« PoprzedniaDalej »
stream of weary platitude, mortifying to pects of any society of which that tale is every sensible person. Will any of our the true history? Pendennis friends intermit their indigna There is a picture in the Luxembourg tion for a moment, and consider how many gallery at Paris, " the Decadence of the good things they have said or heard du Romans," which made the fame and forring the season? If Mr. Potiphar's eyes tune of Couture the painter. It represhould chance to fall here, will he reckon sents an orgie in the court of a temple, the amount of satisfaction and enjoyment during the last days of Rome. A swarm he derived from Mrs. Potiphar's ball, and of revellers occupy the middle of the picwill that lady candidly confess what she ture, wreathed in elaborate intricacy of gained from it beside weariness and dis luxurious posture, men and women intergust?
What eloquent sermons we re mingled; their faces, in which the old Romember to have heard in which the sins man fire scarcely flickers, brutalized with and the sinners of Babylon, Jericho and excess of every kind ; their heads of Gomorrah were scathed with holy indig- dishevelled hair bound with coronals of nation. The cloth is very hard upon Cain, leaves, while from goblets of an antique and completely routs the erring kings of grace, they drain the fiery torrent which Judah. The Spanish Inquisition, too, gets is destroying them. Around the bacchafrightful knocks, and there is much elo nalian feast stand, lofty upon pedestals, quent exhortation to preach the gospel in the statues of old Rome, looking with the interior of Siam. Let it be preached marble calmness and the severity of a rethere, and God speed the word. But
buke beyond words upon the revellers. A also let us have a text or two in Broad youth of boyish grace--a wreath woven way and the Avenue.
in his tangled hair, and with red and The best sermon ever preached upon drowsy eyes, sits listless upon one pedessociety, within our knowledge, is “Vanity tal, while upon another, stands a boy, inFair.” Is the spirit of that story less true sane with drunkenness, and proffering a of New-York than of London? Probably dripping goblet to the marble mouth of we never see Amelia at our parties, nor the statue. In the corner of the picture, Lieutenant George Osborne, nor good as if just quitting the court-Rome finally gawky Dobbin, nor Mrs. Rebecca Sharp departing—is a group of Romans with Crawley, nor old Steyne. We are very care-worn brows, and hands raised to much pained, of course, that any author their faces in melancholy meditation. In should take such dreary views of hunan the very foreground of the picture, which nature. We, for our parts, all go to Mrs. is painted with all the sumptuous splendor Potiphar's to refresh our faith in men and of Venetian art, is a stately vase, around women. Generosity, amiability, a catholic which hangs a festoon of gorgeous flowers, charity, simplicity, taste, sense, high cul its end dragging upon the pavement. In tivation, and intelligence, distinguish our the background, between the columns, parties. The statesman seeks their stimu smiles the blue sky of Italy-the only lating influence; the literary man, after thing Italian not deteriorated by time. the day's labor, desires the repose of their The careful student of this picture, if he elegant conversation; the professional man has been long in Paris, is some day starand the merchant hurry up from down tled by detecting, especially in the faces of town to shuffle off the coil of heavy duty, the women represented, a surprising likeand forget the drudgery of life in the ness to the women of Paris, and perceives, agreeable picture of its amenities and with a thrill of dismay, that the models graces presented by Mrs. Potiphar's ball. 'for this picture of decadent human nature, Is this account of the matter, or
are furnished by the very city in which he Fair" the satire? What are the pros lives.
AN EXCURSION TO CANADA.
QUEBEC AND MONTMORENCI,
(Continued from page 59.)
been originally covered with aspens," and Bout de l'Isle, or the end of the island, on
the left. I repeat these names not merely ABOUT six o'clock.ve started for Que
for want of more substantial facts to re
cord, but because they sounded singularly distant by the river; gliding past Longueil poetic to my ears. There certainly was and Boucherville on the right, and Pointe no lie in them. They suggested that aux Trembles, “so called from having some simple, and, perchance, heroic hu
man life might have transpired there. There is all the poetry in the world in a
It is a poem which the mass of men hear and read. What is poetry in the common sense, but a string of such jingling names ? I want nothing better than a good word. The name of a thing may easily be more than the thing itself to me. Inexpressibly beautiful appears the recognition by man of the least natural fact, and the allying his life to it. All the world reiterating this slender truth, that aspens once grew there ; and the swift inference is, that men were there to see them. And so it would be with the names of our native and neighboring villages, if we had not profaned them.
