The visitors to this beautiful scene gather year by year from places widely separated and form in this remote village a society singularly cosmopolitan. English, French, Americans, Canadians, all mingle here with leisure to meet and play together. For a time far away seems the hard world of competition. Rarely do newspapers arrive until at least the day after publication; the telegraph is used only under urgent necessity; as far as possible business is excluded. The cottages are spacious enough but quite simple, with rooms usually divided off only by boards of pine or spruce. Very little decoration makes them pretty. Gardening has a good many devotees; the long day of sunshine and in some seasons the abundant rain of this northern region help to make vegetation luxurious. If one drives he may take a planche—the convenient serviceable “buck-board,”—still unsurpassed for a country of hills and rough roads. But to me at least the caleche is the more enjoyable. It comes here from old France, a two-wheeled vehicle, with the seat hung on stout leather straps reaching from front to back on each side of the wooden frame. It is not a vehicle for those sensitive to slight jars. The driver sits in a tiny seat in front and one is amazed at the agility with which even old men spring from this perch to walk up and down the steep hills. Their ponies are beautiful little animals, specially fitted by a long development for work in this hilly country. So well do they mount its heights that travellers repeat an unconfirmed tradition of their having been known to climb trees!
It is not strange that in our happy summer days we acquire a deep affection for this northern region, its brilliant colouring, its crisp air. Not its least charm is in the cheerful and kindly people. One would not have them speak any other tongue than their French, preserving here archaic usages, with new words for new things, influenced of course by English, but still the beautiful language of an older France than the France of to-day. The people have their own tragedies. One sees pale women, over-worked. The physician’s skill is too little sought; the country ranges are very remote; it is difficult and expensive to get medical aid; and there are deformed cripples who might have been made whole by skill applied in time. Consumption too is here a dread scourge, though against it a strenuous campaign has now begun. Many children are born but too many die. Still, most of the people live in comfort and they enjoy life—enjoy it probably much more than would an Anglo-Saxon community of the same type.