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Title: Travels in Nova Scotia in the Year 1913

Author: C. G. Hine

Release date: August 24, 2021 [eBook #66126]

Language: English

Credits: Fay Dunn, Fiona Holmes and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK TRAVELS IN NOVA SCOTIA IN THE YEAR 1913 ***

Transcriber’s Notes.

Hyphenation has been standardised.

A Table of Contents has been created by the Transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Other changes made are noted at the end of the book.

Travels in Nova Scotia in the Year Nineteen Thirteen

Being a full, free and Authentic Record of Perilous Adventures and Marvelous Escapes along the Deep Indentations and Rocky Points of the Atlantic Coast of Western Nova Scotia. Made during the rain of his Most Ungracious Majesty, Jupiter Pluvius I. And including the Personal observations, views and deductions of a Traveler, seemingly well versed in the art of placing one Foot before the other. Read and Learn what his Travel hath brought forth.

A wind’s in the heart of me, a fire’s in my heels,
I am tired of brick and stone and rumbling wagon wheels;
I hunger for the sea’s edge, the limits of the land,
Where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand.

Masefield.

Travels in Nova Scotia in
the Year 1913

Containing Much That Is Curious Concerning the Manners and Customs of the People :: The Stories and Legends of the Southern Shore and Including Short Excursions Into the History of the Country

BY

CHARLES GILBERT HINE

HINE’S ANNUAL

1913


Table of Contents

Preface. 3
The South Coast of Nova Scotia. 10
Port Latour and Burchtown. 20
Shelburne and the Road to East Jordan. 27
Lockport and the Way to Liverpool. 35
Liverpool Port Medway and Beyond. 41
Petite Riviere and Dublin Shore. 51
Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. 60
Halifax and the Evangeline Country. 69
Epilogue. 81
Index. 82

[3]

PREFACE.

Nova Scotia was a sudden inspiration, induced by the enthusiasm of a friend who had enjoyed a recent vacation here, and after some correspondence with Nova Scotians who knew their country, I selected the coast line between Yarmouth and Halifax.

The afternoon of October 12, 1913, saw me venturing forth from Boston on the Governor Cobb. The day had been given over to much rain, but ran dry late in the afternoon, and my hopes revived, though the evening started somewhat unprofitably with the moon tucked away in the attic of cloudland. And the following morning Jupiter Pluvius helped matters distressfully, having refilled his tanks over night.

It is a simple thing to reach Nova Scotia from New York as I went, and not expensive: Fall River Line to Boston, Yarmouth Line to Yarmouth. A two weeks’ trip can easily be made for $75 or less.

My adventure started as a walking trip along the coast line, but quickly resolved itself into a series of short walks punctuated with railroad rides. Away from the coast all roads are wood roads, bordered by spruces or other evergreens, picked out here and there at this season of the year with a bit of vivid color where the frost has touched the scrub maple or oak or an occasional white birch. The [4]shadows are deep and rich and cool, and the odors from pine and hemlock a delicate perfume that is a constant joy, but there is little variety in the outlook, as the woods usually close in on both sides and, while by no means unattractive, the chief interest and beauty lie along the shore—hence the variegated method of my travel.

If I grumble now and then let no one take it too seriously. Possibly I was tired or hungry, or both—that always makes me cross—and then the weather can easily account for some of my flings, for it was anything but charming a goodly part of the time, wet and close—very close. I larded the lean earth much of the way as even Falstaff might envy. The east wind which held day after day brought many clouds and high fogs which, with a slender mist that filled the air at times, assisted in making many exquisite pictures that the camera did its best to take advantage of, though many times with indifferent success. The east wind also meant unsettled weather, but of persistent rain there was little after the first day.

Of the towns which I saw Lockport particularly commended itself, though Shelburne carries a quaint air of having once been, which could easily make the visitor love it. Liverpool and Lunenburg also set out attractions of their own, but it was the villages and little wayside stopping places that were the chief delight, such as Port Latour, Port Mouton, Hunts Point, Port Medway, Petite Riviere and the wonderful stretches of Dublin Shore and Western Shore. I speak only of those I saw.

In 1767 Lord William Campbell wrote that Nova[5] Scotia has “more ports of safety for ships of any burthen than any other province of America, and almost at the entrance of these, inexhaustible mines of fish, which furnish all Europe with that commodity, and ought to be the first nursery of seamen to supply, as occasion may require, the British navy.” In fact this southern coast is almost as regularly notched with bays and inlets as is the deep-toothed timber saw.

Many of the smaller hotels give no outward indication that they are such, but, when found, are apt to prove more inviting than those of nobler bulk. Here, if one is damp, he may adjourn to the kitchen and hang his coat near the fire, talk to the cook (who is usually the landlady or a daughter of the house), and eat in his shirt sleeves if so minded. A nice, friendly lot they are—good, honest people, to whom it is a pleasure to be obliging. The only exception I met was at Pubnico, where the landlady tried to bite my head off, but I adopted General Washington’s famous Fabian policy and came out with a full stomach and serene conscience, but I still feel sorry for her old man.

At this season there is much talk of moose and moose hunting. Listen a moment to any group in hotel or on street corner and one is reasonably sure to learn how impossible it was for any man to have made a successful shot under the circumstances, or what a wonderfully clever shot it really was. The result guides the conversation.

Everywhere I found pleasant, kindly people, and came to the conclusion that the Nova Scotia coat of arms should consist of a smiling face and welcoming hand.

[6]

One particularly commendable feature of the country from the point of view of the man on foot is the scarcity of automobiles. They do have them, but they are few and far between. Outside of Yarmouth and Halifax I did not see one during my two weeks’ exploration. It is no trouble to dodge an ox cart, and one is never surprised into a sudden dash for the brush by an unexpected toot in the rear.

The roads are good dirt roads and, so far as my observation went, never deeply rutted, but I presume they are not what an automobile enthusiast would regard as even fair, and it is probable that there will be no change so long as the ox is universally used for hauling, as his feet with their thin shoes would hardly stand the unelastic stone road.

“Acadia” is spelled in different ways. I do not cling to any one spelling, but have rather endeavored to follow the spelling used at the time which happens to be under discussion in the narrative.

Samuel de Champlain has described the coast of my travels, but begins at Lahave and works west, and as I was bound to the east’ard he cannot well be followed through the course of the narrative; so, as his description is interesting, it is included here. He says:—

“Cape de la Héve, is a place where there is a bay, where are several islands covered with fir trees, and the main land with oaks, elms and birches. It is on the shore of Acadie. * * * Seven leagues from this, is another called le Port au mouton, where are two small rivers. The land is very stony, covered with underwood and bushes.[7] There is a quantity of rabbits and much game on account of the ponds there. Going along the coast there is also a harbor very good for vessels, and the head of it a little river which runs from a distance inland, which I named the port of cape Negre, on account of a rock which at a distance resembles one, which is raised above the water near a cape that we passed the same day, four leagues from it and ten to port au mouton. This cape is very dangerous on account of the rocks around it. The coasts thus far are very low, covered with the same kind of wood as cape de la Héve, and the islands all full of game. Going further on we passed a night in Sable bay where vessels can lie at anchor without any fear of danger. Cape Sable, distant two full leagues from Sable bay, is also very dangerous for certain rocks and reefs lying out a mile almost to sea. Thence one goes on the isle aux cormorants, a league distant, so called on account of the infinite number there of these birds, with whose eggs we filled a cask, and from this island making westwardly about six leagues, crossing a bay which runs in two or three leagues to the northward, we meet several islands, two or three leagues to sea, which may contain some two others three leagues and others less according to my judgment. They are mostly very dangerous for large vessels to come close to on account of the great tides and rocks level with the water. These islands are filled with pine trees, firs, birches and aspens. A little further on are four others. In one there is so great a quantity of birds called tangueux, that they may be easily knocked down with a stick. In[8] another there are seals. In two others there is such an abundance of birds of different kinds, that without having seen them could not be imagined, such as cormorants, ducks of three kinds, geese, marmettes, bustards, perroquets de mer, snipes, vultures, and other birds of prey, mauves, sea larks of two or three kinds, herons, goillants, curlews, sea gulls, divers, kites, appoils, crows, cranes, and other sorts, which make their nests there. I gave them the name of the Seal islands. They are distant from the main land or cape Sable four or five leagues. Thence we go on to a cape which I called the port Fourchu (Forked harbor) inasmuch as its figure is so, being five or six leagues distant from Seal islands. This harbor (Yarmouth?) is very good for vessels in its entrance but further up it is almost all dry at low tide with the exception of the course of a small river, all surrounded by meadows which renders the place very agreeable.”

Champlain again describes the coast from Lahave eastward:—

“From leaving cape de la Héve until you reach Sesambre (Sambro), which is an island so called by some Mallouins, fifteen leagues distant from La Héve, there are to be found on the way a quantity of islands, which we have named “the Martyrs” on account of some Frenchmen killed by the Indians. These islands are in general cul de sacs and bays, in one of which there is a river called Sainte Margueritte, seven leagues distant from Sesambre. The islands and shores are full of pines, firs, birches, and other inferior timber. The catch of fish there is abundant, and[9] so is the quantity of birds. From Sesambre we passed a very safe bay (Chebucto?), containing seven or eight leagues, where there are no islands in the route except at the head of it, where there is a small river.”


[10]

THE SOUTH COAST OF NOVA SCOTIA
LAND OF ROMANCE AND MYSTERY

YARMOUTH TO BARRINGTON.

I have a very proper cousin in the West who, when it was announced to a waiting world that my precious person was to be intrusted to the great deep, hastily sent on the following incident in the life of one who had preceded me:

The facts in the case were about as follows—Mr. Smith was to make his first trip abroad and, having heard much concerning that grievous malady of the sea which is usually a matter for ribald jest on the part of those kind friends not afflicted, he concluded to consult a physician. This learned gentleman advised that, “For a few days before setting out, eat heartily of everything you enjoy; eat abundantly.” This did not quite agree with his preconceived notions, and he concluded to see another doctor, who advised, “For a few days before you go eat sparingly, almost starve yourself.” Wholly at sea now, he called in a third man of medicine, who stated, “Both are right; it depends entirely on whether you wish to discard from strength or weakness.” I went to neither extreme myself and, the sea being calm, suffered no harm.

The only real fault I have to find with this trip is that too much was attempted. Yarmouth to Halifax does not look like a great distance on the map, and consequently I looked up the story of that section, to discover so many items of interest strewn along the deep indentations of this[11] rugged coast that it seemed highly improper to allow any to pass by unobserved. But while a straight line between the two points is not appalling, to follow the coast line is much like attempting a trip from the Hudson at Forty-second street to the opposite point on the East River by way of the Battery.

I doubt the wisdom of one in my frame of mind spending an entire day in one town—it was the open road that beckoned. But a day had been set apart for Yarmouth, and as this particular one was never intended for such a pleasure exertion as mine, owing to its moist condition, it seems probable that I had planned better than I knew.

The history of Yarmouth appears to have been rather uneventful, but the public library contains an interesting relic of prehistoric times in a runic stone discovered on the west side of the harbor about 1815 by a Doctor Fletcher, and which the antiquarians after much labor have translated as “Harko’s son addressed the men.” The records show that in 1007 the Norsemen made an expedition along this coast, and one Harki is mentioned therein, and this and a somewhat similar stone found in the same general locality in 1897 are supposed to commemorate some important event of that trip. Nothing more is known. The stones when discovered were lying face down in the mud; but for this the action of the elements would have effaced the lettering during the nine hundred years that have passed since the work was done.

