CAPE BRETON

Not until the waters of the Gut of Canso sweep into the line of one’s
vision, does the fact that Cape Breton is an island have any special
meaning for the traveller by train from Halifax to North Sydney. But
when you feel your car actually quitting the land for the deck of a
steamer, then the insularity of Cape Breton becomes something personal.

The “Gut of Canso” is–“The Grand Canal of the Maritime Provinces”, one
of the clearest, bluest, most beautiful strips of water in the world.

It is, as anyone can see, the short cut from the Atlantic to the Gulf of
Saint Lawrence. But it is not until you cast off upon its waters
yourself that you realize how constant is the stream of vessels using
this ocean highway! That material galore for picture and story hourly
runs to waste here, is not the fault of the Grand Canal.

Cross this water-street when you will, schooners, “two”,
“three-masters”, with big mildewed mainsails still hoisted, wait at
anchor off Port Hawkesbury for a fair wind to carry them through, the
while fleet-winged schooners from the Gulf, like the “Birds of Passage”
that they are, take it, literally, “on the run”. One wonders, watching
them on-coming “wing and wing”, if ever migratory birds strung out in a
fairer perspective?

Your sea-adventuring train deigns after awhile to come ashore on the
“Island”, and after that it keeps to the straight and narrow path etched
by the land, wherein trains may run, but it never seems just an ordinary
train to you after its sea-going fling. And so you are quite prepared
for the way it skims across the Bras D’Or at “The Narrows” and sets you
down there to a “fish supper” in a little restaurant, and waits while
you eat.

At Iona, it stops again, and sets down the passengers for Baddeck. And
after that it hugs the lakeshore, till North Sydney reminds one that
“business is business” and that one has arrived in the heart of it.

To speak of North Sydney is to think of coal. Yet, unless you undertake
“the mines”, look them up, because you have a fancy to from the
viewpoint of Romance, they are not only not intrusive but they actually
lend a hand in adding to the “figures” in the harbour. There the
picturesque, black-hulled, red-bottomed steamers at anchor, are
“colliers” awaiting their turn to load. These steamers make just the
contrast needed to set off the fish-schooners riding at anchor, amid
dancing reflections, when the setting sun of a calm evening mirrors
every spar, rope and sail in the silvery waters of the harbour.

At Sydney the outlook is easterly. New elements creep into the
atmosphere. “Over there,” is Newfoundland. These waters that lap at your
feet bring Europe within hail. That little, weather-worn steamer lying
there by the wharf-side will to-morrow morning hitch to the Quai in
Saint Pierre et Miquelon.

The “colliers” that came in yesterday, in a day or two may be nosing up
the Saint Lawrence in the wake of palatial ocean liners to Quebec.
Sydney stands for the extended hand of Canada; extended to Newfoundland
as a link in transportation; extended in invitation to the British Isles
and to Old Europe to send more settlers of the hardy type of Hieland
folk and Breton sailor, who, in the early dawn of her history, stepped
into Canada through these portals.

The interesting fact about Cape Breton is that it has preserved all the
characteristics, the language, the customs of its Gallic and Gaelic
settlers. Geographically, as well as ethnologically, there is a Gaelic
Cape Breton in the North and a Breton Cape Breton in the south. They
divide the land between them, and live in the same friendly fashion as
did Scotland and France in the days of the Stuarts. Stepping into the
northern part of Cape Breton is like adventuring in the Highlands of
Auld Scotia. Stepping to the South is an adventure in Brittany.

There are three main ways of entering the “Highlands”. Finding one’s
self in Sydney, take that “character” among coastal traders, the little
S.S. “Aspey”. The “Aspey” makes all the harbours between North Sydney
and Cape North. Make her acquaintance and she will introduce you to
“Who’s Who”, for she knows all the folk who are worth knowing, from
Englishtown to Ingonish and from Ingonish to Nail’s Harbour and
Dingwall.

The second way to reach “the land of the Macs” is to take a train of the
Inverness Railroad at Port Hawkesbury. By this road, which follows the
shore-line of the Gulf side of the Island, you come immediately into the
Scotch atmosphere. Scotch place-names stand out bravely from the
name-boards of the railroad stations. The very scenery is
Highland–mountains and mists

[Illustration:

ON THE “GALLERY”.]

[Illustration:

BOYHOOD DREAMS OF THE DAY WHEN
“THEIR TURN WILL COME”.]

along the shore side, while through the opposite windows of your car,
the waters of the Gulf, spread out, like a “loch”.

The third, and ideal way to make the acquaintance of Cape Breton, is to
hire an old horse and drive yourself, making leisurely trips in all
directions, lingering wherever Fancy dictates, and putting up each night
in any village, town or farmhouse which promises a comfortable night’s
lodging.

With your own horse you are at liberty to turn in at “gates” even though
no houses are in sight, and continue in faith along the road until one
appears. And, when the house–a “Crofter’s Cot” transplanted–is
reached, it is quite in keeping with the Highland atmosphere if only the
man of the family speaks English, the women being happy in “Gaelic
only”–Gaelic which they learned from mothers and grandmothers.

This difference in language makes no difference, however, in their
hospitality. And oh, the pictures sketched by these little cottages so
snugly tucked away in the glen!

The language of beauty which they speak is easily understood. Beauty
that belongs to simple architecture speaks from every line of door and
window and roof; speaks in every line of the great, whitewashed chimney,
which, never lacking fuel, proclaims in friendly smoke seen curling up
out of the glen–long before the cottage comes to view–that tea brews
on the hearth.

The people of this part of Cape Breton, striking inland, and across
country to Saint Ann’s Bay and Ingonish, are, in the main,
agriculturists. This is the farming section. So, in August and
September, in the tawny fields of oats and barley, the figures of the
reapers and gleaners, especially in the neighborhood of Ingonish,
proclaim that Breton-Canada no less than Breton-France affords many “a
Millet subject”.

But even the farmer of these parts turns fisherman in season. Alongshore
“Old man with lobster-pots” is a frequent “character”, from Mabou all
down the Gulf shore, doubling Cape North, and back along the south shore
of the peninsula to Point Aconi; and, of course, on the Atlantic side,
about Gabarouse and Saint Peter’s. One of the dominating physical
features of Cape Breton is Cape Smoky, towering a thousand feet above
the waters where the Atlantic and Saint Ann’s Bay meet. Smoky is a
personality. Because its stern, old brow is always softened by an
ever-moving fog-wreath, the English-speaking people call it “Smoky”; the
French folk “Enfumez”. It is worth travelling far to view Cape Smoky
after rain, especially in the afternoon when the westering sun turns the
shifting fog into rainbows, flitting, flashing, jewel-like bits of
colour, gone in a moment.

There is something unexplainably winning about Cape Smoky. Cape Breton
folk look to it as Nova Scotians to Blomidon. In speaking of it they
sometimes say “Dear Old ‘Smoky’,” as if they loved it.

