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July 16th.-I was detained three weeks in St. John's, for want of a mode of conveyance to Bonavista Bay, but was at length offered a passage in a boat which Mr. Pack of Carbonear was about to send to find wood. I accordingly rode over to Portugal Cove, intending to cross to Brigus, and look once more at the geological position of some rocks there, concerning which I thought I might have made some mistake on a first examination, and I afterwards proposed to walk down to Carbonear. At two PM we sailed in the Brigus packet, but were becalmed all the afternoon in the bay. Father M'K-, the Catholic priest of Brigus, was on board, and, as with my usual haste and carelessness I had forgotten to make provision for this lengthy voyage, I should have kept a very Catholic fast had it not been for his kindness. We dined on "fish and vang," which being interpreted means codfish and salt pork cut into "junks" and boiled together, and with a mealy potato it is really a most excellent dish. The term fish is restricted in Newfoundland entirely to cod: they ask you whether you will take fish or herring, fish or salmon, and everything but cod and salmon is frequently spoken of by the fishermen as rubbish. We landed in Brigus harbour about two in the morning, and as there were no inns I became indebted for a comfortable bed to the same kind friend who had provided me with a dinner.
July 17th.-Went down in a punt as far as a small cove called Sculpin Island Cove, where I found my former observations perfectly verified and a mass of the upper or red slate of the country resting quite unconformably on the older grey or St. John's slate. This spot accordingly was a key to much which would otherwise have been very perplexing in the structure of the country. The weather had now been so intensely hot for some time, and the little strip of fine sand and the clear green water in this cove looked so tempting, that I bathed. The water, however, was far too cold to be agreeable, and one or two plunges quite satisfied me. In the evening I set off along a very good road, which was now finished, for Bay Roberts. It traversed a few wild marshes and barrens at first, but on coming down to the head of Port de Grave the scenery was very beautiful. Patches of grass, clusters of large trees, with lakes and bold hills, on the one side, and the broad bay on the other, together with several small but neat wooden cottages sprinkled about here and there among the woods, composed a landscape that reminded me of home, and was singularly beautiful when seen under a clear sky, and tinged with the glorious hues of sunset. Arrived at Bay Roberts, I introduced myself to Mr. Pack's agent there, and was at once hospitably received.
July 18th.-Walked down to Spaniard's Bay, and then over, the hill to Harbour Grace, finding an excellent road all the way There is now a good road all the way from Carbonear to Brigus being about sixteen miles. This is at present the longest and best piece of road in the island; and it is intended to continue it round the head of Conception Bay down to Topsail, in order to open a communication between St. John's and Harbour Grace during the winter. To go from one to the other of these places is at present impossible in winter, except for a strong and active pedestrian, indifferent about fatigue and accommodation.
July 20th.-Visited Harbour Grace Island (on which stands the lighthouse) a second time, and brought away several large slabs of beautiful slate, fine grained, easily cleavable, and splitting into sheets of almost any size. Finer roofing slate could nowhere be procured. While we were there a bit of a breeze sprang up, and we had some difficulty in clambering down the rude ladders over the face of the cliff and dropping into the boat, which was dancing on the waves at their foot.
July 22nd.-Stayed at Carbonear. This place has principally depended on the Labrador fishery, a great number of vessels having been every year despatched from the harbour to that coast. For the last few years, however, this fishery has almost entirely failed, or at least the fish have been so partial and scanty as to entail great loss on those engaged in it. Several large establishments were shut up and apparently going to ruin, and the whole place seemed dull and sluggish. About a couple of miles north of Carbonear there is a very pretty valley containing woods and ponds, and some patches of natural grass. One day some friends and myself went trout-fishing in the ponds; and by wading in along their shallow margins we caught four or five dozen of trout in a short time. We found very tolerable paths traversing the woods, and could not but remark how much easier it would be to travel in the interior of the island if even such narrow foot-tracks as these were common. On the evening of the 22nd, Mr. Biggs (Mr. Pack's agent) and myself went on board the boat and set sail.
July 23rd.-Notwithstanding all my sea-voyaging I was again seasick this morning, and experienced the lassitude and loss of energy which accompanies it. In the middle of the day we entered the harbour of Catalina, where I wished to see what is called in Newfoundland the Catalina stone. This is nothing more than iron pyrites, which is found in certain nests and strings in the rock in large cubical crystals sometimes an inch and a half wide. The rock is a grey slate rock, such as is commonly called greywacke. As there was a road from this place to Bonavista, we determined to walk across and send the boat round. The distance was ten miles, the road broader than any I had yet seen, but only the two extremes of it were gravelled over. Even the unfinished parts, however, were easy for foot passengers, the country level, and the road might easily be made the best in the island. All the country around was covered with gravel, on which grew wet moss, and the usual stunted, ragged-looking, dense mass of fir-trees. Bonavista is a large and straggling but pretty-looking place, with a good deal of cultivated ground about it, but is sadly in want of a good harbour. There is little shelter even for boats, or this place would soon be one of the most thriving in the whole island. It is much more capable of fertility and cultivation than the neighbourhood of St. John's, and nearer to the open sea and the best fishery than the embayed sites of Harbour Grace and Carbonear. The whole beach, as well as the flakes around, were covered with fish drying in the sun, which the people were now busy piling into round haycock-looking heaps against the approach of night. We inquired for a house of accommodation, and first of all took refuge in a small public-house having only one room, but were shortly fetched away by a gentleman who came in and insisted on our going to Mr. M-'s, where we were most hospitably received and entertained for the night.
