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Title: The Maple Leaf Vol. II No. 5 May 1853

Date of first publication: 1853

Author: Eleanor H. Lay (18??-1904)

Date first posted: November 5, 2023

Date last updated: November 5, 2023

Faded Page eBook #20231106

This eBook was produced by: John Routh & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net


This is a small island in the Sorel, important to this country as a military outpost in the direction of the United States. It is strongly fortified, and commands the outlet of Lake Champlain. Its surface is not varied, but is low and marshy, especially on the northern side, where the wild fowls gather in the shooting season, and offer fine sport to the lovers of such amusement. The French occupied this island in 1759, when they fled from Chimney Point. They raised fortifications along its shores, and considered it a strong place. They named it in reference to the great number of walnut and hazel trees that were found growing there. They only retained the control of the island a short time;—Lord Amherst dispossessed them in 1760, while on his way to invest Montreal.

During the war in 1775, Isle aux Noix was used in common by English and American troops as a stopping-place, while moving up and down the Lake; and it was here that the officers of both armies consulted on matters of importance. In 1813, the English Government ordered strong fortifications to be constructed all along the island, and sent a strong party to occupy the garrison.

The events of those times interest us all. The recollections which gather round Isle aux Noix, belong equally to the French, the English, and the American—and the sight of its long line of ramparts awakens in each, associations at once pleasing and patriotic. Our forefathers acted a brave part while pioneering for us, their favored children, the difficult enterprises that have opened to us such peace and prosperity. We enjoy so much, see and hear so many pleasant things, without finding it necessary to make any exertion, that we are in danger of looking too much to our present ease, loving, our own comfort, and becoming selfish and careless. Great spirits were Montcalm, and Wolf, and Amherst, and Allen—men who felt fatigue a pleasure—men whose minds planned, and whose wills performed feats of bravery. How fearfully trying must have been their marches through the wilderness. Few roads then wound through our country—the broad lake or river offered a highway in summer, but their boats were clumsy and moved slowly. The land, especially in that part near the River Sorel, is low and marshy. Imagine an army heavily munitioned, marching from St. Johns towards Montreal—baggage waggons sinking in the mud—engineering parties cutting down trees, and trying to construct a rough road as they advance—men’s hearts failing them for fear of the lurking savage—night coming on, camp fires lighted—the distant howling of the wolf—the cry of the catamount, and the hooting of the owl, borne to their ears on the evening breeze—every strange sound, or undefined form of broken tree converted into an approaching enemy—the keen cold of our autumn weather stiffening their limbs—insufficient clothing, and indifferent rations completing their misery; and you have only a faint conception of the severe struggles which the brave armies and heroic settlers of this country endured, long before steamboats furrowed our waters, or bridges spanned our rivers, or railroads introduced our cities to each other.


Sleigh bells! who has not listened for their glad music, when friends or dear ones have been waited for? who has not watched for them, perhaps hopefully, perhaps anxiously, perhaps in that agony of suspense which has made their first tone seem as if struck from the very heart? Surely, if the term “joy bells” can ever be rightly applied, it must be to those blithesome heralds of friends approaching. The very house-dog knows his master’s bells, and changes his warning bark, as he recognises them, to one of joyous welcome.

One evening, the close of a March day,—it matters not how long ago,—that merry peal might have been heard approaching the shore of one of the fairest of these island-studded “back lakes,” which, if they cannot vie with the broad Huron and Ontario in grandeur, yield in beauty to none of their mighty rivals. The winter had been severe and protracted, and the lake was still frozen over, but the ice had been for some days reckoned unsafe, and in the darkness which was now fast gathering over all things, to cross upon it seemed a perilous attempt.

The person who now appeared, however, driving rapidly towards the shore; looked like one who had braved such dangers many a time before. Every thing about him, from his own blanket coat and crimson sash, to the rough but powerful team he drove, and the shaggy, good-natured collier dog which lay at his feet in the sleigh, spoke the true back-woodsman—one of those hardy, fearless, much-enduring men, who seem made to be the pioneers of civilization, clearing away forests for others to plant cities in their room.

As the night, however, closed about him, it became evident, that even to him the prospect of crossing the unsound ice in the darkness was far from welcome. “It will be as dark as pitch,” said he, half aloud, “and the ice is rotten in a dozen places. Well, there’s no help for it now, and I know the road blindfold. Once safe on the other side, and I’ve done with the ice for this winter. I promised Mary this should be the last time.”

As the young teamster, for such he was, spoke, he urged his already tired horses to greater speed, for their hoofs were plashing in several inches of water, and the ice beneath was in a state which allowed no dallying by the way.

The moon had not risen, nor could she have given him any assistance if she had, for the sky was covered with thick, black, clouds, and not so much as a solitary star peeped forth through the gloom. Relying, however, on his own knowledge of the track, James Gray drove on fearlessly, until he was convinced that he must be nearing a point where it became necessary to make a wide detour, to avoid a spot where the ice was both thin and unsound. Rising to his feet in the sleigh, he peered eagerly into the darkness, to ascertain, if possible, his exact position.

Well was it for him that he did so, as by that movement he freed his limbs from the encumbrance of sundry empty bags, horse cloths, &c., which, when not required for their legitimate uses, were gathered about him as defences from the raw night air.

Even as he stood gazing wistfully forward into the black night, not daring greatly to slacken his horses’ speed, where the foundation on which they stood was at best so precarious, the brittle ice yielded, cracked, and finally gave way with a fearful crash, breaking into a thousand fragments, upon which the frightened animals vainly struggled to regain their footing.—There were a few terrible convulsive efforts, a wild snort of terror, and then horses and sleigh disappeared in the black chasm.

As he felt the sleigh sinking under him, Gray sprang out of it, with a strong, sudden bound but the treacherous ice again broke under him; he clung to its edge with the grasp of a drowning man, but though it supported his weight in the water, it crumbled and gave way beneath him, as often as he attempted, by its aid, to extricate himself from his terrible position. He shouted for help till his voice failed him, but no man heard or answered to his call. Then, as he literally hung there between life and death, his thoughts turned, as those of all human beings in such sore straits must, to One whose ear is never closed, and he “cried unto the Lord in his trouble.”

“God have mercy upon me,” broke from his whitened lips, as he clutched yet closer the jagged edges of the ice, which his numbed fingers now could scarcely feel. At this instant something swam by him, and a struggling and panting sound told him that his poor dog was still near him, striving, like himself, to escape from the abyss into which they had been so suddenly plunged. Even in his own utmost need, the brave man could still spare a thought for his faithful friend.

Releasing, for an instant, his hold by one hand, he seized the poor creature, and flung him as far as possible upon the firmer ice. He heard him shake his shaggy coat, and then, after a brief pause, as if in doubt whether to remain and share his master’s fate, set off at full speed in the direction of his home. A ray of hope flashed at once through the mind of the despairing man. He well knew that Watch’s appearance, alone and dripping with water, would arouse the fears of the anxious wife, who awaited his return; she would probably surmise the truth, and then he felt that nothing would be left undone that human power could do, to seek for, and if possible, to save him. Minute succeeded minute—time, which, to him, seemed like eternity, passed by, and still he clung with that vice-like grip to his frail support. Through his half-maddened brain all the scenes of his early boyhood, of his young, vigorous manhood, passed in rapid review; but above all rose the image of that fair, fond, young wife, as he had seen her that morning standing at his side, with her baby in her arms, and forcing him to repeat, again and again, the promise that this journey across the lake should be the last. The last! the words seemed to ring in his ears; and as his brain whirled, and his senses swam, in that unutterable agony, a voice of fiendish mockery seemed to shriek them out—for the last time! for the last time!

