Page 55 - Crusing Cape Breton, 1878 & 1884
ISSUE : Issue 51
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/2/1
the broad Atlantic, in St. Peter's Bay, and heading for the Lennox passage between Madame Island... (and Cape) Breton. The scenery was quiet..., and Indian encampments were seen in several places on the sea-shore. We found a snug place at Grand Digue, and rode with both anchors close to the shore of Madame Island. A number of other schooners also ran in there for shelter. It blew violently all day, and, as we aftenward learned, a number of wrecks occurred on the coast. But we seized the occasion to enjoy a ride to Arichat. The wind was accompanied by a pelting rain, but, armed with In? dia-rubber coats and heavy boots, we could afford to defy its worst. We hired two open buggies and started. The distance was seven miles across Madame Island, over solitary, rolling, msset-lined mooriands, whose monotony was broken by thickets of whortleberry bushes, or clumps of alder and dwart cedar, or here and there a rain-dashed lake nestling like a dimple in a holtow, the haunt of water-fowl. On our left we saw the village of Biscouche (probably D'Escousse), a small sea? port on the northern side of the island. The landscape, if not ' strictly pictorial, was full of sentiment and delicate sugges? tions of color, and conveyed a grand impression of space. It reminded me of Millais's famous painting, "Over the Hills and Far Away." Arichat is in reality a French town under the English flag. It was at one time a place of considerable importance on account of its fisher? ies, in which were employed a large number of pinks and schooners. From one cause and another this source of revenue has fallen off. But the great firm of Robin & Co., of whom I have already spoken, have one of their estab? lishments at Arichat, conducted with their usual meth? od and neatness. A cannon announces the hours for work and rest, while the bell of the convent rings over the isle at the same hours. An island across the en? trance to the harioor is called Jersey, after the island where Robin & Co. originated. Their establishment at Arichat was first en Jersey; but it was burned, togeth? er with a number of their ships, by American privat? eers during the Revolution, and they then removed it to its present location. The cod sent from here goes chiefly to Spain. Arichat is a very interesting little town, albeit now in its sere and yellow leaf. It straggles chiefly along one AN OLD COTTAGE street, facing the sea on a bluff. It was at one time a IN ARICHAT place of considerable wealth, evidences of which remain in some of the very pretty cottages, decorated with carved cornices and embow? ered in shrubbery. As these houses face the sea, they all have a cov- A STREET AT ARICHAT ered porch, to protect the entrance from the cold sea-winds of winter. The willow appears to thrive better there than any other tree, and a number of venerable and noble examples are seen in the main street. As at St. Pierre, the windows are all filled with house-plants. The % physician of the place advertises himself by a large pink-colored mortar, peeping through the shmbbery in front of his house. His name is De L'Esperance,~not a bad cognomen fpr a doctor. There is a large church at Arichat, and a conventual school for young ladies, which has a wide repute through? out the maritime provinces. I thought to myself that the poor girls who go away from home to study in that dormer-windowed hall, without a tree around it, and overlooking the vast solitude of ocean, must some? times think it a bleak and sad place, and especially those whose windows overtook the hill-side cemetery adjoining, which reminded me of the old grave-yard at Plymouth. It is affecting to ramble through the oW ce? metery at Arichat; for, in the frequently repeated family names and the tokens of affection, which appear of- tener than in any other cemetery I have seen, one seemed to read the sad story of a society once happy and prosperous, but now gone to decay. The McNiels seem to have been one of the leading families of Ari? chat, who, although of Scotch descent, often intermar? ried with their French coreligionists. We dined at the minutest and quaintest of little inns, kept by Mr. Finlay, whose wife laid before us a capital meal for only thirty cents each, and seemed so anx? ious to please that it is only just to call the attention of strangers to their house. A curious and absurd breed of dogs was pointed out to us as peculiar to Arichat. They are like Newfoundland dogs, large, black, and shaggy, but some waggish fate has robbed them of their tails, leaving only a shortish stump.... Gas Tank Replacements & Repairs Sydney Radiator For Personal Efficient Service: Call 539-2122 New Heaters & Radiators or Repairs We Service and Ship 121 Prince Street, Sydney Anywhere on cape Breton island 20 Years a Family Business 2 Years Warranty on All Parts * We Accept VISA & MASTERCARD EXPLORE SYDNEY'S PAST... CAPE BRETON CENTRE FOR HERITAGE AND SCIENCE 225 George Street OPEN (SUMMER): June 12 to Labour Day 10-4 Monday to Saturday 2 - 5 Sunday Operated by the Old Sydney Society For information call (902) 539-1572 ST. PATRICK'S MUSEUM 87 Esplanade OPEN: June 12 to Labour Day 9:30 - 5:30 Daily COSSIT HOUSE 75 Charlotte Street OPEN: May 15 to October 31 9:30 • 5:30 Daily A branch museum of the Nova Scotia Museum Complex
Cape Breton's Magazine