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Full text of "Manitoba and the North-West [microform] : journal of a trip from Toronto to the Rocky Mountains via Lake Superior, Thunder Bay, Rat Portage, Winnipeg, Qu'Appelle, Prince Albert, Battleford, Fort Calgary and Fort McLeod, and return via Edmonton, Touchwood Hills, etc."

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MANITOBA 






ANI» 



THE ^0ETH-"WE8T; 



JOURNAL OF A TRIP 



PROM 



TORONTO TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, 



VIA 



LAKE SUPERIOR, THUNDER BVY, RAT PORTAGE, WIN- 
NIPEG, QU'APPELLE, PRINCE ALBERT, BATTLE- 
FORD, FORT CALGARY and FORT McLEOD. 



AND RETURN VIA 



EDMONTON, TOUCHWOOD HILLS, ETC. 



1!Y 



W. II. WILLIAMS, 

Slioi'ial Coiri'sjunuli'iit of Tiironto <lti>l>r iritli IjhiU Loinf. 



IIUNTKU, liOSK .V COMPANY 

188'J. 



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LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY 
OF ALBERTA 



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<1! 



INTRODUCTION. 



In presentine my North-West letters to the public in their present 
form, I do not feel that any apology is necessary. Much has already 
been published about the North-West Territory, but it must be remem- 
bered, that as yet, very little is known concerning it. This is not the 
fault of those few who have travelled through the country, as indeed 
oome extremely useful and entertaining books are already comprised -in 
our library of North- Western literature ; but it is rather the fault of 
the country itself. It is simply " too big " for the amount of research 
that has as yet been expended upon it, and hundreds of large quarto 
volumes would come very far abort of containing all that might be 
written of the great North-West that would be both entertaining and 
instructive. Much of the country is as yet practically unknown to all 
save a few aboriginies, and though the tide of immigration has been 
pouring in a heavy stream of population during the past few years, it 
has not yet amounted to a drop iu the bucket. Travellers have taken 
one trail through the country on their westward course, and have, per- 
haps, returned east by another route, but even this has only opened up 
a very limited portion of this vast region to their investigation, so that, 
as I said at the outset, I do not think I owe the public any apology for 
adding one more book to the number that have already been written on 
the great North-West. 

In the following pages the reader will find my letters in much the 
same form as that taken by them when they appeared in The Glohc^ 
except that matters of purely local or ephemeral interest have been 
expunged. To have presented them in any other form than that of a 
journal of my trip to the Rocky Mountains and back, would have meant 
either a sacrifice of continuity, or the elimination of much in the way 
of experiences, that I think cannot fail to be of practical use to the 
intending visitor, bo he tourist or settler. In this journal the reader 
will find a faithful and accurate record of my experiences and impressions 
in crossing the great North-West, and I cannot but think that as such, 
they will bo (juite as instructive, and vastly more readable, than would 






IV 



INTRODUCTION'. 



have been a book, in which, without the continuity of a story, I had 
attempted to teach the lessons impressed upon me by these experiences. 

In conclusion I have only to say that while I have no doubt that this 
book will be fiercely attacked, bullied and criticized, by the enemies of 
the North- West on the one hand, and those who would have the public 
think that region an earthly realization of Paradise, on the other, I bear 
.no ill feeling to those who thus hope to climb suddenly into literary 
pre-eminence over my '* mangled remains," but I only ask the reading 
public to remember that I have enjoyed exceptional facilities for collect- 
ing reliable information regarding the country through which I travelled, 
and that I have no object in telling anything but the simple truth. 

Whenever T have had occasion to deal with anything outside the limits 
of my personal observation, I have given my authority for my statements, 
and my aim throughout has been to bs as accurate as possible. This 
disposition to be accurate, without regard 'o the pet theories of lecturers' 
preachers and writers, who have §;iven the public a great deal of silly 
gush about the climate of the North- West, has already secured for me 
no ' nail amount of abuse, as well as some little malicious vilification, 
L a spite of all this I cannot see any reason why I should tell false . 
hoods merely for the sake of being on the popular side. I have no lots 
to sell, nor am I paid to puff certain sections of country, and so I can 
afford to tell the truth ; but on the other hand I should be very sorry 
if a single sentence in the following pages should deter any desirable 
immigrant from making a home in Manitoba or the Nor«h-West. It is 
only those idle visionary fools, that seek an earthly paradise, who would 
be frightened by the simple truths I have told regarding the climate of 
the North- West, and it is they who want gush with which to construct 
their day dreams. 

Had I not made the journey in Lord Lome's company, I could not 
possibly have had anything like such excellent opportunities for obtain- 
ing information from settlers, traders, half-breeds, and Indians, and I 
cannot suificiently acknowledge the obligations I owe Ilis Excedency 
for the care he invariably exercised in seeing that all the journalists in 
the party were furnished with every facility for collecting useful and 
interesting information. 

The course taken was from Toronto to Oollingwood ma the Northern 
Railway, thence to Prince Arthur's Landing, per Steamer Francen Smith, 
thence by Canada Pacific Railway to Wabigoon Lake, thence by canoe 



h 



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k 



INTRODUCTrOX. y 

route to Rat Portcige, thence by Canada PaciKc Raih.- ly to Winnipeg, 
Portage La Prairie and end of track, thence to Carleton by horses and 
waggons, thence to Prince Albert by Steamer Northcote, thence to 
Battleford by Steamer Lily, thence by horses and waggons to Calgary, 
Fort McLeod and Pincher Creek, where I bade good-bye to His Excel- 
lency and party, and returned home by way of Edmonton. The journey 
opened July 21st, and closed December IGth, 1881, and was probably 
as comprehensive, if not more so, than that taken by any letter writer 
who has recently visited the country. 



I 



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CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 



I'A<iE. 



Lord Lorno and party leave Toronto, and calling at several intermediate points, 
reach Owen Sound 9 

CHAPTER II. 

Up Georgian Bay — A noisy reveille — Lonely Island — Ashore at Killarney and 
Little Current — A strange uoincidence — An interesting incident 10 

CHAPTER III. 

Manitoulin Island and its principal products — Neebish Rapids— Lake George 
—The sunken "Asia "—The Sault— Garden River- Some Indian Chiefs 
and their attire — Michipicoten Island — Silver Islet — Prince Arthur's 
Landing and the reception 13 

CHAPTER IV. 

From Prince Arthur's Landing to Wabigoon Lake — Rough railroad travelling 
— Pagan Indians of Wabigoon — A portable mansion — Beautiful scenery — 
An Indian pow-wow — A noon halt — Addresses and replies — A weakness 
in the Indian indemnity system — A picturesque camp IS 

CHAPTER V. 

From Wabigoon camp to Bell's Lake, via Eagle Lake — Magnificent inland lake 
scenery — By portage and canoe across the "Missing Link" — Over the 
"Lake of Flowers" — A picturesque spot — Bush fires — Luxurious barges 
— A chain of beautiful lakes 2r) 

CHAPTER VI. 

On Whitefish Bay and Lake of the Woods— Through a beautiful archipelago 
— Black Creek — Blueberry Lake — A dark cloud in a sunny sky— The 
fatal accident — Arrival at Rat Portage 3(t 

CHAPTER VII. 

An enthusiastic reception at Rat Portage — A large gathering of Aborigines — 
Gorgeously painted Indians of the Lake of the Woods — Reveille at Eat 
Portage — A miscellaneous audience — An Indian entertainment — Descrip- 
tion of the chiefs .32 

CHAPTER VIII. 

His Excellency's departure from Rat Portage — A series of Indian festivities — 
Grumbling red men — An invitation to feast on dog soup — An introduction 
to several Indian Chiefs— The Falls of Winnipeg River— A dog feast- 
Mysterious ceremonies — Interesting particulars 3') 



VIII 



<'<»\TF.NTS. 



(CHAPTER IX. 



l'A»!K 



Kroni Kat I'oitage to tlie City of \Viniiipeg -llailway travelling under diffi- 
culties—Winnipeg and what is to ))e learned and seen tliere — Martin 
Chuzzlewit and Eden revived—" A beautiful city on the prairie " which 
does not exist— Mrs. Mackenzie Bowell rides in a locomotive — Crossing a 
sink hole — Winnipeg — Living in tents— Ifeal Estate sales— Lord Lome's 
reception —A l)usy place «'{*•) 

CHAPTER X. 

From Winnipeg to Portage La Prairie— Second stage of the journey — Stony- 
mountain and the character of the soil — The scene presented at the por- 
tage — Incidents of the reception — A glimpse of the bufi'alo — Manitoba's 
system of drainage -42 

CHAPTER XI. 

Westward from the end of the C^anada Pacific — Description of the cavalcade — 
Lord Lome lays a rail on the great road — Over the great plains — Out into 
tlie great North-W'est — The country traversed — Splendid lands held by 
speculators 4G 

CHAPTER XII. 

Reception at Rapid City — A tine farming country — How Winnipeg merchants 
treat travellers — The Little Saskatchewan and its water-power — Salt 
Lake — The country around Shoal Lake — The water on the plains. ... 49 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Arrival at liirtle and reception — The land stony but good — Experiences of 
settlers in their new homes — The prairie mosquito — Arrival at Fort 
Ellicc 5:$ 

CHAPTER XIV. 

His Excellency beyond Fort Ellice — Meeting with a half-breed freighter — 
Carrying goods across the plains — Sleeping without a tent on the open 
prairie — Hard work for comparatively small pay — A hospitable host .... T)!' 

CHAPTER XV. 

From Fort Ellice to Qu' Appelle — Extraordinary fertility of the soil — An inde- 
scribably beautiful land — Exquisite effects of colour on the banks of the 
Qu'Appelle — Through the settlers' paradise (>3 

CHAPTER XVI. 

The soil and the forest of Touchwood Hills — Prairie wolves howl dismally near 
the camp — The mares astray on the plains — A thunder storm on the 
prairie — Myriads of badger, hare, duck and prairie chicken — The great 
salt plains and alkali beds 71 

CHAPTER XVII. 

A treeless expanse of rich prairie soil— Prospects of untimbered lands — W^arn- 

iug to the shiftless denizens of eastern towns — The guid»> taken ill 7t> 



CONTENTS. 



IX 



I'AOK 



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CHAPTER XVIII. i'A(!E 
Across the South Saskatchewan River— Arrival at Fort I'arlton— A few words 
about the North-West Mounted Tolice— The Hudson Bay Company — 
Their trading posts — The organization and working of the company 80 

CHAPTER XIX. 

An old chief expresses the wants of his people — Down the Sra' at hcwan to 
Prince Albert — Cordial welcome by the settlers — The " Loiisj " scholar- 
ship to be established S4 

CHAPTER XX. 

Voyage up the North Saskatchewan— Arrival at Battleford - Resources of 
the country 91 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Oflf for Calgary— A dreary night on the plains— An optical illusion— Follow- 
ing a dim trail 9<J 

CHAPTER XXII. 

A drive through rich romantic-looking valleys— Ponies and waggons stuck in 
a bad slough — The "Alkali" scare unfounded — Keen frost on the 
plains — Across another treeless prairie — Tenting in the storm — Driving 
across the plains by moonlight 99 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

The Cree chief relates some Indian legends — A lecture hall on the prairie— 
" Poundmaker's " terrible winter among the Blackfeet — The Indian ques- 
tion looming up — How can it be settled? — Some suggestions — Better 
teach the Indians than fight or feed them — Canada owes them her western 
empire 1<*4 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

A buffalo hunt viewed by His Excellency's party — First view of the Rocky 
Mountains— Council with the Blackfoot chief Crowfoot and his baud — 
Arrival of fresh horses and supplies— A Blackfoot squaw who speaks Eng- 
lish—Costume of a Blackfoot belle— Beautiful scenes — Divine Service in 
Camp Ill 

CHAPTER XXV. 

Arrival of the Governor-General at Fort Calgary— Senator Cochrane's rancho 
— How a great stock farm is filled — Cost of Montana cattle — Chinook 
winds — A rest at the fort — The journey across the plains resumed 122 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Arrival at Fort McLeod — A village with no compeer — A town in the far west 

Its inhabitants — Its streets— Its accommodations 128 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

Incidents and objects of interest at Fort McLeod— Horse -stealing across the 
border — Improved condition of the Mounted Police force- duties of the 
force — Necessity of its being strengthened— Prospects of trouble through 
Indian depredations l-)'2 



X CONTENTS, 

CHAPTER XXVIII. page 

The M'Farlane ranche — History of a prairie pioneer — Several tribes hold a 
pow-wow before His Excellency — Dexterous riders and nimble ponies — 
(."attle raising in the ranches — price of farm produce and labour — how 
capital and industry pay 140 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

His Excellency near the boundary — Indian department supply farm— Incidents 
in crossing OA Man's Kiver — Nobody seriously hurt— The Foothills of 
the " Rockies " — An evening ramble 144 

CHAPTER XXX. 

Danger of an Indian war— Nor' West coal second only to Anthracite — Strange 
phases of life at Fort McLeod — Fort McL^od slang — Abundance and 
excellence of the coal — Temptations of Indian instructors— Horse and 
cattle thieving — An Indian outbreak threatening 151 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

Lost in a snow storm— Lassoing a wild broncho — A herd of antelopes across 
the trail — Travelling on the plains in comfortable style — How a Gait man 
emigrates— Cattle ranche locations 156 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

The Indian supply farm— Good prospects for intending horse and cattle ranch- 
ers — Detailed estimate of the cost of each ranche — What kind of animals 
to stock with — The value of Polled Angus and Galloways — Kyuse mares 
and their qualities — A coming demand for mules — Causes and effects of 
the Chinook winds 101 

CHAPTER XXXII (a). 
From Fort Calgary to Edmonton — Summer frosts upon the plains — A curious 
ledge, queerly wrought, inhabited by many birds — Future of Calgary — A 
drive of 1,300 miles yet to be made — Nature of the country on the route 
— Uorse thieves about Calgary — A sunset on the prairies — Lakes swarm- 
ing with ducks and geese — A storm on the plains 103 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

On the trail from Fort Calgary to Edmonton— Day after day of blinding 
Storms — A glimpse of Indian home life and hospitality — A lonely camp 
in the wilderness — The hunter's return — A tea dance and how the guests 
were invited — Djnmal prospects 173 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

Merc stormy weather encountered — Bear Hills Indian farm — Arrival ai. Ed- 
monton — St. All nrt .Mission — The Black Mud River — A great swamp 
of black earth— Wretched character of the trail, to Edmonton 170 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

Edmonton and its vicinity— Once more on the trail — The first day's journey 
on route to Battleford 180 



-k 



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4 






CONTENTS. XI 

CHAPTER XXXVI. page 

Arrival at Fort Saskatchewan— Record of several days' jouruey 189 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Arrival at Battleford— A thriving centre of population— A cheerful, pleasant 
place— A visit to the police barracks — Lieutenant-Governor Laird . 196 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

Wayside incidents — A dangerous crossing of the South Saskatchewan River 
— The soil at Aroline Crossing — Lost on the prairies — A serious matter — 
Sheep in the North-West— Rough travelling 202 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 

The Kyuse as a cavalry horse— Rough travelling on the open prairie 210 

CHAPTER XL. 

Humboldt and its vicinity— Record of several days' journeyings 210 

CHAPTER XLL 

Touchwood Hills— A fertile Region— Starting for Fort Ellice 223 

CHAPTER XLII. 

From Touchwood Hills to Fort Ellice— Arrival at Wolverine Hill— Mischievous 
changes in North-West nomenclature 228 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

From Fort Ellice to Brandon— The land boom at Brandon— Importance of a 

strict prohibitory liquor law 234 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

The journey closed — An impartial opinion of the land speculation boom — A 
crop of " Edens"— Mythical fortunes and paner cities — Words of warn- 
ing—The state of business in Winnipeg — Bubble prices for lots 237 

CHAPTER XLV. 

Resume of the journey— Description of the ground traversed — The general 
character of the soil throughout the North- West Territories 242 

CHAPTER XLVI. 

Further resume of the journey -A general description of the soil throughout 
the North- West Territories 24(5 

CHAPTER XLVII. 

The trail from Carleton to Battleford — The climate of the ^orth- West— The 
Bow Hivor district adapted for cattle ranching— Probable valuable graz- 
ing district- Rich soil in the vicinity of Edmonton— A few words al)0ut 
the cold in winter 249 

CHAPTER XL nil. 

How to visit the North-West— Information for intending settlers— Corclusion 255 



MANITOBA 



AND 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



CHAPTER I. 






LORD U)KNK AND I'AIMY l.KAVK TORONTO AND, CALMNfi AT .'^EVEHAL INTEKMEUIATH 

I'OINTS, REACH OWEN SOUND. 

BAKUit<;, July 21. — The special train carrying the Governor-General and 
jiarty moved out of Brock Street station at just half-past eleven, having been 
preceded by the pilot engine just ten minutes earlier. The train consisted 
of an engine and six cars. First came the baggage car, then the Northern 
Railway staff car, then the parlour car, then the directors' car ; and after 
that the two cars belonging to His Excellency and suite. The pilot selected 
for the occasion was No. 04, a new Brooks engine but recently imported. 
She was in charge of Engineer R. Person, one of the oldest drivers on the 
line, his connection with the line dating tweniy-tive yeais back. The engi- 
neer was also accompanied by Patrick Henrick, a conductor who has been in 
tlie service of the Company for twenty-seven years. The run out of the city 
and northward was a very pleasant one. There was so little dust that the 
windows and doors of the cars could be left open witliout any inconvenience 
to the passengers, and the rapid motion of the train kept a refreshing breeze 
paHsing through the curs all the time, tlius keeping down the temperature to 
a most enjoyable contlition. Tlio almost cloudless sky, brilliant sunshine 
and the lonely pastoral landscapes, in which ♦he rich, verdant lines of niid- 
uummer were charmingly varied by the orange .. d yiOluw Holds of ripe and 
ripening grain. 

AT NKWMARKET. 

The train reached Newmarket about one o'clock, whore a largo crowd had 
assembled, and the preparations for llie iec(ption of His Kxcclleiioy were of 
the most complete and satisfactory charact»'r. A handsonu pavilion of ever- 
greens had been erected opposite the (loint at which the (Sovernor'a car 
Htopped. Hero tl'o usual programme of addresBts and replies were gone 
tliroiigh with. 

After leaving Newmarket the guests of the t\)mpany and the memlierH of 
the I'ress were treated to an excellent lunch on board the train, and soon 
after this was over the train came in sight of tiio sparkling dark-blue waters 
of Kempenfeldt Bay with the town of Barrie nestling prettily along its fartiier 



10 



MANITOBA AND 



fllioro. At Allandalo, His Excellency and party were entertained to an ele- 
gant Innch by the Northern Railwaj' Company, after which the train made its 
way over to Uarrie, the station being reached at abont half-past three. Here 
a brilliant and cnthnsiastic reception awaited His Excellency. The long 
platform in front of and beside the station was literally packed with men, 
women, and children, all cheering enthnsiastically as the train drew up. 

After the inevitable addresses had been gone through with, the train left 
liarrie about lialf-past four, .and the run to CoUingwood was a rapid one 
through a Hat level country, which, though only partially settled, promises 
extremely well as an agricultural district. The country, though low lying, 
lias excellent soil, and the crops are magnificent. When the Prince of Wales 
went through liore, and even as late as fifteen years ago, this country was an 
absolute wilderness, but now the landscape is dotted all over with fine clear- 
ings, with splendid homesteads springing up on every hand. 

At Collingwood another brilliant reception awaited His Excellency, but in 
due time the whole party reached the wharf, and it was just eight o'clock as 
the final whistle was sounded, and the steamer Fnnices Smith swung out from 
the wharf and steamed gracefully out of Collingwood Harbour. The sun had 
gone down like a great disc of fire, flaring redly through a thick bank of dark 
blue mist, and soon the stars were shining brightly overhead, and the cool 
night breezes came stealing down from the north over the almost rippleless 
water. 

Though it was ten o'clock when the steamer r^afihed Meaford, a reception 
committee was in waiting, and :.a unusually enthusiastic welcome was ac- 
corded to His Excellency. After an address had been presented and replied 
to. His Excellency and party returned to the steamer, and the Francea 
Smith shortly afterwards started from the wliarf on the next stage of the 
journey. The good people of Owen Sound were anxious to welcome His Ex- 
cellency and give formal expression to their feelings of loyalty, but circum- 
stances did not permit. The boat called at their port about four o'clock in 
the morning, an hour which precluded any interchange of courtesies. 



CHAPTER J I. 



II' (;Koli(;lAS ItAV A NOISY UF-VEILM; -LONKl.V IHI.AND AHHOUK AT KIM AHNKY A\l» 
I.ITTI,R CIHUKNT A MTUANOK COINCIDKNlK AN INTKRUSTINt! INOIDRNT. 



Lirri.K CfHiiKNT, Manitovilin Island, .July U^ml.- Early this morning the 
passengers of the Fr(iiirt\i Smith were aroused from their slumbers by a chorus 
of tliu most uiii'arthly and discordant noises. A lot of fat cattle were being 



THE XORTII-WKSr. 



11 



taken on board, and as they had no speciul desire for a trip to the North- 
West they were giving expression to their disapproval with a vengeance. 

It was nearly six o'clock when the heavily-laden steamer moved out of the 
(excellent harbour of Owen Sound, and soon she was steaming up Georgia:) 
liay favoured with as tine weather as was ever seen on a lovely mid-summer 
morning. For a great part of the forenoon the steamer was nearly or quite 
out of sight of land, but though there was little to be seen save sky and watei*, 
the passengers spent most of the time on the decks enjoying the light though 
deliciously cool and invigorating breezes from ofl' the great northern waters. 
Indeed, it would seem as if languor and weariness were impossibilities on the 
Lake Superior route, where every breath of air is a tonic, and the eye 
never wearies even when there is naught to be seen save the great stretches 
of water and the ever changing sky. In the afternoon the breeze had died 
away to a mere breath, and the steamer ploughed along through the appar- 
ently limitless expanse of limpid water, whose wondrous depth made it look 
like a swarthy 3ood. Low dead swells were rolling westward, but these 
were clothed in little wavelets whose tiny crests were flashing like dia- 
monds of tlie purest water. Presently the black crest of Lonely Island 
looms out of the haze on the port bow, while its sides are still hidden by a 
thin veil of mist that is silver white at the water line, but shades upward to a 
translucent blue. Straight ahead in the horizon lies a bank of blue hazy 
clouds, and above this, but merging with it, are billowy masses of bright 
coppery clouds, whose upper edges are flecked with little ragged frag- 
ments of dark slatey rain clouds. Then comes a narrow zone of deep bright 
unclouded azui-e, and then broad thin sheets of fleecy sunlit vapour. Away 
to the southward all along the horizon lies a light belt of smoke brown haze, 
and in its upper edge are floating little fluffy cloudlets, gleaming sunlit isles 
(if pale fawn colour. Lonely Island, whose dreary stretches of barren sand 
and gravel, and sullen towering ledges of rock repel all save the solitary 
lighthouse-keeper and now and then a few Ojibway fishermen, is passed 
at length, and then the great Manitoulin Island comes in view. S(>on 
the steamer is under shelter of this greatest of all fresh water islands, 
but none too soon, for suddenly a great bank of rain cloud rolls down 
from the north-west, bringing with it a sharp squall that is (juickly fol- 
lowed by a l)risk shower, the big drops soon covering the dark waves with 
bubbles that look like myriads of tiny spheres of crystal against a back 
ground of inky blackness. The rain soon passes, however, and when the sun 
was only abor.t an hour high the «tean)er turned westward into a long narrow 
reach between a low lying rocky island and the north shore mainland. On 
the right Imnd of this narrow channel lay the little lishing hamlet called Kil- 
larney. As the steamer passed the lighthouse and headed westward tlie declin- 
ing sun lit up the gently rippling waters of the strait like a gleaming path of 
l)urniHhed gold. On the right, up<m a broad glassy flat, edged with a low 
convex border of ice-pjlishod reddish Laurentiun rock curving down to the 
water's edge were scattered the wooden Inits and cabins of the little tishing- 
villuge, while on the loft the smooth, bare, storm swcjit mcks were crowned 



]•> 



MANITOBA AND 



with tlie sliiirp, bristling, black-green cones of stunted spruces. Here the 
steamer halted for an hour, while His Excellency went ashore for a stroll 
through the village. The Marquis of Lome was attracted by the very neat 
and cheerful appearance of a little house, the home of an old Scotchwoman, 
and entering, was warmly welcomed by the venerable occupant. It is a singu- 
lar coincidence that this was the first house in Killarney entered by Lord 
Duflerin on the occasion of hid trip up the lakes seven years ago. His Ex- 
cellency called on one or two more of the residents, and finally visited a 
church bazaar, where he and his suite made several piirchases. It was nearly 
ilark when the steamer moved on uj) the strait toward Little Current, a 
small village on the Manitouliu side, and it wa3 quite dark when the landing 
was made. On landing His Excellency and party were escorted up from the 
wharf and under a beautiful arch of evergreens to a dais canopiod with 
spruce bouglis and ligiited with lanterns, where, in the presence of an im- 
mense crowd of whites and Indians, the addresses and replies were delivered. 
After these had been finished. His Excellency expressed a desire to see 
one of the churches and visit some of the wigwams. The whole party, com- 
prising His Excellency and most of the suite, the lieception Committee, a 
Large number of the steamer's passengers, and a long procession of the villag- 
ers, comprising men, women, and children, white and red, started oft" for a 
walk of something like three-qimrters of a mile, for after the little church 
had been visited the whole party made their way to chief Nahgahboh's wigwam. 
The walk was over a very rough, rocky road leading along a blufl' nut fa,r from 
the shore, and fimilly down the face of a steep, rocky ridge to a low fiat by 
the water, where several wigwams beside the chief's were standing, witli ln^ic 
and there the remains of a civmp fire smouldering among them. The face il 
the ridge already described was covered with a thick grov th of stunted shruls, 
as well as many pieces of loose rock, so that while His Excellency, with Dr. 
McGregor leaning on his arm, made his way down by the light of two or tlirto 
lanterns, without any mishaps; a great many of those following in th.^ pitcliy 
darkness did not fare quite so well. In that motley procession were white 
men, women, children, Indians, stpiaws with papooses strapped upon their 
backs, or following on foot members of the suite, and other p'lssengers, and 
as they went tumbling over each other as they scrambled down that steep, 
furze-covered incline, some of the most amusing scenes were of freoiient 
occurrence. Occasionally one w(nild make a misstep and pitch htadlon; • int > 
the very much mixed society below him, and then would 'umie a succession 
of tumbles till a largo section of the pi'ocession would find itself con\ert<!a 
into a miniature human avnlancho rolling down and carrying everything 
before it, until men and women, J'oung and old, white and red, became mixed 
\ip in a most inextricable tangle, e(|iially destructive to good clothes and 
dignifn mien. At length after His Excellency had received some trilling 
liresents from the three chiefs and their wives ; after he had returned their 
kindnesses by presents of barnils of pork and fiour ; after he had sluiken liands 
and spoken a few kind words to the squaws — young and old whom he could 
reach in the darkfuced throng that pressed around him ; and after Dr. Mc- 



TH^ NORTH-WEST. 



13 



Here the 

)i' a stroll 
very neat 
chwoiuan, 
is a singu- 
1 by Lortl 
His Ex- 
f visited a 
vas nearly 
Zliirrent, a 
le landing 
) from the 
ipiod with 
of an iin- 
delivered. 
sire to see 
ivrty, coni- 
amittee, a 
the villag- 
(d oft' for a 
tie chinch 
's wigwam. 
t far frt)m 
ow flat by 
witli hcic 
he face c 
ed ahruls, 
, with Lt. 

or thn.i^ 
th-i pitchy 
^ere white 
ipon tlieir 
igers, and 

lat steep, 
: fri'duent 
dlon;- int ' 
snccestjiim 
con\erti)a 
ivorytluiig 
,nio mixed 

1 it lies and 
lie trilling 

ned their 
ken hands 
lie could 
br Dr. Mc- 



Gregor had pressed many a dark-brown hand with a fervent " God bless you," 
the visitors hurried away to the steamer. On the way, however, a little 
incident occurred well calculated to illustrate His Excellency's thorough but 
unostentatious kindliness towards even the lowliest. He was hurrying along 
towards the boat through the darkness, and just as he had passed a wigwam 
two or three squaws came out with trifling presents, but they were not in- 
clined to push their way into the crowd, and His Excellency did not see 
them. When ho was 150 yards further on his way sonje one who had seen 
the women mentioned the circumstance. Without a moment's h'esitation he 
wheeled about and started back, but before he reached the wigwam the 
sipiaws seeing the lanterns returning, hurried out to meet him bringing their 
presents with them. His Excellency accepted their presents and after shak- 
ing haTids with them, said to the interpreter, "Tell them that in hurrying 
past through the darkness I was unable to see them, otherwi^o I should have 
stopped at once. Tell them I am very grateful for their kindness." 



CHAPTER III. 

MANITOL'UN ISLAND AND IT,S PKINCII'AL PRODUCTS — NEEBISU RAPIDS — LAKK 
UEOIUIE — TItE SUNKEN " ASIA" — THE SAUT.T — OAKDEN KIVKR — SOME iNDlAN 

cnilefs and thkir attire— mkjhipec'otev island— silver islet— prinik 
Arthur's landino and the reception. 

manitoulin island. 

While ashore at Little Current I had an opportunity of gathering a few 
facts regarding the island in fresh water, the great Manitoulin. This island, 
as nearly everybody knows, is about one hundred miles long, and in places 
from twenty-five to thirty miles wide. It is of an irregular triangular shape, 
the base of the triangle, which lies towards the eaot, being nearly cut ofi" by 
Manitou waning Bay, a h)ng, narrow arm of the lake jutting in from the north- 
ward. This strip of land is some eight mihs wide from east to west, and it 
constitutes one of the Indian reserves of the island. A large proportion of 
this reserve is said to bo very fertile. The island is made up of clay, sand, 
and rock, and though much of the arable land is somewhat stony its pro- 
ducing capabilities are surprising. The wheat raised here is of such an ex- 
cellent (juality that a comparatively largo amount of it is annually exported 
for seed to the older portions of the Province. Last year it is asserted that 
some six or seven thousand bushels of wheat were exported, but this is far 
from being anything like a measure of its wheat producing capabilities, as a 
very largo proportion of the araVde land is still uncleared. A gentleman 



I 



14 



MANMTOHA AND 



porfoctly well acMiiiiiintocl with tho cluirjictor of tlio iiitorior iufoitiied mc that 
from wimt ho hiul soon it whs piotty siifo to ostinmto that from Ihirly to forty 
l»orcent. of tho total area of tho iHlaiid was mado up of tillahlo laud, 'llio 
whito population is variously estimated at from i>,()()0 to l(>,00(>, and tho lu- 
diftu population at from 2,000 to 2,500. At present, thouf^di tho eouutry in 
admirably adapted to dairying and cattle raising, most of the beef and butter 
produced are consumed by tho resident population and the largo gangs of 
lumbermen annually employed here. Tho Indians farm and garden in a rude 
sort of way, nuiko mats, baskets and other trilles of rushes, sweet grass, bar!:, 
and porcupine (piills. They also tish, hunt, and trap, but these latter 
branches of industry are not carried on as successfully as in former days. 
Tho Indians also make large quantities of maple sugar every spring. The 
climato is said to bo delightfully pleasant Tlio close proximity of 8\ioh large 
bodies of water has the etlect of tempering tho tierco heat of midsununer and 
of rendering tho winters (piito as mild as those experienced along tho north 
shore of Lake Ontario. 

A fair «iuality of pine is to bo found in considerable quantities on sonu- 
portions of the island, while tho export of cedar ties and telegraph poles to 
Chicago and Detroit has grown into an important branch of trade. The 
settlers are of opinion, however, that tho timber on the island should b*' 
reserved for homo consumption, as it will all bo needed for that purpose as 
soon as tho island shall have become fairly populated. 

So far but little is known of the mineral resources of Manitoulin, but petro- 
leum is said to have been fouTid in one locality, while tho mineral 8i)ring» of 
at least two different sections promise in tho future to nuvko them i)op\ilar 
resorts for invalids. 

IMIVSICAL KKATUUKS. 

3Ianitou Lake, which is said to bo some fifty feet liigher than tho level of 
the surrounding lakes is twenty-seven miles long, and another lake cm the; 
island is said to be seven or eight miles long, while there are numerous 
smaller lakes, nearly all of which are well stocked with tine fish. Tho land, 
which is now in the market, sells at from oOc. to ^1 per acre, but it is said 
that if some of the best Indian reserves were put in tho market they would 
sell readily at from ^ to §5 per acre. 

The favomite raihvjvy project here is to build a railway from a point 
opposite Cabot Head to Little Current, cross to the mainland by a series of 
small bridges between the little islands which lie in a chain across to the 
mainland, and then run inland to tap tho pi'ojectod Sault branch. This 
railway wo\ild be connected with the railway system of Ontario by means of 
a ferry from Manitoulin Island to Cabot Head. Tolerably good turnpikes 
are being constructed throughout the island at the expense of thf Ontario 
Government. 

It was dark wlion we left Little Current, on the night of tho 2'Jnd, and as 
nu>rning broke we were heading across a broad stretch of ojten water bound 
for Bruce Muies. The weather was still as line as could be wished for, and 



TKK N<JKTJl-WKSr. 



1. 



0(1 niu that 
riy to forty 
1111(1. TIio 
11(1 thu Ill- 
country in 
unci biittur 

(} f^lllIgH of 

II in a riulo 
jraBs, bar!; , 
WHO latter 
rmer tlayn. 
riiif>. Tlu! 
such luryo 
imiiior uiid 
4 tho north 

H on soiiif 
ph poloa to 
ado. The 
shouUl l)(* 
purpose as 

(butpotro- 
1 siiriugg of 
nn popular 



tho level of- 
ako on tho 
numerous 
Tho land, 
lit it is said 
thoy would 

in a point 
a series of 
ross to tho 
nch. This 
y means of 
1 turnpikoH 
h"' Ontario 

!nd, and as 
ater bound 
ad for, and 



■ 



tho piiHmiiigerH Hi)(;iit a large portion ot the iiioniing on Uectv enjoying the 
<!oligiitfully cool breeze. At a few iiKdiientH after ton o'clock in tho morning 
lUuce MiiioH, a .Momowhat dreary-looking iKjrtii aiioio village, vvaa reached, 
and here another address was presented. 

KriOM liKIK'K MI.NKS To Til. SAIM.T. 

The run through the tortuous channel from linice l\Iiii{;.s to Saiilt Ste. 
!STario, as everybody who lias travelled it knows 'icludcs .some of the prettiest 
and most pictureH(|ue scenery on the whole of tiie fj.Mke Suj)erior route. It 
is like that of the 'J'hoiiHaiid Islands niiigiiilied. As a general thing tho 
islands in the northern archipelago iiic larger and bolder in outline, the 
na'Tow reaclicH of clear, sparkling water Ijetweeii tlitni are deeper and longer, 
whilo at times (iue sees (Jiit throiigli a narrow gaji across tho apparently 
limitless sunlit hazy expnn.se of tho open lake. Not far behjw tho Neobish 
Hapids tho steamer passes through a long, narrow channel Ixjiindcd on eitlier 
side by rugged, [)recipitou8 walls of Laurent ian rock, and on tlio face of an 
abruptly broken ledge is seen one (»f the iimst startling phenomena known to 
these northern watert;. The abrupt face of the little precipice is of dark iron 
grey trap, but upon this in a sort of dull white (jr cream-coloured lichen are 
a pair of figures, rudo und unshapely in outline, and not unlike tho roughest 
.sort of Japanese design, but they beiir a singularly strong resemblance to the 
ligurcs of two men with pucks on their backs and walking in single file. 
Thirty years ago it is said that tw(» Indian mail carriers were found whore 
thoy had been frozen to death, lying at tlio foot of this rock with their heads 
turned towards it. The remains were found long after their death, and the 
Indians say that the curious white lichen was then formed just opposite where 
tlieir bodies lay. He this as it may, 1 have never seen any lichen at all 
resembling this anywhere in the Laureiitides, though I have had a somewhat 
extensive atMiuaintance with that range fnnii the Saguenay to Cross Lake. 

Soon after making the diflicult and tortuous passage up the Neobish Rapids 
tho steamer reached the point where tho cliannel opens out into tho beautiful 
Lake George, and here wo pnssed close to the spot where tho sunken Axio 
lies, her smashed bow resting on a rock, and high out of the water, 
while her stern has sunk till the water flows o\ r tho hurricane decL 
The scenery of the River Ste. Marie is singularly bold and picturesque, 
a low and apparently fertile flat bordering the ri\er <m either side, while 
this is walled in with rugged rocky ridges richly clad in the verdure of 
spruces, cedars, find stunted Norway pines. 

At Garden River His Excellency was received by a large deputation of 
Indians. A porti(m of the wharf v. ;is kept clear by Indian marshals 
armed with long sticks, while a row of chiefs and warriors arrayed in 
gorgecms attire stood facing the gangway. As soon as His Excellency hatl 
landed an opening was cleared in the crowd, and tho distinguished visitors 
were escorted to a pavilion only a short distance in shore, where the ad- 
dresses were to bo presented. Here was a neat little canopy with sup- 
ports and rafters wrapped with wreaths f evergreens, the floor covered 



I I 



IC 



MANITOBA AND 



with Indian made rush mats (containing fanciful patterns worked into them 
with brightly-dyed rushes), and a roof of tent cloth. Large and tastefully- 
arranged bouquets of fresh flowers stood along the rail that ran around the 
dais and the rush mats reached down to the roadway which had been thickly 
covered with damp sawdust to prevent the visitors' steps from sinking int(.> 
the deep loose sand. 

The Chief of the Garden River Indians, and apparently a leading man in 
the Ojibway tribe throughout Algoma, " Augusta Shingwauk," was evidently 
the big man of the occasion. He is very Lirge, stout and dark ; with a few 
straggling grey hairs curling about his chin, and a profusion of dark iron- 
grey hair falling down over his neck. Tliough not remarkably obese for one 
of his age, he would in all probability weigh 240 lbs. , and both his face and 
figure are well rounded. He wore a curious head-dress consisting of a sort of 
turban of skunkskin well filled with eagle feathers. His vest was of bright 
scarlet, ornamented with white and crystal beads ; he wore grey tweed trow- 
sers, and black leggings, half covered with white, red, and yellow beads. The 
romantic picturesqueness of this much of his costume was singularly "let 
down," however, by his coat, which consisted of an old dirty linen duster, 
though this was less commonplace in appearance than it would have been had 
it been divested of the skunkskin armlets which held the sleeves fast to the 
wearer's arms at the elbows. He also wore a very common-place looking pair 
of leather-coloured cowhide slippers. Fastened to his neck by a braid of 
sweet grass was a large disc of birch bark, bound around with sweet grass 
and porcupine quills, and bearing figures of illustrative peace and war on the 
(ipposite faces, neatly worked in bright colours with dyed porcupine tjuills. 
This was a present which he subsecjuently presented to His Excellency in 
token of " brotherhood in chiefship." 

Another chief wore a moose-skin coat, black trousers, red leggings, and 
buckskin moccasins, Vi^ith a fantastic-looking head-dress made of horsehair, 
partridge wings and eagle feathers. Others were arrayed fantastically in 
scarlet, but there was scarcely one of these costumes that was not marred ])y 
some grotesque modification growing out of a disposition on the part of the 
wearers to conform to the prevailing fashions of their white brethren. 

At Sault Ste Mario His Excellency was received by the white inhabitants, 
extensive preparations having been made for the reception. After the usual 
addresses and replies had been gone through. Lord Lome and party were 
subsequently shown over the town, visited the Indian schools for boys ajul 
girls, and after being rowed across the river in a small boat visited the .\nier- 
ican Fort and finally rejoined the steamer which passed through the canal - 
and out into Lake Superior a little after dark. Next morning, about ten 
<i'clock, Micbipecoten Island was reached. There is a small settlement at 
the landing, but the island is for the most part very like some of the most 
rugged portions of the Laurentian range. From its isolated position it ap- 
pears to have escaped the ravages of bush fires, and this is why its towering 
ridgea of rock ars more richly clad with evergreens tlian the Laurentides 
usually are. 



. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



17 



Hia Excellency and party here embarked on board the tuc; Mocking Bird, 
and were taken to visit one of the mining locations of the Michipocoten Native 
Copper Mining Company. This ia located near the north-western angle of 
the island. Here the ridges of trap and gneissoid rock appear to be fully 
three hundred feet high, some of them showing the wildest and most fantastic 
outlines in shcarp relief against the bright and clear summer sky. The tug 
approached to within about two hundred yards of the shore, where she let 
go her anchor and the party were taken ashore in small boats. The passen- 
gers were particularly struck with the marvellous transparency of the waters 
of Lake Superior. On reaching the shore His Excellency was shown over the 
property by Mr. W. \V. Stuart, resident manager. The deposit consists of a 
number of thick veins of amygdaloyd, a dark reddish friable ore, containing 
from 1 to 2h per cent, of native copper. During the night were the first 
symptoms of unfavourable weather which have been experienced on the 
trip, and on this, the morning of the 23rd, there was some wind and fog, 
though not enough to cause any inconvenience to the passengers. 

At Silver Islet His Excellency made a short atop, and evinced considerable 
interest in the rich specimens of ore and native silver that have been on ex- 
liibition there for some yei rs. It is said little or no ore ia being ahipped just 
now, but the specimens taken out here at the time of the Srst excitement 
may serve the pui-poses of stock operators quite as well as hoiuijide business 
transactions. 

The steamer is now noaring Prince Arthur's Landing and bringing to a 
close a trip which has been in all respects a very pleasant one. 






RECEPTION AT THUNDER IJAY. 

Prince Arthur's Landing, July 25. — My last letter cloaed just as tlie 
Frances Smith waa Hearing Prince ^rthur'a Landing, and the last aentences 
of the letter were atill unwritten when the firing of cannon from the shore 
told that the Thunder Bay people were awaiting the arrival of Hia Excel- 
lency. Along the long wharf from the steamer to the shore was a row of 
little evergreens, and aa the land was reached rows of evergreens enclosed a 
broad carpeted avenue which led up beneath a verv handsome arch of ever- 
green to the carpeted dais, where the addreaaea were presented. 

Aa Boon as the ceremoniea were over at Prince Arthur'a Landing His 
Excellency stepped into a waggonette, drawn by four white horses, and was 
taken for a drive to the Town Plot. 

After leaving the Town Plot, His Excellency was driven down to the Indian 
mission, where he was received hy Father Bletner,who showed him the pretty 
little mission church. His Excellency then visited the mission school, which is 
taught by the Sisters. Miss Martin, the superior, read a abort address and 
the children sang an English hymn, after which Lord Lome made a few 
appropriate remarks and then proceeded to visit the convent. P'rom the 
convent Hia Excellency went to inspect the garden, where the remarkable 
growth of vegetables particularly attracted hia attention. Altogether, His 



18 



MANITOBA AND 



Excellency was particularly pleased with what he saw on the trip, the Kam- 
inistiiiuia River and the mission coining in for an exceptional share of his 
admiration. 

In the evening the whole party returned to Prince Arthur's Landing, and 
as soon as it was fairly dark an immense bontire wa» lighted, and there was 
ii tine display of fireworks. 



CHAPTER IV, 



tHOll i'lilXCK AH'rnCRS LANDING TO WABUIOON , LAKE- ROUGH liAJLKOAD TRAVBLLIKC 
— PAGAN INDIANS OF WABIGOON— A PORTABLE MANSION— BEAUTIKLL SCENERY— AN 
INDIAN POW-WOW— A NOON HALT-ADDRESS AND REPLIES— A WEAKNESS IN THE IN- 
DIAN INDEMNITY SYSTEM — A PICTLRESyUE 'AMP. 



Wabigoon Lakb, Ont., July 20. 

LEAVINC! PKINCK AKTHUll's LANDING. 

Early this morning the beautiful little town of Prince Arthur's Landing 
was astir and busy with preparations for His Excellency's departure. A train, 
consisting of three flat cars, the caboose — facetiously christened by the con- 
tractors the " Pullman," a wood car, and a powerful Portland locomotive, 
was in waiting opposite the Queen's Hotel, and by six o'clock the baggage was 
all aboard, Mr. Hugh Ryan, of the firm of contractors for Section A, who was 
prevented by temporary illness from accompanying the party over the lino, 
being one of the last to say good-bye and wish His Excellency a pleasant 
journey. The train moved ofl'amid tremendous cheers from the large crowd 
assembled to witness its departure, and went rattling swiftly away toward 
Fort William. The six miles intervening between the two villages was quickly 
covered. Here the railway runs along a flat of low-lying, but very rich, land 
that is (juite susce^jtible of perfect drainage. As yet there is not much clearing, 
but the few farms and gardens that have been cleared are lookingextremely well. 
At Fort William a large crowd assembled to meet the train, His Excellency 
being lustilj' cheered as the train pulled up at the crossing. There was some 
delay here, as a box car, loaded by the caterer for the trip over Section A had 
to be added to the train. The train was now made up as follows : — Directly 
behind the locomotive was a flat car carrying an extra supply of wood, then 
came a box-car containing the caterer's supplies, then a flat-car furnished with 
seats, then the " Pullman" which had been handsomely fitted up with car- 
pets, sofas, easy chairs, etc., then another flat-car furnished with seats and 
ritted with a neat, light awning, and last of all a flat-car furnished with seats, 



i 



THE NOKTU-WEST. 



19 



but having no awning. It was nearly seven o'clock as the train moved otJ' u[) 
the valley of the Kaniinisti(iuiu, and almost in the shadow of McKay's ^^oun■ 
fain. For nearly seven miles the railway continued through a broad belt of 
low, rich-looking swamp, but which as yet had been neither cleared nor 
drained. Then the road rises upon a gravelly plain, covered with a sparso 
growth of stunted poplar, which has evidently followed the ravages of a com- 
paratively recent bush fire. Here and there some little clearings are to be 
seen, which are producing fair crops of wheat, oats, and potatoes, the latter 
looking particularly thrifty. 

After nuining through about ten miles of only moderately good country, 
which was rapidly becoming rougher and more rocky and sterile, the train 
climbed a long grade, and looking down over an abrupt clifl' on the left, her 
passengers caught their first view of the swift dark waters of the Kaministi- 
quia rolling down over its rough bed of broken ledges and boulders. Though 
the shores were rugged walls of rock bristling with the slender charred trunks 
of tamaracks, hendocks and pines, the scene was a beautiful one, for away 
down at the bottom of the ravine the shadowed margin of the foaming river 
was deeply fringed with a luxuriant growth of black alders clad in the deep- 
est and brightest green ; and away on the right, through breaks in the rocky 
wall, above and t)verlookiiig the track, could be seen huge rounded hills of 
rock thickly covered with a luxuriant growth of fresh young shrubbery, 
showing the richest of midsummer verdure. 

Ten miles further up the train reached the point where the Mattawan falls 
into the Kaministiquia, and following up the valley of the former, the road 
passes through a country very much like that along the borders of the Kam- 
inistiquia, except that the rocky ridges are lower and less rugged, while some 
of the depressions have small areas of rich black loam, while there are here 
and there some small but fairly productive clay flats. Only a short distance 
up the Mattawan is the junction of Sunshine Creek with that river, and the 
railway following the valley of the smaller stream presently runs into a region 
that is utterly barren and sterile. 

Sunshine Creek is appropriately named. It is a small, swift stream rush- 
ing through a rough channel full of boulders and broken masses of rock. The 
banks are low and fringed with narrow strips of black alders, and on any 
bright day at little intervals the stream can be seen through rifts in the foli- 
age Hashing in the sunshine. 

From the junction of Sunshine Creek to Port Savanno there is little or no 
land that can ever be of any value, though as the latter station is approached, 
and flats west of it, there are some very broad stretches of muskeg. These great 
Hats, however, are so near the level of Lac-des-Mille-Lacs that there appears 
to be no possibility of ever reclaiming them by means of drainage. Before 
these flats are reached, there are two features that should have been noticed. 
Some forty-live or tifty miles from Thunder Bay the train passed through a 
tunnel cut out of the gren-stone for a distance of GOO feet, and fifty-flvo miles 
from Thunder Bay the railway crosses the watershed dividing the waters that 
idtimately find their way into the St . Lawrence from those falling into Hud- 



20 



MANITOBA AND 



son Bay. At this point the elevation is 1,100 feot above Lake Superior, thf 
latter being, as everybody knows, 050 feet above the sea level. West of Point 
Havanne, all the way to Tache the country may be described as a succession of 
low, rocky ridges with intervening narrow plains and low Hats that do not look 
very inviting from an agricultural point of view, but I am of opinion that 
the time is not far off when many of these groat niarsliy flats shall have been 
converted into rich, productive areas. Passing over these same Hats lust 
July, I saw much more water over them than there is at present. Already 
the railway ditches and oii'take drains have done mucli in the way of re- 
claiming them, iind I think it very probable that a large portion of them will 
in time become dry enough to grow excellent timothy or blue joint grass, to 
Hay the least of it, while it is (juite possible that other crops re(iuiring a still 
dryer soil might yet flourish here. 

TllK NOON HALT. 

About noon a halt was made for lunch at a place called the " Narrows,"' 
where the railway grade has been carried across a small strait in South Lake. 
A pleasanter spot for a halt on a hot day could not have been found along 
the line. There was a light fresh bree/.e from the water sweeping across the 
track ; there were no tlies, no dust, no smoke from the locomotive, and, in 
short, nothing that was objectionable ; while the close proximity of tht lake 
and a short strip of sandy beach iiUbrded the travellers an excellent oppor- 
tunity for washing off the dust. In a .short time a table was erected in the 
canopied Hat car ami an excellent luncheon was soon ready. 

As soon as luncheon was finished the train was again speeding on her way. 
The next halt was made at Pine Plains, where Mr. Cilinty, one of the con- 
tractors, has his little portable house set up for the present. Mr. (Jinty mot 
the train as soon as it came to a stand still, and was presented to His Excel- 
lency by Mr. Marks, another member oi the contracting firm, who had come 
along from Tlininler Hay, to exercise a personal supervision over the many 
lirovisions made for the comfort of His Excellency and party through tlie 
Hrst stage of their journey over the Canada Pacific Railway. As soon as 
the presentations were over, a visit was paid do Mr. Ginty's little house, 
where raspberries and cream and other refreshments had been provided for 
the party. 

A I'OUTAIILK MANSION. 

In passing over the line last season, I gave a detailed description of Mr. 
(Jinty'B curiously and ingeniouslj contrived portable house, and it is not 
necessary to repeat it here. The place, however, had been beautifully dee- 
orated, both as to tlio interior and e.vterior, under the direction of Mrs. I'ul- 
I'lck, the houHuUeeper. A beautiful arch, or rather canopy, thickly covered 
with pine twigs of the brightest green, completely enveloped the little walk 
which leads up to the door, and tliis walk itself was thickly carpeted with 
evergreen boughs, i\nd bordered with the most beautiful umissos, over which 
';ad been sprinkled a few pretty and delicate wild llowors. All around thia 



I 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



21 



house little evergreens had been set out for the occasion, and the interior was 
beautifully and tastefully fitted up with wreaths of evergreens and flowers. A 
bouquet of flowers grown in a little flDwer yarden in the wilderness was pre- 
sented by Mr. Ginty to His Excelleiicj', and after the operation of the steam 
shovel which is at work here had been watched with interest for some few 
minutes, the journey was resumed. As the train approached Tache station 
the once famous "floating muskeg" was passed. It is comparatively dry 
now, and any person looking at it now would find it dithcult to realize what 
a watery and almost impassable bog it was only about a year a<,'o. At Tache 
there was an arch with the inscription, " Welcome to the C. P. k." as well 
as some few flags, wreaths, itc. Here IMr. ]*urcell, of the contracting firm, 
came on board the train and was presented to His Excellency, but before 
starting he took his place on the locomotive along with the cngin^ driver, as 
it was expected that the remainder of the line would be in very bad condi- 
tion. 

West of Tache the railway runs through a region of white sand that appears 
to lie in very heavy deposits. A few miles further clay ridges and flats are 
reached, and these cover an area of nearly fifty miles in length along the line 
of railway. Indeed the soil of the Wabigoon region as well as that border- 
ing the east shore of Eagle Lake is very fair, but 1 question if the climate 
would not scare away many an Old Country farmer. Last winter the snow 
along here is said to have been four and a half feet deep, and on the 24th 
December, ItSTO, a spirit thermometer registered as low as 50 degrees below 
zero. 

About four in the afternoon Kencbutch Lake was passed. This is 
a bes'itifui slieet nf water, the rich verduie of whose thickly wooded 
shores grows down luitil tlie lowest branches are laved by every jjas- 
sing wave. The road-bed up to Tache had been very good, but be- 
yond tliat point it began to fall otF very rapidly in character. True, there 
had betii some eft'orts at patching it in various phices, wliich have had tlio 
efl'ectof making the bad places just passable and no more. Ked and white 
clay were found very closely associated in alternate laj'ers, varying from a 
«,\iarter of an inch to an inch and a half in tliickness. These layers were 
always uniform in character, though often grading u[)ward from the tliickest 
to the taiunesl. In places where cuttings liad been made through some of 
these clay ridges it wasfoimd tliat oceasitually the clay was resting on (piick- 
sand, and the result was that it often appealed as if the wliole buttoni was 
about to drop out of the cutting. Of conr,se the only way to set the track 
right in such places is to imderdrain the ((uicksand, and then fill or ballast 
uji to the grade once more. When only a few uiiK's east of the camp on Wa- 
bigoon Lake, the first and only nii.shap of the day took jilace. The forward 
trucks of the caterer's box car went oil' at a particularly bad place in the 
track, and when the train was not going more than about two miles an hour. 
Two huge iron dogs wire fastened beside tlie rails, and with their incline 
running ilown toward the misplace 1 \kheels, tiie locomotive was then backed 



00 



MANITOBA AND 



lip for aljout a car length , and tlio train was on the ti'ack again and ready to 
move on in less than five minutes from the time the accident happened. 

Tt was abont seven o'clock when the train at last drew up at the camp pre- 
pared for the reception of His Excellency and party on the north shore of 
WaM^non Lake. A largo assembly of Indians were in waiting opposite the 
spot prepared for the landing of the (Jovernor (Jeneral, while a still larger 
crowd of white labourers wei'e in waiting on the hill in front of the camp. 



VAOAN INPIANS. 

These wt.'re tlie rod nuni of tlie Little Wabigoon, and though they have had 
plenty of opportiuiities to become Christianized Mission Indians they have 
shown no disposition to avail themselves of the advantages afl'orded them by 
training in the ways of white men, so that to-day there are no more degraded 
nor benighted pngaiis in North America than they are. Their faces were 
))ainted in the most hideous maimer with thick stripes and blotches of white, 
blue, green, yellow, and scarlet paint. Tlie chief, who is a broad-shouldered, 
«t(mtly-built Indian with a large head, a broad, coarse, sensuous-looking 
face (which, however, is far from lacking in intelligence), stepped forward 
and present»>d the address, which was neatly written in English on birch bark. 

His Excellency thanked the Indians briefly for the beautiful and uniipu - 
looking address with wliich tuey had presented him, and said that he woultl 
instruct the Indian agent at Fort Francis to give them some presents by 
which they would have occasion to remember this visit. His annoiuioement 
was received with emphatic grunts of satisfaction. 

A very brief address from the engineers of the road, beautifully and appru- 
]>riately engrossed on tracing linen, was presented by the engineers of Con- 
tract 4. It only consisted of about half a dozen lines, wishing His Excellency 
a pleasant jiuirney. 

The camp on Wabigoon Lake which was reached by His Excellency atul party 
on Tuesday night, was an imposing all'air. All the grass and shrubs had been 
cleared otV the summit of a high, tlat-topped knoll, and here the tents wen* 
uitclied, looking southward out over one of the larger bays of (Jreat VVa))!- 
got'.. Lake. Each tent was fitted up witli a thick carpeting of spruce boughs, 
while two cots were put uj) in the tent whicii was occupied by His Excel- 
lency and the Rev. Dr. MacCJregor. In front of the tents a table had been 
erected for the occasion, and a little after nine in tlio evening, the caterer 
hat! an excellent dinner jirepared, kerosene lanterns being hung on poles 
standing near the tables so that they might furnisli light without imparting 
liny unpleasant odour. 

In fact the arrangements made by the contractors on Section A have been 
eminently successful from first to last, Tiie whole trij) by rail, some 'J2(> 
miles, was made in eleven hours running time, and when it is remembered 
that from Tache westward the train had to be run with the utmost caution, 
the time made o" thi wliole day's journey m\ist bo regarded as verv good 
indeed. 



in K NORTH-WEST. 



2:1 



i2U 



< 



After dinner tlie travellers spent the last moments of tin; little daylight 
(hat had not yet (juitc faded out of the west in gazing iipoii tin? U>vol3' scene 
to the southward. The lake, which had been rippleless sincr sunset, was 
still as nmtionie.ss and niirror-like as ever, but the sharp, clear outline of the 
little green-capped, rock-bound islets and their bright retloction in the gleam- 
ing Hood was gf)nc, and in its place was a soft, indistinct, feather-edged trac- 
ing giving only a suspicion of the grey and griion of rocks and foliage as seen 
an hour before, while all was wrappi'd in the soft, rich purple and subtrans- 
hicent blue which blended together and seemed as if they were the combined 
expression of the fading sunlight, the rising mist, the smoke from the wig- 
wams, and the commingled colours of sky, rocks, water, and v.-rdure. Away 
to the west side of the little bay and on a low, wooded peninsula was an en- 
campment of Indians, the ruddy glare of their camp fires coming out in strong 
relief against the dark green wall of foliage behind them, while a thin blue 
stratum of smoke Hoated Just above the dark spur-like tops of their bark 
wigwams. Over the shining waters came the dismal chanting of their sing- 
ers and the monotonous tom-tom of their rude drums, while at intervals a 
dozen half-nnked forms could be seen dancing and gesticulating wildly in tlu> 
tire light. 

Messrs. I'nrcell and Marks decided that it might be as well to have 
some of them conduct a pow-wow in the immediate vicinity of His 
Excellency's camp, nd accordingly they sent a proposal to the them, of 
which they were unly too glad to take advantage. .Tust under the 
Im'ow of the little plateau on which the tents were pitched, and between 
the railway track and the lake shore, was a little smooth flat, about thirty 
feet 8<iuare, and nearl}', or (piite, surrounded by boulders. In the centre 
>'f this little spot a lire was soon built, and then two young Indians, half 
naked and fantastically painted, stepped up close to the tire, and lajinga 
large Indian drum on the ground between them they began to sing in a 
monotonous and mnnusical cadence " lliya, hi ya, hi ya," while the men of 
the band, young and old, began to dance. The dance itself was very unin- 
teresting. Each man either held a stick in 1 i>th hands, wliich wereextendetl 
tlownward in front of him, or else held them down close to his side. There 
was very little of anything in the shajjc of a step. In fact the sliifting of the 
feet appeared rather accidental than otlH'rwise,a8 the whole motion a]ii)eared 
to be co'itined to the bendinjj of the hips and knees. Altogether the dancing 
was ungraceful in the extreme, while the music was even more atrociously 
l>ad than the dancing. As the datice progressed, however, the dancers ap- 
peared to tiirow a little mori- spirit into it ; many essayed something in the 
way of a half shuttling step, while nearly all gave occasional shouts, and tlung 
their arms alxmt their heads with a wilil uixni'lon that .showed that they were 
at last entering soinewhat into the spirit of it. 

Mr.*Sidne)- Hall, who has proved hiniself oni> of the most indefatigable of 
Workers, took several sketches while the pow-wow was in jirogress, and the 
whole picture as seen from the brow of the plateau* overlooking the spot was 
certainly a weird one. In the midst of the group the fire its«lf was hidden 



1 



24 



MANITOBA AND 



by the dusky forms clustered closely around it, but. its ruddy light fell in 
fitful flashes full upon the dark, upturned faces and the copper-coloured arms 
tossed wildly aloft, and from the cliff above it looked as though these arms 
and faces lit up with a lurid glare were floating upon the surface of a great 
liery cauldron, while all around and below was the blackest of darkness. 

After surveying the wild scene from the cliff for some time, His Excellency 
and the majority of the party went down to the spot to obtoiu a closer view 
(if the Indians and have some conversation with them through Cantin, the 
interpreter. As soon as they were seen in the outer circle. Chief Kawakeiosh 
made a lengthy speech in his own language, which Cantin laconically inter- 
preted as follows : — "The Chief has to say for himself that he has been 
smoking his pipe empty all this evening." 

Mr. Roche gave him a piece of tobacco, and then the dancing was resumed. 
During the next pause in the dancing His Excellency asked who was the best 
trapper in the band. The reply as translated by the interpreter was as fol- 
lows : " The Chief says that in his younger days he could beat any of them, 
but now he is old and has to take a back seat, but thr.t he has a son-in-law 
»vho can take his place. " 

A few minutes later His Excellency was leaving, after having informed the 
Indians that he would instruct the agents to give them some little presents 
by which they would remember his visit, when he was recalled by the Chief, 
v/ho was making a speech, which the interpreter rerdered as follows : — 

" He says that many think him to be seventy years old, but he is only 
fifty, and is still smart and strong, and that all u'ong he has had two wives." 

On being asked by Mr. Austin why he had two wives, ho replied that by 
having two wives he could show more cliildrcn on the ground at the payment 
and draw more money. 

1 have heard the objection raised to the existing system of paying the In- 
dians that it discourages Christianity by olloring a premium on the pagan 
practice of polygamy, but I never saw a more striking exemplification of the 
fact than was contained in this brief and sententious reply of the Wabigoon 
chief. 

As soon as His Excellency had re turned, Messrs. Markj and FurcoU gavo 
the rod men liberal presents of pork and biscuits ai'd sent them back to camp 
rejoicing. 






fell in 
'ed arms 
!so arms 
f a great 
esa. 

Lcellency 
•ser view 
tin, the 
wakeiosh 
Uy inter- 
has been 

•eaumed. 

the beat 
ii3 as fol- 

of them, 
on-in-law 

trmed the 
3 presents 
the Chit-f, 
8 : — 

he is only 
vo wives." 
3d that by 
3 payment 

tig the Jn- 
the pagan 
ion of the 
Wabigoon 

rcoll gave 
k to camp 



THK NORTJI-WEST. 



25 



CHAPTER V. 

FKOM WABIUOON CAIH" TO liKI.L"s I,.\KE, VIA KMiLK LAKK MAGNIFICENT INLAND LAKE 
8CT-:NEUY--BY POKTAGE and canoe across the "missing MNK"-OVEn the"lakk 
or FLOVVKI'.s" A PlCTUIlESljl'E SPOT— BISH FIKE.S- LUXURIOUS BARGES— A CHAIN 
OF BEAUTIFUL LAKES. 

Garden Island, Eaolw Lake, July 27. — There was a stir in the Wabi- 
goon camp early this morning, and breakfast was served very promptly, after 
"which the whole party were soon hurrying down to the lakeside to embark. 
The Indians, with a large number of scpiaws, were on the sliore waiting to 
see His Excellency oft". 

While waiting for the completion of preparations for a start Lord Lome 
jigain met Kawakaiosh, and desired to bo introduced to his wife. The old 
chief complied with his request with wonderful alacrity, introducing His Ex- 
cellency to botli of ]iis vices, wlio were smoking short and very unroinantic 
looking cheap briar root pipes at the time. 

In a few moments everything was in readiness, and the start was made, 
the little steamer Wahhpnm taking the baggage, the servants, a portion of the 
Indians, and such of the party as cared to go on board of her, while His 
Excellency and the remainder of the passengers took passage in a large aail- 
l)oat which the steamer had taken in tr)w for the occasion. Behind this again 
came two largo bark canoe loads of Indi nis. who were to pack the baggage 
over the nuich-drended seven-mile jiortage. Both tug and sail-boat were 
handsomely decorated for the occasion. 

The voyage over Wabigoon Lake was full of interest, and one of the most 
th'^'oughiy enjoyable stages yet met upon the journey througli the wilder- 
ness. The heat and noise of the tug were far enough awa}', so that they were 
not felt nor heard by tlie passengers in the sail-boat. There was not a ripple 
on the glassy bay from which the start was made, and in the crystal atmos- 
phere the little islets crested with verdure and girded with grey and purple 
rock, cast a retLction that was sharp in outline and as bright and prominent 
in colours as the tangible reality above the water line. Indeed, many of the 
smaller isles looked like little spheres lielted with broad zcmes of water-worn 
rock and covered with brilliant verdure at the poles. But it is useless to 
attempt to desciibe the loveliness of this inland lake scenery; it is utterly 
indescribable, and he who has never seen it can form no idea of it, no matter 
how nuicli he might read on the subject. The broad sunlit traverse with its 
myriads nf dark-blue wavelets flashing their tiny crest* of buiiiished gold iji 
tile siudight, tiie darkly sliadowed cove, the long, rippleless reach gleaming 
in the morning sun, the h)W sedgy bay with its tall sun-gilt grasses reaplen- 
ilont in green, all bid deliauco to description. The morning was as bright and 



26 



MANITOBA AND 



beautiful as one could imagine. Every trace of mist and smoke had been 
cleared, and the atmosphere was literally and absolutely transparent, the sky 
was of a brilliant hue, and cloudless, except in the west, where there were 
floating a few little cloud islands of billowy French grey, with soft, feathery 
edges of the richest purple, and these were faithfully mirrored in many a 
glassy reach where the light breezes that were stirring could not reach the 
tranquil water. At about noon the Wabigoon end of the dreaded seven-mile 
portage was reached, and after the passengers had been taken ashore in the 
sail-boat and canoes through tra»iquil shallows where the beautiful white and 
yellow lilies — from which Wabigoon (lake of flowers) takes its name — were 
floating in rich profusion, luncheon was served in the most pr-mitive and 
picturesque style. Seated on logs or mossy mounds, some in shrded nooks 
to avoid the heat, some close to the smoking camp-fire to escape the mosqui- 
toes and other insect pests, the travellers and the Indian voyageurs took a 
hurried lunch, and then began the crossing of this most formidable obstacle 
looked for between Toronto and Winnipeg. The walk was not a pleasant 
one, though not nearly so troublesome as it proved to me less than a year 
ago, when witli a small |)ack on my back, and a very lame ankle to impede 
me, 1 crossed it in the opposite direction. The path had been improved 
especially for this occasion, and altogether the walking was not at all bad. The 
flies and mosquitoes were not nearly so troublesouie as had been anticipated. 
The day was h(jt, however, and half way over, where a table and seats for a 
resting place for His Excellency had been prepared, a bush fire had not only 
swept away all the preparations, but was still raging close at hand, making 
the "resting-place" unbearably hot and smoky. His Excellency crossed 
the portage in two hours and a tjuarter, which was the quickest time made by 
any of the party, though Captain Pero'val, who started a few minutes ahead 
of him, and shot a fine brace of partridges, accompanied him for the last six 
miles of the joumey. The others all male the trip in good time, though all 
were pretty hot and i'reJ with their long tramp through the close, hot bush, 
where scarcely a breath of wind could reach them. 



I 



EAGLE LAKE. 

On tlie arrival at the Eagle Lake side of the long portage, two splendid 
bark canoes, gorgeously painted, furnished with flags and manned with crews 
of white and Indian voyageurs handsomely imiformed in blue caps, scarlet 
shirts and [white trousers, were in waiting to convey the travellers to the 
barge which was ready, a few hundred yards from shore, to take them to the 
first Section B camp on Garden Island, a few miles up Eagle Lake. The 
b vrge was very handsomely fitted up for the occasion. It was painted white, 
beautifully canopied and carpeted, and richly decked with flags and streamers 
of red, white and blue. On board the barge was a hamper of iced wines and 
cooling drinks of all sorts, which were exceedingly acceptable after the long, 
hot walk over the portage. As soon as the passengers were on board the 
barge the tug steamed away towards Garden Island. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



I 

{ 



As the boata were nearing the camp, the tones of the bagpipe floated acrosc. 
the water, and a few minutes later the whole party were shown to their re- 
spective tents. The camp here is on one of the most inviting spots in the 
whole lake. The island, which is several acres in extent, consists of a plateau 
of considerable height, and on a grassy portion of this, affording a beautiful 
prospect to the southward, the tents were pitched, all facing the south. In' 
the sleeping tents were stretchei" set upon logs, and furnished in the most 
comfortable fashion with spotless linen, washstands, towels, mirrors, and 
everything necessary to the comfort of the travellers, while there was a large' 
dining-tent, store and kitchen tents, and in short everything that could pos- 
sibly make the camp comfortable »nd luxurious. After a somewhat elabo- 
rate dinner had been served, the travellers reclined on a carpeting of buffalo 
robes to watch the evening shades settling down ovfjr the scene, which was 
one of surpassing loveliness. Before them lay the placid lake, studded with 
lovely little islets ; the water was just catching the last purple tints of the 
fast fading daylight, while in the west the lemon and gold and orange tints 
of the sunset were fading into the soft purple and grey of the deepening twi- 
light. Half an hour l.utr the stars were shining brightly overhe.id, and the 
first camp in Section B was as silent as if the spot were xintenanted. In this 
camp His Excellency and party were met and heartily welcomed by Mr. John 
J. Macdonald, of Section B contracting firm. 

Bell's Lake, July 28. 

FROM EAGLE LAKE TO BELL's LAKE. 

After a sumptuous breakfast in camp, His Excellency and party were off 
again at seven o'clock for a run of some sixty-two miles up Eagle Lake, 
without anything in the shape of a portage or other species of interruption 
to navigation. As the party took their places m the luxuriously-appointt d 
York boat, with its white and scarlet canopy, its gay flags and long silken 
streamers, the remark was made that this was more like the Prince of Wales' 
progress through India tha i roughing it in the backwoods of Canada. The 
display was a grand one, but the best feature of it was t^at there was no 
display at the expense of thorough comfort and efhciency. The two large 
canoes with their uniformed crews were towed behind the York boat. Tlie 
piper, along with such of the party as preferred to do so, rode on the tug, 
and from time to time the strains of the bag-pipes mingled with the monoto- 
nous snorting and grunting of the little steamer. As the miniature fleet 
passed the Company's Eagle Lake headquarters, which lay mure than a mile 
to the northward, a salute of twenty-one nitro-glycerine explosions was fired. 
In addition to paying a compliment to His Excellency I have no doubt these 
twenty-one explosions did efficient work towards the construction of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway, for each of them evidontlj- moved a large quantity 
of rock. First would be seen a puff of yellow smoke rolling upward, and 
through it dark masses of rock large and small, then a jagged, irro^ ilar line 
of foam would flash along the water's edge, caused by the fulling of the rotk 



1 



28 



MANITOBA AND 



fragments into the lake, and when all this had subsided and disappeared a 
loud, sullen boom would come rolling across the water. The salute was 
certainly a very eft'ective one. 

The trip up Eagle Le.ke was delightful, but as the leading features of the 

•scenery are similar to those of Wabigoon Lake, already described, no further 

description is necessary. As is the case in VVabigoon, many of the islands in 

Eagle Lake, and especially those in the south-western quarter, appear to bo 

really fertile, and capable of being rendered very productive for a small 

outlay. Indeed, if Winnipeg should ever have a resident pojiulation of 

sufficient size and wealth to make contiguous summer resorts desirable 

• adjuncts, no finer sites for rustic summer* cottau;es could be found than some 

•of these lovely little wooded islands in Eagle Lake. 

At noon a table was laid on the barge, and an excellent luncheon served in 
a manner that might well excite the wonder of those who suppose that 
luxuries are unobtainable in the North-West. Indeed there was nothiiig 
wanting that could have been obtained had the travellers been sitting down 
to luncheon in Toronto or Montreal. 



1 



^ AT CLEAR WATER LAKE. 

It was nearly five o'clock when the west end of Eagle Lake was reached, 
and here it was found necessary for the tug to cast oti' the barge and allow 
her to be poled up the narrow winding channel through the marsh to the 
landing. The two canoes, with flags flying at stem and stern, led the way, 
and soon both canoes and crews were lost to view in the tortuous windings 
of the stream, but above the waving green and gold of the sunlit marsli grass 
fluttered the red. cross flags as the light crafts that bore them swiftly threaded 
the hidden watery path to the portage. 

The portage road was in admirable condition, and the baggage as well as 
the two canoes already mentioned were soon safely over it. The distance to 
be traversed here was only half a mile, and the walk was thoroughly en- 
joyed by the travellers, who were glad of an opportunity to stretch their 
limbs, after a ride of sixty-two miles over the lake. On reaching the farther 
side of the portage, and looking out over Clear Water Lake, a brilliant sight 
presented itself. Here were no less than ten large and brilliantly-painted 
bark canoes all fully manned with crews made up of the very best canoemen 
in the North-West, and all uniformed in red shirts, blue caps, and white 
trousers. Nearly all were Indians or half-breeds save one crow of Scotch- 
men, who manned tlio first canoe, which was occupied by His Excellency, 
Dr. McGregor, and Mr. Austin. In the second canoe were Col. DoWinton, 
Mr. Sidney IJall, and Dr. So well, while the third was occupied by Captain 
€hator, Capt. Percival, and Capt. Bagot. After these came the remaining 
seven canoes, the whole flotilla carrying no loss than eijihty peoi)le, fifty of 
whom were uniformed canoe men. The run across Clear Water Lake was 
one of about seven miles, and then the long train of canoes passed into a 
l)vely little fiord, and ihiough a narrow canal, cut by the section B con- 
tractors for convenience ,in freighting into what is called Summit Lake, a 



I 



i 



i 

1 



I 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



29 



: 



.f 



lovely little lakelet about three miles long and walled in by huge towering 
ridges of almost solid Laurentian rock, Juet outside the canal His Excel - 
lencj^s canoe was halted in the shadow of a lofty precipice, which presented 
a perpendicular wall of unbroken iron grey rock facing westward. To the 
north rose a rugged mountain of grizzly rock full of tiny niches, nearly each 
of which contained a'^ittle stuntod pine. There were little terraces, too, 
with rows of stunted trees growing upon them, and here and there were 
little shrubs almost hanging from small crevices, the whole looking like a 
rude attempt at landscape gardening on a gigantic scale. As the gay ccl- 
oured canoes, with their brightly painted paddles and fancifully uniformed 
crews came to a halt beneath these frowning wails of rock, the picture was 
one of singular beauty, 

Across Clear Water Lake the canoes ran at a great rate, the crystal drops 
flashing from each paddle, and a curling wreath of spray gurgling under each 
delicately rounded prow. 

It was nearly dai-k when the Water-shed portage was crossed, and the 
travellers soon found themselves afloat on Bear's Neck Lake. 

Thus far the lakes which were passed were tributary totlie waters of Eagle 
Lake, but now the water-shed had been crossed and the streams were found 
flowing southward toward Lake of the Woods. The height of land or water- 
shed here consists of a high, narrow ridge of gneissoid rock, and the Indian 
trail over the portage is less than half a mile in length. The ordinary por- 
tage road is somewhat longer, however. The lofty ridge which constitutes 
the water-shed trends west and south from the portage, and skirts along the 
west side of Bear's Neck Lake and then passes away westward along the north 
shore of Bell's Lake. Bear's Neck Lake is only about a mile and a half long, 
and of course it was traversed in a very short time, and then a short and easy 
portage brought the travellers to the north shore of one of the most beautiful 
of all the lakes in the North-west. This is Bell's Lake or Dryberry Lake as 
it is sometimes called. 

The second camp on section B. was not at the portage landing, however, 
and the passengers had to re-embark and coast eastward about two hundred 
yards where a camp was sighted that even surpassed that on Garden Island 
in Eagle Lake. In the back ground rose a high wooded mountain but the 
camp was cm a strip of well-wooded, low, sandy beach. Ilis Excellency's 
tent was just opposite the whai'f, and the others were ranged on either side 
of it, all fronting southward, and close to the water's edge. The wharf, the 
walk leading up from it, and a broad border all along in front of the tents, 
were all thickly carpeted with spruce boughs, as were also the floors of the 
tents themselves and the spaces between them. The tents were furnished 
with faultless beds on stretchers as at Eagle Lake, and in the space beside 
the beds the spruce boughs were covered with buffalo robes. Each bed was 
covered with an excellent mosquito net, and in short the appointments of 
the camp included everything that could possibly conduce to the comfort of 
the travellers. Mr. James Bain, who has had several years' experience in 
the North-West, superintended the construction of this camp, and Constables. 



30 



MANITOBA AND 



O'Keefe, Cameron, and McKenna were on the ground to preserve order. 
Dinner was served about 10 o'clock, and even after it was over the travellers 
remained out of their tents for some time enjoying the lovely scene. Close 
to the water's edge, and on either side of the wharf two camp-tires were burn- 
ing, and by tlieir light the smooth, sandy bottom of tlie bay could be ««een 
through the limpid water fully thirty yards from the shore. 

There was not one present who was not prepared to aver that the camp at 
Bell's Lake far surpassed a.iytliing of the kind he had ever seen. 



CHAPTER VI. 



OS WHITEFISH BAT AND LAKE OF THE WOODS— THROUOH A BEAUTIFUL ARCHIPELAGO 
— BLACK CHEEK— BLUEBEKUY LAKE —A DARK CLOUD IN A SUNNT SKY — THE FATAL 
ACCIDENT— ARRIVAL AT RAT I'ORTAGE. 



Rat Portage, July 29.—.' i early start was made this morning, and break- 
fast was out of the way and the passengers in the canoes before seven o'clock. 
For the first three miles of the eighteen-mile run across Bell's (or Dryberry) 
Lake the canoes were strung out in a long gay-coloured procession behind 
the little tug, but as the wind was blowing freshly, on approaching the first 
traverse (or open water stretch) Mr. Macdonald deemed it more prudent to 
t<ake in the tow lines and let each canoe shift for itself. There were small 
white-caps rolling in the traverse, but in that wondrously limpid lake there 
was no sediment to set in motion, ai' I the waves looked as transparent as 
glass, while their crests were of a pearly rather than a snowy tint. But 
when tlie little fleet of canoes went dashing amongst the tiny breakers and 
sent the drops of spray flying from their paddles the scene was one of incom- 
parable loveliness. The remainder of the run across Bell's Lake was made 
in good time, and a portage of about a mile brought the travellers to the na- 
vigable portion of a lovely stream that goes windins; through a narrow belt of 
marsh, bordered on its outer edges with an exceedingly rich growth of black 
alders, backed by a well grown forest of silver-leaved poplar, white birch, 
and Norway and Jack pine. The beautiful winding stream that flows for the 
most of its whole length of three miles over a bottom of short rich growing 
bright green grass, is as clear as crystal with an averago depth of from six to 
ten feet, but it has been absurdly misnamed " Black Creek." 

A run of six miles from the mouth of the little stream just described 
brought the fleet across Blueberry Lake, and then a portage of half a mile or 
five furlongs brought them to a landing some three miles from the mouth of 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



31 



a, aiuall stream emptying into Whitefish Bay, the moat easterly portion of 
the Lake of the Woods. 

On this portage, which constitutes the division between Blueberry Lake 
and the Lake of the Woods, there is a very fair supply of good-looking Nor- 
way pine. The trees, though small as compared with those of the Georgian 
Bay and Ottawa pineries, are still very much larger than are to be seen else- 
where in this region. There are also some fair-sized sticks of Jack pine to 
be seen here. 

As soon as the first canoes were over the portage, His Excellency and a 
portion of the party started down the river to the rapids, where another tug 
and another York boat were in waiting to convey them over the Lake of the 
Woods to this point, but Col. de Winton, Dr. Sowell, Mr. John J. Maodon- 
ald, Dr. Blanchard, and s<Mne others remained longer at the portage. It was 
while they were waiting there that the unfortunate teamster McManus 
came to such an untimely end. A minor accident occurred down at 
the rapids about this time. Mr. Austin, of the London Times, had 
just stepped out of the canoe which had brought him down the river, 
and as the heat at the time was absolutely overpowering, he started to 
walk across a row of boulders that stood up out of the swift water with the 
view of finding a good bathing place. It is probable that the intense heat 
had rendered him somewhat giddy, and at all events he reeled and stumbling 
fell headlong into the swift current. The water was not more than three 
feet deep where he fell in, but he struck his forehead upon a jagged point of 
rock and received several ugly bruises. Before any one could reach the spot 
to render him assistance he had scrambled out again, thoroughly drenched 
and pretty badly shaken. He made his way to the barge, however, not very 
seriously the worse of his mishap. 

It was about three o'clock when the last passengers and baggage were safely 
aboard the barge and tug, and when the fleet of canoes with their red-shirted 
voyageurs were strung out like a monster serpent of red, white and blue in 
the wake of the beautifully canopied and carpeted barge which carried the 
Governor-General and his party. Like the York boat left on Eagle Lake, 
this one, provided for the last long stage of the journey along Section B, was 
furnished with all the comforts and luxuries that could be thought of ; but 
it had also the advantage of being considerablj' larger than its predecessor of 
Eagle Lake, so that its occupants could walk about as much as they pleased 
without stepping over or otherwise incommoding those who were more quietly 
disposed. An excellent luncheon was served on starting from Whitefish 
Bay, and then for the remainder of the afternoon and evening the travellers 
enjoyed the incomparably beautiful and picturesque scenery of the great 
archipelago, in which the Lake of the Woods is lost and Winnipeg River is 
mysteriously born. During the afternoon two tugs and one large barge, 
bringing excursionists from Rat Portage, met the little fleet, and forming in 
line after it, followed to the end of the day's journey. It was ten o'clock 
and raining when Rat Portage was reached , nevertheless the plucky little 
metropolis of Section B. made a brave display, and the entry was an impos- 



32 



MANITOBA AND 



ing one in spite of the rain and darkness. Tlie wharf w.vs throngod with 
people despite tlie bad weather, but the travellers were hurried through the 
crowd as quickly and quietly as possible, and now everything is quiet for 
to-night. 



CHAPTER VII. 

AN ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION AT KAT PORTAGE— .V LAIWE (JATHERINO OF ABORIGINES — 
GOKIEOUSLY PAINTED INDIANS OF THU LAKE OF THE WOODS - REVEILLE AT KAT POR- 
TAOK— A MISCELLANEOUS AUDIENCE— AN INDIAN ENTERTAINMENT -DESCRIPTION OF 
THE CHIEF. 

Rat Portage, July 30. — Though His Excellency and party were not stir- 
ring quite as early as usual, Rat Portage was wide awake at such an hour in 
the morning as might lead any unprejudiced person to believe that very many 
of her citizens had not slept at all. At any rate there was no lack of bustle 
and uproar at sunrise, and there was no cessation until His Excellency stepped 
on board the train in waiting for him on the West side of the Winnipeg 
River, or, as the station is locally known, " Camp Two." 

