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Ocean to Ocean
From Fort Edmonton to the River Athabasca


False Report.-Souzie's farewell. - St. Albert Mission.-Bishop Grandin.- Small pox.-Great Mortality. — Indian Orphans. — The Sisters of Charity. — Road to Lake St. Ann's.—Luxuriant Vegetation.—Pelican.—Early frosts.—Paok horses—Leaving St. Ann's. — Indians. — Vapour Booths. — Thick woods. — Pembina River. — Coal.— Lobstick Camp.—Condemned dogs.—Beaver dams.—Murder.—Horse lost.—A Birthday.—No trail.—Muskegs.—Windfalls.—Beavers.—Traces of old travellers.—Cooking pemmican. — Crossing the McLeod. — Wretched Road. — Iroquois Indians. — Slow progress.—Merits of pemmican.—Bad Muskegs.—Un beau chemin.—A mile an hour. —Plum-pudding Camp. — Ten hours in the saddle. — Athabasca River.—The Rooky Mountains.—Bayonet Camp.

August 28th.—It is proverbially difficult to get away in a hurry from an Hudson's Bay Fort, especially if outfit is required; but, we were furthered, not only by the genuine kindness of Mr. Hardisty but by a false alarm that quickened every one's movements, and so we got off early in the afternoon.

A foolish report reached Edmonton in the forenoon, that the Crees and Blackfeet were fighting on the other side of the river, a report based, as we afterwards learned, on no other ground than that 'some one' had heard shots fired, at wild duck probably enough. Where there are no newspapers to ferret out and communicate the truth to every one, it is extraordinary what wild stories are circulated; and how readily they are believed, though similar 'on dits' have been found to be lies time and again. As we would be detained with long pow-wows, if either party crossed the river, every one helped us to hurry off. We had to say "good bye" not only to the Indians who had come from Fort Pitt, and to Mr. McDougal and the gentlemen of the Fort; but also to Horetsky and to our Botanist, as the Chief had decided to send these two on a separate expedition to Peace River, by Fort Dunvegan, to report on the flora of that country, and on the nature of the northern passes through the Rocky Mountains. We parted with regret, for men get better acquainted with each other on shipboard, or in a month's travel in a lone-land, than they would under ordinary circumstances in a year. Souzie was more sorry to part with Frank than with any of the rest of us. He had been teaching him Cree, and Frank had got the length of twenty-four words which he aired on every possible occasion, to his tutor's unbounded delight. Souzie mounted his horse and waited patiently at the gate of the Fort for two hours, without our knowledge. When Frank came out he rode on with him for a mile to the height of a long slope; then he drew up and putting one hand on his heart, with a sorrowful look, held out the other; and, without a word, turned his horse and rode slowly away.

Our number was now reduced to four. We were to drive out fifty miles to Lake St. Ann's, and "pack" our travelling stores and baggage on horses there ; taking with us the faithful Terry as cook, and three new men; a guide and two packers. Mr. Hardisty kindly accompanied us ten miles out, to the guard at Lake St. Albert, to see that we got good horses. The road is an excellent one, and passes through a rolling prairie, dotted with a great number of dried marshes on each side, from which immense quantities of natural hay could be cut.

Crossing the same Sturgeon River that we had crossed yesterday morning on our way to Edmonton, a hill rose before us crowned with the Cathedral Church of the Mission, the house of the Bishop, and the house of the Sisters of Charity ; while, up and down the river extended the little houses and farms of the settlers. We called on Bishop Grandin and found him at home, with six or seven of his clergy who fortunately happened to be in from various missions. The Bishop is from old France. The majority of the priests, and all the sisters, are French Canadians. The Bishop and his staff received us with a hearty welcome, showed us round the church, the school, the garden, and introduced us to the sisters. The church represents an extraordinary amount of labour and ingenuity, when it is considered that there is not a saw mill in the country and that every plank had to be made with a whip or hand saw. The altar is a beautiful piece of wood-work in the early Norman style, executed as a labour of love by two of the fathers. The sacristy behind, was the original log church and is still used for service in the winter.

This St. Albert mission was formed about nine years ago, by a number of settlers removing from Lake St. Ann's in hope of escaping the frosts which had several times cut down their grain there. It grew rapidly, chiefly from St. Ann's and Red River, till two years ago, when it numbered nearly one thousand, all French half-breeds. Then came the small-pox that raged in every Indian camp, and, wherever men were assembled, all up and down the Saskatchewan. Three hundred died at St. Albert. Men and women fled from their nearest and dearest. The priests and the sisters toiled with that devotedness that is a matter of course with them; nursed the sick, shrived the dying, and gathered many of the orphans into their house. The scourge passed away, but the infant settlement had received a severe blow from which it is only beginning to recover. Many are the discouragements, material and moral, of the fathers in their labours, as they frankly confessed. Their congregation is migratory, spends half the year at home and the other half on the plains. The children are only sent to school when there are no buffalo to hunt, no pemmican to make, or no work of greater importance than education to set them at. The half-breed is religious, but he must indulge his passions. It is a singular fact that not one of them has ever become a priest, though several, Louis Riel among the number, have been educated at different missions, with a view to the sacred office. The yoke of celibacy is too heavy; and fiddling, dancing, hunting, and a wild roving life have too many charms.

The settlement now numbers seven hundred souls. The land is good, but, on account of its elevation, and other local causes, subject to summer frosts; in spite of these, cereals, as well as root crops, succeed when any care is taken. Last year they reaped on the mission farm twenty returns of wheat, eighteen of barley, sixteen of potatoes. Turnips, beets, carrots and such like vegetables, grow to an enormous size. A serious drawback to the people is that they have no grist mill; the Fathers could not get them to give up the buffalo for a summer and build one on the Sturgeon. They would begin it in the fall and finish it in the spring; but the floods swept it away half-finished, and the Fathers have no funds to try anything on a solid and extensive scale.

The sisters took us to see their orphanage. They have twenty-four children in it, chiefly girls; two-thirds of the number half-breeds, the rest Blackfeet or Crees who have been picked up in tents beside their dead parents, abandoned by the tribe when stricken with small-pox. The hair of the Indian boys and girls was brown as often as black, and their complexions were as light as those of the half-breeds. This would be the case with the men and women also, if they adopted civilized habits. Sleeping in the open air, with face often turned upward to a blazing sun, would soon blacken the skin of the fairest European.
Last Sunday we noticed, in the congregation at Victoria, that while some of the old Indians had skins almost as black as negroes, the young men and women were comparatively fair. The simple explanation is that the young Crees are taking now to civilized ways. People at Fort Garry told us that when the troops arrived under Colonel Wolsely, some of them, who had slept or rowed the boats bare-headed under the blazing sun, were quite as dark-complexioned as average Indians. The gentle Christian courtesy and lady-like manners of the sisters at the mission charmed us, while the knowledge of the devoted lives they lead must impress, with profound respect, Protestant and Roman Catholic alike. Each one would have adorned a home of her own, but she had given up all for the sake of her Lord and His little ones. After being entertained by the bishop to an excellent supper, and hearing the orphans sing, we were obliged to hurry away in order to camp before dark. The Doctor, however, remained behind for an hour to visit three or four who were sick in their rooms, and arrange their dispensary. Taking leave of Mr. Hardisty also, we drove on three miles farther and camped. Five of us occupied one tent; our own party of four and Mr. Adams, the H. B. agent at Lake St. Ann's who was returning from Edmonton to his post.