      *      *      *      *      *      

Meanwhile, in the neat, cheerful, humble home, on the farther-shore, sat the expectant wife, awaiting the coming of her husband, listening eagerly for the first sound of his well-known bells. It was Saturday evening, and the small log house wore its neatest aspect, to welcome the return at once of the Sabbath and of its master. Everything, including Mary herself and her boy, was as neat and pleasant to the eye, as hands could make it; and a fair object she was, as, seated by the cradle of her child, she plied her knitting-needles busily, or now and then interrupted her occupation to raise her head and listen.

Suddenly she started up, as a scratching and whining noise at the door caught her ear. She threw the door wide open and poor Watch sprang over the threshold, wet, panting, and alone. The moon was shining feebly now, and one glance showed Mary that her husband was not there—another at the dog’s dripping coat, told her that her fears were but too well realized. A dizzy sickness came over her. It passed in an instant, and she stood, pale indeed as death, but with every faculty aroused, every nerve strung, to meet the need of the moment. Time enough would there be for tears and wailings, should the worst prove true; at present she must act—not waste, in idle sorrow, moments as precious as years.

Half-way between Mary’s cottage and the lake, stood the rude cabin of an honest Irishman, who, with his “boys,” two stalwart young men, had come, not long before, to reside in the neighborhood. In less than five minutes, Mary was on her way thither; her infant, warmly wrapped up, clasped even more closely than usual to her bosom, as if she feared to lose what might now be her only earthly treasure.

Great was the astonishment of honest Tim Martin and his household, when Mary Gray suddenly appeared in their midst, (none of them ever knew exactly how she came there, for she had entered without knock or call,) and still greater was the sympathy of their kind hearts, when, in accents of forced calmness, she told her story, expressing her belief that something, (she could not bring herself to speak more plainly,) had befallen her husband, and imploring them to aid her in her search for him. Gladly would they have persuaded her to remain in the cabin with the good dame, while they went forth upon the search; but Mary was inflexibly determined to share in it.

“Ye can be of no use, darlin,” said the good-hearted fellow, when the simple preparations for starting were completed; “ye’re better here by far; you, too, that slip about upon the ice like a cat in walnut shells.”

“I shall stand as firm to-night as any of you,” said Mary, as she gave her child to Mrs. Martin, and stepped out of the cabin. “It’s no use talking, Mr. Martin; do you think I can sit here when James is perhaps—” She could not finish the sentence, but she was understood.

With rapid steps the little party set off, followed by the dog, which, however, they lost sight of soon after they left the shore. Mary kept her promise of standing firm upon the slippery surface of the lake, for a far deeper fear had banished all timidity for herself, and it would scarcely have been felt had her path been through burning coals. Long and carefully did they search, narrowly examining every crack and fissure in the ice, where it seemed at all possible that the catastrophe they dreaded, but would not name, might have taken place. At length one of the young men, who was a little in advance of the rest, suddenly started back, with an exclamation of surprise, and lifting the lantern he carried, shewed them a yawning gulf but a few feet from where they stood.

“There was no hole here this morning,” he whispered to his brother; but low as was the tone in which he had spoken, it struck like a knell upon the wife’s ear. With a sudden, mad impulse, she sprang towards the chasm, but was instantly stopped by a strong but kindly hand. “Ah! thin, the crathur,” said the kind Irishman; “sure ye wouldn’t think of it. Think of the boy at home, jewel; why should ye lave him too?” Mary felt all that these words were meant to imply; but the sinful impulse was checked, and, burying her face in her hands, tears—hot, burning tears—came to relieve her breaking heart.

Suddenly a low whine caught the ear of one of the young Irishmen, and at the same instant a faint gleam of moonlight showed him the dog at a little distance, standing at the edge of the chasm and looking fixedly downwards, apparently at the black waters below. With a mute sign to the others to keep Mary back, he crept cautiously round towards the faithful animal, and there, still clinging with that desperate, straining grasp to the rough edge, he saw James Gray, speechless, motionless, and evidently almost gone.

The lost was found, but his extrication was still not easy.—The ice under the brave youth’s feet cracked and strained, as, creeping as near to the edge as temerity itself could dare to go, he threw round the half lifeless body the knotted rope with which he had come provided.

A few minutes more, and the now rejoicing little party were on their homeward way, bearing in their arms the rescued one, while Mary walked beside, now audibly blessing her kind, truehearted friends—now, in the silent depths of her heart, offering up thanksgivings to Him who had thus given her back her husband from the very gates of death.

My simple tale is told. James Gray is now a thriving farmer, with more gray than dark hairs upon his head. Mary has become a grave but gentle matron, with many fair young faces smiling round her, but neither has ever forgotten that awful night; and still when winter comes round again, and the frozen lake lies glittering in the sunbeams, “a sea of glass like unto crystal,” do the thoughts of both travel backwards—hers to that agonizing search, and his to the untold, unspeakable sensations of that fearful Hour in the Ice.

Rhoda A. Page.

Cobourg, January 15, 1853.



Mother, dear mother, I heard its voice,

And how did my heart at that sound rejoice;

The note of the beautiful summer bird,

O, long is it since that note I heard!


Sweet summer is coming, I long to bound,

With the footstep free o’er the gladden’d ground;

By the bright streams freed from their ice-bound chain,

Mother, sweet summer is coming again!


Say, shall we not roam by the calm lake’s side?

Or deep in the shady valley’s hide?

While of England you tell sweet tales to me,

The land of thy fathers so loved by thee?


The mother gazed on her boy so fair,

And her fingers played with his waving hair,

But the tears o’er her beautiful child fell fast,

As her spirit wandered to days long past.


O glad was the time when with joy I heard,

Like thee, my bright one, the summer bird;

In my childhood’s home, were those notes to me

Ever the message of hope and glee!


But deep thoughts now in my soul have place,

And I mourn as I gaze on that loving face,

That the dear ones bound by fond ties to me,

May not pour their love as they would on thee.


Mother! sweet mother, O weep no more,

Or longer think of the days of yore,

My father’s heart it would grieve to see,

O’er the past you were thinking mournfully.


She raised her head at the name of him,

Without whom Earth’s brightest spot were dim,

And the tears to a sunny smile gave way,

As the sun gleams forth on an April day.


Then with eyes of love o’er the woodland wild,

They gaze—the mother and fair haired child,

That with a welcome glad and sweet,

His homeward footsteps they may greet!


Hark! ’tis his step, and away they flew,

To be clasp’d to that heart so fond and true,

And she felt e’en Fatherland was nought,

To the joy that lov’d one’s presence brought.

Fern Cliff, Rice Lake.


The word Lake has a musical sound, and an airy gracefulness in its written combinations. Its immaterial part, like some invisible fairy’s wand, calls up the most enchanting forms, and arrays the wealth of nature’s beauty before the mind. Around lakes are spread out the fairest landscapes, where sunlight reposes on gentle slopes, and sinuous outlines bound the horizon;—or we see in fancy, mountain and lofty precipice, covered with majestic pine and dark fir trees;—and relieving this severe scenery, bathing the base of the mountains, reflecting the grand old forest trees, embosomed amid ancient solitudes, the limpid waters of a lake present a picture in which beauty and sublimity are equally marked.

Lakes are nature’s lovely gems set in the arabesque style, and scattered up and down the world. Sometimes in the vast deserts of the north, they serve as homes for the finny tribes that dart swiftly through their cold depths—sometimes, they adorn shores where vine and flower, like wreaths of emerald, and ruby, and coral, are twined into bright clusters, festooning trees, and overhanging banks with gorgeous drapery. They contrast beautifully with the golden sands of Africa;—so thinks the traveller through her burning wastes, as he hails the little lake, with its tiny waves, and the luxuriant shade around its banks; and joyously does the wild horse of the desert refresh himself in its waters, and from afar the flying Zebra snuffs the perfume from its flowery banks, and hastes to share with Antelope, and River-horse, and myriads of wild animals, the grateful shelter and the cooling draught.

