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Frederick Marryat.

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guided by his advice. He stated that he had funds not only
sufficient to erect a mill, but also, if he were permitted, to
pay for the labour of any party of men which the com-
mandant would spare during the summer season.

" That is the very point which I wished to ascertain ; but
I felt some delicacy about making the inquiry. Now I con-
sider that there will be no difficulty in our arrangements."

The Colonel remained for some time looking over the farm
and conversing with Mr. Campbell, and then took his leave.

In the meantime, Alfred and his cousins went out to walk ;
the weather was now beautifully clear, and in the afternoon
the heat was not too oppressive. As they sauntered by the
side of the stream, Mary said, "Well, Alfred, what do you
think of the Colonel's proposition ? "

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"Yes," observed Emma, "you are a party deeply con-
cerned in it."

" How so, dear coz ? "

" Why, don't you perceive that if the mill is erected, you
will be -the proper person to have charge of it? What a
change of professions, from a sailor to a miller. I think I
see you in your coat, all white with flour, coming in to
dinner."

" My dear Emma, you don't intend it, I am sure, but you
do not know that you are inflicting pain upon me. When
the Colonel made the proposition, I felt the importance of
it, as it would be a source of great profit to my father ; but
at the same time, I don't know how it is, I have always
indulged the idea that we may not stay here for ever, and this
plan appeared so like decidedly settling down to a residence
for life, that it made me low-spirited. I know that it is
foolish, and that we have no chance of ever removing but
still I cannot, even with this almost certainty before my
eyes, keep my mind from thinking upon one day returning
to my profession, and the idea of becoming a miller for life
is what I cannot as yet contemplate with any degree of
composure."

" Well, Alfred, I only did it to tease you a little not to
hurt your feelings, believe me," replied Emma. " You shall
not be a miller if you don't like it. Henry will do better,
perhaps, than you ; but as for our quitting this place, I have
no idea of it's being ever possible. I have made up my mind
to live and die in the Canadian woods, considering, it my
wayward fate that all 'my sweetness should be wasted on
the desert air.' "

" Repining is useless, if not sinful," observed Mary Percival.
"We have much to be thankful for; at least we are inde-
pendent, and if we are ever to repay the kindness of our
uncle and aunt who must feel their change of condition so
much more than we do, it must be by cheerfulness and
content. I have been thinking as well as you, Alfred, and
I'll tell you what was in my thoughts. I looked forwaid to
a few years, by which time, as the country fills up so fast, it
is very probable that we shall have other settlers here as
neighbours, in every direction. This will give us security.
I also fancied that my uncle's farm and prpoerty became of

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value and importance, and that he himself became a leading
man in the district ; not only at his ease, but, for a settler,
even wealthy ; and then I fancied that, surrounded by others,
in perfect security, and in easy and independent circum-
stances, my uncle would not forget the sacrifice which my
cousin Alfred so nobly made, and would insist upon his
returning to that profession to which he is so much attached,
and in which I have no doubt but that he will distinguish
himself."

" Well said, my sweet prophet," said Alfred, kissing his
cousin, "you have more sense than both of us."

"Answer for youself, Alfred, if you please," said Emma,
tossing her head as if affronted. " I shall not forget that
remark of yours, I can assure you. Now, I prophesy quite
the contrary ; Alfred will never go to sea again. He will be
taken with the charms of some Scotch settler's daughter,
some Janet or Moggy, and settle down into a Canadian farmer,
mounted on a long-legged black pony."

" And I too," replied Alfred, " prophesy, that at the same
time that I marry and settle as you have described, Miss
Emma Percival will yield up her charms to some long-legged,
black, nondescript sort of a. fellow, who will set up a whisky-
shop and instal his wife as barmaid to attend upon and
conciliate his customers."

" Emma, I think you have the worst of this peeping into
futurity," said Mary, laughing.

" Yes, if Alfred were not a false prophet, of which there
are always many going about," replied Emma ; " however, I
hope your prophecy may be the true one, Mary, and then we
shall get rid of him."

" I flatter myself that you would be very sorry if I went
away ; you would have no one to tease, at all events," replied
Alfred, " and that would be a sad loss to yourself."

