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Title: Jack the Young Canoeman: An Eastern Boy's Voyage in a Chinook Canoe

Author: George Bird Grinnell

Illustrator: Edwin Willard Deming

Release date: July 15, 2014 [eBook #46289]

Language: English



E-text prepared by David Edwards, Haragos Pál,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See




Jack fired



An Eastern Boy's Voyage in a Chinook Canoe



Author of "Jack in the Rockies," "Jack the Young Ranchman," "Jack Among the Indians," "Pawnee Hero Stories," "Blackfoot Lodge Tales," "The Story of the Indian," "The Indian of To-day," etc.


And by Half-tone Engravings of Photographs

Title illustration


Copyright, 1906
By Frederick A. Stokes Company

Published in September, 1906
All rights reserved



The mountains which border the British Columbia coast between the mouth of the Frazer River and the southeastern point of Alaska are still unknown to the world at large. Few people have sailed up the wonderful fiords, which, as great water-floored canyons, run back forty or fifty miles into the interior. Fewer still have penetrated by land into the mountains where there are neither roads nor trails, and where progress on foot is barred by a thousand insurmountable obstacles.

Since the time that Jack Danvers made his voyage in a Chinook canoe along this beautiful coast, it has not greatly changed. The mountains still abound in game, the sea in fish; the scenery is as beautiful as it was then; and over the waters, dancing blue beneath the brilliant sky, or black under the heavy rain clouds, the Indian still paddles his high-prowed canoe.


Chapter Page
I. Victoria, V. I. 11
II. How Jack and Hugh Came to British Columbia 22
III. A Mysterious Water Monster 31
IV. The Cobbler Naturalist of Burrard Inlet 40
V. An Unexpected Bear 53
VI. Of Indians in Armor 68
VII. Seammux in Danger 78
VIII. The Coast Indians and their Ways 91
IX. Preparation for the Voyage 103
X. The Start 111
XI. Food from the Sea 124
XII. The Island Deer 135
XIII. An Adventure of the Cassiar 147
XIV. Bute Inlet 158
XV. The Work that Glaciers Do 172
XVI. A Mother's Courage 189
XVII. Jack Meets a Seal Pirate 209
XVIII. Millions of Salmon 228
XIX. Fishing with a Siwash 236
XX. Off for a Hunt in the Mountains 251
XXI. Last Days in British Columbia 264
XXII. The Homeward Road 277


As the deer bounded up the bank, Jack fired
Jack fired at the white spot on the beast's breast Facing page 58
Seammux also rolled after the goat, and he, too, disappeared "       "    82
Here they wear white men's clothes, including shoes and hats "       "    92
"Close to some of the houses stand tall carved poles, called totem poles" "       "    98
When they saw the canoe they all stopped and began to stare at it "       "  190
Drove her short horns deep into his side "       "  204
An Indian salmon weir "       "  234

[Pg 11]

Jack the Young Canoeman



"Say, Hugh, what is that Indian doing in that canoe? I thought at first that he was paddling, but he doesn't seem to move, and that doesn't look like a paddle that he has in his hand."

"To tell you the truth, son, I don't know what he is doing. This business here on the salt water puzzles me, and everything is strange and queer. This ain't like the prairie, nor these ain't like any mountains that I've ever seen. I am beginning at the bottom and have got to learn everything. But about that Indian in the canoe, you can see that the boat doesn't move; and you can see, too, if you look sharp, that he's anchored. Don't you see that taut line reaching down into the water?"

"That's so," said Jack; "he surely is anchored, but he works his arms just as if he were paddling. I am going to ask this man over here."

Jack walked over to a sailor who stood leaning against the rail of the deck on which they were sitting, and who was looking over the water, and said to him: "Will you tell me, sir, what that Indian is doing in the canoe over there?"

The man turned his head and looked in the direction in which Jack was pointing, and said: "Yes, I can tell you what he is doing; he is fishing. Don't you see that every stroke he makes he is bringing up some herrings?"

[Pg 12]

"No, I don't see it, and I will be much obliged to you if you will describe to me how he is fishing."

"Of course I will," said the man. "You see his canoe is anchored there in that deep water, just this side of that point around which the tide runs strong. At this season of the year the herrings gather in big schools in that eddy there. Of course we don't know just how they lie, but they must be mighty thick together. That thing the Indian has in his hand is a pole about a dozen feet long, flattened on the sides, and maybe a couple of inches across in its widest part. The flattening makes the pole sort of oval shaped, if you should saw through it; and each of the narrow edges of the pole is studded with a row of sharp nails, about an inch or two apart. These nails are firmly driven into the wood and the points that stick out for about an inch are very sharp. The nails run for about one half the length of the pole. The Indian, sitting in his canoe and holding the upper part of the pole in his two hands, as you see, just as he would hold a paddle, sweeps the end of it, that has the nails in, through the water, using just the same motion that he does in paddling. The herrings down there are so thick that every time he passes the pole vertically through the water it strikes the bodies of three or four of the fish with force enough to drive the nails into them; and as the man continues the stroke they are pushed ahead of the pole. When the stroke is finished and the end of the pole brought out of the water, the fish are still sticking on the nails. Then, you will see, if you watch him, he brings the nailed end of the pole in over the canoe, taps the pole on the canoe, and the fish drop off into the bottom of the boat. Don't you see the white shiny specks on the pole every time he makes a stroke?"

"Yes," said Jack, "of course I see them, but that is a new way of fishing to me, and I never should [Pg 13]have guessed what he was trying to do. I should think it would take a long time to get fish enough for a mess in that way."

"Don't you believe it," said the sailor; "one of those fellows may get a bushel or two of fish in two or three hours. Just you watch the pole as one brings it up and see how many fish he gets to a stroke, and then figure how many strokes he makes to a minute."

Jack watched for a few minutes and saw that at every sweep of the pole two or half a dozen fish were brought up and knocked loose so as to fall into the canoe, and he made up his mind that after all this was a quick and easy way of fishing.

In the meantime Hugh had strolled up and was listening to their talk, but without making any comment.

Presently Jack said to the sailor: "We are not near enough to make a very good guess at the size of those fish; how big are they?"

"Oh," said the sailor, "they are not very big, maybe not more than four or six inches long, but there are lots of them, as you can see. They catch oolichans in that way too, when they are here, but they have gone now. We only have them during the month of May, but then they gather in certain places and there are worlds of them. The Indians catch them, and the white folks catch them; in fact, for a little while pretty nearly everybody lives on oolichans. They are mighty good eating, I can tell you, and besides those eaten fresh, lots of them are smoked and salted. The Indians don't save many of them. What they don't eat fresh they use to make oil with, for the oolichan is an awful fat fish and you can get lots of oil out of them. They are so fat, that after they have been dried you can light them at one end and they will burn just like a candle. I expect that is the reason that sometimes they are called candle-fish."

[Pg 14]

"Say, friend," said Hugh, "you ain't joking, are you?"

"No," said the man, "I ain't joking; that's just the way it is, like I tell you."

"Well, no offence," said Hugh. "Where I come from, in the mountains and in the cattle country, sometimes the boys, when a stranger comes around, sort of josh him in a good-natured way, and tell tall stories just to see how much he will believe. I didn't know that maybe you had such a custom as that out here."

"No, sir," said the sailor, "we don't do anything like that here. We suppose that people ask us questions about the country because they want to know how things really are, and we tell them just what the facts are."

"Well," said Hugh, "it seems to me, from what I have seen, that the facts are strange enough here, and it wouldn't be necessary for you to stretch them a mite to astonish folks."

Soon after this Hugh and Jack went back to the place where they had been sitting, in the shelter of the deck cabin, and sat there looking over the beautiful view that was stretched out before them. Neither said very much. Both were impressed by the beauty of the scene and the novelty of their surroundings; for neither of them had ever seen anything like it before.

"I tell you, son," said Hugh, "this here is a wonderful country to me, and I never saw anything to match it. You see it's the first time that I ever got down to the edge of the salt water. I don't know what to make of it all. Everything is different; the mountains and timber, the people, the animals, and the birds. And as for fish—why! I never supposed there was any place in the world where fish were as plenty as they are here."

"Yes," said Jack, "it's surely a wonderful country. [Pg 15]There is something new to look at every minute; and it's all just as different as can be from anything I ever saw before. I was talking to one of the passengers here a little while ago and he told me that these Indians here live almost altogether on fish. They dig clams and catch mussels and catch the salmon and the herrings and those little fish this sailor was talking about; and they kill seals and porpoises and even whales. It's all mighty strange, but doesn't it show just how people fit themselves to the conditions that surround them? Now, suppose you take one of the Blackfeet, turn him loose on his horse at the edge of the water, and how do you think he would go to work to get his next meal? Why, he would starve to death."

"He surely would," said Hugh. "Don't you know, that the things these Indians here eat would be sort of poison to the Blackfeet? It is against their medicine to eat fish or most anything that lives in the water. They think those things are not fit to eat, and many of them would starve before they would even touch them."

The vessel ploughed its way through the strait with the land rising high on the right and lower on the left-hand side. Both coasts were rock-bound, and the heavy swell dashed against the shore great waves, whose foam flew high into the air. Away to the south rose high rough mountains, their summits white with snow. To the north the land rose gently, and green fields, dotted here and there with white houses, stretched away for miles. Beyond were hills, forest-clad.

The travellers were busy looking in all directions at the beautiful prospect spread before them. Suddenly, not far from the ship, a great head rose above the water, remaining there for a moment looking at the boat. Jack saw it and called out to his companion: "O Hugh! that must be a sea-lion or a fur seal! It's bigger than the seals that I have seen on the coast of [Pg 16]Maine." After a moment the head disappeared beneath the water. But in a few moments several other heads were seen; and these seals, less timid than the first, swam along not far from the boat, showing their great bodies partly out of the water, and sometimes, in chasing one another, jumping high into the air. Further along, the boat startled from the surface of the water a group of black birds. Less in size than ducks, they flew swiftly along, close to the water's surface. Jack could see that on the shoulders of each bird was a round spot of white, while the legs were coral-red.

"There is a new bird to me, Hugh, and I bet it is to you, too. That must be one of the birds they call guillemots. They live up in the North and breed on the ledges of the rock. I have read about them often."

"Well," said Hugh, "there's surely plenty to see here; and I wouldn't be surprised if you and I travelled around all the time with our mouths open, just because we are too surprised to remember to shut them."

All this time the boat was moving swiftly along. Toward afternoon she rounded a sharp point of rocks; and, proceeding up a narrow channel, the buildings of the town of Victoria were soon seen in the distance. Hugh said:

"That must be our landing place, son. I'll be glad to get ashore and stretch my legs. I take it, this here land that we are coming to is an island, and very likely there won't be a horse in the place. We'll have to do all of our travelling afoot, or in one of these cranky canoes, and I haven't much of a notion of getting into one of them. I'll be a good deal like you were the first time you got on a horse—afraid I'll fall off; and yet I don't know as they'll be any harder to ride in than the birch canoes I used to travel in up in the North."

Victoria, where our travellers landed that afternoon, [Pg 17]was a charming, quiet town of six or seven thousand inhabitants, situated on the extreme southeastern point of Vancouver Island. For many years after its settlement it had been nothing more than the Hudson's Bay fort and trading post, with a few dwellings occupied by those employed there. But the discovery of gold in small quantities on the Frazer River in 1857, and later on at the placer mines on the Quesnelle and at Caribou, made a great change in the prospects of the place. Word of the new diggings travelled fast and soon reached California, causing a world of excitement among the mining population of that State, then ripe for a fresh move. A rush took place, and all those who travelled toward the new mines in British Columbia passed by the drowsy old Hudson's Bay fort, where hitherto the only event of the year had been the arrival of the ship from England with the mail. Now the fort was startled by the coming of twenty thousand miners, who pitched their tents about it and founded Victoria. Buildings sprang up and trade was attracted. Every one going to the mines or coming from them passed through the town and paid its tribute, and high hopes were entertained of its future importance. People who lived there began to call it "the emporium of commerce," "the metropolis of the northwest coast of America." But, unfortunately for Victoria, the mines, which caused this excitement soon ceased to pay; and the town's commerce fell off. It did not fulfil the promises of its early youth, and its growth has since been slow. Now, however, there was a prospect of speedy communication with the rest of the world; for during the summer when our travellers reached there, the Canadian Pacific Railroad was being built and the loyal inhabitants of Victoria were again anticipating that the place would become a great city—"a second San Francisco." There was reason for their hopes. While the railroad could not [Pg 18]directly reach Victoria, its terminus on the mainland would be within easy reach of the Island City, and would give Vancouver Island a market for its products. Its trade at that time was little or nothing, for the goods sent to the United States had to pay a heavy duty, which left little margin for profit.

Hugh and Jack spent several days at Victoria. The country was picturesque and attractive, and the roads good. They took long walks into the country to the Gorge and to Cedar Hill, from which a beautiful view of the city could be obtained. The panorama included also a view of the Straits of Fuca, the Gulf of Georgia with its hundreds of islands, and the mainland, rough with mountain peaks, among which, rising above all, stood Mt. Baker, calm and white, a snow-clad monarch. While they remained in the town they lived literally on the fat of the land. Victoria boasted one of the best hotels in the world; not a pretentious structure, but one where everything that was good to eat, in abundance, well cooked and well served, was furnished. There were fish of many sorts,—salmon and sea bass, herring and oolichans, oysters and clams, crabs, game, delicious vegetables, and abundance of fruit.

Mr. Sturgis had given to Hugh a letter to an acquaintance of his in Victoria, and one day Hugh and Jack called on Mr. MacTavish. He was an old Hudson Bay man, who, after retiring from the service of the Company had come to Victoria to live. He had a delightful family, and a charming house, full of a multitude of interesting curiosities, picked up during his long service in the North. Of these, one of the most interesting was a complete set of dinner dishes, carved out of black slate by the Haida Indians of the North. While the figures exhibited on these were conventional in form and of Indian type, the carving was so remarkably good that it was hard for Hugh and Jack to believe that the work was Indian. Neither [Pg 19]had ever seen anything done by Indians more artistic than the ordinary painted skins of the plains' Tribes; and when they saw such delicate, beautifully carved work, often inlaid with the white teeth or fragments of bones of animals, it was hard for them to understand how it all could have been done by native artists.

Mr. MacTavish told them much about the life of the island,—the fishing and hunting. He said that at that very time, during the month of July, the salt waters of the Straits and of the Gulf of Georgia abounded with salmon, which were readily taken by trolling; and when thus taken, on a light rod, furnished fine sport. Many of the brooks of the island, too, afforded excellent trout fishing.

About Victoria there were found, he said, two species of grouse,—the ruffed grouse and the blue grouse. The California quail had been introduced and seemed to be increasing, but sportsmen did not care much for it, because it did not lie well to a dog, but ran when alarmed and took to the thickest brush, where it was impossible to shoot it. In the autumn ducks and geese occurred in great numbers; and, on the whole, shooting was good. Their host also told them there was a considerable variety of big game. Deer were abundant within a few miles of Victoria; and it was not uncommon for people, starting out in the evening, to drive into the country and return the next night with several. There were some places where still-hunting could be successfully followed; but in most cases it was necessary to use hounds to drive the deer to the water, for the timber was so thick, and the underbrush and ferns so dense and tangled, that it was impossible to travel through the forests without making a great deal of noise.

Their entertainer astonished Hugh and Jack by telling them that further north on the island, in the [Pg 20]neighborhood of Comox, elk were to be found. They were not abundant, he said, and were hard to approach on account of the character of the forest; but they were certainly there. Bears and panthers were everywhere quite abundant. Sooke, a village about twenty miles from Victoria, was a great place for bears. Many of those killed were black or cinnamon; but it was reported that there were also grizzlies at Sooke. The panthers were little hunted, except in places where farmers had flocks or herds to protect. They lived principally on the deer, which were very abundant. There were a few wolves, but except in winter they were seldom seen.

Mr. MacTavish had a good knowledge of natural history; and he had much to say to Jack, who was interested in the subject, about the curious forms of life found in the surrounding waters. When he heard that Jack and Hugh had come up there to spend a month travelling among the islands, he told them that the best thing that they could do would be to go over to the mainland, and there make the acquaintance of Jack Fannin, a cobbler, living on Burrard Inlet, as he knew more about the birds and mammals of the Province than any other man.

"Fannin is the man for you," said Mr. MacTavish, "and you should see him before you make up your minds to do anything. He will give you the best advice possible; and perhaps you can even get him to go with you. That would be a great thing; it would add enormously to your pleasure, and would save you many delays. And as he has mined, hunted, canoed, and chopped logs over much of the coast, he knows it as well as any one."

Our friends spent a long, delightful afternoon with Mr. MacTavish, and when they spoke of returning to their hotel he would not let them go, but kept them with him for the evening meal. They walked back [Pg 21]through the clear, cool moonlight to Victoria, and before they had reached there had agreed that they would go by the first steamer to New Westminster to hunt up Mr. Fannin.

The next day when they told Mr. MacTavish of their decision, he congratulated them on their good judgment and gave them a letter to a friend in New Westminster, who would take care of them and see that they lost no time in finding the man they wanted.

The hospitality and kindness shown the two Americans by Mr. MacTavish was typical of the treatment they received everywhere in British Columbia. People there, they found, had time to enjoy life. They did not rush about, after the headlong American fashion, but took things quietly and easily. The stores were opened about nine or ten in the morning, and at twelve they were closed. The shop-keepers went home to lunch, appearing again and reopening their places about two o'clock; keeping them open until four or five in the afternoon. Then their day's work was over and they closed up for the night.

[Pg 22]



Two days later Hugh and Jack started by steamer for the town of New Westminster, near the mouth of the Fraser River, on the mainland. The trip was one of great beauty, for the boat wound its way here and there amid the many islands of the gulf; and as each one was passed a new vista of beauty burst on the view. And, while the two travellers are sitting on the steamer's deck, admiring the wonderful scenery opening on all sides, wondering at the new birds and animals which appeared, and talking over the possibilities for their summer trip, it may be explained how it came to pass that these two friends found themselves so far from their homes and from the high, dry plains where the summers of the three previous years had been passed by both.

It was six months before—to be exact, it was on Christmas Day—that the thought of the trip to British Columbia had first been broached. Mr. Sturgis, Jack's uncle, had come back from the ranch and was spending the winter with Jack's father and mother at the house on Thirty-Eighth Street; and it was while they were sitting at dessert during their Christmas dinner that Mr. Sturgis had announced that during the next summer it would be necessary for him to go out to British Columbia to inspect a mine in which he was interested, and had proposed that Jack should go with him.

For three years past Jack had spent the summer on the western plains. Ill health had been the first cause [Pg 23]of his going out to Swiftwater Ranch, where he had learned to ride, to hunt big game, and to live the life of a ranchman. So greatly had he been benefited by this trip, that the next summer he was permitted to return to the ranch. Then he and old Hugh Johnson had travelled north, across the lonely, buffalo-dotted plains, until they had come to the country of the Piegan Blackfeet, where they had spent the summer in the Indian camp, and Jack had seen much of Indian life—of its charms and its dangers. He returned at length down the Missouri River to the railroad, and so back to his home in New York for the winter's schooling. The third year, still in Hugh's company, he had gone up the Missouri River; and starting southwest from Fort Benton, had gone through the Yellowstone Park and back to the ranch, having a great deal of shooting and fishing and not a little of adventure.

In this out-door life, in knocking about with Hugh Johnson and with other people who had been brought up to take care of themselves, Jack had learned many lessons of the plains and the mountains. He had picked up a great store of the lore of the prairies, could find his way about, even though there might be neither road nor landmarks to guide him; and, under Hugh's tuition, had become a good prairie man. He had also become very fond of the West; and when his uncle suggested that he should go with him to British Columbia, he was delighted at the thought of the trip. Being a boy of good sense, he said nothing when the suggestion was made, but watched the faces of his father and mother, to see how they felt about it.

"British Columbia seems a long way off, doesn't it, George?" said Mr. Danvers to his brother-in-law.

"Yes," said Jack's mother, "it seems a terribly long way off. I have been badly enough frightened these last three years, when Jack went out into a [Pg 24]country full of cowboys and Indians and wild animals; and I always let him go with the feeling that I shall never see him again. Certainly the plains are far enough away for him. British Columbia must be more than twice as far, and I don't feel as if I could think of that."

"You and Mary have hit it exactly," said Mr. Sturgis. "You both say it seems a long way off, but in practice it is no further off than where Jack has been before, and, indeed, it is not nearly so far. British Columbia is at least within reach of the rest of the world by steam communication and also by telegraph. You can learn in a very short time what is happening in British Columbia, but when Jack was out on the plains, between my ranch and Fort Benton, he was practically as far off as he would have been in Central Africa. The distance of British Columbia is all in imagination. The country is one that we hear very little of, and for that reason we think it far away, but it is not so. Now, I would like to have Jack go with me. I don't mean that I want to take him up into the mountains to have him spend his days loafing around a mine while I am working; but I thought—if you feel like letting him go with me—we would have Hugh Johnson join us at the railroad, all go on together to British Columbia, and let Hugh and Jack take a hunt or a canoe trip along the coast, while I go back to my mine in Washington Territory. I shall be there a month or six weeks, and after I have done my work and they have made their trip, we could meet and come across overland and home by the new railroad that's being built north from the Union Pacific to the mining regions of Montana Territory."

When Jack heard this fascinating plan he had to hold hard to his chair to keep still; and he couldn't help drawing in his breath with a sort of whistle,[Pg 25] making a slight noise, so that his father looked at him and laughed a little.

"You both know," continued Mr. Sturgis, "what these western trips have done for Jack, and yet, really, I am not quite sure that you do know; I am not quite sure that you remember what a wee little bit of a white shrimp he was when he first went out to the ranch; how he changed during that summer, and how, when we came back in the autumn, you, Mary, hardly knew the boy. See how he has grown, squared up—what a picture of health he is! You don't know—and perhaps I don't either, altogether; except so far as I have been told by Hugh Johnson, what a change has taken place in the boy's character. He has developed mentally as much as he has physically. He has gained balance, self-reliance; is sensible beyond his years in all matters that pertain to the out-door life, and is already, in many essentials, a man and a good companion, so far as his strength goes, in any situation where hard work, judgment, coolness, and discretion are required. All this means a great deal, more perhaps than any of us quite understand. If the boy had never gone west, he might have had a greater share of book learning, might have been further advanced toward entering college; but also, he might have been dead, and certainly he would have been very different in appearance from what he is now. You two had better think over the question of this trip. It will mean for the boy another summer spent out of doors, in surroundings that are wholly new to him. The life will be one of hard work whether they make a canoe trip, or a hunt; and it certainly will do them good. Then, of course, it will give him a great deal of pleasure, will enlarge his ideas, and will be, in all respects, helpful to him. Now, think it over, and when you are ready we will talk it over again."

During the months of the winter, the subject had[Pg 26] often been brought up. Jack, when he was consulted, was, of course, eager to go, doubly so after he had learned that his uncle proposed to take Hugh Johnson along. At last his parents consented to his going.

In the spring Mr. Sturgis went west to the ranch, as was his custom, and arrangements were made for Jack to come west over the Union Pacific Railroad as soon as school had closed.

On the appointed day, the train bearing Jack drew up at the little station nearest to Mr. Sturgis's ranch, and Jack's uncle and Hugh Johnson stepped on board the train, while Jack waved an enthusiastic greeting to Joe, who sat in the wagon that had brought them from the ranch.

Then the three travellers sped on westward, plunging through the Wasatch Mountains, and at length reached the Great Salt Lake Basin. They stopped for a day at Salt Lake City, interesting for its beauty, its surroundings of great mountains, and its wonderful lake. Jack had a swim in Salt Lake, and though he had been warned about it, experienced a curious sensation in swimming in its waters, it being impossible for him to sink. He swam about, or stood upright with his whole head out of the water, but found that diving was very difficult. Then, as he began to dry off, after coming out of the water, it was curious to feel his skin become rough with a crust of salt which had to be washed off with fresh water before he could dress.

As they were going back to the city on the railroad Jack said to his uncle: "I wish you would tell me, Uncle George, why this lake is so salt. Of course I have heard you say that it has no outlet and that the rivers which flow into it are constantly bringing down a little salt in solution, which, in the course of many ages has become concentrated in the lake; but is that[Pg 27] the whole story? It doesn't seem to me enough to account for it all."

"It isn't, Jack; you are quite right about that. The Salt Lake Basin, of which the Great Salt Lake now occupies but a comparatively small portion, is simply the bed of another far older and grander sheet of water that was once here, which the geologists called Lake Bonneville. If you take the trouble to look along the mountains while we are here you can see, at various levels, the terraces which indicate the height, on the mountains, of the waters of that inland sea at different periods. You will see, and in fact you can see from here," and he pointed toward the mountains, "these terraces running straight along the mountain sides, hundreds of feet above the level of the plain. Now, Lake Bonneville was far larger than any body of water that now exists on this continent. Its outlet was to the northwest, in Idaho, toward Snake River; and it extended southward for several hundred miles. At last a time came, when, by the elevation of the land, this outlet was cut off, and we had a body of water without any outlet. Gradually evaporation, working for centuries, dried up this lake, and now all that remains of it is the Salt Lake, in which we have just been swimming. In that water is concentrated much of all of the salt and soda that was in the greater lake, as well as much of that brought down by the streams during the ages that have passed since the old outlet closed up. Even Salt Lake is believed to be steadily growing smaller, drying up, and the flats around its border are now so full of salt and of alkali of one kind and another that they are wholly infertile and cannot be farmed.

"The Mormons have made out of the valley of the lake, however, a perfect garden spot. Once it was a sage desert, as barren as anything that you have ever been over, more so perhaps. Now you can see for[Pg 28] yourself what grows here,—wheat, rye, barley, oats, green stretches of graceful corn, great patches of potatoes, orchards and hay fields; and to me it seems more like one of the farming States east of the Missouri than it does like a sage desert."

"Well, that is mighty interesting, Uncle George, and I am glad to hear it. I sometimes think that I would like mighty well to study geology. It seems as if the history of the earth we're living on ought to be as interesting a subject as one could take up."

From Salt Lake the travellers hurried west, and before very long found themselves at San Francisco. From there a steamer took them north along the rough and dangerous coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington to the Strait of Fuca and Puget Sound, where Mr. Sturgis left them; and finally to Victoria. Before the three parted, it had been decided that Jack and Hugh should get a canoe and some Indians and make a trip through the Gulf of Georgia; and returning, should meet Mr. Sturgis in Tacoma, Washington, whence they would return to the East.

It was almost sundown, when the steamer which bore Jack and Hugh approached the wharf at New Westminster. After they had entered the mouth of the Fraser River the ride had still been very interesting, for on either side of the steamer appeared at intervals great barn-like wooden buildings, which some of the passengers on board explained were salmon canning factories. Loitering about these were a few Chinamen, apparently attached to the factories; but not many people were about, for as yet the salmon had not begun to run.

As the boat drew up to the wharf, a good many people from the town sat, awaiting its landing. Among these, Hugh and Jack noticed a tall, well-built man, who seemed to keep his eyes constantly fixed on them. [Pg 29]At last he bowed, and waved his hand, to which salutation they responded. They wondered who it could be, for they did not know that Mr. MacTavish had telegraphed to Mr. James to look out for the travellers on this boat. As soon as the gangplank was run out, Mr. James boarded the vessel, and coming up to them introduced himself. He took them to the hotel; and, seeing that they had comfortable rooms, left them there, saying that he would come back a little later and take them up to spend the evening at his house.

Two or three hours later the three were climbing the road, on their way to Mr. James's house which was situated among the stumps of the ancient forest, which still stood in the suburbs of the town. Here they spent a delightful evening, and before they parted for the night it was arranged that the next morning Mr. Hughes should take Jack out for a little hunt, and try and show him one of the deer of the country.

"We don't hunt here," said Mr. James, "as you do back in the States, because we cannot. If it were practicable, I should prefer, as I should think most people would, to go out and take up a deer's track, follow him until I got within range and then, if I could, kill him; but that is impossible in the forests we have here. The trees grow over three hundred feet in height; there is much fallen timber in the woods, and the logs are from four to ten feet thick. Besides that, the great precipitation produces such a heavy undergrowth that it is impossible to go through it noiselessly. Therefore, if we want deer we are obliged here, to run the game into the water with dogs, and kill them there. It is not a sport that I greatly esteem, but at least we can kill an occasional deer when we want venison."

"I should like very much to see it done once, Mr. James," said Jack, "as most of my hunting has been done in running buffalo, or finding my game and crawling up to it; and I have been taught that was the[Pg 30] most sportsmanlike way to do it. Yet, at the same time, it is easy to see that it cannot be done in a country such as you describe."

"Well," said Hugh, "I guess I'll let you two go and do your hunting to-morrow morning alone. I don't think that it's worth while for me to go and see a deer shot over in the water. Maybe I'll get up and walk out there with you, though. I'd like to stretch my legs after having been in that boat for so many days."

Before they parted, then, it was agreed that Hugh and Jack should present themselves at Mr. James's house next morning as near to four o'clock as possible, when they would start to hunt for a deer near Mirror Lake.

[Pg 31]



It was still black night when Hugh and Jack arrived at Mr. James's, about four o'clock the next morning. He was waiting for them, and, seated on the floor near the stove in the dining-room where he had been eating his breakfast, was an Indian, whom he introduced as Squawitch—"The Sturgeon," as Mr. James explained.

By the time they had left the house the eastern sky had begun to pale, and day was at hand. It promised to be a perfect one. The sky was cloudless and no fog obscured the view. In the east, above the jagged and broken summits of the Pitt River Mountains, the stars were disappearing. The sky was beginning to grow gray and then to flush and glow, each instant becoming brighter. They walked at a brisk pace, at first climbing the hill and then passing along the level lands of the plateau. The three white men walked side by side in advance, and behind them came the Indian, leading three splendid hounds, which from time to time tugged at their chains or whimpered as some scent from the forest met their nostrils. The air was cool, fresh, and exhilarating. A gentle breeze just moved the branches of the great trees, which were far larger than any Hugh or Jack had ever seen.

From the recesses of the tangled forests came the sweet balsamic odors of firs and cedars, mingled with the faint damp smell of decaying vegetation, so characteristic of the forest in all climates. To Jack and Hugh all the trees and all the plants were new. They[Pg 32] wondered at the vast size and height of the tree trunks, admired the maples with their large leaves, the thick tangle of underbrush, and beneath all the great ferns, higher than a man's head. They were passing between high walls of foliage, extending far above them on either side. Above was a narrow strip of blue sky and before them the yellow road. Multitudes of bright bits of color appeared along the roadside. The fireweed, familiar everywhere in the mountains, shone like a tongue of flame against a background of green. Here and there, in wet springy places, the foxglove nodded its tall spikes of red or white blooms; and besides this there were many other flowers, all beautiful, but not known by name to the travellers. One beautiful white low-growing flower attracted Jack's attention, and he dropped on his knees to examine it, declaring that it must be some sort of dogwood, so closely did it resemble—except in size—the ordinary white flowering dogwood of the Eastern States. There were also berries of many colors, and in great abundance. Many of these Mr. James named for them as they passed along; salmon berries, red or yellow, blackberries, green and red, and blueberries of several kinds; the purple salal, the velvet berry, the scarlet and as yet unripe panicles of the elder, and the brilliant fruit of the umbrella plant were all there, and were constantly inviting them to stop and admire their beauties.

To Mr. James, who had lived in the country for many years, these sights were commonplace. To Hugh and Jack they were all remarkable and each one seemed to demand an explanation. But there was no time for that. Mr. James and the Indian had set their hearts on getting a deer, and it was necessary to step briskly to reach the hunting grounds before the sun had dried off the moisture and "killed" the scent. They walked so fast that there was little opportunity[Pg 33] for conversation. Nevertheless, Jack found time to ask some questions.

"I can see, Mr. James," Jack said, "by looking into this timber, how impossible it would be to hunt here in the way in which we do in the Eastern States or on the plains. In the first place, the underbrush is so thick that one could not see any distance; and, in the second place, it would be impossible to go along without making so much noise that the deer would hear one."

"That's precisely the fact," said Mr. James, "and therefore, as I told you last night, the only way in which we can get deer here is by putting dogs on the track. There are many places on the islands of the Gulf, where the country is open enough so that one can hunt on foot quietly, as we used to do where I lived back in Canada, with a good prospect of getting an occasional shot, but that cannot be done here. Then, too, there are plenty of places along the coast where the deer come down from the mountains to feed on the grass near the edge of the salt water, or to eat the dulse,—a sort of seaweed thrown up by the sea,—and where they can be shot from a canoe. The Indians kill a great many in this way; but, except in winter, when they are driven down from the mountains by the heavy snows, that is not a method that is very certain."

"If we make a canoe trip along the coast, as we were talking of doing, there might be a chance of getting deer along the shore, then?" queried Jack.

"Yes, you are very likely to do that," said Mr. James, "and quite likely, also, to see a bear in such a situation; for the bears often come down to the shore there, to feed on the seaweed, or to go along the beach hunting for fish or food of any kind that may have been thrown up by the sea. Almost all the animals in this country, certainly all carnivorous animals, depend more or less on the beach for their[Pg 34] living; and often in the morning, if you go along the shore, you will see the tracks of bears, foxes, wolves, deer, and perhaps two or three other species of animals that have gone along during the night. The beach is a pretty good hunting ground; and if you make your proposed trip you will find, all along, trails leading down from the hills to the water."

For some little time Hugh had been walking behind the others, by the side of the Indian, and trying to talk to him in sign language; but, though occasionally the Indian seemed to comprehend his gestures, it was evident that he was not a sign talker. Presently Hugh spoke to Mr. James, and said: "I like these dogs you have here, Mr. James; they remind me of the hounds we used to run foxes down in Kentucky when I was a boy. Two of them are as handsome hounds as I ever saw; and the other one, while not so good a hound, looks as if he were smart enough to keep up his end of the running all the time."

"You have hit it exactly, Mr. Johnson," said their owner. "Each of these dogs has its good points. Captain and Dinah are pretty nearly perfect to look at. Captain has the best nose of any hound I ever saw, and a voice like a trumpet. Dinah's nose is not quite so good as Captain's, but she is considerably faster. Wallace, as you say, does not look much like a hound, but he is fast and the very best fighter in the lot, and he is smart enough to know a good part of the time which way the deer is going, and to cut in ahead of the others and take the trail; and often he catches the deer alone. He is a great fighter; and if he once gets hold of a deer, he will surely kill it. I had the dogs out on one of the inlets last year, and was in a canoe on the water, myself, and I saw Wallace overtake a deer, running along a narrow ledge on the face of the cliff, sixty feet above the water. Wallace caught up with the deer, grabbed him and threw him off the cliff.[Pg 35] He didn't let go, and the two fell into the water below. I have always thought that Wallace would have been killed if I had not been there in the canoe to come up and kill the deer."

"Well," said Hugh, "I suppose it's because I used to see so much of them when I was a youngster, but there's no sort of dog I like so well as a hound. The long muzzle, and those great long flapping ears and sad eyes always go right to my heart. If I ever have a place of my own and can afford it, I will surely have two or three good hounds; not to hunt with, but just for company."

"Yes," said Mr. James, "they are mighty nice dogs, hounds are; but for myself, I like any kind of a dog. Just at present I have none except these three. But I want to get a good bird dog; and I can tell you that is something hard to get in this country."

By this time the sun was up and the brisk walk was making all hands wipe the perspiration from their brows. Presently they came to a little trail off to the left of the road, and here they paused; while Mr. James said a few words in the Chinook jargon to the Indian, who, with the dogs, disappeared in the forest.

"Now," said Mr. James, "we are only a little way from the lake, and I have sent the Indian off to start the dogs. We may as well walk down to where the canoe is and wait for him there."

"Well, son," said Hugh, "you go on with Mr. James and kill that deer if you can. I reckon I'll walk on a little farther along this road, and look at these trees and flowers; and then I'll turn around and go back to the town. I don't care much about looking on while you folks kill that deer. I'd rather look at this timber, and smell the scents that come out of it, and see these posies that seem to be growing everywhere. If you don't strike me on the road on[Pg 36] your way back, why, I'll be at the hotel when you get there."

"Do just what you wish, Mr. Johnson," said Mr. James; "but I'd like to have you come, if you feel like it. There's plenty of room for three in the canoe, and we can leave the Indian on shore, and do our own paddling."

"No," said Hugh, "I guess I'll have more fun looking at all these strange things around me than I would have if I went in the canoe. Jack will be safe with you, and we'll meet again later in the day."

"Yes," said Mr. James, "of course we will. I want to have you come up and take dinner with me at noon; and then in the afternoon we will go over to Burrard Inlet and see Fannin. You will like him. He is one of the finest fellows in the world, and it will be a great thing for you if you can get him to go with you on your trip."

"Oh! I hope we can!" cried Jack; while Hugh said: "I hope so too." Then they parted, and Mr. James and Jack plunged into the forest while Hugh walked briskly off along the road. A few minutes' walk brought them to the border of a beautiful little lake in the woods, surrounded on all sides by the high forest. On its shores they sat down; and while Mr. James lit his pipe he talked and told Jack something about this sheet of water.

"We call it Mirror Lake," said he, "and on a morning like this you can easily see how well the name fits it, for everything is reflected in the smooth water. It is always a good place to get a deer, for scarcely anybody hunts here. The Indians never by any chance go on it. They think that down under the water there lives what they call a selallicum—that means a supernatural monster. Just what sort of a creature this is the Indians do not seem to know; but it is some kind of an evil spirit that lives at the bottom of the[Pg 37] lake; and when anybody goes out on the water in a canoe this monster rises to the surface, upsets the canoe, and swallows the people that are in it. The belief in this monster is held by all the Indians. They won't go out on the lake. They won't even go near its margin when they are gathering berries. They think that I am a fool for daring to go out on it; and they say that some day the monster will rise and surely get me." Pausing a moment, the speaker continued:

"One time, when I was hunting on the lake I was careless in the canoe and upset, and my gun sank to the bottom, and, of course, I never got it again. The Indians hearing of this told me that the selallicum had given me a warning not to come on the lake again, and that I had better respect this warning. There is only one Indian in the whole country who will go out on the lake, and that is Squawitch here. He is an old friend of mine, and has lots of confidence in me. But even he will never enter a canoe except in my company. I don't know just how he reasons about the matter; whether he thinks that I have some strong medicine which enables me to defy this monster or not; but he has been hunting here with me many times and is always ready to go again. This morning, though, he told me that an Indian had seen the selallicum on the lake within two or three weeks."

Mr. James paused to refill his pipe, and as they sat there for a moment silent, suddenly the faint cry of the hounds was heard in the distance, and Mr. James said: "There! hear that? That's Captain. Listen!"

Presently the shriller cry of Dinah made itself heard, and as they sat listening to the cry of the hounds, which gradually grew more and more faint, Squawitch parted the bushes near them, and, walking along a log toward the water, drew from the low brush a canoe and two paddles. He stepped into the canoe, pushed it ashore,[Pg 38] and signing Mr. James and Jack to step in, took his seat in the stern. Mr. James took the bow paddle and Jack seated himself amidship. Then, with a stroke or two of the paddles, the canoe shot out of the little cove on to the unruffled surface of Mirror Lake.

Certainly it well deserved its name! Only a few hundred yards in width and less than a mile long, it was surrounded on all sides by a superb forest of gigantic firs. Along its margin grew a narrow border of grass or low willows, separating the border from the dark forest; and beyond that border a fringe of lily pads floated motionless on the surface of the water. The little strip of grass, the tall green trees, and the blue sky above were so perfectly reflected in the clear water that Jack could hardly tell where the reflection ended and the vegetation began. Shut in on all sides by the vast untouched forests, the lake lay there like a great eye that gazed steadfastly and unwinkingly at the sky which it mirrored. The light breeze had fallen as the sun rose, and there was now not the slightest motion on the water. The stillness was unbroken for a time, and they sat listening for the cry of the hounds.

The different inhabitants of the lake and forest, plying their usual vocations, soon began to reveal to the boy from the East glimpses of their life history.

An old mother golden-eyed duck led her brood of half a dozen from among some low willows and began to teach them how to procure their food; calling to them now and then in low lisping tones, to which the little ones responded with soft peeping cries. At one side of the lake a little pine squirrel was gathering his winter store of green fir cones, which he cut from the tree and dropped to the ground with a great deal of noise. So great in fact was the noise, that when it first began Jack was sorely tempted to ask Mr. James what it was; but by listening he made out the cause for himself, and so was glad that he had not inquired.

[Pg 39]

Suddenly over the tops of the bordering trees a pair of superb white-headed eagles flew silently across the lake, the hindermost seeming to strive to overtake the one in advance. But when this happened the foremost bird, without closing his wings, swung over on his back, thrust out his talons threateningly toward his pursuer, and then turned over again, flew onward and out of sight. A little later two loons settled in the water not far from the canoe and began to call on each other with loud mournful cries. It was useless now to listen for the hounds, for the loons made so much noise that nothing else could be heard; but at length they took wing and disappeared.

Now that silence had again fallen over the lake, the cry of hounds could be heard once more, though far off and very faint. At length the sound came nearer and nearer, passing the west end of the lake, and again grew fainter and at last was lost.

Mr. James had just said with an air of disappointment that he feared the deer had taken water in Burnaby Lake, when Jack heard the Indian speak in suppressed but very emphatic tones to his companion. Following the direction of their eyes, Jack saw something slowly moving through the water at the other end of the lake. What it was he could not tell. Certainly it did not look like anything that he had ever seen before. As much as anything, however, it resembled a wooden box two or three feet square, floating on the surface of the water; but, of course, a box would not be found in such a situation, and would not move. Jack took it for granted that it was a deer, because he could not think of any other living thing likely to be in that place at that time. There was one man in the canoe, however, who evidently did not think that it was a deer, and was very much excited about it. That was the Indian.

[Pg 40]



As soon as the moving object appeared Mr. James had dipped his paddle into the water and given a hasty stroke. The Indian did not move, but in a low voice said to Mr. James in the Chinook jargon: "What is that there in the water?"

"The deer," said Mr. James; "paddle!"

"No," said Squawitch, "it is not the deer, it is the monster. Yes, it is a true monster. We must go to the shore at once, or we shall all be killed." And he dipped his paddle into the water as if to turn the canoe to the shore.

"Keep still," said Mr. James. "I tell you it is the deer." And then, the moving object having by this time turned well out into the lake, he added: "Mam-mook" (pull). Giving a powerful stroke with his paddle, the canoe shot forward toward the mysterious thing. Jack was listening to what was said, but did not understand the spoken words. He could see, however, that there was a difference of opinion between his companions as to what should be done. He thought he noticed, too, that the first few strokes given by the Indian were weak and did little to force the canoe forward; but if they were not strong they were at least noiseless. Meantime, with all his eyes, Jack was watching the mysterious object; and as the canoe advanced toward it the mystery explained itself in a very simple way, and the Indian's fears were calmed. They could soon make out a fine buck swimming slowly through the water, and could see that about his [Pg 41]horns were twined some long sprays of fern, which overshadowed his head, and, falling down behind the horns, trailed through the water. The reflection cast by this mass of green, and the ripple of the water behind and on each side of the swimming animal, made the object vague and indefinite, and the whole was further blurred by the reflection of the trees near the margin of the lake. So, until they had come close to it, it was hard to tell what it was, and its mysterious appearance was, naturally enough, very alarming to one who was prepared to see something supernatural. The Indian believed thoroughly in the existence of the selallicum in this lake, and, seeing in the water something unlike anything that he had ever beheld before, at once concluded that the monster had appeared.

The slender canoe flew swiftly over the water and rapidly drew near the deer, which had not yet seen them, but was swimming quietly along, no doubt tired by its long run. Jack, not burdened with a paddle, and having nothing to do but hold his rifle, studied the creature as they drew near, and saw that it bore a fine pair of horns, still in the velvet.

The canoe was within twenty yards of the deer before the animal saw them. When he did so, he at once turned toward the shore, and swam rapidly—almost as fast as the canoe went. Just before he reached the land, Mr. James said to Jack: "Now be ready, and kill him as he leaves the water."

Jack rose carefully to his knees, put a cartridge in his rifle and, as the deer bounded up the bank, fired. The shot broke the deer's neck, and it fell on the bank just at the edge of the water.

When he saw it fall Jack felt sorry that he had shot. Though there was sweet music in the bay of the hounds as they ran, interest in watching for the deer, hope as the cry of the dogs grew louder, anxiety lest the quarry had turned aside and gone away as the baying grew [Pg 42]fainter, and some excitement in paddling after the animal, yet he did not like this method of hunting. After the deer had taken to the water and the boat had approached it, it seemed as if the animal had no chance, and Jack lost pleasure in the shot, because he had too much time to think about it. The struggle that the deer made to reach the shore excited his sympathies, and now he regretted the shot that he had fired. On the other hand, it was easy to see, as Mr. James had pointed out, that in such a land as this still-hunting was impossible.

The deer having been secured, the task of transporting it to town was left to the Indian, who would drag or carry it out to the road and wait there for the stage which would come in during the morning.

Mr. James and Jack started on foot for New Westminster, and when they had nearly reached there they overtook Hugh, who had had his walk and was now going back to breakfast. But little was said as to the killing of the deer, beyond the fact that one had been secured; and just before they reached Mr. James's house the latter said to them: "Now, gentlemen, if you feel like it, let us take the stage this afternoon and go over to Burrard Inlet, where you can make Fannin's acquaintance and see what you can do with him. I am anxious to have you meet him, for he is one of the salt of the earth. No man in the Province knows so much about its birds and mammals as he, and no man can show you and tell you so many interesting things about them. He is an untrained naturalist, but a most keen observer. Then, too, he is a great hunter, and one of the finest shots in the Province. I will not say that he never misses, but he misses very seldom. Now, can you be ready to start on the stage at two o'clock? It will pick us up at my house after dinner; and it might be well for you to leave word at the hotel that we want three seats this afternoon. [Pg 43]It's not likely that the stage will be crowded, but it's no trouble to order the seats in advance. We will go over to the inlet and spend twenty-four hours there, and you will, no doubt, see a good many interesting things, and can then make up your minds about your plans for the future." Before there was time given to reply, Mr. James asked: "Have either of you ever seen white goats?"

"Hugh has, Mr. James," replied Jack, "but I never have. I have been in the mountains quite near them, but I have never seen one, much less had a shot."

"Well," said Mr. James, "there are plenty in the mountains of Burrard Inlet, and if all goes well you may see some before you are a week older. You will find hunting the goats very different from paddling up to a deer in the water and killing him just as he climbs the bank to get to shore."

Hugh and Jack now left Mr. James, agreeing to be at his house about noon for dinner. They had only made a few steps after saying good-bye when Jack turned around and ran back to ask Mr. James what they should take with them to Burrard Inlet: would they need their blankets? "No," said Mr. James, "if you stop at the little settlement of Hastings where Fannin lives you will not need anything except your guns, as there is quite a good plain hotel there; but if you should go off to camp in the mountains, of course it would be well to have your beds with you. I think perhaps I would leave word to have them strapped on to the stage when it starts, and then you will be safe whatever happens."

Hugh and Jack hurried back to town, but were too late to get any breakfast at the hotel. However, they got a bite at a restaurant, and then walked about the streets to see whatever sights there were until it was time to go to Mr. James's home. They ordered the seats in the stage, and saw that their beds and bags [Pg 44]were put aboard. Then down at the water's edge they looked at the wharves and at the salmon canneries, and thus whiled away the morning.

Shortly before midday they returned to Mr. James's house, where they had a delightful dinner, and a little while afterward took the stage.

