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The Settlers in Canada
Chapter XL Return to England

Captain Sinclair on his return to Fort Frontignac reported to the Colonel the successful result of the expedition, and was warmly congratulated upon it, as the Colonel had been made acquainted with the engagement between him and Mary Percival. The Young Otter, who had remained in confinement during Captain Sinclair’s absence, was now set at liberty; and the Colonel, who was aware that Captain Sinclair must be very anxious to remain at the settlement for a short time after what had occurred, very kindly offered him leave for a few days, which it may be supposed Captain Sinclair did not fail to avail himself of. The Colonel at the same time sent a message to Mr Campbell, stating that as soon as the bateaux should arrive from Montreal, he would bring any letters or newspapers that might arrive for them, and take that opportunity of offering in person his congratulations.

Captain Sinclair did not, however, return for two or three days, as he had many letters to write in answer to those which had arrived during his absence. On his return to the settlement, he found them all well and happy; Mary quite recovered from her fatigue, and everything going on in the same quiet order and method as if the expedition had never taken place, and had never been necessary. Indeed, nothing appeared now wanting to the happiness of the whole party, and their affairs were prospering. The emigrants who had joined Mr Campbell were industrious and intelligent, very civil, and very useful. They paid the greatest respect to Mr and Mrs Campbell, who were certainly very liberal and kind to them, assisting them in every way in their power. Although the farm had been so much increased, the labour was light, from the quantity of hands they could command; the stock had increased very fast; old Graves had taken charge of the mill during the absence of Alfred and Martin, and had expressed his wish to continue in that employment, which Alfred gladly gave up. In short, peace and plenty reigned in the settlement, and Alfred’s words when he recommended his father to go to Canada, had every prospect of becoming true—that his father would be independent, if not rich, and leave his children the same. In three days Captain Sinclair arrived; he was received with great warmth by all the party, and after dinner was over, Mr Campbell addressed the family as follows:—

“My dear children, your mother and I have had some conversation on one or two points, and we have come to the decision that having so much to thank God for, in His kindness and mercies shewn towards us, it would be selfish on our parts if we did not consult the happiness of others. We are now independent, and with every prospect of being more so every day; we are no longer isolated, but surrounded by those who are attached to us, and will protect us should there be any occasion. In short, we are living in comfort and security, and we trust to Providence that we shall continue so to do. You, my dear Alfred, generously abandoned your profession to which you were so partial, to come and protect us in the wilderness, and we knew too well the value of your services not to accept them, although we were fully aware of the sacrifice which you made; but we are no longer in a wilderness, and no longer require your strong arm and bold heart. We have therefore decided that it is our duty no longer to keep you from the profession to which you belong, but, on the contrary, to recommend you now to rejoin and follow up your career, which we trust in God may prove as prosperous as we are convinced it will be honourable. Take our best thanks, my dear boy, for your kindness to us, and now consider yourself at liberty to return to England, and rejoin the service as soon as you please.

“And now I must address you, my dear Mary; you and your sister accompanied us here, and since you have been with us, have cheered us during our stay by your attentions and unwearied cheerfulness under all the privations which we at first had to encounter. You have engaged the affections of an honourable and deserving man, but at the same time have never shewn the least disposition to leave us; indeed, we know what your determination has been, but your aunt and I consider it our present duty to say, that much as we shall regret to part with one so dear, you must no longer sacrifice yourself for us, but make him happy who so well deserves you. That you will remain here is of course out of the question; your husband’s connections and fortune require that he should return to England, and not bury himself in the woods of Canada. You have therefore our full permission, and I may say, it will be most pleasing to us, if you no longer delay your union with Captain Sinclair and follow your husband; whenever and wherever you go, you will have our blessings and our prayers, and the satisfaction of knowing that you have been to us as a dutiful daughter, and that we love you as dearly as it is possible for parents to do. Take her, Captain Sinclair, from my hands, and take with her our blessings and best wishes for your happiness, which I do not doubt will be as great as we can expect in this chequered world; for a dutiful daughter will always become a good wife.”

Mary, who was sitting between Mrs Campbell and Captain Sinclair, fell upon her aunt’s neck and wept; Mr Campbell extended his hand to Captain Sinclair, who expressed in return his warmest thanks and gratitude. Alfred, who had said nothing more, went up to his mother and kissed her.

“I wish you to go, Alfred,” said his mother; “I wish you to rejoin a service to which you are a credit. Do not believe otherwise, or that I shall grieve too much at your departure.”

“Go, my son,” said Mr Campbell, shaking him by the hand, “and let me see you a post-captain before I die.”

