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THE PIONEERSA TALE OF THE WESTERN WILDERNESSI3El1tratibe of tht Ibbenturte anb ViocabeiriezOFSIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE.BY R. M. BALLANTYNE,AUTHOR OF " THE IRON HORSE ; " THE FLOATING LIGHT;""T THE LIFEBOAT," ETC.LONDON:JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.1872.
EDINBURGH : T. AND A. CONSTABLE,PRINTERS TO THE QUEEN, AND TO THE UNIVERSITY.
PREFACE.SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE was one of themost energetic and successful of the discovererswho have traversed the vast wilderness of BritishAmerica. He did his work single-handed, withslender means and slight encouragement, at atime when discovery was rare and the countryalmost terra incognita. The long and difficultroute, so recently traversed by the Red RiverExpedition, was, to Sir Alexander, but the smallbeginning of his far-reaching travels. He tracedthe great river which bears his name to its outletin the Polar Sea, and was the first to cross theRocky Mountains in those latitudes and descendto the Pacific Ocean.Being a man of action, and not particularlyenamoured of the pen, his journal- full though
Viii PREFACE.it be of important and most interesting facts--isa bare and unadorned though valuable record ofprogress made, of work done, which is unsuited tto juvenile minds, besides being bulky andscarce.Having spent some years in Rupert's Land,and seen something of Red Indian and fur-trading life, I have ventured to weave theincidents of Sir Alexander's narratives into astory which, it is hoped, may prove interestingto the young-perchance, also, to the old.I take this opportunity of acknowledging myselfdeeply indebted to Sir Alexander's daughter, MissMackenzie, and to his two sons, for kindly placingat my disposal all the information in theirpossession.R. M. B.EDINBURGH, 1872.
THE PIONEERS.CHAPTER I.-SHOWS HOW IT BEGAN.HE world is round," said somebody inancient times to somebody else."Not at all; it is flat-flat as a pan-cake," replied somebody else to somebody; "andif you were to travel far enough you might get tothe end of it and tumble over the edge, if so dis-posed."Ever since the commencement of this earlygeographical controversy, men have been labour-ing with more or less energy and success to ascer-tain the form and character of the earth; and aA
2 THE PIONEERS.grand, glorious labour it has been; resulting inblessings innumerable to mankind-blessingsboth spiritual and temporal.We have heard some people object to geogra-phical discovery, especially in the inclement partsof the earth, on the ground that it could be of nouse and involved great risk to life and limb."Of no use!" Who can tell what discoveriesshall be useful and what useless ? " The worksof God are great, sought out of all thosethat have pleasure therein," saith the Scripture.There is no reference here to usefulness, but thesearching out of God's works, without limitation,is authorized; and those who "take pleasuretherein" will be content to leave the result oftheir labours in the hands of Him who sent themforth. As to "risk,"-why, a carpenter cannotascend to the top of a house to put the raftersthereon without risk; a chemist cannot investi-gate the properties of certain fumes without risk;you cannot even eat your dinner without risk.Only this are we sure of-that, if man had neverundertaken labour, except when such was obviously
THE PIONEERS. 3useful and devoid of risk, the world would stillbe in the darkness of the middle ages.Reuben Guff held these. sentiments, or some-thing like them; and Reuben was a man whohad seen a great deal of life in his day, althoughat the time we introduce him to public notice, hehad not lived more than six-and-thirty summers.He was a bronzed stalwart Canadian. His fatherhad been Scotch, his mother of French extraction;and Reuben possessed the dogged resolution ofthe Scot with the vivacity of the Frenchman. Inregard to his tastes and occupation we shall lethim speak for himself.Sitting under a pine tree, in the wild wilder-ness that lies to the north of Canada, with thedrumstick of a goose in one hand and a scalping-knife in the other; with a log-fire in front of him,and his son, a stripling of sixteen, by his side, hedelivered himself of the following sentiments :-"I tell 'ee what it is, Lawrence" (the lad wasnamed after the great river on the banks of whichhe had been reared), "I was born to be a pioneer.Ever since I was the height of a three-fut rule
4 THE PIONEERS.I've had a skunner at the settlements and a lovefor the wilderness that I couldn't overcome no-how. Moreover, I wouldn't overcome it.if Icould, for it's my opinion that He who made usknows what he wants us to do, an' has given ussitch feelings and inclinations as will lead us todo it, if we don't run mad after notions of our own,as the folk in the settlements are rather apt todo."Here some of the "notions" referred to ap-peared to tickle the fancy of the backwoodsman,for he paused to indulge in a quiet chuckle whichwrinkled up all the lines of good-humour and funin his rough countenance. After applying himselffor a few seconds with much energy to the drum-stick, he resumed his discourse in the slow deliber-ate style of speech which was peculiar to him:-" Yes, Lawrence, my lad, I've made it my busi-ness ever since I was fifteen to explore this herewilderness, livin' by my gun and guidin' the furtraders on their vyages, or consorting with theInjins, as you know very well; and, now thatwe've come to the big lake it is needful to tell 'ee
THE PIONEERS. 5that I'm still bent on following' out my calling.I'm goin' away to the nor'ard to explore, andyou'll have to make up your mind to-night whe-ther you will be my steersman, or whether I'm tolay that dooty on Swiftarrow. I needn't saywhich I'd like best."The hunter finished the drumstick at this point,threw the bone into the fire, lighted his pipe, andawaited his son's answer in silence.But the son appeared to be in no hurry toreply; for, after giving his father a glance andnod, which were meant to say, "I hear and I'llconsider, but I'm too much engaged just now tospeak," he continued his occupation of devouringvenison steaks, the sauce to which was evidentlyhunger.Having finished his supper and lighted his pipehe became more communicative."Father," he said, "you have always advisedme to think well before speaking.""I have, lad; it's the natur' of our forefathers,an' a very good natur' too. I'd be sorry to seeit go out o' the family."
6 THE PIONEERS." Well, then, I've thought my best about going'with 'ee on this trip," returned the youth, "an'I 've resolved to go on one condition-that Swift-arrow goes with us.""Why so, my son? we don't need him.""Perhaps not, but I like him; for he hastaught me all that I know of woodcraft, and I'mcertain that if you and I both leave him he'll besure to return to the new settlement at the southend of Ontario, and you know what the end ofthat will be.""Death by drinking, " replied Reuben Guff,shaking his head slowly, while he watched theupward flight of a ring of white smoke that hadjust issued from his lips."Well, I won't leave him to that," continuedthe youth, with sudden energy of mannerand look, "as long as my name is Lawrence.You know that nothing' would please me morethan going' to explore the wilderness with you,father; but if Swiftarrow is to be left be-hind, there shall be no pioneering for me.Besides, three are better than two on such a trip,
THE PIONEERS. 7and the Injin will be sure to keep the pot full, nomatter what sort o' country we may have to passthrough, for he's a dead shot wi' the gun aswell as wi' the arrow."" I daresay you're right, lad," replied Reuben,in the tone of one who muses. "There's roomin the canoe for three, and it's not unlikely thatthe Injin would go south to the settlement, for heis a lonely man since his poor mother died. I dobelieve that it was nothing' but his extraor'nar'love for that old ooman that kep' him from goin'to the dogs. Leastwise it was that kep' him fromgoin' to the settlement, which is much the samething, for Swiftarrow can't resist firewater. Yes,lad, you're right-so we'll take him with us.As you say, three are better than two on sitch avyage."Some weeks after the foregoing conversationthe pioneers arrived at the northern end of thatgreat inland sea, Lake Superior, which, being up-wards of four hundred miles long, and one hun-dred and seventy-five miles broad, presents manyof the features of Ocean itself. This end of the
8 THE PIONEERS.lake was, at the time we write of, and still is, anabsolute wilderness, inhabited only by scatteredtribes of Indians, and almost untouched by thehand of the white man, save at one spot, wherethe fur-traders had planted an isolated establish-ment. At this point in the wild woods the re-presentatives of the fur-traders of Canada werewont to congregate for the settlement of theiraffairs in the spring of every year, and from thispoint also trading-parties were despatched incanoes into the still more remote parts of thegreat northern wilderness, whence they returnedwith rich cargoes of furs received from the "redmen" in exchange for powder and shot, guns,hatchets, knives, cloth, twine, fish-hooks, andsuch articles as were suited to the tastes andwants of a primitive and wandering people.Here Reuben Guff and his son found Swift-arrow, as they had expected, and proposed to himthat he should accompany them on their voyagenorth,-a proposal which he accepted with plea-sure,-for the strong-boned Indian had an adven-turous spirit as well as a healthy frame.