The reception accorded the Governor-General at Rat Portage was a whole- 
souled and enthusiastic one. Not only the beauty and fashion (Rat Portage 
is uncommonly veil provided with pretty women for a frontier village f Hs 
size), but the n>v i, women and children of all classes, white and c>pper- 
coloured, turned out, and even the very extensive canine population sent out 
a strong delegation to tuke iip their quarters among the Indians who were 
squatting and lounging around on the vacant ground or " commons " on the 
east bank of the Winnipeg, close to the hotel where His Excellency and 
party were stopping. There wei j two arches, one of which was only an un- 
pretending affair, under which Lord Lome had to jjass in coining from the 
wharf last night, wliile the other, which was situated on the main street, was 
a decidedly imposing and handsome one. At about eleven o'clock. Dr. Han- 
son, Chairman of the Citizens' Committee, accompanied by several members 
of the Committee, waited on His Excellency, who received them on the ver- 
andah of the hotel. Dr. Hanson then read an address of welcome, to which 
His Excellency made an appropriate reply. 

THE RED MEN 

The red men took no unimportant part in the reception at Rat Portage. 
There were some 500 of them camped at the narrows near the village, and about 
ten o'clock the majority of them crossed over in a large fleet of canoes. Of course 
many Indians and half-breeds had been lounging about the village all the morn - 
ing, but by far the largest share of them came over with the fleet. They were 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



33; 



5 



dressed in the most picturesque of Ojibway costumes, wearing most of them 
very bright colours. (This, of course, only applies in cases where the red^ 
men wore clothing enough to be worth mentioning.) Nearly all the men and 
boys were more or less painted, some of the " young swells " having the njost 
elaborate patterns worked out in bright colours upon their faces. Altogether, 
as the canoes, all well filled and all in a compact flotilla, came slowly over 
the sun-gilt ripples of the Winnipeg, the scene was one that once witnessed 
would ntjt readily be forgotten. As they neared the shore the fleet halted 
and the Indians fired a volley with their fowling pieces. The firing was done 
in that jerky and spasmodic manner always characteristic of Indian salutes. 
When the firing had ceased the Indians hurried shoreward. The landing was 
made with a great deal of deliberation, however, and finally they marched up 
the street past the hotel, the great chief Mawindobenesse with a warrior sup- 
porting each arm as though he were old and feeble. Mr. George McPherson 
read an address on behalf of the Indians of Lake of the Woods, to which His 
Excellency made a brief but very appropriate replj', after which the Indians 
eiitertained their distinguished visitors with a dance. 

The music was much like that given by the Wabigoon Indians. The ca- 
dence was the same, but several of the squaws joined in the singing here, and 
that improved it decidedly. Though these pagan Indians never appear to 
learn any tune save that execrable and monotonous " Hi-ya," some of the- 
squaws have very sweet and clear voices, that even lend a semblance of 
melody to the only attempt at a tune which I have ever heard these Pagan 
Ojibways sing, or try to sing. On the other hand, I last summer heard a 
Christian Indian from the White Dog Mission sing " Nearer my God to Thee'' 
and one or two other hymns with remarkable correctness and in excellent 
voice. The daiicing that followed was of the most grotesque character, only 
the men and boys engaging in it. Their figures were bent constantly at both 
hips and knees, but instead of simply springing up and down as the W^abigoon 
Indians did for the greater part of the time, they shuffled and kicked about, 
keeping time to the music with a sort of gliding step, which was long and 
productive of considerable exertion, but never particularly rapid. 

Mawindobenesse, the great chief, is certainly one of the finest looking In - 
dians I have ever seen, and though he was carefully supported as he walked 
up from his canoe, it turned out that all this apparent infirmity was merely 
put on to magnify his greatness in the presence of the distinguished visitora 
whose eyes he supposed to be upon him, for as soon as the dancing commenced 
he was one of the first to engage in it, and he was quite as ready to keep it 
up as were any of his subjects. Though he has a grand pair of shoulders,, 
straight and broad, without the smallest inclination to stoop, a full chest 
symmetrically tapered toward the waist, and though in short Mawindobenesse 
has a remarkably fine figure it is his face that makes the strongest impression 
in one's memory. He has a broad, high forehead that recedes slightly and 
regularly, almost or quite from the eyebrows. His eyes are decidedly good, 
though partially thrown back by his prominent brows and cheek bones. His 
nose has just enough of the eagle's beak about it to escape being Grecian, his?. 



34 



MANITOBA AND 



mouth has plenty of firmness and is unmistakable in expression, while his lower 
jaw would indicate that he had all the physical courage, but none of the bru- 
tality of the successful prize-fighter. He looks like a man of superior cour- 
age, intelligence, and character, and in looking at him it would be hard to 
divest oneself of the idea that he was not devoid of culture. Mr. McCoU of 
the Inf'ian department, who speaks Ojibway fluently, tella me that on one 
occasion at the north-west angle during some of the treaty negotiations, Maw- 
indobenesse made a speech of some two hours duration which was fluently 
delivered, contained many really eloquent passages, and little if any useless 
repetitions of ideas. It is almost needless to add to this description of this 
great chief, whose home is upon one of the richest spots in the wondn^usly 
fertile valley of Rainy River, that his authority over the other chiefs and 
Indians of his region, is nearly or qiiite absolute. None of the smaller chiefs 
ever appear to question his wisdom, goodness or power, and in addition to 
being a nearly or quite absolute ruler, Mawindobenesse appears to be an ex- 
tremely popular one. Of course, he was gotten up in great style for the oc- 
casion. His long black hair hung in heavy masses down his broad shoulders. 
His face (all except the upper angle of his forehead on the right-hand side) 
was painted a very light olive green ticked with vermilion and bright green, 
and all this was bordered with a stripe of dark green about half an inch wide. 
Outside of this border, the upper corner of his forehead, already alluded to, 
was painted a deep blood-red. He wore a heavy beaded collar, to which 
was attached a heavy silver medal, and he was naked to the waist, his 
l>()dy being painted with alternate stripes of dark-brown and white, 
though here the paint was only put on very lightly, and not in sufficient 
q jautities to hide the skin. Ho wore a short scarlet skirt, breecholout and 
beaded leggings. Some of the younger men were painted in tlie most extra- 
rrdiiiary manner ; a favourite device appeared to be a bright green, blue or 
pur|)le ground-work, covering ^he eyes and upper part of the face like a mask, 
and (m tliis bright gr )und would be curious rings of wliite and vermilion, 
looking like fancifully coloured eyelet holes, from a quarter to throo-sixteenths 
of an incli in diameter. Others would have the forehead and nose painted a 
miowy white, and the remainder of the face yellow, blue, green, or blood red. 
IMany of tha men were nearly naked, and in 8>ich cases the scanty apparel 
worn consisted to a great extent of bojul-work and eagle feathers. Wliile the 
dancin;^ ■vas still in progress, His Excellency and party re-embarked in the 
York boat, which was towed over to " Camp Two," wliero the special train 
was in waiting to receive thorn. \ largo number of Rat Portage people fol- 
lowed to the landing in the tug Moslirr, and gave His Excellency one more 
cheer as the train moved otf. IJeforo going westward, however, the train 
backed down to give the visitors an opportunity of seeing one of the numer- 
ous falls on the Winnipeg lliv.'r. 



J 



THE NORTH-WEST, 



35 



CHAPTER VIII 



ms EXCELLEXCYrt DKPARTUUE FUOM RAT PDUTAOE— A SEUIES OP INDIAN FESTIVITIES — 
(iRi;MHI,INO KID MEN -AN INVITATION TO FEAMT ON DOfi SOUP— AN INTRODUCTION TO 
SKVERAIi INDIAN CHIEFS— THE FAI.l.S OF WINNIPEO RIVER -A DOG FKA9T— MYSTERI- 
OUS CEREMONIES INTERESTINO PARTICULARS. 



Rat Portage, Aug. 1. — The Governor-General left this village about noon 
•on the 30th ult. 

On returning from " Camp Two " after the Vice-Regal special train had 
left, 1 tirst made the ac(juaintance of a number of the chiefs and Indians who 
were still at Rat Portage, some of them not too well pleased with Lord 
Lome's early, and to them unexpected, exit. At the time he left they were 
dancing, and they had fully expected that he would have been only too glad 
to have watched them for four or five hours instead of half an hour. Then 
they were to have a dog feast on the folhnving day over at the Narrows, an<l 
His Excellency might not only have witnessed the imposing cerenumies 
attached thereto, but in consideratiim of his high rank, and the extraordinarily 
high esteem in which they held him, he might have been treated to a l)a8in 
of dog soup, and have eaten a choice morsel of boiled dog. Like certain 
other estimable citizens of the Dominion who have not fully understood and 
approved of Lord Lome's programme, these red men grumbled a little, but 
whether or not they were disposed to attach the whole of the blame to Col. 
De Wintcui I am not prepared to say. Many of the notables 1 met on this 
•occasion remembered (juite well h;.ving met me last summer or in 1874, but 
I will introduce a few of them to the reader as they were introduced to me, 
regardless of former acciuaintanceships. 

First of course came " Mawindobonosse," which being literally translated 
into English is " Hird Gatherer," and freely translated means " Thunderer." 
The idea is tliai the voice of this mighty chief is so like the thunder that the 
birds gather together in little terror-stricken groiips when they hear it, just 
as tiiey do when they are torritied by loud peals of tliunder, MawimhibeneshJ 
is the great chief of all the Indians in the whole region, but his home is at 
Long Sault Rapids on Rainy River. Ho has two wives and a moderately 
•comfortal)le house, with a large and very productive garden attached to it. 

"Pawawsin " (which may be translated as " Light-before-the-day ") is chief 
of the N'Tth-West Angle Indians. 

" MaminwabeitHkung " (meaning '* something always driven backward and 
forward ") is chief of llig Inland Lako. This last mentioned chief (whoso 
aiame 1 shall llt>t repeat again, as it will doubtless be easily remembered) was 
Accompanied by one of his warriors, who once rejoiced in a name which wan 
possibly PM great an outrage on (.poken language as is that of liis chief, but be 
that as it may, it will be lost to po.?terity, for he has so long been known as 



36 



MANITOBA AND 



Garnet Wolseley that he is no Ioniser known even among his own people 
by any otlier cognomen. "Wlien Sir Garnet Wolseley was at Fort Francis this 
red-skiniied warrior was greatly taken bj' his peculiarly mar' 1 bearing, and 
practised his walk till ho was able to make a pretty fair imitation of it. 
Some of the v<»hinteers noticing this, nick-named liim after the distinguished 
white warrior, and he was so pleased witli it that he at oncj adopted the new 
name, and with it the military walk of his great namesake, and he has stuck 
pertinaciously to both ever since. 

" Kataytiiypowocoots" (which is best ren^^ered in English by " Floating 
Lily ") is chief of " Assabaskasang. " This chief does not write his name and 
post-office address any oftener than is absolutely necessary. No autograph, 
hunters need apply. 

" Kitchakakati " (Big Hawk) is chief of the red men at Manitou Rapids, on' 
Rainy River. Ho was not picturesquely painted, aiul his dress was rather 
scanty, but among white men he enjoys the re[)ntation of being the worst 
tempered and most " cantankerous " Indian in all the North- West. 

" The falls of Winnipeg River " is a term of rather broad signification, a» 
there are many falls and rapids in that svift- flowing and at times very tur- 
bulent stream, but at Rat Portage the terra applies to tiie falls in the east 
and west branches of the river, both of which cross the line of the Canada 
Pacific Railway within a comparatively short distance of this place. Of the 
falls in the west branch there is little to say. They might better be termed 
very wild-looking rapids than "falls," as the latter term wholly misleads one 
regarding them. The falls on the cast branch, however, are genuine in their 
character. They are called the " Kabakitchowan Falls." 

This name may be translated as •' liigh, or steep rock " falls. The occa- 
sion of my visit to this charmiu'^ly pictureaciue little water fall must hate 
been peculiarly well timed for seeing it at its best. I took the advice of a 
friend, who said, "If you want to seethe Kabakitchowan Falls as you should,, 
go there just after the sun is down." The suu had just sunk below the hori- 
zon as I made my way toward the fa'l in a small Rico Laku canoe, and soon 
after I had passed the abutments that have stood waiting for an iron railway 
bridge ever since last winter it was iipparent that the channel of the east 
branch of the Winnipeg was speedily becoming narrow and swift. There w»» 
not a ripple near the middle of the river, and t)nly here and there along the 
shore co\d<l one see the little crystal-crested " rips" that tnld with what race- 
horse speed the glossy stream was rushing past some tiny reef that jutted out 
from the rocky shore. Landing jiist where a deejily-worn \y\t\\ led up tho 
wooded ridite beside tho narrow gorgo throui(li which tho river rushes to the 
cataract, I had Sdim reached a •^iiut overlooking «ine of the most romantic and 
beautiful pictures that tho rug<{ed Laurontides aU'ord. The fall is not more 
than about eighteen feet high, and there is comparatively little comniotioiv 
in tho water at its baie. It is as if the heavy volume pouring (^iwn through 
the narrow, funnel like gorge dropjiod into a fathomless basin, where there 
were no sunken rocks to break and Inirl upward tln« swift plunging torrent 
in foaming, broken waves to tho surface again. Tiio sweep of tho fall, or if 



•6^ 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



37 



I might uae the term, the " curve of the apron" is very peculiar. Though 
this river is comparatively wide where it is to be crossed by the railway, it 
narrows rapidly till it is confined between the walls of a rocky chasm, and it 
is just where it shoots through the narrowest pass that it rushes down the 
precipice. Niagara drops over the escarpment with a terrible roar, and 
rthongh it gives one an idea of immense power it is rather of a passive force 
born of its giant weight than an active aggre.:sive strength. With Montmo- 
rency it is mucli the same. The river tumbks down through the rapids, 
reaches the brow of a dizzy precipice, and breaki:i'.j into a foaming mass falls 
in a fleecy, feathery veil to the black, foani-tlecked flood below. Hut the 
Kabakitchowa!! is a cataract of an entirely diti'erent order. Here is no pas- 
sive, l)ut an aggressive power. The river does not roll through tlie gorge 
and fall over the escarpment. It rushes forcibly through the narrow, rock- 
bound ])ass, and with a grand forward leap pluiujis into the dark flood below. 
It was no broken sheet of foam that [ saw pouring through the gorge and 
over the water-worn ledge, but a shining, translucent volume, fringed with 
fleecy foam i.nd spray at the borders, but in the centre lit up with the lurid 
tints of tiie sunset sky, whicli it flung back mellowed with ruby and deep- 
hued rose colo>ir3. The lovely tints of sky and water contrasting with the 
variegated greens of the foliaga-covered walls of the ravine, the riigged crags 
of steel-grey rock scowling sullenly from out the rich black green curtains of 
spruce, the grand sv/eep of the lofty walla of the chasm, all set word painting 
at naught. It is in gazing on sucli a scene that one feels how miserably 
language fails to crystallize the rapturous but ovaueacent druania of beauty 
that riot through the brain. 

A DO FEAST. 

As already intimated, the Indiiuis had made up their minds to have a dog 
feast yesterday, and tliey were not deterred from doing so by the fact that 
tjiey were disappointed in the early departure of Ilis E'.cellency. Tiie Ojib- 
ways have so many feasts, dances, and other ceremimies incident to their 
pagan belief that it is often very difticult for a stranger to make out just 
what a given ceremony happens to be about. I was somewhat mystii'ied as to 
what particular pi~ri)ose the feast of yesterday was intended to serve. Their 
great feast of the year, or as their fashionable white sisters would put it, 
" the event of the season," is always the "White dog feast." Yesterday, 
however, dogs of any colo\ir answered thoir purpose. I have heard a great 
deal a'oout these feasts, and possibly before I shall have finished this tour 
through the North-West I may be in a position to give some more definite 
and reliable information regarding tlu'se feasi.i than is now attaina' !o, but 
for the jirvsent I shall describe the doings at the feast yu'enlay just as they 
would present tlieniselves to a spectator. 

Ab<mt two lnuidred able-bodied men wore coUoctod on a little point which 
constitutes th;* favourite camping ground at the Narrows, and of course this 
would represent a total pi.i'ulation present of probably not less than odd 
•ouls. There were no less than eighteen chiefs present, and altogether, there 



38 



MANITOBA AND 



was a large and fashionable gathering. Four dogs were selected to be sacri- 
ficed — two black, one yellow, and one a sort of grizzled black with white 
breast and paws, A large circle was formed, containing some 80 or 100 men, 
and within this sat Mawindobenesse in state. Not far from where he sat 
were two Indian drums with about ten players for each. Behind these sat 
several squaws assisting in the singing, which was carried on vigorously from 
time to time. One after another the wretched looking dogs, with their front 
legs tied up to their throats with thongs of bark, were brought in and thrown 
down before the Great Chief for his approval. It appeared that each one 
passed examination successfully, if ' t to his owix entire satisfaction, for a» 
Mawindobenesse nodded and gruu ov^ ^ach he was taken out and killed 
with one of those fancifully-tinish Indian clubs. As soon as a dog was 
killed he was thrown on a fire outsi the circle and allowed to remain there 
till all his hair was burned oft', and the hide charred and rolled up in black, 
crisp wrinkles. He was then taken off" the fire, his entrails removed, and the 
carcase with the charred skin remaining on it cut up in pieces and thrown 
into a large camp kettle to boil. As soon as the first dog had been cooked 
the meat was fished out of the kettle, put into a pail, and carried into the 
ring along with some very indittVrent preparation, called by courtesy " bread " 
among the n^d men, but very closely resembling what the voyayeum used to 
call " death balls." When all this had been done Mawindobenesse selected 
two rather fashionably attired, " airy " looking yo\ing pagans, whose princi- 
pal habiliments consisted of breech clouts, and girdles of ea;.'le feathers, and 
placed them at what was supp;tsed to be the entrances on opposite sides of 
the circle. The medicine m;in then approached th. pail of meat and dish of. 
bread, and after bowing himself almost to the ground over them several times, 
he danced around them to the music of the drums. After this the " death 
balls '' and dog meat were passed around, but before anybody had tasted hi» 
portion the medicine map went to each doorkeeper, and breaking a piece off 
each one's bread fed it to him. The doorkeepers then danced around the food 
that was left in the dishes, and then went around to the chiefs, feeding each 
with his o\vn bread or meat, just as they had been fed by the medicine man. 
The feast was now fairly bejjun, and eating ani dancing became general. 
After a time the dog soup, or the water in which the dog hral been boiled, was 
brought in and served out, most of the men and women drinking it with the 
keenest relish. It was a noticeable fact, however, that some of the younger 
members of the band, both male and female, deolinod to taste either the dog 
meat or dog soup. There were only a very few, however, even among the 
young people, who a[ipeared to be at all fastidious about it. 



I 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



39 



CHAPTER IX. 



FKOM RAT PORTAGE TO THE CITY OF WINNIPEG- RAILWAY TRAVELLING UNDER DIFFI- 
CULTIES—WINNIPEG AND WHAT 13 TO BE LEARNED AND SEEN THEUE--MARTIN 
CHUZZLEWIT AND EDEN REVIVED—" A BEAUTIFUL CITY ON THE PRAIRIE " WHICH 
DOES NOT EXIST —MRS. MACKENZIE BOWELL RIDES IN A LOCOMOTIVE— CROSSING A 
87NK HOLE- WINNIPEG-LIVING IN TENTS— HEAL ESTATE SALES— LOUD LORNE'S RE- 
CEPTION—A BUSY PLACE. 



Winnipeg, Aug. 6. — Leaving Rat Portage on the evening of the let inst. I 
was taken by canoe to a point on the Canada Pacific Railway, about three 
miles west of the village, and nearly opposite to Mather & Co.'s handsome 
saw-mill. After waiting there for about an hour and a half I had the satis- 
faction of seeing Mrs. Mackenzie Bowell (who was also starting for Winnipeg), 
seated in a hand car along with our baggage, and ,whirled away down the 
track about a mile and a half to where we were to meet a construction train. 
Arrived at the spot, which was just at the edge of a cutting, we had to wait 
about an hour before the troin came along, and the mosquitoes were uncom- 
monly active. Darkness came along before the train did, but at last aloud, 
shrill whistle annojuiced the approach of the locomotive, and in a few seconds 
more on she came pushing thirty flat cars loaded with gravel ahead of her. 
The cars were none of thcin very heavily loaded, and with the aid of a gravel 
plough and a steel wire cable the ballast was quickly transferred frcn the 
flats to the fill. We were then invited to take seats in the driver's cab, and 
a run to Ostrasund was made at a rattling pace. It was the first time Mrs. 
Bowel! had ever ridden on a locomotive, and it was the first locomotive that 
had ever carried a CabinetMinister's wife. After waiting for about an hour 
at Oscrasund we stepped into the cab of another locomotive, which took us 
to Deception, where Mrs. Bowell was met by Mr. Collingwood Schrieber and 
escorted to the residence of Mr. Hancy, where she was comfortably housed 
for the night. Next morning a special train consisting of a locomotive and 
one passenger coach left Deception at a very early hour, in order, if possible, 
to connect with the regular train at Cross Lake. About half the distance 
bad been traversed, when arriving at a way station, wo were informed that a 
sink hole had been developed in a piei of particularly soft muskeg since the 
evening before. At six o'clock on Mn lay night the rails at this point had 
been two feet above water, but that morning the wate*" was found to be two 
feet above the rails. To meet this ditticulty Mr. Schrieber sent a despatch 
to Grose Lake ordering a locomotive to meet us at the opposite side of the 
sink hole. Our locomotive was then put behind the passenger coach which 
it shoved slowly toward the damaged spot of the track. Only about threo 
rail lengths had gime down belcjw the grade, but those had sunk so low that 
it looked as though it would be an impossibility tu get the coach over them.^ 



40 



MANITORA AND 



While Mr. Schrieber and the train officials were inspecting the place the loco- 
motive from Cross Lake arrived, pushing in front of it two flat cars. The 
flats were piishod slowlj' and cautiously down into the water and up the op- 
posite side, until the buff"er of the foremost reached that of the passenger 
coach. Then a start was made, and the coach towed very slowly and cau- 
tiously through the sink-hole, which by this time was so deep that the trucks 
were almost entirely submerged. Notwithstanding the delay thus caused, 
tiie special caught the regular train at Cross Lake, and the latter reached this 
city at a few minutes after three in the afternoon. 

From CroHH Lake to White Mouth Rivor there is but little to attract the 
traveller. In the passage the line bids farewell to the Lau^'entides, and 
istrikes through a heavy belt of swamp, which, were it in many portions of 
Ontario, would doubtless be cleared, drained, and rendered valuable ; but 
here, where there are limitless tracts that are almost ready for settlement, it 
is questionable if this region will bo rendered productive befijre several 
generations shall have passed away. As the line nears Selkirk the country 
improves very materially in character, and fro;ii Selkirk to Winnipeg rich 
flats spread out away on either hand. Just now these flats are dry and look 
fit to grow any cereals, but last year, 1 am told, they were entirely sub- 
merged. 

Winnipeg Las been written of .:o often and so fully that it might be 
difticult to say anything new concerning it. It is more like Chicago than any 
-city I know, notwitlistanding the groat difl'erence in the t^imensions and 
population of the two. I have seen very few unemployed people hero, and 
they were invariably drunk. In fact I have seen some drunken people in 
Winnipeg who were not out of employment. I should be very sorry to have 
any unemployed yoimg man i:.i old Canada conclude from what 1 have said 
just here that Winnipeg is a haven fur all who cannot find work elsewhere. 
1 am not sure that young men would do particularly well in looking up work 
here. The reason there are very few unemployed people here is that those 
who are out of work cannot afl'ord to live here. It coata them too much. 
Everything is costly in Winnipeg just now, and becaus'^ city property is 
pj jportionately high many people say that a great crash in the real estate 
market hero is not far ofl'. IJe this as it may, Winnipeg is thriving just now. 
The h< tels are numerous, charge higli rates, and do not give one nure than 
very moderate value for his money, and yet they are nearly all over-crowded. 
I have not seen the sign " to let " since I came hero, but, on the other hand, 
there must bo over hundreds of tents jiitched within the city limits and most 
of them are occupied by families. 

" MAllTIK CHUZZI.EWIT " ANO " EDKN " ItEVlVKD. 

Scarcely an evening passes that there are not one or more auction sales of 
real estate. Sometimes it is of city property, sometimes siibvirlian claims 
recently divided into city lots, and frequently it is a sale of lots in some 
renjote city on the plains which is as yet, only in existence on paper. A few 
r.igiits ago an auction sale nf the latter class of property was being carried on 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



41 



ilace the loco- 
it cars. The 
nd up the op- 
ho passenger 
)wly and cau- 
lat the trucks 
thus caused, 
r reached this 

to attract the 
^•entides, and 
ly portions of 
alnable ; but 
settlement, it 
before several 
•k the country 
iVinnipejJ! rich 
3 dry and look 

entirely sub- 
it it might be 
icago than any 
imensions and 
ople here, and 
ken people in 
T sorry to have 
lat 1 have said 
ork elsewhere, 
oking up work 
e is that those 
em too much. 
ity property is 
the real estate 
iving just now. 
ono mare than 

over-crowded. 
,he other hand, 
imits and most 



auction sales of 
iibxn-ban claims 
A lots in some 
I paper. A few 
jeing carried ou 



•with very fair succeas. The map, handsomely tniCed and elaborately coloured, 
showed the streets, avenues, business localities and suburban villa lots, to- 
gether with a very liberal reserve for railway station, freight sheds, guard 
rooms, &G. , &c. 

Just as business was booming and the auctioneer feeling that he hacl 
accomplished a pronounced success, an axeman from the C. P. R. , dnsty, 
dirty, and rough, came staggering through the crowd, looked at tl»e map, 
read the name of the city, and then remarked : — " I came through that 
town just five days ago, and there wasn't a house, a street, or even a stake 
I» was just a bit of level prairie, with no bush in sight, and nobody kno\sj 
whether the laiilway will ever ^o near it or not." 

Nobody pretended to believe the drunken axeman, but the bidding stoppecf 
for all that, and not another foot of property in that paper city changed 



hands that night. 



WINNIPEG S GENERAL APrBARANCE. 



It would take a long time to describe the general appearance of Winnipeg,. 
and even then the reader who had never seen this Canadian Chicago might 
have a very vague and indefinite notion as to what manner of place it really 
is. In the first place their main street which is by a long way the principal 
thoroughfare of the city, is a very broad avenue (two chaitft wide). It is 
almost as level as a billiard table, but by no means straight. It was once the 
old Hudson Bay trail, and it makes some sort of a mild pretence of following 
the trend of the west bank of Red River. The other streets are runnifig 
nearly north and south or east and west, and these forming all sorts of angles 
with the somewhat tortuous main street, give rise to an unheard oi number 
of gores and angles. Some of the inhabitants have faced the situation boldly, 
and building their houses in a regular rectangular form have left some 
curious little corners in their areas and lawns, while others have attempted 
to acconnnodate their houses to the shape of their lots. Whether or not they 
have gone still further, and have had their furniture made on the bias, I an» 
not prepared to say but I am very certain that unless some of them have 
done so, there must be a very appreciable amount of waste space in their 
domiciles. 

LORD lor; .'s reception. 

On arriving m Saturday night, His Excellency and party went straightway 
to Silver Heights, which had been very handsomely fitted up for them by 
Donald A. Smith. Unfortunately just about the time of Lord Lome's ar- 
rival, a telegram brought the melancholy announcement that Mrs. Smith was 
dangerously ill in the old country, aad of course Mr. Smith was obliged to 
hurry away. 

The Winnipeg welcome to His Excellency was very enthusiastic, but the 
decorations fell considerably short of what I had been led to expect. Ono 
of the mottoes at least was extremely silly, a "cheap and nasty" adv.i'tise- 
ment of some sort of a dry goods or grocery house. The arches were both 
rather pretty, but that is about the best that can be said of the decorations. 
C 



i i 



n 



42 



MANITOBA AND 






An address by the civic authorities was presented to His Excellency and ap- 
propriately responded to. 

On Tuesday His Excellency and some of his party attended a picnic at 
Bird's Hill, which was given by the members of the Local Government. 
Later in the afternoon they waited for some time to witness the launch of the 
steamer Princess, but she caught on the ways, and delayed the ceremony so 
long tluit the distinguished visitors were obliged to leave before it had been 
•concluded. Li the evening His Excellency attended a banquet given in his 
honour by Lieutenant-Governor Cauchon. 

On Wednesday, the civic holiday, His Excellency and suite attended a 
cricket match at Dufferin Park, and the Caledonian games at the racecourse. 
"While in the racecout-HC His Excellency was presented with an address by the 
St. Andrew's Society, to which he replied. 

On Thursday afternoon His Excellency and suite attended a garden party 
at Government House, where they were met by the Chancellor and members 
•of the University of Manitoba, by whom an address was presented, and the 
usual reply given. In the evening His Excellency gave a dinner party at 
■Silver Heights. 

On Friday Lord Lome visited the Penitentiary at Stony Mountain, and the 
Historical Society's rooms at Winnipeg. 

On Saturday (to-day) His Excellency visited St. Mary's Academy at Win- 
nipeg, the Archiepiscopal Palace, the Orphanage of the Grey Nuns, and the 
College at St. Boniface in the forenoon, and went to Emerson in the after- 
noon. 






1 



CHAPTER X. 



•FROM ..INNirEO TO POnTAGE L\ PHAIUIE— SECONn STAOEOFTHE ■jOURNEY— STONYMOrX- 

tain anu the chauacter of the soir.— the scene presented at the poktaoe— 
incidents of the reception— a ^glimpse of the buffalo— manitoba's system 
of drainage. 

Goverxok-General's Camp, 
Se-.cn miles beyond End of Track, on C. P. A., Aug 8. 

The first stage of Lord Lome's journey from the Capital to the Rocky 
Mountains may be said to have ended at Winnipeg, and this might count as 
tlie first day's journey on the second stage. This morning there wns a good 
deal of hurry and bustle about the C. P. R. station, as notwithstanding the 
fact that a largo share of the total outfit had been forwarded on Saturday, 
there were still several cases and packages, besides three pairs of horses, going 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



43 



cy and ap- 

i picnic at 
)vernment. 
inch of the 
remony so 
t had been 
iven in hia 

attended a 
racecourse, 
ress by the 

rden party 
d members 
d, and the 
er party at 

in, and tlie 

fiy at Win- 
is, and the 
I the after- 



STONY MOUX- 




E POKTA(iE— 




i\'H fSYSTEJl 


vta4 




^M 


, Aug 8. 




the Rocky 




it count as 




was a good 




anding the 




Saturday, 




jrsos, going 





upon the special which was to leave at half-past nine. There was a large 
crowd at the station to see the \ ice-Regal party away, the local troop of cav- 
alry furnishing the guard of honour, while a salute of twanty-one guns was 
fired by the artillery company, the field pieces used being stationed only a 
short distance from the track. 

The Vice-Regal party consisted of His Excellency the Governor-General, 
Lieut-Col. De Winton, secretitry ; Capt. Chater, A.D.C. ; Capt. Percival, 
A.D.C. ; Capt. Bagot, comptroller ; Rev. Dr. McGregor, of St. Cuthbert's, 
Edinburgh ; Mr. Sidney Hall, of the London Graphic ; Mr. Charles Austin, 
of the Times ; and Dr. Sewell, of Quebec. 

Mr. Campbell, the Governor-General's short-hand writer, is also with the 
party, but he does not intend to go farther west than Rapid City. 

Lord Lome is accompanied by five servants, which, of course, does not in- 
clude guides or any people especially engaged 'or the journey. Mr, Elliott 
Gait, of the Indian Department, goes along in his oflicial capacity. The special 
train, which was in the care of Mr. Stickney, of the C. P. R. , carried several 
people who were not making the journey wi^h the Governor-General. Some 
of these were going to the end of the track to see His Excellency fairly on 
his way, while others were also contemplating a trip across the plains. On the 
train were the Hon. J. Norquay ; Mr. Campbell, of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany (formerly chief factor of the Swan River District) ; Capt. Thomas How- 
ard, of Winnipeg, who will accompany the party as far as Fort Ellis ; Mr. 
McFarlane, of the Edinburgh Scotsman, who is about to make a somewhat 
extended trip upon the plains. Ho will be cared for by Mr. Clay, who acts 
for the C. P. R. Syndicate in the matter. 

At ten minutes past ten the train moved off from the station at Winnipeg, 
the clanging of the bell and even the shrill scream of the whistle being well 
nigh drowned by the deafening cheers of the crowd. 

Stony Mountain was the first point of interest passed after leaving Winni- 
peg. This " mountain," as it ia called here, would escape unnoticed in 
Ontario or Quebec, unless, indeed, it might be in the Laurentides or the 
Eastern Townships, and there it would pass for a " low-lying flat." It is in 
reality a limestone ridge, about forty or fifty feet above the level of the sur- 
rounding prairie. It rontains, I believe, a very fair limestone quarry, but is 
composed chiefly of light soil and gravel. It is about twelve miles from 
Winnipeg, and furnishes the city with stone, gravel, and sand, all of which 
are very much needed there. There is also an almost unlimited supply of 
gravel at Bird's Hill, which is seven miles north of Winnipeg, and close to the 
line of the Thunder Bay division of the C. P. R. 

Between Winnipeg and Stony Mountain the railway runs through an almost 
unbroken level of prairie land, much of which was last year submerged, but 
all of which now appears dry enough for any sort of products. Of course 
this is greatly attributable to the fact that the present is an exceptionally 
dry season, but it is dcnibtless in some measure duo to drainage. While in 
Winnipeg I was driven out to the end of the grade on the Manitoba and 
i:^outh- Western Colonization Railway — which, by the way, is being pushed 



44 



MANITOBA AND 



forward by the contractor, Mr, P. J. Brown, with remarkable energy — an<i 
there I saw an immense ditch (not quite as large as the Erie Canal, but big 
enough to suggest the comparison), which, as far as I could see, did not contain; 
a drop of water. Last year that same locality was covered with about eighteen 
inchesor two feet of water. The same thing was told me by Mr. Schreiberof the^ 
country through which the C. P. R. runs between Selkirk and Winnipeg. 
Last year a great deal of was under two feet of water ; this year it is as dry 
as the most fastidious settler could wish it. The Hon. Mr. Norquay (to^ 
whom I am much indebted for information regarding the land, and of the 
brilliant possibilities especially of the Province of which he is Premier) in- 
forms me that by the end of the current season Manitoba will have completed. ' 
some 150 miles of public drains, all of which are doing excellent service. 



GLIMPSE OF GENUINE BUFFAtOES. 

Just as the train was nearing Stony Mountain a herd of buffaloes and 
domestic cattle Avere observed feeding close beside the track. These buffaloes 
are not melancholy, mangy-looking brutes, such as have been shown through 
Ontario at different times, but ' earty, vigorous looking animals, fat, sleek, 
and in every way respectable representatives of the bison family. They are 
the property of the warden of the penitentiary (which is located on Stony 
Mountain, close by the railway). Their owner has tried the expei'iment of 
crossing them with the domestic cattle, and so far the results have proved 
very satisfactory. It would seem, however, that in the course of a few crosses 
the buffalo characteristics would probably disappear. The half-breed calves 
of this herd show much more of the domestic than of the bison peculiarities. 

West of Stony Mountain the road continues through a rich-looking, though 
somewhat loAv-lying flat for some miles, and indeed the whole country all 
the way to Portage La Prairie is occasionally varied with low poplar ridges. 
As nearly as I could judge, with, perhaps, the exception of the very nar- 
row ridge occupied by Stony IMountain, there is not a fraction of the sixty 
miles traversed by the C. P. R. between Winnipeg and Portage La Prairie 
which is not eminently suitable for farming purposes. Of course there are 
places that are now too wet to be of any use, but these are all thoroughly 
susceptible of drainage, and when adequately drained they will doubtless 
prove excaptionally productive. The soil is a very thick stratum of rich 
black loam, overlying a light coloured clay, often mixed with fine stone 
gravel and a sand of a light shade, containing in itself more or less lime I 
have no doubt. As to the productiveness of the tillable portions of Mani- 
toba, I have no need to say anything to Ontario readers as they have seen 
abundant proof of their richness in the Manitoba exhibits at our fairs and 
elsewhere. At Portage La Prairie there was a very large crowd in waiting 
to meet the train. The assembly was made up of both white people and red, 
but the former largely outnumbered the latter. This town, of all its sisters, 
is second in Manitoba to Winnipeg in population and importance. It is grow- 
ing very rapidly, and appears located in the very heart of an excellent farm- 
ing country. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



45 



ergy — and 
il, but bi<j 
ot contain! 
t eighteen, 
jiberof the^ 
Winnipeg, 
it is as dry 
orijuay (to^ 
and of the 
•emier) in- 
completed 
rvice. 



flfaloes and 
le buffaloes 
vn through 
fat, sleek. 
They are 
I on Stony 
leriment of 
ive proved 
few crosses 
reed calves 
jculiftrities. 
ing, though 
countrj' all 
)lar ridges. 
B very nar- 
)f the sixty 
La Prairie 
e there are 
thoroughly 
1 doubtless 
;uin of rich 
I fine stono 
less lime I 
3 of Mani- 
' have seen 
ir fairs and 
. in waiting 
le and red, 
. its sisters, 
It is grow- 
iUeut farm- 



There were two bands of Indians waiting here, but they kept aloof from 
each other, and occupied opposite sides of the railway. On the north side 
were a large number c' Sioux, most of whom were hideously painted, and 
many gorgeously dressed. Some of the men sat on lachrymose-looking, cut- 
haii'ed ponies. All these ponies, like the lotus-eaters, were " mild-eyed " 
a.nd " melancholy," but only a very few of them looked as though they were 
in the habit of eating anything, much less the consumption of an article of 
diet supposed to have an influence on their character, and which would be 
nearly, or>quite, unobtainable in the North- West, and, besides this, I never 
yet saw an Indian pony that needed a sedative. As a rule they are not at 
all apt to disturb themselves unnecessarily. These ponies were decked out 
with bright tasseid at the throat, scarlet saddle-cloths, deer-skin saddles 
elaborately ornamented with bead work, and all-in-all, despite the wretched 
condition and contemptible dimensions of the ponies, they, witli their riders, 
made a most striking appearance as they were gathered in picturesque 
groups in the tall grass, on a little bluflf not more than a hundred yards from 
the train. The squaws, children, and old men were hangin!:^ about the carts 
or squatting on the ground close beside the track and a rather squalid 
looking lot they were, though I am informed that between trapping, fishing, 
farming, and " working out," these people mannge to live more comfortably 
than the majority of Indians. I am also told that nearly all, if not indeed 
all, the older of these Indians were concerned in the terrible Minnesota mas- 
sacre. They were not at all calculated to impress one favourably at all 
■events. They had an arrogant swagger, especially those on horseback, that 
had infinitely more of impudence and very much less dignified repose than is 
usually noticeable among the Ojibway braves. An Ojibway may even beg 
and be very much in earnest about it, but there is withal an assumption of 
serene and solemn dignity about him which though quite unobtrusive, can 
hardly escape the notice of the most careless observer. The manner cf the 
Sioux seemed to say, " We are the superior race and we want you to know 
it," The manner of the Ojibway says, " We are quite sure of our position ; 
you are very good people and if you imagine you are our superiors we see no 
reason why you should not amuse yourself with such an assumption ; we can 
well afford to utterly ignore any such childish coinpa;isons." On the south 
side stood a small band of Ojibways. They kept aloof from the crowd alto- 
gether and only spoke to those who approached them and opened the conver- 
sation. One of the visitors asked through the interpreter if the Ojibwaya 
ever intermarried with the Sioux. It would be impossible to describe the 
utter cnntempt which showed itself in the Ojib\v<*y's face as the question 
was repeated to him. There was no anger or even irritation apparent in his 
reply, but he sjioke with the air of one who sincerely connuiserated the pro- 
found ignorance of the questioner, and what lie said could be better trans- 
lated by tone and gesture than by words. " Oh ! ccrtainhj not" would not 
be strong enough, but still it comes nearer than any words into which I can 
j)ut his answer. 



46 



MANITOIJA AND 



The white inhabitants of I'ortagola Prairio presoutod a loyal address to His 
Excellency, in which tliey hoped that this visit to the North- West would have 
many pleasant roniiniscences. 

Ilia Excellency I'oplied to the address extempore, thanking the citizens for 
the cordiality of his recejition, and expressing his regret that a longer stay with 
them was prevented by the shortness of the time at his disposal, wliich ne- 
cessitated his pushing on in order to see as much of the Western country a» 
possible. 



CHAPTER XI. 



WESTWARD FROM THE END OF THE CANADA PACIFIC— DESCRIPTION OF THE CAVALCADK 
- -I.OUD I.OHNE LAYS A RAII- ON THE GKIiAT ROAD— OVER THE (iREAT IM.AINS— OUT 
INTO THE GREAT NORTH- WEST- THE COUNTRY TRAVERSED-Sl'LENDII) LANIW HELD RY 
Hl'ECULATORS. 



In Camp on Bio Plains, Manitoba, Aug. 9. — The last instalment of my 
journal closed with the ceremonies at Portage la Prairie. As soon as the pro- 
gramme had been gone through with, the Vice- Regal party took the train 
once more, and a run of about thirty-five miles brought them to the end of 
the track, or at least very near tlie end of it, where in an open space the 
whole outtit that was to convey the party over the plains was awaiting them. 
T\e array was a decidedly imposing one. There were in all fifty-eight horses, 
besides the pair which I had purchased for the journey. The vehicles for the 
convej'ance of the Governor-General and suite consisted of three light covered 
ambulances, each capable of carrying comfortably five people besides the 
driver. Each ambulance was drawn by four horses , driven by a member of 
the Mounted Police Force. After the ambulances came four baggage wag- 
gons, each drawn by four horses, and the rest of the cavalcade was made up 
of the three two-horse buckboards and several spring and lumber waggons, 
each drawn by two horses. The whole turnout was in command of Colonel 
Herchnier, who rode a handsome bay at tha head of the column. Sergeant 
Dunn bringing up the rear on a stalwart rangy-looking, dark chestnut. The 
horses were all in prime condition, and as the bright sunlight glinted on their 
shining coats and the glistening brass mountings of the hurness, and lit up 
the bright scarlet tunics and snowy helmets of the officers and men against 
the silver-green of the furze-grown patch of prairie where they were gathered^ 
and the deeper shades of the spruce and poplar that enclosed it, the scene 
was a striking and beautiful one. 

The process of unloading the baggage car occupied some time, and wliile it 
was being got along with, His Excellency, Dr. McGregor, Colonel De Win- 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



47 



ton, lion. Mr. Noninay, and one or two others .stepped aljoanl the loconiotivo 
and proceeded to tlio extreme end of the track, where His Excellency and 
Mr. Nonjuay laid a rail on the C. P. R. 

Only about tivo miles progress was made on our westward way after leaving 
the end of the track this evening, but the camp was fully two miles off the 
trail. The road lay through a section of country abounding in low sandy 
ridges and little copses or clumps of poplars scattered ab(jut in sutlicient 
numbers to deprive the region of much of that open btjiuidless look which one 
is apt to look for in a prairie region. The soil, 1 should sivy, would be pro- 
ductive, or at least fairly productive, though not so rich as the black loam 
generally prevalent all the way from Winnipeg to the end of the track. 

Our camp to-night is rather prettily located, though the prevalence of prairie 
furze is against it in many respects. In the first place it aUbrda an admirable 
harbour for mosciuitoes, besides being undesirable for tent floors. It was 
also unfortunate that we had to camp so far from the trail as it involves some 
four miles extra driving, but I am told this is tlie only place that could be 
conveniently reached to-night where good '^rass and water were both obtain- 
able. As yet I have not had time to leai a much that wou' 1 bo of interest 
concerning the '*' outfit " furnished by the Moun jd Police for the transport 
of His Excellency, but I shall have opportunities of doing so as wo go along. 



GETTING OUT INTO THE PLAIN. 

After having become partially accustomed to the luxurious camps provided 
by the contractors on Section B, it was not altogether pleasant turning out of 
my little bell tent this morning and tramping about in the dewy grass to assist 
my half-breed in getting ready for a start from our first camp. It did not 
take long to get over the first chill, however, and then I was comfortable 
enough physically, but it did not take many mimites to discr)ver that my half- 
breed " guide" (as I may call him for Avant of a better term) was likely to be 
of but little use to me. He was slow and awkward. He caimot pitch a tout 
properly. He does not know how to harness horses decently, is an atrociously 
bad cook, and all in all, for a man who is willing to work at all, ho is ab jut 
as useless a youth as could be devised. Perhaps, however, I am judging 
hastily, and as he is by no means the only unsatisfactory feature in my out- 
fit, I shall not commit myself too strongly on the subject for a day or two. 
The first four or five miles travelling to-day was through sandy valleys and 
over low sand ridges, with here and there a little pond or lakelet, and numer- 
ous clumps of scrub oak and poplar. The soil, though very far from sterile, 
is of course not nearly as rich as the prevailing black mould. It would, were 
it in any of the older counties in Ontario, very soon be converted into a pros- 
perous farming region. The worst that can be said of it is that the soil is 
light. After passing out of this strip of sand (which, with what we traversed 
of it last night and this morning amounts probably to eight or nine miles) the 
trail struck the section of country known as the " Big Plains." All the re- 
mainder of the day we have been travelling over the Big Plains and we have 
not yet reached the end of them, for they are about thirty miles wide. On 



48 



MANITOBA AND 



v*Jie way we have passed close to a number of farms bearing magniScent crops 
?f wheat and oats, and we have sighted a large number of farm houses which 
were not near enough to the trail to afford an oi>oortunity of judging as to 
the quality of the farms to which they belong, but from the fact that since 
reaching this immense stretch of comparatively level prairie I have seen no 
soil upturned except the richest and strongest of black loam, I should feel 
safe in coming to the conclusion that the grand looking farms lying close to 
the trail only fairly represent the average of the whole region. It would be 
'difficult to represent to a farmer who has never seen some of these rich prairie 
regions w^hat a farm in the Big Plains means. He can picture to himself a 
farm almost as smooth and level as a billiard table, overy foot of which was 
-not only cleared and ready for the plough, but extraordinarily rich at that. 
Of course the want of timber is a fault which practical farmers will not readily 
overlook, but within sight are the Riding Mountains^ where th?re is a large 
supply of spruce, poplar, and scrub oak. Here are very few " sloughs " (pro- 
nounced hero " slews ") to drain, .md the dithculties in the w.ay of draining 
them are not at all formidable. On the Fig Plain, however, it will be some 
time before the farmers will have much occasion to do any draining, as it 
•will take some years to break up the immense stretches of choice farming 
land here that are now ready for the plough. 

Tlie Govenior-General's camp to-nii;ht is on the west bank of a little 
marshy stream, which is almost as much slough as stream. His Excellency 
and suite are furthest from the trail and to the north of it ; then in a long 
row 'W the west ot it and extending out to the trail are the waggons of the 
expedition, and then come the police tents, with Col. Horchmer nearest the 
trail and my own pitched within a few yards of it. Game is abundant here, 
and nearly every one in the Governor-General's party has had more or less 
«port. A few himdred yards south of the trail the stream, which is easily 
fordable at the crossing, opens out into a largo pool with low sedgy banks. 
Just after sunset to-niglit Capt. Percival and myself took our stations on 
rtpposite sides f)f this pool and amused ourselves with ohooting ducks on the 
wing till we wore fairly tired of it. Green-winged teal are very plentiful. 
American widgeon, mallard, and other varieties are to be met with in nearly 
every pool. Yellow-legged plover grow to an \inusual size here. 



i 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



49 



CHAPTER XII. 

RECEPTION AT RAPIP CITY— A FINE FARMING COUNTRY— HOW WINNIPEO MERCHANTH 
TREAT TRAVELLERS— THE LITTLE SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS WATER-POWER— SALT LAKE — 
THE COUNTRY AROUND— SHOAL LAKE— THE WATER ON THE PLAINS. 



I 



Rapid City, Manitoba, August 10. — Not having a hard journey to make 
to-day, His Excellency's cavalcade was not on the move this morning till 
about seven o'clock. It had at length been definitely decided upon to leave 
Brandon out on the westward journey, but include it aiaong the stopping- 
places on the return. This brought the party to Rapid City a day ahead of 
time, but as Mr. C. J. Whelms, of that place, met Colonel De Winton on the 
prairie yesterday forenoon, he hurried back to the village to inform the 
people, in order that they might not bo wholly unprepared to receive His 
Excellency to-day. 

Our camp of last night wa? not far from the western edge of Big Plains. 
On leaving Big Plains, we entered what is known as the Little Saskatchewan 
country. Here the prairie is just a trifle more undulating, and it is fre- 
quently broken with low poplar bluffs and occasional ponds or sloughs. I 
should l.iai'dly use the term "bluS'" without some explanation as to its local 
signification. The smallest clump of trees or b\ishes on the prairie is called 
a " bluff." These bluffs are greatly sought for and prized by those who have 
to camp in the plains in the winter, or after the weather becomes cool in the 
latter part of summer antl fall. 

In reaching this village to-day we had some pretty tough mud holes to pull 
through, and in the worst of these I met with my first break-down. The 
new biickboard, for which I had paid an extravagant price in Winnipeg, 
proved unequal to the strain. One of the marer, wrenched a now shoo ofl", 
and the other loosened one of hers, but for all this tlioy managed to land 
both my load and myself on the west side of the slough without so much as 
lialting. As I was not far from the village ut the time, it did not take mo 
long to sufiiciently repair the damage to admit of n)y moving on, though the 
break-down was one of a very serio\is nature. In fact I begin to see that in 
nearly evorj* purchase I made in Winnipeg I was swindled to a greater or 
less extent. My butkboard, which was a higlipricL-d one, is not at all as 
represented, and so entirely indiflbrent was tlio manufacturer as to iiuw it 
would serv" my purpose, as soon as it was fairly oil" his hands, tliat lie fur- 
nished it with (I wrench that wo\ild not tit tim nuts that required to bj 
removed at last outu) every twenty-four h urs. To-day I had to spend enough 
in repairing and reimning the i)olo to have jiaid for two polim out and out in 
Ontario, ami altogether the vehi"lo is very far froui being as strong as I ]umX 
been led to believe it was. The furnishing of the rest of my outfit (wherever 



50 



MAMIOHA AM) 



I was \inal)U' to ,i;iv«' it my iHTHonal HniuMviHitni) liaw lucii of tlio Hniuo oliiir- 
aitiT. I tr\iH'.i'(l II viuy n>Hpi'i'liililo linn of W'iiiiiiiu';; )i oimth to i>ul up a 
.siuull casi* of su|ipli(<s foi' mo, ami I I'iml on opiMiim; (ho box ami ««xaminiii}{ 
th(< t'oiil(<i\t.s tliat llio limo juio« put up lor mo i* al loast lialT walor. I paid 
for a lu<ll t(<nt that was to \h) tiomploto and Huitablo for tim trip to tlio Kocky 
Mo\iiitaiiis ami r(<liirn, ami I particularly Htipulatt'tl thai it was to tin 
funiislu'tl witli poitt MUil pcf^H. \\ ht<n I cimuo Io havn it< pitclmd I fouud 
that it luid not licon fun islu<(l with im<>,'h, an<l that Mmro waH notliin;; in tlm 
sliapo of a wall or curtain attacluul to it. Aftor horrowiiiij pt'nw with which 
to pitch it, 1 found that it was merely a nIumI, lca\ injf a spucti of nearly ti>ii 
inches open between the lower edj^e and tlu> ^roinnl. Sm^h a tent mi^lit do 
well enoU!j;h for an awuinj,' in hot weather, but in order to make it adaptal>l»> 
to my purposes 1 sliall have to pay out about half as much as it. cost uu« for 
the nect>ssary altadnuents. 'I'hese ar«< only samples of llm way in which any- 
one obliged to buy an outfit in \Viunipe>^ is liabli^ to imposition. 'l'rad«'smon 
never expect to see thi> same oustoiuer back aj^aiii, and they take the oppor- 
tunity alloi'ded thoni of HiprH</.<n,<; him to the utmost, .\nyono intendini; to 
n»ake the trip across the jilains would do well to buy everylhin^ he re<|uirt'H 
for it in Ontario before leavinj,', as that is the tudy way ho can be suro of 
see\n'inji a suitable out lit at any i>rice. 

Hapiil Ciiy is aa yet scarcely as prelen'ious a ])laco as itsnain(> would indi. 
cate. it is indeed lUily a HU\all handet in the valley of the tattle Saskatchu- 
wat\. The villaiie, small as it is, liowmer, is built on both sides of lhi> 
stroam which is spanned by a narrow and very ricketty bridyo. A n»iw bridyo 
is now buildini;, however, which \\\wi\ limipleted will doubtless be much 
nuMi' in keepiuL; with the proJ^ressivl^ i-haracttn- of llu' place. Ivapid City it- 
self is not a pri'tty place by any means. The few streets of which it boastH 
are uneven and iire^'idar, and the houses are neither beautiful nor picture- 
osipie, while as yet no one appears to have had time to do anything in tho 
way of boautifyini^ his place even to the very small extent of fencintj in a 
front-yard. Trices are very high, as mimht be expected, and to any unfor- 
tunate traveller who Jiappens to require auythinj^ to bo hud hero they aro, 
I bt'lieve, doubly so. In fact I am inclined to thiidi that the people both of 
Winnipeg and tlu'rest of Manitoba are rathert)veiiloinij thin n)atter of over- 
chargiui;. It is of comse, all ni;ht for a mm ti) i^et the Ih'sI price obtainal>le 
for anything lie iias to sell, but this business of gumming one's pricca according 
to the nece.ssitios of one's oustor.ier is mean ami unbusinesslike. Of loiufjo 
1 do not mean to say that all with whnm I have dealt with in Winnipeg and 
tho Norlh-Wcst are in the habit of doing this. 






A KINK KAr.MlNti rorNTUV. 

Indoubtedly the strong point about UapidCity is the fine f.irming country, 
in the midst of which it is located. The little Saskatchewan is a deep, swift, 
and narrow stream, am'. I niu informed that a dam could bu built at very 
moderate cost which would furnish all tl'.e wator-power necessary to drive a 
largo anunin^ (f uuuiufactiiring and milling machinery right in the heart of 



IMI'; NOUTH-WKHT. 



r,t 



tlhi villi^;(). I f^ivo llu) HtaUiiiiuiit iih it wan ^ivon Ui mn, Iml I am of (i|)ini'iii 
lliat. il. Ih HoiiiDwIial, <ivni'Hl/aU:4. 'I'lio Hl.roaiii in (loiihUiiHii a Hwifl, oiio, and 
rvoii now in low wator il. \h rrn'rynifji a lioavy voluwio down to Ui<i AnHini- 
l)oinn (tlio " liittlo " SaHkal.cliowan niimt. not. Ins coiifoundoil wiUi iJio olJiiir 
vorH Hiniiiarly nainud, and wliicli How Miroii<^di tlio ^niat SaHl<at,<;li(twan di- 
rii(;My into Lalui VViiini|)(i)4),lMit. I (|ii<!Hl.iou if Mkiio in fall unoii^li jiihI Ik^i! t,o 
ailoid powtir for any oxUmHivo iniilH or factoriim. A fow niilcH down Uio 
rivor, liowovtir, ihvrv aru Haid to bo falln and an undnnialily ^ood wator privi- 
U'^0, and thoii^li I liavii not huou tliuni, I am (jiiito piitpatud to auciipt tlio 
Htatcinrnt an coirtict. 

Ill approach iii;^ Kapid <'ity from lint caHt tlio travcllor cannot fail to Iks im- 
pruHHiid witli tlio clianiiiiii^ picturo prcHontod, aH ho oatcliim liiH iii'Ht ^linipHi; 
of tho Itoaiitifnl valloy of tlio Littlo SaHkatuliowan. Aftor liaviii)^ IravorHod 
Homo Hixty or Hovoiity milimof i;omi»aralivoly lovol prairii;, lio approaclioH tlio 
vor<{o of what ho takoH for an ordinary inairio liliill', but iih ho roauhoH tho 
crcHt a novor-to-bo-forj^ottoii HiirjuiHO aw/iitH him. 

Lot tho roador ima^ino Hproad out boforo him, roHplondttnt in tlio mollow 
niHHot and <^oldon j^dory of an Au^^imt aftiM-noon, not moroly a fow H<jiiaro 
miloH, but towiiHliip aftor townHliip in tho far- roach ini; HlopoH of a fortili! 
valloy, whoso far-oil' rim riuuH Hharii un<l truoloHH a;;aiiiHt tho Hoft bliiuof a 
Hiimmor'H nUy, whilo, iiH if in pi-ophotiu ininiicry of a ^lorioim fiitiiro, thu ripo 
and ;.;roon prairio j^'niHHCH that aro waviim in tho Hiuili;,dit dirtiday all tho variud 
^jroon and ^{ol<l and oran^o HliadoH of j^ntwiii;^, riponin;^, and riponod j^rain. 
h'roiii out that littlo clump of Hhnibbory, oiio almost oxpoctH to hoo riHitii^ tho 
woatlicr-Htaiiiod L,'ablo of an old fiiHliioiiod farm-houHo, jiint as ho oxjHjctn to 
HOO tho duHt nilliiii^ up an if from a iiublic hij^hway aloni,' that lino of whito 
poplarn (hat look iih tliou;^h thoy had boon planted by a roadHidt;, but nti'l 
tho travullor lookii in vain for HUchovidoncoH of inan'H proHoncu in tiiOHU lonul}' 
HlopoH. Tho iintrimmod liodgoH, tho orchardn, tlu; fioldrt of wiving' i,'riin aro 
all doluHivo pictiiroH, thofn; hIoiioh aro Htill an thoy woro tiirnud out of Naturo'H 
InindH, but who can toll how noon tho ])r:)[ihotiu panorama of tluH brii{ht 
Auj,'UHt aftornoon may bocomo a grand reality, whoii hundrodHof whito-wallod 
liomi'HtoadH may dot tlumo lov»dy fortilo h1<»I)oh, and whon orrant broczos, an 
thoy float up tho valloy, hIiiiII Hhaki; tho nodding lioadH of goldon urain, iiiHtoad 
of piping Hhrilly acroH» thoHu uboIohh HtrotchoH of dry and withurud gruHa. 

Tiri'; (idVKUNOK (IKNKUAl/s Ki:< I'.I'TIO.V, 

Tlio recoplion at Rapid City wiih a vory hearty ono. Thoro was an arch of 
coimidorablo nizo, which, in lion of ovorgrooim, wiih ornamoutod with partially 
riiionod grain in tho Htraw and poplar bougliH. 

Aftur liin Kxculloncy had had an opportunity of Hooing tho ducorutionii 
lliat had lioon put up in honour of hin visit, and had j>aiil a vinit to tho olHoo 
of tho local nowHfiaiior (tlii! liaind VUij iStiinilurd), an addrcHs wiih proHontod 
to him on bohalf of tho inhabitants by Cul. Martin, to which Lord Lome 
ropliud at cuUHidurublo longth. 



tK> OF THE UNIVERSITY 
OF ALBERTA 



32 



MANITOBA AND 



There arc a number of settlers in the immodiate vicinity of Rapid City, 
lihough singularly enough few, if any, of their homes are to be seen in looking 
down into the valley from the trail. The houses which constitute the village 
are about all that can be seen. Rapid City ia only about twenty miles from 
Brandon, a point on the Assiniboine River, where the C. P. R. is to cross, and 
where a little town is said to be springing up with astonishing rapidity. The 
people of Rapid City fully expect to be supplied with railway facilities by one 
of the very numerous projected branches of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but 
whether their hopes in that direction should prove well founded or not the 
splendid country in wliich they are located can hardly be allowed to remain 
unopened much longer. 

Our camp to-night is about half a mile down the river from the village, and 
■close upon thp west bank of the ri/er. A number of the horses have come 
near being drowned by tumbling into the deep swift current of the river 
while attempting to drink. 

To-morrow we drive to Shoal Lake, forty miles distant, and as this will 
necessitate a very early start I must try and snatch a little sleep in the mean- 
ftime. 

OVEK THE PRAIRIE. 

Shoal Lake, Aug. 11. — The drive to-day has been a heavy and a fast one, 
some forty miles having been covered in a little over seven hours' driving 
time. Tlie country through which we have passed between Rapid City and 
this point is altogether vury fine, and I should think fully 80 per cent, of it 
ia choice land. Some of this 80 per cent, is now a trifle wet to be im.mediately 
ready for the plough, but even a larger proportioi> tlian that will ultimately 
be cultivated. To-day we passed some very heavy sloughs, and drove around 
two or three that were pretty extensive, assuming almost the dimensions of 
small lakes. In the many windings of the trail to-day the man who was 
gtiiding the party lost his way, and finally brought the whole procession to a 
halt in a fariner't somewhat capacious front yard. The loss of time involved 
was not 8crio\i8, however. 

The f>nly water to be found along the trail over the prairie is usually 
very bad, as it comes out of the muddy, semi-stagnant sloughs. It answers 
for Juaking tea, and by straining the bugs and poliywogs out of it one can 
manage to swallow it if it liappous to bo pretty liberally mixed with lime juice. 
As a rule the hor-ses do not like it, though they soon Icurn to drink it if they 
• cannot get anything better. As I was driving along this afternoon in advance 
of the whole party I saw a little bay of clear, limpid water splashing upon a 
clean, hard beach oi sand and gravel. 1 stopped to give tlie horsoH a drink 
when His Excellency coming up lialted his carriage to toll me that the water 
was alkaline. The policeman who was driving for him had made him aware 
of tlin fact, but my astute " g\iide," Wiliiiim Baiilie, know notliing about it. 
Of course 1 stopped the horsoV potations at ouco. .lust Ix'voud this bay the 
trail pa.ssod a little wooded point and wb were in full view of Sfvlt Lake, which 
is some throe or four miles long and a mile or more wide. Tiie sloughs in tliis 



^ 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



53 



Rapid City, 
on in looking 
te the village 
y miles from 
to cross, and 
ipidity. The 
lities by one 
Railway, but 
>d or not the 
id to remain 

village, and 
have come 
if the river 

I as this will 
n the mean- 



immediate vicinity are also alkaline. It must not be inferred from what I 
have said regarding the water supply out here that there is anything radi- 
cally wrong with it. There are some very decent soft water creeks to be 
found, and the settlers have no difficulty in reaching good water by sinking 
wells. 

Shoal Lake is not a very inviting place, and as it is storming to-night I am 
afraid the travellers will not be very favourably impressed with it. The lake 
from which the hamlet takes its name is rather a pretty sheet of water about 
five or six miles long. Altogether the country between here and Rapid City 
is very fine, as I have already stated, but I do not think it would rank quite- 
as high as the country lying east of the latter place. East of the Little 
Saskatchewan I should say that from 9.5 to 98 per cent, of the land is 
thoroughly good. An address was presented by the Shoal Lake people, to 
which His Excellency made a brief extemporaneous reply. 

Lord Lome and party are the guests of Mr. Dewdney, the Indian Com- 
missioner, to-night. 



I a fast one, 
urs' driving 
)id City and 
•r cent, of it 
im. mediately 
ultimately 
•ove around 
nensions of 
111 who was 
cession to a 
le involved 

is usually 
It answers 
it one can 
liiiio juice, 
c it if they 
n advance 
"g upon a 
08 a drink 
the water 
lim aware 

about it. 
s bay the 
ke, which 
hs in this 



■3 



CHAPTER XIII. 

ARRIVAL AT BIRTLE AND RECEPTION — THE LAND STONT, BUT GOOD — EXPERIENCES OF 
SETTLERS IN THEIU NEW HOMES— THE PRAIRIE MOSytlTO— ARRIVAL AT FORT ELLICE. 

Snake Creek, August 12. — Our camp to-nij^ht is only four or five miles 
east of Fort Ellice, but as the crossing of the Assiniboine will in all proba- 
bility occupy considerable time, it was deemed prudent not to attempt reach- 
ing the Fort till to-morrow forenoon. The feature of to-day's journey was 
unquestionably the visit to Birtle. The country between Shoal Lake and 
the last-named village is good, tJiough not quite so free from sloughs as might 
be wished, while the presence of occasional small boulders does not improve 
the condition of the roads to any extent. On the other hand, however, the 
settlors aver that farming operations are not at all embarrassed by the quan- 
tities of small stones scattered over the prairie, while it is easy to see tliat 
there are very few, if any, sloughs within sight of the trail that ccnild not 
be drained for a very trilling sum. 

Birtle is situated in the valley of Bird Tail Creek. It is a new settlement, 
and a remarkably thriving one. The farmers in this vicinity havw been un- 
usually suucessful, and all appear to be in high spirits over their prospects. 
Indeed the growtli of this place appears to have been most extraordinary. 
There are farmers in the neighbourhood who have not yet been in their 
claims a full year who have from thirty to eighty acres already in crop, and 
I heard of one or two instances where settlers had no less tlian lUO acres in 



u 



MANITOBA AND 



crop as the result of the first year's efforts. The crops here are all looking 
wonderfully well, and altogether the region is a very pi'omising one. 

The approach to the valley of Bird Tail Creek, upon the east bank of which 
the youthful village is prettily situated, is (^uite as beautiful as that at Rapid 
City. The landscape on the west bank of Bird Tail Creek is more circum- 
scribed than that of the little Saskatchewan, but as. an offset to this the 
smaller landscape is much more park-like and fuller of charming details than 
the larger. His Excellency was escorted to the Town Hall and a lengthy 
but very sensible address was read, in which allusion was made to the fact 
that the quotation from a letter to a Scottish newspaper which His Excel- 
lency had given in a speech to his constituents at Inverary just before his de- 
parture for Canada had been written ' y a citizen of Birtle (one of the Re- 
ception Committee, in fact). At the close of the address, or rather as a part 
of the address itself, the entire audience rose to their feet and sang " God 
Save the Queen." The effect was singularly dramatic, and could not have 
failed to impress every one present. In fact, there was a genuineness and 
even fervent enthusiasm, about the reception at Birtle, which was evidently 
most gratifying to His Excellency, who replied extemporaneously in the hap- 
piest manner. 

There is a saw-mill at Birtle, and this year a large quantity of logs (spruce 
and poplar) were driven down to it from the Riding Mountains. In all, I be- 
lieve that some 30,000 logs were driven down Bird Tail Creek, but some 
eight or ten thousand of them were taken all the way down the Assiniboiue 
to be cut at a saw-mill on that- stream. I shall probably be unable to visit 
the Riding Mountains, but some gentlemen who live in and about Birtle in- 
form me that there is a very large supply both of saw-logs and firewooil to be 
cut there. So far nearly all the logs that have been cut there are spruce. 
These grow to an average of eighteen inches to two feet across the stump, 
and the lumber cut from them is said to be of good (juality. Logs cut in the 
Riding Mountains can be driven all the way to Winnipeg by water, and, 
though the drive would bo a long one, I do not think it would be at all 
troublesome. Be this as it may, it is very certain that the Riding Mountains 
contain a supply of lumber and firewood that cannot be too highly prized by 
all whc are interested in the prosperity and well-being of Western Manitoba. 
Before a great while, in the natural course of events, the coal fields of the 
Souris, on the south, and of the Saskatchewan, on the north-west, will, 
through the intervention of railways, furnish these great fertile plains with 
cheap fuel, while the coiiipletion of the Thunder Bay section of the Canadian 
Pacific Railway will make the wonderfully rich pineries bordering on Geor- 
gian Hay tributary to the wants of Manitoba and the great plains lying west 
of it, while, should the British Columbia end of the railway be pushed through 
the mountains to connect with the prairie section, there is no doubt that the 
giant " Douglas firs " of the Pacific slope would find their way into what will 
then be the great grain-growing and stock-raising region of the Dominion ; 
hut in the meantime the settlers now here and the many thousands that are 
sure to come in within the next few years will require fuel and lumber to 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



55 



looking 

of which 
at Rapid 
circuni- 
this the 
ails than 
lengthy 
the fact 
Excel- 
his de- 
tlie Re- 
is a part 
"God 
not have 
neas and 



meet their iminediato necessities, and for this purpose the value of the fuel 
and timber supply uf the Riding Mountains caimot be over-estimated. 

West of Birtle I could not help thinking the land was more stony than 
would be quite desirable, though some of the settlers assured me that it was 
not. 

Regarding the features of the country (some seven miles) botvveen Birtle 
and our present camp at Snake Creek, however, I must say that with the 
exception of the prevalence of loose stone and small boulders, which I found 
in considerable numbers in the trail. I cannot see anything about the region 
which the most fastidious settler could wish otherwise. 

Near Stony Creek I met a settler who had formerly been a meclianic living 
near Stratford, Ont. He rather startled me with the information that there 
was absolutely no growth in the countrj?^ after the middle of August. On 
further (juestioning him, however, I learned that last season, which hiid an 
exceptionally dry autumn, was his first in this western country. Altogether 
he was greatly delighted with his new home, and emphatically denied any 
inclinatiuii to go back and work at his trade in Ontario or elsewhere. 

Our camp to-night is not altogether a comfortable one, though there is 
excellent feed for the horses and water that answers for making tea. The 
mosquitoes are well nigh intolerable, and will, doubtless, continue to be so 
all night. 

Moi?(iuitoe8 are a much greater nuisance hero than I ever imagined they 
would be. I have seen them in the swamps of Ontario, and I have suffered 
froju them there, but I have always felt like langliing at people who thought 
seriously of the annoyance caused by them. A comparatively brief experience 
on the prairies, however, has completely altered my views on this pcnnt. The 
mosquitoes here are, F think, nnich more venomous than those found in 
Ontario. They are certainly much more numerous, and make a longer 
season. This ia nearly the middle of August, and they are still so energetic 
and so numerous that my chance of a comfortable sleep is very poor iudeed. 
Before starting on this trip I had become, as I thought, so seasoned to the 
mosquito plague that I could not suffer from it any more this year, but 1 
found the prairie mosquito a much more formidabls pest than I had imagined 
him. On the Seven Mile Portage, between Wnbigoon and Eagle Lakes, I 
felt almost like laughing at the misfortunes of my fellow-travellers, who were 
frightfully marked with moscjuito bites, while I suffered little or no annoyance 
from them. Here, however, I find it cjuito different. Every bite tells 
severely. Settlers hero tell mo that the mos(initoe8 are more numerous heri' 
in June and July than they are now, but if so I am inclined to think that 
" standing room only " should be displayed at the entrance of every little 
prairie ravine not later than hivlf-par.i live in the afternoon. The nios(iuitoes 
are swarming into my tent at such a rate that 1 shall be compelled to put out 
the light and sleep as best I can till four o'clock to-morrow morning. 

FoKT Eli,I(;k, Aug. l:?.— This has been a busy day with His Excellency, 
though not much country has been seen and very little travelling has been 
done. As this ia a well-known point in the North- West, and na Hia Excel- 



56 



MANITOBA AND 



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lency has now reached almost the western limit of Manitoba, it may not be 
oui of place to do a little summing up of my observations up to this point. 

So far as Fort EUice itself is concerned I might use a great deal of Bpac& 
in describing its beautiful and picturesqvie situation and ila history as a^ 
Hudson Bay post, but as neither of these are matters of vital importance to 
the present series of letters, i shall contert myself by informing the reader 
that it is a Hudson Bay post of very long standing, and that it is pictur- 
esquely perched upon the high prairie bluff which forms the western limit of 
the broad valley of the Assiniboine. Fort Ellico is about 230 or 240 miles 
from Winnipeg by land, but the stetamers which follow the sinuous winui'igs. 
of the Assiniboine have to travel something like 500 or 700 miles in order to 
reach here. The up trip by the river steanma takes, I believe, about ten or 
twelve days, while the down trip is usually made in half that time. The 
valley of the Assiniboine is a broad and beautiful one, but it is not looking 
its best at Miis point just now, as this spring it was all submerged by the 
extraordinary swelling of the river, and as a result the willows and black 
alders that fringe the banks of the river proper are still stained with the 
greyish tint of the muddy water with which they were overflowed. The 
outlinejof the valleys containing prairie streams presents a very peculiar, and^ 
to one who has never seen them before, a very startling feature. The banks 
of these valleys are usually bluffs from 200 to 300 feet high. They are 
corrugated in all sorts of shapes, and there are curious-shaped hills, some 
rising to a point cone-like, and others wedge-shaped, but there is a certain 
limit beyond which none rise. The largest hills rise just to the level of the 
bluffs and no higher. At Fort Ellice one can look for miles down tlie river 
and for a considerable distance up stream, but the level of the bluff shores 
of the valley is always the same. It looks as though some mighty force had 
cut down all the highest hills and ridges to one lev^l. Of course the banks 
of the Assiniboine are seamed with ravines and s'.nall streams, but instead 
of ridges rising beside these, one sees long stretches of level plateau broken 
only by these occasional indertaiions. Lo'^king up from a steamer on the 
Assiniboine at the bluffs on both sides of the valley, a pa-isenger wov.iu 
imagine that the prairie on either side of the river's valley was as level «3 a 
billiard table. 

Having nearly finished the journey across Manitoba I will, as I said be- 
fore, briefly sum up the results of my observations so far. From Winnipeg 
to Portage La Prairie His Excellency and party travelled in a nearly north- 
westerly course ft distance of sixty miles, through a country that may be 
characterized as level i)rairie, some of which is rather low-lying, but the 
greater part of which can be easily drained and rendered productive. 

From Portage La Prairie to Shoal Lake, a distance of some 130 miles, 
there is little to be seen but choico land. Fi)r about eight miles in the vi- 
cinity of Pine Creek there is some light soil, while there are some pretty for- 
midable sloughs west of Rapid City, but the sand ridges could bo made to 
grow fine crops, while the slouy' would be easily drainable. From Portage 
Li Prairie to Shoal Lake the gLueral course of the trail may be set down as 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



57 



fiy not be 
lis poiiiL 
of space 
ory aa a^ 
rtance to 
16 reader 
pictur- 
limit of 
240 miles 
winu/ ig» 
order to 
ut ten or 
lie. The 
t looking 
sd by the 
.nd black 
with the 
id. The 
iliar, and , 
'he banks 
They are 
ills, some 
a cert.iin 
el of the 
tlie river 
ifl' shores 
force had 
he banks 
it instead 
u broken 
er on the 
er wodiu 
level ».a a 

' said be- 
Vinnipeg 
ly north- 
t may be 
but the 

mile.*!, 
n tlie vi- 
etty for- 
made to 
Portage 
down as 



westward. Thirty niilos of this is the almost treeless expanse of Big Plains, 
but the rest of it is undulating prairie, furnished more or less liberally with 
little clumps of poplar, black alder, and willow. From Shoal Lake to Fort 
Ellice (this point) the general direction of the trail is nearly westward, and 
the distance is 32 miles. Here there are some few stony places, but other- 
wise the country is very like that already described. Altoijother I should 
say that 9t) per cent, of the land I have seen in passing out to within twelve 
miles of the western boundary of Manitoba will ultimately be worked profit- 
ably for farming purposes, and not less tlian 95 per cent, would (with a very 
little expenditure for draining) rank as choice agricultural land. 

AT THE HUDSON BAY POST. 

To-day, at about ten o'clock, a guard of honour furnished by the Mounted 
Police, escorted His Excellency from the Assiniboine ferry toHlie Hudson 
Bay Company's fort, where very comfortable quarters had been i)repared for 
him in the residence of Mr. Archibald McDonald, the Hudson Bay agent at 
this place. His Excellency was somewhat averse to relapsing into the luxuries 
I if indoor life again, and though they availed themselves of the hospitalities 
ni Mr. McDonald, tliey had tlieir tents pitched within the palisades of the 
fort. In the afternoon there was an Indian pow-pow, which, after what the 
visitors had seen at various points on their way up was not a , ..rticularly in- 
teresting att'air. There were about 500 Indiaii men, women, and children 
[iresent, consisting mainly of Saulteaux (pronounced Soto), Sioujt, and a very 
few Crees, though the Saulteaux may be classed as a branch of the great Cree 
family. Among the Saulteaux Chiefs were "The Gambler," "the Man Who 
Stands Upright," and " South Quill." The most prominent talker present, 
however, was one of the " head men" (not a chief), who is very appropriately 
named " Sounding Quill," for he is certainly the noisiest Indian that His Ex- 
cellency has yet liad to listen to. He is a stout, able-bodied man of about 
45 years, and not at all bad-looking. He belongs to the Lizard Point band 
I i Saulteaux. He was trading a few years ago, and had a train of thirty 
I'onies and carts loaded with goods, .and over $500 in the bank ; but ho fell 
sick, and had to trust his connneicial ventures to a S(m in-l:.w, who managed 
to bankrupt him in a single season. Sounding Quill has been something be- 
tiides a trader, however, as the immense bunches of feathers he wears amply 
testify. Each tincoloured feather sigiiities a scalp taken by the wearer, and 
each feather that is dyed rod denotes a stolen pt)ny. Before the red men 
were invited into the fort Sounding Quill was practising his voice and legs 
outside on the green, and succeeded in 'athering a considerable number of 
white men to listen to his speeches and watch the dancing of the pagans 
around him. It is needless to say that all the Indians were dressed in their 
most ehvborate costumes, and«the diftVrent groups scattered about over the 
grass made a decidedly striking and picturestiue scene. 

Thegroupof which SoundiiigQuill wasthc centre was the most active andthe 
noisiest. They would sing and dance in the usual monotonous Indian fashion, 
and in the intervals between the dances Sounding Quill would make brief and 
D 



>»^ ■ 



58 



MANITOBA AND 



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buisteroiis speeches. He was coiitinually boasting of hie exploits in jghtins^ 
and horse-stealing. At one time he wished to address himself particularly to 
the white men present, and when he thought he had secuiod their attent''>n 
he said in his own language, with a great deal of noise and gesticulation, 
" Last fail I went and stole two hordes out of the Blackfeet camp, and you 
Canadians would be very glad to do the same thing if you only thought yon 
were men enough." 

THE INDIANS X.V THE FORT. 

At the appointed time the Indians wert brought into the fort, the Saulteaux 
coming first, and tiring a rather cnide attempt at a fen de joie as thoy passe d 
through the gate. Af^er they had taken tiieir places in a s'.mi-circle beforo 
His Excellency and suite, Sounding Quill arranged a dance among his war- 
riors, and as sooti as it was over he made another of his noisy and boastful 
speeches. It was something as follows : — " Ycu can see by my body that I 
am a man of mitiory. I have beei) in misery all my life. I have been in a 
great deal of trouble, such as horyo-stealing and killing people. I am not 
ifoing to deny it — T i^m a murderer and a horse-thief jind I am not ashamed 
of it." Of course fSoiinding Quill repeated every sentence and clause of his 
spooch at least half a dozen times lor tho sake of emphasizing it, but the 
y.bove is nearly a verbatim report of it, with the repet'tions eliminated. 

South Quill's son made a brief speech, whioh was neither very clear 
nci' very pointed. H'l was glad to see such n crowd of people turn out to 
meet the Govprnor-Cienoral. He himself had never been in " misery " (by 
which he meant horse-stealing and bloodshed), but he was ready to follow 
in the sieps of h s father, South Quill, and everybody who knew South 
Quill knev that ho was a brave and honest man. After this South Quill's 
three sons engaged in a dance by thcmscives, and then the eldest resumed 
his speech by saying, " When my brother-in-law went to steal horses I cried 
to go with him. ' He drank melted snow and could not catch any horses : 
now I will go and take a drink from the well. " 

"Old Long Claws" also made a short speech, but it did not amount to 
muoh in the estimation of the half-breed who was translating for me, and so 
1 missed it. The business to be transacted with His Excellency was simply 
the usu .1 growling and bogging. 

The Sioux wore introduced by. their chief who is also a native Christian 
minister, whose name is " Big Tin Pan." He read a short address in Sioux, 
.and then a translation of it in English. It was substantially as follows : ~ 

" Until we received a reserve, the gift of the CIreat Mother, we were wan- 
dering without a ho»ne over tho land. Now we have a home, and we art- 
trying to m.ake ourselves onmfortablo like white men." 

Some other prominent men among the Sioux spoke, after which Hi.s 
Excellency replied very briefly as follows : -- 

*' I want to till all here that I am very glad to Hce them. I look upon it 
as a faign of our alliance of n\d days that you have brought the flag with you. 
1 see the medals ou some of your breasts, tokens of service rendered the 



I 






THE NORTH-WEST. 



59 



icularly to 
: attenti'^n 
ticulation, 
), and yon 
ought you. 



Saulteaux 
hoy passed 
rcle before 
itj his war- 
id boastful 
)ody that I 
i been m a 
I am not 
t ashamed 
anae of his 

it, but the 

ited. 

very clear 
turn out to 
lisory " (by 
y to follow 
now South 
luth Quill's 
st resumed 
rses I cried 
uiy horses ; 

.amount to 
me, and so 
was simply 

e Christian 
ssin Siou\, 
illows : — 
^ were wan- 
and we arc 

which His 

ook upon it 
ig with you. 
ondered the 



Great Mother. Some day I hope T shall come to see your farms, which I am 
told you cultivate well. As representing the Great Mother, and as I am 
passing through the country, for this time only I have directed that a present 
shall be given you. " 

This, with a great deal of hand-shaking, brought the Fort Ellice pow-wow 
to a close. After it was over two cows were slaughtered .and cut up for the 
Indians. 

A NEW GUIDE. 

Finding that Bailey was not only inexperienced but unable to endure the 
fatigue and exposure of the trip, I shipped him this evening by steamer to 
Winnipeg, and engaged a Fi'ench half-breed here named Peter Countois. My 
new guide knows the western country pretty well, though he has never been 
as far as Fort Calgary or Morleyvillo (this latter place being the extreme 
western point on our journey), but he is accustomed to life on the plains and 
appears to be strong, .active, and intelligent. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

HIS EXCELLENCY BEYOND PORT ELLICE— MEKTINO WITH A HALF BREED FREIGHTER — 
«ARKY1N0 GOODS ACROSS THE PLAINS —SLEEPING WITHOUT A TENT ON THE OPEN PRAIRIE 
- HARD WORK FOR COMPARATIVELY SMALL PAY A HOSPITABLE HOST. 

