• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 The old fur-trader
 The counting-room
 A wolf-hunt in the prairies
 Peter MacTavish
 Spring and the voyageurs
 The store
 Farewell to Kate
 The voyage
 Varieties, vexations, and...
 Charley and Harry
 The storm
 The canoe
 The Indian camp
 The feast
 The return
 The scene changes
 The walk continued
 The accountant and Harry
 The accountant's story
 Ptarmigan-hunting
 The winter packet
 Changes
 Hopes and fears
 Good news and romantic scenery
 An unexpected meeting
 The chase
 Old friends and scenes
 The first day at home
 Love
 The course of true love
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: R.M. Ballantyne's Books for boys
Title: The young fur-traders, or, Snowflakes and sunbeams from the far north
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082101/00001
 Material Information
Title: The young fur-traders, or, Snowflakes and sunbeams from the far north
Series Title: R.M. Ballantyne's Books for boys
Alternate Title: Snowflakes and sunbeams from the far north
Physical Description: vi, 402 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ballantyne, R. M ( Robert Michael ), 1825-1894
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1893
Edition: New ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fur traders -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Outdoor life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Survival skills -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Camping -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Young men -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Coureurs de bois -- Romans   ( rvm )
Juvenile fiction -- Northwest, Canadian   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1893   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1893
Genre: Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Scotland -- Edinburgh
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Robert Michael Ballantyne.
General Note: Frontispiece and added t.p. printed in colors.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082101
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002391186
notis - ALZ6075
oclc - 05034272

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Preface
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Introduction
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    The old fur-trader
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    The counting-room
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    A wolf-hunt in the prairies
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Peter MacTavish
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    Spring and the voyageurs
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    The store
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
    Farewell to Kate
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
    The voyage
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
    Varieties, vexations, and vicissitudes
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Charley and Harry
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
    The storm
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
    The canoe
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
    The Indian camp
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
    The feast
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
    The return
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
    The scene changes
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
    The walk continued
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
    The accountant and Harry
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
    The accountant's story
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
    Ptarmigan-hunting
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
    The winter packet
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
    Changes
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
    Hopes and fears
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
    Good news and romantic scenery
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
    An unexpected meeting
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
    The chase
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
    Old friends and scenes
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
    The first day at home
        Page 372
        Page 373
        Page 374
        Page 375
        Page 376
        Page 377
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 380
    Love
        Page 381
        Page 382
        Page 383
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
        Page 387
        Page 388
    The course of true love
        Page 389
        Page 390
        Page 391
        Page 392
        Page 393
        Page 394
        Page 395
        Page 396
        Page 397
        Page 398
        Page 399
        Page 400
        Page 401
        Page 402
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text














































































The Baldwin LUbrar)
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THE INDIANS LISTENING TO THE SONG
























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THE


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YOUNG


FuR-TRADERS

OR


Snowflakes


and Sunbeams from the
Far North


1Robert IfMcbael JSallant2ne
Author of "The Coral Island," "The Gorilla Hunters," "Ungava."
SThe Dog Crusoe and his Master," Martin Rattler,"
"The World of Ice,"
&c.





NEW EDITION





T. NELSON AND SONS
LONDON EDINBURGH
NEIf YORK
1893

















PREFA CE.



IN writing this book my desire has been to draw an
exact copy of the picture which is indelibly stamped
on my own memory. I have carefully avoided exag-
geration in everything of importance. All the chief,
and most of the minor incidents are facts. In regard
to unimportant matters, I have taken the liberty of a
novelist-not to colour too highly, or to invent im-
probabilities, but-to transpose time, place, and cir-
cumstance at pleasure; while, at the same time, I have
endeavoured to convey to the reader's mind a truthful
impression of the general effect-to use a painter's
language-of the life and country of the Fur Trader.


EDINBURGH, 1856.






















CONTENTS.





CHAPTER I.
Plunges the reader into the middle of an Arctic winter; conveys him into the
heart of the wildernesses of North America; and introduces him to some
of the principal personages of our tale ............................................9

CHAPTER II.
The old fur-trader endeavours to "fix" his son's "flint," and finds the thing
more difficult to do than he expected....................... ............ 18

CHAPTER III.
The counting-room .............................. .................... ......................30

CHAPTER IV.
A wolf-hunt in the prairies--Charley astonishes his father, and breaks in the
"noo 'oss" effectually............................ .......... .................37

CHAPTER V.
Peter Mactavish becomes an amateur doctor; Charley promulgates his views of
things in general to Kate; and Kate waxes sagacious .........................55

CHAPTER VI.
Spring and the voyageurs ........................ ....... .........................68

CHAPTER VII.
The store................................................................ ...... ....................75

CHAPTER VIII.
Farewell to Kate-Departure of the brigade-Charley becomes a voyageur.....90










CONTENTS. V

CHAPTER IX.
The voyage-The encampment-A surprise ...........................................9

CHAPTER X.
Varieties, vexations, and vicissitudes............................ .....................114

CHAPTER XI.
Charley and Harry begin their sporting career, without much success-
Whisky-john catching......................... .. .......................121

CHAPTER XII.
The storm.................... ............ .............................131

CHAPTER XIII.
The canoe-Ascending the rapids-The portage-Deer-shooting, and life in the
woods......................... .... .. ............ ..................... .... 154

CHAPTER XIV.
The Indian camp-The new outpost-Charley sent on a mission to the In-
dians................................................. .. .. .........................170

CHAPTER XV.
The feast-Charley makes his first speech in public, and meets with an old
friend- An evening in the grass....................................... .......... 185

CHAPTER XVI.
The return-Narrow escape-A murderous attempt, which fails-And a dis-
covery............................. .............. .... ..... ..................... ...... 200

CHAPTER XVII.
The scene changes-Bachelor's Hall-A practical joke and its consequences-
A snow-shoe walk at night in the forest.........................................210

CHAPTER XVIII.
The walk continued-Frozen toes-An encampment in the snow...............226

CHAPTER XIX.
Shows how the accountant and Harry set their traps, and what came of it ...239

CHAPTER XX.
The accountant's story ....................................... .......................250










VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXI.
Ptarmigan-hunting -Hamilton's shooting powers severely tested--A snow-
storm ................................ .... ............ ....... .................... 262

CHAPTER XXII.
The winter packet-Harry hears from old friends, and wishes that he was
with them ................................. .................. .......................... 273

CHAPTER XXIII.
Changes--Harry and Hamilton find that variety is indeed charming-The
latter astonishes the former considerably ........................................292

CHAPTER XXIV.
Hopes and fears-An unexpected meeting-Philosophical talk between the
hunter and the parson....................................... .........................304

CHAPTER XXV.
Good news and romantic scenery-Bear-hunting and its results................318

CHAPTER XXVI.
An unexpected meeting, and an unexpected deer-hunt-Arrival at the outpost-
Disagreement with the natives-An enemy discovered, and a murder....320

CHAPTER XXVII.
The chase-The fight-Retribution-Low spirits and good news.................345

CHAPTER XXVIII.
Old friends and scenes-Coming events cast their shadows before................360

CHAPTER XXIX.
The first day at home-A gallop in the prairie, and its consequences... ......372

CHAPTER XXX.
Love-Old Mr. Kennedy puts his foot in it....................... ................ 381

CHAPTER XXXI.
The course of true love, curiously enough, runs smooth for once; and the
curtain falls.................. ... ........... .. .............................. 89
















THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.



CHAPTER I.

Plunges the reader into the middle of an Arctic winter; conveys him into the
heart of the wildernesses of North America; and introduces him to some
of the principal personages of our tale.

SNOWFLAKES and sunbeams, heat and cold, winter
and summer, alternated with their wonted regularity
for fifteen years in the wild regions of the Far North.
During this space of time the hero of our' tale sprouted
from babyhood to boyhood, passed through the usual
amount of accidents, ailments, and vicissitudes incidental
to those periods of life, and finally entered upon that
ambiguous condition that precedes early manhood.
It was a clear, cold winter's day. The sunbeams of
summer were long past, and snowflakes had fallen thickly
on the banks of Red River. Charley sat on a lump of
blue ice, his head drooping and his eyes bent on the snow
at his feet with an expression of deep disconsolation.
Kate reclined at Charley's side, looking wistfully up
in his expressive face, as if to read the thoughts that
were chasing each other through his mind, like the ever-
varying clouds that floated in the winter sky above.
It was quite evident to the most careless observer that,
whatever might be the usual temperaments of the boy








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


and girl, their present state of mind was not joyous, but,
on the contrary, very sad.
"It won't do, sister Kate," said Charley. "I've tried
him over and over again-I've implored, begged, and
entreated him to let me go; but he won't, and I'm deter-
mined to run away, so there's an end of it!"
As Charley gave utterance to this unalterable resolu-
tion, he rose from the bit of blue ice, and taking Kate
by the hand, led her over the frozen river, climbed up
the bank on the opposite side-an operation of some
difficulty, owing to the snow, which had been drifted so
deeply during a late storm that the usual track was
almost obliterated-and turning into a path that lost
itself among the willows, they speedily disappeared.
As it is possible our reader may desire to know who
Charley and Kate are, and the part of the world in which
they dwell, we will interrupt the thread of our narrative
to explain.
In the very centre of the great continent of North
America, far removed from the abodes of civilized men,
and about twenty miles to the south of Lake Winnipeg,
exists a colony composed of Indians, Scotsmen, and French-
Canadians, which is known by the name of Red River
Settlement. Red River differs from most colonies in
more respects than one-the chief differences being, that
whereas other colonies cluster on the sea-coast, this one
lies many hundreds of miles in the interior of the country,
and is surrounded by a wilderness; and while other
colonies, acting on the Golden Rule, export their produce
in return for goods imported, this of Red River imports a
large quantity and exports nothing, or next to nothing.
Not but that it might export, if it only had an outlet or
a market; but being eight hundred miles removed from
the sea, and five hundred miles from the nearest market,
with a series of rivers, lakes, rapids, and cataracts sepa-







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


rating from the one, and a wide sweep of treeless prairie
dividing from the other, the settlers have long since come
to the conclusion that they were born to consume their
own produce, and so regulate the extent of their farming
operations by the strength of their appetites. Of course,
there are many of the necessaries, or at least the luxuries,
of life which the colonists cannot grow-such as tea,
coffee, sugar, coats, trousers, and shirts-and which, con-
sequently, they procure from England, by means of the
Hudson's Bay Fur Company's ships, which sail once a-
year from Gravesend, laden with supplies for the trade
carried on with the Indians. And the bales containing
these articles are conveyed in boats up the rivers, carried
past the waterfalls and rapids overland on the shoulders
of stalwart voyageurs, and finally landed at Red River,
after a rough trip of many weeks' duration. The colony
was founded in 1811, by the Earl of Selkirk, previously
to which it had been a trading-post of the Fur Company.
At the time of which we write, it contained about five
thousand souls, and extended upwards of fifty miles along
the Red and Assiniboine rivers, which streams supplied
the settlers with a variety of excellent fish. The banks
were clothed with fine trees; and immediately behind the
settlement lay the great prairies, which extend in un-
dulating waves-almost entirely devoid of shrub or tree
-to the base of the Rocky Mountains.
Although far removed from the civilized world, and
containing within its precincts much that is savage and
very little that is refined, Red River is quite a populous
paradise as compared with the desolate, solitary establish-
ments of the Hudson's Bay Fur Company. These lonely
dwellings of the trader are scattered far and wide over
the whole continent-north, south, east, and west. Their
population generally amounts to eight or ten men-sel-
dom to thirty. They are planted in the thick of an








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


uninhabited desert-their next neighbours being from two
to five hundred miles off; their occasional visitors, bands
of wandering Indians; and the sole object of their exist-
ence being to trade the furry hides of foxes, martens,
beavers; badgers, bears, buffaloes, and wolves. It will
not, then, be deemed a matter of wonder that the gentle-
men who have charge of these establishments, and who,
perchance, may'have spent ten or twenty years in them,
should look upon the colony of Red River as a species of
Elysium-a sort of haven of rest, in which they may lay
their weary heads, and spend the remainder of their days
in peaceful felicity, free from the cares of a residence
among wild beasts and wild men. Many of the retiring
traders prefer casting their lot in Canada; but not a few
of them smoke out the remainder of their existence in
this colony-especially those who, having left home as
boys fifty or sixty years before, cannot reasonably expect
to find the friends of their childhood where they left
them, and cannot hope to remodel tastes and habits long
nurtured in the backwoods so as to relish the manners
and customs of civilized society.
Such an one was old Frank Kennedy, who, sixty years
before the date of our story, ran away from school in
Scotland; got a severe thrashing from his father for so
doing; and having no mother in whose sympathizing
bosom he could 'weep out his sorrow, ran away from
home, went to sea, ran away from his ship while she lay
at anchor in the harbour of New York, and after leading
a wandering, unsettled life for several years, during
which he had been alternately a clerk, a day-labourer,
a store-keeper, and a village schoolmaster, he wound up
by entering the service of the Hudson's Bay Company,
in which he obtained an insight into savage life, a com-
fortable fortune, besides a half-breed wife and a large
family.








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Being a man of great energy and courage, and more-
over possessed of a large, powerful frame, he was sent to-
one of the most distant posts on the Mackenzie River, as
being admirably suited for the display of his powers both
mental and physical. Here the small-pox broke out
among the natives, and besides carrying off hundreds of
these poor creatures, robbed Mr. Kennedy of all his chil-
dren save two, Charles and Kate, whom we have already
introduced to the reader.
About the same time the council which is annually
held at Red River in spring for the purpose of arranging
the affairs of the country for the ensuing year thought
proper to appoint Mr. Kennedy to a still more outlandish
part of the country-as near, in fact, to the North Pole
as it was possible for mortal man to live-and sent him
an order to proceed to his destination without loss of
time. On receiving this communication Mr. Kennedy
upset his chair, stamped his foot, ground his teeth, and
vowed, in the hearing of his wife and children, that sooner
than obey the mandate he would see the governors and
council of Rupert's Land hanged, quartered, and boiled
down into tallow! Ebullitions of this kind were peculiar
to Frank Kennedy, and meant nothing. They were
simply the safety-valves to his superabundant ire, and,
like safety-valves in general, made much noise but did
no damage. It was well, however, on such occasions to
keep out of the old fur-trader's way; for he had an
irresistible propensity to hit out at whatever stood before
him, especially if the object stood on a level with his
own eyes and wore whiskers. On second thoughts, how-
ever, he sat down before his writing-table, took a sheet
of blue ruled foolscap paper, seized a quill which he had
mended six months previously, at a time when he
happened to be in high good-humour, and wrote as fol-
lows:-







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


To the Governor and Council of Rupert's Land, FORT PASKISEGUN,
Red River Settlement. June 15, 18-.
GENTLEMEN,-I have the honour to acknowledge re-
ceipt of your favour of 26th April last, appointing me
to the charge of Peel's River, and directing -me to strike
out new channels of trade in that quarter. In reply, I
have to state that I shall have the honour to fulfil your
instructions by taking my departure in a light canoe as
soon as possible. At the same time I beg humbly to
submit that the state of my health is such as to render
it expedient for me to retire from the service, and I here-
with beg to hand in my resignation. I shall hope to be
relieved early next spring.-I have the honour to be,
gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant,
F. KENNEDY.

