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A CONTINENTAL FUR FARM
gregated before their long flight south. trader and wanted to keep out rivals. That was the night we could find camp- I have never known a fur trader who ing ground only by building a founda- did not make that answer. tion of reeds and willows, then spread- To be sure, seal and sea otter, beaver ing oil cloth on top; and all night our and buffalo have been almost exterbig tent rocked to the wind; for we minated; but the extermination in one had roped it to the thwarts of the canoe. case has been the poacher, in the other How the guide held his taut, I don't the farm. Even today if the governknow. Next day when we reached the ments of the world, especially Canada and fur post, the chief trader told us any the United States would pass a law good hunter could fill his canoe—the big prohibiting the killing of a single buffalo white banded gray canoe of The Com- or beaver, seal or sea otter for fifty years pany, not the little seven banded birch —these species would replenish themcraft—with birds to the gun'l in two selves. hours' shooting on that lake.
"The last chapter of the fur trade has That muskeg is only one of hundreds been written?” Never! The oldest inof thousands, when you go seventy miles dustry of mankind will last as long as north of the Saskatchewan, sixty miles mankind lasts. east of Athabasca Lake. That muskeg I read also that “the last chapter of and its like, covering an area two-thirds the fur romance has been written.” That of all Europe, is the home of all the little is the point of view of the man who furs—mink and muskrat and fisher and spends 'fifty weeks in town and two otter and rabbit and ermine, the furs weeks in the wilds. It is not the point that clothe—not princes and millionaire, of view of the man who spends two who buy silver fox and sea otter—but weeks in town and fifty in the wilds; of you and me and the rest of us, whose the man who goes out beyond the reach object is to keep warm, not to show how of law into strange realms the size of much we can spend. Out of that one Russia with no law but his own right muskeg, hundreds of thousands of little arm, no defense but his own wit. Though pelts have been taken since 1754 when I have written an 800 page history of Anthony Hendry, the smuggler, first the Hudson's Bay Company straight led the fur trader'inland from the Bay. from their own Minutes in Hudson's Yet the game—save in the year of the Bay House, London, I could write more unexplained rabbit pest-shows no sign of the romance of the fur trade right in of diminishing.
the year 1911 than has ever been penned Does it sound very much to you like a of the Company since it was established region where the settler would ultimately away back in the year 1670. drive out the fur
Space permits trade? What would
only two examples. he settle on? That
You recall the is the point. Na
Cambridge man, ture has taken
who thought it a good care that cli
short distance to mate and swamp
go only fifty-five shall erect an ever
miles by dog train lasting barrier to
doctor. A encroachment
more cultured, her game pre
scholarly, perfect serves.
gentleman I have To be
never met in Lonyou ask a fur
don or New York. trader "how
Yet when I met furs?" he will an
his wife, I found swer "poor
her a shy
shy little, poorer every year."
part-Indian girl, So would you if
who had almost to you were .fur Nuns. AIDED BY INDIANS, SHOT THESE MOOSE.
be dragged in to
meet us. That spiritual face—such a face luted the very air. "He fell in love. What as you might see among the preachers of was he to do? If he left her to her fate, Westminster or Oxford—and the little she would go back to the inclement shy Indian girl-wife and the children, roughness of tepee life mated to some plainly a throw-back to their red-skin Indian hunter, or fall victim to the ancestors, not to the Cambridge pater- brutal admiration of some of those white nity. What was the explanation ? Where sots, who ever seek hiding in the far was the story of heartache and tragedy wilderness. He married her, and had -I asked myself, as we stood in our of course to resign his position as tent door watching the York boat come teacher in the school. He took a posiin with provisions for the year under a tion with The Company and lived no sky of such diaphanous northern lights doubt in such happiness as only such a as leave you dumb before their beauty spiritual nature could know; but the and their splendor? How often he must seeds of the disease which gave her such have stood beneath those northern lights unearthly beauty, ripened. She died. thinking out the heartbreak that has no What was to become of the children? end.
If he sent them back to England, they I did not learn the story till I had would be wretched and their presence come on down to civilization and town would be misunderstood. If he left again. That Cambridge man had come them with her relatives, they would grow out from England flush with the zeal of up Indians. If he kept them he must the saint to work among the Indians. have a mother for them, so he married In the Indian school where he taught he another trader's daughter — the little had met his Fate—the thing he probably half-breed girl—and chained himself to scouted—that fragile type of Indian his rock of Fate as fast as ever martyr beauty almost fawn-like in its elusive- was bound in Grecian myth; and there ness, pure spirit from the very prosaic he lives today. The mail comes in only fact that the seeds of mortal disease are once in three months in summer, only already snapping the ties to life. It is a once in six in winter. He is the only type you never see near the fur posts. white man on a watery island 200 miles You have to go to the far outer encamp- from anywhere except when the lumments, where white vices have not pol- bermen come to the Ridge, or the In
A CONTINENTAL FUR FARM
dian agent arrives with the treaty money -you are hungry. Hall began to nibble once a year.
at his tallow as he ran and to snatch And "the last chapter of the fur handfuls of snow to quench his thirst. romance has been written?"
