It was while the building of 'La Padula' was in progress that the second great event in the happy decade took place. We had the joy and honour of receiving an invitation from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to visit Canada as their guests, travelling on their system, and staying in their several beautiful hotels on the way. To say that we accepted this munificent invitation with delight is to express very inadequately the gratitude and joy which we felt.
I never could have believed, had I not experienced it, that kindness, consideration, and courtesy could reach such perfection. The Company and its directors said that they wished to do honour to the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but oh! had I been the most distinguished literary light that ever was, I could not have received more generous cordiality or more friendly courtesy during those happy ten weeks which we spent in that magnificent country.
Of course ten weeks is a very short time in which to gather together the great mass of impressions which crowded in upon one in the face of so much that was both new and unexpected. There was so much to see, so much to try to understand, to try to appreciate that one's mind could not grapple with it all. It was all so wonderful! from the moment when representatives of the Company met us at Liverpool and saw to our embarkation on board the Montcalm, and to our comfort even to the smallest detail, I felt as if I were in a dream. And what's more, I felt that I knew what it feels like to be a royalty, when everything is done for you to save you the slightest trouble and done with whole-hearted kindliness and understanding.
And the same kindliness and understanding followed us all the way, in those magnificent C.P.R. hotels where the finest suites were always reserved for us, where on arrival we always found our rooms filled with flowers and a bottle of champagne set ready for us. I cannot begin to enthuse over those hotels, which far surpass in luxury and good taste anything that New York can give. Our first experience was of Château Frontenac in Quebec, where we first met Mr. Murray Gibbon, who was then publicity manager of the C.P.R. Company. He is a distinguished Canadian author and he it was who had planned and organized the whole of our trip. On our first meeting he gave us our railway and steamer passes over the whole of the C.P.R. line. He went through the itinerary with us and told us of the wonderful arrangements he had already made for rooms at all their hotels on the way. Under his guidance we would see all that was possible in the short time at our command and gather unforgettable impressions of a great and glorious country. We were indeed overwhelmed by the kindness we received.
Often did my dear one and I say to one another: "If we were twenty years younger we would settle down in Canada." One could not help feeling in the very air the spirit of youth and of ever growing and developing incentive to labour and to create. I cannot, of course, attempt to give a detailed account of everything we saw and experienced during those ten weeks. So many books on Canada have been written by authors far cleverer than I with greater knowledge of the country and far wider experience of its sentiment and of its people.
We spent four happy days in Quebec in perfect weather. It was all so new to us, this strange admixture of old France and ultra-modern England: the French dialect as it was spoken by the early pioneers, the old French habits and customs, the domination of the Roman Catholic Church of which the Province of Quebec is the impregnable stronghold, with its quaint superstitions and elaborate rituals, its forty churches inside the city, its numerous monasteries, convents, and seminaries; the huge church of Ste. Anne twenty miles outside Quebec, with its holy relics and healing springs and its sacred staircase of thirty-five stone steps over which one hundred and thirty pilgrims had gone up on their knees during the previous year; the primitive life of the 'habitants' in their old cottages and patriarchal manor houses on the outskirts of the city and on the Ile d'Orléans, which reminded me of the homes of Hungarian peasants in Tarna-Örs. We loved the old-world charm and the historical and sentimental associations all centring in Quebec. And then, by way of contrast, there was the gorgeousness of Château Frontenac (the C.P.R. Hotel) with every modern comfort and luxury, with its magnificent dining-room and sumptuous meals, its jazz-band and dancing floor, and the beautiful English homes of those charming friends who so graciously entertained us at luncheon; such a contrast! and oh! what an interesting one!!
Montreal did not appeal to me quite so sentimentally. There was still the feeling of old France surviving in its language and some of its unfashionable streets; and it felt quaint and bewildering at first to ask one's way in French from the policeman on point duty, or to buy one's stamps and register one's letters at the Bureau de Poste; to order a fine at the local café and to ask for an apéritif when one wanted a cocktail; Montreal in the Province of Quebec was 'dry', but there was apparently no difficulty in getting what drinks our kind host, Mr. Murray Gibbon, had ordered for us and his numerous guests at luncheon in the luxurious University Club, nor any in the comfortable C.P.R. Place Viger Hotel, where our breakfast waiter turned out to be a Derbyshire man who (just imagine how small the world is!) had been present in the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, on the first performance of The Scarlet Pimpernel!
