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they differ in size; but that may be put
An old Micmac spun me a quaint yarn down to the difference in quantity and anent the moose which I will retail, not quality of their food. In Nova Scotia moose making myself responsible for its veracity. are plentiful. This is partly owing to the “Some sixty years ago," he said, "the Miliprotection afforded them in the breeding cetes made a raid upon the moose, as the season by the Legislature of that province; white men are doing now. The Micmacs but partly and chiefly owing to the fact that sent an ambassador to expostulate, and rethe snow is rarely deep enough for the set-quest them to kill 'em more easy. The only tlers and Indians to run them down on reply the Milicetes made to this polite resnow shoes, and butcher them, as they do in quest was to seize the ambassador, and New Brunswick. Still, hunting moose is roast him. When the sad news reached the rare good sport, and requires the greatest Micmacs, their sage prophesied that the skill in the hunter; but, as the animals shed moose would altogether leave a country their magnificent antlers in the fall, the sport where such bad people lived. Accordingly, in winter is robbed of half its charms. As in the following year, moose did leave New I said elsewhere, they are unable to travel Brunswick: many were tracked to the seafast through the deep snow; and in winter, side, and their tracks lost in the ocean. The either singly or in parties of two or three, medicine-man further prophesied that no they choose a hill or tract far back in the man then living should ever see a moose forest, where their favourite browse-moose again; but that the succeeding generation wood and maple-abounds. In this space would be more fortunate. Accordingly, of ten or twenty acres, called a moose-yard, about twenty-five years ago two moose were they remain all winter, unless disturbed. In perceived one fine morning swimming toNew Brunswick and Lower Canada, during wards the shore. One of them was killed, the month of March, when the snow is and nothing but seaweed was found inside deep and crusted—which serves the double it. Sartin, mister,” concluded my old inpurpose of making the snow-shoeing good formant, "moose not all the same as other and of cutting the moose's shins-hundreds | beast.” of moose are annually butchered for the sake Nothing strikes a person travelling in the of the hides, value $5 each, the more valu-woods for the first time in the depth of able carcases being left to rot, and poison winter so much as the extreme-I may say the woods with their stench. The cows, solemn-silence which prevails. No sound being heavy in calf at this season, are the of any sort strikes the ear, save at intervals more easily slaughtered. This is a shame. the cracking of the trees, caused by the Animal life is not so abundant in these freezing of the sap. Nor does any track or woods that it should be thus recklessly de- sign indicate to the casual observer the exstroyed. There is some act for their protec- istence of any animal life. This is explained tion, I believe; but forty acts passed by the by the fact that in very cold weather no assembled wisdom of the provinces in the animals but the cariboo and the loupcervier great city of Ottawa, each one of them as (Felis Canadensis) move about much. Even long as the River St. Lawrence, are of no the few birds that winter in the country remanner of use unless they are enforced. main in sheltered places, in hollow trees, or No attempt is made to check the trade in under the snow. Several quadrupeds that moose hides. In my opinion, moose are do not hybernate regularly, like the bear, useful for three purposes-three reasons for provide themselves with little homes, in holtheir protection. First of all, as an article | low trees and elsewhere, and stores of proof food; secondly, as affording an exciting visions. Among these are the common red and health-giving sport, when hunted at squirrel (Sciurus Hudsonius), the flying squirthe proper seasons; and thirdly, as a bait to rel (Pteromys sabrinius), the wood-chuck strangers, who spend more or less money in (Arctomys monax), the skunk (Mephitis Amea country where money is much needed, ricana), and two or three sorts of mice. The and carry away with them favourable im- sable (Mustela martes), and the black cat pressions. But surely, even if the moose is (M. Canadensis), in districts where they of no use as an ornament to the woods of abound, are rarely seen by the hunter. An Canada, and a guest whose keep costs no- old trapper assured me that, in the whole thing, he should not be utterly exterminated course of his experience, he had seen but by the Canadians.
