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RESCUE OF FRANK MORTON
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A Tale of Esquimau Land
TRobert Micbael valtantine
Author of "Tlhe Dog Crusoe and his Master," "The Young Fr.-Traders,"
The Gorilla-Hunters,' The World of Ice,"
The Coral Itland."
T7 NELSON AND SONS
NEIW YOR O
THE following story is intended to illustrate one of the
many phases of the fur-trader's life in those wild regions
of North America which surround Hudson's Bay.
Most of its major incidents are facts-fiction being
employed chiefly for the purpose of weaving these facts
into a readable form.
If this volume should chance to fall into the hands
of any of those who acted a part in the first settlement
of Ungava, we trust that they will forgive the liberty
that has been taken with their persons and adventures,
remembering that transpositions, modifications, and
transformations are necessary in constructing a tale out
of the "raw material."
We take this opportunity of expressing -to the Leader
of the adventurous band our grateful acknowledgments
for his kindness in placing at our disposal the ground-
work on which this story has been reared.
The forest, and the leaders of the forlorn-hope--A good shot-A consultation--
An ice-floe, and a narrow escape in a small way................................9
Head-quarters-The men-Disputation and N. ......* r -- uses for the
skins of dead boys -Mlatinous resolves .............................................15
Shows how Stanley deigned to consult with womankind-The opinions of a child
developed-Persuasion fails-Example triumphs-The first volunteers to
Ungava................ ......... ... .. ................ .. .....25
Explanatory, but not dry!--Murderous designs thwarted by vigorous treat-
ment-The cattle pay for it l-Preparations for a long, long voyage........33
Ice looks unpropitious-The start-An important member of the party nearly
forgotten- Chimo................. .......... ...... ............................40
Character partially developed-Ducks for supper-A threatened "nip"-
Bundled out on the ice ............................................... .................50
Shows how the party made themselves at home in the bush-Talk round the
camp fire-A flash of temper-Turning in............. .......................57
Bryan's adventure with, a polar bear,.etc............. ....... ...................71
A storm brewing-Tt bursts, and produces consequences-The party take to the
water per force-All saved.................. ... ................................82
The sand-bank-Dismal prospects-Consultations-Internal arrangements ex-
posed and detailed ....... .................................. .... ..... ........ 92
Start afresh-Superstitious notions-The whirlpool-The interior-Fishing in
the old way on new ground, and what came of it-A cold bath-The rescue
-Sced--Deeper and deeper into the wilderness.............................100
A neaw scene-TheL Esquimau-Deer slaying-Enemies in the bush.............120
Savage love-A wafe purchased-The attack-The flight-The escape-The
founded mean .................... ........................ ... 127
The pursuit-Seal spearing-The giant's despair..................................136
End of the voyage-Plans and prospects-Exploring parties sent out..........143
Resources of the country begin to develop-Bryan distinguishes himself-Fish-
ing extraordinary.......................................... ............................ 154
c'ieses and encouragement-Bryan lost and found.............................168
"".*,' r. ..... ..-I-...', Chimo-An unexpected arrival, which causes much
joy ........................ ..................... 180
In~el and business-A great feast, in which Bryan and La Roche are prime
efwvers--New ideas in the art of cooking.......................... ........188
WiUter approaches-Esquimaux arrive-Effect of a word-A sucking baby-
Prospects of trade ................... ........ ......................... 200
Silent conversation-Baw food-Female tails-A terrible battle terminated by
the interposition of a giant................... ....................... ......... .... 210
Maximus-Deer spearing-A surprisingly bad shot--Character of the na-
tives .. ..... ... ................... ... ....... ...... .. ..... .... ... ....... 218
More arrivals-Honesty-Indians come upon the scene-The tribes reconciled-
Disease and death change the aspect of things-Philosophic discourse.... 228
Effect of snow on the feelings, not to mention the landscape-A wonderful dome
of ice...................................... ...............240
Buried alive-But not killed-The giant in the snow-storm.......................250
An excursion-Igloe building, and fishing under the ice-A snow-table and a
good feast-Edith spends the night under a snow-roof for the first but not
the last time...............................................263
Frank Morton gets into difficulties..................... ... .................. 273
Edith becomes a heroine indeed............... ...... .............286
A dark cloud of sorrow envelops Fort Chzmo.... ................................295
An old friend amid new friends 'and novelties-A desperate battle, and a
glorious victory....... ....... ...... ......... .........302
Another desperate battle, and a decided victory-The Esquimaux suffer a
severe loss...................... ..... ........ .... ... ............. ..... 320
Edith waxes melancholy, but her sadness is suddenly turned into joy; and the
Esquimaux receive a surprise, and.find a friend, and lose one.............330
The clouds are broken, the sun bursts through and once more irradiates Fort
Chimo-Hopes and fears for Mfaximus......................................341
Rough and tumble-A polar bear made useful-Fishing, and floundering, and
narrow escapes-An unexpected discovery, productive of mingled perplexity
and joy .................... .... ..... .. ... .................346
A stirring period in the life of Maximus...................................362
Happy meetings and joyous feastings-Love, marriage, desertion, desolation, and
The forest, and the leaders of the forlorn-hope-A good shot-A consultation-
An ice-floe, and a narrow escape in a small way.
ALLO! where are you ?" shouted a voice that
rang through the glades of the forest like the
blast of a silver trumpet, testifying to lungs of leather
and a throat of brass.
The ringing tones died away, and nought was heard
save the rustling of the leafy canopy overhead, as the
young man, whose shout had thus rudely disturbed the
surrounding echoes, leaned on the muzzle of a long rifle,
and stood motionless as a statue, his right foot resting
on the trunk of a fallen tree, and his head bent slightly
to one side, as if listening for a reply. But no reply
came. A squirrel ran down the trunk of a neighboring
pine, and paused, with tail and ears erect, and its little
black eyes glittering as if with surprise at the temerity
of him who so recklessly dared to intrude upon and
desecrate with his powerful voice the deep solitudes of
the wilderness. They stood so long thus that it seemed
as though the little animal and the man had been
petrified by the unwonted sound. If so, the spell was
quickly broken. The loud report of a fowling-piece
was heard at a short distance. The squirrel incontinently
disappeared from the spot on which it stood, and almost
instantaneously reappeared on the topmost branch of
a high tree; while the young man gave a smile of
satisfaction, threw the rifle over his shoulder, and, turning
round, strode rapidly away in the direction whence the
A few minutes' walk brought him to the banks of a
little brook, by the side of which, on the projecting root
of a tree, sat a man, with a dead goose at his feet and
a fowling-piece by his side. He was dressed in the
garb of a hunter; and, from the number of gray hairs
that shone like threads of silver among the black curls
on his temples, he was evidently past the meridian of
life,-although, from the upright bearing of his tall
muscular frame, and the quick glance of his fearless
black eye, it was equally evident that the vigour of his
youth was not yet abated.
"Why, Stanley," exclaimed the young man as he
approached, I've been shouting till my throat is cracked,
for at least half-an-hour. I verily began to think that
you had forsaken me altogether."
"In which case, Frank," replied the other, "I should
have treated you as you deserve, for your empty game-
bag proves you an unworthy comrade in the chase."
So, so, friend, do not boast," replied the youth with
a smile; "if' I mistake not, that goose was winging its
way to the far north not ten minutes agone. Had I
come up half-an-hour sooner, I suspect we should have
met on equal terms; but the fact is, that I have not
seen hair or feather, save a tree-squirrel, since I left you
in the morning."
"Well, to say truth, I was equally unfortunate until
I met this luckless goose, and fired the shot that brought
him down and brought you up. But I've had enough
o' this now, and shall back to the fort again. What
say you,-will you go in my canoe or walk ? "
The young man was silent for a few seconds; then,
without replying to his companion's question, he said,-
"By-the-by, is it not to-night that you mean to make
another attempt to induce the men to volunteer for the
It is," replied Stanley, with a slight frown.
And what if they still persist in refusing to go ? "
"I'll try once more to shame them out of their
cowardice. But if they won't agree, I'll compel them to
go by means of more powerful arguments than words."
"'Tis not cowardice; you do the men injustice," said
Frank, shaking his head.
Well, well, I believe I do, lad; you're right," replied
Stanley, while a smile smoothed out the firm lines that
had gathered round his lips for a few seconds. No
doubt they care as little for the anticipated dangers of
the expedition as any men living, and they hesitate to
go simply because they know that the life before them
will be a lonely one at such an out-o'-the-way place as
Ungava. But we can't help that, Frank; the interests
of the Company must be attended to, and so go they
must, willing or not willing. But I'm annoyed at this
unexpected difficulty, for there's a mighty difference
between men who volunteer to go and men who go
merely because they must and can't help it."
The young man slowly rubbed the stock of his rifle
with the sleeve of his coat, and looked as if he understood
and sympathized with his friend's chagrin.
If Prince were only here just now," said he, looking
up, "there would be no difficulty in the matter. These
fellows only want a bold, hearty comrade to step forward
and show them the way, and they will follow to the
North Pole if need be. They look upon our willingness
to go as a mere matter of course, though I don't see
why we should be expected to like banishment more
than themselves. But if Prince were-"
"Well, well, Prince is not here, so we must do the
best we can without him," said Stanley.
As he spoke, the trumpet note of a goose was heard
in the distance.
There he goes !-down with you !" exclaimed Frank,
darting suddenly behind the stump of the tree, while
his companion crouched beside him, and both began to
shout at the top of their voices in imitation of the goose.
The bird was foolish enough to accept the invitation
immediately, although, had it been other than a goose,
it would have easily recognized the sound as a wretched
counterfeit of the goose language. It flew directly
towards them, as geese always do in spring when thus
enticed, but passed at such a distance that the elder
sportsman was induced to lower his piece.
"Ah he's too far off. You'd better give him a shot
with the rifle, Frank; but you're sure to miss."
"To hit, you mean," cried his companion, flushing
with momentary indignation at this disparaging remark.
At the same moment he took a rapid aim and fired.
For a few yards the goose continued its forward flight
as if unhurt; then it wavered once or twice, and fell
heavily to the ground.
"Bravo, boy !" cried Stanley. "There, don't look
nettled; I only jested with you, knowing your weakness
on the score of rifle-shooting. Now, pick up your bird.
and throw it into the canoe, for I must away."
Frank finished reloading his piece as his friend spoke.
and went to pick up the goose; while the other walked
down to the edge of the rivulet, and disengaged a light
birch-bark canoe from the long grass and sedges that
almost hid it from view.
Make haste, Frank !" he shouted; "there's the ice
coming up with the flood-tide, and bearing down on the
At a short distance from the spot where the sportsmen
stood, the streamlet already alluded to mingled its waters
with a broad river, which, a few miles farther down,
flows into James's Bay. As every one knows, this bay
lies to the south of Hudson's Bay, in North America.
Here the river is about two miles wide; and the shores
on either side being low, it has all the appearance of an
extensive lake. In spring, after the disruption of the
ice, its waters are loaded with large floes and fields of
ice; and later in the season, after it has become quite
free from this wintry encumbrance, numerous detached
masses come up with every flood-tide. It was the
approach of one of these floes that called forth Stanley's
The young man replied to it by springing towards
the canoe, in which his companion was already seated.
Throwing the dead bird into it, he stooped, and gave
the light bark a powerful shove into the stream, ex-
claiming, as he did so, "There, strike out, you've no
time to lose, and I'll go round by the woods."
There was indeed no time to lose. The huge mass
of ice was closing rapidly into the mouth of the creek,
and narrowing the only passage through which the
canoe could escape into the open water of the river
beyond. Stanley might, indeed, drag his canoe up the
bank, if so disposed, and reach home by a circuitous
walk through the woods; but by doing so he would
lose much time, and be under the necessity of carrying
his gun, blanket, tin kettle, and the goose, on his back.
His broad shoulders were admirably adapted for such a
burden, but he preferred the canoe to the woods on the
present occasion. Besides, the only risk he ran was
that of getting his canoe crushed to pieces. So, plunging
his paddle vigorously in the water, he shot through the
lessening channel like an arrow, and swept out on the
bosom of the broad river just as the ice closed with a
crash upon the shore and ground itself to powder on
"Well done!" shouted Frank, with a wave of his
cap, as he witnessed the success of his friend's exploit.
"All right," replied Stanley, glancing over his
In another moment the canoe disappeared behind a
group of willows that grew on the point at the river's
mouth, and the young man was left alone. For a few
minutes he stood contemplating the point behind which
his companion had disappeared; then giving a hasty
glance at the priming of his rifle, he threw it across his
shoulder, and striding rapidly up the bank, was soon
lost to view amid the luxuriant undergrowth of the
Iead-quarters--The men-Disputation and uncertainty--New uses for the
skins of dead boys !-Mutinous resolves.
MOOSE FORT, the head-quarters and depot of the
fur-traders, who prosecute their traffic in almost
all parts of the wild and uninhabited regions of North
America, stands on an island near the mouth of Moose
River. Like all the establishments of the fur-traders,
it is a solitary group of wooden buildings, far removed
beyond the influences-almost beyond the ken-of the
civilized world, and surrounded by the primeval wilder-
ness, the only tenants of which were, at the time we
write of, a few scattered tribes of Muskigon Indians, and
the wild animals whose flesh furnished them with food
and whose skins constituted their sole wealth. There
was little of luxury at Moose Fort. The walls of the
houses within the stockade, that served more as an
ornament than a defence, were of painted, in some cases
unpainted, planks. The floors, ceilings, chairs, tables,
and, in short, all the articles of furniture in the place,
were made of the same rough material. A lofty scaffold-
ing of wood rose above the surrounding buildings, and
served as an outlook, whence, at the proper season,
longing eyes were wont to be turned towards the sea in
expectation of the ship which paid the establishment
an annual visit from England. Several large iron field-
pieces stood before the front gate; but they were more
for the sake of appearance than use, and were never
fired except for the purpose of saluting the said ship on
the occasions of her arrival and departure. The first
boom of the cannon unlocks the long-closed portals of
connection between Moose Fort and England; the second
salvo shuts them up again in their frozen domains for
another year A century and a half ago, the band of
" adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay" felled the
first trees and pitched their tents on the shores of
James's Bay, and successive generations of fur-traders
have kept the post until the present day; yet there is
scarcely a symptom of the presence of man beyond a
few miles round the establishment. Years ago the fort
was built, and there it stands now, with new tenants it
is true, but in its general aspect unchanged; and there
it is likely to remain, wrapped in its barrier of all but
impregnable solitude, for centuries to come.
Nevertheless, Moose is a comfortable place in its way,
and when contrasted with other trading establishments
is a very palace and temple of luxury. There are men
within its walls who can tell of log-huts and starvation,
solitude and desolation, compared with which Moose is a
terrestrial paradise. Frank Morton, whom we have
introduced in the first chapter, said, on his arrival at
Moose, that it appeared to him to be the very fag-end
of creation. He had travelled night and day for six
weeks from what he considered the very outskirts of
civilization, through uninhabited forests and almost un-
known rivers, in order to get to it; and while the feeling
of desolation that overwhelmed him on his first arrival was
strong upon him, he sighed deeply, and called it a horrid
dull hole." But Frank was of a gay, hearty, joyous
disposition, and had not been there long ere he loved
the old fort dearly. Poor fellow! far removed though
he was from his fellow-men at Moose, he afterwards
learned that he had but obtained an indistinct notion of
the signification of the word solitude."
