Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/360

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346
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

AMONG THE "THOUSAND ISLANDS."
By GRANT ALLEN.

"THE humming-bird has now laid its eggs in the nest by the veranda," our friend wrote us from Gananoque; "come soon if you want to see them. And Miss Sinclair has tamed a chipmunk, which eats almost from her hand, by the big tree. I'm sure your boy would like to have a peep at him. Also, the Indian pipe plant is beginning to flower in the wood behind the house. It doesn't last long; you must make haste, or you will be too late for it."

We knew the hospitable chalet at Gananoque of old; and even if our friend's society had not been enough of itself to entice us (which it amply was), the added delights of a humming-bird's nest, a tame chipmunk, and the Indian-pipe plant in full flower might surely have sufficed to move the heart of the stoniest of parents. I don't go in, myself, for being what you may call stony; on the contrary, where the junior branches are concerned, I acknowledge myself but as clay in the hands of the potter; so the very next day saw us safely packed on board the Princess Louise river-steamer, three precious souls, and all agog to dash through thick and thin on the heaving bosom of the broad St. Lawrence.

And the broad St. Lawrence did heave that July evening, no mistake about it. A fresh west wind was blowing over the lake, and the spray was dashing up with sea-like violence as we steamed away from the wooden wharves of Kingston, heading down-stream for the Thousand Islands. Lake Ontario, when it chooses, can get up a very decent storm indeed; quite as fine a storm as any to be seen upon the German Ocean, with huge four-masters from Chicago stranding helplessly on the reefs and spits; and even the river can run seas-high in its broader reaches among the wide expansion known as the Lake of the Thousand Islands. Now, Gananoque is the petty metropolis of the Thousand Island district on the Canadian side, as Alexandria Bay and Clayton are on the American shore; and the Princess Louise is the little steamer which plies daily between Kingston and Gananoque during the summer season, when the ice is up and navigation is open. But I have always found European ideas as to the geography of Canada so very vague that I shall make no apology for beginning my story with some slight account of the Thousand Islands and their immediate surroundings.

Just at the point where the huge St. Lawrence emerges lazily from Lake Ontario—or where Lake Ontario narrows into the St. Lawrence, whichever you will—the bed of the river crosses a transverse range of low granite hills, whose bare summits have been ground into dome-shaped bosses (or roches moutonnées, as they say in Switzerland) by