THE PIONEERS. 9Swiftarrow was a brave and powerful Indian,and was esteemed one of the best hunters of histribe; but no one seeing him in camp in a quies-cent state would have thought him to be possessedof much energy, for he was slow and deliberatein his movements, and withal had a lazy lookabout his eyes. But the sight of a bear or moose-deer had the effect of waking him up in a waythat caused his dark eyes to flash and his largeframe to move with cat-like activity.When Reuben Guff discovered him on theshore of Lake Superior, he was seated at thedoor of his skin' lodge, anointing his hair, whichwas long and black, with bear's-grease-the"genuine article," without even the admixtureof a drop of scent!-so pure, in fact, that theIndian basted his steaks and anointed his hairwith grease from the same box."Hallo! Swiftarrow," exclaimed Reuben, as hesauntered up to the savage, with his gun on hisshoulder, "ye seem to be beautifyin' yerself to-day-not goin' to get married, eh?"Swiftarrow, whose long hair hung over his face
10 THE PIONEERS.like a glossy curtain, tossed aside his locks andgazed earnestly at the hunter. A slight smileand a pleasant gleam lighted up his dark counte-nance as he wiped his greasy right hand on hislegging and extended it, exclaiming, " watchee !"by which he meant, what cheer ?" What cheer? what cheer ?" replied Reuben,with a broad but quiet grin, as he shook hisfriend's hand heartily.Each man understood the other's languageperfectly; but each appeared to prefer to talk inhis own tongue; for while Reuben addressed thered man in English, Swiftarrow replied in Indian.This had been an understood arrangement be-tween them ever since the time when, as lads,they had first met and formed a close friendship,on the shores of Lake Huron." Is my brother's trail to be through the woodsor on the waters ? Does he go hunting or trad-ing ?" inquired the Indian, after the first saluta-tions were over."Well, I may say that I'm neither goin'a hunting' nor tradin'--here, fill yer pipe wi'
THE PIONEERS. 11baccy from my pouch; it's better than your's, I'llbe bound. In a manner, too, I'm goin' both tohunt an' trade in a small way; but my mainbusiness on this trip is to be diskivery."The Indian uttered a sound, which meant thathe did not understand." I'm goin' to sarch out new lands," explainedReuben, "away to the far north. I've heard itsaid by Injins that have wandered to the ner'ardthat they've met in with red skins, who said thatthere is a big river flowin' out o' a great lake inthe direction o' the north pole, an' that it runsinto the sea there. They may be tellin' truth orthey may be tellin' lies; I dun know; anyhow,I'm koorious to know something' about it, so I'mgoing' north to see for myself, and I've cored toask if Swiftarrow will go with me."The hunter paused, but the Indian remainedsilently smoking his long stone-headed pipe, orcalumet, with a countenance so grave and expres-sionless, that no idea of his sentiments could begathered from it. After a brief pause, Reubencontinued,-
12 THE PIONEERS."It won't be altogether a trip of diskiyeryneither, for I've got some bales of goods with me,and as we go in a small birch canoe, we'll travellight; but I hope to come back sunk to the gunwalewith furs, for the red skins of the far north are likeenough to have plenty of pelts, and they won'task much for them. As to grub, you and I couldmanage to supply ourselves wi' lots o' that any-wheres, and I've got plenty of powder and lead.Moreover, my boy Lawrence is goin' with me."During the foregoing remarks, the Indian'scountenance betrayed no sign of feeling until thename of Lawrence was mentioned, when a gleamof satisfaction shot from his eyes. Removingthe pipe from his lips, he puffed a volume ofsmoke through his nostrils, and said :-" Swiftarrow will go."Backwoodsmen seldom take long to maturetheir plans, and are generally prompt to carrythem into execution. Two days after the briefconversation above narrated, the three friendspushed off in their little birch-bark canoe andpaddled up the stream which leads to the Kaka-
THE PIONEERS. 13beka Falls on the Kamenistaquoia River. Sur-mounting this obstacle by the simple process ofcarrying the canoe and her lading past the fallsby land and relaunching on the still water above,they continued their voyage day by day, encamp-ing under the trees by night, until they hadpenetrated far and deep into the heart of thenorthern wilderness, and had even passed beyondthe most distant establishments of the adventur-ous fur-traders.The world of forest, swamp, lake, and riverthat still, however, lay between them and theland which they sought to reach, was very wide.Weeks, and even months, would certainly elapsebefore they could hope to approach it; one day,therefore, they buried their goods and storesin a convenient place, intending to dig them upon their return, and meanwhile turned aside intoa country which promised to afford them a goodsupply of fresh provisions for the voyage north.Here an adventure befell them which broughttheir voyage of discovery, at that time, to anabrupt close.
CHAPTER ILTERRIBLE DISCOVERIES AND ALTERED PLANS.0 V" ejaculated Swiftarrow."Smoke !" exclaimed Reuben Guff.Both men spoke at the same moment,-their discovery having been simultaneous. Atthe same time Lawrence pointed with the bladeof his paddle to a thin line of smoke which roseabove the tree tops into the blue sky, and wasfaithfully mirrored in the lake on which theyfloated."Injins!" said Reuben, resting his steeringpaddle across the canoe for a few seconds.Swiftarrow assented with another "ho," and14
THE PIONEERS. 15Lawrence moved his gun into a handy positionto be ready for an emergency; but there was nofurther sign of man's presence than the wreath ofsmoke. All was perfectly silent. The air toowas quite still, and the surface of the lake re-sembled a sheet of glass."Strange," observed Reuben, "red-skins ain'tusually so shy. If they mean mischief theydon't ever let smoke be seen, an' when they don'tmean mischief they generally show themselves.Come, push on, lads; we'll go see what's i' thewind.""I'll show them the muzzle, father," saidLawrence, laying down his paddle and taking uphis gun; "it may be well to let 'em see that wehave arms.""No need for that, boy. If they know any-thing at all, they know that white men don't goabout in the wilderness empty-handed. Putdown the piece and use your paddle."Thus reproved, Lawrence flushed slightly, butobeyed the order and resumed paddling.In a few minutes they were on shore. Still
16 THE PIONEERS.all was silent as the grave. Hauling the bow ofthe canoe on the beach to keep it fast, the threemen took their weapons, and, entering the woodsin single file, walked cautiously but swiftly in thedirection of the smoke. They soon reached thesp6t, and the scene which met their eyes was onewhich, while it accounted for the silence thatreigned around, filled their minds with sadnessand horror.In an open space, where a number of trees hadbeen cut down, stood about a dozen skin tents orIndian lodges, some with the curtain-doors closed,others open, exposing the interiors, on the floorsof which the dead bodies of Indian men, women,and children lay in every attitude, and in allstages of decomposition. Outside of the tentsother corpses lay strewn on the ground, and mostof these bore evidence of having been more or lesstorn by wolves. The travellers knew at a glancethat these unfortunate people had fallen beforethat terrible disease, small-pox, which had re-cently attacked and almost depopulated severaldistricts of the Indian country.
THE PIONEERS. 17How the, disease was introduced among theIndians at the time of which we write, it is im-possible to say and useless to conjecture. Thefact of its desolating effects is unquestionable.One who dwelt in the country at the timewrites:--" The fatal infection spread aroundwith a baneful rapidity which no flight couldescape, and with a fatal effect, that nothing couldresist. It destroyed with its pestilential breathwhole families and tribes; and the horrid scenepresented, to those who had the melancholy op-portunity of beholding it, a combination of thedead, the dying, and such as, to avoid the fate oftheir friends around them, prepared to disappointthe plague of its prey by terminating their ownexistence. To aggravate the picture, if aggrava-tion were possible, the carcases were draggedforth from the huts by the wolves, or weremangled within them by the dogs, which thussought to satisfy their hunger with the putrid re-mains of their masters. It was not uncommonat this time for the father of a family, whom the1 See " Sir Alexander Mackenzie's Voyages," p. 14.* B
18 THE PIONEERS.infection had not reached, to call his householdaround him, represent the terrible sufferings andfate that awaited them, which he believed wasowing to the influence of an evil spirit who de-sired to extirpate the race, and incited them tobaffle death with all its horrors by at once killingthemselves-at the same time offering to performthe deed of mercy with his own hand if theirhearts should fail them."That some of the dead before our pioneers hadacted in this way was evident, for, while most ofthe corpses bore marks of having been smittenwith the disease, others were there which showednothing to account for death save a knife-woundover the region of the heart.It was a sad and sickening sight, and drewforth one or two low-toned sorrowful remarksfrom Reuben, as he moved slowly towards thetent from which smoke still issued.The three men paused before it, because nosound came from within, and they felt reluctantto disturb the awful silence. The pause, however,was but momentary. Reuben lifted the covering
THE PIONEERS. 19and opened it wide. A small fire still burned onthe hearth in the centre of the lodge; around itlay the bodies of dead men, women, and children.Only one figure, that of an old woman, remainedin a half-reclining position, but she was motion-less, and they thought her dead also. This, how-ever, was not the case. The flood of light whichstreamed in on her appeared to rouse her, for sheraised her grey head, and, gazing anxiously at thefigures which darkened the entrance to the lodge,asked in a tremulous voice: "Is that you, myson ?""No, mother, but it is a friend," said Swift-arrow, who understood her language."A friend," repeated the old woman, shakingher head slowly, "I don't want a friend. Themaster of life is my friend. My people said thatan evil spirit was slaying them; but I knowbetter. It was the Great Spirit who came to us.We have been very wicked. We needed punish-ment. But why has He spared me? I was theworst of them all."There was something terrible in the tone and
20 THE PIONEERS.manner in which this was uttered, as if the breastof the speaker were torn with conflicting feelings." She must have met wi' the missionaries sometime or other," whispered Reuben."Is the old woman the only one of all thetribe left alive ?" asked Swiftarrow."Ay, the only one-no, not the only one, myson is yet alive. He went to set a bear-trap notvery long since; but he should have come backbefore now. He will be back soon."The deep sigh which followed proved that thepoor old woman was hoping against hope."How long is't since he left you, mother ?"asked Lawrence, eagerly."Two suns have risen and set since he left, andhe had not far to go.""Father, I'll go seek for this man," said Law-rence; "something may have befallen him."Reuben made no objection, and the youth setoff immediately in a direction which was pointedout by the old woman.After he was gone his father and the Indianshifted one of the cleanest-looking of the empty
THE PIONEERS. 21tents to a considerable distance from the spotwhere the terrible work of death had been done,and removing the old woman from the neighbour-hood of the pestilential atmosphere, placed hertherein, kindled a fire and cooked her a littlefood, of which she evidently stood much in need.Meanwhile Lawrence sped through' the path-less forest with the light step of a strong youth,and the precision of a practised hunter. Aboutfour miles from the Indian camp he came upon thetrack of a bear, the foot-prints of which provedthat it was an unusually large one. He followedit up closely, and was led by it to a spot wheresome trees had been cut down, and not far fromwhich he saw what appeared to him to be the re-mains of a trap. Almost at the same moment ofhis making this discovery he heard a growl, andsaw the bear itself-a monster of the brownspecies, which differs from the ordinary blackbear of America in being more carnivorous andmuch larger, as well as more savage and bold.No sooner did it see the youth than it rushed up-on him with great fury. A piece of broken line