August 29th.—Some of the horses were missing this morning, but an hour after sunrise all were found except Mr. Adams' and another, whose tracks were seen going in the St. Ann's or homeward direction. Knowing that we would overtake them the start was made. After a third and fourth crossing of the Sturgeon river, we halted for breakfast. We then crossed it for the fifth and last time, caught up to the two horses quietly feeding near the wayside, dined at mid-day, and rode on in advance with Mr. Adams to St. Ann's, leaving the two carts to follow more leisurely. We reached the post an hour before sunset, having ridden nearly forty miles, though, as we had presented the odometer to Mr. McDougal, our calculations of distances were now necessarily only guess work. The carts got in an hour after, and the tent was pitched and the carts emptied for the last time. From St. Ann's the road is only a horse-trail through the woods, so often lost in marshes or hidden by windfalls that a guide is required. Tents, for the sake of carrying as little weight as possible, were discarded for the simple "lean to"; and wheels had to be discarded for pack horses. Our guide was Valad, a three-quarters-Indian, and our packers—Brown a Scotchman, and Beaupré a French Canadian ; both old packers and miners and first rate men. They said that the whole of next day would be required to arrange the pack-saddles, but they were told that we must get away from the post immediately after dinner, so that one "spell" might be made on the 30th, and a long day on the 31st. The road travelled over to-day was through a beautiful country, hilly and wooded, creeks winding round narrow valleys and others that beaver dams had converted into marshes, on which were growing great masses of natural hay, that there was no one to cut. The vegetation on the hill-sides was most luxuriant. The grass reached to the horses' necks, and the vetches, which the horses snatched at greedily as they trotted past, were from four to six feet high. The last twelve miles of the day's journey resembled a pleasure drive; the first half amid tall woods through which the sunlight glimmered, with rich green underbrush of wild currant, mooseberry, and Indian pear, the ripe fruit of which we plucked from our saddles. Through these our road led down to the very brink of Lake St. Ann's, a beautiful sheet of water, stretching away before us for miles, enlivened with flocks of wild duck and pelican on the islets and promontories that fringed it; and then round the south west-side of the lake, for the last six miles, to Mr. Adams' house. Mrs. Adams had a grand supper ready for us in half an hour, and we did full justice to the cream and butter, and the delicious white-fish of Lake St. Ann's. This fish (albus coregonus) is in size and shape and even taste very like the shad of the Bay of Fundy; but very unlike it in the number and intricacy of its bones. It is an infinite toil to eat shad ; and with all possible care little prickly bones escape notice and insinuate themselves into the throat; but with white-fish a man may abandon himself to the simple pleasure of eating. Lake St. Ann's is the great storehouse of white-fish for supplying this part of the country. It provides for all demands up to Edmonton, Last year thirty thousand, averaging over three pounds each, were taken out and frozen for winter use.

This was the worst place for summer frosts that we had yet seen. A field of potatoes belonging to the priest was cut down to the ground, and Mr. Adams pointed out barley that had been nipped two or three times, but from which he still expected half a crop.

August 30th.—"Packing" the horses was the order of the day till two o'clock, and Brown and Beaupré showed themselves experts at the work. A pack-saddle looks something like a miniature wooden "horse" such as we have all seen used in our backyards for sawing sticks of cordwood. Wooden pads suited to the shape of the horse's back, with two or three plies of buffalo robe or blanket underneath, prevent the cross legs and packs from hurting the horse. All the baggage, blankets, provisions, and utensils are made up into portable bundles as nearly equal in size and weight as possible. Each of the packers seizing a bundle places it on the side of the saddle, another bundle is put on the top between the two, where the log of wood to be sawed would be placed, and then the triangular shaped load is bound in one by folds of shaganappi twisted firmly but without a knot, after a regular fashion called the "diamond hitch."

The articles which experience had shown to be not indispensable or not required for the mountains, were now discarded, and other things of exactly the right sort obtained in their stead; the object being to give as light loads as possible to the horses, that they might travel the faster. A horse with a hundred weight on his back can trot without racking himself: when he has from one hundred and sixty to two hundred pounds he can only walk, not only because of the weight but because the load catches in the bushes and between trees and rocks, and jars him constantly. If the horse is at all restive and breaks from the path, he crashes through dead wood and twists through dry till he destroys the load, or is brought up all standing by trees that there is no getting through.

In the Mexican and United States Rocky Mountains, where a great deal of business has long been done with pack-horses, the saddles are of a much superior kind, called appara-hoes. With those the horses carry over three hundred pounds, and a day's journey is from twelve to fifteen miles. As our object was speed we dispensed with tent, extra clothing, tinned meat, books etc., and thus reduced the loads at the outset to a hundred or a hundred and thirty pounds per horse. That weight included food for thirty days for eight men, and everything else that was absolutely necessary.

There was now before us a journey of about six hundred miles, through woods and marshes, torrents, and mountain passes; for we could not depend on getting supplies of any kind or fresh horses on this side of Kamloops; though there were probabilities of our meeting with parties of engineers between Jasper House and Yellow Head Pass.

Mr. Adams was of infinite service in all these arrangements. The luxuries of white-fish, fresh eggs, cream, butter and young pig bountifully served up for us at his table, were duly appreciated at breakfast and dinner, but we valued still more highly the personal exertions, made as earnestly and with as much simplicity and thoughtfulness as if he had been preparing for his own journey. He was the last of the Hudson's Bay officers that we would be indebted to till we got to the Pacific slope, and parting from his post was like parting from the Company that has long been the mainstay of travellers, the only possible medium of communication, and the great representative of civilization in the vast regions of the North and North-west. From our meeting with the chief Commissioner at Silver Heights until our departure from St. Ann's we had experienced the hospitality of its agents, and had seen the same extended to all who claimed it, to the hungry Indian, and the unfortunate miner, as well as to those who bore letters of recommendation. It was on such a scale as befitted a great English corporation, the old monarchs and still the greatest power in the country.

At two P. M. all was ready; eight horses packed, eight others saddled for riding, and a spare horse to follow. Mr. Adams accompanied us a short distance ; but, as the line of march had to be Indian file, we soon exchanged the undemonstrative "good-bye" with him, and plunged into the forest. For the first five miles the trail was so good that the horses kept at their accustomed jog-trot, though some of them were evidently unused to, and uneasy under their pack-saddles. Valad rode first, two pack-horses followed, Brown next, and so on till the Chief or some other of the party brought up the rear of the long line on the seventeenth horse. If any of the pack-horses deviated from the road into the bush, the man immediately behind had to bring him back. The loud calls to the obstinately lazy or straying "Rouge," "Brun," "Sangri," "Billy," "Bischo," varied with whacks almost as loud on their backs, were the only sounds that broke the stillness of the forest; for conversation is impossible with a man on horse-back in front of or behind you, and there is little game in these woods except an occasional partridge. After the first day, the horses gave little trouble as they all got accustomed to the style of travelling, and recognized the wisdom of keeping to the road. Two or three old hands at the work always aimed at getting one of their companions between them and a driver, so that their companions might receive all the occasional whacks, and they share the benefit only of the loud calls and objurgations; but the new ones soon got up to the trick, and their contentions for precedence and place were as keen as between a number of old dowagers before going in to dinner. These old hands carried their burdens with a swinging, waddling motion that eased their backs, and saved them many a rude jar.

In the course of the afternoon we passed one or two deserted tents, and "sweating booths," but no Indians. Three miserable starved looking "Stonies" or Wood Indians had entered Mr. Adams' house while we were there, and, in accordance with invariable Indian etiquette, shook hands all round, before squatting on the kitchen floor and waiting for something to eat; but, with the exception of the few scattered round each of the Company's posts, who as a rule are invalids or idlers, we had not seen an Indian since leaving the Assiniboine, except the small camp near Moose-Creek and the Crees at Victoria. That they were buffalo hunting or that their principal settlements are off the line of the main road, does not give the whole truth. The Indians are evidently decreasing; "dying out" before the white man. Now that the Hudson's Bay monopoly is gone, "free traders," chiefly from the south, are coming in, plentifully supplied with a poisonous stuff, rum in name, but in reality a compound of tobacco, vitriol, bluestone and water. This is completing the work that scrofula and epidemics and the causes that bring about scrofula and epidemics were already doing too surely: for an Indian will part with horse and gun, blanket and wife for rum. There is law in abundance forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquor to Indians, but law, without force to execute law, is laughed at by rowdies from Belly River and elsewhere.