Ten Miles West of Fout Ellic"E, August 14. — Finding that my buckboard 
(which had been sold to me by a highly recommended carriagem<aker in 
Winnipeg) was not likely to carry me through, I traded it for a stouter one 
manufactured by a London, Ontario, m.aker, and getting ray new acquisition 
carefully oiled, I started out only a short time after His Excellency and 
party had gone, intending to make a ten mile stretch across the prairie this 
evenii o, and secure ivn earlier stfirt to-morrow morning than could possibly 
have been made from Fort Ellice. It was after dark before I reached this 
point, and I was just congratulating myself on having reached camp in safety, 
as I could already see the white tents through the thickening gloom, when 
anjominous " screech " came from my near front wheel that sent a chill down 
my spine. Peter Countois was out of the buckboard in a second, and in less 
than a minute after the alarm wo had the wheel off, but unfortunately the 
box or metal bearing that should have remained in the hub, stuck hard and 
fast in the axle arm. I ti ii'd it with the wrench, but it woiild not turn or 
move, and nothing remainn )ut to allow it to cool till morning, when the 
blacksmith belonging to the escort has promised to take and reset it in ihe 
hub for me. 



I 



GO 



MANITOKA AND 



Eleven Miles West of Fort Ellicr, August 15— This has certainly been 
ene of the longest days I remember to have spent. Anxious about the re- 
])air8 to my biickboard, I was up at break of day, even before any save the 
night watch were stirring about His Excellency's camp. At last there was a 
stir, but it was the despatch of a number of the force, including the black- 
smith, to hunt up stray horses. Between tive and six o'clock, however, the 
blacksmith came down to make the necessary repairs, and in a few minutes the 
box was removed from the axle arm and replaced in the hub. Now, however, 
the wheel would not fit the arm. This the blacksmith attributed to burned 
grease in the box, and thinking it would work out in a short time, he went 
back to camp to get himself ready for the start, which was to be made at six 
o'clock. Kemaining to work the wheel into its place, I told Peter to go and 
catch the mares, but this proved a very serious task, as they had gone back 
to Fort Ellice. 

I now saw that I was sure to be left behind, but in answer to a kind en- 
tjuiry sent down from His Excollency's c;imp, 1 informed Col, Herchmer 
that I was sure to be up with them some time in the night, and twenty 
minutes later I found injaolf alone on this big smd plain (which is really 
Diore like a desert tlnm anything 1 have seen since leaving Winnipeg). 1 
concluded I would pull down the tent and get everything ready to start as 
soon as Peter returned with the horses. I took the tent down, packed up 
eveiythiug, and was just about to load up the backboard when 1 suddenly 
recollected that that wheel had not been put on yet. Of course I nuist put 
it on before making up the load, and so I went to work at it. After I h<ad 
struggled with it for an hour I began reluctantly to admit to myself that this 
business of putting the wheel in place might give me some trouble. I worked 
for half an hour longer, and then sat down on the baggage hot and tired (for 
by this time the sun was fairly broiling everything on the plain), and made a 
lew remarks about that Winnipeg carriage-maker who had sold me a buck- 
board that was too light and flimsily made to carry my loud to the Rocky 
^fountains, as he assured me it would. He did not hear my remarks, of 
course, and he wouldn't have felt pleased and flattered if he had. Then 1 
worked a while longer, and discovered that the hex inside the hub was 
cracked and crumbling to pieces, and that it had always fitted the axle arm 
too tightly anyway. I then sat down and anathematized the London carriage- 
maker, whose name was painteci on this new buck board, and I am afraid 1 
included all carriage-makers except the manufacturer of the Concord coaches 
;ind Whitewater waggons. It was nearly eleven o'clock when Peter returned 
with the mares, and it had seemed nearly a week to me. Of course the next 
thing to be done was to send him in to Fort Ellice again to j)rocure the ser- 
vices and tools of a blacksmith. 

I now saw clearly that at this early stage of the journey I was likely to fall 
fully a day behind His Excellency and party, and that I might have a great 
deal of trouble in making up the lost time wtihout seriously overtasking my 
mares. In this matter I am rather unft)rtniiately situated. I have only my 
black mares to de;)end upon for transport, while the wliole force of the 



THt: NORTH-WEST. 



01 



Mounted Police is available for His Excelleiicy, and that of tlie Indian De- 
partment for Mr. Dewdnoy, wlio also accompanies liim. Colonel Herchuier 
who has charge of the escort and transport, took in a number of fresh horses 
at Fort EUice, and ho will tind other fresh ones waiting at Qii' Appelle and 
Battleford, wliilo 1 must depend on Minnie and Jenny, or upon such animals 
as I may be able to exchange them for, when they become too completely 
fagged out to tinish the journey. Of course, by paying the difference, I may 
be able to secure tolerably good fresh ponies for my mares, but I am quite 
certain that anyone who finds himself forced to trade horses in this country 
is moderately sure to get the worst of it. If my mares had only been rest- 
ing to-day I should not feel so annoyed and discouraged, but they have been 
chasing back and forward between hero and the Fort all day. 

Knowing that I had hours to wait before Peter could possibly return, 1 
made an attempt to write in my journal, but the " bull-dogs," sand-flies, *^tul 
deer-flies made me so thoroughly uncomfortable that I was obliged to get up 
and walk about. When I became tired of walking about in the broiling sun 
I lay down on the baggage and tried to get some rest, but the vicinity of an 
old camp is a wretched place to rest at any time, and particularly so on a 
scorching hot day. All the mosquitoes (carrion and house flies) will gather in 
from acres round about the spot to feast upon the refuse, and if they find a 
straggler lying about canq) they will manifest a disposition to devour him too. 
Then wild bees, wasps, and hornets are all sure to be well represented, and 
their delegates are apt to look upon the appearance of any human being on 
the scene with especial disfavour. Of course they will not be the first to 
make an assault, but when one is not in the very best possible humour to 
begin with, as I was to-day, it is not difficult to get up a cpiarrel with a mem- 
ber of this irascible and stinging fraternity. At last Peter arrived, accom- 
panied by the blacksmith from Fort EUice, who, after working till nearly 
sundown, managed to put the wheel in its place once more, and after I had 
seen every axle arm carefully oiled I was on the way again just before dark. 
After driving about two miles further across the sand plain 1 came to the end 
of it, and found the trail winding through a partially dried up but very stony 
strip of muskeg. 

I had not gone three hundred yarjs into this muskeg before the ofl' front 
wheel of the buckboard gave a sound pi'ecisely similar to that which had dis- 
mayed me by proceeding from the other fore wheel nearly twenty-four hours 
before, and of course 1 knew that the other box had heated in spite of ita 
having been oiled only two miles from the spot. I took off the wheel, but 
found the box heated and stuck to the axle just as the other had been. It 
did not take me long to come to the conclusion that my Winnipeg buckboard. 
with all its faults, was better than this new ac(iuisition, and so I sent Peter 
back to the Fort to secure the return of my former vehicle on some terms, 
and I made u^ my mind to wait on the plains till he should have time to re- 
turn to-morrow morning. Of course it was impossible to move the buck- 
board without repairs, and as the muskeg was not a fit place upon which to 
camp, or oven to remain long as the chill of the evening was already coming 



62 



MANITOBA AND 



on, I made my way [upon the prairie, as soon as Peter and the mares had 
gone, and set about looking for a spot upon which to camp. I had soon 
travelled nearly a mile from the spot where I had left the wrecked vehicle, 
and at length found a French half-breed with a loaded train bound for Ed- 
monton, camped just at the northern edge of the plain among the little pop- 
lar bluffs. Peter had called to borrow a saddle a few minutes before I came 
iilong, and had, I suppose, told the freighter the story of our mishaps, for I 
had no sooner reached his camp than he shook hands with me cordially and 
insisted on making me thoroughly at home i^ his camp. He had fifteen carts 
and ponies in charge of two men besides himself, and caUing one of these he 
addressed a few words in Cree which I did not understand, but a few mo- 
ments later allot supper was placed before me. I could not well r'.fuse such 
cordial and well-intentioned hospitality, and besides I had no desiie to do bo 
as I was ravenously hungry and I never had much confidence in myself as a 
cook. T made an excellent meal, and subsequently accepted a pressing in- 
vitation to remiiin in the camp all night. From this man I was enabled to 
learn something about the business of freighting from Winnipeg to Edmonton. 
The round trip, he ir 'orms me, occupies about four months or four months 
and a half, and the rate he was receiving was 9c. per lb. He went down 
light, of course, and collected his whol<> rate on freight bound up. These 
freighters must lead a wearisome life on these terrible long journeys. They 
are doing very well when they are making from fifteen to twenty miles per 
• lay, and often they are detained for several days together waiting for their 
horses to recruit. They never carry oats, and as the down trip is often made 
ill the very worst of fly-time their ponies and oxen have neA . to no time in 
which to eat and sleep, as the insect pests render their lives well nigh intol- 
erable. They sometimes stop in the vicinity of Winnipeg for weeks to re- 
cruit their animals, and their return journey often takes thc.i into the bit- 
terly cold storms of autumn and early winter. Even now one feels intensely 
stitl" an \ sore as he crawls out of his blankets as the first streaks of daylight 
are sliowing in the eastern horizon and gets himself ready for a start by sun- 
rise. What it must bo in September and October 1 can easily imagine ; but 
it must be remembered tliat these freighters work both winter and summer, 
though probably the greater share of the work is done in the summer and 
fall. M.iUy of them do not even cany ii tent, but at night roll themselves in 
their blankets and sleep under their carts, be the weather wet (ir dry. Tlie 
half-breed who is so very kind to me, however, has an exc'lli'ut tent in whieli 
to IiDUKo himself and his men at niyht, but he informs me titat in dry weather 
they often sleep witliout it. I think, however, that it must l>e very unwise 
for any but n ju cf the strongest constitution t(i sleep unsliolteied on the 
prairies, esiieuially in summer, as the dews ai)pear tn be exceptionally heavy 
at this seasiin at all evt^its. Toniuht I phiill sleep in my lioHt's tent, hut the 
night is so warm that we shall l-o forced to have the door of Mie tent open 
tor the sake of ventilaiion. The moscpiitoes are unusually numerous and ac- 
tive to-night, and did not the miserable uncertainty regarding my ability 
to successfully carry out my mission and again overtake the Vice- Regal parly 
ar outweigh all other considerations, I should think them very annoying. 






I 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



63 



CHAriEK XV. 



»'ROM PORT KLIiICK TO WlJ APl'ELLK— EXTUAOKUINARV KEIll'll.lTV OF THE SOIL— AN IS- 
DEaCKIBABLY BEAUTIFUL I.ANU -EXQUISITE EFFECT OF COI.OUU ON THE BANKS OF THl 
<iU'APPEI.LB— THUOUGH THE aETTLERS' PARADISE. 

Ik fj .MP, Twenty-four Miles West ok Foht Ellice, Aug. 16 — After 
lighting mosquitoes all night on the sand plains I arose at a very early hour, 
and after brealifasting with my exceedingly hospitable half-breed friend, I 
began to watoh for Peter Countois, but it was noon before he arrived, as 
there had been many little accidents to delay him at Fort EUice that morn- 
ing. When he did arrive it took a long time to transfer my outfit to the 
light buck-board, and the result was that we only travelled about twelve 
miles to our present camp. Our course to-day has been through a very fine 
strip of rolling iJi dirie since leaving the muskeg, which with the sand plain 
dot's not make more than about tliirteen miles across the trail. We have 
plenty of duck- shooting, but as I am in great haste to push forward and 
overtake the party, I only shot what wo absolutely required for the pot. At 
our camp to-night 1 saw a trace of the party in the shape of a fagged-out 
horse that they had been compelled to leave behind ; but as they left Fort 
Ellice with some thirty spare horses, the loss of a few on the road will not in 
any way embarrass their movements. This horse is a " Broncho," and from 
his ai)pearanco to-night 1 have no doubt he will bo all right in a day or two. 
The mo8(|uitoes are very troublesome to-night as usual, but as I am doing my 
writing by the somewhat flickering and uncertain light of a "smudge-fire," 
they are not ()uite so attentive to me now as I have no doubt they will bo a» 
soon as 1 retire. 

In Camp, Seventy-kive Mh-es West or Fort Em.ice, Aug. 17. — Ac- 
cording to the way they measure distances here I have driven fifty-one miles 
to-day, but if I wore to jiulgo of the pace and driving time, to the best of my 
ability I should set the distance at ten miles farther. Of t)iis fifty or sixty 
miles (as the case may bu), 1 do not think there is a s(iuare foot untillablu. 
in fact it appears to mo to bo all the very choicest of black loam. 

For tlio first few miles this morning we were amoiii,' what are called hero 
" jHiplar bluil's," but why they should bo cull6d " blutla" is more than 1 can 
Jell. As 1 have said, however, f(^r tho I'-.st six or eiglit miles tho trail 
went along over very gently undvilating prairio, wimJing in and out among 
little clum|>H of small poplar, ho tiiat tho viow was at all times very limited. 
For the next twonty miles we wore making our way over more open country, 
the open spaces being often as much as four or live miles wide. Wo mot nu- 
merous trains of freighters and one or two parties of emigrants, nearly all 
bound for Edmonton or rrinoo Albert. All appear to be doliglitod with what 
they ha ; already seen of tho North- West Territory, but they are (juito do- 



64 



MANITOUA AND 



I 
i 



tenuinod to push on to their reapcctivo clcstiimtions. In tho Jiftovnoon we 
pasRcd over un open stretch of praujo soiuo eight or ton niihis wide, luultlien 
striking throuyli a mile or two of puphiv bhillH, found oursolveH upon the 
verge of what appeared to be a boundless ])lain. 

Tliis is certainly the largest plain we have yet seen, but as our course was 
across the northern edge of it, a drive of some twenty miles brought us to the 
tirst of tho blufl's on the west side of it, and arriving here after sunset I was 
very glad to avail myself of the kind hospitality of Mr. Mclntyre (a Montreal 
man) who was in charge of a surveyor's camp, and escaiie the tro\iblo of 
])itcbing a tent and building a lire so late at niglit. I think \ must have tra- 
versed fully sixty miles to-day, and as I said before, every foot of it is not 
only susceptible of cultivation, but extremely rich and \ui(juesti(mably very 
productive. Tliere are some few .sloughs, but nearly or quite all of them 
could bo very readily drained by anything like tuiited action (m the part of 
those interested, or to say the least of it, on the part of t'o nninicipalities in 
which they would happen to be located. 

And yet in the face of tliis, 1 was told by an enthusiastic admirer of Mani- 
toba, that I would find little or no land tit for .settlenu'ut outsidj " tho Pro- 
vince." So far this statement looks as though it was likely to 1)0 most pr<p- 
nituncedly refuted. 

Qi'Ari'KLi.E MissroN. Forii Mii.ks East of Fout (Ju'Ai'rKLi.K, Aug. 1H. 
— I have had nnother long drive to-day, and I learn here I am only four 
miles behind His Excellency and party, but unfortiniately my buck-board will 
not stand tlie strain of another day's travel without pretty thonmgli repairs, 
while the two successive days of heavy driving have had tho effect of leaving 
my mares somewhat leg-weary and fagged out. 

Tho drive to-day has been the most delightful of the whole journey so far, 
the approach to tho valley of the Qu'Appello atid tho valley itself being 
absolutely indescribably beautiful. Leaving Mr. Nelson's camp on the prairie 
early this morning (a very few minutes after six), the trail led through some 
of the loveliest jtrairio scenery. There was just enough of inululation to re- 
lieve the nuHiotony of jogging along on a dead level, and still there wore 
neither enough of tnidulation nor popliir blutls tn obscure or evt'U limit the 
vision. Away to the soutii and west was opened out agreatplain that looked 
like an iunnense concave stretching away till tho bright fawn-cohuir of the 
prairie rose in a shnrp rim against the hiizy blue of an August sky. Suddenly, 
as I was gazing abcut on tho transcejulent lovelimss I looked to the west- 
ward, and there wliero but a few moments before I saw nothing but tlie bright 
yellow and fawn-coloiu'ed grasses of the prairie, rose tho north and west shore 
of tho Qu'Appelle Uivcr. As tho briglit morning sun rested ujion this bank 
it presented a picture which for brilliancy of colour and oxcpiisito liglit and 
ahade is uneiiuallod by anyth'.ng [ have ever stien. Like tho shores border- 
ing tho valleys of all these prairie streams, the summit lino of this north-west 
bank of the t,)irAppelle presented an absolute le\el, but its face is full of ir- 
regular indentations some of which are shadowed by a rich growth of yo\nu 
poplars, while others are lined with the green and gold of growing and 



r 



.t 



TIIK NORTH-WEST. 



05- 



(III we 
<l thoi) 
on the 



I 



ripened prairie grasses. A thin and transparent^steel bine h.izo Imny abo\it 
the face of the cliffs, shallow upon the golden proin<jntorieH and deeper in tlie 
ravines, the ell'ect of the whole beini^ that of a great fretted wall, elaborately- 
coloured in bronze and purple and blue, with a bright golden fringe of gleam- 
ing, sunlit, ripened grass, waving along its crest. Overhead waw a .sky of clear 
soft blue, with a translucent, lustrous tint near the hori/on, and in tliis belt 
of radiant sky of mingled blue and straw colour, floated little feather-edged 
cloud i.slots of gleaming silver, delicate French grey, and softest dove colour. 

Socm the trail began to descend one of the ravines that indent the south- 
eastern bank of the valley of the river. The trail down into the vallev was 
steep, narrow, and tortuous, now passing down through a narrow defile 
enclosed by wooded walls on either side, and now winding around the curv- 
ing brow of some promontory, horses and waggon seeming to hang tipon the 
face of the i>recii)ice. At length we were fairly in the valley, wliich is certtainly 
the most delightful and park-like that I have ever seen. The river itself is a 
small stream, avernging not more than fifteen or twenty yards in width, but 
varying very considerably in depth. The bottom and bankaare for tiie most 
part made up of gravel and sand, the uj)per portion of the banks being overlaid 
with from one and a half *o two feet of rich black loam. The stream is only 
moderately swift, and wanders about from side to side of its lui.ad valley in 
the most unaccountably tortuous manner. The valley, I should say, has an 
average widtii from a mile and a half to two miles, and this bottom land, 
though considerably above even the high water mark in tiio river, is for the 
most jtart level, or lying in very gentle slopes towards the river's brim. The 
bend of the river often takes in the entire width of the valley, and some of the 
most beautiful claims I have yet seen are included in these broad, rounded 
points, where a neat little farm nnvy be seen bounded by a single curve of 
the river in the exact shade of an ox bow. That these slopes are extremely 
fertile, the rich growtii of wild pea vine, succulent grasses, and a profusion of 
all sorts of prairie flowers gives abundant evidence ; but as one passes further 
up the valley and comes upon the first squatter's claim he beccmies convinced 
beyond all doubt of the wondrous richness of the soil. Here, wlieat, oats, 
barley, corn, potatoes, ami nearly tUl sorts of graii. and root crops may be 
Hoeu flourishing luxuriantly. The banks enclosing this incomparable valley, 
though for the most part decidedly abrujit, are c\niously fretied witii coulies 
and ravines, between which rise odd-shaped mounds and little promontories 
assuming the form of cones, pyramids, and hemispheres, and these mounds 
and promontories are as fantastically ornamented with curious shar^j-edged 
sections of green and yellow grasses, and the deeper j^reen of poplar cbunps, 
hedges, and lionlers, as if they had been arranged to suit *he ijuaint whims 
of tliM most capricious of landscape gardeners. 

About eleven o'clock we reached the ford, where a half-breed has a re- 
markably pretty and promising claim. 

I camped on the farther bank for luncheon, and before I liad finished the 
meal, Mr. Melson, who is surveying Indian reserves i.i the territory, crossed 
the river und camped close beside me. From Mr. Nolaon 1 learned much 



I I 
1 l' 



66 



MANITOBA AND 



concerning the North-West Territories which was indeed a surprise. Accord- 
ing to his very extensive observations the percentage of good arable land in 
the territory must be vastly greater than is generally supposed. He tells me 
that the valley of the Qu'Appelle is much the same as that which I have 
already seen along its whole extent from the foot of the most easterly of the 
Qu'Appelle lakes down to where this river falls into the Assiniboine, a dis- 
tance of some two hundred miles. Mr. Nelson also informs me that the 
Edmonton district is the best in the North-West, and as his views are corroi- 
orated by that of many others whom I have met, I think I shall make a 
strenuous effort to visit that region before I return to Toronto. All the after- 
noon I was driving briskly along this incomparably lovely "alley of the 
Qu'Appelle, and I made a halt at the foot of the first or most easterly of the 
bej.utiful Qu'Appelle lakes, a lovely sheet of water clear as crysttal, and about 
a riilo wide by twelve long. Here I rested and fed the horses, enjoyed a 
ilelijfhtful swim in the lake, and then harnessing up again, drove on to my 
present camp at the mission, which is just at the head of the lake. I should 
explain, however, that I am travelling by Winnipeg time, which of course is 
very much faster than meridian time. 

The drive along the north shore of the lake this evening was a picturesque 
and delightful one. Now ^he trail would plunge through a little ravine, 
where the young poplars rose in a thick green wall, so close on either hand 
that their boughs were brushing the cloiids of mosquitoes off the mares' necks 
and sides, and the next moment it was winding around the swelling face of 
8<:)me grassy promontory, whose verdant breast rose abruptly some tifty or a 
hundred feet above my head, while almost beneath the horses' feet and from 
the very verge of the trail was an ahnost sheer descent of fully a hundred 
feet to the glistening surface of the lake below. As wo neared the Mission 
tlie sun had gone down, but in the horizon where it had sunk to rest hung a 
bright zone of crimson, fading to rose-colour and pink in its upper edge till 
it blended with the translucent border of lemon gold about it, and this in 
turn faded into delicate straw-colour that gradtially blended with the soft 
clear blue of the evening sky. Heneath this, with a low dark strip of prairie 
intervening (in which the smoke tires at the mission glistened like settings of 
diamonds) tiie gk'aming lake reflected in all its brilliancy and j)erfection the 
yluries of the sunset sky with its varying shades inverted ; and nearer still, 
and all around the bases of tlmse little swellin'^' promontories it lay in dark 
shining blue, like the cold gleiini of polished steel, save in one spot where an 
errant puff of wind, from a ravine in the opposite shore, had raised a little 
islet of the daintiist ripples in \ni\e grey, as though a tiny cloud of mist had 
for a moment dimmed the burniithed steel. And away to the eastward 
stretched the motionless mirror while close along its shining surface in the 
pale rays of the slow coming starlight came the cold grey night mists rolling 
up toward the sunsnt. 

But I knew my ]>rogro88 along this narrow shelving trail that overhangs 
the lake was anything but safe, and as Peter Contois informed me that the 
trail a'ong the second lake to the Fort was of precisely the same character, 



i 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



67 



J 



I concluded to camp at the mission for the night. To-night I am the guest 
of Mr. Antoine Le Roch, a wealthy and most genial representative of that 
extremely genial and hospitable class to be found pioneering everywhere in 
the North-West, the French half-breeds. Mr. Le Roch has known what it 
is to fight the Sioux in days gone by, and many a season has he spent running 
buffalo on the plains. He knows, too, what trading is, but now he has settled 
down, a wealthy farmer, in the lovely valley of the Qu'Appelle. 

A FARM AT QU'aPPELLE. 

FoKT Qu'Appele, August 19. — I was stirring early this morning, as usual, 
as I knew I had a pretty heavy day's work before me independent of any 
which I might find time to bestow upon my journal. My mares, as I have 
already intimated, were pretty thoroughly worn out -.'ith the heavy driving 
which my delays had rendered it absolutely necessary to give them, and I was 
anxious, if possible, to exchange them for fresh ponies. My buckboard was 
also used up to such an extent that nothing short of a thorough overhauling 
would make it fit to carry me any farther, and even then I could hardly hope 
t( t get through the rough country about Touchwood Hills with it. I decided 
therefore to go at once to the Fort and do the best 1 could toward trading off 
both mares and buckboard. After breakfasting sumptuously on fresh vege- 
tables in great variety, smoked and dried buffalo meat of the finest quality, 
and the richest and b:st of fresh milk, and in fact all the comforts and luxu- 
ries with which the settler's table is like to be loaded, 1 went out with my 
genial host to look over a little of his domains. One of the first things to 
attract my attention was a finely bred bay stallion, compactly and hand- 
somely built, bloodlike in outline, and withal none too large to cross upon 
the native pony mare. In the selection of a stallion for service in this re- 
gion I think Mr. Le Roch has shown a deal of good sense, and 1 cannot but 
think that the cross of this horse upon the native mares will be proiUictive of 
just the class of horses most needed in this country at present. In a future 
portion of my journal, when perhaps 1 shall have had a little more experi- 
ence and knowledge of the native pony, I shall have something more to say 
al)out horso-breeding in the North-West. 

I next visited Mr. Le Roch's garden, where I found all sorts of ordinary 
vegetables nourishing luxuriantly, and in a faiily advanced state for the time 
of year. The soil in this valley is evidently not of that cold, heavy nature 
too often found in river bottoms. Beneath the thick upper stratum of rich 
black loam, there api ears to be a substratum of gravelly clay and sand, which 
is thoroughly conducive to the natural and prompt drainage of the soil, and 
conseciuent early and rajjid vegetation. In this respect I tiiink the soil of a 
great portion of the North-West Territory is vastly siiperior to that of Mani- 
toba. In the province there seems to be a substratum of very tenacious, close- 
grained clay which holds the water persistently and renders the surface very 
slow to dry up after rain. To-day 1 saw in Mr. Le Rocli's wheat fields as fine 
u sample of wheat as i ever saw at any of our Provincial Exhibitions. TIio 
vholu crop wus within a day or two of being fit for harvesting ; and catching 



68 



M 'TITOBA AND 



a head of wheat at random, I rubbed it in my hands, and was more than as- 
tonished at the result. The bulk of grain produced from tlie single ear was 
astonishing. Indeed, it seemed as if 1 had blown nothing but the tliinu' t of 
covering away in chafi", and there regained in my hand the great plump berry, 
larger than any I have ever seen, and withal ?3 tirm and hard as if it liad been 
kiln dried. In short, it was absolute perfection in quantity, size, weight, tex- 
ture, and colour. As Mr. ^e lloch only conuuenced farming the year before 
hvst, he was not in a position to give me figures r-s to the yield per acre. In 
fact he had only a very suiall amount fiowed last year, and though it turned 
out extremely well, he did not nu^'cc any estimate as to the yield per acre. 
This year he has not yet taken in his harvest, but the grain stands very thick 
upon the ground, and every straw, though all are particularly stout and strong, 
has upon it an ear of grain that is just all it can support. I should judge that 
Mr. Le Roch's wheat crop (which, however, I think is exceptionally gt>"d, 
even for the North- West) would run as high as thirty-five to forty bushels to 
the acre, while his crop of oats and barley are proportionately good ; and the 
other settlers in this lovely valley have, I should say, crops that average 
equally well. 

The Catholic Mission Farm hero appears to be a very thriving institution, 
producing nuvgnificent crops, and having upon its premises a valuable herd of 
cattle. 

SOME LOCAL KEQUIKKMENT.S. 

Among the immediate wants of this region maybe counted a grist mill and 
a saw mill. The nearest grist mill is some 230 mi'es distant. 

The ceiling of Mr. Le Roch's house is made up of poplar boards ten foot 
long, six inches wide, and an inch thick. These were hauled by Mr. Lo R(»ch 
fifteen miles from a saw pit, where he purchased them at twenty-live centn 
each ; and tliere is a considerable ([uantity of fairly good sniiul poplar all along 
the valley of the Qu'.Appelle. 

Last spring oats sold here at $1.70 per bushel, wheat at $2.00, potatoes at 
HiSl.nO, })arley nt $1.75, turnips at $1.00, and onions at $1.50. 

While there are already a number of half-breeds settled in Qu'Appelle 
valley, I am surprised that such a lovely tract of land should be compara- 
tively uninhabited. 

At the Mission I fovnid that very beautiful preparations had been made for 
the reception of Lord Lome. For a long distance the children had walled 
in the trail on either side with young poplars, and at the end of these, l)y the 
Mission gate was a double arch, canopy, ami throne, all beautifully com- 
bined in one structure, which was charmingly ornamented with green boughs, 
fresh flowers and, bunting Here T am told an ad(hv.is was presented to His 
Excellency by the instructors at the Mission, to which ho made an extempo- 
raneous reply in Frencli. 

Fort Qu'Appelle is charmingly situated at the head of the second of the 
Qu'Appelle lakes, which is only about four miles long. These lakes are in all 
four in number, and they take up nearly the whole width of the valley of 
.no river. They are connected by a narrow stream about the same size as I 



tof 

C'X- 

fure 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



69 



liave already described the Qu'Appelle River to be, and this winding stream 
wanders through the low strips of bottom lards between the lakes. (Jn the 
most easterly of these intervening strips of bottom is located the Mission, 
and 'on the second are situated the H, B. Company's fort or trading post, the 
Mounted Police barracks, a store or two, and some few cottages, including a 
vi;ry commodious and comfortable one belonging to Col. Macdonald, of the 
Indian Department. Altogether the buildings make tip a very pretty little 
hamlet, nestling as it does in this lovely valley, and 1 ijuostion if there are 
many more charming town sites in the Dominitm. 

So far as my own doings at Qu'Appelle are concerned tl»ey will not be very 
interesting to the reader. After getting my buckboard repaired, I succeeded 
in trading it for a White Water waggon that had originally been purchased 
for the Boundary Commission some ten years ago. It is not at all handsome, 
but it is ap[)arently very strong and Ight-running for a vehicle of its strength. 
Of course it cost ine much more th in it would be worth to anyone not situ- 
ated as I am, but I am quite accust /med to that sort of thin;^. And indeed 
if I were to piit n\j' buckboard at its actual value now rather than the price 1 
jiaid for it in Winnipeg, I do not know that I should have much, if any, the 
w Tst of the bargain without regarding the absolute necessity of my having 
something at once that will carry me along on my journey. 

1 made an attempt to trade off my mares for four native ponies, but the 
animals brought me were such a sorry-looking lot that I rejected them without 
lunch hesitation. The best of them was a nine-year-old brown gelding about 
fourteen hands and a <iuarter high. He was low in Hesh, long-backed, short- 
♦juartered. cat-hammed, and raw-boned, but he had fair action, and for a na- 
tive pcmy ne was a tolerably free driver. As if to add to his unsightliness, 
both his ears had been split. (The Crees mark the ears of their ponies just as 
the Ontario farmers do those of their «heep. The half-breeds and white men 
usually brand their ponies.) The second best was a four- year-old groj geld- 
ing, about ftmrteen hands high, and had never been in harness, and was 
therefore of no use to nie. The third was a buckskin-coloured gelding, nine 
or ten years old, under thirteen hivnds high, and was as ill-shapen and lazy 
as it was possible for so small a pony to be. lie, too, was very tliin, and 
was badly biick-shinned. The fourth .nd last would have been a bright 
<;he8tnut, with a broad bla/.e in the face, had ho not been in such a frightful 
condition with mange that his colour was almost disguised, while his face 
from the point of his nose up to his eyes was full of raw sores and bleedin;.,'. 
In addition to this, he was so thin that he looked as though he would fall 
ajiart if his mange scabs were scraped off his hide. -As for the general make- 
up, I am inclined to the belief that some thirty years ago, when he nuiy bo 
suppoaud to have been free from disease and ailments, that tlii.s follow was a 
8ix-yoar-old clu'Mtnut gelding, fourteen and a half hands high, and the most 
ill-shapen pony to bo found among the Crees, Saulteaux, or Siou.\ Indians. 1 
could not help but laugh at the brutes as they were Ld past me for inspec- 
tion, as they only rt:(iuired to bo ridden by meinborH nf .Sir .John Falntatl's 
famous contingent to liave presented one of the m^st gi leHipie of pictures ; 



70 



MANITOBA AND 



but the circumstance had also a serioiis side, as this abortive attempt at horse 
trade had coat me so much time that it was quite out of the question for me 
to move on to-day, and yet I could hardly blame the fellows who went out to 
hunt up the ponies either, for they supposed thf^t as I was from the city, and a 
special correspondent at that, I would not know one pony from another. As 
it was, I had the fore shoes reset on ray black mares, and have made ready for 
an early start to-morrow morning. 

The reception of His Excellency Ou'> . ■ le v ^s, I am told, a most bril- 
liant af! r in its way. A great num. '. '^J : ■. t liar, i and half-breeds rode down 
the trail on their pcnies to meet him, i.;*;' st- ; ^^? cortege swept into the little 
villai^e it was almost hidden in the cu , .1 dns^ raised by the galloping 
ponies and the smoke from hundreds of guns thiit ., re being discharged in 
his honour. 

Before leaving next morning His Excellency was presented by Mr. McLean, 
of the Hudson Bay Company, with the most perfect elk head and antlers 
which the oldest hunters now living in the North- West ever remember to 
have seen. Col. De Winton was also presented by the same gentleman with 
a curiosity in the shape of a Sioux war club. The stall' of this curious weapon, 
which is about three feet and a half long, is of twisted rawhide three quarters 
of an inch in diameter, a trifle more flexible than whalebone, and the head 
an egg-shaped piece of white marb)'., pointed at both ends. 



A HOSPITABLE COMMUNITY. 

At Qu'Appello 1 found the oflicials of the Hudson Bay Company, tlio 
Mounted Police, and the Indian Department, all particularly attentive to my 
interests, and ready to do anything in their power to serve me ; all delivered 
to mo the kindest messages from His Excellency, ami informed me that ho 
had requested them to do all in thei» power to assist me in overtaking hi.s 
party. I need not say that I am deeply grateful to Lord Lome for the very 
kindly interest he has taken in my welfare, wh.ch, under the circumstances, 
is particularly cheering and encouraging. It is, perhaps, hardly necessary 
to add just here that from the hour of leaving Toronto, I have been treated 
with the utmost kindness and courtesy by Colonel Do Winton and every 
member of the Governor-General's party, while Colonel Horchmer and tho 
otticers and men of the Moimted Police have always been ready to lend a hand 
whenever I required assistance. To-night I am encamped at Fort Qu'Appello, 
ready for an early stjirt to-morrow morning. 

His Excellency is now a day's journey ahead of me, and with a jaded pair 
of horses my chances of overtaking him soon are by no means encouraging. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



71 



CHAPTER XVI. 



THE SOIL AND THE KOHEST OF TOUCHWOOD HILLS— PUAIIUK WjLVES HOWL DISMALLY NEAK 
THE CAMP— THE MARES ASTUAY ON THE PLAINS— A THUNDEIl STOKM ON THE PRAIRIE- - 
MYRIADS OF liADGER.lIARE, DICK, AND PRAIRIE CHICKEN— THE OREAT SALT PLAINS AND 
ALKALI BEDS. 



In Camp Nkar Southerx Limit of Touchwood Hills, Aug. 20. — Tliia 
moi'iiing broke warm and drizzling, but by the time we were on the trail for 
Touchwood Hills the rain had ceased to fall, while the atmosphere remained 
warm and muggy ; the clouds hung low and threateninglj' over-head. My 
course lay nearly d le north, and as the mares climbed up the winding ravi 
that feads up out -"1 the valley of Qu'Appelle they were fairly covered M-th 
mosquitoes that swarmed about the waggon in hungry thousands, L w-^ 
reached the level of the prairie above I hoped that there would be a b.-eei-.t 
s'lfficient to carry otf the insect pests, but there was not a breath. OiiP ^nld 
hardly open his mouth without swallowi'.ig a mosquito, and every indi\ u i 
insect appeared to be endowed with the venom and persistent energy of forty 
of the kind usually met with. Even Peter Countois, who has spent most of 
his life camping on the prairies, was sorely punished by them, and at about 
eight o'clock he suggested that we should camp for breakfast and make ii 
smudge to drive them off, so that we might have a brief respite to say the 
least of it. As soon as the mares were unharnessed they rolled repeatedly to 
rid themselves of their tormentors, while Peter and I soon had a " smudge ' 
that drove them out of our immediate vicinity. About half-past nine or ten 
o'clock a slight bi'eeze sprang up and the sun came out, so tl at we were able 
to harness the mares and drive on again with some degree of lomfort. 

The remainder of the drive to-day was quite uneventful, though very en- 
joyable, as it led through beautiful rolling prairie land of the finest quality. 
On the way to-day, as on almost every day since we left the railway, we have 
passed several parties of immigrants, the majority of whom are bound cither 
for Edmonton or Piaice Albert, these two settlements being evidently the 
most popular with immigrants coining into the North-West just now. 

To-night we are encamped near the southern limit of Touchwood Hills. It 
was nearly dark when we left the open prairie and we drove in among hills 
which are thickly covered with clumps of poplar till it became so dark that 
it was impossible to proceed any further. Our tent is pitcheil in a lonesome 
little glade, hemmed in with clumps of young poplars. The prairie wolves 
are howling dismally not far from the tent, but our provisions are safely 
•tored inside the little tent, and. we have nothing to dread from the depre- 
dations of those incorrigible thieves. To-day we were unlucky enough to 
lose the axe, and as a conseciuence we shall have some difficulty in collecting 
wood for a fire on which to cook breakfast. 



72 



MANITOHA AND 



Is Cami' on Eastkrn Limit of Salt Plain, August 21. — This morning 
Pelv" Countoia wus early astir, and thougli I was up very soon after him I 
saw n (thing of him as 1 came out of tlie tent. I looked about for a few mo- 
ments and soon saw him coming i)ver a high hill to the eastward and making 
for camp. As he came in I divined what was wrong for lie looked extremely 
serious. The mares had strayed off. In the darkness last night he could not 
lind the hobble to put on one of them, and concluding that it had gone after 
the axe Peter had *' improvised " a hobble out of an old pair of duck over- 
alls. It seems that these had not proved strong enough to keep Miss 
Jenny's fore legs coupled, and that she and Minnie (who does not wear 
h(jbbles) had strayed off, and for anything we knew to the contrary might 
keep out of our sight for days, or even weeks. The prospect was certainly 
not a very pleasant one, and I was not surprised that Peter should look very 
" glum " over it. Without stopping to prepare breakfast we set promptly to 
work at hunti'ig for the wanderers. Had the prairie been tolerably open 
the task of looking th ni up would not have been very serious, but as the 
country was very hill}-, and as fully half of it was covered by the little 
clumps of young popla s that always appeared to hem us in on every side 
the task of lookmg for <iiir pair of mares appeared almost as hopeless as look- 
ing for the proverbial needle in the time-honoured hay-stack. 

1 took my field glass and wandered off in an aimless sort of fashion, taking 
observations in alldirecticms from every particularly high hill within a radius 
of a mile of camp, while Peter took our back trail, divining that the mares 
might be possessed of an insane desire to return to Winnipeg. I did m)t find 
the niiires, but from the hill which I climbed in search of them I beheld one 
of the most beautiful park-like expanses imaginable. Away to the north what 
are known as the " Big Touchwood Hills " rose like a mountain range of con- 
siderable magnitude. They appeared in the distance to bo densely wooded, 
and I am told that they do grow timber of a very fair size, but the trail we 
are taking does not lead through them. Nearer at hand are the " Little 
Touchwood Hills." Thet,e constitute one of the most picturesque and prom- 
ising rogions in the North-West. They are all partially wooded with alight 
growth of poplar, but the supply of wood is no greater than that which will 
either be used by tiie settlers themselves or find a ready market with the fu- 
ture s<'ttlers on the arljacent plains. Hero too the sloughs partake consider- 
abl ' of the character of lakes and ponds, and altogether it would be hard to 
f nd a more attractive i-egion. After I had spent between tliree and four 
nours wandering over the hills in no very enviable frame of mind, I returned 
to the camp, which was still as lonely and deserted as I had left it. It 
was very evident that Peter had not returned, and I was just reckon- 
ing up the chances of my mares being caught on the back track and brought 
along this evening by an inuuigrant whom I passed yesterday noon, when 
my ear caught the sound of Peter's voise .singing a French song, and a few 
moments later he came in sight on the Qii' Appelle trail, The mares had 
taken the back track that morning, walked about two miles on their home- 
ward jouiney, and had then lain down to rest where Peter caught them. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



73 



IS morning 
after hiin I 
' a few mo- 
nd making 
oxtremuly 
e could not 
gone after 
duck over- 
koei) M^iss 
not wear 
•ary might 
a certainly 
' l(jok very 
romptly to 
•ably open 
but as the 
the little 
every side 
^sas look- 

tm, taking 
II a radius 
tlie mares 
id not find 
eheld one 
orth what 
a;e of cf)n- 

wooded, 
e trail we 
! " Little 
nd prom- 
th a light 
Iiich will 
h the fu- 
3onsider- 
i hard to 
vnd four 
I'oturned 
't it. It 

reckon- 
brought 
1, when 
id a few 
ires had 
r home- 
t them. 



We were soon on our way, trying to make up for four hours' lost time by 
pushing on as rapidly as possible. We had not gone half a mile however 
when we met a half-breed who informed Peter that we were a long way off 
the trail which His Excellency had taken and which we had intended to fol- 
low, the mistake having occurred when we were driving after dark last night. 
The half-breed informed us, however, that the trail we had taken led more 
directly to Fort Carlton than the one which we had missed, the latter taking 
in the Hudson Bay Company's trading post and the former the Protestant 
Mission. We were now too far on the way to think of going back to the forks 
of the trail, and so I hurried along. After driving about eight or ten miles 
over a very hilly and rough cart trail I came upon a small settlement which 
I rightly judged to be the Protestant Mission. The farms had a well-to-do, 
thrifty look, as though an excellent soil was being well farmed. The only hu- 
man being I met about the place was the Rev. Mr. Cook, Episcopalian mis- 
sionary. He was very kind and courteous in the way of furnishing me 
with every information regarding the best way to make ny way to the 
edge of the salt plains, and rendered me valuable assistance by securing 
for me a quantity of " shaganappy " with which to make some much- 
needed repairs to my waggon pole (the same which had done duty in 
my backboard, and coming down from Winnipeg, of course, it required 
some repairing every day. I had already spent the price of three Ontario 
waggon poles in repairs upon this one). " Shaganappy " (I am spelling it aa 
nearly phonetically as I can), consists merely of raw buffalo hide dried in 
thongs or strips. It is used for a great variety of purposes here. The Indians 
and half-breeds make halters, bridles, harness, ropes, and a £ tia,t variety of 
articles out of it, and I never heard of a piece of it wearing out. The iron to 
be had here is very expensive, and of a wretched quality, and after a man 
gets to " kr ow a thing or two " about this country, he uses as little of it as 
possible. A substitute for a drawing-brace of any kind, a bolt or a clip, can 
be made much lighter, stronger, and more durable, and for far less money 
<:»ut of shaganappy than out of iron. For such purposes the rawhide is soaked 
in water over night, and then stretched and drawn into place as tightly as 
possible, and securely knotted. As it dries it shrinks with such tremendous 
force that it will actually indent the hardwood work of a carriage or waggon 
to some extent, and after that the only way to remove it is to chop it off with 
an axe. It is without exception the best material for readily repairing break- 
downs that I have ever met with. 

Up to the mission, my general course from Qu'Appellehad been nearly due 
north, but I now struck off toward the north-west, the trail leading through 
the south-west comer of the small Touchwood Hills region, leaving the Touch- 
Avood Hills trading post ten miles or more on my right to the north and east. 
The route was a very hilly one, in fact the horses were continually either 
ascending or descending pretty steep hi .s, and my progress i^as necessarily 
slow. 

This country through which I pass' uo'-day, should some day be a great 
stock-raising region. The soil, thor .or the most part admirable, is some- 
£ 



74 



MANITOBA AND 



1 1 



what lighter than that to be found on the open prairies and plains, but I am 
quite sure it would be very easily worked, and be found capable of producing 
luxuriant crops. These hills too could haidly fail to furnish wonderfully fine 
piisturage, even in the dryest seasons, as on their northern slopes as well a» 
in the ravines between them, the grass would remain fresh and green the 
whole season through. The few fields that I have seen to-day have remarkably 
fine crops, and all in all I should consider the Touchwood Hills an excellent 
locality in which to settle. There appears to be plenty of timber, not only to 
furnish the settler with all the logs [and lumber he would require for his 
house, barn, sheds, etc., but with fuel for many years to come, while in nearly 
every case he would find enough of open prairie on his land to keep his avail- 
able forces employed in breaking up and cultivating for many years before 
it would be necessary for him to strip an acre of his wood land for culti- 
vation. 

To the north of the trail I noticed many very curious conical and pyramidal 
hills rising abruptly above the lower surrounding ones, which had for the 
most part a spherical surface. As the afternoon was getting pretty well ad- 
vanced, I was glad to get out of the rough, unfreqiiented trail over which I 
had been driving all day, and strike the regular Edmonton trail, which, though 
made entirely by carts and other one-horse (or one-ox) vehicles, proved to be 
moderately smooth, and in all places well beaten out. In the regular freight- 
ing route between Edmonton and Winnipeg, Fort Qu'Appelle is not usuaUy 
taken in, as it makes the journey either way about a day longer. Instead of 
going southward to Qu'Appelle, after leaving Touchwood Hills trading post, 
they strike diagonally across Pheasant Plains for Fort EUice. There many of 
them take their loads from the cargoes of the Assiniboine steamers, while 
others move on to Portage la Prairie or Winnipeg, by much the same route 
as that which we have tra'^'elled. I had now gone ten miles north and west 
on the Edmonton trail before I had the satisfaction of seeing His Excellency's 
camp pitched just to the left of the trail. I had been out of sight of it for just 
one week, and doing all in my power to reach it. I met with the most cordial: 
and hearty reception on reaching the camp, and my mares had hardly come 
to a standstill before some of the Mounted Police Force were unharnessing 
them, while others were unloading the waggon and pitching my tent. I had 
barely set foot upon the ground when I was very cordially welcomed back to 
camp by Colonel De Winlon, who brought a request from His Excellency that 
I should dine with him. It is needless to say that such a cordial welcome was 
grateful this evening, after what has been to me unquestionably a very hard 
and perplexing week's work. According to his custom His Excellency had 
camped on Saturday night to remain without stirring' further till Monday 
morning, and it was in this Sunday camp that I overtook the vice-regal party. 
The only events of any account which had taken place in Lord Lome's pro- 
gress during the past week, e the loss of some few horses and the loss of 
a finger by constable Leamy of the Mounted Police. A waggon had stuck in 
a mud hole, and he was adjusting a rope with which it was to be pulled out, 
when the horses starting up suddenly, his finger was caught in a bight of the 



I, but I am 
■ producing 
erfully fine 
s as well a» 
green the 
remarkably 
n excellent 
not only ta 
uire for his 
le in nearly 
p his avail- 
ears before 
[ for culti- 

pyramidal 
lad for the 
ty well ad- 
rer which I 
ich, though 
roved to be 
lar freight- 
lot usually 

Instead of 
ading post, 
ire many of 
iners, while 
same route 
;h and west 
xcellency's 
f it for just 
lost cordial; 
ardly come 
harnessing 
nt. I had 
led back to 
llency that 
elcome was 
i very hard 
sllency had 
ill Monday 
ogal party, 
orne's pro- 
the loss of 
id stuck in 
juUed out, 
jght of the 



THE NOKTH-WEST. 



75 



rope and crushed so hopelessly that Dr. Sowell found it necessary to amputate 
it at the second joint. 

VV^e are camped among the bluft'i to-night, close to the ed^o of what are 
known as the " Big Salt Plains," which are somewherd about thirty-five miles 
wide. Peter tells me that there are only a few places along tlio trail in this 
big plain, where water can be had that is fit for a horse to drink, and he also 
tells me that it will be necessary for us to carry firewood with us for our noon- 
day camp. Mr. Dewdney and his party started out across this plain just 
before my arrival this evening, and as there is a tremendous thunderstorm 
coming up I fear he will pass a rough night. 

In Camp on Western Limit of Biq Salt Plains, August 22. — The thun- 
derstorm which was threatening us last night when I returned to my tent 
after dinner burst upon us with tremendous fury just as I was closing my 
journal. It was the first really heavy thunderstorm I have weathered in this 
little bell-tent, and as it was accompanied by a heavy gale it afforded me a 
fair opportunity of judging how admirably a small bell-tent is adapted for 
rough weather. At times the lightning would come flash after flash in such 
blinding brilliancy that the remotest corners of the tent were as light as day 
for ten or twelve seconds at a time, and in the midst of this dazzling blaze 
tb<3 thunder would burst forth overhead with such an awful voice that the 
very earth would quiver ; then for a few seconds there would be a lull, and 
one could hear the tent folds flapping in the fierce gale, and the rain pouring 
down the canvas in torrents. But in all this storm of wind and rain not a peg 
. was started and not a drop of rain came into the tent. This morning the 
thunder -torm had passed off, but a cold drizzle followed that was anything 
but agreeable. Toward noon, however, the temperature became much more 
pleasant, the rain ceased to fall and at length the sun shone out bright and 
warm. Our mid-day camp was made about half-'vay across the great plain 
after a pretty severe drive of twenty-two miles over the soft, and in places 
very slippery trail. There was not much of interest to be seen through the 
thick mist and gloom that hung over the alkali plain this morning. As al- 
ready intimated, our camp to-night is not far beyond the western boundary of 
the Big Salt Plain. The spot is a rather pretty one among the bluffs, and 
there is capital shooting all around the camp in every direction. A hare 
killed by Col. DeWinton , and a badger by Capt. Percival, being added this 
evening to unusually lai 'e bags of duck and prairie chicken. 

the salt plain. 

As nearly as I could make out a very large proportion of the land on the 
Big Salt Plain, as it is called, is of excellent quality, but in crossing it to- 
day I noticed several patches of heavy, cold, light-coloured clay that indicat- 
ed anything but rich arable land. There is ako what my guide calls a salt 
marsh of Borne twenty acres in extent, and numerous alkaline sloughs. In 
fact, I am of opinion that nearly all the sloughs on this great plain are more 
or less alkaline, and that until these are drained off, or until alkali is worked 
out of the soil by cropping, that this plain will never be a fit place for ho rses 



7G 



MANITOBA AND 



to run at large. It is a well-known fact, however, that cattle can drink of the 
moat alkaline of these sloughs with perfect safety. In fact, the freighters say 
ihat this water is particiilai'ly good for cows and oxen. Even supposing that 
the whole of this alkaline plain were not fit for farming purposes (and I firmly 
believe that (tO per cent, of it is capital soil), what a splendid summer run it 
would make for stock raisers on Touchwood Hills ! Here, too, hay could be 
put up for a dollar a ton, and here would be a magnificent run for thousands 
upon thousands of cattle that need only to be branded and herded through- 
out the whole summer, and driven into the hills and " rounded up " for mar- 
ket the following autumn. Certain it is that, whether it should pr> ve valu- 
able tor settlement or not, this great alkaline plain must prove a very impor- 
tant adjunct to the Touchwood Hills region. 



M 



CHAPTER XVII. 



A THEEI.KSS EXPANSR OP RICH IMIAIUIK S(,TI, I'llOSPECTS OF INTIMIiEHKI) LANDS— WAUX- 
INU TO TUE sniHTLEaS IIENIZENS OK EASTEHN TOWNH THE GllOK TAl'.EN ILL. 



In Cami" on the Plaik.s Wkst ok Humboldt, Aug. 2;). — To-day we trav- 
elled through a beautiful, gontly-undulating prairie country in which the 
j^rassy stretches were thickly interspersed with little clumps or " bhifi's " of 
poplar for about fifteen or sixteen miles, and then reached the first telegraph 
station which we have come upon since leaving I'ortago la Prairie. It was 
(if little tjse to us, however, for while wo could with its aid communicate with 
Hattleford and some other points west of us, the wires were down between 
Humboldt and \Vinnii)eg, and they were not likely to bo up again for somo 
time. It seems that there is no attempt liiade to keep this line open in sum- 
mer, and that the rise in Lake Manitoba has placed some miles of it <{uite 
under water. Of course the route will have to be changed, since the northern 
viiute for the railway has been abandoned, and should it be brought down so 
as to take in such settlements as Urandon, Rapid City, Miiuiedosa, Shoal 
Lake, Fort Ellicu, Qu'Appollo, Touchwood Hills, Prince Albert, Duck L'lke, 
Fort Carlton, and thence on to liattleford and Edmonton, it would be of some 
use to the settlers, Oovernment ollicials, Hudson Ray Company's people, 
independent traders, and the inhabitants of the country generally. 

In starting for our afternoon journey we were obliijiMl to take along a sup- 
lily of wood sutlicient for cooking supper and breakfast, as the opon prairie 
before us was some thirty miles wide with not a solitary c:bnn|) of trees within 
reach of the trail. Here we found Mr. Dowdnoy in camp waiting for us. 
Some excellent shooting was had before dark, but soon after sundown the air 



Ink of the 
rhters say 
[sing that 
I firmly 
ler run it 

could be 
liousands 
Ithrough- 

for mar- 
It ve valu- 
ry iinpor- 



)8— WARN- 

we trav- 
vhicli the 
lutfs " of 
telegraph 
. It was 
cato with 

botwoon 
fur some 
t in sum- 
' it i(uito 
northern 
down so 
;i, Shoal 
uk L'lko, 

of 80 .ne 

poople, 

ig a Hup- 
1 prairie 
8 within 
[ for UB. 
1 the air 



THE XORTH-WEST. 



77 



became exceptionally chilly, almost frosty in fact. The country throui^h 
which we have driven this afternoon is a rich, rolling, but treeless expanse. 
1 do not think I saw a square foot of land to-day that was not rich and even 
exceptionally productive ; but, of course, in settling a country where they 
liave so much to choose from farmers will first select for settlement such 
localities as Touchwood Hills, the valley of the Qu'Appelle, and prairies 
where " blufi'a " are found in sutticient niunbers and extent to guarantee a 
supply of logs, or at least, poles for buildings and fire-wood for a few vears, at 
all events, rather than a rich but treeless and unsheltered claim. The time 
is close at hand, however, closer than people generally suppose, when farun 
in thetie unsheltered prairies will be eagerly' sought after, when the extension 
and elaboration of the railway system shall have brought the coal of the 
North Saskatchewan to the very doors of the farmers in this fertile region. 
It will not greatly matter whether a settler has a few clumps of young poplars 
on his farm or is ploughing every s(juare foot of a treeless claim. Many a 
reader will of course shake his head incredulously and set me down as an 
enthusiast, just as other men who have told the truth about this wonderful 
region Jiave been disbelieved, but I am (piite willing to be set down as an 
enthusiast on this subject and bide my time. The people of Ontario and the 
people of Winnipeg are gaining a nearly adct[uate idea of the grand possibil- 
ities of Manitoba as a great farming Province, but Manitoba's relation in size 
to the great fertile North- West is about that of a p<jstage stamp on the corner 
of a letter. I am now nearly or (juite five hundred miles north-west of Win- 
nipeg, and since leaving it I have not seen an acre of land wholly unfit for 
cultivation. Fully ninety-nine per cent, of the territory I have seen since 
leaving Winnipeg will ultimately become prodiictive farming land. As a rule 
the soil of the North-West Territory is not (piite so deep and heavy as that 
of Manitoba, but from what I have seen of it I should say, that it is equally 
as productive if not more so, and that it will be much more easily drained 
and bo found to be of a warmer nature, for instead of the sticky, tine-graineil 
blue clay of Manitoba, it has a subsoil of clayey gravel and sand. 

Now I earnestly hope that what I have written in my journal to-night may 
not be the moans of sending up hero helpless tradesmen without means and 
shiftless wanderers who have liitherto failed in everything they have \uider- 
taken. 1 give this word of warning, not merely in sincere conuniseration 
for the class alluded to, but because such people do every new country in- 
calciilable harm, 'i'hey read of or hear of a now country that i)romise8 well, 
they think that they cannot more tiuin fail there, as they have everywhere 
else, and without pausing to consider whether they have about them aiiythi'ig 
to fit them for ■uccess in the. country to which they are going or not, they at 
once liurry oH". They fail of eoiuso there, as they have elsewhere, and they 
are the first to go home after having had a pretty hard time in a region 
which has no possible use for drones or idlers of any sort, and they con- 
demn the country in im measured terms. Hut the worst of it all is, as a rule, 
only these men who make frib tea in a new country over go back to 
make any repcjrt concerning it. The successful men remain in it, and their 









78 



MANITOBA AND 



testimony concerning it 18 seldom ornever heard. On the other hand, great 
weight is attached to the testimony of those who blame the country for their 
own failure in it. Their opinions are taken as those of men who have spent 
one, two, or three years in the country, and who are supposed to know much 
more about it than men who have travelled through it for the express pur- 
pose of informing themselves as to its resources and capabilities. The grum- 
bler may have spent his whole time within a prescribed area, while the travel- 
ler has gone from one limit of the country to the other. The grumbler bases 
his judgment on his own experience, while the traveller does his best to ob- 
tain the opinions of every intelligent man he meets, and yet in spite of all 
this, great weight is attached to the evidence of every man who makes a 
failure in a new country. The people of the older provinces to which they 
have returned are apt to come to the conclusion that the now country must 
be bad because " every one who comes back from there tells tlie same story." 
l)Ut, perhaps, if they could see the country for tiiemselves, and hear the 
evidence of those who do not come back, they would for- very dirt'orent 
opinions. 

FUTURE M0VK.MI:NTS of Tin; I'AKTV. 

To-morrow night we shall probably encamp on tlio banks of the South 
Saskatchewan, and on Tuesday afternoon arrive at Fort Carlton, if all goes 
well. His Excellency has changed one important featui'o in his programme. 
He has given up the idea of flat-boatiiig from Fort Calgany down the Sas- 
katchewan and returning throiigh IJritish territory. Ho will go from IJattlo- 
ford to Calgarry, and thence riK Fort McLeod and Fort Shaw to Helena, and 
eastward through the United States. If all goes well I shall follow him tn 
tiie borders of Canadian territory beyond Fort McLeod, and thou visit Ed- 
monton on my return. 

THE GUI OK TAKEN II.I,. 

In Camp, GABitiKiiDvMONT'B Crossing, South Saskatchewan, Aug. 24.— 

Before daylight this morning I awoke and found Peter Countoia rocking hiui- 

stif backward and forward suH'ering from a sudden and violent attack of 

pleurisy. Tulling on my boots and trousers I hnrrietl to call Dr. Sowell, wlio 

prontmnced the attack a very severe one, but expressed tlie hope that having 

been called thus early he would bo able to nip it in the Viud. IJy the time 

wo were settled and liad the tent closed again it was after three o'clock, and 

lis 1 lay awake thinking to what poH»ibio account 1 could turn a very sick 

half-breed guide in this thinly-settled region, where means of transportation 

are rare and uncertain, and where guides that are even Iialf as good a.i 

Peter are extrtmely hard to lind, that relentless biiglo Hounded and I had 

to !urn out to do I'etor's work, bidding hiia to keep lis (piiet as poHsibie in 

the tent till 1 was ready to pull it down. It is anything but pleasant to turn 

out of one's blankets just at early dawn on a cold dawy morning, vrestle with 

the task of building a lire with "Jozy" pojilar and then tramp kuoo deop 

through the wet grnss t catch a pair of nnirea that do not know enough lo 

come into camp for their breakfast. After bringing in the nuirea came thg 



i 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



79 



the South 
f iill j^doa 
ograiumo. 
n the SfiH- 
m IJiittlo- 
elciiii, ami 
ow him tu 
I visit Eil- 



^iif,'. 24.— 
king him- 
attiick of 
well, wIki 
lat having 

tiio tiniu 
h)ck, and 
very sick 
portatiiin 

gooil att 
I J I Iiad 
i>Htiil)h) in 
It tn turn 
mth) with 
noo doi*|) 
longh III 
»iuu th«} 



cooking of my own breakfast and Peter's, and as I never had any partiality 
for cooking, I am afraid I prepared rather a sorry-looking meal for a sick 
man to struggle with. Some of the police assisted me in taking down my 
tent and loading my waggon, and at last I was on the road again, but how 
far Peter would be able to endure the jolting of the waggon, of course I could 
not tell. Dr. Sowell's treatment appeared to work like a charm, however, 
and he has been steadily improving all day. The tirst twelve or fifteen miles 
<»f the day's trip took us through the locality known as the Little Turtle 
Mountains (no relatitui to their better known namesakes away to the south- 
east of this), and here we passed through some of the most charming scenery 
we have met with on our long journey. In one place, near the middle of this 
beautiful belt of half- wooded hills, was a lakelet in the sunnnit of a hill. The 
banks rose twenty or twenty-five feet above the water, and were so thickly 
overgrown with green pc^plars and willows that their reflection made a border 
of deep green -ill aroiuid it so wide that only a small islet of bright blue sky 
was rertected in its rippleless surface at the centre ; and the whole wa« bor- 
dered with a golden fringe of ripened prairie grass. Jii the splendour of a 
gliirious August morning it looked like a giant gem having one great bright 
sapphire set in .i thick cluster of snuiUer euieralds, and the whole held together 
with a cord of gold. As the travellers \vei*e passing down out of the pass 
♦hrough the hills a lovely view was opened before them. To the westward 
lay 15ig Salt Lake, unciuestionably the must beautiful »heet <>f water I have 
met with since leaving Uat Portage, its dark blue surfaci rippleless and glitter- 
ing in the morning sunlight, with every golden band (^ prairie nmsa and 
every dark green clump of poplars on its high banks faithfully mirrored in its 
gleaming depths. 

At our noon camp while I was getting diiuier my mares managed to stray 
oil" among the blutl's, and after spending some time in looking for them I was 
compelled to employ a half-breed freighter, who was camped near us, to I'luit 
them up and bru.g them to their oats, liy this means I was delayed about 
an hour behind the rest of the party and was a little late in getting into cami) 
to-night, with my mares pretty well fagged out at that. It was rather a dis- 
couraging task to set about making camp without help, l>ut I did not work 
long alone as the members of the escort rendered mo every assistance in their 
power, and before I was through pitching my tent His Excellency happening 
.'lat way like the good Samaritan that he umjuoationably is, invited mo to 
dine with him, while the constable, whose turn it was to cook for the escort, 
Volunteered tc prepsv ; Peter's supper for him, so that 1 was saved from what 
is tu mu the must t. )ublusomo part of camp duty. 

To-night wo are camped on the south-east bank of tlie South Sivskatchewau, 
at whiit is known as (Jabriol Dumont's crossing or tjrry. This river at th<s 
point is a swift i»road stream some 'JoO yards wide, the bank upon which wo 
are camped presenting un almost sheer descent of \tiO feet to the margin of 
tho river. The South Saskatchewan (at this seasim of tlio year, at all events) 
does not shew tho tawny yollow peculiar to the Ho<l ftivor, tho Assiniboino, 
and other yrairiu struams which I Imvu met. It presents a grey or drab 



80 



MANITOBA AND 



appearance, and appears to be very much less muddy than either of the 
streams to which I have just alluded. The water is falling just now, and 
this may account for its imusual purity. This stream, it is said, flows through 
a magniflcent country, and is navigable for many hundreds of miles, but as 
yet no steamer ploughs its swift current. To-night the atmosphere is warm 
and muggy, and the mosquitoes are so numerous and ferocious that at dinner 
nearly every one sat with hat on and coat collar turned up to protect neck 
and head. 

A STRANGE INCIDENT. 

While His Excellency was s*ill at dinner he was informed that two ladies 
wished to see him. They turned out to be a mother and daughter, who with 
their husbands were moving from Portage La Prairie to Edmonton. While 
they were in camp on the Salt Plain the daughter's first baby was born, and 
they had come to ask His Excellency to give the little one a name, a request 
to which he good-naturedly consented, and along Avith the name gave him a 
handsome present. The country through which we have travelled to-day, 
and as much .as I could see of it on either side of the trail in the distance, 
appeared to be the very choicest of land till we came within a mile or two of 
the river. Here we got into sandy bluft's of poplar, which, though made up 
of really good land, will in all probability long lie neglected in such a magni- 
ticent farming region as this. Ahmg the edge of the river there are some 
splendid crops growing in this same sandy soil, but I cannot regard it as at 
all equal to that of the prairie a little farther inland. 

It is the intention of Col. Herchiaer to take the whole of His Excellency s 
outfit and escort it over the South Saskatchewan at Fisher's Crossing, which 
is six miles north-east or down the river from here. Ab tnere is only one 
scow at the lower crossing the ferrying of the whole outfit a- id escort will 
take some time (some say all day), and I have made my arrangem^ntH to 
cross at this point so as to reach Duck Lake and Carlton in advance of them. 



CHAPTER XVTII. 



jkCBOSH III'. '^^ TH SAfK/»TC'llKWAN HIVEK— ARHtVAI, AT PORT ('AUI,T0N - A KEW WOHn?" 
ABOUT THK nj".;H WEhl MOINTKI) I'OI.ICE—THK HIIDHON HAY 'JOMPANV—THKIH THAU- 
INO rC^TS— rlit. ORUANIZATION ANIl WOUKINO OK THE COMl'ANY. 



I'Oin 0a» 'TOW, Wt^ MIL'-.M N0BTIi-Wl.8T OF WlNNIPKU, AND HOMT. 050 MILU* 

fURTii' S'ifcrK tdAS TottdNTO, An((. 25. — I was up in good season this 
niornii ;. T^'..' I''"fOT had so far recovered that ho was able to aHBist mo very 
mutor.Mlly i. ^.'^Lj" / 1 . dy for a start. Wo were soon across the river, uud 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



81 



as I had to work hard on one of the oars in Peter's jjlace, I found myself 
pretty thoroughly warmed th-ough by the time we had landed on the north- 
west bank of the river. The drive froa\ this ferry to Duck Lake included 
nine very long miles, and as 1 managed to get considerably oft" the trail at one 
time I made the whole distance travelled between these two points little if 
any less than twelve miles. In this region there are many half-breed settlers. 
and they all appear to bo doing well. Their crops are looking well, and there 
are evidences of a fair share of thrift and prosperity about nearly all their 
homes. The soil is evidently very rich, and though the land is nearlj' or (juite 
level it is fairly provided with clumps and groves of young poplar. I tried 
at several of the settlers' houses to buy oats or barley, but failed in every in- 
stance, as little or none of the grain has, as yet, been threshed. I also made 
several attempts at horse trading, as I was anxious to secure four native 
ponies to take with me. I found, however, that that terrible disease, the 
mange, had recently carried off a great many ponies, and as a consequence 
the supply left was so small that few cared to reduce their limited number of 
animals. I hurried on to Carlton, hoping to be in camp before His Excel- 
lency would have time to reach there. 

At Duck Lake, Stobart, Eden & Co. have a portable grist mill with which 
they are enabled to drive a brisk business. Their trading establishment, 
which is under the management of Mr. Hughes, is a very extensive one, and 
large amounts of money and goods are annually turned over in it. 

I made a start for Carlton about twelve o'clock, intending to get over n 
portion of theremaining twelve miles before taking luncheon. 



i 



AN INMAN FARM. 

On the road between Duck Lake and Carlt(m 1 saw s ev -ral excellent farms, 
and among the lot was the farm on the Indian reserve vvhich is worked by the 
Indians under the direction of the instructor. Hero there were some splen- 
did fields of grain to be seen, and altogether the place had a prosperous look 
When near Carlton I met u French half-breed who informed me tl. 
during the past season the mange had carried off eleven out of his foi. 
teen Indian ponies. 

Fort Carlton, a very important post with the Hudson Bay Company is 
splendidly situated in the Valley of the North Saskatchewan, the river luiug 
at this point about 4(K) yards wide, with a sandbar of very considera) ^ize 
in the centre. Less than half an hour after my arriv;d here an esc t of 
Mounted Polico came cantering down to the Fort, (|uijkly followed by ambu- 
lances containing His Excellency and suite, an I these in turn by the remain- 
der of the outfit. I must iwlniit that I was not a little surprised, not merely 
with the fact that Col. Hcrchmer and his men had succeeded with a single 
Boow in bringing over a broad, swift river in live iiours an outtit consisting of 
twenty loaded ambulances, baggage waggons, and otiier vehicles, and no ' 'ss 
than eighty-one horses, b\it that after this severe tusk, and after the ofli",fs 
and men of the force hud been steadily engaged in sucli a lon^ and ardumis 
march through the wilderness, they should be able to rule into the fort clean, 



82 



MANITOBA AND 



pipe-clayed, and in all respects as though they were just out of their barracks, 
seemed well nigh incredible. And while I am on this subject I desire to 
say a word of this Mounted Police Force in general. I have now been in 
company with the escort long enough to be able to form a much more correct 
opinion of them than have many who have ventured to write in dispraise of 
them. So far as their soldierly qualities are concerned I could not speak too 
highly to express my own opinion of them, but I prefer to give the views of 
those much better capable of judging of them than I am. Col. DeWjnton 
speaks of them as a " really wonderful body of men. They always appear to 
know just what to do in any emergency and proceed at once to xloit.'' 
Capt. Chater, after speaking very highly of the creditable appearance the 
men were able to make on the shortest notice and the admirable marching 
and campaigning (jualities they had shown, alluded particularly to the feat 
they had performed in crossing the South Saskatchewan in five hours, remark- 
ing that he had not known of a regiment in the British army capable of turning 
out a dctaohmor;t able to perform a similar feat in the same length of time. 
He also alluded in the most complimentary terms to the good conduct 
(if the Uion. Bad language was not heard in the ranks, and when 
anything was to bo done it was done promptly and quietly without any 
noiflc or shouting. Ho thought that the conduct and management of tho 
men reflected tho higUc ' credit upon Col. Herchmer and the non-commi..- 
sioneil othoers in charge. Ca't. Percival, who, like Capt. v^nater, has seen a 
f^ood deal of active service within tho past few years, also spoke in tho highest 
terms of the officers and men of the Mounted Police, summing up with '•-ho 
remark, "a most wonderful force ; they combine all the handiness of sailors 
with the smartness of soldiers." 

During his stay at Fort Carlton His Excellency was tho guest of Mr. Law- 
rence Clark, Chief Factor of the iiudaon Bay Company for the Carlton Dis- 
trict. To-morrow the (iovernor-Generars formal reception will take place 
here. This being one i*f the most important trading posts in tho North- West 
it may not be out of place to giv^ in this connection some facts which I havo 
been able to collect relative to the organization and working of the Hudson 
• ;ay Conq)a»y. The company was organized in the reign of Charles H., and 
is now 211 years old. The charter was granted to Prince Rupert under tho 
style and title of ' Tlio Company of Gentlemen Adventurers Trading in 
Hudson Bay." Tho charter gave them sole right and privilege of ac(iuiring 
proprietary rights in tliRt portion of the territories " whose waters fall into 
Hudson Bay." They had the right of proclaiming laws for tho government 
of the cimntry, und enforcing them by such organization, whether of a civil 
or mil tary character, as they may dotorniino. They had the power of life 
and death in their hands and tho right by their senior oHicers of solemnizing 
marriage, whicli marriages won? ii jknowlodged as legally binding by tho laws 
of England as if performed by thy Archbisliop of Canterbury. They alsohaW 
the power of excluding all trespassers upon their domain, and the solo nghtq 
of trade of every descrij-.tion within tlioir b( mdaries. The or}{anizatiuii of 
he Company consisted of two classes of partntirs, the diitinctiun being, Hrst, 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



88 



"ino 



the sharelioldera in England, who provided the capital to carry on the trade 
of the country. The second class of partners were styled and known as 
" winter partners," and participated in an allotted annual share of the profits 
derived from the trade. The distinction between the two classes was that 
the " shareholders " possessed proprietary rights in the ucqiiired territories 
under their charter, besides receiving their share of the annual profits of the 
trade. The " winter partners," on the other hand, possessed no vested rights 
in the Company, but were men promoted on accotmt of long service as clerks, 
and from their knowledge, experience, and ability to carry on the business of 
the Company placed under their supervision in the territories. The present 
organization of the trade in the territories generally called the " fur tr.ade," 
consists of several grades or ranks, the highest rank being that of chief com- 
missioner, who is fippointed diiectly by the Governor and Committee of the 
Hudson Bay Company in England, representing the general body of share- 
holders of the Company. This official is jointly paid by the shareholders and 
the winter partners. His duties are of a very extensive nature. He is the 
President of the Great Fur Trade Council, which is held annually on the 1st 
of July at Fort Carlton. The membfirs of this Council are the heads of the 
numerous trading districts throughout the country. At this Council the 
whole trading business of the Company is discussed, and mcasur-. .; j de- 
cided upon as are thought moat conducive to prosperous results. The actual 
members of the Coimcil by right of rank are the Chief Factors, of whom 
there are eight, find the Factors, of whom there are twenty. The subordinate 
winter partners are chief traders, of whom there are ten, and the junior 
chief traders, >if whom there are twenty -five, have no right to sit and vote at 
Council, except on tlie invitation of the President and members. 

The several grades of commissioned officers known as winter parLnei'?i par- 
ticipate in the profits as follows : — One hundred shares of the aiiiiual profits 
are divided pro rata thus : — A chief factor receives 2 i shares, a factor 2 shares, 
ii chief trader lA shares, and a junior chief trader 1 share. The lower or paid 
division of the Company's service consists also of several grades. The lowest 
grade of office is that of an apprenticed post-ma'iter, who serves an appren- 
ticeshij) of five years, at the expiration of wliich he is promoted to the rank 
of post-master, which is the second grade. Tiie duties of post-masters con- 
sist of looking after the labourers who are employed around the post and 
acting as the means of communication between the Indians and iho ofHcer in 
charge of the post or trading establishment, nearly always speaking some 
dialect of the Indian language. The third class are boys from Ki to 17 years 
nf ago, the sons of gentlemen, who have received a good school education and 
are enlisted in the service as apprenticed clerks. After throe years' trial they 
are promoted to the rank and eimilumonts of full clerks, and for a further 
perit>d of three years are under the control and direction of the officer in 
charge of a district, wlioise duty it, is to watch their chaBacters closely, give 
them as good a business training as possiblo, and tit tliem fur the higher 
ranks of the service, promotion to which rank ontirely depends upm the good 



li'i 



^ 



84 



MANITOBA AST) 



VII 



conduct, moral character, and administrative abilities possessed by tlie 
aspirant. 

The trade in the northern districts where the lantl is wholly unfit for agri- 
cultural purposes consists entirely of furs and skins, but in tho frontier dis- 
tricts which are being rapidly settled by immigration from Old Canada and 
the Mother Country, the fur trade is all but extinguished, and the business 
of the Company in these districts is nearly or quite a general custom trade. 
The Company has steam grist and saw mills in all these latter districts. Grain 
and other . n produce are purchased largely from the aurroiniding farming 
population, and they retail the Hour and other country produce to the in- 
coming settlers and others not engaged in agriculture. From this source 
also is the food supply of their more northern or fur-bearing districts ob- 
tained. 

The posts of the Hudson Bay Company, extend from Labrador to the fot«t 
of the Rocky Mountains, from Lake Superior to James' Bay, from Lake 
Winnipeg to Churchill on Hudson Bay, from the njonth of the Saskatchewan 
to the Arctic Ocean, along the whole extent of tho Peace River Valley, and 
from the west side of the Rocky Mountains t\> the Pacific coast. 'Uhere is 
also a lim^ of posts from the boundaries of Manitoba to the valley of the 
Qu'Ap\\\le and Touchwood Hills, besides extending south to the American 
bouifH^ry. Before the treaty, and when the Blackfeet anil Crees were carry- 
ing on a protracted warfare, times Ivore were not always peaceful and quiet, 
and the present fort, though not a very old one, is surrounded by a high and 
strong wooden stockade. Since the treaty, however, there has been no 
trouble with the India is here, and everything has gone on very smoothly 
and satisfactorily. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



AN OLD CHIEF ^Xl'KESSKS THK WANTS OF HIS I'EOI'hK- DOWN THE SASKATCHEWAN TO 
I'KINCE ALBERT- -COHDIAL WELCOME HY THE SKTTLEUH THE "LOL'ISE" HCHOLARHHIP 
TO BE ESTAnLlSHEU. 



H. B. Company's Steamer " Nokthcote," North Saskatchfavan Rivek, 
HETWKEN FoKT Car: TON AND Phince Albekt, Aug. 26. — There was not a 
very large, but decidedly infiuential gathering, of Indians assembled to meet 
His Excellency at Carlton this morning. The assembly was entirely of chiefs 
and head men. The rank and file being engaged in harvesting, were encour- 
aged to stick to it, and leave their representatives to meet and covniael with 
the (jiovernor-General. 



THE NOIITH-WEST. 



85 



by tJie 



After the white men's address had been delivered and Hia Excollonoy lia<l 
replied, Mistavvassis (Big Cliild), one of the oldest and moat powerful chiefs 
of the Cree nation, apoko sou.ething ?.8 follows : — 

*' I am glad that God has ptrmitted me to meet the Governor. I feel flat- 
tered that it was a Governor i/ho put this medal on my neck. 1 did not put 
it on myself. We are the children of the Great Mother, and we wish that 
tlirough lier representative, our brother-in-law, she would listen for a little 
while to our complaints and sympathise with our sullerings. 1 have no great 
cnmplaiuts to make, but 1 wish to make just a few remarks concerning our 
property. The kindness that has been shown to us is great, but in our eyes 
it is not quite enough to put ua on our feet. In days gone by the buffalo 
was our wealth and our strength, but he haa left ua. In those d.aya we used 
the horse with which to chase the b\iffalo, and when the builalo left us we 
thought we might use the horse with which to follow after other gamo, but 
we have lost many of our ponies with the mange and we have had to sell 
(Uhers, and when 1 look around me and see that the buffaloes are gone and 
that our ponies ai'e no longer left to ua, I think I and my people are poor in- 
deed. The white maa knows whence his strength comes, and we know wliere 
we require more strength. The strength to harvest the crop is in animals 
and implements, and we have not enough of these. If our crops should be 
enough to keep us alive we would not have the means with which to harvest 
them. We would very much like more working cattle and more farming im- 
plements. I would beg also that if possible a grist mill should bo put up 
somewhere within our reach, so that we can have our wheat ground into flour 
and our other crops ground. I do not speak for myself, but those poor people 
behind me. (Loud grunts of applause and approval.) 1 am very thankful that 1 
am able to see the Governor-General in my old days. Ho haa come juat in 
time that I may see him before £ die. Many a time have 1 been in terrible 
straights for food for myself and my people, but I have never yet been angry 
about it, for 1 knew the Indian Agent was a good friend to us, and that ho 
alwivys acted on the instructiona left for him, which he was bound to obey. 
Often have I been sorely perplexed and miserable at seeing my people starving 
and shrunken in Hesh till they were so weak that with the tirat cold striking 
them they would fall oS their feet, and then nothing would save them. Wo 
want teachers to instruct and educate our children ; wo want guns and traps 
and neta to help ua to get ready for the winter. Wo try to do all that the 
farm instructor has told ua, and wo are doing the beat wo can, but, as I said 
before, we want farming implemonta. I do not speak for myaelf, aa I am 
getting old, and it does n^t much matter for me, but I speak for my people 
and for my children and grandchildren, who must starve if they do not re- 
ceive the help that they so much need." 

The remarks of Mistawassis were received with loud applause. He is one 
of the oldest and most powerful chiefs of tho great Oreo nation. Though 
small in stature he was a groat man among them in the old days when they 
were at war with the IMackfeet, and now .ince tho treaty hia counael has 
: II ire weight with hia poop e than that of any other man. He is no longer 



\ 



< 



86 



MANITOBA AND 



u, 8av<age, and makes no display of scalps, feathers, or ornaments of sava^^eiy. 
He is a devout Presbyterian, and those who know him best say that he is a 
thoroughly consciuutions and pure-minded man. After Mistawassis had 
finished, " Atakoop " (Star Blanket), spake at some length, but his speech 
was in all respects a nuch inferior effort to that of " Big Child," and then 
several others followed, and altogether the pow-wow was kept up for a long 
time. 

His Excellency told them in reply that the Great Mother had many white 
children who were very poor, some of whom thought she was giving to the 
red man more than their share. She would gladly give them all that they 
needed, but she had so many poor children who needed assistance that she 
could not always do as much- for them as she would wish to. He had noticed, 
however, that some of their requests contained certain practical suggestions, 
and he would endeavour to see if some assistance could not be given them in 
that particular direction. His Excellency then presented Big Child and Star 
Blanket with beautiful silver medals with medallion busts of the Princess 
and himself. One of che richest and most gorgeous Indian dresses I have 
ever seen was worn by the great Sioux Chief White Cap. He wore a beauti- 
ful snow-white tunic of fine caribou skin, richly ornamented with porcupine 
quills, coloured silk, and bead work. From his shoulders hung some twenty 
or thirty scalps taken in the horrible Minnesota massacre. 

PROVISIONS UP. 

We are now getting far enough from Winnipeg so that the increase in the 
cost of staple articles is very noticeable. To-day I bought hard tack at thirty- 
seven and a half cents per pound ; the same article sells in Winnipeg at seven 
cents per pound. Oafs are unobtainable in Carlton, and this reminds me uf 
the fact that I have at last succeeded in disposing of my mares and replacing 
them with " native ponies," as they are called in Winnipeg ; " Shaganappies," 
as they are called at Fort Ellice ; and " Kyuses," as they are called at 
Qu'Appelle and westward. Though I was forced to pay more boot money than 
I thought the real difference in the price of the ponies and my mares, I da 
not know that the bargain is a V6ry bad one. 1 get four animals for two, 
and fresh ponies for tired horses. As my ponies are doubtless destined to 
play an important part in the drama of my journeyings through the North- 
West, the reader will permit me to introduce them to him before I go any 
farther with my journal. 

" Bianshi " is a four year old filly about thirteen and a half hands high, 
deep through the heart, with a large well rounded barrel and massive finely 
moulded quarters, having hocks and stifles remarkably well let down. Though 
her hocks are uncommonly clean and well formed (being entirely free from 
any predisposition to curb) her hind legs are exceptionally crooked looking 
almost like those of a rabbit. She h a light fawn colour (neither buckskin 
nor cream) has broad blaze, four white stockings, and odd looking pinto 
markings along her gascons, flanks and lower jaw. She is very sprighly in 
disposition and promises to be an excellent driver. Her maie, " Touchwood," 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



87 



ia perliaps half an inch teller but not so stout. He is a dark bay with twu 
white fetlocks, and a sh.r and snip. Ho too is very spirited. " Punch ' 
lacks about half an inch of being as tall as Blanche, but he has an uncom- 
monly long heavy barrel, with massive well rounded quarters. He is a rich 
bay with a broad blaze and three white stockings. He can travel at a capital 
pace when he likes, but he is shockingly lazy. ^'^ Punch's mate, " Sandy," is 
rather a large sized slabsided dark roan pony, four years old and a pacer. He 
is as lazy as Punch, which is saying a good deal for him, and altogether I 
like him least of the four. 

These ponies are of western origin and are wholly unlike the cat-h amed , 
cow-hocked starvelings which were shown me as " Red River Ponies " in 
Winnipeg. These kyuses have plenty of bone and are in all respects hardy 
active and useful animals. 



♦v,. 



OFK TO PRINCE ALBERT. 

