YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS;
A Story of Early Colonial Days.
THOMAS B. SMITH.
Here in Canadian hearth, and home, and name;— This name which yet shall grow Till all the nations know Us for a patriot people, heart and hand Loyal to our native earth, our own Canadian land! —Chas. G.D. Roberts.
HALIFAX, N.S.: NOVA SCOTIA PRINTING COMPANY. 1889.
Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year 1889, by THOMAS B. SMITH, at the Department of Agriculture.
TO MY WIFE I DEDICATE THIS, MY FIRST WORK, WITH MY LOVE.
The only merit that the writer claims for the following pages is, that they contain a record of facts, setting forth the sacred sentiments of duty, religious trust, and the spirit of liberty, amid sufferings-and hardships of persons, whose loyalty was put to the severest test.
It has been beautifully said, "that he who sets a colony on foot designs a great work." "He designs all the good, and all the glory, of which, in the series of ages, it might be the means; and he shall be judged more by the lofty, ultimate aim and result, than by the actual instant motive. You may well admire, therefore, the solemn and adorned plausibilities of the colonizing of Rome from Troy, in the Eneid! Though the leader had been burned out of house and home, and could not choose but go. You may find in the flight of the female founder of the gloomy greatness of Carthage a certain epic interest; yet was she running from the madness of her husband to save her life. Emigration from our stocked communities of undeified men and women, emigration for conquest, for gold, for very restlessness of spirit, if they grow toward an imperial issue, have all thus a prescriptive and recognized ingredient of heroism. But when the immediate motive is as grand as the ultimate hope was lofty, and the ultimate success splendid, then, to use an expression of Bacon's," "the music is fuller."
In the hope that the privations and heroic conduct of those who are the subjects of the story, in the following chapters, may prove as interesting to the public as they did to the writer, when he first learned the history of such heroism, the writer submits them to the reader.
YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS; A Story of Early Colonial Days. i
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER I. FIRST EXPERIENCE OF COLONIAL LIFE, 1769-70. 10
CHAPTER II. TRADING,—TROUBLE,—RETREAT. 25
CHAPTER III. ARRIVES OFF FORT FREDERICK—PAUL GUIDON. 36
CHAPTER IV. TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE AT SEA. 52
CHAPTER V. CAPT. GODFREY AND LORD WM. CAMPBELL. —YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS. 67
CHAPTER VI. IN ENGLAND.—THE CAPTAIN AND THE LORDS. 76
CHAPTER VII. ARRIVAL AND RETREAT. 80
CHAPTER VIII. REBEL PLANS—PRAYING THE LORDS. 95
CHAPTER IX. PAUL GUIDON. 100
CHAPTER X. MARGARET GODFREY ARRIVES IN NOVA SCOTIA. —DEATH OF THE YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS. 104
CHAPTER XI. MARGARET GODFREY'S FAREWELL. 120
CHAPTER XII. MARRIAGE OF LITTLE MAG. —SOCIETY AT HALIFAX. 133
A CONCLUDING CHAPTER. THEN, NOW, AND TO BE. 141
The records of the lives and actions of those who have preceded us in the procession of the generations, are full of instruction and interest. In many instances they hold up to our emulation great models of patriotism, patience, endurance, activity and pluck. It is to be regretted that many documents of past ages have been destroyed through lack of knowledge of their real value, and of the light they would have thrown upon the early history of the country. Some few, regarded merely as the relics of departed ancestors, have been so secretly kept and treasured, that dust, must and rust have all but completely defaced them.
If our ancestors had been wise in preserving the papers of their fathers, long ago there might have been collected from such documents, and displayed, many particulars of positive information concerning the very early history of the English in Acadia.
We might have possessed a much fuller history of the times when great difficulties and dangers opposed the settlers. When rushing rivers had to be crossed without boat or bridge; when men and women often found it necessary to contend single handed with Indians; and when, for meeting the many obstacles that placed themselves in their path, our ancestors were often but poorly equipped.
Whilst we take pride in the hardships cheerfully borne by our forefathers in the early colonial days, may we not be sometimes inclined to forget those fleet-footed, clever, dusky sons of the forest, to whose generous aid they were not infrequently indebted for protection from hostile men and savage beasts, and even sometimes for sustenance?
When we have secured positive information that now and again there have appeared among the brawny men of the forest noble specimens of all that is true and kind, let us not fail to record their deeds of faithfulness and heroism. The least we can do for such is to bring to light their actions and preserve their history. When beneath the shade of the forest, on the trackless desert, on the rushing river, in tempest and thunder, or when watching in the vicinity of an old fort or near the log cabin of the early colonists, the Red man has been found a faithful friend and guide; should not his deeds of kindness, faithfulness and bravery be recorded side by side with those of the noblest of the human race?
The story related in the following chapters has been gathered from facts stated in time-worn documents, which have been lying for generations concealed in a wooden box. The only regret of the writer is, that it was impossible for him to gain access to all the old musty and defaced papers in the box. The old gentleman, in whose possession they were found, is very old and eccentric, and by no effort or persuasion could the writer induce him to part company with the documents, but for a short time. But although the task of procuring them was extremely difficult, and that of deciphering them afterwards was both difficult and tedious, still the satisfaction of having rescued from decay and destruction, what seems so interesting, is satisfaction sufficient for the writer.
That portion of the documents relating the events in connection with the first and second settlement of an English officer and his family, during the last century, in a district which is now said to be one of the most beautiful portions of Canada, is most instructive and interesting, although at times, while deciphering it, the writer felt his blood quicken in its pulsations, and tears forcing their way to the surface.
A few years previous to this English officers first attempt at settlement in Nova Scotia, he came out to Quebec with his regiment. The remaining portion of this introductory chapter will narrate some events in connection with the early life of the officer, his coming to Quebec with his regiment, his short stay there, and his return to his native country:—
On board the transport Pitt, in the year 1765, at Cork, embarked Captain Godfrey with his regiment, the 52nd foot, for Quebec, North America.
On the passage the Pitt was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where Captain Godfrey with his regiment suffered many hardships.
The ship ran ashore in a dense fog, which had prevailed for several days. The Captain remaining by the wreck for eleven days, assisted in saving the lives of the soldiers wives and children, and in landing the King's stores. The transport struck well up the gulf on the Nova Scotian coast (now New Brunswick). The exact locality is not stated. The night of the disaster was densely dark, and soon after striking the ship began to pound and leak badly. Had the wind sprung up during the hours of darkness not a soul on board would have lived to record the tale. Very early the next morning, as Captain Godfrey was standing on the quarter deck, conversing with the officer in charge of the ship, the rain began suddenly to descend in torrents and the wind to freshen. The mist that had enshrouded the ship for so many days, began to lift, and the sun shone through by instalments. Soon it was seen that the Pitt was hemmed in by rocks, almost wedged in among them. Fortunately the storm soon abated, and the situation of the vessel kept her in an upright position. The fog settled down again, and for the next ten days all on board were kept busy in saving their effects and the King's stores.
At the end of ten days all on board were taken off. General Murray, commanding at Quebec, by some means not recorded, having heard of the disaster, sent a man-of-war schooner to the relief of the sufferers, and they were safely conveyed to Quebec.
Captain Godfrey, through exposure and fatigue, contracted a severe cold, and at last, his life being despaired of, the surgeon of the regiment advised his return to England. He applied to General Clavering for leave of absence, or to grant him permission to sell out of the army. The permission being granted, he soon set about preparing to leave Quebec, and rejoin his wife and five children in England. Captain Godfrey notes in a memorandum his great sorrow in parting from his regiment, and that his zeal for serving his King and country was so great that nothing but extreme weakness would have induced him to part from his regiment and King George the Third's service.
Before leaving Quebec to return home to his native land, Captain Godfrey visited the spot where, six years before, the gallant Wolfe had poured out his life's blood in the service of his King and country. Here the Captain knelt and offered up to Him who guides the stars in their courses, thanksgiving for the brilliant and decisive victory gained by the British arms.
The following is from one of his memoranda:—"As I stood, and as I knelt where Wolfe fell, I more than ever realized what it is to be a brave soldier and a good man. As I rose from the spot I whispered to myself, if I am, through the providence of the Almighty, allowed to once again visit my native land, I will go to the widowed mother of General Wolfe and tell her where I have been and what I have seen. That I have stood on the very spot where victory and death gave the crowning lustre to the name of her great son."
Charles Godfrey was born at St Ann's, England, in the year 1730. The following, copied from an old document, gives a brief sketch of his early career:—"Was put on board His Majesty's ship Bedford, Capt. Cornwall master, in the year 1741, and in 1742 went out to the Mediterranean. In 1743 was at the siege of Villa Franca, where with a large party of seamen was ordered on shore, and quartered at a six gun battery, under the command of Capt. Gugger, of the Royal Artillery. Was at the battle of Toulon, with Admirals Matthews and Lostock, on board said ship Bedford, then commanded by George Townsend. Was at the taking of several rich ships off the Island of Malta, which ships and their cargoes were afterward restored to the Genoese. Continued in the navy till the peace of Utretch, and for sometime subsequently. Afterward, a warrant being procured, attended the Royal Academy at Woolwich as a gentleman cadet, in which station was allowed to remain till 1755. Received a commission, and was appointed to the 52nd foot, by the recommendation of His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, who was afterwards pleased to recommend me for a Lieutenancy, and a few years later my friends procured for me a Captaincy."
