The Settlers in Canada, by Captain Marryat.
"The Settlers in Canada" was published in 1844, the twenty-first book to flow from Marryat's pen. Marryat's later books were written for a juvenile readership. This book is notable because it is not in Marryat's earlier style, in that the narrative flows forward in a steady style, without the introduction of the usual asides which make his nautical books so readable. The subject material, set in the Canadian wilderness, is very well treated: in fact one might almost say that he had read the works of the later masters of Canadian wilderness writing, Ballantyne or Egerton Ryerson Young. Another feature which is unusual for him is the shortness and evenness of the chapters; nor are there any of the long paragraphs normal for his earlier works. This helps to make the book so suitable as a children's book.
THE SETTLERS IN CANADA, BY CAPTAIN MARRYAT.
AN UNEXPECTED FORTUNE.
It was in the year 1791, that an English family went out to settle in Canada. This province had been surrendered to us by the French, who first colonised it more than thirty years previous to the year I have mentioned. It must, however, be recollected that to emigrate and settle in Canada was, at that time, a very different affair to what it is now. The difficulty of transport, and the dangers incurred, were much greater, for there were no steamboats to stem the currents and the rapids of the rivers; the Indians were still residing in Upper and many portions of Lower Canada, and the country was infested with wild animals of every description—some useful, but many dangerous: moreover, the Europeans were fewer in number, and the major portion of them were French, who were not pleased at the country having been conquered by the English. It is true that a great many English settlers had arrived, and had settled upon different farms, but, as the French settlers had already possession of all the best land in Lower Canada, these new settlers were obliged to go into or towards Upper Canada, where, although the land was better, the distance from Quebec and Montreal and other populous parts was much greater, and they were left almost wholly to their own resources, and almost without protection. I mention all this because things are so very different at present, and now I shall state the cause which induced this family to leave their home, and run the risks and dangers which they did.
Mr Campbell was of a good parentage, but, being the son of one of the younger branches of the family, his father was not rich, and Mr Campbell was, of course, brought up to a profession. Mr Campbell chose that of a surgeon, and, after having walked the hospitals (as it is termed), he set up in business, and in a few years was considered as a very able man in his profession. His practice increased very fast, and before he was thirty years of age he married.
Mr Campbell had an only sister, who resided with him, for their father and mother were both dead. But about five years after his own marriage, a young gentleman paid his addresses to her, and, although not rich, as his character was unexceptionable, and his prospects good, he was accepted. Miss Campbell changed her name to Percival, and left her brother's house to follow her husband.
Time passed quickly; and, at the end of ten years, Mr Campbell found himself with a flourishing business, and, at the same time, with a family to support; his wife having presented him with four boys, of whom the youngest was but a few months old.
But, although prosperous in his own affairs, one Heavy misfortune fell upon Mr Campbell, which was the loss of his sister, Mrs Percival, to whom he was most sincerely attached. Her loss was attended with circumstances which rendered it more painful, as, previous to her decease, the house of business in which Mr Percival was a partner, failed; and the incessant toil and anxiety which Mr Percival underwent, brought on a violent fever, which ended in his death. In this state of distress, left a widow with one child of two years old—a little girl— and with the expectation of being shortly again confined, Mrs Percival was brought to her brother's house, who, with his wife, did all he could to soften down her grief; but she had suffered so much by the loss of her husband, that when the period arrived, her strength was gone, and she died in giving birth to a second daughter. Mr and Mrs Campbell of course, took charge of these two little orphan girls, and brought them up with their own children. Such was the state of affairs about ten or eleven years after Mr Campbell's marriage, when a circumstance occurred as unexpected as it was welcome.
Mr Campbell had returned from his round of professional visits; dinner was over, and he was sitting at the table with his wife and elder children (for it was the Christmas holidays, and they were all at home), and the bell had just been rung for the nurse to bring down the two little girls and the youngest boy, when the postman rapped at the door, and the parlour-maid brought in a letter with a large black seal. Mr Campbell opened it, and read as follows:—
Sir,—We have great pleasure in making known to you, that upon the demise of Mr Sholto Campbell, of Wexton Hall, Cumberland, which took place on the 19th ultimo, the entailed estates, in default of more direct issue, have fallen to you, as nearest of kin; the presumptive heir having perished at sea, or in the East Indies, and not having been heard of for twenty-five years. We beg to be the first to congratulate you upon your accession to real property amounting to 14,000 pounds per annum. No will has been found, and it has been ascertained that none was ever made by the late Mr Sholto Campbell. We have, therefore, put seals upon the personal property, and shall await your pleasure. We can only add, that if in want of professional advice, and not being already engaged, you may command the services of Your most obedient, Harvey, Paxton, Thorpe, and Co.
"What can be the matter, my dear?" exclaimed Mrs Campbell, who had perceived most unusual agitation in her husband's countenance.
Mr Campbell made no reply, but handed the letter to his wife.
Mrs Campbell read it, and laid it down on the table.
"Well, my dear!" exclaimed Mr Campbell, joyfully, and starting up from his chair.
"It is a sudden shock, indeed," observed Mrs Campbell thoughtfully and slowly. "I have often felt that we could bear up against any adversity. I trust in God, that we may be as well able to support prosperity, by far the hardest task, my dear Campbell, of the two."
"You are right, Emily," replied Mr Campbell, sitting down again; "we are, and have long been, happy."
"This sudden wealth cannot add to our happiness, my dear husband; I feel it will rather add to our cares; but it may enable us to add to the happiness of others; and with such feelings, let us receive it with thankfulness."
"Very true, Emily; but still we must do our duty in that station of life to which it has pleased God to call us. Hitherto I have by my profession been of some benefit to my fellow-creatures; and if in my change of condition I no more leave my warm bed to relieve their sufferings, at all events, I shall have the means of employing others so to do. We must consider ourselves but as the stewards of Him who has bestowed this great wealth upon us, and employ it as may be acceptable to His service."
"There my husband spoke as I felt he would," said Mrs Campbell, rising up, and embracing him. "Those who feel as you do can never be too rich."
I must not dwell too long upon this portion of my narrative. I shall therefore observe that Mr Campbell took possession of Wexton Hall, and lived in a style corresponding to his increased fortune; but, at the same time, he never let pass an opportunity of doing good, and in this task he was ably assisted by his wife. They had not resided there three or four years before they were considered as a blessing to all around them—encouraging industry, assisting the unfortunate, relieving the indigent, building almshouses and schools, and doing all in their power to promote the welfare and add to the happiness of those within many miles of the Hall. At the time that Mr Campbell took possession, the estate had been much neglected, and required large sums to be laid out upon it, which would much increase its value.
Thus all the large income of Mr Campbell was usefully and advantageously employed. The change in Mr Campbell's fortune had also much changed the prospects of his children. Henry, the eldest, who had been intended for his father's profession, was first sent to a private tutor, and afterwards to college. Alfred, the second boy, had chosen the navy for his profession, and had embarked on board a fine frigate. The other two boys, one named Percival, who was more than two years old at the time that they took possession of the property, and the other, John, who had been born only a few months, remained at home, receiving tuition from a young curate, who lived near the Hall; while a governess had been procured for Mary and Emma Percival, who were growing up very handsome and intelligent girls.
Such was the state of affairs at the time when Mr Campbell had been about ten years in possession of the Wexton estate, when one day he was called upon by Mr Harvey, the head of the firm which had announced to him his succession to the property.
Mr Harvey came to inform him that a claimant had appeared, and given notice of his intent to file a bill in Chancery to recover the estate, being, as he asserted, the son of the person who had been considered as the presumptive heir, and who had perished so many years back. Mr Harvey observed, that although he thought it his duty to make the circumstance known to Mr Campbell, he considered it as a matter of no consequence, and in all probability would turn out to be a fraud got up by some petty attorney, with a view to a compromise. He requested Mr Campbell not to allow the circumstance to give him any annoyance, stating that if more was heard of it, Mr Campbell should be immediately informed. Satisfied with the opinion of Mr Harvey, Mr Campbell dismissed the circumstance from his mind, and did not even mention it to his wife.
But three months had not passed away before Mr Campbell received a letter from his solicitor, in which he informed him that the claim to the estate was carrying on with great vigour, and, he was sorry to add, wore (to use his own term) a very ugly appearance; and that the opposite parties would, at all events, put Mr Campbell to very considerable expense. The solicitor requested Mr Campbell's instructions, again asserting, that although it was artfully got up, he considered that it was a fraudulent attempt. Mr Campbell returned an answer, in which he authorised his solicitor to take every needful precaution, and to incur all necessary expense. On reflection, Mr Campbell, although much annoyed, determined not to make Mrs Campbell acquainted with what was going on; it could only distress her, he thought, and he therefore resolved for the present to leave her in ignorance.
WHAT BECAME OF THE FORTUNE.
After a delay of some months, Mr Harvey called upon Mr Campbell, and stated to him that the claim of the opposite party, so far from being fraudulent, as he had supposed, was so clear, that he feared the worst results.
It appeared that the heir to the estates, who had remained between Mr Campbell's title, had married in India, and had subsequently, as it had been supposed, died; but there was full and satisfactory proof that the marriage was valid, and that the party who claimed was his son. It was true, Mr Harvey observed, that Mr Campbell might delay for some time the restoration of the property, but that eventually it must be surrendered.
