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now began to speak of its famous son with respect and admiration. Those who met him in the mountains could not say enough of his bandsome and stately appearance, or the chivalrous manner in which he treated his country-people. Barbone, on the contrary, who, after lying in the hospital a few weeks, was once more ready for service, though he limped about on a crutch, was avoided by everybody, and, in spite of his official dignity, met wry faces and angry glances wherever he turned his eyes.
Several months had passed. Summer was drawing to a close; the lovely Pia doubtless often thought, with many a secret sigh, what would become of the hunted peasants during the rude winter among the mountains, and her confidence in Maino's lucky star began to waver. One evening, when the moon was just rising over the roof of the little church, the pastor of Spinetta sat in his kitchen at a little table close beside the hearth, where he was in the habit of taking his meals; the old maid-servant had brought 1 in the dish of polenta and plate of bread and olives, and was just going into the cellar to get a bottle of the red wine of the country, when the door was gently opened, and, with a "Good-evening, Signore Pastore," a man attired in a singular costume crossed the threshold. He really resembled one of the fantastic brigands who are usually not to be found in Italy except on the stage, when the opera of "Fra Diavolo" is performed. Over one shoulder was flung an excellent English double-barreled gun, and two handsome silver-mounted pistols were thrust into the red sash that girded his waist. His face and hands were clean, and his close-curling hair was scented with perfumed oil. The priest, notwithstanding he had instantly recognized the famous hero of Spinetta, was very much startled, and gazed at the apparition in silence, while the old maid-servant filed shrieking from the room. But Maino, nodding familiarly, approached, removed his broadbrimmed hat with its floating plume, and begged his reverence to have no fear; he had no evil designs, and would not intrude upon him after the object of his visit was accomplished, namely, that the wedding ceremonies which had been so rudely disturbed should now be duly performed.
With these words he motioned toward the door, and Pia timidly entered, clad in the ame bridal garments she had worn before, mly it was evident that she had had little ime to arrange them. Behind her appeared motley throng of dark figures with glitterg weapons, and the whole population of pinetta seemed to have assembled before the ouse, waiting in breathless suspense to see hat would happen next.
The priest, though a much braver man an his famous colleague, Don Abbondio, erceived that no refusal was possible, and as 1 the usual preliminaries had been arranged fore the first wedding-day, he could have conscientious scruples about blessing this arriage. But he took the liberty of asking le question whether Maino was quite sure e wedding would not again be disturbed by le interference of the temporal powers; to
which the bridegroom, who seemed to have grown an inch taller since his elevation to the rank of captain of the band of brigands, answered, with a superior smile, that they could be perfectly at ease until the following day, as he had put the envious disturbers of the peace in safe custody. The two miserable scoundrels, Barbone and his rascally companion, were lying securely bound in the engine-house, which was, moreover, locked and guarded. He intended to spend that night in his young wife's cottage, but on the following day turn his back upon his home for a long time, if not forever. "A galantuomo, Signore Pastore,” he concluded, | laughing so joyously that bis white teeth glittered in the firelight, "a galantuomo finds his country wherever there are galantuomini, and in our envied Piedmont these are rare as figs on a church-roof. I intend to settle with my wife in France or Spain, where a man is taken at his proper value. The best dish loses its taste when it is burned, and my enemies here have caused a smoke and smell that hurt the eyes. But I ask nothing gratis, your reverence, and here is the wedding-fee."
He approached the table and counted out a dozen shining gold-pieces, but the priest saw that his gait was somewhat unsteady and his hands trembled. He had evidently been drinking heavily, and the slightest opposition to his will might transform his careless goodnature into a fit of violent passion.
The priest therefore instantly gathered up the princely fee, and declared himself ready to precede the young couple to the church.
Meantime the twilight had deepened into night, but the road between the parsonage and the church was brightly lighted by a number of torches brought by Maino's companions, as well as by lamps and candles, with which all the inhabitants of the village had illuminated their little windows. The peasants of Spinetta had also probably emptied more than one glass at the expense of their famous fellow-citizen; at any rate, they were all in a merry mood, and received the priest and betrothed couple with loud cheers, accompanied by the firing of pistols, which now had a malicious sound, as the enemies of this harmless festal music could not fail to hear it in their gloomy dungeon. After the priest and bridal pair reached the altar, there was another short delay. The bridegroom insisted that, besides the two candles already lighted, all the chandeliers should be filled with wax-lights and the church illuminated as on the occasion of the greatest festivals. The money for this expenditure he tossed into the baptismal font, and commanded the organ to be played. Meantime the poor little church was bathed in fairy-like splendor, and, when all was ready, and the stately youth led his beautiful bride to the altar, an exclamation of admiration ran from lip to lip, and each lad, in spite of the ban of outlawry, would gladly have changed places with the bridegroom, each maiden with the happy
But the priest the only one in the throng who did not feel perfectly at ease in regard to the affair-hurriedly performed the ceremony, and, when the pair had gained their object, and were irrevocably united, hastily waved
his hand and attempted to retire into the vestry. But Maino courteously stepped before him and said, still in a strange voice, like a man excited by wine:
"Your reverence, we are now married, in spite of Signore Barbone, but you must do us another favor."