There were probably about thirty human beings at
Moose, when Mr. George Stanley, one of the principal fur-
traders of the place, received orders from the governor
to make preparations, and select men, for the purpose of
proceeding many hundred miles deeper into the northern
wilderness, and establishing a station on the distant,
almost unknown, shores of Ungava Bay. No one at
Moose had ever been there before; no one knew any-
thing about the route, except from the vague report of
a few Indians; and the only thing that was definitely
known about the locality at all was, that its inhabitants
were a few wandering tribes of Esquimaux, who were
at deadly feud with the Indians, and generally massacred
all who came within their reach. What the capabilities
of the country were, in regard to timber and provisions,
nobody knew, and, fortunately for the success of the
expedition, nobody cared! At least those who were to
lead the way did not; and this admirable quality of
total indifference to prospective dangers is that which,
to a great extent, insures success in a forlorn-hope.
Of the leaders of this expedition the reader already
knows something. George Stanley was nearly six feet
high, forty years of age, and endued with a decision of
character that, but for his quiet good-humour, would
have been deemed obstinacy. He was deliberate in all
his movements, and exercised a control over his feelings
that quite concealed his naturally enthusiastic disposi-
tion. Moreover, he was married, and had a daughter
of ten years of age. This might be thought a dis-
advantage in his present circumstances; but the governor
of the fur-traders, a most energetic and active ruler,
thought otherwise. He recommended that the family
should be left at Moose until an establishment had been
built, and a winter passed at Ungava. Afterwards they
could join him there. As for Frank Morton, he was an
inch taller than his friend Stanley, and equally powerful;
fair-haired, blue-eyed, hilarious, romantic, twenty-two
years of age, and so impulsive that, on hearing of the
proposed expedition from one of his comrades, who
happened to be present when Stanley was reading the
despatches, he sprang from his chair, which he upset-
dashed out at the door, which he banged-and hurried
to his friend's quarters in order to be first to volunteer
his services as second in command; which offer was
rendered unnecessary by Stanley's exclaiming, the mo-
ment he entered his room,-
Ha, Frank, my lad, the very man I wanted to see !
Here's a letter from head-quarters ordering me off on an
expedition to Ungava. Now, I want volunteers; will
you go ? "
It is needless to add that Frank's blue eyes sparkled
with animation as he seized his friend's hand and
replied, To the North Pole if you like, or farther if
need be "
It was evening. The sun was gilding the top of the
flag-staff with a parting kiss, and the inhabitants of
Moose Fort, having finished their daily toil, were making
preparations for their evening meal. On the end of the
wharf that jutted out into the stream was assembled
a picturesque group of men, who, from the earnest
manner in which they conversed, and the energy of
their gesticulations, were evidently discussing a subject
of more than ordinary interest. Most of them were clad
in corduroy trousers, gartered below the knee with
thongs of deer-skin, and coarse striped cotton shirts,
open at the neck so as to expose their sun-burnt
breasts. A few wore caps which, whatever might have
been their original form, were now so much soiled and
battered out of shape by long and severe service that
they were nondescript; but most of these hardy back-
woodsmen were content with the covering afforded by
their thick bushy locks.
No, no," exclaimed a short, thick-set, powerful man,
with a somewhat ascetic cast of countenance ; "I've seen
more than enough o' these rascally Huskies.* 'Tis well
for me that I'm here this blessed day, an' not made into
a dan to bob about in Hudson's Straits at the tail of a
white whale, like that poor boy Peter who was shot by
What's a dan ? asked a young half-breed who had
lately arrived at Moose, and knew little of Esquimau
What a green-horn you must be, Francois, not to
know what a dan is !" replied another, who was inclined
to be quizzical. ." Why, it's a sort of sea-carriage that
the Esquimaux tie to the tail of a walrus or sea-
horse when they feel inclined for a drive. When they
can't get a sea-horse they catch a white whale asleep,
and wake him up after fastening the dan to his
tail. I suppose they have conjurers or wizards among
them, since Massan told us just now that poor Peter
Bah gammon," interrupted Frangois with- a smile,
as he turned to the first speaker. But tell me, Massan,
what is a dan ? "
It's a sort o' float or buoy, lad, used by the Huskies,
and is made out o' the skin o' the seal. They tie it
with a long line to their whale spears to show which
way the fish bolts when struck."
And did they use Peter's skin for such a purpose ? "
inquired Fran9ois, earnestly.
They did," replied Massan.
"And did you see them do it?"
"Yes, I did."
Fran9ois gazed intently into his comrade's face as he
spoke; but Massan was an adept at what is usually
called drawing the long bow, and it was with the most
imperturbable gravity that he continued-" Yes, I saw
them do it; but I could not render any assistance to
the poor child, for I was lying close behind a rock at
the time, with an arrow sticking between my shoulders,
and a score o' them oily varmints a-shoutin', and yellin',
and flourishing their spears in search o' me."
Tell us how it happened, Massan. Let's hear the
story," chorused the men, as they closed round their
Well then," began the stout backwoodsman, pro-
ceeding leisurely to fill his pipe from an ornamented bag
that hung at his belt, here goes. It was about the
year-a-I forget the year, but it don't matter-that
we were ordered off on an expedition to the Huskies;
exactlyy sich a one as they wants us to go on now, and-
but you've heerd o' that business, lads, haven't you ? "
Yes, yes, we've heard all about it; go on."
Well," continued Massan, "I needn't be wastin'
time tellin' you how we failed in that affair, and how
the Huskies killed some of our men and burnt our ship
to the water's edge. After it was all over, and they
thought they had killed us all, I was, as I said, lyin'
behind a great rock in a sort o' cave, looking' at the
dirty villains as they danced about on the shore, and took
possession of all our goods. Suddenly I seed two o'
them carry Peter down to the beach, an' I saw, as they
passed me, that he was quite dead. In less time than
I can count a hundred they took the skin off him, cut
off his head, sewed up the hole, tied his arms and legs
in a knot, blew him full o' wind till he was fit to bu'st,
an' then hung him up to dry in the sun! In fact they
made a dan of him "
A loud shout of laughter greeted this startling con-
clusion. In truth, we must do Massan the justice to
say, that although he was much in the habit of amusing
his companions by entertaining them with anecdotes
which originated entirely in his own teeming fancy, he
never actually deceived them, but invariably, either by
a sly glance or by the astounding nature of his com-
munication, gave them to understand that he was dealing
not with fact but fiction.
"But seriously, lads," said Franqois, whose intelligence,
added to a grave, manly countenance and a tall, muscular
frame, caused him to be regarded by his comrades as a
sort of leader both in action and in council, what do
you think of our bourgeois' plan ? For my part, I'm
willing enough to go to any reasonable part o' the
country where there are furs and Indians; but as for
this Ungava, from what Massan says, there's neither
Indians, nor furs, nor victuals,-nothin' but rocks, and
mountains, and eternal winter; and if we do get the
Huskies about us, they'll very likely serve us as they
did the last expedition to Richmond Gulf."
"Ay, ay," cried one of the others, you may say that,
Frangois. Nothin' but frost and starvation, and nobody
to bury us when we're dead."
Except the Huskies," broke in another, who would
save themselves the trouble by converting us all into dans!"
Tush, man I stop your clapper," cried Francois, im-
patiently; let us settle this business. You know that
Monsieur Stanley said he would expect us to be ready
with an answer to-night.-What think you, Gaspard ?
shall we go, or shall we mutiny ? "
The individual addressed was a fine specimen of an
animal, but not by any means a good specimen of a
man. He was of gigantic proportions, straight and tall
as a poplar, and endowed with the strength of a Hercules.
His glittering dark eyes and long black hair, together
with the hue of his skin, bespoke him of half-breed
extraction. But his countenance did not correspond to
his fine physical proportions. True, his features were
good, but they wore habitually a scowling, sulky ex-
pression, even when the man was pleased, and there
was more of sarcasm than joviality in the sound when
Gaspard condescended to laugh.
"I'll be shot if I go to such a hole for the best
bourgeois in the country," said he in reply to Franqois'
You'll be dismissed the service if you don't," re-
marked Massan with a smile.
To this Gaspard vouchsafed no reply save a growl
that, to say the best of it, did not sound amiable.
"Well, I think that we're all pretty much of one
mind on the point," continued Fran9ois; and yet I
feel half ashamed to refuse after all, especially when I
see the good will with which Messieurs Stanley and
Morton agree to go."
"I suppose you. expect to be a bourgeois too some
day," growled Gaspard with a sneer.
Eh, tu gros chien ? cried Francois, as with flashing
eyes and clinched fists he strode up to his ill-tempered
"Come, come, Francois, don't quarrel for nothing,"
said Massan, interposing his broad shoulders and pushing
him vigorously back.
At that moment an exclamation from one of the men
diverted the attention of the others.
Voilk the canoe."
Ay, it's Monsieur Stanley's canoe. I saw him and
Monsieur Morton start for the swamp this morning."
I wonder what Dick Prince would have done in this
business had he been here," said Fran9ois to Massan in
a low tone, as they stood watching the approach of their
Can't say. I half think he would have gone."
There's no chance of him coming back in time, I
None; unless he prevails on some goose to lend him
a pair of wings for a day or two. He won't be back
from the hunt for three weeks good."
In a few minutes more the canoe skimmed up to the
Here, lads," cried Mr. Stanley, as he leaped ashore
and dragged the canoe out of the water; one of you
come and lift this canoe up the bank, and take these
geese to the kitchen."
Two of the men instantly hastened to obey, and
Stanley, with the gun and paddles under his arm, pro-
ceeded towards the gateway of the fort. As he passed
the group assembled on the wharf, he turned and
"You'll come to the hall in an hour, lads; I shall
expect you to be ready with an answer by that time."
"Ay, ay, sir," replied several of the men.
But we won't go for all your expectations," said one
in an undertone to a comrade.
I should think not," whispered another.
"I'll be hanged, and burnt, and frozen if I do," said
In the meantime Mr. Stanley walked briskly towards
his dwelling, and left the men to grumble over their
troubles and continue their debate as to whether they
should or should not agree to go on the pending ex-
pedition to the distant regions of Ungava.
Shows how Stanley deigned to consult with womankind-The opinions of a child
developed-Persuasion fails-Example triumphs-The first volunteers to
ON reaching his apartment, which was in an angle
of the principal edifice in the fort, Mr. Stanley
flung down his gun and paddles, and drawing a chair
close to his wife, who was working with her needle
near a window, took her hand in his and heaved a deep
"Why, George, that's what you used to say to me
when you were at a loss for words in the days of our
"True, Jessie," he replied, patting her shoulder with
a hand that rough service had rendered hard and long
exposure had burnt brown. "But the producing cause
then was different from what it is now. Then it was
love; now it is perplexity."
Stanley's wife was the daughter of English parents,
who had settled many years ago in the fur countries.
Being quite beyond the reach of any school, they had
been obliged to undertake the instruction of their only
child, Jessie, as they best could. At first this was an
easy matter, but as years flew by, and little Jessie's
mind expanded, it was found to be a difficult matter to
carry on her education in a country in most parts of
which books were not to be had and schoolmasters did
not exist. When the difficulty first presented itself,
they talked of sending their little one to England to
finish her education; but being unable to bring them-
selves to part with her, they resolved to have a choice
selection of books sent out to them. Jessie's mother
was a clever, accomplished, and lady-like woman, and
decidedly pious, so that the little flower, which was
indeed born to blush unseen, grew up to be a gentle,
affectionate woman-one who was a lady in all her
thoughts and actions, yet had never seen polite society,
save that of her father and mother. In process of time
Jessie became Mrs. Stanley, and the mother of a little
girl whose voice was, at the time her father entered,
ringing cheerfully in an adjoining room. Mrs. Stanley's
nature was an earnest one, and she no sooner observed
that her husband was worried about something, than
she instantly dropped the light tone in which she at first
"And what perplexes you now, dear George ? she
said, laying down her work and looking' up in his face
with that straightforward, earnest gaze that in days of
yore had set the stout backwoodsman's heart on fire, and
still kept it in a perennial blaze.
"Nothing very serious," he replied with a smile;
" only these fellows have taken it into their stupid heads
that Ungava is worse than the land beyond the Styx;
and so, after the tough battle that I had with you this
morning in order to prevail on you to remain here for a
winter without me, I've had to fight another battle with
them in order to get them to go on this expedition."
"Have you been victorious?" inquired Mrs. Stanley.
"No, not yet."
Do you really mean to say they are afraid to go ?
Has Prince refused ? are Francois, Gaspard, and Massan
cowards ?" she inquired, her eye kindling with indigna-
"Nay, my wife, not so. These men are not cowards;
nevertheless they don't feel inclined to go; and as for
Dick Prince, he has been off hunting for a week, and I
don't expect him back for three weeks at least, by which
time we shall be off"
Mrs. Stanley sighed, as if she felt the utter helpless-
ness- of woman in such affairs.
Why, Jessie, that's what you used to say to me when
you were at a loss for words in the days of our court-
ship," said Stanley, smiling.
"Ah, George, like you I may say that the cause is
now perplexity; for what can I do to help you in your
present difficulty ?"
"Truly not much. But I like to tell you of my
troubles, and to make more of them than they deserve,
for the sake of drawing forth your sympathy. Bless
your heart!" he said, in a sudden burst of enthusiasm,
"I would gladly undergo any amount of trouble every
day, if by so doing I should secure that earnest, loving,
anxious gaze of your sweet blue eyes as a reward!"
Stanley imprinted a hearty kiss on his wife's cheek as
he made this lover-like speech, and then rose to place
his fowling-piece on the pegs from which it usually
hung over the fire-place.
At that moment the door opened, and a little girl,
with bright eyes and flaxen hair, bounded into the
0 mamma, mamma she said, holding up a sheet
of paper, while a look of intense satisfaction beamed on
her animated countenance, "see, I have drawn Chime's
portrait. Is it like, mamma ? Do you think it like ?"
Come here, Eda, my darling, come to me," said
Stanley, seating himself on a chair and extending his
arms. Edith instantly left the portrait of the dog in
her mother's possession, and, without waiting for an
opinion as to its merits, ran to her father, jumped on his
knee, threw her arms round his neck, and kissed him.
Edith was by no means a beautiful child, but miserable
indeed must have been the taste of him who would have
pronounced her plain-looking. Her features were not
regular; her nose had a strong tendency to what is
called snubbed, and her mouth was large; but to counter-
balance these defects she had a pair of large deep-blue
eyes, soft golden hair, a fair rosy complexion, and an
expression of sweetness at the corners of her mouth that
betrayed habitual good-nature. She was quick in all
her movements, combined with a peculiar softness and
grace of deportment that was exceedingly attractive.
"Would you like to go, my pet," said her father, to
a country far, far away in the north, where there are
high mountains and deep valleys, inhabited by beautiful
reindeer, and large lakes and rivers filled with fish;
where there is very little daylight all the long winter,
and where there is scarcely any night all the long bright
summer ? Would my Eda like to go there ?"
The child possessed that fascinating quality of being
intensely interested in all that was said to her. As her
father spoke, her eyes gradually expanded and looked
straight into his, while her head turned slowly and very
slightly to one side. As he concluded, she replied, "Oh!
very, very, very much indeed," with a degree of energy
that made both her parents laugh.
"Ah, my darling! would that my lazy men were
endued with some of your spirit," said Stanley, patting
the child's head.
"Is Prince a lazy man, papa ?" inquired Edith
"No, certainly, Prince is not. Why do you ask ?"
Because I love Prince."
And do you not love all the men ?"
"No," replied Edith, with some hesitation; "at least
I don't love them very much, and I hate one!"