"There!" exclaimed the old gentleman, in a tone that
would lead one to suppose he had signed the death-
warrant, and so had irrevocably fixed the certain destruc-
tion, of the entire council-" there !" said he, rising from
his chair, and sticking the quill into the ink-bottle with
a dab that split it up to the feather, and so rendered it
hours de combat for all time coming.
To this letter the council gave a short reply, accepting
his resignation, and appointing a successor.' On the fol-
lowing spring old Mr. Kennedy embarked his wife and
children in a bark canoe, and in process of time landed
them safely in Red River Settlement. Here he pur-
chased a house with six acres of land, in which he planted
a variety of useful vegetables, and built a summer-house
after the fashion of a conservatory, where he was wont
to solace himself for hours together with a pipe, or rather
with dozens of pipes, of Canada twist tobacco.
After this he put his two children to school. The
settlement was at this time fortunate in having a most







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


excellent academy, which was conducted by a very esti-
mable man. Charles and Kate Kennedy, being obedient
and clever, made rapid progress under his judicious man-
agement, and the only fault that he had to find with the
young people was, that Kate was a little too quiet and
fond of books, while Charley was a little too riotous and
fond of fun.
When Charles arrived at the age of fifteen and Kate
attained to fourteen years, old Mr. Kennedy went into
his conservatory, locked the door, sat down on an easy-
chair, filled a long clay pipe with his beloved tobacco,
smoked vigorously for ten minutes, and fell fast asleep.
In this condition he remained until the pipe fell from his
lips and broke in fragments on the floor. He then rose,
filled another pipe, and sat down to meditate on the sub-
ject that had brought him to his smoking apartment.
"There's my wife," said he, looking at the bowl of his
pipe, as if he were addressing himself to it, she's getting
too old to be looking after everything herself (puff), and
Kate's getting too old to be humbugging any longer with
books; besides, she ought to be at home learning to keep
house, and help her mother, and cut the baccy (puf), and
that young scamp Charley should be entering the service
(puff). He's clever enough now to trade beaver and bears
from the red-skins; besides, he's (puff) a young rascal, and
I'll be bound does nothing but lead the other boys into
(puff) mischief, although, to be sure, the master does say
he's the cleverest fellow in the school; but he must be
reined up a bit now. I'll clap on a double curb and
martingale. I'll get him a situation in the counting-room
at the fort (puff), where he'll have his nose held tight to
the grindstone. Yes, I'll fix both their flints to-morrow;"
and old Mr. Kennedy gave vent to another puff so thick
and long that it seemed as if all the previous puffs had
concealed themselves up to this moment within his capa-








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


cious chest, and rushed out at last in one thick and long-
continued stream.
By fixing their flints" Mr. Kennedy meant to express
the fact that he intended to place his children in an
entirely new sphere of action, and with a view to this
he ordered out his horse and cariole on the following
morning, went up to the school, which was about ten
miles distant from his abode, and brought his children
home with him the same evening. Kate was now for-
mally installed as housekeeper and tobacco-cutter; while
Charley was told that his future destiny was to wield the
quill in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, and
that he might take a week to think over it. Quiet,
warm-hearted, affectionate Kate was overjoyed at the
thought of being a help and comfort to her old father
and mother; but reckless, joyous, good-humoured, hare-
brained Charley was cast into the depths of despair at
the idea of spending the livelong day, and day after day,
for years it might be, on the top of a long-legged stool.
In fact, poor Charley said that he "would rather become
a buffalo than do it." Now this was very wrong of
Charley, for, of course, he didn't mean it. Indeed, it is
too much a habit among little boys, ay, and among
grown-up people too, to say what they don't mean, as
no doubt you are aware, dear reader, if you possess half
the self-knowledge we give you credit for; and we cannot
too strongly remonstrate with ourself and others against
the practice-leading, as it does, to all sorts of absurd
exaggerations, such as gravely asserting that we are
"broiling hot" when we are simply "rather warm," or
more than half dead" with fatigue when we are merely
"very tired." However, Charlie said that he would
rather be "a buffalo than do it," and so we feel bound in
honour to record the fact.
A sort of sleigh.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Charley and Kate were warmly attached to each other.
Moreover, they had been, ever since they could walk, in
the habit of mingling their little joys and sorrows in each
other's bosoms; and although, as years flew past, they
gradually ceased to sob in each other's arms at every little
mishap, they did not cease to interchange their inmost
thoughts, and to mingle their tears when occasion called
them forth. They knew the power, the inexpressible
sweetness, of sympathy. They understood experiment-
ally the comfort and joy that flow from obedience to that
,blessed commandment to "rejoice with those that do
rejoice, and weep with those that weep." It was natural,
therefore, that on Mr. Kennedy announcing his decrees,
Charley and Kate should hasten to some retired spot
where they could commune in solitude; the effect of
which communing was to reduce them to a somewhat
calmer and rather happy state of mind. Charley's sorrow
was blunted by sympathy with Kate's joy, and Kate's
joy was subdued by sympathy with Charley's sorrow; so
that, after the first effervescing burst, they settled down
into a calm and comfortable state of flatness, with very
red eyes and exceedingly pensive minds. We must, how-
ever, do Charley the justice to say that the red eyes
applied only to Kate; for although a tear or two could
without much coaxing be induced to hop over his sun-
burned cheek, he had got beyond that period of life when
boys are addicted to (we must give the word, though not
pretty, because it is eminently expressive) blubbering.
A week later found Charley and his sister seated on
the lump of blue ice where they were first introduced to
the reader, and where Charley announced his unalterable
resolve to run away, following it up with the statement
that that was the end of it." He was quite mistaken,
however, for that was by no means the end of it. In fact
it was only the beginning of it, as we shall see hereafter.

















CHAPTER IL


The old fur-trader endeavours to "fix" his son's "flint," and finds the thing
more difficult to do than he expected.

NEAR the centre of the colony of Red River, the
stream from which the settlement derives its
name is joined by another, called the Assiniboine. About
five or six hundred yards from the point where this union
takes place, and on the banks of the latter stream, stands
the Hudson's Bay Company's trading-post, Fort Garry.
It is a massive square building of stone. Four high and
thick walls enclose a space of ground on which are built
six or eight wooden houses, some of which are used as
dwellings for the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company,
and others as stores, wherein are contained the furs, the
provisions which are sent annually to various parts of the
country, and the goods (such as cloth, guns, powder and
shot, blankets, twine, axes, knives, etc., etc.) with which
the fur-trade is carried on. Although Red River is a
peaceful colony, and not at all likely to be assaulted by
the poor Indians, it was, nevertheless, deemed prudent by
the traders to make some show of power; and so at
the corners of the fort four round bastions of a very
imposing appearance were built, from the embrasures of
which several large black-muzzled guns protruded. No
one ever conceived the idea of firing these engines of
war; and, indeed, it is highly probable that such an







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


attempt would have been attended with consequences
much more dreadful to those behind than to those who
might chance to be in front of the guns. Nevertheless
they were imposing, and harmonized well with the flag-
staff, which was the only other military symptom about
the place. This latter was used on particular occasions,
such as the arrival or departure of a brigade of boats, for
the purpose of displaying the folds of a red flag on which
were the letters H. B. C.
The fort stood, as we have said, on the banks of the
Assiniboine River, on the opposite side of which the land
was somewhat wooded, though not heavily, with oak,
maple, poplar, aspens, and willows; while at the back of
the fort the great prairie rolled out like a green sea to
the horizon, and far beyond that again to the base of the
Rocky Mountains. The plains at this time, however,
were a sheet of unbroken snow, and the river a mass of
solid ice.
It was noon on the day following that on which our
friend Charley had threatened rebellion, when a tall
elderly man might have been seen standing at the back
gate of Fort Garry, gazing wistfully out into the prairie
in the direction of the lower part of the settlement. He
was watching a small speck which moved rapidly over
the snow in the direction of the fort.
"It's very like our friend Frank Kennedy," said he to
himself (at least we presume so, for there was no one else
within earshot to whom he could have said it, except the
door-post, which every one knows is proverbially a deaf
subject). No man in the settlement drives so furiously.
I shouldn't wonder if he ran against the corner of the
new fence now. Ha just so-there he goes "
And truly the reckless driver did "go" just at that
moment. He came up to the corner of the new fence,
where the road took a rather abrupt turn, in a style that







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


insured a capsize. In another second the spirited horse
turned sharp round, the sleigh turned sharp over, and
the occupant was pitched out at full length, while a
black object, that might have been mistaken for his hat,
rose from his side like a rocket, and, flying over him,
landed on the snow several yards beyond. A faint shout
was heard to float on the breeze as this catastrophe
occurred, and the driver was seen to jump up and re-
adjust himself in the cariole; while the other black
object proved itself not to be a hat, by getting hastily up
on a pair of legs, and scrambling back to the seat from
which it had been so unceremoniously ejected.
In a few minutes more the cheerful tinkling of the
merry sleigh-bells was heard, and Frank Kennedy, ac-
companied by his hopeful son Charles, dashed up to the
gate, and pulled up with a jerk.
Ha Grant, my fine fellow, how are you? exclaimed
Mr. Kennedy, senior, as he disengaged himself from the
heavy folds of the buffalo robe and shook the snow
from his greatcoat. Why on earth, man, don't you
put up a sign-post and a board to warn travellers that
you've been running out new fences and changing the
road, eh ?"
Why, my good friend," said Mr. Grant, smiling, the
fence and the road are of themselves pretty conclusive
proof to most men that the road is changed; and, besides,
we don't often have people driving round corners at full
gallop; but-"
Hollo! Charley, you rascal," interrupted Mr. Kennedy
-" here, take the mare to the stable, and don't drive her
too fast. Mind, now, no going off upon the wrong road
for the sake of a drive, you understand."
All right, father," exclaimed the boy, while a bright
smile lit up his features and displayed two rows of white
teeth; I'll be particularly careful," and he sprang into







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


the light vehicle, seized the reins, and with a sharp crack
of the whip dashed down the road at a hard gallop.
He's a fine fellow that son of yours," said Mr. Grant,
" and will make a first-rate fur-trader."
Fur-trader exclaimed Mr. Kennedy. "Just look at
him! I'll be shot if he isn't thrashing the mare as if she
were made of leather." The old man's ire was rising
rapidly as he heard the whip crack every now and then,
and saw the mare bound madly over the snow. "And
see!" he continued, "I declare he has taken the wrong
turn after all."
"True," said Mr. Grant: he'll never reach the stable
by that road; he's much more likely to visit the White-
horse Plains. But come, friend, it's of no use fretting.
Charley will soon tire of his ride; so come with me to my
room and have a pipe before dinner."
Old Mr. Kennedy gave a short groan of despair, shook
his fist at the form of his retreating son, and accompanied
his friend to the house.
It must not be supposed that Frank Kennedy was
very deeply offended with his son, although he did
shower on him a considerable amount of abuse. On the
contrary, he loved him very much. But it was the old
man's nature to give way to little bursts of passion on
almost every occasion in which his feelings were at all
excited. These bursts, however, were like the little puffs
that ripple the surface of the sea on a calm summer's day.
They were over in a second, and left his good-humoured,
rough, candid countenance in unruffled serenity. Charley
knew this well, and loved his father tenderly, so that his
conscience frequently smote him for raising his anger so
often; and he over and over again promised his sister
Kate to do his best to refrain from doing anything that
was likely to annoy the old man in future. But, alas!
Charley's resolves, like those of many other boys, were








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


soon forgotten, and his father's equanimity was upset
generally two or three times a-day; but after the gust
was over, the fur-trader would kiss his son, call him a
: rascal," and send him off to fill and fetch his pipe.
Mr. Grant, who was in charge of Fort Garry, led the
way to his smoking apartment, where the two were soon
seated in front of a roaring log-fire, emulating each other
in the manufacture of smoke.
"Well, Kennedy," said Mr. Grant, throwing himself
back in his chair, elevating his chin, and emitting a long
thin stream of white vapour from his lips, through which
he gazed at his friend complacently-" well, Kennedy, to
what fortunate chance am I indebted for this visit? It
is not often that we have the pleasure of seeing you
here."
Mr. Kennedy created two large volumes of smoke,
which, by means of a vigorous puff, he sent rolling over
towards his friend, and said, Charley."
And what of Charley? said Mr. Grant, with a smile,
for he was well aware of the boy's propensity to fun, and
of the father's desire to curb it.
The fact is," replied Kennedy, that Charley must be
broke. He's the wildest colt I ever had to tame, but I'll
do it-I will-that's a fact."
If Charley's subjugation had depended on the rapidity
with which the little white clouds proceeded from his
sire's mouth, there is no doubt that it would have been a
fact" in a very short time, for they rushed from him
with the violence of a high wind. Long habit had made
the old trader and his pipe not only inseparable com-
panions, but part and parcel of each other-so intimately
connected that a change in the one was sure to produce a
sympathetic change in the other. In the present instance,
the little clouds rapidly increased in size and number as
the old gentleman thought on the obstinacy of his colt."







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Yes," he continued, after a moment's silence, I've
made up my mind to tame him, and I want you, Mr.
Grant, to help me."
Mr. Grant looked as if he would rather not undertake
to lend his aid in a work that was evidently difficult;
but being a good-natured man, he said, "And how,
friend, can I assist in the operation ?"
Well, you see, Charley's a good fellow at bottom, and
a clever fellow too-at least so says the schoolmaster;
though I must confess, that so far as my experience goes,
he's only clever at finding out excuses for not doing what
I want him to. But still I'm told he's clever, and can
use his pen well; and I know for certain that he can use
his tongue well. So I want to get him into the service,
and have him placed in a situation where he shall have
to stick to his desk all day. In fact, I want to have him
broken in to work; for you've no notion, sir, how that
boy talks about bears and buffaloes and badgers, and life
in the woods among the Indians. I do believe," continued
the old gentleman, waxing warm, "that he would willingly
go into the woods to-morrow, if I would let him, and
never show his nose in the settlement again. He's quite
incorrigible. But I'll tame him yet-I will! "
Mr. Kennedy followed this up with an indignant grunt,
and a puff of smoke, so thick, and propelled with such
vigour, that it rolled and curled in fantastic evolutions
towards the ceiling, as if it were unable to control itself
with delight at the absolute certainty of Charley being
tamed at last.
Mr. Grant, however, shook his head, and remained for
five minutes in profound silence, during which time the
two friends puffed in concert, until they began to grow
quite indistinct and ghost-like in the thick atmosphere.
At last he broke silence.
My opinion is that you're wrong, Mr. Kennedy. No







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


doubt you know the disposition of your son better than
I do; but even judging of it from what you have said,
I'm quite sure that a sedentary life will ruin him."
"Ruin him! Humbug!" said Kennedy, who never
failed to express his opinion at the shortest notice- and
in the plainest language-a fact so well known by his
friends that they had got into the habit of taking no
notice of it. "Humbug!" he repeated, "perfect hum-
bug! You don't mean to tell me that the way to break
him in is to let him run loose and wild whenever and
wherever he pleases? "
By no means. But you may rest assured that tying
him down won't do it."
"Nonsense! said Mr. Kennedy testily; "don't tell
me. Have I not broken in young colts by the score?
and don't I know that the way to fix their flints is to
clap on a good strong curb? "
If you had travelled farther south, friend," replied
Mr. Grant, you would have seen the Spaniards of Mexico
break in their wild horses in a very different way; for
after catching one with a lasso, a fellow gets on his back,
and gives it the rein and the whip-ay, and the spur
too; and before that race is over, there is no need for
a curb."
What! exclaimed Kennedy, and do you mean to
argue from that, that I should let Charley run-and help
him too? Send him off to the woods with gun and
blanket, canoe and tent, all complete ? The old gentle-
man puffed a furious puff, and broke into a loud sarcastic
laugh.
"No, no," interrupted Mr. Grant; "I don't exactly
mean that, but I think that you might give him his
way for a year or so. He's a fine, active, generous fellow;
and after the novelty wore off. he would be in a much
better frame of mind to listen to your proposals. Besides"







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


(and Mr. Grant smiled expressively), Charley is some-
what like his father. He has got a will of his own; and if
you do not give him his way, I very much fear that he'll-"
What? inquired Mr. Kennedy abruptly.
Take it," said Mr. Grant.
The puff that burst from Mr. Kennedy's lips on hearing
this would have done credit to a thirty-six pounder.
Take it !" said he; he'd better not."
The latter part of this speech was not in itself of a
nature calculated to convey much; but the tone of the
old trader's voice, the contraction of his eyebrows, and
above all the overwhelming flow of cloudlets that followed,
imparted to it a significance that induced the belief that
Charley's taking his own way would be productive of
more terrific consequences than it was in the power of
the most highly imaginative man to conceive.
"There's his sister Kate, now," continued the old
gentleman; "she's as gentle and biddable as a lamb.
I've only to say a word, and she's off like a shot to do
my bidding; and she does it with such a sweet smile too."
There was a touch of pathos in the old trader's voice as
he said this. He was a man of strong feeling, and as
impulsive in his tenderness as in his wrath. But that
rascal Charley," he continued, "is quite different. He's
obstinate as a mule. To be sure, he has a good temper;
and I must say for him he never goes into the sulks,
which is a comfort, for of all things in the world sulking
is the most childish and contemptible. He generally does
what I bid him, too. But he's always getting into scrapes
of one kind or other. And during the last week, not-
withstanding all I can say to him, he won't admit that
the best thing for him is to get a place in your counting-
room, with the prospect of rapid promotion in the service.
Very odd. I can't understand it at all ;" and Mr. Kennedy
heaved a deep sigh.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Did you ever explain to him the prospects that he
would have in the situation you propose for him ?" in-
quired Mr. Grant.
Can't say I ever did."
"Did you ever point out the probable end of a life
spent in the woods ?"
No."
Nor suggest to him that the appointment to the office
here would only be temporary, and to see how he got on
in it ? "
"Certainly not."
"Then, my dear sir, I'm not surprised that Charley
rebels. You have left him to suppose that, once placed
at the desk here, he is a prisoner for life. But see, there
he is," said Mr. Grant, pointing as he spoke towards the
subject of their conversation, who was passing the window
at the moment; let me call him, and I feel certain that
he will listen to reason in a few minutes."
Humph! ejaculated Mr. Kennedy, you may try."
In another minute Charley had been summoned, and
was seated, cap in hand, near the door.
"Charley, my boy," began Mr. Grant, standing with
his back to the fire, his feet pretty wide apart, and his
coat-tails under his arms-" Charley, my boy, your father
has just been speaking of you. He is very anxious that
you should enter the service of the Hudson's Bay Com-
pany; and as you are a clever boy and a good penman,
we think that you would be likely to get on if placed for
a year or so in our office here. I need scarcely point out
to you, my boy, that in such a position you would be sure
to obtain more rapid promotion than if you were placed
in one of the distant outposts, where you would have
very little to do, and perhaps .little to eat, and no one to
converse with except one or two men. Of course, we
would merely place you here on trial, to see how you







