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Frederick Marryat.

Poor Jack; and The settlers in Canada online

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the cows for this winter ; indeed, we could not have fed
them unless he had done so. Depend upon it, Captain
Sinclair will bring the hay round, and then we shall see him
again, Mary ; but we must walk after our own cows now.
No one to drive them for us. If Alfred had any manners he
might have come."

"And why not Henry, Emma ?" said Mary, with a smile.

" Oh ! I don't know ; Alfred came into my thoughts first."

" I believe that really was the case," replied Mary. " Now
I'm even with you ; so go along and milk your cows."

"It's all very well, miss," replied Emma, laughing; "but
wait till I have learned to fire my rifle, and then you'll be
more cautious of what you say."

On their return home, they found the old hunter with a
fine buck lying before him. Mr. Campbell was out with the
boys and Martin, who wished his opinion as to the size of
the punt.

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" How do you do, Mr. Bone ? " said Mary. " Did John
shoot that deer ? "

" Yes ; and shot it as well as an old hunter, and the creatur'
can hardly lift the gun to his shoulder. Which of you is
named Mary ? "

" I am," said Mary.

"Then I've something for you," said old Malachi, pulling
from out of his vest a small parcel, wrapped up in thin bark,
and handing it to her; "it's a present from the Strawberry."

Mary opened the bark, and found inside of it a pair of
moccasins, very prettily worked in stained porcupines' quills.

" Oh ! how beautiful, and how kind of her ! Tell her that
I thank her, and love her very much. Will you ? "

" Yes ; I'll tell her. Where's the boy ? "

" Who, John ? I think he's gone up the stream to take
some trout; he'll be back to breakfast, and that's just ready.
Come, Emma, we must go in with the milk."

Mr. Campbell and those who were with him soon returned.

Malachi Bone then stated that he had brought the buck
killed by John ; and that, if it suited, he would carry back
with him a keg of gunpowder and some lead ; that he wished
Mr. Campbell to calculate what he considered due to him for
the property, and let him take it but in goods, as he required
them.

" Why don't you name your own price, Malachi ? " said
Mr. Campbell.

" How can I name a price ? It was given to me and cost
nothing. I leave it all to you and Martin Super, as I said
before."

"You show great confidence in me, I must say. Well,
Bone, I will not cheat you ; but I am afraid you will be a
long while before you are paid, if you only take it out in
goods from my store-house."

"All the better, master; they will last till I die, and then
what's left will do for the boy here," replied the old hunter,
putting his hand upon John's head.

" Bone," said Mr. Campbell, " I have no objection to the
boy going with you occasionally ; but I cannot permit him
to be away always. I want him to come home the day after
he has been to see you."

"Well, that's not reasonable, master. We go out after

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the game ; who knows where we may find it, how long we
may look for it, and how far it may lead us ? Must we give
up the chase when close upon it, because time's up ? That'll
never do. I want to make the boy a hunter, and he must
learn to sleep out and do everything else as concerns a hunter
to do. You must let him be with me longer, and, if you
please, when he comes back keep him longer ; but if you
wish him to be a man, the more he stays with me the better.
He shall know all the Indian craft, I promise you, and the
winter after this he shall take beavers and bring you the
skins."

"I think, sir," observed Martin, "it's all in reason what
the old man says."

" And so do I," said Alfred ; " after all, it's only sending
John to school. Let him go, father, and have him home for
the holidays."

" I'll always come to you, when I can," said John.

" I am more satisfied at John's saying that than you might
imagine," said Mrs. Campbell; "John is an honest boy, and
does not say what he does not mean."

"Well, my dear, if you have no objection, I'm sure I will
not raise any more."

" I think I shall gain more by John's affection than by
compulsion, my dear husband. He says he will always come
when he can, and I believe him ; I have, therefore, no objec-
tion to let him stay with Malachi Bone, at all events for a
week or so at a time."

" But his education, my dear."

