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THE FLUTE.

Puffed up with luring to her knees
The rabbits from the blackberries,
Quaint little satyrs, and shy, and mute,
That limped reluctant to the flute,
She needs must seek the forest's womb
And pipe up tigers from green gloom.

Grouped round the dreaming oaten quill
Those sumptuous savages were still,
Rich spectral beasts that feared to stir,
And haughty and wistful gazed on her,
And swayed their sleepy masks in time,
And growled a drowsy under-rhyme.

Tune done, that agile fancy stopped,
The lingering notes in mid-air dropped ;
The flute stole from her parted kiss,
Her cheeks for sorcery burned with bliss.
Then grew a deadly muttering there;
And sudden yellow eyes aglare
Blazed furious over wrinkled lips
And teeth on her. Her finger-tips
Trembled a little as they woke
The second tune beneath the oak,
A lilt that charmed and lulled to mute
The uneasy soul within the brute.

And all that warbling ecstasy
Was winged with terror, and daintily
Ceased on the wild and tragic face
And desperate huddle of her grace:
For with the hush began to gride
Their sullen, soulless, evil-eyed,
Intolerable rage, blown hot
Upon her. The third tune was caught
With trouble from unuttered air :
And still as autumn they sat there.

The breathless seventh tune died out
Like withered laughter: all about
The frantic silence ran a race.
She stirred, she moaned, she crawled a space.
There leaped a vast and thunderous roar;
A huge heart-shaking tumult tore
About the oak. Filing away,

They trod the stained flute where it lay.
VOL. LXXVII.
- NO. 462.
30

J. Russell Taylor.

OLD-TIME SUGAR-MAKING.

AFTER the Ides of March, the faint Close in front was a fireplace of rudest exhalations that always pervade the for- construction, a mere low wall of rough est are overborne in maple woodlands by stones, partially fencing in the heat on wafts of an odor of mingled pungency three sides, while from the fourth warmth and sweetness. A native need not trace and light poured into the interior of the it to its source to be informed that sugar- building. The chimney was wide as the making has begun. But if one were im- world, and the smoke at the will of every pelled to run counter on the aerial trail, wind, often making a smoke-house of the here dissolved to invisibility in the tem- shanty, whose inmates took refuge outpered air, there crawling through it, an side, or held steadfast in the belief that attenuated film of blue vapor, further on smoke is wholesome, or flattered themenfolding twigs and branches in a thick- selves with the old adage that beauty er cloud, it would soon lead him among draws smoke. maples dripping their sap through metal A great potash-kettle was hung over spouts into bright tin buckets, with a the fire by a log chain from the end of liquid, musical tinkle as pleasant to the a goodly straight tree, trimmed of its ear as the subtle aroma of the woods is branches, and pivoted and balanced on a to the nostrils. In the midst of a wide stump so that the kettle could be swung cordon of these steadfast sentinels that off or over the fire at will. At a convesignal with a faint clangor of fairy ket- nient distance, beside the fireplace, stood tledrums the approaches of spring, he the store-trough, hollowed out of a huge would find the modern sugar-house, win- trunk, and large enough for a giant's bathdowed, doored, chimneyed, and perhaps tub. There was a small kettle at hand painted, and in every way quite at odds for the final process of sugaring-off: and with its sylvan neighborhood. The home- this completed the outfit of the camp, ly picturesqueness that the artist and the which with everything that pertained to poet love has been sacrificed to profit, it was in perfect harmony with its wild comfort, and convenience, in the prim environment. modern sugar-house with its patent evap- Old-time sugar-makers tapped the trees orators and automatic feeders.

by chopping a slanting notch in the sapThe rude shanty that sheltered the old- wood; then they drove a gouge well in time sugar-makers was part and parcel beneath the lower end of the notch, and of the woods, as picturesque as an old inserted a wooden spout in the gouge tree, its log walls and bark roof as mossy, cut. The method was primitive and barand

gray with lichens. The whole front barous enough to have originated with was its always open door hospitably wel- the Indians, and it is not unlikely that it coming every comer to the freedom of did, and was learned of them by the first the interior, a seat on an inverted sap- white sugar-makers, then passed down tub, or a place on the bed of straw or fir from generation to generation of their twigs. There were a few utensils — a descendants, till some one hit upon the dipper, skimmer, and frying-pan-hang- neater device of using the gouge for the ing on the walls; a gun leaning in one entire operation, and a later some one incorner, a pair of snowshoes and a neck- vented the more expeditious plan of boryoke for carrying sap in the other. Itsing the tree with an auger, and plugging furniture was scarcely as complete as that the hole with a round-tipped spout of of an Indian wigwam.

