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" 'TO THE RESCUE SIIOUTED TIIE IOYS."
AUTHOR OF "PINE CONES,"
"THE NORTHERN CROSS," SILVER RAGS,`
S. W. PARTRIDGE
Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.
I. A REMARKABLE LETTER 9
II. TREED BY A MOOSE 20
III. TED'S PRICKLY BEAR 33
IV. AN UNSEEN ENEMY 42
V. RAFT-BUILDING 58
VI. THROUGH THE ENEMY'S LINES 78
VII. OUT OF THE FRYING-PAN 81
VIII. A STARTLING DISCOVERY 93
IX. FROM VICTORIA TO SITKA 104
X. DAY AND NIGHT IN ALASKA .110
XI. THE CHILKOOT PASS 114
XII. AN ESCAPE, AND A NEW ENEMY 130
XIII. NAT'S SHAGGY PUP 137
XIV. To THE RESCUE! 151
XV. UNDER THE EARTH 156
XVI. A MYSTERY EXPLAINED 168
XVII. A REUNION 182
XVIII. A LESSON IN BRIDGE-MAKING 188
XIX. CAPTURED BY BROWN BEARS 198
XX. HALT! 211
XXI. WINTER-QUARTERS 220
XXII. PEESCHEE'S MARVELLOUS STORY 231
XXIII. CHRISTMAS IN ALASKA 241
XXIV. THE LIEUTENANT'S STORY CONCLUDED 258
XXV. SNOWED UP 275
XXVI. PEESCHEE'S MAP AGAIN 289
XXVII. FOR LIFE OR DEATH 294
XXVIII. WOLF AGAINST MAN 302
XXIX. OVER THE ICE. 309
XXX. CONCLUSION 312
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
"'TO THE RESCUE SHOUTED THE BOYS" Frontispiece
PEESCHEE'S MAP 18
"IT WAS EVIDENT THAT AFFAIRS WERE REACHING A CRISIS' 29
WE STARTED ACROSS THE LAKE" 46
UPHILL WORK 50
"JOHN WAS PUTTING THE LAST TOUCHES ON 55
"I SHOULDERED THE CANOE" .55
STILL ON THE RAFT RUSHED ". .75
AYAN MOOSE ARROW 82
"THE ROYAL BARGE WAS BRINGING UP THE REAR" 85
CHILKAT CANOE 94
THE INDIANS WERE GAMBLING IN DEAD EARNEST" 97
SITKA, ALASKA 107
LOOKING UP THE YUKON 127
CHILKAT BRACELET 130
"'A GRIZZLY CUB. DROP IT, NAT, FOR YOUR LIFE!" 147
HE WAS STUDYING THE MAP". 177
PEESCHEE'S MAP 191
"'LOOT OUT I' SHOUTED THE BACKWOODSMAN" 195
"I COME FROM THE GREAT MEDICINE MAN" 205
A COUNCIL OF WAR .. 215
"A DISH OF VENISON IS SMOKING ON THE TABLE" 233
WITHIN A ROD OF THE HUT WERE A DOZEN SHADOWY FORMS 285
" THERE WAS A SHARP REPORT, AND WITH ONE LEAP SHE FELL 299
RED MOUNTAIN OF ALASKA.
A REMARKABLE LETTER.
S in the outskirts of one of the largest
Manufacturing towns of Massachusetts ; the
dining-room is brightly lighted, and a wood
fire blazes and snaps cheerily in the open
Fireplace, for it is late October, and the
evenings are cold. Around the cosy tea-
table are gathered the family, namely: John
Dutton, Esq., proprietor of the celebrated Sheldon
Paper Mills; Mrs. John Dutton; Miss Florence Dutton,
age fifteen, commonly addressed as Flossie," or
"Floss;" and Masters Robert, Hugh, and Nathaniel
Dutton, ages respectively seventeen, fifteen, and twelve
years. Flossie and Hugh,it will be noticed, are twins.
Only three more personages in the town of Sheldon
are at present sufficiently important to merit an intro-
duction. They are, in fact, members of the Dutton
household, two of them actually signing that name as
0o The Red Mountain of Alaska.
their own, and the third plainly desirous of doing so,
were he able. All three are in the dining-room at the
present moment, and the fact of their familiarity with
the family is evident from the interest with which
they listen, with open eyes and mouths, to the letter
which their master is reading aloud.
Without further ceremony allow me to present:
Chloe (Dutton), decided brunette, nurse of all the
children successively, maid-of-all-work, and devoted
slave to Miss Flossie; Teddy (Dutton), remotely
descended from County Kildare, red-haired, freckled,
fourteen years old, errand-boy, helper, and mischief-
maker in general, particularly attached to the eldest
son; Carlo (Dutton), at the side of pale, sweet-faced
little Nat,-a shaggy, coal-black, silken-haired fellow,
from the south coast of Newfoundland, as faithful a
servant and friend as any in the country.
And now for the letter. Mr. Dutton has evidently
just reached home from the mills, for his hat, coat,
and cane are lying on the sofa where he has dropped
them, and he is still out of breath from the quick half-
mile walk. All eight of the Duttons listen eagerly
while he reads :-
FORT WRANGEL, ALASKA TER.,
Sept. 5th, 1868.
MY DEAR BROTHEn,-It is a long time since I have
written to you. The uncertainty of the mails in this
new adopted country of ours, the constant disputes
with Russian traders who are angry at having their
hunting-ground sold over their heads-or under their
feet, rather I-and the treachery of the native Innuits,
as well as the reckless behaviour of our own troops,
have kept my hands full and my head in a continual
worry since the establishment of the post. Sometimes
A Remarkable Letter.
I wish the government had kept her seven millions in
her pocket, and left this desolate country to take care
of itself. It was an immense responsibility to shoulder.
Have you any idea of the size of the 'Northwest
Territory,' old fellow? Are you aware that it con-
tains something over five hundred thousand square
miles, or about one-sixth of the entire extent of the
United States and Territories ? This vast country is
covered throughout its southern districts with jungles
and forests, reaching far up the sides of its lofty
mountains, which smoke night and day. The portions
nearer the Arctic Sea consist mostly of dreary morass
and mossy 'tundra,' as it is called, under which lies
a deep layer of ice, never thawing, winter or summer.
But in the rest of the territory are splendid forests,
as I have said. There are mountain peaks reaching
(in Mount Wrangel) the enormous height of twenty
thousand feet above the sea ; there is a river, the noble
Yukon, over two thousand miles in length-a rival
of the great Mississippi itself. Among the hills are
winding streams and pleasant valleys, where brilliant
wild-flowers blossom, insects hover over them in the
sunshine, and birds dart to and fro as merrily as in
our old New England orchards. The woods are full
of game. There is no place in the world where bears,
black, brown, grizzly, and cinnamon, with two or three
other varieties, are found in such abundance. Moose
have not learned to fear the rifle, and wild goats
clamber over the rocks in full sight. The inland dis-
tricts of Alaska are almost absolutely uninhabited.
The whole interior population of Indians is probably
less than three thousand, while no white man ever
passes beyond the protection of the trading-posts and
t2 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
"By this time, my dear John, you are beginning to
wonder why I have launched forth into this lecture on
the resources of our National Purchase. Ah, you have
noticed, have you, that I have omitted an important
item? Vegetation, game, inhabitants, scenery-but
nothing said about wealth !
Yes, wealth. Reports must have reached you of
the startling discoveries of Haley and others. Little
did the Hudson's Bay fur-hunters dream that they
were camping each night on a gold mine; or that
the very rivers down which they paddled, in pursuit
of some,paltry, frightened, furred creature, were full
of gleaming particles of the precious metal !
Without doubt, the coasts of Alaska are veined
throughout their length and breadth with gold and
silver. Shafts are being sunk in all directions, and
mines located. Haley found it paid him to dig out
lumps of rock, a small bit at a time, and simply crush
them in a mortar.
But I am not going to tempt you to rush for the
'diggings,' my boy. There's better game in the
"What in the world does the man mean I" ex-
claimed Mrs. Dutton. "He's as mysterious as a
sphinx, and here's the supper all getting cold. Let's
have the rest of the letter afterwards."
Whereupon arose a chorus of "Oh, no, no I Read
on, read on Never mind the supper yet-let's find
out what he means by 'better game' "
Mr. Dutton accordingly found his place again, and
holding the letter so as to get a little better light
upon it, resumed his reading.
I know you will be incredulous when I say there
is more valuable treasure to be found in Alaska than
A Remarkable Letler.
gold-knowing, as you do, that there are no diamonds
in the territory. Nevertheless, I am right. Among
the many ores which exist here, in more or less
abundance, is one which furnishes a strange metal,
well known in medicine and the arts. Its chemical
symbol is HG. Ah, you start now! I see you have
not forgotten those tiresome lectures at Harvard ; you
know at last that I am speaking of Mercury, which
is obtained almost entirely from the beautiful crimson
ore known as 'Cinnabar.'"
Dr. Dutton paused, and glanced about the eager
circle of listeners.
"Now, shall we have supper ? The griddle-cakes
are hot," said Mrs. Dutton, plaintively, taking
advantage of the silence, and playing her highest
card. In vain! Even Teddy testified with open
mouth and round, light blue eyes to his interest in
The vote was none the less emphatic because unex-
pressed in words. The reading continued.
Cinnabar is worked to a considerable extent in
only half-a-dozen spots on the globe-Spain (which
supplies England), Idria, Peru, Japan, and one or
two other places. It has been discovered in California.
All the mines in the world, taken together, yield only
a trifle over three thousand tons a year, including the
new American mines.
No ore is so easily decomposed as cinnabar ; it is
effected by direct exposure to the oxidizing flame of a
furnace, the mercury vapour being collected in con-
densers. I believe the metal can be even more
economically separated by the use of an iron retort, in
which it can be readily volatilized, without the escape
14 The Red MozMnain of Alaska.
of vapours. By the old way, nearly half is wasted in
"Now as to its value. This varies largely from
year to year. It runs from fifty cents to two dollars
a pound, avoirdupois. One dollar a pound, or two
thousand dollars a ton, would be a low average.
"But a ton, you say, is an enormous amount.
Thirty tons is a hundredth part of the world's annual
What would you say, John, to fifty tons a year,
or even one hundred? In the countries I have
mentioned, the ore crops out, or is found below the
surface, in narrow veins, among much schist and
slate. What would you say to a whole mountain of
cinnabar ? "
Dr. Dutton looked up with a prolonged "Whew-w !"
and Carlo gave a short yelp. As no one else
seemed disposed to conversation, the letter was re-
"To make a long story short (for I can see now
that you are getting excited, as plainly as if I were
sitting with you in your cosy dining-room in Sheldon,
where you will probably read this letter), the follow-
ing facts have recently come to light ; no one, until
this letter was read, John, knew of them. No one
knows of them now, except your family, myself, and
Peeschee. The last named gentleman is a Chilkat
Indian, whose name in honest English is The Fox.'
Call him which you like, he has served us a good
turn. This is how it came about.
"I was off hunting with a party of Indians from
the vicinity of the fort. We were in camp about
A Remarkable Leiter.
twenty miles inland from Wrangel, when something
came bounding into the circle of fire light like a deer.
It was the Fox, who threw himself panting at our
feet, his teeth chattering, and his face fairly grey with
terror. As soon as he could talk we made out his
story. He had left his village a week before, on a
trapping expedition. While at work among his traps,
he had accidentally run on to the line set by a wander-
ing party of Tak-heesh natives from the interior, and
had ignorantly-so he assured us again and again-
taken several pelts from their traps.
A dozen Tak-heesh had come suddenly upon him,
taken him prisoner, and vowed he should die for the
offence. Poor Peeschee in vain asserted his innocence.
To the stake he should go. On the second day of his
captivity he had escaped by gnawing his thongs
while his captors were dozing after a hearty meal of
bear meat, and had been running all the ;ft.:r..L':l,, he
"We felt a little nervous about the pursuers, but
those Tak-heesh are cowards unless they are terribly
roused, and, sure enough, when they turned up the
next morning a rifle volley into the air put the entire
crowd to flight. The Fox was as grateftil as a 1.:,
and, the day after we reached Fort W\l'ri, 1, he did
me the good turn I referred to.