The daylight now failed us, and we went below; but I endeavored to console myself for being obliged to make this voyage by night, by thinking that I did not lose a great deal, the shores being low and rather unattractive, and that the river itself was much the more interesting object. I heard something in the night about the boat being at William Henry, Three Rivers, and in the Richelieu Rapids, but I was still where I had been when I lost sight of Pointe aur Trembles. To hear a man who has been waked up at midnight in the cabin of a steamboat, inquiring, “Waiter, where are we now ?" is, as if at any moment of the earth's revolution round the sun, or of the systein round its centre, one were to raise himself up and inquire of one of the deck hands, “Where are we now?"
I went on deck at daybreak, when we were thirty or forty miles above Quebec. The banks were now higher and more interesting. There was an "uninterrupted succession of white-washed cottages each side of the river. This is what every traveller tells. But it is not to be taken as an evidence of the populousness of the country in general, hardly even of the river banks. They have presented a similar appearance for a hundred years. The Swedish traveller and naturalist, Kalm, who descended this river in 1749, says, “It could really be called a village, beginning at Montreal and ending at Quebec, which is a distance of more than one hundred and eighty miles; for the farmhouses, are never above five arpens, and sometimes but three asunder, a few places excepted." Even in 1684 Hontan said that the houses were not more than a gunshot apart at most. Ere long we passed Cape Rouge, eight miles above Quebec, the mouth of the Chaudière on the opposite or south side, New Liverpool Cove with its lumber rasts and some shipping; then Sillery and Wolfe's Cove and the Heights of Abraham
on the north, with now a view of Cape Diamond, and the citadel in front. The approach to Quebec was very imposing. It was about six o'clock in the morning when we arrived. There is but a single street under the cliff on the south side of the cape, which was made by blasting the rocks and filling up the river. Threestory houses did not rise more than one-fifth or one-sixth the way up the nearly perpendicular rock, whose summit is three hundred and forty-five feet above the water. We saw, as we glided past, the sign on the side of the precipice, part way up, pointing to the spot where Montgomery was killed in 1775. Formerly it was the custom for those who went to Quebec for the first time, to be ducked, or else pay a fine. Not even the Governor General escaped. But we were too many to be ducked, even if the custom had not been abolished.
Here we were, in the harbor of Quebec, still three hundred and sixty miles from the mouth of the St. Lawrence, in a basin two miles across, where the greatest depth is twenty-eight fathoms, and though the water is fresh, the tide rises seventeen to twenty-four feet, a harbor “large and deep enough,” says a British traveller, “ to hold the English navy.” I may as well state that in 1844 the county of Quebec contained about forty-five thousand inhabitants. (the city and suburbs having about forty-three thousand); about twenty-eight thousand being Canadians of French origin; eight thousand British; over seven thousand natives of Ireland; one thousand five hundred natives of England; the rest Scotch and others. Thirtysix thousand belong to the Church of Rome.
Separating ourselves from the crowd, we walked up a narrow street, thence ascended by some wooden steps, called the Break-neck Stairs, into another steep, narrow, and zig-zag street, blasted through the rock, which last led through a low massive stone portal, called Prescott Gate, the principal thoroughfare into the Upper Town. This passage was defended by cannon, with a guard-house over it, a sentinel at his post, and other soldiers at hand ready to relieve him. I rubbed my eyes to be sure that I was in the nineteenth century, and was not entering one of those portals which sometimes adorn the frontispieces of new editions of old blackletter volumes. I thought it would be a good place to read Froissart's Chronicles. It was such a reminiscence of the middle ages as Scott's novels. Men apparently dwelt there for security. Peace be unto them ! As if the inhabitants of New-York were to go over to Castle William to live!