"I don't understand you, my son," replied the priest, who with difficulty concealed his consternation at this new demand.
"I have sworn a solemn oath, by the seven wounds of our blessed Saviour, that I will not leave this church until I and my beloved wife, Signora Pia Maino, have been crowned Emperor and Empress of Spinetta! You must know, your reverence, that my wife is the crown and pearl of women, was recognized as such in her childhood by the greatest man of the century and all time, who kissed her on the forehead, because he wished to declare her his peer and her brow worthy to wear a crown. Therefore I beg you, your reverence, as you are already present, to perform the coronation ceremony. As for the cost-"
He again thrust his hand into his pocket, to draw out his purse.
"You are jesting, my son," said the priest, trying to smile. "Who am I, to bestow worldly honors, if you and your young wife were ever so worthy of them? Besides, with what could I crown and anoint you? This poor house of God—”
"These are only excuses, begging your pardon, your reverence. You have no inclination to perform this sacred task, and do not think us worthy of the coronation. But I know what I'm talking about, and will count myself of no more value than a hair of Barbone's head, if I go away from this church uncrowned! So make no more delay. There's plenty of oil in the lamp that burns before the Virgin's altar; and as for the crowns-"
His eyes wandered over the walls on each side of the altar, then he walked quietly to a couple of figures of saints the size of life, which stood on small pedestals, and wore ancient, dusty crowns of gilt tin. He removed these, blew off the dust, polished the gilding with the sleeve of his velvet jacket, and then carried the two crowns carefully back to the altar, and laid them on the altar-cloth.
"There," said he. "These will do for the present. And now go to work."
"Maino!" exclaimed the young wife, with an expression of the utmost horror, "what have you done? The saints in heaven-"
She did not finish the sentence. A look from her husband had silenced her.
But the priest did not allow himself to be intimidated by these imperious eyes. "I solemnly protest against such sacrilege," he exclaimed, in so stern a tone that even Maino's wild comrades shrank back. "Do you know, blinded youth, that you defy God's anger when you seize upon the ornaments of the church, the crowns of the saints, to serve your worldly pride? Depart, and pray to the Holy Virgin to forgive you this blasphemous deed, and intercede with the Lord of heaven! I wash my hands in innocence. I have nothing to do with this profanation of the saints."
With these words he turned away, and, before any one could detain him, disappeared in the vestry.
For an instant it seemed as if this brave protest had made an impression even on Maino's intractable soul. Then the old fantastic insolence blazed up anew, and he exclaimed, laughing: "Go, miserable slave of habit, poor peasant-priest, who does not even know how to deal with noble lords! What I have sworn, I will do with your help, or in spite of you. Did not the great emperor place the iron crown on his head himself at Milan, because he knew the hands of a masssinging coward would tremble if he confided the deed to them? Well, then, my friends, I will do the same-crown myself and my beloved wife with my own hands, and say, as the emperor did in Milan,' God has given me this crown; woe to him who touches it!'" As he said these words, he seized both crowns and placed them on his own head and that of his newly-wedded wife, without heeding the gesture of repugnance made by Pia, who had fallen on her knees, and shuddered, as if stung by a serpent, when the light diadem pressed her brow. The coronet did not rest on her hair, but fell upon the steps of the altar, and a village boy picked it up. Maino, on the contrary, wore his imperial diadem as if it were forged upon his head, and when, at an imperious sign, his comrades shouted exultingly, and pressed forward to congratu late the Emperor and Empress of Spinetta, he raised his kneeling wife, gravely but tenderly admonished her to calm herself and be mindful of her dignity, and then led her through the ranks of peasants to the tavern, whither all the witnesses of this strange ceremony followed in throngs.
