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Which we now spurn with haughty feet, without
Or being; sharers of man's common lot,
And still young hearts will sit with JESSICA
And her fond lover, prating of the stars;
Against the fondest pair that ever yet
And bathe their spirits in reviving 'dew
Of laughter-loving and sack-drinking wights —
The grand regalities of olden time;
The stately manners of chivalric days;
Through which the Passions lead their minions base,
Here will they mark Love's sovereign power; the might
That dwells in gentle deeds; the potent sway
Trampling in dust the tyrannous and strong,
And while that monument by Nilus' flood
Tells only of barbaric pride and power;
Hoped vainly to perpetuate a name
This monument of a new era tells
The might, the majesty that dwells in man
Defy old Time, and, like fixed stars, engage
SHIP PE GAN.
Thirty days had we passed upon the Atlantic before our ship entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence, when at length the wind, laden with odors of forest-trees and flowers; little timid birds which flew near us ; floating trees and shrubs, and a long, low coast not far away, all told us that our voyage approached its close. Yet how long were the last hours! The waters of the Gulf were provokingly smooth ; the ship lay vexatiously still, with her sails grumbling about the creaking yards; and the mild apology for a breeze, which occasionally fanned us, was directly ahead.
"Captain, when shall we get to the shore? The wind is ahead, is n't it?'
This was the fifty-ninth time, I should say, that I had asked this question of our dapper little captain, who was patiently pacing the quarterdeck.
* The wind! Ah, yes, Sir — the wind is ray-ther unfortunate in its character and direction, but balmy, Sir; yes, re-markably balmy.'
Oh! hang the balmy breeze!' I muttered, going to the bows to find relief from ennui in questioning the mate, who stood there lazily gazing at the entrance of the Bay de Chaleur, whither we were bound.
Mr. Jones, when do you suppose we shall arrive there?' 'Hum! I guess, Sir, it would take a man with a head as long as a horse to tell that. Perhaps the French pilot in that boat out there will tell
you, if he ever gets on board. Why do n't he row? He'll never get here, if he do n't take his oars.'
*Row!' yelled the mate, at the same time making gestures to a boat about three miles ahead.
Of course they could not see him, but by some coincidence they seemed just to think of what the mate so earnestly desired, and in about an hour the pilot came on board.
I wanted to show the captain that I had not spent a month in Paris for nothing; so I spoke to the pilot in my best French, renewing the question which I had put to the captain.
“The wind, perhaps - he would n't swear it — but perhaps it would change in the evening.'
'Ah! really, Sir,' said the captain, “it's a consolation to be able to converse in another tongue. I speak French myself tolerably.?
In fact, the captain completely eclipsed me, for he talked with amazing volubility, and made his hands fly most wonderfully while gesticulating.
I suppose the reader has never heard of Shippegan. It would not be surprising if he were completely ignorant of the Bay de Chaleur. For my part, I was entirely free from any knowledge whatever of those places, until I went there. Nevertheless, although remote from the busy world, it is an interesting place. It is amazingly so.' This is what the captain told me, adding, at the same time, that it was inhabited by French, the remnants of the old Acadian settlers. They dwell in great numbers about here, supporting themselves by agriculture and fishing, preserving their simple feelings and primitive manners unaltered, while all around has changed.
As the ship sailed slowly up the harbor of Shippegan on the following morning, I stood and gazed with indescribable delight upon the beauties which opened up on every side. On the Gaspé shore the bay was bounded by lofty bills, which, gradually declining to the water's edge, afforded excellent advantages for the homes of those who united the occupations of farmer and fisher. On the New-Brunswick side, the country was low and undulating, richly wooded, and in many places well cultivated. Scores of fishing-boats with their snowy sails dotted the waters of the bay. As we sailed up the long, narrow barbor, we looked with great curiosity upon the unknown villages lying upon the shore, so quaint and quiet, with their singular-looking barns and rude wharves.
The ship anchored near some mills from which she was to receive a cargo of timber and return to England.
*A rummy little place,' said the captain, pointing to the straggling village of Shippegan; ray-ther so, I should think; but, bless me! it's quite lively, and the company is surprisingly entertaining. In that house with the odd-looking fence lives 'ma chère Madame Vieuxfemme,' a lady at whose mansion
I had the pleasure of making a short stay two years ago. She has a very fascinating little witch of a daughter. If you stop at Shippegan, allow me to advise you confidentially to lodge at Madame Vieuxfemme's.
The chère Madame' was a lively, bustling little body, with a cap whose borders were perfectly enormous. She welcomed the captain with alternate laughter and tears, while the conversation was kept up with unfailing energy for half an hour, when in stepped the prettiest, coyest
, merriestlooking little being that can be imagined. She ran up to the captain with a shout of hearty welcome. He made a paternal offer of a kiss, but she only gave him her little band. She had a dark complexion, black hair, large black eyes, mischievous, laughing mouth, pouting, ruby lips, and dimpled cheeks. How small her fairy hand was! What a ringing laugh she had !
By George!' cried the enthusiastic captain, after an earnest look, and with a gesture of unbounded admiration. You — you're a bouncer ! a perfectly awful one!'
I came suddenly to the conclusion to lodge here, if possible, and spoke to the old lady about it.
“Oh, Monsieur can stay here if he wants to. We have two beautiful little spare-rooms, and we will do any thing in the world for him.'
