“The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The Stillness, the moonlight, the mystery—
I’ve bade ’em good-bye—but I can’t.”
Robert W. Service.
It was with many such feelings that I turned finally into
the South to depart from the strange North land that was so desperately
stern in its character of wild overwhelming vastness and rigour of
elements, although forever alluringly , attractive withal.
Unsettled in my ambition to go on by the news of my
country involved in war—which had, perchance, come to me through a
trapper about a month before—and by food problems confronting me at the
edge of the Barren Grounds— which would take months, if not longer, to
overcome—I had, on November 29, when I and my two Indian companions were
out of food and losing our dogs and our courage, turned at the edge of
the Barren Grounds, and regretfully abandoned the fond hope that I had
entertained of spending the following summer right over on the Arctic
Two entries in my diary at this date refer to the
condition of my dogs:
“November 28.—Snowstorm all day drifting wickedly on a
strong east-wind blizzard. Onward throughout the day, crouching like
distressed animals, we fought our way ahead over shelterless lakes.
Peesu, one of my dogs, will not eat to-night, so utterly done-up is the
poor brute. He lies in his lair in the snow, unwilling even to raise his
head. I finally coaxed him to swallow a few tit-bits of dried meat ere
turning in to sleep.
“November 30.—Off on the trail at daylight. Mcadowsteuce—my
lead-dog—dying, and had to be destroyed before leaving. Peesu somewhat
recovered, but he, and Musquaw, and Whisky are all lame. I have but one
sound dog. Travelling in yesterday’s blizzard was too much for them.
Some of the Indians’ dogs are exhausted also.”
I fancy no one cares to give up and admit a total, or
certain amount of, defeat in the midst of furthering a big enterprise;
it is indeed heartbreaking to do so: and yet one can be so overwhelmed
by circumstances that it becomes foolish to go on, and wise to bow to
the grim hand of Fate.
Though, there were difficulties lying before me on the
foodless, snow-covered wastes of the Barren Grounds, these were possible
to surmount in time, but I could in no way, in this land where one has
plenty of opportunity to think, and where one’s thoughts are prone to
probe one’s conscience, justify the continuance of a personal ambition
while I knew my country had need for my service, and kinsfolk expected
my homecoming to rally to the Flag.
Therefore, abandoning further-north travel as I have
said, I returned reluctantly to my base-cabin north of Fort Du Brochet
and stayed in that neighbourhood until Christmas in the forlorn hope
that the yearly Christmas packet, due from the south at that date, might
contain some more favourable news of the War; hoping even that the
astonishing storm of arms which had so quickly risen, had as quickly
subsided—perhaps even ceased.
Vain, unnoticed hope!—doomed to be utterly wrecked as
wave upon wave grew upon the rising tide of warfare, and engulfed every
other thought or desire; its vast upheaval searching even to the
far-distant doorstep of my log-cabin to find therein a victim.
Christmas came, but with it no packet; strange, unheard
of delinquency that bore gravity to the hearts of the trader and the
mission priest at the Fort. “There must be something seriously wrong,”
they thought, and, most dreadful thought of all, “Could war possibly be
going ill with our country?”
We gathered in grave consultation hour after hour, and
our one topic was war; trapping, fur-trading, religion, had ruthlessly
gone by the board. Hours were spent in conjecture; ideas constructed
from our slim store of early war news; hopes and forebodings voiced of
sheer imagination; but from all it was not in our power to raise one
single conviction of comforting reliable substance—we were beyond the
voice of our kind; conjecture as we might, there could be no answer,
unless the vast snow waste was pierced, and jingling, joyful sled-bells
should herald the packet from the south.
Each day we watched over the sea of lake ice to the
south, each night sealed down the envelope of another span of expectancy
From the 23rd to the 27th I had waited at the Fort; on
the night of December 27, which was a Sunday, I made final preparations
to go—no hope of the packet remained, no gladsome transformation to
justify my staying on and a renewal of north travel.
On the morning of the 28th a group of natives gathered
about the sleds as we harnessed up.
J’Pierre and Mistewgoso were to accompany me to Pelican
Narrows, which was a post in touch with Cumberland House on the
Sturgeon-weir River Route, which, in turn, was not very far from The
Pas, which terminated the newly projected Hudson Bay Railway. They were
to drive two dog-sleds loaded with specimens: chiefly Caribou,
Barren-ground Wolves, and Foxes, for most of the bird-skins collected
had previously been sent south by arrangement with the Fur-trader.