The rest of the happy day we spent in Montreal was taken up with a beautiful drive to Mont Royal, with its fine park on the high hill and its glorious views.
Toronto, our next halting-place, I didn't care so much about. King Edward's Hotel, where we had beautiful rooms on the fourteenth floor (our first experience of sleeping so near to the sky), was most luxurious and ultra-modern in all its appointments, even to the head-waiter, who as soon as we sat down to our luncheon, offered to get us whiskies and soda; this he did in a whisper in my husband's ear, as Toronto (Province of Ontario) was also 'dry'. Thus we had gone through two 'dry' provinces (as 'dry' as the U.S.A.!!!) all except on the trains and . . .
We both loved our trip over the Great Lakes on board the C.P.R. steamer Assiniboia, such a fine boat, such comfortable sleeping accommodation, and such excellent food as ever was. There were two hundred and fifty passengers and it was among these that I became acquainted with one lady who was a teacher in a girls' school in Toronto, who had never read or had even as much as heard of The Scarlet Pimpernel. This, I am sure, sounds a fearfully conceited remark to make; but, as a matter of fact, I never had met anyone to whom the words 'Scarlet Pimpernel' just meant nothing at all. I found the experience most refreshing.
How beautiful those Great Lakes are! The Captain was--as C.P.R. officials invariably were towards us--most kind; he invited us to go up on the bridge when we passed through the locks and where at Ste. Marie we could see the Rapids and the wonderful iron bridge which on a pivot carries the heavy C.P.R. trains to the U.S.A. side.
We had rather an alarming night of it when steaming through Lake Superior where we lost sight of land on either side; the ship's sirens started off at 2 a.m. with their monotonous and portentous calls. We were in a thick white fog which did not lift till past six o'clock in the morning. When on arrival at Port Arthur we bade good-bye to our Captain and thanked him for all his kindness and consideration, we felt bound to confess that we had been rather alarmed at the density of the fog which was so much thicker than any we had experienced when steaming on the Atlantic or in the Channel between Gibraltar and Southampton; we expressed our gratitude to him for having brought us safely to shore. He said with a grave shake of the head: "You are not more thankful than I am, I assure you. These fogs on Superior are sometimes the very d . . ."
Though I have done a great deal of travelling by railway on the Continent of Europe during my life, I have always hated it. I have, of course, seen the growth of its (so-called) comfort from the old first-class compartments with their red velvet seats and antimacassars during those weary days and nights on the express! to Budapest, to the present-day wagonlits on the train bleu; from the halts for meals at various stations in Germany with the scramble for a hurried snack at most inconvenient hours, with the 'turn-out' in the middle of the night for Customs examinations on the German and on the Austrian frontiers down to the present-day wagons-restaurants, of which the least said the better. I have hated it all from those days to this. But of all the discomforts that I have experienced in the past, I cannot picture to myself anything worse than the accommodation for night journeys on American trains. How the luxury-loving Americans can ever bring themselves to travel by rail from San Francisco to New York passes my comprehension. Of course there are a limited (very limited) number of quite comfortable drawing-room compartments with private wash-basins and so on--we had the benefit of these throughout our journey across Canada--but the usual first-class cars with twenty-four bunks on two tiers in each car--and a narrow passageway through the centre with no standing room, and just a curtain screening each bed; and oh horrors! only one toilet place with lavatory so that the twenty-four passengers have to wait their turn for their morning ablutions!!
Well! never mind! we certainly had no cause to grumble and the distance to Winnipeg was quite short. We had only a brief halt there, while kind Mrs. Rogers took us to her beautiful home, gave us cocktails and took us for a drive round the town. But it was on the return journey that I had the real impression of Winnipeg, one which will always abide with me as being some of the happiest hours of that thrice happy journey through a splendid and hospitable country.
