Project Gutenberg's Westward with the Prince of Wales, by W. Douglas Newton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Westward with the Prince of Wales Author: W. Douglas Newton Release Date: September 25, 2009 [EBook #30082] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WESTWARD WITH THE PRINCE OF WALES *** Produced by Al Haines
[Transcriber's note: This book is an account by a British journalist of the cross-Canada tour, by train, in 1919, of Edward VIII, British Prince of Wales. In 1936, Edward abdicated from the British throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.]
It was on Friday, August 1, 1919, that "the damned reporters" and the Times correspondent's hatbox went on board the light cruiser Dauntless at Devonport.
The Dauntless had just arrived from the Baltic to load up cigarettes—at least, that was the first impression. In the Baltic the rate of exchange had risen from roubles to packets of Players, and a handful of cigarettes would buy things that money could not obtain. Into the midst of a ship's company, feverishly accumulating tobacco in the hope of cornering at least the amber market of the world, we descended.
Actually, I suppose, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales had been the first interrupter of the Dauntless' schemes. Lying alongside Devonport quay to refit—in that way were the cigarettes covered up—word was sent that the Dauntless with her sister ship, Dragon, was to act as escort to the battle-cruiser Renown when she carried the Prince to Canada.
Though he came first we could not expect to be as popular as the Prince, and when, therefore, those on board also learnt that the honour of acting as escort was to be considerably mitigated by a cargo from Fleet Street, they were no doubt justified in naming us "damned."
We did litter them up so. The Dauntless is not merely one of the latest and fastest of the light cruisers, she is also first among the smartest. To accommodate us they had to give way to a rash of riveters from the dock-yard who built cabins all over the graceful silhouette. When our telegrams, and ourselves, and our baggage (including the Times' hatbox) arrived piece by piece, each was merely an addition to the awful mess on deck our coming had meant.
Actually we could not help ourselves. Dock strikes, ship shortage and the holiday season had all conspired to make any attempt to get to Canada in a legitimate way a hopeless task. Only the Admiralty's idea to pre-date the carrying of commercial travellers on British battleships could get us to the West at all. The Admiralty, after modest hesitation, had agreed to send us in the Dauntless, and before the cruiser sailed we all realized how fortunate we were to have been unlucky at the outset.
We sailed on August 2 from Devonport, three days before Renown and Dragon left Portsmouth, and when one of us suggested that this was a happy idea to get us to St. John's, Newfoundland, in order to be ready for the Prince, he was told:
"Not at all, we're out looking for icebergs."
We were to act as the pilot ship over the course.
We found icebergs, many of them; even, we nearly rammed an iceberg in the middle of a foggy night, but we found other things, too.
We found that we had got onto what the Navy calls a "happy ship," and if anybody wants to taste what real good fellowship is I advise him to go to sea on what the Navy calls "a happy ship." However much we had disturbed them, the officers of the Dauntless did not let that make any difference in the warmth of their hospitality. We were made free of the ward-room, and that Baltic tobacco. We were initiated into "The Grand National," a muscular sport in which the daring exponent turns a series of somersaults over the backs of a line of chairs; and we were admitted into the raggings and the singing of ragtime.
We were made splendidly at home. Not only in the ward-room that did a jazz with a disturbing spiral movement when we speeded up from our casual 18 knots to something like 28 in a rough sea, but from the bridge down to the boiler room, where we watched the flames of oil fuel making steam in the modern manner, we were drawn into the charmed circle of comradeship and keenness that made up the essential spirit of that fine ship's company.
The "damned reporters," on a trip in which even the weather was companionable, were given the damnedest of good times, and it was with real regret that, on the evening of Friday, August 8, we saw the high, grim rampart wall of Newfoundland lift from the Western sea to tell us that our time on the Dauntless would soon be finished.
Actually we left the Dauntless at St. John's, New Brunswick, where we became the guests of the Canadian Government which looked after us, as it looked after the whole party, with so great a sense of generosity and care that we could never feel sufficiently grateful to it.
|II||ST. JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK|
|III||ON THE TRAIN BETWEEN ST. JOHN AND HALIFAX|
|IV||HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA|
|V||CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND AND HABITANT, CANADA|
|VII||THE MOBILE HOTEL DE LUXE: THE ROYAL TRAIN|
|VIII||THE CITY OF CROWDS: TORONTO: ONTARIO|
|XI||ON THE ROAD TO TROUT|
|XII||PICNICS AND PRAIRIES|
|XIII||THE CITY OF WHEAT: WINNIPEG, MANITOBA|
|XIV||THE FRINGE OF THE GREAT NORTH-WEST: SASKATOON AND EDMONTON|
|XV||CALGARY AND THE CATTLE RANCH|
|XVI||CHIEF MORNING STAR COMES TO BANFF AND THE ROCKIES|
|XVII||THE PACIFIC CITIES: VANCOUVER AND VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA|
|XVIII||APPLE LAND: OKANAGAN AND KOOTENAY LAKES|
|XIX||THE PRAIRIES AGAIN|
|XX||SILVER, GOLD AND COMMERCE|
|XXI||NIAGARA AND THE TOWNS OF WESTERN ONTARIO|
St. John's, Newfoundland, was the first city of the Western continent to see the Prince of Wales. It was also the first to label him with one of the affectionate, if inexplicable sobriquets that the West is so fond of.
Leaning over the side of the Dauntless on the day of the Prince's visit, a seaman smiled down, as seamen sometimes do, at a vivid little Newfoundland Flapper in a sunset-coloured jumper bodice, New York cut skirt, white stockings and white canvas boots. The Flapper looked up from her seat in the stern of her "gas" launch (gasolene equals petrol), and smiled back, as is the Flapper habit, and the seaman promptly opened conversation by asking if the Flapper had seen the Prince.
"You bet," said the Flapper. "He's a dandy boy. He's a plush."
His Royal Highness became many things in his travels across America, but I think it ought to go down in history that at St. John's, Newfoundland, he became a "plush."
Newfoundland also introduced another Western phenomenon. It presented us to the race of false prophets whom we were to see go down in confusion all the way from St. John's to Victoria and back again to New York.
Members of this race were plentiful in St. John's. As we spent our days before the Prince's arrival picking up facts and examining the many beautiful arches of triumph that were being put up in the town, we were warned not to expect too much from Newfoundland. St. John's had not its bump of enthusiasm largely developed, we were told; its people were resolutely dour and we must not be disappointed if the Prince's reception lacked warmth. In all probability the weather would conform to the general habit and be foggy.
Here, as elsewhere, the prophets were confounded. St. John's proved second to none in the warmth of its affectionate greeting—that splendid spontaneous welcome which the whole West gave to the Prince upset all preconceived notions, swept away all sense of set ceremonial and made the tour from the beginning to the end the most happy progress of a sympathetic and responsive youth through a continent of intimate personal friends.
The Dauntless went out from St. John's on Sunday, August 10, to rendezvous with Renown and Dragon, and the three great modern warships came together on a glorious Western evening.
There was a touch of drama in the meeting. In the marvellous clear air of gold and blue that only the American Continent can show, we picked up Renown at a point when she was entering a long avenue of icebergs. There were eleven of these splendid white fellows in view on the skyline when we turned to lead the great battleship back to the anchorage in Conception Bay, north of St. John's, and as the ships followed us it was as though the Prince had entered a processional way set with great pylons arranged deliberately to mark the last phase of his route to the Continent of the West.
Some of these bergs were as large, as massive and as pinnacled as cathedrals, some were humped mounds that lifted sullenly from the radiant sea, some were treacherous little crags circled by rings of detached floes—the "growlers," those almost wholly submerged masses of ice that the sailor fears most. Most of the bergs in the two irregular lines were distant, and showed as patches of curiously luminant whiteness against the intense blue of the sky. Some were close enough for us to see the wonderful semi-transparent green of the cracks and fissures in their sides and the vivid emerald at the base that the bursting seas seemed to be eternally polishing anew.
When Renown was sighted, a mere smudge on the horizon, we saw the flash of her guns and heard faintly the thud of the explosions. She was getting in some practice with her four-inch guns on the enticing targets of the bergs.
We were too far away to see results, but we were told that as a spectacle the effect of the shell-bursts on the ice crags was remarkable. Under the explosions the immense masses of these translucent fairy islands rocked and changed shape. Faces of ice cliffs crumbled under the hits and sent down avalanches of ice into the furious green seas the shocks of the explosions had raised.
This was one of the few incidents in a journey made under perfect weather conditions in a vessel that is one of the "wonder ships" of the British Navy. The huge Renown had behaved admirably throughout the passage. She had travelled at a slow speed, for her, most of the time, but there had been a spell of about an hour when she had worked up to the prodigious rate of thirty-one knots an hour. Under these test conditions she had travelled like an express with no more structural movement than is felt in a well-sprung Pullman carriage.
The Prince had employed his five day's journey by indulging his fancy for getting to know how things are done. Each day he had spent two hours in a different part of the ship having its function and mechanism explained to him by the officer in charge.
As he proved later in Canada when visiting various industrial and agricultural plants, His Royal Highness has the modern curiosity and interest for the mechanics of things. Indeed, throughout the journey he showed a distinct inclination towards people and the work that ordinary people did, rather than in the contemplation of views however splendid, and the report that he said at one time, "Oh, Lord, let's cut all this scenery and get back to towns and crowds," is certainly true in essence if not in fact.
It was in the beautiful morning of August 11th that the Prince made his first landfall in the West, and saw in the distance the great curtain of high rock that makes the grim coast-line of Newfoundland.
For reasons of the Renown's tonnage he had to go into Conception Bay, one of the many great sacks of inlets that make the island something that resembles nothing so much as a section of a jig-saw puzzle. The harbour of St. John's could float Renown, but its narrow waters would not permit her to turn, and the Prince had to transfer his Staff and baggage to Dragon in order to complete the next stage of the voyage.
Conception Bay is a fjord thrusting its way through the jaws of strong, sharp hills of red sandstone piled up in broken and stratified masses above grey slate rock. On these hills cling forests of spruce and larch in woolly masses that march down the combes to the very water's edge. It is wild scenery, Scandinavian and picturesque.
In the combes—the "outports" they are called—are the small, scattered villages of the fishermen. The wooden frame houses have the look of the packing-case, and though they are bright and toy-like when their green or red or cinnamon paint is fresh, they are woefully drab when the weather of several years has had its way with them.
In front of most of the houses are the "flakes," or drying platforms where the split cod is exposed to the air. These "flakes" are built up among the ledges and crevices of the rock, being supported by numberless legs of thin spruce mast; the effect of these spidery platforms, the painted houses, the sharp stratified red rock and the green massing of the trees is that of a Japanese vignette set down amid inappropriate scenery.
Cod fishing is, of course, the beginning and the end of the life of many of these villages on the bays that indent so deeply the Newfoundland coast. It is not the adventurous fishing of the Grand Banks; there is no need for that. There is all the food and the income man needs in the crowded local waters. Men have only to go out in boats with hook and line to be sure of large catches.
Only a few join the men who live farther to the south, about Cape Race, in their trips to the misty waters of the Grand Banks. Here they put off from their schooners in dories and make their haul with hook and line.
A third branch of these fishers, particularly those to the north of St. John's, push up to the Labrador coast, where in the bays, or "fishing rooms," they catch, split, head, salt and dry the superabundant fish.
By these methods vast quantities of cod and salmon are caught, and, as in the old days when the hardy fishermen of Devon, Brittany, Normandy and Portugal were the only workers in these little known seas, practically all the catch is shipped to England and France. During the war the cod fishers of Newfoundland played a very useful part in mitigating the stringency of the British ration-cards, and there are hopes that this good work may be extended, and that by setting up a big refrigerating plant Newfoundland may enlarge her market in Britain and the world.
With the fishery goes the more dangerous calling of sealing. For this the men of Newfoundland set out in the winter and the spring to the fields of flat "pan" ice to hunt the seal schools.
At times this means a march across the ice deserts for many days and the danger of being cut off by blizzards; when that happens no more news is heard of the adventurous hunters.
Every few years Newfoundland writes down the loss of a ship's company of her too few young men, for Newfoundland, very little helped by immigration, exists on her native born. "A crew every six or eight years, we reckon it that way," you are told. It is part of the hard life the Islanders lead, an expected debit to place against the profits of the rich fur trade.
Solidly blocking the heart of Conception Bay is a big island, the high and irregular outline of which seems to have been cut down sharply with a knife. This is Bell Island, which is not so much an island as a great, if accidental, iron mine.
Years ago, when the island was merely the home of farmers and fishermen, a shipowner in need of easily handled ballast found that the subsoil contained just the thing he wanted. By turning up the thin surface he came upon a stratum of small, square slabs of rock rather like cakes of soap. These were easily lifted and easily carted to his ship.
He initiated the habit of taking rock from Bell Island for ballast, and for years shipmasters loaded it up, to dump it overboard with just as much unconcern when they took their cargo inboard. It was some time before an inquiring mind saw something to attract it in the rock ballast; the rock was analyzed and found to contain iron.
Turned into a profiteer by this astonishing discovery, the owner of the ground where the slabs were found clung tenaciously to his holding until he had forced the price up to the incredible figure of 100 dollars. He sold with the joyous satisfaction of a man making a shrewd deal.
His ground has changed hands several times since, and the prices paid have advanced somewhat on his optimistic figure; for example, the present company bought it for two million dollars.
The ore is not high grade, but is easily obtained, and so can be handled profitably. In the beginning it was only necessary to turn over the turf and take what was needed, the labour costing less than a shilling a ton. Now the mines strike down through the rock of the island beneath the sea, and the cost of handling is naturally greater. It is worth noting that prior to 1914 practically all the output of this essentially British mine went to Germany; the war has changed that and now Canada takes the lion's share.
It was under the cliffs of Bell Island, near the point where the long lattice-steel conveyors bring the ore from the cliff-top to the water-level, that the three warships dropped anchor. As they swung on their cables blasting operations in the iron cliffs sent out the thud of their explosions and big columns of smoke and dust, for all the world as though a Royal salute was being fired in honour of the Prince's arrival.
During the day His Royal Highness went ashore informally, mainly to satisfy his craving for walking exercise. Before he did so, he received the British correspondents on board the Renown, and a few minutes were spent chatting with him in the charming and spacious suite of rooms that Navy magic had erected with such efficiency that one had to convince oneself that one really was on a battleship and not in a hotel de luxe.
We met a young man in a rather light grey lounge suit, whose boyish figure is thickening into the outlines of manhood. I have heard him described as frail; and a Canadian girl called him "a little bit of a feller" in my hearing. But one has only to note an excellent pair of shoulders and the strength of his long body to understand how he can put in a twenty-hour day of unresting strenuosity in running, riding, walking and dancing without turning a hair.
It is the neat, small features, the nose a little inclined to tilt, a soft and almost girlish fairness of complexion, and the smooth and remarkable gold hair that give him the suggestion of extreme boyishness—these things and his nervousness.
His nervousness is part of his naturalness and lack of poise. It showed itself then, and always, in characteristic gestures, a tugging at the tie, the smoothing-down of the hair with the flat of the hand, the furious digging of fists into pockets, a clutching at coat lapels, and a touch of hesitance before he speaks.
He comes at you with a sort of impulsive friendliness, his body hitched a little sideways by the nervous drag of a leg. His grip is a good one; he meets your eyes squarely in a long glance to which the darkness about his eyes adds intensity, as though he is getting your features into his memory for all time, in the resolve to keep you as a friend.
He speaks well, with an attractive manner and a clear enunciation that not even acute nervousness can slur or disorganize. He is, in fact, an excellent public speaker, never missing the value of a sentence, and managing his voice so well that even in the open air people are able to follow what he says at a distance that renders other speakers inaudible.
In private he is as clear, but more impulsive. He makes little darting interjections which seem part of a similar movement of hands, or the whole of the body, and he speaks with eagerness, as though he found most things jolly and worth while, and expects you do too. Obviously he finds zest in ordinary human things, and not a little humour, also, for there is more often than not a twinkle in his eyes that gives character to his friendly smile—that extraordinarily ready smile, which comes so spontaneously and delightfully, and which became a byword over the whole continent of the West.
It is this friendly and unstudied manner that wins him so much affection. It makes all feel immediately that he is extraordinarily human and extraordinarily responsive, and that there are no barriers or reticences in intercourse with him.
He is not an intellectual, and he certainly is not a dullard. He rather fills the average of the youth of modern times, with an extreme fondness for modern activities, which include golfing, running and walking; jazz music and jazz dancing (when the prettiness of partners is by no means a deterrent), sightseeing and the rest, and my own impression is, that he is much more at home in the midst of a hearty crowd—the more democratic the better—than in the most august of formal gatherings.
The latter, too, means speech-making, and he has, I fancy, a young man's loathing of making speeches. He makes them—on certain occasions he had to make them three times and more a day—and he makes good ones, but he would rather, I think, hold an open reception where Tom, Dick, Vera, Phyllis and Harry crowded about him in a democratic mob to shake his hand.
Yet though he does not like speech-making, he showed from the beginning that he meant to master the repugnant art. To read speeches, as he did in the early days of the tour, was not good enough. He schooled himself steadily to deliver them without manuscript, so that by the end of the trip he was able to deliver a long and important speech—such as that at Massey Hall, Toronto, on November 4—practically without referring to his notes.
During his day in Conception Bay, the Prince went ashore and spent some time amid the beautiful scenery of rocky, spruce-clad hills and valleys, where the forests and the many rocky streams give earnest of the fine sport in game and fish for which Newfoundland is famous.
The crews of the battleships went ashore, also, to the scattered little hamlet of Topsail, lured there, perhaps, by the legend that Topsail is called the Brighton of Newfoundland. It is certainly a pretty place, with its brightly painted, deep-porched wooden houses set amid the trees in that rugged country, but the inhabitants were led astray by local pride when they dragged in Brighton. The local "Old Ship" is the grocer's, who also happened to be the Selfridge's of the hamlet, and his good red wine or brown ale, or whatever is yours, is Root Beer!
For many of the battleships' crews it was the first impact with the Country of the Dry, and the shock was profound.
"I was ashore five hours, waiting for the blinkin' liberty boat to come and take me off," said one seaman, in disgust. "Five hours! And all I had was a water—and that was warm."
On Tuesday, August 12, the Prince transferred to Dragon and in company with Dauntless steamed towards St. John's, along the grim, sheer coast of Newfoundland, where squared promontories standing out like buttresses give the impression that they are bastions set in the wall of a castle built by giants.
The gateway to St. John's harbour is a mere sally-port in that castle wall. It is an abrupt opening, and is entered through the high and commanding posts of Signal and the lighthouse hills.
One can conceive St. John's as the ideal pirate lair of a romance-maker of the Stevensonian tradition, and one can understand it appealing to the bold, freebooting instincts of the first daring settlers. A ring of rough, stratified hills grips the harbour water about, sheltering it from storms and land enemies, while with the strong hills at the water-gate to command it, and a chain drawn across its Narrows, it was safe from incursion of water-borne foes.
It was the fitting stronghold of the reckless Devon, Irish and Scots fishermen who followed Cabot to the old Norse Helluland, the "Land of Naked Rocks," and who vied and fought with, and at length ruled with the rough justice of the "Fishing Admirals" the races of Biscayan and Portuguese men who made the island not a home but a centre of the great cod fishery that supplied Europe.
St. John's has laboured under its disadvantages ever since those days. The town has been pinched between the steep hills, and forced to straggle back for miles along the harbour inlet. On the southern side of the basin the slope has beaten the builder, and on the dominant green hill, through the grass of which thrusts grey and red-brown masses of the sharp-angled rock stratum, there are very few houses.
On the north, humanity has made a fight for it, and the white, dusty roads struggle with an almost visible effort up the heavy grade of the hill until they attain the summit. The effect is of a terraced and piled-up city, straggling in haphazard fashion up to the point where the great Roman Catholic cathedral, square-hewn and twin-towered, crowns the mass of the town.
Plank frame houses, their paint dingy and grey, with stone and brick buildings, jostle each other on the hill-side streets, innocent of sidewalks. The main thoroughfare, Water Street, which runs parallel with the harbour and the rather casual wharves, is badly laid, and given to an excess of mud in wet weather, mud that the single-deck electric trams on their bumpy track distribute lavishly. The black pine masts that serve as telegraph-poles are set squarely and frequently in the street, and overhead is the heavy mesh of cables and wires that forms an essential part of all civic scenery in the West. The buildings and shops along this street are not imposing, and there seems a need for revitalization in the town, either through a keener overseas trading and added shipping facilities, or a broader and more encouraging local policy.
Most of the goods for sale were American, and some of them not the best type of American articles at that. It was hard to find indications of British trading, and it seemed to me that here was a field for British enterprise, and that with the easing of shipping difficulties, which were then tying up Newfoundland's commerce, Britain and Newfoundland would both benefit by a vigorous trade policy. Newfoundlanders seemed anxious to get British goods, and, as they pointed out, the rate of exchange was all in their favour.
Through Water Street passes a medley of vehicles; the bumpy electric trams, horse carts that look like those tent poles the Indians trail behind them put on wheels, spidery buggies, or "rigs," solid-wheeled country carts, and the latest makes in automobiles.
The automobiles astonish one, both in their inordinate number and their up-to-dateness. There seemed, if anything, too many cars for the town, but then that was only because we are new to the Western Continent, where the automobile is as everyday a thing as the telephone. All the cars are American, and to the Newfoundlander they are things of pride, since they show how the modern spirit of the Colony triumphs over sea freight and heavy import duty. Motor-cars and electric lighting in a lavish fashion that Britain does not know, form the modern features of St. John's.
When the two warships steamed through the Narrows into the harbour, St. John's, within its hills, was looking its best under radiant sunlight. The fishermen's huts clinging to the rocky crevices of the harbour entrance on thousands of spidery legs, let crackers off to the passing ships and fluttered a mist of flags. Flags shone with vivid splashes of pigment from the water's edge, where a great five-masted schooner, barques engaged in the South American trade, a liner and a score of vessels had dressed ships, up all the tiers of houses to where strings of flags swung between the towers of the cathedral.
From the wharves a number of gnat-like gasolene launches, gay with flags, pushed off to flutter about both cruisers until they came to anchor. From one of the quays signal guns were fired, and the brazen and inordinate bangings of his Royal salute echoed and re-echoed in uncanny fashion among the hills that hem the town, so that when the warships joined in, the whole cup of the harbour was filled with the hammerings of explosions overlapping explosions, until the air seemed made of nothing else.
On the big stacks of Newfoundland lumber at the harbour-side, on the quays, on the freight sheds and on the roofs of buildings, Newfoundland people, who, like the weather, were giving the lie to the prophets, crowded to see the Prince arrive. He came from Dragon in the Royal barge in the wake of the Dauntless' launch, which was having a worried moment in "shooing" off the eager gasolene boats, crowding in, in defiance of all regulations, to get a good view.
There was no doubt about the warmth of the welcome. It was a characteristic Newfoundland crowd. Teamsters in working overalls, fishermen in great sea boots and oilskins, girls garbed in the smartness of New York, whose comely faces and beautiful complexions were of Ireland, though there was here and there a flash of French blood in the grace of their youth, little boys willing to defy the law and climb railings in order to get a "close up" photograph, youths in bubble-toed boots—all proved that their dourness was not an emotion for state occasions, and that they could show themselves as they really were, as generous and as loyal as any people within the Empire.
The Prince was received on the jetty by the Governor and the members of the legislature. With them was a guard of honour of seamen, all of them Newfoundland fishermen who had served in various British warships throughout the war. There was a contingent from the Newfoundland Regiment also, stocky men who had fought magnificently through the grim battles in France, and on the Somme had done so excellently that the name of their greatest battle, Gueudecourt, has become part of the Colony's everyday history, and is to be found inscribed on the postage stamps under the picture of the caribou which is the national emblem.
The Prince's passage through the streets was a stirring one. There were no soldiers guarding the route through Water Street and up the high, steep hills to Government House, and the eager crowd pressed about the carriage in such ardour that its pace had to be slowed to a walk. At that pace it moved through the streets, a greater portion of the active population keeping pace with it, turning themselves into a guard of honour, walking as the horses walked, and, if they did break into a trot, trotting with them.
The route lay under many really beautiful arches, some castles with towers and machicolations sheafed in the sweet-smelling spruce; others constructed entirely from fish boxes and barrels, with men on them, working and packing the cod; others were hung with the splendid fur, feathers and antlers of Newfoundland hunting.
Through that day and until midday of the next, lively crowds followed every movement of the "dandy feller," swopping opinions as to his charm, and his smile, his youthfulness and his shyness. They compared him with his grandfather who had visited St. John's fifty-nine years ago, and made a point of mentioning that he was to sleep in the very bedroom his grandfather had used.
There was the usual heavy program, an official lunch, the review of war veterans, a visit to the streets when the lavish electric light had been switched into the beautiful illuminations, when the two cruisers were mirrored in the harbour waters in an outline of electric lights, and when on the ring of hill-tops red beacons were flaring in his honour. There was a dance, with his lucky partners sure of photographic fame in the local papers of tomorrow, and then in the morning, medal giving, a peep at the annual regatta, famous in local history, on lovely Quidividi Lake among the hills, and then, all too soon for Newfoundland, his departure to New Brunswick.
There was no doubt at all as to the impression he made. The visit that might have been formal was in actuality an affair of spontaneous affection. There was a friendliness and warmth in the welcome that quite defies description. His own unaffected pleasure in the greeting; his eagerness to meet everybody, not the few, but the ordinary, everyday people as much as the notabilities, his lack of affectation, and his obvious enjoyment of all that was happening, placed the Prince and the people, welcoming him, immediately on a footing of intimacy. His tour had begun in the air of triumph which we were to find everywhere in his passage across the Continent.
When one talks to a citizen of St. John, New Brunswick, one has an impression that his city is burnt down every half century or so in order that he and his neighbours might build it up very much better.
This is no doubt an inaccurate impression, but when I had listened to various brisk people telling me about the fires—the devastating one of 1877, and the minor ones of a variety of dates—and the improvements St. John has been able to accomplish after them; and when I had seen the city itself, I must confess I had a sneaking feeling that Providence had deliberately managed these things so that a lively, vigorous and up-to-date folk should have every opportunity of reconstructing their city according to the modernity of their minds and status.
The vigorousness of St. John is so definite that it got into our bones though our visit was but one of hours. St. John, for us, represented an extraordinary hustle. We arrived on the morning of Friday, August 15, after the one night when the sea had not been altogether our friend; when the going had been "awfully kinky" (as the seasick one of our party put it), and the spiral motif in the Dauntless' wardroom had been disturbing at meals.
We arrived, moreover, on a wet day, were whisked by launch to the quayside and plunged at once into the company of the Governor-General, Prime Minister, Canadian legislators, Guards of Honour, brigades of "movie" men, crowds of singing children and Canada in the mass determined to make the most of the moment. From this we were hurled headlong in the Canadian manner, in cars through streets of more people and more children to functions where the whole breezy business was repeated again with infinite zest.
It was the day of our first impact with the novelty and bigness of Canada, and it was a trifle dizzying. It was a day on which we encountered so much that was new, and yet it was a day done in the "movie" manner, with all the sensations definite but digested in a hurry.
It was the day on which we first encountered the big Canadian crowd; that hearty, democratic crowd, so scornful of routine and policemen and methods of decorum, yet so generous in its feeling, so good-natured and so entirely reliable in its sense of self-discipline.
It was the day when we gathered our first impressions of Canadian city life, saw (and perhaps we found them a little unexpected) Canada's fine shops and the beautiful things in them, saw Canada's beautiful women and the smart clothes they wore, saw the evidence of the modernity of Canada's business methods, and the comeliness of the suburbs in which Canada lived.
It was the day when we first encountered a Canadian meal, glanced with awe at those marble mosaic temples of the head, the barbers' shops, looked into our first Shoe Shine Parlour, fell under the seduction of our first Canadian ice, and finally surrendered ourselves to the infinite and efficient comfort of a Canadian Railway.
All this was accomplished allegro di molto. We had to assimilate it all in a bunch of hurried hours between our first landing and the collecting and stowing of our suitcases in the sleeping car of the National Railway Special that had been placed at the service of the newspaper men. It was a crowded day, but it was thrilling and it remains unforgettable.
St. John, New Brunswick, is many things. It is the historic spot where that splendid figure in Canada's story, the great Champlain, and De Monts, came in the dim days of the West's beginning, to rear a new city in a new wild continent, and called it after the saint on whose day they first made their landing.
It is commerce if that is the way you look at things; an ice-free port, tingling with every modern activity, where lumber and grain and fruit and all the riches of Canada are swung to Europe and the West Indies, and scores of ports about the world, and where, when winter grips the immense St. Lawrence, passengers can slip, free of the ice, to the ocean tracts.
It is the gate of pleasure. The entry port where the sportsman and the holiday maker from America or Europe can start for the fine fishing streams, where salmon and trout are kings; for the spruce forests, where moose and caribou, deer and even bear can be shot, and where wild duck and the Canadian partridge—which is really grouse—are commonplace; or to the many fine holiday towns of the maritime provinces, where golf and good scenery go hand in hand.
It is romance. Here was one of the wrestling-points where France fought Britain for the supremacy of the Americas; where, even, France fought France, as one adventurer strove to wrest the riches of the fur trade from another. Somewhere on one of the ridgy shoulders of its grey-rock peninsula the wife of De Monts, in his absence, held the fort against Charnisay, only to have her garrison massacred before her eyes, when on promise of honourable terms, she opened her gates. Somewhere on another gruff shoulder of the rock was the fort that Charnisay built from the ruins of the first, and where De Monts ultimately came into his own again by marrying his conqueror's widow.
At the wharves of St. John to-day lie the ships that are heirs to the Boston clippers, links in a past of tragedy and trade, when New England men did business or battle across the waters of Fundy Bay, first as Englishmen with the French and then as independent Americans with the English.
It was these English, the United Loyalists, who came out of America in 1783, during the War of Independence, or who were forced to come out later, who really founded St. John as it stands to-day. And it was the Loyalists with their courage, tenacity, and virility who, with the sturdy French settlers of the old regime, built up the fortune and the spirit of St. John as it exists now.
It is a city of quality. It has a vivid air of attractiveness and prosperity. It is history and romance rounded off with the grain elevator.
St. John, on August 15, was perfectly aware of the office it had to fulfil. It was on its quays that the Prince was first to set foot on Canadian soil, and St. John had made up its mind that that occasion should be handled in a befitting manner.
True, it did not manage its weather quite so neatly as St. John's, Newfoundland, but on the other hand it refused to allow the rain to interfere with its plans or with its warmth of welcome.
The entrance of the two light cruisers from the drenched, brown-grey Bay of Fundy, past the rather militaristic looking Partridge Island, was the signal for immediate attention.
The inevitable motor launches came out by scores, and with them high-backed tugs; launches and tugs were covered with flags and people bearing flags, both flags and people being damp but enthusiastic.
The long harbour itself gives a sense of pit-like depth. Not only are the black quay walls extremely high, to accommodate a tide that has a drop of twenty-five feet, but on the quays themselves are piled immense grain elevators, with "Welcome" written in giant letters on their towering sides, coal-loading sheds with their lattice derrick arms that always seem to have been constructed by Mr. Wells's Martians, and great freight buildings.
Round this huge, black amphitheatre of welcome, on whose sea-floor was the Dragon and ourselves, people collected thickly, and everywhere there was the glint of flags through the rain.
But even the crowds about the harbour did not give a hint of the vast throng waiting on the landing-stage. Hidden away from the water by sheds, this very cheery crush filled the wide, free space of the harbour approach. Their numbers and eagerness had already proved the mutability of the police force, and volunteers in khaki were enrolled by the score in order to keep them back.
Almost as imposing as the throng were the photographers; not a few photographers, but a battalion of them, running about with that feverish energy Press-photographers alone possess, and climbing on to walls and roofs as though impelled by some divine, inner instinct towards positions from which the Prince of Wales could be shown to the world at unique and astounding angles.
Movie men and "stills" men, the former the real workers of the world, for they carry their heavy machines with all the energy of Lewis gunners, nipped about, formed in groups ready to shoot notabilities, mixed themselves up in the guard of honour until chased away by sergeants, and in the end forming up in a solid phalanx that almost obliterated Canada, to snap His Royal Highness as he came up the covered way from the wharf.
He had been received on the wharf by the Governor-General of Canada, the Duke of Devonshire, a heavy figure, whose very top hat seemed to have an air of brooding meditation in keeping with his personality; the Premier of Canada, Sir Robert Borden, an individuality of almost active reticence, a man who somehow seemed to get all the mass and weight of Canada into a mere "How d'y' do?" And with these were many of the leaders, political, commercial and social, of the Dominion, come together to join in Canada's first greeting.
It was raining, but there was no dampening that magnificent welcome. The meeting with Dominion leaders down by the waterside had been formal. The meeting between the Prince and the mass of people in the big, open space was the real welcome. Here, as in every other town in the Dominion, the formal side of the visit was entirely swamped by the human. The people themselves made this welcome splendid and overwhelming, elevating it to that plane of intimacy and affection that made the tour different from anything that had been conceived before.
After facing this superb welcome, which obviously moved him a great deal, the Prince passed to another side of the square, to where St. John had added a touch of youth, prettiness and novelty to the loyalty of her greeting.
In a big stand there were massed several thousand school children, all of them in white, all of them carrying small flags, all of them thoroughly wet, and all of them enthusiastic beyond discipline.
They had carried the first outburst of cheering well beyond the capacity of mere adult lungs and endurance, and as they cheered without break, they waved their flags, so that the whole stand seemed a big fire, over which a multitude of tiny red, white and blue flames unceasingly played. This mass flag-wagging is a great feature of Western welcomes, and a most effective one. It enables the hands to join in an enthusiasm which the Canadian does not seem to be sufficiently able to express by his cheering and whistling. Really ardent Canadians put a rattle into their empty left hands, and express their joy of welcome with the maximum of noise as well as activity.
Only on the approach of His Royal Highness did these delightful children staunch their cheering, and that merely because they wanted their lungs to sing.
They transferred their enthusiasm into their songs. Their sharp, high singing, with a touch of the nasal in it, and a Canadian accenting of "r's," introduced us to the splendid and inevitable hymns—beginning with "O Canada" and ending with "God Bless the Prince of Wales"—that we were to hear across the breadth of the Dominion and back again.
On the stage below this great flower-box of infants was a number of girls; each of them, it seemed, a princess of her race, having the wonderful poise, the fine skin, and the bright comeliness that make Canadian women so individual in their beauty.
These girls wore bright, symbolical dresses, and each carried a shield bearing the arms and the name of the province of the Dominion of Canada she represented. It was a pageant of greeting in which, advancing in pairs, all the provinces the Prince was to visit in the next few months came forward to bid him welcome at the moment he set foot in the Dominion.
Curtsying to the Prince, the girls fell back and formed a most attractive tableau. It was a delightful picture, delightfully carried out, and there was no doubt about the Prince's pleasure.
While His Royal Highness witnessed this spectacle and listened to the singing of the kiddies, the crowd, vanquishing police and boy scouts and khaki, flooded over the open space and gathered about him. It was a scene we were to see repeated almost daily during the trip.
Without police protection, and, what is more, without needing it, the Prince stood in the centre of a homely crowd, rubbing shoulders with it, becoming an almost indistinguishable part of it, save for the fact that its various members found it an opportunity to shake hands with him.
It was a state of things a trifle strange to Britons. It would probably have seemed little less than anarchy to a chief of British police, yet one was immensely impressed by it. It had all the intimacy of a gathering of friends. And the Prince was as natural a part of that genial and informal crowd as any Canadian.
The crowd shared his amusement at the strenuous work of the camera men, who wormed their way through the masses of people with their terrible earnestness, dogged his steps whenever he ventured to move a yard, and who seemed to feel that the reason he stopped to make speeches was that they should be able to get a steady, three-quarter face snap of him at a distance of two feet.
When the Prince slyly hinted to a photographer that, really, the most important and newsy part of the function was the massed battalion of camera men, and that actually they were the people who should be photographed and not him, the crowd shared the joke with him.
Prince and people were all part of one democracy, the real democracy that never thinks about democracy, but simply acts humanly and naturally in human and natural affairs.
"He'll do," said one man. "Why—he's just a Canadian after all."
The city had made itself attractive for the coming of the Prince. In the fine and broad King Street up which he drove to fulfil the many functions of the day, the handsome commercial buildings were bright with flags and hung with the spruce branches that individualize Canadian decorations. Turreted arches of spruce, and banners of welcome strung right across the street, entered into the scheme.
King Street is a brave avenue sweeping up hill from the very edge of the harbour water. Here the Market Slip, the old landing-place of the Loyalists, thrusts into the very heart of the city and brings the shipping to the front doors of the houses. In the big triangular space about it gather the carters with their "slovens," curious square carts, hung so low that their floor boards are but a few inches from the ground.
In King Street one can see the life and novelty of the town. In it are the hotels, in the vast windows of which people, involved in the ritual of chewing gum, sit as though on a verandah, and contemplate the passing world—it is a solemn moment, that first encounter through plate glass, of a row of Buddhas, with gently-moving jaws. Although most Canadian cities boast big hotels of modern type, the old type, with the big windows, are everywhere, to lend a peculiar individuality to the streets.
In King Street are the smart shops, showing jewellery, furs, millinery and the rest, of a design and quality equal to anything in London and New York. The Canadians have a particular passion for silver of good design, and the display in the shops is a thing that impresses.
Here, too, are the Boot-Shine Parlours, the Candy Stores, the temples of the Barbers, and those wondrous purveyors of universal trivia, the Drug Stores.
In America, boot (only it is called a shoe) shining is a special rite, and it is performed outside the home in a "Parlour." These Parlours are often elaborate affairs, attached to a tobacconist, or to the vendor of American magazines, who is also a tobacconist; but quite frequently they exist alone on their own profits. In these Parlours, and in an armchair on a raised throne, one sits while an expert with brushes, polish, rags and secret varnishes, performs miracles on one's shoes. It is an art that justifies itself, but the fact that so many Canadian roads off the main streets are mere strips of dusty unmetalled nature explains the necessity of so many shops devoted to this business; that, and the dearth and independence of servants.
The Candy Stores are bright and elaborate places also. There are so many of them, and their wares are so ingenious and varied, that one almost fancies that eating candy is one of the national industries. All candy stores have an ice cream soda section, where cream ices of an amazing virtuosity and number, and called, for some reason I have not discovered, "Sundaes," can be had.
The Drug Stores have an ice cream section, always; small and pretty ante-rooms, with a chintz air and chintz chairs, where these delightful ices, compounded of cream and all kinds of fruits or syrups, and dubbed with romantic names, such as "Angel's Sigh," and "Over the Top," are absorbed by citizens with a regularity that seems to point to a definite racial impulse.
One expects to find an ice cream counter in a drug store, because one comes to realize that there is little within the range of human possibility that the drug store does not sell. It sells soap and toothpaste and drugs, as one would expect; it sells magazines and fountain-pens and ink, cameras and clocks. It sells sweets and walking-sticks and postage stamps and stationery. It sells everything. It even sells whiskey. It is, indeed, the only place in the Continent of the Dry where spirits of any sort can be obtained, not freely, of course, but through the full ceremonial of the law, and by means of a doctor's certificate.
And then the Barbers' Temples. When I talk of barbers' shops as temples, I speak with the feeling of awe these austere and airy places of whiteness and marble, glass and mosaic, silver and electricity impressed me. There seems to be something measured and profound in the way the Canadian goes to these conventicles, in the frequency of his going, and in the solemnity of the act that he undergoes when there.
There are so many of these shops, and they are always so crowded that it seems to me the Canadian makes his attendance on the barber, not an accident, but a solemn habit; an occasion with not a little ritual in it. And the barber has the same air.
When a Canadian puts the top of himself into the hands of the barber, he gets, not a hair-cutting, but a process. He is placed in a chair of leather and electro-plate, standing well out to the middle of a pure white floor. As a chair it is the kindlier brother of the one the dentist uses; it has all the tips, tilts and abrupt upheavals, but none of the other's exactions.
It is tipped and tilted and swung hither and thither by a white-vested priest as he goes austerely step by step through a definite service of the head. It is an intricate formulary that includes the close cropping of the temples, shaving behind the ears, shaving the back of the neck (unless you show you belong to a feebler stock, and protest), swathing the head in hot towels, oil shampooing, massaging, "violet raying" and an entire orchestration of other methods of making the hair worthy.
And the barber is not a mere human being with clippers. He is a hierophant with a touch of dogmatic infallibility. He does not suggest, "Would you like a scalping massage, sir? I recommend it..." and so on; he tells you out of the calm cloud of his reticence: "I'm going to give you a Marshwort Electrolysis, and after that Yellow Cross Douch for that nasty nap in your hair."
It takes a strong-willed fellow to say "No" to that attack of assertion, especially as you feel that you are shattering the entire tradition of Canada, where the whole elaborate process is just an ordinary hair-cut.
The barber does not stop at the head, either. At the slightest weakness on your part, he beckons from one of his—well—side chapels, a brisk and imperturbable manicurist. There are manicurists in all barbers' shops. Like the barbers, they are artists in their cult, and while he works on the head the manicurist accomplishes miracles of perfection on the nails, with scented baths, hot swathings, unguents, steel weapons and orange sticks.
And while these things are occurring to you, you can have a Shoe Shine pundit from another corner, and I daresay you can have a chiropodist at the same time, so that for twenty minutes there is going on about your body a feverish concentration of activity that makes even Henry Ford's assembling department look spiritless.
King Street sweeps broadly uphill to King Square, which is a large and pleasant garden, merging imperceptibly into the old graveyard, the grey old headstones of which add serenity to the charm of the park.
The Square itself seems to be the Harley Street of St. John, for among the big buildings, and the "apartment" blocks, which are really flats, I came upon the plates of many doctors, who, in the unexpected American manner, add their special qualifications under their name, so that I read:
The streets of St. John lead out at right-angles from this central group of square and street, for this is the West, where the parallel road-making of efficient town-planning reigns. Some of these streets are carved out of the grim, grey, slaty rock, that even now crops out in the midst of the stone and brick and wood of human effort, to show upon what stubborn stuff the first founders had to build.
In the residential streets, and particularly in the suburbs, the homes are planned charmingly. The houses are of brick or wood, most of them built in the Colonial style, and all pleasantly gabled, and of a bright and attractive colour, while every one has the deep and comely porch, upon which are scattered rocking and easy chairs, and even settees.
The houses are surrounded by the greenest lawns, and these lawns are not marred by walls or fences, but run right down to the curb, with but a strip of sidewalk for pedestrians. This elimination of railings is a thing that might well be imitated in our country; it gives the residential districts a pretty and park-like air that is altogether delightful.
We passed through miles of such homes in a journey round the deep bay of the harbour to the place where the Dauntless, dwarfed by the high lock walls, lay alongside the quay. There is a steam ferry connecting the two peninsulas that landlock the harbour, but our automobile driver, no doubt, had the civic spirit and wanted to show us both the beauties of suburban St. John, the great cantilever bridge across the St. John river and the famous Reversible Falls.
The Reversible Falls are at the mouth of the St. John river, where it pushes through the high limestone cliffs into the harbour. At low tide there is the authentic fall, as the river cascades over the rock in a drop of fifteen feet, but the extraordinarily tide of the Bay of Fundy, rising ten feet above the river level, actually reverses things, and forces back the flood along the channel with some turbulence.
Our journey to the Dauntless was for the melancholy business of collecting our luggage. It was here we left the cheery comfort of the ward room for the definite adventure by railway across the Continent. Our miraculously erected cabins, the one amidships, and the two that sat snugly in the aeroplane hangar beneath the bridge, and kept company with the song of the siren on foggy nights, were needed to accommodate the Canadians who were to accompany the Prince by sea to Halifax, then on to Prince Edward Island, and finally up the St. Lawrence to Quebec.
It was a reluctant farewell to a ship we had found so companionable and keen. But there was a ray of comfort when the baggage master at the Canadian Railway "Dee-po" handed us a little bundle of luggage checks for the mixed assortment of trunks and bags we had dumped into his room.
It had been an endless pile of luggage, and we apologized for it, and continued to say, "There's another piece, or two, or more, outside on the sloven...."
But the length of that luggage queue did not dismay the baggage master. He counted the big pieces calmly, fixed a little tag on each piece, tore off half of each tag and presented it to us.
"Through to Halifax," he said dispassionately.
"We'll be along this evening, when the special comes in, to look after it——"
"Look after it in the baggage-room at Halifax," he said, without excitement.
"It'll be all right?" we asked, in our English way.
"It's checked through to Halifax," he insisted evenly, as though that explained everything, which, of course, it did.
"And our suit-cases over there? We want them on the train."
"They'll be on the train," he told us, with his splendid calm. "Your car porter will take them on the train."
"We'll want them for tonight, so we don't want anything to go astray, you know."
"They'll be under the seats of your section, waiting for you tonight. The porter will see to that."
It was only then that we realized that we had been taken under control by Canadian Railways, and that the business of Canadian Railways is to make that control thorough, and to eliminate all worries, of which baggage is the worst, for their passengers from the outset to the end of the journey.
Our baggage being checked through to Halifax, awaited our arrival serenely at Halifax. If it had been checked through to Vancouver or Japan, it would have awaited our arrival with equal certainty. Our suit-cases were under our seats when we arrived at the car.
Canadian railways do not let passengers down on little everyday details like that.
Next morning in the train we were awakened to an unexpected Sunday. It was not an ordinary calm Sunday, but a Sunday with a hustle on, a Canadian Sunday. There was no doubt about the bells, though they were ringing with remarkable earnestness in their efforts to get Canadians into church.
Lying in our sleeping sections, we were bewildered by the bells, and by the fact that by human calendar the day should be Saturday. Then we raised the little blinds that hung between our modesty and a world of passing platforms, and found that we were in a junction (probably Truro), with a very Saturday air, and that the church bells were on engines.
It takes some time for the Briton to become accustomed to the strangeness of bells on engines, and the fact, that, instead of whistling, the engines also give a very lifelike imitation of a liner's siren. The bells are tolled when entering a station, or approaching a level crossing, and so on, and the siren note is, I think, a real improvement on the ear-splitting whistle that harrows us in England.
Our first night on the Canadian National had been a prophecy of the many comfortable nights we were to spend on Canadian railways. We had been given an ordinary sleeping car of the long-distance service, but as we had it to our masculine selves, the exercise of getting out of our clothes and into bed, and out of our bed and into clothes, was an ordinary human accomplishment, and not an athletic problem tinged with embarrassment.
The Canadian sleeper is a roomy and attractive Pullman, with wide and comfortable back to back seats, each internal pair called a section. At night the seats are pulled together, and the padding at their backs pulled down, so that a most efficient bed is formed. A section of the roof lets down, resolving itself into an upper bunk, while long green curtains from roof to floor, and wood panels at foot and head complete the privacy.
In these sleepers Canadians make the week's journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific. There is no separation of sexes, and a woman may find that she is sharing a section with a strange male quite as a matter of course, the only distinction being that the chivalrous Canadian always gives up the bottom berth, if it is his, to the lady, and climbs to the top himself.
In these circumstances, to remove one's clothes, and particularly that part that proclaims one's gender, is a problem. I have tried it. One switches on the little electric reading light, climbs into the bunk, buttons up the green curtains, and then in a space a trifle larger than a coffin endeavours to remove, and place tidily, one's clothes (for articles scattered on that narrow bunk during the struggle mean that one ends by becoming simply a tangle of garments).
At these moments one realizes that hands, arms, legs, and head have been given one to complicate things. One jams them against everything. And there are times, too, when the unpractised Briton is simply baffled.
They tell in every Canadian train the tale of the Englishman who came face to face with such a crisis. Having removed most of his garments, he came to that point where the ingenuity of human nature seemed to fail. He pondered it. The matter seemed insuperable. And he began to wonder if.... He put his head through his curtains and shouted along the crowded—and mixed—green corridor of the car:
"I say, porter, does one take off one's trousers in this train?"
Most of the railways, the Canadian Pacific certainly, are putting on compartment cars; that is, a car made up of roomy private sections, holding two berths. On most sleepers, too, there is a drawing-room compartment that gives the same privacy. These are both comfortable and convenient, for, apart from privacy, the passenger does not have to take his place in the queue waiting to wash at one of the three basins provided in the little section at the end of the car that is also the smoking-room.