Hate one!" echoed Mrs. Stanley. Come here, my
Eda slipped from her father's knee and went to her
mother, feeling and looking as if she had said something
Mrs. Stanley was not one of those mothers who,
whenever they hear of their children having done any-
thing wrong, assume a look of intense, solemnized horror,
that would lead an ignorant spectator to suppose that
intelligence had just been received of some sudden and
appalling catastrophe. She knew that children could
not be deceived by such pieces of acting. She expressed
on her countenance precisely what she felt-a slight
degree of sorrow that her child should cherish an evil
passion, which, she knew, existed in her heart in common
with all the human race, but which she expected, by
God's help and blessing, to subdue effectually at last.
Kissing Eda's forehead she said kindly,-
Which of them do you hate, darling ?"
Gaspard," replied the child.
And why do you hate him ? "
Because he struck my dog," said Eda, while her face
flushed and her eyes sparkled; "and he is always rude
to everybody, and very, very cruel to the dogs."
"That is very wrong of Gaspard; but, dearest Eda,
do you not remember what is written in God's Word,-
'Love your enemies'? It is wrong to hate anybody."
"I know that, mamma, and I don't wish to hate
Gaspard, but I can't help it. I wish if I didn't hate
him, but it won't go away."
"Well, my pet," replied Mrs. Stanley, pressing the
child to her bosom, but you must pray for him, and
speak kindly to him when you meet him, and that will
perhaps put it away. And now let us talk of the far-
off country that papa was speaking about. I wonder
what he has to tell you about it !"
Stanley had been gazing out of the window during
the foregoing colloquy, apparently inattentive, though,
in reality, deeply interested in what was said. Turning
round, he said,-
"I was going to tell Eda that you had arranged to
follow me to that country next year, and that perhaps
you would bring her along with you."
Nay, George, you mistake. I did not arrange to do
so,-you only proposed the arrangement; but, to say
truth, I don't like it, and I can't make up my mind to
let you go without us. I cannot wait till next year."
Well, well, Jessie, I have exhausted all my powers
of persuasion. I leave it entirely to yourself to do as
you think best."
At this moment the sound of deep voices was heard
in the hall, which was separated from Stanley's quarters
by a thin partition of wood. In a few seconds the door
opened, and George Barney, the Irish butler and general
factotum to the establishment, announced that the "min
wos in the hall awaiting. "
Giving Eda a parting kiss, Stanley rose and entered
the hall, where FranCois, Massan, Gaspard, and several
others were. grouped in a corner. On their bourgeois
entering, they doffed their bonnets and bowed.
"Well, lads," began Stanley, with a smile, "you've
thought better of it, I hope, and have come to volunteer
for this expedition-" He checked himself and frowned,
for he saw by their looks that they had come with quite
a different intention. What have you to say to me ?"
he continued, abruptly.
The men looked uneasily at each other, and then fixed
their eyes on Francois, who was evidently expected to
Come, Francois, speak out," said Stanley; if you
have any objections, out with them,-you're free to say
what you please here."
As he spoke, and ere Fran9ois could reply, Frank
Morton entered the room. Ah! he exclaimed, as he
deposited his rifle in a corner and flung his cap on the
table, "in time, I see, to help at the council !"
"I was just asking Francois to state his objections to
going," said Stanley, as his young friend took his place
"Objections repeated Frank; "what objections can
bold spirits have to go on a bold adventure ? The ques-
tion should have been, 'Who will be first to volunteer ?' "
At this moment the door of Stanley's apartment
op',..Jl, and his wife appeared leading Eda by the hand.
"Here are two volunteers," she said, with a smile;
"pray put us at the head of your list. We will go with
you to any part of the world !"
Bravo !" shouted Frank, catching up Eda, with
whom he was a great favourite, and hugging her tightly
in his arms.
Nay, but, wife, this is sheer folly. You know not
the dangers that await you-"
"Perhaps not," interrupted Mrs. Stanley, "but you
know them, and that is enough for me."
"Indeed, Jessie, I know them not. I can but guess
at them.-But, ah well, 'tis useless to argue further.
Be it so; we shall head the list with you and Eda."
And put my name next," said a deep-toned voice from
behind the other men. All turned round in surprise.
"Dick Prince they exclaimed; "you here ?"
"Ay, lads," said a tall man of about forty, who was
not so remarkable for physical development (though in
this respect he was by no means deficient) as for a
certain decision of character that betrayed itself in every
outline of his masculine, intelligent countenance-" ay,
lads, I'm here; an' sorry am I that I've jist corned in
time to hear that you're sich poor-spirited rascals as to
hang back when ye should jump forward."
But how came you so opportunely, Prince ?" inquired
"I met an Injin, sir, as told me you was going' off; so
I thought you might want me, and comed straight back.
And now, sir, I'm ready to go; and so is Fran9ois," he
continued, turning to that individual, who seized his
hand and exclaimed, "That am I, my boy, to the moon
if ye like !"
"And Massan, too," continued Prince.
"All right; book me for Nova Zembla," replied that
"So, so," cried Mr. Stanley, 'with a satisfied smile.
"I see, lads, that we're all of one mind now. Is it not
so ? Are we agreed ?"
"Agreed agreed !" they replied with one voice.
"That's well," he continued. "Now then, lads, clear
out and get your kits ready.-And ho! Barney, give
these men a glass of grog.-Prince, I shall want to talk
with you this evening. Come to me an hour hence.-
And now," he added, taking Eda by the hand, "come
along, my gentle volunteers; let's go to supper."
Explanatory, but not dry !-Murderous designs thwarted by vigorous treat-
ment-The cattle pay for it /-Preparations for a long, long voyage.
N order to render our story intelligible, it is necessary
here to say a few words explanatory of the nature
and object of the expedition referred to in the foregoing
Many years previous to the opening of our tale, it
was deemed expedient, by the rulers of the Hudson's
Bay Fur Company, to effect, if possible, a reconciliation
or treaty of peace between the Muskigon Indians of
James's Bay and the Esquimaux of Hudson's Straits.
The Muskigons are by no means a warlike race; on the
contrary, they are naturally timid, and only plucked up
courage to make war on their northern neighbours in
consequence of these poor people being destitute of fire-
arms, while themselves were supplied with guns and
ammunition by the fur-traders. The Esquimaux, how..
ever, are much superior to the Muskigon Indians physic-
ally, and would have held their adversaries in light
esteem had they met on equal terms, or, indeed, on any
terms at all; but the evil was that they never met.
The Indians always took them by surprise, and from
behind the rocks and bushes sent destruction into their
camps with the deadly bullet; while their helpless foes
could only reply with the comparatively harmless arrow
and spear. Thus the war was in fact an annual raid of
murderers. The conceited Muskigons returned to their
wigwams in triumph, with bloody scalps hanging at their
belts; while the Esquimaux pushed farther into their
ice-bound fastnesses, and told their comrades, with lower-
ing brows and heaving bosoms, of the sudden attack,
and of the wives and children who had been butchered
in cold blood, or led captive to the tents of the cowardly
At such times those untutored inhabitants of the
frozen regions vowed vengeance on the Indians, and
cursed in their hearts the white men who supplied them
with the deadly gun. But the curse was unmerited.
In the councils of the fur-traders the subject of Esqui-
mau wrongs had been mooted, and plans for the
amelioration of their condition devised. Trading posts
were established on Richmond Gulf and Little Whale
River; but owing to circumstances which it is unneces-
sary to detail here, they turned out failures, and were
at length abandoned. Still, those in charge of the dis-
tricts around Hudson's Bay and Labrador continued to
use every argument to prevail on the Indians to cease
their murderous assaults on their unoffending neigh-
bours, but without much effect. At length the governor
of East Main-a territory lying on the eastern shores
of James's Bay-adopted an argument which proved
eminently successful, at least for one season.
His fort was visited by a large band of Muskigons
from Albany and Moose districts, who brought a quantity
of valuable furs, for which they demanded guns and
ammunition, making. no secret of their intention to pro-
ceed on an expedition against their enemies the Esqui-
maux. On hearing of this, the governor went out to
them, and, in a voice of extreme indignation, assured
them that they should not have an ounce of supplies for
such a purpose.
But we will pay you for what we ask. We are not
beggars !" exclaimed the astonished Indians, into whose
calculations it had never entered that white traders would
refuse good furs merely in order to prevent the death of
a few Esquimaux.
See," cried the angry governor, snatching up the
nearest bale of furs-" see, that's all I care for you or
your payment !" and hurling the pack at its owner's head,
he felled him therewith to the ground. No," he con-
tinued, shaking his fist at them, I'll not give you as much
powder or shot as would blow off the tail of a rabbit,
if you were to bring me all the skins in Labrador !"
The consequence of this vigorous conduct was that
the Indians retired crest-fallen-utterly discomfited.
But in the camp that night they plotted revenge. In
the darkness of the night they slaughtered all the cattle
around the establishment, and before daybreak were
over the hills and far away in the direction of their
hunting-grounds, loaded with fresh beef sufficient for the
supply of themselves and their families for the winter!
It was a heavy price to pay; but the poor Esquimaux
remained unmolested that year, while the Indians re-
ceived a salutary lesson. But the compulsory peace was
soon broken, and it became apparent that the only
effectual way to check the bloodthirsty propensity of
the Indians was to arm their enemies with the gun.
The destruction of the first expedition to the Esquimaux,
and the bad feeling that existed in the minds of the na-
tives of Richmond Gulf consequent thereon, induced the
fur-traders to fix on another locality for a new attempt.
It was thought that the remote solitudes of Ungava
Bay, at the extreme north of Labrador,-where the white
man's axe had never yet felled the stunted pines of the
north, nor the ring of his rifle disturbed its echoes,-would
be the spot best suited for the erection of a wooden fort.
Accordingly, it was appointed that Mr. George Stanley
should select a coadjutor, and proceed with a party of
picked men to the scene of action as early in the spring
as the ice would permit, and there build a fort as he
best could, with the best materials he could find; live
on whatever the country afforded in the shape of food;
establish a trade in oil, whalebone, arctic foxes, etc., etc.,
if they were to be got; and bring about a reconciliation
between the Esquimaux and the Indians of the interior,
if that were possible. With the careful minuteness
peculiar to documents, Stanley's instructions went on to
point out that he was to start from Moose-with two
half-sized canoes, each capable of carrying ten pieces or
packages of 90 lbs. weight each, besides the crew-and
bore through the ice, if the ice would allow him, till he
should reach Richmond Gulf; cross this gulf, and ascend,
if practicable, some of the rivers which fall into it from
the height of land supposed, but not positively known,
to exist somewhere in the interior. Passing this height,
he was to descend by the rivers and lakes (if such ex-
isted) leading to the eastward, until he should fall upon
a river reported to exist in these lands, and called by
the natives Caniapuscaw, or South River, down which
he was to proceed to the scene of his labours, Ungava
Bay; on reaching which he was considerately left to the
unaided guidance of his own discretion! Reduced to
their lowest term and widest signification, the instruc-
tions directed our friend to start as early as he could,
with whom he chose, and with what he liked; travel as
fast as possible over terra incognita to a land of ice-
perhaps, also, of desolation-and locate himself among
bloody savages. It was hoped that there would be
found a sufficiency of trees wherewith to build him a
shelter against a prolonged winter; in the meantime he
might enjoy a bright arctic summer sky for his canopy!
But it was known, or at least supposed, that the
Esquimaux were fierce and cruel savages, if not can-
nibals. Their very name implies something of the sort.
It signifies eaters of raw flesh, and was bestowed on
them by their enemies the Muskigons. They call them-
selves Innuit-men, or warriors and although they
certainly do eat raw flesh when necessity compels them
-which it often does-they asserted that they never
did so from choice. However, be this as it may, the
remembrance of their misdeeds in the first expeditions
was fresh in the minds of the men in the service of the
fur-traders, and they evinced a decided unwillingness to
venture into such a country and among such a people,
-an unwillingness which was only at length overcome
when Mrs. Stanley and her little daughter heroically
volunteered to share the dangers of the expedition in
the manner already narrated.
Stanley now made vigorous preparations for his de-
parture. Some of the men had already been enrolled,
as we have seen, and there were more than enough of
able and active volunteers ready to complete the crews.
Come hither, lads," he cried, beckoning to two men
who were occupied on the bank of the river, near the
entrance to Moose Fort, in repairing the side of a canoe.
The men left their work and approached. They were
both Esquimaux, and good stout, broad-shouldered, thick-
set specimens of the race they were. One was called
Oolibuck,* the other Augustus; both of which names are
* This name is spelt as it should be pronounced. The correct spelling is
now chronicled in the history of arctic adventure as hav-
ing belonged to the well-tried and faithful interpreters
to Franklin, Back, and Richardson, in their expeditions
of north-west discovery.
"I'm glad to see you busy at the canoe, boys," said
Stanley, as they came up. "Of course you are both
willing to revisit your countrymen."
"Yes, sir, we is. Glad to go where you choose send
us," answered Oolibuck, whose broad, oily countenance
lighted up with good-humour as he spoke.
It will remind you of your trip with Captain Frank-
lin," continued Stanley, addressing Augustus.
Me no like to 'member dat," said the Esquimau,
with a sorrowful shake of the head. Me love bour-
geois Franklin, but tink me never see him more."
"I don't know that, old fellow," returned Stanley,
with a smile. "Franklin is not done with his discoveries
yet; there's a talk of sending off another expedition
some of these days, I hear, so you may have a chance
Augustus's black eyes sparkled with pleasure as he
heard this. He was a man of strong feeling, and dur-
ing his journeyings with our great arctic hero had become
attached to him in consequence of the hearty and un-
varying kindness and consideration with which he treated
all under his command. But the spirit of enterprise had
been long slumbering, and poor Augustus, who was now
past the prime of life, feared that he should never see
his kind master more.
Now I want you, lads, to get everything in readi-
ness for an immediate start," continued Stanley, glancing
upwards at the sky; "if the weather holds, we shan't
be long of paying your friends a visit. Are both canoes
Yes, sir, they is," replied Oolibuck.
"And the baggage, is it laid out? And-"
"Pardon, monsieur," interrupted Massan, walking up,
and touching his cap. "I've jest been down at the
point, and there's a rig'lar nor'-wester a-comin' down.
The ice is sweeping' into the river, an' it'll be choked up
by to-morrow, I'm afraid."
Stanley received this piece of intelligence with a slight
frown, and looked seaward, where a dark line on the
horizon and large fields of ice showed that the man's
surmise was likely to prove correct.
"It matters not," said Stanley, hastily; "I've made
arrangements to start to-morrow, and start we shall, in
spite of ice or wind, if the canoes will float !"
Massan, who had been constituted principal steersman
of the expedition, in virtue of his well-tried skill and
indomitable energy, felt that the tone in which this was
said implied a want of confidence in his willingness to
go under any circumstances, so he said gravely,-
"Pardon, monsieur; I did not say we could not start."
"True, true, Massan; don't be hurt. I was only
grumbling at the weather," answered Stanley, with a
Just then the first puff of the coming breeze swept up
the river, ruffling its hitherto glassy surface.
"There it comes," cried Stanley, as he quitted the
spot. "Now, Massan, see to it that the crews are assem-
bled in good time on the beach to-morrow. We start at
"Oui, monsieur," replied Massan, as he turned on his
heel and walked away. Parbleu! we shall indeed start
to-morrow, an' it please you, if all the ice and wind in
the polar regions was blowed down the coast and crammed
into the river's mouth. C'est vrai!"
Ice looks unpropitious-The start-An important member of the party nearly
STANLEY'S forebodings and Massan's prognostica-
tions proved partly incorrect on the following
morning. The mouth of the river, and the sea beyond,
were quite full of ice; but it was loose, and intersected
in all directions by lanes of open water. Moreover,
there was no wind.