As soon as Mr Campbell received this letter, he went to his wife and acquainted her with all that had been going on for some months, and with the reasons which induced him to say nothing to her until the receipt of Mr Harvey's letter, which he now put into her hands, requesting her opinion on the subject. Mrs Campbell after having read the letter, replied—
"It appears, my dear husband, that we have been called to take possession of a property, and to hold for many years that which belongs to another. We are now called upon to give it up to the rightful owner. You ask my opinion; surely there is no occasion to do that. We must of course now, that we know that the claim is just, do as we would be done by."
"That is, my dearest, we must surrender it at once, without any more litigation. It certainly has been my feeling ever since I have read Mr Harvey's letter. Yet it is hard to be beggars."
"It is hard, my dear husband, if we may use that term; but, at the same time, it is the will of Heaven. We received the property, supposing it to have been our own; we have, I hope, not misused it during the time it has been intrusted to us; and, since it pleases Heaven that we should be deprived of it, let us, at all events, have the satisfaction of acting conscientiously and justly, and trust to Him for our future support."
"I will write immediately," replied Mr Campbell, "to acquaint Mr Harvey, that although I litigated the point as long as the claim was considered doubtful, now that he informs me that the other party is the legal heir, I beg that all proceedings may be stopped, as I am willing to give immediate possession."
"Do so, my dear," replied his wife, embracing him. "We may be poor, but I trust we shall still be happy."
Mr Campbell sat down and wrote the letter of instructions to his solicitor, sealed it, and sent a groom with it to the post.
As soon as the servant had closed the door of the room, Mr Campbell covered his face with his hands.
"It is, indeed, a severe trial," said Mrs Campbell, taking the hand of her husband; "but you have done your duty."
"I care not for myself; I am thinking of my children."
"They must work," replied Mrs Campbell. "Employment is happiness."
"Yes, the boys may get on; but those poor girls! what a change will it be for them!"
"I trust they have been not so badly brought up, Campbell, but that they will submit with cheerfulness, and be a source of comfort to us both. Besides, we may not be absolutely beggars."
"That depends upon the other party. He may claim all arrears of rent; and if so, we are more than beggars. However, God's will be done. Shall we receive good, and shall we not receive evil?"
"There's hope, my husband," replied Mrs Campbell, in a cheering tone; "let us hope for the best."
"How little do we know what is for our good, short-sighted mortals as we are!" observed Mr Campbell. "Had not this estate come to us, I should, by following up my profession as surgeon, in all probability, have realised a good provision for my children; now, this seeming good turn of fortune leaves me poor. I am too old now to resume my profession, and, if I did, have no chance of obtaining the practice which I left. You see that which appeared to us and everyone else the most fortunate occurrence in my life, has actually proved the contrary."
"As far as our limited view of things can enable us to judge, I grant it," replied Mrs Campbell; "but who knows what might have happened if we had remained in possession? All is hidden from our view. He acts as He thinks best for us; and it is for us to submit without repining. Come, dearest, let us walk out; the air is fresh, and will cool your heated brow."
Two days after this conversation, a letter was received from Mr Harvey, informing them that he had made known Mr Campbell's determination to resign the property without further litigation; that the reply of the other party was highly honourable, stating that it was not his intention to make any claim for the back rents, and requesting that Mr Campbell and family would consider Wexton Hall at their disposal for three months, to enable them to make arrangements, and dispose of their furniture, etcetera.
The contents of this letter were a great relief to the mind of Mr Campbell, as he was now able to ascertain what his future means might be, and was grateful for the handsome behaviour of the new proprietor in not making any claim for the back rents, which would have reduced him at once to penury. He wrote immediately to Mr Harvey, requesting him to send in his account of legal expenses, that it might be liquidated as early as possible. In three days it arrived, and a letter with it, in which Mr Harvey acquainted him that it was in consequence of his having so handsomely surrendered the property as soon as the claim was substantiated, together with the knowledge how much the estate had been improved during the ten years in which it had been in his possession, which induced the new proprietor to behave in so liberal a manner. This was very gratifying to Mr Campbell, but the legal expenses proved enormous, amounting to many thousand pounds.
Mr Campbell read the sum total, and threw the huge heap of papers down on the table in despair.
"We are still ruined, my dear," said he, mournfully.
"Let us hope not," replied Mrs Campbell. "At all events, we now know the worst of it, and we must look it boldly in the face."
"I have not so much money as will pay this bill by nearly a thousand pounds, my dearest wife."
"It may be so," replied Mrs Campbell; "but still there is the furniture, the horses, and carriages; surely, they are worth much more."
"But we have other bills to pay; you forget them."
"No, I do not; I have been collecting them all, and they do not amount to more than 300 pounds, as near as I can judge; but we have no time to lose, dearest, and we must show courage."
"What then do you advise, Emily?" said Mr Campbell.
"We must incur no more expense; our present establishment must be dismissed at once. Send for all the servants to-morrow morning, and explain what has occurred. This evening I will make it known to the two girls and Miss Paterson, who must of course be discharged, as we can no longer afford a governess. We must retain only the cook, housemaid, one footman, and a groom to look after the horses until they are sold. Send a letter to Mr Bates, the auctioneer, to give notice of an early sale of the furniture. You must write to Henry; of course, he can no longer remain at college. We have plenty of time to consider what shall be our future plans, which must depend much upon what may prove to be our future means."
This judicious advice was approved of by Mr Campbell. Miss Paterson was greatly distressed when the news was communicated to her by Mrs Campbell. Mary and Emma Percival felt deeply for their kind benefactors, but thought nothing of themselves. As Mrs Campbell had truly observed, they had been too well brought up. As soon as they were informed of what had happened, they both ran to Mr Campbell's room, and hung upon his neck, declaring that they would do all they could to make him happy, and work for him, if necessary, from morning till night.
The next day the whole household were summoned into the dining-room, and made acquainted by Mr Campbell with what had taken place, and the necessity of their immediate removal. Their wages had been calculated, and were paid them before they quitted the room, which they all did with many expressions of regret. Miss Paterson requested leave to remain with them as a friend for a few days longer, and as she was deservedly a favourite, her request was acceded to.
"Thank heaven, that is over!" said Mr Campbell, after all the household had been dismissed. "It is quite a relief to my mind."
"Here's a letter from Alfred, uncle," said Emma Percival, entering the room. "He has just arrived at Portsmouth, and says the ship is ordered to be paid off immediately, and his captain is appointed to a fifty-gun ship, and intends to take him with him. He says he will be here in a few days, and—"
"And what, dearest?" said Mrs Campbell.
"He says his time will be short, but he hopes you won't object to his bringing two of his messmates down with him."
"Poor fellow! I am sorry that he will be disappointed," replied Mr Campbell. "You must write to him, Emma, and tell him what has happened."
"I must write to him, uncle?"
"Yes, dear Emma, do you write to him," replied Mrs Campbell; "your uncle and I have much to attend to."
"I will, since you wish me," said Emma, the tears starting in her eyes as she quitted the room.
"Mr Bates, the auctioneer, wishes to see you, sir," said the footman, as he came in.
"Request that he will walk in," replied Mr Campbell.
Mr Bates, the auctioneer, came in and presented a letter to Mr Campbell, who requested him to take a chair while he read it. It was from Mr Douglas Campbell, the new proprietor of the estate, requesting Mr Bates would ascertain if Mr Campbell was willing that the furniture, etcetera, should be disposed of by valuation, and if so, requesting Mr Bates to put a liberal value on it, and draw upon him for the amount.
"This is very considerate of Mr Douglas Campbell," observed Mrs Campbell; "of course, my dear, you can have no objection?"
"None whatever; return my best thanks to Mr Douglas Campbell for his kindness; and, Mr Bates, if you can possibly value by to-morrow or next day, I should esteem it a favour."
"It shall be done, sir," replied Mr Bates, who then rose and took his leave.
As soon as the valuation was finished, Mr Campbell was enabled to make an estimate of what remained to them out of the property, and found that the whole sum amounted to between seventeen and eighteen hundred pounds.
It may appear strange that, after having been in possession of the estate for ten years, and considering that he had younger children to provide for, Mr Campbell had not laid up a larger sum; but this can be fully explained.
As I before said, the estate was in very bad order when Mr Campbell came into possession, and he devoted a large portion of the income to improving it; and, secondly, he had expended a considerable sum in building almshouses and schools, works which he would not delay, as he considered them as religious obligations. The consequence was, that it was not until a year before the claim was made to the estate that he had commenced laying by for his younger children; and as the estate was then worth 2,000 pounds per annum more than it was at the time that he came into possession of it, he had resolved to put by 5,000 pounds per annum, and had done so for twelve months. The enormous legal expenses had, however, swallowed up this sum, and more, as we have already stated; and thus he was left a poorer man by some hundreds than he was when the property fell to him. The day after the valuation the eldest son, Henry, made his appearance; he seemed much dejected, more so than his parents, and those who knew him, would have supposed. It was, however, ascribed to his feeling for his father and mother, rather than for himself.