I called on J. Bond Gray, Secretary of the Tourist Committee of the Yarmouth Board of Trade, with whom some[12] previous correspondence had been held, and on his advice covered the first nineteen miles, to Argyle, by rail. Mr. Gray was courteous and pleasant, but in this he but follows the custom of the land where courtesy is as much a matter of course as is the glacial boulder. While on this subject I cannot overlook A. L. Nickerson, station agent. I unfolded to him my great and consuming desire for a timetable, as I expected to fall back on the railroad with more or less frequency. He had none, but appreciating the situation, said he would do what he could, and during the day he telegraphed to headquarters in the expectation of receiving a copy. That he was not successful was no fault of his, and as a last resort he made a suggestion that enabled me to secure a copy at another point. This proved to be the almost universal spirit of the people throughout the excursion.

The walking actually began on October 14th. The rain had made desperate efforts during the greater part of the preceding night to wash Nova Scotia off the map, and when I alighted from the train at Argyle at 7:54, the morning was still highly charged with moisture. To the great wonderment of a gentleman who was spending a quiet hour with the depot stove I harnessed up and, throwing a rubber cape over my shoulders, set forth.

Once out in the storm the experience was more than pleasant. The smell of the fresh dampness was delicious, and there was a certain exclusiveness in having the highway all to one’s self that was far from unattractive, while the[13] cleansing which the wayside foliage had undergone made even the frost-bitten ferns a rich, warm brown.

Of the entire distance to Pubnico, ten miles, the spot that best pleased my eye is to be located by the first church steeple after leaving the Argyle station. The small settlement lies close upon the water at the head of an inlet filled with beautiful little islands. But all the way through Lower Argyle the eye is filled with Argyle Sound and its many islets.

By 10:30 the drizzle was drizzling less and less, and at one time it seemed as though the sun might get the better of the situation. A short walk through what had once been woods, but now is little better than waste land, brought me to Pubnico and the head of Pubnico Harbor. By this time my rubber cape had been shed, when the discovery was made that it was more in the nature of a sieve, as it was quite as wet inside as out, and that damp feeling which I had supposed was honest sweat turned out to be nothing but rainwater. It was quite as penetratingly wet, however.

Pubnico claims to be the oldest Acadian settlement in Nova Scotia, having been planted by D’Entrement in 1650. After the expulsion some of the exiles returned, and the region is still peopled by their descendants, it being commonly known as the “French Shore.” The houses give no indication of age, and there is no outward sign to suggest an old-settled place. Here, as elsewhere, I saw no indications of extreme poverty; the farms are of little value, but the fisheries supply every need. The various nationalities do not mix and disappear in this land as with us. While[14] all speak the English language the French are still French; the Germans, German and the Scotch, Scotch. This is so even where several generations have been born here.

I presented myself at Goodwin’s Hotel, Pubnico, about 11:30 a. m., and found the lady of the house as cross as two sticks; if it was dinner that was wanted it would be ready at 12:30, and I could wait for it. Could I have some bread and milk? No! it took time to get it. She was as sour an old party as has crossed my path in many a day, and my heart goes out to any who may fall under her spell.

However, the intervening hour gave an opportunity to drape myself and clothes around the parlor stove, and as I discovered a local history, the time was not counted lost.

As I took up the task of searching out East Pubnico there were to be seen hints of blue in the upper regions of the air, and it looked as though something better was in store for the afternoon. Shortly the camera came on an ox cart and two boys, and we stopped to get acquainted. It turned out that their motive power was known as “Spark,” and there seems to be no doubt but that he is the live wire of the region, as I was reliably informed that he can make three miles an hour under favoring conditions.

At East Pubnico two ways were open: one through the nine mile woods, the other around the shore, some twenty-two miles, and as time was an object and my sailing directions did not show any stories connected with this portion of the shore, I picked the former. It proved to be nine miles without a house or clearing, or even a crossroad—one ox team, one light wagon, one bunch of stray cattle and a[15] few partridges composed all the life I saw. It was a rather desolate region, some large burned tracts, but most of it given over to brush and small trees, with an occasional lake in the distance. It is said that deer are common along this road and moose occasional, but I did not have the good fortune to see any.

For a pair of antiquated and out-of-practice legs such as I had with me, nine miles added to an earlier thirteen, began to appear like something of an undertaking as the afternoon wore on, and I communed with myself as to just why my running gear was being pushed at such a furious pace, and this a holiday, but did not learn much of interest except that there I was and thence I must.

Some time later my knees began to squeak and a warm spot appeared on a little toe, but just at this juncture a house swung into view and I knew Oak Park was nigh.

It was heartrending to learn that they did not and would not take boarders, and that the only man who did in those parts lived a half mile further on. No amount of looking pleasant had the least effect, and I must compromise on a glass of water, which my dry and withered interior sadly needed. Testing my knees gently and finding that they would bend without breaking, and that my feet could be lifted and pushed forward if care were exercised, the journey was again taken up; but why linger further on the sad scene?

Mr. Charles M. Crowell was counting his chickens when I arrived. He did not know whether I could stay the night or not; the old woman had the say on such subjects, and she[16] had gone to see a sister. I said that I would go in and sit down to wait. The kitchen seemed the warm spot, and I snuggled up to the stove and was having a nice, comfortable time when my host dropped in and remarked that there was no fire in the stove. However, if I wanted one, it was no trouble, and soon there was a roaring blaze and I began to steam. When one has been sweating for hours it is a great comfort to sit close by a fire as the cool of evening comes on, although it seems quite evident that a good imagination can be a wonderful aid to comfort. As the poet has said: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Seven o’clock came and went and the better half of the Crowell family was still absent. I had in the meantime become intimate with two ginger cookies which, having been overbrowned in the making, were left on the kitchen table, but felt that a hard worker like myself could not live on ginger cookies alone, at least not on two, and made no attempt to disguise my joy when my hospitable friend supposed I would like something to eat. He made tea and gathered up various cold fragments of pie and cookies, bread and apple-sauce, and we did very well.

The missis came along about nine o’clock, and shortly thereafter I was dreaming that little devils were twisting my legs off.

When it was time to depart on the following morning Mrs. Crowell thought that fifty cents would be sufficient as the meals had not been very substantial, which was true enough, but the room was clean and my host and hostess[17] were kindly people, and so far as I was able to judge the food was sustaining.

The two and one-half miles into Barrington were without incident, except for a strange bird that crossed my path. It was not a partridge, nor was it any ordinary escape from the barnyard. It stood as though its usual occupation was looking for berries rather than worms, and walked with a dignity that the domestic hen never possessed.

It is claimed for the old meeting house in Barrington (1765) that it is the only church in Canada of its age that has been retained in its original form inside and out; others that remain have been altered and built over until little or nothing is left of the original. This only escaped destruction by a narrow margin, as some time in the eighties the Legislature decreed that the building should be demolished, owing to its dangerous condition. But local pride came to its aid at the last moment, and by the application of two or three hundred dollars where most needed, it was put in good repair, and at the present time two denominations worship every Sunday within its old fashioned box pews.

Some eighty families from Nantucket and Cape Cod emigrated to this place between the years 1761 to 1763; about half remained to form a permanent settlement. Work was probably commenced on the church shortly after, as by 1765 the building was finished and dedicated. With the first settlers came Samuel Wood, a Congregational pastor. He held services here and at other points[18] along the shore as far as Yarmouth, but when the Revolution broke out, returned to his former home and became a chaplain in the American army.

In the meantime, about 1770, the New York Methodist Conference sent Freeborn Garretson to this region to proselyte. He was received but coldly, however, though permitted to preach in the meeting house. He failed entirely to win any converts to his cause, and finally withdrew to the woods to commune with his Maker. While offering up his supplications for light and guidance he was overheard by some of the people, and these, spreading the report abroad, aroused much curiosity which led to a considerable attendance when a second meeting was held. It does not appear, however, that any were deeply impressed.

After those attending the meeting had returned to their homes a Mrs. Homer asked her less hospitable half where the minister was stopping, and on being informed that he did not know, she took a lantern and went forth to seek him. Either through thoughtlessness, or because none was quite brave enough to take this expounder of a strange religion to his home, Mrs. Homer found him at the meeting house in the act of spreading his surtout on the floor for a couch. The good lady brought him to her home and later became his first convert.

All this I have from one who evidently takes a great interest in the church, but whose name has fallen out of its proper brain cell and been lost.

Other annals have I none.

[19]

At Barrington I made my home at a large square house just east of the livery stable, rather than at the hotel. The place was clean, and the meals were good; the hot muffins were worthy of a poet’s pen. The house was full, chiefly of commercial men, which would seem to indicate what they thought of the situation.

I was given the last vacant room, but there came one after me also seeking lodging, whereupon the landlady turned to me with the remark that I was his only hope, as there were two beds in my room. I did as I would have had him do had the situation been reversed, and found no occasion for regret. He was a very earnest gentleman, and amusing withal, much given to conversation not wholly instructive, though I did learn that silk socks were better for tired feet than is the more plebian cotton article. I was so unfortunate as not to secure my companion’s name, but ascertained that when not devoting his time to greatly increasing the fortunes of the firm for which he traveled he resides on the farm of his mother in Yarmouth.


[20]

PORT LATOUR AND BURCHTOWN.

Even this early I clearly saw that to walk all the coast line between Yarmouth and Halifax could not be done at my leisurely three miles or less per hour. It is three miles when no pictures intervene or no friendly Nova Scotian comes along with a ghost story or tale of the seas: Under such circumstances time is not of the essence of the contract.

It was necessary to visit Port Latour, as here were the ruins of an old fort to be photographed, and when I saw “Livery Stable” writ large across a Barrington barn, there came the thought that this was a Heaven sent opportunity to economize time, the twenty miles to Port Latour and back could be more easily accomplished and abundant time remain for the visit. But no one was about the stable. A call on a neighboring house elicited the information that the livery man was driving a commercial individual to some far hamlet, while his chief and only understudy was employed in like manner in another direction. Finally a man was found on the road who thought he could harness the one horse left, but when it came to a conveyance he hesitated. Of the two on hand one was new and undefiled, the other freshly painted, so he suggested that I take his open wagon, as mud could not harm it, and the horse was led to his barn, where the operation of hitching up was completed.[21] No credentials on my part appeared to be necessary, not even my name was asked, nor did I ask the price until evening came, when I learned that the charge was $1.50 for the day.

The road follows the shore of Barrington Bay as far as Villagedale (formerly Solid Rock), then crosses to the eastern side of the point where reposes Port Latour. The morning was full of sunshine, the spruces and hemlocks made strong shadows against the high lights of the sun illumined landscape, while many pleasant views over Barrington Bay charmed the hours away.

Solid Rock (not the village, but the rock) is possibly two-thirds of the ten miles to Port Latour, and must be inquired for to be found, as the spot lies on the shore a quarter mile from the road and across a farm. It is merely a group of unusually large granite boulders against which the waves break, the surroundings are extremely beautiful and a rugged lane that covers part of the distance is captivating in its primitive simplicity. In itself it was worth the entire trip. Words would be a mere catalogue of its component parts; they cannot describe it as it appeared on that brilliant afternoon when the depths of the hemlock shadows were almost black.