-After the pow-wow was over to-day His Excellency and party took the 
Hudson Bay Company's steamer Northcote to go down the Saskatchewan 
(whic: here flows north and oast) to Prince Albert, and in the meantime the 
outfit was sent on up the river (westward) to the Battleford. Being invited 
both by Col. do Winton on behalf of His Excellency, and by Chief Factor 
Clarke on behalf of the Hudson Bay Company, to make the joumej down 
the river per steamer Northcote to Prince Albert, and afterwards up the river 
to Battleford per steamer Lily, I decided to avail myself of the opportunity 
thus afforded of a long journey on one of the great rivers of the North-West , 
and 1 accordingly started Peter and the ponies off after the escort, while I 
took the steamer Northcote with the Vice-Regal party on board, as well as a 
number of passengers bound for Winnipeg. The steamer Northcote is a broad, 
flat bottomed *• stern wheeler," about 130 feet long, drawing some 22 inches 
of water, and driven by two horizontal high-pressure engines, the combined 
power of which is about three hundred horse. She is of the regular Missis- 
sippi and Missouri pattern, with forecastle cut down to the *' main " or " boiler 
deck." 

The North Saskatchewan is a swift and in places a rather shallow stream, 
full of ever-shitting sand-bars. In some respects it ia very much like the 
Mississippi. Every season, and indeed every month, the channel changes 
more or less. Every now and then the steam-boat channel near Carlton runs 
directly through the spot where there stood an island upon which, less than 
thirty years ago, the employees of the Hudson Bay Company at the fort 
used to chop cordwood. Indeed, scarcely a seaaon passei? in which some 
island does not disappear, while others are every year being called into exis- 
tence. This afternoon I noticed pine and spruce on the banks of the river, 
the first we have seen for a long time. There are also some few maples (and 
I believe, elms) to be seen along this river. I was shown a low-lying island 
this evening upon which an Indian woman and her family were drowned by 
a sudden and unexpected rise in the river while they were engaged in making 
sugar. As it is impossible to navigate this portion of the river in the niglit, 



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88 



MANITOBA AND 



the Northcote is tied up at the bank to-night, about three hours' run above 
(or south-west of) Prince Albert. 

STEAMKR "lily," TIED UP TO SOUTH-EAST BANK OF NOKTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVEU, 
BETWEEN I'UINCE ALBERT AND FORT CARLTON, EN ROUTE TO UATTLEFORD, Aug. 27. 



ir«l, 



A CORDIAL WEI COME. 

This has been rather a busy day for His Excellency and party. With the 
light of the first grey dawn the Northcote, was steaming rapidly down the 
swift current, and reached Prince Albert before most of the inhabitants were 
stirring, as they had remained up rather late on Friday night expecting the 
arrival of Lord Lome and suite, but as they were disappointed in that they 
supposed he would not leave Fort Carlton till this morning. There were 
some few waiting on the bank when the steamer arrived, however, and 
though the rain began to pour down in torrents there was a large crowd col- 
lected very soon after the Northcote had landed. The Bishop of Saskatchewan 
was one of the first to come on board of the steamer and welcome His Excel- 
lency to Prince Albert as well as in. ite the party up to the college under his 
care to luncheon. The citizens of Prince Albert were soon out in force, but 
the rain was pouring down at such a rate that it was impossible to present 
the address on the dais behind the beautiful arch which had been prepared 
for His Excellency's reception. 

After the reading of the address His Excellency made a brief but appro- 
priate reply, after which the whole party took carriages and drove down to 
the residence of the Bishop at the college, where an address was presented. 

His Excellency made an extemporaneous reply in his happiest vein, after 
which Chief Factor Clarke, of the Hudson Bay Company, on behalf of the 
members of the diocese, presented the Bishop with a purse of $300 for the 
founding of a scholarship which, with His Excellency's permission, was to be 
designated the " Louise " scholarship. His Excellency assured the donors 
that he was sure Her Royal Highness would only be too glad to have her 
name associated with so laudable a project, after which the Bishop thanked 
him and thorn in a few brief and fueling sentences and the party adjourned 
to the dining-room and sat down to an excellent luncheon. After luncheon 
the party were di iven back to thu landing and embarked on the Hudson 
Bay Company's steamer L'dyt bound up the river for Carlton and Battleford. 

During our short stay at Prince Albert I was enabled to collect a little in 
formation regarding this, one of the most important and interesting settle- 
ments in the great North- West. This place is the highest latitude we have 
reached in our trip, being nearly or quite 700 miles further north tlian 
Toronto, and over 1,300 miles further west, making the distance between the 
two points something over 2,000 nnlos by an air lino, but by the route wo 
liiivo travollod the distance is, of coiirso cctnsidorably greater. The settle- 
ment, or rather tlie aj^grogation of suttlemunta, included in the Prince Albert 
District (extending from Fort Carlton down to the junction of the north and 
south bmuches of the iSaskatohewan) includes a strip of territory about 80 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



89 



miles east aud west by 50 miles north and south. This district contains a 
white and half-breed population of about 3,000 souls. Here there are about 
10,000 acres under crop and fully 5,000 acres newly broken this year, the lat- 
ter figure furnishing the reader with some idea of the rapidity with which 
settlers have been Hocking in within the last year. The town of Prince Al- 
bert may be designated as about four miles long by half-a-mile wide along the 
south bank of the North Saskatchewan. The town is situated on a plateau 
considerably above high-water mark in the river, and is bounded on the 
south by a narrow and shallow ravine, beyond which rises another bench or 
bluff to the level of the surrounding prairie, which is considerably higher 
than the plateau upon which the town stands. The population of Prince 
Albert proper is about 800, but some idea of its rapid growth may be obtained 
from the fact that there are now nij less than thirty-one buildings in course 
of erection in the town, and many others who are intending to build are 
merely waiting to secure the services of carpenters, which are in great de- 
mand just now. The buildings are, many of them, constructed on a some- 
what novel principle. A strong frame of timbers is erected, of a kind simi- 
lar to that used by Ontario farmers in building their barns, and as soor as 
the frame is up, instead of being sheeted or studded and clapboarded, the 
spsice between the timbers are filled in with he.vn logs carefully fitted to- 
gether. The " chinks" are then plastered in the same manner as are those 
of a log house, and the inner walls are lathed and plastered like those of an 
ordinary house.- This makes a very warm and an extremely durable building. 
While at luncheon I had the good fortune to be placed beside Mr. VVm. 
Miller, formerly of the county of Bruce, who has been farming in this part 
of the North- West about eight years, aud from him and others who were 
within talking distance I was enabled to obtain some very moderate, candid, 
and wholly uncoloured statements relative to the agricultural capabilities of 
this region. The average product of oats, one year with another, they set 
down at 45 bushels to the acre, and the average weight to the measured 
bushel ;^(> lbs. The average product of barley is 40 bushels to the acre, which 
is invariably fully tip to the standard weight. The average crop of spring 
wheat is from 25 to 30 bushels to the acre, and this would average from 01 
to 02 pounds to the nu-asured bushel. All sorts of root crojis turn out mag- 
nificently. Timotliy grows well, but of course for n;any yoars to come 
farmers will place most dependence on native grasses f(jr their fodder, the 
wild pea vino furnishing forage that is reckoned nearly or nuite as good for 
horses and cattle as oats in the straw. They hold that, nothwithstanding 
the long and sharp winters, this country is especially well adapted for stock- 
raising. Mr. Miller informed me that last year his young cattle, though fed 
hay, were not shelton-d during the winter, nnc' yet they were in capital 
order in the B[)ring. " 1 have oftoii seen," said he, " rattle killed for beef 
that were much thinnoi than they were." IMr. A»iH<'th informed me that he 
and others had done the same thing with similar results for years past. 
Sheep, horses and cows nil do well here, but pan ioa bringing in sheep from 
the I'ust should bo careful to drive tlieni up from Manitoba before the wild 



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MANITOBA AND 



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rice ripens, as the spine-like bearded shuck of the rice, which grows in many- 
places aTong the trail (though not in this settlement), is liable to get into the 
wool, and work its way through into the flesh, so as to kill the animal. 

THE PRESBYTERIAN MISSION. 

A large portion of the town of Prince Albert is being built on what is 
known as the Presbyterian Mission property, and as the lots are sold with 
building conditions, this part of the town is being very rapidly improved. 
The settlement of Prince Albert began about fourteen years ago with the 
Presbyterian Indian Mission of which the late Mr. Nesbett was the first 
missionary. For fourteen years the Presbyterian Church has maintained 
his school and until recently it has been taught by the resident missionary, 
but it is now under the direction of Miss Baker, a lady holding iirst-class 
certificates from both Montreal and Chicago. There are sixty names on the 
roll, and an average attendance of forty-six. There are four Presbyterian 
churches in the settlement to be opened this autumn, one of these (the one 
in town) being built of brick and heated by a hot air furnace. At present 
the Rev. James Sieveiight is the home missionary now here, but there are 
two more on the way from Ontario, one of whom will assist Mr. Sieveright 
here, and the other will go to Fort Edmonton. There are also two native 
Presbyterian missionaries in the territory. One of these is stationed at Fort 
Pelly, and the other is on Mestawassis' Reserve, twenty miles north of 
Carlton. 

EARLY FROSTS. 

Of course a great point is made against this region by citing cases where 
the crops have been damaged by early frosts, but I am inclined to think tltat 
the reports concerning this evil have been greatly exaggerated. Mr. Miller 
informed me that though he had been farming here for eight years he had 
never lost any part of his crop through early frosts. He does all his plough- 
ing and sows his wheat late in the fall. In this way the wheat does not ger- 
minate till the following spring, but as Sdou as the frost is out of the surface 
of the ground the wheat begins to grow and is really well on the way before 
it could be put in the ground under the ordinary system of spring ploughing. 
Last year there was a pretty sharp frost about the 25th or 27th of August, 
but Mr. Miller sold his whole crop of wheat at ^1 75 per bushel. 

DKAWBACKS. 

Though there are many things favourable to the progress and growth of 
Prince Albert, it has, like many another promising settlement, some very 
serious drawbacks which, though in must cases <iuite remediable, ought not 
to (luito cBoape the notice (4 the intending settler. Freighting to this point 
is slow and expensive owing to the fact tliat there are only twu steamers on 
the Saskatchewan (both the propeiiy of the Hudson I3ay Company), perform- 
ing the service between Grand Rapids which is, roughly estimated, about 
300 miles (by the river) east of this point and Edmonton, which is about 70O 
miles (by the river) westward. These steamers, so say the Prince Albert 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



91 



people, have all they can do carrying freight for the Hudson Bay Co , and 
the Government and independent traders experience considerable difficulty 
in having their freight delivered with anything like promptitude. The prices 
which have been quoted to me, and which I subjoin, are, I fancy, somewhat 
higher than the real average, but it iS evident that there is room for im- 
provement in the freighting facilities between Prince Albert and Winnipeg. 
Salt is quoted as selling at 975 per bbl. : kerosene oil never less than $2 75, 
and sometimes as high as 98 per gallon. Sugar 25c. per pound. 

The steamer Lily, on which we are embarked, is of the same pattern as the 
Northcote already described, but of considerably am. Her dimensions. She 
is only 100 feet lung, is Clyde built, of Bessemer steel, and sheeted outside 
the plates with spruce planking on the bottom. On the 'forecastle deck she 
(like the Northcote) carries huge spars and tackle for the purpose of " walk- 
ing" or pushing her off a sand bar or over a shoal when she has run aground. 
These huge spars give her something the appearance of a giant spider or 
grasshopper afloat on the river with his legs drawn up ready to spring ashore, 
or upon a bar, whenever the spirit moves him to do so. To-night we steamed 
up the river till dark, and then the steamer's prow was run upon the bank 
and her hawser was made fast to a tree to hold her till morning. The 
weather is delightfully cool and fresh this evening, and there is not a 
mosquito to be heard or seen. 



i 



CHAPTER XX. 

VOYAGE VF THE NOITH SASKATCHEWAN ARKIVAI. AT BATTLEFORD— RESOURCES 

THE COUNTRY. 



Battlrfokd, Aug. 30. — All day Sunday and yesterday the Lilij was steam- 
ing a'^ainst the swift current of this noble river, her passengers greatly en- 
joying the beautiful scenery, each bend in the river opening up a view that 
seemed more charming than the last. But it would be impossible by any 
pen pictnrn to give the reader an idea of the wondrous beauties of this great 
prairie stream. Indeed, I cannot but feel as if a very grave responsibility 
rested with me when I reflect upon the nature of the task that this journey 
has imposed upon me. No one who has not visited this country can have 
the faintest conception of its gigantic extent and resources, and I cannot 
hope in one series of letters to set it before the reader in anything like its 
true colours. So little is known and believed of this country in old Canada 
I should fear that the unsupported testimony of <mo traveller thron;^h this 
groat fertile wilderness might be set down as the ravings of an enthusiast. 



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That I have not overstated the character of the country through which we 
have travelled T would ask the reader to look for proof in some of Lord 
Lome's replies to the ad'lresses tltat have been presented to him . His Excel- 
lency is no flippant talker, anxious only to make a favourable impression 
upon those who for the time being ha|^pen to be his audience, but a very 
earnest tjiinker and worker. This is no mere holiday pleasure trip so far as 
he and his party are concerned, but a careful " voyage of discovery and ia- 
vestigation," if I might so use the term. He himself and all those with him 
are hard at work, and everything — pleasure, and even comfort — are made 
subservient to the real business of the journey, the thorough investigation of 
the character and resources of the country, and the condition, wants and 
necessities of its inhabitants both white and red. 

The journey up the north Saskatchewan has been in every respect a de- 
lightful one. The broad, swift river winding tiirough park-like ocenery 
of surpassing loveliness is ever unfolding pictures whose wondrous beauty 
no pen could describe. From the roseate misty sunrise to the mo- 
ment when a glorious August sun sinks to rest in his couch in the west that 
is fringed with golden prairie grass and curtained with amber and crimson 
and purple, the eye never tires of the grand panorama. 

From Prince Albert to Battleford the river is bordered on either side with 
rich prairie land. The bottoms in the valley of the river, wliic}i are for the 
most part rather narrow, and the numerous islands in the stream, are well 
wooded, but on the " benches" or uplands the character of the prairie ap- 
pears to be mucli the same as that through which we have already passed. 
Yesterday the steamer was run up to the bank to allow the travellers to go 
ashore and inspect the curious lot of caves and subterranean passages that 
appear to have at some time or another been burrowed in the north bank. 
These holes in the bank are not unlike what might have been made by a col- 
ony of badgers, except that they are largo enough to permit a man to crawl 
through the greater part of the system, all being connected so as to form 8 
subterranean passages extending more than a hundred feet inland, where they 
connect with a number of vertical holes opening to the surface of tlve prairie! 
Col. De Wintc'i and Capt. Bagot made some rather extensive subterranean 
explorations here, but failed to discover anything that would throw light uj)- 
on the primary cause of this curious phenomenon. While examining the clay 
on the face of the bank, which is broken oft' so as to present a sheer descent 
of some twenty or thirty feet. His Excellency discovered a large tooth which 
might pass for that of a buffalo, except that it was embedded in the solid 
clay some twelve or fifteen feet below the surface. Another of the party 
found a piece of a rib about eight or ten inches long and some three-quarters 
of an inch wide buried for almost its whole length in the dry clay. This latter 
discovery was twenty-tive or thirty feet west of the spot where His Excellency 
found the tooth and about eight foot below the surface. Other pieces of rib 
wore also found lying loose in the clay which had fallen off and was lying 
about the base of the embankment. Both the tooth and pieces of bone were 
so friable that it was with difliculty they were prevented from crumbling to 
pieces on being handled. 



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THE NORTH-WEST. 



93 



ARRIVING, AT BATTLEFORP. 

Early this morning the white walls of the Gcverment House of the North 
West Territories were to be seen from the deck of the Lihj, but it was still 
ten miles distant and breakfast was over before the steamer had reached 
her landing. Governor Laird was waiting on the bank with a handsome 
Brett and pair to convey His Excellency to Government House. Carriages 
for other members of the party and an escort of Mounted Police were also 
in waiting. All the travellers were at once lodged comfortably at Govern- 
ment House and with Col. Richardson, Stipendiary Magistate, and Mr. For- 
get, Secretary of State. 

In the afternoon a large number of the leading citizens of Battleford as- 
sembled in the Chamber of the North- West Council at Government House, 
when Mr. Young, one of the leading merchants, presented an address of 
welcome. 

After the addrnss and the reply His Excellency and party adjourned to the 
private part of Government House, and taking seats on the verandah awaited 
the arrival of the Indians who, as is too often the case, made numerous com- 
plaints about their extreme poverty, coupled with some extraordinary re- 
quests. The great trouble with all these Indians who are attempting to farm 
is that they have neither enough of working oxen nor farming implements on 
their reserves to enable them to carry on their operations profitably. 

Battleford, Aug 31 . — My journal yesterday closed with a very brief notice 
of the Indian pow-wow, which was very much like all the others that have 
been held along the line of travel taken by His Excellency. I do not mean 
to say that there are not some important sides of the Indian question 
brought out at these pow-wows, and I shall, when I have had a little more 
time to observe, have something to say upon what strikes me as important 
features of the Indian question ; but the average chief embodies so much ut- 
terly uninteresting verbose nonsense in the introduction to his speech that 
it is very tedious to listen to the interpreter wading through it. Yesterday 
afternoon and to-day I have spent a considerable time in riding and walking 
about for the purpose of learning as much as I could about Battleford. 

This place is certainly one of the most beautiful and picturesque in the 
North-West, and if ever there was a spot which nature intended for the site 
of a city it is Battleford. The steamboat landing on the Saskatchewan is 
two or three miles west of where Battle River falls into the larger stream, 
but for a long way (several miles at least above this) the general direction 
oi the two streams is parallel, though the strip of land between them is sel- 
dom above two miles and a h^lf , and in places loss than three-quarters of a 
mile wide. This strip of land between the two rivets consists of a beautiful 
plateau of fine, smooth upland prairie. Its highest portion is along its centre, 
midway between the two streams, and it slopes away gently toward each. 
The lowest portion of this plateau is fifteen or twenty feet above the narrow 
strips of bottom land along both rivers, which latter in times of spring floods 
are sometimos partially submerged. On the other hand the highest portion 



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MANITOBA AND 



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of this plateau (which the reader will have already identified as the site of 
the future city of Battleford) is considerably lower than the level of the prairie 
bluffs which rise beyond the Saskatchewan on the north and Battle River on 
the south. Here«s a spot which would be easily drained by sewers falling 
each way from the central ridge ; the whole outer boundary would be river 
frontage, at which the Saskatchewan steamers coiild land at nearly all times, 
while the smaller craft which would be required to navigate Battle River could 
perform the service from the forks when the larger steamers could not ascend 
on the south side of the peninsula with safety. With a city located on this 
peninsular plateau (which is now only occupied by the barracks of the 
Mounted Police), the south bank of Battle River and the north bank of the 
Saskatchewan (about four miles apart) would afford the most charming situa- 
ations for villa and suburban residences. Of course, it may appear somewhat 
premature to be talking about suburban residences in a locality where the 
lands are not in the market, nor even surveyed, but there will be many pros- 
perous cities in this great North- West in the near future, and certainly Battle- 
ford appears to be about as favourably located for a great trading centre as 
any point I have yet seen. 

Regarding the country in the immediate vicinity of Battleford, I am quite 
aware that what I have to s^ flatly contradicts what appears to me to be the 
general impression concerning it. Before coming here I was told that Battle- 
ford was in the midst of a sterile, dreary waste of sand, but I wish we had a 
few hundred square miles of just such dreary wastes of sand in Ontario and 
Quebec, The soil is not the deep, black loam which I have seen in some 
other portions of the North-Weat, but at the same time, that it is not unpro- 
ductive 1 shall presently produce abundant proof. It is a rich and very 
friable soil, in which there is unquestionably some sand, but for all that it is 
deep, strong, warm, and extremely productive, i should have stated before 
that the few houses (beyond the houses of Government officials, which are on 
the crest of the beautiful high bluff south of Battle River) are located on a 
rather narrow strip of bottom land south of the smaller stream, and the pla- 
teau to which I have already referred is the site of the future city. 



nature's bounteous profusion. 

The first crop that I noticed was in the garden of Mr. P. O. Laurie, edi- 
tor and proprietor of the Saskatchewan Herald. Here I saw beautiful flowers, 
such as parsies, pinka, etc., growing luxuriantly and blooming in the richest 
profusion. Native black currants had grown and matured to the size of large 
cherries, while there were to be seen some of the largest and finest cabbages, 
cauliflowers and turnip! that I have ever seen, and in saying this I do not ex- 
clude from the comparison anything that I have seen shown at Provincial 
and State Fairs in Canada and the United States. I had been told of the 
short seasons, backward springs, early frosts, and all that sort of thing, in 
this region, and so I enquired to what extent Mr. Laurie had started his pro- 
ducts indoors or under glass. The Ontario gardener will perhaps appreciate 
my surprise when he informed me that he had not spouted a seed indoors iwr 



THE NORTH-WEST, 



95 



te of 
'airie 
ir on 
Uing 



under glass. ] Iven these splendid cauliflowers and cabbagud had been grown 
from the. aetd in the open air. Mr. Laurie's turnips, potatoes, carrots, and 
other roots were all proportionately good, and, though I did not inspect other 
gardens as closely, I have good reasons to believe that the gardens in the up- 
lands are equally good. The people of Battlefoid have been using cauliflowers 
for a month past, and commenced using new potatoes and green peas on the 
first of July. 

One of the first farms I visited was that .of Mr. Forget, and here I saw 
fields of wheat and oats far above the average of what one finds in the most 
prosperous sections of Old Canada. 

On the farm of the MoFarlane Bros., only a few miles from the village, I 
saw a field of standing oats that will certainly yield fifty-five bushels to the 
acre, while some who are much better qualified to judge than I am say that 
it will in all probability give a crop this season which will go not less than 
sixty bushels to the acre. Last year the same field yielded a crop of fifty- 
seven bushels of oats to the acre, and every one who has seen the two crops 
says that this season's crop looks considerably better standing than did last 
year's. Oats here are particularly plump, and all through this region I am 
told that the oats weigh from thirty-six to thirty-eight pounds, and often as 
"high as forty pounds, to the measured bushel. Spring wheat yields from 
thirty-five to 40 bushels to the acre, and the field that I saw on the Messrs. 
McFarlane's farm, as well.as that on Mr. Forget's, would yield very little, if 
any, below the last-mentioned figure, and it must be remembered that Mr. 
Forget's wheat was sown upon newly-broken sod. The wheat here is also 
remarkably well-filled and plump, good samples weighing sixty-four pounds 
and over to the measured bushel. The wheat here was sown in the Spring. 

The Messrs. McFarlano have but thirty-five acres under crop, though they 
have been farming here for five years. In fact grain groving is not the pri- 
mary object they have in view, They commenced with about $500 capital, 
and they are working themselves slowly into the business of horse ranching. 
So far they have made it pay very well, but, of course, their operations are 
very limited. They have now on hand thirty head of horses, ponies, mares 
and colts, and sixteen head of horned cattle. As I shall have occasion later 
on to have something to say concerning horse-breeding in the North- West, I 
shall for the present drop the subject with the mere mention of the McFar- 
lane Bros.' operations in this direction. 

Another farmer with whom I had some conversation here, was Mr. Finlay- 
son, formerly of Glencoe, Ontario, and who, prior to settling here, served in 
the Mounted Police Force. He came to this country with little or nothing, 
but now has seventy-two acres under crop, and has broken thirty acres more 
this season. In the spring of 1880 he ploughed the first furrow in his farm. 
Last year (1880) cropping ofi" sod broken that same spring, his wheat yielded 
twenty bushels to the acre, and his oats thirty-eight bushels to the acre. His 
•crops of wheat this year will be from thirty to thirty-five bushels to the acre, 
while hh oats will yield fully fifty bushels to the acre. He has now five head 
of cattle and five horses. 



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THE CLIMATE. 

Begarding the climate here, all agree that the winters are extremolj 
cold, but every one with whom I have conversed who has wintered here says 
that the cold is not by any means so disagreeable or unendurable as the read- 
ings of the thermometer would indicate. In the winter of 1878-9 Mr. Fin- 
layson was delivering wood at the Montreal Police barracks here, and was 
driving for miles across the prairie every day, and yet during that whole win- 
ter he only lost one day and a .half on account of bad weather. That same 
season he was ploughing on the 2nd of April. Spring ploughing usually 
commences here from the Ist to the 15th of April. The average yield of 
barley here last year was forty bushels to the acre, and the crop promises 
to be equally good if not better this year. 

The Messrs. McFarlane, who as I have already stated, make a business 
of raising horses, tell me that their ponies run out and pick their living 
all winter, and they come out in tine order in the spring. They only stable 
them about three days before commencing spring work. 

As yet I believe no sheep have been brought to Battleford. 

His Excellency's stay in Battleford comes to a close to-morrow morning, 
when, with about fifty fresh horses and twenty-five of those brouglit from 
Qu'Appelle, he sets out in a south-westerly course across the prairies for 
Fort Calgary. This afternoon he visited the. < extensive and commodious 
barracks of the Mounted Police here, and this, evening, as last evening, 
meets a number of the Battleford people at dinner at the Government 
House, where Governor Laird has been sparing no pains to make his stay 
in Battleford, as well as that of the whole party, as enjoyable as possible. 
Indeed the people of Battleford have all been extremely courteous and 
hospitable in their treatment of the visitors, and it is safe to say that not 
one of the party w ill go away without the pleasantest recollections of their 
stay here. This afternoon Mr. Sidney Hall (who, by the way, is a most 
industrious worker) made a sketch of a charming little bit of scenery on 
the Battle River from the luwn in front of Mr. Forget'.s cottage. 



CHAPTER XXT. 



OFF FOR CALGART- 



-A DREARY NIGHT ON THE PLAINS- 
ING A DIM TRAIL. 



-AN OPTICAL ILLUSION— follow- 



On THE Plains West of Battleford, en rouie to Fort Calgary, Sept. !► 
— The Vice-Regal party got away long ahead of me, owing to the fact that 
my ponies had gone astray. My chances of picking them up seemed very 



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THE NORTH-WEST. 



97 



slim, my start from Battleford being nearly half a day behind that of His 
Excellency, who, I ought to have stated before, drove out from the city with 
Governor Laird, in the latter's carriage, it being the Lieutenant-Governor's 
intention to accompany his distinguished guest a short distance on the way. 
Having at last got oflf we bowled along at a rapid rate for about three hours, 
when we reached the foot of a low pass through the hills, where, in a deep 
valley, shut in by bare rounded knolls or mounds some two hundred feet high, 
I iound His Excellency's midday camp. This point is probably about ten 
miles south- west of Battleford. The first three miles of the trip were among 
poplar bluffs, which appear to be growing in light, friable, but very rich and 
productive soil. I formed my opinion as to the richness of the region 
from the character of luxuriant grass and vigorous growth of furze, prairie 
roses, and young poplars, rather than from the appearance of the soil itself, 
which looked rather more sandy than one would expect to find it if he judged 
by the character of its products, all of which were very healthy and vigorous. 
After passing out of the region of poplar clumps the trail leads through 
fine open prairie growing rich grasses of various sorts, and this continues 
Tip to ie valley already mentioned, through which a rather sluggish little 
stream of a slightly alkaline taste flows. We made rather slow progress 
through what I supposed to be a portion of the low range known as the 
" Eagle Hills," and before we had particularly noticed the character of the 
change, suddenly found ourselves some miles out on a great stretch of 
prairie without as much as a tuft of wolf willows in sight. The situation was 
fast becoming interesting. We were making our way out over a great 
plain which, for aught we knew, might be a hundred miles in breadth. The 
sun was down and the young moon promised only a small supplement to 
the light of the fading day by which we were to pursue our journey. The 
trail too was only a dim one at best, over the sun-dried surface of the unbro- 
ken prairie, and for the last mile or two we had not seen a slough that was 
not strongly suggestive of alkali. To camp within reach of one of these 
might nearly or quite ruin my ponies, and leave us helpless on the prairie, 
so that no choice was left us but to push on and, if possible, reach His Ex- 
cellency's party before camping. We halted, and just as the last rays of day- 
light were fading in the Avest, we turned the ponies out for a short feed and 
rest preparatory to our final " hitch," which was to be driven by moonlight. 
Already the west wind was piping shrilly through the dry grass on the great 
plain, out of which rose away to the southward the dark outline of low ridges 
like the backs of sleeping monsters of a pre-historic age. In the west still 
hung a streak of pale, straw-coloured light, where but a few moments before 
the sky was all aglow with orange and amber, anjj in the south, in a sky of 
unclouded blue, hung the silver crescent that was to light us on our way. The 
night wind was keen and frosty, and as it went sweeping over us the ponies 
huddled closely together, as if they, too, felt the oppressive loneliness of the 
hour. 

Peter soon had Blanche and Touchwood in harness, and b\ittoning my 
overcoat closely under my chin I once more mounted the waggon, and we 



>) 

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MANITOBA AND 



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were off again. I had now been without sleep for thirty-six houn, and I waft 
-suddenly so overcome with drowsiness that I came near falling out of the 
waggon. Peter, fearing that I might do so, suggested that we should camp 
at once, but I hit upon a plan for obviating the necessity of a stop on my 
account. I took one of the ponies' leather circingles, and, passing it around 
my waist, buckled it to one of the ropes that held the load together, and in 
this way managed to ride on in safety, though I frequently found myself 
falling asleep and lurching heavily against the strap. As the moon sank low 
in the west the ponies had considerable difficulty in following the dim trail 
and keeping out of the treacherous badger holes with which almost every 
little prairie knoll is absolutely honeycombed. After the moon was very low 
we drove through one frightfully rough slough, in which the ponies had to 
divide their energies between plunging through the water and stiff clay and 
clambering over the huge boulders, that in the darkness appeared to be half 
as high as themselves. We then found ourselves upon what in the night ap- 
peared to be a broad, level plain, and for some little time they jogged along 
briskly till just as the moon had dipped her lower horn below the sharply 
defined horizon a dark object loomed up on the left which I at first took for 
fiome portion of the long looked for camp. 

As I ueared it, however, I became convinced that I was mistaken, but I 
was still quite at a loss to make out what it really was. It looked a huge 
shadow of intense blackness rising between us and the setting moon. The 
light of the level moon rays had left the prairie, but it fell full upon the 
opposite side of this strange object, casting a narrow, phosphorescent border 
of ghastly white upon its sharply outlined profile. It took the form of a 
huge block or pedestal, with a lion of gigantic size crouching upon it. The 
strange weird effect of the fading moonlight, the utter loneliness of the place, 
and my own nervous though drowsy condition I have no doubt strengthened 
and intensided the illusion, but whether it be the ruins of some trader's 
shanties, or a huge rock, I shall not soon forget the singular impression its 
sudden appearance upon the prairie made upon me to-night. 

A few minutes later and the moon was below the horizon, and though there 
was an unusually bright aurora I found it impossible to follow the trail any 
further, and so I made my first night camp out of Battleford without wood 
or water. Not certain but that we were already a long way off the trail we 
pitched the tent directly behind the waggon, and as soon as this was done I 
lighted a candle and examining the ground inside of it found that we were 
following a fairly-defined trail. ' i •. 



A NIGHT OF UNOERTAINTY. 

The night is very cold even inside the tent. I am writing my journal with 
buckskin gloves on my hands. I must confess that my position is not alto- 
gether a very comfortable one . 1 am on an open prairie which very few, 
even of the best informed guides, know anytV »ng about, and which my guide 
never saw before. I have at most not more than two weeks' provisions with 
me. In the morning 1 shall have to follow on after the Vice -Regal party 



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THE NORTH-WEST. 



99 



with on? their waggon tracks as a guide, for this ia the first time this route 
from Battleford to Fort Calgary has ever been taken. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

A DRIVE THROUGH RICH ROMANTIC -LOOKING VALLEYS— PONIES AND WAGGONS STUCK IN A 
• BAD SLOUGH— THE " ALKALI " SCARE LNFOUNUED— KF.EN FROST ON THE PLAINS — 

ACROSS ANOTHER TREELESS PRAIRIE— TENTING IN THE STORM -DRIVING ACROSS THE 

PLAINS BY MOONLIGHT. 

In Camp, en route from Battleford to Fort Calgary, Sept. 2.— On turning 
out this morning, I discovered that there had been a very perceptible frost 
the night before. It was cheerless work sitting down to hard tack s,nd a little 
cold water that had been accidentally left in my lime juice jar evei since the 
25th of August. There was no help for it, however, as we had not a stick of 
wood nor enough water to make a respectable cup of tea. A drive of about 
two hours brought us to the spot where the Vice-Regal party had camped the 
night before, and here we had an excellent breakfast, in which some of the 
potatoes and onions (with which Mr. Forget, of Battleford, had kindly in- 
sisted on furnishing me) played one important part. After breakfast, two 
fresh ponies took us along at such an admirable rate that we found the noon- 
day camp of the Governor-Generar? party in time for dinner. This was in a 
deep, romantic-looking valley, in which are a chain of alkali lakes, the largest 
of which is called Child's Lake. It takes its name from a very pretty Indian 
legend which says that at certain times a number of little children are seen 
playing with a dog on a little island in the lake. No grown person was ever 
seen there, the children were always unaccompanied by any one save the dog, 
and are so small that their heads rise only a little way above the dog's back. 
There i» capital duck shooting here, but this may be said of almost every lake 
and slough in the North- West. Large hawks and owls are also so very 
plentiful and bold that the shooting of them can hardly be considered sport. 
It was a long and tedious job for my slow team. Punch and Sandy, to climb 
up out of this beautiful alkali valley, but before leaving it Peter loaded 
enough wood upon the waggon to cook supper and breakfast. This afternoon 
there had been little of interest to note. As we travel westward it seems as 
though we were almost continually climbing to higher levels. To-day it 
seemed as if we were travelling through a succession of immense saucers. In 
reality, of course, these " saucers " are broad plains, the rotundity of the 
unbroken surface of the earth making the horizon look considerably higher 
on every side than the point of vision, so that one is surprised to realize how 
«hort the range of vision ia on a bit of absolutely level prairie. It is only 



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wlien one has climbed to the crest of an isolated mound or ridge that he is 
nlile to realize the vast extent of 'these great plains. From these eminences 
one can look away across a great expanse of waving dtm-colourod grass till, 
on the clearest afternoon, even the horizon itself is lost. It seems as though 
sky and earth did not meet, but rather that their approaching edges faded 
away in the limitless distance. 

STUCK IN A SLOUOir. 

Having made a rather lengthy stay in our noonday camp at Child's Lake, 
the last rays of daylight faded from the sky, and still ^here was nothing to 
indicate that we were near His Excellency's camp. We drove (m in the bright 
moonlight, determined to keep moving till we reached it, but just as we were 
talking of changing horsos, the pair in harness stopped suddenly in the mid- 
dle of a very bad slough, and no amount of persuasion or whipping would in- 
duce them to haul the waggon out. Punch serenely refused to exert himself 
after he had made one effort (and not a very energetic one at that), while 
Sandy, after making one or two nervous snatches at his whiflletree, made an 
effort to climb over Punch's back. He failed signally in the first attempt, 
and fell over sidewiso, almost on his back, in soft mud and water. He had 
one foot over the neck-yoke, and was so completely helpless that for a 
time it looked doubtful if we should get him out alive. Of course there was 
no choice but to plunge into the cold water and undo the harness as rapidly 
as possible, and finally we had him on his feet again, breathing very heavily, 
but none the worse of his accident, excepting a rather ugly-looking cut on 
«)ne fore-leg. Wo then took both ponies out of the harness, waded into the 
water, and unloaded the waggon, carrying each back load about lifty y.vrdsup 
to the dryground, and when all this was done, Peter informed me that he would 
bring the waggon back with Punch. 1 was busy at the time, and did not no- 
tice what was going on till I saw Punch walking briskly toward me with one 
end of a rope tied to his tail and the other to the hind axle of the empty 
waggon. I now determined to camp for the night, as I had no desire to make 
another attempt to cross the slough till daylight. It is very evident that it is a 
troublesome place at an^ time. It has in it a good deal of water, the way 
through it is obstructed with huge boulders, which i>no cannot well shun in 
the night, and it has a bottom of soft, sticky clay. This is a bright, cold, 
starlight night. The air is frosty, and the slight breeze thnt is stealing down 
from over the great plains to the northward has in it a nipping quality that 
is more suggestive of blazing grates, soft carpets and thick curtains than of a 
scanty camp fire, a ton-pound tent, and a bed of blankets on the dewy grass. 
Though this is indeed a lonelylittlocamp.itisby nomeansasilentone. I'p from 
the marshy meadows away down the little valley, comes the soft, nuiHlod 
clink of Punch's c<<w-bell, from the northward come the strange trumpetings 
of the great sand hill cranes tiuvt can bo heard for miles over the prairie, cltjso 
beside us in the slouch, not a hundred yards from the tent, 1 hear the chat- 
tering and (juRcking of the water-hens^ ducks and wild geet j, while across the 
riiiges from the wostwatd rings the honriie, sharp snarl and bark of the 



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101 



cowardly prairie wolf. There is plenty of music, but every note of it intensi- 
fies the loneliness of the spot. 

In Camp, oi roxite from Battleford to Fort Galgary, Sept. 3. — There was 
a heavy white frost last night and we were a trille slow in getting out of camp. 
Leaving Peter to bring Punch and Sandy, I drove with the other pair, and 
reached the outside of the slough without any ditticulty. It was ten o'clock 
before we arrived at the spot where the Governor-General had camped the 
night before. Here we found no wood except a piece of an old liarrel head, 
which we burned, and with the lire succeeded in boiling water enough for two 
amall cups of tea. 

ALKALI LAKES. 

Up to nearly the middle of the day we came upon quite as much alkali as 
sweet water, the water in the lakes and springs of the former has an opai^ue, 
greenish look in the sunlight, while their margins (which are nearly or (£uito 
destitute of vegetation save some little brown and crimson grasses or creep- 
ers) are lined with masses of foam. On the other hand the sweet water lakes 
look clear and blue in the sunlight, while their margins are almost invariably 
clothed with broad-leaved succulent grasses of richest green. Native ponies 
are not apt to drink enough alkali water to make them any the worse of it, 
but Canadian horses are sure to set themselves scouring with it, and if they 
are not allowed absolute rest for a time after this sort of illness shows itself, 
they are not at all likely to recover. It is sheer nonsense, however, to sup- 
pose (as many really do) that these little patches of alkali land in this coun- 
try constitute a serious drawback. 1 think from what 1 have been able to 
observe of them that these objectionable deposits, besides being very circum- 
scribed as to area are extremely shallow, and that as soon as the land shall 
have been tilled for a year or two everything like an excess of alkali in it 
will entirely disa])poar, and even if it did not there are nearly always swaet 
water sloughs in the immediate neighbourhood of alkali water, so that upon 
anything like an extended range of pasture, cattle and horses would always 
have plenty of sweet water so long as they preferred it, and in the cpse of 
horses I believe they usually do. At all events, it is the wildest nonsense to 
suppose that what little alkali is t<» bo found in tiio North- West Territory 
renders any portion of it deserving of tho name of " desert. " The alkali bug- 
bear, therefore, may be set down as utterly unworthy of serious notice. This 
afteinioon we saw little or no alkali water, though sweet water sloughs and 
lakelets were plentiful. In fact, for some ten miles in the early part of the 
afternoon we were driving through a succession of beautiful sweet water val- 
leys, and tine grassy ridges or slopes. Mounting the crest of one of these 
ridges, and looking oH' across the country in almost any direction the idea nf 
a great gransy ocean is forcibly impressed upon one's mind. It is like the 
long heavy swell at sea that is not raised save by days of heavy weather from 
one ((uurter, and as compared to those, tho prairie waves are as giants to j)!'^- 
mioa. These great swells are miles in length, and rise from 150 to lUM) feet in 
height. They break, too, into smaller swells, and just as one sees in a storm 
at sea, giant waves will here and there rear their towering crests higli above 



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their neighbours. Late in the aft crnoon we passed through a wide, deep val- 
ley with a dark foul-looking creek running through the middle of it. The 
grass here was dark and brown, and in many spots nothing but moRS 
was to be seen. In the western portion of this same valley were some 
little ridges of wl ^ appeared to be pure sand, but even here wild roses were 
growing in rich prolusion, and there appeared to be plenty of sustenance for 
rich succulent grasses and wolf willows. In some of these ridges, however, 
the sand was scooped out in large hollows, as if by the hand of man. Indeed, 
they merely looked like sand pits that had been partially refilled by the wind. 
In truth, of course, all this work was done by the wind, but one is often at 
a loss to understand how the wind could dig out such abrupt little pits, leav- 
ing sharp edges of sod as though it had been cut with a spade. Beyond this 
valley the trail again led through a fine rolling prairie country, absolutely 
treeless, but otherwitee possessing everything necessary for a choice agricul- 
cultural region. Darkness overtook us in the same kind of country, and 
as the clouds that had been sending little sprinkles of rain all the afternoon 
now rolled along overhead in great masses shutting out both moonritte and 
sunset, and pouring forth volumes of rain, we made camp as rapidly as pos- 
sible, partially sheltered by an abrupt, dome-shaped hill. By the way we 
had managed to collect enough of the wood dropped from the waggons ahead 
of us to cook a supper of ducks, bacon and tea, which was decidedly accept- 
able after having dined otf hard tack, raw bacon, and slough water, the latter 
being neither very cold nor very pure. To-night, as I close my journal, 
the storm is howling dismally over the great dark treeless waste outside, 
while rain is dashing in fitful storm gusts upon my little tent, whose folds are 
flapping and fluttering like the tattered sails of a tempest-tossed fishing 
smack, but inside, despite a certain degree of cold and damp, I am tolerably 
comfortable, though writing in stifl' buckskin gloves is not exactly conducive 
to highly ornamental caligraphy. 

Governok-General'h Camp, en i-oniv from Battleford to Fort Calgary, 
Sept. 4. — Despite the storm last night I slept finely. When I turned in I 
was afraid that the ponies, driven by the fury of the storm to seek some shel- 
ter, might stray oft' among the hills, but whenever I awoke during the night 
in the lulls between the more furious bursts of the storm, I could hear 
the low clinking of Punch's bell, and so I could drop asleep again with a feel- 
ing of security I could not otherwise have experienced. When 1 turned o\it 
about daylight this morning, the sky was c' Mor and bright, as though there 
had been no storm, while the frost which followed the rain had been so sharp 
that even in walking through the long grass I did not get my boots so much 
as dampened. Instead of that, however, the broad seams of the soles were 
thickly covered with the powdery miisses of hoar frost that had been dusted 
ofl'thu grass as I walked throui;h it to catch the ponies. As we had no fuel 
we were obliged to eat a cold breiikfast and hurry otf. Our first drive was to 
"bounding Lake," or, as the literal translation of the Cree name for it 
would l)e " Roaring Water." Un the way to Hounding Lake (the drive from 
our night camp was about twelve miles) we passed through fully sixty per 



[the north-west. 



105 



cent, of really excellent agricultural land, while the rest of the country tra- 
versed was made up of sandy bluffs and ridges. Among these bluffs, how- 
ever, I found white and scented poplar growing to a large size, while the 
luxuriant undergrowth spoke extremely well for the richness of the soil. 
During the morning we lost the trail and travelled for fully five miles with- 
out it. This was not very comforting under the circumstances, but at length 
while traversing a large marsh we came upon a wretched looking horse that 
had been abandoned by the Governor-General's party, and a few moments 
later we struck the trail. In one of the clumps of poplar we had passed we 
laid in a i^entiful supply of wood, so that when we reached the Saturday 
night camp of our fellow-travellers at Sounding Lake we were able to make an 
excellent breakfast. In the afternoon we skirted along the flats on the east 
shore of Sounding Lake to the foot of that body of water, and thence down 
the valley of a small muddy creek for ten or twelve miles to the crossing. 
This valley appears to be of rich, productive clay (slightly alkaline), and the 
creek appeared to be swarming with geese, wewes and ducks of all descrip- 
tions. On the way, we passed the spot where the Governor's party had at- 
tempted to cross the creek, and failing had left a wrecked waggon. We finally 
reached the crossing before six o'clock, but as the feed here was exceptionally 
good we camped for supper, though the north wind sweeping down the valley 
made our own situation an extremely uncomfortable one. It was nearly 
seven o'clock when we started for a moonlight drive, and we were soon climb- 
ing out of the valley and striking due west. Before nine o'clock, and as the 
moon was partially obscured, Peter drove into what appeared to be a little 
strip of dry, baked clay, but the ponies and waggon were no sooner into it 
than they came to a halt on account of the sticky footing, and five seconds 
later the waggoojiad sunk half way to the hubs. Sandy was in the soft clay 
up to his knees, and Punch was sitting down dog-fashion upon his own tail. 
In less than ten seconds we liad the ponies clear of the waggon, and hitching 
the whifiletrees at the end of the pole, endeavoured to make them haul the 
waggon out in that way. It was of no use, however, and it only remained to 
take them out of the harness and put the lighter team in their places. By 
this time the waggon had sunk to the hubs all around, and Blanche and 
"^ouchwood had to make a very vigorous effort to haul it out, but they did so, 
ani as they were so umch faster and more reliable than the heavier team we 
left them in liarfiess, and drove on over the hills in the moonlight. By ten 
o'clock the wind wivs considerably lulled, but the air was intensely keen and 
frosty. Mile after mile the ponies jogged cheerily along over the great dun- 
coloured hills and valleys, till tlie heavy frost crystals on the yellow rustling 
grass be^'au to sparkle like little diamonds in the bright moonlight, and 
wrapped in our overcoats and blankets, we still felt the cold, piercing air on 
our faces and fingers. At last, as we wore skirting along the crest of a ridge 
and opening a deep valley on our right, a row of snowy, cone-like touts rose 
against the cold light-brown slope on its further side, and in a few moments 
more the picket-guard of the Oovernor-Qenerars camp were Lasy in helping 
us to unharness the ponies and pitch my little tent. It seemed like gettinghume 



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onco more, and to-night as I write my journal with frost -benumbed fingers I 
feel a sense of relief and thankfulness that another crisis in this arduous 
journey has been safely passed, and that this lonely, tedious wandering 
along over the great plains upon a dim and uncertain trail is at last over, for 
the present at least. 



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CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE CREE CHIEF KELATE3 SOME INDIAN LEGENDS— A LECTUUE HALL ON THE PRAIRIE — 
" POl-NDMAKER'a " TERRIBLE WINTER AMONG THE BLACKKEET -THE INDIAN QUESTION 
LOOMING rP-HOW CAN IT BE SETTLED ?— HOME SUGtJESTIONS— BETTER TEACH THE IN- 
DIANS THAN FIGHT OR FEED THEM— CANADA OWES THEM HER WESTERN EMPIRE. 

Governor-General's Camp, en route Battleford to Fort Calgary, Sept. 5. 

— The whole cavalcade was on the move at seven this morning, wrapped in 

overcoats and blankets, as the air was intensely cold after the heavy front of 

last night. This frost was, by the way, very much the heaviest of the season. 

Wherever water was left in open vessels, even in the tents, there was nearly 

half an inch of ice upon it this morning, while small quantities were found 

iiwiiCii :olid. The day was bright and still, however, and wrappings were 

thrown oil' as the sun climbed higher in the sky, till by the time the midday 

halt was made the air was comparatively warm and pleasant. During the 

forenoon after we had climbed out of the ravine, some of the grandest stretches 

of prairie we have yet seen were opened to view. The indescribable idea 

of vastness portrayed by those great plains, as seen from a high ridge, is 

something singularly suggestive of the infinite. To-day, of the land we 

saw, fully ninety-five per cent, was excellent, the other five percent., though 

Bomewhat light, would be classed as fairly productive in almost any section of 

Ontario. To-night our camp is in a rather picturesque little valley, through 

which runs the same tortuous creek that we crossed yesterday. Our journey 

to-day was about thirty-five or forty miles, as nearly as we could make out, 

and I suppose that might be set down as the average day'k march made by 

the (xovernor-General's outfit ever since leaving Battleford. This morning a 

herd of buffalo was seen a long way ofi*, but no attempt was made to follow 

them. Yesterday fresh butfalo tracks were seen, and as nearly as can be 

made out there were over a dozen in the herd. 1 beliove this is the first year 

bufi'aloes have bnen seen in this part of the country since Hitting Hull and his 

band located themselves at Wood Mountain near the American boundary. 

As long as they were there they always foil upon ev«.>ry herd that attempted 

to cross the border, and the animals they did not kill were always turned 

back into American territory. Now that that largo band of Sioux have gone 

back to their own country there is good reason to hope that butial') will come 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



109 



in in sufficient numbers to materially ameliorate the condition of the Cana' 
dian plain-hunting Indians, whose state during the past few years has become" 
truly deplorable. The Governor-General's outfit is being guided across the 
trackless plain between Battleford and Red Deer River by an Indian or half- 
breed guide, whose real name is John Longraore, but who is better known as 
Johnny Saskatchewan. He says that he is a pure Indian, but he talks good 
English, and looks very much like a half-breed. There is also with the out-' 
fit another guide who undertakes to direct the party from Red Deer River to 
Fort Calgary. This is a Cree chief named "Poundmaker," who is one of 
the great men of his own nation. He received his name, I suppose, for some 
peculiar ability he displayed in the construction of "pounds" in which to 
catch and kill bufi"alo. To-night Mr. Dewdney, Colonel Herchmer and my- 
self were invited to dine with His Excellency and party, and after dinner 
Poundmaker was brought in to tell Cree legends or stories, a half-breed in 
Mr. Dewdney's employ (Antoine Gnille) acting as interpreter. Poundmaker 
is a particularly fine-looking specimen of his race, being considerably over six 
feet high, of rather slight build, and singularly erect. He has an intelli- 
gent, and almost refined, looking face, a high, prominent forehead, and a 
nose of the Grecian type, while there is nothing oarse or sensuous about the 
lower portion of his face. His gestures were strikingly graceful and expres- 
sive, his small, delicately-shaped hands often making the meaning of his Cree 
sentences almost as plain to us as could the English of the interpreter. The 
scene in the mess-tent while Poimdm.aker was telling his stories was certainly 
a strange one. Outside the night winds were piping drearily over the bound- 
less stretches of whispering yellow grass, and keeping the fliipping folds of 
the tent in incessant motion. The candles from their candlesticks of bnfl'alo 
vertebrte, always disturbed by little errant gusts of wind, shed a flickering, 
uncertain light uptm the solemnly expressive face of the dusky story-teller, 
while Lord Lome and his guests, with hats and caps drawn down close upon 
their heads, and overcoats buttoned up to their chins, made as deeply inter- 
ested and attentive an audience as ever sat in a well-warmed and brilliantly 
lighted lecture hall in the heart of a great city. When informed as to what 
was wanted of him, Poundmaker showed some hesitancy about commencing, 
and finally started off with the preface that he would not tell them stories of 
the long ago, which could not be proved by people now living, but would tell 
them some stories of the country through which they were travellinor, which 
could be corroborated by eye-witnesses who were still living — stories of 
events of comparatively recent occurrence. First came 



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" THE 8TOKY OF THB BIO KKD DEEH. 

"Not far from Child'8 Lake is another and larger body of water called 
' Spirit's Lake,' or ' Ghost Lake.' ,()ne time, not a great many years ago, 
there were large bands of ' Crees,' ' Stonys,' and * Saulteaux ' camped at the 
narrows in this Lake. It was not very long after the ice had taken, and 
there was not much snow. They were all on the lake, and they saw a pair 
of red horns standing up through the ice. Two young girls took an axe to go 
G 



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and cut off the lionis to make comba of them, but the old people told them 
not to touch them. They were not the horns of a red deer, but of some 
spirit. They would not listen to the warning, however, and (some women 
are foolish enough to do anything) attempted to cut off the horns. I do not 
know whether they cut off the horns or not, but just then the spirit, or great 
animal, moved, and all the ice in the laKe broke up, and the two foolish girls 
and a great many families were drowned, though all had run for shore as soon 
as they saw that the girls were determined to cut off the horns. Since then the 
lake has been called Spirit's Lake." . 

THE BIO OTTER. 

" There i3 a big island in Spirit's Lake, and one time a lot of men were go- 
ing to hunt for bears on this island. They made a raft of logs, and ten men 
got on it to go to the island. They were poling the raft along and, suddenly 
they saw the water moving all around the raft, and felt something knocking 
underneath it. They were frightened, and would have poled back to the 
main laud ag.ain, but a big otter put his paws on the raft, and one of the In- 
dians, who had dreamed about it before, killed the otter with his knife. 
They towed the monster ashore, and found that he only lacked less than a 
hand's breadth of being three fathoms long." Poundmaker did not know 
who got the skin of this famous otter, but he gravely assured us that he 
thought the Indians must have cut it up and divided it among themselves, 
for if the Hudson Bay people had got it they would have shown it as some- 
thing very wonderful. 

THE BIO HOKSE. 

Poundmaker was not inclined to give any minute details with regard to 
the "big horse." He said, however, that at this same lake the Crees had 
once come very near catcliing a very large iron-grey horse, but he got away 
by diving down into the lake. They measured his tracks on the shore, and 
from this it would appear that each of his feet would cover a large dinner- 
plate. 

THE BIO BUFFALO. 

" On this side of Carlton, on the south trail to Battleford, there is a spring, 
and out of that spring there once came a buffalo bull that was killed by the 
Indians. A chief from Carlton, whom I know, saw this great bull after he was 
dead, and when he was lying down on his side he was as high as a tall man's 
chin. All other big bulls that ho had ever seen would look like little calves 
beside him. " . . , 

THE BIO GRIZZLY BEAR. 

" One time 230 Crees were going for a raid upon the Blackfeet, and meet- 
ing a groat grizzly boar they killed him, but when he was killed they found 
him so largo that they thought he must bo a spirit. Ho measured over seven 
hands' breadths across the top of the head and he was proportionately largo 
elsewhere. They did not skin him nor cut him up, but set him upon his feet 
again and put scarlet cloth about his neck and strings of beads ou his head, 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



107 






and gave him tobacco and trinkets, and lit their pipes and blew smoke in his 
face, and allowed him to smoke their pipes in turn, and spread fine skins and 
cloths before him, and prayed him to give them good luck. And he did give 
them good luck, for in that raid they did not lose a horse or a man, though 
they killed many Blackfeet, and captured more than 300 ponies." 

Thus far Poundmaker was quite prepared to vouch for the accuracy of his 
statements, but now came a legend which he gave for what it was worth. 
He would tell it as he had heard it from the Blackfeet, who believed it. 

THE BLACKFBET STORY. 

" Long ago, close under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, were two 
•camps hunting buffalo. In one they were all women, and in the other they 
were all men. The women had never seen a man and the men had never 
seen a woma.i. They each had buffalo pounds (a Blackfoot woman was the 
inventor of the buffalo pounds) and they were hunting buffalo. One day the 
head woman — a wondrously beautiful young squaw — said to two girls that 
were going out, that they would see two men that day (not dressed as women 
were), and when they saw them they should bring them back to camp. The 
girls went out, and just as they were about to face a herd of buffalo they saw 
the two men. The men told them to go back, but they would not, and even 
told the men to go back. Then they began talking and laughing, and finally, 
as any other men would have done, these two men followed the two girls t » 
their camp. They came and saw the beautiful young squaw, who was the 
liead woman, and she told them to go back and bring their chief and the rest 
of the band and they would marry and live together. The two men did as thoy 
were told, but when +Iie chief looked for the head woman he found her shab- 
bily attired and without ornaments, and he would not believe that she was 
the head woman and refused her hand. Then the young squaw was very angry, 
and she told her women to stop for a moment, that no one must select a 
husband yet. She then retired, and presently came out splendidly arrayed 
in beautiful robes and wearing costly ornaments. Then the chief wanted 
her, but she swept past him with scorn, and selecting the youngest, bravest, 
and handsomest among the men took him for her husband. The other women 
then took for husbands the rest of the band, except the chief, who was left 
alo.^e as a punishment for rejecting loveliness in mean attire. He left the 
band, and wandering off was not heard of afterwards." 

His Excellency made several attempts to draw Poundmaker out on the 
legends of Cree women, but he was singularly disinclined to as much as 
allude to the women of his own race. Poundmaker's experiences among the 
Blackfeet would, if carefully drawn out of him, make an interesting book, 
but his allusions to them to-night were very brief, as though he was a\ erse to 
telling of what he had done. In his boyish days he often went among the 
blackfeet, but it was always to murder their people and steal their ponies. 
When he grew to be a man he conceived the idea of making peace between 
the two nations, and then it was that he carried his life in his hand so ofcun 
that " it made his body shrink" when ho thought of it afterward. When the 



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Crees were about accepting the treaty with Canada he thought it would be' 
better for both the Crees and the Blackfeet, if the latter would make peace 
with the former and come into the treaty at the same time. The great chief 
Crowfoot (who I believe had watched over a portion of Poundmaker's boy- 
hood) was very friendly, but even with the protection of that great and pow- 
erful chief, a great chief of the Crees was far from being safe among the Black- 
feet. He spent one whole winter among the Blackfeet, and though he had 
but little dread of them when they were sober, he had everything to fear from 
them when they were drunk, and they had liquor in their lodges nearly all 
that winter. IVIany and many a night had he slept in their lodges with his 
big Remington revolver at full-cock in his right hand, and many a time when 
he was thus alone, far away oven from his friend Crowfoot (Sappomexico), and 
when the Blackfeet supposed him to be sleeping soundly, had he heard them 
carrying on a whispered debate as to whether they should kill him ot not. 
And yet during the summer following this winter of terror and suffering, he 
made trips from the Eagle Hills down into the country of the Blackfeet, 
till at last his efforts were successful and peace was established between the 
two great nations. ;:. t; v . 

TOBACCO IN INDIAN COrNCIlS. ''' 

When Pound maker had finished his narrations His Excellency said to him 
that he hoped that^in^future, as in the past, his influence would be exerted 
for the good of his'people, that he would continue to be a peacemaker among 
them, and that the wish of the Great Mother and her Government was that 
the Indians should be peaceful and prosperous. After this Poundmaker 
was questioned about the Indian custom of sending tobacco about to call a 
council. He said that the tobacco was sent around to the chiefs with the 
message commencing, " Tobacco says this," or " Tobacco says that," and then 
would follow the calling of the council and the reason therefore. Tobacco 
meant " bad," that is trouble or mischief. If the Great Chief contemplated 
an act of violence he sent tobacco to the minor chiefs. 

It also leaked out that tobacco was sent out when the Indians were called 
to meet His Excellency, or " Our Brother-in-law," as the Indians who call 
themselves the children of the " Great Mother " familiarly style him, and 
although they have made their complaints about their short rations and lack 
of farming implements meekly enough under the circumstances, it is by no 
means certain that all their councils would have passed off pleasantly and 
peacefully had not His Excellency been provided with a strong escort of 
Mounted Police. 

THE COMING INDIAN QUESTION. 

Indeed, I do not thinkjthe people of Canada come near understanding the 
importance which i^his Indian question is assuming. There is in the North- 
West a large and well-armed Indian population thbt is nearly, or quite, with- 
out the means of gaining a livelihood. Unless the buffalo should cross the 
lines in large numbers it is hard to say how many of these people will escape 
starvation. So far the Mounted Police have succeeded in gaining their con- 



■«'i I 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



109 



would be- 
lake peace 
;reat chief 
ker's boy- 
i and pow- 
the Black- 
;h he had 
) fear from 
, nearly all 
es with hi» 
time when 
exico), and 
leard them 
im of not> 
iffering, he 

Blackfeet, 
etweeii the 



said to him 
be exerted 
iker among 
nt was that 
oundmaker 
mt to call a 
sfs with the 
," and then 
Tobacco 
ntemplated 

were called 
ns who call 
le him, and 
ins and lack 
, it is by no 
asantly and 
ig escort of 



itanding the 
the North - 
quite, with- 
ild cross the 
B will escape 
ig their con- 



fidence and good will, and so far the best feeling has existed between them 
and all the Indians. The red men admit that the policemen have done a 
great deal for them in driving out the whiskey traders who were ruining them, 
but this state of affairs cannot always exist. White men are coming in both 

'. settlers and cattle ranchers, and starving Indians will be very likely to 
nelp themselves to cattle occasionally, if they cannot get other food. This 
may lead to acts of violence on the part of settlers and "cowboys," and as 

ure as it does there will be a general uprising among the Indians. I know 
tiiat such forebodings as these may be laughed at by many who have only 
seen the poor wretches of Indians who are starving on the borders of civiliza- 
tion ; but they must remember that the case is very different hero. True, 
the red men have seldom become very restive under British rule, which they 
have always been taught to respect ; but, as a rule, British colonization has 
advanced rather slowly into the wilds, and the Indians have had plenty of 
loom to "go west," but now that the more untameable of the tribes have 
been driven westward year by year till they are , as it were, crowded against 
the base of the Rocky Mountains, let those who have hitherto placed such 
overweening confidence in the loyalty of the red men to the British flaj/ 
beware. From Battleford to the Rocky Mountains and from far below the 
49th parallel to the northward is still the Indian's country, so far as power 
and population are concerned, let the treaties say what they may, and how 
the mounted police have succeeded in maintaining law and good order here 
is truly a marvel, which reflects the highest credit on the officers and men, 
as well as upon the really amiable disposition of the more influential of the 
Indian chiefs. But it must be remembered that on the other side of the 
border there was no very serious trouble with the Indians so long as it 
was merely a matter of intercourse between them and the military, but 
with the rapid advent of settlers came the difficulties with the red men. 
Here is one of the widest and richest fields for immigration and prosperous 
agriculture and stock-raising under the sun, and very soon pioneers will be 
flocking hither in thousands. To suppose that disputes will not arise between 
the thrifty settlers and thousands of wild starving Indians is, to any one who 
has been through this country, too absurd a supposition to be for one moment 
entert:' iued, and if once tho Indians became soured and rebellious it is simply 
ridiculous to suppose that the mere handful of Mounte<l Policemen now hero 
,(first-clas3 soldiers though they unquestionably are) could do anything to 
check a general uprising. 

I am no alarmist, nor sensationalist and I should be very sorry to write one 
word that would influence any against settling in the North-West. My ob- 
ject is to avert impending trouble, trouble which I feel confident can be 
averted by a judicious policy. 

WHAT IS NEEDED. 

The first thing to do is to provide for the Indians as speedily|as possible. 
In many places they are now working on their reserves with a will, and in 
some of these places they are nearly or quite self-supporting They them* 



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110 



MANITOBA AND 



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\ ♦'l* !•'' 



selves know well what they need, and any one who has seen their reserves' 
must see it at a glance. They need more oxen on each reserve to break up> 
the land, and they need more implements to work the land after it has been 
broken up. Their ponies are, as a rule, too light for ploughing, but they can 
be made useful in cultivating the land previously ploughed by oxen. Some- 
thing should be done, too, in the direction of improving the ponies they now- 
have. These little animals are, as a rule, nimble, wiry, and extremely 
tough, and if a moderate-sized thoroughbred horse (race hurse, I mean,) that 
could be bought at from $200 to ^00, were placed on each reserve, to be 
used by t^e Indians free of charge, the result would be the production, in a 
very few years, of a race of admirable horses that would be vastly more useful 
in this country than the very best Canadian or American animals that could 
be imported. These native ponies are usually compactly built, well- formed,.. 
wonderfully strong for{their inches, and they will run out winter and sum- 
mer, and do a very fair share of work without eating anything beyond what 
they can pick on^the prairie. It is very seldom one can discover any un- 
soundness about one of these North-Westem ponies, and I am fully con- 
vinced that the cross of a thoroughbred horse upon the mares of this breed, 
would give rise to a race of horses that would make the very best general 
purpose horse for prairie work that has yet been seen. He would be more 
useful to the Mounted Police than the most expensive horse that could be 
brought in, he would make a first-class buflFalo runner or general saddle horse 
and he would make quite as heavy a draught or farm horse as the Indians 
and settlers require for many years to come. Thus it will be seen that the 
expenditure of a few thousands of dollars in oxen, farming implements, and 
thorough bred stallions would in a very few years make many of these poor 
Indians — who are now only kept alive by the Goverment rations — comfort- 
able, self-supporting farmers and stock-raisers, and every Indian raised to 
such a condition would exert a very powerful influence for good upon his less 
fortunate brethren. The great difficulty to be overcome with the average 
Indian in these days in his despondency. While it is very hard for the farm, 
instructors to induce the Indians to take any interest in seeding, they are 
nearly always ready to work in harvesting with interest and alacrity. I 
know it will be urged that what I propose would involve spending too much 
upon the Indians, but then, I think it will be much cheaper than fighting or 
feeding thousands of starving and desperate men a few years hence. And. 
after all, when one looks at the magnificent country we. are receiving from, 
them, when one will see a few years hence countless herds of cattle and horses, 
feeding and fattening upon the boundless pampas which before fed 
their only support, the buffalo, I think he will be a churl indeed who will say 
that we have paid the Indians too much for this great and glorious North- 
West. 

I do not mean to say that what I have suggested is by any means the only 
thing needful to be done to preserve peace and good order in the North-West.. 
The Mounted Police force ought to be greatly strengthened numerically, and 
there are many other measures necessary to be carried out to insure the con- 



J 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



in 



tinuance of peace and good order here, but at the same tims I have suggested 
measures, the carrying out' of which I consider an immediate and pressing 
necessity. 






i 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

A BUFFALO HUNT VIEWED BY HIS EXCELLENCY'S PARTY— FIRST VIEW OF THE 
ROCKY MOUNTAINS — COUNCIL WITH THE BLACKFOOT CHIEF CROWFOOT AND 
HIS BAND— ARRIVAL OF FRESH HORSES AND SUPPLIES— A BLACKFOOT SQUAW 
WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH — COSTUME OF A BLACKFOOT BELLE — BEAUTIFUL SCENES 
— DIVINE SERVICE IN CAMP. 

Governor-General's Camp, en route Battleford to Fort Calgary, Sept. 6. 
— We were off at 0.40 this morning, driving through a fifteen-mile stretch of 
rolling prairie. The soil appeared to be a trifle lighter than usual, but it was 
very far from being poor or unproductive. At noon we camped in the valley 
of a rather dirty-looking half-dried stream, where Captain Percival dis- 
covered a bit of ore that in weight and general appearance closely resembled 
open-grained magnetic iron ore. It was not at all magnetic, however, and 
as the piece from which it was broken was evidently not in place, very little 
importance was attached to the discovery. Another of the party found an 
interesting fossil, however, which will be presented by His Excellency to 
the Geological Museum at Ottawa. In the afternoon the country traversed 
was made up of a better grade of soil, and the gigantic stretches of prairie 
revealed from the summit of one or two great ridges presented a picture of 
incomprehensible grandeur. Indeed it is impossible to convey either in 
words or figures an appreciable idea of the vast stretches of fertile land that 
are lying idle, ready for the plough, in this great treeless wilderness. 

To-night we are camped in the valley of a little creek, the water of 
which appears to possess a peculiar slimy quality. It looks clear enough, 
and the horses drink it freely, but it feels in the hands like mucilage, or the 
white of an egg. When the water is boiled the slime rises to the top in the 
form of a scum, and the residue when cooled is quite drinkable. Here, and 
in fact many miles of the country through which we have passed to-day, the 
prairie is covered with buffalo grass. One unacquainted with the peculiar 
properties of this grass would be very apt to condemn it as absolutely worth- 
less, as in its general appearance it very closely resembles what is commonly 
known as '* wire " grans in Ontario. It has a dried-up yellow look, but it is 
really full of nutriment. The blade or leaf is cylindrical, and though ap- 
parently dry always proves juicy and nutritious when freshly cut or broken. 
Those who know this grass say that it is just as good in winter as in summer. 



• ( 
:• ( 

I 

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t 
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MANITOBA AND 



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and that at any time it is quite as good for liorsos aud cattle as tho best 
cured liay. So far as my observation extends I must admit that though I was 
strongly prejudiced against it when I first saw it, but I find that my 
ponies feeding upon the dry benches, where it appears to flourish best, fill 
themselves just as rapidly as they do in the sloughs, where they have the 
greenest and freshest of young grasses. To-night is one of the loveliest wo 
have enjoyed in the whole journey. There are no flies, and little or no frost, 
while the snowy tents and the yellowish dun slopes on either side of the little 
valley in which we are encamped are bathed in a silvery flood of the brightest 
moonlight. 

Govkrnok-Gknkkal's Cami', Rkd Deer River, en route 13attleford to 
Fort Calgary, Sept. 7. — After driving through a splendid prairie country 
from about seven o'clock till about half-past ten, the loading portion of the 
escort and the ambulance halted very suddenly on the verge of a deep ravine, 
and as the waggons following arrived one by one it was evident that some- 
thing very exciting was going on. On reaching the brow of the ravine I soon 
found that a bufTalo hunt was in jjrogress on the opposite side of the ravine. 
If the whole affair had been especially arranged for the occasion the distin- 
guished travellers could not have had a more perfect view of a buffalo hunt. 
The herd of thirteen buflalo bulls were on the farther side of the ravine, 
where the plateau sloped gently toward us, so that every move could be dis- 
tinctly seen from the carriages. Johnny Saskatchewan, who was mounted 
on a speedy brown Kyuse, well trained for buffalo running, was first to dash 
into the herd, while Poundmaker, on a three-year- old roan pony, and Col. 
Herchmer on a roan " broncho " cantered along the opposite face of the 
ravine, but low enough down to be out of sight. Johnny was not more than 
thirty yards from the herd when he first galloped up over the brow of the 
bluff and burst upon their view. This enabled him to get around upon the 
flank of the herd and turn them along the plateau toward the waggons. Soon 
there was a bright Hash right beside his pony's shoulder, and a little puff of 
smoke curled upward, and a few seconds later came a faint report. Now he 
is among the buftaloes, and the flashes and puffs of smoke come thick and 
fast. The dust rises in a great dense cloud, mingling with the curling smoke, 
and this with the far-ofi" rumble of the trampling herd made up a tout ensemble 
not unlike that of a miniature thunder-stt ria sweeping across the distant 
plateau. Already a dark mass lies upon the plain like a great black mound 
behind the herd. Poundmaker darts up out of the ravine and fires into the 
herd, and almost at the same instant Col. Herchmer dashes in with his roan 
broncho. He has no rifle, however, and he falls back, while Saskatchewan 
pulls up, having killed one bull and mortally wounded two. The second 
buflalo halts close to his dead companion, and paws up the ground in his 
fury, while the third still gallops along behind the herd for nearly half a mile 
farther. Colonel Herchmer dismounts, and taking Saskatchewan's rifle gives 
the halted bull two well-directed shots behind the fore-leg, the second of 
which brings him down. Louis La Ronde (one of the half-breed guides) hav- 
ingjnow arrived upon the scene, gives the third bull a shot in the neck, whidi 



'I'll 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



118 



brings him to a stand-still, but still he bellows and paws with such fury that 
tufts of turf and clouds of dust aro tossed high above his towering black 
shoulders. Just at this moment Captain Percival and Mr. Sidney Hall, who 
have crossed the ravine on f<jot, reach the spot and the artist finds material 
for a marvellously spirited sketch while the captain rolls the monster bleed- 
ing upon the sod with two shots from his "Winchester." Moant-me the 
herd passes along out of view and the buttalo hunt is over. I was particularly 
struck by the peculiarities of the different horses that crossed the ravine. 
Col. Herchnier's broncho, though willing and anxious to run into the herd, 
would not go near a dead or wounded buffalo, while one or two Canadian 
horses would stop and snort and tremble all over at the sight of the terrific 
looking monsters. On the other hand I found little Blanche eager to be among 
them alive or dead. Indeed, when the last bull was threatening to charge, 
it was with difficulty she could be restrained from galloping right up to him. 
I also noticed that Saskatchewan's and Poundmaker's " Kyuses " wore 
equally anxious to be among them. And even after the buffalo were lying 
on the blood-drenched sod these ponies would go up and snuff about them 
without the slightest symptom of terror. 

RKD DEER RIVER. 

As soon as the buffalo were killed His Excellency and others who had cross- 
ed the ravine rode or walked back to the train, while some of the Indians 
and half- breeds were left to cut up the animals and bring a portion of the 
meat and the skin of Col. Herchmer's buffalo, which had been presented to 
Lord Lome, to the Red Deer Valley, where we were to camp. Tiie remain- 
der of the drive was across a belt of fine open prairie, and then down a very 
precipitous hill into the deep and very picturesque valley through which the 
river flows. The view from the verge of the prairie bluffs on tho east side of 
the valley, is one of rare beauty. Just as the eye has become weary of the ' 'long 
dun wolds" of yellow prairie grass, it was like a glimpse of fairyland to look 
down into that lovely valley with the limpid river river rolling swiftly along 
over its winding gravelly bed, its margins deeply fringed with grey poplar and 
choke-cherry trees clad in the brightest and freshest of spring-time verdure 
and the yellow bottom land, cut into curious shapes with the stream's fan- 
tastic curves, were studded over with little trees of richest foliage, so that 
one might imagine he was entering some lovely park rather than a lonesome 
dell in an almost untrodden wilderness. This river, which unites with the 
Bow River lower down on the latter's course toward the South Saskatchewan , 
is the most limpid stream I have yet seen in the North-West. At this point 
it is broad, swift, and only about three and a half feet deep at the worst 
place in the ford. Nearly the whole bottom is gravel, but close to the west 
bank there is a bit of quicksand that renders the ford somewhat dangerous. 
After luncheon we crossed the ford and encamped for the day on the west bank 
of the stream. To cross a very swift-flowing and comparatively deep stream like 
this one, the driver needs to keep his wits well in hand. Let him once begin 
to watch the roaring torrent dashing against his horses and pouring through 



•v 



4 



114 



MANITOBA AND 



, V/' r'K 



•r 






i*,* ,,.i|| 



his wheels, he would soon imagine that his whole outfit was going to pieces 
and ploughing rapidly up stream, but if he once heads his horses down 
stream, he soon finds that he has made a very serious mistake, and if after 
that his outfit holds together he may consider himself in excellent luck. 
The best plan is to abstain from looking at the water altogether, but if one 
should by chance fix his eyes upon it he should lose no time in turning them 
at once to the shore he is approaching. Our camp to-night is one of the most 
picturesque we have yet had. The valley of the Red Deer is rather narrow 
and has very abrupt walls rising nearly 300 feet high, which are deeply fur- 
rowed with ravines and dried-up water courses. These walls are also bor- 
dered by irregular rows of curiously shaped clay mounds bearing to them 
the relation of f jot hills to a range of mountains. At one place in the ravine 
near our camp there is a curious congregation of these mounds bearing a 
striking resemblance to the ruins of some ancient city. These mounds were 
almost entirely made up of blue clay utterly destitute of grass or vegetable 
matter of any kind . Most of them were dome-shaped,varying from five to thirty 
feet in diameter. Others were pyramidal in form, and others had the appear- 
ance of ruined towers with broken ramparts, while there were bits of clay 
ridges here and there bearing a singular resemblance to broken walls. A rain 
storm has just broken over the vallev from the west as I close my journal, 

Goveunor-Geneuai/s Camp, 12 Miles South of Red Deer River c/t 
r*o?*^e from Batttleford to Fort Calgary, Sept. 8. — This morning the camp 
was astir, but before a stark was made Poundmaker spent some time in ex- 
ploring the ravines leading up into the western wall of the valley for the pur- 
pose of discovering the most favourable outlet. Finally he signalled the party 
and a start was made. The path up the ravine was a winding and precipi- 
tous one, and the rain of last night and the showers which kopt falling at 
intervals this morning had rendered the blue clay so slippery that the ascent 
was attended with a great deal of dilHculty not (juite unmixed with an ele- 
ment of danger. In places the patli led across the face of stoop inclines, 
where both the footing for the horses and the hold for the waggon wheels in 
the wet blue clay were extremely uncertain. One of the horses in a baggage 
waggon became rusty in passing one of these troublesome places, and a second 
later the waggon, with its load, was lying'jn the bottom ot the ravine beside 
the trail with its wheels in the air. Fortunately both horses and driver es- 
caped without injury, while the damage to the waggon was net nearly 8>> 
serious as might have been expected. 

Fearing that Ulanclio and Touchwood might not bo able to haul my loaded 
waggon up this long and precipitous path, Peter desired me to let him UBt» 
Punch to assist them. Now, I am sorry to say that Punch cannot bo ruliud 
on to draw well in harness, but like many another Kyuso, he will draw ad- 
mirably by the tail. One of Mr. Dowdney's buckboards v.as also rather 
overloaded for the horse- power beforo it, and accordingly Peter and Antoine 
united forces. In the first trip up the hill Peter drove my ponies, while 
Antoine rode Puncli, whoso tail was fastened to a rope attached to the for- 
ward axle of my waggon. On the next trip Antoine drove and Peter enacted 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



irs 



to pieces 
■ses down 
d if after 
;ent luck, 
lut if one 
ning them 
f the most 
Br narrow 
jeply fur- 
also bor- 
: to them 
the ravine 
bearing a 
inds were 
vegetable 
'e to thirty 
he appear- 
s of clay 
1b. a rain 
Y journal. 
River eii 
the camp 
imo in ex- 
»r the pur- 
l the party 
d precipi- 
falling at 
the ascent 
th an ele- 
inclines^ 
wheels in 
a baggage 
[1 a second 
ine beside 
driver es- 
nearly s.v 

my loaded 
t him use 
1)0 roliiul 
1 draw ad- 
Iho rather 
d Antoine 
ies, while 
,(> tlie for- 
mer enacted 



the role of postilion. I have no doubt that many good horsemen will say 
that this was a piece of cruelty, and I can readily understand that to hitch 
an excitable or spirited horse by the tail might result in his serious injury,, 
but I believe that any easy tempered pony accustomed to draw in this way 
may be made to do so without the risk of inflicting on him either suffering 
or injury. Hitched to a load in this manner Punch will walk off with it as 
coolly and quietly as the best trained draught horse, while if asked to make 
anything like a stiff pull in harness he will invariably look around at the- 
driver as though he did not know what was meant. A stranger to the busi- 
ness need not fear to occasionally help himself out of a serious difficulty in 
this manner. 

Six-horse teams were made up to take the heaviest waggons up the worst 
portion of the -incline, and as one of these heavy trains was ascending, the 
travellers who had waiked up and were standing upon the verge of the 
prairie bluff, were startled with a strange chorus of shouts that floated up the 
ravine, the burden of which was " pound the doctor, pound the doctor ! " 
Nobody supposed that the extremely well-behaved and good-natured red- 
coated constables had suddenly been seized with the desire to make a mur- 
derous assault upon the cultivated and genial Edinburgh divine, and the dis- 
tinguished M.D. from Quebec would be the last man to incur their displeasure, 
but still there was a general forward movement upon the bluff to ascertain 
the real state of affairs. It turned out that the " doctor " was a yellow bay 
Broncho in one of the six-horse teams, and as the " doctor " was often dis- 
posed to stop just at the moment when it was most desirable that he should 
move on, it was deemed advisable to give him the benefit of vigorous appli- 
cations of three long four-in-hand whips all the way up the ravine. 

It took about four hours to haul all the waggons up to the level prairio 
above the valley of the ravine, and during this time the rain was falling at 
intervals, though a broad belt of sky along the eastern horizim was clear. 
Indeed, the scene to the eastward was a charming one. In the foreground 
lay the deep, narrow valley of the Red Deer, with the crystal river winding 
along like a great, glittering serpent between shadowed margins fringed with 
the brightest and freshest of foliage. Above this, in the middle distance, 
rose the broad, gentle slope of yellow i)rairie grass, over which little curling 
puffs of silver mist drifted here and there before the fitful breeze. In the 
background to the south and oast, as if the misty curtains of silver and dove 
colour had been drawn aside, there was revealed a bright opening of clear sky 
of delicate translucent malachite green, with cloud festoAns of drab and 
French grey overhanging it. l)y the time the train was ready to move on 
again the morning sliowers ha.l changed to a steady pelting rain storm, and 
I hastened to put on my waterproofs, which in the excitement attendant upon 
getting my outfit up out of the valley I had wholly neglected. The result of 
this carelessness was tliat before I donned my waterproofs my heavy clothing 
was completely drenched with rain, and as the cold di „ary storm swept down 
upon us I was thoroughly wet and chilled. It took us some three hours to^ 
drive to our present camp, the trail passing through a rich, productive, but 



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MANITOBA AND 



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ii 





1 k*!* I'lll 



treeless prairie country. Our camp to-night is in a very dreary-looking 
alkali valley, through which runs a sluggish marshy stream that may be set 
down as half slough and half creek. Everything in my tent is drenched with 
rain, and this, with my wet clothes, renders my own part of the camp 
as cheerless as could well be imagined. The condition of the men of the 
force is even more unenviable. Very few of them have waterproofs of 
any kind, while the overcoats last furnished them are utterly worthless. 
They will become wet through with even a slight shower, while they are of 
such poor material that they are of little use either to resist wear and tear or 
to keep out the cold. The men are also suffering the inconvenience of being 
out of everything but tea and butialo beef, and their blankets and bedding 
must be in anything but a satisfactory condition. Notwithstanding all this 
they are as cheery and uncomplaining as ever, singing merrily in thtir tents, 
and appearing to enjoy themselves generally, just as though the camp was 
<me of the best on the whole line of march. To-night His Excellency had a 
lire in his mess tent, and we spent a very pleasant two hours at dinner, but 
1 tind it anything but pleasant turning into my cold wet blankets at the close 
of this dreary day. 

Governor-Genekal's Camp, Blackfoot Crossino, Bow River, en route 
Battleford to Fort Calgary, Sept. !). — This morning the weather was clear 
and cold, but the horses belcjnging to the mounted police, used both for His 
Excellency's transport and by the mounted escort, looked very much tlie 
worse of yesterday's cold rain storm. Mr. Dewdney's Canadian and Bront .o 
horses were also badly drawn up and shivering as they were put in harness, 
but his Kyuses, as well as my own, looked as well as though they ha<l just 
walked out of a coi/.i'ortablo stable. Throughout to-day wo were driving 
through a tine country, especially adapted to stock-raising, if one could judge 
from the strong growth of butfalo grass everywhere to be seen, while the 
numerous long, wide, well-detinoJ coulees or deep valleys which we have 
passed could not fail to make admirable winter ranges for either cattle or 
liorses. There are jilunty of rich bijttonis where extensive farming operations 
could bo carried on, while tlie dry uplands (jr benches would afford excellent 
summer pasture for the couutloss muititudes of cattle and horses that could 
lind a capital living in the valliys and ravines during the winter. Here, too, 
the butialo grass grows thick ; nd strong, and in short every tling points to the 
conclusion that the co\mtry is particularly well adapted to cattle and horse 
ranching. 

