With tears in her eyes, Mary Douglas viewed the smoking mass where she had passed so many happy hours. Captain Charles Douglas, knowing well the tenor of his sister’s poetic nature, kindly and encouragingly exclaimed, “Never mind, Mary dear; thank heaven no lives are lost. We will soon be united.” Those simple words had the desired effect. The tender hearted maiden at once saw the ingratitude of her murmurs, and felt deeply thankful for her brother’s gentle reproof.
Lady Rosamond, if possible, had stronger claims upon the heart of Mary Douglas and the entire household. She had wrought with a determination to do what she could—aye, more than she could. On being advised by Charles Douglas to desist, she firmly replied, “Not until everything is done that I can do.”
A young officer, who happened to hear these words, received them as a valuable souvenir years afterwards, realizing their true worth.
It was, indeed, a most remarkable circumstance that so much valuable furniture and perishable articles were saved. One act of recklessness to be regretted was the cutting down of a valuable chandelier which, falling with a heavy crash, was shivered in a thousand pieces.
In a few days Lady Douglas and family sought shelter among their friends, from whom they received the strongest proofs of kindness. To a lady friend in England her ladyship writes: “The sympathy and real kindness received from the citizens of Fredericton I can never forget. The fire proved that the old adage, though homely, is a true one—’a friend in need is a friend indeed.’”
When Sir Howard returned, and was once more received in his family, he felt grateful to Providence for His kind deliverance. No vain or useless repinings marked the course of his conduct. With renewed energy this man of indomitable courage was again immersed in the public weal as well as the re-establishing of his family in comfortable quarters. A large and commodious building on King street, the property of Henry Smith, Esq., was now being prepared for the reception of His Excellency. The Government expended a considerable sum in making the necessary improvements, and within a very short time the citizens of Fredericton had the pleasure of seeing their beloved ruler and his family once more situated in a happy home. But Sir Howard was to face more terrific and threatening dangers. His unbounded sympathies had further and unlimited room for exercise.
[Footnote 2: The house at present occupied by Chief Justice Allen.]
October came, attended by the long continued drought. Gloom was depicted on every side. Many conjectures were afloat regarding the vicinity of the fire, which gave evidence of its existence in the density of smoke that filled the atmosphere.