The "sweating booths" referred to should have been explained before. They are the great Indian natural luxury, and are to be found all along the road, or wherever Indians live even for a week. There was scarcely a day this month that we did not pass the rude slight frames. At first we mistook them for small tents. They are made in a few minutes of willow wands or branches, bent so as to form a circular enclosure, with room for one or two inside; the buffalo robe is spread over the frame work so as to exclude the air as much as possible, and whoever wants a Russian bath crawls into the round dark hole. A friend outside then heats some large stones to the highest point attainable, and passes them and a bucket of water in. The "insides" pour the water on the stones, steam is generated, and, on they go pouring water and enjoying the delight of a vapor bath, till they are almost insensible. Doctor Hector thought the practice an excellent one, as regards cleanliness, health and pleasure; but the Indians carry it to an extreme that utterly enervates them. Their medicine-men enlist it in aid of their superstitions. It is when under the influence of the bath, that they become inspired; and they take one or two laymen in with them, that they may hear their oracular sayings, and be able to announce to the tribe where there is a chance of stealing horses or of doing some other notable deed with good prospect of success. It is easy to see, too, what a capital opportunity the medicineman has, when thus inspired to gratify his private malice or vengeance, or any desire. Many a raid and many a deed of darkness has been started in the sweating booth.

The first five miles of the road, this afternoon, was a broad easy trail, through open woods which showed fine timber of spruce, aspen, and poplar, some of the spruce being over two feet in diameter ; but had we formed from it any conclusion as to our probable rate of speed, the next four miles would have undeceived us. Crashing through windfalls or steering amid thick woods round them, leading our horses across yielding morasses or stumbling over roots, and into holes, with all our freshness we scarcely made two miles an hour, and that with an expenditure of wind and limb that would soon have exhausted horse and man. But the road again improved a little, and by 6.30 P.M., we had accomplished about twelve miles, and reached a lake called "Chain of lakes" or "Lac des Iles," out of which the Sturgeon river flows before it runs into Lake St. Ann's. In an open ground near the lake, covered thick with vetches, a simple 'lean to' or screen for the whole company was constructed. In the morning all decided that the ' lean to' was a preferable home to the round or closed tents we had hitherto used. You require for the former only a large cotton sheet in addition to what the forest supplies at any time. Two pairs of cross-poles are stuck in the ground, as far apart as you wish your lodging place for the night to be long; a ridge pole connects these, and then half-a-dozen or more poles are placed slanting against the ridge pole. Cover the sloping frame with your cotton sheet, or in its absence, birch bark, and your house is made. The ends are open and so is the front, but the back is covered, and that, of course, is where the wind comes from. The ventilation is perfect, and as your fire is made immediately in front, there is no lack of warmth.

From this date the whole party had one tent of this description to sleep under, and one table to eat from. The days were getting shorter, the horses could not go fast, and time therefore had to be economised in every possible way.

August 31st.—As packing eight horses takes twice as long as harnessing twice the number, it was 6.30 P.M., before we started. Hereafter, and for the same reason—the time needed to unpack and pack,—only one halt and two "spells " per day were to be made.

Six hours' continual travel at an average rate of three miles an hour, brought us to the Pembina river, where we halted for two-and-a-half hours. The road was through thick woods and along the "Chain of lakes," with an upward incline until we came to the watershed between the Saskatchewan and the rivers running north-east which fall into the McKenzie, and through it into the Arctic sea. The country then opened, and we could see before us four or five miles to a ridge, on the other side of which the guide said was the Pembina. The timber in the morning was not as large as that nearer St. Ann's; and it became smaller as we advanced, till in the open it was poor and scrubby, and the land here and all over the drive to the Pembina looked cold and hungry, with occasional good spots. In the neighbourhood of coal the land is usually poor, and we had been told that the banks of the rivers showed abundant indication of coal for sixty miles up and down from where the trail struck it. After passing the "Chain of lakes" the road led along a small round lake that empties on the other side; and, soon after, over a ridge from which a fine amphitheatre of hills, formed by a bend of the river beneath, opened out before us, in the valley of which we saw the broad shallow Pembina flowing away to the north. The underbrush on the hill-sides had decided autumn tints, the red and yellow showing early frosts, although there would be nearly three months yet before winter. The top of the opposite bank was a bold face of sandstone, with what looked like enormous clusters of swallow's nests running along the upper part; underneath the sandstone, clay that had been burnt by the spontaneous combustion of the coal beneath, ash and burnt pieces of shale like red and white pottery on the surface, half hidden by vegetation; and down at the water's edge a horizontal bed of coal. We forded the river which is about a hundred yards wide, and looking back saw on the east side a seam of coal about ten feet thick, whereas on the west side to which we had crossed only about four feet showed above the water. Pick in hand the Chief made for the coal, and finding a large square lump that had been carried down by the river, he broke some pieces from it to make a fire. In appearance it was much superior to the Edmonton seam; instead of the dull half-burnt look, it had a clean glassy fracture like cannel coal. Carrying a number of pieces in our hands we proceeded to make a fire and had the satisfaction of seeing them burn, and of cooking our pemmican with the mineral fuel. It was evidently coal, equal for fuel, we considered, to the inferior Cape Breton kinds, burning sluggishly, and leaving a considerable quantity of grey and reddish ash, but giving out a good heat. Beaupré, who all this while had been washing sand from the river in his shovel for gold, and finding at the rate of half a cent's worth per shovel full, was amazed at our eagerness, or that there should have been any doubt about its being coal. He and his mates when mining on different rivers, had been in the habit of making fires with it whenever they wished the fire to remain in all night; and he and Brown both said, that the exposure of coal on Pembina was a mere nothing compared to that on the Brazeau or North Fork of the North Saskatchewan; that there were seams eighteen feet thick there; that in one canyon was a wall of seam on seam as perpendicular as if it had been plumbed, and so hard that the weather had no effect on it; and that on all the rivers, for some distance east of Edmonton, and west to the Rocky Mountains, are abundant showings of coal. This is perhaps the proper place to mention that on our return to the east, Ex-Governor Archibald presented the Secretary with a little box full that had been sent him as a sample from Edmonton ; the sample was exactly like what we picked up in the Pembina and tried with the results just stated.

The Secretary submitted it to Professor Lawson of Dalhousie College, Halifax, for analysis, and received a letter of which the following is an extract, and may be regarded as settling the question more favourably than we could even have hoped for:

"My analysis of your coal is by no means discouraging:—

Combustible matter...........97.835 p. c.
Inorganic Ash.............2.165 p.c.
Total 100.000

"The proportion of sulphur, chlorine, and other obnoxious impurities,
"is quite small. The coal burns with a flame, and also forms a red cinder,
"but is a slow burner; and, although the absolute amount of ash is so
"small, yet a much larger amount of apparent ash will be left in the grate
"from imperfect combustion. Yet, if we view this as a surface sample—
"and such are invariably of inferior quality,—I think it offers great en-
"couragement, for the percentage of ash is less than the average of the
"best marketable coals in Britain. Of course this analysis of a very small
"sample can only be regarded as a probable indication, not a demonstra-
"tion, of the nature of the extensive beds of coal or bituminous shale
"described in your letter."

The simple fact is that the coal deposits of the North-west are so enormous in quantity that people were unwilling to believe that the quality could be good.

Here then is fuel for the future inhabitants of the plains, near water communication for forwarding it in different directions.

Captain Palliser also reports the existence of iron ore near several coal seams.

After dinner we rode on for three and a half hours to a good camping ground on the Lobstick river, about eleven miles from the Pembina; and had the horses watered and everything made snug for Sunday before sunset.

On the way several creeks had to be crossed, or valleys where creeks had run till beavers dammed them up, and, as all had high steep banks, the work was heavy on the horses. But the road so far had agreeably disappointed us. It was not at all so bad as travellers' tales had represented. True, it is better at this season of the year and for the next six weeks, than at any time except in the winter; but we felt confident that in another week Jasper House would not be far off, unless the roads became very much worse, instead of fifteen days being required as every one at Edmonton and St. Ann's had said. So, after a talk with Brown and Beaupré about their mining and Blackfeet experiences, we threw ourselves down on a fragrant grassy bed, a little tired, but in good spirits and glad enough that we were not to be called early in the morning.

