1863 Trip to Aroostook, including Madawaska

Below is the text of an article describing a visit to the Aroostook and St.John River valleys in 1863.

The article was published in the October 1863 issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, pages 688-698. The author calls himself "Penman," but was actually 28-year-old Charles Hallock:

Born in New York City, educated at Yale and Amherst, and trained as a journalist, this ardent supporter of the Confederacy arrive in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at about the time "Aroostook and Madawaska" appeared in Harpers. ... [H]e had reached Halifax via Bermuda, his base for running the blockade of the South while acting as editor of the Augusta, Georgia Chronicle and Sentinal. ... [Hallock] would spend the next three years in Halifax and Saint John as a shipping broker, setting up money exchange and editing, at times, the Saint John newspapers The Courier and The Telegraph as well as a magazine, The Humorist.  ... Harpers was then at the height of its influence as a journal of opinion, read widely on both sides of the Atlantic...  [Source: Thomas, pp.165-167]

Among the people mentioned by name are Bill Brannan, Jack Stewart, Jean Parent, Keegan, Father McKeagney.

Sections: Trip from Bangor to the Aroostook | Arrival at Weston | Houlton | The Aroostook War | Presque Isle | Grand Falls | The Madawaska | Tobique



JUST where the shadows of the tall hem-
locks fall heaviest the confluent waters of
the Mattawamkeag and Penobscot mingle in
white foam, and the wavelets rippling over the
stones murmur through the gloomy arch in
sweet and soothing monotone. Penman is
trailing his fly across the dark eddy that circles
slowly through the piers of the bridge. Per-
chance he may take a goodly trout before the
dust is shaken from his traveling-coat, or the
hell of the snug little inn rings out its summons
to supper.
	It is one of those cool, delicious evenings
which, in Maine, invariably succeed the sultry
August day, when man and beast swelter under
the thermometer at 9O° in the shade. The
flaming red sun in the west has hobnobbed for
a moment with the full yellow moon in the
east, and is now dipped beneath the horizon;
while the moon is mounting the arms of the
tall hemlocks, step by step, and spangling the
foam of the Mattawamkeag. A light breeze is
stirring the trees, and the mosquitoes buzz spite-
fully as they are driven, baffled, from their prey,
careening like a ship in a gale.
	Cliquot now sits in the porch. Upon his ar-
rival he took a couple of turns in the bar-room,
ordered the best chamber at command, lighted
his meerschaum, and then made his quarters
upon the long wooden bench outside. Cliquot
is a traveler, has crossed the ocean no one knows
how many times. He has traveled in France,
where he married a French lady; in South
America, and in other parts of the world, hab-
itable and inhabitable. Hence he has acquired
a traveler’s virtues. He is never hurried, al-
ways adapts himself to circumstances, does
nothing out of turn, and endures the vicissi-
tudes of a roving life with a quiet composure
that insures him comfort and enjoyment every
The Trip from Bangor to the Aroostook 
	How our two travelers happened to be so-
journers in this forest nook came about through
a note of Penman’s addressed to Cliquot, pro-
posing that they should make a tour of the
Aroostook together. Cliquot readily assented,
and the day of departure was set. So the lapse
of time found them at Bangor, whence they
traveled twelve miles by railroad to the Indian
village of Old Town, upon the Penobscot, where
a little stern-wheel steamboat was in waiting
to take them on fifty miles further to Matta-
wamkeag. A coach runs daily between the
two points when the water is at a low stage,
following the course of the river; but on this
occasion it was doubtful if the boat could carry
over the “rips,” and so both coach and boat
ran, the former acting as a sort of tender to
the latter. Off rumbled the coach over the
highway, and away steamed the boat, sputter-
ing and splashing, leaving the aboriginal set-
tlement behind, with its little frame cabins, its
huge wooden cross, its semi-civilized savages,
its uncivil dogs, its birch canoes drawn high up
on shore, and its groups of basket-making wo-
men and demure-looking children, who shoot
diminutive coin with bows and arrows at mar-
velous distances. On they went, turning the
bend in a great semicircle of white foam, wind-
ing among picturesque islands, past Indian
farms and white men’s farms, through rafts and
lumbermen, putting wild ducks~ to flight, and
waking echoes from shore to shore. A thick
cloud of yellow dust rolled along the right bank,
and kept pace with the white volume of foam
that tumbled over the wheel at the stern and
the black vapor that streamed out from the
	“Let’s find the cook,” said Cliquot. “My
stomach tells me it should be near the dinner-
	They went forward, and found several bales
of dried codfish, barrels of flour, kegs of nails,
and a party of river men playing “seven up.”
Then they dove into a small apartment con-
taining a stove and a bench, on which lay a
stout figure in repose; next into a door ajar,
which proved to he the ladies’ cabin, with a
settle, two rocking-chairs, a small table, an al-
manac, and a Bible; next into a door which
disclosed the engine and a man with an oil-
can; next around the stern of the boat with-
out further discoveries, and back to the man
with the can.
	“Engineer?” asked Cliquot.
	“No; he’s on deck.”
	“Where’s the cook? are we to have dinner
soon ?“
	“No dinner aboard this boat. When we
get to Passadumkeag you can go ashore and
get a bite.”
	“Where’s the captain ?“
	“He’s on deck.”
	“Penman, let us go aloft and settle our fares
with the captain.”
	There was but one person on deck, and his
functions were obvious at a glance. He was
engineer and pilot as well as captain.
	“You seem to have your hands full,” Cliquot
remarked, as the captain tugged alternately at
the tiller and an iron lever in front of him.
The other nodded assent.
	“We stop at Passadumkeag for dinner?“
	“Half an hour.”
	At Passadumkeag the passengers by stage and
boat met for dinner. After consultation, Cliquot
and his friend decided to stick to their craft, for
the weather was intensely hot, and the roads
insufferably dusty. So the stage rumbled on
again, and the boat once more essayed to ascend
the river. At the end of a few miles she stuck
fast and the travelers then transferred them-
selves to the stage. At the next landing, how-
ever, she came steaming around an island, and
they again took to the boat. Then they tried
the stage again. Then they took to the boat.
Then they mounted the stage, and at last drove
up to the neat little inn where the Mattawam-
keag tumbles into the Penobscot.


