They went by steamer from Montreal to Quebec and an American General on board jeered at them for travelling three hundred miles to catch fish which they could buy in the market at their door! When they reached Quebec they found no steamer for Murray Bay,—hardly strange as then the steamboat was comparatively new. Three days they waited at Quebec until at length they bargained with the captain of a coasting schooner bound for Kamouraska, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, to land them at Malbaie. The weather was stormy, the ship nearly foundered, and the eighty miles of the journey occupied no less than four days and nights. The fishermen had brought with them a quarter of cold lamb, a loaf, and a bottle of wine, but, before the journey was over, sheer hunger drove them to the ship’s salt pork and to sausages stuffed with garlic. Rather than take refuge below among “thirty or forty dirty habitants from Kamouraska” they stuck to the deck and encamped under the great sail, but the rain fell so heavily that they could not even keep their cigars alight. At length “with beards like Jews,” cold, wet, half-starved and miserable, they reached their destination. As they landed at Murray Bay they saw a salmon floundering in a net, bought it, and carried it with them to the house of a man named Chaperon where they had engaged lodgings. Here, says Dr. Henry, the sensation of being clean and comfortable in their host’s “pleasant parlour” was delicious. The tea, the toast, the dainty prints of fresh butter were all exquisite “after rancid pork and garlic,” and he declares that they ate for two hours and consumed “some half gallon of thick cream and half a bushel of new laid eggs.” Under their window bloomed a rose bush in full flower. Murray Bay was at its best.
On Monday morning, July 5th, 1830, the two fishermen engaged a caleche, and a boy named Louis Panet drove them up the Murray River. The present village church was already standing, “a respectable church,” says Dr. Henry, “with its long roof and glittering spire and a tall elm or two”; the elms, alas, have disappeared and now there are only willows. A wooden bridge crossed the Murray and its large abutments loaded with great boulders told of formidable spring floods sweeping down the valley. A recent “eboulement” or land slide had blocked the road along the river and men were still busy clearing away the rubbish. Eight or ten miles up the river at the fall known as the Chute, still a favourite spot for salmon fishing, they had magnificent sport. One Jean Gros, in a crazy canoe, took them to the best places for casting the fly. The first salmon weighed twenty-five pounds and they had to play it for three-quarters of an hour. That evening when they returned to M. Chaperon’s, to feast once more, they had five salmon weighing in all one hundred and five pounds and forty-five sea trout averaging three pounds each. No wonder Gilchrist has said such fishing was worth a trip across the Atlantic! The blot on the day’s enjoyment was that in the July weather they were pestered with flies.