September 1st.—When we looked out at our wide open door, between six and seven o'clock, a good fire was blazing, and by it sat Valad smoking. He might have been sitting there for centuries, so perfect was the repose of form and feature.

Brown enquired if he had seen the horses and the answer was a wave of the hand, first in one direction and then in another, not only enough to say that he had, but also where they were, without disturbing any of us who might be asleep.

He looked more like a dignified Italian gentleman than an obscure Indian guide. With the lazy movements peculiar to Sunday morning in a camp, one after another of his bed-fellows shook himself out of his blanket. We had now time to look around, and see what kind of a place we were camping on. A bluff had stopped the course of the stream on its way east, and made it swing round to the south. On the bluff, just at the elbow, our tent was pitched. A rich grassy intervale along the river, and vetches in a little valley on the other side of our camp, gave good feed for the horses. On the opposite bank of the stream, and a little ahead, stood three "lobstick" spruce trees in a clump. From these probably the stream gets its name. A lobstick is the Indian or half-breed monument to a friend or to a man he delights to honour. Selecting a tall spruce or some other conspicuous tree, he cuts off all the middle branches leaving the head and feet of the tree clothed and the body naked, and then writes your name or initials at the root. That is your lobstick and you are expected to feel highly flattered, and to make a handsome present in return to the noble fellow or fellows who have erected such a pillar in your honour.

There is an old superstition that your health and length of days will correspond to your lobstick's. As this belief proved inconvenient in some cases it has been quietly dropped, but the custom still flourishes and is greatly favoured by the half-breeds.

Whether such a simple way of getting up a monument is not preferable to piling brick upon brick to the height of a tree, to show how highly you honour a hero, is a question that might bear discussion.

At morning service the whole party attended. We did not ask any of the men "what denomination he was of," but took it for granted that he could join in common prayer, and hear with profit the simplest truths of Christianity. With none of our former crews had we been on such friendly terms as with this one. All the men were up to their work, prompt and respectful, but the relation seemed more like that of a family than simply master and servant.

The weather was beautiful as usual. Last night it clouded up and in the early morning there was a light drizzle of rain, but not enough to wet the grass as much if there had been the ordinary heavy dew of a clear night. The forenoon was cool enough to keep the black flies away, but they came out with the sun and the mosquitoes in the afternoon. At sunset the black flies vanish, but the mosquitoes keep buzzing round till the night is sufficiently cold to drive them off to the woods; this usually happens about nine o'clock. Warm as the days now were the nights were so cold, though there was no actual frost, that we usually kept our clothes on, in addition to the double blanket. Our bag or boots served for pillow, and none of us were ever troubled with wakefulness, or complained in the morning that there had been a crumpled rose leaf under blanket or pillow.

There was little to mark this Sunday except the pleasant peaceful enjoyment of it. The murmuring of the river over its pebbly bed was the only sound that broke the Sabbath stillness. The rest was peculiarly grateful after the week's hurry and changes; and the horses looked as well pleased with it as we. They ate till they could eat no more: and then they affectionately switched or licked the flies off one another, or strolled up to the camp to get into the smoke of the fire. Had they been able to speak, they would certainly have given thanks for the institution of a day of rest for beast as well as man.

We had one source of annoyance however. Two stray dogs had joined our party uninvited, a brown one at Edmonton, and a black at St. Ann's. They had been hooted, pelted and driven back, but after going on a mile or two further we would see them slinking after us again. Pemmican could not be spared, as we bought sufficient for our own wants only, and to-day they looked particularly hungry. What was to be done with them? Go back they would not. To take them to Kamloops was out of the question. To let them die of starvation would be inhuman. There seemed nothing for it but to shoot or drown them, and though each and all of us promptly declined the part of executioner, their prospects looked so gloomy that Frank, who had pleaded for them all along, resolved to try and provide for them outside of our regular supplies. Getting permission to do what he could, on the plea that it was both necessity and mercy, he rigged a fishing line, and persuaded Brown and Valad to take a gun and try for beaver or duck. While all three were away, the brown was caught in the act of stealing pemmican. This aggravated their case, but, though all condemned, none would shoot. The hunters too came back empty handed, except with a pan-full of cranberries that Brown had picked, and that he stewed in a few minutes into a delicious jam. The dogs puzzled us, so we postponed further consideration of the problem till next day.

Instead of the usual three meals of pemmican, bread and tea, we had only two to-day, and a simple lunch at one o'clock. At six, dinner was served with all the delicacies we could muster, Berry-pemmican, pork and cranberry jam made a feast so delicious that no one thought of the dogs.

September 2nd.—Up at four and away at half-past five, or twenty minutes after sunrise. Another bright and sunny day, though the woods were so thick in some places that, at one o'clock the dew was still on the grass.

Our first spell was six hours long. We crossed the Lobstick a little above our camp, and followed up its course without once seeing it again, to Chip Lake, from which it flows. The road ran through a fertile undulating country at first, then through inferior land which forest fires had desolated. There were few flowers or berries and no large trees. The dogs roused a great many partridges, but no one felt disposed to follow them into the bush. Brown shot a fine fat one from the saddle with his revolver and divided it between the dogs, so that they had a meal and therefore a respite for another day.

Our progress was so slow, averaging only two miles an hour, that we were all dreadfully tired. The trail was not bad in itself, with the exception of a few small morasses, some of black muck, and others of a tenacious clay, but at every four or five yards a tree, or two or three branches were lying across, as firmly set by having been trodden on as if placed in position, and they prevented the horses from getting into a trot. These obstacles were not recent windfalls. They had evidently been there for years, and an expenditure of five or ten dollars a mile would clear most of them away. But the H. B. Company could hardly be expected to make a road for free-traders to Jasper House, and it is everybody's business, not a hand is put to the work. Our dining place was at a small creek that runs into Chip Lake, a lake half as big as St. Ann's, that the thick woods prevented our seeing. The ground was plentifully covered with creepers that yielded blueberries smaller and more pungent than those in the Eastern Provinces.

A little after two P.M., we crossed the creek, and wound up the opposite hill-side into a broken well-wooded country, the hollows in which were furrowed with beaver dams. After an hour of this we reached a hill-top, from which a great extent of thickly-wooded country opened out, first level and then with an undulating upward slope to the watershed of the McLeod. The horizon far beyond this slope in a due westernly direction was bounded by dim mountains, that we hailed with a shout as the long sought Rocky Mountains, but Beaupré checked the cheer by calling back that they were only the "foot hills" between the McLeod and the Athabasca. At any rate they were the outliers of the Rocky Mountains, and in exactly a month from our saying goodbye to Governor Archibald at Silver Heights we had our first glimpse of them.

The road now descended to lower ground, and passed over the beds of old creeks destroyed by beavers. Had it not been for half-decayed logs lying across the path, the horses could have trotted the whole way. As it was, they made fully four miles an hour, in the afternoon spell of three-and-a-quarter hours. Before five o'clock we came to a beautiful, clear, cold stream and Valad advised camping, but the Chief, learning that there was a suitable place with good water and feed four miles farther on, gave the word to continue the march. This ground like much that we had gone over in the morning, consisted either of old willows and alders, dry marsh, or sandy and gravelly ridges covered with scrub pine. It was part of the level region we had seen from the hill-top, and had a decidedly poverty-stricken look. In an hour we had reached the camping place and prepared our lodging for the night, well pleased with the progress that had been made during the day. The spare horse, however, which as usual had been left to himself to follow in his own way, was missing. Terry, who had brought up the rear, had seen him lounging and looking back when within a mile of the camp. Beaupré at once started in pursuit bridle in hand, but returned at dusk without him. He had seen him near the creek we had crossed at five o'clock, evidently on his way home or in a state of bewilderment, not knowing where he was going. Beaupré had tried to drive him into camp, but he plunged into the woods and refused to be driven back; so Beaupré, afraid of losing the trail in the darkness, returned. As the horse could not well be spared, Valad was asked to go after him early next morning, try his luck and catch up to us before dark, while we went on under the guidance of Beaupré for the day.

