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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:05:51
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Without further parley the trapper laid bare their sores, and truly the sad sight fully justified Smart’s remark that the poor fellows were badly bitten. One of them, the seaman above referred to, whom his comrades styled Ned, had only lost the ends of one or two toes and the forefinger of his left hand, but some of the others had been so severely frost-bitten in their feet that all the toes were rotting off; the negro in particular had lost his left foot, while the heel-bone of the other was exposed to the extent of nearly an inch, and all the toes were gone. (We describe here, from memory, what we have actually seen.)

Then Jonas Bellew went on his knees and prayed—for he was one of those men who do not think it unmanly to remember the Giver of all that they enjoy—and thereafter he rolled himself in his blanket, pillowed his head on the tree-root, and sank into profound repose—such repose as is known only to healthy infants and hard-working men and women. Little by little the fire burnt low, the ruddy lights grew dim, the pale lights reappeared, and the encampment resumed its tomb-like appearance until the break of another day gave it a new aspect and caused Jonas Bellew to rise, yawn, shake the hoar-frost from his blanket, pack up his traps, and resume his journey.

Presently he laid down his knife and fork, and said:—

I knew she would come,” said her father, patting the girl’s head tenderly, but didn’t expect her quite so soon.”

Life and death were powerfully suggested to him. Many a time had he seen such a craft breasting the waves of the broad Saint Lawrence, when every dip of the bow, every bend of the taper masts, every rattle of the ropes, and every mellow shout of the seamen, told of vigorous life and energy; and now, the broken masts and yards tipped and fringed with snow-wreaths, the shattered stern, out of which the cargo had been evidently washed long ago, the decks crushed down with snow, the bulged sides, the bottom pierced by rocks, the bowsprit burst to shivers by the opposing cliff, the pendant and motionless cordage, even the slight ripple of the sleeping sea, which deepened rather than broke the prevailing silence, all told eloquently of death,—death, perchance to passengers and crew, at all events to sanguine hopes and prospects. Nevertheless there was much life connected with that death-like scene, as the sequel of our tale will show.


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