Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

romantically situated, where I determined to remain all night. Among other things I inquired of the landlord if he knew the distance to Miss Brandt's house, and from him I learned that it was about twenty miles off. He added that young Mr. Brandt had passed that way in the morning, and would, no ; doubt, be returning in the evening, and that if I wished it, he would be on the look out for him. This I desired the landlord to do, as it would enable me to intimate our introduction to his sister, and in- , tention of waiting on her the next morning.

At dusk. Mr. Brandt returned, and being introduced into our room, we were unable to distinguish his colour, and conversed with him believing him to be a young Canadian gentleman. We did not, how, ever, fail to observe a certain degree of hesitation) and reserve in the manner of his speech. He cer-o tainly expressed a wish that we would do him and his sister the favour of spending a few days with them in order to refresh ourselves and our horses; but we thought his style more laconic than hospitable. · Bess fore candles were brought in, our new friend de-1 parted, leaving us still in error as to his nation and colour.

i 1834141 a school By four o'clock in the morning, we resumed our journey. On arriving at the magnificent shores of Lake Ontario, the driver of our carriage pointed out at the distance of five miles, the house of Miss Brandt, which had a very noble and commandinger aspect; and we anticipated much pleasure in our visit; as beside the enjoyment of so beautiful a spot,

we should be enabled to form a competent idea of Canadian manners and style of living. Young Mr. Brandt, it appeared, unaware that with our carriage we could have reached his house so soon, had not arrived before us; so that our approach was not announced; and we drove up to the door under the full persuasion that the family would be apprized of our coming. The outer door, leading to a spacious hall, was open. We entered, and remained a few minutes, when seeing no person about, we proceeded into the parlour, which like the hall, had no body in it. We, therefore, had an opportunity of looking about us at our leisure. It was a room well furnished with a carpet, pier and chimney glasses, mahogany tables, fashionable chairs, a guitar, a neat hanging book-case, in which, among other volumes, we perceived a church of England prayer-book, translated into the Mohawk tongue, and several small elementary works. Having sent our note of introduction in by the coachinan, and still no person waiting on us, we began to suspect, (more especially in the hungry state we were all in), that some delay or difficulty about breakfast stood in the way of the young lady's appearance. Various were our conjectures, and momentarily did our hunger seem to gain rapid strides upon us. I can assure my readers that a keen morning's ride on the shores of an American lake, is a thing of all others calculated to make the appetite clamorous, if not insolent. We had already penetrated into the parlour; and were begining to meditate a further

exploration in search of the pantry, when to our unspeakable astonishment, in walked a charming, noble-looking Indian girl, dressed partly in the native, and partly in the Englislı costume. Her hair was confined on the head in a silk net, but the lower tresses, escaping from thence, flowed down on lier shoulders. Under a tunic or morning dress of black silk, was a petticoat of the same material and colour, which reached very little below the knees. Her silk-stockings and kid shoes were, like the rest of her dress, black. The grace and dignity of her movement, the style of her dress and manner, so new, so unexpected, filled us all with astonishment. With great ease, yet by no means in that commonplace mode so generally prevalent on such occasions, she inquired how we had found the roads, accommodation, &c. No flutter was at all apparent on account of the delay in getting breakfast; no fidgeting and fuss-making, no running in and out, no idle expressions of regret, such as, “Oh, dear me! had I known of your coming, you would not have been kept in this way;" but with perfect ease she maintained the conversation, until a Squaw *, wearing a man's hat, brought in a tray with preparations for breakfast.' A table-cloth of fine white damask being laid, we were regaled with tea, coffee, hot-rolls, butter in water and ice-coolers, eggs, smoked-beef and ham, broiled chickens, &c.; all served in a truly neat and comfortable style. The delay, we

* The name of all Indian women.

afterwards discovered, arose from the desire of our hostess to supply us with hot rolls, which were actually baked while we waited. I have been thus minute in my description of these comforts, as they were so little to be expected in the house of an Indian.

After breakfast, Miss Brandt, as we must still call her, took my daughters out to walk, and look at the picturesque scenery of the country. She and her brother had previously expressed a hope that we would stay all day; but though I wished of all things to do so, and had determined, in the event of their pressing their invitation, to accept it, yet I declined the proposal at first, and thus forfeited a pleasure which we all of us longed in our hearts to enjoy; for, as I have afterwards learned, it is not the custom of any uncorrupted Indian to repeat a request if once rejected. They believe that those to whom they offer any mark of friendship, and who give a reason for refusing it, do so in perfect sincerity, and that it would be rudeness to require them to alter their determination, or break their word. And as the Indian never makes a shew of civility, but when prompted by a genuine feeling, so he thinks others are actuated by similar candour. I really feel ashamed when I consider how severe a rebuke this carries with it to us who boast of civilization, but who are so much carried away by the general insincerity of expression pervading all ranks, that few indeed are to be found who speak just what they wish or know. This duplicity is the effect of what

is termed a high state of refinement. We are taught so to conduct our language, that others cannot discover our real views or intentions. The Indians are not only free from this deceitfulness, but surpass us in another instance of true good-breeding and decorum, namely, of never interrupting those who converse with them, until they have done speaking ; and then they reply in the hope of not being themselves interrupted. This was perfectly exemplified by Miss Brandt and her brother; and I hope the lesson my daughters were so forcibly taught by the natural politeness of their hostess, will never be forgotten by them, and that I also may profit by the example.

After stopping a few hours with these interesting young Indians, and giving them an invitation to pay us a visit at New York, which they expressed great desire to fulfil, and which I therefore confidently anticipate, we took our leave with real regret on all sides. As we passed through the Hall, I expected to see some Indian instruments of war or the chase; but perceiving that the walls were bare of these customary ornaments, I asked Mr. Brandt where all the trophies were that belonged to his family? He told me, and I record it with shame, that the numerous visiters that from time to time called on him, expressed their desire so strongly for these trophies, that one by one he had given all away;

and now he was exempt from these sacrifices, by not having any thing of the kind left. He seemed, nevertheless, to cherish with fondness the memory of these relics of his forefathers. How ill did the civi

« AnteriorContinuar »