Echoes From The Past
Near a modern window in the gallery leans an old spinning-wheel, which
was found in the vaults. By its hum in winter twilights, a hundred years
ago, soft lullabies were crooned, and fine linen spun for dainty brides,
over whose forgotten graves the blossoms of a century of summers have
fallen. In hoop and farthingale they tripped over the threshold of the
old church of Notre Dame de Bonsecours. They plighted their troth as
happily before the altar of the little chapel, as do their descendants
in the stately church of Notre Dame, with the grand organ pealing
through the dim arches and groined roof.
The old, old wheel is silent, and the fingers that once held distaff and
spindle have crumbled into dust, but the noble deeds and glorious names
of those days gone by are carven deep in the monument of a grateful
Over an archway in the picture gallery is an enormous oil painting,
dark with age, of the British Coat of Arms, which, it is whispered, was
brought over hurriedly from New York during the American Revolution.
The museum of the Chateau is daily receiving donations of interesting
relics, and has already a fine collection of coins, medals, old swords
and historical mementoes--some of the autograph letters of Arnold,
Champlain, Roberval, Vaudreuil, Amherst, Carleton, the de Ramezay family
and many others, being of great interest.
These early days have passed away forever. The whirr of the
spinning-wheel, or shout of the hunter, no longer sound along the banks
of the St. Lawrence. No canoe of the painted warrior now glides silently
by the shore; for Montreal with its three thousand inhabitants when
Vaudreuil beat his retreat, to its present population of 300,000, has
thrown its magnificent civilization around these spots hallowed by the
footprints of the great men whose feet have walked her ancient streets.
"She has grown in her strength like a Northern queen,
'Neath her crown of light and her robe of snow,
And she stands in her beauty fair between
The Royal Mount and the river below."
The two nationalities live harmoniously side by side in commercial and
social life, both retaining their racial and distinctive
characteristics. The old chansons of Brittany are still heard from the
hay-carts and by the firesides, and up and down the rivers ring out the
same songs as when the "fleet of swift canoes came up all vocal with the
songs of voyageurs, whose cadence kept time among the dipping
The Chateau de Ramezay has suffered many changes and modifications in
the various hands through which it has passed since its foundation
stones were laid, but the citizens of Montreal, revering its age and
associations, are restoring it as much as possible to its original state
and appearance; and the thousands who yearly pass through it testify to
the romance surrounding the walls of the old Chateau, Ville Marie's
grandest relic of an illustrious past--a past which belongs equally to
both French and British subjects, and which has developed a patriotism
well expressed in the words of the eloquent churchman, Bruchesi,
Archbishop of Montreal, who says:
"I know the countries so much boasted of where the myrtles bloom, where
the birds are lighter on the wing, and where gentler breezes blow. I
have passed quiet days on the beach at Sorrento, where the Mediterranean
rolls its blue waves to the foot of the orange tree. I have seen Genoa,
the superb and radiant Florence, and Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic.
More than once I have gazed upon the beauty of Naples glittering with
the fires of the setting sun. I have sailed upon the azure waves of the
Lake of Geneva. I have tasted the charm of our sweet France. My steps
have trodden the blessed soil of Rome, and I have trembled with
unspeakable gladness. But all these noble sights, all these undying
memories, all this sublime poetry, all these enchantments of nature did
not take the place in my heart of Canada, my Fatherland, which I have
never ceased to regard with enthusiasm and admiration.
What nation can boast of a purer or more glorious origin? May the future
of Canada be worthy of its noble past. May charity, true charity, reign
among all our citizens as among the children of the same mother. Let us
have none of those intestine divisions which enfeeble us,--none of those
unhappy jealousies capable of compromising the most sacred interests."
Our fathers' battle-cries are hushed,
The ancient feuds are gone;
Canadians now and brothers,
With God we're marching on.
With spears to ploughshares beaten,
The furrowed land is won.
Through bannered fields of waving corn
In peace we're marching on.
The North wind through the pine woods
Swells out our paean song,
To the music of its harping
We bravely march along,
And join the trampling millions,
In chorus deep and strong.
To drum-beats of a nation's heart,
We proudly march along.
O, fair, blue skies, and mountain streams
Whose flashing sands run gold,
No standard but the Triple-Cross
Thy breezes shall unfold.
With roaring surge of circling seas
We shout our patriot song
For Home and Queen and Canada,
With God we're marching on.
On, marching on, while brave the colours float
From sea to sea, with cheer and song,
This watchword pass the ranks along,
Our Land is marching on!