The evenings were getting long now and, after our slow and tedious journeying, it was pleasant to sit in the open tent before a great pine fire and talk about the work of the day, the prospects of to-morrow, and hear some story of wild western life from the men. Brown gave us the particulars of the horrible massacre of the Peigan Indians by Colonel Baker, the kindly views of it taken by the Montana citizens, and their memorial to Washington in his favour when he was threatened with court-martial. Brown and Beaupré themselves judged the massacre from a miner's stand point.

But none of their stories of lawless and cruel deeds roused in us such indignation as what they told concerning villanies done recently in our own North-west. Perhaps the worst had happened only three weeks before our arrival at Edmonton, within one hundred yards of the Fort. A young Metis of eighteen summers, son of a well known hunter called Kiskowassis (or "day child," born in the day) had murdered his wife, to whom he had been married only a few months and who was enceinte. Last year he had slashed a woman with his knife in the wrist and made her a cripple for life. That was a small affair. But, having gone to the plains and formed an intimacy with another girl, he wanted to get rid of his wife. Luring her down to the river side, so that suspicion might fall on a party of Blackfeet camped on the other side, he stabbed but only wounded her, and she fled up the hill, he chasing and striking at her. Some of the Blackfeet on the opposite bank cried manoyo, manoyo, (murder), but there was no one near to help the poor creature, and soon a surer blow stretched her dead. This was too serious to be altogether passed over, so her brothers promptly called on Kiskowassis about it. Charley—the murderer—was not at home, but Kiskowassis acknowledged that he had gone too far, and proffered two horses that he extolled highly, the one as "a hunter" and the other as "a carter," in atonement. The elder brother went out and came back in a few minutes, saying: "They're pretty good horses, I guess we'd better take them." And thus the affair was amicably settled; and, at the same price, as far as law on the Saskatchewan is concerned, Charley may go on and have his six wives more easily than Henry the eighth. An uncle of Charley, on the plains two months ago, shot a man who had offended him; and Beaupré extolled the whole family as "very brave." Charley had tried to enlist Beaupré last year in a promising enterprise of killing some Sursees who owned good horses: but Beaupreé was not "brave" enough. There is a young brother, aged fourteen, who Beaupré says is sure to beat even Charley: "he is bound to steal a horse this very summer from the Black-feet."

We asked Brown why at any rate the miners did not lynch Charley, since no one else acted. He said that there was such a proposal, but it was decided that as they were strangers enjoying the "protection" of the country, it would not be seemly for them to interfere.

September 3rd. — Awoke at four A.M., and found the fire burning brightly and Valad away in pursuit of the missing horse. Partly owing to his absence the start was an hour later than yesterday's. Leaving his saddle and some bread and pemmican on a tree we moved on. The trail was a continuation of the willow and alder marsh of last evening, but instead of being dry it was swampy, and the travelling heavy. The brown dog caught a musk-rat that made a meal for the two, and gave them another day's respite.

For the first eight or ten miles the road was almost wholly swamp, till a creek was crossed that runs into Chip or Buffalo Lake, and from it by the Lobstick into the Pembina. The watershed of the McLeod then rose in a long broken richly-clothed slope. In five hours from camp, at an average rate of three miles an hour, Root River that runs into the McLeod was reached. The trail, which at no time was better than a bridle path, was so heavily encumbered in places with fallen timber that no trace of it could be seen. A rough path had to be broken round the obstacle, and sometimes Beaupré had difficulty in finding the trail again. Indian pears and moose-berries—the largest we had seen—grew along the hill-side, in such quantities that you could often fill your hand by leaning from the saddle, as the horse brushed past the bushes. We halted two hours and a half at Root River, and, as there was a birth-day at home, slap-jacks, mixed with berry pemmican were made as a substitute for plumpudding, and, at dinner, the Chief produced a pint bottle of Noyeau, which had been stored for some great occasion, and Minnie's health was drunk in three table-spoonfulls a piece. Just as dinner was over, Valad made his appearance. He had had a hard day of it following the track of the horse, but came up to him at our yesterday's dining place, moving quietly home-wards. Three times he turned him, but the horse always got away by dashing into the brush. Valad then went ahead and set a wooden trap on the road, but the horse avoided it, and Valad gave up the chase. On his way back—he found that the squirrels had eaten his breakfast. Shouldering his saddle, he followed our trail, and rejoined us at two P.M., having walked forty-one miles and eaten nothing. His moccasins had been cut with the stumps and thorns; but, though footsore in consequence, he made light of it and went to work with his usual promptness. Beaupré had been looking for half an hour, but quite in vain, among the long grass and shrubs, for a bit that had dropped off one of the bridles. "We're all right now" was his judicious remark, when Valad appeared, "the old man will smell it if he can't see it."

Our afternoon spell was heavy work; crossing a branch of the Root River, we came on a barren swamp, burned over so thoroughly that there was not a trace of water nor of the trail for two miles; the once heavily-timbered slopes all round had been devastated. On our right a forest of bare poles, looking in the distance like a white cloud, clung to the hill-side. Dead logs, poles, branches, strewed the ground so abundantly that the horses could pick their steps but slowly. After the barren, came the last ascent, and so gradual was it that we did not know when we were at the top, and then instead of a rapid descent to the McLeod, stiff marsh succeeded that got stiffer every mile. The sun set before we got through half of the marsh, but at one spot, a dry ridge intervening with good water near, Valad advised camping. In answer to our question, 'how far off is the McLeod still?' he pointed to the sky saying 'the sun will be over more than half of that again before we see it.' This settled the question, though in a disappointing way, as it put an end to the hope of getting to Jasper's this week. Three of the horses, too, wore a little lame, and things did not look quite as bright as when we started in the morning.

September 4th.—The three lame horses were looked at immediately after breakfast. The cause of lameness in all three cases was, that sharp strong stobs or splinters had run into or just above their unshod hoofs; we half wondered that some of them had not pulled their hoofs off, in struggling to extricate them from tough and sharp fibrous roots. The splinters were easily extracted from two, and, the third horse, allowing no one near his hind leg, was managed dexterously by Valad. Passing one end of his shaganappi lasso twice round his neck, he made two turns of the other end round his body, and gradually slipped those turns down over his hind legs, and tightened them. Tightening the rope at his neck now, the horse resisted, but his legs being tied, his own struggles with a little shove threw him, and when thrown he lay quiet as a lamb.

It had rained during the night, and the morning was cloudy and threatening. At 9 A.M., the rain came on again, after we had been two hours on the road, if the expression is allowable when there was no road. The rain made travelling across the muskeg still more difficult and uncomfortable. In six hours and a quarter we fought through ten miles, six or seven of them being simply over a continuous muskeg covered with windfalls. The horses stumbled over roots and timber to sink into thick layers of quaking moss, and sometimes through these to the springs underneath. The greater part of the ground bore tall beautifully shaped spruce and poplar, chiefly spruce, from one to three feet in diameter.

After crossing a little creek, the trail improved somewhat till it led to the ancient bank of the McLeod, at the foot of which yawned a deep pool with a bottom of tenacious clay, that had to be struggled through somehow. The horses sinking almost to their bellies, floundered in the mud at a fearful rate, with such effects on our clothes as may be conceived; fortunately by this time we were quite indifferent on the subject of appearances. The river was only a hundred yards from this, but the trail led for half a mile up through a wooded intervale to "the crossing." A little creek seamed the intervale, and the first open spot was strewed with as many chips as would furnish a carpenter's shop, beside several logs, two of them stripped of their bark and others cut into junks for transportation. We had disturbed a colony of beavers, in their work of building a dam across the creek and of laying in their winter supplies.