Is there anyone who, having had the privilege of spending a few days in Banff, does not treasure the remembrance of it and of the Banff Springs Hotel--so comfortable, so luxurious, so 'homey'? I just loved every moment we spent there, the view over the beautiful mountains, the hot springs, the bathing pool. I even loved the train journey down from Winnipeg. I loved the enormous expanse of flat country through which we passed, and the immense cornfields which brought back the Hungarian puszta so vividly to my memory. On the train we met Mrs. Coleman, the wife of the vice-president of the C.P.R.--and such a pretty woman--with her two little boys, her friend, Mrs. Parker, and her secretary. They were on their way to Lake Louise. Our black conductor was a native of St. Lucia in the West Indies and therefore a British subject. He was very proud of this and was very chatty. He had read the Scarlet Pimpernel and many of my books; had passed his matric in the Cambridge examinations and was studying engineering; whilst the head-waiter in the dining-car was a Swede, whose brother was a doctor and had served with the English during the 1914-1918 war.
Unfortunately it poured with rain the whole of the next day, but undeterred we tramped about Banff, went to their delightful Zoo and made friends with the 'Bob-Cats'; then, when the next morning the place was bathed in sunshine, we motored over to the Camping Park, the holiday playground of the same sort of people who in England jostle one another on the sands of Margate, or Blackpool, or perhaps Ostende, after tumbling one over the other in over-full trains, tired even before they start on their way, hot and covered in dust, worried into irritability by tired and fretful children and by anxiety over numerous baskets and paper bags and finally finding a resting-place and tepid stewed tea with stale bread and margarine in a crowded lodging-house.
In the holiday Camping Park, in Alberta, there is nothing but quietude and peace; there are primitive but perfectly clean huts wherein to sleep in unfavourable weather. But on fine nights there is the most perfect sleeping accommodation heart of man can desire: its walls, the stately pine trees of the forest; its roof the star spangled sky; no crowd--for the Park is one of the largest in the world and there is room for everybody--no bustle, no worry with the children who have plenty of room to play about, or with catering, for holiday-makers bring their provisions with them on their bicycles and cook what they require on huge communal kitchen stoves.
We both kept on thinking of the sands at Margate or Southend, the nigger minstrels, the noise, the heat, the jaded nerves of harassed mothers, and full of enthusiasm for what we had seen in the Camping Park we determined to move heaven and earth (or what is more difficult, to move the British Government), into establishing such ideal holiday resorts in over-populated England. You think we could move them? Interest them in our enthusiastic description of the ideal holiday ground we had seen in Camping Park? Not a bit of it. We were told politely, but most firmly, that our ideas were all wrong. The English matron and the English family man want their seaside, their sands, their donkey-rides, pier and wholly inadequate shelters against the rain. As for sleeping in the open air by moonlight and under the stars . . . Ah, well! No doubt they are right and perhaps one day pioneers more eloquent than we were would succeed in bringing the English official mind to try an experiment in an ideal holiday ground.
How lovely is Lake Louise, and how beautiful the view from the hotel over the blue waters! (My heart did ache a year later when the hotel was burned down.) Everything in that part of Canada was unbelievably beautiful and no words of mine could possibly express the delight that filled my heart when we were driven to Lake Moraine and the Valley of the Peaks (what a romantic name!) to Yoho Camp and Falls, Whisky Jack, and Takakhaw Falls. Nature at her grandest and most romantic. Wapton Camp, where we were entertained by a charming English lady with a perfect Oxford accent, Miss Dodds, and were rowed across the lake by an undergraduate of Toronto University who acted as porter for our luggage. Oh! how I admire all these young men whom we met during these trips across country, students who, not being in a position to pay for all their studies in college or university, just set to earn what money they required for fees as well as for their living expenses; the stewards on board the Assiniboia, the waiters in the great hotels, the porters at railway stations, such fine fellows all of them, so plucky, so determined to attain that which they had mapped out for themselves, for their future as potential citizens of this grand young country. Work! work! so long as it was clean, scrubbing floors, or shouldering grips; God bless them and help them in their endeavour.
Emerald Lake (yet another romantic name) was lovely too; so was its delightful chalet--something between an hotel and a camp where there was a central house with bedrooms, kitchen, dining-room and club-room, and a few enchanting log huts with guest-rooms, bathrooms, and so on. We had one of these huts all to ourselves, two bedrooms and most luxurious bathroom. We only stayed there the one night as we were in a hurry to get to Glacier. As a matter of fact we had a scare re the latter place. We were told that the hotel was due to close on the 15th for the winter, whereas we were booked to arrive there on that very day. However, all was well, and we were made most welcome; the little hotel (it was a wooden one with the guest-rooms in more or less separate buildings) had been kept open specially for our arrival. There were flowers and fruit for us in our sitting-room, and oh! the view of snow-covered Mount Glacier which dominates the little town!