What a place it must be to bring up of some General Poniatowsky, with an children! Being safe through the gate enormous cocked hat and gun, peering over we naturally took the street which was the roof of a house, away up where the steepest, and after a few turns found our chimney caps commonly are with us, as selves on the Durham Terrace, a wooden it were a caricature of war and military platform on the site of the old castle of awfulness; but I had not gone far up St. St. Louis, still one hundred and fifteen Louis street before my riddle was solved, feet below the summit of the citadel, over by the apparition of a real live Highlander looking the Lower Town, the wharf where under a cocked hat, and with his knees we had landed, the harbor, the Isle of out, standing and marching sentinel on Orleans, and the river and surrounding the ramparts, between St. Louis and St. country to a great distance. It was lit John's Gate. (It must be a holy war erally a splendid view.
We could see that is waged there.) We stood close by six or seven miles distant, in the north without fear and looked at him. His legs east, an indentation in the lofty shore of were somewhat tanned, and the hair had the northern channel, apparently on one begun to grow on them, as some of our side of the harbor, which marked the wise men predict that it will in such cases, mouth of the Montmorenci, whose cele but I did not think they were remarkable brated fall was only a few rods in the in any respect. Notwithstanding all his rear.
warlike gear, when I inquired of him the At a shoe-shop, whither we were directed way to the Plains of Abraham, he could for this purpose we got some of our Ameri not answer me without betraying some can money changed into English. I found bashfulness through his broad Scotch. that American hard money would have Soon after, we passed another of these answered as well, excepting cents, which creatures standing sentry at the St. Louis fell very fast before their pennies, it tak Gate, who let us go by without shooting ing two of the former to make one of the us, or even demanding the countersign. latter, and often the penny, which had We then began to go through the gate, cost us two cents did us the service of one which was so thick and tunnel-like, as to cent only. Moreover, our robust cents remind me of those lines in Claudian's were compelled to meet on even terms a Old Man of Verona, about the getting out crew of vile half-penny tokens, and bung of the gate being the greater part of a town coppers, which had more brass in journey ;-as you might imagine yourself their composition, and so perchance made crawling through an architectural vigtheir way in the world. Wishing to get nette at the end of a black-letter volume. into the citadel, we were directed to the We were then reminded that we had been Jesuits' Barracks,-a good part of the in a fortress, from which we emerged by public buildings here are barracks.-to numerous zig-zags in a ditch-like road, get a pass of the Town Major. We did going a considerable distance to advance a not heed the sentries at the gate, nor did few rods, where they could have shot us they us, and what under the sun they two or three times over, if their minds were placed there for, unless to hinder a had been disposed as their guns were. free circulation of the air, was not appar The greatest, or rather the most promient. There we saw soldiers eating their nent, part of this city was constructed breakfasts in their mess room, from bare with the design to offer the deadliest resistwooden tables in camp fashion. We were ance to leaden and iron missiles, that continually meeting with soldiers in the might be cast against it. But it is a restreets, carrying funny little tin pails of markable meteorological and psychologiall shapes, even semicircular, as if made cal fact, that it is rarely known to rain to pack conveniently. I supposed that lead with much violence, except on places they contained their dinners, so many so constructed. Keeping on about a mile slices of bread and butter to each, per we came to the Plains of Abraham,—for chance. Sometimes they were carrying having got through with the Saints, we some kind of military chest on a sort of come next to the Patriarchs. Here the bier or hand-barrow, with a springy, un Highland regiment was being reviewed, dulating, military step, all passengers giv
while the band stood on one side and ing way to them, even the charette drivers played,-methinks it was “La Claire Fonstopping for them to pass—as if the bat taine," the national air of the Canadian tle were being lost from an inadequate French. This is the site where a real supply of powder. There was a regiment battle once took place, to commemorate of Highlanders, and, as I understood, of which they have had a sham fight here Royal Irish, in the city; and by this time almost every day since. The Highlanders there was a regiment of Yankees also. I manæuvred very well, and if the precihad already observed, looking up even sion of their movements was less remarkfrom the water, the head and shoulders able, they did not appe
