Frederick Marryat.

Poor Jack; and The settlers in Canada online

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aid. It is long since we have had an opportunity of being
gathered together and alone. Let us seize this opportunity
of pouring out our thanks to God for His mercies already
vouchsafed, and praying for a continuance of His protection.
Even in the wilderness, let us walk with Him, trust in Him,
and ever keep Him in our thoughts. We must bear in mind
that this entire life is but a pilgrimage ; that if, during its
course, we should meet with affliction or distress, it is His
appointment, and designed undoubtedly for our good. It is
our wisdom, as well as duty, to submit patiently to whatever



may befall us, never losing our courage or becoming dis-
heartened by suffering, but trusting to the mercy and power
of Him who can and will, at His own good time, deliver us
from evil." Mr. Campbell kneeled down, surrounded by his
family, and, in a fervent and feeling address, poured forth his
thanksgiving for past mercies and humble solicitation for
further assistance. So powerful and so eloquent were his
words, that the tears cou-'sed down the cheeks of his wife
and nieces ; and when he had finished, all their hearts were
so full, that they retired to their beds without further ex-
change of words than receiving his blessing, and wishing
each other good night.


J HE party were so refreshed by once more sleeping upon
good beds, that they were up and dressed very early, and
shortly after seven o'clock were all collected upon the ram-
part of the fort, surveying the landscape, which was indeed
very picturesque and beautiful. Before them, to their left,
the lake was spread, an inland sea, lost in the horizon, now
quite calm, and near to the shores studded with small islands
covered with verdant foliage, and appearing as if they floated
upon the transparent water. To the westward, and in front
of them, were the clearings belonging to the fort, backed
with the distant woods : a herd of cattle were grazing on a
portion of the cleared land ; the other was divided off by a
snake fence, as it is termed, and was under cultivation.
Here and there a log-building was raised as a shelter for the
animals during the winter, and at half-a-mile's distance was
a small fort, surrounded with high palisades, intended as a
place of retreat and security for those who might be in
charge of the cattle, in case of danger or surprise. Close to
the fort, a rapid stream, now from the freshets overflowing
its banks, poured down its waters into the lake, running its
course through a variety of shrubs and larches and occasional
elms which lined its banks. The sun shone bright the
woodpeckers flew from tree to tree, or clung to the rails of
the fences the belted kingfisher darted up and down over



the running stream and the chirping and wild notes of
various birds were heard on every side of them.

"This is very beautiful, is it not?" said Mrs. Campbell;
"surely it cannot be so great a hardship to live in a spot
like this ? "

" Not if it were always so,, perhaps, madam," said Colonel
Forster, who had joined the party as Mrs. Campbell made
the observation. " But Canada in the month of June is very
different from Canada in the month of January. That we
find our life monotonous in this fort, separated as we are
from the rest of the world, I admit, and the winters are so
long and severe as to tire our patience ; but soldiers must do
their duty, whether burning under the tropics or freezing in
the wilds of Canada. It cannot be a very agreeable life, when
even the report of danger near to us becomes a pleasurable
feeling from the excitement it causes for the moment.

" I have been talking, Mr. Campbell, with Captain Sinclair,
and find you have much to do before the short summer is
over, to be ready to meet the coming winter; more than
you can well do with your limited means. I am happy that
my instructions from the Governor will permit me to be of
service to you. I propose that the ladies shall remain here,
while you, with such assistance as I can give you, proceed
to your allotment, and prepare for their reception."

"A thousand thanks for your kind offer, Colonel but
no, no, we will all go together," interrupted Mrs. Campbell ;
"we can be useful, and we will remain in the tents till the
house is built. Do not say a word more, Colonel Forster,
that is decided ; although I again return you many thanks
for your kind offer."

" If such is the case, I have only to observe that I shall
send a fatigue party of twelve men, which I can well spare
for a few weeks, to assist you in your labours," replied
Colonel Forster. " Their remuneration will not put you to
a very great expense. Captain Sinclair has volunteered to
take charge of it."

"Many thanks, sir," replied Mr. Campbell; "and as you
observe that we have no time to lose, with your permission
we will start to-morrow morning."

" I certainly shall not dissuade you," replied the com-
mandant, " although I did hope that I should have had the



pleasure of your company for a little longer. You are aware
that I have the Governor's directions to supply you with
cattle from our own stock, at a fair price. I hardly need say
that you may select as you please."