Many were the consultations held by Mr and Mrs Campbell as to their future plans; but nothing at all feasible, or likely to prove advantageous, suggested itself to them. With only sixteen or seventeen hundred pounds, they scarcely knew where to go or how to act. Return to his profession Mr Campbell knew that he could not, with any chance of supporting his family. His eldest son, Henry, might obtain a situation, but he was really fit for nothing but the bar or holy orders; and how were they to support him till he could support himself? Alfred, who was now a master's mate, could, it is true, support himself, but it would be with difficulty, and there was little chance of his promotion. Then there were the two other boys, and the two girls growing up fast; in short, a family of eight people. To put so small a sum in the funds would be useless, as they could not live upon the interest which it would give, and how to employ it they knew not. They canvassed the matter over and over, but without success, and each night they laid their heads upon the pillow more and more disheartened. They were all ready to leave the Hall, but knew not where to direct their steps when they left it; and thus they continued wavering for a week, until they were embraced by their son Alfred, who had made all speed to join them as soon as the ship had been paid off. After the first joy of meeting between those who had been separated so long was over, Mr Campbell said, "I'm sorry, Alfred, that I could not give your messmates any fishing."
"And so am I, and so were they, for your sakes, my dear father and mother; but what is, is—and what can't be helped, can't—so we must make the best of it; but where's Henry and my cousins?"
"They are walking in the park, Alfred: you had better join them; they are most anxious to see you."
"I will, mother; let us get over these huggings and kissings, and then we shall be more rational: so good-bye for half an hour," said Alfred, kissing his mother again, and then hastening out of the room.
"His spirits are not subdued, at all events," observed Mrs Campbell. "I thank God for it."
Alfred soon fell in with his brother and his cousins, Mary and Emma, and after the huggings and kissings, as he termed them, were over, he made inquiries into the real state of his father's affairs. After a short conversation, Henry, who was very much depressed in his spirits, said, "Mary and Emma, perhaps you will now go in; I wish to have some conversation with Alfred."
"You are terribly out of heart, Harry," observed Alfred, after his cousins had left them. "Are things so very bad?"
"They are bad enough, Alfred; but what makes me so low-spirited is, that I fear my folly has made them worse."
"How so?" replied Alfred.
"The fact is, that my father has but 1,700 pounds left in the world, a sum small enough; but what annoys me is this. When I was at college, little imagining such a reverse of fortune, I anticipated my allowance, because I knew I could pay at Christmas, and I ran in debt about 200 pounds. My father always cautioned me not to exceed my allowance, and thinks that I have not done so. Now, I cannot bear the idea of leaving college in debt, and, at the same time, it will be a heavy blow to my poor father, if he has to part with 200 pounds, out of his trifling remainder, to pay my debt. This is what has made me so unhappy. I cannot bear to tell him, because I feel convinced that he is so honourable, he will pay it immediately. I am mad with myself, and really do not know what to do. I do nothing but reproach myself all day, and I cannot sleep at night. I have been very foolish, but I am sure you will kindly enter into my present feelings. I waited till you came home, because I thought you had better tell my father the fact, for I feel as if I should die with shame and vexation."
"Look you, Harry," replied Alfred, "as for outrunning the constable, as we term it at sea, it's a very common thing, and, all things considered, no great harm done, when you suppose that you have the means, and intend to pay; so don't lay that to heart. That you would give your right hand not to have done so, as things have turned out, I really believe; but, however, there is no occasion to fret any more about it, I have received three years' pay, and the prize-money for the last eighteen months, and there is still some more due, for a French privateer. Altogether it amounts to 250 pounds, which I had intended to have made over to my father, now that he is on a lee-shore; but it will come to the same thing, whether I give it to you to pay your debts, or give it to him, as he will pay them, if you do not; so here it is, take what you want, and hand me over what's left. My father don't know that I have any money, and now he won't know it; at the same time he won't know that you owe any; so that squares the account, and he will be as well off as ever."
"Thank you, my dear Alfred; you don't know what a relief this will be to my mind. Now I can look my father in his face."
"I hope you will; we are not troubled with such delicate feelings on board ship, Harry. I should have told him the truth long before this. I couldn't bear to keep anything on my conscience. If this misfortune had happened last cruise, I should have been just in your position; for I had a tailor's bill to pay as long as a frigate's pennant, and not enough in my pocket to buy a mouse's breakfast. Now, let us go in again and be as merry as possible, and cheer them up a little."
Alfred's high spirits did certainly do much to cheer them all up; and after tea, Mr Campbell, who had previously consulted his wife, as soon as the servant had quitted the room, entered on a full explanation of the means which were left to them; and stated that he wished in his difficulty to put the question before the whole family, and ascertain whether any project might come into their heads upon which they might decide and act. Henry, who had recovered his spirits since the assistance he had received from Alfred, was desired to speak first. He replied:
"My dear father and mother, if you cannot between you hit upon any plan, I am afraid it is not likely that I can assist you. All I have to say is, that whatever may be decided upon, I shall most cheerfully do my duty towards you and my brothers and sisters. My education has not been one likely to be very useful to a poor man, but I am ready to work with my hands as well as with my head to the best of my abilities."
"That I am sure of, my dear boy," replied his father.
"Now, Alfred, we must look to you as our last hope, for your two cousins are not likely to give us much advice."
"Well, father, I have been thinking a good deal about it, and I have a proposal to make which may at first startle you, but it appears to me that it is our only, and our best resource. The few hundred pounds which you have left are of no use in this country, except to keep you from starving for a year or two; but in another country they may be made to be worth as many thousands. In this country, a large family becomes a heavy charge and expense; in another country, the more children you have, the richer man you are. If, therefore, you would consent to transport your family and your present means into another country, instead of being a poor, you might be a rich man."
"What country is that, Alfred?"
"Why, father, the purser of our ship had a brother, who, soon after the French were beaten out of the Canadas, went out there to try his fortune. He had only three hundred pounds in the world; he has been there now about four years, and I read a letter from him which the purser received when the frigate arrived at Portsmouth, in which he states that he is doing well, and getting rich fast; that he has a farm of five hundred acres, of which two hundred are cleared; and that if he only had some children large enough to help him, he would soon be worth ten times the money, as he would purchase more land immediately. Land is to be bought there at a dollar an acre, and you may pick and choose. With your money, you might buy a large property; with your children, you might improve it fast; and in a few years, you would, at all events, be comfortable, if not flourishing, in your circumstances. Your children would work for you, and you would have the satisfaction of knowing that you left them independent and happy."
"I acknowledge, my dear boy, that you have struck upon a plan which has much to recommend it. Still there are drawbacks."
"Drawbacks!" replied Alfred; "yes, to be sure there are. If estates were to be picked up for merely going out for them, there would not be many left for you to choose; but, my dear father, I know no drawbacks which cannot be surmounted. Let us see what these drawbacks are. First, hard labour; occasional privation; a log-hut, till we can get a better; severe winter; isolation from the world; occasional danger, even from wild beasts and savages. I grant these are but sorry exchanges for such a splendid mansion as this—fine furniture, excellent cooking, polished society, and the interest one feels for what is going on in our own country, which is daily communicated to us. Now, as to hard labour, I and Henry will take as much of that off your hands as we can; if the winter is severe, there is no want of firewood; if the cabin is rude, at least we will make it comfortable; if we are shut out from the world, we shall have society enough among ourselves; if we are in danger, we will have firearms and stout hearts to defend ourselves; and, really, I do not see but we may be very happy, very comfortable, and, at all events, very independent."
"Alfred, you talk as if you were going with us," said Mrs Campbell.
"And do you think that I am not, my dear mother? Do you imagine that I would remain here when you were there, and my presence would be useful? No, no! I love the service, it is true, but I know my duty, which is, to assist my father and mother: in fact, I prefer it; a midshipman's ideas of independence are very great—and I had rather range the wilds of America free and independent than remain in the service and have to touch my hat to every junior lieutenant, perhaps for twenty years to come. If you go, I go, that is certain. Why, I should be miserable if you went without me; I should dream every night that an Indian had run away with Mary, or that a bear had eaten up my little Emma."
"Well, I'll take my chance of the Indian," replied Mary Percival.
"And I of the bear," said Emma. "Perhaps he'll only hug me as tight as Alfred did when he came home."
"Thank you, Miss, for the comparison," replied Alfred, laughing.
"I certainly consider that your proposal, Alfred, merits due reflection," observed Mrs Campbell. "Your father and I will consult, and perhaps by to-morrow morning we may have come to a decision. Now we had better all go to bed."
"I shall dream of the Indian, I am sure," said Mary.
"And I shall dream of the bear," added Emma, looking archly at Alfred.
"And I shall dream of a very pretty girl that I saw at Portsmouth," said Alfred.
"I don't believe you," replied Emma.
Shortly afterwards Mr Campbell rang the bell for the servants; family prayers were read, and all retired in good spirits.
The next morning they all met at an early hour; and after Mr Campbell had, as was his invariable rule, read a portion of the Bible, and a prayer of thankfulness, they sat down to breakfast. After breakfast was over, Mr Campbell said—
"My dear children, last night, after you had left us, your mother and I had a long consultation, and we have decided that we have no alternative left us but to follow the advice which Alfred has given; if, then, you are all of the same opinion as we are, we have resolved that we will try our fortunes in the Canadas."
