Prose Praise Purely Purple

Newspaper accounts can be a great source if information but occasionally one strikes an article penned by a would-be  Wordsworth where the information is completely buried under the writers excesses. ( The writer of this piece had me with the “luxuriant turnips on the tree-clad hills”)  Such a story appeared in the Guardian on 12 September 1900 under the title BY THE JACQUES CARTIER and told of a trip on the side-wheel steamer Jacques Cartier which had been on the route since 1892.

S.S. Jacques Cartier at harbour mouth

S.S. Jacques Cartier at harbour mouth

For a pleasant sail on a fine afternoon we commend the trip by the Jacques Cartier to Victoria. Down the harbour you go, passing little craft on the way, and as you turn to look at the receding city you are compelled to think that this is about the best view you have ever had of it. And how broad, expansive and sheltered is out beautiful harbour. Here a navy might ride sat anchor. To east and west and north and south are gleaming silver lanes amid the green of fertile fields and full-foliaged trees, three of these lines being tributary rivers, and the fourth our passage to the world embracing ocean. These natural features of use and beauty, these channels for commerce and this broad and sheltered haven are old compared with all the work of man beside them. They were made in natures morning. The city is but of yesterday. Nay more. There would, perchance have been no city here but for this harbour. … The harbour was before the city, and may long survive it. Cities built by men are perishable Nineveh and Babylon have become heaps, but still the Euphrates rolls on to the sea… … 

Already we are turning to pass out the harbour. We have only time for a brief glance eastward to where our million dollar bridge will presently span the East River. It will form a new and striking feature of this fair scene in the years to come. It will be useful too, – another channel for the trade and travel of the future, and for the pleasure and convenience of men that are and of generations to come. We must have roads and bridges, railways and railway bridges… There are some who tell us that we do not need this costly structure, but such persons are a small and diminishing number… Nature when she shaped our harbor looked beyond the days of canoes.  

Past the Blockhouse and Keppoch, rounding St. Peter’s Island, and out into the rolling billows of the Strait. Just a few of our passengers are sea-sick for a time and the sea-sick individual thinks himself of all men most miserable. But the many are not so, and enjoy the tossing motion of the sparkling waves. So we glide along, in full view of the fair shores of Argyle and Desable the eye refreshed with the view of smiling homesteads, the brown of shorn harvest fields, and deep green of the aftermath, the luxuriant turnips on the tree-clad hills. As the sun sinks toward the horizon we glide into the calm waters of Victoria and then speed on to our rest in the hospitable shelter of Pleasant View – now closed for the season to the tourist, by special grace still open to the writer of this hasty sketch…   



1 thought on “Prose Praise Purely Purple

  1. Pingback: Laid up for the winter | Sailstrait

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