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prisoned. After midnight the sky cleared, and a bright moon lighted us home over the streaming roads.
There is pretty good shooting in the autumn, about the neighborhood of Quebec : snipe, woodcocks, partridge, and hares; but it is usually necessary to go a long distance for the purpose, and success is at all times uncertain. In some low swampy grounds north-east of the town, twenty miles off, at Chateau Richer, snipe are occasionally found in great abundance.
The numerous lakes and rivers round about afford very good trout fishing, but the fish are generally small. Salmon plentiful in the Jacques Cartier River, twenty-five miles to the west, and in wonderful abundance at the Jacquenay. The mosquitoes are a great drawback to the sport in this country-indeed, almost a prohibition : in June and July they torment dreadfully in country quarters, but never venture to invade the towns. There are few other noxious insects or animals of any kind within the bounds of Canadian civilisation. The Louparvier is sometimes dangerous when suffering from hunger; but is never seen except in the more distant settlements, where this animal and the wolves sometimes devour a stray sheep.
The black bear is occasionally met with in the neighborhood. A young gentleman from Quebec, fishing in the Jacques Cartier, saw one the other day; he was so terrified that he ran away, and did not consider himself safe till within the town walls; while the bear, quite as much alarmed, ran off in the other direction.
The moose deer is sometimes dangerous in summer ; not unfrequently they have been known to attack men, when their haunts have been intruded upon. An officer of engineers, engaged in drawing a boundary line some distance south of Quebec, told me that a large moose deer attacked one of his workmen who was cutting down trees on the line.
The man shelter to where two trees stood together, leaving him just room to pass between; the moose charged at him fiercely, striking its long powerful antlers against the trees, as he jumped back; he wounded the assailant slightly with his axe, but this only made the animal more furious. Racing round to the other side, the moose charged at him again, and so on for two hours, till the woodman, exhausted by fatigue, was nearly ready to yield his life ; but the moose, too, was exhausted. The man, however, collected all his remaining strength for a desperate rush of his foe. He had barely strength to step aside yet this once, when, to his inexpressible joy, he saw the moose fastened by the antlers to the tree, from the force of the blow; seizing the moment, the woodman sprang from his place of safety, and, with a blow of his axe, ham-strung the moose. The huge animal fell helpless on the ground, another gash of the weapon laid open his throat, and he was dead. The conqueror, wrought up to a pitch of savage fury by the protracted combat, threw himself on the carcase, fastened his lips to the wound, and drank the spouting blood. He fell into such a state of nervousness after this affair, that it became necessary to send him to a hospital, where he lay for many months in a pitiable state.
The first few days of the snow falling are very amusing to a stranger ; the extraordinary costumes—the novelty of the sleighs, of every variety of shape and pattern: many of these are very handsome, ornamented with rich furs, and drawn by fine horses with showy harness, set off by high hoops, with silver bells on the saddles, rosettes of ribbon or glass, and streamers of colored horse-hair on the bridles ; while the gay chirping sound of the bells, and the nice crisp sound of the runners of the sleigh, through the new snow, have a very cheerful effect.
Ladies' dress in winter does not undergo so great a transformation as that of men; all wear muffs and boas, certainly, but their bonnets and pelisses are much like those worn in England. Men always wear fur caps, often with large flaps down over their cheeks, enormous pea-jackets or blanket-coats, fur gauntlets, and jack-boots, with india-rubber shoes over them, or moccasins of moose-skin, or thick cloth boots, with high leggings, In the very cold weather, they often wear coats of buffalo, or other skins, and move about like some great wild animal, with nothing to be seen of the human form but a blue nose and a pair
of red eyes.
Although the temperature is usually kept very high within doors, by means of stove heat, people never seem to suffer by sudden transition to the extreme cold of the open air. I have often seen young ladies leave a hot room, where they had but just ceased waltzing, and walk quietly home, when the thermometer was below zero, with very little additional clothing on; the great dryness of the air preserves them from danger. In the very low temperatures, a razor may be exposed all night to the air without contracting a stain of rust. Colds are much less frequent in winter than in summer.
