Page images
[ocr errors]



head had assumed a purplish, livid tint, and the meat, and potatoes; but the butter was rancid, spoil scarcely resembled the coat of the living the oil only fit to grease our guns. eagle.

Several of the men were not clothed as The difficulties to be encountered in studying hunters should be, and some of the guns were the habits of our water-birds are great. He not so good as we could have wished; we were, who follows the feathered inhabitants of the however, fortunate with respect to our vessel, forests and plains, however rough and tangled which was a notable sailor, did not leak, had a the paths may be, seldom fails to obtain the ob- good crew, and was directed by a capital seaject of his pursuit, provided he be possessed of man. The hold of the schooner was floored, due enthusiasm and perseverance. The land- and an entrance made to it from the cabin, so bird flits from bush to bush, runs before you, that in it we had a good parlour, dining-room, and seldom extends its flight beyond the range drawing-room, library, &c.-- all these apartof your vision. It is very different with the ments being united in one. A deal-table ranged water-bird, which sweeps afar over the wide along the centre. One of the party had ocean, hovers above the surges, or betakes itself | slung his hammock at one end, and in its for refuge to the inaccessible rocks on the vicinity slept the cook. The cabin was small, shore: there, on the smooth sea-beach, you see but, being fitted in the usual manner with sidethe lively and active sand-pipers; on that rug- berths, was used as a dormitory. It contained ged promontory, the dusky cormorant ; under a small table and a stove—the latter of diminuthe dark shade of yonder cypress, the ibis ; tive size, but smoky enough to discomfort a sacred bird of Egypt, and the heron, who looks host. We adopted the clothing worn by Ameri. as if only possessed of one leg, having drawn can fishermen--thick blue-cloth trousers, a comup the other so closely to his body you cannot fortable waistcoat, and a pea-jacket of blanket. see it. He is watching, apparently quite asleep, Our boots were large, round-toed, strong, and and nodding like a person completely overcome well studded with large nails to prevent sliding with fatigue, his head over that silent pool of on the rocks. Worsted comforters, thick mittens, water, which seems destitute of a single inha- and round broad-brimmed hats, completed our bitant; not even a fly buzzes on its surface : but dress, which was more picturesque than fashionsee, there is a bubble on the water; the heron able. As soon as we ald, the boots were exsuddenly wakes up, and before the luckless fish changed for Esquimaux mounted mocassins o! has time to dive, he is caught up in that remorse- seal-skin, impermeable to water-light, easy, less bill, head-foremost ; for, if the heron has and fastening at top to straps which, when caught him by his tail, he throws bim up in the buckled about the waist, secured them well. air, as thecook throws a pancake, and catches him

To complete our equipment we had several by his head; for the wily heron knows that, if he good boats, one of wbich was extremely light, swallowed him tail first, the gills of the fish and adapted for shallow water. would (being raised) stick in his throat, and No sooner did we reach the coast and get neither go up nor down, but perbaps choke into the harbour than we set to work. bim.

Above you, in the still air, floats the pelican, with its immense red bag distended, full of fish, which it is bearing home to its little ones, and the swan, with its flute-like voice, while far over

LINES. the angry billows scour the fulmar, and the frigate bird. If you endeavour to approach these in their haunts, they betake themselves to flight, and speed to places where they are secure from intrusion; but the scarcer the fruit, the

The sounding wind of stormy March more prized it is; and seldom have I expe- Swept through the trees with gusty boom, rienced greater pleasure than, when on the But sheltered by the spreading larch Florida quays, under a burning sun, after push

The early violets were in bloom : ing my barque for miles over a swampy flat, I

I kissed their leaves so deeply blue, have striven all day long, tormented by myriads

And bade them hoard their odours rare, of insects to procure a heron new to me, and have at length succeeded in my efforts.

Till one whose eyes eclipsed their hue I found that it was necessary to visit Labra- Should greet them in their beauty there. dor, which is the resting-place of a vast numnber of migratory birds, for the continuation of

The winds of March have passed away, my work ; therefore I chartered a small vessel, the “Ripley," at Eastport Marine, for the pur

Gone, too, are April's gleams and showers, pose, and, accompanied by four young men, fond Now every hedge is white with May, of natural history and adventure, I set sail for And every bank is prankt with flowers ; the north. We purchased our stores at Boston,

But many a Spring must come and go, with the aid of my generous friend Dr. Park

And many a blossom deck the plain, man; but, unfortunately, many things necessary

Ere this sad heart shall rapture know, on an expedition like ours were omitted. We had abundance of ammunition, excellent bread,

Or those dear eyes shall shine again.




