Forest, Lake and
Prairie Chapter XLI Mr. O. B. - The murderer - The liquor keg.
IN the meantime an old
wandering-Jew kind of man, one of those human beings who seem to be trying
to hide away from themselves, had turned up, and was domiciled with Mr.
Woolsey. He had come across the plains from Fort Garry with a party of white
men, who grew tired of him and dumped him at Fort Canton, where I saw him
when I landed from the boats in the summer. He had come on to Edmonton with
the Hudson's Bay Company's carts, and there was thrown out by a rule made by
the Hudson's Bay Company's Governor, Dallas, that no Hudson's Bay officer
should allow any stragglers to stay around the post. The penalty for doing
this was a fine upon the officer in charge of ten shillings sterling per
day. Someone suggested Mr. Woolsey, and Mr. O. B. (for that was his name)
came by first opportunity to Mr. Woolsey.
An Indian was returning to
Fort Pitt, and he was persuaded to bring Mr. O. B. to Mr. Woolsey; and when
the two were starting, total strangers to each other, and not understanding
each other's language, some heartless fellow whispered to Mr. O. B., "Watch
that fellow, for he is a murderer." And so he was said to be, having been
bribed (so the story went) to kill another man because the briber wanted the
other's wife. Whether this was exactly true or not, poor Mr. O. B. had an
awful time of watching his companion and guide, and was a very grateful man
when he came to our home safe. He was an educated man, and should have been
a gentleman in every sense. He also was a victim of the liquor curse. his
was another life blasted with this demon from the bottomless pit. In
rummaging around our quarters, he found a keg which some time or another had
held liquor. I saw him smell this, and then fill it with water and put it in
the cellar; then every little while he would go down and shake this keg. One
day I heard him say, "It is getting good," so I thought I would make it
better, and I took the keg and emptied it, and and filled it with fresh
water. Mr. O. B. took great satisfaction in drinking this, though the taste
must have become very faint indeed.
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