“Them Doobyce’s came to the kentry, jest ten year before I did. Well, I’ve heerd say, the Square came fust. He didn’t set himself up for anything great at all, but explored reound the region a spell, and was kinder pleasant to most anybody he came across. Somehow, or ’nuther, he had a kind of a kingly turn with him, that seemed jest as nateral as did to breathe, and ye could see that he warn’t no ways used to sech a wildcat sort of a place as Miramichi was then”.
“I wonder that he remained here”, said John.
“Well, the pesky critters reound here ruther took to him, and he bought a great lot o’ land and got workmen and built a house, and fetched his wife and baby here. So they’ve lived here ever since. But they’re no more like the rest o’ the people in these parts, than I’m like you, and it has allers been a mystery to me why they should stay. But I s’pose they know their own bissiniss best. They’re allers givin’ to the poor, and they try to make the settlers more decent every way, but ‘taint been o’ much use”.
After a long, meditative pause, Micah said, “Neow Captin’, I want yeou to answer me one question, honestly. I aint a goin’ to ask any thing sarcy. Did ye ever in yer life see a harnsumer, witchiner critter than Miss Adele is?”
Micah fixed his keen eye triumphantly upon our hero, as if he was aware beforehand that but one response could be made. John surprised by the suddenness of the question, and somewhat confused, for the moment, by a vague consciousness that his companion had found the key to his thoughts, hesitated a little, but soon recovered sufficiently to parry the stroke.
“You don’t mean to say, Micah, that there’s any person for beauty and bewitchingness to be compared with Mrs. McNab?”
“Whew-ew”, uttered Micah, while every line and feature in his countenance expressed ineffable scorn. He gave several extra strokes of the paddle with great energy. Suddenly, his grim features broke into a genial smile.
“Well, Captin’”, he said, “ef yeou choose to play ’possum that way, ye ken. But ye needn’t expect me to believe in them tricks, cos I’m an old ’un”.
John laughed and replied, “Mummychog, Miss Adele Dubois is a perfect beauty. I can’t deny it”.
“And a parfeck angel tew”, said Micah.
“I don’t doubt it”, said John, energetically. “When shall we reach the settlement, Micah?”
“Abeout three hours arter moonrise”.
And just at that time our voyagers touched the spot they had started from the day before, and unloaded their cargo. They were received at the Dubois house with the compliments due to successful hunters.
On the following afternoon, Mr. Norton preached to a larger and far more attentive audience than usual. The solemn warnings he had uttered and the fearful presentiments of coming evil he had expressed on the last occasion of assembling at the Grove, had been communicated from mouth to mouth. Curiosity, and perhaps some more elevated motive, had drawn a numerous crowd of people together to hear him.