My acquaintance with the Latour House is confined to a dinner, and I know not what the rooms are like. But I know what the people are like and that, with the dinner to back them, is enough. William B. Crowell, the proprietor, unharnessed my horse, put him in the stable and gave him a feed of hay, and when I wished to return walked a long[22] quarter mile from his boatshop to harness up, and all he wanted was ten cents for the hay. I only had five cents and a quarter; he had no change, and positively refusing the quarter, accepted the smaller coin perfectly satisfied that he had done the proper thing, and his wife who runs the house may still be his better half. Her chicken dinner was good right down to the last mouthful, the charge was but thirty-five cents, and I could not force a half dollar on her.

A pleasant, friendly, unmercenary spirit seems to be the usual thing throughout this coast region of Nova Scotia.

This village is charmingly simple, inhabited by a race of sailormen with whom it is not difficult to become acquainted, the Atlantic coast is at the door, and I have no doubt but that a week here would pass as a puff of steam on a dry day.

Now for our history. Claude Turgis de Sainte Etienne, Sieur de la Tour and his son Charles de la Tour left France in 1606, when the son was fourteen years of age, to mend their fortunes in the new world. After one Argal ravaged these coasts in 1613 and destroyed the French settlements, Charles attached himself to one Biencourt and lived with him among the Indians. Biencourt, when dying, bequeathed to Charles his rights in Port Royal (now Annapolis), and named him as successor in command. This is 1623.

During the next four years Charles lived in Fort Saint Louis at Cape Sable on a harbor called Port Lomeron (or L’Omeroy), now Port Latour. About 1625-6 Charles wrote[23] to Louis XIII., asking to be appointed commandant in all the coasts of Acadie. This letter was intrusted to the father, Claude, who started for France, but on the way was captured and carried to England. Claude was a Huguenot, and in London met others of like faith. These persuaded him to renounce France and take up the cause of England. He married an English woman, was made a Baronet of Nova Scotia, receiving a like honor for his son, and engaged to deliver to England Fort Saint Louis, then being held by Charles for France. With this object in view two men-of-war were fitted out for him, and with his wife he turned his face toward the new world once more.

Arriving (1627) Claude landed and presented his case to the son in the full assurance that the latter would promptly accept the situation and the new honors which would flow therefrom, but Charles seems to have been only half La Tour, the other half, much the better, probably represented his mother, and he confounded his father with the following melodramatic effusion:—

“If those who sent you on this errand think me capable of betraying my country, even at the solicitation of a parent, they have greatly mistaken me. I am not disposed to purchase the honors now offered me by committing a crime. I do not undervalue the proffer of the King of England; but the Prince in whose service I am is quite able to reward me; and whether he does so or not, the inward consciousness of my fidelity to him will be in itself a recompense to me. The King of France has confided the[24] defense of this place to me. I shall maintain it, if attacked, till my latest breath.”

Claude then threatened the obstinate boy and finally attacked the fort, but Charles defended his post with such success that the English commanding officer, who had not counted on resistance, having lost several of his best soldiers, informed Claude that he would abandon the siege.

William E. Smith of Port Latour, whose ancestors have dwelt here for many generations, told me that an older member of the family who died some years ago, and who knew much of the early history of the region, had stated that Claude La Tour at first attacked the fort from his ships, and being unsuccessful in this, sailed around into Barrington Bay, where he landed his men at or near Solid Rock, and marched them across to attack the fort in the rear.

A small, swampy strip immediately north of the fort is said to have been caused by the digging of a trench in which those who fell in the battle were buried.

Claude was placed in a most embarrassing position. He could not well return to England, much less to France. He had no money or men, and the only course left to him was to appeal to his son’s clemency. He presented the situation to his wife and suggested that she return to England, but she preferred to accept what might come to her husband. Claude then applied to his son for permission to live in Acadie, which appears to have been readily granted, but it was stipulated that neither he nor his wife were to[25] come into the fort, though Charles gave his word that neither should want for anything.

The terms were hard, but there was no alternative and, with the permission of the English commander, Claude and his wife and servants disembarked with all their belongings and the two vessels returned to England. Charles caused a suitable house to be erected at some distance from the fort and took care of their maintenance. M. Denys relates that he found them there in 1635, and that they were well off.

The story seems to have been patched together from several accounts of the settlements along this coast which differ in some details. One account states that after the battle Claude sailed to Port Royal and came back later at the invitation of Charles, who hoped to persuade his father to break his alliance with England and tell what he knew of the condition of the English. And, having now no great expectations from his adopted country, Claude accepted the invitation and told Charles that the English were preparing to capture his fort. On this the La Tours and other Frenchmen took council among themselves and decided to form a settlement at the mouth of the St. John River, Claude to command there and Charles to continue at his old post.

At the time of the expulsion, 1755, the fort was destroyed and the village wiped out. And to-day nothing remains but a few grass grown mounds. These have been excavated to some extent, but nothing was found beyond a few clay pipes and other matters of small moment. Those[26] of the Acadians who wandered back after the expulsion are said to have established themselves in Pubnico.

That my time should be used to the best advantage, a train was taken at Barrington for Burchtown, originally a settlement of colored people who escaped into the English lines in New York during the Revolution. This lies some seven miles west of Shelburne; these miles are chiefly through woods, much of which has been desolated by forest fires, and looks as forlorn as a tramp attempting to shut out the winter winds with a covering of newspapers. It was a pleasant change to come out on the Roseway River, even though this meant sawmills, which are eating the heart out of the woodlands.


[27]

SHELBURNE AND THE ROAD TO EAST JORDAN.

Shelburne has a history that is peculiarly interesting to the people of the United States, as it was settled by Loyalist refugees immediately after the Revolutionary War.

Colonel Alexander McNutt about 1765 secured a grant of land at Port Razoir, and arrived from Ireland with about three hundred settlers. He called the place New Jerusalem, but Colonel McNutt seems to have been an obstreperous gentleman and his little settlement was in almost constant hot water, and within a short time boiled down to a small residuum.

In the year 1782 one hundred heads of families in New York, sympathizers with the English cause, bound themselves to settle in Nova Scotia. These were led to believe that the city which they were to establish would become the capital of the Province, and many men of wealth and position were among them. All were respectable; no family was admitted unless some member could vouch for its good reputation. Within a year four hundred and seventy heads of families had signed and on May 4, 1783, eighteen brigs and many schooners dropped anchor off New Jerusalem and landed five thousand persons.

On July 20th Governor Parr arrived at the new settlement and, having landed, proceeded up King street to[28] the place appointed for his reception. This may have been what is now known as the “Governor’s House,” as it is said to be so called because some Governor made a speech from its steps. Here he made a short address in which he signified his intention of calling the place Shelburne. On the 23d he dined in the house of Justice Robertson with the principal inhabitants.

About September a second hegira of Loyalists arrived from New York. Many of these were undesirable characters who lowered the tone of the place greatly. Others followed, and within a short time there were sixteen thousand inhabitants settled here, nine thousand of which drew government rations. At the end of four years the government rations ceased, and as the place could not support so many, it began to dwindle. In 1798 a storm which destroyed wharves and shipping made matters worse, and by 1818 Shelburne was reduced to three hundred inhabitants.

About 1855 ship-building began to be an important industry, and the place took an upward turn. In 1864 an academy was built, but the day of the wooden ship is passing, and while Shelburne still has two small yards where fishermen are built, the town has dwindled again and is now a delightfully sleepy old place where one can lounge on a box at the smithy door or on a bit of timber near some growing fisherman and harken if he will to tales of the good old times.

On the way into Shelburne I passed a beautiful clump of goldenrod whose waiting seed vessels were as a halo in[29] the bright sunlight, and shortly after turning the corner came upon the picturesque disorder of a shipyard framed between the stubs of willows whose aged trunks suggested that they might date back two hundred years. The scene aroused huge anticipations in the breast of the camera.

After a dinner in the Atlantic House I proceeded to ask questions of such as were gathered in the hotel office concerning the town. One of those present offered to pilot me about, and we ventured forth together. The Governor’s House is still standing on King street; the only other old house that my guide seemed to know of is the “Thompson” house. When it was built or by whom I did not learn, but it is supposed to have been erected at an early period, as the walls of the lower story are solid wood, some six or eight inches in thickness, presumably made so for defensive purposes.

Being left to my own guidance I naturally selected the waterfront, where quite soon was discovered a boat shop that was at the moment turning out dories, presumably part of the equipment of a fishing schooner, the hull of which was nearing completion in an adjoining shipyard.

The weather conditions were ideal for pictorial effects. A sky filled with damp clouds and a misty atmosphere that graduated the distance lent themselves to some beautiful and striking pictures; particularly was this so when the clouds thinned and the sun almost broke through. The east wind was very successful as a scene-shifter, rumpling the water in a gentle way while pushing the cloud masses on and off as they were needed.

[30]

My travels finally brought me to the blacksmith’s shop of one who is now living on the fruit of his earlier industry. In the long ago he cared for the feet of the stagecoach horses, and as they had a way of wanting to be shod at all hours of the day and night, the mighty man worked overtime more often than not. Now he directs while others do the heavy work, or stands at the door of his shop and entertains callers.

As I stood here helping to shoe an ox the “cow-reeve” passed. This is a duly elected official of the town in whom is vested authority to comprehend all “vagrom” cows that may be leading too gay an existence in the streets of Shelburne. These he removes to the pound and shares with the poundmaster such emolument as comes from the sad faced owner of the segregated cow.

As the “cow-reeve” passed there was a great flood of strong language from those idling about, from which I gathered that he was not the most popular man in town; in fact he was more than once invited to go where only the bad are supposed to abide—not conscientious officials who do their duty. It was further suggested that if he desired to have the contour of his nose or other features altered he should attempt to interfere with the oxen awaiting in the open street the attentions of the blacksmith, but he, being a man of peace, opened not his mouth.

And it was thus that I discovered what a “cow-reeve” was. It seems that this official in his zeal for the public good had, a few days before, attempted to uphold the majesty of the law as against the owners of certain oxen,[31] but when the said owners charged on him he discreetly withdrew.

Shoeing an ox is somewhat more complicated and tedious than shooing a hen, but the effects are more lasting. A strong cage is constructed that no ox may break down; the animal is then coaxed within with much noise and slapping, bars are closed on his neck, a heavy cloth is passed beneath the body, one end being pulled aft between his legs. This end and the side are then attached to windlasses which are set up until the ox might easily suppose he is being fitted with a new pair of corsets. The hoof to be shod is next strapped securely to a block, and the incumbent is about as helpless as the first Frenchman in the ditch at Waterloo. After that the shoeing is a mere detail.

The only milestone that I observed during the trip intimated broadly that the miles were twenty-one between Shelburne and Lockport, but I am inclined to believe it somewhat less; for instance, I had only joggled six miles out of the pedometer at Jordan, while those of the neighborhood called it seven. It may be that some time someone in authority has said, “Let there be seven,” and it was seven. All day the pedometer fell just a little short of the local figures.

