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Here the clear lake contracts its straighten’d floods,
And winds, a deepen'd stream, through level woods;
In vain our tow'ring mast for soundings tries,
Beyond its utmost depth the bottom lies;
Yet, so transparent its pure waters flow,
We mark'd the smallest leaf that lay below.
Ducks, whistling past, like meteors fill the air,
Our fatal guns pursue them deadly there,
Glanc'd from the eye the thundering tubes rebound,
Fluttering they fall, and flap, and scream around.
Here from the shore, low marshes wide expand,
Where bare and bleak the little salt-workst stand,
There numerous pits their briny treasures yield,
And pumps and tunnels checker all the field ;
Whether old Neptune these blest springs supplies,
Or deep below the massy substance lies,
Let idlers guess; while nobler souls revere
The all-providing Power who rais'd them here.
Beneath mild sunshine as we onward glide,
Flat moss-clad forests rise on either side;
High midst the leafless multitude is seen
The dark majestic pine in deepest green ;
The snow white sycamores, that love to drink
The passing stream, and skirt the river's brink,
Wide o'er the flood their arms, capacious, throw,
To meet their soften'd forms that lie below.
Still files of ducks in streaming thousands pour,
At every bend their rising torrents roar,
Till, near Musquito point their flocks decrease
Where night o'ertook us and we moord in peace.
High rose its banks, and on its rugged height,
A small log hovel shone with glimmering light,
Here one lone woman and a boy we found,
The trapper absent on his usual round,
On board his skiff had sail'd, six days ago,
To try his luck some twenty miles below.
This solitary hut, small, cheerless, rude,
Amid vast swamps and wildernesses stood,
+ This saline is about eight miles from the outlet of the lake. The wells are from fifteen to twenty feet deep, and the water is much stronger than that of the ocean. The proprietor informed me that he made about thirty-five bushels daily,
Where nightly horrors banish'd oft repose,
Such savage cries from wolves and panthers rose;
Even round the bolted door, the woman said,
At midnight frequent she could hear their tread.
The fire blaz'd bright; around us we survey'd
The pendent furs with which it was array’d;
A sacred horse-shoe, guardian of the whole,
Terror of sprites prophane, and witches foul,
Dread, powerful talisman 'gainst imps unknown!
Nail'd o'er the door in silent mystery shone.
Just as the dame her glowing hearth had clear'd,
The ragged owner of the hut appear'd,
Laden with skins, his traps around him slung,
Two dead rackoons across his shoulder hung ;
Muskrats and 'possoms in each hand he bore;
A large brown otter trail'd along the floor;
And as he sous'd them down with surly gloom,
The skunk's abhorr'd effluvia fill’d the room.*
“ Friends, how d'ye do?" Well wife, how come you on?
How fare the calves?" "Why three of them are gone !"
“ Three!....D-n these wolves! they'll eat up house and hall!
And have they kill'd the sheep?" "They have.” “What, all ?
“ Yes all.” .. “I thought it would be so.
Well,--now they're at the devil, let them go."
So said, he whets his knife to skin his store,
While heaps of red raw carrion fill the floor.
As morning dawn'd, our little skiff we trimm’d,
And through the misty flood with vigor skimm'd;
Now, gliding smooth, we hail with songs the morn;
Now, down white boiling breakers headlong borne,
Again, enclos'd, the gray woods round us rise,
We pass where Cross Lake green and stagnant lies, .
And mark the snakes, amid their wat’ry way,
With heads erect our dipping oars survey.
• The reader is not to imagine that this animal formed part of our trapper's game. It is gever seen in this particular part of the country; and the trappers take advantage of this cir. cumstance to circumvent their prey. In the lower parts of the State, where this animal is abundant, there are people who collect the liquor with which Nature has supplied it for its defence. This is put into smail vials, sealed, placed mouth downwards in a pot of earth, and sold to the trappers. A drop or two of this precious aroma is put on or fleur the steel-traps after they are set, and the strange and extraordinary odour is said to decoy other animals to the spot. Our landlord himself being furnished with a bottle of this essence of skunk, and his traps profusely saturated with the same, produced the effect abovementioned.
Dead lie the lonely woods, and silent shore,
As Nature slept, and mankind were no more.
How drear! how desolate to ear and eye!
What awful solitudes around us lie!
Sad were his fate, too dreadfully severe,
For life condemn’d to linger hopeless here;
From such lone thoughts of gloomy exil'd wo,
All human ties forever to forego;
The heart shrinks back, dejected and dismay'd,
And owns that man for social joys was made.
Yet still, whate'er our doubtful hearts may say,
Even Nature's self to habit will give way,
And these vast solitudes, so deep and drear,
As more frequented might become more dear.
On yonder island, opening by degrees,
Behold the blue smoke mounting through the trees!
There, by his fire, 'mid sheltering brush obscur'd,
His bark canoe along the margin moor’d,
With lank jet locks that half his face conceal,
The Indian hunter eats his morning meal.
Stakes rudely rear'd his little pot suspend,
Amid the smoke his busy partners bend,
Beyond, sly peeping, fearful to be seen,
Two copper chubs their favourite shell-barks glean.
Another night another hut supplies,
In half an hour the crazy fabrics rise ;
The roof with bark, the floor with spruce bespread,
The stakes around with skins and venison clad;
At our approach suspicion lours his eye,
That scarce regards us gliding swiftly by.
His life how simple, and his wants low few!
A blanket, leggins, rifle, and canoe,
Knife, hatchet, mockasins,—not much beside,
And all beyond to him is empty pride.
(To be concluded in our next.)