List Of Contents | Contents of Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie
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you there.'

"Willie grasped his father's hand, for he was too much eleated to
speak, and he ran away to tell his tale of love to the girl of his
heart. Jeanie had long loved Robertson in secret, and they were not
long in settling the mater. They forgot in their first moments of
joy that old Saunders had to be consulted, for they had determined
to take the old man with them. But here an obstacle occurred of
which they had not dreamed. Old age is selfish, and Saunders
obstinately refused to comply with their wishes. The grave that
held the remains of his wife and son was dearer to him than all
the comforts promised to him by the impatient lovers in that far
foreign land. Jeanie wept--but Saunders, deaf and blind, neither
heard nor saw her grief, and, like a dutiful child, she breathed
no complaint to him, but promised to remain with him until his
head rested upon the same pillow with the dead.

"This was a sore and great trial to Willie Robertson, but he
consoled himself for his disappointment with the thought that
Saunders could not live long, and that he would go and prepare a
place for his Jean, and have everythung ready for her reception
against the old man died.

"'I was a cousin of Willie's,' continued James, 'by the mither's
side, and he persuaded me to accompany him to Canada. We set sail
the first day of May, and were here in time to chop a small fallow
for a fall crop. Willie Robertson had more of this world's gear
than I, for his father had provided him with sufficient funds to
purchase a good lot of wild land, which he did in the township of
M---, and I was to work with him on shares. We were one of the
first settlers in that place, and we found the work before us rough
and hard to our heart's content. But Willie had a strong motive for
exertion--and never did man work harder than he did that first year
on his bush-farm, for the love of Jeanie Burns.'

"We built a comfortable log-house, in which we were were assisted
by the few neighbours we had, who likewise lent a hand in clearing
ten acres we had chopped for fall crop.

"All this time Willie kept up a constant correspondence with Jeanie
Burns, and he used to talk to me of her coming out, and his future
plans, every night when our work was done. If I had not loved and
respected the girl mysel' I should have got unco' tired o' the

"We had just put in our first crop of wheat, when a letter came
from Jeanie bringing us the news of her grandfather's death. Weel
I ken the word that Willie spak' to me when he closed that letter.
'Jamie, the auld man is gane at last--an', God forgi'e me, I feel
too gladsome to greet. Jeanie is willin' to come whenever I ha'e
the means to bring her out, an', hout man, I'm jist thinkin' that
she winna' ha'e to wait lang.'

"Good workmen were getting very high wages just then, and Willie
left the care of the place to me, and hired for three months with
auld Squire Jones. He was an excellent teamster, and could put his
hand to any sort of work. When his term of service expired he sent
Jeanie forty dollars to pay her passage out, which he hoped she
would not delay longer than the spring.

"He got an answer from Jeanie full of love and gratitude, but she
thought that her voyage might be delayed until the fall. The good
woman, with whom she had lodged since her parent's died, had just
lost her husband, and was in a bad state of health, and she begged
Jeanie to stay with her until her daughter could leave her service
in Edinburgh and come to take charge of the house. This person had
been a kind and steadfast friend to Jeanie in all her troubles, and
had helped her nurse the old man in his dying illness. I am sure it
was just like Jeanie to act as she did. She had all her life looked
more to the comforts of others than to her ain. But Robertson was
an angry man when he got that letter, and he said, 'If that was a'
the lo'e that Jeanie Burns had for him, to prefer an auld woman's
comfort, who was naething to her, to her betrothed husband, she
might bide awa' as lang as she pleased, he would never trouble
himsel' to write to her again.'

"I did na' think that the man was in earnest, an' I remonstrated
with him on his folly an' injustice. This ended in a sharp quarrel
atween us, and I left him to gang his ain gate, an' went to live
with my uncle, who kept a blacksmith's forge in the village.

"After a while, we heard that Willie Robertson was married to a
Canadian woman--neither young nor good-looking, and very much his
inferior in every way, but she had a good lot of land in the rear of
his farm. Of course I though that it was all broken off with puir
Jeanie, and I wondered what she would spier at the marriage.

"It was early in June, and our Canadian woods were in their first
flush o' green--an' how green an' lightsome they be in their spring
dress--when Jeanie Burns landed in Canada. She travelled her lane
up the country, wondering why Willie was not at Montreal to meet her
as he had promised in the last letter he sent her. It was late in
the afternoon when the steam-boat brought her to C---, and, without
waiting to ask any questions respecting him, she hired a man and
cart to take her and her luggage to M---. The road through the bush
was very heavy, and it was night before they reached Robertson's
clearing, and with some difficulty the driver found his way among
the logs to the cabin-door.