"I am certainly of that opinion," replied Henry.
"And you, my girls?" said Mr Campbell.
"We will follow you to the end of the world, uncle," replied Mary, "and try if we can by any means in our power repay your kindness to two poor orphans."
Mr and Mrs Campbell embraced their nieces, for they were much affected by Mary's reply.
After a pause, Mrs Campbell said—
"Now that we have come to a decision, we must commence our arrangements immediately. How shall we dispose of ourselves? Come, Alfred and Henry, what do you propose doing?"
"I must return immediately to Oxford, to settle my affairs, and dispose of my books and other property."
"Shall you have sufficient money, my dear boy, to pay everything?" said Mr Campbell.
"Yes, my dear father," replied Henry, colouring up a little.
"And I," said Alfred, "presume that I can be of no use hers; therefore I propose that I should start for Liverpool this afternoon by the coach, for it is from Liverpool that we had better embark. I shall first write to our purser for what information he can procure, and obtain all I can at Liverpool from other people. As soon as I have anything to communicate, I will write."
"Write as soon as you arrive, Alfred, whether you have anything to communicate or not; at all events, we shall know of your safe arrival."
"I will, my dear mother."
"Have you money, Alfred?"
"Yes, quite sufficient, father. I don't travel with four horses."
"Well, then, we will remain here to pack up, Alfred; and you must look out for some moderate lodgings for us to go into as soon as we arrive at Liverpool. At what time do the ships sail for Quebec?"
"Just about this time, father. This is March, and they will now sail every week almost. The sooner we are off the better, that we may be comfortably housed in before the winter."
A few hours after this conversation, Henry and Alfred left the Hall upon their several destinations. Mr and Mrs Campbell and the two girls had plenty of employment for three or four days in packing up. It was soon spread through the neighbourhood that they were going to emigrate to Canada; and the tenants who had held their farms under Mr Campbell, all came forward and proffered their waggons and horses to transport his effects to Liverpool, without his being put to any expense.
In the meantime a letter had been received from Alfred, who had not been idle. He had made acquaintance with some merchants who traded to Canada, and by them had been introduced to two or three persons who had settled there a few years before, and who were able to give him every information. They informed him what was most advisable to take out; how they were to proceed upon their landing; and what was of more importance, the merchants gave him letters of introduction to English merchants at Quebec, who would afford them every assistance in the selecting and purchasing of land, and in their transport up the country. Alfred had also examined a fine timber-ship, which was to sail in three weeks; and had bargained for the price of their passage, in case they could get ready in time to go by her. He wrote all these particulars to his father, waiting for his reply to act upon his wishes.
Henry returned from Oxford, having settled his accounts, and with the produce of the sale of his classics and the other books in his pocket. He was full of spirits, and of the greatest assistance to his father and mother.
Alfred had shown so much judgment in all he had undertaken, that his father wrote to him stating that they would be ready for the ship which he named, and that he might engage the cabins, and also at once procure the various articles which they were advised to take out with them, and draw upon him for the amount, if the people would not wait for the money. In a fortnight they were all ready; the waggons had left with their effects some days before. Mr Campbell wrote a letter to Mr Douglas Campbell, thanking him for his kindness and consideration to them, and informing him that they should leave Wexton Hall on the following day. He only begged, as a favour, that the schoolmaster and schoolmistress of the village school should be continued on, as it was of great importance that the instruction of the poor should not be neglected; and added, that perceiving by the newspapers that Mr Douglas Campbell had lately married, Mrs Campbell and he wished him and his wife every happiness, etcetera, etcetera.
Having despatched this letter, there was nothing more to be done, previous to their departure from the Hall, except to pay and dismiss the few servants who were with them—for Mrs Campbell had resolved upon taking none, out with her.
That afternoon they walked round the plantation and park for the last time. Mrs Campbell and the girls went round the rooms of the Hall to ascertain that everything was left tidy, neat, and clean. The poor girls sighed as they passed by the harp and piano in the drawing-room, for they were old friends.
"Never mind, Mary," said Emma; "we have our guitars, and may have music in the woods of Canada without harp or piano."
The following morning, the coach, of which they had secured the whole of the inside, drove up to the Hall door, and they all got in, the tenants and poor people standing round them, all with their hats in their hands out of respect, and wishing them every success as they drove away through the avenue to the park gates. The Hall and the park itself had been long out of sight before a word was exchanged.
They checked their tears, but their hearts were too full for them to venture to speak.
The day afterwards they arrived at Liverpool, where Alfred had provided lodgings. Everything had been sent on board, and the ship had hauled out in the stream. As they had nothing to detain them on shore, and the captain wished to take advantage of the first fair wind, they all embarked, four days after their arrival at Liverpool; and I shall now leave them on board of the London Merchant, which was the name of the vessel, making all their little arrangements previous to their sailing, under the superintendence of Alfred, while I give some little more insight into the characters, ages, and dispositions of the family.
THE CONVOY ATTACKED.
Mr Campbell was a person of many amiable qualities. He was a religious, good man, very fond of his wife, to whose opinions he yielded in preference to his own, and very partial to his children, to whom he was inclined to be over indulgent. He was not a person of much energy of character, but he was sensible and well-informed. His goodness of heart rendered him very liable to be imposed upon, for he never suspected any deceit, notwithstanding that he was continually deceived. His character was therefore that of a simple, good, honest man.
Mrs Campbell was well matched with him as a wife, as she had all that energy and decision of character which was sometimes wanting in her husband. Still there was nothing masculine in her manners or appearance; on the contrary, she was delicate in her form, and very soft in her manners. She had great firmness and self-possession, and had brought up all her children admirably. Obedience to their parents was the principle instilled into them after their duty to God—for she knew too well that a disobedient child can never prosper. If ever there was a woman fitted to meet the difficulty and danger which threatened then, it was Mrs Campbell, for she had courage and presence of mind, joined to activity and cleverness.
Henry, the eldest son, was now nearly twenty years of age. He possessed much of the character of his father, was without vice, but rather inclined to inaction than otherwise. Much was to be ascribed to his education and college life, and more to his natural disposition.
Alfred, the sailor, was, on the contrary, full of energy, and active in everything, patient and laborious, if required, and never taking anything in hand without finishing it, if possible.
He was rough, but not rude, both in his speech and his manners, very kind-hearted, at the same time very confident in himself and afraid of nothing.
Mary Percival was a very amiable, reflective girl, quiet without being sad, not often indulging in conversation, except when alone with her sister Emma. She was devotedly attached to her uncle and aunt, and was capable of more than she had any idea of herself, for she was of a modest disposition, and thought humbly of herself. Her disposition was sweet, and was portrayed in her countenance. She was now seventeen years old, and very much admired.
Her sister Emma, who was but fifteen, was of a very different disposition, naturally gay, and inclined to find amusement in everything; cheerful as a lark, and singing from morning to night. Her disposition, owing to Mrs Campbell's care and attention, was equally amiable as her sister's, and her high spirits seldom betrayed her into indiscretion. She was the life of the family when Alfred was away: he only was her equal in high spirits.
Percival, the third boy, was now twelve years old; he was a quiet, clever lad, very obedient and very attentive to what was told him, very fond of obtaining information, being naturally very inquisitive.
John, the fourth boy, was ten years old; a sturdy, John Bull sort of boy, not very fond of learning, but a well-disposed boy in most things. He preferred anything to his book; at the same time, he was obedient, and tried to keep up his attention as well as he could, which was all that could be expected from a boy of his age. He was very slow in everything, very quiet, and seldom spoke unless first spoken to. He was not silly, although many people would have thought him so, but he certainly was a very strange boy, and it was difficult to say what he would turn out.
I have now described the family as they appeared at the time that they embarked on board of the London Merchant; and have only to add, that on the third day after their embarkation, they made sail with a fair wind, and ran down the Irish Channel.
The London Merchant sailed for Cork, where the North American convoy were to assemble. At the time we speak of, the war had recommenced between this country and the French, who were suffering all the horrors of the Revolution. On their arrival at Cork, our party recovered a little from the sea-sickness to which all are subject on their first embarkation. They found themselves at anchor with more than a hundred merchant-vessels, among which were to be perceived the lofty masts and spars of a large fifty-gun ship, and two small frigates, which were appointed to convoy them to their destination.
The rest of the party, still suffering, soon went down below again, but Alfred remained on deck leaning against the bulwarks of the vessel, his eyes and his thoughts intently fixed upon the streaming pennants of the men-of-war, and a tear rolled down his cheek, as he was reminded that he no longer could follow up his favourite profession. The sacrifice that he had made to his family was indeed great. He had talked lightly of it before them, not wishing them to believe that it was so. He had not told his father that he had passed his examination for lieutenant before he had been paid off at Portsmouth; and that his captain, who was very partial to him, had promised that he should soon be advanced in the service. He had not told them that all his wishes, all his daily hopes, the most anxious desire of his existence, which was to become a post-captain, and in command of a fine frigate, were blighted by this sacrifice he had made for them and their comfort. He had concealed all this, and assumed a mirth, which he did not feel; but now that he was alone, and the pennant was once more presented to his view, his regrets could not be controlled. He sighed deeply, and turning away with his arms folded, said to himself, "I have done my duty. It is hard, after having served so long, and now just arrived at the time in which I have reason to expect my reward—to rise in the service—distinguish myself by my zeal, and obtain a reputation, which, if it pleased God, I would have done very hard, to have to leave it now, and to be hid in the woods, with an axe in my hand; but how could I leave my father, my mother, and my brothers and sisters, to encounter so much difficulty and privation by themselves, when I have a strong arm to help them. No, no!—I have done my duty to those who ever did their duty to me, and I trust that my own conscience will prove my reward, and check that repining which we are too apt to feel when it pleases Heaven to blight, what appear to be, our fairest prospects... I say, my good fellow," said Alfred, after a while, to a man in a boat, "what is the name of that fifty-gun ship?"