At night he kindled a roaring big white"The last chapter of the fur romance" man-fire against the wolves, dried out will not have been written as long as the thawed snow from his back and frost and muskeg provide a habitat for front, dozed between times, sang to keep furtive game, and strong men set forth the loneliness off, heard the muffled echo to traverse lone places with no defence come back to him in smothered voice, but their own valiant spirit.
and at first streak of dawn ran on and on Space permits only one more example, and on. and it is of a man known to every fur By the second night, Hall had eaten buyer of St. Louis and Chicago and St. all his tallow. He had also reefed in his Paul-Mr. Hall, the chief commissioner belt so that his stomach and spine of furs for the Hudson's Bay Company. seemed to be camping together. The I wish I could give it in Mr. Hall's own snow continued to fall. The trees swam words—in the slow quiet recital of the past him as he ran.
And the snow man who has spent his life amid the drifts lifted and fell as he jogged heavgreat silent verities, up next to primor- ily forward. Of course, he was not dial facts, not theorizing and profession- dizzy. It was the snow blindness or the alizing and discretionizing and generally drifts. He was well aware the second darkening counsel by words without night that if he would have let himself, knowledge. He was a youth somewhere he would have dug down a sleeping hole around his early twenties; and he was in the snow and wrapped himself in a , serving The Company at Stuart Lake in snow blanket and slept and slept; but he British Columbia—a sort of American thrashed himself awake, and set out Trossachs on a colossal scale. He had again, dead heavy with sleep, weak been sent with a party to bring some from fatigue, staggering from hunger; furs across from MacLeod Lake east in and the wings on his feet had become the most heavily wooded mountains. It weighted with lead. was mid winter. Fort MacLeod was He knew it was all up with him when short of provisions. On their way back, he fell. He knew if he could get only travel proved very heavy and slow. a half hour's sleep, it would freshen him Snow buried the beaten trail; and travel up so he could go on. Lots of winter aside plunged men and horses through travelers have known that in the North; snow crust into a criss cross tangle of and they have taken the half hour's sleep; underbrush and windfall. The party ran and another half hour's; and have never out of food. It was thought if Hall, the wakened. Anyway, something wakened youngest and lightest, could push ahead Hall. He heard the crackle of a branch. on snowshoes to Stuart Lake, he could That was nothing.
That was nothing. Branches break to bring out a rescue party with food. every storm; but this was like branches
He set off without horse or gun and breaking under a moccasin. It was unonly a lump of tallow in his pocket as believable; there was not the slightest food. The distance was seventy-five odor of smoke, unless the dream odor of miles. At first he ran on winged feet- his own delirious hunger; but not twenty feet winged with hunger; but it began paces ahead crackled an Indian fire, surto snow heavily with a wind that beat rounded by buckskin tepees, Indians in his face and blew great gusts of snow warming themselves by the fire. pack down from the evergreen branches With an unspeakable revulsion of hope overhead; and even feet winged with and hunger, Hall flung to his feet and hunger and snowshoes clog from soft dashed into the middle of the encampsnow and catch derelict branches stick- ment. Then a tingling went over his ing up through the drifts. By the time body like the wakening from death, of you have run half a day beating against frost to life-blind stabbing terror obthe wind, reversing your own tracks to sessed his body and soul; for the fire find the chipped mark on the bark of was smokeless, the figures were speechthe trees to keep you on the blazed trail less, transparent, unaware of his pres
very terribly still. His first flectively on the memories of that night. thought was that he had come on some "I'm not much on romance and that kind camp hopeless from the disaster of mas- of thing! I don't believe in ghosts. I sacre or starvation. Then he knew this don't know what it was. All I know is was no earthly camp. He could not tell it scared me so it saved my life; and it how the figures were clothed or what saved the lives of the rest, too; for the they were. Only he knew they were relief party got out in time, though they not men. He did not even think of didn't see a sign of any Indian camp. I ghosts. All he knew was it was a death don't know what to make of it, unless fire, a death silence, death tepees, death years ago some Indian camp had been
figures. He fled through the woods starved or massacred there, and owing to knowing only death was behind him— my unusual condition I got into some running and running, and never stopping clairvoyant connection with that past. till he dropped exhausted across the fort However, there it is; and it would take doorstep at two in the morning. He a pretty strong argument to persuade me blurted out why he had come. Then he I didn't see anything. All the other lapsed unconscious. They filled him things I thought I saw on that trip cerwith rum. It was twenty-four hours tainly existed, and it would be a queer before he could speak.
thing if the one thing which saved my "I don't know these modern theories life did not exist. That's all I know : about hallucination and delusions and and you can make anything you like things," concluded Mr. Hall gazing re- of it."
COAL HEATERS WHICH SAVED A CROP OF PEARS FROM A TEMPERATURE OF TWENTY
DEGREES ON THE DAY FOLLOWING THE TAKING OF THIS PHOTOGRAPH.
OMAR H. SAMPLE
ITHIN the past two years janitor can heat the city man's flat. It
another and a greater takes somewhat more labor than the last triumph of scientific hor- mentioned process, but the satisfaction ticulture has arrived; an- and the profits of "heating all outdoors"
other natural enemy of are surpassingly greater. Frost insurthe things that grow and bring forth ance for the fruit crop is now just as fruit has been vanquished. Jack Frost, practicable, just as certain, and vastly long King of the Fruit Crop, has been more profitable for the money expended dethroned. Fruit growers have literally than either fire or life insurance. built millions of fires under him, and Insurance by fire for the fruit grower burned him out.
makes vastly greater profits at a much Scientific orchard heating has made it smaller expense than insurance against possible to raise the temperature of a fire does for the merchant or manufactwo hundred acre orchard ten to fifteen turer. The little outdoor oil stoves and degrees with as much certainty as the coal furnaces that have been sold by the