תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

97

For an instant it seemed as if this brave tle himself, but was the gayest and most lo- This had roused the dog, which moved protest had made an impression even on quacious of all. He laughed at each of the around its mistress whining piteously. Maino's intractable soul. Then the old fan-jokes with wbich the buffoon paid homage “Pia !” exclaimed the terrified bride. tastic insolence blazed up anew, and he ex- to his imperial dignity, and related all sorts groom, are you up already? What are you claimed, laughing : “Go, miserable slave of of droll stories of the free, bold life he had doing at the window ? It is not morning habit, poor peasant-priest, who does not even led in the mountains. Sometimes he even yet. They will wake us when it is time. I know how to deal with noble lords! What I sang in his clear voice a tender ditty, clasp- charged them to do so. Come. Put down have sworn, I will do with your help, or in ing closer to his heart the pale bride, who the crown. Sleep an hour longer-it is a spite of you. Did not the great emperor sat mutely beside him, without noticing her long distance, and you are not used to rid. place the iron crown on his head himself at strange manner. Only when the young peo- ing." Milan, because he knew the hands of a mass- ple began to dance and the wedded pair rose, “Hush !” she said, raising her finger singing coward would tremble if he confided did he remark the death-like pallor of her with a warning gesture, though she did not the deed to them? Well, then, my friends, I face. He drew her gently away into the qui- turn toward bim. “Don't you hear? They will do the same-crown myself and my be et garden, and asked wbat was the matter. are coming already. I must dress to reloved wife with my own hands, and say, as Her only reply was to throw her arms around ceive them-an empress ought not to show the emperor did in Milan, 'God has given me his neck, clasping him in such a close em- herself to the people without her crownthis crown; woe to him who touches it!'" brace that he fairly gasped for breath, while but it will not stay—there-there-thereAs he said these words, he seized both crowns he felt her whole frame tremble as if with a that will do—now the purple mantle," and placed them on his own head and that of sudden chill.

In the twinkling of an eye Maino bad his newly-wedded wife, without heeding the To all his entreaties and questions she sprung from the bed and thrown on his gesture of repugnance made by Pia, who had remained obstinately mute, so that he at last clothes. fallen on ber knees, and shuddered, as if stung gave up the attempt to understand his young “Pia !” he cried, imploringly, “I entreat by a serpent, when the light diadem pressed wife, especially as he considered that the you by all the saints" her brow. The coronet did not rest on her excitement of the day might well have shaken “Hush !” she interrupted. “Don't call hair, but fell upon the steps of the altar, and a stronger temperament. So he resolved on the saints. We have fallen under their a village boy picked it up. Maino, on the to take her away from the tumult at once, displeasure. They are angry with us because contrary, wore his imperial diadem as if it especially as they could not remain in the vil. they were obliged to give up their crowns. were forged upon his head, and when, at lage late the following morning, but must set “But," and here she smiled with a strangely an imperious sign, his comrades shouted ex- out at once for their biding-place in the moun- crasty expression," a hungry ass eats its own ultingly, and pressed forward to congratu. tains.

straw-necessity knows no law-why did not late the Emperor and Empress of Spinetta, he Without taking leave of the wedding- the goldsmith finish our crowns in time? raised his kneeling wife, gravely but tenderly guests, he led Pia, who walked beside him as The good saints may well go bareheaded for admonished her to calm herself and be mind. if in a dream, to her own little house. Mar- once-ha! ha! ha!" ful of her dignity, and then led her through gheritina bad been sent to spend the night Maino rushed up to her, seized her hands, the ranks of peasants to the tavern, whitber with a worthy old woman, who was hence- which were cold as ice, and touched her brow, all the witnesses of this strange ceremony forth to take charge of her, for the child was which also felt like marble. “Misery!” he followed in throngs.

not to leave her native village, like her sis- exclaimed, “you are dreaming, Pia. Wake Again pistols and guns were fired, and ter. Only the dog Brusco followed the pair, up. See, here am I, your Maino, your husnow the notes of the guitar and clarionet jingling his silver bell merrily, and even band, whose heart you are breaking with blended with the noise, but the wedding- slipped into the bridal-chamber, where he in- your senseless talk. Lie down again, my guests had become strangely quiet, and the stantly fell asleep on the straw mat in his sweet wife, and sleep off these fancies. Mig. wine, which flowed in streams at the bride. usual corner.

erable man that I am to have carried matters groom's expense, was the first thing that At midnight Maino also fell asleep, and so far!” loosened their tongues. Meantime the peas.