July 24th.-We left Bonavista about nine or ten o'clock, but shortly got becalmed off Blackhead Bay. We then got a southerly breeze, and sailed rapidly past the high bold headlands of Keels, which consist of barren rocks stretching far into the interior. The wind then shifted into the southwest, and we beat up towards Barrow Harbour, and in the evening anchored in a small cove under a bare precipice, in one of the Long Islands.
July 25th.-Weighed and stood between the islands for Clode Sound with a light breeze, before which we crept on gradually till we were opposite Goose Bay, when it became thick and rainy. Our boat was a large open one, with a cuddy at each end. The after cuddy was just large enough to admit a narrow berth or bed-place on each side for Mr. Biggs and myself, and was about four feet in height; the other one was littered with straw for the men. Each of them opened into a "standing room" about five or six feet square, being an open space, the flooring of which rested on the ballast. The "midship-room," or hold of the boat, was covered with loose plank, and contained our stores. When it rained we were obliged either to expose ourselves to the weather, or screw ourselves into the cuddy, while it was absolutely necessary that we should take all our meals "al fresco," for want of room in the sheltered part. The rain, however, this afternoon cleared off, and a smart breeze sprang up from the southwest, which soon became so fresh, that, after beating against it for some time, we ran into Brown's Cove and anchored. Here Mr. Biggs and I took our guns, went up a small brook and shot a black duck or two: we then traced the brook up to a large pond, and returned through the woods by an old wood-path, completely drenched by the wet bushes. Meanwhile the men had been catching lobsters, and had taken a punt full, by means of a pole with several hooks at the end of it.
July 26th.-A most beautiful day, blazing hot, with light variable winds. We sailed all day up the calm waters of this beautiful inlet, and found its shores varied with rocky precipices and low Bankss covered with dense wood. We landed at several places in a small flat-bottomed boat we had brought with us, and rejoined the vessel as she sailed slowly on. On getting at the head of Clode Sound into a wide expanse, we sailed to the south arm and gently grounded in the mud, about a mile and a half from land. As the tide was falling, we had some difficulty in towing the vessel off again, when we anchored in about ten feet of water. Going ashore at the mouth of a small brook on the western side of the arm, I was surprised to find a number of flowers of a most beautiful kind of convolvulus trailing on the ground. The flower is as large as the convolvulus major of English gardens, the colour white, fading into streaks of delicate pink and flesh-colour towards the base and margin of the cup. About sunset, as I sat on a rock waiting for a shot at some ducks, the mosquitoes began to swarm about me in considerable numbers, when several dragonflies, apparently identical with the common libellula of England, came to my rescue. They flitted about, hawking after the mosquitoes, dashing occasionally close to my face, and catching one here and another there, and as soon as the prey was pounced upon, they hovered and balanced on their wings till they had eaten him all up, body, legs, and wings, in a manner most delightful to behold. I remained quite motionless, compounding for a little blood-sucking, in order to see the rascals thus punished, and thought seriously of taking a small bodyguard of dragonflies into my pay immediately, had I but known how to introduce proper discipline and prevent desertion.
