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Ignorance lies at the bottom of all human knowledge, and the deeper we penetrate, the nearer we arrive unto it.-Lacon.
Mrs. Rivers and I had long been planning a ride on horse-back; and when the good stars were in conjunction, so that two horses and two saddles were to be had at one time, we determined to wend our resolute way as far as Tinkerville, to judge for ourselves of the state of the enemy's preparations. We set out soon after breakfast in high style; my Eclipse being Mr. Jenkins's old Governor, seventeen last grass; and my fair companion's a twenty-dollar Indian pony, age undecided-men's saddles of course, for the settlement boasts no other as yet; and, by way of luxury, a large long-woolled sheep-skin strapped over each.
We jogged on charmingly, now through woods cool and moist as the grotto of Undine, and carpeted every where with strawberry vines and thousands of flowers ; now across strips of open land where you could look through the straight-stemmed and scattered groves for miles on each side. A marsh or two were to be passed, so said our most minute directions, and then we should come to the trail through deep woods, which would lead us in a short time to the emerging glories of our boastful neighbour.
We found the marshes, without difficulty, and soon afterwards the trail, and D'Orsay's joyous bark, as he
ran far before us, told that he had made some discovery. “ Deer, perhaps,” said I. It was only an Indian, and when I stopped and tried to inquire whether we were in the right track, he could not be made to understand but gave the usual assenting grunt and passed on.
When I turned to speak to my companion she was so ashy pale that I feared she must fall from her horse.
6 What is the matter, my dearest madam !” said I, going as near her as I could coax old Governor.
66 The Indian ! the Indian !” was all she could utter. I was terribly puzzled. It had never occurred to me that the Indians would naturally be objects of terror to a young lady who had scarcely ever seen one ; and I knew we should probably meet dozens of them in the course of our short ride.
I said all I could, and she tried her best to seem courageous, and, after she had rallied her spirits a little, we proceeded, thinking the end of our journey could not be distant, especially as we saw several log-houses at intervals which we supposed were the outskirts of Tinkerville.
But we were disappointed in this; for the road led through a marsh, and then through woods again, and such tangled woods, that I began to fear, in my secret soul, that we had wandered far from our track, betrayed by D'Orsay's frolics.
I was at length constrained to hint to my pale companion my misgivings, and to propose a return to the nearest log hut for information. Without a word she wheeled her shaggy pony, and, in a few minutes, we found ourselves at the bars belonging to the last log house we had passed.
A wretched looking woman was washing at the door. “ Can you tell us which is the road to Tinkerville ?"
Well, I guess you can't miss it if you follow your own tracks. It a’n't long since you came through it. That big stump is the middle of the public square.”
I boast no song in magic wonders rife,
We returned by a different and less lonely route, the Tinkervillians having very civilly directed us to one on which we should not at any point be far distant from a dwelling The single Indian we had encountered in the morning had been quite sufficient to spoil Mrs. Rivers' ride ; and we hurried on at the best pace of our sober steeds.
The country through which we were passing was so really lovely that even my timid little friend forgot her fears at times and exclaimed like a very enthusiast. At least two small lakes lay near our way; and these, of winding outline, and most dazzling brightness, seemed, as we espied them now and then through the arched vistas of the deep woods, multiplied to a dozen
We saw grape vines which had so embraced large trees that the long waving pennons flared over their very tops ; while the lower branches of the sturdy oaks were one undistinguishable mass of light green foliage, without an inch of bark to be seen. The road side was piled like an exaggerated velvet with exqui. sitely beautiful ferns of almost every variety; and some open spots gleamed scarlet with those wild straw. berries so abundant with us, and which might challenge the world for flavour.
Birds of every variety of song and hue, were not wanting, nor the lively squirrel, that most joyous of nature's pensioners; and it cost us some little care to keep D’Orsay in his post of honour as sole escort through these lonely passes. But alack ! “'t was ever thus !" We had scarcely sauntered two miles when a scattered drop or two foretold that we were probably to try the melting mood. We had not noticed a cloud, but thus warned we saw portentous gatherings of these bug. bears of life.
Now if our poneys would only have gone a little faster! But they would not, so we were wet to the skin-travelling jets d'eau-looking doubtless very much like the western settler taking his stirrup-cup in one of Mrs. Trollope's true pictures.
When we could be no further soaked we reached a farm-house-not a Michigan farm-house, but a great, noble, yankee palace of pine boards,” looking like a cantle of Massachusetts or Western New-York dropped par hazard, in these remote wilds. To me who had for a long while seen nothing of dwelling kind larger than a good sized chicken-coop, the scene was quite one of Eastern enchantment. A large barn with shed and stables and poultry-yard and all! Fields of grain, well fenced and stumpless, surrounded this happy dwelling; and a most inviting door-yard, filled to pro. fusion with shrubs and flowers, seemed to invite our entrance.