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sorrowing, no doubt, but invoking the protection of Him whose Almighty arm can succour the most unfortunate, and deliver in the greatest peril.
After travelling from sunrise until late at night through a long summer's day, the party arrived at an Indian village, and the captives being secured, the Indians threw themselves on the ground, and were soon asleep; but it may well be supposed that Bird and his wife, even after so much fatigue, felt little disposition to close their eyes. How they might escape, alone occupied their thoughts; they matured their plan and put it into execution; but to avoid recapture, required even more vigilance and resolution than it required ingenuity and strength to free themselves from the cords that bound them.
They however set out, and, with their helpless babe, which, as by a miracle, they had still succeeded in preserv ing unnoticed, began at midnight to retrace their steps; but before day, fatigue, anxiety, and the want of nourisment so completely exhausted them both, that they found this dilemma placed before them—the child must be left in the wilderness, or they must remain and perish with it. The morning was already streaking the east with grey, and they knew that their flight must have been already discovered; they knew, too, the characters they had to deal with, and that to escape, there was not a moment's time to be lost. Distracted with opposing resolutions, a sense of duty to themselves, finally prevailed over the parent's fondness; the mother for the last time, pressed her innocent offspring to her breast, bedewed its unconsciously smiling cheek with tears, and sat it down on the green bank of a little tinkling rill, to perish, where, as she cast a last anguishing look, after she left it, she saw it scrambling after the flowers that grew around it.
The father and mother escaped to the settlements, and Mr. Bird speedily collected a large party of his neighbours and returned to the spot where the child had been left; but it was gone; and, in the lapse of years, blest with riches and a numerous progeny, the parents ceased to weep over their lost boy.
Fifteen summers had smiled upon the harvests, when, in a treaty with a distant tribe of Indians, an article of which bound them to deliver up any captives that might be in their posession, a boy was put into the charge of the commissioners on the part of the whites, with the declaration that he was a white, found in infancy, upon the very spot where young Bird had been left. He was sent to his parents, who immediately recognized him by a remarkable scar on his right hand, which he had received in his father's house.
The measure of the parents' joy was full, but the boy wandered through the rich possessions of his father, without a smile. His bow and blanket were his only joy. He despised alike, the dress, the habits, and the luxuries that were proffered him; and his mind constantly brooded over the forest scenes, and sports in which he had passed his boyhood. Vain were all the attempts to wean him from his native habits-and as vain the efforts to obliterate the recollection of his adopted home from his mind. While persuasion and indulgence were alone resorted to, he modestly resisted; but when force was tried, and he was compelled to change his blanket for the garments of civilized life, and his favourite bow for a book, he grew sullenly discontented; and, at last, was missing in his father's house, and seen, the same evening, arrayed in the Indian garb, crossing a distant mountain, and bending his course towards the setting sun.
It was upwards of twenty years after this event, that Mr. Bird and his wife, now advanced somewhat in years, removed to a new settlement, where Mr. Bird had purchased a tract of land, at a great distance from their former residence; and while a more commodious building was erecting, they inhabited a small hut adjacent to a thick wood. One day when the old lady was left alone, the men of the neighbourhood having gone to a distance of several miles to assist at a raising, she saw, from her door, several armed and painted Indians approaching her. Alarmed, but resolute, she seized a hatchet, and ascending a ladder into the loft of the dwelling, drew it up after her, and determined to defend
herself to the last. The savages entered, and finding their efforts to entice her down were vain, laid down their rifles to ascend after her. But the first hand that was thrust through the trap-door was severed from the arm at a single blow, by the intrepid heroine, and an alarm being taken at the moment, that the whites were coming, the Indians retreated, and disappeared in the woods instantly; while almost at the same moment Mr. Bird and his party came in sight.
But scarcely had the deliverers of her life approached, before Mrs. Bird's eye caught sight of the severed hand, and lo! there appeared before her the scarred right hand of her eldest son.
Such is the story of the Captive Boy; and from it I draw the inference, that it is habit that endears the savage to his wilds; that teaches him to love his own pursuits; and to delight in blood and treachery; and that between the natural passions, affections, and dispositions of men, there is no difference, except such as is created by education and custom.