With warm hand-shake I bade good-bye to the untrammelled,
upright redskin children of the wild who were standing almost shyly
about on the snow to wish me bon voyage and au revoir for all had told
me they hoped I would some day come again amongst them. It was a
somewhat touching farewell to me, for it bore the final goodwill of rude
men, not easy of approach, who had come to acknowledge me their friend,
and theirs was friendship I valued. Only a day or two before the priest
at the Fort had taken upon himself the task of telling me of the feeling
of the Indians toward the white stranger. He had summed up his kindly
meant remarks with: “If at any time you come back to this territory, you
will have many friends among the natives ready to help you in your work,
and glad to go with you on the trail, for they feel you are as one of
them, and they understand and trust you—all say the same, and they are
quick to distinguish.” Who would not feel, who had lived among a strange
race, touched and deeply grateful for such acknowledgment of
Thus warm hand-shakes, which had nothing of
conventionality about them, sent me on my way, while a parting volley of
rifle shots followed from the shore as we mushed the dogs and sped out
over the frozen lake on the trail into the South.
As we drew away I looked back on that diminutive
settlement of cabins, husbanded together and wholly human in that vastly
desolate land, and loving the strange wild North and its freedom, and
its people, was disposed to repeat: “I’ve bade ’em good-bye—but I
Gewgewsh and Napisis, who had also harnessed their dogs,
ran with us till we camped at our first “fire,” breaking the trail thus
far, and making the going for our sleds easier; a final act of
good-fellowship arranged by the people at the Fort. Gewgewsh had trailed
with me to the edge of the Barren Grounds and had taken Upon himself
this delicate manner of showing friendship which is typical of the
refinement and chivalry of the best of the Indians, who are sometimes,
at heart, true men.
With a purpose I have dwelt at some length on the
friendship of natives, for I believe that anyone who wishes to enjoy
travel or sport far afield in any land should always try to accept the
native as a well-meaning character, no matter how strange their lives
and manners may be in contrast to our own; they are, after all, but
children of circumstance, with colour, character, environment,
irrevocably inherited. Their seeming stupidity, or sullen nonchalance,
especially if confused by overbearing command or reproach, does often,
it seems to me, come about through lack of full understanding,
particularly in language, for one may not be able, in their native
tongue, to say explicitly that which one means, and they, on their part,
may not be capable of phrasing their own language to convey to the
stranger addressed the full significance of their reply.
In any case, if early contact with natives prove
difficult and trying, it is well not to be disheartened and suspicious
of them, but to persevere while accepting them as strange, rude people.
In the end, if this is done, there will result at least a measure of
mutual understanding, and the stranger will find in the native many good
points to counterbalance the bad. And much really good service can
thereby be gained, to further the enjoyment and results of any
undertaking, for undoubtedly the natives can give one valuable
information of their country, which is open as a book to them, if they
are anxious to be friendly, and to serve.
I have on rare occasions heard impatient people express
the opinion that natives are fools; and in such cases I have been
prompted to think that they have taken the natives, for the most part,
in the wrong way; and that such an opinion can seldom be altogether
justified. It is surely much more fair to begin with the idea that they
are not fools, but just simple and untutored people, and I feel sure
that if that is done in the right spirit the result in the end will
bring its reward, and at the same time full appreciation be gained from
the native of the standard the true white man upholds of fair play;
which is also the standard he will attribute to our country.
Furthermore, dealing now with native ability, as far as
the North American Indian is concerned, few white men, unless they are
bred on the edge of civilisation or long accustomed to life beyond the
frontiers, in my humble opinion, can compare with the red man in
travelling great tracts of unmapped territory when they enter country
they themselves have not known before. The speed at which they can cover
rough country, and their instinctive sense of true direction, are
incomparable and little short of miraculous; and often leave the white
man’s prowess far in rear. Nor is this logically to be wondered at, for
the nomad primitive Indian is born and brought up to bush travel; it is
to him second nature, while to our more gently cultured race it often
carries the experience of an unexpected robust education.
Creatures of the wild, and akin to animals in their
adaptability to their surroundings, Indians have from their beginning
been a race of able hunters and wanderers; lithe of sinew, sound of
lung—enduring, and, most highly developed characteristic of all, endowed
with peculiar, unerring, intuitive scent for trail or direction.
