VIEWING A BEAUTIFUL CRAFT.
Our visit to the Hero yesterday was an especially agreeable one. It is always a pleasure to go through a fine and well kept steamer, as she comes out in her spring dress of fresh paint and renewed fittings, but this year the owner of the Hero has made her a regular little floating palace, and displayed a taste we have not seen exceeded on these waters.
On entering the passenger gangway the visitor is met with handsome new advertisement frames in walnut covering the after side of the main saloon, containing the names and business inducements of many of our leading houses, painted on glass. The dining room is immediately aft of this saloon and naturally the next object of interest. The former cosy character of the apartment is still apparent, but instead of the usual white panelwork we have the walls of the stern and two sides completely filled with handsome mirrors, in walnut and gold frames, and the forward spaces relieved with oil paintings. Of course, our old friend Sam Cox, that prince of stewards, was on hand in his own domain, and smiled as he noticed our pleased expression, adding the remark, "Isn't this pretty fine?" Sam is evidently the happiest of mortals. He loves to have things nice, and he has them and intends to keep them so. After inspecting Sam's pantry and kitchen, the neatest and most convenient we have seen, we were invited up stairs. The stairs leading to the saloon above are the same as before, with brass hand rail and brass plates covering the stops and risers with the sides in walnut and oak, the only difference being that the brass this year seems to excell all other brass in brightness. "Nothing like elbow grease," sententiously quoth Sam, as he noticed the direction of our admiring gaze. "I don't keep chaps around me unless they are adepts in the science and practical application of elbow grease." On reaching the upper saloon a glance showed we had no common treat in store. Except the stateroom panels all the available space to the level of the stateroom deck is covered with mirror plates in crimson silk plush frames, ornamented with gold. The effect of this, especially round the circular casing, enclosing the smokestack, is decidedly unique and effective, as much so as any ornamentation we have seen on Long Island Sound or Hudson River steamers.
After sufficiently admiring "our noble selves" in the handsome mirrors, our attention was next drawn to the spaces above the mirrors, between the level of the state room and upper truck decks, and here the main charm of the decorations is manifest, for these spaces are entirely taken up with oil paintings, all of appropriate water scenery. With the exception of a scene on Lake Nyassi, in South Africa, the home of the long necked giraffe, and another on the Rio Papajos, a branch of the Amazon, in South America, where those bright hued spindle shanks, the red flamingoes, are wont to congregate, all the views are from well known Canadian points of interest.
"A Shipping Scene at Gaspe," "Moonlight in the Gulf," "Salmon Spearing on the Restigouche (Bay of Chaleurs)," and "Cape Trinity on the Saguenay" give a good idea of the beauties of the outlet of our noble St. Lawrence. "The Lachine Rapids", "Cobourg" and "Port Hope" are scenes from nearer home, while "Lake Superior near the Sault Ste. Marie", "Squaw Point" (Cedar Lake Saskatchewan); "Moose River" (Athabasca); "Deer Lake" (Assinaboia) and "Indian Camp" (Bow River, Fort McLeod) belong to more western lands, where our kings of the forest and their Indian hunters still hold possession.
"Always glad to welcome the representatives of the press, whose engines are more powerful even than steamboats," says a familiar voice from behind, as Captain Nicholson's friendly tones recalled our wandering fancies from the land of Riel and Poundmaker. "Captain, yours always and forever," was our response; "may the shadow of that graceful form perpetually increase. But whence come these beautiful pictures and decorations?" "All home talent, Mr. Whig. A lady from the Kingston school is the artist; our friend Paul Ohlke, of picture frame notoriety, is the decorator, and George Menary executed the alterations to the joiner work. Not a bad start for a young commander, eh!" "Captain, you have a beautiful steamer, and, as I know, good men to help you, may your season be as prosperous as your efforts deserve," was our sincere and hearty reply. Our friend Nicholson, of course, insisted on a refreshing of the inner man, and as we departed, taking a last look at the trim steamer and the handsome uniforms of her officers, we felt that an appreciative public was now more than ever certain to support the Hero.
The steamer Hiram A. Calvin arrived from Quebec yesterday. She made extra good time, having left here on the 11th inst.
The schr. A. Smith, in tow of the tug Thompson, started for Charlotte last evening, but owing to the fog returned. They cleared today.
The Captain of the prop. Dominion, which arrived from St. Catharines last evening, stated that he had to stop several times coming down the lake on account of fog.
The office at the ferry wharf, occupied by Mr. T. Hanley, ticket agent, is being improved for the use of the Ferry Company. Mr. Hanley will vacate the premises as soon as he can procure an office.
Captain Craig has declined the offer of the general manager of the new daily line between Picton and Alexandria Bay. From the present outlook the success of the line is rather gloomy, however that will not prevent the formation of the line and a large and fast steamer being placed on the route about the 15th of June. 'Tis said commission sales have been good with the captain, and that he is now negotiating for an excursion steamer on his account.
May 25, 1885