The gray light of early morning brightened into
dawn, and the first clear ray of the rising sun swept
over a scene more beautiful than ever filled the fancy
of the most imaginative poet of the Temperate Zones.
The sky was perfectly unclouded, and the surface of the
sea was completely covered with masses of ice, whose
tops were pure white like snow, and their sides a
delicate greenish-blue, their dull, frosted appearance
forming a striking contrast to the surrounding water,
which shone, when the sun glanced upon it, like bur-
nished silver. The masses of ice varied endlessly in
form and size, some being flat and large like fields,
others square and cornered like bastions or towers-
here a miniature temple with spires and minarets, there
a crystal fortress with embrasures and battlements; and,
in the midst of these, thousands of broken fragments,
having all the varied outlines of the larger masses,
appearing like the smaller houses, cottages, and villas
of this floating city of ice.
Oh how beautiful!" exclaimed little Edith, as her
father led her and Mrs. Stanley towards the canoes,
which floated lightly in the water, while the men stood
in a picturesque group beside them, leaning on their
bright red paddles.
"It is indeed, my pet," replied Stanley, a smile almost
of sadness playing around his lips.
"Come, George, don't let evil forebodings assail you
to-day," said Mrs. Stanley in a low tone. "It does not
become the leader of a forlorn-hope to cast a shade over
the spirits of his men at the very outset." She smiled
as she said this, and pressed his arm; but despite her-
self, there was more of sadness in the smile and in the
pressure than she intended to convey.
Stanley's countenance assumed its usual firm but
cheerful expression while she spoke. True, Jessie,
I must not damp the men; but when I look at you
and our darling Eda, I may be forgiven for betraying
a passing glance of anxiety. May the Almighty pro-
tect you !"
"Is the country we are going to like this, papa ?"
inquired Eda, whose intense admiration of the fairylike
scene rendered her oblivious of all else.
"Yes, dear, more like this than anything else you
have ever seen; but the sun does not always shine so
brightly as it does just now, and sometimes there are
terrible snow-storms. But we will build you a nice
house, Eda, with a very large fire-place, so that we
won't feel the cold."
The entire population of Moose Fort was assembled
on the beach to witness the departure of the expedi-
tion. The party consisted of fifteen souls. As we
shall follow them to the icy regions of Ungava, it
may be worth while to rehearse their names in order
MR. and MRS. STANLEY and EDITH.
MASSAN, the guide.
DICK PRINCE, principal hunter to the party.
LA ROCHE, Stanley's servant and cook.
BRYAN, the blacksmith.
FRANCOIS, the carpenter.
AUGUSTUS, Esquimau interpreters.
GASPARD, labourer and fisherman.
OOA-STEQAS Indian guides and hunters.
The craft in which these were about to embark were
three canoes, two of which were large and one small.
They were made of birch bark, a substance which is
tough, light, and buoyant, and therefore admirably
adapted for the construction of craft that have not
only to battle against strong and sometimes shallow
currents, but have frequently to be carried on the
shoulders of their crews over rocks and mountains.
The largest canoe was sixteen feet long by five feet
broad in the middle, narrowing gradually towards the
bow and stern to a sharp edge. Its loading consisted
of bales, kegs, casks, and bundles of goods and provi-
sions; each bale or cask weighed exactly 90 lbs., and was
called a piece. There were fifteen pieces in the canoe,
besides the crew of six men, and Mr. Stanley and his
family, who occupied the centre, where their bedding,
tied up in flat bundles and covered with oiled cloth,
formed a comfortable couch. Notwithstanding the size
and capacity of this craft, it had been carried down to
the beach on the shoulders of Massan and Dick Prince,
who now stood at its bow and stern, preventing it with
their paddles from rubbing its frail sides against the
wharf; for although the bark is tough, and will stand
a great deal of tossing in water and plunging among
rapids, it cannot sustain the slightest blow from a rock or
other hard substance without being cracked, or having the
gum which covers the seams scraped off. To those who
are unacquainted with travelling in the wild regions of
the north it would seem impossible that a long journey
could be accomplished in such tender boats; but a little
experience proves that, by judicious treatment and careful
management, voyages of great length may be safely accom-
plished in them-that they are well adapted for the
necessities of the country, and can be taken with greater
ease through a rough, broken, and mountainous region
than ordinary wooden boats, even of smaller size, could be.
The second canoe was in all respects similar to the
one we have described, excepting that it was a few
inches shorter. The third was much smaller-so small
that it could not contain more than three men, with
their provisions and a few bales, and so light that it
could with the greatest ease be carried on the shoulders
of one man. It was intended to serve as a sort of
pioneer and hunting craft, which should lead the way,
dart hither and thither in pursuit of game, and warn
the main body of any danger that should threaten them
ahead. It was manned by the two Indian guides, Oostesi-
mow and Ma-istequan, and by Frank Morton, who being
acknowledged one of the best shots of the party, was by
tacit understanding regarded as commissary-general. It
might have been said that Frank was the best shot,
were it not for the fact that the aim of Dick Prince
was perfect, and it is generally admitted that perfection
cannot be excelled.
Although differing widely in their dispositions and
appearance, the men of the expedition were similar at
least in one respect-they were all first-rate, and had
been selected as being individually superior to their
comrades at Moose Fort. And a noble set of fellows
they looked, as they stood beside their respective canoes,
leaning on their little, brilliantly coloured paddles, await-
ing the embarkation of their leaders. They all wore
new suits of clothes, which were sufficiently similar to
give the effect of a uniform, yet so far varied in detail
as to divest them of monotony, and relieve the eye by
agreeable contrast of bright colours. All of them wore
light-blue cloth capotes with hoods hanging down
behind, all had corduroy trousers gartered below the
knee, and all wore moccasins, and had fire-bags stuck
in their belts, in which were contained the materials
for producing fire, tobacco, and pipes. So far they were
alike, but the worsted belts of some were scarlet, of
others crimson, and of others striped. Some gartered
their trousers with thongs of leather, others used elegant
bands of bead-work-the gifts, probably, of sorrowing
sweethearts, sisters, or mothers--while the fire-bags,
besides being composed some of blue, some of scarlet
cloth, were ornamented more or less with flowers and
fanciful devices elegantly wrought in the gaily-dyed
quills of the porcupine.
On seeing Stanley and his wife and child approach-
ing, Massan gave the order to embark. In a moment
every man divested himself of his capote, which he
folded up and placed on the seat he was to occupy;
then, shaking hands all round for the last time, they
stepped lightly and carefully into their places.
All ready I see, Massan," said Stanley, as he came
up, "and the ice seems pretty open. How say you ?
shall we make a good day of it ?"
Massan smiled dubiously as he presented his thick
shoulder as a support to Mrs. Stanley, while she stepped
into her place. He remembered the conversation of the
previous evening, and determined that, whatever should
happen, he at least would not cast the shadow of a
doubt on their prospects. But in his own mind he
suspected that their progress would be interrupted ere
long, as the wind, although very light-almost imper-
ceptible-was coming from the north-west.
It'll be full flood in less nor half-an-hour," he replied,
"and-(take care, Miss Edith, give me your little hand;
there, now, jump light)-and we'll be past the p'int by
that time, and git the good o' the ebb till sun-down."
"I fear," said Frank Morton, approaching, "that the
ice is rather thick for us; but it don't much matter, it
will only delay us a bit-and at any rate we'll make
good way as far as the point."
"True, true," said Stanley; and it's a great matter
to get fairly started. Once off, we must go forward.
All ready, lads ?"
"Ay, ay, sir."
"Now, Frank, into your canoe and show us the way;
mind we trust to your guidance to keep us clear of
blind alleys among these lanes of water in the ice."
At this moment Edith-who had been for the last
few minutes occupied in alternately drying her eyes and
kissing her hands to a group of little children who had
been her play-fellows during her sojourn at the fort-
uttered a loud exclamation.
"Oh! oh! papa, mamma--Chimo !-we've forgot
Chimo Oh me don't go away yet !"
"So we have !" said her father; "dear me, how
stupid to forget our old friend !-Hallo Frank, Frank,
we've forgot the dog," shouted Stanley to his young
comrade, who was on the point of starting.
On hearing this, Frank gave a long shrill whistle.
"That'll bring him if he's within ear-shot."
When the well-known sound broke upon Chimo's ear,
he was lying coiled up in front of the kitchen fire, being
privileged to do so in consequence of his position as
Edith's favourite. The cook, having gone out a few
minutes previously, had left Chimo to enjoy his slumbers
in solitude, so that, when he started suddenly to his
feet on hearing Frank's whistle, he found himself a
prisoner. But Chimo was a peculiarly strong-minded
and strong-bodied dog, and was possessed of an iron
will! He was of the Esquimau breed, and bore some
resemblance to the Newfoundland, but was rather shorter
in the legs, longer in the body, and more powerfully
made. Moreover, he was more shaggy, and had a stout,
blunt, straightforward appearance, which conveyed to
the beholder the idea that he scorned flattery, and would
not consent to be petted on any consideration. Indeed
this was the case, for he always turned away with quiet
contempt from any of the men who attempted to fondle
him. He made an exception, however, of little Edith,
whom he not only permitted to clap him to any extent,
but deliberately invited her to do so by laying his great
head in her lap, rubbing himself against her, and wag-
ging his bushy tail, as if to say, Now, little girl, do
what you will with me !" And Eda never refused the
animal's dumb-show request. When she was very young
and had not much sense-at which time Chimo was
young too, but possessed of a great deal of sense-she
formed a strong affection for the Esquimau dog, an
affection which she displayed by putting her little arms
round his neck and hugging him until he felt a tendency
to suffocation; she also pulled his ears and tail, and
stuffed her fat little hands into his eyes and mouth,-all
of which dreadful actions she seemed to think, in her
childish ignorance, must be very pleasant to Chimo, and
all of which the dog appeared really to enjoy. At all
events, whether he liked it or not, he came regularly
to have himself thus treated every day. As Eda grew
older she left off choking her favourite and poking out
his eyes, and contented herself with caressing him.
Chimo also evinced a partiality for Mr. Stanley and
Frank Morton, and often accompanied the latter on his
hunting excursions; but he always comported himself
towards them with dignified hauteur, accepting their
caresses with a slight wag of acknowledgment, but
never courting their favour.
On jumping up, as we have already said, and observ-
ing that the door was shut, the dog looked slowly and
calmly round the apartment, as if to decide on what
was best to be done; for Chimo was a dog of great
energy of character, and was never placed in any cir-
cumstances in which he did not pursue some decided
course of action. On the present occasion there was
not a hole, except the key-hole, by which he could hope
to make his escape. Yes, by-the-by, there was a hole
in the window, which was made of parchment; but as
that was merely the bullet-hole through which the
animal that had given his skin for a window had been
shot, and was not larger than a shilling, it did not afford
much hope. Nevertheless Chimo regarded it with a
steady gaze for a minute or two, then he turned to the
fire, and having satisfied himself that the chimney was
impracticable, being full of flames and smoke, he faced
the window once more, and showed his teeth, as if in
Whew-ew Chimo-o-o !" came Frank's voice, float-
ing faintly from afar. Chimo took aim at the bullet-
hole. One vigorous bound a horrible crash, that
nearly caused the returning cook to faint-and the
dog was free.
"Ah, here he comes !-good dog!" cried Frank, as
the animal came bounding over intervening obstacles
towards the canoes. Chimo made straight for the small
canoe, in answer to his master's call; but, like many
dogs and not a few men, he owned a higher power than
that of a master. The voice of his little mistress
sounded sweetly in his ear, like the sound of a silver
bell. "0 Chimo, Chimo my darling pet! come here
-here." It was a soft, tiny voice at the loudest, and
was quite drowned amid the talking and laughter of the
men, but Chimo heard it. Turning at a sharp angle
from his course, he swept past the light canoe, and
bounding into that of Mr. Stanley, lay down beside
Eda and placed his head in her lap, where it was
immediately smothered in the caresses of its young
Mr. Stanley smiled and patted his little girl on the
shoulder, as he said, "That's right, Eda; the love of
a faithful dog is worth having and cherishing." Then
turning towards the stern of the canoe, where Massan
stood erect, with his, steering paddle ready for action,
he said to that worthy,-
Now, Massan, all ready; give the word."
Ho, ho, boys; forward !"
The paddles dipped simultaneously in the water with
a loud, gurgling sound; the two large canoes shot out
into the stream abreast of each other, preceded by the
light one, which, urged forward by the powerful arms
of Frank and the two Indians, led the way among the
floating fields of ice. The people on shore took off
their caps and waved a last farewell. Dick Prince, who
possessed a deep, loud, sonorous voice, began one of those
beautiful and wild yet plaintive songs peculiar to the
voyageurs of the wilderness. The men joined, with a
full, rich swell, in the chorus, as they darted forward
with arrow-like speed-and the voyage began.
Character partially developed-Ducks for supper-A threatened "nip"-
Bundled out on the ice.
P ORTUNATELY the wind veered round to the
south-east soon after the departure of the canoes
from Moose Fort, and although there was not enough of
it to ruffle the surface of the river, it had the effect
of checking the influx of ice from James's Bay. The
tide, too, began to ebb, so that the progress of the
canoes was even more rapid than it appeared to be;
and long before the sun set, they were past the point
at the mouth of the river, and coasting along the shores
of the salt ocean.
Outside of them the sea was covered with hummocks
and fields of ice, some of which ever and anon met in
the cross currents caused by the river, with a violent
shock. Close to the shore, however, the thickness of
the ice caused it to strand, leaving a lane of open water,
along which the canoes proceeded easily, the depth of
water being much more than sufficient for them, as the
largest canoe did not draw more than a foot. Some-
times, however, this space was blocked up by smaller
fragments, and considerable difficulty was experienced
in steering the canoes amongst them. Had the party
travelled in boats, they would have easily dashed through
many of these checks; but with canoes it is far otherwise.
Not only are their bark sides easily broken, but the
seams are covered with a kind of pitch which becomes
so brittle in ice-cold water that it chips off in large
lumps with the slightest touch. For the sea, therefore,
boats are best; but when it comes to carrying the craft
over waterfalls and up mountain sides, for days and weeks
together, canoes are more useful, owing to their lightness.
"Take care, Massan," said Mr. Stanley, on approach-
ing one of these floes. Don't chip the gum off if you
can help it. If we spring a leak, we shan't spend our
first night on a pleasant camping-ground, for the shore
just hereabouts does not look inviting."
No fear, sir," replied Massan. Dick Prince is in
the bow, and as long as his mouth's shut I keep my
You appear to have unlimited confidence in Prince,"
said Stanley, with a smile. Does he never fail in any-
thing, that you are so sure of him ? "
Fail! exclaimed the steersman, whose paddle swept
constantly in a circle round his head, while he changed
it from side to side as the motions of the canoe required
-" fail ay, that does he sometimes. Mortal man must
get on the wrong side o' luck now and then. I've seen
Dick Prince fail, but I never saw him make a mistake."
"Well, I've no doubt that he deserves your good
opinion. Nevertheless, be more than ordinarily careful.
If you had a wife and child in the canoe, Massan, you
would understand my anxiety better." Stanley smiled
as he said this, and the worthy steersman replied in a
"I have the wife and child of my bourgeois under
"True, true, Massan," said Stanley, lying back on his
couch and conversing with his wife in an undertone.
"'Tis curious," said he, to observe the confidence that
i.- ,- i:. has in Prince; and yet it would be difficult to say
wherein consists the superiority of the one over the other."
r" ?L--.,I it is the influence of a strong mind over a
7- r ." -i..' .l his wife.