in ants gazed with secret horror at the glittering the window-shutters, probably shone on no

trouble me. My husband, the emperor, was crown the giver of the festival wore on his more peaceful or happy face than that of the here last night, but he went away to the war, curly locks, and whispered in undertones to young outlaw, who seemed to sleep the sleep we have so many enemies. It is terrible to each other how pale and silent the young of the just. He had laid his crown on the see how greatness is hated and envied. But wife looked as she sat beside Maino, without stool beside the bed, together with his my imperial lord will overthrow them all, even wetting her lips with the red wine, or clothes and arms, which formed a striking that I may set my foot on their necks. Then laughing at the jests lame Beppo, the official contrast to the bare walls and plain village we shall reign in joy and splendor, and Brus. buffoon of the village, made at this as well furniture. Pia's crown had been left in the co will be governor of Spinetta when we go as every other wedding. “The wedding is all tavern.

on a journey among our provinces. There right," whispered the barber to his cousin, He had not slept many hours, the cock there! Does not the crown look regal ? the blacksmith, “the wedding is all right, had not yet crowed, and the first faint glim. There are still a few cobwebs on it, but they for the men who live in the green wood mer of light was just appearing on the east- do no harm-Empress Pia—that is what they want wives as well as other people, and the ern edge of the horizon, when Maino, in the shall call me—and my husband-wait, what marriage is according to law; but this busi- midst of the happiest dreams of love, heard is his name? He has a sweet name, and has ness of the coronation, cousin, is a bad one. the dog whine, and, with the rapidity learned kissed me a thousand times—but these are Sacrilege is sacrilege, and church rules are in his bandit - life, brushed the burden of childish follies, we must not think of them not to be made jest. Only look at Pia ! slumber from his lids and started up in bed. until all our enemies — hark! There they Didn't it seem as if her brain had turned The place by his side was empty, but the come!” to stone, when the consecrated crown touched shutter was half open, so that every thing in She had sprung from her seat; the mirit' However, what does it matter to us? the room was visible by the dim gray light. ror fell from her lap, and was shattered on W , drink Maino's wine because we must, or The young wife sat by the window, holding the stone floor; she did not notice it, but he would take it as an insult and revenge in one hand a mirror and with the other try- leaned out of the window, staring fixedly into hiaself upon us; that we can swear before a ing to place the crown on her head, in wbich the gray dawn. Maino stood before her over. co irt of law if necessary. For the rest, let she succeeded with great difficulty. She was whelmed with grief; his sole thought was us see how he will come out of the scrape.” dressed in her night-robe, just as she had the disordered mind of bis beloved wife,

The man whom these words concerned risen from the bed, but her thick unbound which he must attribute to his own conduct. set med to be any thing but troubled about hair fell over her shoulders like a cloak. With low, tender words be sought to Jure the manner in which he should be called to She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, ber away from the window. But she did not account for what he had done. He sat among and hummed under her breath one of the seem to hear his voice ; only waved him away his guests with a radiant face, drank very lit. songs Maino had sung the night before. with her hand, and pressed closer to it.

[ocr errors]

"Now!” she exclaimed, suddenly. “Don't rose around the house; the door yielded, / allowed “to increase and multiply," would, you hear any thing now? There they are ! and the armed band rushed into the quiet we are told, in twenty years, fill all the oceans Well, let them come! I am ready!”

room. As they found no one, they entered and seas with its product. This may be an In fact he, too, now heard a strange, dull the chamber. There they saw the pale young exaggeration, but when we are given as the noise, that pierced through the morning mist. wife sitting on the foot of the bed, the crown basis of this extraordinary calculation the A crowd were approaching in front; the sound still on her head, her bare arms folded across fact that a single cod weighing twenty pounds came from the village street, and could not her breast, nodding to them with a grave contains four million eight hundred and sevbe more than fifty paces away. Hastily form. smile, as if thanking them for having come enty-two thousand eggs, and that each of ing his resolution, Maino rushed into the to pay her homage.

these eggs possesses within itself the germ larger room, which was kitchen and sitting- Horror checked the steps of the crowd, of equal productiveness, we do not feel inroom in one, and had a window overlooking and for a time no one ventured to interrupt | clined to dispute the accuracy of the statethe street. Through a chink in the shutter the silence. Not until a few soldiers brought ment. Fortunately, this excessive increase he could see the village. A troop of soldiers in Barbone, who had attempted to seize the is not possible, and “the checks and bal. were cautiously approaching. They halted a escaping Maino, and been mortally wounded