"Hearing the sound of wheels, the wife, a coarse ill-dressed
slattern, came out to see what could bring strangers to such an
out-o'-the-way place at that late hour. "Puir Jeanie! I can weel
imagine the fluttering o' her heart when she spier'd of the woman
for ane Willie Robertson, and asked if he was at hame?'

"'Yes,' answered the wife gruffly. 'But he is not in from the fallow
yet--you may see him up yonder tending the blazing logs.'

"While Jeanie was striving to look in the direction which the woman
pointed out, and could na' see through the tears that blinded her
e'e, the driver jumped down from the cart, and asked the puir girl
where he should leave her trunks, as it was geting late, and he must
be off?

"'You need not bring these big chests in here,' said Mrs. Robertson,
'I have no room in my house for strangers and their luggage.'

"'Your house!' gasped Jeanie, catching her arm. 'Did ye na' tell me
that _he_ lived here?--and wherever Willie Robertson bides Jeanie
Burns sud be a welcome guest. Tell him,' she continued, trembling
all ower, for she told me afterwards that there was something in the
woman's look and tone that made the cold chills run to her heart,
'that an auld friend from Scotland has jist come off a lang
wearisome journey to see him.'

"'You may speak for yourself!' cried the woman angrily, 'for my
husband is now coming down the clearing.'

"The word husband was scarcely out o' her mouth than puir Jeanie
fell as ane dead across the door-step.

"The driver lifted up the unfortunate girl, carried her into the
cabin, and placed her in a chair, regardless of the opposition of
Mrs. Robertson, whose jealousy was now fairly aroused, and who
declared that the bold huzzie should not enter her doors.

"It was a long time before the driver succeeded in bringing Jeanie
to herself, and she had only just unclosed her eyes when Willie
came in.

"'Wife,' he said, 'whose cart is this standing at the door, and what
do these people want here?'

"'You know best,' cried the angry woman, bursting into tears; 'that
creature is no acquaintance of mine, and if she is suffered to
remain here, I will leave the house at once.'

"'Forgi'e me, gude woman, for having unwittingly offended ye,' said
Jeanie, rising. 'But, merciful Father! how sud I ken that Willie
Robertson, my ain Willie, had a wife? Oh, Willie!' she cried,
covering her face in her hands to hide all the agony that was in
her heart. 'I ha' come a lang way, an' a weary to see ye, an' ye
might ha' spared me the grief--the burning shame o' this. Farewell,
Willie Robertson, I will never mair trouble ye nor her wi' my
presence, but this cruel deed of yours has broken my heart!'

"She went away weeping, and he had not the courage to detain her,
or say one word to comfort her, or account for his strange conduct;
yet, if I know him right, that must ha' been the most sorrowfu'
moment in his life.

"Jeanie was a distant connexion of my uncle's, and she found us out
that night, on her return to the village, and told us all her
grief. My aunt, who was a kind good woman, was indignant at the
treatment she had recieved; and loved and cherished her as if she
had been her own child.

"For two whole weeks she kept her bed, and was so ill that the
doctor despaired of her life; and when she did come again among us,
the colour had faded from her cheeks, and the light from her sweet
blue eyes, and she spoke in a low subdued voice, but she never
spoke of _him_ as the cause of her grief.

"One day she called me aside and said--

"'Jamie, you know how I lo'ed an' trusted _him,_ an' obeyed his ain
wishes in comin' out to this strange country to be his wife. But
'tis all over now,' and she pressed her sma' hands tightly over her
breast to keep doon the swelling o' her heart. 'Jamie, I know now
that it is a' for the best; I lo'ed him too weel--mair than ony
creature sud lo'e a perishing thing o' earth. But I thought that he
wud be sae glad an' sae proud to see his ain Jeanie sae sune. But,
oh!--ah, weel!--I maun na think o' that; what I wud jist say is
this,' an' she took a sma' packet fra' her breast, while the tears
streamed down her pale cheeks. 'He sent me forty dollars to bring
me ower the sea to him--God bless him for that, I ken he worked
hard to earn it, for he lo'ed me then--I was na' idle during his
absence. I had saved enough to bury my dear auld grandfather, and
to pay my ain expenses out, and I thought, like the gude servant
in the parable, I wud return Willie his ain with interest; an' I
hoped to see him smile at my diligence, an' ca' me his bonnie gude
lassie. Jamie, I canna' keep this siller, it lies like a weight o'
lead on my heart. Tak' it back to him, an' tell him fra' me, that
I forgi'e him a' his cruel deceit, an' pray to God to grant him
prosperity, and restore to him that peace o' mind o' which he has
robbed me for ever.'