"It may be so. Yet Prince is an utterly uneducated
man. -_.:-. he shoots a hair's-breadth better than
Massan; but he is not a better canoeman, neither is
he more courageous, and he is certainly less powerful:
I, ---i. I-:I. Massan looks up to him and speaks of him
as if he were :tlV his superior. The secret of his
-. must lie in that steady, never-wavering inflexi-
: I' of c1*. h .- that characterizes our good bowman in
-.l. -T',._ he does."
"I. .' i.- E.irl who had been holding a long con-
-. :-.- .: Chimo on the wonders of the scene
around therm-if we may call that a conversation where
the one T-r" does all the talking and the other all the
I t r' _,-" 1-., where shall we all sleep to-night ?"
The i,, '. seemed to have struck her for the first
-'., and she looked up eagerly for an answer, while
i"' '' .-. .gave a deep sigh of indifference, and went to
1.-.1. o1r I..'.-'wl.l to do so, where he was.
"In the woods, Eda. How do you think you will
like it "
,''., I'm sure I shall like it very much," replied the
little one. I've often wished to live in the woods
;I-,-._. r: .., like the Indians, and do nothing but wander
about and pull berries."
Ah, Jessie," said Stanley, "what an idle little bag-
gage your daughter is! I fear she's a true chip of the
old block !"
"Which do you consider the old block," retorted Mrs.
Stanley-" you or me ?"
"Never mind,wife; we'll leave that an open question.-
But tell me, Eda, don't you think that wandering about
and pulling berries would be a very useless sort of
No," replied Edith, gravely. Mamma often tells
me that God wants me to be happy, and I'm quite sure
that wandering about all day in the beautiful woods
would make me happy."
"But, my darling," said Stanley, smiling at the sim-
plicity of this plausible argument in favour of an idle
life, "don't you know that we ought to try to make
others happy too, as well as ourselves ? "
"Oh yes," replied Eda, with a bright smile, "I know
that, papa; and I would try to make everybody happy
by going with them and showing them where the finest
flowers and berries were to be found; and so we would
all be happy together, and that's what God wants, is
it not ?"
Mr. Stanley glanced towards his wife with an arch
smile. "There, Jessie, what think you of that ?"
"Nay, husband, what think you ? "
"I think," he replied in an undertone, "that your
sagacious teaching against idleness, and in favour of
diligence and attention to duty, and so forth, has not
taken very deep root yet."
And I think," said Mrs. Stanley, that however wise
you men may be in some things, you are all most incom-
prehensibly stupid in regard to the development of young
"Take care now, Jessie; you're verging upon meta-
physics. But you have only given me your opinion of
men as yet; you have still to say what you think of
Eda's acknowledged predilection for idleness."
"Well," replied Mrs. Stanley, "I think that my
sagacious teaching, as you are pleased to call it, has
taken pretty firm root already, and that Eda's speech is
one of the first bright, beautiful blossoms, from which
we may look for much fruit hereafter; for to make
one's self and one's fellow-creatures happy, because such
is the will of God, seems to me a simple and comprehen-
sive way of stating the whole duty of man."
Stanley's eyes opened a little at this definition. "Hum!
multum in parvo ; it may be so," he said; and casting
down his eyes, he was soon lost in a profound reverie,
while the canoe continued to progress forward by little
impulsive bounds, under the rapid stroke of the paddles.
Eda rested her fair cheek on the shaggy brow of Chimo,
and accompanied him to the land of nod, until the sun
began to sink behind the icebergs on the seaward
horizon, where a dark line indicated an approaching
Massan cast an uneasy glance at this from time to
time. At length he called to his friend in the bow,
"Hallo, Prince! will it come stiff, think ye ?"
No," replied Prince, rising and shading his eyes with
his hand; "it'll be only a puff; but that's enough to
drive the ice down on us, an' shut up the open water."
It's my 'pinion," said Massan, "that we should hold
away for the p'int yonder, an' camp there."
Dick Prince nodded assent, and resumed his paddle.
As he did so the report of a gun came sharply over
Ha !" exclaimed Stanley, looking out ahead; "what's
Only Mr. Frank," said Massan; "he's dowsed two
birds. I seed them splash into the water."
That's right," said Stanley; we shall have some-
thing fresh for the kettle to-night. And, by the way,
we'll need all we can kill, for we haven't much provision
to depend on, and part of it must be reserved in case of
accidents, so that if Frank does not do his duty, we shall
have to live on birch bark, Massan."
"That would be rather tough, I'm afeerd," replied
the steersman, laughing. "I've tried the tail o' a deer-
skin coat afore now, an' it wasn't much to boast of; but
I niver tried a birch-bark steak. I doubt it would need
a power o' chewin' !"
By this time the two large canoes had drawn grad-
ually nearer to the leading one. As they approached
Frank ordered his men to cease paddling.
"Well, Frank, what success ?" said Stanley, as they
"There's our supper," cried Frank, tossing a large
duck into the canoe; "and there's a bite for the men,"
he added, sending a huge gray goose into the midst of
them. "I saw a herd of reindeer on the other side of
the point; but the ice closed up the passage, and pre-
vented me from getting within range. It will stop our
further progress for to-night too; so I waited to advise
you to camp here."
"There it comes !" cried Dick Prince. "Jump out on
the ice, lads, and unload as fast as you can."
As Dick spoke he sprang on to a field of ice which
was attached to the shore, and drawing the canoe along-
side, began hastily to remove the cargo. His example
was instantly followed by the men, who sprang over
the gunwales like cats; and in less than five minutes
the cargoes were scattered over the ice. Meanwhile, the
breeze which Massan had observed continued to freshen,
and the seaward ice bore rapidly down on the shore,
gradually narrowing and filling up the lanes of water
among which the travellers had been hitherto wending
their way. Dick Prince's sudden action was caused by
his observing a large solid field, which bore down on
them with considerable rapidity. His warning was just
in time, for the goods were scarcely landed and the three
canoes lifted out of the water, when the ice closed in
with a crash that would have ground the frail barks to
pieces, and the passage was closed up. So completely
was every trace of water obliterated, that it seemed as
though there never had been any there before.
Shows how the party made themselves at home in the bush-Talk round the
camp fire-A flash of temper-Turning in.
T HE spot where they were thus suddenly arrested
in their progress was a small bay, formed by a
low point which jutted from the mainland, and shut out
the prospect in advance. There was little or no wood
on the point, except a few stunted willows, which being
green and small would not, as La Roche the cook re-
marked, make a fire big enough to roast the wing of
a mosquito." There was no help for it, however. The
spot on which Massan had resolved to encamp for the
night was three miles on the other side of the point,
and as the way was now solid ice instead of water,
there was no possibility of getting there until a change
of wind should drive the ice off the shore. Moreover,
it was now getting dark, and it behoved them to make
their preparations with as much speed as possible. Ac-
cordingly, Massan and Prince shouldered one canoe,
Frangois and Gaspard carried the other, and the light
one was placed on the shoulders of Bryan the black-
smith; La Roche took the provision-basket and cooking
utensils under his special charge; while the three Esqui-
mau interpreters and the two Indian guides busied
themselves in carrying the miscellaneous goods and
baggage into camp. As for Chimo, he seated himself
quietly on a lump of ice, and appeared to superin-
tend the entire proceedings; while his young mistress
and her mother, accompanied by Frank and Stanley,
crossed the ice to the shore, to select a place for their
But it was some time ere a suitable place could be
found, as the point happened to be low and swampy,
and poor Eda's first experience of a life in the woods
was stepping into a hole which took her up to the knees
in mud and water. She was not alone, however, in
misfortune, for just at the same moment Bryan passed
through the bushes with his canoe, and staggered into
the same swamp, exclaiming as he did so, in a rich
brogue which many years' residence among the French
half-breeds of Rupert's Land had failed to soften,
"Thunder an' turf! such a blackguard country I niver
did see. Och, Bryan dear, why did ye iver lave yer
native land ?"
"Pourquoi, why, mon boy? for ver' goot raison,"
cried La Roche, in a horrible compound of French and
broken English, as he skipped lightly past, with a loud
laugh, "for ver' goot raison-dey was tired of you to
home, vraiment. You was too grande raskale; dey
could not keep you no longer."
"Thrue for ye,, La Roche," replied the blacksmith,
"thrue for ye, boy; they sartinly could not keep me on
nothing an' as the murphies was all sp'iled wi' the rot,
I had to lave or starve."
At last, after a long search, Frank Morton found a
spot pretty well adapted for their purpose. It was an
elevated plot of gravel, which was covered with a thin
carpet of herbage, and surrounded by a belt of willows,
which proved a sufficient shelter against the wind. A
low and rather shaggy willow-tree spread its branches
over the spot, and gave to it a good deal of the feeling
and appearance of shelter, if not much of the reality.
This was of little consequence, however, as the night
proved fine and comparatively mild, so that the black
vault of heaven, spangled with hosts of brilliant stars,
amply compensated for the want of a leafy canopy.
Under the willow-tree, Frank and La Roche busied
themselves in spreading a very small white tent for
Mr. Stanley and his family. Frank himself, although
entitled from his position in the Company's service to
the luxury of a tent, scorned to use one, preferring to
rough it like the men, and sleep beneath the shelter of
the small canoe. Meanwhile, Mr. Stanley proceeded to
strike a light with his flint and steel, and Bryan, having
deposited his burden near the tent, soon collected a
sufficiency of drift-wood to make a good fire. Edith and
her mother were not idle in the midst of this busy scene.
They collected a few bundles of dried twigs to make
the fire light more easily, and after the blaze was casting
its broad glare of light over the camp, and the tent was
pitched, they assisted La Roche in laying the cloth for
supper. Of course, in a journey like this, none but neces-
sary articles were taken, and these were of the most
homely character. The kettle was the tea-pot, the cups
were tin pannikins, and the table-cloth was a large
towel, while the table itself was the ground, from the
damp of which, however, the party in the tent were
protected by an ample oil-cloth.
When all the things were carried up, and the men
assembled, the camp presented the following appearance:
in the centre of the open space, which nature had ar-
ranged in the form of a circle, blazed the fire; and a
right jovial, sputtering, outrageous fire it was, sending
its sparks flying in all directions, like the artillery of a
beleaguered fortress in miniature, and rolling its flames
about in fierce and wayward tongues, that seemed bent
on licking in and swallowing up the entire party, but
more especially La Roche, who found no little difficulty
in paying due attention to his pots and kettles. Some-
times the flames roared fiercely upwards, singeing off
the foliage of the overhanging willow as they went, and
then, bursting away from their parent fire, portions of
them floated off for a few seconds on the night air.
On the weather side of this fire stood Mr. Stanley's
tent, under the willow-tree, as before described, its pure
white folds showing strongly against the darkness of
the sky beyond. The doorway, or curtain of the tent,
was open, displaying the tea-equipage within, and the
smiling countenances of Stanley and his wife, Frank
and Eda, who, seated on blankets and shawls around
the towel, were preparing to make an assault on the
fat duck before mentioned. This duck had been split
open and roasted on a piece of stick before the blaze,
and now stood with the stumps of its wings and legs
extended, as if demanding urgently to be eaten-a de-
mand which Chimo, who crouched near the doorway,
could scarce help complying with.
To the right of the tent was placed the small canoe,
bottom up, so as to afford a partial protection to the
bedding which Oostesimow was engaged in spreading
out for Frank and himself and his comrade Ma-istequan.
Facing this, at the other side of the fire, and on the left
of the tent, the largest canoe was turned up in a similar
manner, and several of the men were engaged in cover-
ing the ground beneath it with a layer of leaves and
branches, above which they spread their blankets; while
others lounged around the fire and smoked their beloved
pipes, or watched with impatient eyes the operations of
Bryan, who, being accustomed to have familiar dealings
with the fire, had been deemed worthy of holding the
office of cook to the men, and was inducted accordingly.
It is due to Bryan to say that he fully merited the
honour conferred upon him; for never, since the days
of Vulcan, was there a man seen who could daringly
dabble in the fire as he did. He had a peculiar sleight-
of-hand way of seizing hold of and tossing about red-
hot coals with his naked hand, that induced one to be-
lieve he must be made of leather. Flames seemed to
have no effect whatever on his sinewy arms when they
licked around them; and as for smoke, he treated it
with benign contempt. Not so La Roche: with the
mercurial temperament of his class he leaped about the
fire, during his culinary operations, in a way that afforded
infinite amusement to his comrades, and not infrequently
brought him into violent collision with Bryan, who
usually received him on such occasions with a strong
Irish growl, mingled with a disparaging or contemptuous
Beyond the circle of light thrown by the fire was the
belt of willows which encompassed the camp on all sides
except towards the sea, where a narrow gap formed a
natural entrance and afforded a glimpse of the ocean
with its fields and hummocks of ice floating on its calm
bosom and glancing in the faint light of the moon, which
was then in its first quarter.
"How comfortable and snug everything is !" said Mrs.
Stanley, as she poured out the tea, while her husband
carved the duck.
"Yes, isn't it, Eda ? said Frank, patting his favourite
on the head, as he held out her plate for a wing.
" There, give her a bit of the breast too," he added. "I
know she's ravenously hungry, for I saw her looking at
Chimo, just before we landed, as if she meant to eat him
for supper without waiting to have him cooked."
0 Frank, how can you be so wicked ?" said Eda,
taking up her knife and fork and attacking the wing
with so much energy as almost to justify her friend's
Snug, said you, Jessie ? yes, that's the very word to
express it," said Stanley. There's no situation that I
know of (and I wasn't born yesterday) that is so per-
fectly snug, and in all respects comfortable, as an en-
campment in the woods on a fine night in spring or
"Or winter," added Frank, swallowing a pannikin of
tea at a draught, nodding to Chimo, as much as to say,
Do that if you can, old fellow," and handing it to Mrs.
Stanley to be replenished. "Don't omit winter-cold,
sharp, sunny winter. An encampment in the snow, in
fine weather, is as snug as this."
"Rather cold, is it not? said Mrs. Stanley.
Cold not a bit," replied Frank, making a reckless
dive with his hand into the biscuit-bag; "if you have
enough wood to get up a roaring fire, six feet long by
three broad and four deep, with a bank of snow five
feet high all around ye, a pine-tree with lots of thick
branches spreading overhead to keep off the snow, and
two big green blankets to keep out the frost-(another
leg of that widgeon, please)-you've no notion how
snug it is, I assure you."
Hum !" ejaculated Stanley, with a dubious smile,
"you forgot to add-a youthful, robust frame, with
the blood careering through the veins like wild-fire, to
your catalogue of requisites. No doubt it is pleasant
enough in its way; but commend me to spring or
autumn for thorough enjoyment, when the air is mild,
and the waters flowing, and the woods green and
Why don't you speak of summer, papa ?" said Eda,
who had been listening intently to this conversation.
Summer, my pet! because-"
"Allow me to explain," interrupted Frank, laying
down his knife and fork, and placing the fore-finger of
his right hand in his left palm, as if he were about to
make a speech.
"Because, Eda, because there is such a thing as heat-
long-continued, never-ending, sweltering heat. Because
there are such reprehensible and unutterably detestable
insects as mosquitoes, and sand-flies, and bull-dogs;
and there is such a thing as being bitten, and stung,
and worried, and sucked into a sort of partial madness;
and I have seen such sights as men perpetually slapping
their own faces, and scratching the skin off their own
cheeks with their own nails, and getting no relief thereby,
but rather making things worse; and I have, moreover,
seen men's heads swelled until the eyes and noses were
lost, and the mouths only visible when opened, and their
general aspect like that of a Scotch haggis; and there
is a time when all this accumulates on man and beast
till the latter takes to the water in desperation, and
the former takes to intermittent insanity, and that time
is-summner.-Another cup, please, Mrs. Stanley. 'Pon
my conscience it creates thirst to think of it."