" Well, there's some sense in that remark," said Emma ;
" but the cows are waiting to be milked, and so, Mr. Alfred,
if you are on your good behaviour, you had better go and
bring us the pails."

" I really pity Alfred," said Mary, as soon as he was out of
hearing ; " his sacrifice has been very great, and, much as he
must feel it, how well he bears up against it."

" He is a dear, noble fellow," replied Emma ; " and I

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do love him very much, although I cannot help teasing
him."

" But on some points you should be cautious, my dear
sister ; you don't know what pain you give."

" Yes, I do, and am always sorry when I have done it, but
it is not until afterward that I recollect it, and then I am
very angry with myself. Don't scold me, dear Mary, I will
try to be wiser. I wonder whether what you say will come
to pass, and we shall have neighbours ; I wish we had, if it
were only on account of those Indians."

" I think it very probable," replied Mary ; " but time will
show."

Alfred then returned with the pails, and the conversation
took another turn.

A few days afterward a corporal arrived from the fort,
bringing letters and newspapers ; the first that they had
received since the breaking up of the winter. The whole
family were in commotion as the intelligence was proclaimed ;
Mary and Emma left the fowls which they were feeding ;
Percival threw down the pail with which he was attending
the pigs ; Alfred ran in from where he and Martin were busy
splitting rails ; all crowded round Mr. Campbell as he opened
the packet in which all the letters and papers had been
enveloped at the fort. The letters were few ; three from
Miss Paterson, and two other friends in England, giving
them the English news ; one to Alfred from Captain Lumley,
inquiring after the family, and telling him that he had men-
tioned his position to his friends at the Board, and that there
could be no call for his services for the present ; one from
Mr. Campbell's English agent, informing him that he had
remitted the money paid by Mr. 'Douglas Campbell for the
plants, &c., to his agent at Quebec ; and another from his
Quebec agent, advising the receipt of the money and enclos-
ing a balance-sheet. The letters were first read over, and
then the newspapers were distributed, and all of them were
soon very busy and silent during the perusal.

After a while, Emma read out. " Dear uncle, only hear
this, how sorry I am."

" What is it, my dear ? " said Mr. Campbell.

" ' Mrs. Douglas Campbell, of Wexton Hall, of a son, which
survived but a few hours after birth.' "

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" I am very sorry too, my dear Emma," replied Mr. Camp-
bell ; " Mr. Douglas Campbell's kindness to us must make us
feel for any misfortune which may happen to him, and to
rejoice in any blessing which may be bestowed upon him."

" It must have been a serious disappointment," said Mrs.
Campbell; "but one which, if it pleases God, may be re-
placed ; and we may hope that their expectations, though
blighted for the present, may be realised on some future
occasion."

" Here is a letter from Colonel Forster, which I over-
looked," said Mr. Campbell; "it was between the envelope.
He says that he has received an answer from the Governor,
who fully agrees with him in his views on the subject we
were conversing about, and has allowed him to take any
steps which he may think advisable. The Colonel says that
he will call upon me again in a few days, and that if in the
meantime, I will let him know how many soldiers I wish to
employ, he will make arrangements to meet my views as far
as lies in his power. We have to thank Heaven for sending
us friends, at all events," continued Mr. Campbell ; " but at
present, we will put his letter aside, and return to our English
news."

" Dear England !" exclaimed Emma.

" Yes, dear England, my good girl ; we are English, and
can love our country as much now as we did when we lived
in it. We are still English, and in an English colony ; it has
pleased Heaven to remove us away from our native land, but
our hearts and feelings are still the same, and so will all
English hearts be found to be in every settlement made by
our country all over the wide world. We all glory in being
English, and have reason to be proud of our country. May
the feelings never be lost, but have an elevating influence
upon our general conduct ! "



CHAPTER XXVI

J_T was very nearly five weeks before Henry returned from
his expedition to Montreal. During this time, the Colonel
had repeated his visit and made arrangements with Mr.