"I don't know which ship has fifty guns, or which has a hundred;" replied the Irishman, "but if you mean the biggest, she is called the Portsmouth."
"The Portsmouth! the very ship Captain Lumley was appointed to," cried Alfred. "I must go on board."
Alfred ran down to the cabin, and requested the captain of the transport, whose name was Wilson, to allow him the small boat to go on board the man-of-war. His request was granted, and Alfred was soon up the side of the Portsmouth. There were some of his old messmates on the quarter-deck, who welcomed him heartily, for he was a great favourite. Shortly afterwards, he sent down a message by the steward, requesting that Captain Lumley would see him, and was immediately afterwards ordered to go into the cabin.
"Well, Mr Campbell," said Captain Lumley, "so you have joined us at last; better late than never. You're but just in time. I thought you would soon get over that foolish whim of yours, which you mentioned in your letter to me, of leaving the service, just after you had passed, and had such good chance of promotion. What could have put it in your head?"
"Nothing, sir," replied Alfred, "but my duty to my parents. It is a most painful step for me to take, but I leave you to judge whether I can do otherwise."
Alfred then detailed to Captain Lumley all that had occurred, the resolution which his father and mother had taken, and their being then on board the timber-ship, and about to proceed to their new destination.
Captain Lumley heard Alfred's story without interruption, and then, after a pause, said, "I think you are right, my boy, and it does you honour. Where you are going to, I have no doubt that your courage and your protection will be most important. Yet it is a pity you should be lost to the service."
"I feel most sincerely, sir, I assure you, but—"
"But you sacrifice yourself; I know that. I admire the resolution of your father and mother. Few could have the courage to have taken such a step—few women, especially. I shall call upon them, and pay my respects. In half an hour I shall be ready, and you shall accompany me, and introduce me. In the meantime you can go and see your old messmates."
Alfred left the cabin, much flattered by the kindness of Captain Lumley, and went down to his former messmates, with whom he remained until the boatswain piped away the crew of the captain's barge. He then went on deck, and as soon as the captain came up, he went into the boat. The captain followed, and they were soon on board of the London Merchant. Alfred introduced Captain Lumley to his father and mother; and in the course of half an hour, being mutually pleased with each other, an intimacy was formed, when Captain Lumley observed—"I presume, that much as you may require your son's assistance on your arrival at Canada, you can dispense with his presence on board of this vessel. My reason for making this observation is, that no chance should ever be thrown away. One of my lieutenants wishes to leave the ship on family concerns. He has applied to me, and I have considered it my duty to refuse him, now that we are on the point of sailing, and I am unable to procure another. But for your son's sake, I will now permit him to go, and will, if you will allow him to come on board of the Portsmouth, give Alfred an acting lieutenant's order. Should anything occur on the passage out, and it is not at all impossible, it will insure his promotion; even if nothing occurs, I will have his acting order confirmed. At Quebec, he shall, of course, leave the ship, and go with you. I don't pretend to detain him from his duty; but you will observe, that if he does obtain his rank, he will also obtain his half-pay, which, if he remains in Canada with you, will be a great assistance; and if things should turn out so well, that you can, after a year or two, do without him, and allow him to return to the service, he will then have already gained the most important step, and will, I have no doubt, soon rise to the command of a ship. I will give you till to-morrow to decide. Alfred can come on board in the morning, and let me know."
"I think I may say, Captain Lumley," replied Mrs Campbell, "that my husband could have but one reason in hesitating a moment, and that is, to ascertain whether I would like to part with my son during our passage out. I should, indeed, be a very weak woman, if I did not make such a trifling sacrifice for his benefit, and at the same time, feel most grateful to you for your kind intentions towards him. I rather think that Mr Campbell will not find it necessary to have till to-morrow morning to consider the proposal; but I leave him to answer for himself."
"I can assure you. Captain Lumley, that Mrs Campbell has only expressed my own feelings, and, as far as we are concerned, your offer is most gratefully accepted."
"Then," replied Captain Lumley, "Alfred has only to make his appearance on board of the Portsmouth to-morrow morning, and he will find his acting order ready for him. We sail, I believe, the day after, if the weather is at all favourable; so, if I have not another opportunity to pay my respects to you, you must allow me to say farewell now. I shall keep my eye upon your vessel during the passage; at all events, Alfred will, I'm very sure."
Captain Lumley shook hands with Mr and Mrs Campbell, bowed to the rest of the cabin party, and quitted the ship. As he went over the side, he observed to Alfred, "I perceive you have some attractions in your party. It is quite melancholy to think that those pretty cousins of yours should be buried in the woods of Canada. To-morrow, at nine o'clock, then, I shall expect you.—Adieu!"
Although the idea of Alfred leaving them during the passage out was not pleasant, Mr and Mrs Campbell were most happy at the chance which had offered itself for their son's advantage, and seemed in good spirits when he took leave of them on the following morning.
"Captain Wilson, you sail so well, that I hope you will keep close to us all the passage out," observed Alfred, as he was taking leave.
"Except you happen to come to action with an enemy, and then I shall haul off to a respectful distance, Mr Alfred," replied Captain Wilson, laughing.
"That, of course. Cannon-balls were never invented for ladies, although they have no objection to balls—have they, Emma? Well, good-bye! once more. You can often see me with the spy-glass, if you feel inclined. Recollect that."
Alfred shoved off in the boat, and was soon on board of the Portsmouth. The following day they sailed with a fair wind and moderate weather, the convoy now increased to 120 vessels.
We must leave Mr and Mrs Campbell and family on board the London Merchant, and follow Alfred in the Portsmouth, during the passage to Quebec.
For several days the weather was moderate, although the wind was not always fair, and the convoy was kept together, and in good order. The London Merchant was never far from the Portsmouth, and Alfred employed a large portion of his time, when he was not keeping his watch, in keeping his spy-glass upon the vessel, and watching the motions of his cousins and the rest of the family. On board of the London Merchant they were similarly occupied, and very often a handkerchief was waved by way of salute and recognition.
At last they arrived off the banks of Newfoundland, and were shrouded in a heavy fog, the men-of-war constantly firing guns, to inform the merchant-ships in what direction they were to steer, and the merchant-vessels of the convoy ringing their bells to warn each other, that they might not be run foul of.
The fog lasted two days, and was still continuing when the party on board the London Merchant, just as they were sitting down to dinner in the cabin, heard a noise and bustle on deck. Captain Wilson ran hastily up, and found that his vessel had been boarded by a French boats crew, who had beaten down the men and taken possession. As there was no help, all he could do was to go down to the cabin, and inform his passengers that they were prisoners. The shock of this intelligence was very great, as may be supposed, but still there was no useless lamentation or weeping. One thing is certain, that this news quite spoilt their appetite for their dinner, which, however, was soon despatched by the French officer and his men, after the boat had left, and the vessel's head had been put in an opposite direction.
Captain Wilson, who had returned on deck, came down in about a quarter of an hour, and informed the party, who were silently brooding over this sudden change in their prospects, that the wind was very light, and that he thought the fog was clearing off a little, and that if it did so before it was dark, he was in great hopes that they should be recaptured. This intelligence appeared to revive the hopes of Mr and Mrs Campbell, and they were still more encouraged when they heard the sounds of guns at no very great distance. In a few minutes afterwards the cannonading became very furious, and the Frenchmen who were on board began to show strong signs of uneasiness.
The fact was, that a French squadron, of one sixty-gun ship and two corvettes, had been on the look-out for the convoy, and had come in among them during the fog. They had captured and taken possession of several vessels before they were discovered, but the sixty-gun ship at last ran very near to the Portsmouth, and Alfred, who had the watch, and was on a sharp look-out, soon perceived through the looming fog, that she was not one of the convoy. He ran down to acquaint the captain, and the men were immediately ordered to their quarters, without beating the drum, or making any noise that might let the enemy know they were so near. The yards were then braced in, to check the way of the Portsmouth, so that the strange vessel might come up with her. Silence was kept fore and aft, not a whisper was to be heard; and as the Frenchmen neared them, they perceived a boat putting off from her to board another vessel close to them, and also heard the orders given to the men in the French language. This was sufficient for Captain Lumley: he put the helm down, and poured a raking broadside into the enemy, who was by no means prepared for such a sudden salute, although her guns were cast loose, ready for action, in case of accident. The answer to the broadside was a cry of "Vive la Republique!" and in a few seconds both ships were hotly engaged—the Portsmouth having the advantage of lying upon the bow of her antagonist.