Owing probably to the storm of yesterday tlie horses harnessed to the 
loaded waggons were to-day dropping out one after another with exhaustion. 
As fast as one horse gave out anotlior was taken out of the herd of loose 
horses and put in his place, till tinally not a fresh horse was t j bo iiad. Four- 
liorso teiMiis were tliou reduci'd to thruu, and even two-liorse teams, and 
linally tlie force of t'llectivj animals became so reduced that some of the 
scarlet-coated drivers were obliged to stop on the urairie with their loads, 
some to rest their jaded horses, and others to await the return of stronger 
Jiurses from among those that had taken their loads into camp. Notwith- 



•■'H' 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



117 



standing the fact that ray ponies were fresh and strong all day, I was pretty 
well back in the train when the ambulances and other conveyances carrying 
His Excellency and his party reached the verge of the high b. ^ft' overlooking 
Bow River at the Blackfoot Crossing. 

It was just 5:45 when I reached the verge of the bluff at the point where the 
trail leads down into the valley of the river. One of the ambulances had 
stopped, and Lord Lome, Col . de Winton, Capt. Bagot, Dr. MacGregor, and 
Mr. Austin, of the Times, had alighted to enjoy for a few moments the love- 
ly prospect. Sending Peter on to camp with the ponies, I joined them. 
The scene was one of incomparable loveliness and such as defies all descrip- 
tion. In the foreground lay the charming valley, its beautiful slopes full of 
pretty curves and bays and fantastically cut mounds and promontories, show- 
ing the brilliant contrast of green and gold in growing and ripening grasses. 
Along its tortuous channel through the valley, and resplendent in the last glor- 
ious beams of the declining sun. Bow River wound like a path of golden light be- 
tween deep, half over-shadowing borders of loveliest green. On the yellow flat 
beyond its fartlier shore was an encampment of 2,000 Blackfeet, the smoke- 
browned cones of their teepees and the thin, dark blue smoke curling up from 
their scanty camp-tires, making of themselves a charming picture, while the 
smaller encampment of Sarcees farther up the valley looked as if the nearer 
picture had been reproduced in deep shadow. In the middle distance be- 
yond the valley, rose the great, broad plain sloping upward to the horizon,, 
and shading frain pale dun and yellow into gold and orange, and copper colour. 
In the back ground agaiustthe horizon lay a belt of dark blue that at first sight 
looked like a low cloud bank. As I was watching the sunset hues tinging its 
upper edges. Lord Lome directed my attention to a particular portion of it, 
where I could see jagged peaks of deep steely blue sharply outlined against 
the softer but dark-hued cloud banks. It was my first view of the Rocky 
Mountains. 

We were at last in sight of that wondrous barrier, tJie western limit of 
the great pampas through which we have boon travelling since the 8th of 
August. As the sun sank lower we could discern the sharp-edged, jagged line 
rising out of the prairie all along the horizon, and here and there a faint rosy 
gleam told where the sunlight was resting upon some far-ofi* snow-capped peak 
towering above its giant companions. The narrow, blue cloud zone was 
bordered along its upper edge with a low-lying belt of billowy clouds edged 
with glittering copper bronze. Above this was a space of soft roseate sky half- 
curtained with thin, golden-edged clouds of softest blue, and over these agnin 
were long feathery streaks of vapour, white and gleaming like frosted silver. 
Blackfoot medicine was to be seen on a lonely-looking, bold rounded point, 
standing out from the eastern borders of the valley close beside ui. It consist- 
ed of an old buffalo skull, into which had been stuck a dry withered branch, 
partially wrapped in dark cloth, and two or three branches of dried sage at- 
tached to it in different places. It was a strange weird looking-objoct, and 
furnished the ever industrious Mr. Sidney Hall with a subject for one of his 
many sketches. As daylight was fading into grey twilight we made our way 



'<<> 

t 



118 



MANITOBA AND 



f\ 



^/ :% 



I' 



K|* .11, 



<lown into the valley where the tents were already pitched and t e prepar- 
tions for the night nearly completed. The tents were close to the river's brink, 
and over a hundred horses and ponies were enjoying a meal of buffalo grass on 
the yellow flat eastward of the camp and lying between it and the east wall of 
the valley. While yet the grey twilight from the west rested upon the herd 
of horses that thickly dotted the pale dusky lowland, the yellow grass of the 
bluff was suddenly lit up with a snowy white light, and slowly the full moon 
reared her broad bright silver disc from out the gleaming whispering grass on 
the upland to the eastward. The roaring camp flres shed a ruddy light on 
the scarlet-coated prairie troopers about them and the triple effect of twi- 
light, moonlight, and tire-light was weird and startlingly beautiful. While 
we were at dinner to-night, Lord Lome received a message from the great 
Blackf oot Chief, ' 'Crowfoot," that he and his chiefs would like very much to 
htjld a council with him to-morrow, and as the jaded horses of the outfit are 
greatly in need of a rest, and as assistance from Calgary is absolutely neces- 
sary to anything but very slow progress a messenger was sent on to-night, 
and the greater part of io-morrow will be spent in a pow-wow with such of 
the Indians as can mau^ge to cross the deep, swift ford here. 

Governor-General's Camp, Bow River, twelve miles west of Blackfoot 
Crossing, en route Btkitlaiord to Fort Calgary, Sep. 10. — There was great 
activity in the Blackfoot Camp early this morning, and by nine o'clock large 
numbers of them were mounted on their ponies and making their way down 
to the ford, which was nearly, or quite, two miles below the point at which 
we were encamj)ed. Saddling little Blanche, I rode down alone to witness 
th'j crossing of the ford. 

Bow River at this point is both deep and swift, and the banks, though not 
high, are very precipitate. As I reached the ford the Indian had already col- 
lected in large numbers in a little clearing on the opposite bank, and, lit up 
by the morning sunlight, the picture presented was a strange and picturesipie 
one. Almost every conceivable bright colour was represented in that gaud- 
ily-attired group, the copper skins of the Indians themselves, the scarlet, 
blue, purple, green, orange, criuitjon, white, and brilliantly striped blankets, 
the glistening brass ornaments, the buff, brown, and white moose, buffalo, 
and cariboo skins tanned and worked into tunics, the brightly-dyed feathers 
and rich furs, all blended with a strange and luxuriant mingling of colours 
more suggestive of real barbaric splendor than anything I have yet seen. 
The ponies, too, represented every conceivable colour, and nearly all had 
enough of the pinto in their composition to insure the most startling effects 
in the way of white markings. They were black, brown, chestnut, bay, buck- 
skin, cieani, roan, grey, white, and piebald, and nearly every one was 
strongl" marked with a blazed face and wliite stockings, or irregular spots 
of white or black, indicativ«i yf a piebald ancestry. The sunlight breaking 
thi'.';v.gh a rift in the foliage on the east bank threw across the swift limpid 
river a glittering band of golden light, and into this brilliant zone the long- 
tailed, shaggy-maned ponies, each carrying one, two, or three gaudily-dressed 
riders, walked in single file. The ford was ao deep that often only the ponies' 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



119 



prepar- 
I brink, 
rras3 on 
jwall of 
lie herd 
I of the 
il moon 
grass on 
ight on 

of twi- 
While 
he great 
much to 
iitfit are 
y necea- 
;o-mght, 

such of 

ilackfoot 
as great 
)ck large 
ay down 
at which 
o witness 

ough not 
■eady col- 
i, lit up 
3tures(iuo 
lat gaud- 
ocarlet, 
blankets, 
buffalo, 
feathers 
colours 
ret seen, 
all had 
ng effects 
)fty, buck- 
one was 
liar spots 
breaking 
ft limpid 
the long- 
y-dressed 
he ponies' 



heads and the bodies of their riders were visible, but still the gallant little 
fellows setting their unshod feet firmly upon the gravelly bottom stoutly 
stemmed the current and soon the vanguard had reached the eastern shore. 
For three quarters of an hour this strange wild-looking procession was cross- 
ing the ford looking in that gleaming watery path like a narrow strip of fan- 
tastic emb-oidery worked into a broad belt of burnished gold. 

Almost e/ery Blackfoot as he landed greeted me with a grunt of welcome, 
and shook hands with extraordinary cordiality, and I soon found myself sur- 
rounded by fifty or sixty of these dark-skinned savages. I was singularly im- 
pressed with the conduct of little Blanche on this occasion. Turn her loose 
amongst a herd of police horses and he will lay back her ears and scowl or 
snap at every one of them that d near her, but among these ponies of 

her own race her conduct was moat amiable. She anutfad about thi liead of 
every pony that came near her, and seemed to enjoy their -so "ety even more 
than I did that of their good-natured masters. When the -saing of the ford 
had been completed the whole party rode uptowardscamp, Blanche cantering 
in and out among them as though she and I had been members of the frater- 
nity. Not knowing a word of Blackfoot, I talked English to my dusky comp- 
anions as volubly as though they understood every word I said. Presently 
I found myself between two very gorgeously dressed young sijiiaws, each 
had a pony of her own and I thought this a remarkably wise provision, as 
otherwise the aggregation of brass ornaments they wore would have been too 
heavy a load for any ordinary Kyuse to have brought safely across tho ford. 
Here 1 began to talk English as usual, and the reader can imagine my surprise 
at finding myself answered in perfectly good English spoken in a soft lady- 
like tone by the squaw on my right. Her face was painted in bright lemon 
chrome with fine scarlet lines along the eyelashes. She had good features 
and exceptionally good teeth, and she showed tho latter very frequently as 
she was evidently greatly amuaed at the aurpriae I exhibited at her know- 
ledge of Engiiah. Had it not been that ahe was ao hideously painted, I have 
uo doubt she would have been decidedly good-looking. My tctc-d-tcte was of 
very short duration, as a strapping fellow,one of tho minor chiefs (her luisband) 
rode up between ua, and with a hearty grunt of welcome and a moat amiable 
^mile shook hands with me with such extreme cordiality that he almost forced 
the blood from under my finger nails. He was evidently extremely proud 
of his favourite wife's accompliahmtnta, and appeared more than pleaaed x 
her having thua attracted my attention. I af terwarda learned a little of the 
hiatory of this young lady. She was the daughter of a white trapper, with 
whom she had lived till she was seventeen years old. She then marritJl a 
white trader, who grossly ill-used her, and at the expiry of her first year of 
married life she ran away, joined a band oi Blackfeot, and married a young 
chief who had already two wives. Her mother was a Piegan stjuaw. 

TUB DLArKFOOT COUNCIL. 

The spot chosen for the Council was upon a broad fiat, a little to the south 
of our camp. One of the blue and white striped tents in tho Goveinor- 



V.,' 



4 



120 



MANITOBA AND 



•r 



r 



I; 



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K.* ^% 



General's outfit had been converbed into an awning and faced southward for 
the occasion. Beneath the awning ware His Excellency, Colonel De Winton, 
Mr. Dewdney, Dr. McGregor, and Mr. Austin ; Captain Chater and Captain 
Percival occupying positions at either end of the row. The Indians advanced 
in two lines about two hundred feet apart. They were all mounted on their 
ponies and armed with their Winchester rifles. They came on at full gallop,, 
each line charging at and firing over the heads of those ii. the other line with 
wonderful rapidity. This irregular sort of sham battle was the most brilliant 
display to which they have yet treated us, and one which His Excellency ap- 
peared to enjoy very much. When the battle was over the ponies were all 
hobbled or picketed on different parts of the plain, and the Indians seated 
themselves in a large semi-circle south of the awning, in a line three or four 
deep. Three-quarters of the circle were occupied by the Blackfeet, while that 
which was to the westward, and the right of the Governor-General, was taken 
up by the Sarcees. From either end of the awning to the ends of the semi- 
circle or horseshoe extended a line of dismounted constables, under command 
of Colonel Herchm3r, who stood at the head of the eastern file, Sergeant- 
Major Lake occupying a similar position on the west. As has been the case 
on all similar occ isions, the men pre33nted an admirable and soldiery appear- 
ance. The uniforms and accoutrements were spotlessly clean, and every 
buckle, chain and spur glistened in the sun as though oflicers and men liad 
jujt marched out of barracks instead of coming out of camp immediately 
after a long and very arduous march. Directly in front of the Governor- 
General and facing him sat Crowfoot, Old Su.i, and one or two other promi- 
nent chiefs of the Blackfeet. On the east side of the enclosure were a num- 
ber of warriors and headmen, who amused the party prior to the opening of 
the business of the council wi*h a number of fantastic dances. Altogether 
this display far surpassed any that had been seen on the journey. The day 
was particularly favourable, the bright sunshine lighting up the brilliant 
uniforms of the police and the gay-coloured costumes of the savages with par- 
ticularly good eflfect. After the dmcing was over. Crowfoot introduced his 
wife, a rather comely and matronly -looking squaw, who shook hands with His 
Excellency and the rest of the party with gushing cordiality, and capped the 
climax by kissing Mr. Dewdney, an honour which the blushing Indian Com- • 
missioner evidently did not covet. Crowfoot made a rather effective speech^ 
but the gist of it was very much like that of the other Indian Chiefs we have 
heard. He made a telling passage co;icerning the shortness of his rations by 
flourishing a large granite-ware teacup and declaring *hat it could not possibly 
hold one pound, enough flour to support an Indian twenty-four hours. He 
also complained that a pound of meat wlien containing a large piece of bone 
was an insuihciont supply for a like period of time. It is urged on the other 
hand, however, that when an Indian gets a piece of bone in his allowance he 
invariably extracts the marrow to use for hair oil instead of making soup of the 
bone or devoting it to other useful purposes. Crowfoot also exhibited a one 
dollar bill, and remarked that such pieces of paper in former days sometimes 
passed for five dollars, and he did not understand the remarkable deprecia- 






THE NORTH-WEST. 



121 



I ward for 
1 Winton, 
I Captain 
advanced 
L on their 
lU gallop^ 
line with 
b brilliant 
llency ap- 
s were all 
ms seated 
36 or four 
while that 
was taken 
the semi- 
command 
Sergeant- 
in the case 
iry appear- 
and every 
i men had 
imediately 
Governor- 
her promi- 
3re a num- 
opening of 
Altogether 
The day 
le brilliant 
)s with par- 
oduced his 
is with His 
capped the 
idian Com- • 
ivo speech, 
ef 8 we have 
rations by 
ot possibly 
lours. He 
ece of bone 
»n the other 
lowance he 
soup of the 
Lbited a one 
B sometimes 
le deprecia- 



tion in their value. His Excellency explained to him, however, that the 
large issue of one dollar bills had Ljen expressly made to protect the inter- 
eats of the Indians, and that hereafter they could understand that a piece of 
paper of that description represented one dollar and no more. At the close 
of the Council there were several rather grotesque displays illustrative of 
Indian warfare and hunting. The presents were distributed and the Council 
ended. While His Excellency and party were getting ready for the march, 
there were a number of pony races, which excited considerable interest, 
though many of the band, especially the female portion of it, remained at the 
■camp to witness his departui'e. 

Selecting a young squaw, the wife of a chief, as an example, I took careful 
notes of her attire, that lady readeia may be informed as to the costume of a 
Blackfoot belle. The upper portion of hor face, including forehead, eyes, 
and cheeks, was painted in bright chrome* yellow, the lower portion of her 
face was scarlet, she v. ore a sc;irlet blanket thrown loosely over her shoulders, 
and under this was a long loose blouse made out of a dark navy blue blanket, 
and trimmed with pipings of scarlet and white. This blouse was fastened at 
the waist with a leather belt fully eight inches broad, and literally covered 
with large bosses of polished brass. On her neck was a string of brass beads 
as large as cherries. One of her bracelets consisted of a coil of heavy brass 
wire that would weigh not leas than a pound and a half, while the other, 
Avhicli was nearly the same weight, was made of large brass beads ; several of 
her lingers were nearly covered with coils of brass wire and beads. It was 
late in the afternoon when we left Blackfoot Crossin ■• We drove through a 
beautiful coiuitry all made up of rich land with the ception of one narrow 
sand ridge, and reached our present camp after dark, having enjoyed another 
splendid view of the Rocky Mountains at sun-set. 

Goveknor-Genekal'h Camp, twenty miles east of Fort Calgary, en mute 
IJattleforfi '.^ /ort Calgary, Sept. llth. — This has been a most enjoyable day 
so far as I have been concerned, but though the journey has been rathe • 
shorter than usual, it has told terribly against the jaded and worn-out horses 
in the outfit. My Kyuses have, with the aid of a little barley, been putting 
on tlesh ever since they left Battleford, and are in all respects better ponies 
than they were in th earlier stages of the journey. On the other hand, with 
one solitary exception, the other horses look travel-worn, sore, and gaunt. 
The exception I allude to is a large brown gelding of Clear Grit parentage 
belonging to Mr. Dewdney. This remarkable horse has been working against 
two others in a very heavily-laden, hard-running buckboard ; he has not 
missed a single hitch since he joined the party at Shoal Lake, nnd even to- 
day whenever his jaded partner was touched with the whip ho would ilance 
and pull like a well-fed horse fresh from the stable and out for a half hour's 
exercise. The country through which we have travelled to-day has continued 
to improve so far as the character of the soil is concerned, but the trail has 
been an uncommonly heavy one, owing to the unusual number of badger 
holes. We only made one hi ih, but that was an unusually long one and by 
the time we reached the camp (about two p. m.) the train was strung out 
H 



4 



122 



MANITOBA AND 



I' 



1 Kr" ri| 



several miles. We are in full view of the Rocky Mountains, the bright sun- 
light bringing out their snow- capped peaks with wonderful distinctness. To. 
see that mighty range rising like a jagged wall of burnished silver out of the 
dun-coloured prairie is a sight worth years of hardship. To attempt to describe 
it would be like trying to dedne the infinite. About four o'clock this after- 
noon the rattle of a waggon was heard on the trail and a few seconds later 
Col. Irvine, the Commissioner, and Captain Cotton, the adjutant of the 
Mounted Police Force, came galloping over the hill a hundred yards from 
camp. They brought with them over thirty fresh horses, a quantity of oats, 
and all otlier needed supplies. It is needless to say that there was not one- 
in the party who was not well nigh overjoyed to see "such complete relief 
reach us at so opportune a moment. Colonel Herchmer had handled the 
whole force at his disposal with the most marked ability and judgment ever 
since His Excellency's party had placed themselves under his care, at the 
end of the track, on the eighth of last month. He had laboured with untir- 
ing zeal and complete success to make the journey a pleasant one, but owing 
to the miscalculation of the distance and the nature of the route by Saskat- 
chewan, who acted as guide from Battleford to Red Deer River, the journey 
occupied very much more time than was expected. The result was that both- 
supplies jvnd horses were insufficient for the journey, though fortunately no 
serious inconvenience had yet been experienced up to the moment of Col. 
Irvine's arrival. 

This afternoon a short service was held by Dr. MacCrregor in the open air, 
in accordance with the custom that has prevailed in His Excellency's party 
ever since we started. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

ARRIVAL OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL AT FORT CALGARY— SENATOR COCHRANE'S RANCHB 
— HOW A GREAT STOCK FAKM 13 FILLED— COST OF MONTANA CATTLE— CHINOOK WINDS. 
— A REST AT THE FORT— THE JOURNEY ACROSS THE PLAINS RESUMED. 






Governor-General's Camp, Fort Calgary, Sept. 12. — This morning 
we were early on the move, Colonel Irvine having decided that with the aid 
of the fresh horses Calgary could be reached in one hitch. We rattled along 
at a lively pace, the fresh horses hauling the ambulances and some of the 
loaded waggons in grand style. Blanche and Touchwood kept up to them 
without difliculty, and Mr. Dewdney's buckbuards were also well to the fore^ 
but the waggons drawn by horses brought through by Battleford made but 
sorry progress. Five or six miles east of the Fort I overtook Captain Perci- 
val and Mr. Sidney Hall walking beside their backboard and doing their best 



THK NORTFI-WEST. 



123 



/ht 8un- 

583. To 

it of the 
describe 
lis after- 
nds later 
it of the 
trds from 
y of oats, 
3 not one* 
lete relief 
ndled the 
tnent ever 
are, at the 
vith untir- 
but owing 
by Saskat- 
he journey 
13 that both- 
tunately no 
ent of CoK 

16 open air, 
incy's party 



^ne's bancke 

ilNOOK WIND* 



Ihia morning 
1 with the aid 
Vattled along 

I some of the 
up to them 

II to the fore, 
Ird made but 
[aptain Perci- 
Ing their best 



to keep their thoroughly "played out" Broncho on the move. Luckily I 
had Punch tied by the halter to the back of my waj^gon, and having]; liarnesseil 
him to the buckboard in the place of the tired Broncho, they were enabled to 
jog along for the remainder of tht distance in company with the rest of the 
party. Late in the forenoon we reached the verge of the high prairie blutf 
overlooking Fort Calgary and of all the charming pictures we have seen on the 
journey, this was generally admitted to be by far the most beautiful. The val- 
ley of the river at this point is much wider and the stream more tortuous than 
at Blackfoot crossing ; indeed, the valley of Bow River, and that of one of its 
chief tributaries, the Elbow, unite in a broad, low plain, and this great rich val- 
ley, studded with cottonwood, wild cherries, and grey willows, looked like some 
fancifully arranged plantation. A slight frost had nipped the leaves of many 
of the trees, so that the lovely autumnal shades of lemon and gold and orange 
and crimson contrasted richly with the fresh summer verdure of the un- 
touched trees. But, after all, it was not the foreground of the picture that 
constituted its most charming feature, for in the background rose the giant 
peaks of the Rocky Mountains in indescribable splendour. Above .and 
beyond them lay a sky of deep soft blue, overhung with cloud festoons of 
delicate grey and light dove-colour, from which some little feathery frag- 
ments had broken off and drifted down in dainty cloud islets into the blue 
zone below. Against this rich-coloured background, and in sharp relief rose 
the wild and rugged outlines of the mountain range, with its snow-clad peaks 
glittering in dazzling white as the sun lit up their gleaming slopes. Here 
were ruined cowers and battlements and pyramids cut and polished in ala- 
baster, as if some great city, realizing the grand dreams of the Apocalypse, 
had been hurled in ruins upon the plains. Below, as if to veil their glories 
from the vulgar gaze, hung a dark-blue vapour, like a thin curtain of silken 
gauze concealing tlie foot of the hills and the rugged mountain slopes, as yet 
uncovered with the snowy mantle. On the eastern face of one of these great 
white, nameless peaks of pyramidal form hung a gigantic cross of dark steel- 
grey, looking grim and cold in the brightest sunshine. This peak must have 
been full sixty miles away, and still the cross at its summit looked as large, 
regular, and well-defined as would a twelve-feet cross of heavy timbers 
painted in dark steel-grey, and hung against a white back -ground two hundred 
yards away. To tlie north of this rose another and still higher pyramid of 
spotless white, and on learning that it had not yet been named. Dr. MacGre- 
gor, with the consent of His Excellency, named it " Lome Mountain." 

Fort Calgary was once one of the regular posts of the Mounted Police, but 
it has since been reduced to an outpost, and only a non-commissioned officer 
and two constables reside within the stockade. The Hudson Bay Company 
Bow River Post is located here, and the American traders, J. G. Baker it Co. , 
do an extensive trade here with the ranchers and Indians. The ford being both 
deep and swift, it was deemed advisable to ferry the passengers and baggage 
in the boats which had been built for the use of His Excellency when it was 
intended that he and his party should travel by water from here to the elbow 



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4 



124 



MANITOBA AND 






K.» »H 



-I 



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of the South Soikatrhewan, instead of returning by the way of Helena as 
they liave since determined to do. 

The camp here is r sarly or quite a mile and a half from the ford, and in a 
beautiful plateau on the Elbow River. It commands a charming view of the 
Rocky Mountains, and is in all respects the most beautiful that we have had 
on the whole journ^v from Winnipeg. The rows of tents and waggons are 
laid out so as to enclose a parallelogrr-m with mathematical precision, and the 
little raised plateau, the whole of which is thus enclosed, is almost as smooth 
and level as a billiard table. In this whole region, so far as I have been able 
to observe, the soil consists of a very friable black loam, extremely productive, 
and deep enough to be practically inexhaustible. We are now about 1,000 
miles west of Winnipeg, and after having carefully noted the character of every 
mile of country through which we have travelled, I can only say that I have 
not seen an acre of land anywhere along the route that is not likely sooner 
or later, to be of value either for agricultural or grazing purposes. The lack 
of fuel is for the present a serious drawback, but unless I am much mistaken 
coal will be found in such quantities and so distributed throughout the coun- 
try as to make fuel easily obtainable in any part of the North- West, while 
the construction of railways will ere long make the cost of building material 
very much less than it is at present. 

Governor-Geneeal's Camp, Fort Calgary, Sept. 13. — To-day the Gov- 
ernor-General and party remained most of the time in camp resting after their 
long journey. A special messenger was despatched this morning with letters 
for Canada and England, but contrary to expectation, His Excellency has as 
yet received no mail, though one is hourly expected. 

To-day John Glenn, one of the pioneers of this region, drove into canip 
with a lot of samples of the grain and root crops grown on his ranche at Fish 
Creek, some seven or eight miles south of this fort, and on the road to Fort 
MacLeod. He underwent a rigid cross-examination at the hands of His Ex- 
cellency, Dr. MacGregor, and others, and the facts elicited may be summed 
up as follows : — Mr. Glenn, who is a native of Curragli Fen, near Gulway, 
Ireland , has been on this side of the Atlantic for many years, having spent 
some time in Texas, Utah, Montana, etc. He has travelled from tlio Rio 
Grande to Peace River, but is very sure he likes this region better than any 
he has yet seen. He says that the greatest trouble here is the want of labour- 
ers. Last year he had to go on seeding to the 10th of June, which was, of 
course, much too late. If he could have had his spring's work done promptly 
last season he is certain he would have had his crops all in before the 24th of 
August, on which day there came a great surprise in the shape of a heavy 
snow storm. He had been located on Fish Creek since 1875, and has now 
40 acres iinder cultivation, and 150 acres fenced. As a proof that he con- 
siders the country eminently suitable for agriculture he stated that he had 
$1,200 invested in agricultural implements instead of live stock. He has one 
neighbour, a French Canadian, who began ranching this year, and is doing 
well. He thought the route we had taken from Battleford was not a favour- 
able one for seeing the best part of the country. Had we gone farther north 



■t 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



12/: 



ma as 

d in a 
of the 
^e had 
ns are 
ind the 
unooth 
5n able 
[uctive, 
t 1,000 
)f every 
, I have 
sooner 
[■he lack 
aistakeu 
[le coun- 
st, while 
material 

the Gov- 
fter their 
kh letters 
cy has as 

nto camp 
le at Fish 
i to Fort 
His Ex- 
siunmcd 
Galway, 
■iug spent 
the Rio 
than any 
of labour- 
ch was, of 
promptly 
le 24th of 
of a heavy 
has now 
he con- 
lat ho had 
He has one 
A is doing 
it a favour- 
rther north 



we would have seen land as good as that abont Bow River. Like other set- 
tlers on the prairie Mr. Glenn has suffered considerable inconvenience from 
the want of timber. Regarding the productiveness of the land in this region, 
I can safely say that Mr. Glenn's evidence and the samples of produce he 
brought furnished the most satisfactory proof of its extraordinary richness . 
He had raised fifty -seven b;:?hel3 of oats to the acre, and his barley has 
turned oiit as high as seventy bushels to the acre. His wheat, which was 
grown from bad seed, did not turn out as well as usual this year, but still the 
sample he showed us was rather better than the average met with in Ontario* 
The samples of root crops and garden produce which he brought in were of 
the finest quality, some of the cabbages being equal if not superior to any I 
have ever seen exhibited in Ontario. Out of the sheaf of barley brought in 
by Mr. Glenn, three heads were selected at random. The first turned out 
74, the second 50, and the third 70 well filled, fully developed kernels. His 
turnips, which were planted in the first of June, furnished fine samples, 
weighing from 12 to 16 lbs. Mr. Glenn says that his crops are not at all 
exceptional, and that other ranchmen are doing quite as well as he is. He 
assured us that a great deal of the talk about summer frosts is due to the 
representations of cattle ranchers who desire to monopolize the whole region 
for themselves. He complained that as a rule the Bow River country did 
not get fair play in being represented to the public. " Only last week," said 
he, *' Mr. Dawson, the Government surveyor, who, I am told, is talking 
against this country as an agricultural region, drove past my place and never 
so much as halted for a moment to look at or enquire about my crops ; and 
yet I suppose he will go down and say this country is not fit for settlement." 
Mr. Glenn said that horses did well here in the winter, the frozen bufl"alo 
grass being as nutritious and as good for them as well cured hay. Fie said 
that he had seen a steer killed last March that had picked his own living all 
winter without having been fed a mouthful, and yet he proved the fattest 
beef he had ever seen killed. 

LETTERS FROM HOME. 

To-night His Excellency received a well-filled mail bag of letters and news- 
papers, and a telegram announcing the death of Senator Brouse. At dinner 
he spoke in the highest terms of the deceased Senator, stating that his loss 
to the Senate would be irreparable. Among the English papers was the 
Oazette announcing Capt. Cliater's promotion, and accordingly " Major Cha- 
ter " was heartily congratulated by all present. To-day I met Mr. Geo. 
Scott, an Ontario farmer, late of the Township of Nissouri, near London, 
Ont. , on his way to the Cochrane ranche, fifteen miles above here. He is 
delighted with the country. 

Governor-General's Camp, Fort Calgary, Sept. 14. — This morning Mr. 
Barter and Major Bains, from the Cochrane Ranche, called at the Camp and 
were subjected to a somewhat lengthy examination as to the character and 
nature of the enterprise in which they are engaged, and as to the capabilities 
of the Bow River country generally. Regarding the former they may be 






4 



126 



MANITOBA AND 



r **/' •* 



in 

ii.' 



K.* -1 



«iippoaed to know a good deal of course, but they were evidently inclined, 
being ranchers, to belittle the agricultural resources of the country. 1 do not 
mean to say that their reports were altogether unreliable in this direction, 
but when 1 have the untjusstionable proof oflered by John Glenn in the 
shape of samples of produce, to weigh in the balance against their simple 
•' say so," 1 must confess a very strong disposition to give the ocular proof 
the preference, 

The factd that are furnished about the Cochrane Ranche were substantially 
as follows: — The country under the influence of the warm west winds blowing 
from oft' the tidal current across the mountains, and keeping the snow melted 
oft' the prairies for nearly the whole winter, is about twelve miles wide in the 
vicinity of Fort Calgary, but further south it becomes much wider. These 
warm Avest winds are called "Chinook" winds, after an Indian tribe occupying 
a portion of the western slope of the llocky Mountains, 

The Cochrane Kanche consists of 100,000 acres, all under the influence of 
Chinook winds. Within this area a foot depth of snow has never been known 
to lie more than three days at a time, for the first west wind was sure to thaw 
it with wonderful rapidity. On the ranche they have now about 0,000 head 
of cattle, including 55 good bulls. It is intended, however, by the end of 
October, to bring the herd up to 7,200. The cost of Montana and Oregon 
cattle (the kinds brought in here) is about $23 per head, as the transport from 
Montana is rather slow and expensive, the average day's march being only 
about 10 miles. There are three kinds of bulls employed on this ranche. 
Shorthorns, the Herefords and Polled Angus. There is plenty of timber 
easily available, b, "it as yet nothing worth mentioning has been done in the 
way of building oi. jount of the difticulty of securing labourers and mechan- 
ics, Thei-e is plenty of room for farm labourers in this country. Good 
handy "cow boys" receive ^0 per n»onth and board, and half-breeds from $35 
to ^40 with board of course. City-bred men are of little use h«re until they have 
learned to rough it and "and got into the ways of the country," but for farm- 
ers' sons and energetic farm labourers the opening is an excellent one. The 
sort of life they lead here is very different from that of farm labourers in 
Ontario. A great deal is done here on horse-back. It is unwise to go near 
a herd of Montana or Oregon cattle on foot, and those who have had most 
experience with them will always be the last to yenture in doing so, as the 
dangerof being trami)led to death merely to satisfy the curiosity of the cattle 
is altogether too great. There are also in the Cochrane ranche 260 Bron- 
cho mares, which it is intended to breed to stallions of various bi'eeds. 
They also intend to put large numbers of sheep in the range. At this point 
in the conversation Dr. MacGregor asked one of the gentlemen what he 
thought of the agricultural capabilities of the Bow River country. His re- 
ply was particularly unique in its character. He. said, "There is plenty of 
excellent agricultural land" — his companion here gave him a very peculiar 
glance — and he finished the sentence by adding, "five or six hundred miles 
from here." In the afternoon His Excellency and some of the party drove 
up to see the Cochrane Ranche, and witness the operation of lassoing cattle, 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



127 



clined, 
do not 
ection, 
in tho 
simple 
r proof 

intially 
jlowing 
melted 
B in the 
These 
cupying 

lence of 
11 kuowu 
I to thaw 
lOO head 
s end of 
Oregon 
)ort from 
ling only 
I ranche, 
f timber 
in the 
mechan- 
Good 
from $35 
ley have 
'or fami- 
ne. The 
ourers in 
go near 
lad moat 
as the 
le cattle 
60 Bron- 
breeda. 
hia point 
what he 
His re- 
plenty of 
peculiar 
red miles 
:ty drove 
ig cattle, 



tind to-night preparations are being made for a start to FortMcLeod. Com- 
missioner Irvine having kindly oft'ered me transport southward, I shall 
leave my Kyuses and Peter here till 1 return on the way to Edmonton. 

Governob-Genekai'.s Camp, High River, en route from Fort Calgary to 
Fort McLeod, Sept. 15. — There has been but little to note in to-day's travel. 
All day we have been following a well-beaten trail running through what I 
should take to be the very choicest of moderately undulating prairie land. 
The badgers usually dig their holes to a depth of several feet below the sur- 
face I believe, but wherever I have seen a badger hole to-day, even on the 
highest looking uplands, I have seen nothing but the richest black loam 
thrown out of the excavation. The rich and abundant growth of buffalo 
grass also offers the most satisfactory proof of the extraordinary wealth of 
these great stretches of prairie. As a stock country I do not see how the 
region through which we have been travelling could be surpassed, for besides 
possessing a rich soil under the intliience of the warm Chinook winds that 
blow over the Rocky Mountains (whose dark rugged slopes, shrouded in their 
blue haze, and whose snow-clad peaks, glittering in an unclouded sunlight 
loom up on our right like a wall of steel with turrets and pinnacles of bur- 
nished silver and gold) it is abundantly supplied with limpid mountain 
streams of the purest water. In the forty miles we have traversed to-day we 
crossed the following never- failing swift-running streams of cold, sweet water, 
fresh from the snows of the " Rockies" : — Elbow River, Fish Creek, Pine 
Creek, Sheep Creek, and High River. All these are streams of considerable 
magnitude, and they and their small tributaries wind about among the val- 
leys so as to water a very great extent of country. There are two large 
ranches being established on High River, and near Fort Calgary we passed 
Captain Denny's Ranche, which fronts on Bow River. I am inclined to think 
there will yet be trouble in settling the respective claims of many of these 
ranchers, but I shall deal with this subject more fully when I shall have had 
the opportunity of learning a little more about it. 

To-night from our camp on the south bank of High River nearly every one 
was struck with the marvellously beautiful sunset. The mountains are about 
thirty miles from camp in a straight line, but they do not look more than 
two miles away. During the afternoon there had been several rain storms 
and snow squalls careering among the peaks, and even the trail was threat- 
ened once or twice with rain, but just before sunset the sky cleared in the 
western horizon, and the warm sunlight peering through the cloudy passes 
and dark, sullen ravines made them send up curious little puffs of vapour, 
that, curling over some of the sharp conical peaks, w ire singularly suggestive 
of a smoking volcano, while others floating higher in the clear sky and catch- 
ing the slanting sunbeams, looked like little islands of fire floating in a 
translucent sea of amber and lemon gold. As the sun sank lower the heavy 
curtain of rain cloud that still hung low over this bright horizon caught the 
ileclining sunlight ; first its festooned edges were fringed with gold, but swifly 
its great curling folds changed from leaden blue to dun and buff and from that 
to rich gold and bronze, and aa the sun sank still lower they grew brighter and 



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128 



MANITOBA AND 



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I; 



n.« ^ 



brighter till away up almost to the zenith the great cloud curtain was all aflame 
with orange and crimson. The sun was now hidden behind a great pyrami- 
dal mountain, but a misty plume hanging from its peak and trailing down 
its northern slope caught the sunset splendour and looked like a fiery volume 
of lava pouring down its dark shadowy side. Still, though the snow peaks 
were edged with fire, all below was in deep shadow and shrouded in a dark 
thin vapour of purple and blue, while the inky storm clouds in the east 
drifted about in threatening billowy masses, with here and there a rift reveal 
ing a dark cold sky of intense steely blue . 

Governor-General's Camp, Willow Creek, en route Fort Calgary to- 
Fort McLeod, Sept. '9. — The country through which the trail has led to- 
day was so like that seer yesterday that it is quite unnecessary to describe 
it. The soil is extremely rich and the country is certainly admirably adaptod 
either to agriculture or stock-raising. The noon camp was at Mosquito 
Creek, and to-night an excellent campground was selected on the east bank 
of Willow Creek. Both of these streams are pure and limpid as the finest 
trout streams or spring creeks in Ontario. Several other fine sweot water 
sloughs, coolies, and small mountain streams were passed on the way. 
Several of the horses succumbed on the march to-day, but all were finally 
brought into camp, and will probably recover if carefully handled. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

AIUUVAI. AT FORT MCLEOD— A VII.I.AUE WITH XO COMPKER— A TOWN IN THE FAR WEST 
— 1T8 INHABITANTS- ITS STREETS— ITS ACCOMMODATIONS. 



Fort MiiLeod, Sept. 17. — His Excellency has now been fifty-ei'^ht days 
en route from Toronto and forty-one days from Winnipeg. Since leaving 
Winnipeg he has travelled probably over 1,100 miles. The drive to-day 
was a short one of only about twenty-eight or thirty milos. The only Imit 
made was at the cut bank on Willow Creek, less than ten miles from this 
Fort. Again the trail led througli a very fine rolling prairie on the western 
slope of the Porcupine Hills, which is a ratlier high range of prairie foot liills 
leading up to the Rocky Mountains, For nearly the wliolo way tlie trail was 
in sight of Willow Cri'ek, which takus an almost southerly course till within 
a short distance of Fort McLeod, where it joins the valley of <.)ld Man's 
River (another beautiful mountain stream of pure limpid water), the smaller 
stream merging with the greater a short distaiu'c Itelow the Fort. The ford at 
Gld Man's River is a deep oiio, but it was passed withu'.»t any mishaps. The 
journey to-day was made at a smart pace, sixteen fresh horses liaving been 



I i, i 



11 aflame- 
pyrami- 
ng down 
f volume 
)W peaks 
1 a dark, 
the east 
ft reveal 

ilgary to 
as led to- 
describe 
Y adaptod 
Mosquito 
east bank 
the finest 
eot wator 
the way. 
are finally 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



129 



V AU WEST 

pi:^ht days 
po Wvinj; 
|vo to-diiy 
only halt 
from this 
|o western 
foot hill» 
trail was 
Jill within 
|)ld Man's 
Itu smaller 
ho ford at 
Ls. The 
Iving been 



sent out yesterday by Colonel Irvine to meet the parly at the Willow Creek 
Camp last night. From the cut bank His Excellency's ambulance was escorted 
by a guard of honour, the ofhcers and constables under Colonel Herchmer 
making a remarkably smart and soldierly display despite the fact that they 
were near the end of a very long and arduous march. When the train was 
within a few miles of the Fort it was met by Colonel Irvine, Captain Cotton, 
and one or two other officers, and later by a large escort of Indians and set- 
tlers on horseback. The odree into the village was a decidedly imposing 
sight, which was witnessed by a large concourse of settlers and Indians. A 
picket line of red-coated troopers, well mounted, marked the i _ ate from 
the edge of the ford to the entrance of the Fort, beside which were files of 
dismounted constables, all looking remarkably well, and wearing that tho- 
roughly soldierly look that distinguishes the well-trained regular from the 
volunteer. 

Fort McLeod is so thoroughly unlike any village, large or small, in Ontario 
or Quebec, or any to be found in the Northern or Eastern States, that it is 
not easy to convey to the reader anything like a satisfactory picture of it. 1 1 
is built upon a low-lying, dusty, gravelly flat completely surrounded by water 
except when Old Man's River is exceptionally low. The main portion of the 
river passes just north of the village, but a shallow, gravelly loop from it 
swoops around in a semicircle to the south. Tlie pasture in the vicinity of 
the village is extremely short, having been oaten oil' by the settlers' horses 
aTid the ponies belonging to numerous bands of Indians that are camping 
here from time to time. Before having anything to say about the Fort pro- 
per, which is enclosed in a strong stockade just west of the village, I shall at- 
tempt to describe the village itself as I found it this afternoon and evenin;^. 
It is nearly all built on one street, which is not a very loni,' nor very straight 
one, though the rows of houses are pretty nearly in line with each other. 
The buildings are all one storey high with low and nearly flat roofs. 
They are mostly built of poles or logs and ■md, but instead of being detached 
cabins as is usually the case in these primitive hamlets they are in blocks or 
rows. One building joins another just as do the large rows of houses in the 
most crowded of cities. There are no attempts at front yards, every door 
opening on the street. Some o*" the buildings are so constructed as to form 
two sides of a Cx)r"all, the other two sides being a atrong palisade of heavy 
pickets driven firmly into the ground, and so close together that nothing big- 
ger than a squirrel could work its way througli them. Most of the buihlings 
and palisades are whitewashed outside, but t'lO intoriors have a smoky, dingy 
look, as th(mgh they had been subjected to a smoky, smothering atmosphere 
dining the greater part of their existence. Some of the darkest and smok- 
iest-looking apartments that I saw in tlieso rows (where " private residences " 
and " busineHS bhicks " are ho mingled that it is ditlicult to toll which in 
which), were occupied by half-breed families, but others but a trifle less oll'en- 
sivo in appuarunce aro groceries and stores, several of which have billiard 
tables, and most of them have cigars and "soft drinks" for sale at fancy 
prices. At one of these establislunents, a restaurant, i dined this evening, 



Vv» 



4 



130 



MANITOBA AND 



»•/' '\ 






V: 



'*^* -1., 



"'U 



and as it is fairly characteristic of the shops at McLeod, a description of it 
may answer for the lot. It is a low, whitewash id, log building like the rest. 
Over the d ' is painted in small black letters — '* Camoose House." 

" Camoose " is the Indian name of the white proprietor of the place. I do 
not know his real name, but he was formerly a trader among the Indians, 
and they named him " Camoose," which is the Blackfoot noun for thief. On 
the west side of the door are two very rudely drawn pictures, one represent- 
ing a lank-looking individual with the inscription beneath, " Before dinner," 
and the other a portly man of aldermanic rotundity, and underneath it the 
words, " After diimer." On the opposite side of the door was the following 
sign, surmounted by a "bull-dog " pistol, with the words "settle up " issuing 
from its cavernous muzzle : — 

CAMOOSE & STEELE. 



RESTAUUANT, 



irOESES FED HAY 50c. 



DO. ALL NKillT «OC. 



MEALS 50c. 



JAWBONE LAV UtT ! 



TEitMS STIUCTLV CASH I I 



Mr. Camoose hud intended that the next to last sentence on his sign 
should read " Jawbone played on*," but some evil-disposed person had er- 
ased the letters so as to make it read '' Jawbone lay out." The front room 
was a large apartment, having a din!j;y-lo(iking billiard table in the centre ond 
a few rough benches scattered about the tloor, while next to the walls, which 
were of roughly-hewn logs rudely plastered, were several small rolls of blank- 
ets belonging to the lodgers of the OHtablishmont. The roof was concealed 
by loose festofms of factory cotton, smoke-browned and dirty. Dinner (or 
Hupper) was not ready when I entered the |)laco, and the door into the inner 
or back room where it was being \\\\t on the table was kept carefully locked. 
The front room was full of " ranchers " (every farm, claim, or cattle range 
here is called a ranche and farmers and stock-breeders are called ranchers) 
" bnll-whackiTB," " nmlo skinners" and "traders." As everybody hero 
rides on horse-back, nearly all wore heavy Mexican spurs, which clanked 
and jinglel as they walked about in a manner that would have nuiuo a 
blind man think he wan in the company of a lot of convicts in transit. In the 
company were some few faces that \v.'fe familiar to nie. In one who was 
pointed out to me 1 recognized a man whom I had seen many years ago in a 
•pool room at a race meeting, where he was paying $250 for first choice. He 



THE XOLxH-WEST. 



131 



on of it 
tie rest. 

J. I do 
ndians, 
e£. On 
)resent- 
iinner," 
th it the 
allowing 
' issuing 



us sign 
had er- 
ont room 
entre snd 
Is, which 
of blank- 
concoaled 
Himor (or 
the inner 
y locked, 
ttlo range 
ranchers) 
ody hero 
oliinkod 
laauo a 
In the 
who was 
•s ago in a 
uice. He 



has been " broke " twice since then, and is now getting rich for the third 
time. 

Occasionally this door would be opened to allow some of the "help" to 
pass in or out, and those nearest it would make a rush toward it, and as 
often find it slammed in their faces, at which those in the rear of the crowd 
would laugh immoderately. Finding myself not far from the door, I was 
touched on the shoulder by a good-natured rancher who pointed to an empty 
seah on a bench not far from the door, with the remark, " Stranger, if you 
wai t to get any grub afore morning, you jest oamp right thar. " 

I did as directed, and when the door was finally opened I plunged into the 
stream of rugged humanity that was pouring through it, and after a good deal 
of squeezing and jostling I finally found myself seated at one of the long 
dining-tables. Tlie meal, though roughly served of course, was an excellent 
one, the grass-fed beef on the table being (juite as fat and as fine in te.\turo 
and flavour as the best Christmas beef usually is. The meat was devoured 
by Mr. Camoose's hungry customers with surprising rapidity, and there was 
a steady hvnu of voices all the time. A great deal of slang pervaded the con- 
versation, and not a little profanity, but though there was some pretty rough 
joking all were extremely gooil humoured. A good deal of the slang used 
here would not be understood in Ontario, As everybody rides on horseback 
here, and as even the Indians have their Kyuses, a man is never spok .n of 
here as ruined financially, or, as it is often put in Ontario, " broke ; he is 
" set afoot,'' or "out of luck." I hoard a man complaining to-night that 
" some thieving, U)p-eared son of a stutted monkey " liad " set him afoot for 
a knife," and conseqi'ently lie wanted to borrow one. 

West of " Camoose & Steele's (" Steele " being a fictitious personage, and 
only put in to make the sign convey the idea of " thief and steal "), there is 
a huge mud-hole extending half-way across the street, arl two-thirds full of 
the filthy damage from the adjoining cattle-corrali. On the palisades is 
posted the following : — 

BATHING NOTICE. 



B.VTHft, TWENTY-FIVE CENTS 



CHILDRKN HALF-PRICE. 



HOl'RS. 



Children from 10 a.m. till 12 noon. 
Ladies from 1*2 noon till 4 p.m. 
tJentLmen from 4 p.m. till 7 p.m. 



Clothing at Owner's Risk. 

At present, MoLood appears to be very lively, but I shall have more to 
flay about it when I shall have had time to " do" it thurou^jhly. 



V,,' 



4 



Tg' j ' . ' i- --r— 



132 



MANITOBA AND 



, ^/' '\ 



'%, 



CHAPTER XXYII. 



■? . r-i 



^fi >% 



% 



INCIDENTS AND OBJECTS OF INTEREST AT FORT MCLEOD— HORSE-STEALING ACROSS THE 
BORDER IMPROVED CONDITION OF THE MOUNTED POLICE FORCE- DUTIES OF THE FORCE 
- NECESSITY OF ITS REINcl STRENGTHENED— PROSPECTS OF TROUBLE THROUGH INDIAN 
DEPREDATIONS. 

Fort McLeod, Sept. 18. — To-day was rather a quiet one for His Excel- 
lency and party. This forenoon Dr. MacGregor preached an excellent ser- 
mon in the little Canada Methodist Ch>irch here, the pulpit of which is usually 
occupied by the Rev. Mr. McLean, of this place. The little church was 
packed to the doors and the sermon was listened to with the liveliest interest 
by all present. This afternoon, through the courtesy of Major Crozier, the 
commandant, I was shown through the fort, which consists of a substantial 
stockade, including about 125 yards square. Inside the stockade are barracks, 
otticers' (juarters, workshops, guard room, «tc., &c. In the guard room were 
eleven prisoners. First on the list comes tlft Blood Indian, Star Child, who 
is charged with the murder of Constable Grayburn in November, 1870. The 
circumstances of the murder were as follows :— Grayburn was herding a lot 
of police horses about five miles from Fort Walsh. On the morning of the 
murder he loft the horses to ride to the old herding ground three miles further 
from the fort, where he had left a picket rope and an axe in a half-breed'a 
cabin. He did not return, and the other herdsmen searched for him unsuc- 
cessfully uU that night. In the morning they sent in word to the fort that 
(Jrnyburu was missing. A general search was then instituted and the body 
of the murdered man v/as found where it had been thrown over a cut-bank 
about fifty or sixty yards from where he is supposed to have been shot ; and 
three hundred and fifty yards in a thick bush in tlie bottom land, standing erect, 
with his head tied up to a tree so closely that his fore feet were ofi" the ground, 
was his liorse, it having been shot tlirough the head with (Jrayburn's own 
carbine. The murdc is supposed to have been committed on tlie 17th, but the 
body of the man and tlie dead horse were not found till the 19th. From the 
tracks it appears that after the murder and the hiding of the body the raurdoror 
had started for the lines,but thinking that the horse might run back to the herd, 
he returned, and driving him into a close thicket as far as ho could go and 
until his fore feet were resting up<m a mass of ice and snow, he tied him up 
close to a tree and shot him througli the head. The body was sup[)orted in 
an iqiright position partly by the surrounding trees and branches and partly 
by tlie bridle, and it is supposed that the melting of the ice and snow from 
Tinder his feet loft his fore part Dartially suspended by the bridle as it wa* 
found. In tlie meantime the supposed murderer matle liis escape across the 
lines, and for a l<ing time the identity of the iterjjetrato;' of the shocking 
criuje remained a mystery. It was known that Star Child, in company with 



THE NORTFI-WEST. 



133 



another Blood Indian named Weazel Moccasin, went south of the lines to 
Bear Paw, in Montana. It seems at the time Grayburn was murdered a 
«mall band of Blood Indians, including Star Child, VVeazsl Moccasin, Eagle 
Breast, Weazel Child, and others were encamped near the place, and that at 
this time, according to his deposition, Weazel Moocasin conceived the idea 
that Star Child was the murderer, and that when they were down at Bear 
Paw the latter made a confession to him. His story is a rambling and im- 
probable one altogether, but it is not unlikely that ultimately both he and 
■Star Child may be proved to have had a hand in the crime. Star Child is a 
small and rather delicately- formed Indian, who looks wonderfully like a 
•Chinaman, and the fact that he wears his hair in long closely-plaited braid.s 
rather strengthens his resemblance to the Mongolian familj'. When the door 
of his cell was opened he sprang from his bunk where he was lying (attired 
only in undershirt and drawers), and with a little nervous laugh shouk hands 
with me. He is very . (juick antl nervous in all his motions, but he has a 
weak look both in face and figure. From his appearance one would hardly 
.suppose that he was the man either to plan or carry out the shocking crini-j 
with which he is charged. At the same time it is not improbable that lie 
might have acted under the guidance of some one of stronger will. Yester- 
day his father was admitted to see him. They met, but Star Child only 
kissed his father and then told him to go away, that it made him too sad to 
see him. Among the other prisoners was Jingling Bells, a Blood Indian, a 
notorious horse-thief, who, along with two others, was captured about nine 
miles south of this fort on the night of the 9th inst. with a band of twenty- 
two horses, which they had run ott' from Morleyville. The capture, which 
was a very plucky one, was made by a small party under conmiand of Inspec- 
tor Dickens, the youngest son of the famous novelist. There were also some 
deserters who were undergoi'ig sentences for desertion and horse-stealing. 
In fact, all the constables who desert from here are apt to be horse-thieves 
as they invariably take police horses with which to make their escape across 
tlie lines. It is but justice, however, to adJ that in cases where they have 
made their escapes they have handed over the horses to the American author- 
ities to bo returned to the force. 

There were other Indian hurae-thieves in the guard-room undergoing sen- 
tence or awaiting trial. 

On the Bouth side of the lines horse-stealing is unfortunately very common, 
and it appears that Montana, though full of soldiers, is unable to put a stop 
to it. Whenever American horses are stolen and brought into the North- 
West Territory they are invariably captured by the Mounted Police and 
restored to the owners, but if horses are stolen here and taken across tiio 
lines they are seldom heard of. In fact the state of allairs prevailing hero 
presents a marked contrast as compared with that south of the 4\)lh parallel. 
There the settlers occasionally lynch a horse-thief, but for one that is ca'.ight 
a great many escape. Here, such a thing as lynching is tuiknown, and though 
Fort McLeod is full of refugees from Montana, and desperadoes from all 
parts of the Western States, crime of all sorts is kept well ia hand. A few 



J 



134 



MANITOBA AND 



, »•." '\ 



I 



, A( 



i«.M 



'■^1 



< ; 



months ago there was a good deal oi wiiiskey selling here, and gambling and 
other vices of various sorts were practised openly. Now, however, under the 
administration of Major Crozier, the Police Superintendent here, everything 
of the sort is being stamped out, so that nearly every trace of it is fast disap- 
pearing. Tn contrast to this may be given the details of an awful tragedy that 
took place in the latter part of June or early in July in Montana, only a little 
way south of the line. A Mrs. Armstrong, who formerly lived here, was 
carrying on a cattle ranche on the Teton River, fifteen or twenty miles from 
Fort Benton. She was in partnership with a man named J '^organ, who lived 
in the house with her alonj with two girls, adopted daughters of Mrs. Arm- 
strong. On the night in question a hired man about the place took a shot- 
gun and murdered both Mrs. Armstrong and Morgan, and chasing the little 
girls to the bush outraged one of them and attempted to ravish the other. 
Subsecjuently the little girls saw and identified the murderer and miscreant 
(whose name is Stewart) at a neighbouring ranche, and he was taken in 
charge by the deputy sheriff. A band of masked men took him from the 
oliicer, however, and started for the nearest tree large enough from which to 
hang him. They offered to take him along in a waggon, but he declined (juite 
cheerily, remarking, " Tliere's nothing mean about me boys; I'll walk." 
Me was led over to the tree with the rope on his neck, and mounting the 
waggon he quietly watched the lynchers make fast the rope to the limb of 
the tree, and as the horrible work was completed he coolly said in the same 
cheerful tone, " It's all right, boys ; drive on with your waggon." And the 
waggon was driven on, and the miserable wretch waa left dangling between 
earth and heaven. 

In Montana every man travels armed as a measure of personal protection ; 
liquor is sold freely to the Indians, and carried over Indian reservations 
with impunity. Cambling goes on openly, and the law is everywhere set at 
naught. Here, though there is only a handful of about three hundred 
mounted police to preserve order in a territory over nine hundred miles long 
by more than five hundred miles wide, containing a wild, warlike, and semi- 
starving population of twenty-five thousand Indians and about six thousand 
scattered settlers and ranchers, of whom a large proportion in the southern 
district are ex-whiskey traders and refugees from the American laws, the best 
order prevails. I have travelled over twelve hundred miles through the 
North- West Territory with horses and waggon ; I have camped sometimes 
alone, and sometimes close to the police camp ; I have had no means of 
locking up anything, and my whole outfit has always been exposed to the 
depredations of any persons who might be disposed to meddle with it, and 
yet, with the exception of one blanket, nothing has been stolen from me in 
the whole journey. Though I have travelled hundreds of miles with only 
my half-breed guide for company, 1 have never carried a revolver, and have 
never kept my shot-gun loaded in my tent. To suppose that such a state of 
afi'airs could exist here without the presence of an admirably organized and tho- 
roughly efticient police force would be the wildest nonsense. Whatever may 
have been the state of the force in the past I do not know from any personal 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



13 ^ 



knowledge, but as to its present state under the commissiouersliip of Colonel 
Irvine, I am certainly in a position to know something, and so far as I am 
able to judge, I cheerfully testify, not only to the excellent character and 
soldierly conduct of the officers and men, but to the thorough efficiency of 
tlie force, and the invaluable service it h now rendering the Dominion in this 
territory. [ have heard complaints against the force here and elsewliere 
throughout the territory, but all these complaints have reached me tlirough 
the medium of deserters, men v ' < have been turned out of the force for bad 
conduct, and ex-whiskey traders who have suffered in pocket through the 
suppression of the whiskey traffic by the force. I have talked a good deal, 
and very freely, with the constables and non-commissioned officers of the 
force, and without exception I have found them intelligent, thoroughly well- 
disposed youug gentlemen, proud of the standing and characte- of the force, 
strongly attached to the Commissioner and the officers in command of their 
respective posts, and pleased withthe country and the mode of life they are 
called upon to lead. The only semblance of fault-finding that I heard was 
of the low rate of remuneration (40c. per diem for recruits) and the character 
of some of the uniforms served out to them, and in these respects I must say 
that I think there is room for improvement. As to the work the Mounted 
Police force is performing in the North- West, no one not intimately ac- 
quainted with the country can be in a position to judge. The officers and. 
men have, to a very great extent, secured the confidence and good will of. 
the Indians. The red men are not only afraid to come into forcible contact 
with the red-coats, but they feel that their best interest lies in assisting the 
police in the discharge of their duties. They have confidence in the justice 
of the administration of the police and feel that the Indian rights will be 
protected as well as those of the white men. Instead of seeking redress for 
wrongs in the usual Indian way by force or strategy, they complain to the 
constituted authorities and in all respects recognise the fact that the white 
man's way of administering justice is better than their own. 

The present organization of the Mounted Police force is as follows : — Col. 
A. S. Irvine, Commissioner ; Capt. John Cotton, Superintendent and Adju- 
tant ; Major Walsh, Superintendent ; Major Crozier, Superintendent ; Col. 
Herchmer, Superintendent, and two vacancies ; Mr. French, Inspector ; Mr. 
Shurtleff, Inspector ; Mr. Mclllree, Inspector ; M. Gagnon, Inspector ; Mr. 
Dickens, Inspector ; M. Frechette, Inspector ; Mr. Steele, Inspector ; Mr. 
Antrobus, Inspector ; Mr. Neale, Inspector ; Mr. Greesbach, Inspector ; Mr. 
Dowling, Inspector ; Mr. McDonnell, Inspector ; Surgeon Kennedy, and 
Surgeon Miller. There are six troops, A, B, C, D, E, and F. There is ai 
superintendent commanding each troop, a sergeant-major to each troop, one 
♦luarter-master sergeant to each post, three sergeants, and four corporals. In 
addition to these there are staff-Bergeants, such as veterinary sergeants (in- 
cluding Surgeons Oliver and lliddell, graduates of the Ontario Veterinary 
College), armoury sergeants, saddler majors, wheelwrights, &c. There are 
also tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, and other mechanics chosen from the 



4 



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i 



K|' ^.. 



rank and file, who receive fifteen cents per day extra while in the perform- 
ance of their mechanical duties. 

Each superintendent has a district in which he exercises the powers of a 
justice of the peace, and the commissioner acts as a stipendiary magistrate. 
Inspectors, if appointed, act as justices of the peace in their districts. In 
this connection it may be suggested that the powers of the superintendent 
might with propriety be extended, as there are many trivial cases that have 
to lie over for a long time in the necessary absence of the stipendiary magis- 
trates. 

While no one can doubt the efficiency of the force as it is at present, there 
arc some features that would be the better for a change. I cannot but think 
that forty cents per day is too small for a recruit in this country, iiverything 
he has to buy costs an extravagant price, and as lie has to keep his kit in 
good order, he is often obliged to make very serious inroads into his pay to 
accomplish this. If he wishes to use anything in the shape of luxuries he can 
easily spend the whole of his available funds upon them. For example, 
canned salmon, such as costs ivom twelve cents to fifteen cents in Toronto, 
costs fifty cents here. Canned fruit or jams cost one dollar by the pot or can. 
I saw a genvleraan pay three dollars and fifty cents for i whip lash the other 
day that would not cost more than twenty cents in any city in Ontario, and 
so far as I have been able to observe, nearly everything else is proportion- 
ately dear. It will easily be understood that the barest necessaries of life 
will quickly run away with the recruit's first year's pay. 



THE RECRUITING SYSTEM. 

Another evil with which the officers of the force have to contend is the 
maimer in which recruiting is carried on. If when recruits were wanted they 
were allowed to advertise in the newspapers for a month before the men were 
wanted, there would be no difficulty in securing the most desirable class of 
men. Clause G of the Police Act says : — 

" Xo officer or constable shall be appointed to the police force unless he be of sound 
constitution, able to ride, active, and able-bodied, of ROtxl character, and between the 
a^es of eighteen and forty years : nor tinless lie be able to read and write either the 
EnLrlish or French lan^'uage." 

If niembers of Parliament and others who recommend recruits for the force 
would bear this cV jse in mind 1 think very many who are now offered to the 
recruiting ofHcerr would never trouble them. Last May, when Col. Herch- 
mer was in old Canada recruiting, lie desired to advertise, but was told 
that out of 125 writte.i applications to the Department backed up by mem- 
bers of Parliament he could surely secure the complement of ninety men, 
which was all he required. He went to Montreal, and from among the fifty- 
five applicants there he was only able to select twelve. Here, too, ho found 
a man who had written repeatedly to Ottawa for blank forms of application 
for admission to the force. This man desired to bo in the room where the 
recruits were being examined, saying that he wished to bo there to see that 






■f V 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



137 



evf I >vm- 

$rs of a 
jistrate. 
its. In 
tendent 
lat have 
y magis- 

it, there 
ut think 
erything 
is kit in 
3 pay to 
es he can 
example, 
Toronto, 
ot or can . 
the other 
ario, and 
■oportion- 
•ies of life 



;nd is the 
mted they 
men were 
class of 



be of sound 
jetween the 
e either the 



r the force 
ered to the 
lol. Herch- 
\t was told 
J by niem- 
inety men, 
ig the fifty- 
ho found 
application 
where the 
to see that 



" his men" were passed. Col. Herchmer excluded him, however, and pre- 
sently an attenuated Frenchman presented himself, whose application stated 
that he was five feet nine inches high, and measured thirty-eight inches 
around the chest. When measured, however, he proved to be five feet three 
inches high, and was only thirty inches around the chest. " What made you 
tell such a falsehood in your application i " demanded Col. Herchmer. ** That 
man told me to do so," he replied, "so that they think me a big man." 
" What man ? " asked Col. Herchmer. " The man that gave me this paper," 
lie replied, pointing to the application. "Did you pay him anything for that 
paper?" "Yes, I gave him one dollar, and I am to give him five dollars 
more as soon as I am passed." But he did not pass. 

As has already been pointed out in the commissioner's report, the best men 
for the force are farmer's sons accustomed to hard work, rough weather, and 
t; .. care and management of horses. There is plenty of good material for re- 
cruits in old Canada, and I am convinced that a very little judicious adver- 
tising would greatly lighten and simplify the duties of recruiting officers. 
Now that settlers and ranchemen are rapidly coming into the North -West it 
is very eviglent that the force must be greatly strengthened, and the sooner 
this is done the better for the safety of the best interests of the Dominion in 
the North- West. 

DUTIES OF THE POLICE. 

The duties of the police in the North-West are unique and multifarious, 
and there is scarcely even a constable that is not often in a position that re- 
t[uires prompt decision and resolute action. There is not a branch of the, 
military service throughout the British Empire in which so much is expected 
of the intelligence and executive ability of the men as in this. They are of- 
ten on the open prairie in the direst straits where the success of the enterprise 
upon which they are engaged, and their own lives as well as those of their 
horses are dependent upon their ability to act promptly and intelligently. 
The success of an expedition is often dependent upon the ability and willing- 
ness of the men to undergo the most terrible privations, fast for days at a 
stretch, and stick to the saddle when overpowered with fatigue, and yet they 
have always come bravely through these crucial tests, and not one in a thous- 
and of the people of old Canada know what these gallant fellows have done 
and are every day doing for the Dominion . It may '.well be said of the 
Mounted Police " They never give up. " Half a dozen men and an oflicer 
have often marched into a camp of hundreds of menacing savages to make 
an arrest, and sometimes the force has been even smaller than that men- 
tioned, and yet they have never for an instant wavered in the discharge of 
their duties. It is needless to say that while the men are one and all proud 
of the force to which tliey belong and of the Commissioner and the officers 
under him, the Commissioner and his officers are justly proud of the efficiency 
and capabilities of the handful of men under their command. The time 
when this small forcr can no longer maintain peace and good order through- 
out this vast ter'-Ibury is rapidly approaching, and I think the pressing ne< 



4 



188 



MANITOBA AND 



,• »«»".* 



I: 

I; 

?' J: 



1 K|« i. 



' cessity of at once greatly strengthening it cannot be too strongly urged upon 

the Dominion Government. 

The following lines, which present a really truthful picture of the life of the 

prairie troopers, and were written by an ex-constable, who is now a settler in 

the North- West, may not be unappropriate in this connection. They are 

entitled 

THE RIDERS OF THE PLAINS. 



So wake the prairie echoes with 

The ever welcome sound : 
Ring out the " boot and saddle " till 

Its stirring notes resound. 
Our chargers toss their bridled heads, 

And chafe against the reins. 
Ring out ! ring otit the marching call 

For the Riders of the Plains. 

II. 

' O'er many a league of prairie wild 

Our trackless path must be, 
And round it rove the fiercest tribes 

Of Blackfeet and of Cree. 
But danger from their savage bands 

A dauntless heart disdains — 
'Tis the heart that bears the helmet up, 

Of the Riders of the Plains. 

III. 

The prairie storms sweep o'er our way, 

But onward still we go, 
To scale the weary mountain range, 

Descend the valley low. 
We face the broad Saskatchewan, 

Made fierce v/ith heavy rains, 
With all his might he cannot check 

The Riders of the Plains. 

IV. 

We tread the dreaded cactus land. 

Where, lost to white man's ken, 
We startle there the creatures wild 

With the sight of armed men. 
For wheresoe'er our leader bi'ls 

The bugle sounds its strains ; 
Forward in sections marching go 

The Riders of the Plains. 

V, 

The fire king stalks the prairie, 

And fearful 'tis to see 
The rushing wall of flame and smoke 

Girdling round us rapidly. 
'Tis then we shout defiance 

And mock his fiery chains ; 
For safe the cleared circle guards 

The Riders of the Plains. 

VI. 

For us no cheerful hostelries 
Their welcome gates unfold ; 

No generous board, no downy couch 
Await our troopers bold. 



j Beneath the star-lit canopy 
i At evp, when daylight wanes, 
I There lie these hardy wanderers — 
! The Riders of the Plains. 

I VII. 

In want of rest, in want of food, 

C>ur courage does not fail. 
As day and night we follow hard. 

The desperado's trail. 
His threatened rifie stays us not, 

He finds no hope remains. 
And yields at last a captive to 

The Riders of the Plains. 

VIII. 

We've ta'en the haughty feathered Chief, 

Whose hands were red with blood, 
E'en in the very Council Lodge 

We seized him as he stood. 
Three fearless hearts faced forty braves, 

And bore the chief in chains. 
Full sixty miles to where lay camped 

The Riders of the Plains. 

IX. 

But that which tries the courage sore. 

Of horseman and of steed. 
Is want of blessed water. 

Blessed water in our need. 
We'll face like men whate'er befalls. 

Of perils, hardships, pains j 
Oh God ! deny not water to 

The Riders of the Plains. 

X. 

And death who comes alike to all 

Has visited us here. 
Filling our hearts with bitter grief, 

Our eyes with many a tear. 
Five times he drew his fatal bow. 

His hand no prayer restrains ; 
Five times his arrow sped among 

The Riders of the Plains. 

XI. 

Hard by the Old Man River, 

Where freshest breezes blow. 
Five grassy mounds lie side by side. 

Five riders sleep below. 
Neat palings cloce the sacred ground. 

No stranger's step profanes 
Their deep repose, and they sleep well 

These Riders of the Plains. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



139 



Upon 

of the 
tier in 
y are 



id Chief, 
3od, 



braves, 
nped 



XII. 

Theie is no marble column, 

There is no graven stone 
To blazon to a envious world 

The deeds they may have done. 
But the prairie flower blows lightly there, 

And creeping wild rose trains 
Its wreath of summer beauty o'er 

The Riders of the Plains. 

xiu. 

Sleep on, sleep on, j>roud shimberers 

Who died in this far west. 
No prancing steed will feel your hand, 

No trumpet break your rest. 
Sleep on, till the great Archangel 

Shall burst death's mortal chains. 
And you hear ^he great " Reveillt^ " 

Ye Riders of the Plains. 

XIV. 

We bear no lifted banners, 

The soldier's care and pride, 
No fluttering flag waves onward 

Our horsemen as they ride. 
Our only guide is " duty's " call, 

And well its strength sustains 
The dauntless spirits of our men. 

Bold Riders of the Plains. 

XV. 

We muster but three hundred 
In all this " Great Lone Land," 

Which stretches o'er this continent 
To where the Rockies stand ; 



But not one huari th falter. 

No coward voice complains 
That few, too few, in number are 

The Riders of the Plains. 

xvr. 

In England's mighty Empire 
Each man must take his stand ; 

Some guard the honoured flag at sea. 
Some bear it well Vjy land ; 

'Tis not our part to fight its foes — 
Then what to us remains ? 

What duty does our Sovereign give 
I Her Riders of the Plains. 

I 

i xvn. 

Our mi. ion is to plant the reign 

Of British freedom here. 
Restrain the lawless savage, 

And protect the jjioneer ; 
And 'tis a proud and daring trust 

To hold *hese vast domains 
With but tl.'-ee hundred mounted men — 

The Riders of the Plains. 

XVIII. 

And though we win no praise or fame 

In the struggle here alone — 
To cany out good British law 

And i>lant old England's throne ; 
Yet when our task has been performed, 

And law with order reigns. 
The peaceful settler long will bless 

The Riders of the Plains. 






! sore, 



falls. 



ill 
rief. 



side, 
round, 
eep well 



Complications with United States authorities are likely to arise before 
long througlx the depredations of Indians on both sides of the lines, and it 
may be as well that the Canadian public should be informed as to the true 
state of the case before the necessity for action arises. I believe that already 
the United States Government has appointed a commission for the purpose 
of asc Ttaining the nature and extent of the losses incuiTed by American 
ranchuien and others through the slaughtering of their cattle and stealing of 
their horses by Indians (principally Bloods, Blackfoot, and Piegans) from the 
Canadian side of the lines, and I luiderstand claims for repayment by tlie 
Canadian Government are to be submitted. If this be true similar action 
should at once be taken by the Canadian authorities. Again and again have 
American Indians stolen horses from botli settlers and Indians on the Cana- 
dian side of the lines, and thus far the American authorities have been much 
more remiss in recovering and restoring stolen property than have the 
Mounted Police. Here, too, their Indians have committed their depreda- 
tions in cool blood, as they can get no liquor on our side of the lines, while 
our Indians have been cheated of their goods and ponies by American whiskey 
traders whom they have met south of the lines, and after being set afoot in 
this way and crazed with poisonous liquor, it is not surprising that they 



140 



MANITOBA AND 



,. »'»'''i„ 



I; 

I: 

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should slaughter cattle and stoal ponies to " get even." The better way for 
both countries will be to make these crinijs extraditable offences, and then, 
and not till then, will thoy bo able to stamp out horse-stealing and " cattle- 
lifting " along the border. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



i^i'i. 






THE M PARLANE RANCHE-HISTOUY OF A PRAIRIE PIONEER — SEVERAL TRIBES HOLD A POW- 
WOW BEFORE HIS EXCELLENCY— DEXTEROUS RIDERS AND NIMBLE PONIES -CATTLE 
RAISING IN THE RANCHES-— PRICE OF FARM PRODUCE AND LABOUR— HOW CAPITAL AND 
INDUSTRY PAY. 

THE m'fAELANE RANCHE. 

FortMcLeod, Sept.l9. — This morning Idrove down to the McFarlane ranche 
about twoandahalf mileseast of this place, andafter looking over the farm, grain, 
stacks, and dairy I had a conversation with Mr. McFarlane relative to his opera- 
tions in this region. After spending eight years in the mining districts of the 
Western States he came to his present location five years ago without any capi- 
tal whatever, except a very small herd of cattle. To show as the result of five 
years' operations here, he has, besides considerable money at interest, 1,000 
acres of land fenced on the south bank of Old Man's River, 100 acres of which 
are now under cultivation, 300 head of cattle, and twenty head of horses. 
His crop this year consisting of wheat, barley, oats, and potatoes, is already 
bargained for at about the following prices per pound : — Wheat, 5c. ; barley, 
4c. ; oats, 6c. ; potatoes, 3^c. and 4c. The cash proceeds of this crop will be 
between ^,500 and $4,000. In addition to this and the natural increase of 
his herd Mr. McFarlane's dairy of thirty-five cows produces 4,000 pounds of 
butter annually, and this butter sells in summer for 50c. and in winter for §1 
per pound. The demand for all sorts of farm produce, even at the prices 
above quoted, is far in excess of the supply. Beyond the cost of agricultural 
implements Mr. McFarlane's outlay consists of the wages of one man all the 
year round and three extra men during the summer. Good farm labourers 
receive from $35 to §40 per month with board, and Mr. McFarl.ane tells me 
that he has a great deal of trouble to secure good men at the figures I have 
quoted. This year Mr. McFarlane's crops will average about as follows : — 
Wheat, 26 bushels to the acre ; barley, 35 ; oats, 50 ; and potatoes, 200. All 
root crops have done extremely well on this ranche, and there is an excellent 
market for produce of all sorts. Mr. McFarlane's cattle are mostly from 
Montana, and he has found the cows more than ordinarily good for dairy pur- 
poses. Indeed, the average farmer or stock -raiser would be greatly surprised 
to come upon a herd of these Montana cattle feeding on the rich buffalo grass 
in this region. Instead of the long-legged weedy looking brutes that in 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



141 



former clays were wont to be di-iven into Canada from Texas, he would find a 
handsome looking lot of animala that would readily pass for thoroughbred 
shorthorns ind very high class grade cattle, and instead of looking lank and 
hungry, they would look very much like stall-fed animals out for a few hours 
exercise. Indeed no one who has not seen them would believe the wonder- 
ful change tliat has been effected in the character of those wild cattle, through 
the introduction of highly prepotent bulls from the closely inbred shorthorn 
families. As an evidence of the extraordinary adaptability of this region 
for stoik-raisiug Mr. McFarlane informed me that though last winter was 
one of the most unfavourable for cattle that had been known hero for ten 
years, a cow whicli had run out and picked her own living all winter, was 
<lriven in off tlie range and killed by him in Mitrch, and though she had never 
had a po\)nd of feed beyond what she had picked up in the prairie, she. was 
as fat as any choice stall-fed beef he had ever seen. Her kidneys and the fat 
adhering to them weighed no less tlian ten pounds, and after all she was by 
no means an exceptional animal in the herd. Mr. McFarlane also keeps a 
large number of hens, and all the eggs that lie^does not re(iuire to use in his 
•own house soil readily at a dollar a dozen. He has also tried the experiment 
<.r sheep raising on a small scale, and the results so far have been very satis- 
factory. Last year his sheep clipped an avex-age of nine pounds of excellent 
wool. His horse- keeping costs him next to nothing, as his little band of 
twenty mostly consist of Kyuses and Bronchos that pick their own living and 
keep fat on the prairie all winter. From all that I can leai'n I do not think 
that the case of Mr. McFarlane is at all an exceptional one, or that he has 
done anything that any intelligent settler who has plenty of pluck and in- 
dustry might not accomplish in the same length of time ; and yet I would 
like to know in what part of Old Canada the same results could be reached by 
a man similarly situated, in the same length of time. 

Another settler with whom I had a lengthy conversation this morning was 
Mr. (t. F. Washter, of }>adeii, Germany. Mr. VVashter has had a chequered 
career. Born of a wealthy family iji Germany he came to the United States 
in 134(1. During the Crimean war he was recruiting for the British army in 
New York, and shipping his men to Halifax. He finally enlisted himself, 
but when he reached Oonatuutinople peace had been established, and return- 
ing to the United States he settled in Louisiana, where he accumulated a 
handsome property, and was located comfortably with his wife and family. 
When the American war bioke out he joined the Southern army, and at the 
€nd of that terrible conflict he had not only lost the whole of his property 
but worse than all, his wife and family. Commencing life an?vv ho first 
established himself as a cotton shipper, and finally came to fcho Western 
States, ultimately comiiig into the country of the Blackfeet as a whiskey 
trader. On one of these expeditions, before the international boundary was 
established and definitely known, he and his partners were overtaken by the 
U. S. ofticers, who attempted to arrest them and take away the liquor. 
Washter told them to ** stand off," that for all they knew he might be on 
Canadian soil, and fearing that he might be, the officers let him alone. 






142 



MANITOBA AND 




1 *<i« >». 



He was subsequently one of the proprietors of the notorious whiskey fort, 
" Whi op Up," and ultimately in 1874 or 1875, while trading at Sheep Creek, 
he killed a Spaniard in self-defence. He then fled this country and lost 
every dollar he was worth. Ultimately he returned and gave himself up 
here at McLeod, and was honourably acquitted. Once more he had to begin 
afresh in the world, and five years ago he settled upon his present location, 
eighteen miles from here, and near the Blood Indian Reservjition. He named 
his ranche " Stand Off," and began life with a capital of $lo in his pocket and 
no other property of any kind, besides being $1,000 in debt. This was five 
years ago, and now he has SCO acres of choice land fenced, ICO acres of which' 
are imder crop. He has an excellent band of carefully selected cattle, 132 
in number, twenty good horses (many of them much more than ordinarily 
valuable), and i» v*)ry fair share of ready monp". His grain crop this year 
will realize very little, if anything, short of $4,ia)0, and his dairy is now pro- 
ducing forty pounds of butter per week. He employs one man all the year 
round, and two or three extra men in harvest. He pays the same rate of wages 
<luoted by Mr. McFarlane, and says that he has great ditticulty in securing 
the services of steady, respectable farm labourers. Though he has forty 
milch cows, tame and well broken, Mr. Washter only milks nine of them, as 
ha cannot secure help to manage a dairy on a large scale. His crops, he tells 
me, will yield about the same per acre as Mr. McFarlane's, but several others 
who hav3 seen them tell me Washter has considerably under-estimated the 
yield of his own crops. Last year he tried the experiment of sowing thnothy 
seed on the high uplands, which many think will not be pi'oductive without 
irrigation, and the re.uilt is that ho has a hay field that will cut four tons to the 
acre. This is a most important discovery, as it proves that the upland benches 
are far more productive than is generally supposed. 



■■■ ,) 



AN INDIAN POW-WOW. 

This aiternoon the grandest [ndian pow-wow that has taken place during 
His Excellency's tour through the North-West was hold in the large plain 
just east of the Fort. There were about ;{,000 Indians, squaws, and papooses 
present, and the display of ponies was a really splendid ono. Promptly at 
two o'clook, the hour appointed fur the council, the Indians came swarming 
in from the diflorent camps that liad been made at difi'erent points about the 
Fort. Tlie Hlackfeet and Sarceos had occupied a position just north of tlio 
Fort, the Bloods wore just west of the village, and the Piegaiis a mile further 
west. Most of them were mounted, many of the ponies carrying two and 
e»en three individuals. The day was bright and warm, and I need not add that 
the brilliant drosses of the aborigines and their piebald and whi^o I^int<> 
ponies (many of the latter fancifully painted in bright colours) made a 
splendid disi)lay as they ncarod the pavilion whore His ExcoUoncy was to re- 
ceive them. Bofore settling down to the business in hand the Indians Imd a 
sham fight on horselHiek, and the skill they displayed in handling their 
spiightly, nimble and sure-footed ponies was really marvellous. They never 
guide them by the bit, if by chance they hap[ien to have one, but merely by 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



143 



the pressure of the lasso on either side of the animal's neck. Indeed many 
uf the ponies were merely guided by the rider leaninj^; over to right or left 
according to the direction in which he wished the pony to turn ; and the ac- 
curacy with which they would guide their horses in this way, even when the 
animals were at full gallop, was simply wonderful. At one time when they 
were galloping around in a circle at full speed they kept enlarging the circle 
till one or two of the riders actually touched their moccasins against me as 
they dashed past at full speed. Indeed, it seemed as if they could guide 
their ponies to an inch with the utmost certainty. I should think these hand- 
some and elever little ponies would be perfection itself for Polo. They are 
very light of foot, nimble and tractable. They will stop, start or tu;'n with 
lightning rapidity, they have uncommonly sound and strong feet and legs, 
and they are up to almost any weight. I weigh 185 pounds and 1 have an 
active little fourteen-hand pony that feels as strong under me as any sixteen- 
hand horse I ever mounted. After a very fine display of their wonderful 
horsemat.ship, a few fantastic dances, and a sham fight on foot at close 
c|uarters, the latter being very suggestive of a contest between " supers " on 
the stage, the Indians swarmed about the pavilion in great numbers, where 
His Excellency and suite. Colonel and Mrs. McLeod, Mr. Dewdney, Indian 
Commissioner ; Colonel Norman McLeod, Local Indian Agent, and a splendid 
looking guard of honour under command of Colonel Irvine, Commissioner 
N. W. M. P., were waiting to receive them. The Council was very like 
others which have preceded it. A number of chiefs of Bloods, Blackfeet, 
Picgims and Sarcees addressed His Excellency. They all spoke in the highest 
terms of Colonel McLeod and Mr. Dewdney, and the Piegans were particularly 
anxious that their farm instructor should remain with them " as long as the 
water runs in the Old Man's River." The chiefs also spoke in the most 'com- 
plimentary manner of Colonel Irvine, and of the force under his command, 
whom they regard as their best friends. At the close of their speeches. His 
Excellency spoke very kindly to them, and gave them some thoroughly good 
and practical advice. !:"onie of the Indians present boasted of names that 
would look rather startling in a city directory. "Culf JShirt" was riding up 
and down in front of the puviUon, telling with great satisfacHon how he had 
killed three Crees down at " Whoop Up'' in one ilay. Amongst other dis- 
tinguished individuals present wire '* Kunning Kabbit," " Eagle Tail,* 
"Red Cow," " Dog's Child," " Bull's Backfat," " BuH'alo-cow-in-the-mid. 
die," "Many-spotted- horses," " Belly Bute," " (Joing-to-the-bear " " The- 
nian-who-walks-on-his-heels," " Father-of -many-children," " Eagle-sitting- 
on-a-rock-with-his-tail-hanying-over," "Bad-head," " Bull-shield," " BuU- 
tunu»ig-around," " Weazel-eagle," " Co\uiting-coo " (recital cif brave deeds), 
" Counting-coo-on-the-lop," "Low Wouuvn ' (a Blood Indian), " ^Vliit« 
Antelope," " Running Wolf," *' Blackfoot-old-woman " (a Hlood Indian) 
"Wolf collar," " Wolf-Hhirt," " Moining riumo," " Flying Chief," " Chief 
Mountain " (for Canon Mi Kay) " Chief Bird " (for Rev, Mr. Tnvett). 

