Lost in the Backwoods

Catherine Parr Traill
in the Backwoods, by Catherine
Parr Traill

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Title: Lost in the Backwoods
Author: Catherine Parr Traill

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The interesting tale contained in this volume of romantic adventure in
the forests of Canada, was much appreciated and enjoyed by a large
circle of young readers when first published, under the title of "The
Canadian Crusoes." After being many years out of print, it will now,
we hope and believe, with a new and more descriptive title, prove
equally attractive to our young friends of the present time.

"The morning had shot her bright streamers on high, O'er Canada,
opening all pale to the sky, Still dazzling and white was the robe that
she wore, Except where the ocean wave lashed on the shore"
Jacobite Song
There lies, between the Rice Lake and the Ontario, a deep and fertile
valley, surrounded by lofty wood-crowned hills, clothed chiefly with
groves of oak and pine, the sides of the hills and the alluvial bottoms
display a variety of noble timber trees of various kinds, as the useful
and beautiful maple, beech, and hemlock. This beautiful and highly
picturesque valley is watered by many clear streams, whence it derives
its appropriate appellation of "Cold Springs."
At the period my little history commences, this now highly cultivated
spot was an unbroken wilderness,--all but two clearings, where dwelt
the only occupiers of the soil,--which previously owned no other
possessors than the wandering hunting tribes of wild Indians, to whom
the right of the hunting grounds north of Rice Lake appertained,
according to their forest laws.
I speak of the time when the neat and flourishing town of Cobourg,
now an important port on Lake Ontario, was but a village in
embryo,--if it contained even a log-house or a block-house, it was all
that it did,--and the wild and picturesque ground upon which the fast
increasing village of Port Hope is situated had not yielded one forest
tree to the axe of the settler. No gallant vessel spread her sails to waft
the abundant produce of grain and Canadian stores along the waters of
that noble sheet of water; no steamer had then furrowed its bosom with
her iron paddles, bearing the stream of emigration towards the wilds of
our northern and western forests, there to render a lonely trackless
desert a fruitful garden. What will not time and the industry of man,
assisted by the blessing of a merciful God, effect? To him be the glory
and honour; for we are taught that "unless the Lord build the house,

their labour is but lost that build it: without the Lord keep the city, the
watchman waketh but in vain."
But to my tale. And first it will be necessary to introduce to the
acquaintance of my young readers the founders of our little settlement
at Cold Springs.
Duncan Maxwell was a young Highland soldier, a youth of eighteen, at
the famous battle of Quebec, where, though only a private, he received
the praise of his colonel for his brave conduct. At the close of the battle
Duncan was wounded; and as the hospital was full at the time, he was
billeted in the house of a poor French Canadian widow in the Quebec
suburb. Here, though a foreigner and an
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