Articles from early issues of "Outing" magazine are archived at aafla.org as PDF files. The index (HTML) of these issues starts at: Index to Outing Magazine 1883
It was the steamer "New Brunswick" which carried me thither, most pleasantly, amid the bright sunshine of the last Tuesday of August, 1883; but it was a bleak wind and a cloudy sky which greeted my arrival on the morning that followed.
In my hurry to be off, I entirely forgot the existence of the collector of customs. and so trundled my bicycle and baggage quickly away from the dock. without question from any one; though I afterwards learned that the usual practice was to exact a bond, or deposit of money, as security that the tourist would not leave his bicycle permanently in the province with the duty unpaid. Whether the inspector failed to observe me, or whether the sight of my white riding costume convinced him that I must be certain soon to return whence I came, I did not stop to inquire. I only waited long enough to put my valise, duly labelled for Halifax, into the baggage-car of the train which was appointed to reach that city that evening, and then put myself into the saddle for a five days' tour thither.
Mention' may be allowed here, however, as an interesting example of the mysteries of Canadian express management, that, though the man in charge of the car assured me that the valise should go "straight through", it was seized upon by the agent of some rival express at Digby or Annapolis, shipped thence by slow steamer to St. John, and finally reached Halifax, and was delivered at the designated hotel there, some sixteen hours after my own arrival! Instead of a direct ride of two hundred and ten miles on the train by which I started it, it had been given a sea-voyage, had travelled double the necessary distance, and had been six days on the way.
When I mounted at the post-office, in Yarmouth, at 8 o'clock on that Wednesday morning, the weather was just about as dismal and threatening as on the memorable morning in June, when "the DownEast party" disembarked at Eastport and took their first united plunge into the mists of Maine. The character of the road and the scenery also suggested the environs of Eastport, for my course led through a rolling country, usually in sight of the sea, and an attractive and ever-varying combination of mountain-and-water views accompanied me for the greater part of the day,--and, indeed, for the two days following.
Weymouth, forty-seven miles from the start, is the first town of any consequence, and the first. place where the tourist comes in sight of the railway after leaving Yarmouth, though it lies only a few miles inland from his course, and there are several of its intermediate stations which are readily accessible to him. There is a pretty view of the bridges when the rider emerges from the woods into sight of the village, and there is a long hill, which I rode up with difficulty and then rode down with caution, as I entered the bridge. Just beyond this bridge, at Weymouth, is a steep, rough hill, which I do not believe any bicycle could climb; but it is the first real obstacle that would compel a dismount, in the case, of a good rider who started at Yarmouth.
It would be quite a creditable feat, to be sure, for a man to cover the entire forty-seven miles without stop; for the track is continuously hilly, and some of the grades are long, and some are steep, and some are rough and stony; but good luck in choosing the path at certain difficult places would make it an entirely practicable feat. There was not a rod of the way which I myself could not ride, and there was not a single one of my enforced dismounts which might not have been avoided by a little better judgment. On the other hand, in a repetition of the ride, I might very likely be forced to stop by obstacles which, in the present case, I had the luck to surmount.
My longest stay in the saddle began at Meteghan at 1.30 P.M., and lasted two hours and twenty minutes, during which I accomplished fourteen and a half miles, including several hills. Except for a mistake, which stopped me on a level stretch, I should have kept in motion another hour, or until I reached the bridge in Weymouth, five miles on; for I was wet, and had no desire to dismount or rest till I got to my journey's end.
The hotel of Forbes Jones was at the bridge, but that of his father was a mile beyond, on a sightly hill-top, and thither I proceeded, arriving at ten minutes past 5 o'clock. The rain was now falling more vigorously than at any previous time of the day, and, as no other hotel could be reached before nightfall, I decided to stop.
