116 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
that when cunning before the wind it would be out of water, and so to save his ship he turned about and made for the Irish coast and succeeded in reaching Galway Bay. Here the damage was repaired, and with the addition of some wild Irish, Roman Catholics and Orangemen, to her list of passengers the Asia once more headed Canadawards. On the passage the vessel was almost wrecked, when passing through a field of icebergs, "by the sudden break-down of a huge mass as big as a cathedral."
When Quebec was reached, the passengers of the Asia were transferred to a fine steamer for Montreal. At Lachine, bateaux were provided to carry them up the St. Lawrence. While at Lachine they had a picturesque reminder of the vastness of the land in which they were about to make their homes.
"While loading up," says Thompson, "we were favoured with one of those accidental `bits' —as a painter would say—which occur so rarely in a life-time. The then despot of the North-West, Sir George Simpson, was just starting for the seat of his government via the Ottawa River. With him were some half-dozen officers, civil and military, and the party was escorted by six or eight Nor'-West canoes—each thirty or forty feet long, manned by some twenty-four Indians, in the full glory of war-paint, feathers, and most dazzling costumes. To see these stately boats, with their no less stately crews, gliding with measured stroke, in gallant procession, on their way to the vasty wilderness of the Hudson's Bav territory, with the British flag displayed at each prow, was a sight never to be forgotten."