Glad enough we were to see, by the blazing light of an enormous log-heap, the house of our friend. Here we received the offer of a guide to show us the way to the town by a road cut through the wood. We partook of the welcome refreshment of tea, and, having gained a little strength by a short rest, we once more commenced our journey, guided by a ragged, but polite, Irish boy, whose frankness and good humour quite won our regards. He informed us he was one of seven orphans, who had lost father and mother in the cholera. It was a sad thing, he said, to be left fatherless and motherless, in a strange land; and he swept away the tears that gathered in his eyes as he told the simple, but sad tale of his early bereavement; but added, cheerfully, he had met with a kind master, who had taken some of his brothers and sisters into his service as well as himself.
Just as we were emerging from the gloom of the wood we found our progress impeded by a creek, as the boy called it, over which he told us we must pass by a log-bridge before we could get to the town. Now, the log-bridge was composed of one log, or rather a fallen tree, thrown across the stream, rendered very slippery by the heavy dew that had risen from the swamp. As the log admitted of only one person at a time, I could receive no assistance from my companions; and, though our little guide, with a natural politeness arising from the benevolence of his disposition, did me all the service in his power by holding the lantern close to the surface to throw all the light he could on the subject, I had the ill luck to fall in up to my knees in the water, my head turning quite giddy just as I came to the last step or two; thus was I wet as well as weary. To add to our misfortune we saw the lights disappear, one by one, in the village, till a solitary candle, glimmering from the upper chambers of one or two houses, were our only beacons. We had yet a lodging to seek, and it was near midnight before we reached the door of the principal inn; there, at least, thought I, our troubles for to-night will end; but great was our mortification on being told there was not a spare bed to be had in the house, every one being occupied by emigrants going up to one of the back townships.
I could go no further, and we petitioned for a place by the kitchen fire, where we might rest, at least, if not sleep, and I might dry my wet garments. On seeing my condition the landlady took compassion on me, led me to a blazing fire, which her damsels quickly roused up; one brought a warm bath for my feet, while another provided a warm potation, which, I really believe, strange and unusual to my lips as it was, did me good: in short, we received every kindness and attention that we required from mine host and hostess, who relinquished their own bed for our accommodation, contenting themselves with a shakedown before the kitchen fire.
I can now smile at the disasters of that day, but at the time they appeared no trifles, as you may well suppose.