"I did as she bade me. Willie looked stupified when I delivered her
message. The only remark he made, when I gave him back the money,
was, 'I maun be gratefu', man, that she did na' curse me.' The wife
came in, and he hid away the packet and slunk off. The man looked
degraded in his own eyes, and so wretched, that I pitied him from
my very heart.

"When I came home, Jeanie met me at my uncle's gate. 'Tell me,' she
said in a low anxious voice, 'tell me, cousin Jamie, what passed
atween ye. Had he nae word for me?'

"'Naething, Jeanie, the man is lost to himsel', to a' who ance
wished him weel. He is not worth a decent body's thought.'

"She sighed deeply, for I saw that her heart craved after some word
fra' him, but she said nae mair, but pale an' sorrowfu', the very
ghaist o' her former sel', went back into the house.

"From that hour she never breathed his name to ony of us; but we all
ken'd that it was her love for him that was preying upon her life.
The grief that has nae voice, like the canker-worm, always lies
ne'est to the heart. Puir Jeanie! she held out during the simmer,
but when the fall came, she just withered awa' like a flower, nipped
by the early frost, and this day we laid her in the earth.

"After the funeral was ower, and the mourners were all gone, I stood
beside her grave, thinking ower the days of my boyhood, when she and
I were happy weans, an' used to pu' the gowans together on the
heathery hills o' dear auld Scotland. An' I tried in vain to
understan' the mysterious providence o' God, who had stricken her,
who seemed sae gude and pure, an' spared the like o' me, who was mair
deservin' o' his wrath, when I heard a deep groan, an' I saw Willie
Robertson standing near me beside the grave.

"'Ye may as weel spare your grief noo,' said I, for I felt hard
towards him, 'an' rejoice that the weary is at rest.'

"'It was I murdered her,' said he, 'an' the thought will haunt me to
my last day. Did she remember me on her death bed?'

"'Her thoughts were only ken'd by Him who reads the secrets of a'
hearts, Willie. Her end was peace, an' her Saviour's blessed name
was the last sound upon her lips. But if ever woman died fra' a
broken heart, there she lies.'

"'Oh, Jeanie!' he cried, 'mine ain darling Jeanie! my blessed
lammie! I was na' worthy o' yer love--my heart, too, is breaking.
To bring ye back aince mair, I wad lay me down an' dee.'

"An' he flung himsel' upon the grave and embraced the fresh clods,
and greeted like a child.

"When he grew more calm, we had a long conversation about the past,
and truly I believe that the man was not in his right senses when he
married yon wife; at ony rate, he is not lang for this warld; he has
fretted the felsh aff his banes, an' before many months are ower,
his heid will lie as low as puir Jeanie Burns's."

While I was pondering this sad story in my mind, Mrs. H--- came in.

"You have heard the news, Mrs. M---?"

I looked inquiringly.

"One of Clark's little boys that were lost last Wednesday in the
woods has been found."

"This is the first I have heard about it. How were they lost?"

"Oh, 'tis a thing of very common occurence here. New settlers, who
are ignorant of the danger of going astray in the forest, are always
having their children lost. This is not the first instance by many
that I have known, having myself lived for many years in the bush.
I only wonder that it does not more frequently happen.

"These little fellows are the sons of a poor man who came out this
summer, and who has taken up some wild land about a mile back of us,
towards the plains. Clark is busy logging up a small fallow for fall
wheat, on which his family must depend for bread during the ensuing
year; and he is so anxious to get it ready in time, that he will not
allow himself an hour at noon to go home to his dinner, which his
wife generally sends in a basket to the woods by his eldest

"Last wednesday the girl had been sent on an errand by her mother,
who thought, in her absence, that she might venture to trust the two
boys to take the dinner to their father. The boys were from seven
to five years old, and very smart and knowing for their age. They
promised to mind all her directions, and went off quite proud of
the task, carrying the basket between them.

"How they came to ramble away into the woods, the younger child
is too much stupified to tell; and perhaps he is too young to
remember. At night the father returned, and scolded the wife for
not sending his dinner as usual; but the poor woman (who all day
had quieted her fears with the belief that the children had stayed
with their father), instead of paying any regard to his angry
words, demanded, in a tone of agony, what had become of her

"Tired and hungry as Clark was, in a moment he comprehended their
danger, and started off in pursuit of the boys. The shrieks of the

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