The Lotus Eaters
To be frank, I am unable to write about Victoria, British Columbia, with that same judicious poise and lack of enthusiasm which has marked these pages so far. I fell in love with her long ago, as a boy. This puppy love has only grown with the years into the settled attachment of old age and long daily companionship. I am but one of many. Even with a toughened traveler like Kipling it was love at first sight, and, sighing like furnace, he added a reckless prose poem to the long chant of her praises.
No one who has entered the Inner Harbor of Victoria, so far as the official records show, has ever wanted to leave again. It is the normal, accepted ambition of most Canadians to spend their last days here. This is the island where Ulysses met the sirens. This is the land of the Lotus Eaters, and many of those original inhabitants are still here.
You come to Victoria, with a cloud of sea gulls, down the Gulf of Georgia, flecked with its little green islands, and along the Straits of Juan de Fuca, glistening before the blue line of the Olympic Mountains on the Washington shore. On the southern point of Vancouver Island, to your right, Victoria suddenly appears, like an arrangement of toy houses, an architect's dream of the perfect human habitation, rising tier on tier from the sea upon a green hillside. It looks like the south coast towns of England. It looks like an artist's picture from which every disagreeable feature has been carefully removed. It looks like the ancient island habitation of the Blest.