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occurred, will tend strongly to prove; and will also show that, diminutive as it is, it is not at all times to be trifled with, even by “ the lords of the creation."
B-Ft, or “Old Biddy,” as she was more generally called, was an itinerant tea-dealer in a wild and mountainous district of the county of Westmoreland. She had been left a poor and lone widow, and for some years after she became such, was mainly supported on the fruits of the industry of an only and affectionate son. melancholy accident deprived him of his life, and his aged parent of his filial assistance and support ; in consequence of which a plan was devised by a distant relative, some of “ Old Biddy's” benevolent neighbours, to put her in a way to earn a small pittance for an honest livelihood. They effected their laudable purpose by furnishing her with the means of laying in a small stock of tea, not only for the supply of the little hamlet in which she resided, but it was recommended that she should occasionally " travel for orders.” It was in one of these little excursions through the wild district in which she residedfor her business sometimes took her six or eight miles from, home—that she was put in extreme bodily fear; and had it not been that she was armed with a good-sized staff, and habited withal in garments of “stout double-milled homespun," there is a strong reason to believe that she would have fallen a victim to a numerous party of infuriated weasels. But she shall relate the event in her own way. Who that has ever travelled by that great north-road, leading from Liverpool and Manchester northward to Carlisle and “the Land o'Cakes,” does not remember that most dreary and forlorn-looking portion of it, known by the appellation of “Shap Fells.” It was on these very "Fells” that our itinerant tea-merchant one day was making her monthly circuit to some lone cottage situated among the heath and the bent, and the melancholy bleakness of the surrounding hills; while in one hand she carried her stock of teas, tied up in an old blue pocket-handkerchief, amounting probably to three or four pounds, and already made up into packages of half-pounds, quarters, and half-quarters, to suit her customers, while her other hand firmly embraced that staff which was soon to deal death and destruction to quite unexpected assailants. Being somewhat weary with her long walk, and observing an irregular pile of lichencovered stones, not far from the mountain path that led to the cottage she was bound to (which might probably yet be a mile distant), she approached the stone-heap, and having selected one with a tolerably smooth surface, seated herself without the slightest suspicion of being an unwelcome intruder. She had scarcely, however, got her bundle safely deposited, and her aged limbs nestled into the seat which nature had so kindly provided for her, when she observed a weasel peep from beneath a mossy stone, within a few feet of her resting-place; at the same time uttering certain sounds indicative of its manifest displeasure. “I saw the thing was angry," relates the old woman, “but I had often seen a vexed weasel before, and therefore thought bat little about it. But presently a second, and a third, and a fourth made their appearance, all evincing evident tokens of displeasure. I had been looking at the two or three that grinned, and cherred, and chattered, in a way I must confess I did not much admire, when on looking in a contrary direction, to the place where I had put down my bundle, I verily believe there were over a score chattering and tearing at the blue handkerchief. I think I should have let them have the tea quietly, although God knows 1 could have ill afforded to lose so much! but when I got ap to away, I believe another score, at the fewest, came running up right in front of me. Some of them were already within the reach of my walking-stick, so I struck at two or three of the nasty impudent things, but in a minute four or five of them were scrambling up my clothes, and one or two got to my neck and shoulders. I now struck, and kicked, and punched, and screamed, and in truth I scarcely know what I did; and although I know that I killed and lamed a few of them, yet I sincerely believe they would have got the better of me at last, if it had not pleased Providence so to direct it, that a shepherd's dog, having been attracted to the place by the skirmish I was making, came to the top of a neighbouring bank and began to bark with all its might; and the instant the vermin heard the barking of the dog,
they all disappeared under the large stones, except perhaps some half-dozen that I had managed to discomfit. But I did not stay to count them, for hastily snatching up my torn bundle, I ran faster than I remember to have done for many a long year; and I took good care in futuro not to come near any more stone-heaps.” This, as nearly as possible, was the exact relation given by "Old Biddy," of her strange adventure with the weasels, and at the time when every circumstance was fresh in her memory, and before the bites and scratches upon her person had wholly disappeared.
