The spring now came on, the snow gradually disappeared, the ice was
carried down the rapids, and once more left the blue lake clear; the
cattle were turned out to feed off the grass the year before left on the
prairie, and all the men were busy in preparing to put in the seed. As
soon as the snow was gone, Malachi, Martin, and Alfred, without saying a
word to Mrs Campbell, had gone into the forest, and made every search
for the body of poor Percival, but without success, and it was
considered that he had wandered and died on some spot which they could
not discover, or that the wolves had dug his remains out of the snow,
and devoured them. Not a trace, of him could anywhere be discovered; and
the search was, after a few days, discontinued. The return of the spring
had another good effect upon the spirits of the party; for, with the
spring came on such a variety of work to be done, that they had not a
moment to spare. They had now so many acres for corn that they had
scarcely time to get through all the preparatory work, and fortunate it
was that Alfred was so much recovered that he could join in the labour.
Malachi, John, and even Mr Campbell, assisted, and at last the task was
completed. Then they had a communication with the fort, and letters from
Quebec, Montreal, and England: there was none of any importance from
England, but one from Montreal informed Mr Campbell that, agreeably to
contract, the engineer would arrive in the course of the month with the bateaux containing
the machinery, and that the water-mill would be erected as soon as
possible. There was also a letter from England which gave them much
pleasure; it was from Captain Sinclair to Alfred, informing him that he
had arranged all his business with his guardian, and that he should
rejoin his regiment and be at the fort early in the spring, as he should
sail in the first vessel which left England. He stated how delighted he
should be at his return, and told him to say to Emma that he had not
found an English wife, as she had prophesied, but was coming back as
heart-whole as he went. Very soon afterwards they had a visit from
Colonel Foster and some of the officers of the garrison. The Colonel
offered Mr Campbell a party of soldiers to assist in raising the mill,
and the offer was thankfully accepted.
We were very much alarmed about you last autumn when the woods were on
fire, Mr Campbell, said the Colonel; but I perceive that it has been
of great advantage to you. You have now a large quantity of cleared land
sown with seed, and if you had possessed sufficient means might have had
much more put in, as I perceive all the land to the north west is
cleared by the fire.
Yes, replied Mr Campbell; but my allotment, as you know, extends
along the beach, and we have sown the seed as far from the beach as the
Then I should recommend you to write to Quebec, and apply for another
grant on each side of the stream; indeed, at the back of and equal to
what you now have.
But if I do, I have not the means of working the land.
No, not with your present force, I grant; but there are many emigrants
who would be glad of work, and who would settle here upon favourable
The expense would be very great, said Mr Campbell.
It would; but the return would indemnify you. The troops at the fort
would take all the flour off your hands, if you had ever so much.
am not inclined at present to speculate much further, replied Mr
Campbell; but I shall see how this year turns out, and if I find that I
am successful I will then decide.
Of course you will but act prudently. You can send down to your agent
at Quebec, and ascertain what would be the probable terms of the men you
might require. But there is another way, which is to give them the land
to cultivate and the seed, and to receive from them a certain portion of
corn in return as rent; that is very safe, and your land will be all
gradually brought into cultivation, besides the advantage of having
neighbours about you. You might send one of your sons down to Montreal
and arrange all that.
certainly will write to my agent and institute inquiries, replied Mr
Campbell, and many thanks to you for the suggestion; I have still a few
hundreds at the bank to dispose of, if necessary.
About three weeks after this conversation the bateaux arrived
with the engineer and machinery for the flour and saw-mills: and now the
settlement again presented a lively scene, being thronged with the
soldiers who were sent from the fort. The engineer was a very pleasant,
intelligent young Englishman, who had taken up his profession in Canada,
and was considered one of the most able in the colony. The site of the
mill was soon chosen, and now the axes again resounded in the woods, as
the trees were felled and squared under his directions. Alfred was
constantly with the engineer, superintending the labour of the men, and
contracted a great intimacy with him; indeed, that gentleman was soon on
such a footing with the whole family as to be considered almost as one
of them, for he was very amusing, very well-bred, and had evidently
received every advantage of education.
Campbell found that Mr Emmerson, for such was his name, could give him
every particular relative to the emigrants who had come out, as he was
so constantly travelling about the country, and was in such constant
communication with them.
You are very fortunate in your purchase, said he to Mr Campbell, the
land is excellent, and you have a good water-power in the stream, as
well as convenient carriage by the lake. Fifty years hence this property
will be worth a large sum of money.
want very much to get some more emigrants to settle here, observed Mr
Campbell. It would add to our security and comfort, and I have not
sufficient hands to cultivate the land which has been cleared by the
fire of last autumn. If not cultivated in a short time, it will be all
At present it is all raspberries, and very good ones too, are they not,
Mr Emmerson? said Emma.
Yes, miss, most excellent, replied he; but you are aware that,
whenever you cut down trees here, and do not hoe the ground to sow it,
raspberry bushes grow up immediately.
Indeed, I was not aware of it.
Such is the case, nevertheless. After the raspberries, the seedling
hardwood trees spring up, and, as Mr Campbell says, they soon grow into
a forest again.
do not think that you would have much trouble in getting emigrants to
come here, Mr Campbell, but the difficulty will be in persuading them to
remain. Their object in coming out to this country is to obtain land of
their own, and become independent. Many of them have not the means to go
on, and, as a temporary resource, are compelled to act as labourers; but
the moment that they get sufficient to purchase for themselves, they
will leave you.