so stiffly erect
as the English or Royal Irish, but had a was not aware of any deficiency in that more elastic and graceful gait, like a herd respect. Probably there was not one of their own red deer, or as if accustomed among all the Yankees who went to to stepping down the sides of mountains. Canada this time, who was not more But they made a sad impression on the splendidly dressed than I was. It would whole, for it was obvious that all true have been a poor story if I had not enmanhood was in the process of being drill joyed some distinction. I had on my ed out of them. I have no doubt that * bad-weather clothes,” like Olaf Trysoldiers well drilled are, as a class, pecu gresson the Northman, when he went to liarly destitute of originality and indepen the Thing in England, where, by the way, dence. The officers appeared like men he won his bride. As we stood by the dressed above their condition. It is im thirty-two-pounder on the summit of Cape possible to give the soldier a good educa Diamond, which is fired three times a day, tion, without making him a deserter. His the commandant told me that it would natural foe is the government that drills carry to the Isle of Orleans, four miles him. What would any philanthropist, distant, and that no hostile vessel could who felt an interest in these men's wel come round the island. I now saw the fare, naturally do, but first of all teach subterranean or, rather, “casemated barthem so to respect themselves, that they racks” of the soldiers, which I had not could not be hired for this work, whatever noticed before, though I might have might be the consequences to this govern walked over them. They had very narment or that ;-not drill a few, but edu row windows, serving as loop-holes for cate all. I observed one older man among musketry, and small iron chimneys rising them, gray as a wharf-rat, and supple as above the ground. There we saw the an eel, marching lock-step with the rest soldiers at home and in an undress, splitwho would have to pay for that elastic ting wood- I looked to see whether with gait.
swords or axes—and in various ways enWe returned to the citadel along the deavoring to realize that their nation was heights, plucking such flowers as grew now at peace with this part of the world. there. There was an abundance of suc A part of each regiment, chiefly officers, cory still in blossom, broad-leaved golden are allowed to marry. A grandfatherly, rod, butter-cups, thorn-bushes, Canada would-be-witty Englishman, could give a thistles, and ivy, on the very summit of Yankee whom he was patronizing, no Cape Diamond." I also found the bladder reason for the bare knees of the Highcampion in the neighborhood. We there landers, other than oddity. The rock enjoyed an extensive view, which I will within the citadel is a little convex, so describe in another place.
that shells falling on it would roll toward which stated that all the rules were “ to the circumference, where the barracks of be strictly enforced," as if they were de the soldiers and officers are; it has been termined to keep up the resemblance of proposed, therefore, to make it slightly reality to the last gasp, opened to us the concave, so that they may roll into the Dalhousie Gate, and we were conducted centre, where they would be comparatively over the citadel by a bare-legged High harmless; and it is estimated that to do lander in cocked hat and full regimentals. this would cost twenty thousand pounds He told us that he had been here about sterling. It may be well to remember three years, and had formerly been sta this when I build my next house, and tioned at Gibraltar. As if his regiment, have the roof "all correct” for bombhaving perchance been nestled amid the shells. rocks of Edinburgh Castle, must flit from At mid-afternoon we made haste down rock to rock thenceforth over the earth's Sault au Matelot-street, towards the Falls surface, like a bald eagle, or other bird of of Montmorenci, about eight miles down prey, from eyrie to eyrie. As we were the St. Lawrence, on the north side, leavgoing out, we met the Yankees coming in, ing the further examination of Quebec till in a body, headed by a red-coated officer our return. On our way, we saw men in called the comm
omandant, and escorted by the streets sawing logs pit-fashion, and many citizens, both English and French afterward, with a common wood-saw and Canadian. I therefore immediately fell horse, cutting the planks into squares for into the procession, and went round the paving the streets.
