The Backwoods of Canada eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about The Backwoods of Canada.

We have just received your last packet;—­a thousand thanks for the contents.  We are all delighted with your useful presents, especially the warm shawls and merinos.  My little James looks extremely well in his new frock and cloak; they will keep him very warm this cold weather:  he kissed the pretty fur-lined slippers you sent me, and said, “Pussy, pussy.”  By the way, we have a fine cat called Nora Crena, the parting gift of our friend ------, who left her as a keepsake for my boy.  Jamie dotes upon her; and I do assure you I regard her almost as a second Whittington’s cat:  neither mouse nor chitmunk has dared intrude within our log-walls since she made her appearance; the very crickets, that used to distract us with their chirping from morning till night, have forsaken their old haunts.  Besides the crickets, which often swarm so as to become intolerable nuisances, destroying your clothes and woollens, we are pestered by large black ants, that gallop about, eating up sugar preserves, cakes, anything nice they can gain access to; these insects are three times the size of the black ants of Britain, and have a most voracious appetite:  when they find no better prey they kill each other, and that with the fierceness and subtilty of the spider.  They appear less sociable in their habits than other ants; though, from the numbers that invade your dwellings, I should think they formed a community like the rest of their species.

The first year’s residence in a new log-house you are disturbed by a continual creaking sound which grates upon the ears exceedingly, till you become accustomed to it:  this is produced by an insect commonly called a “sawyer.”  This is the larvae of some fly that deposits its eggs in the bark of the pine-trees.  The animal in its immature state is of a whitish colour, the body composed of eleven rings; the head armed with a pair of short, hard pincers:  the skin of this creature is so rough that on passing your finger over it, it reminds you of a rasp, yet to the eye it is perfectly smooth.  You would be surprised at the heap of fine saw-dust that is to be seen below the hole they have been working in all night.  These sawyers form a fine feast for the woodpeckers, and jointly they assist in promoting the rapid decomposition of the gigantic forest-trees, that would otherwise encumber the earth from age to age.  How infinite is that Wisdom that rules the natural world!  How often do we see great events brought about by seemingly insignificant agents!  Yet are they all servants of the Most High, working his will, and fulfilling his behests.  One great want which has been sensibly felt in this distant settlement, I mean the want of public worship on the Sabbath-day, promises to be speedily remedied.  A subscription is about to be opened among the settlers of this and part of the adjacent township for the erection of a small building, which may answer the purpose of church and school-house; also for the means of paying a minister for stated seasons of attendance.

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The Backwoods of Canada from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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