Thirty days had we passed upon the Atlantic there. “Nevertheless, although remote from before our ship entered the Gulf of St. Law- the busy world, it is an interesting place. It is rence, when at length the wind, laden with amazingly so.” This is what the captain told odours of forest-trees and flowers; little timid me, adding, at the same time, that it was in. birds which few near us; floating trees and habited by French, the remnants of the old shrubs, and a long, low coast not far away, all Acadian settlers. They dwell in great numbers told us that our voyage approached its close. about here, supporting themselves by agricul. Yet how long were the last hours! The waters ture and fishing, preserving their simple feelof the Gulf were provokingly smooth; the ings and primitive manners unaltered, while all ship lay vexatiously still, with her sails grumb- around has changed. ling about the creaking yards; and the mild As the ship sailed slowly up the harbour of apology for a breeze, which occasionally fanned Shippegan on the following morning, I stood us, was directly ahead.

and gazed with indescribable delight upon the “Captain, when shall we get to the shore? beauties which opened up on every side. On The wind is ahead, isn't it?

the Gaspé shore the bay was bounded by lofty This was the fifty-ninth time, I should say, hills, which, gradually declining to the water's that I had asked this questien of our dapper edge, afforded excellent advantages for the little captain, who was patiently pacing the houses of those who united the occupaquarter-deck.

tions of farmer and fisher. On the New“The wind ? Ah, yes, sir—the wind is Brunswick side, the country was low and unray-ther unfortunate in its character and direc- dulating, richly wooded, and in many places tion, but balmy, sir; yes, re-markably balmy.” well cultivated. Scores of fishing-boats with

| “Oh! hang the balmy breeze," I muttered, their snony sails dotted the waters of the bay. going to the bows to find relief from ennui in As we sailed up the long, narrow harbour, we questioning the mate, who stood there lazily looked with great curiosity upon the unknown gazing at the entrance of the Bay de Chaleur, villages lying upon the shore, so quaint and whither we were bound.

quiet, with their singular-looking barns and “Mr. Jones, when do you suppose we shall rude wharves. arrive there?"

The ship anchored near some mills from wbich “Hum! I guess, sir, it would take a man she was to receive a cargo of timber and return with a head as long as a horse to tell that. to England. Perhaps the French pilot in that boat out there "A rummy little place,” said the captain, will tell you, if he ever gets on board. Why pointing to the straggling village of Shippegan; don't he row? He'll never get here, if he ray-ther so, I should think; but, bless me! don't take his oars."

it's quite lively, and the company is surprisingly " Row!” yelled the mate, at the same time entertaining. In that house with the odd. making gestures to a boat about three miles looking fence lives 'ma chère Madame Vieuxahead.

femme,' a lady at whose mansion I had the Of course they could not see him, but by pleasure of making a short stay two years ago. some coincidence they seemed just to think of She has a very fascinating little witch of a what the mate so earnestly desired, and in daughter. If you stop at Shippegan, allow me about an hour the pilot came on board. to advise you confidentially to lodge at Madame

I wanted to show the captain that I had not Vieuxfemme's." spent a month in Paris for_nothing ; so I The “chère Madame" was a lively, bustling spoke to the pilot in my best French, renewing little body, with a cap whose borders were perthe question which I had put to the captain. fectly enormous. She welcomed the captain

“'The wind, perhaps-he wouldn't swear it, with alternate laughter and tears, while the cone but perhaps it would change in the evening." versation was kept up with unfailing energy for

“Ah! really, sir,” said the captain, "it's a half-an-hour, when in stepped the prettiest, consolation to be able to converse in another coyest, merriest-looking little being that can be tongue. I speak French myself tolerably." imagined. She ran up to the captain with a

In fact, the captain completely eclipsed me, shout of hearty welcome. He made a paternal for he talked with amazing volubility, and made offer of a kiss, but she only gave him her little his hands fly most wonderfully while gesticu- hand. She had a dark complexion, black hair, lating.

large black eyes, mischievous, laughing mou I suppose the reader has never heard of pouting, ruby lips, and dimpled cheeks. How Shippegan. It would not be surprising if he small her fairy hand was! What a ringing were completely ignorant of the Bay de Chaleur. laugh she had ! For my part, I was entirely free from any know- "By George !" cried the enthusiastic captain, ledge whatever of those places, until I went after an earnest look, and with a gesture of un


bounded admiration." You-you're a bouncer! ordinary !" muttered the captain to me. a perfectly awful one!”

