they appeared to take
little notice that a stranger and one so dissimilar to themselves had been
introduced into the camp, for before her they asked no questions about her,
whatever they might do when she was absent, though they surveyed her with
silent attention. Catharine learned, by long acquaintance with this people,
that an outward manifestation of surprise [Footnote: See Appendix L.] is
considered a want of etiquette and good breeding, or rather a proof of
weakness and childishness. The women, like other females, are certainly
less disposed to repress this feeling of inquisitiveness than the men, and
one of their great sources of amusement, when Catharine was among them, was
examining the difference of texture and colour of her skin and hair, and
holding long consultations over them. The young girl and her mother, those
who had paddled the canoe the day she was carried away to the island,
showed her much kindness in a quiet way. The young squaw was granddaughter
to the old chief, and seemed to be regarded with considerable respect by
the rest of the women; she was a gay lively creature, often laughing, and
seemed to enjoy an inexhaustible fund of good humour. She was inclined to
extend her patronage to the young stranger, making her eat out of her own
bark dish, and sit beside her on her own mat. She wove a chain of the
sweet-scented grass with which the Indians delight in adorning themselves,
likewise in perfuming their lodges with bunches or strewings upon the
floor. She took great pains in teaching her how to acquire the proper
attitude of sitting, after the fashion of the Eastern nations, which
position the Indian women assume when at rest in their wigwams. The Indian
name of this little damsel signified the Snow-bird. She was, like that
lively restless bird, always flitting to and fro from tent to tent, as
garrulous and as cheerful too as that merry little herald of the spring.

Once she seemed particularly attracted by Catharine's dress, which she
examined with critical minuteness, evincing great surprise at the cut
fringes of dressed doeskin with which Indiana had ornamented the border of
the short jacket which she had manufactured for Catharine. These fringes
she pointed out to the notice of the women, and even the old chief was
called in to examine the dress; nor did the leggings and mocassins escape
their observation. There was something mysterious about her garments.
Catharine was at a loss to imagine what caused those deep guttural
exclamations, somewhat between a grunt and a groan, that burst from the
lips of the Indians, as they one by one examined them with deep attention.
These people had recognised in these things the peculiar fashion and
handiwork of the young Mohawk girl whom they had exposed to perish by
hunger and thirst on Bare Hill, and much their interest was excited to know
by what means Catharine had become possessed of a dress wrought by the hand
of one whom they had numbered with the dead. Strange and mysterious did it
seem to them, and warily did they watch the unconscious object of their

The knowledge that she possessed of the language of her friend Indiana,
enabled Catharine to comprehend a great deal of what was said; yet she
prudently refrained from speaking in the tongue of one, to whose whole
nation she knew these people to be hostile, but she sedulously endeavoured
to learn their own peculiar dialect, and in this she succeeded in an
incredibly short time, so that she was soon able to express her own wants,
and converse a little with the females who were about her.

She had noticed that among the tents there was one which stood apart from
the rest, and was only visited by the old chief and his granddaughter, or
by the elder women. At first she imagined it was some sick person, or a
secret tent set apart for the worship of the Great Spirit; but one day when
the chief of the people had gone up the river hunting, and the children
were asleep, she perceived the curtain of skins drawn back, and a female of
singular and striking beauty appeared standing in the open space in front.
She was habited in a fine tunic of white dressed doeskin richly embroidered
with coloured beads and stained quills, a full petticoat of dark cloth
bound with scarlet descended to her ancles, leggings fringed with deer-skin
knotted with bands of coloured quills, with richly wrought mocassins on her
feet. On her head she wore a coronet of scarlet and black feathers; her
long shining tresses of raven hair descended to her waist, each thick tress
confined with a braided band of quills dyed scarlet and blue; her stature
was tall and well-formed; her large, liquid, dark eye wore an expression
so proud and mournful that Catharine felt her own involuntarily fill with
tears as she gazed upon this singular being. She would have approached
nearer to her, but a spell seemed on her; she shrunk back timid and abashed
beneath that wild melancholy glance. It was she, the Beam of the Morning,
the self-made widow of the young Mohawk, whose hand had wrought so fearful
a vengeance on the treacherous destroyer of her brother. She stood there,
at the tent door, arrayed in her bridal robes, as on the day when she
received her death-doomed victim. And when she recalled her fearful deed,
shuddering with horror, Catharine drew back and shrouded herself within
the tent, fearing again to fall under the eye of that terrible woman. She
remembered how Indiana had told her that since that fatal marriage-feast
she had been kept apart from the rest of the tribe,--she was regarded by
her people as a sacred character, a great _Medicine_, a female _brave_, a
being whom they regarded with mysterious reverence. She had made this great
sacrifice for the good of her nation. Indiana said it was believed among
her own folks that she had loved the young Mohawk passionately, as a
tender woman loves the husband of her youth; yet she had hesitated not
to sacrifice him with her own hand. Such was the deed of the Indian
heroine--and such were the virtues of the unregenerated Greeks and Romans!


"Now where the wave, with loud unquiet song,
Dash'd o'er the rocky channel, froths along,
Or where the silver waters soothed to rest,
The tree's tall shadow sleeps upon its breast."

The Indian camp remained for nearly three weeks on this spot, [Footnote:
Now known by the name of Cambelltown, though, there is but one log-house
and some pasture fields; it is a spot long used as a calling place for the
steamer that plies on the Otoanbee, between Gore's Landing on the Rice Lake
and Peterborough, to take in fire-wood.] and then early one morning the
wigwams were all taken down, and the canoes, six in number, proceeded
up the river. There was very little variety in the scenery to interest
Catharine; the river still kept its slow flowing course between low shores,
thickly clothed with trees, without an opening through which the eye might
pierce to form an idea of the country beyond; not a clearing, not a sight
or sound of civilized man was there to be seen or heard; the darting flight
of the wild birds as they flitted across from one side to the other, the
tapping of the woodpeckers or shrill cry of the blue jay, was all that was
heard, from sunrise to sunset, on that monotonous voyage. After many hours
a decided change was perceived in the current, which ran at a considerable
increase of swiftness, so that it required the united energy of both men
and women to keep the light vessels from drifting down the river again.
They were in the Rapids, [Footnote: Formerly known as Whitla's Rapids, now
the site of the Locks.] and it was hard work to stem the tide, and keep
the upward course of the waters. At length the rapids were passed, and
the weary Indian voyagers rested for a space on the bosom of a small but
tranquil lake. [Footnote: The little lake about a mile below Peterborough
and above the Locks, formerly girt in by woods of pine and beech and maple,
now entirely divested of trees and forming part of the suburbs of the town.

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