“Sugar-Loaf,” near Dingwall, and “Cape North”, the Lands’ End of Canada,
are each distinctive in character, and “landmarks” of navigation.

A feature of the road familiar in these parts is the mail-carrier. With
an old wagon and his trusty horse, the road over Smoky presents no
difficulties to the Jehu of “His Majesty’s Mail”. And when you watch for
him to appear on the shingle at Ingonish from “Down North”, if he has no
passengers, it is an adventure to jump into his cart and ride over
Smoky, even if you have to walk the six miles back, as we once did.

The Bay at Ingonish is sheltered by Cape Smoky, and so this small
harbour has become a happy anchorage for fishing-schooners, and South
Ingonish a place where codfish dries on fish stages. There is a family
lobster cannery here, seldom boasting more than two big iron pots aboil
in a sheltered nook of the shingle, but creating a romantic atmosphere
with its driftwood fire.

Lads lend a hand with the fish-drying at Ingonish. It is from here,
watching the fishing schooners going out to meet the ocean swell around
Smoky, that, in dreams, they reach out to the day when their turn will
come to sail away in a fishing-schooner to “The Grand Banks”.

* * * * *

The MacDonalds, MacLeods, MacLeans, MacPhersons, and all the other
Scotch families of Cape Breton are greatly in evidence on Sundays. It is
then, driving over these roads, one encounters team after team on the
way to the Gaelic meeting-house, or church. The church service is
conducted in Gaelic and lasts practically all day.

Having stepped aboard the Newfoundland mail-and-passenger boat at North
Sydney, a little before ten p.m., the hour of sailing, one awakes next
morning at Port aux Basques, in Newfoundland, hardly aware that one is
out of Canada, until the courteous Customs Official with “Newfoundland”
written on his cap, comes to examine one’s baggage.

One hundred and twenty miles is the brief length of Cabot Strait which
separates Newfoundland from Canada, but when one has crossed this Arm of
the Atlantic, it is to find one’s self in a new world, a world complete
in itself. For Newfoundland embodies all that rugged, independent
spirit, which, in part, belongs to all islands–notably to the British
Islands–and, in addition, it has all the distinction which is a natural
attribute of its position as Great Britain’s Oldest Colony. National
sense is very keenly developed in the Newfoundlander. “Love of the
Empire and their Island” stirs strongly in the blood of every man from
Port aux Basques to Saint John, and from Cape Race to the Straits of
Belle Isle.

A casual glance at a map of Newfoundland reveals its striking
resemblance to the map of England. And ties of blood and association,
that intimately bind this oldest Daughter to the Mother-country, trail
down the centuries from the day that Cabot first sighted Bonavista,
until now. If you wish to step right into the atmosphere of a fine
English society that is still “the Island’s Own product”, take the train
to Saint John’s, the oldest colonial capital in the British Empire.

But the Island of Newfoundland has yet another claim to distinction in
its scenery. There is nothing quite like, or perhaps quite equal to, the
scenery of Newfoundland, in all America. It so strongly resembles the
scenery of Norway that the island is frequently spoken of as “The Norway
of the New World”; and its deep inlets and bays are just as frequently
referred to as “fiords”. But, in reality, Newfoundland scenery gains
nothing by these comparisons. The time will come shortly when the
scenery of Newfoundland will need no such extraneous supports. It will
be sufficient for the voyager to say “I have just returned from
Newfoundland” for his coterie of friends to know he has voyaged among
scenes of superlative beauty.

Cruising around the Newfoundland coast, taking one or more of its deep
bays in a summer, reveals innumberable little outports tucked away in
hollows around every headland, and all held shelteringly in the hand of
the larger bay. Of these larger bays, White Bay, Notre Dame Bay,
Bonavista, Trinity and Conception lie to the North, while Saint Mary’s,
Placentia, and Fortune upturn to navigation on the South.

Newfoundland is, of course, the heart of the Cod-fishing industry of the
Western Atlantic. The Grand Banks, the playground of the fishing-fleets
of France, of the United States, of Nova Scotia, are, when all is said,
“The Grand Banks of Newfoundland.” Figuratively and literally speaking
“The Banks” are the island “Bread-Box.” And the banking
schooners–Newfoundland-owned, Newfoundland-skippered and sailed–are
justly the pride of Newfoundland. Seamanship is so natural in a born
Newfoundlander that it comes to him like a “sixth sense” or, as some of
them say, “natural as sleeping and waking”.

Modern “Vikings of the North”, they are as much at home afloat, as
ashore. It was thus the Newfoundlander stepped with such consummate ease
from the thwart of the fish-dory, the deck of “The Banker”, to that
larger deck in the British Navy, during the War, where they covered
themselves with glory and added fresh honours to the record already
achieved through the centuries, by their Island-home in its Four
Centuries of Sea-going!

By far the greater part of the population of Newfoundland is domiciled
on the coast. To reach the fishing is, therefore, a mere step, and the
adventure of it practically sits on every door-step.

Travelling inland on the continent of North America, one is often enough
struck by the sameness of the houses, towns and settlements etched by
Agriculture. One often hears that they “all look alike”. But such could
never be the complaint of these Newfoundland villages, products of the
Sea and its Harvest. They are as variable as the sea’s own moods. So, in
cruising among the Newfoundland bays, every little headland turned
reveals a different grouping, as well as different setting, of the tiny
church, the little homes, the chief store; and a different arrangement
of the wooden stages in wharf-like lines along the irregular waterfront.

As the island is one large unit, so in turn each of these tiny
settlements is a unit, going its own sea-gait in its own craft; and
commanding its own mail-service, and commisariat-service, from Saint
John or Placentia.

[Illustration:

BELLEORAM.]

[Illustration:

PATH END.]

So little are these sea-coast folk inland travellers, that there is
often no road from one village to another, entrance and exit always
being accomplished over the sea; by boat or steamer.

Settling down in any of these villages is to be constantly entertained
by the variety of scenes afforded by the life. Early in the morning “the
fish-boats” are under weigh with their tanned sails and homemade oars
creaking against the pin. Later, the women go about their household
duties, studying “the signs of the weather” from door or window. The old
’longshoremen open the fish-house doors and potter about with old ropes
and picturesque “killicks” or homemade anchors, heavy, smooth stones
held together in skeleton-frames of old bits of wood and a lashing of
odd pieces of wire-rigging salvaged from some old wreck. But all the
time, the men, like the women, have their weather-eye centred on the
“signs of the mornin’.” For the day’s work, is–the fish.

The first peep of sunlight through the gray clouds or the fog, sees men,
women and children, on the “fish stages”, as the platforms are called,
fish in hand. In the afternoon, the scene is reversed, with each “hand”
driving hard to get the fish in again before night.

A cloud, during the day, sees the ever-watchful women coming on the run
from all quarters to get the fish in before it rains. Codfish must not
get wet.