As is often the case, the heavy cannonading brought on a dead calm, and the two ships remained in their respective positions, except that the Portsmouth's was the more favourable, having drawn ahead of the French vessel, so that her broadside was poured into her opponent, without her being able to return the fire from more than four or five of her guns.
The fog became more opaque than ever; the two ships had neared each other considerably or it would have been impossible to distinguish. All that they could see from the deck of the Portsmouth was the jibboom and cap of the bowsprit of the Frenchman; the rest of her bowsprit, and her whole hull, were lost in the impenetrable gloom; but that was sufficient for the men to direct their guns, and the fire from the Portsmouth was most rapid, although the extent of its execution was unknown. After half an hour of incessant broadsides, the two vessels had approached each other so close, that the jibboom of the Frenchman was pointed between the fore and main rigging of the Portsmouth. Captain Lumley immediately gave orders to lash the Frenchman's bowsprit to his main-mast, and this was accomplished by the first lieutenant, Alfred, and the seamen, without any serious loss, for the fog was still so thick that the Frenchmen on their forecastle could not perceive what was doing at their bowsprit's cap.
"She is ours now," said Captain Lumley to the first lieutenant.
"Yes, sir,—fast enough. I think, if the fog were to clear away, they would haul down their colours."
"Not till the last, depend upon it," replied Captain Lumley. "Fire away there, on the main-deck, give them no time to take breath. Mr Campbell, tell the second lieutenant to let the foremost lower deck guns be pointed more aft. I say, not till the last," repeated Captain Lumley to the first lieutenant; "these Republicans will take a great deal of beating, even upon the water."
"It's clearing up, air, to the northward a little," said the master.
"I see—yes, it is," replied Captain Lumley.
"Well, the sooner the better; we shall see what has become of all the shot we have been throwing away."
A white silvery line appeared on the horizon, to the northward; gradually it increased, and as it rose up, became broader, till at last the curtain was lifted up, and a few feet were to be seen above the clear blue water. As it continued to approach, the light became more vivid, the space below increased, and the water was ruffled with the coming wind, till at last the fog rolled off as if it had been gradually furled, and sweeping away in a heavy bank to leeward, exposed the state and position of the whole convoy, and the contending vessels. The English seamen on board of the Portsmouth cheered the return of daylight, as it might truly be termed. Captain Lumley found that they had been contending in the very centre of the convoy, which was still lying around them, with the exception of fifteen vessels, which were a few miles apart, with their heads in an opposite direction. These were evidently those which had been captured. The two frigates, which had been stationed in the rear of the convoy, were still two or three miles distant, but making all sail to come up and assist the Portsmouth. Many of the convoy, which had been in the direction of the fire, appeared to have suffered in their masts and sails; but whether any injury had been received in their hulls it was not possible to say. The French line-of-battle ship had suffered dreadfully from the fire of the Portsmouth. Her main-mast and mizen-mast were over the side, her forward ports were many of them almost beat into one, and everything on board appeared to be in the greatest confusion.
"She can't stand this long," observed Captain Lumley. "Fire away, my lads."
"The Circe and Vixen are coming down to us, sir," observed the first lieutenant; "we do not want them, and they will only be an excuse for the Frenchmen to surrender to a superior force. If they recaptured the vessels taken, they would be of some service."
"Very true. Mr Campbell, make their signal to pursue captured vessels."
Alfred ran aft to obey the orders. The flags had just flown out at the mast-head, when he received a bullet through his arm; for the French, unable to use the major portion of their guns, had, when the fog cleared up, poured in incessant volleys of musketry upon the decks of the Portsmouth. Alfred desired the quarter-master to untie his neck-handkerchief for him, and bind up his arm. Having so done, he continued to do his duty. A bold attempt was now made by the French to clear their vessel by cutting the fastening of the bowsprit, but the marines of the Portsmouth were prepared for them, and after about twenty gallant fellows had dropped down on the booms and gangways of the Portsmouth, the attempt was given up, and four minutes afterwards the French colours were hauled down. She was boarded from her bowsprit by the first lieutenant and a party of seamen. The lashings were cast off, and the vessels cleared of each other, and then the English seamen gave three cheers in honour of the victory.
LANDING IN CANADA.
The French sixty-gun ship proved to be the Leonidas; she had been sent out with two large frigates on purpose to intercept the convoy, but she had parted with her consorts in a gale of wind. Her loss of men was very great; that on board of the Portsmouth was trifling. In a couple of hours the Portsmouth and her prize in tow were ready to proceed with the convoy, but they still remained hove to, to wait for the frigates which were in chase of the captured vessels. All of these were speedily come up with except the London Merchant, which sailed so remarkably well. At last, to the great joy of Alfred (who as soon as the bullet had been extracted and his arm dressed, had held his telescope fixed upon the chase), she hove to, and was taken possession of. Before night, the convoy were again collected together, and were steering for their destination. The next morning was clear, and the breeze moderated. Mrs Campbell, who, as well as the rest, was very anxious about Alfred, requested Captain Wilson to run down to the Portsmouth, that they might ascertain if he was safe. Captain Wilson did as she requested, and writing in chalk "all well" in large letters upon the log-board, held it over the side as he passed close to the Portsmouth. Alfred was not on deck—fever had compelled him to remain in his hammock—but Captain Lumley made the same reply on the log-board of the Portsmouth, and Mr and Mrs Campbell were satisfied. "How I should like to see him," said Mrs Campbell.
"Yes, madam," observed Captain Wilson, "but they have too much to do on board of the Portsmouth just now; they have to repair damages and to look after the wounded; they have a great quantity of prisoners on board, as you may see, for a great many are now on the booms; they have no time for compliments."
"That is very true," replied Mr Campbell, "we must wait till we arrive at Quebec."
"But we did not see Alfred," said Emma.
"No, miss, because he was busy enough below, and I dare say no one told him. They have said that 'all's well,' and that is sufficient; and now we must haul off again, for with such a heavy ship in tow, Captain Lumley will not thank me if I am always coming so close to him."
"I am satisfied, Captain Wilson; pray do nothing that will displease Captain Lumley. We shall soon see Alfred, I dare say, with the spy-glass."
"I see him now," said Mary Percival, "he has his telescope, and he is waving his hat to me."
"Thank God!" replied Mrs Campbell; "now I am satisfied."
The Portsmouth cast off the French line-of-battle ship, as soon as they had jury-masts up and could make sail on them, and the convoy proceeded to the mouth of the Saint Lawrence.
"Captain Wilson," said Percival, whose eyes were fixed on the water, "what animals are those, tumbling about and blowing,—those great white things?"
"They are what are called the white whale, Percival," replied Captain Wilson; "they are not often seen, except about here."
"Then what is the colour of the other whales?"
"The northern whales are black—they are called the black whales; but the southern, or spermaceti whales, are not so dark in colour."
Captain Wilson then, at Percival's request, gave him an account of how the whales were caught, for he had been several voyages himself in the northern whale-fishery.
Percival was never tired of asking questions, and Captain Wilson was very kind to him, and always answered him. John, generally speaking, stood by when Captain Wilson was talking, looking very solemn and very attentive, but not saying a word.
"Well, John," said Emma to him after the conversation had been ended, "what was Captain Wilson telling you about?"
"Whales," replied John, walking past her.
"Well, but is that all you can tell me, John?"
"Yes," replied John, walking away.
"At all events, Miss Emma, he keeps all his knowledge to himself," observed Captain Wilson, laughing.
"Yes; I shall know nothing about the whale-fishery, unless you will condescend to tell me yourself, that is evident," replied Emma, taking the offered arm of Captain Wilson, who, at her request, immediately resumed the subject.
In three weeks from the day of the action they had anchored off the town of Quebec.
As soon as they had anchored, Alfred obtained leave to go on board of the London Merchant, and then, for the first time, his family knew that he had been wounded. His arm was still in a sling, but was healing fast.
I shall pass over the numerous inquiries on his part relative to their capture and recapture, and on theirs, as to the action with the French ship.
While they were in conversation, Captain Lumley was reported to be coming on board in his boat. They went on the deck of the vessel to receive him.
"Well, Mrs Campbell," said Captain Lumley after the first salutations were over, "you must congratulate me on my having captured a vessel somewhat larger than my own; and I must congratulate you on the conduct and certain promotion of your son Alfred. He has richly deserved it."
"I am very thankful, Captain Lumley, and do most heartily congratulate you," replied Mrs Campbell; "I only regret that my boy has been wounded."
"The very thing that you should, on the contrary, be thankful for, Mrs Campbell," replied Captain Lumley. "It is the most fortunate wound in the world, as it not only adds to his claims, but enables me to let him join you and go to Canada with you, without it being supposed that he has quitted the service."
"How so, Captain Lumley?"
"I can discharge him to sick-quarters here at Quebec. If they think anything about it at all at home, it will be that his wound is much more severe than it really is; and he can remain on half-pay as long as he pleases. There are plenty ready to be employed. But I cannot wait any longer. I am going on shore to call upon the Governor, and I thought I would just see you in my way. You may assure yourselves that if I can be of any use to you, I will not fail to exert any little influence I may have."
Captain Lumley then took a cordial leave of the whole party, telling Alfred that he might consider himself as discharged from the ship, and might rejoin his family.