“Quite a little nest of cherubs. Father fine I came suddenly to the conclusion to lodge man ; mother dead; oldest daughter has here, if possible, and spoke to the old lady taken care of the others ever since she was about it.

nine years old; womanly little piece, isn't it?" “Oh, monsieur can stay here if he wants to. The father, whose name was Groeneuf, pressed We have two beautiful little spare rooms, and us to remain and take dinner. He brought out we will do anything in the world for him." some salted Caribou meat, which was eaten

It was a curious house, built of wood, with a with magnificent potatoes. The bread was of steep 100f, chimney outside, and old-fashioned snowy whiteness, made by Marie; the coffee little windows. Creepers grew around it, was of unsurpassable excellence, and sweetened climbing into the windows, running up along with maple-sugar. Mr. Groeneuf was a simplethe chimney, luxurating around the edge of the minded man, with a large amount of plain good roof. Inside there was a "best room” with a sense. With an entire ignorance of the character sanded floor, a high mantel-piece covered with and progress of the outer world, he was comcurious shells, large solid tables and high- pletely contented with his lot, believing Shippebacked chairs. In the common sitting-room gan to be as beautiful a place as earth could there were the same kind of moveables, but of , afford. a ruder material; there was a glorious old fire- I took one of the little boys upon my knee. place, deep and high, with polished fire-irons, “What is your name?” said I. and comfortable chairs in which one could loll “My name's Jean; and his name's Alphonse ; and rest in an ecstasy of quiet enjoyment. In and her name is Marie; and hers is Jeanette. these chairs the captain and I took our siesta, What's yours?" languidly talking, blinking at the polished tins “My name is Jean, also.” and shining brass candle-sticks, with an old “ The same as mine. 0-oh !" and the little black cat purring between us. It was a fellow clapped his hands in childish glee. chimney-corner the like of which never is seen “Where did you come from?" in our land.

“Did you ever hear of a place called France ?" We walked out into the village. It lies at the “Oh yes, my father told me all about it. extremity of a long harbour, and is built with. His father told him.” out much regard to regularity. The cottages “Well," said I, “I've just been there, and I are all built of wood, and bear a general re- will show you something which I brought semblance to that of Madame Vieuxfemme. from a large town called Paris;" and I took a The captain knew everybody, and received from knife from my pocket. But the boy did not everyone a warm welcome. It was a bow here, notice it. He was overwhelmed by the thought a smile there, a warm shake of many a hand, of talking with a man who had been in France. and occasionally a fatherly kiss to some pretty " He's been in France !” whispered he to Acadienne.

Jeanette. “Captain, that is not fair. I ought to come “He's just come from France !" muttered in for a small share."

Jeanette to Alphonse. “You're perfectly welcome to do so," he Marie looked at me with all her might. They replied, with a grin.

could not have been more surprised if a man A long grass-grown road traversed the village, had dropped from the moon. and here there was some attempt at regularity “See here, Jean; I bought this knife in in the arrangement of the houses.

France, and I'll give it to you.' We walked up to one.

“Entrez, entrez, He took the knife, opened the blades one by messieurs, je vous prie,” exclaimed a benevolent- one, and at last, looking up to me with unlooking man who stood by the door oiling a gun. speakable thanks, jumped from my knee and lock.

ran to Alphonse, who joined him in expressions We complied with the request. The house of the most profound admiration. was neat and clean. What pretty children Alphonse a little French book with pictures, those were who sat laughing in a corner! The and the next day presented Marie with a parasol, oldest was a girl of about fifteen, named Marie; and Jeanette with a little “ladies' companion," and there were three others. Marie was a little all from France. All the time that I remained beauty. The queer manner in which she and in Shippegan, I was welcome to the humble her equally beautiful little sister were dressed, home of Groeneuf, and each one tried to outadded a certain oddity to their appearance. do the other in all kinds of friendly services. Their home-spun frocks had very short waists, We left the house and strolled along farther. and extremely narrow long skirts ; and their The captain stopped at every house, shaking huge wooden shoes went “ clump, clump,” hands with the inmates. The houses were all whenever they walked. Two fine little boys clean and comfortable. The daughters sat were playing with a large dog. Handsome spinning, and the sons were out in the fields. little fellows! How pleasant to look at their The father would be smoking, and the mother honest faces, with clustering hair hanging care- knitting. At ngth we came to a house rather lessly about their brows !

better than the others. “ Those are surprising children; extra- “This," said the captain, “is the house of

I gave


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

my respectable friend Bontête, a fine old man, ! I pointed out to him, with all the airs of a with such a daughter! She is a fairy, an houri; young cicerone, the greatest sights, explaining yes, sir, an angel !”

and giving an account of all. Bontête, looking like some old patriarch, sat “And have you been farther?" at his door smoking.