He came quietly to the barracks, inquired for my
room, found me alone, and then and there told me
the wonderful story which set me to -jil in this long
letter-an offence, John, which I seldom i.'nmiil,
"What the Fox had to say was substantially this:
Last autumn he made one of his solitary expeditious
over the mountains in search of furs. He I"-n' i:,1 .l
16 T/ze Red Mountain of Alaska.
far into the interior, reaching a district absolutely
unknown to him before that trip. He describes it as
abounding in game, and heavily wooded. There were
many rapid streams, all seeming to be well stocked
with trout, grayling, and other fish.
"As often occurs in Alaska, the weather was cloudy
for fully ten days at a stretch. Toward the close of
a dull, drizzly afternoon, Peeschee stopped for the
night on the bank of a swift brook. Suddenly the
clouds in the west began to break away, and, as they
gradually parted, there appeared high in the heavens
what seemed to be a mountain of fire. It was a soft,
glowing crimson, and from its summit rose a huge
column of smoke; it was beyond doubt a mountain
peak; Peeschee had never set eyes on it before
in his life. Within five minutes the clouds had
closed in again, and the wonderful peak was out
"The next three days he spent in travelling straight
uphill toward the Red Mountain. After much strug-
ling through jungles and morasses, fording streams,
and encountering wild beasts by day and night, he
claims that he reached the base of the peak, and dis-
covered the cause of its strange colour. He brought
a piece of the live rock itself, and showed it to me.
I have it in my desk now. It is a magnificent speci-
men of cinnabar in the ore, deep crimson in colour,
promising to yield, if worked, an enormous percentage
of weight of the pure metal.
"John, that was a mountain of mercury I It waits
for some one to take those red heaps of granite and
quartz, fuse them, and bear away such a fortune as
you could not make in a century of prosperous mill
operation at Sheldon. Will you come ? Shall we
A Renarkadle Letter.
share the Red Mountain, old fellow, as we used to
share the red apples in grandfather's orchard?
"This is what I propose. You have been in in-
different health for a good many months. You need
a change; you have a competent superintendent in
practical charge of the mills ; you always liked hunt-
ing and camping-out. Take the boys along, and meet
me at some point in west central Alaska-say old
Fort Yukon. I will come from the west, you from
the east, if you like, striking up through Canada and
across from the Hudson's Bay post in British America.
From Fort Yukon we can proceed together to the
Red Mountain, make a rough survey, lay out our
claim, and the following spring commence work in
earnest. In other words, you can start from Sheldon
as soon as the spring of '69 opens, reach the Alaska
boundary by the first of July, and before the winter
shuts down we shall have finished all our prospecting,
and be ready to take out ore in the following May.
"One more point to consider, and then I have done.
It is, I admit, an important point. How shall we find
this half-fabulous Red Mountain' after we have
effected a union of forces at Fort Yukon ? Here we
must rely entirely on Peeschee. He proposes to start
from the fort (which is situated on nearly 67' N. lat.,
1450 long. W.), and strike due south. You will be
glad to hear this when I add that the Arctic Circle
passes directly through the fort. After travelling
something over two hundred miles straight into the
wilderness, the Fox says we shall find ourselves at
the foot of a lofty range of mountains. From this
point he bears away slightly to the east, and within
three or four days expects to reach his old camping-
ground, from which he obtained his first view of the
18 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
flaming peak. Now will begin by far our hardest
fight with the forces of nature. Peeschee has drawn
a map, which he professes to understand, and by
which he proposes to follow as nearly as possible his
former route to the base of the mountain and up its
steep sides. I have borrowed this map or chart, and
have traced it here for you.
It's a curious-looking affair, but, with Peeschee as
guide, I'd stake it against a government chart. Every
A Remarkable Letter.
mark on it means something to him. I'll give you
his explanation at some other time.
Now, then, once more, will you come ?
Your affectionate brother,
P.S.-Write full particulars, exactly when and
where you will meet me. Sorry you must leave Mrs. D.
and Florence behind. Of course you'll come "
TREED BY A MOOSE.
S. months after
Dutton was read
aloud in his
group of people
are assembled on
the platform of
the Sheldon rail-
Thereis a tallish,
clear, bright eyes, and an exceedingly gentle voice; a
lady of refined face and manner, and close beside her
a. young girl; four boys, one of them freckled and
sandy-haired; a negro woman, with a red bandana
handkerchief around her black neck; and a young
Newfoundland dog, full of quiet surprise at all this
commotion. Several large trunks and cases are piled
upon the platform, awaiting transportation.
Treed by a Moose. 21
Presently the train comes in sight round a curve,
and slows up at the station, ringing and hissing
vigorously. People, dog, and baggage are hurried on
board, the conductor waves his hand, and, with renewed
clanging of bell and hiss of steam, the train starts for
Boston, bearing-you know as well as I-the entire
Dutton family away from their home.
Dick Dutton was right. The letter could not be
resisted. A favourable answer had been sent, thorough
preparations made during the winter months, the mill
wound up to run for a full year without the personal
supervision of the owner-and off the party are starting,
this twenty-fifth day of March, 1869, on their long and
All the family, I said. You see, there has been a
slight change of plan. After the letter had been care-
fully considered, and it had been voted unanimously
that Mr. Dutton and the boys should make the trip to
the northwest province, Mrs. Dutton had unexpectedly
"Dick's plan is a good one," she said, "with one
What is that, my dear ?" inquired Mr. Dutton,
"I do not propose to stay at home while you are off
in the woods for a year. Florence and I will take the
regular San Francisco route to Sitka, join Dick at his
post, and start inland with him, meeting you at the
Mr. Dutton was astonished, but, as his wife's remark
had rather the appearance of a decision than a sugges-
tion, he wisely refrained from opposing it.
"You shall certainly go, my dear, if you wish to,"
said this exemplary husband. And she did.
22 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
Certain modifications of the original route had also
been made. The itinerary" was finally laid out as
The "military section," as Flossie laughingly
called the lieutenant's party, were to meet at Sitka,
and "pack over the mountains to the headwaters of
the Yukon River, moving down stream until they
should reach Fort Selkirk, where they would await
the eastern party, instead of at Fort Yukon. Mr.
Dutton and the boys decided to follow the regular
traders' route from Ottawa, northward and westward
to Fort Churchill, on Hudson's Bay. From there a
nearly westerly course, bearing a little to the north,
above Athabasca Lake and below (on the map) the
Great Slave, would bring them to Fort Simpson;
thence over a lofty pass in the Chippeway division
of the Rocky Mountains into New Columbia, and to
Fort Selkirk, which is situated exactly 620 45' north,
137 22' west from Greenwich.
There! We've done with figures and theoretical
geography for a while; practical geography we must
study in spite of ourselves. Once in Alaska territory,
we must examine our surroundings, and pick our way,
almost inch by inch, for we have no reliable guide to
the interior of this great, desolate region. If we want
a map, we must make one.
We do not need to follow the Dutton family over
the first portions of their respective routes, which
are more or less familiar to travellers. Mrs. Dutton,
Florence, and Chloe sailed from New York for Aspin-
wall, crossed the Isthmus, took steamer again at
Panama, and reached San Francisco safely, after a
journey of nearly six thousand miles. Here they
rested a week, and completed their outfit necessary
Treed by a Moose. 23
for a summer in the woods. On a bright morning in
May they started in a sailing vessel for Victoria and
Sitka. So much for the ladies' party.
The sterner portion of the family had hardly a more
eventful trip until they left Fort Churchill. From
this point the boys had plenty of shooting, and Mr.
Dutton had much ado to keep them within reach of
camp. The trip, however, was quickly made, the
Rockies surmounted, and by the second week in
June the party were descending the western slopes of
the mountains within one hundred and fifty miles of
It was ten o'clock in the forenoon when Mr. Dutton,
whose orders were obeyed by every one in the expedi-
tion, called a halt, on the first day after the high
peaks were left behind.
It was a curious company that was gathered there.
Mr. Dutton and the three boys were browned from
exposure to the sun and all sorts of weather; while
Teddy was burned a bright red, and fairly peppered
with freckles. Carlo was in the highest of spirits,
and gambolled about the party like a six-months-old
pup. There were two Indian guides, strong-limbed,
quiet fellows, named Joe and Jim.
At Mr. Dutton's word, these two last named threw
down their heavy packs, and drew themselves up with
an air of relief.
-" Ugh I grunted Joe, wiping his forehead. Much
hot coming No-see-'ems and skeeters dis night."
S" Midges ? Have you felt any, Joe ? asked Mr.
Dutton, recognizing the Indian term for those tiny
"No feel 'em. Smell 'em," said Joe, gravely,
sniffing the air.
24 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
Mr. Dutton laughed, and turned his attention to
selecting a good "nooning" spot where they could
spend the hottest hours of the day.
They had halted beside a swift-running stream,
whose waters, though white with glacial silt, promised
sport for Hugh, the- fisherman of the party. All
around them was a forest of immense spruce trees,
through which they had been travelling since early
morning. The ground was everywhere covered with
thick moss, and long, grey streamers hung from the
lofty boughs overhead.
I tell you what, father," exclaimed Robert, with
enthusiasm, this would be a jolly place to camp in
for a week. There's plenty of water, and I'll warrant
the woods are full of game."
A good place enough, Rob, but we've no time to
lose. The mosquitoes are getting thicker and hungrier
every day, and before long we shall have to rush to
the settlements for our lives. They are the pest of
Alaska, you know."
"But, father, we are within a few days' march of
Fort Selkirk, and are ahead of time."
"I want to see mother," interposed little Nat,
quietly. "Don't you, Rob ?"
The elder brother made no further protest, but began
preparations for a short hunt before dinner.
I won't be gone long, father," said he, shouldering
his Winchester, and starting off at an easy gait.
Won't you take one of the guides with you, my
Oh, no, thank you. They've had enough to do,
packing our blankets through the woods. Good-bye.
I'll keep within hearing of a gun-shot." And he was
Treed by a Moose. 25
Mr. Dutton now busied himself about his skeleton
tent," as he called it-a device of his own, for relief
from the attacks of gnats, mosquitoes, and other
insects while on the march.
It was a very simple arrangement; merely an "A "
tent made of mosquito netting. It was large enough
to accommodate all the party.
A few minutes sufficed to pitch it carefully, so that no
rent should be made in its meshes. The guides, Nat,
and Mr. Dutton then crept under its folds, and, stretched
out comfortably on rubber blankets which had been first
spread to keep out dampness, all four fell fast asleep.
Hugh whistled for Carlo, and took his way, fishing-
tackle in hand, down to an inviting pool just in sight
through the trees.
When Mr. Dutton awoke it was high noon. The
guides were already preparing the noon meal, one of
them building a good fire, laying the sticks all one
way, for convenience of cooking; the other engaged
in dressing a fine mess of trout which bore witness
to Hugh's success.
Nat strayed about the camp, looking for flowers-
the delicate Linnuea, or twin-flower, the violet, the
cornel, and others familiar in the home woods. The
eldest boy had not returned, and Mr. Dutton began
to feel anxious about him. He fired his rifle three
times, a signal that always meant, "Answer, and
come into camp But there was no reply.
At one o'clock they sat down to dinner, worried and
perplexed by Rob's absence. Two hours passed, and
still he did not appear. It was time to resume march.
At a word from the captain, Joe, the Indian, took up
his rifle, and plunged into the woods, in the direction
the missing boy had taken.
26 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
When Robert left the camp, he had no definite
intention, save that he would skirt round the base of
a low hill about a mile away, and return to camp
within an hour or two. He hoped to come across
some sort of game; a brace of grouse, at least, of
which there are several varieties in British America.
His Winchester rifle had half-a-dozen cartridges in
it, and Robert was a good shot. He had no fear of
missing a partridge or ptarmigan at thirty yards,
with a single ball.
The forest floor was encumbered with fallen and
decayed logs, into whose crumbling sides he sank so
often that his progress was slow. There was very
little undergrowth to impede his way, however, and
within half-an-hour he reached sharply rising ground,
which told him he was at the foot of the hill he had
seen from camp.
