« VorigeDoorgaan »
to the fair ladies, their uncle, and the far-famed Commodore. We proceeded on our expedition, where we qualified the water of the spring, which bubbled near us, with some real. Glenlivat,' neat as imported, and drank to the health of our new allies. For an hour after our return, we strolled on the margin of the river, when our boatmen informed us that our meal was spread under the shade of a wide-spreading sumac-tree. We thought of the lines of poor Miss Woolff's popular ballad
By the side of yon sumac, whose red berry dips
In the gush of the fountain, how sweet to recline!
Which had never been sighed on by others but mine!' And enjoyed a most intellectual and rural repast in the company of our new acquaintances. • Prosperity to America and England,' • The Daughters of Columbia,' were proposed and drunk with due honours. It was near midnight before we took our departure, having previously arranged a rendezvous with the Commodore and his party to make further arrangements for visiting Niagara together.
“On the following morning we passed the boundary-line, that in former times divided the upper and lower provinces, and landed at L'Isle aux Raisins, so called from the number of wild vines growing upon it. Our boatmen gathered quantities of the produce, which they devoured with all the gusto of school-urchins. We, however, not being possessed of case-hardened stomachs, declined the grapes, which were literally, and not figuratively, sour. Beyond this island, , there are several others belonging to the Indians; but as the weather was fine, and we were anxious to proceed on our excursion, we did not remain to pay them a visit
. Passing numerous rapids, we entered the Oswegatchec river, where we found a large native tribe ; and here we engaged the services of two dark-visaged 'helps' to accompany us on our expedition, and who, on the following morning, made their appearance at our tents dressed out in their wild costume. The elder of the two, who gloried, in the highly euphonious sounding name of Tee-tee-squas (Anglice, the greensand-piper), and who was to act as our interpreter, was a powerful man, of about five-and-thirty years of age ; while his companion was a youth of eighteen, as active as a cat, and a gallant sportsman, to boot. He was commonly called Skee Noose, which means, the boy. In addition to this, he had an outlandislı name, which would split a good pen to put to paper, but which in English meant the Flying Squirrel, and which we soon anglicised into "Skug.". From their long association with the white men, the habits of our Indians were a inixture of the savage and civilised states. Their costume consisted of deer-skin mocassins, ornamented with porcupine-quills, and beads of every colour, edged with tin tags, filled with crimson hair; above the mocassins, leggings of blue or scarlet clotli, trimmed with gaudy ornaments, and a small cloth apron, fastened round the waist by a girdle, from which hung their scalpingknife, tomahawk, pipe, and tobacco-pouch. Their bodies were daubed with red and black, giving one a very good idea of a perambulating rouge-et-noir table. No sooner had our new allies arrived, than we ordered our boats to meet us at the seventh “pipe;" and armed and accoutred for the chase, we penetrated into the woods. A few wild
pigeons were the only birds we met with, of which we bagged a considerable number. As we passed a large hollow tree, Skug gave a shout of delight, and addressing his companion in his native tongue, begged he would inforın us in English that we should have some sport at this old trunk: he added that the usual way was to fell the tree; but as that would be a work of time and labour, he had a plan to propose, that would answer every end. Skug now placed us round the tree, and, striking a light, applied it to some brushwood that his companion had collected together; then mounting the tree, with a flaming brand in one hand, and a store of dry leaves in his apron, he deposited them in the hollow part of it, near the top, while Tee-teesquas threw the burning embers into the lower part, feeding them with fresh grass and damp sticks. The beat, the noise, the crackling of the leaves, the hissing of the wet wood, and the smoke created such a sensation amongst the tribe of black squirrels that had congregated together, that no sooner did they ascertain the warm' reception their ungrateful namesake had provided for them, than they scampered away, giving us a most splendid battue. Again in the course of the day did we try this novel mode of ejectment, this newly. invented ‘notice to quit' system, and found that it answered admirably. It was near sunset before we reached our boats, and were delighted to find an excellent repast provided for us by our crew, upon our joining them, consisting of venison-soup, fresh trout, dried salmon, and grilled wood-pigeons. To these we added some cranberries, which Škug had filled his bag with in the morning, and which, steeped in brandy, made a very nice dessert. So delighted were we with our guides, that we landed upon every occasion, meeting