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into his grave face. He is so busy talking and listening, that he does not see me. Happy Captain, I wish I were young again ! “What a pretty girl that is with the fair ringlets,” said I to my sour friend.
“Some people think so," answered she; part, I think that silly smile is
tiresome.' There is a waltz! nearly every one joins. At what a pace they go! It makes me giddy to look at them. The brass instruments in that terrible band scream louder than ever. The room is filled with flying clouds of white muslin—with scarlet and gold flashing through. Surely they must be growing tired now; some of the young gentlemen with the stiff collars are becoming nearly as red in the face as in the coat. Some breathless couples vanish among the bystanders ; others sink exhausted on the seats round the room. Now, there is a clearer stage, and we can distinguish the dancers better. There go the Captain and she of the fair ringlets! Her tiny feet spin round so fast that they can hardly be seen, she seems not a feather weight upon them. There is a limit to the power of human beings. That storm of wind instruments cannot last much longer. Hush! there is a calm. The whirlpool instantly subsides, and the stream glides away to the rural passage.
I was soon walked off from this gay scene to make a fourth at a rubber of whist, whence I was released to escort one of the chaperons to supper. While I was performing the necessary duties of attendance, the lady told me that there was to be a picnic on the morrow to the Chaudière :
:-“ Beautiful waterfall, large party, steamer sails from the wharf at eleven o'clock, happy to see you there.” At this moment in came the Captain and fair ringlets :-"Dear child, don't dance too much to-night-hot rooms-pic-nic in the morning. My daughter, Sir."
I am very glad she is going, I will certainly go, too, thought I. Whatever the Chaudière may be, it will look the better for having those bright blue eyes sparkling beside it.
About two o'clock the ball.room began to empty ; gentlemen with their pea-jackets on sauntered about the foot of the stair. case; every now and then, two or three figures, with extraordinary head-dresses and long cloaks, would emerge from the ladies' waiting-room, take the arms of the pea-jackets, and walk
away with them.
There is the Captain, I know his walk. Who is that leaning on his arm ? The face is quite covered up in the snug bonnet, but as they pass out under the lamp into the street to join their party, I can see that two or three long, fair ringlets have strayed out over the cape of the cloak.
At eleven o'clock the next day I joined the party, of some five-and-twenty people, on the wharf; soon after, we were taken up by a quaint little steamer, and going merrily with the tide up the great river. About seven miles from the town we landed on the south bank. A crowd of country carts were waiting for us ; we mounted, two in each, and placed some plethoric-looking baskets in an extra one. These conveyances were very simple; unencumbered with springs, or any other unnecessary luxury, the seat, slung with ropes across the centre, held the passengers; the driver, a little Canadian boy, sat on the shaft, to guide the stout little pony.
It was a beautiful September day; a fresh breeze blew from the river, rustling cheerfully among the varied leaves of the trees by the road-side, and chasing the light clouds rapidly over our heads, while the landscape lay in alternate light and shade. The road was a very rough one ; every here and there crossing little streams by bridges made of loose planks or logs of timber, over which the active little ponies trotted without a false step. The country was rich, but carelessly cultivated for two miles, and then we entered the bush ; for about the same distance. we continued through it till we arrived at the halting-place.
The younger people of the expedition had managed to get the fastest ponies, and were far ahead of us; the lady who had asked me was my travelling companion, and our united weight kept us last in the race. We found them all waiting patiently for our arrival, and the partnerships seemed much the same as at the ball the night before. It was the custom of the country : lucky Captain that it should be so !
old and young, scrambled down a steep and narrow path through the wood, making its echoes ring again with noise and laughter. At length the party, with a few exceptions, re-assembled at the foot of the Chaudière Falls.
The height is little more than a hundred feet, and at this time
of the year there is but little water in the river; but it is a sin. gularly beautiful scene: the rocks overhang and project, so that the misty stream plunges turbulently about among them, falling in a zig-zag course, half shrouded in spray, to the cauldron below, which is shut in by steep cliffs and banks. The waters foam and whirl about in the most extraordinary manner near the fall, but grow still and dark again as they approach the gorge between the hills, when they pass through to the level country. By this gap opens a distant view of the fields and forests of the rich banks of the St. Lawrence. Overhead, and wherever the grim rocks offer a resting-place, firs, pines and cedars cluster down to the very edge of the stream, as well as on the little rugged islands between the divisions of the shallow river above the falls; while bright green mosses and lichen, with creepers hanging over the rough sides of the cliffs in fantastic drapery, complete the picture.
