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length of olike, not your babiess. We're ris no more bir our
ing the bacon of the tin "grub box.” bow and flopped broken-winged over Muskrats feed on the bulb of the tufted the water ahead of us near enough al"reed like a tree," 16 feet high on each most to be caught by hand; but when side; and again and again little kits you stretched out your hand, the crafty came out and swam in the ripple of our lady dipped and dived and came up canoe. Once an old duck performed the broken-winged again. acrobatic feat over which the nature and “You old fool,” said Sexsmith, our anti-nature writers have been giving head man, "your wing is no more broken each other the lie. We had come out of than mine is. We're not going to hurt one long amber channel to be confronted your babies. Shut up there and stop by three openings exactly alike, not that lying.” much wider than the length of our Klon- Spite of which the old duck kept up dike canoe, all lined by the high tufted her pantomime of deceit for more than a reed. MacKenzie, the half-breed rapids mile; when she suddenly sailed up over man, had been telling us the endless Cree our heads back to her hidden babies, a legends of Wa-sa-kee-chaulk, the Cree very Boadicea of an old duck girl. Hiawatha, and his Indian lore of stag- When we drew in for nooning, wild nant waters now lured him into steering geese honked over our heads near us to one of the side channels. We were enough to be hit by the butt of a gun. not expected. An old mother duck was Drift chips, lodged in the goose grass, directly across our path teaching some kindled fire for kettle; but oilcloth had twenty-two little black bobbling downy to be spread before you could get footbabies how to swim. With a cry that ing ashore. I began to wonder what shrieked “leg it—leg it" plain as a quack happened as to repairs when canoes could speak and which sent the little ripped over a snag in this kind of region ; fellows scuttling, half swim, half run, the and that brought up the story of a fur old mother flung herself over on her trader's wife in another muskeg region back not a paddle's length ahead of us, north of Lac La Ronge up towards dipped, dived, came up again just at our Churchill River, who was in a canoe
that ripped a clean hole the size of a man's fist. Quick as a flash, the head man was into the tin grub box and had planked on a cake of butter. The cold water hardened it; and that repair carried them along to the first birch tree affording a new strip of bark.
Where an occasional ridge of limestone cut the swamp, we could hear the laughter and the glee of the Indian children playing "wild goose” among the trembling black poplars and whispering birches; and where we landed at the Indian camps we found the missionaries out with the hunters. In fact, even the nuns go haying and moose hunting with the Indian families to prevent lapses to barbarism. On one of these moose hunts for pemmican supply in the rock region north of this muskeg, the Revil
lons' manager succeeded in snap-shotting a sister rifle in hand. The good lady was panicky at thought of this representation of a peaceful missionary going out to the world. “Oh, by Gar, Sister," consoled one of the hunters, "you convert us all lot faster—me, I t'ink—wit' y'r rifle than y'r beads."
Again and again we passed cached canoes, provisions stuck up on sticks above the reach of animal marauderstestimony to the honesty of the passing Indian hunters, which the best policed civilized Eastern city cannot boast of its denizens.
“I've gone to the Rockies by way of Peace River dozens of times,” declared the Revillon man, “and left $500 worth of provisions cached in trees to feed us on our way out, and when we came that
came on. The wind was against the direction the dogs had taken and the man hollooed himself hoarse without an answering sound. It was two o'clock in the morning before the wind sank and the trader found his dogs; and
by that time between sweat Агитбва
and cold, his shirt had frozen to a board.
Such a thing as an out and out pagan hardly exists among the Indians of the North. They are all more or less Christian with
a curious mingling of pagan THE HOME OF THE FUR-BEARERS.
superstition with the new North of the shaded line they are most abundant.
faith. The Indian voya.
geurs may laugh but they same way six months afterwards we all do it-make offerings of tobacco to never found one pound stolen, though I the Granny Goddess of the River before remember one winter when the Indians setting out. In vain we threw biscuit who were passing and repassing under and orange peel and nuts to the perverse the food in those trees were starving tempered deity supposed to preside at owing to the rabbit famine.”
the bottom of those amber waters. The In winter, this region is traversed by winds were contrary—the water slack, dog train along the ice-a matter of 500 sluggish, dead, no responsive gurgle and miles to Lac du Brochet and back, or flap of laughter and life to the slow 600 to Prince Albert and back. “Oh, keel. no, we're not far,” said a lonely faced One channel but opened on another. Cambridge graduate fur trader to me. Even the limestone ridges had vanished “When my little boy took sick last far to rear; and the stillness of night winter, I had to go only 55 miles. fell with such a flood of sunset light as There happened to be a doctor in the Turner never dreamed in his wildest lumber camp back on the Ridge.”