22 THE PIONEERS.was drawn tight round its neck, and anotherpiece round its fore leg, while four arrows stuckin its shoulder and side, showing plainly that ithad broken loose from a snare, and had beenattacked by man. But Lawrence had no time tothink on these things. He had barely time tothrow forward ard cock his gun when the bearwas upon him. It rose on its hind legs, and indoing so towered high above the youth, who,whatever his feelings might have been, lookedundismayed. With an unflinching eye he tookaim at the monster's heart, and shot it dead. Soclose was it to him that he singed the hair on itsbreast and had to leap to one side to avoid beingstruck as it fell.Reloading quickly the young hunter advancedtowards the trap, where his worst fears were real-ized, for near to it he found the body of an Indiantorn limb from limb, and mostly eaten, exceptthe head, which remained entire. It was evidentthat the poor man, having set several snares forbears, had gone to visit them, and found thisbrown bear caught by the head and leg. He
THE PIONEERS. 23seemed to have tried to kill it with arrows, butmust have been afraid to go near enough to usehis weapons with effect, and the enraged animal,having broken the snare, flew upon him and torehim to pieces.Brown bears of this kind are very powerful.One traveller in these regions saw the foot-printsof a large one, which having seized a moose-deerin a river, dragged it for a quarter of a mile alongthe sandy banks, and afterwards devoured it allexcept part of the hind quarters; and the moosewhich had been treated in this unceremoniousway, judging from the size and hardness of thebones, must have been upwards of a year old,when it would weigh as much as an ox of thesame age.Collecting the scattered remnants of the un-fortunate Indian, who was no other than the oldwoman's son, Lawrence covered them over withleaves and sticks. He then skinned the bearand cut off its claws which he carried away astrophies along with.one or two choice steaks cutfrom the creature's flank. He also collected the
24 THE PIONEERS.weapons and part of the dress of the Indian, withwhich he returned to the camp."Heyday! Lawrence, what have you got there,lad?" said Reuben, as his son came up and threwthe bundle on the ground."A brown bear, father.""Well done!" exclaimed Reuben, with a lookof pride, for although his son had shot many ablack bear in the forest, he had never beforestood face to face with such a monster as thatwhose skin and claws now lay at his feet."It would have been well, father," said Law-rence gravely, "if the man who first saw thisbear had owned a gun. His arrows were nobetter than needles in such a hide. See here !"He drew from his breast the bloody portions ofdress which had belonged to the slaughtered Indian."The son of the old woman has gone to thehappy hunting-grounds," said Swiftarrow, refer-ring to the heaven of the Indian, as he lifted andexamined the dress."Ay, ay," said Reuben sadly, "'tis the chancesof the wilderness. You'd better tell the poor old
THE PIONEERS. 25creetur', Swiftarrow-you understand her waysand lingo better than me."Silently the Indian went to the old woman,and laid the bloody garments before her. Atfirst she did not understand what had happened.Suddenly the truth flashed upon her, and shelooked quickly up into the grave countenance ofthe Indian, but death and sorrow appeared tohave already done their worst on her, for sheneither spoke nor wept for some time. She tookup the shreds of cloth and turned them over.tenderly; but neither sigh nor groan escaped her.Evidently she had been already so stunned bythe horrors which had surrounded her for sometime, that this additional blow did not tell-atleast, not at first-but Reuben observed, whiletrying to comfort her some time afterwards, thata few tears were coursing slowly down herwithered cheeks.That night round the camp-fire the pioneersheld earnest counsel, and resolved, sadly butfirmly, that their projected journey must begiven up for that season.
26 THE PIONEERS."It's a hard thing to do," said Reuben, as helay at full length before the fire after supper, "togive up our plans after coming' so far; but it ain'tpossible to carry that old ooman along with us,an' it's not to be thought of to leave her behindto starve, so there's nothing' for it but to go backan' take her wi' us to the settlements. I wouldfeel like a murderer if I was to leave one o' God'screeturs to perish in the wilderness. What thinkyou, Lawrence ?""I think you are right, father," replied theyouth, with a deep sigh."An' what says Swiftarrow ?""Go back," was the Indian's prompt and laconicanswer."Well, then, we're all agreed, so we'll turnback on our trail to-morrow; but I shall try againnext year if I'm above ground. I once know'da Yankee who had what he called a motto, an' itwas this, 'never give in, 'xcept w'en yer wrong.'I think I'11 take to that motto. It seems to mea good 'un."In proof, we presume, of his sincerity, Reuben
THE PIONEERS. 27Guff rolled himself in his blanket, stretched hisfeet towards the fire, pillowed his head on abundle of moss, and at once gave in to the seduc-tive influences of sleep; an example which wasso irresistible that his companions followed itwithout delay.
CHAPTER III.INTRODUCES THE KING OF PIONEERS.ISCARDING space and ignoring time,we seize you by the hand, reader, andbound away with you still deeper intothe northern wilderness, away into that remoteregion which, at the time we write of, was theultima thule of the fur-traders of Canada,-beyond which lay the great unknown world,stretching to the pole. Here, amid the grandscenery of the Rocky Mountains, lies the Atha-basca lake, also styled the Lake of the Hills.We prefer the latter name as being moreromantic.28
THE PIONEERS. 29This is no pretty pond such as we in Englandare wont to visit and delight in during oursummer holidays. It is a great sheet of water;a grand fresh-water sea, 200 miles long and 15miles broad-a fitting gem for the bosom of themighty region on which it glitters.A year has fled since the period of our lastchapter,-and here, in a birch bark canoe on thewaters of the Lake of the Hills, we find ourpioneers--Reuben Guff, his son Lawrence, andhis Indian friend Swiftarrow. There. is also ayoung Indian woman in the canoe-Swiftarrow'swife. The kind-hearted red man adopted theold woman who had been rescued on their pre-vious trip, but, not finding her a good substitute,for his own mother, he bethought him of addinga young squaw to his establishment. While hemeditated on this step, the old woman died.About the same time Reuben Guff made pro-posals to him to join him on a second "vyageof diskivery." The Indian agreed; got marriedoff-hand, and took his bride along with him."We now find them all four at the Lake of the Hills.
30 THE PIONEERS.It may be as well to observe, in passing, thatIndian brides are usually more robust than thoseof civilized communities. They are quite compe-tent to follow their lords on the most arduouscanoe voyages, and, besides being able to wieldthe paddle with great dexterity, are exceedinglyuseful in managing what may be styled thedomestic matters of the camp. They also keepup a constant supply of the Indian's indispensablefoot-gear-moccasins-which are so slender intheir nature that a pair may be completely wornout in a single day of hard hunting.The brown bride, therefore, was not a hindranceto the party, but a useful member of it, as wellas a pleasant companion. True, her companion-ship consisted chiefly in answering "yes" and"no" when spoken to, and in smiling pleasantlyat all times; but this was sufficient to satisfy themoderate demands of her male friends upon herintellectual resources."Fort Chipewyan at last," said Reuben, restinghis paddle across the canoe and looking earnestlytowards the horizon, "I hope we ain't too late
THE PIONEERS. 31after all our pushing' on. It would be hard to findthat Monsieur Mackenzie had started.""Too much ice in the lake," said Swiftarrow."He has not gone yet.""I'm not so sure o' that," observed Lawrence."If reports be true, Monsieur Mackenzie is notthe man to wait till the ice is all off the lakesand nothing' but plain sailing' lies before him.""That's true, lad," replied Reuben, resuminghis paddle. " I wonder," he murmured to him-self, as he gazed wistfully towards the unknownnorth, "I wonder if the big river is really there,an' if it do jine the sea ?"That same question was put to himself thatsame evening--though not for the first time-byone of the inhabitants of Fort Chipewyan. Thefort was a mere group of two or three log huts.In the largest of these huts sat a man whosestrongly-marked handsome countenance gave evi-dence of a bold enterprising spirit and a resolutewill He pored over a map for some time, care-fully tracing a few pencil lines into the blankspaces on the paper, and then murmured, in
32 THE PIONEERS.words which were almost identical with those ofReuben Guff, "I wonder if it joins the PolarSea ?"This man was the true pioneer, or, rather, theking of pioneers, to whom Guff gave place with-out a murmur, for Reuben was a modest man;and the moment he heard that one of the gentle-men of the Canadian fur-trading company hadtaken up his favourite hobby, and meant to workout the problem, he resolved, as he said, to "playsecond fiddle," all the more that the man whothus unwittingly supplanted him was a moun-taineer of the Scottish Highlands."It's of no manner of use, you see," he saidto Swiftarrow, when conversing on the subject,"for me to go off on a vyage o' diskyvery w'en agentleman like Monsieur Mackenzie, with agood education an' scienteefic knowledge and thewealth of a fur company at his back, is goin' totake it in hand. No; the right thing for ReubenGuff to do in the circumstances is to jine himan' play second fiddle,-or third, if need be."Alexander Mackenzie-while seated in theI
:* THE PIONEERS. 33',-tlowly hut of that solitary outpost poring over hismap, trying to penetrate mentally into thosemysterious and unknown lands which lay justbeyond him-saw, in imagination, a great riverwinding its course among majestic mountainstowards the shores of the ice-laden polar seas.He also saw the lofty peaks and snow-cladridges of that mighty range which forms theback-bone of the American continent, and--againin imagination-passed beyond it and penetratedthe vast wilderness to the Pacific, thus addingnew lands to the British Crown and opening upnew sources of wealth to the fur company ofwhich he was one of the most energetic members.He saw all this in imagination, we say, but hedid not, at that time, see his name attached toone of the largest American rivers, classed withthe names of the most noted discoverers of theworld, and himself knighted. Still less, if pos-sible, did he see, even in his wildest flights offancy, that the book of travels which he wasdestined to write, would be translated into Frenchby the order of Napoleon I., for the express purposeC
34 THE PIONEERS.of being studied by Marshal Bernadotte, with theview of enabling that warrior to devise a round-about and unlooked-for attack on Canada,--inrear as it were,-from the region of the northernwilderness-a fact which is well worthy 'of re-cord !1None of these things loomed on the mind ofthe modest though romantic and enterprisingman, for at that time he was only at the begin-ning of his career of discovery.It may not be out of place here to say a wordor two as to the early career of the hero whosefootsteps we are about to follow.He was a Highlander, to begin with; andpossessed all the fire and determination peculiarto that race. At an early period of life he wasled to engage in commercial enterprises in thecountry north-west of Lake Superior, joined theNorth-west Fur Company of Canada in 1784,and went into the Indian country the followingspring. It is not necessary to say more thanthat Alexander Mackenzie proved himself to bea first-rate fur-trader at a time when the fur1 0"" A -isY\ L 1 V a<YI 0 V -4 <4 .- 1a .- L" L
THE PIONEERS. 35trade was carried on under great difficulties andamid severe privations. For many years he wasin charge of Fort Chipewyan, the remote estab-lishment to which we have just conducted ourreader. Seven years before his coming on thescene, the Lake of the Hills had not been visitedby white men, and was known only throughIndian report. When Mackenzie became rulerof the district, all beyond the lake was terraincognita. His spirit was one which thirsted toexplore the unknown. He was eminently fittedboth to hold an advanced post and to invade newregions, being robust in constitution, powerful inframe, inquisitive in mind, and enterprising inspirit. Frequently had he arrived at Fort Chipe-wyan with ninety or a hundred men without anyprovision for their sustenance for the wintersave their fishing-nets and guns. He was there-fore accustomed to live from hand to mouth, andto depend on his own exertions and resourcesin a country where the winter is upwards ofeight months long and the severity of the climateextreme.