	“Halloa!” cried Cliquot, sitting up in bed.
“What’s the matter now ?“
	“Three o’clock!” from outside the door.
“Stage starts in fifteen minutes!“
	“No breakfast?“ inquired Cliquot, when he
had dressed and descended to the long ball,
where the landlord stood with a dim candle.
	“No, Sir; it’s a rough road, and ‘twould be
only a waste of victuals.”
	This is high latitude, and the silvery twilight
is already suffusing the sky. The morning air
is almost frosty, and penetrates over-coats and
blankets. Over a succession of hills the coach
creaks and rumbles, and presently enters the
famed Aroostook. Even now has it invaded
the home of the moose, the deer, the wolf, and
the bear. When it had climbed a long, weary
ascent, and the horses paused for rest, a pano-
rama of rare beauty was revealed. On every
side the mottled forest rose and fell in wave-like
swells, and the mist that filled the intervals
transformed the scenery into a tranquil ocean
studded with green island gems. Soon the sun
rose glowing hot, as if from a horizon of sky
and sea, and when the mist rolled away bright
lakes sparkled far down in the valleys, and from
an occasional isolated clearing gleamed fields
of golden grain. Before them, for many a
mile and straight as a carpenter’s rule, lay their
route, ais it was laid out by the Government for
a military road, a mere rift through the high
walls of forest. There are fresh deer tracks
along the damp road, and-
“Whose dogs are those ahead there, driv-
	“Dogs! faugh! quick, Penman, your rific!
Ah, there they dive into the woods! If I could
have drawn a bead on one of those chaps, we
might have claimed the bounty for a wolf-scalp.”
	“Were those really wolves, driver ?“
	‘‘You guessed about right there.’’
	“I shouldn’t think they’d venture so near
the settlements.”
	“Well, there ain’t many settlements just
here-only a house now and then along the
road. Back in there, and to the tother side,
for thirty miles or more, there’s neither house
nor shanty, unless it be a logging camp, and
nary road either. Game is plenty enough in
	Penman suggested that it would be well to
keep a sharp look-out, in case a similar oppor-
tunity should offer.
	“It is a small chance if you see any thing,”
said the driver; “but you’ll have sport enough
at Grand Lake, where you say you’re going to.
We’ll fetch to the turn-off by noon, and by night
you’ll get there if you can find a wagon big
enough to haul all this stuff of yourn.”

Arrival at Weston
	Penman had arranged by letter with the
good people of the Aroostook for a grand excur-
sion to the lakes Chepetnacook and Madon-
gamook, at such time as he should reach the
rendezvous appointed. Accordingly, when he
reached the little village of Weston, on the bor-
ders of the Grand Lake (or Madongamook, as
known by the red men of past generations), and
prepared to domiciliate himself in a quiet little
farm-house there, he was not surprised to find
his friend Page present to share his fresh berries
and bread and milk, and acknowledge verbally
the receipt of his note from Bangor: “I shall
reach Weston on Thursday evening, Providence
and weather permitting.”
	“It’s all right,” he said, when be observed a
shade of disappointment clouded his friend’s
face. “The rest of the party will be here di-
rectly. I am the avant courier, you see. Hist!
they are coming now, and at no slow pace either.
Two to one on the black mare. She’s a Mes-
senger, you know, and Perrin’s first love. Jones
drives a Black Hawk, and does hate to ride in
any man’s dust; but he can’t beat the mare.
There they are, neck and neck! Now come,
my beauty
	See what horses are bred in the Aroostook!
What turn-outs for a backwoods country! First,
two light trotting wagons rattled up to the gate-
way, each carrying two persons. Then came
three two-seated carriages, with their comple-
ments of three ladies and a gentleman. Next
a top-buggy and two dashing Di Vernons, hand-
ling the ribbons beautifully; and behind them
the commissariat, with a stout team, carrying
the public supplies. So gay a party has not dis-
turbed the seclusion of the little hamlet for many
summers. They are of the aristocracy of the
Maine “plantations”-landed proprietors of a
thousand acres, for whom a score of farm-serv-
ants harvest their redundant crops, to fill the
New Brunswick markets on the noble St. John;
whose blooded stock find curious eyes at the
county fairs, and upon whose bounteous tables
sparkle wines of choicest brands, imported across
the line duty free. There are ladies of refine-
ment, with soft white hands, now equipped to
“rough it” for a fortnight among the wilds of
the Schoodac, miles away from the habitations
of man-to lure the trout from his haunts, and
coquette with the bears among the whortleber-
ries that tint the islands of the “Wide Prospect
Water.” Then there is the editor of the Aroos-
took Times, who must return within the week to
furnish his paper a full report of the excursion;
an ex-M.C., and-there are others, twenty-two
in all. But our Aroostookers are off for pleas-
ure, and not for labor. They will not annoy
themselves with the arduous duties of the camp,
while Bill Brannan can be obtained as chief cook
and bottle-washer, old Hinch and Smith for gen-
eral camp work-to pitch the tents, build shan-
ties, cut fire-wood, row the batteaux, etc., etc.-
all old loggers together, who have often taken
their turn at the frying-pan and the various
chores of the “swamp.” Most important, too,
are the services of tall Jack Stewart, who stands
six feet six in his stockings-the best bear-hunt-
er in the county, and who can paddle a canoe,
call a moose, swing an axe, follow a blind trail,
or hook a trout, as well as the best. Rare speci-
men of the Aroostook native, “only nineteen
years old.”


	And now, at early evening, when all had been
made acquainted, and had partaken of a plain
but excellent supper, Jones demanded the atten-
tion of the excursionists.
	“Is every thing ready for an early start in
the morning ?“
	“Every thing.”
	“It is well. Ladies and Gentlemen, we shall
start at four o’clock in the morning, so as to
reach the camp on the lake, which is ten miles
down, and have breakfast by seven. It is now
nine o’clock. I would therefore earnestly ad-
vise that all immediately retire, that there may
be no laggards in the morning. As to sleeping
accommodations, I will state that there are but
five bedrooms at our disposal. As there are
eleven ladies and several married gentlemen, it
is proposed that all single ladies shall occupy
apartments by themselves, and the others sleep
together. Single gentlemen will, of course, be
put to their own shifts, and take such accommo-
dation as they can find.”