" And I," said Captain Sinclair, who had been in conver-
sation with Mary Percival, and who now addressed Mr.
Campbell, " have been making another collection for you
among my brother-officers, which you were not provided with,
and will find very useful, I may say absolutely necessary."

" What may that be, Captain Sinclair ? " said Mr. Campbell.

" A variety of dogs of every description. I have a pack of
five ; and, although not quite so handsome as your pet dogs
in England, you will find them well acquainted with the
country, and do their duty well. I have a pointer, a bull-
dog, two terriers, and a fox-hound all of them of good
courage, and ready to attack catamount, wolf, lynx, or even a
bear, if required."

" It is, indeed, a very valuable present/' replied Mr.
Campbell, "and you have our sincere thanks."

"The cows you had better select before you go, unless
you prefer that I should do it for you," observed Colonel
Forster. " They shall be driven over in a day or two, as I
presume the ladies will wish to have milk. By-the-bye, Mr.
Campbell, I must let you into a secret. The wild onions
which grow so plentiful in this country, and which the
cattle are very fond of, give a very unpleasant taste to the
milk. You may remove it by heating the milk as soon as it
has been drawn from the cows."

" Many thanks, Colonel, for your information," replied
Mr. Campbell, "for I certainly have no great partiality to
the flavour of onions in milk."

A summons to breakfast broke up the conversation.
During the day, Henry and Alfred, assisted by Captain
Sinclair and Martin Super, were very busy in loading the two
bateaux with the stores, tents, and various trunks of linen and
other necessaries which they had brought with them. Mr.
and Mrs. Campbell, with the girls, were equally busy in
selecting and putting on one side articles for immediate use
on their arrival at the allotment. As they were very tired,
they went to bed early, that they might be ready for the
next day's re-embarkation ; and after breakfast, having taken



leave of the kind commandant and the other officers, they
went down to the shore of the lake, and embarked with
Captain Sinclair in the commandant's boat, which had been
prepared for them. Martin Super, Alfred and Henry, with
the five dogs, went on board of the two bateaux, which were
manned by the corporal and twelve soldiers, lent by the
commandant to Mr. Campbell. The weather was beautifully
fine, and they set off in high spirits. The distance by water
was not more than three miles, although by land it was
nearly five, and in half-an-hour they entered the cove ad-
joining to which % the allotment lay.

" There is the spot, Mrs. Campbell, which is to be your
future residence," said Captain Sinclair, pointing with his
hand ; " you observe where that brook runs down into the
lake, that is your eastern boundary ; the land on the other
side is the property of the old hunter we have spoken of.
You see his little log-hut, not much bigger than an Indian
lodge, and the patch of Indian corn now sprung out of the
ground which is enclosed by the fence. This portion appears
not to be of any use to him, as he has no cattle of any kind,
unless indeed they have gone into the bush ; but I think
some of our men said that he lived entirely by the chase, and
that he has an Indian wife."

" Well," said Emma Percival, laughing, " female society is
what we never calculated upon. What is the man's name ? "

"Malachi Bone," replied Captain Sinclair. ' I presume
you expect Mrs. Bone to call first?"

"She ought to do so, if she knows the usage of society,"
replied Emma ; " but if she does not, I think I shall waive
ceremony and go and see her. I have great curiosity to
make acquaintance with an Indian squaw."

"You may be surprised to hear me say so, Miss Emma,
but I assure you, without having ever seen her, that you
will find her perfectly well-bred. All the Indian women
are their characters are a compound of simplicity and
reserve. Keep the boat's head more to the right, Selby,
we will land close to that little knoll."

The commandant's boat had pulled much faster, and was
a long way ahead of the bateaux. In a few minutes afterward
they had all disembarked and were standing on the knoll,
surveying their new property. A portion of about thirty



acres, running along the shore of the lake, was what is
termed natural prairie, or meadow of short fine grass ; the
land immediately behind the meadow was covered with
brushwood for about three hundred yards, and then rose a
dark and impervious front of high timber which completely
confined the landscape. The allotment belonging to the old
hunter, on the opposite side of the brook, contained about
the same portion of natural meadow, and was in other respects'
but a continuation of the portion belonging to Mr. Campbell.