July 27th to 31st.-The object of the men in coming up to the head of this deep inlet was to look for trees of sufficient size to form the beams of a brig Mr. Pack was building. Although there are no permanent inhabitants nearer than Barrow Harbour many people come up in the winter to reside, either for the sake of firewood or to cut timber. We found, accordingly, many woodpaths and some old houses and huts in the woods near the shore, and all the best and largest timber was there cut out. The beams the men wanted were to be ten inches square, and they were obliged to range the woods for many miles alongshore before they could find trees of sufficient size. In the mean while Mr. Biggs and I, with Simon and Tom, traversed the shores of the sound as far as we conveniently could in the small flat-bottomed boat, the timbermen taking the punt. The shoal mudBanks at the head of the arm was traversed by a narrow winding channel of deeper water, through which flowed the river that came out of a valley to the southward. Up this we proceeded; but on reaching the fresh water found only a broad channel of boulders, with the shallow wide brook flowing and fretting among them. We travelled over the boulders for some miles, shut in on each side by dense forests, which contained many trees of good size, birch, spruce, and juniper, large enough for the beams we wanted, but which it would have been impossible to drag out along the rocky brook. There were several broods of shellbirds, of which we shot some; and at our farthest point we disturbed a fine "gripe," or eagle, who had just killed, and was eating, a shelldrake. He flew up to a cliff out of our reach, where I examined him with my pocket glass. His feathers were brown rather mottled with white, his head was light-coloured and rather bald-looking, and his strong legs and talons were yellow. Wishing to examine him more closely, I put a pistol-ball into my double-barrelled gun; but, as he was a hundred yards distant, I did not succeed in hitting him, and he slowly wheeled off into the air, and disappeared over the woods. The next day we examined the bight called the northwest arm, the head of which was likewise shoal, and two brooks, a large and a small one, flowed into it. We saw a punt go off down the sound as we left the vessel, and on getting to the brook found against an upright bit of rock a roof of birch bark, which served as a temporary shelter to salmon-fishers. In crossing the arm we passed through an immense shoal of medusee; the water was beautifully clear, and was entirely filled for a great depth by these cup-like animals, slowly flapping their gelatinous bodies, and proceeding all in the same direction. The shoal was half a mile wide, and there must have been some millions within that space. Both the brooks flowed over ledges of sharp slate rock, that made walking almost impossible; they were likewise full of rapids and waterfalls, and the wood about them was of the densest and scrubbiest character. On returning we landed on a large flat tract of ground where the wood had been burnt. Most of the trees remained standing, but were dry, white, and brittle, the charred surface having fallen off from time, and decomposed. The soil was sandy, and would, no doubt, bear excellent potatoes.
One of the men having reported a large pond on the southwest side of the inlet as visible from a ridge he had been on, we went in search of it. A mile or two of woodpath led us on to some marshes, and then into some dense tangled thicket with no path. It was tremendously hot, and the mosquitoes swarmed. By smearing our hands, faces, ears, and neck with tar and sweet oil, which we had mixed in a bottle for the purpose, we in some degree avoided them, as they dislike anything greasy or strong smelling; but we were obliged to stop every half-hour to put on a fresh dressing. On the marshes we saw some very pretty flowers, some yellow and some white, appearing to my unbotanical eyes something like the orchis. There are several other kinds of flowers on the marshes; and the calmia, the azalea, and the beautiful wild dogrose grow in the woods in the height of summer. We reached at length a small brook, up whose rocky ledges we proceeded till we came to a pond about half a mile long that effectually stopped our progress, as its margin was too deep to walk along; and the bare idea of walking through the bushes that surrounded and overhung it was enough to sicken any of us. We caught a few trout, and then proceeded down the rocky ledges of the brook, which was full of small waterfalls, deep pools, and rapids. The rock was principally a bright-red slate rock. We were thoroughly soaked by two or three thunder-showers, which also made the rocks so slippery, that in one place, in scrambling over some fallen blocks against the side of a cliff, I slipped between two that leaned together; and, had I not caught by my arms, should have fallen down into a kind of dungeon some eight or ten feet deep, whence my companions would have been rather puzzled to extricate me. On arriving at the mouth of the brook we put off into deep water, where I bathed: but one plunge was quite sufficient, as the temperature of the water, even in this sheltered and shallow inlet, was only 46°, while the air had never been below 70° during the day for at least a month.
The next day we again visited the southwest brook, and found a number of very tidy winter-houses. I then scrambled through the thick wood that surrounded them into some rather more open wood, at a little distance from the shore; and we made our way to the top of a little rocky hill on the east side of the brook, which was the only bare place to be seen anywhere about. From this eminence we had a fine view. To the east of us were many hilly ridges and broken and rocky high lands, being those at the back of Trinity Harbour, and running thence to Keels. In the southeast some fine hills were seen, probably those around the head of Random Sound; and in the south was a range of distant hills, either those between Bay of Bull's Arm and Piper's Hole, or between that place and Fortune Bay. To the west and north we had a wide range of country, in which there were no hills visible, the land consisting of low undulating ridges, running about north-northeast and south-southwest. The whole of this tract seemed covered with a dense mass of dark wood, with lighter tints of marshland peeping out here and there. The hill we stood on was probably not more than three hundred feet above the sea; so that our view to the westward, from the nature of the ground, would not reach to a greater distance than about fifteen miles. On returning to the mouth of the brook, by choosing a spot where the freshwater coming in raised the temperature of the saltwater sufficiently, we got a very pleasant bath. Numberless salmon were leaping here, jumping completely out of the water a yard into the air, and we stayed some time hoping to get a shot at one, but none rose suffficiently near us. In the evening, when we came on board, we found that the men had succeeded in finding and cutting ten trees of the required size, but none of them within a mile of the landmark: they had accordingly had great labour in dragging them out.
