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three hundred miles beyond the ing subjects of interest to me, place last mentioned. In all and received gratifying informathese different parts, it appeared tion! I recollect that once, while to me not to have exceeded a in the State of Maine, I passed quarter of a mile in breadth.' such a night as I have described.
Next morning the face of nature
was obscured by the heavy rains IN PERIL OF FIRE.
that fell in torrents, and my “With what pleasure have I generous host begged me to reseated myself by the blazing fire main in such pressing terms, of some lonely cabin, when, faint that I was well content to acwith fatigue and chilled with the cept his offer. Breakfast over, piercing blast, I had forced my the business of the day comway to it through the drifted menced: the spinning wheels snows that covered the face of went round, and the boys emthe country as with a mantle ! ployed themselves, one in searchThe affectionate mother is hush-ing for knowledge, another in ing her dear babe to repose, attempting to solve some tickwhile a group of sturdy children lish arithmetical problem. In surround their father, who has a corner lay the dogs, dreaming just returned from the chase, of plunder, while close to the and deposited on the rough ashes stood grimalkin, seriously flooring of his hut the varied purring in concert with the game which he has procured. wheels. The hunter and I, The great black log, that with having seated ourselves each some difficulty has been rolled on a stool, while the matron into the ample chimney, urged, looked after her domestic aras it were, by lighted pieces of rangements, I requested him to pine, sends forth a blaze of light give me an account of the events over the happy family. The dogs resulting from those fires which of the hunter are already lick- he had witnessed. Willingly ing away the trickling waters of he at once went on, nearly as the thawing icicles that sparkle follows :over their shaggy coats, and the ** About twenty-five years ago, comfort-loving cat is busied in the larch or hackmitack trees passing her furry paws over each were nearly all killed by insects. ear, or with her rough tongue This took place in what heresmoothing her glossy coat. abouts is called the 'black soft
"How delightful to me has it growth’land, that is, the spruce, been, when, kindly received and pine, and all other firs. The hospitably treated under such a destruction of these trees was roof, by persons whose means eftected by insects cutting the were as scanty as their generosity leaves; and you must know that, was great, I have entered into though other trees are not killed conversation with them respect by the loss of their leaves, the
evergreens always are. Some which I had ranged in the few years after this destruction woods, suddenly awakened us. of the larch, the same insects I took yon rifle, and went to attacked the spruces, pines, and the door to see what beast had other firs in such a manner, that caused the hubbub, when I was before half a dozen years were struck by the glare of light reover they began to fall, and, flected on all the trees before tumbling in all directions, they me as far as I could see through covered the whole country with the woods. My horses were matted masses. You may sup- leaping about, snorting loudly, pose that, when partially dried and the cattle ran among them, or seasoned, they would prove with their tails raised straight capital fuel, as well as supplies over their backs.
On going for the devouring flames which to the back of the house, I accidentally, or perhaps by in- plainly heard the crackling tention, afterwards raged over made by the burning brushthe country, and continued burn- wood, and saw the flames coming at intervals for years, in many ing towards us in a far extended places stopping all communica line. I ran to the house, told tion by the roads; the resinous my wife to dress herself and the nature of the firs being of course child as quickly as possible, and best fitted to ensure and keep take what little money we had, up the burning of the deep while I managed to catch and beds of dry leaves of the other saddle the two best horses. All trees.
this was done in a very short ““I dare say that what I have time, for I guessed that every told you brings sad recollections moment was precious to us. to the minds of my wife and €“We then mounted, and eldest daughter, who, with my- made off from the fire. My self, had to fly from our home wife, who is an excellent rider, at the time of the great fires." stuck close to me; my daughter,
'I felt so interested in his re- who was then a small child, I lation of the causes of the burn- took in one arm. When makings, that I asked him to de- ing off, as I said, I looked back, scribe to me the particulars of and saw that the frightful blaze his misfortunes at the time. was close upon us, and had al
““It is a difficult thing, sir, ready laid hold of the house. to describe ; but I will do my By good luck there was a horn best to make your time pass attached to my hunting clothes, pleasantly. We were sound and I blew it, to bring after us, asleep one night, in a cabin if possible, the remainder of my about a hundred miles from live stock, as well as the dogs. this, when, about two hours be- The cattle followed for awhile; fore day, the snorting of the but before an hour had elapsed, horses and lowing of the cattle, they all ran as if mad through
the woods, and that, sir, was the The heat of the smoke was inlast of them. My dogs, too, al- sufferable, and sheets of blazing though at all other times ex- fire flew over us in a manner tremely tractable, ran after the beyond belief. We reached the deer that in bodies sprang be- shores, however, coasted the fore us, as if fully aware of the lake for a while, and got round death that was so rapidly ap- to the lee side.
