It was a May morning in 1825 - spring-time of the year, late spring-time of the century. It had rained the night before, and a warm pallor in the eastern sky was the only indication that the sun was trying to pierce the gray dome of nearly opaque watery fog, lying low upon that part of the world now known as the city of Toronto, then the town of Little York. This cluster of five or six hundred houses had taken up a determined position at the edge of a forest then gloomily forbidding in its aspect, interminable in extent, inexorable in its resistance to the shy or to the sturdy approaches of the settler. Man versus nature - the successive assaults of perishing humanity upon the almost impregnable fortresses of the eternal forests - this was the struggle of Canadian civilization, and its hard-won triumphs were bodied forth in the scattered roofs of these cheap habitations. Seen now through soft gradations of vapoury gloom, they took on a poetic significance, as tenderly intangible as the romantic halo which the mist of years loves to weave about the heads of departed pioneers, who, for the most part, lived out their lives in plain, grim style, without any thought of posing as conquering heroes in the eyes of succeeding generations

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