In our fancy sketches of the lakes of Italy,—and who has not tried to picture them?—we have not forgotten to unfold the rich tintings of the Italian sunsets, and the lofty outlines of the Alpine frontier, with its pinnacles, Mount Blanc and Mount St. Bernard seen amid the clouds; while the melody of the gondolier’s song wafted over the waters, the classic ruins of ancient temples, the stirring emotions inspired by historic memories, all most strangely assumed shape and form in our imaginary scene.

The lakes of Switzerland have long been celebrated for their enchanting situation. Lake Geneva, or Leman, as it is called, is 40 miles long, and 1230 feet above the level of the sea. Its waters are wonderfully transparent, and the surrounding scenery is magnificent. Lakes Ladoga and Onega, in Russia, lakes Wener and Wetter in Sweden, and numerous others, chequer the face of the country in Northern Europe. Lochs are characteristic of Scotland. Some of them are simply long arms of the sea, extending into the country. The lovely Loch Lomond ranks pre-eminent among them, with its broad expanse, wooded islands, promontories, bays, and the high mountain at its head. Loch Tay, surrounded by the Grampians, presents Alpine scenery on the grandest scale. Lakes are numerous in England. The taste for water views has dignified Lake Windemere, which is only 12 miles long, into importance. Lake Titicaca, in Bolivia, is elevated 12,795 feet above the level of the sea. Vessels made of plaited rushes skim over its surface. Wild storms often lash its waves into furious commotion, and frowning in its vicinity, the awful forms of Mount Sorato and Mount Illimani rear themselves above this elevated table land. The first rises 25,250 feet, and Mount Illimani to 24,350 feet, surpassing in elevation all the other peaks of the Andes. No visible outlet has yet been discovered through which this lake conveys its surplus waters.

The lakes of our own continent form the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. Like inland seas, they stretch over immense space, and bear on their surface fleets of vessels of all classes and sizes. The Lakes of North America are not formed by mountain torrents, but originate in the watery plains, whence the Mississippi and St. Lawrence take their rise. The great chain of lakes communicate with the ocean by the broad channel of the St. Lawrence; and as our population is rapidly increasing, they are becoming very important to commerce.—The scenery on the Canadian lakes is very beautiful. The lakes of the Upper Province have been much admired by travellers, and the angler and sportsman have been induced to come from a distance to enjoy the excitement and amusement of an encampment on their banks. Rice Lake is celebrated for its lovely variety of scenery. We have read some fine descriptions of the charming country around Rice Lake, and the views from different points on its shores, written by a Canadian authoress;[1] and we think her account of the wild fowl, excellent fish, and rich productions of that region, will greatly interest all who may peruse the work.

We should like to pursue this subject farther, but limited space warns us to draw our remarks to a close. We may, perhaps, refer to this subject at a future time.

Mrs. Traill, authoress of the Canadian Crusoes.


Cheever in his “Wanderings of a Pilgrim in the Alps,” relates an interesting philosophical fact, which we transcribe here, together with the apt comparison he has based upon it:—

“On account of the extreme rarity of the atmosphere at the great elevation of the Hospice, (of the Grand St. Bernard) the water boils at about 187 degrees of Fahrenheit, in consequence of which, it takes nearly as long again to cook meat as it would if the water boiled at the ordinary point of 212 degrees. The fire must be kept glowing, and the pot boiling, five hours, to cook a bit of meat, which it would have taken only three hours to get ready for the table, if the water would have waited till 212. This costs fuel, so that their dish of bouilli makes the monks consume an inordinate quantity of wood in the kitchen. On the other hand, it may take less fire to boil the kettle for tea, or to make coffee, or to boil an egg. As to the baked meats, we take it the oven is no slower in its work here than in the valleys; but for the business of boiling, they lose 25 degrees of heat, for want of that pressure of the atmosphere, which would keep the water quiet up to 212. Just so, some men’s moral and intellectual energies evaporate or go off in an untimely explosion, unless kept under forcible discipline and restraint. A man has no increase of strength after he gets to the boiling point. Some men boil over at 187; others wait till 212; others go still higher before they come to the boiling point; and the higher they go, the greater is the saving of intellectual fuel and time.”

[For the “Maple Leaf.”


She stood before him in the loveliness

And light of days long vanished; but her air

Was marked with tender sadness, as if care

Had left his traces written, though distress

Was felt no longer.—Through her shadowy dress

And the dark ringlets of her flowing hair,

Trembled the silvery moonbeams, as she there

Stood ’midst their weeping glory, motionless,

And pale as marble statue on a tomb.

But there were traits more heavenly in her face,

Than when her cheek was radiant with the bloom

Which his false love had bligh’ed—and she now

Came like some angel messenger of grace;

And looked forgiveness of his broken vow.


Agnes Strickland.

[For the “Maple Leaf.”



Having, as detailed in Chapter No. 1, arrived at the Grès, the reader will naturally expect a description of that place. In order that he may form some idea of the general landscape, let him fancy a large and swiftly flowing river, with high and richly wooded banks on either side; and let him imagine one little spot of level ground, which might have been once the bed of the river, enclosed by an amphitheatre of high land, and he will be able to form a faint idea of the locale of the place. On our way to the Grès, we had ascended many hills; but when we descended the hill behind this village, we felt that we had come down again nearly to the level of Three Rivers. Although we could see about four miles of the river, we strained our eyes in vain to catch a sight of the Falls; no white foam indicated their presence,—all was calm, transparent water.

The St. Maurice, some distance above the Mills, is smooth and glassy,—reflecting like a mirror the high banks, and flowing downwards with an imperceptible tide; but, when it comes opposite the little village, it hastens its speed, before plunging down a narrow and rocky chasm; and then tumbles along a rocky bed for a mile or so, when it changes its white spray for the dark water, and becomes once more the smooth, glassy stream. The Mills are placed just at these little falls, where, of course, the “water-power” is immense; and opposite is a most romantic little island—very rocky, and but sparingly covered with stunted shrubbery. The banks on the other side of the river rise to a great height, and are luxuriously clothed with a dark foliage, down to the water’s edge. Their whole appearance reminded me most forcibly of the Niagara River, and for wild grandeur the St. Maurice will bear a comparison even with the Niagara itself.

The village is composed of about 20 clean-looking houses,—inhabited principally by the laborers who are engaged in the Mill, and in procuring from the interior the timber to be sawed. Our quarters were undoubtedly the most eligible ones to be got; and we found a kind hostess in the person of an honest Scotch wife, who seemed glad to see us, and who took us at once under her special care. And, here, I cannot help stopping to say a word upon Scotch domestic economy. How delightful the thoughts of a neat, clean, farm house, and a Scotch welcome! And, even now, I gloat over the recollection of flowing bowls of rich milk and crisp oat cakes; and of the luxury, at bed time, of subsiding into a tremendous “four-poster,” with good old fashioned curtains, and extravagantly white linen! Admirers of Cowper will have to forgive me, when I apply his words to this subject:—

“The recollection, like a vein of ore,

The further traced, enriches but the more.”

Mrs. —— conducted us, in the first place, to the mill; and there we saw the process of converting the huge logs into thin boards. The saws were very numerous and seemed very busy; so numerous and so busy indeed, that the sharpening of them alone gives constant employment to one man. They look not unlike sections of an alligator’s jaws, and go through a log with as great ease as that animal would be supposed to masticate a tender kid. The mill is the property of Messrs. Baptist and Gordon, of Three Rivers; and the works which these gentlemen have built, in order to bring the timber from the interior, are on a very extensive scale. But I suspect the profits are proportionably large, for the mill is worked night and day, and the American market is an extensive and ready one.