To pass swiftly along over the level yellow road that they had traversed on foot in the morning was very delightful. The drive was not a long one, only nine miles, and the stage drew in to Hastings in the middle of the afternoon. Here Mr. Fannin was found in the little cobbler-shop, where he spent his bachelor existence, surrounded by old shoes and new, rolls of leather, the tools of his trade, bear and wolf skins, stuffed birds, and a multitude of natural history specimens. Jack thought it one of the most interesting places that he had ever been in. Mr. Fannin was kindness itself, and was much interested in the talk of the proposed canoe trip. But before that had been long discussed, Jack was asking questions about the skins of many birds that he had never before seen, but about most of which he had read and knew of by pictures. There were specimens of the beautiful little harlequin duck, whose varied plumage gives it its name; of the black oyster catcher; of several species of gulls; of guillemots; of a number of shore birds, which were new to him, and many birds' eggs which he had never seen before.

Mr. Fannin was a great talker and a man with a keen sense of humor. If in any incident there was anything funny, his fancy was likely to seize upon it.

As the four sat on the grass on the high bank overlooking the inlet, Mr. Fannin pointed across the water to some low unpainted houses standing among the timber and said: "There is an Indian village over there, and I must send somebody over to get Seammux to come across to-morrow morning to go with us[Pg 45] to the head of the North Arm. I want to have you see the country up there, and it is possible that from the river you may be able to see some white goats on top of the hills. If you have never seen these animals you will see them now, for you will never have a better chance."

As they sat there Jack saw, not far off and up the Arm, a fish-hawk dropping through the air to seize a fish. He touched Mr. Fannin and pointed. They both watched the beautiful bird until it struck the water with a splash that sent the spray high in the air about it.

"Now watch," said Mr. Fannin, "and you may see an eagle rob that osprey. That's a common sight here; it is always a beautiful one; but perhaps you have seen it in other places?"

"No," said Jack, "I never have, although I have read about it often. By Jove," he added, "there is the eagle now!" and they saw a white-headed eagle flying low and swiftly up the inlet. The osprey had already risen to a considerable height with his fish, and had started to fly off with it over the woods. But as soon as he caught sight of the eagle he began to rise in spiral flight higher and higher, while the eagle followed him in wider circles. Soon it was seen that the eagle was rapidly gaining upon the fish-hawk, and at last had risen above it and had made one or two darts at it. The fish-hawk seemed to avoid these attacks easily, but perhaps they made it nervous, and presently it dropped its prey. Shining like a bar of silver, the fish fell, and was carried off by the wind diagonally to one side in a long slant. But as soon as it fell the eagle half closed its wings, fell after it, overtook it before it had fallen half way to the water, grasped the fish in its own great talons, and, spreading its wings, bore the prey off to a tall tree on the mountain side.

[Pg 46]

"That was a wonderful sight," said Jack. "I would not have missed it for anything. I feel as if I should remember that for a very long time."

"Yes," said Mr. Fannin, "I believe you will; it is something worth remembering."

"So it is," said Hugh; "it's one of the finest sights I ever saw. Who would have thought that that eagle could drop as fast as the fish did, that he could direct himself so as to catch his prey, and that, after falling like that, he could stop. There's a whole lot of mighty wonderful things to be seen out here. It beats my time altogether."

"Is there any chance of our getting a shot at anything to-morrow morning, when we go up the North Arm, Mr. Fannin?" asked Jack.

"Of course I can't tell about that," said he, "but I should certainly take my gun along, if I were you. I always take mine whenever I go out. On the islands up there in the inlet there are plenty of deer; and it's possible that you might get a shot at a deer any time, while there's a bare chance that a goat might come down to the valley and you might get a shot at him. Have you shot much with the rifle?"

"Well," said Jack, "I have shot a little. I have killed the prairie game back on the plains, and a few mountain sheep; and I have run buffalo and killed two or three bears."

"Then you've had quite a little experience, and I suppose you're a pretty good shot."

"No," said Jack, "I don't think I am much of a shot, but I am pretty patient about waiting around and trying to get the shot I want."

"Ha!" said Mr. Fannin, "that sounds as if you had learned to hunt with the Indians, or at all events with some good hunter."

"Well," said Jack, "I have hunted some with Indians; but the man who taught me whatever I know[Pg 47] about hunting is sitting with us now—and that is Hugh."

"Well," said Hugh, "you took to it mighty natural, son. There are lots of people that have had a heap more experience than you have and can't come near you for a hunter."

"Well," said Fannin, "I crossed the plains from Canada in 1861, and of course I did some hunting on the way; but ever since that time I've lived here in the Province, where there's plenty of rough, thick timber, and where much of the hunting is done at short range. There's a great deal of game here, though not of many sorts,—mostly deer and bear, and, high up in the mountains, goats. Farther inland there are sheep, and still beyond that, elk; and then there are elk on Vancouver Island, but I have never seen any of them.

"The bears are plenty, and they make themselves very much at home. It's only a few days since that one of them came out of the woods just back of the hotel and went to the hog-pen and took a pig and walked off with it into the forest. The bear got his pig and nobody ever got him.

"A year or two ago something of that kind happened, and with it one of the funniest things I ever saw. A bear came out and took a pig and went off with it, and an Irishman, working on the place, saw it go. He picked up an axe and ran down to call me. I grabbed my rifle and we both started running into the timber where the bear had disappeared. We could still hear the squealing of the pig. We hadn't got far into the woods before we came upon an immense tree-trunk lying on the ground, which we had to climb over. It was six or eight feet high, and the Irishman got there a little bit ahead of me. Having nothing to carry but his axe, he climbed over first and jumped down on the other side. I was slower in getting up,[Pg 48] and when I got on top of the trunk and was just about to jump down, I saw in front of me and walking toward me on its hind legs a big bear. The Irishman was standing under me, backed up against the tree trunk, his hands at his sides and his axe lying at his feet, while the bear was stepping up to him as if he wanted to shake hands. The Irishman was too frightened to yell or do anything. He just backed up against the tree hard. Of course I saw all this at a glance, and I began to laugh so that I could hardly get my gun to my shoulder. But, by the time that the bear was within five or six steps of the Irishman, I realized that something had to be done; and I fired and killed the bear.

"It took that Irishman about an hour to recover from his scare, and it seemed to me that he didn't get his color back for three or four days."

After a little while the party went into the hotel and had their supper and then returned to Fannin's shop. Here, before it grew dark, they saw approaching a tall, oldish, stoop-shouldered man, who walked with a slight halt in his gait. Said Fannin: "Oh! here comes old Meigs. I am glad you are going to meet him. He is an American, an old prospector, who has spent all of his life mining down in Arizona. He got a slight stroke of paralysis three or four years ago. He came up here and is living in a little cabin just below. He is a good fellow and has seen a great deal of western life." As Meigs joined the group Fannin introduced the strangers, and they were soon all talking together.

"I am glad Meigs came," said Fannin, "because he reminds me of something that happened last year that I want to tell you about. Two years ago a man who lived about here thought that he would raise some sheep. He didn't have money enough to get many, but he got half a dozen ewes and a ram, and turned[Pg 49] them out to pick up their living along the shore and in the timber. They did very well for a while. But presently, when the man started to look them up, he found that there was one missing, and then another, and then the old ram disappeared. We never knew just what got them, but we suspected bears and wolves; and one day, going through the timber, I found the skeleton of a sheep, and another day the skeleton of another. About a year ago I took my rifle and went out for a little walk in the timber. I went a mile or two and didn't see anything, and then came back nearly to the road here. I climbed up on a stump and sat there for a while, listening to the birds and watching them. Presently, in a trail that passed close to that stump, I saw the three sheep going along towards the road. I paid no particular attention to them, but after they had passed I got down from the stump, walked out to the trail, and started for the road myself. I could see the sheep not very far ahead of me, and, as they were feeding along and I was walking briskly, I got pretty close to them before they reached the road. They had almost got to it, and I was not far behind them, when suddenly a bear charged out of the timber, into the trail, and tried to grab one of the sheep. They rushed around a little crook in the trail, and the bear after them, before I could cock my rifle and put it to my shoulder. I started after them as hard as I could go, thinking that if the bear followed the sheep into the road I would surely get a good shot at him and would probably kill him. I rushed out into the road, and almost into the arms of Meigs here, who had been walking away from the inlet; but the sheep and the bear had disappeared. I said to Meigs: 'Hello, Meigs! What are you doing here?' He raised his hand to keep me from speaking, took a step or two forward, shaded his eyes with his hand, and looked up the trail by which I had just[Pg 50] come out from the timber. I could not understand what was the matter with him, and presently I said in a low voice: 'What is the matter with you; what do you see?'

"'I am just trying to see' he answered, 'what in thunder is the next thing that will come along that trail.'

"He had been taking a little walk along the road and got just opposite the trail, you see, when suddenly the sheep rushed out, and then the bear, and then I came—all going as hard as we could go. It must have been a funny sight."

"It was," said Meigs, "and for a minute I thought I was crazy and seeing things that did not exist."

"Tell them about the morning that the wolf chased you," said Fannin.

"Well," said Meigs, as he pushed down the tobacco in his pipe and pulled on it two or three times, to get it going well, "that was quite a scare for me. Of course I knew that the wolves were not dangerous in the country I came from, but I didn't know about them here. Winter before last a wolf came down to the inlet and stopped right near here. We used to hear him howling often, and I always believed that he killed that old ram that Fannin has been talking about. I set a trap for him two or three times, but he would not go near it. One morning, just at daylight, I heard him howling close above the cabin. I jumped out of my blankets, grabbed my gun, and stepped out to see if I could get a shot. I could not see him from the door, and I hurried up the trail, about thirty steps from the door of the cabin, to where the trail made a little bend. My rifle was an old-fashioned Spencer carbine. I don't know whether any of you men ever saw one?" and he looked around the circle inquiringly.

"Go ahead," said Hugh, "I know them. They miss fire half the time, and the other half they are just as[Pg 51] likely to shoot around the corner as they are to shoot straight ahead."

"Yes," said Meigs, "you have used one, I guess."

"Well," he continued, "when I got to the bend in that trail and looked around, there was the wolf a short hundred yards off, with his fore feet on a log, and his head toward me, just beginning to howl. I dropped down on one knee and drew a bead on his breast and pulled the trigger. The cartridge exploded, and if you'll believe me, when the smoke drifted away I could see that ball from that old Spencer carbine corkscrewing toward the wolf as though it was never going to get there. In the meantime the wolf had jumped from the log on which it was standing and started toward me. I turned round and ran for the cabin. When I was ten or fifteen feet from the door the string of my drawers broke, and they fell down around my ankles and shackled me, so that I couldn't run. I had to come down on my hands and knees and scramble the rest of the way on all fours. When I got inside the cabin and slammed the door and looked back through a crack, of course the wolf was out of sight.

"Fannin thinks that this is a pretty good joke on me, and maybe it is."

When Hugh and Jack had finished laughing over Meigs's adventure, Jack began to ask Fannin about the Indians that lived along the inlet.

"Like most of the Siwashes about here," said Fannin, "they are fish-eating people; though, of course, they kill a good many deer and some few white goats. Their main dependence, however, is the salmon, of which, at the proper season of the year, they catch and dry great numbers."

"I suppose," said Jack, "that they have lost a good many of their primitive ways, have they not?"

"Yes," said Fannin, "they are changing rapidly,[Pg 52] yet within a short time I have seen them use the fire-sticks to kindle a fire. That does not look as if they were changing rapidly, does it?"

"No," said Jack, "I should say not. I should think they would use matches, or if not matches, at least flint and steel."

"So they do," said Fannin, "for many purposes, but for some others they use the fire-sticks. And that reminds me," he continued, "of Dick Griffin's joke about fire-sticks. He had been chopping logs at quite a distance from camp, and one day had to leave his job to come down to the main camp to get some grub. He started rather late, and when he had got half way it came on to rain and blow and get dark. He landed and spent the night in the timber, with nothing to eat, and with no fire, for he had left his matches behind, or they got wet or something. It was still raining when he got to the camp the next morning, and two or three men were standing around the fire. Dick paddled in, took his canoe out of the water, walked up to the fire, and after the men had exchanged a few words with him, he said abruptly: 'Boys, have you ever seen the Indians make a fire by rubbing two sticks together?' They all said 'Yes.' 'Well,' said Dick, 'I would like to know how long it takes them to do it. I know it can't be done in one night, for I spent all last night in trying to make a fire in just that way.'"

The rest of the evening was spent in pleasant conversation, and many a story was told. Before they parted for the night Fannin said that he had arranged to have a little steamer take them up the inlet the next morning to the mouth of the river flowing into the North Arm, from which they would have a good view of the surrounding mountains.

[Pg 53]



By eight o'clock the next morning the party had embarked on the tiny steamer "Senator" on their way up Burrard Inlet. The little craft carried them swiftly along past the Indian village on the north bank, past wooded hills and low grassy points, past rough granite mountain faces, where the few scattering trees found scarcely earth enough to support them, and were forced to drive their roots deep down into the crevices of the rocks, until, six miles above Hastings, the boat turned sharply to the left and up the North Arm of the inlet. Here the hills on either side were nearer together and appeared higher and more rugged. Their summits were capped with snow, which, in many of the gorges and ravines, extended far down toward the water's edge. The steep rock faces were covered with a harsh brown moss, which, except when wet, gave an excellent foothold to the climber. Where the mountains were not too steep, and soil was not utterly wanting, there was a dense forest of Douglas firs and cedars, some of the timber being very large. The various shades of green of the different trees gave a variety to the aspect of the forest, as a whole, which had almost the effect of cloud shadows, and added greatly to the beauty of the scene. Jack and Hugh did not weary in watching the constantly changing view. Now and then the round head of a seal emerged from the quiet waters, looked for a moment at the boat and then disappeared. Little groups of water birds, disturbed in their fishing or their resting, rose on wing and flew[Pg 54] up or down the inlet. From the shores and mountains on either side, birds, large and small, were constantly flying across the inlet; and now and then a great fish sprang from the water, and fell back with a splash which could be heard.

"I tell you, Hugh," said Jack, "we'll have things enough to talk about if we ever get back to the ranch and tell the cow-punchers there what we have seen on this trip."

"You're dead right, son; they never imagined anything like this any more than I ever did; and what's more, we won't be able to tell it to them so that they can understand what it is like. That's the worst of going off and seeing things,—that when you go back you can't make other people see as you saw, or have the same feelings that you had when you took them in with your eyes."

"Yes," said Jack, "talk is a pretty poor thing compared with seeing anything for yourself."

"Now, look at those waterfalls!" said Hugh. "Do you suppose it would be possible to tell anybody about those things so that they could really understand how they look?"

"No," said Jack, "I do not believe anybody could do that."

Down almost every slope within their view, and constantly changing as the boat's position changed, poured beautiful cascades, some of which deserved the title of waterfall. Though now they carried but little water, their wide beds of naked rock showed that in the spring and early summer, when the snows were melting, they must be mighty torrents, sweeping everything before them with resistless power. Even now they were very beautiful, and their delicate streams, stretching like white threads far up the mountain sides, could scarcely be distinguished in the distance from the lines of snow in the ravines; though, with the[Pg 55] glasses, the leaping, wavering motion of the water could be discerned which distinguished the white hurrying flood from the unmoving snowdrift.

They had passed up the Arm and were just rounding a little point and beginning to get a view of some low grassy meadows running up from the water's edge, when Hugh suddenly said to Jack: "Son, I believe that's a bear in that grass"; and Jack, bringing his eyes down to the meadow's level, saw a small black object moving about in the grass. Whatever it was, it had not yet seen the steamer. Jack rushed into the cabin where Fannin and Mr. James were talking to the Indian Seammux and, grasping his rifle, said: "Mr. Fannin, I believe there is a bear out on the shore." In a moment all were looking at the animal, and there was now no doubt as to what it was. Fannin stepped around to the pilot house and asked the captain to steer close to the shore, and also to see that the boat made as little noise as possible. They rapidly crept up toward the bear; but long before they had come within rifle-shot the animal saw them, stood up, looked for a moment or two, and then, turning about, bolted through the grass and disappeared in the forest.

"Well," said Jack to Mr. Fannin, "that beats anything yet. I believe if anybody had been in a canoe and paddled along quietly, that bear would never have noticed him, and he might have got within gunshot."

"Yes," said Mr. Fannin, "of course he might. That's just what I've told you. It's quite possible that you will see something of that kind more than once before you get back."

About twelve miles from where the North Arm leaves the main inlet, the Arm ends in the narrow valley of the Salmon River. Here the boat anchored, and here, after some little discussion, it was determined that Jack, Mr. Fannin, and the Indian should[Pg 56] take the latter's canoe and go a short distance up the river to see whether a glimpse might not be had of the goats that dwelt on the summit of the mountains on the west side.

In the meantime Mr. James jointed his rod and set out to try to catch some trout; while Hugh said that he would go with Mr. James and watch the fishing.

The Indian's canoe was light, low, and slender, and when its three occupants were seated it was low in the water. Mr. Fannin had with him his rifle and his shot-gun; the rifle, perhaps, being carried out of compliment to Jack, while the shot-gun was his constant companion, for he never knew at what moment he might not see some strange bird.

They had gone but a short distance up the river when it became necessary for Mr. Fannin and Jack to land and walk along the gravel bars, for the water in the rapids was so shoal that the loaded canoe could not ascend. When the swift water was reached, the Indian laid down his paddle, took up his pole, and, standing in the stern of the canoe, prepared to drive the craft up the stream against the turbulent current. Quietly pushing it along until he had almost reached the rushing water, he set his pole firmly against the bottom, and leaning back against it, sent the light craft fifteen or twenty feet up the stream, and then, before its way had ceased, recovered his pole and again set it against the stones of the bottom. Standing as he did in the stern, the nose of the canoe rose high above the water; and, as it rushed forward, reminded Jack of the head of some sea monster, whose lower jaw was buried beneath the surface. No matter how furiously the water rushed, boiled, and bubbled on either side, the light craft held perfectly straight, moved regularly forward until, when the rapids had been passed, Fannin and Jack stepped aboard once[Pg 57] more and the paddles were resumed, only to be laid aside for the pole when another rapid was reached.

Here Jack saw, and was delighted to see, some familiar friends of the Rocky Mountains,—the little dippers or water ouzels. On every little stretch of still water one or more would be started, flying from rock to rock and bobbing comically at each point where they alighted. Many of the birds were young ones, not long from the nest, and were quite without fear, permitting a very close approach before they would fly.

A number of broods of harlequin ducks were startled, some of them quite large and able to fly, while others seemed to be newly hatched. Whatever their age, they seemed well able to take care of themselves, and could always keep ahead of the canoe until at last they disappeared from sight around some bend and were not seen again. Everywhere along the stream grew the salmon berry bushes, laden with mature or ripening fruit. The bushes, in their manner of growth and in their berries, reminded Jack of the eastern blackberries, but the ripe fruit was either red or yellow or black, all these colors growing on the same bush.

As they passed on up the stream, the white men sometimes on the gravel bar and again in the canoe, they saw no other animal life except the ravens and eagles, which now and then flew over them, going up and down the valley. At one point were tracks where a bear had crossed the stream, and at another some old deer tracks.

At length, about two miles from the mouth of the river, on a long gravel bar, where the river was wide and a good view could be had of the summits of the mountains, they landed to try to see some white goats. The guns, which had been lying in the canoe, were wet from the water which had been shipped in the passage up the rapids, and Jack and Mr. Fannin took them out to dry. Mr. Fannin held his down to[Pg 58] drain and then set them up against a pile of driftwood to dry. Jack wiped the water from his rifle as well as he could, and walked along with it in his hand. The three had gone about forty yards from the canoe when Mr. Fannin and the Indian stopped and began carefully to look over the hills above them. Jack looked too, but saw nothing and walked on toward the upper end of the bar, where there was a huge drift-log, which he mounted to get a wider view. As he did so he looked back at the others and saw Seammux suddenly point across the river and speak eagerly to his companion. At the same time Mr. Fannin turned toward Jack and beckoned with his hand. Jack thought that possibly a deer had shown itself in the brush and jumped from his perch on the log to run toward the others. The stones under his feet seemed to make a tremendously loud clatter as he ran; and, forgetting that the roar of the water would drown any noise that he might make, he feared that the game, whatever it might be, would hear him and run off into the brush.

He was still fifty yards from the other two when Fannin again turned toward him and raised his hand with a warning gesture. Just as he did so there walked out from behind a bush into Jack's view a good-sized bear. As he started to run Jack had slipped a cartridge into his rifle, and, as soon as the animal appeared, he dropped on one knee and prepared to fire. The bear, however, was quite unconscious of the presence of man, and Jack waited for a moment in the hope that the animal would stand still; for, with two persons looking on, he was anxious not to miss. The bear was about one hundred yards off, and there would be no excuse for a failure. It was gathering berries, and its attention was concentrated on that occupation. Where the fruit hung low the bear reached up its head like a cow picking apples from a tree, and, [Pg 59]winding its long tongue about the stem, stripped the berries and leaves from it. Again it would stand up on its hind legs and, reaching the high branches with its forepaws, pull them down within reach of its mouth. Two or three times Jack was on the point of pulling the trigger, but he waited for a better opportunity, which came at last. The bear dropped on all fours and for an instant stood still, with head slightly raised, facing Jack, who fired at the white spot on the beast's breast. Just as the trigger was pulled the bear began to rear up for some berries; but, at the crack of the rifle, he whirled about and lumbered off into the brush. A moment later Jack had run up to Mr. Fannin and asked: "Did I hit him?" Neither could tell, and Mr. Fannin sent Seammux to bring the canoe up to where they were standing, so that they might cross over to look for the trail.

Jack fired at the white spot


In a few moments the canoe came up, and in a moment more they had crossed over and reached the opposite bank. Mr. Fannin and Jack climbed up the steep bank and ran to the point where the bear had disappeared, while Seammux, taking time only to secure the canoe, followed. They had not gone two yards into the bushes when Jack saw a broad leaf covered with blood, and then thick drops—a plain trail running into the timber. By this time Seammux was with them, and they pressed forward on the trail. Once they overran it for a moment, but a low call from the Indian told them that he had found it; and, as they overtook him, he stopped with an exclamation, and pointed. There, a few yards away, lay the bear curled up on his side, his paws over his nose. They looked for a moment, but he did not move, and then, holding his gun in readiness, Jack walked around behind and gave the back a sharp push. The animal was quite dead, the ball having pierced the white spot and gone through the vitals.

[Pg 60]

Though it looked much smaller dead than it had when living, and though the distance to the river bank was short, it took some time to drag the bear out to the river, and then to lower it into the canoe.

A little more time was devoted to studying the tops of the mountains for goats; then, as the sun was getting low, they stepped into the canoe, turned the vessel's prow down stream, and were soon hurrying merrily along over the dancing waters toward the river's mouth.

Jack, to whom this method of journeying was new, found it very exhilarating to fly down the rapids, dashing by the bank at almost railroad speed, the Indian now and then giving a stroke of the paddle to keep the canoe straight, or sometimes to alter her course when a threatening rock appeared above the water. The rapids, that had been surmounted with much difficulty on the way up the stream, now disappeared behind them almost as soon as they were reached. It took but a short time to gain the mouth of the river, and the canoe was soon alongside the steamer.

There everything was ready for a start. The bear in the canoe gave those on the steamer a surprise, and they were much gratified at the success of the short excursion.

Just as the steamer was about to start, Seammux spoke and pointed toward the top of one of the mountains on the north side of the Arm, where two very minute white spots were seen on the mountain top. When the glasses had been brought to bear and the specks had been watched for some little time, it appeared quite certain that they were white goats. Although they were so distant that no motion could be detected, it soon became apparent that these white specks gradually changed their positions, both with regard to each other and to surrounding objects. The[Pg 61] day was too far spent to allow any further investigation of them to be made, but as the boat started on its way down the North Arm, Mr. Fannin assured Jack that at last he had seen a couple of white goats.

"If you want to see these animals at home," said Mr. Fannin, "the best thing we can do is to come back here and climb those mountains to where they live, and then we can see them and very likely get one or two. You are in no great hurry, I fancy, and you would not mind spending a day or two in camping on the top of these hills. We'll think it over and make up our minds about it to-night or to-morrow."

"Nothing would suit me better than just such a trip as you suggest, Mr. Fannin, and we can talk it over and decide about it to-night, as you say."

If it had been pleasant coming up the Arm and the inlet, it was not less so on the way down. The bird life was as abundant as it had been in the morning. Jack and Mr. Fannin went to the bow and watched the creatures busy at their feeding.

"Tell me something about that black bird with the white shoulders, Mr. Fannin. I suppose it is one of the guillemots, is it not?" asked Jack.

"Yes. That's the pigeon guillemot," said Mr. Fannin; "a very abundant bird here, found everywhere on the salt water. It's more plentiful in the Gulf of Georgia than it is up here in the inlet, but it's plenty enough everywhere. They breed on many of the islands, rearing their young in the rocks. They are industrious little birds, as you see, and are constantly diving for food. They eat a crustacean which looks to me a good deal like the crawfish that I used to see back East; and if you watch, you will see that many of these birds which fly by the vessel are carrying this crustacean in their bills. That means, I suppose, that by this time of the year the young are getting big enough to help themselves. I believe that when they[Pg 62] are very young, though, the old ones swallow the food, which, after it has been partly digested, is disgorged into the mouths of the young ones."

"There seem to be some ducks over there near the shore, can you tell what those are at this distance, Mr. Fannin?" asked Jack.

Mr. Fannin looked through the glasses and then replied: "Yes, those are harlequin ducks. Take the glasses and look at them. Their plumage is easily recognized even at this distance. They breed here on the islands, I am told, though I have never found a nest. The Indians say that they are very much more abundant on the river than they are down here on the salt water. I have never seen a nest, and don't even know where they breed, whether in the grass, or in holes in the rocks, or in the trees. Of course, you know that there are some ducks that build in the holes in the trees?"

"Oh, yes," replied Jack. "Quite a number of them, though I have never found a duck's nest in a tree; and I feel that I should be a good deal surprised if I did find one."

All along the inlet eagles, ospreys, and crows fairly swarmed, brought there by the abundance of the fish, which offer food to all of them. Salmon and many other sorts of good fish run up the Arm, while the dog-fish—a small shark—is everywhere. There is no reason why a fish-eating bird should starve here; and, besides the fish, the crows and ravens find abundant food along the shore in the various sorts of shell-fish that are everywhere abundant.

A little later, as the two were sitting on the deck in front of the pilot house, enjoying the warm sun, the Indian Seammux came up, and, squatting down beside them, began to talk in Chinook to Mr. Fannin. After he had spoken for a few moments Mr. Fannin answered him, and, turning to Jack, said: "Here is[Pg 63] something that maybe will interest you. Seammux is telling me a story about a selallicum that used to live in the North Arm of the inlet, and in old times killed many Indians. This monster must have been of great size. It was peculiar in form, too, being shaped like two fishes, whose bodies were joined together at the tail. It used to lie stretched across the mouth of the North Arm, just beneath the surface of the water, one of its heads reaching across to the other shore. Whenever a canoe attempted to pass up the Arm, the monster would wait until the vessel was directly over its body and then would rise to the surface and upset the canoe, and devour the occupants. That is all that he has told me so far."

He spoke to Seammux, who replied at considerable length, and Mr. Fannin interpreted again. "'In this way,' he says, 'the monster killed many Indians, for the North Arm was a great hunting place, and fish and game and berries abounded along the river, so that the people had to go there to get them for food. At last, the loss of life caused by the monster became so terrible, that the Squamisht Indians had lost nearly half their people; and now no one dared to go up the Arm, so that the people feared that they would starve.'

"'In one of the villages there was a young man who had seen the misfortune of his people and pitied them. He felt so sorry for them that he at last determined that he would sacrifice himself for his race by killing this monster, even though it cost him his life. One day he went to his family and bade them good-by, saying that he was going away and should not be back for a long time. That day he went into the mountains and did not return again. In the mountains he fasted for many days, and prayed to the spirits, and at length one night when he was getting very weak, he dreamed that a large white goat stood[Pg 64] near him as he slept and spoke to him, for a long time, telling him to take courage and advising him what he should do. The next day the young man went farther into the mountains and gathered certain roots and herbs, and after he had dried them and pounded them into powder, he mixed them with some sacred oil, and rubbed the mixture over his whole body, leaving no part of his skin untouched. Then he walked down the mountains to the shore of the inlet, and dived into the water. For five years he lived in the water, scarcely ever coming out on shore; and in all these five years he never spoke to a man. He became so much at home in the water that he could swim faster than a seal or a salmon, and at the end of that time his spiritual power was so strong that he could call up to him the fishes or the seals and lift them into the canoe.

"'Now he was ready to fight the monster. He took with him two spears, one in each hand; swam to the mouth of the North Arm, dived under the monster, and thrust the spears into it. Then there was a fierce and terrible fight; but at length the battle ended, and the monster was dead. The young man was badly wounded, and expected to die. He floated on the surface of the water, like a dead salmon. As he lay there on the water, he heard the sound of a paddle, and soon a canoe came by him, and in the canoe sat his brother. The two recognized each other, and the brother lifted the wounded man into the canoe and took him to the shore. The wounded man said to him: "My brother, take me up into the mountains and gather there certain roots and herbs. These you must dry and then cook a little. Then pound them into a fine powder, mix them with oil of the medicine-fish, and rub this oil all over me, leaving no part of my body untouched." The brother did so, and immediately the young man rose from the ground, and walked[Pg 65] about, sound and whole. Then the two brothers walked home to the village, and since that time, the monster has not been seen on the North Arm.'"

"That's a good story, Mr. Fannin, a bully story," said Jack. "I wish, though, that I knew enough about the language to get along without an interpreter."

"Why, if you are willing to give a little attention and thought to the matter, you can learn this Chinook jargon easily enough. There is no grammar to bother you, and I am sure that you will pick it up very quickly."

"I must try and do so," replied Jack, "if I am going to stay in this country."

That night a council was held in Mr. Fannin's shop, and the plans of the two Americans were discussed at length. After a good deal of talking, Mr. Fannin agreed to accompany them on their canoe trip. He would go back with them to Victoria when they were ready, and prepare for the voyage. All hands were gratified at this decision.

"But now," said Fannin, "before you leave here, I think that you had better go up to the head of the North Arm and make a hunt there for goats. Of course, there's a probability that you may have plenty of hunting, on the trip, and there is also a probability that you may have no hunting at all. We may have good weather and favorable winds, in which case everything will run as smoothly as possible. We may have almost continuous rains, and head winds, and in that case we shall have to work very hard at the paddles all day long, to make any progress at all. I am like most other people. I always think that any short trip that I am going to take will turn out well—a good deal better than I had anticipated; but I have travelled in canoes so much about the shores of this Province, that I know perfectly well that we shall meet with[Pg 66] many difficulties and delays. I do not look for any danger.

"If you feel like making a hunt here I will get Seammux and another Indian and two canoes, and we can go up the Arm, to where we were to-day, climb the mountains, camp there for a couple of nights, have a hunt, come back here, take the stage for Westminster, and from there go to Victoria. By doing this, as I said before, you will be sure of at least one hunt. On the trip you will be pretty sure to kill something, perhaps enough to satisfy you as to white goats. What do you say?"

"Well, sir," said Hugh, "I am getting to be a little old to climb mountains, but at the same time I should like to go up to the top of those that we saw to-day. I don't care so much about the hunting, but I would like to go up where I could see off a little way. Almost ever since I left the ranch we've been in the timber, or else in big towns, shut in so that I haven't had any chance to use my eyes. I'm not used to that, and I would like to have a big view once more. What do you say, son?" he added, turning to Jack.

"Tell me, Mr. Fannin," said Jack, "what game will we be likely to see on top of those mountains?"

"Well," said Fannin, "I never have hunted there. I can only tell you what the Indians say. They report goats as plenty. They say that there are some bears; and they describe good-sized birds, which I think must be ptarmigan. At all events they speak of them as birds about as big as the grouse we have down here, but as turning white in winter. This of course fits the ptarmigan. I don't know whether they are the willow ptarmigan or the white-tail ptarmigan. I should be delighted if they proved to be the latter. Besides that, there may be all sorts of rare northern birds up there. You see, it's pretty high up, quite above the timber line, according to what the Indians tell."

[Pg 67]

"Well," said Jack, "that sounds mighty nice, and I vote in favor of going, if Hugh thinks best."

"I say 'go'" said Hugh. "Now what does Mr. James say?" he added, turning to the latter gentleman who sat silent, smoking his pipe.

"Mr. James says," said that gentleman, "that he wishes with all his heart that he could go with you, and was not obliged to return to-morrow to New Westminster. By bad luck I have business there which cannot be put off; and so, I must return on the stage. You others had better stay here and make your hunt, and then when you come back you can tell me about it."

So it was decided. The next morning Mr. James took the stage for town, while Fannin, Hugh, and Jack began to get Indians, canoes, and provisions together, for their camping trip in the mountains.

[Pg 68]



The next morning was a busy one for all hands. A messenger had been sent across the Inlet to summon Seammux and another Indian, and Mr. Fannin's camp outfit was brought down from the loft, got together and cleaned; and provisions were bought. By the middle of the day, Seammux, and an Indian named Sillicum, had crossed the Inlet, and anchored their canoes close to the shore. Then the blankets, the food, and the mess kit were carried down and stowed in the boat, and by that time it was noon. Immediately after the midday meal the party set out.

Mr. Fannin had proposed that he and Jack should go in the small canoe with the lighter load, and that Hugh should go in the canoe with the two Indians, who, being stronger and far more used to paddling than the white men, could move along at a better rate.

"You and I," said Fannin, "although our canoe is smaller and lighter, will have a good deal harder time in getting along than the Indians. I suppose that you have never paddled much, and I haven't either, for a number of years. But now that you are going to make a canoe trip you must learn to paddle and must be able to do your share of the work."

"Of course I have paddled some," said Jack, "in a birch-bark canoe, but I have never done much of it."

"No," said Fannin, "I suppose you have just paddled around a few miles for the fun of the thing, but you will find that if you undertake to paddle here for hours, or for a whole day, that it gets to be pretty tiresome work before the sun has set."

[Pg 69]

"Yes," said Jack, "I should think it would be tiresome. Quite different from riding a horse along over the prairie."

Mr. Fannin turned to Hugh, saying: "Mr. Johnson, it won't be necessary for you to paddle at all, unless you feel like doing so. The Indians will do all that. They are both good canoemen, and all you will have to do is to sit in the boat and smoke your pipe."

"Well," said Hugh, "I can certainly do that without much trouble. On the other hand, I think it might be well to take along another paddle for me, in case we are in water that is running strongly against us."

Another paddle having been secured, they stepped on board the canoes, pushed off, and were soon on their way up the inlet.

The tide was running strongly in from the sea and for an hour or two their progress was very good. At first Jack was a little awkward with his paddle, for the canoe was wider than any that he had ever seen before; and he was thus obliged to paddle with straighter arms. Mr. Fannin told him not to pay any attention at present to the direction of the canoe, but to leave all that to the stern paddle, which he, himself, wielded. So Jack paddled steadily on one side of the canoe, but kept his eyes straight ahead and watched the direction toward which the bow pointed. They reached the North Arm, and turning north, followed the westerly bank, and about six o'clock reached and passed up by the island just below the head of the Arm. Here Fannin spoke to the Indians, and after some little talk they turned toward the shore; and, when the bank was reached, unloaded their canoes, and prepared their camp. The top of the bank was four or five feet above the water's level, and the soil was quite dry.

Mr. Fannin, looking carefully about for a camp, chose a somewhat elevated spot; and explained to the Indians where the fire should be made and the[Pg 70] beds placed. The Indians each took an axe, went into the woods and presently returned, dragging a number of poles, two of which had crotched ends, and were already sharpened at the bottom. These were driven into the soil so that the crotches stood about six feet from the ground. Between these crotches a pole was laid, and, resting on this pole, and running down to the ground at a low angle, were a dozen or twenty other poles, the whole forming the sloping roof of what was to be a brush leanto. Then the Indians went off again and presently returned with armfuls of cedar boughs with which they proceeded to thatch this roof, laying the butts up and the points down. It was not long before they had a thatched shelter, which would shed a pretty heavy rain. In the meantime, Mr. Fannin had kindled a fire, in front of the shelter and Hugh and Jack had brought in a good pile of wood. It was not easy here to find good fire-wood, however. So great is the prevalence of rain and fog in these coast forests that all the fallen tree trunks seemed to Jack too wet to burn. However, Hugh took an axe and began to cut and split some rather large logs, that, after the outer spongy layer of moist rotten wood had been passed, were found to be perfectly sound and dry. The Indians now began to cook the evening meal of fried bacon, fried potatoes, and coffee; while the others brought the blankets from the canoes and spread their beds under the leanto so that their feet would be towards the fire. By the time this had been done, Seammux announced that the food was ready, and before long the members of the party were sitting about the fire, highly enjoying their meal. After they had eaten, Jack said: "I see, Mr. Fannin, that you have brought your shot-gun along, this time, just as you did yesterday, when we came out here. Do you carry it with you everywhere?"

"No," said Fannin, "not everywhere; but I generally[Pg 71] mean to have it with me whenever I go any great distance from home, and am so fixed that I can carry it and a few shells. Of course, I often go out hunting just to get meat, and then I leave the shot-gun at home; but when I go out hunting for pleasure, and especially when I go into a new country, I always try to carry it; for one never knows when he may see a new bird, or at all events a bird that he cannot recognize. I would rather get hold of a bird that I've never seen before, than kill almost any game that can be found in the country. Of course, if I were up in Vancouver Island in the country where the elk range, I would not carry the shot-gun, because I would want to get an elk more than any bird that I should be likely to see. A good many of those elk have been killed, of course, but I don't know that any of them have ever fallen into the hands of a naturalist; and we none of us know what they are. They may be the same elk that are found on the plains and in the Rocky Mountains, or they may be something quite different. I should like to be the man to bring out a skin of one of those animals and to have it compared with the elk that we know so well. I have seen two or three heads of the Island elk, and to me they don't look like the elk of the East, but it's a long time since I saw an eastern elk, and maybe I have forgotten just how it looks."

"Are those elk plenty?" asked Jack. "Mr. James spoke about them, but he didn't seem to know much more than the fact that there were elk up on the Island, back of Comox."

"No one knows much about them," replied Fannin. "They live in the thick timber, high up on the mountains, and mainly on the western slope. The Indians kill them sometimes, and bring in the skins and sell them, but not often. Most of the skins they use to make clothing of, or else for ceremonial robes, or for armor."

[Pg 72]

"Armor?" queried Jack; "that is something new to me. I never knew that Indians wore armor. They have shields, of course; and I've seen plenty of these; and a very good protection they are, for they will stop an arrow, and are likely to turn a ball from an old-fashioned trade gun. Isn't that so, Hugh?"

"Yes, son," replied Hugh, "that's all true enough; but Indians do wear armor sometimes; or, at least, there are stories told of their wearing armor, but it was always something that they had got from the white men, and not anything that they had made themselves."

"Why, how's that, Hugh? That's something that you never told me, and I don't think I ever heard the Indians speak about it."

"Maybe not," said Hugh, thoughtfully. "When I come to think of it, I don't believe the Blackfeet ever had anything of that kind; but the Pawnees did, and so did the Cheyennes and the Arapahoes. I will have to tell you that story some time."

"Tell it now," said Fannin; and Jack added: "Yes, tell it now, Hugh."

"Well," said Hugh, "it's quite a long story, but I'll tell it to you if you like. But before I begin I'll tell you how I first heard about this armor. Way back, more than twenty years ago, I used to hear the Pawnees talk about an iron shirt that they had. They talked about it pretty freely, but I never got to see it. As near as I could tell, it was something to be worn on the body; perhaps hung around the neck and tied around the waist and under the arms. In other words, it didn't cover up the whole body, but was something like a breastplate,—something that would just protect a man's breast and belly if he were shot at or cut at from the front.

"Years after that, when with the Cheyennes, I heard about a shirt, an iron shirt, that they had; and when they talked about it, as they often did, I found out that[Pg 73] this shirt that the Pawnees had they had captured from the Cheyennes, who once owned that and a lot more things like it; in fact, a regular suit of iron clothes. There was a cap made of steel, with a kind of a mask that let down in front over the face; and a sort of a cape from behind that covered the neck. There was a coat that covered the whole body and the upper part of the arms, and laced up on one side; while there was a pair of leggings that covered the legs from the waist down to the ankles. According to the Cheyenne's tell, the man that had this suit of clothes on could stand up and let people shoot at him all day long and he never would be hurt. But they said that these clothes were so powerful heavy that they were very hard to wear; that a man dressed up in them could hardly mount his horse, and that if he tumbled off and fell down, it was all that he could do to get on his legs again. For this reason they never wore the whole suit of clothes; but they would take a part of it and wear it into battle, and of course the man who wore it could go right into the thick of the shooting, and the arrows and the bullets would not hurt him at all, unless he happened to be hit on some part of his body that was not covered.

"Now, I think it was along about 1852 that the Cheyennes and the Pawnees had a big fight on Republican River. A big war party of Cheyennes, Sioux, and Apaches, Kiowas and Comanches had gone out to kill all the Pawnees; they were going to wipe the Pawnees off the earth. They found the Pawnees hunting buffalo on the Republican River, and attacked them, and they had a big fight, in which quite a number were killed on both sides, and among them a lot of the bravest of the Cheyennes. A big chief, 'Touching the Cloud,' wore a part of this iron clothing—only the leggings, they say, spread out over the breast. He had been very brave, and the Pawnees hadn't been able to hit him at all. During the fight he charged on[Pg 74] a single Pawnee, who ran away. The Pawnee and Touching the Cloud were both mounted, and Touching the Cloud, who, notwithstanding his armor, wasn't taking any chances, rode up on the right-hand side of the Pawnee to strike him. Of course you can understand, that coming up on the right-hand side the Pawnee could not turn around on his horse far enough to shoot back with his bow; whereas, if the Cheyenne had ridden up on the left-hand side, the Pawnee could have turned around, and, pulling the bowstring with his right hand, could shoot at the Cheyenne. But as bad luck would have it, this Pawnee that Touching the Cloud was going to strike was a left-handed man; so just as the Cheyenne was going to strike him he whirled around on his horse and shot an arrow which, more by good luck than skill, I reckon, struck the Cheyenne in the right eye and went through his brain.

"That about ended the fight, and the Cheyennes and their party went off licked.

"That was one of the biggest misfortunes that the Cheyennes ever had, for Touching the Cloud was a brave warrior, a wise man, and one of the handsomest among the Cheyennes. He had been the orator for the Cheyennes at the Horse Creek Treaty in 1851; and later had gone to Washington; and then, soon after his return, was killed, as I tell you."

"Well," said Fannin, "that's an interesting story, and that Indian was certainly in mighty hard luck. I guess it was fated that he should die."

"Well, Hugh," remarked Jack, "that's one of the best stories I ever heard, and it's queer that you never told it to me before. I guess there are lots of interesting things that you have seen and know that you have never let me hear about."

"Maybe there are, son; but it does seem to me that I've done a heap of talking since I've known you;[Pg 75] more maybe than I've done in a good many years before."

"But where did this armor come from, Hugh?" asked Jack.

"Well, I was going to come to that. You see, after Touching the Cloud was killed, the Pawnees captured the armor that he had, and have kept it ever since. The rest of the clothes the Cheyennes had a few years ago. I don't know what has become of them.

"I asked particularly where these clothes came from, and the story the Cheyennes tell is something like this: A good many years ago, I don't know whether it was fifty or a hundred years, one of them Mexicans that used to come up trading from the South brought this suit of clothes with him, packed in a box. After he had been trading for a while in the Arapahoe and Cheyenne camps, he opened the box one day and took out these iron clothes, and showed them to the Indians. Pretty soon there were two or three of them that came to understand that an arrow or a bullet could not go through these clothes, and then they wanted to trade for them; but the Mexican let on that he didn't want to sell them, and packed them again in the box and put them away. You see, the Mexican could count on getting a big price for these things, for the Indian who owned them could figure on being a pretty big man. In the first place, he would be safe in going into battle; and in the second place, he could do such brave things that he'd get up an almighty big name for himself right away; and in the third place, all the tribes that he went to war against, would soon learn that he could not be hurt in battle and would think that he had some powerful medicine or helper, and so they would always run away when he was with a party that attacked them. So the possession of these iron clothes would make a man famous for bravery, and that is the thing of all others that Indians are eager for. Well, the upshot[Pg 76] of it was that these Indians began bidding against each other for the iron clothes; and at last an Arapahoe gave the Mexican three or four buffalo horses for them, and got them. After a little while, however, he found out that there were some things about the suit that made it a less desirable piece of property than he had supposed; and when a Cheyenne offered him a great price for it, he sold it to him; and so it passed from hand to hand, parts of it often being worn in battle, and always, or almost always protecting the wearer from any harm. That's all I know about the iron shirt. I expect it was one of those old coats of mail which the Spaniards used to wear in early days when they first came to America."

Hugh stopped, refilled his pipe, which had gone out while he was talking, leaned over and took up a coal out of the ashes and deftly applied it to the bowl of the pipe; and then, after getting the tobacco well alight, turned to Fannin and said: "Now tell us, friend, about this armor that your Indians out here use."

"Well," said Fannin, "this armor is not of white man's make. The Indians fix it up themselves. They make long shirts of elk-skin, and sew into them straight pieces of wood, sometimes round, and as thick as your finger, sometimes flat and a little wider than a common lath. The elk-skin and the wood make an armor that will stop an arrow or a knife thrust. It's a pretty clumsy article of clothing, and an Indian who wears one of these coats of mail can't get around very easily; but he's pretty well protected, and I guess feels a whole lot braver with such a shirt on than he would feel if he were naked."

"I guess he does," said Hugh. "It's curious the way they worked that thing out for themselves. Now, I can remember when I first came out on the plains that sometimes the trappers, if they were in a bad place and surrounded, used to wear shirts of the skins of two[Pg 77] black-tail deer,—one in front and one behind and tied under the arms. They said that those skins, when wet, would turn an arrow. I wonder if they got that from the Indians? I wouldn't be a mite surprised.

"I have heard, too," he added, "that there are some other Indians that use armor of this kind; and that the Pueblo Indians that live down South in Arizona and New Mexico use a sort of basket work to protect themselves in war. Somebody told me once, but I can't remember who it was, that some of the Southwest people wore shirts lined with cotton that would stop an arrow; and I know for sure that some of the plains' Indians wadded their shields with buffalo hair or with feathers, which also helped to stop the arrows. I expect likely there's a good deal more of this armor business than we know anything about. For all I know, maybe there have been books written about it."

"Well," said Fannin, "we ought to get an early start to-morrow morning if we are going to go up to the head of the Arm and climb the mountains. I guess we'd better turn in."

"I reckon we had," said Hugh; while Jack said: "I'm not a bit sleepy, and I wish you'd both go ahead and tell some more Indian stories."

"Too late now," said Fannin. "I guess we'll have plenty of time for Indian stories a little later;" and before long they had all turned into their blankets.

[Pg 78]



They were early astir the next morning. It took but a little while to get breakfast, and to load the canoes, which were soon on their way up the North Arm. By noon they had reached a point at the foot of the large island near its head, above which rose the great bare peak which they had seen two or three days ago, and on which lay a large bank of snow. Here they landed. They unloaded the canoes, and, taking them out of the water, carried them a little distance into the forest and covered them with branches. Then the blankets and provisions were made up into back loads, and, the Indians bearing most of the burdens, the party set out to climb the mountain. It was a long, steep clamber, and it was not until five and a half hours later that they reached the border of the timber, from which the unwooded summit rose still higher.