36 THE PIONEERS.It was in June 1789 that he made pre-parations to start on his first voyage of dis-covery.Rising from the table at which he had beenstudying his projected route, Mackenzie turned,with the air of a man who has made up his mind,and said to a clerk who was smoking beside thefire-place :-"Le Roux, if we cannot prevail on theseIndians to accompany us, I have determined tostart without them. Has the small canoe beengummed ?""It has," answered Le Roux; "but I wouldadvise delay for a day or two. If we give themtime, the Indians may change their minds;besides, the ice has not yet sufficiently cleared.away."Mackenzie paced the room impatiently, andhis eyes flashed for one moment with impatience.They were deep blue eyes that could beam withmelting tenderness or sparkle with suppressedpassion,-it is but just to add that passion in hiscase was usually suppressed, for he was a lover
THE PIONEERS. 37of peace, as most truly great and powerful menusually are."Let us see now," he said, sitting down infront of Le Roux, "how our resources stand.In my canoe there will be the four Canadians andthe German. Then there's our Indian friend,English Chief and his two wives, who will em-bark in the second-sized canoe. The two youngIndians whom we want to accompany us withtheir wives must make up their minds to-night,else I will start without them. Your own canoe,with goods for trade and provisions, will not befully loaded; I shall therefore place in it theprovisions that we can't carry, and when wecome to the place where you are to stop andtrade, and where I shall bid you farewell, weshall doubtless have eaten our lading down suffi-ciently to take the whole on board. See, by theway, that the goods and trinkets to be given awayas we go along are not placed in the wrongcanoe."" They are already laid with the'other goods,and also the nets and ammunition by them-
38 THE PIONEERS.selves," said Le.Roux, rising and laying downhis pipe.At that moment Reuben Guff entered with hisfriends. The surprise of Mackenzie was great onbeholding them, but greater still was his delightwhen he learned their errand. The youngIndians were forthwith told that their serviceswould not now be required, and our friends-including Swiftarrow's wife, Darkeye-were atonce added to the exploring party.Next day the expedition set forth from FortChipewyan and swept over the broad breast ofthe Lake of the Hills.We will not trace their course over knownground. Suffice it to say that their troublesbegan at once. Soon after leaving the lake theycame to a rapid part of the river which flows outof it, where they were obliged to land and carrycanoes and goods to the still water further down,but here the ice was still unthawed on the banks,rendering the process of re-loading difficult.Soon after they came to a place called the Port-age d'Embarras, which is occasioned by drift-
THE PIONEERS. 39wood filling up the channel of the river. Therethey entered the Slave river, where there is aportage or carrying place named the Mountain,the landing at which is very steep and close tothe fall. Below this fall there is a mile ofdangerous rapids-and here they met with theirfirst disaster.Reuben and Swiftarrow having landed withpart of the cargo of the small canoe, had left itin charge of Darkeye,-so named because of herlarge and lustrous eyes, which, however, were theonly good points about her, for she was ill-favoured and clumsy, though strong of frame anda diligent worker. While she was moving fromone point of rock to another, that appeared toher more convenient for landing, the canoe wascaught by an eddy and swept in a moment outinto the strong current, down which it sped withfearful velocity towards the falls. Darkeye wasquite collected and cool, but she happened to dipher paddle on the edge of a sunk rock with suchvigour that the canoe overturned. Upon theheights above her husband saw the accident, and
40 THE PIONEERS.stood rooted for a moment in helpless dismay tothe spot. It chanced that Lawrence Guff was atthe time the only man near the unfortunatewoman, who, although she swam like an otter,could not gain the bank. Seeing this, the youthsprang towards a jutting rock that almost over-hung the fall, and entering the rushing stream sodeeply that he could barely retain his foothold,caught the woman by the hair of the head as shewas sweeping towards the edge of the fall Thetwo swayed for a few seconds on the verge ofdestruction; then Swiftarrow came boundingdown the bank like a deer, and, catching Law-rence by the hand, dragged them both out ofdanger; but before they were fairly landed thecanoe was carried over the falls, dashed to pieces,and in a few seconds its shreds were tossedwildly on the surging rapids far down the river.This accident caused them little loss beyondthe canoe, which was soon replaced by another,purchased from a party of Indians, with whomthey fell in that same evening.Passing through Slave river they swept out on
THE PIONEERS. 41the bright waters of Great Slave Lake. Overthese they sped during several days. This lakeis one of the largest fresh-water oceans of thecontinent, about 250 miles long and 50 broad.And here the work of exploration fairly began.Great Slave Lake was at that time imperfectlyknown from Indian report; and the river ofwhich they were in search flowed, it was sup-posed, out of its western extremity. Here alsoM. Le Roux was to be left behind, with a partyof men, to prosecute the fur-trade.
CHAPTER IV.VICISSITUDES OF THE VOYAGE. INDIANSMET WITH, ETC.E have passed over the first three weeksof the voyage rapidly, but it must notbe supposed that therefore it was allplain sailing. On the contrary, the travellerswere delayed by thunderstorms, and heavy rains,and gales, and impeded by ice which, even in themiddle of June, lay thick on the waters in someparts. They were also tormented by hosts ofmosquitos, and at times they found difficulty inprocuring food-despite the ability of our friendsReuben, Swiftarrow, and Lawrence, who were42
THE PIONEERS. 43constituted hunters to the expedition. At othertimes, however, the supply of food was abundantand varied. On one occasion the hunters broughtin seven geese, a beaver, and four ducks, besideswhich a large supply of excellent trout and otherfish was obtained from the nets; and on anotheroccasion they procured two swans, ten beavers,and a goose. But sometimes they returnedempty-handed, or with a single bird or so, whilethe nets produced nothing at all Deer werealso shot occasionally, and they found immensenumbers of wild cranberries, strawberries, rasps,and other berries, besides small spring onions;so that, upon the whole, they fared well, anddays of abstinence were more than compensatedby days of superabundance.One evening, while they were coasting alongthis great lake, some Indians were discovered onthe shore, and the travellers landed to make in-quiries of them as to the nature of the countrybeyond. There were three lodges belonging tothe Red-knife Indians, who were so named be-cause their knives were made of copper found in
44 THE PIONEERS.that region. To the leading man of these EnglishChief, being interpreter, addressed himself.English Chief, we may remark in passing,..wasone of the followers of the chief who conductedHearne on his expedition to the Coppermineriver; since which event he had been a principalleader of his countrymen who were in the habitof carrying furs to the English fur-traders atChurchill, on Hudson's Bay, and was muchattached to the interest of the Hudson Bay Com-pany, which, at that time, was in opposition tothe Canadian or Nor'-west Company. These cir-cumstances procured him the title of the EnglishChief. An able, active, but self-sufficient andsomewhat obstinate chief he was, and causedMackenzie a good deal of anxiety and muchtrouble to keep him with the party.In answer to his queries, the principal man ofthe Red-knife Indians said that there were manymore of his tribe a short distance off, and that hewould send a man to fetch them. He also saidthat the explorers should see no more of them atthat time, because the Slave and Beaver Indians,
THE PIONEERS. 45as well as others of the tribe, were about to departand would not be in that region again till thetime that the swans cast their feathers."Ask him," said Mackenzie, "if he and hisfriends have many furs to dispose of."To this the Indian replied by at once producingupwards of eight large packs of good beaver andmarten skins; and added the information thathis friends had plenty more."Now, then, Le Roux," said Mackenzie, turningto his clerk, "here you and I shall part. Thisseems a good spot and a good opportunity foropening up the trade with these Indians. Whenthe rest of them arrive, we shall have a palaver,and then you shall remain to look after them;so, open up your packs, and get ready a few smallpresents without delay."That day was spent in considerable bustle andexcitement; the Indians being overjoyed that thewhite traders had at last penetrated into theircountry; and their joy being increased by thedistribution of such trifling, but much-prized, giftsas glass beads, knives, small looking-glasses, etc.