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


suited us; and if you prove steady and diligent, there
is no saying how fast you might get on. Why, you
might even come to fill my place in course of time.
Come now, Charley, what think you of it? "
Charley's eyes had been cast on the ground while Mr.
Grant was speaking. He now raised them, looked at his
father, then at his interrogator, and said,-
It is very kind of you both to be so anxious about
my prospects. I thank you, indeed, very much; but
I-a--"
"Don't like the desk?" said his father, in an angry
tone. Is that it, eh ? "
Charley made no reply, but cast down his eyes again
and smiled (Charley had a sweet smile, a peculiarly sweet,
candid smile), as if he meant to say that his father had
hit the nail quite on the top of the head that time, and
no mistake.
"But consider," resumed Mr. Grant, although you
might probably be pleased with an outpost life at first,
you would be sure to grow weary of it after the novelty
wore off, and then you would wish with all your heart to
be back here again. Believe me, child, a trader's life is a
very hard and not often a very satisfactory one-"
Ay," broke in the father, desirous, if possible, to
help the argument, and you'll find it a desperately
wild, unsettled, roving sort of life, too, let me tell you!
full of dangers both from wild beasts and wild men-"
Hush!" interrupted Mr. Grant, observing that the
boy's eye kindled when his father spoke of a wild, roving
life, and wild beasts.-" Your father does not mean that
life at an outpost is wild and interesting or exciting.
He merely means that-a-it-"
Mr. Grant could not very well explain what it was that
Mr. Kennedy meant if he did not mean that, so he turned
to him for help.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Exactly so," said that gentleman, taking a strong
pull at the pipe for inspiration. It's no ways interest-
ing or exciting at all. It's slow, dull, and flat; a
miserable sort of Robinson Crusoe life, with red Indians
and starvation constantly staring you in the face-"
"Besides," said Mr. Grant, again interrupting the
somewhat unfortunate efforts of his friend, who seemed
to have a happy facility in sending a brilliant dash of
romantic allusion across the dark side of his picture-
" besides, you'll not have opportunity to amuse yourself,
or to read, as you'll have no books, and you'll have to
work hard with your hands oftentimes, like your men-"
In fact," broke in the impatient father, resolved,
apparently, to carry the point with a grand coup-" in
fact, you'll have to rough it, as I did, when I went up
the Mackenzie River district, where I was sent to establish
a new post, and had to travel for weeks and weeks through
a wild country, where none of us had ever been before;
where we shot our own meat, caught our own fish, and
built our own house-and were very near being murdered
by the Indians; though, to be sure, afterwards they
became the most civil fellows in the country, and
brought us plenty of skins. Ay, lad, you'll repent of
your obstinacy when you come to have.to hunt your own
dinner, as I've done many a day up the Saskatchewan,
where I've had to fight with red-skins and grizzly bears,
and to chase the buffaloes over miles and miles of prairie
on rough-going nags till my bones ached and I scarce
knew whether I sat on-"
Oh," exclaimed Charley, starting to his feet, while
his eyes flashed and his chest heaved with emotion,
" that's the place for me, father !-Do, please, Mr. Grant,
send me there, and I'll work for you with all my
might!"
Frank Kennedy was not a man to stand this un-







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


expected miscarriage of his eloquence with equanimity.
His first action was to throw his pipe at the head of his
enthusiastic boy; without worse effect, however, than
smashing it to atoms on the opposite wall. He then
started up and rushed towards his son, who, being near
the door, retreated precipitately and vanished.
So," said Mr. Grant, not very sure whether to laugh
or be angry at the result of their united efforts, you've
settled the question now, at all events."
Frank Kennedy said nothing, but filled another pipe,
sat doggedly down in front of the fire, and speedily
enveloped himself, and his friend, and all that the room
contained, in thick, impenetrable clouds of smoke.
Meanwhile his worthy son rushed off in a state of
great glee. He had often heard the voyageurs of Red
River dilate on the delights of roughing it in the woods,
and his heart had bounded as they spoke of dangers
encountered and overcome among the rapids of the Far
North, or with the bears and bison-bulls of the prairie,
but never till now had he heard his father corroborate
their testimony by a recital of his own actual experience;
and although the old gentleman's intention was un-
doubtedly to damp the boy's spirit, his eloquence had
exactly the opposite effect-so that it was with a hop
and a shout that he burst into the counting-room, with
the occupants of which Charley was a special favourite.















CHAPTER III.


The counting-room.

EVERY one knows the general appearance of a
counting-room. There are one or two peculiar
features about such apartments that are quite unmistak-
able and very characteristic; and the counting-room at
Fort Garry, although many hundred miles distant from
other specimens of its race, and, from the peculiar circum-
stances of its position, not therefore likely to bear them
much resemblance, possessed one or two features of simi-
larity, in the shape of two large desks and several very
tall stools, besides sundry ink-bottles, rulers, books, and
sheets of blotting-paper. But there were other imple-
ments there, savouring strongly of the backwoods and
savage life, which merit more particular notice.
The room itself was small, and lighted by two little
windows, which opened into the court-yard. The entire
apartment was made of wood. The floor was of un-
painted fir boards. The walls were of the same material,
painted blue from the floor upwards to about three feet,
where the blue was unceremoniously stopped short by a
stripe of bright red, above which the somewhat fanciful
decorator had laid on a coat of pale yellow; and the
ceiling, by way of variety, was of a deep ochre. As the
occupants of Red River office were, however, addicted to
the use of tobacco and tallow candles, the original colour
of the ceiling had vanished entirely, and that of the walls
had considerably changed.








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


There were three doors in the room (besides the door
of entrance), each opening into another apartment, where
the three clerks were wont to court the favour of Mor-
pheus after the labours of the day. No carpets graced
the floors of any of these rooms, and with the exception
of the paint aforementioned, no ornament whatever
broke the pleasing uniformity of the scene. This was
compensated, however, to some extent by several scarlet
sashes, bright-coloured shot-belts, and gay portions of
winter costume peculiar to the country, which depended
from sundry nails in the bedroom walls; and as the
three doors always stood open, these objects, together
with one or two fowling-pieces and canoe-paddles, formed
quite a brilliant and highly suggestive background to the
otherwise sombre picture. A large open fireplace stood
in one corner of the room, devoid of a grate, and so con-
structed that large logs of wood might be piled up on end
to any extent. And really the fires made in this manner,
and in this individual fireplace, were exquisite beyond
description. A wood-fire is a particularly cheerful thing.
Those who have never seen one can form but a faint idea
of its splendour; especially on a sharp winter night in
the arctic regions, where the thermometer falls to forty
degrees below zero, without inducing the inhabitants to
suppose that the world has reached its conclusion. The
billets are usually piled up on end, so that the flames rise
and twine round them with a fierce intensity that causes
them to crack and sputter cheerfully, sending innumer-
able sparks of fire into the room, and throwing out a rich
glow of brilliant light that warms a man even to look at
it, and renders candles quite unnecessary.
The clerks who inhabited this counting-room were,
like itself, peculiar. There were three-corresponding
to the bedrooms. The senior was a tall, broad-shouldered,
muscular man-a Scotchman-very good-humoured, yet







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


a man whose under lip met the upper with that peculiar
degree of precision that indicated the presence of other
qualities besides that of good-humour. He was book-
keeper and accountant, and managed the affairs intrusted
to his care with the same dogged perseverance with
which he would have led an expedition of discovery to
the North Pole. He was thirty or thereabouts.
The second was a small man-also a Scotchman. It is
curious to note how numerous Scotchmen are in the wilds
of North America. This specimen was diminutive and
sharp. Moreover, he played the flute-an accomplish-
ment of which he was so proud that he ordered out from
England a flute of ebony, so elaborately enriched with
silver keys that one's fingers ached to behold it. This
beautiful instrument, like most other instruments of a
delicate nature, found the climate too much for its con-
stitution, and, soon after the winter began, split from top
to bottom. Peter Mactavish, however, was a genius by
nature, and a mechanical genius by tendency; so that,
instead of giving way to despair, he laboriously bound the
flute together with waxed thread, which, although it could
not restore it to its pristine elegance, enabled him to play
with great effect sundry doleful airs, whose influence,
when performed at night, usually sent his companions
to sleep, or, failing this, drove them to distraction.
The third inhabitant of the office was a ruddy, smooth-
chinned youth of about fourteen, who had left home
seven months before, in the hope of gratifying a desire
to lead a wild life, which he had entertained ever since
he read "Jack the Giant Killer," and found himself most
unexpectedly fastened, during the greater part of each
day, to a stool. His name was Harry Somerville, and
a fine, cheerful little fellow he was, full of spirits, and
curiously addicted to poking and arranging the fire at
least every ten minutes-a propensity which tested the








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


forbearance of the senior clerk rather severely, and would
have surprised any one not aware of poor Harry's incur-
able antipathy to the desk, and the yearning desire with
which he longed for physical action.
Harry was busily engaged with the refractory fire
when Charley, as stated at the conclusion of the last
chapter, burst into the room.
Hollo !" he exclaimed, suspending his operations for
a moment, what's up ?"
"Nothing," said Charley, but father's temper, that's
all. He gave me a splendid description of his life in the
woods, and then threw his pipe at me because I admired
it too much."
"Ho !" exclaimed Harry, making a vigorous thrust at
the fire, "then you've no chance now."
No chance what do you mean ?"
Only that we are to have a wolf-hunt in the plains
to-morrow; and if you've aggravated your father, he'll be
taking you home to-night, that's all."
"Oh no fear of that," said Charley, with a look that
seemed to imply that there was very great fear of "that"-
much more, in fact, than he was willing to admit even to
himself. My dear old father never keeps his anger long.
I'm sure that he'll be all right again in half-an-hour."
Hope so, but doubt it I do," said Harry, making
another deadly poke at the fire, and returning, with a
deep sigh, to his stool.
Would you like to go with us, Charley?" said the
senior clerk, laying down his pen and turning round on
his chair (the senior clerk never sat on a stool) with a
benign smile.
"Oh, very, very much indeed," cried Charley; "but
even should father agree to stay all night at the fort, I
have no horse, and I'm sure he would not let me have the
mare after what I did to-day."








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


"Do you think he's not open to persuasion ?" said the
senior clerk.
No, I'm sure he's not."
Well, well, it don't much signify; perhaps we can
mount you." (Charley's face brightened.) Go," he
continued, addressing Harry Somerville-"go, tell Tom
Whyte I wish to speak to him."
Harry sprang from his stool with a suddenness and
vigour that might have justified the belief that he had
been fixed to it by means of a powerful spring, which
had been set free with a sharp recoil, and shot him out at
the door, for he disappeared in a trice. In a few minutes
he returned, followed by the groom Tom Whyte.
Tom," said the senior clerk, do you think we could
manage to mount Charley to-morrow ? "
Why, sir, I don't think as how we could. There ain't
an 'oss in the stable except them wot's required and them
wot's badly."
Couldn't he have the brown pony?" suggested the
senior clerk.
Tom Whyte was a cockney and an old soldier, and
stood so bolt upright that it seemed quite a marvel how
the words ever managed to climb up the steep ascent of
his throat, and turn the corner so as to get out at his
mouth. Perhaps this was the cause of his speaking on
all occasions with great deliberation and slowness.
Why, you see, sir," he replied, the brown pony's got
cut under the fetlock of the right hind leg; and I 'ad 'im
down to L'Esperance the smith's, sir, to look at 'im, sir;
and he says to me, says he, 'That don't look well, that
'oss don't,'-and he's a knowing feller, sir, is L'Esperance
though he is an 'alf-breed-"
Never mind what he said, Tom," interrupted the senior
clerk ; is the pony fit for use ? that's the question."
No, sir, 'e hain't."







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


"And the black mare, can he not have that ? "
"No, sir; Mr. Grant is to ride 'er to-morrow."
That's unfortunate," said the senior clerk.-" I fear,
Charley, that you'll need to ride behind Harry on his
gray pony. It wouldn't improve his speed, to be sure,
having two on his back; but then he's so like a pig in
his movements at any rate, I don't think it would spoil
his pace much."
Could he not try the new horse ?" he continued,
turning to the groom.
The noo 'oss, sir he might as well try to ride a mad
buffalo bull, sir. He's quite a young colt, sir, only 'alf
broke-kicks like a windmill, sir, and's got an 'ead like a
steam-engine; 'e couldn't 'old 'im in no'ow, sir. I 'ad 'im
down to the smith otherr day, sir, an' says 'e to me, says
'e, 'That's a screamer, that is.' Yes,' says I, 'that his a
fact.' Well,' says 'e-"
Hang the smith !" cried the senior clerk, losing all
patience; can't you answer me without so much talk ?
Is the horse too wild to ride ?"
"Yes, sir, 'e is," said the groom, with a look of slightly
offended dignity, and drawing himself up-if we may use
such an expression to one who was always drawn up to such
an extent that he seemed to be just balanced on his heels,
and required only a gentle push to lay him flat on his back.
Oh, I have it !" cried Peter Mactavish, who had been
standing during the conversation with his back to the
fire, and a short pipe in his mouth: "John Fowler, the
miller, has just purchased a new pony. I'm told it's an
old buffalo-runner, and I'm certain he would lend it to
Charley at once."
The very thing," said the senior clerk.-" Run, Tom;
give the miller my compliments, and beg the loan of his
horse for Charley Kennedy.-I think he knows you,
Charley ?"







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


The dinner-bell rang as the groom departed, and the
clerks prepared for their mid-day meal.
The senior clerk's order to "run" was a mere form
of speech, intended to indicate that haste was desirable.
No man imagined for a moment that Tom Whyte could,
by any possibility, run. He hadn't run since he was
dismissed from the army, twenty years before, for incur-
able drunkenness; and most of Tom's friends entertained
the belief that if he ever attempted to run he would
crack all over, and go to pieces like a disentombed
Egyptian mummy. Tom therefore walked off to the
row of buildings inhabited by the men, where he sat
down on a bench in front of his bed, and proceeded
leisurely to fill his pipe.
The room in which he sat was a fair specimen of the
dwellings devoted to the employes of the Hudson's Bay
Company throughout the country. It was large, and low
in the roof, built entirely of wood, which was unpainted;
a matter, however, of no consequence, as, from long ex-
posure to dust and tobacco-smoke, the floor, walls, and
ceiling had become one deep uniform brown. The men's
beds were constructed after the fashion of berths on
board ship, being wooden boxes ranged in tiers round the
room. Several tables and benches were strewn miscel-
laneously about the floor, in the centre of which stood a
large double iron stove, with the word Carron" stamped
on it. This served at once for cooking, and warming the
place. Numerous guns, axes, and canoe-paddles hung
round the walls or were piled in corners, and the rafters
sustained a miscellaneous mass of materials, the more
conspicuous among which were snow-shoes, dog-sledges.
axe-handles, and nets.
Having filled and lighted his pipe, Tom Whyte thrust
his hands into his deerskin mittens, and sauntered off to
perform his errand.


















CHAPTER IV.


A wolf-hunt in the prairies-Charley astonishes his father, and breaks in the
"noo 'oss effectually.

URING the long winter that reigns in the northern
regions of America, the thermometer ranges, for
many months together, from zero down to 20, 30, and 40
degrees below it. In different parts of the country the
intensity of the frost varies a little, but not sufficiently to
make any appreciable change in one's sensation of cold.
At York Fort, on the shores of Hudson's Bay, where the
winter is eight months long, the spirit-of-wine (mercury
being useless in so cold a climate) sometimes falls so low
as 50 degrees below zero; and away in the regions of
Great Bear Lake it has been known to fall considerably
lower than 60 degrees below zero of Fahrenheit. Cold of
such intensity, of course, produces many curious and in-
teresting effects, which, although scarcely noticed by the
inhabitants, make a strong impression upon the minds of
those who visit the country for the first time. A youth
goes out to walk on one of the first sharp, frosty morn-
ings. His locks are brown and his face ruddy. In half-
an-hour he returns with his face blue, his nose frost-bitten,
and his locks white-the latter effect being produced by
his breath congealing on his hair and breast, until both
are covered with hoar-frost. Perhaps he is of a sceptical
nature, prejudiced, it may be, in favour of old habits and








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


customs; so that, although told by those who ought to
know that it is absolutely necessary to wear moccasins in
winter, he prefers the leather boots to which he has been
accustomed at home, and goes out with them accordingly.
In a few minutes the feet begin to lose sensation. First
the toes, as far as feeling goes, vanish; then the heels
depart, and he feels the extraordinary and peculiar and
altogether disagreeable sensation of one who has had his
heels and toes amputated, and is walking about on his
insteps. Soon, however, these also fade away, and the
unhappy youth rushes frantically home on the stumps of
his ankle-bones-at least so it appears to him, and so in
reality it would turn out to be if he did not speedily rub
the benumbed appendages into vitality again.
The whole country during this season is buried in snow,
and the prairies of Red River present the appearance of
a sea of the purest white for five or six months of the
year. Impelled by hunger, troops of prairie wolves prowl
round the settlement, safe from the assault of man in con-
sequence of their light weight permitting them to scamper
away on the surface of the snow, into which man or horse,
from their greater weight, would sink, so as to render
pursuit either fearfully laborious or altogether impossible.
In spring, however, when the first thaws begin to take
place, and commence that delightful process of disruption
which introduces this charming season of the year, the
relative position of wolf and man is reversed. The snow
becomes suddenly soft, so that the short legs of the wolf,
sinking deep into it, fail to reach the solid ground below,
and he is obliged to drag heavily along; while the long
legs of the horse enable him to plunge through and dash
aside the snow at a rate which, although not very fleet,
is sufficient nevertheless to overtake the chase and give
his rider a chance of shooting it. The inhabitants of
Red River are not much addicted to this sport, but the







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Service sometimes
practise it; and it was to a hunt of this description that
our young friend Charley Kennedy was now so anxious
to go.
The morning was propitious. The sun blazed in daz-
zling splendour in a sky of deep unclouded blue, while
the white prairie glittered as if it were a sea of diamonds
rolling out in an unbroken sheet from the walls of the
fort to the horizon, and on looking at which one experi-
enced all the pleasurable feelings of being out on a calm
day on the wide, wide sea, without the disagreeable con-
sequence of being very, very sick.
The thermometer stood at 390 in the shade, and every-
thin/," as Tom Whyte emphatically expressed it, "looked
like a running' of right away into slush." That unusual
sound, the trickling of water, so inexpressibly grateful to
the ears of those who dwell in frosty climes, was heard
all around, as the heavy masses of snow on the housetops
sent a few adventurous drops gliding down the icicles
which depended from the eves and gables; and there was
a balmy softness in the air that told of coming spring.
Nature, in fact, seemed to have wakened from her long
nap, and was beginning to think of getting up. Like
people, however, who venture to delay so long as to think
about it, Nature frequently turns round and goes to sleep
again in her icy cradle for a few weeks after the first
awakening.
The scene in the court-yard of Fort Garry harmonized
with the cheerful spirit of the morning. Tom Whyte,
with that upright solemnity which constituted one of his
characteristic features, was standing in the centre of a
group of horses, whose energy he endeavoured to restrain
with the help of a small Indian boy, to whom meanwhile
he imparted a variety of useful and otherwise unattain-
able information.