" He is certain to learn nothing now that this fever for
the woods, if I may so call it, is upon him. He will, perhaps,
be more teachable a year or two hence. You must be aware
that we have no common disposition to deal with in that
child ; and however my maternal feelings may oppose my
judgment, it is still strong enough to make me feel that my
decision is for his benefit. We must not here put the value
upon a. finished education which we used to do. Let us give
him every advantage which the peculiarity of his position
will allow us to do ; but we are now in the woods, to a cer-
tain degree returned to a state of nature, and the first and
most important knowledge, is to learn to gain our liveli-
hoods."

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" Well, my dear, I think you are correct in your views on
the subject, and therefore, John, you may go to school with
Malachi Bone ; come to see us when you can, and I expect
you to turn out the Nimrod of the West."

Old Malachi stared at the conclusion of this speech ; Alfred
observed his surprise, and burst into a fit of laughter. He
then said, "The English of all that is, Malachi, that my
brother John has my father's leave to go with you, and
you're to make a man of him."

"He who made him must make a man of him," replied
Bone : " I can only make him a good hunter, and that I will,
if he and I are spared. Now, master, if Martin will give me
the powder and lead, I'll be off again. Is the boy to go ? "

" Yes, if you desire it," replied Mrs. Campbell ; " come,
John, and wish me good-by and remember your promise."

John bade farewell to the whole party with all due de-
corum, and then trotted off after his schoolmaster.



CHAPTER XIII

J. N the course of a week or two, things found their places,
and the family began to feel more comfortable ; there was
also a degree of regularity and order established, which could
not be effected during the time that the soldiers were em-
ployed. Mrs. Campbell and Percival took upon them all the
work inside and round the house during the morning ; the
latter attending to the pigs and fowls, bringing water from
the stream, &c. Mary and Emma milked the cows, and then
assisted their mother during the day in washing, &c. Mr.
Campbell instructed Percival, worked in the garden, and
assisted as much as he could, where he might be found most
useful ; but he was too advanced in years to be capable of
much hard work. Alfred, Henry, and Martin Super were
employed during the whole day, clearing the ground and
felling the timber ; but every other day, one or the other
went out with Martin into the woods to procure food, bring-
ing home with them deer, wild turkeys, or other game, which,
with an occasional piece of salt-pork, and the fish caught,
were sufficient for the family consumption. Percival was

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now permitted to accompany the hunting-parties, and became
somewhat expert with his rifle. He required only a little
more practice to be a good shot.

They rose at half-past five, were all assembled to prayers
at half-past seven, previous to going to breakfast. They dined
at one, and had a combined tea and supper at seven o'clock.
At nine o'clock they went to bed. Before two months had
passed away, everything went on like clock -work. One day
passed away so like another, that the time flew imperceptibly,
and they wondered that the Sundays came round so quick.
They had now time to unpack everything, and the books
which Mrs. Campbell had selected and brought with her had
been arranged on shelves in the parlour ; but they had not as
yet much time to read, and were generally too tired before
the day was over not to long for their beds. Indeed, the only
interval of leisure during the whole day was between supper
and bed-time, when they would all assemble in the kitchen
and talk over the little matters which had occurred either
during the chase or at home. But they were now in the
middle of October, the winter was fast approaching, and they
looked forward to it with some degree of anxiety.

John had kept his word very sacredly. He was occasion-
ally absent for three or four days, but if so, he invariably came
to the house and remained a day or two at home. Alfred and
Martin had long finished the fishing-punt, and as it was light
and easily handled, Henry and Percival went out in it to-
gether, and when he was at home, John with Percival would
pull half a mile out into the lake, and soon return with a
supply of large fish. Mrs. Campbell, therefore, had salted
down sufficient to fill a barrel for the winter's use.

One day they were agreeably surprised by Captain Sinclair
making his appearance. He had walked from the fort, to
communicate to them that the hay had been gathered in, and
would be sent round in a day or two, and also to inform Mr.
Campbell that the commandant could spare them a young
bullock, if he would wish to have it for winter provision.
This offer was gladly accepted, and, having partaken of their
dinner, Captain Sinclair was obliged to return to the fort, he
being that night on duty. Previous, however, to his return,
he had some conversation with Martin Super, unobserved by
the rest of the party. Afterward he invited Alfred to walk

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back to the fort with him and return on the following morn-
ing. Alfred agreed to do so ; and two hours before it was
dark they set off, and as soon as they were on the opposite
side of the brook they were joined by Martin Super.