	At early morning the excursionists were driv-
en a mile or two down to the lake, and their
carriages then returned. The sun never rose
more gorgeously upon the broad waters of Ma-
dongamook. On the dead top of a tall pine
that leaned over the lake a great eagle sat, com-
placently surveying himself in the crimsoned
suiface below. A couple of ducks got up and
flapped out toward the middle, leaving parallel
wakes as they flew; a king-fisher scolded sharp-
ly as he mounted the scraggy limb of a hem-
lock; and the hoarse voice of a blue crane came
clear and full from the further shore of the cove.
Forest and wave alike teemed with life, and the
presence of man seemed to cause little alarm.
Just in the edge of the woods a Methodist rabbit
stood saying his prayers; a red squirrel ran
down to the end of a limb, flirted his tail, and
sat looking with unwinking eyes; and a bevy of
fat young partridges ran skulking among the
brush and moss-covered logs, two of which Pen-
man shot with his revolver, and one Stewart
knocked over with a stone. So was the peace
of the forest outraged, and for a moment after
the pistol’s report the solitude was frightened
into silence. Then the clear notes of the song-
sters rang out again, and the leaves were rustled
by other agents than the passing breeze.
	But the beauties of the charming landscape
were presently forgotten in the bustle of depart-
ure. Precious little time it took to get under
way, for many hands made light work. The
ladies were comfortably bestowed in two large
batteaux, while another received the luggage,
tents, camp utensils, and provisions. Jack Stew-
art was to go in a birch canoe. Penman frisked
with delightful anticipation; for the sight of the
frail craft revived many pleasant reminiscences
of perilous voyages away up toward the sources
of the Mississippi, and upon the wild streams
that thread the “Big Woods” of Wisconsin.
Romance is always associated with the birch
canoe; for the little bark floats only where na
ture reigns in her virgin beauty, and the air is
odorous with the sweet scents of the forest.
	Like an arrow, and as noiselessly, the light
canoe skims the glassy lake, and the only sounds
that break the stillness are the gentle dip of the
blade and the ripple that chuckles merrily under
the stem. On-on, guided by firm and dex-
trous hands, skirting beautiful white sand
beaches, gracefully sweeping coves, and far-
reaching points of land; under the shadows of
densely - wooded hills, along the margins of
peaceful islands, and out into the broad expanse
of waters that stretch eight miles from shore to
shore. Gradually the three dark specks in the
distance increase in size, until the batteaux
which had set out an hour before, with their
parti-colored crews, are plainly discernible; and
anon a wild chorus comes wafted over the water,
clear and full. Now a sharp report rings out,
and is echoed from the forest confines of the
lake. “Ha! a deer! Cliquot, a deer! They
have fired at him. See! he is in the lake!
How he breasts the waves! and what a tumult
of foam and bubbles be leaves behind him!
They’ve missed him-he’s too far off! Shall
we give chase, Stewart ?“
	“It’s of no use; he’ll make the shore before
we can get within range.”
	“Well, let him go, and a long life to him!
What right have we to prove our skill at the
cost of the noble creature’s happy existence ?“
	Now rest the paddles, and let us float a while
at ease. Such scenery should make the easel
envious, and cap the poet’s wildest dream.
What an Arcadia of romance! This lake is
the central point of what, not many years ago,
was a vast area of unbroken wilderness. Here
the red men gathered around the council-fire,
for uncounted generations, in their annual as-
sembling; and the voices of their chiefs and
the discordant cries of wild beasts alone dis-
turbed the solitude. There is a dark column of
smoke rising gently from behind the hills, but
it is not from their camp-fires; for the pioneer
is already making his clearings. Here, too,
during the busy winters, the adjacent forests
have rung for many a year with the crash of
falling pines, where the lumberman wielded his
ruthless axe; and in the early spring the lake
has been covered with the rewards of his toil.
floating down on their way through the St.
Croix to the lumber-ports below. Yet the eagle
still dares to build his nest among the rocks, and
the bear and deer have not been frightened from
their haunts. The Indians called this “Great-
grandfather’s” Lake. They have gone; hut with-
out the Fathers it is a Grand Lake still.
	Arrived at the foot of the lake the little fleet
landed in a snug cove, whence a blind path led
through the woods to an open glade which was
selected for the camp site. Here legions of
mosquitoes disputed possession, but they were
soon repulsed by the smudges which were made
and driven under cover. Breakfast dispatched,
all addressed themselves to their respective du-
ties. To build a fire and put up the tents was


the work of but a few moments. Brannan and 
Hinch cut forks and cross-poles, and soon com-
pleted the frame-work of along table and benches;
while Smith and Stewart, who a short time since 
disappeared among the bushes, soon returned 
with long split shingles, with which they finish-
ed this primitive furniture in most approved pic-
nic style.
	But the shingles were dry, and apparently 
long cut. Whence came they? The Vandals 
had ravaged an old shanty of Dr. Bethune’s! 
This was a favorite resort of his, and for many 
a season had he made his camp here. Often large 
had he worshiped in these forest aisles, and 
found sermons in stones and in the running 
brooks, and good in every thing. Here many 
a speckled trout has risen to his subtle fly, and 
the great trout of the lake leaped from its trans-
parent depths at his beck. Alas! dear old gness, nor 
divine! He has gone the way of all the earth, 
and the places that have known him shall know 
him no more. The settlers were wont to look 
for his coming, and rejoiced in his presence. 
The hardy lumbermen will miss his portly figure 
and genial face from their camps, and listen no 
more to his Sabbath teachings. But the future 
visitor to Grand Lake and the Schoodacs may 
chance to stumble upon some secluded camp of 
his, and contemplate with greater interest the 
ground he treads. 
	So the ramblers dined from the Doctor’s 
shingles! How all the happy days were passed 
in this wilderness nook may not here be told 
detail-how the ladies essayed “the gentle art” 
(as if all the winning arts of the dear sex 
paled before this one!), and snared the speckled 
beauties with rod and reel; how they sported in 
the limpid water, culled flowers and berries, and 
wove wreaths and garlands; how the men fished
and hunted, and staid ont o’ nights until the 
dear ones wept them lost forever, and returned 
laden with the spoils of their raids; how there 
were frequent excursions to unexplored beau-
ties, in which both sexes joined; and how sly 
couples strolled away to leafy retreats, and came 
back to camp by different routes, as if they had 
not met before. Then there were romping 
games, and quiet games, and music, and cotil-
lions upon the springy sward, and uncouth In-
dian dances at evening in the glare of the blazing 
camp-fire, until the snapping wood had burned 
to embers, and tired nature demanded rest.
	As to fishing, who that has ever wet his line 
in these waters could thereafter be content to 
angle elsewhere? The orthodox sportsman may 
here roam from stream to stream, casting his 
fly at almost every throw with a certainty of 
success, over pools which might well excite the 
envy of many a trans-Atlantic angler. There is 
no other region east of the Rocky Mountains, 
in the United States, equal to it, unless it be in 
the almost primitive Big Woods of Wisconsin.
Let the rambler make his camp on whatever 
lake or stream he will, it is all the same, 
whether it be in the St. Croix country, the re-
gion of the wild Moosehead Lake, or the more 
northern waters of the Aroostook; along some
one of the thousand romantic tributaries of the
Penobscot, the Kennebec, and St. John, or on
the margin of the magnificent lakes in which
they invariably have their sources-lakes with
euphonious names and unpronounceable names
-Wassataquoik, Chesuncook, Mooseluckma-
guntic, Bamedumpkok, Pangokwahem, Umsas-
kis, Raumehemingamook! One of the most
attractive regions to the sportsman, and per-
haps the least frequented, is the chain of pic-
turesque lakes which feed the Fish River-a
large tributary of the St. John, and lying about
fifteen miles north of latitude 47O°
	To speak of the numbers and size of the trout
taken by Penman and his friends would only be
adding to the already voluminous catalogue of
fish stories. He never weighed his trout by
guess, nor estimated the dimensions of that in-
evitable big fish which he (in common with the
brotherhood from time immemorial) hooked but
unfortunately lost. But one morning he rose
at daybreak, and went with Stewart in the ca-
noe to the outlet of the lake; and while Jack
held the birch with firmly-set pole in the swift-
est rapid he trailed his “ibis” lightly across the
dark eddy at the edge of the foam, and took
therefrom eleven trout, with which he returned
to camp. At breakfast they were laid in state
upon the table, prepared in Brannan’s best style,
and when the entire party-twenty-six in all-
had eaten of the delicious viands there were
fragments left.
	So the days glided merrily on, with incident
but and adventure that must remain untold, until,
on one beautiful morning, Penman and Cliquot
bade adieu to their friends, and once more turn-
ed their faces northward.