At Jordan I met three children homing from school, and with Venator, Izaak Walton’s chance acquaintance, could have said, “We are all so happy as to have a fine, fresh, cool morning, and I hope we shall each be the happier in the other’s company. And that I may not lose yours, I shall either abate or amend my pace to enjoy it,[32] knowing that as the Italians say, ‘Good company in a journey makes the way to seem the shorter.’” It seemed that teacher had gone to her home for Thanksgiving, which occurs in this land on October 20th, and as there is but one train each day and that chanced along some time before noon, the natural consequence was that school was dismissed at an early hour.

We discoursed of many things of mutual interest: The surprising fact that in the far country from which I came Thanksgiving does not occur until late in November; the joys of skating; apples; the bumps one receives in this naughty world, this being somewhat personal to the small boy of the party, who had but recently fallen on stony ground and was at the moment nursing a swollen lip. The scene of the accident being near at hand we stepped one side to view it and, having found the identical stone that proved so hard, proceeded on our way. They were quite as ready to be friendly as I, and accepted the stranger as a matter of course without wonder, and made no attempt to learn why I was as I was; we had our little jokes and our hearty laughs and walked thus together for perhaps half a mile, and I think were none the worse for a little light conversation.

At East Jordan I pulled up at the house of Munroe with a hopeful expression on my countenance, and was told by the mistress of the house that she would do the best she could. This consisted of bread and butter, pickled beets, milk and two kinds of cookies, was filling and, so far as I have been able to judge, nourishing.

[33]

Mrs. Munroe has thirteen to look after, and at the time was cooking enough to last most of them a week in the woods, where they will cut pulpwood. Norma, the eldest of eleven, is now a trained nurse in Boston, and earns $25 each week. The local doctor says there is not another girl in the county with as little education as she had a chance to secure who could have passed the examination. “You know the eldest child in a large family does not have great opportunity for education.” Norma spent three weeks at home last summer, but could not stand it longer. A smart little shower passed to the westward while the lunch was being disposed of, the only one that occurred during the day.

My course from East Jordan lay through woods; one glimpse over the head of Green Harbor was the only variation. If one can judge by the names of places the people here have no great inventive faculty. For instance, the five towns on Jordan Bay are Jordan, Jordan Ferry, Jordan Bay, Lower Jordan Bay and East Jordan.

The ox, which is the common carrier of this region, is seen everywhere on the road, always harnessed to a yoke which is fitted around the horns so that all the pull comes on the neck. The Biblical injunction, “Be ye not stiff necked as your fathers were” would never do for Nova Scotian oxen, whose value would be greatly lessened were they other than stiff necked as their fathers were. Their beautiful, great, soft eyes indicate a habit of thought that would hardly make them entertaining companions, but they accomplish much heavy hauling.

[34]

One has much time to moralize thusly while plodding along the wood roads that for the most part offer little to the imagination, unless a partridge whirrs up and over the treetops or scurries through the brush, as sometimes occurs.

One who picked me up about two miles out of Lockport and regaled me with much talk by the way, had somewhat to say concerning his father-in-law, a native of these parts, but to his way of thinking made of a superior brand of clay.

During the days of the Fenian raid along in the sixties, when all up and down the coast there was much excitement, a stranger appeared on this shore against whom the people with one accord shut their doors, dreading they knew not what. After being rebuffed at several houses he finally sought shelter with father-in-law who, fearing nothing, promptly took him in and learned in the course of time that the visitor was of Prince Edward Island, that his brother-in-law had been arrested for smuggling, and that he was the only witness against him. If he could keep in hiding until after the trial there could be no conviction, and as his host had little sympathy with government efforts to suppress the illicit traffic, the stranger was kept within his gates until he could safely return unto his own people. Ever after when he of the sheltering hand visited the home land of the former refugee, he was received with open arms and entertained with the best.


[35]

LOCKPORT AND THE WAY TO LIVERPOOL.

At Lockport I put up at Mrs. Mack’s “New Hillcrest,” from which it is but “two minutes’ walk to the celebrated Lockport beach,” a pebbly, crescent shaped stretch, where the waves break well out, owing to the shoal water.

Mrs. Mack is a large success from the point of view of the traveler. Here I had the best supper of the entire trip, oyster stew and roast chicken, each in perfection, and was told by one who had spent three weeks under her hospitable roof that it was always the same. On entering the house there is a pleasant home air that is charming. That her place is full all summer, and that she rooms large numbers outside, is the logical result of her methods.

The day was very dull and the light none too good for the camera, but after leaving my excess baggage with my hostess, I soon found the way to the cold storage dock where fishermen were preparing signals and buoys for an expedition to the Banks. The slip was well filled with small vessels; fishermen, judging from the dories and trawl tubs nested on their decks, and the activity was interesting to a layman, but owing to weather conditions the camera did not enthuse much.

One hundred and fifty years ago Dr. Jonathan Lock of Chilmark, Mass., and Josiah Churchill settled here. Throughout the Revolution the settlers refrained from active[36] hostilities. Apparently their sympathies were with the struggling states, and it can well be imagined that their feelings as well as pockets were much hurt when, in 1779, American privateers came on shore and looted the town. The indignant protest which the townsmen uttered and which is still to be found in the archives of Massachusetts, is given in full:—

“Raged Islands, Sept. W. 25, 1779.

“These lines comes with my respect to you & to acquaint you of the Robery done to this Harbour, there was a guard of men placed upon every house and the houses stript, very surprising to us, they came here early in the Morning on the 20th day of August last and said they were from Penobscot and were tories bound for halifax, they come to my house first and wanted some refreshments accordingly we let them have what they wanted, and they then went away and stayed on an island till the tide run so that they could Come at my Boat, then they came and took my Boat and put a guard upon my house and went a Robing they took about 19 quintals of Codfish and Four Barrels of Salt, three Salmon Netts 60 lbs. of Butter, one Green Hyde, five dressed Skins and some Cheese and a Great many other Things. The Boat cost me fifty pounds Halifax Currency. Then they went to Mr. Matthews and there Robed him, then went to Mr. Haydens, and Robed him, then went Mr. Locks and Robed him. These things are very surprising that we in this Harbour that have done so much for America, that have helped three or four hundred prisoners up along to America and Given part of our[37] living to them, and have Concealed Privateers & prizes too from the British Cruisers in this Harbour. All this done for America and if this be the way we are to be paid I desire to see no more of you without you Come in Another Manner, but I hope the America gentlemen that Grants out Commissions or are Bondsmen would take these Notorious Rascalls in hand for this Robery. Sir be so kind as to Inform some of the Council of the affair, that we might have some restrictions, otherwise we shall not be able to help the American prisoners any more. Sir, if you find out who these be, and whether we are like to have anything, be pleased to write.

“Signed

William Porterfield

John Matthes

Thomas Hayden

Jonathan Lock”

During the War of 1812 a hostile ship approached Lockport at a time when the men were away, but the women and children formed themselves in martial array with red coats and broomsticks, and lined up on the bluff, while others marched up and down with a drum; still other patriotic souls fired such available muskets and fowling pieces as were to be had, and the local historian concludes his account with the statement that “the enemy made good their escape.”

Lockport is a considerable fishing headquarters. Here the “cod flakes” are set up wherever a vacant space occurs[38] in the village. “Cod flakes” are low racks on which the split cod are spread to dry in the sun. An important adjunct to these is a sufficient number of boxes that look like children’s toy houses with hip roofs, under which the cod are collected in damp weather. Many of these were set up on the grassy slope in front of the hotel. On my arrival the cod were housed from the damp weather, and I did not suspect their presence until the following morning when the boxes were lifted and their contents spread to catch the heat of the recently emancipated sun.

One of the most beautiful bits of land and water encountered during the trip was the southernmost point of Lockport (when I say “most beautiful,” it is well to remember that I saw but a small part of the coast line). The visit calls for a walk of a half mile across fields and through a bit of gnarled, storm-beaten woods out over a rough scrap of moorland, where the moss lies inches deep and the walking is a delicious little experience, to a rocky point against which the Atlantic sweeps without hindrance. A few timorous cows browsing among the hillocks run as the stranger approaches, or, standing at a safe distance, gaze on the intruder with a curious, uncertain attitude strongly reminding one of Rosa Bonheur’s highland cattle, though lacking something of the dignity of these. Close at hand the ocean swells and breaks against the rocky point, while beyond lies the level horizon line that is only broken by an occasional sail. For one who would be alone with nature and the elements it is a choice spot.

The railroad only comes within four miles of Lockport,[39] and a ferry fills the gap. This crosses the bay to Hast Side for the accommodation of those living in that remote neighborhood, and then recrosses to the depot landing, affording a good opportunity to see the harbor. As one ferry trip does duty for both east and west bound trains, and they differ in their coming to the extent of an hour, there was abundant opportunity to study the travelers, some on their way to Florida for the winter and some bound for their daily bread in New England ports.

A center of attraction was a freshly killed moose which had been shot the day before about four miles from the station and brought in that morning; as my knowledge of mooseology is limited, I do not know whether his small horns indicated a young animal or not. The hunter was much pleased at the thought of being photographed with his game, and promptly unlashed the head from the bottom of the wagon and pulled it around where it would show to better advantage.

It had been my original intention to take a train to Port Mouton (pronounced Ma-toon) and walk from there to Liverpool, but the clouds began to scowl and the walk was shortened by keeping on to Hunts Point on the eastern shore of Mouton Bay.

Mouton is French for sheep. In 1604 the Sieur de Monts lost a sheep here, which jumped overboard from his ship, and such an impression did the loss of that precious mutton make that the name has survived for more than three hundred years. As the train skirted the beach a wonderful[40] sandy crescent could be seen on which the waves were charging with their white horses leaping high.

Hunts Point is a small fishing station with another curving sand beach, but while some miles nearer the open ocean, in fact, almost directly on it, the surf by no means equaled that at Port Mouton—it was rather the gentle ripple of a summer sea. At the southern extremity of the crescent is grouped a picture-compelling cluster of fish warehouses and wharves that gives an unusual finish to the view. The camera considered it for some minutes, but, strange to say, refused to even attempt it. The place is well worth a visit though, under another lighting and a different state of the tide it might be another picture altogether.

The seven miles to Liverpool was uneventful except for a beautiful brook that dashes from the woods and all but pounces on the road. Fortunately it drops into a stillwater and glides off at a right angle just in time to save the highway. As to the remainder of the way, it would no doubt have been more interesting had I traveled in the direction of Western Head, and so along the shore of Liverpool Bay through Black Point, but as it was the shades of night had been pulled down before my destination was reached.


[41]

LIVERPOOL, PORT MEDWAY AND BEYOND.

At Lockport I met S. E. Mack of Lunenburg, who is in the Customs Service, and who took a live interest in my method of seeing the country. He suggested the Daniels House as a comfortable place to spend Sunday, and while its management had changed hands since he knew it last, I found it quite satisfactory. The Mersey House here is claimed to be one of the best in Nova Scotia.

Charles Warman, a resident of Liverpool, has written much concerning the town’s history and has tramped Nova Scotia from end to end in search of local lore. I found him at work on the journal of Col. Simeon Perkins, but he was quite ready to defer his own work and give me attention. A walk about the town under his guidance resulted in much that proved of interest.

