Meanwhile Admiral Boscawen with his fleet bore away for Halifax, the place of rendezvous, and Amherst, in the ship “Dublin,” followed in his wake.
The stormy coast of Cape Breton is indented by a small land-locked bay, between which and the ocean lies a tongue of land dotted with a few grazing sheep, and intersected by rows of stone that mark more or less distinctly the lines of what once were streets. Green mounds and embankments of earth enclose the whole space, and beneath the highest of them yawn arches and caverns of ancient masonry. This grassy solitude was once the “Dunkirk of America;” the vaulted caverns where the sheep find shelter from the ram were casemates where terrified women sought refuge from storms of shot and shell, and the shapeless green mounds were citadel, bastion, rampart, and glacis. Here stood Louisbourg; and not all the efforts of its conquerors, nor all the havoc of succeeding times, have availed to efface it. Men in hundreds toiled for months with lever, spade, and gunpowder in the work of destruction, and for more than a century it has served as a stone quarry; but the remains of its vast defences still tell their tale of human valor and human woe.
Stand on the mounds that were once the King’s Bastion. The glistening sea spreads eastward three thousand miles, and its waves meet their first rebuff against this iron coast. Lighthouse Point is white with foam; jets of spray spout from the rocks of Goat Island; mist curls in clouds from the seething surf that lashes the crags of Black Point, and the sea boils like a caldron among the reefs by the harbor’s mouth; but on the calm water within, the small fishing vessels rest tranquil at their moorings. Beyond lies a hamlet of fishermen by the edge of the water, and a few scattered dwellings dot the rough hills, bristled with stunted firs, that gird the quiet basin; while close at hand, within the precinct of the vanished fortress, stand two small farmhouses. All else is a solitude of ocean, rock, marsh, and forest.
[Footnote 576: Louisbourg is described as I saw it ten days before writing the above, after an easterly gale.]