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AROOSTOOK AND THE MADA- | its uncivil dogs, its birch canoes drawn high up WASKA.
on shore, and its groups of basket-making wo
men and demure-looking children, who shoot UST where the shadows of the tall hem- diminutive coin with bows and arrows at mar
the Mattawamkeag and Penobscot mingle in bend in a great semicircle of white foam, windwhite foam, and the wavelets rippling over the ing among picturesque islands, past Indian stones murmur through the gloomy arch in farms and white men's farms, through rafts and sweet and soothing monotone. Penman is lumbermen, putting wild ducks to flight, and trailing his fly across the dark eddy that circles waking echoes from shore to shore. A thick slowly through the piers of the bridge. Per-cloud of yellow dust rolled along the right bank, chance he may take a goodly trout before the and kept pace with the white volume of foam dust is shaken from his traveling-coat, or the that tumbled over the wheel at the stern and bell of the snug little inn rings out its summons the black vapor that streamed out from the to supper.
smoke-stack. It is one of those cool, delicious evenings “Let's find the cook," said Cliquot. “My which, in Maine, invariably succeed the sultry stomach tells me it should be near the dinnerAugust day, when man and beast swelter under hour.” the thermometer, at 90° in the shade. The They went forward, and found several bales flaming red sun in the west has hobnobbed for of dried codfish, barrels of flour, kegs of nails, a moment with the full yellow moon in the and a party of river men playing “ seven up.” east, and is now dipped beneath the horizon; Then they dove into a small apartment conwhile the moon is mounting the arms of the taining a stove and a bench, on which lay a tall hemlocks, step by step, and spangling the stout figure in repose; next into a door ajar, foam of the Mattawamkeag. A light breeze is which proved to be the ladies' cabin, with a stirring the trees, and the mosquitoes buzz spite- settle, two rocking-chairs, a small table, an alfully as they are driven, baffled, from their prey, manac, and a Bible; next into a door which careening like a ship in a gale.
disclosed the engine and a man with an oilCliquot now sits in the porch. Upon his ar-can; next around the stern of the boat withrival he took a couple of turns in the bar-room, out further discoveries, and back to the man ordered the best chamber at command, lighted with the can. his meerschaum, and then made his quarters “Engineer ?" asked Cliquot. upon the long wooden bench outside. Cliquot “No; he's on deck." is a traveler, has crossed the ocean no one knows " Where's the cook? are we to hare dinner how many times. He has traveled in France, soon ?" where he married a French lady; in South "No dinner aboard this boat. When we America, and in other parts of the world, hab- get to Passadumkeag you can go ashore and itable and inhabitable. Hence he has acquired get a bite." a traveler's virtues. He is never hurried, al- “ Where's the captain ?" ways adapts himself to circumstances, does “He's on deck." nothing out of turn, and endures the vicissi- “Penman, let us go aloft and settle our fares tudes of a roving life with a quiet composure with the captain.” that insures him comfort and enjoyment every There was but one person on deck, and his where.
functions were obvious at a glance. He was How our two travelers happened to be so- engineer and pilot as well as captain. journers in this forest nook came about through “You seem to have your hands full," Cliquot a note of Penman's addressed to Cliquot, pro- remarked, as the captain tugged alternately at posing that they should make a tour of the the tiller and an iron lever in front of him. Aroostook together. Cliquot readily assented, The other nodded assent. and the day of departure was set. So the lapse “We stop at Passadumkeag for dinner?” of time found them at Bangor, whence they “Half an hour." traveled twelve miles by railroad to the Indian At Passadumkeag the passengers by stage and village of Old Town, upon the Penobscot, where boat met for dinner. After consultation, Cliquot a little stern-wheel steamboat was in waiting and his friend decided to stick to their craft, for to take them on fifty miles further to Matta- the weather was intensely hot, and the roads wamkeag. A coach runs daily between the insufferably dusty. So the stage rumbled on two points when the water is at a low stage, again, and the boat once more essayed to ascend following the course of the river ; but on this the river. At the end of a few miles she stuck occasion it was doubtful if the boat could carry fast and the travelers then transferred themover the “rips," and so both coach and boat selves to the stage. At the next landing, howran, the former acting as a sort of tender to ever, she came steaming around an island, and the latter. Off rumbled the coach over the they again took to the boat. Then they tried highway, and away steamed the boat, sputter- the stage again. Then they took to the boat. ing and splashing, leaving the aboriginal set- Then they mounted the stage, and at last drove tlement behind, with its little frame cabins, its up to the neat little inn where the Mattawamhuge wooden cross, its semi-civilized savages, I keag tumbles into the Penobscot.
