We put a fresh pony into the shafts, a beast born with an everlasting uneasiness in his legs, and an amount of “go” in him which suited his reckless driver. We no longer stood upon the order of our going; we went. As we left the village, we passed a rocky hay-field, where the Gaelic farmer was gathering the scanty yield of grass. A comely Indian girl was stowing the hay and treading it down on the wagon. The driver hailed the farmer, and they exchanged Gaelic repartee which set all the hay-makers in a roar, and caused the Indian maid to darkly and sweetly beam upon us. We asked the driver what he had said. He had only inquired what the man would take for the load—as it stood! A joke is a joke down this way.
I am not about to describe this drive at length, in order that the reader may skip it; for I know the reader, being of like passion and fashion with him. From the time we first struck the Bras d’Or for thirty miles we rode in constant sight of its magnificent water. Now we were two hundred feet above the water, on the hillside, skirting a point or following an indentation; and now we were diving into a narrow valley, crossing a stream, or turning a sharp corner, but always with the Bras d’Or in view, the afternoon sun shining on it, softening the outlines of its embracing hills, casting a shadow from its wooded islands. Sometimes we opened on a broad water plain bounded by the Watchabaktchkt hills, and again we looked over hill after hill receding into the soft and hazy blue of the land beyond the great mass of the Bras d’Or. The reader can compare the view and the ride to the Bay of Naples and the Cornice Road; we did nothing of the sort; we held on to the seat, prayed that the harness of the pony might not break, and gave constant expression to our wonder and delight. For a week we had schooled ourselves to expect nothing more from this wicked world, but here was an enchanting vision.
The only phenomenon worthy the attention of any inquiring mind, in this whole record, I will now describe. As we drove along the side of a hill, and at least two hundred feet above the water, the road suddenly diverged and took a circuit higher up. The driver said that was to avoid a sink-hole in the old road,—a great curiosity, which it was worth while to examine. Beside the old road was a circular hole, which nipped out a part of the road-bed, some twenty-five feet in diameter, filled with water almost to the brim, but not running over. The water was dark in color, and I fancied had a brackish taste. The driver said that a few weeks before, when he came this way, it was solid ground where this well now opened, and that a large beech-tree stood there. When he returned next day, he found this hole full of water, as we saw it, and the large tree had sunk in it. The size of the hole seemed to be determined by the reach of the roots of the tree. The tree had so entirely disappeared, that he could not with a long pole touch its top. Since then the water