A Group Of Icebergs.
Nevertheless, no embouchure is naturally more securely guarded than that of the St. Lawrence. The triangle of Newfoundland almost completely blocks the otherwise unprotected portal, leaving, however, on the north and south a choice of passageways, so that a steamer may go round Cape Race and enter by the southern route, or, in the season when no icebergs intervene, may glide in through the Strait of Belle Isle, a well-marked channel, ten or twelve miles wide, fifty-two fathoms deep, and wholly clear of reefs and shallows. Nor is this all. Once past the island of Newfoundland, which is itself one-third larger than Ireland, the voyager finds himself in an enormous vestibule, known as the Gulf of St. Lawrence, an expanse of water only two thousand square miles less in area than the whole of New England and the State of New York combined.
A Monster From The North.
Ice Pack In Strait Of Belle Isle.
Upon the western side of this immense yet sheltered bay, and directly in front of the river itself, lies Anticosti Island, capable, if strongly fortified, of making further navigation for a hostile fleet impossible. This island is at present, however, owned by Mr. Menier, the well-known chocolate manufacturer in France, who is desirous of preserving there a number of wild animals, which, without some protection from the savage lust for slaughter that still lurks in civilized man, must speedily become extinct. Beyond this home for furred and feathered fugitives begins what is, strictly speaking, the St. Lawrence River, which, nevertheless, must be stemmed for more than four hundred miles before Quebec is reached. Yet the insinuating salt of the Atlantic penetrates the descending stream to within twenty-one miles of that city; and tidal influences are perceived at Three Rivers, eighty miles farther inland still, or only ninety-five miles from Montreal. The thought of the saline transformation of so vast a river is impressive, and one can hardly look, unmoved, upon the spot where the essential character of this as yet unsalted offering of the northern world begins to undergo the change preparatory to its ultimate union with the briny deep. A mile above, these waters still give life to man. A mile below, their brackish taste would mock his thirst. Yet the great alteration takes place with no sign of conflict. To casual observers the swiftmoving flood is still the same. But henceforth nothing can restore to it its pristine purity. Once tainted by the touch of ocean, it is as powerless to regain its freshness as to roll backward to its parent lakes.
Caught In The Ice.
Cape A L'Aigle.
St. Paul's bay, st. lawrence river.
No traveler can forget the view which greets him, as his steamer cleaves the bright green flood of the St. Lawrence, and brings him face to face with the majestic, dark-hued promontory of Quebec, which from the multitude of glittering quartz crystals in its composition was early called Cape Diamond. Three hundred and fifty feet in height, it is impressive in itself, imposing from man's decoration, and haunted with heroic history. Upon its summit and descending slopes stand many architectural reminders of both Church and State; its base is girdled with a prosperous city; and within easy range of its great guns a cosmopolitan fleet of ships and steamers lies at anchor, bringing, or bearing hence, innumerable products of earth's bounty and man's skill, of which gold is the mere expression. These vessels, in the buoyant current rippling at their prows, seem eager to be off, in company with the stream which constantly invites them oceanward, and bears so royally a half a continent's tribute to the sea.
Quebec From Point Levis.
The situation of Quebec is one that instantly appeals to the most primitive, as well as the most cultured, of the human race. Before a white man ever looked admiringly on its kingly cliff, the Indians had chosen it for a tribal home, and had established at its base a village known as Stadacona - a name still popular among Canadians. Moreover, the word "Kebec," which has given its title to the city that now ornaments the bluff, meant in the Algonquin dialect a strait, and was in fact bestowed by the aborigines on this portion of the river, because it here contracts its channel, and forms between two headlands an easily defended portal to the interior of the country. Naturally, therefore, this grand gateway of the North became the earliest halting-place of Cartier, the cradle of Canadian civilization, and the corner-stone of that "New France," of which the court of Versailles fondly dreamed, when its brave representative, Champlain, founded here, in 1608, the first European settlement on Canadian soil.