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Campbell. A party of twenty soldiers had been sent to
work at felling timber and splitting rails, for whose services
Mr. Campbell paid as before. The winter house and palisade
fence for the sheep were put in hand, and great progress
was made in a short time, now that so many people were
employed. They had also examined the stream for some
distance, to ascertain which would be the most eligible site
for the water-mill, and had selected one nearly half a mile
from the shore of the lake, and where there was a considerable
fall, and the stream ran with great rapidity. It was not,
however, expected that the mill would be erected until
the following year, as it was necessary to have a millwright
and all the machinery from either Montreal or Quebec. It
was intended that the estimate of the expense should be
.given in, the contract made, and the order given during the
autumn, so that it might be all ready for the spring of the
next year. It was on a Monday morning that Henry arrived
from the fort, where he had stayed the Sunday, having
reached it late on Saturday night. The bateaux, with the
stock and stores, he had left at the fort ; they were to come
round during the day, but Henry's impatience to see the
family would not allow him to Wait. He was, as may be
supposed, joyfully received, and as scon as the first recog-
nitions were over, he proceeded to acquaint his father with
what he had done. He had obtained from a Canadian
farmer forty ewes of very fair stock, although not anything
equal to the English ; but the agent had worked hard for
him, and procured him twenty English sheep and two rams
of the best kind, to improve the breed. For the latter he
had to pay rather dear, but they were worth any money to
Mr. Campbell, who was quite delighted with the acquisition.
In selecting the sheep, of course Henry was obliged to depend
on the agent and the parties he employed, as he was no judge
himself; but he had, upon his own judgment, purchased two
Canadian horses, for Henry had been long enough at Oxford
to know the points of a horse, and as they turned out, he
had made a very good bargain. He had also bought a sow
and pigs of an improved breed, and all the other ccmmissions
had been properly executed ; the packages of skins also
realised the price which had been put on them. As it may
be supposed, he was full of news, talking about Montreal, the

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parties he had been invited to, and the people with whom he
had become acquainted. He had not forgotten to purchase
some of the latest English publications for his cousins, besides
a few articles of millinery, which he thought not too gay for
their present position. He was still talking, and probably
would have gone on talking for hours longer, so many were
the questions which he had to reply to, when Martin came
in and announced the arrival of the bateaux with the stores
and cattle, upon which they all went down to the beach to
see them disembarked and brought up by the soldiers, who
were at work. The stores were carried up to the door of the
storehouse, and the sheep and horses were turned into the
prairie with the cows. A week s rations for the soldiers were
;Uso brought up from the fort, and the men were very busy
in the distribution, and carrying them to the little temporary
huts of boughs which they had raised for their accommodation,
during the time they worked for Mr. Campbell. Before the
evening set in everything was arranged, and Henry was
again surrounded by the family and replying to their remain-
ing interrogatories. He told them that the Governor of
Montreal had sent them an invitation to pass the winter at
Government House, and promised the young ladies that no
wolf should venture to come near to them, and that the aides-
de-camp had requested the honour of their hands at the first
ball, which should be given after their arrival, at which they
all laughed heartily. In short, it appeared that nothing
could equal the kindness and hospitality which had been
shown to him, and that there was no doubt, if they chose to
go there, that it would be equally extended to the other
members of the family.

There was a pause in the conversation, when Malachi
addressed Mr. Campbell.

" Martin wishes me to speak to you, sir," said Malachi.

" Martin," said Mr. Campbell, looking round for him, and
perceiving that he was not in the room ; " why, yes, I per-
ceive he is gone out. What can it be that he cannot say for
himself? "

"That's just what I said to him," replied Malachi; "but
he thought it were better to come through me ; the fact is,
sir, that he has taken a liking to the Strawberry, and wishes
to make her his wife."

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" Indeed ! "

" Yes, sir ; I don't think that he would have said anything
about it as yet, but you see, there are so many soldiers here,
and two or three of them are of Martin's mind, and that
makes him feel uncomfortable till the thing is settled ; and
as he can't well marry while in your service without your
leave, he has asked me to speak about it."

"Well, but the Strawberry is your property, not mine,
Malachi."

" Yes, sir, according to Indian fashion, I am her father ;
but I've no objection, and shan't demand any presents
for her."

" Presents for her ! why, we in general give presents or
money with a wife," said Emma.