Seammux advised making camp on the edge of the timber, declaring that a camp-fire made higher up on the mountains, where the goats ranged and fed, would be likely to frighten them; and before camp was made and supper cooked and eaten, darkness settled down, so that there was no opportunity that night of seeing anything in the hunting grounds. The climb had been a difficult one, and especially hard on the white men, whose muscles were unused to this sort of exercise. There was no disposition for conversation, and all hands sought their blankets soon after the meal was eaten.

[Pg 79]

The next morning they were up by daylight; and after breakfast, leaving the timber behind them, started toward the summit, passing up a beautiful grassy swale, toward the higher land. It was absolutely still, except for the occasional call of a gray jay in the timber or the chatter of a flock of cross-bills.

Just before they reached the summit a dense fog settled down over the mountains and at once cut off every distant view. The air was cool, the fog heavy and wet, and, as it was useless to travel through this obscurity, they halted and sat about waiting for the air to clear. As they sat there, impatiently hoping that the mist would clear away, suddenly out of the fog, and close by them flew two birds, which looked to Jack like cedar birds, but cedar birds bigger than he had ever seen before.

"Bohemian Waxwings," said Fannin, as he grasped his shot-gun. He rose to his feet to follow them, when the older Indian spoke to him warningly, and after an exchange of a few sentences Fannin sat down again.

"What is it, Mr. Fannin?" asked Jack. "Are you going to try to get them?"

"No," said Fannin; "I wanted to, but Seammux here says if I fire a shot it will scare the goats, and we shall not see one to-day. I don't believe it; but on the other hand, I don't know half as much about goats as the Indian does; and as we came up here to get goats, I am not going to do anything that might interfere with our getting them."

"Of course I don't know anything about goats," said Jack; "but I've heard that they are very gentle and not easily disturbed by noise. That's what the Indians have told me, but of course we can't tell how true it is."

"Yes," said Hugh, "the Blackfeet and Kutenais all say that you can fire many shots at a goat; and others,[Pg 80] not far off, within easy ear-shot of the firing, will pay no attention to the noise."

"Well," said Fannin, "we came up here to get goats, and those are what we must try for."

It was nearly noon when a light breeze began to blow, and the fog seemed to grow thinner; and a little later, without the least warning, the great bank of fog which had hung over the mountains rolled away, and the sun burst forth from a cloudless sky. They could now see that they were on the crest of a mountain ridge that separated the valley of the North Arm of Burrard Inlet and Salmon River from that of Seymour Creek to the west. The divide they were on was broken and uneven, made up of sharp ridges, deep ravines, and rounded, smooth and sometimes almost level stretches. Everywhere on the high divide, except on the tops of the rocky ridges, the ground was covered with heather, soft and yielding under foot, yet good to walk over. As they moved along the ridge, they could see at almost every step fresh signs of goats. None were in sight, but this meant nothing; for although the country was open and the eye could cover miles of territory, in any direction, yet the ground was so broken that goats might be anywhere close to them and still be out of sight.

After a little while Seammux left the party and started down the side of the ridge toward Seymour Creek; but he had hardly gone two hundred yards when he dropped to the ground, clambered up a short distance toward them, and made signs for them to come.

"There," said Fannin, "Seammux sees something; I hope it's in a place where we can get to it."

"I hope so," said Jack, "and that it's not too far down the hill. Anything that we kill down there of course has got to be carried up again."

"Well," said Hugh, "the easiest way to find out[Pg 81] where it is, is to go down to the Indian; but go carefully; this plant under foot is mighty slippery, and you don't want to fall down and break your gun or knock off the sights."

They scrambled down to the Indian, who, as they approached, made signs for them to be cautious. When they had reached him, he pointed to the top of the bank below him, and they advanced to look over it, supposing that they might see goats, three or four hundred yards away, that would have to be carefully stalked. But instead of that, when they peered cautiously over it, there were four of the white beasts placidly feeding on the hillside, within thirty yards of them. The curious animals stood knee-deep in the heather, and seemed to be carefully picking out certain plants which grew here and there among it. Their horns were sharp, shining black, and directed a little backward; and on each chin was a beard, reminding one of that of a buffalo, and easily explaining the common name "goat" given to them. The animals seemed so unsuspicious that Fannin hardly felt like firing at them; but to Jack, who had never before killed a goat, no such thought occurred. He was anxious to secure his animal. There were four shots, for the young Indian, Sillicum, carried a musket, though Seammux had none; and it was but a moment before the four goats lay stretched on the mountain side.

"Well," said Jack, as they stood over the animals which the Indians were now preparing to skin, "that is about the simplest piece of hunting that I ever did. These goats don't seem to be much more suspicious than so many buffalo."

"No," said Hugh, "they are certainly gentle beasts, and that's just what I've always heard about them from the Indians."

"Well," said Jack, "now that I have killed one goat, I don't feel as if I cared very much to kill any more."

[Pg 82]

"No," said Mr. Fannin, "there's not much sport in it. You must remember that these goats are scarcely ever disturbed, for no white men ever come here to hunt; and I don't believe the Indians come once in five years. It's very possible that these goats never saw a man and never heard a shot before to-day."

By this time the Indians had dragged three of the goats to a level spot, where they could work, and then went off to bring the fourth one. Seammux had just seized it by the hind leg to pull it up to this level place, when suddenly the goat came to life, sprang to its feet, and began to run down the hill, dragging Seammux after it. The Indian was plucky and would not let go, and his companion hurried to his aid. The ground grew more and more steep, and presently the Indian and the goat fell and began to roll over. Fannin, fearing lest Seammux might get a bad fall, shouted: "Kloshe nannitch (Look out), Seammux." Seammux loosened his hold of the goat, and tried to stop himself by grasping at the grass and weeds; but his momentum was too great. The goat continued to roll down the hill, and disappeared from sight; and Seammux, rolling after the goat, also disappeared.

"I am afraid he may have had a bad fall," said Fannin, as he started running down the hill toward where the Indian had vanished. Sillicum had seated himself on the ground at the top of the steep place, and was slowly hitching himself down toward what seemed to be the edge of a cliff. Hugh and Jack were close behind Fannin. When they reached the top of the steep place, which was only fifteen or twenty feet high, Hugh said: "Hold on here; I'll anchor myself to this little tree, and reach my gun down; and you, Fannin, let yourself down by it as far as you can, and reach your gun down, and Jack can get to the edge. He's the lightest of the lot."

"Will he be sure to hold on?" inquired Fannin.

Seammux and the goat


[Pg 83]

"Yes," said Hugh. "Don't bother about Jack, he'll do it." It took but a moment for Hugh to pass his arm around the tree; and, holding his rifle by the muzzle, he stretched it down the slope, and Fannin quickly passed down. Grasping the rifle above the stock, he reached his gun down nearly to the edge of the slope. Jack quickly scrambled down beside them, and, holding on by Fannin's gun, at last found himself on the edge of the sheer cliff; and looking over, he saw, but a few feet below him, caught in the top of a fir tree that grew in a crevice of the rock, Seammux, looking anxiously up at him. Below him there was a fall of a hundred feet or more, and on the rocks, at the bottom of the cliff, lay the carcase of the goat.

"Hurrah!" said Jack. "Hold on, Seammux, we'll get you up all right!" Then he called back to Hugh and Fannin: "He's caught in a small tree, not more than ten feet below where I am, but I can't reach him. If we get a rope we'll have him out of that in two minutes."

"All right," said Fannin, "that's easily done. Sillicum and I will go back to the camp and fetch the guys on the tent, and any other rope that's there. It's only a little way, and we'll be back in fifteen minutes. What sort of footing have you, Jack?"

"Perfectly good," said Jack; "there's a lot of gravel and broken stone here, on which there is no danger of slipping. I could stay here for a week."

"Well," said Hugh, "make a safe place before you let go Fannin's gun; and then stop there in sight of the Indian. It will make him feel easier, that way."

Jack stamped out a place where he could stand and even sit, and spoke a few words to Seammux, though the latter, of course, did not understand what he was saying.

Fannin called out to the Indian, in a loud voice, telling him that they were going for a rope and would[Pg 84] soon have him out of his trouble. Seammux shouted back. Fannin and Sillicum climbed up the steep hill; and, leaving their guns behind them, started on a trot for the camp.

To those who were watching at the edge of the cliff, they seemed gone a long time, but it was really only fifteen or twenty minutes before they came back again, each carrying a coil of rope.

"Good!" said Hugh. "I'm glad you've got back. It seemed a long time to us watching here, and a good deal longer to Seammux. How much rope have you got? Why, that's bully! There's forty feet in one of those coils, and as the rope is a little light, we'll just double it."

He knotted one end of each coil about the little tree, to which he had been holding; and, tossing the other ends to Jack, said: "Now, son, double this rope and then throw it over the Indian, and tell him to put it under his arms. How's the edge of that rock there? Is it sharp and likely to cut the rope, or does the soil and grass overhang it?"

Jack knotted the rope, and called back, saying: "No, there's no sharp edge to be seen; the earth and the grass run right out to the edge of the cliff and seem to overhang a little."

"Very well," said Hugh. "Pass the rope to the Indian, and then tell us when you are ready for us to begin to pull up."

Jack called to Seammux and made a sign that he was going to throw the rope to him. Then tossing it out, it passed over the Indian's head and one shoulder, and was caught on one of his arms. Jack motioned to Seammux how to fix the rope, and he did so; and then the men above took in all the slack, so that the rope was taut. Then Seammux slowly and carefully began to turn around in the tough bending tree that held him, and to work in toward the face of the cliff; and the[Pg 85] men above began slowly to haul in on the rope. There was a moment or two of anxiety, while the rope at the edge of the cliff could be seen to swing and twist a little; and then the hand and arm of the Indian appeared above the cliff, and presently the head. In a moment more he lay with his breast on its edge, clutching the weeds and grass with a vise-like grasp. After a moment's rest, he wriggled on and raised himself; and, helped by the rope, in another moment he stood beside Jack, unharmed, but panting hard.

"Now, son," said Hugh, "take hold of that rope and come up here." Jack did so, and was immediately followed by Seammux. All climbed up to a level place and threw themselves on the ground, Seammux still panting from his exertion, and the others greatly relieved that the danger was over.

"Well, friend," said Fannin in Chinook, addressing the Indian, "you wanted that goat so badly, why did you go only part way with him; why didn't you keep on to the bottom?"

"Ha!" said Seammux. "I didn't want the goat. I thought that I could keep him from having a bad fall, but I held on too long. I couldn't stop him, and when I wanted to stop myself, I couldn't do that, either."

"Well," said Fannin, "you 're a lucky man. You must have a powerful helper who caused you to roll over the cliff just where that small tree stuck out."

"You speak truth," said Seammux. "I shall make a sacrifice to that person when I get back to my house."

After resting a little, they climbed farther up the hill to where the three goats lay, and the Indians began to skin them. They were the first goats that Jack had seen, and he was much interested in examining them. He wondered at the short, sharp, shiny horns, and the short, strong legs, the great hoofs with their soft pad-like cushions on the soles; and the great dew claws, which were worn and rounded, showing that[Pg 86] they were of use to the animal in climbing up and down the hills. Hugh pointed out to him a curious gland close behind the base of the horn; and when he smelled of it, as advised to do, he was almost overpowered by the strong odor of musk that came from it.

"Well now, son," said Hugh, "is there no animal that these goats remind you of?"

"There's one," said Jack, "and I thought of it when I was pulling the trigger.

"They remind me a good lot of the buffalo. Look at the hump on the back, the low hind quarters, the legs with the long hair down to the knees, the shaggy coat and beard. These are all things that suggest buffalo, yet I suppose this animal here is not closely related to the buffalo. In fact, I am sure they are not; because my uncle has told me that they were antelope; but I am sure they look more like buffalo than they do like the antelope we see down on the prairie."

"You are right," said Hugh. "They look to me a good deal more like buffalo than antelope; but then Mr. Sturgis has talked to me about antelope, too; and he says that this antelope that we have here on the plains, isn't a regular antelope, but is a kind of an animal by itself, that hasn't got any close relations anywhere else in the world. He says that the real antelopes are found mostly in Europe and Asia and Africa, and that these here goats are the only regular antelope that we've got in America."

"Yes," said Jack, "that's so; that's just what he has told me, and I expect he knows."

"I reckon he does, son," said Hugh.

"Yes," said Fannin, "that's all gospel, I expect. I don't know much about these things myself, except what I've read in books, but I have read just that."

By this time the Indian had skinned and cut up two of the goats, and Fannin said: "Well, let's leave the Indians here and go on a little way farther, and see[Pg 87] what else we can find." He picked up his shot-gun and said to Seammux: "Carry my rifle, Seammux, so that if you see any game you may have something to shoot with." Then, Fannin carrying the shot-gun, the three began to climb toward the summit, working along just below the ridge.

They had not gone very far, when close to the top of another ridge, running out from the main divide, they discovered a large billy-goat walking along the very edge of the cliff. He was some distance from them, and though they were in plain sight and made no effort to conceal themselves, he paid no attention to them. When they had come within three or four hundred yards of him, they sat down to watch him. He was feeding along, walking slowly, and stopping now and then to nip some plant which he liked. Soon he turned sharply down the almost vertical cliff, and worked along slowly and without any apparent caution, farther down, about thirty or forty yards to where grew a large broad leafed plant, which, Fannin said, the Indians reported to be a favorite food of the animal. Here he stopped and began feeding.

As they watched him, and commented on his slow and clumsy, yet absolutely confident movements, a loud hoarse call, almost like that of a raven rapidly repeated, sounded on the mountain side just above them. All turned their heads to look, and saw a flock of eight grouse standing with outstretched necks, gazing at them.

"Ptarmigan!" said Fannin. "I must have these." Loading and firing in quick succession, he shot the eight birds. "I hope they are white tails," he said. "These are the first that I have ever seen, in this part of the country;"—and he clambered up to gather his prize.

"Look at that goat!" cried Jack; and they turned their heads to look at the animal, which was still feeding[Pg 88] on the very edge of the cliff in the same unconcerned manner as before the shots had been fired. Yet he could not have failed to hear them, for the Indians, who were much farther off, afterward spoke of hearing the reports.

The birds were not the white-tailed ptarmigan, as had been hoped. Besides that, they were in the last stage of moult; the plumage was worn and ragged, and they were hardly fit to skin, Fannin said. But it was interesting to Fannin and to Jack to have found them on these mountains.

Leaving the goat still enjoying his meal, our friends pushed on. They climbed a high peak from which the whole range was visible toward the north and the south, and far off to the south the two Indians were seen apparently approaching some game.

Before either had fired a shot, a heavy fog obscured the whole scene; but through it, a little later, came the sound of shot after shot until nine had been counted, and Hugh remarked: "Sounds like a battle down there." They learned later that Seammux had fired nine shots at one goat before getting it, and his expenditure of ammunition was the cause of more than one joke at his expense.

By this time having had all the hunting of goats that they wanted, they decided to return to the camp. Before reaching it they were joined by the two Indians, each carrying on his shoulders a heavy load of goat skins and meat. They had almost reached the camp, and were resting on the top of the highest knoll above it, when Seammux, whose eyes were constantly roving over the country, pointed in the direction of Seymour Creek and said: "I think that's a bear." In the bottom of the ravine, about three quarters of a mile from where they were, some dark objects were seen, and the glasses showed these to be a bear and three good-sized cubs. There were hills on either side of[Pg 89] the animals, and to approach them was not difficult. Yet the very easiness of the hunting took away from its pleasure. The animals were unsuspicious; the cover good; there were three good rifles. A short stalk brought the hunters close to the bears.

Fannin said: "Jack, you kill the old one, and we'll take the cubs. I will whistle, and when she looks up, you shoot." It all happened according to schedule, and sooner than it takes to tell it the four bears lay dead. That night there was plenty of fresh meat in camp. A side of young bear ribs was roasted by Hugh, somewhat as they used to roast deer or buffalo ribs on the plains, and they were pronounced excellent by all hands. There was abundant broiled goat meat, which was deemed good by the Indians; but somewhat lacking in flavor by the white men. After the meal was over and the pipes were going, Mr. Fannin asked Jack his opinion of the day's sport.

"Well," said Jack, "there's lots of game here, it's a good hunting country, and it's full of interesting life, but the fault I have to find with it is that it's too easy to get your game. A man doesn't have to work hard enough. He's pretty sure that if he keeps his eyes open and uses ordinary precaution, he can approach close enough to these very gentle animals to get them every time. To my mind, half the fun of hunting anything is the uncertainty as to whether you are going to be successful or not. If every time you take your rifle and start out you are sure that you are going to get some game, there is no more interest in it than there is in killing a beef for food at the ranch, or in butchering hogs on a farm. Take away the element of uncertainty in hunting or fishing, and you have nothing left. An Indian who goes out to kill buffalo does not regard the getting of the meat as fun, but as hard work; just as you or I might feel that pitching hay or riding the range for wages was work."

[Pg 90]

"That's so, son; you've figured it out just right," said Hugh. "It is work. The Indian gets his pay in meat and the skins. The white man gets his pay in dollars and cents, so many of them a day or a month. Now, when the white man goes hunting, he does it with the idea that he is having fun, that he is doing something opposite from work; but when the Indian goes hunting he knows that he is working, and working hard. I suppose, maybe, it's just the difference between being a savage and being civilized."

"I agree with you, Jack," said Mr. Fannin, "that there's no fun whatever in hunting such as we've had to-day. Of course, if we were off on a trip and needed meat for food, we would be glad to kill game just for the purpose of eating it, but not for the fun of hunting. The more a man works for his game, the more difficult it is to get, the greater his satisfaction in his success.

"Well, to-morrow, I think, we can perhaps get down home again; and if we can, we'll start on the stage for Westminster the day after, and get to Victoria the following night. Then we can make our start for the North."

[Pg 91]



Two days later the party was once more in Victoria. The sail from New Westminster to Victoria had been very delightful. After the swift run down the Fraser River, between high walls of evergreen with their backgrounds of distant gray mountains, the boat passed out on the broad waters of the Gulf of Georgia. In every direction, save to the west, the view was of mountains backed by mountains; and above and beyond them all was Mount Baker, raising its sharp white cone toward the heavens. To the south were the deep waters of the Gulf, dancing and sparkling in the sunlight, and dotted by thousands of islands. Beyond, and over them all, was seen the mainland of the United States, with ranges of snow-clad mountains, above and beyond which one would sometimes catch a glimpse of majestic Ranier. After the mouth of the river had been left, Fannin called his companions' attention to an interesting point.

"I want you to watch the water from now on, and notice before long when the boat leaves the current of the river and enters the waters of the Gulf. You see the river is constantly carrying down a lot of mud and silt which must be mighty fine; for, instead of sinking, it runs away out here into the Gulf before it disappears; and before long you will see a change in the color of the water where we leave the muddy current of the Fraser and pass into the clean waters of the Gulf."

Jack and Hugh were on the lookout for this, and[Pg 92] finally the point was reached where the turbid and clear waters met.

Hugh said: "Why, that's just the way the two streams look where the Missouri runs into the Mississippi. The Mississippi is black and clear; and the Missouri, of course, is yellow and muddy. You can see the line plain always there."

"Yes," said Jack, "and I have heard father talk about two streams in France, I think, where you see the same thing. One of them is the Rhone, but the name of the other I have forgotten."

A little later the steamer plunged in among the islands. The channel followed was difficult on account of the strong tides that were constantly rushing backward and forward through the narrow passage. Careful piloting is needed here, for at certain stages of the tide it is difficult even for a strong steamer to stem it; and if the vessel is not kept straight she may be whirled around, and that may be the last of her. The sail was a succession of surprises. On many of the islands were settlers; but with, often, only a house or two in sight. Passing around a point, Indians could be seen fishing in the troubled waters or camping upon the shore. There were birds in great multitudes; and not a few sailing craft were seen passing here and there on errands of their own.

After their two or three days of hard physical effort and life in camp, the dinner at the Driard House tasted very good. The next morning they started out to study the matter of transportation to the North.

Mr. MacTavish and Fannin both said that if a small steamer or launch could be hired it would enable them to go a great deal farther, and see things much more easily, at only a slight added expense. Some days, therefore, were spent in searching the wharves of the town and in excursions to other places in trying to secure what they wanted, but without success. There [Pg 93]were several small launches, exactly suited to their purposes, but all these had been engaged for the salmon fishing on the Fraser. The run of fish was likely to begin in a short time. That year it was expected to be very heavy, and all the canneries were making great preparations for the catch. There seemed no way to get steam transportation. Failing this, the next best thing was to take a canoe and proceed by that slow means of conveyance as far north as time would permit. Fannin, whose experience made him a good judge of what should be done, recommended that they take the steamer to Nanaimo, distant from Victoria about seventy miles. Near that town there was an Indian village, where canoes and help could be had, and from where a start could be made. When this plan had been discussed and agreed on, it remained only to get together a mess kit, hire a cook, and take the steamer. A whole day was spent in this work. The cook engaged was a Virginian, known as "Arizona Charley," a man whose wanderings, including almost all of the United States, had at last brought him to Victoria. He proved an excellent man, faithful and willing; and—unlike most cooks—unusually good-natured. As soon as he was engaged the party transported their blankets, arms, and mess kit to the wharf; and early the next morning they were ploughing the Gulf toward the north.

They wear white men's clothes


On this voyage, although so short, Jack saw much that was new to him. As the vessel moved out from the wharf he was leaning on the rail with Fannin, looking down on the passengers who occupied the lower deck. "It's hard for me to believe, Mr. Fannin," he said, "that these are Indians; they do not look much more like the Indians of the plains and the mountains than a Chinaman does. There the men all wear robes or blankets. Here they all wear white men's clothes, including shoes and hats. They seem civilized, quite[Pg 94] as much as the Italian laborers that we are beginning to see so many of in the East."

"Yes," said Fannin, "they've changed greatly since I came into the country, and changed for the better. They're a pretty important element nowadays in the laboring population of the country; and for certain kinds of labor they are well fitted. They make good deck-hands, longshoremen, and fishermen; and many of them work in the lumber mills and canneries. They're very strong and are able to carry loads that a white man couldn't stagger under. Many of them work regularly and lay up money."

"I should think from what I have seen, and am seeing, that their natural way of getting around is in canoes. They must be skilful canoemen, aren't they?" asked Jack. "A day or two ago I saw some little children not more than three or four years old, paddling with the older people, and apparently doing it not in fun, but really to help."

"Well," said Fannin, "they learn to paddle before they learn to walk. I suppose it's because they see their parents do it. It's been my experience that the games of most children imitate the serious pursuits of their parents."

"I'm sure that's so," said Hugh. "Among the Indians I've seen it, I reckon, a thousand times. The little boys pretend to hunt, just as their fathers do; and the little girls pretend to pack wood and water, just like their mothers. I've seen a woman trudging down the creek with a back-load of wood that you'd think would break a horse's back; and following her would be a little girl hardly big enough to walk, having her rope over her back, and tied up in it a bundle of twigs. She walked along, imitating the gait of her mother, and when she got to the lodge threw down her load just as she saw her mother throw down hers."

"Well, anyhow," said Fannin, "you can see that[Pg 95] these children, doing this sort of work from babyhood until they're grown up, would get to be mighty skilful at it; and you can understand how they can work at it, just as you and Hugh here can get on your horses in the morning and ride until dark; while, if I did that, in the first place, I'd have to be tied on the horse; and in the second place, I would not be able to walk for a week afterward. But there's no mistake about it, these Siwashes are good watermen."

"That's a word I've heard three or four times, Mr. Fannin," said Jack, "and I'd like you to tell me what it is—what it means—Siwash."

"Well, it means an Indian," said Fannin. "It's a Chinook jargon word, and yet it don't exactly mean an Indian either. It means a male Indian. An Indian woman is a klootchman."

"Klootchman!" said Jack. "That sounds Dutch."

"Well," said Fannin, "I don't know what language it is. You know this Chinook jargon is a language made up of words taken from many tongues. It's called Chinook; but I don't feel sure that the words in it are mostly from the Chinook language. I guess Siwash, for example, is a French word—probably it was originally sauvage, meaning savage. There are lots of French words in the Chinook jargon, though I can't think of them at the present moment. One of them, though, is lecou, meaning neck; and another is lahache, an axe. These are plain enough; but a good many of the words are taken from different Indian languages, and are just hitched together without any grammar at all. It's a sort of a trade language; a good deal, I expect, like the pigeon English that the coast Chinese are said to use in communicating with white men."

"I suppose," said Jack, "that the Siwashes are mainly fishermen, are they not? About all I've seen have been on the water paddling around in their canoes,[Pg 96] and whenever we've seen them doing anything, except paddling, they have been fishing."

"Yes," said Fannin, "you're right about that; they are fishermen, or at least they derive the most of their subsistence from the water. Of course they depend chiefly upon the salmon, which they eat fresh, and dry for winter food; for the salmon are here only in summer. The Indians do some land hunting. They kill a good many deer, and some mountain goats, but their chief dependence for food is the salt-water fish. When the salmon begin to run in June or July, and before they have got into the fresh water streams, the Indians catch them in numbers with a trolling spoon. Of course the Indians do considerable water hunting; that is to say, they kill seals, and porpoises, and now and then a whale; but what they depend on is fishing."

"It means," said Jack, "that to these Indians the salmon are what the buffalo is to the Indians of the plains."

"Yes," said Fannin, "that's about it," and Hugh added: "The canoe here is about the same as the horse back where we live."

"Just about," agreed Fannin.

"Well," said Hugh, "that's all mighty curious, and I'm mighty glad I've come out here to see it all. I never thought about it much before, but I always had an idea that all Indians were about the same as those I knew most about; and that they lived about the same sort of lives. Of course I can see now just what a fool notion that was to have, but I did not see it then."

"But, Mr. Fannin," said Jack, "these Indians must have a lot of money. They are all provided with ordinary clothing, which they must buy; and they're pretty well fixed apparently, with everything that they need. Where do they get this money? Do all of them work, and get so much a day?"

"No," said Fannin, "not by a jugful. Some of[Pg 97] them work, and work pretty steadily; a good many work, and after they have been at it for a week or a month, they get tired of it, throw up their jobs and go off in their canoes. They do considerable trading with the whites, however. They gather a great deal of oil, and this is one of the main articles of trade. You saw over on Burrard Inlet a whole lot of dog-fish. Well, the Indians catch lots of these, and take the liver and throw the carcase overboard. The liver is full of oil, which brings a pretty fair price. They also kill lots of porpoises, and porpoise oil is salable. Then, they make a great many baskets; mighty good ones too, they seem to be. Some of them are water-tight, perfectly good for cooking, or for water buckets. They also make mats, both of reeds and of the bark of the cedar, and these are useful and sell well."

"Well," said Jack, "how do they live? We've seen some tents on the beaches, but I suppose that in the winter time they must have something more substantial to live in than these tents."

"Yes," said Fannin, "of course they do. Though you must not think that the winters here are like the winters we have back East. It's pretty warm here, and we have little or no snow until you get back in among the mountains. The Siwashes along the coast live in wooden houses. We'll see a lot of them before long, and then you'll know that they are better than I can tell you. They are made of big planks split off the cedar, and roofed with the same. All around the house, near to the walls, a platform is built, on which the people sit and sleep. In the middle of the house the ground is bare; and it is there that the fire is built for cooking and for warmth. There may be a number of families living in one of these houses, each family having its sleeping place—its room you might call it—but all of them cooking at and sitting about the common fire. The roof planks do not quite come[Pg 98] together at the peak of the house and the smoke of the fire goes out through the hole. Sometimes the roof beams and the posts which hold up the roof in front and behind are carved and painted.

"Close to some of the houses stand tall carved poles, called totem poles. One may be carved with a representation of a bear, a beaver, a frog, and an eagle, each animal resting on the head of the one carved below it on the pole. They are queer things to see, and if you will be patient for a few days we'll see them; and maybe we'll get some Indians to explain them to us. They have something to do with the family history, and some people say that each of these animals that is carved on the pole represents an ancestor or ancestors of the man before whose house the pole stands."

"Well," said Jack, "I'd like to see them. But from what you say, and from what I have seen, the Indians must be mighty good carvers. The canoes that we've seen had queer figures on them, and Mr. MacTavish had some beautiful pieces of carving in black slate that he said came from Queen Charlotte Islands; but I've forgotten what Indians carved them."

"Oh, yes," said Mr. Fannin, "that is Haida work. All the Indians north from Victoria are good at carving. Of course the animals and figures that they represent do not agree with our ideas of how these things should be represented. Most of the figures are grotesque, but they show fine workmanship; and if you give any of these Indians a model to copy he will follow it very closely. Up in the North they will hammer a bracelet or a spoon for you from a silver dollar; and they will put on it pretty much any design that you may give them."

Totem poles


"I see," said Jack, "that all their canoes are carved in front; and the prows remind one a little bit of the pictures of the old Viking ships; and then, again, of [Pg 99]the still older boats that the Romans had, only, of course, they were all rowed with oars, while the Indians use paddles."

"Yes," said Fannin, "these canoes that we have here are not like any that I know of anywhere else in the world. They're all made out of a single stick of wood and are of all sizes. There's one up at the Bella-Bella village, north of here, that's said to be the biggest boat on the coast. It's one of the old war canoes, is eighty feet long, and so deep that a man standing in it can't be seen by one standing on the ground by its side. Such a canoe as that could only be made in the country where the white cedar grows, a wood that is light, easily worked and very durable. It's one of our biggest trees and sometimes grows to a height of three hundred feet, and runs up to ten, eleven, or twelve feet thick at the butt."

"Well," said Jack, "with a tree of size to work on I can easily see how a canoe even as big as the one you speak of might be made; but what an awful long time it must take to whittle it out! I should think that the generation that began such a boat could not hope to see it finished."

"Well," said Fannin, "it's not quite as bad as that, but it is slow work; and that is not surprising when you think that they have no tools to work with except the most primitive ones. After the cedar stick has been felled, and it has been found that no harm came to it in its fall, they go to work and shape the stick as well as they can with their axes, and then hollow it out by fire. In other words, they build a fire on the top and allow it to burn just so far in any direction, and so deep. After they have used the fire as far as they can to advantage, they take a little chipping tool, made of a blade of steel attached to a wooden handle, and chip the wood off in little flakes or slivers, reducing the whole to a proper thickness, say an inch or an inch[Pg 100] and a half for a canoe thirty feet long. They have no models, and the eye is their only guide in shaping the canoes; but the lines are always correct, and as graceful as could be made by the most expert boat-builder. When they have shaped the canoe, its gunwales are slightly sprung apart so as to give some flare to the sides, and are held in position by narrow braces of timber stretching across the canoe and sewed to it by cedar twigs. They steam these twigs in the hot ashes so that they become pliable, and can be easily used for this sewing."

"This cedar must be as useful to these Indians as buffalo hides are to the plains' Indians," said Jack. "You pointed out to me some mats made of cedar bark, some hats and some rope, all of the same material. Now you tell me that the canoes are made of cedar and sewed together with cedar twigs."

"Yes," replied Fannin, "the cedar does a great deal for these people. I told you, too, that they built their houses of it."

"There are two different types of canoes on this coast," he continued, "one belonging to the South and having a square stern and a bottom that is almost flat, and the Northern canoe, which has a round bottom and an overhanging stern. The big canoe that I told you about at Bella-Bella is a Northern canoe. In old times these big canoes were used by the Northern Indians on their war journeys against their enemies to the South. They would come down, perhaps seventy or eighty men in a canoe, attack a village, plunder it, capture a lot of the people for slaves, and then take to their canoes again, paddling back to their homes. These Northern Indians were great hands to go off on war parties. They were a good deal more warlike than these people down here."

"This cedar that you talk about," asked Hugh. [Pg 101]"Is there much of it to be had? I haven't seen anything yet that looked like the cedar that we see back East."

"No," said Fannin, "what you're thinking of is the red cedar, in some of its forms, I guess—the juniper. This is the white cedar, and looks as much as anything like a small tree that folks use for hedges back East, and call arbor vitæ; only I never saw any of those arbor vitæs grow anything near as big as the smallest of these cedars here. Like the Eastern cedar, however, this white cedar is very durable. I remember seeing in the woods once a fallen log, on which was growing a Douglas fir two and a half feet in diameter. The seed of the fir had fallen on the log and sprouted, and, as the fir grew, it sent down its roots to the ground on either side of the cedar log, so that at last it straddled it. The fir was about two and a half feet in diameter, and so it had been growing there a great many years, but the fallen cedar log was to all appearance as sound as if it had not been lying there a year. The cedar log was covered with moss and most of its limbs had rotted off, but when I scraped away the moss and sounded the stick and cut into it, I could not see that it was at all decayed."

"Well, Mr. Fannin," asked Jack, "how do they mend these canoes when they break them? Of course they must be running onto the bars and onto the rocks all the time, and if a hole is punched in a solid wooden bottom like this it's hard to mend it again."

"That's true," said Fannin, "and they don't mean to let the canoe grate on rocks or get rubbed on the gravel beach if they can help it. Notwithstanding its durability, cedar wood splits very easily. Therefore the Indians take the greatest care of their canoes, not bringing them up on the shore where they are likely to be worn or rubbed, but always anchoring them out in deep water; or else, if they bring them to shore, lifting them out of the water and sliding them along[Pg 102] the bottom planks—that almost every canoe has two pair of—above the reach of the tide. Although it is so durable, the cedar wood splits on the smallest provocation; and once or twice I have seen a canoe that touched roughly on the rocks, or was carelessly knocked against the beach, split in two and the two halves fall apart. Of course in such a case it was pretty hard work to mend the canoe."

"I should say it would be," remarked Jack, "and I don't know how they would do it."

"I'll tell you. They carry the loads up on the high ground to dry, and then they take the canoe, fit the two pieces together until no light can be seen through the crack, and then they sew them together with cedar twigs and plaster the crack over with gum. I've seen a vessel mended in that way, make a long cruise, but I confess I should not want to make a very long journey in a boat patched up like that."

"I don't think I would either," said Jack. "I shouldn't think it would be very safe."

"Mr. Fannin," said Jack, after a pause, "I suppose when we get started we'll have to paddle all the way?"

"Yes," said Fannin, "you're likely to. Of course, if the wind is fair these canoes can sail. There's almost always a chock in the bottom well forward in which a mast can be stepped, and when the wind is fair a sail is put up or a blanket is used. That helps along amazingly."

"I'm glad that you've told me all this, for now when I talk with people up here on the coast they'll see that I know a little something and am not purely a pilgrim."

[Pg 103]



While Jack and Mr. Fannin had been talking the vessel had been moving rapidly northward. The passengers were a mixed lot. On the upper deck were English, Scotch, French, and Americans, while on the lower were Chinamen, a negro or two, and Indians. Many of these had considerable bundles of baggage; and with the Indians were their women, their children, and their dogs.

The rounded islands that rose everywhere from the water showed gray rocky slopes, the yellow of ripened grass, and here and there clumps of evergreen trees. The scene was a lovely one.

"Mr. Fannin," said Hugh, "I wish you'd tell me what's that plant that I see everywhere growing in the water. I suppose, maybe, it's a kind of seaweed, but it's bigger than any seaweed that I ever heard tell of, and there's worlds and worlds of it. The other day on the beach I picked up some of its leaves, if that's what they are, and I found them wonderfully tough. I found I couldn't break them apart with my hands, yet they seemed soft and full of water."

"That's what we call kelp," said Mr. Fannin, "it grows in deep water, and its roots are attached to rocks or to stones or even to the sand at the bottom, and the stalk may be thirty or forty feet long. Down in the deep water the stem is very slender, often scarcely as thick as a quill, but it increases by a gradual taper, until near the top it's nearly as thick as a man's wrist. At the end of the stem or stalk is a globular swelling[Pg 104] which varies in size, but may be as big as a baseball. From the top of this swelling point, opposite to where it's attached to the stem, grows a bundle of a dozen or twenty ribbon-like leaves, each from one to six inches wide and from four to six feet long, and fluted or crimped along its edge for the whole length. The plant is brown in color throughout. Responding, as it does, constantly to the motion of the water, it sometimes seems almost alive. It's a queer plant. Sometimes it's a great hindrance to the man who is travelling and sometimes a great help to him."

"I don't quite understand that," said Jack. "I can see that it might be hard work to get through a bed of the kelp like that one over there that we are just passing, but how should it help a man?"

"Why," said Fannin, "the stalks are very strong, and I've seen a large canoe held at anchor by a single stalk of the kelp. Then, too, a big bed of the kelp is a great break to the sea. The waves can't break over a bed of kelp; and I have known of a case when a sudden squall got up, where a canoe, unable to reach shore or to get any other lee, would lie behind a kelp bed and hold onto the stalks until the squall was past."

"Do the Indians make any use of the kelp?" asked Jack.

"Yes," replied Mr. Fannin. "A number of the Indians along the coast select the most slender stems, knot them together, and make fishing lines for the deep-sea fishing, on which they catch halibut sometimes weighing two hundred pounds. These stems are tremendously tough, and they almost never wear out. A man may coil up one of these long lines and hang it in his house for six months, and then, if he takes it down and soaks it in water over night, in the morning it will be pliable and perfectly fit to use."

Hugh had been listening to the conversation, but not taking any part in it; but now he pointed off over[Pg 105] the kelp bed and said: "Look there! See those birds walking around on the weed. I reckon they are cranes of some sort or other." Fannin looked at them through his glasses and said, "Yes, that's just what they are. Two of those birds are great blue herons, and the others are large birds, but I can't tell just what they are. That's another thing that the kelp is useful for. You see the plants grow in thick beds, and the stems are continually moving in the current, and after a while they get tangled and twisted up so that it's impossible to force them apart. In that case it's useless to try to force a canoe through them. Then, lying there so long as they do, and keeping the water quiet, a great deal of life is attracted to these beds. There are many fish that live near the surface, and in the warm waters there are crabs that live among the stems and sometimes crawl out on them and rest in the sunshine. There are many shells. All this smaller life entices the larger life, so that gulls and ducks and sandpipers are often seen walking along or resting on the kelp. It is just one of those things that we see often, where a lot of specially favorable conditions will attract the animals that are to be favored by these conditions."

"Well," said Hugh, "I can't get over wondering at all these things I am seeing. This here is a new world to me, as different as can be from what I've been used to all my life; and I expect, come to think about it, that all over the world there are many such other strange bits of country that would astonish me, just as much as this does, and maybe would astonish you all, just as much as this does me."

"Yes," said Fannin, "I guess that's about so."

As they had been talking, the steamer had been winding in and out among the islands, stopping occasionally at some little settlement, and now and then slowing to take on goods or passengers, brought off[Pg 106] in boats or canoes from some little house that stood on one of the yellow hillsides, half hidden among the trees. There were many settlers on these islands. Most of them were engaged in stock raising. Some of the islands had been turned into sheep ranges, and the settlers that had gone into this business were said by Mr. Fannin to have done well. Certainly there was here no winter which could by any chance kill the sheep, while food was abundant.

As the boat proceeded the settlements became fewer and fewer, until at last most of the island seemed unoccupied. All three of the travellers kept watching the open hillsides in the hope that some game might be seen, but none showed itself.

"I suppose," said Jack, "that there are some deer on these islands, are there not?"

"Yes," replied Fannin, "on almost all the larger islands that are not thickly settled there are a good many deer; and when the settlements get to be too thick they can always start off and swim to another island and try that for a while, and, if they don't like that, pass to another."

"What sort of deer are these?" asked Jack. "Are they like the one we killed at New Westminster?"

"Yes," said Fannin, "they are just like that; and I suppose they are the regular black-tail deer; not the big fellow that you have out on the plains, which, I understand, is properly called the mule deer. This is the only kind found along this north coast, as far as I know, until you get up far to the north and strike the moose. Down on the islands of the Strait of Fuca, especially on Whidby Island, they have the Virginia deer and plenty of them. But north of that I don't think they are found."

It was noon when they passed Gabriola Island, where they had heard there lived a man who owned a launch. They landed here, hoping that possibly they[Pg 107] might be able to engage this for their trip, but soon discovered that the boat had not been inspected for a year, and therefore could not be hired, unless the party was prepared to be stopped at any minute by some government official and ordered back to its starting point.

About four o'clock in the afternoon they reached Nanaimo, and Fannin, Hugh, and Jack at once set out for the Indian village, where it was believed a canoe could be had. The brisk walk through the quiet forest was pleasant, and the Indian village of half a dozen great square plank houses interesting. After some inquiry Fannin and a big Indian drew off to one side and held a long and animated conversation in Chinook, which, of course, was unintelligible to the other two. At length, however, Fannin announced that he was prepared to close a bargain with the Indian, by which a canoe, large enough to carry the whole party and their baggage, including the necessary paddles and a bowman and steersman, could be hired for a certain price per day, for as long a time as they desired. After a short consultation it was agreed that if the canoe proved satisfactory it should be engaged, and a start made the next morning. The whole party adjourned to the water's edge, where, drawn up on the beach were a number of canoes, all of them covered with boards, mats, and boughs, to protect them from the sun and rain. The canoe in question seemed satisfactory, and, the bargain having been closed, the Indians promised solemnly that they would have the canoe at the wharf at six o'clock the next morning, so that an early start could be made.

Returning to town, the stores were visited and a number of necessary articles purchased. The party was already well armed, having three rifles, a shot-gun, and several revolvers; but a mess kit had to be bought, a keg for water, all the provisions needed, a tent of[Pg 108] some kind, some mosquito net, rope, fine copper wire, saddler's silk or waxed thread, packages of tobacco, fishing tackle, and many small articles which do not take up much room, but which, under special circumstances, may add much to one's comfort. Each of the party also provided himself here with a set of oil-skin clothing. They knew that they were going into a country where much rain falls, and wished to provide against that.

After all their purchases had been made and they had seen them transported to the hotel close to the water's edge, where they were to pass the night, they started out to learn what they could about the town.

The sole industry of Nanaimo at that time was coal mining. Here were great shafts and inclines, worked day and night by a great multitude of miners. Many of them were Canadians, but many, also, were quite newly arrived emigrants from the Old World,—Scotch, Irish, and Welsh. The coal—a good lignite—was in considerable demand along the coast, and it was even said that it was to be imported to Puget Sound points to supply newly built railroads there. The inhabitants of Nanaimo, and indeed those of Vancouver Island, had talked much about a proposed railroad that had been partially surveyed from Victoria up through the middle of the island to Nanaimo. Such a railroad, it was generally thought, would be an enormous benefit to the whole island. Nanaimo was not an attractive place. The coal-dust with which it was everywhere powdered, together with the black smoke sent forth by the chimneys, gave the place an appearance of griminess which seemed to characterize most coal-mining towns. Just why towns devoted to coal and iron mining always used to look so shabby and forlorn and discouraged, it would be hard to say; but most people familiar with such settlements in old times will agree that this was usually the case. It may have been that[Pg 109] the laborers and their families were obliged to work so hard that they had neither time nor inclination to devote to adorning, even by simple and inexpensive methods, their dwellings or surroundings; or it may have been that their work in the mines was so fatiguing that it rendered them blind to the town's unattractiveness.

Even then great quantities of coal were mined at Nanaimo. But as there were no railroads on Vancouver Island the coal was transported to its destination wholly by water. The coal deposits were vast, and people believed that in the future this would be a great mining town, and might yet be like some of the great mining centres of Great Britain.

That night, after supper, as they were lounging about the office of the hotel, Jack said to Mr. Fannin:

"You have told me a lot about the canoeing and canoes of these Indians, Mr. Fannin, but I don't think that you have spoken to me about the way they keep their canoes on the beach. Those we saw this afternoon were all covered with mats and blankets, and I can understand how it might be necessary to keep them protected from the weather in that way if they were laid up for a long time; but, as I understand it, the canoes that we saw were being used every day."

"That is true," said Mr. Fannin; "they are in use all the time, but, nevertheless, Indians take the greatest precaution to protect them from the weather. It is easy enough to see why this is, if you consider that the making of a canoe is tremendously laborious, and at best takes many months. Now, as I have already told you, the cedar of which they are made splits very easily indeed, and it might well enough be that exposure to the hot sun for a day or two would start a crack which would constantly grow larger, and ultimately weaken the canoe so that it could not be used. The Indians are far-sighted enough to do everything in their power to[Pg 110] protect their canoes. These coast Indians take a great deal better care of their canoes than they do of any other property that they possess. As I have told you, they are all sea travellers, and their very existence depends on the possession of some means of getting about over the water. I do not know anything about it personally, but I understand that the Aleuts of Alaska, and the Eskimo too, are just as careful about their boats as these Indians are. Of course it is natural."

"Of course it is," said Hugh, "and you probably will see the same thing in any class of men. Look at the way our plains' Indians take care of their war horses and their arms and war clothes. Those are the things on which they depend for food and for protection from their enemy; and they cannot afford to take any chances about them. Of course their war clothes often have something of a sacred character; but you will find that if it comes to a pinch an Indian will stick to his fastest running horse and his arms, and will let his war clothing go."

"Well," said Fannin, "all this is just saying that Indians are human beings like the rest of us."

They went to bed pretty early that night, and Fannin had them astir before the day had broken the next morning. On going down to the wharf they found the canoe there, just off the shore, and the two Indians sitting in it, holding the craft in its place by an occasional paddle stroke. It took the men but a short time to bring down all their baggage, provisions, and mess kit to the canoe and stow the load. After a hasty meal at the hotel all stepped aboard and took their various stations. Jack had been surprised to see how large a pile their baggage made before they begun to stow it; and after the canoe had been loaded, he wondered where they had packed it all.

[Pg 111]



The sun was not very high when they pushed off. The wind blew in gusts from the southeast and the sky was obscured by a loose bank of clouds which occasionally gave down a little rain.

The bow paddle was wielded by a gigantic Indian, known as Hamset; while in the stern, occupying the position of steersman, sat a much smaller man, whose unpronounceable Ucletah name had been shortened for convenience to "Jimmie." Between the bow and the stern, seated on rolls of blankets, were the four whites—first, Fannin, then Charlie, the cook, then Hugh, and last of all Jack. Each was provided with a paddle, and they worked two on each side of the canoe. The provisions were stored in one box, the mess kit in another, and the rolls of blankets were placed in the bottom of the canoe so as to trim it properly. The canoe was quite dry, and loose boards on the bottom would keep the cargo from getting wet, even if a little water were shipped.

The breeze which was now blowing was a favorable one; and they had hardly started before it began to rain steadily and to threaten a wet, boisterous day. Fannin was in great spirits at this prospect; for he, better than any one else, knew what a few days of favoring winds would accomplish toward hastening them along on their voyage. As the rain fell harder mats and rubber blankets were spread over the guns and bedding. The sail was hoisted, and all hands except the steersman took in their paddles and sat[Pg 112] back with a satisfied air, as if they had nothing to do except to watch the breeze blowing and the land moving by them.

Farther to the southward there had been many islands, which would have cut off the breeze; but here the open waters of the Gulf stretched away to windward for twenty or thirty miles, and there was nothing to break the force of the breeze. As they advanced various islands appeared, Texada showing a high peak above the fog; and then other smaller islands,—Denman and Hornby.