	Penman had humbugged Cliquot into the be-
lief that they were to have log-cabin fare the
rest of their journey, and that the remaining
portion of the Aroostook was an almost unin-
habited wilderness. He was consequently sur-
prised as they approached Houlton, the capital
of the county, to see fine farms and fields of
golden grain, wheat, rye, barley, oats, and buck-
wheat, and acres of luxuriant potatoes spread
over the country in a rich mosaic of divers
hues, capacious barns and pretentious houses,
young orchards and pastures of cattle and sheep
-evidences of the thrift of the settlers, and of
the nutritious soil which has given the settling
lands of the Aroostook their fame. The sur-
face of the country was undulating, and trav-
ersed by numerous streams that flow into the
Meduxuekeag. Cliquot wondered that such
abundant crops could be raised in so high a
latitude, and that the culture of apples and
plums promised such success. Penman ex-
plained that the isothermal lines here dipped
well to the southward, that the weather was
warmer in the Aroostook in winter than it is
two hundred miles farther south, and that wheat
is not unfrequently sown as early as the middle
April. He had known of fields yielding


thirty bushels to the acre, and of oats not less 
than eighty bushels. But Cliquot’s surprise 
was increased when he entered the town of 
Houlton to see a brick-and-stone court-house of 
goodly dimensions and architecture, rows of hugs, -
shops, mills, foundries, a newspaper and job 
printing-office, residences indicative of good 
taste and wealth, and a hotel of no mean pre-
tensions, which promised “good entertainment 
for man and beast.”
	Here the travelers threw off their dusters, 
and having made their ablutions, lighted their 
pipes and took position on the piazza to await 
dinner. In the interval, stages arrived from the 
four cardinal points, and among the throng of 
passing vehicles were noticed occasional stylish 
teams and dashing private equipages, denoting 
thrift and trade. It was observed, too, that the 
inhabitants, while possessing many of the ele-
ments of Yankee character, seemed more like 
the aristocracy of some old English town than 
the people of a newly-settled backwoods country.
That their constant commercial and social inter-
course with the neighboring Province of New 
Brunswick should have somewhat modified their 
national characteristics is not to be wondered 
at. Neither is it strange that their sympathies 
should have followed in the same direction, nor 
that, except in the matter of jurisdiction, this 
vast and fertile region is almost, if not quite, as 
really annexed to that province as if so stipu-
lated in the treaty of 1842; since its natural 
channel for communication is through the St. 
John, and the artificial channels made to con-
nect it with the southern part of the State 
proved inadequate to compete successfully with 
the first. It could not he expected that the 
traffic of the Aroostook would pass through the 
two great arteries that traverse it to Bangor, 
when the freight charges are three times as great 
as they are by the valley of the St. John. As 
to duties, the boundary line, never here a prac-
tically serious obstacle to interchange of com-
modities, has, since the Reciprocity Treaty went 
into operation, been little more than a nominal 
one. The Aroostook is thus made an isolated 
part of the Federal Domain. There is a marked 
indifference between its people and the people of 
the remainder of the State and of New England. 
How easily they can distinguish an “outsider” 
from a native! (All the rest of the United States 
is outside to them.) “Ah! you are from the 
outside, I observe. When did you come in? 
What is the news out West ?“
	Now, where is that indefinite locality known 
as “out West ?‘ The inhabitant of Minnesota 
turns his face to the Roeky Mountains, and goes 
West. The citizen of Chicago goes West to the 
Mississippi. The native of New York migrates 
to Ohio, and goes West. The New Englander 
goes West to the Genesee Valley. The Ban-
gorian goes West, and the Aroostooker goes 
to Bangor! Even the Federal currency is al-
most unused here, and bills of banks outside of 
the State are generally refused. Cliquot wished 
change for a ten-dollar note, and received one 
dollar in Western money (a Bangor note), a fifty
cent New Brunswick bill, a dollar and a half
ditto, a pound note, and a most interesting col-
lection of silver and copper coins, British shil-
lings, sixpences, twenty cent pieces, two “York-
ers’ (United States quarter dollars), and pen-
nies as large as a quoit. Could there be more
palpable evidence of the isolation of the Aroos-
took from the States, and of its intimacy with
the land of the Blue Noses?
	Our two adventurers passed three days in
pleasant drives and successful angling of the
streams in the vicinity of Houlton. Once they
ascended an eminence near the old barracks,
from which they obtained a most extensive view
of the surrounding country, embracing perhaps
one-third of the entire Aroostook region. It
was a panorama of rare beauty that lay spread
like a map before them. The atmosphere had
a purplish, hazy hue, through which the sun-
light fell in softened rays that toned down the
inequalities of surface, so that the broad expanse
seemed like a green rolling prairie, interspersed
with sparkling lakes and streams. From ad-
jacent hills spiral columns of smoke ascended
like Indian signal-fires, and floated lazily away
upon the still air. In the dim distance the faint
outlines of isolated mountain peaks loomed up
against the sky, and fifty miles away, barely dis-
cernible to the naked eye, Mount Katahiden
rested like a shadowy cloud upon the horizon.
But with the aid of Cliquot’s telescope, the
grand old mountain stood out in hold relief, and
from its summit its coronal of everlasting snow
gleamed with a fixed white light like the stars
of an arctic sky. Thirty miles to the north-
ward was Mars Hill, round as a hayrick, and
famous as the point selected by the British com-
missioners as the commencement of the heights
of land forming the boundary of the United
States. There are no mountain ranges in Maine.
It is emphatically a country of lakes and streams.
But the towering peaks stand out in solitary
grandeur from the comparatively level tracts
as if inviting wonder and admira-
tion. Of these the number is large, and among
the most prominent are Abraham, Sugar Loaf,
Chase’s, Katabden, and Mount Blue.
	When our two heroes bad feasted their eyes
upon the charming landscape they wandered
thoughtfully over the parade-ground and through
the old barracks of Fort Hancock, now fast
crumbling to decay, but associated with one of
the most eventful periods ia the history of the
Pine-Tree State. Then they strolled on to
what were once the officers’ quarters, and knock-
ing summoned the old sergeant, from whose
lips they gathered some tritely told incidents of
the famous “Aroostook War.’
	The horrors of that bloody struggle for tern-
tonal acquisition have found small place in
history, except as they have been recorded in
State papers, and are not familiar to the present
generation. The reader will therefore be thank-
ful for the following succinct narration of its
principal events, as they were received by Pen-

man from the then commander-in-chief of the
United States forces and other prominent actors
in that memorable drama.