To-morrow morning His Excellency and party start westward to visit the 
Police and Indian Supply Fariu on Piniher Creek. 



fii 



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CHAPTER XXIX. 

MIS EXOKLLENCY NK.VR THE UOUNDAUY - INIiIAN DEPAUTMENT SUPl'LV KAKM— INCIDBNT-i 

in cuoshinc. om) man's kivek- nohody seu10u8ly huut- the e'oothil.i.s of thk 
" hockieh" an evening UAMHLE. 

PiN.HKK CuEEK, Sept. 20. — Tliis moriiing His Excellency and party bade 
good-bye to Fort McLeod, where they iiad spent a really enjoyable time de- 
spite the fact that it is the " hardest " place, so far as morals are concerned, 
to be found in the North- West, while the location is anything but pictures(|Uo 
or romantic. The journey to-day has been a rather long thirty miles, almost 
due west from Fort McLood. At the fort the mountains do not look more 
than four or five miles oti" on a bright day, and to one luiacfpiainted with the 
country the idea of driving thirty miles i<i a westerly direction from Fort 
McLeod without penetrating well into thorn would appear manifestly absurd. 
We have come a long thirty miles to-d.iy, and yet we are not (juito up to the 
base of the mountains though iln^y appear very close at hand. The journey 
was not a particularly interesting one. The country for a mile or two west 
of Fort McLeod, though very fair farming laud, is not nearly up to the ave- 
rage of what 1 have seen so far throughout the North- West Territory. It 
appears to be light and somewhat stony. This sort of soil was <mly seen for 
a short distance, at less than two miles west of the fort the character of the 
lienches or uplands began to improve, changing to a rich black Ijam similar 
to that seen all along the trail from Calgary to McLeod. We had not gone 
more than three miles, however, before the trail led down into the bottom 
lands of Old Man's River. Here the soil appeared rather light and gravelly, 
and though the grass was good and strong, I do not think it could be de- 
pended tipon tor anything like heavy cropping. About twelve miles from 
McLeod the trail crossed Old Man's River, and here there came near being 
two serious aooideuts. The river at the Ford is deep and swift, and the oast 
bank, though not high, is very precinitous. The four-hotso team hauling His 
Excellency's ambulance descendeil tiie bank safely, but just as they wore in 
the deepest and swiftest part of the stream one of the wheel horses began to 
plunge, and piit his fore feet over tlie load bars. This threw him on his side 
and but for the veryclever an'ljplucky manner in which ho was handled by his 
driver he would have been drowned. Mr. Dowdney and I came next, and 
made the passage safely enough, as did several others, but when the cook's 
waggon came along, bringing a largo share of the commissary stores, cooking 
utensils, tableware, and some of His Excellency's personal luggage, the 
leaders swerved suddenly at the water's edge, and the heavily-laden waggon 
rolled down the embankment into tho deep, swift stream. Fortunately the 
horses got free from the waggon and hauled the driver out by tho reins, while 
tho other constable with this waggon, after disappearing into tho river under 






THK NOHTH-WKST. 



145 



,S OF THU 



irty bade 
I lime de- 
mcorned, 
cturestiuo 
}8, alraoat 
look more 
\ with the 
From Fort 
ly absurd. 
\ip to the 
10 journey 
• two west 
DO the avc- 
ritory. It 
iy seen for 
cter of the 
am similar 
d not gone 
,he bottom 
(1 gravelly, 
mid be do- 
miles from 
near being 
nd the oast 
uvnling His 
oy wore in 
3S began t(t 
)U his 8ide> 
idled by his 
next, and 
the cook's 
•OS, cooking 
iggHgo, the 
leu waggon 
natoly the 
reins, while 
river under 



the load, floated out with the swift current apparently uriujured. The 
<laniage done to the load was not so serious as anticipated, thjat^h some very 
handsome antelope skin Indian coaturces, purchased at McL-Jod by His Ex- 
cellency, received a thorough wetting. A few miles beyond the cronsing the 
Indian village on the Piegan Reserve was reached. The place was deserted, 
however, as the Indians had not yet returned from the fort, whither they had 
gone to meet the (Jovernor-Cieneral. This is certainly one of the oddest 
looking villages I have ever seen. The Indians have built their little cabins 
just where they pleased, without any reference to streets. The houses face 
in all directions, but no two appear to have been built eithor parallel witli 
or at right angles to, ach other. TKoy are built of small logs, plastered with 
mud, and roofed with poles, rudely thatched with straw and mud. All have 
<loor8 of some sort, and some few have windows. The roofs are nearly flat, 
and the walls are, in nuuiy cases, far from forming rectangular parallelogramn, 
while very few of tliom have per[)endicular walls. They are vastly better 
thiin wigwams or toepes, and it is to be hoped that this rude attempt on tlio 
part of the Piegans to conform to the etistoms of the white men will not bo 
unattended with good results. A few miles farther on the house of Mr. 
Charles Kettles, the farm instructor of this reserve, was reached. Mr. Ket- 
tles appears to bo on excellent terms with his pupils, and though I do not 
regard the reserve as a good one, the Piegans are evidently making very 
fair progress. Tliere are forty-eight acres broken on this farm, the crops 
are only moderately good, and Mr. Kettles is of opinion that the place is tm- 
tit for raising anything like heavy grain crops. The farm instructor was also 
of opinion that the land in this whole vicinity is rather light and patchy 
for agricultural purposes. In addition to being a popular man with the 
Indians, Mr. Kettles appears to be an excellent woodman, as the remarkably 
neat axe work on his house, root-house, and outbuildings abundantly prove. 
The Indians are rationed three times a week at the farm, and the produce of 
the farm is stored for rations during the winter. He-crossing Old Man's 
River the outtit proceeded to Pincher Creek, where the Police and Indian 
Department Supply Farms are located. This is a beautiful valley, and there 
are already several settlers doing well here. To night His Excellency and 
party are encamped at Col. IMcLeod's house, and Mr, Dewdney and I have 
o\ir tent pitched at the police farm nearly two miles farther up Pincher 
Creek. The weather is keen and cold to-night. 

I'iNcuER CiiKKK, Sept. 21 . — This has been acold, wet, and very disagreeable 
day, and I have spent most of the time in camp. Lord Lorne, Dr. Mac- 
(iregor, Mr. Austin, Mr. Sidney Hall, and Captain Hagot remained in camp 
while Col. Do Winton, Major Chater, Capt. Percival, Dr. Sowoll, and Mr, 
r)ewdnoy went out shooting, and enjoyed a very Hue afternoon's sport. This 
afternoon I cross^'d the creek and visited Mr. Milton Morden, who settled 
here late Inst fall. Mr, Morden ft)rmerly lived north of Toronto. As yet ho 
has hardly had time to form an opinion of this country, but so far he 
dunks extremely well of it. Ho has soventy-tive head of Mimtana cattle 



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140 



MANITOBA AND 




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that are doing well. His crops are looking well, and though he has yet bro- 
ken but a small portion of his ranche, he is in a fair way to do well. 

The Police farm, a very pretty location, is in charge of Maj or Shurtleft". 
Here the brood mares belonging to the force are kept. There are also a 
number of promising colts that have been bred on the farm, while there are 
usually some temporarily unserviceable horses recruiting on the place. 
Clandeboye, a chestnut horse by Enquirer, o\it of Leisure, by Red Eye, is 
the herd stallion in use. Just now the herd is short some 74 animals that 
were run off by American horse thieves, along with some fifty or sixty horses 
and ponies in August, but the animals were recovered by some ranchemen 
south of the lines, and Major Shurtlett' is now absent at Fort Assiniboine to 
claim them from the American authorities, who are holding them till he ar- 
rives. There are on this farm some two hundred acres under crop. The 
most of this is sown with oats, six acres being in potatoes and one small field 
in barley. The oats turn out about 30 and the potatoes 150 bushels to the 
acre. The weather is still cold and dreary, and there is no promise of any 
inmiediate improvement. 

PiNcHER Ckeek, Sept. 22. — The weather was bright and comparatively 
pleasant to-day, and immediately after breakfast Mr. Dewdney drove down 
to His Excellency's camp in order to accompany hiiu and his party seven 
miles southward along the valley to the Indian Supply Farm, and there take 
leave of them. In the valley we pas' d the claims of several settlers, all of 
whom appeared to be doing well. Mr. S*^^eed has a very promising looking 
claim, which is already beginning to wear the appearance of a prosperous 
homestead. He has a large neat-looking frame house two stories high, and 
everything about the place wears a look of comfort and prosperity. 

The Indian Department Supply Farm was reached by eight o'clock, and His 
Excellency and friends were welcomed by Mr. Bruce, the agent. Here some 
time was spent in examining the products of the farm and in questioning Mr. 
Bruce regarding the character and peculiarities of the region in which he is 
located. There are 310 acres broken and fenced, of whicii four acres are in 
wheat, fifty acres in oats, sixty-five acres in barley, twelve acres in potatoes, 
twenty-three acres in turnii)s, and one aero in carrots. One hundred and 
sixty acres of the land broken is still idle, because it was impossible to get 
seed for ir. During the summer Mr. Bruce had an average of five men 
employed about the farm, btit during the winter only a cook and three men 
will bo employed. He is now working twelve horses, but says that he should 
have more in order to get the work along properly. He keeps four cows to 
supply the house with milk and butter. Mr. Bruce did not talk very encour- 
agingly of the country here. He said in fact that " it had been made for 
bufl'alois and Indians." His crops ho reports as follows : — Wheat, 25 bush, 
to the acre ; oats, less than 20 ; and barley, 30 bush, to the acre. His pota- 
toes are very light, and his turnips very fair. The surest crops according to 
Mr. Bruce are barley and n)ot8 of all sorts. Ho thinks, too, that oats would 
be safe if put in in proper time, and in this connection he made a suggestion 
which, though not at all new in this country, appears to be a very sensible 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



14^ 



IS yet bvo- 

5ll. 

Shurtleff. 
are also a 

there are 
the place, 
ed Eye, is 
imals that 
ixty horses 
ranchemen 
iniboine to 
till he ar- 
crop. The 
small fieltl 
lels to the 
aUe of any 

aaparatively 
drove down 
party seven 
i there take 
ttlers, all of 
ping looking 
prosperous 
IS high, and 

y- 

)ck, and His 

Here some 
itiouing Mr. 
which he is 
acres are iix 
in potatoes, 
undred and 
sible to get 
of live men 
I three men 
it he shouUl 
our cows to 
ery encour- 

n made for 
at, 25 bush. 
His pota- 
iccording to 

oats would 
[V suggestion 

Ty sensibk^ 



one. It was that seed thould be put in late in the fall, too late to germinate 
tlie same year, but ready to begin growing as soon as the frost goes out of 
the ground in the spring. Altogether Mr. Bruce appears inclined to take 
what I think to be an uni^ocessarily gloomy view of the future of the beau- 
tiful region in which he is located. The summers, he says, are very uncer- 
tain, and he cited the unseasonable snow storm of August, 1880, in proof of 
his views. He does not think the bench lands would afford sure crops, and 
altogether he thinks the Indian Farm is much too near the mountains to be 
valuable for agricultural purposes. He said that last winter was very cold 
and stormy. There were in his region only two Chinook thaws, each of them 
lasting some three \.eek8. He described the wintei'shere as very unreliable, 
and helu that a farmer could not count on any work with a moderate degree 
of certainty during the winter months. It was a good cattle country, how- 
ever, as the wind usuf Uy kept the hills swept bare and left the grass exposed 
for the cattle. He was of opinion that any hardy timber would grow on the 
prairie. Altogether he considered the country much better adapted for 
stock-raising than agriculture. Here we were shown some remarkably fine 
samples of grain that had been grown on the place. One stool of oats con- 
tained 23 stocks, with from 85 to 93 grains to the stock. The samples of 
wheat showed 70 stocks to the stool, and from 43 to 55 grains to the stock. 
The farm is supplied with an excellcat quality of bituminous coal from a seam 
about four feet thick less than a mile from the house and up towards the 
mountains. 

GOOD-BYE. 

As soon as the "evidence" of Mr. Bruce "had been taken," His Excellency 
and party prepared to continue their march to the frontier, which, though per- 
haps a day's journey or more from this point, is easily located by the naked 
eye by landmarks along the mountain range. And here Mr. Dewdney and I 
took leave of them, and not without many regrets, for the journey through 
the North-West, despite many annoyances and some little hardships, has 
been to me one of the most thoroughly enjoyable I ever made. From first 
to last His Excellency and every member of his party have treated mo with 
*ho kindliest consideration and there is not one of them who has not shown 
the most friendly interest in the siiccess of my expedition. Had I been one 
of his invited guests, His Excellency could not have taken greater pains in 
att'ording me every facility for obtaining information concerning the country 
through which wo have travelled, and while I have been allowed to feel that 
I was travelling ([uite independently of the Vice-llogal outfit, I have always 
found in Lord Lome the most genial and neighbourly of fellow-travellers. 
On every expedition which I wished to join, whether in cpiest of game or 
information, I was always a heartily welcomed guest. Whenever I had 
troubles through breakdowns or other misbaps, His Excellency invariably 
showed the kindliest interest in my welfare, and when my half-breed had 
been taken seriously ill on the plains below Carlton, he was one of the first 
to walk over throui^h the wet grass to my tent and cnciuire personally as to 



148 



MANITOBA AND 




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his condition. Indeed, I am very sure that I shall greatly miss such exceed- 
ingly genial and friendly travelling companions on the long and lonely trip 
that now lies before me, and on which I determined .13 soon as I learned 
that Lord Lome had abandoned the idea of travelling down Bow River and 
the South Saskatchewan by boat. To-night or early to-morrosv Lord Lome 
and his party will cross the 49th parallel, and then of course the interest in 
the country through which they are travelling will cease so far as Canadian 
readers are concerned. On the other hand, though our trip through thu 
North-West has been a long and comprehensive one, a large and important 
section has unavoidably been left out. Edmonton, though acknowledged to 
be one of the most prominent points in the North-West, has not been seen, 
nor has the long stretch of country lying between it and Battleford, as well 
as that portion of the trail (some 200 miles in length) between Calgary and 
Edmonton. 

My present intention is to return to Calgary, and then drive up the trail 
to Edmonton, and if possible visit St. Albert. I shall then take what is 
known as the " south trail " from Edmonton to Battleford. From Bat tie - 
ford, instead of taking the back track to Carlton, I shall take a more south- 
erly course, and not tai'e in any 01 the trail previously travelled till I reach 
Qu'Appelle. At that point, passing tar south of Carlton and Prince Albert, 
T shall take the old trail to Fort EUice, from which place I shall probably 
drive down to Brandon, and travel thence to Winnipeg by the railway, which 
it is expected will have reached the crossing of the Assiniboine some time 
before I can reasonably expect to drive to it. I am not ignorant of the fact 
that I am taking some little risk of having to spend a portion of the winter 
in this territory, by starting on such a very long drive so late in the season, 
and I am very sure that the nights are even now so cold that camping out is 
anything but a cheerful occupation. In returning I shall have to travel 
through a good deal of open country, where the collecting or packing of any 
more wood than that absolutely necessary for cooking would be quite out of 
the question. I do not expect to see many places where my half-breed and 
I can afford the luxury of a roaring camp-fire. Snow-storms are liable tu 
visit us occasionally, or what are e(iually bad, cold rain-storms. The trails, 
too, will in all probability be n\uch worse than many of those over which we 
have travelled, and should any mishaps overtake me, I can no longer look 
for that friendly assistance) which the othcers and men of the escort were 
always ready to render me. In fact I feel as though I had now done with 
the enjoyable part of the journey, and as if the rest of it would bo a tedious 
succession of hardships and privations. At best I shall have a long, cold, 
lonely iourney before I can roach Winnipeg again. 

Returning to camp in time for luncheon, Mr. Dewdney and I crossed to 
the north side of Pinchor Creek, early in the afternoon, and taking the west- 
ward trail that loads up to the Indian Department mill, set out to visit that 
establishment. The bench lands over which we travelled were well covered 
with a rich growth of butl'alo grass, and it looked to be well adapted either 
ior stock-raising or agricultural purposes. In the bottoms were the ranches 






I 



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THE NOilTH-WEST. 



14f^ 



3 such exceed- 
ed lonely trip 
m as I learned 
3ow River and 
)w Lord Lome 
the interest in 
ir as Canadian 
p through tho 
and important 
sknowledged to 
not been seen, 
.tleford, as well 
m Calgary and 

ive up the trail 
jn take what is 
From Battle- 
} a more south - 
filed till I reach 
Prince Albert, 
I shall probably 
; railway, which 
oine some time 
rant of the fact 
n of the winter 
e in the season, 
camping out is 
have to travel 
packing of any 
be quite out of 
r half-breed and 
ns are liable to 
1U3. The trails, 
) over which we 
no longer look 
the escort were 
now done with 
uld bo a tedious 
vo a long, cold, 

md I crossed to 
taking the west- 
out to visit that 
ure well covered 
1 adapted either 
vere the ranches 



I 



of several settlers, who appeared to be doing well, but in this connection I 
may remark that tlie pioneers in the region underrate the value of the bench 
lands as compared with the bottoms. It is, of course, well enough to build 
houses, barns, and corralls in the bottoms, where they are afforded a natural 
shelter from the winds that sweep over these great plains, but I think that 
on the benches is usually found a better quality of soil, while it is an estab- 
lished fact that the frosts are nearly always more severe on the low bottoms 
than on the uplands. In most of the valleys of these mountain streams the 
soil is rather light, and * hough capable of growing excellent grass, I think it 
is often too light for constant cropping. 

The Indian Department mill is situated on the east bank of^what is now 
known as the " Mill Stream," which falls into Old Man's River a short dis- 
tance below the mill site. The mill itself is only a small affair, having but a 
limited grinding capacity (the gristing machinery, though on the ground, is 
not yet in place) while the saw-mill is only capable of cutting between two 
and three thousand feet per day. The mill site is an excellent one, however, 
and the limits, or at least what I saw of them, in walking about five miles 
southward and up the creek, are really excellent, taking into consideration 
the limited supply and probably strong demand that may be expect'jd in this 
country for lumber of almost any sort. The forks of the creek are well- tim- 
bered with a sort of red spruce, which though hard to cut and work up, is 
very strong and durable. In my short walk up to the mountains I saw a 
great many trees that would measure from eighteen inches to two feet across 
the stump, and long enough below the branches to cut logs of clear stuff from 
twelve to eighteen feet in length. These trees are called pine by some, while 
others assert that there is no true pine on this side of the water-shed ; but 
be this as it may, I am very sure that there is a largo quantity of really good 
timber on the fifty-mile limits belonging to this mill. From what I could see 
from the slo >es of tlie moimtains with a powerful glass I should imagine that 
within a radius of twenty miles from this mill there is a very large amount 
of timber that must in a few years become extremely valuable. 

AN ACCIDENT. 

Just as we arrived at the mill the workmen and others about the place 
were in a state of the wildest excitement. Only a few moment'^ before wo 
had reached there the jointer in the shingle mill had burst, and Joseph Field 
(formerly of Prescott, Ont.) was terribly and, in all probability, fatally in- 
jured. The mountftin slopes above the mill tempted me into taking a long 
walk (to which 1 have already alluded in connection with the timber limits 
belonging to the mill). Following the east bank of the mill stream, I walked 
up to where its tributaries pour into it from a dozen or more deep ravines 
;ind canyons that look as though the base of the mountains had been shivered 
and rent by some tremendous force, leaving a number of long, deep, and tort- 
uousravines, v/ith rugged and precipitous edges. Although I had only started 
with the intention of walking about a mile up the creek, I kept climbing a 
succession of foot-hills, the view from each summit luring me on to the next, 



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till at last I found that I had gained an extraordinary altitude, and the rug- 
ged, snow-capped peaks looked so near that it seemed as if I could almost 
reach out my hand and touch the hem of their fleecy, spotless robes. The 
evening, though bright and pleasant, was fresh and cool ; and though the 
yellow and brown slopes of the foothills were resplendent in the slanting 
rays of a glorious September sun, I could at times feel a breath of the even- 
ing air that felt as nipping and frosty as though it had drifted over a snow- 
covered plain in mid -winter. Suddenly, however, I found myself in a deep 
cold shadow, and looku g westward 1 noticed for the first time that I had al- 
ready so far exceeded the time I had allotted to this little excursion that the 
Bun was already sinking behind one of the great pyramidal peakfl of the 
"Rockies." 

Thus warned, I began very reluctantly to turn my steps towards the mill. 
By this time I was considerably east of the main body of the mill stream, as 
its most easterly fork ran down a deep ravine which formed an almost im- 
passable barrier as far as I followed its east bank. This stream was rather 
tortuous, and though I followed its general direction I did not keep close to 
the edge of the ravine, and was thus enabled to save considerable time by 
cutting ofi" some of its curves. In crossing one of these bends, where the 
stream made a deep swerve westward, I noticed a small band of about thirty 
Montaiia cattle feeding about a quarter of a mile inland. I had often heard 
that it was dangerous to venture near these brutes on foot, but they looked 
so unlike all my preconceived ideas of wild cattle (which I supposed to be 
nearly all horns and legs, with very light bodies), and so like a herd of well- 
bred and well-fed Shorthorns that I could not believe them very dangerous. 
For all this, however, I gave them a very wide berth in passing ; but just as 
I was, as I supposed, safely out of their reach, I heard a heavy trampling be- 
hind me, and turning I saw the whole herd trotting towards me. I was now 
close to the edge of a cut bank, however, and feeling tolerably secure I con- 
tinued to walk on deliberately, as though I had not noticed them. They 
were not to be trifled v..ih, however, and tossing their heads furiously, and 
bellowing as they camo, they charged at full gallop. I ran thirty or forty 
yards, and jumped over the edge of the cut bank, but they had no notion of 
stopping even after I had disappeared. As they neared the bank I sprang up 
and tired a shot in the air from my rifle, and sprung another cartridge into 
the chamber to use in a more serious manner should it become necessary. 
At the crack of the rifle, however the brutes stopped short, and after hesi- 
tating a few seconds they turned and galloped off in the opposite direc- 
tion. 

As I walked farther down the branch and reached the mill stream, I turned 
and looked up the deep narrow valley through which it runs, and here I saw 
one of the loveliest and most romantic of landscapes spread out before me. 
The deep canyon-like valley which opened in the foreground reached back- 
ward and upward away through the middle distance and into the background, 
where it was lost in the deep rich bronze of the foot hills, while above and 
beyond rose the great sharp mountain peaks wrapped in their pure spotless 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



151 



ind the riig- 
ould alm(jst 
robes. The 
though the 
the slanting 
of the even- 
)V6r a snow- 
elf in a deep 
hat I bad al- 
'sion that the 
)eaks of the 



mantle of newly fallen snow. All along the valley were to be seen the bril- 
liant autumnal tints on the frost-nipped foliage, in which light pea green, 
lemon-chrome, straw colour, gold, orange, scarlet, and crimson were daintily 
blended, relieving the black green of the spruces, and the deep purplish 
bronze of the leafless brush and furze. Belund the great snow-capped peak 
on the right the sun was still shining, and its beams, streaming through the 
lofty wind-swept passes and narrow gorges among the mountain crests beyond, 
fell in bright belts and patches across the gorgeous medley of rich colours that 
adorned the shadowy slopes of the long deep valley. 

Hurrying back to the mill, I was soon in Mr. Dewdney's buckboard again 
and we reached camp about nine o'clock to-night. 



rds the mill, 
ill stream, as 
1 almost im- 
n was rather 
keep close to 
ible time by 
8, where the 
about thirty 
d often heard 
t they looked 
pposed to be 
herd of well- 
ry dangerous. 
; but just as 
trampling be- 
i. I was now 
secure I con- 
thom. They 
'uriously, and 
lirty or forty 
no notion of 
c I sprang up 
cartridge into 
ae necessary, 
id after hesi- 
jposite direc- 

eam, I turned 
nd here I saw 
it before mo. 
reached back- 
e background, 
ile above and 
pure spotless 



! 



CHAPTER XXX. 

PANGEn OF AN INDIAN WAU--N0K'WEST COAL SECOND ONI.Y TO ANTHUACITE—STRANl.a 
PHASES OF LIFE AT i'OKT McLEOD— FORT JICLEOD SLANG -ABUNDANCE AND EXCELLENCE 
OF THE COAL— TEMPTATIONS OF INDIAN INSTRUCTORS— HOUSE AND CATTLE 
THIEVING -AN INDIAN OUTBREAK THREATENING. 

Fort McLeod, Sept. 20 — Since the last instalment of ray journal was 
written, incidents have been so few and far between that a daily record would 
have been an exceedingly scanty one. 

The absence from the police force of the large band of horses stolen by 
American thieves, the deterioration of some 200 that at one time or another 
have been employed in transporting His Excellency and party across the 
plains from the end of the railway track to the Rocky Mountains, and the 
absence of the lurge outfit under Colonel Crozier, that is now carrying him 
over the last stage of his long overland trip, have so reduced the number of 
available horses here that it has bean necessary to delay ray departure for 
Calgary beyond the time I had expected. During my stay here, however, I 
have thoroughly enjoyed the novel phase of society presented by the always- 
shifting population of Fort McLeod, which is wholly unlike anything to be 
seen in Old Canada. Here in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains even 
Canadians are no longer the same men they were in Canada. Tliey ride on 
horseback, wear Mexican spurs, utterly abjure English, Canadian, or indeed 
any but Mexican saddles, and talk the slang of frontiersmen and ranchers, 
indeed, everybody who lives here for a month appears to drift imperceptibly 
into using the local slang. Only yesterday 1 heard an old coloured woman 
describing how for fifteen months she did the work in a gentleman's family 
here and took care of the baby all the time. She said, ** 1 jest used to have 
him with ^ne from morning till night, an' when I had any other work to do 



5; 



152 



MANITOBA AND 



»• ^' 



< WM^ 



• H -I 



< i<l« -1. 



\, 



I jest used to * picket ' Jiim by one foot to the stove-leg and let him pull away 
till 1 was ready to take him up again. " 

Comparatirely few of the rougher element here go by their own names, 
and as illustrative of this I will relate a well authenticated story, just as it 
was told to mo. An esteemed Catholic priest was visiting here, and the 
gentleman who was walking up street with him desired to introduce a 
friend. Seeing his friend across the street he called him over and said, 

' ' Froggy, let me introduce you to Father ," and " Father ,. 

permit me to present a very old friend whom I have known for fourteen 
years, Mr. — Mr. — ah — why, Froggy, what the h — 1 is your name ; you never 
told me ? " 

Among the names by which men are known here may be quoted the fol- 
lowing : — " Poker Brown," *' Bed Fi^zpatrick," " Tennessee," " California,'* 
" Buo.k Smith," "French Sam," " Nigger Dave," '' Spanish Joe," "Dutch 
Fred," "Tin-cup Joe," "Yeast Powder Bill," "Diamond R. Brown,* 
" Water-cart Billy," "The Pointer," "Sitting Bull," " Vanderbilt, No. 2," 
"Goose Neck," " Texas Jones," " Vici," " Captain Jack," " Banjo Mike," 
" Old Smoothy," " Tex" (for Texas), " Bear Paw Jack," " Four-Jack-Bob,'^ 
and " Rutabaga Bill." Among the half-breed women are " The Gopher," 
" Croppy," " Cut Nose," and " Wagg.m-box Julia." There are also " The 
Mule Family," and the " Jocko Outfit," by which two well-known half-breed 
families are designated. 

Since my arrival here Major Shurtleff has returned with the seventy-four 
police horses, and a large number of the ponies stolen from the Police Farm 
in August. They have come back looking very well. 

i met Mr. Dawson, of Montreal, the other day, and had the pleasure for a 
few moments of listening to his viewy regarding this country, which he has 
been carefully exploring for some time. Regarding the soil, I found that he 
had little to communicate that would be new to those who have been reading 
my journal as it has been published, but his views on other matters connect- 
ed with this region were full of interest. 

OOAI,. 

He was of the opinion that for the present, at least, very little could be 
made by operating the coal mines here. Thiit was not because of any defi- 
ciency in the quantity of excellent coal to be iound, but because tiie coal is 
so very generally distributed, that it would scarcely pay miners to work it for 
local coi:sumption. Indeed, there appears to be such an abundance of coal 
along the base of the mountains, from the Bally River up to Edmonton, that 
the qi'.estion of fuel for the great plains is virtually set at rest. The coal here 
is not the common lignite (as it is generally supposed to be in Old Canada), 
but a I.ig'i grade of biUnninoua coal, equal, if not superior, to any grade be- 
■ow anthracite. There is an extensive deposit near Whoop Up, and another 
large seam near the Indian Department mill, eight or ten miles west of the 
Police Farm, on Pincher Creek. There ia excellent coal on High Rk'er, and 
in many other places in this section. 



THE NORTH-WEST, 



153 



uU away 

(i namea, 
just as it 
and the 
roduce a 
md said, 

fourteen 
row never 

d the fol- 
lUfornia,"'' 
' "Dutch 
Brown,' 
t, No. 2," 
ijo Mike," 
ack-Bol),' 
Gopher," 
also " The 
half-breed 

venty-four 
alice Farm 

isure for a 
lich he has 
d that he 
en reading 
rs connect- 



could b&^ 
: any defi- 
tiie coal is 
work it for 
[ice of coal. 
)nton, that 
e coal here 
i Canada), 
grade be- 
nd another 
vest of the 
RiA'er, and 



To-day Mr. Dewdney has been hard at work investigating the character of 
the farm instructor on the Blood reservation, but as yet the case is not quite 
concluded. Mr. Dewdnej', I may say, appears to be thoroughly in earnest 
About his work, and he will, I think, in time, have his troubk' ame charge in 
a greatly improved condition ; but in ihe meantime he has many difficulties to 
contend against, not the least of his troubles being the securing of suitable farm 
instructors. To be a good farm instructor, a man should not only thoroughly 
understand farming and have a faculty of imparting what he knows, but he 
must have that knowledge of Indian character that can only be acquired by 
a permanent residence among them. In addition to all this, a man to suc- 
ceed as a farm instructor m\i8t have his heart thoroughly in his work. He 
nvist have the perseverance and patience, and should have the enthusiasm of 
9, thorough missionary. Besides all this, he should be a competent and tho- 
roughly upright business man, for the temptations to peculation are often 
very strong, and it is extremely difficult to check over the details of a farm 
instructor's operations for a year. It is an easy thing for the farm instructor 
and the contractor who supplies him to combine and swindle both the Gov- 
ernment and the Indians. Suppose, for example, that the Indians are being 
rationed at three pounds of flour and six pounds of beef each per week. Ihis 
for a band of 500 souls would amount to fifteen sacks of flour and 3,000 lbs. 
of beef passing through the instructor's hands every week. It is an easy 
thing to deduct 25 per cent, from an Indian's rations without his knowing it, 
every time they are served out to him ; and if this were done the instructor 
and the agent would have the opportunity of dividing between them 375 lbs. 
of flour and 750 lbs. of beef every week, and this at 10 cents per lb. for flour 
and 10 cents per lb. for beef, the rates at which I buy my supplies, would 
amount to a weekly drawback of $37.50 on the flour and $75 on the beef, 
leaving the nice little sum of $112.50 to divide between the instructor 
and contractor every Saturday night. I do not mean to say that any- 
•thing of this kind is done, but I mention the figures to show how easily 
it could be done, and how much responsibility rests upon Mr. Dewd- 
ney, who is expected to see that the business transactions on all the reser- 
vatioi;s are properly conducted. To suppose that the average man who 
depends for a livelihood upon some sort of a position in the Civil Service is 
tit for such an appointment, is manifestly absurd. The men who are of the 
right stamp for work of this kind are scarce and their services are usually in 
too great demand for private enterprises to permit of them being hawked 
around Ottawa for vacancies in the Civil Service. It is not sur^ .rising then 
that Mr. Dewdney must necessarily be greatly embarrassed in the working of 
his department. At the same time ho has even now many very capable and 
upright men serving under him, but until the matter of appointments shall 
have been made a qiiestion of fitness and merit, rather than of political pa- 
tronage, his efi"orts at putting his department in thoroughly efficient working 
order must be very heavily handicapped. Even as it is, however, the Indian 
Department is performing a very valuable service. Many of the Indian bands 
are taking hold of agriculture ^with i\ hearty good will, and in Big Child's 
J 



154 



MANITOBA AND 









'"^l. 



I ■ 



I 



reserve, near Carlton, thoy are nearly, or quite, self-supporting. The Pie- 
gans, who are located near here, are also making good progress though their 
reserve is a poor one and though they have only been on it for a short time. 
As for the Blackfeet, on the reservation at the lower crossing of Bow lliver, 
they have made very unsatisfactory progress, and it is not at all improbable 
that both they and the Bloods may make serious trouble before the winter 
is over. They have paid little attention to their crops and appear to take 
much more kindly to predatory raids and horse-stealing than they do to farm 
labour. Crowfoot complained at the Council, which we attended, that his 
rations were not what they ought to be, and 1 think it is not at all impossible 
that he may have good ground for complaining, and so there may be serious 
trouble brewing, for the Bloods, Blackfeet, and other wild Indians of the 
south are not the class of men to be trifled with. They are, I think, more 
resolute and warlike than the Crees and Saulteaux uf the north, and should 
they once break out in defiance of the police I cannot but shudder to think 
of the possible results. Though so far the police have been able to make 
arrests of Indian depredators in the face of ovewhelming odds, the general 
impression among the best informed frontiersmen is that this game of bluff is 
r.bout played out, and that the day when three or four red-coated prairie 
troopers, through sheer pluck and coolness, can overawe a large band of 
Bloods, Piegans, or Blackfeet has now nearly, or quite, passed by, and that 
in future the greatest caution will have to be exercised in dealing with these 
lawless, half-starved savages. Even now horse-stealing and " cattle-lifting"' 
is going on in various quarters in spite of the vigilance of the handfuls of po- 
lice stationed at different points throughout this great stretch of country, and 
settlers and ranchmen are threatening to take the law into their own hands. 
Should they do so the most frightful results will be sure to follow, and a 
general uprising of the Indian tribes might confidently be predicted. No 
matter what the cost may be, I think the police force should be doubled and 
the Indian Commissioner shoulr* be invested for this winter at least with ab- 
solute authority to grant to the Indians such supplies as may be necessary 
tr> keep them from starving to death. It will certainly be cheaper to feed 
these Indians than to fight them, and should they once set the authority of 
the Government at defiance, there is no force in this region that could rea- 
sonably be expected to enforce that authority in the presence of overwhelm- 
ing numbers of hostile savages. Now that the buffalo has returned to this 
couiiii-y, the trouble may be staved off this winter, but in the long run I 
think it would be better for the Indians had the buffalo never come back. 
The presence of buffalo diverts even the best of them from agricultural pur- 
Buits,and they relapse into their old modes of life, to which they are ardently 
attached. The presence of the buffalo also operates unfavourably in another 
respect. It sets them looking about for swift-footed ponies suitable for the 
chase, and as these are too costly for destitute Indians to buy they are apt to 
adopt the only course left to them, and steal what they require. Only a short 
time ago the Bloods stole a band of ponies from the Stonies at Morleyville, 
and the sufferers are so enraged at their U sa that it would be very unpleas- 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



l.')5 



The Pie- 
igh their 
art time, 
w Uiver, 
probable 
e winter 
f to take 
o to farm 
that hia 
mpossible 
36 serious 
ns of the 
ink, more 
[id should 
r to think 
e to make 
ne general 
of bluff is 
ed prairie 
e band of 
f, and that 
with these- 
tie-lifting"' 
Ifuls of po- 
untry, and 
>wn hands, 
low, and a 
icted. No 
)ubled and 
1st with ab- 
le necessary 
per to feed 
luthority of 
t could rea- 
overwhelm- 
ned to this 
long run t 
come back, 
iultural pur- 
are ardently 
in another 
table for the 
ey are apt to 
Only a short 
Morleyville, 
ery unpleas- 



ant for any unfortunate Blood who might fall in their way. In short, while 
it is very easy to find fault with the management of any troublesome depart- 
ment like this, it is not quite so easy to suggest any changes that would, un- 
der present circumstances, be thoroughly safe and satisfactory. It will cost 
a good deal of money to make the 25,000 Indians, that have been driven 
away here to the base of the Rocky Mountains, by the progress of settlement, 
prosperous and law-abiding citizens, but I think the policy now being pursued, 
that of teaching them to make a living through agriculture and stock-raising 
is a sound one, as every Indinn who succeeds in making for himself a compe- 
tency in this way will exert a very powerful influence for good upon others 
of his own race. As soon as he has a band of cattle or ponies, or a little 
ranche under crop, he becomes a friend of law and order and an ally of the 
white settlers, while his comparative wealth invests him with exceptional 
weight and influeuce with his own people. Thus it will be seen that every 
dollar now judiciously spent in encouraging industrious, thrifty Indians may, 
a very few years hence, save the expenditure of hundreds of dollars in fight- 
ing hostile or feeding starving ones. 

To-morrow 1 shall set out on my long and dreary drive of twelve or thir- 
teen hundred miles to Brandon via Edmonton and Battleford. I have heard 
some very unfavourable reports concerning the Edmonton trail (which I trust 
are somewhat exaggerated) and as we had a snow-storm to day I am not ob- 
livious to the fact that I may have some very ugly and possibly dangerous 
snow-storms before I reach the railway. I havo learned, however, to dis- 
count to a certain extent the tales toJd by the travv "Jt^vs about the depth of 
muskegs, tlip swimming of rivers, the fury of snow-storms, Ac, &c., and at 
all events I have no doubt as to my duty in the matter. Edmonton is one 
of the most impoitant settlements in the North- West, and I regard it as of 
the last importance that I should visit it before 1 return to the comforts and 
enjoyments of what is commonly termed here " civilization." If my ponies 
pull through all right, the horse thieves keep away from my camp, I hope 
to land safely enough, and as I have four good Kyuses they are not likely to 
wear out. While if the horse-thieves attempt to " set me afoot" they will 
require to be extremely cautious, if they do not desire to find their numbers 
depleted before getting out of range of the Winchester rifle which Captain 
Percival was kind enough to loan me for my return trip. 






156 



MANITOBA AND 




^*h^ 



V, 



« 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

LOST IN A SNOW STORM — LASSOING A WILD BKONCHO — A HERD OF ANTELOPES 
ACROSS THE 7BAIL — TRAVELLING ON THE PLAINS IS COMFORTABLE STYLE 
— HOW A GALT MAN EMIGRATES — CATTLE RANCH LOCATIONS. 

Pine Coulee, Sept. 27. — This morning I set out on the first stage of my 
homeward journby. Aa my outfit was at Calgary, 1 took passage in a light 
buggy drawn by a single Kyuse, with Mr. J. J. McHugh, superintendent and 
agent of the Indian Department Supply Farr? st the junction of Fish Creek 
and Bow River, nine miles this aide of Calgary. The weather this morning 
was cold and drizzly, with flurries of snow falling at intervals. We crossed 
the river safely enough and drove out across the open prairie beyond, and as 
the clouds began to break away to the northward we confidently looked for 
fine weather, but we had not beei out an hour when we were met by a cold, 
wet, blinding snow storm, which lasted for nearly an hour. Then the storm 
hnike before a bitterly cold north wind, but this agair was followed by a 
snow storm, ai.d this sort of weather continued for the whole of the forenoon. 
About one o'clock we stopped lot dinner at the point where the trail leaves 
Willow Crtv K (the place is locally known as " the leavings "), and ate a cold 
lunch after having made repeated failures in attempting to light a fire. As 
I had left my baggage to bo forwarded by a heavier waggon, we had no tent, 
axe, or indtod anything in the way of an outfit except Mr. McHugh's blank- 
ets, and consequently we were particularly anxious to reach the tepee on 
Lynch and Emerson's ranche at High River before camping for the night. In 
the afternoon the weatl'or was bitterly cold, and as the roads were heavy and 
t))c Kyuse a light one .vo . lade slow progress. 

Half an hour before dark we found an outfit in camp on the trail in which 
there was a handsome covered waggon, a single buggy, a number of loaded 
carts, and a band of horses and ponies. Wo halted, according to the custom 
of this country, and were very happy to accept, for the night, the hospitality 
of the proprietor of the outfit who pi'oved to be Mr. Ooddes, of Gait, Ontario. 
Mr. Geddes has formed a partnership with Mr. Allan Patrick, a rancher in 
this region, whose range is on Ghost River, between Calgary and Morloy- 
ville, and he is now 0:1 his way bringing in his freiglit and supplies by way 
of Cypress und Fort McLood. Mr. Patrick having gone up by the way of Red 
Doer River with a large band of liigh-bred cattle ami the well-known trotting 
stallion St, Joe (by Dlackwood), all of which Mr. Geddes had brought with 
him from Gait. It is not often that any one is found travelling on the 
pr tirio more comfortably e<iuippod than Mr. (Soddos is. Ho has his wife and 
son (a lad of twelve years) with him, and their arrangemcts are as complete 
as could bo wished. The covered spring waggon is so arranged as to make a 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



157 



NTELOPES 
ILE STYLE 



\ge of my 
in a light 
ndent and 
rish Creek 
is morning 
Ve crossed 
nd, and as 
looked for 
, by a cold, 
I the storm 
lowed by a 
e forenoon, 
trail leaves 
i ato a cold 
a tire. As 
lad no tent, 
igh's blank - 
le tepee on 
B night. In 
•e heavy and 

■ail in which 
er of loaded 

the custom 
e hospitality 
lalt, Ontario. 

a rancher in 
and Morloy- 
)plieB by way 
Q way of lied 
lown trotting 
brought with 
oiling itn the 
H his wife and 
ro as complete 

1 as to make a 



verjT comfortable sleeping apartment for Mr. and Mrs. Geddes, the small tent 
is occupied by the teamsters, and the larger tent in which there is a light 
sheet iron cooking stove serves as a cooking, dining, and sitting-room and a 
sleeping apartment for M<~iiter Geddes and the servants. After an excellent 
dinner, we spent a, cheerful, pleasant evening by the cosy fire in the cooking 
stove, though the cold wind was howling dismally over the boundless prairie 
outside. Not long after dinner Mr. Geddes' Scotch servant came to the door 
of the tent and asked for his violin, and a few moments afterward the famil- 
iar strains of " The Lass o' Gowrie " reached vs from the neighbouring tent, 
weirdly mingled with the moaning and whistling of the cold night wind. For 
half an hour or more we listened to this strange concert in which the wild 
music of the western pampas was blended With the stirring strains to which 
"many a stubborn Highlandman " has marched to his last couch of blood- 
stained heather, and it seemed as if the violin only sounded the theme, while 
in the fierce roar and shrill piping of the winds careering over the plains wo 
could hoar a hundred wild variations played by troops of ghostly pipers 
whose bones long since lay beneath the blood-stained sod of CuUoden, Flod- 
den Field, or Bannockburn. Mr. and Mrs. Geddes have insisted on our 
spreading our blankets in their tent by the cooking stove, and despite a most 
unpropitious start this morning, my fir?t camp on ray northward trip prom- 
ises to be a comfortable and even luxiirious one. 

Indiax Supply Farm, Fish Creek, Sept. 29. — I did not write up my 
journal last night, and when the reader has learned of my experience of yes- 
terday he will not be particularly surnrised that I neglected to do so. Whon 
we turned out in the morning we fo"nd that the wind had gone down during 
the night, and that it had been closely followed by a hard frost. Our wraps 
and gloves had completely dried by the stove, however, and I enjoyed the, to 
me, rather unusual luxury of dressing by a comfortable firo. While Mr. Mc- 
Hugh put up his blankets and loaded the buggy I went down into the coulee 
and caught the pony, and a few minutes after breakfast we bade gnod-bye to 
Mr. and Mrs. Geddes and resumed our journey. About noon we reached the 
tepee on Messrs. Emerson & Lynch 's ranche at High Rivor, and hero wc met 
Mr. Stimson, of Compton, P.Q., who has taken up one of the finest cattlo 
ranges in the Bow River country for the Rocky Mountain Live Stock Com- 
pany, of which ho himself is the resident and managing partner. The range 
consists of a beautiful tract of grazing country extending some thirty miles 
ahmg High River from a few miles above the crossing of the McLood trail up 
into the Porcupine Hills. The soil is strong and rich, and tlio grass is of the 
very host «]uality. There are good smnnu^r an I winter pastures, oxcellont 
sites for corralls, calf pastures, &c., and i)lyntiful supplies of good, puro 
water. In short, it is in nil respects a lirstelass range, and by thistinio i\oxt 
year it is the intention to have it stocked with4,fKH) Montana cattlo, 40 Hero- 
ford, Polled Angus, and Galloway Hulls, togothor with all the horses noeos- 
sary for herding, and a complete outlit of farming implements and tools. In- 
stead of having his cattle brought in by contrac^ as is the custom of ranch- 
urs here, it is Mr. Stimson's intention to have his cattla brought in in two 



158 



MANITOBA AND 



I 

h 






'•"'i*- 



\r 



bands by his own men, under his persoiial supervision. When cattle are 
brought in by contract nearly all or quite all the calves that are dropped on 
the way are lost, and the horses used in herding are hired for the occasion, 
and of course they go back with the contractors. Mr. Stimson, however, in- 
tends to purchase 100 lioraes for herding, and buy two bull trains, which will 
carry all the baggage and furnish at least a day's ride to every calf dropped 
CH route. In this way he will save to his herd not less than 1,000 calves at 
least, which in one year will be worth not less than $20,000 on the range. 
The 100 horses brought in with the cattle can be bought much more cheaply 
in Montana than they would cost here, and they will all bo needed on the 
range, while the bull trains will always be useful for freighting supplies from 
Fort Benton. After dinner Mr. McHugh took a fresh horse and saddling 
him rode on to the farm, leaving Mr. Stimson and me to come along with 
the buggy to which Mr. Stimson'a kyuse was now harnessed, the pony which 
we had driven from Pine Coulee being led beside him. Wo had only gone 
about two miles from camp when a herd of ten beautiful antelopes galloped 
across the trail within easy rifle shot ahead of us. My rifle was in its case, 
however, and before I could get it out they were far out of reach. Two miles 
further on we came upon Messrs. Emerson & Lynch 'a band of liorses, and 
here I had the opportunity of witnessing the lassoing of a wild Broncho. There 
was a large, splendid-looking horse in the band which Mr, " Nep " Lynch 
desired to catch. Mr. Lynch, one of the moat perfect horsemen in the North- 
West, was mounted on a handsome chestnut, furnished with a double 
" cinched " (girthed) Mexican saddle and a beautiful lasso of braided rawhide. 
As ho neared the herd in which there were some seventy or eighty horses, 
they galloped ofl* like a band of frightened deer. As soon as they started 
Lynch put spurs to his horse and followed them at a rattling pace, and was 
soon among them. In an incredibly short space of time he had singled out 
the roan gliding and managed to separate him from the rust of the band, and 
tlien followed a most exciting chase. The roan would dash ofl' at full 
speed and then wheel like a flash and run in tlie opposite diroc* 
tiou ; but the chestnut would turn as suddenly as lie could, and though 
the ground was rough and full of badger lioles, both pursuer and 
pursued would sweep over the prairie at break-nock spued. Once 
the lasso was thrown and missed its mark, but the next throw, a 
very long one, was more successful, and the nousu encircled the flying 
roan's neck. Quick as thought the chestnut stopped and braced his forefeet 
in the sod, the rawhide rope ran out its full length till the knot on the horn 
of the saddle chocked it, and the roan guiding was brought up with a sudden 
jurk that almost twitched liim off" his feet, and so the capture was accomplished. 
It was nearly dark whun Mr. Stimson and I reached 8huup Creek (or liocky 
Ilivur, as the Indians call it), and after getting down into thu low bottoms 
beside it, but before crossing, we ciianged hoi-sus again, putting in the little 
chostnut once more, which Mr. McH\ig!i had driven from Pine Coulee that 
morning. We then crossed the ford, and in the deopuning twilight we hur 
riud along the bottoms on the north side of the croek, as wo had still some 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



169 



fifteen or sixteen miles to drive, and the night threatened to be intensely 
dark. It was quite dftri^ and beginning to storm when we reached the ur>- 
land benches north of ilfe river, but we pushed on as rapidly as the darkness 
and the wretched state of the trail would permit till we had gone some seven 
miles. At this point Mr. Stimsun got out and searched for traces of the 
trail that branches off the Fort McLeod and Calgary road, and leads to the 
** Indian Farm," as it is called. It was no easy matter to find it however, 
and we lost fully two hours in looking for it, and when at last it was found it 
was impossible to follow it in the darkness. We now had no choice but to 
follow the Calgary trail to Mr. Joh i Glenn's, and after camping there for the 
remainder of the night drive to our destination the following morning. We 
accordingly stuck to the deeply cut trail leading to John Glenn's, though we 
knew it was a very roundabout way of reaching the Indian Supply Farm. We 
were both wet and cold, and in addition to this we knew that we should now 
have to make the journey in a bitter and furious snowstorm. As we drove 
along the storm became still more boisterous, and in the midst of this we 
came to " Sue " Coulee (named after one of the leaders of a mule team that 
were stuck here Tor .-jome hours). Here the main trail vas almost cut out, 
and it became necessary to leave it for one of the fresher ones made by the 
b\ill trains. The snow now appeared to be sweeping down upon us from all 
directions at once, and with such blinding fury that often wo could not see 
the horse. Still, wo kept ploughing along, following the bull trail only by 
keeping the wlioels in the deep ruts which the heavy waggons had cut in 
the soft ground. At length, after what in our half-blinded condition ap- 
peared to be innumerable windings through the deep mud and long grass and 
brush in the coulee, and until it seemed as if we had crossed two coulees in- 
stead of one, we readied the well-worn trail again, which the pony managed 
to follow without any difficulty. I now noticed that the storm had ceased 
to blow 8(}uarely in our faces, but as for the last half-hour it had been 
)>lowing in all directions, I was not surprised at the apparent change. 
Though ve were both warmly clad we now began to feel thoroughly 
chilled, as otir outer wraps wore almost wringing wet, and we could feel 
the dampness fast penetrating our underclothing. Presently we began to 
look anxiously for Tine Creek, which we knew could not be far off according 
to our reckoning. After a long and weary drive, during which we were al- 
most benumbed with the cold, we found ourselves descending a narrow ravine, 
wliic'h led us into an open bottom lined on one side with timber, which we 
supposed must murk the course of Pine Creek. The trail skirted along the 
edge of the light timber for some two and a half miles, and then forked into 
the bush in different directions. I jumped out of the buggy, and taking the 
riglit-hand trail, followed it to the stream. The wet, snow-laden bushes 
tlroopod over the path so thickly that the smow and water dropped in my face 
and down my neck at almost every step ; but at last I found myself at the 
edge of a swift-running, roaring, torrent, whicli was very unlike the narrow, 
innocent-looking Pino Cretk I reiuembored crossing when travelling with 
Lord Lome's ouftit on the way to McLuud. It was so intensely dark I could 






100 



MANITOBA AND 



>■ tV',^ 



? ^ 



1 *i>\ 



not see the opposite bank of the stream, but there was a deep shadow there 
that looked like a high-cut bank, and I at once deciddtfthat this could not be- 
tlie regular crossing, so I returned to the buggy and tre'pushed along through 
the drooping snow-laden branches of the light cottonwood till we were once 
more on the brink of the stream. Though we could not see the opposite 
shore, we could see more water before us than could possibly flow through 
Pine Creek, while the loud roar of the swift current gave us the impression 
that the ford before us was by no means a very nice one to cross in the pitchy 
darkness tha* surrounded us. Th^ bank was rather steep, but little " Alex" 
plunged bolt'iy into it as though ho knew all about it, and trusting to his ap- 
parent superior knowledge of the locality, Mr. Stimson, who was driving at 
tlie time, let him take his owii way of finding the opposite shore. The ford 
was a very rough one,, and the dark torrent surged swiftly around the old 
buggy till it was nearly up to the box ; but still the pony walked steadily 
along till it seemed as if we should never reach the opposite shore. At last 
we were up into the timber on the opposite bank, and wo were neither of us 
very sorrj', for it was very evident that we had crossed a stream of consider- 
able size, fully eriuol to the Elbow. We now began to speculate very care- 
fully as to where we could be. Mr. Stimson was very sure that there was no 
trail in the region that was as well defined as that upon which we were tra- 
velling except that loading from Fort McLeod to Calgary, and yet the only 
large stream ahead of us after crossing Sheep Creek was the Elbow, and to 
reach it we would have to cross both Pine and Fish Creeks. On we drove 
through the timber and at length as we reached the more open part of the 
bottom lands the clouds broke a little, and one star glimmered faintly just in 
front of us. I saw it was not the north star and asking Mr. Stimson to halt 
fer a second, I peered carefully around and in the pale, uncertain light I de- 
tected the outlines of three old, gnarled cottonwood trees of unusual size, 
which I had noticed in Sheep Creek bottoms where we had changed six Iu>urs 
before, ami it was now midnight. 

When we came to think it over it was all simple enough. The bull teams 
had crossed at Sue Coulie half -loaded, and after reaching the main trail north 
of the bad place they had thrown oflf the load and then swung on in a circle 
with the empiy waggons after the remainder of their loads. In the blinding 
storm and darkness wo liad swung around their whole circle, and had taken 
the back trail ati the south side of it. Wo led the ponies off into the timber,, 
and unharnessing "Alex " we turned them both loose and then, wet, chilUnl, 
and benumbed as we were. attemi)ted to light a fire. Wo had no axe, and 
had to do all the cutting with Mr. Stimsou's hunting-knife. The task was a 
tedious and discouraging one, for everything around us was wet, and again 
and iigain our tiro flickered and went out. After more than an hour's patient 
working, we managed to get a rousini; tire ablaze against a large fallen cot- 
tonwood, and carrying huge logs on our shoulders, that we could barely 
handle with our united strength, we hiul a lire going by two o'clock in the 
morning that effectually warmed both of us. Spreading blankets atul butlalo 
robes before the fire, we wrai)ped ourselves in them and slept comfortably 






THE NORTH-WEST. 



161? 



w there- 
1 not be- 
through 
sro once- 
opposite 
through 
pression 
e pitchy 
" Alex" 

his ivp- 
•iving at 
The ford 

1 the oUl 
. steadily 

At last 
lier of U3 
considcr- 
ery carc- 
re was no 
were tra- 
; the only 
V, and to 
wo drove 
irt of the 
y just in 
)n to halt 
ght I dc- 
sual size, 
six hours 

nil teams 
rail north 
a circle 
lilinding 
lad taken 
timber, 
, chilled , 
axe, and 
ask was a 
vnd again 
s patient 
alien cot- 
d l)arely 
ick in the 
id burtalo 
nfortably 



till-daylight, though the last sounds we heard were the long, mournful howl 
of the great timber wolf mingling with the dismal soprano of the cayotc. 
This morning the weather was bitterly cold, and as the pony was dull and 
tired we were pretty hungry and cold in making a drive of some fifteen or 
sixteen miles before breakfast (having eaten nothing since yesterday at noon) ; 
but now that we are safely landed at the Indian Supply Farm, we can afford 
to laugh over our dismal adventure of last night. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

THE INDIAN SUPPLY FAUM— GOOD PROSPECTS FOR INTENDING HORSE AND CATTLE 
RANCHERS -DETAILED ESTIMATE OF THE COST OP EACH RANCHE WHAT KIND OF ANI- 
MALS TO STOCK WITH— THE VALUE OF POLLED ANGUS AND GALLOWAYS KYUSE 
MAREH AND OTHER QUALITIES— A COMING DEMAND FOR MULES— CAUSES AND EFFECTS 
OF THE CHINOOK WINDS, 

Indian Supply Farm, Fish Ceeek, Sept. 30. — To-day I have spent most 
of my time in walking over the Indian Supply Farm and in chatting with 
Mr. Stimson and others about ranching in the Bow lliver country. 

The Fish Creek Farm is beautifully located on the angle formed by the 
junction of Fish Creek and Bow River. There are bnjken here some 447 
acres of land, but only 220 acres are cropped this season as it is the inten- 
tion of the manager to try the experiment of cropping tho land only in alter- 
nate years until he shall have enough live stock to furnish the manure 
necessary to put tho land in proper trim for heavy and constant cropping. 
This season ho sowed 05 acres in oats, 75 acres in barley, 50 acres in turnips, 
and 30 acres in potatoes. He estimates his products this year as follows : — 
Oats, 40 bushels per acre ; barley, 55 bushels per acre ; turnips, 300 bushels 
per aero, and after allowance has been made for potatoes (which were dam- 
aged by frost) 150 bushels per acre. The farm is under the management of 
Mr. J. J. McHugh, formerly farm instructor at Edmonton, but promoted to 
his present situation on the 15th of last April. During the past summer Mr. 
McHugh had an average of five men employed on tho farm, an average of 
three pairs of horses and two yokes of oxen. The farm buildings consist of 
a good house of hewn logs with shingle roof, a large corrall, and two lot,' 
horse-stables. A go<jd granary is now now bein'' added to the list of farm- 
buildings. In connection with this season's product of tho farm I should 
have added that Mr, McHugh put up KK) tons of excellent hay last summer. 
Tho farm itself is a remarkably P" o one, most of it lying in tho bottoms of 
Fish Creek and Bow River, though Mr. McHugh has some remark:iljly Hue 
tields up on tho bei;ches. Everything about the farm wears a thrifty and 



^!) 



162 



MANITOBA AND 




1 W4* 



business-like look, nnd though much remains to be done (as is always the 
■case on new farms in a new 'country) the manner in which the work is being 
done and the general pppearance of the farm reflects the highest credit, not 
only upon Mr. ZuuHugh, the agent and superintendent, but upon the Ontario 
Agricultural College, from which he graduated. The object for which these 
farms were established was to supply seed and rations for the Indians. Tur- 
nips and potatoes are issued instead of equal values in flour, and the red men 
are usually very glad to avail themselves of the exchange. Hoots are easily 
raised in this country, and when the Indians are taught to use them by being 
rationed with them, they are at the same time encouraged to grow them. 

Cattle ranching promises to be one of the great industries of this region, 
and perhaps a few particulars concerning it may not be uninteresting. 
Among the leading cattle ranchers in the vicinity ">' Pincher Creek, and Old 
Man's River, is Captain Stuart, of Ottawa, who 'vith his partner has just 
brought in about one hundred mares, and has a large band of Montana cattle 
on the way. He will take up a ranche somewhere in the vicinity of the forks 
oi Old Man's River. Mr. D. Ford Jones, M.P. , has, 1 believe, taken up a 
ranche some fifteen miles square in the samo vicinity, and his son, Mr. Jonas 
Jones is out here to manage the aff'air. The Garnet brothers have taken up 
a ranche on the forks of Old Man's River, and I believe ihey already have it 
■well stocked, and there are numerous ranchemen with small bands of from 
75 to 500 head of cattle located at various points in what is known as the 
Bow River country. I have no doubt many of these who are entering on 
this business without any knowledge of it will lose a great many .attle the 
first winter, make a grand failure, and then go away and say that this is not 
a good "razing country, but among the many who are trying it this year for 
the first time I think there are enough sensible and experienced men who 
Mill succeed to establish the reputation of the region as one of the finest graz- 
ing sections to be found on this continent. In starting, a man should be very 
careful not to let his establishment be disproportionate to his means. After 
canvassing the matter very carefully, I have arrived at the following figures 
.18 the probable cost of a fair-sized and moderatel}' complete cattle-ranching 
outfit : — 



I. 



Four thousand cattle delivered on ranche, at cost by purchaser, no- 
thing under yearlings counted, ^22.50 per head ? 90,000 

Forty thoroughbred bulls, Hereford and Polled Angus, or Gallo- 
ways, at $500 each, de .ivered on ranche 20,000 

lorty high grade bulls, d'.liverod on ranche, at $50 each 2,000 

One hundred Montana or Broncho horses for herding, at $50 each . . 5,000 
Two bull teams of six yokes of oxen each, and one lead waggon and 

trail to each team 2,000 

Twelve Mexican saddles, bridles, and lassoes, at $50 each 600 

Two sets four-in-hand, pIo\igh, driving and cart harness 400 

Two branding corralls^ $100 each 200 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



163 



a,ys the 
a being 
lit, not 
Ontario 
h these 
. Tur- 
■ed men 
e easily 
»y being 
)m. 

region, 
Testing, 
and Old 
has just 
na cattle 
he forks 
cen up a 
[r. Jonas 
taken up 
y have it 
1 of from 
rn as the 
^ering on 
attle the 
lis is not 
year for 
|men who 
lest graz- 
jd be very 
After 
ig figures 
■ranching 



1$ 90,000 

20,000 
2,000 
5,000 

2,000 
000 
400 
200 



Fencing 500 acres for pasture for cows and calves and bulls out of 

season, 100 of which would be required for cultivation §2,000 

Horse stables, sheds and corralls appertaining to them 1,000 

Ranche buildings, houses and outhouses 1,000 

Plant, including two mowers, one reaper, one threshing machine, two 
horse rakes, two breaking and two sulky ploughs, two stubble 
ploughs, four iron harrows, one light harrow for seeding, one 
cultivator, one drill, hoes, shovels, forks, axes and one chest of 
carpenters' tools 2,000 



Total $128,000 

It must be remembered, however, that in these figures there is no allow- 
ance made for maintenance, which amounts to a very considerable sum. The 
horses in active service in herding' of course require to be fed during the 
winter, and, from all that I can learn, a very considerable .'imount of hay 
should be put up to be fed in cases where it is needed. Cows near calving 
should certainly be fed hay if the weather happens to be severe, and many a 
weakly animal, might be pulled through by means of two or three light 
feeds of hay, that would otherwise perish. Hay could be pu4 up here in 
many places at a cost not exceeding a dollar and a half per^ton, and when it 
can be furnished at such a small outlay it would certainly be bad policy to 
allow a cow to perish when she could be saved for perhaps three cents, and 
be worth twenty-five or thirty dollars the following summer. In my estimate 
of the cost I have mentioned Hereford and Polled Angus, or Galloway bulls. 
I am quite aware that the great improvements 'hat have been made in the 
Montana cattle arc due to the employment of bhorthorns as; herd bulls. I 
have already stated that I was. greatly surprised at the excellent character of 
these Montana cattle, but just now, perhaps, one of their greatest faults is that 
their legs are a trifle longer than they ought to be, and I am inclined to think 
Ihat the short-legged, stout and long-bodied Hereford and Galloway bulls will 
(Correct their present tendency to " weediness " much more rapidly and eflfect- 
i ely ihan any other cross that could be made upon them. In addition to 
this, the general impression prevails here that the Herefords, Polled Angus 
and Galloways will prove hardier, and do better generally, in this climate 
than would the more delicately-bred Shorthorns. 

THE LEASING SYSTEM. 

The system of leasing large ranges to companies and private individuals in 
this country will, I fear, prove a source of tro'iblo and annoyance, and at the 
same time be productive of no good results. The price paid by the lessees — 
a cent an acre — will an)ount to a uuuo trifle in the production of revenue, but 
though these leases are terminable by the Government on two years' notice, 
the locking-up even for that space of time of s\ich great tracts of really good 
land in this region canno' be too strongly depr^ ated. I should like to see 
cattle and horse ranching encouraged here, as the country is evidently ad- 



I 



ur 



164 



MANITOBA AND 




'^<. 



If 



mirably adapted to these industries, but I think leases should not be granted 
in such a way that they can be made to retard the settlement of the country. 
And besides this, is the Government prepared to protect the interests of the 
lessees of these large ranges i Are they prepared to settle for cattle slaugh- 
tered in these rented ranges by the Indiana ? Are they prepared to deny to 
settlers the right to allow their cattle to run at large for fear they might 
trespass on these great ranges for which they receive a rental of one cent per 
acre ? I think the better way would be to sell to every ranchman at a very low 
'^'^ure all the land he would need as a "head-quarters farm" for his cattle range, 
tJie size of the farm to be proportioned to the number of cattle he was prepared 
to put on the range. Then let the Government sell these ranchmen's head- 
quarters at intervals far enough apart to afford plenty of room for their cattle. 
In this way the rancher, though having no special claim upon the 8urroun>ling 
country would have the use of it until it was needed for actual settlement. As 
settlers woiild become more plentiful he could herd his cattle farther out on the 
prairies, where there are both summer and winter ranges of excellent quality, 
thongh the absence of timber would stand in the way f the establishment t f 
headquarters there. Local regulations could be made regarding the manage- 
ment of cattle in the region by which the rights of those wlio brought in 
valuable bulls would be amply protected. The turning loose of inferior ani 
mals shoiild of course be rigidly prohibited, while settlers who allowed their 
cows to run at large should be compelled either to pay their proportion for 
the service of the ranchemen's bulls or else themselves turn out one well- 
bred bull for a certain number of cows or under. Unless something of this 
kind be done it will be impossible to keep up even the present standard of 
the cattle brought in from Montana, much less improve it, as should and will 
be done if proper measures are put into effect to that end. As yet, of course, 
nothing is very definitely known as to the extent of the region in which 
cattle ranching will prove a profitable calling, but I think the area is a larger 
one than is generally supposed. Of course the Chinook winds are an im- 
portant element in the calculation, and as yet I do not think any one knows 
just how far the influence of the Ohinooks extends. They have been felt as 
far east as the Cypress Hills, but of course their influence is not strong 
enough there to thaw the snow off the hillsides and leave the grass exposed 
for the cattle. Certainly these winds afford an interesting subject for study 
and speculation, and almost everybody here has a theory of his own as to 
their origin. Many of these theories are of course very absurd, but as fir. 
Dawson ought to be an excellent author ity. I will give his views as nearly as 
1 can remember them. The Uhinooks, he says , blow oft' the Pacific Ocean. 
They are impregnated with moistuie when they start, but as they rise to a 
sufticient altitude to cross the Rocky Mountains, they fall rapidly in tempera- 
ture as they gain an extraordinary altitude, and with the rapid fall in tem- 
perature and corresponding increase in altitude the moisture is precipitated 
in the form of snow on the mountains, but as soon as they have passed the 
range and begin to descend they lose their extreme rarity, regain their normal 
temperature, or, in other words, are the same winds that left the Pacific, less 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



165 



granted 
country, 
tsof the 
J slaugh- 
deny to 
ey might 
cent per 
very low 
tie range, 
prepared 
n'a head- 
eir cattle, 
rounvllng 
ment. As 
out on the 
it quality, 
shment cf 
a manage - 
rought ill 
Eerior ani 
)wed their 
)ortion for 
one well- 
ng of this 
andard of 
d and will 
of course, 
in which 
is a larger 
,re an im- 
one knows 
felt as 
not strong 
ss exposed 
for study 
own as to 
»ut as Mr. 
nearly as 
fio Ocean, 
rise to a 
tempera- 
all in tem- 
recipitated 
passed the 
leir normal 
acific, less 



the moisture which was lost in their passage over the mouutains. Mr. Dawson 
informs me that winds of a similar character blow over portions of the Alps, and 
that so marked is the work of precipitation and consequent elimination of moist- 
ure, that when the wind is blowing off the Mediterranean the high mountain 
slopes next it are often being visited by cold rains, sleet, or snow, while on 
the opposite side of the range there is a warm, dry wind, cutting away the 
snow with wonderful rapidity, and drying and warming the grountJ. Since I 
have been in this region I have felt the Chinook a few times but it is ob- 
served to a much more marked extent in the cold weather than now. Some- 
times during the severest wi» '^'oather, when the mercury is always below 
zero, a bright pink tint will hi. sc overhanging the Rocky Mountains, and 
soon after a warm wind wi be f. rom that direction, that affords such a 
complete and sudden [cb<». ijt 'hat strangers have often been startled into 
thinking that they were ;: t di ft of hot air from a burning building. The 
snow will be seen melting in t directions ; rivulets will go bounding down 
the hill sides, and the v >1e winter landscape will, in a few hours, be trans- 
formed as if by magic. 

Horse ranching will, I think, ultimately become an industry equal in 
importance to cattle ranching in this country, though as yet no one has under- 
taken to make a specialty of it. and those who are now bringing in mares are, 
I think, not likely to conduct the business in the way I would recommend. 
Some of the gentlemen who have Irough' 'i cattle are bringing small bands 
of Montana mares that are the result ^ncho and ^yuse (or Cayuse, as it 

is sometimes spelled), mares crossed w large, cold-blooded sires, such as 
Percherons and Clydesdales. To attempt to breed good horses from cold- 
blooded mongT'els (and mongrels crossed injudiciously at that) is a manifest 
absurdity. Th^ result will be nondescript brutes, coarse in the bone, and 
thin and flabby in muscle. ] n addition to this, mares that are the result of 
such an absurd cross will never throw colts at all uniform in character. Some 
of the colts w ill take after the Kyuse or Brancho grandam, and others will be 
thin-bodied, slack-loined, ragged-hipped, and splay-footed, diminutive edi- 
tions of the lieavy draught paternal grandsire. What I would recommend 
is this, that the intending breeder should go down into Oregon or Washing- 
ton Territory, and purchase a number of unbroken Kyuse mares, carefully 
selecting each animal for the purpose. In some portions of Washington Ter- 
ritory unbroken Kyuses can be bought out of the large bands at an average 
of from $16 to $18 per head, but the breeder selecting from band would, of 
course, want kU mares, and ho would require none but really good ones, so 
tliat the average cost of such animals as he would require would be consider- 
ably above this figure. I would prefer Kyuses to Bronchos for various rea- 
sons, but the most important of these is, that I think they are more in-bred, 
and constitvite a more distinct breed, and pronounced type, and as a result, 
would throw produce more uniform in their leading characteristics. Another 
reason why I prefer the Kyuses is, that they always have feet and legs of rar^ 
excellence, and, as a rule, have wonderfully vigorous constitutions, free from 
taint of every sort. It may be urged that the Kyuses are smaller than the 






• • 1 



166 



MANITOBA AND 



•• tV'^ 



^*»^. 



i I 



Bronchos, but the difference is rather in the amount of daylight under them 
than in the girth, length, or weight of bone and muscle. Besideii this, I have 
noticed that the Indians who have ponies in this country begin to ride them 
when they are yearlings, and of course this cannot h\^ spoil their growth to a 
very material extent. I have seen Kyuses from the other side of the moun- 
tains that^were over fifteen hands high, and remarkably long-bodied and 
muscular for their height. At all events, the mares are as roomy for breed- 
ing as many sixteen-hand animals I have seen, and as they are all broad in 
the loin, short in the back, and heavy and shapely in the quarters, they could 
hardly fail to throw stylish and valuable colts if bred to the right sort of 
horses. For stallions I would use none but thoroughbreds, compact, stout 
horses, not too tall, but as heavy and muscular as I could find. For a band 
of three hundred mares I would turn about ten two-year-old thoroughbred 
colts on the range ; and, in addition to these, I would keep two or three well- 
tried racing stallions that had broken down after proving themselves race- 
horses on the turf. These latter animals could be picked up at a moderate 
figure at either the Saratoga or Jerome Park meetings as smallish stallions 
that have gone down in the back sinews can be bought out of the Southern 
stables for next to nothing, the owners not caring to incur the expense of 
taking them South after the races are over. I would breed the best mares to 
these tried horses, and allow the rest of the herd to run with the ten herd 
stallions. I have already alluded to those that were turned on the range 
when two-year-olds. It would be well, however, to set apart a portion of the 
' herd for the propagation of mules, and for these I would secure a thoroughly 
good Kentucky jack, as mules will, in a few years, be in great ('emand here. 
As soon as the construction of the railway in the mountains shal have begun, 
pack mules will be required in great numbers for the transport of supplies of 
all sorts, and it will be very strange if the great stretch of the Rocky Moun- 
tains that lies adjacent to this country be allowed to remain much longer un- 
prospected. For uU sorts of traffic into and through the mountains, either 
by pleasure-seekers, sportsmen, miners, traders, or railway builders, mules 
will be almost indispensable, and it is very certain that any man who han a 
good supply of pack and other mules here three or four years hence will be 
in a position to reap a very rich harvest out of them. The colts produced by 
crossing thoroughbred stallions on good Kyuse mares ought to be the very 
ideal of a cavalry horse, the demand for which is always particularly strong. 
The Kyuses themselves, even after they have been abused and ill-treated by 
the Indians from colthood, make wonderfully stout and clever saddle horses, 
and if crossed with the thoroughbred in the way I have described, and the 
colts allowed to reach maturity before being used, the most satisfactory re- 
sults might confidently be looked for. As a sample of what these ponies can 
do, I may mention that I have ridden a moderate-sized, unshod four-year-old 
more than forty miles — over a bad road — in a day, without noticing any 
symptoms of flagging on his part, while I was no more fatigued than if I had 
been riding the same length of time in a railway carriage. Of course the 
length of the journey was nothing to speak of, but when it is remembered 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



167 



ler them 
8, I have 
de them 
)wth to a 
le moun- 
died and 
)r breed- 
broad in 
ley could 
it sort of 
ict, stout 
3r a band 
oughbred 
iree well- 
Ives race- 
moderate 
1 stallions 
Southern 
xpense of 
; mares to 
ten herd 
the range 
tion of the 
lioroughly 
and here, 
ve begun, 
upplies of 
ky Moun- 
onger un- 
ns, either 
rs, mules 
rho han a 
ce will be 
)duced by 
the very 
y strong, 
reatcd by 
e horses, 
and the 
ictory re- 
lonies can 
-year-old 
icing any 
n if I had 
aurse the 
nembered 



that I weigh 188 pounds, and that at the time I had been for years unaccus- 
tomed to the saddle, the reader, if he is a horseman, will see that this four- 
teen-hand pony must not only have been quite up to my weight, but a re- 
markably easy-gaited animal. I may add that this pony has been worked 
hard ever since he was a two-year old; and that he has always picked his 
living off the prairies, winter and summer. 

COST OF A HORSK RANCHE. 

The cost of establishing a horse ranche would be much less than that of a 
cattle ranche, as in the former the proprietor would be quite independent of 
Chinook winds, as his stock would paw through the snow and reach the grass 
whether it lay thick or thin on the ground, and of course only a very small 
quantity of hay need be put up annually. The following figures will I think 
be found a fair approximate to the probable amount of initial outlay. 

Three hundred Kyuse mares delivered on ranche at $30 each $ 9,000 

Three choice thoroughbred stallions, delivered on ranche at $500 

each 1,500 

Ten range stallio (thoroughbred) put in at two years old, $300. . . 3,000 

One Kentucky Jack 1,000 

Two three-inch waggons 300 

Six Mexican sp' ^Jles, bridles, and lassoes, $50 each ; 300 

Stables, sheds, houses, covralls, &c 3,000 

Plant, including one mower and reaper combined, one breaking, and 
one sulky plough, two harrows,, one drill, one cultivator, hoes, 

shovels, forks, axes, and one chest of carpenters' tools 600 

One breaking waggon 150 

Harness 300 

Blacksmith's forge and tools 75 

Total $ 19,225 

ANNUAL MAINTENANCE. 

Two herders at $480 per annum $ 960 

Two farm laborers, seven months 660 

Household expenses, including feeding of men s .1 cook 1,200 

Other supplies and incidentals ■.. 600 

Total annual outlay $ 3,220 

This does not include the salary of a manager. 



1G8 



MANITOBA AND 



tW>A 



CHAPTER XXXII. 



FROM FORT CALGARY TO EnSIONTON— SUMMER FU08T.S UfON THE PLAINS- A CURIOUS 
LELGE, QUEEHLY WROUGHT, INHABITED BY MANY BIRDS— FUTURE OF CALGARY— A 
DRIVE OF 1,300 MILES YET TO BE MADE— NATURE OF THE COUNTRY ON THE ROUTE 
—HORSE THIEVES ABOUT CALGARY— A SUNSET ON THE PRAIBIKS— LAKES SWARMING 
WITH DUCKS AND GEESE— A STORM ON THE PLAINS. 



iW,1 






Caloarv, Oct. 4. — Since the 30th of September, the last date in my jour- 
nal, 1 have been waiting for favourable weather and making the necessary pre- 
parations for the long drive before me. For the past two days I have been 
the guest of Corporal Wilson, who is now in charge of this outpost, and to 
whom I am indebted for many kindnesses. While on this subject, I should 
also acknowledge the courtesy with which I have been treat«»d by Col. Irvine, 
the very efficient Commissioner of the Mounted Police, and also the many 
kindnesses of Capt. Cotton, ^juperintendent and Adjutant ; and Major 
Crozier, Superintendent ; and Mr. Dowling, Inspector and Quarter-Master, 
at Fort McLeod, all of whom have done everything they could, consistent 
with their official positions, to make my stay in this part of the country a 
pleasant one, and to afford me facilities for obtaining information. During 
the time my outfit remained in Calgary, I am sorry to say that one of my 
favourjte ponies, " Touchwood," developed a severe attack of mange, and 
though this disease is quite curable, the horse under treatment requires 
careful attention and rest, and therefere, I knew it would be out of the ques- 
tion to take him along. Under the circumstances, I concluded to make the 
best of -my ill luck, and by paying a moderate amount of difference, I se- 
cured in his place a very staunch Utile bay piebald gelding (Jim), that drives 
well with Blanche, and promises to make an excellent substitute for Touch- 
wood, I also purchased a pretty little Pinto, two-year-old filly, to take along 
as a spare pony, in case any of the other four should go amiss during the long 
and lonely journey before me. Indeed, I have done my best to provide 
against any emergencies that may arise on the trip, and as I have had my 
waggon thoroughly overhauled, I hope to be able to push throagh in safety, 
though of course it is impossible to make sure of anything like a speedy jour- 
ney at this season of the year. I am quite aware that I am liable to be snowed 
in on the prairie for days together, and there are all sorts of contingencies 
that may arise to detain me, but as I am very desirous to make my tour of 
inspection as complete as possible, I feel that I cannot afford to return with- 
out seeing Edmonton, one of the most distant, and one of the most important, 
if not indeed the most important of the settlements of the North- West. 
Were it not that the season is so far advanced, I should have visited Morley- 
ville (named aticr the late celebrated Morley Punshon, D. D.,)but as the visit 



THE NOllTII-VVEST. 



IGO 



S. CURIOUS 
ILOART— A 
•HE ROUTE 
SWARMING 



my jour- 
issaxy pre- 
have been 
lat, and to 
i, I should 
lol. Irvine, 
the many 
md Major 
er-Master, 
consistent 
3 country a 
i. During 
one of my 
nange, and 
it requires 
f the ques- 
9 make the 
•ence, I se- 
that drives 
for Touch- 
take along 
ig the long 
to provide 
ve had my 
in safety, 
leedy jour- 
be snowed 
itingencies 
y tour of 
turn with- 
important, 
|orth-West. 
,ed Morley- 
as the visit 



would detain mo at least three days, I decided that I could not afford tu 
spare the time. 

On Monday next (October 10th), Mr. Stimson, of the Rocky Mountain 
Live Stock Company, and Mr. McHugh, of the liidian Supply Farm, leave 
here in an open boat bound for Winnipeg. They will run down liow River 
to where it unites with the Belly River and forms the South Saskatchewan, 
and thence by the latter stream to a point near Prince Albert, whence they 
expect to secure transport overland to Winnipeg. I was invited to join 
tlicm, and should have been happy to do so, as I expect they will make a 
(juick and pleasant voyage, but on reflection I concluded that the purpose of 
my mission to this country would be much better served by travelling over- 
laud via Edmonton. The Canada Pacific Railway people here are extremely 
reticent if, indeed, they have anything worth communicating, but the gen- 
eral impression now is that the railway will be built through the Bow River 
Pass, though as nearly as I can learn the surveying parties in this region 
have accomplished very little this summer. Shoiild the Bow River Pass be 
detinitely settled upon, it is not unlikely that Calgary may be become of very 
cftnsiderable importance. There is a beautiful town site here on the angle 
enclosed by Bow River and tlie Elbow, and the general belief is that steam- 
ers could run from Grand Rapids on the Great Saskatchewan all the way up 
to the present location of Fort Calgary. Should this prove true, this can 
hardly fail to become an important distributing point during the construc- 
tion of the mountain section of the Canada Pacific Railway, and even if sup- 
plies should continue to come in by way of Fort Benton it is doubtful if the 
heavy bull trains and mule trains could, with safety, go north of this point, 
a3 beyond here, I am told, the trails are too soft to admit of the passage of 
these enormously heavy waggons that are used in freighting. To-morrow, 
though the weather now looks very unpromising, I have decided to make a 
start as the season is now becoming so far advanced that every day's delay 
here is a serious matter when I reflect that I have a drive of 1,300 miles be- 
fore me through an almost uninhabited wilderness where one heavy snow 
storm might place me in a situation which I cannot but shudder to 
. contemplate. 

In Camp en route from Fort Calgary to Edmonton, October 5. — There is 
little to record of my journeymgs to-day. It was nearly two o'clock when I 
left Calgary and forded Bow River to take the Edmonton trail. The weather 
though threatening this morning has been vevy pleasant this afternoon, and 
I am in hopes that the fine weather which many have been prophesying for 
this month is at last at hand. While we were still withii- three miles of Cal- 
gary, we drove through a large herd of cattle belongii^ to the Cochrane 
ranche. Most of them were very line looking animals, but many of them 
show the effects of hard driving from Montana to such an extent that many 
of the settlers here arc prophesying that they will not live through the winter. 
The eighteen miles of prairie which ve have traversed in an almost due 
northerly direction to-day has the appearance of very choice grazing land. 
The soil is a rich black loam, and the sole product a clean free growing buffalo 
K 



170 



MANITOBA AND 






i 'I : 



1 M 






grass, the total absence of everything in the shape of wolf willows, wild rose 
bushes or brush of any kind indicates that the snow does not lie in this 
section of the prairie during the winter and consequently indicates that it 
would make an excellent range for cattle. It is only fairly watered by a little 
stream called ' ' Nose Creek," but any deficiencies in that respect could doubt- 
less be remedied by the sinking of ii few artesian wells. We are still in sight 
of the snow-capped Rcky Mo\intains and some of the views we have enjoyed 
this afternoon have been remarkably tine. Our camp to-night is a rather 
dreary, one in the lea of a great, bare prairie wave, and close upon the bank 
of Nose Creek, while the ponies are huddled into a little group making a 
hearty meal on the rich, fresh grass and wild pea-vine growing in the rank 
bottoms. This is a bright moonlight night, and already the frost is decidedly 
keen, and our only fire is of buHhlo chips, which make anything but a cheer- 
ful camp fire, tliough they answer moderately well for cooking where wood 
is not obtainable. We are so near Calgary that I am afraid of the horse 
thieves that for some weeks have been infesting that region, but with the 
precautions I have taken I think I shall at least have the satisfaction of firing 
a .^hot or two at the thieves should they undertake to capture the ponies. I 
have been fortunate enough to fall in with a young Cree lialf-breed who has 
undertaken to oarry a letter for Mr. McDonald from Calgary to Edmonton 
and bring the answer back for ^40. He is riding a stout Kyuse stallion and 
has promised to travel in company with us as long as our pace proves fast 
enough to suit him. This afternoon I was riding his stallion the greater part 
of the time, allowing him to ride in the waggon and chat with Peter. As wo 
shall be oH'at five in the morning and drive ten miles before breakfast, it is 
now bed-time. My little tent on the great paujpas is lonely enough to-night, 
and the only sound that breaks the almost death-like stillness is the heavy 
breathing of the two sleeping half-breeds and the soft far-off muttled clinking 
of Punch's bell, that assures me that ho and the rest of the band are still 
feeding in the rich tall grass in tlie creek bott(jm8. 