46 THE PIONEERS.It rained in torrents all the time, but this did notdamp their spirits; and as for their bodies-theywere used to it! In the afternoon Mackenzieassembled the whole tribe, and made them thefollowing speech, which was translated by EnglishChief in a very pompous manner, for that excellentred-skin was fully alive to the dignity of his position."My friends," began our explorer, " I am gladto meet with you. The white man and the In-dians are always glad to meet-they can benefiteach other mutually. Each has got what theother requires. I have come for the purpose ofopening up trade with you. It is true that I my-self will take my departure to-morrow, because Iam in search of new lands; but some of my peoplewill remain on the spot, and if you bring in asufficient quantity of furs to make it answer, mymen will return to Fort Chipewyan for moregoods, and will spend the winter here. They willbuild a fort, and continue to dwell among you aslong as you shall be found to deserve it."At this point the speaker paused, and the dark-skinned audience gave vent to a loud "Ho!"
THE PIONEERS. 47which was equivalent to the British "Hear,hear !""In regard to my own work," continued Mac-kenzie, "I intend to search for, and find the greatriver, which, it is said, flows out of this lake, andfollow its current to the sea-or, as you call it,the great salt lake. Do my brothers know any-thing about this river ? If so, let them speak."Hereupon an old chief, with hair like smalliron wire, and a skin like shoe-leather, got up,and delivered himself as follows:-"We are glad to hear what our white brothersays. It encourages us to know that you willmake a trading-fort in our country, for we haveneed of one. Hitherto we have had to travelfar-very far-with our furs; or if, to savetrouble, we intrusted our furs to the Chipewyans,they often pillaged us, or, at most, gave us verylittle for the fruits of our toil. For a long timewe have been so discouraged that we have hadno motive to pursue the beaver, except to obtaina sufficiency of food and clothing. Now, if youcome to us, we shall be happy-wauch !"
48 THE PIONEERS.The last word was equivalent to the expression-" There, think o' that !" The old man pausedas if to give his audience time for reflection."As to the great river," he continued, senten-tiously, " we know of its existence; but none ofour tribe has ever followed its course down to thegreat salt lake. We earnestly advise our brothernot to go there, for it is a dreadful river. It issaid that there are two impassable falls in itscourse; and it is so long that old age will comeupon you before the time of your return. Youwill also encounter monsters of horrid shapesand awful strength on the land and in the water-wauch !"The old chief began to glare solemnly at thispoint, and the whole tribe followed his example."It is said," he continued, "that there arebears which eat the trees as if they were grass;whose cubs, even at their birth, are strong enoughto kill the stoutest man. There are monsters inthe river so big that a canoe full of men wouldbe but a mouthful to them. There are sofew animals or fish fit for food, that you will all
THE PIONEERS. 49certainly be starved. And, besides all this, evilspirits dwell there, whose chief delight lies inattacking, killing, roasting, and devouring men-wauch !"Here the Indian sat down with the decision ofa man who has given unanswerable arguments forthe overturning of foolish plans; nevertheless,Mackenzie's plans remained unaltered. Not so,however, those of a young Indian, who had beenengaged to guide the explorers to the other end ofthe lake, in order to save them from the loss oftime which would be occasioned by the necessityof coasting round its numerous bays. Theimagination of this youth-Coppernose as Law-rence Guff facetiously styled him-was sowrought upon by the dreadful description of thegreat river, that he manifested a strong desire todraw back; but by the timely addition of a smallkettle, an axe, a knife, and a few beads to thegifts already bestowed on him, he was eventuallypersuaded to venture.Before departing, poor Coppernose took a cere-monious leave of his family. He cut off a lockD
50 THE PIONEERS.of his hair, and divided it into three parts. Oneof these he fastened to the top of his wife's head,and blew on it three times with the utmostviolence, at the same time uttering certain caba-listic words. The other two portions he fastenedwith the same formalities to the heads of his twochildren.Even at the last he hesitated, and was finallymade to enter the canoe more by force thanby persuasion!A few days later, and our pioneers were fairlyembarked on the great river, whose course to themouth it was their object to explore.The expedition was now somewhat reduced,owing to M. Le Roux having been left behind.It consisted of three canoes-the large one withMackenzie and five men; a small one, with Eng-lish Chief and his two wives, and Coppernose;and another small one, containing Reuben, hisson, Swiftarrow, and Darkeye. Two of the Cana-dians were also attended by their wives; so thatthe party numbered sixteen souls, five of whomwere women. They all kept company as much
THE PIONEERS. 51as possible, but English Chief was frequently leftbehind by the large canoe; while Reuben andhis friends, being the hunters as we have said,were necessarily absent for considerable periodsin search of game.One evening, as they were descending a beau-tiful sweep of the river under sail in grand style,the English Chief-leaning composedly back inhis canoe, while his right hand slightly movedthe steering paddle, and his teeth grasped hisbeloved pipe-said quietly to Coppernose, ofcourse in the Indian tongue :"A pretty guide you are, not to know some-thing more about a river so near to your own wig-w am."Coppernose, who was a humble-minded man,smiled slightly, and shook his head as he said :--" All red men are not so adventurous as theEnglish Chief. I never had occasion to travel inthis-direction, and do not know the way.""Boo !" ejaculated English Chief, meaning, nodoubt, fiddlededee I"But I know of a river," continued Copper-
52 THE PIONEERS.nose, "which falls into this one from the north,and comes from the Horn Mountain that wepassed at the end of Great Slave Lake; it is thecountry of the Beaver Indians. My relationsmeet me frequently on that river. There aregreat plains on both sides of that river, whichabound in buffaloes and moose-deer.""I don't believe it; wauch!" said English Chief.As this was a discouraging reception of hisremarks, Coppernose relapsed into silence.Soon afterwards the large canoe was observedto make for a low, grassy point; and as it wasabout the usual camping time, English Chiefmade for the same place. The hunters reachedit about ten minutes later, and bore into camptwo reindeer, four geese, and a swan, besides alarge quantity of berries gathered by the fair (orbrown) hands of Darkeye."There is plenty of game everywhere," saidReuben, in answer to a query from his leader;"we might have killed much more if we'd hadmore time-but enough is as good as a feast, asthe saying' goes in my country."
THE PIONEERS. 53"In your country?" said Mackenzie, with asmile."Ay, I claim to be a Scotchman-though Iwas born and raised in Canada-my father hailedfrom the land o' cakes.""Does Lawrence claim the same nationality onthe same ground, Reuben ?""He does not !" answered Lawrence for him-self, as he busied himself in cleaning his father'sgun."The lad loves the Canadians," replied Reuben,with a chuckle; "besides, he couldn't claim iton the same ground, seeing' that I am fully halfa Scot, while he is at least three-quarters aCanadian.""More the betterer luck for him," said one ofthe Canadians, who had already kindled a fire,before which one of his comrades was busilyengaged setting up juicy venison steaks to roast."Oui," observed another; "vraiment, Canadabeat Scotish land altogeder.""Ha! Faderland ees more best den all zeevorld," said the German, quaffing a can of water
54 THE PIONEERS.with as much zest as if it had been his own nativeRhine-wine."I warrant me," said Mackenzie, with a laugh,"that our trusty guide, Coppernose, would notgive the wilderness here for Canada, Scotland,and Faderland put together. What say you,lad ?"Coppernose looked gravely at his questioner,but made no reply."Boo!" said English Chief, regarding hiscountryman with a look of contempt; "himsno oner-stan' Eengleesh.""He understands how to eat a rumpsteak ofvenison, however," said Mackenzie, with a laugh,as Coppernose at that moment coolly appropriateda mass of half-roasted meat, and began to devourit. "You'd better follow his example, lads."The men were not slow to take this advice.In a short time all were more or less busilyengaged with venison-steaks, marrow bones, goosedrumsticks, and fish; and comparative silenceprevailed while the cravings of nature were beingappeased. After supper, pipes were lighted, and
THE PIONEERS. 55conversation became animated for some time;but they were all too much fatigued to prolongthis period, interesting though it was. One afteranother they spread their blankets under a con-venient bush or tree, and, ere long, the wholewere in the land of Nod.
