John had been absent at the time of Mr. Somers’s departure, and, without making definite inquiries, supposed him to be away on ordinary business.
After his first surprise at his mother’s announcement, he was quite silent for a few moments.
Then he said, firmly, “If he is there, I will find him”.
Mrs. Lansdowne did not explain to him the nature of her brother’s offence, but simply communicated her earnest desire for his return. Then going together to the library they consulted the map of Maine and New Brunswick. Mr. Lansdowne joined them,—the route was fully discussed, and John retired to dream of the delights of a life untrammelled by college, or city walls.
A journey through the wilderness.
Two days after the arrival of Mr. Norton at the Dubois House, on the banks of the Miramichi, John Lansdowne, on a brilliant September morning, started on his memorable journey to that region.
He was up betimes, and made his appearance at the stables just as James, the stout little coachman, was completing Caesar’s elaborate toilet.
Caesar was a noble-looking, black animal, whose strength and capacity for endurance had been well tested. This morning he was in high spirits and looked good for months of rough-and-tumble service.
“Here’s yer rifle, Mister John. I put it in trim for ye yesterday. I s’pose ye’ll be a squintin’ reound sharp for bears and wolves and other livin’ wild beasts when ye git inter the woods”.
“Certainly, James. I expect to set the savage old monsters scattering in every direction”.
“Well, but lookeout, Mister John and keep number one eout o’ fire and water and sech”.
“Trust me for doing that, James”.
After many affectionate counsels and adieus from his parents, John, mounted on the gallant Caesar, with his rifle and portmanteau, posted on at a rapid rate, soon leaving the city far behind.
The position of one who sits confidently upon the back of a brave and spirited horse, is surely enviable. The mastery of a creature of such strength and capacity—whose neck is clothed with thunder—the glory of whose nostrils is terrible, gives to the rider a sense of freedom and power not often felt amidst the common conditions of life. No wonder that the Bedouin of the desert, crafty, cringing, abject in cities, when he mounts his Arab steed and is off to the burning sands, becomes dignified and courteous. Liberty and power are his. They elevate him for the time in the scale of existence.
John was a superb rider. From his first trial, he had sat on horseback, firm and kingly.
He and Caesar apparently indulged in common emotions on this morning of their departure from home. They did not it is true “smell the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains and the shouting,” but they smelt the wilderness, the wild, the fresh, the free, and they said ha! ha! And so they sped on their long journey.