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on the roofs admit light to the upper apartment. All the exterior, from the foundation to the top, is whitewashed; a custom giving a general air of neatness and beauty. The owners of some of the dwellings have ornamented their residences by painting diamond shaped figures of a black or red color. Others have chequered their doors with broad stripes intersecting each other, and some have displayed their superior taste, by marking broad spots over the whole edifice. The officers of the Militia apprise the ignorant of their rank by raising a flag staff in front of their homes, ornamented with spiral lines, like the bands around the insignia of hair dressers. In its neighborhood is a huge cross of wood, fantastically decorated with emblems of the Catholic faith, and frequently consecrated by some holy relict, or the venerated effigy of a saint in ax and rags, carefully secured from injury by a covering of glass.
The Barns are large and spacious, commonly thatcbed with straw, but sometimes protected from the storms by a covering borrowed from the trunk of the Spruce tree. The animals for whose comfort they are provided are of a Norman race. The cows and oxen are diminutive in size ; but the former, yield a great quantity of rich and excellent milk, and the latter, though awkwardly fastened to the load by the horns, are efficient laborers.
The interior of the habitations swarm with population. Although small and of one story in height, the roofs often cover the children of many generations. The decrepit grandsires tell the tales of olden times, and the tottering infants sport by their sides or climb the knees of the ancient men. As in the patriarchal days, father and son and the son's son circle around the same board and partake together of the abundance God hath given them. Cheerfulness and content are inmates with them: neatness and gaiety around. Perhaps the counterparts of those pictures the masters of the pencil bave loved to form, of “the happy family," would be found more frequently among the simple Canadian peasantry, than in any other portion of the earth.
One trait in the character of this people, it would be great ingratitude to neglect. It is the uniform hospitality and kindness to strangers. Services are rendered with that ready cheerfulness which comes from the hearts of those who give, and goes to the hearts of those who receive. Two pilgrims more forlorn and desolate in aspect than the writer and a merry companion, who traversed the Kennebec woods on the good conveyances nature gave them, their own feet, bave seldom made their appearance in a
civilized land. Yet we every where found a disposition to oblige which could have arisen only from the wish to relieve the wants, inducing to make drafts on the civility so freely tendered.
Rude and unpolished as are the inhabitants of the Chaudiere, they possess an intuitive and native sense of politeness, affording the stranger equal pleasure and surprise. A single instance will illustrate the habitual manner of expression. Having entered into a treaty for a conveyance to a neighboring village, and being already apprised of the just price, we demurred to the first demand as excessive. The answer to our remonstrance, when rendered into English, was as follows, “We cannot well afford to go at this time for this sum ; but if it will be an accommodation to you we will receive less :” a response containing an argument so convincing, that for the honor of our country we could not further exercise our New England propensity.
So primitive and simple are the manners of those with whom we were visitants, that it required no laborious stretch of imagination to overstep the distance separating us from the sunny land of France, and roll back the years between the present period and the age of her glory, the reign of the fourteenth Lewis, truly called the Magnificent, and to fancy ourselves quietly seated among the vine covered hills and greep vallies of the land of their ancestors, in the period when the royal patron of genius and learning held the sceptre with a firmer grasp and wore the crown with a higher dignity, than the successors whose hands have since borne the rod of command and whose brows have been bound with the emblem of power in that realm of crime and blood. More than two centuries have gone by since the possession of Canada by the French ; yet they have worked few changes among the population. The customs transported thither by the first emigrants have been transmitted as beir-looms from father to son, through races, whose blood has been but slightly, if at all adulterated, and are now the same we find described in the worm-eaten, and mouldered volumes of the early voyagers. Possessing little enterprize, cultivating a fertile soil freely furnishing the necessaries of life, having few wants, and placed beyond the contagious influence of luxury, they hold firmly the
usages and precepts delivered to them. One generation treads in the footsteps of its predecessors, and resolutely resists innovation, in whatever form it appears, whether of improvement or deterioration.
THE CORAL ISLANDS. The corals are objects which, from their beauty and singularity, are well known even to those who have never paid any attention to natural history.
Each coral, whatever it be, is a solid calcareous structure, somewhat resembling a vegetable in the general progress and increase of its parts, inhabited by numerous similar animals, which are precisely the same for each individual coral, but different in the different species. Each of these corals may thus be conceived to form a colony, and the inhabitants are disposed in minute cells, where they reside and carry on the operation of extending their habitations. In these operations, however independently each seems to act in the production of its own cell, or in the extension of its own immediate neighborhood, the whole are regulated by some common mysterious principle, by which they all concur towards the production of a structure that would rather seem to have been directed by one mind. Now nothing very analogous to this takes place in the animal creation, except in the case of the gregarious insects that form a common habitation for breeding; such as the bees and the ants. In these there is a possibility of personal communication; and that there is such, is proved by the accurate researches of many naturalists. No such communication can take place among the coral animals, because each is fixed aud rooted in its cell, of which it forms a part. It may be considered, indeed, that the whole of the colony are parts of the structure which they inbabit, just as flowers are of a plant.