intoxications. There would be the But even winter travel is not all wedge shaped line of the wild geese easy in a 50 below zero climate where against a flaming sky—a far honkyou can't find sticks any larger than then stillness. Then the flackering your finger to kindle night fire. I know quacking call of a covey of ducks with the story of one fur trader, who was a hum of wings right over our shoulders running along behind his dog sleigh in —then no sound but the dip of our padthis section. He had become over-heated dles and the drip and ripple of the dead running, and had thrown his coat and cap waters among the reeds. Suddenly, across the sleigh, wearing only flannel there lifted against the lonely red sunshirt, fur gauntlets, corduroy trousers set sky—a lob stick-a dark evergreen and moccasins. At a bend in the iced stripped below the tip to mark some Inchannel he came on a pack of mangy dian camping place, or vow, or sacred coyotes. Before he had thought, he had memory. We steered for it. A little sicked the dogs on at them. With a flutter of leaves like a clapping of hands yell they were off out of sight amid the marked land enough to support black goose grass and reeds. Those reeds, poplars; and we rounded a crumbly remember, are sixteen feet high, stiff sand bank just in time to see the sevenas broom corn and hard on moccasins banded birch canoe of a little old hunter as stubble would be on bare feet. To Sam Ba'tiste Buck-80 years old he make matters worse, a heavy snow storm was—squatting in the bottom of the
birch canoe, ragged almost to
not deep, for every paddle nakedness, bare of feet, gray
stroke tangled into the long headed, nearly toothless but
water weed known as merhappier than an emperor
maid's hair but deep enough the first living being we had
for trouble when you conseen for a week in the mus
sider the width of the lake, kegs. We camped together
the lack of dry footing the that night on the sand bars
width of one's hand, and -trading Sam Ba'tiste flour
the fact that you can't offer and matches for a couple of
the gun'l of a canoe to the ducks. He had been storm
broadside of a big wave. We stead camped in the goose
scattered our dunnage and grass for three days. Do
all three squatted in the botyou think he was to be
tom to prevent the rocking pitied? Don't! Three days
of the big canoe. Then we hunting will lay up enough
thwarted and tacked and meat for Sam for the win
quartered to the billows for ter. In the winter, he will
a half day. snare some small game,
Nightfall found us back mink, and otter and musk
in the channel again scudrat; and these will earn him
ding before. thunder and flour and clothes from the
hurricane wind looking for fur trader. Each of Sam's
camping place. It had been sons is earning $700 a year
The TRAVELING DRESS OF
a back-breaking pace all hunting big game on the Mrs. Bompas, wife of Arch day. We had tried to find rock ridge farther north
relief by the Indian's choppy more than illiterate, unskilled
strokes changing every men earn net in Eastern lands. Then in third dip from side to side ; and we had spring, Sam will emerge from his cabin tried the white man's deep long pulling —wood is free—and build another birch strokes; and at seven in the evening with canoe, and paddle away in freedom and the thunder rolling behind and not a spot peace to the duck and wild geese haunts. of dry land visible the size of one's foot, When we paddled off in the morning, backs began to feel as if they might break Sam still camped on the sand bank. He in the middle. Our canoe and dunnage sat squat whittling away at kin-a-kin-ic, weighed close on 700 pounds. Suddenly or the bark of the red willow, the we shot out of the amber channel into a hunter's free tobacco. In town, Sam shallow lagoon lined on each side by the would be poverty stricken, hungry, a high tufted reeds; but the reeds were so beggar. Here, he is a lord of his lonely thin we could see through them to lakes watery domain, more independent and on each side. A whirr above our heads care-free than you are—peace to his and a flock of teal almost touched us aged bones!
with their wings. Simultaneously, all Another night coming through the three dropped paddles—all three were muskegs, we lost ourselves. We had speechless. The air was full of voices. left our Indian at the fur post and You could not hear yourself think. We trusted to follow southwest 200 miles lapped the canoe close in hiding to the to the next fur post by the sun; but there thin lining of reeds. was no sun, only heavy lead-colored "Sexsmith," I asked, “have those clouds with a rolling wind that whipped little sticks drifted down 1500 miles to the amber waters to froth and flooded this lagoon of dead water?". the sand banks. If there was any cur- “Sticks," he repeated, “it isn't sticks rent, it was reversed by the wind. We —it isn't drifts—it's birds—it's duck should have thwarted the main muskeg and geese-I have never seen anything by a long narrow channel, but mistook like it-I have lived West more than our way thinking to follow the main twenty years and I never heard tell of river by taking the broadest opening anything—of anything like it.” It led us into a lake seven miles across; Anything like it? I had lived all my
thiş sticks" driftove never est mortell of
life in the West and I had never heard named in any book on birds. We sat very or dreamed any oldest timer tell any- still behind the hiding of reed and thing like it! For seven miles, you watched and watched. We couldn't talk. could not have laid your paddle on the We had lost ourselves in one of the sewater without disturbing coveys of cluded breeding places of wild fowl in the geese and duck, geese and duck of such North. I counted dozens and dozens of variety as I have never seen classified or moult nests where the duck had con