Having been shown over the mill, and having had all its machinery explained to us, I bethought me of my trout intentions. Upon obtaining the necessary directions, touching the precise position of the “trout stream,” I went in search of my tackle, when, to my surprise, I discovered that I had left my hooks behind!

Fishing being therefore out of the question, we determined to start next morning for the Falls.

How dreadfully still the evening air was—not a sound fell upon the ear; but the monotonous roar of the waters, which only increased the profound silence. The woods seemed sunk in deep slumber; and not a breath of air shook the leaves, or rippled the still water. But what a sad addition to the romantic, was the buzz of the mosquito, and the bite of the sand-fly! All the poetry which a lovely night, a sublime scene, and a delicious stillness can inspire, is buzzed out of you by these vulgar realities. We were congratulated upon having arrived at a season when they were rare; but our disfigured and reddened features told that their scarcity was rather fabulous.

Early next morning, we witnessed the departure, for the “shanties,” of several large canoes, laden with provisions for the lumbermen engaged in getting out the timber from the woods. Some of these “shanties” are one hundred miles up the river. Soon after, we obtained the loan of a home-made boat, or canoe—we were afraid of the bark canoes—and with an Indian, or rather half-breed, for a guide, started for the Shawinegan Falls.

I think I never saw water so smooth and glassy, and yet so very black. I suppose it only appears so from the dark nature of the soil over which it passes; but such is the fact. From this circumstance the river is called the “Black River,” and in Three Rivers it is chiefly known by that name. We all took our turn at paddling; but finding it a very laborious occupation, I got out of the canoe, and walked along the “Booms.” These are square logs, fastened together in a long chain, intended to guide the timber down to the mill. Within these “booms” thousands of sticks of timber were floating down to the hungry saws. They were rather narrow to walk comfortably on, but preferable to paddling. At the end of the booms, however, I had again to take my turn at the paddle.

Our anxiety to get a peep of the Falls was intense; and the further we paddled, there seemed the less chance of our ever reaching them. For about four miles the river is perfectly straight, and the Falls are of course hidden from your view; but a sharp point of land appears before you, and you feel an intense anxiety to “round” it, with the full expectation of then having your wishes gratified. But not so, the promontory reached, you seem as far off as ever, and see only another one ahead. The current becomes stronger too as you advance; and the exercise of stemming it, and the impatience to reach your destination united, tend to put you in a frame of mind the reverse of equanimity.

After paddling vigorously through a rippling current, we turned a provoking headland, and were informed by our guide that the Falls were at hand. Indeed, this information was superfluous, as the deep roar of the falling water was distinctly heard. The stream becoming very rapid, we landed soon after,—but still without a glimpse of the Shawinegan. Our guide pointed out a path up the steep bank, which leads to the Falls. This path is called a “portage,” and is used by the “voyageurs” in conveying the canoes and their cargoes overland, in order to avoid the Falls. We found it steep enough, although we had only ourselves to carry; but the hardy Indians trudge over it with small barrels of pork on their backs, and make light of the weight of a large canoe.

After we had ascended the banks, we pursued this rugged path for some time—the roar of the waters becoming, every step, more distinct. In my intense anxiety, I had preceded my companions in order to have the first sight of the Falls; and, as I advanced nearer, the ground on which I stood shook and trembled beneath, and a strange feeling of awe and hesitation crept over me. At last, through the thick foliage of the trees, I saw a sheet of white spray directly before me. I felt that I was very close to the cataract; the roar had increased—and the earth seemed convulsed by an earthquake. I hastened on—emerged from the woods, and stood facing the Shawinegan Falls!

And what a sight was that which thus burst so suddenly upon me! I stood upon a huge pile of black rocks, and immediately before me, at the distance of a few hundred yards, the St. Maurice tumbled down a precipice of rugged rocks, in one broad sheet of foam, froth and spray.

The Shawinegan is unlike any other Falls I ever saw. The river, just at the rapids above takes a sharp turn before coming to the precipice; it there rolls over an inclined plane of rugged rocks, and, at the bottom, again takes a turn almost at right angles; so that the spectator stands immediately before them. The Niagara, the Genesee, and the Montmorenci Falls, are all cascades of water, falling over an even ledge of rocks in one unbroken stream to the bottom; but the cataract before which I stood, exhibited the peculiarity of an immense volume of water rolling down a declivity of rocks in one great sheet of white foam.

I had observed all this, when K. and A. came up breathless; and in one voice exclaimed, “how beautiful.”

We rambled over the rocks for some time—picked a few little shrubs, as reminiscences of the spot; and, after taking a last look, retraced our steps to the canoe.

Some years ago I was taxed, together with other youthful spirits, with the heinous crime of being enchanted with a penny show, while standing upon the “table rock” at Niagara; but I hope I have since learned to place a true value upon the respective merits of Niagara and penny shows; and, that with fresh years I can better appreciate the wonders of nature.

Unfortunately our time was so limited that we could not linger longer. A week indeed could be pleasantly spent in viewing the Falls from every point, and in discovering their varied beauties; and if my readers could be induced to pay them a visit, I can assure any of them that their time will be most agreeably passed.

In the spring of the year when the water is high, and when the timber and ice come over the Falls, the sight must be truly sublime.

We reached our canoe in a plump of rain, but the shower soon clearing off, we turned our faces homeward. It was a much pleasanter sail down, than up the river; the current, flowing at the rate of two or three miles an hour, carried us downward with hardly any exertion on our part.

We arrived at the Grès very hungry, and unfortunately late for dinner. But amply satisfied as to our inner-boys, with plenty of home made bread, rich milk, and excellent cheese, we ordered our vehicle and set out for home.

After a pleasant drive, we came in sight of Three Rivers, about six o’clock, much delighted with our expedition, and brim full of our adventures.

Having thus described a “Trip to the Shawinegan Falls,” I will only add, in concluding, my conviction, that in a very few years, they will become a most fashionable and favorite summer resort.

Still, we cannot help wishing that they could always remain quiet and grand—a smoky steamboat would disfigure the wild scene; and it cannot be supposed that a fashionable hotel would much add to the sublimity of simple nature.


Place d’Armes Hill, Montreal,}
13th April, 1853. 


(By Mrs. Traill, Authoress of “The Canadian Crusoes,” &c.)


Spring is coming, Nurse! Spring is coming at last—exclaimed the Governor’s little daughter joyfully, “The snow is going away at last! I am tired of the white snow, it makes my eyes ache. I want to see the brown earth, and the grass, and the green moss, and the pretty flowers again.”

“It will be some days before this deep covering of snow is gone, the streets are still covered with ice, and it will take some time, my lady, to soften it.”

“But, nurse, the warm sun shines, and there are little streams of water running along the streets in every direction; see the snow is gone from under the bushes and trees in the garden—and I saw some dear little birds flying about. I watched them on the dry stalks of the tall rough weeds, and they appeared to be picking seeds out of the husks. Can you tell me what birds they were?”

“I saw the flock of birds that you mean, lady Mary; they are the common snow sparrows. (Fringilla nivalis.) They are among our earliest visitants; they may be seen early in April, mingled with the brown song sparrow, (Fringilla melodia,) flitting about the garden fences, or picking the stalks of the tall mullein and amaranths, to find the seeds that have not been shaken out by the autumn winds, and possibly they also find insects cradled in the husks of the old seed vessels.

“These snow sparrows are very hardy, and though some migrate to the States in the beginning of winter, a few stay in the Upper Province, and others come back to us before the snow is all gone.