One could not wish for better henchmen on the trail, but,
at the same time, it is difficult to enlist their service, particularly
if the journey proposed is to be a long one. There are two prominent
reasons why the red man, on most occasions, hesitates to accompany a
white stranger on a long trail. Firstly, it is seldom the red man’s
custom to leave his lodge of women and children for any lengthy period,
for they are largely dependent on him for food and management of camp
life; while, at the same time, the man’s presence is to his women-folk a
safeguard against danger of any kind. Secondly, they are dubious that
the white man may possess strange ideas in his pursuit of his objective,
and that he may not foresee the dangers and hardships ahead as clearly
as they do in their fuller experience; which prompts the fear that the
white man might lead them into a tight corner and needless dangers,
against which they, when by themselves, would accurately forecast and
avoid. All of which is of course reasonable from the Indian’s point of
view, and should be understood and considered if one meets with rebuffs
when setting out to look for guides. They are, however, individually
open to the persuasion of a stranger, and it is nearly always possible
to find the right man in the end. And once this initial step is
accomplished toward mutual understanding, and the stranger becomes known
and trusted on a territory, his difficulties in that direction largely
And now, to return from this brief digression to the
south-bound sleds that had left Fort Du Brochet, we were soon far out on
Reindeer Lake beyond all sight of dwelling or fellow-mortal; wc might
have entered a land of the dead, so soon had all vestige of that tiny,
closely infested settlement been overwhelmed by vast surroundings.
This journey undertaken, so far as I was concerned, was
now simply a question of straight trailing. Four hundred miles away,
following a route almost due south, lay the Pas and the Hudson Bay
Railway: for that point I was heading. The first stage on the way was
Pelican Narrows ; thus far were J’Pierre and Mistewgoso to transport the
sled-loads of specimens, and thence return on their back trail.
But from day to day I will briefly deal with my
onward-hurrying journey to the south over frozen lakes and forests lain
deep with snow.
December 29.—Travelled all day on Reindeer Lake,
Frozen-over icc floes were very bad all along the north shore of
Porcupine Point, where wind-pressure, before the ice was very thick, had
broken through the weak areas and piled up angular blocks on the
resisting lake surface. There, accordingly, progress for the sleds was
for some considerable distance awkward and slow, and some time was lost.
The day was bitterly cold, so cold that when I took a
photograph in an exposed position on the lake, and removed my right-hand
mitten to do so, I had my finger frozen in but a brief time. Application
of snow rubbed on vigorously soon restored circulation.
Ten Caribou were sighted between our second fire and
night camp, and we gave chase to secure dog-food. Both Indians (one of
whom used my rifle) brought down a buck apiece, and at long range I,
later, dropped a third from the same herd. Each then hoisted a dead
animal on the top of the sled-loads, and roped them securely; and when
this was done we resumed our way until it was time to camp for the
night. At camp the Caribou were off-loaded and cut up, and the dogs well
fed, while the remainder, excepting that which was required for our
personal needs, was cached by the Indians for use on their return
In camp we slept on spruce boughs on the snow, snug in
our Caribou-skin sleeping-bags before a great log-fire, as was ordinary
custom on the winter trails.
December 30.—Left our night camp about an hour before
daylight, and made good progress throughout the day. There had been no
snowstorm so far, but the air to-day was heavy, and fog hung over the
lake in the distance, while it remained bitingly cold, and the dogs, as
usual, were white with the back-flung frozen moisture of their
A few Caribou were sighted far off at dusk, but we did
not attempt to follow them. At no other time this day did we sec a
single living creature on the great motionless wastes of snow.
December 31.—To-day heavy white fog enwrapped Reindeer
Lake until late afternoon, and all landmarks were hidden. After our
first fire the Indians lost their true direction and were for a time at
a loss. Soon, however, they doubled back on their tracks, and eventually
picked up old signs to eastward.