The sight of the McLeod was a relief, for we had found the way to it "a hard road to travel," as the Canadians who preceeded Milton and Cheadle evidently had also. The Chief came upon their testimony chalked with red keil on a large spruce tree in the swamp, five or six miles to the east of the river. Only the following words and half-words could be made out:—

Poor fellows! some of them found the North Thompson a harder road.

The McLeod heads inside of the first range of the Rocky Mountains. Where we crossed, it is a beautiful stream about 110 yards wide, running north-easterly with a rapid current over a pebbly bed. Its breadth is not much greater than the Pembina, but it has three times the volume of water. At this season of the year, it can be forded at almost any point where there is a little rapid, the water in such places, not coming up to the horses' necks. Crossing, we came upon a few acres of prairie, to the rich vetches on which the horses abandoned themselves as eagerly as our party did to the richaud and tea that Terry hurried up. Fortunately too, the rain ceased, though the sky did not clear, and Valad made a big fire at which we dried ourselves partially. Brown advised that, as this was a good place, some provisions should be cachèd for those of the party who were to return from Jasper's; and Valad, selecting a site in the green wood, he and Beaupré went off to it from the opposite direction, with about twenty-five pounds of pemmican and flour tied up, first in canvass and then in oil-skin, as the wolverine—most dreaded plunderer of caches—dislikes the smell of oil. Selecting two suitable pine trees in the thick wood, they "skinned" (barked) them to prevent animals from climbing; then placing a pole between the two, some eighteen feet from the ground, they hung a "St. Andrew's Cross" of two small sticks from the pole, and suspended their bag from the end of one, that the least movement or even puff of wind would set it swinging. Such a cache Valad guaranteed against bird and beast of whatever kind. "And now,"' Beaupré summed up, "if no one finds that, we will be in good luck ; but if somebody finds it, we will be in bad luck; that's all."'

Our course from this point was to be up the McLeod for nearly seventy miles of very bad road. As we had had enough of that for one day, we listened eagerly to Beaupré saying that it was possible to dodge the first eight miles by creeping along the shore of the river, and crossing and recrossing wherever the banks came down too close to permit travelling. Though Valad didn't know this way and Beaupré himself had not tried the crossings, having on a former occasion made the trip up the river in a canoe, and not by the shore, it was decided to try. A very pleasant change on the forenoon's journey it proved to be, and quite a success; for we arrived at the proposed camping ground, after four crossings, before sunset. The river was low and the shore wide, consisting of rough pebbly stretches or sand bars, covered, near the bank, with wild onions, sand grasses, and creepers. Beaupré said that the sand would yield gold at the rate of a cent a shovelful, but that would give only $2 or $3 per day. Where the banks came near the river in bold bluffs, they staged sections chiefly of different kinds of clay and sandstone separated by black slate. No coal beds appeared except a four-inch seam that looked like coal, but may have been only a roof of shale to the coal beneath.

At the camp a roaring fire of pine logs was soon kindled, and a line hung along one side for our wet clothes; but the steady drizzling rain recommenced and continued all night. We warmed ourselves at any rate, and 'turned in' as comfortably as the circumstances permitted.

September 5th.—It rained steadily through the night and was drizzling in the morning. Though it hurts the horses' backs to saddle them when wet, there was no alternative, and so after getting ready with great deliberation, in hopes that it would clear up, we moved away at 7.30 A.M.

Our first "spell" was the hardest work of the journey, so far, with the least to show for it. We made about five miles, and it took as many hours to make the distance. The road followed the upward course of the McLeod, crossing the necks of land formed by the doublings of the river. These so-called, 'portages' were the worst part of the road, though it was all so bad that it is invidious to make comparisons. The country was either bog or barren—both bad,—for the whole had recently been burned over, and every wind had blown down its share of the burnt trees. There was no regular trail. Each successive party that travelled this way, seemed to have tried to make a new one in vain efforts to escape the difficulties. Valad went ahead, axe in hand, and between natural selection and a judicious use of the axe, made a passage; but it looked so tangled and beset, that the horses often thought they could do better; off they would go, with a swing, among the bare poles, for about two yards before their packs got interlaced with the tough spruce. Then came the tug; if the trees would not give, the packs had to, and there was a delay of half an hour to tie them on again. We often wondered that the packs came off so seldom; but Brown understood his business; besides the trees had been burnt, and some of them were uprooted or broken with comparative ease. Of course the recent rains had not improved the going. Beaupré said that it had not been worse last summer, after the spring frosts had come out and the spring rains gone in. Take it all in all, the road was hopelessly bad,—deserving all the hard things that had been said of it,—and called for a large stock of the Mark Tapley spirit, especially when, by wandering from the trail, the horses got mired in muskegs or stuck between trees, or when the blackened, hard, tough spruce branches, bent forward by a pack horse, swung back viciously in the face of the unfortunate driver.

The road could only have been worse by the trees being larger; but then it would have been simply impassable, for the windfalls would have barricaded it completely. The prospect, too, was dismal and desolate looking enough for Avernus or the richest coal fields: nothing but a forest, apparently endless, of blackened poles on all sides. Only when an angle or bend of the river came into view, was there any relief for the eye.

Towards midday, when every one's thoughts were on pemmi-can, 'ho,' 'ho,' was heard ahead, and two Indians appeared holding out hands to Valad. They had left Jasper's four days ago, and were bound for Edmonton, trusting to their guns or the berries to supply them with food on the way. The offer of a pemmican dinner turned them back with us for quarter of a mile, to a little creek where the halt had to be called, though there was but poor feed for the horses among the blackened trees. The Indians had no dog, and were glad to take the black—as he would be useful in treeing partridges—back to Mr. Adam's, to whom the Doctor thought he belonged. They promised also to drive home the spare horse if they could track him. We wrote a note by them to Mr. Adams, telling him what commissions we had entrusted them with. These Indians had straighter features and a manlier cast of countenance than the ordinary wood-Indians. On inquiry, we learned that they were Iroquois from Smoking River, to the north of Jasper's, where a small colony has been settled for fifty years back. Their ancesters had been in the employment of the North-west Fur Company, and on its amalgamation with the Hudson's Bay, had settled on Smoking River, on account of the abundance of fur-bearing animals and of large game such as buffalo, elk, brown and grizzly bears, then in that quarter.

After dinner, the march was resumed at the mile per hour rate. More discouraging was the fact that scarcely two-thirds of that modest speed was progress ; for the trail twisted like a ship tacking, so that at times we were actually progressing backwards. In struggling across creeks the difference between the Lowland Scot and the Frenchman came out amusingly. Brown continued imperturbable no matter how the horses went. Beaupré, the mildest mannered man living when things went smoothly, could not stand the sight of a horse floundering in the mud. Down into the gully he would rush to lift him out by the tail. Of course he got spattered and perhaps kicked for his pains. This made him worse, and he had to let out his excitement on the horse. Gripping the tail with his left hand, as the brute struggled up the opposite hill swaying him from side to side as if he had been tied to it, he whipped with his right; sacré-ing furiously, till he reached the top. Then feeling that he had done his part, he would let go and subside again into his mildest manners.

Towards evening the road improved so that the luxury of a smart walk was indulged in—with occasional breaks—for an hour or two. When we camped, the tally for the day was twelve miles, representing perhaps an air line of six or eight, for ten hours, hard work. A bath in the McLeod, and a change of socks followed by supper, put us all right, although the hope of seeing Jasper's before next Wednesday had completely vanished.