Again pistols and guns were fired, and now the notes of the guitar and clarionet blended with the noise, but the weddingguests had become strangely quiet, and the wine, which flowed in streams at the bridegroom's expense, was the first thing that loosened their tongues. Meantime the peasants gazed with secret horror at the glittering crown the giver of the festival wore on his curly locks, and whispered in undertones to each other how pale and silent the young wife looked as she sat beside Maino, without even wetting her lips with the red wine, or laughing at the jests lame Beppo, the official buffoon of the village, made at this as well as every other wedding. "The wedding is all right," whispered the barber to his cousin, the blacksmith, "the wedding is all right, for the men who live in the green wood want wives as well as other people, and the marriage is according to law; but this business of the coronation, cousin, is a bad one. Sacrilege is sacrilege, and church rules are not to be made a jest. Only look at Pia! Didn't it seem as if her brain had turned to stone, when the consecrated crown touched it ?
However, what does it matter to us? We drink Maino's wine because we must, or he would take it as an insult and revenge himself upon us; that we can swear before a court of law if necessary. For the rest, let us see how he will come out of the scrape."
The man whom these words concerned seemed to be any thing but troubled about the manner in which he should be called to account for what he had done. He sat among his guests with a radiant face, drank very lit
tle himself, but was the gayest and most loquacious of all. He laughed at each of the jokes with which the buffoon paid homage to his imperial dignity, and related all sorts of droll stories of the free, bold life he had led in the mountains. Sometimes he even sang in his clear voice a tender ditty, clasping closer to his heart the pale bride, who sat mutely beside him, without noticing her strange manner. Only when the young people began to dance and the wedded pair rose, did he remark the death-like pallor of her face. He drew her gently away into the quiet garden, and asked what was the matter. Her only reply was to throw her arms around his neck, clasping him in such a close embrace that he fairly gasped for breath, while he felt her whole frame tremble as if with a sudden chill.
To all his entreaties and questions she remained obstinately mute, so that he at last gave up the attempt to understand his young wife, especially as he considered that the excitement of the day might well have shaken a stronger temperament. So he resolved to take her away from the tumult at once, especially as they could not remain in the village late the following morning, but must set out at once for their hiding-place in the mountains.
Without taking leave of the wedding. guests, he led Pia, who walked beside him as if in a dream, to her own little house. Matgheritina had been sent to spend the night with a worthy old woman, who was henceforth to take charge of her, for the child was not to leave her native village, like her sister. Only the dog Brusco followed the pair, jingling his silver bell merrily, and even slipped into the bridal-chamber, where he instantly fell asleep on the straw mat in his usual corner.
At midnight Maino also fell asleep, and the moon, which peeped in through a hole in the window-shutters, probably shone on no more peaceful or happy face than that of the young outlaw, who seemed to sleep the sleep of the just. He had laid his crown on the stool beside the bed, together with his clothes and arms, which formed a striking contrast to the bare walls and plain village furniture. Pia's crown had been left in the tavern.
He had not slept many hours, the cock had not yet crowed, and the first faint glimmer of light was. just appearing on the eastern edge of the horizon, when Maino, in the midst of the happiest dreams of love, heard the dog whine, and, with the rapidity learned in his bandit - life, brushed the burden of slumber from his lids and started up in bed.
The place by his side was empty, but the shutter was half open, so that every thing in the room was visible by the dim gray light. The young wife sat by the window, holding in one hand a mirror and with the other trying to place the crown on her head, in which she succeeded with great difficulty. She was dressed in her night-robe, just as she had risen from the bed, but her thick unbound hair fell over her shoulders like a cloak. She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, and hummed under her breath one of the songs Maino had sung the night before.
This had roused the dog, which moved around its mistress whining piteously.
"Pia!" exclaimed the terrified bridegroom, are you up already? What are you doing at the window? It is not morning yet. They will wake us when it is time. I charged them to do so. Come. Put down the crown. Sleep an hour longer-it is a long distance, and you are not used to riding."
"Hush!" she said, raising her finger with a warning gesture, though she did not turn toward him. "Don't you hear? They are coming already. I must dress to receive them an empress ought not to show herself to the people without her crownbut it will not stay-there-there-therethat will do now the purple mantle—”
In the twinkling of an eye Maino had sprung from the bed and thrown on his clothes.
"Pia!" he cried, imploringly, "I entreat you by all the saints-"
"Hush!" she interrupted.
on the saints. We have fallen under their displeasure. They are angry with us because they were obliged to give up their crowns.
But," and here she smiled with a strangely crafty expression, "a hungry ass eats its own straw-necessity knows no law-why did not the goldsmith finish our crowns in time? The good saints may well go bareheaded for once-ha! ha! ha!"
Maino rushed up to her, seized her hands, which were cold as ice, and touched her brow, which also felt like marble. Misery!" he exclaimed, "you are dreaming, Pia. Wake up. See, here am I, your Maino, your husband, whose heart you are breaking with your senseless talk. Lie down again, my sweet wife, and sleep off these fancies. Miserable man that I am to have carried matters so far!"