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


"You see, Joseph," said he to the urchin, who gazed
gravely in his face with a pair of very large and dark
eyes, "ponies is-often skittish. Reason why one should
be, an' another not, I can't comprehend. P'r'aps it's
natural, p'r'aps not, but howsomediver so 'tis; an' if it's
more nor above the likes o' me, Joseph, you needn't be
surprised that it's something altogether beyond you."
It will not surprise the reader to be told that Joseph
made no reply to this speech, having a very imperfect
acquaintance with the English language, especially the
peculiar dialect of that tongue in which Tom Whyte was
wont to express his ideas, when he had any.
He merely gave a grunt, and continued to gaze at Tom's
fishy eyes, which were about as interesting as the face to
which they belonged, and that might have been mistaken
for almost anything.
"Yes, Joseph," he continued, that's a fact. There's the
noo brown 'oss now, it's a skittish 'un. And there's Mr.
Kennedy's gray mare, wot's a standing' of beside me, she
ain't skittish a bit, though she's plenty of spirit, and
wouldn't care hanythink for a five-barred gate. Now,
wot I want to know is, wot's the reason why ?"
We fear that the reason why, however interesting it
might prove to naturalists, must remain a profound secret-
for ever; for just as the groom was about to entertain
Joseph with one of his theories on the point, Charley
Kennedy and Harry Somerville hastily approached.
"Ho, Tom!" exclaimed the former, have you got the
miller's pony for me ?"
"Why, no, sir; 'e 'adn't got his shoes on, sir, last
night-"
"Oh, bother his shoes!" said Charley, in a voice of
great disappointment. "Why didn't you bring him up
without shoes, man, eh ?"
Well, sir, the miller said 'e'd get 'em put on early this








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


morning an' I expectt 'e'll be 'ere in 'alf-a-hour at farthest,
sir.
"Oh, very well," replied Charley, much relieved, but
still a little nettled at the bare possibility of being late.-
"Come along, Harry; let's go and meet him. He'll be
long enough of coming if we don't go to poke him up a
bit."
"You'd better wait," called out the groom, as the boys
hastened away. If you go by the river, he'll p'r'aps
come by the plains; and if you go by the plains, he'll
p'r'aps come by the river."
Charley and Harry stopped and looked at each other.
Then they looked at the groom, and as their eyes surveyed
his solemn, cadaverous countenance, which seemed a sort
of bad caricature of the long visages of the horses that
stood around him, they burst into a simultaneous and
prolonged laugh.
"He's a clever old lamp-post," said Harry at last: "we
had better remain, Charley."
"You see," continued Tom Whyte, "the pony's 'oofs is
in an horriblee state. Last night w'en I see'd 'im I said to
the miller, says I, 'John, I'll take 'im down to the smith
directly.' 'Very good,' said John. So I'ad him down to
the smith-"
The remainder of Tom's speech was cut short by one of
those unforeseen operations of the laws of nature which
are peculiar to arctic climates. During the long winter
repeated falls of snow cover the housetops with white
mantles upwards of a foot thick, which become gradually
thicker and more consolidated as winter advances. In
spring the suddenness of the thaw loosens these from the
sloping roofs, and precipitates them in masses to the
ground. These miniature avalanches are dangerous, people
having been seriously injured and sometimes killed by
them. Now it happened that a very large mass of snow,








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


which lay on and partly depended from the roof of the
house near to which the horses were standing, gave way,
and just at that critical point in Tom Whyte's speech
when he "'ad 'im down to the smith," fell with a stunning
crash on the back of Mr. Kennedy's gray mare. The mare
was not "skittish "-by no means-according to Tom's
idea, but it would have been more than an ordinary mare
to have stood the sudden descent of half-a-ton of snow
without some symptoms of consciousness. No sooner did
it feel the blow than it sent both heels with a bang against
the wooden store, by way of preliminary movement, and
then rearing up with a wild snort, it sprang over Tom
Whyte's head, jerked the reins from his hand, and upset
him in the snow. Poor Tom never bent to anything. The
military despotism under which he had been reared having
substituted a touch of the cap for a bow, rendered it un-
necessary to bend; prolonged drill, laziness, and rheuma-
tism made it at last impossible. When he stood up, he
did so after the manner of a pillar; when he sat down, he
broke across at two points, much in the way in which a
foot-rule would have done had it felt disposed to sit
down; and when he fell, he came down like an overturned
lamp-post. On the present occasion Tom became hori-
zontal in a moment, and from his unfortunate propensity
to fall straight, his head, reaching much farther than
might have been expected, came into violent contact with
the small Indian boy, who fell flat likewise, letting go the
reins of the horses, which latter no sooner felt themselves
free than they fled, curvetting and snorting round the
court, with reins and mains flying in rare confusion.
The two boys, who could scarce stand for laughing, ran
to the gates of the fort to prevent the chargers getting
free, and in a short time they were again secured, although
evidently much elated in spirit.
A few minutes after this Mr. Grant issued from the







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


principal house leaning on Mr. Kennedy's arm, and fol-
lowed by the senior clerk, Peter Mactavish, and one or
two friends who had come to take part in the wolf-hunt.
They were all armed with double or single barrelled guns
or pistols, according to their several fancies. The two
elderly gentlemen alone entered upon the scene without
any more deadly weapons than their heavy riding-whips.
Young Harry Somerville, who had been strongly advised
not to take a gun lest he should shoot himself or his horse
or his companions, was content to take the field with a
small pocket-pistol, which he crammed to the muzzle with
a compound of ball and swan-shot.
"It won't do," said Mr. Grant, in an earnest voice, to
his friend, as they walked towards the horses-" it won't
do to check him too abruptly, my dear sir."
It was evident that they were recurring to the subject
of conversation of the previous day, and it was also evi-
dent that the father's wrath was in that very uncertain
state when a word or a look can throw it into violent
agitation.
"Just permit me," continued Mr. Grant, "to get him
sent to the Saskatchewan or Athabasca for a couple of
years. By that time he'll have had enough of a rough
life, and be only too glad to get a berth at headquarters.
If you thwart him now, I feel convinced that he'll break
through all restraint."
"Humph!" ejaculated Mr. Kennedy, with a frown.-
"Come here, Charley," he said, as the boy approached
with a disappointed look to tell of his failure in getting
a horse; "I've been talking with Mr. Grant again about
this business, and he says he can easily get you into the
counting-room here for a year, so you'll make arrange-
ments-"
The old gentleman paused. He was going to have fol-
lowed his wonted course by commanding instantaneous







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


obedience; but as his eye fell upon the honest, open,
though disappointed face of his son, a gush of tenderness
filled his heart. Laying his hand upon Charley's head,
he said, in a kind but abrupt tone, "There now, Charley,
my boy, make up your mind to give in with a good grace.
It'll only be hard work for a year or two, and then plain
sailing after that, Charley !"
Charley's clear blue eyes filled with tears as the accents
of kindness fell upon his ear.
It is strange that men should frequently be so blind to
the potent influence of kindness. Independently of the
Divine authority, which assures us that "a soft answer
turneth away wrath," and that love is the fulfilling of
the law," who has not, in the course of his experience, felt
the overwhelming power of a truly affectionate word;
not a word which possesses merely an affectionate signi-
fication, but a word spoken with a gush of tenderness,
where love rolls in the tone, and beams in the eye, and
revels in every wrinkle of the face? And how much
more powerfully does such a word or look or tone strike
home to the heart if uttered by one whose lips are not
much accustomed to the formation of honeyed words or
sweet sentences Had Mr. Kennedy, senior, known more
of this power, and put it more frequently to the proof, we
venture to affirm that Mr. Kennedy, junior, would have
allowed his "flint to be fixed" (as his father pithily ex-
pressed it) long ago.
Ere Charley could reply to the question, Mr. Grant's
voice, pitched in an elevated key, interrupted them.
"Eh! what?" said that gentleman to Tom Whyte.
"No horse for Charley! How's that?"
"No, sir," said Tom.
"Where's the brown pony ?" said Mr. Grant, abruptly.
"Cut 'is fetlock, sir," said Tom, slowly.
"And the new horse ?"








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


"'Tan't 'alf broke yet, sir."
"Ah! that's bad.-It wouldn't do to take an unbroken
charger, Charley; for although you are a pretty good
rider, you couldn't manage him, I fear. Let me see."
"Please, sir," said the groom, touching his hat, "I've
borrowed the miller's pony for 'im, and 'e's sure to be 'ere
in 'alf-a-hour at farthest."
"Oh, that'll do," said Mr. Grant; "you can soon over-
take us. We shall ride slowly out, straight into the
prairie, and Harry will remain behind to keep you com-
pany."
So saying, Mr. Grant mounted his horse and rode out at
the back gate, followed by the whole cavalcade.
"Now this is too bad!" said Charley, looking with a
very perplexed air at his companion. "What's to be done?"
Harry evidently did not know what was to be done,
and made no difficulty of saying so in a very sympa-
thizing tone. Moreover, he begged Charley very earnestly
to take his pony, but this the other would not hear of;
so they came to the conclusion that there was nothing
for it but to wait as patiently as possible for the arrival
of the expected horse. In the meantime Harry proposed
a saunter in the field adjoining the fort. Charley assented,
and the two friends walked away, leading the gray pony
along with them.
To the right of Fort Garry was a small enclosure, at the
extreme end of which commences a growth of willows
and underwood, which gradually increases in size till it
becomes a pretty thick belt of woodland, skirting up the
river for many miles. Here stood the stable belonging
to the establishment; and as the boys passed it, Charley
suddenly conceived a strong desire to see the renowned
"noo 'oss," which Tom Whyte had said was only "'alf
broke;" so he turned the key, opened the door, and
went in.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


There was nothing very peculiar about this horse, ex-
cepting that his legs seemed rather long for his body, and
upon a closer examination, there was a noticeable breadth
of nostril and a latent fire in his eye, indicating a good
deal of spirit, which, like Charley's own, required taming.
"Oh," said Charley, "what a splendid fellow! I say,
Harry, I'll go out with him."
You'd better not."
"Why not?"
"Why? just because if you do Mr. Grant will be
down upon you, and your father won't be very well
pleased."
"Nonsense," cried Charley. "Father didn't say I
wasn't to take him. I don't think he'd care much.
He's not afraid of my breaking my neck. And then,
Mr. Grant seemed to be only afraid of my being run off
with-not of his horse being hurt. Here goes for it!"
In another moment Charley had him saddled and bridled,
and led him out into the yard.
"Why, I declare, he's quite quiet; just like a lamb,"
said Harry, in surprise.
So he is," replied Charley. "He's a capital charger;
and even if he does bolt, he can't run five hundred miles
at a, stretch. If I turn his head to the prairies, the
Rocky Mountains are the first things that will bring him
up. So let him run if he likes, I don't care a fig." And
springing lightly into the saddle, he cantered out of the
yard, followed by his friend.
The young horse was a well-formed, showy animal,
with a good deal of bone-perhaps too much for elegance.
He was of a beautiful dark brown, and carried a high
head and tail, with a high-stepping gait, that gave him a
noble appearance. As Charley cantered along at a steady
pace, he could discover no symptoms of the refractory
spirit which had been ascribed to him.








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Let us strike out straight for the horizon now," said
Harry, after they had galloped half-a-mile or so along the
beaten track. "See, here are the tracks of our friends."
Turning sharp round as he spoke, he leaped his pony
over the heap that lined the road, and galloped away
through the soft snow.
At this point the young horse began to show his evil
spirit. Instead of following the other, he suddenly halted
and began to back.
Hollo, Harry !" exclaimed Charley; "hold on a bit.
Here's this monster begun his tricks."
"Hit him a crack with the whip," shouted Harry.
Charley acted upon the advice, which had the effect of
making the horse shake his head with a sharp snort, and
back more vigorously than ever.
"There, my fine fellow, quiet now," said Charley, in a
soothing tone, patting the horse's neck. "It's a comfort
to know you can't go far in that direction, anyhow !" he
added, as he glanced over his shoulder, and saw an im-
mense drift behind.
He was right. In a few minutes the horse backed into
the snow-drift. Finding his hind-quarters imprisoned
by a power that was too much even for his obstinacy to
overcome, he gave another snort and a heavy plunge,
which almost unseated his young rider.
Hold on fast," cried Harry, who had now come up.
"No fear," cried Charley, as he clinched his teeth and
gathered the reins more firmly.-" Now for it, you young
villain!" and raising his whip, he brought it down with
a heavy slash on the horse's flank.
Had the snow-drift been a cannon, and the horse a
bombshell, he could scarcely have sprung from it with
greater velocity. One bound landed him on the road;
another cleared it; and, in a second more, he stretched
out at full speed-his ears flat on his neck, mane and







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


tail flying in the wind, and the bit tight between his
teeth.
"Well done," cried Harry, as he passed. "You're off
now, old fellow; good-bye."
"Hurrah!" shouted Charley, in reply, leaving his cap
in the snow as a parting souvenir; while, seeing that it
was useless to endeavour to check his steed, he became
quite wild with excitement; gave him the rein; flourished
his whip; and flew over the white plains, casting up the
snow in clouds behind him like a hurricane.
While this little escapade was being enacted by the
boys, the hunters were riding leisurely out upon the
snowy sea in search of a wolf.
Words cannot convey to you, dear reader, an adequate
conception of the peculiar fascination, the exhilarating
splendour of the scene by which our hunters were sur-
rounded. Its beauty lay not in variety of feature in the
landscape, for there was none. One vast sheet of white
alone met the view, bounded all round by the blue circle
of the sky, and broken, in one or two places, by a patch
or two of willows, which, rising on the plain, appeared
like little islands in a frozen sea. It was the glittering
sparkle of the snow in the bright sunshine; the dreamy
haziness of the atmosphere, mingling earth and sky as in
a halo of gold; the first taste, the first smell of spring
after a long winter, bursting suddenly upon the senses.
like the unexpected visit of a long-absent, much-loved,
and almost-forgotten friend; the soft, warm feeling of
the south wind, bearing on its wings the balmy influences
of sunny climes, and recalling vividly the scenes, the
pleasures, the bustling occupations of summer. It was
this that caused the hunters' hearts to leap within them
as they rode along-that induced old Mr. Kennedy to
forget his years, and shout as he had been wont to do in
days gone by, when he used to follow the track of the elk







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


or hunt the wild buffalo; and it was this that made the
otherwise monotonous prairies, on this particular day, so
charming.
The party had wandered about without discovering
anything that bore the smallest resemblance to a wolf,
for upwards of an hour; Fort Garry had fallen astern
(to use a nautical phrase) until it had become a mere
speck on the horizon, and vanished altogether; Peter
Mactavish had twice given a false alarm, in the eagerness
of his spirit, and had three times plunged his horse up to
the girths in a snow-drift; the senior clerk was waxing
impatient, and the horses restive, when a sudden Hollo!"
from Mr. Grant brought the whole cavalcade to a stand.
The object which drew his attention, and to which he
directed the anxious eyes of his friends, was a small
speck, rather triangular in form, which overtopped a
little willow bush not more than five or six hundred
yards distant.
"There he is !" exclaimed Mr. Grant. "That's a fact,"
cried Mr. Kennedy; and both gentlemen, instantaneously
giving a shout, bounded towards the object; not, how-
ever, before the senior clerk, who was mounted on a fleet
and strong horse, had taken the lead by six yards. A
moment afterwards the speck rose up and discovered
itself to be a veritable wolf. Moreover, he condescended
to show his teeth, and then, conceiving it probable that
his enemies were too numerous for him, he turned sud-
denly round and fled away. For ten minutes or so the
chase was kept up at full speed, and as the snow happened
to be shallow at the starting-point, the wolf kept well
ahead of its pursuers-indeed, distanced them a little.
But soon the snow became deeper, and the wolf plunged
heavily, and the horses gained considerably. Although
to the eye the prairies seemed to be a uniform level,
there were numerous slight undulations, in which drifts