This night we camped at a Cree’s wigwam on the east shore
of Reindeer Lake, about half a day’s journey from the south end. Here we
partook of the Indian’s hospitality within the crowded smoke-filled
confines of his primitive dwelling. Food was soon forthcoming from the
large black pot which hung in the centre of the teepee over a good fire
from which the wood-smoke leisurely ascended, to finally percolate
through the opening at the peak overhead or sneak through the seams of
the small door-flap. When food was ready, we strangers were first
served, 'with vessels piled to mountainous heights, with Caribou meat,
which was placed on the ground before us by the women-folk. Soon the two
men of the Croc family also commenced their meal, after withdrawing a
little apart; and I passed on to them a portion of my sugar store and
bannock, as was customary, and they in their turn, as they invariably
do, reserved some of these dearly loved delicacies for their women and
children, to whom the leavings of the men’s repast is always finally
The full meal over, pipes were brought out and filled
from my store of tobacco, and we sat and talked in low Indian voice in
an atmosphere that was thick, and hot, and stifling, and decidedly
uncomfortable to a European, though unremarked by the Indians, to whom
it is habitual—small wonder they breed consumption! The meanwhile the
two elderly women squatted cross-legged on the floor in the Indian
fashion and patiently laced with sinews the snow-shoes they were making,
much as a white woman employs herself with knitting; also one of the men
whittled wood for sled-pieces, while three girls amused themselves over
the ornamentations which one of them was sewing on a pair of moccasins
for a lover.
Exchanging stories to pass the evening, the eldest Indian
of this camp told the following: “There was once an Indian on Jack Fish
Lake who successively married six wives, each of whom died within a year
after marriage. When the sixth wife died he despaired, and said: 'Is
there a Great Spirit?’ Furthermore, in his distraction, he told his
kinsfolk that he would go in his canoe down the Cochrane River, avoiding
not the awful rapids down which no man had been known to pass; “for if
there is a Great Spirit, as people say, he must be strong enough to
protect me from the hungry waters.” Launching his canoe, caring for
nothing in the world, he set off on his hazardous journey.
Miraculously—so the story goes—he made the voyage, and reached Reindeer
Lake in safety, and thereafter firmly believed that there was a Great
Spirit. Moreover, he married a seventh wife, who did not die as the
others had done.”
January 1, 1915.—In the afternoon we reached the Fur Post
at the south end of Reindeer Lake, after having been almost five
successive days in travelling down the great lake.
At the Post we took on sufficient frozen fish to feed our
dogs to Pelican Narrows; then pulled out again and trailed onward until
an hour after dark, when we camped for the night at the first rapid on
the upper reaches of the Reindeer River.
January 2.—Travelled hard all day overland through rough,
hilly country west of Reindeer River, while it snowed incessantly.
Reindeer River course is not used as a winter route by
the Indians, a more direct and untwisting course being chosen in
preference to the west of it.
January 8.—In the dark of early morning, as was
customary, we moved out to take up the trail again. When day broke the
sky was dull and despondently grey, but the snowstorm had ceased. The
trail to-day was like that of yesterday: hard and difficult when
traversing the country overland between the lakes, seven of which we
travelled through before making connection to Reindeer River, which we
reached about noon.
Toward evening we passed out of Reindeer River on to the
Churchill River, and thence through an overland route east of Frog
Portage, on to the Lake of the Woods; where we camped for the night
within one day’s journey of Pelican Narrows.
The inland country which we passed through to-day was
irregular and mountainous, necessitating steep climbing and awkward
descents for our sleds. Poplar trees are now encountered in plenty,
which trees were rarely seen in Fort Du Brochet territory.
January 4.—Pushing onward, we kept the sleds going
steadly all day, often over long and bad overland bush-trails.
This day was dull in the morning, but the afternoon broke
particularly fine; bright sunshine shone in a soft, wistful sky, and
there was no bitter wind; fresh-fallen snow lay unruffled on the lakes,
white as the finest linen; sunbeams glittered; and to add to this, we
were passing through particularly picturesque country—narrow lakes lying
peacefully between high, forest-covered hills.
About twelve miles north of Pelican Narrows we crossed
fresh tracks of Woodland Caribou, which was the first and only retreat
of this animal encountered throughout the expedition.
About 5 p.m., considerably excited at the prospect of
reaching a settlement, we neared Pelican Narrows, and soon afterwards
drew up before the Hudson Bay trading store, to be made cordially
welcome by the Factor.
Before reaching the Post, J’Pierre had pointed to some
horse-tracks in the snow; in some excitement, and with a broad smile,
saying: “Not dog, not deer—what you call it?” Meaning that here was
something closely associated with the white man, and therefore drawing
my attention to that which he thought must be dear to me. At Du Brochet
horses were unknown, but in full winter they travel over the ice to the
post we had now reached with substantial loads of such stores as once a
year recuperate the Far North Trading Posts.
It is 230 miles from Fort Du Brochet to Pelican Narrows
on the map; possibly it is 250 miles, or more, by the trail we followed.
