Page 43 - Bishop Plessis Visits Cape Breton, 1815
ISSUE : Issue 55
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1
Remains of the casemates (bomb proofs) at l draped as best as could be done with sails from the boat, held by nails, though they did not prevent the wind from penetrating, thus causing some alarm during the holy mysteries. Nevertheless, the portable altar was soon in place. The Catholics came, and three masses were offered that day, and as many the following day. Cathe? chism, sermons in English, confessions, baptisms, confirmation of one person, communion for three or four, all of this was done. The evangelical workers lunched ashore and dined aboard, where they had better provisions than they would have found amongst those poor Irish fishermen. Here, as everywhere else, it is always to the prejudice of agriculture when fishing prevails. If there is a place where one is encouraged to fish, it must be admitted that it is at Men? adou since, besides cod and mackerel, which is fished in abundance, there is also a highly successful Fall dogfish fishery. The dogfish is very similar to salmon by the colour of its flesh but shorter and not as large; the only thing remarkable about it is a claw in the middle of its back which is used to apply gold leaf in tempera paintings. Its rugged skin is also used by sculptors and cabinetmakers to polish wood. The flesh is worthless but it is the oil that makes it highly prized. June 22 - Despite this abundance of fish the citizens of Menadou, judging by their furnishings and the state of their houses, are poor. During the winter months they do not use stoves. Their chimneys are nothing more than a wall, 4 to 5 feet wide, 10 or 12 feet high, at one end of the house. Above this wall is a sort of wooden canopy which serves to draw, sometimes to the second storey or to the roof, the smoke produced by a fire made on a poor hearth built as a projection from the wall. This very large opening serves less to expel the smoke than to bring in the cold air inside the house, where it already pene? trates, as does the snow, through the openings poorly insulated or caulked between the rooms or the stakes from which the house is built. The prelate, as a sign of esteem for the most educated Catholic in the place (Walter Burke), had lunch with him, together with Mssers Lejamtel and Gaulin, and they were received honourably but around a table barely big enough to hold their three cups, the sole teaspoon, and two little benches which made up three seats. The family, lined around the room with great respect, was seated on poor chests from which had been extracted the bread, the butter and the crockery, mixed in with the wom? an's and children's rags. The brother-in-law, Thomas Neale, had been called in to converse along with the hosts and, it must be admitted, he did rather well. This Thomas Neale being one of those who showed the most zeal for the Faith, the Bishop chose a spot on his land to have a 25 feet high cross planted, as a sort of monument of the visit by a bishop in this faraway place. Mr. Gaulin, deputed to bless this cross, took the occa? sion to make a short speech in their language, adapted to the event, to the inhabitants gathered on the common, which was listened to with a great deal of attention and respect. This was on Thursday, near noon. The wind was becoming good; Captain For??t urged us to embark and only grudgingly consented to give us time to rehabilitate two irregularly contracted marriages. At last, the mission? aries left Menadou, edified by the remnants of religion which they had found there, and well persuaded that this little Christian commu? nity could become an excellent one if it was encouraged. To this end, the bishop of Quebec took immediate action by designating a priest to visit it regularly from now on, and by obtaining 200 acres of land from the Government to build a chapel in the future as well as a home to be built, eventually, for the future missionary. The Lively hoisted its sails again between three and four in the after? noon and did a fair journey, although a disagreeable one because, at first, of the rain, and then, later, because of the dead calm. Nonethe? less, we managed 11 leagues before nightfall. The bay of Miray (ML ra). the Cap Mordienne (Cape Morien). Cow-Bay (Port Morien). Flint Island, or flintstone island (a small island or rock whose only claim to fame is to have been gradually divided in two by the action of sea waves) and Indian Bay, called I'indienne by the French, had all disap? peared in turn. Night caught us on a low headland. It was the en? trance to the harbour of Sydney, formerly known by the British as Spanish l-iartjour, and by the French as I'espagnole. L'Espagnole, I'indienne and Menadou, to which should be added Bay St. Ann and Niganish (ingonish). two settlements situated to the north and at a fair distance from the first three, were, with Louisbourg, the only es- tablishments that the French ever had on the island of Cape Breton WHERE GOOD FOOD AND GOOD TIMES COME TOGETHER 'Y ROADHOUSE RESTAURANT f:' 500 GEORGE PLACE • SYDNEY Across from Centre 200 • Phone 564-8844 Dancing: Monday thru Saturday 9 P.M. - 2 A.M. 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Cape Breton's Magazine