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POOR SCRUB-PINE AND LARCH BARRENS. 111
as the small town situated at the angle is appropriately called, and on the south side of the river, a broad belt of elevated flat grey-sandstone country extends for twenty or thirty miles. It is interrupted by stripes of richer land, and of more or less extensive intervales, where the streams from the south traverse it on their way to the Petitcodiac. The crossing of this tract, which we did in a diagonal direction, formed the principal feature in this day's journey. For some miles before our arrival at the Turtle Creek, one of these cross-streams, it proved to be a poor flat sandy, in many places stony, scrub-pine and larch barren. Here and there naked green spots of limited extent were seen, the sites of ancient beaverdams, where these intelligent creatures, taking advantage of occasional hollows, had contrived to arrest and dam up the water. The distinguishing physical character of the whole tract is its extreme flatness, which causes the water of heaven to stagnate upon it, and renders naturally worthless many more capable places, which, at some future day, by means of arterial drainage, may be converted into profitable farms. On the Turtle Creek some marsh-land and intervale occurred, not equal to the marshes of the Petitcodiac River, yet yielding two tons of hay an acre—and again on the Coverdale Creek five miles beyond; but all else was the same scarcely broken carriboo wilderness of poor flat country, swampy because it was level, and covered with perpetual scrub-pine, larch, and spruce. After a ride of twenty-four miles, we crossed the Petitcodiac, and presently arrived at Nixon's, where I bade adieu to my friends from Albert County, and hastened on my farther journey. Albert County has many advantages. It is picturesque and beautiful. It has rich red uplands, most fertile dyked marshes, and abundant fish along its shores. Its
112 WiNDFALLS AND THE TELEGRAPH WIRES.
agriculture is not—even in its most favoured spots— equal to its advantages; and large breadths of its most fertile wilderness are held as inheritances for future generations. We did not find the autumn ploughing so far advanced, even as among the more northerly French and Scotch of Botsford parish. This may be a result of the constitutional idiosyncrasy of the Dutch population; but the fact that twenty times as many turnips were sown this year in Albert County as ever was known before, argues that, even among them, agricultural progress has begun to find a place. In ten minutes after our arrival at Nixon's we were mounted on a rude unspringed farm-waggon, behind an excellent pair of horses, which carried us swiftly to the west along the high road I had traversed before. The wind had been very high all day, and, though in the shelter of the broad wood we had felt little of it, many windfalls had been occasioned by it along this more open road. We saw the electric telegraph broken in two places by fallen trees, in the twelve miles which brought us to Steeves'; and there we met the Company's wiremender and his staff, who had been posting from place to place all day, connecting it at the broken points. But finding that, as fast as he repaired one spot, a fresh windfall broke it at another, he had stabled his horses and given up the pursuit till the wind should abate. This is an evil with which, in our open countries, we are unacquainted, but which frequently happens among the forests, and sufficiently accounts for the interruption of electric communication which often takes place between Halifax and St John. Little more than an hour brought us to Steeves', where we obtained another conveyance, and turned off to the right to visit and spend the night at Butternut Ridge, a distance of eight miles. After ascending and crossing a comparatively low ridge, in which limestone
BUTTERNUT RIDGE. 113
and gypsum and salt-springs are met with, we descended into the valley of the North River, a tributary of the Petitcodiac, and passed over a broad flat, stony, and swampy barren, through which the river runs. On the succeeding rise, drier land and increasing clearings were seen. Rounded hills and low undulating ridges of light sandy and gravelly soil—the debris and drift of red conglomerate—covered the slope; and when, as we neared the top, the ascent became more steep, cliffs of the conglomerate rock in place, and soon after of a solid thick bedded limestone, presented themselves. These latter rocks form the surface of the Butternut Ridge, which, from this summit level, inclines towards the west in an undulating slope of rich red-sandstone soils towards the valley of the New Canaan and Washademoak Rivers. Beyond this come on again the flat grey sandstones of the coal-measures, about the centre of the province. These are covered over large areas with bogs, and swamps, and carriboo plains. Were the geological structure of this country once accurately investigated and mapped, nothing would be more easy than to indicate the capabilities of its several soils, and generally their localities and relative extent, from the colours which the map would present. A thick rain had come on before we reached the house in the settlement in which we were to find quarters. The title of Colonel given to our intended landlord made me anticipate comfortable accommodations; but disappointment was the result. It was another of those cases in which people do the traveller a favour by taking him in. The landlord was a thriving man, had a fine family of grown-up sons and daughters, and some of the sons, who still lived with him, were already settled on excellent farms of their own. I believe they intended to be civil to us according to their knowledge; but one WOL. II. H
114 UNCOMFORTABLE QUARTERS.
small sitting and eating room was common to this large family, their three guests, and sundry large chests and supernumerary pieces of furniture. We were wet and tired, and yet obliged to talk; and because I would not sleep double, I was condemned to a night of vain attempts at ease or forgetfulness. On the whole, I passed no night half so uncomfortable in North America as that which I encountered at Butternut Ridge. And I had, besides the actual bodily experience, this additional grievance— which to a grumbling Englishman is not an unsore one— that, as there was no pretensions to a hotel, and no hanging out for guests, I was not privileged to complain, but was expected gratefully to receive my discomfort, to pay well for it, and be thankful.
Butternut tree on calcareous soils.-Value of the land.—Poor land, what it means in a new country-Windfalls.-Smith's Creek-Influence of circumstances on the direction of agricultural progress.-Unnamed mountains.— Difficult bridge.—Hollows and pits of the gypsum deposits.-Trees growing on pure gypsum.—Agricultural experiments with it.—New Jersey loyalists in the valley of the Trout Brook. —Change within sixty years.-Causeless grumblings in New Brunswick-Fall of snow.—Purple colour of the sky.—Clearness of the moonlight sky.—Danger of too much clearing of the native forests.Mildew on tidal rivers.-Failure of the wheat and barley crops.Buckwheat cakes and bran.-Good red land.—Surly host.—Scenery on the Hammond River.—Igneous rocks.-Geological structure of the country. —Dislocations and repetitions of strata.-Imaginary section of the province.—Relation of its soils to its rocks,—Economical value of a knowledge of these relations.—Scenery on Loch Lomond.—Annexationists in St John.—Complaints and distress in Maine.—Comparative condition of Maine and New Brunswick. — Musquash marshes.—Walue of farms.-Plague of Grubs in the marshes.—A contented Irishman,—How to ruin a farmer.—Religious sects at St John.—River Lepreau.-Importance of the physical characters of soils.--Darkness of moonless nights in the woods,St George or Macadavic.—Drive up the river.—Poor land upon it.— Limestone of l’Etang Harbour.—Drive to St Andrews.
October 31.-The butternut or white walnut, Juglans cinerea, from which this ridge is called, is described as growing in rich woods, and on the banks of rivers.” But the true natural predilections of a tree are to be observed where it thrives in natural forests untouched by * DR Torry—Botany of New York.