"Heaven sends us friends when we most need them and least expect them," said Mrs Campbell, as she watched the boat pulling away. "Who would have imagined, when we anchored at Cork, that such good fortune should have awaited us; and that, at the very time Alfred had given up his profession for our sake, his promotion in the service was awaiting him?"
Shortly afterwards Mrs Campbell and Henry went on shore with Captain Wilson to look out for lodgings, and present the letters of introduction which he had received for some Quebec merchants. As they were looking for lodgings in company with a Mr Farquhar, who had kindly volunteered to assist them, they met Captain Lumley on his return from the Governor.
"I am glad to have met you, Mrs Campbell," said Captain Lumley; "I found, on paying my respects to the Governor, that there is what they call the Admiralty House here, which is kept furnished by Government for the senior officers of his Majesty's ships. It is at my disposal; and as the Governor has requested me to take up my abode at Government House, I beg you will consider it at your service. You will find better accommodation there than, in lodgings, and it will save you considerable expense."
"We need look no further, Mrs Campbell," said Mr Farquhar.
Mrs Campbell expressed her acknowledgments to Captain Lumley, and returned on board with this pleasing intelligence.
"Oh, Alfred, how much we are indebted to you, my dear boy," said Mrs Campbell.
"To me, mother?—to Captain Lumley, I should rather think."
"Yes, to Captain Lumley, I grant; but still it has been your good conduct when under his command which has made him attached to you; and it is to that we owe his acquaintance, and all the kindness we have received from him."
The next day the family disembarked and took possession of the Admiralty house. Mr Farquhar procured them a female servant, who, with a man and his wife left in charge of the house, supplied all the attendance they required.
Mrs Campbell settled with Captain Wilson, who very generously refused to take any money for Alfred's passage, as he had not remained on board of the London Merchant: promising, however, to accept their invitation to come to them whenever he could find leisure, he took leave of them for the present, and they were left alone in their new residence.
In a few days the Campbells found themselves comfortably settled in the Admiralty House, but they had no intention of remaining there longer than was necessary; as, notwithstanding the accommodation, their residence at Quebec was attended with expense, and Mr Campbell was aware that he had no money to throw away.
On the fourth day after their landing Captain Lumley called to take leave; but the day previous he had introduced them to the Governor, who returned Mr Campbell's call, and appeared to be much interested in their welfare, owing of course to the representations of Captain Lumley. It was not, therefore, surprising that they should part with regret from one who had proved himself such a kind friend; and many were the expressions of gratitude which were made by the whole party. Captain Lumley shook hands with them all; and, assuring Alfred that he would not lose sight of his interests, wished them every success and left the house. An hour afterwards the Portsmouth was under weigh, and running out with a fine breeze.
On the following day the Governor requested Mr Campbell would call upon him; and when they met he pointed out to him that he would have great difficulties, and, he was fearful, great hardships, to encounter in following up his plan of settling in Upper Canada. He did not dissuade him from so doing, as he had nothing more promising to offer, which might induce him to change his mind, but he thought it right to forewarn him of trials, that he might be well prepared.
"I feel, of course, a strong interest in any English family so well brought up, and accustomed as I find yours has been, to luxury, being placed in such a situation; and the interest which my old friend, Captain Lumley, takes in you, is quite sufficient to induce me to offer you every assistance in my power: that you may depend upon, Mr Campbell. The Surveyor-General is coming here immediately; I must first introduce you to him, as it is from him that the land must be obtained, and of course he can advise you well on the point of locality; but you must recollect that it is not much more than thirty years since these provinces have been surrendered to Great Britain, and that not only the French population, but the Indians, are very hostile to the English, for the Indians were, and still are, firm allies to the French, and detest us. I have been reflecting upon the affair, and I hope to be of some service to you; if I am not, it will not, I assure you, be from any want of will; under every advantage which may be procured for you, at all events, you will require stout hearts and able hands. Your son Alfred will be of great service, but we must try and procure you some other assistance that can be trusted."
A long conversation took place between the Governor and Mr Campbell, during which the latter received much valuable information: it was interrupted, however, by the arrival of the Surveyor-General, and the topic was resumed.
"The land that I would propose to Mr Campbell," observed the Surveyor-General, after a time, "if there is no objection to part with it, is a portion of what has been laid aside as Government reserve on this part of the Lake Ontario; there are lands to be obtained nearer to Montreal, but all the land of good quality has been purchased. This land, you will observe, Mr Campbell, is peculiarly good, having some few acres of what we call prairie, or natural meadow. It has, also, the advantage of running with a large frontage on the beach, and there is a small river on one side of it; besides, it is not a great distance, perhaps four or five miles, from Fort Frontignac, and it might be easy to obtain assistance if required."
The Surveyor-General pointed to a part of the map, near to Presqu' Ile de Quinte, as he made this observation to the Governor.
"I agree with you," replied the Governor, "and I observe that there is already a settler on the other side of the stream."
"Yes, sir," replied the Surveyor; "that allotment was granted before it was decided that the rest should be a Government reserve; and if proof were required of the goodness of the land, it would be found in the person who took it. It was taken four years ago by the old hunter, Malachi Bone; he has been over every part of it, of course, and knows what it is. You recollect the man, don't you, sir? He was a guide to the English army before the surrender of Quebec; General Wolfe had a high opinion of him, and his services were so good that he was allowed that tract of 150 acres."
"I now remember him," replied the Governor, "but as I have not seen him for so many years, he had escaped my recollection."
"It will be a great advantage to you, Mr Campbell, having this man as a neighbour."
"Now," continued the Governor, addressing the Surveyor-General, "do you know of any person who would be willing to serve Mr Campbell, and who can be depended on; of course one who understands the country, and who would be really useful?"
"Yes, Governor, I do know a very good man, and you know him also; but you know the worst part of him, for he is generally in trouble when you see him."
"Who is that?"
"Martin Super, the trapper."
"Why, that is the young fellow who breeds such disturbances, and who, if I recollect right, is now in prison for a riot."
"The very same, sir; but Martin Super, although a troublesome fellow at Quebec, is worth his weight in gold when he is out of the town. You may think it strange, Mr Campbell, that I should recommend a man who appears to be so unruly a character; but the fact is, that the trappers, who go in pursuit of game for their skins, after having been out for months, undergoing every privation that can be imagined, return home with their packages of skins, which they dispose of to the merchants of this town; and as soon as they have their money, they never cease their revelry of every description until their earnings are all gone, and then they set off again on their wild and venturous pursuit. Now Martin Super, like all the rest, must have his fun when he comes back, and being a very wild fellow, he is often in scrapes when he has drank too much, so that he is occasionally put into prison for being riotous; but I know him well, he has been with me surveying for months, and when he is on service, a more steady, active, and brave man I do not know."
"I believe you are right in recommending him," observed the Governor, "he will not be sorry to get out of gaol, and I have no doubt but that he will conduct himself well if he once agrees to take your service, Mr Campbell, for one or two years. As for the Canadians, they are very harmless, but at the same time very useless. There are exceptions, no doubt; but their general character is anything but that of activity and courage. As I said before, you will require stout hearts, and Martin Super is one, that is certain. Perhaps you can arrange this for Mr Campbell?"
The Surveyor-General promised to do so; shortly after which, Mr Campbell, with many thanks, took his leave of the Governor.
Mr Campbell, who had gained every possible information relative to what would be most necessary for him to take with him, was actively employed for a fortnight in making his purchases. During this time much attention was shown to them both by the English and French residents at Quebec.
Alfred, whose wound was now nearly healed, was as active as usual, and Henry was of great assistance to his father in taking inventories and making out lists, etcetera. Nor were Mrs Campbell and the two girls unemployed; they had purchased the coarse manufactures of the country, and were very busy making dresses for themselves and for the children. Mr Campbell had been one morning at Mr Farquhar's, the merchant's, to make inquiries about a conveyance up to his new purchase (for he had concluded his arrangements with the Surveyor-General), when the Governor sent a message by one of his aides-de-camp, to say that it was his intention in the course of ten days to send a detachment of soldiers up to Fort Frontignac—news have been received that the garrison was weakened by a fever which had broken out; and that if Mr Campbell would like to avail himself of the opportunity, he and his family, and all his luggage, should go under the escort of the officer and troops. This offer was, of course, joyfully accepted, and on Mr Campbell's calling upon the Governor to return his thanks, the latter told him that there would be plenty of room in the bateaux and canoes for them and all their luggage, and that he need not give himself further trouble, or incur any further expense.
MARTIN, THE TRAPPER.
The next day the Surveyor-General called, bringing with him Martin Super, the trapper.
"Mr Campbell," said the surveyor, "this is my friend Martin Super; I have spoken to him, and he has consented to take service for one year, and he will remain, if he is satisfied. If he serves you as well as he has served me when I have travelled through the country, I have no doubt but you will find him a valuable assistant."
Martin Super was rather tall, very straight-limbed, shewing both activity and strength. His head was smaller than usually is the case, which gave him the appearance of great lightness and agility. His countenance was very pleasing, being expressive of continual good humour, which was indeed but corresponding to his real character. He was dressed in a sort of hunting-coat of deer-skin, blue cloth leggings, a cap of racoon's skin, with a broad belt round his waist, in which he wore his knife.