This looked very citadel again with more intelligent guides, shiftless, especially in a country aboundcarrying, as before, all my effects with me. ing in water-power, and reminded me Seeing that nobody walked with the red that I was no longer in Yankee land. I coated commandant, I attached myself to found, on inquiry, that the excuse for this him, and though I was not what is called was, that labor was so cheap; and I well-dressed, he did not know whether to thought, with some pain, how cheap men repel me or not, for I talked like one who are here! I have since learned that the
English traveller, Warburton, remarked, one of those unspeakably cheap, as well as soon after landing at Quebec, that every thin, brown linen sacks of the Oak Hall thing was cheap there but men. That pattern, which every summer appear all must be the difference between going over New England, thick as the leaves thither from New and from Old England. upon the trees. It was a thoroughly YanI had
observed the dogs har kee costume, which some of my fellownessed to their little milk-carts, which travellers wore in the cars to save their contain a single large can, lying asleep in coats a dusting. I wore mine, at first, bethe gutters, regardless of the houses, cause it looked better than the coat it while they rested from their labors, at dif covered, and last, because two coats were ferent stages of the ascent in the Upper warmer than one, though one was thin Town. I was surprised at the regular and dirty. I never wear my best coat on and extensive use made of these animals a journey, though perchance I could show for drawing, not only milk, but groceries, a certificate to prove that I have a more wood, &c. It reminded me that the dog costly one, at least, at home, if that were commonly is not put to any use. Cats all that a gentleman required. It is not catch mice; but dogs only worry the wise for a traveller to go dressed. I
Kalm, a hundred years ago, saw should no more think of it than of putting sledges here for ladies to ride in, drawn on a clean dicky and blacking my shoes by a pair of dogs. He says, “ A middle to go a fishing; as if you were going out sized dog is sufficient to draw a single to dine, when, in fact, the genuine travelperson, when the roads are good;" and he ler is going out to work hard, and fare was told by old people, that horses were harder—to eat a crust by the way-side very scarce in their youths, and almost all whenever he can get it. Honest travelthe land-carriage was then effected by ling is about as dirty work as you can do, dogs. They made me think of the Esqui- and a man needs a pair of overalls for maux, who, in fact, are the next people on it. As for blacking my shoes in such a the north. Charlevoix says, that the first case, I should as soon think of blacking horses were introduced in 1665.
I carry a piece of tallow to We crossed Dorchester Bridge, over the preserve the leather, and keep out the St. Charles, the little river in which Car water; that's all; and many an officious tier, the discoverer of the St. Lawrence, shoe-black, who carried off my shoes put his ships, and spent the winter of when I was slumbering, mistaking me 1535, and found ourselves on an excellent for a gentleman, has had occasion to remacadamized road, called Le Chemin de pent it before he produced a gloss on Beauport. We had left Concord Wednes them. day morning, and we endeavored to re My pack, in fact, was home-made, for alize that now, Friday morning, we were I keep a short list of those articles which, taking a walk in Canada, in the Seigniory from frequent experience, I have found of Beauport, a foreign country, which a indispensable to the foot traveller; and few days before had seemed almost as when I am about to start, I have only to far off as England and France. Instead consult that, to be sure that nothing is of rambling to Flint's Pond or the Sud- omitted, and, what is more important, bury Meadows, we found ourselves, after nothing superfluous inserted. Most of being a little detained in cars and steam my fellow-travellers carried carpet-bags, boats-after spending half a night at Bur or valises. Sometimes one had two or lington, and half a day at Montreal three ponderous yellow valises in his clutch, taking a walk down the bank of the St. at each pitch of the cars, as if we were Lawrence to the Falls of Montmorenci going to have another rush for seats; and and elsewhere. Well, I thought to my when there was a rush in earnest, and self, here I am in a foreign country ; let there were not a few, I would see my man me have my eyes about me, and take it in the crowd, with two or three affectionall in. It already looked and felt a good ate lusty fellows along each side of his deal colder than it had in New England, arm, between his shoulder and his valises, as we might have expected it would. Í which last held them tight to his back, realized fully that I was four degrees like the nut on the end of a screw. I nearer the pole, and shuddered at the could not help asking in my mind-what thought; and I wondered if it were pos so great cause for showing Canada to sible that the peaches might not be all those valises, when perhaps your very gone when I returned. It was an atmos nieces had to stay at home for want of an phere that made me think of the fur-trade, escort ? I should have liked to be present which is so interesting a department in when the custom-house officer came aboard Canada, for I had for all head covering a of him, and asked him to declare upon thin palm-leaf hat without lining, that his honor if he had any thing but wearing cost twenty-five cents, and over my coat apparel in them. Even the elephant car