August 1st.-Sent all hands to bring down the timber, which we hoisted on deck, and then got in firewood, water, and more ballast, to balance the deckload. At noon we set sail down the sound, but, seeing some fine wood in Bunyan's Cove, went in and anchored there.
August 2nd.-Mr. Biggs and I found this morning a brook nearly dry, but containing deep holes which were fill of trout. We caught a few with bait, but, as the rest were frightened at this and declined to bite any longer, we determined on "jigging" them. Shortening our lines, we drove the trout into a corner of a hole, and then gently dropped our hooks among them, and jerking smartly, caught and drew them out. In this way, in about three hours, we had got ten dozen, which, as we had no fresh provisions left, were very acceptable. The rocks were partly a chloritic slate and partly a coarse darkred sandstone. By the aid of frequent applications of tar and oil we had managed to defend ourselves from the mosquitoes during the day, but at night when asleep in the little cuddy, the door of which could not be closed without risk of suffocation, the gallinippers worked their revenge on us. Not an uninterrupted half hour of sleep could we get: their dreadful hum, more sleep-dispelling than the roar of a lion, and their stinging bites, with the burning irritation of the old lumps and wounds, in the hot, close cabin almost drove us mad. If we went outside and lay on the sails, they were worse; we had brought no sheets with us, so we were compelled to roll ourselves up in blankets, hermetically sealing every aperture, and bagging it out round our faces, breathe through it as well as we could. If, in tossing about during the night, the least corner of the blanket got loose, they came streaming in by two and threes, and fastened on every inch of skin they could find. This had been our tormented condition for the last week, and I now felt quite ill and fevered, so much so that on August 3rd I scarcely quitted my berth all day, trying to gain some continued rest and sleep. The vessel dropped down the sound to another cove in search of a tree or two to replace some of those they had cut, which scarcely came up to the required size.
August 4th.-Just before sailing this morning we landed, and, coming to a little brook, I fastened a hook to a piece of twine I had in my pocket, and tying that to a small stick, we jigged two dozen of trout for our breakfast. We then dropped down to Bread Cove, where we landed, and went into a pond about half a mile in search of game, but were unsuccessful. At the mouth of a little brook in this cove there were signs of former habitations, a cleared space or two, namely, in which raspberry-bushes were growing, and in one spot we found a grave neatly railed in and covered with wild roses. A piece of plank had been raised for a gravestone, on which were two initials carved, and the date of 1755. Sailing past the inlet of Goose Bay, we were much struck with the beauty of the scene, the tranquil waters and thickly-wooded shores of the two inlets, and the varied and picturesque groups of hills which appeared in the distance at the head of Goose Bay. The physical features of the view all round were beautiful and highly picturesque, but how different would our feelings have been towards it could we have pictured to ourselves towns and villages, fertile fields and happy homes, hid in the recesses of the hills and scattered along the shores of the sea! The known barrenness, ruggedness and wildness of the country were now constantly associated in our minds with its varied outline and even its seeming richness and verdure. We ran down to Barrow Harbour, the land about which is very bold and lofty, and from which, consequently, the wind came off in sudden squalls and gusts. We were then going to stand outside the islands to run down to Greenspond, as no one on board had ever been through the channels of the islands. As, however, I had Bullock's large chart with me, I offered to pilot them through, so we hauled our wind, and, keeping close by Salvage, made for the entrance of Bloody Bay. When off Damnable Bay, however, the wind freshened and veered a little, obliging us to beat up, and, as night was now coming on, it was requisite to look out for a harbour. The harbour at the north end of Morris's Island seemed the most convenient on the chart, so I told them to bear away, run past a certain point, and, avoiding a shoal on the starboard hand, to anchor in the small cove they would find there in so many fathoms water. On all my prophecies coming true as to the nature of the place, the men were in great wonderment, as they have no idea of sailing by chart, and I found it very hard to persuade them that I had never been there in my life before.
