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“ Thou, who hast given me eyes to see,
And love this sight so fair,
And read Thee everywhere."
LYNTONVILLE was the name of a large oldfashioned log-house which stood embosomed amongst the tall trees of a Canadian forest, where sombre balsams and hacmatacs* mingled their dark foliage with the silvery birch and maple. Delicate buds and blossoms peeped out from beneath their rugged stems, or uprooted trunks; and feathery ferns lurked in hidden nooks and corners in the woods all around it. There, too, the squirrels frisked about, and the little chip-munckst chirped merrily as they played at hide-and-seek amongst the branches.
* The Indian name of the American larch, sometimes called the cypress.
+ A small striped squirrel.
“ The house itself was of timbers Hewn from the cypress-tree, and carefully fitted
together. Large and low was the roof; and on slender columns
supported, Rose-wreathed, vine-encircled, a broad and spacious
verandah, Haunt of the humming-bird and the bee, extended
Mr. Lynton had been settled in this house in the woods for 'many years.
It was the birthplace of all his children; and though most of them were now married and had homes of their own, they all loved to revisit the dear old house where they had spent the happy days of their youth. Harry, the youngest, was the last chick left in the nest; and he was not a whit behind the others in his affection for his beautiful home.
Mr. and Mrs. Lynton were well known and highly esteemed in all the country round; and before the neighbourhood had attracted so many settlers, Mr. Lynton had acted for many years as clergyman, lawyer, and doctor to the whole district. He was a good naturalist too, and the hall at Lyntonville was full of curiosities, and was famous in that part of Canada as a museum of natural objects. Harry Lynton inherited his father's tastes; and it was his great delight to discover a rare insect, or bird, or flower,
which might be added to its treasures. This hall was a large, square room, into which the front door opened; it had been originally intended (Canadian fashion) for a parlour. Several other apartments surrounded it, and opposite the entrance was a large open fireplace, where the great logs were piled in winter, and blazed away cheerily up the wide chimney. A deer-skin lay in front for a rug, and several stag's heads, arranged according to their ages by the branching antlers, looked down from the wall over the oaken mantelpiece. Large cases of bright-coloured birds were there, all of which Mr. Lynton had himself shot; aye, and stuffed, too, with his own hands. In one corner was a cabinet of butterflies, moths, and beetles ; in another, a bristling porcu
; pine stood in an attitude of defiance. Here, a racoon curled himself up in close imitation of life ; and there, a snarling wolf showed his cruel white teeth. Spreading fungi stood out like huge brackets from the wall-in short, it were vain to attempt to enumerate all the wonders that were there. In the long winter evenings, especially about Christmastide, when the children used to gather around the great hall fire, and ask “grandpapa ' for one of his marvellous hunting-stories, the little ones would cast furtive and fearful
glances at the wild animals, which seemed so lifelike in the flickering firelight; or would look round, half expecting to hear the wild war-whoop issue from the hollow garments of the Indian chief in the shadowy background.
But there were even greater attractions for Harry out of doors. A swift-running river rippled and splashed all day long at the foot of the sloping ground on which the house was built, and was the source of endless fun and adventure. Boating, bathing, fishing, and hunting for crawfish in their hiding places under the stones, were never-failing amusements in summer; and when the bright waters were ice-bound, his skates and his sledge were in constant requisition. At the time our story begins, the ice had not long broken up, and this year it had been unusually
, grand. The great blocks upheaved with loud explosions, and groaned and creaked as they were jammed together into huge masses near the bridge, which was partially torn away and carried down the stream by the tremendous force of the pressure. It was a magnificent sight, though the damage caused by the floating ice was very great. In a little cottage, just across the river, lived Philip Quin, with his widowed mother. He was Harry's