Captain Godfrey returned to England on board a transport from Quebec. This young officer appears to have been highly respected by the different Generals and Field Officers under whom he had served. He was presented, shortly after his arrival in England, with a certificate of character, signed by Lieut.-Genl. John Clavering, Colonel of the 52nd Regt., Lieut.-Genl. Edward Sandford, Lieut.-Genl. Sir John Seabright, Major-Genl. Guy Carleton, Major-Genl. John Alex. McKay, Lieut.-Col. Valentine Jones, Lieut.-Genl. Burgoyue, and Major Philip Skene.
[Footnote 1: The full name of this British officer is not given in any part of this work.]
The above has been copied principally for the purpose of showing that the following story has for its characters those who once lived and moved in the early English colonial life of Acadia. If the districts and places where the events related in this book occurred could speak, they would tell nearly the same thrilling and extraordinary story. In many of these localities great and important changes have taken place through a century and a quarter of time, but the records of the past remain unchanged.
Our barns may be built over the graves of the Indians, and our houses on the sites of their wigwams; our cattle may graze upon the hillsides and valleys of their hunting grounds, and our churches may be erected on positions where the Red men of the forest gathered together to invoke the blessing of the Great Chief of the everlasting hunting ground, yet what is truly written of the past must remain unalterable.
* * * * *
NOTE.—The wrecked transport Pitt was named, it is said, in honour of the Earl of Chatham; and tradition states that one of the boats of the ship drifted from the wreck and went ashore at a point of land near where the town of Chatham now stands, the ship's name being painted on the boat; and from this circumstance Chatham, on the Miramichi River, received its name.
FIRST EXPERIENCE OF COLONIAL LIFE, 1769-70.
Captain Godfrey's health gradually improved after his return to his native country. When he thought himself sufficiently recovered he felt anxious to embark in some branch of business, and not feeling inclined to do so in England, he purchased a grant of land from Lynge Tottenham, Esq., this land was situated on the bank of the River St. John, Nova Scotia.
In the early part of the year 1769, after three years of rest, Captain Godfrey purchased various kinds of merchandize, which he was advised were best adapted to the colonial trade. He freighted a vessel in London, and embarked with his wife and family for Halifax, in the month of June, 1769.
On the passage out the weather was usually fine, but the progress was slow, and nothing remarkable occurred on board during the sixty-two days they were in crossing the Atlantic.
Soon after landing at Halifax, Captain Godfrey heard that the Governor of Nova Scotia, (Lord William Campbell,) required some person of experience to enter into possession of Fort Frederick, situated at the mouth of the River St. John, and take charge of the arms, ammunition, and all other of His Majesty King George the Third's stores. He had an interview with the Governor and was appointed to take charge of the fort.
After having secured the appointment at Fort Frederick, he concluded to commence trading operations at that post, and gave bonds to the governor in the sum of one thousand pounds for the privilege of carrying on a legitimate business with the settlers and Indians.
PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA.
Know all men by these presents, that we, Charles * * * Godfrey * * * and Charles Morris, Esqs., both of Halifax, do acknowledge ourselves justly indebted unto our Sovereign Lord King George the Third, his heirs and successors, in the just and full sum of one thousand pounds currency of the Province of Nova Scotia, to which payment well and truly to be made and done, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators jointly by these presents. Witness our hand and seals, this thirtieth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy, in the tenth year of His Majesty's reign.
CHARLES * * * GODFREY * * * CHARLES MORRIS, JR.
Signed and sealed in the presence of NATHL. SHIPTON
Secretary's Office, Halifax, April 30th, 1770.
Captain * * * Godfrey * * * has the Governor's permission to occupy the Fort and barracks of Frederick on the St. John River, &c., &c.
After spending the winter at Halifax, he chartered a brig in the month of May, 1770, and then putting on board his goods and stores sailed for Fort Frederick with his wife and family. On his arrival at the fort he carefully surveyed the situation and concluded that he would abandon the idea of trading there.
He found no one at the fort to assist him in protecting it, and a few days after his arrival the Indians became so troublesome and threatening that he found it would be impossible to remain there, protect the fort single-handed, and carry on trading operations successfully.
One afternoon the Indians appeared before the fort in numbers, threatening that if the place was not vacated at once they would murder the occupants. They then made a rush and got within the enclosure, and soon after retired.
Captain Godfrey had fortunately purchased from the master of the vessel in which he brought his merchandize to the fort, a small boat. The boat had been securely moored at the island below the fort.
The day following the assembling at the fort the savages again appeared and attempted to steal the boat, and would have done so had not Mrs. Godfrey succeeded in reaching the shore in time to discharge a musket at the thieves. The Redskins pulled the boat to the spot where she stood, but Mrs. Godfrey never moved from the position she had taken. When the Indians were in the act of jumping on shore she ordered them to take the boat back to the place from whence they had loosed it. One of the Redskins, a tall, muscular fellow, who could speak some English, asked her if she would get into the boat and go with them. If so, the boat would be taken back and made fast. She replied, "I have no doubt you are an honest man and would do no injury to a weak, pale-faced woman, I will go with you." And as she said these words, she sprang into the boat and sat down, resting the musket upon her knees.
The Indians paddled the boat back to the place whence they had loosed it, and not one of them uttered a word. After the boat had been made fast Mrs. Godfrey was assisted ashore by the tall, muscular savage, his four companions walking away without saying a word. They were soon joined by their tall, muscular friend, and a few minutes later all were lost to view among the trees on the shore.
Mrs. Godfrey retired to the fort, where she was warmly congratulated by her husband for the tact and courage she had displayed in presence of the savages. She replied, "the Indians seemed completely taken aback when I jumped into the boat and had not recovered from their surprise when they parted from me, and while I was sitting in the boat, the deep, black eyes of the tall, muscular fellow looked straight and steady at me, and at times I felt as though they were piercing me through and through."
The evening was a solemn one at Fort Frederick. The Captain and his wife talked over their situation, and the children were restless, the slightest noise about the place making the little ones tremble like aspen leaves. The Captain and his wife agreed that it would be useless, while the Indians were so troublesome, to remain at the Fort and attempt to transact business with the settlers, who were few indeed.
As they sat together that night in the Fort by the dim light of a flickering candle, expecting every moment to be disturbed by the war-whoop of the savages, Captain Godfrey said to Margaret, (for such was the name of his wife,) "our situation is serious." She replied, "I believe it to be most dangerous." "What move would you propose," asked the Captain. Margaret answered, "I would propose to return to Halifax, if it be possible to get there." The Captain then said to his wife, "What do you think about going to Grimross Neck where our grant of land is?" Margaret replied, "I am your wife, whatever you think best to do, do it, and I will follow and support you to the best of my ability." She then, together with her husband and children, knelt in the lonely Fort and asked Him who had guided and protected them thus far not to forsake them in their present situation, but to guide, instruct and lead them in the future. She rose on her feet, walked across the small, dingy apartment, kissed each of the children, then taking her husband by the hand, said to him, in a clear and decided voice, "Whither thou goest I will follow, where thou resteth I will rest, and where thou settlest there will I be found with thee." And in presence of the children God had given them, they bound their hearts to suffering and death.
Fatigue and fear had overcome the little ones, and in a short time they were sleeping soundly upon the floor.
After some further conversation between the Captain and his wife, it was agreed that he should attempt to proceed before dawn in the little boat to Annapolis Royal, and there, if possible, purchase a small vessel suitable to convey his goods and family up the river to his grant of land.
At four o'clock he secretly and alone left the fort, waving with his hand an adieu to his wife, as he stepped out of the door. He carried with him to the boat a camp blanket which he intended to hoist as a sail. At four o'clock, thirty minutes, he was on his way. As the little boat passed the island at the mouth of the harbour a breeze sprang up. He hoisted the sail, making it fast to one of the oars, which was used as a mast; the other oar being brought into play for steering purposes. Captain Godfrey had been fortunate in bringing with him from England several small compasses and two larger ones, one of the latter he took with him.
A gentle but fair breeze followed the little ship from land to land. The Captain found great difficulty in sighting the entrance to Digby Bay, where he arrived safe and sound at eleven o'clock the following morning.
The next day he proceeded to Annapolis Royal arriving there at noon, where he purchased a large sloop, and without delay got his boat on board and next day at the turn of tide sailed for Digby. Here he took on board some water, and after waiting several hours for a fair wind sailed for the mouth of the St. John. At ten o'clock, a.m., June 30th, he set sail to recross the Bay of Fundy and rejoin his wife and family at Fort Frederick. He arrived off the harbour the following morning quite early, but was unable to anchor off Fort Frederick, till the evening on account of fog. On arriving at the Fort he was greatly relieved of apprehensions that would obtrude themselves upon him during his lonely trip by finding his wife and children all well.
The following day he commenced to get his merchandize on board the sloop. His wife and eldest son assisting. It took fully ten days to accomplish the task, which proved to be a tedious and toilsome one indeed. At last, everything being ready, he vacated Fort Frederick and sailed for his possessions up the river, intending there to settle and trade.
