The young man made a partial acquaintance with lumbering operations at Bangor; had his sublime ideas of the nobility of the aborigines of the country somewhat discomposed by the experience of a day spent in the Indian settlement at Oldtown; found a decent shelter at Mattawamkeag Point, and, at last, with an exultant bound of heart, struck into the forest.
The only road through this solitary domain was the rough path made by lumbermen, in hauling supplies to the various camps, scattered at intervals through the dense wilderness, extending seventy-five miles, from Mattawamkeag Point to the British boundary.
Here Nature was found in magnificent wildness and disarray, her hair quite unkempt. Great pines, shooting up immense distances in the sky skirted the path and flung their green-gray, trailing mosses abroad on the breeze; crowds of fir, spruce, hemlock, and cedar trees stood waving aloft their rich, dark banners; clusters of tall, white birches, scattered here and there, relieved and brightened the sombre evergreen depths, and the maple with its affluent foliage crowned each swell of the densely covered land. Here and there, a scarlet tree or bush shot out its sanguine hue, betokening the maturity of the season and the near approach of autumn’s latest splendor. Big boulders of granite, overlaid with lichens, were profusely ornamented with crimson creepers. Everything appeared in splendid and wasteful confusion. There were huge trees with branches partially torn away; others, with split trunks leaning in slow death against their fellows; others, prostrate on the ground; and around and among all, grew brakes and ferns and parasitic vines; and nodded purple, red, and golden berries.
The brown squirrels ran up and down the trees and over the tangled rubbish, chirping merrily; a few late lingering birds sang little jerky notes of music, and the woodpecker made loud tapping sounds which echoed like the strokes of the woodman’s axe. The air was rich and balmy,—spiced with cedar, pine, and hemlock, and a thousand unknown odors.
The path through this wild of forest was rude and difficult, but the travellers held on their way unflinchingly,—the horse with unfaltering courage and patience, and his rider with unceasing wonder and delight.
At noon they came to a halt, just where the sun looked down golden and cheery on a little dancing rivulet that babbled by the wayside. Here Caesar received his oats, for which his master had made room in his portmanteau, at the expense, somewhat, of his own convenience. The young man partook of a hearty lunch and resigned himself to dreams of life under the greenwood tree.
After an hour’s rest, again in the saddle and on—on, through recurring scenes of wildness, waste, and beauty. Just as the stars began to glint forth and the traveller and horse felt willing perhaps to confess to a little weariness, they saw the light of the expected cabin fire in the distance. Caesar gave a low whinny of approval and hastened on.