"No, no, no!" she said to herself. "Don't trouble me. My husband, the emperor, was here last night, but he went away to the war, we have so many enemies. It is terrible to see how greatness is hated and envied. But my imperial lord will overthrow them all, that I may set my foot on their necks. Then we shall reign in joy and splendor, and Brusco will be governor of Spinetta when we go on a journey among our provinces. There there! Does not the crown look regal? There are still a few cobwebs on it, but they do no harm-Empress Pia-that is what they shall call me and my husband-wait, what is his name? He has a sweet name, and has kissed me a thousand times-but these are childish follies, we must not think of them until all our enemies-hark! There they come!"
She had sprung from her seat; the mirror fell from her lap, and was shattered on the stone floor; she did not notice it, but leaned out of the window, staring fixedly into the gray dawn. Maino stood before her overwhelmed with grief; his sole thought was the disordered mind of his beloved wife, which he must attribute to his own conduct. With low, tender words he sought to lure ber away from the window. But she did not seem to hear his voice; only waved him away with her hand, and pressed closer to it.
"Now!" she exclaimed, suddenly. "Don't you hear any thing now? There they are! Well, let them come! I am ready!"
In fact he, too, now heard a strange, dull noise, that pierced through the morning mist. A crowd were approaching in front; the sound came from the village street, and could not be more than fifty paces away. Hastily forming his resolution, Maino rushed into the larger room, which was kitchen and sittingroom in one, and had a window overlooking the street. Through a chink in the shutter he could see the village. A troop of soldiers were cautiously approaching. They halted a short distance from the house, and he recognized his old enemy Barbone consulting with the sergeant. The whole truth flashed upon his mind with terrible clearness; the two prisoners had shaken off their bonds, opened the bolts by stratagem or treachery, and obtained aid from Alessandria. Where were his poor comrades? It had doubtless cost little trouble to overpower men stupefied by wine. But the main blow was now to be struck, the leader and captain of the band of outlaws was to be surprised in his bridal chamber, and led away in bonds, as Samson was captured by the Philistines.
The doubly miserable man started back with a savage curse. He had instantly understood that all was lost if he did not succeed in making his escape without delay.
"Pia!" he exclaimed, rushing back into the room, "they want to seize and drag me away. The pursuers are close at hand, but we can still save ourselves; spring out of this window, creep through the maize-field past the barn-no one can overtake me easily, and if you will only make haste-"
"Yes, it is well," she answered, "well for us to leave here. I am curious to see our palace. But I won't go one foot-that does not befit an empress-they must bring me a carriage with six milk-white horses-beautiful-beautiful-the saints have no better."
"If you value your life and mine, dear, precious child, come!" he urged, despairing. ly, trying to throw a shawl over her bare shoulders. "Three seconds more and it will be too late, and we-don't you hear me? Don't you know me?"
"Do not touch me, insolent mand!" she exclaimed, with flashing eyes. "I know you well-you are in league with our enemies. You will not pay us the homage that is our due-but, by the crown on my head, I
"Well, may God have mercy on your poor brain!" he cried, forcing her away from the window; "then I will fly alone, and come back for you when your head is clear. Goodnight, my wife!"
He snatched his weapons from the stool, clasped the poor, pale creature to his heart, and swung himself out of the window into the dark court-yard. At the same moment the butts of the soldiers' muskets knocked at the door, loud voices shouted Maino's
home, the dog barked violently, and the house groaned under the thundering blows with which the men attempted to burst the door. Suddenly the report of a gun echoed on the air; shrieks, groans, and cries of "Murder! murder! catch the murderer!"
rose around the house; the door yielded, and the armed band rushed into the quiet room. As they found no one, they entered the chamber. There they saw the pale young wife sitting on the foot of the bed, the crown still on her head, her bare arms folded across her breast, nodding to them with a grave smile, as if thanking them for having come to pay her homage.
Horror checked the steps of the crowd, and for a time no one ventured to interrupt the silence. Not until a few soldiers brought in Barbone, who had attempted to seize the escaping Maino, and been mortally wounded by a bullet from his old enemy's pistol, did speech and movement return to the terrified throng. They wished to lift the dying man on the bed where the maniac sat, but Barbone, whose glazing eyes had recognized the white-robed figure, made a violent gesture of aversion. He was laid on the stone floor, at the feet of the wearer of the crown, who looked down at him with a gracious smile, and here, in a few minutes, before the priest could be summoned, he drew his last breath.