Up to this point he had kept within hearing of the
stream, but now he turned off at right angles, think-
ing he would walk fifteen minutes and then retrace
Before he had advanced far in this new direction
he found himself following a sort of trail. Indeed, it
was almost a beaten path in the woods.
"Ah said Rob to himself, with some dissatisfac-
tion, we have struck civilization again Here's a
regular route for fur-traders, I've no doubt. Well,"
he soliloquized, as he sauntered lazily along the path.
"I might as well-hullo! "
He stopped and examined a track that was plainly
outlined in a patch of mud. It was shaped like the
print of a huge human foot, fourteen inches long at
the very least. Robert had not "trailed" from the
Hudson's Bay settlements for nothing. He knew
Treed by a Moose. 27
that no man had left that footprint. It was undoubt-
edly the track of a bear, and an enormous one, too;
possibly a grizzly.
The boy's heart beat so hard that it seemed as if he
must stifle. The "sign" was fresh. It certainly was
not half-an-hour old, for the water was still oozing
into it from the sides.
Should he go on ? The ambition of Robert's life
just now was to shoot a grizzly, but he knew the
danger to a single hunter if he should meet one of
these terrible brutes alone.
It flashed across the boy's mind at the same moment
that the trail he was following was very closely con-
nected with that peculiar track. It was no hunter's
at all. It was one of the famous bear-roads," for
which the great Northwest is noted, and which thread
the densest forests in every direction.
Only six charges in that rifle But the temptation
was too great. Robert concluded at least to follow
the path cautiously for a short distance. Perhaps
he could come upon his shaggy game unexpectedly.
Perhaps he could stalk him!
With these thoughts passing swiftly through his
mind, he examined the lock of his rifle carefully,
assured himself that the cartridges were in place,
and, stooping over like an old hunter, advanced softly
along the trail.
At every slightest sound in the forest his heart
gave an answering thump; but no bear appeared.
He was beginning to think of turning back toward
the camp when a curious noise fell upon his ears. It
was a succession of dull blows, like that of a farmer
driving a stake into the ground.
A sudden turn of the path brought him unexpectedly
28 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
upon a singular scene. About a hundred yards away
the trail was blocked by a huge dark form. It stood
about four feet high, and was covered with long,
shaggy fur of a dirty brown colour. Robert recog-
nised the animal at once, although it was back to him.
It was the Brown Bear, Ursus Arctos, of the cold
countries. It was with a feeling half chagrin and half
relief that the boy knew in a moment it was no grizzly
before him. That it was, on the other hand, his very
ugliest and most formidable relative south of the
Arctic Circle was equally certain.
But what was the occasion of the bear's quiet atti-
tude? A glance along the path explained matters.
Directly facing the bear stood an old bull moose, his
spreading antlers touching the boughs on each side
of the path. The big fellow was not standing at his
full height. His head was slightly lowered, and his
eyes fixed intently on those of his near neighbour.
Neither of the animals paid the slightest attention
to the new-comer.
There seemed to be no good reason why there
should be a quarrel. There was plenty of room, with
a little squeezing, for a bear and a moose, even if
both, as was the case, were larger than the average,
to pass each other comfortably. But neither of them
thought of yielding an inch; they glared silently at
each other, like two teamsters who have unexpectedly
met in a narrow alley. Neither one would back out,
that was settled.
The moose raised one of his great hoofs, and struck
it upon the ground several times, making moss and
mud fly, while his eyes seemed fairly to flash fire.
His long, ungainly head drooped lower; it was evi-
dent that affairs were reaching a crisis, and Robert
SIT WAS EVIDENT THAT AFFAIRS WERE REACHING A CRISIS."
P" ~t~' ~'cY
Treed by a Moose. 31
concluded it was time to act. An old hunter would
have walked backward softly to the turn in the path,
and then run for his life, leaving the two forest
princes to fight it out as they pleased.
Unfortunately, the boy did no such thing. He
raised his rifle, sighted a spot in the very centre of
the moose's broad breast, and fired.
At the very same instant, the latter made up his
mind to knock that bear into small bits, and bounded
forward. The bear was watching for this, and rose on
his haunches to meet his antagonist.
So it happened that the rifle ball, instead of doing
its work as was intended, merely scored the bear's
right shoulder, and inflicted a slight wound on the
flank of the moose.
Both the brutes were startled by the heavy report
of the gun, and enraged by the sting of the ball. The
impetus of the big "horned horse" was so great
that he could not stop himself, but struck the bear
squarely on the snout, causing Bruin to roll over
backward, with the moose on top of him.
The two huge creatures scrambled to their feet, and
simultaneously caught sight of Robert, who pluckily
drew a bead on the brown, struggling mass and fired a
second time, with as little apparent result as before.
Then he started for the nearest tree, which, luckily
for him, was a good-sized spruce, with two or three
boughs, or stubs of them, close to the ground.
He had to drop his rifle, and indeed had no time to
spare, for by a common impulse both the late enemies
rushed against their common foe.
Robert drew a long breath as he seated himself, not
very comfortably, on a stout branch, some twenty feet
from the ground. To his relief, the bear concluded
32 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
that his honour had been vindicated, and ambled off
on his road at a swift pace, which took him out of
sight in two minutes.
Not so the big moose. Pawing the ground, and
snorting fiercely, he continued to charge up and down
under the tree, until at last, perceiving that his hated
assailant was for the time out of his reach, he sullenly
commenced a slow walk to and fro, like a sentinel
on guard duty; now and then casting vindictive
glances into the evergreen boughs overhead.
Faintly three rifle shots came echoing through the
woods, but Robert could not reply. He had given his
party no idea of where he was going. Plainly his
position was a disagreeable one, not to say positively
What was to be done ?
TED'S PRICKLY BEAR.
SOON as Joe, the younger
and more agile of Mr. Dut-
ton's two Indian guides,
struck into the forest, he
formed a definite plan of
action in his mind.
He had seen his young
master start off on his expe-
dition, and had noted the
direction he had taken. Once
out of sight of camp, the
trail was lost in the deep
green moss that covered the
ground everywhere. Joe, however, was not at a loss
for the route he should take. He reasoned that the
boy would, in the main, keep the direction he had at
first taken, and would follow the stream up toward
the hills, good shooting being generally found near
water; moreover, the brook would be an infallible
guide back to camp.
Swiftly and stealthily as a cat the Indian glided
through the dark shadows of the forest, in and out
34 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
among the trunks of the evergreens. Now and then
he would utter a grunt of satisfaction as his quick
glance fell upon a broken twig or a red mass of
crumbling wood where Robert had placed an incau-
Arriving at the bear path, he did not hesitate a
moment, but followed it with a swift, shambling gait
like the awkward trot of the animals who had trodden
down the path for him.
When he perceived the big track in the mud he
started, paused, and examined it carefully; then felt
for the handle of his long knife-he had brought no
other weapon-and kept on as before.
If you had been watching him, a few minutes later,
you would have seen him suddenly come to a stand-
still, listen eagerly, and then creep forward on hands
and knees. Presently he dropped flat on the ground,
and began wriggling forward as silently as a snake, but
From his perch Robert caught sight of a dark
figure crouching on the moss, a hundred feet away
to the leeward. At first he turned sick with fear,
thinking it was a puma, making ready for a spring.
Then he recognized with delight the homely features
of his guide.
The besieger just then was wandering moodily
about at about the same distance the other side of
the tree, his attention being distracted by a swarm of
mosquitoes who kept him stamping and licking furi-
ously. It was evident that he had not the least idea
of the Indian's presence.
The latter wriggled nearer the tree, nearer,-until
he could lay his hand on the repeating rifle.
The slight noise he made in cocking the piece caused
Ted's Prickly Bear. 35
the moose to look up quickly, half turning as he did
so, and exposing his broad brown side.
A shot rang out, and another. The moose started
for the tree like lightning, but before he had covered
half the distance he fell headlong.
To leap to his side and plunge the keen blade of
the knife into his throat was but an instant's work
for the Indian, who had despatched many a moose
in his day.
As Robert descended stiffly from his tree, and saw
the poor creature's huge bulk stretched out helpless
and still, he felt a pang of remorse.
"It's too bad, Joe," he said, gazing at his prostrate
H'm. You no kill 'im, he kill you," remarked the
other, in soft gutturals. "You lucky git 'way from
They cut several slices of meat from the iini.-. and
Joe took especial pains to 'carry away the muzzle, or
upper lip, which is esteemed a dainty r u..-.' hunters.
The magnificent antlers they were of course .1.1,.:il to
The Indian had as yet made no allusion to the bear.
When they had travelled about half way to the i ..lup
and had been walking in silence for some time, he
suddenly asked, -
You shot at bear, too ?"
Robert laughed rather shamefacedly.
"Yes, I did, Joe. I guess I didn't hurt him !uiili..
and I'm glad I didn't. One of those splendid creatures
is enough to kill in a day."
You no fire when you see 'im 'gaiu," remarked the
Indian. No hurt poor bear," he added.
Rob caught the twinkle in his, I IIIijnI;I!IIi.' eye.
36 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
"You're laughing at me, old fellow! he cried,
good-naturedly. Never mind, I'll pay you up some
"No shoot bear when you 'lone," said Joe, more
soberly. Nor moose, too. Wait for Injun come, he
Well, I'll be more careful another time. Hullo,
here we are at camp. Sorry you were worried,
father," as he saw Mr. Dutton's look of relief at his
"I was worried, Rob," said the older man, earnestly,
"and I thank God that you're back safe. If I had
realized half the dangers and hardships of this wild
country, I'd never have come. I suppose Dick is used
to them, and don't mind meeting a grizzly, or fighting
mosquitoes for a week at a time, or running on to a
tribe of hostiles. I confess I do."
"But, father, we were never so well in our lives.
Just look at Nat there "
And, indeed, it did one good to glance at the little
fellow's brown, healthy face.
"Well, well," said Mr. Dutton, brightening, "we're
all in safe keeping, no doubt. Tell me about your
adventure, Rob. It's too late to move further to-
night, and we could hardly find a better camping-
ground. The tents, boys "
This last was addressed to the guides, who at once
quietly set about their preparations for the night.
While the boys gathered eagerly about Rob, as he
described the big game he had seen, two tents of light
strong drilling were taken from the packs and pitched.
They were of the Shelter form, with side flaps that
were secured to the ground by pegs. These were
necessary to keep out the little winged tormentors
Teds Prickly Bear. 37
whose falsetto songs already began to ring unpleasantly
in the ears of the hunters.
The mosquito bars were now stretched across the
front of the tents, admitting light, air, and nothing
else, unless perhaps the midges, or no-see-'ems, whose
approach the Indians feared.
In the midst of Rob's glowing account there arose
a series of howls and cries, mingled with the barking
of a dog, close by the camp.
All hands seized rifles and axes, and ran to the
Oh, murther Oh, save me, quick! She's
coming' after me, sure Come quick wid yer
A moment later a shout of laughter went up from
the rescuers. Even the taciturn Indians smiled.
There was the valiant Teddy, with his hair fairly
standing on end, glaring wildly at a small black
animal, which crouched in a tree, about ten feet from
Sure, I have fixed it wid me eyes," said Teddy.
" I have a shpell on it, I have. If I look off, it'll
"Why, what is it, Ted?" inquired Mr. Dutton,
putting on a sober face.
Can't ye see, sur-r ? it's a small little bear, bad
luck to him! Sure, I looked to see the would one come
rushing out o' the bushes very minute, and that's
why I called yez."
All this time Carlo was barking furiously at the
little animal, whatever it was.
I think the safest way," said Mr. Dutton, sup-
pressing a smile once more, is to leave Teddy here
for a while to watch the beast. If the she-bear
S 7-,'. Red Mountain of Alaska.
,--,. you, be sure to call us, Ted," he added, making
as if he wold walk off.
Bmt ii' Irish boy set up a mournful wail that
weaold have touched a heart of stone.
don't lave me, sur! I'll be kilt en-
i i- :! '"
I T called out Hugh, who could no longer
-. -_..:. "killed by a-hedgehog Think of it !
e nI'- y s see his prickles ?"