" Well," said Martin Super, as soon as he had come ti;>
to the party on the knoll, for the bateaux had now arrived,
" I reckon, Mr. Campbell, that you are in luck to have this
piece of grass. It would have taken no few blows of the
axe to have cleared it away out of such a wood as that
behind us. Why, it is as good as a fortune to a new settler."

" I think it is, Martin," said Mr. Campbell.

" Well, sir, now to work as soon as you please, for a day
is a day, and must not be lost. I'll go to the wood with five
or six of the men who can handle an axe, and begin to cut
down, leaving you and the captain there to decide where the
house is to be ; the other soldiers will be putting up the tents
all ready for to-night, for you must not expect a house over
your heads till next full moon."

In a quarter of an hour all were in motion. Henry and
Alfred took their axes, and followed Martin Super and half
of the soldiers, the others were busy landing the stores and
pitching the tents, while Captain Sinclair and Mr. Campbell
were surveying the ground, tliat they might choose a spot
for the erection of the house. Mrs. Campbell remained
sitting on the knoll, watching the debarkation of the pack-
ages ; and Percival, by her directions, brought her those
articles which were for immediate use. Mary and Emma
Percival, accompanied by John, as they had no task allotted
to them, walked up the side of the stream toward the wood.

" I wish I had my box," said John, who had been watching
the running water.

" Why do you want your box, John ? " said Mary.

" For my hooks in my box," replied John.

" Why, do you see any fish in this small stream ? " said

" Yes/' replied John, walking on before them.

"'My good man, you are Malachi Bone, are you not?"


Mary and Emma followed him, now and then stopping to
pick a flower unknown to them : when they overtook John,
he was standing immovable, pointing to a figure on the other
side of the stream, as fixed and motionless as himself.

The girls started back, as they beheld a tall gaunt man,
dressed in deer hides, who stood leaning upon a long gun
with his eyes fixed upon them. His face was browned and
weather-beaten indeed so dark that it was difficult to say
if he were of the Indian race or not.

" It must be a hunter, Emma," said Mary Percival ; " he
is not dressed like the Indians we saw at Quebec."

" It must be," replied Emma ; " won't he speak ? "

" We will wait and see," replied Mary. They did wait
for a minute or more, but the man neither spoke nor shifted
his position.

" I will speak to him, Mary," said Emma at last. " My good
man, you are Malachi Bone, are you not ? "

" That's my name," replied the hunter in a deep voice ;
"and who on earth are you, and what are you doing here?
Is it a frolic from the fort, or what is it, that causes all
this disturbance ? "

" Disturbance ! why, we don't make a great deal of noise ;
no, it's no frolic; we are come to settle here, and shall be
your neighbours."

" To settle here ! why, what on earth do you mean,
young woman ? Settle here ! not you, surely."

" Yes, indeed, we are. Don't you know Martin Super, the
trapper ? He is with us, and now at work in the woods
getting ready for raising the house, as you call it. Do you
know, Mary," said Emma in a low tone to her sister, " I'm
almost afraid of that man, although I do speak so boldly."

" Martin Super yes, I know him," replied the hunter,
who without any more ceremony threw his gun into the
hollow of his arm, turned round, and walked away in the
direction of his own hut

"Well, Mary," observed Emma, after a pause of a few
seconds, during which they watched the receding form of
the hunter, " the old gentleman is not over-polite. Su-ppose
we go back and narrate our first adventure ? "

" Let us walk up to where Alfred and Martin Super are at
work, and tell them," replied Mary.



They soon gained the spot where the men were felling the
trees, and made known to Alfred and Martin what had taken

" He is angered, miss/' observed Martin ; " I guessed as
much ; well, if he don't like it he must squat elsewhere."

" How do you mean squat elsewhere ? "

" I mean, miss, that if he don't like company so near him
he must shift and build his wigwam further off."

" But why should he not like company ? I should have
imagined that it would be agreeable rather than otherwise/'
replied Mary Percival.