At this stage the conversation of the party in the
tent was interrupted by a loud peal of laughter mingled
with not a few angry exclamations from the men. La
Roche, in one of his frantic leaps to avoid a tongue of
flame which shot out from the fire with a vicious velocity
towards his eyes, came into violent contact with Bryan
while that worthy was in the act of lifting a seething-
kettle of soup and boiled pork from the fire. Fortu-
nately for the party whose supper was thus placed in
jeopardy, Bryan stood his ground; but La Roche, trip-
ping over a log, fell heavily among the pannikins, tin
plates, spoons, and knives, which had been just laid out
on the ground in front of the canoe.
"Ach mauvais chien," growled Gaspard, as he picked
up and threw away the fragments of his pipe, you're
always cutting' and jumpin' about like a monkey."
"Oh pauvre crapaud," cried Frangois, laughing;
" don't abuse him, Gaspard. He's a useful dog in his
Tare an' ages 1 you've done it now, ye have. Bad
luck to ye! wasn't I for iver tellin' ye that same.
Shure, if it wasn't that ye're no bigger or heavier than
a wisp o' pea straw, ye'd have druve me and the soup
into the fire, ye would. Be the big toe o' St. Patrick,
not to mintion his riverince the Pope-"
Come, come, Bryan," cried Massan, ",don't speak ill
o' the Pope, an' down wi' the kettle."
"The kittle, is it ? Sorra a kittle ye'll touch, Massan,
till it's cool enough to let us all start fair at wance.
Ye've got yer mouth and throat lined wi' brass, I
believe, an' would ate the half o't before a soul of us
could taste it!"
"Don't insult me, you red-faced racoon," retorted
Massan, while he and his comrades circled round the
kettle, and began a vigorous attack on the scalding
mess; "my throat is not so used to swallowin' fire as
your own. I never knowed a man that payed into the
grub as you do. Bah how hot it is.-I say, Oolibuck,
doesn't it remember you o' the dogs o' yer own country,
when they gits the stone kettle to clean out ? "
Oolibuck's broad visage expanded with a chuckle as
he lifted an enormous wooden spoonful of soup to his
ample mouth. "Me tink de dogs of de Innuit make
short work of dis kettle if 'e had 'im."
Do the dogs of the Huskies eat with their masters ?"
inquired Francois, as he groped in the kettle with his
fork in search of a piece of pork.
"Dey not eat wid der masters, but dey always clean
hout de kettle," replied Moses, somewhat indignantly.
Ha exclaimed Massan, pausing for a few minutes
to recover breath; yes, they always let the dogs finish
off the feast. Ye must know, comrades, that I've seed
them do it myself-anyways, I've seed a man that knew
a feller who said he had a comrade that wintered once
with the Huskies, which is pretty much the same thing.
An' he said that sometimes when they kill a big seal,
they boil it whole an' have a rig'lar feast. Ye must
understand, mes gargons, that the Huskies make thumpin'
big kittles out o' a kind o' soft stone they find in them
parts, an' some o' them's big enough to boil a whole seal
in. Well, when the beast is cooked, they take it out o'
the pot, an' while they're tuckin' into it, the dogs come
and sit in a ring round the pot to wait till the soup's
cool enough to eat. They knows well that it's too hot
at first, an' that they must have a deal o' patience; but
afore long some o' the young uns can't hold on, so they
steps up somewhat desperate like, and pokes their snouts
in. Of course they pulls them out pretty sharp with a
yell, and sit down to rub their noses for a bit longer.
Then the old uns take courage an' make a snap at it
now and again, but very tenderly, till it gits cooler at
last, an' then at it they go, worryin', an' scufflin', an'
barkin', an' gallopin', just like Moses there, till the pot's
as clean as the day it wos made."
"Ha! ha! oh, ver' goot, trbs bien; ah! mon coeur,
just tres splendiferous !" shouted La Roche, whose risi-
bility was always easily tickled.
It's quite true, though-isn't it, Moses ?" said Massan,
as he once more applied to the kettle, while some of his
comrades cut up the goose that Frank had shot in the
Why, Moses, what a capacity you have for grub !"
said Francois. "If your countrymen are anything like
you, I don't wonder that they have boiled seals and
whales for dinner."
"It'll take a screaming' kittle for a whale," spluttered
Bryan, with his mouth full, "an' a power o' dogs to
drink the broth."
"You tink you funny, Bryan," retorted Moses, while
an oily smile beamed on his fat, good-humoured counte-
nance; "but you not; you most dreadful stupid."
Thrue for ye, Moses; I was oncommon stupid to let
you sit so long beside the kittle," replied the Irishman,
as he made a futile effort to scrape another spoonful
from the bottom of it. Och! but ye've licked it as
clane as one of yer own dogs could ha' done it."
"Mind your eye !" growled Gaspard, at the same time
giving La Roche a violent push, as that volatile worthy,
in one of his eccentric movements, nearly upset his can
"Oh! pardon, monsieur," exclaimed La Roche, in pre-
tended sorrow, at the same time making a grotesque bow
that caused a general peal of laughter.
"Why, one might as well travel with a sick bear as
with you, Gaspard," said Frangois half angrily.
Hold your jaw," replied Gaspard.
"Not at your bidding," retorted Francois, half rising
from his reclining posture, while his colour heightened.
Gaspard had also started up, and it seemed as if the
little camp were in danger of becoming a scene of
strife, when Dick Prince, who was habitually silent and
unobtrusive, preferring generally to listen rather than to
speak, laid his hand on Gaspard's broad shoulder and
pulled him somewhat forcibly to the ground.
"Shame on you, comrades !" he said, in a low, grave
voice, that instantly produced a dead silence; "shame
on you, to quarrel on our first night in the bush We've
few enough friends in these parts, I think, that we
should make enemies o' each other."
"That's well said," cried Massan, in a very decided
tone. "It won't do to fall out when there's so few of
us." And the stout voyageur thrust his foot against
the logs on the fire, causing a rich cloud of sparks to
ascend, as if to throw additional light on his remark.
"Pardon me, mes comrades," cried Frangois; "I did
not intend to quarrel;" and he extended his hand to
Gaspard, who took it in silence, and dropping back
again to his recumbent posture, resumed his pipe.
This little scene was witnessed by the party in the
tent, who were near enough to overhear all that was
said by the men, and even to converse with them if
they should desire to do so. A shade of anxiety crossed
Mr. Stanley's countenance, and some time after, recur-
ring to the subject, he said,-
"I don't feel quite easy about that fellow Gaspard.
He seems a sulky dog, and is such a Hercules that he
might give us a deal,of trouble if he were high-spirited."
A slight smile of contempt curled Frank's lip as he
said, "A strong arm without a bold heart is not of more
value than that of my Eda here in the hour of danger.
But I think better of Gaspard than you seem to do.
He's a sulky enough dog, 'tis true; but he is a good hard
worker, and does not grumble; and I sometimes have
noticed traces of a better spirit than usually meets the
eye. As for his bulk, I think nothing of it; he wants
high spirit to make it available. Frangois could thrash
him any day."
"Perhaps so," replied Stanley; "I hope they won't
try their mettle on each other sooner than we expect.
Not that I care a whit for any of the men having a
round or two now and then and be done with it; but
this fellow seems to 'nurse his wrath to keep it warm.'
On such an expedition as ours, it behoves us to have a
good understanding and a kindly feeling in the camp.
One black sheep in the flock may do much damage."
"He's only piebald, not black," said Frank laughing,
as he rose to quit the tent. "But I must leave you. I
see that Eda's eyes are refusing to keep open any longer,
so good-night to you all, and a sound sleep."
Frank's concluding remarks in reference to him were
overheard by Gaspard, who had risen to look at the night,
and afterwards kneeled near the tent, in order to be at
some distance from his comrades while he said his
prayers; for, strange though it may seem, many of the
rough and reckless voyageurs of that country, most of
whom are Roman Catholics, regularly retire each night
to kneel and pray beneath a tree before lying down on
their leafy couches, and deem the act quite consistent
with the swearing and quarrelling life that too many of
them lead. Such is human nature! As Gaspard rose
from his knees Frank's words fell upon his ear, and
when he drew his blanket over his head that night,
there was a softer spot in his heart and a wrinkle less
on his brow.
When Frank stepped over to the place where his canoe
lay, the aspect of the camp was very different from
what it had been an hour before. The fire had burned
low, and was little more than a mass of glowing embers,
from which a fitful flame shot forth now and then, casting
a momentary glare on the forms of the men, who, having
finished their pipes, were all extended in a row, side by
side, under the large canoe. As they possessed only a
single green blanket each, they had to make the most
of their coverings, by rolling them tightly around their
bodies, and doubling the ends down under their feet
and over their heads; so that they resembled a row of
green bolsters, all their feet being presented towards the
fire, and all their heads resting on their folded capotes.
A good deal of loud and regular snoring proved that
toil and robust health seldom court the drowsy god
long in vain. Turning to his own canoe, Frank ob-
served that his Indian friends were extended out under
it, with a wide space between them, in which his own
bedding was neatly arranged. The grave sons of the
forest had lain down to rest long before their white
comrades, and they now lay as silent and motionless as
the canoe that covered their heads. Being a small
canoe, it did not afford protection to their legs and feet;
but in fine weather this was of no consequence, and for
the morrow they cared not.
Before lying down Frank kneeled to commend him-
self and his comrades to the protection of God; then
stirring up the embers of the fire, he pulled out a small
Bible from his breast pocket and sat down on a log to
read. Frank was a careless, rollicking, kind-hearted
fellow, and how much there was of true religion in
these acts none but himself could tell. But the habit of
reading the Word, and of prayer, had been instilled into
him from infancy by a godly mother, and he carried it
with him into the wilderness.
When he drew his blanket over him and laid his
head on his capote the stars were still twinkling, and the
moon still sailed in a clear sky and gave silver edges to
the ice upon the sea. All was calm and solemn and
beautiful, and it seemed as if it could never be other-
wise in such a tranquil scene. But nature does not
always smile. Appearances are often deceitful.
Bryan's adventure with a polar bear, etc.
CE, ice, ice! everything seemed to have been con-
verted into ice when the day broke on the follow-
ing morning and awoke the sleepers in the camp. A
sharp frost during the night, accompanied by a fall of
snow, had, as if by magic, converted spring into winter.
Icy particles hung upon and covered, not only the young
leaves and buds of the bushes, but the branches also,
giving to them a white and extremely airy appearance.
Snow lay on the upper sides of the canoes, and weighed
heavily on the tent, causing its folds, once seemingly so
pure and white, to look dirty by contrast. Snow lay
on the protruding legs of the men, and encircled the
black spot where rested the ashes of last night's brilliant
fire. Ice grated on the pebbles of the shore; ice floated
on the sea; icy hummocks and mounds rose above its
surface ; and icebergs raised their pinnacles on the far-
off horizon, and cut sharply into the bright blue sky.
It was cold, but it was not cheerless; for when Eda put
out her head at the curtain doorway of the tent, and
opened her eyes upon the magic scene, the sun's edge
rose above the horizon, as if to greet her, and sent a
flood of light far and near through the spacious universe,
converting the sea into glass, with islands of frosted
silver on its bosom. It was a gorgeous scene, worthy of
its great Creator, who in his mysterious working scatters
gems of beauty oftentimes in places where there is scarce
a single human eye to behold their excellence.
Although the sea was covered with ice, there were,
nevertheless, several lanes of open water not far from
the shore; so that when Stanley called a council, com-
posed of Frank Morton, Dick Prince, and Massan, it was
agreed unanimously that they should attempt to proceed.
And it was well that they did so; for they had not
advanced many miles, winding their way cautiously
among the canals of open water, when they doubled a
promontory, beyond which there was little or no ice to
be seen, merely a few scattered fragments and fields,
that served to enhance the beauty of the scene by the
airy lightness of their appearance in contrast with the
bright blue of the sea and sky, but did not interrupt the
progress of the travellers. The three canoes always
maintained their relative positions during the journey as
much as possible. That is to say, Frank and the two
Indians went first in the small canoe, to lead the way,
while the two large canoes kept abreast of each other
when the open water was wide enough to permit of
their doing so. This, besides being more sociable,
enabled the two crews to join in the chorus of those
beautiful songs with which they frequently enlivened
During all this day, and for many days following,
they continued to enjoy fine weather and to make rapid
progress. Sometimes the ice was pretty thick, and once
or twice they narrowly escaped being nipped by col-
lapsing masses, which caused them to jump out, hastily
throw the baggage on the ice, and haul the canoes out
of the water. On these occasions the men proved them-
selves to be sterling fellows, nearly all of them being
cool, prompt, and collected in the moment of danger.
No doubt there were exceptions. La Roche, when any
sudden crisis of danger arose, usually threw himself
blindly over the side of the canoe on to the ice with the
lightness and agility of a harlequin. He recked not
whether he came down on his head or his feet, and more
than once nearly broke his neck in consequence of his
precipitancy. But La Roche was no coward, and the
instant the first burst of excitement was over he rushed
to render effective assistance. Bryan, too, although not
so mercurial as La Roche, was apt to lose self-command
for about five minutes when any sudden danger assailed
him, so that he frequently sat still, staring wildly straight
before him, while the others were actively unloading the
canoes; and once, when the danger was more critical
than usual, having sat till the canoe was empty, and
paid no attention to a prompt gruff order to jump ashore,
he had been seized by the strong arms of Gaspard and
tossed out of the canoe like a puppy dog. On these
occasions he invariably endeavoured to make up for his
fault by displaying, on recovery, the most outrageous
and daring amount of unnecessary recklessness,-utter-
ing, at the same time, an amazing number of strange
expressions, among which "Tare an' ages!" "Och!
murder!" and several others less lucid in signification,
predominated. Chimo was always first ashore, and in-
stantly wheeled round to greet Eda, who was also always
second, thanks to the strong and prompt arm of Frangois,
who sat just in front, and by tacit agreement took her
under his special charge. As for Mrs. Stanley, the arm
that was rightfully her own, and had been her shield in
many a scene of danger, proved ever ready and able to
succour the "first volunteer to Ungava.
At times the sea was quite free of ice, and many miles
were soon added to the space which separated the little
band of adventurers from the rest of the human world.
Their encampments varied according to the nature of the
coast, being sometimes among pine-trees, or surrounded
by dwarf willows; at other times on the bare sand of
the sea-shore; and occasionally at the extremity of long-
projecting capes and promontories, where they had to
pitch their tent and make their beds in the clefts of the
solid rock. But wherever they laid them down to rest-
on the rock, or on the sand, or within the shade of the
forest-it was always found, as Mrs. Stanley remarked of
the first night's encampment, that they were extremely
comfortable and eminently snug.
They were successful, too, in procuring an ample
supply of fresh provisions. There were ducks and geese
of various kinds, and innumerable quantities of plover,
cormorants, gulls, and eider-ducks, the eggs of which
they found in thousands. Many of these birds were
good for food, and the eggs of most of them, especially
those of the eider-duck, were excellent. Reindeer were
also met with; and, among other trophies of his skill as
a hunter, Frank one day brought in a black bear, parts
of which were eaten with great gusto by the Esquimaux
and Indians, to the immense disgust of Bryan, who ex-
pressed his belief that the "haythens was barely fit to
live," and were most justly locked out from society in
" thim dissolate polar raygeons." There were many seals,
also, in the sea, which put up their ugly, grotesque heads
ever and anon, gazed at the canoes with their huge fishy
eyes, as if in surprise at the sight of such novel marine
monsters, and then sank slowly beneath the wave.
