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to stop ; we found him resting on a rude sofa, and complaining of a slight indisposition ; determined to remain indoors, as the heat of the sun was very great, and he felt weak and fatigued. We unwillingly left him behind, embarked in a crazy little boat, and pulled to a promising-looking bay, with a pebbly beach, on the opposite shore.
The gentle morning breeze had ceased, the midday sun blazed fiercely down on the smooth, dead water, not a leaf stirred in the many-colored woods; there was no bird or buzzing insect in the air, no living thing upon the land, and, what was worst of all, there were no trout in the lake ; at least, we could not catch any, though we tempted them with all the daintiest morsels that our fly-hooks could supply. Our arms ached from casting the lines, our eyes, from the dazzling glare of the reflected light off the waters, and our ears, from the deep silence. So we put by our rods, skirting lazily along under the shade of the tall trees, till we were opposite our landing place, and then struck boldly across the lake, and reached the farm-house.
Our companion was not better; he felt chill and weak. wrapped him up as well as we could, placed him in the calèche, and returned to Quebec.
The next morning he was worse, feverish, and his spirits much depressed ; he ceased to talk, poor boy! of the sleigh he was to have in the winter, the moose hunting, and the gaieties he and his companions looked forward to with so much pleasure-his conversation was of home.
That night he was bled ; the day after he was no better, his ideas wandered a little, and his head was shaved; the fever was very high, but no one was alarmed about him, he was so strong and robust. I went again in the evening to see him, but he did not quite know me. It was necessary to keep him quiet; as he seemed inclined to sleep, we left him alone. In the next room five or six of his brother officers were assembled round the open window ; I joined them, and we sat talking for some time on va. rious subjects, the conversation gradually taking a more serious tone as the night advanced.
Near midnight we were startled by the door suddenly opening; the sick man came in, and walked close up to us. He had just
risen from his bed ; his eyes were wild and wandering, his flushed face and bare head gave him a frightful appearance. am very ill,” he said, “none of you think so, but I know I am dying.” As we carried him back to his room every vein throbbed, the fever raged through him. All the medical advice the town afforded was summoned, and he was watched with anxious care all night. They fancied he slept towards morning : he seemed much better ; it was said the crisis had passed; he was
; weak, but quite tranquil. They thought he was out of danger, and his friends left him for a little space, some to rest, others to pursue the amusements of the day.
At three o'clock that afternoon a military band was playing a lively overture on the esplanade close by; well-filled carriages were ranged on the road outside; two or three riding parties of ladies and gentlemen cantered about; gay groups wandered to and fro on the fresh green turf; merry, laughing faces looked out of the windows of the houses on the animated scene; the metal roofs and spires glittered in the bright, warm sunshine.
At three o'clock that afternoon, on a small, iron-framed bed, in a dark, bare, barrack.room, thousands of miles away from his kindred, with a hospital nurse by his pillow, the young Ensign died.
All the rides and drives about Quebec are very beautiful: of the six or seven different roads, it is hard to say which is the best to choose, as we found one evening when arranging a large riding-party for the following day; but at length we fixed on that to Lake Calvière. At two o'clock on a fresh afternoon in October, some five or six ladies and as many attendant squires assembled on the esplanade, variously mounted, from the English thorough-bred to the Canadian pony; we passed out by St. Louis Gate at a merry trot, a slight shower having laid the dust, and softened the air. We crossed the bleak plains of Abraham, now a race-course, and continued for four or five miles through woods and small parks, with neat and comfortable country houses; scarcely checking bit till we reached the top of the steep hill at Cape Rouge, where the road winds down the front of the bold
headland to the low country beyond, on the banks of the St. Law.
As we descended, the glimpses of the great river, caught every now and then through the close and still brilliant foliage of the woods, were enchanting. Several large ships, with all sail set, were running down before the wind; on the bank beyond, stood the picturesque cottages and shores of the hamlet of St. Nicholas; the rustic bridge over the Chaudière River filled up the back ground of the landscape.
The younger people of the party paid but little attention to his scene, but a great deal to each other. When at the bottom of the hill, away they went again as fast as before; and, the road here becoming narrow, no more than two could ride abreast ; as the pace began to tell, the cavalcade was soon half a mile in length.
Our way lay through country hamlets, winding up and down small hills, and crossing over rickety wooden bridges. Here and there above the little streams, stood a quaint old mill which the Seigneur in former times was bound to build for the use of the inhabitants on his estate. The people appeared very simple and ignorant; the farms wretchedly managed; the cattle poor; and the instruments of husbandry the same as the rude forefathers of the hamlet used a hundred years ago.