" My reasons for asking you to come back with me were
twofold," said Captain Sinclair to Alfred. " In the first place,
I wish you to know the road to the fort, in case it should be
necessary to make any communication during the winter ;
secondly, I wished to have some conversation with you and
Martin relative to information we have received about the
Indians. I can tell you privately what I was unwilling to say
before your mother and cousins, as it would put them in a
state of restlessness and anxiety, which could avail nothing
and only annoy them. The fact is, we have for some time
had information that the Indians have held several councils.
It does not appear, however, that they have as yet decided
upon anything, although it is certain that they have gathered
together in large numbers not very far from the fort. No
doubt but they have French emissaries inciting them to attack
us. From what we can learn, however, they have not agreed
among themselves, and, therefore, in all probability, nothing
will be attempted until next year, for the autumn is their
season for sending out their war-parties. At the same time,
there is no security, for there is a great difference between a
junction of all the tribes against us and a common Indian war-
party. We must, therefore, be on the alert, for we have a
treacherous foe to deal with. And now, for your portion of
interest in this affair. If they attack the fort, which they
may do, notwithstanding our treaties with them, you of course
would not be safe where you are ; but, unfortunately, you may
not be safe even if we are not molested ; for when the Indians
collect (even though the main body decide upon nothing),
there are always bands of five to ten Indians, who, having left
their homes, will not return if they can help it without some
booty ; these are not regular warriors, or if warriors, not much
esteemed by the tribe ; in fact, they are the worst classes of
Indians, who are mere robbers and banditti. You must, there-
fore, be on the look-out for the visits of these people. It is
fortunate for you that old Bone has shifted his abode so many
miles to the westward, and that you are on such good terms
with him, as it is not very likely that any party of Indians

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can approach you without his meeting with them or their
track during his excursions."

"That's true, Captain/' observed Martin, "and I will go
myself and put him on his guard."

" But, will they not attack him before they attack us ? "
said Alfred.

"Why should they?" replied Sinclair. "He is as much
an Indian almost as they are, and is well known to most of
them. Besides, what would they gain by attacking him?
These straggling parties, which you have to fear, are in quest
of booty, and will not expect to find anything in his wigwam
except a few furs. No ; they will not venture near his rifle,
which they fear, when there is nothing to be obtained by so
doing. I mention this to you, Alfred, that you may be pre-
pared and keep a sharp look-out. It is very possible that
nothing of the kind may occur, and that the winter may
pass away without any danger, and I mention it to you and
Martin, as I consider that the probabilities are not sufficient
to warrant your alarming the other members of the family,
especially the female portion of it. How far you may con-
sider it advisable to communicate what has now passed to
your father and Henry, it is for you to decide. As I said
before, I do not imagine you have much to fear from a
general attack ; it is too late in the year, and we know that
the councils broke up without coming to any decision. You
have only to fear the attempts of small parties of marauders,
and I think you are quite strong enough, both in numbers
and in the defences of your habitation, to resist them success-
fully, if you are not suddenly surprised. That is all that
you have to fear ; and now that you are warned, half the
danger is over."

"Well, Captain, I'll leave you now," said Martin, "I shall
go over to old Malachi's to-night ; for it occurs to me that
any attack is more likely to be made between the fall of the
leaf and the fall of the snow than afterward ; so the sooner
I put Malachi on his guard the better. Good-evening, sir."

Captain Sinclair and Alfred continued on their way to the
fort. They had contracted a strong friendship, and were
unreserved in their communication with each other.

"You have no idea, Alfred," said Captain Sinclair, "how
the peculiar position of your family occupies my thoughts.

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It really appears almost like madness on the part of your
father to bring out your mother and cousins to such a place,
and expose them to such privations and dangers. I can hardly
sleep at night when I reflect upon what might happen."

