I only wish that the wise men at home who coolly charge the present condition of Ireland upon the inherent laziness of her population, could be transported to this spot, to look upon the hundreds of fine fellows labouring here beneath a sun that at this winter season was at times insufferably fierce, and amidst a pestilential swamp whose exhalations were foetid to a degree scarcely endurable even for a few moments; wading amongst stumps of trees, mid-deep in black mud, clearing the spaces pumped out by powerful steam-engines; wheeling, digging, hewing, or bearing burdens it made one's shoulders ache to look upon; exposed meantime to every change of temperature, in log-huts, laid down in the very swamp, on a foundation of newly-felled trees, having the water lying stagnant between the floor-logs, whose interstices, together with those of the side-walls, are open, pervious alike to sun or wind, or snow.
When he went round his stables, he made a special survey of one particularly commodious loose-box, which would do for his boy's pony. He fancied the little fellow trotting by his side across farms and moorlands, or deep into the woods to see the newly-felled timber, or to plan a fresh clearing. It was a pleasant day dream. A great event befell George Fairfax in the spring of the new year.
On this Saturday evening in the lovers' month of June he had walked Ardea around and about through the fragrant summer wood of the upper creek valley, retracing, in part, the footsteps of the boy whose fishing had been spoiled and the little girl who was to be bullied into submission; and so rambling they had come at length to the old moss-grown foot-log which had been a newly-felled tree in the former time.
There was a gate in the east wall about the centre of the house, to force which the Indians in the first place directed their efforts, undaunted by the fire of the Spaniards, they brought up a sort of battering-ram, composed of the roughly-shaped trunk of a newly-felled tree, slung by ropes to men's shoulders. They were led by a chief in the full war costume of the time of the Incas.
All the hillside nodded approvingly. In a little glade half-way down the slope some newly-felled firs lay tumbled this way and that their red-blossomed tops were trembling still. On one of the stems a youth was seated. He was tall and slender, as the trees he had just felled. His hat swung on a twig, coat and waistcoat were hung on a withered branch.
The brass piece, and two swivels, mounted on travelling carriages, were stationed in the centre, ready to support the post exposed to the heaviest attack: these detached works were to be all joined together by a paling, intended to enclose the whole settlement; meanwhile, the Martello tower was to be carried on with all possible speed; and it was hoped that this, when completed, would almost supersede the necessity of the rest, and form an impregnable barrier to the efforts of any native force; while the tangled brushwood, and newly-felled trees, were to form a formidable and impracticable hedge forest side.