« ZurückWeiter »
go up and down under the feet, and in the dark they are absolutely dangerous. But if the paths are bad the roadways are worse. The street through the lower town along the quays is, I think, the most disgraceful thoroughfare I ever saw in any town. I believe the whole of it, or at any rate a great portion, has been paved with wood; but the boards have been worked into mud, and the ground under the boards has been worked into holes, till the street is more like the bottom of a filthy ditch than a roadway through one of the most thickly populated parts of a city. Had Quebec in Wolfe's time been as it is now, Wolfe would have stuck in the mud between the river and the rock, before he reached the point which he desired to climb. In the upper town the roads are not so bad as they are below, but still they are very bad. I was told that this arose from disputes among the municipal corporations. Everything in Canada relating to roads, and a very great deal affecting the internal government of the people, is done by these municipalities. It is made a subject of great boast in Canada that the communal authorities do carry on so large a part of the public business, and that they do it generally so well, and at so cheap a rate. I have nothing to say against this, and as a whole believe that the boast is true. I must protest, however, that the streets of the greater cities,-for Montreal is nearly as bad as Quebec,-prove the rule by a very sad exception. The municipalities of which I speak extend, I believe, to all Canada; the two provinces being divided into counties, and the counties subdivided into townships to which, as a matter of course, the municipalities are attached.
From Quebec to Montreal there are two modes of travel. There are the steamers up the St. Lawrence which, as all the world know. is, or at any rate hitherto has been, the high road of the Canadas; and there is the Grand Trunk Railway. Passengers choosing the latter go towards Portland as far as Richmond, and there join the main line of the road, passing from Richmond on to Montreal. We learned while at Quebec that it behoved us not to leave the colony till.we had seen the lake and mountains of Memphra-Magog, and as we were clearly neglecting our duty with regard to the Saguenay, we felt bound to make such amends as lay in our power, by deviating from our way to the lake above named. In order to do this we were obliged to choose the rail
go back beyond Richmond to the station at Sherbrooke. Sherbrooke is a large village on the confines of Canada, and as it is on the railway will no doubt become a large town. prettily situated on the meeting of two rivers, it bas. three or four different churches, and intends to thrive. It possesses two news
way, and to
It is very
papers, of the prosperity of which I should be inclined to feel less assured. The annual subscription to such a newspaper published twice a week is ten shillings per annum. A sale of a thousand copies is not considered bad. Such a sale would produce 5001. a year, and this would, if entirely devoted to that purpose, give a moderate income to a gentleman qualified to conduct a newspaper, But the paper and printing must cost something, and the capital invested should receive its proper remuneration.
And then, such at least is the general idea, -the getting together of news and the framing of intelligence is a costly operation. I can only hope that all this is paid for by the advertisements, for I must trust that the editors do not receive less than the moderate sum above named. At Sherbrooke we are still in Lower Canada. Indeed, as regards distance, we are when there nearly as far removed from Upper Canada as at Quebec. But the race of people here is very different. The French population had made their way down into these townships before the English and American war broke out, but had not done so in great numbers. The country was then very unapproachable, being far to the south of the St. Lawrence, and far also from any great line of internal communication towards the Atlantic. But, nevertheless, many settlers made their way in here from the States; men who preferred to live under British rule, and perhaps doubted the stability of the new order of things. They or their children have remained here since, and as the whole country has been opened up by the railway many others have flocked in. Thus a better class of people than the French hold possession of the larger farms, and are on the whole doing well. I am told that many Americans are now coming here, driven over the borders from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, by fears of the war and the weight of taxation. I do not think that fears of war or the paying of taxes drive many individuals away from home. Men who would be so influenced have not the amount of foresight which would induce them to avoid such evils; or, at any rate, such fears would act slowly. Labourers, however, will go where work is certain, where work is well paid, and where the wages to be earned will give plenty in return. It may be that work will become scarce in the States, as it has done with those poor jewellers at Attleborough, of whom we spoke, and that food will become dear. If this be so, labourers from the States will no doubt find their way into Canada.
From Sherbrooke we went with the mails on a pair-horse waggon to Magog Cross country mails are not interesting to the generality of readers, but I have a professional liking for them myself. I have spent the best part of my life in looking after and I hope in improving such mails, and I always endeavour to do a stroke of work when I come across them. I learned on this occasion that the conveyance of mails with a pair of horses in Canada costs little more than half what is paid for the same work in England with one horse, and something less than what is paid in Ireland, also for one horse. But in Canada the average pace is only five miles an hour. In Ireland it is seven, and the time is accurately kept, which does not seem to be the case in Canada. In England the pace is eight miles an hour. In Canada and in Ireland these conveyances carry passengers; but in England they are prohibited from doing so. In Canada the vehicles are much better got up than they are in England, and the horses too look better. Taking Ireland as a whole they are more respectable in appearance there than in England. From all which it appears that pace is the article that costs the highest price, and that appearance does not go for much in the bill. In Canada the roads are very bad in comparison with the English or Irish roads; but to make up for this, the price of forage is very low.