"1 believe," replied Alfred, "that if my father had known
exactly what his present position would have been, he would
have decided upon not leaving England ; but you must re-
member that he came out with much encouragement, and
the idea that he would only have to surmount the hardships
of a settler in clearing his land. He fancied, at least I'm
sure we all did, that we should be surrounded by other
farmers, and have no particular danger to incur. When at
Quebec, he found that all the good land near to civilisation
was bought up or possessed by the French Canadians ; he
was advised to come further westward by those who ought
to have been aware of what he would have to encounter by
so doing, but who probably considered that the danger we
now apprehend no longer existed ; and he has followed that
advice which I have no doubt was conscientiously given. I
think myself, even now, that the advice was good, although
we are accompanied by females who have been brought up
in so different a sphere, and for whose welfare such anxiety
is shown ; for observe now, Sinclair, suppose, without having
made our acquaintance, you had heard that some settlers,
men and women, had located themselves where we have
done ; should you have considered it so very rash an under-
taking, presuming that they were merely farmers and farmers'
wives ? "

" I certainly should have troubled myself very little about
them, and perhaps not thought upon the subject."

" But supposing the subject had been brought up at the
fort, and you had heard the parties had a stockaded house
and four or five good rifles to depend upon, with the fort to
fall back upon if necessary ?"

" I admit that I should most probably have said that they
were in a position to protect themselves."

"Most assuredly, and therefore we are equally so; your
feelings of interest in us magnify the danger, and I there-
fore trust that in future you will not allow our position to
interfere with your night's rest."

" I wish I could bring myself to that feeling of security,

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Alfred. If I were only with you, to assist in protecting
them, I should sleep sound enough."

" Then you would not be of much use as a watch," replied
Alfred, laughing. " Never fear, Sinclair, we shall do well
enough," continued he, " and if we require assistance, we
will apply for you and a party of soldiers."

"There would be much difficulty about that, Alfred/
replied Captain Sinclair ; " if there were sufficient danger to
make that demand upon the commandant, the same danger
would require that he should not weaken his force in the
fort ; no, you would have to retreat to the fort, and leave
your farm to the mercy of the Indians."

"It certainly would be the wisest plan of the two," replied
Alfred ; "at all events, we could send the women. But the
Indians have not come yet, and we must hope that they will
not."

The conversation was then changed, and in half-an-hour
more they arrived at the fort.

Alfred was welcomed at the fort by Colonel Forster, with
whom he was a great favourite. The Colonel could not re-
frain from expressing his opinion, that Mr. Campbell and his
family were in a position of some danger, and lamenting that
the female portion of the family, who had been brought up
with such very different prospects, should be so situated. He
even ventured to hint that if Mrs. Campbell and the two
Misses Percival would pass the winter in the fort he would
make arrangements to accommodate them. But Alfred at once
replied, that he was convinced no inducement would persuade
his mother or cousins to leave his father ; they had shared his
prosperity, and they would cling to him in adversity ; that
they all were aware of what they would have to risk before
they came out, and his father preferred a life of honourable
independence attended with danger, to seeking the assistance
of others.

"But still I cannot perceive any reason for the ladies
remaining to encounter the danger."

" The more we are, the stronger we are to repel danger,"
replied Alfred.

" But women surely will only be an encumbrance ! "

" I think differently," replied Alfred. " Young and delicate
as my cousins are, they will not shrink any more than my

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mother when their services are required. They now can all
of them use a rifle, if required, and to defend a house, a
determined woman is almost as effective as a man. Depend
upon it, if it comes to the necessity, they will do so. You
see, therefore, Colonel, that by taking away our ladies, you
will weaken our force," continued Alfred, laughing.

" Well, my dear fellow, I will press it no more. Only re-
collect that I shall always be ready to send you any assistance
when required."

" I have been thinking, Colonel Forster, that, as we have no
horses at present, if you have any rockets, they might be use-
ful in such a case. At the distance we are from you a rocket
would be seen immediately if fired at night, and I promise
you, that it shall not be fired without great necessity."

" I am glad that you have mentioned it, Alfred ; you shall
have a dozen to take with you. You go back with the boats
that carry the hay to-morrow morning, do you not ? "

" Yes ; I shall take that opportunity, to save wearing out
my shoes, as we have no cobbler near to us. I presume it
will be the last trip made by the boats this season ?"