" You may think so, miss ; but Malachi Bone thinks other-
wise ; and it's natural ; a man who has lived all his life in
the woods, all alone, his eye never resting, his ear ever
watching ; catching at every sound, even to the breaking of
a twig or the falling of a leaf; sleeping with his finger on his
trigger and one eye half open, gets used to no company but
his own, and can't abide it. I recollect the time that I
could not. Why, miss, when a man hasn't spoken a word
perhaps for months, talking is a fatigue, and, when he hasn't
heard a word spoken for months, listening is as bad. It's all
custom, miss, and Malachi, as I guessed, don't like it, and so
he's rily and angered. I will go see him after the work is

" But he has a wife, Martin, has he not ? "

" Yes ; but she's an Indian wife, Master Alfred, and Indian
wives don't speak unless they're spoken to."

" What a recommendation," said Alfred, laughing ; " I
really think I shall look after an Indian wife, Emma."

"I think you had better," replied Emma. "You'd be
certain of a quiet house, when you were out of it, and
when at home, you would have all the talk to yourself, which
is just what you like. Come, Mary, let us leave him to dream
of his squaw."

The men selected by the commandant of the fort were
well used to handle the axe ; before dusk, many trees had
been felled, and were ready for sawing into lengths. The
tents had all been pitched : those for the Campbells on the
knoll we have spoken of; Captain Sinclair's and that for the
soldiers about a hundred yards distant ; the fires were lighted,
and as the dinner had been cold, a hot supper was prepared,



by Martin and Mrs. Campbell, assisted by the girls and the
younger boys. After supper they all retired to an early bed ;
Captain Sinclair having put a man as sentry, and the dogs
having been tied at different places, that they might give
the alarm if there was any danger ; which, however, was not
anticipated, as the Indians had for some time been very quiet
in the neighbourhood of Fort Frontignac.


_L HE next morning, when they assembled at breakfast,
after Mr. Campbell had read the prayers, "Mary Percival said,
" Did you hear that strange and loud noise last night ? I was
very much startled with it ; but, as nobody said a word, I
held my tongue."

" Nobody said a word, because ever}- body was fast asleep, I
presume," said Alfred ; " I heard nothing."

" It was like the sound of cart-wheels at a distance, with
whistling and hissing," continued Mary.

" I think I can explain it to you, as I was np during the
night, Miss Percival," said Captain Sinclair. " It is a noise
you must expect every night during the summer season ; but
one to which you will soon be accustomed."

" Why, what was it ? "

" Frogs, nothing more ; except, indeed, the hissing,
which, I believe, is made by the lizards. They will serenade
you every night. I only hope you will not be disturbed by
anything more dangerous."

" Is it possible that such small creatures can make such a
din ? "

" Yes ; when thousands join in the concert ; I may say

"Well, I thank you for the explanation, Captain Sinclair,
as it has been some relief to my mind."

After breakfast, Martin (we shall for the future leave out
his surname) informed Mr. Campbell that he had seen
Malachi Bone, the hunter, Avho had expressed great dissatis-
faction at their arrival, and his determination to quit the
place if they remained.


" Surely, he hardly expects us to quit the place to please
him t"

"No/' replied Martin; "but if he were cankered in dis-
position, which I will say Malachi is not, he might make it
very unpleasant for you to remain, by bringing the Indians
about you."

" Surely, he would not do that ? " said Mrs. Campbell.

"No, I don't think he would," replied Martin; "because,
you see, it's just as easy for him to go further off."

" But why should we drive him away from his property
any more than we leave our own ?" observed Mrs. Campbell.

" He says he won't be crowded, ma'am ; he can't bear to
be crowded."

" Why, there's a river between us."

"So there is, ma'am, but still that's his feeling. I said to
him, that if he would go, I dared say Mr. Campbell would
buy his allotment of him, and he seems to be quite willing
to part with it."

"It would be a great addition to your property, Mr.
Campbell," observed Captain Sinclair. " In the first place,
you would have the whole of the prairie and the right of the
river on both sides, apparently of no consequence now, but
as the country fills up, most valuable."

"Well," replied Mr. Campbell, "as I presume we shall
remain here, or, at all events, those who survive me will, till
the country fills up, I shall be most happy to make any
arrangement with Bone for the purchase of his property.'

"I'll have some more talk with him, sir," replied Martin.

