This prospect does not discourage me: I know I shall find plenty of occupation within-doors, and I have sources of enjoyment when I walk abroad that will keep me from being dull. Besides, have I not a right to be cheerful and contented for the sake of my beloved partner? The change is not greater for me than him; and if for his sake I have voluntarily left home, and friends, and country, shall I therefore sadden him by useless regrets? I am always inclined to subscribe to that sentiment of my favourite poet, Goldsmith,—
“Still to ourselves in every place consign’d, Our own felicity we make or find.”
But I shall very soon be put to the test, as we leave this town to-morrow by ten o’clock. The purchase of the Lake lot is concluded. There are three acres chopped and a shanty up; but the shanty is not a habitable dwelling, being merely an open shed that was put up by the choppers as a temporary shelter; so we shall have to build a house. Late enough we are; too late to get in a full crop, as the land is merely chopped, not cleared, and it is too late now to log and burn the fallow, and get the seed-wheat in: but it will be ready for spring crops. We paid five dollars and a half per acre for the lot; this was rather high for wild land, so far from a town, and in a scantily-settled part of the township; but the situation is good, and has a water frontage, for which my husband was willing to pay something more than if the lot had been further inland.
In all probability it will be some time before I find leisure again to take up my pen. We shall remain guests with ------ till our house is in a habitable condition, which I suppose will be about Christmas.
Journey from Peterborough.—Canadian Woods.—Waggon and Team.—Arrival at a Log-house on the Banks of a Lake.—Settlement and first Occupations.
October 25, 1832.
I SHALL begin my letter with a description of our journey through the bush, and so go on, giving an account of our proceedings both within-doors and with-out. I know my little domestic details will not prove wholly uninteresting to you; for well I am assured that a mother’s eye is never weary with reading lines traced by the hand of an absent and beloved child.
After some difficulty we succeeded in hiring a waggon and span (i.e. pair abreast) of stout horses to convey us and our luggage through the woods to the banks of one of the lakes, where S------ had appointed to ferry us across. There was no palpable road, only a blaze on the other side, encumbered by fallen trees, and interrupted by a great cedar swamp, into which one might sink up to one’s knees, unless we took the precaution to step along the trunks of the mossy, decaying timbers, or make our footing sure on some friendly block of granite or limestone. What is termed in bush language a blaze, is nothing more than notches or slices cut off the bark of the trees, to mark out the line of road. The boundaries of the different lots are often marked by a blazed tree, also the concession-lines*. These blazes are of as much use as finger-posts of a dark night.