" Halloa !" cried Cliquot, sitting up in bed. | known by the red men of past generations), and " What's the matter now ?”
prepared to domiciliate himself in a quiet little " Three o'clock !" from outside the door. farm-house there, he was not surprised to find “Stage starts in fifteen minutes !"
his friend Page present to share his fresh berries “No breakfast ?" inquired Cliquot, when he and bread and milk, and acknowledge verbally had dressed and descended to the long hall, the receipt of his note from Bangor: "I shall where the landlord stood with a dim candle. reach Weston on Thursday evening, Providence
“No, Sir; it's a rough road, and ’twould be and weather permitting.” only a waste of victuals."
“It's all right,” he said, when he observed a This is high latitude, and the silvery twilight shade of disappointment clouded his friend's is already suffusing the sky. The morning air face. “The rest of the party will be here diis almost frosty, and penetrates over-coats and rectly. I am the avant courier, you see. Hist! blankets. Over a succession of hills the coach they are coming now, and at no slow pace either. creaks and rumbles, and presently enters the Two to one on the black mare. She's a Mesfamed Aroostook. Even now has it invaded senger, you know, and Perrin's first love. Jones the home of the moose, the deer, the wolf, and drives a Black Hawk, and does hate to ride in the bear. When it had climbed a long, weary any man's dust; but he can't beat the mare. ascent, and the horses paused for rest, a pano- There they are, neck and neck! Now come, rama of rare beauty was revealed. On every my beauty!" side the mottled forest rose and fell in wave-like See what horses are bred in the Aroostook! swells, and the mist that filled the intervals What turn-outs for a backwoods country! First, transformed the scenery into a tranquil ocean two light trotting wagons rattled up to the gatestudded with green island gems. Soon the sun way, each carrying two persons. Then came rose glowing hot, as if from a horizon of sky three two-seated carriages, with their compleand sea, and when the mist rolled away bright ments of three ladies and a gentleman. Next lakes sparkled far down in the valleys, and from a top-buggy and two dashing Di Vernons, handan occasional isolated clearing gleamed fields ling the ribbons beautifully; and behind them of golden grain. Before them, for many a the commissariat, with a stout team, carrying mile and straight as a carpenter's rule, lay their the public supplies. So gay a party has not disronte, as it was laid out by the Government for turbed the seclusion of the little hamlet for many a military road, a mere rift through the high summers. They are of the aristocracy of the walls of forest. There are fresh deer tracks Maine "plantations”-landed proprietors of a along the damp road, and
thousand acres, for whom a score of farm-serv. “Whose dogs are those ahead there, driv- ants harvest their redundant crops, to fill the er?”
New Brunswick markets on the noble St. John; “Dogs! faugh! quick, Penman, your rifle! whose blooded stock find envious eyes at the Ah, there they dive into the woods! If I could county fairs, and upon whose bounteous tables have drawn a bead on one of those chaps, we sparkle wines of choicest brands, imported across might have claimed the bounty for a wolf-scalp.” | the line daty free. There are ladies of refine
“Were those really wolves, driver ?”. ment, with soft white hands, now equipped to “You guessed about right there.”