The second day was passed as was the first, in making
preparations for erecting the house, which, now that they
had obtained such unexpected help, was, by the advice of
Captain Sinclair, considerably enlarged beyond the size
originally intended. As Mr. Campbell paid the soldiers
employed a certain sum per day for their labour, he had less
scruple in employing them longer. Two of them were good
carpenters, and a sawpit had been dug, that they might
prepare the doors and the frames for the window-sashes
which Mr. Campbell had taken the precaution to bring with
him. On the third day a boat arrived from the fort, bring-
ing the men's rations and a present of two fine bucks from
the commandant. Captain Sinclair went in the boat to



procure some articles which he required, and returned in the
evening. The weather continued fine, and in the course of
a week a great deal of timber was cut and squared. During
this time Martin had several meetings with the old hunter,
and it was agreed that he should sell his property to Mr.
Campbell! Money he appeared to care little about indeed
it was useless to him ; gunpowder, lead, flints, blankets, and
tobacco, were the principal articles requested in the barter ;
the amount, however, was not precisely settled. An intimacy
had been struck up between the old hunter and John ; in
what manner it was difficult to imagine, as they both were
very sparing of their words ; but this was certain, that John
had contrived to get across the stream somehow or another,
and was now seldom at home to his meals. Martin reported
that he was in the lodge of the old hunter, and that he could
come to no harm ; so Mrs. Campbell was satisfied.

" But what does he do there, Martin ? " said Mrs. Camp-
bell, as they were clearing away the table after supper.

"Just nothing but look at the squaw, or at Malachi clean-
ing his gun, or anything else he may see. He never speaks,
that I know of, and that's why he suits old Malachi."

" He brought home a whole basket of trout this after-
noon," observed Mary; "so he is not quite idle."

"No, miss; he's fishing at daylight, and gives one-half to
you and the other to old Bone. He'll make a crack hunter one
of these days, as old Malachi says. He can draw the bead 011
the old man's rifle in good style already, I can tell you."

" How do you mean, Martin ? " said Mrs. Campbell.

" I mean that he can fire pretty true, ma'am, although it's
a heavy gun for him to lift ; a smaller one would do better
for him."

" But is he not too young to be trusted with a gun,
uncle ? " said Mary.

"No, miss," interrupted Martin, "you can't be too young
here ; the sooner a boy is useful the better ; and the boy
with a gun is almost as good as a man ; for the gun kills
equally as well if pointed true. Master Percival must have
his gun as soon as I am at leisure to teach him."

" I wish you were at leisure now, Martin," cried Percival.

" You forget, aunt, that you promised to learn to load and
fire a rifle yourself," said Mary.



" No. I tlo not ; and I intend to keep my word, as soon
as there is time ; but John is so very young."

" Well, Mary, I suppose we must enlist too ? " said Emma.

" Yes ; we'll be the female rifle brigade," replied Mary,

" I really quite like the idea," continued Emmd ; " I will
put up with no impertinence, recollect, Alfred ; excite my
displeasure, and I shall take down my rifle."

" I suspect you will do more execution with your eyes,
Emma," replied Alfred, laughing.

" Not upon a catamount, as Martin calls it. Pray what is
a catamount ? "

"A painter, miss."

te Oh, now I know ; a catamount is a painter, a painter is a
leopard or a panther. As I live, uncle, here comes the old
hunter, with John trotting at his heels. I thought he would
come at last. The visit is to me, I'm sure, for when we first
met he was dumb with astonishment."

"He well might be," observed Captain Sinclair; "he has
not often met with such objects as you and your sister in the

"No," replied Emma; "an English squaw must be rather
a rarity."

As she said this old Malachi Bone came up, and seated
himself, without speaking, placing his rifle between his

" Your servant, sir," said Mr. Campbell ; " I hope you are

"What on earth makes you come here?" said Bone,
looking round him. " You are not fit for the wilderness !
Winter will arrive soon ; and then you go back, I reckon."

" No, we shall not," replied Alfred, " for we have nowhere
to go back to ; besides, the people are too crowded where
we came from, so we came here for more room."

" I reckon you'll crowd me," replied the hunter, " so I'll go

"Well, Malachi, the gentleman will pay you for your

" I told you so," said Martin.

" Yes, you did ; but I'd rather not have seen him or his



"By goods, I suppose you mean us about you?" said

" No, girl, I didn't mean you. I meant gunpowder and
the like."

Online LibraryFrederick MarryatPoor Jack; and The settlers in Canada → online text (page 38 of 58)