August 5th.-We sailed down this morning among a multitude of small rocky islands with woody heights, through narrow and intricate channels, in smooth water; and by the aid of the chart, which was minutely accurate, found our way into Bloody Reach, when we had a straight course down by a broad channel called the "Cowpath" through the islands to Greenspond. Sailing among these islands in fine weather and with a fresh southwest breeze is delightful work; constant change of scene, from the opening and shutting of different channels, and the shifting of the woody peaks and rocks around, and the attention required to steer clear of changes and find the proper way among them, excites the interest at every turn. On getting outside of them, although there had been so long a continuance of hot and sunny weather, we saw a large iceberg aground near the Gooseberry Islands. At eleven o'clock we landed in Greenspond. This is a straggling place on an island of granite, the little harbour being formed by several other smaller islands. There were several good houses and large stores, with a very decent church, and with planters or fishermen's houses, neat, clean, and larger than usual, perched here and there upon the rocks or dropped in the hollows. A tolerable road had been constructed through great part of the place, but the inhabitants were in great want of fresh water, having to fetch much of their supply from the mainland, three miles off. There were several brigs, brigantines, and schooners, all busily loading with fish, and one large brig unloading a cargo of salt. Mr. Biggs was to leave me here and go on to Fogo, if I could hire a boat, which, after some little difficulty, I succeeded in doing. Meanwhile, Mr. W., (agent for Robinson, Brooking, and Garland,) having heard of my arrival, sought us out, and in the kindest possible manner insisted on my making his house my home during my stay. Dr. W. and the other residents likewise, were very kind and hospitable. They were all English in this harbour, and all members of the Church of England, and on the Sunday the church was very well filled. The clergyman of the place, however, had been recently removed to Bonavista, and a licensed reader took the duty till the appointment of another or till he himself was ordained.
August 6th to 12th.-After having got ready the boat for a start, and hired a steady old fellow, named Robert Saunders, as skipper and pilot, I only wanted a short start of fair wind to run up the bay and visit some other of the islands and inlets of which it is full. A steady southwest wind, however, blew the whole week, and one day it rained very heavily. Had I had a vessel of my own this would have been the best possible wind for me, as I could have worked regularly and gradually alongshore, and should not have been obliged to overrun my work by coming on to Greenspond, where, having once arrived, I was detained during the whole week.
Mr. W. told me he had formerly had a tame deer which had been caught when young, and been easily and perfectly domesticated. It wandered about the island, which is about four miles across, but on his going on to a rock and hallooing its name, "Tallyho," it would jump out of the thicket it happened to be in, climb on to a rock, and, as soon as it saw him, come galloping and bounding up to be coaxed and fed. Two or three times, however, it strayed away, and swam across to the mainland or the neighbouring islands, and at last it went away on the ice and was seen no more. Had he had several of them to form a herd, I think they would have become completely domesticated, and, in that case, if they had gone off, they would probably have returned. It would be a very interesting experiment to get some on a lonely island, in which there were no dogs and name them; and as they are nearly, if not quite, identical in species with the reindeer of Lapland, they would become highly useful, and, I think, be a means of turning the interior of Newfoundland to profit.
August 12th.-At last a light air sprang up at five o'clock this morning from the north, by the assistance of which we got out of the harbour, sailing past Shoe Cove Point and the Fair Islands into Locker's Reach. Here I took the punt and went round the Frying-pan Island to get a shot at some puffins that were flying about. The rocks were all composed of coarse, largely crystalline granite, red inside, but weathering white; and in the passage between Trinity Island, or Lewis's Island, and the Frying-pan, the bottom of the sea consisted of huge peaks and mounds of this white granite, rising from dark and deep hollows. The extreme clearness of the water rendered these cliffs and peaks all visible as we approached them, though none reached to within three or four fathoms of the surface, and the sensation experienced in sailing over them was most singular, and to me very uncomfortable. I could not look over the boat without extreme giddiness, as if suspended on some aerial height leaning over a tremendous gulf. The same sensation was described to me by a gentleman I afterwards met with, an experienced hunter and sailor, as assailing him upon his once in smooth water taking a boat within the space of some sunken rocks off the Wadham Islands, on which the water broke in bad weather. These rocks he described as three peaks rising from an apparently unfathomable depth, and the sensation, as his boat gently rose and fell between them, was so unpleasant, and indeed awful, that he gladly got away as fast as he could. From Locker's Reach we ran into Content Reach, and thence through a narrow opening into Freshwater Bay, up which we sailed with a fair breeze and a bright sky, and anchored on the bar of a large brook that runs in at its head. At the mouth of this brook was a great salmon fishery, and there were several houses inhabited by men attending to the nets, and the coopers who made the casks for packing the fish. Our boat was brought by a winding channel to the mouth of the river, and moored to the head of a small stage. There was much rank natural grass growing about the mouth of this brook, and two or three boats were there whose crews had come to cut it and carry it away. Some twenty or thirty years ago there had been a large brick house here, the inhabitants of which owned the salmon fishery and had a considerable case, if they had gone off, they would probably have returned. It would be a very interesting experiment to get some on a lonely island, in which there were no dogs and name them; and as they are nearly, if not quite, identical in species with the reindeer of Lapland, they would become highly useful, and, I think, be a means of turning the interior of Newfoundland to profit.