Not many hours after they had left the Fort the report of a musket was heard from the shore. Soon a canoe was seen approaching the sloop. As it came near the vessel, an Indian was seen as its only occupant. He paddled his canoe alongside the sloop. Captain Godfrey attentively watched his every movement while Mrs. Godfrey seemed quite indifferent at the presence of the stranger. She threw him a small line and made signs to him to make fast his canoe, which he appeared quickly to understand. Mrs. Godfrey then motioned to the Indian to come on board, and he at once bounded over the rail. As he stood on deck, his comely Indian features were lit up by a good humoured smile. He looked a giant, brave and active. He was teeming all over with youthful vigour. His eyes were black like polished jet, sparkling and deep set. His mouth large, square and firm; and his hair like threads of coarse, black silk, brushed back from a low, narrow forehead, hung loosely down over his broad, square shoulders.
His whole frame seemed stirred with a strong nervous action, and a quick but expressive motion of his small brown hand appeared as a signal for conversation. He at once spoke, "May be if go to Grimross be scalped," and every word brought with it increased action of both hand and body. He continued, "Indians say war coming, must have pale face blood and scalp."
Capt. Godfrey said not a word, but looked serious and pale; while deep anxiety was pictured on every feature of his face. He felt that it was no use to retreat, and situated as they were, where could they retreat in safety. Fort Frederick at the mouth of the river had been surrounded by blood-thirsty savages, who had threatened them with fire and murder if they did not abandon the place. In this distracting situation Captain Godfrey held a council of war within himself, and finally decided, come what might, evil or good, he would push on to his destination.
He wondered how the Indian knew he was bound for Grimross. It occurred to him that perhaps the savage was trying to find out where he intended to land, and there be on hand to murder all on board and seize the sloop and cargo. He thought, "if the Indian is sincere in warning us, what interest has he in doing so? What could he expect in return for his kind act?" These and many similar thoughts rushed quickly through the agitated brain of the Captain. The Indian stood silent and motionless for a moment, then returned to his canoe and paddled toward the shore.
The eyes of Captain Godfrey followed the Red man to the shore and watched him until he disappeared among the trees on the river bank. The sloop was kept on her course up the river. Just after the sun had sunk beneath the horizon, Captain Godfrey, by the persuasion of his wife, anchored the sloop in a small recess in the shore. From the time the Indian had reached the bank the Captain's wife scarcely ever lifted her eyes from gazing on the right bank of the river. Was she watching for a place to safely anchor at night? Or was she watching for the Indian's return? These questions were agitating the Captain's thoughts.
Captain Godfrey had never fully recovered from a weakness to his nervous system, caused by the severe hardships he had endured in the Gulf of St Lawrence. He was strongly opposed to anchoring the sloop so near the shore. He felt fearful that during the long watches of the night all on board might be murdered. The armament of the vessel consisted of two muskets, two pistols, and a sword. Her cargo was valued at over two thousand pounds sterling. She was deeply laden, and it was with great difficulty that all the goods and chattels had been stowed on board; several boxes and bundles being closely packed and lashed on deck.
After everything had been made snug on board, sails furled, &c., the Captain and his wife asked the blessing of the all-seeing One during the hours of the night. The Captain was very tired, and the events of the day had not added to his comfort. His wife persuaded him to go into the small cabin and rest. She promised to call him if the least danger appeared. She said that she was only too willing to stand as sentinel until the sun-rise. It was only through a knowledge of the determined spirit, good judgment, quick eye, and self possession of his wife that he was induced to retire to rest.
The children unconscious of the dangers surrounding them, were nestled together in the small cabin like young birds in a nest. During four long hours nothing unusual occurred to break the stillness of the night. The rustling of the leaves on the trees not many yards distant, and the rippling of the water were all that could be heard, a dense darkness, a blackness doubly deep appeared to settle over and around the little vessel. The sentinel placed her soft white hand close to her face but could not even distinguish its outlines.
At this moment there flashed through her mind the words, "Watchman, what of the night." The words were accompanied by a hand gently laid upon her shoulder. She remained as motionless as a statue in the gloom. A gentle breath whispered in her ear, "me Paul;" "come tell you Indians on other bank river;" adding strength to the expression by taking her hand and pointing it to the opposite bank. He then again whispered, "Fire gun next setting sun, where stop," and then suddenly left her side, and she saw nothing more that night of Paul Guidon, for such was the Indian's name.
Captain Godfrey, after his many days of toil and anxiety, slept so soundly that he did not wake till the sun had risen. As soon as breakfast was over, and a chapter had been read from an old family Bible, which had accompanied four generations of the Landers through this vale of tears, sorrows and joys, and a short prayer read from an old service book, presented to Captain Godfrey by General Murray at Quebec, the sloop was got under way and proceeded on her voyage, the wind being fair and light. The prospect was not one to gladden the hearts of the voyagers, though the day was fine and sky clear. The progress was slow. Captain Godfrey was in better spirits than on the previous day, the quiet night and refreshing sleep had somewhat braced him up. The children sat on deck during the day, chatting, playing and singing, while their mother, dauntless and buoyant in spirit, retired to rest in the little smoke-box of a cabin. She knew that very much depended upon her behaviour and courage in safely reaching Grimross Neck. She closed her eyes with the whispered words upon her lips, "I will follow what I believe to be the path of safety, and I will tread it with a firm and unfaltering footstep, praise to the Great King who sent us Paul Guidon in the thick darkness to watch over us from the river's bank. It brings to my remembrance what I have read in the Book of books, of Pharaoh's daughter standing at the river's brink and rescuing the babe, and seeing that no harm befell it."
Little progress was made during the day. An hour or two before the shadows of evening had begun to fling their leaden mantle around the sloop, Mrs. Godfrey appeared on deck. Perfect stillness seemed to reign on every hand; even the little craft appeared to be half asleep, so lazily did she move along. All above and about stretched the wondrous beauty of the sky; the deep blue clouds, as the day wore away, becoming tinged with gold, contrasted in loveliness with the green of earth. Not a sound was there to stir the perfect stillness except the rippling of the water against the vessel.
As Margaret sat beside her husband on that lovely evening of July, the deep feelings that were stirred within her soul seemed to find their natural outlet, as she turned to her husband and said, "this seems like a glimpse of some better world." He replied, "it appears as though we are sailing through a land of perfect rest." "I trust we are, though we sail through a country peopled with savages." She replied, "To-day we beheld the sun in his glory, and strong in his power, now he is departing, but I trust as we continue to sail o'er the ocean of time, guided by the King of Pilots toward a land where glory never fades, and where the True Light never grows dim, our passage may continually be lit up by the reflecting rays of the Sun of Righteousness." As she finished speaking a bright light flashed on the starboard shore, quickly followed by the report of a musket. The Captain, starting at the report, remarked, "perhaps that Indian (Paul) has been watching and following." Here the Captain's words were cut short by a loud cry from one of the children and the sound of a splash. Little Jack, the fourth child, had tripped against the forward rail and gone overboard. His mother, almost as quickly as the flash of a gun, threw herself overboard at the stern of the sloop, holding on to the rail with her hands and calling to the little fellow to catch hold of her dress, as the tide carried him toward her. He was too far out to reach her skirt, and the running water carried him by her. She immediately let go both hands and floated from the vessel, and made a desperate effort to reach her boy. The Captain, almost beside himself, put the helm hard down, and was in the act of plunging in. Meantime his wife and son were drifting farther away. Just then, making a second desperate effort, she succeeded in grasping her child. At this moment a canoe shot like an arrow past the sloop, in it was Paul Guidon, paddling with might and main, making straight for the drowning mother and her boy. In another minute he had the child grasped firmly in his long sinewy arms, and laying his breast and head over the stern of the canoe, he called to the mother to grasp at once his long hair as its ends fell into the water. He managed to get the child safely into his canoe, but he experienced great difficulty in saving its mother. She drifted fully one hundred yards, but all the distance holding stoutly to the Indian's locks. With all the strength of Paul Guidon he was not able to get Mrs. Godfrey into the canoe. Once he nearly succeeded, but almost upset his little bark. He told her to cling tightly to his hair, as he shoved the paddle over her head, and at last he got the canoe to move slowly ahead, and in a few minutes time he was at the side of the sloop, and the mother and child were rescued from a watery grave. The Indian would not go on board, and as soon as he saw that the mother and child were likely to recover, he pulled away to the shore.
The child soon recovered, but the mother lay upon the deck for some time in a half unconscious state. At times a quiet happiness seemed singing in her soul, that often broke into words of praise as the vessel drifted along in the stillness. On the right and left slept the country with its wooded hills and dales. As Margaret Godfrey recovered she said, "Charles, we appear to be sleeping on to our destination." "Yes," he said; "but perhaps that Indian has been watching and following us, hiding among the trees along the shore; and as we have been going slowly all day, he could with ease keep way with us. He may now consider us far enough away from the fort to decoy and murder us, seize our vessel and goods, and no suspicion rest upon him as the murderer and robber."
"It may be that he has accomplices on our track; a band of savages to quietly dispose of us and seize our possessions." As he spoke these words he appeared much more agitated than on the previous evening. Margaret replied, "God's will be done! We must anchor at some point to-night—Why not anchor here? At the earnest solicitation of his wife, Captain Godfrey consented to run the sloop toward the shore and anchor.
After a lengthened discussion between the Captain and his wife upon the question of keeping watch during the night, Margaret carried her point, and soon after stood alone on the deck.