The wind kept blowing harder and harder, until at noon quite a sea was running, and the waves began to break over the sides of the vessel, necessitating bailing. The canoe was heavily loaded and set rather low in the water, cutting through the waves instead of riding over them as it should have done. This pleasant condition of things lasted for some time, but about two o'clock the sky cleared, the wind fell, and it was necessary to take to the paddles once more, for now the sail flapped idly against the mast and the canoe began to float back toward Nanaimo—the tide having turned. The sea became as smooth as glass, the sun glared down from the unclouded sky with summery fierceness, and after a little while the travellers realized that the canoe trip might mean a lot of hard work. More than that, the canoe seemed to be anchored to the bottom, and, so far as could be judged from occasional glances toward the distant shore, did not move at all. The work became harder and harder, and Hugh and Jack at last realized that here was a struggle between the paddles and the tide, with the chances rather in favor of the tide. This, of course, meant that they must work harder. Coats were stripped off, the crew bent to their work, and at last found that the craft did move, although very, very slowly.

[Pg 113]

After a half hour's hard paddling Jack said to Hugh: "I tell you, Hugh, watching that shore is like watching the hands of a watch. If you look at the shore you would think that we were perfectly motionless. It's only when you take some object on the beach and notice its position, and then, five or ten minutes later, look at it again that you find that our position has changed with relation to it, and that it is farther behind than it was when you last saw it."

"Yes," said Fannin, "I've done lots of canoeing in my time, but I guess I shall learn something on this trip as well as the rest of you. We're pretty heavily loaded, and if we have head winds and tides much of the time we'll have to put in about all the hours every day working at these paddles. Besides that, we've got to figure on being wind-bound for a certain number of days, and, taking it all in all, we can't hope to go very far. Nevertheless, we can go far enough to see a good deal."

The progress of the canoe was made more slow by the fact that its track skirted the shore, following quite closely all its windings, and hardly ever cutting across the bays, large or small, that indented the island.

Jack asked Fannin why the Indians did not go across from one headland to another, thus saving much paddling; and Fannin explained that this was done partly to avoid the force of the tide, and partly from the habitual caution of the east coast Indians. "On the waters of the Gulf," said Mr. Fannin, "gales often spring up without giving much warning, and quite a heavy sea may follow the wind almost at once. These canoes, especially when heavily loaded, as ours is, cannot stand much battering by the waves."

As the sun sank low, after a long spell of paddling, the bow of the canoe was turned into the mouth of Qualicum River; and a little later, when close to the shore, the vessel was turned bow out and the stern[Pg 114] pushed shoreward, till it grated gently on the pebbly beach. All hands at once sprang out, and it was a relief to get on firm ground again and to stretch the limbs, contracted by nearly twelve hours of sitting in one position.

Now the rolls of blankets were tossed on the beach, the provision box and mess kit and other property were unloaded and carried up to the meadow above. In a few moments a fire had been kindled, and preparations for the evening meal were begun. Now, Jack and Fannin began putting together their fishing rods; Hugh took his rifle and looked it over, wiping off the moisture that had accumulated on it, and got out some ammunition. The party wanted fresh meat and was going to try hard to get it. Meantime the Indians had taken out the boards from the canoe, placed them on the beach, and were sliding the vessel up, far above high-water mark.

Before Jack had made many casts he had a rise or two, and he was doing his best to hook a fish when Charlie's shout of "Dinner" caused them all to lay aside their tools and repair to the fire for supper. It was a simple meal of bacon, bread, and coffee; but the work of the day had given all hearty appetites and they enjoyed it. Then, a little later, Jack went back to his fishing, and Fannin, Hugh, and Hamset put off in the canoe and disappeared behind a bend of the river.

Being unable to do anything with the fish, which were now jumping everywhere at the mouth of the river, Jack worked along up the stream, and around the next point was more successful. A fish rose to his flies and was hooked, and, after a brief struggle, was dragged up on the beach. It was a beautiful trout, only weighing half a pound, to be sure, but none the worse on that account, if regarded simply from the point of view of so much food. Encouraged by this[Pg 115] success, Jack fished faithfully and carefully, and before long had killed half a dozen others, all about the same size as the first. Most of these were taken in more or less shallow water near the beach, but at length he came to a place where an eddy of the stream had dug out a big hole not far from the edge of the bank, and casting over this two or three times, he had a rise which almost made his heart stop beating. The fish missed the fly, but rose again to another cast, and this time was hooked on a brown hackle. And then for a little while Jack had the time of his life. The fish was far too strong for him to handle, and for a little time kept him running up and down the beach, following its powerful rushes, taking in line whenever he could, and yielding it when he must. Once or twice the rush of the fish was so prolonged that almost all the line went off the spool, and he even ran into the river up to his knees in the effort to save some of his line. At last, however, the runs grew shorter, and the fish yielded and swayed over on its side and was towed up to the beach. But as soon as it saw Jack it seemed to regain all its vigor, and darted away with a powerful rush. This was its last effort. Gradually Jack drew it into water which was more and more shallow, and finally up, so that its head rested on the beach. Then seizing the leader he dragged it well in, and in a moment he had it in his hands. It was a beautiful and very powerful fish, and must have weighed between four and five pounds. A little later another fish was taken, not quite so large, to be sure, but big enough to give the angler a splendid fight; and then, as the sun had disappeared behind the forest, Jack strung his trout on a willow twig and made his way back to camp. Charlie received him with delight.

"Well," he said, "you're the kind of a man I like to be out with—somebody that can go out and get food to eat. I bet them other fellows won't bring in[Pg 116] anything; but we've got enough here nearly for breakfast and dinner to-morrow. I wish if you have time you'd go out to-morrow morning and catch some more."

"I'd like to," said Jack. "Those two big fellows over there gave me as much fun as I ever had in my life."

"Well," said Charlie, "you'll have better fun than that to-morrow morning when you're eating that fish."

"No," said Jack, "I don't believe it. I think that I would rather have the fun of catching those two fish than eating the best meal that was ever cooked."

From the camp Jack wandered away along the beach and over the meadows back toward the forest that came down from the higher land. Here he saw that this must be quite a camping place for Indians, and that some had been there within a few days. There were the remains of recent fires, tent poles that had been cut only a few days before; and some little way back from the beach, and hardly to be seen among the timber, was an Indian house in which Jack discovered four canoes.

When he returned to camp, Charlie said: "I heard them fellows shooting, but I reckon they didn't get nothing; maybe a duck or two, but nothing fit to eat, like them fish you brought in."

"Yes," said Jack, "I heard the shot, but it was from the shot-gun, not from a rifle."

In the meantime the party in the canoe had pushed its way quite a long distance up the river. There was a possibility that a deer might be seen along the bank, or a brood of ducks feeding in the shallow water, and rifles and shot-gun were ready to secure anything that might make its appearance. For a long way the canoe advanced through the dense forest without much difficulty. Then it came to a series of shallow rapids, up[Pg 117] which so large a craft could not be taken. The canoe was then drawn as near the bank as possible. The Indian carried the two white men ashore on his shoulders, and all three followed up the stream through the now darkening woods. They found many old tracks of deer, and from time to time passed the fresher slide of an otter; but no game was seen. As the light grew more and more dim, they faced about, went back to the canoe, and turned its nose down the stream.

As the vessel swept noiselessly along the swift current, two or three broods of ducks were surprised by its sudden approach from behind the bend. On the upward journey the birds, warned by the noise of the paddles, had seen the craft before it was near them, and had crept ashore and hidden themselves in the grass. But now there was not time for this. A flock of mallards, startled from the water, sprang away in flight, and two of them were stopped by Fannin, and fell back into the stream, to be picked up by Hamset as the canoe swept by.

It was only gray light next morning when all hands were astir. While the breakfast was being cooked bundles of bedding were rolled up and transported to the shore; and as soon as breakfast was over and the dishes washed, the canoe was pushed off and loaded; the paddlers took their places, and they set out again at just six o'clock by Mr. Fannin's watch.

The day was bright and pleasant, with light airs from half a dozen quarters, but no breeze strong enough to justify the setting of the sail.

Just after they had pushed out of the mouth of the river, Jack called Fannin's attention to a flock of birds sitting on the water; and they were presently made out to be scoter ducks, of two kinds. There was an enormous multitude of them, and almost all seemed to be males. When too closely approached, fifty or five hundred of them would rise on the wing, swing out[Pg 118] over their fellows, and then alight on the outside of the flock.

"Where in the world do all those birds come from, Mr. Fannin?" asked Jack. "These are the birds that we call coots down on the Atlantic coast; but I don't think at any one time I ever saw so many of them as we see this morning."

"I don't know just what they're doing here," said Fannin. "But, as nearly as I can see with my glasses, they seem to be all males; and I shouldn't be a bit surprised if the females were all ashore, at little springs or lakes, raising their broods. Pretty soon these birds will begin to moult, and then the Indians will try to get around them and drive them ashore and kill them. But this is a method that seldom succeeds with these birds. If they see that they are going to be forced on the shore they will dive and swim back under the boat."

"That's pretty smart," said Jack. "I have heard of the loons doing something like that, but I didn't suppose a coot had sense enough for that."

"Yes," said Fannin, "that's what they're said to do."

As they paddled along the head of a seal appeared above the water, close to them, and after watching them for a moment or two sank back out of sight.

"Son, why don't you try one of those fellows with your rifle," suggested Hugh. "It looks as if there were time enough to draw a bead on one and kill it. I hear these Indians eat that sort of meat; and I suppose what they can do we can too, if we get a chance."

Jack pulled his gun out of its case, put a couple of cartridges in his vest pocket, and declared he would try the seals the next time one gave him a chance. He did so, but the animals kept their heads above water so short a time that he was unable to get a satisfactory sight on one, and did not fire.

[Pg 119]

"Well," said Hugh, "these fellows are pretty watchful and pretty quick; and as you don't know when they're coming up, it's a pretty hard matter to shoot at them."

"So it is," said Fannin, "and yet I think if one had practice enough they would be easy to kill. Certainly the Indians here, and still more to the north, get a great many of them, shooting them and then paddling quickly up and putting a spear in them before they sink. These little seals that we see are, of course, nothing but the common harbor seal; but when the big fur-seal herds pass up the coast the Indians get a good many of them in that way, though many are killed by paddling up close to them when they are asleep on the water and spearing them. A long line is attached to the lance, the head of which is barbed, so that it will not draw out; and at length they pull the seal up close to the canoe and kill it, either with a club or by spearing it again. Seal meat and seal oil are pretty important parts of the native food supply on this coast; but more so to the north than down here, where the food is more varied."

"Well," said Hugh, "we've surely got to get some fresh meat of one kind or other, on this trip; if we don't, our grub will give out, and we'll have to travel back to the settlement hungry. There seems to be a world of food lying around,—deer, and fish, and seals, and all that. You see, Fannin, Jack and I are prairie men, and don't know how to earn a living on this water. If we were travelling back on the plains, or in the mountains, we'd think it mighty queer if we couldn't keep the camp in meat; but here we don't know how to go to work to do it. Don't either of these Indians understand how to catch these fish or to kill these animals?"

"I expect the Indians do," said Fannin, "but I [Pg 120]don't, for I never have had occasion to live in the country along the shore here. I'm something like you, a mountain hunter. But we ought to be able to catch some salmon, and to do it right here. You know that in a few days or weeks now all the rivers along the coast will be full of salmon, running up toward the heads of the stream to spawn. At the present time they are gathering in the salt water, each fish pushing toward the mouth of the river, in which it was hatched, and down which it made its way toward the sea. They say that all salmon go back to the streams in which they were bred to spawn. Now, when they are in salt water, and before they reach the mouths of the rivers, the salmon will bite, and a great many of them are caught by trolling, either with bait or with a spoon. Haven't you some fishing tackle there that you could throw overboard now, and let the bait follow the canoe? If we could get a few fish it would help out mightily with our eating."

"Why, yes," said Jack; "of course there's some fishing tackle. Let's get it out and try them."

Hugh bent down; and after fumbling in the provision box for a few moments, brought out a package which he passed over to Fannin, saying to him: "You know more about these things than either of us, and you'd better pick out the lines and baits that are to be used."

The long, strong line, with a lure of metal and feathers attached to it, was soon overboard, and dragging in the long sinuous wake that stretched out behind the canoe. Jack held it in one hand as he wielded the paddle. All the power that they had was needed to push the boat along; and if one man should sit and fish in idleness it would not have been fair to the others.

Jack sat hopefully, expecting each moment to feel a tug on the line, but none came. "Tell me, Mr. Fannin," he asked, "don't salmon bite after they get into the fresh water? You said that when in salt water[Pg 121] they were caught in numbers. Does that mean that they do not take the bait in fresh water?"

"Yes," replied Fannin, "that's just what it means. When they get into the fresh water they seem to lose all interest in the food question, and will not take the bait or rise to a fly. Some friends of mine, who are great fishermen, have tried bait,—spoons, flies, and grasshoppers,—but no attention was paid to any of these things. There's a story, you know, about some British commissioner, sent out years ago, when England and the United States were quarrelling over the question of who owned Oregon and Washington, and they say that this commissioner was a great salmon angler. They say that he was here during the salmon run, and fished the streams faithfully for them, without even getting a rise, though he could see millions of them. The story goes that he was so disgusted with the way the salmon acted that he went back to England and reported that the great territory in dispute was not worth quarrelling about, and not worth holding by Great Britain, because the salmon in the stream would not rise to a fly."

"That's sure comical," said Hugh; "but after all there's a good deal of human nature in it. We're all likely to look at things from our little narrow point of view and to think only of matters as they interest us."

Before very long Jack found the holding of the trolling line something of a nuisance, and at Fannin's suggestion passed it over to Jimmie, the steersman, who tied it about one of his arms and kept up the work of paddling. That there was salmon about now was very evident, for great silvery fish were frequently seen jumping out of the water, or floundering about on the surface, throwing shining drops about them in showers.

"Why do these fish jump in that way, Mr. Fannin?" asked Jack. "It's common enough to see fish jump out of the water and then fall back, but these, when[Pg 122] they strike the water, act almost like a fish thrown on the shore, and flopping there."

"The Indians say," replied Fannin, "and I guess very likely it's true, that this flopping around by the salmon is done for the purpose of ridding themselves of certain parasites that are attached to their bodies. I've often seen these parasites. They are flat, oval crustaceans, and a good deal like the common sow bugs—those little flattish, purple, many-legged bugs that we find under the bark of dead trees or sometimes under stones, back in the East. Almost all salmon caught in salt water have some of these things stuck to them, sometimes only one and sometimes a dozen. They will be found chiefly about the fins, and especially on those of the back. They cling closely to the skin, and some force is needed to dislodge them; but as soon as the fish get in the fresh water they die and drop off."

They were paddling along, not very far from a kelp bed, which lay north and south, along the channel that they were following for a mile or more, when suddenly Jimmie dropped his paddle and began to haul in on his line. A moment's work, however, showed that he had no fish on it, and he let it go again. But Fannin told him to draw in the line and see that the spoon was all right; for it occurred to him that the current might have carried the spoon in among the leaves of the kelp bed, that it might have caught in one of them, and been torn off. When the end of the line was recovered it appeared that this was just what had happened; and Fannin, grumbling at the Indian's carelessness, put on another spoon and threw the line overboard, but this time kept it in his own hand. It had hardly straightened out, when there was a violent tug on it, and Fannin dropped his paddle and began to haul in the line rapidly, hand over hand. Every one in the boat was more or less excited at the capture, and they all[Pg 123] stopped paddling. The great fish was drawn nearer and nearer; sometimes out of sight, and sometimes struggling on the surface of the water and making a great splashing. It was not very long before it was close to the side. All the paddles were taken in; and Fannin, being very careful to keep the fish away from the side of the canoe, let his right hand down close to the line, and grasped the fish close behind the gills, and lifted it into the canoe. Jack, Hugh, and Charlie cheered vigorously, and the Indians grinned with delight.

It was a fine silvery fish, of ten pounds weight, fat and firm, promising delicious food. The fish was passed aft for the inspection of Hugh and Jack; and Fannin called their especial attention to the presence on its back of three of the parasites of which they had been talking only a few moments ago. Then, after they had all admired the fish, it was laid aside in a shady place and the canoe went on.

[Pg 124]



The voyagers worked on steadily through the day, and three or four hours before sundown they landed at Comox Spit, two or three miles from the village of Comox. All through the day numbers of hair-seals had been seen diligently fishing in the shoal waters, and often an old one was accompanied by her tiny young. There were hosts of water-fowl about the shore,—ducks of several kinds, seagulls, guillemots, and auks; while along the beach ran oyster catchers, turnstones, and many other shore birds. All these were picking a fat living there from the water or from the gravelly beach at the water's edge. The larger fowl fed on fish and mollusks on the bottom; the lesser ones on the small crustaceans, which are abundant among the vegetable life near the beach. At the end of the day the canoe passed through a great multitude of ducks, which seemed to contain many thousands of birds. Near these were hundreds of great seagulls, sitting on the sand spits which project from the islands far out into the water. As the canoe moved toward these great flocks of ducks, the noise of their rising, the whistling rush of their wings and the pattering of their feet upon the water made such a tumult as almost to drown ordinary conversation.

It was low water when they landed, and the boat's cargo had to be carried a long distance up to the meadow above the beach. After this had been done, the fire kindled and the tent put up, Charlie called to them: "Why don't you men try that mud flat for[Pg 125] clams? You have a salmon to do to-night, but that won't last very long, and you had better try to get some more fresh meat."

Arming themselves with sharpened sticks, they scattered out over the mud flat, looking carefully for signs of clams, and before long were hard at work gathering them. Jack had dug clams in the East before, but this was new business for Hugh; and it was fun for Jack to tell him how to look for the clams and how to unearth them when found. It took them but a short time to gather over half a bushel of the bivalves, which were taken up to the camp and washed off and covered up.

Their dinner of salmon was greatly enjoyed. After dinner Jack and Fannin, seeing some fish jumping out at the mouth of the river, pushed off in the canoe and spent some time casting for them. But although they tried almost all their most attractive flies, they did not get a single rise, though the fish kept jumping all around them. While still occupied at this, the sun went down and before long the Indians began to make an extraordinary disturbance about the camp fire—shouting, rushing about, stooping down, and then throwing up their hands. When the two anglers reached the shore and inquired what had caused all the excitement, Hugh picked up by the wing and held aloft a tiny mottled owl. The little bird had been hunting about over the flat, and, attracted by the light of the fire, had flown about it several times; and the Indians, excited by its near approach, had begun to throw stones at it. A well-aimed shot by Jimmie had brought down the bird, which Charlie suggested would do for the next day's dinner.

"We haven't got down quite to eating owls," said Jack, with a laugh.

"Well," said Hugh, "I've eaten owl a number of times, and it's not at all bad eating, though, of course,[Pg 126] it depends a little bit on how hungry you are. I guess most everything that runs or flies is pretty good to eat, if one only has appetite enough. I have tried a whole lot of things, and I put owl down among the things that are real good."

"How did you come to eat owl, Hugh?" asked Jack. "And when was it?"

"It's a good many years ago," said Hugh, "that I started, late in December, south from the Platte River with Lute North, expecting to load up a wagon with buffalo meat at once. We didn't take much grub with us as we meant to be gone only for a few days; and as buffalo had been plenty in the country to which we were going, we thought we could soon load the wagon.

"We travelled three days without seeing a head of game, and then crossed the Republican River and kept on south. In the river bottom we killed a turkey, but all the four-footed game seemed to have left the country. After going south two days longer and finding no game, not even an old bull, we turned back, for provisions were getting low. We crossed the Republican again, but got stuck in the quicksands; and the wagon sunk so low that the water came into the wagon box and wet our things, without doing much harm, however, for the sugar was the only thing that was spoiled. The flour got wet, and left us only about enough for two or three more loaves of bread. But we had a little piece of bacon left, so we had enough to carry us through. It took some hours to get the wagon out; and that afternoon, after leaving the river, we saw three old bulls feeding on the side of a ridge. At first Lute and I both intended to go after them; but as there was a better chance of approaching them if only one man went, and as Lute was a fine shot, I told him to go ahead, and I waited in the wagon. He took a circuit and got around the bulls so that the wind was right, then crept up behind a ridge until he[Pg 127] was within a hundred yards, and fired—and the bulls ran off over the hills. When Lute came back, and I asked him how he came to miss them, he could give no explanation. 'I had as good a bead on that bull as I ever had on anything, and yet I missed him clean,' he said; 'shot clear over him.'

"We camped that night in a wide and deep ravine, and in the morning when we got up we found that we were covered with snow, which was two or three feet deep, and which still kept falling. This was certainly a bad state of things. We lay in camp all day, only leaving it to tie the horses up to some brush where they could get something to eat. It stopped snowing that night, and the next morning we started out to try to kill something, but had no luck. The snow was so deep in the ravine that we could not travel there, but on the divide the wind had blown it all off. Lute saw a wolf, but could not get a shot at it. I had seen nothing. We spent the rest of the evening trying to break a road out to the divide, and at night we made our last loaf of bread and ate half of it. It took us all the next day to get out to where the horses could travel, but we made some little distance, stopping at night and melting some snow for the horses, and for a cup of coffee apiece. Next morning, as we were hitching up, I saw a white owl hunting along the edge of the ravine. The bird alighted about half a mile away, and I took my rifle and went out to try to kill it. I got to within seventy-five yards of it, and then it saw me; so I fired, and it did not fly away. When I got hold of it I found that I had shot high, and that my ball had just cut the top of its head. Half an inch higher, and I would have missed. We ate half the owl that morning, and the rest that night. The next night we crossed the Platte. When within four or five miles of town, just when we didn't need it, we killed a white-tail deer."

[Pg 128]

"Well," said Jack, "you must have been pretty hungry when you got it."

"Yes," said Hugh, "but it isn't very hard to go without eating. A man feels pretty wolfish for the first twenty-four hours, but then he doesn't get any hungrier. After that he begins to get weak; not very fast, of course, but he can't do as much as he can when he's well fed. He can't walk as far or climb as hard. To go without water, though, is a very different thing. If a man can't drink, he suffers a great deal, and keeps getting worse all the time."

"Well," said Fannin, "in this country no man need suffer for want of water. These mountains are covered with it; it is running down them everywhere. There is usually food too, though sometimes fish and game, and seaweed and fern roots fail, and then the Indians get hungry. One thing the Indians eat, which I never saw eaten anywhere before, and that is the octopus or devil fish, as they're sometimes called. It isn't bad eating, and the Indians think a great deal of it. They cut off the arms and boil them, and then when the skin is peeled off, they are perfectly white, looking almost like stalks of celery. The meat is tender and quite good, though to tell the truth, it hasn't got much flavor to it."

"You speak of fern roots, Mr. Fannin," said Jack, "I didn't know that they were ever eaten."

"Yes," replied Fannin. "They're gathered and roasted in time of scarcity, and will support life for a time. The Indians here have quite a variety in the way of vegetable food in dulse, seaweed, and berries. They dry the berries of different kinds, making them into cakes when they're nearly dry, and using them as a sort of bread in winter. There's what is called the soap-berry, which they use as a sort of flavoring. The berries are dried and pressed into cakes. When they want to use it, a portion of a cake is broken off,[Pg 129] crumbled into fine pieces and put into a bucket with a little water. Then a woman with bare arm begins to stir the mixture with her hand, and soon it becomes frothy. The more she stirs it, the more it foams up; and as the volume increases, more water is added, until at last the vessel which contains it, and which may hold several gallons, is full of this foam. Then the Indians sit about it, and scraping up the foam on their fingers, draw them between their lips. The taste of the foam is sharply bitter, something like the inner bark of the red willow. I've always supposed that these berries possessed some tonic quality like quinine. There are two or three kinds of seaweed that the Indians eat. One they boil, and it makes a dish a great deal like what we call 'greens.' The other is dried, pressed into cakes, and used later in soups. This seaweed seems to be full of gelatine and thickens the soup. It is still the custom in the villages which are far from the settlements, for young women to chew this seaweed fine before cooking it. It's necessary to make it small before the boiling will soften it. The Indians who live near the settlement, however, chop up the vegetable with a knife, a pair of scissors, or a tobacco cutter."

"Well," said Jack, "I guess we'll want to avoid any soup if we stop at any Indian villages."

"Well," said Fannin, "it might be a good idea to be on the lookout, but they use this seaweed chiefly in the winter, so I don't think we need to be alarmed."

Camp was broken early next morning, and a start made soon after daylight. There was a long day of paddling. Camp was made shortly before sundown, and soon after supper was eaten all hands went to bed.

Of course, efforts were made to procure fresh meat, but no more salmon were caught, nor any deer seen, though each day Fannin was lucky enough to kill a few ducks with a shot-gun.

[Pg 130]

Each night as the time for camping approached, Mr. Fannin and the Indians would be on the watch for a good landing-place. This had to be carefully chosen on account of the danger of scratching the bottom of the boat or striking it sharply on some rock or pebble, which might result in accident and cause several days' detention, or possibly even a serious calamity.

When a landing was made, it was the first duty of the party to unload the canoe, and then to drag it up on the beach, safe above reach of the waves. As has been stated, the prow of the canoe was turned away from the shore, and she was backed toward some place where the sand was smooth and free from stones, or else where the pebbles were smoothly spread out, and as nearly as possible of the same size. The approach to the shore was slow and made carefully, and the paddles of those in the stern were thrust, handles down, against the beach, to ease the shock of her touching. Then the steersman leaped overboard, and lifted and drew the canoe as far up the beach as he could. The others disembarked and helped to lift her still farther on to the beach. Then her load was taken out, and carried up above high-water mark. After the whole load had been transported to the spot selected for the camp, every one, except the cook, who at once busied himself with preparations for the meal, returned to the water's edge. The loose boards in the bottom of the canoe—put there to protect the bottom from the careless dropping of some heavy article, or from a too heavy footfall—were taken out and placed on the beach, so as to form a smooth roadway for the canoe to slide on, and she was then dragged well up above high-water mark. The Indians went into the forest to cut poles and pins for the tent, which was soon set up, and the beds made. Before dinner was ready, the camp was in complete order. Sometimes it happened that no satisfactory landing-place could be made, and[Pg 131] then it was impossible to get the canoe out of the water on the rocks or the narrow beach where they were obliged to camp. In such cases the Indians, after they had eaten, would re-embark, take the canoe out some distance from the shore and anchor it there, and spend the night in the vessel. Next morning all the operations of unloading the canoe were reversed. While breakfast was being cooked the blankets were rolled up, the tent torn down, and everything but the mess kit and the provision boxes carried down to the canoe. After breakfast, and while the dishes were being washed, the canoe was loaded, the last thing put aboard being the mess kit and the provision boxes.

About noon the next day, upon rounding a point of land, some low houses were seen in a little bay, and Fannin, after speaking to the Indians, said to the others: "Here's the village of the Cape Mudge Indians. Had we not better stop here and see if we can't buy some dried salmon? We have got to have some provisions, unless you hunters can do better."

When they paddled up to the village they found that it consisted of large houses made of "shakes," somewhat like the Indian village that they had seen near Nanaimo. In front of several of the houses stood poles, from forty to sixty feet high and curiously carved. One such pole, not yet erected, and in process of being carved, bore on one end the head of a large bird, which by some stretch of imagination might be taken for that of an eagle. The Indians seen here, though little resembling the Indians Jack and Hugh were familiar with on the plains, were at least clad like Indians, that is to say, in breech-clout and blanket. Physically they bore little resemblance to the more symmetrical horse Indians of the plains, for, though their bodies seemed large and well developed, their legs were small and shrunken.

The party's stay here was short, but they succeeded[Pg 132] in purchasing a few salmon and then pushed off again. Just outside of the village was a burial place of considerable size, in which were many small houses. The bodies of the dead were deposited in the small board houses, though those of poorer people were said to be placed in old canoes, which were then covered with boards. In front or at the side of each house stood a number of small poles, ten or twelve feet high, which indicated the number of potlatches or great feasts that the dead man had given, each pole standing for a potlatch. Fastened to stouter and larger poles were small profiles of canoes carved out of thin boards, which showed how many canoes the dead man had given away during his life. Over some of the houses stood large crosses, eight or ten feet high and covered with white cloth.

"You see," said Fannin, "a good many Indians along the coast here are supposed to be Christians, though it is pretty hard to tell just how much the Indians understand of what the missionaries tell them, and just how far their lives are influenced by their teachings. No matter how good Christians these Indians who are buried here may have been, every one of them has been fitted out by his relations with a canoe for use in the land of the future, for they can conceive of no country where there is no water, nor of any means of getting about except in a canoe."

That night after dinner as they were seated about the fire, Hugh and Fannin pulling at their pipes, Charlie smoking a cigarette, and the Indians—who that night slept aboard the canoe—singing one of their plaintive songs, Jack asked Mr. Fannin to explain the meaning of the word "potlatch," which he had used earlier during the day.

"Well," said Fannin, "potlatch is a word of the Chinook jargon, and means to give, or a gift, according to the connection in which it is used. As we've[Pg 133] been paddling along you've heard the Indians say, 'Potlatch tsook,' which means 'give water.' In other words, they want a drink. The great ambition of every Indian in this country is to get property in such quantity that he can give a big feast, call all the people together, sometimes one village, sometimes all the villages of the tribe, and then hand around presents to everybody. It is in this way, according to their estimation, that they become chiefs or men of importance. Wealth, in fact, seems to constitute a standard of rank among them, and the man who gives away the most is the biggest chief. Later, he receives the reward of his generosity, for at subsequent potlatches, given by other people, he receives a gift proportionate to the amount of his own potlatch. When, therefore, an Indian has accumulated money enough, he is likely to buy a great lot of food, crackers, tea, sugar, molasses, and flour, as well as calico and blankets. Then he proceeds to invite all his friends, up and down the coast, to a potlatch. The feast consists mainly of boiled deer meat and salmon and oolichan oil, with the other food I have just mentioned. Every guest has all the crackers he can eat. Perhaps there is a small canoe full of molasses. Each guest receives so many yards of calico, a part of the blankets are distributed among the visitors, and the remainder are scrambled for among the young men, the donor perhaps getting on top of a house and throwing the blankets down into the crowd below. The feasting and the giving may last for a week; and when the affair is over the guests go their several ways, leaving the giver of the potlatch a poor man. When the next potlatch takes place, however, he recovers a portion of his wealth, and after a few more have been given, he is better off than ever. Sometimes at these feasts canoes are given away, and even guns and ammunition; and the greater the gift, the more is due the giver when[Pg 134] those who have received gifts from him themselves give potlatches."

"Well," said Jack, "that's a queer custom and a queer way of thinking. It seems, in certain ways, though, a good deal like the orders that were given in the Bible, to take all you have and give it to the poor. But I suppose as a matter of fact, instead of giving it to the poor, these men who give these potlatches try to give to the rich instead, so that they may receive their gifts back again."

"Well," said Hugh, "you will find among Indians everywhere, that one making a gift to another, or a contribution for any purpose, expects to receive it back again. If a man should die before he had paid back the gift, his relations are required to make it up."

"I guess Indians are alike everywhere," said Fannin. "Queer people, queer people."

"Well," said Hugh, "that's just exactly what the Indians say about us: 'the white people are queer.'"

[Pg 135]



The next morning, after the canoe had been loaded, Hugh said to Fannin: "What's the course of the canoe from here? Are you going to cross over any of those channels, or shall you follow the shore?"

"We'll follow the shore," said Fannin. "If this canoe wasn't so heavy we could carry it across this little point and save ourselves three or four miles of paddling, for you see, we've got to go way east and then come back west again, and follow around the bay that lies just over there."

"That's just what I thought," said Hugh. "Now, suppose instead of my going into the canoe, and helping you fellows to paddle, I take it afoot across this neck, and along the shore; and see if I can't kill something. We need meat and there must be lots of deer here, though we've not seen any yet. There's plenty of sign, though."

"That's a good idea," said Fannin, "and I wish you would do it. You'll have a lot of time to hunt, but keep close to the shore and if you see us coming, get down on the beach and make a fire as a signal for us; otherwise we might overlook and pass you."

"All right," said Hugh, "I'll do so."

"Don't you want to go along, Jack?" asked Mr. Fannin. Secretly Jack did want to go, very much, for he had an idea that Hugh would find some game, and that there would be a chance to kill one of these Island deer; but on the other hand, he thought he should not shirk his share of the paddling, and that[Pg 136] one man could kill any deer that was seen just as well as two. So he said: "No, I'll go in the canoe;" and they pushed off and were soon growing smaller in the distance.

Hugh started across the open meadow, which lay between them and the other side of the long point. As he passed along through the grass, he saw many deer beds, and a number of tracks of wild animals among which was one in a muddy place, made by an enormous wolf. He walked slowly and watched the country, and at last came to the shore, followed it and was soon walking under the tall evergreens that grew down to the beach. Turning into the forest, he moved quietly along among the great tree trunks. The ground was free from undergrowth, and moss covered, and here and there little rivulets trickled over the ground, sometimes bridged by fallen tree trunks, over which great bunches of soft green moss hung down to the ground. Here and there, in the moss, were seen the sharply defined tracks of deer, seemingly just made, yet no indication of life was seen, save the occasional shadow of a bird, moving among the tree tops far above him. Hugh had gone perhaps half a mile, keeping nearly parallel to the beach, and back from it about a hundred yards, when without warning, a deer stepped out from behind a group of tree trunks, and stood looking curiously at him. There was no wind, and the animal did not seem in the least alarmed. The shot was an easy one, and it was the work of but a few seconds to fire. The animal fell at once, and stepping up to him, Hugh found that it was dead. It was very small, scarcely larger than a yearling black-tail of the Rocky Mountains, although it was a full grown buck. It resembled the Rocky Mountain black-tail somewhat, but its ears were small and the tail was quite different, being haired below. In a very few moments Hugh had prepared the animal[Pg 137] for transportation to the beach, and putting it on his back walked down to the shore. The canoe was not yet in sight, and Hugh considered a little if it would be better to go on farther to see whether he could get another deer, but after thinking a few moments he determined to be satisfied with the one he had secured. So he built his fire as a signal for the canoe, skinned his deer, and for an hour or two sat waiting. At last a black speck was seen on the water close to the shore of the point, and as it crept forward, it grew larger and larger, until Hugh could recognize his fellow travellers.

When they came up to him, they wore broad smiles of satisfaction at his success, and when he had stepped on board the canoe went on again. It was not long after this that they were obliged to run Seymour Narrows, a contracted channel through which the tide boils, making eddies, whirlpools, and tide-rips, and where it was hard to see how a canoe could live. Just before reaching it they passed a cliff on Valdes Island that was full of interest for Jack and Fannin. The dark gray precipice, crannied and creviced from base to summit, was occupied by a multitude of sea birds which were nesting in the holes and fissures in the rocks. Of these, by far the most numerous were the pigeon guillemots, thousands of which were fishing in the waters close to the shore, or flying backward and forward between the water and their secure homes in the rocks. It was a pretty sight to see them diving for food, emerging from the depths with something in their bills, rising from the water, and each one swiftly flying toward some hole in the face of the precipice into which it disappeared without checking its flight; or at the mouth of which it alighted, and, clinging swallow-like to the inequalities of the rock, was met by its mate who took from it the food it had brought. Then the bird would leave its position, fly horizontally[Pg 138] over the water for a little distance, and drop vertically into the water, striking it with a great splash. The scene was a busy and noisy one, for the birds were continually chattering and calling among themselves. Gracefully floating on the water, or winnowing their slow way to and fro over its surface, were white-breasted seagulls of several kinds; and fishing and hunting along the shore were ravens and crows, while white-headed eagles rested in the tall trees.

Before attempting the passage of Seymour Narrows, it was necessary to ascertain the stage of the water. To pass the Narrows when the tide was against them was obviously impossible; nor would it do to attempt a passage at half tide, even if it were in their favor, for at that time the tossing waters would prove extremely dangerous to the canoe,—so the Indians told Fannin, and so Fannin reported to the others.

The bowman and two or three of the party landed near the head of the Narrows and climbed high enough on the hillside to see the whole of the sluice-way, and as soon as the Indian had looked at it, he turned about and started back, declaring that it was just at the end of the flood, and they should start without delay. To Jack, the sight of the boiling water, the tossing waves and hurrying tide-rips seemed rather alarming, but there was no time to think of this. They embarked, and a few strokes of the paddle sent the canoe dashing along the rapid current. For the white occupants of the canoe, there was nothing to do but to paddle hard, each in his own place. It was interesting to watch the skill with which the Indians guided the craft. It was of the first importance that steerage way should be kept on the canoe, for there were constant eddies and whirlpools, which must either be avoided or taken advantage of; and yet at the rate at which the craft was being hurried along by the tide, it was not easy to add to her speed. Before long, the run became very exciting.[Pg 139] Hats were torn off and thrown into the bottom of the boat, perspiration started from every brow, and the men tore at their paddles as if their lives depended on it. Even Hugh, who was rarely moved, seemed to partake of the general excitement and his eye glowed and his color rose as his white hair and beard flew out in the wind. Hamset, standing erect, in the bow of the canoe, flourished his mighty paddle, and in his own language shouted directions to Jimmie, and in Chinook to the remainder of the crew. At length the channel was reached, and here it became evident that the vessel had been a little late in starting; for, meeting the beginning of the ebb-tide, the canoe was checked, and presently it stood still and for nearly half an hour obstinately refused to move forward. But at length the efforts of the paddlers seemed to overcome the current and the boat started on, very slowly at first but fast enough to encourage the motive power. Redoubling their efforts they rounded a little point, and taking advantage of a favoring eddy, passed out into quieter water and camped half an hour later in a little bay, which Fannin said might fairly be named Fatigue Bay.

That night, after the evening meal had been eaten, there was still an hour or two of daylight; and while Fannin and Charlie got out their lines and prepared to go fishing, Hugh and Jack took their rifles and climbed a thousand feet or so up the hillside to look at the view that lay before them, up and down the channel. During the climb they saw fresh bear-tracks and a number of familiar birds,—the Louisiana tanager, the black-throated green warbler, and some others. Not far away, a ruffed grouse was heard drumming.

While perched on the face of the hillside, Hugh told Jack the simple story of the killing of the deer.

"There was no special hunting to it," he said, "I just went through the timber, quietly, and presently the[Pg 140] deer walked out and got shot. I didn't even know that it was there, but I'm glad to have the meat."

They sat there until the sun had set, delighted with the calm beauty of the scene. In the trees above their heads, the little birds moved about uttering soft, faint notes. Up from a ravine on the right came, again and again at short intervals, the vibrating thunder of the ruffed grouse's drumming, low and muttering at first, and finally dying away into the silence.

Twilight was upon the hill before they returned to camp, and as they picked their way down the steep rocks they heard from the direction of the boat a shot, and then another—both from Hamset's rifle, and learned a little later that the Indian had been shooting at a seal. Fannin and Charlie had caught some rock-cod, curious red and black fish with staring eyes, said to live at great depths.

As the cliff rose straight up from the water's-edge, and there was no beach on which the canoe could be drawn, it was necessary that night to anchor it at a distance, and the two Indians slept in it and chanted their plaintive songs until the middle of the night. Around the camp fire the white men sat in silence, watching the strange shadows cast by the dancing flames on the overhanging rocks, or listening to the faintly heard rushing of the waters in the Narrows, which they had just passed; or to the moonlight drumming of the grouse on the mountain side above them. It had been a hard day, and there was little inclination to talk. Charlie, however, who was gratified at the killing of the deer, commented on that, and on deer hunting in distant lands.

"Why," said he, "you ought to see them Pueblo Indians go deer hunting down in Arizona! They start off without anything but a knife, and when they find a deer, they just start to run after him and don't stop until they get him."

[Pg 141]

"You don't mean," interrupted Jack, "that they run him down?"

"They do," said Charlie; "run him down, catch him and cut his throat. Why, sir, they are the best trailers in the world, and as for travelling, they can kill any horse that was ever foaled. They start after the deer, and when he sees them coming, of course he lights out, and is not seen again for some time. The Indians take his trail, and start off at a dog trot, which they can keep up all day. Every time they start the deer, he lets them get a little closer, and at last he's so tired that he only keeps a few yards ahead of them, but they keep on until he fairly drops, plum give out! I have known them, when the deer got pretty tired, to turn him and drive him right into the camp and kill him there, to save themselves the trouble of packing in the meat—make the game pack itself, you see."

"That's a pretty tough story," said Hugh, "but I guess it's all right. I've heard something about those fellows, though I never saw them. I once walked down an antelope, myself, and I wouldn't have believed it, if I hadn't done it. The antelope was wounded, of course.

"The camp needed meat the worst way, and nobody seemed to be able to kill anything. There were antelope in the country, but very wild. I started on foot one afternoon, to try to get something, and after travelling two or three miles I looked over a little ridge, and saw three buck antelope feeding up a ravine toward a table-land above the valley where I was hunting. I could easily get around to the head of the ravine up which they were going, and if I could get there before they reached it, I would be sure to kill one of them. I started running as hard as I could, and had got within a quarter of a mile of the ravine, when, on taking a look, I saw that they had nearly reached the top. I[Pg 142] was still about a hundred and fifty yards away when I saw the horns of one of them, as he walked up on the mesa. I dropped, and, when I had a fair shot, fired. I ought to have killed of course, but whether it was because I was so anxious to get him, or because I had been running hard and my hand was unsteady, I only broke the buck's hind leg just above the hock. All three started off, but the wounded one soon tailed out and then turned down a broad valley which led into the one up which I had come, but several miles farther from camp. Well, I started after that buck, and after a long walk found him lying down in the valley. He saw me and ran off down the valley, long before I was able to shoot. I followed as fast as I could, running till my wind gave out, and then walking till I got it again. Whenever I could get near enough, I fired a shot, just to keep him going. At last he grew so tired that he would let me get pretty close up to him before starting, and finally he lay down behind a bank, where I could creep up and kill him. I carried the meat into camp that evening, but when I got there I was so thirsty that I could not speak. My throat was swollen and my tongue was half as big as my fist."

"Well," said Jack, "the antelope is a tough beast and will take a lot of killing, and of course you know better than I do, Hugh, that the plains Indians always speak of it as the swiftest and most long winded of animals."

"Yes," said Hugh. "A man often ties an antelope's horn round his horse's neck by a string, to make the horse swift and long winded."

"I saw a few antelope," said Fannin, "when we crossed the plains, but not many, and I never killed one. They are mighty interesting animals, and what always seemed to me the most extraordinary thing about them is that they shed their horns."

[Pg 143]

"Yes," said Hugh, "that's so, of course, all mountain men have always known that, but I heard only a few years ago that them professors that claim to know everything about all animals only found it out within the last fifteen or twenty years. Something strange about that."

"Yes," said Fannin, "but I suppose, maybe, these professors never had a chance to see many antelopes or know much about them."

"Yes, likely," said Hugh.

"Well," he added, "it's getting late, and I expect we're all ready for bed. Let's turn in;" and they did so.

The next morning an early start and a full day's paddling carried the travellers to a point known as Struggle Cove, which they reached several hours before sundown. The country here looked better for hunting than any Jack had seen, and he determined to start out to see if he could not find a deer. The woods were open, the ground carpeted, and the trees draped with a luxuriant growth of bright green moss, on which the foot fell as noiselessly as on a cushion. Higher up on the mountain side there was the usual tangle of underbrush, but a little valley that skirted its base was comparatively open. As soon as dinner had been eaten Jack set out. He had not gone far from camp when he came on to fresh deer tracks, which, after a little, turned up the hill and into the thick brush, where it seemed useless to follow. Two or three other tracks were seen, all of which led into the same thick place; but at length he saw one that kept up the valley, and as it had been made but a short time before, he had strong hopes that he should see the deer. He followed the track very slowly and carefully, and as it grew more and more fresh, his caution became greater. He entered a low growth of hemlock, going very slowly, and, just as he was passing[Pg 144] out, on the other side, he heard a deer jump, not fifty yards away, and in a moment saw it bound off up the mountain side. He threw up his gun and was just about to press the trigger when the animal stopped and looked back, giving him a certain shot. With the sound of the rifle the deer sank and rolled part way down the hill.

This was very satisfactory. They had now two deer—enough to keep them in fresh meat quite a long time, for the weather was so cool that meat would not spoil.

The deer taken was a buck, whose horns, still in the velvet, as did also his teeth, showed that he was full grown. Yet, compared with the Rocky Mountain deer that Jack had seen, he was quite a small animal.

Jack was doubtful about his ability to carry the carcase to camp, which was quite distant. But after dressing the deer and removing the head and shanks, he got it on his shoulders and slowly staggered toward the camp. It was a heavy load, and he was often obliged to stop and rest. Before he got half way to his destination he was rejoiced to see Hugh striding toward him.

"Well," said Hugh, as he came up to where Jack was sitting, "I had half a notion that you had killed something, and knew that if you had you would find your meat a pretty heavy load, so I came up to spell you in carrying it in. Pretty heavy, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Jack, "it weighs something, and the hardest part about it is to get it upon my back again after I've dropped it off to rest."

"Well," said Hugh, "I'll smoke a pipe, and then take it the rest of the way. I guess I'm something more used to big loads, to say nothing about being some bigger and stronger."

After Hugh had finished his pipe he swung the deer on his shoulders with hardly an effort, and Jack[Pg 145] could not help envying him the splendid strength that he displayed. The advent of the second deer in camp was greeted with rejoicing. The Indians grinned at the prospect of unlimited meat; Charlie was delighted because he knew that the party would rather eat deer than bacon; and Fannin and Hugh realized that the provisions would hold out just so much longer for this reinforcement of food.

It was at this camp that a slight modification of the manner of propelling the canoe was proposed and carried out. When the party had left Nanaimo a couple of long, heavy, rough oars of Indian manufacture had been thrown into the boat; and during the many days of paddling that had elapsed, the idea had occurred to Fannin that if these oars could be used, more power could be applied to them than to two paddles. He therefore consulted with Hamset on the question of rigging some rowlocks for the canoe, and this was easily arranged. The Indians chose a couple of cedar saplings, each of which had two small branches growing from it on the same side, at right angles to the stem and three or four inches apart. He cut off about six inches of the main stem, trimmed down the side branches to within three inches of their point of outgrowth, and then split the main stem lengthwise so as to leave the branches standing up, looking like two thole pins. With a large awl he punched several holes in the side of the canoe just below the gunwale, and, taking some cedar twigs, warmed them in the ashes of the fire, and when they had become hot and pliable he sewed the piece of wood holding the thole pins firmly to the gunwale, afterward driving wedges beneath it so as to make it tight. This formed a capital rowlock. This was done on both sides of the boat, and thereafter Fannin and Charlie handled the oars, and their influence was felt at once in the increased speed of the canoe.

[Pg 146]

Rowing was much harder work than paddling, but it was also much more effective.

The next day, however, the oars were not needed; the wind blew fair, the sail was hoisted, and the party ran through Cardero Channel and up Loughborough Inlet to its head, camping late in the afternoon.

The scenery was very beautiful, with rounded or dome-shaped mountains timbered to their summits, and occasionally a sharp granite peak which ran up much higher and was covered with snow. The hills stood back at some distance from the water, and thus looked lower than they really were.

It was not easy to find a good place to camp here. The meadow at the head of the inlet looked as if it might shelter many mosquitoes, but a little farther down the inlet was a flat, grass-grown but dangerously near to high-water mark. Fannin shook his head doubtfully when he looked it over, for on the grass were a few fragments of seaweed; though the fresh meadow grass seemed to show that the flat was seldom covered by the tide. Camp was made, and after supper Fannin and both of the Indians started off to look for game. Jack and Hugh were keeping camp, when suddenly Jack observed that the water was rising higher than had been expected, and it was soon evident that a few inches more would cover the flat. They waited for a little while, in the hope that it would recede, but presently all hands had to rush about to keep things from getting wet. It took but a short time to roll up the bedding and carry it into the forest, to pull down the tent and to lift the provisions and mess kit up on drift logs. Half an hour later camp had been remade in the forest, and six inches of water covered the flat where they had expected to sleep.