Mrs Campbell now took Mary Percival into the next room, that she might compose herself, and Captain Sinclair ventured to follow. Everyone appeared happy at this announcement of Mr Campbell’s except Emma, who looked unusually serious. Alfred, perceiving it, said to her, “Emma, you are very grave at the idea of losing Mary, and I do not wonder at it, but you will have one consolation—you will lose me too, and I shall no longer plague you as you continually complain that I do.”

“I never thought of that,” replied Emma, half angry; “well, you are a great plague, and the sooner you go—”

Emma did not, however, finish her speech, but left the room, to join her sister.

Now that Mr Campbell had announced his wishes, the subject of Mary’s marriage and Alfred’s return to the service was, for a few days, the continual subject of discussion. It was decided that Mary should be married in a month, by the chaplain of the fort, who had returned, and that Captain Sinclair, with his wife and Alfred, should leave the settlement at the end of September, so as to arrive at Quebec in good time for sailing before the winter should set in. It was now the last week in August, so that there was not much time to pass away previous to their departure. Captain Sinclair returned to the fort, to make the Colonel acquainted with what had passed, and to take the necessary steps for leave of absence, and his return to England. This, from his interest with the Governor, he was sure to obtain, and when in England it would be time sufficient to decide whether he should leave that service, or exchange into some regiment at home. As every prospect of war or disturbance in Canada was now over, he could take either step without any censure being laid upon him.

A week afterwards, the bateaux arrived from Montreal, and the Colonel and Captain Sinclair, made their appearance at the settlement, bringing with them the letters and papers from England.

Having received the congratulations of the Colonel, Mr and Mrs Campbell, with his permission, opened their letters, for all the family were present, and all, as usual, anxious to hear the news. The first letter Mr Campbell opened, to the surprise of all, produced an immediate change in his countenance. He read it a second time, and laying it down on his knee, appeared to remain in a state of complete abstraction.

“No bad news, I hope, Campbell?” said his wife anxiously, as all the rest looked upon him with astonishment.

“No, my dear Emily, no bad news, but most unexpected news; such as it has been my fortune in life to receive once before this time. You remember, although years have since passed, the letter that was brought to us in our little parlour—”

“Which put you in possession of Wexton Hall, Campbell.”

“Yes, I did refer to that; but I will not keep you all in longer suspense. This is but a counterpart of the former letter.”

Mr Campbell then read as follows:—

“May 7th, 18—.

“Dear Sir,—It is with great pleasure that we have again to communicate to you that you may return, as soon as you please, and take possession of the Wexton Hall property.

“You may remember that many months back Mr Douglas Campbell received a fall from his horse when hunting. No serious consequences were anticipated, but it appears that his spine was injured, and after some months’ close confinement, he expired on the 9th of April. As Mr Douglas Campbell has left no issue, and you are the next in tail, you have now undisputed possession of the property which you so honourably surrendered some years since.

“I have taken upon myself to act as your agent since Mr Campbell’s decease. Mrs D. Campbell has a handsome settlement upon the property, which will of course fell in upon her demise. Waiting your commands,

“I am, dear sir,

“Yours truly,

“J. Harvey.”

“Mr Campbell, I congratulate you with all my heart,” said the Colonel, rising up, and taking his hand. “You have proved yourself deserving of such good fortune; Mrs Campbell, I need hardly add that my congratulations extend to you.”

Surprise at first rendered Mrs Campbell mute; at last she said—

“We are in the hands of Him, and do but execute His will. For your sake, my dear Campbell, for the children’s sake, perhaps, I ought to rejoice—we hardly know. That I am happy here, now that my children have been restored to me, I confess. I doubt whether that happiness will be increased by the return to Wexton Hall; at all events, I shall leave this place with regret. We have had too many revolutions of fortune, Campbell, since we have been united, not to have learnt by experience that a peaceful, quiet, and contented home is more necessary to our happiness than riches.”

“I feel as you do, Emily,” replied Mr Campbell, “but we are growing old, and have been taught wisdom practically, by the events of a chequered life. Our children, I perceive, think otherwise—nor do I wonder at it.”

“I shan’t go,” said John; “I shall only be sent to school; no master shall flog me—I’m a man.”

“Nor me,” cried Percival.

The Colonel and Mr and Mrs Campbell, as well as the elder portion of the party, could not help smiling at the exclamations of the two boys. They had both played the part of men, and it was but too evident how unfitted they would be for future scholastic discipline.

“You shall neither of you go to school,” replied Mr Campbell, “but still you must render yourselves fit for your stations in life, by improving your minds, and attending to those who will instruct you.”