It must not be thought that the sleepers are anything but comfortable; they are so comfortable as to make travelling in them ideal. The passenger, also, has the run of the train, and can go to the observation car, where he can spend his time in an easy chair, looking through the broad windows at the scenery, or reading one of the many magazines or papers the train provides; or he can write his letters on train paper at a desk; can go out to the broad railed platform at the rear of the car, and sit and smoke, and see Canada unrolling behind him.
And at the appropriate times for breakfast, dinner and supper—that is the Canadian routine, and there is no tea—the passenger goes to the diner and has a meal from a menu that would make the manager of many a London hotel feel anxious for his reputation.
We had some experience of the lavishness and variety of Canadian meals in St. John, when we had ordered what would have been an ordinary dinner in London, and had had to cry "Kamerad!" after the fish.
The first Canadian breakfast we had on the Canadian National was of the same order. It began, inevitably, with ice-water. Ice-water is the thing that waiters fill up intervals with. Instead of pausing between courses for the usual waiter's meditation, they make instinctively for the silver ice-water jug, and fill every defenceless glass. Ice-water is universal. It is taken before, during and after every meal, and there are ice-water tanks (and paper cups) on every railway carriage and every hotel. At first one loathes it, and it seems to create an unnatural thirst, but the habit for it is soon attained.
The menu for breakfast is always varied and long—and I speak not merely of the special trains we travelled in, for it was the same on ordinary passenger trains. One does not face a table d'hôte meal outside of which there is no alternative but starvation, but one is given the choice of a range of dishes for any of the three meals that equals the choice offered by the best hotels in London.
Breakfast begins with fruit; breakfast is not breakfast in the American continent unless it begins with fruit. And at that precise time breakfast fruit was blueberries. Other fruit was on the menu: raspberries, melon, grape-fruit, canteloupe, orange-slices, orange juice, and so on; but to avoid blueberries was to be suspected of being eccentric, and even an alien enemy.
Blueberries were in season. Blueberries and cream were being eaten at breakfast with something more than mere satisfaction by the entire Canadian nation. Blueberries were being consumed with a sort of patriotic fervour, for blueberries have a significance to the Canadian. It is a fruit peculiarly his own; he treats it as a sort of emblem, he waxes enthusiastic over it, and the stranger feels that if he does not eat it (with cream, or cooked as "Deep Blueberry Pie"), he has not justified his journey to the Dominion. Hint that it is merely the English bilberry or blaeberry, or whortleberry and—but no one dares hint that. The blueberry is in season. One eats it with cream, and it is worth eating.
You may follow with what the Canadian calls "oats," but which you call porridge, or, being wiser since the dinner at St. John, you go straight on to halibut steak, or Gaspé salmon, or trout, or Jack Frost sausages, or just bacon and eggs. There is a range that would have pleased you in an hotel, but which fills you with wonder on a train.
And not merely the range, but the prodigality of the portions, surprises. Your halibut or salmon or trout is not a strip that seems like a sample, it is a solid slice of exquisitely cooked fish that looks dangerously near a full pound, and all the portions are on the same scale, so that you soon come to recognize that, unless you ration yourself severely, you cannot possibly hope to survive against this Dominion of Food.
When we sat down to that breakfast in the Canadian National diner I think we realized more emphatically than we had through the whole course of our reading how prodigal and rich a land Canada was. As we sat at our meal we could watch from the windows the unfolding of the streams and the innumerable lovely lakes, that expand suddenly out of the spruce forests that clad the rocky hills and the sharp valleys of Nova Scotia.
We could see the homestead clearings, the rich land already under service and the cattle thereon. It was from those numberless pebbly rivers and lakes that this abundance in fish came; in the forests was game, caribou and moose and winged game. From the cleared land came the wheat and the other growing things that crowd the Canadian table, and the herds represented the meat, and the unstinted supply of cream and milk and butter. Even the half-cleared land, where tree stumps and bushes still held sway, there was the blueberry, growing with the joyous luxuriance of a useful weed.
To glance out of the window was to realize more than this, it was to realize that in spite of all this luxuriance the land was yet barely scratched. The homesteads are even now but isolated outposts in the undisciplined wilderness, and when we realized that this was but a section, and a small section at that, of a Dominion stretching thousands of miles between us and the Pacific, and how many thousand miles on the line North to South we could not compute, we began to get a glimmer of the immensity and potentiality of the land we had just entered.
There is nothing like a concrete demonstration to convince the mind, and I recognize it was that heroic breakfast undertaken while I contemplated the heroic land from whence it had come that brought home to me with a sense almost of shock an appreciation of Canada's greatness.
By the time I had arrived at Halifax, and had a Canadian National Railway lunch (for we remained on the train for the whole of our stay in the city) I knew I was to face immensities.
The first citizen of Halifax to recognize the Prince of Wales was a little boy: and it was worth a cool twenty cents to him.
The official entry of His Royal Highness into Halifax was fixed for Monday, August 18th. The Dragon and Dauntless, however, arrived on Sunday, and the Prince saw in the free day an opportunity for getting in a few hours' walking.
He landed quietly, and with his camera spent some time walking through and snapping the interesting spots in the city. He climbed the hill to where the massive and slightly melodramatic citadel that his own ancestor, the Duke of Kent, had built on the hill dominates the city, and continued from there his walk through the tree-fringed streets.
At the very toe of the long peninsula upon which Halifax is built he walked through Point Pleasant, a park of great, and untrammelled, natural beauty, thicketed with trees through which he could catch many vivid and beautiful glimpses of the intensely blue harbour water beneath the slope.
It was in this park that the young punter pulled off his coup.
He was one of a number of kiddies occupied in the national sport of Halifax—bathing. He and his friends spotted the Prince and his party before that party saw them. Being a person of acumen the wise kid immediately "placed" His Royal Highness, and saw the opportunity for financial operations.
"Betcher ten cents that's the Prince of Wales," he said, accommodating the whole group, whereupon the inevitable sceptic retorted:
"Naw, that ain't no Prince. Anyhow he doesn't come till tomorrow, see."
"Is the Prince, I tell you," insisted the plunger. "And see here, betcher another ten cents I goes and asks him."
The second as well as the first bet was taken. And both were won.
This is not the only story connected with the Sunday stroll of the Prince. Another, and perhaps a romantic version of the same one, was that it was the Prince who made and lost the bet. He was said to have come upon not boys but girls bathing. Seeing one of them poised skirted and stockinged, for all the world as though she were the authentic bathing girl on the cover of an American magazine, ready to dive, he bet her a cool twenty that she dare not take her plunge from the highest board.
This story may be true or it may be, well, Canadian. I mean by that it may be one of the jolly stories that Canadians from the very beginning began to weave about the personality of His Royal Highness. It is, indeed, an indication of his popularity that he became the centre of a host of yarns, true or apocryphal, that followed him and accumulated until they became almost a saga by the time the tour was finished.
In this short stroll the Prince saw much of a town that is certainly worth seeing.
Halifax on the first impact has a drab air that comes as a shock to those who sail through the sharp, green hills of the Narrows and see the hilly peninsula on which the town is built hanging graciously over the sparkling blue waters of one of the finest and greatest harbours in the world.
From the water the multi-coloured massing of the houses is broken up and softened by the vividness of the parks and the green billowing of the trees that line most of the streets. Landing, the newcomer is at once steeped in the depressing air of a seaport town that has not troubled to keep its houses in the brightest condition. As many of those houses are of wood, the youthful sparkle of which vanishes in the maturity of ill-kept paintwork, the first impression of Halifax is actually more melancholy than it deserves to be.
The long drive through Water Street from the docks, moreover, merely lands one into a business centre where the effect of many good buildings is spoilt by the narrowness of the streets. Such a condition of things is no doubt unavoidable in a town that is both commercial and old, but those who only see this side of Halifax had better appreciate the fact that the city is Canadian and new also, and that there are residential districts that are as comely and as up-to-date as anywhere in the Western Continent.
Halifax certainly blends history and business in a way to make it the most English of towns. It is like nothing so much as a seaport in the North of England plus a Canadian accent.
There is the same packed mass movement of a lively polyglot people through the streets. There is the same keen appetite for living that sends people out of doors to walk in contact with their fellows under the light of the many-globed electric standards that line the sidewalk.
There is the same air of bright prosperity in the glowing and vivacious light of the fine and tasteful shops. They are good shops, and their windows are displayed with an artistry that one finds is characteristic throughout Canada. They offer the latest and smartest ideas in blouses and gowns, jewellery and boots and cameras—I should like to find out what percentage of the population of the American Continent does not use a camera—and men's shirtings, shirtings that one views with awe, shirtings of silk with emotional stripes and futuristic designs, and collars to match the shirts, the sort of shirts that Solomon in all his glory seems to have designed for festival days.
At night, certainly, the streets of Halifax are bright and vivid, and the people in them good-humoured, laughing and sturdy, with that contempt of affectation that is characteristic of the English north.
The bustle and vividness as well as the greyness of Halifax lets one into the open secret that it is a great industrial port of Canada, and an all-the-year-round port at that, yet it is the greyness and narrowness of the streets that tells you that Halifax is also history. In the old buildings, and their straggled frontage, is written the fact that the city grew up before modernity set its mark on Canada in the spacious and broad planning of townships.
It was, for years, the garrison of Britain in the Americas. Since the day when Cornwallis landed in 1749 with his group of settlers to secure the key harbour on the Eastern seaboard of America until the Canadians themselves took over its garrisoning, it was the military and naval base of our forces. And in that capacity it has formed part of the stage setting for every phase of the Western historical drama.
It was the rendezvous of Wolfe before Quebec; it played a part in the American War of Independence; it was a refuge for the United Empire Loyalists; British ships used it as a base in the war of 1812; from its anchorage the bold and crafty blockade runners slipped south in the American Civil War, and its citizens grew fat through those adventurous voyages. It has been the host of generations of great seamen from Cook, who navigated Wolfe's fleet up the St. Lawrence, to Nelson. It housed the survivors of the Titanic, and was the refuge of the Mauretania when the beginning of the Great War found her on the high seas. It has had German submarines lying off the Narrows, so close that it saw torpedoed crews return to its quays only an hour or so after their ships had sailed.
The Prince of Wales was himself a link in Halifax's history. Not merely had his great-great grandfather, the Duke of Kent, commanded at the Citadel, but when he landed he stepped over the inscribed stone commemorating the landing on that spot of his grandfather on July 30th, 1860, and his father in 1901.
His Royal Highness made his official landing in the Naval Dockyard on the morning of Monday, August 18th. As he landed he was saluted by the guns of three nations, for two French war sloops and the fine Italian battleship Cavour, which had come to Halifax to be present during his visit, joined in when the guns on shore and on the British warship saluted.
At the landing stage the reception was a quiet one, only notabilities and guards of honour occupying the Navy Yard, but this quietness was only the prelude to a day of sheer hustle.
The crowd thickened steadily until he arrived in the heart of the city, when it resolved itself into a jam of people that the narrow streets failed to accommodate. This crowd, as in most towns of Canada, believed in a "close up" view. Even when there is plenty of space the onlookers move up to the centre of the street, allowing a passageway of very little more than the breadth of a motor-car. Policemen of broad and indulgent mind are present to keep the crowd in order, and when policemen give out, war veterans in khaki or "civvies" and boy scouts string the line, but all—policemen, veterans and scouts—so mixing with the crowd that they become an indistinguishable part of it, so that it is all crowd, cheery and friendly and most intimate in its greeting. That was the air of the Halifax crowd.
It always seemed to me that after the roaring greeting of the streets the formal civic addresses of welcome were acts of supererogation. Yet there is no doubt as to the dignity and colour of these functions.
From the packed street the Prince passed into the great chamber of the Provincial Parliament Building, where there seemed an air of soft, red twilight compounded from the colour of the walls and the old pictures, as well as from the robes and uniforms of the dignitaries and the gowns of the many ladies.
As ceremonies these welcomes were always short, though there was always a number of presentations made, and the Prince was soon in the open again. In the open there were war veterans to inspect, for in whatever town he entered, large or small or remote, there was always a good showing of Canadians who had served and won honours in Europe.
Everywhere, in great cities or in a hamlet that was no more than a scattering of homesteads round a prairie's siding, His Royal Highness showed a particular keenness to meet these soldiers. They were his own comrades in arms, as he always called them, and when he said that he meant it, for he never willingly missed an opportunity of getting among them and resuming the comradeship he had learned to value at the Front.
In most towns, as in Halifax, his round of visits always included the hospitals. His car took him through the bright sunshine of the Halifax streets to these big and very efficient buildings, where he went through the wards, chatting here and there to a cot or a convalescent patient, and not forgetting the natty Canadian nurses or the doctors, or even, as in one of the hospitals on this day, a patient lying in a tent in the grounds outside the radius of the visit.
In Halifax, also, there was another grim fact of the war which called for special attention; that was the area devastated by the terrible explosion of a ship in the docks in December, 1917.
The party left the main streets to climb over the shoulder of the peninsula to where the ruined area stood. It is to the north of the town, on the side of the hill that curves largely to the very water's edge. Down off the docks, and an immense distance away it seems from the slope of ruin, a steamer loaded with high explosive collided with another, caught fire and blew up, and on the entire bosom of that slope can be seen what that gigantic detonation accomplished.
The force of the explosion swept up the hill and the wooden houses went down like things of card. In the trail of the explosion followed fire. As the plank houses collapsed the fires within them ignited their frail fabric and the entire hillside became a mass of flames.
The Prince looked upon a hill set with scars in rows, the rock foundations of houses that had been. Houses had, in the main, disappeared, though here and there there was a crazy structure hanging together by nails only. Across the arm of the harbour, on the pretty, wooded Dartmouth side, he could see among the trees the sprawled ugliness of the ruin the explosion had spread even there.
On this bleak slope, where the grass was growing raggedly over the ruins, the old inhabitants were showing little inclination to return. Only a few neat houses were in course of erection where, before, there had been thousands. It was as though the hillside had become evil, and men feared it.
Over the hill, and by roads which are best described as corrugated (outside the main town roads of Canada, faith, hope and strong springs are the best companions on a motor ride), he went to where a new district is being built to house the victims of the disaster.
Modern Canada is having its way in this new area, and broad streets, grass lawns and pretty houses of wood, brick or concrete with characteristic porches give these new homes the atmosphere of the garden city.
Perched as it is high on the hill, with the sparkling water of the harbour close by, one can easily argue that good has come out of the evil. But as one mutters the platitude the Canadian who drives the car points to the long, tramless hill that connects the place with the heart of the city, and tells you curtly:
"That's called Hungry Hill."
"Why Hungry Hill?"
"It's so long that a man dies of hunger before he can get home from his office."
The social side of the visit followed.
The Prince went from the devastated area, and from his visit to some of the people who were already housed in their new homes, through the attractive residential streets of Halifax to the Waegwoltic Club.
This club is altogether charming, and one of the most perfect places of recreation I have seen. The club-house is a low, white rambling building set among trees and the most perfect of lawns. It has really beautiful suites of rooms, including a dancing hall and a dining-room. From its broad verandah a steep grass slope drops down to the sea water of one of the harbour arms. Many trees shade the slope and the idling paths on it, and through the trees shines the water, which has an astonishing blueness.
At the water's edge is a bathing place, with board rafts and a high skeleton diving platform. Here are boys and girls, looking as though they were posing for Harrison Fisher, diving, or lolling in the vivid sun on the plank rafts.
With its bright sea, on which are canoes and scarlet sailed yachts, the vivid green of its grass slopes under the superb trees, the Waegwoltic Club is idyllic. It is the dream of the perfect holiday place come true.
Quite close to it is another club of individuality. It is a club without club-house that has existed in that state for over sixty years.
This is the Studley Quoit Club, which the Prince visited after he had lunched at the Waegwoltic. Its premises are made up of a quoit field, a fence and some trees, and the good sportsmen, its members, as they showed His Royal Highness round, pointed solemnly to a fir to which a telephone was clamped, and said:
"That is our secretary's office."
A table under a spruce was the dining-room, a book of cuttings concerning the club on a desk was the library, while a bench against a fence was the smoking lounge. It is a club of humour and pride, that has held together with a genial and breezy continuity for generations. And it has two privileges, of which it is justly proud: one is the right to fly the British Navy ensign, gained through one of its first members, an admiral; the other is that its rum punch yet survives in a dry land.
The Prince's visit to such a gathering of sportsmen was, naturally, an affair of delightful informality. There was a certain swopping of reminiscences of the King, who had also visited the club, and a certain dry attitude of awe in the President, who, in speaking of the honours the Prince had accepted just before leaving England, said that though the members of the Studley Club felt competent to entertain His Royal Highness as a Colonel of the Guards, as the Grand Master of Freemasons, or even, at a pinch, as a King's Counsel, they felt while in their earthly flesh some trepidation in offering hospitality to a Brother of the Trinity—a celestial office which, the President understood, the Prince had accepted prior to his journey.
It was a happy little gathering, a relief, perhaps, from set functions, and the Prince entered fully into the spirit of the occasion. He drank the famous punch, and signed the Club roll, showing great amusement when some one asked him if he were signing the pledge.
On leaving this quaint club he came in for a cheery mobbing; men and women crowded round him, flappers stormed his car in the hope of shaking hands, while babies held up by elders won the handclasp without a struggle.
A crowded day was closed by a yet more crowded reception. It was an open reception of the kind which I believe I am right in saying the Prince himself was responsible for initiating on this trip. It was a reception not of privileged people bearing invitations, but of the whole city.
The whole city came.
Citizens of all ages and all occupations rolled up at Government House to meet His Royal Highness. They filled the broad lawn in front of the rather meek stone building, and overflowed into the street. They waited wedged tightly together in hot and sunny weather until they could take their turn in the endless file that was pushing into the house where the Prince was waiting to shake hands with them.
It was a gathering of every conceivable type of citizen. Silks and New York frocks had no advantage over gingham and "ready to wear." Judge's wife and general's took their turn with the girl clerk from the drug store and their char lady's daughter. Workers still in their overalls, boys in their shirtsleeves, soldiers and dockside workers and teamsters all joined in the crowd that passed for hours before the Prince.
At St. John he had shaken hands with some 2,000 people in such a reception as this, at Halifax the figure could not have been less, and it was probably more. He shook hands with all who came, and had a word with most, even with those admirable but embarrassing old ladies (one of whom at least appeared at each of these functions) who declared that, having lived long enough to see the children of two British rulers, they were anxious that he should lose no time in giving them the chance of seeing the children of a third.
It was an astonishing spectacle of affable democracy, and in effect it was perhaps the happiest idea in the tour. The popularity of these "open to all the town" meetings was astonishing. "The Everyday People" whom the Prince had expressed so eager a desire to see and meet came to these receptions in such overwhelming numbers that in large cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and the like it was manifestly impossible for him to meet even a fraction of the numbers.
Yet this fact did not mar the receptions. The people of Canada understood that he was making a real attempt at meeting as many of them as was humanly possible, and even those who did not get close enough to shake his hand were able to recognize that his desire was genuine as his happiness in meeting them was unaffected and friendly.
The public receptions were the result of an unstudied democratic impulse, and the Canadian people were of all people those able to appreciate that impulse most.
The Prince of Wales and his cruiser escort left Halifax on the night of Monday, August 18th, for Prince Edward Island, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, arriving at the capital of that province the next morning.
Owing to the difficulty of getting across country, the Press correspondents were unable to be present at this visit, and went direct by train to Quebec to await the Prince's arrival.
We were sorry not to visit this tiny, self-contained province of the Dominion, for we had heard much concerning its charm and individuality in character. It is a fertile little island, rich in agriculture, sport and fishing. It is an island of bright red beaches and green downs set in a clear sea, an Eden for bathers and holiday-makers.
It is also one of the last rallying-points of the silver fox, which is bred by the islanders for the fur market. This is a pocket industry unique in Canada. The animals are tended with the care given to prize fowls, each having its own kennel and wire run. Such domesticity renders them neither hardy nor prolific, and the breeding is an exacting pursuit.
At the capital, Charlottetown, His Royal Highness had a real Canadian welcome, tinged not a little with excitement. While he was on the racecourse one of the stands took fire, and there was the beginning of a panic, men and women starting to clamber wildly out of it and dropping from its sides. The Prince, however, kept his place and continued to watch the races. His presence on the stand quieted the nervous and checked what might have been an ugly rush, while the fire was very quickly got under.
Off Charlottetown the Prince transferred again to the battle-cruiser Renown, and finished the last section of his sea voyage up the great St. Lawrence on her.
Our disappointment at not seeing Prince Edward Island was mitigated by the glimpses we had from our train of the country of New Brunswick and the great area of the habitants that surrounds Quebec.
On the morning of August 19th we woke to the broken country of New Brunswick. The forests of spruce, pine, maple and poplar made walls on the very fringe of the single-line railway track for miles, giving way abruptly to broad and placid lakes, or to sharp narrow valleys, in which shallow streams pressed forward over beds of white stone and rock. At this time the streams were narrowed down to a slim channel, but the broad area of white shingle—frequently scored by many subsidiary thin channels of water—gave an idea of what these streams were like in flood.
There was a great deal of unfriendly black rock in the land pushing itself boldly up in hills, or cropping out from the thin covering soil. Here and there were the clearings of homesteaders, who lived sometimes in pretty plank houses, sometimes in the low shacks of rough logs that seemed to be put in the clearings—some of them not yet free of the high tree stumps—in order to give the land its authentic local colour.
On the streams that flow between the walls of trees there were always logs. Logs sometimes jamming the whole fairway with an indescribable jumble, logs collected into river bays with a neatness that made the surface of the water appear one great raft, and by these "log booms" there was, usually, the piles of squared timber, and the collection of rough wooden houses that formed the mill.
The mills have the air of being pit-head workings dealing with a cleaner material than coal. About them are lengthy conveyors, built up on high trestle timbers, that carry the logs from the water to the mill and from the mill to the dumps, that one instantly compares to the conveyors and winding gear of a coal mine. Beneath the conveyors are great ragged mounds of short logs cut into sections for the paper pulp trade, and jumbled heaps of shorter sections that are to serve as the winter firing for whole districts; these have the contours of coal dumps, while fed from chutes are hillocks of golden sawdust as big and as conspicuous as the ash and slag mounds of the mining areas.
In the mill yards are stacks and stacks of house planks that the great saws have sliced up with an uncanny ease and speed, stacks of square shingles for roofs and miles of squared beams.
We passed not a few but a multitude of these "booms" and mills, and our minds began to grasp the vastness of this natural and national industry. And yet it is not in the main a whole-time industry. For a large section of its workers it is a side line, an occupation for days that would otherwise be idle. It is the winter work of farmers, who, forced to cease their own labours owing to the deep snow and the frosts, turn to lumbering to keep them busy until the thaw sets in.
That fact helps the mind to realize the potentialities of Canada. Here is a business as big as coal mining that is largely the fruit of work in days when there is little else to do.
We saw this industry at a time when the streams were congested and the mills inactive. It was the summer season, but, more than that, the lack of transport, owing to the sinking, or the surrender by Canada for war purposes, of so much ship space, was having its effect on the lumber trade. The market, even as far as Britain, was in urgent need of timber, and the timber was ready for the market; but the exigencies, or, as some Canadians were inclined to argue, the muddle of shipping conditions, were holding up this, as well as many other of the Dominion industries.
In this sporting country there are many likely looking streams for fishermen, as there are likely looking forests for game. At New Castle we touched the Miramichi, which has the reputation of being the finest salmon-fishing river in New Brunswick; the Nepisiquit, the mouth of which we skirted at Bathurst, is also a great centre for fishermen, and, indeed, the whole of this country about the shores of the great Baie de Chaleur—that immense thrust made by the Gulf of St. Lawrence between the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec—is a paradise for holiday-makers and sportsmen, who, besides their fishing, get excellent shooting at brant, geese, duck, and all kinds of game.
The Canadian of the cities has his country cottage in this splendidly beautiful area, which he comes to for his recreation, and at other times leaves in charge of a local farmer, who fills his wood shed with fire logs from the forest in the summer, and his ice house with ice from the rivers in winter.
In this district, and long before we reached the Quebec border, we came to the country of the habitant farmer. As we stopped at sections to water or change engines, we saw that this was a land where man must be master of two tongues if he is to make himself understood. It is a land where we read on a shop window the legend: "J. Art Levesque. Barbier. Agent du Lowdnes Co. Habits sur commande." Here the habitant does business at La Banque Nationale, and takes his pleasure at the Exposition Provinciale, where his skill can win him Prix Populaires.
On the stations we talked with men in British khaki trousers who told us in a language in which Canadian French and camp English was strangely mingled of the service they had seen on the British front.
It is the district where the clever and painstaking French agriculturist gets every grain out of the soil, a district where we could see the spire of a parish church every six miles, the land of a people, sturdy, devout, tenacious and law-abiding, the "true 'Canayen' themselves,"
"And in their veins the same red stream;
The conquering blood of Normandie
Flowed strong, and gave America
Coureurs de bois and voyageurs
Whose trail extends from sea to sea!"
as William Henry Drummond, a true poet who drew from them inspiration for his delightful dialect verse, describes them.
The railway passes for hundreds of miles between habitant farms. The land is beautifully cared for, every fragment of rock, from a boulder to a pebble, having been collected from the soil through generations, and piled in long, thin caches in the centres of the fields. The effect of passing for hundreds of miles between these precisely aligned cairns is strange; one cannot get away from the feeling that the rocky mounds are there for some barbaric tribal reason, and that presently one will see a war dance or a sacrifice taking place about one of them.
The farms themselves have a strange appearance. They have an abnormally narrow frontage. They are railed in strips of not much greater breadth than a London back garden, though they extend away from the railway to a depth of a mile and more. At first this grouping of the land appears accidental, but the endlessness of the strange design soon convinces that there is a purpose underlying it.
Two explanations are offered. One is that the land has been parcelled out in this way, and not on a broad square acreage, because in the old pioneer days it afforded the best means of grouping the homesteads together for defence against the Red Man. The other is that it is the result of the French-Canadian law which enforces the division of an estate among children in exact proportion, and thus the original big farms have been split up into equal strips among the descendants of the original owner. Either of these explanations, or the combination of them, can be accepted.
At Campbellton, a pretty, toy-like town, close up to La Baie de Chaleur, there is gathered a remnant of the Micmac Indians, whom the first settlers feared. They have a settlement of their own on a peak of the Baie, and one of their chiefs had travelled to Halifax to be among those who welcomed the son of the Great White Chief.
Campbellton let us into the lovely valley of the Matapedia, an enchanted spot where the river lolls on a broad bed through a grand country of grim hills and forests. Now and then, indeed, its channel is pinched into gorges where its water shines pallidly and angrily amid the crowded shadows of rock and tree; usually it is the nursemaid of rich, flat valleys and the friend of the little frame-house hamlets that are linked across its waters by a spidery bridge of wooden trestles. At times beneath the hills it is swift and combed by a thousand stony fingers, and at other times it is an idler in Arcadie, a dilettante stream that wanders in half a dozen feckless channels over a desert of white stones, with here and there the green humpback of an island inviting the camper.
Beyond Matapedia we got the thrill of the run, an abrupt glimpse of the St. Lawrence, steel-blue and apparently infinite, its thirty miles of breadth yielding not a glimpse of the farther side. A short distance on, beyond Mont Joli, a place that might have come out of a sample box of French villages, the railway keeps the immense river company for the rest of the journey.
The valley broadened out into an immense flat plain with but few traces of the wilder hills of New Brunswick. About the line is a belt of prosperity forty miles deep, all of it worked by the habitant owners of the narrow farms, all of it so rich that in the whole area from the border to the city of Quebec there is not a poor farmer.
Before reaching Riviere du Loup we saw the high peaks of the Laurentine Mountains on the far side of the St. Lawrence, and on our side of the stream passed a grim little islet called L'Islet au Massacre, where a party of Micmac Indians, fleeing from the Iroquois in the old days, were caught as they hid in a deep cave, and killed by a great fire that their enemies built at the mouth.
We saw a few seals on the rocks of the river, but not a hint of the numbers that gave Riviere du Loup its name. It is a cameo of a town with falls sliding down-hill over a chute of jumbled rocks into a logging pool beneath.
Riviere du Loup is in the last lap of the journey to Quebec. There are a score or so of little hamlets, the names of which—St. Alexandre, St. Andre, St. Pascal, St. Pacome, St. Valier and so on—sound like a reading from the Litany of the Saints. And, passing the last of them, we saw across the narrowed St. Lawrence a trail of lace against the darkness of the Laurentine hills, a mass of filigree that moved and writhed, so that we understood when some one said:
"The Montmorency Falls."
A moment later we saw across the stream the city of Quebec, a hanging town of fairyland, with pinnacle and spire, bastion and citadel delicate against the quick sky. A city of romance and charm, to which we hurried by the very humdrum route of the steam ferry that crosses to it from the Levis side.
Quebec is not merely historic: it suggests history. It has the grand manner. One feels in one's bones that it is a city of a splendid past. The first sight of Quebec piled up on its opposite bluff where the waters of the St. Charles swell the mighty volume of the St. Lawrence convinces one that this grave city is the cradle of civilization in the West, the overlord of the river road to the sea and the heart of history and romance for Canada.
One does not require prompting to recognize that history has to go back centuries to reach the day when Cartier first landed here; or that Champlain figured bravely in its story in a brave and romantic era of the world, and that it was he who saw its importance as a commanding point of the great waterway that struck deep into the heart of the rich dominion—though he did think that dominion was a fragment of the fabulous Indies with a door into the rich realms of China.
Instinct seems to tell one that on the lifting plain behind the bulldog Citadel, Montcalm lost and died, and Wolfe died and won.
One knows, too, that from this city thick with spires, streams of Christianity and civilization flowed west and north and south to quicken the whole barbaric continent; that it was the nucleus that concentrated all the energy of the vast New World.
From the decks of the three war vessels, the Renown and the escorting cruisers, Quebec must have seemed like a city of a dream hanging against the quiet sky of a glorious evening.
The piled-up mass of the city on its abrupt cape is romantic, and suggests the drama of a Rhine castle with a grace and a significance that is French. On that evening of August 21st, when the strings and blobs of colour from a multitude of flags picked out the clustering of houses that climbed Cape Diamond to the grey walls of the Citadel, the city from the St. Lawrence had an appearance glowing and fantastic.
From Quebec the three fine ships steaming in line up the blue waters of the river were a sight dramatic and beautiful, though from the heights and against the wall of cliffs on the Levis side, a mile across stream, the cruisers were strangely dwarfed, and even Renown appeared a small but desirable toy.
In keeping with the general atmosphere of the town and toy-like ships, Quebec herself put a touch of the fantastic into the charm of her greeting.
As the cruisers dressed ship, and joined with the guns of the Citadel in the salute, there soared from the city itself scores of maroons. From the flash and smoke of their bursts there fluttered down many coloured things. Caught by the wind, these things opened out into parachutes, from which were suspended large silk flags. Soon the sky was flecked with the bright, tricoloured bubbles of parachutes, bearing Jacks and Navy Ensigns, Tricolours and Royal Standards down the wind.
The official landing at King's Wharf was full of characteristic colour also. It was in a wide, open space right under the grey rock upon which the Citadel is reared. In this square, tapestried with flags, and in a little canvas pavilion of bright red and white, the Prince met the leading sons of Quebec, the French-Canadian and the English-Canadian; the Bishop of the English cathedral in gaiters and apron, the Bishops of the Catholics in corded hats, scarlet gloves and long cassocks. Sailors and soldiers, women in bright and smart gowns gave the reception a glow and vivacity that had a quality true to Quebec.
From this short ceremony the Prince drove through the quaint streets to the Citadel. In the lower town under the rock his way led through a quarter that might well stage a Stanley Weyman romance. It is a quarter where, between high-shouldered, straight-faced houses, run the narrowest of streets, some of them, like Sous le Cap, so cramped that it is merely practical to use windows as the supports for clothes-lines, and to hang the alleys with banners of drying washing.
In these cramped streets named with the names of saints, are sudden little squares, streets that are mere staircases up to the cliff-top, and others that deserve the name of one of them, The Mountain. In these narrow canyons, through which the single-decked electric trams thunder like mammoths who have lost their way, are most of the commercial houses and nearly all the mud of the city.
At the end of this olden quarter, merging from the very air of antiquity in the streets, Quebec, with a characteristic Canadian gesture, adopts modernity. That is the vivid thing about the city. It is not merely historical: it is up-to-date. It is not merely the past, but it is the future also. At the end of the old, cramped streets stands Quebec's future—its docks.
These great dockyards at the very toe of the cape are the latest things of their kind. They have been built to take the traffic of tomorrow as well as today. Greater ships than those yet built can lie in safe water alongside the huge new concrete quays. Great ships can go into dry dock here, or across the water in the shipyards of Levis. They even build or put together ships of large tonnage, and while we were there, there were ships in half sections; by themselves too big to be floated down from the lakes through the locks, they had come down from the building slips in floatable halves to be riveted together in Quebec.
A web of railways serves these great harbour basins, and the latest mechanical loading gear can whip cargo out of ships or into them at record speed and with infinite ease. Huge elevators—one concrete monster that had been reared in a Canadian hustle of seven days—can stream grain by the million tons into holds, while troops, passengers and the whole mechanics of human transport can be handled with the greatest facility.
The Prince went up the steep cobbled street of The Mountain under the grey, solid old masonry of the Battery that hangs over the town in front of Laval University, that with the Archbishop's palace looks like a piece of old France translated bodily to Canada.
So he came to the big, green Place des Armes, not now a place of arms, and at that particular moment not green, but as thick as a gigantic flower-bed with the pretty dresses of pretty women—and there is all the French charm in the beauty of the women of Quebec—and with the khaki and commonplace of soldiers and civilians. A mighty and enthusiastic crowd that did not allow its French accent to hinder the shout of welcome it had caught up from the throng that lined the slopes of The Mountain.
From this point the route twisted to the right along the Grande Allée, going first between tall and upright houses, jalousied and severe faced, to where a strip of side road swung it left again, and up hill to the Citadel, where His Royal Highness lived during his stay.
From the Place des Armes the profile of the town pushes back along the heights to the peak on which is the Citadel, a squat and massive structure that seems to have grown rather than to have been built from the living rock upon which it is based.
Between the Citadel and the Place des Armes there is a long, grey stone wall above the green glacis of the cliff. It has the look of a military wall, and it is not a military wall. It supports merely a superb promenade, Dufferin Terrace, a great plank walk poised sheer above the river, the like of which would be hard to equal anywhere. On this the homely people of Quebec take the air in a manner more sumptuous than many of the most aristocratic resorts in Europe.
At the eastern end of this terrace, and forming the wing of the Place des Armes, is the medieval structure of the Château Frontenac, a building not really more antique than the area of hotels de luxe, of which it is an extremely fine example, but so planned by its designers as to fit delightfully into the antique texture of the town.
Below and shelving away eastward again is the congested old town, through which the Prince had come, and behind Citadel and promenade, and stretching over the plateau of the cape, is a town of broad and comely streets, many trees and great parks as modern as anything in Canada.
That night the big Dufferin Terrace was thronged by people out to see the firework display from the Citadel, and to watch the illuminations of the city and of the ships down on the calm surface of the water. It was rather an unexpected crowd. There were the sexes by the thousands packed together on that big esplanade, listening to the band, looking at the fireworks and lights, the whole town was there in a holiday mood, and there was not the slightest hint of horseplay or disorder.
The crowd enjoyed itself calmly and gracefully; there were none of those syncopated sounds or movements which in an English crowd show that youth is being served with pleasure. The quiet enjoyment of this good-tempered and vivacious throng is the marked attitude of such Canadian gatherings. I saw in other towns big crowds gathered at the dances held in the street to celebrate the Prince's visit. Although thousands of people of all grades and tempers came together to dance or to watch the dancing, there was never the slightest sign of rowdyism or disorder.
On this and the next two nights Quebec added to its beauty. All the public buildings were outlined in electric light, so that it looked more than ever a fairy city hanging in the air. The cruisers in the stream were outlined, deck and spar and stack, in light, and Renown had poised between her masts a bright set of the Prince of Wales's feathers, the lights of the whole group of ships being mirrored in the river. On Friday Renown gave a display of fireworks and searchlights, the beauty of which was doubled by the reflections in the water.
Friday and Saturday (August 22 and 23) were strenuous days for the Prince. He visited every notable spot in the brilliant and curious town where one spoke first in French, and English only as an afterthought; where even the blind beggar appeals to the charitable in two languages; where the citizens ride in up-to-date motor-cars and the visitors in the high-slung, swing-shaped horse calache; where the traffic takes the French side of the road; where the shovel hats and cassocks of priests are as commonplace as everyday; where the vivacity of France is fused into the homely good-fellowship of the Colonial in a manner quite irresistible.
He began Friday in a wonderful crimson room in the Provincial Parliament building, where he received addresses in French, and answered them in the same tongue.
It was a remarkable room, this glowing chamber set in the handsome Parliament house that looks down over a sweep of grass, the hipped roofs and the pinnacles of the town to the St. Lawrence. It was a great room with a floor of crimson and walls of crimson and white. Over the mellow oak that made a backing to the Prince's daïs was a striking picture of Champlain looking out from the deck of his tiny sloop The Gift of God to the shore upon which Quebec was to rise.
The people in that chamber were not less colourful than the room itself. Bright dresses, the antique robes of Les Membres du Conseil Exécutif, the violet and red of clerics, with the blue, red and khaki of fighting men were on the floor and in the mellow oak gallery.
Two addresses were read to His Royal Highness, twice, first in French and then in English, and each address in each language was prefaced by his list of titles—a long list, sonorous enough in French, but with an air of thirdly and lastly when oft repeated. One could imagine his relief when the fourth Earl of Carrick had been negotiated, and he was steering safely for the Lord of the Isles. A strain on any man, especially when one of the readers' pince-nez began to contract some of the deep feeling of its master, and to slide off at every comma, to be thrust back with his ever-deepening emotion.
The Prince answered in one language, and that French, and the surprise and delight of his hearers was profound. They felt that he had paid them the most graceful of compliments, and his fluency as well as his happiness of expression filled them with enthusiasm. He showed, too, that he recognized what French Canada had done in the war by his reference to the Vingtdeuxième Battalion, whose "conduite intrépide" he had witnessed in France. It was a touch of knowledge that was certainly well chosen, for the province of Quebec, which sent forty thousand men by direct enlistment to the war, has, thanks to the obscurantism of politics, received rather less than its due.
From the atmosphere of governance the Prince passed to the atmosphere of the seminary, driving down the broad Grand Allée to the University of Laval, called after the first Bishop of Quebec and Canada. It has been since its foundation not merely the fountain head of Christianity on the American continent, but the armoury of science, in which all the arts of forestry, agriculture, medicine and the like were put at the service of the settler in his fight against the primitive wilds.
In the bleached and severe corridors of this great building the Prince examined many historic pictures of Canada's past, including a set of photographs of his own father's visit to the city and university. He also went from Laval to the Archbishop's Palace, where the Cardinal, a humorous, wise, virile old prelate in scarlet, showed him pictures of Queen Victoria and others of his ancestors, and stood by his side in the Grand Saloon while he held a reception of many clerics, professors and visitors.
The afternoon was given to the battlefield, where he unfurled a Union Jack to inaugurate the beautiful park that extends over the whole area.
The beauty of this park is a very real thing. It hangs over the St. Lawrence with a sumptuous air of spaciousness. Leaning over the granite balustrade, one can look down on the tiny Wolfe's cove, where three thousand British crept up in the blackness of the night to disconcert the French commander.
It is not a very imposing slope, and a modern army might take it in its stride. Across the formal grass of the park itself the learned trace the lines of England and of France.
At the town end there is a slight hill above a dip. The British were in the dip, France was on the hill. That hill lost the battle. It placed the French between the British and the guns of the Citadel in days when there was neither aerial observation nor indirect fire.
A wind, as on the day of the battle, was blowing while the Prince was on the field. The British fired one volley, and the smoke from their black powder was blown into the faces of the French. Bewildered by the dense cloud, uncertain of what was in the heart of it, the French broke and fled. In twenty minutes Canada was won.
There is a plain monument to mark the exact spot where Wolfe fell; the Prince placed a wreath upon it, as he had placed wreaths on the monuments of Champlain and Montcalm earlier, and as he did later at the monument Aux Braves on the field of Foye, which commemorates the dead of both races who fell in the battle when Murray, a year after Wolfe's victory, endeavoured to loosen the grip the French besiegers were tightening round Quebec, and was defeated, though he held the city.
On the Plains of Abraham—it has no romantic significance, Abraham was merely a farmer who owned the land at the time of the battle—French and English were again gathered in force, but in a different manner.
It was a bright and friendly gathering of Canadians, who no longer permitted a difference of tongue to interfere with their amity. It was also a gathering of men and women and children (Quebec is the province of the quiverful), notably vigorous, well-dressed and prosperous.
The thing to remark here, as well as in all the gatherings of the people of this city, was the absence of dinginess and dowdiness that goes with poverty. In the great mass of stone houses, pretty brick and wood villas, and apartment "houses," the upper flats of which are reached by curving iron Jacob stairways, that make habitable Quebec there are patches of cramped wooden houses, each built under the architectural stimulus of the packing-case, though rococo little porches and scalloped roofs add a wedding-cake charm to the poverty of size and design. But though there are these small but not mean houses, there appear to be no poor people.
All those on the Plains had an independent and self-supporting air (as, indeed, every person has in Canada), and they gave the Prince a reception of a hearty and affable kind, as he declared this fine park the property of the city, and made the citizens free of its historic acreage for all time.
From the Plains His Royal Highness went by car to the huge new railway bridge that spans the St. Lawrence a few miles above the town. It was a long ride through comely lanes, by quiet farmsteads and small habitant villages. At all places where there was a nucleus of human life, men and women, but particularly the children, came out to their fences with flags to shout and wave a greeting.
At the bridge station were two open cars, and on to the raised platform of one of these the Prince mounted, while "movie" men stormed the other car, and a number of ordinary human beings joined them. This special train was then passed slowly under the giant steel girders and over the central span, which is longer than any span the Forth Bridge can boast. As the train travelled forward the Prince showed his eagerness for technical detail, and kept the engineers by his side busy with a stream of questions.
The bridge is not only a superb example of the art of the engineer, perhaps the greatest example the twentieth century can yet show, but it is a monument to the courage and tenacity of man. Twice the great central span was floated up-stream from the building yards, only to collapse and sink into the St. Lawrence at the moment it was being lifted into place. Though these failures caused loss of life, the designers persisted, and the third attempt brought success.
There was, one supposes, a ceremonial idea connected with this function. His Royal Highness certainly unveiled two tablets at either end of the bridge by jerking cords that released the covering Union Jack. But this ritual was second to the ceremonial of the "movies."
The "movies" went over the top in a grand attack. They put down a box barrage close up against the Prince's platform, and at a distance of two feet, not an inflection of his face, nor a movement of his head, escaped the unwinking and merciless eye of the camera.
The "movie" men declare that the Prince is the best "fil-lm" actor living, since he is absolutely unstudied in manner; but it would have taken a Douglas Fairbanks of a super-breed to remain unembarrassed in the face of that cold line of lenses thrust close up to his medal ribbons. And in the film he shows his feelings in characteristic movements of lips and hands.
The men who did not take movies, the men with plain cameras, the "still" men, were also active. Not to be outdone by their comrades with the machine-gun action, they sprang from the car at intervals, ran along the footway, and snapped the party as the train drew level with them.
It was a field day for cameras, but enthusiastic people also counted. Men and women had clambered up the hard, stratified rock of the cuttings that carry the line to the bridge, and they were also standing under the bridge on the slopes, and on the flats by the river. They were cheering, and—yes, they were busy with their cameras also—cameras cannot be evaded in Canada, even in the wilds.
One had the impression, from the difficult perches on which people were to be found, that wherever the Prince would go in Canada, to whatever lonely or difficult spot his travels would lead him, he would always find a Canadian man, and possibly a Canadian woman standing waiting or clinging to precarious holds, glad to be there, so long as he (or she) had breath to cheer and a free hand to wave a flag. And this impression was confirmed by the story of the next months.
Saturday, August 23, was supposed to give His Royal Highness the half-day holiday which is the due of any worker. That half day was peculiarly Canadian.
The business of the morning was one of singular charm. The Prince visited the Convent of the Ursulines, to which in the old days wounded Montcalm was taken, and in whose quiet chapel his body lies.
The nuns are cloistered and do not open their doors to visitors, but on this day they welcomed the Prince with an eagerness that was altogether delightful. They showed him through their serene yet bare reception rooms, and with pride placed before him the skull of Montcalm, which they keep in their recreation room, together with a host of historic documents dealing with the struggles of those distant days.
The party was taken through the nuns' chapel, and sent on with smiles to the public chapel to look on Montcalm's tomb, originally a hole in the chapel fabric torn by British shells. The nuns could not go into that chapel. "We are cloistered," they told us.
These child-like nuns, with their serene and smiling faces, were overjoyed to receive His Royal Highness and anxious to convey to him their good will.
"We cannot go to England—we cannot leave our house—but our hearts are always with you, and there are none more loyal than us, and none more earnest in teaching loyalty to all the girls who come to us to study. Yes, we teach it in French, but what does that matter? We can express the Canadian spirit just as well in that language." So said a very vivid and practical little nun to me, and she was anxious that England should realize how dear they felt the bond.
The Prince's afternoon "off" was spent out of Quebec at the beautiful village of St. Anne's Beaupré, where, set in lovely surroundings, there is a miraculous shrine to St. Anne. The Prince visited the beautiful basilica, and saw the forest of sticks and crutches left behind as tokens of their cure by generations of sufferers.
News of his visit had got abroad, and when he left the shrine in company of the clergy, he was surrounded by a big crowd who restricted all movement by their cheerful importunity. A local photographer, rising to the occasion, refused to let His Royal Highness escape until he had taken an historic snap. Not merely a snap of the Prince and the priests with him, but of as many of the citizens of Beaupré as he could get into a wide angle lense. This was a tremendous occasion, and he yelled at the top of his voice to the people to:
"Come and be photographed with the Prince. Come and be taken with your future King."
Taken with their future King, the people of Beaupré were entirely disinclined to let him go. They crowded round him so that it was only force that enabled his entourage to clear a tactful way to his car. Even in the car the driver found himself faced with all the opportunities of the chauffeur of the Juggernaut with none of his convictions. The car was hemmed in by the crowd, and the crowd would not give way.
It is possible that at this jolly crisis somebody mentioned the Prince's need for tea, and at the mention of this solemn and inexplicable British rite the crowd gave way, and the car got free.
On Sunday, August 24th, His Royal Highness came under the sway of that benevolent despot in the Kingdom of Efficiency, the Canadian Pacific Railway.
He motored out along a road that Quebec is proud of, because it has a reputable surface for automobiles in a world of natural earth tracks, through delightful country to a small station which [had?] a Gallic air, Three Rivers. Here he boarded the Royal Train.
It was a remarkable train. Not merely did its construction, length, tonnage and ultimate mileage set up new records, but in it the idealist's dream of perfection in travelling came true.
It might be truer to say the Royal Party did not take the train, it took them. As each member of the party mounted into his compartment, or Pullman car, he at once ceased to concern himself with his own well-being. To think of oneself was unnecessary. The C.P.R. had not only arranged to do the thinking, but had also arranged to do it better.
The external facts concerning the train were but a part of its wonder. And the minor part. It was the largest train of its kind to accomplish so great a single run—it weighed over a thousand tons, and travelled nearly ten thousand miles. It was a fifth of a mile in length. Its ten splendid cars were all steel. Some of them were ordinary sleepers, some were compartment and drawing-room cars. Those for the Prince and his Staff were sumptuous private cars with state-rooms, dining-rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and cosy observation rooms and platforms, beautifully fitted and appointed.
The train was a modern hotel strayed accidentally on to wheels. It had its telephone system; its own electricity; its own individually controlled central heat. It had a laundry service for its passengers, and its valets always on the spot to renew the crease of youth in all trousers. It had its own newspaper, or, rather, bulletin, by which all on board learnt the news of the external world twice a day, no matter in what wild spot the train happened to be. It had its dark-room for photographers, its dispensary for the doctor and its untiring telegraph expert to handle all wired messages, including the correspondents' cables. It had its dining-rooms and kitchens and its staff of first-class chefs, who worked miracles of cuisine in the small space of their kitchen, giving over a hundred people three meals a day that no hotel in London could exceed in style, and no hotel in England could hope to equal in abundance. It carried baggage, and transferred it to Government Houses or hotels, and transferred it back to its cars and baggage vans in a manner so perfect that one came to look upon the matter almost as a process of nature, and not as a breathless phenomenon.