II. VICISSITUDES OF FORTUNE.
On the top of a lofty mountain that rises towards the heavens, in view from Alesbury to the west, are still to be seen the mouldering ruins of an ancient building; and sitting on the cliff of rocks that stretches out from the eminence towards the valley, the traveller may behold, at sunset, a solitary eagle winging its way from among the distant clouds, towards the crumbling pile, and disappearing among the dark grey walls; for those massy ruins are now tenanted by birds and beasts alone, and, as it was in the desolate dwelling of Morna,' there the thistle shakes its lonely head--the moss whistles in the wind, and the fox looks out of the windows, as the rank grass of the wall waves round his head.' A scene so wild, and picturesque, and pathless, is seldom passed by strangers without an inquiry, and its history never heard without emotion.
It is now more than half a century since Col. Ales
worth, an English gentleman of opulent fortune, and, according to report, of high character, having purchased a large tract of land in that quarter, erected his mansion on the mountain, from the top of which, he could overlook all his possessions, and fixed his residence there.
As he spent the greater part of a noble revenue in improving his new estate, soon the wilderness began to blossom. Alesbury, took its name from him, and rose to the rank of an opulent and business-doing village. Year after year, inroads were made upon the forests, and extensive fields and meadows were scattered over the country. A hand so full, and a heart so liberal, could not fail to give an impluse to industry, and stir up enterprize around. But Col. Alesworth, while he scattered far and wide his bounty, and levied on every side contributions of gratitude, was himself, of a gloomy and desponding turn. He was yet not far advanced in years, but he had, evidently, lived long enough to become acquainted with sorrow-some secret spring had been poisoned in his bosom.
One winter's night, not many years after Col. Alesworth had located himself in the neighbourhood of Alesbury, a wandering female and her child, a little boy of about three or four years old, were admitted into his house, in his absence. The mother was an entire stranger in the country, destitute, and in a deep decline; and she died, shortly before the Colonel came home, leaving her helpless orphan behind her without a friend. But it found a friend in Alesworth; he saw in the engaging countenance and bright blue eyes of the little innocent, so much of promise, that he resolved to send him to the village school, and take care of him during his infancy.
Young Edward was, accordingly, under the care of his kind patron, instructed in the rudiments of an English education, and at a suitable time, apprenticed to a merchant in one of the commercial cities; there he acquired so good a character, and insinuated himself so completely into the affections of his master, that before his apprenticeship was completed, he was taken into partnership, in a few years after, married his only
daughter, and upon the death of the father-in law, inherited a handsome fortune, with which he returned to Alesbury, settled himself down in a neat business, and lived surrounded with comfort and plenty, and loaded with honours; and at last he was elevated to the judicial bench, a station which all acknowledged he was eminently qualified for.
We must now leave our young friend, to return to Col. Alesworth, whom we left administering to the wants of the distressed, cherishing and protecting the orphan, and practising all the virtues of the philanthropist. Not long after Edward had been taken from school, the colonel left his residence at the Highlands, and was absent six months; to what part of the world he went, and what was the object of his journey, remained unknown; but when he returned he was no longer the same man-if before he was subject to melancholy, he was now the picture of despair--he was seldom seen in public, his most intimate friends were often denied access to him, and his conduct was altogether become strange and unaccountable.
In this state of retired, melancholy seclusion, colonel Alesworth continued for many years; Edward rose to rank and affluence, meantime, but now his former friend and patron shunned him.
At length, late in the evening of a fine May-day, a stranger in a curricle drove up to the inn in Alesbury, and inquired the way to the residence of Col. Alesworth, and, upon receiving directions, drove rapidly on. Nothing more was seen or heard of him, except that the servants of the colonel said he had remained with their master all night, and, as they were told, left him before day the next morning,
And the mystery, that hung about colonel Alesworth, was not in the least cleared up by a visit from several gentlemen of a distant city, who came in quest of the unknown stranger, reporting him to be a person of fortune, much renowned in the sporting worid, and, that he had never been heard of since he was seen in the village. Suspicious that he must have met with some foul play, were openly expressed, and some circumstanc