Nothing more was ever heard of the escaped outlaw. An old woman, who, at night, slept in the kitchen to watch the poor maniac, related, about a week after the event just mentioned, that Maino, mounted on a horse, whose hoofs were covered with rags, ventured into the village one stormy autumn night, to see his wife, and take her with him on his wanderings through the world. Pia at first recognized him, and showed pleasure at his coming; but, when he tried to clasp her in his arms, shrank as if from the embrace of death, and began to moan and wail so piteously, that he was forced to acknowledge his effort was vain. He parted from her with bitter sorrow, and left, in a leather purse, a large sum of money, to keep his wife from want throughout her life. Then he dashed away, never to appear again.
Pia's nurse found this purse on the window-sill the next morning, and gave it to the priest, who used the money to purchase masses for the soul of the poor maniac and her sinful husband. The fugitive's fate has never been known; but one thing is certain, that in the year 1840 a poor woman sat daily in the sun before the last house in Spinetta, holding in one hand a distaff, which she extended toward the passers-by like a sceptre. She was always gentle and kind, and wore ber iron-gray hair, now that the saint's crown had been restored, braided above her brow like a diadem; the children, who passed her on their way to school, always nodded, and said, "God bless you, Empress of Spinetta!" to which the woman answered, "In eternity, amen!"
IT T is calculated that only one salmon's egg out of every thousand reaches maturity. Nature, so prolific of her products, so abundant in her fruitfulness, lavishes her bounties with a prodigal hand on the waters of the earth. The spawn of one codfish, if
allowed" to increase and multiply," would, we are told, in twenty years, fill all the oceans and seas with its product. This may be an exaggeration, but when we are given as the basis of this extraordinary calculation the fact that a single cod weighing twenty pounds contains four million eight hundred and seventy-two thousand eggs, and that each of these eggs possesses within itself the germ of equal productiveness, we do not feel inclined to dispute the accuracy of the statement. Fortunately, this excessive increase is not possible, and "the checks and balances are so arranged that not only the great deep has its bounds, but every living thing within its teeming waters has also its limits.
The excess of production is prevented by the operation of various causes, with which we are made familiar through the researches and discoveries of natural science, and to which it is unnecessary here to allude. It is with the means which scientific experience has furnished to prevent the diminution, and in some instances the threatened extermination of particular species, that we propose to deal. The continued falling off in the supply of certain kinds of fish, and especially those of a superior description, has ceased to alarm, or to excite the apprehensions with which it was formerly regarded. The remedy has been found, and fortunately in time to be applied. For this remedy we are wholly indebted to the rapid progress made in the cultivation of fish, and the successful results accomplished within the present generation through the efforts of the pisciculturists of France, Germany, England, the United States, and other civilized countries. That the Chinese have for ages had a thorough and practical knowledge of the science of aquaculture or water-farming, is well known, and the extent to which it is carried among the Celestials may be appreciated when it is understood that one-tenth of the population live almost exclusively upon fish. Fish-spawn, impregnated by artificial means, form one of the principal articles of commerce, and tens of millions of eggs are purchased from traveling merchants for the replenishing of ponds and lakes, in which vast quantities of herbivorous fishes are raised. These fish are, it appears, not only very prolific, but of rapid growth, and, being supplied with abundant and appropriate food, develop so fast that in from two to three weeks they attain a weight of as many pounds. Nor is this surprising, in view of the fact that the smolt, or young salmon, has grown from three or four ounces to seven or eight pounds during the first four months of its existence in salt-water after its change of habitat from the river in which it was spawned. This is, of course, attributed to the abundance and superior quality of the food, which has a marked influence upon the dimensions as well as upon the productiveness of the various species. The voracity and digestive powers of fish are essential in the economy of Nature in keeping within limits the tendency to superabundance. They not only prey upon each other, but they devour the young of their own species, and even their own spawn not unfrequently forms a portion of their food-supply. Trout are oc
casionally taken with eggs partially digested in their stomachs, and in some instances, where the eggs were uninjured by the gastric juices, they were subjected to the process of incubation, and the young fish successfully hatched in due time. But there are some exceptions to what might, we suppose, be called the absence of parental affection, and a notable one is afforded by the black bass, which has become quite a favorite, not merely on account of its game qualities, but also because of the superior character of its meat. By some it is preferred for the latter reason to all other fresh-water fishes, with the exception of the Salmo fontinalis, or brook-trout. The black bass remains with its young after they are hatched, leading the feeble fry in among the sedgy grass and rushes, amid the shallows, where it acts as a sentinel, warding off all danger, and fiercely attacking every intruder within the forbidden limits. Another member of the Percido, which is found in some of the waters of California, and which brings forth its young alive, is no less affectionate and vigilant in the care of its young.