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


of some depth had collected. Into one of these the wolf
now plunged and laboured slowly through it. But so
deep was the snow that the horses almost stuck fast. A
few minutes, however, brought them out, and Mr. Grant
and Mr. Kennedy, who had kept close to each other
during the run, pulled up for a moment on the summit
of a ridge to breathe their panting steeds.
"What can that be ?" exclaimed the former, pointing
with his whip to a distant object which was moving
rapidly over the plain.
"Eh! what-where?" said Mr. Kennedy, shading his
eyes with his hand, and peering in the direction indicated.
" Why, that's another wolf, isn't it ? No; it runs too fast
for that."
"Strange," said his friend; what can it be ?"
If I hadn't seen every beast in the country," remarked
Mr. Kennedy, and didn't know that there are no such
animals north of the equator, I should say it was a mad
dromedary mounted by a ring-tailed roarer."
"It can't be, surely-not possible!" exclaimed Mr.
Grant. "It's not Charley on the new horse!"
Mr. Grant said this with an air of vexation that an-
noyed his friend a little. He would not have much
minded Charley's taking a horse without leave, no matter
how wild it might be; but he did not at all relish the
idea of making an apology for his son's misconduct, and
for the moment did not exactly know what to say. As
usual in such a dilemma, the old man took refuge in a
towering passion, gave his steed a sharp cut with the
whip, and galloped forward to meet the delinquent.
We are not acquainted with the general appearance of
a ring-tailed roarer;": in fact, we have grave doubts as
to whether such an animal exists at all; but if it does,
and is particularly wild, dishevelled, and fierce in deport-
ment, there is no doubt whatever that when Mr. Ken-








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


nedy applied the name to his hopeful son, the application
was singularly powerful and appropriate.
Charley had had a long run since we last saw him.
After describing a wide curve, in which his charger dis-
played a surprising aptitude for picking out the ground
that was least covered with snow, he headed straight for
the fort again at the same pace at which he had started.
At first Charley tried every possible method to check
him, but in vain; so he gave it up, resolving to enjoy the
race, since he could not prevent it. The young horse
seemed to be made of lightning, with bones and muscles
of brass; for he bounded untiringly forward for miles,
tossing his head and snorting in his wild career. But
Charley was a good horseman, and did not mind that
much, being quite satisfied that the horse was a horse
and not a spirit, and that therefore he could not run for
aver. At last he approached the party, in search of
which he had originally set out. His eyes dilated and
his colour heightened as he beheld the wolf running
directly towards him. Fumbling hastily for the pistol
which he had borrowed from his friend Harry, he drew
it from his pocket, and prepared to give the animal a shot
in passing. Just at that moment the wolf caught sight
of this new enemy in advance, and diverged suddenly to
the left, plunging into a drift in his confusion, and so
enabling the senior clerk to overtake him, and send an
ounce of heavy 1iot into his side, which turned him over
quite dead. The shot, however, had a double effect. At
that instant Charley swept past; and his mettlesome steed
swerved as it heard the loud report of the gun, thereby
almost unhorsing his rider, and causing him unintention-
ally to discharge the conglomerate of bullets and swan-shot
into the flank of Peter Mactavish's horse-fortunately at
a distance which rendered the shot equivalent to a dozen
very sharp and particularly stinging blows. On receiving








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


this unexpected salute, the astonished charger reared con-
vulsively, and fell back upon his rider, who was thereby
buried deep in the snow, not a vestige of him being left,
no more than if he had never existed at all. Indeed, for
a moment it seemed to be doubtful whether poor Peter
did exist or not, until a sudden upheaving of the snow
took place, and his dishevelled head appeared, with the
eyes and mouth wide open, bearing on them an expression
of mingled horror and amazement. Meanwhile the second
shot acted like a spur on the young horse, which flew past
Mr. Kennedy like a whirlwind.
"Stop, you young scoundrel!" he shouted, shaking his
fist at Charley as he passed.
Charley was past stopping, either by inclination or
ability. This sudden and unexpected accumulation of
disasters was too much for him. As he passed his sire,
with his brown curls streaming straight out behind, and
his eyes flashing with excitement, his teeth clinched, and
his horse tearing along more like an incarnate fiend than
an animal, a spirit of combined recklessness, consterna-
tion, indignation, and glee took possession of him. He
waved his whip wildly over his head, brought it down
with a stinging cut on the horse's neck, and uttered a
shout of defiance that threw completely into the shade
the loudest war-whoop that was ever uttered by the
brazen lungs of the wildest savage between Hudson's
Bay and Oregon. Seeing and hearir this, old Mr.
Kennedy wheeled about and dashed off in pursuit with
much greater energy than he had displayed in chase of
the wolf.
The race bade fair to be a long one, for the young horse
was strong in wind and limb; and the gray mare, though
decidedly not "the better horse," was much fresher than
the other.
The hunters, who were now joined by Harry Somer-







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


ville, did not feel it incumbent on them to follow this new
chase; so they contented themselves with watching their
flight towards the fort, while they followed at a more
leisurely pace.
Meanwhile Charley rapidly neared Fort Garry, and
now began to wonder whether the stable door was open,
and if so, whether it were better for him to take his
chance of getting his neck broken, or to throw himself
into the next snow-drift that presented itself.
He had not to remain long in suspense. The wooden
fence that enclosed the stable-yard lay before him. It
was between four and five feet high, with a beaten track
running along the outside, and a deep snow-drift on the
other. Charley felt that the young horse had made up
his mind to leap this. As he did not at the moment see
that there was anything better to be done, he prepared for
it. As the horse bent on his haunches to spring, he gave
him a smart cut with the whip, went over like a rocket,
and plunged up to the neck in the snow-drift; which
brought his career to an abrupt conclusion. The sudden
stoppage of the horse was one thing, but the arresting of
Master Charley was another and quite a different thing.
The instant his charger landed, he left the saddle like a
harlequin, described an extensive curve in the air, and
fell head foremost into the drift, above which his boots
and three inches of his legs alone remained to tell the
tale.
On witnessing this climax, Mr. Kennedy, senior, pulled
up, dismounted, and ran-with an expression of some
anxiety on his countenance-to the help of his son; while
Tom Whyte came out of the stable just in time to receive
the "noo 'oss" as he floundered out of the snow.
"I believe," said the groom, as he surveyed the trem-
bling charger, "that your son has broke the noo 'oss, sir,
better nor I could 'ave done myself."








54 THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.

"I believe that my son has broken his neck," said Mr.
Kennedy wrathfully. "Come here and help me to dig
him out."
In a few minutes Charley was dug out, in a state of
insensibility, and carried up to the fort, where he was
laid on a bed, and restoratives actively applied for his
recovery.

















CHAPTER V.


Peter Mactavish becomes an amateur doctor; Charley promulgates his views of
things in general to Kate; and Kate waxes sagacious.

SHORTLY after the catastrophe just related, Charley
opened his eyes to consciousness, and aroused him-
self out of a prolonged fainting fit, under the combined
influence of a strong constitution and the medical treat-
ment of his friends.
Medical treatment in the wilds of North America, by
the way, is very original in its character, and is founded
on principles so vague that no one has ever been found
capable of stating them clearly. Owing to the stubborn
fact that there are no doctors in the country, men have
been thrown upon their own resources, and as a natural
consequence every man is a doctor. True, there are two,
it may be three, real doctors in the Hudson's Bay Com-
pany's employment; but as one of these is resident on
the shores of Hudson's Bay, another in Oregon, and a
third in Red River Settlement, they are not considered
available for every case of emergency that may chance to
occur in the hundreds of little outposts, scattered far and
wide over the whole continent of North America, with
miles and miles of primeval wilderness between each.
We do not think, therefore, that when we say there are
no doctors in the country, we use a culpable amount of
exaggeration.








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


If a man gets ill, he goes on till he gets better; and if
he doesn't get better, he dies. To avert such an unde-
sirable consummation, desperate and random efforts are
made in an amateur way. The old proverb that "ex-
tremes meet" is verified. And in a land where no doc-
tors are to be had for love or money, doctors meet you at
every turn, ready to practise on everything, with any-
thing, and all for nothing, on the shortest possible notice.
As may be supposed, the practice is novel, and not un-
frequently extremely wild. Tooth-drawing is considered
child's play-mere blacksmith's work; bleeding is a gen-
eral remedy for everything, when all else fails; castor-
oil, Epsom salts, and emetics are the three keynotes, the
foundations, and the copestones of the system.
In Red River there is only one genuine doctor; and as
the settlement is fully sixty miles long, he has enough to
do, and cannot always be found when wanted, so that
Charley had to rest content with amateur treatment in
the meantime. Peter Mactavish was the first to try his
powers. He was aware that laudanum had the effect of
producing sleep, and seeing that Charley looked some-
what sleepy after recovering consciousness, he thought it
advisable to help out that propensity to slumber, and went
to the medicine-chest, whence he extracted a small phial
of tincture of rhubarb, the half of which he emptied into
a wine-glass, under the impression that it was laudanum,
and poured down Charley's throat! The poor boy swal-
lowed a little, and sputtered the remainder over the bed-
clothes. It may be remarked here that Mactavish was a
wild, happy, half-mad sort of fellow-wonderfully erudite
in regard to some things, and profoundly ignorant in re-
gard to others. Medicine, it need scarcely be added, was
not his forte. Having accomplished this feat to his satis-
faction, he sat down to watch by the bedside of his friend.
Peter had taken this opportunity to indulge in a little







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


private practice just after several of the other gentlemen
had left the office, under the impression that Charley had
better remain quiet for a short time.
"Well, Peter," whispered Mr. Kennedy, senior, putting
his head in at the door (it was Harry's room in which
Charley lay), how is he now ?"
"Oh doing capitally," replied Peter, in a hoarse whis-
per, at the same time rising and entering the office, while
he gently closed the door behind him. "I gave him a
small dose of physic, which I think has done him good.
He's sleeping like a top now."
Mr. Kennedy frowned slightly, and made one or two
remarks in reference to physic which were not calculated
to gratify the ears of a physician.
"What did you give him ?" he inquired abruptly.
"Only a little laudanum."
Only, indeed! it's all trash together, and that's the
worst kind of trash you could have given him. Humph!"
and the old gentleman jerked his shoulders testily.
"How much did you give him ?" said the senior clerk,
who had entered the apartment with Harry a few minutes
before.
"Not quite a wineglassful," replied Peter, somewhat
subdued.
"A what!" cried the father, starting from his chair as
if he had received an electric shock, and rushing into the
adjoining room, up and down which he raved in a state
of distraction, being utterly ignorant of what should be
done under the circumstances.
"0 dear!" gasped Peter, turning pale as death.
Poor Harry Somerville fell rather than leaped off his
stool, and dashed into the bedroom, where old Mr. Ken-
nedy was occupied in alternately heaping unutterable
abuse on the head of Peter Mactavish, and imploring him
to advise what was best to be done. But Peter knew not.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


He could only make one or two insane proposals to roll
Charley about the floor, and see if that would do him any
good; while Harry suggested in desperation that he should
be hung by the heels, and perhaps it would run out!
Meanwhile the senior clerk seized his hat, with the in-
tention of going in search of Tom Whyte, and rushed out
at the door; which he had no sooner done than he found
himself tightly embraced in the arms of that worthy, who
happened to be entering at the moment, and who, in con-
sequence of the sudden onset, was pinned up against the
wall of the porch.
"Oh, my buzzum!" exclaimed Tom, laying his hand on
his breast; "you've a'most bu'st me, sir. W'at's wrong,
sir ?"
Go for the doctor, Tom, quick! run like the wind.
Take the freshest horse; fly, Tom, Charley's poisoned--
laudanum; quick !"
"'Eavens an' 'arth !" ejaculated the groom, wheeling
round, and stalking rapidly off to the stable like a pair of
insane compasses, while the senior clerk returned to the
bedroom, where he found Mr. Kennedy still raving, Peter
Mactavish still aghast and deadly pale, and Harry Somer-
ville staring like a maniac at his young friend, as if he
expected every moment to see him explode, although, to
all appearance, he was sleeping soundly, and comfortably
too, notwithstanding the noise that was going on around
him. Suddenly Harry's eye rested on the label of the
half-empty phial, and he uttered a loud, prolonged cheer.
"It's only tincture of-'
"Wild cats and furies!" cried Mr. Kennedy, turning
sharply round and seizing Harry by the collar, "why
d'you kick up such a row, eh ?"
"It's only tincture of rhubarb," repeated the boy, dis-
engaging himself and holding up the phial triumphantly.
"So it is, I declare," exclaimed Mr. Kennedy, in a tone







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


that indicated intense relief of mind; while Peter Mac-
tavish uttered a sigh so deep that one might suppose a
burden of innumerable tons weight had just been removed
from his breast.
Charley had been roused from his slumbers by this last
ebullition; but on being told what had caused it, he
turned languidly round on his pillow and went to sleep
again, while his friends departed and left him to repose.
Tom Whyte failed to find the doctor. The servant told
him that her master had been suddenly called to set a
broken leg that morning for a trapper who lived ten
miles down the river, and on his return had found a
man waiting with a horse and cariole, who carried him
violently away to see his wife, who had been taken sud-
denly ill at a house twenty miles up the river, and so she
didn't expect him back that night.
An' where has 'e been took to ?" inquired Tom.
She couldn't tell; she knew it was somewhere about
the White-horse Plains, but she didn't know more than
that.
"Did 'e not say w'en 'e'd be 'ome ? "
"No, he didn't."
"Oh dear!" said Tom, rubbing his long nose in great
perplexity. "It's an horriblee case o' sudden and onex-
pected pison."
She was sorry for it, but couldn't help that; and there-
upon, bidding him good-morning, shut the door.
Tom's wits had come to that condition which just pre-
cedes "giving it up as hopeless, when it occurred to him
that he was not far from old Mr. Kennedy's residence;
so he stepped into the cariole again and drove thither.
On his arrival, he threw poor Mrs. Kennedy and Kate
into great consternation by his exceedingly graphic, and
more than slightly exaggerated, account of what had
brought him in search of the doctor. At first Mrs. Ken-







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


nedy resolved to go up to Fort Garry immediately, but
Kate persuaded her to remain at home, by pointing out
that she could herself go, and if anything very serious had
occurred (which she didn't believe), Mr. Kennedy could
come down for her immediately, while she (Kate) could
remain to nurse her brother.
In a few minutes Kate and Tom were seated side by
side in the little cariole, driving swiftly up the frozen
river; and two hours later the former was seated by her
brother's bedside, watching him as he slept with a look of
tender affection and solicitude.
Rousing himself from his slumbers, Charley looked
vacantly round the room.
"Have you slept well, darling ?" inquired Kate, laying
her hand lightly on his forehead.
"Slept-eh! oh yes, I've slept. I say, Kate, what a
precious bump I came down on my head, to be sure !"
"Hush, Charley!" said Kate, perceiving that he was
becoming energetic. "Father said you were to keep quiet
-and so do I," she added, with a frown. Shut your eyes,
sir, and go to sleep."
Charley complied by shutting his eyes, and opening
his mouth, and uttering a succession of deep snores.
"Now, you bad boy," said Kate, "why won't you try
to rest ?"
"Because, Kate dear," said Charley, opening his eyes
again-" because I feel as if I had slept a week at least;
and not being one of the seven sleepers, I don't think it
necessary to do more in that way just now. Besides, my
sweet but particularly wicked sister, I wish just at this
moment to have a talk with you."
"But are you sure it won't do you harm to talk ? do
you feel quite strong enough?"
Quite: Samson was a mere infant compared to me."
"Oh, don't talk nonsense, Charley dear, and keep your







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


hands quiet, and don't lift the clothes with your knees in
that way, else I'll go away and leave you."
"Very well, my pet, if you do I'll get up and dress
and follow you, that's all! But come, Kate, tell me first
of all how it was that I got pitched off that long-legged
rhinoceros, and who it was that picked me up, and why
wasn't I killed, and how did I come here; for my head is
sadly confused, and I scarcely recollect anything that has
happened; and before commencing your discourse, Kate,
please hand me a glass of water, for my mouth is as dry
as a whistle."
Kate handed him a glass of water, smoothed his pillow,
brushed the curls gently off his forehead, and sat down
on the bedside.
"Thank you, Kate; now go on."
"Well, you see," she began-
"Pardon me, dearest," interrupted Charley, "if you
would please to look at me you would observe that my
two eyes are tightly closed, so that I don't see at all."
"Well, then, you must understand-"
"Must I ? oh !-"
"That after that wicked horse leaped with you over
the stable fence, you were thrown high into the air, and
turning completely round, fell head foremost into the
snow, and your poor head went through the top of an old
cask that had been buried there all winter."
"Dear me!" ejaculated Charley; "did any one see me,
Kate ?"
"Oh yes."
"Who?" asked Charley, somewhat anxiously; "not
Mrs. Grant, I hope ? for if she did she'd never let me hear
the last of it."
"No; only our father, who was chasing you at the
time," replied Kate, with a merry laugh.
And no one else ?"