In Cami', Sakvijshkkky Cheek, 5r» Miles from Cauiauv, en route to 
Edmonton, October G. — The weather has been all that could be wished for 
to-day, and there is yet but little to complain of as far as the roads are con- 
cerned. We were up before five o'clock and on the trail before six, John 
Warren taking my place in the waggon, and I riding his stallion and herding 
the spare ponies along. Wo reached Macpherson's coulio, ten miles further 
on our way, in about two hours, and halted f(jr breakfast, Peter and Warren 
riding ofl' nearly a mile to cut a little light brush with which to make a fire. 
IJy dinner time we iuvd made another eighteen miles, and after dinner wo camo 
ten miles further on, which I estimate at fully 5(5 miles from Calgary. There 
has been no material cluvnge in iho cliavacier of the country so far. The soil 
is still (I rich black loam, and the product a vigorous growth of clean buU'alo 
grass on the benches, and blue joint and other good lowland grasses, liberally 
mixed with [)ea-vino in the bottoms. Here and there I have noticed slight 
traces of alkiili along tlio trail to-day, l)ut nowhere has it shown itself strong 
enough to be in the slightest degree objectionable. Excepting in the buttouts 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



171 



[d rose 
in this 
that it 
a little 
doubt- 
in sight 
jiijoyed 
, rather 
lie bank 
aking a 
\Q rank 
jcidedly 
a cheer- 
re wood 
le horse 
,vith the 
of firing 
)nie3. I 
wlu) has 
dmontou 
llion and 
jves fast 
ater part 
. As we 
fast, it is 
to-night, 
he heavy 
clinking 
are still 

route to 

ished for 

are con- 

IX, John 

hording 

s further 

I NVarriMi 

io a flrti. 

wo camo 
There 

riio soil 
n bulValo 
, liberally 
cod Blight 
olf strong 
bottom* 



y 



I have seen nothing but clean, strong grass to-day, and the total absence of 
all sorts of brush and bushes beyond a very scanty growth in some of the 
coulees indicates that we are still in a region where the snow does not lie to 
any great depth even in winter. I imagine, however, that this region is 
sometimes visited with summer frosts, as Warren tells me, an ex-policeman 
once perished in this same valley where we are camped, in the month of June, 
Little scraps of information of this kind are not very encouragin" me when 
I reflect that it is now getting on well into October, and that . e to drive 
or ride nearly the whole breadth of the great plains lying between Winnipeg 
and the Rocky Mountains even after I shall have reached Edmonton. 

A CURIOSITY OF THE PLAINS. 

While camp and supper were being prepared to-night I took my gun and 
strolled down the creek eastwards in search of game. Ducks were very scarce, 
but I saw several minks swimming in the middle of the stream, some of 
which I could Iiave shot very easily, but as my cartridges are loaded with 
swan shot, and both barrels of the gun full choke bored, I allowed the little 
fellows to escape as I knew that killing tliem willi such a weapon would totally 
destroy the skins. As I was about to return to camp, however, I noticed 
what appeared to be a curious collection of boulders upon the prairie blutV 
fully 75 or ICO feet above the bed of the creek. [ climbed up to the spot and 
foiuid one of the strtangest of natural curiosities that I ever beheld. The more 
nearly I approached the strange object the nunv at.iking was its resemblance 
to a section of some old ruined castle. What now renuiined of it above 
ground, had once been a solid ledge of finely stratified and very soft and 
friable sandstone, of about the same colour as that exported in large ijuanti- 
tles from Cleveland, Ohio. The ledge was about 100 feet in length and from 
25 to 30 feet hi^h from the base tliough it stood in a large saucer-like cavity, 
which, like a bufialo wallow, was excavated considerably below the level of 
the surrounding prairie. The thickness of the ledge had originally been about 
15 feet, but it had the appearance of having been extensively water-worn, 
smooth cavities and passages having been worn out in all directions ami in 
the most curious manner. The strange freaks of the water currents, or what- 
ever may have been the force that cut the ledge into its present shape had 
worn numerous channels through the rock and left the peaks or rounded tur- 
rets standing, and nine of these were covered with huge caps like coping 
stones pntjecting considerably over the shaft or body of tlie turret. There 
wore rude loopholes, windows and winding passages, as if tortuotis stairways 
with the wood-work burned or rotted away had been partially exposed by tlie 
crumbling down of sections of the outer walls. There were curious little 
niches in the outer walls, and deep n unded caves, in which the birds Inul 
built c\irioun shaped nests of mud, while the fine well-defined stratilication of 
the soft drab sand-stone nuide a miniature mimicry of masonry, well calculat- 
ed to assist the illusion, and nuike this singular freak of nature more closely 
rusomble the ruinii of man's handiwork. This curious rock is evidently a 

:it resort for birds, ami it is (luite possible tliat they may have out the fan- 



gre 



172 



MAXITOBA AND 



tastically shaped cavities in it, as it is extremely soft and crumbles away 
readily under the hand. 



» 1 



iW.1 



A SUNSET ON THE PRAIKIES. 

There was a glorious sunset to-night, but an ominously bright spot in the 
soft amber clouds above it promised badly for the weather to come. To-night 
I sat outside the tent in the keen frosty air till the last rays of daylight had 
faded from the western sky, and the cold silvery moonlight glistening on the 
dew-laden withered grass made our ruddy little camp-fire in the broad white 
valley look like a great ruby dropped upon a broad sheet of snow. Then I 
turned into the tent to write up my journal. 

In Camp, Salt Lake, 97 miles from Calgary, en route to Edmonton, 
October 7. — This morning we were up and out of the valley before sunrise, 
but just as I V s cantering over the frosty yellow grass 1 saw the snow-clad 
peaks (^f the Rocky iVLnint'iins tluslied to a bright rose colour, and then the 
sun's ruddy disc burst through the gilded prairie level away to the eastward, 
the little cloud fragments tioating in the amber zone above it were lighted up 
like isles of lire, and the festoons of the dark leaden cloud curtain that hung 
still higher in the sky wore fringed with deep bright crimson. In ton minutes 
the sun was under a cloud, another promise of bad weather, but it was soon 
shining again, and we had pleasant weather for the rest of the forenoon. For 
an h<iur or two wo were still travelling through clean rich prairie grass and 
then wolf willows, wild rose bushes and other smidl slirubs beg.in to make 
their appearance, and soon after grey willows and small timber were seen in 
the northern horizon. Here too we came to a broader loavod grass mixed 
witli wild pea vine and weeds of various st)rt3, and what is generally recog- 
nised as tlie cattle grazing region had come to an end. As I have already 
stated, it is adopted as a r'''o by those who know the prairie that the snow 
lies wherever these small bushes are found, and as a conso<|uenco cattle 
rancliors are ai)t to look for smooth prairie when in search of winter ranges. 

A little before noon wo reached a clump )J grey willows and foiuul our- 
selves fairly in the timber. In this immediate vicinity there is a largo 
spruco tree known to freighters and n»;/((<;"i(r,< as " lotio pine." It is here 
that they begin to " pack" wood on their way south, usually taking enough 
•to last them to Calgary, unless they are travelliig very light, in which case 
thuy depend partially on the sparse growth of sainted willows to bo foui ,l 
along the banks of Sarvisburry Creek for a supple 'uontary supply. 

After luaohoon we were driving through a tine, rioh-lwoking, rolling prairio, 
abounding in little clumps or "bluffs"' of poplar and groy willow, while 
occasionally the dark green of the spruce would bo sjen min;.^ling '.»iMi the 
briglit yellow of i! ^ frost-nippod poplars. This afternoon the w jathor has 
boon unpleasant and cold, with Si'uo rain and occaiiional Ourries of ^now, 
and everything indicates titat there is an ugly storm of cold rain or perhaps 
snow close at hand. Though wo are now nearly !(-() miles north of (.^algary 
1 have not soon any but really good 1 ind. To-night we are camped inn litth. 
bushy nook close between two hills tikut overlook an alkali lake known us 



luk cl 



m 

Ht 

li\ 
li. 

CO 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



178 



es away 



)t in the 
ro-night 
ight had 
g on the 
ad white 
Then I 

Imonton, 
, sunrise, 
inow-clad 
then the 
eastward, 
ighted up 
;hat hung 
11 minutes 
was soon 
loon. For 
grass and 
II to make 
e soon in 
ass mixed 
y recog- 
already 
the snow 
ni'.o cattle 
ranges, 
mud our- 
is a large 
t is here 
ng enough 
hich case 
l)e foui i 

ng prairie, 
ow, while 
\,M\ the 
jiithor has 

!FI of rtUOW, 

.r perhaps 
)f Calgary 
linn little 
Unown as 



Salt Lake. Warren saya that we are now not mora than five miles from Red 
Doer River, and about fifteen miles from the ford where wo have to cross. 
This is a dreary-looking, dismal night. Beyond the ruddy glare of our camp 
tire on the bushes of grey willow that rise in a thick wall on either side of us, 
everything is wrapped in pitchy darkn ;3. The lake seems fairly alive with 
geese and ducks, that keep up an almost incessant cackling and quacking, as 
though they were greatly disturbed by our presence in the neighbourhood, 
while at intervals we can hear the whizzing of their wings as dock after tlock 
sweeps swiftly over our camp fire, as if they w«re dete.mirj^l to find out 
what we were and why we had come among them. I must admit that to- 
night 1 am beginning to tire of this long stretch of camp life and incessant 
travelling. I have been travelling almost withou': intermission since the 2lst 
(jf .ruly, and in camp since the 8th of August, besides several nights in camp 
prior to the last-mentioned date. Camphig out with a party of friends in 
beautiful weather, and where one can run into a first-class hotel for shelter 
whenever a shower cornea up, is a very diflferent thing from travelling through 
an almost uninhabited country witli a solitary half-breed attendant, a small 
tent, a waggon, a little band of ponies, and an ever-present and sometimes 
uppresive onsciounnesa that over a thousand miles of this lonosome travelling 
still lies betw«!«n me and "civilization," though tlie season is already far ad- 
vanced, and bad weather and bad roads are only what miy reasonably be 

expected. 

THE STORM BRKAKS. 

As r close my journal I can hear the winds moaning and howling over the 
hills above us, and between the fitful gusts come the rail, and sleet splashing 
and rattling upon my little tent. The dreade<l storm has come at lust and 
that in right good earnest. 



CHAPTER XXXIir. 

O.N THE TRAIL llOM KOHT CAUiAKY TO EDMONTON DAY AFTER DAY oF UI.INUlNii 
MTOUMH A ( MMl'SK OK INDIAN HOME LIFE AND IIUHI'ITALITY- A I.ONKI.Y CAM!' IN 
TIIK WII.DKUNKSS THF IMNTKR'h KEHRN-A TEA DANCE AND HOW THK tilKSTS 
WEUE INVITKD DISMAL I'llOHI'lCOTS. 

Tn Cami', Rlivd Man's Rivkh, 122 MtLr.H KrioM rAf.uUiV, ni ranti to Ed- 
monton, October 8. This liaB been a dreary, dismal day, and thongli we 
started early and ih-ovo hard till nearly dark, we have only made about twenty- 
five niilim. When wo were awakened this morning the storm was still how- 
'ing outside and the snow was banked up about the lent on evory side. After 
consulting with I'oter, I decided that it would be better to try and push oa 



174 



MANITOBA AND 



iKIi 



Hi 



^'4 



as ray supplies were not sufficiently extensive to make it safe to remain longer 
in our camp than was absolutely necessary. With Bhmche anu Jim in har- 
ness, the two half-breeds jogged along at a good pace considering the miser- 
able condition of the trail, while mounted on Warren's piebald roan stallion, 
the-snow and sleet beating savagely in my face, and my sou'wester suit frozen 
almost as stiff as a suit of sheet-iron armour, I jugged along behind, keeping 
the spare horses in motion. In due time we reached the prairie bluff over- 
looking the valley of Red Deer River, and I thought under what different cir- 
cumstances and in wliat a widely different sort of country I had first looked 
down into the valley of that famous stream only one month and one day from 
to-day. Then I thought it one of the brightest and loveliest bits of autumnal 
colouring I had ever beheld, and one of the most cliarmiug .scenes on the 
long Battleford and Calgary trail. Then there was no lack of companionship, 
bright skies, and lovely autumn weather. Now the scene is wondrously 
changed. The Calgary and Edmonton trail strikes Red Deer River at a point 
wliere the prairie is so overgrown with clumps of small timber and bushes 
that its distinctive character is almost lost. Instead of the rich, bright green 
of the grey poplar, mingling with the first gay tints of early autumn, the 
sombre, black green spruces reared their sharp, spine-like cones among 
wreaths and drifts of new fallen snow, and coiitrasted with the sere foliage 
that had felt a wintry frost and the dark purplish brown of the leafless grey 
willows. Instead of a mellow autumn sky, dull leadun storm-clouds hang 
thick and dark on every .side, and instead of the soft fresh breezes whistling 
over the limitless pampas 1 felt upon my cheek the cold, cutting breath of a 
blinding sUMWijiorm from the north. 

In time we readied tin- ford, and though the river is wide and swift at 
this point, we had no ditliculty in crossing, as the water scarcely came up to 
the ponies' girths. 

After campiug for noon mi the bottitnu beyond the ford, wo drove on to 
Blind Man's River, and crossing a narrow but deep ami rocky ford, we 
reached our present cr.mp. The strif) of land some te'.i miles wide lying be- 
tween the crossing.^ of Rod Doer and Blind M m's Rivers is somewhat liilly, 
and for the most part, thickly wooded, grey willow and poplar being the 
prevailing timber, though occasionally a dark wall of narrow-based, sharp- 
coned is spruces seen standing on a hill-sido, relieved with the lemon gold 
of frost-nipped pojdars. I have been told that near the mountains there are 
scmie choice ranges for cattle in and about the valley of the Red Deer, Imt 
whatever may be the character of the country further towards its source, it 
is very certain that the valley of this stroain wlioro it is crossed by the Cr.l- 
gary and EduKmton trail is (juito unsuitable for the purpose. The regicm is, 
I think, a cold one, iu wuioh the snows fall early and lie deep all win'-^r, 
and there is so much timber that cowm would be very apt to starve to doatli 
in it for the sake of the shelter afTorded l)y it rather than vunturo out into 
the more open prairie during ihe prevalence of t »lu, stormy weather. 

To-night wo have n roaring tire at the door of .lie tent, and I am writing 
hy tlie lire-light iu prufurenoe to futtlior trenching on my rather alonder 



t)U to 

rd, wo 

ilinr ho- 

iiilly, 
ir the 
sharp- 
n gold 
loro arc 
Dor, b"t 
urco, it 
ho Cr.l- 
j^ion is, 
win*'ir, 
I doatli 
ut into 

writiiiK 
fjloiidor 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



175 



store of candles. The storm is moaning and howling through the spruces 
and poplars overhead and up the hill behind our camp, and the snow is fall- 
ing so fast that it is already banked up in little heaps about the camp, while 
as often as a storm gust sweeps down upon us, a little avalanche of snow from 
the heavily laden branches falls hissing upon our bright, crackling camp-fire. 
The ponies have (^uit feeding, and are huddled together in a little disconso- 
late group in the shelter of some thick-growing spruces close to the fire. The 
poor brutes are half-coated with ice, and I am sorry to say 1 have no grain 
to give them, as I was only able to secure a very limited supply at Calgary, 
which was exhausted some time since. Indeed, the situation is a serious 
one. Some of my ponies are now ahnost unfit for service, and even the best 
of them are shrinking terribly from hard work and lack of feed. My ration.^ 
are rather light, and I am not at all sure that they will last till I get to Ed- 
monton. If the roads continue as bad as they are, or become worse, as 1 
begin to fear they may, I shall bo in a miserable plight by the time I roach 
Edmonton, to say nothing of the long south-easterly journey that will still 
lie before me afl^r I reach that point. 

Fifteen Mile CouLKE, 138 Miles from Caloauv, e/i »w.t<e to Edmonton, 
Oct. y. — Again our camp was made in a raging snow storm, and still 'ha 
storm gusts are breaking fiercely over us with tmabated fury. The snow has 
been falling all day, aad tb . travelling has been so heavy that wo have only 
made 1 fteen miles. The snow collects in great masses in t) ponies' f»jet, 
and the nud and snow gather in great ridges on the waggon wheels, so th.>.t 
anything br' tlie slowest progress is impossible. To-day w.f have been tra- 
velling t irough a beautiful rolling prairie, fairly wooded and considerably 
overgrown with brush, about two feet hii^li. It has to appearance of good 
ai^ricultural land, but the gr is far from being <ienn fso'igh for cattle 

iluH's to a fair size, ami Udll-sized spruce 
hilo the half-breeds were making camp in ;i 
storm, and after a great deal of tramping 1 
ge (the first 1 have seen since leaving tlie 
seven-mile portage below l.agle Lake), which, with five ducks killed this 
morning at IJlind Man's I'iver, will do something toward helping to eke out 
cur 8ui>plios. To-night i intensely cold, and my fingers are chilled and 
numb as 1 write. 
Inmhan Viixaok, Hkau Hit.is, ]5!J Miles from CAr,nAKY,ni)V)»(/c to Edmon- 
ton, October 10. — This morning when we turned out the stonn was still t'lg- 
ing, but to remaiti longer in camp was tpiite out of tlio <picfltion, as oui ra- 
tions would not admit of any unnecessary delay, so we decided to push on as 
rapidly as possible. During i' e forenoon the Pun struggled feebly through 
the Btorm clouds and I hopoil vho Rtorm wan at an end. lly noon alJ hope 
of this kind had vanished again, im tl»o clouds thickened and the storm con- 
tinued as fiercely as ever. The country was good an far as Hattle lliver, a 
distance of about nine miles, when one of thocto annoyances incident to tra- 
velling with Kyuscs overtook mo. 



ranching. Poplar grows in i 
trees are abundant. To-nigh 
thicket, I ventured out into 
managed to kill a small pa: 



m 



-^ 



17G 



MANITOBA AND 









1 K{> 



Jim and Blanche were afraid of the ford, and I rode on, breaking the ice at 
the edge of the river and riding through ahead of them, Punch and little 
Olivette following without any hesitation. Then came the team and the wag- 
gon, but Sandy declined to follow, preferring to look out a crossing for him- 
self. Thinking he would come along when he got ready, I rode on and left 
him, but by the time we had gone a quarter of a mile from the ford I de- 
cided to ride back and see what had become of the loiterer. Seeing nothing 
of him at the ford I re-crossed the river and followed it for nearly a mile up 
stream, when I found Master Sandy feeding quietly on the bank. I dr^ve 
him back to the ford, and managed to get him to the water's edge witliout 
much difficulty, but just as I was expecting to see him take the water lie 
bolted off, and clambering up the steep bank he ran off again ; I wheeled 
the stallion about uid gave chase over the rough ground at full gallop, but 
he ran nearly half a mile down stream before I was able to head him off, and 
then I was only able to accomplish it by dashing at break -neck speed over 
half-frozen muskegs and through tangled clumps of grey willows that tore 
and scratched my face as I swept through them. Again and again I brought 
the brute to the ford, but as o'ten he would break away and go racing up or 
down the str^ ,. n. Once or twice he took the back trail for Calgary, but as 
this was in comparatively open country I could make the stallion head him 
off without much difficulty. At last, however, the horse I was riding became 
tired, and I re -crossed the ford and was going on to camp for a fresh one 
when I met Peter, who, alarmed at my long absence, was already on the way 
with another horse. Between the two of us we managed to catch the runa- 
way and bring him along to camp. 

After crossing Battle Itiver 1 found that the country deteriorated consider- 
ably in character, and during nearly the whole of this afternoon we have been 
travelling through half-frozen muskegs and swamps, where the horses are 
continually breaking ice and ploughing through mud and water that often 
comes up to their girths. Indeed this whole region appears to be one vast 
swamp, with hero and there a narrow ridge of good land travei-sing from east 
to west. In the middle of the afternoon Sandy gave out, and I had to have 
Jim and Bkncho reharnessed to finish the day's drive. This is the first 
time one of my ponies has '* played out," and I cainiot but regard it as an ill 
omen when I think of the long severe journey that lies liefore mo. Just 
before dark we reached the Bear Hills Indian village, which is governed by 
three Cree chiefs, who are said to bo brothers. Tiieir names are" Sampson," 
"Bobtail," and " Ermhio Skin," Some of the people live in little log huts, 
and B( ne in tepees. We drove up to the best looking of tho log hut* 
(which is occui»ied by Ermine Skin mid his pou-in-law) and askoil permission 
to ai)read our iilankots there for the night, a privilege that was jheorfully ac- 
corded t'< IS. <<ur quartt!r« to-night are not at all luxurious, but <m a coKi. 
stormy ni((ht like thin, anything is preferable to sleeping out in my little 
tent. The ho»«e is a little, low, tlat-roufed shanty, built of poplar poloi 
and plaatered with mud. It cfmBists of only one room, about twelve by six- 
teen feet, with a tioor of roughly hewn poplar poles. It has une door and 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



177 



but 



onsiiler- 
e been 
sea are 
at often 
Due vast 
m east 
() have 
tlio tirst 
an ill 
.hist 
rned by 
ipson," 
g hnts, 
Oil hut'i 
inissidu 
villy ac- 
a colli, 
ny little 
r polo* 
> by six- 
jor and. 



two windows. The door consists of a wooden frame with a raw buffalo hide 
stretched upon it, and the windows are simply small holes in the walls covered 
with thin, grey cotton. Opposite the door is a small mud fire-place in which a 
cheerful fire is burning, and in one corner is a low bed which, as nearly as 
I can make out, is simply a mass of old rags and such skins as have no 
commercial value. When we entered the house there were two women sit- 
ting on the floor (there are no chairs, stools, nor benches in the hut) by the 
fire, one considerably past the prime of life, Mrs. Ermine Skin, and an- 
other, some twenty-five years old, her married daughter. There were 
several small children about the hut, who scampered over to the side in 
which the heap of rags and skins, dignified by the name of bed, lay, and 
in a few seconds the east side of the hut was cleared for our occupancy. 
To say that this little mud shanty was destitute of furniture but faintly 
expresses the condition of absolute squalor that prevailed inside of it. 
There were no cupboards nor even shelves in it, and a few pegs in the we.lL'; 
and two or three smoke browned poles suspended from the roof to support 
a few half dried mu.- ^;i: skins made up, with the dirty heap that I have 
already alluded to as - "bed," the total contents of the miserable hovel. 
Shortly after our arrival Ermine Skin's son-in-law came in after having 
spent the afternoon in hunting. He was a sorry looking spectacle as he en- 
tered . His moccasins were soaking wet, though the night is bitterly cold, and 
his blanket was wrapped around him from his head to his heels, so that as 
his dark, pinched, smoky-looking face protruded from between its folds he 
forcibly suggested to me the idea of a re-animated mummy. He lowered the 
blanket to his shoulders and shook the snow out of his long, jet black hair, 
which, when thus turned loose, hung down to his waist. Then, after stand- 
ing his single-barrelled Hudson Bay gun in a corner by the fireplace, he drop- 
ped a partridge from under his blanket. His wife and the children appeared 
particularly pleased at this, and as the latter were about to turn away with it 
he lee fall a prairie chicken. Then even his mother-in-law was uetrayed inti) 
an expression of approval, and as soon as they had recovered from their 
ecsta-sies he dropped another partridge, which of course called for fresh ex- 
clamations of astonishment and delight. Then followed another chicken, 
and then another partridge, and so on till he had a pile of some eight or nine 
birds on the floor, for he had evidently had a wonderfully lucky afternoon. 
As soon as the game had been handed over to the children tlio hunter sat 
down on the bod, with his feet to the fire, while his wife removed his wet 
moccasins, after which she brought him his pipe and tobacco, and then the 
rod man consoled liimself for his hard afternoon's work with a long smoke, 
by the lin»c he. had finished liis smoke the children had skinned (not plucked) 
the game, and the whole of it was put into a pot, which was hung over the 
fire to boil. Some potatoes were bctiled 'n the same pot at the same time, 
aiil the whole was soon ready and serx'ed out, not only to the family, but to 
several fiiends who had been notified i our host's good luck. Ermine Skin 
liimself had gone to Edmonton, and his son-in-law, his wife, and his married 
dau||liter pkyed the host and lioNtesseffi. The stew, into which they had put 



178 



MANITOB. AND 



"4 



neither pepper nor salt, vci ladled out c*^ the pot into tin plates which had 
been shaken out of a bag hitherto concealed somewhere about that mysterious 
bod. and each one, even the smallest child in the house, was very liberally 
helped. The man of the house had previously taken supper with Peter and 
Johnny Warren, but though he had eaten heartily it did not appear to have 
in any wtxv impaired his appetite for this grand family meal, and he fell to 
feeding hiu self with his lingers as ravenously as any of the party. 

A TEA DANCE. 

Not loiigait^^er supper, and after I had begun writing my journal, Johnny 
Warren dippet' a cupful of tea out of his ration-bag and gave it to the lady 
of the house, ai:d a few minutes later I was informed that they purposed 
having a tea dance if I had no objection. Of course, I had no objection, and 
accoi'dingly a large sheet-iron kettle was brought in from out of doors, filled 
wivh water, and hung over the fire . In due time the tea was made, but long 
Wfore this our host's grandmother had come in from a neighbouring teepee hiid 
was duly installed as mistress of ceremonies. As soon as the kettle had been 
lifted ofl' the fire this energetic old lady commenced to exterd the invitations 
to the dance, but, of course she did not waste any perfumed stationery or fancy 
printing in the task assigned her, though her manner of performing it 
was unique and original. She merely went outside the hovel and shouted 
in Cree the names of the invited guests, the nature of the party to which 
they were being invited, and that the " liquor '' was ready. In a few minutes 
the shanty was half filled with sifuaws young and old, who squatted upon 
the floor and began drinking the tea, and laughing and jabbering Cree in the 
nic.st energetic manner. When they had drunk about two cups each the old 
mistress of ceremonies got up and, after bowing very profoundly to Johnny, 
Peter and myself, began to sing and dance in the usual Indian fashion. The 
dancing and singing were very much like all other Indian dances that I have 
seen except that there were no male singsrs or dancers. They had a " tea 
dance," a " butl'alo dauco " (in which the stjuaws wore diflferent articles of Er- 
mine Skin's hunting accoutrements), and then there was a " gift dance," in 
which the old mistress of ceremonies said she was giving her grandson a horse. 
Of course this was pure licti(m, but such things are very often done at Indian 
festivities. Indeed, I have known of red r.j jn who had b'*; one pony giving 
him away in one of those dances. They are exceedingly generous with one 
another, and a chief is expected to give to any of his own band any piece of 
property he has, which is particularly admired. The dancing and singing 
was kept up till I was heartily sick of it, and until two large kettles of tea 
had been drank, and then the company broke up as suddenly as it had 
assembled. 

The weather is still very cold and stormy to-night, and the outlook is really 
a most disheartening one. My ponies are shiinking rapidly from hard work 
-nd want of food, one of tiiem, " Sandy," being already nearly or (|uite use- 
IcMM. I hear nothing but the most discouraging accounts of the trail between 
* e and Edmonton. To-morrow I hope to reach the Indian Instructor's 
fHxin, which is some twenty miles farther along the trail. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



179 



giving 

:ith one 

ncce of 

singing 

1 of tea 

it hail 

13 really 
1(1 work 
Lie uae- 
jotwoen 
ructor's 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

MORE STORMY WEATHER EXCOUNTEREI) BEAI. HIM,S INDIAN FARM— ARRIVAL AT ED- 
MONTON— ST. ALBERT MISSION— THE BLACK MUD r'iVKU A f;REAT SWAMP OF BLACK 
EARTH — WRETCHED CHARACTER OF THE TRAIL TO EDMONTON. 

In Cj*mp, Indian Farm, Bear Hills, 173 mile.s from CALiiARV, ni route 
to Edmonton, October II. — This morning the weather was as cold and stormy 
as ever, and my ponies had wandered oti" in search of better forage, so that 
it was eleven o'clock before we were on our way again. We have made twenty 
miles to-day over the worst trail we have yet fcmnd. The ctmntry appears to 
bo one vast swamp, with only here and tliere a narrow ridge of low upland 
running throngli it. Judging from the luxuriant growth of coarse grass and 
small shrubbery (mostly grey willow) 1 should suppose the land to be very 
rich and' productive, but I cannot ([uite undei'8ti;.nd how such an immense 
swamp can be made useful for many years to come iinless something gigantic 
in the way oi drainage can be devised and put into effect for its benefit. I had 
heard some pretty strong stories about the character of the trails apr^-oaching 
Edmonton, but the half had not been told. There may be good land about Ed- 
monton, but if the other approaches to it are as bad as this one any intending 
settler would do well to consider the matter carefully before attempting to make 
his way tlu'ough these frightful morasses as long as there is plenty of good land 
easyof access in the vicinity of Battleford, Prince Albert, Qu'Appelle, Calgary, 
Fort McLeod, and in fact throughout the whole of this Vtast territory. To- 
day the trail was so bad that I was obliged to use my best team (Blanche and 
Jim) for the whole distance. Often for nearly a hundred yards they would 
have to break the ice as they went, and wade through muddy sloughs with 
the water up to their girths. Again and again have I seen them struggle out 
of the water and get quite up on the ice and then stand ([uietly till it gave 
Avay beneath them and let them down into the cold water and mud. At other 
places where the ice was not so strong they would rear up and break their 
way through it with their fore feet. Tonight they are half covered with 
ice and frozen mud, all in all they present as disconsoUte a picture as I 
ever beheld. At this rate I shall never be able to make my way back to civil- 
ization without fresh ponies, and the sooner 1 supply myself with one or two 
the better, though owing to the prevalence of hoof evil it will be dithcult to 
aeciire good ones, except at exorbitant rates. 

The Bear Hills Indian Farm is certainly not favourably located for an ex- 
coptionally wot and baokward season sv.ch as the present one has boon. The 
land, though ricli, is much too cold and low lying. Mr. Lucas, who was ap- 
pointed Instructor for the Bear Hills Indian Reserve, is at present absent on 
a long leave, and Mr. John Loo, an old frontiersman, is the acting Instructor, 
assisted by Mr. James Mowat, formerly Acting Indian Agent at Edmontim. 



180 



MANITOBA AND 



; , \ 



\ * 

; , I 



n4 



u 



There are on the farm sixty-three acres xiniler cultivation, and had it not 
been for the present unseasonable weather the I'esults of this season's opera- 
tions would in all probability have been very satisfactory. As it is, the ro^t 
crop promises well, but it is very doiibtf ul if much of it will bo stored in good 
order, as the most of it is still in the ground, which is already frozen to a 
considerable depth. Mr. Lee estimates that there will bo half an average 
crop of wheat and oats, but at present the cut barley is lying under the snow. 
He had twenty-one acres sown in wheat, about five acres in barley, and 
twelve acres in oats. He thinks that in spite of the cold wet season, which 
prevented the grain from ripening properly, the wheat will yield about fifteen, 
and the oats thirty bushels to the acre. 

Some of the Indians on the reserve (notably Ermine Skin) are determined 
to become farmers, but hitherto they have been at a lUsadvantage owing to 
the impossibility of getting seed upon the spot in proper tim? ; but it is to be 
hoped that they will be fui-nished more promptly next seasoii. 

In Camp, 193 Miles from Calgary, en route to Edmonton, October 13. — 
Yesterday I waited at the Indian Instructor's farm for better weather, and 
this morning I had the satisfaction of seeing bright sunshine again, so that 
the snow began to disappear rapidly. Having bought a fresh pony (a neat 
little bay called Rowdy), I was oft' in good season this morning, expecting 
very bad roads, and in this I was not in any way disappointed. Mile after 
mile the horses had to break their way through the ice and haul the waggon 
through the deep water and soft mud that lay beneath it. The weather was 
pleasanter, however, and our camp to-night would be cheerful enough were 
it not for the dreary prospect ahead of us. The character of the country 
grows steadily worse as we travel northward, and to-day we have been plough- 
ing through one vast morass utterly worthless for agricultural purposes, un- 
less it could be thoroughly drained. 

In Camp, 208 Miles from Caloarv, m route to Edmonton, October 14. — 
The trail has been worse than ever to-day, and despite the short distance 
covered, this has been a very hard day's drive. The weather is very cold 
and unpleasant, though but little snow is falling. I am now about five miles 
south of Edmonton, and it is to be hoped that the worst of the trail has been 
passed. To-day at noon we crossed the Black Mud River, which I was told 
was very bad. I took off all my heavy clothing, and clad in the lightest of 
summer costumes (though the day was bitterly cold) mounted Punch, drove 
the loose ponies into the dark, sluggish-looking stream, and immediately fol- 
lowed to keep them from turning back, supposing, of course, that they would 
have to swim across. In this I was agreeably disappointed, as they managed 
to find footing all the way across and clamber safely up the north bank. As 
the stream was fpiito fordable, Peter drove in with the waggon, and Blanche 
and .Tim broaght their load up the steep north bank without ever faltering. 

The country through which we have followed the trail to-day is simply one 
great swamp of black earth, except in the case of the last few miles, where 
it consists of water-soaked uplands extremely rich. Good crops could doubt- 
less be raise J here in a dry season, but the present summer has been very wet 



14.— 

istance 
ry cold 
B miles 
13 been 
as told 
test of 
drove 
ily fol- 
woiild 
an aged 
k. As 
lanclio 
rina;. 
ly one 
where 
doubt- 
ry wet 





THE J 


SORTH-WEST. 






181 


I 


and cold, and the fuw 


fields I have seen, look as though 


they 


had not 


yielded 




more than half a crojp 


this year. 












This horrible trail, 


bad weather 


and frozen forage is 


malcing sorry 


specta- 





cles of my ponies, but as 1 am now very near what is spoken of as one of the 
best grain-growing regions in the North- West, I trust I shall be able to buy 
oats or barley for them without much difficulty ; and whether I can or not 1 
sliall have to lie over for a day or two for the purpose of seeing the place and 
giving the horses a short rest. "Rowdy," the pony I bought at the Indian 
farm, has turned out to be an excellent little animal, and as he is fresh and 
in good condition I trust he will be a great help to me in getting through the 
long journey that still lies before me. 

Edmonton, October 18th. — I reached here, or rather a point opposite 
here, on the south side of the Saskatchewan, early on the foreno )n of the 
15th instant, and as soon as I could make camp and see that the horses were 
turned out in fairly good winter forage, I made my way to the ferry, and 
crcissing in a small boat through large quantities of floating ice, reached this 
side of the river about noon. Though away to the south of the Saskatclie- 
wan the land is low and marshy for mauy miles around, the Hudson's Bay fort 
and the little town of Edmonton are both built on a high bluff overlooking 
the river, and some 150 feet above it. The fort consists of a large wooden 
stockade, enclosing a square of about an acre and a half with a large bastion 
at each corner. Within the enclosure is a well, a store, a post office, a num- 
ber of storehouses, and two small rows of houses for the employees. This 
has long been an imi)ortant trading post for the Hudson Bay Company, and 
^n former times it was the scene of many bloody skirmishes between the 
Crees on one side and the Blackfeet or Sarcees on i;he other. Indeed, 
there is scarcely a block of a hundred acres anywhere in this vicinity that 
has not within the last thirty years been stained with the blood of murdered 
Indians. About three-quarters of a mile down the river a littU village is 
rapidly springing up, and could the settlers secure satisfactory titles to their 
land, town lots would now be selling at a good figure. As yet, however, 
there has been no Government survey of the land, and the result is that 
everybody is afraid he may be putting buildings on his neighbour's property. 
Tliere are several stores, well stocked, three steam grist and saw mills, and 
Canada Methodist and Episcopalian Churches. It would be difficult to esti- 
mate the white aid half-breed population of Edmonton proper, as the general 
term Edmonton is applied to the whole settlement, or succession of settle- 
ments, along the North Saskatchewan from the mission of St. Albert on 
Sturgeon River, about nine miles north-west of the Fort, to Fort Saskatch- 
ewan, some twenty miles down the river. 

ST. At.DEKT. 

On Saturday afternoon (the day of my arrival here), through the kindness 
of Mr. Leslie Wood, the Postmaster here, I was furnished with a horse and 
buckboard to drive out to the St. Albert mission. The country between the 
fort and the mission is a beautiful agricultural region, pretty well-filled with 




IMAGE EVALUATION 
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2.8 



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Photographic 

Sciences 

Corporation 



33 WIST MAIN STRUT 

WIRSTIR, N.Y. •4SI0 

(7U) 173-4303 




182 



MANITOBA AND 






<■ * 
I. ■ ♦ 






settlers who appear to be doing well, except of course, that the cold, back- 
ward season and early winter has caught some of them in an unlucky plight 
with their harvesting. M(jst (jf them had their root crops frozen in the 
ground, and unless the weather moderates they will have difficulty in saving 
them. To judge from the number of immense grain stacks near their houses 
I should suppose that their farms had been very productive during the past 
season. Of coarse some of the crops have been harvested before they were 
<|uite mature, but I saw enough to convince me of the extraordinary fertility 
of the land, though this season the results may, and doubtless will, prove 
very unsatisfactory. The land is not, strictly speaking, prairie, though there 
are many small stretches that are absolutely treeless, but at the same time 
there is enough of small timber to make the view from almost any point very 
limited. The timber is mostly poplar and grey willow, and growing as it 
does, to only a small size, the clearing up of a farm among these little 
" liluffs" is an easy and inexpensive operation. 

It was nearly dark and very cold when I found the trail leading down a 
thickly- wooded hill into the valley of Sturgeon River, while on the crest of 
the opposite slope beyond the river rose the mission buildings, against a dark 
l)!ickground of cold leaden sky. Crossing a long wooden bridge, erected and 
kept in order by the St. .Albert Mission, I soon found myself at the door i>f 
the bishop's palace, t<i which I was very cordially welcomed by Pore Le Due, 
and thoroughly glad I was to accept his hospitality for the night. During 
the evening I hail time to look about the place, and collect some informatii'ii 
aljout the mission and the work that is being accomplished by it. 

The St. Albert Mission was established by Pure La Conibe in 1858. At 
that time there was no settlement here or anything resembling it, (mly a 
cam[)ing place for Indians marking the Bj)ot. At this time one small log 
house was built, and this constituted the only structure belonging to the mis- 
sion. Two years later the house was built for the Sisters, which is still oc- 
cupierl by them. This is a largo building 60 feet by lU), and two stories high. 
In 18(»7 Pere La Combo was succeeded by Pure Le Due. Sister Emery was 
the first Lady Superior, but in 1873 she was succeedi'd by the present Su- 
perior, Sister St. Iloch. In 1871 Bishop (Jratidin was elected coadjutor of St. 
lionifaco, and on the day of his election he was transferred to the HislKjpric 
of St. Albert. To recur to the history of the mission buildings, however, the 
present church was erected in 1870. It is a neat-looking frame building, 80 
feet by 32, with transepts 70 feet long and a vestry 40 feet in length. There 
is a good bell iii the steeple, another in a strong wooden framework outside, 
but near the chure'., though independent of it. The church is neatly and 
tastofully painted and decorated inside, and altogether it is a credit to tlio 
mission and the settlement. 

The linost building at the mission however, and one of tlio linest, if not in- 
deed the linost, building in the North- West Territory, is the Hishop'a palace. 
This is a handsonut frame structure, 80 by 32 feet, throe stories iiigli, inclu- 
ding a lar^e attic lighted by rows of d(»rmer windows, besides a large and 
well-lighted basement. Tiiough this building is not yet (juite fiii'shed, ther«^ 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



183; 



are now in it twenty-seven rooms ready for occupancy and furnished. The 
drawing-room is very tastefully furnished, one of the most striking and valu- 
able pieces of furniture in it being a beautifully carved pine sideboard. The 
carving on this (all hand work of course) was executed by Brother Vintighen, 
an ecclesiastical student now at the Mission. He is a Belgian who, besides 
having rare talent as an artist, had devoted much time to art studies before 
leaving the Old World. It is seldom that such a specimen of carving as this 
sideboard is seen oiitside collections of work hundreds of years old. It is 
well calculated to impress one with the idea that real wood carving is rapidly 
becoming one of the lost arts. Indeed, I cannot remember ever having seen 
a specimen of modern work that will at all compare with it. In front of the 
palace on the lawn stands a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary carved by 
the same hand out of poplar and white birch. 



f not in- 

palace. 

, inclu- 

irgo and 

d, tlier*^ 



THE PROPOSED CONVENT AND HOSl'lTAL. 

Pere Le Due this year purchased 100,000 feet of sawn lumber for the pur- 
pose of building a convent and hospital for the Sisters, which will be com- 
menced next summer. This building will bo 100 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 
three stories high. 

Tlie occujjants of the mission buildings are as follows :— Bishop Grandin, 
four priests, ten lay brothers, five ecclesiastical students, all belonging to ftio 
order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. There are eight sisters, and six 
auxiliaries and girls, about twenty little orphan boys and a similar niunber 
of orphan girls, whites, half-breeds, and pure Indians. The little boys are 
schooled for five or six years, then set at work with the lay brothers to learn 
a trade, Tlie girls are under the care of the Sisters till they are married. 
There are also fourteen boarders at the school, and a daily attendance by the 
children of the settlement averaging from seventy to eighty. Tlie children 
are taught, besides the ordinary branches, English, French, and Cree or 
Stony. 

KESOURCES OF THE MISSION. 

They have at the mission now one blacksmith, two carpenters, one shoe- 
maker, and one bookbinder, besides farm labourers. The mission operates a 
farm of I.'IO acres, keeps fifty horses and twenty-six cows, forty-six sheep, 
twenty oxen, forty young steers, six mules, and a large number of hens and 
ducks. Within the past year abo.it 1,000 lbs. of butter and a lari{o (luantity 
of cheese have been made by the Sisters, and this year the grain product of 
the farm will foot up to about 800 bushels of wheat and 200 bushels of bar- 
ley. Of course the whole annual product of the farm is consumed by the 
missitm itself, which as yet is not <|uito self-supporting. 

The toll-bridge across Stiirgoon Uiver opposite the church was built at the 
expense of the mission in 1875, at a cost of ftl.UOO, and the tolls c(»llected 
barely amotmt to enough to pay interest (tn the investment and .;eep it in 
repair. 






m 



184 



MANITOIJA AND 



,'■ *S. 






""si 



The St. Albert Miasicju property extends about four miles clown Sturgeon 
Ivivor and about six miles up the same stream, including the frontage on 
both banks of the river. There are now settled on this property 180 families, 
making a total population of some 900 souls ; but statistics would have made 
a much better showing had it not been that in 1870 a frightful visitation of 
»mall-pox swept away no less than 300 of the population. There are in the 
settlement about 2,500 acres of land under cultivation. The Sisters have a 
large pharmacy, and the Sister Superior is a thoroughly qualified physician. 
The Mission is allowed $5 per head (the regular Government bounty to In- 
dian men, women, and children) for all the Indian orphans whom they keep, 
and Pero Le Due has proposed to the Government that the Mission should 
be paid 25c. per day for all the Indian children for whom the Mission will 
undertake to provitle, oUering at the same time to givarantee that in thirty 
years there shall be no more pauper Indians in tlie North- West territory. At 
present Pore Le Due says that the Mission is feeding, on an average, no less 
than thirty or thirty-live starving Indians daily. 

Fifteen miles down Sturgeon River there is a grist mill with two runs of 
stones, which does the grinding for the settlers. 

I remained over night at the Bishop's palace, the guest of Pore Le Due, 
and on Sundcay morning attended service in the little church. Though tlie 
<]fiy was intensely cold and stormy, there was a very largo congregation, who 
listened with evident interest to the sermon by Piire Le Due. After preach- 
ing for about twenty or twenty-five minutes in French, the reverend gentle- 
man gave a brief synopsis of his discourse in English, for the benefit of those 
of the congregation who did not understand French. 

In the afterno(m I was shown through the achool-houso, whore the chil- 
dren (both orphans and boarders) were assembled. The little folks looked 
very happy and comfortable, and the little girls sang some few hymns both 
in French and English very prettily. Just as these exercises were concluded, 
both the bells rang out a merry peal, and the little community was thrown 
into the wildest state of joyous excitement by the sudden and rather unex- 
pected return of Dishop Grandin, who had been absent for some six months 
visiting the many scattered missions under his charge. 



SETT1,EK» AT HT. ALItKKT. 

While at St. Albert I had an interview with two well-to-do settlers, who 
have made a home in this prosperous little settlement. The first of those, 
William Oust, came originally from the County of Derry, Ireland, which he 
left in 1847. Ho had been trading in the Peace River country, but five years 
ago ho was bought out by tho Hudson Hay Company, receiving l|2,500 in 
cash. With this he came to St. Albert to settle, and connnonced farming, 
lie has this year I HO acres in wheat, which, despite tho very unfavcnirablii 
season, will yield not less than ItO bushels to tho acre ; 35 acres of barley on 
now ground which will yield 35 bushels to tho aero and twelve acres of oats 
yielding 25 bushels to the acre. Of course Mr. Cast's crops ore not at all up 
to the average this year, nor were tliey last year, as during the latter part C'f 



iirgcon 
bage on 
imilies, 
re made 
,tion of 
) in the 
have a 
ysician. 
y to In- 
3y keep, 
1 should 
lion will 
n thirty 
tory. At 
t, no less 

runs of 

Le Due, 
DUgh the 
;ion, who 
ir preach- 
ed gentle - 
,t of those 

the chil- 
es looked 
nins both 
oneludod, 
[V8 thrown 
ler xniex- 
months 



era, who 

of thOBO, 

which he 

five years 

*'2,r)00 in 

fanning. 

'ftvourahl'i 

barley on 

i-DR «)f oatn 

t at all up 

tor part of 



THE NOIITII-WEST. 



18.3 



both summers, when thoy ought to have been maturing rapidly, the weather 
was so cold, cloudy and wet that they remained almost at a standstill, and 
finally, just as the time for harvesting came on the farmers were caught with 
a spell of winter weather, whicli has this year compelled them for the time 
]ieing to suspend operations altogether, so that unless good weather should 
cuine again fall ploughing will be an utter impossibility. Like many other 
pushing and intelligent agriculturists in the North-West, Mr. Oust has come 
to the conclusion that in future the safest and best plan of operations will be 
to do as much fall sowing as possible, that is, putting in spring crops in the 
fall, so that they will germinate during the tirst warm days of spring, and 
mature for harvest long before the early frosts, that are liable to visit this 
part of the country, can possible reach them. I am informed that INIr. lleid, 
down at Fort Saskatchewan, has tried i.he experiment of sowing spring wheat 
in the fall, and that the results have been most satisfactory. As land is plen- 
tiful here crops of this kind can be put in on new ground without sacrificing 
any standing crops, even should the current period of backwiyd springs and 
early winters continue, which is indeed a very improbable contingency. As 
1 have already stated, however, Mr. Gust has a very largo and valuable crop 
this year, despite the unfavourable season and notwithstanding the f.iut tiiat 
labour is scarce and dear here, he ia growing aiiJ harvesting his croi-a for a 
very moderate annual outlay. He employs from four to tive men the year 
around, and supplies the place of others with a very complete outfit of ai^ri- 
cultural machinery and implements. Ho keeps nine work horses, ten work- 
ing oxen, fifteen milch cows, and a largo herd of young cattle and sixty breed- 
ing cows. This year he has been using an Osborne self-binder, which, he say.s, 
saves not only a groat deal of labour but a fair share of the grain which other- 
wise would be wasted. Mr. Gust expresses himself as well satistied with the 
Edmonton region despite the many drawbacks as to climate which the past two 
years have developed. The prices are good for all sorts of farm produce, and 
though there are as yet many ditliculties to contend with, his own financial 
success furnishes abundant proof that with all its drawbacks, farming pays 
well here in the long run. 

I also had some conversation with Mr. Maloney, formerly of Gojlingwood, 
who came here this spring. He has already broken 40 acres of land, and 
next season he will connnenco farming on a large scale. 

St. Albert is beautifully located on the high sloping shores of the Sturgeon 
llivor, and altogether the settlement is one of tlie most beautiful in the North- 
West. 



18« 



MANITOBA AND 






t 



%4 



CHAPTER XXXV. 



EDMONTON AND ITS TICINITY— ONCE MOUK ON TIIK TUAIl. 

i:n uot'Ti'; to hatti-kkoud. 



TIIV; KIUST DAY S .lOHKNKY 



Epmonton, N. W. T. , Oct. 13.— T rotnrnod to Edmonton on Sunday ovon- 
iufj; and spent l\Ionday atid to-day in lookinj? over tlio snttloniont and ontKt- 
tinjj; for my journey to Mattloford. Thouf^li my visit to Edmonton has been 
made at a most unfavourable time for forunn;^ favourable improasions concern- 
ing it, I cannot fail to recognise the fiict that it is yet destined to V)oconie a 
place of very considerable iujportanco. The soil is extremely rich, and worked 
by intelligent and industriims farmers it cannot fail to prove ver)' productive. 
Timber is plentiful within e'lsy reach of any i)art of the settlement ; tire- 
wood is now only about one dollar per cord, and there ia plenty of good bitu- 
ninous coal scattered throughout the whole regicm. Indeed some of the set- 
tlers are using coal in their houses, but the euorjuons i)ricos charged for coal 
stoves operates with a groat many as a bar to the use of coal. A base-burn- 
ing stove such as would cost 835 or at most $40 in Toronto, costs $125 hero. 
This, however, is only a fair sample of tho exorbitant prices charged for almost 
everything that can be bought hero. Horsoshooing costs a dollar a shoo, ba- 
con is ;50c per pound, flour loc per pound, oats are luvrd to got hold of at (>ic 
per pound. Tiarley is nominally $1 por bushel, but a settler here chargecl 
me ^2 per bushel for barley that was nearly half chaff. Only a very few 
have done any threshing as yet, and they evidently dosiro to profit as much as 
possible by their promptitude in getting a portion of their thrashing done. 
INIeals at all tho boarding houses cost fifty cents each, no matter how plain the 
repast happens to bo, though in justice to them, I am bound to acknowledge 
that considering the bill of fare they furnish, and t' o cost of provisions here, 
1 think their rates are rather low than otherwise. 

Within the last few months what is called tho town of Edmonton has 
gri>wn very rapidly, while the iuHux of farmers into tho settlement has been 
most extraordinary. It is probable that during tho season just past not loss 
than 40() settlers have come into the settlement for tho purpose of remain- 
ing here, while others have called hero en rotdo to nu)ro remote points. Not 
] )ng ago a rough census showed a voting population of over 850, and it will 
nt this rate bo only a short time before Edmonton will have the roquisito 
number of settlers (1,000) to entitle it to ropreaontation. 

COAL. 

Tho miserable weather that has prevailed since my arrival here has ren- 
dered anything like an exploration of the coal seams which abound along the 
Saskatchewan an utter iiiipc ssibility, but I have seen the coal burning beau- 
tifully, both in grates and in bafio-burning stoves, and from what I have 



THE NORTII-WKST. 



187 



i)l!UNKY 

f ovon- 
outfit- 
vs been 
iMicorn- 
cotuo ft 

luctivo. 
it ; tiro- 
od bitu- 

tho sot- 

for co\\\ 
iso-buru- 
1*25 beiv. 
or abnost 
shoe, bii- 

of at (iJiC 
cbarfjcotl 

'ory few 
mucb lis 

[ny done. 

plain the 

nowlodj^o 

lona bore, 

|nton bi\9 
baa been 
Lt not less 
l{ remaiu- 
Lta. Not 
lind it will 
rtMjniaito 



lo haa ren- 
1 along tbe 
liiug boau- 
liat 1 have 



heard I have no doubt that in a very few years coal will bo cheap and readily 
f»btainablo all along the western slope of tlio base of the Rocky Monntains 
from the 4J)th parallel away northward to the Fence River district, and I iKi 
not know how much farther. Some of these seairis show themselves for a 
lonj? way alony the banks of the Saskatchewan and (jther streams flowing out 
of the mountains, and these seams run all the way from two feet to more 
than twenty feet in thickness. The coal found hero is much better than the 
Souris coal and I imagine that the day is not very far distant when it will be 
exported in very large quantities. 

COLD, 

fJoid mining here has so far not been attended with any very encouraging 
results. Fine gold is found in the siuid bars of the North Saskatchewan not 
far west of Edmontcm, but as yet it has not been found in siiflicient (pianti- 
ties to warrant capitalists in investinic, very largely in it. 

To-morrow I shall atart eastward, hoping to roach IJattloford lieforo winter 
fairly sets in. To-day I mana>j;ed to trade une of niy ponies (Sandy) for tlio 
stout pinto stallion that the half-breed who accompanied ns from Calgary 
brought along with him. Poor Sandy was sadly reduced, and could hardly 
be dei>ended ui)on for an hour's drive, so that it was merely a choice between 
trading him off and dropping him on the road. Altogether my prospects for 
the next stage of my long journey are not particularly nnfavf)urable. My 
best pony (Hlanche) is a trifle lame, but Rowdy (the pony I purchased at 
Bear Hills) is a fine little fellow in harness, and will bo able lo give the little 
mare a chance to recruit by working in her place, and the others, though 
somewhat thin, are in good heart, and will, I trust, pull through all right. 
I have been able to secure grain enough to feed once a day on the journey 
to Battleford, unless the trip proves much longer than I expect it will, and 
as the weather, though cold (only four above zero this morning), is pleasant, 
my prospects are much more favourable altogether than they were a week 
ago. 

I cannot say that I have any regrets at leaving Edmcmton, at this season of 
the year, at all events. Edmonton is certainly a promising settlement, but 
at the same time there is no doubt that is the best advertised place in the 
North- West, in proportioTi to its importance. It is a very fine place, but it 
has some serious drawbacks. It takes a long, tedious, and expensive jour- 
ney to reach Edmonton by any route the settler may choose to take, and 
having reached there, utiIoss he has everything he needs along with him, he 
will find it a most expensive place in which to exist, to say nothing of living 
comfortably, which, for a man not in really good circumstances, is absolutely 
out of the ({uostion. Indeed, the habit which settlers and traders here, and 
in many other places throughout the North-VVest, have of practising the most 
ridiculous extortion upon strangers, is hurtful, not only to the best inter- 
ests of the country, but, in the long run, to their own, as no one at all poated 
as to the state of affairs here would think of coming to such places to buy 
supplies if he could possibly avoid it. I do not mean to say tliat the habit 



r. 



188 



MANITOBA AND 



I- f 



3:( » 

■ : I 
t 






1 1 



of over-charging prevails everywhere throughout the North- West, but it is 
far more common than it ought to be. Battleford is a notable exception to 
the rule in this respect, as my experience would lead me to believe that there 
a traveller can secure very fair value for his money, when the cost of freight- 
ing is taken into account. One of the most objectionable features in dealing 
with traders in the North-West is that they wish to give a stranger real value 
for nothing or else charge him three or four prices for it, and it is really a 
luxury to reach a place like Battleford, where he can meet traders who will 
deal with one on thoroughly business-like principles. 

l.v Camp 28 Miles from Edmontox, en route to Battleford, Oct. 19. — 
I left Edmonton this morning, and by half-past ten I had broken camp on 
the south side of the river and started eastward, Peter driving ahead and I 
riding behind and herding the spare ponies. The first three and a half or 
four luilos of the trail led us down to the steep bank of Mill Creek and along 
the Valley of the Saskatchewan till the other slope of the valley of the little 
stream was ascended, and we had reached the high level of the prairie again. 
The view of Edmonton rrom the south-east was an excellent one, the dozen 
or more new frame clapboard buildings standing out in bright relief in the 
strong sunlight against the deep, rich blue of the Northern sky. For the 
next three or four miles the trail was good, leading through choice agricul- 
tural land, consisting of fine prairie counirry with numerous little poplar 
bluft's, and occasional little fringes of grey willow that marked the course (^f 
some little marshy stream. 

A little before noon we came to one of these little streams having steep, 
slippery banks, and it was with a good deal of trouble that we managed to 
make the ponies haul the load through it. In the afternoon the country 
through which the trail passed was rather lower, but still good, with occasional 
high ridges aflbrding a commanding view of the half-wooded prairie that 
stretched away in the distance in all directions. Upon the whole, however, 
the land passed during the afternoon's drive appeared to me rather wet and 
cold to be termed first-class agricultural soil, and this objection would apply 
to a larj^e section of this particular locality, though it will doubtless be all 
settled up in time, as farmers in Ontario are now making money ott' sections 
of country vastly inferior to it. To-night I am camped about 26 miles from 
Edmonton, by the trail we have come, and just besid3 my tent is that of 
Priifessor Kenaston, with whom I have travelled in company since leaving 
Edmonton. 

Professor Kenaston has been sent out by the C. P. R. Sydicate to look up 
a line for a branch from the r^ain line of the C. P. R. to Edmonton. His 
course has been from Moose Jaw Creek, some fifty miles west of Qu'Appelle, 
past the elbow of the South Saskatchewan and thence by Hay Lakes to Ed- 
montdu. He reports having seen plenty of good land along the trail, but 
that he had found the country between Hay Lakes and Edmonton (a strip of 
some forty miles wide) very low and wot. His course was considerably south 
of the country I have seen, and of any that I am likely to see on my present 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



180 



trip. He is travelling with a light buckboard drawn by two ponies, and two 
carts with fmir horses, and two men, one of whom is a half-breed guide. 

Just as we were fairly settled around our camp-fire, after supper was out 
of the way, we heard the tramping of horses' feet along the trail, and a few 
minutes later a waggon and two carts fetched up at our camp-tire. I was not 
a little surprised to find that the outfit was that of Mr. Pagerie and Mr. Fair- 
banks, his son-in-law. The latter had remained behind with the rest of the 
waggons and carts, but Mr, Pagerie was accompanied by his wife and chil- 
dren, including his married daughter, Mrs. Fairbanks, and her baby. This 
child is called " Lome," and he is the little fellow who was born on the Salt 
Plains this side of Touchwood Hills, and who was mentioned in my journal 
at the crossing of the South Saskatchewan, where the Governor-General's 
party overtook Mr. Pagerie's outfit when His Excellency was coming west. 
The young traveller and his mother are looking none the worse of their long 
and tedious journey, but at the same time people can judge of the great ox- 
tent of this territory and the difficulties to be encountered in traversing it 
when they remember that Mr. Pagerie and his family have been on their way 
from Winnipeg since the middle of June, and they are still some hours' drive 
from their destination, which is Fort Saskatchewan. There is sharp frost to- 
night, and writing my journal in my tent is anything but a cheerful occupa- 
tion, but I shall probably have chilled and numb fingers many a time Ijefore 
I reach the comforts of civilization again. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 



ARRIVAL AT FORT SASKATCHEWAN— RECORD OF SEVERAL DAYS' JOURNEY. 



1 look up 
.on. Uis 
I'AppoUe, 
los to Ed- 
Itrail, but 
la strip of 
Ibly south 
• present 



In Camp, 51 Miles from Edmonton, en route to Battleford, October 20. 
— Camp was broken at an early hour this morning, and a drive of thirteen 
miles (by Professor Kenaston's odometer) brought us to Fort Saskatchewan. 
The country through which the trail led this morning was chiefly of rich black 
prairie soil fairly timbered with small poplar bhifi"3. The region is admirably 
adapted for settlement and is just such as settlers usually look for in this 
coimtry. There is plenty of fine open prairie land for growing grain and root 
crops, while the poplar blufi'a afford plenty of fire-wood and logs for houses, 
stables, &c., as well as fence rails. There are a few settlers scattered along 
the south side of the river between Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, while 
the country along the north shore of the river is said to be well settled up. 

Fort Saskatchewan is a post where the Mounted Police have a small force 
in command of Captain Gagnon. It was established by the Mounted 



190 



MANITOBA AND 



Police in 1875. There is a stockade (with bastions at two of the corners) 
enclosing good stables, barracks, officers' quarters, store-houses and other 
buildings, constructed of poplar logs. At present there are only a very 
few men in the fort, but in the event of the police being reinforced the num- 
ber of men here will be considerably increased. On the opposite side of the 
river there are several settlers whose farms in the river bottoms look ex- 
tremely well, though they, in common with other f«,rmers in this region, lost 
considerable through the backwardness of the season and the visit of early 
frosts. Mr. Reid, one of the settlers on this flat, last year tried the experi- 
ment of sowing spring wheat late in the fall, and the result was that this sea- 
son ho had a fine crop of excellent wheat which was harvested in time to escape 
the early frost which did so much damage throughout the whole Edmonton 
region. Other crops of wheat in the vicinity of Fort Saskatchewan averaged 
from 25 to 30 bushels to the acre, but it is not probable that the wheat will be 
of a very good quality, as very much of it was damaged by the frost before it 
was harvested. Barley here averages nearly or quite tifty bushels to the acre, 
and my i; formant (Capt. Gagnon) assured me that from sixty to seventy 
bushels of oats to the acre was no uncommon average here. Until the present 
season all root crops have yielded uncommonly well, but the frost of this sea- 
son fastened them into the ground, and at present it in impossible to tell how 
they will turn out. I was shown a head of cabbage to-day weighing SOlbs. 

At Fort Saskatchewan I overtook Mr. H. Grant-Dalton and Mr. R. H. M. 
Pratt, who, with an outfit consisting of two waggons, twelve ponies and one 
servant, were travelling homeward via Battleford, Touchwood and Fort Ellice 
to their homes, which are at Minnedosa and Portage La Prairie respectively. 
They are both Englishmen who have spent some years in Manitoba. They had 
just returned from a hunting and pleasure trip from Winnipeg to the Kootenaie 
Pass in the Rocky Mountains. They were accompanied on their western 
journey by two English naval officers — Captain H. C. Aitchison and Captain 
A* J. W. Musgrave. On the 13th of June they left Portage La Prairie with 
an outfit of sixteen ponies, three waggons and two carts. They travelled 
across the prairie, crossing the Assinniboine at Brandon, and thence by way 
of Moose Mountain, Wood Mountain, Cypress Hills (Fort Walsh), and Fort 
McLeod to the mountains, and after a stay of a month in the Kootenaie Pass 
enjoying very fair sport, they returned to McLeod, where Captains Aitchi- 
son and Musgrave left the party, intending; to descend the Missouri in a small 
boat till they could reach steamers by which they intended to travel to Bis- 
marck or Omaha, and thence by rail to the Atlantic seaboard. They had good 
sport both on the prairie and in the mountains, killing antelope, buffalo, 
mountain sheep and mountain goats. They had also capital sport catching 
trout in the mountain streams, some of the fish taken being of dimensions 
calculated to astonish Ontario fishermen. 

They report that the tract of prairie lying between Brandon and Moose 
Mountain is made up almost entirely of fine agricultural land, but that that 
lying betv. jen Moose Mountain and Fort McLeod is almost worthless for 
agricultural purposes. It is made up of dreary, barren flats, strongly irapreg- 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



191 



Dtners) 

I other 

a very 

B num- 

1 of the 

)ok ex- 

jn, lo3t 

3f early 

experi- 

.his sea- 

3 escape 

monton 

veraged 

t will be 

before it 

the acre, 

seventy 

) present 

this sea- 
tell how 

JOlba. 

\. H. M. 

and one 

jrt EUice 

)ectively. 

rhey had 

Lootenaie 
western 
Captain 
iiirie with 
travelled 
le by way 
and Fort 
naie Pass 
18 Aitchi- 
in a small 
to Bis- 
had good 
(, buffalo, 
catching 
imensions 

id Moose 
that that 
less for 
y impreg- 



naied with alkali, alternating with ridges composed chiefly of gravel, loose 
boulders, and sand. West of Fort McLeod, and from there to the Koo- 
tenaie Pass, they travelled through very fine prairie country, where the land 
was of the best character, whether for grazing or agricultural purposes. 
They consider the land lying between the iielly and Kooten^ie Rivers better 
adapted for cattle and horse ranching than any they have seen on the whole 
trip. 

In the afternoon Professor Kenaston's outfit and mine took a longer trail 
than that taken by Messrs, Pratt and Grant-Dalton, and the result is that 
we are camped away from them. We travelled this afternoon till sunset 
through a fairly good but rather low prairie country, thickly interspersed 
with clumps of grey willow and white poplar. With a moderate outlay for 
drainage it would be an excellent region for farming. Our camp to-night 
is close to what is said to be the first crossing of Beaver Creek, but from the 
size of the stream we have just crossed (by mea ^ of a shaky brush bridge) 
I am inclined to think it must be a branch of that stream. All around our 
camp are little bluffs of poplar and swales, or sloughs, fringed witli grey 
willow. The sunset to-night was bright and warm, and there is every ap- 
pearance of tine weather. The stream is said to be only nine miles from Fort 
Saskatchewan, but Professor Kenaston's odometer makes the distance 
twelve miles, which is evidently much nearer the mark. Indeed, the people 
in this country appear utterly incapable of judging distances. The average 
half-breed guide or freighter has not the slightest idea as to what a mile is. 
They will tell you that one point is from another so many "days." Now a 
' 'day" is a very indefinite quantity. It may mean a day's travel in December, 
when there are only a few hours available for travelling, when the carts are 
h«avily laden, the ponies almost played out, and when the roads are in a 
most abominable condition ; or it may mean a day's travel, when with fresh 
ponies, empty carts, and fair roads, they are hurrying down to Winnipeg and 
crowding nearly fifteen hours' steady jogging into a day's travel. In speak- 
ing of a short distance, they will tell you that it is so many "pipes," which 
means that in travelling the distance in question a freighter will fill and 
smoke his pipe a given number of times. Now, with such very indefinite 
data as this upon which to work, the average white settler here is weak 
enough to attempt to give the traveller distances as reliable, when he knows 
well enough that the next man questioned will give a totally different answer. 
To-night there was the most brilliant aurora I ever beheld. Instead of being 
axi irregular shifting light above the Northern horizon such as is usually seen 
in Ontario, it consisted of a bright rainbow-shaped luminous zone, white as 
frosted silver and shedding as bright a light as the full moon. As I close my 
journal to-night the only sound that breaks the stillness of these unfre- 
quented wilds is the mellow muffled clinking of Punch's bell, the heavy 
breathing of my tired fellow-travellers, and the low booming of cracking ice 
in some yet unseen lake away to the eastward. 

Beavee Creek, 71 Miles out from Edmonton-, en route to Battleford, 
Oct. 21. — The sun rose in a mass of lowering red clouds this morning, prom- 



192 



MANITOBA AND 



ifliny much more unfavonrablo weather than that we have experienced to-day. 
We drove twenty miles (by Professor Kenaston's odometer), and reached 
our present camp at lieaver Creek about one o'clock. Here we found Mr. 
(jrar.t-Dalton and Mr. Pratt camped on the bank of Boaver Creek, which is 
a deep, swift flowing, black-looking stream, with cut banks and quicksands 
on both sides. At the time we reached the creek Mr. Grant-Dalton had just 
come out of the water after a decidedly impromptu bath. They had found 
themselves at the bank of the creek with the boat pulled up on the opposite 
side. They built a raft upon which the Captain attempted to cross, but 
finding that the swift current was rapidly conveying him down to a point 
where the shore was lined with broad ledges of thin ice, he took a "header" 
oft" the raft and swam through the coH water to the opposite shore. At the 
time of the an'ival of our party he had just returned with the little boat, 
which is the only conveyance across this muddy little stream. 

After a short deliberation it was decided to adopt Professor Kenaston's 
suggestion and build a bridge, and as the representative of the Syndicate and 
an engineer to boot, he was entrusted with the superintendence of the under- 
taking. He at once selected a point a short distance above the regular cross- 
ing, where the stream was about forty feet wide, or, perhaps, a trifle more. 
This afternoon has been spent in an attempt at bridging this place, and at 
present wo have one stringer in place, but as the end this way rests upon a 
pile of driftwood that is only held together by a quantity of half-thawed ice, 
the general impression prevailing in the party h that the bridge when com- 
pleted will not bo very safe. Several of the ponies are lost to-night, and the 
weather is warm and threatening, so that altogether our prospects are not 
very promising. 

In Camp. Beaver Creek, North-East side, en route to Battleford, October 
22nd. — We were out early this morning, but a good deal of time was lost in 
hunting up the lost ponies, so that the forenoon was well advanced before 
we could turn our attention to the crossing of Beaver Creek, which was the 
business of the day. Mr. Pratt, Mr. Grant-Dalton, and myself all united in; 
the belief that the " Syndicate Bridge" even if completed, would not be 
safe. We decided, as the day was warm and pleasant, to try the expeiiment 
of making the horse:; swim the river. First we tried a chestnut stallion at a 
point where there was a moderately good place from which to launch him. He 
tumbled into the water head and heels and disappeared for a few seconds, and 
finally came up in a half-strangled condition, and at once Mr. Grant-Dalton 
and I began hauling in the lino to bring him across the stream, as he appeared 
strongly inclined to turn back and go ashore again as soon as possible. As 
soon as he found out what we •« anted he turned and swam toward us, but 
just as we expected to see him walk up the bank he sank in a treacherous 
quicksand, and it took four or five of us, tugging and hauling with ropes 
some ten minutes, to pull him out on dry land, and even then he was so ex- 
hausted that he could scarcely walk away. The next experiment was tried 
at another point with a trifle more satisfactory results, but the third animal, 
a pretty little bay mare, was nearly drowned, as she fell into the water back 



THE NORTII-WE ,T. 



19.*V 



)ctober 
lost in 
before 
raa the 
lited in: 
not be 
iment 
)n at a 
Lm. He 
as, andi 
Dalton 
peared 
e. As 
us, but 
iherous 
1 ropes 
so ex- 
18 tried 
(inimal, 
er back 



downward and was almost strangled before wo could haul her ashore. By tlio 
tiiuo two more ponies had been nearly drowned, we decided that we should 
have to build a bridge. It was lunch time, however, and we held another 
consultation, during which Professor Kenaston strongly advocated the com- 
pletion of the "Syndicate" bridge, insisting that it was " all safe." 

" I think," said he, as he finished his lunch, " that I'll go up and look at 
it to see if it's all right." 

" You needn't walk up," remarked Mr. Pratt, who was lighting his pipe at 
the door of the tent, " for here it comes now, and you can look at it as it 
floats past." And sure enough, the first Syndicate bridge in the North-West 
was drifting down the dark, muddy stream. Mr. Grant-Dalton and Peter 
then walked down and selected another point for a bridge, and all hands at 
once set to work to build a new bridge. The timber (white poplar), would 
only make stringers about thirty feet long, and our plan was to build little 
log piers about six feet wide, at either side of the stream, and in this way 
make a secure foundation far enough out into the stream to support the 
stringers. The work was going on nicely till the energetic representative of 
the Syndicate appeared upon the scene, and without consulting any one 
felled two large poplars across the stream, just at the point where the piers 
were being made. When asked the reason of his extraordinary conduct he 
replied, " there are your stringers already in place." Of course the great 
branches on the trees made them very objectionable stringers, but there they 
were, and we had no choice but to use them, though they caught every bit 
of driftwood and anchor ice that was floating down the swift current. After 
all hands had worked hard till near sundown a narrow foot-bridge of poplar 
stringers, covered with split crossties, brush and hay was completed. The 
ponies were then led across one by one, and all but one of my ponies and 
more than half of the ponies belonging to the whole of the outfit had been 
transported when an unfortunate accident occurred, which proved the worst 
piece of luck I have experienced so far in the whole trip. " Rowdy" (the 
pony I had bought at Bear Hills) was always a troublesome rascal to catch, 
and Peter was following him to try and put the halter on him to lead him 
across, when suddenlj' he came galloping down to the bridge where I was 
standing. He reached the bank some distance from the end of the bridge, 
and the next instant he made a spring to reach the bridge. His forefeet 
struck on the bridge but his hind ones sunk in the water, and after struggling 
along in this manner halfway to the middle of the bridge, he sank so low 
that the swift current caught his quarters and swept him under the bridge. 
In a second or two his nose came just to the surface, but the Jong-tangled 
branches on Professor Kenaston's stringers held him fast, and though every 
effort was made to save him, he was drowned in less than two minutes. This 
is a very serious loss to me, situated as I am, as I shall need every pony in 
my outfit to reach the railway. Rowdy was a capital little horse, and it will 
trouble me to replace him at any price. I shall not soon forget Beaver 
Creek or the sight of the poor little fellow struggling in its dark waters. 



11 



194 



MANITOBA AND 



M 



f %^ 









iUi 






4 



The, bridge was soon repaired and the rest of the ponies were brought 
across safely, but it was dark before the job was completed. 

In Camp, 1)9 Miles from Edmonton, en route to Battleford, Oct 21. — To- 
day our three outfits havo travelled 28 miles witliou t knowing whether we 
are on the right trail or not. We have been travelling in a south-westerly 
direction over a frightfully rough trail. The land, though low, is rich, and 
well adapted for farming purposes, and will, I have no doubt, be settled up 
in uime by a prosperous farming community. To-day the weather has been 
bright and warm, and all in all, we have hai a pleasant day's travel. In 
the afternoon we passed close beside a long lake, which I suppose to be Egg 
Lake, and to night we are c mped close beside a big blutf, which shelters us 
from the cold breeze from the north-west, which set in just after suti-down. 
To the south of our camp and just across the trail is a small lake or large 
slough, with wide, marshy borders, and our ponies are all enjoying a rare 
treat off the long frozen grass which almost conceals them. Now that all is 
hushed and quiet, the wolves, and cayotes are keeping up a loud 
and inexpressibly mournful chorus on all sides of the camp. This is 
indeed a lonely hour, and it is at such a time as this that one is apt to find 
himself carefully weighing the chances of ever reaching civilization again. In 
spite of my bad luck at Beaver Creek I still have a fairly good outfit. By means 
of pretty liberal feeding I have managed to keep my horses from failing any 
since 1 left Edmonton, and indeed, I am not sure but they are gaining a 
trifle ; but on the other hand people are lost on these great plains every aut- 
umn. Should winter overtake us here (and it is liable to at any time), I am 
afraid my chances of pulling through with my ponies would be seriously 
damaged, but if this good weather holds for a few weeks longer, I hope we 
shall be near enough the end of the railway to be comparatively safe. 

Ik Camp, 129 miles from Edmonton, en route to Battleford, Oct. 24. — We 
are still in doubt regarding the trail, and still keeping a south-westerly direc- 
tion. The country traversed to-day has been more open, but it is badly 
cut up with great sloughs and marshes, with only here and tl.uro ridges of tine 
farming land running through it. Altogether the scenery is more pictur- 
esqire, as every eminence commands a view of numerous little ice-bound 
lakes, which, with the dark brown leafless bluflfs, come out in bright relief 
against the endless stretches of pale dun prairie grass waving in the never- 
resting breeze. 

Our camp to-night is in the lee of a blutf in a low, flat peninsula that ia 
alm>. -.(- surrounded by half-frozen sloughs. To-day 1 ventured out on one 
of these slo\jghs to secure a drink of pure water. The result was that the ice 
broke and I came back to the trail and remounted mj pony, pretty thoroughly 
<lren, lied with ice-water, and with two ugly cuts in my right hand. Hero- 
after 1 shall not bo very particular about a few grass roots, and bits of moss 
in drinking water. Again the sun set in a flood (>f amber light, promising 
more good weather, and us I close my journal to-night the howling of cay- 
iotos and wolves ia drowning the aiuaio of tiie poniua' bells, 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



195 



that is 

oil ono 

t the ico 

(FonjiUly 

Hero- 

of niosH 

uiniainij 

i of cay- 



In Cajip, 154 Miles from Edmonton, en route to Battleford, October 25. — 
To-day the weather has been warm and clear. Tl;e trail has been leading 
through beautiful rich uplands traversed by numerous little running streams. 
At one point we had to build a bridge to cross a little creek, and just after 
our noon camp we lost the dim trail we had been following, so that all the 
afternoon we had been travelling by compass. We are now trying, by follow- 
ing a south-easterly course, to reach the telegraph trail, which is said to be a 
good one, and to go straight to Battleford. Late this afternoon we parted 
company with Professor Kenaston, who took a more so\itherly course. To- 
night we are camped on a pretty little peninsula that is almost surrounded by 
a little bight in a deep, narrow stream, which is probably one of the main 
tributaries of Vermillion River. This morning, while the ground was still 
frozen and slippery, my pony fell with me and t received a severe wrench 
across the loins by being pitched over his head. 

Prairie chickens are very plentiful here, and I am very glad of it, as my 
rations are already becoming so short that I fear I shall be without provisions 
before I can reasonably hope to reach Battleford. 

Beavers are here in great numbers. 1 saw a very large one this nioming, 
and their work is to be seen everywhere. To-night, as I close my diary, the 
wolves and cayotes are keeping up a dismal concert on all sides of our camp, 
their music being at times fairly deafening. We have driven about twenty- 
five miles to-day. 

In Cami', 179 Miles from Edmonton, en rott<e to Battleford, October 26. — 
This morning we set a snubbing-post at the top of a steep bank and cut a 
road through the brush down to the river. We then drove the horses through 
the ford, and fastening a rope to the waggons, took a half hitch around the 
snubbing-post, half the party letting the vehicles down into the water while 
the others hauled them out with the horses. We then set out across the 
country, and drove about twenty-five i..iles through a beautiful open prairie 
broken only by a very few scattering blufl's and one or two small strips of 
marsh land. We camped to-night beside a small bluff with only a very 
limited supply of wood. .Again the wolves and cayotes are wailing a dismal 
chorus on all sides of our caaip, and of nil the mournful music ever listened 
to I think theirs is incomparably the most dreary. 



190 



MANITOBA AND 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

AlllUVAr, AT BATTLEFORD-A THUIVINO CENTHE OP POPULATIDN A CHKKUKUli, I'LEASANT 
PLACE A VISIT TO THE POLICE BVKUACKS— MEUTENANr-OOVKUNOR LAIKD. 



In Camp, 214 Miles fko.m Ehmonton, en route to BattloforJ, Octobev 27.— 
We were oU" at early dawn this morning, ami as the jirairio was very aiaooth 
the whole outfit rolled alonj^ at a rapid rate though a line, level, open prairie. 
At about nine o'clock in the forenoon the long-looked for telej^raph trail waa 
reached, and a few momenta afterwards we camped, to give the ponies a short 
rest, intending to make three hitches. Just before we broke this camp a 
small outfit of Mounted Police rode up. They are on their way from Battle- 
ford to Fort Saskatchewan and assort that they have been making forty milea 
per day. According to this we must be still over two hundred miles from 
Battleford, which seems incredible. Our whole drive to-day has been about 
thirty-five miles. Before reaching the telegraph trail our course lay throujjh 
fine rolling uplands with scattered bluffs, but since reaching the trail the cha- 
racter of the country has been more diversified, being made up of rolling 
prairie, with numerous clumps and occasional long strips of timber and hun- 
dreds of little frozen lakelets. Our camp to-night is in a bluff on the crest of 
a little spherical mound just to the north of a little lake, whoso dark blue 
waters are covered with ice that gleams in the bright star-light like a great 
sheet of glass. Professor Kenaston (whom we repassed on the trail) is camped 
about five hundred yards west of us (m another mound, his cheery little camp 
lire blazing against the dark bluff in the backgro\ind like a great star just 
sinking below the lu)rizon. On the farther side of the lake J can hear the in- 
cessant barkings of the cayotes, and occasionally the long dismal wail of the 
W(ilf wakes the echoes away to the northward. 

In Camp, 240 milks fuom Eomonton, en route to Battleford, October 28.— 
There is very little to note to-day. We have made about thirty-two miles 
along the trail through a country very similar to that traversed after reaching 
the telegraph trail yesterday, ijovely little lakes are scatteivnl everywhere 
like gems of brightest blue amimg the dun-culoured miund-liko hills of frozen 
prairie grass, while hero and there clamps of purplish brown leafless trees 
stand out in strong relief against the pale yelUjw of the i)rairio and the deoj) 
azure of an autumn sky. To-day the timber was more plentiful, the Iiills 
larger and the lakes wider and lunger. We traversed one large marsh, 
but for the greater part of the diitanco the trail was levding over rolling, up- 
lands of rich black soil. This afN^rnoon the timber was becoming more scarce, 
and ti>-night camp i* nuido in ii little blutf on the northern slope of a great 
hill frouj the crest of which itnmensu stretclios of opon rolling prairie are to 
bo seen in all dirccticmi. 



THE NOllTH-WKST. 



107 



In Camp, 270 miles fhom Edmonton, en roi<<e toIJatllofunl, October 29.— 
Thia morning there was such a thick fog that one could not see fifty yards 
from camp, and every liml> and every twig was covered with a heavy coating 
of white rime, making the thick branches of tlio little trees in the bind" look 
like a net-work of frosted silver. The ponies had strayed off and it was nearly 
ten o'clock before they were hunted up and in harness ready for a start. The 
country traversed to-day was mostly made \i[i of open prairie, with a few 
small bluffs of very small timber, high long hills and occasional deep broad 
C( r.lees. The thick fog already referred to has contiinied all day, and every- 
tiiing one touches is cold and sticky. To-night the horses were as wet when 
they were turned out as if they had been travelling all day in a drenching 
rainstorm. Camp is made to-night almost in the centre of a little burned 
blutf on liigh uplands. The trail to-day led through some alkali sloughs, but 
I do not think they are impregnated strongly enough to be seriously detri- 
mental to the land. There has evidently been a good deal of snow and rain 
in this region this fall, as the gr.ass is beaten down Hat and every little hollow 
contains a pool of frozen water. 

