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Forest, Lake and Prairie
Chapter XXXVI
Swim horses - Cross in small boat - Dine at officers' table on pounded meat without anything else - Sup on ducks - No carving.


SWIMMING our horses, and crossing in a small boat, we resaddled and repacked and rode into the fort, where we were received kindly by the Hudson's Bay Company's officers and invited to partake of their fare, which was just then pounded meat straight—no bread, no vegetables, nothing else. Pounded meat with marrow-fat is very good fare, but alone it becomes monotonous, even before you get through the first meal.

At this time Edmonton was without provisions, and only now was sending a party out to the plains to trade with the Indians for some.

The next meal we dined on duck straight. No carving by the gentleman who served; he put a duck on each plate, and we picked the bones clean—at least, I did those of mine.

Edmonton then consisted of the Hudson's Bay Company's fort, and this was all in the vicinity. Out north, about nine miles distant, was a newly commenced Roman Catholic mission; but here the four walls of the fort enclosed everything. Stores and dwelling-houses were packed in a small space, and when the trip-men and voyageurs were home for the winter the post would be crowded.

I had now seen three Hudson's Bay Company's forts in the Saskatchewan—Canton, Pitt, and Edmonton—all situate in one of the richest agricultural districts in Canada, but each and all striking evidence that the Hudson's Bay Company was nothing more than a fur-trading organization; they were not settlers nor farmers. Pelts and not bread, furs and not homes, were what they aimed at.

Though only a boy, I could readily see that before many years this would be changed, for no power under heaven could keep settlement out of this country I had already been privileged with seeing a portion of.


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