" Yes," replied the Colonel, " the frost will soon set in now.
In another fortnight we shall probably be visited with a heavy
fall of snow, and the ground will then be covered till spring.
But I suppose we shall see or hear from you occasionally ? "

" Yes ; as soon as I can push along in my snow-shoes, I
will pay you a visit," replied Alfred, " but I have that art to
learn yet."

The following morning the sky was clear and the day
brilliant. The sun shone upon the dark, scarlet-tinged foliage
of the oaks, and through the transparent yellow leaves of
the maple. A slight frost had appeared for two or three
mornings about a month back, and now they were enjoying
what was termed the Indian summer, which is a return of
fair and rather warm weather for a short time previous to the
winter setting in.

The soldiers were busy carrying the hay down to the
bateaux, and, before noon, Alfred bade farewell to Colonel
Forster and the other officers of the fort, and, accompanied
by Captain Sinclair, went down to embark. All was ready,
and Alfred stepped into the boat ; Captain Sinclair being
on duty and not able to accompany him back.

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"I shall not fail to give directions to the sentries about
the rockets, Alfred/' said Captain Sinclair, "and so tell your
mother and cousins ; and mind to show them how to fire
them off from out of the barrel of a musket. Good-bye ;
God bless you, my dear fellow."

" Good-bye," replied Alfred, as the boats pulled from the
shore.



CHAPTER XIV

jrxFTER Alfred's return from the fort, a few days passed
away without any incident : Martin had paid a visit to Malachi
Bone, who had promised that he would be on the look-out
and would give immediate infoi*mation and assistance in case
of any hostile measures on the part of the Indians. He told
Martin, that in a few days he would discover what had taken
place and what might be looked forward to. When Martin
returned with his communication, Alfred was satisfied, and
did not acquaint anybody except his brother Henry with the
information which he had received from Captain Sinclair.

The monotony of their life was, however, broken in upon
by the arrival of a corporal from the fort, who was the bearer
of the first despatches which they had received since their
arrival at the settlement. Letters, yes letters, not only
from Quebec bat from England, were announced. The whole
house was in confusion, all crowding round Mr. Campbell while
he unsealed the large packet. First a bundle of English news-
papers from the Governor of Quebec these were laid aside ;
a letter from Mr. Campbell's agent at Quebec this was on
business and could wait his leisure; then the letters from
England two long, well-filled double letters from Miss Pater-
son to Mary and Emma ; another from Mr. Campbell's agent
in England, and a large one on foolscap with "On His
Majesty's Service," directed to Mr. Alfred Campbell. Each
party seized upon their letters, and hastened on one side
with them. Mrs. Campbell being the only one who had no
correspondent, anxiously watched the countenance of Alfred,
who, after a hasty glance, cried out, " I am confirmed to my
rank, my dear mother; I am a lieutenant in his Majesty's ser-
vice huzza ! Here's a letter enclosed from Captain Lumley ;

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I know his handwriting." Alfred received the congratula-
tions of the whole party, handed the official letter to his
mother, and then commenced the perusal of the one from
Captain Lumley. After a short silence, during which they
were all occupied with their correspondence, Mr. Campbell
said, " I also have good news to communicate to you ; Mr.
H. writes to me to say, that Mr. Douglas Campbell, on find-
ing the green-houses and hot-houses so well stocked, con-
sidered that he was bound to pay for the plants ; that they
have been valued at seven hundred pounds, and that he has
paid that money into my agent's hands. This is extremely
liberal of Mr. Douglas Campbell, and I certainly did not
expect, as I found plants there on my taking possession, that
I was entitled to any remuneration for what I left. However,
I am too poor to refuse his offer from any feelings of delicacy,
and shall therefore write and thank him for his generous
behaviour." Alfred had read the letter from Captain Lumley,
which made him very thoughtful. The fact was, his pro-
motion and the observations in Captain Lumley's letter had
brought back all his former regret at having quitted the
service, and he was very melancholy in consequence ; but
as his cousins read their letters aloud, he gradually recovered



Online LibraryFrederick MarryatPoor Jack; and The settlers in Canada → online text (page 40 of 58)