These, however, are rare exceptions, and are in striking contrast with the well-known voracity of fish. But, destructive as they are acknowledged to be, and, like a certain mythological character, devouring as they do their own young, they have an enemy who is still more destructive, and who has succeeded, by his rapacity and cupidity, in depopulating many of our inland waters, and who, if not stopped by timely and restrictive legislation, will utterly exterminate the most valuable and highly-prized of our lake and river and even of our coast fishes. That he has not thus far succeeded in doing so is owing to the persevering efforts and successful labors of the Commissioners of Fisheries in this and other States, to whom the country is more indebted than it is aware, and who have repaid it a hundred-fold for the amount expended in the prosecution of the important work with which they have been charged. It is but a few years since the subject has received that attention in the United States to which it is so preeminently entitled.
The French are indebted to the Messrs. Gehin and Remy, two fishermen of the department of the Vosges, for the discovery of the art of preserving, artificial impregnation, and incubation of the eggs of fish. Gifted with a keen perception, and devotedly attached to their vocation, they were close observers of the habits of the denizens of the streams and brooks. Having thoroughly satisfied themselves, by practical tests and experiments, of the successful propagation of fish by their method, they made their valuable discovery known to the Academy of Sciences at Paris. This eminent body became deeply interested in the process, and extended to the two humble fishermen a prompt and hearty encouragement. It was at once seen that a great secret had been revealed, and that, at a comparatively trifling expense, all the barren and exhausted lakes, ponds, and rivers, might be made most productive and profitable. Messrs. Remy and Gehin, in their observations of the habits of trout during the spawning-season, perceived that they ascended the rivers till
they found in the more aërated water, and the sandy and gravely bottom, the conditions most favorable to their purpose. Digging
with their noses pits in the sand six or seven inches deep, and three or four feet in diameter, the trout places in the centre of these excavations a line of stones of various sizes, according to the size of the fish. In this work a number of trout coöperate, and, when the bed is thus prepared, the eggs are deposited by the females in successive lines, and after impregnation the whole mass is covered up by the parents, the noses, fins, and tails being freely used in the operation. While this work is progressing there are generally a number of small, feathered spectators, called water-ousels, in the vicinity, deeply interested in the operation. These visit the beds when the fish leave, and, disappearing beneath the surface, pick up such insects as would otherwise feed upon the ova. For a long time it was supposed that this friend and ally of the trout devoured the spawn, and, while this erroneous impression lasted, a most unrelenting warfare was waged against the unoffend. ing bird; but, when the error was discovered, hostilities ceased, peace was declared, and the harmless little fellow was at once taken under human protection. He is now a welcome visitor on the trout preserves of England and wherever else he is found ready to do his share of the work in the protection and propagation of his finny associate and protégé.
In the course of a month the eggs are hatched, and these eggs are wonderful things in their way. Semi-transparent, and varying in size from the head of a large pin to the dimensions of a large pea, they have a peculiarly horny and elastic shell, so that, if struck against any hard substance, they will rebound therefrom with the elasticity of a miniature ball of India-rubber. Subject to the action of the water, and to abrasion among the gravel and sand, these little eggs are protected by the peculiar properties of the delicate-looking case in which they are inclosed. A few days before the imprisoned embryo is ready to emerge from his prison, two little black specks are observed within the shell. These are the eyes, and a glance through a microscope reveals a movement of the body and a wagging of the tail, all of which are doubtless the preliminary efforts which are to result in the final deliverance. When he has at last emerged there is a little sac attached to his abdomen, and this constitutes his sole nourishment as he lies on the bottom, unable, so long as this appendage remains, to rise to the surface. The umbilical sac disappears in four weeks, and then, for the first time, the fry employs his means of locomotion to good purpose. The little fins and tails are set at work, and carry him from place to place in quest of animalcules and such infinitesimal game. To enable him to grow apace, he must have plenty of the right kind of food, and clear spring-water having a temperature of from forty to forty-five degrees. Bullock's liver cut fine and grated, offal, or the flesh of almost any animal subject to the same process, will suit his taste. He is not fastidious, and, when he has attained a weight of
two or three pounds, he enjoys such dainty morsels as a frog or mouse. He is, in fact, a keen-sighted hunter of mice and other "small deer," and will lie in wait under the pads of water-lilies or the shelving banks, or behind a log or stone, as eager after his prey as Grimalkin himself-ready to pounce upon the hapless victim the moment he shall be within reach.