one sable alive. The rabbit, or rather the
hare (Lepus A.), is rarely seen, thanks to staggering under a load of meat. I had the the snow-white jacket given it by nature for curiosity to follow him, when I observed its protection in winter. Neither is the er- that he took his load to a stump some thirty mine weasel (Mustela erminea), for the same yards off, and, contrary to their usual cusreason, The ruffed grouse (T. umbellus), tom, commenced to share his booty with a and the Canadian grouse (T. Canadensis), comrade, whom I recognized as my old live aloft in the trees, or when they do come friend the cripple. I took charge of the down it is merely to take a header into the poor fellow, and fed him during his convasnow. There is but one exception, the lescence; and have thought better of the meat-bird, or moose-bird (Garrulus Cana- meat-bird ever since. Two or three of densis). No amount of cold keeps this most them often take possession of a camp, and impudent of birds at home when meat is to drive away intruders; when one is killed, a be got. So far from being afraid of man, he fresh one arriving and taking his place. On follows him through the woods, enters his a subsequent occasion, I observed the treatcamp through the smoke-hole in the roof, ment an intruder met with at the hands and almost takes the bit out of his mouth. (bills) of the two friendly meat-birds menI have killed one, “pour encourager les tioned above. He came one afternoon, very autres." His comrades stolidly looked on, hungry, for a feed of cariboo. My camp birds, and by and by picked his bones. They eat in a state of repletion, were half asleep; but anything. Meat, bread, provisions of any hardly had the interloper dug his bill into kind-nothing comes amiss to the robbers; the meat, when they both went at him, tooth soap they are very partial to. When the and nail. I never saw a bird get such a hunter stops for dinner, and lights his fire, mauling; the old cripple putting in some no bird is to be seen or heard; hardly, how- ugly ones from behind. How the wool did ever, is the frying-pan on the fire, when fly! Soon they were out of sight; but the moose-bird makes his appearance, and, screaming lasted half an hour, and judging chuckling with joy, perches on a bough by their pleased expressions when they rewithin five or six feet of the pan. They eat turned, I think they killed him. the baits out of the hunter's traps, and the Occasionally, even in this Arctic winter, trapped animals. They flock in numbers we have a mild day or two, and then the to districts where moose have been slaugh- woods present a very different aspect. The tered, and eat and fight the livelong day. squirrels chatter, and the woodpeckers carThey make several different sounds, each penter away at the trees. An occasional one more discordant than the other. Late partridge, so called, may now be seen, or in the fall, when trout go to shallow water the track of a porcupine (Hystrix pilosus) to spawn, moose-bird takes a wrinkle from dragging himself through the snow. The the kingfisher, and feasts on small trout. I beaver leaves his lodge, and comes out for a have seen a dog feeding on one end of a bite of fresh bark. Even the bear is somepiece of meat, à moose-bird on the other. times tempted out of his den. The pine It is generally supposed that birds cannot grosbeak (Pinicola Canadensis) and the smell, but the moose-bird must be an ex- crossbill (Locia curvirostra) show themception, for in thick woods he cannot see; selves round the camp; the chickadee and how then does he find meat so quickly? (Parus atricapillus) adds his little note in Whilst on the one hand they have, for their approbation of the change; and even the size, such a vast stowage for provisions, on snow-bunting (Plectrophanes nivalis), that the other hand they can fast for extraordina- hardiest of the feathered tribe, shows its rily long periods. They fight like tigers. A appreciation of a mild day by leaving the servant of mine caught three in steel traps, forest and flocking to the farmyard. But and cruelly put them all together in a cage, the bird of all others that dislikes the cold where, to use his own expression, they "fit is the cock of the woods, or great red-headed like bull dogs.” I told him to kill them at woodpecker (Picus pileatus). He scents the once, as they were all mutilated; one fellow, approach of mild weather; and when, on however, escaped amidst a shower of mis- a cold winter's day, you hear him giving siles, hopping away on one leg and one | tongue-chuckling away lustily on the very wing. I thought nothing more of the cir- summit of a giant rampike—no matter how cumstance till about a week afterwards, fine and bright the day, be sure that towhen I observed another of these birds morrow it will rain.