"rough it” for a fortnight among the wilds of “I shouldn't think they'd venture so near the Schoodac, miles away from the habitations the settlements."
of man-to lure the trout from his haunts, and "Well, there ain't many settlements just coquette with the bears among the whortleberhere-only a house now and then along the ries that tint the islands of the “Wide Prospect road. Back in there, and to the t'other side, Water.” Then there is the editor of the Aroosfor thirty miles or more, there's neither house took Times, who must return within the week to nor shanty, unless it be a logging camp, and furnish his paper a full report of the excursion; nary road either. Game is plenty enough in an ex-M.C., and—there are others, twenty-two there."
in all. But our Aroostookers are off for pleasPenman suggested that it would be well to ure, and not for labor. They will not annoy keep a sharp look-out, in case a similar oppor- themselves with the arduous duties of the camp, tunity should offer.
while Bill Brannan can be obtained as chief cook “ It is a small chance if you see any thing," and bottle-washer, old Hinch and Smith for gensaid the driver ; “but you'll have sport enough eral camp work—to pitch the tents, build shanat Grand Lake, where you say you're going to. ties, cut fire-wood, row the batteaux, etc., etc.We'll fetch to the turn-off by noon, and by night all old loggers together, who have often taken you'll get there if you can find a wagon big their turn at the frying-pan and the various enough to haul all this stuff of yourn.” chores of the “swamp.” Most important, too,
Penman had arranged by letter with the are the services of tall Jack Stewart, who stands good people of the Aroostook for a grand excur- six feet six in his stockings—the best bear-huntsion to the lakes Chepetnacook and Madon er in the county, and who can paddle a canoe, gamook, at such time as he should reach the call a moose, swing an axe, follow a blind trail, rendezvous appointed. Accordingly, when he or hook a trout, as well as the best. Rare specireached the little village of Weston, on the bor- men of the Aroostook native, “only nineteen ders of the Grand Lake (or Madongamook, as years old.”
And now, at early evening, when all had been | ture reigns in her virgin beauty, and the air is made acquainted, and had partaken of a plain odorous with the sweet scents of the forest. but excellent supper, Jones demanded the atten- Like an arrow, and as noiselessly, the light tion of the excursionists.
canoe skims the glassy lake, and the only sounds “Is every thing ready for an early start in that break the stillness are the gentle dip of the the morning ?”
blade and the ripple that chuckles merrily under “Every thing."
the stem. On—on, guided by firm and dex“It is well. Ladies and Gentlemen, we shall trous hands, skirting beautiful white sand start at four o'clock in the morning, so as to beaches, gracefully sweeping coves, and farreach the camp on the lake, which is ten miles reaching points of land; under the shadows of down, and have breakfast by seven. It is now densely - wooded hills, along the margins of nine o'clock. I would therefore earnestly ad- peaceful islands, and out into the broad expanse vise that all immediately retire, that there may of waters that stretch eight miles from shore to be no laggards in the morning. As to sleeping shore. Gradually the three dark specks in the accommodations, I will state that there are but distance increase in size, until the batteaux five bedrooms at our disposal. As there are which had set out an hour before, with their eleven ladies and several married gentlemen, it parti-colored crews, are plainly discernible; and is proposed that all single ladies shall occupy anon a wild chorus comes wafted over the water, apartments by themselves, and the others sleep clear and full. Now a sharp report rings out, together. Single gentlemen will, of course, be and is echoed from the forest confines of the put to their own shifts, and take such accommo- lake. “Ha! a deer! Cliquot, a deer! They dation as they can find.”
have fired at him. See! he is in the lake!