August 14th.-At six we set out up the northwest brook, which admitted our boat for about half a mile, when we left it and struck into the country. Through a little skirt of thick wood we reached a more open part, where the wood had been burnt many years ago. Some very fine stumps of trees were still standing, showing that good timber will grow in this part of the country, and the young trees were principally birch. In about a mile we reached the top of a bare hill, but not having a good view we proceeded along a fine deerpath to a higher ridge, from which we could see all that was to be seen of the surrounding country. Its character on a nearer view was the same as it appeared from the hill in Clode Sound. It consisted of long undulating ridges rising two or three hundred feet high, their slopes covered with wood, their tops often forming barrens, and the intervening valleys generally occupied by marshes. No distant hills were visible, and George Lane said that the old furriers used to have a tilt on one of the brooks forty miles inland, reckoning from the salt water. We were now twenty miles at least in the interior, and there appeared no inducement to proceed: we accordingly returned by the deerpath, and soon got down to our boat. A deerpath is like a sheep-walk on a common - a narrow winding track about six inches wide. The one we traversed must have been made by a very large herd, as it was hard and bare even on the marsh; and a herd of some hundreds had been seen to pass along it the preceding winter.
Returning down the pond we had a pleasant breeze that carried us quickly along. We landed at one place to examine a large landslip on the face of a cliff; at the foot of which piles of rubbish, stones, and trees lay heaped in confusion. All the rocks on the borders of these ponds were varieties of chloritic and fine micaceous slates. Under the skilful guidance of Lane we shot the rapids, sailed down the second pond, and then shot down the lower brook without meeting with any accident.
August 15th.-Being obliged to wait for the tide to get over the bar, we did not sail till the middle of the day, and then had a very strong west wind. We anchored under the headland between Freshwater Bay and Cat Bay, and climbed up Man Point Ridge. I was now become pretty well accustomed to the country, and could lead most of the men with whom I went into the woods, but of all the scrambles I ever had this of Man Point Ridge was the worst. It was not more than 500 or 600 feet high, and not steep, consisting of a succession of receding rocky ledges, like gigantic steps. The little cliffs were easy enough, but the flat places and slopes between them were almost impenetrable. The old wood had all been burnt, and the sharp dry stakes and trees and branches had fallen across each other in all possible angles and positions, making of themselves a perfect stockade. Among them, however, was growing up a new and still more dense vegetation of fir, birch, alder, &c., &c. Climbing over the bushes from one white slippery stump to another, crawling beneath them between the roots of the young trees for ten yards at a time, wading, pushing, and tearing through all when we could neither crawl nor climb, with the thermometer at 80°, and clouds of mosquitoes obliging us to stop every now and then for a fresh smear of tar and oil-such was our progress for an hour and a half, when I contrived to reach the top, the distance from the seashore being in a straight line about a mile. Simon and Tom did not get up for half an hour longer-indeed, I met them as I was beginning to descend. The view from the top was very fine over the surrounding islands and bays, but not equal to what I had expected, and no objects of interest were visible towards the interior of the country. In going down we came to a small marsh, where I shot three ptarmigan; and we got back to the boat in about four hours from the time we started. The wind had now moderated, and we sailed round Man Point and anchored in Dog Cove. Here we found a very good winter-house about a quarter of a mile in the woods, with abundance of excellent raspberries, but more mosquitoes; and as we found we could not eat without being eaten, we retreated to our boat. Our boat was like that previously described belonging to Mr. Pack, but smaller, and the two end cuddies were only large enough to stow provisions in. I had no bed, but only a blanket with me: we accordingly cut some boughs, and strewed them in the hold, and slept upon them. The covering of the hold was merely a number of loose planks, but we had brought a large piece of tarpauling with us to stretch over it if necessary. This had how ever been rolled up, and, having been trodden on occasionally, was now, in consequence of the extreme heat, fastened and glued together. During the middle of the night we were awakened by a tremendous thunder-storm, and the rain poured down in bucketsful: we jumped up, but could not spread open the tarpauling in the dark; and we accordingly sheltered ourselves the best way we could under a corner of it, and made the most of our bed of boughs, which were soon wet enough. My blanket sheltered me a little.
August 16th.-A beautiful morning, and, taking advantage of it, we dried ourselves in the sun, and hauled off the planks to admit his rays to our bough bed and sleeping apartment, from which there was shortly rising a famous steam. We landed to fill our water-casks, and I followed a narrow path into the woods for some distance, but got nothing for my pains but another thorough ducking from the wet bushes. We then sailed to "the Beaches," a small cove at the mouth of Bloody Reach, where, as the wind and tide were both against us, we anchored till the latter should turn. We got plenty of currants and raspberries here, and had a delicious bath, this being the first time I had found the pure sea-water warm enough to be pleasant. At the turn of the tide we sailed, and beat up Bloody Reach till dark, when we anchored in a small cove on the starboard hand, called Goose Cove. Robert Saunders, our pilot, a stout old weather-beaten English fisherman, had a great reluctance to go far into this cove, and gave as a reason the number of flies there, and we had hardly dropped anchor inside the headland before these gentry trooped off to us in myriads. He at last gravely assured me that the place was haunted: many people who had gone to the head of the cove and moored to a rock or a tree had had their ropes cast loose again as soon as their backs were turned, and this many times succes-sively. Others had been disturbed by nocturnal noises and shrieks resounding through the still woods. He himself when a boy was with his father here one night, when, after being frequently disturbed by shrieks and cries, they put to sea again, unable to endure it longer. Fortunately the ghosts and ghostesses did not think proper to pay us a visit, and we slept soundly till the dawn.