My first halt of the forenoon had been made at Hebron, four miles out, when the first rain-drops began to patter down, and I put my coat inside the india-rubber roll on the handle-bar. Three and a half miles farther, at a threshing-mill, the road turned off to the right, and led for the first time into the woods. Passing Lake Garland I reached Maitland at 10 o'clock, and after a brief delay, for oiling and cleaning, rode ten miles without stop in the following hour, and climbed the long church hill at Salmon river and the still bigger hill beyond.
Another much slower hour brought me to the scene of a church-picnic, just beyond the village of Meteghan, and there I made a lunch on the moist remains of the feast which the bedraggled picknickers were selling at auction, or packing away in boxes. Some of the merrymakers were enjoying the adventurous delights of a revolving swing, or elevator turned by a crank, and had umbrellas over their heads; while other happy pairs were treading the mazy dance in very small booths, or shanties, through whose flimsy roofs the rain kept trickling down, in spite of all their brave adornment with evergreen boughs and artificial flowers. The sight of all this provincial pleasuring was as novel and amusing to me as the sight of a dripping bicycle tourist was to them, and we therefore stared at each other with mutual interest and satisfaction. Most of the people of this region are descendants of the old Acadian French, who returned here after their banishment from Grand Pré, and they retain much of the primitive simplicity in their customs and costumes. The uniformity with which all the women and little girls keep their faces bandaged up, in a sort of nunlike head-gear, at once attracts notice. Few understand the English language; but as "money" is the language of church-picnics everywhere, my wants were quickly supplied.
Bright sunshine prevailed on Thursday morning, but, as the rain had continued to fall heavily during a good part of the night, and as nobody in Nova Scotia ever thinks of taking breakfast before 8 o'clock, I was in no special hurry about getting started from Weymouth; and it was a quarter past ten when I said good-by to the representatives of the Jones family, who had entertained me in such hospitable and friendly fashion as to make me feel quite at home.
A mistaken detour along the shore-road, which proved rather rough, resulted in bringing me back to the main road at a point three miles from the start, though I had covered double that distance in the hour and a half. Ten miles beyond, at a quarter past one, I stopped for lunch when confronted by the sign: "L. Fontaine. Entertainment. Meals at all hours."
The road at this point was excellent, and almost continuously overlooked St. Mary's Bay, affording varied views of its waters and of the lofty ridges of Digby Neck beyond; but there now followed a mile of riding through the forest, and I then turned off to the left and passed under the railway, instead of keeping straight on towards Annapolis. Two miles beyond I reached the road which I intended to take for that city; but, before taking it, I made a detour down to Digby (1,800 inhabitants), and when I came back to the fork again, an hour and a half later, the cyclometer recorded four miles.
From Digby I might have gone backward along the west side of St. Mary's Bay, first on Digby Neck and then on Long Island, and thence have crossed by ferry to Meteghan (which would have made a pleasant round-trip from Yarmouth of about one hundred and fifty miles, with less than thirty miles of repetition), or I might have been ferried across the channel to the Granville side, and have proceeded along the base of North Mountain to the village of that name, which is opposite Annapolis, and to Bridgetown, about sixteen miles beyond.
The channel in question allows ships from the Bay of Fundy to approach Digby and the Annapolis basin, a long, land-locked bay on which the village of that name is situated.
North Mountain is the name of the ridge, six hundred to seven hundred feet high, which forms the coast-line on the Bay of Fundy for eighty miles or more to the north-east of Digby, until it terminates in the headland called Blomidon and Cape Split. South Mountain is the corresponding ridge, three hundred to five hundred feet high, on the other side of the basin and valley of Annapolis. The two ranges are about a half-dozen miles apart at Digby, and converge somewhat as they approach Annapolis; but they afterwards diverge rapidly, so that, to the eastward of Lawrencetown, a flat plain, fifteen or twenty miles wide, is included between them.