The winter markets at Quebec are very curious; everything is frozen. Large pigs, with the peculiarly bare appearance which that animal presents when singed, stand in their natural position on their rigid limbs, or upright in corners, killed, per. haps, months before. Frozen masses of beef, sheep, deer, fowls, cod, haddock, and eels, long and stiff, like walking sticks, abound in the stalls. The farmers have a great advantage in this country, in being able to fatten their stock during the abundance of the summer; and, by killing them at the first cold weather, they keep frozen, to be disposed of at their pleasure during the winter. Milk is kept in the same manner, and sold by the pound, looking like lumps of white ice.
The habitans always travel over the ice of the rivers in preference to the usual roads, as it is, of course, level, and they avoid turnpikes or bridge tolls in entering the town. They sometimes venture on, before the ice is sufficiently strong, and after it has become unsafe, when it breaks, and they and their horses are precipitated into the water; the sleigh floats, the horse struggles and plunges, but can never regain the firm ice by his own efforts. The only plan, in this emergency, is to draw the reins tightly round his neck, till he is nearly choked, when he floats quietly on the surface; he can then easily be dragged to a place of surer footing, and allowed to breathe again. The poor animals have great sagacity in judging of the fitness of the ice to bear them : they will trot fearlessly through a pool of water on its surface, out in the centre of the river, during a partial thaw, knowing that underneath it there is solid bearing ; but, in spring, they sometimes show great reluctance to venture upon ice apparently strong, which their instinct tells them is brittle and unsafe.
In the general break up of the winter, in March, the snow roads become very disagreeable, and even dangerous; the hard crust formed over deep drifts by the tracks of sleighs, and the severe frost, becomes weakened by the thaw and hollowed underneath, so that the horse's feet often break through, and the animal sinks up to his shoulder, and probably falls, while the crust may still be strong enough to injure him. Sleighs continue to be used; but, where the ground was not originally deep, it becomes
bare in many places, and the runners grate over them with a most unpleasant sound, and with great weight of draught.
During the winter, large quantities of ice and snow accumu. late on the roofs of the houses: in the thaw this falls off, with a rushing sound and great violence, sometimes causing very serious damage; indeed, no year passes without loss of life or limb from it. Close by the walls is the safest place to walk at this time, as the avalanche shoots out from the sloping roof by the force of the fall. There are regulations to oblige householders to keep away these accumulations, but this wholesome law is not sufficiently enforced.
I had seen the Falls of Montmorenci in the summer, and admired them very much, but was glad to seize an opportunity of visiting them also in winter, which afforded itself in the shape of a party of some twenty people. We assembled at the house of one of the ladies, at twelve o'clock. There was a very gay muster of carioles; some tandems, with showy robes and ornamental harness ; handsome family conveyances ; snug little sleighs, very low and narrow, for two people ; and a neat turnout with a pair of light-actioned horses abreast, with a smart little tiger standing on a step behind.
My lot lay in one of the family conveyances, with a worthy elderly gentleman, who gave me a minute account of the state of municipal politics, and other interesting matters. We jogged leisurely along with a sedate old horse, and were passed by all the party before we reached our journey's end, nine miles from the town. They looked very happy and comfortable as they went by us, particularly the Captain, in his long, low sleigh, with the high-actioned horses; for, by his side, muffled up in the warm snug robes, sat a lady, with whom he was so busily talking that he nearly upset us.
It was one of those days peculiar to these climates, bright as midsummer, but very cold; the air pure and exhilarating, like laughing gas; everything seemed full of glee; the horses bounded with pleasure, as they bore their light burthens over the clean, hard snow.
But I wander from my friends in the long, low sleigh. Half-a-dozen bright reflections of the sun were dancing in the little lady's merry blue eyes; her soft fresh cheek was