" Yes, I know you do, but English wives ain't Indian wives ;
an English wife requires people to work for her, and costs
money to keep, but an Indian wife works for herself and her
husband, so she is of value and is generally bought of the
father ; I reckon in the end that it's cheaper to pay for an
Indian wife than to receive money with an English one ; but
that's as may be."

"That's not a very polite speech of yours, Malachi," said
Mrs. Campbell.

" Perhaps it ain't, ma'am, but it's near the mark, neverthe-
less. Now I am willing that Martin should have the Straw-
berry, because I know that he is a smart hunter, and will
keep her well ; and somehow or another, I feel that if he
made her his wife, I should be more comfortable ; I shall live
with them here close by, and Martin will serve you, and
when he has a wife he will not feel inclined to change service
and go into the woods."

" I think it is an excellent proposal, Malachi, and am much
pleased with it, as we now shall have you all together," said
Mrs. Campbell.

" Yes, ma'am, so you will, and then I'll be always with the
boy to look after him, and you'll always know where we are,
and not be frightened."

"Very true, Malachi," said Mr. Campbell; "I consider it
a very good arrangement. We must build you a better lodge
than the one that you are in."

"No, sir, not a better one, for if you have all you want,

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you can't want more ; it's big enough, but perhaps not quite
near enough. I'm thinking that when the sheep-fold is
finished, it might be as well to raise our lodge inside of the
palisades, and then we shall be a sort of guard to the
creatures."

"A very excellent idea, Malachi ; well then, as far as I am
concerned, Martin has my full consent to marry as soon as he
pleases."

" And mine, if it is at all necessary," observed Mrs.
Campbell.

"But who is to marry them?" said Emma; "they have
no chaplain at the fort : he went away last year."

" Why, miss, they don't want no chaplain ; she is an Indian
girl, and he will marry her Indian-fashion."

" But what fashion is that, Malachi ? " said Mary.

" Why, miss, he'll come to the lodge, and fetch her away
to his own house."

Alfred burst out into laughter. "That's making short
work of it," said he.

"Yes, rather too short for my approval," said Mrs. Camp-
bell. " Malachi, it's very true that the Strawberry is an
Indian girl, but we are not Indians, and Martin is not an
Indian, neither are you who stand as her father ; indeed, I
cannot consent to give my sanction to such a marriage."

" Well, ma'am, as you please, but it appears to me to be
all right. If you go into a country and wish to marry a girl
of that country, you marry her according to the rules of that
country. Now, Martin seeks an Indian squaw, and why not
therefore marry her after Indian fashion ? "

" You may be right, Malachi, in your argument," said Mrs.
Campbell ; " but still you must make allowances for our
prejudices. We never should think that she was a married
woman, if no further ceremony was to take place than what
you propose."

" Well, ma'am, just as you please ; but still, suppose you
marry them after your fashion, the girl won't understand a
word that is said, so what good will it do ? "

" None to her at present, Malachi ; but recollect, if she is
not a Christian at present, she may be hereafter ; I have
often thought upon that subject, and although I feel it use-
less to speak to her just now, yet as soon as she understands

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English well enough to know what I say to her, I hope to
persuade her to become one. Now, if she should become a
Christian, as I hope in God she will, she then will perceive
that she has not been properly married, and will be anxious
to have the ceremony properly performed over again ; so why
not do it now ? "

" Well, ma'am, if it pleases you, I have no objection ; I'm
sure Martin will have none."

" It will please me very much, Malachi," replied Mrs.
Campbell.

" And although there is no chaplain at the fort," observed
Mr. Campbell, " yet the Colonel can marry in his absence ;
a marriage by a commanding officer is quite legal."

"Yes," replied Alfred, "and so is one by a captain of a
man-of-war."

" So be it then," replied Malachi, " the sooner the better,
for the soldiers are very troublesome, and I cannot keep
them out of my lodge."

Martin, who had remained outside the door and overheard
all that passed, now came in ; the subject was again can-
vassed, and Martin returned his thanks for the permission
given to him.

" Well," said Emma, " I little thought we should have
a wedding in the family so soon ; this is quite an event.
Martin, I wish you joy you will have a very pretty and a
very good wife."

" I think so too, miss," replied Martin.

"Where is she ?" said Mary.

