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Down to the west;
E'er we shall see
ization into the fastnesses of the Rocky against an old boat in the brilliant sunMountains.
shine, we discovered, one morning, one We wandered through the dingy ware- of those dried-up old grandpères, and houses, and tried to imagine the dusty entered into conversation with him. He shelves filled with furs and supplies, and told us merry tales of the fur-traders, the grave Indians mingling in silence their wild adventures in the far West, with the noisy French voyageurs, while and their gay meetings at Mackinac stolid Dutch clerks from New York twice a-year, when from all directions kept the balance straight. We visited assembled the loaded bateaus, and the the old Indian Agency, with its heavy canoes freighted with the spoils of the stockade fence pierced with loop-boles, wilderness. In his little piping voice from which to shoot unruly red-skins; and French patois, he sang for us one we inspected the mysterious carved of the boating-songs, which we have door in the kitchen, said to have been' endeavored to translate, as follows: brought from France for Pere Marquette's chapel ; and then we strolled
“Row, row, brothers, row, up to the deserted Mission Church look
On, on, on we go, ing over the beautiful Straits, and we
Pause not for rest. felt that the early fathers must indeed
“The sun shines bright, have loved their little home on Fairy
The boat rows light, Island. We were quartered in the Mis
As we the long oar gayly draw,
But soon the night sion House itself, and through those
Will veil from sight narrow halls, where once the grave The distant heights of Mackinac. priests paced slowly, now resounded
Ma belle, ma belle, the song and laugh of the gay pilgrims
The brightest eyes the world c'er saw ; from the burning, dusty cities. Yet
Ilow long 'twill be still we all felt that the place was hal
The distant heights of Mackirac! lowed; and even the most careless could
Afar we go, not but recall the early days, when, two
Towards ice and snow,
With wolf and bison must we war, centuries before, the devoted mission
But smiling Spring aries had built those self-same walls
Again will bring with hymns of praise and heartfelt The distant heights of Mackinac. prayers.
“Row, row, brothers, row, A strange, quaint race are the inhabi
Down to the west;
On, on, on we go, tants of Fairy Island. A full-blooded Indian grandmother clad in blanket and moccasins, a funny little French grand- Some years ago, the Straits of Mackifather fullof gay songs and jokes, a dusky mac were enlivened by a brilliant naval half-breed mother, and a sturdy Dutch battle. It is true, that few of the father, must necessarily produce peculiar dwellers in our great cities were aware children — many-featured, many-hued, of the fierce war which raged on the and many-charactered. A pretty young northern outskirts; and the annals of girl, her face sparkling with the viva- the War Department, also, are silent cious intelligence peculiar to the French, concerning the proud fleet which set is accompanied by a silent brother, sail from Fairy Island one dark mornwhose features and form are Indian puring, and, after a hard-fought battle, reet simple. Playing on the beach are turned victorious. But an unworthy confused groups of mongrel children, pen will attempt to chronicle the glory, and so bewildered are we by the unex- as follows: pected admixtures of features and com- Big Beaver Island, just outside the plexions, that we almost expect to dis- western gateway, had been taken by the cover that some of them are half-squirrel Mormons after a bloodless contest with or half-loon, descendants of the original the gulls, who were the original inhabiinhabitants of Fairy Island. Basking tants. Driven from the Eastern States,
Pause not for rest."