ances

are so arranged that not only the short distance from the house, and he rec- by a bullet from his old enemy's pistol, did great deep bas its bounds, but every living ognized his old enemy Barbone consulting speech and movement return to the terrified thing within its teeming waters has also its with the sergeant. The whole truth flashed throng. They wished to lift the dying man limits. upon his mind with terrible clearness; the on the bed where the maniac sat, but Bar- The excess of production is prevented by two prisoners had shaken off their bonds, bone, whose glazing eyes had recognized the the operation of various causes, with which opened the bolts by stratagem or treachery, white-robed figure, made a violent gesture we are made familiar through the researches and obtained aid from Alessandria. Where of aversion. He was laid on the stone floor, and discoveries of natural science, and to were his poor comrades ? It had doubtless at the feet of the wearer of the crown, who which it is unnecessary here to allude. It cost little trouble to overpower men stupe- looked down at him with a gracious smile, is with the means which scientific experience fied by wine. But the main blow was now to and here, in a few minutes, before the priest has furnished to prevent the diminution, and be struck, the leader and captain of the band could be summoned, he drew his last breath. in some instances the threatened extermina. of outlaws was to be surprised in his bridal Nothing more was ever heard of the es- tion of particular species, that we propose to chamber, and led away in bonds, as Samson caped outlaw. An old woman, who, at night, deal. The continued falling off in the supwas captured by the Philistines.

slept in the kitchen to watch the poor ma- ply of certain kinds of fish, and especially The doubly miserable man started back niac, related, about a week after the event those of a superior description, has ceased to with a savage curse. He had instantly un- just mentioned, that Maino, mounted on a alarm, or to excite the apprehensions with derstood that all was lost if he did not suc- horse, whose hoofs were covered with rags, which it was formerly regarded. The remedy ceed in making his escape without delay. ventured into the village one stormy autumn has been found, and fortunately in time to

“Pia !” he exclaimed, rushing back into i night, to see his wife, and take her with him be applied. For this remedy we are wholly the room, "they want to seize and drag me on his wanderings through the world. Pia indebted to the rapid progress made in the away. The pursuers are close at hand, but at first recognized him, and showed pleasure cultivation of fish, and the successful results we can still save ourselves; spring out of at his coming ; but, when he tried to clasp accomplished within the present generation this window, creep through the maize-field ber in bis arms, shrank as if from the em- through the efforts of the pisciculturists of past the barn-no one can overtake me easi. brace of death, and began to moan and wail | France, Germany, England, the United States, ly, ard if you will only make haste" so piteously, that he was forced to acknowl. and other civilized countries. That the Chi

“Yes, it is well," she answered, well edge his effort was vain. He parted from her nese have for ages had a thorough and pracfor us to leave here. I am curious to see our with bitter sorrow, and left, in a leather tical knowledge of the science of aquacultpalace. But I won't go one foot-tbat dues purse, a large sum of money, to keep his wife ure or water-farming, is well known, and the not befit an empress—they must bring me a from want throughout her life. Then be extent to which it is carried among the Cecarriage with six milk-white horses-beauti- dashed away, never to appear again.

lestials may be appreciated when it is under. ful-beautiful—the saints have no better." Pia's nurse found this purse on the win. stood that one-tenth of the population live

“If you value your life and mine, dear, dow-sill the next morning, and gave it to the almost exclusively upon fish. Fish-spawn, precious child, come!” he urged, despairing | priest, who used the money to purchase impregnated by artificial means, form one of ly, trying to throw a shawl over her bare masses for the soul of the poor maniac and the principal articles of commerce, and tens shoulders. “Three seconds more and it will her sinful husband. The fugitive's fate has of millions of eggs are purchased from travel. be too late, and we-don't you hear me ? never been known; but one thing is certain, ing merchants for the replenishing of ponds Don't you know me ?”

that in the year 1840 a poor woman sat daily and lakes, in which vast quantities of her“Do not touch me, insolent man!” she in the sun before the last house in Spinetta, i bivorous fishes are raised. These fish are, it exclaimed, with flashing eyes. “I know you holding in one hand a distaff, which she ex- appears, not only very prolific, but of rapid well--you are in league with our enemies. tended toward the passers-by like a sceptre. growth, and, being supplied with abundant You will not pay us the homage that is our She was always gentle and kind, and wore and appropriate food, develop so fast that in due — but, by the crown on my head, I ber iron-gray hair, now that the saint's crown from two to three weeks they attain a weight swear"

bad been restored, braided above ber brow of as many pounds. Nor is this surprising, “Well, may God have mercy on your poor like a diadem; the children, who passed her

in view of the fact that the smolt, or young brain!” he cried, forcing ber away from the on their way to school, always nodded, and salmon, has grown from three or four ounces window; “ then I will fly alone, and come said, “God bless you, Empress of Spinetta !” to seven or eight pounds during the first four back for you when your head is clear. Good- to which the woman answered, “In eternity, months of its existence in salt-water after its night, my wife !amen !”

change of habitat from the river in wbich it He snatched his weapons from the stool,

was spawned. This is, of course, attributed clasped the poor, pale creature to his heart,

to the abundance and superior quality of the and swung himself out of the window into

FISH-CULTURE.

food, which has a marked influence upon the the dark court-yard. At the same moment

dimensions as well as upon the productivethe butts of the soldiers' muskets knocked

ness of the various species. The voracity at the door, loud voices shouted Maino's