In 1605 the Sieur de Monts was made Lieutenant-General of Nova Scotia by Henry IV. A year before this he, in company with Champlain, sailed along this coast. This locality he named Port Rossignal, after a certain adventurous gentleman who was caught poaching on his preserves here, and whose vessel he confiscated. Later the region was included in La Tour’s grant known as La Héve; the settlements were small and not permanent.

The present town of Liverpool was founded in 1759 by New England pioneers. That they were an energetic lot[42] is thought proven by the fact that within a year they were building three vessels for the fisheries to add to a fleet that already contained sixteen schooners. One of their leaders was Capt. Sylvanus Cobb, who had been master and owner of one of the vessels that removed the Acadians from Grand-Pré in 1755.

In 1779 American privateers were a constant source of annoyance and damage, but “the thrifty Yankee of Liverpool concluded to make hay while the sun shines. So in due time they had a fine fleet of privateers harrying the New England waters for the spoils of war, and the practice was returned, but these Nova Scotians got the better of the game, and several families, who were very plain people before, became persons of consequence on this money that had been taken from their own flesh and blood”—so says a Nova Scotia historian.

Whether an acquaintance I made in Port Medway has a gentle little grudge against Liverpool, or whether it is commendable local jealousy, I am not quite clear, but he takes this view of it: “As a result of this privateering certain of the people of Liverpool grew wealthy, built a string of houses along the main street and held themselves up as aristocrats, and some of their descendants still think they are made of better clay than the average.”

The War of 1812 proved another blessing to the freebooters, as did that between England, France and Spain.

Smuggling was another popular fad, and anyone who interfered was more than apt to get himself disliked. In 1782 a certain citizen had the reputation of being an in[43]former, and about the time that this reputation became firmly established, or shortly thereafter, the Provisional Government was offering a reward for the conviction of the person or persons who cut off the ears of the said citizen. It does not appear to be a matter of record that the reward was ever collected, the informer business having become extremely unpopular.

A fort which is now a public park that adorns the southern end of the town does not appear to have been much more useful in the early days, as we are told that in 1780 it was captured by an unexpected night attack led by a Yankee named Benjamin Cole. With their fort in the hands of the enemy and the place commanded by the guns of the privateer, the situation looked hopeless to the townsmen—all but Col. Simeon Perkins. Getting out of difficulties appears to have been one of the Colonel’s chief delights, and he proceeded to make arrangements for the capture of the invading Cole while on his way through the town. The attempt was successful, and with him safely in hand, Colonel Perkins “was enabled to dictate to the enemy most favorable terms of redress, capitulation and retreat. So ended the Siege of Liverpool.”

One of the interesting items Mr. Warman had just transcribed from the journal of Simeon Perkins was dated October 3, 1774. It reads: “John Thomas who took three hundred pounds of tea from here lost the whole lot by the Sons of Liberty at Plymouth destroying it on deck.” This piece of news had been brought from Plymouth by Joshua Battle, who came to Liverpool for “boards.” Mr. Warman[44] states that it is a fact not generally known that two of the vessels raided for tea in Boston harbor were from this port.

Another interesting item dated August 3, 1776, is the recording of a rumor to the effect that General Washington had been made a prisoner.

The home of Simeon Perkins, erected by him in 1766, still stands back from the main street in a fine state of preservation. Another interesting old home is that of Capt. Bartlett Bradford, which is situated well out toward the fort. The Captain was a privateer of note and a prominent man in the community. This house was the first custom house (1790), Joshua Newton occupying it for that purpose.

A story which Mr. Warman has never used because he has not been able to verify it, has to do with the apparition of a Capt. Nathaniel Freeman. The Captain’s wife called on Simeon Perkins one day and said she had seen her husband during the night, when he appeared before her in his uniform with a bloody spot on his breast; she feared he had been killed. Two months later the news was brought to Liverpool that he had been killed in some fight at the very hour that his wife had seen him. Ghosts no doubt have their use and are intended for some good and wise purpose, but here was one whose only object appears to have been trouble; the two months must have been a trying time. Suppose the widow had just purchased a new scarlet petticoat, what a state of mind she must have been in. The call was neither nice nor necessary.

[45]

Here is the story of Gerb Doggett of Liverpool, as I gathered it from a fellow-traveler between Shelburne and Lockport. Gerb Doggett was a bad man—very bad. Gerb was a canner of lobsters. Whether canning lobsters deteriorates the morals of one so engaged has not been determined; he may have been naturally wicked and have utilized his solitary trips up and down the coast, when purchasing lobsters, for the thinking out of schemes whereby he could excel in evil deeds. Be this as it may, Gerb gave up the canning business and took a correspondence course in smuggling.

Having learned well the best methods employed in his new trade, he did not invest any of his own money in a vessel, but chartered a schooner and went buccaneering for whisky to the French settlement of Saint Pierre, off Newfoundland. The first effort was highly successful. The whisky was run in under cover of a dark night and quickly disposed of, but some meddlesome little bird whispered to the revenue officials that there were queer doings along-shore, and they kept a weather eye out, so to speak. Gerb, all unconscious of impending evil, secured a second cargo by which he hoped to put away a certain portion of this world’s goods for that rainy day that we all fear, and which was somewhat nearer at hand than he anticipated.

Just how it was my informant did not make clear, but in some way Gerb learned that those in authority were on his wake, and he had only time enough to land in some lonely cove along the Strait of Canso, bury the casks in the sand and put to sea. The pursuit was kept up, however, until[46] the smuggler found it necessary to abandon his vessel and drop out of sight, and he has not been known in these parts since. The innocent owners lost their schooner, which was confiscated by an unfeeling government, and thus was the wisdom of Gerb, whose own money was not in the vessel, illustrated.

October 20th is the Nova Scotian Thanksgiving Day. The shipyard near the eastern end of the bridge apparently had a hurry job, as work was in full blast, but elsewhere the holiday was being observed.

A wet fog hurried in from the sea to prevent me from acquiring any sort of a view of the surrounding waters, but the dim outline of the Brooklyn breakwater with a few vessels sheltered back of it brought to mind a statement made by Mr. Warman that here was the fishing station of that unfortunate Captain Rossignol, who was caught by de Monts in the act of catching fish that a king three thousand miles away had given to his retainer. It was a rather empty return that the captor made to name the bay after his victim.

After passing the turn for Millvillage I was cautioned twice to take the left road at the next fork, and did so, to discover too late that I had thereby missed the shore road. However, a hunter informed me that three miles had been saved, and the fog was so dense that the shore road would no doubt have been a mere aggravation, while among the trees the mist afforded some beautiful effects. The camera eagerly grasped at these, but mostly failed in its good intent. The more distant trees were the ghosts of trees,[47] while those at hand, a dark, somber mass of green, stood strong against the misty background. An occasional tall white birch with its crown of gold melted into the unreal atmosphere.

I started two partridges at one point, and at another a big, brown bunny hopped across the road in a leisurely fashion that made it perfectly evident he was aware that I had no gun. It being a holiday the hunters were out. I passed several, and occasionally heard the boom of a distant gun, suggesting that another partridge was on his way to the roasting pan.

And thus passed pleasantly the ten miles to Port Medway.

Port Medway has my heart, as have also its girls—at least, two of them. The traveler comes into the village quite suddenly, to find the houses snuggled down close along little coves, each man his cove. As the village is further penetrated it is to find that the waters have worked long fingers up into the land until many houses back on the water, as well as front on it. An artist might find more to do here in a minute than would keep him busy for a year, it is all so sketchy.

Now for the girls: There are two of them, as plump and bright and pleasant as one could ask. My heart went smash immediately, torn between the two, even if one was married. They allowed me to come out in the kitchen, hang my damp coat over a chair and eat in my shirtsleeves. Both could talk and neither made any undue protestations at being photographed.

[48]

If any one desires a choice spot for a vacation let him try the Kempton House, Port Medway, Queens Co., N. S., and forever after be filled with pleasant memories. The board is $5 per week. I asked if they fed all as they were feeding me, and had a laugh and “yes” for answer.

When I began to ask questions concerning the locality Mr. J. N. Wilde was called in to assist, Mr. Jason Kempton, fountain head of all knowledge, being away from home.

My information is to the effect that Port Medway was settled about one hundred and seventy-five years ago by immigrants from Cape Cod. Why they came Mr. Historian does not know, but he surmises that they were the unsuccessful ones at home and, having nothing to lose by the change, could afford to make it. One of the early ones was a Cohoon, whose seed multiplied in the land until about one hundred years ago the family was numerous and prominent. The same is to be said of the Foster and Morine families, but the last century has seen them dwindle until few of these names are left.

I could not learn that the town had ever had any adventures; if it has they have been carefully hidden from Mr. Wylde, who is a reasonably free talker.

In passing I would record the fact that in Port Medway lies the first stone wall or fence, such as is so common with us, that has come within the compass of this walk.

From here I was to ferry to Voglers Cove. My ferryman had the face of a poet with the blond, silky little beard that fits so well such a face, but the hands were those of a hard worker. A soft voice; pleasant, talkative and[49] kindly, I was so sure that he must have at least one baby tucked away at home that I tried to give him a quarter to get the child a little present. But, alas! he had none.

The run across to Voglers Cove, which is possibly a matter of four miles, was made in a motor boat whose cranky engine balked, as is the habit of these descendants of the mule. It was interesting to see what patience and perseverance could do with such a loose-jointed affair.

On the outskirts of Voglers Cove I came on Jason Conrad and his ox cart, and as the background seemed propitious, the camera proceeded to its duty. Jason being of an inquiring turn of mind, hauled up to see what it was all about and, having learned, proceeded to give me his life history, which I unfortunately did not attempt to record until only a few fragments remained to be gathered up.

He had been to sea some sixty years and three times thought the good Lord had him, but each time managed to escape. His old woman has stomach trouble very bad, like heartburn right here (illustrating); doctors could do nothing for her, but he had some very fine old Jamaica rum which cured her. After that she had the trouble so frequently that the rum was soon exhausted, and he has not been able to get any more as good. Used to drink himself some in his earlier days. “You know how it is with sailors.” Like his namesake of long ago, he appears to have sown his share of dragons’ teeth. New York is a damn fine town. Halifax is a—well, it would hardly do for polite ears to hear what he thought of Halifax. I finally edged around my new found friend and left him standing[50] in the middle of the road still telling of his adventures. He was one of the most willing talkers I have met in some time.

The way to Petite Riviere, which was possibly seven or eight miles, does not seem to have left any impression. It was probably a wood road, and much like other wood roads that had gone before.


[51]

PETITE RIVIERE AND DUBLIN SHORE.

The Sperry House down by the water at Petite Riviere is another of those pleasant homes for wayfarers. Both the master and mistress can find time to be agreeable, and are kindly people. The situation of the house is such that the roar of the breakers on the outer bar is always to be heard, and their whitening tops can readily be seen from the upper windows as they are dashed to pieces upon the breakwater. It is one of those hotels that believes in deeds rather than words. There is no sign on house or grounds to indicate its object in life, though the building is almost out of sight from the road and the stranger would never suspect its calling.

A fog held the region in thrall at the time of my arrival and the two hours of daylight that remained did not produce much beyond a ground-glass effect, a shadowy foreground with the distance as blank as the mind of an ox.

The Sperry House is the first place where cream has been put on the table. The past summer was very dry, and the cows have not been giving much milk, and now that the rainy season has arrived most of the milk looks as though the cows were drinking over much.