It is hard to say whether much real joy was felt by any of the party at the prospect of returning to England. It is true that Mary Percival was delighted at the idea of not being so far away from her aunt and uncle, and that Emma was better pleased to be in England for reasons which she kept to herself. But it was not the coming into the large property which occasioned pleasure to any of them. However, if there was not much pleasure derived from this re-accession to properly, Mr and Mrs Campbell knew their duty too well to hesitate, and every preparation was commenced for their return along with Alfred and Captain Sinclair. John, however, still continued obstinate in declaring that he would not go, and Percival was very much of John’s opinion, although he did not speak so plainly.

When Mr and Mrs Campbell were alone, the former said to his wife—

“I do not know what to do about John. He appears so resolute in his determination not to go with us, that I fear he will run away into the woods at the time of our departure. He is now continually with Malachi and Martin, and appears to have severed himself from his family.”

“It is hard to decide, Campbell; I have more than once thought it would be better to leave him here. He is our youngest son. Henry will, of course, inherit the estate, and we shall have to provide for the others out of our savings. Now this property, by the time John is of age, will be of no inconsiderable value, and by no means a bad fortune for a younger son. He appears so wedded to the woods and a life of nature, that I fear it would only be the cause of continual regret and discontent if we did take him to England, and if so, what comfort or advantage should we gain by his returning? I hardly know what to advise.”

“I have serious thoughts of leaving him here, under the charge of Martin and Malachi,” replied Mr Campbell. “He would be happy; by-and-bye he would be rich. What could he obtain more in England? But it must be for you to decide, my dear Emily. I know a mother’s feelings, and respect them.”

“I cannot decide at once, my dear husband. I will first talk with John, and consult Alfred and Henry.”

The result of Mrs Campbell’s communicating with her sons was a decision that John should remain in Canada under the charge of Martin and Malachi, who were to superintend the farm and watch over him. Martin was to take charge of the farm. Malachi was to be John’s companion in the woods, and old Graves, who had their mill under his care, engaged to correspond with Mr Campbell and let them know how things went on. When this was settled, John walked at least two inches higher, and promised to write to his mother himself. The Colonel, when he heard the arrangement, pledged himself that, as long as he was in command of the fort, he would keep a watchful eye, not only over John, but the whole of the settlement, and communicate occasionally with Mr Campbell.

A month after the receipt of the letter the whole family, with the exception of John, embarked in two bateaux and arrived at Montreal, where they remained a day or two, and then proceeded to Quebec.

At Quebec, their agent had already taken all the cabins of one of the finest ships for their passage, and, after a ran of six weeks, they once more found themselves at Liverpool, from which town they posted to Wexton Hall, Mrs Douglas Campbell having retired to a property of her own in Scotland.

We have now finished our tale, and have only to inform our little readers what were the after-lives of the Campbell family.

Henry did not return to college, but remained with his father and mother at the Hall, employing himself in superintending for his father the property to which he afterwards succeeded.

Alfred was appointed to a ship commanded by Captain Lumley. He soon rose in the service, was highly distinguished as a gallant clever officer, and four years after his return to England was married to his cousin Emma—at which the reader will not be surprised.

Mary Percival was married to Captain Sinclair, who sold out, and retired upon half-pay, to live upon his estates in Scotland.

Percival went to college, and turned out a very clever lawyer.

John remained in Canada until he was twenty years old, when he came home to see his father and mother. He had grown six feet four inches high, and was stout in proportion. He was a very amusing fellow, and could talk fast enough, but his chief conversation was upon hunting and sporting.

The farm had been well conducted; the emigrants had adhered to the agreements, and were now cultivating for themselves.

Martin had three little papooses (as the Indians call the children) by the Strawberry. Malachi had grown too old to go out often into the woods, and he sat by the fire in the winter, and basked in the sun at the door of the house during the summer. Oscar was dead, but they had some fine puppies of his breed. Mr Campbell gave John a deed, on his return, conveying to him the Canadian property, and shortly afterwards John picked up a little Canadian wife at Quebec, who made him perfectly happy.

Mr and Mrs Campbell lived to a good old age, respected as long as they lived, and lamented when they died. They had known prosperity and adversity, and in each state of life had acquitted themselves with exemplary propriety, not having been elated by the one, or depressed by the other. They knew that this world was a world of trial, and but a preparation for another; they therefore did their duty in that state of life to which it pleased God to call them—proving in all their actions that they remembered their duty to their God, and their duty to their neighbour; living and dying (as I hope all my young readers will) sincere and good Christians.

The End.

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