I.

and digestive powers of fish are essential in

the economy of Nature in keeping within limhouse the thundering blows egg out of every thousand reaches ma- its the tendency to superabundance. They with which the men attempted to burst the turity. Nature, so prolific of her products, not only prey upon each other, but they dedoor. Suddenly the report of a gun echoed so abundant in her fruitfulness, lavishes her vour the young of their own species, and on the air; shrieks, groans, and cries of bounties with a prodigal hand on the waters even their own spawn not unfrequently forms “Murder! murder! catch the murderer!” of the earth. The spawn of one codfish, if a portion of their food-supply. Trout are oc

[ocr errors]

casionally taken with eggs partially digested they found in the more aërated water, and two or three pounds, he enjoys such dainty
in their stomachs, and in some instances, the sandy and gravely bottom, the conditions morsels as a frog or mouse. He is, in fact, a
where the eggs were uninjured by the gas- most favorable to their purpose. Digging keen-sighted hunter of mice and other “small
tric juices, they were subjected to the pro- with their noses pits in the sand six or seven deer," and will lie in wait under the pads of
cess of incubation, and the young fish suc- inches deep, and three or four feet in diame-water-lilies or the shelving banks, or behind
cessfully hatched in due time. But there are ter, the trout places in the centre of these a log or stone, as eager after his prey as Gri-
some exceptions to what might, we suppose, excavations a line of stones of rarious sizes, malkin himself-ready to pounce upon the
be called the absence parental affection, according to the size of the fish. In this hapless victim the moment he shall be within
and a notable one is afforded by the black work a number of trout coöperate, and, when reach.
bass, which has become quite a favorite, not the bed is thus prepared, the eggs are de- We have said that fish feed on spawn,
merely on account of its game qualities, but posited by the females in successive lines, and the fact, as already stated, that not
also because of the superior character of its and after impregnation the whole mass is more than one out of every thousand sal-
meat. By some it is preferred for the latter covered up by the parents, the noses, fins, mon's eggs ever attains to the maturity of a
reason to all other fresh-water fishes, with and tails being freely used in the operation. full-sized fish, affords abundant evidence that
the exception of the Salmo fontinalis, or While this work is progressing there are gen- | they are beset with enemies at every stage
brook-trout. The black bass remains with erally a number of small, feathered spectators, of their existence. The water-larvæ of the
its young after they are hatched, leading the called water-ousels, in the vicinity, deeply in. libellula, or dragon - fly, which Sir Humphry
feeble fry in among the sedgy grass and terested in the operation. These visit the beds Davy says is the most voracious of the
rushes, amid the shallows, where it acts as a when the fish leave, and, disappearing beneath winged insect-tribe, and of the Ephemeræ, or
sentinel, warding off all danger, and fiercely the surface, pick up such insects as would May-fly, it is said, are deadly enemies of the
attacking every intruder within the forbidden otherwise feed upon the ova. For a long time eggs of the trout and other fishes. Pouncing
limits. Another member of the Percidae, it was supposed that this friend and ally of upon the ovum, they pierce it with their sharp
which is found in some of the waters of Cali- the trout devoured the spawn, and, while this pincers, destroying the living germ; but when
fornia, and which brings forth its young erroneous impression lasted, a most unrelent- the egg becomes a trout, the tables are turned,
alive, is no less affectionate and vigilant in ing warfare was waged against the unoffend. and the winged product of the larvæ becomes
the care of its young.

ing bird; but, when the error was discov. the prey of the matured fish. It is true, the
These, however, are rare exceptions, and ered, hostilities ceased, peace was declared, insect has undergone a wondrous transforma-
are in striking contrast with the well-known and the harmless little fellow was at once tion—from a nympha he is converted into a
voracity of fish. But, destructive as they are taken under human protection. He is now a full-fledged fly; but yet, tempted to wing his
acknowledged to be, and, like a certain mytho- | welcome visitor on the trout preserves of flight over the dimpled surface of the stream,
logical character, devouring as they do their England and wherever else he is found ready i he falls a prey to the voracious enemy lying
own young, they have an enemy who is still to do his share of the work in the protection in watch beneath the wave.
more destructive, and who has succeeded, by and propagation of his finny associate and Aquaculture, or water-farming, is a pe-
his rapacity and cupidity, in depopulating protégé.