It was the train de luxe, but it was really more than that. It was a train handled by experts from Mr. A. B. Calder, who represented the President of the Company, down to the cleaning boy, who swept up the cars, and they were experts of a curious quality of their own.
Whatever the Canadian Pacific Railway is (and it has its critics), there can be no doubt that, as an organization, it captures the loyalty, as it calls forth all the keenness and ability of its servants. It is something that quickens their imagination and stimulates their enthusiasm. There was something warm and invigorating about the way each man set up within himself a counsel of perfection—which he intended to exceed. Waiters, negro car porters, brakemen, secretaries—every man on that staff of sixty odd determined that his department was going to be a living example, not of what he could do, but of what the C.P.R. could do.
The esprit de corps was remarkable. Mr. Calder told us at the end of the trip that as far as the staff working of the train was concerned he need not have been in control. He had not issued a single order, nor a single reprimand in the three months. The men knew their work perfectly; they did it perfectly.
When one thinks of a great organization animated from the lowest worker to the President by so lively and extraordinarily human a spirit of loyalty that each worker finds delight in improving on instructions, one must admit that it has the elements of greatness in it.
My own impression after seeing it working and the work it has done, after seeing the difficulties it has conquered, the districts it has opened up, the towns it has brought into being, is that, as an organization, the Canadian Pacific Railway is great, not merely as a trading concern, but as an Empire-building factor. Its vision has been big beyond its own needs, and the Dominion today owes not a little to the great men of the C.P.R., who were big-minded enough to plan, not only for themselves, but also for all Canada.
And the big men are still alive. In Quebec we had the good fortune to meet Lord Shaughnessy, whose acute mind was the very soul of the C.P.R. until he retired from the Presidency a short time ago, and Mr. Edward W. Beatty, who has succeeded him.
Lord Shaughnessy may be a retired lion, but he is by no means a dead one. A quiet man of powerful silences, whose eyes can be ruthless, and his lips wise. A man who appears disembodied on first introduction, for one overlooks the rest of him under the domination of his head and eyes.
The best description of Mr. Beatty lies in the first question one wants to ask him, which is, "Are you any relation to the Admiral?"
The likeness is so remarkable that one is sure it cannot be accidental. It is accidental, and therefore more remarkable. It is the Admiral's face down to the least detail of feature, though it is a trifle younger. There is the same neat, jaunty air—there is even the same cock of the hat over the same eye. There is the same sense of compact power concealed by the same spirit of whimsical dare-devilry. There is the same capacity, the same nattiness, the same humanness. There is the same sense of abnormality that a man looking so young should command an organization so enormous, and the same recognition that he is just the man to do it.
Both these men are impressive. They are big men, but then so are all the men who have control in the C.P.R. They are more than that, they can inspire other men with their own big spirit. We met many heads of departments in the C.P.R., and we felt that in all was the same quality. Mr. Calder, as he began, "A. B." as he soon became, was the one we came in contact with most, and he was typical of his service.
"A. B." was not merely our good angel, but our good friend from the first. Not merely did he smooth the way for us, but he made it the jolliest and most cheery way in the world. He is a bundle of strange qualities, all good. He is Puck, with the brain of an administrator. The king of story tellers, with an unfaltering instinct for organization. A poet, and a mimic and a born comedian, plus a will that is never flurried, a diplomacy that never rasps, and a capacity for the routine of railway work that is—C.P.R. A man of big heart, big humanness, and big ability, whom we all loved and valued from the first meeting.
And, over all, he is a C.P.R. man, the type of man that organization finds service for, and is best served by them; an example that did most to impress us with a sense of the organization's greatness.
If I have written much concerning the C.P.R., it is because I feel that, under the personality of His Royal Highness himself, the success of the tour owes much to the care and efficiency that organization exerted throughout its course, and also because for three months the C.P.R. train was our home and the backbone of everything we did. If you like, that is the chief tribute to the organization. We spent three months confined more or less to a single carriage; we travelled over all kinds of line and country, and under all manner of conditions; and after those three long months we left the train still impressed by the C.P.R., still warm in our friendship for it—perhaps, indeed, warmer in our regard.
There are not many railways that could stand that continuous test.
Of the ten cars in the train, the Prince of Wales occupied the last, "Killarney," a beautiful car, eighty-two feet long, its interior finished in satinwood, and beautifully lighted by the indirect system. The Prince had his bedroom, with an ordinary bed, dining-room and bathroom. There was a kitchen and pantry for his special chef. The observation compartment was a drawing-room with settees, and arm-chairs and a gramophone, while in addition to the broad windows there was a large, brass-railed platform at the rear, upon which he could sit and watch the scenery (search-lights helped him at night), and from which he held a multitude of impromptu receptions.
"Cromarty," another beautiful car, was occupied by the personal Staff; "Empire," "Chinook" and "Chester" by personal and C.P.R. staff. The next car, "Canada," was the beautiful dining car; "Carnarvon," the next, a sleeping car, was occupied by the correspondents and photographers; "Renown" belonged to the particularly efficient C.P.R. police, who went everywhere with the train, and patrolled the track if it stopped at night. In front of "Renown" were two baggage cars with the 225 pieces of baggage the retinue carried.
At Three Rivers a very cheery crowd wished His Royal Highness bon voyage. The whole town turned out, and over-ran the pretty grass plot that is a feature in every Canadian station, in order to see the Prince.
We ran steadily down the St. Lawrence through pretty country towards Toronto. All the stations we passed were crowded, and though the train invariably went through at a good pace that did not seem to matter to the people, though they had come a long distance in order to catch just this fleeting glimpse of the train that carried him.
Sometimes the train stopped for water, or to change engines at the end of the section of 133 miles. The people then gathered about the rear of the train, and the Prince had an opportunity of chatting with them and shaking hands with many.
At some halts he left the train to stroll on the platform, and on these occasions he invariably talked with the crowd, and gave "candles" to the children. There was no difficulty at all in approaching him. At one tiny place, Outremont, one woman came to him, and said that she felt she already knew him, because her husband had met him in France. That fact immediately moved the Prince to sympathy. Not only did he spend some minutes talking with her, but he made a point of referring to the incident in his speech at Toronto the next day, to emphasize the feeling he was experiencing of having come to a land that was almost his own, thanks to his comradeship with Canadians overseas.
Not only during the day was the whole route of the train marked by crowds at stations, and individual groups in the countryside, but even during the night these crowds and groups were there.
As we swept along there came through the windows of our sleeping-car the ghosts of cheers, as a crowd on a station or a gathering at a crossing saluted the train. The cheer was gone in the distance as soon as it came, but to hear these cheers through the night was to be impressed by the generosity and loyalty of these people. They had stayed up late, they had even travelled far to give one cheer only. But they had thought it worth while. Montreal, which we passed through in the dark, woke us with a hearty salute that ran throughout the length of our passing through that great city, and so it went on through the night and into the morning, when we woke to find ourselves slipping along the shores of Lake Ontario and into the outskirts of Toronto.
Toronto is a city of many names. You can call it "The Boston of Canada," because of its aspiration to literature, the theatre and the arts. You can call it "The Second City of Canada," because the fact is incontestable. You can call it "The Queen City," because others do, though, like the writer, you are unable to find the reason why you should. You can say of it, as the Westerners do, "Oh—Toronto!" with very much the same accent that the British dramatist reserves for the censor of plays. But though it already had its host of names, Toronto, to us, was the City of Crowds.
Toronto has interests and beauties. It has its big, natural High Park. It has its charming residential quarters in Rosedale and on The Hill. It has its beautiful lagoon on the lakeside. It has its Yonge Street, forty miles straight. It has the tallest building in the Empire, and some of the largest stores in the Empire. It is busy and bright and brisk. But we found we could not see it for crowds. Or, rather, at first we could not see it for crowds. Later a good Samaritan took us for a pell-mell tour in a motor-car, and we saw a chauffeur's eye view of it. Even then we saw much of it over the massed soft hats of Canada.
We had become inured to crowds. We had seen big, bustling, eager, hearty, good-humoured throngs from St. John's to Quebec. But even that hardening had not proofed us against the mass and enthusiastic violence of the crowd that Toronto turned out to greet the Prince, and continued to turn out to meet him during the days he was there.
On the early morning of Monday, August 25th, in that weather that was already being called "Prince of Wales' weather," the Prince stepped "ashore" at the Government House siding, outside Toronto. There was a skirmishing line of the waiting city flung out to this distant station—including some go-ahead flappers with autograph books to sign. It was, however, one of those occasions when the Prince was considered to be wrapped in a robe of invisibility until he had been to Government House and started from there to drive inland to the city and its receptions.
A quick automobile rush—and, by the way, it will be noticed that the Continent of Hustle always uses the long word for the short, "automobile" for "car," "elevator" for "lift," and so on—to the Government House, placed the Prince on a legal footing, and he was ready to enter the city.
Government House is remarkable for the fact that it grew a garden in a single night. It is a comely building of rough-dressed stone, standing in the park-like surroundings of the Rosedale suburb, but in the absence of princes its forecourt is merely a desert of grey stone granules. When His Royal Highness arrived it was a garden of an almost brilliant abundance. There were green lawns, great beds packed wantonly with the brightest flowers, while trees, palms and flowering shrubs crowded the square in luxuriance. A marvel of a garden. A realist policeman, after his first gasp, bent down to examine the green of the lawn, and rose with a Kipps expression on his face and with the single word "Fake" on his lips.
The vivid lawn was green cocoanut matting, the beds were cunning arrangements of flowers in pots, and from pots the trees and shrubs flourished. It was a garden artificial and even more marvellous than we had thought.
The Prince rode through Rosedale to the town. The crowd began outside Government House gates. It was a polite and brightly dressed crowd, for it was drawn from the delightful houses that made islands in the uninterrupted lawns that, with the graceful trees, formed the borders of the winding roads through which he went. Rosedale was once forest on the shores of the old Ontario Lake; the lake has receded three miles and more, but the builders of the city have dealt kindly with the forest, and have touched it as little as they could, so that the old trees blend with the modern lawns to give the new homes an air of infinite charm.
As the Prince drove deeper into the city the crowds thickened, so that when he arrived in the virile, purposeful commercial streets, the sidewalks could no longer contain the mass. They are broad and efficient streets, striking through the town arrow-straight, and giving to the eye superb vistas. But broad though they were, they could not accommodate sightseeing Toronto, and the crowd encroached upon the driveway, much to the disgust of many little boys, who, with their race's contempt for death by automobile, were running or cycling beside the Royal car in their determination to get the maximum of Prince out of a short visit.
The crowd went upward from the roadway also. We had come into our first city of sky-climbing buildings. One of these shoots up some twenty stories, but though this is the tallest "yet," it is surrounded by some considerable neighbours that give the streets great ranges upwards as well as forward. The windows of these great buildings were packed with people, and through the canopy of flags that fluttered on all the route they sent down their cheers to join the welcome on the ground floor.
It was through such crowds that the Prince drove to a greater crowd that was gathered about the Parliament Buildings.
The site of the Provincial Parliament Buildings is, as with all these Western cities, very beautifully planned. It is set in the gracious Queen's Park, that forms an avenue of green in the very heart of the town. About the park are the buildings of Toronto University, and the avenue leads down to the dignified old law schools at Osgoode Hall. The Canadians show a sense of appropriate artistry always in the grouping of their public buildings—although, of course, they have had the advantage of beginning before ground-rents and other interests grew too strong for public endeavour.
The Parliament Buildings are of a ruddy sandstone, in a style slightly railway-station Renaissance. They were draped with flags down to the vivid striped platform before the building upon which the reception was held. Great masses of people and many ranks of soldiers filled the lawns before the platform, while to the right was a great flower-bed of infants. A grand-stand was brimming over with school-kiddies ready to cheer at the slightest hint, to sing at command, and to wave flags at all times.
It was a bustling reception from Toronto as parliamentary capital of Ontario, and from Toronto the town. It was packed full of speeches and singing from the children and from a Welsh choir—and Canada flowers Welsh choirs—and presentations from many societies, whose members, wearing the long silk buttonhole tabs stamped with the gold title of the guild or committee to which they belonged, came forward to augment the press on the platform.
These silk tabs are an insignia of Canadian life. The Canadians have an infinite capacity for forming themselves into committees, and clubs, and orders of stout fellows, and all manner of gregarious associations. And when any association shows itself in the sunlight, it distinguishes itself by tagging its members with long, coloured silk tabs. We never went out of sight of tabs on the whole of our trip.
From the Parliament Buildings the Prince drove through the packed town to the Exhibition ground. We passed practically through the whole of the city in these two journeys, travelling miles of streets, yet all the way the mass of people was dense to a remarkable degree. Toronto, we knew, was supposed to have a population of 500,000 people, but long before we reached the end of the drive we began to wonder how the city could possibly keep up the strength on the pavements without running out of inhabitants. It not only kept it up, but it sprang upon us the amazing sight of the Exhibition ground.
In this long and wonderful drive there was but one stop. This was at the City Hall, a big, rough stone building with a soaring campanile. On the broad steps of the hall a host of wounded men in blue were grouped, as though in a grand-stand. The string of cars swerved aside so that the Prince could stop for a few minutes and chat with the men.
His reception here was of overwhelming warmth; men with all manner of hurts, men on crutches and in chairs stood up, or tried to stand up, to cheer him. It was in the truest sense a meeting of comrades, and when a one-legged soldier asked the Prince to pose for a photograph, he did it not merely willingly, but with a jolly and personal friendliness.
The long road to the Exhibition passed through the busy manufacturing centre that has made Toronto famous and rich as a trading city, particularly as a trading city from which agricultural machinery is produced. The Exhibition itself is part of its great commercial enterprise. It is the focus for the whole of Ontario, and perhaps for the whole of Eastern Canada, of all that is up-to-date in the science of production. In the beautiful grounds that lie along the fringe of the inland sea that men have, for convenience' sake, called Lake Ontario, and in fine buildings in those grounds are gathered together exhibits of machinery, textiles, timber, seeds, cattle, and in fact everything concerned with the work of men in cities or on prairies, in offices or factories, farms or orchards.
The Exhibition was breaking records for its visitors already, and the presence of the Prince enabled it to break more. The vastness of the crowd in the grounds was aweing. The gathering of people simply obliterated the grass of the lawns and clogged the roads.
When His Royal Highness had lunched with the administrators of the Exhibition, he came out to a bandstand and publicly declared the grounds opened. The crowd was not merely thick about the stand, but its more venturesome members climbed up among the committee and the camera-men, the latter working so strenuously and in such numbers that they gave the impression that they not only photographed every movement, but also every word the Prince uttered.
The density of the crowd made retreat a problem. Police and Staff had to resolve themselves into human Tanks, and press a way by inches through the enthusiastic throng to the car. The car itself was surrounded, and could only move at a crawl along the roads, and so slow was the going and so lively was the friendliness of the people, that His Royal Highness once and for all threw saluting overboard as a gesture entirely inadequate, and gave his response with a waving hand. The infection of goodwill, too, had caught hold of him, and not satisfied with his attitude, he sprang up in the car and waved standing. In this manner, and with one of his Staff holding him by the belt, he drove through and out of the grounds.
It was a day so packed with extraordinary crowds, that we correspondents grew hopeless before them. We despaired of being able to convey adequately a sense of what was happening; "enthusiasm" was a hard-driven word that day and during the next two, and we would have given the world to find another for a change.
Since I returned I have heard sceptical people say that the stories of these "great receptions" were vamped-up affairs, mere newspaper manufacture. I would like to have had some of those sceptics in Toronto with us on August 25th, 26th and 27th. It would have taught them a very convincing and stirring lesson.
The crowds of the Exhibition ground were followed by crowds at the Public Reception, an "extra" which the Prince himself had added to his program. This was held at the City Hall. It had all the characteristics of these democratic and popular receptions, only it was bigger. Policemen had been drawn about the City Hall, but when the people decided to go in, the police mattered very little. They were submerged by a sea of men and women that swept over them, swept up the big flight of steps and engulfed the Prince in a torrent, every individual particle of which was bent on shaking hands. It was a splendidly-tempered crowd, but it was determined upon that handshake. And it had it. It was at Toronto that, as the Prince phrased it, "My right hand was 'done in.'" This was how Toronto did it in.
The visit was not all strenuous affection. There were quiet backwaters in which His Royal Highness obtained some rest, golfing and dancing. One such moment was when on this day he crossed to the Yacht Club, an idyllic place, on the sandspit that encloses the lagoon.
This club, set in the vividly blue waters of the great lake, is a little gem of beauty with its smooth lawns, pretty buildings and fine trees. It is even something more, for every handful of loam on which the lawns and trees grow was transported from the mainland to make fruitful the arid sand of the spit. The Prince had tea on the lawn, while he watched the scores of brisk little boats that had followed him out and hung about awaiting his return like a genial guard of honour.
There was always dancing in honour of the Prince, and always a great deal of expectation as to who would be the lucky partners. His partners, as I have said, had their photographs published in the papers the next day. Even those who were not so lucky urged their cavaliers to keep as close to him as possible on the ball-room floor, so every inflexion of the Prince could be watched, though not all were so far gone as an adoring young thing in one town (NOT Toronto), who hung on every movement, and who cried to her partner in accents of awe:
"I've heard him speak! I've heard him speak! He says 'Yes' just like an ordinary man. Isn't it wonderful!"
On Tuesday, the 25th, the Yacht Club was the scene of one of the brightest of dances, following a very happy reunion between the Prince and his comrades of the war. Some hundreds of officers of all grades were gathered together by General Gunn, the C.O. of the District, from the many thousands in Ontario, and these entertained the Prince at dinner at the Club. It was a gathering both significant and impressive. Every one of the officers wore not merely the medals of Overseas service, but every one wore a distinction gained on the field.
It was an epitome of Canada's effort in the war. It was a collection of virile young men drawn from the lawyer's office and the farm, from the desk indoors and avocations in the open, from the very law schools and even the University campus. In the big dining-hall, hung with scores of boards in German lettering, trench-signs, directing posts to billets, drinking water and the like, that had been captured by the very men who were then dining, one got a sense of the vivid capacity and alertness that made Canada's contribution to the Empire fighting forces so notable, and more, that will make Canada's contribution to the future of the world so notable.
There was no doubt, too, that, though these self-assured young men are perfectly competent to stand on their own feet in all circumstances, their visit to the Old Country—or, as even the Canadian-born call it, "Home"—has, even apart from the lessons of fighting, been useful to them, and, through them, will be useful to Canada.
"Leaves in England were worth while," one said. "I've come back here with a new sense of values. Canada's a great country, but we are a little in the rough. We can teach you people a good many things, but there are a good many we can learn from you. We haven't any tradition. Oh, not all your traditions are good ones, but many are worth while. You have a more dignified social sense than we have, and a political sense too. And you have a culture we haven't attained yet. You've given us not a standard—we could read that up—but a liking for social life, bigger politics, books and pictures and music, and all that sort of thing that we had missed here—and been quite unaware that we had missed."
And another chimed in:
"That's what we miss in Canada, the theatres and the concerts and the lectures, and the whole boiling of a good time we had in London—the big sense of being Metropolitan that you get in England, and not here. Well, not yet. We were rather prone to the parish-pump attitude before the war, but going over there has given us a bigger outlook. We can see the whole world now, you know. London's a great place—it's an education in the citizenship of the universe."
That's a point, too. London and Britain have been revealed to them as friendly places and the homes of good friends—though I must make an exception of one seaport town in England which is a byword among Canadians for bad treatment. England was the place where a multitude of people conspired to give the Canadians a good time, and they have returned with a practical knowledge of the good feeling of the English, and that is bound to make for mutual understanding.
It must not be thought that Toronto,—or other cities in Canada—is without theatres or places of recreation. There are several good theatres and music-halls in Toronto—more in this city than in any other. These theatres are served by American companies of the No. 1 touring kind. English actors touring America usually pay the city a visit, while quite frequently new plays are "tried out" here before opening in New York.
But apart from a repertory company, which plays drawing-room comedies with an occasional dash of high-brow, Toronto and Canada depend on outside, that is American, sources for the theatre, and though the standard of touring companies may be high in the big Eastern towns, it is not as high as it should be, and in towns further West the shows are of that rather streaky nature that one connects with theatrical entertainment at the British seaside resorts.
The immense distances are against theatrical enterprises, of course, but in spite of them one has a feeling that the potentialities of the theatre, as with everything in the Dominion, are great for the right man.
Toronto is better off musically than other cities, but even Toronto depends very much for its symphony and its vocal concerts, as for its opera, on America. Music is intensely popular, and gramophones, pianos and mechanical piano-players have a great sale.
The "movie" show is the great industry of amusement all over the Dominion. Even the smallest town has its picture palace, the larger towns have theatres which are palaces indeed in their appointments, and a multitude of them. In many the "movie" show is judiciously blended with vaudeville turns, a mixture which seems popular.
Book shops are rarities. In a great town such as Toronto I was only able to find one definite book shop, and that not within easy walk of my hotel. Even that shop dealt in stationery and the like to help things along, though its books were very much up to date, many of them (by both English and American authors) published by the excellent Toronto publishing houses. All the recognized leaders among English and American writers, and even Admirals and Generals turned writers, were on sale, though the popular market is the Zane Grey type of book.
The reason there are few book shops is that the great stores—like Eaton's and Simpson's—have book departments, and very fine ones too, and that for general reading the Canadians are addicted to newspapers and magazines, practically all the latter American, which are on sale everywhere, in tobacconists, drug stores, hotel loggias, and on special street stands generally run by a returned soldier. English papers of any sort are rarely seen on sale, though all the big American dailies are commonplace, while only occasionally the Windsor, Strand, London, and the new Hutchinson's Magazines shyly rear British heads over their clamorous American brothers.
Tuesday, August 26th, was a day dedicated to quieter functions. The Prince's first visits were to the hospitals.
Toronto, which likes to do things with a big gesture, has attacked the problem of hospital building in a spacious manner. The great General Hospital is planned throughout to give an air of roominess and breadth.
The Canadians certainly show a sense of architecture, and in building the General Hospital they refused to follow the Morgue School, which seems to be responsible for so many hospital and primary school designs. The Toronto Hospital is a fine building of many blocks set about green lawns, and with lawns and trees in the quadrangles. The appointments are as nearly perfect as men can make them, and every scientific novelty is employed in the fight against wounds and sickness. Hospitals appear most generally used in Canada, people of all classes being treated there for illnesses that in Britain are treated at home.
His Royal Highness visited and explored the whole of the great General Hospital, stopping and chatting with as many of the wounded soldiers who were then housed in it, as time allowed. He also paid a visit to the Children's Hospital close by. This was an item on the program entirely his own. Hearing of the hospital, he determined to visit it, having first paved the way for his visit by sending the kiddies a large assortment of toys. This hospital, with its essentially modern clinic, was thoroughly explored before the Prince left in a mist of cheers from the kiddies, whose enormous awe had melted during the acquaintance.
The afternoon was given over to the colourful ceremony in the University Hall, when the LL.D. degree of the University was bestowed upon His Royal Highness. In a great, grey-stone hall that stands on the edge of the delightful Queen's Park, where was gathered an audience of dons in robes, and ladies in bright dresses, with naval men and khaki men to bring up the glowing scheme, the Prince in rose-coloured robes received the degree and signed the roll of the University. Under the clear light of the glass roof the scene had a dignity and charm that placed it high among the striking pictures of the tour.
It was a quieter day, but, nevertheless, it was a day of crowds also, the people thronging all the routes in their unabatable numbers, showing that crescendo of friendliness which was to reach its greatest strength on the next day.
The crowds of Toronto, already astonishing, went beyond mere describing on Wednesday, August 27th.
There were several functions set down for this day; only two matter: the review of the War Veterans in the Exhibition grounds, and the long drive through the residential areas of the city.
Some hint of what the crowd in the Exhibition grounds was like was given to us as we endeavoured to wriggle our car through the masses of other automobiles, mobile or parked, that crowded the way to the grounds. We had already been impressed by the almost inordinate number of motor-cars in Canada: the number of cars in Toronto terrified us.
When we looked on the thousands of cars in the city we knew why the streets had to be broad and straight and long. In no other way could they accommodate all that rushing traffic of the swift cars and the lean, torpedo-like trams that with a splendid service link up the heart of the town with the far outlying suburbs. And even though the streets are broad the automobile is becoming too much for them. The habit of parking cars on the slant and by scores on both sides of the roadway (as well as down side roads and on vacant "lots") is already restricting the carriage-way in certain areas.
From the cars themselves there is less danger than in the London streets, for the rules of the road are strict, and the citizens keep them strictly. No car is allowed to pass a standing tram on the same side, for example, and that rule with others is obeyed by all drivers.
The multitude of cars, mainly open touring cars of the Buick and Overland type, though there are many Fords, or "flivvers," and an occasional Rolls-Royce, Napier or Panhard, thickened as we neared the Exhibition gates; and about them, in the side streets outside and in the avenues inside, they were parked by thousands.
They gave the meanest indication of the numbers of people in the grounds. The lawns were covered with people. The halls of exhibits were full of people. The Joy City, where one can adventure into strange thrills from Coney Island, was full; the booths selling buttered corn cob, toasted pea-nuts, ice cream soda, and the rest, had hundreds of customers—and all these, we found, were the overflow. They had been crowded out from the real show, and were waiting outside in the hope of catching sight of the Prince as he made his round of the Exhibition.
The show ground of the Exhibition is a huge arena. It is faced by a mighty grandstand, seating ten thousand people. Ten thousand people were sitting: the imagination boggles at the computation of the number of those standing; they filled every foothold and clung to every step and projection. There were some—men in khaki, of course—who were risking their necks high up on the iron roof of the stand.
In front of the stand is a great open space, backed by patriotic scenery, that acts as the stage for performances of the pageant kind. It was packed so tightly with people that the movement of individuals was impossible. On this ground the war veterans should have been drawn up in ranks. In the beginning they were drawn up in ranks, but civilians, having filled up every gangway and passage, overflowed on to the field and filled that also. They were even clinging to the scenery and perched in the trees. The minimum figure for that crowd was given as fifty thousand.
The reception given to the Prince was overwhelming; that is the soberest word one can use. As he rode into the arena he was immediately surrounded by a cheering and cheery mass of people, who cut him off completely from his Staff. From the big stand there came an outburst of non-stop Canadian cheering, an affair of whistles, rattles, cheering and extempore noises, with the occasional bang of a firework, that was kept alive during the whole of the ceremony, one section of people taking it up when the first had tired itself out.
With the crowd thick about him, His Royal Highness strove to force his way to the platform on which he was to speak and to give medals, but movement could only be accomplished at a slow pace. As he neared the platform, indeed, movement ceased altogether, and Prince and crowd were wedged tight in a solid mass. The pressure of the crowd seems to have been too much for him, for there was a moment when it seemed he would be thrown from his horse. A "movie" man on the platform came to his rescue, and catching him round the shoulders pulled him into safety over the heads of the crowd.
On this platform and in a setting of enthusiasm that cannot be described adequately, he spoke and gave medals to what seemed an endless stream of brave Canadians.
It was in the evening that he drove through the streets of the town, and I believe I am right in saying that he gave up other more restful engagements in order to undertake this ride that took several hours and was not less than twenty miles in length.
Toronto is a city in which the civic ideal is very strong, and the concern not merely of the municipality but of all the citizens. It believes in beautiful and up-to-date town planning, and the elimination of slums, of which it now has not a single example. On his ride the Prince saw every facet of the city's activity.
He drove through the beautiful avenues of Rosedale, and through the not so beautiful but more eclectic area of The Hill. He went through the suburbs of charming, well-designed houses where the professional classes have their homes, and into the big, comely residential areas where the working people live. These areas are places of attractive homes. The instinct for good building which is the gift of the whole of America makes each house distinctive. There is never the hint of slum ugliness or slum congestion about them. The houses merely differ from the houses of the better-to-do in size, but, though they are smaller, they have the same pleasant features, neat colonial-style architecture, broad porches, unrailed lawns, and the rest. Inside they have central heating, electric light (the Niagara hydro-power makes lighting ridiculously cheap), baths, hardwood floors, and the other labour-saving devices of modern construction. Most of the houses are owned by the people who live in them, for the impulse towards purchase by deferred payments is very strong in the Canadian.
One of the brightest of the suburbs was built up almost entirely through the energy of the British emigrant. These men working in the city did not mind the "long hike" out into the country, to an area where the street cars were not known. From farming lots they built up a charming district where, now that street cars are more reasonable, the Canadian is also anxious to live—when he can find a householder willing to sell.
The Prince's route also lay through the big shopping streets such as Yonge ("street" is dropped in the West) and King. Here are the great and brilliant stores, and here the thrusting, purposeful Canadian crowd does its trading. There is a touch of determination in the Canadian on the sidewalk which seems ruthlessness to the more easy-going Britisher, yet it is not rudeness, and the Canadian is an extraordinarily orderly person, with a discipline that springs from self rather than from obedience to by-laws. It may be this that makes a Canadian crowd so decorous, even at the moment when it seems defying the policemen.
The Prince began his ride in the wonderful High Park, where Nature has had very little coddling from man, and the results of such non-interference are admirable, and in that park he at once entered into the avenue of people that was to border the way for twenty miles.
Again this crowd thickened at certain focal points. At the entrances of different districts, in the streets of heavily populated areas, about the cemetery where he planted a tree, it gathered in astonishing mass, but the amazing thing was that no place on that twenty-mile run was without a crowd.
The whole of the city appeared to have come in to the street to cheer and wave flags or handkerchiefs as he passed, just as the whole of the little boy population appeared to have made up its mind to run or cycle beside him for the whole of the journey despite all risks of cars behind.
The automobileocracy of the wealthy districts made grandstands of their cars at every cross-road (and the Correspondents don't thank them for this, for they tried to cut into the procession of cars after the Prince had passed). The suburbans made their lawns into vantage points, and grouped themselves on the curb edge, and the working classes simply overflowed the road in solid masses of attractively dressed women and children and Canadianly-dressed men. "Attractively dressed" is a phrase to note; there are no rags or dowdiness in Canada.
There was a carnival air in the greeting of that multitude on that long ride, and the laughing and cheering affection of the crowds would have called forth a like response even in a personality less sympathetic than the Prince. It captured him completely. The formal salute never had a chance. First his answer to the cheering was an affectionate flag-waving, then the flag was not good enough and his hat came into play, then he was standing up and waving, and finally he again climbed on to the seat, and half standing, half sitting on the folded hood, rode through the delighted crowds. With members of his Staff holding on to him, he did practically the whole of the journey in this manner, sitting reasonably only at quiet spots, only changing his hat from right to left hand when one arm had become utterly exhausted. And all the way the crowds lined the route and cheered.
It was an astonishing spectacle, an amazing experience. It was the just culmination of the three full days of profound and moving emotion in which Toronto had shown how intense was its affection.
The effect of such a demonstration on the Prince himself was equally profound. One of the Canadian Generals who had been driving with His Royal Highness on one of these occasions, told us that in the midst of such a scene as this the Prince had turned to him and said, "Can you wonder that my heart is full?"
The run from Toronto to Ottawa, the city that is a province by itself and the capital of Canada, was a night run, but there was, in the early morning, a halt by the wayside so that the train should not arrive before "skedule." The halt was utilized by the Prince as an opportunity for a stroll, and by the more alert of the country people as an opportunity for a private audience.
At a tiny station called Manotick farming families who believe in shaming the early bird, came and had a look at that royal-red monster of all-steel coaches, the train, while the youngest of them introduced the Prince to themselves.
They came out across the fields in twos and threes. One little boy, in a brimless hat, working overalls, and with a fair amount of his working medium, plough land, liberally distributed over him—Huckleberry Finn come to life, as somebody observed—worked hard to break down his shyness and talk like a boy of the world to the Prince. A little girl, with the acumen of her sex, glanced once at the train, legged it to her father's homestead, and came back with a basket of apples, which she presented with all the solemnity of an illuminated address on vellum.
It was always a strange sight to watch people coming across the fields from nowhere to gather round the observation platform of the train for these impromptu audiences. Every part of Canada is well served by newspapers, yet to see people drift to the right place at the right time in the midst of loneliness had a touch of wonder about it. These casual gatherings were, indeed, as significant and as interesting as the great crowds of the cities. There was always an air of laughing friendliness in them, too, that gave charm to their utter informality, for which both the Prince and the people were responsible.
From this apple-garnished pause the train pushed on, and passing through the garden approach, where pleasant lawns and trees make a boulevard along a canal which runs parallel with the railway, the Prince entered Ottawa.
We had been warned against Ottawa, mainly by Ottawa men. We had been told not to expect too much from the Capital. As the Prince passed from crowded moment to crowded moment in Toronto, the stock of Ottawa slumped steadily in the minds of Ottawa's sons. They became insistent that we must not expect great things from Ottawa. Ottawa was not like that. Ottawa was the taciturn "burg."
It was a city of people given over to the meditative, if sympathetic, silence. It was an artificial city sprung from the sterile seeds of legislature, and thriving on the arid food of Bills. It was a mere habitation of governments. It was a freak city created coldly by an act of Solomonic wisdom. Before 1858 it was a drowsy French portage village, sitting inertly at the fork of the Ottawa and Rideau rivers, concerning itself only with the lumber trade, almost inattentive to the battle which Montreal and Quebec, Toronto and Kingston were fighting for the political supremacy of the Dominion. Appealed to, to settle this dispute, Queen Victoria decided all feuds by selecting what had been the old Bytown, but which was now Ottawa, as the official capital of the Dominion.
Ottawa men pointed all this out to us, and declared that a town of such artificial beginnings, and whose present population was made up of civil servants and mixed Parliamentarians, could not be expected to show real, red-blood enthusiasm.
A day later those Ottawa men met us in the high and handsome walls of the Château Laurier, and they were entirely unrepentant. They were even proud of their false prophecy, and asked us to join them in a grape-juice and soda—the limit of the emotion of good fellowship in Canada (anyhow publicly) is grape-juice and soda—in order that they might explain to us how they never for a moment doubted that Ottawa would show the enthusiasm it had shown.
"This is the Capital of Canada, sir. The home of our Parliament and the Governor-General. It is the hub of loyalty and law. Of course it would beat the band."
I don't know that I want to quarrel with Ottawa's joke, for I am awed by the way it brought it off. Perhaps it brought it off on the Prince also. If so he must have had a shock, and a delightful one. For the taciturnity of Ottawa is a myth. When the Prince entered it on the morning of Thursday, August 28th, it was as silent as a whirlwind bombardment, and as reticent as a cyclone.
There were crowds, inevitably vast and cheering, with the invincible good-humour of Canada. They captured him with a rush after he was through with the formalities of being greeted by the Governor-General and other notabilities, and had mounted a carriage behind the scarlet outriders of Royalty. That carriage may have been more decorative but it was no more purposeful than an automobile would be under the circumstance. Even as the automobile, it went at a walking pace, with the crowd pressing close around it.
It passed up from the swinging, open triangle that fronts the Château Laurier Hotel and the station, over the bridge that spans the Rideau Canal, and along the broad road lined with administration buildings and clubs, to the spacious grass quadrangle about which the massive Parliament buildings group themselves.
This quadrangle is a fit place to stage a pageant. It crowns a slow hill that is actually a sharp bluff clothed in shrubs that hangs over the startling blue waters of the Ottawa river. From the river the mass of buildings poised dramatically on that individual bluff is a sharp note of beauty. On the quadrangle, that is the city side, this note is lost, and the rough stone buildings, though dignified, have a tough, square-bodied look. Yet the massiveness of the whole grouping about the great space of grass and gravel terraces certainly gives a large air. They form the adequate wings and backcloth for pageants.
And what happened that morning in the quadrangle was certainly a pageant of democracy.
There was a formal program, but on the whole the crowd eliminated that for one of its own liking. It listened to addresses; it heard Sir Robert Borden, and General Currie, only just returned to Canada, express the Dominion's sense of welcome. Then it expressed it itself by sweeping the police completely away, and surrounding the Prince in an excited throng.
In the midst of that crowd the Prince stood laughing and cheerful, endeavouring to accommodate all the hands that were thrust towards him. A review of Boy Scouts was timed to take place, but the crowd "scratched" it. The neat wooden barricades and the neat ropes that linked them up about a neat parade ground on the green were reduced by the scientific process of bringing an irresistible force against a movable body. Boy Scouts ceased to figure in the program and became mere atoms in a mass that surrounded the Prince once more, and expressed itself in the usual way now it had him to itself.
As usual the Prince himself showed not the slightest disinclination for fitting in with such an impromptu ceremony. He was as happy and in his element as he always was when meeting everyday people in the closest intimacy. It was a carnival of democracy, but one in which he played as democratic a part as any among that throng.
Yet though the Prince himself was the direct incentive to the democratic exchanges that happened throughout the tour, there was no doubt that the strain of them was exhausting.
He possesses an extraordinary vitality. He is so full of life and energy that it was difficult to give him enough to do, and this and the fact that Canada's wonderful welcome had called into play a powerful sympathetic response, led him to throw himself into everything with a tireless zest. Nevertheless, the strenuous days at Toronto, followed by this strenuous welcome at Ottawa, had made great demands upon him, and it was decided to cut down his program that day to a Garden Party in the charming grounds of Government House, and to shelve all engagements for the next day, Friday, August 29th.
The Prince agreed to the dropping of all engagements save one, and that was the Public Reception at the City Hall on the 29th. It was the most exacting of the events on the program, but he would not hear of its elimination; the only alteration in detail that he made was that his right hand, damaged at Toronto, should be allowed to rest, and that all shaking should be done with the left.
The Public Reception took place. The only invitation issued was one in the newspapers. The newspapers said "The Prince will meet the City." He did. The whole City came. It was again the most popular, as well as the most stimulating of functions. And it followed the inevitable lines. All manner of people, all grades of people in all conditions of costume attended. Old ladies again asked him when he was going to get married. Lumbermen in calf-high boots grinned "How do, Prince?" Mothers brought babies in arms, most of them of the inarticulate age, and of awful and solemn dignity of under one—it was as though these Ottawa mothers had been inspired by the fine and homely loyalty of a past age, and had brought their babies to be "touched" by a Prince, who, like the Princes of old, was one with as well as being at the head of the great British family.
And with all the people were the little boys, eager, full of initiative and cunning. Shut out by the Olympians, one group of little boys found a strategic way into the Hall by means of a fire-escape staircase. They had already shaken hands with the Prince before their flank movement had been discovered and the flaw in the endless queue repaired. That queue was never finished. Although, on the testimony of the experts, the Prince shook hands at the rate of forty-five to the minute, the time set aside for the reception only allowed of some 2,500 filing before him.
But those outside that number were not forgotten. The Prince came out to the front of the hall to express his regret that Nature had proved niggardly in the matter of hands. He had only one hand, and that limited greetings, but he could not let them go without expressing his delight to them for their warm and personal welcome.
The disappointed ones recognized the limits of human endeavour. His popularity was in no way lessened. They were content with having seen "the cute little feller" as some of them called him, and made the most of that experience by listening to, and swopping anecdotes about, him.
Most of these centred round his accessibility. One typical story was about a soldier, who, having met him in France, stepped out from the crowd and hopped on to the footboard of his car to say "How d'y' do?" The Prince gripped the khaki man's hand at once, and shaking it and holding the soldier safely on the car with his other hand, he talked while they went along. Then both men saluted, and the soldier hopped off again and returned to the crowd.
"It was just as if you saw me in an automobile and came along to tell me something," said the man who told me the story. "There was no king-stuff about it. And that's why he gets us. There isn't a sheet of ice between us and him."
Another man said to me:
"If you'd told me a month ago that anybody was going to get this sort of a reception I should have smiled and called you an innocent. I would have told you the Canadians aren't built that way. We're a hard-bitten, independent, irreverent breed. We don't go about shouting over anybody.... But now we've gone wild over him. And I can't understand it. He's our sort. He has no side. We like to treat men as men, and that's the way he meets us."
The long week-end, so strenuously begun, did, however, give the Prince his opportunity for rest and recreation. He had a quiet time in the home of the Governor-General at the beautiful Rideau Hall, the attractive and spacious grounds of which are part of the untrammelled expanses of the lovely Rockhill Park which hangs on a cliff and keeps company with the shining Ottawa river for miles to the east of the city. Apart from sightseeing, and golfing and dancing at the pretty County Club across the Ottawa on the Hull side, he attempted no program until Monday morning.
Ottawa is not so virile in atmosphere as other of the Canadian cities. Its artificial heart, the Parliament area, seems to absorb most of its vitality. Its architecture is massed very effectively on the hill whose steep cliffs in a spray of shrubs, rise at the knee of the two rivers, the Ottawa and the Rideau, but outside the radius of the Parliament buildings and the few, fine, brisk, lively streets that serve them, the town fades disappointingly eastward, westward and northward into spiritless streets of residences.
The shores of the river are its chiefest attraction. Below the Parliament bluff, there lies to the left a silver white spit in the blue of the stream, that humps itself into a green and habitual mass on which are a huddle of picturesque houses. These hide the spray of the Chaudière Falls, which stretch between this island and the Hull side. Below the Falls is the picturesque mass of a lumber "boom," that stretches down the river.
To the extreme right beyond the locks of Rideau Canal, is the dramatic lattice-work of a fine bridge, a bridge where railroad tracks, tram-roads, automobile and footways dive under and over each other at the entrances in order to find their different levels for crossing. Beyond the bridge, and close against it is the jutting cliff that makes the point of Major Hill Park.
Between these two extremes, right and left, one faces a broad plain, wooded and gemmed with painted houses, and ending in a smoke-blue rampart of distant hills—all of it luminant with the curiously clarified light of Canada.
From Major Hill Park the riverside avenue goes east over the Rideau, whose Falls are famous, but now obscured by a lumber mill; past Rideau Hall to Rockhill Park. Rockhill Park is a delight. It has all the joys of the primitive wilderness plus a service of street-cars. Its promenade under the fine and scattered trees follows the lip of the cliff along the Ottawa, and across the blue stream can be seen the fillet of gold beach of the far side, and on the stream are red-sailed boats, canoes, and natty gasolene launches. How far Rockhill Park keeps company with the Ottawa, I do not know. A stroll of nearly two hours brought me to a region of comely country houses, set in broad gardens—but there was still park, and it seemed to go on for ever.
There are two or three Golf Clubs (every town in Canada has a golf course, or two, and sometimes they are municipal) over the river on the Hull side—a side that was at the time of our visit a place of pilgrimage from Ottawa proper. For it is in Quebec, where the "dry" law is not implacable as that of Ottawa and Ontario. Hull is also noted for its match factory and other manufactures that make up a very good go-ahead industrial town, as well as for the fact that in matters of contributions to Victory Loans, and that sort of thing, it can hold its own with any city, though that city be five times its size.
The chief of the Ottawa clubs on the Hull side is the County Club, an idyllic place that has made the very best out of the rather rough plain, and stands looking through the trees to the rapids of the Ottawa river. It is a delightful club, built with the usual Western instinct for apposite design, and, as with most clubs on the American Continent, it is a revelation of comfort. Its dining-room is extraordinarily attractive, for it is actually the spacious verandah of the building, screened by trellis work into which is woven the leaves and flowers of climbers. The ceiling is a canopy of flowers and green leaves, and to dine here overlooking the lawns is to know an hour of the greatest charm.
The Prince was the guest here on several occasions, and dances were given in his honour. For this purpose the lawn in front of the verandah was squared off with a high arcadian trellis, and between the pillars of this trellis were hung flowers and flags and lights, and all the trees about had coloured bulbs amid their leaves, so that at night it was an impression of Arcady as a modern Watteau might see it, with the crispness and the beauty of the women and the vivid dresses of the women giving the scene a quality peculiarly and vivaciously Canadian.
The circumstances of Monday, September 1st, made it an unforgettable day.
The chief ceremonies on the Prince's program were the laying of the corner-stone of the new Parliament Buildings, and the inauguration of the Victory Loan. But something else happened which made it momentous. It happened to be Labour Day.
It was the day when the whole of Labour in Canada—and indeed in America—gave itself over to demonstrations. Labour held street parades, field sports, and, I daresay, made speeches. It was the day of days for the workers.
There were some who thought that the program of Labour would clash with the program of the Prince. That, to put it at its mildest, Labour on a holiday would ignore the Royal ceremonials and emasculate them as functions. The men who put forward these opinions were Canadians, but they did not know Canada. It was Labour Day, and Labour made the day for the Prince.
When the Prince had learnt that it was the People's day, and that there was to be a big sports meeting and gala in one of the Ottawa parks, he had specially added another item to his full list of events, and made it known that he would visit the park.
Labour promptly returned the courtesy, and of its own free will turned its parade into a guard of honour, which lined the fine Rideau and Wellington streets for his progress between Government House and Parliament Square.
As far as I could gather Labour decided upon and carried this out without consulting anybody. Streets were taken over without any warning, and certainly without any fuss. There seemed to be few police about, and there was no need for them. Labour took command of the show in the interest of its friend the Prince, and would not permit the slightest disorderliness.
It was a remarkable sight. Early in the morning the Labour Parade appeared along Rideau Street, mounting the hill to the Parliament House. The processionists, each group in the costume of its calling, walked in long, thin files on each side of the road, the line broken at intervals by the trade floats. Floats are an essential part of every American parade; they are what British people call "set-pieces," tableaux built up on wagons or on automobiles; all of them are ingenious and most of them are beautiful.
These floats represented the various trades, a boiler-maker's shop in full (and noisy) action; a stone-worker's bench in operation; the framework of a wooden house on an auto, to show Ottawa what its carpenters and joiners could do, and so on. With these marched the workers, distinctively clothed, as though the old guilds had never ceased.
When the head of the procession reached the entrance of Parliament Square it halted, and the line, turning left and right, walked towards the curb, pressing back the thousands of sightseers to the pavement in a most effective manner. They lined and kept the route in this fashion until the Prince had passed.
It was thus that the Prince drove, not between the ranks of an army of soldiers, but through the ranks of the army of labour. Not khaki, but the many uniforms of labour marked the route. There were firemen in peaked caps, with bright steel grappling-hooks at their waists; butchers in white blouses, white trousers, and white peaked caps; there were tram-conductors, and railway-men, hotel porters, teamsters in overalls, lumbermen in calf-high boots of tan, with their rough socks showing above them on their blue jumper trousers, barbers, drug-store clerks and men of all the trades.
Above this guard of workers were the banners of the Unions, some in English, some proclaiming in French that here was "La Fraternité Unie Charpentiers et Menuisiers," and so on.
It was a real demonstration of democracy. It was the spontaneous and affectionate action of the everyday people, determined to show how personal was its regard for a Prince who knew how to be one with the everyday people. As a demonstration it was immensely more significant than the most august item of a formal program.
As the Prince rode through those hearty and friendly ranks in a State carriage, and behind mounted troopers, the troopers and the trappings seemed to matter very little indeed. The crowd that cheered and waved flags—and sometimes spanners and kitchen pans—and the youth who waved his gloves back and forth with all their own freedom from ceremony, were the things that mattered.
When, at the laying of the corner-stone a few minutes later, Sir Robert Borden declared that, in repeating the act of his grandfather, who laid the original corner-stone of Canada's Parliament buildings, as Prince of Wales, in 1860, His Royal Highness was inaugurating a new era, the happenings of just now seemed to lend conviction that indeed a new phase of history had come into being. It was a phase in which throne and people had been woven into a strong and sane democracy, begot of the intimate personal sympathy, understanding and reliance the war had brought about between rulers and people.
The new buildings replace the old Parliament Houses burnt down in the beginning of the war. The fire was attended by sad loss of life, and one of those killed was a lady, who, having got out of the burning building in safety, was suddenly overcome by a feminine desire to save her furs. She re-entered the blazing building and was lost.
The new building follows the design of the old, rather rigid structure, though it has not the campanile. The porch where the stone was laid was draped in huge hangings descending in grave folds from a sheaf of flags; this with the façade of the grey stone building made a superb backing to the great stage of terrace upon which the ceremony was enacted. It had all the dignity, colour and braveness of a Durbar.
The Victory Loan was inaugurated by the unfurling of a flag by the Prince. He promised to give to each of the cities and villages (by the way, I don't think the villages are villages in Canada; they are all towns) who subscribed a certain percentage a replica of this special flag. There was keen competition throughout the Dominion for these flags, Canadians responding to the pictures on the hoardings with a good will, in order to win a "Prince of Wales' Flag."