How he breasts the waves! and what a tumult At early morning the excursionists were driv- of foam and bubbles he leaves behind him! en a mile or two down to the lake, and their They've missed him-he's too far off! Shall carriages then returned. The sun never rose we give chase, Stewart ?” more gorgeously upon the broad waters of Ma- “It's of no use; he'll make the shore before dongamook. On the dead top of a tall pine we can get within range.” that leaned over the lake a great eagle sat, com- “Well, let him go, and a long life to him! placently surveying himself in the crimsoned What right have we to prove our skill at the surface below. A couple of ducks got up and cost of the noble creature's happy existence ?" flapped out toward the middle, leaving parallel Now rest the paddles, and let us float a while wakes as they flew; a king-fisher scolded sharp- at ease. Such scenery should make the easel ly as he mounted the scraggy limb of a hem- envious, and cap the poet's wildest dream. lock; and the hoarse voice of a blue crane came What an Arcadia of romance ! This lake is clear and full from the further shore of the cove. the central point of what, not many years ago, Forest and wave alike teemed with life, and the was a vast area of unbroken wilderness. Here presence of man seemed to cause little alarm. the red men gathered around the council-fire, Just in the edge of the woods a Methodist rabbit for uncounted generations, in their annual asstood saying his prayers; a red squirrel ran sembling; and the voices of their chiefs and down to the end of a limb, flirted his tail, and the discordant cries of wild beasts alone dissat looking with unwinking eyes ; and a bevy of turbed the solitude. There is a dark column of fat young partridges ran skulking among the smoke rising gently from behind the hills, but brush and moss-covered logs, two of which Pen- it is not from their camp-fires; for the pioneer man shot with his revolver, and one Stewart is already making his clearings. Here, too, knocked over with a stone. So was the peace during the busy winters, the adjacent forests of the forest outraged, and for a moment after have rung for many a year with the crash of the pistol's report the solitude was frightened falling pines, where the lumberman wielded his into silence. Then the clear notes of the song- ruthless axe; and in the early spring the lake sters rang out again, and the leaves were rustled has been covered with the rewards of his toil, by other agents than the passing breeze. floating down on their way through the St.
But the beauties of the charming landscape Croix to the lumber-ports below. Yet the eagle were presently forgotten in the bustle of depart-still dares to build his nest among the rocks, and
Precious little time it took to get under the bear and deer have not been frightened from way, for many hands made light work. The their haunts. The Indians called this “Greatladies were comfortably bestowed in two large grandfather's" Lake. They have gone; but withbatteaux, while another received the luggage, out the Fathers it is a Grand Lake still. tents, camp utensils, and provisions. Jack Stew- Arrived at the foot of the lake the little fleet art was to go in a birch canoe. Penman frisked landed in a snug cove, whence a blind path led with delightful anticipation ; for the sight of the through the woods to an open glade which was frail craft revived many pleasant reminiscences selected for the camp site. Here legions of of perilous voyages away up toward the sources mosquitoes disputed possession, but they were of the Mississippi, and upon the wild streams soon repulsed by the smudges which were made that thread the “Big Woods” of Wisconsin. and driven under cover. Breakfast dispatched, Romance is always associated with the birch all addressed themselves to their respective ducanoe; for the little bark floats only where na- ties. To build a fire and put up the tents was the work of but a few moments. Brannan and northern waters of the Aroostook; along some Hinch cut forks and cross-poles, and soon com- one of the thousand romantic tributaries of the pleted the frame-work of a long table and benches; Penobscot, the Kennebec, and St. John, or, on while Smith and Stewart, who a short time since the margin of the magnificent lakes in which disappeared among the bushes, soon returned they invariably have their sources-lakes with with long split shingles, with which they finish- euphonious names and unpronounceable names ed this primitive furniture in most approved pic--Wassataquoik, Chesuncook, Mooseluckmanic style.
guntic, Bamedumpkok, Pangokwahem, UmsasBut the shingles were dry, and apparently kis, Raumchemingamook! One of the most long cut. Whence came they? The Vandals attractive regions to the sportsman, and perhad ravaged an old shanty of Dr. Bethune's ! haps the least frequented, is the chain of picThis was a favorite resort of his, and for many turesque lakes which feed the Fish River-a a season had he made his camp here. Often large tributary of the St. John, and lying about bad he worshiped in these forest aisles, and fifteen miles north of latitude 47o. found sermons in stones and in the running To speak of the numbers and size of the trout brooks, and good in every thing. Here many taken by Penman and his friends would only be a speckled trout has risen to his subtle fly, and adding to the already voluminous catalogue of the great trout of the lake leaped from its trans- fish stories. He never weighed his trout by parent depths at his beck. Alas! dear old guess, nor estimated the dimensions of that indivine! He has gone the way of all the earth, evitable big fish which he (in common with the and the places that have known him shall know brotherhood from time immemorial) hooked but him no more. The settlers were wont to look unfortunately lost. But one morning he rose for his coming, and rejoiced in his presence. at daybreak, and went with Stewart in the caThe hardy lumbermen will miss his portly figure noe to the outlet of the lake; and while Jack and genial face from their camps, and listen no held the birch with firmly-set pole in the swiftmore to his Sabbath teachings. But the future est rapid he trailed his “ibis” lightly across the visitor to Grand Lake and the Schoodacs may dark eddy at the edge of the foam, and took chance to stumble upon some secluded camp of therefrom eleven trout, with which he returned his, and contemplate with greater interest the to camp. At breakfast they were laid in state ground he treads.