culiarly applicable title for the system of many of our inland waters, and who, if not In the course of a month the eggs are fish-culture pursued in France. There, where stopped by timely and restrictive legislation, hatched, and these eggs are wonderful things the conditions and form of the ground are will utterly exterminate the most valuable in their way. Semi-transparent, and varying favorable to the purpose, they construct arand highly-prized of our lake and river and in size from the head of a large pin to the tificial fish-ponds by damming up the waters even of our coast fishes. That he has not dimensions of a large pea, they have a pecul- of streams. The land thus overflowed has thus far succeeded in doing so is owing to iarly horny and elastic shell, so that, if become exhausted by successive crops ; but the persevering efforts and successful labors struck against any hard substance, they will pow it is to be turned to account in another of the Commissioners of Fisheries in this rebound therefrom with the elasticity of a direction, and its products are to be of a difand other States, to whom the country is miniature ball of India-rubber. Subject to ferent description. It may have yielded oats, more indebted than it is aware, and who have the action of the water, and to abrasion or wheat, or vegetables, but the soil has lost repaid it a hundred-fold for the amount ex- among the gravel and sand, these little eggs its fertility by frequent planting, and, if not pended in the prosecution of the important are protected by the peculiar properties of abundantly manured, should be permitted to work with which they have been charged. It the delicate-looking case in which they are recuperate. If, however, it has oeased to is but a few years since the subject has re- inclosed. A few days before the imprisoned yield of its abundance, it can be made to proceived that attention in the United States to embryo is ready to 'emerge from his pris. duce a crop of fish. The ponds thus made which it is so preëminently entitled.

on, two little black pecks are observed are overflowed and stocked with fish-the The French are indebted to the Messrs. within the shell. These are the eyes, and carp being the favorite for this kind of farmGehin and Remy, two fishermen of the depart- a glance through a microscope reveals a ing. In the course of three or four years ment of the Vosges, for the discovery of the movement of the body and a wagging of the crop is considered ripe, the pond is art of preserving, artificial impregnation, and the tail, all of which are doubtless the pre- drained, its finny product gathered in by incubation of the eggs of fish. Gifted with a liminary efforts which are to result in the nets, and disposed of at a handsome profit, keen perception, and devotedly attached to final deliverance. When he has at last for the carp is a most wholesome article of their vocation, they were close observers of emerged there is a little sac attached to bis food in the French cuisine. The bottom of the habits of the denizens of the streams and abdomen, and this constitutes his sole nour- the pond, drained of its water - supply, is brooks. Having thoroughly satisfied them- ishment as he lies on the bottom, unable, so planted, perhaps, with hemp, of which it selves, by practical tests and experiments, of long as this appendage remains, to rise to the yields an abundant crop, and for the next the successful propagation of fish by their surface. The umbilical sac disappears in three or four years the process of dry-sario. method, they made their valuable discovery four weeks, and then, for the first time, the ing is continued until it becomes evident known to the Academy of Sciences at Paris. fry employs his means of locomotion to good that the character of the crops must be This eminent body became deeply interested purpose. The little fins and tails are set at again changed. The water is again turned in in the process, and extended to the two hum- work, and carry him from place to place in upon the land, and it is once more converted ble fishermen a prompt and hearty encour- quest of animalcules and such infinitesimal into a lake. But this time it is entirely unagement. It was at once seen that a great game. To enable him to grow a pace, he must necessary to plant it with fish. The seeds secret had been revealed, and that, at a com- have plenty of the right kind of food, and of the former crop remain in the soil, and paratively triling expense, all the barren and clear spring-water having a temperature of only require the water, their natural element, exhausted lakes, ponds, and rivers, might be from forty to forty-five degrees. Bullock's to accomplish the work of incubation. When made most productive and profitable. Messrs. liver cut fine and grated, offal, or the flesh freed from their tiny egg-shells, the youthful Remy and Gehin, in their observations of the of almost any animal subject to the same Cyprinida swarm by thousands through the habits of trout during the spawning-season, process, will suit his taste. He is not fastidi- water in quest of insects and tender plants, perceived that they ascended the rivers till ! ous, and, when he has attained a weight of for the carp thrives on vegetable food.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

neer.

He en

The cod has beea mentioned as an illus- is very handsome; short, delicate, aquiline | increase their subsistence. To the half-breed tration of the fecundity of fish, but all spe- nose; piercing, dark-gray eyes ; long, dark- children