[Pg 147]



The next morning the canoe started down the inlet, following the opposite shore. As they rounded a point of rocks, a few miles below the camp, they saw standing on the rocks close to the shore two deer, a buck and a doe. The sun was yet low, directly behind the canoe, and in the eyes of the deer. The deer saw the vessel, but did not seem able to make it out. The various members of the party got their rifles in readiness and put them where they could be easily reached, and then continued their steady paddling toward the deer. They had come to within a hundred and fifty yards of them, and might have pushed much nearer had not one of the Indians fired a shot. This was the signal for a general fusillade, the result of which was—nothing. It is very often a fact that when several men are firing at one object it is missed by all. There is always a little excitement; each man is anxious to fire as soon as he can, for he is nervous and wishes himself to kill the game. The hurry and confusion throws every one a little off his balance, and the result is poor shooting.

After the deer had disappeared into the forest, and the paddling had been resumed, Hugh said: "Well, I expect I've seen that happen fifty times. When you get a lot of men shooting at a group of animals they almost always get clear off, or if one of them is killed it's just an accident. I remember once seeing half a dozen antelope gallop by not more than fifty yards from a company of soldiers that were halted, and I[Pg 148] believe every man fired half a dozen shots and not a hair was touched."

"Yes," said Fannin, "you take even a couple of men who know each other, and who try to fire at game at the same time, and the result is always likely to be a miss; and if there are a lot of men firing at will they send their bullets in every direction except the right one."

Jack felt mortified at his failure to hold his gun as he felt he should have; but he was a little consoled to think that he had done no worse than the two older hunters who had also been shooting.

Charlie, on the other hand, not having a gun, seemed to be quite delighted with the result and did not hesitate to deride the other members of the party on their bad shooting.

At the mouth of the inlet and between that point and Philip's Arm the tide was running very strong. The canoe had a fine sailing breeze behind it, the sails were spread, and the men worked hard at the paddling, but they were barely able to overcome the tide. Jack was interested in the appearance of the current as it ran through the narrow channel. He could see that the surface of the water, instead of being level as we always suppose it to be, was here inclined, and that the water was evidently higher at the point from which it came than at the point toward which it was flowing—in other words, it was like the water in a stream flowing from a high level to a lower one. Jack called Hugh's attention to this singular appearance, and Hugh at first hardly believed that it could be so. But, after carefully looking, he acknowledged that it seemed to be. Fannin said that this was often the case in these narrow channels where the tide ran swiftly.

Just before they reached Philip's Arm the wind fell, and all save the Indians landed on the shore, and, tying a rope to the bow of the boat, pulled it up around the[Pg 149] last point into the quiet water beyond. Here they took to the paddles again, and went on until dark, for some time looking in vain for a place where they could camp. The shore rose steeply from the water, and there was no place for one to spread his blankets.

At last, quite after dark, as they were coasting along the shore, the sound of the running water was heard; and, landing near the mouth of the creek, they found a bit of moderately level ground. Now, by the light of the fire, brush, stumps and rocks were cleared away and holes filled up, so that a comfortable night was passed.

The next morning there was a fine breeze, and with some help from the paddles the canoe made good progress. During the day the mouth of two broad but short arms of the sea were passed, which Fannin told them were Frederick's and Philip's Arms. They enter the coast between mountains three or four thousand feet high, and are spots of great beauty. About the middle of the morning Jack saw a couple of canoes, each of which held two or three Indian women. Jack asked Fannin who these people were, and Fannin appealed to Hamset, who told him that they were women who had been gathering berries. While they were still a long way off Hamset hailed the women with a curious singing call, and they replied with the same call, faintly heard across the waters. As the canoe approached the shore there was much conversation between the Indians who chattered at a great rate. They all seemed disposed to stop and visit for a while, but Fannin was anxious to push on, and after a few inquiries of one of the women about the rapids which were just ahead, the vessels parted company. Long after the canoes were out of ear-shot of ordinary conversation the Indians continued their talking to each other, in musical tones, laughing at each other's jokes as they came across the ever widening stretch of water.

[Pg 150]

Soon after leaving the Indians, the canoe reached the mouth of a narrow channel through which ran a rapid, swifter than any yet seen. The passage was less than a hundred yards in width, and the water, so far as it could be seen ahead, presented to the eye nothing but a milk-white torrent, whose tossing waves were from three to five feet high. The Indians seemed to hesitate a little about running this rapid, and both went ashore and followed down the bank for a little way, looking for the best course to follow. On their return they said that the passage might be made, and in a few moments the canoe was darting over the white water. All that could be done was to keep her straight. Her motion was so rapid that it was quite impossible to feel the water with the paddles. While it lasted the run was quite exciting; but it was soon over, for the channel was only half a mile in length, and there was but little time to think about their possible danger or the pleasure of the passage. To Jack it was a delightfully exhilarating ride, and there was enough uncertainty to it, a possibility of danger, in fact, which made it the most exciting experience of the trip.

As the canoe moved slowly along over the stretch of quiet water at the foot of the rapids Jack happened to glance over the side of the canoe, and saw, lying quietly on the white sand, a large school of beautiful trout. The fish were very large, some of them apparently a foot and a half long. He felt a great longing to stop there and take some of these fish, but they all felt that they had no time now to go fishing. The trout paid no attention to the craft, lying perfectly motionless, except when its shadow fell upon them. Then they moved slowly away into the sunlight.

Threading its way among the beautiful islands which dotted Cardero Channel, the canoe moved slowly along until a point was reached where its course must be[Pg 151] changed from southeast to northwest, to pass through the narrow passage between the mainland and Stuart Island, through Arran Rapid and then up into Bute Inlet. Here there had been a fishing station for dog-fish—small sharks, valuable only for the oil that their liver contains, and destructive to all fish life. For some distance the shore was strewn with the carcases of dog-fish captured by the Indians; and in some places the trees were almost black with the crows and ravens which had gathered here in great numbers to feed on the dead fish.

The birds were very tame indeed, and often sat indolently on a limb, under which the canoe was passing. Cocking their heads to one side they looked down on the travellers in an unconcerned and impudent fashion that was amusing or provoking according to the mood of the individual at whom they were gazing.

At the head of the bay, just beyond the point where the ravens were so plenty, is an Indian village where nearly a hundred years before the explorer Vancouver had spent a winter during his voyage along this coast. The village is at the head of a deep bay. A beautiful clear stream of ice-cold water runs by it, and there is a considerable area of arable land on either side of the stream. The canoe stopped here, for the Indians who were navigating it said that they wished to inquire of their friends about the passage of the rapids just ahead. As they waited, Jack noticed running across the bay a number of small logs in a line, and finally inquired of Fannin what this meant, and Fannin asked the Indians. After some little conversation Fannin turned to Jack and said: "Why, that's a line running across the bay from one side to the other, and supported, as you see, by these log floats. About every twenty feet or so, smaller lines, six feet in length, and each one carrying a baited hook, hang down from the main line. You can easily see that as this main line runs right[Pg 152] across the bay, no fish can get up or down without passing the baits. I expect they catch a whole lot of fish."

"Why," said Hugh, "there's something that looks like home! That's nothing but a trot line, such as I've seen a thousand times when I was a boy back in Kentucky. It's a sure good way of catching cat fish, but I never would have expected to see it out in this country and among these Indians."

Beyond this village the canoe, after passing the very noticeable mountain which stretches across Stuart Island, and which looks like a high wall built along the coast, ran Arran Rapids. Before entering the passage the party landed and climbed the hills, from which the whole stretch of troubled waters could be seen. To Jack and Hugh, and possibly to Fannin, the prospect seemed rather terrible, and the roar of the torrent was not assuring. In some places the water was tossed up as if by a heavy gale, and white-capped waves reared snowy crests high in the air. Near such an area of agitation were seen other spaces where deep whirlpools sucked away the water, leaving their centres much lower than the neighboring level; and scattered about among the waves and whirlpools were other stretches of water less violently agitated, where the green oil-like fluid rolled over and over with a slow, repressed motion. All the time the dull roar or a muffled moaning rose from the channel. "This," said Fannin, "is what the Indians call a 'Skookumtsook'" (strong water).

The Indians were watching the flood, waiting for the proper time to make a start, and at last Hamset rose and led the way down to the canoe. The tide was just at the full; and at the end of the rapids the ebb was met and a hard struggle ensued, the paddles and oars flying as fast as they could. The canoe began to go backward, and as it slowly yielded to the irresistible[Pg 153] force, Hamset, the bowman, turned and shouted that they must make for the shore. They did so, and when they had nearly reached it he turned again and declared that a present must be given to the water or they would all be drowned; but before this sacrifice had been made, a few strokes carried the vessel into an eddy, which enabled it to creep along close to the shore until the more quiet water at the mouth of Bute Inlet was reached.

Just after leaving the rapids they came upon an Indian camp, whose people had come down from their main village at the head of the Inlet. The canoe pushed to shore to enable the travellers to talk with the people of the camp, and to make inquiries about the Inlet, and what was to be found at its head. The Indians had pleasant faces and manners, and seemed a kindly folk, much interested in the movements of the three "Boston men," for they were quick to recognize Hugh, Jack, and Charlie as different from Fannin. They said that their village stood on a flat at the head of the inlet where the Homalko River entered it. On the mountains about the village they said there was much ice, and that a trail led from the village to one of these glaciers. "Now," they said, "our houses are empty, all our people being scattered along the coast fishing." This camp was the last to start out to try its luck. For provisions they had a porpoise, which they had killed on the way down, some herring, and one twenty-five pound salmon.

Charlie, who discovered the salmon, seized it at once, and lifted it up to view; and Hugh, who was always amused at Charlie's interest in the question of eatables, joked him about the way he "froze to" the fish, which Fannin presently bought for "four bits" or half a dollar.

A little later Hugh, who was wandering about the camp, called Jack, and pointed out to him one of the[Pg 154] rakes with which the Indians caught herrings. It was just as the sailor had described it to them when they were on the steamer; and it was easy to see how the keen points of the nails which projected from either edge of the pole could pierce and hold the herring.

After they had left the village of the friendly Homalko Indians the canoe moved slowly along up the inlet, and an hour or two before sunset made camp on a gravelly beach two or three miles above the Amor Point.

Near camp there were a few trees, and noticeable among them a tall dead spruce, in which was a huge eagle's nest. From the time of their arrival until dark one of the eagles was coming and going, bringing food to the whistling young, whose voices were plainly heard and whose movements were sometimes seen. No feature of this coast was more interesting or more surprising to Jack than the abundance of the eagles. They were seen everywhere and at all times. Sometimes during the morning fifteen or twenty of the great birds were passed, and half a dozen of their nests.

Jack talked with Fannin about their abundance.

"Of course they're plenty," said Fannin, "and there's no reason why they shouldn't be. You see they're absolutely without enemies; no one ever thinks of injuring them, and none die except from old age or accident. They breed undisturbed, and there is, as you have seen, an unending supply of food. Why shouldn't they increase? I can fancy that a time might come when the eagles would be so abundant here as to be a pest. Though, just what harm they could do, it is hard to say. I hate an eagle, myself, and would be glad to destroy them all if I could; but then, I have a special reason for it."

That night, as they were sitting about the fire, Jack asked Fannin what his reason was for disliking the eagles; and after a little hesitation Fannin told him a story.

[Pg 155]

"It was back in the sixties," he said; "and I had joined the rush to Cassiar, and my partner and myself had struck a prospect late in the summer. It looked well, and we held on until too late. The snow came, and fell heavily, and we made up our minds that we would have to winter there, yet we had practically nothing to eat. We had built a cabin, but it was not fitted up for winter, and there was no stock of provisions. The question was, what should we do? If we started to go back to our own cabin, two hundred miles away, where our main supplies were stored, we could probably get there on short commons. On the other hand, this would mean wintering away from our prospect, doing no work on it through the winter, and wasting some weeks of time in spring to get back to it. On the other hand, if one of us stayed in the cabin with what provisions we had, and the other went back and got a fresh supply, we could winter by the prospect, work on it during the winter, and be on hand in the spring to push the summer work. This seemed the best thing for us to do. Then came the question: 'Who should go for the grub?' We were both willing to go. There was no special choice between going and staying. The man who stayed behind would have a pretty lonesome time of it, but would have enough to occupy him. The man who went would have a lonely time, too, but he would be travelling constantly and working hard. We could not make up our minds which should go, and finally we drew lots for it, and it fell to me to go. I took my snowshoes and toboggan and some grub, and started. As I would be gone some weeks, most of the food must be left with my partner, and I could depend in some sort on my rifle. I should have no time to hunt, but there was always some likelihood of running on game.

"I started early one morning, and that afternoon it began to snow, and it kept on snowing for four days.[Pg 156] I travelled slowly, for the ground was covered deep with a light, fluffy snow, on which snowshoes were not much good; and it was hard to haul the toboggan. Moreover, the ground being hidden, I could not choose my way, and two or three times I got among rocks and timber, and broke one of my snowshoes. That meant a halt to mend it—a further delay. It was soon evident that I was going to run short of food. I kept going as fast as I could, and kept a good lookout for game, but saw nothing, in fact, not even a track.

"About the tenth day out I saw one of these eagles roosting on a tree in the trail ahead of me; and, without seeming to notice it, I pressed on, thinking that before long I would be near enough to kill it, and that would give me so much more food. Before I came within reach, however, it left its perch and soared into the air. But instead of flying away, it merely wheeled high over the valley; and at night, when I went into camp, it alighted in a tree not far off, and sat watching me. This continued for days, and all the time my grub allowance was growing smaller. I cut myself down first to half rations and then to quarter rations. I was beginning to grow weak, and still had a long distance to go before reaching our cabin. Two or three times when the eagle had flown near me I had shot at it on the wing, hoping to kill it; but with no result except to call forth the whistling cry, which some writer has described as a 'maniac laugh.'

"What with my hunger, my weakness, and my loneliness, it got so after a while that that eagle got on my nerves. I began to think that it was following me; just watching and waiting for me to get weak, and stumble, and fall, and freeze to death; and that then it would have a good meal off me. I began to think it was an evil spirit. Every day I saw it, every day I looked for a chance to kill it, and every day it swung over me in broad circles and laughed at my misery.

[Pg 157]

"I had now been travelling twenty days and knew that I must be getting close to the cabin. My grub was all gone, and I could hardly stagger along; but I still clung to my toboggan, for I knew that without that I couldn't take food back to my partner; and the thought of him back there at work on short allowance, and sure to starve to death unless I got back to him, added to my trouble.

"At last one day about noon I came in sight of the cabin, just able to stagger, but still dragging the toboggan, which had nothing on it except my blanket and a little package of ammunition. I went up to the cabin door, opened it, went in and partly closed the door, leaving a crack through which I could watch for the eagle. I hoped that he would stop on one of the big trees near the cabin, and watch for me to come out. He did so, lighting on a limb about a hundred yards from the door. He made a big mark. I put the rifle through the crack, steadied it against the jamb, took as careful a sight as I ever took at anything, and pulled the trigger. When the gun cracked, the eagle spread his wings, soared off, and taking one turn over the valley, threw back his head, laughing at me. He sailed away over the mountains, and I never saw him again.

"Two or three full meals put heart into me once more, and with a good load of food, I started back to my partner. Although the way was all uphill, I got to him in about two weeks. On the way back I killed two deer and some rabbits, and did not have to break into the load of provisions on my toboggan. When I reached him, I found that he was living in plenty. He had killed four caribou that had wandered down close to the cabin one night, and still had the carcases of two hung up, frozen. Since that time I have never had any use for eagles."

[Pg 158]



Bute Inlet is the most remarkable as well as the most beautiful of the larger fiords of the British Columbia coast. Its great length and the height of the mountains that wall it in make it unequalled. Nowhere at the sea-level can such stupendous mountains be seen so near at hand, nor such sublime views be had.

At its mouth the Inlet is only about a mile in width, and in its widest portion it is not more than two and a half miles. At the entrance, the hills are not especially high or rugged, but rise from the water in a series of rounded undulations. Densely wooded to their summits, they roll away in smooth green waves to the higher more distant mountains of the interior. No sharp pinnacles of granite nor dark frowning precipices interrupt the green of the forests. The dome-shaped hills come into view one after another, always smooth and ever green. The scene is one of quiet picturesque beauty. A little farther up the inlet the scenery changes. The shores rise more abruptly from the water's edge, but though the mountains increase in height the soft green foliage of firs and cedars still rises toward the summits in an unbroken sweep. Then masses of rock lift themselves above the timber line, glittering in the sunlight as though studded with jewels, or when shadowed by clouds frowning down cold, black, and forbidding. Soon patches of snow begin to appear on the mountains; at first visible only as narrow white lines nestling in the deeper ravines, but farther along large snow banks came into view[Pg 159] and before long extensive snow fields are seen, glittering white on the summits, or even down among the green of the mountain sides.

The canoe started early and a fair wind enabled them to set the sail and to sit back at ease all through the long day and view undisturbedly the enchanting scenery which they were passing.

Jack had often heard his uncle describe a trip that he had made to Norway, and his journey up some of the fiords of that rock-bound coast. As he now watched the shore and the mountains of Bute Inlet slip by, these descriptions were constantly brought to his mind. Scarcely less impressive than the wonderful cliffs and mountains that he was seeing, were the beautiful streams, fed by the melting of the perpetual snow high upon the hills. These streams plunged over the precipices in beautiful falls and cascades. Long before the water reached the rocks below, it was broken up into finest spray; and a white veil of mist waved to and fro before the black rocks, in fantastic and ever changing shapes.

Here the mountains had become much higher than any they had approached before. Instead of peaks from twenty-five hundred to four thousand feet in height, they were close to those that reached an altitude of six or eight thousand feet. One of these was Mt. Powell, a naked peak stretching up like a pyramid, more than six thousand feet high; and farther on there were others still higher. The first of the glaciers was seen just to the north of Fawn Bluff, and was recognized by Hugh, who called out to Jack: "There, son, there's a chunk of ice. Don't you see how it shines, blue in the sunlight, just like one of the glaciers that we got sight of in the Piegan country?"

"So it is, Hugh. I recognize it. My! Don't I wish we could get up close to it; but it's awful high on the mountains and terribly thick timber below it."

[Pg 160]

"Yes," said Hugh, "I reckon it would be quite a climb to get up there."

"How different these mountains are," said Jack, "from our Rockies. They rise so much more steeply; but like the Rockies, there is a big cliff of wall rock on the top of each one of them."

"Yes," said Hugh, "in the mountains that we see from the plains the slope is more gradual; first foot hills, and then a long timber slope, and then lastly the rocky peaks that rise above the timber line. But here there are no foot-hills, and there are no gradual rising slopes between us and the main peaks. A man's eye doesn't get a chance to adapt itself to the highest hills by measuring the gentler slopes that are nearer to him. Here the mountains rise either in a continual slope or else in a series of cut walls, one above the other, to the straight up peaks. I don't believe the distance on foot to one of these mountains is more than twice the mountain's height. I don't believe many people that have not been here have had a chance to stand at the sea-level and look straight up to a snow peak right above them as high as these are. That is what makes these mountains seem so high and so wonderful."

A few moments later the canoe rounded a point and a long reach of the inlet was exposed to view.

"There," said Fannin, "look off to the right! There's something that I don't think many people have seen."

"My! I guess not!" exclaimed Jack.

Off to the right was a tall mountain whose summit was hidden, but which seemed to end in a long horizontal crest crowned by a wavy covering of palest blue, the lower end of a great glacier. It could be conjectured that, running down from some very high point, this river of ice reached the top of this mighty precipice, and little by little was pushed over, breaking off in huge masses, which, from time to time, fell over[Pg 161] the cliff and down into the hidden recesses at its foot, where possibly another smaller glacier made up of these icy fragments ran, for a little way, down the valley.

"Look at those little grassy spots scattered here and there along the mountain side," said Fannin; "how are those for goat pastures? How bright those little meadows are by contrast with the dark foliage of the forest, the gray of the rocks, and the white of the snow banks. Those must be great feeding places for the goats, and there, I guess, they are never bothered except by the eagles that try to catch the kids. Surely there they must be safe from everything except enemies that can fly. Except for the goats and the wood-chucks, I don't believe there are any living things up there but birds. I'll bet there are lots of ptarmigan up there, brown in summer and white in winter. The little mother bird scratches out a hollow in the turf and moss near some fringe of willows, and lays her brown spotted eggs there, which by this time are hatched. The young are queer, downy little chicks, buff in color, and streaked here and there with brown. You would hardly think it possible that they could stand the cold winds, the fogs, the rain, and the snows that they must be exposed to."

"Did you ever find a nest, Mr. Fannin?" asked Jack.

"Yes," said Fannin, "when we crossed the mountains on our way from the East, nearly twenty years ago, I found the nest of a white-tailed ptarmigan high up on the range, but I have never seen a nest of these black-tailed ptarmigan, such as we killed up on the head of the North Arm. Once or twice, though, I have come across a mother with her young ones, and I tell you the mother is a plucky bird. If you catch one of the young birds she will come back and attack you and make a pretty good fight. I have had one[Pg 162] come up to my very feet and then fly against my legs, pecking at my overalls and rapping my legs with her wings, trying to frighten me into letting the young one go; and, of course, I always did it after I had finished looking at it."

"I don't suppose there's much game up here," said Hugh to Fannin, "except these goats that live high up in the mountains. It seems too cold and damp here for anything like deer."

"Well," said Fannin, "I don't know much about that. I, myself, have never been here before, and Bute Inlet is as strange to me and just as beautiful as it is to you."

While all this talk was going on the canoe, pushed along by a good wind, had been hurrying up the inlet. They passed one great gorge between two mountains, so nearly straight that, as they looked up at it, they could see on the mountain's crest a great glacier; and, pouring out beneath it, a thundering torrent, which rushed down the gorge toward the inlet. From beneath the blue mountains of ice a tiny white thread ran down the slope, constantly increasing in size, its volume swollen by a hundred lesser streams which joined it on its way. Always a torrent, and always milky white, it swept on, sometimes running along an even slope, at others leaping down precipices a hundred feet high, now undermining a thick crust of soil green with spruces, again burrowing beneath snowdrifts which almost filled the gorge. Long before they came to it they heard the roar of its fall; and as they passed its mouth they could not hear the words that one called to the other. The rush of this great mass of water Jack thought enough to frighten one.

When they reached the mouth of the Homalko River, at the head of the inlet, the sun had disappeared and the great walls of rock about them cast dark shadows.[Pg 163] The peaks of the mountains were still touched by the sun, and the snow took on a rosy tint; and even the black granite walls were lightened and softened by a ruddy glow. But over the snow fields, on the high mountains, the rock walls and peaks cast strange, long shadows. As the sun sank lower and lower these shapes seemed to lengthen and to march along as if alive. Slowly this glow faded, until only the highest peaks were touched by it; and then, one by one, as they grew dull, twilight, with stealthy footstep, cast shadows that softened and blended the harsher outlines of the scene.

At the mouth of the Homalko River began a couple of miles of long, hard pulling against its hurrying current. At last, however, after winding through wide meadows and among clumps of willows, they saw before them an open spot, and presently the houses of the Indian village appeared, standing close to the border of the timbered stream. Soon they had landed close to the houses, transferred their load to their shelter, and lifted the canoe up onto the meadow. The day had been one of excitement, if not of continued effort, and all were tired and hungry. Moreover, as soon as the river had been entered, vast swarms of mosquitoes attacked them and made life miserable. Happily, the insects did not enter the Siwash house that they had appropriated, but any one who ventured out of doors was at once attacked. That night the party went to bed with little delay, hoping to spend the next two or three days in an investigation of the mountains that walled in the narrow river valley on both sides.

When Jack awoke next morning he saw that it was daylight,—gray dawn, as he thought,—and he turned over and settled himself for another nap, to await Charlie's announcement that breakfast was nearly ready. A little later some movement awakened him,[Pg 164] and when he opened his eyes he saw Fannin standing by the fire already dressed.

Jack asked: "Is it time to turn out, Mr. Fannin?"

But Mr. Fannin, with an expression of much disgust on his usually cheerful countenance, answered briefly: "You can sleep all day, if you want to."

"What do you mean?" said Jack, in some astonishment.

"Mean?" replied Fannin; "why, it's raining, and you can't see across the river."

Jack hardly understood what this meant, but as he got up to dress he heard the heavy patter of rain on the building, and when he looked out of doors he saw that the valley was full of a white fog, almost thick enough to be cut with a knife. Nothing could be seen of the surrounding mountains, the mist hid everything except a few yards of muddy water by the house, and the lower branches of the forest behind it. It was useless to venture out of doors, because nothing could be seen. It would have been folly to attempt to climb the mountains in such a fog.

The rain continued all day long, and the white men sat around the fire and smoked and talked and grumbled. The Indians had a better time. Immediately after breakfast they returned to their blankets and went to sleep. After lunch they slept again until dinner was ready, and after dinner they went to bed for the night. Every little while one of the white men would go to the door in the hope that he might see some sign of fair weather, but none greeted him.

The second day at the Indian village was like the first; it rained all day long, and this was followed by a third day of downpour. There seemed no prospect that the rain would ever stop. Fresh provisions had given out, and the party was once more reduced to bread and bacon.

The fourth morning it was still raining, and, after[Pg 165] consultation, it was determined that the bow of the canoe should be turned down the Inlet and that they should seek fairer weather on the more open water of the Gulf. To all hands it was a disappointment to go away without seeing something of the mountains they had so much admired at a distance. But the flight of time and the scarcity of provisions made it seem necessary to proceed on their way. Accordingly, on the morning of the fourth day the canoe was loaded and the travellers clad in oil skins and rubber coats, headed down the Homalko River. The rain still fell with the steady persistent pour of the last few days, the mountain sides were veiled with a thick mist, and the party had only the memories of the wonderful beauties of the sail up the inlet to console them, as they swung their paddles on the return journey. The mountain climbing, the exploration of the glaciers, the views of the towering snow-clad heights, and the hunting of the sure-footed goats—these pleasures must all be abandoned. So they paddled down the Inlet through the fog, with nothing to see and with nothing to do but to paddle.

During the next two days the weather continued bad, with wind and rain. The party camped at Clipper Point on Bute Inlet and at Deceit Bay on Redonda Island. On the third day, near White Island, a heavy gale sprang up, blowing from the quarter toward which the canoe was headed, and the paddlers not only were unable to paddle against it, but could not even hold their own. It was therefore necessary to land, unload the canoe, and take it up on the beach out of reach of the waves, and to wait until the wind went down. Fresh meat was still needed, and Hugh, Jack, and Fannin started out to see whether they could get anything. The country was a pleasant one to hunt in, and consisted of open ridges with bushy ravines between, and a little scattering timber on the ridges. Deer and[Pg 166] bear signs were plentiful, and Jack was much interested in noticing the great size of the stones turned over by the bears in their search for worms, bugs, and ant eggs. One large piece of granite, lately turned out of its bed by a bear, was not less than two feet in any direction, and so heavy that Jack could not stir it.

Jack was walking quietly along a ridge, watching on either side of him, when a small buck that he had passed unseen, ran out of the brush and half way up the slope of the ravine, and stopped to look back. It was a fatal error, for a moment later Jack's ball pierced his heart. Like all the deer here, this one was small. Jack remembered his struggle with a previous deer, and only attempted to carry half of it into camp. When he got there he sent one of the Indians for the remainder.

Hugh had also killed a small deer, which he had brought into camp; and so, for the present, all anxiety about fresh meat was at an end.

They had a good dinner that night. After it was over, they lounged in much comfort around the crackling blaze, for the rain had gone with the gales that had blown, and the night was fair and cool.

"Hugh," said Jack, "you must have seen bears feeding often, and I wish you would tell me how they do it. Of course I've seen places where they have torn logs to pieces, and turned over stones; and the other day I saw that black bear gathering berries up on the river at the head of the North Arm, but that's the only bear that I've seen feeding. I wish you'd tell me how you've seen bears act when they were feeding."

"Well," said Hugh, as he pushed down the fire in his pipe with the end of his forefinger, "that's asking me to tell you a good deal. I've happened to see bears feeding a number of times; but, of course, usually I was more interested in killing the bear than I was in[Pg 167] seeing how it gathered its grub, and when the time came for a good shot, I fired."

"Yes," said Jack, "that is natural and I suppose that is just what I would have done; but I can't help wondering how the bears, which are such big, strong fellows, living as everybody says, on berries, mice, beetles, and ants, ever get enough to eat to keep themselves alive; and yet, as I understand it, they always go into their holes fat, in the Autumn."

"So they do, so they do," assented Hugh.

"Well," said Jack, "tell me, then, how do they keep themselves alive?"

"That's hard to tell," said Hugh. "Of course, on the plains, as long as there are buffalo, the bears get a plenty. There are always buffalo dying of old age, being mired in the quicksand, drowned in the rivers, blinded by fire, or killed by the wolves; and the bears, being great travellers, come across these carcases all the time, and feed on them. Then, of course, they catch buffalo sometimes, by crawling on them through the brush; and at other times, by hiding near a buffalo trail and grabbing an animal that goes past. You've surely heard Wolf Eagle tell about the big fight that he saw once up in the Piegan country, between a buffalo bull and a bear, and if you have, you will remember that the bull killed the bear."

"Yes," said Jack, "I think I heard of that, but don't know that the story was ever told me in detail; what was it?"

"Why, the way Wolf Eagle tells it, he was cached down near a little creek waiting for a bunch of buffalo to come to the water, so that he might kill one. They came on, strung out one after another, and had got nearly down to the edge of the water when, as they were passing under a cut bank, a bear that was lying on the ledge of this bank jumped down on the leading heifer and caught her around the neck. Of course, the[Pg 168] buffalo all scattered, and the bear was trying to bite the heifer and kill her, and she was trying to get away. In a minute, however, a big bull came charging down the trail, and butted the bear, knocking him down and making him let go the heifer. Then there was a big fight, and one which scared the Indian a whole lot, so much that he did not dare to show himself, as he would have had to, to get away. The bull kept charging the bear, and every time he struck him fairly he knocked him down; and every time the bull charged, the bear struck at him and tried to catch him by the head and to hold him, but this he could not do. They fought there for quite a little time, both of them fierce, and both of them quick as lightning. After a while, the bear had had all the fight that he wanted, and tried to get away, but the bull wouldn't have it. He kept knocking him down and goring him, until at last he had killed him. Even after the bear was dead, the bull would charge the carcase, and stick his horns in it and lift it off the ground. The Indian said that the bull was a sight: that he didn't have any skin on his head and shoulders, but that he was mad clear through, and seemed to be looking around for something else to fight. Wolf Eagle was almighty glad when at last the bull went off and joined the band."

"That's a mighty good story, Hugh," said Jack. "I guess in those old days, bears killed a good deal of game, didn't they?"

"I expect likely they did," said Hugh. "I know that whenever you hear any story about anything a bear has done, the Indians speak of his killing something. You remember Old White Calf Robe? You must have seen him in the camp. He was there two years ago at the medicine lodge. I remember him there, distinctly."

"No," said Jack, "I don't think I do remember him."

[Pg 169]

"Well," said Hugh, "he tells a story about being carried home by a bear, one time, many years ago, after he had been wounded in war. I don't doubt but that the old man believes that he is telling the plain truth, just as it happened; but in that story, he travelled along with a bear and a wolf, and I know that he says that the bear killed an elk for him to eat, and I think the wolf killed something for him, too, but I can't be sure.

"But of course," Hugh went on, "bears don't get very much meat. Certainly they don't live on meat, by any means. When they first come out in the spring, they generally travel pretty high up on the bare ridges, and live largely on the fresh green grass that starts early on the hillsides. They are always on the watch for mice and ground squirrels, and they dig out a good many wood-chucks, but I fancy their main food is grass. Then, a little later, roots start up which they like to gather,—pomme-blanche, camas, and a whole slew of other plants,—and that carries them along pretty well until the berry time. In the early summer I have seen them in little mountain parks, digging out mice or ground squirrels. A bear will see where a mouse or ground squirrel has a run close to the surface of the ground, and if his nose or any other sense tells him that it is inhabited, he will quickly run his paw along the tunnel, digging it up, and if the animal happens to be there, throwing it out on the surface of the earth. Then it is fun to see a big bear that will weigh three or four hundred pounds, and maybe twice as much, dancing around and striking the ground with his paws to try to kill the little animal that is dodging about, trying to get away. You'd never think how mighty active a bear can be under those circumstances.

"When berry time comes the bears spend a great deal of time around the sarvis berry patches, the plum[Pg 170] thickets, and the choke-cherry groves; and every now and then a number of Indian women gathering berries, will run across one, and the women will get scared half to death, and light out for camp. Once in a long time an Indian gathering berries will suddenly come on a bear, and the bear will kill him; or, perhaps, sometimes an old bear that is mean will lay for an Indian, and kill him just for fun.

"The Indians say that when the sarvis berries are ripe, bears will ride down the taller bushes, pressing the stems down under their breasts, and walking along them with their forelegs on either side of the stem. I never saw them do it, but I've seen plenty of places where the bushes have been ridden down in this way, and had bear hair stuck to them. I once saw a mother and some cubs picking huckleberries high up in the mountains during fall. They walked about from one bush to another, and seemed to be picking the berries one by one, though I was so far away that I couldn't tell much about it.

"It's fun to see them turn over stones, and they're mighty cute about it, too. Now, if you or I have occasion to turn over a stone, the chances are we'll stoop over it, take hold of it by its farther edge, and pull it over toward us, and of course, unless we straddle it or watch it pretty close, we're likely to drop it on our toes; but a bear always turns a stone over not toward himself, but to one side. He gets his hind feet well under him, braces one fore foot, and then with the other fore foot turns over the stone, swinging it out from him to one side, and after he has finished the motion, he drops his head into the bed where the stone lay and gobbles up whatever insects are there. Sometimes he makes a claw or two with one foot into the bed, perhaps to turn up the ground to see whether there are some insects below the surface, or to see if there may be the hole of some little animal passing close beneath the stone."

[Pg 171]

"That's mighty interesting, Hugh," said Jack, "and I am greatly obliged to you for telling us about it. Now, Mr. Fannin, have you seen much of the way bears of this country feed?"

"No," said Fannin, "I have not. You see in this country we don't have a chance to see very far. It's all covered with timber, and it's only once in a while, in such a situation as we got to the other day when we were goat hunting, that we have an opportunity to see any considerable distance. So, really, all that I know about the feeding of bears is what I have discovered from cutting them open and seeing the contents of their stomachs. I told you the other day about how the bears sometimes came in and carried off hogs for us."

"Yes," said Jack, "I remember that, of course. Hugh," he went on, "where are bears most plenty back in our country?"

"Well," said Hugh, "there are a good many bears along the Missouri River, and in the low outlying ranges like the Moccasin, Judith, Snowy, and Belt mountains, but I think the places where they are the plentiest is along the foot of the Big Horn Range. You take it in the early summer, there's a terrible lot of bears to be found there."

"And which are the most plentiful, the black or the grizzly?" asked Jack.

"Why," said Hugh, "there's no comparison. The grizzlies outnumber the blacks about three to one, I should say. Black bears in that country are mighty scarce."

"And in this country," said Fannin, "you can say the same of the grizzly."

[Pg 172]



The next morning the sea was as calm and placid as if its surface had never been ruffled by a gale, and the canoe pushed along at a good rate of speed. During the early part of the afternoon Jack saw on a long, low rock, close to which the canoe would pass, a number of shore birds, running here and there, busily feeding at the edge of the water, but did not recognize them, and asked Fannin what they were. After a close look, Fannin replied: "Those here are turnstones; those others seem to be black oyster catchers."

"Oh!" said Jack, "try and kill some of them please. I have never seen either bird. I know the oyster catcher of the Atlantic coast, for I have seen several that were killed on Long Island. I should like to have some of these birds in my hand."

Fannin got his gun ready and presently fired both barrels at the birds, and in a few moments Jack was admiring them, and comparing each sort with its corresponding species of the Atlantic coast. Before the gun was fired, he had noticed that the oyster catchers acted very much like those he had seen on Long Island. They had the same sharp whistle and ran along the shore in the same way; but these in his hand were entirely black, while those that he had seen in the East were brownish with much white, and only a little black.

During the day they saw many old squaw ducks, which Jack knew in the East only as winter birds.

About the middle of the afternoon the wind rose again, and began to blow so violently that it was necessary[Pg 173] to go ashore and camp. At the point where they landed, deer seemed to be plenty, and the beach was dotted in many places with their tracks, made during the day. The recent rains, however, had made the underbrush quite wet, and as there was plenty of fresh meat in camp, there seemed no special reason for hunting.

During the night a deer passed along the beach near the tent, and when he had come close to the place where Charlie had made his bed, the animal saw the tent or smelt its occupants, stopped and stood for a while, and then jumped over Charlie, running off with long bounds, into the forest.

The next morning the wind still blew hard, and it was uncertain whether the party could get away or not. The two Indians therefore asked permission to hunt, and Fannin loaned his rifle to Jimmie. An hour or two later Hamset returned without anything; but a little later Jimmie came in with a broad grin on his face, his clothes in tatters. He was soaked to the skin, but in a high state of delight, for he had killed a deer—his first. He was quite exhausted, for he had carried the animal quite a long way through the woods down to the beach, where he had left it, unable to bring it farther. Fannin and Charlie at once went off to get it; and while they were gone, the boy, in a mixture of Chinook, English, and signs, told Hugh and Jack the story of his hunt. He had gone a long way through the forest, but at last had seen a deer feeding, and crept up close to it. It had looked at him. He had fired twice at it, the last time striking it in the throat and breaking its neck, and it had fallen dead. He ended his account with a loud shout of laughter and the words: "Hai-asmowitch (big deer), me kill." Later in the day he confided to Fannin the information that "the hearts of his friends were very good toward him because he had killed a deer that was big and fat."

[Pg 174]

As they coasted along the shore that day they saw a blue grouse sitting on a rock, on a small island, and landing found about a dozen full-grown birds. The shot-gun accounted for four or five of them, and Jack and Hugh shot the heads off several more that took refuge in the branches of the trees. Food, therefore, was now plenty.

As they were passing near the mouth of the Hotham Sound, and close to the shores of Hardy and Nelson Islands, the remarkable Twin Falls, just within the entrance of the Sound, came into view. They seemed so attractive that it was decided to visit them on their return trip. On rounding a point on the shore of Hardy Island, two moving objects, on a low seaweed-covered point half a mile ahead, were seen. For a time they puzzled Indians and white men alike. They were not deer, for they were too low; nor bears, for the color was not right; nor seals, for they had neither the shape nor the movements of those animals. So there was much guessing at random as to what they were. But at last, when the canoe had come close enough for the creatures to be seen distinctly, white men and Indians made them out to be eagles. They were young birds, so young and inexperienced, in fact, that they permitted the canoe to approach within fifty feet of them without moving from their places, and when at last they did consent to disturb themselves the canoe was within thirty or forty feet of them. Then one flew to a pine, a few yards distant, while the other hopped on a log six feet from where he had been sitting, and surveyed the canoe with the utmost indifference. Though full-grown they had probably never seen white men before. They had been feeding on a dog-fish, which lay there among the seaweed, still breathing and writhing, although the birds had torn a great hole in its side.

That night camp was made on Nelson Island. It[Pg 175] rained very hard, and everything became wet. There was a fine chance for grumbling at the weather if they wanted to, but these were old travellers, and accustomed to meet with philosophy whatever fortune sent them in the way of weather and discomfort. Besides this, they were getting used to rain, for some had fallen every day since they had reached the head of Bute Inlet. The next day they would enter Jervis Inlet, of whose beauties they had heard so much that they thought it would be almost as wonderful as Bute. A study of the Admiralty charts, with which Fannin had provided himself before leaving Victoria, and which were carried in a tin case in the provision chest, seemed to confirm all that they had heard of Jervis; and it was with anxious hearts and earnest hopes for good weather that the party went to bed that night.

They were not disappointed. The day dawned fair, an early start was made, and they paddled toward the mouth of the Inlet. For some miles a long point ahead of them cut off the view of the Inlet, and when they passed this point, its beauties were revealed as a real surprise to them. Directly before them, but on the farther side of the Inlet, rose a superb snow cone, five thousand feet in height; and beyond that could be seen a broad bay leading up to a narrow dark green forest, closely shut in between two ranges of mountains, far down whose sides extended the white mantle which in this region crowns every considerable height.

A little farther on the travellers found themselves directly in front of Marlborough Heights, mountains which, even in this land of grand scenery are unequalled for majesty. Two of them rise almost sheer from the water's edge to a height of over sixty-one hundred feet, and the third, standing a little farther back from the water, lifts its great head between the two, as if looking over its brothers' shoulders. The summits of these do not run up into peaks and needles[Pg 176] of rock, but appear rather like blunt cones of solid granite. There is a little timber on the slopes, but except for this nothing is to be seen but the black rocks. Scarcely a patch of snow was visible, for the unceasing winds, which blow on these lofty peaks, sweep the snow into the valleys and lower lands before it can lay hold on the smooth bare granite. Some of these peaks rise in unbroken cliffs. Other heights come down to the water's edge in a long series of steps, many of them showing the rounded, smoothing action of the great glacier which passed over them as it cut out this cañon.

Down near the water, tall grass and underbrush grow among these dark, rounded, naked rocks, which look like the backs of so many great elephants sleeping in a jungle, whose growth is not tall enough to hide them.

Though for the most part narrow,—not more than a mile in width,—the Inlet often broadens out and has a lake-like appearance, especially where side valleys come down into it, showing the course of tributary streams of the old glacier.

At Deserted Bay, a little river enters the Inlet, and at its mouth is a wide stretch of meadow land.

Long before they reached this point something white could be seen on the shore. Hugh and Jack were curious to know what it could be, and appealed to Fannin and the Indians for information. No one could tell, and the glasses only made the white objects appear a little larger. Gradually, however, as the canoe approached them, it was seen that here was an Indian village and a burial place, and that the white objects were the white cloth coverings of the crosses and the houses of the dead. There seemed to be no one at the village, and the canoe did not stop, but kept on until sunset, reaching a level, grassy piece of land at the mouth of a mountain torrent, where the party put ashore and camped.

[Pg 177]

Evidently this was a favorite camping-ground, for there were found here the remains of fires, a rude shanty put up for protection against the weather, many old poles, and a scaffold erected for the purpose of drying fish.

Down the side of the mountains came thundering the large stream which had formed the little flat where they camped, and which was more than a brook and rather less than a river.

After camp had been made, Hugh, Fannin, and Jack climbed the mountain for a few hundred feet along the stream's course, and they were greatly impressed by the tumultuous rush with which it tumbled from pool to pool in tempestuous descent. The hillside was so steep that climbing was done by pulling one's self up by the trees, underbrush, and rocks. The ever rising spray of the torrent had moistened the earth, grass, and moss, making the ground so slippery that it was often difficult to keep one's footing. The stream made leaps of twenty, forty, and fifty feet at a time, falling with a dull sullen roar into the deep rocky basins which it had dug out for itself, making the milk-white foam which they contained surge and whirl over and over in unceasing motion. The constant moisture of the stream nourished a rank growth of vegetation. Rocks and fallen tree trunks were covered by a thick growth of long, pale green moss, into which the feet sank ankle deep, and from which water could be wrung as from a well-soaked sponge. In the crevices of the rocks grew bunches of tall grasses, sparkling with drops of water, as though there had been a rain storm. Everywhere there were tall flower stalks, brilliant with blossoms of yellow or blue. Back from the bed of the stream grew a thick tangle of undergrowth and young trees, which it would have been very hard to penetrate.

Many questions suggested themselves to Jack during[Pg 178] the climb. But the noise of the fall was so great that it was impossible to hear conversation, and it was not until they had reached camp that he was able to try to inform himself in regard to any of the matters about which he had wished to ask.

That night as they sat around the fire after dinner, he said to Fannin and Hugh: "I want to know how these big arms of the sea came to be formed. Why is it that every little way here we find an immense cañon running away back into the mountains, and the sea ebbing and flowing in it? Of course there's some reason for it. I don't understand what it is, but somebody must know."

Hugh smoked in silence for a few moments, and then, taking his pipe from his mouth and clearing his throat, said: "Yes, somebody must know, of course, and I expect to them that does know, it's mighty simple. I expect likely your uncle, Mr. Sturgis, knows about all these things, but I don't. I've got an idea from what I've heard him say, and from what I've seen up in the northern countries, that these big cañons were cut out by glaciers,—these big masses of ice, very heavy, and moving along all the time. It's easy for any one who has ever been around a glacier to see something of the terrible power that such a mass of ice has, and to see how it cuts and grinds away the surface of the earth and rock that it passes over. You've heard, and I've heard your uncle talk about these here cañons on the coast of Norway, that, from his tell, seem about just like these that we are travelling up and down, except that maybe these are bigger. We can all understand that if a very big glacier got running in a certain course, and kept running for thousands and thousands of years, it would cut out in the surface of the mountains a deep, narrow groove that might be like these cañons; but as I say, I don't know anything about them. I'm just guessing from what I've heard say."

[Pg 179]

"Well," said Fannin, "I don't know much about them either, but judging from what I've read, you're about on the right track. The books I've read say that there was a time, a good way back, when the whole of the northern part of North America was covered with a big sheet of ice, thousands of feet thick. That is what was called the glacial period, or ice age. This ice, if I understand it, was thicker towards the north—where it was piling up all the time, and getting still thicker—than it was toward the south, where the climate was milder, and where it was melting all the time. Now, although ice seems to us, who perhaps don't know much about it, about as firm and solid as anything can be, yet really it is not so. Learned men have made lots of experiments, which show that ice will change its form; and we all know that these glaciers that we see here are moving all the time, and, what's more, that they are moving faster in the middle than they are at the sides, where they rub against the mountains; in other words, where there is friction. That shows that ice is plastic, somewhat we'll say like molasses in January. It will flow, but it flows very slowly, and to make it flow at all the pressure on it may have to be very great. In other words, there's got to be a great force behind it, pushing it. Now the books say, that in the time of the ice age the sheet of ice that covered the country, being thick toward the north and thin toward the south, was constantly moving slowly from north to south; and I think the men that have studied them have seen in the scratches that the ice sheet made on the rocks and in the gravel and boulders and so on, that it carried along with it from one place to another strong evidence of this motion. Then, after a while, as I understand it, the weather got warmer, the ice sheet kept melting faster and faster from the south toward the north, and gradually the land got bare of ice. Of course it[Pg 180] melted first on the lower lands, and last on the hills and mountains and peaks. It melted very slowly, and as it melted it left behind it on the mountains and in sheltered places where it was coldest, masses of ice which continued to flow along as ice streams, long after the general ice sheet had disappeared. These masses that were left did not move from north to south, because they were no longer being pushed in that direction. They just flowed down hill.

"If I understand it, there is only one place now in the world, in the North at least, that is covered by an ice sheet, and that's Greenland. But in the Northern mountains there are still a lot of remnants of the old ice sheet, and it is these remnants, I think, only thousands of times more powerful than they are now, that cut out these inlets that we are travelling over.

"We think that these are mighty deep, and so they are; but maybe you don't recognize how much depth there is below the water. Sometimes these inlets are sixty or eighty fathoms deep. There's from three hundred and fifty to five hundred feet from the surface of the water to the bottom of the Inlet, and nobody knows how deep the mud may be there before you could reach the bed-rock below it."

