One morning a notice appears on the board intimating that
telegraphic communication has been established, and passengers may wire
to Canada or home, by applying at the Marconi office on the upper deck.
The following morning we are awakened by the almost
continual hoot of the foghorn, the boat has been proceeding very slowly,
and we are told that instead of getting into Quebec by about five p.m.,
we cannot get in until much later. If we arrive late in the evening we
shall not be allowed to land, as the officials would not come on board
at so late an hour to "pass” the passengers. The baggage, mostly marked
“settlers’ effects.” has been brought up out of the hold, ready to be
taken off, but residents of the city who hoped to arrive home in the
evening, will. I fear, be obliged to remain on board another night.
Prizes for the successful competitors in the sports were
presented by Mr Smith, an ex-mayor of Chatham, Ontario. He had been in
London in connexion with the "Sons of England" Society, sent by them as
its representative at the Coronation. He was one of a party of seven,
who, realizing that Englishmen were being neglected and rather made to
take a “back seat” in the new country, formed a society with the object
of remedying this. Hearing that I was going on, later, to Toronto, he
gave me a letter of introduction to a friend of his living in that city,
and begged me to call on, or ’phone to, him it he could be of the least
service to me He was a man exceedingly proud of his adopted country, and
seemed very anxious that I should carry away a good impression of it, as
I most certainly have done.
I found its people kind and hospitable, most loyal to
their new country, yet with a great affection for the old Motherland,
its King, and people, and whilst there were some things they deplored in
the Old Country, they readily admitted that there were great and
perplexing problems always arising, due partly to the difficulty of
reconciling long established practices and prejudices with present-day
needs—problems of which a new country knows nothing.
I went to the upper deck to send a Marconigram home, as I
particularly wanted to see how a message was sent, the wonder of the
invention strikes one with particular force when at sea. The chart
showing the lines of the different ocean steamers was most interesting.
Although a vessel is not often sighted, yet, from this very condensed
chart, the ocean would seem to be covered with lines of steamers
crossing and recrossing in all directions. The chart somewhat resembles
this sketch, the thick line representing the track of our own vessel.
There was only one operator on board, so we were not in constant touch
with all the ships
around us. but even this service afforded those on board
a feeling of safety, whilst with two operators and consequently
continual communication, the sense of security would be almost complete.
Steaming up the St Lawrence, the country, seen from the
boat, is very pretty; the mountains in the distance forming a second
sharp line behind the line of the banks, and, as it were, a frame to the
beauty of the countryside. I did not realize I was in a Province
professing the Roman Catholic faith, until noticing, in the advancing
twilight, certain twinkling lights, I was informed that they were lights
burning at various little shrines, a great number of which are dedicated
to St Anne, the Mother of Our Lady.
The sunset earlier in the evening was very beautiful; a
low line of fog lay over the land, above which the mountains rose quite
clear, their peaks illumined by the setting sun with a pale pink light,
and where there was an occasional break in these hills, one caught a
glimpse of deep flame, red, in brilliant contrast to the dark and sombre
sides of the hills in front.
The scene when entering Quebec was indescribably lovely,
and like nothing I have ever seen before. The lower town lies very near
the water's edge, whilst immediately behind rise the Heights of Abraham,
crowned by the citadel and the upper town, which slope slightly upwards
to the Plains of Abraham. Seen from the river, after dark, the city is a
glorious blaze of lights in varied colours, and on this night the clear
sky and a rising moon behind the heights, completed a scene, which, to
me, was fairyland itself.
Doctors had come on board lower down the river, but none
of the residents of Quebec had been examined. We were brought alongside
the landing stage at about nine o’clock; a small knot of people cheered,
and, like us, waited to see what would happen. Then the news went round
that nobody was to leave the ship, and the small crowd or, shore, after
waiting for some considerable time, dwindled away. The place seemed very
foreign to me; one heard French spoken by those on shore. Even the crack
of the drivers’ whips seemed to have a French accent; everybody on deck
was too excited to turn in, and we did not go to bed until after
I think every one on board had enjoyed the voyage and
wished it could have continued much longer; friendships had been formed,
and a delightful intimacy had sprung up between many of us during the
voyage; now, all were going their different ways, and the morrow would
see the first break in what had seemed to be a big family travelling
from one side of the Atlantic to the other; in another week some of them
would be across the big country and on the shores of the Pacific.
