Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

10. Montreal is also the centre of the railway commun:cation of the Dominion, and is connected with the Uniteil States by railway and canal. The great railway bridge across the river here is two miles long. The trade is more general than that of Quebec, and includes little timber. Of the various manufactures may be mentioned sleighsthose light pleasant carriages in which the Canadians are fond of gliding over the snow during winter. The population of Montreal is 140,000.

LESSON 55. PASSING THE RAPIDS IN A CANADIAN RIVER.

1. Far as the eye could reach, the river was white with boiling rapids and foaming cascades, which, though small, were much too large to ascend, and consequently we were obliged to make portages at almost every two or three hundred yards. Rapid after rapid was surmounted; yet still, as we rounded every point and curve, rapids and falls rose, in apparently endless succession, before our wearied eyes.

2. My Indians, however, knew exactly the number they had to ascend, so they set themselves manfully to the task. I could not help admiring the dexterous way in which they guided the canoe among the rapids.

3. Upon arriving at one, the old Indian, who always sat in the bow (this being the principal seat in canoe travelling), rose up on his knees and stretched out his neck to take a look before commencing the attempt; and then, sinking down again, seized his paddle, and pointing to the chaos of boiling waters that rushed swiftly past us (thus indicating the course he intended to take to his partner in the stern), dashed into the stream.

a

4. At first we were borne down with the speed of lightning, while the water hissed and boiled to within an inch of the gunwale, and a person unaccustomed to such navigation would have thought it folly our attempting to ascend; but a second glance would prove that our Indians had not acted rashly.

5. In the centre of the mighty current a large rock rose above the surface, and from its lower end a long eddy ran like the tail of a comet for about twenty yards down the river. It was just opposite this rock that we entered the rapid and paddled for it with all our might.

6. The current, however, as I said before, swept us down; and when we got to the middle of the stream, we just reached the extreme point of the eddy, and after a few strong strokes of the paddles were floating quietly in the lee of the rock. We did not stay long, however —just long enough to look for another stone, and the old Indian soon pitched upon one a few yards higher up, but a good deal to one side; so, dipping our paddles once more, we pushed out into the stream again, and soon reached the second rock.

7. In this way, yard by yard, did we ascend for miles, sometimes scarcely gaining a foot in a minute, and at others, as a favouring bay or curve presented a long piece of smooth water, advancing more rapidly.

8. We had surmounted a good many rapids, and made a few portages, when we arrived at a perpendicular fall of about two feet in height, but from the rapidity of the current it formed only a very steep shoot. Here the Indians paused to breathe, and seemed to doubt the possibility of ascent; however, after a little conversation on the subject, they determined to try it, and got out their poles for the purpose (poles being always used when the current is too strong for the paddles).

[ocr errors]

9. We now made a dash, and, turning the bow to the current, the Indians fixed their poles firmly in the ground, while the water rushed like a mill-race past us. They then pushed forward, one keeping his pole fixed while the other fixed his a little more ahead.

10. In this way we advanced inch by inch, and had almost got up when suddenly the pole of the Indian in the stern slipped; and almost before I knew what had happened, we were floating down the stream about a hundred yards below the fall. Fortunately the canoe went stern foremost, so that we got down in safety. Had it turned round even a little in its descent, it would have been rolled over and over like a cask.

11. Our second attempt proved more successful; and after a good deal of straining and puffing we arrived at the top, where the sight of a longer stretch than usual of calm and placid water rewarded us for our exertions during the day.—R. M. Ballantyne's Hudson's Bay.

a

LESSON 56.--DIVISIONS AND TOWNS.-II.

1. The inland province of Manitoba lies to the south of Lakes Manitoba and Winnipeg; it was formerly known as Red River Settlement. It is mostly rich level prairie land, and promises to be a highly productive wheat district. The capital town, Winnipeg, is built at the confluence of the Red River and the Assineboine and is increasing very rapidly. Large numbers of immigrants are now settling in this province.

2. British Columbia, on the Pacific side of America, enjoys a delightful climate. It has fine forests and fertile plains, fish are plentiful in its rivers, and furs are brought

, down to the coast by the Indians and traders. But its chief wealth consists in minerals, of which gold and coal are the principal. New Westminster, a small city on the Fraser River, is the largest town on the mainland. Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is the capital and the chief port of the province.

3. Under the name of North-west Territories is comprehended all the immense area of the Dominion not included in the other provinces, and lying mainly to the north-west of Canada proper.

It contains numerous trading stations of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the country is sparsely peopled by Indians, and (in the north) Esquimaux.

4. The maritime province of New Brunswick lies between the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A good deal of forest land has been cleared, greatly to the improvement of the climate, which is moist and visited by frequent fogs. Lumbering, and mining for coal, iron, and copper are the chief occupations of the inhabitants; farming has not made much progress. St. John, the chief town, is a seaport at the mouth of the river St. John. The capital is Frederickton, a small town sixty miles up the St. John River.

5. The coasts of the peninsula of Nova Scotia and the island of Cape Breton (together forming one province) are indented with bays, harbours are numerous, and the fisheries are productive. Coal, granite, and slate are abundant, and the province is noted for apples and cider.

6. Halifax, a city and seaport situated on an inlet of the south-west coast of Nova Scotia, possesses one of the finest harbours in the world. It is the chief British naval station in North America, is strongly fortified, and has a large government dockyard. The trade of the port is in fish, coal, lumber, farm produce. The population is 36,000. Sydney, the former capital of Cape Breton, has a good harbour, whence are exported coals obtained from valuable mines in the neighbourhood.

7. Prince Edward Island, the smallest province of the Dominion, is especially an agricultural province, having a mild insular climate, a fertile soil, and no minerals. The capital is Charlottetown, a small port towards the middle of the island.

8. Newfoundland, opposite the mouth of the St. Lawrence, has settlements round the coasts; much of the interior consists of “barrens”-rocky ridges or plains dotted with boulders and patches of gravel. The island contains copper and lead mines. The fisheries for cod, seals, and whales are the great source of wealth.

9. St. John's, the capital, is the most easterly port of America; it is 1666 miles west of Galway in Ireland, and 1076 miles north-east of Montreal. It has a good harbour, and a large trade in fish, and in supplying fishing-vessels with provisions and fishing tackle. The town contains biscuit factories, fishing-net factories, and oil refineries.

10. Heart's Content, a pretty little port near Cape Race, is the landing-place of two submarine Atlantic telegraph cables which connect the old and new continents.

LESSON 57.-GOLD-SEEKERS IN BRITISH

COLUMBIA.-I.

1. Victoria was wonderfully changed for the better since we had last left it. The pretty little town was now filled with people; hotels were springing up to feed and house the roving gold-seekers; banks, warehouses, and even churches appeared in unexpected places.

« AnteriorContinuar »