here soon discovers the considerable piety about the British connection. If the
Queen ever gets run out of England, bag and baggage or otherwise, this is where
you're going to find her holed up; the Victoria Chamber of Commerce will have
drawn its wagons in a circle around her.
addition to the good transpositions like the unmatched gardens of the city or
the numerous bookstores, you get double-decker buses imported from London, a
lot of stuff about coats of arms in woolen-store windows and tea and crumpets
bombarding the eye everywhere from the Empress itself to the Rexall
But to emphasize
the town's studied dowdiness is unfair. It is a tourist trick. It is obvious
that Victoria is a town of what used to be called graciousness, and any ride
around its perimeter will put the traveler's back to the unparalleled gardens
and, in contrast to such cultivation, his face to the headlands of the San Juan
There had been
heavy weather immediately prior to our arrival, and long golden log booms, the
shape and color of egg yolks, had been towed inside the bays for protection.
Beyond, handsome trawlers were moored under clouds of gulls. If you squinted,
it looked like Anchorage or Seattle or San Francisco or Monterey or—squinting
tighter—Mazatl�n: the Pacific community seemed continuous.
morning I picked up the menu downstairs in the hotel. A number of breakfasts
were described: "The Charlotte," "The Windsor," "The
Albert," "The Edward," "The Victoria" and "The
The Mountbatten," I said, "over lightly."
Frank made a
number of order changes in his Edward.
going to substitute oatmeal and an extra egg on your Edward," said the
waitress, "you might just as well order a la carte."
I was hungry and
ate The Mountbatten with abrupt gestures of my right arm.
We spent the day
driving around as far up the coast as Saltspring Island. At one of the ferry
crossings, watching the wind-striped water and high, beautiful fjords, I
innocently poisoned myself with a prawn.