The Minnesota again - Souvenirs of Lord and Lady Dufferin - From Winnipeg by Red River - Compagnons du Voyage - A Model Farm - "Bees" - Manitoba a good Field for Emigrants - Changes at Fisher's Landing - A Mild Excitement for Sundays - Racing with Prairie Fires - Glyndon - Humours of a Pullman Sleeping Car - Lichfield.
We came up the Red River in the Minnesota, the vessel in which I had gone down two years and a half before; the same, too, used by Lord and Lady Dufferin, with their party. Some Americans who were with us good-temperedly vied with each other in their efforts to get the state-rooms occupied by the vice-regal party, and the steward was asked many questions as to their sayings and doings. All the Americans took great interest in everything about them; carrying their admiration to the extent of making birch-bark-covered needle-books of the coarse red flannel spread upon the ground for Lord Dufferin to walk upon - intending them as valuable souvenirs for their friends.
We left Winnipeg about noon, for three days' monotonous trip on the river. Novel or work in hand, we went into the saloon to read or work, furtively study our fellow-travellers, and by-and-by make acquaintance with them. We were a motley group. Round one table gathered a knot of chatty Americans, evidently travelling together, and quite as much at home on board the boat as in their own drawing-room. Besides this party of friends, there were plenty of solitary units, of more or less amusing characteristics: a pretty, merry woman of about thirty, mother of three children; a handsome old lady, hard at work on an embroidered table-cloth - a present, she told us, for a friend, to whose wedding she was going; a young clergyman, whose walk, expression, and general appearance betrayed his ritualistic tendencies, and who strolled up and down, now and then stopping to join in the ladies' conversation. A sad-looking woman lay on the sofa, trying to hide her tear-stained face behind a newspaper which was never turned, the columns to her containing only regrets for dear friends left behind. A fussy old lady in a fashionable cap and cannon curls, after informing us that she was Mrs. B - - , of - - , drew her chair near every tete-a-tete couple, and, politely requesting to be allowed to take part in the conversation, gradually usurped it all, till, before she had apparently quite satisfied herself upon every one's private affairs, she was left at liberty to join another group. A tall, delicate, sad-looking man, the defeated candidate for - - , was returning to Ontario, where he was soon after elected for another constituency. A sleepy-looking young Frenchman and his more lively friend, an energetic speculator, who had gone to Manitoba prospecting for land, was returning disgusted, having seen, "dem' it, nothing but mud." A poor old lady was kept in subjection by a tall daughter, with a face so closely veiled, that our curiosity was aroused. Not until the third day did I come upon her - suddenly - while her face was uncovered, and then no longer wondered that she tried to conceal the dreadful squint nature had given her. There were, also, a would-be-fast-if-she-could young lady of eighteen, who had apparently read in novels of flirtations on board steamers, until she hoped to make the same experiences her own, and had not woman's wit enough to hide her disappointment; and a nice-looking girl going home to get her wedding garments ready, who moaned over the long journey to be taken again in six weeks, hoping to be asked "why the necessity?" Finally, a professor and his pretty, lady-like wife, and one or two other nice people, made up ourcompagnons du voyage.