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


No-oh yes, by-the-by, Tom Whyte was there too."
"Oh, he's nobody! Go on."
"But tell me, Charley, why do you care about Mrs.
Grant seeing you?"
"Oh! no reason at all, only she's such an abominable
quiz."
We must guard the reader here against the supposition
that Mrs. Grant was a quiz of the ordinary kind. She
was by no means a sprightly, clever woman, rather fond
of a joke than otherwise, as the term might lead you to
suppose. Her corporeal frame was very large, excessively
fat, and remarkably unwieldy; being an appropriate
casket in which to enshrine a mind of the heaviest and
most sluggish nature. She spoke little, ate largely, and
slept much-the latter recreation being very frequently
enjoyed in a large arm-chair of a peculiar kind. It had
been a water-butt, which her ingenious husband had cut
half-way down the middle, then half-way across, and in
the angle thus formed fixed a bottom, which, together
with the back, he padded with tow, and covered the
whole with a mantle of glaring bed-curtain chintz, whose
pattern alternated in stripes of sky-blue and china roses,
with broken fragments of the rainbow between. Not-
withstanding her excessive slowness, however, Mrs. Grant
was fond of taking a firm hold of anything or any cir-
cumstance in the character or affairs of her friends, and
twitting them thereupon in a grave but persevering
manner that was exceedingly irritating. No one could
ever ascertain whether Mrs. Grant did this in a sly way
or not, as her visage never expressed anything except
unalterable good-humour. She was a good wife and an
affectionate mother; had a family of ten children, and
could boast of never having had more than one quarrel
with her husband. This disagreement was occasioned by
a rather awkward mischance. One day, not long after







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


her last baby was born, Mrs. Grant waddled towards her
tub with the intention of enjoying her accustomed siesta.
A few minutes previously, her seventh child, which was
just able to walk, had scrambled up into the seat and
fallen fast asleep there. As has been already said, Mrs.
-Grant's intellect was never very bright, and at this par-
ticular time she was rather drowsy, so that she did not
observe the child, and on reaching her chair, turned round
preparatory to letting herself plump into it. She always
plumped into her chair. Her muscles were too soft to
lower her gently down into it. Invariably on reaching
a certain point they ceased to act, and let her down with
a crash. She had just reached this point, and her baby's
hopes and prospects were on the eve of being cruelly
crushed for ever, when Mr. Grant noticed the impending
calamity. He had no time to warn her, for she had al-
ready passed the point at which her powers of muscular
endurance terminated; so grasping the chair, he suddenly
withdrew it with such force that the baby rolled off upon
the floor like a hedgehog, straightened out flat, and gave
vent to an outrageous roar, while its horror-struck mother
came to the ground with a sound resembling the fall of
an enormous sack of wool. Although the old lady could
not see exactly that there was anything very blame-
worthy in her husband's conduct upon this occasion, yet
her nerves had received so severe a shock that she refused
to be comforted for two entire days.
But to return from this digression. After Charley had
two or three times recommended Kate (who was a little
inclined to be quizzical) to proceed, she continued,-
"Well, then, you were carried up here by father and
Tom Whyte, and put to bed, and after a good deal of
rubbing and rough treatment you were got round. Then
Peter Mactavish nearly poisoned you; but fortunately he
was such a goose that he did not think of reading the








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


label of the phial, and so gave you a dose of tincture of
rhubarb instead of laudanum, as he had intended; and
then father flew into a passion, and Tom Whyte was sent
to fetch the doctor, and couldn't find him; but fortu-
nately he found me, which was much better, I think, and
brought me up here. And so here I am, and here I in-
tend to remain."
"And so that's the end of it. Well, Kate, I'm very
glad it was no worse."
"And I am very thankfull" said Kate, with emphasis
on the word, "that it's no worse."
"Oh, well, you know, Kate, I meant that, of course."
"But you did not say it," replied his sister earnestly.
"To be sure not," said Charley gaily; "it would be ab-
surd to be always making solemn speeches, and things of
that sort, every time one has a little accident."
True, Charley; but when one has a very serious ac-.
cident, and escapes unhurt, don't you think that then it
would be-"
"Oh yes, to be sure," interrupted Charley, who still
strove to turn Kate from her serious frame of mind; but,
sister dear, how could I possibly say I was thankful, with
my head crammed into an old cask and my feet pointing
up to the blue sky, eh ?"
Kate smiled at this, and laid her hand on his arm,
while she bent over the pillow and looked tenderly into
his eyes.
"0 my darling Charley, you are disposed to jest
about it; but I cannot tell you how my heart trembled
this morning when I heard from Tom Whyte of what
had happened. As we drove up to the fort, I thought
how terrible it would have been if you had been killed;
and then the happy days we have spent together rushed
into my mind, and I thought of the willow creek where
We used to fish for gold-eyes, and the spot in the woods







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


where we have so often chased the little birds, and the
lake in the prairies where we used to go in spring to
watch the water-fowl sporting in the sunshine. When I
recalled these things, Charley, and thought of you as dead,
I felt as if I should die too. And when I came here and
found that my fears were needless, that you were alive
and safe, and almost well, I felt thankful-yes, very, very
thankful-to God for sparing your life, my dear, dear
Charley." And Kate laid her head on his bosom and
sobbed, when she thought of what might have been, as if
her very heart would break.
Charley's disposition to levity entirely vanished while
his sister spoke; and twining his tough little arm round
her neck, he pressed her fervently to his heart.
"Bless you, Kate," he said at length. "I am indeed
thankful to God, not only for sparing my life, but for
giving me such a darling sister to live for. But now,
Kate, tell me, what do you think of father's determina-
tion to have me placed in the office here ?"
Indeed, I think it's very hard. Oh, I do wish so much
that I could do it for you," said Kate with a sigh.
"Do what for me ?" asked Charley.
Why, the office work," said Kate.
"Tuts! fiddlesticks! But isn't it, now, really a very
hard case?"
"Indeed it is; but, then, what can you do ?"
"Do?" said Charley impatiently; "run away, to be
sure."
"Oh, don't speak of that !" said Kate anxiously. "You
know it will kill our beloved mother; and then it would
grieve father very much."
Well, father don't care much about grieving me, when
he hunted me down like a wolf till I nearly broke my
neck."
"Now, Charley, you must not speak so. Father loves







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


you tenderly, although he is a little rough at times. If
you only heard how kindly he speaks of you to our
mother when you are away, you could not think of giv-
ing him so much pain. And then the Bible says,' Honour
thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in
the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee;' and as
God speaks in the Bible, surely we should pay attention
to it!"
Charley was silent for a few seconds; then heaving a
deep sigh, he said,-
"Well, I believe you're right, Kate; but then, what
am I to do? If I don't run away, I must live, like poor
Harry Somerville, on a long-legged stool; and if I do that,
I'll-I'll-"
As Charley spoke, the door opened, and his father
entered.
"Well, my boy," said he, seating himself on the bedside
and taking his son's hand, "how goes it now? Head get-
ting all right again ? I fear that Kate has been talking
too much to you.-Is it so, you little chatterbox ?"
Mr. Kennedy parted Kate's clustering ringlets and kissed
her forehead.
Charley assured his father that he was almost well, and
much the better of having Kate to tend him. In fact, he
felt so much revived that he said he would get up and
go out for a walk.
Had I not better tell Tom Whyte to saddle the young
horse for you?" said his father, half ironically. "No,
no, boy; lie still where you are to-day, and get up if you
feel better to-morrow. In the meantime, I've come to
say good-bye, as I intend to go home to relieve your
mother's anxiety about you. I'll see you again, probably,
the day after to-morrow. Hark you, boy; I've been talk-
ing your affairs over again with Mr. Grant, and we've
come to the conclusion to give you a run in the woods for








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


a time. You'll have to be ready to start early in spring
with the first brigades for the north. So adieu!"
Mr. Kennedy patted him on the head, and hastily left
the room.
A burning blush of shame arose on Charley's cheek as
he recollected his late remarks about his father; and
then, recalling the purport of his last words, he sent
forth an exulting shout as he thought of the coming
spring.
"Well now, Charley," said Kate, with an arch smile,
"let us talk seriously over your arrangements for run-
ning away."
Charley replied by seizing the pillow and throwing
it at his sister's head; but being accustomed to such
eccentricities, she anticipated the movement and evaded
the blow.
Ah, Charley," cried Kate, laughing, "you mustn't let
your hand get out of practice! That was a shockingly
bad shot for a man thirsting to become a bear and buffalo
hunter!"
"I'll make my fortune at once," cried Charley, as Kate
replaced the pillow, build a wooden castle on the shores
of Great Bear Lake, take you to keep house for me, and
when I'm out hunting you'll fish for whales in the lake,
and we'll live there to a good old age; so good-night,
Kate dear, and go to bed."
Kate laughed, gave her brother a parting kiss, and left
him.

















CHAPTER VI.


Spring and the voyageurs.

WINTER, with its snow and its ice; winter, with
its sharp winds and white drifts; winter, with
its various characteristic occupations and employment,
is past, and it is spring now.
The sun no longer glitters on fields of white; the
woodman's axe is no longer heard hacking the oaken
billets, to keep alive the roaring fires. That inexpressibly
cheerful sound the merry chime of sleigh-bells, that tells
more of winter than all other sounds together, is no longer
heard on the bosom of Red River; for the sleighs are
thrown aside as useless lumber-carts and gigs have sup-
planted them. The old Canadian, who used to drive
the ox with its water-barrel to the ice-hole for his daily
supply, has substituted a small cart with wheels for the
old sleigh that used to glide so smoothly over the snow,
and grit so sharply on it in the more than usually frosty
mornings in the days gone by. The trees have lost their
white patches, and the clumps of willows, that used to
look like islands in the prairie, have disappeared, as the
carpeting that gave them prominence has dissolved. The
aspect of everything in the isolated settlement has changed.
The winter is gone, and spring-bright, beautiful, hilari-
ous spring-has come again.
By those who have never known an arctic winter, the








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


delights of an arctic spring can never, we fear, be fully
appreciated or understood. Contrast is one of its
strongest elements; indeed, we might say, the element
which gives to all the others peculiar zest. Life in the
arctic regions is like one of Turner's pictures, in which
the lights are strong, the shadows deep, and the tout en-
semble hazy and romantic. So cold and prolonged is the
winter, that the first mild breath of spring breaks on the
senses like a zephyr from the plains of paradise. Every-
thing bursts suddenly into vigorous life, after the long
death-like sleep of Nature; as little children burst into
the romping gaieties of a new day, after the deep repose of
a long and tranquil night. The snow melts, the ice breaks
up, and rushes in broken masses, heaving and tossing in
the rising floods, that grind and whirl them into the ocean,
or into those great fresh-water lakes that vie with ocean
itself in magnitude and grandeur. The buds come out
and the leaves appear, clothing all nature with a bright
refreshing green, which derives additional brilliancy from
sundry patches of snow, that fill the deep creeks and
hollows everywhere, and form ephemeral fountains whose
waters continue to supply a thousand rills for many a
long day, until the fierce glare of the summer sun pre-
vails at last and melts them all away.
Red River flows on now to mix its long-pent-up waters
with Lake Winnipeg. Boats are seen rowing about upon
its waters, as the settlers travel from place to place; and
wooden canoes, made of the hollowed-out trunks of large
trees, shoot across from shore to shore-these canoes being
a substitute for bridges, of which there are none, although
the settlement lies on both sides of the river. Birds have
now entered upon the scene, their wild cries and ceaseless
flight adding to it a cheerful activity. Ground squirrels
pop up out of their holes, to bask their round, fat, beauti-
fully-striped little bodies in the sun, or to gaze in admi-







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


ration at the farmer, as he urges a pair of very slow-going
oxen, that drag the plough at a pace which induces one
to believe that the wide field may possibly be ploughed up
by the end of next year. Frogs whistle in the marshy
grounds so loudly that men new to the country believe
they are being regaled by the songs of millions of birds.
There is no mistake about their whistle. It is not merely
like a whistle, but it is a whistle, shrill and continuous; and
as the swamps swarm with these creatures, the song never
ceases for a moment, although each individual frog creates
only one little gush of music, composed of half-a-dozen
trills, and then stops a moment for breath before com-
mencing the second bar. Bull-frogs, too, though not so
numerous, help to vary the sound by croaking vocifer-
ously, as if they understood the value of bass, and were
glad of having an opportunity to join in the universal
hum of life and joy which rises everywhere, from the
river and the swamp, the forest and the prairie, to wel-
come back the spring.
Such was the state of things in Red River one beautiful
morning in April, when a band of voyageurs lounged in
scattered groups about the front gate of Fort Garry.
They were as fine a set of picturesque manly fellows as
one could desire to see. Their mode of life rendered
them healthy, hardy, and good-humoured, with a strong
dash of recklessness-perhaps too much of it-in some
of the younger men. Being descended, generally, from
French-Canadian sires and Indian mothers, they united
some of the good and not a few of the bad qualities of
both, mentally as well as physically-combining the light,
gay-hearted spirit and full muscular frame of the Cana-
dian with the fierce passions and active habits of the
Indian. And this wildness of disposition was not a little
fostered by the nature of their usual occupations. They
were employed during a great part of the year in navi-







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


gating the Hudson's Bay Company's boats, laden with
furs and goods, through the labyrinth of rivers and lakes
that stud and intersect the whole continent, or they were
engaged in pursuit of the bisons,* which roam the prairies
in vast herds.
They were dressed in the costume of the country: most
of them wore light-blue cloth capotes, girded tightly round
them by scarlet or crimson worsted belts. Some of them
had blue and others scarlet cloth leggings, ornamented
more or less with stained porcupine quills, coloured silk,
or variegated beads; while some might be seen clad in
the leather coats of winter-deer-skin dressed like
chamois leather, fringed all round with little tails, and
ornamented much in the same way as those already de-
scribed. The heavy winter moccasins and duffel socks,
which gave to their feet the appearance of being afflicted
with gout, were now replaced by moccasins of a lighter
and more elegant character, having no socks below, and
fitting tightly to the feet like gloves. Some wore hats
similar to those made of silk or beaver which are worn
by ourselves in Britain, but so bedizened with scarlet
cock-tail feathers, and silver cords and tassels, as to leave
the original form of the head-dress a matter of great un-
certainty. These hats, however, are only used on high
occasions, and chiefly by the fops. Most of the men wore
coarse blue cloth caps with peaks, and not a few discarded
head-pieces altogether, under the impression, apparently,
that nature had supplied a covering which was in itself
sufficient. These costumes varied not only in character
but in quality, according to the circumstances of the
wearer; some being highly ornamental and mended-
evincing the felicity of the owner in the possession of a
good wife-while others were soiled and torn, or but
These animals are always called buffaloes by American hunters and
fur-traders.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


slightly ornamented. The voyageurs were collected, as
we have said, in groups. Here stood a dozen of the
youngest- consequently the most noisy and showily
dressed-laughing loudly, gesticulating violently, and
bragging tremendously. Near to them were collected a
number of sterner spirits-men of middle age, with all
the energy, and muscle, and bone of youth, but without
its swaggering hilarity; men whose powers and nerves
had been tried over and over again amid the stirring
scenes of a voyageur's life; men whose heads were cool,
and eyes sharp, and hands ready and powerful, in the mad
whirl of boiling rapids, in the sudden attack of wild beast
and hostile man, or in the unexpected approach of any
danger; men who, having been well tried, needed not to
boast, and who, having carried off triumphantly their re-
spective brides many years ago, needed not to decorate
their persons with the absurd finery that characterized
their younger brethren. They were comparatively few
in number, but they composed a sterling band, of which
every man was a hero. Among them were those who
occupied the high positions of bowman and steersman;
and when we tell the reader that on these two men fre-
quently hangs the safety of a. boat, with all its crew and
lading, it will be easily understood how needful it is
that they should be men of iron nerve and strength of
mind.
Boat-travelling in those regions is conducted in a way
that would astonish most people who dwell in the civilized
quarters of the globe. The country being intersected in
all directions by great lakes and rivers, these have been
adopted as the most convenient highways along which to
convey the supplies and bring back the furs from out-
posts. Rivers in America, however, as in other parts of
the world, are distinguished by sudden ebullitions and
turbulent points of character, in the shape of rapids, falls,







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


and cataracts, up and down which neither men nor boats
can by any possibility go with impunity; consequently,
on arriving at such obstructions, the cargoes are carried
overland to navigable water above or below the falls (as
the case may be), then the boats are dragged over and
launched, again reloaded, and the travellers proceed. This
operation is called "making a portage;" and as these
portages vary from twelve yards to twelve miles in length,
it may be readily conceived that a voyageur's life is not
an easy one by any means.
This, however, is only one of his difficulties. Rapids
occur which are not so dangerous as to make a "portage"
necessary, but are sufficiently turbulent to render the
descent of them perilous. In such cases, the boats, being
lightened of part of their cargo, are run down, and fre-
quently they descend with full cargoes and crews. It is
then that the whole management of each boat devolves
upon its bowman and steersman. The rest of the crew,
or middlemen as they are called, merely sit still and look
on, or give a stroke with their oars if required; while the
steersman, with powerful sweeps of his heavy oar, directs
the flying boat as it bounds from surge to surge like a
thing of life; and the bowman stands erect in front to
assist in directing his comrade at the stern, having a
strong and long pole in his hands, with which, ever and
anon, he violently forces the boat's head away from sunken
rocks, against which it might otherwise strike and be
stove in, capsized, or seriously damaged.
Besides the groups already enumerated, there were one
or two others, composed of grave, elderly men, whose
wrinkled brows, gray hairs, and slow, quiet step, showed
that the strength of their days was past; although their
upright figures and warm brown complexions gave pro-
mise of their living to see many summers still. These
were the principal steersmen and old guides -men of







74 THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.

renown, to whom the others bowed as oracles or looked up
to as fathers; men whose youth and manhood had been
spent in roaming the trackless wilderness, and who were,
therefore, eminently qualified to- guide brigades through
the length and breadth of the land; men whose power
of threading their way among the perplexing intricacies
of the forest had become a second nature, a kind of in-
stinct, that was as sure of attaining its end as the instinct
of the feathered tribes, which brings the swallow, after a
long absence, with unerring certainty back to its former
haunts again in spring.

