I believe there are other instances on record where weasels have been found assembling in large companies, which, on their being molested or annoyed, have offered battle to the human species. Although I cannot precisely state that a regular attack was ever made by them personally upon myself, yet they once mustered in so formidable party, and exhibited a manner so insolent and daring, that I was not only deterred from carrying a little project against them into effect, but was actually so cowed by their audacious bearing that I fled from the scene of action. This event, also, took place in a secluded little valley in Westmoreland. It was during the Christmas holidays, the ground being covered with snow, and the mountain streams firmly bound up in ice, that I determined upon trying my luck at capturing some marauding little animals that nightly left their foot-prints upon the snow in the bottom of a lone and sequestered dell, where were some dilapidated stone walls that, at a remote period, had probably formed a portion of some rude but quiet dwelling. For this purpose I provided a couple of traps, and, in order to make success more certain, I baited them with a few small birds which I had succeeded in capturing. Thus prepared, I reached the bank of the small brook near to the ruined wall; and the only difficulty that now presented itself was to find something to chain my traps to, so that the weasels, or the foumarts, or whatever else the nightly prowlers might be, should not have it in their power to carry them off. But finding nothing to answer my purpose I was under the necessity of returning home, in order to supply myself with a couple of stakes, and an axe to drive them into the frozen ground. Whatever had occurred in the vicinity of my traps during my absence, of course I cannot take upon me to say ; but, upon my return, I had no sooner commenced driving one of the stakes into the ground, than at the least a dozen little heads were perking from as many holes in the old wall, and sundry sets of sharp teeth were exhibited, ready, as I imagined, to tear him who had been meditating their destruction. I was then twelve or thirteen years of age, and had neither seen nor heard of a whole pack of angry weasels, so that at first I was not much alarmed; but as I continued the operation of driving my stakes, the whole party advanced towards me, grinning and barking, and grimacing, and to confess the truth, succeeded in driving me out of the lonely dell, leaving my traps baited, but not set, behind me. When I got home, and related this singular adventure to the assembled family, they could scarcely credit so strange a circumstance; but prevailing on my elder brother to accompany me on the following morning to revisit my traps, he became convinced, from the numerous tracts in the snow, that I had considerably underrated the number of weasels that had advanced to the charge when I retreated from the valley. The traps we found just as I had left them; for although the sparrows with which they were baited might have been carried off with impunity, not a single feather thereof had been touched or ruffled! But all was silent and lifeless-no sentinel appeared to give warning; and when I had coaxed my brother to explore the old wall, the place of their abiding, not the slightest signs of its being inhabited conld he by any means discover.
KINDNESS-AN INDIAN STORY. In the early settlement of this country, a strange Indian arrived at an inn in Litchfield, Connecticut, and asked for something to eat; at the same time saying, that he had nothing to pay. The woman who kept the inn not only refused his reasonable request, but called him harsh names. Bat a man who sat by, seeing that the Indian was suffering for want of food, told her to give him what he wanted at his expense. When the Indian had finished his supper, he thanked the man, and assured him that he should be faithfully recompensed, whenever it was in his power.
Some years after this, the man had occasion to go from Litchfield to Albany, where he was taken prisoner by the Indians, and carried to Canada. Some of them proposed that he should be put to death; but an old woman demanded that he should be given to her, that she might adopt him in place of a son, who had been killed in the war. This was done, and he passed the winter in her family. The next summer, while he was at work in the woods, a strange Indian came and asked him to go to a certain place on a given day, which he agreed to do; though he had some fears that mischief was intended. His fears increased and his promise was broken. But the Indian came again, and renewed the request. The man made another engagement and kept his word. On reaching the spot, he found the Indian provided with ammunition, two muskets, and two knapsacks. He was ordered to take one of each, which he did, and followed his conductor. In the day time they shot the game that came in their way, and at night they kindled a fire and slept by it. But the Indian observed a mysterious silence as to the object of their expedition.
After travelling in this manner many days, they came to the top of a mountain, from which they saw a number of houses in the midst of a cultivated country. The Indian asked him if he knew the ground, and he eagerly an. swered, “ It is Litchfield !"
The Indian then recalled to his mind, the scenes of the inn, and bidding him farewell, he exclaimed, “I am that Indian !-Now, I pray you go home.”
AVOID SINFUL AMUSEMENTS. NEVER let your amusements interfere with your duties. Lose not the early part of the day in recreation : “ Pastime," says an old writer is poison "in the morning."