S.- :-7;v grew even redder than before as he
examined the animal anew, and for the first time
nmciced the ..-'IT-.
He slunk back to camp, and it was a long time
-i .:--the boys ceased to allude to "Ted's prickly
The night passed quietly, and an early start was
made next morning. Before they halted for their
moxon rest they had made a good fifteen miles, due
west. Nat was tired, and when they started for their
afternoon tramp, Jim, the older and larger Indian,
S.i a curious pack upon his back. It was, in fact,
no r : than Nat himself, comfortably seated in a
natural chair, formed by cutting a distorted birch
close to the ground, and using the stump of a bent
S.i1 for a seat. A belt was carried around the
1. ..ii.'i, waist, to steady the chair, but the weight
came largely upon his forehead, which held the loop
of a, ..-,.-r thong supporting this human piece of
1, "--. Mr. Dutton had seen Peruvian natives
carry travellers in this way over dangerous moun-
tain passes, and Jim found that it worked to a
At about three o'clock the leader of the party
rL'-:-l a cry of delight.
Teds Prickly Bear. 39
"Look !" he said, pointing forward. "The head-
waters of the Pelly !"
"What is the Pelly, father?" asked the eldest
s The northern branch of the Yukon, Rob. Where
that river joins the old Lewis,' or properly the Yukon
itself, is Fort Selkirk, and there we shall find your
mother, Flossie, and Dick."
"Hooray!" shouted Hugh, catching his father's
enthusiasm. "How long will it take to reach
them ? "
"I should think that by the day after to-morrow
we ought to come in sight of the chimneys of the
old fort. As soon as possible we will build a raft,
and finish our journey by water."
An hour's fast walking brought the party to the
edge of a small lake. On the southern shore were
high bluffs, crowned with evergreen forests. Just
before them lay a little meadow. Its bright green
grass was dotted with dandelions and buttercups;
butterflies, red and yellow, floated gracefully in the
sunshine. A cloud of waterfowl rose from the reeds
near by, and, flying low over the smooth water,
plunged into it again, not half a mile away, with a
deal of splashing.
Not a breeze stirred the surface of the lake; the
hills along its shore were reflected as in a mirror.
"Beautiful, beautiful !" murmured Mr. Dutton,
baring his head for a moment, and gazing over the
tranquil scene. Why should not one settle here,
and spend his days within sight of this lovely sheet
of water ? No cares, but plenty of- "
"Mosquitoes!" interrupted one of the Indians,
40 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
The boys burst into a shout of laughter at the
sudden conclusion of their father's soliloquy, and ran
gleefully down to the water's edge.
"See, father, see cried little Nat presently, hold-
ing up a small brown animal in his arms. It was
a young marmot, a species which furnishes to the
Indians of the interior their blankets, these being
made of numerous skins of the little creatures sewn
After an inspection by all the boys, the captive was
permitted to waddle off at the top of his speed,
presumably in the direction his parents had taken.
Camp, boys, camp !" called Mr. Dutton, and all
hands set busily to work, preparing for the night.
The tent was pitched on the bank of a tiny stream
that fell musically over a mossy ledge into the lake
itself. The boys cut and broke armfuls of boughs
from the young spruces that grew thickly along the
edge of the forest, and threw them into the camp for
a bed. Nat was left to kindle the fire, a task at which
he was a particular adept. With bits of bark and
dried twigs he soon had a jolly blaze mounting up
through the larger sticks, and the camp was ready.
Rob strolled off with his gun, and Hugh with fishing-
rod and flies, as usual. Mr. Dutton took shelter
behind a mosquito net, and registered in his diary the
events of the day-the various sorts of plants and living
creatures he had observed, and the situation and most
striking characteristics of the lake before him. Then
he took out his map of the British provinces and
Alaska, settling his position beyond a doubt, and
marking his camping spot with a pencilled cross.
Those boys who would like to know just where the
party was encamped may make a cross on their maps
Ted's Prickly Bear. 41
at exactly lat. 610 30' N., long. 1280 10' W. from
Greenwich. If the map is a good one, they will
find this lake, shaped something like a horseshoe,
with the open end toward the north. On the east
bank of the right-hand arm of the horseshoe was
" Camp Prospect," as Mr. Dutton named their halting-
AN UNSEEN ENEMY.
T HE after-
been so bright,
so near, and
camp was so
."' ated, that the
S' Duttons looked
forward to a
ful night. They were doomed to serious disappoint-
Hugh came back from the lake empty-handed, and
Robert was the lucky one this time, bringing back
from his hunting expedition a fine bag of black duck
and a good fat rabbit.
While Joe was preparing the ducks for supper,
Teddy, whose bump of curiosity was always leading
him to poke about among bushes and under logs,
came rushing back to camp, and breathlessly an-
nounced an important discovery.
Sure, it's a bear this time," he stammered, looking
An Unseen Enemy. 43
over his shoulder. Ye've told me time and time
agin that the print of a bear's fut looks like a man's
boot. Sure, there's wan here in the bushes that's the
very image o' wan, toes an' all. Oh, wirra, wirra, he'll
ate us up before morning' "
Hush, Teddy," exclaimed Mr. Dutton, authorita-
tively. Tell us where you saw the track."
"Jist beyant in the bushes."
Come, Joe, we'll look at it."
The rest wanted to follow, but Mr. Dutton bade
them stay where they were. He had uncomfortable
misgivings regarding that track, with its toes so
plainly marked. What if it were not a bear's foot-
print at all I What if-
His worst fears were realized when he saw the
Indian's manner on looking at the track.
H'm he grunted, with a slight start, as
he stooped low to examine it. H'm I Him no
bear I "
What is it, then ?"
"Him man's foot."
"How old is the sign ? "
Here was intelligence, to be sure, of a decidedly
While they had been building their camp, dis-
cussing their plans, roaming about the woods, dark
forms had been flitting to and fro among the sha-
dows of the forest, within a stone's throw. Glisten-
ing eyes had been watching them, probably with
looks of hatred. For a friendly band would have
advanced at once, where the party of whites was so
44 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
evidently a harmless one, with its four boys and one
The two guides now held a short consultation, and,
on Mr. Dutton's return to camp, they darted into the
The hour spent before their return was one of
extreme anxiety. The boys knew nothing of their
father's apprehensions, and chatted merrily over the
supper-getting, which, in the absence of the guides,
they took into their own hands.
If the Takheesh Indians, in the border of whose
country they now were, should take the warpath,
they were greatly to be feared. Their tribe had
been foully treated by the traders, and, though
few in numbers, the Alaska Indians are known to
be among the fiercest and most implacable of their
race when their evil passions are once roused. And
if there was danger to his own party, what of the
other, near by, containing his brother, wife, and
While these thoughts were chasing one another
through Mr. Dutton's troubled mind, Joe returned,
and shortly afterward his comrade.
The information they brought was not reassuring.
They had struck the trail of the strange Indians, they
said, in several parts of the surrounding forest, and,
though they did not come upon the band, the guides
were pretty sure that they were encamped just beyond
a little ridge, about two miles south-west of Camp
Prospect. They had probably been startled, Joe
intimated, by the report of Rob's gun.
The boys by this time had been acquainted with
the situation, and the faces of the company were
An Unseen Enemy. 45
"Well," said Mr. Dutton, at last, "we won't try
to cross a bridge before we come to it. The Indians
will not dare to attack us to-night, while we are
all in camp, nor are they fond of roaming the
woods after dark. We'll take turns keeping guard,
however, and while one watches the rest shall
It was still so early in the evening that no
thoughts of sleep could be entertained for an hour or
two. Mr. Dutton was determined that his boys
should not worry away their chances for a night's
rest. He therefore proposed telling stories until
"That is," said he, with a good-natured slap on
Joe's broad shoulders, "I don't mean to do all the
talking myself. You can begin, old fellow."
The Indian's dark eyes lighted up. Taciturn as he
was on ordinary occasions, he was renowned among
his comrades as a recounter of marvellous tales and
hair's-breadth escapes. Joe was a good story-teller,
and he knew it.
As full of airs as a young lady who is asked to play,
and "has left her music at home," Joe coughed and
smoked and pretended indifference, but, after the
proper amount of urging, raised himself upon his elbow
instead of squatting in the traditional Indian fashion,
and, having replenished his pipe (which, however,
soon died out), began as follows. I do not attempt to
spell out his peculiar dialect, or indicate the expressive
grunts and gutturals which served as punctuation
About ten years ago," he said, I was guiding,
near Fort Churchill, with my brother, John Feather-
46 The Red J ;.::..- .': of Alaska.
I didn't know you had a brother, Joe," interrupted
"Dead now," remarked
then resumed his story.
"We started out, one
fort, and by the end of
the narrator, laconically,
fine morning, from the
the next day reached a
" WE STARTED ACROSS THE LAKE."
lake about thirty miles away, where the fishing was
"Two men-white men-were with us. They were
from a big town in the States-New--New--
"York ?" suggested Rob.
"That's it. They paid us well, and were full of
fun. On the lake we had two good canoes, hidden
in the bushes at different points. John and I soon
found one of them, drew the paddles from a hollow
An Unseen Enemy. 47
log close by, and started across the lake for the other
We paddled straight across a wide bay, in a north-
east direction, took our bearings from a bunch of rocks
just above water (there were half-a-dozen gulls'-nests
on them, and the birds flew up slowly as we paddled
past) ; then worked up to a point heavily wooded
with black growth, and John landed.
Pretty soon I heard a squirrel chatter, and right
afterward a bird sound, like this."
Here Joe imitated pretty closely the long, plaintive
whistle of the hermit thrush.
The boys nodded to their father, to show that they
recognized the notes ; and Joe gravely proceeded.
I knew then that something was out of the
common, and that John apprehended danger ; other-
wise he would not have called me at all, or would
have sung out my name. The squirrel and the bird
meant 'Trouble-come quick, but carefully.' If the
bird had sung first, it would have meant, Stay there;
I'm coming back.'
"I answered the bird call, and stepped out of the
canoe, pulling it up a little on a big rock. Then I
went into the bushes and found John.
"He was standing near an old pine stub that
had been our landmark for the second canoe. It
ought to have been just six paces from that stub,
in a little overgrown run, covered with brush.
The fir and spruce, with a few white cedars, grew
so thick along the edge of the run that nobody
would have found the canoe without a hard hunt and
a hint as to its hiding-place. Nobody in the world
knew of that place but John and I. The canoe was
48 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
Joe paused impressively, having dropped his voice
to its lowest gutturals in pronouncing the two words,
" Canoe gone "-and looked around the firelit circle
of faces to observe the effect.
The result of the survey proving satisfactory, he
lighted his pipe anew with a blazing twig from the
"But that wasn't the worst of it," he continued,
more solemnly than ever. There wasn't the faintest
sign of any stranger there. Not a track showed in the
earth between that spot and the lake. Not a twig, as
far as we could see in any direction, was broken or
bent; even the boughs that had been thrown over the
run were absolutely undisturbed.
Simply, the canoe was not there. In some mys-
terious way it had been drawn out from its hiding-
place, and had totally disappeared.
I said there was no track. Stop-there was one.
John pointed it out after we had been there a
minute. It was a mere touch on the moss-so light
as hardly to bend down the soft tops-yet, here
and there, plainly enough marked when once we
had found one, were the prints of a child's or a
young girl's foot. The strange part of it was the
lightness. We found one spot where she or it had
stepped fairly on a piece of soft, muddy soil. As I
live, masters, the print was not half a day old, and
was not so deep."
Joe measured off about an eighth of an inch on his
thumb-nail. Nat crept more closely to his father,
and glanced over his shoulder. There was always
something uncanny about Joe's stories ; and, indeed,
Mr. Dutton began to repent having called for the
performance on this particular night.
An Unseen Enemy. 49
"Hurry up, Joe," he exclaimed, "and get to
the point of your story. What made the tracks
around the run? Some light-footed Indian squaw, I
"No squaw," replied Joe, with dignity. Track
too ver' light, you see."
But, as I said, I will not try to give the story in
Joe's peculiar dialect. Here is the rest of it, trans-
lated into English.
We could make nothing of the tracks, and pretty
soon we paddled back to camp, after having searched
the point over for the missing canoe. Not a sign of
it could we find.