CHAPTER VII.


The store.

AT whatever establishment in the fur-trader's do-
minions you may chance to alight, you will find
a particular building which is surrounded by a halo of
interest; towards which there seems to be a general lean-
ing on the part of everybody, especially of the Indians;
and with which are connected, in the minds of all, the
most stirring reminiscences and pleasing associations.
This is the trading-store. It is always recognizable, if
natives are in the neighbourhood, by the bevy of red men
that cluster round it, awaiting the coming of the store-
keeper or the trader with that stoic patience which is
peculiar to Indians. It may be further recognized, by
a close observer, by the soiled condition of its walls,
occasioned by loungers rubbing their backs perpetually
against it, and the peculiar dinginess round the key-
hole, caused by frequent applications of the key, which
renders it conspicuous beyond all its comrades. Here is
contained that which makes the red man's life enjoyable;
that which causes his heart to leap, and induces him to
toil for months and months together in the heat of sum-
mer and amid the frost and snow of winter; that which
actually accomplishes, what music is said to achieve,
the "soothing of the savage breast:" in short, here are
stored up blankets, guns, powder, shot, kettles, axes, and







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


knives; twine for nets, vermilion for war-paint, fish-
hooks and scalping-knives, capotes, cloth, beads, needles,
and a host of miscellaneous articles, much too numerous
to mention. Here, also, occur periddical scenes of bustle
and excitement, when bands of natives arrive from distant
hunting-grounds, laden with rich furs, which are speedily
transferred to the Hudson's Bay Company's stores in
exchange for the goods aforementioned. And many a
tough wrangle has the trader on such occasions with
sharp natives, who might have graduated in Billingsgate,
so close are they at a bargain. Here, too, voyageurs
are supplied with an equivalent for their wages, part in
advance, if they desire it (and they -generally do desire
it), and part at the conclusion of their long and arduous
voyages.
It is to one-of these stores, reader, that we wish to in-
troduce you now, that you may witness the men of the
'North brigade receive their advances.
The store at Fort Garry stands on the right of the fort,
as you enter by the front gate. Its interior resembles
that of the other stores in the country, being only a little
larger. A counter encloses a space sufficiently wide to
admit a dozen men, and serves to keep back those who
are more eager than the rest. Inside this counter, at the
time we write of, stood our friend Peter Mactavish, who
was the presiding genius of the scene.
"Shut the door now, and lock it," said Peter, in an
authoritative tone, after eight or ten young voyageurs had
crushed into the space in front of the counter. I'll not
supply you with so much as an ounce of tobacco if you
let in another man."
Peter needed not to repeat the command. Three or
four stalwart shoulders were applied to the door, which
shut with a bang like a cannon-shot, and the key was
turned.








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


"Come now, Antoine," began the trader, "we've lots to
do, and not much time to do it in, so pray look sharp."
Antoine, however, was not to 'be urged on so easily.
He had been meditating deeply all morning on what he
should purchase. Moreover, he had a sweetheart, and
of course he had to buy something for her before setting
out on his travels. Besides, Antoine was six feet high,
and broad shouldered, and well made, with a dark face
and glossy black hair; and he entertained a notion that
there were one or two points in his costume which re-
quired to be carefully rectified, ere he could consider that
he had attained to perfection: so he brushed the long
hair off his forehead, crossed his arms, and gazed around
him.
"Come now, Antoine," said Peter, throwing a green
blanket at him; "I know you want that to begin with.
What's the use of thinking so long about it, eh? And
that, too," he added, throwing him a blue cloth capote.
"Anything else ?"
Oui, oui, monsieur," cried Antoine, as he disengaged
himself from the folds of the coat which Peter had thrown
over his head. "Tabac, monsieur, tabac!"
"Oh, to be sure," cried Peter. "I might have guessed
that that was uppermost in your mind. Well, how much
will you have ?" Peter began to unwind the fragrant
weed off a coil of most appalling size and thickness, which
looked like a snake of endless length. "Will that do ?"
and he flourished about four feet of the snake before the
eyes of the voyageur.
Antoine accepted the quantity, and young Harry
Somerville entered the articles against him in a book.
"Anything more, Antoine?" said the trader. "Ah,
some beads and silks, eh? Oho, Antoine!-By the way,
Louis, have you seen Annette lately ?"
Peter turned to another voyageur when he put this








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


question, and the voyageur gave a broad grin as he replied
in the affirmative, while Antoine looked a little confused.
He did not care much, however, for jesting. So, after
getting one or two more articles-not forgetting half-a-
dozen clay pipes, and a few yards of gaudy calico, which
called forth from Peter a second reference to Annette-he
bundled up his goods, and made way for another comrade.
Louis Peltier, one of the principal guides, and a man of
importance therefore, now stood forward. He was pro-
bably about forty-five years of age; had a plain, olive-
coloured countenance, surrounded by a mass of long jet-
black hair, which he inherited, along with a pair of dark,
piercing eyes, from his Indian mother; and a robust,
heavy, yet active frame, which bore a strong resemblance
to what his Canadian father's had been many years before.
His arms, in particular, were of herculean mould, with
large swelling veins and strongly-marked muscles. They
seemed, in fact, just formed for the purpose of pulling the
heavy sweep of an inland boat among strong rapids. His
face combined an expression of stern resolution with
great good-humour; and truly his countenance did not
belie him, for he was known among his comrades as the
most courageous and at the same time the most peaceable
man in the settlement. Louis Peltier was singular in pos-
sessing the latter quality, for assuredly the half-breeds,
whatever other good points they boast, cannot lay claim
to very gentle or dove-like dispositions. His gray capote
and blue leggings were decorated with no unusual orna-
ments, and the scarlet belt which encircled his massive
figure was the only bit of colour he displayed.
The younger men fell respectfully into the rear as
Louis stepped forward and begged pardon for coming so
early in the day. Mais, monsieur," he said, "I have to
look after the boats to-day, and get them ready for a start
to-morrow,"







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS. 79

Peter Mactavish gave Louis a hearty shake of the hand
before proceeding to supply his wants, which were simple
and moderate, excepting in the article of tabac, in the use
of which he was im-moderate, being an inveterate smoker;
so that a considerable portion of the snake had to be un-
coiled for his benefit.
"Fond as ever of smoking, Louis ?" said Peter Mac-
tavish, as he handed him the coil.
Oui, monsieur-very fond," answered the guide, smell-
ing the weed. "Ah, this is very good. I must take a
good supply this voyage, because I lost the half of my
roll last year;" and the guide gave a sigh as he thought
of the overwhelming bereavement.
"Lost the half of it, Louis !" said Mactavish. "Why,
how was that ? You must have lost more than half your
spirits with it!"
"Ah, oui, I lost all my spirits, and my comrade
Frangois at the same time !"
"Dear me!" exclaimed the clerk, bustling about the
store while the guide continued to talk.
"Oui, monsieur, oui. I lost him, and my tabac, and
my spirits, and very nearly my life, all in one moment! "
"Why, how came that about?" said Peter, pausing in
his work, and laying a handful of pipes on the counter.
"Ah, monsieur, it was very sad (merci, monsieur,
merci; thirty pipes, if you please), and I thought at the
time that I should give up my voyageur life, and remain
altogether in the settlement with my old woman. Mais,
monsieur, that was not possible. When I spoke of it to
my old woman, she called me an old woman; and you
know, monsieur, that two old women never could live
together in peace for twelve months under the same roof.
So here I am, you see, ready again for the voyage."
The voyageurs, who had drawn round Louis when he
alluded to an anecdote which they had often heard before,








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


but were never weary of hearing over again, laughed
loudly at this sally, and urged the guide to relate the
story to "monsieur," who, nothing loath to suspend his
operations for a little, leaned his arms on the counter and
said,-
"Tell us all about it, Louis; I am anxious to know
how you managed to come by so many losses all at one
time."
"Bien, monsieur, I shall soon relate it, for the story is
very short."
Harry Somerville, who was entering the pipes in Louis's
account, had just set down the figures 30" when Louis
cleared his throat to begin. Not having the mental forti-
tude to finish the line, he dropped his pen, sprang off his
stool, which he upset in so doing, jumped up, sitting-ways,
upon the counter, and gazed with breathless interest into
the guide's face as he spoke.
It was on a cold, wet afternoon," said Louis, that
we were descending the Hill River, at a part of the rapids
where there is a sharp bend in the stream, and two or
three great rocks that stand up in front of the water, as
it plunges over a ledge, as if they were put there a pur-
pose to catch it, and split it up into foam, or to stop the
boats and canoes that try to run the rapids, and cut them
up into splinters. It was an ugly place, monsieur, I can
tell you; and though I've run it again and again, I
always hold my breath tighter when we get to the top,
and breathe freer when we get to the bottom. Well,
there was a chum of mine at the bow, Francois by name,
and a fine fellow he was as I ever came across. He
used to sleep with me at night under the same blanket,
although it was somewhat inconvenient; for being as big
as myself and a stone heavier, it was all we could do to
make the blanket cover us. However, he and I were
great friends, and we managed it somehow. Well, he







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


was at the bow when we took the rapids, and a first-rate
bowman he made. His pole was twice as long and twice
as thick as any other pole in the boat, and he twisted it
about just like a fiddlestick. I remember well the night
before we came to the rapids, as he was sitting by the
fire, which was blazing up among the pine-branches that
overhung us, he said that he wanted a good pole for the
rapids next day; and with that he jumped up, laid hold
of an axe, and went back into the woods a bit to get one.
When he returned, he brought a young tree on his
shoulder, which he began to strip of its branches and
bark. 'Louis,' says he, 'this is hot work; give us a pipe.'
So I rummaged about for some tobacco, but found there
was none left in my bag; so I went to my kit and got
out my roll, about three fathoms or so, and cutting half
of it off, I went to the fire and twisted it round his neck
by way of a joke, and he said he'd wear it as a necklace
all night-and so he did, too, and forgot to take it off in
the morning; and when we came near the rapids I
couldn't get at my bag to stow it away, so says I,
'Francois, you'll have to run with it on, for I can't stop
to stow it now.' 'All right,' says he, 'go ahead;' and
just as he said it, we came in sight of the first run, foam-
ing and boiling like a kettle of robbiboo. 'Take care,
lads,' I cried, and the next moment we were dashing
down towards the bend in the river. As we came near
to the shoot, I saw Francois standing up on the gunwale
to get a better view of the rocks ahead, and every now
and then giving me a signal with his hand how to steer;
suddenly he gave a shout, and plunged his long pole into
the water, to fend off from a rock which a swirl in the
stream had concealed. For a second or two his pole bent
like a willow, and we could feel the heavy boat jerk off
a little with the tremendous strain; but all at once the
pole broke off short with a crack, Francois' heels made a







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


flourish in the air, and then he disappeared head foremost
into the foaming water, with my tobacco coiled round his
neck! As we flew past the place, one of his arms ap-
peared, and I made a grab at it, and caught him by the
sleeve; but the effort upset myself, and over I went too.
Fortunately, however, one of my men caught me by the
foot, and held on like a vice; but the force of the current
tore Frangois' sleeve out of my grasp, and I was dragged
into the boat again just in time to see my comrade's legs
and arms going like the sails of a wind-mill, as he rolled
over several times and disappeared. Well, we put
ashore the moment we got into still water, and then five
or six of us started off on foot to look for Frangois.
After half-an-hour's search, we found him pitched upon a
flat rock in the middle of the stream like a bit of drift-
wood. We immediately waded out to the rock and
brought him ashore, where we lighted a fire, took off all
his clothes, and rubbed him till he began to show signs of
life again. But you may judge, mes gargons, of my misery
when I found that the coil of tobacco was gone. It had
come off his neck during his struggles, and there wasn't
a vestige of it left, except a bright red mark on the throat,
where it had nearly strangled him. When he began to
recover, he put his hand up to his neck as if feeling for
something, and muttered faintly, 'The tabac.' 'Ah,
morbleu!' said I, 'you may say that! Where is it?'
Well, we soon brought him round, but he had swallowed
so much water that it damaged his lungs, and we had to
leave him at the next post we came to; and so I lost my
friend too."
"Did Francois get better ?" said Charley Kennedy, in
a voice of great concern.
Charley had entered the store by another door, just
as the guide began his story, and had listened to it un-
observed with breathless interest.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


"Recover! Oh oui, monsieur, he soon got well again."
"Oh, I'm so glad," cried Charley.
"But I lost him for that voyage," added the guide;
"and I lost my tabac for ever!"
"You must take better care of it this time, Louis,"
said Peter Mactavish, as he resumed his work.
That I shall, monsieur," replied Louis, shouldering
his goods, and quitting the store, while a short, slim,
active little Canadian took his place.
"Now then, Baptiste," said Mactavish, "you want
a-"
Blanket, monsieur."
"Good. And-"
A capote, monsieur!"
"And-"
"An axe-"
"Stop, stop!" shouted Harry Somerville from his desk.
"Here's an entry in Louis's account that I can't make
out-30 something or other; what can it have been?"
"How often," said Mactavish, going up to him with a
look of annoyance-" how often have I told you, Mr.
Somerville, not to leave an entry half finished on any
account!"
"I didn't know that I left it so," said Harry, twisting
his features, and scratching his head in great perplexity.
"What can it have been ? 30-30-not blankets, eh ?"
(Harry was becoming banteringly bitter.) "He couldn't
have got thirty guns, could he? or thirty knives, or
thirty copper kettles ?"
"Perhaps it was thirty pounds of tea," suggested
Charley.
"No doubt it was thirty pipes," said Peter Mactavish.
"Oh, that was it!" cried Harry, "that was it! thirty
pipes, to be sure. What an ass I am!"
"And pray what is that?" said Mactavish, pointing







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


sarcastically to an entry in the previous account-"5 yards
of supefine Annette ? Really, Mr. Somerville, I wish you
would pay more attention to your work and less to the
conversation."
"Oh dear!" cried Harry, becoming almost hysterical
under the combined effects of chagrin at making so many
mistakes, and suppressed merriment at the idea of selling
Annettes by the yard. "Oh, dear me-"
Harry could say no more, but stuffed his handkerchief
into his mouth and turned away.
"Well, sir," said the offended Peter, "when you have
laughed to your entire satisfaction, we will go on with
our work, if you please."
"All right," cried Harry, suppressing his feelings with
a strong effort; "what next ?"
Just then a tall, raw-boned man entered the store, and
rudely thrusting Baptiste aside, asked if he could get
his supplies now.
"No," said Mactavish, sharply; "you'll take your turn
like the rest."
The new-comer was a native of Orkney, a country
from which, and the neighboring islands, the Fur Com-
pany almost exclusively recruits its staff of labourers.
These men are steady, useful servants, although inclined
to be slow and lazy at first; but they soon get used to
the country, and rapidly improve under the example of
the active Canadians and half-breeds with whom they
associate; some of them are the best servants the Com-
pany possess. Hugh Mathison, however, was a very bad
specimen of the race, being rough and coarse in his man-
ners, and very lazy withal. Upon receiving the trader's
answer, Hugh turned sulkily on his heel and strode
towards the door. Now, it happened that Baptiste's
bundle lay just behind him, and on turning to leave the
place, he tripped over it and stumbled, whereat the








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


voyageurs burst into an ironical laugh (for Hugh was not
a favourite).
"Confound your trash!" he cried, giving the little
bundle a kick that scattered everything over the floor.
"Crapaud i" said Baptiste, between his set teeth, while
his eyes flashed angrily, and he stood up before Hugh
with clinched fists, what mean you by that, eh ?"
The big Scotchman held his little opponent in con-
tempt; so that, instead of putting himself on the defen-
sive, he leaned his back against the door, thrust his hands
into his pockets, and requested to know what that was
to him."
Baptiste was not a man of many words, and this reply,
coupled with the insolent sneer with which it was uttered,
caused him to plant a sudden and well-directed blow on
the point of Hugh's nose, which flattened it on his face,
and brought the back of his head into violent contact
with the door.
"Well done!" shouted the men; "bravo, Baptiste!
Regardoz le nez, mes enfants !"
"Hold!" cried Mactavish, vaulting the counter, and
intercepting Hugh as he rushed upon his antagonist; "no
fighting here, you blackguards If you want to do that,
go outside the fort;" and Peter, opening the door, thrust
the Orkneyman out.
In the meantime, Baptiste gathered up his goods and
left the store, in company with several of his friends,
vowing that he would wreak his vengeance on the gros
chien" before the sun should set.
He had not long to wait, however, for just outside the
gate he found Hugh, still smarting under the pain and
indignity of the blow, and ready to pounce upon him like
a cat on a mouse.
Baptiste instantly threw down his bundle, and prepared
for battle by discarding his coat.