"I am very glad to know this," said Jack. "Most of it I have heard before; it sounds pretty familiar, but I never before heard it in such a connected way, and I never understood just what it meant. It seems to me pretty clear now, all except one point that I want to ask about. We all know how easily ice slips down over any surface, and there doesn't seem to be much friction. Now I can't understand just how the ice should cut out such a groove in the earth in any length of time, however long it might be. How is that? Can you explain it to me?"

For a little while Fannin sat thoughtfully staring into the fire, and then he replied: "Well, I think I[Pg 181] understand it myself, and I think I can make you understand it as I do, but of course I do not guarantee that I am right about it. I only give you my idea.

"Suppose you take a piece of pine board and tilt it up and brace it to represent the side of your mountain. Then suppose you take a strip of paper, two inches wide, and we'll say of an indefinite length, because you've got to draw that paper down over that board, for say a thousand years, and never let it stop; for the glacier never stops, it is always being renewed at its head, and keeps on pushing down the mountain sides, just as a brook does that starts from a spring on a hilltop. Now, you might draw that paper down over that board for a thousand years, if you lived so long, and you would never wear much of a groove in the board. If you did wear one, it would be awful slow work. But now suppose, in the place of that strip of paper, you have a strip of sandpaper, just as wide, and just as long, and keep drawing that down for a thousand years, you can see that long before your thousand years were over you would have cut a big groove in the board, and in time, of course, you'd cut through the board. That, according to my understanding, is the way that the glacier acts. It isn't the ice by itself that cuts out the groove, but the ice is constantly picking up and rolling along under it fragments of rock and pebbles, and sand, and grinding these hard substances against the hard rock that makes up the faces of the mountains. So it is sawing down into the mountains all the time.

"Did you ever go into a marble yard and see the people cutting the stone into blocks there? They have metal saws that go backward and forward, sawing on the marble, but if they had nothing but the metal to saw with, they would wear out their saws before they would saw the marble, so they put fine sand between the saw and the marble; and that sand, moving[Pg 182] backward and forward, cuts through the marble pretty nearly as a knife cuts through cheese. We have seen here, and you have very likely seen in other places, how the water that comes out from under a glacier is white or gray. That is, it is full of something held in suspension in the water, and that something is the fine powder which is ground off the pebbles and rocks that are being pushed along under the glacier, and ground off the face of the mountains too. It's what you might call flour of rock. That's my idea of how the glaciers cut these deep grooves. We've seen, as we did just below here, lots of great, rounded rocks, on the shore, and we've seen in a number of places, big scratches in the rocks; and these scratches, I suppose, were made by some big chunk of rock, pushed along under the mass of the ice and scratching against the face of the mountains, gouging out quite a furrow in the rock. I don't know that I can explain it any plainer than that. Of course, it's a big subject."

"Well," said Jack, "I don't see how anything could be plainer than that; and it seems to me that I understand just exactly how the thing is done. I suppose sometime, when I go to college, I will get a chance to find out all about these things; and when I do, it will be a mighty good help to me to have seen these things here and to have had your explanation. I couldn't think how the ice, by itself, could cut out these grooves, and yet I believe I have had it all explained to me before; but never, I think, by such clear examples. That explanation of the sandpaper makes it mighty clear."

"Well," said Fannin, "we saw at the head of Bute Inlet a lot of these glaciers. Of course they were high up on the mountains, and mighty small compared with the ice that must have cut out these inlets; still, I believe if we could get up close to them we would see pretty clearly how they work, and you'd understand the[Pg 183] whole thing a great deal better than you do now. If I were you, I'd be on the watch for things that have a bearing on this work of the ice, and if you keep the thing in your mind, it will be likely to work itself out very clearly."

"Well," said Hugh, "I think I begin to savvy this glacier business, a little, myself. Fannin has, sure, given us a pretty good explanation."

For a number of days, Jack, Hugh, and Fannin had been studying the charts with much interest, speculating about Princess Louise Inlet, a tiny branch, only four or five miles long, which puts off from the head of Jervis Inlet. On the chart, its entrance appeared a mere thread, but within it widened and seemed to be several miles in length, though not very wide, while at its head were one or two quite high mountains. This inlet they reached the next day.

It was yet early morning when, coasting along close to the shore, they saw a narrow break in the precipice under which they were passing. As they advanced, they saw that it stretched some distance inland. This, they believed, must be the entrance to Princess Louise Inlet, but no one knew. It was almost low water and a current of considerable force was drawing out of the narrow channel. The men landed, and Fannin and Hamset walked a little way up the beach to see whether the passage was practicable or not. They were soon turned back, by coming up against the vertical walls of the precipice, but the Indians declared that if they started now they could go through.

Re-embarking, the canoe was pushed up into the narrow channel, where now the water seemed to be almost still, and a few strokes of the paddle sent the vessel in between high walls, which could almost be touched by an outstretched paddle from either side of the boat. Out in the main Inlet the sun had been warm and bright, but here the water, shadowed by the tall[Pg 184] rocks which rose on either side, was overhung by a thick, cold mist. Although passing along close under the walls of the Inlet on either side, they could only occasionally see them, and they groped along aimlessly, not knowing where they were going. The sun does not penetrate this narrow gorge until it has risen high in the heavens, and in the darkness and utter silence of their surroundings, the place seemed very solemn. The strangeness of the situation awed them all, and hardly a word was spoken, or if one ventured a remark he spoke in a low tone.

Hamset in the bow was keenly on the lookout for rocks or obstructions of any kind, but the chart had said "Deep water," for the Inlet, and they paddled on with confidence. As they advanced the mist grew thicker and the canoe's bow could not be seen from the stern. No sound was heard save the regular dip of the paddles, and each one of the crew was wrought into a high state of expectancy, not knowing what the next moment might bring forth.

An hour after their entrance into this twilight, the mist before them grew a little lighter, and in a few moments, without any warning, the dark curtain was lifted from the water and rolled away up the mountain sides. The mist rose slowly, and there appeared, first the trees on the beach, then, immediately back of them, the piled-up rocks which had fallen from the precipice; and lastly, as the clouds and vapor rose higher and higher, the black vertical cliffs and snow-clad peaks of the mountains.

In a few moments not a cloud or a trace of mist was to be seen, except in one long, narrow ravine where it still remained, shut in by high walls of granite.

The Indians continued the regular movements of their paddles, but those of the white men were idle, and for some little time not a word was spoken. Before them was a basin, which they were now entering,[Pg 185] less than a quarter of a mile in width. All about them was an unbroken line of snow—here close at hand, there miles away—patched toward its lower border with occasional masses of green or gray. Beneath the edge of the snow line was the sombre gray of the mountain side, dark and forbidding. Still farther down the slope scanty and ill-nourished timber grew in scattering clumps or single trees, down to the verge of the precipices that overhung the water's edge. To the south and east the hills rose sharply and continuously, forming an unbroken wall until the snow level was reached; but toward the northeast this wall did not exist, and a wide but steep valley, the ancient bed of a tremendous glacier, stretched away for miles toward the snowy heights of the interior. The water before them seemed like a beautiful lake lying among the mountain peaks. In its unruffled surface each detail of the walls of rock that shut it in on every hand was mirrored with faithful accuracy.

Down the great valley which opened to the northeast, among, over, and under enormous masses of rock, whose harsh and rugged outlines were softened by no appearance of verdure, a large river, the course of which could be traced far back toward the heights, poured, in a series of white falls. They could watch it until it became no more than a delicate white thread, and at last it could not be distinguished from the snowdrifts that lay in the ravine near its source.

Beyond this valley, to the north, the rocks again became steep with overhanging precipices rising from the water's edge. About them great snow fields stretched away toward Mount Albert, showing here and there, by their broken white or sky-blue color some ice river that ploughed its way down the slope.

It took the white men some time to take in all the Inlet's details, and to become accustomed to their tremendous surroundings. At last Hugh turned to Jack,[Pg 186] and said: "Son, did you ever imagine a place like this?"

"No," said Jack, "I never had a notion that in all the world there was anything like this,—so grand and so beautiful. It makes one feel as if he dare not speak aloud. It comes pretty near like being in church."

"Right you are," said Hugh. "I don't believe I ever felt so solemn in my whole life. Did you ever see such rocks, or such snow, or such a river as that one over there? Did you ever see anything that seemed to you as big as this does? I thought I had been in sightly places, and seen high mountains, but this beats them all."

"It's a wonderful sight," said Fannin, from the bow. "I've lived twenty years in British Columbia, but this beats anything I've ever seen."

"Yes," said Hugh. "It's something that you can't talk about much, in fact. A man is poor for words here."

"And just think," said Jack, "how cold and dark it was when we started in, and then how suddenly the light and beauty of everything came to us."

"Yes," said Fannin, "but that's not so surprising. You see this inlet is so narrow and shut in on every side by high mountains, that the air here does not feel the sun until near midday. The temperature of this place must be a good deal lower than that of its surroundings; but just as soon as the air is warmed up it rises and carries the mist away with it."

"Oh, Hugh," said Jack, "look at these rocks here, where the sun strikes them. Don't they look as if they were painted? See that patch of yellow there—just about the color of a canary bird. Part of that is reflection from the water, I guess; and I suppose it must be some moss growing on the rock that gives that rich color. Then there is a red brown, that looks like iron rust, Sometimes it is red, and sometimes it[Pg 187] is yellow, and sometimes it is brown, and again it is red. And then, see the flowers and plants up there! There's a fern growing from a crack in the rock, and there are some mosses, some of them brown, some goldcolor, and some bright green. There's a red flower! Look at that cluster of hare-bells! What a contrast all that brilliant light and color is to the white and the gray of those outstanding mountains!"

"Well," said Fannin, "I suppose we ought to be moving, for we should paddle up to the head and get back to the Inlet in time to go out with the ebb. The Indians say that at half tide the water runs so swiftly in that narrow channel that it is dangerous."

"Come on, then," said Hugh. "I hate to think of anything but this show that is before us; and I'd like mighty well to camp here for one night, but I suppose we haven't got the time."

"Yes," said Jack, "we've got to think of what is coming to-morrow, of course; but I do hate to leave this place."

They dipped their paddles into the water, and the canoe moved swiftly over its glassy surface. As they paddled on, Jack suddenly called: "There's a seal, the first living thing I've seen in here!" From time to time the seal showed his smooth round head above the water, not far from the canoe.

A few moments later Hugh called out: "There's a brood of ducks in there, near the shore!"

"Where are they?" asked Jack; "I don't see them."

"There," said Hugh, "close into the shore you can see them or their shadows, though they are a good deal blurred and made indistinct by the reflection of the trees above them."

"Yes," said Jack, "there seems to be mighty little life visible here. Down toward the mouth of the Inlet I have once or twice seen a gull, but beyond[Pg 188] these things and the starfish, clinging to the rocks, there's mighty little that speaks of life."

Near the head of the Inlet Fannin got out the longest fishing lines that they had, and, tying a few rifle cartridges to it, let it down over the side of the canoe, trying to find the bottom, but he was unable to reach it.

On the way back toward the mouth of the inlet they paddled along close to the shore, in many places under the cliffs which overhung the water. Here it was possible to examine them closely and to study their details, and Jack was astonished to see how much vegetation they supported and how varied was the life that they exhibited. Everywhere near the water the granite was patched with lichens of different kinds and different colors, giving a brilliant effect to the rocks. Near the mouth of the inlet they landed on a low point of shore that ran out, and stood there for a little while, taking a farewell look at the narrow fiord. It was an impressive sight, and with full hearts the white men turned their backs on the wonders they had seen and took their way back out into the broad channel of Jervis Inlet.

[Pg 189]



As they turned north again and paddled on up the inlet the talk was naturally of the wonders that they had just left.

"Surely," said Jack, "this is the most wonderful place that I have ever seen."

"Yes, indeed," said Hugh, "it beats all the countries that my eyes have ever rested on, and I never expect to see anything so wonderful again."

"It was beautiful," said Fannin, "and how cold and gloomy it was one moment and how bright and beautiful the next."

"Yes," said Jack, "and yet when it was brightest and most beautiful it seemed cold all the time. It reminded me of what I've read about the Arctic regions. There was not a thing but snow and ice and just a few straggling stunted trees. I remember reading somewhere about a point down at the other end of South America where there is nothing to be seen but rocks and a little timber and snow and icebergs. That is the way Princess Louise seemed to me, but I do wish that we had had time to land and follow up that big river toward those heights."

"That would have been a nice trip," said Fannin; "but I guess it would have been an awful hard one. It looked to me as if those rocks were big and hard to climb among. We'd have had to carry our beds and our grub on our backs, and it might have taken us a long time to get up even to the foot of that big peak that stood up so high."

[Pg 190]

"Yet, I suppose there must be lots of life up there," said Jack; "birds and animals, and of course if there are birds and animals there must be vegetation to support them."

"Sure," said Fannin. "I don't doubt but that there are goats and deer and ptarmigan, probably bears, and possibly other animals. Of course the sheep don't get down so close to the salt water, at least I have never seen them there. I don't doubt, though, but there's plenty of life up there."

"Anyhow," said Jack, "it looks as if the country had not changed a bit since the glacier came pouring down through those valleys and was working its way toward the salt water."

"I don't believe it has," said Fannin, "except that trees have grown; perhaps some little soil has been made here and there; but except for that I suppose the country is unchanged."

For a while they paddled on in silence, and then, as they rounded a point, came a call from Fannin: "Hello! there's an Indian village."

Three or four houses stood on the bank but a short distance back from the water's edge, and near them were a few people busy at different tasks. When they saw the canoe they all stopped and began to stare at it. Down on the beach, just above the water's edge was an old man working over a canoe. Fannin said: "Let's push in there and see if we can buy some potatoes or other food." They pushed up to the beach, and when close to it saluted the old man with the usual phrase, "Kla-haw-ya tillicum?" (How are you, friend?) The man gave an answering shout, and Hamset turned to them and said: "I guess he can't talk with us"; which was Fannin's translation into English.

They stop and stare at it


They landed and found that the man was mending some cracks in his canoe by fastening over them strips [Pg 191]of tin, seemingly cut from an old tin can, by means of tacks and a primitive stone hammer—a cylinder of stone with enlarged flat ends.

Hamset began to talk with him in Chinook, but the man apparently did not understand, and replied by a speech in some language which Hamset could not comprehend. There was a long talk, in which each of the two Indians made a speech, which was not understood by the other. Fannin tried the old man in Canadian French, and Hugh made signs to him, but there seemed to be no common ground of communication. After each remark by the old man, Hamset would hopelessly reply after hearing him through: "Wake nika kumtux-mika wahwah" (I don't understand your talk).

Within a rude fence near one of the houses was what looked like a garden, in which were growing plants that resembled potatoes. Presently a bright thought came to Jack, and he walked down to the canoe, took from the provision box a potato and handed it to the old man. It was amusing to them all to see the expression of perplexity clear away from the old Indian's face and understanding and satisfaction appear. He laughed delightedly and shouted to the women at the house, and a little later two of them came down carrying a large basket of potatoes—and very good ones too. These were put into the canoe, and paid for by "four bits." Then at Hugh's suggestion Jack gave the old man a piece of tobacco. They wandered up to the houses, looked into them, and presently returned to the neighborhood of the canoe. Leaning against one of the houses was a two-pronged salmon spear, which Jack wanted and which the old man sold him for half a dollar. Jack thought that the implement might be useful a little later, as the salmon were now beginning to run into the fresh water streams in considerable numbers. Hamset said that these Indians were called Hanéhtsin. He declared that most of the[Pg 192] people must be away fishing, and said that there must be many of them who could speak Chinook, although this man could not.

Next morning as they were eating breakfast a canoe came in sight from the direction of the village, and when it landed the paddlers proved to be their friends of the night before, who brought them some more potatoes and several salmon just from the water. These having been duly paid for at the rate of twenty-five cents each—for a twenty pound salmon—they brought forth from the canoe a large basket of berries which a small boy who was with them, and who had some knowledge of the Chinook jargon, announced was a "potlatch," or gift—very likely in return for the bit of tobacco that Jack had given to the old man the night before.

A little later, the canoe being loaded, the party pushed off from the shore, and, leaving the Indians sitting idly in their canoes, paddled back down the inlet.

"What I can't understand, Mr. Fannin," said Jack, "is how it is that these Indians don't understand one another. Of course, I don't suppose that all the different tribes on this coast speak the same language, any more than our Indians out on the plains, but I should suppose that there would be some common way of talking to each other, just as the plains Indians all understand the sign language."

"Well," said Fannin, "you'd think so, of course, but that's one of the queer things about this country. While often you'll find a great many villages that speak the same language, and while you'll find in most of the villages a number of people that can talk Chinook, it's nevertheless the fact that stowed away in bays and inlets all along this coast are little tribes that speak a language that is not understood by any other tribe. I have talked with a few people out here[Pg 193] who were regular Indian 'sharps,' and who had been among Indians over most of the country, and they say that there are a number of Indian languages spoken here that are absolutely different from each other and different from any other languages in North America. This is a mighty queer thing, and I can't understand it at all. I've always supposed that it was this fact that obliged the Indians to get up this Chinook jargon, which is a kind of a trade talk, used all up and down the coast and a good way inland, too, to enable these people to talk among themselves. I have never seen any of these Indians here using the sign language, and you can see for yourself that this old chap did not understand what it was that Hugh was trying to say to him with his hands. They do say that this Chinook jargon was gotten up before the white men came here to this country, and you can see how necessary it would be to people coming in contact with others who spoke a language different from their own. Now, I suppose that in the old times there used to be considerable travel along this coast, north and south, and considerable intercourse between the different tribes of Indians. And while we know that the northern Indians could not talk with the southern ones, yet they visited and traded, and made war and made peace again. It must have been necessary for them to understand each other in some way, and that's the way this jargon came to be invented. Of course, it's changed a lot, I fancy, and especially since the white people got in here."

"But about this Indian here," said Hugh, "it seems to me that he ought to be able to understand our Indians. Their villages cannot be more than a hundred miles from one another, and to an Indian a hundred miles is nothing. These Ucletah must sometimes come up to the head of this Inlet, and these people who live up here, Hanéhtsin,—don't you call them,—must[Pg 194] go down the inlet and go up and down the shore. It would seem as if they must have met sometimes, and as if they would have some common speech."

"Yes," said Fannin. "They ought to, but I don't believe they have. Of course I know no more about them than you do, but you saw the experiments that were tried upon that old chap that we've just left."

"Yes," said Hugh, "there's no going back on that. He didn't understand, no matter how much he ought to have understood."

"Hugh," said Jack, "did you count the number of people at the village?"

"Yes," said Hugh, "I did: three women, three children, and the old man."

"Well," said Jack, "did you count the dogs?"

"No," said Hugh; "I reckon I forgot to count the dogs. There were a lot of them, I know."

"Nineteen," said Jack. "I counted them. Three or four times I had them all counted, and then a lot more would show up. There were a lot lying down sunning themselves when I got there, and after they had got up and come round to threaten us, a lot more came out of the house. This nineteen that I counted didn't include the pups. I looked into a little pen built of sticks, near one of the houses, and there were nine puppies in there, just able to waddle, and I saw some others not much older wandering about."

"Ah," said Charlie, "call it 'Dogtown'; we haven't any better name for it."

"All right," laughed Jack. "I'll put it down."

"Mr. Fannin," said Jack, after a pause, "I was thinking last night of the hammer that that old Siwash was using to mend his canoe. That was a regular primitive implement, wasn't it?"

"Yes," said Fannin; "you often see the Indians still using these hammers. I suppose to an Indian they[Pg 195] are just as good, and maybe lots better, than a white man's hammer."

"Yes," said Jack, "I don't see why they shouldn't be; but while the hammer was old-fashioned and primitive, the strip of tin which he was nailing over the cracks in the bottom of the canoe and the tacks were modern. Where do you suppose he got them?"

"Why, from a trading schooner, of course," said Fannin. "There are three or four small schooners that sail up and down the coast here, trading with the Indians for oil and fish, and a little fur, and the chances are that the tin came from some old tin can thrown overboard by such a schooner, and that the tacks were bought from it. Of course it may be that these people have been to Comux or even to Nanaimo."

"That salmon spear is interesting, too," said Jack, "and I hope we'll have a chance to get some food with it."

"These spears," replied Fannin, "are very useful to these people. This one, as you see, is about sixteen feet long, the main shaft being about twelve feet and the two prongs about four. It is a well finished tool and rather attractive to the eye, wrapped as it is with the neat strips of bark about the ends of the shaft. That flat handle with the deep notches at the upper end, for two of the fingers of the man who is to throw it, give a good hold. Then the two prongs at the other end bound firmly to the shaft, and tapering to a point below, and slightly diverging, make a good implement for throwing into a school of fish; but the interesting part of the thing is the way the spear heads are fastened on to make it effective. You see the line looped about the shaft close above the point where the diverging prongs leave it, that each end of the line is long enough to reach clear to the end of the prongs, and that to each extremity of this line is attached a spear point. The socket which slips on the sharpened end of the[Pg 196] prong is made of the horn of the deer, or of the mountain goat, or even of bone; and the piercing point is either a sharpened nail or some other sharp bit of iron lashed to the socket with a fishing line or a strand of kelp. When the spear is to be used, the heads are slipped on to the points of the prongs, and are held in position by the tension of the cord, which is so short that some little effort is needed to slip the socket on to the point. When a salmon has been deeply pierced by the iron point, his struggles slip the socket off the prong and the fish struggles about for a few moments at the end of the cord until he is so exhausted that he can be brought to the surface of the water and lifted into the canoe. If the point were firmly attached to the prongs the attempt to haul a vigorous fish to the surface might very well result in the pulling out of the spear point and the loss of the fish."

All the day long the canoe moved slowly down the Inlet, stemming the flood tide which at times made them all work at their paddles with an energy that no one of the crew greatly enjoyed. Before them the snowy tops of the mountains and the blue glaciers looked cool and inviting, but no breath of air ruffled the smooth surface of the Inlet, and the fierce rays of the sun, both direct and reflected from the water, scorched them all day long. About the middle of the afternoon, as they were passing a point opposite Moorsam Bluffs, a level spot was found, covered with forest. A pleasant brook ran down here, and the spot looked like an attractive camping place. When they landed they found evidences that it was one favored by the Indians of the Inlet, for there were here relics of many a camp. Piles of stone blackened by fire, white heaps of the bones of the deer and mountain goat, decayed vegetation and fragments of discarded clothing and skins, worn-out implements, a tiny baby basket or Indian cradle, and many other articles left[Pg 197] by former occupants were scattered about over the ground, and showed that the Indians often stopped there and sometimes remained for a considerable time. In fact there were so many evidences of human occupancy that it was agreed that some other spot which had not been quite so much frequented by Indians would be a better location for their camp; and moving a few hundred yards further down the Inlet they found such a place at the mouth of the boisterous brook which here tumbled into the salt water.

Here Jack and Hugh and Fannin, finding a good beach, took a plunge in the salt water, and while thus engaged found that the little bay was alive with salmon. On shouting this to the others the Indians put off in the canoe, and for half an hour Hamset perseveringly threw the salmon spear into the school of fish that were breaking everywhere about the canoe. For a few minutes Jack and Hugh watched him; but as he failed to secure anything, they soon grew tired, and at length went ashore into the camp. Half an hour later the canoe returned to the shore, and the Indians had three good-sized fish to show for their efforts.

"Well," said Hugh, "from the number of fish that seemed to be out there in that little piece of water, I should think these fellows might have loaded the canoe with them in this time."

"Yes," said Fannin, "that's true; but it's wonderful how much room there is in the water around a salmon, and then you have got to hit the fish just right or else you will not drive the spear into him. If you are not used to seeing salmon you will think there's an awful lot of fish out there; but you just ought to see them in some of the rivers in the Province here. Why, sometimes they are so thick that you literally can't see the bottom for their backs. A good many people, who have never been on a stream during the [Pg 198]salmon run, think that the stories about their abundance must be lies; but they are not. You can't exaggerate their numbers. I have seen people go down to the stream with a pitchfork, and throw out the fish they wanted onto the bank, just as you would lift a load of turnips on a fork if you thrust it into a pile of them. When the fish are running, of course, the bears and eagles have no trouble at all in catching all they want. Even the hogs go down to the stream and take out the fish. In fact, during the salmon run, and for some months after it, settlers who expect to kill their hogs keep them shut up; because, if they are allowed to feed on the salmon the flesh becomes flavored with fish to a point where people can't eat it. That sounds like a pretty good story too, but it's true. Later in the season, when the dead fish are in the streams,—and there are always many of them,—the hens of the settlers eat them, and often eat so many that their eggs can't be used on account of the fishy taste. That's another good one, but it's true."

"Well," said Hugh, "those stories sound pretty hard to believe, but I guess they are true. Of course we've always heard about buffaloes, and how many there used to be, and I expect I've told stories to people who had never seen them, about the numbers of these animals that sounded just as hard to believe as your stories do to me. It don't trouble me a little bit to believe what you told me about the taste of the flesh of these animals. Everybody knows, I reckon, that the food that an animal eats gives its flesh good flavor or bad flavor."

"Yes," said Jack, "that's so, of course. I have heard my uncle tell a great many times about some kinds of ducks living up on Long Island and eating little clams and other shell-fish, and being strong and fishy to the taste, while the same ducks, when they go down South and live in water that is fresh or nearly so,[Pg 199] eating nothing but grass and roots, are as delicate and fine flavored as can be."

"That's gospel truth, son," said Hugh, "and you see the same thing out on the plains and in the mountains. Take it early in the season, before the grass begins to grow, and the first green thing that grows out of the earth is a wild onion. If you kill, up at the edge of the mountains, a buffalo or a mountain sheep, just after these onions have sprung up, you can hardly eat the meat."

"Yes," remarked Jack, "and I have heard, too, that the milk of the cows is often flavored with these onions."

"I know that's so," assented Fannin.

"But what gets me," said Hugh, "is the multitude of these salmon that there must be. Of course we haven't seen many of them; but from what you say, Fannin, they just crowd every river that comes into the salt water, and there are an awful lot of rivers along this coast."

The camp had a great dinner that night. The Indians transfixed a large fat salmon with a stick, which was thrust into the ground so that it overhung the fire at an angle. There the salmon roasted until it was done, and then its bones were picked as clean as any bear could have picked them. A smaller salmon, slim and red fleshed, was cut into steaks and fried, and there was unlimited deer meat. It was all very delicious; and after the meal was over the party sat around the fire for a little while, too lazy to talk, and then went to bed.

The next morning, before the canoe was loaded, Jack spent an hour or two leaning over its side, and watching the movements of the different marine animals at work in the shallow water near the shore. There were hundreds of little crabs, the largest about the size of a silver half-dollar, clambering over the[Pg 200] stones like so many goats, and apparently feeding on the vegetable matter that grew on them. They walked slowly here and there, plucking the food with their curiously swollen white claws, using the right and left claw alternately, so that while one was holding the food to the mouth the other was gathering a fresh supply. They seemed wholly absorbed in what they were doing. Their jaws moved continuously, and they had a most businesslike and methodical aspect. The larger crabs were of a deep purple color, while the smaller ones were mostly dull, grayish green, a protective color which corresponded very closely with that of the stones on which they fed. They seemed to get along peaceably; though once in a while, if a small crab came too near a large one, the latter would make a threatening dash at the little fellow, which would at once retreat with many defensive demonstrations of its claws.

Fixed to the sides of many of the stones were the curved white tubes of marine worms; some of them deserted and empty; while from the mouths of others there protruded a cluster of deep crimson tentacles, the whole looking like some beautiful white-stemmed flower. If the red cluster was cautiously approached and touched it instantly withdrew into the tube which then appeared empty. But five minutes later a small spot of red began slowly to appear, far down in the tube; and gradually drawing nearer the aperture, the arms would be gently thrust out, and the animal would resume its flower-like appearance. On certain stones and rocks were great numbers of barnacles, which were not the least interesting of the living creatures Jack saw. At those stages of the tide when the water did not reach them their shells remained closed, and showed no signs of life; but as soon as they were fairly covered by the water, each little pair of valves opened, and the tiny arms were extended and waved through the air with a regular motion which ceased only when they[Pg 201] had grasped some morsel of food that was floating by. When this took place the arms were quickly drawn into the shell, and the valves closed; and for some little time the animal remained quiet. On the beach and in the water were many sea urchins and starfish, some of which moved about over the bottom. Both progressed slowly; the sea urchins by a continuous motion of the long spines, with which their shells are covered; and though the animal's rate of advance could hardly be noticed if one kept looking at it, Jack found that they did move, and seemed to be capable of quite long journeys. Jack took up one of these sea urchins to look at its under side, and found that it had a continuous movement of the mouth and soft parts, as though striving to obtain air. When he put it into the water again he placed it on its back, on a flat stone, and was interested in seeing it turn over and right itself by the same quiet, but continuous, movement of the spines.

The starfish moved much more rapidly than the sea urchins. They seemed to drag themselves along by some slight up and down motion of their arms, and also by hooking the ends of these arms around the angles of the rocks, thus pulling themselves forward for a short distance. Starfish were very common along this coast, and were of all sizes and colors. Jack had noticed them brown, black, yellow, orange, red, and purple. They ranged in size from the diameter of a five-cent piece up to ten inches across the arms. They seemed most abundant on the shore just about low water mark, but were by no means confined to this situation.

Often they were seen clinging to the rocks where they had been left bare by the tide; and sometimes a great cluster of the large red or purple ones were collected in an angle of the rock, showing against a background of shining black mussels and brown seaweed with very striking effect.

[Pg 202]

A light breeze blowing down the Inlet made it possible to set the sail, and the canoe slipped rapidly along over the water. The tide was ebbing, and their progress was good; but at length a turn in the fiord shut off the breeze, the paddles were called for, and they had several hours of hard paddling. The canoe was passing so close to the shore that the mountains on that side were hidden from view, while on the other shore the hills were low and not especially picturesque. Jack kept looking at one point after another, hoping that each would be the last, and that when the one ahead was rounded he would see the broad waters of the beautiful bay into which they had looked some days before toward the Twin Falls. After several disappointments he said to Hugh:

"Hugh, this reminds me of riding over the plains. I have been watching these points, hoping that each would be the last, just as when riding over the prairies I always looked at the hill ahead of me and thought that from that hill I should be able to see some distance; but there was always another one just beyond."

"Yes," said Hugh, "I know just what the feeling is, and I guess everybody does who has ever travelled the prairies. Why, even the Indians tell about some man who prophesied to them long ago, when dogs were their only animals, about a time when they would get horses. He said that when they got horses they would always be on the move, and that they would ride up on a hill and see another hill beyond; and then they would want to get to that one to see what was beyond it; and so would keep going all the time, and never be quiet."

It was the middle of the afternoon when the last point was rounded and they came in sight of the Twin Falls. Even then an hour or two was needed to bring the canoe to what looked like a good camping place, near the falls. When they reached the shore they were[Pg 203] disappointed, for the timber was so thick and high, and the cliff over which the water fell was so nearly straight up and down, that it was impossible to obtain any view of the cataract from the land. But by pushing out a few hundred yards from the shore its whole majesty was seen. Two wide streams of water flow on either side of an island in the river, plunging over the cliffs, and falling quite five hundred feet before they meet with any check; then from here are two more leaps of three hundred feet each, and then other lesser ones of two hundred or one hundred and fifty feet. The stream falls between dark green walls of Douglas firs on either side; and the rocky face of the mountains is entirely hidden. Before the water strikes the rocks it has become spray, and from each little bench thin clouds of white mist rise to the treetops and float off with the wind. The dull roar of the Falls is almost deafening. Sometimes it sinks to the muttering of distant thunder, and then rises louder than before, sounding like the boom of heavy guns in the distance. Close over the tops of the trees they saw, as they first approached the spot, a splendid white-headed eagle, swinging about on motionless wing. Now and then, as he turned, the bright sunlight flashed upon his head and tail, and caused them to shine like silver, while his dark body looked black against the sky. Unmoved by the tumult below him, and unshaken by the blasts that were now causing the mighty trees to bend their heads, he floated to and fro in his broad eyrie, the only living thing seen in all the wide landscape.

On landing, it took some time to fix the tent and cut the fir and hemlock boughs which were needed to make comfortable the uneven ground where the beds were to be spread. But after this had been done Jack took his rifle and declared that he was going up the hill to see what he could see. Hugh said that he would go too, and the two set off.

[Pg 204]

From the spot where the camp had been pitched a broad, well-beaten trail led up to the mountains. But this soon grew very steep. Great boulders had to be climbed over or gone around. Great green leaves and a slippery moss hid the ground and made it difficult to know just where they were stepping. More than once Jack, who was in the lead, narrowly escaped an ugly fall. Presently the trail gave out or was lost, and then the easiest mode of progress was to walk along the fallen tree trunks, which in many places lay piled high on one another, as a lot of jackstraws would look if thrown down at random. Even such a road presented some difficulty; for sometimes a span of the bridge would be missing, and it would be necessary to descend to the ground and clamber up among the rocks.

At last the first leap of the falls was reached, but from here very little could be seen, for the foliage and mist entirely obscured the view. Further up, for a hundred yards on either side of the stream, the ground and the foliage were damp and dripping from the heavy spray, and the wet moss which covered everything made climbing difficult and even dangerous. The forest along the stream was open, and Jack and Hugh pursued their way, sometimes being obliged to climb up walls that were almost vertical. Still higher up the forest began to give way to little open parks, and before very long the appearance of the sky above them showed that the timber was either much lower or entirely absent. They were not greatly surprised, then, when after a little time they came out of the forest into an open country, in the midst of which was a high, naked, rocky hill.

At different points on the hill they saw a number of white objects which they recognized as goats. They did not feel that they needed any goats, but these animals were still sufficiently new to Hugh and Jack [Pg 205]to make them wish to see them again at closer range. A little manoeuvring took them out of the sight of the goats, and they began to climb the hill. After they had ascended some distance they crept out onto a rocky point and could see, above, below, and on each side of them, small groups of these animals feeding on the ledges and steep slopes. Quite close to them was an old goat, about which was playing a little kid, not a beautiful or graceful object, but one very curious in its clumsiness and its high spirits. It ran about its mother before and behind, sometimes climbing a little way up on a steep bank, and then throwing itself down on its side, rolling over and over until a level place was reached, when it would rise, and after a rest climb up the slope and repeat the performance. The mother paid little attention to her young one, but fed slowly along, constantly approaching closer and closer to Jack and Hugh, who commented on the goats' odd appearance and their no less extraordinary actions.

Lion and goats


Suddenly Hugh stretched out his hand and caught Jack's arm and whispered to him: "Look at that lion!" Jack looked, but could see nothing, and before he could ask the question "Where?" a great yellow animal flashed out from the top of a bank close to the old goat, flew through the air, and fell upon the back of the kid, which sank to the ground with a low, whining cry. Instantly the mother whirled on her hind legs, and with a swiftness hardly to be believed of such a clumsy-looking animal, plunged at the panther crouching on the ground over the kid and drove her short horns deep into his side back of the shoulder. The force of the blow knocked the animal to the ground, but he turned, bent the fore part of his body round and grasped the goat by the back and side with both paws, and seized her body with his teeth back of the fore shoulder. The goat seemed to draw back a few inches, and then made another plunge forward, driving her[Pg 206] horns into her enemy again. The panther loosened his hold on the goat, struggled to his feet, and staggered a half dozen steps away, and then fell over on his side. The mother goat made no effort to pursue him, but nosed at the dying kid, as if trying to induce it to get on its feet again. On her side were a few drops of blood, where the panther's claws had scratched her, but on neither side of the ridge of the back where he had clawed her with the other foot and had bitten her was there to be seen any evidence of an injury.

This had all happened so quickly that the watchers had no time to comment on it nor to shoot. When it was over they sat up and looked at each other, no longer thinking to hide from the goat.

"That's a wonderful thing to have seen, isn't it?" said Jack.

"Yes," said Hugh. "I confess it beats me. It reminds me a little bit of that story I was telling you the other night about the buffalo bull that killed the bear. Who'd have thought that that goat could have killed that panther. I've always heard that these mountain goats were great hands to fight, and that they didn't know enough to be afraid of anything; but I never expected to see it myself as we have seen it."

"But where did that lion come from?" said Jack. "I didn't see him until he jumped."

"He was lying right on that ledge over there when I first saw him, crouched flat all except his head, which was lifted high enough to just see over the bank. As soon as I saw him I grabbed you, and a minute after he jumped," explained Hugh.

"Well," said Jack, "we want to take his hide back with us to camp. I expect he's dead, all right."

"Yes," said Hugh, "I guess he's dead, but what about the old goat? She's going to stay with that kid of hers, and I surely don't want to walk up any[Pg 207] too close to her. She's likely to treat us the way she did the panther."

"Yes, I guess so," said Jack; "and, of course, we don't want to kill her, though, to be sure, her head would go mighty well with that panther skin."

"I'll tell you," said Hugh, "let's go round a little bit and get above her and roll some rocks down, and perhaps she will walk off."

This suggestion was carried out, and the old goat at length was induced to leave her kid and slowly go off, finally disappearing over a ledge at some distance. Jack and Hugh went down to look at the panther. They found in his side, just back of the shoulder, four round perforations, and discovered that four of his ribs had been broken where the goat's head had struck him. After they had skinned him they found that the beast's lungs had been pierced three times by the goat's horns and the heart once. It was no wonder that the cat had died.

"I suppose," said Hugh, "that we might as well take that kid along with us. It's eatable, and the Indians probably will like it just as well as deer meat."

"All right," said Jack. "If you will take the skin, I will take the kid."

"Come on, then," said Hugh. "We had better hurry, it's getting on toward dark; and the road down this hill is a rough one."

By the time that they reached the trail below it was quite dark, but they met with no accident. When they reached camp again they had an interesting story for Fannin. The Indians, too, gathered around and asked the meaning of the holes in the panther's skin, remarking that they did not look like bullet holes, and there were no places where the balls had come out. Fannin explained to them what had taken place. The Indians nodded sagely, and Hamset said to Fannin: "Once before I've heard of a thing like this. I have also[Pg 208] heard of a goat fighting a bear that had killed her kid, and driving it away. These white sheep are great fighters. I have seen them killed with many marks on their skins, showing where they had been cut by the horns of others they had been fighting with; and I have seen two which had in their hams the horns of other goats that had been broken off in the flesh. They fight a good deal. One of my relations once told me that he had crept up close to a goat, and rose up to shoot the animal. When it saw him, it put all its hair forward and rushed at him, but he killed it before it reached him."

Jack, Hugh, and Fannin spent some time that night over the panther skin, cleaned it and laced it over a frame where it might dry. Whether it would dry or spoil would, of course, depend upon the weather of the next few days. Bright, dry weather with some wind would surely cure the skin; but continued damp weather, which would keep it moist, would as surely spoil it.

The camp ground that they occupied to-night had been used by Indians as a stopping place, and lying on the beach were a number of bones. One of the most oddly shaped ones was picked up by Fannin, who asked Jimmie what animal it belonged to. The boy did not hesitate, but answered in Chinook, "Tuicecolecou" (porpoise neck). Jack and Hugh were mightily astonished at this identification, but Fannin pointed out to them that this bone, which is made up of all of the vertebræ of the neck grown together so as to form a single bone, is most characteristic, and could scarcely have escaped the observation of the Indians, who kill great numbers of these marine mammals.

[Pg 209]



From the camp at Twin Falls the course was southeast, and passing between Captain and Nelson Islands the canoe entered Agamemnon Channel. Early in the afternoon they came out on Malaspina Straits. A fresh breeze carried the canoe along at a good rate of speed, and in the evening camp was made on the mainland, a little beyond Merry Island.

The following day, as they were approaching an Indian village, situated near the point where the trail from the head of Seechelt Inlet came down to the shore of the Gulf, they saw a trading schooner anchored off it. Provisions were growing low, and it was determined to visit the vessel and see whether food could be purchased. As they paddled toward it, a dog which was running up and down the deck barked loudly at them in seeming salutation, and they saw the figure of a man watching them from the stern. Presently they were near enough to hail him, and he invited them to come aboard, which they did. The Indians remained in the canoe, and kept it from rubbing against the schooner's side.

The man was a splendid, big, hearty young fellow, but a cripple, having lost his leg just below the knee. He talked with them about where they had been, what they had done and seen, and spoke of the vessel's owner, who had gone inland with a back load of trade goods, to try to secure some furs that were said to be at an Indian camp some miles inland. "I ought to have gone with him," he said, "but you see I can't get[Pg 210] around very easily with only one leg. In this country there is so much moisture and so many rocks, that it's pretty hard for a man to get around at all. He needs two legs, and good ones at that. I can't walk far or long, and this confounded pin of mine sometimes gets stuck in the soft ground or wedged between rocks, and keeps me anchored until I can pull it out. So, really, I am no good except to keep shop and help to work the ship. It seems mighty good to see the white folks again; we have been out all summer, and I've not seen anybody except the Indians, and I don't care much for them.

"Now, you two," he said, as he pointed to Jack and Hugh, "you come from my country. This man," he said, pointing to Fannin, "belongs here. He is a Canuck."

"You are an American, sir?" asked Jack.

"Yes," said the man, "I am an American; just about as much American as anybody can be. I come from the state of Maine, and that's about as far east as the United States goes."

"That's so," said Jack. "The old Pine Tree State is a great state."

"Right you are, young fellow," said the man. "She's a great state, and she has sent out some good men; it's a pity I wasn't one of them—but I wasn't. My name is Crocker, and I was born right near the shore, and have been a fisherman and a sailor all my life. The worst luck ever happened to me was when I drifted along this coast and kept on sailoring here. This is the way that I lost my leg."

"Well," said Hugh, "that was sure a piece of bad luck. I should think on one of these boats a man would need two good legs, just as much as he does on a horse. I have seen some one-legged men who could ride all right, but they were never so sure in the saddle as if they had two legs."

[Pg 211]

"No, I expect not," said Crocker. "I would have had two good legs right now if I hadn't come round on this coast and took to sealing."

"Why," exclaimed Jack, "how did sealing make you lose your leg?"

"Well," said Crocker, "it was in this way: I made two or three voyages, as mate of a sealing schooner,—first with Indians, and then with Japs. The last voyage we made with the Indians we didn't get any skins, and the captain proposed to me that we cross over to Japan, and get a crew of Japs and then go north to the Commander Islands, and make a raid on them, and steal seals from the Russians. Of course I said it was a go, and just before the next season began we went over and got a crew of ten Japs and sailed.

"When we came in sight of the islands we found that there was a Russian gun-boat anchored near them, and so we stood out to sea for two or three days, and then, going back to the islands, we found the gun-boat had gone. Now we thought we had a sure thing on a load of seal skins. We sailed in pretty close to the shore, and then I took a boat and six Japs and we started in for the beach, the schooner standing off, just outside the rocks. As we rowed in towards the beach we could see that the rookery was a big one and that seals were plenty. It seemed as if things were going our way. We pulled in hard toward the rookery, and just as the boat was going to ground and the bowman got ready to hold her off a lot of Russian soldiers raised their heads up over the bluff and fired at us.

"It was about the first bunch of soldiers I ever saw that could hit anything; but they certainly hit us. Four of the Japs were killed at the first firing. One more was shot through the lungs and another through the thigh, breaking the bone. I got a shot through this leg, below the knee. I tried mighty hard to push off[Pg 212] so as to get away, but the soldiers ran down to the beach and into the water, caught the boat and hauled it ashore. They threw the Japs overboard, for both of the wounded ones died pretty soon, and they carried me up onto the bluff and over to the little houses where the sealers lived.

"You see these Russian soldiers didn't care anything about the Japs, but they treated me pretty well. They gave me a good bed and tried to set my leg, but both bones were badly smashed, and I made up my mind that without a doctor there if they tried to set the leg they would make a botch of it, and the leg would go bad and I would croak. So after a day or two I picked out one of the nerviest of the chaps and had him take my leg off. He didn't know what to do, but I sat up and helped him, saw that the arteries were taken up right and tied, and that the bone was squarely sawed off, with good flaps left that were sewed up. Three or four days after the leg was gone the gun-boat came back and her surgeon came ashore. He looked at the leg, dressed it, and said that it was a good job, and that he wondered that any of those soldiers had known how to take a leg off like that. You see, he could talk a little English and good French, and I could talk a little French and good English, so we got on pretty well. He seemed to take a kind of a shine to me, too, and after I got a little strength he had me brought on board the ship, and after a little while we sailed for Petropaulovski. Before we got there I learned from something that he said that the soldiers had told him about my sitting up and telling them how to take off the leg. He seemed to think that was a great thing.

"When we got to town they carried me ashore and up to the jail and took me in. But before they had fairly got me locked up, the doctor, who had left the ship before I did, came in and showed the governor[Pg 213] of the jail an order, and then I was taken to a mighty comfortable house, and stopped there for quite some time. The doctor used to come in two or three times a day and talk to me. Finally I got able to get up and be around, and by that time the doctor had had a carpenter make me a wooden leg; so I pegged around with that leg and a cane, and got to having a pretty good time; but, of course, I didn't know what they were going to do with me.

"There was a prince in town, a Russian prince. He was the head, so they said, of the Russian Fur Company. Once or twice he sent for me and questioned me about the seal stealing, and I told him all I knew, for there wasn't any use of making any secret of it. He seemed to be a pretty good sort of a fellow, and at length one day, after I had been there some months—it was winter, and mighty cold at that, you bet—he said to me: 'I ought to send you to the mines, but I don't believe you would be very useful there, with that one leg of yours, and I think the best thing to do with you in spring, when the weather opens, is to send you to Yokohama on some vessel.' Of course I didn't have any ambition to go to the mines, and I was mighty glad to be let off as easy as that. So when spring came, they found a little schooner that was going to sail to Japan, and they put me on board of it, and off I went. And what do you think that prince did? Just as I was going to step into the boat to be carried out to the schooner he suddenly appeared, shook hands with me, and wished me good luck and handed me a little canvas bag, which was pretty heavy, and said: 'Take good care of that, and make it go as far as you can'; and, by Jove! when I opened that bag and counted what was in it there was six hundred dollars.

"That doctor and that prince," he said slowly, as he rubbed his chin, "were mighty good to me. They[Pg 214] treated me white. I wish though that the doctor had got around to the island four or five days before he did, and maybe I would have two legs now."

They had listened with much interest to the sealstealing story, and Jack was anxious to ask Crocker many questions about the strange animals that he must have seen during his voyage in the North Pacific, when he followed the seal herds after they left the islands, and about the great journey that the seals make south and west and east and north again, back to their starting point. But Fannin was anxious to get on, and after he had purchased from Crocker the provisions they needed, with a hearty handshake and with many good wishes the canoe travellers stepped over the side and pushed off.

The next morning was notable for the passage of the canoe through multitudes of black sea ducks, which Jack said were coots. The flock, or succession of flocks, were as numerous as those observed some weeks before off Comox Spit. There must have been many thousands of these birds scattered over several miles of water, and continually rising as the canoe disturbed them, either flying back over it or off to one side.

Late in the afternoon the travellers, as usual, began to look for a camping place along the shore, and for some time without success. The rocky shores rose straight up from the water and seemed very inhospitable; but at length a little bay, the most encouraging place in sight, invited the tired travellers to investigate it, and it was found that, although the little beach was almost everywhere piled high with driftwood, there was a narrow pebbly place where, by squeezing up close together, there would be room enough for the white men to sleep. A tiny trickle of water through a streak of wet moss ran down each side toward the bay, and it seemed that camp might be made here. The canoe was unloaded and its cargo[Pg 215] carried up over the raft of floating drift logs to the beach. A little hole was scraped in the sand to catch the water that fell, drop by drop, from crevices in the rock. The largest stones were removed from the spot where the beds were to be spread, and a fire was kindled.