"She is in the garden, miss," said' Malachi, "getting out
of the way of the soldiers ; now that the work is done, they
torment her not a little, and she is glad to escape from them.
I'd tell them to go away, but they don't mind me ; they
know I must not use my rifle."

" I should hope not," replied Mrs. Campbell, " it would be
hard to shoot a good man merely because he wished to marry
your daughter."

"Why, yes, ma'am, it would," replied Malachi, "so the
sooner she is given to Martin the sooner we shall have
peace."

As the boat was continually going backward and forward
between the fort and the farm, Mr. Campbell wrote to the

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Colonel, stating what they wished him to do, and the Colonel
appointed that day week, on which he would come and
perform the ceremony. It was a little fete at the farm.
Mrs. Campbell and the Miss Percivals dressed themselves
more than usually smart, so did all the males of the esta-
blishment ; a better dinner than usual was prepared, as the
Colonel and some of the officers were to dine and spend the
day with them. Martin was very gaily attired, and in high
spirits. The Strawberry had on a new robe of young deer-
skin, and had a flower or two in her long black hair ; she
looked as she was, very pretty and very modest, but not at
all embarrassed. The marriage ceremony was explained to
her by Malachi, and she cheerfully consented. Before noon
the marriage took place, and an hour or two afterward they
sat down to a well-furnished table, and the whole party were
very merry, particularly as the Colonel, who was most un-
usually gay, insisted upon the Strawberry sitting at the table,
which she had never done before. She acquitted herself,
however, without embarrassment, and smiled when they
laughed, although she could understand but little of what
they said. Mr. Campbell opened two of his bottles of wine
to celebrate the day, and they had a very happy party ; the
only people who were discontented were three or four of the
soldiers outside, who had wanted to marry the Strawberry
themselves ; but the knowledge that the Colonel was there
effectually put a stop to anything like annoyance or disturb-
ance on their part. At sunset, the Colonel and officers de-
parted for the fort, the family remained in the house till past
ten o'clock, by which time all the soldiers had gone to bed.
Mr. Campbell then read prayers, and offered up an additional
one for the happiness of the newly-married couple, after
which they all saluted the Strawberry and wished her good
night : she was then led to the lodge by Martin, accompanied
by Alfred, Henry, Malachi, Percival, and John, who all went
home with them as a guard from any interruption on the
part of the disappointed suitors.



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CHAPTER XXVII

JiOW cheerful and gay everything looks now," observed
Emma to Mary, a few mornings after the celebration of the
marriage. "One could hardly credit that in a few months
all this animated landscape will be nothing but one dreary
white mass of snow and ice, with no sounds meeting the
ear but the howling of the storm and the howling of the
wolves."

"Two very agreeable additions certainly," replied Mary,
"but what you observe was actually occurring- to my own
mind at the very moment."

The scene was indeed cheerful and lively. The prairie on
one side of the stream waved its high grass to the summer
breeze ; on the other, the cows, horses, and sheep were
grazing in every direction. The lake in the distance was
calm and unruffled ; the birds were singing and chirping
merrily in the woods ; near the house the bright green of
the herbage was studded with the soldiers, dressed in white,
employed in various ways ; the corn waved its yellow ears
between the dark stumps of the trees in the cleared land,
and the smoke from the chimney of the house mounted
straight up in a column to the sky ; the grunting of the pigs
and the cackling of the fowls, and the occasional bleating of
the calves, responded to by the lowing of the cows, gave life
and animation to the picture. At a short distance from the
shore the punt was floating on the still waters. John and
Malachi were very busy fishing ; the dogs were lying down
by the palisades, all except Oscar, who, as usual, attended
upon his young mistresses ; and under the shade of a large
tree, at a little distance from the house, were Mr. Campbell
and Percival, the former reading while the other was conning
over his lesson.

"This looks but little like a wilderness now, Mary, does
it ? " said Emma.

" No, my dear sister. It is very different from what it was
when we first came ; but still I should like to have some
neighbours."

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" So should I ; any society is better than none at all."

" There I do not agree with you ; at the same time, I
think we could find pleasure in having about us even those
who are not cultivated, provided they were respectable and



Online LibraryFrederick MarryatPoor Jack; and The settlers in Canada → online text (page 47 of 58)