Yes, to Rome.” “Ah, my old friend," he said, when he saw “ Rome-Ro-me ? Why, then-the Holy the captain," you are here again, are you? I Father-the Pope. Did you – is it possible saw your ship coming in, and would have gone that you have seen him?” down, but I was afraid of troubling you." “Yes, I saw him very often.”

“ And how are you, and how is the beautiful The father and daughter were silent, and Corinne?" said the captain.

looked unutterable things. “Corinne is very well, and so ain I. But “How did he look,” he at length asked. come in."

“He is a very fine, benevolent-looking old We accompanied the old man into the house. man.” The room was very neat and clean. A pitcher “So he must be. And is the Holy City very filled with sweet flowers stood upon the table. grand and beautiful?” There was a mantel-piece covered with shells “Very beautiful, and more magnificent than froin the beach, and there was a comfortable I can tell you; and there are three hundred arm-chair for the old man. An engraving of churches there." Paris was upon one of the walls. I was look- “ Three hundred churches ! only think, ing at it when, hearing the door open, I saw a Corinne!” liitle fairy running to the captain, and welcom- “ Grand Dieu !" said sbe. ing him to Shippegan.

He sat down, and Corinne drew near to me Ah! this must be Corinne,” thought I. while I spoke of the Holy City, of Paris, and She was a beauty. She had an elegant of every place that I could think of, only being figure; a light, clear complexion ; rosy lips interrupted by exclainations such as, "Grand that when open disclosed a row of teeth like Dieu !” “ Mere de Dieu !" " Sante Marie !" pearls ; large, clear, blue eyes; and light hair wbile Corinne's eyes—those beautiful eyesihat clustered in short curls all round her head; beamed with interest and admiration. short curls that flew every way; elfish curls- Simple and pure-hearted people!"I thought. ah! how I longed to push them back from ber “ Beautiful and innocent Corinne! How un. forehead. She was introduced, and gave me troubled by the cares and trials of life are you, the smallest, whitest band in the world, at the and how happy!'' same time making a low curtsey.

A gentleman dressed as a priest came in at "Ah! captain,” she said “I suppose you are this moment, whom they respectfully addressed, as lively as ever. You will be amusing your calling him “ Père Lacon." He laughingly self with us poor girls again. What a wonder- shook hands with the captain, was introduced sul being you are, captain ?"

by him to me, and hearing that I had come The captain tried to look solemn for a while, from Europe, asked me many questions. We but afterwards became very lively, and talked left the house together, after a short time, and about all the old people of the village. Corinne walked down the-well, I may as well call it the

I bantered him, laughed with him, talked and street. I found out that bis birth-place was chatted for an hour. What a merry, witty, funny Canada, and that after passing tbrough one of little thing she was, to be sure !

the colleges there, he had been sent here. The old man went out and returned with

“ These people,” said he, “are the most simsome pipes, and mugs of home-brewed ale, ple and warm-hearted that you can imagine. which we sat down straightway to enjoy. Living a secluded life, undisturbed by strangers,

“ That's a fine picture,” said I to Bontête. they enjoy, to the fullest extent, the blessings of

“Magnificent," he naïvely replied; and rolling peace and comfort. Each village is like one up a piece of paste-board into the shape of a family. Few quarrels, few differences of any trumpet, he added :

kind arise; and when they do, they are referred “ This is the best way to look at it.”

to me. No need here of courts and magistrates; I took the roll and followed his directions. a lanyer would starve: and I was about to say The captain told him ibat I had been there. that a doctor would not fare much better, because

• What !” he exclaiined, “ have you been health is almost universal. For myself, I am there?”

happy, for where could I find a more pleasant Yes, and passed a month there,” said I. spot? I often imagine that here the early ages “ Bon Dieu !” he cried.

bave come back again. Here I witness the “Grand ciel !” said Corinne.

beautiful scenes of the golden age. I live in “And you have seen that, and that, and those primitive times among primitive people.” that,” said he, pointing to Notre Dame, the “ I congratulate you on your home," I re“ Invalides," and the Pantheon.

plied. “I perceive at once how contented you “Oh yes, and that, and that, and that," I must be, living here, like a father of this large replied, pointing in the same manner to the family, going about settling their disputes, Madeleine, the Arc d'Etoile, and the Tuileries. honoured and respected."

“ Is it possible! Oh, ma foi ! ma foi!” he “Just so,” said he; "and there are no rival cried, in the deepest amazement.

creeds, no other sects to sow the seeds of dis



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



sension among us.