“They are very pretty, neat looking birds, nurse, dark slate color with white breasts.” (Furdus migratorious.)

“When I was a little girl I used to call them my Quaker birds, they looked so neat and trim. In the summer you may find their nests in the brush-heaps near the edge of the forest; they sing a soft low song.”

“Nurse, I heard a bird singing yesterday when I was in the garden; it was not one of our pretty Quaker birds, but a little plain brown bird.”

“It was a song-sparrow, lady Mary. This cheerful little bird comes with the snow birds, often before the ‘robin.’ ”

“Oh nurse! the ‘robin’! I wish you would show me a darling ‘robin-redbreast.’ I did not know that they lived in Canada.”

“The bird that we call the robin in this country, my dear, is not like the little redbreast that you have seen at home. Our robin is twice as large. (Its color is purplish, black on the back, wings, and tail, breast white, in shape and size resembling the European robin.) I believe that it is really a thrush. It migrates in the fall, and returns to us very early in the spring.”

“What is migrating, nurse?”

“When a person leaves his native country and goes to live in another, he is said to emigrate. This is the reason why the English, Scotch, and Irish families who come to live in Canada are called emigrants.”

“What color are the Canada robins, nurse?”

“The head is blackish, the back a lead color, and the breast is pale orange; not so bright a red as the real robin.”

“Have you ever seen their nests, nurse?”

“Yes, my dear, many of them. It is not a pretty nest; it is large and coarsely put together, of old dried grass and roots, and dead leaves, and inside it is plastered with clay, mixed with bits of straw, so as to form a sort of mortar. You know, lady Mary, that the blackbird and thrush build nests and line them with plaster in this way.”

The little lady nodded her head in assent.

“Nurse, I once saw a robin’s nest when I was in England; it was in the side of a moss ditch, with primroses growing close beside it; it was made of green moss, and lined with white wool and hair; it was a pretty nest, with nice eggs in it, much better than your big robin’s nest.”

“Our robins build in great up-turned roots, and the corner of rail fences, and sometimes in the young pine trees and apple trees in the orchard. The eggs are greenish blue. The robin sings a full clear song, indeed, he is our best songster. We have so few singing birds that we prize those that do the more.”

“Does the Canadian robin come into the house in winter and pick up the crumbs as the dear little redbreasts do at home?”

“No, lady Mary, they are able to find plenty of food abroad when they return to us, but they hop about near the houses and gardens very freely. In the fall, before they go away, they may be seen in great numbers running about the old pastures, picking up worms and seeds.”

“Do people see the birds flying away together, nurse?”

“Not often, my dear; for most birds congregate together in small flocks for some time, and go without being noticed; many go away at night, when we are sleeping, and some fly very high on cloudy days, so that they are not distinctly seen against the dull grey sky. The water-birds such as geese, swans, and ducks, are often seen taking their flight in large bodies—they are heard making a continual noise in the air, and may be seen like long lines or in the form of the letter V lying on its side, (>) the point generally directed Southward or Westward. The strongest and oldest birds acting as leaders; when tired, these fall backward into the main body, and another set take their places.”

Lady Mary was much surprised at the order and sagacity of these wild fowl, and Mrs. Frazer told her that some other time she would tell her or read her more about these birds.

“Nurse, will you tell me something more about birds’ nests, and what they make them of?”

“Birds that live chiefly in the depths of the forest or in solitary places, far away from the haunts of men, build their nests of ruder materials and with less care in the manner of putting them together—dried grass roots and a little moss, seem to be the materials they make use of. It has been noticed by many persons, my dear, that those birds that live near towns and villages, and cleared farms, soon learn to make better sorts of nests, and to weave into them soft and comfortable things such as silk, wool, cotton, and hair.”

“That is very strange, nurse.”

“It is so, lady Mary; but the same thing may also be seen among human beings. The savage nations are contented with rude dwellings made of sticks and cane, covered with skins of beasts, bark, or reeds; but when they once unite together in a more social state, and live in villages and towns, a desire for improvement takes place; the tent of skins or the rude shanty is exchanged for a hut of better shape; and this in time gives place to houses and furniture of a more ornamental and useful kind.”

“Nurse, I heard mamma say once that the Britons who lived in England were once savages, and lived in caves and huts, and such places, and were dressed in skins, and painted their bodies like the Indians.”

“When you read the history of England, you will see that such was the case,” said Mrs. Frazer.

“Nurse, perhaps the little birds like to see the flowers, and the sun shine, and the blue sky, and men’s houses. I will make my garden very pretty this spring, and plant some nice flowers to please the dear little birds.”

Many persons would have thought such remarks very foolish in our little lady, but Mrs. Frazer, who was a good as well as a wise woman, did not laugh at the little girl, for she thought it was a lovely thing to see her wish to give happiness to the least of God’s creatures, for it was imitating His own mercy and goodness, which delighteth in the enjoyment of the things which He has called into existence.

“Please, Mrs. Frazer, will you tell me which flowers will be first in bloom?”

“The very first is a plant that comes up without leaves.”

“Nurse, that is the Christmas rose (winter aconite); I have seen it in the old country.”

“No, lady Mary, it is the colt’s-foot, (Tussilago farfara); it is a common looking coarse yellow blossomed flower; it is the first that blooms after the snow; then comes the pretty snow-flower, or hepatica. Its pretty tufts of white pink and blue starry flowers, may be seen on the open clearing, or beneath the shade of the half cleared woods, or up-turned roots and sunny banks. Like the English daisy, it grows every where, and the sight of its bright starry blossoms delights every eye.

“The next spring flower that comes, is the dog’s-tooth violet, (Erythronium.)”

“What a droll name,” exclaimed lady Mary, laughing. “I suppose it is called so from the sharpness of the flower leaves, (petals) my lady, but it is a beautiful yellow lily; the leaves are also pretty; they are veined or clouded with milky white or dusky purple; the plant is a bulb, and in the month of April sends up its single nodding yellow spotted flowers; they grow in large beds where the ground is black, and moist, and rich, near creeks at the edge of the forest.”

“Do you know any other pretty flowers, nurse?”

“Yes, my lady, there are a great many that bloom in April and May; white violets, and blue and yellow, of many kinds; and then there is the spring beauty, (claytonia) a delicate little flower with pink striped bells, and the early everlasting (Graphalin margaritaceum) and saxifrage, and the white and dark red lily that the Yankees call white and red death. (Trillium or wake robin.) These have three green leaves about the middle of the stalk, and the flower is composed of three pure white or deep red leaves; petals my father used to call them; for my father, lady Mary, was a botanist, and knew the names of all the flowers, and I learned them from him.

“The most curious flower is the moccassin flower; the early one is bright golden yellow, and has a bag or sack which is curiously spotted with ruby red, and its petals are twisted like horns; there is a hard thick piece that lies down just above the sack or moccassin part, and if you lift this up you see a pair of round dark spots like eyes, and the Indians say it is like the face of a hound with the nose and black eyes plain to be seen; two of the shorter curled brown petals look like flapped ears on each side the face.

“There is a more beautiful sort, purple and white, which blooms in August; the plant is taller, and bears large and lovely flowers.”

“And has it a funny face and ears, too, nurse?”

“Yes, my dear, the face is more like an ape’s face, it is even more distinct than that of the yellow moccassin; when my brothers and I were children we used to fold back the petals and call them baby flowers; the sack looked, we thought, like a baby’s white frock.”

Lady Mary was much amused at this notion.