CHAPTER V.DESCRIBES A LITERAL WILD-GOOSE CHASEAND OTHER MATTERS.IME sped on its proverbially rapidwing; the summer advanced, and stillMackenzie and his men continued todescend the mighty river of the far north,encountering dangers and vicissitudes enough,undoubtedly, but happily escaping those terrificmonsters of the forest and the flood, which hadbeen described by the Copper Indians of GreatSlave Lake, and the thought of which causedpoor Coppernose himself to grow terrified anddesperate by turns. Fain would that unhappy56
THE PIONEERS. 57son of the forest have bid the party farewell,and returned to his own wigwam alone; but thismight not be, for his services were of some im-portance, and the leader of the expedition kepton him constantly an eye, which excelled inintense watchfulness the glare of the fiercest ofthose creatures which filled his imagination. Hesubmitted, therefore, with the best grace he couldassume; but, what between being watched byMackenzie, haunted by ghosts, and bullied byEnglish Chief, poor Coppernose had a sad time ofit. He possessed, however, a naturally elasticand jovial spirit, which tended greatly to ameli-orate his condition; and as time passed by with-out any serious mishap, or the appearance of anyunusually dreadful creature, he became graduallyreconciled to his position.One day-perhaps we should rather say onenight, for it was approaching midnight, althoughthe sun was still above the horizon, owing to thehigh northern latitude to which they had attained,rendering the whole twenty-four hours round acontinuous day-one day (or night) as the canoes
58 THE PIONEERS.were sweeping down a reach of the broad river,they saw a few wreaths of smoke rising above thetree-tops. The spot was very beautiful, beingthickly wooded and backed by high land, on theslopes of which the trees and bushes hung likedelicate fringes of green among masses of silverygrey rock."That looks like the smoke of an Indian wig-wam, Louis," said Mackenzie to his bowman." No, monsieur, it is the wood burning," repliedLouis, dipping his vermilion-painted paddle withgreat vigour.Louis was right; for soon afterwards theyturned a point which disclosed to their view aconsiderable tract of woodland which had beenrecently destroyed by fire. Several tracts of thiskind had been already passed, some of which hadbeen consumed long before, and forests of youngpoplars had grown up in their places-a curiouscircumstance this, which Mackenzie remarks on,namely, " That wherever land covered with spruce,pine, and white birch had been laid waste withfire, there poplars, and nothing else, were found
THE PIONEERS. 59to grow, even though none of that species of treehad existed there before."Passing this desolated tract, they came to apart of the river which was studded with severalislands, on one of which reindeer were seen."There's your chance," said Mackenzie to hishunters, who happened to range up alongside intheir small canoe at that moment."We've seed 'em, monsieur," said Reuben,"but we must have some more ammunition aforestarting' after them, for the powder-horns of Law-rence and Swiftarrow are both empty."As soon as the horns were replenished, Reubenand his friends pushed out into the stream andmade for the island. The other canoes continuedto advance. They seldom waited for the hunters;for the latter being comparatively light, could actas a sort of flying artillery, falling behind, turningaside, or pushing ahead, as the case might require,in pursuit of game, and almost always returningto the main body about the camping-hour, orsoon after it. On this evening, however, thecanoes reached a snug camping-ground before the
60 THE PIONEERS.usual time, they therefore determined to stopthere and set the nets, as well as to overhaul thecanoes, which stood much in need of repair. Thecold of the ice-laden waters through which theyhad recently passed had cracked the gum off theseams, and collisions with the ice itself had madesome ugly slits in the birch bark of which thecanoe was made.That evening the nets, which were set in fourfathoms water, produced an abundant supply ofcarp, whitefish, and trout."Now, lads," said Mackenzie, when the canoebrought ashore the welcome provisions, " set thewomen to work to make pemmican, for we mustleave a supply concealed here against our return."Louis Blanc superintended the making of thispemmican, which consisted of fish dried in thesun and pounded between two stones. Pemmicanis also made of meat, in which case the poundedmeat is put into a bag made of the raw hide ofthe animal; the bag is then filled with melted fatand the mouth sewed up with raw sinews. Thisstyle of pemmican will keep fresh for years.
THE PIONEERS. 61"Where did English Chief go when we landed ?"asked Mackenzie."Don't know, monsieur," replied Louis."After game, probably," observed the leader,as he sat down on the stump of a fallen tree andbegan to make notes in his journal.Sometime thereafter Reuben's canoe returnedladen with two deer, besides two swans, a numberof ducks and hares, and several brace of ptarmigan,which latter were quite grey at that season, withthe exception of one or two pure white feathersin the tail. They said that wild fowl were in-numerable among the islands; but this, indeed,was obvious to all, for everywhere their plaintiveand peculiar cries, and the whirring or flappingof their wings were heard even when the leafyscreen over the encampment hid themselves fromview. Darkeye also contributed her share tothe general supplies, in the shape of several largebirch-baskets full of gooseberries, cranberries,juniper-berries, rasps and other wild berries,which, she said, grew luxuriantly in many places.Meanwhile the night (as regards time) advanced,
62 THE PIONEERS.although the day-light did not disappear, or evenmuch diminish, but English Chief with Copper-nose and his two squaws did not return, and theirprolonged absence became at length a cause ofno little anxiety to the leader of the expedition.The fact was that English Chief was fond of alittle fun, and despite the dignified position whichhe held, and the maturity of his years, he couldnot resist availing himself of any little chancethat came in his way of having what is morepithily than elegantly styled "a spree."It happened to be the particular period atwhich the wild-fowl of those regions begin tocast their feathers. Knowing this, English Chiefquietly slipped off with his canoe when Mac-kenzie landed, and soon found a colony of swansafflicted with that humiliating lack of naturalclothing, which is the cause, doubtless, of theirperiodically betaking themselves to the uttermostends of the earth in order to hide in deep solitudetheir poverty, and there renew their garments.Judge then, reader, if you can, the consternationwith which these once graceful creatures dis-
THE PIONEERS. 63covered that their retreat had been found out bythat inquisitive biped man-that they wereactually caught in the act of moulting!Uttering a terrific "hoozoo!" or some suchequally wild red-Indian hunting cry, EnglishChief dashed his paddle into the water; squawsand comrade followed suit; the canoe shot inamong the rushes, and the whole party leaped onshore. Thus taken by surprise the swans bouncedup, extended their miserable wings, uttered atrumpet-blast of alarm, and sought to fly. Ofcourse they, failed, but although they could notfly, they. fled on the wings of terror, and withstraight necks, heads low, legs doing double duty,and remnants of wings doing what they could,they made for the interior of the island at apacewhich at first defied pursuit.The higher part of the island was level andopen, with here and there a few stunted bushes.Arrived here the trumpeting crew scattered, likewise troops when pursued. English Chief set hisheart and eyes on a particularly large bird, anddashed after it with upraised paddle. The swan
64 THE PIONEERS.made a desperate detour, apparently bent on re-.gaining the water; it ran round a bush, and wasalmost caught in the arms of the younger squaw,who leaving her senior in the canoe had joinedin the pursuit. A shriek from the squaw sent itoff at a tangent to the left, pinions aloft, andterror depicted on its visage. English Chief alsodoubled, but a crooked stump caught his foot andsent him headlong into the bush. At thatinstant, Coppernose, having felled a swan witha well-directed sweep of his paddle, came up andgave chase. English Chief, nettled at the inter-ference, sprang up, followed, and overtook himjust as the hard-pushed swan turned at bay.Both men came upon it at the same moment,tumbled over it, and turned their wrath uponeach other.1 The swan, recovering, ran wildlyand blindly back towards the young squaw, whowas so much alarmed by its look that she fairlyturned and fled; but hearing the shouts of theIndians as they struggled, she turned towardsthem. Meanwhile, the elder squaw having1 See Frontispiece.
THE PIONEERS. 65landed, met the retreating swan just as it gainedthe rushes. Stooping down she allowed it toapproach to within a yard of her-like a trueheroine-and then, rising, hit it a neat blow onthe back of the head and laid it low for ever.After this she joined her sister-wife (if we maybe allowed the expression) in trying to tear theIndians asunder. This was accomplished after afew seconds, but the two men still glared at eachother. Fortunately they could do little more,having left their knives in the canoe. Whilethey were still in a state of indecision, an unfortu-nate swan, which had taken refuge behind a bush,so far recovered its breath as to think it advisableto get still further away from such company. Itwas observed and followed as wildly as before byEnglish Chief. This time Coppernose had thesense to confine his attentions to another part ofthe field, where, while prosecuting the chase, hesuddenly came upon a flock of geese in the samehelpless circumstances as the swans. Soon theswans were routed out of their places of conceal-ment, and the cries of men, women, and birdsE
66 THE PIONEERS.again resounded in the air. The way in whichthose swans behaved was quite marvellous. Theydodged the blows aimed at them, and "jinked"round the bushes as if they had been trained tosuch work in a regular public school for humanbipeds, and they struck out with their pinions,too, so deftly and with such force that the pur-suers had to become extremely cautious as wellas bold in their approaches.At last when the Indians were thoroughlyexhausted, they gave up the chase. On convey-ing the fruits of their exertions t tthe canoe, theyfound that they had killed five swans and a likenumber of geese. With these they returned intriumph to camp, to the great relief of Mackenzie,who had begun to fear either that an accident hadbefallen them, or that they had deserted him.At this place two bags of pemmican were con-cealed on an island, and here one of their leadswas lost in taking soundings. The current ofthe river also was so violent that Mackenzie con-cluded they must be approaching the rapids, ofwhich some of the natives had made mention.