Although the Prince was down to visit Hull at a specific time that afternoon, he set aside an hour in order to pay his promised visit to the Labour fête in Lansdowne Park. There was only time for him to drive through the park, but the warm reception given to him made it an action really worth while.
Hull, which is inclined to sprawl as a town, was transformed by sun, flags and people into a place of great attraction when the Prince arrived. And if there was not any high pomp about the visit, there was certainly prettiness. The pretty girls of Hull had transformed themselves into representatives of all the races of the Entente, and as the Prince stood on the scarlet steps of a daïs outside the Town Hall, each one of these came forward and made him a curtsy.
Following them were four tiny girls, each holding a large bouquet, each bouquet being linked to the others by broad red ribbons. They were the jolliest little girls, but nervous, and after negotiating the terrors of the scarlet stairs with discretion, the broad desert of the daïs undid them—or rather it didn't. At the moment of presentation, four little girls, as well as four bouquets, were linked together by broad red ribbons, until it was difficult to tell which was little girl and which was bouquet. There were many untanglers present, but the chief of them was the Prince of Wales himself.
The Hull ceremonials were certainly as happy as any could be. The little girls gave a homely touch, so did the people—match-factory girls, brown-habited Franciscan friars, and the rest—who joined in the public reception, but the crowning touch of this atmosphere was the review of the war veterans.
There were so many war veterans that Hull had no open space large enough to parade them. Hull, therefore, had the happy idea of reviewing them in the main street. Thus the everyday street was packed with everyday men who had fought for the very homes about them. That seemed to bring out the real purpose of the great war more than any effort in propaganda could.
It was in the main street, too, after receiving a loving cup from the Great War Veterans, that the Prince spoke to these comrades of the war. He stood up in his car and addressed them simply and directly, thanking them and wishing them good luck, and there was something infinitely suggestive in his standing up there so simply amid that pack of men, and women wedged tightly between the houses of that homely street.
Wedged is assuredly the right term, for it was with difficulty, and only by infinite care, that the car was driven through the crowd and away.
Montreal was not actually in the schedule. In the program of the Prince's tour it was put down as the last place he should visit. This, in a sense, was fitting. It was proper that the greatest city in Canada should wind up the visit in a befitting week.
All the same, as the Prince himself said, he could not possibly start for the West without making at least a call on Montreal, so he rounded off his travels among the big cities of the Canadian East by spending the inside of a day there.
I wonder whether there was ever an inside of a day so crowded? I was present when Manchester rushed President Wilson through a headlong morning of events, and the Manchester effort was pedestrian beside Montreal's. Even the Prince, who himself can put any amount of vigour into life, must have found nothing in his experience to equal a non-stop series of ceremonies carried on, at times, at a pace of forty-miles an hour.
That is what happened. Montreal was given about four hours of the Prince. Montreal is a progressive city; it has an up-to-date and "Do-It-Now" sense. Confronted at very short notice with those four hours, it promptly set itself to make the most of them. It packed about four days' program into them.
It managed this, of course, by using motor-cars. The whole of the American Continent, I have come to see, has a motor-car method of thinking out and accomplishing things. Montreal certainly has. Montreal met the Prince in an automobile mood, whipped him from the train and entertained him on the top gear for every moment of his stay.
He arrived at the handsome Windsor Station of the C.P.R. on the morning of Tuesday, September 2nd, and was at once taken to a big, grey motor. His guide, the Mayor of the city, then began to show him how time could be annihilated and days compressed into hours.
In those few hours he was shown not a section of the great commercial city, not merely the City Hall, and a street or two, and a place wherein to lunch. He was shown all Montreal. He was shown the city of Montreal and the suburbs of Montreal, and verily I believe he was shown every man, woman, and certainly every child of flag-wagging age, in Montreal.
And when he had seen the high, fine business blocks of Montreal, and the pretty residential districts, where the well-designed homes seem to stand on terrace over terrace of the smoothest, greenest grass, he was shown the country-side about Montreal, the comely little habitant parishes and holiday places that make outlying Montreal, and the convents and the colleges where Montreal educates itself, the Universities where that education is rounded off, and the long, wide, straight speedways over which Montreal citizens get the best out of their motor-car moments—and he was shown how it was done.
And after showing him the rivers that make the hilly country about Montreal beautiful, and the little pocket villages, he was swung back out of the green of the summer country and shown more business blocks, and just a hint of the great wharves and docks that fringe the St. Lawrence and give the city its great industrial power and fame. Then when they had shown him all the things that man usually sees only after weeks of tenacious exploration, they spun him up a corkscrew drive that goes first among charming houses, then among beautiful deep trees and grass, and sat him down in a glowing pavilion on the top of this hill, Mount Royal—the Montreal that gives the city its name—and gave him lunch.
There, as he ate, he looked down over one of the great views of the world. Below him was the splendid vista of a splendid city; the mass of tall offices, factories and the high fret of derricks and elevators along the quays that covered the site of the Indian lodges of Hochelaga that Jacques Cartier first found; the mass of spires from a thousand churches, the swelling domes and hipped roofs of basilica and college that had grown up from the old religious outpost, the nucleus of Christianity in the wilds that was to convert the wilds, the Ville Marie de Montreal that Maisonneuve had founded nearly three centuries ago.
And beyond this swinging breadth of city that was modernity, as well as history, the Prince saw the grey, misty bosom of the St. Lawrence, winding broad and significant beneath the distant hills.
Truly it had been a mighty day, worthy of a mighty city. And a day not merely big in achievement, but big in meaning also. In his drive the Prince had covered no less than thirty-six miles in and about the city, and on practically the whole of that great sweep there had been crowds, and at times big crowds, all friendly and with an enthusiasm that was French as well as Canadian.
There were naturally tracts of road in the country where people did not gather in force, but almost everywhere there were some. Sometimes it was a family gathered by a pretty house draped with flags. Sometimes it was a village, making up with the flags in their hands for the hanging flags short notice had prevented their sporting.
On an open stretch of road the Prince would come abreast of a convent in the fields. By the fence of the convent all the little girls would be ranked, dressed, sometimes, in national ribbons, and anyhow carrying flags, and with them would be the nuns. Or if the convent was not a teaching order, the nuns would be by themselves, forming a delightful picture of quiet respect on the porch or along the garden wall.
Boys' schools had the inmates gathered at the road-edge in jolly mobs, though some of these had a semi-military dignity, because of the quaint and kepi-ed uniform of the school, that made the boys look like cadets out of a picture by Detaille.
The seminaries had their flocks of black fledglings drawn up under the professor-priests, and the sober black of these embryo priests had not the slightest restriction on their enthusiasm.
There were crowds everywhere on that extraordinary ride, but it was in Montreal itself that the throngs reached immense proportions. From the first moment of arrival, when the Prince in mufti rode out from under the clangour of "God Bless the Prince of Wales" played on the bells of St. George's Church, that hob-nobs with the station, crowds were thick about the route. As he swung from Dominion Square (in which the station stands) into the Regent Street of Montreal, St. Catherine Street, crowds of employés crowded the windows of the big and fine stores, and added their welcome to the mass on the sidewalks.
Short notice had curtailed decoration, but the enthusiastic employés (mainly feminine) of one tall store strove to rectify the lack by arming themselves with flags and stationing themselves at every window. Balancing perilously, they waited until the Prince came level, and then set the whole face of the tall building fluttering with Union Jacks.
From these streets, impressive in their sense of vigour and industry, the procession of cars mounted through the residential quarter to Mount Royal Park. Here in the presence of a big crowd that surrounded him and got to close quarters at once, the Prince alighted and stayed a few minutes at the statue of Georges Etienne Cartier, the father of Canadian unity, whose centenary was then being celebrated, since the war forbade rejoicing on the real anniversary in 1914.
Cartier's daughter, Hortense Cartier, was present at this little ceremony, and she was, as it were, a personal link between her father and the Prince, who is himself helping to inaugurate a new phase of unity, that of the Empire.
From this point the Prince's route struck out into the country districts that I have described, but the crowds had accumulated rather than diminished when he returned to the streets of the city, about one o'clock, and he drove through lanes of people so dense that at times the pace of his car was retarded to a walk.
The crowd was a suggestive one. All ranks and conditions were in it—and conditions rather than ranks were apparent in the dock-side area, which is a dingy one for Canada. But in all the crowds the thing that struck me most was their proportion of children. Montreal seemed a veritable hive of children. There were thousands and thousands of them.
The streets were bursting with kiddies. And not merely were there multitudes of girls and boys of that thoroughly vociferous age of somewhere under twelve, but there were ranked battalions of boys and maids, all of an age obviously under twenty.
Quebec is the province of large families. Ten children to a marriage is a commonplace, and twenty is not a rarity. A man is not thought to be worth his salt unless he has his quiver full. And the result of this as I saw it in the streets gives food for thought.
That huge marshalling of the citizens of tomorrow gives one not merely a sense of Canada's potentiality, but of the potentiality of Quebec in the future of Canada. With a new race of such a healthy standard growing up, the future of Montreal has a look of greatness. Montreal is now the biggest and most vigorous city in Canada, it plays a large part in the life of Canada. What part will it play tomorrow?
A good as well as great part, surely. Discriminating Canadians tell you that the French-Canadian makes the best type of citizen. He is industrious, go-ahead, sane, practical; he is law-abiding and he is loyal. His history shows that he is loyal; indeed, Canada as it stands today owes not a little to French-Canadian loyalty and willingness to take up arms in support of British institutions.
French-Canada took up arms in the Great War to good purpose, sending 40,000 men to the Front, though its good work has been obscured by the political propaganda made out of the Anti-Conscription campaign. Sober politicians—by no means on the side of the French-Canadians—told me that there was rather more smoke in that matter than circumstances created, and in Britain particularly the business was over-exaggerated. There was a good deal of politics mixed up in the attitude of Quebec, "And in any case," said my informant, "Quebec was not the first to oppose conscription, nor yet the bitterest, though she was, perhaps, the most candid."
The language difficulty is a difficulty, yet that has been the subject of exaggeration, also. Those who find it a grave problem seem to be those who have never come in contact with it, but are anxious about it at a distance. Those who are in contact with the French-speaking races say that French and English-speaking peoples get on well on the whole, and have an esteem for each other that makes nothing of the language barrier.
Concerning the Roman Catholic Church, which is certainly in a very powerful position in Quebec, I have heard from non-Catholics quite as much said in favour of the good it does, as I have heard to the contrary, so I concluded that on its human side it is as human as any other concern, doing good and making mistakes in the ordinary human way. As far as its spiritual side is concerned there is no doubt at all that it holds its people. Its huge churches are packed with huge congregations at every service on Sunday.
On the whole, then, I fancy that that part of Canada's future which lies in the hands of the children of Montreal, and the Province of Quebec generally, will be for the good of the Dominion. Certainly the attitude of the people as shown in the packed and ecstatic streets of Montreal was a very good omen.
The welcome had had its usual effect on the Prince. The formal salute never had a chance, and from the outset of the ride he had stood up in his car and waved back in answer to the cheering of the crowd. When standing for so many miles tired him, he sat high up on the folded hood, with one of his suite to hold him, and he did not stop waving his hat. In this way he accomplished the thirty-six miles ride, only slipping down into his seat as the car mounted the stiff zig-zag that led up Mount Royal to the luncheon pavilion.
The slowness of this climb was, in a sense, his undoing. As his car neared the top of the hill, two Montreal flappers, whose extreme youth was only exceeded by their extreme daring, sprang on to the footboard and held him up with autograph books. He immediately produced a fountain pen, and sitting once more on the back of the car, wrote his name as the car went along, and the young ladies from Montreal clung on to it.
This delightful act was too much for one of the maidens, for, on getting her book back, she kissed the Prince impulsively, and then in a sudden attack of deferred modesty, sprang from the car and ran for her blushes' sake.
From the luncheon pavilion the Prince was whirled to the Royal train, and in that, after a recuperative round of golf at a course just outside Montreal, he set out for the comparative calm of the great West.
The run on the days following the packed moments of Montreal was one of luxurious indolence. The Royal train was heading for the almost fabled trout of Nipigon, where, among the beauties of lake and stream, the Prince was to take a long week-end fishing and preparing for more crowds and more strenuosity in the Canadian West.
Through those two days the train seemed to meander in a leisurely fashion through varied and attractive country, only stopping now and then as though it had to work off a ceremonial occasionally as an excuse for existing at all.
The route ran through pleasant, farmed land between Montreal and North Bay and Sudbury, and then switched downward through the bleak nickel and copper country to the beautiful coast of Lake Huron on its way to Sault Ste. Marie. From this town, which the whole Continent knows as "Soo," it plunged north through the magnificent scenery of the Algoma area to Oba, and, turning west again (and in the night), it ran on to Nipigon Lake.
It was a genial and attractive run. We sat, as it were, lapped in the serenity of the C.P.R., and studied the view. Wherever there were houses there were people, to wave something at the Prince's car. At one homestead a man and his wife stood alone near the split-rail fence, the woman curtsying, the man, who had obviously been a soldier, flag-wagging some message we could not catch, with a big red ensign; an infinitely touching sight, that couple getting their greeting to the Prince in spite of difficulties. On the stations the local school children were always drawn up in ranks, most of them holding flags, many having a broad red-white-and-blue ribbon across their front rank to show their patriotism.
At North Bay, a purposeful little town that lets the traveller either into the scenic and sporting delights of Lake Nipissing, or into the mining districts of the Timiskaming country, there was a bright little reception. North Bay is a characteristic Canadian town. It was born in a night, so to speak, and its growth outstrips editions of guide books. Outside the neat station there is a big grass oblong, and about this green the frame houses and the shops extend. Behind it is the town so keen on growing up about the big railway repair shops, that it has no time yet to give to road-making.
The ceremonial was in the green oblong, and all North Bay left their houses and shops to attend. The visit had more the air of a family party than aught else, for, after a mere pretence of keeping ranks, the people broke in upon the function, and Prince and Staff and people became inextricably mixed. When His Royal Highness took car to drive around the town, the crowd cut off the cars in the procession, and for half an hour North Bay was full of orderlies and committee-men automobiling about speculative streets in search of a missing Prince, plus one Mayor.
Sudbury, the same type of town, growing at a distracting pace because of its railway connection and its smelting plants, had the same sort of ceremony. From here we passed through a land of almost sinister bleakness. There were tracts livid and stark, entirely without vegetation, and with the livid white and naked surface cut into wild channels and gullies by rains that must have been as pitiless as the land. It was as though we had steamed out of a human land into the drear valleys of the moon, and one expected to catch glimpses of creatures as terrifying as any Mr. Wells has imagined. So cadaverous a realm could breed little else.
It was the country of nickel and copper. We saw occasionally the buildings and workings (scarce less grim than the land) through the agency of which came the grey slime that had rendered the country so bleak. They are particularly rich mines, and rank high among the nickel workings in the world. They were also, let it be said, of immense value to the Allies during the war.
Pushing south, the line soon redeems itself in the beauty of the lakes. It bends to skirt the shore of Lake Huron, a great blue sea, and yet but a link in the chain of great lakes that lead from Superior through it to Erie and Ontario lakes, and on to the St. Lawrence.
We arrived on a beautiful evening at Algoma, a spot as delightful as a Cornish village, on the beach of that inlet of Lake Huron called Georgian Bay. We walked in the astonishing quiet of the evening through the tiny place, and along the deep, sandy road that has not yet been won from the primitive forests, to where but a tiny fillet of beach stood between the spruce woods and the vast silence of the water. From that serene and quiet spot we looked through the still evening to the far and beautiful Islands.
In the wonderful clear air, and with all the soft colours of the sunset glowing in the still water, the beauty of the place was almost too poignant. We might have been the discoverers of an uninhabited bay in the Islands of the Blessed. I have never known any place so remote, so still and so beautiful. But it was far from being uninhabited. There were rustic picnic tables under the spruce trees, and there was a diving-board standing over the clear water. The inhabitants of Algoma knew the worth of this place, and we felt them to be among the luckiest people on the earth.
The islands we saw far away in the soft beauty of the sunset, and between which the enigmatic light of a lake steamer was moving, are said to be Hiawatha's Islands. In any case, it was here that the pageant of Hiawatha was held some years back, and across the still lake in that pageant, Hiawatha in his canoe went out to be lost in the glories of the sunset.
On the morning of Tuesday, September 4th, the train skirted Georgian Bay, passing many small villages given over to lumber and fishing, and all having, with their tiny jetties, motor launches and sailing boats, something of the perfection of scenes viewed in a clear mirror. By mid-morning the train reached Sault Ste. Marie.
"Soo" is a vivid place. It is a young city on the rise. A handful of years ago it was a French mission, beginning to turn its eyes languidly towards lumber. It is on the neck that joins the waters of Superior and Huron, but the only through traffic was that of the voyageurs, who made the portage round the stiff St. Mary's Rapids, that, with a drop of eighteen feet in their length, forbade any vessel but that of the canoe of the adventurer to pass their troubled waters.
Then America and Canada began to build canals and locks to link the great lakes, in spite of the Rapids, and "Soo" woke. It has been awake and living since that moment. It has been playing lock against lock with the Michigan men across the river, each planning cunningly to establish a system that will carry the long lake vessels not only in locks befitting their size, but in locks that can be handled more swiftly than those of the rival.
At the moment the prize is with Canada. It has a lock nine hundred feet long, and can do the business of lowering a great vessel from Superior to Huron with one action, where America uses four locks. The Americans have a larger lock than the Canadian, but the Canadians are quicker.
And this means something. The traffic on these lakes is greater than the traffic on many seas. Down this vast water highway come the narrow pencils of lake-boats carrying grain and ore and lumber in hulls that are all hold. They come and go incessantly. "Soo," indeed, handles about three times the tonnage of Suez yearly, and there is the American side to add to that.
With this brisk movement of commercial life within her, "Soo" has thrived like a cold. Where, in the old days, the local inhabitants could be reckoned on the fingers of two hands, there is now a city of about twenty thousand, and it is still growing. It is a city of graceful streets and neat houses climbing over the Laurentine Hills that make the site. It is breezy and self-assured, and draws its comfortable affluence from its shipping, its paper-mills, its steel works, as well as from lumber, agriculture and other industries.
It met the Prince as becomes a youth of promise. Crowds massed on the lawns before the red sandstone station, and in all the streets there were crowds. And crowds followed his every movement, however swift it was, for "Soo" has the automobile fever as badly as any other town in Canada, and car owners packed their families, even to the youngest in arms, into tonneaux and joined a procession a mile long, that followed the Prince about the town.
It is true that some of the crowd was America out to look at Royalty. Americans were not slow to make the most of the fact that they were to have a Prince across the river. From early morning the ferry that runs from Michigan to the British Empire was packed with Republican autos and Republicans on foot, all eager to be there when Royalty arrived. They gathered in the streets and joined in the procession. They gave the Prince the hearty greeting of good-fellows. They were as good friends of his as anybody there. They did, in fact, give us a foretaste of what we were to expect when the Prince went to the United States.
There were the usual functions. They took place high on a hill, from which the Prince could look down upon the blue waters of the linked lakes, the many factory chimneys, the smoke of which threw a quickening sense of human endeavour athwart the scene, and the great jack-knife girder bridge, that is the railway connection between Canada and America, but above the usual functions the visit to "Soo" had items that made it particularly interesting.
He went to the great lock that carries the interlake traffic. He crossed from one side of it to the other, and then stood out on the lock gate, while it was opened to allow the passage of several small vessels. From here he went to the Algoma Railway, at the head of the canal, and in a special car was taken to the rapids that tumble down in foam between the two countries.
The train was brought to a standstill at the international boundary, where two sentries, Canadian and American, face each other, and where there was another big crowd, this time all American, to give him a cheer.
He then spent some time visiting the paper mill that helps to make "Soo" rich. He went over it department by department, asking many questions and showing that the processes fascinated him intensely. In the same way he went through the steel works, and was again intrigued by the sight of "things doing." It was, as he said himself, one of the most interesting days he had spent in the Dominion.
"Soo" let us into a wonderful tract of country.
Still in the sumptuous C.P.R. train, we swung north over the Algoma Railway track into a land so wildly magnificent and yet so lonely, that one felt that the railway line must have been built by poets for poets—we could not imagine it thriving on anything else.
As a matter of fact, it does link up rich mining and other territory, and, in time, will open a land of equal value, but just now its chief asset is scenery.
The scenery is superb. Its hills are huge and battlemented. They leap up sheer above the train, menacing it; they drop down starkly, leaving the line clinging to a ledge above a white, angry stream on a white rock bed. They crowd the line into gorges, from which the sun is banished, and where the moveless firs look like lost souls chained in the gloom of Eblis. They expand abruptly, suddenly, into swinging valleys, on whose great flanks the spruce forests look like toy decorations hanging above floors of shining sapphire—lakes, of course, but one could not think that any lake could be so blue.
Lakes fretted into lagoons by thin white slivers of shingle; rivers full of tumbled and dishevelled logs; forests in green, in which the crimson maple leaf burns brightly; vast amphitheatres of cliff-like hills; mounds of the stark Laurentine rock pushing up through trees like bald heads through the sparse covering of departing hair; miles of blanched trees and black trees standing like skeletons or strewn all-whither, like billets of stick—acres of murdered stumps, where evil forest fires have swept along; and we had even an occasional glimpse of that scourge of Canada seen smoking sullenly in the distance—all this heaped together, piled together in a reckless luxuriance makes up the scenery of the Algoma country.
Only rarely does one see the hut of rough logs and clay that denotes the settler, only occasionally is there a station, or a mill or a logging camp in this womb of loneliness. Only occasionally does one cross one of those lengthy and rakish spider bridges that give a hint of man and his works.
On a long bridge, over the Montreal river, we made the most of man and his works. It is a lengthy, curving bridge, built giddily on stilts above the boulder-strewn bed of a wicked stream. We were admiring it as a desperate work of engineering, when the train stopped with a disconcerting bump. It stopped with violence. And when we had picked ourselves up we looked out of the train and saw nothing—only that particularly vicious river and those unpleasantly jagged rocks.
When one is on a Canadian bridge this is all one sees—the depth one is going to drop, and what one is going to drop on. The top of the bridge is wide enough for the rails only, and the sides of the carriages hang beyond the rails. And there are no parapets. One just looks plumb down. We looked down, and back and forward. The struts and girders of the bridge seemed made of pack-thread and spider's web. We wondered why we should have stopped in the middle of such a place of all places. And the train looked so enormous. We asked the superintendent if the bridge could hold it.
He said he thought so, but it had never been tested by such a weight before.
From the way he said "thought," we gathered he meant "hoped."
Somebody had wanted to show the Prince the view. It was a fine view, but we were not sorry it wasn't permanent. With the view, the Prince took in a little shooting at clay pigeons in view of the days he was to spend in sporting Nipigon.
We ran straight on to Nipigon, only stopping at Oba, and that in the night. But before the night came Canada and Algoma gave us an exquisite sunset. We saw the light of the sun on a vast stretch of hummocks and hills of bald rock. They had been clothed with forest before the fires had passed over them. As the sun set, an exquisite thin cherry light shone evenly on the hills and bluffs, and on the thin and naked trees that stood up like wands in this eerie and clarified light. In the distance there was a faint vermilion in the sky, and where the tree stumps fringed the bare hills, they gave the suggestion of a band of violet edging the land. And all this in an air as clear and shining as still water. It seemed to me that Canada was waiting there for a painter of a new vision to catch its wonder.
Even in the loneliness we were never far away from the human equation. During the afternoon we had a touch of it. It was discovered by the Prince that his train was being driven by a V.C., or, rather, one of the men on the engine, the fireman, was a V.C. This man, Staff-Sergeant Meryfield, had won the distinction at Cambrai, and had returned to his calling in the ordinary way. He came back from the engine cab through the train, a very modest fellow, to be presented to the Prince, who spent a few minutes chatting with him.
Early on the morning of Friday, September 5th, the train passed through the second tunnel it had encountered in Canada, and came to a small stopping-place amid trees.
It was a lady's pocket handkerchief of a station, made up of a tool shed, a few houses and a road leading away from it. Its significance lay in the road leading away from it. That road leads to Nipigon river and lake, one of the finest trout waters in Canada. Even at that it is only famous half the year, for it hibernates in winter like any other thing in Canada that finds snow and remoteness too much for it.
At this station—Nipigon Lodge—the Prince, in shooting knickers and a great anxiety to be off and away, left the train at 8.30, and walking along the road, came to the launch that was to take him down river to the fishing camp where he was to spend a week-end of sport.
Leaving this little waterside village of neglected fishermen's huts, for the season was late and the tourists that usually fill them had all gone, he went down the beautiful stream to the more than beautiful Virgin Falls. Here he met his outfit, thirty-eight Indian guides, all of them experts in camp life and cunning in the secrets of stream and wood.
In the care of these high priests of sport, he left civilization, in the shape of the launch, behind him, and in a canoe fished down stream until the lovely reaches of Split-rock were attained; here, on the banks of the stream, amid the thick ranks of spruce, the camp was pitched.
At first it had been the intention to push on after a day's sport to other camping-places, but the situation and the comfort of this camp was so satisfactory that the Prince decided to stay, and made it his headquarters during the week-end.
It was no camp of amateur sportsmen playing at the game. It was not, perhaps, "roughing" it as the woodsman knows it, for he lies hard in a floorless tent (if he has one), as well as lives laboriously, but it was certainly a rough and ready life, as near that of the woodsman as possible.
The Prince slept in a tent, rose early, bathed in the river and shaved in the open in exactly the same manner as every one else in the party. He took his place in the "grub queue," carrying his plate to the cook-house and demanding his particular choice in bacon and eggs, broiled trout, flapjacks, or the wonderful white flatbread, which the cook, an Indian, Jimmy Bouchard, celebrated for open-fire cooking, knew how to prepare.
Sometimes before breakfast the Prince indulged his passion for running; always after breakfast he set out on foot, or in canoe for the day's fishing, returning late at night hungry and tired with the healthy weariness of hard exertion to the camp meal. There were spells round the big camp fire burning vividly amid the trees, and then sleep in the tent.
The fishing was usually done from the bass canoe, two Indian guides being always the ship's company. And fishing was not the only attraction of the stream and lake. There is always the thrilling, placid beauty of the scenery, the deep forests, the lake valleys, and the austere, forest-clad hills that rise abruptly from the enigmatic pools. And there is the active beauty of the many rapids, those piled-up and rushing masses of angry water, tossing and foaming in pent-up force through rock gates and over rocks.
He tried the adventure of these rapids, shooting through the tortured waters that look so beautiful from the shore and so terrible from the frail structure of a canoe, until it seemed to him as though not even the skill of his guides could steer through safely. He got through safely, but only after an experience which he described as the most exciting in his life.
The fishing itself proved disappointing. The famous speckled trout of Nipigon did not rise to the occasion, and the sport was fair, but not extraordinary. The best day brought in twenty-seven fish, the largest being three and a half pounds, not a good specimen of the lake's trout, which go to six and eight pounds in the ordinary course of things.
And the disappointment had an irony of its own. The man who caught the most fish was the man who couldn't fish at all. The official photographer, who had gone solely to take snapshots, also took the maximum of fish out of the river. Indeed, he was so much of an amateur that the first fish he caught placed him in such a predicament that he did not play it, but landed it with so vigorous a jerk that it flew over his head and caught high in a fir. An Indian guide had to climb the tree to "land" it.
Nevertheless, he caught the most fish, and when he returned with his spoil, the Prince said to him:
"Look here, don't you realize I'm the one to do that? You're taking my place in the program."
The reason for the indifferent sport was probably the lateness of the season—it was practically finished when the Prince arrived—and the fact that Nipigon had had a record summer, with large parties of sportsmen working its reaches steadily all the time. The fish were certainly shy, particularly, it seemed, of fly, and the best catches were made with a small fish, a sort of bull-headed minnow called cocatoose, that creeps about close to the rocks.
Of course, trout, even if famous, are naturally temperamental. They will rise in dozens at unexpected times, just as they will refuse all temptations for weeks on end. An Englishman, and no mean fisherman, once went to Nipigon to show the local inhabitants how fishing should be done. A master in British waters, he considered the speckled monsters of the lakes fit victims for his rod and fly. He went out with his guides to catch fish, and after a few days among the big trout came back disgusted.
"Did you catch any trout?" he was asked by one of his party.
"Catch 'em," he snapped. "How can one catch 'em? The infernal things are anchored."
Walking and duck shooting was also in the program, and there were other excitements.
The weather, delightful during the first two days, broke on Sunday, and there were bad winds, rainstorms and occasional hailstorms, when stones as big as small pebbles drummed on the tents and bombarded the camp.
So fierce was the wind that the Royal Standard on a high flagstaff was carried away. A pine tree was also uprooted, and fell with a crash between the Prince's tent and that of one of his suite. A yard either way and the tent would have been crushed. Fortunately the Prince was not in the tent at that moment, but the happening gave the camp its sense of adventure.
During this rest, too, the Prince suffered a little from his eyes, an irritation caused by grains of steel that had blown into them while viewing the works at "Soo." His right hand was also painful from the heartiness of Toronto, and the knuckles swollen. To set these matters right, the doctor went up from the train, and by the Indian canoe that carried the mail and the daily news bulletin, reached the camp.
When he returned on Monday, September 8th, the Prince was looking undeniably fit. He marched up the railway from the lake in footer-shorts and golf jacket, with an air of one who had thoroughly enjoyed "roughing it."
While the Prince and his party were camping, the train remained in Nipigon, a tiny village set in complete isolation on the edge of the river and in the heart of the woods.
It is a little germ-culture of humanity cut off from the world. The only way out is, apparently, the railway, though, perhaps, one could get away by the boats that come up to load pulp wood, or by the petrol launches that scurry out on to Lake Superior and its waterside towns. But the roads out of it, there appear to be none. Follow any track, and it fades away gently into the primitive bush.
It is a nest of loneliness that has carried on after its old office as a big fur collecting post—you see the original offices of Revillon Frères and the Hudson Bay Company standing today—has gone. Now it lives on lumber and the fishing, and one wonders what else.
Its tiny station, through which the Transcontinental trains thunder, is faced by a long, straggling green, and fringing the green is a row of wooden shops and houses equally straggling. They have a somnolent and spiritless air. Behind is a wedge of pretty dwellings stretching down to the river, tailing off into an Indian encampment by the stream, where, about dingy tepees, a dozen or so stoic children play.
There are three hundred souls in the village, mainly Finns and Indians become Canadians. They are not the Indians of Fenimore Cooper, but men who wear peaked caps, bright blouse shirts or sweaters, with broad yellow, blue and white stripes (a popular article of wear all over Canada), and women who wear the shin skirts and silks of civilization. Only here and there one sees old squaw women, stout and brown and bent, with the plaid shawl of modernity making up for the moccasins of their ancient race.
Small though it is, or perhaps because it is so small and observable, Nipigon is an example of the amalgam from which the Canadian race is being fused. We went, for instance, to a dance given by the Finns in their varnished, brown-wood hall on the Saturday night. It was an attractive and interesting evening. The whole of the village, without distinction, appeared to be there. And they mixed. Indian women in the silk stockings, high heels and glowing frocks of suburbia, danced (and danced well) with high cheek-boned, monosyllabic Finns in grey sweaters, workaday trousers and coats and bubble-toed boots. A vivid Canadian girl in semi-evening dress went round in the jazz with a guard of the Royal train. A policeman from the train danced with a Finnish girl, demure and well-dressed, who might have been anything from the leader of local Society to a clerk (i.e., a counter hand) in one of the shops. For all we knew, the plumber might have been dancing with the leading citizen's daughter, and the local Astor with the local dressmaker's assistant.
In any case, it didn't matter. In Canada they don't think about that sort of thing. They were all unconcerned and happy in the big, generous spirit of equality that makes Canada the home of one big family rather than the dwelling-place of different classes and social grades. This fact was not new to us; naturally, we had seen and mixed with Canadians in hotels and on the street elsewhere. In those gathering-places of humanity, the hotels, we had lived with the big, jolly, homely crowds without social strata, who might very well have changed places with the waiters and the waiters with them without anybody noticing any difference. That would not have meant a loss of dignity to anybody. Nobody has any use for social status in the Dominion, the only standard being whether a man is a "mixer" or not.
By way of a footnote, I might say that waiters, even as waiters, are on the way to take seats as guests, since, apparently, waiting is only an occupation a man takes up until he finds something worth while. Not unexpectedly Canadian waiting suffers through this.
What we had seen in the large towns, and in the large gregarious life of cities, we saw "close up" at Nipigon. The varied crowd, Finns, British, Canadian and Indian (one of the Indians, a young dandy, had served with distinction during the war, had married a white Canadian, and was one of the richest men present), danced without social distinctions in that pleasant hall to Finn folk-songs that had never been set down on paper played on an accordion. It was a delightful evening.
For the rest, those with the train fished (or, rather, went through all the ritual with little of the results), walked, bathed in the lake, watched the American "movie" men in their endeavours to convert the British to baseball, or endeavoured, with as little success, to convert the baseball "fans" to cricket. The recreations of Nipigon were not hectic, and we were glad to get on to towns and massed life again.
I confess our view of Nipigon of the hundred houses was not that of the Indian boy who discussed it with us. He told us Nipigon was not the place for him.
"You wait," he said. "Next year I go. Next year I am fifteen. Then I go out into the woods. I go right away. I can't stand this city life."
Canada, on Monday, September 8th, demonstrated its amazing faculty for startling contrasts. It lifted the Prince from the primitive to the ultra-modern in a single movement. In the morning he was in the silent forests of Nipigon, a tract so wild that man seemed no nearer than a thousand miles. Three hours later he was moving amid the dense crowds that filled the streets of the latest word in industrial cities.
He stepped straight from Nipigon to the twin cities of Port Arthur and Fort William. These two cities are really one, and together form the great trade pool into which the traffic of the vast grain-bearing West and North-West pours for transport on the Great Lakes.
These two cities sprang from the little human nucleus made up of a Jesuit mission and a Hudson Bay Company depot of the old days. They stand on Thunder Bay, a deep-water sack thrusting out from Lake Superior under the slopes of flat-topped Thunder Cape. The situation is ideal for handling the trade of the great lake highway that swings the traffic through the heart of the Western continent.
Port Arthur and Fort William have seen their chances and made the most of them. They have constructed great wharves along the bay to accommodate a huge traffic. Over the wharves they have built up the greatest grain elevators in the world, not a few of them but a series, until the cities seemed to be inhabited solely by these giants. These elevators and stores collect and distribute the vast streams of grain that pour in from the prairies, at whose door the cities stand, distributing it across the lakes to the cities of America, or along the lakes to the Canadian East and the railways that tranship it to Europe.
On the quays are the towering lattices of patent derricks, forests of them, that handle coal and ore and cargoes of infinite variety. And the [Transcriber's note: word(s) possibly missing from source] derricks and the elevators are the uncannily long and lean lake freighters, ships with a tiny deck superstructure forward of a great rake of hold, and a tiny engine-house astern under the stack. And by these grain boats are the ore tramps and coal boats from Lake Erie, and cargo boats with paper pulp for England made in the big mills that turn the forests about Lake Superior into riches.
Not content with docking boats, the twin cities build them. They build with equal ease a 10,000-ton freighter, or a great sky-scraping tourist boat to ply between Canada and the American shores. And presently it will be sending its 10,000-tonners direct to Liverpool; they only await the deepening of the Welland Canal near Niagara before starting a regular service on this 4,000-mile voyage.
They are modern cities, indeed, that snatch every chance for wealth and progress, and use even the power that Nature gives in numerous falls to work their dynamos, and through them their many mills and factories. And the marvel of these cities is that they are inland cities—inland ports thousands of miles from the nearest salt water.
These places gave the Prince the welcome of ardent twins. Their greeting was practically one, for though the train made two stops, and there were two sets of functions, there are only a few minutes' train-time between them, and the greetings seemed of a continuous whole.
Port Arthur had the Prince first for a score of minutes, in which crowds about the station showed their welcome in the Canadian way. It was here we first came in touch with the "Mounties," the fine men of the Royal North-West Mounted Police, whose scarlet coats, jaunty stetsons, blue breeches and high tan boots set off the carriage of an excellently set-up body of men. They acted as escort while the Prince drove into the town to a charming collegiate garden, where the Mayor tried to welcome him formally.
Tried is the only word. How could Prince or Mayor be formal when both stood in the heart of a crowd so close together that when the Mayor read his address the document rested on the Prince's chest, while at the Prince's elbows crowded little boys and other distinguished citizens? Formal or not, it was very human and very pleasant.
Returning through the town, something went wrong with the procession. Many of the automobiles forcing their way through the crowd to the train—which stood beside the street—found there was no Prince. We stood about asking what was happening and where it was happening. After ten minutes of this an automobile driver strolled over from a car and asked "what was doing now?"
We consulted the programs and told him that the Prince was launching a ship.
"He is, is he?" said the driver without passion. "Well, I've got members of the shipbuilding company and half the reception committee in my car."
In spite of that, the Prince launched a fine boat, that took the water broadside in the lake manner, before going on to Fort William.
Fort William had an immense crowd upon the green before the station, on the station, and even on the station buildings. Part of the crowd was made up of children, each one of them a representative of the nationalities that came from the Old World to find a new life and a new home in Canada. Each of them was dressed in his or her national costume, making an interesting picture.
There were twenty-four children, each of a different race, and the races ranged from France to Slovenia, from Persia to China and Syria. There were negroes and Siamese and Czecho-Slovaks in this remarkable collection of elements from whose fusion Canada of today is being fashioned.
The Prince drove through the cheering streets of Fort William, and paid visits to some of the great industrial concerns, before setting out for Winnipeg and the wide-flung spaces of the West.
We had a hint of what the Western welcome was going to be like from the Winnipeg papers that were handed to us with our cantaloupe at breakfast on Tuesday, September 9th.
They were concerning themselves brightly and strenuously with the details of the visit that day, and were also offering real Western advice on the etiquette of clothes.
formed the main headline, taking the place of space usually given to Baseball reports or other vital news. And pen pictures of Western thrill were given of leading men chasing in and out of the stores of the town in an attempt to buy a "Silk Lid" (a top hat) in order to be fit to figure at receptions.
The writer had even broken into verse to describe the emotions of the occasion. Despairing of prose he wrote:
Get out the old silk bonnet,
Iron a new shine on it.
Just pretend your long-tailed coat does not seem queer,
For we'll be all proper
As a crossing "copper"
When the Prince of Wales is here.
The Ladies' Page also caught the infection. It crossed its page with a wail:
and it went on for columns to tell how silver slippers were the only kind the Prince would look at. He had chosen all partners at all balls in all towns by the simple method of looking for silver slippers. The case of those without silver slippers was hopeless. The maidens of Winnipeg well knew this. There had been a silver slipper battue through all the stores, and all had gone—it was, so one felt from the article, a crisis for all those who had been slow.
A rival paper somewhat calmed the anxious citizens by stating that the Silk Lid and the Striped Pants were not necessities, and that the Prince himself did not favour formal dress—a fact, for indeed, he preferred himself the informality of a grey lounge suit always, when not wearing uniform, and did not even trouble to change for dinner unless attending a function. The paper also hinted that he had eyes for other things in partners besides silver slippers.
These papers gave us an indication that not only would "Winnipeg be polished to the heels of its shoes" at the coming of the Prince, but to continue the metaphor, it would be enthusiastic to well above its hat-band. And it was.
Certainly Winnipeg's welcome did not stop at the huge mass of heels—high as well as low—that carried it out to look at the Prince on his arrival. It mounted well up to the heart and to the head as he left the wide-open space in front of the C.P.R. station, and, with a brave escort of red-tuniced "Mounties," swung into the old pioneer trail—only it is called Main Street now—toward the Town Hall.
The exceedingly broad street was lined with immense crowds, that, on the whole, kept their ranks like a London rather than a Canadian throng for at least two hundred yards.
Then this imported docility gave way, and the press of people became entirely Canadian. The essential spirit of the Canadian, like that of the citizen of another country, is that "he will be there." Or perhaps I should say he "will be right there." Anyhow, there he was as close to the Prince as he could get without actually climbing into the carriage that was slowing down before the daïs among trees in the garden before the City Hall.
In a minute where there had been a broad open space lined with neat policemen, there was a swamping mass of Canadians of all ages, and the Prince was entirely hemmed in. In fact only a free fight of the most amiable kind got him out of the carriage and on to the daïs. The Marine orderlies, and others of the suite, joined in an attempt to press the throng back. They could accomplish nothing until the "Mounties" came to their aid, forced a passage with their horses, and so permitted the Prince to mount the daïs and hear the Mayor say what the crowd had been explaining for the past ten minutes, that is, how glad Winnipeg was to see him.
It was the usual function, but varied a little. Winnipeg has not always been happy in the matter of its water supply, and the day and the Prince came together to inaugurate a new era. It was accomplished in the modern manner. The Prince pressed a button on the platform and water-gates on Shoal Lake outside the city swung open. In a minute or two a dry fountain in the gardens before the Prince threw up a jet of water. The new water had come to Winnipeg.
Through big crowds on the sidewalks he passed through an avenue of fine, tall and modern stores, along Broadway, where the tram-tracks fringed with grass and trees run down the centre of a wide boulevard that is edged with lawns and trees, and so to the new Parliament Buildings.
Here there was a vivid and shining scene before the great white curtain of a classic building not yet finished.
In the wide forecourt was a mass of children bearing flags, and up the great flight of steps leading to the impressive Corinthian porch was a bank of people, jewelled with flags and vivid in gay dresses. Against the sharp white mass of the building this living, thrilling bed of humanity made an unforgettable picture.
The ceremony in the spacious entrance hall was also full of the movement and colour of life. In the massive square hall stairs spring upward to the gallery on which the Prince stood. On the level of each floor galleries were cut out of the solid stone of the walls. Crowded in these galleries were men and women, who looked down the shaft of this austere chamber upon a grouping of people about the foot of the cold, white ascending stairs. The strong, clear light added to the dramatic dignity of the scene.
The groups moved up the white stairs slowly between the ranks of Highlanders, whose uniforms took on a vividity in the clarified light. The Prince in Guard's uniform, with his suite in blue and gold and khaki and red behind him, stood on the big white stage of the stair-head to receive them. It was a scene that had all the tone and all the circumstances of an Eastern levée.
But it was a levée with a fleck of humour, also.
As he turned to leave, the Prince noticed beside him a handsome armchair upholstered in royal blue. It was a strange, lonely chair in that desert of gallery and standing humanity. It was a chair that needed explaining.
In characteristic fashion the Prince bent down to it to find an explanation. The crowd, knowing all about that chair and understanding his puzzlement, began to laugh. It laughed outright and with sympathetic humour when, abruptly handing his Guards' cap to one of his staff, he solemnly sat down in it for a second instead of going his way.
The chair was the chair his father and grandfather had sat in when they came to Winnipeg. Silver medallions on it gave testimony to facts. The Prince had not time to adopt a fully considered sitting, but he was not going to leave the building until he, too, had registered his claim to it.
In the big Campus that fronts the University of Manitoba, and ranked by thousands in a hollow square, were the veterans in khaki and civies who had fought as comrades of the Prince in the war. To these he went next.
It was a lengthy ceremony, for there were many to inspect. There were Canadian Highlanders and riflemen in the square, as well as veterans dating back to the time of the North-West Rebellion of '85. And there was also the regimental goat of the 5th West Canadians, a big, husky fellow, who endeavoured to take control of the ceremony with his horns, as befitted a veteran who sported four service chevrons and a wound stripe.
Here, too, the crowd was the most stirring and remarkable feature of the ceremony. It began with an almost European placidity of decorum, standing quietly behind the wooden railing on three sides of the Campus, and as quietly filling the seats in and about the glowingly draped grand stand before the University building. As the ceremony proceeded, however, the crowd behind the stand pressed forward, getting out on to the field. Soldiers linked arms to keep it back, soldiers with bayonets were drawn from the ranks of veterans to give additional weight, wise men mounted the stand and strove to stem the forward pressure with logic. But that crowd was filled with much the same spirit that made the sea so difficult a thing to reason with in King Canute's day. Neither soldiers nor words of the wise could check it. It flowed forward into the Campus, a sea of men and women, shop girls not caring a fig if they were "late back" and had a half-day docked, children who swarmed amid Olympian legs, babies in mothers' arms, whose presence in that crush was a matter of real terror to us less hardened British—an impetuous mass of young and old, masculine and feminine life that cared nothing for hard elbows and torn clothes as long as it got close to the Prince.
Before the inspection was finished, before the Prince could get back to the stand to present medals, the Campus was no longer a hollow square, it was a packed throng.
And the crowd, having won this vantage, took matters into its own hands until, indeed, its ardour began to verge on the dangerous.
As the Prince left the field the great crowd swept after him, until the whole mass was jammed tight against the iron railings at the entrance of the Campus. The Prince was in the heart of this throng surrounded by police who strove to force a way out for him. The crowd fought as heartily to get at him. There was a wild moment when the throng charged forward and crashed the iron railings down with their weight and force.
There were cries of "Shoulder him! Shoulder the boy!" and a rush was made towards him. The police had a hard struggle to keep the people back, and, as it was, it was only the swift withdrawal of the Prince from the scene that averted trouble; for in a crowd that had got slightly out of hand in its enthusiasm, the presence of so many children and women seemed to spell calamity.
This splendid ardour is more remarkable, since, only a few months before, Winnipeg had been the scene of an outburst which its citizens describe as nothing else but Bolshevik.
That outcrop of active discontent—which, by the way, was germinated in part by Englishmen—had a loud and ugly sound, and its clamour seemed ominous. People asked whether all the West, and indeed, all Canada, was going to be involved. Was Canada speaking in the accents of revolt?
Well, on September 9th, there arose another sound in Winnipeg, and it was but part of a wave of sound that had been travelling westward for more than a month. It was, I think, a most significant sound. It was the sound of majorities expressing themselves.
It was not a few shouting revolt. It was the many shouting its affection and loyalty for tried democratic ideals.
When minorities raise their voices our ears are dinned by the shouting and we imagine it is a whole people speaking. We forget those who sit silent at home, not joining in the storm. The silent mass of the majority is overlooked because it finds so few opportunities for self-expression. Only such a visit as this of the Prince gives them a chance.
It seemed to me that this display of affection had a human rather than a political significance. It impressed me not as an affair of parties, but as the fundamental, human desire of the great mass of ordinary workaday people to show their appreciation for stable and democratic ideals which the peculiarly democratic individuality of the Prince represents.
Winnipeg is a town with a vital spirit. It has a large air. There is something in its spaciousness that tells of the great grain plains at the threshold of which it stands. It is the "Chicago of Canada," and hub of a world of grain, Queen City in the Kingdom of Bakers' Flour. And it is mightily conscious of its high office.
It springs upward out of the flat and brooding prairies, where the Assiniboine and the strong Red River strike together—the old "Forks" of the pioneer days. It sits where the old trails of the pathfinder and the fur trader join, and its very streets grew up about those trails.
From the piles of pelts dumped by Indians and hunters outside the old Hudson Bay stockade at Fort Garry, and the sacks of raw grain that the old prairie schooners brought in, Winnipeg of today has grown up.
And it has grown up with the astonishing, swift maturity of the West. Fifty years ago there was not even a village. Forty years ago it was a mere spot on the world map, put there only to indicate the locality of Louis Kiel's Red River Rebellion, and Wolseley's march to Fort Garry, as its name was. In 1881 it became just Winnipeg, a townlet with less than 8,000 souls in it. Today it ranks with the greatest commercial cities in Canada, and its greatness can be felt in the tingling energy of its streets.
The wonder of that swift growth is a thing that can be brought directly home. I stood on the station with a man old but still active, and he said to me:
"Do you see that block of buildings over there? I had the piece of ground on which it was built. I sold it for a hundred dollars, it was prairie then. It's worth many thousands now. And that piece where that big factory stands, that was mine. I let that go for under three hundred, and the present owners bought in the end for twenty and more times that sum. Oh, we were all foolish then, how could we tell that Winnipeg was going to grow? It was a 'back-block' town, shacks along a dusty track. And the railway hadn't come. A three-story wooden house, that was a marvel to be sure; now we have skyscrapers."
And fast though Winnipeg has grown, or because she has grown at such a pace, one can still see the traces and feel the spirit of the old spacious days in her streets. They are long streets and so planned that they seem to have been built by men who knew that there were no limits on the immense plains, and so broad that one knows that the designers had been conscious that there was no need to pinch the sidewalks and carriage-ways with all the prairie at the back of them.