It was 7.30 P.M. when I reached the Dominion Hotel, opposite the railroad station in Annapolis (1,200 inhabitants), and I had been three and a half hours in doing the twenty miles which began at the fork in the road outside of Digby. That town was still in plain sight when I crossed Victoria Bridge, seven miles on; and even three miles later I had a view of it from a hill-top. Two miles beyond this I descended a long hill into Clemensport, and rode up a still longer one; soon after which, on the water level, I met with a few rods of deep sand, the first obstacle of that sort which I encountered on my tour.
Forty-four and a half, miles was my record for that second day, which comprised several excellent stretches of roadway, and offered surprisingly few reminders of the last night's heavy storm. It led me through a pleasant and prosperous region, abounding in gardens and orchards; and even the long lines of the fishing pounds and the acres of black mud in the tideways were rather agreeable to look upon by reason of their novelty. The ready accessibility of these great beds of black gravel, which are left uncovered by receding tides in the rivers and basins, doubtless accounts in large degree for the average excellence of the roads in that part of Nova Scotia.
Rain again fell during the night, and a heavy mist threatened me with more when I mounted at 9 on the following morning, and took a turn through the deserted fortress, as a preliminary to the resumption of my journey. A fine view was had there, and also from the summit of Round Hill, seven miles on, and the latter included Annapolis, which refused to be banished from sight almost as persistently as Digby had refused on the previous afternoon. Bridgetown, nine miles beyond Round Hill, contains a Grand Central Hotel, which charged me half a dollar for a very poor dinner. I was told there also that, by taking the ferry across from Annapolis to Granville, I might have had an equally smooth road, and avoided much hillclimbing.
The track thence grew somewhat poorer and softer as I advanced to the village of Paradise, five miles, and Lawrencetown, three miles; and at the latter point I took train for twenty-five miles through a flat, barren, and uninteresting country, whose roads were too sandy for riding, though the "back road," along the base of North Mountain, was said to be harder.
The two hours ending at 6.30 o'clock sufficed for my progress from Berwick to Kentville (3,000 inhabitants), about a dozen miles; though much walking would have been necessary except for the recent rain, and I might, perhaps, wisely have kept to the train for the entire distance. The Cornwallis valley begins at Berwick, however, and the sun was once more shining brightly as I turned left from the railway station towards that village, though I might also have gone to the right, along the post-road, instead of entering it at a point five miles farther on. My day's record was thirty-four miles.
Clear, bracing air and a cloudless sky supplied ideal atmospheric conditions for riding on Saturday morning, as I sped gayly along a most excellent course from Kentville, through the academic town of Wolfville (8oo inhabitants), and the village of Horton to the railroad station, on the historic site of Grand Pré. Here I turned about, for the sake of climbing a hill overlooking the place (though I might more readily have reached this summit at the outset by continuing straight up a broad, disused road, instead of swinging the off to the right on the smooth track leading to Horton), and I devoted an hour to the enjoyment of the prospect and of my guidebook's presentation of the rhapsodies which it had inspired in former tourists.
Then I jogged down to the railroad-crossing again, and so through the "great meadow," which the early Acadians reclaimed from the tides by dikes, until I reached the evergreen-shaded elevation called Long Island, and the shore of the famous Basin of Minas. The clay wagonpaths across the meadows were all ridable, though too rough for swift or pleasant riding, and I returned by a new route, and made many detours in getting past Horton to the foot of the long incline called Horton Mountain, from the summit of which another tine view was enjoyed. The ascending path was quite smooth, and I rode the whole of it, dismounting once for a team, but the downward slope of two or three miles was softer and rougher, so that I should have walked most of it had I been touring in the other direction.
I tarried awhile for lunch at Hantsport, and devoted the two hours ending at 6 P.M. to wheeling thence to Windsor (3,000 inhabitants), eight miles, over an uninteresting and difficult, though continuously ridable, road, which led, for the most part, through the woods, and which would have been hammered into smoother condition by the usual wagon traffic had not this been for some months diverted into another route because of a broken bridge.