“There are a great number of very beautiful and also very curious flowers growing in the forest,” said Mrs. Frazer; “some of these are used in medicine, and some by the Indians for dyes, with which they stain the baskets and porcupine quills. One of our very earliest flowers is called the blood-root (sanguinaria,) it comes up a delicate white folded bud, within a vine sharped leaf, which is veined on the under side with orange yellow. If the stem or the root of this plant be broken, a scarlet juice drops out very fast,—it is with this that the squaws dye red and orange colours.”

“I am glad, nurse, now I can tell my dear mamma what the baskets and quills are dyed with.”

“The flower is very pretty, like a white crocus, only not so large. You saw some in the conservatory the other day, I think, my dear.”

“Oh yes, and yellow ones too, and purple in a funny China thing with holes in its back, and the flowers came up through the holes. The gardener said it was a porcupine.

“Please, nurse, tell me what colours real porcupine’s quills are, before they are dyed blue, and yellow, and red?”

“They are white, and white and greyish brown;” but just as Mrs. Frazer was going to give lady Mary a description of the Canadian porcupine, Campbell, the footman, came up to say, that her papa wanted to see her, to show her something; and so as she was detained for some time, I am afraid my readers will not hear in this chapter what it was that Mrs. Frazer told her about the porcupine; or, what the Governor had to show his little daughter.

(To be continued.)



Among the passengers on the boat was a young gentleman of fortune and family, resident in New Orleans, who bore the name of St. Clare. He had with him a daughter between five and six years of age, together with a lady who seemed to claim relationship to both, and to have the little one especially under her charge.

Tom had often caught glimpses of this little girl,—for she was one of those busy, tripping creatures, that can be no more contained in one place than a sunbeam or a summer breeze,—nor was she one that, once seen, could be easily forgotten.

“What’s little missy’s name?” said Tom, to her at last, when he thought matters were ripe to push such an inquiry.

“Evangeline St. Clare,” said the little one, “though papa and everybody else call me Eva. Now, what’s your name?”

“My name’s Tom; the little chil’en used to call me Uncle Tom, way back thar in Kentuck.”

“Then I mean to call you Uncle Tom, because, you see, I like you,” said Eva. “So, Uncle Tom, where are you going?”

“I don’t know, Miss Eva.”

“Don’t know?” said Eva.

“No. I am going to be sold to somebody. I don’t know who.”

“My papa can buy you,” said Eva, quickly; “and if he buys you, you will have good times. I mean to ask him to, this very day.”

“Thank you, my little lady,” said Tom.

The boat here stopped at a small landing to take in wood, and Eva and her father were standing together by the railings to see the boat start from the landing-place; the wheel had made two or three revolutions in the water, when, by some sudden movement, the little one suddenly lost her balance, and fell sheer over the side of the boat into the water.

Tom was standing just under her on the lower deck, as she fell. He saw her strike the water, and sink, and was after her in a moment. A broad-chested, strong-armed fellow, it was nothing for him to keep afloat in the water, till, in a moment or two, the child rose to the surface, and he caught her in his arms, and saved her.

“Papa, do buy him! it’s no matter what you pay,” whispered Eva, softly, getting up on a package, and putting her arm around her father’s neck. “You have money enough, I know. I want him.”

“What for, pussy? Are you going to use him for a rattle-box, or a rocking-horse, or what?”

“I want to make him happy.”

“An original reason, certainly.” • • • • •

A gay laugh from the court rang through the silken curtains of the verandah. St. Clare stepped out, and lifting up the curtain, laughed too.

There sat Tom, on a little mossy seat in the court, every one of his button-holes stuck full of cape jessamines, and Eva, gayly laughing, was hanging a wreath of roses around his neck; and then she sat down on his knee, like a chip-sparrow, still laughing.

“O, Tom, you look so funny!”

Tom had a sober, benevolent smile, and seemed, in his quiet way, to be enjoying the fun quite as much as his little mistress. He lifted his eyes, when he saw his master, with a half-deprecating, apologetic air.

“How can you let her?” said Miss Ophelia, a maiden aunt from some free-soil State.

“Why not?” said St. Clare.

“Why, I don’t know, it seems so dreadful!”

“You would think no harm in a child’s caressing a large dog, even if he was black; but a creature that can think, and reason, and feel, and is immortal, you shudder at; confess it, cousin. I know the feeling among some of you northerners well enough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not having it; but custom with us does what Christianity ought to do,—obliterates the feeling of personal prejudice.

“What would the poor and lowly do, without children?” continued St. Clare, leaning on the railing, and watching Eva, as she tripped off, leading Tom with her. “Your little child is your only true democrat. Tom, now, is a hero to Eva; his stories are wonders in her eyes, his songs and Methodist hymns are better than an opera, and the traps and little bits of trash in his pocket a mine of jewels, and he the most wonderful Tom that ever wore a black skin. This is one of the roses of Eden that the Lord has dropped down expressly for the poor and lowly, who get few enough of any other kind.”

“Well,” said Marie, the heartless wife of St. Clare after some anti-slavery remarks, “I’m thankful I’m born where slavery exists; and I believe it’s right,—indeed, I feel it must be; and, at any rate, I’m sure I couldn’t get along without it.”

“I say, what do you think, Pussy?” said her father to Eva, who came in at this moment, with a flower in her hand. • • •

“What about, papa?”

“Why, which do you like the best,—to live as they do at your uncle’s, up in Vermont, or to have a house full of Slaves, as we do?”

“O, of course, our way is the pleasantest,” said Eva.

“Why so?” said St. Clare, stroking her head.

“Why, it makes so many more round you to love, you know,” said Eva, looking up earnestly.

“Now, that’s just like Eva,” said Marie; “just one of her odd speeches.”

“Is it an odd speech, papa?” said Eva, whisperingly, as she got upon his knee.

“Rather, as this world goes, pussy,” said St. Clare. “But where has my little Eva been, all dinner-time?”

“O, I’ve been up in Tom’s room, hearing him sing.”

“And I read to him in my Bible; and he explains what it means, you know.”

“Tom isn’t a bad hand, now, at explaining Scripture, I dare sware,” said St. Clare. “Tom has a natural genius for religion. I wanted the horses out early, this morning, and I stole up to Tom’s cubiculum there, over the stables, and there I heard him holding a meeting by himself; and, in fact, I haven’t heard anything quite so savory as Tom’s prayer, this some time. He put in for me, with a zeal that was quite apostolic.”

“Perhaps he guessed you were listening. I’ve heard of that trick before.”

“If he did, he wasn’t very politic; for he gave the Lord his opinion of me, pretty freely. Tom seemed to think there was decidedly room for improvement in me, and seemed very earnest that I should be converted.”

“I hope you’ll lay it to heart,” said Miss Ophelia.

“I suppose you are much of the same opinion,” said St. Clare.

“Well, we shall see,—shan’t we, Eva?” * * * *

On one of these occasions, Eva said, “Where do you suppose new Jerusalem is, Uncle Tom?”

“O, up in the clouds, Miss Eva.”

“Then I think I see it,” said Eva. “Look in those clouds!—they look like great gates of pearl; and you can see beyond them—far, far off—it’s all gold. Tom, sing about ‘spirits bright.’ ”

Tom sang the words of a well-known Methodist hymn,

“I see a band of spirits bright,

  That taste the glories there;

They all are robed in spotless white.”

“Uncle Tom, I’ve seen them,” said Eva.

Tom had no doubt of it at all; it did not surprise him in the least. If Eva had told him she had been to heaven, he would have thought it entirely probable.

“They come to me sometimes in my sleep, those spirits;” and Eva’s eyes grew dreamy, and she hummed, in a low voice,

“They are all robed in spotless white,

  And conquering palms they bear.”

“Uncle Tom,” said Eva, “I’m going there.”

“Where, Miss Eva?”

The child rose, and pointed her little hand to the sky; the glow of evening lit her golden hair and flushed cheek with a kind of unearthly radiance, and her eyes were bent earnestly on the skies.