We stayed two days and nights in Glacier. The caretakers had already arrived for the winter season, three Swiss men who looked the part, sturdy mountaineers all three of them. Our first visitors were two darling bears. Yes, bears! Not the big Russian bears that haunt the Carpathians of my young days and the skin of one of which--nine and a half feet from nose to foot--adorns my dining-room in Monte Carlo, but dear little fellows the size of Himalayan bears, and so tame. They were padding out of the forest towards the porch of the hotel and we fed them with sugar which they took greedily from our hands.
We met Captain Russell who was (probably still is) the 'boss' of all the forests of British Columbia. He lives at Field and is English born, married to a Canadian wife from Victoria, and has been in the country for thirty-five years. Like all experts who know everything they are talking about he was most interesting on the subject of National Parks and of every branch of arboriculture, and he enlightened our ignorance about the taking up of crown land and the pegging out of claims for minerals and so on.
Presently the rain came down which was getting ready to turn into snow, but we got a good walk on both days and felt all the better for the invigorating mountain air and high altitude.
On the third day we took the train for Vancouver. Some of the Glacier Hotel staff travelled down also and we all had a splendid view of Albert Canyon, of Sicamous and Kemloops. We met some dear friends in Vancouver, Mr. and Mrs. Henshaw, who have a lovely very-English home in North Vancouver, and Mr. and Mrs. Rogers--he is ranger of Stanley Park--they have a very beautiful house and were most gracious and hospitable; they gave us a delicious lunch at the Country Club. How delightful and 'homey' are those Country Clubs! We got to know quite a number by now; every city of any importance has got one and there is something peculiarly attractive in the atmosphere of every one of them.
My dear husband and I both decided that only if . . . if . . . and if we were ten years younger and if . . . if . . . and if aviation had become a regular means of travelling from one end of the world to another, we would fly over to Victoria, British Columbia, and there spend two months out of every twenty-four at least! What nonsense! But Victoria is so lovely, the climate so perfect! the life? everything that is best in England and Southern France, and friends--the kindest friends all ready to welcome you. To start with there was the sea-trip across, past those picturesque islands and then the Empress Hotel . . . ! How can any traveller venture to extol the charms of the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo, or any of the most noted hotels in Lucerne or Le Touquet if he has not enjoyed the beauty and homeliness of the Empress at Victoria, British Columbia, and experienced the kindness and attention of its manager, Mr. Wilson--such a perfect host (I wonder if he is still at his post?) Of course, Brentwood--the home of Mr. and Mrs. Butchart--with its enchanting gardens, is famous all over the world. Mr. Butchart drove us out there in his motor and we were royally entertained by those dear kind friends. Here we met Mr. Oliver, Premier of British Columbia, and we and other guests were taken by our host for a run in his motor-boat; the picturesque coast scenery and those lovely little islands, the colour, the atmosphere all contributed to our delight. We felt in a kind of enchantment.
It was in Victoria that I first had the honour of being asked to lunch, and to give an address at the Canadian Women's Club. I had already, in London, heard from Sir George Maclaren Brown, the English manager of the C.P.R., something about these Women's Clubs, but the one at Victoria was my first experience of them; here I first learned to appreciate Canadian women in their marvellous life of intellect and of activity; and this appreciation grew into real admiration. You cannot find anywhere, women more versatile, more competent in anything they give their mind to, either in their home or in their intellectual life. They are just as splendid in the quiet and efficient management of their home as they are in the conduct of any business they might be engaged in, or in any artistic or literary pursuit. Here's to the women of Canada! My unqualified admiration to them, and may God bless them and give them joy and prosperity all the days of their life.
Well! I had the honour to meet three hundred of them at Victoria, British Columbia. The time after luncheon was fixed for my address to the members of the Club. There was rather an amusing incident when my husband who had been one of the guests at luncheon, accompanied me to the hall where my 'talk' was to take place. He was stopped at the gate and told quite politely but very firmly that gentlemen were not admitted into the hall. He tried to argue I know, but I did not hear the altercation--if there was one--for I had already been conducted to the platform and I could neither see nor hear what went on at the door, nor did I see my husband again during the time spent, first in my introduction to the audience by the chairman, Miss Agnew, who said far too kind things about me, then in my address, and finally in the usual votes of thanks. The audience was absolutely charming to me, about my work and about the address which they declared they had thoroughly enjoyed.