In the days when eyes were less stigmatic and people saw things as they really were, those outward bound from Petite Riviere would, in the fall of the year, sometimes see[52] a full rigged bark sail in on Crescent Beach, some two or three miles to the eastward, pass over the beach and continue on among the Lahave Islands, where it was lost to view. No one ever discovered its exact destination, though it was presumed to be the ghost of some pirate ship returning for buried gold.

It may possibly have been bound for Fort Point at the mouth of the Lahave River, where many have dug for buried treasure in times past. Why the vessel always came across the beach and never took the channel does not appear, but it may be that in the early days there was an opening in the sand near its western end and the ghost, being a creature of habit, merely followed the old routine.

Once there was a lily pond in Petite Riviere in which it was generally supposed gold had been deposited for safe keeping, as the headless ghost of a woman was seen frequently patrolling its banks. But one day the pond was drained, and though no money was found the ghost was satisfied, as she has not been known to appear in the neighborhood since; possibly it was fairy gold and, with the weight of the water removed, the ghost was herself able to make away with it.

The boys of Petite Riviere appear to be much like boys of other parts, not particularly bad nor yet altogether given over to Sunday-school work. My host in going over the annals of the town dwelt at some length on certain plum trees that did particularly well by him last year. It seems that the boys of this neighborhood have a taste for plums and, as stolen fruit is much the sweeter, determined[53] to raid the orchard. In some mysterious way the owner learned of the intended foray and, being a man of resource, proceeded to set a trap for the invaders. First some pans were arranged on the top of a summer house with a string attached that would give warning of any visit, and next a long cod trawl line, to which he added extra hooks, was laid in the grass entirely around the orchard. This was arranged so that a strong pull would elevate it about twenty inches above the ground.

In due time the pans signaled “S.O.S.,” and with a pull on the cod line the crowd was encircled. Then, not caring how much noise he made, the owner went out to greet his visitors but they, becoming suddenly shy, scattered or attempted to. Then it was that the heavy cod hooks caught the clothing of certain among them, and three who were firmly hooked remained to give him welcome. These he calmly inspected with a light and, after giving them full instructions in the art of being good, hastened their departure. For the remainder of the time those plums were on the trees they were treated with the greatest respect.

The western side of Petite Riviere cove terminates in what is known as Cape Lahave, and thereabout hangs a tale that I cannot vouch for, owing to lack of time for careful investigation. From the earliest times there have been traditions of buried money here, and many have searched though few have found. However, if what follows is a correct statement of the case, two men were successful up to a certain point. What manner of bargain they struck with the Evil One my informant did not know, and both of the[54] adventurers being away on the Banks, nothing of this could be learned, but the powers of darkness did permit them to discover a chest buried in the sand. When the earth had been removed and the coffer with great labor lifted from the hole, the lid was raised and great store of treasure exposed: gold, silver and all manner of precious stones.

In such a search as this, digging must not begin before the clock strikes the hour of midnight and, if found, the treasure must be safely housed before cockcrow, while during the entire period a single word spoken breaks the spell and all is lost. The successful treasure-hunters were greatly elated, and immediately started home with their prize, but just as they reached the goal one unfortunately stubbed his toe. It was a mighty stub and, forgetting all else, he made a few emphatic and pointed remarks, when immediately the chest and all it contained vanished in air. What his companion remarked is best left unsaid; it was no balm to his feelings to know that the Devil, repenting of his bargain, had deliberately placed a stone in the path for the very purpose which the stubbed toe accomplished.

Both men returned the next night, but were unable to find the spot or any evidence of digging, and never since then has the eye of mortal been allowed to see that chest.

During the night I awoke occasionally to listen to the rain which came down in great volume. The incessant roar of the surf on the bar, the whistling of the wind and dashing of rain squalls against the side of the house aroused thoughts of the morrow which were of a damnifying sort,[55] but when the morning had half gone the rain ceased, and I set forth only, however, to become involved in a series of showers that punctured the hours which followed until two o’clock was no more.

The jaunt from Petite Riviere was possibly the most captivating of the entire trip. At first the roar of a heavy surf breaking within two to five hundred feet of the road commanded the undivided attention, and when the rush and clamor of the heavier breakers came the very air was jarred and the noise was appalling, the more so because nothing was visible beyond the dense fringe of spruce which bordered the road. So heavy were the reverberations among the trees that I was tempted two or three times to investigate, only to find that it was merely heavy surf and nothing more, but back among the trees there was at times a crash that almost made the heart stand still; it seemed as though the next instant the waters would be upon one. What it may be like when the wild old Atlantic is really worked up over some windy suspiration is beyond comprehension.

Finally the woods fell away and Crescent Beach came into view, a long curving sandbar thrown up by the sea with quiet water on one side and the surf pounding on the other. This introduces the traveler to West Dublin and Dublin Shore at the mouth of the Lahave River, a stretch of some five miles.

At first the waters are quiet, owing to the protection of Crescent Beach, the shore is a series of enchanting little coves and promontories with rocks and small craggy trees[56] distractingly picturesque. Then the road dodges away from the shore for a half mile, only to come back to it again where cod flakes line the way and little storehouses, through whose open doors one can see men piling dried cod as the farmer might fill his shed with the winter’s supply of firewood.

Then the bank becomes a bluff and the road ascends thirty to forty feet above the water, while the waves, no longer restrained by Crescent Beach, dash themselves on the rocks below, a beautiful, rugged bit of coast. It is not possible to adequately describe this wonderful five miles. All the way houses are grouped or dotted along one side of the road; it is like a straggling village street; while on the other the shore stirs one’s heart with its beauty or its rugged features or its interesting evidences of the life of the fishing banks. It is seldom that the traveler finds so much that is interesting and attractive in one short stretch.

Fort Point is situated at the outlet of the Lahave River on its Western bank. I presume that it is included in the village of Dublin Shore, but, as these villages run one into the other in a most promiscuous fashion, it may come within the confines of Getsans Point. In 1755 an Acadian village stood here, nothing of which now remains but a few almost obliterated depressions that were once the cellars of the French homes.

Immediately back of the little lighthouse lies a pond in which, according to local tradition, the Acadians placed the church bell and silver service at the time of the expulsion. These are still believed to lie deep in the mud. This[57] mud, I was told, is from ten to twenty feet deep. Some attempts have been made to probe it with long poles, but without results.

I found two men working in a field nearby, who were quite ready to act as guides, and they, with the lightkeeper, took me over the locality and helped find in the brush near the pond the foundations of the chapel and priest’s house and the well close by. These are such slight elevations and so overgrown that the stranger might easily not recognize his discovery when made.

The fort which gives name to the point stood on its south side, which is elevated fifteen feet above the water. The land here has been washed away within the memory of my guides, until the remains of the fort have entirely disappeared. A few thin, crudely made bricks were picked up on the beach, which may have been used to line a fireplace, but other than this no remnant of the fort is to be found.

In times past will-o’-the-wisp lights have been seen to come and go on the opposite shore of the river below Riverport, but what they portended or why they are not seen in these degenerate days, my new found friends did not know. It has occurred to me that possibly these may be the returned spirits of moose and bear endeavoring to wreak a last revenge on the intruding white man. If the legend which follows is true, this is at least a plausible explanation:—

The earliest French settlement here was in 1613. There is an Indian legend which relates that when these white[58] men landed the bears and moose held a grand conclave around the headwaters of the Lahave River, some fifty miles in the interior, where they entered into an alliance against the paleface. It was determined that the moose should wage war against all cornfields planted by the intruders, while the bears attacked their cattle and sheep, but no person was to be eaten by them unless he bore a gun which made a great noise and carried confusion among the peaceable denizens of the wood.

The place of this meeting was known as “Ponhook,” which is said to mean “outlet”—presumably of some lake—but exactly where it was is not now known, though it is still guarded by two bears and two moose which are invulnerable, and not subject to the ills which beset their less favored brethren when the hunting season is on. Since this treaty no bear has been known to attack a moose, however young and defenseless it may be. It is said the Indians now believe that it would have been better for them if they too had entered the alliance, as the white man has made laws which at least protect the moose.

A brief note in one of the histories states that in 1632 Chevalier Isaac de Razilly, acting as agent for a French company which had been organized by Cardinal Richelieu to exploit the fisheries of Acadie, came across the seas with forty families, which were settled at what is now known as Fort Point, at the mouth of the Lahave River (more properly La Héve).

About 1654 Emmanuel le Borgne, a merchant of Rochelle, came to Acadie and, after the gentle manner of the[59] times, some of his men set fire to all the buildings at La Héve, not even sparing the chapel. The loss was estimated at 100,000 francs. Some time later the son of Le Borgne entered the harbor and constructed a fort of timber, whereupon the English undertook to dislodge the French. Le Borgne promptly sought the cover of the woods with some of his men, but a trader who was with him, one Gilbaut, defended the place with such vigor that many of the English were killed and the remainder driven off. They were preparing to attack again when Gilbaut, who had no interest except in his goods, proposed to surrender on condition that he and his men should be allowed to retain their possessions. This was readily agreed to, and the fort fell without further bloodshed. Le Borgne, who was quickly starved out, desired to be included in the surrender and granted the same terms, but as he had run away before the fight began, the English failed to see the force of his claims, and carried him off a prisoner.

In 1684 M. Perrot, the Governor of Acadie, proposed to fortify and settle La Héve under certain conditions, but apparently nothing was done in the matter.


[60]

LUNENBURG AND MAHONE BAY.

After a brief search I found a ferryman who would set me across the Lahave to Riverport. The ferryboat was a dory, and this was the first time that I had seen a dory without centerboard sailed to windward. The boatman stood or sat forward of midships, passing the sheet through an after tholepin hole and holding the end of it in one hand, while with the other he manipulated an oar on the lee side of the boat so that it was both rudder and sideboard, and thus the boat sailed fairly well into the wind without sliding off to too great an extent. Later I learned that this is the manner of sailing a dory employed by the fishermen on the Banks when looking after their trawls.

By this time the storm was breaking and the sun was dodging the flying clouds, the wind was in the west and there was such life and vigor in the atmosphere as had not been present before at any time during the trip. Here I saw the process of cleaning drying cod. During damp weather the cod accumulate a shine that must be removed, and men go over each fish with a scrubbing brush and fresh water, a very considerable task and one which the fishermen do not like.

The road from Riverport to Lunenburg passes through the usual spruce forest and shortly comes out on an arm of Lunenburg Bay, after which it was a bit of woods or a bit[61] of water until First South was reached. First South and its suburbs consist of a scattering line of houses at least two miles long, with the road winding in and out along the edge of the beach. Much cod was spread for the rays of the newly found sun, and here and there the dried fish had been piled by the road side with a wealth of salt, ready to be stored or shipped. The entire stretch was picturesque to a degree.

Lunenburg was settled by Hanoverian immigrants in 1751, and is still largely German in character. It is the important fishing station of Nova Scotia and has grown so great that it is known as “the Gloucester of Canada,” and claims to send out more fishing vessels even than the mother of fishermen.

