Project Canterbury

Rose and Minnie, or, The Loyalists: A Tale of Canada in 1837.

London: J. Henry and J. Parker, 1861.

Chapter X.

SOME four years have passed; the troubles that distracted the fair land of Canada are laid to rest, and by a great number of the inhabitants they are no more thought of. The schemes of good and the plans of progress that had been arrested by that period of general disturbance and bloodshed have flowed again into their old course. Missions that were hindered are now again flourishing and increasing; farms that were desolated have been restored; the tide of emigration pours gladly once more into a land of peace and--to the thrifty and industrious--of plenty; a bishopric has been established at Toronto, and, at Newfoundland, villages have grown into towns; and villages and towns alike rejoice in newly erected churches, and are gladdened by the chime of festival bells. But no great wrong ever passes away from the earth without leaving its bitter fruit; no evil blossoms into a bad existence and fades again, and leaves all things as if it had never been. The Otonabee still dances along over its rocky bed beneath the dark shadows of its tall pines and its stately oaks, but the church that should have graced its bank is no more thought of; the open-hearted, dark-eyed Anoonk, so intelligent and ready to be instructed, and so influential a person, as being the chief's wife, with all the tribe, is still in the dim twilight of her heathenism; and a whole family still wear mourning in their hearts, and will do so for many a long year to come, for her who was the light and stay and comfort of them all. And, alas! how many a district,--how many a friend,--how many a family, could tell just such a tale as this in connection with the rebellion of 1837-39, varying of course in detail, but only too similar in general drift.

The farm by the Otonabee has been transferred to Baptiste and Rose, who, with old Jacqueline, now live there, and boast a tiny Jean Baptiste, of whom they are not a little proud. It was too sad a dwelling-place for the Holfords after the terrible occurrences, with their mournful results, of that dark February night. In fact, the whole of that part of the country had become so distasteful to Mr. Holford, that he had moved down soon after into the Western District, and taken some land close by the village of St. Thomas, lying to the north of Lake Erie, where Denham, diligently pursuing his studies in the hope of one day being able to take Holy Orders, has the advantage of the help and occasional tuition of the excellent Rector, a graduate of Oxford. John Kirkpatrick's burnt farm-house is built up again, and Jessie is married and settled at Toronto.

But there is one place which is a centre of attraction and a bond of union to them all, whither the little, warm-hearted foster-sister Rose makes many a pilgrimage, and where she sheds many a tear: where rough old Ichabod too sometimes goes, and comes away so softened and subdued that Cilly does not hear a rough word or an oath from his lips for many weeks: where Denham also comes when he can, and thinks over all the sweet sisterly counsel and sympathy he once had; and gathers up anew, with fresh earnestness, all the good feelings and high resolutions with which those counsels and that sympathy inspired him. It is a quiet, shady grave in Peterborough churchyard, with a little wooden cross at the head of it, and distinguished by nothing else save by the lovely and fresh-kept flowers which are always blooming there. For those who knew her, need no graven name on stone or marble to help them remember their Minnie. Only round about the pedestal of the cross Denham has written, in letters of bright azure, "The darkness is past and the true light now shineth."

Project Canterbury