On other days one may forget them, but on New Year's-day our isolation comes home to us, and, do what we may, we are sad and silent. Where are they now? What are they doing now? is the thought which rises in every breast. The father's thoughts are with his children; he dimly sees before him their rosy faces, and their mother who is dressing them.
On the New Year's-day of 1875, no less than one hundred new comers were registered, and the number has frequently been not much short of that. Christmas is a joyous time at Metlakahtla, and the accounts we have of its services and festivities help not a little to bring the settlement before the eyes of our imagination. Two such accounts are subjoined. The first is from Mr.
One chief, who joined on New Year's-day, 1877, was well known as the fiercest savage on the river. He was baptized by Bishop Bompas in March, 1878, taking, like Legaic at Metlakahtla, the name of Paul. He was very penitent for his past life, and was earnestly trying to follow good ways, when illness and death overtook him.
I visited him at least once a year, generally directly after New Year's-day, and then he always spoke of this and that which the change of the year had put into his head. I will tell the story of three of these visits, and will reproduce his own words whenever I can remember them. Among the books which I had lately lent Ole, was one which had greatly rejoiced and occupied him.
It had been a happy day, and as they sat beside their evening fire, thinking over the many enjoyments and blessings that had marked its course, New Year's-day was the next point of expectation, and many were the pleasures to be enjoyed on that day, as well as many new prospects planned to be executed within the year.
"It is a great and pleasant thought to know that a shooting star falls upon our graves; on mine certainly none will fall no sunbeam brings thanks to me, for here there is nothing worthy of thanks. I shall not get the patent lacquer," said Ole; "for my fate on earth is only grease, after all." It was New Year's-day, and I went up on the tower.
These differences cause great dissatisfaction. The feeling to-day seems to be that if Trochu wishes to avoid riots, he must make a sortie very shortly. The Gaulois says: "How sad has been our New Year's-day! Among ourselves we may own it, although we have bravely supported it, like men of sense, determined to hold good against bad fortune, and to laugh in the face of misery.
"On New Year's-day, as heretofore, we held a general meeting for the business of the village, at which all the males are expected to attend. Only some three or four were absent. The male portion of our guests from Fort Simpson also attended to witness the proceedings.
Year by year the Metlakahtla community has continued to increase, by the admission to its privileges of new settlers. New Year's-day is especially the time for enrolling them. A general meeting of the adult males of the village is held, and before them all each applicant for leave to join their body has to stand up and declare his adhesion to the rules.
The Hôtel de Castille, the Maison Dorée, the Petite Jeannette, the Café de Paris, the Café Anglais became for three hours the targets of the cannonade. Raquenault's house crumbled beneath the shells; the bullets demolished the Montmartre Bazaar. None escaped. The guns and pistols were fired at close quarters. New Year's-day was not far off, some shops were full of New Year's gifts.