Page images
PDF
EPUB

the ill omens of the Pow-wow, and the fortunes of the day thus far against them, had left them but little heart for continuing what they began to be persuaded must be a hopeless contest. The enemy, who had ascended the steep without faltering, continued to rush impetuously onward, until the hill was cleared of the foe, and his flank completely turned. Perceiving that the fortunes of the day were irretrievably lost, and that there was a prospect of their now being surrounded, the savages and their allies precipitately abandoned their works, crossed the river, and fled in the utmost confusion.

Meantime the detachment, which had been sent round to the rear of the village, already spoken of, with Mr. Johnson, entered the same from one direction just as the flying fugitives, maddened by defeat and burning with rage, began to make their appearance from the other. In a moment all was uproar and confusion. Not dreaming of having the long knives' to encounter from behind, they were now driven to despair, a scattering fight took place, and a few fell on both sides. The guide hurried the detachment along in the direction of Mackwah's cabin, before reaching which Mattewan was discovered in an attempt to fly with Alice, whom she was dragging along by her side. The detachment rushed forward, the eagerness of the father keeping him in hazardous advance. The recognition of father and daughter was simultaneous. “My father!" “My daughter!” were

exclamations of the same instant of time; and the delighted parent sprang forward to clasp his long lost child to his bosom. But he had not yet exhausted the bitterness mingled in his cup of life. For at the very moment when another leap would have consummated the father's joyous expectations, the undaunted Mackwah bounded like a tiger from behind the ample trunk of a giant pine; his eyes flashing fire, and his distended nostrils breathing vengeance and fury, as his uplifted hatchet twinkled for a moment in the air, and was in the same instant planted deep in the lovely temples of the beautiful Alice Johnson! In the very same instant, also, that the fatal weapon was thus buried in the head of the fair and innocent captive, a bullet sped to his heart by an eagle-eyed and unerring rifleman, who comprehended his purpose as he sprang from his hiding place, brought the furious Mackwah, with a convulsive bound, his full length upon the earth. The vindictive warrior pointed with exultation to the bleeding victim at his side, as his body was writhing in the last struggle with death; and he died 'grinning horribly a ghastly smile.'

But who can paint the sufferings of the twice bereaved parent, at the moment of such an awful disappointment, or adequately describe the emotions then swelling his bleeding, bursting heart! In one moment he beheld the lovely form of his beloved and only child, in health and beauty, extending her arms in an ecstasy of delight to meet his warm embrace, and in

the next instant, he was clasping her mangled remains to his throbbing bosom, the flesh yet quivering in the agonies of death!

Not all the tears,
The lingering, lasting misery of years,
Could match that minute's anguish! All the worst
Of sorrow's elements, in that dark hour,
Broke o'er his soul, and with one crash of fate
Laid the hopes of his whole life desolate."

Long and dreary was the pilgrimage of Mr. Johnson, after the tragic events we have here recorded. His wife soon followed her little ones to the mansions of rest: when the last ray of earthly happiness was extinguished in his bosom for ever. He never smiled again!

BOYHOOD'S DAYS.

BY FREDERIC MELLEN.

"And to look list'ning on the scatter'd leaves,
" While autumn winds were at their evening song;
« These were my pastimes

They spake of a bright and fairy land

Far off in the golden west; Where the wild flowers bloom'd on the yellow sand,

And spirits of air had rest.

They spake of those who were dead and gone,

Who had pass'd to thạt sunny shore;
Who wander'd back when the moon grew wan,

To their own green woods once more.

And oft when the summer eve drew near,

And faint from the distant glen,
The gladsome shout fell sweet on the ear,

From the wearied harvest men;

At that hour of rest, when the busy hum

Of the world had pass'd to sleep; Bright forms were said from their homes to come,

O'er their childhood's haunts to weep.

Those were life's young days, and the forest gloom

For me had a holy charm, When the wither'd leaves sought their mossy tomb

In the autumn's twilight calm.

For the voice of the falling leaf to me,

Was the voice of the year by-gone; And the deep-toned wind, the minstrelsy

That mournfully sped it on.

And as I gazed on the glorious light,

That slept on the distant hills,
And heard through the coming shades of night,

The laugh of the leaping rills;

The spirit sigh’d for the sun-bright land,

That legends had pictured there;
And oft-times touch'd by wild fancy's wand,

Would wing through the evening air,

To those far blue hills, and list to the sound

Of the joyous world below; Where strange wild music was breathing round,

And the bells rung sweet and low.

« PreviousContinue »