Long ago there had fallen from the shelf of the cliff, many feet above the beach, a giant fir tree, whose roots still rested where they had always been, and whose top was supported by the bottom of the bay. The spot where the beds were to be spread was directly beneath this leaning stick of timber, which, as it was six or eight feet through, would even offer a little shelter in case it should rain that night. Charlie, however, suggested that this was not a safe place for the white man to sleep, as during the night the tree might fall and crush them. But the other men laughed at him, and pointed out to him that as the stick had never changed its position for forty or fifty years, the chances were that it would not break or slip on this particular night. Charlie said that this might be true and went about his cooking. His spirits, however, were not high, for, even with what had just been bought from Crocker, the provision box was still very light. The fresh meat had been nearly all eaten, the baking powder had all been used, there was left nothing but a little bacon, a few cans of tomatoes, some flour, coffee, and raisins. To relieve the impending famine, Jack and Fannin went up on the hills to look for game, and, although they had found no deer, they started three or four grouse, of which two were secured and brought to the camp for the next morning's breakfast. As the party turned into their blankets that night Charlie looked at the great stick of timber which overhung them and said: "Well, I hope we'll be alive in the morning."

"Oh," said Hugh, "you go to bed, Charlie; you're like a cow-puncher I once knew. He called himself[Pg 216] a fatalist, and said that he believed 'whatever was to be would be, whether it happened so or not.'"

Fannin said: "The only thing I am afraid of for to-night is that maybe this tide will rise so high that it will drown us out, and we will be floated off among this drift."

When they turned in, the fire, by which dinner had been cooked, was still glowing brightly under the old drift log against which Charlie had built it; and the only sound heard in camp was the lapping of the water against the beach.

That night Jack had a curious dream. He thought that he was asleep in his room at his home in Thirty-eighth street, when suddenly he was awakened by a bright light, and, rushing to the window, saw that the house across the street was blazing and that a number of policemen clad in white were dancing in front of the fire. As he watched them, and wondered anxiously about the fire, the smoke from the house seemed to turn and move in a thick cloud straight into his window, causing him to choke and cough. At this Jack awoke, and sitting up in his blanket he saw the great drift log, against which the fire had been built, glowing like a furnace. Charlie, clad only in his shirt and drawers, was darting about with a bucket of water in his hands, dashing it on the flames. The fire was soon put out; and next morning, on reckoning up their losses, it was found that they were not very serious. A few cooking utensils, a towel or two, and a coat were the only things seriously damaged. If the fire had burned a little longer and communicated itself to the rest of the drift stuff, the members of the party might have been very uncomfortable, and their loss might have been serious.

When they started the next morning, the surface of the water was smooth and unbroken. There was no breath of air, and great clouds obscured the sky.[Pg 217] Before them was seen the white lighthouse of Port Atkinson, and on either side of the channel they were following rose a low, rock-bound, fir-fringed coast. Here, for almost the first time since the trip had been begun, no striking mountain ridges or snow-capped peaks were seen. The tide was running straight against them, and they had to work hard to advance at all. After they had passed the Port Atkinson lighthouse the Inlet broadened and spread out over wide flats. The canoe kept close to the shore, to avoid the ebbing tide, and startled from the grassy shore a number of blue herons which were resting or fishing at the water's edge. Sometimes, as they rounded a little point, a group of hogs were encountered, eagerly rooting in the bare flats for shell-fish. The first one of these groups that he saw astonished Jack, because the hogs were accompanied by a number of crows. About each hog, on the ground or resting on its back, or flying about it with tumultuous cries, were three or four black-winged attendants, which wrangled bitterly over the fragments of fish that the pig unearthed and failed to secure. Sometimes a crow would pounce on a clam or other edible morsel actually under the nose of the hog, and would snatch it away before the hog realized what was happening.

"Fannin," said Hugh, as they were passing along, "does this sort of thing happen regularly? Do these crows follow the hogs around all the time?"

"No," said Fannin, "crows know too much for that. They only get together and follow them when they come down to the flats looking for clams. They have learned that the hogs turn up a great deal of stuff that they themselves like; and they have become regular attendants on them. You know it isn't so very long since they didn't have any loose hogs in this country. It is only within the last few years that they have turned them out to look out for themselves."

[Pg 218]

"Well," said Hugh, "of course there's lots of difference in size, but these crows flapping about these hogs remind me more than anything of the way the buffalo birds act out on the prairie. They are just as familiar and at home with the buffalo and cattle and horses as these crows are with the hogs here."

"It's comical," said Fannin, "how familiar any set of birds will get with animals and people or anything else, just as soon as they find that they don't hurt them."

They were now at the mouth of Burrard Inlet and had only a few miles more to go before reaching Hastings where Fannin lived, and where their canoe voyage would end. They had been about a month afloat.

The sand flats, over whose shoal waters the canoe was passing, seemed to be the home of a multitude of flat fish or flounders. They lay on the bottom, and so closely resembled it in color that it was impossible at the distance of a few feet to distinguish them from the sand. The fish remained absolutely motionless until the bow of the canoe was within two or three feet of them; and then they swam quickly away with a flapping motion that did not seem to carry them off very rapidly as compared with the arrow-like darting motions of most fish; but they stirred up a cloud of sand and mud that effectually concealed them.

"These flat fish are mighty queer animals, Mr. Fannin," remarked Jack. "They don't look to me like anything I have ever seen before in the world."

"No," said Fannin, "I guess they are not. They are mighty queer kind of fish; and, if I understand it right, they are all skewed around."

"How do you mean?" asked Jack.

"Why," said Fannin, "I understand when they are hatched they are right side up like other fish; but soon after that they have to lie on their side. That covers one of their eyes, and that eye works its way up[Pg 219] through the head onto the top; so that, as a matter of fact, the two eyes on a flat fish which you see when you are looking down on him are both of them looking out of the same side of the head. What looks to you and me like the back, is really his side, and what looks to you and me like his white belly is really his other side. I don't understand about it very clearly, but there's a man back East who has worked that whole thing out. Somebody sent me a copy of his paper one time, and I guess I have got it somewhere in the shop now."

Before night had come the canoe had gone up the Inlet to Fannin's shop. Here they went ashore, and that night, for the first time in weeks, sat down at a table and slept in beds. It was learned at Hastings that the Indians were catching a good many salmon at the head of the North Arm; and it was proposed that instead of ending the trip here, the canoe should keep on up the Arm and see the fishing. The next morning, therefore, they went on up the Inlet.

On the way they met three canoe loads of returning Indians, and each canoe was piled high with beautiful silvery salmon, weighing eight or ten pounds each, which the Indians had caught with spears and gaffs in the Salmon River. Fannin, who spoke with the Indians, told the others that this was the fishing party, and that now there were no Indians at the head of the North Arm. It was, nevertheless, decided to go up there.

When they reached the mouth of the river they found the tide lower than it had been when they had been there some weeks ago; but soon it commenced to rise, and as the water deepened they began to pole the canoe up the stream, though frequently all hands were obliged to jump overboard and push and lift the canoe over the shoals and into the deeper water. As the tide continued to rise this became necessary less frequently,[Pg 220] and before long the water was so good that they could push along with but little effort. During the passage up the shallow stream many salmon were seen in the clear water—fine, handsome fish, dark blue above; sometimes showing, as they darted away from the approaching canoe, the gleaming silver of their shapely sides.

The sight of these beautiful fish greatly excited Jack, and several times he struck at them with his paddle, but always miscalculated the distance, and could never feel even that he had touched a fish. At length he called out: "Mr. Fannin, can't we stop here and try to catch some of these fish? They are so big and splendid that I want to get hold of one."

"Oh," said Fannin, with a laugh, "wait a bit. You are going to a place where you'll see a hundred for one that you see now."

"Well," said Jack, rather grumblingly, half to himself and half to Hugh, "I suppose he is right, but it seems as if we might stop right here and catch some of them. The sight of these fish is enough to make any man a fisherman right off."

Again he called out: "Do you think we will be able to catch any fish to-night?"

"Yes," said Fannin; "I think that with the spear or the gaff we ought to get all we want."

"But just think," said Jack, "what fun it would be to catch one of these with a rod. It looks to me as if they would break any tackle that we have."

"No," said Fannin, "you can't catch them on a hook when they get into the fresh water. I thought I had told you that before. The salmon in fresh water will not take a hook. They will take one in the salt water, but as soon as they enter the river, no. I'll tell you about that to-night when we get into camp."

After several hours' work the canoe reached a point in the river where there was a high jam of drift logs,[Pg 221] which it was impossible to pass. The sticks of the jam were too large to be chopped through, and the canoe was far too large to be carried about the jam to a point farther up the river; besides, it was well on toward sundown. Camp was made therefore on a smooth sandbar just below the jam, and in a short while the spot had assumed a comfortable, home-like appearance. On the shore of the river was a rather neatly built shed, which had evidently been recently occupied by Indian fishermen. This served as a storehouse for provisions and the mess kit, and a sleeping place for Charlie and the Indians. A little farther up the stream was placed the white tent fly, closed at the back with an old sail and in front with a mosquito netting. Near the storehouse a cheery fire crackled against an old cedar log, and on the beach, farther down, drawn out of the water, was the canoe.

After dinner was over, and when they were sitting about the fire, Jack, whose mind was still full of the salmon he had seen, addressed Fannin. "Now, Mr. Fannin, what more can you tell me about the salmon not taking bait in the fresh water? I believe you spoke to me about it when we saw our first salmon, but I have forgotten what you said."

"Well," said Fannin, "I can't tell you why they do not feed in fresh water, but all fishermen say that they do not, and it is certain that none of them are caught on a hook after they begin to run up a stream. Down in California, where the rivers are all muddy, people explain their refusal to feed by saying that in those waters the fish cannot see the fly or bait, and so do not take it; but such an explanation will not answer for a clear-water stream such as the one we are on. You must have noticed that the water here to-day was as pure and clear as in any trout stream you ever fished."

"Yes," said Jack, "I don't see how anything could[Pg 222] be clearer than this water; and I am sure the fish could see the bait or a fly."

"Yes," said Fannin, "they certainly could; and if they wanted a fly they would rise to it. There's a man down here at Moody's Mills who is a great fisherman, and he has fished in these streams for trout and salmon for fourteen years. He says that in all that time he has hooked a salmon only twice, and he believes in each of these cases the fish accidentally fouled the hook. No; when the fish get into the fresh water, they seem to forget everything except their desire to get up to the head of the water and spawn."

"Well," said Jack, "Eastern salmon come into the stream to spawn just as these fish do. They also try to get to the heads of the rivers for this one purpose; yet we all know that the fishermen go salmon fishing, and expect to catch salmon on the Atlantic coast just at the time that the fish are running up the river, and we know that they do catch them, big ones, running, I believe, up to thirty-five or forty pounds."

"Well," said Fannin, "I know that is true, and I don't know just why there should be such a difference in the fish of the two coasts; but I believe that it exists. Some day, very likely, we will be able to explain it; but I can't do it now, and I don't believe I know anybody who can."

The next morning Jack and Hugh were up long before breakfast, and were talking about the difference between the surroundings of this camp and those to which they had been accustomed for the last few weeks. Ever since their departure from Nanaimo they had spent practically all their time on the water or on the seashore; and, except in a few cases, had hardly been a hundred yards from the beach. The present camp, therefore, had about it something that was new. They could not hear the soft ripple of the beach or the roar of the great waves pounding unceasingly against[Pg 223] the unyielding cliff. The water which hurried by the camp was sweet and fresh. All about them were green forests, whose pale gray tree trunks shone like spectres among the dark leaves. The birds of the woods moved here and there among the branches or came down to the water's edge to drink or bathe. Except for the canoe, and but for the character of the rocks, they might have imagined themselves on some mountain stream, a thousand miles from the seacoast.

Said Jack to his companion: "We have had lots of surprises on this trip, Hugh, and this camp is one of the greatest of them."

"Yes," said Hugh, "I know just what you mean. It seems mighty pleasant here to be in the timber with that creek running by; and yet I don't know but I like the open sea better, where a man has a chance to look about and see what is near him."

"Well," said Jack, "we certainly have seen lots of different country on this trip, and I wish we were just starting out instead of just getting in."

"Well," said Hugh, "I believe I feel a little that way myself; though, to tell the truth, I shan't be sorry to get back to a country where there are horses, and where a man can look a long way around and see things."

"Oh, Hugh!" said Jack, interrupting the talk, "look at those little dippers there! Let's go and watch them."

They strolled to the edge of the beach and there saw a number of the queer little birds. They were, as usual, bowing, nodding, and working their wings, or tumbling into the water, disappearing there to come to the surface again some distance away, when they would rise on the wing and fly to the beach or to some almost submerged boulder in the current. Some of them were walking along the shore, from time to time stopping and nodding as if to their shadows in[Pg 224] the water; or again taking their flight from point to point near the little stretch of beach that, upon examination, appeared barren of food. Sometimes one of the birds would bring up out of the water some little insect or worm, which it would beat against the stones and then devour. Jack and Hugh watched them for some time, but presently the coming of others to the border of the stream disturbed the dippers, and they flew away up or down the stream. They did not particularly mind being looked at by two men, but they thought that five were too many, and they all disappeared.

At breakfast it was suggested that they should take a short trip on foot up the stream to see what the river would offer. They were crossing the jam when Hugh's keen eye detected a movement in the water beneath them. Kneeling down on the floating logs they were astonished to see that the deep pool beneath the jam was full of salmon. They all stretched out at full length on the logs and stared down into the clear water beneath them. Through the openings between the logs every movement of the shoal of great fish, slowly moving about but a few feet from their faces, could be seen. The water was beautifully transparent, and it was easy to distinguish the color and form of each fish. The humped back and hooked jaw of the most fully developed males could be readily distinguished, and were in strong contrast with the slim and graceful forms of the female fish. There were probably between four and five hundred salmon in the pool, which was not a very large one. The fish crowded together so thickly that it was only occasionally possible to see the pebbly bottom. It was not long before Jack remembered the salmon spear in the canoe, and soon after he had thought of it, he and one of the Indians started back to get it. The salmon were so close together in the pool and seemed so near to the[Pg 225] surface of the water that he thought that the spear could not be thrust down into the slow moving mass without transfixing one or two of them.

When the spear was finally brought to the log jam each one of the company secretly wished to be the first to catch a salmon, yet each was too polite to say what he wished, and they passed the implement from hand to hand, asking each other to make the first attempt. Fannin and Hugh seemed to want Jack to make the first attempt, but he declined flatly and said: "You ought to do it, Mr. Fannin, because you are more skilful than either of us, but if you don't want to do it let Hugh try his hand; he is the oldest person present."

Hugh also declined with great promptness and positiveness, but was at length prevailed to take the spear. He lay down on the logs with his face close to an opening, into which he introduced the points of the spear, lowering it through the pellucid water until the end of the shaft was in his hands and he had fitted his fingers into the notches cut there. Then he watched until he saw a fish precisely under him, and made a forcible thrust, driving the spear deep down into the water and causing a little flurry among the salmon, which moved their tails a little and then darted away. Then Hugh arose with a mortified look and said: "Well, I thought I had one that time, but it seems not. You fellows will have to try your hands now."

Fannin was the next to make a thrust, and made half a dozen without effect. The fish did not even dodge the strokes, but each time the spear went down toward them there was a general quivering of the whole school, as if each fish had started a little. The thrower of the implement looked at them with a somewhat perplexed expression, and said: "It certainly seemed to me as if that spear went through the whole school." When he had recovered the spear he passed[Pg 226] to Jack and told him to try his hand, but Jack's luck was no better than that of his companions. To him, as he lay on his face looking down into the pool, shadowed by the log jam, the depth of the water seemed to be about five or six feet, yet as he thrust his spear into it and it passed down toward the fish, the handle being in his hand, he could see that the points were still quite a long distance above the backs of the fish, and no matter how hard he threw the spear, it created but little disturbance. Hugh, Jack, and Fannin were now stretched out at different points on the log jam, gazing at the fish beneath them. For some time they did not realize where the difficulty lay, and now and then one of them would say: "Oh, please let me have the spear for just a minute; they are so thick here that I know I can't help catching one if I only thrust it at them." But all thrusts were futile. At last, going ashore, and cutting a slender pole more than twenty feet in length, the depth of the water was measured, and it appeared that the spear was far too short to reach the fish. The excitement was too great to leave things in this condition and return to camp, so Hugh and Fannin soon added six or eight feet to the length of the salmon spear and besides made a long gaff. With these two implements they returned to the pool, and found no difficulty in catching salmon enough to supply the table.

All along the river, which they followed up for several miles, they found great numbers of salmon, and with the salmon were a great many trout, some of them of very large size. Fannin explained that these fish followed up the salmon to feed on the spawn as it was deposited. He declared that while the salmon were running the trout would pay no attention to a fly. Certain it was that all Jack's efforts to get a trout to rise to the fly were unsuccessful.

The evening after the day they had reached this camp they discussed the question as to whether they[Pg 227] should climb the mountains and have another goat hunt. After a little discussion it was decided to do so; but the next morning when they got up they found that it was raining heavily. It rained continuously during the day until noon, when they regretfully broke camp, and paddled down the Inlet to Hastings, where they paid off and dismissed the Indians and their canoe. The unemotional savages shook hands calmly with their companions of the last month. They arranged in the canoe their blankets and provisions and the few cooking utensils which had been given them, and then paddled off down the Inlet and were soon out of sight, bound for Nanaimo.

A day or two later the travellers started for New Westminster, to return to Victoria. Jack and Hugh were loath to part with Fannin, and they persuaded him to go with them on the stage as far as the town and to see the last of them when they took the steamer back to the island.

The next morning all three boarded the stage, and, after a delightful ride through the great forest of the peninsula, they found themselves once more in New Westminster and shaking hands with Mr. James.

[Pg 228]



Mr. James gave to Jack a number of letters which had come to Victoria for him and then been forwarded to New Westminster. They were the usual home letters which he read with great delight, and, besides these, one from his uncle, Mr. Sturgis, which told him that he had been detained at the mine and would not be able to meet Jack at Tacoma for at least two weeks.

Mr. Sturgis advised his nephew to spend the time in British Columbia and to allow himself two or three days to get from Victoria to Tacoma, where they would meet. Hugh also had received a letter from Mr. Sturgis, the purport of which was the same, and the two began to discuss the question as to how the next ten days were to be spent.

When they had reached New Westminster Mr. James had urged them to take two or three days' trip with him up the Fraser River on the steamboat, partly to see the scenery, but chiefly to get to the end of the Canadian Pacific railroad which was then being built east and west. The western end started at the town of Yale. The distance by steamer was not great, though the swift current of the Fraser is so strong that progress up the stream is not very rapid. This invitation Hugh and Jack now determined to accept, but as the salmon fishing was just at its height, they wished to spend a day investigating that.

In those days it used to be said that every fourth year the run of salmon was very great. The next year the number of fish taken would be smaller, the next[Pg 229] still smaller; then the number would increase again until the fourth year, when there would be a great run. As it happened, the year of Jack's visit was one of the years of plenty. A great run was looked for, but up to the middle of July no fish had been taken, though for a week previous the boats had been drifting for them. The fishermen, however, were not discouraged, for at the mouth of the river were constantly seen great numbers of small black-headed gulls, oolichan gulls, so called, which Jack recognized as Bonaparte gulls.

Long before they returned to New Westminster salmon had begun to be taken in considerable numbers, the first catch being made about the last of July. The run kept increasing slowly until before their return to New Westminster it had become impossible for the canneries to use all the fish caught, and a portion of the boats were taken off. Early in August the catch was from seventy-five thousand to eighty thousand fish per day, though only one half of the boats were employed. The canneries were all running at their fullest capacity and the enormous catch was the talk of the town.

The next morning soon after breakfast Mr. James called for his friends, and a little later they started out to visit one of the canneries in order to get some idea of the method by which one of the chief sources of wealth of the Province was handled.

On their way down to the wharf, Mr. James talked interestingly on the subject. "The fish," he explained, "are all caught in ordinary drift gill nets which are cast off from the boats in the usual manner, and are allowed to drift down the stream with the current, meeting the advancing salmon which are swarming up the river. The other day I got from Ewing's cannery the record of the catch of a few of the boats, on one or two average days. For example, on August[Pg 230] ninth five boats took nine hundred and seventy fish; the same day six boats took one thousand six hundred and sixty-seven fish. On August tenth, six boats took one thousand four hundred and ninety-two fish, and on August eleventh six boats took one thousand five hundred and thirty-eight fish."

"Now, these fish," Mr. James went on, "are chiefly sock-eyes, and average from eight to ten pounds in weight, but among them are a good many 'Spring salmon' which the books call quinnat, and these run from fifty up to seventy and eighty and even a hundred pounds. These records I have just given you give an average of about two hundred and forty-four fish to the boat, or rather more than two thousand pounds. Now, of course, the boats cannot take up their nets and make long journeys to the wharves to unload their fish. That would be an unnecessary waste of time, and would not pay, so that at all hours of the day and night steamers patrol the river, collecting from the row boats that do the drifting the fish they have netted. When a steamer gets a load she comes and ties up at the wharf and there unloads her fish. You will see them presently now, for here is where we turn in."

Leaving the main street they turned down an alley and entered a loosely put up wooden building, from which came a strong odor of fish which showed it to be a cannery. Mr. James pushed through the building without stopping until they reached the wharf where they saw a tug tied up. Great piles of shapely glittering fish were lying on her deck, and working over them were men with poles, in the end of each of which was a spike. Each man on the deck pierced a fish with the spike on his pole and threw it up on the wharf where lay a great pile of its fellows. They threw out the fish just as a farmer would throw hay out of a wagon with a pitchfork.

[Pg 231]

Hugh and Jack had never seen so many fish before, and for a little while were almost stunned by their mass. No one paid any attention to them, but each person went on with his or her work. At one end of the pile stood a couple of Indians who were taking fish from the wharf, and throwing them one by one into a large tub of clear water. Immediately next to this tub stood a row of tables at which were people armed with long knives. A woman next to the tub reached down, got a fish from it, placed it on the table before her and removed the head, sliding the fish along to a man next to her, who, by a single motion of his knife removed the entrails and cut off the fins and tail. The fish, thrust again along the table, fell into a tub of clean water and was washed by an attendant. Thrown on an adjacent cutting table, it was passed along to a cam, armed with knives about four inches apart, which was constantly revolving, thus cutting the fish into lengths. The pieces were then placed in the tin cans which were filled up even-full.

Jack and Hugh stared at these different processes which went on without a pause. It seemed as if each operator might be a machine. Each one performed a certain task and only that, and beyond that did nothing but shove each fish along, then reach back and take another. The knives, it seemed, always fell in the same place, and cut off the same parts with the same precision. It was a rising and falling of arms and knives, in the preparation of a food which was soon to be distributed all over the globe.

At length they reached the cutting table. "Here," said Mr. James, "you can see how systematically the thing is done. It isn't enough that the fish should be cut into pieces, but it must be cut into sizes that are just about long enough to fill the can so that as few motions as possible need be gone through with to get the can level full."

[Pg 232]

"There! do you see!" he went on, pointing to a Chinaman, who with two or three motions of his right hand filled a can, just even-full; and then slid it along the table to a man next to him, who slipped on it the circular cover of tin and passed this on to the next man, who was handling a soldering iron and a bit of solder. In but a second, as it seemed to Jack, the soldering of the can was finished, and then with a push the can went on to join those which were being bunched up by the Chinamen, and placed in a shallow tray made of strap iron. When this tray was full a hook on the end of a chain running down from a traveller near the ceiling was hooked into a ring attached to chains running to the four corners of the tray, the tray was lifted, and run along the traveller a short distance until it stood over a vat of boiling water. It was then dropped into this, hung there for a few moments; and then, rising again, moved a little farther along the traveller, and descended on a table. By this table stood a Chinaman, holding a small wooden mallet with which he tapped each can.

"You see," said Mr. James, "the expansion of the contents of the can under heat makes the cover bulge, and when the Chinaman taps it with the mallet he can tell at once by the sound, whether the solder is perfectly tight or not. If, when the mallet strikes it, the cover yields much, he knows that there is an escape for the air and the can is thrown out. There, see him throw that one out? When the Chinaman taps the cans it seems as if he were paying little attention to the work, but when a defective can comes along he detects it at once and casts it aside, just as he did that one." This happened to be the only one rejected of this lot, and the operator at once reversed his mallet and began to tap them over again.

"What is he doing now, Mr. James?" asked Jack. "Is he going over them again?"

[Pg 233]

"No," said Mr. James; "look closely at the mallet and you will see that he has reversed it; and in this end of the mallet there is a little tack. Each time he strikes a can he punctures it, allowing, as you see, air, water, and steam to escape. As soon as this is done, the other workmen, with their soldering irons seal up these little bits of holes, and the work is done. Now the only thing to do is to label the cans, box them, and ship them to the markets."

"How many fish do they put up here in a day, Mr. James?" asked Jack.

"About five hundred cases," said Mr. James. "It's a lot, isn't it?"

"I should say so," said Jack, "it makes my head swim to think of it, and that is being done all along the river, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Mr. James. "It is, and it keeps up for weeks and sometimes for months. The run of sockeye salmon usually lasts from four to six weeks, and during that time the factories run from four in the morning to seven or eight at night; and the work goes on constantly, Sundays as well as week days."

"Well," said Hugh; "I don't see how there are any salmon left in the river. I should think you would catch them all. There must be a lot of factories just like this all along the river; what becomes of the people living farther up the stream?"

"I can't answer that very well, myself," said Mr. James, "except that I know that there are plenty of them. Here comes a man, though, who can tell you. He is an old fisherman, and has been in the canning business for years. Oh, McIntyre!" he called out to a raw-boned, weather-beaten man who passed not far from them. Mr. McIntyre looked at him, came over, and was introduced to Hugh and Jack as the proprietor of the cannery. He was glad to see them, and readily talked about salmon and salmon canning.

[Pg 234]

"Mr. Johnson, here," said Mr. James, "was wondering that there were any salmon left in the river for the people who live above here. He thinks you are catching them all."

Mr. McIntyre laughed loudly as he replied: "Oh, not all of them; there are a few that get up. You see, this year we have not been able to use all the fish we caught, and we have taken off one half the boats. I don't believe that one fish is caught out of ten thousand that enter the river. Everybody between here and the head of the river captures all the fish he wants, and in the autumn you will see fish that have spawned and died, floating down the river by the million. Of course, I don't know how many are taken here, but I fancy more than two million or two and a half million fish. The Indians all the way up the river have no trouble whatever in catching all they want. If you should go up the river you would see their camps along the shore, and you would see, too, that they were catching many fish."

"How do they catch them, Mr. McIntyre?" asked Jack.

"They catch them chiefly in purse nets; scooping them up out of the water, just as fast as the net can be swept."

"You ought to take them up the river, Charlie," he added, turning to Mr. James, "and let them see what goes on between here and Yale."

"That's just what I am trying to do," said Mr. James. "I want to get them to go up with me and I hope perhaps we can start to-morrow."

Much time was spent at the cannery, for Jack and Hugh did not seem to tire of watching the swift, certain, and never-ending movements that went on here for hours until the whistle blew for noon. Then, indeed, they reluctantly left the factory and returned to the hotel.

Indian salmon weir


[Pg 235]

It must be remembered that all this occurred some twenty-five years ago, and that since that time wonderful changes have taken place in the methods and operations of salmon canning. This is merely an account of what Jack saw when he visited New Westminster.

[Pg 236]



The next morning, with Mr. James, Jack and Hugh boarded the comfortable steamer which was to take them up the Fraser to the town of Yale, the head of navigation of the lower river. Mr. James was anxious to have them see the end of the Canadian Pacific railroad, of which all the residents of the Province were immensely proud at that time, for it was the first railroad that had been built in British Columbia. Incidentally they would view the scenery of the Fraser, and would see many other interesting things.

Near its mouth the Fraser is very muddy, and Hugh and Jack spoke of its resemblance in this respect to the Missouri, with which they were so familiar. As the steamer ploughed its way up the river the water became less and less turbid, until, when Yale was reached, though by no means colorless, it had lost its muddy appearance and was beautifully green. The current is everywhere rapid, and at certain points where the channel is narrow the water rushes between the steep banks with such violence that at times it seemed doubtful whether the vessel could overcome its force. At such points Jack and Hugh were always interested in watching the struggle, and noting by points on the bank the slow but steady passage which the vessel made in overcoming the force of the water. For some distance above New Westminster the river is broad and flows through a wide alluvial bottom covered with a superb growth of cotton-wood trees; but farther up[Pg 237] the channel is narrow; and mountains rise on either side, not very high but very steeply, and on them they saw frequent evidences of landslips which had laid bare long stretches of dark red rock, which contrasted beautifully with the green of the forests.

As they passed along, Mr. James pointed out one mountain after another, and told of the silver mines and the silver prospects that had been found on each. In many places along the river were seen extensive stretches of barren land covered with cobblestones and boulders which to Jack seemed out of place in a region where vegetation was so universal.

"Why is it, Mr. James," he asked, "that nothing seems to grow on these great piles of pebbles and cobblestones?"

"Why," said Mr. James, "that is old mining ground. Many of these gravel bars have been worked over by placer miners; and these piles of stones were left after the soil and fine sand had been washed for the gold which it contained. Many of these bars have been worked over a number of times, and all of them, twice. Along this river it has been just as it has been back in the States. After gold was discovered, the white man first went over the ground and washed the gravel, getting most of the gold; and then, after he got through, the Chinaman, slow, patient, persistent, and able to subsist on little or nothing, went over the ground again and found in the abandoned claims money enough to pay what seemed to him good wages; in other words sufficient to give him a living, and enable him to save up money enough to take him back to his own country, where he lived comfortably for the rest of his life.

"I am no miner," Mr. James continued, "but you must talk with Hunter. He is a civil engineer with a lot of experience, and I saw him on the boat this morning. I understand that he has a mining scheme[Pg 238] which is big, though, of course, it is only a speculation as yet."

Mr. James stopped talking and looked about the deck, and then walked over to a tall, thin man who was standing near the rail, smoking. After speaking to him, the two came to where Jack and Hugh were sitting. Introductions followed, and after a little time Mr. Hunter explained what it was that he proposed to do.

"Quesnelle Lake," he said, "lies away north of Yale and east of the river, in a country where some good prospects have been found. From the Lake, Quesnelle River flows into the Fraser. The bed of Quesnelle River is supposed to be very rich in gold. It is said that it is so rich that the Chinamen anchor their boats in the river and dredge the dirt from the bottom, take it ashore and wash it, and in this way make good wages. I have received a Dominion grant to mine this river, or so much of it as I can. Of course, as yet, this is a mere prospect, but I am going up there now to find something definite about it. I shall have to do some dredging to find out what there is in the bottom of the river. If I find that the dirt there is rich enough, I shall build, across the river near Quesnelle Lake, a dam strong enough to hold back for three or six months of the year—during the dry season, in other words—the water of the lake, so that the volume which passes through the river channel will be greatly diminished. This will leave bare a great portion of the river channel, which can then be mined by ordinary hydraulic processes. As I say, there is as yet nothing certain about the matter, but there seems sufficient prospect of profit in it to make it worth while to attempt it."

"That seems a reasonable scheme," said Hugh, "though, of course, as yet there are a number of 'ifs' to it."

[Pg 239]

"There are a good many," said Mr. Hunter; "but I believe that in the course of the next three months I shall know much more about it than I do now."

"I believe, Mr. Hunter," said Jack, "that you have travelled a great deal over the Province, have you not?"

"Yes," said Mr. Hunter, "a good deal. I have been over the whole length of it and over much of its width, but I know little about its northwest corner. There I never happened to be; but from the Fraser and Kootenay rivers, down to the boundary line and all along the western part of the Province, I have been."

"Is there any place near here," said Jack, "where one could go into the mountains for say a week or ten days, with a prospect of getting a little hunting? I don't mean for deer and goats, because I suppose these are found almost everywhere, but with some prospect of finding sheep, and perhaps elk? I believe that bears exist everywhere, and of course the meeting with them is a matter of luck."

Mr. Hunter considered for a moment or two, and then said: "Do you want to make a little hunting trip of this kind, and now?"

"Yes," said Jack, "Mr. Johnson, here, and I were thinking of doing that."

"Well," said Mr. Hunter; "I believe I know just the place for you. It's only a short distance from Hope, a town just below Yale, on the river, and if you can get started at once, four or five days ought to take you into a good sheep country, where there are also a few deer and goats. You could have three or four days hunting there, and could get back to take the steamer down the river and get to Westminster inside of two weeks."

"That's a little bit more time than we have to give to the trip," said Jack, "but perhaps we could do[Pg 240] that, and perhaps we could gain a day or two in the travelling."

"Perhaps you might," said Mr. Hunter, "those things depend largely upon the outfit you have and chiefly on the energy of the man who runs your outfit. If you get somebody who is a rustler, who will get you up every morning before day and have the train on the march before the sun is up, and travel all day, you can get along pretty rapidly."

"Well," said Hugh, "it seems to be a matter that depends largely upon ourselves. Son and I are fair packers, and if we can get horses and a man to wrangle them and somebody that knows the road, we ought to be able to keep them moving."

"I'll tell you what I will do," said Mr. Hunter. "When we get to Yale I will telegraph to an acquaintance of mine in Hope, and find out what the prospect is of getting the outfit that you want."

Hugh and Jack both thanked Mr. Hunter, and after some inquiry about the character of the country to be traversed, the talk turned to other subjects. It was but a little later when the boat began to pass groups of Indians camping along the shore; and near each camp were seen the drying stages on which they were curing the fish that they took. Horizontal poles were raised five or six feet above the ground and these were thickly hung with the red flesh, making a band of bright color which stood out in bold relief against the green of the trees and the cold gray of the rocks.

Jack and Hugh looked at these camps with much interest.

"It looks some like a little camp on the plains when there has been a killing and the meat is just hung up to dry, doesn't it, son?" remarked Hugh.

"A little," said Jack, "but I cannot separate the camp from its surroundings of mountains and timber and big water."

[Pg 241]

"No," said Hugh, "that is hard to do, but of course these people are gathering their meat and drying it just as our Indians gather their meat and dry it."

In front of the tents and shelters in which the Indians lived down on the bank of the river, were scaffolds made of long poles thrust into the rocks and resting on other rocks, projecting out well over the water. On each one of these stood one or more Indians engaged in fishing with a hand net which he swept through the water, just as had been described the day before by Mr. McIntyre. To see it actually done made the operation so much easier to understand than when it had been simply described. The Indians swept their nets through the water from up stream downward, and at almost every sweep the net brought up a fish, which the man took from it with his left hand and threw to a woman standing on the bank above the stream. They could be seen to perform some operation on it, and sometimes a woman with an armful of fish went up and hung them on the drying scaffold.

Mr. Hunter was standing by them, also observing the fishing, and Jack said to him: "Mr. Hunter, I can't see clearly enough to understand just what these nets are and how they are worked. Can you explain it to me?"

"Yes," said Mr. Hunter. "It's very simple, and when you go ashore at Yale, you will be able to see the Indians catch fish in just this way, and you can see for yourself just how it is done. You know what an ordinary landing net is, don't you—a net such as we use for trout?"

"Yes, of course I do," said Jack, "it's pretty nearly what we call a scap net along the salt water, except that it is not so large or so coarse."

"Yes," said Mr. Hunter. "You know that a landing net has a handle, a hoop, to which the net is[Pg 242] attached, and a large net hanging down below the hoop. Now if you imagine a landing net four or five times as big as any you ever saw, you will have an idea of the general appearance of one of these purse nets when spread. The hoop of the purse net is oval and made of a round stick, the branch of a tree bent so that the hoop is about four feet long by three feet broad. This hoop is attached to a long handle. Running on the stick, which forms the hoop, are a number of wooden rings, large enough to run freely. The net is attached to these small wooden rings, and if the handle is held vertically the weight of the net and rings will bring all the rings together at the bottom of the hoop, so that the net is a closed bag. Now from the end of the handle of the purse net a string runs to the hoop and is attached to the wooden rings that run on it in such a way that if you pull on the string the little wooden rings spread themselves out at equal distances all around the hoop, and the net becomes open, just as an ordinary landing net is when open. As the Indian is about to sweep the net to try to catch a fish, he pulls the string which spreads the net, and the net is then swept through the water with a slow motion. The string which holds it open passes around the little finger of one hand; and if the fisherman feels anything strike against the net, the string is loosened, the rings run together, and the net becomes a closed bag which securely holds the object within it. The salmon, swimming against the current, pass along close to the steep bank where the force of the water is least, and the eddies help them. The Indians know where the salmon pass, and sweep their nets along there to meet them; and, as you see, catch lots of fish."

"That makes it just as clear as anything," said Jack, "and I am very much obliged to you for telling me about it. I want to understand these things that I see, and sometimes it is pretty hard to do so without[Pg 243] an explanation. Now, if you will let me, there is another question I would like to ask you. What do the women do in preparing the salmon for drying? I can see that they are using knives. Do they just cut off the head, or do they take out the backbone?"

"I am glad you asked me this question," said Mr. Hunter, "because there's a difference in the way the Indians save the fish. The coast Indians just cut off the head and remove the entrails, but these Indians up here are more dainty; I suppose, as a matter of fact, they are more primitive, and do not understand the importance of collecting all the food they can, although they ought to understand that, for they have certainly starved many times when the salmon run has been a poor one. Up here, the Indians only save the belly of the fish. By a single slash of her knife, the woman cuts away the whole belly from the throat back to a point behind the anal fins, and extending up on the sides to where the solid flesh begins. This portion is retained and hung up to dry. The whole shoulders, back and tail are thrown into the water again. There is another thing that I believe will interest you. You see these stages from which they are fishing? Well, you might think that anybody might come along and build a stage and go to fishing, or that whoever came first in the summer to one of these stages might occupy it, and use it during the season, but that isn't the fact. These stages are private property, or rather family property, and the right to occupy and use each point descends from the father to the oldest son of the family."

"Well," said Jack, "that's new to me. I never heard of anything like it. Did you, Hugh?"

"No," said Hugh, "it's one ahead of me."

"Well," said Mr. Hunter, "you will find quite a lot of customs of that kind along this coast. Certain tribes and certain families have the right to hunt or fish[Pg 244] in certain localities and it's a right that is universally respected among the Indians. A man would no more think of interfering with another family's fishing stage or trespassing on his hunting ground than he would think of disturbing a cache of food that did not belong to him."

"That's another thing I had not heard of, Mr. Hunter," said Jack; "the fact that the Indians have separate special places where they have the right to hunt and where other people have not that right."

"Yes," said Hugh, "that's new to me, and would seem quite queer to anybody in our country."

"What is your country, if I may ask?" said Mr. Hunter, courteously.

"Why," said Hugh, "son and I have been for the last three or four years on the plains and in the mountains back in the States."

"Oh, in the Rocky Mountains?" said Mr. Hunter.

"Yes," said Hugh.

"There, of course, your game is chiefly buffalo, I suppose, and they wander a good deal, do they not?"

"Yes," said Hugh, "they wander some, but not so much as most people think. A great many people say that in summer the buffalo all go north and in winter they all go down south, but that's not so. There are movements of the herds with the seasons, but they are not very extensive."

"Mr. Hunter," said Jack, taking advantage of a moment's pause, "I have heard something about the caches that the Indians make of their food, but I have never seen one in this country. Will you tell me how they arrange them?"

"Certainly," said Mr. Hunter. "These Indians, here, after their fish have dried, pack them together; and in a tree, far above the reach of animals or insects, they build something that you might call a little house or a big box, in which they store the food and leave it[Pg 245] there against a time of need. The house or box, whichever you choose to call it, is built of shakes, that is, of thin planks split from the cedar, is fairly well jointed, and has a tight and slightly sloping roof so that the moisture cannot get into it. Usually they are seen along the streams or near favorite camping grounds, and I should not be at all surprised if we saw one before reaching Yale. They are quite commonly seen."

"And you say," said Jack, "that they are never disturbed?"

"Absolutely never," said Mr. Hunter. "Indians would suffer great privations before taking food belonging to other people, because they know to take away this food might mean starvation to the owners. Of course if an absolutely starving outfit of Indians found a cache they might take from it a little food, perhaps enough to carry them on for a day or two along their road; but if they did, they would leave some sign at the cache to say who had taken the food, and they would feel bound, at some later day, whenever it were possible, to return what they had taken with good interest."

By this time the day was well advanced, and a little later Mr. Hunter pointed to a few dilapidated buildings standing near the river and said: "There is all that's left of the town of Hope. The situation is a beautiful one, in a wide bottom; but there is no life in the settlement. It is from this point on the river that the trail starts for Kootenay about five hundred miles distant, and all the mail and express matters used to leave from here. The town was founded in the early days of the mining excitement, when it was thought that the diggings of the Fraser were inexhaustible. People used to think that this would be a great town, and there was an active speculation in building lots, but as the washing on the lower river ceased to pay,[Pg 246] the tide of emigration passed on. Hope was left behind, and the owners of town lots will have to wait a long time for their money. At the same time, when the railroad is finished it will of course pass through Hope or near it, and there may be a future for the place; but that will depend upon agriculture and not on mining."

A little later in the day the steamer tied up to the bank at Yale. It was quite a large town, spread out at the foot of a great mountain, and it seemed to have the characteristics of all western railroad towns. It was from here that the Canadian Pacific Railroad was being built eastward, and Yale was thus the supply point and the locality where all the laborers employed on the road congregated during holidays. To Jack the place seemed as cosmopolitan almost as San Francisco. He recognized English, Scotch, and French; and noticed some Germans, Swedes, and some Americans; Indians and Chinese were numerous, and negroes jostled Mexican packers and muleteers; while there were many mixed bloods whose parentage could hardly be determined from their countenances.

Jack learned that a stage ran from Yale to Lytton, where the river is again practicable for steamers, and that this was the route taken by persons going to the mines at Cariboo.

Mr. Hunter, knowing Jack's interest in birds, took him to see a taxidermist who had a considerable collection of bird skins brought together from the immediate neighborhood. Here he saw many eastern and western birds, the most interesting of which were the evening grosbeak, the pine grosbeak, and a species of gray crowned finch. By the time the birds had been inspected the sun had set and they returned to their quarters at the hotel.

Immediately after breakfast next morning, Jack, Hugh, and Mr. James walked along the railroad two or three miles up the river and into the cañon. The[Pg 247] scenery was very beautiful. The walls of the cañon were nearly vertical, the stream tearing along between them at a high rate of speed. Just at the entrance of the cañon stands a high rock or island, which divides the current into two streams of nearly equal size. On a flat rock they all sat down, and while the two older men filled their pipes and smoked Mr. James told Jack the story of this rock.

"Of course you understand," he said, "that the salmon has always been the most important food of the year to the Fraser River Indians. It supplies them with their winter food, and indeed with provisions for almost the entire year. To them, as to almost all the Indians along this coast, the salmon is the staple food, just as back on the plains the buffalo is what the Indians there depend upon. Just as back in that country the buffalo is somewhat a sacred animal, so here the salmon are in a degree sacred; and just as back there the Indians perform certain ceremonies when they are going out to make a big hunt, so here the capture of the first salmon is celebrated with religious ceremony."

Hugh nodded and said, "I guess Indians are alike the whole continent over."

"Well," said Mr. James, "each summer the first fish that came up the river and was taken, was regarded not as belonging to the person who took it but to the Good Spirit; I suppose that means the chief god. As soon as caught, therefore, it was to be taken to the chief of the tribe, and delivered into his keeping. A young girl was then chosen and after having been purified, she was stripped naked and all over her body were marked crossed lines in red paint, which represented the meshes of the net. She was then taken to the water's edge and with solemn ceremonies the net marks were washed off. This was supposed to make the people's nets fortunate. Prayers were made to the Good Spirit and the salmon was then cut[Pg 248] up into small pieces, a portion was sacrificed, and the remainder was divided into still smaller pieces, one of which was given to each individual of those present. This, Squawitch tells me, was the regular annual custom. Now, about this rock. One season the people had eaten all their food and had gathered here at the river for the fishing, but as yet no fish had been caught, and they were starving. It happened that the first salmon caught was taken by a woman, and she being very hungry, said nothing about its capture but at once devoured it. This was a crime and for it she was changed by the Good Spirit into this rock, which was thrown into the river where we see it now, to remain there forever as a memorial of her offence, and a warning to others."

"My, that's a good story, Mr. James," said Jack.

"Yes," said Hugh, "that's a sure enough Indian story."

The pipes being knocked out they started on up the river. Just above the first tunnel Jack saw on a stage down near the water's edge, an old Indian fishing with a purse net, and as it seemed, catching a salmon at every sweep he made. This was too much for Jack to resist, so he clambered down the rocks to the Indian's stage. After watching him for a little while, and noticing closely how he handled the net, Jack took from his pocket a quarter and held it out to the Indian, at the same time reaching out his hand for the net. The Indian gave it to him readily enough, and began to dress the fish he had already caught, while Jack stepping out on the stage over the water, began to sweep the net through the current just as the Indian had done. At the first sweep he felt something strike the net and loosened the string. He raised the net and—with some difficulty, for it was big—brought up to the stage a great ten pound salmon. He reached the net back to the Indian to take the fish[Pg 249] from it; and, then spreading it again, he repeated the operation. In ten minutes he had caught nearly as many salmon, all of which were about the same size. No doubt the Indian would have been willing to have him fish all day for him, but his two companions, on the railroad track above, were getting impatient and called to him. Jack gave back the net to the Indian, climbed up the bank and overtook his companions, all three then going on up the track. It was an interesting experience, and one that not many people have enjoyed.

On their return to town Hugh asked Mr. James if there was any one in the town, so far as he knew, that had ever crossed the mountains to the head of the Peace River, and followed that stream down to the eastward.

Mr. James thought for a moment or two, and then said: "Why, of course. I know just the man, and I can take you to him. It's old man McClellan. He used to be an old Hudson Bay man, and has travelled all over the country. I am very sure that I have heard him tell about making that trip across the mountains."

A little inquiry brought them to Mr. McClellan's store. They found him a hardy old Scotchman who seemed glad to give them such information as he could. He told them about the streams that they must go up to reach the head of the Peace River, and that there was a two days' portage between the two waters, those flowing east into the Hudson Bay, and those west into the Pacific.

"The distance is not so great," he said, "but it's a rough country and ye'll have to go slowly, but it is a fine country to travel through; lots of game, moose, caribou, and mountain goats, and plenty of fish. Ye'll never have to starve there."

"Well," said Hugh, "I don't know as we'll ever[Pg 250] be able to make that trip, but I've often thought about it and wanted to. One time, a good many years ago, I got hold of the travels of Alexander McKenzie, the man who found the frozen ocean, and he crossed the mountains from Hudson Bay to the Pacific Ocean, and I have always thought that I would like to make that trip myself, but I am getting old now for trips. I can't get around as easy as I could twenty years ago."

"Pshaw, man," said the old Hudson Bay voyager, "never talk like that! You're good for many years of travel yet. Faith, I'd like to take that trip with you, if you don't put it off too long. It's a fine country, and I'd like to go through it again."

That evening at the hotel they saw Mr. Hunter, who told them that he had communicated with the people at Hope, and had found that it would be easy for them to get a packer and an Indian guide and horses to go off on the hunting trip if they wished to. The outfit could be ready to start to-morrow morning if they felt like it. Jack and Hugh thought this would be a good thing to do, and got from Mr. Hunter the name of the man at Hope who could give them the desired information and assistance. They asked Mr. James if he would not join them on the hunt, but his business required him to return to New Westminster at once. It was determined, then, that all should start on the boat at three o'clock the next morning, Jack and Hugh getting off at Hope and trying to make a start for the sheep country that same morning.