I have said that the cross mail conveyances in Canada did not seem to be very closely bound as to time; but they are regulated by clock-work in comparison with some of them in the United States. “Are you going this morning ?” I said to a mail-driver in Vermont. “I thought you always started in the evening.” “Wa'll; I guess I do. But it rained some last night, so I jist stayed at home.” I do not know that I ever felt more shocked in my life, and I could hardly keep my tongue off the man. The mails, however, would have paid no respect to me in Vermont, and I was obliged to walk away crest-fallen.
We went with the mails from Sherbrooke to a village called Magog at the outlet of the lake, and from thence by a steamer up the lake to a solitary hotel called the Mountain House, which is built at the foot of the mountain on the shore, and which is surrounded on every side by thick forest. There is no road within two miles of the house. The lake therefore is the only highway, and that is frozen up for four months in the year. When frozen, however, it is still a road, for it is passable for sledges. I have seldom been in a house that seemed so remote from the world, and so little within reach of doctors, parsons, or butchers. Bakers in this country are not required, as all persons make their own bread. But in spite of its position the hotel is well kept, and on the whole we were more comfortable there than at any other inn in Lower Canada. The Mountain House is but five miles from the borders
of Vermont, in which State the head of the lake lies. The steamer which brought us runs on to Newport-or rather from Newport to Magog and back again. And Newport is in Vermont.
The one thing to be done at the Mountain House is the ascent of the mountain called the Owl's Head. The world there offers nothing else of active enterprise to the traveller, unless fishing be considered an active enterprise. I am not capable of fishing, therefore we resolved on going up the Owl's Head. To dine in the middle of the day is absolutely imperative at these hotels, and thus we were driven to select either the morning or the afternoon. Evening lights we declared were the best for all views, and therefore we decided on the afternoon. It is but two miles; but then, as we were told more than once by those who had spoken to us on the subject, those two miles are not like other miles. " I doubt if the lady can do it,” one man said to me. I asked if ladies did not sometimes go up. “Yes; young women do, at times,” he said. After that my wife resolved that she would see the top of the Owl's Head, or die in the attempt, and so we started. They never think of sending a guide with one in these places, whereas in Europe a traveller is not allowed to go a step without one. When I asked for one to show us the way up Mount Washington, I was told that there were no idle boys about that place. The path was indicated to us, and off we started with high hopes.
I have been up many mountains, and have climbed some that were perhaps somewhat dangerous in their ascent.
In climbing the Owl's Head there is no danger. One is closed in by thick trees the whole way. But I doubt if I ever went up a steeper ascent. It was very hard work, but we were not beaten. We reached the top, and there sitting down thoroughly enjoyed our victory. It was then half-past five o'clock, and the sun was not yet absolutely sinking. It did not seem to give us any warning that we should especially require its aid, and as the prospect below us was very lovely we remained there for a quarter of an hour. The ascent of the Owl's Head is certainly a thing to do, and I still think, in spite of our following misfortune, that it is a thing to do late in the afternoon. The view down upon the lakes and the forests around, and on the wooded hills below, is wonderfully lovely. I never was on a mountain which gave me a more perfect command of all the country round. But as we arose to descend we saw a little cloud coming towards us from over Newport.
The little cloud came on with speed, and we had hardly freed ourselves from the rocks of the summit before we were surrounded by rain. As the rain became thicker, we were surrounded by darkness also, or if not by darkness by so dim a light that it became a task to find our path. I still thought that the daylight had not gone, and that as we descended and so escaped from the cloud we should find light enough to guide us. But it was not so. The rain soon became a matter of indifference, and so also did the mud and briars beneath our feet. Even the steepness of the way was almost forgotten as we endeavoured to thread our path through the forest before it should become impossible to discern the track. A dog had followed us up, and though the beast would not stay with us so as to be our guide, he returned ever and anon and made us aware of his presence by dashing by us. I may confess now that I became much frightened. We were wet through, and a night out in the forest would have been unpleasant to us. At last I did utterly lose the track. It had become quite dark, so dark that we could hardly see each other. We had succeeded in getting down the steepest and worst part of the mountain, but we were still among dense forest-trees, and up to our knees in mud. But the people at the Mountain House were Christians, and men with lanterns were sent hallooing after us through the dark night. When we were thus found we were not many yards from the path, but unfortunately on the wrong side of a stream. Through that we waded and then made our way in safety to the inn. In spite of which misadventure I advise all travellers in Lower Canada to go up the Owl's Head.
On the following day we crossed the lake to Georgeville, and drove round another lake called the Massawhippi back to Sherbrooke. This was all very well, for it showed us a part of the country which is comparatively well tilled, and has been long settled; but the Massawhippi itself is not worth a visit. The route by which we returned occupies a longer time than the other, and is more costly as it must be made in a hired vehicle. The people here are quiet, orderly, and I should say a little slow. It is manifest that a strong feeling against the Northern States has lately sprung up. This is much to be deprecated, but I cannot but
say that it is natural. It is not that the Canadians have any special Secession feelings, or that they have entered with peculiar warmth into the questions of American politics; but they have been vexed and acerbated by the braggadocio of the Northern States. They constantly hear that they are to be invaded, and translated into citizens of the Union: that British rule is to be swept off the Continent, and that the star-spangled banner is to be waved over them in pity. The star-spangled banner is in fact a