We had trailed the distance in one straight run in eight days, thereby
averaging thirty-one miles a day ; accomplishing under thirty miles a
day when the country or weather conditions were distracting, and over
thirty miles when the trail was favourable. Such steady travelling, with
formidable loads, is tribute to the endurance of sled-dogs, and to
Indian skill in keeping, unguided by map or mechanical record, on a
direct course to a far-off destination.
January 5 and 6 I spent at Pelican Narrows; resting the
first day, and delayed on the second on account of the Indians who I had
arranged were to go with me to transport my specimens, for here my Du
Brochet Indians had completed their task, and would return home.
At Pelican Narrows I found letters from home —those that
should ordinarily have travelled by the Christmas packet to Du Brochet.
The delay of the packet was here solved: the war had dislocated the fur
trade, and the Hudson Bay Company were not anxious to continue buying
until the world-wide confusion in commerce steadied, and pointed to some
definite stability. Prices of furs were away down, which the Fur Posts
already knew. There was no change at Christmas, and thus the officials m
authority were waiting and hoping for change in the prospects of the
trade; if that came, then would they send forth their sled-packets to
carry news and instructions that their Posts would welcome.
My letters were enlightening in regard to the war, and
brought relief in that all was well at home; but they left me more
restless than before to hurry on to the south.
At daylight on the 6th I bade good-bye to J’Pierre and
Mistewgoso, and watched those sturdy travellers and their splendid dogs
start back north on their long trail home. Should they go back as
quickly as they came (and they would probably now go faster without
loads) they would have covered five hundred miles in sixteen days, with
but one day’s rest.
John and Philip, two half-bred Indians, have here taken
over my sled-loads of specimens, and so I resume my journey, to-morrow,
I passed the day very agreeably with the Hudson Bay
Factor at Pelican Narrows, and greatly enjoyed conversing with a
fellow-countryman. He was a man who fully came up to one’s pictured
ideal of the fine old type of Hudson Bay servant; strong and of the
outdoors, yet gentlemanly without the telling or prompting of
neighbourly society. He was one of the fine old school of pioneers, for
he had served all his life with the Company, as had his father, before
him. He had had one break in his life, when he had as a boy been sent to
Scotland to be educated. A point which proved the Factor’s worth was the
fact that he was popular among the Indians, not only at his own Post,
but far out on the trails: indeed, in this way I had heard of him long
before I met him. And Indians are sure in their judgment, for they are
gifted with extraordinarily keen penetration, and are, moreover, very
In the early morning of January 7, with strange
companions and fresh dogs, I resumed my journey south on Heron Lake.
We travelled hard all day and camped at night at a
settlement of Cree Indians, a little above Birch Portage on the Sturgeon
weir River. Here, at this settlement, one could surely tell, in the
manners of the Indians, of nearer approach to civilisation, for in small
but essential ways they differed from the natives in the Far North;
their reserve and inherent culture—if I may use the word—were less.
Especially were the children more bold. In the Far North
they were wont to retire, at a white man’s approach, to hiding within
their teepees, like frightened rabbits to their warrens; here, however,
they ventured outdoors to stand in awed groups some distance in the
background, gazing in wonderment, at the white man and his belongings,
the while their eyes, and downcast glances at each other, plainly told
their full curiosity.
January 8.—Two hours before daylight we left the Cree
settlement and travelled overland the greater part of the day, thus
avoiding the indirect course of the Sturgeonweir River, which we did not
again come out on, until late afternoon, when we followed its course
until after dark, to camp finally on the north shore of Beaver Lake.
I might here note, since we are travelling longer hours
to accomplish a full day’s run, that the dog-trains of the Indians now
with me are a very mixed lot in breed, and of diminutive size; and far
below the standard of the stalwart Du Brochet huskies. It is but another
omen of approaching civilisation; and, had I wanted further evidence, I
saw to-day, on passing some cabins, a cow— which, without mistake,
brings one near to the old familiar world.
January 9.—We passed through Beaver Lake when setting out
this morning; a lake where gold was discovered late last Fall, but
which, I learned at Pelican Narrows, had not so far realised the great
things that were hoped for by those who rushed to the claims.
