122 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
Johnny, and, it would seem, lost her heart to him. The sequel shows to what perils the women of Ontario were subjected in pioneer days. One day Mary was felling a huge yellow birch. As she neared the end of her work, her mind seemed to wander from her task and "she miscalculated her final cut and the birch, over-balancing, split upwards, and the side nearest to Mary, springing suddenly out, struck her a blow so severe as to destroy life instantaneously .... In a decent coffin, contrived after many unsuccessful attempts by Johnny and Patsy, the unfortunate girl was carried to her grave, in the same field which she had assisted to clear." Thompson adds : "Many years have rolled away since I stood by Mary's fresh-made grave, and it may be that Johnny has forgotten his first love; but I was told, that no other has yet taken the place of her, whom he once hoped to make his `bonny bride.' "
The Thompsons had some heart-breaking experiences. "We had," writes Thompson, "with infinite labour managed to clear off a small patch of ground, which we sowed with spring wheat, and watched its growth with most intense anxiety until it attained a height of ten inches, and began to put forth tender ears ... . But one day in August, occurred a hailstorm such as is seldom experienced in half a century. A perfect cataract of. ice fell upon our hapless wheat crop. Flattened hailstones, measuring two and a half inches in diameter and seven and a half in circumference, covered the ground several inches deep. Every blade of wheat was