Along these sumptuous avenues there still remain many of the low-built and casual houses that men put up in the early days, and it is these standing beside the modernity of the business buildings, soaring sky-high, the massive grain elevators and the big brisk mills that give the city its curious blending of pioneer days and thrusting, twentieth-century virility.
It is a town like no other that we had visited, and where one had the feeling that up-to-date card-indexing systems were being worked by men in the woolly riding chaps of old plainsmen.
In the people of the streets one experienced the same curious sense of "difference." In splendid boulevards such as Main, and Portage, which turns from it, there are stores worthy of New York and London in size, smartness and glowing attraction. And the women crowds that make these streets busy are as crisply dressed in modern fashions as any on the Continent, but there is a definite individuality in the air of the men.
Canadian men dress with a conspicuous indifference. They wear anything from overalls and broad-banded sweaters to lounge suits that ever seem ill-fitting. In Winnipeg there is the same disregard for personal appearance plus a hat with a higher crown. As we went West the crown of the soft hat climbed higher, and the brim became both wider and more curly.
There is, too, on the sidewalks of Winnipeg the conglomeration of races that go to feed the West. The city is the great emigrant centre that serves the farmers, the fruit-growers of the Rockies, the ranchmen in the foothills, and even the industries on the Pacific Slopes. Everywhere outside agencies there are great blackboards on which demands for farm labourers at five dollars a day and other workers are chalked.
To these agencies flow strange men in blouse-shirts, wearing strange caps—generally of fur—carrying strange-looking suit-cases and speaking the strange tongues of far European or Asiatic lands. Chinese and Japanese (whom the Canadian lumps under the general term "Orientals"), negroes, a few Indians, and a hotch-potch of races walk the streets of Winnipeg, and Winnipeg deals with them, houses them, gives them advice, and distributes them over the wide lands of Canada, where they will work and working will gradually fuse into the racial whole that is the Canadian race.
In the hotels, too, one notices that a change is taking place. The "Oriental"—the Japanese in this case—takes the place of the Canadian bell-boy and porter, and he takes this place more and more as one goes West. There are, of course, always Chinese "Chop Suey and Noodles' Restaurants," as well as Chinese laundries in Canadian towns; we met them as early as St. John's, Newfoundland; but from Winnipeg to the Pacific Coast these establishments grow in numbers, until in Vancouver and Victoria there are big "Oriental" quarters—cities within the cities that harbour them.
The "Orientals" make good citizens, the Chinese particularly. They are industrious, clever workers, especially as agriculturists, and they give no trouble. The great drawback with them is that they do not stay in the country, but having made their money in Canada, go home to China to spend it.
Most of the alien element that goes to Canada is of good quality, and ultimately becomes a very valuable asset. But the problem Canada is facing is that they are strangers, and, not having been brought up in the British tradition, they know nothing of it. The tendency of this influence is to produce a new race to which the ties of sentiment and blood have little meaning.
It is a problem which Britain must share also, if we do not wish to see Canada growing up a stranger to us in texture, ideals and thought. It is not an easy problem. Canada's chief need today is for agriculturists, yet the workers we wish to retain most in this country are agriculturists. Canada must have her supply, and if we cannot afford them, she must take what she can from Eastern Europe, or from America, and very many American farmers, indeed, are moving up to Canadian lands.
There is always room in a vast country such as Canada for skilled or willing workers, and we can send them. But the demand is not great at present, and will not be great until the agriculturist opens up the land. And the agriculturist is to come from where?
Certainly it is a matter which calls for a great deal of consideration.
The Prince made the usual round of the usual program during his stay, but his visit to the Grain Exchange was an item that was unique.
He drove on Wednesday, September 10th, to this dramatic place, where brokers, apparently in a frenzy, shout and wave their hands, while the price of grain sinks and rises like a trembling balance at their gestures and shouts.
The pit at which all these hustling buyers and sellers are gathered has all the romantic qualities of fiction. It is, as far as I am concerned, one of the few places that live up to the written pictures of it, for it gave me the authentic thrill that had come to me when I first read of the Chicago wheat transactions in Frank Norris's novel, "The Pit."
The Prince drove to the Grain Exchange and was whirled aloft to the fourth story of the tall building. He entered a big hall in which babel with modern improvements and complications reigned.
In the centre of this room was the pit proper. It has nothing of the Stygian about it. It is a hexagon of shallow steps rising from the floor, and descending on the inner side.
On these steps was a crowd of super-men with voices of rolled steel. They called out cabalistic formulae of which the most intelligible to the layman sounded something like:
Cold, high and terrible voices seemed to answer:
Hundreds of voices were doing this, amid a storm of cross shoutings, and under a cloud of tossing hands, that signalled with fingers or with papers. Cutting across this whirlpool of noise was the frantic clicking of telegraph instruments. These tickers were worked by four emotionless gods sitting high up in a judgment seat over the pit.
They had unerring ears. They caught the separate quotations from the seething maelstrom of sound beneath them, sifted the completed deal from the mere speculative offer in uncanny fashion, and with their unresting fingers ticked the message off on an instrument that carried it to a platform high up on one of the walls.
On this platform men in shirt-sleeves prowled backwards and forwards—as the tigers do about feeding time in the Zoo. They, too, had super-hearing. From little funnels that looked like electric light shades they caught the tick of the messages, and chalked the figures of the latest prices as they altered with the dealing on the floor upon a huge blackboard that made the wall behind them.
At the same time the gods on the rostrum were tapping messages to the four corners of the world. Even Chicago and Mark Lane altered their prices as the finger of one of these calm men worked his clicker.
When the Prince entered the room the gong sounded to close the market, and amid a hearty volume of cheering he was introduced to the pit, and some of its intricacies were explained to him. The gong sounded again, the market opened, and a storm of shouting broke over him, men making and accepting deals over his head.
Intrigued by the excitement, he agreed with the broker who had brought him in, to accept the experience of making a flutter in grain.
Immediately there were yells, "What is he, Bull or Bear?" and the Prince, thoroughly perplexed, turned to the broker and asked what type of financial mammal he might be.
He became a Bull and bought.
He did not endeavour to corner wheat in the manner of the heroes of the stories, for wheat was controlled; he bought, instead, fifty thousand bushels of oats. A fair deal, and he told those about him with a smile that he was going to make several thousand dollars out of Winnipeg in a very few moments.
An onlooker pointed to the blackboard, and cried:
"What about that? Oats are falling."
But the broker was a wise man. He had avoided a royal "crash." He had already sold at the same price, 83 1/2, and the Prince had accomplished what is called a "cross trade." That is he had squared the deal and only lost his commission.
While he stood in that frantic pit of whirling voices something of the vast transactions of the Grain Exchange was explained to him. It is the biggest centre for the receipt and sale of wheat directly off the land in the world. It handles grain by the million bushels. In the course of a day, so swift and thorough are its transactions, it can manipulate deals aggregating anything up to 150,000,000 bushels.
When these details had been put before him, the gong was again struck, and silence came magically.
Unseen by most in that pack of men on the steps the Prince was heard to say that he had come to the conclusion that to master the intricacies of the Exchange was a science rather beyond his grasp just then. He hoped that his trip westward would give him a more intimate knowledge of the facts about grain, and when he came back, as he hoped he would, he might have it in him to do something better than a "cross trade."
From the pit the lift took him aloft again to the big sampling and classifying room on the tenth floor of the building. The long tables of this room were littered with small bags of grain, and with grain in piles undergoing tests. The floor was strewn with spilled wheat and oats and corn. Here he was shown how grain, carried to Winnipeg in the long trucks, was sampled and brought to this room in bags. Here it was classified by experts, who, by touch, taste and smell, could gauge its quality unerringly.
It is the perfection of a system for handling grain in the raw mass. The buyer never sees the grain he purchases. The classification of the Exchange is so reliable that he accepts its certificates of quality and weight and buys on paper alone.
Nor are the dealers ever delayed by this wonderfully working organization. The Exchange has samplers down on the trucks at the railway sidings day and night. During the whole twenty-four hours of the day there are men digging specially constructed scoops that take samples from every level of the car-loads of grain, putting the grain into the small bags, and sending them along to the classification department.
So swiftly is the work done that the train can pull into the immense range of special yards, such as those the C.P.R. have constructed for the accommodation of grain, change its engine and crew, and by the time the change is effected, samples of all the trucks have been taken, and the train can go on to the great elevators and mills at Fort William and Port Arthur.
This rapid handling in no way affects the efficiency of the Exchange. Its decisions are so sure that the grading of the wheat is only disputed about forty times in the year. This is astonishing when one realizes the enormous number of samples judged.
In the same way, and in spite of the apparent confusion about the pit where they take place, the records of the transactions are so exact that only about once in five thousand is such a record queried.
The Prince was immensely interested in all the practical details of working which make this handling of grain a living and dramatic thing, showing, as usual, that active curiosity for workaday facts that is essential to the make-up of the moderns.
His directness and accessibility made friends for him with these hard-headed business men as readily as it had made friends with soldiers and with the mass of people. Winnipeg had already exerted its Western faculty for affectionate epithets. He had already been dubbed a "Fine Kiddo," and it was commonplace to hear people say of him, "He's a regular feller, he'll do." They said these things again in the Exchange, declaring emphatically he was "sure, a manly-looking chap."
As he left the Exchange the members switched the chaos of the pit into shouts of a more hearty and powerful volume, and to listen to a crowd of such fully-seasoned lungs doing their utmost in the confined space of a building is an awe-inspiring and terrific experience.
The friendliness here was but a "classified sample"—if the Winnipeg Exchange will permit that expression—of the friendliness in bulk he found all over Canada, and which he found in the great West, upon which he was now entering.
From Winnipeg, on the night of September 10th, we pushed steadily northwest, and on the morning of Thursday, the 11th, we were in the open prairie, a new land that is being opened up by the settler.
We were travelling too late to see the land under wheat—one of the finest sights in the world, we were told; but all the grain was not in, and we saw threshing operations in progress and big areas covered with the strangely small stocks, the result of the Canadian system of cutting the standing stalk rather high up. In the early night, by Portage la Prairie, we had seen big fires burning in the distance. They were not, as we at first thought, prairie fires, but the homesteader getting rid of the great mounds of stalk left by the threshing, the usual method.
In the early morning mist we came upon the big, flat expanse of Horn Lake, near Wynyard, over which flew lines of militaristic duck in wedge formation. The prairies lay about us in a great expanse, dun-brown and rolling. It is a monotonous landscape, and there were few if any trees until we got farther north and west.
The little prairie towns appear on the horizon a great distance away, thanks to the big grain elevators alongside the track. The grain elevators in these plains are what churches are in Europe; they have, indeed, the look of being basilicas of a new, materialistic dispensation.
The little towns under the elevators seem palpably to be struggling with the inert force of the prairie about them. Prairie seems to be flowing into them on every side, and only by a brave effort do houses and streets raise themselves above the encroaching sea of grass. Yet all the towns have a modern air, too. All have excellent electric light services in houses and streets, and all have "movie" theatres.
At the stations crowds were gathered. At Wynyard all the young of the district appeared to have collected before going to school. Catching the word that the Prince "lived" in the last car, they swarmed round it. Some one told them the Prince was still in bed, and with the utmost cheerfulness they began to chant: "Sleepy head! Sleepy head!"
At Lanigan, the next station, a crowd of the same cheery temper also raised a clamour for the Prince. As a rule he never disappointed them, and would leave whatever he was doing to go on to the observation platform at the first hint of cheers. But at Lanigan there were difficulties. The crowd cheered. Some one looked out of the car, made a gesture of negation, and went back. The crowd cheered a good deal more. There was a pause; more cheering. Then a discreet member of the Staff came out and said the Prince was awfully sorry, but—but, well, he was in his bath!
"That's all the better," called a cheerful girl from the heart of the crowd. "We don't mind."
The member of the Staff vanished in a new gust of cheering, probably to hide his blushes. Need I say the Prince did not appear?
At Colonsay there was a stop of five minutes only, but the people of the town made the most of it. They had a pretty Britannia to the fore, and all the school-children grouped about her and singing when the train steamed in. And when it stopped, a delightful and tiny miss came forward and gave the Prince a bunch of sweet peas.
These incidents were a few only of a characteristic day's run. Every day the same sort of thing happened, so that though the Prince had a more strenuous time in the bigger cities, his "free times" were actually made up of series of smaller functions in the smaller ones.
Saskatoon, the distributing city for the middle of Saskatchewan, was to give the Prince a memorable day. It was here that he obtained his first insight into the life and excitements of the cowboy. Saskatoon, in addition to the usual reception functions, showed him a "Stampede," which is a cowboy sports meeting.
The Prince arrived in the town at noon, and drove through the streets to the Park and University grounds for the reception ceremonies. It is a keen, bright place, seeming, indeed, of sparkling newness in the wonderful clarified sunlight of the prairie.
It is new. Saskatoon is only now beginning its own history. It is still sorting itself out from the plain which its elevators, business blocks and delightful residential districts are yet occupied in thrusting back. It is a characteristic town on the uplift. It snubs and encroaches upon the illimitable fields with its fine American architecture, and its stone university buildings. It has new suburbs full of houses of symmetrical Western comeliness in a tract wearing the air of Buffalo Bill.
It grows so fast that you can almost see it doing it. It has grown so fast that it has outstripped the guide-book makers. They talk of it in two lines as a village of a few hundred inhabitants, but put not your trust in guide-books when coming to Canada, for the village you come out to see turns out, like Saskatoon, to be a bustling city full of "pep," as they say, and possessing 20,000 inhabitants.
The guide-book makers are not to blame. Somewhere about 1903 there were no more than 150 people within its boundaries. Now, from the look of it, it could provide ten motor-cars for each of these oldest inhabitants, and have about 500 over for new-comers—in fact, that is about the figure; there are 2,000 cars on the Saskatoon registers. Saskatoon was full of cars neatly lined up along the Prince's route during every period of his stay.
The great function of the visit was the "Stampede." This sports meeting took place on a big racing ground before a grand-stand that held many thousand more people than Saskatoon boasted. The many cars that brought them in from all over the country were parked in huge wedges in and about the ground.
Passing off the wild dirt roads, the Prince headed a procession of cars round the course before entering a special pavilion erected facing the grandstand. His coming was the signal for the Stampede to commence. It was a new thrill to Britishers, an affair of excitement, and a real breath of Western life. They told us that the cattle kings are moving away from this area to the more spacious and lonely lands of the North; but the exhibition the Prince witnessed showed that the daring and skilful spirit of the cowboys has not moved on yet.
We were also told that this Stampede was something in the nature of a circus that toured the country, and that men and animals played their parts mechanically as oft-tried turns in a show. But even if that was so, the thing was unique to British eyes, and the exhibition of all the tricks of the cattleman's calling was for those who looked on a new sensation.
Cattlemen rode before the Prince on bucking horses that, loosed from wooden cages, came along the track like things compact of India-rubber and violence, as they strove to throw the leechlike men in furry, riding chaps, loose shirts, sweat-rags and high felt hats, who rode them.
Some of the men rode what seemed a more difficult proposition—an angry bull, that bunched itself up and down and lowed vindictively, as it tried to buck its rider off.
From the end of the race-track a steer was loosed, and a cowboy on a small lithe broncho rode after it at top speed. Round the head of this man the lariat whirled like a live snake. In a flash the noose was tight about the steer's horns, the brilliant little horse had overtaken the beast, and in an action when man and horse seemed to combine as one, the tightened rope was swung against the steer's legs. It was thrown heavily. Like lightning the cowboy was off the horse, was on top of the half-stunned steer, and had its legs hobbled in a rope.
One man of the many who competed in this trial of skill performed the whole operation in twenty-eight seconds from the time the steer was loosed to the time its legs were secured.
A more daring feat is "bull-dogging."
The steer is loosed as before, and the cattleman rides after it, but instead of lassoing it, he leaps straight out of his saddle and plunges on to the horns of the beast. Gripping these long and cruel-looking weapons, he twists the bull's neck until the animal comes down, and there, with his body in the hollow of the neck and shoulder, he holds it until his companions run up and release him.
There is a real thrill of danger in this.
One man, a cowboy millionaire, caught his steer well, but in the crash in which the animal came down it rolled right over him. For a moment man and beast were lost in a confusion of tossing legs and dust. Then the man, with shirt torn to ribbons and his back scraped in an ugly manner, rose up gamely and limped away. The only thing about him that had escaped universal dusting was his white double-linen collar, the strangest article of clothing any "bull-dogger" might wear.
The Prince called this plucky fellow, as well as others of the outfit, into the pavilion, and talked with them some time on the risk and adventures of their business, as well as congratulating them on their skill.
Two comely cowgirls, in fringed leather dresses, high boots, bright blouses and broad sombreros, also caught his eye. He spoke to a "movie" man, who had already added to the gaiety of nations by leaping round in a circle (heavy camera and all) while a big, bucking broncho had leaped round after him, telling him that the girls formed a fit subject for the lens.
"I'm waiting until I can get you with them, sir," said the "movie" man.
"Oh, you'll get me all right," the Prince laughed. "There's no chance of my escaping you."
The "movie" man got Prince and cowgirls presently, when the Prince had invited them into the pavilion to chat for a few minutes. They were fine, free and independent girls, who enjoyed the naturalness and easiness of the interview.
During the meeting all the arts of the cowboys were exhibited. The lariat expert lassoed men and horses in bunches of five as easily as he lassoed one, and danced in and turned somersaults through his ever-whirling loop. There were some fine exhibitions of horse-riding, and there was some Amazonian racing by girls in jockey garb.
The human interlude was also there. A daring woman photographer in the grand-stand held up a cowboy. Disregarding her long skirts, she climbed the fence of the course and calmly mounted behind the horseman. Riding thus, she passed across the front of the cheering grand-stand and came to the steps of the Prince's pavilion. Unconcerned by the joy of the great crowd, she asked permission to take a snapshot, and received it, going her way unruffled and entirely Canadian.
The very thrilling afternoon was closed by the Prince himself. Walking over to the crowd of cattlemen, he stood talking with them and examining their horses. Presently, on the invitation of the leader, he mounted a broncho, and, leading the bunch of cowboys and cowgirls, swept down the track and past the stand. The people, delighted at this unexpected act, vented themselves in the usual way—that is, with extraordinary enthusiasm.
Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, was the Prince's farthest north. He arrived there on Friday, September 12th, to receive the unstinted welcome which, long since, we had come to know was Canada's natural attitude towards him. As we crossed the broad main street to the station, the sight of the vast human flower-bed that filled the road below the railway bridge made one tingle at the thoroughness with which these towns gathered to express themselves.
Canada, as I may have hinted already, has a way of leading strangers astray concerning herself. In Eastern Canada we were told that we would find the West "different." From what was said to us, there was some reason for expecting to find an entirely new race on the Pacific side of Winnipeg. It would be a race further removed from the British tradition, a race not so easy to get on with, a race not moved by the impulses and enthusiasms that stirred the East.
And in the West? Well, all I can say is that quite a number of Western men shook me by the hand and told me how thankful I must be now that I had left the cold and rigid East for the more generous warmth of the spacious West. And hadn't I found the East a strange place, inhabited by people not easy to get on with, and removed from the British tradition—and so on...?
This singular state of things may seem queer to the Briton, but I think it is easily explainable. In the first place, Canada is so vast that her people, even though they be on the same continent, are as removed from immediate intimacy as the Kentish man is from the man in a Russian province. And not only does great distance make for lack of knowledge, but the fact that each province is self-contained and feeds upon itself, so to speak, in the matter of news and so on, makes the citizen in Ontario, or Quebec, or New Brunswick, regard the people of the West as living in a distant and strange land.
The Canadian, too, is intensely loyal to Canada; that means he is intensely jealous for her reputation. He warned us against all possibilities, I think, so that we should be ready for any disappointment.
There was not the slightest need for warning. Whether East or West, Canada was solid in its welcome, and, as far as I am able to judge, there is no difference at all in the texture of human habit and mind East or West. There is the same fine, sturdy quality of loyalty and hospitality over the whole Dominion. Canada is Canada all through.
Edmonton is a fine, lusty place. It is the prairie town in its teens. It has not yet put off its coltish air. It is Winnipeg just leaving school, and has the wonderful precocity of these eager towns of the West. It is running almost before it has learnt to walk.
While full-blooded Indians still move in its streets, it is putting up buildings worthy of a European metropolis. It has opened big up-to-date stores and public offices by the side of streets that are yet the mere stamped earth of the untutored plain.
Along its main boulevard, Jasper Avenue, slip the astonishing excess of automobiles one has learnt to expect in Canadian towns. A brisk electric tram service weaves the mass of street movement together, and at night over all shines an exuberance of electric light.
That main street is tingling with modernity. Its stores, its music-halls, its "movie" theatres, and its hotels glitter with the nervous intensity of a spirit avid of the latest ideas.
Fringing the canyon of the brown North Saskatchewan River is a beautiful automobile road, winding among pretty residential plots and comely enough for any town.
Yet swing out in a motor for a few miles, and one is in a land where the roads—if any—are but the merest trails, where the silent and brooding prairie (hereabouts blessed with trees) stretches emptily for miles by the thousand.
Turn the car north, and it heads for "The Great Lone Land," that expands about the reticent stretches of the Great Slave country, or follows the Peace River and the Athabasca beyond the cold line of the Arctic Circle.
To get to these rich and isolated lands—and one thinks this out in the lounge of an hotel worthy of the Strand—the traveller must take devious and disconnected ways. Railways tap great tracts of the country, going up to Fort McMurray and the Peace River, and these connect up with river and lake steamers that ply at intervals. But travel here is yet mainly in the speculative stage, and long waits and guides and canoes and a camping outfit are necessary.
In winter, if the traveller is adventurous and tough, he can progress more swiftly. He can go up by automobile and run along the courses of the rivers on the thick ice, and, on the ice, cross the big lakes.
Though the land is within the Arctic Circle, it is rich. I talked with a traveller who had just returned from this area, and he spoke of the superb tall crops of grain he had seen on his journey. It will be magnificent land when it is opened up, and can accommodate the population of a kingdom. The growing season, of course, is shorter, but this is somewhat balanced by the longer northern days and the intense sunlight that is proper to them. The drawbacks are the very long winters, loneliness and the difficulties of transport.
Edmonton, sitting across the gorge of the Saskatchewan, feeds these districts and reflects them. Because of this it is a city of anachronisms. High up on the cliff, its site chosen with the usual appositness of Canada, is the Capitol building, a bright and soaring structure done in the latest manner. Right under that decisively modern pile is a group of rough wooden houses. They are the original stores of the Hudson Bay Company, standing exactly as they did when they formed an outpost point of civilization in the Northwest.
It is obviously a town in a young land, pushing ahead, as the Prince indicated in his speech to the Provincial Government, with all the intensity and zest of youth, having all the sense of freedom and possibility that the rich and great farming, furbearing and timber-growing tracts give it.
The keen spirit of the city was reflected in the welcome it gave the Prince. It was a wet, grey day, but the whole town was out to line the streets and to gather at the ceremonial points. And it was a musical greeting. Edmonton is prone to melody. Brass bands appear to flourish here. There was one at every street corner. And not only did they play as the Prince in the midst of his red-tuniced "Mountie" escort passed by, but they played all day, so that the city was given over to a non-stop carnival of popular airs.
At the Parliament Buildings the crowds were as dense as ever. They showed the same spirit in listening to addresses and reply, and the same hustling sense of "getting there" when entering the building to take part in the public reception. The addresses of welcome were a novelty. Engrossed on vellum, it had been sewn on the purple silk lining of a yellow-furred coyote skin, a local touch that interested the Prince. There was another such touch after the reception. A body of Stony Indians were presented to His Royal Highness. These Indians had travelled from a distance in the hope of seeing the son of the Great White Chief, and they not only saw him but were presented to him. He talked with particular sympathy to one chief whose son had been a comrade-in-arms in the Canadian ranks during the war and who had been killed in the fighting.
The opening of a war memorial hall, a big and dazzling dance at the Government House, and other functions, fulfilled the usual round. And, last but not least, the Prince became a player and a "fan" in a ball game.
There was a match (I hope "match" is right) between the local team, and one of its passionate rivals, and the Prince went to the ground to take part. Walking to the "diamond" (I'm sure that is right), he equipped himself in authentic manner, with floppy, jockey-peaked cap and a ruthless glance, took his stance as a "pitcher" and delivered two balls. I don't know whether they were stingers or swizzers, or whatever the syncopated phraseology of the great game dubs them, but they were matters of great admiration.
Having led to the undoing (I hope, for that was his task) of some one, the Prince then joined the audience. He chose not the best seats, but the popular ones, for he sat on the grass among the "bleachers," and when one has sat out of the shade in the hot prairie sun one knows what "bleachers" means.
This sporting little interlude was immensely popular, and the Prince left Edmonton with the reputation of being a true "fan" and "a real good feller."
The Royal train arrived in Calgary, Alberta, on the morning of Sunday, September 14th, after some of the members of the train had spent an hour or so shooting gophers, a small field rat, part squirrel, and at all times a great pest in grain country.
Calgary was a town that charmed at once. It stands in brilliant sunlight—and that sunlight seems to have an eternal quality—in a nest of enfolding hills. Two rivers with the humorous names of Bow and Elbow run through it; they are blue with the astonishing blueness of glacial silt.
From the hills, or from the tops of such tall buildings as the beautiful Palliser Hotel, the high and austere dividing line of the Rockies can be seen across the rolling country. Snow-cowled, and almost impalpable above the ground mist, the great range of mountains looks like the curtain wall of a stronghold of mystics.
In the streets the city itself has an air of radiance. There is an invigoration in the atmosphere that seems to give all things a peculiar quality of zest. The sidewalks have a bustling and crisp virility, the public buildings are handsome, and the streets of homes particularly gracious.
The Sunday reception of the Prince was eloquent but quiet. There were the usual big crowds, but the day was deliberately without ceremonial. Divine Service at the Pro-Cathedral, where the Prince unveiled a handsome rood-screen to the memory of those fallen in the war, was the only item in a restful day, which was spent almost entirely in the country at the County Club.
But perhaps the visit to the County Club was not altogether quiet.
The drive out to this charming place in a pit of a valley, where one of the rivers winds through the rolling hills, began in the comely residential streets.
These residential districts of Canada and America certainly impress one. The well-proportioned and pretty houses, with their deep verandahs, the trees that group about them, the sparkling grass that comes down to the edge of the curb—all give one the sense of being the work of craftsmen who are masters in design. That sense seems to me to be evident, not only in domestic architecture, but in the design of public buildings. The feeling I had was that the people on this Continent certainly know how to build. And by building, I do not mean merely erecting a house of distinction, but also choosing sites of distinction.
Nearly all the newer public buildings are of excellent design, and all are placed in excellent positions. Some of these sites are actually brilliant; the Parliament Houses at Ottawa, as seen from the river, are intensely apposite, so are those at Edmonton and Regina, while the sites of such buildings as the Banff Springs Hotel, and, in a lesser sense, the Château at Lake Louise, seem to me to have been chosen with real genius.
In saying that the people on this Continent certainly know how to build, I am speaking of both the United States and Canada. This fine sense of architecture is even more apparent in the United States (I, of course, only speak of the few towns I visited) than in Canada, for there are more buildings and it is a richer country. The sense of architecture may spring from that country, or it may be that the whole Continent has the instinct. As I am not competent to judge, I accuse the whole of the Western hemisphere of that virtue.
The Prince passed through these pretty districts where are the beautiful houses of ranchers and packing kings, farmers and pig rearers whose energy and vision have made Calgary rich as well as good to look upon. Passing from this region of good houses and good roads, he came upon a highway that is prairie even less than unalloyed, for constant traffic has scored it with a myriad ruts and bumps.
Half-way up a hill, where a bridge of wood jumps across the stream that winds amid the pleasant gardens of the houses, the Prince's car was held up. A mob of militants rushed down upon it, and neither chauffeur, nor Chief of Staff, nor suite could resist.
It was an attack not by Bolshevists, but by Boy Scouts. They flung themselves across the road in a mass, and would take no nonsense from any one. They insisted that the engine should take a holiday, and that they should hitch themselves to the car. They won their point and hitched. The car, under some hundred boy-power, went up the long hill—and a gruelling hill it is—through the club gates, and down a longer hill, to where, in a deep cup, the house stands.
At the club the visit was entirely formal. The Prince became an ordinary member and chatted to other men and women members in a thoroughly club-like manner.
"He is so easy to get on with," said one lady. "I found it was I who was the more reserved for the first few minutes, and it was I who had to become more human.
"He is a young man who has something to say, and who has ears to listen to things worth while. He has no use for preliminaries or any other nonsense that wastes time in 'getting together.'"
He lunched at the club and drifted about among the people gathered on the lawns before going for a hard walk over the hills.
The real day of functions was on Monday, when the Prince drove through the streets, visiting many places, and, later, speaking impressively at a citizens' lunch in the Palliser Hotel.
His passage through the streets was cheered by big crowds, but crowds of a definite Western quality. Here the crowns of hats climbed high, sometimes reaching monstrous peaks that rise as samples of the Rockies from curly brims as monstrous. Under these still white felt altitudes are the vague eyes and lean, contemplative faces of the cattlemen from the stock country around. Here and there were other prairie types who linger while the tide of modernity rushes past them. They are the Indians, brown, lined and forward stooping, whose reticent eyes looking out from between their braided hair seem to be dwelling on their long yesterday.
At the citizens' lunch the Prince departed from his usual trend of speech-making to voice some of the impressions that this new land had brought to him. He once more spoke of the sense of spaciousness and possibility the vast prairies of the West had given him, but today he went further and dwelt upon the need of making those possibilities assured. The foundation that had made the future as well as the present possible, was the work of the great pioneers and railway men who had mastered the country in their stupendous labours, and made it fit for a great race to grow in.
The foundation built in so much travail was ready. Upon it Canada must build, and it must build right.
"The farther I travel through Canada," he said, "the more I am struck by the great diversities which it presents; its many and varied communities are not only separated by great distances, but also by divergent interests. You have much splendid alien human material to assimilate, and so much has already been done towards cementing all parts of the Dominion that I am sure you will ultimately succeed in accomplishing this great task, but it will need the co-operation of all parties, of all classes and all races, working together for the common cause of Canadian nationhood under the British flag.
"Serious difficulties and controversies must often arise, but I know nothing can set Canada back except the failure of the different classes and communities to look to the wider interests of the Dominion, as well as their own immediate needs. I realize that scattered communities, necessarily preoccupied with the absorbing task of making good, often find the wider view difficult to keep. Yet I feel sure that it will be kept steadily before the eyes of all the people of this great Western country, whose very success in making the country what it is proves their staying power and capacity."
Canada, he declared, had already won for herself a legitimate place in the fraternity of nations, and the character and resources within her Dominion must eventually place her influence equal to, if not greater than, the influence of any other part of the Empire. Much depended upon Canada's use of her power, and the greatness of her future was wrapped up in her using it wisely and well.
The great gathering was impressed by the statesman-like quality of the speech, the first of its kind he had made since his landing. He spoke with ease, making very little use of his notes and showing a greater freedom from nervousness. The sincerity of his manner carried conviction, and there was a great demonstration when he sat down.
In the afternoon he left Calgary by train for the small "cow town" of High River, from there going on by car over roads that were at times cart ruts in the fields, to the Bar U Ranch, where he was to be the guest of Mr. George Lane.
His host, "George Lane," as he is called everywhere, is known as far as the States and England as one of the cattle kings. He is a Westerner of the Westerners, and an individuality even among them. Tall and loose-built, with an authentic Bret Harte quality in action and speech, he can flash a glance of shrewdness or humour from the deep eyes under their shaggy, pent-house brows. He is one of the biggest ranch owners in the West (perhaps the biggest); his judgment on cattle or horses is law, and he has no frills.
His attractive ranch on the plains, where the rolling lands meet the foot-hills of the Rockies, has an air of splendid spaciousness. We did not go to Bar U, but a friend took us out on a switchback automobile run over what our driver called a "hellofer" road, to just such another ranch near Cockrane, and we could judge what these estates were like.
They are lonely but magnificent. They extend with lakes, close, tight patches of bush and small and occasional woods over undulating country to the sharp, bare wall of the snow-capped Rockies. The light is marvellous. Calgary is 3,500 feet up, and the level mounts steadily to the mountains. At this altitude the sunlight has an astonishing clarity, and everything is seen in a sharp and brilliant light.
In the rambling but comfortable house of the ranch the Prince was entertained with cattleman's fare, and on the Tuesday (after a ten-mile run before breakfast) he was introduced to the ardours of the cattleman's calling. He mounted a broncho and with his host joined the cowboys in rounding several thousand head of cattle, driving them in towards the branding corrals.
This is no task for an idler or a slacker. The bunch was made up mainly of cows with calves, or steers of less than a year old, who believed in the policy of self-determination, being still unbranded and still conspicuously independent. Most of them, in fact, had seen little or nothing of man in their life of lonely pasturage over the wide plains.
Riding continually at a gallop and in a whirlwind of movement and dust and horns, the Prince helped to bunch the mass into a compact circle, and then joined with the others in riding into the nervous herd, in order to separate the calves from the mothers, and the unbranded steers from those already marked with the sign of Bar U.
Calves and steers were roped and dragged to the corral, where they were flung and the brand seared on their flanks with long irons taken from a fire in the enclosure.
The Prince did not spare himself, and worked as hard as any cattleman in the business, and indeed he satisfied those exacting critics, the cowboys, who produced in his favour another Westernism, describing him as "a Bear. He's fur all over." Then, as though a strenuous morning in the saddle was not enough, he went off in the afternoon after partridges, spending the whole time on the tramp until he was due to start for Calgary.
His pleasure in his experience was summed up in the terse comment: "Some Ranch," that he set against his signature in Mr. Lane's visitors' book. It also had the practical result of turning him into a rancher himself, for it was at this time he saw the ranch which he ultimately bought. It is a very good little property, close to Mr. Lane's, so that in running it the Prince will have the advantage of that expert's advice. Part of the Prince's plan for handling it is to give an opportunity to soldiers who served with him in the war to take up positions on the ranch. Mr. Lane told me himself that the proposition is a practical one, and there should be profitable results.
Leaving Bar U, the Prince returned to High River at that Canadian pace of travelling which sets the timid European wondering whether his accident policy is fully paid up. In High River, where the old cow-puncher ideal of hitting up the dust in the wild and woolly manner has given way to the rule of jazz dances and bright frocks, he mounted the train and steamed off to Calgary.
In Calgary great things had been done to the Armoury where the ball was to be held. Handled in the big manner of the Dominion, the great hall had been re-floored with "hard wood" blocks, and a scheme of real beauty, extending to an artificial sky in the roof, had been evolved.
At this dance the whole of Calgary seemed in attendance, either on the floor, or outside watching the guests arrive. In Canada the scope of the invitations is universal. There are no distinctions. The pretty girl who serves you with shaving soap over the drug store counter asks if she will meet you at the Prince's ball, as a matter of course. She is going. So is the young man at the estate office. So is your taxi chauffeur (the taxi is an open touring car). So is—everybody. These dances are the most democratic affairs, and the most spirited. And as spirited and democratic as anybody was the Prince himself, who, in this case, in spite of his run before breakfast, a hard morning in the saddle, his long tramp in the afternoon, his automobile and railway travelling, danced with the rest into the small hours of the morning.
All the little boys in Calgary watched for his arrival. And after he had gone in there was a fierce argument as to who had come in closest contact with him. One little boy said that the Prince had looked straight at him and smiled.
Another capped it:
"He shoved me on the shoulder as he went by," he cried.
The inevitable last chimed in:
"You don't make it at all," he said. "He trod on my brother's toe."
In the night the Royal train steamed the few miles from Calgary and on the morning of Wednesday, September 17th, we woke up in the first field works of the Rocky Mountains.
It was a day on which we were to see one of the most picturesque ceremonies of the tour, and slipping through the high scarps of the mountains to the little valley in which Banff station stands, we were into that experience of colour at once.
Drawn up in the open by the little station was a line of Indians, clad in their historic costumes, and mounted on the small, springy horses of Canada. Some were in feathers and buckskin and beads, some in the high felt hats and bright-shirts of the cowboy, all were romantic in bearing. They were there to form the escort of the new "Chief."
As the Prince's car drove from the station along a road that wound its way amid glades of spruce and poplar glowing with the old gold of Autumn that filled the valleys winding about the feet of high and austere mountains, other bodies of Stoney Indians joined the escort about the car.
They had gathered at the opening of every side lane, and as the cavalcade passed, dropped in behind, until the procession became a snake of shifting colour, vermilion and cherry, yellow and blue and green, going forward under the dappling of sun that slipped between the swinging branches.
Chiefs, the sunray of eagles' feathers on their heads, braves in full war-paint, Indian cowboys in shirts of all the colours of the spectrum, and squaws a mass of beads and sequins, with bright shawls and brighter silk head-wraps, made up the escort. Behind and at times in front of many of the squaws were papooses, some riding astraddle, their arms round the women's waists, others slung in shawls, but all clad in Indian garb that seemed to be made up of a mass of closely-sewn beads, turquoise, green, white or red, so that the little bodies were like scaly and glittering lizards.
This ride that wound in and out of these very beautiful mountain valleys took the Prince past the enclosures of the National Park, and he saw under the trees the big, hairy-necked bison, the elk and mountain goats that are harboured in this great natural reserve.
On the racecourse were Indian tepees, banded, painted with the heads of bulls, and bright with flags. The braves who were waiting for the Prince, and those who were escorting him, danced, their ponies whirling about, racing through veils of dust and fluttering feathers and kerchiefs in a sort of ride of welcome. From over by the tepees there came the low throbbing of tom-toms to join with the thin, high, dog-like whoop of the Indian greeting.
On a platform at the hub of half-circle of Indians the Prince listened to the addresses and accepted the Chieftaincy of the Stoney tribe. Some of the Indians had their faces painted a livid chrome-yellow, so that their heads looked like masks of death; some were smeared with red, some barred with blue. Most, however, showed merely the high-boned, sphinx-like brown of their faces free from war-paint. The costumes of many were extremely beautiful, the wonderful beadwork on tunic and moccasins being a thing of amazing craftsmanship, though the elk-tooth decorations, though of great value, were not so attractive.
Standing in front of the rest, the chief, "Little Thunder," read the address to the Prince. He was a big, aquiline fellow, young and handsome, clad in white, hairy chaps and cowboy shirt. He spoke in sing-song Cree, his body curving back from straddled knees as though he sat a pulling horse.
In his historic tongue, and then in English, he spoke of the honour the Prince was paying the Stoneys, and of their enduring loyalty to him and his father; and he asked the Prince "to accept from us this Indian suit, the best we have, emblematic of the clothes we wore in happy days. We beg you also to allow us to elect you as our chief, and to give you the name Chief Morning Star."
The suit given to the Prince was an exceedingly handsome one of white buckskin, decorated with beads, feathers and fur, and surmounted by a great headdress of feathers rising from a fillet of beads and fur. The Prince put on the headdress at once, and spoke to the Indians as a chief to his braves, telling them of the honour they had done him.
When he had finished, the tom-toms were brought into action again, and a high, thin wail went up from the ring of Indians, and they began almost at once to move round in a dance. Indian dancing is monotonous. It is done to the high, nasal chanting of men gathered round a big drum in the centre of the ring. This drum is beaten stoically by all to give the time.
Some of the dancing is the mere bending of knees and a soft shuffling stamping of moccasined feet. In other dances vividly clad, broad-faced, comely squaws joined in the ring of braves, whose feathers and elk-tooth ornaments swung as they moved, and the whole ring, with a slightly rocking movement, shuffled an inch at a time round the tom-tom men. The motion was very like that of soldiers dressing ranks.
A more spirited dance is done by braves holding weapons stiffly, and following each other in file round the circle, now bending knees, or bodies, now standing upright. As they pass round and dip they loose little snapping yelps. All the time their faces remain as impassive as things graven.
The dancing was followed by racing. Boys mounted bareback the springy little horses, and with their legs twisted into rope-girths—with reins, the only harness—went round the track at express speed. Young women, riding astride, their dresses tied about their knees, also raced, showing horsemanship even superior to the boys. The riding was extremely fine, and the little horses bunch and move with an elastic and hurtling movement that is thrilling.
The ceremony had made the bravest of spectacles. The Indian colour and romance of the scene, set in a deep cup rimmed by steep, grim mountains, the sides and icecaps of which the bright sunlight threw up into an almost unreal actuality, gave it a rare and entrancing quality. And not the least of its picturesque attractions were the papooses in bead and fringed leather, who grubbed about in the earth with stoic calm. They looked almost too toylike to be true. They looked as though their right place was in a scheme of decoration on a wall or a mantel-shelf. As one lady said of them: "They're just the sort of things I want to take home as souvenirs."
Banff is an exquisite and ideal holiday place, and I can appreciate the impulse that sends many Americans as well as Canadians to enjoy its beauties in the summer.
It is a valley ringed by an amphitheatre of mountains, up the harsh slopes of which spruce forests climb desperately until beaten by the height and rock on the scarps beneath crests which are often snow-capped. Through this broad valley, and winding round slopes into other valleys, run streams of that poignant blueness which only glacial silt and superb mountain skies can Impart.
The houses and hotels in this Switzerland of Canada are charming, but the Banff Springs Hotel, where the Prince stayed, is genius. It is perched up on a spur in the valley, so that in that immense ring of heights it seems to float insubstantially above the clouds of trees, like the palace of some genii. For not only was its site admirably chosen, but the whole scheme of the building fits the atmosphere of the place. And it is as comfortable as it is beautiful.
It faces across its red-tiled, white-balustered terraces and vivid lawns, a sharp river valley that strolls winding amid the mountains. And just as this river turns before it, it tumbles down a rock slide in a vast mass of foam, so that even when one cannot see its beauty at night, its roar can be heard in the wonderful silence of the valley. On the terrace of the hotel are two bathing-pools fed from the sulphur springs of Banff, and here Canadians seem to bathe all day until dance-time—and even slip back for a moonlight bath between dancing and bed.
It is an ideal place for a holiday, for there is golfing, climbing, walking and bathing for those whose athletic instincts are not satisfied with beauty, and automobile rides amid beauty. And it is, of course, a perfect place for honeymooners, as one will find by consulting the Visitors' Book, for with characteristic frankness the Canadians and Americans sign themselves:
"Mr. and Mrs. Jack P. Eeks, Spokane. We are on our honeymoon."
The Prince spent an afternoon and a morning playing golf amid the immensities of Banff, or travelling in a swift car along its beautiful roads. There are most things in Banff to make man happy, even a coal mine, sitting like a black and incongruous gnome in the heart of enchanted hills, to provide heat against mountain chills.
The Prince saw the sulphur spring that bubbles out of quicksand in a little cavern deep in the hillside—a cavern made almost impregnable by smell. In the old days the determined bather had to shin down a pole through a funnel, and take his curative bath in the rocky oubliette of the spring. Now the Government has arranged things better. It has carved a dark tunnel to the pool, and carried the water to two big swimming tanks on the open hillside, where one can take a plunge with all modern accessories.
From Banff in the afternoon of Thursday, September 18th, the train carried the Prince through scenery that seemed to accumulate beauty as he travelled to another eyrie of loveliness, Lake Louise.
At Lake Louise Station the railway is five thousand feet above the sea-level, but the Château and Lake are yet higher, and the Prince climbed to them by a motor railway that rises clinging to the mountain-side, until it twists into woods and mounts upward by the side of a blue-and-white stream dashing downward, with an occasional breather in a deep pool, over rocks.
The Château is poised high up in the world on the lip of a small and perfect lake of poignant blue, that fills the cup made by the meeting of a ring of massive heights. At the end of the lake, miles away, but, thanks to the queerness of mountain perspective, looking close enough to touch, rises the scarp of Mount Victoria, capped with a vast glacier that seemed to shine with curious inner lambency under the clear light of the grey day. There is a touch of the theatre in that view from the windows or the broad lawns of the Château, for the mountain and glacier is a huge back-drop seen behind wings made by the shoulders of other mountains, and all, rock and spruce woods, as well as the clear shining of the ice, are mirrored in the perfect lake that makes the floor of the valley.
Up on one of the shoulders of the lake, hidden away in a screen of trees, is the home of an English woman. She used to spend her days working in a shop in the West End of London until happy chance brought her to Lake Louise, and she opened a tea chalet high on that lonely crag. She has changed from the frowsty airs of her old life to a place where she can enjoy beauty, health and an income that allows her to fly off to California when the winter comes. The Prince went up to take tea in this chalet of romance and profit during his walk of exercise.
There is another kind of romance in the woods about the Château, and one of the policemen who guarded the Prince made its acquaintance during the night. In the dark he heard the noise of some one moving amid the trees that come down to the edge of the hotel grounds. He thought that some unpleasant intruder on the Prince's privacy was attempting to sneak in by the back way. He marched up to the edge of the wood and waited in his most legal attitude for the intruder—and a bear came out to meet him. Not only did it come out to meet him, but it reared up and waved its paws in a thoroughly militant manner. The policeman was a man from the industrial East, and not having been trained to the habits of bears, decided on a strategic withdrawal.
His experience was one of the next day's jokes, since it appears that bears often do come out of the woods attracted by the smell of hotel cooking. On the whole they are amiable, and are no more difficult than ordinary human beings marching in the direction of a good dinner.
From Lake Louise the Prince went steadily west through some of the most impressive scenery in Canada. The gradient climbs resolutely to the great lift of petrified earth above Kicking Horse Pass, so that the train seemed to be steaming across the sky.
A little east of the Pass is a slight monument called "the Great Divide." Here Alberta meets British Columbia, and here a stream springs from the mountains to divide itself east and west, one fork joining stream after stream, until as a great river it empties into Hudson Bay; the other, turning west and leaping down the ledges of valleys, makes for the Pacific.
Beyond "the Great Divide" the titanic Kicking Horse Pass opens out. It falls by gigantic levels for 1,300 feet to the dim, spruce-misted valleys that lie darkly at the foot of the giant mountains. It is not a straight canyon, but a series of deeper valleys opening out of deep valleys round the shoulders of the grim slopes. Down this tortuous corridor the railway creeps lower, level by level, going with the physical caution of a man descending a dangerous slope.
The line feels for its best footholds on the sides of walls that drop sheer away, and tower sheer above. We could look over the side down abrupt precipices, and see through the dense rain of the day the mighty drop to where the Kicking Horse River, after leaping over rocky ramps and flowing through level pools, ran in a score of channels on the wide shingly floor of the Pass.
Beneath us as we descended we could see the track twisting and looping, as it sought by tunnelling to conquer the exacting gradient. The planning of the line is, in its own way, as wonderful as the natural marvel of the Pass. One is filled with awe at the vision, the genius and the tenacity of those great railway men who had seen a way over this grim mountain barrier, had schemed their line and had mastered nature.
At Yoho Station that clings like a limpet near the top of this soaring barrier, the Prince took to horse, and rode down trails that wind along the mountainside through thickets of trees to Field at the foot of the drop. The rain was driving up the throat of the valley before a strong wind, and it was not a good day for riding, even in woolly chaps such as he wore, but he set out at a gallop, and enjoyed the exercise and the scenery, which is barbaric and tremendous, though here and there it was etherealized by sudden gleams of sunlight playing on the wet foliage of the mountain-side and turning the wet masses into rainbows.
During this ride he passed under the stain in a sheer wall of rock that gives the Pass its name. For some geological reason there is, high up in a straight mass of white towering cliff, a black outcrop that is like the silhouette of an Indian on a horse. I could not distinguish the kick in the horse myself, but I was assured it was there, and Kicking Horse is thus named.
From Field, a breathing space for trains, about which has grown a small village possessing one good hotel, the Prince rode up the valleys to some of the beauty spots, such as Emerald Lake, which lies high in the sky under the cold glaciers of Mount Burgess. It was a wonderful ride through the spruce and balsam woods of these high valleys.