numerous progeny of these cies of the finny tribe are noted for their brown hair, beard, and mustache; small French and Indian parents, descended the fertility. Although belonging to a different white, regular teeth ; skin tanned to a regu- vocation of the father, and the womadic infamily, the oyster is worthy of notice in this lar bronze by exposure to the weather. He stincts of the mother, resulting in the proconnection, its spat, or spawn, containing at was dressed in a blue-cloth capote (hooded duction of a civilized nomad who unites the the spawning - season as many as 1,800,000 frock-coat), with brass buttons, red-and-black industries of both civilized and savage life. eggs; a trout of one pound weight contains flannel shirt, which served also for waist- To this element may be added a considerable 1,008 eggs; and a salmon of twenty pounds, coat; buff-leather moccasins on his feet, black number of metis, the offspring of the Scotch 40,000; while a mackerel of one pound con- belt around his waist; trousers of brown-and- and English employés of the trading corpotains 86,120 ; and a pickerel of four and a white-striped home-made woolen stuff.” rations, and the half-breeds of the old régime, half pounds, 42,160. The supply of food has Could Lord Southesk see the subject of resident on the Canadian coasts - for the much to do with the productive character of his special admiration at this date, he might most part the poorest representatives of their fish, as well as with the important question add, with truth, “McKay, of late years, has class. Scattered over the vast country from of their size and growth. We might cite, as grown too obese to lie horizontally in his the Canadas to the Pacific coast, and from a special instance of this, the proof afforded bed; and, as to putting his foot astride of a the Cotenu of the Missouri to the Saskatcheby the Rangely Lake trout, which, although horse, it is doubtful if he has ever seen those wan, the half-breed forms the advance-guard declared by the late Professor Agassiz to be extremities for many a long day!”

of civilization, ahead even of the white pioa pure Salmo fontinalis, or brook-trout, grows Nevertheless this etching of McKay will His paternity may be French, English, to the enormous weight of ten pounds, and do duty, in all essential points, as the correct or Scotch-his maternity Chippewa, Cree, or is commonly taken at four or five. It is true portraiture of a large and distinct class of Sioux; but his vocation will always be the that an occasional brook - trout has been people inhabiting our own frontier, and that same, until, by admixture of lighter or darker caught weighing ten pounds, and it is said of our northern neighbor, and familiarly blood, he becomes resolved into one of his that one was captured in some Western river known as half-breeds, who, neither Indian original elements. years ago by an Indian, a prize having been nor white, possess all the craft of one and a As a rule, the French balf-breed-by far offered by an officer of a surveying expedi- fair degree of the intelligence of the other. the largest and most representative class-is tion for the largest specimen. However that Familiar with the customs of both from in. eminently social in disposition, and gregari. may be, we have seen a stuffed monster of fancy, they adopt the medias res between the ous in his habits. As a consequence, be the Rangely Lake species which turned the two, and in language are equally cosmopoli- lives in communities, more or less miniature, scale at ten pounds. The superior size of tan.

during the winter months, and trades and this fish is attributable wholly to the abun- At the beginning of the present century, hunts in bands during the summer. dant supply of food afforded by the waters when the rival Canadian fur companies, known joys company and is loath to be alone. Like which he inhabits, and in which is found a as the X. Y. and Northwest Companies, were his wealthier white brethren, he affects two new species of the numerous Salmo family. / engaged in fierce competition with the Hud- annual residences—a log-house for his hiThis species is called the blue-backed trout, son's Bay Company for the possession of the bernal months, and a wigwam for the sumor Salmo oquassa, and, according to Seth Indian trade, there sprung into existence, in mer solstice. As a rule, be may be addressed Green, the Superintendent of Fisheries of the exigencies of this special service, a class at the former. About it he has some arable the State of New York, is a relative of the of men known as coureurs des bois, or wood. ground, which he cultivates in a feeble and European char or Salmo umbla. While of runners. They were French colonists, whose uncertain manper. He scratches the surface the same family and resembling the trout, spirit of adventure, stimulated by a desire of of the ground, and expects it to be prolific. except that the red spots are absent, its hab- gain, and love for the free, roving Indian life, Not being fond of labor, the weeds are al. its are altogether different. The blue-back led them to pursue the calling of trappers lowed to choke the crop, the fences to fall makes its appearance in countless swarms on and traders, betaking themselves to the woods into decay, and a general air of wreck to the shores of the lake in the month of Octo- and hunting-grounds of Canada, and spread- take possession of his tiny farm. This apber, and

invariably at the same time, to ing gradually over the whole country east pearance of improvidence becomes perennial, spawn," the tenth being the eventful day. from the height of land west of Lake Supe- pot apparently getting worse or better, but Punctual to date, it never fails, and is cap- rior.

As hunters and trappers they were remaining at about the same state year after tured by tens of thousands. Smoked and even more skillful than their Indian teachers. year. The scanty crops, when gathered and salted, it forms a considerable portion of the As traders they were outfitted by the Cana- stacked in the open air, in irregular piles, winter supply of the people living in the dian companies with the necessary goods to contribute to the general tumble-down asvicinity.

barter with the Indians for fur; and, after pect. Indian ponies, with their usual wornJ. M. periods of absence extending over twelve or out and overworked look, wander about the

fifteen months, spent in traveling in their ca- premises, or stand engaged in melancholy noes,

would return laden with furs of great retrospection. About the door-yard are a few OUR HALF-BROTHER.