The reader, doubtless, will wonder why Margaret expressed so strong a desire to keep watch through the long, lonely hours of darkness. Before the conclusion of the story is reached, he will have found out the reason.
Soon all was hushed, gross darkness had gathered over the face of nature, and the eyes of the beloved on board were closed in sleep. At about midnight Margaret was slightly startled at hearing a footstep on deck. "Paul," she whispered, "is that you." "Me," he answered in a low, soft tone. "Most Indians away, far up country after game, and not come back few days."
Paul Guidon was a sub-chief, and one of the bravest of the tribe over which he exercised some authority. He was feared and respected by all the tribes of the St. John. He had used all his cunning and power to pilot the sloop safely to her destination. He had for several days spread the report that large herds of caribou and moose had appeared in a part of the country forty miles west of the St. John River. The Indians took the bait and had suddenly left in pursuit of the game.
Before leaving the deck Paul advised Margaret to get the vessel under way at daylight next morning, in order that the journey might be completed before the next setting of the sun. He then took Mrs. Godfrey by the hand and raising it to his broad breast passed it firmly over his quickly throbbing heart, and almost instantly turned and shot from her presence like an arrow in the darkness. Very early in the morning the sloop was made ready to proceed on her voyage. The wind was blowing stiffly and fair, the little vessel reached along and arrived at her destination at five o'clock in the afternoon. The anchor was let go between an island and the river's bank. Thanksgiving and praise were offered on board for past mercies and supplication for continued guidance. Neither was Paul Guidon forgotten, for Margaret breathed a silent supplication to Him who can soften and subdue the savage breast, to guide, control and direct the life and steps of her benefactor.
After landing at Grimross, Captain Godfrey looked about to find his lot of land. Lot No. 14 he found belonged to a Captain Spry, lot No. 15 to a Reverend Smith, and his own lot he found to be No. 16. These lots were all facing the St. John river, and extending back parallel with each other. In looking over the plan of the lots, it appears that Captain Godfrey settled on No. 14, Spry's lot, and on this lot he commenced trading operations in an old house situated not far from a stream leading from a lake on his own lot to the St. John. On Captain Godfrey's lot were two small log houses, one occupied by a person named Sayhon, and the other by a man named Crabtree. It may be, that the Captain settled on Spry's lot because he could trade here to the best advantage. Here he commenced business after expending forty pounds, sterling money, in repairing the log house and adding a store room, made of solid logs. About the middle of September, 1770, he opened out his wares and began business. A few days later several Redskins came to his shop and warned him to move away from the place, threatening, if he did not do so, to burn his buildings and goods.
The Indians did not trouble him further until the middle of November, when about thirty of them came to his place of business with beaver, otter, raccoon, mink and other skins. These he took in exchange for blankets, powder and other goods, the Indians appearing well satisfied with the exchange. About a fortnight later the Indians again returned in numbers, accompanied by a white man who acted as spokesman. The white man, a peculiar looking character, with one eye looking due north and the other due east, from beneath a forehead very much resembling that of a monkey, stuttered out to Captain G.: "We-e-e-e co-co-me t-t-to war-war-warn you t-to g-g-g-git ou-out. Th-the la-lan-lands ar-are Free n-sh le-le-lands, an-and th-the In-in-d-dans we-we-will dri-dri-drive aw-all de-de-damd E-e-en-glis way, an-an gi-gi-give the-the-em b-b-b-back to Fre-e-e-nsh." The Indians and their low-browed, cross-eyed spokesman then left the Captain's place of business without uttering another word. On Christmas day, 1770, or about one month after their last visit, eight of the Indians, accompanied by two squaws, returned to the store at Grimross Neck and whooped out in tones of fury, "Fire, blood, scalps."
Captain Godfrey immediately barred his shop door, and also the door of his house, seeing that the savages were bent on mischief. The children were inside the store and house, and were terrified and trembling. At length the Redskins became so excited and noisy and so wild in their movements, that the place seemed like a pandemonium. They were-armed, each one having a knife about ten inches in length stuck in his belt.
Captain Godfrey consulted with his wife as to the wisest course to be pursued, but no definite line of action was arranged. The two old muskets were in the bedroom, loaded, not having been discharged since they were fired off on leaving Fort Frederick. The Captain's wife ran to the room and brought out both guns into the kitchen. She handed one to her husband remarking, "if the brutes attempt to force their way into the house shoot the first one that puts his moccasin over the door sill." At this time the howling, yelling and cursing of the blood-thirsty fiends would strike terror into the stoutest heart. Finally they took up a large stick of wood that was lying near the kitchen door and made a desperate attempt to smash it in. Mrs. Godfrey, who had stood near the door for sometime, appeared calm and decided amid all the murderous clamour. She stepped back a pace, and placing the butt of the musket against her hip, with the muzzle slanting upwards, stood firm as a statue.
The door was soon forced and the fiends came tumbling in. Mrs. Godfrey fired, the charge going over the heads of the savages and entering the ceiling above the door. The Indians in the rear seeing their comrades fall, and thinking they were killed by the shot, at once retreated uttering terrible threats of vengeance. One of the squaws, a short, stout old creature, was so terrified by the report of the musket and the falling to the floor of the three Indians, that in her bewildered retreat she tumbled headlong down a steep, stony bank and laid as if dead on the ice below. She was left by her companions, who travelled as fast as their legs would carry them. The old squaw was found and taken prisoner by Mrs. Godfrey. Her nose and one rib were broken, her left arm dislocated at the elbow, and both her eyes completely closed with heavy shutters. She presented a pitiable appearance, as she staggered along toward the house supported by her captor. The Indians were so completely surprised and cowed by the courage of Mrs. Godfrey that they never came back to look after the wounded squaw, or sent to inquire whether she was living or dead.
As soon as the old squaw began to recover, Mrs. Godfrey found out that the old woman could speak some English. She said she was a widow about sixty years old. That her husband had been killed at Fort Pitt in 1763. Her only son had been taken prisoner by the English at Fort Pitt, and had afterwards remained nine moons with an English officer in New York. The officer went away to England and wanted her son to go with him, but on the eve of the officer's departure he ran away, soon got on the trail of his mother, and at last found her at Detroit living with a band of Iroquois. Not long afterward she and her boy wandered from post to post and camp to camp until they at last got over among the tribe on the St. John, where they had made their home among a strange tribe for the past two years. Her son did not respect the tribe with whom they lived. He had often told her that these Indians were not pure bloods. Her son was sixteen years old when taken prisoner at Fort Pitt. She had always been called Mag, but when any of the tribe addressed her, it was by the not very respectful addition of "Old Mag." Her boy had gone toward the setting sun to be with a party of English officers on a hunting excursion, he had left her in September and would not return for some moons.
Captain Godfrey and his family rested in comparative peace for some weeks, and Mrs. Godfrey drew from Old Mag many stories respecting the manner of life among the various tribes of American Indians.
About one month after the old squaw had been captured, she began to appear exceedingly dull and dispirited. The Captain's wife said to her one morning, "Mag, are you ill," "No! no!" she replied, "me no sick to-day," "bad dream some nights ago. Saw all Indians outside house, and big black devil's spirit come into them, black spirits come out woods, and fire on their heads, all went into Indians and made them dance war, yell and whoop and burn house."
All went fairly well until the 26th February, 1771, when the red men again appeared at the premises of the Captain. They were armed, and their actions seemed to be in keeping with Old Mag's dream.
Their shrieks, yells and war-whoops were terrible, they acted like demons. The children hid under the beds and held on to the garments of their parents. The terrified little ones trembled like leaves in an autumn breeze. Spirits let loose from the regions of the damned could hardly present a more devilish appearance than did the savages. They were armed with muskets. Old Mag, who was crouching in a corner of the kitchen, shook with fear, her teeth were chattering, and she appeared like a person badly affected with fever and ague.
The Redskins, about twenty in number, ran round and round the house roaring like wild beasts thirsting for gore. Charlie, the Captain's eldest boy, came rushing into the kitchen screaming out that two of the Indians were making a fire at the store door. Captain Godfrey ran to the shop, looked out of the window and was horrified to find the side of the building in flames. A minute after he had left the kitchen two of the red devils broke in the door, Mrs. Godfrey, with Charlie holding on to her skirt, had taken up a position in front of Old Mag, as the charging enemy came toward her, she fired. There was a yell, as of death. Captain Godfrey had placed the other musket in Old Mag's lap, Mrs. Godfrey instantly seized it and quick as a flash again fired and the door way was cleared.
In a few moments the smoke had cleared away. Two human forms lay across the door sill and one within the kitchen. These were the bodies of one dead and two dying Indians. The dead man was completely scalped, the whole top of his head being torn off. The other two were so terribly mutilated about their faces and necks that they lived but a few minutes. Forty minutes after Mrs. Godfrey had fired the first shot scarcely a vestige of anything remained on the spot where the house had stood. As soon as the savages were aware that three of their comrades had fallen in the assault, they beat a hasty retreat.
Let the reader pause for a few moments to consider the situation of Captain Godfrey, his wife and their five children. There they were alone in the wilderness, thousands of miles from friends and home. Out in the cold, amid the frost and snow of an Acadian winter, without a house to shelter them, a friend to cheer them, or a fire to warm them; surrounded by demons of the forest, panting and thirsting for their blood. There was no possible escape by water, the St. John was covered by a thick winding sheet of ice, and the sloop was lying some miles away in an icy bed of a lake. The history of early colonial life does not and cannot present a more affecting scene than that of the Godfrey family, as they stood alone on the banks of the river St. John in the midnight of a Nova Scotian winter.