To take the inhabitant of the madrepore as an example of the animal itself, it may be considered as formed of three parts, the shell, the head, a centre, and the feet, or hands. The latter are very numerous, and are divided, or split at the extremities, while they surround the body of the animal in the form of a circle. Each of these feet or hands embraces a lamella of the star of the madre. pore, so that they serve both for the construction of the cell, and for tixing the animal in it. The pedicle, or single part of the hand, appears to be a muscular body, and is fixed in a cylindrical tube, which is properly the body of the animal. Within this is a stellated body, which is supposed to be the head, quick in its motions; while the rays seem to be the tentacula by which it feeds itself.
Nearly all the islands that lie on the south side of the equator, between New Holland and the western coast of America, derive
either the whole, or a great part of their structure, from these aniinals. The whole of that sea, and, indeed, of some others, abounds in coral rocks and reefs, which are in a state of daily and rapid increase, and wbich are probably destined, at some future day, to elevate themselves to the level of the water; to become the seats of vegetation ; in process of time the babitations of man; and ultimately, perhaps, to produce scarcely less than a continent in this extensive ocean.
Among other places, these reefs abound particularly between New Holland, New Caledonia, and New Guinea; and they are well known to exist in great abundance in the seas of the Indian Archipelago, as at Chagos, Juan de Nova, Cosmoledo, Assumption, Cocos, Amirante, and the Laccadive and Maldive islands. They are also numerous in the east side of the Gulf of Florida, and it is well known that they form a daily increasing impediment to the navigation of the Red Sea.
The extent of these reefs and islands is an object of great curiosity and surprise, when we consider the apparent feebleness of the means by which they are produced, and the minuteness of the agents. An instance or two of this will suffice for our present purpose. One of the Tonga islands, the Tongataboo of Cook, is an irregular oval of twenty leagues in circumference, while its elevation above the level of the water reaches to ten feet. The soundings from which the thickness of this bed of rock might be estimated have not been given, but they are known to be deep in all this sea, and may safely be taken at not less than a hundred fathoms, so that the whole forms what may be considered an enormous stratum of organic limestone. But the largest which appears to have been ascertained, is the great reef on the east coast of New Holland, which extends unbroken for a length of 350 miles ; forming, together with others that are more or less separated from it and from each other, a nearly continuous line of 1000 miles or more in length, with a breadth varying from twenty to fifty miles. Before such a mountain of limestone as this, even the Appenine shrinks in comparison; and that such a mass should have been produced by such insignificant means, is a just subject of admiration to philosophical minds, and of wonder to those which have not considered the indefinite powers of units in endless addition.
When the groups are circular, there are some peculiarities in them, as well as in the result, which are worthy of notice. A numher of detached rocks and islands are first observed, forming a chain
which becomes gradually united in different places, so as to hold out the prospect of its some day becoming continuous. All round this, on the outside, the water is deep and the walls vertical, but within, it is found to shoal in different places, so as to convey the idea of a large platform, surrounded by an elevated margin, with a depression in the middle. In the smaller circles, when this process is completed, the reefs represent a circular basin. This basin continues salt, and is a receptacle for sea-water for some time, during which it continues to grow shallower, as the animals within it continue their operations upwards. But as the water shoals, and the rains fall into it, it at length becomes freshened, so that the animals die, and the operation of filling it up ceases. Thus it becomes a fresh water lake, and forms that receptacle which is so common a feature in all the flat islands of those seas.
of whatever size the circle may be, but particularly if large, the islands begin first to collect on the outside, or ridge of the reef, while, within it, projecting parts or banks are scattered in different places. The reef, or dam, to windward, uuder the protection of which the whole mass extends, is produced by the fragments of the corals. Whenever they have arrived at the surface of high watermark, they cease to grow any longer, as the animal cannot live out of the water. But at low water, the reef is of course above the gea. Thus its force breaks off the upper parts, and wasbes them onwards to leeward, where they collect; while the animals, still working upwards on the windward side, keep up a constant supply of materials, destined to the same end. Thus, a bank of dead matter, or of fragments and sand produced by the wear of the corals, is formed on the top of the living rock, and cemented by the solvent power of the water, or the carbonate of lime. In this mapper it is raised above the level of the high water-mark, and kept smooth by the surf which continually sweeps over it, until it is raised even beyond its reach. The sand and fragments consolidate in time, so as to produce regular strata ; and fragments of these, forming large blocks of stone, are frequently piled up upon the reef, and farther onwards, till a large extent of surface thus becomes consolidated by the aid of more sand and fragments, and sometimes by that of other shells also, into a solid mass of land. The same process going on in the interior parts where the projecting banks are, all these at length extend and unite ; so that islands of any magnitude may, in this manner, at length be produced. Occasionally the lakes before