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Hills aglow

May 26, 2012

“The Surrey hills glow like the clinkers of the furnace . . .”

A vision of William Blake, from the north bank of the Thames, informs our view of the south side of the Fraser River.

As has been evidenced in earlier posts, something about a dramatic scene played out on the natural stage opposite never failed to evoke descriptive prose in the New Westminster press.

Here an example from the Mainland Guardian of 1883 is paired with an illustration from Canadian Camp Life, by Frances E Herring ( not related to Sam Herring of Herring’s Point).

“Fortunately for the Royal City, old Father Fraser rolls between it and . . . the fire on the other side. On Thursday evening the scene was magnificent. The fire went bounding through the wood, and, like flashes of lightning, it ascended to the tops of the tallest pines; the red smoke hung like a pall over the doomed forest, and the whole scene was a good representation of Sebastopol under fire. The thunder of the artillery was represented by the crashing of the great trees as they fell in dozens before the desolator and the red sparks rose through the thick smoke, and there was — the awful silence. Fifty thousand dollars worth of timber have been consumed by this fire, in full view of the Royal City.”

Clearing fires opposite New Westminster

“Clearing Fires, South Westminster, Surrey Side”  – FE Herring, Canadian Camp Life

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