We intended to get up very early next morning to see the
third-class passengers and their baggage taken off, but, although we
were called at five o'clock, the landing had already taken place, and
the tram would soon be starting; anyhow, not a sight of either the
passengers or baggage could be seen. At half past five the stewardess
came to hurry us to the saloon to undergo the official examination. So
hurried were we, that some who had infants had to take them out of bed,
asleep, and wrap them in shawls; every soul on the ship having to be
We were arranged in groups, each group bearing a number;
my group was numbered thirteen, but I got into the saloon before my
number was called so that I could take some note of the procedure. Each
person presented his card and was brought before a table at which four
officials were seated; an official of the ship was also present, I
suppose to identify us. Two of the officials were, I think, doctors, the
others saw that the Government sheets were properly filled up, compared
the cards and asked a number of questions, of which the following are an
What’s your name?
Been in Canada before?
You intend to reside here?
To what part are you going?
How much money have you?
Have you your railway ticket paid through to your destination?
If a woman was going out to be married, or to her
husband, they required to know the man’s occupation; all children’s
names and ages were registered. Already, during the voyage, our name,
age, next of kin, nationality, place of destination, and a number of
other particulars, which I cannot now remember, had been taken whilst
under cross-examination in the saloon. Every person as he passed was
closely scrutinized by the two keen doctors. If any doubt arose, the
passenger was sent back; those that passed seemed much relieved, because
then their card was stamped by both doctor and other Government
officials, and they were free.
One family was kept back, I do not know for what reason,
and two Japanese men also were not allowed to land. They were travelling
round the world, but not having a certain sum in cash in their
possession, they had to stay on the boat until they received bank drafts
from New York where money was awaiting them. They then had to take their
ticket through Canada and the United States, and for the steamer to take
their out of the country again. I was told that Chinamen and Japanese
residing in Canada have to pay a poll tax, but no newcomers are now
allowed to stay in the country.
An English adult must have a clean bill of health, a
ticket to his destination, and £5, and for each child or infant £2 10s.
In winter the St Lawrence is frozen over, generally from
November to April or May; so thick is the ice, that a light railway is
thrown across from Quebec to Levis; the river is kept open for
navigation as long as possible, but whilst the stream carries down the
broken ice, the tide carries it back again, and forces it together into
all sorts of fantastic shapes. Boats, during the winter, have to land
their passengers and cargo at Halifax, N.S., whence they are carried by
train to Montreal.
The weather growing very warm again, we were compelled to
take to thinner clothing. The temperature rose as we got further up the
river, until, when Montreal was reached, it was extremely hot.
At Montreal we were accorded a rousing welcome from a
crowd of people assembled at the docks. Boy Scouts in particular had
mustered in strength to greet their comrades coming home from England,
and were very busy with a doggerel chorus which runs something as
We are the Scouts from Ca-na-da;
Rickety, rickety russ
We're not afraid to fuss,
We must confess,
There's nothing the matter with us.
The heat on the deck after the vessel was docked, and we
were assembled together awaiting permission to land, was intense, and we
had to wait, sweltering, for what seemed like hours, whilst all the
baggage was taken ashore, the heavy baggage from the hold, as well as
the piles of smaller baggage from the cabins.
It was with the deepest regret that I bade farewell to
the many friends I had made on that pleasant, interesting, and all too
short voyage. I say friends, for they seemed old friends to me, and now
we were all about to separate, probably never to meet again. Many,
starting a new life here, are radiant with hope, a stimulating,
uplifting hope which augurs well for their success, and I pray that to
none of them may come that failure, so often undeserved, which makes a
desert of lives, which, in happier circumstances, might have been full
of usefulness and joy. That I was not alone in my earnest good wishes
for these friends was very evident, for many a heartfelt "God bless
you!" was mingled with protestations of friendship, and the saying of
farewell. For myself, I was travelling as far as Niagara, and sought for
some one who might possibly be glad to join me, but alas! I was doomed
to disappointment; so, after enjoying six days of good company and good
fellowship, it seemed I had to continue my journey and complete my