Forest life has so many charms for me, cated, and equally good fellows with the peer. that I am apt to forget that others may not If my wife has not the honour of being be equally enamoured of it, and so dose bidden to Mrs. Shoddy's “at homes,” what my listeners ad nauseam with hunting and need she care? Mesdames Smith, Brown, trapping; but I would not have them for and Jones, and fifty other equally refined a moment to understand that these are the and equally charming ladies, are in the same only winter amusements of the Blue Noses- boat, and can have their own little amusefar from it. In the cities of St. John, Hali- ments. But, on the other hand, in commufax, Charlottetown, and Fredericton, dances, nities which can be counted by tens instead dinners, and the other sociable resources of of by hundreds, or even thousands, it does civilization pleasantly help to while away seem a pity that people should not sink the leisure hour; and hospitality is at its their wretched little prejudices, and pull toheight in the long nights of winter. Of all gether. It seems a pity that I should not the institutions of the country, commend me know my next-door neighbour, simply beto a sleighing party. The horses are fast, the cause “our families don't visit.” My father roads are good, the bells ring merrily, the was a tailor, a most respectable man, who maair is bracing; and, nestled in warm robes, naged to bring up a large family, and leave nowhere do the fair ones look more bloom- them a few hundred dollars each at his death. ing. In fact, no one who has not tried it Smith's father, his contemporary, was a can have any idea of the pleasures of a grocer; but Smith junior married a judge's sleigh drive with a Blue Nose girl. Another daughter, and got the crest too, somehow amusement, “trabogening,” must not be or another—a demi-lion rampant. forgotten. For this, four items are requisite Smith, good fellow, rather likes me, -viz., a trabogen, a steep hill, a young I believe, than otherwise - anyhow, he
gentleman, and a young lady. Contrary to slapped me on the back the other night at etiquette in other matters, the gentleman a fire, and we had a drink together; but sits with his back to the lady, in the front then, socially the Smiths are a cut above us. or bow of the trabogen, holding on with They drive a pony phaeton, with a boy in his hands and steering with his feet. Now, buttons, and are asked to Government as he cannot hold on to the vehicle and house: we take the air in a buggy, unhold his partner too, why she is compelled adorned with heraldic devices. Politics, to hold on to him. The pace is great, and too, run high, and are a fruitful source of the sensation curious but pleasant; but, like strife. The election of a mayor causes more every other pleasure, it has its drawback-in excitement within our little world than the this case literally.
election of a President or the overthrow of In small towns, isolated, or at least par- a Ministry without. If I live a hundred tially isolated, during many months of the years, I never shall forget when young Tomyear from the outside of the world, where kins was turned out of his office-assistant wealth—or perhaps I should say competence clerk in the Post-office, at a salary of 150 -and also education are not very unequally dollars—by the new Government just come divided, one might suppose that, if there is into power, to make room for young Brown, any place in the world where society exists my wife's second cousin. Society was shaken in a tolerably homogeneous state, it would from its very foundation. This happened be here. But, no—we have not found Uto- three years ago; and old Tomkins glares at pia yet. We have our aristocracy and our me to this day. Fortunately, the duello is democracy, our first families and our shoddy. out of date; and for the rest, I could punch Every grade and every clique that finds a his head, and he knows it. place in the vast societies of London or at When the navigation is open, the travelNew York has a corresponding one here. ling is very good in the provinces; but In large communities, these cliques, though hitherto it has not been so good in winter. imposing from their very size and weight, Now, however, that railways are opening up are of little consequence to the individual; the country, we shall soon have direct comin smaller ones, though quite as natural, munication between Halifax, St. John, and they become deplorable and ridiculous. If Quebec, and also a connection with the my existence be utterly ignored by "my United States railway lines. I had occaLord,” what care I? My friends are Smith, sion to travel from St. John, New Bruns. and Brown, and Jones, equally well edu- wick, to Charlottetown, Prince Edward