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ocean liners. Yet along the shore, from here westward to Natashquân, you will find plenty of waste places, with nothing between them and the Pole except a few Indians and Eskimos. No part of the continent of America is so close to Europe as Labrador, which may also have been the first part of the New World visited by the Norsemen in the tenth century. Yet the interior of it is less known in the twentieth than Central Africa or Alaska. It is of immense extent. Both its north-to-south and east-towest bee-lines are over a thousand miles long. Between these four points lie wildernesses of rocky tablelands covered with a maze of waters. It is a savage land, ruthless and bare and strong, that seems to have risen overnight from chaos, dripping wet. The bewildered streams hardly know which way to find the sea. Most of them flow along the surface in changeable shallows, as if they had not had time to cut their channels; and many lakes discharge in more than one direction. Labrador, indeed, is to-day very much as the Great Ice Era left it. But even glacial times are modern compared with its real age. Its formation is older, far older, than man, even if we go back to his earliest anthropoid ancestors, hundreds of thousands of years ago. It is older than the original progenitors of all our fellowbeings, millions of years ago. For it is the very core of the great azoic Laurentians, the only land now left on the face of the earth that actually stood by when Life itself was born.
The sea has always been the same. But the two thousand miles of the Laurentians, with the far-spreading country beyond, are the only lands still remaining such as creation's dawn beheld.' So here, as nowhere else, each sunset takes us back to the childhood of Earth and the beginning of Time, to
"The presences of Nature in the sky
And on the Earth; the Visions of the hills
And, knowing this, I do not fear, but welcome, the spell of the Laurentian hills, which draws me back to them again and again with the same keen spring of desire that I felt when, as a boy, I first anchored one twilight within sound of their solitudes, and
. . they to me
And from the shore heard inland voices call.'
The long, bare Labrador coast-line becomes less thinly wooded as it runs south-west; and every now and then it is vividly brightened by a magnificent seascape. The big, bewildered rivers of the interior generally find a decided course to run some time before they reach salt water, and come down strengthened by each tributary and quickened by every rapid till they are eager to slash their way into the thick of the opposing tidal streams of the St Lawrence. The last of them is the greatest of all. The Saguenay is a river and a fiord both in one. Five large and many smaller rivers run into Lake St John; but only one runs out, and that one is the Saguenay. Through its tumultuous Grand Discharge it soon rushes down nearly three hundred feet to sealevel, where it enters its fiord and ebbs and flows its remaining sixty miles in a stream a thousand feet deep between precipitous Laurentian banks two thousand feet high. Its flood currents are comparatively weak; but on the ebb of a full spring tide it comes straight down with tremendous force and without a single check, over a mile wide and a hundred fathoms deeper than the St Lawrence, till its vast impetuous mass suddenly charges full tilt against the submarine cliffs that bar its direct way out to sea. The baffled waters underneath shoot madly to the surface, through which they leap in a seething welter of whirlpools and breakers, to dash themselves with renewed fury against all surrounding obstacles. A contrary gale when this tide is running its worst-and there's war to the death between the demons of sea and sky in all that hell of waters.
But this is at the inner end of the estuary. The outer end meets the Gulf round the shores of Anticosti, between three and four hundred miles below the Saguenay. From the sea, Anticosti is one long, low, bleak weariness of hard flat rock and starveling vegetation; but inland there is plenty of rich soil for plants and animals to
flourish on. To the south of Anticosti lies the grim peninsula of Gaspé, with its solid backbone of the Shickshock Mountains, which rise, in rocky contortions, out of a wild and densely-wooded tableland. For a hundred and thirty-seven miles there is not a sign of an inlet on that iron coast.
Halfway up from Anticosti is Pointe de Monts, on the north shore, where the estuary narrows very suddenly, the mountains on the Gaspé side diminish and recede, and the curious double-topped hill called the Paps of Matane serves to show that the bank of soundings and line of settlements are beginning. The rest of the south shore has now softened into gentler outlines, forested on top, cultivated below, and humanised by a succession of white little villages gathered round their guardian churches-flocking houses and a shepherding church. At Green Island we are opposite the Saguenay, where the estuary ends and the river begins.