When we had for some time gazed on the fair scene, we and the mosquitoes began to dine : the plethoric baskets yielded up their stores. A white deal box produced a dozen of bottles with long necks and leaded corks, which were cooled under a shady rock in the waters of the Chaudière. There was a great deal of innocent mirth, and the fun usually arising from such things as scarcity of drinking-glasses and of knives and forks; a servant tumbling while coming down the steep path, and breaking half the plates; and a lean dog darting off with a fine fowl ; accidents which are to be expected in pic-nics in all parts of the world. After dinner, groups wandered about in all directions ; the falls were examined in every possible point of view. These discursive rambles were far too difficult for the chaperons to undertake, so they wisely did not attempt it, and quietly rested sheltered under the shade of the rocks, till the long shadows of the pine trees on the deep pool told them it was time to muster their charge and return. It was some time before they were collected, and settled in the carts as before.
We recrossed the St. Lawrence in row boats, walked to a friend's house in a beautiful little nook under a high headland, where everything was prepared for the party-tea, lights, fritters, and an empty room. No one appeared at all tired; those who
had walked the farthest in the woods danced the longest, and it was some time after midnight when we were rattling along the moonlit road to Quebec.
Such was a day's amusement in Canada ; and I do not envy the man who could not be infected with the good-humor and innocent mirth of such kind and friendly companions, and moved by the beauty of such scenery.
The ladies of Canada possess, in a great degree, that charm for which those of Ireland are so justly famed—the great trustingness and simplicity of manner, joined with an irreproachable purity ; the custom of the country allows them much greater freedom than their English sisters. They drive, ride, or walk with their partner of the night before, with no chaperon or guard but their own never failing self-respect and innocence. They certainly are not so deeply read generally as some of our fair dames; they enter very young into life, and live constantly in society afterwards, so that they have not much time for literary pursuits; there is also difficulty in obtaining books, and the instructors necessary for any very extensive acquirements. But they possess an indescribable charm of manner, rendering them, perhaps, quite as attractive as if their studies had been more profound.
In this climate of extreme heat and cold, they very early arrive at their full beauty ; but it is less lasting than in our moist and temperate islands; when thirty summers' suns and winters' frosts have fallen upon the cheek, the soft, smooth freshness of youth is no longer there.
The officers of the army show themselves very sensible to the attractions of the daughters of Canada ; great numbers marry in this country; no less than four of one regiment have been made happy at Quebec within a year of the present time. The fair conquerors thus exercise a gentle retaliation on the descendants of those who overcame their forefathers. Nearly all the English merchants also have married in this country; and, from what I perceive, those who still remain bachelors are very likely soon to follow their examples.
From the limited numbers of the society, few of these little flirtations escape the vigilant eye of the public, and as fair an
allowance of gossip goes on at Quebec as at any place of its size in the British dominions; but it is seldom or never mischievous, or ill-meant, and, while observing with wonderful penetration all the little partialities, it treats them with the leniency their innocence dese
Lake Beaufort, fifteen miles from Quebec, is spoken of as a scene of considerable beauty ; the angling is sufficiently good to offer a further inducement for a visit, and to a stranger, its being actually in the bush, makes it irresistible. One fine September morning, the Captain, the young Ensign, and I, started for its shores : the latter, in virtue of his youth, riding a high trotting horse, while we were driven by a little weazened Canadian, in a calêche. The first five or six miles of the way was an excellent turnpike road, then gradually growing narrower, and the ruts wider. There were neat rows of houses on either side, with here and there a church, and wooden crosses erected in conspi. cuous places, hung round with rags, bands of straw, and other humble offerings, by the simple and religious Canadians. After some distance the farms became more scattered, and the intervening masses of bush more frequent, and of greater size. For the last few miles there was merely a track through the forest, where the trees had been cut down, leaving a space wide enough to drive through. We at length reached a large clearing ; beyond it lay the lake, surrounded by undulating hills of rather a poor outline, clothed with the forest down to the water's edge, and, indeed, beyond it, for the quiet waves crept in among the bareá and blackened roots of the lower trees, reflecting the distorted limbs upon their bosom.
It is almost impossible to convey an idea of the gorgeous colors adorning the foliage of a Canadian autumn. The sombre pine, the glassy beech, the russet oak, the graceful ash, the lofty elm, each of their different hue ; but, far beyond all in beauty, the maple brightens up the dark mass with its broad leaf of riches crimson. For three weeks it remains in this lovely stage of decay ; after the hectic flush, it dies and falls. This tree is the emblem of the nationality of Canada ; as is the rose of Englanu the shamrock of Ireland, and the thistle of Scotland.
The Ensign had galloped on to the farm-house where we wer