	It was a wise policy that referred the settle-
ment of the bonndary dispute to the arbitration
of the King of the Netherlands; for who could
decide more impartially in a matter where rivers
and hills were in question than the sovereign
of a country in which no rivers ran, and whose
loftiest hills were the dykes that resisted the en-
croachments of the sea? The referee did what
others have done in like quandary-” split the
difference”-which decision, as in all similar
cases, of course pleased neither party. So the
Blue Noses continued to cut timber, and the
Yankees to claim jurisdiction, over the disputed
territory. On some occasions our agents were
seized and imprisoned, which served to aggra-
vate existing troubles, until in the fall of 1838
the completion of the Aroostook road to the
river of that name, over which the British
claimed jurisdiction, brought matters to a crisis.
	Meanwhile the Government had constructed
the military road to Houlton, and established a
small garrison there. In November, Hamlin,
the land agent, acting under Governor Kent,
walked into a camp of about a dozen of the tres-
passers with writs and a deputy-sheriff. The
rough backwoodsmen demanded to know “his
business.” He was “authorized by the Gov-
ernor of Maine to arrest all trespassers by civil
process.” The absurdity of this proposition was
very apparent to the Blue Noses. They accord-
ingly badgered the agent, laughed in his face,
and, with common forest civility, told him to go
to the most uncomfortable of places. Hamlin
“didn’t see it in that light.”
	“Well, what will you do about it, supposing
we won’t budge ?“
	“Then I shall be compelled to get a military
	But the Blue Noses stood their ground, and
the agent caused writs to be served on them in
due form. At this stage of affairs the matter
was finally compromised, and the lumber poach-
ers retired. The sheriff left a guard at the
place, threatening to arrest them if they re-
	Thus far there was nothing very alarming in
the cloud that threatened. The Governor and
his agent were pursuing a conciliatory policy
which promised a suspension of all hostilities
until such time as a perfect understanding could
be had between the two Governments. The
subject was also before Congress, and the Maine
representatives had put matters right there.
Moreover it had been stipulated by the agents
of Her Majesty and of the United States, that
if the New Brunswickers took timber from the
disputed territory, and it was discovered, it was
to be sold at auction by order of the Govern-
ment and the money laid aside; or, at least, an
account of it taken, so that it might be paid
over to us at the final settlement of the bound-
ary question. Thus matters stood when a change
took phtce in the State Executive.
	Governor Fairfield and his agent, M’Intire,
favored “coercion.” It was in the month of
February, 1839, and the Legislature was in ses-
sion, when a messenger arrived, post haste, with
the startling intelligence that the trespassers
had returned in full force! Then, in secret
session, war was declared against New Bruns-
wick and the whole Blue Nose race. An armed
posse of citizens was raised in Bangor, 300
strong, and marched immediately to the seat of
war. Before this formidable force the trespass-
ers retired, retreating down the St. John River.
Just here the tragedy commences. When the
shades of night had overtaken the posse in their
pursuit of the fugitives, and all was hushed in the
camp, certain of the officers went to pay a friendly
visit to the house of one Fitz Herbert, who lived
just on the line, a half mile distant. But alas!
the folly of trusting those who live upon the line!
They are as uncertain as politicians “upon the
fence.” Now it may be that Fitz Herbert was
not a traitor to those who trusted him. Per-
haps he was only a bit of a wag, or, perchance,
being a neutral, he wished to keep the conflict
from his own territory. Howbeit it came to
pass that, while he entertained his guests with
good cheer, he sent into the Province secretly
and informed of the presence of the Yankees at
his house; the result of which was that they
were captured by the enemy and hurried down
the river to Fredericktou. Then went Fitz Her-
bert in breathless haste to the Federal camp.
	“Up, men, away! run for your lives, or all
is lost! The British are coming! They have
captured your officers, and carried them off!
The woods are swarmjng with Blue Noses and
	Then indeed there was “mounting in hot
haste,” a hurried striking of tents, and a rapid
retreat up the banks of the Aroostook. An ac-
cidental discharge of a gun quickened their speed,
and the ringing report of ice cracking in the
sharp frosty air added wings to their flight, and
they paused not in their career until a distance
of sixty miles was left between them and the
imaginary enemy.
	Now the storm of war burst upon the good
people of Maine in all its fury. Such hostile
demonstrations on the part of the enemy, and
the total rout of the Posse, demanded the in-
staut calling out of the militia of the State.
From the head-quarters at Augusta four regi-
ments were forthwith ordered; and on the 20th
of February, in just four days after the order
was issued, the troops assembled at the appoint-
ed rendezvous in Bangor, fully armed and -
equipped. The alacrity with which they re-
sponded to the call, and the celerity with which
so large a force was raised within an area of
one hundred miles, a large portion of it forest
and without facilities of travel, was most cred-
itable to all parties. All was excitement in
Bangor, business was suspended, and weeping
friends gathered around those who had so sud-


denly been summoned to brave the dangers of 
battle. From the stone steps of the Bangor 
House Major-General Hodgdon exhorted the 
assembled militia to deeds of valor in the com-
ing contest. Then came the order to march. 
One regiment went to Calais to cut off imagin-
ary reinforcements for the British, others to oth-
er points, and one, by forced marches through 
the deep snow-drifts of the Aroostook, to Houlton 
and Fort Fairfield.
	History is painfully silent respecting the oper-
ations of the three months’ campaign, and of the 
achievements of the army. The discipline of the 
camp is spoken of as excellent, though the use 
of a practice target representing the crowned 
head of Her Majesty has been justly roprehend-
ed, since it was not only disrespectful to the sex, 
but served to exasperate the Blue Noses to an 
unnecessary degree. There are desultory ac-
counts of a certain midnight alarm, a long march 
through a blinding snow-storm, and a desperate 
battle that was not fought only because the en-
emy did not appear. This was the only serious 
engagement of the war. How General Scott 
was sent to mediate between the combatants, 
how the army was withdrawn from the field to 
partake of a cold collation at Bangor on the 10th 
of May, how the difficulty was finally settled be-
tween the two countries, and how Uncle Sam 
was obliged to foot an expense account of 
$250,000, have long been historical facts con-
nected with the “Aroostook War.”

Presque Isle
	After a run across the line to Woodstock, 
seven miles distant, Penman and Cliquot re-
turned to Houlton, and then took the stage for 
Presque Isle, a charming village on the Aroos-
took River, where they, read the Pioneer, the 
northernmost paper printed in the United States, 
dined upon a luscious salmon taken with a fly 
from the river, contemplated a big Micmac In-
dian, examined the model farms in the vicinity, 
and watched the gleamings of a brilliant aurora 
borealis; thence to Fort Fairfield, with its de-
caying block-houses and ruined barracks; and 
thence, under arching trees, where luxuriant 
raspberry bushes by the wayside reached out 
their tempting fruit to the hand of the passing 
traveler, on to the beautiful Falls of the Aroos-
took, at which they were fain to cast a fly for 
the luscious salmon that throng the dark pool 
below. The road for some distance skirted the 
verge of a precipice, and far down in the ravine 
could be heard the roar of the rushing stream, 
which was concealed from view by the dense 
foliage that intervened. But presently the 
fringe of trees terminated abruptly, and dis-
closed a huge basin yawning at their very feet, 
at the bottom of which, perhaps two hundred 
feet below, the Aroostook Precipitated itself in 
a tumult of foam over a broken ledge of rocks. 
Both falls and stream looked insignificant by 
contrast with the vast amphitheatre that engulf-
ed them. A heavy growth of evergreens en-
circled the edge of the Titanic howl, defining 
more perfectly its remarkable proportions.