value, their share of which they regularly wooden carts-whose antecedents date back

squandered during a short residence in the to the fields of Normandy-guiltless of iron, V a series of articles descriptive of a jour- towns or cities, previous to embarking on in a state of greater or less fracture, bound

ney made by Lord Southesk through their next voyage. After the coalition of the up with rawhide, and ornamented with rusty the Hudson's Bay Territory in 1859, pub- competing fur companies, in the year 1821, sets of harness. There may possibly be a lished in the Journal of May last, is given and their consequent loss of employment as cow on the premises, though not likely to be, the following pen-portrait of James McKay, a traders, these coureurs des bois gradually as she would be killed and eaten the first half-breed guide:

spread farther into the interior, penetrated time her improvident owner ran short of pro“ A Scotchman, though with Indian blood the unsettled districts of Dakota and Mani. visions. There are dogs, however, and in on his mother's side, he was born and bred in toba, and the nearer Lake Superior region, proportion as the metis is poor, the number the Saskatchewan country, but afterward be formed small communities, took to themselves of canines increases. came a resident of Fort Garry, and entered Indian wives, and forsook civilization entirely. The dwelling itself, except in the midthe company's employ. Whether as guide or In place of traders, they became more espe- winter months, presents an appearance of debunter, he was universally reckoned one of cially hunters and trappers, disposing of their cay. The plaster placed in the interstices of their best men. Immensely broad-chested furs and produce at the trading posts scat- the logs crumbles under the action of the eleand muscular, though not tall, he weighed tered throughout the country, and near which ments, and falls about the foundation of the eigliteen stone; yet, in spite of his stoutness, they invariably settled. In addition to this building in muddy heaps. The thatch or he was exceedingly hardy and active, and a they beame canoe-men and freighters to the clapboards of the roof are loosened in places, wonderful horseman.

trading - companies, or engaged in certain and are certain not to be repaired until the “ His face-somewhat Assyrian in type- | miniature agricultural pursuits tending to next winter. Internally the house is one

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ture.

single apartment; occasionally, in the better his ponies, and a round of social visits to his At home, when not engaged in dancing class, though rarely, two apartments. The neighbors. The two former are followed and feasting, or taken up with the sordid floor is of planks sawed or hewed by hand; | only to the extent of furnishing a supply of and petty cares of his existence, the halfthe ceiling, if there is any, of the same ma- food for the day, tomorrow being left to breed smokes and drinks tea.

His consumpterial. In one corner is the only bed, a nar. care for itself. The idea of accumulating tion of tobacco is ceaseless, and his libations row couch, painted, generally, an ultra-ma- supplies of provisions in advance, save in the of tea would do no discredit to John China. rine blue, or a vivid sea-green. An open fire. late fall, never apparently enters the half- man. If he hires out by the day to labor, he place occupies one end of the aparment, breed mind. If he fails to secure sufficient spends ten minutes of each hour in filling with the chimuey within the walls. A table, game or fish for the day's provision, he sim- and lighting his pipe; if he is voyaging, he one or two chairs, a few wooden trunks or ply goes without his dinner; nor do frequenthalts at every headland or wooded promon. boxes-doing duty with this people every- privations of this sort seem to impress upon tory to put his kettle on and drink tea. Of where as table, chair, clothes-press, and cup- his volatile mind the policy of reserving a winter's day he curls up by his neighbor's board-and a dresser, constitute the furni. of present excess for future scarcity. But, fire, and sinokes and relates his adventures. ture. About the walls somewhere, more es. should he by some fortuitous circumstance His life has run in a limited channel, but he pecially over the bed, hang colored prints of become possessed of a surplus of salable pro- knows every point in its course. Virtues the Virgin, the sacred heart, etc., together vision, its ownership becomes a consuming may have abounded in it, but cakes and ale with a rosary. It may be that the daughter flame to him until disposed of. The idea of have much more abounded.

But we may of the house—and there always is a daughter keeping any thing which he can sell is an learn from it that many admirable things are -has come under the influence of a convent absurdity which his intellect cannot grasp. consonant with an entire ignorance of books. for a season, and can read; perhaps write. It is in the winter season, when the cold Wben the ploughing is done in the springIn that event, there is a copy of the “Lives has put an end to their labors for the most time, and the seed in the ground, the balf. of the Saints” on a bracket; and, it may be, part, and the cares of existence are lightened breed agriculturist experiences a yearning a few periodicals. For the rest, the apart- by reason of advances made them upon the for the chase, or goes to fulfill his engagement is cheerless and uninviting. It may be work of the approaching season, or the fair ment as voyageur. If the former, the fractclean, but the chances are that it is not. That supply of provisions laid by from the last, ured wooden carts are bound up with raw. peculiar aroma, too, which pervades all in- that the social life of the half-breeds may be hide thongs, the broken - spirited ponies habited chambers, here becomes often ag- said to be at its highest. It is then that coaxed into a semblance of life and vigor, gressive, and, as it were, wrestles with the they marry and are given in marriage; that the dusky progeny packed in with boxes and visitor for the mastery.