The Newfoundlanders are especially happy in the place-names they have
given to their towns, villages and “outports”. Sea-folk are always, more
or less, noted for romantic place-names. So, in summer, adventuring in
Newfoundland, such names as Push-through, Thoroughfare, Come-by-Chance,
Seldom-Come-By, Step-Aside, Happy Adventure, Heart’s Delight, Heart’s
Content, Path End, write themselves indelibly in your memory map.
Especially appropriate are the names given to the mountains. To realize
the full beauty of some of these peak-names, one must fancy Newfoundland
as a “ship”, the surface as the deck. Then one has the viewpoint of the
men who sponsored these in baptism. Then, the single peaks, springing up
tall against the sky, have a beautiful psychology of their own. Here is
“The Gaff Topsail”, “The Main Topsail”, “The Mizzen Topsail”, “The
Fore-Topsail”. Collectively they are referred to, picturesquely enough,
as, “The Tops’ls”. Other individual peaks are “Blow-me-Down”, a sort of
challenge to the elements and, “The Butter-Pot”, a maritime concession
to the menu of maritime cabin-tables.

The surface of Newfoundland, its rocks and hills, is at its best in the
fall of the year when the brush of Autumn paints all the foliage and
fruit of the Bake-Apple, Partridge-Berries, wild red and black currants,
Rowan berries, etc., gorgeous yellows, reds and browns. After the frost,
the “marshes and barrens” afford miles of colour.

Among the treasures of the Newfoundland wildflowers are Gentians and
Orchids.

It is at this time, when the berries are ripe, that the villagers turn
out in family groups to pick bake-apples and Fox-berries to make jam.
Bake-apples are a fruit peculiar to Newfoundland and Labrador. And
Bake-apple jam is a dish of almost national magnitude. To express
interest in the bake-apples and their picking is an open sesame to
outport hearts. And no end of invitations and jaunts are assured you, if
you become an ardent berry-picker. At this time human figures are
everywhere to be seen. Children with a motley collection of pails are
everywhere on the nearby hills. The best blueberries of all grow in the
cracks and scarpings of the cliffs where one would not suppose a
thimbleful of earth could cling. At Saint John, Cabot Head, gray and
bluff, is a happy hunting-ground of the berry-picker. Many a morning
have we spent there, hunting blueberries behind the lighthouse of this
grim old Cape. Many a morning, too, have they been the goal of a
scramble over the cliffs of Big Wild Cove and Little Wild Cove. And what
is more romantic than tea with the lighthouse-keeper’s little family at
Twillingate, where one sits at a spotless table and is served with a
heaping dish of delectable homemade Partridge-berry jam smothered in
thick Island cream?

In the Newfoundland Outports, two days’ work is crowded into one, of a
Saturday. For the Newfoundlanders are very strict in the observation of
the Sabbath Day, to do no work therein. Neither dories nor “Bankers”
fish on Sundays. And Saturday night sees all the schooners which can
possibly get there, in port; the drying fishnet hanging in festoons from
the masthead being about the only concession to business.

Ashore, the women will not even draw water from the well on Sunday,
unless under the stress of some dire necessity. On Saturday, therefore,
a double supply of water must be drawn, and laid in for use over Sunday.
The Outport well is usually situated at one end of the village and
sometimes at a distance from it. And so, on Saturday afternoons, a
stream of women, each carrying two buckets of water, flows along the
undulating, rocky highway that is the village main street. A large
hoop, in the midst of which the water-carrier steps, helps to relieve
the weight and keep the water from spilling as the woman steps briskly
along. This method of carrying water seems to be the Newfoundlander’s
own invention. The Water-Hoop is here one of the furnishings of every
household.

Saturday is the day of the week for getting wood. And wood-getting in
the outports involves a longer or shorter trip to the cliffs and hills
where the low spruce-scrub affords many a scraggly bough for fuel. Along
the footpaths, worn by centuries of wood-gatherers, and by the road into
the village, one happens on many a figure carrying bundles of boughs on
their backs and making pictures no less distinctive from a _genre_
viewpoint than the water-carriers, with their picturesque hoops. Other
figures of the road are the women and children carrying hay over their
shoulders, tied-up in a piece of old net or the family pieced bed-quilt.

Owing to the rocky nature of the cliffs, hay is a scarce article. Some
of the best is undoubtedly afforded by the little churchyard cemeteries,
on the principle that “never blooms so red the rose, as where some
buried Caesar lies”.

Goats with curious wooden yokes around their necks, and the family cow,
are well-known characters of these cliff, by-shore, village-highways.

Against the incursions of these roaming pirates-of-green, are set up the
curious rodded-fences of the irregular-shaped little potato and turnip
gardens. In summer the gipsying cow can forage for herself, but in
winter there is nothing for her to do but fall back upon the little
wisps of hay her owner garnered in the quilt against just such days as
these. But the cow is grateful. Never anywhere does cow produce richer
cream to go with the raspberries, the Bake-apple and Fox-berry jam, than
these same seacoast cows of Newfoundland.

Considering the wholesome out-of-door life called for by the industries
of the Newfoundland outports, it is not surprising that hand-weaving in
the homes is rare. Another reason may be the scarcity of pasturage for
sheep in the sea-going villages and their vicinity. Inland Newfoundland
affords fine opportunities for agriculture, and sheep of a fine type
yield splendid fleeces in the Codroy Valley, around Doucets and Little
River.

Although the loom is rare, the spinning-wheel is not infrequently
happened upon, yielding hand-laid yarn to supply the needs of the
home-knitter. And her needs are many, for no one seems to wear out socks
like a fisherman.

The knitter is therefore a figure by the window when the cool days
denote the approach of winter.

* * * * *

The guide-books have a way of declaring Newfoundland to be “The
Sportsman’s Paradise”, and, if you have ever taken your gun under arm
and sallied forth after Caribou, or had a thirty-pound salmon rise to
your fly in either the Big or the Little Codroy rivers, you can
personally testify that the writers of those same guide-books do not
exaggerate.

It is little to be wondered at, therefore, that the “Sportsman” from the
New England States, from Canada and from Old England, is a figure often
chanced upon in the glens, and “beating the streams” of the Codroy
Mountains, in the West. Nothing is quite so romantic as sitting by a
deep pool, the one selected by your guide as “the very best” and
watching for the supreme moment when “the big one” springs to life at
the end of your line.

But the tramp to get to the pool has its romance, too. For the scenery
of inland Newfoundland, its fields of daisies, its sheep in the lanes,
the fog lifting and swirling like wraith-figures of light dancers about
the brows of the mountains, all combine to create an atmosphere of
enchantment, the more enchanting perhaps, that the numbers of its
discoverers are not yet so many as to wear away the edge of
exclusiveness.

* * * * *

Pursuit of the Romantic in Newfoundland sooner or later lands one in
Saint John’s on the south side of the harbour, among the old, wooden
square-riggers that compose that unique fleet peculiar to Terra
Nova–the Sealers.