All that was saved from the flames were several pieces of half-burnt pork, the two old muskets, a few half-burnt blankets, one hundred and forty pounds of beaver skin, between two and three hundred weight of gunpowder, the old family Bible and service book, and a trunk containing some papers and old clothes. The above articles Captain Godfrey and his son, at the risk of their lives, saved from complete destruction. In an hour the little band of early settlers was reduced from comfortable circumstances to a misery beyond the power of words to express. Darkness would soon cover the spot of desolation. But five hours of daylight were left in which escape could be made. They knew not in which direction to flee for shelter. The Captain consulted with his brave partner, but all seemed dark; no way of escape presented itself. To remain where they were during the coming night meant death. There were only two log houses in the district and they were miles away. Finally Mrs. Godfrey assembled her shivering children about her and read aloud the twenty-third psalm, and closing the old service book she said to her husband, let us no longer tarry here, let us make haste towards the sloop. As they were about to start, it suddenly occurred to Mrs Godfrey that Old Mag was missing. The Captain had not seen her since he placed the musket in her lap. The children had not seen her since the burning of the house, and Mrs. Godfrey had not seen her after she had taken the musket off her lap. The old squaw's absence caused a delay in setting out for the sloop. As no trace of Old Mag could be found, it was the opinion of both the Captain and his wife, that she had either perished in the flames or had slipped out of the kitchen before the smoke had cleared away and followed the Indians in their retreat.
Neither the Captain nor his wife would leave the locality without making a search for Old Mag. During the search, Captain Godfrey, whose strength had been severely tested since his arrival at Grimross in July, sank to the ground in a swoon. At this crisis his wife displayed the greatness of her character. As troubles thickened about her she seemed to develop qualities that only woman cast in an heroic mould are capable of exhibiting. She whispered to her husband, "We cannot find Mag, I must save you." These words appeared to have a magic effect on the Captain. He rose to his feet, supported by his wife, and soon after they were staggering on towards the river leading to the lake, followed by their five children, the eldest, who was but twelve, carrying with him his youngest brother, only two years old.
At length they reached the lake, and at this point of the journey Mrs. Godfrey was compelled to order a halt. She was heavily handicapped, having a large shawl tied across her shoulders filled with the burnt pork and some blankets. After a few minutes rest they were again tugging along towards their little ark. As the light of the sun gradually faded away, the little band of colonists tried to quicken their pace, but they tried in vain. They were so exhausted that it was with great difficulty they kept on their feet.
The children were more dead than alive, and the approaching darkness filled them with terror. Their mother would say to them, "Keep along, follow closely, the moon is rising, we shall soon have plenty of light." In this manner they toiled on till midnight, when they reached the sloop. Fortunately for the little band of wanderers, Captain Godfrey had left on board the vessel a small Dutch stove and a number of broken boxes. A fire was soon made, some of the burnt pork was sliced and put in a pan and fried for the night's meal. But the children sank to rest soon after getting on board, and lay huddled together on the cabin floor. After the Captain and his wife had partaken of the meal and before retiring to rest on the hard boards of the floor, Mrs. Godfrey read, by the dim light of a candle, the fifty-fourth psalm.
Nothing can better prove the genuineness of a life, the soundness of a profession, the real character of a man or woman, than those extreme trials and difficulties of earth, when no friends are near to help and where no way of escape seems possible. In trials, such as those related above, the noblest traits of character or the hollowness and rottenness of a profession are often plainly seen. Five cold winter days and nights came and passed, yet no relief came to the imprisoned family. They dare not move out, fearing the Indians would see them and come at night and murder them. The sixth day Crabtree, who lived some miles distant from where the Godfreys had resided, having heard of the attack of the savages and the destruction they had caused, made his way to the scene of the ruins. He could find no trace of the Godfreys and was returning by the border of the lake to his log cabin, when he saw the sloop far in the distance like a speck on the frozen surface of the lake. He hastened out to where she lay. To his surprise and joy he found out, when nearing the little craft, signs of life on board. Sparks were issuing from the cabin. Very soon he was on board. He was met at the companion-way by the Captain who gave him a thousand welcomes. Crabtree, after a few minutes rest and conversation, started for his home, eleven miles distant, promising to return early the next morning with a sledge to assist in taking the children to his cabin. In the morning he returned, and Captain Godfrey, his wife, and little ones, left the sloop and went to Crabtree's. Captain and Mrs. Godfrey and Charlie had to walk the entire distance over the lake and through the forest to Crabtree's log house.
The man who had rescued them attended to their wants as well as his circumstances would allow. He kept the distressed family until the month of May, when the ice in the river broke up. Captain Godfrey then set to work to fit out the sloop, being determined to leave the place as soon as possible. The sails and part of the rigging were consumed in the fire at Grimross. He had fortunately saved two of the compasses from the flames. After days of toil he managed to get the vessel in fair working order. The old half-burnt blankets were patched together and a mainsail and jib were completed. On the 30th of May, 1771, he set sail for Fort Frederick.
On the passage down the river several Indians were seen on the banks of the stream, but none of them made any trouble. After eleven months absence the Captain found himself at Fort Frederick once again. Captain Godfrey said to his wife, "Margaret, what changes are often wrought in a few months." "Yes! true!" she replied, "we have lost our property, but we have escaped with our lives and those of our children. Our reputations are not dimmed, neither has the Lord forsaken us. The best of our fortune remains with us. An honourable foundation remains on which we can re-erect our future structure. Let us thank a wise, over-ruling providence that a fortune still remains to us, though we have passed through great misfortune."
ARRIVES OFF FORT FREDERICK—PAUL GUIDON.
After the arrival of the sloop at the mouth of the St. John, the Captain was compelled to leave his wife and family. There was not a morsel of food of any description in the locker. The necessaries that had been supplied by Crabtree for the voyage were entirely consumed.
The day following the arrival off Fort Frederick, Captain Godfrey set sail in his small boat for Passmaquaddy, eighteen leagues distant. The boat was the same one in which he accomplished his successful journey to Annapolis Royal. His intention in setting out for Passmaquaddy was to visit a settlement belonging to a Lieutenant of the Royal Navy, and there procure some supplies for his family, and sails and rigging for the sloop.
He left his family in a most destitute condition, they having neither shoes nor stockings to their feet, and every other article of their clothing being in rags and tatters. While the Captain was absent, his wife and family were obliged to traverse the shore seeking for small fish, which they were sometimes fortunate in securing. The second evening after Captain Godfrey had left for Lieut. Owen's settlement, being a clear, moonlight one in June, Mrs. Godfrey thought she saw an object floating leisurely down the river in the direction of the sloop. She went below and brought on deck one of the old muskets which did such valuable service at Grimross. Charlie, her twelve-year old son, said to his mother: "Do you see Indians?" The little fellow was so agitated he could scarcely speak. She cautioned her son to remain perfectly quiet, and not to utter another word. Brave, calm, unmoved, she stood over her boy at the bow of the sloop. On the nearer approach of the object she discovered it was a canoe, with someone leisurely paddling it along. It had almost drifted by the vessel when, to her surprise, it suddenly turned, and ran straight as an arrow for the side of the sloop.
Mrs Godfrey, in a loud, firm tone, sang out:
"Pull away, or I'll shoot you!"
The canoe was turned about in an instant, and as quick came floating over the water the words:
"Me, Paul: Me, Paul Guidon!"
She threw him a small line and then invited him to come on board, immediately resuming her former position with the musket by her side.
The Indian came on board, fastened his frail bark and stood for a moment watching the retreating tide. Mrs. Godfrey asked him to come forward, while little Charlie was shaking as though he would fall in pieces. He obeyed her, and stepped forward. She took him by the hand and said:
"Paul! Paul! You have again come to see me. I have thought of you, prayed for you, and shall never forget you. You have saved my life and the lives of my husband and dear children. I am in great trouble; God has sent you again."
Paul Guidon stood speechless and motionless with his sparkling black eyes fixed on her thin, pale hand. The mild effulgence of the lunar light shone full upon his face, bringing out every feature in perfect outline. Presently his whole frame shook as though it had received an electric shock. Mrs. Godfrey looked straight at him with her piercing black eyes from the moment he had stood before her. Her power over him seemed like that of a charmer. Her magic nature had completely overcome him. Never did a naval hero appear on deck after a victory more transcendently grand than did Margaret Godfrey at that moment of her life. She pressed his hand more closely and said: "Paul, are you ill?" He replied by placing her soft, white hand upon his throbbing breast, and then moved toward the canoe. He spoke not a word. He pointed towards his canoe, and made a sign with his right hand from the eastern horizon up the semicircle of the sky. She understood it to mean that he would return in the morning, at the rising of the sun. He at once got into his canoe, and in a minute or two was paddling up the stream against the rushing tide.
