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ization into the fastnesses of the Rocky against an old boat in the brilliant sunMountains.
We wandered through the dingy warehouses, and tried to imagine the dusty shelves filled with furs and supplies, and the grave Indians mingling in silence with the noisy French voyageurs, while stolid Dutch clerks from New York kept the balance straight. We visited the old Indian Agency, with its heavy stockade fence pierced with loop-holes, from which to shoot unruly red-skins; we inspected the mysterious carved door in the kitchen, said to have been brought from France for Père Marquette's chapel; and then we strolled up to the deserted Mission Church looking over the beautiful Straits, and we felt that the early fathers must indeed have loved their little home on Fairy Island. We were quartered in the Mission House itself, and through those narrow halls, where once the grave priests paced slowly, now resounded the song and laugh of the gay pilgrims from the burning, dusty cities. still we all felt that the place was hallowed; and even the most careless could not but recall the early days, when, two centuries before, the devoted missionaries had built those self-same walls with hymns of praise and heartfelt prayers.
A strange, quaint race are the inhabitants of Fairy Island. A full-blooded Indian grandmother clad in blanket and moccasins, a funny little French grandfather full of gay songs and jokes, a dusky half-breed mother, and a sturdy Dutch father, must necessarily produce peculiar children many-featured, many-hued, and many-charactered. A pretty young girl, her face sparkling with the vivacious intelligence peculiar to the French, is accompanied by a silent brother, whose features and form are Indian pur et simple. Playing on the beach are confused groups of mongrel children, and so bewildered are we by the unexpected admixtures of features and complexions, that we almost expect to discover that some of them are half-squirrel or half-loon, descendants of the original inhabitants of Fairy Island. Basking
shine, we discovered, one morning, one of those dried-up old grandpères, and entered into conversation with him. He told us merry tales of the fur-traders, their wild adventures in the far West, and their gay meetings at Mackinac twice a-year, when from all directions assembled the loaded bateaux, and the canoes freighted with the spoils of the wilderness. In his little piping voice and French patois, he sang for us one of the boating-songs, which we have endeavored to translate, as follows:
"Row, row, brothers, row,
Down to the west;
On, on, on we go,
Pause not for rest.
"The sun shines bright, The boat rows light, As we the long oar gayly draw, But soon the night
Will veil from sight The distant heights of Mackinac. Farewell, farewell,
Ma belle, ma belle,
The brightest eyes the world e'er saw;
The distant heights of Mackinac !
Towards ice and snow,
The distant heights of Mackinac.
"Row, row, brothers, row,
Down to the west;
On, on, on we go,
Pause not for rest."
Some years ago, the Straits of Mackinac were enlivened by a brilliant naval battle. It is true, that few of the dwellers in our great cities were aware of the fierce war which raged on the northern outskirts; and the annals of the War Department, also, are silent concerning the proud fleet which set sail from Fairy Island one dark morning, and, after a hard-fought battle, returned victorious. But an unworthy pen will attempt to chronicle the glory, as follows:
Big Beaver Island, just outside the western gateway, had been taken by the Mormons after a bloodless contest with the gulls, who were the original inhabitants. Driven from the Eastern States,
hither had the saints migrated in small bands, and gradually, as refugee after refugee arrived, a town grew up, a temple was built, and a king chosen to rule over the settlement. For some time the saints confined themselves to cultivating their land and entrapping fish, only occasionally entrapping some discontented wife on the mainland, by way of a little innocent variety. But, waxing fat and lazy, they concluded that labor was unworthy of their vocation, and therefore they proceeded to levy toll on passing vessels; and, when the nights were dark and stormy, they set out lights, and lured the unsuspicious mariners to destruction on their shores, reaping the reward of their labors in the numerous wrecks on the beach. These acts inflamed with wrath the worldly inhabitants of Mackinac, and, one day, the cup of their indignation ran over, when it was discovered that a lovely young French girl had been enticed away to join the harem of King Strang. A fleet, much resembling the primitive flotillas of Homer's day, was prepared for battle, manned by a motley crew of French and half-breeds, while a sprinkling of uniforms from the fort on the heights gave Uncle Sam's sanction to the enterprise. A pugnacious steam-tug led the way, bearing a small cannon proudly on its quarter-deck, and displaying the Stars and Stripes nailed to the mast. A fleet of Mackinac boats sailed fiercely alongside, filled with Islanders armed with rusty shot-guns and antiquated pistols, while in the rear, paddling for dear life to see the sight, came the noble race of “Lo" in their dirty blankets.