hither had the saints migrated in small to enjoy the delights of tar and feathbands, and gradually, as refugee after King Strang himself was taken refugee arrived, a town grew up, a tem- prisoner, and carried on board the flagple was built, and a king chosen to rule ship; but vengeance smote him by the over the settlement. For some time the hand of one of his flock, and he paid saints confined themselves to cultivating for his many sins with his life. The their land and entrapping fish, only oc- conquering fleet returned in triumph to casionally entrapping some discontented Mackinac, and the scattered remnant wife on the mainland, by way of a lit- of the Mormons forsook Big Beaver in tle innocent variety. But, waxing fat haste, turning their faces towards the and lazy, they concluded that labor was setting sun, where gleamed before them unworthy of their vocation, and there the glorious City of the Saints; and fore they proceeded to levy toll on pass- Big Beaver is restored to the original ing vessels; and, when the nights were aristocracy of the loons and sea-gulls. dark and stormy, they set out lights, Crowning the bold cliff over the harand lured the unsuspicious mariners to bor at Fairy Island, stands Fort Mackidestruction on their shores, reaping the nac, its white limestone walls glistenreward of their labors in the numerous ing in the sun, and the Stars and Stripes wrecks on the beach. These acts in- waving gayly above. Solemn sentinels flamed with wrath the worldly inhabi- pace the ancient walls, and rusty cannon tants of Mackinac, and, one day, the frown sullenly from the battlements; cup of their indignation ran over, when but, in spite of mounted guard and it was discovered that a lovely young severe military etiquette, we fear it French girl had been enticed away to must be acknowledged that one gunjoin the harem of King Strang. A fleet, boat could easily level Fort Mackinac much resembling the primitive flotillas to its limestone foundations. Once there of Homer's day, was prepared for bat- was a beautiful little chapel attached to tle, manned by a motley crew of French the fort, where, for more than twenty and half-breeds, while a sprinkling of years, the Rev. John O'Brien, a clergyuniforms from the fort on the heights man of the Episcopal Church, officiated. gave Uncle Sam's sanction to the enter- On Sunday morning the bugle-call, echoprise. A pugnacious steam-tug led the ing from the height, called the villagers way, bearing a small cannon proudly on to the chapel, and soon the entire popuits quarter-deck, and displaying the lation, excepting the Roman Catholics, Stars and Stripes nailed to the mast. were seen ascending the steep, gravelled A fleet of Mackinac boats sailed fierce- pathway to the garrison. At a second ly alongside, filled with Islanders armed flourish on the bugle, the soldiers marchwith rusty shot-guns and antiquated ed into the chapel, preceded by the compistols, while in the rear, paddling for mandant in full uniform, and the serdear life to see the sight, came the noble vices began with full responses, both race of “ Lo” in their dirty blankets. musical and spoken, from hundreds of
Passing the western gateway, Big deep bass voices. Solemn and impresBeaver loomed in sight, and the City sive was the worship of God in this of the Saints was shortly afterwards as- little military chapel on the heights of saulted by the ferocious Islanders. The Mackinac; but, alas! the good old chapsteam-tug took up position and opened lain has been gathered to his fathers, fire upon the town, while the land-forces the quaint house of prayer has been swarmed ashore and did prodigious ex- turned into a drill-room, and many of ecution with their superannuated pis- the officers who have been stationed on tols. The female saints made a brave the rocky island are lying in the crowdresistance when they saw their deserted ed cemeteries near the battle-fields of husbands among the invaders; but the the Rebellion. Among these may be prophets fled to the protecting woods, mentioned the gallant General Williams, whence they were dragged one by one who was killed at Baton Rouge; the
tall young Virginian, Captain Terrell, ing waters; but our hearts burned withwho was shot while leading a charge in us, as, clinging to the masts of the in one of the early battles in West Vir- other vessel, we saw five human beings ginia ; the brilliant engineer, General waiting for death, which came to them Sill, and two lieutenants, Baily and soon in the shape of a hidden rock; Benson, whom we remember as light- and before our eyes, almost within sound hearted boys. These all died for their of our voices, they went down. During country. May they rest in peace, and the three-days' storm, sixteen wrecks may the sore hearts left behind be com- occurred on Mackinac Island itself; forted.
