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II. Now had the season returned, when the nights grow colder and longer, And the retreating sun the sign of the Scorpion enters. Birds of passage sailed through the leaden air, from the ice-bound, Desolate northern bays to the shores of tropical islands. Harvests were gathered in; and wild with the winds of September Wrestled the trees of the forest, as Jacob of old with the angel. All the signs foretold a winter long and inclement. Bees, with prophetic instinct of want, had hoarded their honey Till the hives overflowed; and the Indian hunters asserted Cold would the winter be, for thick was the fur of the foxes. Such was the advent of autumn. Then followed that beautiful season, Called by the pious Acadian peasants the Summer of All Saints ! Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood. Peace seemed to reign upon earth, and the restless heart of the ocean Was for a moment consoled. All sounds were in harmony blended. Voices of children at play, the crowing of cocks in the farm-yards, Whir of wings in the drowsy air, and the cooing of pigeons, All were subdued and low as the murmurs of love, and the great sun Looked with the eye of love through the golden vapours around him; While arrayed in its robes of russet and scarlet and yellow, Bright with the sheen of the dew, each glittering tree of the forest Flashed like the plane-tree the Persian adorned with mantles and jewels.
Now recommenced the reign of rest and affection and stillness.
dog, Patient, full of importance, and grand in the pride of his instinct, Walking from side to side with a lordly air, and superbly Waving his bushy tail, and urging forward the stragglers; Regent of flocks was he when the shepherd slept; their protector, When from the forest at night, through the starry silence, the wolves
howled. Late, with the rising moon, returned the wains from the marshes, Laden with briny hay, that filled the air with its odour. Cheerily neighed the steeds, with dew on their manes and their fetlocks, While aloft on their shoulders the wooden and ponderous saddles,
Painted with brilliant dyes, and adorned with tassels of crimson,
In-doors, warm by the wide-mouthed fireplace, idly the farmer Sat in his elbow chair, and watched how the flames and the smoke
wreaths Struggled together like foes in a burning city. Behind him, Nodding and mocking along the wall, with gestures fantastic, Darted his own huge shadow, and vanished away into darkness. Faces, clumsily carved in oak, on the back of his arm-chair Laughed in the flickering light, and the pewter plates on the dresser Caught and reflected the flame, as shields of armies the sunshine. Fragments of song the old man sang, and carols of Christmas, Such as at home, in the olden time, his fathers before him Sang in their Norman orchards and bright Burgundian vineyards. Close at her father's side was the gentle Evangeline seated, Spinning flax for the loom, that stood in the corner behind her. Silent awhile were its treadles, at rest was its diligent shuttle, While the monotonous drone of the wheel, like the drone of a bagpipe, Followed the old man's song, and united the fragments together. As in a church, when the chant of the choir at intervals ceases, Footfalls are heard in the aisles, or words of the priest at the altar, So, in each pause of the song, with measured motion the clock clicked.
Thus, as they sat, there were footsteps heard, and, suddenly lifted, Sounded the wooden latch, and the door swung back on its hinges. Benedict knew by the hob-nailed shoes it was Basil the blacksmith, And by her beating heart Evangeline knew who was with him. “ Welcome !" the farmer exclaimed, as their footsteps paused on the
threshold, “ Welcome, Basil, my friend! Come, take thy place on the settle Close by the chimney-side, which is always empty without thee; Take from the shelf overhead thy pipe and the box of tobacco; Never so much thyself art thou as when through the curling Smoke of the pipe or the forge thy friendly and jovial face gleams Round and red as the harvest moon through the midst of the marshes." Then, with a smile of content, thus answered Basil the blacksmith, Taking with easy air the accustomed seat by the fireside:“ Benedict Bellefontaine, thou hast ever thy jest and thy ballad! Ever in cheerfulest mood art thou, when others are filled with Gloomy forebodings of ill, and see only ruin before them. Happy art thou, as if every day thou hadst picked up a horseshoe.” Pausing a moment, to take the pipe that Evangeline brought him,
And with a coal from the embers had lighted, he slowly continued :-
them, Filled the barn with hay, and the house with food for a twelvemonth. René Leblanc will be here anon, with his papers and inkhorn. Shall we not then be glad, and rejoice in the joy of our children po As apart by the window she stood, with her hand in her lover's, Blushing Evangeline heard the words that her father had spoken, And as they died on his lips the worthy notary entered.
BENT like a labouring oar, that toils in the surf of the ocean,
For he told them tales of the Loup-garou in the forest,
village, And, perchance, canst tell us some news of these ships and their errand." Then with modest demeanour made answer the notary public,“ Gossip enough have I heard, in sooth, yet am never the wiser; And what their errand may be I know not better than others. Yet am I not of those who imagine some evil intention Brings them here, for we are at peace; and why then molest us?” “God's name!” shouted the hasty and somewhat irascible blacksmith; “Must we in all things look for the how, and the why, and the where
fore? Daily injustice is done, and might is the right of the strongest !” But without heeding his warmth, continued the notary public, “Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice Triumphs; and well I remember a story, that often consoled me, When as a captive I lay in the old French fort at Port Royal." This was the old man's favourite tale, and he loved to repeat it When his neighbours complained that any injustice was done them. “Once in an ancient city, whose name I no longer remember, Raised aloft on a column, a brazen statue of Justice Stood in the public square, opholding the scales in its left hand, And in its right a sword, as an emblem that justice presided Over the laws of the land, and the hearts and homes of the people. Even the birds had built their nests in the scales of the balance, Having no fear of the sword that flashed in the sunshine above them. But in the course of time the laws of the land were corrupted ; Might took the place of right, and the weak were oppressed, and the
mighty Ruled with an iron rod. Then it chanced in a nobleman's palace That a necklace of pearls was lost, and ere long a suspicion Fell on an orphan girl who lived as maid in the household. She, after form of trial, condemned to die on the scaffold, Patiently met her doom at the foot of the statue of Justice. As to her Father in heaven her innocent spirit ascended, Lo! o'er the city a tempest rose; and the bolts of the thunder Smote the statue of bronze, and hurled in wrath from its left hand Down on the pavement below the clattering scales of the balance, And in the hollow thereof was found the nest of a magpie, Into whose clay-built walls the necklace of pearls was inwoven." Silenced, but not convinced, when the story was ended, the blacksmith
Stood like a man who fain would speak, but findeth no language;' All his thoughts were congealed into lines on his face, as the vapours Freeze in fantastic shapes on the window-panes in the winter.
Then Evangeline lighted the brazen lamp on the table, Filled, till it overflowed, the pewter tankard with home-brewed Nut-brown ale, that was famed for its strength in the village of Grand
Thus passed the evening away. Anon the bell from the belfry Rang out the hour of nine, the village curfew, and straightway Rose the guests and departed; and silence reigned in the household. Many a farewell word and sweet good-night on the door-step Lingered long in Evangeline's heart, and filled it with gladness. Carefully then were covered the embers that glowed on the hearth-stone, And on the oaken stairs resounded the tread of the farmer. Soon with a soundless step the foot of Evangeline followed. tp the staircase mored a luminous space in the darkness, Lighted less by the lamp than the shining face of the maiden Silent she passed through the hall, and entered the door of her chamber. Simple that chamber was, with its curtains of white, and its clothes
press Ample and high, on whose spacious shelves were carefully folded Linen and woollen stuffs, by the hand of Evangeline woven. This was the precious dower she would bring to her husband in mar
Better than flocks and herds, being proofs of her skill as a housewife. Soon she extinguished her lamp, for the mellow and radiant moonlight