If you have ever seen a whaler of the old-type, belonging to the days of
whale-boats and hand-harpoons, then you know something of the appearance
of these old Sealers. Broad of beam, thick-planked, staunch-timbered,
both steam-and-sail propelled, they go out of Saint John’s in March,
blasting a channel for themselves through the ice with gunpowder. They
carry a crew of several hundred, all of them seasoned sealers. The man
of expert knowledge in picking up “Seals” hies him aloft to the barrel
crow’s-nest.

And then begins that roaming quest of the seal that may stand these old
Ramblers of the ice and the ocean, away to the northeast, or up toward
“Belle Isle”, or even far into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, anywhere that
they can “pick up” the herd of drifting amphibians, which are to yield
the invaluable sealskin.

In the Newfoundland outports, especially those of the northern
bays–Conception, Trinity, Bonavista and Notre Dame conversation with
any old-timer is sure to turn sooner or later to experiences on “The
Labrador”.

Soon these stories accumulate into a magnetizing force, drawing you to
explore that wonderful Northern shore of which these old-timers relate
such wonderful tales.

Our first trip to the Labrador was decided by an old fellow with a
scythe, mowing a pocket-handkerchief of hay at Exploits. He wore at the
time a pair of sabots. Upon our remarking on them as unusual footwear in
these parts, he looked down with a smile–that pleasant smile that
always flits across aged faces at the recollection of an adventure–and
said, “Oh, aye, them’s my Denmarks. I bought them from a man on a
square-rigger, on ‘The Labrador’.”

Two days after that we were haunting the telegraph office at Twillingate
for news of “The Invermore” or “The Kyle” out of Saint John’s to the
Labrador. The Invermore blew out her tubes somewhere down the coast, and
had to put back to Saint John’s, and we had to wait several days for her
substitute, who finally arrived at Twillingate in the middle of the
night, so that we went up the ladder over her side with the bags of mail
at two o’clock in the morning, carrying with us a feeling that perhaps
we ought not to be going, as two old fellows encountered on the pier the
night before, had said, in the face of a rather threatening sky, that it
was “too late to go down on the Labrador.”

However, we made that voyage safely and have since made another, proving
that wiseacres are not always true prophets or their sayings to be
heeded.

From Newfoundland to Labrador is but a step across the Straits of Belle
Isle. In winter these waters are the hunting grounds of some of the
sealers out of Saint John’s. In summer they are the hunting ground of
some of the “growlers” out of Labrador.

Navigators here in the first instance are happy at the cry of “seals!”
from the crow’s nest, but the skipper of the mailboat on this route runs
away as fast as may be from the beautiful but treacherous iceberg so
like in figure to giant Portuguese Men-o’-War “fishing with paralyzing
underseas tentacles seeking whom they may devour.” Then comes out on
deck the figure least expected, the Moving Picture man, reeling off,
like one possessed, the bergs that navigation fears. And so we land at
Battle Harbour, first of the thirty or more ports of call made by these
fine mail-and-passenger boats out of Saint John’s.

The charm of the Labrador is hard to define. That it is there all will
agree. Some say that it lies in the fact that the slightest
miscalculation on the part of those adventuring in these parts may lead
to an accident–accident that on so exposed a coast is instantly
metamorphosed into irremediable disaster, as in the case of H.M.S.
Raleigh. In other words, danger is its charm, the danger that lies so
near, around the corner of every bay and tickle; danger of hidden rocks,
of sudden gale, of fog, of bergs, washed by some fanciful twist of ocean
current out of the beaten track. Romance follows danger as a twin
sister. So, on the Labrador, many “figures” strut across the little
stage.

There is the little Eskimo that paddles off to the steamer in his kyak,
to dance on deck, while the ship rides at anchor off some port. That he
ever reaches the ship or the shore again in the little scallop-shell he
calls “boat” is a miracle. But he dances away or sings “gospel hymns”
learned from missionaries, as free from worry as any child. The words
are in Eskimo, but the old tune, sung out here on deck by the flare of
the ship’s lantern, carries with it a gripping power, the while the
faces of strong men–fishermen coming or going, traders, missionaries,
even Syrian fur-dealers–are intermittently lighted by the flare of the
lantern.

Two old acquaintances, the “fishnet drying from the masthead” and the
“pot-a-tilt” among stones of the ice-age, greet one on stepping ashore
at a Labrador tickle. Spruce beer is also here to be had, if one has the
good fortune to fall in with Liveyer’s family up from Newfoundland for
the summer-fishing and living in a hut with sodded roof, wherein the
blooms of fireplant and live-for-ever make a splash of color against the
gray background of sea and rocks.

These little liveyer homes bear a striking resemblance to the pioneer
homes of foreigners on the Prairie, with sodded roofs abloom.

Two new characters peculiar to the zone emerge along this northern edge
of the ‘Longshore road–Eskimos, men, women and children, and Eskimo
dogs; both of which Newfoundlanders invariably speak of as “Huskies”.

[Illustration:

HEARTY AT EIGHTY.]

[Illustration:

AN ESKIMO GRANDMOTHER.]

The Eskimo as hunter is the angle from which hunters, trappers, and fur
merchants, view these children of the Northland. The missionary sees in
them children to be taught; the ordinary voyager merely a new and
interesting facet of life–men and women, masters of the secret of
living under conditions under which the probabilities are the voyager
himself would come a cropper. They fire the imagination for the same
reasons as do the children of the Desert–an interesting peculiar people
wholly masters of interesting peculiar circumstances.

Some of the features of Eskimo coastal life are portrayed in the pelts
brought in to swell the large collections at the several Hudson’s Bay
Company’s posts, and in the evidences of “native art” as shown in ivory
and wood carvings brought down to sell to the ship.

These latter articles are of interest from two points of view. They were
taken from life and so, have pictorial and story value–little ivory
komatiks or sledges drawn by dogs in harness and little wooden dolls
with typical Eskimo features of old man or woman dressed in sealskin,
cut in the same model always in vogue with these people; the men with
trousers and short middy, the women in trousers and middy, short in
front but often with a sort of longer rounded effect at the back. These
vendors to the ship display in addition seal-skin port-monies for women
and tobacco-pouches for men, but these are less interesting because the
idea is imitative, caught from things of similar intent in the hand of
voyagers from the south and civilization.

Eskimo dogs are not seen to advantage in summer. Only a few appear at
each outport, more at some than at others. But under the boardwalk,
climbing to the post office, a half dozen roly-poly puppies will snarl
and snap under your feet like little wolves. And these “miniatures” of
the pack–away at this season on some island out of harm’s way and busy
foraging for a scant support to life among fishheads cast up by the
incoming fishboat–are merely little point-fingers of the road of the
great untamed that stretches from here to Hudson’s Bay.

Except in the neighbourhood of the Hudson’s Bay Posts and the Moravian
Missionary settlements, evidences of the native are comparatively few.
The many outports of this rugged coast are posts held firmly in the
strong capable hand of Newfoundland. It is said that thirty thousand
Newfoundlanders yearly fish “The Labrador”. And romance lies in the
wake of this yearly pilgrimage to the Northern Shrine of Cod.