King's College --the oldest one now existing in the whole Dominion of Canada, having been founded in 1788-- stands, on one of the hills of Windsor; and the town itself, occupying a promontory at the intersection of two rivers, impressed me as the prettiest and most attractive one that I saw in Nova Scotia. Most of its streets and outlying roads are smoothly macadamized, and I made trial of them to the extent of nearly eight miles, in company with a couple of local wheelman, --fellow-tourists of mine in the Down-East party of June, -- who met me by appointment when I reached the Victoria Hotel, and who agreed to escort me at least a part of the way to Halifax on the following morning.
My cyclometer recorded forty-seven miles on that fourth day of the tour, and lacked but a mile and a half of reaching the same distance on the fifth.
The character of that fifth day's riding, which completed the run of two hundred and eighteen miles from Yarmouth, and which was mostly done in the fog and rain, may be inferred from the description of the region given in "Baddeck," by Charles Dudley Warner:
"Indeed, if a man can live on rocks, like a goat, he may settle anywhere between Windsor and Halifax. With the exception of a wild pond or two, we saw nothing but rocks and stunted firs for forty-five miles,--a monotony unrelieved by one picturesque feature."
An hour's swift spin of eight miles, ending at 8 o'clock in the morning, brought us to the end of the level stretch of roadway leading from Windsor; and there, in the mist, which had been constantly growing denser, until it was now almost like rain, my escort bade me farewell, and whirled their wheels homeward towards the town of seven churches.
I then surprised myself by going without stop for five miles and a quarter in an hour and ten minutes, though the ascent was almost continuous for the first two or three miles, and much of the remaining distance was rough and slippery on account of the rain. Thence I rode by short stretches to the railroad station called Mount Uniacke, six and a half miles, where I made a brief pause for a glass of milk, and then started forth in a shower, which gave me a thorough wetting.
It was exactly noon when I stopped for another drink of milk at a point four miles beyond this; and I estimated that the forenoon's journey of twenty-four miles had not required more than half-a-mile of walking, spite of the many dismounts demanded by the slippery and difficult track. I walked much, however, for the first four miles of the afternoon, until I struck a stretch of black gravel, before reaching the place with the sign "16-Mile House"; but then was able to ride without stop for more than a mile and a half. Following this came four miles of toiling through the mud, mostly on foot, until I reached the level of a running stream or river. A mile beyond this I came to the rifle range, and then, after a similar interval, to the Hotel Bellevue, opposite the railroad station at Bedford, where I stopped a half-hour, in the midst of a heavy drizzle, to partake of a lunch, which supplied the first food more substantial than milk that I had during the journey.
In dry weather, the road from this point along the shores of the Bedford basin to the Four-Mile House, and thence in to the city, is a good one; and in spite of the mud and stones, which caused frequent stops, I rode nearly all of it. There was very little rain falling during this final pull, but a dense fog enshrouded the town when I finished my ride at the door of the Halifax Hotel, just after 6 o'clock. My course through the forest had not led past very many houses, or been enlivened by many extended outlooks, but, on a pleasant day, it could hardly be considered so desperately monotonous as the corresponding railway ride described in "Baddeck."
Mist and showers prevailed by turns during all the next day, but I managed in spite of them to ride twenty miles in the city streets before embarking on the steamer "Worcester," which sailed at 6 o'clock, just as the setting sun began to shine. My longest spin was to Point Pleasant, a park of evergreen trees which lies between the harbor and the river-like inlet called the Northwest Arm, stretching therefrom for four miles, to within two miles of the Bedford Basin. The shore road leading to this park, and the many intersecting roads within it, are macadamized to such an ideal degree of smoothness that even a very hard rain will not make them perceptibly sticky; but in this paradise I took the first tumble of the entire tour, while carelessly swinging my legs over the handle-bar on a down grade.
