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Christmas Day, 1813 - LeCouteur
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Author:  pud [ Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:24 am ]
Post subject:  Christmas Day, 1813 - LeCouteur

From the journal of Lt. John Le Couteur, D.E. Graves. Carlton University Press, Ottawa, Ontario. 1993. pp. 153-154.

"25 December
Xmas day. How I looked back with sorrowful delight to those happy Merry Xmas days our family had enjoyed together at St. Eaters where my dear Grandfather, Sir John Dumaresq, a pattern of the fine old English Gentlemen, used to receive his Children, his Grandchildren, his Nephews and Nieces and more distant branches with the most joyous hospitality. As a College boy I used to look forward to that day for months with bright anticipation to enjoy his dear bright countenance which ever received me with the most bland smiles. When I carry my recollections back to when we returned from Scotland, at that time I was Six years old, when dear old "Ma Luzon" Colas, his housekeeper, my own Mother, and my Nurse received me from the gig, the day we arrived in Jersey, and clasping me in her arms at the entrance to the Lawn [said:] "Man chier P'tit, Je te tiens aguerre un faie, tu ne me requitteras pont!" I had been to the frozen North but my little heart had not chilled to her warm embrace! What a pattern of Love, truth, devotion, activity and independence was that admirable and much loved Person to all the family.

Then, my Grandfather's person was in the beauty of elderly manhood. He was rather above 5 feet, 6 Inches high, of admirable form for any feat of activity or strength. His step light and airy with an inexpressible grace of manner. He used to whip me up on a shoulder, and run our march about the lawn, or room, to the tune of the "British Grenadiers" - "Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules" - which I verily believe did more to inspire me with the early love military than any one thing. Then his beautiful face was so sweet in expression, his features rather small but almost faultless, a front of Jove, with a rich hazel elongation by and fringed eyelashes, under which, if roused the firewood sparkle with immense power. He had been Captain of Winchester school, his talents, manner and attractive look would have placed Him at the head of any University, so said better Judges than I. He received high polish at the French Court whither he was sent - and became without a Compeer, the first Jersey man of his age: a fine Gentlemen, of splendid eloquence as a Patriot, and an able advocate. Later he filled the Bench with honor and dignity. He was named to the Royal Commissioners as a great Lawyer - authority!

Though some thousand miles from dear St. Peters, The Gentlemen Cadet was in very happy quarters for any Xmas day. Dear Mrs. Robison had invited me to dine with a merry family party - it was my duty and my privilege to endeavour to amuse.

After tea well over and arrangements were making for forfeits or some amusement to be fixed upon, I slipped out with Miss Ph___s, an ally who lent me one of Her Mother's dresses. In a short time I was fully equipped, slipped out of the back door, knocked at the front door, and requested to speak to the kind old Lady as a decayed Gentlewoman requiring aid. Miss Ph. was of course sent out to hear my story and thought it would be better the poor Lady should tell her own story to the whole party who might become interested in her welfare. This was reported and the decayed Lady told her piteous tale, loss of Husband, children, fortune. The old Lady Herself was completely won and a large sum was preparing for her relief but a certain occasional twinkling in the unfortunate Lady's eye led one or two of the fair sparklers [to] suspect the truth - a whisper went about and screams of laughter following, the poor Lady had to cut and run.

Florella was there. We drink a toast to the glorious captors of Fort Niagara which was taken, or rather carried, by surprise and storm on Sunday last, my friend Dawson leading the assault, it will make him a Captain so everybody say.

On Picquet sat up all night with Captain Shore and Bass. What a horrible round we had in going the circuit of Kingston there were no roads or even paths of a snowy night to be found, so that visiting rounds en Masse - Officer, Corporal and File of men were lost for an hour occasionally. I have often been out above two hours on these necessary and unavoidable duties, always between the hours of 12 and daylight. On this occasion a kind friend, Miss R[obison]. sent us a nice hot supper which was highly acceptable."

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