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A Romance of the Lower St. Lawrence.
Montreal: Published by John Lovell & Son 1890
TO MY FRIEND Lady Helen Munro-Ferguson of Raith, THIS LITTLE STORY IS DEDICATED IN REMEMBRANCE OF _Many happy days spent on the banks of the Lower St. Lawrence._
This little story is founded on an episode in Canadian history which I found an interesting study, namely, the disbanding of a regiment of Scottish soldiers in the neighborhood of Rimouski and the district about Father Point. Many of these stalwart sons of old Scotia who were thus left adrift strangers in a strange land accepted the situation philosophically, intermarried amongst the French families already in that part of the country, and settled down as farmers in a small way. A visit to that part of the country will show what their industry has effected.
Before having been in the district, I had always thought that the coasts of Lower St. Lawrence were almost incapable of any degree of cultivation, and practically of no agricultural value; but when at Father Point, some three summers ago, I was delighted to see all along the sandy road-sides long ridges of ploughed land, with potatoes, cabbages and beans growing in abundance. Back of these ridges, extending for many miles, are large tracts of most luxuriant pasture land on which browse cattle in very excellent condition.
The manners of the people of this district, who, "far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife," live in Utopian simplicity, are most gentle and courteous, and would put to shame those of the dwellers of many a more civilized spot.
It is very curious to trace the Scottish names of these people, handed down as they have been from generation to generation, though their pronunciation is much altered, and in most instances given a French turn, as, for example, Gourdon for Gordon, Noël for Nowell, and many others. However, in a few cases the names are such as even the most ingenious French tongue finds impossible to alter, and they remain in their original form, for example, Burns, Fraser and McAllister. It is strange to hear these names spoken by people who know no language but the French, and I was much struck by the incongruity.
M. O. Montreal, June, 1890.
I--"Wae's me for Prince Chairlie"
II--"Oh! Canada! mon pays, terre adorée, Sol si cher à mes amours."
III--"Il y a longtemps que je t'aime, Jamais je ne t'oublierai."
IV--"Red o'er the forest peers the setting sun, The line of yellow light dies fast away."
V--"A parish priest was of the pilgrim train; An awful, reverend and religious man. His eyes diffused a venerable grace, And charity itself was in his face. Rich was his soul, though his attire was poor (As God hath clothed his own ambassador), For such, on earth, his bless'd Redeemer bore."
VI--"The love of money is the root of all evil."
VII--"Oh! world! thy slippery turns! Friends now fast sworn in love inseparable shall within this hour break out to bitterest enmity."
VIII--TEN YEARS AFTER. "Oh! wouldst thou set thy rank before thyself? Wouldst thou be honored for thyself or that? Rank that excels the wearer doth degrade, Riches impoverish that divide respect."
IX--"Alas! Our memories may retrace Each circumstance of time and place; Season and scene come back again, And outward things unchanged remain: The rest we cannot reinstate: Ourselves we cannot re-create, Nor get our souls to the same key Of the remember'd harmony."
X--"O! primavera gioventù dell' anno! O! gioventù primavera della vitæ!!!"
XI--"Because thou hast believed the wheels of life Stand never idle, but go always round; Hast labor'd, but with purpose; hast become Laborious, persevering, serious, firm-- For this thy track across the fretful foam Of vehement actions without scope or term, Call'd history, keeps a splendor, due to wit, Which saw one clue to life and followed it."
XII--"I know, dear heart! that in our lot May mingle tears and sorrow; But love's rich rainbow's built from tears To-day, with smiles to-morrow, The sunshine from our sky may die, The greenness from life's tree, But ever 'mid the warring storm Thy nest shall shelter'd be. The world may never know, dear heart! What I have found in thee; But, though nought to the world, dear heart! Thou'rt all the world to me."