while between the eastern and western The summer guests at Fairy Island gates of the Straits no less than fortybegin to take their departure as soon five staunch vessels were lost, with all as the harvest-moon has waned; they
on board. fear the treacherous waves, and sail On the morning of the third day, the away home over a summer sea, before large side-wheel steamer Queen City, the first Fall wind comes blowing from from Chicago to Collingwood, came in the west. One autumn, in the face of sight, swarming with passengers to the direful prognostications of evil, we dared number of two hundred and fifty, and to remain long enough to witness the laboring heavily in the sea. September gales, and the glowing In- tain made an effort to reach the docks, dian summer, so brilliant in the clear but the force of the gale careened the air and sharp frosts of the lake-coun- steamer so fearfully, that her smoketry. About the fifteenth of the month, stacks almost touched the water, and a light wind came puffing from the all on shore thought she had foundered. west, ruffling the Straits in dark lines, Recovering her balance with an effort, and curling up little waves with edges the Queen put back under the shelter of spray. The weather-wise Islanders, of Round Island, where, all day long, who read the heavens like an open book, she labored heavily backwards and forcame skimming from all directions in wards, watched with intense anxiety by their tilting Mackinac boats; and the all on shore. More and more fiercely Indians who were loitering around the blew the gale, more and more angrily village, hastened to load their canoes raged the sea, as night came on. Then, with squaw and papoose, and paddle as the fuel was nearly exhausted, the away rapidly to their homes on the captain, knowing well that the boat mainland. All night the wind blew could not outlive another twelve hours fiercely, and in the morning when we of storm, determined to make a desperate rose, the Straits were a sheet of foam, effort to reach the docks. We saw the and the trees on Round Island were hurried preparations made on board, bowing like reeds. A large schooner and, our faces pressed against the glass, that, with infinite trouble, had been an- we breathlessly watched the heavilychored in supposed safety the previous loaded steamer, as slowly her course evening, was rocking and pitching fu- was turned towards the harbor, and the riously, when, even as we watched, leav- full force of the gale struck her from ing our breakfast untasted on the table, the west. She missed the usual landingshe broke loose from her anchorage and place, and swayed towards the broken went driving down before the gale, to posts of the old pier; her upturned keel, be dashed to pieces on the rocks of Bois righted itself for an instant, when a huge Blanc. All on board were lost, to the wave sent her bow against the end of number of sixteen souls. Later in the the wharf. A hundred hands caught day, a barque and a three-master drove the great ropes thrown from the deck, by our cottage. The first was a shape- and, in a moment, the plunging, founless hulk, on which the storm had dering steamer was secured by her bows wreaked its fury the preceding night, to the end of the wharf, while the terrorsweeping all human life into the seeth. stricken passengers fairly threw them
selves down into the arms of the Island- known in any other portion of the ers below. As the cables were strained world. to the utmost by the force of the sea, We climbed to old Fort Holmes, and the women and children were quickly saw the whole of Fairy Island clad in lowered, and, before the night had set- maple, orange, and scarlet, green pine tled down on the island, the three hun. and russet oak; we noted Round Island dred persons who had given themselves and Bois Blanc, like gay bouquets in over to death were landed safely on the still water; we breathed the hazy Fairy Island. The captain, a sailor air, all filled with gold-dust. Descending from boyhood, was so shattered by the from the heights, we wandered through terrible responsibility of those three the painted woods, and brought home hundred lives, that be changed his pro- glowing branches to deck our cottagefession and abandoned the water for- walls. But day by day the bright leaves
fell, and day by day we piled the logs After these trying days came the higher and higher upon our hearthstone, glowing beauty of the Indian summer, until, at last, we could no longer deny when the deep-blue sky, the purple haze that in the air, the shining water, and the
" The seasons come and go
Scarce apprehended ; gorgeous autumn tints on the trees,
Though bright have been its flowers, made up a picture of rich coloring un
Summer is ended."
ON HER BIRTHDAY, MARCH TWENTY-THIRD.
Out of the white, beleaguering lines,
That Winter, the stubborn, invading foe,
Is hurriedly striking his tents of snow,
A wonderful herald is this same March,
With gusty robes and flashing hair!
He wakes the world with martial air!
Just a score of suns and three,
On a beautiful isle in Manhattan bay,
And the southern birds came up straightway.
And the brooks threw by their icy chains,
Gazing abroad for April rains.
All Nature, thrilling through and through,
-Aware that God's benignant smile,
Had fallen in grace on the lovely isle,
A lovely mate to all sweet things-
“For me another blue-bird sings !” And, catching a gleam of the light, which shed
A household sunshine o'er your birth, The angels of heaven looked round and said,
“One of our sisters has gone to earth !”
And every time the loud month rings
His third and twentieth clarion clear,
" This is the morn she left us here !" Then circles the song in airier play,
Cheering the high ancestral dome, “ This is the beautiful blossoming day,
That brings her one year nearer home !" But yet so glad are the groups to know
That something of heaven to earth is won, That while they guard your path below,
They patiently wait your mission done. Then let the loud month blow at will,
And Winter strike his tents anew; May many a springtime find you still
On earth—for it hath need of you!