When we returned to our two hunters, they
laughed at us, but were angry, too, because they had
but one canoe to fish from. Only one of them could
go out at a time.
"We took a few trout in the lake, but the fish did
not rise well, and after a couple of days we pushed on
to a small pond five miles above.
"It was all white water between, so we had to
carry. It took five trips to get across, for it's the
hardest carry in all the north country..
"The last time we took the canoe. It was rather
heavy for that style of craft, and there was one
point, just opposite a big waterfall in the river,
where it had to be lugged straight uphill for fifty rods
"John and I got underneath, and the New York
men pulled on a rope hitched round the bows.
It was a hard tug, but we got there at last.
"We built a brush camp pretty near the shore
of the upper pond, and laid out for a fortnight's
stay at least. There was deer-sign in the woods,
50 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
S| !and if the rises in the pond
S' at sunset meant anything,
they meant all the fish we
Should eat, and more, too.
.. Well, sir, if you'll
b. believe me, we'd no
-. i,. ooner got settled
lown in camp than
V -" .-verything began to
g o wrong.
John cut his
hand that very
'-1 "; night mending a
leader, so he could
"' hardly hold a pad-
Sdle. One of
S-. our blankets
,- 7-s' ,,, '"'- &
had a hole '
burnt in it the
next morning ; '
our best rifle
when we had
a fine buck ca-
ribou in easy
range ; it
rain ed hard
and was broil-
ing hot by
turns; and at
An Unseen Enemy. 5
through clumsy paddling with his lame hand, run the
canoe square on to a rock, near the outlet, and put a
hole through the birch.
It's no use,' we agreed, he and I, the trip's be-
witched. Whatever it was that took that canoe has
sent us bad luck.'
"Then we remembered an old story of how an
innocent Indian girl was shot by trappers in that
region years before; shot because some skulking
chap in her tribe had stolen a pelt or two, and these
fellows wanted to square the account.
"John shook his head, and said he believed the
spirit of the girl was abroad in the woods, and would
be the death of us if we didn't go out..
"He wanted to tell the two gentlemen about it,
but I told him they'd laugh at him, and we'd better
wait a while before doing anything.
"' H'm,' said John, 'if we want to go back, who
"'You'd have to go alone,' said I, 'for I won't
leave a party I've once taken into the woods, spirit or
That night one of our two masters was taken with
fever and chills, though he had been perfectly well an
hour before. John looked hard at me as we sat by
the fire, but I pretended not to see him.
"Next morning the poor gentleman was rather
worse than better. Part of the time he was out of his
head, and kept raving about somebody he thought was
trying to drown him in the canoe.
Don't tip it over Don't tip it over I he'd cry,
in the most awful way, starting up and then sinking
back with a choking sound as if he were going under
52 The Red Alountain of Alaska.
"As soon as I got a chance I called John out into
the brush a bit.
"'John,' said I, 'I had a queer dream last
"' So did I,' said he, quietly.
"' I dreamed I found that canoe.'
'So did I.'
"' It was placed across two flat, mossy rocks, and
in it was the body of a young squaw--
"Before John had time to say, So it was!'
(as I've no doubt his dream was exactly the same
as mine) we were called to hold the sick man, who
was now quite out of his head, and muttering
strange things that nobody but John and I under-
"He grew quieter after a while, and slept. The
other gentleman, worried and troubled as he was, took
his rifle and started round the shore of the lake for
Before long I heard the crack of his piece, and not
a minute later a doe dashed past the camp.
"Her tongue was out, and I could see that she
was wounded; but she was out of sight with three
bounds. As she went past us she half turned
her head, and gave me one swift look from her
big, f!iblit eyes. I'm an old hunter, sir, but I
declare to you I never had a deer nor a living
animal look at me so before. I found a single red
spot on a green leaf in her tracks after she had
"This was at about noon. The master came
back more tired and anxious than ever. As soon
as dinner was over he wanted me to go and hunt up
An Unseen Enemy. 53
Generally, I'd want no better job, for I knew by
the way she ran that she was shot to death, and I
wouldn't have to go far. But, sir, I hated to go. I'd
have taken John, but he said he must stay in camp
and gum that leak in the old canoe before dark. I
left him getting his gum and some bark to burn and
Well, it took longer than I thought it would.
For upwards of three miles I tramped through the
black growth to the head of the pond, follow-
ing the trail, which wasn't the easiest to keep in
sight. There wasn't a broken limb or even a bent
brake; and on the ground scarcely a track, she was
The sun was well down, and it was getting pretty
shady in the woods when I struck a plain carry, made
by traders in old times, from the head of the pond to
a chain of lakes and a post beyond.
After following this about a hundred rods I came
to a standstill. A small sheet of water was just in
front of me ; but what I noticed most was a lot of big,
mossy rocks along the shore. They were the very
rocks that I had seen in my dream !
"And there, sir, not quite as I had dreamed it, but
pulled up a little across the opening of the carry, was
the lost canoe.
I came up to it with a creeping all over me from
head to foot. I knew what I should find there, even
before I saw the patch of soft brown and white over
the edge of the canoe.
There, just as she had stumbled and fallen, in her
last feeble effort to reach the water, lay the beautiful
doe, the blood still flowing from the fatal bullet-hole.
She was quite dead.
54 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
Perhaps you'll laugh at me, sir, when I tell you I
didn't cut her up ?
"I took her out easy, and laid her on the moss,
out of sight of the carry. She was a small, slender
thing, and lifted easy. I threw some brush over
her, and shouldered the canoe, which was not so
large as the one we had brought with us from the
first lake, and in five minutes was paddling down
the lower pond as if all the spirits of the forest were
"At last I came in sight of John Feathertop, just
putting the last touches on the bottom of the damaged
canoe, and then, I confess, for the first time I breathed
"The gentleman asked me where the doe was,
but I took no notice, and he supposed I felt bad
at not finding her, so he said nothing more about
"The next day the sick man was well enough
to move, and we all started for home, although the
two New Yorkers wanted to stay and finish their
Why did they go out, then ?"
Because they could not stay without guides. And
both guides refused, quietly and respectfully, but
firmly, to spend another day in that locality.
"We got out in safety, with the exception of the
lighter canoe. That we left behind. Why? Because
it had carried the dead; because the dead had claimed
it; because it belonged to the dead.
"John Feathertop and I, as well as Jim here, were
poor enough ; but there wasn't money enough in all the
Hudson's Bay territory to hire us ever to visit that
(I.) "JOHN WAS PUTTING THE LAST TOUCHES ON.'
(2.) I SHOULDERED THE CANOE."
An Unseen Enemy. 57
As Joe concluded his story, with a furtive glance
at the staring eyes about him, a loon in the lake
below suddenly made night hideous with its maniac
Mr. Dutton could feel little Nat shiver in his
T was plain that Joe's story, instead of quiet-
ing the boys, as their father had intended,
had wrought them to a high pitch of
nervousness, which would have to relax
before sleep visited the little camp by
the headwaters of the Pelly that night.
"Now, boys," he exclaimed, in his
cheery, wholesome tones, that of them-
Y selves began at once to put to flight the
imaginary terrors of the night, 'm going
to tell you a story. The difference between mine and
Joe's is, principally, that mine is true "
Joe withdrew his pipe from his lips, and gazed
reproachfully at Mr. Dutton; contented himself with
a shake of his head at the idea of his veracity being
questioned; and began to puff again at his tobacco.
That is," added Mr. Dutton, changing his position
in the tent so as to rest more easily, and at the same
time face the boys, "the main facts are true. It's
about a severe cold snap that took place in Atlanta,
Georgia, not long ago."
Thereupon he proceeded to narrate the following
story, giving the negro dialect with such excellent
effect as to make the boys laugh heartily at some
points, and to bring tears to their eyes at others.
Lex had been busy all day, partly in efforts to keep
out from under customers' feet, partly in running
errands. When he turned away from the store at
night, and started for home, he was very tired.
Hi!" chattered Lex, as he pattered along the
side-walk, ain't dis yere cold, jes' "
It was cold, and was growing colder. The sun had
muffled itself in a bank of clouds as it hurried off to a
warmer climate, turning a very cold shoulder indeed
upon Lex and his surroundings. As soon as the sun
was well out of the way, presto up dodged the sly
breezes that had kept quiet since morning, and, spying
the black boy on his way home, made for him with
They could not do much with his hair, to be sure, it
curled so tightly and closely to his round head ; but,
to make up for that, they pinched his ears and pulled
off his tattered hat, tweaked his fingers and toes,
whooped and hallooed at him, and threw dust in his
astonished black eyes, until he felt as if he were in
the paws of a sort of great Polar tiger, playing with
him cruelly and breathing on him from her icy
So the wind kept on blowing harder and harder,
and the mercury in the thermometers sought to hide
itself in their bulbs, until the very light of the moon
above the chimney-tops seemed to come down frozen.
Colder and colder it grew. In the North, people
would not have been surprised at it, but Atlanta folks
were not used to such cold, and it took them by sur-
George Alexander Jackson, or Lex," as he was
called for short, hurried along till he reached a small
cabin on the outskirts of the city, and, slamming the
60 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
door behind him, stood shivering before the stove,
whose firelight, shining out between the bars in front,
fell pleasantly on the floor, and danced all about the
white kitten, who blinked sleepily at Lex.
"Well, Lex, got home f'm yo' wo'k agin, ain't ye ?"
said a stout black woman, cheerily, coming up to him
and drawing his woolly head to her motherly bosom.
"Po' little boy He's done run all d' way home,-
now, ain't ye, honey?"
Lex bobbed his head, and squirmed with the cold.
"Dar, dar, chile, you jes' stay right in mammy's
arms till ye get wo'm an' comf'ble. Reckon 'twon't
be so cold ter-morrer. An' de Lo'd will pervide I "
Chloe Jackson was one of the old slaves who had
" got religion," as her master had sneeringly said.
Truly she had got" it, firmly enough, and not even
her freedom in these later days was so precious to her.
To Lex, religion as yet meant mostly-" mammy,"
and he would have been as much alarmed had she
stopped using Scripture phrases as if she had stopped
A comfortable sense of warmth stole through Lex's
sturdy little frame as he watched his mother going
about the room in her preparations for supper. On
the table, bare but clean, were set three plates of
different sizes, and in varied stages of repair; a small
teapot, a plate of hoe-cakes, and a cracked mug full
of a dark liquid that Lex's critical eye told him was
A cup and saucer for Chloe herself completed the
tea-set, and Lex was told to take his place beside his
mother and sister, the latter being a year or two
younger than himself. His father had gone quietly
away to another country five years before, leaving his
poor black earth-clothes in the little burying-ground
outside the city.
"Be quiet, chilluns! said Chloe, softly, raising
her hand. Then she proceeded to say grace-rather
longer than common, Lex thought, sniffing the hoe-
cakes with his eyes shut.
"0 Lo'd," she concluded, her voice beginning to
tremble strangely, "bress dese yere chilluns 0 doan
fergit yo' brack chilluns, what yo' led outen de wild'-
ness, 0 Lo'd, an' don't let dese yere little ones freeze
wid cold, or die fer want of food, an' doan, 0 Lord-
Lex looked up, surprised at her abrupt close, and
caught sight of two big tears rolling down her cheeks.
0 mammy mammy what ye done cry fer ? "
he begged, laying his head again on her shoulder.
" What makes y' ask Mass' Lo'd" (she never could
break him of saying that) "ter keep us f'm freezin' ?'
Dar, chile," she said, almost sharply, "doan ye go
ter axin' questions. De Lo'd an' I done got two er
free secrets what pickaninnies mus'n know nuf'n'
'bout. You jes' eat yo' supper an' be quiet."
His thoughts diverted for a few minutes by this last
suggestion, Lex busied himself with his bread and
molasses. Then he asked,-
"Mammy, who was it you read 'bout in de Bible
dat got fo' or five thousand hoe-cakes fm a flock of
"Laws-a-me, jes' hear him cried mammy, an ill-
suppressed chuckle of fun driving the anxiety out of
her face for a moment. 'Twas meat, meat, chile,
what dem birds bro't to 'Lijah."