At 7 o'clock of Saturday morning, five days later, when the "Worcester," after a voyage of six hundred and thirty miles, was once more lashed to the dock in Halifax, several of the local wheelmen dragged me from my state-room to breakfast with them ashore, and then take a spin through the Public Gardens, of whose floral beauties the city is justly proud. Afterwards I went alone along the street which follows the shore of the Bedford Basin, to the little post-office, whose sign reads "3-Mile House," where I crossed the road by which I entered the city on Sunday, and proceeded two miles to the Seaside House, on the extremity of "the Arm." `Mounting there I rode up a steep and difficult hill, and continued without stop along the Chester road, for five and a half miles, to Governor's Lake. The return to "the Arm" was also made without dismount, and more easily, in three-quarters of an hour, and thence up the long hill to the Citadel, and so to the Halifax Hotel, two miles, in season for dinner.
Sixty cents was the price charged for this excellent repast, and, though the rate per day is only $2, there is no other hotel in all Nova Scotia whose terms are so expensive. In other words, the hotels of the province are very cheap and very poor, when judged by the New York standard.
The village of Chester is forty-five miles from Halifax by the shore road, and the beautiful St. Margáret's Bay, at about the middle point, is the only intermediate place of any consequence. According to the guide-book, the stage road "runs along its shore southwesterly for eleven miles, sometimes alongside of beaches of dazzling white sand, then by shingly and stony strands on which the embayed surf breaks lightly, and then by the huts of fishermen's hamlets, with their boats, nets, and kettles by the roadside." I was told that the entire road to Chester was fairly practicable for bicycling, and that Halifax wheelmen have several times traversed the first half of it as far as St. Margaret's Bay. The quarter of that first half, which I myself traversed without dismount, as before described, led through a "dreary and thinly settled region," covered by the stunted second-growths of forests which had once been cut off; and the occupant of the sole house at Governor's Lake, which is one of a series of connected ponds that form the water-supply of Halifax, assured me that the character of the roadway and scenery remained unchanged for the next fifteen miles, ending at the bay.
From Chester, along Mahone Bay, to Lunenburg, is twenty-four miles, and the steamer of the Yarmouth line for Boston may be taken at the latter point, or at Liverpool, about thirty miles beyond, though the stageroad connecting the two ports is described as "traversing a dreary and dismal inland region, inhabited by Germans whose chief industry is lumbering." From Liverpool to Yarmouth, one hundred and four miles, "the road runs along the heads of the bays and across the intervening strips of land"; and I was told by teamsters, who professed to have been over it, that, though very hilly, it is smooth and hard. Shelburne, Port Latour, and Barrington, are intermediate ports, from which access may be had to Halifax by weekly steamer. Had time allowed I should have tried wheeling from the last named city, by the route just indicated, back to the port where I first landed, and thus have completed a round trip of about four hundred and fifty miles.
The route actually traversed by me, from Yarmouth to Halifax, when laid down on the map, appears to form very nearly the arc of a circle, and the proposed return route may be said, in a rough way, to form the chord of the same. The intermediate region included between these lines contains many lakes and rivers; but is so thinly peopled that it may be generally designated as a wilderness, and the few cross-roads which intersect it are none of them good enough for the bicycle.
As to the other half of the Nova Scotia peninsula I am inclined to believe that its coast line, to the northeast from Halifax, might be pleasantly explored on the wheel, by the road which crosses the bays and inlets at a distance from the ocean of from two to ten miles, until it turns inland to Guysboro', at the head of Chedabucto Bay. Thence the road to the Strait of Canso, and along it, through Port Mulgrave to Tracadie and Antigonish, is presumably good; and the presence of forty or fifty bicyclers in the latter town is a voucher for the general excellence of its local roadways, and perhaps also for the particular one which reaches along the north coast around to Pictou. This is the place where the steamers sail for ports in Prince Edward Island, twenty miles to the north, and it is the terminus of the railroad from Halifax, along whose general line runs a highway, by which the tourist could doubtless wheel back to that city, and thus complete a round trip of perhaps two hundred and fifty miles; or he might go directly across from Pictou to Truro, forty miles, and from there follow the shores of the Basin of Minas and the river Avon to Windsor; or he might follow the general line of the north coast, at some distance inland, to Amherst,, about one hundred miles; thence go southward to Parrsboro', thirty miles; and from there follow the northern shore of the Basin of Minas back to Truro. Some difficult places would doubtless be found on these suggested routes; but I have sufficient faith in their general excellence to be willing to try them if the chance were offered me.