“I’m going there,” she said, “to the spirits bright, Tom; I’m going, before long.”

Even so, beloved Eva! fair star of thy dwelling! Thou art passing away; but they that love thee dearest know it not.

For so bright and placid was the farewell voyage of the little spirit,—by such sweet and fragrant breezes was the small bark borne towards the heavenly shores,—that it was impossible to realize that it was death that was approaching. The child felt no pain,—only a tranquil, soft weakness, daily and almost insensibly increasing; and she was so beautiful, so loving, so trustful, so happy, that one could not resist the soothing influence of that air of innocence and peace which seemed to breathe around her. St. Clare found a strange calm coming over him. It was not hope,—that was impossible; it was not resignation; it was only a calm resting in the present, which seemed so beautiful that he wished to think of no future. It was like that hush of spirit which we feel amid the bright, mild woods of autumn, when the bright hectic flush is on the trees, and the last lingering flowers by the brook; and we joy in it all the more, because we know that soon it will all pass away.

The friend who knew most of Eva’s own imaginings and foreshadowings was her faithful bearer, Tom. To him she said what she would not disturb her father by saying. To him she imparted those mysterious intimations which the soul feels, as the cords begin to unbind, ere it leaves its clay forever, and then comes the last sad scene. * * * * * *

“O, God, this is dreadful!” said St. Clare, turning away, in agony, and wringing Tom’s hand, scarce conscious what he was doing. “O, Tom, my boy, it is killing me!”

Tom had his master’s hands between his own, and, with tears streaming down his dark cheeks, looked up for help where he had always been used to look.

“Pray that this may be cut short!” said St. Clare,—“this wrings my heart.”

“O, bless the Lord! it’s over,—it’s over, dear Master!” said Tom; “look at her.”

The child lay panting on her pillows, as one exhausted,—the large clear eyes rolled up and fixed. Ah, what said those eyes, that spoke so much of heaven? Earth was past, and earthly pain; but so solemn, so mysterious, was the triumphant brightness of that face, that it checked even the sobs of sorrow.

A bright, a glorious smile passed over her face, and she gave one sigh, and passed from death unto life!


Genius, heaven-born gift, in vain would poverty crush thee by its soul-subduing chains; in vain would outward circumstances press thee down. Upwards! upwards! thou soarest, and, overcoming obstacles which, to the less gifted, appear insurmountable, thou standest forth strong in thy all-conquering power. And genius, of which the germ has sprung from among the lowly of the earth, amid accumulating earthly cares and trials, burns with even brighter effulgence than when sprung from a higher and more favored class, which has been tended and nurtured by soft, genial airs, and experienced no outward struggles to bind the spirit endued with it to earth. It is deeply interesting to mark the early origin, the strength of the indomitable will, which thus has characterized some of the greatest men the world has ever produced, who have sprung from the ranks of the people. If we follow the early career of one of these in modern days, and trace him gradually but surely mounting to the pinnacle of fame, how fraught, not only with interest but with encouragement, is his life. And this leads me to notice the beautiful arrangement of the British constitution, which holds out to one and all of her sons, the sceptre of fame. Unbiased by wealth or rank, in highly favored England, the poorest there may feel that the path of glory lies open to him, if he have power to tread it. It is this freedom, this liberty of the soul, which has made her what she is—the highest on the scroll of fame’s greatness. At the present time it may, to many, be particularly interesting to follow the career of him whose triumphs in the art of engineering have created as it were a new era, not only throughout Europe, but on this continent also, and whose son will in all probability be soon among us, to plant in our adopted country a work worthy of that from which we sprang. See him a poor, ill-clad boy, employed in common field labor, yet out of his hard-earned wages reserving a portion towards apprenticing himself to a clock maker. Here, doubtless, that love of engineering was first nurtured, and his mechanical genius called into activity. With beautiful filial devotion, he, after having carefully saved the sum of one hundred pounds, made it over to his parents. See him now removing with his parents to the village of Wahbothe, where he was employed as brakesman on the waggon-way, and from thence to Hillingworth, in the neighbourhood of Newcastle colliery, still employed in the same capacity. Here that son, whose future fame was so to gladden his father’s heart, was born. About that time the machinery at the colliery for pumping water out of the pit, got out of repair, and to the consternation of the proprietors, the efforts of the engineer were vainly employed to rectify it. The men were all, in consequence, thrown out of employ, and there seemed but little probability of the obstacle being surmounted. A special commission met on the subject, when one present ventured to remark he had heard George Stephenson say “he could soon set her to rights.” Glad to catch at any hope of success, they sent for him, and he was introduced to the assembled circle, prominent among whom stood the resident engineer, anger and scorn depicted in his countenance at this interference in his department. Calmly the young man replied to the numerous questions applied to him, undaunted by the plainly depicted incredulity of many. He vouchsafed no explanation on the subject, and refused to act unless implicit confidence were placed in him. On being asked how many weeks it would require to rectify the deficiency in the machinery, to the astonishment of all he named but a few days, and instead of a large body of men, selected merely a picked few. Quietly and steadily his operations were carried on; and the proprietors of the works, the resident engineer, and an immense concourse from the neighbourhood, assembled to witness what many anxiously expected would prove a failure. The day was highly propitious, and the assembled multitude eagerly awaited the appearance of the young man. He stands before them—his fine bearing, his manly form, would anywhere have attracted attention, but now he was peculiarly an object of interest. The fair and beautiful had also repaired there to grace the scene with their presence. Pale, but calm, he stood undaunted, strong in the inward consciousness of his power. A deep emotion lighted up that powerful countenance, but selfconscious energy was seen on his commanding brow. Well aware how much depended on his success, he felt it would prove the stepping stone to fame. But the moment approaches, and the operation commences. Anger and ill-suppressed jealousy were visibly depicted in the deportment of the engineer and many of his fellow workmen, which gave way to a shout of scorn as they perceived the failure of the apparatus. Like a lion at bay, goaded by taunts and his own inward consciousness of power, he surveyed the incredulous crowd, and as an immense fellow near him, famed for his bullying disposition, applied some sneering epithet to him, “I felt,” says he, “at that moment a something rising within my breast—a feeling uncontrollable, and one which I never before or since experienced;” and grasping him with his powerful arm, he flung him from him, and turned to remedy the cause of failure, in a short time witnessing the complete success of his endeavors.

That was a proud moment in his life, as, amidst the acclamations of all present, he felt conscious of having achieved a complete triumph in the art of engineering. He was, in consequence, promoted to engineer, and rapidly advanced to fame. He obtained the sum of £500 for his engine “Rocket,” and it seems that he even then contemplated the present advanced stage of perfection in the locomotive engine, evidently applying it to the new passenger train, but dared not openly express his sentiments, so insane was he thought upon the subject. When called before a Parliamentary Committee, he felt painfully his own deficiency in education; and as I have heard from one who had the privilege of his personal acquaintance, he said—“I saw they were incredulous; I watched the half-suppressed smile, the whispered taunt, ‘is he mad?’ ‘is he a foreigner?’ ‘what is he?’ but above all rose the sense of a power within which told me these very men would at some not very distant day ride in Stephenson’s engine at the rate of 30 or 40 miles an hour.” Feeling the want of words in which to express myself readily and fluently, I abruptly added, “I canna answer ye, but I will take care my son shall.” His whole soul was bent on giving that son a liberal education; from school he passed to college, and we all know what that son now is, and how fully he has repaid his father’s fondest hopes.

C. H., Rice Lake.

(To be continued.)