The place had its troubles during the American War for Independence, as did other towns along this coast. On July 1, 1782, a privateer from Boston sailed into the bay and landed ninety men and some guns for an attack. They were fired on from the block house, but this does not appear to have delayed their progress to any alarming extent, for they soon captured the guns, which were promptly spiked, after which they proceeded to plunder the town of all that seemed good to them. After they were satisfied that there was nothing more to take they threatened to burn the houses unless a ransom was paid. There was, of course, no money, but they were given a document which purported to be a note for £1,000. The entire loss to the town was placed at £10,000.

Mr. Mack searched me out shortly after my arrival, and[62] announced that he had intended to devote some part of the morrow to my enlightenment on local matters, but the fates had decreed otherwise. The customs collector at the village of Mahone Bay was no more, and it devolved on my friend to keep the wheels running until a new inspector could be selected. He must drive up, nine miles, the first thing on the following morning, and would be glad to have me go with him. In the meantime he would walk about the town with me in the evening, and again by the early morning light.

I had a note to the effect that the old rectory here was formerly a tavern and that occasionally the spirit of a woman appears to its inmates. This is said to have happened to people who had never heard of the story and whose imagination could not have been prepared in advance. The origin is supposed to lie in some murder long ago, but of this nothing is known. It was my intent to ask somewhat of this but, strange to say, I neglected to do so.

The present-day interest of Lunenburg centers about its wharves and shipping. The town lies on such a steep hillside that the parallel streets are only one hundred and twenty feet apart, and everywhere one looks down on the harbor. At this particular time a large fleet of fishermen was lying at anchor in the quiet waters, waiting for the weather to straighten itself out. Across the bay could be seen the “Ovens,” curious caverns which are said to run well back into the hill. Considerable gold has been washed out of the sand here in the past.

If it were not for friend Mack I should be tempted to[63] say mean things about the hotel in his town, where the kitchen service is of a most exasperating character, greatly accentuated by waitresses who have little of the Nova Scotian spirit in their make-up. However, any hotel is but an incident, and its discomforts are soon forgotten.

The drive to the village of Mahone Bay was interesting in itself, and particularly so as my guide knew every foot of the way. We passed a new venture for these parts, a fox farm. Black foxes are worth $40,000 per pair, so I am told, and it requires some capital to start such an enterprise, but the promised profits are so enormous that the necessary funds are readily obtainable. The raising of foxes for their fur has been carried on in Prince Edward Island with great success for some years, and there seems no reason why it cannot be duplicated here.

Had I been dawdling along on foot, there were several spots that could have tempted the camera from its seclusion. But when the village of Mahone Bay was reached it was unable to resist longer, for here the waters were so quiet that even such a sober individual as myself saw double, the village church was standing on its head in a fashion quite apart from one’s notion of village church etiquette.

As I started up the hill with my back set toward Mahone Bay there came another little experience of the courteous spirit so frequently commented on. I was on the wrong side of the road when one driving an ox team came toward me. He promptly “geed” the animals across the way in order to give me an abundance of room, and did it in such a matter of course fashion as to clearly show that[64] such was his habit. Even the dogs so seldom run at the passer-by that, when one does, it is a matter for comment. I saw one well pounded merely because he dared bark at me.

The day was perfect Indian summer weather, soft and kindly, cloudy during the early morning hours, as seems the fashion here, but by ten o’clock the clouds had vanished and a gentle breeze from the west come to dull the edge of the shafts with which a warm sun was assailing all creeping things in this part of the globe. Later the clouds began to assemble again, but merely for decorative purposes.

From the village of Mahone Bay the road crosses the country to another cove of Mahone Bay through beautiful, dark green woods or burned stretches where none but dead trees kept watch and ward, through the villages of Martins River, where I invested in apples and soda crackers for lunch, and Martins Point, which put me in touch with the water again, to Western Shore. My instructions were to proceed to Gold River and there find some one to ferry me across to Chester, but my fortunate habit of asking questions led to the discovery that Oak Island was in sight; indeed, had already been passed, and I was immediately consumed with a desire to ferry from Western Shore.

James K. Manuel offered his boat and services, and we immediately struck a bargain. The usual charge for the three and one-quarter miles is seventy-five cents, but on my suggestion it was made a dollar and we were to go by way of Oak Island, the great mystery of Nova Scotia. Mahone Bay is said to have been a one-time resort for pirates and[65] other gentle freebooters, who found its islands convenient places behind which to hide their vessels; indeed, the estimable Captain Kidd himself was a visitor here, so it is claimed, and it is generally supposed that he used Oak Island as a sub-treasury. Some gentleman with a turn for figures has estimated that Captain Kidd’s treasure unearthed so far amounts to $354,523,188.03. Just how he arrives at these figures is of small moment, but they must be exact, as he includes the cents. A few of the still undiscovered millions are firmly believed to lie buried here.

Seekers after this easy money have digged pits all over the place. Some of these have gone down one hundred and fifty-six feet through layers of cut stone, and at a depth of one hundred feet have found hewn oak timbers, strange grasses from the tropics, charcoal, putty and carefully joined planks. But while much capital has been expended no treasure has been brought forth nor anything that might solve the mystery. At the lower depths great stone drains communicating with the sea were discovered. These admitted the salt water more rapidly than it could be pumped out; then divers were used, but all to no purpose. However, as hope springs eternal, so one set of discouraged seekers is replaced by a new lot of enthusiasts, who must be convinced with their own convintion, and so it goes.

As is my habit I began right early to ask questions of my ferryman, and among others, as to whether he had ever heard of the Teazer. To this he promptly replied: “I have seen it.” I gently reminded him that the privateer[66] was blown up during the War of 1812, and he then told the following story:—

When a lad, some fifty years ago, he and his father were night-fishing off Peggys Cove on the southeastern shore of St. Margarets Bay. About ten o’clock he saw coming toward them from Mahone Bay a full rigged ship on fire. Much frightened, he spoke to his father, who said it was nothing but the moon rising. He was old enough, however, to know that the moon did not rise in the northwest. “I was scared, but father didn’t mind it because he’d see it lots of times.” The vessel approached within five hundred feet of their small boat, and he could distinctly see men on her deck and flames rising from all parts.

The man was evidently sincere in his belief that he had seen the ghost ship; said she had been seen since by other people, and always sailing out of the bay, never in. I had heard the story before, it is common along this coast, and it would seem probable that there is some occasional phenomenon which, combined with a reasonably satisfactory imagination, keeps it alive.

Passing out beyond Oak Island we saw in the distance a “nubble” island which is struggling along without any name. It was just beyond this I was informed that the Teazer was blown up.

During the War of 1812 an American Privateer, the Young Teazer, which had done much damage along this coast, fled to the head of Mahone Bay in an effort to escape a British cruiser, but being cornered she made a gallant though losing fight, and was about to surrender when a[67] deserter from the British, who was among her crew, fired the powder magazine, choosing to sacrifice all those on board rather than meet the punishment which was surely his if captured. The circumstances were so dramatic that they made a lasting impression on the little communities of the locality.

The day was so ideally perfect that my ferryman was compelled to row the entire distance, though his small leg-of-mutton helped some. He was a nice, garrulous party who does anything, from helping his son-in-law kill his pig to fishing on the Grand Banks; when nothing else occupies his attention and the ferry business is dull he gathers kelp and eel grass for fertilizer.

We poked along, passing island after island, several of them already owned by “Americans,” as those of the United States are called here, and I not caring how much time was consumed, asked very particularly after exact locations, got out my pocket map in order to be certain that I understood and in all ways interrupted the rowing as much as possible. Had time been of no moment I should have bargained with my boatman for a period of hours, and drifted over the waters for the remainder of the pleasant spell of weather, in spite of the fact that son-in-law upset in this same boat the other day and ruined a perfectly good thirty dollar watch. But as all things pass away, even so did this Indian summer afternoon drift off into the regions of memory.

If any reader ever arrives at Western Shore with intent to be transported over the waters to Chester, he[68] should insist on James Manuel for a ferryman, not mind how dirty his boat may be, ask enough questions to keep the talk going and look as though he believes every word he hears. And if he does not have one of the times of his life, he should never be permitted to travel other than in the soft embraces of a Pullman car.

Chester is a summer resort, beautifully situated and all that, but I have a grudge against Chester and shall say no good word for it. My lunch consisted of a few crackers and apples procured at Martins River, a sawmill growth; the train for Halifax left Chester at 5:35 o’clock, arriving about 8 p. m. I dropped into the Lovett House about 4:30 o’clock for a bite to eat. The proprietor was not to be found, only a crabbed suffragette sort of woman who did not propose to take any trouble for strangers, and with the statement that the waitress was out, she refused to move a hand herself, though the tables were set and the labor involved but trifling.


[69]

HALIFAX AND THE EVANGELINE COUNTRY.

The walking is over; in order to spend a day in the Evangeline country the railroad must do the speeding hereafter and I must omit St. Margarets Bay and all the interesting country to Halifax. I should prefer to remain a night at Peggys Cove in the hope that I too might see the ghost of the Teazer, and there is Sambro, often mentioned in the history of early times, and Ketch Harbor sounds attractive, as does many another spot that holds out invitation to the wanderer.

It can be taken as an axiom that anything different from that which one is used to is singular; hence, when I pass through a country that is everywhere riddled with glacial boulders of all sizes and, in a distance of nearly two hundred miles, see only one stone fence, and that but a short piece, it seems odd to me, used to such things, that at least the smaller stones are not so disposed of. Another singular matter is the lack of stone farm houses: not one did I see in all my journeyings, when frequently all the stone required could be gathered within a hundred yards of its site. Had the Dutch settled in these parts it would have been quite different.

Halifax is a nice little city but, from my point of view, not worth an entire day of an all too short vacation. Another time I should be inclined to cut out both Yarmouth[70] and Halifax and lay the time out dreaming the length of some country road or drifting along the edge of one of the beautiful bays.

The histories tell us that Halifax was settled in 1746 at the solicitation of the New England colonies, in order to crowd out the French, who were inclined to use the harbor as a naval base from which to harry said colonies. The extensive fortifications on Citadel Hill are the pride of Nova Scotia, but there is no attempt to make the hill attractive outwardly. It is merely a rough pasture lot hillside, crossed by wandering footpaths with a few uninteresting cannon and fortifications in sight at the summit.

Dalhousie College is a monument to the War of 1812. It seems that at that time certain patriotic Nova Scotians moved over the borders into the eastern section of Maine, and the inhabitants thereof, in order to continue their life of ease and luxury, cheerfully took the oath of allegiance to the British crown. The customs duties collected at the port of Castine were kept when the land was surrendered at the close of the war, and this money was known as the “Castine Fund.” After much debate as to what should be done with it, the entire amount was used for the endowment of Dalhousie College.

St. George’s Church is interesting from the fact, if it is a fact, that the building was erected in circular form in order that there might be no corners in which the Devil could hatch mischief for such idle hands as might come within the holy precincts, it would thus appear that those[71] who wish to avoid the machinations of the evil one should avoid dark corners.

I took up my abode in the King Edward Hotel because it was near the depot. This was satisfactory in most respects. The head waiter did not fill his job very full, but much can be forgiven any hotel that places before its patrons that dear delight which the King Edward calls “pie,” a rich stew of some fruit on which is placed a square of rather thick, but very light and fluffy pastry. It is more after the manner of some of the old Astor House “deep dish” confections than any other that I know of, but, in the language of the late Mr. Noah Webster, has even those skinned a mile, all due to the remarkably light, flaky nature of the pastry and exceeding richness of the cooked fruit.