During Saturday, September 20th, the train was yet in the mountains, and the scenery continued to be magnificent. From Field the line works down to the level of the Columbia River, some 1,500 feet lower, through magnificent stretches of mountain panorama, and through breathless gorges like the Palliser, before climbing again steeply to the highest point of the Selkirk Range. Here the train seemed to charge straight at the towering wall of Mount MacDonald, but only because there is a miracle of a tunnel—Connaught Tunnel—which coaxes the line down by easy grades to Rogers Pass, the Illicilliwaet and Albert Canyon. Through all this stretch the scenery is superb. In the gorges and the canyon high mountains force the river and railway together, until the train runs in a semi-darkness between sheer cliffs, with the water foaming and tearing itself forward in pent-up fury between harsh, rocky walls. Sometimes these walls encroach until the water channel is forced between two rocks standing up like doorposts, with not much more than a doorway space between them. Through these gateways the volume of water surges with an indescribable sense of power.
At places, as in the valley of the Beavermouth, east of the Connaught Tunnel, the line climbs hugely upward on the sides of great ranges, and, on precarious ledges, hangs above a gigantic floor, tree-clad and fretted with water channels. The train crept over spidery bridges, spanning waterdrops, and crawled for miles beneath ranges of big timber snowsheds.
The train stopped at the pleasant little mountain town of Golden, where the Prince went "ashore," and there was the ceremony of reception. This was on the program. The next stop was not.
West of the Albert Canyon, at a tiny station called Twin Butte, we passed another train standing in a siding, with a long straggle of men in khaki waiting on the platform and along the track, looking at us as we swept along. Abruptly we ceased to sweep along. The communication cord had been pulled, and we stopped with a jerk.
The Prince had caught sight of the soldiers, and had recognized who they were. He had given orders to pull up, and almost before the brakes had ground home, he was out on the track and among the men, speaking to them and the officers, who were delighted at this unexpected meeting.
The soldiers were English. They were men of the 25th Middlesex, H.A.C. and other regiments, four hundred all told. They had come from Omsk, in Russia, by way of the Pacific, and were being railed from Vancouver to Montreal in order to take ship for home. The men of the Middlesex were those made famous by the sinking of their trooper off the African coast in 1916. Their behaviour then had been so admirable that it will be remembered the King cabled to them, "Well done, Diehards!"
By the isolated railway station and under the lonely mountains so far from their homes, they were drawn up, and the Prince made an informal inspection of the men who had been so long away, and who had travelled the long road from Siberia on their way Blightyward.
The inspection lasted only a few minutes, and the episode, spontaneous as it was characteristic, scarcely broke the run into Revelstoke. But it was the happiest of meetings.
Revelstoke is a small, bright mountain town known, as its inhabitants say, for snow and strawberries. It is their way of explaining that the land in this deep mountain valley is splendidly fertile, and that settlers have only to farm on a small scale in order to make a comfortable living, though in winter it is—well, of the mountains. The fishing there is also extremely good, and we were told almost fabulous tales of boys who on their journey home from school spent a few minutes at the creeks of the Columbia River, and went on their way bearing enough fish to make a dinner for a big family.
The chief feature of Revelstoke's reception was a motor run up Revelstoke mountain, a four thousand feet ride up a stiffish road that climbed by corkscrew bends. This was thrilling enough, for there were abrupt depths when we saw Revelstoke far down on the valley floor looking neat and doll-like from this airman's eye-view, and we had to cross frail wooden bridges spanning deep crevices, some of them at ugly corners.
From Revelstoke the train went on to Sicamous, where it remained until the middle of Sunday, September 21st. Sicamous is merely an hotel and a few houses beside a very beautiful lake. It is a splendid fishing centre, for a chain of lakes stretches south through the valleys to Okanagan. A branch line serves this district (which we were to explore later), where there are rich orchard lands.
With Revelstoke, Sicamous acts as a distributing centre for the big Kootenay areas, that romantic land of the earliest trail breakers, those dramatic fellows who pushed all ways through the forest-clad valleys after gold and silver, and the other rich rewards of the prospector. Even now the country has only been tapped, and there are many new discoveries of ore in the grim rock of the district.
A short stop at Kamloops on Sunday, September 21st, and then a straight run through the night brought us to Vancouver, with just a note of interest outside the Pacific city. For miles we passed dumps of war material, shells, ammunition boxes, the usual material of armies. It was lying discarded and decaying, and it told a tragic story. It was the war material that the Allies had prepared for Russia. These were the dumps that fed the transports for Russia plying from Vancouver. After the peace of Brest-Litovsk all work ceased about them, and there they remained to that day, monuments to the Bolshevik Peace.
Vancouver was land after a mountain voyage. With the feelings of a seafarer seeing cliffs after a long ocean journey, we reached common, flat country and saw homely asphalt streets.
There can be no two points of view concerning the beauty and grandeur of the mountain scenery through which the Prince had passed, but after a succession of even the most stimulating gorges and glaciers one does turn gladly to a little humanity in the lump. Vancouver was humanity in the lump, an exceedingly large lump and of peculiarly warm and generous emotions. We were glad to meet crowds once more.
There are some adequate streets in this great western port of Canada. When Vancouver planned such opulent boulevards as Granville and Georgia streets, it must have been thinking hard about posterity, which will want a lot of space if only to drive its superabundant motors. But splendid and wide and long though these and other streets be, the mass of people which lined them on Monday, September 22nd, was such as to set the most long-headed town planner wondering if, after all, he had allowed enough room for the welcoming of Princes.
From the vast, orderly throng massed behind the red and tartan of the Highland guard of honour at the station, thick ranks of people lined the whole of a long route to Stanley Park.
This crowd not only filled the sidewalks with good-tempered liveliness, but it had sections in all the windows of the fine blocks of buildings the Prince passed. Now and then it attempted to emulate the small boys who ran level with the Prince's car cheering to full capacity, and caring not a jot whether a "Mounty" of the escort or a following car went over them, but on the whole the crowd was more in hand than usual.
This does not mean that it was less enthusiastic. The reception was of the usual stirring quality, and it culminated in an immense outburst in Stanley Park.
It was a touch of genius to place the official reception in the Park. It is, in a sense, the key-note of Vancouver. It gives it its peculiar quality of charm. It is a huge park occupying the entirety of a peninsula extending from the larger peninsula upon which Vancouver stands. It has sea-water practically all round it. In it are to be found the greatest and finest trees in Canada in their most natural surroundings.
It is one big "reservation" for trees. Those who think that they can improve upon nature have had short shrift, and the giant Douglas pine, the firs and the cedars thrive naturally in a setting that has remained practically untouched since the day when the British seaman, Captain Vancouver, explored the sounds of this coast. It is an exquisite park having delightful forest walks and beautiful waterside views.
Under the great trees and in a wilderness of bright flowers and flags as bright, a vast concourse of people was gathered about the pretty pavilion in the park to give the Prince a welcome. The function had all the informality of a rather large picnic, and when the sun banished the Pacific "smoke," or mist, the gathering had infinite charm.
After this reception the Prince went for a short drive in the great park, seeing its beautiful glades; looking at Burrard Inlet that makes its harbour one of the best in the world, and getting a glimpse of English Bay, where the sandy bathing beaches make it one of the best sea-side resorts in the world as well. At all points of the drive there were crowds. And while most of those on the sidewalks were Canadian, there was also, as at "Soo," a good sprinkling of Americans. They had come up from Seattle and Washington county to have a first-hand look at the Prince, and perhaps to "jump" New York and the eastern Washington in a racial desire to get in first.
In this long drive, as well as during the visit we paid to Vancouver on our return from Victoria, there was a considerable amount of that mist which the inhabitants call "smoke," because it is said to be the result of forest fires along the coast, in the air. Yet in spite of the mist we had a definite impression of a fine, spacious city, beautifully situated and well planned, with distinguished buildings. And an impression of people who occupy themselves with the arts of business, progress and living as becomes a port not merely great now, but ordained to be greater tomorrow.
It is a city of very definite attraction, as perhaps one imagined it would be, from a place that links directly with the magical Orient, and trades in silks and tea and rice, and all the romantic things of those lands, as well as in lumber and grain with all the colourful towns that fringe the wonderful Pacific Coast.
Vancouver has been the victim of the "boom years." Under the spell of that "get-rich-quick" impulse, it outgrew its strength. It is getting over that debility now (and perhaps, after all, the "boomsters" were right, if their method was anticipatory) and a fine strength is coming to it. When conditions ease and requisitioned shipping returns to its wharves, and its own building yards make up the lacking keels, it should climb steadily to its right position as one of the greatest ports in the British Empire.
Vancouver, as it is today, is a peculiarly British town. Its climate is rather British, for its winter season has a great deal of rain where other parts of Canada have snow, and its climate is Britishly warm and soft. It attracts, too, a great many settlers from home, its newspapers print more British news than one usually finds in Canadian papers (excepting such great Eastern papers as, for instance, The Montreal Gazette), and its atmosphere, while genuinely Canadian, has an English tone.
There is not a little of America, too, in its air, for great American towns like Seattle are very close across the border—in fact one can take a "jitney" to the United States as an ordinary item of sightseeing. Under these circumstances it was not unnatural that there should be an interesting touch of America in the day's functions.
The big United States battleship New Mexico and some destroyers were lying in the harbour, and part of the Prince's program was to have visited Admiral Rodman, who commanded. The ships, however, were in quarantine, and this visit had to be put off, though the Admiral himself was a guest at the brilliant luncheon in the attractive Vancouver Hotel, when representatives from every branch of civic life in greater Vancouver came together to meet the Prince.
In his speech the Prince made direct reference to the American Navy, and to the splendid work it had accomplished in the war. He spoke first of Vancouver, and its position, now and in the future, as one of the greatest bases of British sea power. Vancouver, he explained, also brought him nearer to those other great countries in the British Dominions, Australia and New Zealand, and it seemed to him it was a fitting link in the chain of unity and co-operation—a chain made more firm by the war—that the British Empire stretched round the world. It was a chain, he felt, of kindred races inspired by kindred ideals. Such ideals were made more apparent by the recent and lamented death of that great man, General Botha, who, from being an Africander leader in the war against the British eighteen years ago, had yet lived to be one of the British signatories at the Treaty of Versailles. Nothing else could express so significantly the breadth, justice and generosity of the British spirit and cause.
Turning to Admiral Rodman, he went on to say that he felt that that spirit had its kinship in America, whose Admiral had served with the Grand Fleet. Of the value of the work those American ships under Admiral Rodman did, there could be no doubt. He had helped the Allies with a most magnificent and efficient unit.
At no other place had the response exceeded the warmth shown that day. The Prince's manner had been direct and statesmanlike, each of his points was clearly uttered, and the audience showed a keen quickness in picking them up.
Admiral Rodman, a heavily-built figure, with the American light, dryness of wit, gave a new synonym for the word "Allies"; to him that word meant "Victory." It was the combination of every effort of every Ally that had won the war. Yet, at the same time, practical experience had taught him to feel that if it had not been for the way the Grand Fleet had done its duty from the very outset, the result of the war would have been diametrically opposite. Feelingly, he described his service with the Grand Fleet. He had placed himself unreservedly under the command of the British from the moment he had entered European waters, yet so complete was the co-operation between British and Americans that he often took command of British units. The splendid war experience had done much to draw the great Anglo-Saxon nations together. Their years together had ripened into friendship, then into comradeship, then into brotherhood. And that brotherhood he wished to see enduring, so that if ever the occasion should again arise all men of Anglo-Saxon strain should stand together.
There was real warmth of enthusiasm as the Admiral spoke. Those present, whose homes are close to those of their American neighbours living across a frontier without fortifications, in themselves appreciated the essential sympathy that exists between the two great nations. When the Admiral conveyed to the Prince a warm invitation to visit the United States, this enthusiasm reached its highest point. It was, in its way, an international lunch, and a happy one.
After reviewing the Great War Veterans on the quay-side, the Prince left Vancouver just before lunch time on Tuesday, September 23rd, for Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, which lies across the water on Vancouver Island.
It was a short run of five hours in one of the most comfortable boats I have ever been in—the Princess Alice, which is on the regular C.P.R. service, taking in the fjords and towns of the British Columbian coast.
Leaving Vancouver, where the towering buildings give an authentic air of modern romance to the skyline, a sense of glamour went with us across the sea. The air was still tinged with "smoke" and the fabled blue of the Pacific was not apparent, but we could see curiously close at hand the white cowl of Mount Baker, which is America, and we passed on a zig-zag course through the scattered St. Juan Islands, each of which seemed to be charming and lonely enough to stage a Jack London story.
On the headlands or beaches of these islands there were always men and women and children to wave flags and handkerchiefs, and to send a cheer across the water to the Prince. One is surprised, so much is the romantic spell upon one, that the people on these islets of loneliness should know that the Prince was coming, that is, one is surprised until one realizes that this is Canada, and that telegraphs and telephones and up-to-date means of communication are commonplaces here as everywhere.
Romance certainly invades one on entering Victoria. It seems a city out of a kingdom of Anthony Hope's, taken in hand by a modern Canadian administration. Steaming up James Bay to the harbour landing one feels that it is a sparkling city where the brightest things in thrilling fiction might easily happen.
The bay goes squarely up to a promenade. Behind the stone balustrade is a great lawn, and beyond that, amid trees, is a finely decorative building, a fitted back-ground to any romance, though it is actually an hôtel de luxe. To the left of the square head of the water is a distinguished pile; it is the Customs House, but it might be a temple of dark machinations. To the right is a rambling building, ornate and attractive, with low, decorated domes and outflung and rococo wings. That could easily be the palace of at least a sub-rosa royalty, though it is the House of Parliament. The whole of this square grouping of green grass and white buildings, in the particularly gracious air of Victoria gives a glamorous quality to the scene.
Victoria's welcome to the Prince was modern enough. Boat sirens and factory hooters loosed a loud welcome as the steamer came in. A huge derrick arm that stretched a giant legend of Welcome out into the harbour, swung that sign to face the Princess Alice all the time she was passing, and then kept pace on its rail track so that Welcome should always be abreast of the Prince.
The welcome, too, of the crowds on that day when he landed, and on the next when he attended functions at the Parliament buildings, was as Canadian and up-to-date as anywhere else in the Dominion. The crowds were immense, and, at one time, when little girls stood on the edge of a path to strew roses in front of him as he walked, there was some danger of the eager throngs submerging both the little girls and the charming ceremony in anxiety to get close to him.
The crowd in Parliament Square during the ceremonies of Wednesday, September 24th, was prodigious. From the hotel windows the whole of the great green space before the Parliament buildings was seen black with people who stayed for hours in the hope of catching sight of the Prince as he went from one ceremony to another.
It was a gathering of many races. There were Canadians born and Canadians by residence. Vivid American girls come by steamer from Seattle were there. There were men and women from all races in Europe, some of them Canadians now, some to be Canadians presently. There were Chinese and Japanese in greater numbers than we had seen elsewhere, for Victoria is the nearest Canadian city to the East. There were Hindus, and near them survivors of the aboriginal race, the Songhish Indians, who lorded it in Vancouver Island before the white man came.
And giving a special quality to this big cosmopolitan gathering was the curious definitely English air of Victoria. It is the most English of Canadian cities. Its even climate is the most English, and its air of well-furnished leisure is English. Because of this, or perhaps I should say the reason for this is that it is the home of many Englishmen. Not only do settlers from England come here in numbers, but many English families, particularly those from the Orient East, who get to know its charms when travelling through it on their way across Canada and home, come here to live when they retire. And this distinctly English atmosphere gets support in great measure from the number of rich Canadians who, on ceasing their life's work, come here to live in leisure.
Yet though this is responsible for the growing up in Victoria of some of the most beautiful residential districts in Canada, where beautiful houses combine with the lovely scenery of country and sea in giving the city and its environments a delightful charm, Victoria is vigorously industrial too.
It has shipbuilding and a brisk commerce in lumber, machinery and a score of other manufactories, and it serves both the East and the Canadian and American coast. It has fine, straight, broad streets, lined with many distinguished buildings, and its charm has virility as well as ease.
The Prince made a long break in his tour here, remaining until Sunday, September 28th. Most of this stay was given over to restful exercise; he played golf and went for rides through the beautiful countryside. There were several functions on his program, however. He visited the old Navy Yard and School at Esquimault, and he took a trip on the Island railway to Duncan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo and Qualicum.
At each of these towns he had a characteristic welcome, and at some gained an insight into local industries, such as lumbering and the clearing of land for farming. On the return journey he mounted the engine cab and came most of the way home in this fashion.
The country in the Island is serene and attractive, extremely like England, being reminiscent of the rolling wooded towns in Surrey, though the Englishman misses the hedges. The many sea inlets add beauty to the scenery, and there are delightful rides along roads that alternately run along the water's edge, or hang above these fjords on high cliff ledges.
In one of our inland drives we were taken to an extraordinary and beautiful garden. It is a serene place, laid out with exquisite skill. In one part of it an old quarry has been turned into a sunken garden. Here with straight cliffs all round there nests a wilderness of flowers. Small, artificial crags have been reared amid the rockeries and the flowers, and by small, artificial paths one can climb them. A stream cascades down the cliff, and flows like a beautiful toy-thing through the dainty artificial scenery.
In another part of the grounds is a Japanese garden, with tiny pools and moon bridges and bamboo arbours—and flowers and flowers and flowers. And not only does the maker of this enchanted spot throw it open to the public, but he has built for visitors a delightful chalet where they can take tea. This chalet is a big, comely hall, with easy chairs and gate tables. It is provided with all the American magazines. In a tiny outbuilding is a scullery with cups and saucers and plates and teapots—all for visitors.
The visitors take their own food, and use these articles. The Chinese cook at the house near by provides boiling water, and all the owner asks is that those who use his crockery shall wash it up at the sink provided, and with the dish-cloths provided, and leave it in readiness for the next comer.
That generosity is the final and completing touch to the charm of that exquisite place, which is a veritable "Garden of Allah" amid the beauties of Canadian scenery.
Another drive was over the Malahat Pass, through superb country, to a big lumber camp on Shawnigan Lake. Here we saw the whole of the operations of lumbering from the point where a logger notches a likely tree for cutting to the final moment when Chinese workmen feed the great trunks to the steam saw that hews them into beams and planks.
Having selected a tree, the first logger cuts into it a deep wedge which is to give it direction in its fall. These men show an almost uncanny skill. They get the line of a great tree with the handle of their axes, as an artist uses a pencil, and they can cut their notches so accurately that they can "fall" a tree on a pocket-handkerchief.
Two men follow this expert. They cut smaller notches in the tree, and insert their "boards" into it. These "boards" have a steel claw which bites into the tree when the men stand on the board, the idea being both to raise the cutters above the sprawling roots, and to give their swing on the saw an elasticity. It is because they cut so high that Canada is covered with tall stumps that make clearing a problem. The stumps are generally dynamited, or torn up by the roots by cables that pass through a block on the top of a tree to the winding-drum of a donkey-engine.
When the men at the saw have cut nearly through the tree, they sing out a drawling, musical "Stand aw-ay," gauging the moment with the skill of woodsmen, for there is no sign to the lay eye. In a few moments the giant tree begins to fall stiffly. It moves slowly, and then with its curious rigidity tears swiftly through the branches of neighbouring trees, coming to the ground with a thump very much like the sound of an H.E. shell, and throwing up a red cloud of torn bark. The sight of a tree falling is a moving thing; it seems almost cruel to bring it down.
A donkey-engine mounted on big logs, that has pulled itself into place by the simple method of anchoring its steel rope to a distant tree—and pulling, jerks the great trunks out of the heart of the forest. A block and tackle are hitched to the top of a tall tree that has been left standing in a clearing, and the steel ropes are placed round the fallen trunks. As this lifting line pulls them from their resting-place, they come leaping and jerking forward, charging down bushes, rising over stumps, dropping and hurdling over mounds until it seems that they are actually living things struggling to escape. The ubiquitous donkey-engine loads the great logs on trucks, and an engine, not very much bigger than a donkey-engine, tows the long cars of timber down over a sketchy track to the waterside.
Here the loads are tipped with enormous splashes into the water to wait in the "booms" until they are wanted at the mill. Then they are towed across, sure-footed men jump on to them and steer them to the big chute, where grappling teeth catch them and pull them up until they reach the sawing platform. They are jerked on to a movable truck, that grips them, and turns them about with mechanical arms into the required position for cutting, and then log and truck are driven at the saw blade, which slices beams or planks out of the primitive trunk with an almost sinister ease.
Uncanny machines are everywhere in this mill. Machines carve shingles and battens or billets with an almost human accuracy. A conveyor removes all sawdust from the danger of lights with mechanical intelligence. Another carries off all the scrapwood and takes it away to a safe place in the mill yard where a big, wire-hooded furnace, something like a straight hop oast-house, burns every scrap of it.
The life in the lumber camp is a hard life, but it is well paid, it is independent, and the food is a revelation. The loggers' lunch we were given was a meal fit for gourmets. It was in a rough pitch-pine hut at rough tables. Clam-soup was served to us in cylindrical preserved meat cans on which the maker's labels still clung—but it lost none of its delightful flavour for that. Beef was served cut in strips in a great bowl, and we all reached out for the vegetables. There were mammothine bowls of mixed salad possessing an astonishing (to British eyes) lavishness of hard-boiled egg, lemon pie (lemon curd pie) with a whipped-egg crown, deep apple pie (the logger eats pie—which many people will know better as "tart"—three times a day), a marvellous fruit salad in jelly, and the finest selection of plums, peaches, apples, and oranges I had seen for a long day.
I was told that this was the regular meal of the loggers, and I know it was cooked by a chef (there is a French or Belgian or Canadian chef in most logging camps), for I talked with him. To live in a lonely forest, in a shack, and to work tremendously hard, may not be all the life a man wants, but it has compensations.
I understand that just about then the lumbermen were prone to striking. In one place they were demanding sheets, and in another they had refused to work because, having ordered two cases of eggs from a store, the tradesman had only been able to send the one he had in stock.
While we were in this camp we had some experience of the danger of forest fires. We had walked up to the head of the clearing, when one of the men of a group we had left working a short distance behind, came running up to say a fire had started. We went back, and in a place where, ten minutes before, there had been no sign of fire, flames and smoke were rising over an area of about one hundred yards square. Little tongues of flame were racing over the "slashings" (i.e., the débris of bark and splintered limbs that litter an area which has been cut), snakes of flame were writhing up standing trees, sparks blown by the wind were dropping into the dry "slashings" twenty, thirty and fifty yards away and starting fresh fires. We could see with what incredible rapidity these fires travelled, and how dangerous they can be once they are well alight. This fire was surrounded, and got under with water and shovelled earth, but we were shown a big stretch of hillside which another such fire had swept bare in a little under two hours. The summer is the dangerous time, for "slashings" and forests are then dry, and one chance spark from a badly screened donkey-engine chimney will start a blaze. When the fire gets into wet and green wood it soon expires.
These drives, for us, were the major events in an off time, for there was very little happening until the night of the 28th, when we went on board the Princess Alice again, to start on our return journey.
On Monday, September 29th, the Prince of Wales returned to Vancouver and took car to New Westminster, the old capital of British Columbia before picturesque Victoria assumed the reins.
New Westminster was having its own festival that day, so the visit was well timed. The local exhibition was to begin, and the Prince was to perform the opening ceremony. Under many fine arches, one a tall torii, erected by Chinese and Japanese Canadians, the procession of cars passed through the town, on a broad avenue that runs alongside the great Fraser River. Drawn up at the curb were many floats that were to take part in the trades' procession through the town to the exhibition grounds. Most of them were ingenious and attractive. There were telegraph stations on wagons, corn dealers' shops, and the like, while on the bonnet of one car was a doll nurse, busy beside a doll bed. Another automobile had turned itself into an aeroplane, while another had obliterated itself under a giant bully beef can to advertise a special kind of tinned meat.
All cars were decorated with masses of spruce and maple leaf, now beautiful in autumn tints of crimson and gold. And Peace and Britannia, of course, were there with attendant angels and nations, comely girls whose celestial and symbolical garments did not seem to be the right fashion for a day with more than a touch of chill in the air.
Through this avenue of fantasy, colour and cheery humanity the Prince drove through the town, which seems to have the air of brooding over its past, to the exhibition ground, which he opened, and where he presented medals to many soldiers.
From New Westminster the Royal train struck upward through the Rocky Mountains by way of the Kettle Valley. It passed through a land of terrific and magnificent scenery. It equalled anything we had seen in the more famous beauty spots, but it was more savage. The valleys appeared closer knit and deeper, and the sharp and steep mountains pinched the railway and river gorges together until we seemed to be creeping along the floor of a mighty passage-way of the dark, aboriginal gods.
Again and again the train was hanging over the deep, misted cauldron of the valley, again and again it slipped delicately over the span of cobweb across the sky that is a Canadian bridge. In this land of steep gradients, sharp curves and lattice bridges, the train was divided into two sections, and each, with two engines to pull it, climbed through the mountain passes.
This tract of country has only within the last few years been tapped by a railway that seems even yet to have to fight its way forward against Nature, barbarous, splendid and untamed. It was built to the usual ideal of Canada, that vision which ignores the handicaps of today for the promise of tomorrow. Yet even today it taps the rich lake valleys where mining and general farming is carried on, and where there are miles of orchards already growing some of the finest apples and peaches in Canada.
On the morning of Tuesday, September 30th, the train climbed down from the higher and rougher levels to Penticton, a small, bright, growing town that stands as focus for the immense fruit-growing district about Okanagan Lake.
Here, after a short ceremony, the Prince boarded the steamer Sicamous, a lake boat of real Canadian brand; a long white vessel built up in an extraordinary number of tiers, so that it looked like an elaborate wedding-cake, but a useful craft whose humpy stern paddle-wheel can push her through a six-foot shallow or deep water with equal dispatch. And a delightfully comfortable boat into the bargain, with well-sheltered and spacious decks, cosy cabins and bath-rooms, and a big dining saloon, which, placed in the very centre of the ship with the various galleries of the decks rising around it, has an air of belonging to one of those attractive old Dickensian inns.
On this vessel the Prince was carried the whole length of Okanagan Lake, which winds like a blue fillet between mountains for seventy miles. On the ledges and in the tight valleys of these heights he saw the formal ranks of a multitude of orchards.
A short distance along the lake the Sicamous pulled in to the toy quay of Summerland, a town born of and existing for fruit, and linked up with the outer world by the C.P.R. Lake Service that owned our own vessel.
All the children of Summerland had collected on the quayside to sing to and to cheer the Prince, and, as he stood on the upper deck and waved his hat cheerfully at them, they cheered a good deal more. When he went ashore and was taken by the grown-up Olympians to examine the grading and packing sheds, where the fruits of all the orchards are handled and graded by mechanical means, prepared for the market, and sold on the co-operative plan, the kiddies exchanged sallies with those waiting on the vessel, flipped big apples up at them, and cheered or jeered as they were caught or missed.
The Sicamous went close inshore at Peachland, another daughter town of Mother Fruit, to salute the crowd of people who had come out from the pretty bungalow houses that nestle among the green trees on a low and pretty shore, and who stood on the quay in a mass to send a cheer to him.
At Okanagan Landing, at the end of the lake, he took car to Vernon, a purposeful and attractive town which is the commercial heart of the apple industry. Indeed, there was no need to ask the reason for Vernon's being. Even the decorations were wrought out of apples, and under an arch of bright, cherry-red apples the Prince passed on to the sports ground, and on to a platform the corner posts of which were crowned with pyramids of apples, and in the centre of which was a model apple large enough to suit the appetite of Gargantua.
In front of this platform was a grand stand crowded with children of all races from Scandinavian to Oriental, and these sang with the resistless heartiness of Canada. The Oriental is a pretty useful asset in British Columbia, for in addition to his gifts of industry he is an excellent agriculturist.
After the ceremonies the Prince had an orgy of orchards.
Fruit growing is done with a large gesture. The orchards are neat and young and huge. In a run of many miles the Prince passed between masses of precisely aligned trees, and every tree was thick with bright and gleaming red fruit. Thick, indeed, is a mild word. The short trees seemed practically all fruit, as though they had got into the habit of growing apples instead of leaves. Many of the branches bore so excessive a burden that they had been torn out by the weight of the fruit upon them.
It was a marvellous pageant of fruit in mass. And the apples themselves were of splendid quality, big and firm and glowing, each a perfect specimen of its school. We were able to judge because the land-girls, after tossing aprons full of specimens (not always accurately) into the Prince's car, had enough ammunition left over for the automobiles that followed.
Attractive land girls they were, too. Not garbed like British land-girls, but having all their dashing qualities. Being Canadians they carried the love of silk stockings on to the land, and it was strange to see this feminine extremity under the blue linen overall trousers or knickers. They were cheery, sun-tanned, laughing girls. They were ready for the Prince at every gate and every orchard fence, eager and ready to supplement their gay enthusiasm with this apple confetti.
The Prince stopped here and there to chat with fruit growers, and to congratulate them on their fine showing. Now he stopped to talk to a wounded officer, who had been so cruelly used in the war that he had to support himself on two sticks. Now he stopped to pass a "How d'y' do" to a mob of trousered land-girls who gathered brightly about his car, showing himself as laughing and as cheerful as they.
The cars left the land of growing apples and turned down the lake in a superb run of thirty-six miles to Kelowna. This road skirts fairyland. It winds high up on a shoulder above Long Lake, that makes a floor of living azure between the buttresses and slopes of the mountains. Only when it is tired of the heights does it drop to the lake level, and sweeping through a filigree of trees, speeds along a road that is but an inch or two above the still mirror of Wood Lake, on the polished surface of which there is a delicate fret of small, rocky islets. So, in magnificent fashion, he came to Kelowna, and the Sicamous, that carried him back to the train.
Through the night and during the next morning the train carried the Prince deeper in the mountains, skirting in amazing loops, when the train seemed almost to be biting its tail, steep rocky cliffs above white torrents, or the shining blue surfaces of lakes such as Arrow Lake, that formed the polished floor of valleys. Now and then we passed purposeful falls, and by them the power houses that won light and motive force for the valley towns from the falling water. There are those who fear the harnessing of water-power, because it may mean the spoiling of beautiful scenery. Such buildings as I saw in no way marred the view, but rather added to it a touch of human picturesqueness.
Creeping down the levels, with discretion at the curves, the train came in the rain to Nelson on Wednesday, October 1st. Rain spoilt the reception at Nelson, a town that thrives upon the agricultural and mining products of the hills about. There seemed to be a touch of mining grey in the air of the town, but, as in all towns of Canada, no sense of unhappiness, no sense of poverty—indeed, in the whole of Canada I saw five beggars and no more (though, of course, there may have been more). Of these one man was blind, and two were badly crippled soldiers.
There are no poor in Nelson, so I was told, and no unemployed.
"If a man's unemployed," said a Councillor with a twinkle in his eye, "he's due for the penitentiary. With labourers getting five dollars a day, and being able to demand it because of the scarcity of their kind, when a man who says he can't find work has something wrong with him ... as a matter of fact the penitentiary idea is only speculative. There's never been a test case of this kind."
I don't suppose there have been many test cases of that kind in the whole of Canada, for certainly "the everyday people" everywhere have a cheerful and self-dependent look.
At Nelson the Prince embarked on another lake boat, the Nasookin, after congratulating rival bands, one of brass, and one (mainly boys) of bagpipes, on their tenacity in tune in the rain. Nelson gave him a very jolly send-off. The people managed to invade the quay in great numbers, and those who were daring clambered to the top of the freight cars standing on the wharf, the better to give him a cheer.
As the boat steamed out into the Kootenay River scores of the nattiest little gasoline launches flying flags escorted him for the first mile or so, chugging along beside the Nasookin, or falling in our wake in a bright procession of boats. Encouraged by the "movie" men they waved vigorously, and many good "shoots" of them were filmed.
At Balfour, where the narrow river, after passing many homesteads of great charm nestling amid the greenery of the low shore that fringes the high mountains, turns into Kootenay Lake, the Prince went ashore. Here is a delightful chalet which was once an hotel, but is now a sanatorium for Canadian soldiers. Its position is idyllic. It stands above river and lake, with the fine mountains backing it, and across the river are high mountains.
Over these great slopes on this grey day clouds were gathered, crawling down the shoulders in billows, or blowing in odd and disconnected masses and streamers. These odd ragged scarves and billows look like strayed sheep from the cloud fold, lost in the deep valleys that sit between the blue-grey mountain sides.
The Prince spent some time visiting the sanatorium, and chatting with the inmates, and then played golf on the course here. The C.P.R. were, meanwhile, indulging themselves in one of their habitual feats. The lakes make a gap in the line between Nelson, or rather Balfour siding, and Kootenay Landing at the head of the water. Over this water-jump the whole train, solid steel and weighing a thousand tons, was bodily carried.
Two great barges were used. The long cars were backed on to these with delicate skill—for the slightest waywardness of a heavy, all-steel car on a floating barge is a matter of danger, and each loaded barge was then taken up the lake by a tug grappled alongside.
At Kootenay Landing the delicate process was reversed, and all was carried out without mishap though it was a dark night, and the railwaymen had to work with the aid of searchlights. Kootenay Landing is, in itself, something of a wonder. In the dark, as we waited for the train to be made up, it seemed as solid as good hard land can make it. But as the big Canadian engine came up with the first car we felt our "earth" sway slightly, and in the beam of the big headlight we saw the reason. Kootenay Landing is a station in the air. It is built up on piles.
In cold weather and through a snowfall that had powdered the slopes and foothills of the Rocky Mountains the Prince, on Thursday, October 2nd, reached the prairies again. Now he was travelling well to the south of his former journey on a line that ran just above the American border.
In this bleak and rolling land he was to call in the next two days at a series of small towns whose very names—McLeod, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Maple Creek, Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Regina—had in them a savour of the old, brave days when the Red Man was still a power, and settlers chose their names off-hand from local things.
McLeod, on the Old Man River, just escapes the foothills. It is prairies, a few streets, a movie "joint," an hotel and a golf course. In McLeod we saw the dawn of the Mackinaw, or anyhow first saw the virtues of that strange coat which seems to have been adapted from the original of the Biblical Joseph by a Highland tailor. It is a thick, frieze garment, cut in Norfolk style. The colour is heroic red, or blue or mauve or cinnamon, over which black lines are laid in a plaid tracery.
We realized its value as a warmth-giver while we stood amid a crowd of them as the Prince received addresses. Among the crowd was a band of Blood Indians of the Blackfeet Tribe, whose complexions in the cold looked blue under their habitual brown-red. They had come to lay their homage before him and to present an Indian robe. The Prince shook hands and chatted with the chiefs as well as their squaws, and with the missionary who had spent his life among these Red Men, and had succeeded in mastering the four or five sounds that make up the Indian language.
We talked to an old chief upon whose breast were the large silver medals that Queen Victoria and King George had had specially struck for their Indian subjects. These have become signs of chieftainship, and are taken over by the new chief when he is elected by the tribesmen. With this chief was his son, a fine, quiet fellow in the costume of the present generation of Indians, the cowboy suit. He had served all through the war in a Canadian regiment.
At Lethbridge, the next town, there was a real and full Indian ceremonial. Before a line of tepees, or Indian lodges, the Prince was received by the Chiefs of the Blood Tribe of the Blackfeet Nation, and elected one of them with the name of Mekastro, that is Red Crow.
This name is a redoubtable one in the annals of the Blackfeet. It has been held by their most famous chieftains and has been handed down from generation to generation. It was a Chief Red Crow who signed the Wolseley Treaty in '77. Upon his election the Prince was presented with an historic headdress of feathers and horns, a beautiful thing that had been worn by the great fighting leaders of the race.
There were gathered about the Prince in front of these tall, painted tepees many chiefs of strange, odd-sounding names. One of these immobile and aquiline men was Chief Shot on Both Sides, another Chief Weasel Fat, another Chief One Spot, another Chief Many White Horses. They had a dignity and an unyielding calm, and if some of them wore befeathered bowler hats, instead of the sunray feathered headdress, it did not detract from their high austerity. Chief One Spot—"he whose voice can be heard three miles"—was a splendid and upright old warrior of eighty; he had not only been present at the historic treaty of '77, but had been one of the signatories.
The Prince chatted with these chiefs, while the Lethbridge people, who had shown extraordinary heartiness since the public welcome in the chief square of the town, crowded close around. While he was talking, the Prince asked if he could be shown the interior of one of the wigwams, and his brother, Chief Weasel Fat, took him to his own, over the door of which was painted rudely the emblem of the bald-headed eagle.
The wigwam is a fine airy home. Its canvas walls are supported by tall, leaning poles bound at the top. There is no need of a centre pole, and a wood fire burning on a circular hearth sent up a coil of smoke through the opening at the top of the poles.
The floor was strewn with bright soft rugs, on which squaws in vivid red robes were sitting, listening to all that was said with impassive faces. The walls were decorated with strips of warm cloth upon which had been sewn Indian figures and animals. The wide floor space also held a rattanwork bed, musical instruments and the like; certainly it was a more comfortable and commodious place than its bell-tent shape would suggest.
Leaving the exhibition grounds, on which the encampment stood, the Prince passed under an arch made of Indian clothes of white antelope skin, beads and feathers, and after reviewing the war veterans, went to the town ball that had been arranged in his honour.
Lethbridge is a mixture of the plain and the pit. It is a great grain centre, and there is no mistaking its prairie air, yet superimposed upon this is the atmosphere of, say, a Lancashire or Yorkshire mining town. Coal and other mines touch with a sense of dark industrial bustle the easy air of the plain town. It is a Labour town, and a force in Labour politics. That, of course, made not the slightest difference to its welcome; indeed, perhaps it tinged that greeting with a touch of independent heartiness that made it notable.
As a town it impresses with its vividity at once. That, indeed, is the quality of most Canadian cities. They capture one with their air of modernity and vivacity at first impact. True, one sometimes finds that the town that seemed great and bustling dwindles after a few fine streets into suburbs of dirt roadways, but one has been impressed. It may be very good window dressing, though, on the other hand, it is probably good planning which concentrates all the activity and interests of the town in the decisively main avenues.
Friday, October 3rd, saw the Prince visiting a string of three towns.
Medicine Hat was the first of these, an attractive, park-like place full of "pep." Medicine Hat's claim to fame beyond its name lies in the fact that, having discovered that it was sitting upon a vast subterranean reservoir of natural gas, it promptly harnessed it to its own use. Now, that elemental thing is in the control of humanity, and heats the town, and tamely drives the wheels of industry.
The outstanding ceremony was the way little boys suddenly took fright on a roof. In the middle of the town, beside the street, is a tall, thin standpipe, and this standpipe was to demonstrate a "shoot off" of the gas. Scores of small boys climbed on to the roofs of neighbouring sheds to see the fun. First there was a meek, submissive flame burning at the top of the pipe, and looking weak in the fine sunlight. Then, abruptly, the flame shot up a hundred feet, and there was a loud roaring. Not only was the roaring a terrifying thing, but the force of that rush of gas made the ground, the roof and the little boys tremble. Little boys came off that roof in record time, and with such a clatter that the effort of the standpipe almost lost its place as a star turn. This tremendous pressure is not habitual; it is, I believe, obtained by bursting a charge in one of the gas wells.
The Prince also saw the uses to which the gas was put in a big pottery mill. The kilns here were an incandescent mass of fire, the work of the easily controlled gas that does the work with a tithe of the labour and at a mere fraction of the cost necessitated by ordinary baking kilns.
Maple Creek and Swift Current were stepping-off places, with all their populations packed in the square about the station to give the Prince a hearty greeting. At Maple Creek the pretty daughters of the township were very much in evidence, and held His Royal Highness up with autograph albums.
Moose Jaw, one of the few towns where a quaint name is traceable, for it is the creek where the white man mended the cart with a moose jaw-bone, which the Prince reached on the morning of October 4th, is a bigger town and proud of its position as a grain, food and machinery distributing centre for Southern Saskatchewan. In its station courtyard it had built up an admirable exhibit of its vegetables and fruit, its sides of bacon, its grain in ear, its porridge oats in packets, and its butter and cream in drums and churns; while chiefest of all it showed ramparts of some of the two million sacks of flour it handles annually. The whole of the exhibit was set in a moat of grain and potatoes.
The Prince went to the University Grounds, where a mighty crowd attended the welcoming ceremony, and where a wild and timeless waltz-quadrille of motors which straggled all-whither over the grounds, marked the attempts of people to locate and follow him when he drove away to the hospital and a big packing factory. At the packing plant he saw the whole process of handling meat, from the moment when cowboys in chaps drove the herd to the pens to the final jointing of the steer.
From Moose Jaw he went to Regina, which he reached that afternoon. Regina is the capital of Saskatchewan, but an accidental capital. Somewhere about 1880 it was decided to start itself in quite another place. Qu'Appelle, where there was a Hudson Bay Fort and the country was attractive, was the site chosen. And Qu'Appelle opened its mouth too wide—or, anyhow so the version of the story I was told goes. The land-owners there asked an outside number of million dollars, and the townplanners went to Pile o' Bones instead.
Pile o' Bones was a point near Wascana Lake where there had been a big slaughter of buffaloes. It was a point of no importance, but Canadians don't mind that sort of thing. When they make up their minds to build a city, a city arises. Regina arose, broad and bustling, a trifle chilly as becomes a city of the prairie, rather flat and not altogether attractive, yet purposeful.
It also gained another reason for regard by becoming the headquarters of the "Mounties," the Royal North-West Mounted Police, whose main barracks are here. We saw something of the discipline of that fine service in the way the big crowds were handled, for the Prince drove through the streets in the order and state of a London or New York pageant.
The Parliament Buildings are beautifully situated before a wide stretch of water. They are the semi-classical, domed, white stone buildings of the design of those at Edmonton and other cities—a sort of standardized parliament building in fact. Before them, on the terraces and lawn that shelved down to the water, the big throng made a scene of quick beauty. There were ranks of pretty nurses, rank upon rank of khaki veterans, battalions of boy scouts mainly divorced from hats which were perpetually aloft on upraised and enthusiastic poles, aisles of sitting wounded whom the Prince shook hands with, and thick, supporting masses of civilians. Lining this throng were unbending fillets of scarlet statues, the "Mounties" of the guard. And humanizing the whole were solid banks of school-children who sang and cheered at the right as well as the wrong moment.
The presentation of medals—one to a blinded doctor, who, led by a comrade, received the most poignant storm of cheers I have ever heard in my life—and a giant public reception finished that day's ceremonies. Sunday, October 5th, was a day of rest, and Monday was the day of the "Mounties."
The Prince showed a particular interest in his visit to the Headquarters of this splendid and romantic corps. The Royal North-West Mounted Police is a classic figure in the history of the Empire. The day is now past when the lonely red rider of the wilds stood for the only token of awe and authority among Indian tribes and "bad men" camps, but though that may be there are no more useful fellows than these smart and sturdy men, who, scarlet-coated, and with their Stetsons at a daring angle, add a dash of colour and bravery to the streets of Western Canada.
In his inspection the Prince saw the reason why the physique of the men should be so splendid and their nerve so sure. The training of the R.N.W.M.P. makes no appeal to the weakling of spirit or flesh. He saw their firm discipline. He saw them breaking in the bucking bronchos they had to ride. He saw them go through exhausting mounted tests. His congratulations on their wonderful show were expressed with great warmth.
From Regina the Prince took a holiday. He went up to the sporting country near Qu'Appelle for duck and game shooting, spending from Monday, October 6th, until Friday, October 10th, there. This district abounds in duck, and the Prince and his staff had very fair sport. During his stay the weather suddenly turned colder, the rivers froze over and snow fell. So sudden was the cold snap that one of those with the Prince was caught napping. He woke up to find that his false teeth were frozen into the solid block of ice that had been water the night before. He had to take the tooth glass to the kitchen of the house where he was staying, and thaw it before he could even articulate his emotions adequately.
Riding in a fast car from the scene of the sport to the station gave the Prince an indication of what winter would be like in the prairies, where the wind from the north sweeps down unresisted, and with such a force that it seems to go right through all coats, save the Canadian winter armour of "coon coat" or fur.
Brandon and Portage la Prairie, two determined little towns, gave the Prince a snow welcome. The weather kept neither grown-ups nor children away from the liveliest of greetings. They were attractive halts in a run that took the Prince to Winnipeg.
In Winnipeg we appreciated the virtues of central heating, for the wind made the whole universe extraordinarily cold. Up to this I had considered central heating a stuffy subject, and I am yet not fully converted, for though there are those who say it can be controlled quite easily, I have yet to meet the superman who can do it.
All the same, steam heating has its virtues. On those cold days in Winnipeg we lived in a world that knew not draughts. It was almost a solemn joy to sit in a bath, and to feel that though half of one was in hot water, the other half was also comfortable and not the prey of every devilish current of icy air such as sports itself in those damp refrigerators, the British bathrooms. Naturally, since we are staying in a Canadian hotel of the up-to-date kind, a bathroom was attached to our bedroom as a mere matter of course. But if we had had to wander Anglicanly along corridors in search of a bathroom we should still have been draught free, for central heating deals with corridors, and stairways, and halls and lounges with one universal gesture.
Not merely in so fine an hotel as the "Royal Alexandra," but in the private houses and the "apartments" (English—"flats"), central heat and good bathrooms are items of everyday—though many Canadians burn an open fire in their sitting-rooms for the comfortable look it gives.
These things are not merely for comfort, but they are, with the hardwood floors, the mail chutes in "apartment" houses and the rest, part of the great science of labour-saving, which the whole of America practises.
One realizes the need of labour-saving when one sees in a theatre vestibule the following notice:
As nurses are rare, and servants are rare, the Americans have to organize themselves to simplify the task of housekeeping.
The "apartments" are compact and neat, arranged for easy handling. The rents are not cheap. One very pleasant little "apartment," "hired" by a newly-married couple, was made up of three rooms, a kitchen and a balcony. It was in the suburbs. The rent was thirty-five dollars a month, say eighty-four pounds a year, for a flat, which, under the same conditions (rates included) could be obtained for thirty-five pounds a year in England in pre-war days. For this, however, central heating and perpetual hot water are included. My friend told me that his electric light bill came to three dollars a month, and his gas bill (for cooking) to rather less than that. In Calgary a friend of mine had a pretty "apartment" even smaller in a suburban district, was paying about ninety-six pounds a year over all, i.e., rent, light and gas (central heating being included). Most of these "apartments" have an ice house (refrigerator) attached, blocks of ice being left on the doorstep every morning, just as the milk is left.
Winnipeg is an attractive town to live in. It has plenty of amusements, including several good theatres and music halls—fed, of course, mainly from American sources. Mrs. Walker, whose husband owns the Walker Theatre, told me that Laurence Irving and his wife acted on their stage just before sailing on the ill-fated Empress of Ireland. She went up to his dressing-room to say "Good-bye" to him, the night before he left, and in answer to her knock he suddenly appeared before her, dressed in black from head to foot, for the character he was playing that night. His appearance filled her with dread—it seemed to her, as she looked at him, that something terrible was to happen. Both Laurence Irving and his wife were, however, in excellent spirits. Canada treated them royally, and they were going back home full of optimism, confident that the play that Laurence Irving was then finishing—one dealing with Napoleon—was to prove the greatest success of their careers.
We met at Winnipeg, also, a number of the brilliant men and women journalists whose energy and brains are responsible for the many fine papers that focus in this city. We had met such companions of our own dispensation in other cities, in Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Quebec. They were not merely keen and accomplished craftsmen, but their hospitality to us was always of the most delightful generosity.
The Princess visit to Winnipeg was undertaken to give him the opportunity of saying au revoir to the West. At the vivid luncheon he gave in the attractive Alexandra Hotel to all the leaders of the West, men and women, he insisted that it was au revoir, and that so well had the West treated him, so attractive was its atmosphere, that he meant not merely to return, but to become something of a rancher here in the "little place" he had bought in Alberta. He spoke of the splendid spirit of the West, and the magnificent future that was the West's for the grasping, and he left on all those who heard him an impression of genuine affection for the people and the land with which his journey had brought him in contact.
He himself left the West a "real scout." It is a mere truism to say that his personality had conquered the West, as it had won for him affection everywhere. His straightforward masculinity and his entire lack of side, his cheerfulness and his keenness, his freedom from "frills," as one man put it, had made him the friend of everybody. I heard practically the same expressions of real affection from all grades, from Chief Justice to car conductors. I heard, I think, but one man pooh-pooh, not so much this universal regard for the Prince, as a universal enthusiasm for something royal. A labour-leader, who happened to be present, administered correction:
"That chap's all right," he insisted, and his word carried weight. "I saw him in France, and there's not much that is wrong with him. If you're as democratic as he is, then you're all right."
The brightest of dances, a game of squash rackets, and the Prince left, undaunted by the snow, for week-end shooting. On Tuesday, October 14th, he was in the train again, travelling East, in the direction of the Cobalt mining country, buoyed up by the prophecy of the local weather-wise that the cold snap would not endure, but would be followed by the delightfully keen yet warm weather of the "Indian Summer." The local weather-wise were right, but it took time.
