The shores of the river, studded with richly cultivated farms; the village of La Prairie, with the little island of St. Ann’s in the distance; the glittering steeples and roofs of the city, with its gardens and villas,—looked lovely by the softened glow of a Canadian summer sunset.
The church bells ringing for evening prayer, with the hum of voices from the shore, mingled not inharmoniously with the rush of the rapids.
These rapids are caused by a descent in the bed of the river. In some places this declination is gradual, in others sudden and abrupt. Where the current is broken by masses of limestone or granite rock, as at the Cascades, the Cedars, and the Long Sault, it creates whirlpools and cataracts. But the rapids below Montreal are not of this magnificent character, being made perceptible only by the unusual swiftness of the water, and its surface being disturbed by foam, and waving lines and dimples. In short, I was disappointed in my expectation of seeing something very grand; and was half angry at these pretty behaved quiet rapids, to the foot of which we were towed in good style by our faithful consort the British America.
As the captain is uncertain how long he may be detained at Montreal, I shall send this letter without further delay, and write again as soon as possible.
Landing at Montreal.—Appearance of the Town.—Ravages of the Cholera.— Charitable Institutions in Montreal.—Catholic Cathedral.—Lower and Upper Town.—Company and Conversation at the Hotel.—Writer attacked with the Cholera.—Departure from Montreal in a Stage coach.—Embark at Lachine on board a Steam-vessel.—Mode of travelling alternately in Steam-vessels and Stages.—Appearance of the Country.—Manufactures.— Ovens at a distance from the Cottages.—Draw-wells.—Arrival at Cornwall.—Accommodation at the Inn.—Departure from Cornwall, and Arrival at Prescott.—Arrival at Brockville.—Ship-launch there.—Voyage through Lake Ontario.—Arrival at Cobourg
Nelson Hotel, Montreal, August 21.
Once more on terra ferma, dearest mother: what a strange sensation it is to tread the land once again, free from the motion of the heaving waters, to which I was now, in truth, glad to bid farewell.
By daybreak every creature on board was up and busily preparing for going on shore. The captain himself obligingly escorted us, and walked as far with us as the hotel, where we are at present lodged.
We found some difficulty in getting on shore, owing to the badness of the landing. The river was full of floating timbers, between which it required some skill to guide the boat. A wharf is now being built—not before it was needed*. [* Some excellent wharfs have since been completed.]
We were struck by the dirty, narrow, ill-paved or unpaved streets of the suburbs, and overpowered by the noisome vapour arising from a deep open fosse that ran along the street behind the wharf. This ditch seemed the receptacle for every abomination, and sufficient in itself to infect a whole town with malignant fevers*.