Very early the following morning, Margaret was on deck preparing to go on shore while the tide was low, and, if possible, catch some fish for breakfast. She had not been long on deck before she saw a canoe approaching. As it neared the sloop she saw that Paul Guidon was its only occupant. In a few minutes Paul was on board, looking as bright as the morning star. Margaret bade him good morning and then related to him the distressed condition of herself and children. He replied, with a cheerful smile: "Suppose big boy and little ones go with Paul and catch 'em some fish?" She felt that the Indian had a kind heart and at once consented to accompany him with her children. All got into the canoe, and Paul at once began to paddle down the river. Although the morning was without rain the sky was leaden, and the atmosphere heavy and damp. As the Indian paddled the canoe along for a couple of miles, all on board were joyous and seemed refreshed as they drank in the breeze from off the breast of the bay.
They landed at a point of land, or rather of rocks, where Paul succeeded in catching several fish, which he placed in the bottom of the canoe. He then proposed to leave the place and proceed further down the shore. Margaret replied that occasionally drops of rain fell upon her face, and she feared a storm might suddenly spring up and bar their way back to the vessel. She rather urged the Indian to return, but she saw by his manner that he was inclined to demur to her solicitation. He said there was a brook a short distance further down the shore, where there was always plenty of good fish. Mrs. Godfrey finally consented to follow Paul. He took in his arms the two smallest children, and pressing them closely to his broad chest with his long sinewy arms, was soon skipping from rock to rock like a mountain goat. The mother and the three other children followed as closely as possible in Paul's tracks.
After the Indian had gone about a hundred yards, he looked over his left shoulder and appeared satisfied that all was well. He redoubled his speed and bounded along as a deer, and suddenly turning to the right he made his way up a slope of ground and was out of sight among the trees.
Margaret now began to feel anxious, fearing that after all the trust she had reposed in Paul, he might yet prove unfaithful. She called to the Indian, but he heeded not her cry. She again called, but he had completely disappeared.
Under such circumstances a less brave woman would have sunk on the spot in utter despair. She kept on, following as nearly as she could the track that Paul had taken. She toiled on and on for three quarters of an hour, but never sighted the Indian. At last she completely lost the trail. The rocks and uneven ground impeded her progress, and the trees confused her in the line of march. All traces of a pathway were lost.
She sat down on a large boulder—the children wanted rest, they were completely fatigued. She judged that they must be nearly two miles from the canoe. In her distressed situation she contemplated returning to the shore. To proceed further in the direction she had been going seemed hopeless. Without a guide she and her children would certainly get lost, and likely all would perish. Whilst she was thus debating in her mind what course to pursue, a peel of thunder passed over her head, and large drops of rain began to fall. The wind suddenly sprang up, and all around her was growing dark. Her blood quickened in its pulsations, as the elements were increasing the difficulties of her position. Alone, on a rocky, stormy shore, with three small children and two others far away in the arms of an almost unknown savage, what could she do? Where could she go? She said to herself: "evil seems to follow me closely, and heavy trouble is continually weighing me down. I am in a strange land, among a strange race; where will the end be? It may be here." As the above thoughts were running through her brain, a brilliant flash of lightning streamed close by her pale face, and for an instant lit up the earth and sea around. A tree, a few feet distant, was shattered by the flash. Her children trembled as the thunder shook the solid ground. She delayed no longer, but determined at once to start back in the direction of the canoe, and taking each of the smaller children by the hand, with Charlie following, she pointed for the shore.
The rain descended in torrents; the thunder roared, and the lightning flashed. Through the terrible storm Mrs. Godfrey pressed on, buoyant with a hope that all might turn out well. As she was staggering from rock to rock with the little ones pitching and stumbling along at her sides, now and again almost blinded and bewildered by the lurid lightning, she felt as one amid the crash of worlds.
Just as she sighted the canoe, which Paul had hauled upon the shore, a sharp, rattling clap of thunder peeled above her head. This was preceded an instant before by a dazzling blue and golden flash that all but blinded the band of wanderers. Another and another flash, followed by their thunderbolts, in quick succession shattered a solid rock over which they had just passed. The whole shore appeared to tremble and crash, and away far out over the surface of the bay the waters seemed as if in a blaze. The sight was grand and terrible. Every rock along the shore appeared to sink into an abyss as the lightning passed by, and many of them were riven. At length Mrs. Godfrey and her children reached the side of the canoe. There calm and unmoved amid the storm, she knelt, she wept, she prayed. The waters of Fundy were heaped into angry billows, and dashed their spray over the mother and children assembled round the altar on the shore. Darkness began to throw its sable mantle over land, rocks and bay. Margaret was suddenly started, she thought she heard the sound of a voice coming through the gloom. She turned her head in the direction of the sound, and at that moment a flash of lightning revealed a human form coming toward her. In an instant it was lost to view, shut out in the darkness. "Me come!" "Me come!" fell upon her waiting ears. Margaret, with a heart overflowing with gratitude and swelling with praise, quietly exclaimed "God is love." Paul stood before her, panting like a stricken deer, with but one of the children in his arms. As Margaret looked at him her pale face turned ashen white, her lips quivered and she fell into the arms of Paul Guidon as if dead. He sat down upon a rock, and by the lightning's flash bathed her temples with water from the sea shore. The Indian continued to pour salt water out of his brawny hands upon her head and neck. In about ten minutes Margaret was restored to consciousness. When she opened her eyes her missing child was at her side. Paul Guidon had placed the little fellow in charge of an Indian he had found fishing on the bank of the stream, and he asked him to take the child in his arms and follow on to the shore.
After Paul had been fishing along the stream for some time, seeing that Mrs. Godfrey and her children had not come up with him, he decided to return and look them up.
As they rested together on the shore beside their birchen boat, the thunder gradually died away, and there was also a truce to the lightning and rain. In two hours from the time of the happy reunion of the loved and lost the water became quite calm. Paul Guidon then launched the canoe and the little ships' company were soon heading toward the mouth of the St. John. In another hour and a half Paul and his companion had safely paddled Margaret Godfrey and her children to the sloop.
Margaret's first act, after reaching her small floating home, was to place each child upon its knees, doing likewise herself. As her clear voice rang out over the water, conveying words of thankfulness to Him whom winds and seas obey, the two Indians sank slowly on their knees.
Plenty of fish had been secured by Paul to last the family some days Margaret cooked the supper, Paul and his companion ate heartily, then left the sloop and proceeded in the canoe to their homes, Paul promising to return the next day with a load of wood to replenish the stock of fuel which was well nigh exhausted.
At seven o'clock next morning Paul again was seen sailing along toward the sloop, his little bark skimming over the river like a petrel on the ocean's breast. He appeared anxious and excited as he approached the side of the vessel. He had but a few pieces of wood in his canoe. Margaret at first sight noticed a change in his features; he looked worn and weary. His bright black eye had lost much of its fire, and as he stepped on board Mrs. Godfrey thought she noticed a tear on his cheek. As usual she saluted him and asked him on board, and as he stepped over the rail she took his hand in her own. This act of kindness on the part of Margaret seemed to electrify his whole frame. She said to him, "And how is Paul this morning." Without answering her he placed his hand on his left breast and sighed deeply. "Is my Paul ill this morning," she again asked, thinking that the strain from carrying the children the day previous, and the worry and excitement, had been too severe a task even upon the hardy and wiry frame of the Iroquois. "No! No!" he replied, "but," "but," and here he stopped being too full to utter another word. He pointed to his canoe, and then pointed up the river past the fort. She guessed his meaning. It was to return to his home at once.
Margaret said to him, "Paul do you want me and the children to go with you?"
He bowed an assent.
All hands were soon on board the canoe and in a few strokes of the paddle the homeless emigrants were sailing toward the rapids. The tide was running up and the long sinewy arms of Paul, as he plied the paddle, made the little bark fairly leap along. The rippling of the water was all that broke in upon the stillness of the morning.
The steep, rugged country on either side the mouth of the St. John was dressed in deepest green, tall and noble trees lined both banks. The clear bright sky and the brighter sun made the river appear like a winding stream of silver with borders of emerald. Her admiration of natural beauty, she had herself confessed more than once during the voyage to Grimross.
While Mrs. Godfrey was drinking in the beauties of the scenery, and meditating on the loneliness that reigned supreme among the hills, the canoe touched the shore. As Margaret stepped from the little bark to the shore, a large grey snake passed athwart her pathway and disappeared into a hole at the roots of a tree. She felt much concerned at this circumstance, as in Ireland, her native land, it was a common belief among the people that if a snake passed across a persons track without being killed by the traveller, some evil was close upon his or her track.
After the Indian had pulled the canoe out of the water, he led the way up a slight incline, followed by Margaret and her children. They had walked some two hundred yards over uneven ground and among trees, when Paul suddenly stopped and then stepped off to the right, and beckoned to those in his rear to follow him. A few steps brought the visitors in sight of a wigwam. It was situated in a small open space, surrounded by a dense forest of large, tall trees. In a minute or two all stood at the opening in the camp.
Paul seemed to hesitate as he led the way inside. He removed an old blanket which was hanging over the aperture. Opposite the entrance on the further side of the camp lay a human form stretched on some old grey blankets, that were spread over branches of spruce trees. The Indian approached the bed and then stooped down and kissed its occupant, and then beckoned to Margaret Godfrey to step forward. She at once obeyed. To her astonishment there lay an old squaw with sunken cheeks and eyes. Over her form was stretched a time-worn grey blanket, and on it laid a wampum belt, and a string of wampum beads, an old plaid shawl supported her head.