[Pg 251]



It was still dark when the boat started, and except Jack, Hugh, and Mr. James, all the passengers promptly disposed themselves to sleep for a time. The captain had promised to stop at Hope and let the two hunters off, and their bags and blankets were all piled near the gangplank to be rushed off at a moment's notice. In little more than an hour the boat whistled, slowed down, and drew up close to the bank; the wheel was reversed until the boat lay up close to the wharf, the gangplank was run out, Hugh and Jack shook hands with Mr. James and ran ashore, each carrying his bag and gun, while two of the deck-hands followed with their rolls of blankets, tossed them to them on the ground, and then rushed back. The gangplank was drawn in, the boat whistled and started up, soon disappearing around a bend.

Meanwhile, two white men and two Indians had approached them and accosted Hugh. The older of the two white men introduced himself as John Ryder, with whom Mr. Hunter had communicated the day before.

"Your animals are all ready, Mr. Johnson," he said; "and all we have to do is to buy provisions and pack the loads and start."

"Well," said Hugh, "that's just exactly what we want; and the sooner we get off the better it will please Mr. Danvers, here, and me. Where are your animals, and where can we get something to eat, and what time will the stores be open?"

[Pg 252]

"If you will come with me," said Ryder, "I will show you the hotel and the animals; and as soon as you have had your breakfast we can buy our supplies and start. These Indians here will carry up your things."

"Very good," said Hugh, "they may as well take the blankets to the corral, wherever that is; and we'll take the bags and guns with us."

Ryder conducted them to the hotel where, as yet, no one was awake; and then, followed by Hugh and Jack went to the corral where there were a dozen horses. The outfit seemed a good one; the animals strong and fat. Ryder proposed to take six pack animals, three with saw bucks, and three with aparejos. Hugh and Jack looked over the riggings, which seemed in good order; and then they all returned to the hotel. After a talk with Ryder it was arranged that they should take Ryder, a boy to wrangle the horses, and an Indian who professed to know the hunting country. These with the six packs would make eleven animals.

"It's more than I counted on taking," said Hugh, "but perhaps it's better to take a horse or two extra rather than sit around for two or three days and fuss over it. We won't save in money and we'll lose quite a little time."

By ten o'clock the provisions had been purchased and made up into convenient packs. Ryder was to furnish a tent and cook-outfit, and got the things together at the corral. Then Hugh, Jack, and Ryder and his assistant in a very short time packed all the horses except those which were to carry the provisions. These were taken down to the store and left there, and before noon the packed train, with Ryder in the lead, went out of Hope and struck up across the divide between Nicolume and the head of the Skagit River. For some distance they followed the old wagon road[Pg 253] which leads up between high steep mountains, through beautiful scenery. The cedars and firs were grand, the mountains towered high and were streaked with white dykes, and the gulches and ravines where deciduous trees grew, were bright with the red of the mountain maples. Toward night they reached a place called Lake House, a cabin on the edge of a wide meadow—marshy with some standing water and surrounded by willows and alders. Here Jack set up his rod and caught a few fairly good trout weighing nearly half a pound apiece, and many little ones which he threw back. Hugh came up to see how he was getting along; and soon they went back to the camp together.

In the morning everything was wet, for there had been a very heavy dew. They got off in good season and after stopping once or twice to tighten, as the ropes grew dry, they went on and made good time.

During the morning they passed two or three pack trains, the animals of which were loaded with long boxes whose contents neither Hugh nor Jack could guess; but at the first opportunity they asked Ryder, who explained to them what these boxes contained.

"You see," he said, "it seems that every Chinaman, when he dies wants to go back and be buried in his own country; and they make arrangements before they die that they shall be taken back. I believe one Chinaman here has the contract of sending back all British Columbian Chinese, and he sublets the job, it being understood that the various subcontractors will deliver the bodies at certain specified places. Sometimes a Chinese is shipped soon after he dies, sometimes not for three or four years. They seal them up in zinc cases about six feet long and two feet wide and put these cases in crates of wood. These they pack lengthwise of the horse, making for them a sort of platform which rests on an aparejo. The long cases project forward from the horse's neck and back over[Pg 254] his hips, and are pretty hard on their backs; but they ride well enough after the ropes have been thrown over them."

Not long after leaving the Lake House the wagon road came to an end, and then for a while the trail followed down the Skagit River. All day the way led through the mountains, and all day the trail kept climbing higher, so that when they camped that night Ryder said that the altitude was about five thousand feet. All day long every one was busy hurrying the horses along, and no time was taken for hunting. That night there was a heavy frost, and when they awoke the next morning, it was very cold. Five of the horses were lost, and it took some time to recover four of them, and then they moved on, leaving one behind, which, however, turned up later and was brought along. This also was a day of climbing, for they passed over a mountain about seven thousand feet high. Several times Jack and Hugh heard the familiar call of the little chief, or rock hare, so familiar an inhabitant of the slide rock of all the mountains of the main divide.

That night they camped on a creek called Whipsaw, and as there was no grass at the camp for the horses, they were turned out to the mountain side to feed. After they had got into camp, Ryder told Jack that on the creek, a couple of miles below the trail, there was a deer lick; and suggested that they should go down and try to kill a deer, as fresh meat was needed. They went down and found a spot where animals had evidently been at work gnawing and licking the saline clay; but, though there were abundant signs all about, no deer were seen.

The next day after passing through a beautiful open country dotted with great pines, whose cinnamon-colored trunks rose fifty to sixty feet from the ground [Pg 255]without a branch, they reached Alison's on the Smilkameen. Here they stopped for a little while. Mrs. Alison, a very intelligent and kindly woman, took great pride in showing Jack and Hugh the children's pets—a great horned owl, a sparrow hawk just from the nest, some attractive green-winged teal and mallards caught young, and a tame magpie which talked remarkably well and spoke the names of two of the children—"Alfreda" and "Caroline"—very plainly.

Keeping on down the river, they camped below Alison's. The way down the river was beautiful, for on either hand rose high, steep, slide rock mountains, marked with sheep and goat trails, criss-crossing in every direction. Here and there along the stream stood an Indian cabin.

"I tell you, son," said Hugh, "We're in a game country now, or what has been a game country. In times past there have been a heap of sheep on these mountain sides here. You see their trails running everywhere. Of course, when a sheep trail is once made in the slide rock it lasts just about forever, unless there is some slip of rock on a mountain side and the rocks roll down and cover it up."

That night the Indian, Baptiste, confirmed what Hugh had said. Ryder interpreted for him, saying that sheep and goats were plenty near here and that to-morrow they would hunt.

"In spring," Baptiste said, "when ploughing the land, I often see goats far down on the cliffs close to the river, but as summer advances and it grows warm and the flies become troublesome, the goats gradually work up to the tops of the mountains. There they paw holes in the earth, in which they stand and stamp; and sometimes wallow and roll to get rid of the flies."

"All right," said Hugh, "we will see what Baptiste can show us to-morrow."

"The way that Indian talks," he added, "sounds to me just like Kutenai. I have heard a lot of Kutenais[Pg 256] talk in the Blackfeet camps, and elsewhere, and I would like to know if this Baptiste is a Kutenai."

"I guess not," said Ryder; "he's a Smilkameen."

"Ask him," said Hugh, "if the Smilkameens and Kutenais are relations."

The answer, given through Ryder, was "No."

"Ask him," said Hugh, "if their languages are alike."

Baptiste replied: "Yes, the two languages are not quite the same, but they sound alike." He added: "In the same way the tongue spoken by the Okanagan Indians is much like my language."

Hugh shook his head and said: "That may be so, but I don't feel a bit sure about it. Often it's very hard to make an Indian understand what you're trying to get at, even if you can speak his own language; but after it has to go through two or three interpreters there's a big chance of a misunderstanding somewhere."

"Well, Hugh," said Jack, "what shall we do to-morrow? Go on farther or stop here and hunt? I understand that Baptiste says that there are plenty of goats hereabouts, and if we want some we can easily get them."

"Well," said Hugh, "we need some meat and we might just as well stop here for a day if you think best and see whether we can kill a kid or two, or a dry nanny. You know I don't think much of goat meat; and yet, of course, it's meat, and good for a change from bacon. I'll ask Baptiste what the prospects are."

Calling up Ryder, Hugh had begun to question Baptiste, when, out of the darkness, another Indian stepped up to the fire and saluted the white men in pretty fair English. A little talk with him developed that he was Tom, a brother of Baptiste. After a few questions Baptiste and Tom both agreed that there[Pg 257] was every opportunity to kill goats here. Tom said that in the early summer he often saw them from the trail, as he was travelling back and forth. It was finally decided that they should stop here for one day and make a hunt and then proceed to the sheep country.

The next morning Baptiste, Tom, Hugh, and Jack started on foot up a small creek which came out of the hills near Baptiste's house. The way was steep and narrow and they had followed the stream up two or three miles before any pause was made. Two or three times the glass revealed white objects, which close observations showed to be weather-beaten logs. Suddenly Tom stopped and declared that he saw a goat. The white men all looked through their glasses and declared that it was a stump, but after going a little further and looking at it again it appeared that the white men had been looking at the wrong object, and that Tom's goat was lying on the ledge in plain sight. After going a little farther along another goat was discovered high on the hillside, a little below the first and quite close to it. They were six or seven hundred yards away and close to the creek. To approach them it would be necessary to go up the stream to a point well above them, and then to climb the mountains on which they were, get above them, and then come down behind a point which would apparently be within shooting distance of them.

Before they reached the point where the creek must be crossed, Hugh said to Jack: "Now, son, you go with Tom and try to get these goats, and I will take Baptiste and go farther up the stream and climb that high hill you see. I may get a shot there, and you have a good chance here."

Jack crossed the stream with Tom and they tugged up the side of the mountain, which was very steep and much obstructed by fallen timber. Two or three[Pg 258] times Jack had to sit down and puff for breath, for it was nearly a year now since he had done much in the way of climbing stiff mountains, but Tom seemed tireless. At last Tom declared that they had climbed high enough above the goats to make it safe to work along the mountain side to the point above them. The hillside was more or less broken with ravines and all of these were rough with slide rock and fallen timber. They had just reached the edge of one of these gulches and had stopped for a moment's rest when the highest of the goats, which they could now see below them, came running up out of the timber from below to where the other goat was lying. This one got up, and it was then seen that there were four goats, two old ones and two kids; and all began to move up the mountain side. Evidently something had frightened them. They had not seen Jack or Tom, nor smelt them, but were looking down into the valley. They moved off along the mountain side going up diagonally, and Jack and Tom watched them until they disappeared behind some ledges. Then the two set off after them as hard as they could go. It was pretty wild travelling across the gulches, but when they came out onto the ledges where the goats had gone, the footing was easier and the going better. They followed the ledges for some little distance, keeping to a goat trail. In this trail were seen now and then tracks where something had just passed along, but there were no hoof marks. The trail was too hard for that, but every now and then a place would be seen where some animal had stepped on a stone and partly turned it over, or where the moss was knocked from a stone where a hoof had struck it but a very short time before. They kept along the trail, passing through some low timber and presently came out again onto the ledges, and there—hardly forty feet away from them stood three goats. One of them[Pg 259] was clambering up a little ravine and just about to disappear behind the rocks, the other two, a mother and her kid, stood on a rock, looking up the mountain side.

"Shoot!" said Tom, "Shoot!" Jack fired two shots at the nearest goat and kid, and both of them fell off the rock they had been standing on and began to roll down the hillside.

Tom gave a wild whoop of joy and shouted, "Good shoot! Good shoot!" and then asked Jack if he wanted to kill the other, but Jack said "No," these two were enough, and they started down the hill to get the game. The animals had rolled a long way, but at length they found them, took off the skins, and took what meat they needed. Tom went down the stream, and cutting some long shoots of a tough shrub, he worked them back and forth, partly splintering them, and made from them two rather stiff ropes which he tied together with a knot. With these he made up a pack of the skins and meat, put the load on his back, and they started for the camp. When they reached the trail down the valley they sat down for some time and waited for Hugh and Baptiste; but, as they did not come, after some hours' waiting, Tom took his pack on his back and they went on to the camp. While they were waiting, Jack inquired of Tom as to the names of the sheep and goats, and Tom said, as nearly as Jack could make out, that in the Smilkameen tongue, the male mountain sheep was called "shwillops," while the ewe was called "yehhahlahkin." The goat in Smilkameen was called "shogkhlit," while the Port Hope Indians called goat "p'kalakal."

Tom said that farther on, in the country to which they were going, there were many sheep.

An hour after Jack and Tom had reached camp, Hugh and Baptiste returned, bearing the skin of a two-year-old male goat, which had been killed on the other[Pg 260] side of the mountain they had climbed. It had been a hard tramp and a long stalk.

That night as they talked about game and hunting, Baptiste said that at the head of the Okanagan Lake caribou were very plenty. The distance from where they were would be about eighty or ninety miles.

The next morning while Jack was preparing the goat skins for packing up, he was much surprised to find the ears of the goats full of wood ticks. In one of the ears he counted no less than twenty ticks, and some of them were so deep down in the ear that when he was skinning the head he saw the ticks as he cut off the ears. He wondered whether this might not account in some part at least for the apparent inattention of goats to sounds. He asked Baptiste about this, but got no particularly satisfactory answer to his question; and he thought perhaps the Indian did not understand him, but Baptiste did say distinctly that sometimes ticks got into ears of human beings and made them deaf.

While Jack was attending to his goat skins, Hugh and Tom went off to another mountain to look for sheep. A little bunch of seven were found lying down in an excellent position. There was no wind and a careful stalk was made; but just as the two got up to within shooting distance a light breeze began to blow from them to the sheep, and at the very instant that Hugh was pulling his trigger at a ram that was lying down, the bunch smelt them and sprang to their feet. It was too late for Hugh to hold his fire, and instead of killing the ram he cut a little tuft of hair from the brisket. In an instant the whole bunch of sheep were out of sight. Hugh came into camp much depressed and related his adventure to Jack.

"I expect, son," he said, "that that Indian thinks you can shoot all around me. All the way coming[Pg 261] home, after I missed that sheep, he kept telling me what a good and careful shot you were. He said he had taken out many white men to hunt, but he never saw anybody that shot as straight and as carefully as you."

Jack laughed and said: "He little knows the difference between you and me, Hugh, in matters of shooting. Anybody could have hit those goats, for they gave me all the time there was, and they weren't more than forty yards away. It was like shooting at the side of a barn."

"Well," said Hugh, "of course if I had known that those sheep were going to jump up, I could easily have fired quicker but I thought I had all the time there was and I intended to shoot so that that ram would never get up; but I never could explain it to that Indian, you bet."

"Oh," said Jack, "he will have plenty of time to see you shoot later on, I expect."

The next morning the train was packed early and they started on. Baptiste led the way, Jack followed him, and Hugh and Tom came behind. Ryder brought up the rear and watched the animals. An hour or two after, two blue grouse were startled from the trail and flew up into the tall trees where they stood on the great limbs with outstretched necks.

"Hugh," said Jack, "give Tom an idea of your shooting."

"Why, what's the use," said Hugh, "wasting two cartridges on those birds. This kid meat is good enough."

"No," said Jack, "I want to have Tom see you cut those birds' heads off."

"Well," said Hugh, "all right, if you wish me to." Drawing his horse a little out of the trail, but not dismounting, he fired two shots which brought down the two grouse. Tom was sent for them, brought them[Pg 262] in, and found that in each case the bullet had cut off the bird's neck. The Indian looked at the birds rather solemnly and then at Hugh, and then shook his head as if he could not understand how the man who could miss the sheep the day before should have been able to make these two shots. Jack laughed at him and said: "Good shot, eh, Tom?" Tom declared that the shot was good.

One day's journey brought the party to the Ashnola Country, a region of high rounded hills, over which farther back from the river rose still higher peaks and precipices of rocks. It is a country of beautiful scenery and abounded in game. A large lick, where animals had been licking and gnawing the earth until great hollows had been dug in it, was seen; and farther along as they travelled up the trail on the south side of the creek they saw a number of sheep working down on to a cut bank, which was evidently a lick. Before the sheep were noticed they had seen the party and there was then no opportunity to hunt them. The animals were only three or four hundred yards away and were not alarmed. Later in the day, on another cut bank, another band of fifteen sheep was seen at a lick and might have been easily approached but the party did not stop. All these sheep were ewes and lambs. That night the train climbed pretty well up a mountain and came on a little bench seven or eight hundred feet above the main stream, where they camped. The country seemed to be full of sheep, for Jack, going out to look for water, came across a band on a grassy hillside, but too far off to be shot at.

The camp was a pleasant one in a little group of pines with water not far off, and the hillsides covered with admirable grazing for the animals. After supper, Baptiste and Tom told them that three or four miles back in the hills were high rocky peaks where[Pg 263] many sheep were to be found, and it was determined that the next day they should visit these hills. The Indians said that it was possible to get up there with horses, but that the trail was steep and hard. Jack and Hugh, after talking the matter over and counting up the days and realizing that two days later it would be necessary for them to start back to the coast, determined that instead of taking their animals they would carry their blankets on their backs and would visit these hills, camp there, and have a look at the country, and then would return to camp and thence to Hope.

The next morning they were off early, accompanied by the two Indians, while Ryder was left to look after the animals.

[Pg 264]



As the Indians had said the trail was very steep, but after a time they reached an open timber plateau country, beautiful to travel through but without apparent game. After a little while, however, the timber grew less, and they could see before them gently rolling hills from which at some distance rose a bald, snowy mountain. They walked swiftly along, and the great mountain grew nearer.

"I tell you, Hugh," said Jack, "that looks like a good sheep country!"

"Yes," said Hugh, "it does, and from what we have seen I expect there are plenty of them there."

"This is the sort of place where we ought to find big rams," said Jack, with a laugh.

"Right," replied Hugh; "but you've hunted enough to know that big rams are not always found where they ought to be."

"No," said Jack, "that's an old story; the big rams are always 'farther back.'"

"Yes," said Hugh, "they are always 'farther back,' but what that means, I guess nobody knows. I expect that as a matter of fact, the big rams, keeping together as they do, for all the season except in rutting time, and being few in numbers compared with the ewes and young ones, are harder to find, just because they are few in number."

The afternoon was far advanced when they reached the foot of the mountain. Here, snow lay on the ground two or three inches deep. By a little spring[Pg 265] they found a white man's camp that had been made early in the season. In the fresh snow Hugh pointed out to Jack the tracks of a wolverine which had been about the camp recently, nosing around to see what it could find. A few moments later one of the Indians came up, and Hugh said: "Tom, do you know whose camp this is?"

"Yes," said Tom, "three young men who were here the moon before last. They hunt a great deal. They fire a good many shots. Not kill many animals."

The fireplace, the picket pins, and a shelter built of spruce boughs, showed that the people had been here for some time.

"Well," said Hugh, "let's camp right here. There is a good shelter for us in case it rains, as it looks likely to do now. Now, Tom, you and Baptiste get supper, will you, and son and I will take a little walk from the camp, and see what we can see."

The two started off, not toward the mountain but rather toward a large ravine which ran down from it. They had gone but a few hundred yards, when, as they were nearing the crest of a little ridge at the foot of an old moraine which ran down from the mountain, Hugh put out his hand and sank slowly down to the ground. Jack crouched beside him, and Hugh said: "There's a sheep just over the ridge; crawl up and kill it." Jack cautiously approached the ridge and looking over, saw not more than seventy-five yards away a sheep walking away toward the next ridge. The wind was right, and it was evident from the animal's actions that it had neither seen nor smelt the men. Her hips were toward him, and he did not wish to fire at her in that position for fear of spoiling the meat, so he waited. A moment later she walked over the ridge and out of sight, and Hugh and Jack followed. When they looked over the next ridge, they saw the sheep, broad-side toward them. The sun was low and glittered on[Pg 266] Jack's front sight and troubled him a little; and he took aim two or three times without pulling the trigger. As it was, he shot a little too high, but the animal fell, and they hurried up to it. It was moderately fat, and Jack and Hugh carried the meat into the camp on their backs.

The next morning they were early afoot and climbed the mountain. They had gone hardly a mile from the camp when they found seven sheep feeding on a perfectly bare hillside where there was no cover whatever. It was useless to try to approach them, and as they were in the direction in which the two wanted to go, Hugh and Jack disregarded them, and presently the sheep ran off. Constantly climbing, they came nearer and nearer the top of the mountain. The grass began to give way to pebbles and stones, and the snow got deeper and deeper. Presently they reached the top of the mountain; and, crossing its narrow crest, looked down into a beautiful little glacial basin which contained a charming lake and meadow. Feeding in this meadow were twelve sheep, far, far below them, and quite out of reach. The wind was blowing fiercely across the mountain top and they crept down into a shelter behind some rocks and for some time sat there and watched the sheep. Soon after they were first seen, the animals went down to the border of the lake and drank, and then came up on to the meadow again and lay down. After a little while, some movement, or perhaps the glitter of some piece of metal about the men, startled the sheep. They rose and looked at them, and then walked off, and after a little while began to feed again. Later, when Jack and Hugh got up and climbed to the top of the mountain, the sheep, not much alarmed, moved slowly off and climbed up the mountain side into a deep icy gorge in which was a great mass of snow.

Jack and Hugh went on for some distance, looking[Pg 267] down into one big cañon after another, but seeing nothing more, turned back to go to the camp. On the way back they came upon a flock of white-tailed ptarmigan of which there were about twenty-five. Jack had never killed one of these birds, and was anxious to have a full grown one in his hands.

"Is there any reason, Hugh," he asked, "why I should not kill one of these birds?"

"None at all, so far as I see," said Hugh. "The wind is blowing so hard that nothing ahead of us will be able to hear the firing. If you want to kill one, do so."

The wind was blowing a perfect gale and when Jack approached the pretty birds, they rose at some little distance, flew a few yards, and then alighted on a snow bank in which they at once scratched out shallow hollows where they crouched, more or less protected from the wind. The gale made it difficult for Jack to hold his gun steady and the first shot that he fired was a miss, for he overshot the bird. At the crack of the gun they all rose and flew a little farther away, and his next shot killed one. It was in almost full winter plumage, though there were others in the flock that had only partly changed from the black and tawny of summer to the white winter coat. Jack wanted to skin the bird, but the ball from his rifle had raked its back and torn off a great many feathers. Nevertheless he put it in his pocket so that at night he would have an opportunity to study it by the light of the fire.

On the way home the two men had a beautiful view from the top of the mountain, looking down into a most picturesque basin walled in on all sides by superb mountains and containing a beautiful lake. Between the tops of the mountains and the valley there were three benches or steps. The lake lay in the valley.

The next morning Hugh loaded the Indians up with[Pg 268] most of the camp equipment and some of the meat, and sent them back to camp, he and Jack retaining only their guns and blankets. They made a long round of the lower slopes of the mountains, seeing a number of sheep, and at length came to a place where deer were more numerous than they had ever seen them before. It would have been easy to kill a great number, but as they had no means of transporting the meat to the camp they did not fire at all. Toward midday they came out into a little park where a number of deer were lying down, and walking quietly up to them, got within fifteen or twenty steps of the animals before they seemed to take the alarm.

It was now time to turn back and return to camp. There Hugh and Jack made packs of their blankets and set out for the lower ground. For some time the tracks of the Indians were plainly visible,—but at length it began to snow, and the tracks were soon covered. Moreover, their landmark, the mountain which lay behind them, was no longer visible, and the only guide they had was the wind, which blew from the right or southeast.

"Well," said Hugh, "we've got to look out now, or we are liable to get lost."

"Yes," said Jack, "it's quite likely that we won't be able to strike a trail leading down the mountain, but of course we will be able to find the camp."

"Oh, yes," said Hugh; "no trouble about that, only I would rather go into camp by the same trail I left it by, if I can. However, if we don't hit the trail the only thing we'll have to do is to follow down the ridge to the river and there we'll find the trail of the packtrain, and that will take us straight to the camp."

"It would be rather a good joke on you, Hugh," said Jack, "if we were to get lost."

"So it would," said Hugh; "so it would, son. Perhaps we would have been smarter if we hadn't[Pg 269] sent those Indians off. Of course this is their country and they know it, and you and I have never been here before. We're all right, however, if the wind doesn't shift. If that should change we might easily enough get twisted. However, we've got the river sure to take us to camp."

An hour or two later, some time after they had got into the timber, Hugh stopped and said: "Son, I think we're off the track. I believe we've kept over too far to the left and have missed the trail. I don't see anything that I recognize as having seen before."

"Well," said Jack, "you can't prove anything by me. I don't see anything that I've seen before and this snow and these gray tree trunks all look alike to me. I have been watching for the past half hour to see where we were, but I haven't any idea of it."

"Well," said Hugh, "it's cold and snowy and likely to be wet; let's push down to the river and get to camp that way, if we can't any other." An hour and a half later they were going down a steep hill clothed with lodge-pole pines, and before long had come to the level land, and in a few moments were out of the timber. On the lower ground the snow had changed to rain and the trees and bushes were wet. There, before them, ran the river; and there close to the river was the deep trail worn by the feet of the horses. Turning up the river they followed the trail, climbed the hills, and just at dark were once more in camp.

Ryder was a little disposed to laugh because they had come into camp from the side opposite to that from which they had left it; but Hugh said, and Jack agreed with him, that on a night like that it was good to get to camp in any way they could.

The next day the train was packed early, and three days of long, fast travel took them back to Hope. There they learned that the next morning there would[Pg 270] be a steamer down the river, and they prepared to take it.

Long before daylight, Hugh and Jack, with bags and blankets, were waiting in the canoe for the appearance of the steamer and as soon as it was seen coming they fired four shots to attract the pilot's attention. Presently the boat shut off steam and began to back, and the canoe was soon alongside. The baggage was tossed out; a handshake and a good-by to Ryder and Baptiste, and after a moment more the wheels were turning and the steamer sped down the river carrying Hugh and Jack toward New Westminster. The night was spent here, a pleasant call made on Mr. James, and the following morning they embarked for Victoria, and the next night were at Tacoma, where they found Mr. Sturgis.

It was a pleasant meeting. Mr. Sturgis told them much about his mine, and what he had seen on his journey to and from it, while Jack was full of the beauties of the British Columbian coast. But he said, that as far as he saw, it was not a good hunting country. "Of course, there are lots of deer and goats and some bears, but they are too easily killed to make hunting very good sport."

"But then," said Mr. Sturgis, "you really didn't hunt, did you? You just followed the beach."

"That's true," said Hugh, "and it isn't fair, of course, to judge a country that you have only just touched. Now, take it on that little trip that we made from Hope. I don't know as I ever saw sheep and goats so plenty, and there were plenty of deer in the only place we had time to look for them. But of course we just put in a few days to use up the time until we had to get here to see you."

"Well," said Jack, "I suppose that anybody who has been used to hunting on the plains and on the foot-hills of the mountains where buffalo and elk are plenty is[Pg 271] likely to have a wrong idea of the game in a country where the animals don't gather together in great big bunches."

"Yes," said Mr. Sturgis, "that's true enough, I guess."

After dinner that night Mr. Sturgis said: "Well, it is time for us all to get back to our different jobs. You and I have got to go back to the ranch, Hugh, and see how the beef round-up is getting on; and you, Jack, have got to get East as fast as you can, and get to school. I think as good a way as any for us to return is to go back over the railroad that is just being built from Portland, and in that way we will see a new country. The country will be new, even to you, Hugh, won't it, as far east as Idaho?"

"Yes," said Hugh, "my range has never been out west of Lake Pend d'Oreille and Flathead Lake and all this Oregon and Washington country is new to me."

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "let's get down to Portland and then go up the Columbia River till we strike the railroad. I know General Sharpe, one of the officials of the road, and I think he will help us across the break between the end of the track in Washington Territory and the settlements in Montana. What do you say?"

"I say 'Bully!'" exclaimed Jack.

"It suits me," said Hugh, "but where will this bring us out?"

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "it ought to bring us out about Deer Lodge, and there is a little narrow-gauge road being built over from Corinne in Utah on the Union Pacific, which by this time must be somewhere near these Montana towns. Of course, when we get on a railroad that connects with the Union Pacific we are just about home."

The next morning the railroad carried them to[Pg 272] Kalama, where they took the steamer to Portland. The sail between the two points was beautiful. At one time they could see from the steamer's deck no less than six different snow-covered peaks, which ranged from nine to fourteen thousand feet in height. These were Mt. Ranier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood, Jefferson, and the Three Sisters. From Portland the steamer took them up the Columbia River through a beautiful country to the Cascades. For the first few miles of the sail the bottom was wide and the hills were distant, but after a time they reached a stretch where the river flowed between walls of rock. A great sheet of lava covers the whole face of the country. From the hills, which stretch back from the river and are covered with long yellow grass, rose numberless walls and piles of lava rock which cast black shadows. The country was open, and the park-like slopes were dotted with dark spruces and pines. Along the river water and wind had worn the rocks into curious shapes, sometimes like columns or obelisks, or again like great ovals set on end.

Along the bank of the river at several points thousands of blue-bloused, broad-hatted Chinamen were busily at work, evidently on a railroad embankment.

"This," Mr. Sturgis said, "is a railroad being built by the O. R. & N. Company between Portland and the Dalles."

"Well," said Hugh, "it seems to be the same story everywhere; railroads being built, and then people following the railroads; farms and big towns growing up; the game all going, and when the game goes of course the Indian goes too."

"Yes," said Mr. Sturgis, "this is material prosperity for the United States. You and I have seen the beginning of it, but I don't believe that either of us have any notion at all of where it is going to end. But there is one thing that we can be sure of, that no consideration of game or Indian or other natural thing[Pg 273] is going to be allowed to interfere with the material growth of the country. We people who know how things used to be, and who like them as they were, may grumble and think the change is for the worse; but nobody will pay any attention to our grumbling and the changes will go on."

At the Cascades they changed to a train which took them seven miles around the rapids, and, then boarding another steamer, proceeded, until, just at dusk, they reached the Dalles.

"Do you know, Jack," said Mr. Sturgis, when their journey was just about over, "that this country that we have been passing through is historic ground?"

"No," said Jack, "I didn't know that."

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "you have heard of the old fur trade, haven't you, and Astoria, and how John Jacob Astor sent people out to found a trading station at the mouth of the Columbia River?"

"No," said Jack, "I don't believe I have."

"I have, though," said Hugh; "and I have known two or three men in my time that worked in that outfit. One man especially who went across the country with a man named Hunt."

"Yes," said Mr. Sturgis, "that's it. Mr. Astor sent ships around the Horn with supplies to found this station, and he also sent an expedition across the country. The cross country party had trouble with the Indians and starved, and generally had a hard time, and, after the post was established, while they got lots of furs they had considerable trouble with the Indians all the time. The British claimed the country, and the Hudson's Bay people said that Astoria was in their territory. Then came the war of 1812, and the fort at Astoria was surrendered to the Hudson's Bay people; and that was the end of that trading post, so far as the Americans were concerned. But all up and down this river that we have[Pg 274] been travelling up, the Northwesters and the Hudson's Bay men used to go backward and forward portaging around these rapids that we have just been over, and working as hard as the old fur traders always worked. The story of these travels has been written by a good many of the people who took part in them, and some day it will be worth your while to hunt up these old books and read that story. It is a fascinating one."

"Yes," said Hugh, "it's sure an interesting story; though I have never seen the books, I have heard a good deal of it told. It used to be talked about a whole lot in early days."

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "a lot of those old Astorians, as Astor's employees at Astoria were called, wrote books giving their experiences, and it would be well worth your while to read them. I remember the names of some of them—Alexander Ross, Ross Cox, Franchere—and besides them some of the Hudson's Bay people, into whose hands the place passed later, wrote exceptionally interesting accounts of life at the fort, of their journeys up and down the river, and of their travels over the mountains.

"Sometime, when we get back, Jack, ask me about these books and I will make a list of them for you. Most of them are out of print now, and can only be had at the libraries; but they are books that will repay reading, and the same thing can be said of a great number of volumes dealing with the exploration of the western country. It is astonishing that we Americans know so little about matters which should be of so much interest to us. Do you realize how little is known about the work of these early explorers, traders, and trappers? Some few of us are familiar with it, but most of the people back East know nothing whatever about these men. Pretty nearly all of this work has been done within the past seventy-five years,[Pg 275] some of it within fifty years, and none of it goes back a century."

"Here is Hugh," he went on; "he has knowledge of the western country back almost to the time of that early exploration, and he certainly has known many men who were of the early generation of the trappers. Isn't that so, Hugh?"

"Yes," said Hugh, "that's sure enough true, Mr. Sturgis. I knew well Uncle Jack Robinson, the Bakers, Bridger, Beckwourth, and a whole lot of men that came into the country in the thirties or before. I have met old Bill Williams and Perkins, and know old man Culbertson well. I guess likely he's alive now."

"Why, even you, Jack," said Mr. Sturgis, "know old man Monroe, and he, according to all accounts, came into the country in 1813."

"That's so, Uncle George," said Jack; "that goes back a long way, doesn't it?"

"Well now, do you realize that probably before any of us die this whole western country will be crowded full of people; that there will be railroads running in all directions, and that the centre of population of the country will be probably moved from Pittsburg, where it is now, to somewhere in the Mississippi valley, and perhaps not far from the big river itself?" said Mr. Sturgis.

"I haven't been out here so many years," he continued, "but I have seen changes take place in this country that have astonished me, and I can see that these changes are going to keep taking place, and that almost before we know it sections of country through which now we can travel for weeks at a time without seeing any people will be full of ranches and farms and towns. We think of the United States as being a big country now, but I believe it hasn't made a beginning yet."

[Pg 276]

"Well, Mr. Sturgis," said Hugh, "I guess likely what you say is right. But what's going to happen to all the old things that used to be in the country? What's going to happen to the game, to the buffalo, to the Indians?"

"Why," said Mr. Sturgis, "the game, and buffalo, and Indians are natural things, and they cannot stand up in the face of civilized things. The game will be killed off except in little spots like Yellowstone Park; the Indians will be crowded onto their reservations and kept there, and will either be turned into farmers or cow men, or else will starve to death. The people of this country are going to see, I believe, that all this waste region, for that is what they call it, shall be made to produce something. Cattle will take the place of buffalo, sheep will take the place of deer and antelope. After a while farmers will come in, and then the big cattle and sheep men will be crowded out in turn. The farmers will raise crops from the ground instead of sheep and cattle. People will have farms and a few head of cattle, but the days of the 'cattle kings' will pass away. It's a process of evolution, my boy," he said to Jack, "and you and I will see it work itself out."

[Pg 277]



At the Dalles the travellers had changed from steamer to train, and, journeying all night on the cars, reached Walla Walla early next morning. Here they found a beautiful town of about five thousand inhabitants, situated in a section possessing a fertile soil and a delightful climate. Gardens were growing and fruit ripening, and all things were bright and green. Twelve miles from Walla Walla was the almost deserted town of Wallula. Here a branch line of the Northern Pacific Railroad took the party on to South Ainsworth on Snake River. Nothing could have presented a greater contrast than the two towns which were seen on the same day, Walla Walla and Ainsworth. The first was from every point of view attractive, the second a sand waste on the banks of the Snake River, a hopeless straggling little town of a dozen or twenty houses set down in the midst of a dreary desert of sage brush, utterly monotonous and uninteresting. Here the travellers were obliged to pass one day, and all through that day and all through the night the wind blew with steady, persistent force, carrying with it the sands of the plain, which it piled up here and there in great dunes and then lifted again and carried on to some other point. The sandhills were constantly shifting and being tossed backward and forward, as restless and inconstant as the waves of the ocean. Often the sand is piled high upon the sparse vegetation, and again it is carried away so that the roots of that vegetation are uncovered.

[Pg 278]

After one day here they boarded a train and left for Spokane Falls, which was just about at the end of the track which was being built eastward. As they jogged slowly along in the caboose of the freight train, which moved unsteadily over the newly laid track, they had an opportunity to see much of the country. At first there was little to it that was attractive, but after leaving Snake River the quality of the land seemed to improve, and Hugh frequently called attention to the good grass, and declared that he believed that some day this country would be full of cattle.

Jack, who had been thinking of what his uncle had said two or three days before, said to Mr. Sturgis: "You don't think, Uncle George, that any part of this country like Ainsworth will ever be good for anything, do you?"

"Yes, my boy, I do," said Mr. Sturgis; "of course we cannot see now how this country will ever be made use of, but fifty years ago who would have thought that the Salt Lake Valley was capable of cultivation, or thirty or forty years ago that Walla Walla would ever be a town. I believe that this country will fill up with cattle and for a little time will be a grazing country, and then I think that it will come to be a farming country. The winters here are mild, the soil is good, and there is plenty of water. There are going to be people here, and towns, but I don't know when."

A little distance after leaving a station called Summit they passed Big Lake, and here entered a territory where there were already farms. They could see frequently houses with good barns, and the fields were dotted with haystacks. There were also herds of cattle and horses, all fat and in good condition.

It was nearly night when they reached Spokane. As court was in session the town was thronged with people, and they had great difficulty in securing rooms. At last, however, a loft was found where they spread[Pg 279] their blankets and passed a good night. Before dark, however, they took time to walk along the Spokane River to see the Falls, a series of beautiful cascades which were well worth looking at.

Mr. Sturgis had provided himself with letters from the officials of the Northern Pacific Railroad to the employees along the road, and the next morning they left for Lake Pend d'Oreille. Thirty-five miles travelling took them to Westwood, the end of the track, and there they took a stage for the Lake. The three were the only passengers, and the ride was long and dusty, yet possessed many features of interest. The road ran for the most part along the railroad's right of way, and they could see all the various operations of the building of this great transatlantic highway. After they had passed the end of the track they came to one of the enormous railroad camps which always precede the iron of a new road. Here was a real canvas city, and its inhabitants were white men, Chinese, horses, mules, and dogs. Everything was on a large scale. The eating tents covered an area equal to that of a good-sized town. There were hundreds of sleeping-tents. There were great forges at which many blacksmiths worked, and huge water troughs at which twenty-five horses could drink at a time. The bread-pan in the cook tent was large enough to serve a full-grown man as a bath tub. Hugh and Jack could only stare and wonder and point out to each other one astonishing thing after another; and even Mr. Sturgis, whose experience had been much wider than that of either of his companions, was much impressed.

As the stage approached the lake, the road became constantly rougher. They passed from the railroad camp and saw first the bridge workers, next the graders, and then the "right of way" men, whose business it was to chop their way through the forest[Pg 280] and clear off all the timber along the line of the track for a width of fifty feet. After the timber was felled it was left to dry and was then set on fire.

"That's bad business," said Mr. Sturgis; "these men think of nothing but the convenience of the moment. All these fires that they are kindling and that they are leaving to burn here may set the hills on fire, and large tracts of country may be burned and much valuable standing timber destroyed."

"Yes," said Hugh, "these men think of nothing but the quickest way of getting rid of anything that they don't use."

"It's the fault of the contractors," said Mr. Sturgis, "and some means should be found to stop such a destruction of timber."

A little later, as the stage approached the lake, they could see the woods on fire everywhere. The stage-driver told them that this had gone on for some time, and that on two or three occasions recently the fires had been so extensive that the stage had been unable to get through to the lake, and had been forced to turn around and return.

On this day the driver went carefully and succeeded in picking out places where he could get through, though more than once the stage drove between piles of blazing logs which made it uncomfortably warm for the passengers. The timber was largely pine and hackmatack, but there was also some white and some yellow birch.

Not long after the fire had been left behind they came into an open country, from which, ahead of them, they could see a large sheet of water; and presently from a hill they looked down upon beautiful Lake Pend d'Oreille, surrounded on all sides by towering, timbered hills.

At the end of the stage line there was an engineer's camp; and here, to Mr. Sturgis' great surprise, he met[Pg 281] among the engineers two friends whom he had not seen for years and whom he little expected to meet in this far off spot. The surprise was a mutually delightful one. His friends seized him, and Jack, and Hugh, and insisted on their sharing the hospitality of their camp, and a very delightful evening was spent there.

Some distance down Pend d'Oreille River, or as it is often called, Clark's Fork of the Columbia, and so some miles from the engineer's camp, was a place known as Siniaqueateen, which in the Flathead language means "the place where we cross." Here was the supply depot for the engineer department of the Northern Pacific railroad, and here were the headquarters of Mr. Galbraith, the commissary, who had charge of the advance transportation of the railroad. To him Mr. Sturgis had a letter from the railroad officials; and to Siniaqueateen the travellers went the next morning. It was a small settlement, consisting of a trader's store and house, and two or three other stores and houses, and the office buildings belonging to the railroad. Here is the ford across the river which gives the place its name; and here is where the trail between the Flathead Lake and the Kootenay District of British Columbia, distant over two hundred miles, crosses the stream. From time immemorial this has been a crossing place for the Indians, travelling north and south through the country. Now on the bank of the river there was a camp of Kutenai Indians.

About the ferry were lounging many Indians, who, to Jack's eye seemed quite different from the Coast Indians, and much more like the people of the plains to whom he was accustomed. He asked Mr. Galbraith about these people, and Mr. Galbraith, who knew a number of the individuals of the two tribes, told him something about them.

"These Flatheads that you see here belong in the country as do also some Kutenais, but not those that[Pg 282] have just come in, and are in camp here. They are from the north and are bringing down their furs to trade."

"Why do they call them Flatheads, Mr. Galbraith?" asked Jack. "They don't seem to have their heads flattened as the Coast Indians have. The heads of these people are shaped like those of any one."

"Well," said Mr. Galbraith, "I don't know why they are called Flatheads, but that is the name for them in this country. They do not call themselves by that name. They call themselves Kallispelms. They are pretty good Indians, hunt all through this region, farm a little, and have plenty of horses. In July or August they always come down to the lake shore, because then, when the water is low, and the big meadows on the edge of the lake are exposed, the camas grows up, and they dig the roots which form a considerable portion of their vegetable food."

"I have heard of camas," said Jack, "but I don't think I ever saw it grow to know it. What is it like?"

"Why," said Mr. Galbraith, "I don't know what the books call it; but it is a root that grows in damp places, has two long leaves like a lily, and a slender stalk that bears a blue flower. The root is shaped somewhat like an onion or a tulip. The women gather them in great quantities. Then, after they are gathered, they are cooked and then dried for use in the winter. After they have been dried the roots are about as big as the end of your finger; and just after cooking they are sweet, something like a chestnut. The Indians make a very good bread by squeezing a lot of the newly cooked bulbs together."

"How do they cook them?" asked Jack.

"Oh, in the usual way," said Galbraith. "They dig a big hole in the ground; build a fire in it in which they heat stones and then spread grass over the hot stones. They then pile in a great quantity of the roots, covering[Pg 283] them with grass, and next with hot stones. Then the whole thing is covered with earth, and the pit is left alone for three or four days. The women know when to open it, and when they do so and take off the stones and the grass the heat of the stones has cooked the roots which have turned dark brown in color and are ready to use. It's fun to see the children cluster around when the pit is opened, and to see them struggle to get the grass which has covered the roots. This grass is covered with a sweet syrup and the children delight to suck it. I suppose there are a lot of roots and berries which the Indians know of and use, of which we know nothing at all."

"Yes," said Jack, "I know that is so in my country. There is hardly any time in the summer but there is some vegetable food ripening that the Indians know of and use."

"There's another root called kaus, that the Kutenais know of," said Mr. Galbraith. "They dry and pound up these roots and then mix them with water and bake them in cakes, and they make a good bread. These roots are sweet and aromatic. Of berries, the sarvis berry is perhaps the most important, and it grows abundantly all through the mountains, but there are a number of other berries, fruits, and roots."

That night Mr. Sturgis had a talk with Mr. Galbraith, who said that he could very easily take them across the lake in the company's sailboat, and then would give them saddle and pack horses to take them up the Pend d'Oreille River, to the Jocko or any other point that they might wish to go to. At the Jocko, they could hire some Indian or half-breed to drive them on to Deer Lodge, and from Deer Lodge they could take the stage to Missoula or Silver Bow, which he understood was then the end of the track of the narrow-gauge road running up from the South. To all hands this seemed the best way to get home; and as they[Pg 284] were now on the very borders of Montana it seemed that they had but a short distance to go before they would once more be in their own country.

The next morning early, accompanied by Mr. Galbraith and with a crew of three or four voyageurs, they started out from Siniaqueateen for the Lake. The river gradually became more and more wide and the scenery was very beautiful. The stream valley was broad, and smooth grassy meadows dotted here and there with willows and other small trees sloped gently up to the higher land from the water's edge.

Before they had reached the lake, a number of Indians were seen paddling close along the shore in their canoes, which were of a type entirely new to Mr. Sturgis as well as to Jack and Hugh. These structures were sharply pointed at both ends, and as much as anything resembling cylinders of bark.

"These canoes are different from anything I ever saw before," said Hugh. "I know the birch canoes of the North, and I have just come back from a voyage in the wooden canoes of British Columbia, but I never saw anything like this. What are they made of, and how are they made?"

"They are made of pine bark," said Mr. Galbraith, "and they are queer canoes. I never saw them anywhere except in the country west of the Rocky Mountains and about two or three hundred miles north and south. The Indians take the bark from the white pine in very large sheets and make rolls of it, which they stow away dry until they need it. Then they soak the bark in water until it becomes soft and pliable and easy to handle. Then they make a frame of small cedar poles lashed together with strips of cedar bark, and this frame is then covered with sheets of this pine bark, which are sewed together with tamarack roots, and patched with resin from the fir tree. The outside [Pg 285]of the bark is on the inside of the canoe, and the Indians paddle on both sides. These canoes are mighty cranky, and upset very easily. Of course sails are never used in them, but the Indians keep close to the shore, and do not dare to cross over from point to point."

The next morning there was a good breeze. They started to cross the Lake and soon after noon reached the Northern Pacific's camp at the mouth of Clark's Fork. The company's surveyors were laying out the line up this river; and their supplies and mail were ferried across the lake and carried east along the line of the road which led up toward the Coeur d'Alene Mountains. Here Mr. Galbraith, with great energy got together an outfit of pack and saddle animals, and the next morning a little train of seven animals filed out of the camp and took the trail for Missoula.

The journey up Clark's Fork was a delightful one and took about seven days. The party travelled fast, stopping neither to hunt nor fish. Deer and bear signs were plenty, and in a few cases white-tailed deer were seen, but none were killed. The daylight hours were spent in riding through the beautiful river valley and among the great cinnamon-colored trunks of giant pines that formed the chief timber of the country, and at night the party was always ready for supper and bed.

Hugh and Mr. Sturgis were enthusiastic about the prospects of this region, where there was much fine land and unlimited grazing.

At the Jocko, the wagon road began; and here the pack train was dismissed and the travellers' guns and blankets were transferred to a wagon driven by one of the large tribe of McDonalds, descendants of some old Hudson's Bay trader who had married a Flathead woman. They were then taken to Missoula, and from there to Deer Lodge, Le logis de chevreuils, as their driver called it.

From Deer Lodge it was a matter of a little staging [Pg 286]to Melrose, which was then the terminus of the Utah and Northern railroad. Here Mr. Sturgis, Jack, and Hugh found themselves back again in bustling, hurrying America, and oppressed by the feeling that they must at once get back to their work. They were soon once more on the cars, flying at high speed toward their destinations.

Three days later on the Union Pacific railroad Mr. Sturgis and Hugh shook hands with Jack and left him alone, and three days later he was once more in New York.





Transcriber's note:

The book cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.