It was when the bulk of the audience had left and the hall was being cleared, that a dilapidated and very dusty black tie was picked up from the floor and held aloft by the finder who announced amid laughter and cheers: "See! all that is left of poor Mr. Barstow. He must have been torn limb from limb.
The next day we had the pleasure of a visit from Mrs. Adams Beck (Mrs. Barrington), the distinguished Canadian author, whose The Divine Lady had delighted us all both in book form as a perfect historical romance and also as a film which, in my humble opinion, was admirably done.
In the evening we were present at a great dinner at which Mr. Beatty president of the C.P.R. Company was the guest of honour; we were very glad to meet him as well as Mr. Coleman, the vice-president, whose charming wife had been so very sweet to us ever since we first met her on our way to Banff. There were forty-two guests at the dinner; but it was all most intimé and friendly.
We left soon after 11 o'clock and got on board the S.S. Princess Louise on our way back to Vancouver.
The return journey across this glorious country which we had already learned to love and to admire had begun.
In Vancouver we were again the guests of those kind, hospitable friends, Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Rogers, who I am happy to say have remained our friends ever since, for they often came on a visit to Monte Carlo.
In the evening I was asked to address a meeting of the Canadian Women's Club at Vancouver Hotel. It was another unforgettable occasion. There was a crowded hall of four hundred present, whose kindness and enthusiastic reception of me could never be surpassed, even in the case of far more distinguished persons than myself. The next day we were the guests of the Canadian Authors' Club, where again I was asked to give an address which I did without repeating anything I had said the day before. The company drank our health in water and sang "For they are jolly good fellows", with much lusty cheering to follow.
The next day we took train for Banff and struck snow just before Lake Louise. It seemed so strange after the warm sunny days of British Columbia. At Banff it was quite deep, and we were greeted at the station with many laughing "A Merry Christmas!" We were childishly glad to see the snow, it looked like the real Canada, and it was amusing to watch the girls bathing in the pool of the hot sulphur spring in the hotel garden being pelted with snowballs from the rising ground above.
Our second visit to Banff, with its luxurious Banff Springs Hotel, only made us love it more and more. Our first walk through the snow was to the Zoo to renew acquaintance with the darling 'Bob Cats'.
Then the long train journey back to Winnipeg, where I had an exciting and very happy surprise. I had known before this that there was a considerable colony of Hungarians settled in the great middle plain of Canada. I remember Mr. Murray Gibbon telling me that though Canada did to a certain extent discourage immigration, she always welcomed Icelanders and Hungarians because the best agricultural labourers came from these two countries. The news of my odyssey across Canada had been very much spoken about in all the local newspapers and, when it reached the ears of the Hungarians in and around Winnipeg, a deputation of them came to meet me at the station. They met me with music--real Hungarian music--as the train steamed into the station and soon the music was drowned in cheers. To any Hungarian--more especially to those from the great plains where lie Tarna-Örs and Tisza-Abád, where most of these in Winnipeg came from, the name of Baroness Orczy the famous authoress is as much cherished as that of . . . what shall I say? . . . Bobbie Burns to the Scot, and I must say that the sight of all those fine fellows in their work-a-day clothes, with their music and their rough hands stretched out to grasp my hand gave me a choky little feeling in my throat.
Here, too, we were again the guests of the Honble. and Mrs. Rogers in their beautiful home, and at dinner that evening there was, among the guests, a Hungarian friend of theirs, Mr. Hódosy, whom we met again the following evening at a delightful dinner at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews and their four lovely daughters. There were two Hungarian musicians on this occasion who discoursed sweet music during and after dinner. And presently they struck up a Csárdás, and at the request of our hostess and her guests, Mr. Hódosy and I took the floor and danced the national Hungarian dance. I was a little out of practice, I am afraid, as I had not danced the csárdás since that great evening in London when I had the honour of being partner to H.I.R.H. the ill-fated Archduke Rudolf of Austria. But the whole evening was delightfully informal and great fun.