September 6th.—It rained last night, but the morning gave signs of a fair day. Renewed the march at 6.45 A.M. Yesterday's experiences were also renewed, except that the road, as well as the day, was better—enabling us to make two miles an hour,—and kept closer to the river, revealing many a beautiful bend or long reach. The timber was larger and less of it burnt. Poplar, cottonwood, and spruce, chiefly the latter, predominated. The opposite bank had escaped fires. Before noon, we got a glimpse of the mountains away to the south, and soon after reached a lovely bit of open prairie covered with vetches, honey-suckle, and rose-bushes out of flower. Here, the McLeod sweeps away to the south and then back to the north, and the trail instead of following its long circuit cuts across the loop. This 'portage' is twenty miles long, and a muskeg in the middle—on one or the other side of which we would have to camp to-night—is the worst on the road to Jasper's. Halted for dinner at the bend of the river, having travelled nine or ten miles, Frank promising us some fish, from a trouty looking stream hard by, as a change from the everlasting pemmican. Not that any one was tired of pemmican. All joined in its praises as the right food for a journey, and wondered why the Government had never used it in war time. It must be equal or superior to the famous Prussian sausage, judging of the latter, as we needs must, without having lived on it for a month. As an army 'marches on its stomach condensed food is an important object for the commissariat to consider, especially when as in the case of the British Army, long expeditions are frequently necessary. Pemmican is good and palatable uncooked and cooked, though most prefer it in the richaud form. It has numerous other recommendations for campaign diet. It keeps sound for twenty or thirty years, is wholesome and strengthening, portable, and needs no medicine to correct a tri-daily use of it. Two pounds weight with bread and tea, we found enough for the dinner of eight hungry men. A bag weighing a hundred pounds is only the size of an ordinary pillow, two feet long, one and a half wide, and six inches thick. Such a bag then would supply three good meals to a hundred and thirty men. Could the same be said of equal bulk of pork? But as Terry—an old soldier too—indignantly remarked "the British Gauvirmint wont drame of pimmican till the Prooshians find it out."

Frank came back to dinner with one small trout, though Beaupré said that he and his mate last summer had caught an hundred in two hours, some of them ten pounds in weight. Perforce we dined on pemmican and liked it better than ever.

The sun now shone out, making the day warm and pleasant, as all September usually is in America. At 2 P. M. got into line again to cross the long portage. The course was westerly, by the banks of the stream called the Medicine, at the mouth of which we had dined. A great part of the road was comparatively free from fallen timber, so that we enjoyed the novelty of a trot, and, except near two creeks that ran into the Medicine,—free from the still worse obstruction of muskegs. An hour before sunset, the Medicine itself had to be crossed, and on the other side of it was the bad muskeg. Beaupré drew a long face when he saw the river, for the recent rains had made it turbid and swollen to an unusual height, and this augured ill for the state of the ground on the other side. For the first mile, however, we got on well enough, as the road took advantage of a ridge for two-thirds of that distance; but, then came the dreaded spot. It looked no worse than the rest, but the danger was unseen. Deep holes formed by springs abounded underneath the soft thick moss, in which horses would sink to their necks. The task was to find a line of sure ground, and by avoiding Scylla not to fall into Charybdis. As Valad with Indian, and Brown with Scotch caution were trying the ground all round, Beaupré leading his horse by the bridle dashed in close to the swollen river, at a most unlikely spot, exclaiming "I'll chance it any way." The words were only out of his lips when he fell into a pool up to his middle; but, undismayed he scrambled out and keeping close to beds of willows and alder, actually found a way so good that all the rest followed him. Only one pack-horse sank so hopelessly deep, into a hole, that he had to be unpacked and lifted out, Beaupré hoisting by the tail with a mighty hoist—for the man had the strength of a giant. An hour after sunset, we arrived at an ascent where it was possible to camp, though the bare blackened half-burnt poles all round gave a cheerless aspect to the scene. All were too tired to be critical; thankful besides that the worst was over, and that to-morrow, according to Valad there would be 'un beau chemin.'

To-day we had travelled twenty miles, representing probably fourteen on the map. As more could not have been done, no one grumbled, though all devoutly longed for a more modern rate of speed. Crossing muskegs, it is impossible to hurry horses, and when fallen timber cannot be jumped or scrambled over, a single tree on the path may necessitate a detour of fifty yards to make five. How the heavily laden pack-horses of the Hudson's Bay Company get along such a road, is rather a puzzle?

September 7th.—We got away from camp at 6.45 A.M.; and in less than two hours came again in view of the McLeod;—narrower and much more like the child of the mountains than at the first crossing. Instead of sand bars as there, ridges and masses of rounded stones and boulders are strewn along its shores, or piled up with drifted trees and rubbish in the shallower parts of its bed. The trail led up stream near the bank, descending headlong to the river two or three times, and then ascending precipitous bluffs that tested the horses' wind severely. From these summits, views of a section of the Rocky Mountains, sixty or seventy miles away to the south-west, rewarded our exertions, and were the only thing that justified Valad's phrase of 'beau chemin.' The deep sides of the mountains and two or three of the summits were white with snow, and under the rays of the sun one part looked green and glacier-like. We should have crossed and then recrossed the McLeod hereabouts to escape the worst part of the road, but Valad, to his own intense mortification, missed the point where the trail led oft to the ford. There was nothing left, therefore, but to keep pegging away at the rate of a mile an hour, up and down hill, through thick underbrush of willows and aspens that had sprung up round the burnt spruce and cotton-wood, which still reared aloft their tall blackened shafts.

At I o'clock, we dined beside the river on the usual breakfast and supper fare, having travelled twelve or thirteen miles in six hours and a quarter. Muskegs and windfalls delayed us most, the former being always near creeks, and worse than the latter. The only hard ground was on the sandy or gravelly ridges separating the intervening valleys, and on these, windfalls had accumulated from year to year, so that the trail in many places was buried out of sight. While at dinner, clouds gathered in the west and quickly overspread the whole sky. This hurried our movements, but the rain was on—with thunder and lightning— in ten minutes. After the first smart shower, a lull followed which the men took advantage of to pack the horses, drying their backs as well as possible before putting on the saddles.

A little after 3 P.M., we were on the march and on rather a better road, though of the same general character as in the morning. Heavy thunder showers broken by gleams of sunlight dispelling the leaden clouds from time to time, gave a sky of wonderful grandeur and colour. The river and the finely wooded hilly country beyond, for hereabouts too the opposite banks had escaped the ravages of fire—probably because there was no trail and no travelling on that side, displayed themselves in magnificent panoramic views from every bluff we climbed, while far to the west and south-west beyond the hills, masses of clouds concealing the mountains but assuming the forms and almost the solidity of the mountains, made an horizon worthy of the whole sky and of the foreground. At sunset we descended for the last time to the river, and skirting it for two miles or crossing to long islets where the current divided itself, reached a beautiful prairie and camped under the shade of a group of spruce and poplars. This was the point Valad had aimed for, as a good place for the Sunday rest, chiefly because of the feed; and here we were to take leave of the McLeod, and cross to the Athabasca—

'No more by thee our steps shall be
For ever and for ever,'

or at least until there is a better road, was gladly chorussed, for we were all heartily sick of the McLeod. From its watershed to this point was less than eighty miles, and to get over that distance had occupied four and a half days of the hardest travelling. The tally of the week was 120 miles, and every one was satisfied with it because more could not have been done. And when, on the only occasion in the week on which spirits were used, the whole party gathered round the camp-fire after supper to have the Saturday night toasts of ' wives and sweethearts' and 'the Dominion and the Railroad, 'immediately after ' the Queen,' the universal feeling was of thankful content that we had got on without casualties, and that to-morrow was Sunday. The men being without waterproofs had not an inch of dry clothing on them, but they dried themselves at the big fire as if it was the jolliest thing in the world to be wet. Valad, under the influence of a glass of the mildest toddy, relaxed from his Indian gravity and taciturnity, and smiled and talked benignantly. 'When with gentlemen' he was pleased to inform us, 'he was treated like a gentleman; but when with others he had a hard time of it'  Poor Valad! what a lonely joyless life he lived, yet he did his duty like a man, and bore himself with the dignity of a man who lived close to and learned the lessons of nature. Some will blame us for giving toddy to an Indian, or for taking it ourselves, and perhaps more severely for not suppressing all mention of the fact. Our only answer is that a little did us good and we were thankful for the good, and that the one merit this diary aspires to is to be a frank and truthful narrative. It would have been mean to have left Valad out; and to show an Indian that it was possible to be temperate in all things, possible to use a stimulant without abusing it, seemed to us on the whole a better lesson to enforce practically, than to have preached an abstinence that he would have misunderstood.