our boats at sunset; and it was not until the tenth day that we reached the Lake of a Thousand Isles. Here our interpreter informed us that in the neighbourhood were several Indian hunting encampments, and that bears were most plentiful. During particular periods these grizzly animals come down from the northern regions, and this was fortu. nately an ursine year. In order to ingratiate ourselves with a party of these hunters, we gave them a grand breakfast, or cold col. lation, where fingers, not forks, were used by our distinguished guests; and having primed them with some excellent brandy, and loaded them with trilling presents, we in return primed and loaded our fowling-pieces and rifles, and proceeded to our shooting ground. Our first step was to land our new Indian auxiliaries, who were to act as . beaters,' upon an island where some bears had been tracked the night before, while our own two faithful attendants, Tee-tee-squas and Skug were to remain with us, to paddle us about in canoes, from whence we were to get our shots. Again the incendiary system was resorted to, the Indians setting fire to the long grass and underwood. The rugged animals having no alternative left them, but that of going through fire and water to save their lives, took to the latter, where another most severe specimen of the former awaited them, in the shape of five unerring rifles. We had excellent sport; and in the course of the day bagged bears enough to have furnished grease to the fashionable emporiums of Messrs. Truefit, Skelton, Dimond, Holmes, Willis, or other equally great artists, who, according to the late Charles Mathews's story, could convert a deal box into a hair trunk, by a few applications of their mirific balsam or unrivalled oleous preparations. After rewarding our beaters with some beads and buttons, and furnishing each with a ration of spirits, we proceeded on our excursion, reaching Kingston, or Ladaragui, as the Indians call it, late at night. Here we were joined by Commodore B-, his friend Mr. R, and the three daughters of the latter.
“ Kingston is a place of considerable trade; and the bay affords excellent
anchorage, being the safest and most commodious harbour on Lake Ontario. We had a succession of pic-nics, private theatricals, races, balls, and dinners, and enjoyed, with one exception, the most agreeable week imaginable. The one exception was the quantity of industrious fleas, and other insects, which pestered us by night: the mosquitoes were bad enough by day; but to find one's body during eight hours given up to be victimized by these Lilliputian phlebotomizers; to awake and find the old joke of · Fleabit' was realized; or the still older conundrum, - When is a bed not a bed ? when it's a little buggy!' solved in your own case, was too bad, and almost more than human flesh could bear. Mr. Tiffin, the bugextirpator, would, we think, realize a handsome fortune in Canada ; and any exhibitor wishing to possess the genuine puces travailleux, could not do better than send a commission to Kingston, and other towns we could name in the provinces. Early in August we em barked on board the Lake Ontario steamer, and after a tolerably good passage, reached Niagara. Before leaving the harbour, an event occurred which completely marred our merriment for the time. A poor half-Canadian half-Indian woman, who had followed a soldier from a village near the Falls, and who, under a promise of marriage, had been brought to shame and disgrace, was so disheartened at the conduct of her reckless seducer, whom she discovered to be a married man, that, in a fit of desperation, she threw herself from the vessel into the water. Fortunately she was picked up by a boat's crew just as two of our party had plunged in after her. The tide was running strong, but by the exertions of the boatmen the wretched woman, and those who had risked their lives for her, were all brought safely on board. A subscription was immediately got up for the poor creature, and the captain of the steamer kindly gave her a passage to her native village, and upon her arrival there, she was placed under the care of a missionary clergyman of the Church of England. By dint of those precepts which had gained for this pious man the name of the friend to the afflicted, Janet Conteaux became truly penitent; and it was with no small gratification that we shortly afterwards heard that she had formed a matrimonial connection with one who, knowing her youth and inexperience at the time she had fallen a victim to an accomplished libertine, and who now assured of her contrition, and how with heavy heart she deplored the luckless hour in which she had strayed from the path of virtue, took her to his humble hearth, convinced that hereafter she would make every atonement in her power for the sin of her youth. 'Our last advices,' as the merchants say, inform us that Mr. and Mrs.
are living together in the utmost harmony; that they have realized a small independence, and that nothing can exceed, as far as their means go, the charities they dispense to their poorer and unfortunate brethren.