Cobalt is a fantasy town. It is a Rackham drawing with all its little grey houses perched up on queer shelves and masses of greeny-grey rock. Its streets are whimsical. They wander up and down levels, and in and out of houses, and sometimes they are roads and sometimes they are stairs. One glance at them and I began to repeat, "There was a crooked man, who walked a crooked mile." A delightful genius had done the town to illustrate that rhyme.
And the rope railways that sent a procession of emotionless buckets across the train when we pulled in, the greeny-grey lake that presently (inside the town) ceased being a lake and became a big lake basin of smooth, greeny-grey mine slime, the vast greeny-grey mounds of mill refuse, the fantastic spideriness of the lattice mill workings, and humped corrugated iron sheds, all of them slightly greeny-grey in the prevailing fashion—the whole picture was fantastic; indeed, Cobalt appears a city of gnomes.
We had travelled all Tuesday and Wednesday, striking east from Winnipeg, only stopping occasionally for the Prince to return the courtesies of the crowds that had collected at wayside stations, and, on one occasion, to allow the Prince to obtain a walk. At North Bay we had left the C.P.R. main line, and pushed up the road of the Timiskaming Railway towards the silver mining town of Cobalt and the gold mining town of Timmins.
During the night and morning of Thursday, October 16th, we had pushed up through a rocky and inhospitable country, where many lakes lie coldly amid stony hillocks that thrust up through live green spruce, or the white ghosts of spruce murdered by fires.
It seems a country fore-ordained to loneliness, and it is hard to believe that a rich town has arisen in it. As a matter of truth, that town would not have been born to it but for an accident. Cobalt was not dreamed of as a city. The intention of the railway engineers had been to drive a line through this land to open up good farming country to the north of Cobalt Lake. Only this accident brought Cobalt into being at all.
Two bored contractors employed on the construction of the railways are responsible for it. They were filling out an idle hour in throwing pebbles into the lake; one of them noticed that the pebbles had a queer texture. Both men examined them, for many of the kind were scattered about.
"Lead," decided one of the men, but the other gave his opinion for silver. He had the strange pebble analysed, and silver it was. On the wave of excitement that followed, Cobalt was born.
As the Prince saw it on October 16th it was obviously a mining town, careless of how it built itself as long as it could get at the rich stopes, or veins, that burrow amid the calcite rock of the district. It is this indifference to planning that makes the town fantastic, though there is something of the fantastic in the character of its people and the welcome they gave.
Above the heads of the very generous and homely throng that welcomed the Prince, the streets were strung from side to side with banners of welcome, many of them touched with native humour.
declared one, while another offered the "glad hand" with the injunction:
After a corrugated drive along the switchback streets, the miners had their own individual welcome for him. At the Coniagas Mine these stocky men, in brown overalls, the acetylene lamps that lighted them through the underworld still alight on the front of their hats, were gathered about the pit-head workings, and they gave him a particular cheer.
The Prince was shown through the whole of the above-ground workings in this mine. He went into the breaking and stamping rooms, where he could not hear himself speak for the crashings of the mills that broke up the quartz; he saw the machines that washed the silver free from the living rock by jigging it over metal shelves across which flowed a constant film of water; he saw the pulverized slime being treated with oil and pouring bubbling from big vats through wooden chutes.
He climbed to the top of one of the big mounds of dried slime that pile up round the workings. In the old days these mounds were rubbish for which man had no use. Now science has stepped in, and this rubbish is being treated once more, and from four to six ounces of silver per ton are being reclaimed. A big mechanical shovel, working on an overhead cable, was dropping and digging into this dump; it lifted itself full and moved along the rope until it dropped its load into a chute. No man went near it: a super-fellow at the levers of a donkey-engine maintained a control.
The mine gave him a little memento in silver, and very prettily. Two delightful little girls came out of a mass of miners, and handed him a small brick of solid silver inscribed to commemorate the visit. The brick weighed thirty-five ounces.
In a short while the Prince was in the place where the brick was smelted. This was in a small house containing several furnaces built to the level of a man's breast. They are not large furnaces, but when their doors are opened one can look on to an incandescent pool of liquid silver that the gas or oil flames have melted. The Prince watched the process of casting bricks with interest, questioning the two demobilized soldiers who worked a big ladle with the close curiosity he had shown over every detail of the milling. Dipping the long-handled ladle into the shining pool, the soldiers swung it out, and poured the spitting and sparkling contents into a metal mould, in which the silver brick was formed. In this small room is smelted all the metal of one of the richest mining towns in the world.
From here the cars went adventurously along the steep and spiral roads, and amid the tall corrugated iron towers and buildings that form the many mine workings. The Prince passed round the bases of great grey slack and slime heaps of old and discarded workings that have been worth millions of dollars in their day, but, after the fickle way of silver veins, have now given out. Through this harsh and grey country he drove until he came to the O'Brien mine, where he was to try the adventure of a descent.
The descent into a mine needs armour, and the Prince buckled on rubber overshoes, an oilskin coat and a sou'wester hat. Garbed thus, and with an acetylene lamp in his hand, he was the natural prey of photographers, who refused to spare him until he escaped into the cage and baffled them by going underground.
Cobalt, which had been cheering the Prince at every available spot, can boast that she also managed to do it in the bowels of the earth. Descending three hundred feet, His Royal Highness walked some distance through the dark tunnel of the workings, and in each gallery the ghostly figures of miners gave him a subterranean cheer. At the end of this walk he went down another three hundred feet, to where a new stope was being started. This was his own particular vein, for it had already been christened "The Prince of Wales Stope" in his honour—no mean compliment, for it is anticipated that it will yield at least a million dollars.
The Prince showed a natural interest in this seam, and in the methods of working it, and he also took, as it were, a sponsor's fee, for he worked a piece of rock from the vein with his fingers and carried it away as a memento.
Beyond Cobalt the land becomes greener and more hospitable, and it opens up into great ranges of good farms, and this state of things continues until, along a branch line, the sprawling and great gold-mining centres of Timmins threw their bleak melancholy over the land.
In Timmins itself can be seen a Canadian town at birth. Its wooden shack houses and brick buildings are only now being brought to order along its streets. Its roads are still ankle-deep in mud; buckboards and other country rigs are, with motors, the means of transport—it only wanted Douglas Fairbanks in a Western get-up to complete it as a town projected into reality from the "movies." It is a one-man town, and bears the name of the pioneer who brought it into being, and who is still the driving force of the great gold mines that make it one of the richest places on the earth. He is a quiet man, whose force of character is concealed behind gold-rimmed spectacles and a rooted instinct against waste of words.
The Prince spent an interesting hour at his mines, which are among the largest, if they are not the largest, of their kind in the Empire; all the processes were explained to him, though he did not go into the workings as he did at Cobalt. He had, it goes without saying, a royal reception here, which, in the hands of the liveliest of mayors, had more than a tinge of humour in it.
Timmins was the Prince's last adventure in the wilds. Steaming south and west along the Grand Trunk Railway, he passed through the delightful holiday scenery of the Muskoka Lakes, and, in country becoming gradually more and more domestic and British, approached Hamilton and the thickly inhabited areas of Western Ontario.
In coming to Hamilton the Prince returned to the regions of big welcomes. It was not that the East was more loyal or warm than the West, but that, grouped in the vast area of Canada lying between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, are the old and teeming industrial centres of the Dominion. In this area is about seventy per cent. of Canada's population, and men, women and children can pack themselves into the streets by the tens of thousands, be those streets ever so many or ever so long.
This was Hamilton's way. Hamilton is a "Get on or Get out" proposition. It is dubbed not merely "the Birmingham of Canada," but also "the Ambitious City." It is not the largest town in the Dominion, but it asks you to reserve judgment as to that, and meanwhile it lets you know that it is one of the richest.
From the abrupt heights that rise behind it, one looks down, not upon an historic panorama, as at Quebec, but a Brangwyn panel of "modern progress." Between the abrupt hills and the waters of Lake Ontario the city is packed tight on a rising strip of plain. The stacks of many industries, the rigid uplift of square, practical factories, the fret of derricks and patent loaders by the waterside, all seen under smudges and scarves of factory smoke, would give it an air of resolute drabness if it were not for its multitude of trees.
Trees there are in profusion, rising up between the stiff walls of commercial buildings, lining the long, straight avenues that look like bands of greyish water from the heights, and grouping about the comely houses that form the residential quarters on the slopes rising towards the onlooker on The Mountain. But, even in spite of the trees and the blue shine of the distant lake, there is an atmosphere of industrial greyness that differentiates it from other cities.
There was an air of industrialism about the packed welcome Hamilton gave the Prince. He had slipped into the city on the afternoon of Friday, October 17th, but not officially. He was merely to attend the invisible pleasures of golf and dancing. On Saturday he entered Hamilton ceremoniously, officially. He drove down in a car to a siding, entered the train, was backed into the station, and alighted from it and entered the car he had just left. The church bells rang "Oh, Canada," and he had "arrived."
The industrial atmosphere was created by the workers who thronged the narrow business streets in their overalls, having obviously come out from bench and ironworks and packing factories, as well as from the stores and offices, to see the Prince. I noticed among the crowd a great number of Jews, more than I had seen in other Canadian cities.
Yet, if Hamilton was industrial, it also knew how to meet a Prince. Its streets were delightfully decorated, and in the general scheme of bunting the authorities had hung over the roads in pairs, small square banners of the victory medal ribbon, so that the Prince passed under this sign of triumph always. Swaying high up in the trees, just coming into the autumn gold of foliage, this scheme of decoration made a most effective showing.
Part of the Prince's ride through the town was along James Street, that sweeps in a single straight line from The Mountain to the shore of the lake. All manner of citizens were crowded in this sumptuous boulevard and in the pretty streets that ran through the pleasant home centres. Now the cars passed through packed ranks of children ranged according to schools, and all torn between the purely human desire of shouting their heads off and the duty of singing, "God bless the Prince of Wales," the result being an eerie noise that left no doubt about the quality of the enthusiasm. When there were no children there were grown-ups, gathered everywhere, perched everywhere and anywhere in their determination to get a good view. On one low bungalow was a family group, mother, father, children and baby-in-arms, sitting perilous but serenely content on the very ridge-pole of the roof. From a group of houses in the same suave street had come many men, matrons and maidens, waving the green flag of the harp, all fiercely insistent on the rights of Ireland to cheer and show enthusiasm.
So the Prince came to a great, comely semi-Gothic hall with a million children round it (that was the effect, though Hamilton hasn't half a million inhabitants), and I don't know how many in it. This hall was a chamber of children, a forcing-house of delightful infants. Under the broad, mellow light that beat down from the great windows in the roof all the prettiest kiddies in the world seemed to be set in banks of cultivation. Children were in mass round the walls. Children stretched upward in a square of galleries. Children flowered everywhere—only a fillet of walking-space was clear, where a desperate gardener had clipped a passage-way for the Prince, it seemed.
And they were such vivacious children. They cheered. They sang lilting part-songs, each great bank of infancy taking up the melody until the hall was all tune, and the walls seemed to be pressed back by the fine soaring sweetness of the fugue. And when they had sung they burst into the sudden and amazing sparkle of their school yell, "Hamilton! Hamilton! Hamilton!" and then diffused their fervour in a swinging burst of cheers.
And Canadians, children or adults, can cheer. Hands and flags and hats and body join in, to give an impression both passionate and irresistible. And before this storm the Prince could only laugh and wave back with something of the children's abandon, and so delighted did he seem that one of the Canadians who watched him had every right to cry out:
"Say—say—isn't he just tickled to death?"
Through the streets in his ride to The Mountain this wave of cheering followed him, and, quick to respond, the Prince was once more on his feet in his car and waving gladly back to the crowds on the sidewalk. So ardently did he do this, that a little girl who had watched him coming and who watched his passing, turned to her mother and cried:
It was certainly a strenuously used hand, but its endurance had limits, and, as he was forced to transfer the office of hand-shaking to the left, so he frequently had to use the left for waving on these long rides, and give the right a rest.
On The Mountain, the tall buttress that curves behind the town, the Prince drove through avenues of fine homes to the Hamilton Memorial Hospital, a magnificent tribute to those men of the city who gave their lives in the war. It is, of course, thoroughly up-to-date in appointments, but it is more than that: it is a poignant link with the brave dead, for every ward has been dedicated to a brave son of Hamilton who died overseas, and a brass plate in each ward records the heroic name.
At this hospital the Prince was received by a Welsh choir, many of the lasses dressed in the tall hats and native laces and fabrics of Wales, and, so that nobody should make mistakes about them, each (men and women) wore a fresh leek at the breast.
The Prince also visited the Sanatorium on the heights, and drove out to the Club, where he lunched, and, on the whole, filled a day with all the bustle that Hamilton knows well how to put into events. It was only at night that he was free to leave this vigorous town, and start for the restful beauties of Niagara.
The best first impression of Niagara Falls is, I think, the one the Prince of Wales obtained.
Those who really wish to experience the thrills of grandeur and poetry of this marvel had better delay their visit until a night in summer, and make arrangements with the railway time-table to get there somewhere after dark. Upon arriving they must hire a car, and drive down to the splendid boulevard on the Canadian side. They will then see the great mass of water under the shine of lights, falling eternally, eternally presenting a picture of almost cruel beauty. They will then know an experience that transcends all other experiences as well as all attempts at description.
The curious feeling of disappointment which comes to many in daylight will have been guarded against, and, stimulated by that wondrous first vision, they will tide over that spiritually barren period which many know until the marvel of the Falls begins to "grow on them."
The Prince came from Hamilton to Niagara somewhere very close to midnight on Saturday, the 18th. He was carried through the dark town and country to the house of one of the Falls Commissioners. From here, through a filigree of trees and leaves, he could look across the smoking gorge to the Falls on the American side. Batteries of great arc lights, focused and hidden cunningly, shone upon the curtain of white and tumbling waters, and upon the strong, black mass of Goat Island, that is perched like a diver eternally hesitant on the very brink of the two-hundred-foot plunge.
The ghostly beauty of the falling water through the light, now a solid and tremendous curve, now broken into filaments and zigzag whorls, now veiled by the upward drift of the gossamer spray, held the Prince's gaze for some time. But even that beauty was transcended. He himself pressed an electric switch, and the grand curve of the Canadian Horseshoe blazed fully alight for the first time in their history, and though from this position this could not be fully seen, this new addition of light gave the whole mass before his eyes an additional loveliness.
From this point the Prince motored through the town to the splendid wide promenade that borders the Canadian side of the gorge, and spent half an hour watching the fascinating play of falling water and spray in the narrow cauldron of the Horseshoe.
He stood a foot away from the point where the water leaps in its magnificent and enigmatic curve into the tortured pool below. Green at the curve, the water is a mass of curdled white in the strong lights as it falls. Beneath, the face of the water is a passionate surface of whirlpools and eddies and tossing whiteness. From the tremendous impact of the drop a column of spray shoots and curls high up in the air. It towers quite six hundred feet above the surface of the water, and it is hard to believe that enduring mass of spray comes from the fall; in the distance one is convinced that it is steam arising from some big factory.
On the next day (Sunday) the Prince saw the Falls in their every phase. He walked up-stream above the Horseshoe to where the Niagara River jostles down over a series of ledges in the grand and angry Canadian Rapids, a sight as tumultuous and as thrilling in its own fashion as the Falls themselves. He visited the big, white stone power-house to examine with the greatest interest the machinery that traps the tremendous latent power of the plunging water, harnesses it, and so turns the wheels of a thousand industries, and lights hundreds of towns.
Partly walking, partly riding in a car of the scenic tramway, he followed the line of the Falls and river downward to where the Whirlpool Rapids curdle and eddy within the deep walls of the gorge. Over on the American side he saw the castles and keeps of modern industry: power-houses and factories, springing up from the very rock of the cliff, and almost forming part of it. On the Canadian side the people have not let their utilitarian sense run away with them to such an extent. Where America edges the gorge with commercial buildings, Canada has constructed her beautiful promenade, which continues the comeliness of the Falls Park through a pretty residential district. America has Prospect Park and the very beautiful Goat Island Park on its side, but these are not extended along the gorge.
Below the Whirlpool Rapids the Prince descended to the level of the river; later, he came to the top of the gorge again, and crossed, swinging two hundred feet above the water on the spidery ropes of the aerial railways, the great pool at the end of the river canyon, into which the pent-up water pushes swirling before turning at right angles towards Lake Ontario.
The Prince did not go over to the American side, but America came to him. The white number-plates of New York State seemed to be everywhere on automobiles, even outnumbering the yellow of Ontario. One had the impression that every American motor-owner within gasolene radius had decided that he would take his Sunday spin to Niagara Falls, and on to the Canadian side of the Falls to boot.
American cars were coming over the bridges all day, and American owners waited cheerfully along the route to get a glimpse of "The Boy," as the American papers called the Prince. They joined themselves to the very friendly crowd of Canadians who gathered everywhere along the route, and their cheering, mingling with Canadian cheering, showed that friendliness is not an affair that frontiers can manipulate.
As a matter of fact, the frontier at Niagara is the most imaginary of lines. Now that the war is over there is no difficulty in getting to either side. And there is no change in atmosphere either. People and conditions are much the same, only on the American side our dollars cost us more.
Western Ontario is, in the main, the most British part of Canada. Its towns have British names, and the streets of the towns have British names, while their atmosphere and design are almost of the Home Counties. The countryside (if one overlooks the absence of hedges—though rows of upturned tree-roots with plants growing among them sometimes have the look of hedges) is the suave, domesticated countryside of England. England is in the very air. And at the first of these curiously English towns the Prince became an Indian chief.
Brantford, though it reminds one of a comely British country town, preferably one with a Church influence in it, is really the capital of the Six Nation Indians. It actually owes its name to Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief, who, having fought his Indians on the side of the British—as the braves of the fierce and powerful Six Nations had always fought on the side of the British—in the War of Independence, marched his tribes from their old camping-grounds in the Mohawk Valley to this place, so that they could remain under British rule.
The Indians of the Six Nations still live in and about Brantford, for, though they have ceded away their lands to settlers, they are among the few of the aboriginal races that have thrived and not decayed under civilization. The Prince's visit to Brantford on Monday, October 20th, was nearly all a visit to the Mohawks, the leaders of the ancient Indian federation of six tribes.
This is not to say that the welcome given him by Canadians was not a great one. As a matter of fact, it was astonishing, and it was difficult to imagine how a small town like this could pack its streets with so many people. But Brantford is industrial and scientific also, as well as being Indian. After a strenuous reception, for instance, the Prince went along to the statue that shrines the town's claim to a place in the history of science. This was the memorial to Dr. Bell, who lived in Brantford and who invented the first telephone in Brantford. They will even show you the trees from which the first line over which the first spoken message sent, was strung.
But the colourful ceremonies of Brantford were those connected with the Mohawks. The Prince was taken out to the small, old wooden chapel that George III. erected for his loyal Mohawk allies. It is the oldest Protestant chapel in the Dominion. On its walls are painted prayers in Mohawk, and it contains an old register that King Edward had signed in 1861. The Prince added his own signature to this before going into the churchyard to see the grave of Joseph Brant.
In the little enclosure before the church were the youngest descendants of the loyal Joseph Brant: ranks of Mohawk boys in khaki, and small Mohawk girls in red and grey. They sang to the Prince in their own language, a singular guttural tongue rendered with an almost abnormal stoicism. The children did not move a muscle of lips or face as they chanted; it might have been a song rendered by graven images.
In the main square of Brantford the Prince was elected chief of the Six Nations. This ceremony was carried out upon a raised and beflagged platform about which a vast throng of pale-faces gathered. Becoming a chief of the Six Nations is no light matter. It is a thing that must be discussed in full with all ceremonies and accurate minutes. The pow-wow on the platform was rather long. Chiefs rose up and debated at leisure in the Iroquois tongue, while the pale-faces in the square, at first quite patient, began to demand in loud voices:
"We want our Prince. We want our Prince."
And to be truthful, not merely the pale-faces found the ceremony lengthy. Gathered on the platform were a number of Mohawk girls, delicate and pretty maidens, with the warmth of their race's colour glowing through the soft texture of their cheeks. They were there because they had thrown flowers in the pathway of the Prince. At first they were interested in this olden ceremony of their old race. Then they began to talk of the wages they were drawing in extremely modern Canadian stores and factories. Then they looked at the ceremony again, at the clothes the Indians wore, at the romance and colour of it, and they said, one to another:
"Say, why have those guys dressed up like that? What's it all about, anyhow? What's the use of this funny old business?"
The romantic may find some food for thought in this attitude of the modern Mohawk maid.
In the end, after a debate on the fitness of several names, the Prince, as president of the pow-wow, gave his vote for "Dawn of Morning," and became chief with that title. But apparently he did not become fully fledged until he had danced a ritual measure. A brother chief in bright yellow and a fine gravity, came forward to guide the Prince's steps, and the Prince, immediately entering into the spirit of the ceremony, joined with him in shuffling and bowing to and fro across the platform. Only after the congratulations from fellow-Mohawks and palefaces, did he leave the daïs to fight—there is no other word—his way through the dense and cheerful mass that packed the square almost to danger-point.
It was a splendid crowd, good-humoured and ardent. It had cheered every moment, though, perhaps, it had cheered more strongly at one moment. This was when an old Indian woman ran up to the Prince, crying: "I met your father and your grandfather, and I'm British too." At her words the Prince had taken the rose from his buttonhole and had presented it to her. And that delighted the crowd.
The fine weather of Monday gave way to pitiless rain on the morning of Tuesday, October 21st. All the same, the rain did not prevent the reception at Guelph from being warm and intensely interesting.
Guelph is one of the many comely and thriving towns of West Ontario, but its chiefest feature is its great Agricultural College that trains the scientific farmer, not of Ontario and Canada alone, but for many countries in the Western World. This college gave the Prince a captivating welcome.
It has men students, but it has many attractive and bonny girl students, also, and these helped to distinguish the day, that is, with a little help from the "movie" men.
The "movie" men who travelled with the train had captured the spectacle of the Prince's arrival at the station, and had driven off to the college to be in readiness to "shoot" when His Royal Highness arrived. They had ten minutes to wait. Not merely that, they had ten minutes to wait in the company of a bunch of the prettiest and liveliest girl students in West Ontario. "Movie" men are not of the hesitant class. Somewhere in the first seventy-five seconds they became old friends of the students who were filling the college windows with so much attraction. In one minute and forty-five seconds they had the girls in training for the Prince's arrival. They had hummed over the melody of what they declared was the Prince's favourite opera selection; a girl at a piano had picked up the tune, while the others practised harder than diva ever did.
When the Prince arrived the training proved worth while. He was saluted from a hundred laughing heads at a score of windows with the song that had followed him all over Canada. He drove into the College, not to the stirring strains of "Oh, Canada," but to the syncopated lilt of "Johnny's in Town."
The Prince was not altogether out of the youthful gaiety of the scene, for after the lunch, where the students had scrambled for souvenirs, a piece of sugar from his coffee cup, a stick of celery from his plate, even a piece of his pie, he made all these dashing young women gather about him in the group that was to make the commemorative photo, and a very jolly, laughing group it was.
And when he was about to leave, and in answer to a massed feminine chorus, this time chanting:
He called out cheerfully:
"All right. I'll fix that holiday." And he did.
The whole of these days were filled with flittings hither and thither on the Grand Trunk line (the passage of the Prince being smoothly manipulated by another of Canada's fine railway men, and a genius in good fellowship, Mr. H. R. Charlton), as the Prince called at the pretty and vigorous towns on the tongue of Ontario that stretches between Lake Huron and Lake Erie to the American border.
Stratford, with something of the comely grace of Shakespeare's town in its avenues of neat homes and fine trees, gave him as warm a reception as anywhere in Canada on the evening of October 21st. On Wednesday, October 22nd, the same hearty welcome was extended by those singularly English towns, Woodstock and Chatham.
On the afternoon of the same day London gave him a mass welcome mainly of children in its big central park. London, Ontario, is an echo of London, Thames. It has its Blackfriars and Regent Street, its Piccadilly and St. James'. It is industrial and crowded, as the English London is. Its public reception to the Prince was remarkable. It had managed it rather well. It had stated that all who wished to be present must apply for tickets of admission. Thousands did, and they passed before the Prince in a motley and genial crowd of top hats and gingham skirts, striped sweaters and satin charmeuse. But though they came in thousands, the numbers of ticket-holders were ultimately exhausted. When the last one had passed, the Prince looked at his wrist watch. There was half an hour to spare before the reception was due to close. He told those about him to open the doors of the building and let the unticketed public in.
From London the Grand Trunk carried us to Windsor on Thursday, October 23rd, where crowds were so dense about the station that they overflowed on to the engine until one could no longer see it for humanity and little boys. From the engine eager sightseers even scrambled along the tops of the great steel cars until they became veritable grandstands.
Crowds were in the virile streets, and they were not all Canadians either. A ferry plies from Windsor to the United States, and America, which at no time lost an opportunity of coming across the border to see the Prince, had come across in great numbers. Canadians there were in Windsor, thousands of them, but quite a fair volume of the cheering had a United States timbre.
A city with an electric fervour, Windsor. That comes not merely from the towering profile of Detroit's skyscrapers seen across the river, but from the spirit of Windsor itself. Detroit is America's "motoropolis," and from the air of it Windsor will be Canada's motoropolis of tomorrow. It is already thrusting its way up to the first line of industrial cities; it is already a centre for the manufacture of the ubiquitous Ford car and others, and it is learning and profiting a lot from its American brother.
The Canadian and American populations are, in a sense, interchangeable. The United States comes across to work in Windsor, and Windsor goes across to work in America. The ferry, not a very bustling ferry, not such a good ferry, for example, as that which crosses the English Thames at Woolwich, carries men and women and carts, and, inevitably, automobiles between the two cities.
Detroit took a great interest in the Prince. It sent a skirmishing line of newspapermen up the railway to meet him, and they travelled in the train with us, and failed, as all pressmen did, to get interviews with him. We certainly took an interest in Detroit. It was not merely the sense-capturing profile of Detroit, the sky-scrapers that give such a sense of soaring zest by day, and look like fairy castles hung in the air at night, but the quick, vivid spirit of the city that intrigued us.
We went across to visit it the next morning, and found it had the delight of a new sensation. It is a city with a sparkle. It is a city where the automobile is a commonplace, and the horse a thing for pause and comment. It contained a hundred points of novelty for us, from the whiteness of its buildings, the beauty of its domestic architecture, the up-to-date advertising of its churches, to its policemen on traffic duty who, on a rostrum and under an umbrella, commanded the traffic with a sign-board on which was written the laconic commands, "Go" and "Stop."
And, naturally, we visited the Ford Works. A place where I found the efficiency of effort almost frighteningly uncanny. One of these days those inhumanly human machines will bridge the faint gulf that separates them from actual life, then, like Frankenstein's monster, they will turn upon their creators.
Galt (Friday, October 24th) gave the Prince another great reception; then, passing through Toronto, he travelled to Kingston, which he reached on Saturday, October 25th.
Kingston, though it had its beginnings in the old stone fort that Frontenac built on the margin of Lake Ontario to hold in check the English settlers in New York and their Iroquois allies, is unmistakably British. With its solid stone buildings, its narrow fillet of blue lake, its stone fortifications on the foreshore, and its rambling streets, it reminded me of Southampton town, especially before Southampton's Western Shore was built over. Its air of being a British seaport arises from the fact that it is a British port, for it was actually the arsenal and yard for the naval forces on the Great Lakes during the war of 1812.
And it also gets its English tone from the Royal Military College which exists here. The bravest function of the Prince's visit was in this college, where he presented colours to the cadets and saw them drill. The discipline of these boys on parade is worthy of Sandhurst, Woolwich or West Point, and their physique is equal to, if not better, than any shown at those places. It is not exactly a military school, though the training is military, for though some of the cadets join Imperial or Canadian forces, and all serve for a time in the Canadian Militia, practically all the boys join professions or go into commerce after passing through.
The Prince's reception at the college was fine, but his reception in the town itself was remarkable. The Public Park was black with people at the ceremony of welcome, and though he was down to "kick off" in the first of the Association League football matches, his kick off was actually a toss-up. That was the only way to get the ball moving in the dense throng that surged between the goal posts.
Kingston, too, gave the Prince the degree of Doctor of Laws. It is a proud honour, for Kingston boasts of being one of the oldest universities in Canada. But though its tradition is old, its spirit is modern enough; for its Chancellor is Mr. E. W. Beatty, the President of the Canadian Pacific Railways. It was from the Railway President-Chancellor the Prince received his degree.
The Prince had had a brief but lively experience of Montreal earlier in his tour. It was but a hint of what was to happen when he returned on Monday, October 27th. It was not merely that Montreal as the biggest and richest city in Canada had set itself the task of winding up the trip in befitting manner; there was that about the quality of its entertainment which made it both startling and charming.
Even before the train reached Windsor Station the Prince was receiving a welcome from all the smaller towns that make up outlying Montreal. At these places the habitant Frenchmen and women crowded about the observation platform of the train to cry their friendliness in French, where English was unknown. And the friendliness was not all on the side of the habitants.
"They tole me," said one old habitant in workingman overalls, "they tole me I could not shake 'is han'. So I walk t'ro' them, Oui. An' 'e see me. A' 'e put out 'is 'an', an' 'e laf—so. I tell you 'e's a real feller, de kin' that shake han' wis men lak me."
Montreal itself met the Prince in a maze of confetti and snow. Montreal was showing its essential self by a happy accident. It was the Montreal of old France, gay and vivacious and full of colour mated to the stern stuff of Canada.
It is true there was not very much snow, merely a fleck of it in the air, that starred the wind-screens of the long line of automobiles that formed the procession; but Canada and Montreal are not all snow, either. It was as though the native spirit of the place was impressing upon us the feeling that underneath the gaiety we were encountering there was all the sternness of the pioneers that had made this fine town the splendid place it is.
There was certainly gaiety in the air on that day. The Prince drove out from the station into a city of cheering. Mighty crowds were about the station. Mighty crowds lined the great squares and the long streets through which he rode, and crowds filled the windows of sky-climbing stores. It was an animated crowd. It expressed itself with the unaided throat, as well as on whistles and with eerie noises on striped paper horns. It used rattles and it used sirens.
And mere noise being not enough, it loosed its confetti. As the Prince drove through the narrow canyon of the business streets, confetti was tossed down from high windows by the bagful. Streamers of all colours shot down from buildings and up from the sidewalks, until the snakes of vivid colour, skimming and uncoiling across the street, made a bright lattice over flagpole and telephone wire, and, with the bright flutter of the flags, gave the whole proceedings a vivid and carnival air.
Strips of coloured paper and torn letter headings fluttered down, too, and in such masses that those who were responsible must have got rid of them by the shovelful. Prince and car were very quickly entangled in fluttering strips and bright streamers, that snapped and fluttered like the multi-tinted tails of comets behind him as he sped.
There was an air of cheery abandon about this whole-hearted friendliness. The crowd was bright and vivacious. There was laughter and gaiety everywhere, and when the Prince turned a corner, it lifted its skirts and with fresh laughter raced across squares and along side streets in order to get another glimpse of this "real feller."
Bands of students, Frenchmen from Laval in velvet berets, and English from McGill, made the sidewalks lively. When they could, they rushed the cars of the procession and rode in thick masses on the footboards in order to keep up with the Royal progress. When policemen drove them off footboards, they waited for the next car to come along and got on to the footboards of that.
When the Prince went into the City Hall they tried to take the City Hall by storm, and succeeded, indeed, in clambering on to all those places where human beings should not go, and from there they sang to the vast crowd waiting for the exit of the Prince, choosing any old tune from "Oh, Canada," in French, to "Johnny's in Town," in polyglot.
It was a great reception, a reception with electricity in it. A reception where France added a colour and a charm to Britain and made it irresistible.
And it was only a sample, that reception.
Tuesday, October 28th, as a day, was tremendous. For the Prince it began at lunch, but a lunch of great brilliance. At the handsome Place Viger Hotel he was again the centre of crowds. Crowds waited in the streets, in spite of the greyness, the damp and the cold. Crowds filled the lobbies and galleries of the hotel to cheer him as he came.
In the great dining-room was a great crowd, a crowd that seemed to be growing out of a wilderness of flowers. There was an amazing profusion and beauty of flowers all through that room. And not merely were there flowers for decoration, but with a graceful touch the Mayor and the City Fathers, who gave that lunch, had set a perfect carnation at the plate of every guest as a favour for his buttonhole.
The gathering was as vivid as its setting. Gallic beards wagged amiably in answer to clean-shaven British lips. The soutane and amethyst cross sat next the Anglican apron and gaiters, and the khaki of two tongues had war experiences on one front translated by an interpreter.
It was an eager gathering that crowded forward from angles of the room or stood up on its seats in order to catch every word the Prince uttered, and it could not cheer warmly enough when he spoke with real feeling of the mutual respect that was the basis of the real understanding between the French-speaking and the English-speaking sections of the Canadian nation.
The reality of that mutual respect was borne out by the throngs that gathered in the streets when the Prince left the hotel. It was through a mere alley in humanity that his car drove to La Fontaine Park, and at the park there was an astonishing gathering.
In the centre of the grass were several thousand veteran soldiers who had served in the war. They were of all arms, from Highlanders to Flying Men, and, ranked in battalions behind their laurel-wreathed standards, they made a magnificent showing. Masses of wounded soldiers in automobiles filled one side of the great square, humanity of both sexes overflowed the other three sides. Ordinary methods of control were hopeless. The throng of people simply submerged all signs of authority and invaded the parade ground until on half of it it was impossible to distinguish khaki in ranks from men and women and children sightseers in chaos.
In the face of this crowd Montreal had to invent a new method of authority. The mounted men having failed to press the spectators back, tanks were loosed.... Oh, not the grim, steel Tanks of the war zone, but the frail and mobile Tanks of civilization—motor-cycles. The motor-cycle police were sent against the throng. The cycles, with their side-cars, swept down on the mass, charging cleverly until the speeding wheels seemed about to drive into civilian suitings. Under this novel method of rounding up, the thick wedges of people were broken up; they yielded and were gradually driven back to proper position.
Again the throngs in the park were only hints of what the Prince was to expect in his drive through the town. Leaving the grounds and turning into the long, straight and broad Sherbrooke Street, the bonnet of his automobile immediately lodged in the thickets of crowds. The splendid avenue was not big enough for the throngs it contained, and the people filled the pavements and spread right across the roadway.
Slowly, and only by forcing a way with the bonnet of the automobile, could the police drive a lane through the cheerful mass. The ride was checked down to a crawl, and as he neared his destination, the Art Gallery, progress became a matter of inches at a time only. It was a mighty crowd. It was not unruly or stubborn; it checked the Prince's progress simply because men and women conform to ordinary laws of space, and it was physically impossible to squeeze back thirty ranks into a space that could contain twenty only.
I suppose I should have written physically uncomfortable, for actually a narrow strip, the width of a car only, was driven through the throng. The people were jammed so tightly back that when the line of cars stopped, as it frequently had to, the people clambered on to the footboards for relief.
In front of the classic portico of the Art Gallery the scene was amazing. The broad street was a sea of heads. Before this wedge of people the Prince's car was stopped dead. Here the point of impossibility appeared to have been reached, for though he was to alight, there was no place for alighting, and even very little space for opening the door of the car. It was only by fighting that the police got him on to the pavement and up the steps of the gallery, and though the crowd was extraordinarily good-tempered, the scuffling was not altogether painless, for in that heaving mass clothes were torn and shins were barked in the struggle.
The Prince was to stand at the top of the steps of the Art Gallery to take the salute of the soldiers he had reviewed in La Fontaine Park, as they swung past in a Victory March. He stood there for over an hour waiting for them. The head of the column had started immediately after he had, but it found the difficulties of progress even more apparent than the Prince. The long column, with the trophies of captured guns and machines of war, could only press forward by fits and starts. At one time it seemed impossible that the veterans would ever get through the pack of citizens, and word was given that the march had been postponed. But by slow degrees the column forced a way to the Art Gallery, and gave the Prince the salute amid enthusiasm that must remain memorable even in Montreal's long history of splendid memories.
Montreal had set to excel itself as a host, and every moment of the Prince's days was brilliantly filled. There were vivid receptions and splendid dances at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the big and comfortable Hotel Windsor. Montreal is the centre of most things in Canada; in it are the head offices of the great railways and the great newspapers and the leading financial and commercial concerns. The big men who control these industries are hospitable with a large gesture. In the hands of these men, not only the Prince, but the members of his entourage had a royal time.
Personally, though I found Montreal a delightful city, a city of vividness and vivacity, I was, in one sense, not sorry to leave it, for I felt myself rapidly disintegrating under the kindnesses showered upon us.
This kindness had its valuable experience: it brought us into contact with many of the men who are helping to mould the future of Canada. We met such capable minds as those who are responsible for the organization of such great companies as the Canadian Pacific and the Grand Trunk Railways. We met many of the great and brilliant newspaper men, such as Senator White, of the Montreal Gazette, who with his exceedingly able right-hand man, Major John Bassett, was our good friend always and our host many times. All these men are undoubtedly forces in the future of Canada. We were able to get from them a juster estimate of Canada, her prospects and her potentialities, than we could have obtained by our unaided observation. And, more, we got from contact with such men as these an appreciation of the splendid qualities that make the Canadian citizen so definite a force in the present and future of the world.
During his stay in Montreal the Prince was brought in contact with every phase of civic life. On Wednesday, October 29th, he went by train through the outlying townships on Montreal Island, calling at the quaint and beautifully decorated villages of the habitants, that usually bear the names of old French saints. The inhabitants of these places, though said to be taciturn and undemonstrative, met the train in crowds, and in crowds jostled to get at the Prince and shake his hand, and they showed particular delight when he addressed them in their own tongue.
On Thursday, October 30th, the Prince drove about Montreal itself, going to the docks where ocean-going ships lie at deep-water quays under the towering elevators and the giant loading gear. Amid college yells, French and English, he toured through the great universities of Laval and McGill—famous for learning and Stephen Leacock. He also toured the districts where the working man lives, holding informal receptions there.
He opened athletic clubs and went to dances. At the balls he was at once the friend of everybody by his zest for dancing and his delightfully human habit of playing truant in order to sit out on the stairs with bright partners.
As ever his thoughtfulness and tact created legends. I was told, and I believe it to be true, that after one dinner he was to drive straight to a big dance; but, hearing that a great number of people had collected along the route to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where he was staying, under the impression that he was to return there, he gave orders that his car was to go to the hotel before going to the dance. It was an unpleasant night, and the drive took him considerably out of his way; but, rather than disappoint the people who had gathered waiting, he took the roundabout journey—and he took it standing in his car so that the people could see him in the light of the lamps.
It was at Montreal, too, that the Prince went to his first theatrical performance in Canada. A great and bright gala performance on music-hall lines had been arranged at one of the principal theatres, and this the Prince attended. The audience with some restraint watched him as he sat in his box, wondering what their attitude should be. But a joke sent him off in a tremendous laugh, and all, realizing that he was there to enjoy himself, joined with him in that enjoyment. He declared as he left the theatre that it was "A scrumptious show."
On Sunday, November 3rd, Montreal, after winding up the tour with a mighty week, gave the Prince a mighty send-off. Officially the tour in Canada was ended, though there were two or three extraordinary functions to be filled at Toronto and Ottawa. The chief of these was at Toronto on Tuesday, November 4th, when the Prince made the most impressive speech of the whole tour at Massey Hall.
This hall was packed with one of the keenest audiences the Prince had faced in Canada. It was made up of members of the Canadian and Empire Clubs, and every man there was a leader in business. It was both a critical gathering and an acute one. It would take nothing on trust, yet it could appreciate every good point. This audience the Prince won completely.
It was the longest speech the Prince had made, yet he never spoke better; he had both mastered his nervousness and his need for notes. Decrying his abilities as an orator, he yet won his hearing by his very lack of oratorical affectation.
He spoke very earnestly of the wonderful reception he had had throughout the breadth of Canada, from every type of Canadian—a reception, he said, which he was not conceited enough to imagine was given to himself personally, but to him as heir to the British throne and to the ideal which that throne stood for. The throne, he pointed out, consolidated the democratic tradition of the Empire, because it was a focus for all men and races, for it was outside parties and politics; it was a bond which held all men together. The Empire of which the throne was the focal point was different from other and ancient Empires. The Empires of Greece and Rome were composed of many states owing allegiance to the mother state. That ideal was now obsolete. The British Empire was a single state composed of many nations which give allegiance not so much to the mother country, but to the great common system of life and government. That is, the Dominions were no longer Colonies but sister nations of the British Empire.
Every point of this telling speech was acutely realized and immediately applauded, though perhaps the warmest applause came after the Prince's definition of the Empire, and after his declaration that, in visiting the United States of America, he regarded himself not only as an Englishman but as a Canadian and a representative of the whole Empire.
In a neat and concise speech the Chairman of the meeting had already summed up the meaning and effect of the Prince's visit to Canada. The Prince, he said, had passed through Canada on a wave of enthusiasm that had swept throughout and had dominated the country. That enthusiasm could have but one effect, that of deepening and enriching Canadian loyalty to the Crown, and giving a new sense of solidarity among the people of Canada. "Our Indian compatriots," he concluded, "with picturesque aptness have acclaimed the Prince as Chief Morning Star. That name is well and prophetically chosen. His visit will usher in for Canada a new day full of wide-flung influence and high achievements."
This summary is the best comment on the reason and effect of the tour.
The last phase of this truly remarkable tour through Canada was staged in Ottawa. As far as ceremonial went, it was entirely quiet, though the Prince made this an occasion for receiving and thanking those Canadians whose work had helped to make his visit a success. Apart from this, the Prince spent restful and recreative days at Government House, in preparation for the strenuous time he was to have across the American border.
But before he reached Ottawa there was just one small ceremony that, on the personal side, fittingly brought the long travel through Canada to an end. At a siding near Colburn on the Ottawa road the train was stopped, and the Prince personally thanked the whole staff of "this wonderful train" for the splendid service they had rendered throughout the trip. It was, he said, a record of magnificent team work, in which every individual had worked with untiring and unfailing efficiency.
He made his thanks not only general but also individual, for he shook hands with every member of the train team; chefs in white overalls, conductors in uniform, photographers, the engineers in jeans and peaked caps, waiters, clerks, negro porters and every man who had helped to make that journey so marked an achievement, passed before him to receive his thanks.
And when this was accomplished the Prince himself took over the train for a spell. He became the engine-driver.
He mounted into the cab and drove the engine for eighteen miles, donning the leather gauntlets (which every man in Canada who does dirty work wears), and manipulating the levers. Starting gingerly at first, he soon had the train bowling along merrily at a speed that would have done credit to an old professional.
At Flavelle the usual little crowd had gathered ready to surround the rear carriage. To their astonishment, they found the Prince in the cab, waving his hat out of the window at them, enjoying both their surprise and his own achievement.
On Wednesday, November 5th, the journey ended at Ottawa, and the train was broken up to our intense regret. For us it had been a train-load of good friends, and though many were to accompany us to America, many were not, and we felt the parting. Among those who came South with us was our good friend "Chief" Chamberlain, who had been in control of the C.P.R. police responsible for the Prince's safety throughout the trip. He was one of the most genial cosmopolitans of the world, with the real Canadian genius for friendship—indeed so many friends had he, that the Prince of Wales expressed the opinion that Canada was populated by seven million people, mainly friends of "the Chief."
My own first real impression of the United States lay in my sorrow that I had been betrayed into winter underclothing.
When the Prince left Ottawa on the afternoon of November 10th in the President's train, the weather was bitterly cold. I suppose it was bitterly cold for most of the run south, but an American train does not allow a hint of such a thing to penetrate. The train was steam-heated to a point to which I had never been trained. And at Washington the station was steam-heated and the hotel was steam-heated, and Washington itself was, for that moment, on the steam-heated latitude. America, I felt, had rather "put it over on me."
It was at 8.20 on the night of Monday the 10th that the Prince entered the United States at the little station of Rouses Point. There was very little ceremony, and it took only the space of time to change our engine of Canada to an engine of America. But the short ceremony under the arc lamps, and in the centre a small crowd, had attraction and significance.
On the platform were drawn up ranks of khaki men, but khaki men with a new note to us. It was a guard of honour of "Doughboys," stocky and useful-looking fellows, in their stetsons and gaiters. Close to them was a band of American girls, holding as a big canopy the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes joined together to make one flag, joined in one piece to signify the meeting-place of the two Anglo-Saxon peoples also.
With this company were the officials who had come to welcome the Prince at the border. They were led by Mr. Lansing, the Secretary of State, Major-General Biddle, who commanded the Americans in England, and who was to be the Prince's Military aide, and Admiral Niblack, who was to be the Naval aide while the Prince was the guest of the United States.
The Prince in a Guard's greatcoat greeted his new friends, and inspected the Doughboys, laughing back at the crowd when some one called: "Good for you, Prince." To the ladies who held the twin flags he also expressed his thanks, telling them it was very nice of them to come out on so cold a night to meet him. Feminine America was, for an instant, non-plussed, and found nothing to answer. But their vivacity quickly came back to them, and they very quickly returned the friendliness and smiles of the Prince, shook his hand and wished him the happiest of visits in their country.
The interchange of nationalities in engines being effected, the train swung at a rapid pace beside the waters of Lake Champlain, pushing south along the old marching route into and out of Canada.
On the morning of November 11th it was raining heavily and the train ran through a depressing greyness. We were all eager to see America, and see her at her best, but a train journey, especially in wet weather, shows a country at its worst. The short stops, for instance, in the stations of great cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore were the sort of things to give a false impression. The stations themselves were empty, a novelty to us, who had had three months of crowded stations, and, also, about these stations we saw slums, for the first time on this Western continent. After having had the conviction grow up within me that this Continent was the land of comely and decent homes, the sight of these drab areas and bad roads was, personally, a shock. Big and old cities find it hard to eliminate slums, but it seemed to me that it would be merely good business to remove such places from out of sight of the railways, and to plan town approaches on a more impressive scale. America certainly can plan buildings on an impressive scale. It has the gift of architecture.
The train went through to Washington in what was practically a non-stop run, and arrived in the rain. The Prince was received in the rain at the back of the train, though that reception was truncated, so that the great Americans who were there to meet him could be presented in the dryness under the station roof.
Heading the group of notable men who met the Prince was the Vice-President, Mr. Marshall, and with him was the British Ambassador, Lord Grey, and General Pershing, a popular figure with the waiting crowd and a hero regarded with rapture by American young womanhood—which was willing to break the Median regulations of the American police to get "just one look at him."
Outside the station there was a vast crowd of American men and women who had braved the downpour to give the Prince a welcome of that peculiarly generous quality which we quickly learnt was the natural expression of the American feeling towards guests.
I was told, too, that crowds along the streets caught up that very cheerful greeting, so that all through his ride along the beautiful streets to the Belmont House in New Hampshire Avenue, which was to be his home in Washington, the Prince was made aware of the hospitality extended to him.
But of this fact I can only speak from hearsay. The Press Correspondents were unable to follow His Royal Highness through the city. We were told that a car was to be placed at our disposal, as one had been elsewhere, and we were asked to wait our turn. Wait we certainly did, until the last junior attaché had been served. By that time, however, His Royal Highness had outdistanced us, for, without a car and without being able to join the procession at an early interval, we lost touch with happenings.
By the time we were able to get on to the route the streets were deserted; all we could do was to admire through the rain the architecture of one of the most beautiful cities of the world.
Apart from the rain on the first day, there was another factor which handicapped Washington in its welcome to the Prince—the warmth of which could not be doubted when it had opportunity for adequate expression. This was the fact that no program of his doings was published. For some reason which I do not pretend to understand, the time-table of his comings and goings about the city was not issued to the Press, so that the people of Washington had but vague ideas of where to see him. The Washington journalists protested to us that this was unfair to a city that has such a great and just reputation for its public hospitality.
However, where the Prince and the Washington people did come together there was an immediate and mutual regard. There was just such a "mixing" that evening, when he visited the National Press Club.
He had spent the day quietly, receiving and returning calls. One of these calls was upon President Wilson at the White House, the Prince driving through this city of an ideal in architecture come true, to spend ten minutes with Mrs. Wilson in a visit of courtesy.