These animals were never molested, out of respect to the
feelings of the two Indians, who believed them to be
gods, and assured Stanley that the destruction of one
would infallibly bring down ill-luck and disaster on the
heads of the party. Stanley smiled inwardly at this,
but gave orders that no seals should be shot-an order
which all were very willing to obey, as they did not re-
quire the animals either for food or any other purpose.
Several white polar bears were seen, but they also were
spared, as they require a great deal of shot to kill them,
if not hit exactly behind the ear; and besides, neither
their bodies nor skins were of any use to the travellers.
Thus all went favourably for a time. But life is a
chequered story, and the sun of prosperity does not
always shine, as we shall see.
One fine morning, as they were paddling cheerfully
along in the neighbourhood of Cape Jones, it struck Mr.
Stanley that he might prove the correctness of his sextant
and other instruments before entering upon the country
which to most of the party was terra incognita. This
was the more necessary that he could not depend on the
guidance of Oostesimow and Ma-istequan, they having
travelled only once, long ago, through part of the country,
while the latter part of it was totally unknown to them.
It was one of those beautiful mornings that are peculiar
to arctic regions, when the air is inexpressibly still, and
all inanimate nature seems hushed in profound repose-
a repose which is rather rendered more effective than
otherwise by the plaintive cries of wild-fowl or the oc-
casional puffing of a whale. There was a peculiar brill-
iancy, too, in the atmosphere, caused by the presence of
so many fields and hummocks of white ice, looming
fantastically through a thin, dry, gauze-like haze, which,
while it did not dim the brightness of the solar rays,
lent an additional charm to every object by shrouding
it in a veil of mystery.
On passing the point the men ceased rowing, and pro-
ceeded to solace themselves with a five-minutes' pipe-
an indulgence which voyageurs always claim as their due
after a long spell at the oars or paddles.
"Put ashore here, Massan," said Stanley, turning to
the guide; I shall take an observation, if possible, and
you can set the men to hunt for eggs. We shall want
them, as the larder is rather low just now."
Massan muttered assent, and, shouting to the other
canoe to put ashore, ran alongside the rocks.
"You'd better hail the little canoe," said Stanley, as
he landed. "I shall want Mr. Morton to assist me."
Massan stepped upon an elevated rock, and, shading
his eyes with his hands, looked earnestly ahead where he
observed the little canoe almost beyond vision, and just
going to double a point of land. Transferring his hands
to his mouth, he used them as a trumpet, and gave forth
a shout the like of which had never startled the echoes
of the place before.
"It's no use, sir," said Massan; he's past hearing .
I'm afeerd that they're off in the direction o' the White
Bear Hills, in hopes o' gittin' a shot."
Try again, Massan," urged Stanley; "raise your pipe
a little higher. Perhaps it will reach them."
Massan shook his head. "Try it, Bryan," he said,
turning to the Irishman, who was sitting on a rock
leisurely filling his short black pipe.
"Is it to halloo ye want me ?" replied Bryan, rising.
" Shure the great gun of Athlone itself could niver hold
a candle to ye, Massan, at yellin'; but I'll try, anyhow;"
and putting his hands to his mouth he gave forth a roar
compared to which Massan's was nothing. There was a
sort of crack in the tone of it, however, that was so
irresistibly ridiculous that the whole party burst incon-
tinently into a fit of laughter. Loud though it was, it
failed to reach the ears of those in the little canoe, which
in a few seconds doubled the point and disappeared.
"Ah, bad luck to it!" said Bryan, in disgust; "the
pipe's damaged entirely. Small pace to ye, Bob Mahone;
for shure it was howlin' and screechin' at your wake like
a born scrandighowl that broke it."
"Never mind, lad; what remains of it is not bad,"
said Stanley, laughing, as he proceeded to open the box
containing his scientific instruments.
Meanwhile his wife and Edith wandered along the
rocks picking up shells and pebbles; and the men
dispersed, some to smoke and chat, others to search for
eggs. Bryan and La Roche, who were both aspiring
geniuses, and had formed a sort of rough attachment to
each other, asked permission to take a walk to the point
ahead, where they would wait for the canoes. Having
obtained it, they set off at a good round pace, that would
have been troublesomee to kape up," as Bryan re-
marked, "with payse in yer shoes!"
Why you come for to jine de company ?" inquired
La Roche, as they jogged along.
"Why? bekase I'd nothing' else to do, as the would
song says. Ye see, Losh" (Bryan had invented a con-
traction for his friend's name, which he said was "con-
vanient ")-" ye see, Losh, there may be more nor wan
raison for a gintleman lavin' his native land in order to
travel in furrin parts. It's thrue I had nothing' in the
universe to do, for I could niver git work nohow, an'
whin I got it I could niver kape it. I niver could
onderstan' why, but so it was. Nivertheless I managed
to live well enough in the would cabin wid the murphies-"
"Vat is murphies ?" inquired La Roche.
Bliss yer innocent face, don't ye know it's praties ?"
"'Tis vat ?"
Praties, boy, or pit-taties, if I must be particular."
Ah goot, goot, I understan'-pettitoes. Oui, oui, ve
call him poImme de terre."
Hum! well, as I was sayin', I got on pretty well
wid the pumdeterres an' the pig, but the pig died wan
day-choked hisself on a murphy-that is, a pumble-
terre; an' more betoken, it was the last murphy in the
!:i.1e, a powerful big wan that my grandmother had
put by for supper. After this very thin' wint to
smithereens. The rot came, and I thought I should
have to list for a sodger. Well, Bob Mahone died o'
dhrink and starvation, an' we had a beautiful wake;
but there was a rig'lar shindy got up, an' two or three
o' the county police misbehaved themselves, so I jist
floored them all, wan after the other, an' bolted. Well,
I wint straight to Dublin, an' there I met wid an would
friend who was the skipper o' a ship bound for New
York. Says 'he, 'Bryan, will ye go?' Says I, 'Av
coorse;' an' shure enough I wint, an' got over the say
to 'Meriky. But I could niver settle down, so, wan way
or another, I came at last to Montreal and jined the
Company; an' after knocking' about in the Columbia
and Mackenzie's River for some years, I was sint to
Moose, an' here I am, Losh, yer sarvant to command."
"Goot, ver' goot, mais peculiaire," said La Roche,
whose intimacy with this son of Erin had enabled him
to comprehend enough of his jargon to grasp the general
scope of his discourse.
"Av ye mane that lavin' the would country was goot,"
said Bryan, stooping to pick up a stone and skim it
along the smooth surface of the sea, p'raps ye're right;
but there's wan thing I niver could make my mind aisy
about," and the blacksmith's voice became deep and his
face grave as he recalled these bygone days.
"Vat were dat ?" inquired La Roche.
"Why, ye see, Losh, I was so hard druve by the
police that I was forced to lave wid-out sayin' good day
to my would mother, an' they tould me it almost broke
her heart; but I've had wan or two screeds from the
priest wid her cross at them since, and she's got over it,
an' looking' out for my returnin'-bliss her sowl!-an'
I've sint her five pounds very year since I left: so ye
see, Losh, I've great hope o' seeing' her yit, for although
she's would she's oncommon tough, an' having come o' a
long-winded stock, I've great hopes of her."
Poor Bryan! it never entered into his reckless brain
to think that, considering the life of almost constant
peril he led in the land of his pilgrimage, there was more
hope of the longevity of his old mother than of himself.
Like many of his countrymen, he was a man of strong,
passionate, warm feelings, and remarkably unselfish.
Is your country resemblance to dat ?" inquired La
Roche, pointing, as he spoke, towards the sea, which was
covered with fields and mountains of ice as far out as
the eye could discern.
Be the nose o' my great-grandmother (an' that was be
no manes a short wan) no !" replied Bryan, with a laugh.
" The say that surrounds would Ireland is niver covered
with sich sugar-plums as these. But what have we here ?"
As he spoke they reached the point at which they
were to await the coming up of the canoes, and the
object which called forth Bryan's remark was the little
canoe, which lay empty on the beach just beyond the
point. From the manner in which it lay it was evident
that Frank and his Indians had placed it there; but there
was no sign of their presence save one or two footprints
on the sand. While La Roche was examining these, his
companion walked towards a point of rock that jutted
out from the cliffs and intercepted the view beyond. On
turning round this, he became suddenly rooted to the
spot with horror. And little wonder, for just two yards
i -i.:.r' him stood an enormous polar bear, whose career
was suddenly arrested by Bryan's unexpected appearance.
It is difficult to say whether the man or the beast ex-
pressed most surprise at the encounter. They both
stood stock still, and opened their eyes to the utmost
'i .-:'. But the poor Irishman was evidently petrified
by the apparition. He turned deadly pale, and his
hands !; ri. idly by his sides; while the bear, recovering
from his surprise, rose on his hind legs and walked up
to him-a sure sign that he was quite undaunted, and
had made up his mind to give battle. As for La Roche,
-i- instant he cast his eyes on the ferocious-looking
, 1- iL-- .-, he uttered a frightful yell, bounded towards
a ri i. .] 'in :in tree, and ceased not to ascend until its
topmost branches were bending beneath his weight.
Meanwhile the bear walked up to Bryan, but not
..- ti, ._ with the anticipated grapple of an enemy, and
. -.:" somewhat uneasy under the cataleptic stare of
the poor man's eyes-for he still stood petrified with
:.-l..i it walked slowly round him, putting its cold
nose on his cheek, as if to tempt him to move. But the
five minutes of bewilderment that always preceded
D P .k,,'4 recovery from a sudden fright had not yet
expired. He still remained perfectly motionless, so that
the bear, 1li.l.1lning apparently, to attack an unresisting
foe, dropped on his fore legs again. It is difficult to
say whether there is any truth in the well-known
opinion that the calm, steady gaze of a human eye can
quell any animal. Doubtless there are many stories,
more or less authentic, corroborative of the fact; but
whether this be true or not, we are ready to vouch for
the truth of this fact-namely, that under the influence
of the blacksmith's gaze, or his silence it may be, the
bear was absolutely discomfited. It retreated a step or
two, and walked slowly away, looking over its shoulder
now and then as it went, as if it half anticipated an on-
slaught in the rear.
We have already said that Bryan was no craven, and
that when his faculties were collected he usually dis-
played a good deal of reckless valour on occasions of
danger. Accordingly, no sooner did he see his shaggy
adversary in full retreat, than the truant blood re-
turned to his face with a .degree of violence that caused
it to blaze with fiery red, and swelled the large veins
of his neck and forehead almost to bursting. Uttering
a truly Irish halloo, he bounded forward like a tiger,
tore the cap off his head and flung it violently before
him, drew the axe which always hung at his belt, and
in another moment stood face to face with the white
monster, which had instantly accepted the challenge,
and rose on its hind legs to receive him. Raising the
axe with both hands, the man aimed a blow at the bear's
head; but with a rapid movement of its paw it turned
the weapon aside and dashed it into the air. Another
such blow, and the reckless blacksmith's career would
have been brought to an abrupt conclusion, when the
crack of a rifle was heard. Its echo reverberated along
the cliffs and floated over the calm water as the polar
bear fell dead at Bryan's feet.
"Hurrah!" shouted Frank Morton, as he sprang
from the bushes, knife in hand, ready to finish the
work which .his rifle had so well begun. But it
needed not. Frank had hit the exact spot behind
the ear which renders a second ball unnecessary-the
bear was already quite dead.
A storm brewing-It bursts, and produces consequences-The party take to the
water per force-All saved.
A H, Bryan! 'a friend in need is a friend indeed,'"
said Frank, as he sat on a rock watching the
blacksmith and his two Indians while they performed
the operation of skinning the bear, whose timely de-
struction has been related in the last chapter. "I must
say I never saw a man stand his ground so well, with a
brute like that stealing kisses from his cheek. Were
they sweet, Bryan ? Did they remind you of the fair
maid of Derry, hey ? "
Ah! thrue for ye," replied the blacksmith, as he
stepped to a rock for the purpose of whetting his knife;
"yer honor was just in time to save me a power o'
trouble. Bad skran to the baste it would have taken
three or four rounds at last to have finished him nately
off, for there's no end o' fat on his ribs that would have
kep' the knife from goin' far in."
Frank laughed at this free-and-easy way of looking
at it. "So you think you would have killed him, do
you, if I had not saved you the trouble ?"
"Av coorse I do. Shure a man is better than a
baste any day; and besides, had I not a friend at my
back ridy to help me ?" Bryan cast a comical leer at
La Roche as he said this, and the poor Frenchman
blushed, for he felt that his conduct in the affair had
not been very praiseworthy. It is due to La Roche to
say, however, that no sooner had he found himself at
the top of the tree, and had a moment to reflect, than
he slid rapidly to the bottom again, and ran to the
assistance of his friend, not, however, in time to render
such assistance available, as he came up just at the
moment the bear fell.
In half-an-hour afterwards the two large canoes came
up, and Bryan and his little friend had to undergo a
rapid fire of witticism from their surprised and highly-
amused comrades. Even Moses was stirred up to say
that Bryan, him do pretty well; he most good 'nuff to
make an Eskimo !"
Having embarked the skin of the bear, the canoes
once more resumed their usual order and continued on
their way. The carcass of the bear being useless for
food, was left for the wolves; and the claws, which
were nearly as large as a man's finger, were given by
Frank to the blacksmith, that he might make them
into a necklace, as the Indians do, and keep it in re-
membrance of his encounter.
But the weather was now beginning to change. Dick
Prince, whose black eye was ever roving about observ-
antly, told Massan that a storm was brewing, and that
the sooner he put ashore in a convenient spot the better.
But Stanley was anxious to get on, having a long
journey before him, at the termination of which there
would be little enough time to erect a sufficient protec-
tion against the winter of the north; so he continued to
advance along shore until they came to a point beyond
which there was a very deep bay that would take them
many hours to coast. By making a traverse, however,
in a direct line to the next point, they might cross it in
a much shorter time.
How say you, Prince ? shall we cross ?" asked Stan-
ley, as they rested on their paddles and cast furtive
glances up at the dark clouds and across the still quiet
Prince shook his head. I fear we won't have time
to cross. The clouds are driving too fast and growing'
"Well, then, we had better encamp," said Stanley.
-" Is there a proper place, Massan, hereabouts ? "
"No, sir," replied the guide. "The stones on the
beach are the only pillows within six mile o' us."
"Ho! then, forward, boys, make a bold push for it,"
cried Stanley; "if it does begin to blow before we're
over, we can run back again at all events."
In another moment the canoes swept out to sea, and
made for the point far ahead like race-horses. Although
the clouds continued to gather, the wind did not rise,
and it seemed as though they would get over easily,
when a sudden gust came off the shore-a direction
whence, from the appearance of the clouds, it had not
been expected. Ruffling the surface of the water for a
few seconds, it passed away.
Give way, boys, give way" cried Massan, using his
large steering paddle with a degree of energy that sent
the canoe plunging forward. "We can't go back, an' if
the storm bursts off the shore-"
A loud peal of thunder drowned the remainder of the
sentence, and in a few seconds the wind that had been
dreaded came whistling violently off the shore and
covered the sea with foam. The waves soon began to
rise, and ere long the frail barks, which were ill cal-
culated to weather a storm, were careering over them
and shipping water at every plunge.
