The interior is handsome, and possesses several really valuable works of art. But its most remarkable feature is the multitude of crutches, canes, trusses, and even eye-glasses, which are suspended or piled up in pyramids in the chapels, as the "ex-votos" of innumerable invalids, who thus bear witness to their recovery through the assistance of the good Ste. Anne. The importance attached to this church and its holy relic may be seen in the fact that about sixty thousand pilgrims come here every summer from all parts of Canada to implore favors of the saint. Among these are descendants of the Iroquois and Hurons, whose ancestors fought, killed, and scalped so many of the forbears of the white men who now kneel beside them in the stately shrine. Near by, surmounted by a statue of Ste. Anne, is a modest grotto, from which gushes forth a mountain spring whose water is believed to be also very efficacious, and which is, therefore, carried away in bottles by the faithful. A little distant is the broad St. Lawrence; and many a sailor, as he passes this point on his way to sea, looks toward Ste. Anne, and breathes a fervent prayer; for the mother of the Virgin is thought to be the special patroness of mariners.
A Group Of " Habitants".
Interior Of The Church Of Ste. Anne De Beaupre.
Humanity is much the same in all religions and all lands. As Christians kneel at Lourdes and Ste. Anne de Beaupre, and regain their health, so Hindus pray beside the Ganges, Buddhists in the temples of Japan, and Moslems at the tombs of sheiks in Egypt. At all of these I have seen countless votive offerings in various forms - proofs that man everywhere in pain and weakness cries out for help to some invisible Power. Whatever be the power thus addressed, if the petitioner's faith be strong enough, in certain temperaments and maladies, strange results will follow. No physical or psychical phenomena are more curious and less understood.
A little more than a hundred miles below Ste. Anne de Beaupre, another tributary reaches the St. Lawrence. It is the far-famed Saguenay, one of the saddest and most sombre rivers in the world. An excursion to this is easily made in summer by means of a tourist steamer from Quebec, and to neglect to visit it is to miss one of the most imposing natural features of the American continent. Its scenery resembles that of the Norwegian fjords; and, as I sailed between its frowning mountain walls, it seemed, like the ocean avenues of Norseland, to be an inland-creeping arm of the Atlantic. It is, however, a genuine river, flowing southeastward for one hundred and twelve miles from its cradle in the wilderness, whence it is further traceable through its affluents to four times that distance. Close to the point where it unites with the St. Lawrence, lies the pretty town of Tadousac, a favorite resort in summer for Canadians, and not a little visited also by Americans. Here, in September, 1535, Jacques Cartier is supposed to have landed, as he came sailing, with the zest of a discoverer, up the mighty river by means of which he hoped to reach Cathay. No doubt he halted at this junction, hesitating whether he should turn aside to see what strange land lay beyond this sable stream. But the far greater breadth and majesty of the St. Lawrence, which is here twenty miles in width, decided him to plow its waters farther, and he went westward toward Quebec. A century later, this village was the home and missionary station of Pere Marquette, who finally became the great explorer of the Mississippi Valley, and whose French name is still commemorated in a thriving town in Michigan.
The Mouth Of The Saguenay.
A Tributary To The Saguenay.
The Old Church At Tadousac.
Peaceful as Tadousac can look at times, it is renowned for winds and storms. Nor could it well be otherwise; for the strong draught which sweeps down through the narrow ravine of the Saguenay encounters here the winds of the St. Lawrence, while to the meeting of these fluvial and aerial currents is often added the disturbance of a tide which rises to a height of twenty feet. The advent of the Saguenay is visible from quite a distance, so different is its dark-hued volume from the azure flood of the St. Lawrence. They do not readily mingle, and far beyond the exit of the northern river we see the two streams struggling to preserve their individuality. Eventually, however, the greater mass absorbs the less, and the distinction of their colors fades, till all is once more clear and blue.