An' would dey brung meat to us, mammy, ef we
wus mighty hungry ? "
62 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
I reckon so, honey," said Chloe, with a sweet look
of faith in her honest eyes. He's never fergot us
So Lex was satisfied, and returned to his post by
the fire. Presently he looked up, with a little shiver.
Mammy, please put some mo' wood on de fire."
Mammy glanced up quickly, then came to the small
stove, and stirred the brands together till they crackled
and blazed again.
"Lex," she said, quietly, "I'm gwine out fer a
little while. You an' Bess stay here an' 'have yer-
selves till I git back."
Without further words she drew a faded shawl over
her head, and went out into the bleak night.
It was half-an-hour or more before she came back.
She kept her shawl about her till she had sent the
children out of the room on an errand, then deposited
upon the floor a few sticks of wood she had brought
in. When they returned she was replenishing the
"'Pears colder 'n ever," she said. You chillun 'd
better go ter bed now."
And they went, curling up in a heap of straw and
under a patched quilt in one corner of the hut.
Are ye sho' de crows will come, mammy ? yawned
Lex, as she tucked the ragged edges of an old blanket
Sho', honey," she replied, heartily.
"An' could-dey-brung-wood ?" but Lex was
too sleepy to wait for an answer.
It will be long before the Atlanta people forget the
night of January 26th, 18-. The bitter wind, which
only a few weeks before had urged a conflagration to
do its fearful work, until a whole city seemed mount-
ing to heaven in a chariot of fire, now with icy cold-
ness crept in noiselessly, to counteract the efforts of
the very element it had so lately helped.
In the night Lex had a curious dream. He thought
he saw his mother creep softly into the kitchen and
bear the old pine table out of the house. Then there
seemed to come a crackling noise, and presently the
firelight shone out merrily through the little bars,
and Lex felt warm and comfortable. Mammy stayed
by the stove, occasionally throwing in bits of wood,
until his dream carried him elsewhere.
The next morning Lex was waked by hearing Bess
crying softly beside him.
"What's de matter, Bess ? he asked, sleepily.
I'se s-so cold she sobbed, cuddling up close
But mammy's ears had caught the sound too, and
she was beside her little black lambs in a moment,
covering them with the shawl she had worn the night
before. As she did so, Lex felt something soft and
warm between him and Bess. It was the white
kitten. It struck Lex as strange that the white kitten
should prefer his bed to the floor underneath the
stove, where she was usually found on other mornings.
At that same moment he observed that the steam was
not puffing from the tea-kettle, as was its wont.
"Wh-what's de matter wid de stove, mammy ?"
he stammered, rubbing his eyes.
"Doan you bodder yo' head 'bout dat ar stove,"
said Chloe, with great cheerfulness. "I jes' let the
fire go down a bit b'fo' breakfast dat's all."
B-but-whar's de table ? "
Chloe turned her head away at first, without answer-
ing. She had loved the little four-foot table, at which
64 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
she and her husband had sat so often, and it had
been a sore sacrifice to burn it up. But she had all
her motherhood stirred in defence of her children.
She fought the cold as if it had been a living thing.
Just then Bess, catching the look, gave a little
miserable wail of distress and cold.
At that cry the fierce light that sometimes comes
into the mild eyes of her race flashed in Chloe's as
she crouched by the little heap of straw, and glanced
nervously about the room.
There were only two wooden pieces of furniture that
had survived the demands of that night; an old
broken-legged stool, which her husband had brought
from the plantation, and which had always been
specially set apart for him; and a small shelf,
high up on the opposite wall, on which were laid a
worn Bible and hymn-book.
Chloe rose, hesitated a moment, then stepped across
the room, swiftly reached up, and, taking the two
books from their resting-place, laid them carefully
and reverently upon a few wisps of clean straw in a
corner of the hut. Next, she gave the shelf a wrench
that brought it down with a cloud of dust, and,
without pausing,-as if she were afraid of repenting,-
opened the stove-door and thrust in the fragments
upon the glowing brands.
All these proceedings Lex and Bess and the white
kitten watched with intense interest, and with very
dubious faces. Bess no longer cried, but had hard
work to keep her lip from quivering. Kitty put out
one dainty paw, shook it as if she had dipped it into
cold water, curled up again in Lex's bosom, and made
a brave attempt to purr.
Lex privately thought it might be about time for
the ravens. It comforted him a little, he hardly knew
why, to think that they would be black, like himself
-these chosen messengers from Heaven. He was
cut short in his reflections by mammy.
I'se gwine out again," she said, in a queer voice
Lex had never heard. "I'se gwine out ter git somefin'
for ye ter burn an' ter eat."
"But dem-dem crows, mammy ?"
I'se gwine ter look for 'em." And she was
"Mebbe dey mout 'light down round de house,"
meditated Lex. I'll jes' keep de cat inside de do',
This time it was an hour before Chloe returned,
weary, footsore, slow of speech, benumbed with cold.
She had left the shawl, you see, over little Bess.
In her pocket she brought a few chips, two bits
of coal, and a fragment of bread-crust. With the
remains of last night's supper, for which she had used
the last crumb of provisions in the house, they made
a meagre breakfast. The children were not allowed
to get up, so they did not miss the table so much.
Still the ravens did not come. Chloe dragged her-
self out once more, and returned-empty-handed !
It was Sunday, and the church-bells, in the wealthier
part of the dity, rang merrily. But congregations that
morning were small. Those whose conscience per-
mitted them to do so stayed at home. The lower
streets were thronged with poor people, crying for
bread and fuel. The little white kitten, and many
other kittens that day, white and black, mewed pite-
ously for the meat the ravens did not bring.
Mammy," said Lex, I'se pow'ful hungry. Doan
v' t'ink it's 'bout time for 'em ? "
66 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
The three-legged stool had gone long ago. Mammy,
her brave heart battling against the numb despair
that was creeping over her, laid her poor rough hand
on the boy's head, and sang :-
"Oh, my way's cloudy-
Oh, send dem angels down."
"Mammy !" Lex suddenly broke out, with a sharp
cry, was dat 'Lijah white ?,"
Poor mammy Perhaps, if she could have had an
image of Elijah's swarthy face as it really must have
looked, she would have been comforted. As it was,
she was fain to lay her finger on the child's trembling
lips and go on singing.
In the west the sun glowed in all its mockery of
red light, like a painted furnace in a frame of ice.
The wind,-ah, that remorseless wind !-springing up
again, blew out the last spark of fire, and thrust itself
through the wide cracks in the little hut.
Still mammy sat stiffly, forming the words with
her lips -
Send dem angels down,-
My way's clo-o-udy--"
"Mammy," moaned Lex once more, "'pears like
dem crows lost dar way, 'r else dey doan come to no
brack folks. DAR DEY IS !" he shrieked out, all at
once, jumping to his feet and almost upsetting mammy,
who raised herself more slowly and listened.
Yes i it was a low, heavy rumble of wheels over
the frozen ground. Nearer and nearer it came. Chloe
darted to the door. They were stopping-two big
waggons, one loaded high with wood, the other with
baskets of provisions of every sort conceivable. The
driver was a wealthy resident of Atlanta, well known
throughout the city, and, doubtless, throughout heaven,
too, God bless him !
So the ravens had come, and Chloe and her little
ones knew no more want that winter. The next morn-
ing the following telegram quivered over the wires
to the great Northern newspapers, in the files of which
you can find it if you look :-
"ATLANTA, GA., Jan. 27.-The severe weather of
the past week caused great suffering among the poor.
On Saturday it was learned that hundreds of poor
women and children were huddling around their last
burning stick of wood, and the Constitution of Sunday
morning made an appeal to the citizens to send to
the paper money, provisions, and fuel, which would
be distributed by its business department.
"At noon there were gathered together about sixty
waggons, containing wood and provisions. Merchants
worth hundreds of thousands of dollars took their
places as drivers, each with a wood-waggon and a
provision-waggon under his charge, and started on
a tour of the city, working all day until nightfall.
"All day the Constitution office looked more like a
military supply dep6t than a newspaper office. Hun-
dreds of sacks of flour, coffee, and sugar, sides of meat
'and hams, and on the sidewalk cords of wood were
seen, while the streets were full of people, clamorous
for relief. No distinction was made in the distribution
in regard to colour."
Who shall say, boys, that men are not still about
their Father's business ?
68 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
When Mr. Dutton concluded, Nat was already
yawning, and the relieved expression of the other boys'
faces showed that their pulses were beating calmly
Now," said the father, we'll go to sleep."
It was easier to say sleep than to do it, after all.
Never did a night seem so long to the boys as they lay
huddled together in the tent. Perhaps little Nat, now
that he had recovered from his nervousness, was the
bravest of all. He said his prayers composedly, took
off his jacket, and lay down in the tent with perfect
trust in both his heavenly and his human father,
feeling very sure that he would be well taken care
of until morning.
Mr. Dutton watched, rifle across his knee, until
twelve o'clock. Then he called Rob, who kept guard
till two. The guides relieved him, and he slept
heavily for the next two hours.
At four o'clock the whole camp was astir. Mr.
Dutton, who had decided upon a definite course, gave
his orders quietly. First, a good breakfast, in which
hot coffee and Rob's rabbit played a prominent part.
It was wonderful how much better they all felt after
this. Teddy, reinforced by a huge lump from the
savoury stew, declared himself ready to fight very
Injun in Alashky."'
No alarm had been given during the night, and all
were alert for the day's work.
Already the terrors of the dusky evening twilight
seemed a thing of the past.
"The first thing," said Mr. Dutton, cheerily, as
they rose from their meal, "is to find some good
large logs floating in the lake. Half-a-dozen will
There's a lot of them down there," said Hugh,
pointing. I crept out on them yesterday when I
What are you going to do with them, papa?"
I think it best that we should finish our journey,
if possible, on a raft, though it will take all day to
make one. We should be liable to lose our way by
shore, and I've noticed that the undergrowth of bushes
and deep moss is growing much more troublesome as
we approach the coast."
"But how about the Indians ? "
"If they are really hostile, we shall be safest on
our raft, for then they cannot reach us without coming
into full view. Yes, by all means, it is best to take
to the water."
To the water, then cried Robert, seizing an axe,
and starting for the point indicated by Hugh.
To the water echoed all, and a general stampede
toward the lake would have followed had not the
leader checked it.
Wait! wait! he called out, laughing. There's
work here for some to do. Nat, do you straighten
out all the pieces of cord you can find in the packs.
They must be used for fastening the cross pieces
together. Hugh, you may busy yourself about camp.
Take down the tent, to begin with, and pack it up for
But, father, I thought you said we should stay
here another day. Sha'n't we need the tent- "
Another day, my boy, but not another night No,
we shall take the night boat,' and before sunrise to-
morrow we must be thirty miles from here, if it can
70 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
Mr. Dutton now dispatched the two guides into the
woods, to reconnoitre. They joined him shortly after-
ward at the water's edge, and reported all quiet; no
new signs of the enemy.
How those axes did flash through the air I Branches
were lopped off from the fallen trees where it was
necessary, but for the most part they had been broken
or rubbed away in the wild rush they must have re-
cently made from their native heights, in the current
of a glacial torrent. The ends of four of the largest
logs were notched, and the big timbers saddled on
each other. Then, although they lay quite firmly
together, they were lashed with stout cords. Two
other pieces were saddled across from side to side in
the same way, at even distances between the ends of
the oblong raft, and on these four cross-pieces was
laid a dry, compact floor or deck of logs, running
lengthwise of the raft, and secured by notching and
tying at the outside corners. It was eight o'clock in
the evening when the last log was fastened in its
The day had passed without a visit from the savages,
but there had been an indication of their presence
which had disturbed Mr. Dutton.
About the middle of the afternoon a light column of
thin blue smoke had been seen to descend from just
beyond the ridge before referred to. Within three
minutes a similar smoke arose from a hill-top on the
opposite side of the lake. Then both disappeared. It
was plainly a signal. It looked as if the natives were
gathering in force. Perhaps it was not a band of
Takheesh after all, but some strange, unknown tribe
from the interior, far more savage and uncivilized.
Supper was eaten in silence.