Grand Falls
	The next day found them at the village of
Grand Falls. Without bestowing more than a
passing notice upon the cluster of small dingy
buildings that comprise the county-seat of Vic-
toria County, New Brunswick, and its motley
population of French, English, Scotch, Irish, In-
dians, and half-breeds, thsy sought out the inn,
where they were waited upon by old Wilmot,
the town-clerk-a clever sort of a character, hut
saturated with “Medford” and English preju-
dices-who extended to them the freedom of the
town, and volunteered as their cicerone during
their sojourn. His assiduous attentions, how-
ever, discovered little of interest to the stran-
gers, saving the fact that there seemed to be but
two pricate buildings in the place, viz., the
court-house and a church. The first was a huge
wooden structure, isolated, gamboged, and im-
posing, upon a bare hill in the centre of the
town; the other a neat white edifice nestling
among dark evergreens, but carefully set aside
upon an almost inaccessible ledge beyond the
corporate limits, with a wild ravine two hundred
feet deepintervening. But the marvelous beau-
ty of the surrounding scenery more than com-
pensated for the ophthalmic twinge occasioned
by the brown weather-beaten houses of the din-
gy town.
	Let us now turn toward the little white church
with its environment of trees, and the long line
of hills behind that surge upward in dark billows
of verdure. A new world in nature is before
us. Against the back-ground of foliage a dense
column of mist is ever rising, sparkling in the
sunlight, and spanned by a rainbow arch that
rests on abutments of fleecy clouds. A calm
pervades the landscape, and through the still nit
can be heard a hollow roar deep in the bowels
of the earth; and if one will suspend his breath
he can feel a tremor under his feet, as if caldrons
were fiercely bubbling. At night, in their little
room, the travelers heard the same dull roar,
and were lulled to sleep by the droning mono-
tone. Now the cause of the invisible phenom-
enon was about to be manifested to them in a
scene of wild commotion. They passed on, by
a winding path, through a grove of cedars and
spruce, the sound increasing momentarily, when
their steps were suddenly arrested by a tremen-
dous chasm which gaped heneath their feet, and,
looking over the dizzy verge, the great cataract
of the Grand Falls of the St. John burst upon
their view in all its grandeur of thunder, foam,
and ever-rising spray. Down a precipice of
seventy feet it leaped, shivering itself into mist;
then raged and whirled, piling itself into huge
drifts of foam; then dove into the unfathomable
depths of an inky pool; and, struggling a while,
finally burst through the surface, and foamed
away, over a succession of falls and rapids,
through a contracted channel, whose perpendic-
ular walls are two hundred feet high! Niagara
is grand and sublime, overpowering the sense by
its immensity of volume; but the Grand Falls
are fearfully romantic; for the precipitous cliffs
that confine the cataract are fringed with forest


trees, which overhang the very brink, and add a
wildness and beauty to the picture which Niag-
ara does not possess. But the stand-point from
which to obtain the most impressive view is at
the bottom of the abyss below. The descent is
difficult and even perilous. Man is a small
atom down there, looking up at the blue sky
above him through that great rift. The black,
impending rocks threaten to crush him; tall,
scraggy pines stretch out their long arms threat-
eningly toward him; the reverberating thunder
deafens him; his breathing becomes difficult;
and the seething torrent rushing by seems about
to sweep the rocky bed from beneath his feet.
The whole earth trembles. Not a bird or living
creature is to be seen. Even the fleecy clouds
above seem anxious to avoid the place, and scud
quickly across the gulf. In the spring, when
freshets above swell the impetuous volume of
water, the fury of the torrent is even more ter-
rific. Pent up within the narrow gorge, and
unable to discharge itself through the natural
passage, it is forced upward in immense surging
billows, subsiding and heaving with each suc-
cessive flood that plunges over the Falls.


	Now pass we to a more tranquil scene. It is
eventide. The declining sun has spread his
crimson sheen over one half the placid bosom
of the broad St. John, while the other flows un-
der the shadow of the high impinging bluff. A
light pirogue glides swiftly by, leaving a gentle
ripple astern, and a swallow is skimming the
surface, dropping crystals from his wing-tips as
he flies. Just here the river sweeps with a ma-
jestic bend on its way to the cataract; and
standing upon the grassy bank at the curve, we
gaze far up its glistening channel into an open-
ing vista of gently sloping hills and meadows,
that dip smooth and velvety to the river’s rim-
of cultivated farms, with their neat white cot-
tages, their orchards, and fields of ripening
grain. Over all a Sabbath serenity is diffused,
and grassy knoll and leafy wood are embathed
in a soft and subdued lustre. We seem to have
been suddenly transported by some wand of en-
chantment into another country, the smoothness
of the fields, the absence of woods, the evidences
of long-tilled lands, contrast so strangely with
the tangled forests and new clearings only a few
miles back. But pause! This fertile and en-
chanting valley was settled almost a century ago!
Here was heard the sound of the loom, the ring
of the axe, and the busy hum of labor, when all
around was a wilderness-when thousands of
square miles of primitive forest intervened be-
tween its people and civilization, and the only
highway to the outer world was the smoothly-
flowing river before their doors. We are now
about to tread the almost classic ground of Aca-
dia-land of a hundred romances. Before us
are the golden portals of the Madawaska!
	Shall we repeat the oft-told story of the suf-
ferings of the early Acadians? Of the invasion
of their peaceful homes by fleets from over the
sea, and fleets from the Puritan shores of New
England? Of deceit, cruelty, rapine, and the
slaughter of an unoffending people, whose pa-
triarchal simplicity, kindness, and virtues won
the love of savages-who never wronged by
word or blow, and who even refused to take up
arms in their own defense, preferring rather to
die by their faith than shed the blood of other
men? Of the fall of Louisburg and the tragedy
of Grand Prè, embalmed in the touching poem
of Evangeline? Let the wrongs of a hundred
and fifty years be blotted from memory.
	Of the exiles some fifty families found their
way to Fredericton, New Brunswick; but they
did not long remain there unmolested, for in
1783 they were again driven out and fled up the
river to their present settlement of Madawaska.
Here at least they were secure from the inroads
of British fleets, for no vessel could pass the
Falls. Here, in the unexplored wilderness, they
hoped to be no longer in any body’s way. The
days of persecution have long since passed. In
their peaceful homes on the banks of the pic-
turesque St. John these simple people now pur-
sue their daily avocations as happily as before
the advent of the English ships at Gaspereau’s
	Could the breath of life be breathed into
those who suffered and died, and they in the
flesh be transported hither, their faces would
kindle with surprise that time had wrought so
few changes during their long absence-so per-
fectly have their descendants retained the pecu-
liarities of former days - their style of dress,
mode of cooking, the forms of their houses, the
antique-looking wind-mills for threshing grain,
the clumsy wains, and rude cabriolets. The
settlement extends along the river for sixty
miles, on both sides, though the larger portion
of its 6000 inhabitants are on the New Bruns-
wick side. The road runs parallel with the
river, perhaps half a mile distant, but the houses
are for the most part riparian, with projecting
roofs, and porticoes overlooking the smooth lawns
that slope to the margin, and outdoor seats,
where now, as in the olden time, gossiping
looms are heard “mingling the noise of their
shuttles with the whir of the wheels.” Here
the family sit at evening and receive the calls
of their neighbors who come in boats; for the
river is the thoroughfare most used by the Aca-
dians in their daily intercourse with each other.
The interval between it and the road is a con-
tinuous line of pastures and cultivated fields.
There are farms, too, on the other side of the
road, and an occasional farm-house; but only a
mile or two back is the dark belt of timber that
bounds the Aroostook wilderness, and beyond
are the homes of the moose, the bear, and the
	“Ah! here comes a ‘cabrowit!’ To the
left, Cliquot, you remember. What a clumsy-
looking two-wheeled craft it is, like the old
chaise our great - grandmothers knew! Now
tip your felt as gracefully as you can. Salute!
it is the custom here. Jove! did you see those