Margaret thought that she recognized the shawl as one she had brought with her from Ireland, and wondered how it came there. She knelt down, and placing her arm under the old squaw's neck, gently raised her head a few inches. The poor old squaw tried to speak but was too weak to do so. Margaret took the withered hand of the Indian woman and placed it in her own. On one of the bony fingers of the squaw was a ring which fell off into Margaret's hand. Margaret recognized it as a ring she had often seen. She asked Paul who the sick woman was. "She is my poor old mother," he replied, "she has been sick long time, since last winter, got bad fall and almost stiffened with cold." "She fast going away from her Paul." Margaret noticed the old woman's lips moving, she put her ear close to the squaw's mouth and heard her say in a whisper, "Me Mag!" Mrs. Godfrey, completely surprised, laid her head upon the dying woman's bed. The shawl, a red and black plaid, she had given old Mag at Grimross. Now it was used for her dying pillow. The old Indian woman fairly worshipped it in her days of health and strength. And the ring was also presented to old Mag while a prisoner at Grimross. The afternoon that old Mag was given the ring was one never to be forgotten by Mrs. Godfrey. The old Iroquois squaw on that occasion danced the war dance on the kitchen floor, so great was her joy in receiving the precious gem.
Margaret asked Paul where he had found his mother on his return from the setting sun. He then related to her in broken English the following story:—
He had returned from his hunting expedition on the evening of the day the house at Grimross had been consumed by the flames. He had been detained with the officers one month longer than he expected to be when he left home. On his arrival home he found that his mother was missing. He made inquiries as to her whereabouts, and was told that she had gone off with three Indians named Nick Thoma, Pete Paul, and Christopher Cope, to trade furs for some pork, blankets and powder at Grimross. That white woman had killed the three Indians; that white man's house was burnt, and white woman had put his mother into the flames and burnt her up. Early in the morning after his arrival home he set out for Grimross Neck, crossing the lake where the sloop lay. When he arrived at Grimross he saw nothing but blackened ruins, and was convinced the Indian's story was true. He saw also the dead bodies of the three Indians, he could not recognize them, they were so cooked by the fire. He walked about the ruins, almost bewildered, and swearing vengeance. Not many steps from where the house had stood were dense woods. He wandered in among the trees scarcely knowing where he was going, when to his surprise he saw his mother sitting down on the snow with her back resting against a large tree, her feet and knees covered with blankets. He pulled off one blanket, then another, and yet another, but his mother never moved. She sat as motionless as the tree itself. Her face was covered with frozen blood. He took hold of her shoulders and shook her when she appeared to breathe. After rubbing her hands and beating her feet on the frozen snow for a long time she began to move her limbs. And finally he got her to stand on her feet. Her eyes were swollen and completely closed. He was at a loss to know how he was to get her to the camp twelve miles distant. Part of the journey was comparatively easy; they could go by way of the lake. At four o'clock he started with his mother for the camp, she could only walk slowly and with great difficulty. They made many stops on the way and reached the camp long after midnight. About noon the next day the old woman had gained sufficient strength to tell her story. She said "she went first time with Indians to trade furs at Grimross. Indians were very savage and blood-thirsty. Broke in door of house, white woman fired gun, they all ran away. She was captured after falling down bank. She was taken to house of English people and afterwards treated like one of the family. A lot of Indians came back second time about last of winter, few days ago broke into the house of English people and set it on fire. The English woman fired two guns and killed three Indians. The rest of Indians ran away. When gun was fired and house burning, was afraid English woman would kill her. As soon as could get over dead Indians in door, ran away among trees, and was frightened to come out again till all pale faces went away. Felt very cold when pale faces went away, wandered back to burnt house, found the blankets, returned with them to woods, got down against tree, put blankets over feet and legs, and remember no more till my Paul woke me next day."
As Paul Guidon related his mother's story his face was bathed in tears. Mrs. Godfrey attentively listened, and at the same time carefully watched every feature of old Mag's face. When Paul had finished his mother's story, Margaret Godfrey gently raised old Mag's head, and bending over it said, "Poor old Mag this is indeed you." The dying Indian woman tried in vain to move her lips, while her body seemed convulsed. She then stretched herself out at full length and a slight tremor passed over her frame, her chin dropped.
Mrs. Godfrey looked up at Paul, who was standing at the foot of the bed, and remarked, "Paul your dear old mother is gone, forever gone." The Indian without replying then threw himself upon the bed and lay motionless beside the body of his mother. In a short time he began to weep and moan, which he continued to do so long and piteously, that Margaret thought his sorrowing heart would burst. At last completely exhausted with grief he remained quiet and passive as though his spirit too had passed over to the green fields and still waters of the everlasting hunting grounds.
Margaret gazed upon the quiet features and still form of the handsome young Iroquois, he was in the vigour of his manhood, being scarcely twenty-four years old; and said, as she admired his manly look, "Paul, your mother is happier now;" "she is in that land where trials, trouble and death are unknown. You must live to meet her there. Your mother is now sailing on silvery water; breathing an atmosphere perfumed with celestial spices; and sitting in a canoe made from the bark of trees growing on the shores of Canaan's stream. Her wigwam will be made of the same kind of bark and ornamented with pearls and precious stones. She will wear a neck-lace of jewels and on her head will be a crown of glory."
Paul, weary and sad, went to his canoe, launched it and sailed down the river to catch some fish for supper, and Mrs. Godfrey proceeded to prepare the body of old Mag for burial, while the children played around the wigwam. When the Indian had returned he found all that remained of his mother neatly prepared for the grave.
The black and red plaid shawl was wound round and round the body from head to feet, no part being visible but the face. Margaret had fastened the shawl at the throat with a silver brooch. Old Mag, as she lay upon the camp bed, resembled a dead Highlander. Arrangements were made for the funeral, and Paul paddled Mrs. Godfrey and children to the sloop and then returned to dig his mother's grave. Next morning Paul came down to the sloop looking very sad. He said that he had not closed his eyes during the night. He sat watching through the long night at the side of his dead parent.
Many of us have heard and read accounts of lonely scenes and lonely spots, but what place could be more lonely and what scene more solemn than that of a lone Indian sitting beside the corpse of his mother in a Nova Scotian forest a hundred and twenty years ago, through the dread hours of a whole night?
What thoughts passed through the brain of Paul Guidon during the weird hours of that night, it may be, will be revealed in eternity.
Mrs. Godfrey and her children again went with Paul to the abode of death. After landing, Margaret accompanied the Indian to inspect the place of burial. It was situated on the bank of a small stream running down to the river, and about two hundred yards from the camp. The grave looked like the newly made nest of some huge bird. It was cleanly dug and neatly lined with evergreens. In this grave the body of old Mag was placed as the sun was sinking below the horizon. It was conveyed to its last resting place by Paul, Margaret and her son Charlie; the four younger children forming the procession.
None of the Indians of the tribes of the St. John were present at the burial, as Paul had not circulated the news of his mother's death.
Mrs. Godfrey read, from the old service book, the Church of England burial service, the most beautiful of all burial services, that of the Masonic brethren perhaps excepted.
Mrs. Godfrey and Charlie filled in the grave. When they returned to the wigwam all within was darkness and gloom. Margaret and her children were paddled to the sloop by Paul. He was invited to spend the night on board the little vessel, but declined to do so. Margaret then took him by the hand, and, as she drew him toward her, he placed his hand upon her shoulders and cried aloud, "Mother!" "Mother!" She led him to the canoe, he got into his little bark and was soon sailing away towards his lonely dwelling-place, where it may have been the spirit of old Mag kept watch that night over the wigwam and her boy.
TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE AT SEA.
Captain Godfrey arrived safely at Passmaquaddy and was warmly welcomed.
He was supplied with sails, rigging and a general outfit for his family, and he was sent back to the mouth of the St. John in a much larger and more convenient boat, bringing the smaller boat in tow. He was absent twelve days.
The day previous to the Captain's return Paul Guidon had visited the sloop, but Margaret could only prevail upon him to remain for a few minutes. He said something wanted him back at the wigwam. He appeared to be impressed by some invisible and irresistible power to return at once to the sad camping ground.
"Me: Paul!" he said to Margaret, "cannot stay long away from camp and my mother's grave." "Happy mother must be in the woods near wigwam."
As far as Mrs. Godfrey could learn from the lone Indian his thoughts were something like the following:—
All the birds that used to sing so sweetly around the little birchen home and gaily fluttered from branch to branch, seemed to sit quietly and pour out their songs in mornful strains, and all about the spot the wind appeared to whistle a requiem for the departed squaw. And in the long and quiet hours of the darkness, he felt certain that old Mag's spirit left the woods, and in never ceasing motion kept watch about the camp, and at regular intervals would pass within and kiss him when asleep.
The Indian from his habits of life, skimming in his canoe over the lonely and wooded river, or skipping from rock to rock on the lonely mountain side; in tracing the border of the roaring cataract, in pitching his tent along the edge of the flowing river or the sleeping lake; out on the prairie or in the midst of the dense forest; among the trees on the ocean shore, is most deeply impressed with the belief that the Great Chief is watching his actions from behind trees, out of the surface of the waters, from the tops of the mountains, and out of the bosom of the prairie. He thinks that the lightning is His spear, and the thunder His voice. He feels that a terrible something is all around him, and when death calls any of his tribe away supreme superstition takes firm hold of his very existence.
"Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutored mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind."