You must pardon me for “ Hum! wonders will never cease,” thought rejoicing that there are no Protestants here, but I; "the idea of stumbling upon such a queer, you know what are the consequences where two odd little village as this, and then finding Indians creeds exist in one place; what quarrels, what working in a saw-mill!” party-feeling and disputation ensue.”

It was evening when we returned to Madame · Yes, alihough you are of a different sect, I Vieuxfemme’s. Ninette, her daughter, was as am glad that there is nothing to interfere with busy as a bee. the peace and contenment which ought to rule “Ninette,” said the captain, “what are you here. Have you ever been out of Canada— doing ?” that is, to any place except here-to the United "Oh, nothing." States, for instance?"

“But what are you doing, really? You must "No," he replied; “I once had a great long- be doing something." ing to visit other countries, but I have no longer “I'm working,” she said, demurely. such desires. I inust confess I should like to The captain offered most gallantly to assist see a railroad or steam-boat; but I never have her. She refused, and pushed him away at as yet.

first, but at length sent him after two pails of “Never have! Is it possible ? But how do water. The well was a long distance from the you arrange it with regard to the news of the house, and the little man came back very tired,

and sat down without offering to do any more. Oh, occasionally I get a newspaper from But Ninette had no pity. She implored him to the southern part of the province, but I do not go out and split some wood for her, adding that take much interest in them; and those which I her “cher Adolphe" was not there, or she receive froin the States' are always filled with would not make such a request. At that up unintelligible politics; so I manage to content jumped the captain, and worked away bravely myself with my little library. But excuse me: until tea-time. I have a duty to perform at that house yonder. Ninette was the life of the house. Coquettish, Mine is at the other end of the village, and I laugbing girl! she chattered incessantly; now should be very happy to welcome you there. I playfully slapping the captain's hand, then Au revoir."

drawing near to whisper something, putting her “Now then," said the captain, after Père pouting lips in tempting proximity to his face, Lacon had gone, “there is another queer one. “Oh! you tormenting little witch !" muttered You don't often see so wonderfully gentlemanly the captain, at the close of the evening; "you'll a fellow as he is, so confoundedly ignorant of do. Yes, you'll jest do!”. the necessaries of life, such as newspapers, and The days were delightfully passed. In the railroads, and steam-boats: but of the last, be- evening there was no lack of company. There tween you and me, I have a very low opinion. would come Groeneuf, Bontête, the priest, CoThey can't come up to a ship, any way : you rinne, and many of the young men and maidens. see if they can. But come, I'm going down to Adolphe was a fine-looking young fellow, but the mills: do you want to go?"

for some reason, the captain did not like him. I accompanied him. The mills, as I have Corinne would always contrive some amusesaid, were close to the water's edge, for the con- ment. Lovely Corinne ! how witty and merry venience of ships. They were owned by mer. she was, and what odd stories she would tell ! chants in St. John, whose ships were loaded I always walked home with her father, whom here for the English market. They were work- she accompanied, he was such a pleasant old ing away in great style, and huge piles of deals man. covered the yards around. I strolled lazily Ninette was always lively and busy, full of through the yard where the men were piling archness and innocent mirth. I did not become deals. Themen! why, I was astonished! so well acquainted with Corinne as I wished. They were Indians; real live Indians, and She was too respectful and quiet when I spoke. working, too, dving very oppressive labour in I wanted her to be more lively when she walked a splendid manner. They were very strong, and home with me, but she would not. When we one of them would carry a large deal whose happened to be alone, she was quite silent. I end I could bare iy raise from the ground. The asked her why she was so. She denied it, and superintendent standing near, and I asked forced a laugh. I was afraid that she had a him how, under Ileaven, he contrived to make wrong opinion of me.

But Ninette was very the Indians work.

different. In one day we had become, I may “Oh,” said he, “they are willing to come say, intimate friends, for I knew all her little for good pay. They are quiet and industrious, plans, and she had found out all about me. every way preferable to Irishmen, who get drunk, One day she came tripping to me: quarrel, and frequently run away. When their “Oh! Jean--I mean Monsieur Jean-we are work is over, they go peaceably to their village going to have such a magnificent fête this over yonder.”

evening! We are going to have a grand dance “What tribe do they belong to ?”.

and all the world will come. And mother will “The Milicetes, a once powerful people, but come, and the Père, and Monsieur Groeneuf, now, like all others, small and weak. They are end Corinne, and -oh! everybody! It will be all Roman Catholics, and completely under the such a time!" influence of the priests.”

And she clapped her hands with intense de.

« PreviousContinue »