upon the table, prepared in Brannan's best style, So the ramblers dined from the Doctor's and when the entire party-twenty-six in allshingles! How all the happy days were passed had eaten of the delicious viands there were in this wilderness nook may not here be told in fragments left. detail-how the ladies essayed “the gentle art" So the days glided merrily on, with incident (as if all the winning arts of the dear sex but and adventure that must remain untold, until, paled before this one!), and snared the speckled on one beautiful morning, Penman and Cliquot beauties with rod and reel; how they sported in bade adieu to their friends, and once more turnthe limpid water, culled flowers and berries, and cd their faces northward. wove wreaths and garlands; how the men fished and hunted, and staid out o' nights until the Penman had humbugged Cliquot into the bedear ones wept them lost forever, and returned lief that they were to have log-cabin fare the laden with the spoils of their raids ; how there rest of their journey, and that the remaining were frequent excursions to unexplored locali- portion of the Aroostook was an almost uninties, in which both sexes joined ; and how sly habited wilderness. He was consequently surcoaples strolled away to leafy retreats, and came prised as they approached Houlton, the capital back to camp by different routes, as if they had of the county, to see fine farms and fields of not met before. Then there were romping golden grain, wheat, rye, barley, oats, and buckgames, and quiet games, and music, and cotil. wheat, and acres of luxuriant potatoes spread lions upon the springy sward, and uncouth In- over the country in a rich mosaic of divers dian dances at evening in the glare of the blazing hues, capacious barns and pretentious houses, camp-fire, until the snapping wood had burned young orchards and pastures of cattle and sheep to embers, and tired nature demanded rest. -evidences of the thrift of the settlers, and of
As to fishing, who that has ever wet his line the nutritious soil which has given the settling in these waters could thereafter be content to lands of the Aroostook their fame. The surangle elsewhere? The orthodox sportsman may face of the country was undulating, and travhere roam from stream to stream, casting his ersed by numerous streams that flow into the fly at almost every throw with a certainty of Meduxnekeag. Cliquot wondered that such success, over pools which might well excite the abundant crops could be raised in so high a envy of many a trans-Atlantic angler. There is latitude, and that the culture of apples and no other region east of the Rocky Mountains, plums promised such success. Penman exin the United States, equal to it, unless it be in plained that the isothermal lines here dipped the almost primitive Big Woods of Wisconsin. well to the southward, that the weather was Let the rambler make his camp on whatever warmer in the Aroostook in winter than it is lake or stream he will, it is all the same, two hundred miles farther south, and that wheat whether it be in the St. Croix country, the re- is not unfrequently sown as early as the middle gion of the wild Moosehead Lake, or the more of April. He had known of fields yielding
thirty bushels to the acre, and of oats not less dollar in Western money (a Bangor note), a fifty than eighty bushels. But Cliquot's surprise cent New Brunswick bill, a dollar and a half was increased when he entered the town of ditto, a pound note, and a most interesting colHoulton to see a brick-and-stone court-house of lection of silver and copper coins, British shilgoodly dimensions and architecture, rows of lings, sixpences, twenty cent pieces, two “Yorkshops, mills, foundries, a newspaper and job ers" (United States quarter dollars), and penprinting - office, residences indicative of good nies as large as a quoit. Could there be more taste and wealth, and a hotel of no mean pre- palpable evidence of the isolation of the Aroostensions, which promised “good entertainment took from the States, and of its intimacy with for man anu beast."