The National Press Club at Washington is probably unique of its kind. I don't mean by that that it is comfortable and attractive; all American and Canadian clubs are supremely comfortable and attractive, for in this Continent clubs have been exalted to the plane of a gracious and fine art; I mean that the spirit of the club gave it a distinguished and notable quality.
America being a country extremely interested in politics—Americans enter into politics as Englishmen enter into cricket—and Washington being the vibrant centre of that intense political concern, the most acute brains of the American news world naturally gravitate to the Capital. The National Press Club at Washington is a club of experts. Its membership is made up of men whose keen intelligence, brilliance in craft and devotion to their calling has lifted them to the top of the tree in their own particular métier.
There was about these men that extraordinary zest in work and every detail of that work that is the secret of American driving power. With them, and with every other American I came into contact with, I felt that work was attacked with something of the joy of the old craftsman. My own impression after a short stay in America is that the American works no harder, and perhaps not so hard as the average Briton; but he works with infinitely more zest, and that is what makes him the dangerous fellow in competition that he is.
The Prince had met many journalists at Belmont House in the morning, and had very readily accepted an invitation to visit them at their club, and after dinner he came not into this den of lions, but into a den of Daniels—a condition very trying for lions. Arriving in evening dress, his youth seemed accentuated among so many shrewd fellows, who were there obviously not to take him or any one for granted.
From the outset his frankness and entire lack of affectation created the best of atmospheres, and in a minute or two his sense of humour had made all there his friends. Having met a few of the journalist corps in the morning, he now expressed a wish to meet them all. The President of the Club raised his eyebrows, and, indicating the packed room, suggested that "all" was, perhaps, a large order. The Prince merely laughed: "All I ask is that you don't grip too hard," he said, and he shook hands with and spoke to every member present.
The Prince certainly made an excellent impression upon men able to judge the quality of character without being dazzled by externals, and many definite opinions were expressed after he left concerning his modesty, his manliness and his faculty for being "a good mixer," which is the faculty Americans most admire.
Wednesday, November 13th, was a busy day. The Prince was out early driving through the beautiful avenues of the city in a round of functions.
Washington is one of the most attractive of cities to drive in. It is a city, one imagines, built to be the place where the architects' dreams come true. It has the air of being a place where the designer has been able to work at his best; climate and a clarified air, natural beauty and the approbation of brother men have all conspired to help and stimulate.
It has scores of beautiful and magnificently proportioned buildings, each obviously the work of a fine artist, and practically every one of those buildings has been placed on a site as effective and as appropriate as its design. That, perhaps, was a simple matter, for the whole town had been planned with a splendid art. Its broad avenues and its delightful parks fit in to the composite whole with an exquisite justness. Its residences have the same charm of excellent craftsmanship one appreciates in the classic public buildings; they are mellow in colouring, behind their screen of trees; nearly all are true and fine in line, while some—an Italianate house on, I think, 15th Avenue, which is the property of Mr. McLean of the Washington Post, is one—are supremely beautiful.
The air of the city is astonishingly clear, and the grave white buildings of the Public Offices, the splendid white aspiration of the skyscrapers, have a sparkling quality that shows them to full advantage. There may, of course, be more beautiful cities than Washington, but certainly Washington is beautiful enough.
The streets have an exhilaration. There is an intense activity of humanity. Automobiles there are, of course, by the thousand, parked everywhere, with policemen strolling round to chalk times on them, or to impound those cars that previous chalk-marks show to have been parked beyond the half-hour or hour of grace. The sidewalks are vivid with the shuttling of the smartest of women, women who choose their clothes with a crispness, a flair of their own, and which owes very little to other countries, and carry them and themselves with a vivid exquisiteness that gives them an undeniable individuality. The stores are as the Canadian stores, only there are more of them, and they are bigger. Their windows make a dado of attractiveness along the streets, but, all the same, I do not think the windows are dressed quite as well as in London, and I'm nearly sure not so well as in Canada—but this is a mere masculine opinion.
Through this attractive city the Prince drove in a round of ceremonies. His first call was at the Headquarters of the American Red Cross, then wrung with the fervours of a "tag" week of collecting. From here he went to the broad, sweet park beside the Potomac, where a noble memorial was being erected to the memory of Lincoln. This, as might be expected from this race of fine builders, is an admirable Greek structure admirably situated in the green of the park beside the river.
The Prince went over the building, and gained an idea of what it would be like on completion from the plans. He also surprised his guides by his intimate knowledge of Lincoln's life and his intense admiration for him.
At the hospital, shortly after, he visited two thousand of "My comrades in arms," as he called them. Outside the hospital on the lawns were many men who had been wounded at Château Thierry, some in wheeled chairs. Seeing them, the Prince swung aside from his walk to the hospital entrance and chatted with them, before entering the wards to speak with others of the wounded men.
On leaving the hospital he was held up. A Red Cross nurse ran up to him and "tagged" him, planting the little Red Cross button in his coat and declaring that the Prince was enrolled in the District Chapter. The Prince very promptly countered with a dollar bill, the official subscription, saying that his enrolment must be done in proper style and on legal terms.
In the afternoon, the Prince utilized his free time in making a call on the widow of Admiral Dewey, spending a few minutes in interesting conversation with her.
The evening was given over to one of the most brilliant scenes of the whole tour. At the head of the splendid staircase of white marble in the Congress Library he held a reception of all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, their wives and their families.
Even to drive to such a reception was to experience a thrill.
As the Prince drove down the straight and endless avenues that strike directly through Washington to the Capitol, like spokes to the hub of a vast wheel, he saw that immense, classic building shining above the city in the sky. In splendid and austere whiteness the Capitol rises terrace upon terrace above the trees, its columns, its cornices and its dome blanched in the cold radiance of scores of arc lights hidden among the trees.
Like fireflies attracted to this centre of light, cars moved their sparkling points of brightness down the vivid avenues, and at the vestibule of the Library, which lies in the grounds apart from the Capitol, set down fit denizens for this kingdom of radiance.
Senators and parliamentarians generally are sober entities, but wives and daughters made up for them in colour and in comeliness. In cloth of gold, in brocades, in glowing satin and flashing silk, multi-coloured and ever-shifting, a stream of jewelled vivacity pressed up the severe white marble stairs in the severe white marble hall. There could not have been a better background for such a shining and pulsating mass of living colour. There was no distraction from that warm beauty of moving humanity; the flowers, too, were severe, severe and white; great masses of white chrysanthemums were all that was needed, were all that was there.
And at the head of the staircase a genius in design had made one stroke of colour, one stroke of astounding and poignant scarlet. On this scarlet carpet the Prince in evening dress stood and encountered the tide of guests that came up to him, were received by him, and flowed away from him in a thousand particles and drops of colour, as women, with all the vivacity of their clothes in their manner, and men in uniforms or evening dress, striving to keep pace with them, went drifting through the high, clear purity of the austere corridors.
It was a scene of infinite charm. It was a scene of infinite significance, also. For close to the Prince as he stood and received the men and women of America, were many original documents dealing with the separation of England and the American colonies. There was much in the fact that a Prince of England should be receiving the descendants of those colonies in such surroundings, and meeting those descendants with a friendliness and frankness which equalled their own frank friendliness.
Thursday, November 14th, was a day of extreme interest for the Prince. It was the day when he visited the home of the first President of America, and also visited, in his home, the President in power today.
The morning was given over to an investiture of the American officers and nurses who had won British honours during the war. It was held at Belmont House, and was a ceremony full of colour. Members of all the diplomatic corps in Washington in their various uniforms attended, and these were grouped in the beautiful ballroom full of splendid pictures and wonderful china. The simplicity of the investiture itself stood out against the colourful setting as generals in khaki, admirals in blue, the rank and file of both services, and the neat and picturesque Red Cross nurses came quietly across the polished floor to receive their decorations and a comradely hand-clasp from the Prince.
It was after lunch that the Prince motored out to Mount Vernon, the home and burial-place of Washington, to pay his tribute to the great leader of the first days of America. It is a serene and beautiful old house, built in the colonial style, with a pillared verandah along its front. The visit here was of the simplest kind.
At the modest tomb of the great general and statesman, which is near the house, the Prince in silence deposited a wreath, and a little distance away he also planted a cedar to commemorate his visit. He showed his usual keen curiosity in the house, whose homely rooms of mellow colonial furniture seemed as though they might be filled at any moment with gentlemen in hessians and brave coats, whose hair was in queues and whose accents would be loud and rich in condemnation of the interference of the Court Circle overseas.
Showing interest in the historic details of the house, the picture of his grandfather abruptly filled him with anxiety. He looked at the picture and asked if "Baron Renfrew" (King Edward) had worn a top hat on his visit, and from his nervousness it seemed that he felt that his own soft felt hat was not quite the thing. He was reassured, however, on this point, for democracy has altered many things since the old days, including hats.
Both on his way out, and his return journey, the Prince was the object of enthusiasm from small groups who recognized him, most of whom had trusted to luck or their intuition for their chance of seeing him. About the entrance of the White House, to which he drove, there was a small and ardent crowd, which cheered him when he swept through the gates with his motor-cycle escort, and bought photographs of him from hawkers when he had passed. The hawker, in fact, did a brisk trade.
There had been much speculation whether His Royal Highness would be able to see President Wilson at all, for he was yet confined to his bed. The doctors decided for it, and there was a very pleasant meeting which seems to have helped the President to renew his good spirits in the youthful charm of his visitor.
After taking tea with Mrs. Wilson, His Royal Highness went up to the room of the President on the second floor, and Mr. Wilson, propped up in bed, received him. The friendship that had begun in England was quickly renewed, and soon both were laughing over the Prince's experiences on his tour and "swopping" impressions.
Mr. Wilson's instinctive vein of humour came back to him under the pleasure of the reunion, and he pointed out to the Prince that if he was ill in bed, he had taken the trouble to be ill in a bed of some celebrity. It was a bed that made sickness auspicious. King Edward had used it when he had stayed at the White House as "Baron Renfrew," and President Lincoln had also slept on it during his term of office, which perhaps accounted for its massive and rugged utility.
The visit was certainly a most attractive one for the President, and had an excellent effect; his physician reported the next morning that Mr. Wilson's spirits had risen greatly, and that as a result of the enjoyable twenty minutes he had spent with the Prince. On Friday, November 15th, the Prince went to the United States Naval College at Annapolis, a place set amid delightful surroundings. He inspected the whole of the Academy, and was immensely impressed by the smartness of the students, who, themselves, marked the occasion by treating him to authentic college yells on his departure.
The week-end was spent quietly at the beautiful holiday centre of Sulphur Springs. It was a visit devoted to privacy and golf.
During our stay in Washington the air was thick with politics, for it was the week in which the Senate were dealing with Clause Ten of the Peace Treaty. The whole of Washington, and, in fact, the whole of America, was tingling with politics, and we could not help being affected by the current emotion.
I am not going to attempt to discuss American politics, but I will say that it seemed to me that politics enter more personally into the life of Americans than with the British, and that they feel them more intensely. At the same time I had a definite impression that American politics have a different construction to ours. The Americans speak of "The Political Game," and I had the feeling that it was a game played with a virtuosity of tactics and with a metallic intensity, and the principle of the game was to beat the other fellows. So much so that the aim and end of politics were obscured, and that the battle was fought not about measures but on the advantages one party would gain over another by victory.
That is, the "Political Game" is a game of the "Ins" and "Outs" played for parliamentary success with the habitual keenness and zest of the American.
This is not a judgment but an impression. I do not pretend to know anything of America. I do not think any one can know America well unless he is an American. Those who think that America quickly yields its secrets to the British mind simply because America speaks the English language need the instruction of a visit to America.
America has all the individuality and character of a separate and distinct State. To think that the United States is a sort of Transatlantic Britain is simply to approach the United States with a set of preconceived notions that are bound to suffer considerable jarring. Both races have many things in common, that is obvious from the fact of a common language, and, in a measure, from a common descent; but they have things that are not held in common. It needs a closer student of America than I am to go into this; I merely give my own impression, and perhaps a superficial one at that. It may offer a point of elucidation to those people who find themselves shocked because English-speaking America sometimes does not act in an English manner, or respond to English acts.
America is America first and all the time; it is as complete and as definite in its spirits as the oldest of nations, and in its own way. Its patriotism is intense, more intense than British patriotism (though not more real), because by nature the American is more intense. The vivid love of Americans for America is the same type of passion that the Frenchman has for France.
The character of the American, as I encountered him in Washington, Detroit, and New York—a very limited orbit—suggested differences from the character of the Englishman. The American, as I see him, is more simple, more puritan, and more direct than the Briton. His generosity is a most astonishing thing. He is, as far as I can see, a genuine lover of his brother-man, not theoretically but actively, for he is anxious to get into contact, to "mix," to make the most of even a chance acquaintance. Simply and directly he exposes the whole of himself, says what he means and withholds nothing, so that acquaintance should be made on an equitable and genuine basis. To the more conservative Briton this is alarming; brought up in a land of reticences, the Briton wonders what the American is "getting at," what does he want? What is his game? The American on his side is baffled by the British habit of keeping things back, and he, too, perhaps wonders why this fellow is going slow with me? Doesn't he want to be friends?
Personally, I think that the directness and simplicity of the Americans is the directness and simplicity of the artist, the man who has no use for unessentials. And one gets this sense of artistry in an American's business dealings. He goes directly at his object, and he goes with a concentrated power and a zest that is exhilarating. Here, too, he exposes his hand in a way bewildering to the Britisher, who sometimes finds the American so candid in his transactions that he becomes suspicious of there being something more behind it.
To the American work is something zestful, joyous. He likes to get things done; he likes to do big things with a big gesture—sometimes to the damage of detail, which he has overlooked—for him work is craftsmanship, a thing to be carried through with the delight of a craftsman. He is, in fact, the artist as business man.
Like all artists he has an air of hardness, the ruthlessness to attain an end. But like all artists he is quick and generous, vivid in enthusiasm and hard to daunt. Like the artist he is narrow in his point of view at times and decisive in opinion—simply because his own point of vision is all-absorbing.
This, for example, is apparent in his democracy, which is extraordinarily wide in certain respects, and singularly restricted in others—an example of this is the way the Americans handle offenders against their code; whether they be I.W.W., strikers or the like, their attitude is infinitely more ruthless than the British attitude. Another example is, having so splendid a freedom, they allow themselves to be "bossed" by policemen, porters and a score of others who exert an authority so drastic on occasions that no Briton would stand it.
But over all I was struck by the vividity of the Americans I met. Business men, journalists, writers, store girls, clerks, clubmen, railway men—all of them had an air of passionate aliveness, an intellectual avidity that made contact with them an affair of delightful excitement.
There was no qualification or reservation in New York's welcome to the Prince of Wales.
In the last year or so I have seen some great crowds, and by that I mean not merely vast aggregations of people, but vast gatherings of people whose ardour carried away the emotions with a tremendous psychic force. During that year I had seen the London crowd that welcomed back the British military leader; the London and Manchester crowds, and vivid and stirring crowds they were, that dogged the footsteps of President Wilson; I had seen the marvellous and poignant crowd at the London Victory March, and I had had a course of crowds, vigorous, affectionate and lively, in Montreal, Toronto and throughout Canada.
I had been toughened to crowds, yet the New York crowd that welcomed the Prince was a fresh experience. It was a crowd that, in spite of writing continuously about crowds for four months, gave me a direct impulse to write yet again about a crowd, that gave me the feeling that here was something fresh, sparkling, human, warm, ardent and provocative. It was a crowd with a flutter of laughter in it, a crowd that had a personality, an insouciance, an independence in its friendliness. It was a crowd that I shall always put beside other mental pictures of big crowds, in that gallery of clear vignettes of things impressive that make the memory.
There was a big crowd about the Battery long before the Prince was due to arrive across the river from the Jersey City side. It was a good-humoured crowd that helped the capable New York policemen to keep itself well in hand. It was not only thick about the open grass space of the Battery, but it was clustering on the skeleton structure of the Elevated Railway, and mounting to the sky, floor by floor, on the skyscrapers.
High up on the twenty-second floor of neighbouring buildings we could see a crowd of dolls and windows, and the dolls were waving shreds of cotton. The dolls were women and the cotton shred was "Old Glory." High up on the tremendous cornice of one building a tiny man stood with all the calm gravity of a statue. He was unconcerned by the height, he was only concerned in obtaining an eagle's eye view.
About the landing-stage itself, the landing-stage where the new Americans and the notabilities land, there was a wide space, kept clear by the police. Admirable police these, who can handle crowds with any police, who held us up with a wall of adamant until we showed our letters from the New York Reception Committee (our only, and certainly not the official, passes), and then not only let us through without fuss but helped us in every possible way to go everywhere and see everything.
In this wide space were gathered the cars for the procession, and the notabilities who were to meet the Prince, and the camera men who were to snap him. Into it presently marched United States Marines and Seamen. A hefty lot of men, who moved casually, and with a slight sense of slouch as though they wished to convey "We're whales for fighting, but no damned militarists."
Since the Prince was not entering New York by steamer—the most thrilling way—but by means of a railway journey from Sulphur Springs, New York had taken steps to correct this mode of entry. He was not to miss the first impact of the city. He would make a water entry, if only an abbreviated one, and so experience one of the Seven (if there are not more, or less) Sensations of the World, a sight of the profile of Manhattan Island.
The profile of Manhattan (blessed name that O. Henry has rolled so often on the palate) is lyric. It is a sierra of skyscrapers. It is a flight of perfect rockets, the fire of which has frozen into solidity in mid-soaring. It is a range of tall, narrow, poignant buildings that makes the mind think of giants, or fairies, or, anyhow, of creatures not quite of this world. It is one of the few things the imagination cannot visualize adequately, and so gets from it a satisfaction and not a disappointment.
This sight the Prince saw as he crossed in a launch from the New Jersey side, and "the beauty and dignity of the towering skyline," his own words, so impressed him that he was forced to speak of it time and time again during his visit to the city. And on top of that impression came the second and even greater one, for, and again I use his own words, "men and women appeal to me even more than sights." This second impression was "the most warm and friendly welcome that followed me all through the drive in the city."
When the Prince landed he seemed to me a little anxious; he was at the threshold of a great and important city, and his welcome was yet a matter of speculation. In less than fifteen minutes he was smiling as he had smiled all through Canada, and, as in Canada, he was standing in his car, formality forgotten, waving back to the crowd with a friendliness that matched the friendliness with which he was received.
He faced the city of Splendid Heights with glances of wonder at the line of cornices that crowned the narrow canyon of Broadway, and rose up crescendo in a vista closed by the campanile of the Woolworth Building, raised like a pencil against the sky, fifty-five storeys high. On the beaches beneath these great crags, on the sidewalks, and pinned between the sturdy policemen—who do not turn backs to the crowd but face it alertly—and the sheer walls was a lively and vast throng. And rising up by storeys was a lively and vast throng, hanging out of windows and clinging to ledges, perilous but happy in their skyscraper-eye view.
And from these high-up windows there began at once a characteristic "Down Town" expression of friendliness. Ticker-tape began to shoot downward in long uncoiling snakes to catch in flagpoles and window-ledges in strange festoons. Strips of paper began to descend in artificial snow, and confetti, and basket-loads of torn letter paper. All manner of bits of paper fluttered and swirled in the air, making a grey nebula in the distance; glittering like spangles of gold against the severe white cliffs of the skyscrapers when the sun caught them.
On the narrow roadway the long line of automobiles was littered and strung with paper, and the Prince had a mantle of it, and was still cheery. He could not help himself. The reception he was getting would have swept away a man of stone, and he has never even begun to be a man of stone. The pace was slow, because of the marching Marine escort, and people and Prince had full opportunity for sizing up each other. And both people and Prince were satisfied.
Escorted by the motor-cyclist police, splendid fellows who chew gum and do their duty with an astonishing certainty and nimbleness, the Prince came to the City Hall Square, where the modern Brontosaurs of commerce lift mightily above the low and graceful City Hall, which has the look of a petite mother perpetually astonished at the size of the brood she has reared.
Inside the hall the Prince became a New Yorker, and received a civic welcome. He expressed his real pride at now being a Freeman of the two greatest cities in the world, New York and London, two cities that were, moreover, so much akin, and upon which depends to an extraordinary degree the financial health and the material as well as spiritual welfare of all continents. As for his welcome, he had learnt to appreciate the quality of American friendship from contact with members of the splendid fighting forces that had come overseas, but even that, he indicated, had not prepared him for the wonder of the greeting he had received.
Outside the City Hall the vast throng had waited patiently, and they seemed to let their suppressed energy go as the Prince came out of the City Hall to face the massed batteries of photographers, who would only allow snapshots to be his "pass" to his automobile.
The throngs in financial "Down Town" gave way to the massed ranks of workers from the big wholesale and retail houses that occupy middle New York as the Prince passed up Broadway, the street that is not as broad as other streets, and the only one that wanders at its own fancy in a kingdom of parallels and right-angles. At the corner where stands Wanamaker's great store the crowd was thickest. Here was stationed a band in a quaint old-time uniform of red tunics, bell trousers and shakos, while facing them across the street was a squad of girls in pretty blue and white military uniforms and hats.
Soon the line of cars swung into speed and gained Fifth Avenue, passing the Flatiron building, which is now not a wonder. Such soaring structures as the Metropolitan Tower, close by in Madison Square, have taken the shine out of it, and in the general atmosphere of giants one does not notice its freakishness unless one is looking for it.
Fifth Avenue is superb; it is the route of pageants by right of air and quality. It is Oxford Street, London, made broad and straight and clean. It has fine buildings along its magnificent reach, and some noble ones. It has dignity and vivacity, it has space and it has an air. In the graceful open space about Madison Square there stood the massive Arch of Victory, under which America's soldiers had swung when they returned from the front. It was a temporary arch constructed with realism and ingenuity; the Prince passed under it on his way up the avenue.
He went at racing pace up to and into Central Park, that convincing affectation of untrammelled Nature (convincing because it is untrammelled), that beautiful residences of town dwellers look into. He swung to the left by the gracious pile of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and out on to Riverside Park, that hangs its gardens over the deep waters of the Hudson River. Standing isolated and with a fine serenity above green and water is General Grant's tomb, and at the wideflung white plaza of this the Prince dismounted, going on foot to the tomb, and in the tomb, going alone to deposit a wreath on the great soldier's grave.
Riverside Park had its flowering of bright people, and its multitude of motors to swarm after the Prince as he passed along the Drive, paused to review a company of English-Americans who had served in the war, and then continued on his way to the Yacht Club jetty, where he was to take boat to the Renown. Lying in deep water high up in the town was this one of the greatest of the modern warships, her greatness considerably diminished by the buildings lifting above her. To her the Prince went after nearly three months' absence, and on her he lived during his stay in New York.
When I say that the Prince lived on board the Renown, I mean that he lived on her in his moments to spare. In New York the visitor is lucky who has a few moments to spare. New York's hospitality is electric. It rushes the guest off his feet. Even if New York is not definitely engaged to entertain you at specific minutes, it comes round to know if you have everything you want, whether it can do anything for you.
New York was calling on the Prince almost as soon as he went aboard. There was a lightning lunch to Mr. Wanamaker, the President of the Reception Committee, and other members of that body, and then the first of the callers began to chug off from the landing-stage towards the Renown. Deputations from all the foreign races that make New York came over the side, distinguished Americans called. And, before anybody else, the American journalist was there.
The Prince was no stranger to the American journalist. They were old friends of his. Some of them had been with him in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and he had made friends with them at Quebec. He remembered these writers and that friendship was renewed in a pleasant chat. The journalists liked him, too, though they admit that he has a charming way of disarming them. They rather admired the adroit diplomacy with which he derailed such leading questions as those dealing with the delicate and infinite subject of American girls: whether he liked them: and how much?
He met these correspondents quite frankly, appreciating at once the fact that it was through them that he could express to the people of America his intense feeling of thanks for the singular warmth of America's greeting.
From seeing all these visitors the Prince had only time left to get into evening dress and to be whirled off in time to attend a glittering dinner given at the Waldorf-Astoria by Mrs. Henry Pomeroy Davidson on behalf of the Council of the American Red Cross. It was a vivid and beautiful function, but it was one that bridged the time before another, and before ten o'clock the Prince was on the move again, and, amid the dance of the motor-bike "cops," was being rushed off to the Metropolitan Opera House.
He was swung down Broadway where the advertisements made a fantasy of the sky, a fantasy of rococo beauty where colours on the huge pallets of skyscrapers danced and ran, fused and faded, grouped and regrouped, each a huge and coherent kaleidoscope.
Here a gigantic kitten of lights turned a complete somersault in the heavens as it played with a ball of wool. There six sky-high manikins with matchstick limbs, went through an incandescent perpetual and silent dance. In the distance was a gigantic bull advertising tobacco—all down this heavenly vista there were these immense signs, lapping and over-lapping in dazzling chaos. And seen from one angle, high up, unsupported, floating in the very air and eerily unsubstantial, was a temple lit by bale-fires that shone wanly at its base. It was merely a building superimposed upon a skyscraper, but in the dark there was no skyscraper, and the amazing structure hung there lambent, silent, enigmatic, a Wagnerian temple in the sky.
Broadway, which sprouts theatres as a natural garden sprouts flowers, was jewelled with lights, lights that in the clear air of this continent shone with a lucidity that we in England do not know. Before the least lighted of these buildings the Prince stopped. He had arrived at the austere temple of the high arts, the Metropolitan Opera House.
Inside Caruso and a brilliant audience waited impatiently for his presence. The big and rather sombre house was quick with colour and with beauty. The celebrated "Diamond Horseshoe," the tiers of the galleries, and the floor of the house were vivid with dresses, shimmering and glinting with all the evasive shades of the spectrum, with here a flash of splendid jewels, there the slow and sumptuous flutter of a great ostrich fan.
Part of the program had been played, but Pagliacci and Caruso were held up while the vivid and ardent people craned out of their little crimson boxes in the Horseshoes and turned and looked up from the bright mosaic of the floor at the empty box which was to be the Prince's.
There was a long roll of drums, and with a single movement the orchestra marched into the melody of "God bless the Prince of Wales," and the Prince, looking extraordinarily embarrassed, came to the front of the box.
At once there was no melody of "God bless the Prince of Wales" perceptible; a wave of cheering and hand-clapping swept it away. The whole of the people on the floor of the house turned to look upward and to cheer. The people under the tiers crowded forward into the gangways until the gangways were choked, and the floor was a solid mass of humanity. Bright women and men correctly garbed imperilled their necks in the galleries above in order to look down. It was an unforgettable moment, and for the Prince a disconcerting one.
He stood blushing and looking down, wondering how on earth he was to endure this stark publicity. He was there poised bleakly for all to see, an unenviable position. And there was no escape. He must stand there, because it was his job, and recover from the nervousness that had come from finding himself so abruptly thrust on to this veritable pillar of Stylites in the midst of an interested and curious throng.
The interest and the curiosity was intensely friendly. His personality suffered not at all from the fact that he had lost his calm at a moment when only the case-hardened could have remained unmoved. His embarrassment, indeed, made the audience more friendly, and it was with a sort of intimacy that they tittered at his familiar tricks of nervousness, his fumbling at his tie, tugging of his coat lapels, the passing of the hand over his hair, even the anxious use of his handkerchief.
And this friendly and soft laughter became really appreciative when they saw him tackle the chairs. There were two imposing and pompous gilt chairs at the front of the box, filling it, elbowing all minor, human chairs out of the way. The Prince turned and looked at them, and turned them out. He would have none of them. He was not there to be a superior person at all; he was there to be human and enjoy human companionship. He had the front of the box filled with chairs, and he had friends in to sit with him and talk with him when intervals in the music permitted. And the audience was his friend for that; they admired him for the way he turned his back on formalities and ceremonials. General Pershing, who gratifies one's romantic sense by being extraordinarily like one's imaginative pictures of a great General, came to sit with him, and there was another outburst of cheering. I think that the petits morceaux from the operas were but side-shows. Although Rosina Galli ravished the house with her dancing (how she must love dancing), opera glasses were swivelled more toward the Royal box than to the stage, and the audience made a close and curious study of every movement and every inflection of the Prince.
The cheering broke out again, from people who crowded afresh into the gangways, when the Prince left, and in a mighty wave of friendliness the official program of the first day closed.
There was an unofficial ending to the day. The Prince, with several of his suite, walked in New York, viewed this exhilarating city of lights and vistas by night, got his own private and unformal view of the wonders of skyscraping townscape, the quick, nervous shuttle of the sidewalks, the rattle of the "Elevated," the sight, for the first time in a long journey, of motor-buses. And without doubt he tasted the wonder of a city of automobiles still clinging to the hansom cab.
About this outing there have been woven stories of a glamour which might have come from the fancy of O. Henry and the author of the "Arabian Nights" working in collaboration. The Prince is said to have plunged into the bizarre landscape of the Bowery, which is Whitechapel better lighted, and better dressed with up-to-date cafes, where there are dance halls in which with the fathomless seriousness of the modern, jazz is danced to violins and banjoes and the wailing ukelele.
They tell me that Ichabod has been written across the romantic glory of the Bowery, and that for colour and the spice of life one has to go further west (which is Manhattan's East End) to Greenwich Village, where life strikes Chelsea attitudes, and where one descends subterraneanly, or climbs over the roofs of houses to Matisse-like restaurants where one eats rococo meals in an atmosphere of cigarette smoke, rice-white faces, scarlet lips, and bobbed hair. But there are yet places in the Bowery to which one taxis with a thrill of hope, where the forbidden cocktail is served in a coffee cup, where wine bottles are put on to the table with brown paper wrapped round them to preserve the fiction that they came from one's own private (and legal) store, where in bare, studiously Bowery chambers the hunter of a new frisson sits and dines and hopes for the worst.
The Bowery is dingy and bright; it has hawkers' barrows and chaotic shop windows. It has the curiosity-stimulating, cosmopolite air of all dockside areas, but to the Englishman accustomed to the picturesque bedragglement of East End costumes, it is almost dismayingly well-dressed. Its young men have the leanness of outline that comes from an authentic American tailor. Its Jewesses have the neat crispness of American fashion that gives their vivid beauty a new and sparkling note. It was astonishing the number of beautiful young women one saw on the Bowery, but not astonishing when one recalls the number of beautiful young women one saw in New York. Fifth Avenue at shopping time, for example, ceases to be a street: it becomes a pageant of youth and grace.
The Prince, of course, may have gone into the Bowery, and walked therein with the air of a modern Caliph, but I myself have not heard of it. I was told that he went for a walk to the house of a friend, and that after paying a very pleasant and ordinary visit he returned to the Renown to get what sleep he could before the adventure of another New York day.
The morning of Wednesday, November 19th, was devoted by the Prince to high finance; he went down to Wall Street and to visit the other temples of the gold god.
When one has become acclimated to the soaring upward rush of the skyscrapers (and one quite soon loses consciousness of them, for where all buildings are huge each building becomes commonplace), when one stops looking upward, "Down Town" New York is strangely like the "City" area of London. Walking Broadway one might easily imagine oneself in the neighbourhood of the Bank of England; Wall Street might easily be a turning out of Bishopsgate or Cannon Street. Broad Street, New York, is not so very far removed in appearance from Broad Street, London.
There is the same preoccupied congestion of the same work-mazed people: clerks, typists (stenographers), book-keepers, messengers and masters, though, perhaps, the people of the New York business quarter do not wear the air of sadness those of London wear.
And there is the same massive solidity of business buildings, great blocks that house thirty thousand souls in the working day, and these buildings have the same air as their London brothers; that is, they seem to be monuments to financial integrity (just as mahogany furniture, with a certain type, is an indication of "standing and weight") rather than offices. And if New York buildings are, on the whole, more distinguished, are characterized by a better art, they are, on the other hand, not relieved by the humanity of the shops that gives an air of brightness to the London commercial area. In New York "Down Town" the shops are mainly inside the buildings, and it is in the corridors of the big blocks that the clerk buys his magazines, papers, "candies," sandwiches and cigars.
The interiors of the buildings are ornate, they are sleek with marble, and quite often beautiful with it. They are well arranged; the skyscraper habit makes for short corridors, and you can always find your man easily (as in the hotels) by the number of his room: thus, if his number is 1201 he is on the twelfth floor, 802 is on the eighth, and 2203 is on the twenty-second; each floor is a ten.
Up to the floors one ascends by means of one of a fleet of elevators, some being locals and some being expresses to a certain floor and local beyond. Whether the fleet is made up of two or ten lifts, there is always a man to control them, a station-master of lifts who gives the word to the liftboys. To the Englishman he is a new phenomenon. He seems a trifle unnecessary [but he may be put there by law]; he is soon seen to be one of a multitude of men in America who "stand over" other men while they do the job.
The unexpected thing in buildings so fine as this, occupied by men who are addicted to business, is that the offices have rather a makeshift air. The offices I saw in America do not compare in comfort with the offices I know in England. There is a bleakness, an aridity about them that makes English business rooms seem luxurious in comparison. I talked of this phenomenon with a friend, instancing one great office, to be met with surprise and told: "Why! But that office is held up as an example of what offices should be like. We are agitating to get ours as good as that." After this I did not talk about offices.
The "Down Town" restaurants bring one vividly back to London. They are underground, and there is the same thick volume of masculinity and masculine talk in them. They are a trifle more ornate, and the food is better cooked and of infinitely greater variety (they would not be American otherwise), but over all the air is the same.
Into the familiar business atmosphere of this quarter the Prince came early. He drove between crowds and there were big crowds at the points where he stopped—at the Woolworth building and at Trinity Church, that stands huddled and dwarfed beneath the basilicas of business. The intense interest of his visit began when he arrived at the Stock Exchange.
The business on the floor was in full swing when he came out on to the marble gallery of the vast, square marble hall of the Exchange, and the busy swarm of money-gathering men beneath his eyes immediately stopped to cheer him. To look down, as he did, was to look down upon the floor of some great bazaar. The floor is set with ranks of kiosks spaced apart, about which men congregate only to divide and go all ways; these kiosks might easily be booths. The floor itself is in constant movement; it is a disturbed ant-heap with its denizens speeding about always in unconjectural movements. Groups gather, thrust hands and fingers upward, shout and counter-shout, as though bent on working up a fracas; then when they seem to have succeeded they make notes in small books and walk quietly away. Messengers, who must work by instinct, weave in and out of the stirring of ants perpetually. In a line of cubicles along one side of the Exchange, crowds of men seemed to be fighting each other for a chance at the telephone.
Two of the tremendous walls of this hall are on the street, and superb windows allow in the light. On the two remaining walls are gigantic blackboards. Incessantly, small flaps are falling on these blackboards revealing numbers. They are the numbers of members who have been "called" over the 'phone or in some other way. The blackboards are in a constant flutter, the tiny flaps are always falling or shutting, as numbers appear and disappear, and the boards are starred with numbers waiting patiently for the eye of the member on the floor to look up and be aware of them.
The Prince stood on the high gallery under the high windows, and watched with vivid curiosity the bustling scene below. He asked a number of eager questions, and the strange silent dance of numbers on the big blackboards intrigued him greatly. Underneath him the members gathered in a great crowd, calling up to him to come down on the floor. There was a jolly eagerness in their demands, and the Prince, as he went, seemed to hesitate as though he were quite game for the adventure. But he disappeared, and though the Bears and the Bulls waited a little while for him, he did not reappear. Those who knew that a full twelve-hour program could only be accomplished by following the timetable with rigid devotion had had their way.
From the Stock Exchange the Prince went to the Sub-Treasury, and watched, fascinated, the miracle work of the money counters. The intricacies of currency were explained to him, and he was shown the men who went through mounds of coin, with lightning gestures separating the good from the bad with their instinctive finger-tips and with the accuracy of one of Mr. Ford's uncanny machines. He was told that the touch of these men was so exquisite that they could detect a "dud" coin instantly, and, to test them, such a coin was produced and marked, and well hidden in a pile of similar coins. The fingers of the teller went through the pile like a flash, and as he flicked the good coins towards him, and without ceasing his work, a coin span out from the mass towards the Prince. It was the coin he had marked.
Passing among these business people and driving amid the quick crowds, the Prince had been consolidating the sense of intimate friendship that had sprung up on the previous day. A wise American pressman had said to me on Tuesday:
"New York people like what they've read about the Prince. They'll come out today to see if what they have read is true. Tomorrow they'll come out because they love him. And each day the crowds will get better."
This proved true. The warmth of New York's friendliness increased as the days went on. The scene at the lunch given by the New York Chamber of Commerce proved how strong this regard had grown. The scene was remarkable because of the character and the quality of the men present. It was no admiration society. It was no gathering of sentimentalists. The men who attended that lunch were men not only of international reputation, but of international force, men of cautious fibre accustomed to big encounters, not easily moved to emotion. And they fell under the charm of the Prince.
One of them expressed his feelings concerning the scene to me.
"He had it over us all the time," he said, laughing. "There we were, several hundreds of grey-headed, hardened old stiffs, most of us over twice his age, and we stood up and yelled like college freshmen when he had finished speaking to us.
"What did he say to us? Nothing very remarkable. He told us how useful we old ones in the money market had been as a backbone to the boys in the firing line. He told us that he felt that the war had revealed clearly the closeness of the relationship between the two Anglo-Saxon nations, how their welfare was interlocked and how the prosperity of each was essential to the prosperity of the other, and he agreed with the President of the Chamber's statement that British and American good faith and good will would go far to preserve the stability of the world. There's nothing very wonderful to that. It's true enough, but not altogether unknown.... It was his manner that caught hold of us. The way he speaks, you see. His nervousness, and his grit in conquering his nervousness. His modesty; his twinkle of humour, all of him. He's one fine lad. I tell you we've had some big men in the Chamber in the last two years, but it's gilt-edged truth that none of the big ones had the showing that lad got today."
From the Chamber of Commerce the Prince went to the Academy of Music where there was a picture and variety show staged for him, and which he enjoyed enormously. The thrill of this item of the program was rather in the crowd than in the show. It was an immense crowd, and for once it vanquished the efficient police and swarmed about His Royal Highness as he entered the building. While he was inside it added to its strength rather than diminished, and in the face of this crisis one of those men whose brains rise to emergencies had the bright idea of getting the Prince out by the side door. The crowd had also had that bright idea and the throng about the side door was, if anything, more dense than at the front. Through this laughing and cheering mass squads of good-humoured police butted a thread of passage for the happy Prince.
The throng inside Madison Square Garden about the arena of the Horse Show was more decorous, as became its status, but it did not let that stifle its feelings. The Prince passed through from a cheering crowd outside to the bright, sharp clapping of those inside. He passed round the arena between ranks of Salvation Army lassies, who held, instead of barrier ropes, broad scarlet ribbons.
There was a laugh as he touched his hair upon gaining the stark publicity of his box, and the laugh changed to something of a cheer when he caught sight of the chairs of pomp, two of them in frigid isolation, elbowing out smaller human fry. All knew from his very attitude what was going to happen to those chairs. And it happened. The chairs vanished. Small chairs and more of them took their place, and the Prince sat with genial people about him.
The arena was a field of brightness. It was delightfully decorated with green upon lattice work. Over the competitors' entrance were canvas replicas of Tudor houses. In the ring the Prince saw many beautiful horses, fine hunters, natty little ponies pulling nattier carriages, trotters of mechanical perfection, and big lithe jumpers. In the middle of the jumping competition he left his box and went into the ring, and spent some time there chatting with judges and competitors, and watching the horses take the hurdles and gates from close quarters.
Leaving the building there happened one of those vivid little incidents which speak more eloquently than any effort of oratory could of the kinship of the two races in their war effort. A group of men in uniform who had been waiting by the exit sprang to attention as he came up. They were all Americans. They were all in British uniform—most of them in British Flying Corps uniform. As the Prince came up, they clicked round in a smart "Left turn," and marched before him out of the building.
The Prince from thence on vanished for the day into a round of semi-social functions, but he did not escape the crowds.
Walking up Fifth Avenue with friends shortly before dinner-time, we came upon a bunched jumble of people outside the "Waldorf-Astoria." It was a crowd that a man in a hurry could not argue with. It filled the broad street, and it did not care if it impeded traffic. We were not in a hurry, so we stood and looked. I asked my friends what was happening here, and one of them chuckled and answered:
"They've got him again."
"Him? Who—you can't mean the Prince? He's on Renown now, resting, or getting ready for a dinner. There's nothing down for him."
My friend simply chuckled again.
"Who else would it be?" he said. "How they do gather round waiting for that smile of his. Flies round a honey-pot. Ah, I thought so."
The Prince made a dash of an exit from the hotel. He jumped into the car, and at once there was a forest of hands and handkerchiefs and flags waving, and his own hand and hat seemed to go up and wave as part of one and the same movement. It was a spontaneous "Hallo, People! Hallo, Prince!" A jolly affair. The motor started, pushed through the crowd. There was a sharp picture of the Prince half standing, half kneeling, looking back and laughing and waving to the crowd. Then he was gone.
The men and women of the throng turned away smiling, as though something good had happened.
"They've seen him. They can go home now," said my friend. "My, ain't they glad about themselves.... And isn't he the one fine scout?"
When the Prince made his appearance on Thursday, November 20th, in the uniform of a Welsh Guardsman he came in for a startling ovation. Not only were many people gathered about the Yacht Club landing-stage and along the route of his drive, but at one point a number of ladies pelted him with flowers. Startled though the Prince was, he kept his smile and his sense of humour. He said dryly that he had never known what it was to feel like a bride before, and he returned this volley with his friendly salute.
He was then setting out to the Grand Central Station for his trip up the Hudson to West Point, the Military Academy of the United States.
In the superb white station, under a curved arch of ceiling as blue as the sky, he took the full force of an affection that had been growing steadily through the visit. The immense floor of the building was dense and tight with people, and the Prince, as he came to the balcony that made the stair-head was literally halted by the great gust of cheering that beat up to him, and was forced to stand at the salute for a full minute.
The journey to West Point skirted the Hudson, where lovely view after lovely view of the piled-up and rocky further shore tinted in the russet and gold of the dying foliage came and went. There was a rime of ice already in the lagoons, and the little falls that usually tumbled down the rocks were masses of glittering icicles.
The castellated walls of West Point overhang the river above a sharp cliff; the buildings have a dramatic grouping that adds to the extreme beauty of the surroundings. Toward this castle on the cliff the Prince went by a little steam ferry, was taken in escort by a smart body of American cavalrymen, and in their midst went by automobile up the road to the grey towers of West Point.
Immediately on his arrival at the saluting point on the great campus the horizon-blue cadets, who will one day be the leaders of the American army, began to march.
Paraded by the buildings, they fell into columns of companies with mechanical precision. With precise discipline they moved out on to the field, the companies as solid as rocks but for the metronomic beat of legs and arms.
They were tall, smart youths, archaic and modern in one. With long blue coats, wide trousers, shakos, broad white belts, as neat as painted lines, over breast and back, and, holding back the flaps of capes, they looked figures from the fifties. But the swing of the marching companies, the piston-like certainty of their action, the cold and splendid detachment of their marching gave them all the flare [Transcriber's note: flair?] of a corps d'élite.
Forming companies almost with a click on the wide green, they saluted and stood at attention while the Prince and his party inspected the lines. Then, the Prince at the saluting point again, the three companies in admirable order marched past. There was not a flaw in the rigid ranks as they swept along, their eyes right, the red-sashed "four year men" holding slender swords at the salute.
The Prince lunched with the officers, and after lunch the cadets swarmed into the room to hear him speak, having first warmed up the atmosphere with a rousing and prolonged college yell. Having spoken in praise of their discipline and bearing, the Prince was made the subject of another yell, and more, was saluted with the college whistle, a thing unique and distinctive, that put the seal upon his visit.
That night the Prince played host upon Renown, giving a brilliant dinner to his friends in New York. This was the only other ceremony of the day.
Friday, November 21st, the Prince's last day in New York, was an extraordinarily full one, and that full not merely in program, but in emotion. In that amazing day it seemed to me that the people of this splendid city sought to express with superb eloquence the regard they felt for him, seemed to make a point of trying to make his last day memorable.
The morning was devoted to a semi-private journey to Oyster Bay, in order that the Prince might place a wreath on the tomb of President Roosevelt. The Prince had several times expressed his admiration for the great and forceful American who represented so much of what was individual in the national character, and his visit to the burial-place was a tribute of real feeling.
After lunch at the Piping Rock Club he returned to Renown, where he had planned to hold a reception after his own heart to a thousand of New York's children.
On Renown a score of "gadgets" had been prepared for the fun of the children. The capstans had been turned into roundabouts, a switchback and a chute had been fixed up, the deck of the great steel monster had been transformed into fairyland, while a "scrumptious" tea in a pretty tea lounge had been prepared all out of Navy magic.
The tugs that were to bring off the guests, however, brought few that could come under the heading of "kiddies." Those that were not quite grown up, were in the young man and young woman stage. Fairyland had to be abandoned. Roundabout and switchback and chute were abandoned, and only that "scrumptious" tea remained in the program. It was a pleasant afternoon, but not a "kiddies'" afternoon.
The evening was quick with crowds.
It began in a drive through crowds to the Pilgrims' Dinner at the Plaza Hotel, and that, in itself, was a crowd. The Plaza is none of your bijou caravanserais. It is vast and vivid and bright, as a New York hotel can be, and that is saying a good deal. But it was not vast enough. One great marble room could not contain all the guests, another and another was taken in, so that the banquet was actually spread over three or four large chambers opening out of the main chamber. Here the leading figures of America and the leading Britons then in New York met together in a sort of breezy informality, and they gave the Prince a most tremendous welcome.
And when he began to speak—after the nimble scintillations of Mr. Chauncey Depew—they gave him another. And they rose up in a body, and moved inward from the distant rooms to be within earshot—a sight for the Messenger in Macbeth, for he would have seen a moving grove of golden chair legs, held on high, as the diners marched with their seating accommodation held above their heads.
Crowds again under the vivid lights of the streets, as the Prince drove to the mighty crowd waiting for him in the Hippodrome. The Hippodrome is one of the largest, if it is not the largest, music-hall in the world. It has an enormous sweep of floor, and an enormous sweep of galleries. The huge space of it takes the breath away. It was packed.
As the Prince entered his box, floor and galleries rose up with a sudden and tremendous surge, and sent a mighty shout to him. The National Anthems of England and America were obliterated in the gust of affectionate noise. Minutes elapsed before that great audience remembered that it was at the play, and that the Prince had come to see the play. It sat down reluctantly, saving itself for his departure, watching him as he entered into enjoyment of the brave and grandiose spectacular show on the stage.
And when he rose to go the audience loosed itself again. It held him there with the power of its cheering. It would not let him stir from the building until it had had a word from him. It was dominant, it had its way. In answer to the splendid outburst the Prince could do nothing but come to the edge of his box and speak.
In a clear voice that was heard all over the building he thanked them for the wonderful reception he had received that night, and in New York during the week. "I thank you," he said, "and I bid you all good night."
Then he went out into the cheering streets.
It was an astonishing display in the street. The throng was so dense, the shouting so great that the sound of it drove into the silent houses of other theatres. And the audiences in those other theatres caught the thrill of it. They "cut" their plays, came pouring out into the street to join the throng and the cheering; it was through this carnival of affection that the Prince drove along the streets to a reception, and a brilliant one, given by Mr. Wanamaker, whose ability as Chairman of the Reception Committee had largely helped to make the Prince's visit to New York so startling a success.
On that note of splendid friendliness the Prince's too short stay in America ended. On Saturday, November 22nd, he held a reception on Renown, saying good-bye to endless lines of friendly people of all classes and races who thronged the great war vessel.
All these people crowded about the Prince and seemed loth to part with him, and he seemed just as unwilling to break off an intimacy only just begun. Only inexorable time and the Admiralty ended the scene, and the great ship with its escort of small, lean war-craft moved seaward along the cheering shore.
Crowds massed on the grass slope under Riverside Drive, and on the esplanade itself. The skyscrapers were cheering grandstands, as the ships steamed along the impressive length of Manhattan. They passed the Battery, where he had landed, and the Narrows, where the escorting boats left him. Then Renown headed for Halifax, where his tour ended.
Certainly America and the Prince made the best of impressions on each other. There is much in his quick and modern personality that finds immediate satisfaction in the American spirit; much in himself that the American responds to at once. When he declared, as he did time and time again, that he had had a wonderful time, he meant it with sincerity. And of his eagerness to return one day there can be no doubt.
Of all the happy moments on this long and happy tour, this visit to America, brief as it was, was one of the happiest. It was a brilliant finale to the brilliant Canadian days.