The Settlers in Canada
Chapter XXVI The Strawberry's Weddino
It was very nearly five weeks before Henry returned from
his expedition to Montreal. During this time, the Colonel had repeated
his visit and made arrangements with Mr Campbell. A party of twenty
soldiers had been sent to work at felling timber and splitting rails,
for whose services Mr Campbell paid as before. The winter house and
palisade fence for the sheep were put in hand, and great progress was
made in a short time, now that so many people were employed. They had
also examined the stream for some distance, to ascertain which would be
the most eligible site for the water-mill, and had selected one nearly
half a mile from the shore of the lake, and where there was a
considerable fall, and the stream ran with great rapidity. It was not,
however, expected that the mill would be erected until the following
year, as it was necessary to have a millwright and all the machinery
from either Montreal or Quebec. It was intended that the estimate of the
expense should be given in, the contract made, and the order given
during the autumn, so that it might be all ready for the spring of the
next year. It was on a Monday morning that Henry arrived from the fort,
where he had stayed the Sunday, having reached it late on Saturday
with the stock and stores, he had left at the fort; they were to come
round during the day, but Henrys impatience to see the family would not
allow him to wait. He was, as may be supposed, joyfully received, and,
as soon as the first recognitions were over, he proceeded to acquaint
his father with what he had done. He had obtained from a Canadian farmer
forty ewes of very fair stock, although not anything equal to the
English; but the agent had worked hard for him, and procured him twenty
English sheep and two rams of the best kind, to improve the breed. For
the latter he had to pay rather dear, but they were worth any money to
Mr Campbell, who was quite delighted with the acquisition. In selecting
the sheep, of course Henry was obliged to depend on the agent and the
parties he employed, as he was no judge himself; but he had, upon his
own judgment, purchased two Canadian horses, for Henry had been long
enough at Oxford to know the points of a horse, and as they turned out,
he had made a very good bargain. He had also bought a sow and pigs of an
improved breed, and all the other commissions had been properly
executed; the packages of skins also realised the price which had been
put on them. As it may be supposed, he was full of news, talking about
Montreal, the parties he had been invited to, and the people with whom
he had become acquainted. He had not forgotten to purchase some of the
latest English publications for his cousins, besides a few articles of
millinery, which he thought not too gay, for their present position. He
was still talking, and probably would have gone on talking for hours
longer, so many were the questions which he had to reply to, when Martin
came in and announced the arrival of thebateauxwith
the stores and cattle, upon which they all went down to the beach to see
them disembarked and brought up by the soldiers, who were at work. The
stores were carried up to the door of the store-house, and the sheep and
horses were turned into the prairie with the cows. A weeks rations for
the soldiers were also brought up from the fort, and the men were very
busy in the distribution, and carrying them to the little temporary huts
of boughs which they had raised for their accommodation, during the time
they worked for Mr Campbell. Before the evening set in everything was
arranged, and Henry was again surrounded by the family and replying to
their remaining interrogatories. He told them that the Governor of
Montreal had sent them an invitation to pass the winter at Government
House, and promised the young ladies that no wolf should venture to come
near to them, and that the aides-de-camp had requested the honour of
their hands at the first ball which should be given after their arrival,
at which they all laughed heartily. In short, it appeared that nothing
could equal the kindness and hospitality which had been shewn to him,
and that there was no doubt, if they chose to go there, that it would be
equally extended to the other members of the family.
There was a pause in the conversation, when Malachi addressed Mr
Martin wishes me to speak to you, sir, said Malachi.
Martin, said Mr Campbell, looking round for him, and perceiving that
he was not in the room; why, yes, I perceive he is gone out. What is it
that he cannot say himself?
Thats just what I said to him, replied Malachi; but he thought it
were better to come through me; the fact is, sir, that he has taken a
liking to the Strawberry, and wishes to make her his wife.
Yes, sir; I dont think that he would have said anything about it as
yet, but you see, there are so many soldiers here, and that makes him
feel uncomfortable till the thing is settled; and as he cant well marry
while in your service without your leave, he has asked me to speak about
Well, but the Strawberry is your property, not mine, Malachi.
Yes, sir, according to Injun fashion, I am her father; but Ive no
objection, and shant demand any presents for her.
Presents for her! why we in general give presents or money with a
wife, said Emma.
Yes, I know you do, but English wives ant Injun wives; an English wife
requires people to work for her and costs money to keep, but an Injun
wife works for herself and her husband, so she is of value and is
generally bought of the father; I reckon in the end that its cheaper to
pay for an Injun wife than to receive money with an English one; but
thats as may be.
Thats not a very polite speech of yours, Malachi, said Mrs Campbell.
Perhaps it ant, maam, but it is near the mark, nevertheless. Now I am
willing that Martin should have the Strawberry, because I know that he
is a smart hunter, and will keep her well; and somehow or another, I
feel that if he made her his wife, I should be more comfortable; I shall
live with them here close by, and Martin will serve you, and when he has
a wife he will not feel inclined to change service and go into the
think it is an excellent proposal, Malachi, and am much pleased with it,
as we now shall have you all together, said Mrs Campbell.
Yes, maam, so you will, and then Ill be always with the boy to look
after him, and youll always know where we are, and not be frightened.