Nevertheless shacks had sprung into being, and those and other signs of
human occupation invested the lake, even in the dead of winter. And it
was here that a husky in John’s train, the only pure looking dog in the
lot, grew wildly excited as we passed a horse-sled, and strained on the
traces to give chase, apparently mistaking the horses for deer. I asked
John where the dog had come from, and he replied “Patatawogan,” a post
on the Lower Churchill River, where Caribou frequent. The dog was a
beast of the wild places and yet untamed to civilisation.
Before trailing far to-day, Philip’s dogs began to give
out, and consequently the loads had to be altered and his sled much
After leaving Beaver Lake we crossed overland for twenty
miles through forest country to Cumberland Lake, which lake we crossed
before finally drawing up at Cumberland House. It was then so far into
the night that all the inmates of the Fur Post were in bed, but
necessity of food and desire for shelter forced me to awake the inmates,
who in due course, in spite of my rude intrusion, bid me welcome in by
the light of flickering candles.
We had trailed forty-five miles this day and, moreover,
had run incessantly behind the sleds on account of the played-out
dogs—truly we were ready for food and rest.
Here ended, in memorable fashion, my travels with dogs,
350 miles south of Fort Du Broehet, or 550 miles south of the edge of
the Barren Grounds.
January 10.—I remained at Cumberland House during the
day, while arrangements were made for a sled drawn by horses to carry
myself and my specimens to the Pas on the morrow.
Cumberland House had lost much of the old character of a
Fur Post, and had the appearance of fast becoming a white man’s frontier
station: a change no doubt aggravated by the discovery of Gold at Beaver
Lake, and the consequent invasion of miners and prospectors: while also
it is influenced to change by the advent of the new Hudson Bay Railway
to the Pas, which brings a measure of civilisation in proximity.
Nevertheless I spent a very pleasant day there,
conversing with people of my own kind in my own tongue; even though I
missed the rarer atmosphere of the wilds, and the wild man’s ways, that
appertain in the Further North.
January 11.—The remainder of my journey south was of
little account and may be briefly told.
Leaving Cumberland House, I travelled all day by
horse-sled, and camped for the night in the Saskatchewan valley about
fifteen miles west of the Pas; and next day completed the distance to
the railway terminus.
The following day I boarded the train and, via Prince
Albert, reached Regina, my destination, at midnight on January 14.
One or two peculiar and amusing incidents occurred in
those first days of my return to civilisation.
I had, of necessity, no European clothing, and was
therefore, to my embarrassment, clad in my rude Eskimo costume. I will
not readily forget the steward on the dining-car on the train when, in
this garb, I first entered for a meal; nor his subsequent astonishment
when I requested him to bring me vegetables only—first one course; then
another; and yet another, while his face lengthened in perplexity; and
he finally told me there were no more vegetables on the train. I
probably looked a grim customer, but by the time he had finished serving
me I felt satisfied that he thought I was mad. Nor did he look
altogether credulous when I told him at the end of the meal that I had
not tasted vegetables for nine months, and that prolonged fish and meat
diet had given me a tremendous craving for them; and that therefore he
had given me the finest meal I had ever enjoyed.
At Prince Albert my clothing afforded me further
embarrassment, for I was an odd figure among the city population, but
particularly were the dogs in the streets disconcerting, for they
scented the strange smell of the Caribou skins (for they retain a
peculiar, ineradicable scent of the type one associates with Harris
tweed) and would circle behind me to follow curiously, and sometimes to
bark alarmingly. At times as many as half a dozen dogs had gathered
about me in this way, until I found it expedient to turn down a side
street and chase them away.
Still further, my home and worldly belongings of the
previous year were at Craven, twenty miles away from Regina, so when I
reached the latter city, I had to spend the day in Arctic garb. In the
evening I dined with some old friends, who were amused and kind enough
to take my Eskimo clothing in good part. Moreover there was a
fancy-dress Carnival at the skating-rink that night, and they persisted
in persuading me to accompany them there. This, in the end, I consented
to do, and on reaching the rink skated on the ice until the costumes
were judged, whereupon I was awarded the first prize—and 1 had not
.changed an article of my everyday Far North Caribou clothing.
So had I come off the long trail to my own people. Soon
was I speeding east, and to England, and to war, but carrying memories
that nothing could erase of the wonderful country I had seen in a virgin
land of the Wild.
The years of war have passed since then, yet so great is
the attraction of that vast lone land that sleeps in the lap of a mighty
Destiny, through endless summers of lovely garbing, and winters of drear
snow wastes, that I still can repeat, “I’ve bade ‘it’ good-bye—but I
Some day, if I live, I will go back.