“To resume: we reached Niagara, and lost no time in proceeding to the Falls, where to our great delight we again encountered the American party whom we had met on the Lake St. François, and who had only preceded us a quarter of an hour in their arrival at the inn near the stupendous cataract. The expectations of the whole party were now raised to the highest pitch; and he must indeed be a cold observer who can see this wonder of the creation without sensations more than ordinarily intense and solemn. But we will not attempt to describe what is in reality indescribable. Many highlygifted authors and authoresses have written vividly upon the subject; but Niagara must be seen to be thoroughly appreciated. While upon the subject of the Falls, we must give two American notions,' which have already appeared in the United States' press :-“ Nationality : An Italian travelling in this country, remarked with much enthusiasm in his foreign accent, 'You have no delights
ve no delights in America that we have in Italy: we have there the beautiful sky, the exquisite landscape; we have there Vesuvius, that sends its fire to the heavens!' The true Yankee-boy stood it long enough: at last his pride came up; he turned round to the southerner before he had time to let his hands fall from their gestures of admiration for his sunny clime, and with a tone of impatience replied, Vesuvius! Vesuvius! why we've got a Niagara, that will put her out in less than five minutes!' The other is a remark of a New York Stultz, who forined one of a party of whom all were to write their impression of this wonder of the world :
“The tailor made a single note :
Oh! what a place to sponge a coat!' “ As our object was to see the Falls in every point of view, we remained four days at a most comfortable inn, within a few hundred yards of them, where we passed our time most delightfully. As the majority of our party were devoted to fishing, we agreed to return to Lake Ontario, where, at Mississaguis Point, was a settlement of Indians, named after that spot, and who were famed as fishers and hunters. Upon reaching their territory, our guides and Skug, who had now become quite domesticated with us, made arrangements for a day and night's fishing. In the former we were accompanied by the ladies, the eldest of whom sang most divinely, while her two sisters, with less fine organs, gave the most perfect expression to the music they sung. We had a glorious day's sport, killing some fine salmon, sturgeon, and other sea and fresh-water fish. As a matter of course, we compared the power of our beautiful syrens to the celebrated Amphion of old, whose melodious sounds drew innumerable dolphins around his vessel; but at the same time requesting them not to imitate him by throwing themselves into the lake, as we saw no fish large enough to bear them on shore, should our attempts to save them prove ineffectual. A ramble to a settlement through the woods was agreed upon for the following day, and it was arranged that the ladies should accompany us on horse, pony, or donkey-back. The Commodore, who was the very essence of kindness and gallantry, had provided an excellent dinner for us on shore after our day's fishing, and it was not until a late hour that we broke up, when our boats again bore us by moonlight over the peaceful surface of the lake to the small hotel at Niagara town.”
CONVERSATION THE THIRD.
Nephew.-Good evening, uncle ; you scarcely expected me?
Uncle S.-On the contrary: when a man makes an appointment with me, I always expect him to keep it.
Neph.-Hardly, in the Derby week. Why, do you know I have only just returned from Epsom, where the racing was very good, the company very bad; but we won our money. I hope you were on the right horse, my dear sir ?
Uncle S.-Since racing has become a trade instead of a gentlemanly amusement, and your own tradesmen or your neighbour's butler is, I am told, the safest person to bet with, I have retired from the turf.
Neph. -And might as well be under it (this, of course, sotto voce ). Everybody bets now: and one man's money is as good as another's. "I backed the stable.
Uncle S.-A fellow born somewhere about Amato's year! certainly not breeched much before; talk to meabout backing the Stable ! ( sotto voce, too). If not an impertinent question, may I ask how you went down: a drag, or a pair of posters?
Neph.—Neither, sir ; neither. The rail ; everybody goes by the rail. One gets down without dust, or trouble, or expense.
Walk across the fields up to the stand, and then you are in the ring in a moment."
Uncle s.-Times were different when I was your age, sir.
Uncle S.- None of your polyglot nonsense here, Jackanapes. A pretty place the ring has become for a gentleman's son to be seen in! When I was in the habit of going to the Derby, which is certainly the finest sight in the world, of its kind, we went down with men of our own standing, and the ring was composed of the first gentlemen of the land. Now let me give you, if possible, some notion of the change that has taken place. The Derby-day was a day looked forward to, by high and low, as a great festival. The “how” and “ with whom” were mighty questions of a month or two previous. The provisions were left in the hands of the most competent gourmand of the party, and were carried down in a vast hamper in some secure part of the carriage. The costume formed no little part of the prospective happiness of the week before : there was a violent mental struggle between a peculiar pepper-and-salt cut-away of a greenish hue, with coronation metals, or a dark frock coat well buttoned up to the fourth button-hole, with white ducks, and a most elaborate tie and pin. The first looked most like racing, but the second was truly aristocratic. On the course the ring was left to the book-makers and their friends. An aspiring youth saw the horses in the Warren. We seldom knew when they started, though the yells of the populace gave us some idea of their coming in. A little innocent rouge-et-noir in a travelling hell sent us home again to Oxford or London, after our amusement, minus five or ten pounds' worth of