The Backwoods of Canada eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about The Backwoods of Canada.

I was tempted one fine frosty afternoon to take a walk with my husband on the ice, which I was assured was perfectly safe.  I must confess for the first half-mile I felt very timid, especially when the ice is so transparent that you may see every little pebble or weed at the bottom of the water.  Sometimes the ice was thick and white, and quite opaque.  As we kept within a little distance of the shore, I was struck by the appearance of some splendid red berries on the leafless bushes that hung over the margin of the lake, and soon recognized them to be the aforesaid high-bush cranberries.  My husband soon stripped the boughs of their tempting treasure, and I, delighted with my prize, hastened home, and boiled the fruit with some sugar, to eat at tea with our cakes.  I never ate any thing more delicious than they proved; the more so perhaps from having been so long without tasting fruit of any kind, with the exception of preserves, during our journey, and at Peterborough.

Soon after this I made another excursion on the ice, but it was not in quite so sound a state.  We nevertheless walked on for about three-quarters of a mile.  We were overtaken on our return by S------ with a handsleigh, which is a sort of wheelbarrow, such as porters use, without sides, and instead of a wheel, is fixed on wooden runners, which you can drag over the snow and ice with the greatest ease, if ever so heavily laden.  S------ insisted that he would draw me home over the ice like a Lapland lady on a sledge.  I was soon seated in state, and in another minute felt myself impelled forward with a velocity that nearly took away my breath.  By the time we reached the shore I was in a glow from head to foot.

You would be pleased with the situation of our house.  The spot chosen is the summit of a fine sloping bank above the lake, distant from the water’s edge some hundred or two yards:  the lake is not quite a mile from shore to shore.  To the south again we command a different view, which will be extremely pretty when fully opened—­a fine smooth basin of water, diversified with beautiful islands, that rise like verdant groves from its bosom.  Below these there is a fall of some feet, where the waters of the lakes, confined within a narrow channel between beds of limestone, rush along with great impetuosity, foaming and dashing up the spray in mimic clouds.

During the summer the waters are much lower, and we can walk for some way along the flat shores, which are composed of different strata of limestone, full of fossil remains, evidently of very recent formation.  Those shells and river-insects that are scattered loose over the surface of the limestone, left by the recession of the waters, are similar to the shells and insects incrusted in the body of the limestone.  I am told that the bed of one of the lakes above us (I forget which) is of limestone; that it abounds in a variety of beautiful river-shells, which are deposited in vast quantities in the different strata, and also in the blocks of limestone scattered along the shores.  These shells are also found in great profusion in the soil of the Beaver meadows.  When I see these things, and hear of them, I regret I know nothing of geology or conchology; as I might then be able to account for many circumstances that at present only excite my curiosity.

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The Backwoods of Canada from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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