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The old giants bore their wounds brave- down on a bearskin, and began embroidly, healing them year after year, and year ering a pair of moccasins with variously after year suffering new ones, till they dyed porcupine quills. This was a labor were belted with scars, and out of a fresh of love, for the moccasins, of the finest wound in an old cicatrix their colorless deerskin, were for her lord. She became blood dripped where it had first fallen so absorbed in the work that the kokh into the rough - hewn sap-trough, or it was forgotten, till the bark cord that susmay be into the more convenient wooden pended it was burned off, and it spilled bucket.

its contents on the fire with a startling, It does not appear that any record quenching, scattering explosion that filled was made of aboriginal methods of tap- the wigwam with steam and smoke. She ping the maple and converting its sap

lifted the overturned vessel from the eminto sugar, nor is the oldest maple old bers and ashes by a stick thrust into its enough to tell us, though it had the gift four-cornered mouth; and when it was of speech or sign-making intelligible to cool enough to handle, she repaired it

We can only guess that the primi- with a new bail of bark, and the kokh tive Algonquin laboriously inflicted a was ready for service again. But the barbarous wound with his stone hatchet, shadow of the stake had swung so far toand with a stone gouge cut a place for a ward the mark that she knew there was spout, so far setting the fashion which was not time to melt snow to boil the dinner. long followed by white men, with only Happily, she bethought her of the great the difference that better tools made pos- maple behind the wigwam, tapped meresible. Or we may guess that the Indian, ly for the provision of a pleasant drink, taking a hint from his little red brother, but the sweet water might serve a better Niquasese, the squirrel, who taps the purpose now. So she filled the kokh smooth-barked branches, broke these off with sap, and hung it over the mended and caught the sap in suspended vessels fire. In spite of impatient watching it of birch bark, than which no cleaner and presently began to boil, whereupon she sweeter receptacle could be imagined. popped the ample ration of moose meat Doubtless the boiling was done in the into it, and set a cake of pounded corn earthen kokhs, or pots, some of which had to bake on a tilted slab before the fire. a capacity of several gallons. Accord- Then she resumed her embroidery, in ing to Indian myths, it was taught by a which the sharp point of each thread supHeaven-sent instructor.

plied its own needle. The true story of the discovery of The work grew more and more intermaple-sugar making is in the legend of esting. The central figure, her husband's Woksis, the mighty hunter. Going forth totem of the bear, was becoming so lifeone morning to the chase, he bade like that it could easily be distinguished Moqua, the squaw of his bosom, have a from the wolves, eagles, and turtles of choice cut of moose meat boiled for him the other tribal clans. In imagination when he should return; and that she she already beheld the moccasins on the might be reminded of the time he stuck feet of her noble Woksis; now stealing a stake in the snow, and made a straight in awful silence along the war-path ; now mark out from it in the place where its on the neck of the fallen foe; now reshadow would then fall. She promised turning jubilant with triumph, or fleeing strict compliance, and, as he departed, homeward from defeat, to ease the shame she hewed off the desired tidbit with of failure by kicking her, in which case her sharpest stone knife, and filling her she felt herself bearing, as ever, her usebest kokh with clean snow for melting, ful part. So she dreamed and worked hung it over the fire. Then she sat stitch by stitch, while the hours passed un

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heeded, the shadow crept past the mark, art had never been discovered ; for his the kokh boiled low, and the cake gave occupation was still less than it is now forth a smell of burning. Becoming “half work and half play,” as described aware of this obvious odor, she sprang to by one who never could have had the the fire. Alas, the cake was a blackened work to do in earnest. His shoulders crisp, and lo, the once juicy piece of meat laden with the neck - yoke and heavy was a shriveled morsel in the midst of buckets, his feet with the trailing snowa gummy dark brown substance !

shoes that alone made walking possible, it She snatched kokh and cake from the was downright work for a man to tramp fire, and then, hearing her husband com- for hours over the yielding snow, from ing, she ran and hid herself in the near- tree to tree, at each of which a heavy, est thicket of evergreens ; for she knew clumsy sap-trough had to be lifted and that when he found not wherewith to ap- emptied. Perhaps there were oxen and pease the rage of hunger he would be sled and cask to ease the longer journey seized with a more terrible one against to the camp, but even then there was her. Listening awhile with a quaking enough of plodding work to keep him heart, and catching no alarming sound, from amusing himself with close obserbut aware instead of an unaccountable vation of nature. Yet he was alert for silence, she ventured forth and peeped all signs. into the wigwam. Woksis sat by the fire While exploring a path for his broad eating with his fingers from the kokh, shod feet, he noted the littered surface while his face shone with an expression of of the snow becoming gray with restless supreme content and enjoyment. With myriads of snow-fleas, black atoms, as ,wonder she watched him devour the last innumerable and unstable as storm-blown morsel, but her wonder was greater when snowflakes, and therefrom he forecast a she saw him deliberately break the earth- thaw. When the prophecy was fulfilled, en pot and lick the last vestige of spoiled the raccoons awoke, and journeyed forth cookery from the shards. She could not in the night. He was likely to see crossrestrain a surprised cry, and discovering ing his yesterday's track their later her he addressed her:

tracks, and sometimes the broad trail of “() woman of women ! didst thou a whole fat and furry household, well conceive this marvel of cookery, or has worth his turning hunter for and followKlose-kur-Beh been thy instructor ? " ing to their next lodgings, in times when