September 8th.—Another Day of rest, with nothing to chronicle save our ordinary Sunday routine. But no,—this is doing great injustice to the Doctor who eclipsed all his former efforts, in the way of providing medical comforts, by concocting a plum-pudding for dinner. The Doctor's prescriptions smelled of the pharmacopoeia as little as possible. Was an old woman that he met on the way complaining of 'a wakeness?' Send her a pannikin of hot soup. Were Valad's legs inflamed by rubbing all day against his coarse trowsers in the saddle? Make him a present of a pair of soft flannel drawers. Was a good 'Father' at the mission in failing health? Fatten him up with rich diet, even on fast days. And finally were we all desirous of celebrating a birth-day, and did the thought make us a little homesick, the only sickness that our own party ever suffered from? Get up a plum-pudding for dinner.

But how? We had neither bag, suet, nor plums. But we had berry pemmican, and pemmican in its own line is equal to sha-ganappi. It contained buffalo fat that would do for suet, and berries that would do for plums. Only genius could have united plum-pudding and berry pemmican in one mental act. Terry contributed a bag, and, when the contribution was inspected rather daintily, he explained that it was the sugar bag, which might be used as there was very little sugar left for it to hold. Pemmican, flour and water, baking soda, sugar and salt were surely sufficient ingredients; as a last touch the Doctor searched the medicine-chest, but in vain, for tincture of ginger to give a flavour, and in default of that, suggested chlorodyne, but the Chief promptly negatived the suggestion, on the ground that if we ate the pudding the chlorodyne might be required a few hours after.

At 3 P.M. the bag was put in the pot, and dinner was ordered to be at 5. At the appointed hour everything else was ready the usual piece de resistance of pemmican, flanked for Sunday garnishing, by two reindeer tongues. But as we gathered round, it was announced that the pudding was a failure ; that it would not unite; that buffalo fat was not equal in cohesive power to suet, and thar instead of a pudding it would be only boiled pemmican. The Doctor might have been knocked down with a feather; Frank was loud and savage in his lamentations ; but the Chief advised 'more boiling,' as an infallible specific in such cases, and that dinner be proceeded with. The additional half hour acted like a charm. With fear and trembling the Doctor went to the pot; anxious heads bent down with his; tenderly was the bag lifted out and slit; and a joyous shout conveyed the intelligence that it was a success, that at any rate it had the shape of a pudding. Brown, who had been scoffing, was silenced; and the Doctor conquered him completely by helping him to a double portion. How good that pudding was! A teaspoonful of brandy on a sprinkling of sugar made sauce; and there was not one of the party who did not hold out his plate for "more," though, as the Doctor belonged to the orthodox school of medicine, the first helping had been no homoeopathic dose. To have been perfect the pudding should have had more boiling; but no one dared hint a fault, for was not the dish empty? We at once named the place Plum-Pudding Camp, and Brown was engaged on the spot to make a better if he could at the Yellow Head Pass Camp.

In all respects save weather the day was as pleasant as our former Sundays; but gusts of wind blew the smoke of the fire into the tent, and the grass was too thoroughly soaked with rain for pleasant walking. The sun struggled to come out but scarcely succeeded, and towards evening a cold rain, that would be snow on the mountains, set in. Valad had pitched a separate camp for himself under a grove of pines, that sheltered him beautifully from the wind and rain. So cozy was it that during the day one after another resorted thither, for a pipe or a quiet read, when eyes could no longer endure the big tent's smoke.

The usual morning and evening services were attended by all. Without them the day would have been a rest, but otherwise not of much profit. Each time that we united as one body in worship, our thoughts were raised from earth and the bond that united us became stronger and more sacred.

September 9th.—Up very early this morning, but it was 7 before we said 'goodbye' to Plum Pudding Camp and the McLeod river. In packing horses, the more haste the less speed. Any twist of the shaganappi omitted is sure to avenge itself at the most inconvenient place. And as none but Brown and Beaupré could do this work, it took a long time.

The night had been cold and the grass in the morning was crisp with frost, but the sun rose bright and soon dissolved the hoar into dew. We started in high spirits, under the warm rays of the sun, with good hopes of soon seeing the Athabasca. The trail to it leads up an intervale of the McLeod for a mile, and then crosses a hilly portage thirteen miles long. The portage consists of ridges of gravel intermixed with clay, supporting a growth of pines and spruce large enough for railway or building purposes. At the bottom of each ridge is a creek of clear cold water, running over black muck or whitish clay. Half way across, a lake, that empties into the Athabasca, lies under the shadow of the Foot Hills; and from this point successive steep descents, lead to streams running in deep valleys over pebbly beds, and through the woods glimpses are had of blue wooded heights on the other side of the Athabasca. Instead of going directly west to the river, the trail trends more to the south, ascending the river at a distance from it, and we thus missed the large alluvial flat a little north called Le Grand Bas-fond, where is the only good grass for miles. At 1 o'clock we got our first sight of the Athabasca, from a high bluff, and beyond it to the south-west, fifty miles off but seemingly close at hand, the Rocky Mountains covered with snow. It was time to halt, but the pasture under the pines and spruces was so scant that it would have been a mockery to turn the horses loose. We resolved therefore to keep moving and make only one spell for the day. For two hours longer the patient creatures toiled on, as willingly as when fresh; the trail winding for five or six miles up and down the steep banks of the river, and crossing several mountain streams, and for the next five going along a smooth terrace of shingle, now a hundred feet above the river but once its bed. Here the trail was so good that, with few interruptions the jog trot was maintained. At length on a burnt tract, rich heavy bunch-grass—enough for the night—showed, and the trail descending to another bench only ten feet above the present bed of the river, we camped on the lower, and drove the horses back to the upper terrace after watering them. In a continuous march of ten hours about twenty-five miles had been travelled.

Valad shook his head when he saw the white peaks and the river. He had never known the former so covered with snow, nor the latter so swollen at this season of the year. There must have been severe weather in the mountains, with the probable consequence for us, that instead of fording we would have to construct a raft opposite Jasper House.

The Athabasca at this early point of its course is nearly as large as the Saskatchewan at Edmonton, of the same clay colour, and running with a more rapid current. It varies in breadth according as it is hemmed in by cliffs of sandstones, shales, and clay; or as its shores expand into intervales or broad terraces rising one above the other. These successive terraces are marked very distinctly in several places on both sides of the stream. Dr. Hector measured their heights with the aneroid at 'Le Grand Bas-fond,' and found that the three lowest and most distinctly marked were fifteen, a hundred, and two hundred and ten feet above the alluvial bottom of the valley, while one above, not so uniformly distinct, was three hundred and seventy feet. These terraces are covered with spruce and pine, most of which has escaped fires.

From the terrace above our camp, the mountains seemed immediately beyond the wood on the opposite side of the river They towered up in a grand silver-tipped line closing the western horizon so high up, that the sun always sets here more than half an hour sooner than on the plains.

At length we had come to the bases of the Rocky Mountains, and the sight of them was sufficient reward for all the toil of the preceding fortnight.

While hacking with his axe at brush on the camping ground, just where our heads would lie, Brown struck something metallic that blunted the edge of the axe. Feeling with his hand he drew out from near the root of a young spruce tree, an ancient sword bayonet, the brazen hilt and steel blade in excellent preservation, but the leather scabbard half eaten as if by the teeth of some animal. It seemed strange in this vast and silent forest wilderness thus to come upon a relic that told, probably, of the old days when the two rival fur companies armed their agents to the teeth, and when bloody contests often took place between them. Brown presented the "treasure trove" to the Chief, for his museum, as a memento of the Athabasca, and from it, this our forty-fourth camp, since leaving Thunder Bay, received the name of Bayonet Camp.

To-night we rest under the protection of the Rocky Mountains.


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