"Now, Martin Super, I will read the terms of the agreement between you and Mr Campbell, that you may see if all is as you wish."
The Surveyor-General read the agreement, and Martin Super nodded his head in acquiescence.
"Mr Campbell, if you are satisfied, you may now sign it; Martin shall do the same."
Mr Campbell signed his name, and handed the pen to Martin Super, who then for the first time spoke.
"Surveyor, I don't know how my name is spelt; and if I did, I couldn't write it, so I must do it Indian fashion, and put my totem to it?"
"What is your name among the Indians, Martin?"
"The Painter," replied Martin, who then made, under Mr Campbell's signature, a figure like—saying, "There, that's my name as near as I can draw it."
"Very good," replied the Surveyor-General; "here is the document all right, Mr Campbell. Ladies, I fear I must run away, for I have an engagement. I will leave Martin Super, Mr Campbell, as you would probably like a little conversation together."
The Surveyor-General then took his leave, and Martin Super remained. Mrs Campbell was the first who spoke:
"Super," said she, "I hope we shall be very good friends, but now tell me what you mean by your—totem, I think you called it?"
"Why, ma'am, a totem is an Indian's mark, and you know I am almost an Indian myself. All the Indian chiefs have their totems. One is called the Great Otter; another the Serpent, and so on, and so they sign a figure like the animal they are named from. Then, ma'am, you see, we trappers, who almost live with them, have names given to us also, and they have called me the Painter."
"Why did they call you the Painter."
"Because I killed two of them in one day."
"Killed two painters?" cried the girls.
"Yes, miss; killed them both with my rifle."
"But why did you kill the men?" said Emma; "was it in battle?"
"Kill the men, miss; I said nothing about men; I said I killed two painters," replied Martin, laughing, and showing a row of teeth as white as ivory.
"What is a painter, then, Super?" inquired Mrs Campbell.
"Why, it's an animal, and a very awkward creature, I can tell you, sometimes."
"The drawing is something like a panther, mamma," exclaimed Mary.
"Well, miss, it may be a panther, but we only know them by the other name."
Mr Farquhar then came in, and the question was referred to him; he laughed and told him that painters were a species of panther, not spotted, but tawny-coloured, and at times very dangerous.
"Do you know the part of the country where we are going to?" said Henry to Super.
"Yes, I have trapped thereabouts for months, but the beavers are scarce now."
"Are there any other animals there?"
"Yes," replied Martin, "small game, as we term it."
"What sort are they?"
"Why, there's painters, and bears, and cat-a'-mountains."
"Mercy on us I do you call that small game? Why, what must the large be, then?" said Mrs Campbell.
"Buffaloes, missus, is what we call big game."
"But the animals you speak of are not good eating, Super," said Mrs Campbell; "is there no game that we can eat?"
"Oh, yes, plenty of deer and wild turkey; and bear's good eating, I reckon."
"Ah! that sounds better."
After an hour's conversation, Martin Super was dismissed; the whole of the family (except Alfred, who was not at home) very much pleased with what they had seen of him.
A few days after this, Martin Super, who had now entered upon service, and was very busy with Alfred, with whom he had already become a favourite, was sent for by Mr Campbell, who read over to him the inventory of the articles which they had, and inquired of him if there was anything else which might be necessary or advisable to take with them.
"You said something about guns," replied Martin, "what sort of guns did you mean?"
"We have three fowling-pieces and three muskets, besides pistols."
"Fowling-pieces—they are bird-guns, I believe—no use at all; muskets are soldiers' tools—no use; pistols are pops, and nothing better. You have no rifles; you can't go into the woods without rifles. I have got mine, but you must have some."
"Well, I believe you are right, Martin; it never occurred to me. How many ought we to have?"
"Well, that's according—how many be you in family?"
"We are five males and three females."
"Well, then, sir, say ten rifles; that will be quite sufficient. Two spare ones in case of accident," replied Martin.
"Why, Martin," said Mrs Campbell, "you do not mean that the children and these young ladies and I are to fire off rifles?"
"I do mean to say, ma'am, that before I was as old as that little boy," pointing to John, "I could hit a mark well; and a woman ought at least to know how to prime and load a rifle, even if she does not fire it herself. It is a deadly weapon, ma'am, and the greatest leveller in creation, for the trigger pulled by a child will settle the business of the stoutest man. I don't mean to say that we may be called to use them in that way, but it's always better to have them, and to let other people know that you have them, and all ready loaded too, if required."
"Well, Martin," said Mr Campbell, "I agree with you, it is better to be well prepared. We will have the ten rifles, if we can afford to purchase them. What will they cost?"
"About sixteen dollars will purchase the best, sir; but I think I had better choose them for you, and try them before you purchase."
"Do so, then, Super. Alfred will go with you as soon as he comes back, and you and he can settle the matter."
"Why, Super," observed Mrs Campbell, "you have quite frightened us at the idea of so many firearms being required."
"If Pontiac was alive, missus, they would all be required, but he's gone now; still there are many out-lying Indians, as we call them, who are no better than they should be; and I always like to see rifles ready loaded. Why, ma'am, suppose now that all the men were out in the woods, and a bear should pay you a visit during our absence, would it not be just as well for to have a loaded rifle ready for him; and would not you or the young misses willingly prefer to pull the trigger at him than to be hugged in his fashion?"
"Martin Super, you have quite convinced me; I shall not only learn to load a rifle but to fire one also."
"And I'll teach the boys the use of them, ma'am, and they will then add to your defence."
"You shall do so, Martin," replied Mrs Campbell; "I am convinced that you are quite right."
When Super had quitted the room, which he did soon afterwards, Mr Campbell observed—"I hope, my dear, that you and the girls are not terrified by the remarks of Martin. It is necessary to be well armed when isolated as we shall be, and so far from any assistance; but it does not follow, because we ought to be prepared against danger, that such danger should occur."
"I can answer for myself, my dear Campbell," replied his wife; "I am prepared, if necessary, to meet danger, and do what a weak woman can do; and I feel what Martin says is but too true—that, with a rifle in the hand, a woman or a child is on a par with the strongest man."
"And I, my dear uncle," said Mary Percival, "shall, I trust, with the blessing of God, know how to do my duty, however peculiar the circumstances may be to a female."
"And I, my dear uncle," followed up Emma, laughing, "infinitely prefer firing off a rifle to being hugged by a bear or an Indian, because of two evils one should always choose the least."
"Well, then, I see Martin has done no harm; but, on the contrary, he has done good. It is always best to be prepared for the worst, and to trust to Providence for aid in peril."
At last all the purchases were completed, and everything was packed up and ready for embarkation. Another message from the Governor was received, stating that in three days the troops would be embarked, and also informing Mr Campbell that if he had not purchased any cows or horses, the officer at Fort Frontignac had more cattle than were requisite, and could supply him; which, perhaps, would be preferable to carrying them up so far. Mr Campbell had spoken about, but not finally settled for, the cows, and therefore was glad to accept the Governor's offer. This message was accompanied with a note of invitation to Mr Campbell, the ladies, and Henry and Alfred, to take a farewell dinner at Government House the day before their departure. The invitation was accepted, and Mr Campbell was introduced to the officer commanding the detachment which was about to proceed to Fort Frontignac, and received from him every assurance of his doing all he could to make them comfortable. The kindness of the Governor did not end here; he desired the officer to take two large tents for the use of Mr Campbell, to be returned to the fort when the house had been built, and they were completely settled. He even proposed that Mrs Campbell and the Misses Percival should remain at Government House until Mr Campbell had made every preparation to receive them; but this Mrs Campbell would not consent to, and, with many thanks, she declined the offer.
THE STORY OF PONTIAC.
Although it was now the middle of May, it was but a few days before their departure that there was the least sign of verdure, or the trees had burst into leaf; but in the course of the three days before they quitted Quebec, so rapid was the vegetation, that it appeared as if summer had come upon them all at once. The heat was also very great, although, when they had landed, the weather was piercing cold; but in Canada, as well as in all Northern America, the transitions from heat to cold, and from cold to heat, are very rapid.
My young readers will be surprised to hear that, when the winter sets in at Quebec, all the animals required for the winter's consumption are at once killed. If the troops are numerous, perhaps three or four hundred bullocks are slaughtered and hung up. Every family kill their cattle, their sheep, pigs, turkeys, fowls, etcetera, and all are put up in the garrets, where the carcases immediately freeze hard, and remain quite good and sweet during the six or seven months of severe winter which occur in that climate. When any portion of meat is to be cooked, it is gradually thawed in lukewarm water, and after that is put to the fire. If put at once to the fire in its frozen state, it spoils. There is another strange circumstance which occurs in these cold latitudes; a small fish, called the snow-fish, is caught during the winter by making holes in the thick ice; and these fish, coming to the holes in thousands to breathe, are thrown out with hand-nets upon the ice, where they become in a few minutes frozen quite hard, so that, if you wish it, you may break them in half like a rotten stick. The cattle are fed upon these fish during the winter months. But it has been proved—which is very strange—that if, after they have been frozen for twenty-four hours or more, you put these fish into water and gradually thaw them as you do the meat, they will recover and swim about again as well as ever. To proceed, however, with our history.