Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

aroused the energies of the whole female character. From such disappointments she contended, that a thousand heroines were made, while often the fondness of overweening affection sunk the female to an imbecile depen. dence upon man. If she loses her lover by death in the path of his glory, she is constantly dwelling on his virtues ; and her tongue never ceases to repeat the epitaph she has written for him on her heart.

She secludes herself from society, cut off from all that enchants life; she wastes her beauty in tears, unseeing and unseen; and falls almost unknown to the grave; while the insulted woman rises to deeds of poetry, of song, or war, and takes a rank in the annals of history. The Queen, who presided in the court of Love, that day balanced the arguments, but could not decide the question, as infidelity would affect some females more than the death of their lovers,--and others would rise from neglect and insult with new-born energy of character. History informs that Count Altamont, the brave, the husband of Orilla, was in this campaign, slain in battle, and that she fell lifeless at the news. While Ormond, the fearless knight, but fickle lover, left Amanda for an Arabian princess, and that in three days Amanda married Baldwin of the iron fist and brazen brow, who was the witness of Ormond's infidelity.

THE LOST CHILD.

CHAPTER I.

"And such is human life; so gliding on,
It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone;
Yet is the tale, brief though it be, as strange,
As full, methinks, of wild and wondrous change,
As any that the wand'ring tribes require,
Stretched in the desert, round their evening fire;
As any sung, of old, in hall or bower,

To minstrel harps at midnight's witching hour.” To portray the character of our countrymen as they were before the revolution, has often been attempted; but it is impossible for any single writer to give more than a partial profile or slight sketch, with some few distinct features; and perhaps, before we have an opportunity to do justice to such a subject, for want of sufficient leisure, in this country almost every nice line which distinguished our ancestors from the rest of the world, will have faded away. But one thing will remain certain to their descendants, that the spirit of independence was discovered in the character of the early settlers, as strongly as in any succeeding generation. It required time alone to nourish it into a full growth. The solemn, pious manners, the sage gravity of those known in church or state, were of such example to the young—the truths they learned from infancy were so deeply instilled into their minds, that it might be said no boyhood was permitted in the life of a generation amongst the Puritans. They married young.

The conjugal, parental, and fraternal ties, were affectionately cherished, and all were busy and active through life. Their great exertions to cultivate their hard soil, and at the same time, their own minds, with the martial feeling produced by constant dangers of attack from a powerful and an insidious foe, gave an energy and intelligence to this race of men, far superior to the early settlers of any other country. Their matrimonial connections, formed in youth, grew out of affection, not of interest; and their principles, although they gave a solemn and staid air to their manners, had in them the essence of virtue. Their situation was singular and romantic. Three generations often went to the field of battle together, and fought side by side, and braver men no country could ever boast. Most of their deeds are left to the scanty annals of that age,while a few of them may be traced through the memories of the aged, by any one acquainted with the monuments and mile-stones set up by the first travellers. The follow. ing tale is intended to illustrate a few of these traits of New-England character, which are yet in the memory of

man.

John Elliot lived in a seaport town in the province of Massachusetts Bay, near the mouth of the river Merrimack. He was bred to the seas, and became distinguish. ed for his skill as a mariner, and accuracy as a navigator -the science of navigation being, at that time, but partially understood by those who ventured to traverse the ocean from these shores. He had married young, and in 1757 had several children. Talents allied to virtue, in

every state of society, have their influence. Capt. Elliot was known by many of the officers of the British army

and navy; and when Maj. R. Rogers had orders to raise four companies of rangers from New-England, each to consist of one hundred privates, two lieutenants, one ensign and four serjeants, as also one company of friendly Indians for the same service, Capt. Elliot was offered the command of one of the companies, and accepted it, at least for a campaign or two; and such was his reputation, that the whole number of his company was completed in a few days, and set off for the great western waters.

He had served in one campaign before, when quite young, as a subaltern officer. At this time, he discovered no small share of talent and bravery; but nothing particular marked the transactions of that season. A trifling incident, however, occurred, which, from its subsequent effects on his fortunes, it may be proper to mention. While walking one morning on the banks of a rapid river, near the place of his encampment, for recreation, as the enemy were supposed to be at a distance, Lieut. Elliot (this was his station in the army) saw an Indian child playing on the opposite side of the stream. He was skipping stones on the apparently smooth eddy of water; but just below the eddy, the current was turbid and furious. Running to give his efforts a more manly display, the little urchin fell from the bank, and was instantly carried down the stream. Elliot was a father, and thought nothing of an enemy at such a time, but leaped into the flood, and after a severe struggle, succeeded in bringing the child to the shore. The mother of the boy had heard

his screams for succor, and from the bank witnessed the efforts of the white man in rescuing her child. A flag of truce was raised for the Indians to cross the stream, but no one ventured but the Indian woman. What is there a mother will not dare for her offspring ? She leaped into a canoe, and paddled across without apprehension. The lad was soothed by the caresses of his deliverer; and when clothes were brought for an exchange of the wet garments of Lieut. Elliot, the boy was quite fascinated with a bandana handkerchief, which was to supply the place of the wet stock of the officer. It was instantly presented to him, and with it, other trinkets from those around, the attend. ants of Lieut. Elliot. The woman took her child, and in a few words of broken French and English, expressed the feelings of her heart. This occurrence passed off, and was hardly thought of again by Elliot or his companions. He had not even inquired the name or rank of the woman, but thought, from the air and manner she assumed, and the respect with which she was treated by the Indians who were waiting her return, that she must have been of some consequence amongst them.

The order for raising the companies was dated the 11th of January, 1758; and in February, the several corps were at their posts, having travelled most of the way through the woods, on snow-shoes. This body of men was taken from the bravest and hardiest of the sons of NewEngland. They were to be used for every service, and range every part of the line of defence on the frontiers; they must have been accustomed to carry great burthens, in

« AnteriorContinuar »