Have a clear minded perception of rectitude. Be sure you are right, and then set your face resolutely towards the “shining light.” Heed not frowns or cold looks from those you love; affection must bend to duty; tenderness to unflinching integrity. The honest man is often deeply tried, but his course leads most surely to happiness and peace.

It takes many streams flowing together, to fertilize a country; so individual influence and individual energy are all required to carry on plans of public improvement. It is clearly the duty of each citizen to have an opinion on questions relating to the general weal, and maintain that opinion, just as much as it is that of the Statesman in the halls of legislature, or the Lawyer explaining the statute-book.

Key West. A military station on the East coast of Florida, near the Southern point. The United States’ Government regard this as an important post, and large stores of ammunition and naval equipments are kept here, and a garrison is maintained. From its position it commands the entrance into the Gulf of Mexico on the American side; and revenue cutters and cruising clippers rendezvous here when returning from look-out excursions. The coast is rocky and dangerous, and sailors always feel relieved when their ship or “fast sailing brig” clears the narrow pass, and enters the gulf stream. The rocks near the station are piled up quite regularly, and an opening between them is called “the hole in the wall.” Years since we looked upon that lone fortress with the greatest interest. Certain youthful fancies, and warm imaginings coloured everything we saw, even to grey stone walls, and well we remember how we watched the waves that dashed then, as now, upon that barrier, and felt braced by the breeze that at once created, and curled their mountain summits, and bore our vessel quickly away.

A mistress rebuked her servant girl for not dusting the furniture. ‘These things are very dusty—look—look!’ ‘If you please ma’am,’ said the girl, ‘it’s not the things that’s dirty, but that nasty sun that comes in and shows the dust on things.’ ”

A Quaker was once examined before a Court, and was asked by the presiding Judge,—‘Pray, Mr. ——, do you know what we sit here for?’ ‘Yes, verily, do I,’ said the Quaker, ‘three of you for two dollars a-day, and the fat one on your right, for one thousand dollars a-year.’ ”

Robert Burns, on his way to Leith, one morning, met a country farmer; he shook him earnestly by the hand, and stopped to converse awhile. A young Edinburgh blood took the Poet to task for this defect of taste. ‘Why you fantastic gomeril,’ said Burns, ‘it was not the great-coat, the scone bonnet, and the saundaer boot hose I spoke to, but the man that was in them; and the man, sir, for true worth, would weigh down you and me, and ten more such, any day.’ ”

On Sunday, a lady called to her little boy, who was shooting marbles on the pavement, to come into the house. ‘Don’t you know you shouldn’t be out there, my son? Go into the back yard, if you want to play marbles,—it is Sunday.’ ‘Well, yes. But ain’t it Sunday in the back yard, Mother?’ ”



Wheat Muffins.—One pint of milk, and two eggs. One table spoonful of yeast, and a salt spoonful of salt. Mix these ingredients with sufficient flour to make a thick batter. Let it rise four or five hours, and bake in muffin rings. This can be made of unbolted flour, adding two great spoonfuls of molasses, and it is very fine.

Corn Muffins.—One quart of Indian meal, sifted. A heaping spoonful of butter. One quart of milk and a salt spoonful of salt. Two table spoonfuls of distillery yeast, and one of molasses. Let it rise four or five hours. Bake in muffin rings, or in shallow pans.

Mahogany furniture may be beautifully polished thus:—rub it with cold drawn linseed oil; wipe off the oil, and polish by rubbing smartly with a clean dry cloth. Marble may be cleaned thus:—pound, very fine, a little stone blue with four ounces of whiting; mix them with an ounce of soda dissolved in a little water, and four ounces of soft soap; boil all fifteen minutes over a slow fire, carefully stirring it. When quite hot, lay it on the marble with a brush, and let it remain half an hour; wash it off with warm water, flannel, and scrubbing brush, and wipe it dry.

Liquid Blacking.—Mix and stir well together four ounces of ivory-black, six gills of vinegar; two spoonfuls of molasses, and one of sweet-oil.

Superior Writing Ink.—Mix with a gallon of pure soft water, and stir in well, twelve ounces of coarsely-powdered Aleppo galls, six of chipped logwood, five of protosulphate of iron, five of gum-arabic, and two of dry muscovado sugar.

Wood that is straight and solid, makes more in a load, and it is most profitable. A cord of small crooked sticks does not contain half the wood there is in a load of solid logs.

The best wood for fires is the hickory, hard maple; white ash, black birch, yellow birch, beech, yellow oak, and locust. The best are named first.


Tenderly the spring winds woo the fair flowers, modestly the gentle violet peeps forth its young head ’neath its leafy shelter, lovingly twitter the Robins among the boughs of the Maple; the clear sky and the cheering rays of the sun, betoken the rapid approach of “happy, joyous May.” No wonder the blood quickens its flow round the hearts of old and young as they reiterate the expressions, “joyous May, merry May.” Here in our beloved country, the opening beauties of a gradual change of seasons are most warmly appreciated. From the swelling leaf-bud to the expanded foliage, every stage of vegetation excites emotions of pleasure in the beholder. Let any one take a walk in the environs of our city for a few days in succession, and he will be astonished at the growth of leaves and plants from one day to another, and inhaling the air perfumed with the breath of the lilacs and violet, and looking round upon “the mountain” and city, he will acknowledge the pleasing influences of the season. The tiny germ of future beauty and greenness was hid from the frost and cold through the long winter, but the enticing warmth of the sun invites it to come forth and gladden the world. Thus do youthful hearts in their purity, and freshness, and confiding trust, make loving and hearty responses to the voices around them!

Who does not know that the first day of May is regarded among us, in the good city of Montreal, as a day of wonderful importance? The reverence anciently paid to it dwindles into nothing, or may be regarded almost as a figment of fabulous times, compared to its dignity in these enlightened days, when everything is important, as it helps on the great business of getting and holding position in the scale of humanity. We have our remarkable days, our anniversaries, but none enlist all hearts so much as the first of May. Why, most astonished and incredulous readers, do you forgot that the first of May is devoted by common consent to the important and trying, amusing and distressing, rejoicing and mournful business of moving? Such a rattling of trucks, and cabs, and carts, and carriages! Such a turning out of time-worn relics—such accessions to the auction warehouses of refuse furniture from all directions, destined to be cried up “as good as new”—such histories of ancient clocks, and venerated bookcases, and other heirlooms, at last brought to a close! What hurrying through the streets—men with looking glasses and picture frames, elbowing their way through the crowd: piles of beds and chairs, books and crockery, mingling in amiable confusion, with innumerable smaller items crowning the unwieldy trucks, and presenting to the uninitiated observer an endless scene of confusion twice confounded. Within doors, cleaning and scrubbing, painting and papering, white washing and coloring, are carried forward with high success; and house-keepers, armed with authority and experience, receive their medly loads of furniture, and with skill and dexterity assort them all into their places. Dear reader, if you are a stranger to our city, do not visit it on the first of May; for though a lady might be forgiven for not recognizing her own cousin on that day, we assure you of a warm reception at any other time.

We were much pleased to receive a communication from a friend in Toronto. J. C. G. will appear in our next.

The conclusion of “Twilight Hours” is deferred for this number. We have another article from the same interesting writer, which we think will be read with pleasure, as it refers to the late Mr. Stephenson, whose son is expected, we believe, to come to this country, and superintend the erection of the bridge over the St. Lawrence.

The writer of “Shawinegan Falls” gives us, in his pleasant style, quite an idea of that wild region of country. We are glad to gather so much information on the subject.

We refer our readers to our Prospectus on the inside of the cover.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.

When nested quoting was encountered, nested double quotes were changed to single quotes.

A cover was created for this ebook which is placed in the public domain.

[The end of The Maple Leaf, Vol. II No. 5 May 1853 by Eleanor H. Lay]