As the landing mailboat rounds the barren headlands, vistas of schooners
and fishboats stretch before, lying at anchor in the harbour or
“tickle”. And if it be Sunday, as it is sure to be if the schooners are
in port, a group of men and women are at the water’s edge to pick up
news that the boat brings, or eagerly await at the Post Office the
letter from home.

The coming of the steamer from Saint John’s and the ports of the
Northern Bays of Newfoundland, once every ten days or so, is an event in
these little settlements of summer-homes, clinging like so many crabs to
the rugged shores of this outpost of Newfoundland, lying across Canada’s
great Northeast and shutting it off from an Atlantic harbour north of
Cape Breton.

Missionary work among the Eskimos has been maintained here for several
centuries by the Moravians. Trading posts have been maintained for as
long by the world-famous Hudson’s Bay Company. Sometimes the mission
station and the H.B.C. Post occur at the same outport, as if in this
northern land the desire for company had drawn them irresistibly
together. But of course the mission must have decided that a
fur-purchasing centre would concentrate the natives and they could be
more easily reached, since the one sled-journey would answer all needs.

At Hopedale Mission there is a pathetic little “greenhouse” with a few
flowers; and out in a corner of a garden, which is almost comical as
gardens go, are seen a few struggling lettuce-plants though last year’s
snow lies thick on the rising ground scarcely twenty yards away. If the
tide of Canadian trade ever sets “full” out of Hudson Bay, who knows but
a century from now many gardens will flourish here, descendants of this
little pioneer straggler, hardily holding its own, to give the
missionary-table vegetables.

To the Moravian Missionaries of early days belongs the credit of
reducing the Eskimo tongue to a language. The large, well-bound grammar
which the Missionary shows you becomes indeed a character in itself, as
it is shown that this is not merely a key to a language but the humble
means upon mastery of which hangs the missionary’s ability to interpret
the “Old, Old Story” to these Nimrods of the North at home in Igloo,
Komatik and Kyak.

Herein is the key to the hymn-singing, dancing figure that strikes such
a colourful note on deck when the ship first makes this land of the
Labrador.

At Hopedale, beside the Mission and the H. B. C. Store, with its simple
stock of groceries and its pelt-rooms, sometimes packed and sometimes
almost empty, according to the season, there are a few Eskimo wooden
houses and a big community kitchen with a score of these short, round
men and women gathered in the steam about the pot a-stew.

Here and there an old grandmother attends to coarse socks a-drying and
knocks the kinks out of skin boots and komatik harness on a sloping roof
concentrating the weak sun from the South, the while she minds the
children and keeps a wary eye on the few old dogs that pace wolfishly
and unceasingly up and down.

Labrador, like Newfoundland, has an interesting list of place-names. A
harbour with two openings, usually made by an island lying close to the
mainland or to another island, is called a “tickle”. Not the least
romantic feature of voyaging along the Labrador coast are these odd and
appropriate place-names. Think of sailing by “The White Cockade
Islands”, “Run-by-Guess”, or “Tumble-down-Dick”! Or of seeing the surf
bursting over “Mad Moll’s Reef”! Or of steering past “Lord’s Arm”,
“Lady’s Arm”, and “Caribou Castle!”

Nine miles from Newfoundland lies Sainte Pierre et Miquelon, Island
Colony of France, her last remaining colonial possession in the “New
World”, north of the West Indies.

It lies, geographically, in the group of island stepping-stones, a
stone’s throw, a night out of North Sydney.

It is attended by “an old character” among sea-going craft, by name “Pro
Patria”, which has been on the route between Halifax and Saint Pierre
for perhaps more than a quarter of a century. She is little and worn and
old, so that when she came in to the wharf on the morning of our sailing
we were afraid to board her. But after awhile, seeing that the world
around took her as a matter of course, we stepped across the little
gang-plank, into a medley of general cargo, including several sheep on
foot. Next morning we were at Saint Pierre, the harbour which has made
it worth while to France to keep these “little rocky island-waifs of the
western Atlantic.”

Rounding Cap l’Aigle, a little Saint Malo lies outspread before us. And
from the mastheads of shipping at anchor, the tri-color of France waves
spiritedly in the ocean breeze.

The “Pro Patria” drew up at the Quai de la Ronciere. The Quai was black
with the crowd come to witness her coming and to welcome old friends
among the new arrivals.

* * * * *

All the maisons and shops about the Square that faces the Quai, have
steep roofs like the parent roofs back in France and like their sisters
in Quebec. On the way to the door of Madame Coste’s pension, which had
been recommended, we passed the door of “The-Trans-Atlantic-Cable”,
which lifts its western end out of the water here, and saw the little,
yellow telegraph blank in a frame outside the door–the little sheet
that is Saint Pierre’s one daily newspaper–a small “daily” this, but
one the truth of whose news is wholly to be relied on. Every morning saw
us reading the news with _tout-le-monde_ gathered in front of this
journal, itself literally wet and dripping from the Ocean! Marine
Intelligence, indeed.

One of the earliest “signs” seen in a grocer’s window, read “Beurre
frais de Cheticamp a vendre”. We looked out on it from our casement
window at Madame C’s. And though “France” was written in every line of
street, in every shop window, in the great feather bed on which we
slept, on the smaller one with which we were supposed to cover
ourselves, who could feel themselves cut off in a foreign world, with
Cape Breton speaking each morning, just across the way? And when we
started out anew each day, a little water-soaked schooner as often as
not came gliding in to the Quai with “Down North” and “Up Along” written
in every line from masthead to water-line. Ottawa, Saint Pierre and
Saint John’s may be far apart, but Lamaline in Newfoundland, Cape North
to Cheticamp, C.B., and Saint Pierre are as “The Three Musketeers” for
brotherhood, drawn together by the ties of Trade, and the adventure that
lies in “smuggling”.

We had not been long at Saint Pierre before we began to realize that the
arrival of the little coastal Noah’s Arks with their floating
menageries, the pigs grunting, cocks crowing, sheep too stunned to
bleat, made a difference in our own menus. Madame C. chuckled whenever
we were able to report a fresh arrival at the Quai.

Other old acquaintances beside these coasters were not long in coming to
light. Cod is here, answering to the elegant title of “Monsieur Morue”.
Boats for his capture are rated in this island fleet as bateaux.

France operates on the “Grand Banks”; Saint Malo at home, and Saint
Pierre on the West, being her “bases”. But the fish-trade of Saint
Pierre is not what it was when ten thousand fishermen came here every
Spring to re-fit the “Bankers” put into winter-quarters here the
previous Autumn. Most of the fish now goes to France “green”, the dinner
tables of the world calling for more fresh fish than of old. Still, now
and again the steam trawlers come here, and there’s always a cargo or
two in “the making” on Ile aux Chiens, as well as on the south shore of
the harbour.