In the Chronicle office, Halifax, I met with another case of Nova Scotian courtesy. Having been informed that the paper had been publishing a series of articles on the South Shore recently, I called to ascertain whether they could be readily found, and saw an editor who kindly put one of his young ladies at the task, and she, after some searching, brought copies of the proper dates to me, and it was all done with a ready willingness and a smile that plainly meant she was glad to be of service. Why the boys up here allow such girls to remain single after they are sixteen can only be explained by the possible fact that all the girls are much the same: such little experience as I have had leads me to think this the probable explanation.

A morning train from Halifax put me in the “Evangeline”[72] country by ten o’clock. I had hoped for a day in Truro in order to thank in person T. S. Patillo, who was kind enough to answer my written questions with good advice as to the route best suited to my wishes, advice which I followed with great satisfaction to myself. That I did not see him is, however, wholly his own fault, in that he suggested such an attractive course that I could not forsake the country of his selecting one moment earlier than must be.

Wolfville is the usual headquarters of those who wish to see Grand-Pré, and there I found John Frederick Herbin, the only descendant of the Acadians living in the locality. He has made a study of the expulsion and the causes which led to it, and claims that the poem “Evangeline” is a remarkably correct page of history.

The following facts are taken from his book on the subject:—

Acadia was first settled in 1605, though it had been known to French fishermen and traders since 1504.

Acadia, or Cadie or Kaddy, is a Micmac Indian terminal meaning the place of; that is, a region, field, land, etc.

In 1636 dikes began to be used on the salt marshes. About 1675 the French first settled in the Grand-Pré neighborhood. The first inhabitants came from the west of France—a country of marshes.

In 1704 Col. Benjamin Church left Boston to ravage the coast. At Minas (this is part of the Minas country) he cut the dikes, destroying the crops. He destroyed three villages and burned many houses.

[73]

In 1710 the English came into final possession of this country, but the French never lost the hope of some day regaining it. However, the Acadians, who by treaty right could leave the country if they wished, prepared in 1713-14 to do so, but this would have stripped the country of inhabitants and cattle and have left the English garrisons in a sad predicament for their daily bread, and consequently they by one pretext and another, managed to prevent it. Up to 1730 every effort was made to compel the French to take the oath of allegiance to the English Government, but they “were remarkably faithful to the government” (French).

In 1720 they again asked permission to leave, but were prevented from doing so.

In 1730 they took the oath of allegiance, being exempted from taking up arms against French or Indians. From this date they were known as French Neutrals.

As an indication of their feeling in 1744, when other French attempted unsuccessfully to force them into a position antagonistic to the English, they responded in part: “We live under a mild and tranquil government, and we have every reason to be faithful to it.”

In 1749 the Acadians were called on to take the oath without restriction or forfeit all their rights and possessions.

In 1750 they were pleading for permission to leave the country.

“They bore insult and indignity for forty years in a vain hope that a time would come when they would be[74] finally secure on the lands their fathers had taken from the sea and made beautiful and rich beyond any other in America.”

The expulsion was the work of Governor Charles Lawrence, who is characterized as the most infamous of all the governors of Nova Scotia. “It was done without the sanction of the English Government,” whose “orders forbidding this action were received too late to prevent it.”

All their arms had been seized; their priests and archives carried off.

Lawrence concealed his purpose from the English Government until too late for its intervention; he even deceived his own Lords of Trade at Halifax.

The male inhabitants were summoned to meet at the church at Grand-Pré, “to hear the king’s orders.” Four hundred and eighteen men gathered in the church. No suspicion of danger had entered their minds up to the moment when they were notified “That your Lands & Tenements, Cattle of all Kinds and Live Stock of all Sorts are Forfeited to the Crown with all other your Effects Saving your money and Household Goods, and you your Selves to be removed from this his Province.” They were then declared prisoners.

The expulsion was conceived in sin and carried out in iniquity, its sole purpose being plunder, as the country and wealth of the Acadians would then fall to the English. Lawrence himself is accused of profiting greatly.

In other words, it was a plain case of highway robbery, the only excuse being trumped up charges against the in[75]habitants to the effect that they were plotting against the English. These appear to have had no foundation in fact, as has been amply proved by recent discoveries in the archives of England and France. Under such circumstances it was one of the most brutal cases of rapine, even for those rough times, that can be found in history.

The little basin, known as Wolfville Harbor, offered my best opportunity for noting the tremendous rise and fall of the tide, though the basin itself is not deep enough to show the extremes. Just outside, the greatest difference between high and low water, the extremes only occurring in spring and fall, is 55 feet 6 inches. But every full or new moon there is a high tide that comes within a very few feet of these figures. While interesting to see once, the vast expanse of yellow mud and the thick muddy water which surges back and forth destroy the beauty of the waterside; its novelty is the only attraction.

For my ride to Grand-Pré I asked for a talkative driver who knew the country and its story, and was given one who filled my soul with great content.

Before arriving at the points of interest he told of two ghosts seen by his father when a young married man—he himself, of course, does not believe in ghosts, though it is hard to explain their appearance to others. One brilliant, moonlight night, when the ground was covered with snow, father, while on his way to convoy his wife home from a neighbor’s in Wolfville, saw two men come out of the woods and pass through the fence to the road, neither climbing over it nor letting down the bars, but as a puff of smoke[76] might pass. These started down the road a short distance ahead of him, but made no noise on the hard, frozen snow, while his shoes made the orthodox crunching sound as shoes should on flesh and blood feet. He even stopped a moment in order to assure himself of their quiet progress. Whether he moved at a lively pace or slow, the figures kept the same distance ahead of him, and even when he broke into a run he was unable to overtake them. At last they turned in toward a house, went up to the front door and disappeared. Not having any fear of ghosts, father followed, but found the door locked. He then passed around to the back, to find the door there locked as well, made some effort to arouse the people, but without success, and finally went on his way. At this time a man lay sick in the house who eventually died, and the ghost-seer always believed that these had something to do with that event, though unable to surmise how one man could have two ghosts, as this was long before the days of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. It seems highly probable that the sick man had a double personality, and that he was entitled to these two spirits, who were identical in appearance and bearing. This is the first time, so far as my knowledge goes, that such a circumstance has occurred, but the more one thinks on the subject the more reasonable does it seem.

At first we drove out on high land overlooking the Gaspereau Valley, a sight well calculated to please the lover of the beautiful. This valley is a noted apple growing region, shipping about $60,000 worth of the fruit during a normal year. Apples and potatoes are the chief[77] product of this part of the country, and my driver stated that the apple growers are prosperous and that few of the orchards are mortgaged. All fruit has been shipped to England heretofore, but the present Democratic free trade antics of the United States will probably result in much of it being sent to the nearer market to the detriment of its apple growers; let us hope that they were among those who helped mount the schoolmaster on the donkey’s back at the late election, and that they will but receive their deserts. More talk on this subject might be regarded by the powers that be as apple-sauce, and in the interests of harmony we will desist from further comment.

Near the mouth of the Gaspereau River is the historic landing place where the deportation of the helpless Acadians was consummated.

After following down the river for a space we turned to the left and mounted another hill, from the summit of which one may look down on the village of Grand-Pré (great prairie). Before beginning the descent we passed the Scotch Covenanter Church, erected in 1804, which still retains its box pews and high pulpit.

At the foot of the hill we came out on the meadows which were salved from the sea the better part of three hundred years ago. Here stood the chapel in which the Acadian men were held prisoners until they could be placed on board the transports; the locality over which Longfellow has woven such a spell of romance.

The site of the chapel, priest’s house and burial ground[78] was originally an island in the salt marsh; now it is merely a gentle elevation on the edge of the meadow.

The Evangeline well is presumably the well attached to the priest’s house. After the deportation it was filled up and plowed over for many years. Twenty-five years ago it was opened and an interesting lot of Acadian implements were found in the bottom.

The burial ground is marked by a large cross built of stone used in the foundation of the church and the priest’s house and in other Acadian cellars. Beneath it are three graves and about it rest the remains of those who died in Grand-Pré during its occupation by the people, about eighty years.

Just north of the church site stands a row of willows set out by the people of Evangeline’s day. These have stood probably two hundred years, and shielded the Acadian Chapel and the priest’s house from the north winds of winter until 1755 when, after the removal of the Acadians, the buildings were burned.

On returning to Wolfville I again interviewed Mr. Herbin, and among other items gathered the following account of a legend which has to do with one of the nearby villages:

Immediately after the expulsion a considerable number of those who had escaped the clutches of the British, gathered at what is now known as East Minas, on high ground from which a large territory could be overlooked, in the belief that French ships would come for them. It is claimed that they had a priest with them, though Mr. Herbin regards this as doubtful, as the priests had been removed[79] from the country during the summer in anticipation of the removal of the inhabitants later.

These are said to have erected a small chapel with walls about six feet high and steep pitched roof. Here they worshipped during the winter, but in time were discovered by the English and forced to again flee. So sudden was their departure that they were unable to carry with them the silver service used in the chapel, which had been brought from some other point, and this was hastily placed for safe keeping in a spring of water conveniently near.

Many years passed, the chapel had crumbled and the spring dried up, when several men appeared in the locality and, after making much inquiry, located a great tree, the stump of which is still to be seen, that was standing in the days of the French. Taking a line by this and another mark of which they appeared to have some record, they passed into the forest, but were unable to find the site of the spring, all signs of which having long since disappeared.

Later three men, who had learned the object of the unsuccessful treasure-hunters, instituted a search on their own account. One of them, named Bishop, stumbled on a slight depression which he believed to be the dry bed of the spring, and began to dig, but immediately the heavens darkened and strange noises issued from the surrounding woods, while half-seen shapes threatened to pounce upon him from the nearby trees.

About this time he concluded not to be selfish over his discovery, but to call in his friends that all might share alike, and commenced a search for them with zealous haste.[80] But when they endeavored to return to the spot he was not able to locate it; the earth had been replaced and leaves and sticks scattered over it as formerly, and even the trees had been shifted about until the search was hopeless.


[81]

EPILOGUE.

The novelty of the tides having worn off, the immense mud flats left by the outgoing water and the railroad ride from Wolfville to Yarmouth convinced me that I had followed good advice in selecting the south shore for my jaunt. Not that the Annapolis Valley is other than beautiful and well kept, it is both, and the Fundy tides are interesting, but to travel with day after day their muddied waters and wastes of yellow flats cannot be compared with the sparkle of the clean waters of the Atlantic and its rock-encrusted coast line, innumerable harbors and occasional beautiful stretches of wave-swept sand beach.


[82]

INDEX

It is Commonly Rumored that death and Taxes are the only certainties placed before the inhabitants of this Vale of Tears. But after Mature reflection it has become the firm Conviction of this Traveler that the End of a pleasant Excursion is quite as certain as either, though not quite as sad. Be this as it May, as all Orthodox story books have it, there can be no Doubt in the Mind of any who has given due Heed unto the Matters herein set forth, that this particular trip has reached a Definite End.

Transcriber’s Notes

In the Index:

First South moved from E to F.

Grand-Pre changed to Grand-Pré.

La Heve changed to La Héve.

Oak Islands changed to Oak Island.