We left the Chaudieres a little before sunset, and passed very soon the confluence of the Rideau or Curtain river. This river, which casts itself into the Ottawa over a rock twenty-five by thirty feet high, is divided in the middle of the fall by a little island, which parts the waters into two white sheets, resembling a double curtain open in the middle and spreading out below. The coup d’oeil is really picturesque; the rays of the setting sun, which struck the waters obliquely as we passed, heightened exceedingly their beauty, and rendered it worthy of a pencil more skilful than mine.
We voyaged till midnight, when we stopped to let our men take a little repose. This rest was only for two hours. At sunrise on the 1st September, we reached Long-Saut, where, having procured guides, we passed that dangerous rapid, and set foot on shore near the dwelling-house of a Mr. M’Donell, who sent us milk and fruits for our breakfast. Toward noon we passed the lake of the Two Mountains, where I began to see the mountain of my native isle. About two o’clock, we passed the rapids of St. Ann.[AL] Soon after we came opposite Saut St. Louis and the village of Caughnawago, passed that last rapid of so many, and landed at Montreal, a little before sunset.
[Footnote AL: “Far-famed and so well described,” adds Mr. Franchere, in his own translation, but I prefer to leave the expression in its original striking simplicity, as he wrote it before he had heard of MOORE. Every reader remembers:—
“Soon as the woods
on shore grow dim,
We’ll sing at St. Ann’s our parting hymn.”
Canadian Boatman’s Song.]
I hastened to the paternal roof, where the family were not less surprised than overjoyed at beholding me. Not having heard of me, since I had sailed from New York, they had believed, in accordance with the common report, that I had been murdered by the savages, with Mr. M’Kay and the crew of the Tonquin: and certainly, it was by the goodness of Providence that I found myself thus safe and sound, in the midst of my relations and friends, at the end of a voyage accompanied by so many perils, and in which so many of my companions had met with an untimely death.
Present State of the
Countries visited by the Author.—Correction
of Mr. Irving’s Statements respecting St. Louis.
The last chapter closes the original French narrative of my travels around and across the continent, as published thirty-three years ago. The translation follows that narrative as exactly as possible, varying from it only in the correction of a few not very important errors of fact. It speaks of places and persons as I spoke of them then. I would not willingly lose the verisimilitude of this natural and unadorned description, in order to indulge in any new turns of style or more philosophical reflections.