It now became a matter of life and death with them
that they should gain the point, for, deeply loaded as
they were, it was impossible that they could float long
in such a sea. It is true that a wind off the shore does
not usually raise what sailors would consider much of a
sea; but it must be remembered that, although it was
off shore, the bay which they were crossing extended
far inland, so that the gale had a wide sweep of water
to act upon before it reached them. Besides this, as has
already been explained, canoes are not like boats. Their
timbers are weak, the bark of which they are made is
thin, the gum which makes their seams tight is easily
knocked off in cold water, and, in short, they cannot face
a sea on which a boat might ride like a sea-gull.
For a considerable time the men strained every nerve
to gain the wished-for point of land, but with so little
success that it became evident they would never reach
it. The men began to show signs of flagging, and cast
uneasy glances towards Stanley, as if they had lost all
hope of accomplishing their object, and waited for him
to suggest what they should do. Poor Mrs. Stanley sat
holding on to the gunwale with one hand and clasping
Edith round the waist with the other, as she gazed wist-
fully towards the cape ahead, which was now almost lost
to view under the shadow of a dark cloud that rolled
towards them like a black pall laden with destruction.
God help us !" murmured Stanley, in an undertone,
as he scanned the seaward horizon, which was covered
with leaden clouds and streaks of lurid light, beneath
which the foaming sea leaped furiously.
Call upon Me in the time of trouble, and I will de-
liver thee," said Mrs. Stanley, who overheard the ex-
Stanley either heard her not or his mind was too
deeply concentrated on the critical nature of their posi-
tion to make any reply. As she buried her face in her
hands, Edith threw her trembling arms round her
1i.l,.Lr' and hid her face in her bosom. Even Chimo
seemed to understand their danger, for he crept closer
to the side of his young mistress and whined in a low
tone, as if in sympathy. The waves had now increased
to such a degree that it required two of the men to bail
incessantly in order to prevent their being swamped,
and as Stanley cast a hurried glance at the other canoes,
which were not far off, he observed that it was as much
as they could do to keep afloat. Could we not run
back, Massan ?" asked Stanley, in despair.
Unposs'ble, sir," replied the guide, whose voice was
almost drowned by the whistling of the wind. We're
more nor half-way over, an' it would only blow us farther
out to sea if we was to try."
While the guide spoke, Stanley was gazing earnestly
in the direction of the horizon.
Round with you, Massan," he exclaimed suddenly;
"put the canoe about and paddle straight out to sea.-
Hallo !" he shouted to the other canoes, "follow us out
to sea-straight out."
The men looked aghast at this extraordinary order.
" Look alive, lads," continued their leader; "I see an
island away there to leeward. Perhaps it's only a rock,
but any way it's our only chance."
The canoes' heads were turned round, and in another
moment they were driving swiftly before the wind in
the direction of the open sea.
"Right, right," murmured Dick Prince, as they made
towards this new source of hope; "mayhap it's only a
bit o' ice, but even that's better than nothing. "
"If 'tis only ice," cried La Roche, "ve have ver'
pauvre chance at all."
"Shure an' if we are to go ashore at all, at all," said
Bryan, whose spirits had suddenly risen with this gleam
of hope from fifty degrees below to fifty above zero-
"if we are to go ashore at all, at all, it's better to land
on the ice than on the waterr"
With such a breeze urging them on, the three canoes
soon approached what appeared to be a low sand-bank,
on which the sea was dashing'in white foam. But
from the tossing of the waves between them and the
beach, it was difficult to form a conjecture as to its size.
Indeed, at times they could scarcely see it at all, owing
to the darkness of the day and the heavy rain which
began to fall just as they approached; and more than
once Stanley's heart sank when he lost sight of the
bank, and he began to think that he had made a mis-
take, and that they were actually flying out to the deep
sea, in which case all hope would be gone for ever.
But God's mercy was extended to them in this hour of
peril. The island appeared to grow larger as they
neared it, and at last they were within a stone's-throw of
the shore. But a new danger assailed them here. The
largest canoe, which neared the island first, had begun
to leak, and took in water so fast that the utmost
efforts of those who bailed could not keep it under, and
from the quantity that was now shipped they made very
little way. To add to the horror of the scene, the sky
became very dark, and another crash of thunder pealed
forth accompanied by a blinding flash of lightning.
"Paddle, boys, paddle for your lives !" cried Stanley,
throwing off his coat, and seizing a tin dish, with which
he began to throw out the water.
The canoe rose on a huge wave which broke all round
it. This nearly filled it with water, and carried it to-
wards the shore with such velocity that it seemed as if
they should be dashed in pieces; but they fell back into
the trough of the sea, and lay motionless like a heavy
log, and in a sinking condition.
Now, lads, look out for the next wave, and give way
with a will," cried Massan. The worthy steersman acted
rather too energetically on his own advice, for he dipped
his paddle with such force that it snapped in two.
"Be ready to jump out," cried Dick Prince, standing
up in the bow in order to give more power to his
As he spoke, Stanley turned to his wife and said,
"Jessie, hold on by my collar; I'll take Eda in my
arms." At that instant the canoe gave a lurch, and
before Stanley could grasp his child, they were all
struggling in the sea! At this awful moment, instead
of endeavouring to do as her husband directed, Mrs.
Stanley instinctively threw her arms around Edith, and
while the waves were boiling over her, she clasped the
child tightly to her bosom with her left arm, while with
her right she endeavoured to raise herself to the surface.
Twice she succeeded, and twice she sank, when a box of
merchandise providentially struck her arm. Seizing this,
she raised herself above the water, and poor Edith
gasped convulsively once or twice for air. Then the box
was wrenched from her grasp by a wave, and with a
wild shriek she sank again. Just then a strong arm
was thrown around her, her feet touched the ground,
and in a few seconds she was dragged violently from
the roaring waves and fell exhausted on the beach.
Thanks be to God we are saved I" murmured Mrs.
Stanley, as her husband assisted her to rise and led her
beyond the reach of the waves, while Edith still clung
with a deadly grasp to her mother's neck.
Ay, Jessie, thank God indeed! But for his mercy
we should have all been lost. I was floundering about
beside the canoe when your scream showed me where
you were, and enabled me to save you. But rest here,
in the lee of this bale. I cannot stay by you. Frank
is in danger still."
Without waiting for a reply, he sprang from her side
and hurried down to the beach. Here everything was
in the utmost confusion. The two large canoes had been
saved and dragged out of the reach of the waves, and
the men were struggling in the boiling surf to rescue
the baggage and provisions, on which latter their very
lives depended. As Stanley reached the scene of action,
he observed several of the men watching the small canoe
which contained Frank and his two Indians. It had
been left some distance behind by the others, and was
now approaching with arrow speed on the summit of a
large wave. Suddenly the top of the billow curled over,
and in another moment the canoe was turned bottom
up! Like a cork it danced on the wave's white crest,
then falling beneath the thundering mass of water, it
was crushed to pieces and cast empty upon the beach.
But Frank and his men swam like otters, and the party
on shore watched them with anxious looks as they
breasted manfully over the billows. At last a towering
wave came rolling majestically forward. It caught the
three swimmers in its rough embrace, and carrying them
along on its crest, launched them on the beach, where it
left them struggling with the retreating water. Those
who have bathed in rough weather on an exposed coast
know well how difficult it is to regain a firm footing on
loose sand while a heavy wave is sweeping backward
into its parent ocean. Frank and the two Indians ex-
perienced this; and they might have struggled there till
their strength had been exhausted, were it not for
Stanley, Prince, and Massan, who rushed simultaneously
into the water and rescued them.
As the whole party had now, by the goodness of God,
reached the land in safety, they turned their undivided
energies towards the bales and boxes which were rolling
about in the surf. Many of these had been already
collected, and were carried to the spot where Mrs. Stan-
ley and Edith lay under the shelter of a bale. As the
things were successively brought up they were piled
around the mother and child, who soon found themselves
pretty well sheltered from the wind, though not from the
rain, which still fell in torrents. Soon after Frank
came to them, and said that all the things were saved,
and that it was time to think of getting up some sort
of shelter for the night. This was very much needed,
for poor Edith was beginning to shiver from the wet and
Now then, Frangois, Massan," shouted Frank, "lend
a hand here to build a house for Eda. We'll be all as
snug as need be in a few minutes."
Despite the cold and her recent terror, the poor child
could not help smiling at the idea of building a house
in a few minutes, and it was with no little curiosity that
she watched the operations of the men. Meanwhile Mr.
Stanley brought some wine in a pannikin, and made
Edith and his wife drink a little. This revived them
greatly, and as the rain had now almost ceased they rose
and endeavoured to wring the water out of their gar-
ments. In less than half-an-hour the men piled the
bales and boxes in front of the largest canoe, which was
turned bottom up, and secured firmly in that position by
an embankment of sand. Over the top of all three oil-
cloths were spread and lashed down, thus forming a
complete shelter, large enough to contain the whole
party. At one end of this curious house Mr. Stanley
made a separate apartment for his wife and child, by
placing two large bales and a box as a partition; and
within this little space Edith soon became very busy in
arranging things, and "putting the house to rights," as
she said, as long as the daylight lasted, for after it went
away they had neither candles nor fire, as the former
had been soaked and broken, and as for the latter no
wood could be found on the island. The men's clothes
were, of course, quite wet, so they cut open a bale of
blankets, which had not been so much soaked as the
other goods, having been among the first things that
were washed ashore.
At the time they were wrecked the dashing spray
and the heavy rain, together with the darkness of the
day, had prevented the shipwrecked voyageurs from
ascertaining the nature of the island on which they had
been cast; and as the night closed in while they were
yet engaged in the erection of their temporary shelter,
they had to lie down to rest in ignorance on this point.
After such a day of unusual fatigue and excitement, they
all felt more inclined for rest than food ; so, instead of
taking supper, they all lay down huddled together under
the canoe, and slept soundly, while the angry winds
whistled round them, and the great sea roared and
lashed itself into foam on the beach, as if disappointed
that the little band of adventurers had escaped and were
now beyond the reach of its impotent fury.
The sand-bank-Dismal prospects-Consultations-Internal arrangements
exposed and detailed.
OF all the changes that constantly vary the face of
nature, the calm that succeeds a storm is one of
the most beautiful, and the most agreeable, perhaps, to
the feelings of man. Few conditions of nature convey
to the mind more thoroughly the idea of complete repose,
--of deep rest after mortal strife, of sleep after ex-
hausting toil; and those who have passed through the
violence of the storm and done battle with its dangers
are, by -the physical rest which they enjoy after it is
over, the more fitted to appreciate and sympathize with
the repose which reigns around them.
When the sun rose, on the morning after the storm,
it shone upon a scene so calm and beautiful, so utterly
unconnected with anything like the sin of a fallen
world, and so typical, in its deep tranquillity, of the
mind of Him who created it, that it seemed almost
possible for a moment to fancy that the promised land
was gained at last, and that all the dark clouds, the
storms and dangers, the weary journeyings and the
troubles of the wilderness, were past and gone for ever.
So glorious was the scene that when Edith, rising from
her rude couch and stepping over the prostrate forms of
her still slumbering companions, issued from the shelter
of the canoe and cast her eyes abroad upon the glassy
sea, she could not restrain her feelings, and uttered a
thrilling shout of joy that floated over the waters and
reverberated among the glittering crags of the surround-
The island on which the travellers had been cast was
a mere knoll of sand, not more than a few hundred
yards in circumference, that scarcely raised its rounded
summit above the level of the water, and at full tide
was reduced to a mere speck, utterly destitute of vege-
tation. The sea around it was now smooth and clear as
glass, though undulated by a long, regular swell, which
rolled, at slow, solemn intervals, in majestic waves to-
wards the sand-bank, where they hovered for a moment
in curved walls of dark-green water, then, lipping over
at their crests, fell in a roar of foam that hissed a deep
sigh on the pebbles of the beach, and left the silence
greater than before. Masses of ice floated here and
there on the surface of the deep, the edges and fantastic
points of which were tipped with light. Not far from
the northern extremity of the sand-bank a large iceberg
had grounded, from the sides of which several pinnacles
had been hurled by the shock and now lay stranded on
The shout with which Edith had welcomed the morn-
ing roused the whole party, and in a few minutes they
were all assembled outside of their little hut, some
admiring the scene, others-of a less enthusiastic and
more practical turn-examining the circumstances of
their position, and considering the best course that
should be pursued in their difficulty.
Mr. Stanley, Dick Prince, and Massan, as was their
wont, held a council upon the existing state of things,
and after much gazing round at the sea and up at the
sky, and considerable grunting of his deep voice and
rubbing of his capacious chin, on the part of the latter,
he turned to Dick Prince, as if appealing to his superior
sagacity, and said,-
"Well, ye see, my 'pinion's jist this: yonder's the
mainland there" (pointing to the eastward, where, about
ten miles distant, the rocks and trees were seen distorted
and faintly looming through a tremulous haze), "an'
there's our canoes there" (jerking his thumb over his
shoulder in the direction of the large canoes, whose torn
sides and damaged ribs, as they lay exposed on the sand,
bore sad testimony to the violence of the previous night's
storm), "and there's the little canoe yonder" (glancing
toward the craft in question, which lay on the beach a
hopelessly-destroyed mass of splinters and shreds of bark
that projected and bristled in all directions, as if in un-
controllable amazement at the suddenness and entirety
of its own destruction). "Now, that bein' the case, an'
the baggage all wet, an' the day parfitly beautiful, an'
the sun about hot enough to bile the sea, we can't do
better nor stay where we are an' mend the canoes, dry
the goods, an' start fair to-morrow morning. "
Stanley looked at Prince, as if expecting a remark
from him; but the grave countenance of the silent'
bowman indicated that he was absorbed in contemplation.
"'Tis quite evident, Massan," said Stanley, "that we
must repair the canoes; but a few hours could do that,
and I don't like the idea of staying another night on a
strip of sand like this, which, I verily believe, another
stiff nor'-wester would blow away altogether.-But what
say you, Prince ? Do you advise our remaining ?"
"Yes," replied Dick, "I do. Ye see there's no fear of
another storm soon. 'Tis a good chance for dryin' the
goods, so I vote for stopping. "
Well, then, we shall stay," replied Stanley. To say
truth, I agreed with you at first, Massan, but it's always
advisable to look at both sides of a question-"
"Yes, and 'in the multitude of counsellors there is
wisdom,'" said Frank Morton, coming up at the moment,
and tapping his friend on the shoulder. "If you will
include me' in your confabulation, you shall have the
benefit of deep experience and far-sighted sagacity."
"Come, then, Master Frank," replied Stanley, "what
does your sagacity advise on the point of our staying on
this sand-bank ? Shall we spend another night on it in
order to dry the goods, or shall we up and away to terra
firm as soon as the canoes are seaworthy ?"
Stay, of course," said Frank. As to the sand-bank,
'tis firm enough, to my mind, after resisting the shock
of the wave that dashed me ashore last night. Then,
we have everything we need-shelter and food, and
even fuel." As Frank mentioned the last word, he
glanced round with a rueful countenance and pointed to
the bark and timbers of his broken canoe.
"True, Frank, we have wherewith to boil the kettle,
and as the water-cask was full when we started yester-
day morning, there will be enough at least for one or
"By the way, that reminds me that Eda and your
wife are particularly desirous of having breakfast," said
Frank. "In fact they sent me specially to lay their
melancholy case before you; and I have great fears that
Eda will lay violent hands on the raw pork if her morn-
ing meal is delayed much longer. As for Chimo, he is
rushing about the island in a state of ravenous despair;
so pray let us be going."
"Be it so, Frank," said Stanley, taking his friend's
arm, and sauntering towards the canoe, while Massan