Nor is the balsam-poplar, or tacamahac, less delightfully fragrant, especially while the gummy buds are just beginning to unfold; this is an elegant growing tree, where it has room to expand into boughs. It grows chiefly on the shores of the lakes and in open swamps, but it also forms one of the attractions of our plains, with its silver bark and waving foliage; it emits a resinous clear gum in transparent globules on the bark, and the buds are covered with a highly aromatic gummy fluid.
Our Grasses are highly interesting; there are varieties that are wholly new to me, and when dried form the most elegant ornaments to our chimney-pieces, and would look very graceful on a lady’s head; only fashionists always prefer the artificial to the natural.
One or two species of grass that I have gathered bear a close but of course minute resemblance to the Indian corn, having a top feather and eight-sided spike of little grains disposed at the sidejoints. The sisyrinchium, or blue-eyed grass, is a pretty little flower of an azure blue, with golden spot at the base of each petal; the leaves are flat, stiff, and flag-like; this pretty flower grows in tufts on light sandy soils.
I have given you a description of the flowers most worthy of attention; and, though it is very probable some of my descriptions may not be exactly in the technical language of the correct botanist, I have at least described them as they appear.
My dear boy seems already to have a taste for flowers, which I shall encourage as much as possible. It is a study that tends to refine and purify the mind, and can be made, by simple steps, a ladder to heaven, as it were, by teaching a child to look with love and admiration to that bountiful God who created and made flowers so fair to adorn and fructify this earth.
Farewell, my dear sister.
Recapitulation of various Topics.—Progress of Settlement.—Canada, the Land of Hope.—Visit to the Family of a Naval Officer.—Squirrels.— Visit to, and Story of, an Emigrant Clergyman.—His early Difficulties. —The Temper, Disposition, and Habits of Emigrants essential Ingredients in Failure or Success.
September the 20th, 1834.
I PROMISED when I parted from you before I left England to write as soon as I could give you any satisfactory account of our settlement in this country. I shall do my best to redeem that promise, and forward you a slight sketch of our proceedings, with such remarks on the natural features of the place in which we have fixed our abode, as I think likely to afford you interest or amusement. Prepare your patience, then, my dear friend, for a long and rambling epistle, in which I may possibly prove somewhat of a Will-o’-the-wisp, and having made you follow me in my desultory wanderings,—
Over hill, over dale,
Through bush, through briar,
Over park, over pale,
Through flood, through fire,—