THE PIONEERS. 67The strength of the current may be estimatedfrom the fact that, when the lead just referred tocaught on the bottom and held on, they attemptedto clear it by paddling up stream; yet, althoughthey had eight paddles, and were held by the line,the strength of which was equal 'to four paddles,they were borne down with such force that theline snapped asunder.Here the weather became very bad. They hadfrequent thunderstorms accompanied with violentrain; and, although it was at that time thebeginning of July, ice lay in great quantitiesalong the banks of the river. On shore, the earthwas thawed only to a depth of about fourteeninches. Indeed, the soil of those regions neverthaws completely. At the hottest season of theyear, if you were to dig down a few feet, youwould come to a subsoil which is locked in theembrace of perpetual frost. Some signs of nativeswere discovered here, and, from the appearanceof the cut trees, it was evident that they possessedno iron tools."Push forward," was Mackenzie's watchword
68 THE PIONEERSmore perhaps than it had been of any previousdiscoverer in Rupert's Land. The Indians beganere long to complain bitterly of his perseverance.They were not accustomed to such constant andsevere exertion, and it was with great difficultythat he prevailed on them to continue the voyage.As they advanced, fresh signs of natives wereobserved, and at last, one evening, they camein sight of an encampment of them. It was ata place where the current of the great river wasso strong that it was in actual ebullition, andproduced a hissing noise like a kettle of waterin a moderate boiling state. The region wasmountainous, and just before them they perceiveda ridge of high mountains covered with snow."They're evidently not much used to visitors,"said Mackenzie, on observing that the nativeswere running about in great confusion, somemaking for the woods and others hurrying to thecanoes."They is used to be 'tacked by inimis," saidEnglish Chief, who was rather proud of his know-ledge of the English language.
THE PIONEERS. 69"Hail them in the Chipewyan tongue," saidMackenzie, as the canoes touched the beach.English Chief and the hunters landed first, andaddressed the few natives who had ventured toremain; but they were so terrified as to be un-able to reply. Seeing this, Mackenzie quietlylanded, and gave orders for the pitching of thetents. While this was being done, the nativesgrew calm; they found that they understoodChipewyan; a few words relieved them of theirapprehensions, and soon they not only came downto the tents, but were so gratified with their re-ception that they sent for those members of theirtribe who had fled. Thus friendly relations wereestablished.There were five families, consisting of aboutthirty persons of two different tribes-the Slaveand the Dog-Rib Indians.
CHAPTER VI.INDIANS MET WITH, AND THE MOUTH OF THE GREATRIVER REACHED.EROES are not perfect. We deem itnecessary to make this observation, be-cause many modern biographers seemto imagine that their heroes are perfect, and evenattempt to prove them to be so. We therefore feelit necessary to disclaim any such imagination orintention in regard to our hero. AlexanderMackenzie was indeed a hero, and a very finespecimen of a man-mentally as well as physically-if we are to credit the report of those who knewhim best; but he was not perfect.For instance, he evidently acted sometimes on70
THE PIONEERS. 71the fallacious notion that whatever gave pleasureto himself must necessarily give pleasure to allother men. Acting on this idea in the presentinstance, he sought to delight the hearts of theseSlave and Doog-rib Indians by presenting themwith pipes and tobacco, and inducing them tosmoke. To the credit of humanity be it recordedthat they received the gift with marked dislike,although they were too polite to absolutely refuseit. Slaves though one section of them were inname, they were not slaves to tobacco; and theother section being Dog-ribs, had, we presume,too little of Adam's rib in them to find pleasurein smoke. Of course, they knew something aboutsmoke, but it was chiefly as a nuisance, whichwas very troublesome to the "eyes, and whichusually issued from the tops of their wigwams-not from human lips. It must also be recordedthat those estimable savages entertained a strongantipathy to grog when it was produced. Theirhearts were reached, however, and their soulsgladdened, when knives, beads, awls, firesteels,flints, and hatchets were presented to them; and we
72 THE PIONEERS.can fancy how animated and earnest would be theirconverse over the wigwam fires, for weeks andmonths, if not for years, afterwards, when theybrought out, for the thousandth time, and feastedtheir wondering eyes on, those delightfully usefulimplements, which had been left by the myste-rious white beings who had dropped upon themso suddenly, as if from the skies, and whom theyfelt half inclined at first to reverence as gods.Having won their confidence and esteem, Mac-kenzie proceeded to question them as to thatportion of the great river which yet lay beforehim. Their account was an exaggerated echo ofthat previously obtained from the Indians ofGreat Slave Lake. Being, therefore, of little orno value, our hero was obliged to advance, andsolve the question for himself. As before, theeffect of the Indian stories on the Indians of hisparty was very marked and discouraging. Withgreat difficulty Mackenzie overcame their objec-tions to proceed, and even succeeded in persuadingone of the Dog-rib Indians to accompany him bythe potent influence of a small kettle, an axe,
THE PIONEERS. 73a knife, and a few other gifts. This man was astout young fellow, in a very dirty deerskin coatand leggings, with a double line of blue tattooedon his cheeks from the ears to the nose, on thebridge of which they met in a blue spot. HenceLawrence, following the natural bent of his mind,which he had already displayed in naming Cop-pernose, immediately addressed this new recruitas Bluenose.These poor savages, although exemplary in thematters of grog and tobacco, were, we are con-strained to admit, a very filthy set of creatures;very poor also, because utterly destitute of suchwealth as the fur-traders had carried to many ofthe less remote tribes of Indians. Neverthelessthey possessed a considerable number of imple-ments of their own manufacture, some of woodand others of bone, etc., which proved them to bepossessed of much ingenuity and taste. The de-scription of their weapons reminds one of thoseremains of pre-historic man which we find trea-sured in our museums, for they had arrows barbedwith horn, flint, iron, and copper, spears shod
74 THE PIONEERS.with bone, daggers of horn and bone, and axesmade of brown or grey stone. The latter werefrom six to eight inches long and two thick,having the inside flat and the outside round, andtapering to an edge, and were fastened by themiddle to wooden handles with a cord of rawskin. They kindled fire by striking togethera piece of white or yellow pyrites and a flintstone over a piece of touchwood; and boiled waterin watertight baskets, by putting a succession ofred-hot stones into them.From these Indians the explorers learned thatthey had passed, on their voyage down the river,large bodies of Indians who inhabit the mountains."He'11 niver make up his mind to go," observedReuben as, when about to set forth again, he lookedat the pale countenance of the Dog-rib who hadagreed to join the party.Mackenzie had already had a severe argumentwith him in order to induce him to fulfil his en-gagement, and had left him under the impressionthat he had been successful; but when the poorman had said farewell to the tribe, and was on
THE PIONEERS. 75the point of entering the canoe, his courage failed,and he drew back. Seeing this, Lawrence sud-denly seized him by the nape of the neck, andexclaiming, " Come, look sharp, Bluenose, get inwith 'ee," gave him a lift that put the matter atrest by sending him sprawling on board. Nextmoment they were off, and shooting down therapid current of the river.That night they encamped, amid heavy squallsof wind and rain, at the foot of a rocky hill, onthe top of which their new guide said that it blewa gale every day of the year! Here the Dog-ribbecame very unhappy, and pretended to be ill,but a strict watch was kept on him so that hecould not escape. The country around them wasvery wild and rugged, and they were informed bytheir guide that great numbers of bears andsmall white buffaloes (musk-oxen?) frequented themountains: also some tribes of Indians. Heresome of the party attempted to ascend a steephill, but were almost suffocated and fairly drivenback by clouds of mosquitos.Natives were sometimes seen and spoken with,
76 THE PIONEERS.although their first impulse on beholding the voy-agers was almost invariably to flee. On one occa-sion a whole tribe fled save one old man, whocame boldly forward and said that he was too oldto run or to care much about the short time thatyet remained to him of this life. At the sametime he pulled out his grey hairs by handfuls, anddistributed them among the party, imploring theirfavour for himself and his relations. His mindwas quickly relieved by Swiftarrow, who seemedto have a special desire, as well as talent, for com-forting aged people of both sexes.Some of these tribes were named the HareIndians-hares and fish being their principalmeans of support. While spending a night withthese people a storm of thunder and rain cameon, in the midst of which the Dog-rib, Bluenose,managed to make his escape. As it was importantto have a guide, Mackenzie compelled a HareIndian to fill his place; and, after carrying him offtook great pains to conciliate him-in whichefforts he was happily successful.Next day they observed natives on the east
THE PIONEERS. 77shore of the river, and directed their course to-wards them. Their new guide began to call tothem in an incomprehensible manner, and saidthat the natives did not belong to his tribe, butwere a very wicked people, who would beat themcruelly, and pull out their hair, and maltreat themin various ways. Despite this warning Mackenzieadvanced, and soon found them to be quite aswilling to accept of gifts as other tribes. Hefound that they understood their guide,, and thatEnglish Chief clearly comprehended one of them-selves, although he could not make himself under-stood. Here the joyful information was obtainedthat in three days more they should meet withthe Esquimaux, and in ten days at furthest reachthe great salt lake--or the sea.These natives were very superior to those whomthe travellers had last met with, and one of themwas engaged to take the place of Bluenose. Thisman, who was clad in a shirt made of the skins ofthe muskrat, after which he was named, was a verylively individual. He sang the songs not only ofhis own tribe, but also those of the Esquimaux, with
78 THE PIONEERS.whom his tribe had been formerly at war, butwere now at peace. He also undertook to performan Esquimaux dance in Mackenzie's canoe, andwould infallibly have upset that conveyance hadhe not been violently restrained. He com-mented on the tribe to which Bluenose belongedwith great contempt, calling them by the strongnames of cowards and liars.During these brief visits to the natives ourdiscoverer was not only troubled by the thievishpropensities of the natives, but had to guardagainst the same tendencies in his own men, someof whom were much confused as to the truecourse of rectitude in regard to "mine and thine;"in addition to which he had to contend with ageneral propensity on the part of his men toquarrel not only with each other, but with theweather, the journey, and the decrees of fategenerally. By a judicious mixture, however, offirmness and suavity, severity and kindness, hemanaged to keep the several parts of his discordantband together; and, in so doing, proved himselfan able general, for the highest generalship
THE PIONEERS. 79consists in making the most of existing circum-stances and materials.The river here ran through various channelsformed by islands, some of which were without atree, while others were covered with spruce fir,and other trees. The banks, which were about sixfeet above the surface of the river, displayed aface of solid ice intermixed with veins of blackearth, and as the heat of the sun melted the ice,the trees frequently fell into the river. The varietyof channels 'in the river rendered it difficult todecide which should be followed. Muskrat, thenew guide, recommended that which ran to theeast; but his leader, not feeling sure of his wisdomor knowledge, preferred the middle channel.Here Mackenzie put ashore, and proceeded toengage in some cabalistic pursuits which utterlyconfounded Muskrat."What is he doing?" asked the savage ofEnglish Chief."Taking the sun," replied the interpreter,with immense pomposity."What does that mean?" asked the savage.