faces? those dark lustrous eyes? that olive tint
and carmine blush, like the velvet cheek of the
ripest peach? Those are Acadian Evangelines,
true to tradition. We shall see others soon.
Here come two cavaliers, in full panoply of
homespun blue and straw-hats as large as a
Mexican sombrero. Did ever Gaucho sit more
lightly in the saddle? Is it possible that we
are in Maine? in Puritan New England?
Those are not Yankee faces. Here they are at
	“Bon soir, messieurs. Quelle distance a chez
de Jean Paraut? Je souhait y rester à.”
	“Goodness, Penman! do you call that
French? You wouldn’t murder the tongue
before their eyes I”
	“Pshaw! That’s better French than half
of them speak. It’s only a patois they parley-
voo; though they can speak their native tongue
with Parisian elegance, as you will see by-and-
by. But yonder is Jean’s, just rising the knoll.
Get on, pony!“
	The neatly white-washed house to whose door
they drove promised substantial comforts for
tired and hungry travelers; and confident of a
hearty welcome, they mounted the steps and
knocked. Presently the door was opened by an
impassive little Frenchman with a melancholy
face and dark-blue homespun trowsers, who re-
ceived them with a quiet recognition, and, with
a step as cat-like as an undertaker’s at a funer-
al, ushered them into the presence of a pensive-
looking Madame in plaited hair and blue woolen
petticoat, and a group of reserved and thoughtful
children in blue. Then they seated themselves
upon a low wooden settle, and Cliquot com-
menced a conversazione with the host and host-
ess, who presently brightened into something
like the vivacity which is said to he a national
trait of the Frenchman; but Penman, who un-
derstood French imperfectly, contented himself
with a cursory examination of the spacious apart-
ment in which he found himself while the chil-
dren prepared the supper. The house itself was
built of squared logs, a single story high, and
divided into two apartments, perhaps twenty
feet square. From his wooden-bottomed seat,
then, Penman thoughtfully contemplated the
huge Canadian stove, six feet high, that stood
in the partition wall, so as to warm both rooms
alike, and calculated the number of cords of
wood that would be required to feed the monster
during a six months’ winter, and its cost at New
York market prices. Then he looked at the
loom and the spinning-wheel, and thought of
Longfellow’s Evangeline; at the antique chairs,
and the bedsteads set into the walls like berths;
at the little rudely-carved crucifixes, and the
pictures of the Virgin and saints that ornament-
ed the room. He watched the ghost-like move-
ments of the softly-tripping enfants as they pre-
pared the supper; and anon stole glances at
the plump little hostess in kirtle and snow-white
cap. While he waited and watched a strong
savor of garlic pervaded the room, and there
was a hissing and sputtering of melted fat with-
out. Then presently came a little voice, low
and musical:
	“Messieurs, your supper is ready.”
	Penman and Cliquot drew their chairs to the
table, and with eager eyes and sharp appetite
surveyed the board. Penman plunged his spoon
into a dish of unctuous compound, and presently
filled his mouth. He gasped, choked, and sim-
ply said, “A glass of water, if you please, my dear.”
	Then he tried a dish of what seemed to be
minced eggs afloat in pork fat. A taste ex-
plained the odor of garlic that prevailed. Next
he spread a slice of buckwheat bread - sour,
black, and gangrened, and of the consistency
of lead. Then he transferred a couple of grid-
dled cakes to his plate, which having tasted
cautiously, he dosed with maple molasses, and
washed down with a decoction of barley, nick-
named coffee, and said,
	“Another glass of water, if you please.”
	Then he rested knife and fork, and gazed af-
fectionately after the retreating figure of his
lithe-limbed attendant, and thus apostrophized:
	“Can it be possible that barley, buckwheat
bread, and garlic enter into the organism of
that sylph-like creature-into the jet of her lus-
trous eyes, the peach-blow of her cheeks, and
the Æolian of her musical voice? Or is she an
exception to the law that assimilates body and
mind with that which sustains them? Is it on
such diet that all the Acadian beauties of past
generations have fed ?“
	But Penman and Cliquot made a tolerable
supper of the fresh milk dud eggs, and were
grateful-for a meal ever so humble, with an
open heart, is better relished than a feast given
grudgingly, and mine host’s hospitality was as
unqualified as his surprise at the injustice done
the bounteous repast. Kind-hearted Jean Pa-
rant! He pressed his guests to tarry another
day, promising them a thumping fandango in
the evening if they remained; but haste com-
pelled them to go on, and so the door closed
softly behind them. Simple-minded Jean Pa-
rant! May his large barns be ever filled, and
no visions of English invaders disturb his slum-
bers! Get on, pony!”
	Now we come to Keagan’s house. That is
not a French name. It has more the ring of
the “rich brogue.”
	“How do you do, Mr. Keagan?”
	“Hut! Long life to your honors! an’ how
do yees do this morning? When did ye come
	“Yesterday. We lodged at Paraut’s last
night. How is Mrs. Keagan?“
	“She’s well. Come in a bit till ye see the
mistress. Don’t say ‘No’ now-come. We’ll
take a sup.“Thank you; but we must go on. When
we return, perhaps. Do you know if Father
M ‘Keagucy is at the lower chapel?“
	“I believe he is, then; I’m not sure, but I
think he is.”
	“Mr. Keagan, what do you call yourself-an