We have said that fish feed on spawn, and the fact, as already stated, that not more than one out of every thousand sal mon's eggs ever attains to the maturity of a full-sized fish, affords abundant evidence that they are beset with enemies at every stage of their existence. The water-larvæ of the libellula, or dragon - fly, which Sir Humphry Davy says is the most voracious of the winged insect-tribe, and of the Ephemera, or May-fly, it is said, are deadly enemies of the eggs of the trout and other fishes. Pouncing upon the oyum, they pierce it with their sharp pincers, destroying the living germ; but when the egg becomes a trout, the tables are turned, and the winged product of the larvæ becomes the prey of the matured fish. It is true, the insect has undergone a wondrous transformation-from a nympha he is converted into a full-fledged fly; but yet, tempted to wing his flight over the dimpled surface of the stream, he falls a prey to the voracious enemy lying in watch beneath the wave.
Aquaculture, or water-farming, is a peculiarly applicable title for the system of fish-culture pursued in France. There, where the conditions and form of the ground are favorable to the purpose, they construct artificial fish-ponds by damming up the waters of streams. The land thus overflowed bas become exhausted by successive crops; but .now it is to be turned to account in another direction, and its products are to be of a different description. It may have yielded oats, or wheat, or vegetables, but the soil has lost its fertility by frequent planting, and, if not abundantly manured, should be permitted to recuperate. If, however, it has ceased to yield of its abundance, it can be made to produce a crop of fish. The ponds thus made are overflowed and stocked with fish-the carp being the favorite for this kind of farming. In the course of three or four years the crop is considered ripe, the pond is drained, its finny product gathered in by nets, and disposed of at a handsome profit, for the carp is a most wholesome article of food in the French cuisine. The bottom of the pond, drained of its water-supply, is planted, perhaps, with hemp, of which it yields an abundant crop, and for the next three or four years the process of dry-farming is continued until it becomes evident that the character of the crops must be again changed. The water is again turned in upon the land, and it is once more converted into a lake. But this time it is entirely unnecessary to plant it with fish. The seeds of the former crop remain in the soil, and only require the water, their natural element, to accomplish the work of incubation. When freed from their tiny egg-shells, the youthful Cyprinide swarm by thousands through the water in quest of insects and tender plants, for the carp thrives on vegetable food.
The cod has been mentioned as an illustration of the fecundity of fish, but all species of the finny tribe are noted for their fertility. Although belonging to a different family, the oyster is worthy of notice in this connection, its spat, or spawn, containing at the spawning season as many as 1,800,000 eggs; a trout of one pound weight contains 1,008 eggs; and a salmon of twenty pounds, 40,000; while a mackerel of one pound contains 86,120; and a pickerel of four and a half pounds, 42,160. The supply of food has much to do with the productive character of fish, as well as with the important question of their size and growth. We might cite, as a special instance of this, the proof afforded by the Rangely Lake trout, which, although declared by the late Professor Agassiz to be a pure Salmo fontinalis, or brook-trout, grows to the enormous weight of ten pounds, and is commonly taken at four or five. It is true that an occasional brook trout has been caught weighing ten pounds, and it is said that one was captured in some Western river years ago by an Indian, a prize having been offered by an officer of a surveying expedition for the largest specimen. However that may be, we have seen a stuffed monster of the Rangely Lake species which turned the scale at ten pounds. The superior size of this fish is attributable wholly to the abundant supply of food afforded by the waters which he inhabits, and in which is found a new species of the numerous Salmo family. This species is called the blue-backed trout, or Salmo oquassa, and, according to Seth Green, the Superintendent of Fisheries of the State of New York, is a relative of the European char or Salmo umbla. While of the same family and resembling the trout, except that the red spots are absent, its hab. its are altogether different. The blue-back makes its appearance in countless swarms on the shores of the lake in the month of October, and "invariably at the same time, to spawn," the tenth being the eventful day. Punctual to date, it never fails, and is captured by tens of thousands. Smoked and salted, it forms a considerable portion of the winter supply of the people living in the vicinity.
is very handsome; short, delicate, aquiline | increase their subsistence. To the half-breed nose; piercing, dark-gray eyes; long, darkbrown hair, beard, and mustache; small white, regular teeth; skin tanned to a regular bronze by exposure to the weather. He was dressed in a blue-cloth capote (hooded frock-coat), with brass buttons, red-and-black flannel shirt, which served also for waistcoat; buff-leather moccasins on his feet, black belt around his waist; trousers of brown-andwhite-striped home-made woolen stuff."
Could Lord Southesk see the subject of his special admiration at this date, he might add, with truth, "McKay, of late years, has grown too obese to lie horizontally in his bed; and, as to putting his foot astride of a horse, it is doubtful if he has ever seen those extremities for many a long day!"