In every village there is a well, furnished with very primitive means for drawing water: a post is fixed in the ground close by, and on its top a cross-bar moves on a pivot; from the light end of this bar hangs the bucket, by a long rod, the other end being heavy enough to outweigh and raise the bucket, when filled with water by forcing it down into the well with the long rod.
The dress of the habitans, in the country parts, is very homely; they always wear the red or blue worsted cap; their complexion is nearly as dark as that of the Indians, but they are a smaller and less active race. As we passed along, they turned out in crowds to stare stupidly at the unusual sight; the lazy cattle moved farther away from the road; fierce little dogs ran from the cottages, and, secure behind the high wooden fences, barked at us furiously; trotting back contentedly when they saw us clear, as if they had done their duty.
Our way soon became only a path through the “ bush;" we could see but a few yards before and behind: above, the sky; on either side the wall of firs, pines, and cedars, with some few flowers and creepers which had outlived their companions of the summer. The sound of our horses' feet on the hard turf rang through the glades, disturbing nothing but the echoes. There is no place more still and lonely than the American forest.
The woods were cleared away where we opened on Lake Cal. vière, a narrow sheet of water about a mile and a half long, with populous and cultivated shores; every here and there, a spur of the dark forest, which the axe has still spared, stretches down to the water's edge, through some rough ravine, with little streams winding through its shades. Some neat cottages, with well-stored farm-yards, stand on the sloping hills. Herds of cattle grazed quietly on the rich grass by the margin of the lake, or stood in the shallow waters, cooling their limbs under the bright sun.
A couple of little canoes, with two women in one, and a man in the other, lay on the calm lake under the shadow of a rocky knoll covered with firs and cedars, the occupants leisurely em. ployed in setting fishing lines. They were at the far side from us, and soft and faint over the smooth surface of the water, came their —“ La Claire Fontaine,” the national air of the Canadian French.
All our party pulled up for a brief space, to enjoy this beautiful scene in silence; but soon again the reins were slacked, and on, on, over the grass green lane by the edge of the lake, winding round the little bays and promontories, over the rude bridges, on, on they dashed, full of glee, laughing and chattering, some far ahead of the others, till they had doubled the end of the lake, and came cantering along towards home on the opposite shore. When we had encircled the lake we plunged again into the forest. I stopped for a minute to take another look at the lovely picture: beautiful lights and shades lay on the soft landscape ; and now, scarcely audible in the distance, the song of “ La Claire Fontaine,” came still from the little canoes. The gentle scene fixed itself on my mind, and remains stored up in the treasury of pleasant memories. But I must not loiter; my horse's head is turned away, and we do our utmost to overtake the party.
During the few closing weeks of the autumn I joined several excursions to other places in the neighborhood of Quebec, all well worthy of the visit at any time; but, with kind and agreeable companions, beautiful weather, and the brilliant colors of the
on the woods, they were seen to the greatest advantage. One of these excursions was to Lake Charles, away among the mountains, twenty miles from the town, and the largest and most picturesque lake in the neighborhood. There is only one log house on the banks, with a small farm; all around is “ bush." It was very calm when we embarked upon this lake; we paddled to the far end, and up a little river through the woods. The waters were very clear and deep: we could see the hard sand and colored pebbles, many feet beneath, and the black, gnarled roots of the trees projecting from the banks. Our conveyance was prepared by fastening together two canoes cut out of solid trees, placed side by side, by planks placed over the gunwales; these little boats, when single, are very dangerous with unpractised passengers, but are impossible to upset when thus united. When we were returning the breeze freshened.
The waves splashed up between the two canoes, soon nearly filling them with water, and thoroughly wetting us. To lighten them, half the party landed, and walked back to the farm house through the bush. It is difficult to form an idea of the fatigue of this walking in summer; for two or three feet in depth the ground is covered with a network of broken branches and underwood, and, every few yards, the huge length of some fallen patriarch of the forest, so much decayed that it crumbles under foot, overgrown with fungus and creepers, in some parts almost mixed up with the rich mould and luxuriant vegetation of the ground. It took us an hour to get through a mile of this, and many shreds of the ladies' dresses were left hanging on the bushes. We dined at a little inn in the Indian village of Sorette
e; on our return saw the pretty falls; the young savages shooting with bows and arrows; the squaws washing their embroidery ; and the hunters' trophies of the chace. The indefatigable young people managed to find two fiddlers, and danced till twelve o'clock, while an awful storm of lightning and rain kept us im