It was a curious house, built of wood, with a steep roof, chimney outside, and old-fashioned little windows. Creepers grew around it, climbing into the windows, running up along the chimney, luxuriating around the edge of the roof. Inside there was a 'best-room with a sanded floor, a high mantel-piece covered with curious shells, large solid tables and highbacked chairs. In the common sitting-room there were the same kind of movables, but of a ruder material; there was a glorious old fire-place, deep and high, with polished fire-irons, and comfortable chairs in which one could loll and rest in an ecstasy of quiet enjoyment. In these chairs the captain and I took our siesta, languidly talking, blinking at the polished tins and shining brass candle-sticks, with an old black cat purring between us. It was a chimney-corner the like of which never is seen in our land.
We walked out into the village. It lies at the extremity of a long harbor, and is built without much regard to regularity. The cottages are all built of wood, and bear a general resemblance to that of Madame Vieuxfemme. The captain knew every body, and received from every one a warm welcome. It was a bow here, a smile there, a warm shake of many a band, and occasionally a fatherly kiss to some pretty Acadienne.
Captain, that is not fair. I ought to come in for a small share.'
A long grass-grown road traversed the village, and here there was some attempt at regularity in the arrangement of the houses.
We walked up to one. ‘Entrez, entrez, messieurs, je vous prie,' exclaimed a benevolent-looking man who stood by the door oiling a gunlock.
We complied with the request. The house was neat and clean. What pretty children those were who sat laughing in a corner! The oldest was a girl of about fifteen, named Marie ; and there were three others. Marie was a little beauty. The queer manner in which she and her equally beautiful little sister were dressed, added a certain oddity to their appearance. Their home-spun frocks had very short waists, and extremely narrow long skirts; and their huge wooden shoes went clump, clump,' whenever they walked. Two fine little boys were playing with a large dog. Handsome little fellows! How pleasant to look at their honest faces, with clustering hair hanging carelessly about their brows!
“Those are surprising children; extraordinary !' muttered the captain to me. 'Quite a little nest of cherubs. Father fine man; mother dead; oldest daughter has taken care of the others ever since she was nine years old : womanly little piece, is n't it?'
The father, whose name was Groeneuf, pressed us to remain and take dinner. He brought out some salted Caribou meat, which was eaten with magnificent potatoes. The bread was of snowy whiteness, made by Marie; the coffee was of unsurpassable excellence, and sweetened with maple-sugar. Mr. Groeneuf was a simple-minded man, with a large amount of plain good sense. With an entire ignorance of the character and progress of the outer world, he was completely contented with his lot, believing Shippegan to be as beautiful a place as earth could afford.
I took one of the little boys upon my knee.
My name's Jean; and his name's Alphonse; and her name is Marie; and hers is Jeanette. What's yours?' My name is Jean, also.'
The same as mine. 0-oh!' and the little fellow clapped his hands in childish glee. Where did you come from?'
• Did you ever hear of a place called France ?'
Well,' said I, “I've just been there, and I will show you something which I brought from a large town called Paris;' and I took a knife from my pocket. But the boy did not notice it. He was overwhelmed by the thought of talking with a man who had been in France.
'He's been in France !' whispered he to Jeanette.
Marie looked at me with all her might. They could not have been more surprised if a man had dropped from the moon.
“See here, Alphonse; I bought this knife in France, and I'll give it to you.'
He took the knife, opened the blades one by one, and at last, looking up to me with unspeakable thanks, jumped from my knee and ran to Alphonse, who joined him in expressions of the most profound admiration. I gave Alphonse a little French book with pictures, and the next day presented Marie with a parasol, and Jeanette with a little ladies' companion,' all from France. All the time that I remained in Shippegan, I was welcome to the humble home of Groeneuf, and each one tried to out-do the other in all kinds of friendly services.
We left the house and strolled along farther. The captain stopped at every house, shaking hands with the inmates. The houses were all clean and comfortable. The daughters sat spinning, and the sons were out in the fields. The father would be smoking, and the mother knitting. At length we came to a house rather better than the others.
This,' said the captain, “is the house of my respectable friend Bontête, a fine old man, with such a daughter! She is a fairy, an houri; yes, Sir, an angel !!
Bontête, looking like some old patriarch, sat at his door, smoking,
'Ah, my old friend,' he said, when he saw the captain, you are here again, are you? I saw your ship coming in, and would have gone down, but I was afraid of troubling you.'
‘And how are you, and how is the beautiful Corinne ?' said the captain.
Corinne is very well, and so am I. But come in.'
We accompanied the old man into the house. The room was very neat and clean. A pitcher filled with sweet flowers stood upon the table. There was a mantel-piece covered with shells from the beach, and there was a comfortable arm-chair for the old man. An engraving of Paris was upon one of the walls. I was looking at it when, hearing the door open, I saw a little fairy running to the captain, and welcoming him to Shippegan.
Ah ! this must be Corinne,' thought I.
She was a beauty. She had an elegant figure; a light, clear complexion; rosy lips that when open disclosed a row of teeth like pearls ; large, clear, blue eyes; and light hair that clustered in short curls all round her head; short curls that flew every way; elfish curls — ah! how I longed to push them back from her forehead. She was introduced, and gave me the smallest, whitest hand in the world, at the same time making a low courtesy.
*Ah! Captain," she said, 'I suppose you are as lively as ever. You will be amusing yourself with us poor girls again. What a wonderful being you are, a’n't you, Captain ? '
The captain tried to look solemn for a while, but afterward became very lively, and talked about all the old people of the village. Corinne bantered him, laughed at him, laughed with him, talked and chatted for an hour. What a merry, witty, funny little thing she was, to be sure !