It is over there across the harbour that one sees the fishwives and the
women stevedores–women who take the fish in hand the day it comes from
the boats and put it through every process up to the stowing in the
transport’s hold. The master-stevedore chants the number of fish passing
through her hands in a loud, clear voice heard across the harbour. She
has evolved a dirge, a rich Litany to fish, “Un”, “deux”, “trois”,
“quatre”, “cinq”, etc., as they go headlong to their last ocean voyage.

[Illustration:

NEARING THE END.]

[Illustration:

AN ISLAND-WOMAN OF
SAINT PIERRE ET MIQUELON.]

On Ile aux Chiens, women meet the incoming dories and aid in splitting
and cleaning la morue. Strong personality and sweet womanhood mark these
island women.

Ile aux Chiens has a trade in Caplin-curing. A host of women work among
these small fish, so much in demand in Paris restaurants.

* * * * *

There are no trolley-lines in Saint Pierre and but few voitures. The
ox-cart is here, attendant on the Salt Vessels, carrying off the salt
from them to the warehouses. It is a decidedly French cart, with high
sides. And the oxen wear a curious neck-yoke adorned with a fluffy
sheep-skin. A French driver urges the oxen to move, with many a “_Marche
donc_”.

Not the least interesting sights on Saint Pierre streets are the gay
uniforms of the gendarmes. But even these give place to the little
dog-carts everywhere, looking as if they had been transplanted out of
Belgium.

Two important and rather unique landmarks stand out at Saint Pierre
above all others; one, the figure of the Blessed Virgin, life size, set
in a deep niche of the cliff-side; the other, a huge Crucifix, mounted
high on a slim wooden Cross, standing on the hills above the town, and
silhouetted clear and strong against the sky.

Many stories centre around the origin of this cross. Some say it was
erected by the citizens to show their gratitude for a miraculous
preservation at the time of some great winter storm; others, that it was
erected in order that sailors leaving port might be reminded to turn
their thoughts and prayers to Him, Who alone has power to still the
waves and give prosperity. Still another story runs, that it is for
sailors entering port, to remind them to return thanks to Him Who has
brought them safely out of dangers and given them, perhaps in addition,
“a good catch”. To those who have lost–it points the only Comforter.

The street passing under the shadow of this Cross goes by the
distinctive name of Rue Calvaire. It is not surprising, therefore, to
have some fishwife, whose photograph you have just taken, tell you, when
asked for her address, that she lives “up ag’in the Cross”; that is, if
she is of Newfoundland origin, and speaks English; if she is French,
“‘Rue Calvaire’, Madame, s’il vous plait”–the street of the Cross.

The women of Saint Pierre wash their clothes in the streams, of which
there are several running down the hills at the back of the town. They
dam up the water with stones so as to form little pools, and kneel in
wooden boxes on the edge of these to wash. They slap the linen with a
flat piece of wood to make it very clean and white, and when all is
done, they carry it in a wet bundle on their backs up the hill, to
spread it to dry on the great rocks at the foot of the Crucifix.

A long way below this curious landmark of the hills, lies the cemetery,
one of the most beautiful spots in Saint Pierre. It has been made so by
a great deal of work, for so solid is the barren rock here that each
grave has had to be blasted out with charge after charge of dynamite.
But in the end each grave is surrounded by a wooden coping surmounted at
one end by a wooden cross painted black or white. The coping is filled
in with earth sifted from the debris of the blasts or brought from a
distance. In these enclosures flowers are massed till the entire
cemetery has the appearance of one great garden.

Love of flowers is a marked characteristic of the Saint Pierrais people.
Though there is practically no soil in the place, every window is a mass
of potted blooms. All these lilies, geraniums, oleanders, cacti,
begonias, etc., were brought from France. It is even said that the soil
in one little garden was brought here from France. Every Saturday
morning a little boy goes the rounds of the pensions and perhaps the
cafes, on his arm a small basket with a few nosegays of sweet
old-fashioned flowers. And these are bought up at once.

The central building of interest in Saint Pierre is the fine white
church, built to replace the old Cathedral destroyed by fire several
years ago, together with the Palais du Justice.

The new church possesses rare and valuable appointments. The stained
glass windows, most of them with Biblical motifs having to do with the
sea, are supported by rich altar appointments; but the note of
originality is struck by the score or more of tiny sailboats and
schooners which hang gracefully on wires suspended from the ceiling.

These miniature craft appear especially appropriate in this church that
owes its being to the sea. Each little boat is of course the votive
offering of some grateful mariner for miraculous preservation in some
great hurricane, collision or shipwreck, while pursuing la morue in one
of its many haunts, immediately off-shore or on the Grand Banks.

The Curé of this church has possibly the best garden in town. And
morning and evening he may be seen–a gardener in a soutane–doing his
best to coax along the flowers and vegetables. _Mais, oui._

The celebration of _La Messe_ and “Benediction” in this French-Colonial
church is attended with an unusual degree of pomp and ceremony. A
military air of precision is supplied by the commanding figure of Le
Maitre de Chapelle wearing the uniform and hat of a soldier of the Swiss
Guard, carrying a battle-axe over his shoulder, a sword by his side, and
in his gloved right-hand a tall, heavy black mace surmounted by a
massive silver ball.

In the processions, this imposing figure is followed by acolytes in
crimson and white gowns, each carrying a pole supporting a red, violet,
or blue lantern.

The music is wonderful, the “time” being kept by the “Suisse”, who also
precedes the two demoiselles down the aisles when they take up the
collection.

The church is situated at the opposite end of the town from the cemetery
and, whenever there is a funeral, the procession passes afoot, heralded
by a small boy with a beautiful voice, singing so ringingly the solemn
chants set for these occasions, that he can be heard far across the
harbour and distant points of the town, from which by reason of turns in
the streets the procession itself is invisible.

* * * * *

Because of the geographical situation of the Saint Pierre et Miquelon
group, and the fact that they are a French Colony, conditions are found
here, possible nowhere else.

French wines and liqueurs flow here as naturally as in France itself.
Prohibition in Canada and the United States has made this font of wines
so close to the coast “a gift of the gods”. Smugglers deem it a good
“base” from which to operate “spirits” in general. In this new trade,
agents of the best Old Country distilleries have opened salesrooms here
and consignments and cargoes are constantly coming and going or being
placed in warehouses to await their chance of re-shipment.

In the cafes of Saint Pierre there is every variety of French wine. In
all the general shops, on shelves, neighbouring dress material,
sardines-in-oil, or _petits pois_ in tins, Vin ordinaire, Cassia, Eau
de Vie, Ginebvre, Anisette and Noyeaux appear as a matter of course.

During the war, trade came almost to a stand-still in Saint Pierre. The
shops, usually so overflowing with good things, had their stock entirely
depleted, and the women storekeepers were reduced to tears, as they
lamented “_La guerre, la guerre, Madame_”, as the cause of their
inability to supply this or that.