That is very natural; but I have been thinking of obtaining a larger
grant than I have now, and I wish very much that I could make an
arrangement with some emigrants. The Colonel says that I might do so by
supplying them with seed, and taking corn in return as rent.
That would not be a permanent arrangement, replied Mr Emmerson. How
much land do you propose applying for?
Six hundred acres.
Well, sir, I think it would meet the views of both parties if you were
to offer terms like the followingthat is, divide the land into lots of
one hundred acres each, and allow them to cultivate for you the fifty
acres that adjoin your own land, with the right of purchasing the other
fifty as their own property, as soon as they can. You will then obtain
three hundred acres of the most valuable land, in addition to your
present farm, and have fixed neighbours around you, even after they are
enabled to purchase the other fifty.
think that a very good arrangement, Mr Emmerson, and I would gladly
consent to it.
Well, sir, I shall have plenty of opportunities this summer of making
the proposal to the emigrants, and if I find any parties who seem likely
to prove advantageous as neighbours, I will let you know.
And with such expectations I will apply for the additional grant, said
Mr Campbell, for to have neighbours in this solitude, I would almost
make them a present of the land.
suspect that in a few years you will have neighbours enough, without
resorting to such an expedient, replied Mr Emmerson, but according to
your present proposal, they may be better selected, and you may make
terms which will prevent any nuisances.
The works at the mill proceeded rapidly, and before the hay-harvest the
mill was complete. Alfred was very careful, and paid every attention to
what was going on, and so did Martin, that they might understand the
machinery. This was very simple. Mr Emmerson tried the mill, and found
it to answer well. He explained everything to Alfred, and put the mill
to work, that he might be fully master of it. As it was a fortnight
after the mill was at work before Mr Emmerson could obtain a passage
back to Montreal, Alfred and Martin worked both mills during that time,
and felt satisfied that they required no further instruction. The
soldiers, at the request of Mr Campbell, were allowed to remain till the
hay-harvest, and as soon as the hay was gathered in, they were paid and
returned to the fort. Captain Sinclair, who, from his letter, had been
expected to arrive much sooner, came just as the soldiers had left the
farm. It need hardly be said that he was received most warmly. He had a
great deal to tell them, and had brought out a great many presents;
those for poor little Percival he kept back, of course. Emma and Mary
were delighted to have him again as a companion, and to resume their
walks with him; a fortnight thus passed away very quickly, when his
leave of absence expired, and he was obliged to return to the fort.
Previous, however, to his going away, he requested a private interview
with Mr and Mrs Campbell, in which he stated his exact position and his
means, and requested their sanction to his paying his addresses to Mary.
Mr and Mrs Campbell, who had already perceived the attentions he had
shewn to her, did not hesitate to express their satisfaction at his
request, and their best wishes for his success; and having so done, they
left him to forward his own suit, which Captain Sinclair did not fail to
do that very evening. Mary Percival was too amiable and right-minded a
girl not at once to refuse or accept Captain Sinclair. As she had long
been attached to him, she did not deny that such was the case, and
Captain Sinclair was overjoyed at his success.
have spoken frankly to you, Captain Sinclair, said Mary; I have not
denied that you have an interest in my affections; but I must now
request you to let me know what are your future views.
To do just what you wish me to do.
have no right to advise, and no wish to persuade. I have my own path of
duty pointed out to me, and from that I cannot swerve.
And what is that?
It is that, under present circumstances, I must not think of leaving my
uncle and aunt. I have been bred up and educated by them; I have as an
orphan shared their prosperity; I have a deep debt of gratitude to pay,
and I cannot consent to return to England to enjoy all the advantages
which your means will afford while they remain in their present isolated
position. Hereafter circumstances may alter my opinion, but such it is
But if I am willing to remain with you here to share your fortunes,
will not that satisfy you?
No, certainly not; for that would be allowing you to do injustice to
yourself. I presume you do not mean to quit your profession?
had no such intention; but still, if I have to choose between you and
the service, I shall not hesitate.
trust you will not hesitate, but determine to adhere steadily to your
profession for the present, Captain Sinclair. It will not do for you to
give up your prospects and chance of advancement for even such a woman
as me, continued Mary, smiling; nor must you think of becoming a
backwoodsman for a pale-faced girl.
Then what am I to do if, as you say, you will not leave your uncle and
Wait, Captain Sinclair; be satisfied that you have my affections, and
wait patiently till circumstances may occur which will enable me to
reward your affection without being guilty of ingratitude towards those
to whom I owe so much. On such terms I accept you, and accept you
willingly; but you must do your duty to yourself, while I must discharge
my duty towards my uncle and aunt.
believe you are right, Mary, replied Captain Sinclair; only I do not
see any definite hope of our being united. Can you give me any prospect
to cheer me?
We are both very young, Captain Sinclair, observed Mary; in a year or
two my uncle and aunt may be less lonely and more comfortable than at
present. In a year or two the war may end, and you may honourably retire
upon half-pay; in fact, so many chances are there which are hidden from
us and come upon us so unexpectedly, that it is impossible to say what
may take place. And if, after waiting patiently for some time, none of
these chances do turn up, you have yet another in your favour.
And what is that, Mary?
That, perhaps, I may be tired of waiting myself, replied Mary, with a
Upon that chance, then, I will live in hope, replied Captain Sinclair;
if you will only reward me when you consider that my faithful service
demands it, I will serve as long as Jacob did for Rachael.
Do so, and you shall not be deceived at the end of your services as he
was, replied Mary. But now let us return to the house.