Quotation by Henry David Thoreau

To a traveler from the Old World, Canada East may appear like a new country, and its inhabitants like colonists, but to me, coming from New England and being a very green traveler withal,... it appeared as old as Normandy itself, and realized much that I had heard of Europe and the Middle Ages. Even the names of humble Canadian villages affected me as if they had been those of the renowned cities of antiquity. To be told by a habitan, when I asked the name of a village in sight, that it is St. Féreol or St. Anne, the Guardian Angel or the Holy Joseph's; or of a mountain, that it was Bélange or St. Hyacinthe! As soon as you leave the States, these saintly names begin ... and thenceforward, the names of mountains, and streams, and villages reel, if I may so speak, with the intoxication of poetry,—Chambly, Longueuil, Pointe aux Trembles, Bartholomy, etc., etc.; as if it needed only a little foreign accent, a few more liquids and vowels perchance in the language, to make us locate our ideals at once. I began to dream of Provence and the Troubadours, and of places and things which have no existence on the earth. They veiled the Indian and the primitive forest, and the woods towards Hudson's Bay were only as the forests of Germany. I could not at once bring myself to believe that the inhabitants who pronounced daily those beautiful and, to me, significant names lead as prosaic lives as we of New England. In short, the Canada which I saw was not merely a place for railroads to terminate in and for criminals to run to.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "A Yankee in Canada" (1853), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, pp. 56-57, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

"Canada East" and "Lower Canada" were early nineteenth- century political designations including much of what is now the Province of Quebec.
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