When Laetitia told friends she was leading tours across Canada from east to west, one of them warned her about crossing the Saint Lawrence River at Montreal. The gist of the advice was that the multi-lane bridge and tunnel, the only two options, tend to be clogged with traffic and might cause delays that would disrupt the tour schedule. Although that might have been a matter of concern in planning an ordinary tour, Laetitia simply ducked the issue by meeting her group in Montreal.
When Mark Twain visited the city in 1881, he commented, “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window.” Though it isn’t clear why he would want to throw a brick in Montreal, its abundant houses of worship gained it the nickname, “la ville aux cent clochers,” or “the city of a hundred steeples.” Having arranged for a local guide to give her group a city tour, Laetitia had some free time. While her group was touring Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral and Saint Joseph’s Oratory, the largest church in Canada, among other points of interest, she visited Mont Royal (pronounced mawn-re-al in French), the 659-foot hill for which the city was named, and where she would rejoin her group when their tour was finished. Now a park, Mount Royal offers exquisite views of the city and some attractive hiking trails. Frederick Law Olmsted landscaped the park. He also designed Central Park in New York City.
After French, the largest ethnic group in Montreal is Irish, and the city has numerous Irish pubs. One of them was near the hotel where the Mind’s Eye group was staying, and Laetitia chose it for a pre-dinner libation. The bartender told a story about a pub regular who usually came alone and got into trouble when he brought his wife. Laetitia used it in the day’s limerick.
The faux pas caused Murphy great strife
And caused him to run for dear life
He replied when O’Grady
Asked, “Who is that lady?”
“She’s no lady; she is my wife.”