The Home Town
On the bank of the Saint John River at Fredericton I met an aged man. He was sitting on a bench, blinking and dozing in the sun. His clothes were worn and he was poor, but tleman and a United Empire Loyalist, with fine, deep-carved face.
As we sat talking there, between the river and the to swung into what was evidently his favorite speech-maritime Rights, the ill treatment of New Brunswick by the rest of Canada. Like the Ancient Mariner, he held me with his glittering eye as he recited out of long practice a detailed and desperate account of the original Confederation bargain, by which the Canadian provinces were joined together. Finally, hammering his cane on the gravel path, he cried: "God, we will have a square deal! We'll have our rights yet!" Then, tired out, he slumped back on the bench, and I left him there, snoozing by the river in the first frail sun of the spring.
Looking back now, I know, of course, that he was not a man at all. He was a spirit brooding by the river, the spirit, the genius and very essence of Fredericton. This little capital of New Brunswick is an old man, very poor, very respectable and intelligent, United Empire Loyalist to the core, blinking in the sun, shouting out suddenly that it will have its rights and then going to sleep again; for really it does not want its rights. It only asks to be left alone at the river edge. It doesn't want a new age and a new barbarism to disturb its reverie.
The new age and new barbarism have not disturbed it. The