Passing the western gateway, Big Beaver loomed in sight, and the City of the Saints was shortly afterwards assaulted by the ferocious Islanders. The steam-tug took up position and opened fire upon the town, while the land-forces swarmed ashore and did prodigious execution with their superannuated pistols. The female saints made a brave resistance when they saw their deserted husbands among the invaders; but the prophets fled to the protecting woods, whence they were dragged one by one
to enjoy the delights of tar and feathKing Strang himself was taken prisoner, and carried on board the flagship; but vengeance smote him by the hand of one of his flock, and he paid for his many sins with his life. The conquering fleet returned in triumph to Mackinac, and the scattered remnant of the Mormons forsook Big Beaver in haste, turning their faces towards the setting sun, where gleamed before them the glorious City of the Saints; and Big Beaver is restored to the original aristocracy of the loons and sea-gulls.
Crowning the bold cliff over the harbor at Fairy Island, stands Fort Mackinac, its white limestone walls glistening in the sun, and the Stars and Stripes waving gayly above. Solemn sentinels pace the ancient walls, and rusty cannon frown sullenly from the battlements; but, in spite of mounted guard and severe military etiquette, we fear it must be acknowledged that one gunboat could easily level Fort Mackinac to its limestone foundations. Once there was a beautiful little chapel attached to the fort, where, for more than twenty years, the Rev. John O'Brien, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, officiated. On Sunday morning the bugle-call, echoing from the height, called the villagers to the chapel, and soon the entire population, excepting the Roman Catholics, were seen ascending the steep, gravelled pathway to the garrison. At a second flourish on the bugle, the soldiers marched into the chapel, preceded by the commandant in full uniform, and the services began with full responses, both musical and spoken, from hundreds of deep bass voices. Solemn and impressive was the worship of God in this little military chapel on the heights of Mackinac; but, alas! the good old chaplain has been gathered to his fathers, the quaint house of prayer has been turned into a drill-room, and many of the officers who have been stationed on the rocky island are lying in the crowded cemeteries near the battle-fields of the Rebellion. Among these may be mentioned the gallant General Williams, who was killed at Baton Rouge; the
tall young Virginian, Captain Terrell, who was shot while leading a charge in one of the early battles in West Virginia; the brilliant engineer, General Sill, and two lieutenants, Baily and Benson, whom we remember as lighthearted boys. These all died for their country. May they rest in peace, and may the sore hearts left behind be comforted.
The summer guests at Fairy Island begin to take their departure as soon as the harvest-moon has waned; they fear the treacherous waves, and sail away home over a summer sea, before the first Fall wind comes blowing from the west. One autumn, in the face of direful prognostications of evil, we dared to remain long enough to witness the September gales, and the glowing Indian summer, so brilliant in the clear air and sharp frosts of the lake-country. About the fifteenth of the month, a light wind came puffing from the west, ruffling the Straits in dark lines, and curling up little waves with edges of spray. The weather-wise Islanders, who read the heavens like an open book, came skimming from all directions in their tilting Mackinac boats; and the Indians who were loitering around the village, hastened to load their canoes with squaw and papoose, and paddle away rapidly to their homes on the mainland. All night the wind blew fiercely, and in the morning when we rose, the Straits were a sheet of foam, and the trees on Round Island were bowing like reeds. A large schooner that, with infinite trouble, had been anchored in supposed safety the previous evening, was rocking and pitching furiously, when, even as we watched, leaving our breakfast untasted on the table, she broke loose from her anchorage and went driving down before the gale, to be dashed to pieces on the rocks of Bois Blanc. All on board were lost, to the number of sixteen souls. Later in the day, a barque and a three-master drove by our cottage. The first was a shapeless hulk, on which the storm had wreaked its fury the preceding night, sweeping all human life into the seeth
ing waters; but our hearts burned within us, as, clinging to the masts of the other vessel, we saw five human beings waiting for death, which came to them soon in the shape of a hidden rock; and before our eyes, almost within sound of our voices, they went down. During the three-days' storm, sixteen wrecks occurred on Mackinac Island itself; while between the eastern and western gates of the Straits no less than fortyfive staunch vessels were lost, with all on board.