the land of the Blue Noses? Here the travelers threw off their dusters, Our two adventurers passed three days in and having made their ablutions, lighted their pleasant drives and successful angling of the pipes and took position on the piazza to await streams in the vicinity of Houlton. Once they dinner. In the interval, stages arrived from the ascended an eminence near the old barracks, four cardinal points, and among the throng of from which they obtained a most extensive view passing vehicles were noticed occasional stylish of the surrounding country, embracing perhaps teams and dashing private equipages, denoting one-third of the entire Aroostook region. It thrift and trade. It was observed, too, that the was a panorama of rare beauty that lay spread inhabitants, while possessing many of the ele- like a map before them. The atmosphere had ments of Yankee character, seemed more like a purplish, hazy hue, through which the sunthe aristocracy of some old English town than light fell in softened rays that toned down the the people of a newly-settled backwoods country. inequalities of surface, so that the broad expanse That their constant commercial and social inter- seemed like a green rolling prairie, interspersed course with the neighboring Province of New with sparkling lakes and streams. From adBrunswick should have somewhat modified their jacent hills spiral columns of smoke ascended national characteristics is not to be wondered like Indian signal-fires, and floated lazily away at.
Neither is it strange that their sympathies upon the still air. In the dim distance the faint should have followed in the same direction, nor outlines of isolated mountain peaks loomed up that, except in the matter of jurisdiction, this against the sky, and fifty miles away, barely disvast and fertile region is almost, if not quite, as cernible to the naked eye, Mount Katahden really annexed to that province as if so stipu- rested like a shadowy cloud upon the horizon. lated in the treaty of 1842; since its natural But with the aid of Cliquot's telescope, the channel for communication is through the St. grand old mountain stood out in bold relief, and John, and the artificial channels made to con- from its summit its coronal of everlasting snow nect it with the southern part of the State have gleamed with a fixed white light like the stars proved inadequate to compete successfully with of an arctic sky. Thirty miles to the norththe first. It could not be expected that the ward was Mars Hill, round as a hayrick, and traffic of the Aroostook would pass through the famous as the point selected by the British comtwo great arteries that traverse it to Bangor, missioners as the commencement of the heights when the freight charges are three times as great of land forming the boundary of the United as they are by the valley of the St. John. As States. There are no mountain ranges in Maine. to duties, the boundary line, never here a prac- It is emphatically a country of lakes and streams. tically serious obstacle to interchange of com- But the towering peaks stand out in solitary modities, has, since the Reciprocity Treaty went grandeur from the comparatively level tracts into operation, been little more than a nominal surrounding, as if inviting wonder and admiraone. The Aroostook is thus made an isolated tion. Of these the number is large, and among part of the Federal Domain. There is a marked the most prominent are Abraham, Sugar Loaf, difference between its people and the people of Chase's, Katahden, and Mount Blue. the remainder of the State and of New England. When our two heroes had feasted their eyes How easily they can distinguish an “outsider” upon the charming landscape they wandered from a native! (All the rest of the United States thoughtfully over the parade-ground and through is outside to them.) "Ah! you are from the the old barracks of Fort Hancock, now fast outside, I observe. When did you coine in? crumbling to decay, but associated with one of What is the news out West?"
the most eventful periods in the history of the Now, where is that indefinite locality known Pine - Tree State. Then they strolled on to as “out West ?” The inhabitant of Minnesota what were once the officers' quarters, and knockturns his face to the Rocky Mountains, and goes ing, summoned the old sergeant, from whose West. The citizen of Chicago goes West to the lips they gathered some tritely told incidents of Mississippi. The native of New York migrates the famous “ Aroostook War.” to Ohio, and goes West. The New Englander The horrors of that bloody struggle for terrigoes West to the Genesee Valley. The Ban- torial acquisition have found small place in gorian goes West, and the Aroostooker goes West history, except as they have been recorded in to Bangor! Even the Federal currency is al- State papers, and are not familiar to the present most unused here, and bills of banks outside of generation. The reader will therefore be thankthe State are generally refused. Cliquot wished ful for the following succinct narration of its change for a ten-dollar note, and received one principal events, as they were received by Pen