Autumn Rambles

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Autumn Rambles
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In the course of Autumn Rambles, we had seen Moncton the “railway hub,” a rising town of importance, passed through the city, rebuilt, whose foundations were laid by the Loyalists, caught glimpses of picturesque landscapes, quaint villages and beautiful sheets of water glimmering in the morning sunlight, while on our way to the Capital of New Brunswick. We paused thoughtfully beneath the trees that now environ the lone grave of the once famous Indian warrior and chief; crossed the majestic river St. John and looked upon the crumbled ruins of Acadia’s ancient, “Fort Nauchonac;” had a pleasant trip over the narrow gauge to Florenceville, not forgetting the happy bridal party that joined us at Upper Keswick, immediately after being joined in wedlock; we stood at the threshold of home, surrounded with willows and evergreens, leaving the reader to imagine the scene of return to that sacred spot years after of absence; we lingered at the enterprising village of Centreville, Carleton Co., glanced over its past history and pointed out for it and bright and hopeful future. Travelling beside the rippling waters of the Presque Isle, we crossed over into Maine; noted the progress of our go ahead neighbours, stood almost within the shadow of “Mars Hill” as the morning mists lingered around its tree clad summit, while far to the westward loomed up old, “Mount Cretarten,” snow-capped like some grim sentinel guarding the interests of this vast country. Returning to Florenceville, we now proceed by way of the New Brunswick Railway to the Grand Falls. Our space being limited we shall have to forego attempting details and omit many points of interest. Suffice it to say that the scenery for the entire fifty miles is something unusual to be found along a line of railway. You will more readily comprehend my meaning when you learn that the railway follows the valley of the magnificent St. John river, running for the most part in close proximity to that charming sheet of water. After leaving Florenceville, we pass Kent and Bath station, before the brakeman calls out “Muniac! Muniac!” as the train rolls up to an unpretending station, forty eight miles from Woodstock. Tradition points this locality out as historic ground, as being the place where long years ago amid the “first primeval,” the pipe of peace was smoked between the “Melicetes and Mohawk” tribes, after a bloody war which had lasted for a long time. But civilization in its march of progress has obliterated, apparently, every trace of the aboriginies; naught remains save the legend to be repeated in story to generations yet unborn. Only some two miles east from Muniac Station is situated the new Scotch colony, which came to this country seven years ago, and is already an important settlement. Kincardine – shire, as this colony is called, has experienced some drawbacks since its establishment here. The settlers had scarcely been fairly settled in their new homes, which had been provided by the Government under certain conditions, when Mr. Brown, their leader, and quite a number of the colonists became dissatisfied with their position and the climate of New Brunswick – whereupon the United States Government offered them great inducements to settle in Kansas. Their enthusiastic leader made the necessary arrangements and induced quite a large number to follow him and make homes for themselves in that prairie state. Mr. Brown had the honor of being termed the second Moses, leading his afflicted people out of the wilderness into the veritable land of promise. But if reports are true, they have not found the arid soil of Kansas all they were led to anticipate, and therefore doubtless regret that they left the fertile soil, the limpid freshwater and wood clad hills of Carleton Country, where those that were wise to remain are to-day a happy and prosperous people. Immediately opposite Muniac, on the western side of the St. John river, is situated a Beardsville, which has the appearance of a thriving village. Andover is the next station of importance here and is a pretty village built irregularly along the river’s bank for about a mile. It has two hotels and several unique residences. Only six miles of a drive will take the tourist to the Aroostook Falls. These are as their name implies, on the Aroostook River, some three miles from the confluence of its waters with those of the St. John. The Falls comprise a series of cascades through a wild gorge, on either side of which some half a mile distance rises precipitous banks of solid rocks, one hundred feet high. There is said to be good trout fishing here, both below and above the Falls. The mountains to the westward were casting their long shadows, while the sun still continued to bathe the wooded hills on the eastern river with mellow light. The leafy depths of the forest reflecting the varied autumnal colonies, presenting an enchanted scene as we reached Grand Falls Station. A few words will suffice to describe the town. It stands on a horse shoe shaped peninsula, formed by a bend in the river, is laid out quite regularly and built up with refreshing indifference to anything like symmetry. The main street, Broadway, runs through the centre of the town and is large enough for a town park. A short distance from the west end is the Railway Station, and a little way from the other end is the Great Falls. The town comprises several hotels, among which the Grand Falls Hotel is conspicuous, but there are more quiet stopping places for the tourist and at cheaper rates, should he prefer them, if wishing to prolong his stay here for any considerable time. The roar of the mighty cataract burst upon our ears shortly after leaving the Grand Falls Hotel, on our way to the bridge, which of itself is worth seeing, spanning the wild gorge just below the plunge of the cataract, being seventy five feet. We crossed over to the eastern side and taking a little path proceeded cautiously over the black massive rocks, which at ordinary seasons would be covered with foaming waters, but were then – Sept. 21st – dry. As we neared the very brink of the chasm, immediately opposite and within twenty feet of where an unbroken curtain of water plunged with terrific power into the awful chasm below, the very rocks tremble with the eternal thunders of those maddened torrents of water as they seethe and boil in the caldron below. Clouds of spray rise continually and hang over the Falls, or drift heavily against the black walls of the rocks. Just within a short distance of the very Falls, my lady companion plucked a lone blue violet, growing in the crevices of the rocks where the spray from the falls consistently fell upon it. We carried it away with some pieces of rocks as mementoes of the occasion of our first view of one of the grandest sights on this Continent. Night closed in upon the scene; the moon arose slowly but majestically over the dark wooded hills, outlining themselves against the south-eastern horizon. There was every prospect of having an opportunity of seeing the falls by moonlight, excepting the presence of unwelcome clouds that seemed to gather on the brow of night. I left my hotel at 9 o’clock, however, taking a field glass with me to assist me in seeing the falls. Reaching the bridge, I had not very long to wait, for soon a rift in the clouds revealed the moon’s fair face that flooded the wild scene with light. There was the cataract in indescribable grandeur, appearing like a flood of molten silver, lashed into the wildest furry. White “Split Rock,” that divides the rushing waters just before they take their final plunge, seemed like some black monster struggling for existence amid the awful chaos that surrounded him, while nothing remained but inevitable doom. Using the glass upon the water that is thrown into the air by reaction, it appears as if by some might unseen power, millions of brilliant diamonds were being flung into the space below. And as we lingered here quite alone, viewing the grandeur of the scene with the maddened torrent uttering its solemn voice one hundred feet below us, making the whole structure and even the very rocks tremble, we looked up and seen the bright sentinel stars above us and thought perhaps in the long ago they had been silent spectators of the awful scene that tradition tells was once enacted here. An Indian girl of the Milicetes was taken prisoner by the Mohawks, who had killed her fathers and brothers. Her captors planned a mighty decent upon her tribe and she was directed to build a fire on the rock below the Falls, and then as a guarantee of her good faith, led the advancing canoes. Straight for the light she steered. Closely the warriors followed. Thus, over the Falls the whole band sailed and none escaped.