The next day was the great day for me. The Canadian Women's Club and the Authors' Society had jointly organized a grand luncheon for me at the C.P.R. Hotel, at which I had promised to give an address. There were seven hundred and fifty guests. My address took an hour and a half and was voted a great success; I was often interrupted by cheers and laughter. All those present declared that it was one of the most spirited and amusing speeches they had ever heard. Mrs. Rogers was in the chair, and I sat next to Ralph Connor, the distinguished Canadian author of that ever popular romance The Sky Pilot. He and I laughingly decided that we would undertake a joint lecture tour one day in the United States. Neither of us, however, had the least idea of ever doing so.
After that happy event we had to face a day and two nights in the train on our way to Toronto. In spite of the beauty of the landscape, the comfort of our drawing-room car, and the kindness and attention bestowed on us in the dining-car, I felt very weary and never got a wink of sleep during those thirty-six hours.
But we were so kindly received by friends and well-wishers in Toronto that my heart warmed to that fine prosperous city as it had not done on the occasion of our first visit there. The Canadian Women's Club gave us a most beautiful lunch. There were over five hundred guests, all women, with the exception of my husband (who was not excluded from the sacred hall on this occasion) and Dr. Locke. I had promised to give an address and this I did, and everyone seemed very happy and all were certainly most kind and loud in their praise and enthusiasm; the cheering when I finally sat down was loud and prolonged. I was happy on that occasion to have met Mrs. Fergusson, the wife of the Premier of Ontario, Lady Poynter, and so many other charming and distinguished ladies. In the evening we were entertained at dinner by Colonel and Mrs. Maclean; Colonel Maclean is, with Mrs. Tyrell, co-proprietor of Macleans Magazine. Mr. and Mrs. Tyrell were also at the dinner, so were Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie--he being the editor of the magazine. It was an altogether charming dinner party.
I gave two more addresses while in Toronto, one at the Canadian Press Club, where I met Mrs. Steward of Stewart and McLellan, the publishers and agents for Messrs. Cassell & Co., and the other at the Riverside Technical School where I had a splendid reception and I shudder to think of the hundreds of copies of The Scarlet Pimpernel which I autographed on that occasion.
After a short leap over into the United States, where we spent three very happy days with Mr. and Mrs. McKay--he the owner of that fine American publication, The Spur--in their charming home, Stone Crest, New Windsor, we returned to Montreal and to the care of our munificent hosts the C.P.R. Company in the Place Viger Hotel. In spite of an awful cold, which descended upon me just when I least wanted it, I managed to keep my promise to lunch at Mount Royal Hotel where a number of 'Publicity' gentlemen gave us both a right royal welcome and were most appreciative of my short address which I delivered, first in English, and then in French. The P.E.N. Club also gave us a delightful dinner at the Ritz Carlton, where we met Lady Drummond. The Authors' association joined up with the P.E.N. Club after dinner and I was asked to make a speech, which I did. It caused much delight.
The weather was lovely the next day and though my wretched cold was no better, I managed to put in a very full day. Lunch with Colonel and Mrs. Watkins, who very kindly took us on to the Ritz Hotel where I addressed the Women's Press Club (there were only three men from McGill University present), and in the evening we dined with Mr. and Mrs. Beardmore in their beautiful English home on Pine, Mount Royal. Here we met Sir Robert Horne, so nice and gay, and looking exactly like the pictures of him in the English illustrated papers; also Sir Frederick Taylor, the jovial and distinguished head of the Montreal Bank, whom we often met subsequently in London.
The next day we went to Ottawa, where we met Lady Perley, the wife of Sir George Perley, M.P. for the Constituency of Argenteuil (Quebec) and until recently High Commissioner of Canada, and the Hon. M. Burrel who was so terribly injured when the Parliament Houses were destroyed by fire a few years previously. We were asked to lunch at the Canadian Women's Club where I gave an address, as I did later in the day at the Author's Association in the Café Daffodil, where my husband was again the only male creature present. This caused much amusement and I gave a lively address. We had a very gay time there. We dined with Sir George and Lady Perley, who were so charming to us; their daughter and her husband were of the party. I was very tired and was glad to get to bed early.
The day after that we had a very jolly lunch at the Golf Club, Hull (Quebec), after which we left for Montreal and Quebec.
