But Two Years In Canada And
One Run Home Will Make Him Free Of The Brotherhood In Canada As It Does
He may grumble at certain aspects of the life, lament
certain richnesses only to be found in England, but as surely as he
grumbles so surely he returns to the big skies, and the big chances.
failures are those who complain that the land 'does not know a gentleman
when it sees him.' They are quite right. The land suspends all judgment
on all men till it has seen them work. Thereafter as may be; but work
they must because there is a very great deal to be done.
Unluckily the railroads which made the country are bringing in persons
who are particular as to the nature and amenities of their work, and if
so be they do not find precisely what they are looking for, they
complain in print which makes all men seem equal.
The special joy of our trip lay in having travelled the line when it was
new and, like the Canada of those days, not much believed in, when all
the high and important officials, whose little fingers unhooked cars,
were also small and disregarded. To-day, things, men, and cities were
different, and the story of the line mixed itself up with the story of
the country, the while the car-wheels clicked out, 'John Kino - John
Kino! Nagasaki, Yokohama, Hakodate, Heh!' for we were following in the
wake of the Imperial Limited, all full of Hongkong and Treaty Ports men.
There were old, known, and wonderfully grown cities to be looked at
before we could get away to the new work out west, and, 'What d'you
think of this building and that suburb?' they said, imperiously. 'Come
out and see what has been done in this generation.'
The impact of a Continent is rather overwhelming till you remind
yourself that it is no more than your own joy and love and pride in your
own patch of garden written a little large over a few more acres. Again,
as always, it was the dignity of the cities that impressed - an austere
Northern dignity of outline, grouping, and perspective, aloof from the
rush of traffic in the streets. Montreal, of the black-frocked priests
and the French notices, had it; and Ottawa, of the grey stone palaces
and the St. Petersburg-like shining water-frontages; and Toronto,
consumingly commercial, carried the same power in the same repose. Men
are always building better than they know, and perhaps this steadfast
architecture is waiting for the race when their first flurry of
newly-realised expansion shall have spent itself, and the present
hurrah's-nest of telephone poles in the streets shall have been
abolished. There are strong objections to any non-fusible, bi-lingual
community within a nation, but however much the French are made to hang
back in the work of development, their withdrawn and unconcerned
cathedrals, schools, and convents, and one aspect of the spirit that
breathes from them, make for good.
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