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Every nation has its own peculiar method of fighting,
and its own ideas of what is honourable and dishonour-
able in combat. The English, as every one knows, have
particularly stringent rules regarding the part of the body
which may or may not be hit with propriety, and count
it foul disgrace to strike a man when he is down; al-
though, by some strange perversity of reasoning, they
deem it right and fair to fall upon him while in this
helpless condition, and burst him if possible. The Scotch-
man has less of the science, and we are half inclined to
believe that he would go the length of kicking a fallen
opponent; but on this point we are not quite positive.
In regard to the style adopted by the half-breeds, however,
we have no doubt. They fight any way and every way,
without reference to rules at all; and really, although
we may bring ourselves into contempt by admitting the
fact, we think they are quite right. No doubt the best
course of action is not to fight; but if a man does find it
necessary to do so, surely the wisest plan is to get it over
at once (as the dentist suggested to his timorous patient),
and to do it in the most effectual manner.
Be this as it may, Baptiste flew at Hugh, and alighted
upon him, not head first, or fist first, or feet first, or any-
thing first, but altogether-in a heap as it were; fist, feet,
knees, nails, and teeth all taking effect at one and the
same time, with a force so irresistible that the next mo-
ment they both rolled in the dust together.
For a minute or so they struggled and kicked like a
couple of serpents, and then, bounding to their feet again,
they began to perform a war-dance round each other,
revolving their fists at the same time in, we presume, the
most approved fashion. Owing to his bulk and natural
laziness, which rendered jumping about like a jack-in-
the-box impossible, Hugh Mathison preferred to stand on
the defensive; while his lighter opponent, giving way to








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


the natural bent of his mercurial temperament and cor-
poreal predilections, comported himself in a manner that
cannot be likened to anything mortal or immortal, human
or inhuman, unless it be to an insane cat, whose veins
ran wild-fire instead of blood. Or perhaps we might
liken him to that ingenious piece of firework called a
zigzag cracker, which explodes with unexpected and re-
peated suddenness, changing its position in a most per-
plexing manner at every crack. Baptiste, after the first
onset, danced backwards with surprising lightness, glaring
at his adversary the while, and rapidly revolving his fists
as before mentioned; then a terrific yell was heard; his
head, arms, and legs became a sort of whirling conglom-
erate; the spot on which he danced was suddenly vacant,
and at the same moment Mathison received a bite, a
scratch, a dab on the nose, and a kick on the stomach all
at once. Feeling that it was impossible to plant a well-
directed blow on such an assailant, he waited for the next
onslaught; and the moment he saw the explosive object
flying through the air towards him, he met it with a
crack of his heavy fist, which, happening to take effect in
the middle of the chest, drove it backwards with about
as much velocity as it had approached, and poor Baptiste
measured his length on the ground.
"Oh pauvre chien!" cried the spectators, "c'est fini!"
"Not yet," cried Baptiste, as he sprang with a scream
to his feet again, and began his dance with redoubled
energy, just as if all that had gone before was a mere
sketch-a sort of playful rehearsal, as it were, of what was
now to follow. At this moment Hugh stumbled over a
canoe-paddle, and fell headlong into Baptiste's arms, as he
was in the very act of making one of his violent descents.
This unlooked-for occurrence brought them both to a
sudden pause, partly from necessity and partly from sur-
prise. Out of this state Baptiste recovered first, and








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


taking advantage of the accident, threw Mathison heavily
to the ground. He rose quickly, however, and renewed
the fight with freshened vigour.
Just at this moment a passionate growl was heard, and
old Mr. Kennedy rushed out of the fort in a towering
rage.
Now Mr. Kennedy had no reason whatever for being
angry. He was only a visitor at the fort, and so had no
concern in the behaviour of those connected with it. He
was not even in the Company's service now, and could
not, therefore, lay claim, as one of its officers, to any right
to interfere with its men. But Mr. Kennedy never acted
much from reason; impulse was generally his guiding-
star. He had, moreover, been an absolute monarch, and
a commander of men, for many years past in his capacity
of fur-trader. Being, as we have said, a powerful, fiery
man, he had ruled very much by means of brute force-
a species of suasion, by the way, which is too common
among many of the gentlemen (?) in the employment of
the Hudson's Bay Company. On hearing, therefore, that
the men were fighting in front of the fort, Mr. Kennedy
rushed out in a towering rage.
"Oh, you precious blackguards !" he cried, running up
to the combatants, while with flashing eyes he gazed first
at one and then at the other, as if uncertain on which to
launch his ire. Have you no place in the world to fight
but here ? eh, blackguards ?"
0 monsieur," said Baptiste, lowering his hands, and
assuming that politeness of demeanour which seems in-
separable from French blood, however much mixed with
baser fluid, "I was just giving that dog a thrashing,
monsieur."
"Go !" cried Mr. Kennedy, in a voice of thunder, turn-
ing to Hugh, who still stood in a pugilistic attitude, with
very little respect in his looks.








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


Hugh hesitated to obey the order; but Mr. Kennedy
continued to advance, grinding his teeth and working his
fingers convulsively, as if he longed to lay violent hold
of the Orkneyman's swelled nose; so he retreated in his
uncertainty, but still with his face to the foe. As has
been already said, the Assiniboine River flows within a
hundred yards-of the gate of Fort Garry. The two men,
in their combat, had approached pretty near to the bank,
at a place where it descends somewhat precipitately into
the stream. It was towards this bank that Hugh Mathi-
son was now retreating, crab fashion, followed by Mr.
Kennedy, and both of them so taken up with each other
that neither perceived the fact until Hugh's heel struck
against a stone just at the moment that Mr. Kennedy
raised his clinched fist in a threatening attitude. The
effect of this combination was to pitch the poor man head
over heels down the bank, into a row of willow bushes,
through which, as he rolled with great speed, he went
with a loud crash, and shot head first, like a startled alli-
gator, into the water, amid a roar of laughter from his
comrades and the people belonging to the fort; most of
whom, attracted by the fight, were now assembled on the
banks of the river.
Mr. Kennedy's wrath vanished immediately, and he
joined in the laughter; but his face instantly changed
when he beheld Hugh sputtering in deep water, and
heard some one say that he could not swim.
"What! can't swim ?" he exclaimed, running down the
bank to the edge of the water.' Baptiste was before him,
however. In a moment he plunged in up to the neck,
stretched forth his arm, grasped Hugh by the hair, and
dragged him to the land.
















CHAPTER VIII.


Farewell to Kate-Departure of the brigade-Charley becomes a voyageur.

ON the following day at noon, the spot on which the
late combat had taken place became the theatre of
a stirring and animated scene. Fort Garry, and the space
between it and the river, swarmed with voyageurs, dressed
in their cleanest, newest, and most brilliant costume. The
large boats for the north, six in number, lay moored to
the river's bank, laden with bales of furs, and ready to
start on their long voyage. Young men, who had never
been on the road before, stood with animated looks watch-
ing the operations of the guides as they passed critical
examination upon their boats, overhauled the oars to see
that they were in good condition, or with crooked knives
(a species of instrument in the use of which voyageurs
and natives are very expert) polished off the top of a
mast, the blade of an oar, or the handle of a tiller. Old
men, who had passed their lives in similar occupations,
looked on in silence-some standing with their heads bent
on their bosoms, and an expression of sadness about their
faces, as if the scene recalled some mournful event of their
early life, or possibly reminded them of wild, joyous
scenes of other days, when the blood coursed warmly in
their young veins, and the strong muscles sprang lightly
to obey their will; when the work they had to do was
hard, and the sleep that followed it was sound-scenes







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


and days that were now gone by for ever. Others re-
clined against the wooden fence, their arms crossed, their
thin white hair waving gently in the breeze, and a kind
smile playing on their sunburned faces, as they observed
the swagger and coxcombry of the younger men, or
watched the gambols of several dark-eyed little children
-embryo buffalo-hunters and voyageurs-whose mothers
had brought them to the fort to get a last kiss from papa,
and witness the departure of the boats.
Several tender scenes were going on in out-of-the-way
places-in angles of the walls and bastions, or behind the
gates-between youthful couples about to be separated
for a season. Interesting scenes these of pathos and
pleasantry-a combination of soft glances and affection-
ate, fervent assurances; alternate embraces (that were
apparently received with reluctance, but actually with
delight), and proffers of pieces of calico and beads and
other trinkets (received both apparently and actually
with extreme satisfaction) as souvenirs of happy days
that were past, and pledges of unalterable constancy and
bright hopes in days that were yet to come.
A little apart from the others, a youth and a girl might
be seen sauntering slowly towards the copse beyond the
stable. These were Charley Kennedy and his sister Kate,
who had retired from the bustling scene to take a last
short walk together, ere they separated, it might be for
years, perhaps for ever! Charley held Kate's hand, while
her sweet little head rested on his shoulder.
0 Charley, Charley, my own dear, darling Charley,
I'm quite miserable, and you ought not to go away; it's
very wrong, and I don't mind a bit what you say, I shall
die if you leave me!" And Kate pressed him tightly to
her heart, and sobbed in the depth of her woe.
Now, Kate, my darling, don't go on so You know I
can't help it-"







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


"I don't know," cried Kate, interrupting him, and
speaking vehemently-" I don't know, and I don't be-
lieve, and I don't care for anything at all; it's very hard-
hearted of you, and wrong, and not right, and I'm just
quite wretched!"
Poor Kate was undoubtedly speaking the absolute
truth; for a more disconsolate and wretched look of woe-
begone misery was never seen on so sweet and tender
and lovable a little face before. Her blue eyes swam in
two lakes of pure crystal, that overflowed continually;
her mouth, which was usually round, had become an
elongated oval; and her nut-brown hair fell in dishevelled
masses over her soft cheeks.
"O Charley," she continued, "why won't you stay?"
"Listen to me, dearest Kate," said Charley, in a very
husky voice. "It's too late to draw back now, even if I
wished to do so; and you don't consider, darling, that I'll
be back again soon. Besides, I'm a man now, Kate, and
I must make my own bread. Who ever heard of a man
being supported by his old father ?"
"Well, but you can do that here."
"Now, don't interrupt me, Kate," said Charley, kissing
her forehead; "I'm quite satisfied with two short legs,
and have no desire whatever to make my bread on the
top of three long ones. Besides, you know I can write to
you-
"But you won't; you'll forget."
"No, indeed, I will not. I'll write you long letters
about all that I see and do; and you shall write long
letters to me about-"
"Stop, Charley," cried Kate; "I won't listen to you.
I hate to think of it."
And her tears burst forth again with fresh violence.
This time Charley's heart sank too. The lump in his
throat all but choked him; so he was fain to lay his







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


head upon Kate's heaving bosom, and weep along with
her.
For a few minutes they remained silent, when a slight
rustling in the bushes was heard. In another moment
a tall, broad-shouldered, gentlemanly man, dressed in
black, stood before them. Charley and Kate, on seeing
this personage, arose, and wiping the tears from their
eyes, gave a sad smile as they shook hands with their
clergyman.
"My poor children," said Mr. Addison, affectionately,
"I know well why your hearts are sad. May God bless
and comfort you! I saw you enter the wood, and came
to bid you farewell, Charley, my dear boy, as I shall not
have another opportunity of doing so."
"0 dear Mr. Addison," cried Kate, grasping his hand
in both of hers, and gazing imploringly up at him through
a perfect wilderness of ringlets and tears, "do prevail
upon Charley to stay at home; please do !"
Mr. Addison could scarcely help smiling at the poor
girl's extreme earnestness.
"I fear, my sweet child, that it is too late now to
attempt to dissuade Charley. Besides, he goes with the
consent of his father; and I am inclined to think that a
change of life for a short time may do him good. Come,
Kate, cheer up Charley will return to us again ere long,
improved, I trust, both physically and mentally."
Kate did not cheer up, but she dried her eyes, and
endeavoured to look more composed; while Mr. Addison
took Charley by the hand, and, as they walked slowly
through the wood, gave him much earnest advice and
counsel.
The clergyman's manner was peculiar. With a large,
warm, generous heart, he possessed an enthusiastic nature,
a quick, brusque manner, and a loud voice, which, when
his spirit was influenced by the strong emotions of pity








THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


or anxiety for the souls of his flock, sunk into a deep soft
bass of the most thrilling earnestness. He belonged to
the Church of England, but conducted service very much
in the Presbyterian form, as being more suited to his
mixed congregation. After a long conversation with
Charley, he concluded by saying,-
"I do not care to say much to you about being kind
and obliging to all whom you may meet with during your
travels, nor about the dangers to which you will be ex-
posed by being thrown into the company of wild and
reckless, perhaps very wicked, men. There is but one
incentive to every good, and one safeguard against all
evil, my boy, and that is the love of God. You may
perhaps forget much that I have said to you; but re-
member this, Charley, if you would be happy in this
world, and have a good hope for the next, centre your
heart's affection on our blessed Lord Jesus Christ; for
believe me, boy, his heart's affection is centred upon you."
As Mr. Addison spoke, a loud hollo from Mr. Kennedy
apprised them that their time was exhausted, and that
the boats were ready to start. Charley sprang towards
Kate, locked her in a long, passionate embrace, and then,
forgetting Mr. Addison altogether in his haste, ran out of
the wood, and hastened towards the scene of departure.
Good-bye, Charley cried Harry Somerville, running
up to his friend and giving him a warm grasp of the
hand. "Don't forget me, Charley. I wish I were going
with you, with all my heart; but I'm an unlucky dog.
Good-bye." The senior clerk and Peter Mactavish had
also a kindly word and a cheerful farewell for him as he
hurried past.
"Good-bye, Charley, my lad!" said old Mr. Kennedy,
in an excessively loud voice, as if by such means he in-
tended to crush back some unusual but very powerful
feelings that had a peculiar influence on a certain lump







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS. 95

in his throat. Good-bye, my lad; don't forget to write
to your old- Hang it!" said the old man, brushing
his coat-sleeve somewhat violently across his eyes, and
turning abruptly round as Charley left him and sprang
into the boat.-" I say, Grant, I-I- What are you
staring at, eh ?" The latter part of his speech was
addressed, in an angry tone, to an innocent voyageur, who
happened accidentally to confront him at the moment.
"Come along, Kennedy," said Mr. Grant, interposing,
and grasping his excited friend by the arm-"come
with me."
"Ah, to be sure !-yes," said he, looking over his
shoulder and waving a last adieu to Charley. Good-bye,
God bless you, my dear boy !-I say, Grant, come along;
quick, man, and let's have a pipe-yes, let's have a
pipe." Mr. Kennedy, essaying once more to crush back
his rebellious feelings, strode rapidly up the bank, and
entering the house, sought to overwhelm his sorrow in
smoke: in which attempt he failed.

















CHAPTER IX.


The voyage-The encampment-A surprise.

T was a fine sight to see the boats depart for the
north. It was a thrilling, heart-stirring sight to
behold these picturesque athletic men, on receiving the
word of command from their guides, spring lightly into
the long, heavy boats; to see them let the oars fall into
the water with a loud splash, and then, taking their
seats, give way with a will, knowing that the eyes of
friends and sweethearts and rivals were bent earnestly
upon them. It was a splendid sight to see boat after
boat shoot out from the landing-place, and cut through the
calm bosom of the river, as the men bent their sturdy
backs, until the thick oars creaked and groaned on the
gunwales and flashed in the stream, more and more vigor-
ously at each successive stroke, until their friends on the
bank, who were anxious to see the last of them, had to
run faster and faster in order to keep up with them, as
the rowers warmed at their work, and made the water
gurgle at the bows-their bright blue and scarlet and
white trappings reflected in the dark waters in broken
masses of colour, streaked with long lines of shining
ripples, as if they floated on a lake of liquid rainbows.
And it was a glorious thing to hear the wild, plaintive
song, led by one clear, sonorous voice, that rang out full
and strong in the still air, while at the close of every







THE YOUNG FUR-TRADERS.


two lines the whole brigade burst into a loud, enthusiastic
chorus, that rolled far and wide over the smooth waters-
telling of their approach to settlers beyond the reach of
vision in advance, and floating faintly back, a last fare-
well, to the listening ears of fathers, mothers, wives, and
sisters left behind. And it was interesting to observe
how, as the rushing boats sped onwards past the cottages
on shore, groups of men and women and children stood
before the open doors and waved adieu, while ever and
anon a solitary voice rang louder than the others in the
chorus, and a pair of dark eyes grew brighter as a
voyageur swept past his home, and recognized his little
ones screaming farewell, and seeking to attract their sire's
attention by tossing their chubby arms or flourishing
round their heads the bright vermilion blades of canoe-
paddles. It was interesting, too, to hear the men shout
as they ran a small rapid which occurs about the lower
part of the settlement, and dashed in full career up to the
Lower Fort-which stands about twenty miles down the
river from Fort Garry-and then sped onward again with
unabated energy, until they passed the Indian settlement,
with its scattered wooden buildings and its small church;
passed the last cottage on the bank; passed the low
swampy land at the river's mouth; and emerged at last,
as evening closed, upon the wide, calm, sea-like bosom of
Lake Winnipeg.
Charley saw and heard all this during the whole of
that long, exciting afternoon, and as he heard and saw
it his heart swelled as if it would burst its prison-bars,
his voice rang out wildly in the choruses, regardless alike
of tune and time, and his spirit boiled within him as he
quaffed the first sweet draught of a rover's life-a life in
the woods, the wild, free, enchanting woods, where all
appeared in his eyes bright, and sunny, and green, and
beautiful !




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