There we gave proaching
up our horses, which we never 6“ We heard blasts from the saw again. Down among the horns of our neighbours as we rushes we plunged by the edge proceeded, and knew that they of the water, and laid ourselves were in the same predicament. flat, to wait the chance of escapIntent on striving to the ut- ing from being burnt or demost to preserve our lives, Ivoured. The water refreshed thought of a large lake, some us, and we enjoyed the coolmiles off, which might possibly ness. check the flames; and urging 666 On went the fire, rushing my wife to whip up her horse, and crashing through the woods. we set off at full speed, making Such a sight may we the best way we could over the see! The heavens themselves, fallen trees and the brush heaps, I thought, were frightened; for which lay like so many articles all above us was a red glare, placed on purpose to keep up mixed with clouds of smoke, the terrific fires that advanced rolling and sweeping away. Our with a broad front upon us. bodies were cool enough, but
““ By this time we could feel our heads were scorching; and the heat, and we were afraid the child, who now seemed to that our horses would drop every understand the matter, instant. A singular kind of as nearly to break our hearts. breeze was passing over our The day passed on, and we beheads, and the glare of the came hungry. Many wild beasts atmosphere shone over the day- came plunging into the water light. I was sensible of a slight beside us, andothers swam across faintness, and my wife looked to our side, and stood still. Alpale. The heat had produced though faint and weary, I mansuch a flush in the child's face, aged to shoot a porcupine, and that when she turned towards we all tasted its flesh. The either of us, our grief and per- night passed I cannot tell you plexity were greatly increased. how. Smouldering fires covered Ten miles, you know, are soon the ground, and the trees stood gone over on swift horses; but like pillars of fire, or fell across notwithstanding this, when we each other. The stifling and reached the borders of the lake, sickening smoke still rushed covered with sweat and quite over us, and the burnt cinders exhausted, our hearts failed us. and ashes fell thick about us.
How we got through that night shifted in the best manner we I really cannot tell, for about could, we at last reached the some of it I remember nothing. hard woods, which had been
““Towards morning, although free of the fire. Soon after we the heat did not abate, the smoke came to a house, where we were became less, and blasts of fresh kindly treated for a while. Since air sometimes made their way then, sir, I have worked hard to us. When morning came, all and constantly as a lumberer; was calm ; but a dismal smoke but thanks be to God, here we still filled the air, and the smell are, safe, sound, and happy." seemed worse than ever. We were now cooled enough, and shivered as if in an ague fit; so
A TERRIBLE DILEMMA. we removed from the water, and ‘On my return from the Upwent up to a burning log, where per Mississippi, I found myself we warmed ourselves. What obliged to cross one of the wide was to become of us I did not prairies which, in that portion know. My wife hugged the of the United States, vary the child to her breast, and wept appearance of the country. The bitterly; but God had preserved weather was fine; all around us through the worst of the dan- me was as fresh and blooming ger, and the flames had gone as if it had just issued from the past, so I thought it would be bosom of nature. My knapboth ungrateful to Him and sack, my gun, and my dog were unmanly to despair now. Hun- all I had for baggage and comger once more pressed upon us ; pany. The track which I folbut this was easily remedied. | lowed was an old Indian trace; Several deer were still standing and as darkness overshadowed in the water, up to the head, the prairie, I felt some desire and I shot one of them. Some to reach at least a copse, in of its flesh was soon roasted; and which I might lie down to rest. after eating it, we felt wonder- The night-hawks were skimming fully strengthened.
over and around me, attracted ** By this time the blaze of by the buzzing wings of the the fire was beyond our sight, beetles, which form their food; although the ground was still and the distant howlings of burning in many places, and it wolves gave me some hope that was dangerous to go among the I should soon arrive at the skirts burnt trees. After resting awhile, of some woodland. and trimming ourselves, we pre 'I did so; and almost at the pared to commence our march. same instant a fire-light attracted Taking up the child, I led the my eye. I moved towards it, way over the hot ground and full of confidence that it prorocks; and after two weary days ceeded from the camp of some ind nights, during which we wandering Indians. I was mis
taken. I discovered by its was in the act of discharging an glare that it was from the hut of arrow at a racoon in the top of a small log-cabin, and that a talla tree, the arrow had split upon figure passed and repassed be the cord, and sprung back with tween it and me, as if busily such violence into his right eye engaged in household arrange- as to destroy it for ever. ments.
'Feeling hungry, I inquired 'I reached the spot, and pre- what sort of fare I might expect. senting myself at the door, asked Such a thing as a bed was not the tall figure, which proved to to be seen, but many large unbe a woman, if I might take tanned bear and buffalo hides shelter under her roof for the lay piled in a corner. I drew night. Her voice was gruff, a fine timepiece from my breast, and her attire negligently thrown and told the woman that it was about her. She answered in late, and that I was fatigued. the affirmative. I walked in, She had espied my watch, the took a stool, and quietly seated richness of which seemed to myself by the fire. The next operate upon her feelings with object that attracted my atten- electric quickness. She told tion was a finely-formed young me that there was plenty of Indian, resting his head between venison and jerked buffalo his hands, with his elbows on meat, and that on removing his knees. A long-bow rested the ashes I should find a cake. against the log-wall near him, But my watch had struck her while a quantity of arrows and fancy, and her curiosity had to two or three racoon skins lay at be gratified by an immediate his feet. He moved not-he sight of it. I took off the gold apparently breathed not. Ac-chain that securedit from around customed to the habits of the my neck, and presented it to Indians, and knowing that they her. She was all ecstasy, spoke pay little attention to the ap- of its beauty, asked me its value, proach of civilised strangers (a and put the chain round her circumstance which in some brawny neck, saying how happy countries is considered as evinc- the possession of such a watch ing the apathy of their character), would make her. Thoughtless, I addressed him in French, a and as I fancied myself in so language not unfrequently par- retired a spot secure, I paid tially known to the people in little attention to her talk or that neighbourhood. He raised her movements.
her movements. I helped my his head, pointed to one of his dog to a good supper of venison, eyes with his finger, and gave and was not long in satisfying me a significant glance with the the demands of my own appetite. other. His face was covered “The Indian rose from his with blood. The fact was, that seat, as if in extreme suffering. about an hour before this, as he He passed and repassed me