Nevertheless this etching of McKay will do duty, in all essential points, as the correct portraiture of a large and distinct class of people inhabiting our own frontier, and that of our northern neighbor, and familiarly known as half-breeds, who, neither Indian nor white, possess all the craft of one and a fair degree of the intelligence of the other. Familiar with the customs of both from infancy, they adopt the medias res between the two, and in language are equally cosmopoli
At the beginning of the present century, when the rival Canadian fur companies, known as the X. Y. and Northwest Companies, were engaged in fierce competition with the Hudson's Bay Company for the possession of the Indian trade, there sprung into existence, in the exigencies of this special service, a class of men known as coureurs des bois, or wood. runners. They were French colonists, whose spirit of adventure, stimulated by a desire of gain, and love for the free, roving Indian life, led them to pursue the calling of trappers and traders, betaking themselves to the woods and hunting-grounds of Canada, and spreading gradually over the whole country east from the height of land west of Lake Superior. As hunters and trappers they were even more skillful than their Indian teachers. As traders they were outfitted by the Canadian companies with the necessary goods to barter with the Indians for fur; and, after periods of absence extending over twelve or fifteen months, spent in traveling in their canoes, would return laden with furs of great value, their share of which they regularly squandered during a short residence in the towns or cities, previous to embarking on their next voyage. After the coalition of the competing fur companies, in the year 1821, and their consequent loss of employment as traders, these coureurs des bois gradually spread farther into the interior, penetrated the unsettled districts of Dakota and Manitoba, and the nearer Lake Superior region, formed small communities, took to themselves Indian wives, and forsook civilization entirely. In place of traders, they became more especially hunters and trappers, disposing of their furs and produce at the trading-posts scattered throughout the country, and near which they invariably settled. In addition to this they beame canoe-men and freighters to the trading - companies, or engaged in certain “His face—somewhat Assyrian in type- | miniature agricultural pursuits tending to
a series of articles descriptive of a journey made by Lord Southesk through the Hudson's Bay Territory in 1859, published in the JOURNAL of May last, is given the following pen-portrait of James McKay, a half-breed guide:
"A Scotchman, though with Indian blood on his mother's side, he was born and bred in the Saskatchewan country, but afterward became a resident of Fort Garry, and entered the company's employ. Whether as guide or hunter, he was universally reckoned one of their best men. Immensely broad-chested and muscular, though not tall, he weighed eighteen stone; yet, in spite of his stoutness, he was exceedingly hardy and active, and a wonderful horseman.
children- -a numerous progeny-of these French and Indian parents, descended the vocation of the father, and the nomadic instincts of the mother, resulting in the production of a civilized nomad who unites the industries of both civilized and savage life. To this element may be added a considerable number of metis, the offspring of the Scotch and English employés of the trading corporations, and the half-breeds of the old régime, resident on the Canadian coasts- for the most part the poorest representatives of their class. Scattered over the vast country from the Canadas to the Pacific coast, and from the Coteau of the Missouri to the Saskatchewan, the half-breed forms the advance-guard of civilization, ahead even of the white pioneer. His paternity may be French, English, or Scotch-his maternity Chippewa, Cree, or Sioux; but his vocation will always be the same, until, by admixture of lighter or darker blood, he becomes resolved into one of his original elements.
As a rule, the French half-breed-by far the largest and most representative class-is eminently social in disposition, and gregarious in his habits. As a consequence, he lives in communities, more or less miniaturę, during the winter months, and trades and hunts in bands during the summer. He enjoys company and is loath to be alone. Like his wealthier white brethren, he affects two annual residences-a log-house for his hibernal months, and a wigwam for the summer solstice. As a rule, be may be addressed at the former. About it he has some arable ground, which he cultivates in a feeble and uncertain manner. He scratches the surface of the ground, and expects it to be prolific. Not being fond of labor, the weeds are allowed to choke the crop, the fences to fall into decay, and a general air of wreck to take possession of his tiny farm. This appearance of improvidence becomes perennial, not apparently getting worse or better, but remaining at about the same state year after year. The scanty crops, when gathered and stacked in the open air, in irregular piles, contribute to the general tumble-down aspect. Indian ponies, with their usual wornout and overworked look, wander about the premises, or stand engaged in melancholy retrospection. About the door-yard are a few wooden carts-whose antecedents date back to the fields of Normandy-guiltless of iron, in a state of greater or less fracture, bound up with rawhide, and ornamented with rusty sets of harness. There may possibly be a cow on the premises, though not likely to be, as she would be killed and eaten the first time her improvident owner ran short of provisions. There are dogs, however, and in proportion as the metis is poor, the number of canines increases.
The dwelling itself, except in the midwinter months, presents an appearance of decay. The plaster placed in the interstices of the logs crumbles under the action of the elements, and falls about the foundation of the building in muddy heaps. The thatch or clapboards of the roof are loosened in places, and are certain not to be repaired until the next winter. Internally the house is one