“Within This Gate”

“Gradually the trees fell away from the clearing, and with their going the Indians crept farther into the long miles that held their birch bark lodges, and their fading heritage of a fertile land, but the red man did not lightly give up his claims. One night, while the dark brooded over the tiny settlement of Dartmouth, whiling away the time by folding and refolding the shadows, the light, swift canoes of the Micmacs swept down the lakes and inlaid waterways, and with these canoes rode the unspent years of a number of the white settlers. Halifax was awakened by the cries and the roar of the fires which brightened the Harbour. By the time the rescue party made the opposite shore the Indians had left, leaving behind them the scalped dead, the burned homes, and the bitter cup of tears to be forced against the lips of those who remained. I have often stood by a window in a safe stone building in Halifax and tried to imagine that night, but the vision escaped me. Halifax and Dartmouth are cities, they are full of lights and the sound of footsteps. The Indians who used to come to the market with their pails of berries were so tame looking and so meek, and so marked with the years of the white man. And yet some of the men had strong hands and a sneer on their mouths if I refused their berries. What were they thinking, or remembering? At night what ghosts crept out of their fires and sat with them? Perhaps they half rose from the ground and turned their faces toward Halifax, only to sink back, defeated by the lights and the overflowing streets of the palefaces.”

Henry, Eileen C. “Within This Gate” Dalhousie Review, Volume 26, Number 1, 1946



Dartmouth For Life

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