Have you read Dr. Dunlop’s spirited and witty “Backwoodsman?” If you have not, get it as soon as you can; it will amuse you. I think a Backwoods-woman might be written in the same spirit, setting forth a few pages, in the history of bush-ladies, as examples for our sex. Indeed, we need some wholesome admonitions on our duties and the folly of repining at following and sharing the fortunes of our spouses, whom we have vowed in happier hours to love “in riches and in poverty, in sickness and in health.” Too many pronounce these words without heeding their importance, and without calculating the chances that may put their faithfulness to the severe test of quitting home, kindred, and country, to share the hard lot of a settler’s life; for even this sacrifice renders it hard to be borne; but the truly attached wife will do this, and more also, if required by the husband of her choice.
But now it is time I say farewell: my dull letter, grown to a formidable packet, will tire you, and make you wish it at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Indian Hunters.—Sail in a Canoe.—Want of Libraries in the Backwoods.— New Village.—Progress of Improvement.—Fire-flies.
HAVING in a former letter given you some account of a winter visit to the Indians, I shall now give a short sketch of their summer encampment, which I went to see one beautiful afternoon in June, accompanied by my husband and some friends that had come in to spend the day with us.
The Indians were encamped on a little peninsula jutting out between two small lakes; our nearest path would have been through the bush, but the ground was so encumbered by fallen trees that we agreed to go in a canoe. The day was warm, without being oppressively hot, as it too often is during the summer months: and for a wonder the mosquitoes and black-flies were so civil as not to molest us. Our light bark skimmed gaily over the calm waters, beneath the overhanging shade of cedars, hemlock, and balsams, that emitted a delicious fragrance as the passing breeze swept through the boughs. I was in raptures with a bed of blue irises mixed with snow-white water-lilies that our canoe passed over. Turning the stony bank that formed the point, we saw the thin blue smoke of the camp curling above the trees, and soon our canoe was safely moored alongside of those belonging to the Indians, and by help of the straggling branches and underwood I contrived to scramble up a steep path, and soon found myself in front of the tent. It was a Sunday afternoon; all the men were at home; some of the younger branches of the families (for there were three that inhabited the wigwam) were amusing themselves with throwing the tomahawk at a notch cut in the bark of a distant tree, or shooting at a mark with their bows and arrows, while the elders reposed on their blankets within the shade, some reading, others smoking, and gravely eyeing the young rival marksmen at their feats of skill.