« ПретходнаНастави »
boat and safe upon the strand. Kitty was there, sir, you may be sure, cryin' as if her heart would break with joy and sorrow, and as I foulded her in my arms and thought of all I owed her, I vowed that the promise which ended then should be once more made, not for a day but for many a long year, if God spared us; on to the end: till death parted us forever. We wor married, but not on the day we named; for, out iv respect iv the poor, drowned fishermen, our weddin' was put off a couple iv months. And in ending my story, sir, all I can say is, that when I regret havin' taken Kitty for my wife I'll then regret, and not till then, havin' taken that Pledge which has brought joy, peace, and prosperity along with it."
The storm having abated, I left my humble friend's happy dwelling, deeply interested by his simple story, and pondering on the many strange ways in which the advantages of temperance may be portrayed to us. I hear occasionally from the West of Ireland; and by the last account Larry was a hale, hearty old man, loved and respected by all, surrounded by children and grandchildren, and his "darlint friend and protector"-as he loved to call his wife-still by his side.
A VISIT TO THE MINERAL SPRING, EAST BAY, CAPE BRETON.
BY W. D. DIMOCK, A. B.
HOW eagerly and how naturally mankind grasp at every possible
means that will beget health! The most visionary objects we in our attempts to gain a sound body, and prolong, if possible, our span of life. The mens sana in corpore sano is an Eldorado that with unwearied strength we are ever striving to attain. Disease is a sleepless monster of hideous mien that no Medea can overcome, and that too often vanquishes the skill of the modern Esculapius, whose staff, knotted and thorny though it be, can never half symbolize the aches, pains and sorrows that weak, frail man is heir to.
A “parva rura and the old fashioned family salt-cellar on a frugal board," Horace may exclaim; but what are these, even with
a "contented mind," when the blood boils with fever and the parched tongue lies burning in the mouth? We must have health and we seek for it everywhere. Time and money are mere ciphers that we may multiply and divide at pleasure, with no great gain, in our search for health. At one time we may madly rush to a Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Life, or again, bathe in the chalybeate waters of Spa or Saratoga, and fondly imagine we will emerge invulnerable from these Stygian waves.
A few years ago I visited a tiny spring, the waters of which were highly impregnated with carbonate of iron, and whose reputed medicinal properties were so wonderful that hundreds were crowding to it. From far and near invalids were flocking to drink of the health-restoring water, which, it was said, lost much of its efficacy to cure unless drunk on the margin of the spring. Summer after summer it was the "rage." Every season brought a new crowd of visitors and health seekers. At last I decided to join a party that had planned a trouting excursion up the waters of the Bras d'Or; and on our way, by a slight deviation, we could stop and see the mineral spring, then in full blast, and satisfy ourselves of the wonders its waters possessed.
As the Spring was distant some forty miles or so from North Sydney, the chief coaling port on the Island of Cape Breton, we found we must make an early start. One of those lovely mornings in June, the air so balmy and invigorating that even the sad heart must rejoice as the youth, found us at day-dawn rapidly whirling off to our destination. What new vigor the fresh morning breeze instils! How lovely all nature appeared! In what beautiful robes she was decked! The green fields on our right sloping seaward, with their thousands of dewy crystals reflecting the face of the rosy-fingered Aurora, now gently emerging with golden light from the eastern ocean, and to the left, the ever-heaving sea, silently breaking on the pebbly beach into tiny waves of the most brilliant coruscations, added new charms to the scene around, and made us all feel that
"Sweet is the breath of morn; her rising sweet,
What resolutions were formed that beautiful morning! How much did we lament the hours of the never-to-be-recalled past, that we had lost in idle slumber. What pledges we gave one another, for the future, to be up with the lark, and enjoy the
most divine part of the day, I well remember. The novelty and beauty to most of us of a "sun-rise," was so entrancing, that we made good promises of reform in our late rising, which Punic faith, alas! was so soon broken.
For miles our course was through a lovely country, with rich and fertile arable lands on every side. The early ploughman was at his work. The herd-boy was watching his cattle. The birds were singing in the neighboring groves. Everything seemed to be at work, and realized that soft, balmy spring would soon give place to summer, and then would come winter, against which preparation must be made at once. Soon all these fine fields are left behind, the habitations of men disappear, and we enter the "forests primeval."
Across jolting, bouncing, rattling bridges; through soft and clayey roads, over-shadowed by tall beech trees that above us seem to join in fond embrace; past little brooks that run seaward, and moss-clad springs that, oozing from the hill-side, run trickling over our path, we wind our way. A ray of sunlight now and again flashes through the thick wood, and the shadow that the dark, damp forests, wet with the night-dews, threw over our spirits, is chased away.