August 17th.-Before the sun showed his honest face we had worked up two or three miles, hoping to reach the brook at the middle arm of Bloody Bay with the morning tide, which we accomplished. The land round Bloody Bay is steep and lofty, covered with a thick vegetation of young trees, while bays and arms of water run among the hills in every direction. The country had all been burnt twenty or thirty years ago, and the ghosts and skeletons of the old trees rose white and spectre-like among groves of light-green birch or more sombre-hued fir, spruce, or pine trees.
On arriving at Bloody Bay main brook we found a very decent man named Stroud, with his wife and seven daughters, the oldest not more than twelve years. He was the only summer resident in the bay, except one old man, a cooper, who made casks for the salmon. Stroud attended to the salmon-fishery, which belonged to Messrs. Brooking and Garland, from whom he received regular wages, and a dollar for every tierce of salmon he caught. He had this summer caught forty-six tierce besides those consumed by his family. This was reckoned a very great catch for the mouth of one river. He had a comfortable house, a few cattle, and several very pretty little cleared spots or gardens, in which grew abundance of excellent potatoes, cabbages, greens, and turnips. The flat land on each side of the brook is half a mile wide, and is of good quality. Deer and game of all sorts are very abundant at the proper seasons; and he said he generally made £20 during the winter by the sale of game and furs. This, with perhaps £30 for his summer's work, his house and land rent free, and all his provisions raised by himself, except bread, a little pork, tea, sugar, and molasses, were certainly enough to put him in a condition which many families in England would be but too happy to realize for themselves; but then it must be remembered that none except those born and bred in the island would be able to make anything of it. There was some very fine timber up the valley-one birch tree at four feet from the gourd measured seven feet in circumference: this, however, was the largest I saw, and the large trees only grow singly here and there among the usual stunted undergrowth. The brook is from eighty to one hundred yards wide, but much encumbered with rapids. We walked through the woods and marshes for some miles along its Bankss, and I regretted I had no canoe or other suitable boat to explore it farther. There is a large pond some fifteen or twenty miles in, which Stroud called Terra Nova Pond, and which he said was twenty miles long. No place struck me as so suitable for an exploratory expedition into the interior of Newfoundland as this. By sending up a large store of provisions to the head of Terra Nova Pond (if it answer Stroud's description), and making this the head-quarters, and getting a good Indian as a guide, excursions might be made out to Bay Despair on the one side, Gander Bay on the other, and probably to the large lake, called by Mr. Cormack Jameson's Lake, in the centre of the island. Were I ever again to visit Newfoundland, this would be the point I should select next after the head of White Bay; but it would require a good party and preparations, and, above all, a Micmac Indian or two. With a good Indian hunter, even a sporting party in the months of September and October would I think be amply repaid for their trouble. Stroud was greatly surprised that we saw no deer even in the little distance we went, as he showed me several spots where he had killed them at different times. He had killed likewise several wolves lately, and not more than a week before our visit his children came running in one day to their mother quite frightened, and said a large strange dog had come out of the wood while they were playing on the beach, and went up towards the calf which was feeding close by, but on seeing them turned, and growled and snarled at them, till on their running and screaming he retreated again into the wood. When Stroud came home at night he took his gun, and found at the place mentioned the track of a large wolf, which he followed some distance into the country. He had now set a trap for him, baited with seal's flesh, on a marsh close by.