As the steamship line to which the "Worcester" belongs is organized under the laws of the United States, the ship was not allowed to carry on any traffic between one Canadian port and another, but only between a Canadian and a United States port. The agent, however, though forbidden by law of the Dominion from selling me a passage from Halifax to Charlottetown, on Prince Edward Island kindly consented, in telling me a passage "from Halifax to Boston," to let me go aboard the ship on her outward voyage to that island.
My voyage began, as already described, in the light of a brilliant sunset which marked the close of a two days' period of rain and fog; and the continuance of perfect weather on Tuesday made the passage through the Strait of Canso a pleasure long to be remembered.
An hour's halt for the discharge of freight at Port Hawksbury, about mid-day, allowed me to enjoy five miles of wheeling on the roads of the island of Cape Breton, and a two hours' stop there, Friday morning, while on the return voyage, gave me a chance to do twice that distance. On this second occasion I ventured to go up the coast as far as the bridge at Port Hastings; and I was assured that the same smooth road of powdered rock ran along the coast, in sight of the water, to the "jumping-off place" at Cheticamp, seventy-five miles northward. I hope some time to explore it, and, on the return trip, to cross from Salmon river to Baddeck, and try the roads along the Bras d'Or lakes. I think it would be practicable, with occasional resort to the steamers, to wheel from Baddeck to Sydney and Louisburg, and thence back by St. Peters and Isle Madame, to the starting-point at Port Hawksbury. All the testimony I could find agreed as to the hardness of the roads and the absence of sand; but it is to be feared that in some places there has been insufficient wheel traffic to grind down the inequalities of the rocky surface. The obtaining of suitable food in so thinly populated a region might also be a matter of some little difficulty; but, on the whole, I recommend Cape Breton as an attractive field for the adventurous tourist. His wheel will be sure to be everywhere greeted as a wonder-compelling novelty, even though the honor of being "first on the island" has already been snatched away by "No. 234."
I cannot pretend to claim for it a similar fame in respect to Prince Edward Island, for a bicycle had been ridden in the streets of Charlottetown by a youthful summer visitor, during a week or two of the previous season; but I think I am the first bicycler who ever took a tour there, and it will not seem very surprising if, for some considerable time at least, I also prove to be the last.
It may fairly be said of the island roadways that they are not by any means so bad as they look, for a wheelman who inspected them from a window of a railroad train would declare at once that they were entirely prohibitory to bicycling.
The soil is a reddish sandy clay, but very fertile and productive, so that there is usually a thick growth of grass close up to the wagon ruts; and when the ruts themselves are too deep for comfortable riding, their grassy edges are often firm enough for the support of the wheel.
Outside the two or three chief towns, the road-beds are all formed of the natural soil, and, in wet weather, many of them become little better than impassable sloughs; whereas, in dry weather, most of them are ridable, and some of them supply quite excellent stretches of riding.
