Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush

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Authors: Susanna Moodie
quite out of the common way, and I did not come up at all to her expectations.
    Her opinion of me was not more absurd than the remarks of two ladies who, after calling upon me for the first time, communicated the result of their observations to a mutual friend.
    “We have seen Mrs. M—, and we were so surprised to find her just like other people!”
    “What did you expect to see in her?”
    “Oh, something very different. We were very much disappointed.”
    “That she was not sitting upon her head,” said my friend, smiling; “I like Mrs. M—, because she is in every respect like other people; and I should not have taken her for a blue-stocking at all.”
    The sin of authorship meets with little toleration in a new country. Several persons of this class, finding few minds that could sympathise with them, and enter into their literary pursuits, have yielded to despondency, or fallen victims to that insidious enemy of souls,
Canadian whisky
. Such a spirit was the unfortunate Dr. Huskins, late of Frankfort on the river Trent. The fate of this gentleman, who was a learned and accomplished man of genius, left a very sad impression on my mind. Like too many of that highly-gifted, but unhappy fraternity, he struggled through his brief life, overwhelmed with the weight of undeserved calumny, and his peace of mind embittered with the most galling neglect and poverty.
    The want of sympathy experienced by him from men of his own class, pressed sorely upon the heart of the sensitive man of talent and refinement; he found very few who could appreciate or understand his mental superiority, which was pronounced as folly and madness by the ignorant persons about him. A new country, where all are rushing eagerly forward in order to secure the common necessaries of life, is not a favourable soil in which to nourish the bright fanciesand delusive dreams of the poet. Dr. Huskins perceived his error too late, when he no longer retained the means to remove to a more favourable spot, – and his was not a mind which could meet and combat successfully with the ills of life. He endeavoured to bear proudly the evils of his situation, but he had neither the energy nor the courage to surmount them. He withdrew himself from society, and passed the remainder of his days in a solitary, comfortless, log hut on the borders of the wilderness. Here he drooped and died, as too many like him have died, heartbroken and alone. A sad mystery involves the last hours of his life: it is said that he and Dr. Sutor, another talented but very dissipated man, had entered into a compact to drink until they both died. Whether this statement is true cannot now be positively ascertained. It is certain, however, that Dr. Sutor was found dead upon the floor of the miserable shanty occupied by his friend, and that Dr. Huskins was lying on his bed in the agonies of death. Could the many fine poems, composed by Dr. Huskins in his solitary exile, be collected and published, we feel assured that posterity would do him justice, and that his name would rank high among the bards of the green isle.
    “Neglected son of genius! thou hast pass’d
    In broken-hearted loneliness away;
And one who prized thy talents, fain would cast
    The cypress-wreath above thy nameless clay.
    Ah, could she yet thy spirit’s flight delay,
’Till the cold world, relenting from its scorn,
The fadeless laurel round thy brows should twine,
    Crowning the innate majesty of mind,
By crushing poverty and sorrow torn.
    Peace to thy mould’ring ashes, till revive
Bright memories of thee in deathless song!
    True to the dead, Time shall relenting give
The meed of fame deserved – delayed too long,
And in immortal verse the Bard again shall live!”
    Alas! this frightful vice of drinking prevails throughout the colony to an alarming extent. Professional gentlemen are not ashamed of being seen issuing from the bar-room of a tavern early

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