Irishman, a Frenchman, or a Yankee? for you
live in the States, you know.”
	“Bother me hut ‘twould be hard to tell.
Faith, then, I’m an American - Irish - French-
man.” -
	“Or an Irish-French-Yankee ?“
	“No, Sir! The Yankee first-I puts the
Yankee first. Shure, doesn’t I vote? An’ ye
won't come in? Well, then, good luck to yees!
	Father M’Keagney was a priest of fine edu-
ration and refinement. He received his visitors
most cordially, pipe in mouth, and invited them
to his pretty Norman cottage, where he offered
them pipes and wine of choicest vintage. Then
they sat by the windows that overlooked the
beautiful St. John, and conversed long and free-
ly upon matters temporal and spiritual. It was
a rare treat for him to meet with gentlemen of
intelligence and education.
	“Father,” said Penman, as he surveyed the
charming landscape, “you have a delightful
place to live in here.”
	“A delightful place to die in!“ he responded,
with a tone of dejection.
	Though self-exiled to missionary labor among
an ignorant and perhaps uncongenial people, he
seemed to yearn for the more refined society of
his own country. And he did die there. The
next summer he passed to his eternal rest, la-
mented by his little flock.
	“By-the-way, we are to have a wedding here
to-day,” he said. “Will you attend? I per-
ceive the people are already assembling.”
	The visitors assented, and passing out upon
the lawn hefore the chapel they discovered little
groups of peasants in blue homespun gathered
near, all moving about ia their quiet way, or
sitting upon the grass conversing in undertones;
and their faces, though cheerful, were very much
like the thoughtful, serious faces at Jean Pa-
rant’s. Presently the chapel-bell rang, and they
entered quietly. The building was of wood,
with a spire surmounted by a curiously ornate
iron cross, and not unlike some old-fashioned
New England meeting-house. The interior
lacked expensive decoration, coarse engravings
in huge black frames supplying the place of cus-
tomary oil-paintings; and the altar was very
plain. The most unusual feature was un im-
mense iron stove, perched in mid-air over the
middle aisle, upon pillars seven feet high, this
position being necessary to secure even moder-
ate warmth during the bitter cold of the winter
	Now enter Claude and Marie, hand in hand,
clad in the universal blue-Marie in kirtle and
petticoat, guileless of hoops-and take their po-
sition before the altar, kneeling for prayer and
throughout the service, and receiving meekly
the final admonition of the priest. At the con-
clusion the wedded pair were saluted by the fa-
ther and all who were assembled. It was a sim-
ple ceremony. The twain were made one, and
then retired with their friends to prepare for the
celebration that always follows so important an
event. Terpsichore is queen in Madawaska,
and governs almost every action in everyday
life. Miserable indeed would these happy Aca-
dians be without the everlasting fandango and
accompanying fiddle. Every birth, every mar-
riage, the raising of a building, with its each
subsequent stage of progress, the ingathering of
the crops, and every maple-sugar bee, are sev-
erally and duly celebrated by a fandango, at
which both old and young are present in full
participation. Ah! these boatmen of the St.
John are inveterate skippers!
	We will attend the fandango this evening,
since an invitation is a courtesy always extend-
ed to strangers.
	There is a fog to-night, but it will not affect
the festivities. Had Penman and his friend
been unattended sense of hearing would alone
have guided them to the place selected; for
long before they reached the spot the twang of
the fiddle and ‘the regular beat of shuffling feet,
as if a score of looms were set to music, caine
borne to their ears upon the still night air.
Gradually the sounds increased, and soon two
nebulous shafts of light streamed out into the
mist, athwart which dusky shadows seemed per-
petually flitting. Presently the sense of smell
aided to guide their steps to the portal-rank
fumes of mingled exhalations wafted from with
in. These meteorological phenomena and a
hasty survey of the interior suggested a retreat;
but their little chaperon led them on, and by
dint of persuasion, elbows, and appeals, an en-
try was effected, and the already compact mass
of human bodies compressed to the extent re-
quired to admit the cubic inches of the new-
comers. Presently the catgut ceased to serape,
the dancing stopped, and the stalwart maitre de
dense immediately plowed his way to the dis-
tinguished guests, and, with native politeness,
proceeded to oust the occupants of seats to make
room for them.
	“Be seated, gentlemen. I beg you don’t
	The momentary confusion over, the dance is
resumed. Through the blue cloud of tobacco
smoke are discerned dusky figures in variegated
shirts and tro~vsers and parti-colored petticoats,
sitting, closely packed, upon long benches and
upon the floor, and standing along the walls;
~vhile through the crevices in the loft above, and
through the ladder-hole, curious eyes are peer-
ing. Upon an elevated seat in one corner a
lady, with comely features and coronet of glossy
braided hair, is drawing music from a clear-
toned violin, and betimes accompanying it with
a warbling voice hardly distinguishable from its
counterpart. Not a smile or a word does she
deign to bestow upon the serious-looking circle
around, but addresses herself diligently to the
duty she is selected to perform. With diffi-
culty the crowd is pressed back to permit space
for the dancers-a space not more than six feet
in diameter. Now comes a tall man leading a
little rosy-cheeked maiden (the newly-wedded
pair) and takes his place on the floor; next


a little man, puffing, elbowing, and dragging
through the crowd, as a tug-hoat draws a ship,
a tall lass, with features and gown like an army
nurse’s, and places her in position. Two more
couples follow, and the set is complete. Now
all is hushed save an occasional whisper. No
one smiles. It is as solemn as a Quaker meet-
ing. The dance commences with a preliminary
shuffle, the partners facing each other, and so
close that a hoop might he slipped over the two.
Then heel and toe begin to tap, slowly at first,
hut soon faster and faster, and louder and loud-
er, until they rattle on like a frightened loco-
motive, or a watch with a broken mainspring-
never ceasing, scarcely moving from the spot,
but bobbing up and down with distressing per-
severance, until the breath comes short. Then
they shift positions and repeat, cross over and
repeat, back to place and repeat. The music
flags, tired nature demands a pause, the watch
runs down, and they give place to others. Dur-
ing a lull conversation revives, and frequent re-
sort is had to a cupboard in the adjoining room.
The maitre de dense approaches, and addresses
the strangers with a smile:
	“If you wish some rum, here it is. Help
yourselves. Or if you wish to dance I will get
you partners. We desire that you should enjoy
yourselves. Don’t go away dissatisfied.”
	Anon the dancing is resumed, and the war-
bling and fiddling in the corner begins again.
Another half hour of patient, lahorious gayety
succeeds. Meanwhile Penman sits restless and
fidgeting. Unconciously his feet begin to tap to
the music, for the jig is really a lively one. He
watches each motion of the dancers, and chafes
like a steed under the curb. Presently the
dancing ceases, but the music still goes on.
The arena is clear. Penman makes a bound into
the middle of the ring, bows, and commences a
lively “walkaround.” The fiddle at once catches
the inspiration, and scrapes with redoubled vigor.
The crowd presses nearer. Now he wheels to
place, shuffles, and warms up to his work with
every limb and muscle in motion. Down go his
feet with a clatter like a threshing machine.
He twists, thumps, twirls, and pirouettes through
jig, hornpipe, reel, and the whole alphabet of
fancy steps, executed in double-shuffle and pig-
eon-wing, and finally winds up with an inimit-
able pas seal amidst the acclamations of the ad-
miring throng. Never was there such a “break-
down” in Madawaska. Now he wipes his brow
and retires, the crowd opening a passage for this
new star in the Arcadian firmament. Present-
ly the master of ceremonies looks for him in his
accustomed seat, but he has vanished like a
meteor from the heavens. Cliquot has gone
	All night long the fiddle fiddles, the dancers
dance, and when the morning dawns upon the
few who still linger, moving feebly and well-
nigh exhausted, the two strangers are far on
their way up the smoothly-flowing river.
	Little of incident occurred to vary their some-
what monotonous journey through the Mada-
waska, for the features of the landscape through-
out the settlement are much the same. At in-
tervals a huge wind-mill threw out its long arms
to the breeze, and turned slowly around. Here
was another chapel. Anon a sparkling stream
crossed the road and tumbled into the St. John.
But all was quiet, profoundly quiet. Would the
denizen of the busy metropolis obtsAn some idea
of perfect tranquillity, let him visit the ancient,
peaceful settlement of Madawaska.
	The travelers did not tarry long among this
peculiar people, for Cliquot, though interested
at first, soon found the country “too dooced
slow,” and buckwheat bread and garlic did not
agree with Penman’s digestion. One fine morn-
ing found them seated upon the top of an H. B.
M. mail-coach, rattling over the hard and level
road that runs beside the St. John to Woodstock
and Frederickton.
	At Tobique they watched the Micmacs spear-
ing salmon by torchlight, and would fain have
lingered there a while. That they did not, was
doubtless for good and sufficient reasons best
known to themselves. Upon the deck of the.
steamer that runs to the city of St. John they
often recalled the little incidents of their jour-
ney, and they will ever remember with pleasure
their visit to the wild Aroostook and the peace-
ful Madawaska.

http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/moa-cgi?notisid=ABK4014-0027-99 .
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Last revised 10 Sep 2004
© 2004 C. Gagnon