"Now," said Mr. Dutton, quietly, "we'll rest an
hour or two under the mosquito tent."
The netting had been left out for this especial
purpose, an I the whole party crawled under its meshes,
thankful to stretch themselves out on their blankets
for even that short time.
They had done little during the day except hard
work, standing half the time up to their knees in
water, while the mosquitoes were buzzing in swarms
around their heads.
Hugh had taken half-a-dozen trout, and Robert had
shot a green-winged teal.
At just half-past ten o'clock Dr. Dutton gave the
signal for rising. They rubbed their stiff and weary
limbs, and, one by one, scrambled, yawning, to their
Do up the blankets, boys. Joe, is the raft ready ?
Have you got the poles on board, and the mast rigged
with the braces ? "
Now, Rob-that's it, take everything with you,
and scatter the fire a little. Good-bye, Camp
They stepped on board their rough craft, and the
three men took positions with the long push-poles Joe
"Now, then ; off she goes !"
And off she went, away from the silent shore,
toward the middle of the lake.
A gentle breeze was blowing from the east. Mr.
Dutton spread the cotton tent in such a way as to
shelter the younger boys, and at the same time help
their progress a little as a sail. From the time they
left the shore they spoke in low tones, in order not
72 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
to apprise any lurking enemy of their departure. In
this way they moved slowly but steadily on their
course down the lake, the little waves rippling against
the sides of the raft, and a startled Quack now and
then betraying the presence of a duck paddling about
in the water.
It was now near midnight, but they were so far
north that they could have read a newspaper easily
had such a commodity been furnished by the Alaska
The mosquitoes were so voracious that the skeleton
tent" was pitched on the raft, and afforded intense
relief to those of the crew who could be spared to 'alke
refuge under it.
Hugh, Nat, Teddy, and Carlo were the first to take
advantage of the netting, and in five minutes all four
were fast asleep, Nat's head resting lovingly on Carlo's
Robert came over to his father's side.
Where are you aiming for, father ? How far do
you expect to go ?"
If the traders' and travellers' stories are correct,
this lake is about a dozen or fifteen miles long, by
an average of three wide. At'the foot of it, the river
Pelly starts in a series of rough but not dangerous
rapids. I studied this all out at home, for I could see
that we were likely to travel on or beside the river,
from its source to its union with the Yukon proper."
And do you expect to cross those rapids to-night,
sir ?" asked Robert, in amazement.
I do," said Mr. Dutton, firmly. About ten miles
from their foot the river widens into a small pond,
which contains one island. On that island we shall
Look, father, what is that?" interrupted Rob,
eagerly. It looks like a man swimming. Isn't it ?"
A moment's scrutiny and a single question to the
guides explained the true character of the swimmer.
It was not an Indian or a white man. What they
saw was simply the head of a large black bear,
swimming across at the narrowest part of the lake.
Robert was eager to get out his Winchester and
shoot the animal, but his father said no. He did not
dare to fire a gun, lest he should put the natives on
"Besides," he said, we could not possibly secure
either carcass or skin, and we must not join the large
army of thoughtless people who take animal life for
The bear looked neither to right nor left, but swam
on, and presently they saw him drag himself out of
the water and disappear in the forest.
The raft had now turned the bend of the horseshoe,
and was heading north-west. The east wind, drawing
in around the high hills I have already spoken of,
on the southern shore of the lake, was still slightly
astern, and helped the raft so that the poles were not
They now drew near the opening which, they could
plainly see, marked the exit of the Pelly River.
Already they could hear the rush of the rip waves,
where the fierce current contended with the eternal
Bump went the raft on a huge boulder. Carlo
became uneasy, and, getting out somehow from under
the mosquito canopy, advanced gravely to the forward
end of the raft.
Thump went the raft again. Still it kept the
74 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
main channel, and was not appreciably the worse for
A sort of steering oar had been arranged for this
craft by the boys, and by a diligent use of this, as
well as the push-poles, no great damage was done to
the vessel or passengers.
Presently the raft began to run more smoothly.
She was passing swiftly down between the shadowy
banks of the Pelly, picturesque and grand by daylight,
but solemn and awe-inspiring in the dim, brown dusk
of the northern night. Overhead, a thick bank of fog
was stealing across the sky, concealing stars and moon.
Still on the raft rushed. Strange shapes seemed to
throng the banks. The boys thought they could see
huge elks, gigantic serpents, even lions and tigers,
along the shore. These were but the ghosts born of
darkness and imagination.
They hoped now that they were well beyond their
unwelcome and unseen visitors of the night before.
Certainly no Indian war-party could have kept up
with them had they started on shore at the same
time. The only danger was that some roving band of
Takheesh had been warned by that column of blue
smoke that a raft was going down the rapids soon.
Every foot is clear gain," said Mr. Dutton. "We
must be getting pretty well down to the little lake
where I intend we shall camp. I believe there are
some light rips just before we reach there, but I think
we've got over the worst of- "
A startled grunt from Joe, who was at the forward
end of the raft, interrupted him.
What is it, boy ? "
Joe pointed ahead, and at the same moment Carlo
gave a sharp, angry yelp.
"STILL ON THE RAFT RUSHED."
In the dim light could be seen a row of dark figures
stretched entirely across the stream, about three
hundred yards below them. Beyond a doubt they
In profound silence the raft swept forward, with its
tremendous momentum, and in another moment it
was upon them.
THROUGH THE ENEMY'S LINES.
.- N catching sight of the
shadowy line of enemies,
Stretched across the river
in the direct path of the
swiftly moving raft, Mr.
Dutton's first impulse had
been to seize his rifle,
which was fully charged
with reserve cartridges,
and was close at hand.
The time was so short
that he had barely an
opportunity to cock the piece before the voyagers were
in the very midst of the band of Indians, who crowded
about the raft, and, half wading, half floating down-
stream with the clumsy raft, began urging it toward
the right bank of the river.
Before any of them could climb upon the raft,
Mr. Dutton discharged his rifle into the air; at exactly
the same moment Carlo gave a fierce yelp, and Teddy,
who for the first time realized the condition of affairs,
uttered an unearthly howl of dismay.
At the report of the rifle, the natives fell back in
consternation, putting their hands to their ears ; and
Through the Enemy's Lines. 79
the apparition of the huge, shaggy Newfoundland,
together with Teddy's outcry, put a climax to their
fright. Tumbling and splashing in the water, they
made for the shore, and, before the Duttons fairly
knew what had happened, the river was as silent as a
grave, save for the rushing of the muddy waters around
the rocks and the protruding logs of the raft.
Out with yourpoles, boys Push for your lives--
they may be back, or send their arrows after us, at
any minute cried the leader, seizing one of the long
poles, and suiting the action to the word.
The raft, which had already touched bottom, now
glided off into deeper water, and soon was swinging
down-stream without interruption, save an occasional
thump upon a hidden boulder. For half-an-hour the
voyage continued in perfect silence, Nat, Hugh, and
Ted sleeping quietly in their tent, and the attention of
the rest being concentrated on keeping the raft in the
channel. Once it grounded on a sandbar, but the two
Indians, leaping into the water and standing waist-
deep, succeeded in heaving it off.
At length, to the intense relief of all, the river
began perceptibly to widen. The banks became more
and more obscure in the mists of early morning. The
speed of the raft slackened, and the poles now and
then failed to touch bottom. Beyond a doubt, they
were emerging into the broad lake to which they had
been anxiously looking forward throughout the long
As the daylight grew brighter, they could soon
make out a low, wooded island ahead. Toward this
they moved, and ere long the logs grated on the
pebbles some half-dozen rods from shore.
Again the Indians entered the water, but, like the
80 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
raven from the ark, this time they did not return.
They disappeared for a few moments ; then, having
explored a small bit of the rocky island, came running
back, not to climb on board, but to drag and push the
raft a few yards nearer the shore.
Carlo plunged into the water, and swam like an
otter to the island. Nat, Hugh, Rob, and even Mr.
Dutton himself, were carried ashore on the stout
shoulders of the guides. It remained only to bring
Teddy; but, to everybody's surprise, that valiant
youth refused to set foot on dry land.
Sure, I'm safer on the raft," he said. I'll not be
going into the woods again till I see the sojers." So
he was left to guard the ship.
Blankets and tents were landed, a roaring fire made,
and soon the whole party were sound asleep.
OUT OF THE FRYING-PAN.
OUR friends slept well that
-. ight,-or morning, rather,
-- --it was ten o'clock before
the camp was fairly astir.
S Teddy begged to come ashore
Sat last, and complained bit-
terly of the muskayters,"
S who, he said, made such a
noise about his ears that he
was awake all the time he
SJim waded out to the raft
to bring him in. The Indian
was observed to stoop and examine something closely
near the end of one of the logs. He brought Teddy
to land on his back, and then handed Mr. Dutton a
fragment of a peculiar-shaped arrow, which he said
he had found sticking in the raft.
What do you make of it, Joe ? asked Mr. Dutton.
The two Indians examined the ugly-looking shaft
narrowly, and exchanged a few guttural remarks in
their own tongue. Jim gave the verdict, laconically,
"Ayan moose arrow."
82 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
Then it was not a war party that we saw ? ex-
claimed the leader. The arrow is pictured below.
But who or what are the Ayans ?"
Injuns round here," said Joe, with a sweep of his
arm. No Takheesh yit."
Mr. Dutton was greatly gratified at this information.
The band they had come upon, then, was simply a
hunting-party of river Indians, who were probably
attracted to the travellers by curiosity. When the
gun was fired, or after the Indians had reached the
shore, it was likely that one or two arrows had been
discharged at the fast disappearing raft. No trouble,
then, was to be apprehended after all.
AYAN MOOSE ARROW.
They were making leisurely preparations to break
camp once more, when a slight splashing in the lake
caused Teddy, who was nearest the water, to glance
up from his work. A wild howl of despair broke
from his lips. Mr. Dutton sprang to his feet, and
followed the horrified gaze of the Irish lad; as he did
so his heart sank.
No less than a dozen small rafts were flocking
round the corner of the island, bearing at least twice
that number of hideously painted and bedecked Indians.
It was folly to resist. Grasping his rifle firmly, Mr.
Dutton stood erect, and awaited their approach. The
rest of the party followed his example, even Ted being
rooted to the spot by utter terror.
Out of tIe Frying-Pan. 83
The new-comers did not seem in a hurry to land,
but paddled and pushed their rafts along slowly to-
ward shore. One particularly ugly-looking old fellow,
alone on a raft, was in advance of the rest. As soon
as he came within speaking distance, he uttered a
loud harangue in a jargon which neither white men
nor guides could understand. The word Ayan was
repeated several times, and Mr. Dutton gathered,
after a while, that the stranger was introducing him-
The native's next move was to push his raft in until
it grounded, and then, looking over his shoulder to
see that his companions were following closely, he
gathered up his long marmot-skin blanket, and, step-
ping into the water, waded solemnly ashore. The
other Indians had bows and arrows, but this one,
who was clearly a man of influence in the tribe, now
advanced with arms outspread, to show that he was
"What in the world does the old fellow want ? "
Probably inquiring the way to Boston," answered
Rob, in the same tone. Looks as if a little civiliza-
tion would do him good."
The old Ayan halted at a few paces' distance, and,
to every one's surprise, pointed to Teddy, at the same
time making a gesture towards the rafts, and moving
his jaws in imitation of eating.
The cold perspiration broke out on the boy's freckled
face. He was absolutely too frightened to speak.
The Ayan chief stepped forward boldly, and laid his
hand on Ted's shoulder. This familiarity, however,
was indignantly resented by Carlo, who bounded to
the rescue with a deep growl, and doubtless would
84 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
have attacked the stranger had not little Nat held
him by the collar.
"I don't think he wants to hurt us," said Nat,
looking up with a fearless smile into the dark face
of the Indian.
The Ayan's grim features relaxed, and he patted
Nat's head several times, in token of amity.
An animated pantomime now ensued, aided by the
other savages, who had come ashore, and crowded
round the whites with intense but apparently not ill-
Joe, the guide, was the first to catch an inkling of
They want us go visit village," he interpreted to
Mr. Dutton. "Have plenty eat. Injun women want
to see white men."