feasting, dancing, and merry-makings of all blankets, the house locked up, and the miIn this apartment the family herd descriptions, do much abound Every log-gratory family set forth for the prairie or squaw mother often, and children so numer- house then echoes to the violin of some moc- stream. With the first pitching of the wigous and dirty as to be a wonder to behold. casined and straight - haired Paganini, who wam the manners and customs of civilized During the day its utter inefficiency to ade- after years of sedulous practice has attained life cease, and the balf-breed assumes the quately accommodate the numbers it shel- a certain ghastly facility of execution. It is habits of a savage. He hunts for the pot; ters is partially concealed, from the fact that rumored weekly that, at the residence of for this spring-time chase is simply to obtain they are seldom all in at one time. But on Baptiste, or Pascal, or Antoine, there will be daily subsistence while his meagre crops mathe approach of night, when the dusky brood given a dance, and the rumor is accepted as

His tent is encountered in the usual are all housed, the question of where they a general invitation. The young bucks of Indian haunts-by the side of a stream or are to sleep becomes startlingly prominent. the neighborhood array themselves in the lake, or half hidden in some timber-bluff on

I remember well my first experience in bewildering apparel which obtains upon oc- the prairie. He has become a nomad pure the solution of this difficulty. Caught one casions of this nature: a blue-cloth capote, and simple. But, when the harvest-time apstormy winter's evening, on the banks of a with brass buttons; black or drab corduroy proaches, he returns again to his miniature northern river, without preparations for trousers, the æsthetic effect of which is de- farm. In a negligent manner his crop is camping, my uncivilized guide halted before stroyed by a variegated sash, with fringed gathered and thrashed. Reserving barely the door of a small cabin, and asked permis- ends pendent about the knees; moccasins, sufficient for the winter's needs, the remainsion to remain overnight. Hospitality being and a fur cap with gaudy. tassel. The young der is sold, and with the proceeds an outfit one of the savage virtues, the request was maidens apparel themselves in sombre prints for the long full hunt is purchased. Perreadily granted. After a meagre supper of or woolen stuffs, but with bright-colored haps, if they can be obtained on credit, a fish without salt, and a post-prandial smoke, shawls about the shoulders. This, with a few goods are selected for trade with his sav. I began to look about for a couch for the false lustre upon their black locks, from co- age brethren. Again, with his family, he night. Nothing was visible save one narrow pious applications of grease, is all that is seeks the prairie and stream, and hunts for bed, into which my host and his swarthy showy about them. The dances are reels and his winter's food, trading betimes for such consort soon retired. Now, in addition to square-dances. When they begin, however, furs as may yield a profit. Later in the fall myself and guide, there were thirteen of the they continue for days at a time; the young- he returns to his winter's residence, adds & family composed of children, male and fe- er people occupying the night, and the older few repairs to its leaky roof, plasters up the male, from infancy to mature age. Where ones the day, repairing home to rest, and interstices in its log-walls, and settles down were they all to sleep? I thought of a pos- then returning. Custom makes it obligatory to hibernal monotony and the dance. sible loft ; but there was no ceiling. Finally, upon the entertainers to furnish food and If the half-breed is a voyageur or guide, I was about making preparations to sit be- liquor for the dancers, and there is a vast the task of cultivating the garden-plot is left fore the fire all night, when, from trunks and consumption of both. It frequently happens to the members of his family, if he have one, boxes were produced blankets and robes, and that, from the number of participants, and the season of his service being the summer a shake-down made on the floor, into which the long continuance of the dance, the and fall months. For the most part, how. I was directed to crawl. Scarcely had I done amount of supplies demanded reduces the ever, little or no planting is done by this so, when my bed began to wider, and in a host to poverty. I have known repeated in- class. They rely for support on a system few minutes extended from wall to wall. stances where at one ball, continuing three or of advances, which obtains with the trading Soon I found myself the central figure in a four days, the entire winter's provision for a corporations of the wilderness.

Engageclosely-packed bed of thirteen, filled promis. family was consumed, and ponies were sold ments are generally made in the month of cuously with males and females. I thought to pay for the liquor. Yet, the improvident December for a certain trip or amount of involuntarily of the great bed of Ware and half-breed thinks nothing of it, and gives the service, either boating or land freighting, to its thirty occupants. ball, well knowing the result. He wants ei. be performed during the ensuing season.

А The occupations of the half-breed, when ther a feast or a famine. If he spends his small advance is made the voyageur at that not engaged as voyageur or agriculturist, are substance for others, however, he retaliates time, to bind the bargain, as it were. When limited to fishing in the stream near his resi- by haunting all the festivities of his neigh. the meal becomes low in the measure and dence, hunting for small game, the care of bors during the entire winter.

the wine gone from the jar, he repairs to his

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »