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doubtless derived some of the sterling qualities that have enabled him to fulfil a remarkable career comparatively early in life. He is, however, but one of scores in the railway service of this continent who have risen from the ranks to positions of eminence. The general manager of the New York Central Railway was once a trainman; the president of the Lake Shore line served as chain-bearer to an engineer; and the president of the Union Pacific once pushed a truck on the Omaha platform.
FROM AN EARLY I HOTO.
SIR WILLIAM C. VAN HORNE.
After having mastered telegraphy, the future head of the Canadian Pacific was employed by the Illinois Central Railway, and by several other western lines in succession, through all the grades of railway officialdom up to the very highest. In 1882, the time and the task called for a man to take charge of the projected Canadian Pacific line, and luckily there was one to be had. At first Mr. Van Horne, for the "Sir William " had not then appeared, was appointed general manager; two years
later vice-president, and finally president, with unusually wide powers and privileges. Among the secrets of his success is the fact that he brought to the task of building the great steel highway a practical knowledge of almost every department of railway work, from the building of a bridge or the laying of a curve to the management of an extensive system. He is something of an engineer and draughtsman, and, as one has said, "knows every tie in the road. His knowledge
is simply encyclopediac. He can draw a sketch of a siding, a switch, a culvert, or any special portion of track at a moment's notice. With him an inspection of the line is not a perfunctory operation; he knows his business thoroughly."
When the celebrated British Columbia arbitration between the railway corporation and the Dominion Government, in reference to the construction of the line through the mountain passes, was heard, the investigation lasted off and on for four or five years, commencing in 1889. The arbitration counsel and witnesses spent many weeks at a time along the line of the road, often holding court at way stations or sidings. The President of the Company was naturally the chief witness, and, as such, was subject to the most searching cross-examinations by the leading legal lights of the Dominion. Intellectual battles royal often resulted, in which Sir William usually held his
During the most interesting of these inquiries the witness illustrated a dual mind by not only replying to the questions and following closely the trend of the investigation, but by sketching on a sheet of paper lying in front of him the chief characters forming the scene. On one occasion he made a sketch of the whole court, including an excellent
portrait of Chancellor Boyd. At another time Mr. B. B. Osler was surprised to find, at the conclusion of a long cross-examination, that his witness had produced a striking picture of the legal quizzer.
Let us now visit the home of Sir William, the Railway Knight. It is generally recognized that Montreal is our chief Canadian art centre, and its millionaires have brought to their palatial homes not a few Old World masterpieces. Those who are privileged to see within the walls of the Van Horne residence will speedily recognize in its owner one of Montreal's leading art connoisseurs. Besides being a museum, his home is a gallery of art. The walls of almost every apartment, from the reception-room to the attic studio, are covered with canvases, many of them bearing such world-known names as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Corot, Daubigny, Maas, Valasquez, Cuyp, Dore, Diaz, Delacroix, Ribot, George Innes, and many others of renown. A visitor's enjoyment of Sir William's pictures is enhanced by his own evident and justifiable pride in and love for them. As books to a book-lover are his canvases to the picture-lover; they
his friends, his choice com- FROM A LATE PHOTO. panions.
The library-a cosy, inviting retreat - contains two of his rarest possessions, a small canvas by Velasquez (a full-length view of Christ on the cross), and a quaint old portrait of an old man with high, white ruff and broad black hat, from the brush of Franz Hals.
The walls of the billiard-room and dining-room hold a score or more of larger pictures, bearing the magical names of Constable and Reynolds; a
life-size portrait by, it is supposed, a pupil of Rembrandt, and other valuable productions. Some of the pictures in these fine apartments bear no name, but if you venture to charge your host with being their author, you may wring from him a deprecatory acknowledgment of the fact. The spacious halls and drawing-rooms are also utilized as galleries.
The second flight of steps leads to
the studio, another apartment well suited for its purpose, with easels and walls covered with complete or partially finished works. Here one finds that the railway president is an artist as well-practically a self-taught one. One of his pictures, which hangs in the billiard-room, is a rare gem-a Manitoba harvest-field with the gold on the grain brought into striking relief by a passing thunderstorm. Those
qualified to express the opinion assert that if Sir William had pursued art instead of railroading he would have made a high name as a painter. He rarely, if ever, sketches from nature, but paints from memory, and his studio shows a large amount of work in its initial stages.
The President of the Canadian Pacific is not only a lover and collector of good pictures, but an enthusiastic gatherer of other art treasures. As a result, therefore, his home is a veritable art museum, the collecting of whose contents must have cost a goodly sum. His cabinets (in themselves both rare and costly) are chiefly filled with Japanese ware-saku and tea cups and saucers in great variety, magnificent satsuma bowls, and vases, and rare bronzes. The Japanese of to-day have practically lost the art of producing their satsuma wares, the consequence being that such choice specimens as Sir William possesses are sufficiently rare to greatly enhance their value. His collection of Chinese pottery is no less interesting and valuable, and he is fond of placing them in contrast and comparing their points. On one shelf is placed a Chinese, an American and an English vase, showing at a glance the superior workmanship of the first, and the inferior imitation of the last two.
His private collection of both Japanese and Chinese pottery is beyond question the finest in Canada, if not in America. He has many influential friends in both these countries, who, no doubt, assist him in securing choice prizes from time to time. In addition, he has an extensive assortment of old Japanese arrows and spear-heads and sword-hilts, remnants of old-time war methods. Quaint old models of ships hang suspended from the ceilings and add variety to the contents of this princely museum.
The pottery, or "old china craze" as the Philistine would call it, has seized on many notable men. It raged with much fury with Mr. Gladstone. Just as he was often deep in politics or in theology, just as earnestly has he
been deep in china until he had filled many cabinets with precious specimens. One of his vacations was devoted to the study of Sêvres, Dresden and Dutch ware. It was while he was in the midst of his researches that a political colleague, visiting his chief, in an unlucky moment mentioned home politics. Then, it is said, the eagle eye flashed fire, and the Grand Old China Collector burst forth: "For heaven's sake, leave politics alone here!"-the beauty of the Sèvres vase for the moment swelling larger than the British ship of State. In the same manner, I imagine, it would be dangerous, while our Canadian collector is fondly exhibiting a saku cup or a costly ceramic specimen, to suddenly exclaim: "By the way, what about the complaint as to the high freight rates in the Northwest?" He, too, would reply, at such a critical moment: "For goodness' sake leave the C. P. R. alone, at least while I have this saku cup in my hand. Don't you know it is the only one of its kind in existence, and that it cannot be duplicated?" The only difficulty about this surmise is that of ever imagining the president of our across-continent highway demanding, under any conceivable circumstance, that it should not be referred to, for it is in truth the apple of his eye and the source of many of his pleasant dreams.
Sir William's other tastes have by no means crowded out the library. In this department one soon perceives his wide range of reading. There is no surprise at seeing richly-bound and expensive art books, nor a goodly collection of works pertaining to railways, but lying on the table were such widely-divergent books as Dr. Parkin's Canada and a book of chafing dish recipes (for its owner has the reputation of knowing how to cook).
The interior of the house is finished in Canadian woods, and it is a striking evidence of the rich effects that may be secured by their use. The dining
room is finished in British Columbia woods, coloured to resemble rich mahogany.
Sir William is a firm believer in the
Young Man. Possibly he may not object to still be classed as one himself.
This belief on his part explains the well-known fact that the C.P.R. is, in the main, manned by young men. He is a strict disciplinarian and demands the best service his staff can give him, and the army of employees have always given a hearty loyalty to the president, for they are proud of their executive head and proud of what he has accomplished. Comparatively few strikes have occurred on the line, and, so far as the public can judge, there is the best of feeling between the president and his subordinates. He is, or has been, no exception to the rule of hard work which he has required from his staff. During the constructive period, five or six in the morning found him ready for a long day's work. His correspondence would be cleared off early in the forenoon, and the afternoon was thus free for other duties. Midnight was his retiring hour-an example of long-sustained effort, perhaps, not to be generally recommended. Now that the line is successfully running, its head takes life more easily, and has wisely relegated many details to his competent officials. When questioned as to his future plans, Sir William falls back on an old habit that has always stood him in good steada sudden deafness that prevents him from hearing the prying query; but one is at liberty to prophecy that he will now carry out some long-cherished plans of travel with special reference to studying foreign art. He has not travelled very extensively. Only once, I believe, has he visited Europe, and he has never yet used one of his own round-the-world tickets via the Pacific and the East.
Two features stand out prominently in Sir William Van Horne's personalty: his force of character and his self-control. He carries men with him, he
leads them without their always knowing it; and he is not long one of a group of men without exhibiting this trait. It stood out more clearly, perhaps, in the dark days of the road, when only those who were at the helm knew of the rocks in the channel-the financial fogs, the engineering difficulties; but the young manager, by his optimism and pluck, cheered the men who had their fortunes at stake to success and further fortune.
His self-control has been shown in many a situation of danger, sometimes when the wires carried bad news, as when a landslide on the north shore of Lake Superior carried away a portion of track and a valuable lot of steel rails. The message was handed to him at his desk, but a mere lifting of the eyebrows and a low-toned exclamation was all that told of a loss of many thousands of dollars. On another occasion, when a friend was in jeo pardy in a small sail-boat in a squall, the subject of my sketch only betrayed his intense anxiety by pacing the pier and smoking his cigar furiously.
He is at times the essence of terseness, as when a caller, noticing a drawing of a cantilever bridge on his desk, asked: "What is the limit of the chasm you can bridge by this engineering method?" the laconic reply was, "Money!" and money, backed by brains, has certainly been a miracleworker on the C. P. R.
Sir William's holidays are frequently enjoyed at his retreat at St. Andrew's, where he is monarch of a goodly domain, and the rustic Van Horne cottage is seen in some of the canvases of the artist-president. While a hard worker when on duty, he is a thorough believer in enjoying the good things of life both in nature and art, in the home and "on the road "—a philosophy not belied by his own appearance.
MY CONTEMPORARIES IN FICTION.*
BY DAVID CHRISTIE MURRAY.
III. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
N the scheme of this series, as origin
ally announced, Thackeray's work should have formed the subject of the third article. But on reflection I have decided that, considering my present purpose, it would be little more than a useless self-indulgence to do what I at first intended. There is no sort of dispute about Thackeray. There is no need for any revision of the general opinion concerning him. It would be to me, personally, a delightful thing to write such an appreciation as I had in mind, but this is not the place for it.
Let us pass, then, at once to the consideration of the incomplete and arrested labours of the charming and accomplished workman whose loss all lovers of English literature are still lamenting.
the last a page of his was like cloth of gold for purity and solidity.
This is the praise which the future critics of English literature will award him. But in this age of critical hysteria it is not enough to yield a man the palm for his own qualities. With regard to Stevenson our professional guides have gone fairly demented, and it is worth while to make an effort to give him the place he has honestly earned before the inevitable reaction sets in, and unmerited laudations have brought about an unmerited neglect. His life was arduous. His meagre physical means and his fervent spirit were pathetically ill-mated. It was impossible to survey his career without a sympathy which trembled from admiration to pity. Certain, in spite of all precaution, to die young, and in the face of that stern fact genially and unconquerably brave, he extorted love. Let the whole virtue of this truth be acknowledged, and let it stand in excuse for praises which have been carried beyond the limits of absurdity. It is hard to exercise a sober judgment where the emotions are brought strongly into play. The inevitable tragedy of Stevenson's fate, the unescapable assurance that he would not live to do all which such a spirit in a sounder frame would have done for an art he loved so fondly, the magnetism of his friendship, his downright incapacity for envy, his genuine humility with regard to his own work and reputation, his unboastful and untiring courage, made a profound impression upon many of his contemporaries. It is, perhaps, small wonder if critical opinion were in part moulded by such influences as these. Errors of judgment thus induced are easily condoned. They are, at least, a million times more respectable than the mendacities of the pub
I have special and private reasons for thinking warmly of Robert Louis Stevenson, the man; and these reasons seem to give me some added warrant for an attempt to do justice to Robert Louis Stevenson, the writer. With the solitary exception of the unfortunate cancelled letters from Samoa, which were written whilst he was in illhealth, and suffered a complete momentary eclipse of style, he has scarcely published a line which may not afford the most captious reader pleasure. With that sole exception he was always an artist in his work, and always showed himself alive to the finger-tips. He was in constant conscious search of felicities in expression, and his taste was exquisitely just. His discernment in the use of words kept equal pace with his invention-he knew at once how to be fastidious and daring. It is to be doubted if any writer has laboured with more constancy to enrich and harden the texture of his style, and at *Copyright, 1897, by the National Press Agency, Ltd. To be completed in Thirteen Parts.