But now all this is changed. The Sun of Trade once more has sent its
enlivening rays along this foreign, island-waterfront. Gallic spirits
have recovered themselves in the forests of masts springing up in the
harbour.

It is in Quebec, the Old World city so curiously transplanted from
sixteenth century France, and set down here on its commanding bluff,
above the Saint Lawrence, that one takes the road of romantic history.

Driving through the steep, narrow streets, our two-wheeled Caleche,
itself the voiture of other centuries, seems a talisman, unlocking the
gray, steep-roofed, admirably-preserved houses, churches, monasteries,
convents, colleges, public buildings, tiny shops, all of them of
unmistakably French aspect, which flank our goings up or down the steep
ascents, which are the Quebec streets.

Romance clings to the old in architecture. Nowhere does she more frankly
look out upon the Canadian world roundabout, than from the casement
windows of Old Quebec.

But, if she only leaned from the windows, she must be a creature to
worship afar off. But Romance believes in “close-ups”. In Quebec she
draws near, takes you by the hand, and leads you over the threshold of
La Basilique–the French Cathedral.

Within, she continues to act as guide, while, paradoxically enough, she
is the essence of the treasures, paintings, altars, crypt, etc., to
which she points.

She steps with you into the almost holy quiet of L’Hotel Dieu, the
hospital founded by Madame La Duchesse, the niece of the great Cardinal
Richelieu; herself one of the most helpful and romantic figures that
ever stepped into Nouvelle France. It is to her, that French-Canada owes
L’Hotel Dieu, one of the finest hospitals in present-day Canada, or, for
that matter, in America.

The soft-stepping Sisters, passing from one bedside to another in their
picturesque robes, gently administering to the suffering of twentieth
century Quebec, are the descendants in an unbroken line of the
“Hopitalieres” who came here with La Duchesse in 1639.

Between the Basilica and the Hospital an old gateway opens into the
quadrangle of the Quebec Seminary, founded by Monsignor Laval, the great
figure of the Church in pioneer Quebec. Here, in the yard below the
long, gray building with its rows of open, French windows and its thick
walls, the youth of present-day French-Canada, in uniforms of
blue-tailored, skirted coats, with emerald-green sashes–rush hither
and thither in their games, directed by willowy figures of
teacher-priests in round hats and clinging soutanes. Romance seems to
linger long here, and to treasure greatly the atmosphere of Laval
University adjoining. Here is youth and its enthusiasms, a miracle-play
of welling human interest giving life to these old walls and halls and
never suffering them to grow old in spirit despite their years.

Then the caleche sets us down at the door of the Ursulines, and there
one asks to see the skull of General Montcalm. A sister brings it.

Montcalm! Wolfe! One cannot think of one without thinking of the other.
And thinking of them both, from the perspective afforded by a century
and a half, what do you see but the hand of Destiny gradually
eliminating the players in the game for the possession of a country far
greater than either side had any idea of, until only these two were left
in the limelight, one wearing the Fleur des Lys, the other the Rose of
England; each a true knight; each defending to the death, “the cause” he
had espoused; each, poetic and romantic figures in whom a United Canada
now rejoices.

But the sister is drawn out to talk of the city, of its many points of
interest, and of its general atmosphere of romance; agrees with you that
it is a wonderful treasure-house of souvenir and story. And then you are
moved to compliment her on her fluency in English. And she laughs and
says “she ought to speak it easily seeing she was born in Providence,
Rhode Island.”

Then, with an unmistakable flash of Yankee humour, she inquires if we do
not think it strange that a “Yankee” should be guardian of the skull of
Montcalm in Quebec? And we counter back: “Not so strange, as–romantic,
Sister!”

In strolling along that renowned promenade, the Dufferin Terrace, which
affords a glimpse of the Saint Lawrence far below in such a panorama of
natural beauty as beginning at one’s feet stretches away mile after mile
till lost in the soft mist of distance, one looks down upon the Lower
Town, whose narrow, old streets, and market-squares call to one to
explore them.

And so some morning we find ourselves in Lower Champlain Street–one of
the queerest old streets in the world. It leaves the markets and docks
behind and doubles around the base of Cape Diamond between the river and
the cliff, until all the city is lost to view and its sounds as
completely obliterated as if you were miles away from any mart.

[Illustration:

THE RAG MAT.]

[Illustration:

SPINNING.]

It was down here, in houses looking like rookeries under the great
cliff, and facing the watered-ribbon of a street, that in the great day
of Quebec’s wooden shipbuilding, lived with their families the
shipwrights, Hibernians and others, who came out from the Old Country to
engage in the shipbuilding trade.

But the life of this street was paralyzed when the industry declined;
and now many of the old, home-roofs are caving in and the old sides
bulging, and only here and there an octogenarian stands in her doorway
knitting in hand. Such an old orphan of a dead-and-gone industry is Mary
Ann Grogan. You stop to speak with her. Her knitting needles click
faster on the sock in her old hand, a-tremble with excitement that
anyone should care to “hear about old times”.

At first her story is an epic of wooden hulls. Through her spectacles,
as it were, you look out there to the edge of the River, the River where
now rides the visiting fleet of the North American squadron, and you see
the low-lying keel, the up-standing ribs, and men everywhere. And the
picture calls up other craft a-building at Levis, and on the banks of
the Saint Charles. And so great is the power of suggestion, that you
even include in the vision the three long ships of Jacques Cartier
putting in that “first winter”. “Surely, this is a wonderful old face,”
you think.

From the ships, she goes on to the street itself, the picturesque little
church, the Sisters’ little school, where the youngsters of the
remaining families struggle with the three R’s. But her story becomes
more dramatic, when she tells of the great landslide of the cliff
itself, the historic landslide that carried such loss of life and
destruction of property in its wake. One might read about it forever and
yet not visualize it as one does when Mary Ann tells you that “the noise
of it”, still lives in her old ears; “that she was born here and lived
here, but never before nor since, has she heard or seen the likes of
that morning.”

* * * * *

The habitants of rural Quebec cling as tenaciously to the life and
atmosphere transplanted here from rural France more than three centuries
ago, as the inhabitants of Quebec city cling to the atmosphere of
ancestral French cities.

Here are the wayside ovens, the wayside crosses and shrines, the old
grist-mills, with water-wheel and upper-and-nether millstones. Here are
towers and windmills descended from Seigneurie times. Here are
century-old wool-carding mills with the ancient sign “Moulin a carde”
over the doorway.

Here are the little maisons with whitewashed sides and steep-curving
roofs whose birth-certificates date back to the days of the first
settlers. Hundreds of years old are these little habitant houses, but
because of the tender care they have received, they are, to-day, as
clean and fresh, within and without, as though built but yesterday.
Canada is rich in having in her possession such a sweet type of
architecture as these dear little farm-houses of the Province of Quebec.
She is rich, too, in the quaint French villages clinging to the
straggling, long highway, which as street culminates in _l’eglise_, or
the Parish church.