"Are you sure, Joe, they don't mean harm to us ?"
"No hurt. See, no war arrows-only moose."
After a short consultation with the boys, Mr. Dutton
decided that it would be wise to accept the invitation,
which, as he said to Robert, was like that of royalty
-in effect, a command.
The moment this decision was made known, the
Indians pounced upon them and carried them to the
large raft. In an incredibly short space of time every-
thing was on board, including the passengers, Teddy
being borne last, struggling every step of the way, on
the shoulder of a brawny Ayan.
A dozen savages now gave the raft a push that sent
it out into deep water. The chief, whose name was
Loklok (signifying "Bear," they afterward learned),
accompanied the whites as an honorary escort. The
small rafts, each manned by one to three Ayans, went
ahead to show the way, the royal barge, so to speak,
"TIlE ROYAL BARGE WAS BRINGING UP THE REAR."
Out of the Frying-Pan. 87
bringing up the rear. In this manner the whole flotilla
moved slowly down the lake, aided by the breeze,
which still blew freshly from the east.
Well, I say," remarked Hugh, in an interval of
poling, "this isn't so bad It reminds me of the
day when the President visited Boston, and the
governor and staff turned out in barouches to re-
I can't say that I altogether like the looks of old
Governor Loklok, if that's his name," replied Rob.
"And Carlo is of my opinion, it's plain to see."
The dog had never taken his eyes off the chief, and
watched narrowly every movement of those dark legs,
as if he were ready to seize them on very slight
Oh, he's all right. It's only a way the old fellow
has. He wanted Ted to go ahead with him, I guess,
as a sort of sample."
Much as to say we're going to be sold."
"Not by a good deal We'll keep our eyes open,
and let 'em have a taste of Winchester sauce if they
come any shines on us. Hullo, here's the outlet."
The rushing of waters could plainly be heard, and
presently the raft shot down the narrow channel, where
the banks were steeper than they had yet seen them.
The rapids were rougher than before, but there was
a much greater volume of water than in the upper
courses, and they suffered no greater disaster than an
occasional bump, which would nearly upset them all.
One grave obstacle which had to be constantly
avoided was the occurrence, at sharp bends of the river,
of whole clumps of dead trees, which had fallen where
the earth had caved in, and now leaned out toward
the middle of the river, with their scraggy branches
88 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
only half submerged. These had to be dodged with
great alacrity, and the Newfoundland was once fairly
swept off into the ice-cold stream, to the great delight
of the persecuted Loklok.
In some places these fallen clumps of earth had left
huge caves in the high banks, and the ice could be
seen dripping into the stream beneath. Now and
then the party were startled by a loud report as of a
musket; not for some time did they discover that the
noises were merely caused by the breaking off and
falling of these heavy masses of earth, trees, and
Anxious as they were concerning the future, the
involuntary visitors could not help marvelling, as they
swept down-stream, at the scenery on both sides of
the river, which was for the most part bordered by
high hills, heavily wooded with spruce and fir. Along
the horizon stretched gigantic forms of the Rockies
and their outlying spurs, ending in snowy summits,
from which flowed enormous glaciers, all in plain sight
whenever the clouds were swept aside. No wonder a
recent traveller says that before long we may hear
Switzerland spoken of as the Alaska of Europe "
A commotion was caused by a crashing among the
bushes just ahead.
Look!" cried Hugh, eagerly. "There comes an-
other Indian, waving his arms !"
Ugh Moose grunted Joe, after one glance at
Hugh was not the first hunter in these far-away
forests to mistake the broad, spreading antlers of the
moose for the brandished arms of a man, as they were
seen approaching through the low underbrush.
The Indians quickly fitted their many-barbed moose
Out of the Frying-Pan. 89
arrows to their bows, but before they could shoot, the
great creature had caught the sound of Hugh's voice,
and went crashing off into the depths of the woods.
Seeing that Loklok appeared much surprised and
excited by the sight of the moose, Mr. Dutton inquired
of his guides if this animal was not common there-
abouts. The Indians informed him, correctly enough,
that in Alaska and the adjacent British possessions
large game is scarce in the summer time, being driven
away by the dense swarms of mosquitoes, and follow-
ing the melting snow line up the flanks of the moun-
By one o'clock Mr. Dutton estimated that they must
have made thirty miles from the island where they
had spent the night. Everybody was hungry, and it
was intimated to the chief that it was time for dinner.
The old fellow looked black, but presently gave a few
sharp orders to his band, who once more plunged into
the ice-cold water, waist-deep, and drew the raft
While some were building a fire, and others produc-
ing pieces of strong-smelling dried salmon for the
meal, Hugh took the opportunity to try his rod in the
stream, using a small red-and-white fly. At the third
cast he had a hungry rise ; in a couple of minutes a
fine spotted grayling of perhaps half-a-pound weight
was flopping about the timbers of the raft. The Ayans
were immensely impressed by the young angler's
performance, and instantly a dozen eager hands were
stretched out beseechingly for the rod. Indeed, the
Duttons soon found that, while the natives assumed
a vast deal of dignity on absurd occasions, they were
not above begging for every movable thing they saw
in their guests' possession. This trait gave the latter
90 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
some uneasiness, but Mr. Dutton had already made
up his mind to give his dark-skinned entertainers
the slip before daylight the next morning, if it were
The meal dragged rather slowly, though it was
helped somewhat by Hugh's contribution. The mos-
quitoes were now reinforced by a kind of small black
fly, much like those of the Rangeley Lakes and
Adirondacks, and their attacks became so determined
that the voyagers were glad to be on the move once
After an hour's progress, the light rafts of the
Ayans began to forge ahead. One by one they dis-
appeared beyond a bend of the river, until the larger
craft was left to itself.
"It's a temptation," said Robert, reflectively, eyeing
the morose chieftain, "to give this old chap a good
ducking in the river, and leave him to shift for him-
Don't disturb him in any way," cautioned his
father, earnestly. Our safety lies in his friendliness
toward us. We are much outnumbered, and so far
from our friends that if our whole party were mas-
sacred no one outside the tribe would know of it."
Joe, the guide, was plainly of his employer's opinion,
for he took from his pocket a small piece of tobacco,
and offered it to the chief.
Loklok seized it eagerly, and popped the precious
morsel in his mouth, as if to make sure of it. There
are no two commodities, Joe knew, so dear to an
Alaskan native as tobacco and tea.
It was of no use to ask an explanation of the sudden
disappearance of the Ayans, for The Bear could not
understand a word of English. The far-off bend in
Out of th/e Frying-Pan. 91
the river was reached in due time, and the raft swung
heavily round in the swift current. All were occu-
pied in keeping it clear of the rocks, when a loud
exclamation from Loklok caused them to look up from
their work. The chief was standing at his full height,
his blanket drawn round his shoulders, and an ex-
pression of patriotic pride on his wrinkled face, as
he majestically pointed ahead.
A glance showed the reason for this sudden change
in Loklok's demeanour. On the right bank of the
river, about an eighth of a mile below them, a long
line of Indians was drawn up, with faces turned eagerly
toward the raft. Others ran wildly up and down the
shore, gesticulating and screaming frantically. Mr.
Dutton involuntarily tightened his grasp upon his
rifle, while the boys clustered in the bows of the raft
to gaze at the strange scene.
Loklok alone was unmoved, save by pride in the
array before him. A rope was now carried ashore,
and every Ayan rushed for it, including women and
children, pulling away until the raft grounded with a
The moment it was made fast, the line of Indians
commenced a low, monotonous noise, which was evi-
dently intended.for singing. At the same time they
placed their arms akimbo, and swayed from side to
side in a kind of dance, their long hair swinging to
At a word from The Bear the dance ceased, and
the travellers were conducted-all save Joe and Jim,
who absolutely refused to leave the raft-to the
clump of eight or ten houses which composed the
Mr. Dutton pointed to his tent-pack, and intimated
92 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
by gestures that he would prefer to occupy his own
quarters for the night. But Loklok shook his head,
and pointed firmly to one of the huts, a little larger
than the rest. They were all obliged to enter, stooping
low at the entrance, and there The Bear left them,
evidently relieved at having his curiosities securely
Now at last the party had a chance to reflect upon
the situation, and discuss plans for the morrow.
A STARTLING DISCOVERY.
i THE hut in which our friends found
I .themselves was a small affair, built
of spruce boughs, which were laid against
a ridge-pole in such a way as to form
a semicircular wall. A caribou hide was
thrown over the upper part of these, on
the outside, leaving only a small space
for the escape of smoke, which hung
heavily in the apex of the hut, rising from embers left in
the centre by the previous occupants, who had evidently
but just been hurried out of the guest chamber.
A dozen split salmon were hanging from the rafters,
drying in the smoke, at an altitude unpleasantly near
the noses of the new-comers when they stood up.
Every few minutes, a native dog, of which there ap-
peared to be dozens about the place, would put his
head in at the door and snarl viciously, until scared
away by Carlo, who had declared war with the whole
canine tribe at the outset.
"I say, father," remarked Hugh, as the weary five
threw themselves down at the greatest possible distance
from the smouldering spruce-knot fire, "there's no
danger of getting lost in this hotel, any way."
94 The Red Mountain of Alaska.
Sure, it's the hotel itself is lost,"
dolefully. Get out, ye baste !" with
of the lean village curs.
This is a summer village," said
a kick at one
3 _- -.;
"Where these fellows live in the winter I'm sure I
Have you ever heard of the tribe before ? asked
Rob, who had been examining his surroundings
A Startling Discovery. 95
"Yes, I remember that Dick mentioned them in
one of his letters. They claim the whole country
watered by the Pelly River-which they call the
Ayan-and a considerable stretch of the big Yukon
itself, above and below old Fort Selkirk. They
never go near the coast, I believe, but live along
the large rivers, and in the winter time make long
hunting excursions into the interior after caribou and
"And bear ? "
Not much," interrupted Hugh. "I heard Joe
say that the Alaska Indians won't hunt the brown
bear, he is so fierce."
"It's strange that they have only rafts to go about
"Down below, the tribe have plenty of canoes, and
good ones, too, I've heard. They make them of birch
bark, sewed with the fine roots of the spruce, well
boiled to make them soft and tough."
"Whew!" exclaimed Rob, at this point in the
conversation, isn't that salmon terrific I don't
believe I can stand it much longer."
If it was only salmon !" remarked Hugh, sadly.
" But there are about four other smells, each worse
than all the rest."
"Hold on, boys," said their father. "Ted, you
stay near the door, and make sure that nobody is
listening. There may be some one in the tribe who
Faith, it's meself that'll be glad to get a breath
of air," said Teddy, taking his post as sentry, and
laying hold of a good-sized stick, to keep the dogs
The question is," continued Mr. Dutton, how
96 The Red Mountzain of Alaska.
shall we get away from here? These fellows are
good-natured enough, but somehow I don't wholly
trust them. Once or twice I caught old Loklok
exchanging glances with some of his big subjects,
and I didn't like the look in his eyes."
I say, let's part company with the whole crowd as
soon as possible," urged Rob. "I feel about them
just as you do, father. They looked at my rifle
to-night as though they'd eat it. I don't believe
they'll be satisfied until they've laid hands on every-
thing in our packs. They could hardly keep from
fighting over Hugh's rod there while he was catching
the grayling for dinner."
"Whist! came from the doorway. "There's an
Injunn going' into the house beyant."
As beyant was only a foot or two away, caution
was certainly necessary.
The huts were mostly in pairs, and the Duttons had
noticed, on entering theirs, that, in common with the
rest, it directly faced a duplicate of itself, with only
a narrow passage-way, a foot or two in width,
Sure, it's the would 'Bear' himself added Teddy
softly, peering out of the door.
"If Loklok is to occupy that hut for the night,"
said Mr. Dutton, decidedly, "it's of no use for us
to think of leaving by the front door. We must
make our way out of the rear of the hut, and that
very early in the morning, before the Ayans are
Fortunately, this hut was a little removed from the
others in the village, and the back was toward the
Look out I" sang out the faithful Irish boy
I THIE INDIANS WERE GAMBLING IN DEAD EARNEST.' [p. 102.
% ~~~ I~L~