Being a woman, she had the wit to coonskins were a standard of values. It withhold the exact truth, but permitted might be that a bear, not having seen his him to believe whatever he would. own shadow on St. Matthew's Day, had

“Let me embrace thee!” he cried, and made a record of his wanderings. upon his lips she tasted the first maple Sometimes the sap-gatherer saw the sugar.

light imprint of a hare's pads, blotted out The discovery was made public, and at intervals by the long leaps of a purkokhs of sap were presently boiling in suing lynx. Sometimes he saw the inevery wigwam. All were so anxious to gathering wolves' tracks, spun one by one get every atom of the precious sweet that like strands into a fateful cord that the they broke the kokhs and scraped the tireless pack had drawn on to its end pieces, just as Woksis, the first sugar- among the scattered bones of a hunted eater, had done. And that is why there deer. More rarely, the round footprints are so many fragments of broken pottery, of a panther were seen beside the netted and so few whole vessels to be found. impressions of the snowshoes. It could

If our own early sugar-maker loved hardly have been pleasant to read the his ease, he might sometimes wish the record so recently made of the great cat

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nosing along the human trail, then stop- fire fed from hand to mouth, as many a ping and gazing hungrily after it, then household fire was a hundred years ago, slouching stealthily away, perhaps not so when the near forest stood with bountifar but that the wicked eyes were even ful hand outstretched to the door. Here now watching the burdened, unarmed fig- it was held to the very fireside, where are toiling slowly over the snow. If it from a huge log the ready axe cut and is the proof of a good panther story that split the proper lengths as needed. When it makes chills run down one's back to store-trough and kettle were full and a read or hear it, it must freeze one's spinal supply of wood bad been chopped, labor marrow to be part of such a story, with was not relieved by a play-spell, but only its possible conclusion impending. by a respite of alert leisure, wherein the

The solitary worker had visible and walloping caldron was frequently replenharmless attendants and interested ob- ished, the fire fed, the snowshoes mendservers in the nuthatches, nasally piping ed, the ripped mittens restitched, the

gun their spiral course down the gray boles ; oiled and its priming refreshed, or some the friendly chickadees, flitting an arm's- fur-bearer's skin taken off and stretched. length above and about him, and clinging, Meal-getting came at irregularly retopsy - turvy, to the nearest twigs ; the current periods, when hunger and opjays, raising a hue and cry after him ; portunity were in conjunction, and was and the squirrels, at times thrown into spiced with the excitement of uncertainparoxysms of rage or derision at his ap- ty that always attends amateur cookery. pearance, at other times rasping their but. The fried pork might chance to be done ternuts with perfect indifference to his to a turn, or be rescued, half scorched and coming and going. With the same dis- half raw, from the flaming pan; and the regard the hairy and downy woodpeckers potatoes might come out of the ashes at turned their backs upon him while they the right minute, fit food for an Irish king, industriously chiseled the trees for their or, belated, be outwardly a cinder, inmeagre fare, and he caught but occasional wardly desiccated emptiness. If the cook glimpses of their great relative, the log- was luxurious enough to toast his ryecock, traversing the woods with loping and - Indian bread on a forked stick, it flight and far-resounding cackle. Almost was apt to fall into the fire at the last daily he shared surprise with one or more turn, but, though gritty with ashes, it was partridges; he always having the larger still a luxury when overlaid with sugar part, whether the unsuspected bird burst or syrup; and concerning the eggs boiled forth from the naked branches above him, in sap in a convenient skillet there was or a gray stump before him suddenly be- no question. came animated and took noisy flight, for One unreckoned item of cookery, the which he was never quite prepared, even bit of fat salt pork suspended from the when he saw the “ sugar snow” newly kettle bail, that kept the sap from boiling embroidered with the dainty track. On over, swallowed and cast up by the sacthis fair page of snow were recorded charine billows, was constantly boiled, but the nightly wanderings of the fox and never eaten, except in the infinitesimal skunk, whether direct or devious, hur- contribution to a sea of

sap. A suspicion ried or deliberate, and also hints of their of its savor, lapped wafts of smoke, the purpose. The hare, too, had made fresh subtle aroma of the woods' breath, windinscriptions, but it could only be guessed blown leaves, and bits of bark gave the whether a dozen had held a midnight old-time dark-colored maple sugar a wild, revel or one had gone March mad. woodsy flavor that has been tamed out

While the sap was being brought in, by the neater modern processes, just as the kettle was kept boiling and the greedy modern culture has well-nigh taken the

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