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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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