Very true, Malachi, said Mr Campbell; I consider it a very good
arrangement. We must build you a better lodge than the one that you are
No, sir, not a better one, for if you have all you want, you cant want
more; its big enough, but perhaps not quite near enough. Im thinking
that when the sheep-fold is finished, it might be as well to raise our
lodge inside of the palisades, and then we shall be a sort of guard to
very excellent idea, Malachi. Well, then, as far as I am concerned,
Martin has my full consent to marry as soon as he pleases.
And mine, if it is at all necessary, observed Mrs Campbell.
But who is to marry them? said Emma; they have no chaplain at the
fort; he went away ill last year.
Why, miss, they dont want no chaplain; she is an Injun girl, and he
will marry her Injun fashion.
But what fashion is that, Malachi? said Mary.
Why, miss, hell come to the lodge, and fetch her away to his own
Alfred burst out into laughter. Thats making short work of it, said
Yes, rather too short for my approval, said Mrs Campbell. Malachi,
its very true that the Strawberry is an Indian girl; but we are not
Indians, and Martin is not an Indian, neither are you who stand as her
father; indeed, I cannot consent to give my sanction to such a
Well, maam, as you please, but it appears to me to be all right. If
you go into a country and wish to marry a girl of that country, you
marry her according to the rules of that country. Now, Martin seeks an
Injun squaw, and why not, therefore, marry her after Injun fashion?
You may be right, Malachi, in your argument, said Mrs Campbell; but
still you must make allowances for our prejudices. We never should think
that she was a married woman, if no further ceremony was to take place.
Well, maam, just as you please; but, still, suppose you marry them
after your fashion, the girl wont understand a word that is said, so
what good will it do?
None to her at present, Malachi; but recollect, if she is not a
Christian at present, she may be hereafter; I have often thought upon
that subject, and although I feel it useless to speak to her just now,
yet as soon as she understands English well enough to know what I say to
her, I hope to persuade her to become one. Now, if she should become a
Christian, as I hope in God she will, she then will perceive that she
has not been properly married, and will be anxious to have the ceremony
properly performed over again; so why not do it now?
Well, maam, if it pleases you, I have no objection; Im sure Martin
will have none.
It will please me very much, Malachi, replied Mrs Campbell.
And although there is no chaplain at the fort, observed Mr Campbell,
yet the Colonel can marry in his absence; a marriage by a commanding
officer is quite legal.
Yes, replied Alfred, and so is one by a Captain of a man-of-war.
So be it then, replied Malachi; the sooner the better, for the
soldiers are very troublesome, and I cannot keep them out of my lodge.
Martin, who had remained outside the door, and overheard all that
passed, now came in; the subject was again canvassed, and Martin
returned his thanks for the permission given to him.
Well, said Emma, I little thought we should have a wedding in the
family so soon; this is quite an event. Martin, I wish you joy; you will
have a very pretty and a very good wife.
think so too, miss, replied Martin.
Where is she? said Mary.
She is in the garden, miss, said Malachi, getting out of the way of
the soldiers; now that the work is done, they torment her not a little,
and she is glad to escape from them; Id tell them to go away, but they
dont mind me; they know I must not use my rifle.
should hope not, replied Mrs Campbell; it would be hard to shoot a
good man merely because he wished to marry your daughter.
Why, yes, maam, it would, replied Malachi; so the sooner she is
given to Martin, the sooner we shall have peace.
the boat was continually going backwards and forwards between the fort
and the farm, Mr Campbell wrote to the Colonel, stating what they wished
him to do, and the Colonel appointed that day week, on which he would
come and perform the ceremony. It was a little fête at the farm. Mrs
Campbell and the Misses Percival dressed themselves more than usually
smart, so did all the males of the establishment; and a better dinner
than usual was prepared, as the Colonel and some of the officers were to
dine and spend the day with them. Martin was very gaily attired, and in
high spirits. The Strawberry had on a new robe of young deer-skin, and
had a flower or two in her long black hair; she looked as she was, very
pretty and very modest, but not at all embarrassed. The marriage
ceremony was explained to her by Malachi, and she cheerfully consented.
Before noon the marriage took place, and an hour or two afterwards they
sat down to a well-furnished table, and the whole party were very merry,
particularly as the Colonel, who was most unusually gay, insisted upon
the Strawberry sitting at the table, which she had never done before.
She acquitted herself, however, without embarrassment, and smiled when
they laughed, although she could understand but little of what they
said. Mr Campbell opened two of his bottles of wine, to celebrate the
day, and they had a very happy party; the only people who were
discontented were three or four of the soldiers outside, who had wanted
to marry the Strawberry themselves; but the knowledge that their Colonel
was there, effectually put a stop to anything like annoyance or
disturbance on their parts. At sunset the Colonel and officers departed
for the fort, the family remained in the house till past ten oclock, by
which time all the soldiers had gone to bed. Mr Campbell then read
prayers, and offered up an additional one for the happiness of the newly
married couple, after which they all saluted the Strawberry and wished
her good night; she was then led to the lodge by Martin, accompanied by
Alfred, Henry, Malachi, Percival, and John, who all went home with them
as a guard from any interruption on the part of the disappointed
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