Quebec is especially rich in its atmospheric landscape, a landscape so
dear to the habitant heart that outstanding features have become
personalities. Thus, Montmorenci Falls is called “La Vache”–the Cow. A
landscape too, where peaceful church-spire is seldom out of sight of
church-spire. And all are within hail of some river–Saint Lawrence,
Richelieu, Saint Francois, or the Saguenay.

In the matter of place-names Quebec is not behind Newfoundland, except
that her taste runs to figures of the church rather than to figures of
the sea. Every Saint in the calendar must, we think, have a village
namesake in Quebec. On the north side of the Saint Lawrence, L’Ange
Guardien, Saint Anne, Saint Joachim, Saint Gregoire, strike a balance
with Saint Henri, Saint Fabien, Saint Hilaire on the south.

And if the villages be strung together aerially by church-spires, no
less are they united by the quaint roads, whereon oxcart and dog-cart
are as frequent as that of _le cheval_–roads flanked by the
roof-curving, French farm-houses homing the crafts of carding, dyeing,
spinning and weaving.

The spinning-wheel and the loom are not “has-beens” in the Quebec home,
by-gones relegated to the attic–but intimate pieces of furniture
actively a part of everyday life. And so when you step over one of these
thresholds, it is to find madame spinning–her clever fingers feeding so
fast from the distaff that the wheel flies around in a blur of motion;
or, to find her in the room under the eaves sitting at her loom, in her
hand the flying-shuttle, about her, everywhere, on chairs and boxes and
overflowing to the floor, balls of yarn of all sizes and colours.

And when Madame is not weaving her “_couverts_” or “_tapis_”, she is
toying with wool in some one of its preparatory stages from the sheep’s
back to the finished homespun. Or she may even be caring for the home
sheep, bringing up a lamb by hand or something of that sort. The
habitant women are never at a loss for work.

And when Madame is not thus engaged one may happen upon her in the shade
of some dooryard-tree, sitting before a homemade quilting-frame, busily
quilting her hand-pieced coverlets of artistic, original designs. On
these occasions she is accompanied by her little daughter of six or
seven years, daintily tracing the thread-line with her little fingers in
imitation of “Mama”.

In these habitant homes, Grandmere’s busy fingers take much of the
knitting for the _grand famille_ in hand. Grandmere it is, too, who
moulds the high-coloured peaches, grapes, apples, plums, “hands”, and
what-not figures, from the wax that is the by-product of the
honey-making, home-bees.

Whenever one turns in to these country yards, the geese, that are the
watch-dogs of the habitant farm-yards, herald your approach; but the
work of the day is not stopped, although M’sieu, Madame, the children,
one and all welcome the visitor, taking it for granted that the life and
industries connected with the running of these self-supporting farms
should prove entertaining to anyone.

Thrift is the keynote everywhere, but the habitant apparently never
hurries. Life has not changed much in the centuries, except that with
the growth of the times the habitant farms have increased in wealth,
represented in part by a larger stock. Cows, porkers and sheep are
everywhere. But behind the split-rail fences are the same little
pocket-handkerchief patches of growing tabac in cup-like shields of
white birch bark as M’sieu’s father and grandfather planted.

The passage of Time makes no radical changes. M’sieu is as handy a
craftsman as ever. Nor is there any appreciable line of demarcation as
to who shall do this or that, but all members of the family work
helpfully together. Madame goes into the fields with the children and
helps her husband to get in the hay. And, in his spare moments, M’sieu
picks over and lightens up the wool a-drying on the little balcony.

On Sundays the entire family gets into the roomy carry-all and drives to
Mass at the church. The weather must be bad indeed, which causes the
pious habitant to fail in his attendance at _La Messe_.

In keeping with his deep regard for the spiritual, one is not surprised
in Quebec, in more or less every household, to find, in a corner of the
living-room, on a neat, little handmade shelf, a large or smaller figure
of Christ, Mary, or Bonne Sainte Anne, with a tiny lamp burning before
it. The same figures give distinction to the little grocery-shops and
_boulangeries_ of the towns and villages, each figure lighted by its
little candle or incandescent bulb, smiling down, as in sweet
benediction, upon merchant and customer.

The demand for holy figures of this type creates a rare personality of
the Quebec gallery of _genre_ in the “Sculpteur”.

Strolling along some morning, one may chance to come upon the
“sculpteur” at work, at the window of his little shop in the outskirts
of some St. Lawrence town, the white figure of the Saviour with extended
arms in his hand, and on the table row after row of smaller figures, in
various stages of completion.

The use of the religious figure is not confined to the indoors of
Quebec, but over the barn-doors of the farms throughout the Province,
the carved figure of some guarding Saint sheds atmosphere upon the
churn, the wooden shoulder-yoke for bringing water or pails of maple-sap
in its season, or on milk-pails glistening in the sun, on the
fence-posts.

* * * * *

In travelling in Quebec, one cannot help but be struck by the harmony
between artistry and toil. This, doubtless is a French trait, curiously
and happily preserved through centuries of pioneer life. Seldom indeed,
if ever, in Quebec, is the most trifling thing wrought that is not made
in some simple way to have its own art-character. If Madame knits a sock
she combines some little thread of colour to give it character. The rag
mat, which the little daughter tresses in a long braid around the back
of a chair, though it may be put to hardest wear eventually, is made a
symphony in colour. It is the same when M’sieu chooses to paint the
little maison, he has a way of painting the ends of the house one colour
and the sides another, yet effecting by a combination of two harmonious
shades a whole that is–_charmant_.

* * * * *

In passing out of Quebec City the romantic road of history is not left
behind. Few villages of rural Quebec but have been the stage of some
outstanding historic event or personage. Beauport

[Illustration:

TADOUSAC HAS LOST NONE OF
ITS SCENIC BEAUTY.]

[Illustration:

AN OLD TRADING-POST
AT BAIE ST. PAUL.]

knew Montcalm. Montmorenci found the Duke of Kent so enthusiastic over
“la vache” that he has a villa built almost immediately on its banks.
Cape Rouge knew Cartier and Roberval. Tadousac knew the Basques and
Bretons who came to fish and to barter with the Indians for furs,
received some of the earliest missionaries, and to-day boasts a tiny
chapel founded by them in the early years of the seventeenth century,
one of the earliest Mission chapels in Canada, and dedicated to Sainte
Anne. To this little church Anne of Austria gave a bambino, still among
the church’s treasures.

Scattered here and there over the northern end of the Province one
happens on some old Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. A house of more
pretentious dimensions with steeper roof than its neighbours, usually
remains as mute evidence that the great Company was once here. Such a
house stands at Baie St. Paul, behind a sentinel-like line of Lombardy
poplars and carrying over a door the date 1718.

Quebec is a piece of fine tapestry, in which multitudinous threads
combine to form the warp and woof of the perfect whole, a whole,
wonderfully woven under the hand of Romance.