August 18th.-After breakfast I sent Simon and Saunders round in the boat, and took Tom with me across a narrow neck of land to the southwest arm of Bloody Bay, which is called Troytown. There are no permanent inhabitants in this place, and though several families generally winter there, there is nothing like a town, and I did not learn why it was called Troy. The neck of land between the two arms was about a mile and a half across, with thin skirts of wood round a marsh, leading on to some barrens. Here I put up three conveys of ptarmigan, and bagged three brace out of them. A little brook flowed out of the marsh to the edge of a perpendicular cliff about eighty feet high, over which it flung its waters in a beautiful cascade. On either hand the cliff gradually rose to double or treble this height, and the high grounds at the back were covered with wood. At the foot of this great wall, and below the cascade, there extended a flat district, beautifully dotted about with clusters of birch; and beyond, in the hollow of bold and picturesque hills, lay the bright waters of Troytown, calm and unruffled as a lake. On the left hand of this was the narrow entrance into the waters of Bloody Reach, and on the right the lofty eminences of the Louil Hills, sweeping in bold ridges down to the margin of the inlet, and casting a broad shadow over half its space. I stood on the edge of the cliff, struck with the singular and picturesque beauty of the scene, and utterly regardless of the "conk" of half a dozen geese in the waters below me, who, even at this distance, were alarmed at my figure, and lazily took to flight. On getting down to the strip of flat land which here stretched along the foot of the precipice, we found it covered with most excellent whortleberries, hanging in clusters on bushes about a foot high: they were larger than the largest black currants, and of a rich juicy flavour. As it had fallen perfectly calm, and there were no signs of the boat, we dined upon these berries; but having unfortunately forgotten the tar and oil, we afforded a rich repast to the mosquitoes, until we contrived to light a fire on a point of rock jutting out into the water, when the smoke relieved us in some measure from their attacks. In the afternoon Stroud and his boy rowed round in a skiff, and came down to us, when we cooked a ptarmigan, and had some tea, and in the evening our own boat made her appearance off the inlet, and anchored in a small cove near its entrance. The depth of water at the entrance of Troytown is only sufficient for a small skiff, and much of the water inside is very shoal. Stroud was come round to cut grass, which grew in a narrow band just along the flat shore; so, borrowing his punt, we went off to our boat. In the cliff above the small cove where we were anchored a fishhawk had her nest, and kept slowly wheeling round, uttering every now and then a monotonous and dismal screech. This was a sufficient explanation of the noises in the wood at Goose Cove, but Robert Saunders shook his head, and, though he said nothing, I could see he by no means admitted the force of it. I need scarcely add that there was a strong muster of mosquitoes on board tonight.
August 19th.-We went up Troytown again this morning, and after examining its shores we landed to ascend the Louil Hills. This was a desperate bit of work: we tried at one or two points before we could succeed, but at last struck in by a little brook that came out in a sandy cove. The sun was burning hot; there was no wind; the woods were either so thick as to be scarcely penetrable, or, where they were thinner, a green close shrub with a small leaf and stiff branches formed a brushwood breast-high. On arriving at the foot of the hill we found its sides very steep, obliging us often to use our hands in climbing; but about half an hour placed us on the top. The view was very beautiful; and I should estimate the hill at about 800 feet above the sea. We could see the entrance of Clode Sound, Newman's Sound, and a great number of hills in the distance beyond them; all the islands filling Bonavista Bay to the north of us, a great extent of undulating ground towards the west, besides the lovely homeview of Troytown immediately at our feet. A distant range of hills bore true south-southwest, and a very distant peak-like Centre Hill at the head of Trinity Bay bore exactly 206° 30' by prismatic compass, or as nearly as possible true south of us. On reaching the beach again we had a pleasant bath, and then rowed down to our boat, took in wood and water, hoisted the anchor, and away we went down the bay before a pleasant breeze. On reaching "the Beaches" we hauled round into Content Harbour, where we anchored. The view along Bloody Reach is very beautiful: it is a straight channel twenty miles long, and a mile or two broad, through numberless islands of all shapes and sizes, with one little conical island, called Mouse Island, just in its centre. A glance at the map will show something of the singularly indented and complicated outline of the shores of Bonavista Bay, with its numberless islands, inlets, bays, headlands, coves, and rocks; but Bullock's large chart is a requisite to give a good idea of thema chart, the construction of which must have been a work of immense labour, and which is singularly and minutely accurate.
August 20th.-Very unwell last night and this morning, with sickness, stiff neck, and headache. However, we landed in Locker's Bay at Chalky Cove, to examine the cliffs. This place is so named from its white cliffs, which consist of granite, weathering white outside. The whole of Bonavista Bay, from Locker's Bay to Cape Freels, and beyond, is composed of excellent granite, which might be worked in any quantity and in blocks of any size, and would make a very handsome building-stone. From Chalky Cove we sailed through Trinity Gut, inside Lewis's Island and then ran through the Fair Islands down to Greenspond, which we reached about five in the afternoon. On the Gooseberry Islands coming in sight, I looked for the large ice island which I had seen off them, and which had remained quite stationary and apparently unaltered during my stay at Greenspond. It was, however, gone, but how, when, or where, nobody could inform me.
To give a general idea of the value of money and price of labour in this part of Newfoundland, I may as well mention here the expense of this trip. I gave the owner of the boat 7s 6d a day for her hire, and Robert Saunders 6s a day and provisions for his services, altogether amounting to £417s 6d currency (rather more than £4 sterling) per week for the mere hire of an open boat and one man. The first demand was more than this; but then it was the only boat and almost the only man in the place that could have gone, and I considered myself lucky in getting one at all. A month earlier I could have got neither, had I offered double or treble the sum.
Page contributed by: Bill Crant, February 26th, 2000
Page revised: Sept 2002 (Terry Piercey)
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