Beauty and Misery

vinesQuick Quotes 17. The following is taken from Travels in Lower Canada, by Joseph Sansom (1820):

On my return toward Quebec, I proceeded more leisurely than I had done in coming down, and now found time to admire the beautiful plants, or rather vines, which were occasionally to be seen hanging from the lintel of an open window; the windows in Canada opening on hinges, from side to side, instead of being hung with weights, to rise and fall, as with us. These vines, it seems, are called fils d’araigner, or spiders’ threads, from the singular delicacy of their tendrils; they are suspended in small pots, winch the earliest leaves soon cover, so as completely to conceal the vessel which contains them; the plant then pushes forth its pendent strings of sprigs and flowers, green, red, and blue, the clusters of which seem to be growing in the air: frequently single pots of pinks, marigolds, and other flowers, occupied the sills of the windows in the meanest cottages, and gave them, more than any thing within, an appearance of domestic enjoyment.

As I walked along, the men had generally turned out to mend the roads, much rain having fallen latterly, and the surface being full of holes rooted up by the hogs. I asked one grey-headed man how old he was. He told me he was eighty-one. “Ah! Monsieur,” added he, “J’ai vu bien de la misere, au monde.” [“Ah! Sir, I have seen a great deal of misery in my time.”] I quitted him with the obvious remark, that such were generally those that lived the longest.

“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote from and old (verging on forgotten) book, that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on Author of Editor of
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