The women imitate the dresses of the whites, and are rather skilful in converting their purchases. Many of the young girls can sew very neatly. I often give them bits of silk and velvet, and braid, for which they appear very thankful.
I am just now very busy with my garden. Some of our vegetable seeds are in the ground, though I am told we have been premature; there being ten chances to one but the young plants will be cut off by the late frosts, which are often felt through May, and even the beginning of June.
Our garden at present has nothing to boast of, being merely a spot of ground enclosed with a rough unsightly fence of split rails to keep the cattle from destroying the vegetables. Another spring, I hope to have a nice fence, and a portion of the ground devoted to flowers. This spring there is so much pressing work to be done on the land in clearing for the crops, that I do not like to urge my claims on behalf of a pretty garden.
The forest-trees are nearly all in leaf. Never did spring burst forth with greater rapidity than it has done this year. The verdure of the leaves is most vivid. A thousand lovely flowers are expanding in the woods and clearings. Nor are our Canadian songsters mute: the cheerful melody of the robin, the bugle-song of the blackbird and thrush, with the weak but not unpleasing call of the little bird called Thitabecec, and a wren, whose note is sweet and thrilling, fill our woods.
For my part, I see no reason or wisdom in carping at the good we do possess, because it lacks something of that which we formerly enjoyed. I am aware it is the fashion for travellers to assert that our feathered tribes are either mute or give utterance to discordant cries that pierce the ear, and disgust rather than please. It would be untrue were I to assert that our singing birds were as numerous or as melodious on the whole as those of Europe; but I must not suffer prejudice to rob my adopted country of her rights without one word being spoken in behalf of her feathered vocalists. Nay, I consider her very frogs have been belied: if it were not for the monotony of their notes, I really consider they are not quite unmusical. The green frogs are very handsome, being marked over with brown oval shields on the most vivid green coat: they are larger in size than the biggest of our English frogs, and certainly much handsomer in every respect. Their note resembles that of a bird, and has nothing of the creek in it.
The bull-frogs are very different from the greens frogs. Instead of being angry with their comical notes, I can hardly refrain from laughing when a great fellow pops up his broad brown head from the margin of the water, and says, “Williroo, williroo, williroo,” to which another bull-frog, from a distant part of the swamp, replies, in hoarser accents, “Get out, get out, get out;” and presently a sudden chorus is heard of old and young, as if each party was desirous of out-croaking the other.