From main to main, from the mouth of the Saguenay to Cacouna Island, the river is only eighteen miles across; and the wide, clear and single deep-sea channel suddenly becomes comparatively narrow, obstructed, double and shallow. There are the Saguenay headlands and reefs on the north, Red Island with its big and dangerous twopronged bank in mid-stream, and Green Island with its own terrific triangular death-trap on the south. The Saguenay dashes against and over and round the reef that partly bars its mouth. Red Island Bank stands straight in the way of the flood of the St Lawrence, which comes up, unobstructed the whole way and two hundred fathoms deep, till it reaches these sudden narrows. And Green Island Reef is thrust out into the centre of swirling currents that change so much and so often as to go completely round the compass twice in every day. What with the great depths and quick shoalings, the immense widths and sudden contractions, the reefs, the islands, the Saguenay, the tides, the ten different currents, and all the other restless things that make wild water, there is no other place to compare with this for the wonder of its seascapes. Here, in a single panorama, from the Tadousac hills or the crags of Cacouna Island, you can see a hundred come to birth, live and die in glory, all in the space of one day and night. Vol. 216.-No. 431.
How often have I watched them shift and change, like floating opals! I have watched the literal' meeting of the waters,' where the last of the river ebb meets the first of the estuary flood, and have seen the league-long snake writhing in foam between them. And, here again, in calm, unclouded weather, I have seen blade after blade of light leap from its blue scabbard and flash beneath a damascening sun.
Nature has divided the whole St Lawrence into seven distinctive parts. But man has not given them seven distinctive names; and no part requires a name more than that between Quebec and the Saguenay, the part of all others that nature and man have united in making unique. In default of a better, let us call it 'The Quebec Channel,' as the next part above it is sometimes, and usefully, known as 'The Montreal Channel.' Then, if we acknowledge all the straits connecting the Gulf with the sea as the real mouth, we shall have our seven names complete. The Mouth' should cover all the lands and waters of the actual outlets, that is, the Atlantic straits of Canso, Cabot and Belle Isle, and the Islands of Cape Breton and Newfoundland. The Gulf' is too well known to need defining. The Estuary' runs up from Anticosti to the Saguenay; The Quebec Channel' from the Saguenay to Quebec; The Montreal Channel' from Quebec to Montreal; and 'The Upper St Lawrence' from Montreal to the 'Lakes,' which speak for themselves.
For scenery and historic fame together the Quebec Channel easily bears the palm. The south shore, with its picturesquely settled foreground undulating up to wooded hills behind, and the north, with its forest-clad mountains rising sheer from the water's edge, are admirably contrasted and harmonised by the ten-mile breadth of the river which divides them. Opposite the lower end of the Island of Orleans, thirty miles below Quebec, the northern and southern shore-ranges sweep back in gigantic semicircles, which only approach each other again the same distance above the city; so that when you stand upon the Heights of Abraham you find yourself on a titanic stage in the midst of a natural amphitheatre two hundred miles round. Here the salt water meets the fresh; the Old World meets
the New; and more than half the history of Canada was made.
The Montreal Channel flows between almost continuous villages on both banks; the hills recede to the far horizon; and there are touches of Holland in occasional flats, with trim lines of uniform trees and a windmill or two against the sky. In Lake St Peter, half way up the Channel, the last throb of the tide dies out. At the end of the Channel, and from the top of Mount Royal, you again see the panorama of the hills. On fine days you can make out the crest of the Adirondacks, the southern outpost of the Laurentians, nearly ninety miles away. The view at your feet is very different. It is that of a teeming city, already well on its triumphant way into its second half-million of citizens. Having looked down upon its present extent, and then all round, at the enormously larger area of contiguous country over which it can expand, you might remember that this city, the Mountain itself, and the open lands behind, form, after all, only a single island among an archipelago at the mouth of the Ottawa, which is by no means the greatest among the tributary streams of the St Lawrence.
The Upper St Lawrence is full of exultant life, showing its primeval vigour in a long series of splendid rapids. Rapids always look to me like the muscles of a river, strained for a supreme effort. But man has accepted the challenge, running the rapids when going down stream and working his way up by canals, which are as worthy of admiration for their disciplined, traffic-bearing strength as the rapids are for their own strenuous, untutored beauty. The banks are nowhere very bold or striking. But there is plenty of human variety blended with pleasant vestiges of nature. Farms, orchards, villages, parks, towns, meadows, trees and rocks and woodlands, alternate with each other till the Thousand Islands are reached, at the beginning of the Lakes. Here there are hundreds of channels, great or small, eddies innumerable, ripples, calms, and a few secluded backwaters-all threading their way, fast or slowly, through a maze of rocky, tree-crested islets, and glinting or dappled in the sun and shade. Nature must have been making holiday when she laid out this labyrinth of watergardens for her own and her devotees' delight.