The poet, and the highly imaginative person, the wise and the good, seek the hills and the valleys, the dashing cataract, the forest and stream, the mountain range, the rocky coast and roaring ocean, and there drink in the grandeur of creation in those sublime scenes. In such places they feel a nearness to the Creator, and view His power and handiwork in a measure not always attainable in the ordinary scenes of everyday life. Such persons admire with reverential awe the greatness of God and feel His love.
The Indian, in superstitious dread, lives in ignorance of His greatness, His ways and His love.
Paul Guidon visited the sloop the next morning, and Captain Godfrey welcomed him on board and invited him to remain during the day and assist in refitting the vessel. The Indian did not refuse in words to do so, but his looks and movements plainly indicated his disinclination to remain.
Margaret approached him and said, "Paul, you will stay with me and help us get the vessel all ready to sail away, won't you?" He took her hand, pressed it tightly, and then let it fall at her side. She knew she had won him, and was well aware that she could lead him as a child.
He remained, and all were soon at work. The children picked over the oakum, the Captain fitted the rigging, and the Indian and Mrs. Godfrey tried their hands at making a mainsail.
At the setting of the sun Paul returned to his lonely home. The next morning, before the sun had risen, he was once more on board the sloop. The day was a lovely one, and similar work to that of the previous day occupied the attention of all The following day the vessel was hauled to high water mark on the island, there to be overhauled and caulked. Captain Godfrey had brought a supply of necessary tools for the work from Passmaquaddy. The Indian came down each morning from his wigwam and assisted until the sloop was ready for sea, (The repairing of the little vessel La Tour was probably the pioneer work of refitting and repairing which a century later assumed such gigantic proportions on both sides of the mouth of the St. John.) Mrs. Godfrey named the vessel La Tour, because, she said, that was the original name of the fort that sheltered herself and her children during Captain Godfrey's absence at Annapolis Royal.
At length everything was ready, and the morning to weigh anchor came. A stiff breeze blowing up the harbour caused a delay in sailing. The morning was so wet, and the wind blew so hard, that Paul Guidon did not venture out in his canoe, but he came down by land, and quite early in the day stood upon the shore opposite where the sloop lay.
Margaret was first to notice him. She thought that she never saw him look so handsome as when he stood on the right bank of the harbour that morning. She called her husband, and pointing toward the shore said: "Look at that noble form at the water's edge. It looks like a statue standing on a line between the water and the woods!"
Captain Godfrey rowed to the shore and took Paul off to the sloop. He remained on board but an hour, promising as he left to return in the morning if the storm abated.
Captain Godfrey had decided to sail for Halifax via Passmaquaddy. The morning was fine and the wind fair. Paul was on hand bright and early. Margaret said to him, "Paul, in an hour we shall sail away from here, and perhaps I shall never see you again on earth." These words seemed to almost paralyze the Indian, and for a while he appeared unconscious of everything that passed. His canoe was tied alongside the sloop. Captain Godfrey hauled up the anchor. Margaret asked the Indian if he would go with them as far as Passmaquaddy. He made no reply. He sat down on the deck and covered his face with his hands. Captain Godfrey said to him rather sternly, "Paul, we are now on our passage, if you are going to leave take your canoe and go." He made no reply to the Captain. The sloop was slipping down the harbour and had passed the lower island before the Indian seemed to recognize his situation. He looked wildly first at the shore, then on the other side at the great waters, and burst into a flood of tears.
Margaret stepped to his side and said, "Paul, do you feel ill?"
He shook his head, and with his hand pointed at the vast waters of the bay.
Margaret proceeded to get dinner, and the red man was left alone. Paul was asked to the lunch, but replied not.
The sloop ran leisurely along the shore all day, the wind being light and the water quite smooth. All were compelled to rest on deck during the night, which was bright, and the moon made it almost like day,—the little cabin was besieged with mosquitoes. About midnight the Indian, who had not spoken since leaving the St. John, suddenly sprang to his feet and peered over the moon-lit water in the direction of the shore. Captain Godfrey, who was at the helm, seeing him, thought he was about to make a plunge overboard, and called to his wife who was asleep. She sprang up, asking what was the matter. At this moment Paul sang out, "Indians coming." Margaret went to the cabin, got the musket and pointed toward the canoes, three in number, and fired. The canoes soon after disappeared in the direction of the shore. Paul sank back into his former position, and in a short time all were asleep except the Captain and the Indian. Nothing unusual occurred during the remainder of the night, and in the morning, the wind growing stronger, the little ship made greater headway. The day was a beautiful one, and Paul was as quiet as usual. He ate nothing. Night again came on, and the breeze holding through the moon-lit hours, the Captain ran the sloop into Passmaquaddy early in the morning.
As the sun was rising in all his splendour, throwing his brightening rays over land and water, the little vessel was headed into her port of destination. As she was running in, Paul, quick as a flash, jumped up, as though some attendant spirit had suddenly opened to him a vision of the future. He fixed his eyes intently on the shore. In an instant he crouched down on the deck with his head and shoulders partly over the rail. His attitude and manner were those of a wild beast about to spring upon its prey. The Captain thought Paul saw something strange on the shore. In a few minutes the Indian sat down again, and for sometime remained perfectly quiet. The anchor was let go, and the little craft rested in Passmaquaddy harbour. The Captain ran in for the purpose of getting some one to pilot the sloop to Halifax, but to his great disappointment could find no one willing to go. He had neither money nor goods to offer in payment for the service of a pilot.
The day following he set sail for Machias, ten leagues distant, in the hope of securing some person at that place willing to assist him in the passage to Halifax. Paul Guidon had consented to go as far as Machias, and there land and make his way back to the St. John.
After leaving Passmaquaddy, Captain Godfrey concluded to put into Head harbour and try his luck at that place in securing a pilot, but being unacquainted with the locality he ran the sloop on a ledge of rocks. However, the tide coming in she floated off unharmed.
"Flung from the rock, on ocean's foam, to sail Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevail."
The wind suddenly veered round and blew off shore quite fresh. The vessel stood well off during the night, and the Captain hoped to make the harbour sometime the next morning, but toward daylight a fog began to settle down fast and thick. Captain Godfrey fully realized the perilous position of all on board, but having been early trained in seamanship, he had full confidence in his ability to manage the sloop.
In the morning land could not be seen. The fog continued for three days, during which time (to use the Captain's words) "the situation was dismal enough, and every moment I was expecting to see the craft drawn on the rocks and all on board perish." The fourth day the fog was less dense, and those on board could see for some distance, but the sun was invisible, and the war of the elements was raging with increasing fury. In the afternoon the wind had shifted to north-west and increased to a partial gale. The sloop was running under a bit of mainsail; it seemed at times as if the following seas would founder the little vessel as they towered over the low rail. Nothing was to be seen but the wide expanse of water. Not even a solitary gull. The Captain remarked to his wife, "It is a curious fact that, excepting the petrels, sea birds keep near to the land in bad weather." Captain Godfrey feared the night, and as it came on the wind grew in strength. A terrible sea was running, and all were fastened below excepting Paul and the Captain. The Indian would not leave the deck, although more than once he was nearly washed overboard. At length darkness covered the face of the ocean, and the wind howled in all its fury. The seas were like mountains, tossing the sloop about like a cork. Mrs. Godfrey would remain below no longer. She told her children, who were tumbling like nine-pins about the cabin floor, not to cry, as she would soon return to them. As she put her head out of the companion way, the Captain ordered her back. She said, "Where is Paul?" Her husband answered, "I have called to him time and time again to get below." She called to Paul, who was holding fast to the anchor chain with his legs stuck under the windlass. He did not answer. She started to creep forward. Her husband could not see her. At this moment the sloop took a dreadful plunge. A heavy sea swept over her from stern to bow, completely submerging her. The Captain, who had taken the precaution to lash himself to the deck, in a half-drowned state, held steadily to the tiller. As soon as possible he called to his wife, but no answer came back. He called to Paul, and he too was silent. Was she lost? Had she, in whom all his hopes were placed, been carried into the sea and for ever lost to him on earth? These thoughts bewildered him while he was trying to steer his vessel. He dare not leave the helm to look after his wife and children. He hoped the sea had not broken into the cabin and drowned all that were left to him on earth. He had often been called to drink the cup of bitterness, had he been called to drink it to its dregs? Had his sorrow at last reached its destined depths. He burst into tears, almost stupified, and calling upon Him who is able to guide the storm in its course and hush it to a calm; to Him whose charities have distilled like the dews of Heaven; who had fed the hungry and clothed the naked; who had opened a way of escape in the wilderness; to Him he cried for succor. And at last in utter despair he earnestly prayed for morning or death. Now and again a huge sea would break over the little ship, but she rode the waves as beautifully as an ocean liner. Terribly the night wore away. With the dawn of the morning the gale began to abate. The Captain lashed the tiller and crept to the companion way. He opened it, went down, found his children, bruised, bleeding and terrified. He kissed them, feeling they were now dearer than ever to him. They asked him where their mother was. He came on deck and shut them in the cabin without replying. As Captain Godfrey crawled to his position at the helm, he said to himself, my dear children have escaped the arrow and tomahawk, the flames at Grimross, the thunder, lightning and tempest, and even yet they are safe. If it were not for my children I would prefer to sleep here in death rather than live elsewhere. I would be near my wife to share a part with her in the resurrection.