On the morning of the third day, the large side-wheel steamer Queen City, from Chicago to Collingwood, came in sight, swarming with passengers to the number of two hundred and fifty, and laboring heavily in the sea. The captain made an effort to reach the docks, but the force of the gale careened the steamer so fearfully, that her smokestacks almost touched the water, and all on shore thought she had foundered. Recovering her balance with an effort, the Queen put back under the shelter of Round Island, where, all day long, she labored heavily backwards and forwards, watched with intense anxiety by all on shore. More and more fiercely blew the gale, more and more angrily raged the sea, as night came on. Then, as the fuel was nearly exhausted, the captain, knowing well that the boat could not outlive another twelve hours of storm, determined to make a desperate effort to reach the docks. We saw the hurried preparations made on board, and, our faces pressed against the glass, we breathlessly watched the heavilyloaded steamer, as slowly her course was turned towards the harbor, and the full force of the gale struck her from the west. She missed the usual landingplace, and swayed towards the broken posts of the old pier; her upturned keel righted itself for an instant, when a huge wave sent her bow against the end of the wharf. A hundred hands caught the great ropes thrown from the deck, and, in a moment, the plunging, foundering steamer was secured by her bows to the end of the wharf, while the terrorstricken passengers fairly threw them
selves down into the arms of the Islanders below. As the cables were strained to the utmost by the force of the sea, the women and children were quickly lowered, and, before the night had settled down on the island, the three hundred persons who had given themselves over to death were landed safely on Fairy Island. The captain, a sailor from boyhood, was so shattered by the terrible responsibility of those three hundred lives, that he changed his profession and abandoned the water forever.
After these trying days came the glowing beauty of the Indian summer, when the deep-blue sky, the purple haze in the air, the shining water, and the gorgeous autumn tints on the trees, made up a picture of rich coloring un
known in any other portion of the world.
We climbed to old Fort Holmes, and saw the whole of Fairy Island clad in maple, orange, and scarlet, green pine and russet oak; we noted Round Island and Bois Blanc, like gay bouquets in the still water; we breathed the hazy air, all filled with gold-dust. Descending from the heights, we wandered through the painted woods, and brought home glowing branches to deck our cottagewalls. But day by day the bright leaves fell, and day by day we piled the logs higher and higher upon our hearthstone, until, at last, we could no longer deny that
"The seasons come and go
Though bright have been its flowers,
ON HER BIRTHDAY, MARCH TWENTY-THIRD.
OUT of the white, beleaguering lines,
That Winter, the stubborn, invading foe,
A wonderful herald is this same March,
Just a score of suns and three,
On a beautiful isle in Manhattan bay, He blew to the four winds, far and free,
And the southern birds came up straightway. And the earliest flowers peered forth to see,
And the brooks threw by their icy chains, Gazing abroad for April rains.
And the buds looked out on every spray, And the soft south breeze came near to say Some flattering message it brought from May.
All Nature, thrilling through and through,
A lovely mate to all sweet things-
"For me another blue-bird sings!”
And, catching a gleam of the light, which shed
And every time the loud month rings
His third and twentieth clarion clear,
They patiently wait your mission done.
Then let the loud month blow at will,