We were very happy to see Hôtel Frontenac again and so many of our old C.P.R. friends. We again had the Royal suite, and as we arrived late in the evening we were glad to renew our impressions of all those wonderful historical associations which meet one at every turn outside and inside the town. The Rotary Club gave us a delightful lunch; there were some fifty or sixty guests present, mostly French-Canadians. I gave an address in French, and my darling husband who simply hates speaking in public was also called upon to make a speech--also in French, of course. The guests sang in chorus, a number of old French songs; it was very charming, and reminded us both of the old Harrow songs on prize-giving day.
The following day I was called upon to address the Canadian Women's Club in the Ball Room of Hôtel Frontenac. Mrs. Power, president of the Club, asked me to speak in English, but somehow I wished she had not asked me to do this. I am equally at home in either language, and somehow I had the feeling that the English tongue was not so popular in Quebec as it might be. However, I naturally had to defer to the wishes of the President. There was a fairly large audience, but somehow I felt rather chilled from the first when I faced two or three very stolid faces, and realized that by speaking in English I was offending the French elements in the Club. I had the feeling that there was not the same whole-hearted loyalty as there had been in all those other Canadian Women's Clubs throughout the country where the proceedings were always started with the lusty singing of the Canadian National Anthem, and invariably concluded with an equally lusty "God Save the King".
And after that day, good-bye to beautiful, glorious Canada and the many, many friends we were lucky enough to make there, friends we can never forget. We saw several of them now and again in Monte Carlo or in London, but the remembrance of them all, of those splendid Canadian women and those fine, so noble, so ardent, so true young men, will remain with us always. We had a wonderful send off after a jolly luncheon party with the Hon. Frank and Mrs. Carrol. We missed dear Mr. Murray Gibbon at the last. He was detained on serious business; but Mr. Stoles of the C.P.R. gave us a farewell dinner and we drank to our next happy meeting in champagne; he came with us to Shed 18, where we had to wait for the steamer Montclare. I was presented with a beautiful basket of flowers from Mr. Beatty, the president of the C.P.R., for a friendly au revoir. While waiting for the steamer we saw the most magnificent Northern Lights; the local people who were standing there close to us declared that they had never seen finer ones. It was an enchanting sight.
We had a rough journey homewards on the Montclare. Heavy seas were our portion during the whole of the way, the waves breaking right over deck A, but as usual everything was done for our comfort by every employee of the C.P.R. Bless 'em! There were only one hundred and twenty first class passengers on board, among them a score or so of young Mormons from Utah; we were greatly interested in them, chiefly I think because just before we left England there had been a great deal of talk and some very unpleasant rumours anent the activities of the Mormon Community of Salt Lake City all over the country. Whether these were true or not I do not know; certain it is that a number of young women had been signalled to the police, about this time, as having left their homes for some destination unknown. Most of my readers will no doubt remember the trouble there was about these rumours and the many allusions made to it, both serious and sarcastic, in theatrical productions and music halls.
We saw very little of the young Mormon passengers on board the Montclare because they never put in an appearance in the dining-room whenever the sea was rough--much to the amusement of the dining-room staff. Whether they really were going to Europe for recruiting purposes we none of us knew.
Major General Sir Fabian Ware was on board: we felt so honoured and happy to meet him, he had done such wonderful patriotic work as Permanent Vice-Chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission and was twice mentioned in despatches (1914-1918). His interest in the welfare of all seamen never slackened, nor did the help which he was always ready to extend to them ever fail. He gave the best part of his life to the cause he had so much at heart. At a concert given one evening on board the Montclare in aid of the Seamen's Home in Liverpool, Sir Fabian took the chair and made an eloquent appeal for this greatly deserving charity. He honoured me (I felt it was an honour to be associated with him in this) by asking me to second his appeal, which I did although I must admit that the swaying of the ship was very unpleasant; there was a regular squall that evening. However, all went well and between us we collected £23 10s. 0d. for the Home, which was not bad considering that there were not more than a hundred cabin passengers (bar the Mormons who did not attend the concert) on board.
And so 'good-bye' dear, dear Canada! God bless and prosper you and your children always. And good-bye to our kind and generous hosts, the C.P.R. Company, who gave us the time of our lives and whose officials only saw the last of us at Euston after they had seen us safely installed, luggage and all, in a taxi. Generous and hospitable beyond what words can express: "May God bless and reward you," will be my constant prayer, for I can do no more than say "Thank you," with all my heart.