Once more we burst into the wide and open country. The flashing surface in the distance tells us that we have arrived at. that favorite resort of Walton's disciples, Gillies' Lake. We agree to wait till our return, before we tempt the silvery trout from the great, dark depths of the waters before us. In the distance stands a large, white chapel, so, Aristippus-like, we argue we are yet in the confines of civilization. Dense forests once more. Tall hardwood trees, hoary with age, everywhere. Thetimid, panting hare sits crouching on the roadside, or goes leaping away before the dust cloud of our wagon. The owl hoots overhead, and the morning song of a thousand birds fills the air.
The public way is now left behind, and we turn off into the lone road, frequented only by the weak and weary invalids that have come to recuperate on the banks of this spring. What jolting, and tossing, pitching and rolling, bumping and thumping we experience as our heavy van sways along on this uneven road. The twisted roots of mighty trees, as old almost as the rocks they grow on, stretch serpentine over our way, as if to trip us. Deepruts that some lumbering cart, perhaps bearing a family and their
Penates to the spring-side have gouged out, we sink into, that gives us all a forward motion, till we bring up in a pile against the driver, who is firmly braced against the foot-board.
The forest is thicker and the road rougher. We have had nothing like this before. We are told that we must leave our wagon and take to our horses, or walk. I immediately seize upon the quietest looking beast and endeavor to mount him, with the assistance of a tumble-down old stump. The stump sinks beneath my weight, I sink hurriedly beneath the horse. With the friendly hand of a companion I manage to mount, and spanning the beast with my legs, I hold on in spite of his prancing and rearing. A friend, almost worn out by the rough tossing we had received, can walk no further. He will risk a seat behind me. I feel perfectly safe too. But, oh, how fleeting are worldly projects! No sooner had my companion touched the horse, then high up in the air went his legs, forming a straight line with his back, his head dropped downwards, a kind of centrifugal motion seized me, and in a second I was coiled up in a rude heap amid the thick furzy underbrush and the thorny prickles of the raspberry. I concluded to walk to the spring. I was not the least tired. Always preferred walking to riding on horseback.
As we tugged and scrambled along the mere footpath, we meet numbers of men, women and childern returning from the celebrated waters. Every one had a flagon, jug, or bottle filled with the healing liquid. They are a happy group on their homeward march. The trip through the rough forests has put new life into them, which they attribute to the healing power of the precious waters they are bearing with them. Our curiosity is greatly increased, and jostling about from side to side, we hurry on.
Here we are at last, sure enough. Little canvas tents, camps of the evergreen spruce and temporary huts rudely constructed, dot the little mounds, and everywhere peer through the trees. Only one permanent habitation appears, a little removed from the general encampment, with a roughly finished barn attached, and a sloping plot of land surrounded by a rustic fence. Two cows cooling themselves in the shade of the barn, a rickety looking horse grazing near by, a pig grunting at the doorstep, and numberless flocks of domestic fowls indicated that their owner did not belong to the nomadic crowd housed in the white tents, but was a resident of the valley, and probably, by profession, would
call himself a farmer. The valley before us was the spot that, for the last eight or ten years, had been visited by so many. As yon approach the Mineral Spring, at the top of a densely wooded hill, you are met by a host of little ragamuffins all offering their services to point out the great wonder of the place. These ragged little urchins belong to the settlements some five miles away, and are ever on the lookout for the few coins travellers may throw to them. They are a hardy set of boys, living on the most homely fare, sleeping on the dewy grass, and seeking shelter from storms beneath the protecting arms of some mountain tree. Under the leadership of one of these we make our way to the spring. Here and there we pass groups of worn-out travellers resting beneath the shady forest trees. Some are pitching their tents, similar to those that already glisten in the mid-day sun, and others are preparing their scanty meal.
It is almost impossible to follow our bare-footed guide as he nimbly pushes through the trees, and rapidly hurries over the under-brush. He has the agility of a squirrel, and we are left far behind. As we come up, he looks first at his own dirty bare feet and slimly formed limbs, then a look of contempt passes over his equally dirty face, as he gazes on our legs carefully ensconced in heavy knee-boots, and our hands protected by thick gloves.
He would not exchange places with us. He rather pities us. No feeling of jealousy enters his untutored mind as he gazes on us equipped cap-a-pie to protect our bodies from the merciless twigs and broken wood that are ever assailing us. Rather the reverse. He feels sorry for us, and smiling, chuckling to himself, he starts on again.
"This here's the spring," came from a clump of small bushes a little beyond us. We hurry up, and, as as our guide parted the thick brambles with his hands, a mud hole about as large as a bucket is disclosed to view. Shades of the departed! is this the celebrated mineral spring? An insignificant hollow with a red clay bottom, the ground for some distance round a little moist, is what we have pointed out as the natural curiosity that we have encountered a nine hours' journey to visit. We look aghast. Speechless we gaze on the filthy, empty bog-hole before us. We scan one another's countenances in mute surprise. Were we fools