The little duck had saved her life, but she had lost her beauty. She ever after retained the attitude she had been forced into in her moment of danger—her back pressed down in the centre, and her head and neck unnaturally stretched forward into the air.
RETURN JOURNEY, CONTINUED.
The third day of our journey rose brilliantly clear, like the two preceding ones, and we shaped our course more to the north than we had hitherto done, in the direction of Big-foot Lake, now known by the somewhat hackneyed appellation, Lake of Geneva.
Our journey this day was without mishaps or disasters of any kind. The air was balmy, the foliage of the forests fresh and fragrant, the little brooks clear and sparkling—everything in nature spoke the praises of the beneficent Creator.
It is in scenes like this, far removed from the bustle, the strife, and the sin of civilized life, that we most fully realize the presence of the great Author of the Universe. Here can the mind most fully adore his majesty and goodness, for here only is the command obeyed, “Let all the earth keep silence before Him!”
It cannot escape observation that the deepest and most solemn devotion is in the hearts of those who, shut out from the worship of God in temples made with hands, are led to commune with him amid the boundless magnificence that his own power has framed.
This day was not wholly without incident. As we stopped for our noon-tide refreshment, and dismounting threw ourselves on the fresh herbage just at the verge of a pleasant thicket, we were startled by a tender bleating near us, and presently, breaking its way through the low branches, there came upon us a sweet little dappled fawn, evidently in search of its mother. It did not seem in the least frightened at the sight of us. As poor Selkirk might have been parodied,—
It was so unacquainted with man,
Its tameness was charming to us.
But the vociferous delight of the children soon drove it bounding again into the woods, and all hopes of catching it for a pet were at once at an end.
We had travelled well this day, and were beginning to feel somewhat fatigued, when, just before sunset, we came upon a ridge, overlooking one of the loveliest little dells imaginable. It was an oak opening, and browsing under the shade of the tall trees which were scattered around were the cattle and horses of the soldiers, who had got thus far on their journey. Two or three white tents were pitched in the bottom of the valley, beside a clear stream. The camp-fires were already lighted, and the men, singly or in groups, were busied in their various preparations for their own comfort, or that of their animals.
Lieutenant Foster came forward with great delight to welcome our arrival, and accepted without hesitation an invitation to join our mess again, as long as we should be together.