"The island has 109,000 inhabitants and an area of 2,133 square miles, its extreme length being one hundred and thirty miles and its breadth thirty-four miles. The soil, which is mostly derived from red sandstone, is kept in a high state of cultivation, and nearly all the population is rural. The surface is low or gently undulating, with small hills in the central parts, and the scenery is quiet, broken every few miles by the blue expanses of the broad bays and salt-water lagoons. The air is balmy and bracing, and the most abundant trees are the evergreens. A conflict of opinion exists with regard to the scenery, some travelers having greatly admired it, while others declare it to be tame and uninteresting. The chief exports are oats, barley, hay, potatoes, fish, live stock, and eggs."A tremendous gale was blowing: when I disembarked at Charlottetown (12,000 inhabitants), at half-past eight on Wednesday morning, and I had no choice except to let myself be blown by it, in a northeasterly direction, along the St. Peter's road, which follows up the Hillsboro' river, not far from its left bank, for eighteen miles, to Mt. Stewart, a railway junction, where one line branches off to Souris and the other to Georgetown. On the other side of Charlottetown the railroad runs in a north-westerly direction to Tignish, one hundred and seventeen miles; and the second largest town of the island (Summerside, with 3,000 inhabitants) lies about midway on the line. Spite of the great help which the wind afforded I was four hours and a half on the way to Mt. Stewart, though I did not do a great deal of walking.
I had one needless tumble while trying to mount in a sand-rut, and the final mile was ridden in the rain. So heavily raged the shower during dinner-time that I at first thought of taking the evening train directly back to town; but when the sun appeared, an hour later, I decided to advance through the mud and meet the train at a station farther up the line. A miscalculation as to distance caused me to fail in doing this, and I was also dampened somewhat by later showers of rain; but the close of the afternoon was pleasant, and the wind, though less vigorous than at the opening of the day, helped me to the last.
At dusk, having been another four hours and a half on the road, I had accomplished about seventeen more miles, and reached the little fishing-hamlet of St. Peter's. The hotel mentioned in the guidebook was not to be found here, but, after making vain application at a number of the other cottages, I was, finally received at the boarding-house connected with the store, near the railroad station, and was well taken care of for the night.
The weather of the next day was of an ideal character, except in the respect that the same breeze blew stiffly in the same direction, instead of turning about, as I had hoped; and as the "Worcester" was appointed to start on her return voyage at 5 o'clock P.M., I did not attempt to retrace my entire course on the wheel, but took train to Bedford, a station fourteen miles from the city, and began there at 9 o'clock a roundabout journey of twenty-four miles, ending seven hours later in the public square at Charlottetown. The air was so clear and exhilarating that the mere fact of existing out-of-doors was in itself a pleasure; but, as the wind was, generally against me, I was obliged to do much walking, whereas on the same roads, with the help of the wind, slow riding would have been practicable.
The Lorne Hotel, on Tracadie harbor (an abandoned experiment at establishing a "fashionable watering-place," whose desolate appearance suggested Forlorn as a more graphic title), was one of the places visited by me early in the day; and the best riding of all was supplied by the Maltby road, on which I wheeled my last five miles from the railway station at Winslow. Before going on board of the boat, however, I circled around the city streets to the extent of two miles or more.
The roads of the island are for the most part laid out in perfectly straight lines for many miles at a stretch, and this fact adds some- what to the monotony of touring over them; though the undulating character of the country, which affords wide-extended views, and renders occasional hill-climbing necessary, supplies, in turn, a measure of relief for this.
I am sure that the tracks traversed by me were fair samples of the riding afforded in all parts of the island; and, though I cannot especially recommend it as a field for bicycling, I should certainly recommend any wheelman who proposes to go there to take his bicycle with him, and "lay it for all it is worth." Were I myself to spend a week or ten days upon island, I am sure that I should try, by the help of the wind, to explore two hundred or three hundred miles of its roadways.
The sights and manners and customs observed by the traveller in all parts of Nova Scotia and the islands beyond" differ sufficiently from those seen in the United States to seem "provincial" and "foreign"; but Halifax is the only place where their foreign quality assumes a distinctively "English" tone.
The city suggests a small edition of London, and it is well worth visiting as a curiosity by those to whom the real London is inaccessible. The British flag flying above the Citadel; the red-coated soldiers stepping jauntily about the streets; the yellow brick and light stone fronts of the buildings, begrimed with the smoke of soft coal; the clumsiness of the carts; the heaviness of the horses; the gardens secluded behind hedges and brick walls; the mists and fogs which I encountered (though I believe these are not so frequent as to be characteristic); the general air of solidity, and repose, and "slowness"; all these things combine to recall "life in London" to one who has lived there, and to create a feeling of strangeness and remoteness from home in the mind of the casual visitor from any city in the United States.