80 THE PIONEERS.English Chief tried to explain, but failed, forthis good reason-that he himself was totallyignorant of the subject beyond the ,phrase,which he had picked up after the manner ofa parrot.It was found that the latitude was 67 47' north.This was farther north than Mackenzie had ex-pected to make it, but the difference was owing tothe variation of the compass. From this it becameevident that the river emptied itself into thePolar Sea. Not satisfied, however, with theapparent certainty of this, our pioneer resolved tohave ocular demonstration-to push on to themouth of the river, even although, by so doing,he should risk not being able to return to FortChipewyan for want of provisions.But now his men became so much discouragedthat they did their utmost to induce him to turnback, and he felt convinced that if they had hadit in their power, some of them would have lefthim to his fate. As Columbus did of old, insomewhat similar circumstances, he assured themthat he would now advance only a specified
THE PIONEERS. 81number of days-seven, adding that if he did notthen reach the sea he would return. Indeed, thelow state of their provisions alone formed asufficient security for the maintenance of hisengagement.That evening (the llth July) they pitchedtheir tents near to a spot where there had beenthree encampments of the Esquimaux, and hereMackenzie sat up all night to observe the sun,being now in that realm of bright unchangingday, which in winter becomes a region of con-tinuous night.At half-past twelve he called up Reuben Guffand his son and Swiftarrow, who were the mostintelligent members of his party, to view aspectacle which they had never before seen. Theythought, on observing the sun so high, that itwas the signal to embark, and were about torouse their comrades, when Mackenzie checkedthem, and it was with difficulty he persuadedthem that the sun had not descended nearer tothe horizon, and that it was then but a short timepast midnight!F
82 THE PIONEERS.It is but justice to Reuben and his party to saythat they offered no opposition to their leaderduring the whole voyage. In regard to this, onespeech made by Reuben will suffice to describethe spirit that animated him."It don't do, Lawrence," said he, "to go forto interfere wi' them as leads. Be they wise orbe they foolish it on'y makes matters wus tointerfere wi' leaders, my lad; therefore, it's bestalways to hold yer tongue an' do yer dooty. WhatMonsieur Mackenzie is, it ain't for the likes ofyou and me to pretend for to judge. He seems tome an able, brave, and wise man, so my coloursis nailed to the mast, d'ye see-as was said bythe immortal Lord Nelson,-an' I've made up mymind to follow him to the end, through thickand thin. It's little right I would have to claimto be a pioneer if I didn't hold them sentiments."" Them sentiments," we need scarcely add, wereheartily echoed by his Indian friend and hisson.The appearance of deserted native encamp-ments still further confirmed Mackenzie in his
THE PIONEERS. 83belief that he had at length reached the land ofthe Esquimaux. Round their fire-places werefound scattered pieces of whalebone, and spotswere observed where train oil had been spilt. Thedeserted huts also corresponded in constructionwith those which were known to be built else-where by the denizens of the far north. Severalrunners of sledges were also found, and the skullsof a large animal which was conjectured to be thewalrus. Here the land was covered with shortgrass and flowers, though the earth was notthawed above four inches from the surface;beneath that all was frozen hard.The pioneers had now at last reached the en-trance of what appeared to be a lake, which wasin the neighbourhood of the Polar Sea, if not thatsea itself; but the variety of channels, the strengthof currents, the shallowness of the water andquantity of ice with which it was beset, with theignorance of their guide, rendered it impossibleto make any farther advance that season. Theobject of the expedition, however, had beenaccomplished. The largest northern river ofI
84 THE PIONEERS.America, estimated at 2000 miles in length, hadbeen traced from its source to its outlet inthe Polar Sea; the nature of the country andits inhabitants had been ascertained; coal andcopper ore had been discovered; the region hadbeen wrenched from the realms of terra incognita,and the energetic pioneer fixed the position ofhis most northerly discoveries in 69 7'north lati-tude. Another fact which proved that they werewithin the influence of the sea was the rise andfall of the water, which could be nothing elsethan the tide. They caught a fish, also, resemb-ling a herring, which none of the party hadever seen except English Chief, who declaredit to be of a kind that abounds in Hudson'sBay, and finally they beheld what settled thequestion, a shoal of white whales, which theirIndian guide said was the principal food of theEsquimaux.It was no wonder that the discoverers found thenavigation very intricate, because that great river,now named the Mackenzie, is known to emptyits waters into the Polar Sea by innumerable
THE PIONEERS. 85mouths which form a delta of about forty miles inwidth. Storms, rain, and fogs threw additionalhindrances in their way. There was, therefore,nothing left for it but to erect a post and takepossession of the land in the name of theking.Homeward! after that, was the order of theday. But what a mighty distance off that homewas! And, after all, when reached it was but alog-hut or two in a part of the vast wildernesswhich, regarded from a civilised-land point ofview, was itself the very confines of the knownworld. Our space forbids us to follow Mackenzieand his men on their arduous and interestingreturn voyage. Suffice it to say that they draggedthe canoes by means of lines against the strongcurrent for a large portion of the way; and,after incurring innumerable dangers from natives,rapids, storms, and starvation, they reached theLake of the Hills and landed at Fort Chipewyanon the 12th of September 1789, having beenabsent for the long period of one hundred andtwo days.
86 THE PIONEERS.That our hero was not content to rest uponthe laurels thus gathered in the far north, butlonged to act the part of pioneer over the RockyMountains into the far west, shall be made plainin our next chapter.
CHAPTER VII.A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY TO THE FAR WESTPLANNED AND BEGUN.HREE years passed away, during whichperiod Alexander Mackenzie, beingbusily occupied with his arduous dutiesas a fur-trader, could not carry out the morenoble purposes of discovery on which his heartwas set. But a time at length arrived whencircumstances permitted him to turn his eyesonce more with a set purpose on the unknownwilderness of the West. Seated, one fine morningabout the beginning of spring, in his woodenresidence at Fort Chipewyan, he observed ReubenGuff passing the window with. an axe on hisshoulder, that worthy, with his son and Swift-87
88 THE PIONEERS.arrow, having engaged in the service of thefur-traders at the end of the late expedition.Opening the door, Mackenzie called him in.."Where are you bound for just now, Reuben?"" To dinner, monsieur.""Reuben," said Mackenzie, with a peculiarlook, " has all your pioneering enthusiasm oozedout at your finger-ends ?""No, monsieur," replied the man, with a slightsmile, "but Lawrence and I have bin thinking' oflate that as Monsieur Mackenzie seems to havelost heart, we must undertake a viage o' discoveryon our own account!""Good. Then you are both ready, doubtless,to begin your discoveries with a canoe journey ofsome extent on short notice?""At once, monsieur, if it please you.""Nay, Reuben, not quite so fast as that," saidMackenzie, with a laugh; "you may have yourdinner first. But to-morrow you shall become agenuine pioneer by preceding me towards thefar west. You know the position of our mostdistant settlements on the Peace River ?"
THE PIONEERS. 89"Perfectly," said Reuben, whose eye kindledas he began to see that his master was in earnest."Well, I intend to visit these settlements thisfall, and push on towards the Rocky Mountains.It will take me to the end of the season toaccomplish this, so that our real voyage of dis-covery will not begin until the following spring.Now, there is a certain locality beyond our mostdistant outpost, which I shall describe to youafterwards, where I intend to build a fort andspend next winter, so as to be on the spot ready tobegin the moment the ice breaks up. Preparationsmust be made there for the building of the fort.Timber must be felled, cut, and squared for thehouses and palisades, and two able and willing,as well as experienced men, must go there tobegin this work without delay. It occurs to methat the two best men I have for such workare Reuben Guff and his son. Are they preparedfor this duty, think you?""Say the word, monsieur," was Reuben's laconicbut significant reply."Well, then, it is said. Come back here after,
90 THE PIONEERS.dinner with Lawrence, and I shall give youinstructions: you shall start to-morrow at day-break."Reuben bowed and left the hall with a lightstep. Next day he and his son started on theirjourney in a small birch-bark canoe; on the 10thof October Mackenzie followed in a canoe oflarger dimensions. He visited several establish-ments of the district of which he had charge;ascended the Peace River towards its unknownsources, gave good advice to the several bands ofIndians whom he met with by the way, and gener-ally strengthened the hearts and hands of hisagents. Passing the last outpost on the river, hepushed on until, finally, he reached his intendedwinter quarters on the 1st of November-nota day too soon, for the river was already beingcovered with its winter coat of ice.Here he found Reuben and Lawrence, bronzedand hardened with toil and exposure. They haddone good service during the previous summer; forall the timber was prepared, a space marked out forthe fort, and a deep trench dug for the palisades.a