In some way it seemed larger to me than most other cities accredited with a similar population of thirty-six thousand,--perhaps because all the other places in Nova Scotia are so small,--and the impression left upon my mind was a pleasant one. I should be glad to make another and a longer visit there; and I know of no place so readily accessible from Yankee-land, where the inhabitants thereof can get so genuine a taste of "a foreign atmosphere," or so good a view of the contrasts which English life and habits present to their own.
The "Worcester" finally took me away from Halifax at o'clock of a Saturday afternoon, after I had indulged in a parting visit to the park, in company with some of the local wheelmen, and I disembarked at Boston about two days later, after an absence which lacked only a few hours of completing a fortnight.
During this interval my cyclometer recorded three hundred and forty-nine miles of wheeling, and I travelled one thousand two hundred and seventy miles by boat and fifty miles by railroad. The entire expense of the tour was somewhat less than $50, and, as I am a good enough sailor to have no fear of sea-sickness, and was favored with pleasant weather while afloat, I enjoyed it thoroughly from first to last.
Though my voyage of one thousand and thirty miles on the "Worcester" kept me afloat on some hours of eight successive days, it also gave me some hours ashore on seven of those days, and allowed an indulgence in more than one hundred miles of bicycling. As my state-room was upon the upper deck, and I was allowed to keep my wheel therein, the act of going ashore at the several stopping places could be done without delay.
The agent of the line, on my first brief application, notified me that a charge of eight cents per cubic foot of space occupied would be made for transportation of the bicycle from Boston to Halifax; but upon my informing him that the Yarmouth line, by which I proposed to make my outward voyage, exacted no such tax, and my presenting in full the argument for classifying a tourist's bicycle as personal baggage, he admitted the justice of the claim and issued orders that bicycles should thence. forth be taken free, at owner's risk, on both the lines of the company, to Savannah as well as to Nova Scotia. Furthermore, no charge for the wheel was made on either of the railroads which I patronized.
An excellent table was spread in the cabin of the "Worcester" and its viands were extremely well appreciated by me when I returned from a day and a half a subsistence on the very simple fare attainable in the interior of Prince Edward Island. The officers of the ship also were a goodnatured set of men, who took pains to make my stay among them as agreeable as possible; and the people with whom I came in contact on shore were almost invariably civil and anxious to please. Whenever I dismounted to quiet the fears of nervous horses the owners thereof always apologized for the trouble they had caused me, and berated their beasts for the foolishness of taking offence at the appearance of so fine and beautiful a vehicle.
"The Maritime Provinces," compiled by M. F. Sweetser, is the guide-book which has been alluded to and quoted from in the course of the present article. It is recommended as an invaluable companion for those whom a perusal of the article may induce to explore the regions described, though the so-called revised edition of 1883 contains many statements which have become antiquated and misleading, however true and proper they may have been when first written in 1874.
Karl Kron (1884).
"Except for the last 65 m. from Mahone Bay to Halifax, that direct road from Yarmouth is almost unridable, and I would advise no wheelman to attempt it. It is rocky and very hilly and runs through the woods that allow only very infrequent glimpses of the sea.
The people all along the shore were very hospitable, and the accommodations were fairly good, with but one or two exceptions. We were particularly favored with fine weather.
On Monday, the 8th, we wheeled home 45 m to Windsor, whence we had started just a fortnight before. Our ride that first day was to Berwick."
- On the afternoon of the 1st, we went from from Yarmouth to Argyle 18 m.
- 2d, to Clyde, 30 m.
- 3d, to Jordan River, 24 m.
- 4th, to Mill Village, 45 m., over the worst road of all
- 5th, to Chester, 45 m.
- 6th, to Halifax 45 m.