In Camp, 302 miles from P^omonton, en route to IJattloford, October 30. — 
Again our ponies were missing and it was ten o'clock before our outlit was on 
the trail once more. In the forenoon some tifteen miles were covered, the 
trail leading through open prairie uplands, here and there traversed by deep 
broad coulees with stgep banks. All the forenoon the weatherwas bright, warin 
and sunny, but while we were in our noon camp a cold thick leaden mist 
came stealing swiftly down from the north-west over the pale yellow slopes of 
alni'ist treeless prairie, and in less than an hour after Hrst observing it wi: 
were enveloped in a dense cold fog that brought with it scattoving flakes of 
snow. In the afternoon wo made about eleven miles through low-lying 
marshy country, but the mist and drizzling rain aiid snow that overtook us at 
noon, continued to envelop us. Camp is made to-night iu a little cleared 
place in the centre of a big bhilf, and as there is plenty of wood we have a 
roaring camp fire, but for all that this is a cheerless night. Indeed this late 
travelling across the prairie is at best dreary, cheerless work, and I shall be 
heartily glad when I can say good-l)yo it. 

In Camp, 322 miles from EnMoNToy, <»( roit^c to Battleford, Oct. 31 -We 
have nuide twenty miles a day through a rather low-lyinj( country somowiiat 
cut up with sloughs and maraheB. Though the drive has been a short one 
the ponies have had a hard time of dragging the wa^'gous thro\igh deep half- 
frozen sloughs and mud-holes. The land here is rich, but will re(iuire con- 
siderable drainage before it can bo of much value for agricultural pin[)oseR. 
.\t no(m wo took it for granted that we could not bo more than twenty miles 
from Battleford, but before we were half an hour out of our noon camp we 
came upon the camp of a half-breed trader on his way to a new suttlenunt on 
l>attlo River, who imparted to us the cheering intelligence that we had still 
Some eighty miles to travel. Fortunately we were able t(» buy provisions from 
the trader, as the supplies of the whole outfit wore becoming alarmingly 



198 



MANITOBA AND 









\Mi 



\ 



•i 



short. Having thtis supplied ourselves with plenty of provisions we decided 
to give the ponies a rest, and to that end we went into camp shortly after 
passing the trader's camp. 

Camp t(j-night is made just a little to the north of the trail, in the lee of a 
big bluff that afFor<ls a complete shelter from the cold, frosty breeze that ia 
blowing from the north-west. 

In Camp, 348 miles from Edmonton, en route to Battleford, Nov. 1. — The 
weather is still bright and cold. We drove cwenty-six miles to-day through an 
excellent farming country. The soil is rich and strong and very fairly supplied 
with timber in little bhilfs scattered over low rolling prairie. Toward even- 
ing we passed through several bad sloughs and finally camped in a cosy 
little nook completely sheltered on every side by thick bluffs. We have 
plenty of wood and a cheerful camp-fire to-night, but this long journey is be- 
coming a very Avearisonie one. All day luu;^ one only looks fcjrward to his 
nightcamp and the pleasure of wrapping himself in frosty blankets and stretch- 
ing on the frozen ground till morning. 

In Camp, 383 milks fkom Eomonton, en route to Battleford, Nov. 2. — Tlie 
cnmp was astir at half-past three this morning, and the waggons were on the 
move as the first streaks of daylight were showing themselves in the east. 
Tliis was a beautiful bright morning, and as the sun broke above the horizon 
the frost-covered yellow prairie grass was lighted up with its rays till every 
knoll looked as though it had been clothed wii,L a rainbcrtv-coloured mantle of 
diamonds, rubies and emeralds. The trail was good tt)-day, and by dint of 
brisk driving the outfit covered some thirty-five miles. The country through 
which we have been travelling is fine rolling prairie, with a very fair 
supply of moderate-sized timber in blufl's scattered in all directions. From 
some of the high ridges we crossed this afternoon tine views were had of the 
surrounding prairie, the pvirplo bronze of the leafless bluffs contrasting pret- 
tily with the pale dun of the great broad stretches of frozen prairie grass 
reaching away in all directions. Towards evening great purplish-black walls 
of timber were seen rising both north and south of us, which means, I sup- 
pose, that we are approaching the confluence of the North Saskatchewan and 
IJattle River, close upon which Battleford is situated. Our camp to-night 
is a little south of the trail in the lee of a little bluff. This is a bright, cold 
stai-light night, and the temperature is so low that we may expect winter at 
any hour. 

Battlkfoki), No. 5. — We reached here on the 3rd inst. , after a drive of 
thirteen miloE fnnn the camp at which I wrote the last instalment of this 
journal. The estimate of the distance travelled from Edmonton by Mr. 
Vratt, Mr. Orant-Dalton, and myself was nearly '400 miles, while Professor 
Kenaston, who steered a rather better course than we did, made the odometer 
measurement foot \ip to 3(18 miles, but it is very evident that wo must have 
come a round-about course as Mr. King and others, who have gone over the 
trail with an odometer, make the distance DO miles less. I must confess how 
ever, that I am at a loss to understand liow such an extraordinary discrepancy 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



190 



should exist in the odometer measurements even after due allowance is 
made for any possible deviations that we could possibly have made from the 
most direct route. 

Battleford, the metropolis of the North- West Territory is in quite as thriv- 
ing a condition as when I first saw it on the occasion of Lord Lome's visit 
here last summer. We had not finished making camp before the hospitalities 
of Government House were extended to the whole party, but as we have still 
a great deal of camping out to do we all decided to make our tents our homo 
during our stay here, though of course we were very grateful for the kind in- 
vitations extended to us by His Honour Lieutenant-Governor Laird, Colonel 
Herchmer, Mr. Forget (Secretary of State), and Colonel Richardson (Sti- 
pendiary Magistrate). What with calling on our many hospitable friends 
and making preparations for the long journey to Touchwood Hills, our time 
has been very fully occupied since our arrival here. 

While Edmonton had suDfered through a cold, wet season and early frosts, 
Battleford has been favotired with crops quite as good as the farmers ex- 
pected when I passed through here on my way west. The grain crops were 
all harvested in good order, and many of the farmers saved their root crops 
before the frost. Some, however, were overtaken by the cold snap, and as a 
conse<iuence potatoes are likely to command a high price next spring. At the 
police farm here, which consists of only twenty-five acres adjoining the fort, 
1,000 bushels of oats, besid(38 a large quantity of potatoes, were raised. This 
large supply of oats only costs the country 35c. per bushel, while the contract 
prfce which the Government pays the Hudson IJay Company for oats at this 
post is $'2 per bushel. To-day 1 \.a8 shown a little field of only about five 
acres, upon which the owner had hired all the work done. Ho raised potatoes 
and oats, and the net profits were no less than ^500. An idea of the cost of 
living here and at Edmonton can be had by a comparison of prices. Hero 
the best tiour ecu be had for $20 per barrel, while a telegram from Edmonton 
says that flour is difficult to obtain there at !^J0 per barrel. Oats can be 
bought here at $1.35 per bushel, while there it was difficult to buy oats at 
any price, C^c. per pound being the price charged me for some [ managed to 
secure. Good butter can be had here for 50c. per pound, while an excellent 
(piality of cheese can be bought for 30c. 

Yesterday a mail from Cypress arrived hero, bringing the news that the 
iJloods and Blackfeet had just returned from a horse-stealing raid that they 
had made upon the Crows south of the boundary-line. They had only very 
iudirtVrent success. They did not bring back a single stolen pony ; they re- 
cuivedasound thrashing, and came home decidedly crestfallen, after leav- 
ing the bodies of some of their best men on the American prairie. It is to bo 
hoped that nil these international raids may in future turn out in a similar 
manner. 

It i'j with sincere regret that I look forward to resuming the trail to-mor- 
row. Battleford is a cheerful, pleasant place in which to stay, even in bad 
weather, and with the first hour's svuishino the ground becomes dry, and the 
whole country wears a cheery aspect. There is certainly not a spot in the 



200 



MANITOBA AND 



L ~ 



Nortli-West that has been more grossly slandered than this, but I am fully 
convinced that, in spite of all the hard things that have been said of it, it 
is destined to become a place of very considerable importance. It must in 
time become the natural outlet for the produce of a very large and extremely 
fertile and productive section of country. I have already had something to 
say about the country lying to the south and west of it, and I may add tliat 
from the most reliable information I can gather there is a very large and fer- 
tile tract of land lying to the north of the Saskatchewan, the whole of which 
must find an outlet here. The country to the south of Battleford is of such 
a character that heavy bull-trains could be driven through it with perfect 
safety, and a freighting route could easily be established between this point 
and Calgary or McLeod by establishing good ferries on Red Deer and Bow 
Rivers. As regards Edmonton this would be impossible, as the country 
around it is so soft that it is almost impossible to pass through it with loaded 
carts, to say nothing of those enormously heavy freighting waggons. As a 
point for settlement I have seen nothing in the whole North -West that sur- 
passes Battleford. Its soil does not look so rich and black as that around Ed- 
monton : but for all this the farmers are raising excellent crops, and in addition 
to this the seasons are reliable, and the soil is very easily worked. Indeed it is 
a cause of constant surprise to me that so many settlers have, during the past 
season, gone past Battleford (which is easily accessible), and encountered the 
difficulties incident to reaching Edmonton, where for the past two years the 
seasons have been very unreliable. 

Another reason why Battleford is preferable to many other points in \he 
North- West, is that the Indians are not at all likely to bo troublesome here. 
Every band in this neighbourhood is making some attempt at farming, and 
the result is that they are comfortable and contented as compared with the 
Bloods and Blackfeet in the South. Hayter Reid, the Indian agent here, 
gives very 'encouraging accounts of the condition of the red men under his 
charge, and in his office I saw s.amples of grain grown on the reserves by the 
Indians themselves, which were very fair indeed. Mr. Reid had just re- 
turned from a visit to the Indians at Fort Pitt, north of the Saskatchewan, 
but owing to the unfavourable season and the early frosts, their crops had 
been nearly or quite a failure. 



ANOTHKK FELLOW-TRAVELLER. 

At Battleford another traveller joined our outfit. This was Mr. J. J. 
McHngh, the agent from tlie Indian supply farm at Fisli Creek, near Calgary. 
It will be remembered that in an earlier portion of this journal I mentioned 
the fact that Messrs. McHugh and Stimson intended going down How Hiver 
ind the South Saskatcliowan to a landing near Prince Albert. Thoy started 
down Bow River in company with a large survey party who had just returned 
from tlio exploration of the How River Pass in the Rocky Mountains. They 
managed to reach the Blackfoot crossing on Bow River, and there thoy found 
themselves frozen in, and thoy could proceed no further in that direction. 
After waiting some six or seven days, Mr. McIIugh decided to come across 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



201 



by the Governor-General's trail to BattlefDrd for the purpose of overtaking 
me at that point. He reached here some days ago after having crossed the 
plain with two ponies and a cart in company with a half-breed horse-buyer. 
On their way over they saw a small band of Montana cattle which they fol- 
lowed for some eight or ten miles, supposing them to be buffalo. 

Here Mr. McHugh abandons his cart, and with his two ponies joins my 
outfit. Hitherto Mr. Pratt and I have been riding on horseback and herding 
the spare ponies, and on leaving here we will have Mr. McHugh along with 
us, his other pony taking his turn with mine in hauling the waggon. 

THE POLICE HORSES. 

Last evening I spent some time in looking over the barracks here, which 
are in command of Superintendent Herchmer aid Inspector Antrobus. 
Everything appeared to be in the most perfect order, but what surprised me 
most wus the admirable condition to which the heavily- worked horses used in 
transporting the Governor-General and party have already been brought. 
Nearly all of these are already looking healthy and in very fair order, though 
of course they will be soft and imfit for very severe work for some months to 
come. Only ten out of the whole lot used were left dead in the road, and 
nearly, and indeed I think, all the others will be fit for moderate work 
this winder. This certainly speaks well for the manner in which these horses 
have been cared for, while the death-rate among them was very much lower 
than anyone who knows anything of travelling ia the North-West could have 
anticipated. 

The Police Fort at Battleford is the neatest and most comrlete in its ap- 
pointments of any I have seen in the North-West. 

I have not seen the head-quarters at Cypress Hills. 

The barracks and officers' quarters are comfortable and commodiouB, and 
everything about the whole place is kept scrupulously clean and in good or- 
der, and, in short, everything indicates thoroughly good and soldierly con- 
duct on the part of the men, and the strict and constant enforcement of tho- 
rough discipline by the officers. 

To-day the rain has been falling almost incessantly, and our camp, which 
is on a low flat, threatens to be so flooded that we will have to move out of 
it to-morrow morning, rain or shine. 



11^^. 



202 



MANITOBA AND 



; s 



5': 



%j 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

WAYSIDE IXCIDEN'TS— A DASGEROtlS CROSSING OK THE SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN KIVER— 
THE SOIL AT AUOLINE CKOSSINO— LOST ON THE PUAIBIES -A SEIUOUS MATTER— SHEEl" 
IX THE NORTHWEST -HOUGH TRAVELLING. 

In Camp, Two Miles East of Government House, Battlefoud, en routi: 
to Touchwood Hills, Nov. C. — This morning our camp in Battle River bot- 
toms was so wet and uncomfortable that we decided to turn out and drive to 
a point where we could find a better place in which to pitch our tents, and 
make a comfortable start to-morrow (Monday) morning. Had we decided to 
take what is known as the " hill trail " to the South Saskatchewan, we could 
have driven up the steep slope upon which a portion of the village now 
stands, and reached dry ground in five or ten minutes. By the advice of a 
inmber of B.ittleford people, however, we took the river trail, and this led 
US down the valley of Battle River and the Saskatchewan for about two miles, 
when, by ascending a high hill that was both steep and slippery, we reached 
our present encampment, which is just outside the city limits of Battleford. 
The weather is still dull and threatening, and I cannot help thinking that win- 
tor is at last close upon us. We are now on the edge of Eagle Hills, a high range 
that runs south from the Saskatchewan, just east of Battleford. The soil 
all through Eagle Hills is said to be very rich, and I learn that the Indians 
and the few settlers who have located here are doing remarkably well. 

In my journal last September I remember to have alluded to a range of 
Buialler hills just south-west of Battleford as a spur of the Eagle Hills. I 
was misinformed, however, as the range then referred to is called by the 
Crees the " Sliding Hills." It seems that the Crees hold that Noah formerly 
lived in this country, but that he finally made up his mind to go to England, 
wliere he is still living and ** doing well." He accordingly rolled up his 
blankets and started on his way, but as he reached the crest of the highest 
hill in this range his heels slipped from under him and he sat down with 
such emphasis that he did not regain hij feet till he had reached the bottom 
of the valley. 

In Camp, 1G Miles from Battleford, en route to Touchwood Hills, 
Nov. 7. — This morning the weather was bright and pleasant, but this after- 
noon it turned cold and cloudy, and to-night as we rolled into camp there 
was a brisk snow storm in progress. All day long wo have been dragging 
up .and down ^igh slipper ills and through horrible mudholes and sloughs. 
The land is rii. II and the growth of grass and wild shrubbery is luxuriant, 
but the surface of the country is so rough and broken up that much of it 
must be practically worthless for many years to come. There are, however, 
many fine plateaus and broad rich valleys that would aff'ord locations for 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



203 



RIVER— 

1— SHEEl' 



en routu 
ver bot- 
drive to 
nts, and 
3cided to 
we could 
age now 
vice of a 
. this led 
wo miles, 
I reached 
attleford. 
that win- 
igh range 
The soil 
Indians 
$11. 

range of 
Hills. I 
ed by the 
1 formerly 
England, 
ed up his 
le highest 
awn with 
e bottom 

od Hills, 
this after- 
kmp there 
dragging 
d sloughs, 
luxuriant, 
uch of it 
), however, 
nations for 



choice claims. To-night camp is made in the lee of a large bluff to the north 
of the trail. It has been snowing all the evening and at one time it looked 
as though we might be unable to take our w.igLjons any further. As I close 
my journal, however, the eastern horizo'^ .las cleared, and just now the full 
moon rose in a fljod of pale yellow light of wondrous brilliancy, and tJie 
loafloss frosted limbs of a projecting point of bluff wrought a fanciful net- 
work of black and silver across her brigh lisc and the amber halo abost 
her. Above this z >ne of clear sky hung a great dark cloud curtain, with 
tliick billowy festoons of lemon gold, and pure glittering silver. 

Ix Camp,' 46 Miles FROM Battlepoud, enronte to Touchwood Hills, 
Nov. 8. — This morning the weather was clear and bright and we made excel- 
lent time over the hard, frozen trail. There were some very bad creeks and 
ugly frozen hills, where we were compelled to dismount and all hands tu.j at 
the wheels and the backs of the waggons nearly the whole way up the hill. In 
one place one of Mr. Grant-Dalton's teams both fell on a slippery hill, and 
the whole weight of the load rested for a few seconds on the shoulders of 
those of us who were pushing from behind. All along to tha south of m to- 
day we could see the snow lying thick on the higher peaks of Eagle Hills, 
but along the trail there was little or none of last night's snow to be suen. 
The country traversed in the forenoon was made up of excellent soil, though 
it is somewhat hilly and cut up by numerous creeks, with heavy, steep batiks. 
This afternoon the trail led through stony uplands that would not be very 
suitable for agricultural purposes. It must be remembered, however, that 
the trail we are following leads close along the south shore of the North Sas- 
katchewan, and I am informed that the country a few miles to the south is of 
the choicest quality. Late this afternoon Messrs. Pratt, McHugh, and my- 
self were herding the ponies nearly or qnite a mile behind the waggons. We 
expected every moment to come in sight of bluffs where we could camp for 
the night, and in consequence we were careless about keeping the ponies close 
upon the leaders. Presently we lost sight of the waggons, and darkness 
coming on very suddenly the kyuses took it into their heads that it was time 
to camp whether we wished to or not. They accordingly began feeding along 
the trail, and as often as we would attempt to di ve them ahead they would 
scatter in all directions instead of following the trail in a compact band as 
they usually do. Presently it became so dark that we could not see a pony 
rifty yards away, and it was only by repeatedly counting them that we could 
assure ourselves that we were bringing them along with us. On wo tru Iged 
mile after mile in the darkness not knowing whether we had pissed the camp 
or not. The night was bitterly cold, and of course we had no blankets with 
us, but we decided to face the situation and camp for the night at the bittom 
of the valley into which we were descending, but on reaching there we found 
the rest of the out&t just making camp there, near the margin of a small creok 
(one of the branches of Eagle Creek), and we were not long in becoming com- 
fortably ensconced in Messrs. Pratt and Grant- Dalton's tent, with a brisk 
fire roaring in the little camp stove. ' ir touts are pitched to-night iu a 
little nook that is sheltered by high h. on the east, west, and south, while 



204 



MANITOBA AND 






s^ 



':\ 



a heavy clump of bush protects us from the north wind. On these cold nightsj^ 
with the mercury down, almost to zero, camping-out has none of the attnict- 
ions that make it so popular with pleasure-seekers, and the hope of soon 
reaching the comforts of home again is our only consolation. Should winter 
overtake us in this region it is by no means certain that we shall ever reach 
civilization again. Our ponies are nearly all somewhat stale, and not a few 
of them show signs of leg-weariness. I still have two of the ponies with 
which I started from Carlton last summer, and Punch and Blanche are, I anv 
happy to say, still in good working trim, though they have travelled over 2,0 )U 
miles each since last June. My other two are stillkeeping up to the work well, 
but I cannot reasonably expect the whole four to hold out all the way to tiie^ 
end of the railway, if snow should overtake us before we pass Touchwood 
Hills. One of Mr. McHugh's ponies (a roan gelding that I drive with the 
always reliable Punch) is already hanging out signals of distress, and I fear 
he will not last much longer. Of the twelve ponies belonging to Messrs. 
Pratt and Grant-Dalton's outfit four have done tha round trip, and are still 
doing very well. A fifth has done the whole trip, but she has been useless 
since she was nearly drowned in Beaver Creek, and it is not likely that she 
will be fit for any more work this season. The other seven ponies in their 
outfit are recruits, but all show signs of the tremendous ordeal through whic'i 
they hnve passed. It is now very cold for camping out, but as Messrs. Grant- 
Dalton and Pratt have an excellent camp-stove in their tent they have kindly 
invited Mr. McHugh and myself to spend our evenings with them. Where 
wood is scarce all three waggons carry fuel, and Mr. McHugh, Peter, and I 
do our cooking and eating in the b'g tent. In tiis connection I would mo3t 
unhesitatingly advise any one who contemplates a trip through the North- 
West to carry a camp stove. It is a light and compact piece of furniture, 
and in cold weather, or when travelling where wood has to be packed on the 
waggons, it will pay for itself in a very few days' travel. 

In Camp, 71 Miles from Battleford, en route to Touchwood Hills, Nov. 
9. — This morning, while Mr. Pratt and I were bringing the ponies to camp,. 
He mounted one of the lot in order to herd the rest, and no sooner was he 
on his back than the brute began to " buck " in the most energetic manner, 
but as Mr. Pratt is an accomplished horseman he kept bis seat securely 
enough till the pony missed his footing and came down on his head. This un 
seated his rider, of course, and unfortunately he came down with tremen- 
dous force upon a stone, inflicting such serious injury that I am afraid the 
socket of his hip is fractured. This has rendered it necessary for Mr. Grant- 
Dalton to take his place in the saddle and allow the injured gentleman to * 
drive one of the waggons, though his hurt is such a severe one that even 
the slightest jolting of the waggon is very painful to him. Mr. McHugh is 
also very much used up with a bad cold, sn that our prospects are not very 
cheering, especially as the barometer is falling and the mercury is only lU'' 
above zero. Indeed our camp to-night is anything but a cheery one. No 
one talks of the future, but I am sure there is not one in the whole outfit 
who does not experience rueful forebodings concerning it. We can only do 



THE NORTH-WEST, 



205 



I night 8>. 
ftttract- 
if soon. 

winter 
■ reach 
b a few 
} with 
re, lanv 
er 2,000 
irk well, 
J to the- 
ichwooA 
ith the 

I fear 
Messrs. 
are still 

useless 
hat she 
ill their 
jh whic'i 
s. Grant- 
ee kindly 
Where 
r, and I 
uld mo3t 
B North- 
urniture, 
)d on the 

ills, Nov, 

to camp, 
er was he 

manner, 
; securely 
Thisun 
h tremen- 
afraid the 
[r. Grant- 
itleman to 

that even 
IcHugh is 
e not very 
a only 10* 

one. No 
hole outfit 
an only do 



o;ir best, and trust to a merciful Providence for the rest. By our own esti- 
mate of pace we have made about twenty-five miles to-day. We have crossed 
both branches of Eagle Creek, and leaving the North Saskatchewan near the 
elbow, were it turns off in a north-easterly direction toward Carlton, we 
struck out across the open prairie for Clarke's crossing of the South 
Saskatchewan. 

For the first few miles this morning the trail led along fine uplands, from 
which we were enabled to take our last look at the great dun-coloured slopes 
away to the north of the river, where the purple bronze of the leafless bluffs 
contrasted richly with the limitless stretches of pale yellow prairie grass, a 
glorious boundless expanse that will some day be dotted over with 
countless farm houses, and be the home of a hardy, wealthy, and prosperous 
community, but which is now only pressed by the stealthy tread of the cayote 
as he chases the timorous hare, where even the lonely moose is seldom dis- 
turbed by the prowling half-starved savage. 

As we left the bank of the great prairie stream of the north we passed 
through broad stretches of treeless plain, where the soil is both rich and dry, 
but the presence of many small boulders is likely to render it unpopular with 
farmers so long as the settler has so much choice country from which to select . 
We were compelled to drive till dark in order to reach water, and our camp 
to-night is in the centre of a small clump of bushes near an old well where 
there is but a scanty supply of water. This is a bright, moonlight night, 
clear and frosty. As usual the cayotes are keeping up a dismal concert on 
all sides of us, but I am quite as accustomed to this as I am to the music of 
the cow-bells worn by " Punch " and " Moses." 

In Camp, 100 miles from Battieford, tn route to Touchwood Hills, 
Nov. 10. — This morning Mr. Pratt was so much better that it is very evi- 
dent that his hurt \/a8 only a bjuise, and it is to be hoped that in a few 
days he will be all right again. Mr. McHugh, on the other hand, grows 
steadily worse, and we have fears that he may not be able to continue the 
journey further than the South Saskatchewan. There is very little to note re- 
garding our journey to-day. We have travelled some 29 miles according to 
our own estimate of distances through open, treeless prairie, where the soil 
looks rather light and gravelly, but where the rich growth of buftalo grass 
would indicate that it is much more productive than it appears to be. In- 
deed it is rather difticult to judge fairly of a prairie country at this season of 
the year, as everything looks parchad and dried up with the severe frosts 
of early winter. This morning, shortly after leaving camp, we hiet an outfit 
of Syndicate engineers in charge of Mr. Douglass. They have been explor- 
ing the country in the vicinity of the elbow of the South Saskatchewan, and 
are now on their way to Battleford, where they will winter. Our camp to- 
night is alongside of a slough on the open prairie, where there is no shelter 
for the ponies. If a storm should come on to-night they would be certain 
to wander off, and and in all probability be out of oiir reach in the morning. 
These mishaps, however, are only what one may expect in travelling over 



2CG 



MANITOBA AND 



K 



?. 
( 

I; 



1 Mi 



\ 



the prairie at this season of the year. The night looks favourable, and it is 
to be hoped that our aiiinials will be close to cainp in the morning. 

SHEEP IN THE NORTH-WEST. 

This evening 1 had some conversation on the subject of sheep-raising with 
Mr. Pratt, who has had considerable experience in conducting a large farm 
near Westbourne, on the White Mud River, about 20 miles from Portage La 
Prairie, and experimenting carefully with a flock of one hundred sheep. He 
had every possible appliance for caring for the lambs, keeping the sheep 
in a snug, warm pen, and with his own hands rubbing each lamb dry as 
soon as it was dropped. In spite of all this, however, the lambs died oft" 
in great numbers, on account of the cold season at which they were 
dropped, and he found that the winters were so long that it was im- 
possible to have the lambs come late enough to escape the severe cold. Mr. 
Pratt is of opinion that farmers in the North- West might keep a few sheep 
very profitably, but he is quite sure that sheep-raising on a large scale 
will never pay here. 

The weather is warmer to-nigh^ but the barometer is falling. 

AuoLiNE Crossing, South Saskatchewan, 110 miles prom Battlefokd, 
Nov. 11. — This morning we drove about ten miles over dry uplands similar 
to that traversed yesterday, and reached the west bank of the South Sas- 
katchewan about eleven o'clock. The prospects for crossing were anything 
but favourable, as the scow was hauled up high and dry on the opposite bank, 
.and the river, which is about 300 yards wide at this point, was literally 
full of heavy masses of floating ice. The ferryman was hailed, but he de- 
clined to risk an attempt at crossing, as long as the ice continued to run in 
such quantities, but as the day was mild, with a light breeze from the south- 
east, he expressed the hope that he might ferry us by to-mdrrow evening, 
provided the wind did not take an unfavourable turn. Half an hour later 
the flow of ice became perceptibly lighter, and the ferryman (who proved to 
be Mr. J. F. Clark, formerly of Guelph, Ont.) crossed to our side of the 
stream in a small boat. He was informed that if he would consent to at- 
tempt to ferry us we would assume all risk, both as to our own property 
and his scow, and that we would pay him any sum he might think fit to ask. 
Finally finding that we were extremely anxious to cross, and that we had 
plenty of force to render him every possible assistance, he consented to 
make the attempt. Accordingly Mr. . Grant-Dalton and Mr. McHu.:j;h re- 
turned with him (at no inconsiderable personal risk) in the small boat through 
the floating ice to the east bank in order to help him and his assistant launch 
the big scow again and bring her over, to take the first load across. 
"While we were waiting for the scow to come over our party was still further 
augmented by the arrival of two miners who have been spending the sum- 
mer on the North Saskatchewan washing for gold. One of these gentle- 
men, Mr. May, hails from the County of Lanark, Ont. They had only met 
with the most indifierent success, and they are now on their way home 
thoroughly disgusted with the Edmonton gold diggings. They left Edmontoa 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



207 



ill a small boat, and after many delays and suffering considerable hardships 
they reached a point about 20 miles west of Battleford, where the ice barred 
their further progress, so they were obliged to abandon their boat and outfit 
and walk to the North- West 3rn metropolis. Once in Battleford they purchased 
another outtit consisting of a horse and waggon, and hurried down to the 
crossing of the South Saskatchewan in order, if possible, to pass over with 
us. 

In due time the scow was launched, and three oarsmen rowed with a will 
while Mr. Clark worked hard at keeping the large masses of floating ice from 
collecting beneath the bow of the scow. At last a landing was effected away 
down the river, and it took an hour's work for all hands to get the great un- 
wieldly craft up to the regular landing. Mr. McHugh's two ponies and my 
four, along with my waggon, were ouickly loaded on the scow, but there was 
very little of daylight left as we pushed off among the great ice floes. And 
now the work commenced in earnest. Though the current was not running 
more than four miles an hour, and though the stream was not more than 
three hundred yards, wide, the crossing of the river with the heavily-laden 
scow occupied fully an hour. At one moment the heavy ice-floes would ren- 
der it impossible to ply the starboard oars, and the scow would head directly 
up stream, and perhaps in three minutes more the oars on the port side 
would be disabled in a similar manner, and the unwieldly craft would bf 
headed directly with the current. Again and again heavy masses of ice 
would collect under the bows, and no progress could be made till these ob- 
stacles would be removed. It was a weary task to struggle on in this way 
by the dim starlight, but at last the eastern shore of the river was reached, 
and after a great deal of pushing and hauling the boat was made fast to some 
bushes on the bank, while her bow was not more than eight or ten feet frojn 
the beach. First the ponies were pushed off into the cold ice water, and then 
came the task of getting the waggon ashore. This was by no means an easy 
undertaking. The night was intensely cold (the thermometer registering 
some twenty below zero), but we had no choice but to plunge our moccasined 
feet into the ice and water, and tug and lift at the waggon for ten minutes o». 
more, as we stood knee deep in the freezing 'i slush" and water. At last 
our dismal task was accomplished, and turning the ponies out to feed, we all 
hurried into Mr. Clark's shanty to change our wet clothes, and dry and 
warm our freezing feet and legs by the little camp stove in which a brisk Are 
of dry poplar was soon burning. 

From Mr. Clark I learned that Aroline had not been without its sensations 
this season, though there is no house or semblance of a settlement within 
thirty-five miles of it. Only a short time ago a man came staggering into 
the shanty one morning more dead than alive. He proved to be a freighter 
named Wilson, who had been wandering over the prairie for six days without 
coat, blankets, or food. Some of his ponies had strayed away from his camp 
near Gabriel Dumont's Crossing, and in searching for them he had lost his 
way and wandered for six days and nights before reaching Mr. Clark's 
shanty. During his wanderings he had encountered the severe snowstorm 



208 



MANITOBA AND 



K 



^*t, 






that overtook me between Calgary and Edmonton, and, as may well be 
imagined, lie was in a most pitiable plight when he at last reached food and 
shelter at Aroline. In a week, however, he was well enough to bo removed 
by his friends, who hjid in the meantime been scouring the country in search 
ot him. What I fear is a still more serious matter, is to be found in the case 
of a Mr. Macdonald, of Battleford. When I was at liattloford a good deal 
of uneasiness was felt concerning the protracted absence of Mr. Macdonald, 
who had been expected there for nearly a fortnight and who was known to 
have been on his way thither from Winnepeg. It appears from Mr. Clark's 
statement that Mr. Macdonald came to his place more than throe weeks ago 
and borrowed two ponies to take him to Uattleford, promising to return them 
in seven days. He had, he said, drowned his own two ponies iu a small 
creek about ten miles from Aroline, and secured tlio team from Mr. Claik to 
take him through. This was just "lefore tlie season of heavy mist and fog 
that overtook us west of Battleford, audit is now feared that he has lost 
his way in the fog and that he has wandered off and starved to death, as 
he had barely rations enough to take him to Battleford. 

The soil in this region Mr. Clark informs me, is remarkably productive, 
though not particularly promising in appearance. Everything in his garden 
grow and matured admirably this season, and he is very ccuilident that 
rain would do well here. Large (piantities of small timber are to be found 
along the banks of the South Saskatchewan within easy reach, and 'Itogether 
" Aroline" or "the telegraph crossing," as it is called, promises to become a 
prosperous settlement in time. To-morrow we shall probably spend in ferry- 
ing the outfit of Messrs. Pratt and Grant-Dalton and that of Mr. May and 
his'partner. 

Akoi.ine Croswin'o, South Sask.\T( 'hewan, Nov, 12 . — This morning the wea- 
ther was, if anything, colder than last night, and the river was full of ice 
from shore to shore. The remainder of the outlits were brought across in 
two trips, and by half-past three the scow was hauled up high and dry again. 
This evening a furious snow storm came on, and according to present ap- 
pearances wo shall not be able to move before day after to-morrow (Monday.) 
To-night we had a consultation al)out the proi)riety of remaining here long 
enough to make jumpers with which to proceed eastward ; but as wo are but 
p()(U'ly provided with tools, and as wo would havo to travel four miles up the 
river to got birch and ash of which to make them we have decided to move 
on with our waggons. 

SrNDAV, Nov. 13. — To-day tho storm continued till nearly dark, and to- 
night, though there is no snow falling, tho weather is bitterly cold and we 
havo spent the day in Mr. Clark's smoky little hut. 

Ilore I was able to secure tho iirst jiomican 1 havo seen on the whole trip. 
Tho time was when good pumican could bo bought at every shanty at from 
four to six cents per lb., but now it is almost impossible to liiid it, aiul the 
price is from twonty-tivo to thirty cents per lb. For this reason travelling 
with dogs in tho North- West is fast falling into disuse, as the cost of feeding 
hem on pom i can would amount to nearly as much as tho traveller's rations. 






THE NORTH-WEST. 



209 



Ml. Clark, who is something of a natui'alist, has a number of very interest- 
ing fossils which he has picked up at diti'erent times along the shores of the 
Saskatchewan, and among them is a very pretty fossilized heart-shaped shell, 
filled with a hard close-grained substance very like jaspar. 

Aroline is, according to our calculations, 111 miles from Battleford ; but 
Mr. Clark, who claims that his trail is (50 miles shorter from the elbow of the 
North Saskatchewan to Touchwood Hills than what is known as Gabriel 
Dumont's trail, makes the trip to Battlef(jrd only 87 miles. That it is shorter 
than the other trail there can be no doubt, as it strikes directly eastward 
from the elbow of the crossing and thence nearly due east to Toucliwo(jd, 
while the other triiil turns nearly twenty miles north from the Elbow and 
crosses the South Saskatchewan about thirt^'-fivo miles further down (north- 
ward) on the stream. 

Ix Cami', 131 MILES ¥iws\ Battleford, cii. rinif:; toT.mchwood Hills, Nov. 
14. — The mercury was frozen in the thermometer and there wns a cutting 
wind blowing from the north-east as we set out this morning. The weather 
was bright and clear, and the cold pale sunlight glistening on tlie boundless 
white plain that stretched away in every direction presented a picture of 
ghostly splendour. Over the vast plain our small procession went crawling 
along like a little crooked black line, Mr. Grant-Dalton, his servant, and 
Peter driving the teams, and Mr. Pratt, Mr. McHugh and I riding on horse- 
back and herding the 8i)are ponies, among which was a large roan, for which 
Mr. McHugh had traded his "played-out" pony at the Crossing. The wag- 
gon wheels crunched loudly as wo dragged through the hard frozen snow, and 
to this discordant, dismal music we marched for fully twenty miles without 
finding ft blurt" or even a clump of grey willows largo enough to afford fire- 
wood ot the most trifling slielter for the pouies. At last as darkness was 
closing in wo halted in a dreary- looking shallow valley beside a frozen slough, 
with not even a clump of willows in sight, and camped for tho night. There 
were two or throe small sticks of stovewood in one of the waggons, and 
bieaking up two provision boxes, we managed to build fire enough in Messrs. 
Pratt and (» rant- Dal ton 'a stove to make tea and thaw out bread enough for 
the whole party, but this little Hickering blaze had burned out long before wo 
had finished our cheerless repast, the first we had taken since breakfast. 

It is almost impossible for one who has not experienced a similar sitvuition 
to fully comprehend our utterly dismal condition to-night. Tho cold is so in- 
tense that our mercury thermometers are of no use, and in addition to this 
a cutting wind from the uorth-oast is howling hungrily over this groat shroud- 
liko, treeless wasto, so that it was witii difficulty that we pitched our touts. 
The heavy Hudson Bay blankets have boon damp with frost for weeks, and 
to-night as they were unfolded thoy wore frozen stifK, almost as stiH" as the 
frozen touts themselves. Lot one who likes sleeping in a warm room judge 
how much comfort he cotdd derive from shovelling tho snow from off tho 
rough, frozen ground, pitcliing a tent in a gale of wind with tho temperature 
thirty-five or forty bolow zero, and after a half-thawod supi)or, wrapping hinj- 
self in damp frozen blankets, and spending the night in sleeping snatches of an 



210 



MANITOBA AND 



hour at a time, and the intervals in speculating as to whether he will be frost- 
bitten or not, To-niyht is perhaps an exceptionally bad one, but it promises 
to be only a little worse than many others already experienced on this same 
trip. 



3-; 

V ,■ 

I-.; 



1 id, 



^ 



f 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

TIIK KYL'SK AS A CAVAI.UY HuRSE - ROUGH TUAVEM.ING ON THE OPES PRAIRIE, 

In Camp, 133 Miles piiom Battlefokd, en route to Touchwood Hills, Nov. 
15. — This morning, an hour before dayliL,'ht, we crawled out of our blankets 
in a benumbed, half-froaen condition, and, swallowing an apology for break- 
fast as best we could, rounded up our disconsolate-looking ponies and struck 
out in the teeth of a savage gale from the north-east. We had only climbed 
the little hill to the east of our camp, when we saw, at a distance of about 
two miles, a blutl" of considerable size. Of course the little train was headed 
for this, and in half an uour we were on its western border. It was with aumo 
difficulty, however, that a trail could be found leading into it, as there was a 
springy bog almost encircling it ; but after some little time had been spent 
in explorations, a rough trail was cut into the heart of the chnr,», where an 
abundant supply of dry Cottonwood, white poplar, and grey willow was found. 
The ponies were turned out to graze in the shelter of the timber, and in a 
few minutes the tents were pitched and two big camp fires were roaring in 
the open air. This was a vast improvement on our camp of b-M ni;^ht, and 
an early, and I need not add hearty, dinner was taken by all hands. By noon 
the sun had come out brightly, but still the cold was nearly or quite una- 
bated, while the moaning and swaying of the iree-tops gave evidence that tlio 
gale was still blowing from the same unpromising quarter as fiercely aa over. 
Tlie sun, though dazzling in brilliancy, looked as pale and white as silver, 
while above, and on both right and left of it, were hung throe bright rainbow- 
tinted snn-dogfl. It was as if in a sky of the deepest ami clearest blue three 
fragments of a brilliant rainbow had been suspended. Each sliowed all the 
rainbow tints with extraordinary distinctness, and each formed a short are of 
a circle, with the concave side next the sun on the right and left, and directly 
above it. With such storm signals aa those hiuig in the sky, Mr. Grant- 
Dalton, who was formerly a steamship captain in tiie East India mercliant 
service, promptly decided not to attempt travelling farther to-day. Durimj 
the afternoon the time was spent by the cooks in making preparations for tlie 
ugly jtmrney that we know lies before us, by baking a liberal supply of bread 
and cooking other provisions that can with propriety bo warmed up, or at 
least thawed out over a scanty fire, wliile the rest of us spent moat of our 



or at 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



211 



time in gathering wood and doing what we could to render our tents as com- 
fortable as possible. When first turned out, the ponies began pawing away 
the snow and devouring the grass thus exposed ; but after the first hour the 
poor creatures looked out a sheltered spot where the sun was shining brightly, 
and stretched themselves out in the soft, feathery snow like a pack of over- 
wrought hounds. They had, I suppose, little or no rest last night on thoir 
bleak, shelterless range ; and, assuredly, they are badly enough in need of 
rest at any time. In the afternoon the threatened storm came on in earnest^ 
and then the poor beasts were quickly driven from their cosy retreat to find 
closer shelter in the timber, v.hore, drawn up as if to present the smallest 
possible surface to the cold, they stood with their tails towards tlio storm, 
resolved, no doubt, nut to move till they were compelled to do so. This se- 
vere weather makes the ponies terribly savage toward each other, and scarcely 
an hour passes in which there is not an ugly fight among them, from which 
the vanquished almost invariably retires cut and bleeding from wounds in- 
flicted by the sharp-edged teeth of the victor. I cannot wo!ider that they 
are morose and vicious in their misery, and it seems cruel that we, their 
masters, have to be driving their very lives out ; but wo have no choice but 
to struggle on as best we can, for we must either push forward or perish of 
cold and hunger on this great snow-enwrapped, trackless waste. 

This evening Mr. McHugh and I, as has been our cust<im since leaving 
Battleford, accep' d the invitation of Mossri. Grant-Dalton a id Pratt to 
spend the evenin, in their large tent, and while there wo hcd a ;oneral con- 
sultation as to what our future movements should b»/. In c.der that the 
reader may understand the (luestiim, it may be nece-tsav> efai-e 'oy a few 

words of explanation. After crossing the South Saskatchowa.' at Aroline, or 
what is known as tiie " telegraph crossing,'' we took a new trai' made by Mr. 
Clark (the proprietor of the ferry), nearly duo east to Touchwood IHlls. This 
is the newest and ujost southerly of the trails from the South Saskrtcliuwan 
to Touchwood, but away to the north of it there are two old trails which could 
1)0 followed even through moderately deep snow, and soutli of these uUl 
trails, but north of Clark's trail runs the telegraph line. There is asoarcily 
of timber (m all the trails in this region, l>ut Peter knows the more soutiierly 
of the old ones (it is the one taken by tho Ci()vernor-(ionerarH party when we 
were travelling west), and kiU)W8 where tho wood is to ho found on it. If wo 
continue on Clark's trail, it is evident that we shall litid very little tim- 
ber, either for firewood or ft)r shelter for the ponies, and we do not know 
where to find what little wood there is. Should wo bo overtaken by a stormy 
night im tho open prairie, it is nujre than possible that tlie ponies would 
wander ott' before the storm till they reached shelter, so that a north-easterly 
Btorm, like tluit which is raging here to-night, would drive them down across 
the groat plains, where wo could never hope to overtake them. Tho render 
will readily understand that if once deprived of our ponies, our situation 
would be utterly hopeless, and such as I do not care just now to contemplate. 
In addition to this, it is probable that this storm will cover ui> all trace of tho 
trail we have been following, so that we might wander away from it at any 



212 



MANITOBA AND 



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time. On the otlier hand, a deflection from our present course to reach Ga- 
briel Dumont'a trail will probably take us through about forty or fifty miles 
■of country of which we know absolutely nothing;, and in which we may find 
impassable barriers to our farther progress. Here, too, we may be caught 
out in slieltcrless camps, but as we are on the northern verge of the great 
treoh'ss belt that runs across the centre of the territory, the chances of com- 
ing upon bluffs in which to camp are decidedly in our favour. Our decision 
is to strike out in what we supptKse to be the direction of Gabriel Dumont's 
trail as soon as the storm abates. 

Tonight as I close my journal the flickering remains of our big camp-fire 
are cnsting fitful flashes of ruddy light and dusky shadows upon our little 
tent creating an inexpressibly gloomy eflbct. My blankets are still damp and 
half-frozen, as the .storm has prevented me from even thawing them, to say 
aotliing of drying them by the fire. Indeed the situation of our whole party 
is just now auythincf but comfortable or reassuring. The country through 
which we have travelled since leaving the South Saskatchewan, tliough devoid 
(jf timber, is apparently fine upland prairie, free from stones and having but 
very few sloughs. 

In Camp, 133 miles puom Battlefokp, en route to Touchwood Hills, 
Nov. 10. — This morning when we turned out the storm was raging as 
■wildly as ever, and it was soc^n very evident that moving forward to-day was 
(piite out of the (picstion. There was but little to be done to break the 
dreary juonotony of camp life. It took but a short time to drive the shaggy 
ice-coated ponies into cami), and give each a handful or two of barley which 
was devoiired eagerly, and then the poor little creatures strolled off again 
into the thickest part of tiie bush for shelter and rest. It now looks as though 
we might be compelled to leave our waggons hero, but there is no timber in 
this bluff at all suitable for jumpers, and our harnesses are not fit for that 
class of .chicle either. If the snow continues so that we shall be compelled 
to abandon our waggf)ns the only ctmrso left open to us will be to construct 
tromaiH, and pack what we can upon them for the remainder of the journey. 
This would of course render it nearly or quite impossible for us to carry any 
grain for the p(>nio8, and in their present con<lition it is about certain that 
such ii deprivation would be fatal to some of them at least. Had they only 
performed a join-noy of GOO or 700 miles this season we might reasonably ex- 
pect them to pull through in sonae sort of fashion on what they could find by 
pawing away the snow, but they have already done an extraordinarily heavy 
season's work, much heavier in fact than ought to fall to the hit of any band 
(if horses, no matter how they are cared for, and it is this fact that makes us 
all somewhat distrustful of their ability to endure this terrible weather and 
survive tlio rest of tlie journey. Mr. McHugh's l)ro'.ciio, tho\igh he has had 
•extra care and feed ever since he joined us at L'att'oford, and has on'y been 
used under saddle, is now unfit for work, and is running loose with the spare 
ponies all the time, but this only confirms me in the belief that the Montana 
horses are very i"uch over-rated, and not at all eipial in tjuality to the bettor 
<;lasH of Kyuses from the Pacific slope. The former uru now too much out- 



THE NOIITH-WEST. 



215 



crossed with all sorts of imported animals, from thoroughbreds to Clydesdales, 
to bo any longer characterized as a distinct breed, while the latter have been 
in-bred (not too closely, but wholly in-bred) for many generations. The re- 
sult is that the Kyuse preserves his distinctive characteristics from one gene- 
ration to another, and as they are most of them raised in large herds ranging 
in numbers from 500 to 5,000, the system of their de\ lopment has been the 
survival of the fittest. At all events they are a wonderful race of ponies; 
and, as 1 believe I have stated in an earlier portion of this journal, 1 am very 
confident that colts raised on a range selected almost anywhere along the 
base of the Rocky Mountains between Red Deer River and the Kootenaie 
Pass, bred from selected Kyuse mares and stout American thoroughbred 
stallions, would at five years old make the toughest, handiest, and in all re- 
spects the most desirable cavalry and campaigning horses that can now be 
found in any part of the world. They might be a trifle below the jxipular 
standard as to height, but I would back fifty animals bred and reared as I 
have described to carry more weight a greater distance in five, fifty or one 
hundred days than could any fifty horses selected out of the British or United 
States service, the half-bred Kyuses to allow the English or American cavalry 
horses an inch and a half in height. For such a journey as the present one I 
do not think there are any animals living that are as well adapted as Kyuses. 
Other horses might endure this hard U8a<,'e for a few weeks or perhaps months, 
but that would be the limit, while such of our ponies as survive this journey, 
as I trust the greater part of them will, may reasonably be expected to bo fit 
for just siich another task next season. 

To-night the storm is still raging, but as the temperature is falling rapidly 
and the barometer slowly rising there is good reason to hope that it may wear 
itself out before morning. If it should coiitiiiue another day or two with the 
same fury that has characterized it to-day our escape from this isolated 
prairie bluff would certainly become somewhat probh matical. To-niglit wo 
were all talking of what we would do and how we would enjoy ourselves 
when we reached " civilization" again. This will doubtless appear very 
childish to people who have never known what it is to be for months beyond 
the reach of the couiforts of civilized life, and whose ideas of " roughing it" 
are obtained from experiences in a tent pitched witliin half an hour's drive 
of a comfortable suimner hotel, and where the temperature is never lower 
than 60 deg. above zero. Men who cannot go to sleep without a glass of hot 
grog for a "night-cap," and who could not fell a tree or saddle a horse 
without assistance, will, I have no doubt, talk very wisely and bravely about 
what we could or should have done in circumstances like these, and with 
their backs to a warm fire demonstrate most satisfactorily that, ' ' provided 
we kept our heads," we were running no risk at all ; but whether I ever see 
uiviliziition again or not, this manuscript probably will, and just here I would 
say to such critics that, situated as we are, and with their alcoholic courage 
and strength fairly evaporated, they would find themselves the most miser- 
urable, helpless, and useless of created beings. They would learn to look with 
mingled emotions of respect and admiration upon the prowling cayote, who 



214 



MANITOBA AND 



Si,' 

5-;' 
)■ I 

t -"I 
'• ( 

i ' I 

'. ; I 

;•' I 

' I 

I 

I 






is at least able to furnish his own transport and steal enough to keep him 
nlive. To-night we were talking of warm, comfortable rooms, soft warm 
beds, good dinners, churches, theatres, concerts, of reading the news at the 
breakfast table with the morning paper yet moist from the pmss. All these 
tilings look very far away just now, and we can hardly realize that less than 
one month's travel may bring us to them. If it does not, our fate will be no 
M'orse tlian that of many an Indian and many a trader whose sad story will 
remain forever untold. 

Ix Cami', 148 Mii.K.s FROM Battleford, eii. route to Touchwood Hills, 
November 17. — This morning before daylight wo were astir, but it was a dis- 
mal task to crawl out of blankets that were frozen stiff and coated so thickly 
with white ime that one's hand would become wet whenever it would touch 
the outer covering. By the time I was dressed Peter had a big (ire blazing 
close to the door of the tent and breakfast was ready, but the temperature was 
siiniewherc aV>out twenty-five degrees below zero, and though the fire fairly 
scorched my face it was cmly by throwing my overcoat and a pair of blankets 
over my shoulders that I could keep myself at all comfortable during break- 
fast hour. Indeed it is very difficult to keep one's self warm when crossing 
the plains in such weather as this. In the backwoods of old Canada, or in 
anj' well-wooded country through which I have travelled, it is very easy to 
build a rude sort of shud in which to sleep and eat, and then build a mcmster 
fire in front of it ; but hero it takes all one's spare time to get wood enough 
to build even a moderately good fire, to say nothing of collecting material to 
be used for a shed to take ihe place of a tent. In Ontario or Quebec one can 
usually find plenty of wood that will burn well in a camp-fire, even if it hap- 
pens to be green ; but here with only cotton wood, white poplar, and grey 
willow from which to choose the traveller must either burn dry wood or none 
at all, as none of those light woods will burn unless they are (piite dry. 

About sunrise, or a little after, we set out, taking a north-easterly couras, 
and leaving Clark's trail (or the great white plain in which we supposed it to 
be hidden) on our right. Peter led the way on foot carrying a compass and 
making as nearly as possible north-east course, then followed the three wag- 
gons leading and breaking the trail by turns, Mr. McHugh driving mine and 
Mr. Pratt and his servant the two belonging to his outfit, while Mr. Grant- 
Diilton and I, with two saddled ponies, kept the spare Horses in motion. We 
wore not able to ride much of the time, liowever, as the deep snow neces- 
sarily rendered the progress of the waggons very slow, and the light but nip- 
ping breeze from the north-west made slow riding far from enjoyable. The 
country through which we found our way was much rougher than that which 
wo left to the southward, but we wore fortunate encnigh to find no impas- 
sable barriers to our further progress. There were several hiyh butes and 
ridges, but Potcr always managed to find some sort of pass along their bases, 
or occasionally across the frozen surface of some little lakelet. On one occa- 
sion we were near having an accident in crossing a little lake. As the weather 
liad been very severe, n >ne of us were looking out for bad places in the ice, 
4xnd the throe waggons had gone across safely enough, but when Mr. Grant- 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



215 



Dalton and I came to drive the loose ponies along they crowded closely to- 
gether, as they usually d? when they are frightened, and whan this extraor- 
dinary weight was thrown on a comparatively small portion of the surface of 
the ice, the water began to flow over it with alarming rapidity. The water 
came from a largo unfrozen place only a few yards away on our right, which 
the bending down of the ice in the trail had caused to overflow. The cross- 
ing was efl'ecteJ safely, but the incident sufliced to show us how treacherous 
the ice on these little lakes is apt to be even in intensely cold weather. In 
this immediate vicinity many of the lakes appear to be fed by subterranean 
springs, and the ice on these can never be relied upon. Others, however, 
are merely sliallow basins fed from the water-shed of the surrounding prairie, 
and these latter often freeze so that tlie ice is one solid mass all the way down 
to the mud. 

The day was bright though intensely cold, but as there was very little wind 
wo managed to drag slowly along till about three o'clock in the afternoon when 
in the middle of a great frozen marsh we came upon the telegraph line once 
more. There was no trail broken of course, but the wire served as a guide and 
we followed it eastward instead of keeping on any farther in a north-easterly 
direction. It was now ut ily sunset, and we began to watch carefully for a 
suitable camping place. Just as the sun was sinking belov/^ the horizon the 
south-western sky presented a picture of inexpressible splendour. It was 
flushed, shading from a deep crimson to a bright rose colour more than half- 
way to the zenith, and perpendicularly from the sinking sun, that looked 
like a disc of ruddy flame, rose a broad, bright shaft of glowing crimson, that 
shot away up beyond the roseate flood into the dark blue sky toward the 
zenith. About 35 degrees away to the right and left of the setting sun rose 
two more ruddy pillars of fire, bright as the central one, but very much 
shorter. These blazing columns stood out in bright relief from the rich- 
coloured sunset sky where a few sa9"ron cloud threa''- intensified the bril- 
liancy of the gorgeous picture. Just as twilight was settling down upon us 
we came upon a little blufl' on a side hill about one hundred yards south of 
the telegraph line, and crossing a marsh to roach it, we came to a halt. The 
marsh furnished us with a liboral supply of hay for bedding, which will be 
extremely useful to-night, as the temperature is certainly lower : han we have 
yet experienced it, though our frozen up thermometers are of no use in deter- 
mining just how low it is. There are a number of little hills or small butes 
all around our camp ; and these, with the little bluff in which our tents are 
pitched, should furnish Uioderately good shelter for the ponies, while the 
forage is much better than anything we have found since the snow came. 
Indeed, it appears as if we had escaped the heaviest snow by our northward 
movement to-day. There is certainly less snow hero than there was at our 
last camp, though we have made only about fifteen miles to-day, and travel- 
ling about as much east as north. There is nut enough wood here to supply 
an out-of-door camp-fire, so we will have to content ourselves without one, 
spending the evening in our neighbour's tent. It is frightfully cold ti rning 
into- frozen bla:ikets to-night; and if I mistake not, 1 shall sleep rathb.. cold, 



21G 



MANITOBA AND 



X 






notwithstamling the fine bed of marsh hay with which we have provided our- 
selves. The country traversed to-day was for the most part treeless prairie, 
diversified only with occasional marshes, low ridges, and small butes, with a 
very few bluffs of exceedingly small timber. I am under the impression that 
this whole regior is slightly alkaline, but not sufhciently so to be at all detri" 
mental to it as a farming country. 



3-; 



\*i, 



n 



4 



CHAPTER XL. 

Hl'MBOLOT AND ITS VICINITY--UECORD OF SEVERAI, PAYS' JOUHNEYINGS. 

In Camp 1G5 miles from Battleford, en route to Touchwood Hills, Nov. 
18. — This has been another dismal day's travel. I am inclined to think that 
there has not been an hour to-day when the temperature has been higher 
than 30 degrees below zero. The character of the country is very much like 
that traversed yesterday, being a succession of broad plains, low ridges and 
mounds, with occasional marshes of considerable extent. In fact the country 
traversed to-day nuist be within ten or fifteen miles of the trail over which 
we travelled from Humboldt to Gabriel Dumont's Crossing, when going west 
in the summer, and the character of the country is, I have no doubt, very 
much the same, having a rich soil with occasional sloughs, slightly alkaline in 
character. There has been very little timber in sight all day, though we 
managed to find shelter behind a small clump of willows, where shivering 
around a very scanty fire was swallowed a half-frozen dinner, and after this 
there were scarcely any bluffs to be seen anywhere near the trail till we 
reached the spot where we camped to-night. Away to the northward some 
twenty or perhaps thirty miles we could distinguish from the crests of the 
butes what appeared to be bluffs of considerable size, but east, west, and 
south of us there is exceedingly little timber to be seen, and scarcely anything 
to break the monotony of the great boundless plain of ghostly white. The 
night is intensely cold, and we have barely enough wood to do our cooking 
in the camp stove, so that being at all comfor'^able is out of the question. A 
little before sunset, after following the telegraph line all day, we reached 
Gabriel Dumont's trail, and the bluff in which we are camped to-night is 
south of it. There are several little sloughs in the immediate vicinity of our 
camp, and some of these are fringed with a scanty growth of grey willow. The 
ponies are spending their time pawing the deep snow off the ice and eating the 
coarse grass that appears to preserve its verdure in these sloughs with won- 
derful tenacity ; and as fast as they satisfy the cravings of hunger they 
huddle closely together in the shelter of the willows ; for, though the tern- 



Til 15 NORTH- WKST. 



217 



d our- 
>rairio, 
with a 
•n that 
detri" 



peratiiro appears to be falling every hour, the biromotor is also going down, 
and a bitterly cold wind is bluwing and freshening every moment from the 
north-east. There is not one in the cainp who is nf)t feeling considerably the 
worse of what we have undergone since leaving Hattleford, and this fright- 
fdlly cold weather and heavy travelling is becoming unendurable. We shall 
be fortunate if we find our ponies in the morning, as the shelter is very 
scanty, and I fear an ugly storm is close upon us. 

Humboldt, 180 Miles from Battlefoud, cji route to Touchwood Hills, 
Nov. 19. — This morning the camp was early astir, and so far as 1 am con- 
cerned, I was exceedingly glad that morning had come. The night was one 
of the most disagreeable 1 have ever known, as I spent almost every waking 
moment in trying to keep myself from freezing. Time after time I woke up 
with a feeling of numbness in one foot or the other, an elbow, an ear, or a 
slioulder, or some other partially exposed portion of my body, and felt morally 
certain that I was frozen, but after all, though suffering with the cold in- 
tensely all night, I escaped with slight frost bites on my ri;^ht ear and the 
right side of my nose. Though very stitl', sore, and unrefreshed, it was 
almost a luxury to crawl out of the frozen blankets and put on my moccasins, 
tuijuo, and great coat, and start out in search of the ponies. Though thero 
are only eighteen in all, I found them divided up into some half doz'ii dif- 
ferent grf)ups, and it was evident that there had been a great deal of ti;;iiting 
during the night, as over half of them were cut and bleeding. All had col- 
lected great masses of snow and ice in pawing for forage, so that their forward 
fetlocks looked from twenty inches to tw(j feet in circumference, while their 
coats were so covered with white frost that it was almost impossible to recog- 
nise one from another by his colour. They were indeed a miserable, discon- 
:jolate looking lot, though most of them started off in the direction of the 
camp with considerable alacrity, expecting, of course, their customary hand- 
ful of oats when they got there. Some of them, however, will, I fear, nnver 
be able to go farther than Touchwood, or Fort ICllice at farthest, and even if 
they reach the latter point they will not be worth wintering. By sunrise we 
wore on our way again in much the same order as yesterday and the day be- 
fore, except that Peter was again driving my team. We were scarcely on 
the trail before the storm increased in intensity and bitterness, till it bucamo 
a regular blizzard of the first magnitude. In the face of such a storm it was 
almost impossible for any one to ride, and turning my saddle [lony loose with 
the remainder of the herd, I determined to walk to Humboldt if possible. 
The task was anything but an easy one, as the snow was deep and our trail 
led right into the teeth of the storm. We reached Humboldt abotit three 
in the afternoon, horses and men alike all but exhausted. I shall not soon 
forget that fifteen-mile walk, 

HUMBOLDT. 



On the way west with the Governor-General, I only made a stay of an 
hour or ao at this place, and as I was exceedingly busy in preparing copy 
for a mail that was expected next day, I had very little time to make en- 

N 



218 



MANITOBA AND 



r\ 



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quiries as to the character of the locality. The soil looks remarkably well, 
and there appears to be a fair quantity of timber, such as it iu, white poplar 
and grey willow being the prevailing woods of course. There are very few 
settlers anywhere in this vicinity, and from what I can learn I fear the sea- 
sons are somewhat backward. The ground here is low lying and rather wet, 
and for this or some other reason what little experimenting has been done 
here in the direction of farming has not resulted at all 8atif'*"ctorily. This 
year potatoes failed to ripen, and I believe nobody has experimented with 
grain. Humboldt is one of the meteorological stations in the North- West, 
but I am inclined to think that the records from this particiilar locality 
scarcely convey a correct idea as to the actual conditions of temperature, etc. 
Humboldt may fairly be considered on the northern edge of the great plains. 
What is known as the Humboldt plain stretches between it and the South 
Saskatchewan, while the great salt plain is only about 20 miles to the east 
of it, but I am very certain that the readings of the thermometer do not 
furnish a correct index as to the average temperature in this locality. The 
place at which the meteorological instruments stand is almost entirely 
sheltered from the wind, whether it be blowing from the north, east, or west. 
In fact nothing but a south-west wind could reach them with any degree of 
force. For example, night before last the spirit thermometer here registered 
32 below zero. Our mercury thermometers were frozen solid on that same 
night, and Profeti^or Kenaston, who was also on the plains with a spirit 
thermometer, read the temperature at 40 below zero. I should think it im- 
portant, therefore that the meteorological records from Humboldt should 
be treated as those of a timber country rather than that of a prairie region. 
At the same time any person settling in this section would find comparatively 
little available timber country from which to select a location. It is essentially 
a prairie country, though it happens that the meteorological station is so 
placed as to give only a correct index of the climatic conditions of a well- 
sheltered region. There :ire here a telegraph operator and two or three as- 
istants employed in keeping the line in order, besides one settler who lives 
only about 50 or 100 yards from the telegraph station. Here I met Mr. Scott, 
the registrar. Dr. Millar, N. W. M, P. Surgeon, and Mr. Smart, a trader, all 
on their way to Battleford. They have been nearly a month out from Bran- 
don, so that the Canadian and American news obtained from them is not of 
a very late date. 1 had expected to be able to communicate with Toronto by 
telepraph on reaching this point ; but unfortunately the Winnipeg end of 
the line is not yet working, the only available portion being that lying be- 
tween Fort Pelley, Humboldt, Battleford, and Edmonton. This evening I 
made an attempt to procure jumpers with which to continue the journey, as 
further progress with my •.■agg(m appears almost impossible. I shall have 
to push on to Touchwood hills, however, as jumpers are not to be had here, 
and there is no available timber from which to make them. We were exceed- 
ingly fortunate in meeting Mr. Smart and some thirty carts of supplies which 
ho was taking through to Battleford, as our rations had become so low that 
there was no chance of their lasting to Touchwood Hills. This is no place in. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



219 



ly well, 

3 poplar 

ery few 

the sea- 

her wet, 

sen done 

■, This 

;ed with 

;h-West, 
locality 

iure, etc. 

kt plains. 

le South 

the east 

ir do not 

y. The 

, entirely 

, or west. 

iegree of 

'egistered 

hat same 

h a spirit 

ink it im- 

[dt should 

■ie region. 

)aratively 

ssentially 

tion is so 
a well- 
three as- 
who lives 
x. Scott, 
;rader, all 
m Bran- 
not of 
'oronto by 
end of 
ing be- 
levening I 
|urney, as 
liall have 
iiad here, 
e exceed- 
ies which 
low that 
lo place in- 



lyi 



which to remain, or we might be tempted to stop and recruit to ourselves ami 
our ponies, but though there is not one in the party who is not badly in need of 
rest, we must not think of losing even a single tHy till we can provide our- 
selves with jumpers, and be prepared for another fall of snow, which may 
overtake us at any time. To-night I was very strongly urged by my Bat- 
tleford friends to abandon the attempt to reach home till next spring, and 
turn back to winter at Battleford ; but I think there is still enough vitality 
left in me to resist still worse weather and harder times than we have yet 
experienced, and at all events I fail to understand why I cannot endure as 
much as the rest of the party can, or why I should be the first to succumb 
when I have every reason to push forward. As it is we shall all be off in good 
season to-morrow morning, as we wish to make the edge of the great Salt 
plain to-morrow night, and, if possible cross it the next day. 

Tn Camp 200 Miles fkom Battleford, en route to Touchwood Hills, Nov. 
20. — Though the temperature was still low this morning travelling was much 
more endurable than yesterday. The trail led through thick bluffs of small 
timber that sheltered us from the wind, and I have been able to remain in 
the saddle all day, so that to-night I feel very much less fatigued and miser- 
able than I have for several days past. In my present worn-out condition 
tramping through the soft deep snow is most fatiguing employment, while 
on the other hand I can ride a pony all day without tiring myself at all, and 
if the weather would only continue mild enough to admit of that sort of 
locomotion I should have no fears about my ability to endure the trip to 
Touchwood Hills. Though the land we have traversed to-day would require 
considerable clearing to convert it into good farms, it appears to be made up 
of good soil, rich, and comparatively unbroken by swamps or sloughs. By 
our own estimate we have travelled some twenty miles to-day tlirough what 
would be termed in Ontario a very lightly timbered country. We were for- 
tunate enough to find a good camping place a short distance south of the trail 
where we had an almost unlimited supply of dry poplar, and, as a conse- 
(juence, we have a splendid camp-fire to-night, the most cheerful I have seen 
for some weeks. The weather is much milder to-night, the mercury standing 
some 4° or 5° above zero. In short our camp, the weather, and every- 
thing about us forcibly reminds me of many a night I have spent in 
the backwoods of Ontario. There is no shrilly-whistling gale from off the 
prairies swaying the slender tree-tops over our heads; no timber wolves howl- 
ing about the camp, and even the coyotes are neglecting to furnish us with 
their customary serenade. To-night we ate a warm, well-cooked supper be- 
tween our big, crackling camp-fire and the door of our tent, and not one of 
us had occasion to shiver over it, or change his seat on account of clouds of 
smoke and ashes being blown upon him by a restless prairie wind. This is 
in fact, the first really comfortable camp we have had since reaching the 
South Saskatchewan. How long this satisfactory state of things will continue 
is, of course, more than I can tell; but even as I close my journal the camp- 
fire is casting an ominous flickering light upon the tent, which makes me fear 



220 



MANITOBA AND 






Si.' 

3-; 

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'A 



that the wind is shifting around to the most dreaded of all quarters, the 
north-east. 

In Camp 210 Miles frcm Battleford, en route to Touchwood Hills, Nov. 
21. — After a moderately comfortable night's rest we were ready to start be- 
fore sunrise this morning, determined, if possible, by driving hard all day 
and laJe at night to reach the eastern edge of the groat salt plain before go- 
ing into camp for the night. This meant a drive of about 42 miles, which 
we knew would be a very severe tax upon our ponies, but as the great plain 
has no suitable camping place for a stretch of 32 miles or more, we had either 
to drive only ten miles to-day or accomplish the whole distance. As wo 
climbed the little hill to the east of the camp, as our train wound slowly 
out upon the trail, we all paused for a few moments to watch as glorious a 
sunrise as I have overseen in the North- West or anywhere else. Next the 
horizon lay a zone of translucent lemon-gold, and above this hung a bright 
flaming cloud-curtain whose lower edge w is looped up in festoons edged with 
orange and gold. Though beautiful, this sunrise was an ominous one, and 
in less than half an hour later the sun was concealed behind dark drifting 
iiiasses of angry-looking storm clouds. After driving ten miles we found our- 
selves on the verge of the great treeless alkaline plain, and vre came to a halt 
for the purpose of discussing the advisability of camping for the day. It was 
now nearly ten o'clock, and we had already taken considerable .out of the 
ponies. The question to be decided was whether we could reach the farther 
edge of the plain without killing, or at all events ruining, some of our best 
animals. We had also to consider the possibility of having the storm, that 
was already threatening us, burst upon us in the middle of the great white 
plain that lay stretched out before us, an event which, in "" probability, 
won. Testdt in our losing at least a portion of our spare ponies, while it 
would bt, quite within the range of possibility that we ourselves might lose 
the trail in ihe storm, and, perhaps, fail to find it for days. Peter, who has 
been in a great hurry to get home for the past week or two, was very much 
disinclined to attempt tlie crossing of the plain to-day, and as there were at 
least three more of oi number inclined to think he was right, we were not 
long in deciding to camp in the little clump of grey willows beside us for the 
remainder of the day. As soon as the tents were pitched all hands turned 
out in search of fuel, and, though there was no large timber anywhere in sight, 
we had in the course of three or four hours collected, by our united efforts, 
enough of dead and dry grey willow to supply the camp stove for at least 
twenty-four hours. 

Our resolution to remain here was undoubtedly well taken, for by three 
o'clock this afternoon one of the wildest prairie storms that I ever witnessed 
broke upon us from the north-east. To-night it continues with unabated 
fury. The snow is falling rapidly, but it is the tremendous gale that accom- 
panies it with such force as to almost take one's breath away that constitutes 
the most startling feature of the storm. Our little train could never have 
made headway against such a storm as this, and we are heartily thankful for 
even the scanty shelter that the willows afford us to-night. 



irs, the 

lis, Nov. 
tart be- 
all day 
fore go- 
, which 
)at plain 
id either 

As we 
I slowly 
lorioua a 
Sext the 
a bright 
Iged with 
ne, and 

drifting 
iiind our- 
to a halt 
. It was 
b of the 
e farther 
our best 
[)rm, that 
white 

ability, 
while it 

it lose 
who has 
much 

were at 

vere not 

for the 
turned 

in sight, 
efforts, 

at least 



r three 
tnessed 
abated 
accom- 
stitutes 
r have 
ful for 



THK NORTH-WEST. 



221 



In Camp, 242 Miles from Battlefoku, en route to Touchwimd Hills, 
November 22. — This morning wlien we turned out we were not sorry to tind 
that the wind, though blowing briskly, had swung around to tlie west, and 
that there was no longer any snow falling. We hurried out of camp as 
rapidly as possible, and for the first time since leaving Calgary T took charge 
of my own waggon, leaving Peter to assist in herding the loose ponies. Ou 
getting out upon the trail we found that the fierce gale of last night had 
swept it almost bare, and the waggons b<jw]ed along over the smooth frozen 
ground at a pace that was decidedly exhilarating. Half-an-hour after sun- 
rise, however, we saw that another storm was brewing. The sun was in- 
tensely bright, but as white as polished silver, while between it and the 
horizon stood a shaft of white light, scarcely less dazzling than the sun itself. 
On riglit and left hung two brilliant rainbow-coloured sundogs, while in the 
west angry masses of storm-cloud were rolling swiftly up from the horizon. 
In less than an hour we were overtaken by a furious prairie snow-storm, 
which beat savagely upon us all day, but it did little or nothing towards 
checking our progress, as it was directly in our backs . About one o'clock we 
halted for noon at what are known as the Stoneberry bushes, the only winter 
camping place on the great salt plain. 

Hitherto I have had but little to say about our noonday camps, and indeed 
since the advent of cold weather they have not constituted very cheerful 
topics either to write or think about. As our noon-camp to-day, however, 
may be regarded as a representative one, I will give the reader an idea as to 
its character. The spot selected was on the west side of a small clump of 
stunted bushes not more than four or five feet high and growing sparsely at 
that. Just to the scuth was a large slough or pond, whoso frozen surface had 
been swept smooth by the ever-restless winds that all winter are howling 
over this great dreary waste. Having selected our camping-place, the wag- 
gons were drawn up so as to supplement as far as possible the scanty shelter 
afibrded by the bushes, and then the ponies were unharnessed and turned 
out to graze as best they could where the grass was for the most part covered 
with some fifteen to eighteen inches of snow. The small supply of wood 
that we carried from last night's camp was taken from tha waggons, and in a 
very few minutes a little camp-fire of the most limited dimensions was strug- 
gling feebly for an existence which the storm from the west was inclined to 
deny to it. In time, however, the water in the camp-kettles was boiling, 
and by the time we had fed the ponies a handful of grsvin each on the ice of 
the neighbouring slough, our dinner such as it was, was ready. Shivering 
with the cold, and standing with our backs to the wind and our faces to the 
miserable little fire, we hastily swallowed as much half-thawed provisions as 
we thought would be necessary to keep us from suffering with hunger till 
supper-time, but I do not believe one in the disconsolate little group about 
the tire ate with any other intent than that of merely performing a disagree- 
able task, which he considered absolutely necessary to his well-being. I 
have often heard people talk of the excellent appetites they always had when 
" roughing it," and I have often imagined myself that the more severely I 



OO.') 



MANITOBA AND 



\ 



t, ' 
i ' 

3v' 

!•• 

s- I 



'* 



^ 



should be cxposcil the more ravenous would becomo my appetite. My ex- 
perience of tlie pivst week or two, however, has entirely upset this theory. 
The cases in which I have eaten my meals with a relish since leaving the 
South Saskatchewan have been altogether exceptional. True, I have eaten 
he.artily for the greater part of the time, but I have done so not to satisfy any 
cravings of hunger, but simply because I folt very sure that the great waste 
of vital energy incident to strong exercise and protracted resistance to in- 
tense cold must be rei)aired in some way. Indeed I do not think that there 
is one in our party who has not systematically pursued the policy of eating 
regularly and heartily wh.ether enjoying his meals or not, and 1 am very cer- 
tain that those meals taken at our noon-camps have been conducive of much 
more sntl'ering from cold than could possibly bo atoned for by warm diimers, 
however good, to say nothing of hastily swallowed half-frozen rations. 

Ill th« afternoon the travelling was heavy in places owing to the deep snow 
but the wind had swept much of the trail nearly bare, so that excepting in 
occasional drifts the waggons ran very easily. As the general character of 
the Salt Plain (which is really an alkaline fiat traversed by two or three 
brt.jid marshes and low ridges) was described in one of my letters from this 
region last summer, it is not necessary to add anything to what was then said. 
Tn-day as we hurried across, with the wililest of prairie storms howling 
around us, the scene was an indescribably dreary one, a very typo of utter 
desolation. As the gale was at our backs, however, we did not sutrer much 
iiKtuivenience from it as long as wo were in motion. 

Darkness was fast settling down upon us as wo crossed the eastern edge of 
the plain and the extreme western limit of Touchwood Hills. We were not 
long in finding a good camping place, where there was i)lenty of dry white 
poplar and cottonwocH, and in a very short time the ponies were turned out, 
the tents pitched, and a good camp-tiro burning. Everybody is in high spirits 
to-night, as even the worst kind <if a storm cannot now prevent us from reach- 
ing the Touchwood Hills settlements, where we can bo sure of securing 
jumpers for the remainder of the journey. The distance from hero to the 
Indian Farm cannot be more than about thirteen miles, and twelve milest be- 
yond that i)oint are the mail station and the Hudson Hay Company's post, 
while for the whole distance the trail leads through a well wooded country 
where wo shall have no lack of lireuood or forage and shelter for the ponies, 
even should we be delayed by exceptiojially stormy weather. Our prospects 
to-night are certainly vastly better than they wero twenty-four hours ago, 
and it now looks as though these long days and nights of misery wero draw- 
ing toward a close. Wo have made fully thirty-two miles to-day and 
though the ponies ore of course somewhat tired 1 do not think any of them 
are seriously the worse of the drive. Once rid of these heavy waggons we 
can push through the snow much more rapidly with jumpers, and at the 
same time have no ditticulty iu keeping oursulvus warm and comfortable while 
ruling. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 






CHAPTER XLI. 



TOUC'UWOOIl HILLS— A KKUTILE KE(J|(JN - HTAKTIN(i KOll t'OUT KLLIC'E. 



In'dian Farm, Touchwood Hills, 255 milks kiio.m Hatti-.i-okd, Nov, 23.— 
Wo woro in no particular liiirry about jotting out of caiiii) thia nioruintj, aa 
the ponieH refjuired all tho rest they could yut after the severe drive of yes- 
terday. Wo were on our way about lialf-jiast eight o'clock, and driving till 
u little after one in the afternoon, reached the Indian Instructor's farm-house, 
where 1 have decided to remain long enough to secure jumpers, if possible, 
for tho rest of tho trip, as tho deep snow makes the hauling of tho waggons 
exceedingly heavy. The country through which we have passed to-day is a 
succession of small, fairly-timbered hills, and tho region is known as The 
Little Touchwood Hills. These hills called "little" to distinguish theiu from 
a small range of mountains to tho northward, which are known as Big Touch- 
wood Hills, constitute one of the finest and most diversilied bits of scenery 
ono meets with in travelling over the plains. There are no broad flats or any 
extensive stretches of open prairie. Here and there a hill-side is bare, but 
us a rule these hills are very fairly wooded witli while poplar, cotton wood, 
grey willow, and occasionally a little birch, tho latter being very scarce, 
however. As the country in this neighbourhood is very much cut up with 
abrupt little hills and valleys, it is not well calculated for grain farming on 
a very large scale, as a farmer would seldom have an opportunity of laying 
out more than ton acres in a single field, while if he tocjk tho land as it came 
there would bo nnuiy more liehls less than five acres in dimensions than those 
exceeding that limit. For settlers desiring to farm in a small way, I should 
imagine Touchwood Hills presented a very good opening. Tho soil is good, 
being mostly a rich, though s(jmewhat gravelly, loam. It is for the most 
part very eiisily drained, and being mostly upland, could, I should im ijine, be 
worked very early in the spring. Forage is excelleiit, and shelter for cattle 
and hor.ses abundant, while the settler would have no diHiculty in securing 
all tho logs ho would want for building purposes and all the fuel he would re- 
quire for gt^norations to come. In my western trip last sinnmer it will bo 
remembered that 1 only skirted through tho south-west corner of Touchwood 
Hills, and saw almost nothing of tho settlement excepting the Church of 
England Mission. This time I have passed directly into the soltlement '-y 
the regular Edmonton trail, and shall conse({uently be able to give the reader 
Miy impressionH regarding tho whole region before I luivo done with the sub- 
ject. The h.dian farm at which I am located is in charge of the Indian De- 
partment Instructor for five reserves in this neighbourhood. The Instructor, 
ISiv. Glilbert McUonnell, on!y arrived here last summer, but since then he 
han been working witli a will, and now has the farm and premises in 



k>«) 



•24 



MANITOHA AND 



•A 



c 

> 



si 



liiHt-cIasH i-omlitidii. lloIiiiMnt jnfMoiit only tliirty I'vo acnm iimlcr I'lillivii- 
tiou, (if wliiih ti\t> jiiiCN lire hovvii in wlu'iit, i'li'Vf <ii Imrloy, iiiim in oiitH, 
tliico in hiniipH, (>ni> in putiiliM h, (ini> in ciinolH, l)«'»iilim ii liirm* kilolmn-j^tirdt'H 
ot linlf an lu re. 'I'lio iinpH Inivo not. lu'on vtiy liu|;i>, lutt nvo liiuvi'slnd in 
•;<'iul I'lMnlilion. 'Vho wlical avonif^i'il iilmnt lilt(u<n ImihIu'Ih I<i llui aero, llio 
I'lirloy twenty tivo l>n.slu'lH Id I|u> aero, tiala twenty liUHliolh' to lln< aero, tnr 
nilKs two huiulred and tliiity «lnHlit Is to tlio aero, polatooH one linndnul and 
thiity Inisliels to tlioaero, eanot.'uMU" hniulred ImihIioIh totlio aero. Mr. Me- 
(\innell, as Ixis been aln>:idy staled, has nndor his earo live resorves, fmir of 
tlieni lieiii;,' ii. Toueliwood lliils, and one at Nid Lake, ninety miles norllnvard. 
Tliey are all oeenpied l>y Creo Indians. On tlii»s»> reserves eomhlneil tlior(» 
are U»H aeros l>rokeii ; si\te»>ii aeres of poliitoo.s Inive yielded 7i"> liusln<ls to 
the aero ; sixty aeros of wheat havt> yi»-hh>d from (ifteen to t\vi»nty ItMsheLs 
to the r»eiv ; torty st>ven aeres of harU-y havt> yielded twenty hushels lo the 
aero, tln> nniainder of the hroki ii lauil heinj,' roots, inehulin}.; 8tH( Imsliels of 
turnips, the latt(>r heintj a very popular arlieh» of food with the Indians 
lhrou.;hout the North\N'i>st. The eondiined population of these rosi'i've.s 
wouM he l>i>f ween seven and ei;;hl hundred. Mr. Mi'Coiinell tolls u:e that 
al! Iiis pupils are taking a very aetivi' interest in fjiriniuf^, iind th(Uifj;h many 
of I hem are neees.arily awkward and slow alio\it learniiiL,', ho has eonlidonee 
in ultimately sueeeeilini; in makins.; nu>d«'rately i^ood setth>rs of nearl_ all of 
iIk lu, thoiii;h, of eourso, generations will have to pass away lioforu the Imlian 
ean lieetMne as i^ood ii farmer as the aviMai;i* white settlor. IVlr, MeC'onnoU 
_!;ives Indians wlio wt>rU small rations, if they need them, for their familii>s, 
h\it those who don't work never reeeivo a mouthful of fooil from (he llonu> 
farm. Tin- Indiana appear to he all in j^ood spirits, aro thorouj^hly satistiiil 
with the j>roj;resa thoy are making; in farndng, and look npon aj^riculturo as 
the future i-mploynuMit of their raee. Since lu' was plaeed in ehar^^v^ of thi • 
*atiu, last Slimmer, Mr. Merounell and his assistiiuts liavo put up an (>xeel- 
Unt farm house, whieli, thoui^h not extravay;ant or eostly, ia well eahndated 
to make the red man a\>preeiate the value of industry uiul porHovoranee. 
Many of them are now puttitii^ .ip i,'ood lo<^ houses for themselves, and there 
is every reason to hope that in a few years the Indians of 'rouchwood lliUs 
and Ni't Lako will he a litth< more than barely self-suppirtinj,'. 

Touchwood Hills, it will he rememheivd, lie libotit tifty miles north of the 
Hudson J'ay and Motinted Polieo Posts in thi> QuWppelle valley, and the two 
regions are apt to he spoken of in eoriu'etion with one another. Tlio people nn 
the two Kottlements renivrd each otluT as nei^hhonrs, and visit each other's 
familiea just lis people sitmited four or tive miles apart in Ontario would do* 
Wlu'U I arrived liero this afternoon I fotmd Mr. Thorn. is Kavaitayh, a wealtliy 
settler fr(>ui t^uAppelle, just linishin^,' the thro.sh m; for the Indian Kami, 
and from liini I was onahled ti) obtain sonn> infonnation renardini;^ the crops 
at Qtr.\ppelle, wliich were being harvested when 1 passed up last summer. 
Mr. Kavanai^h io, I bilieve, the only farmer in this part of the country who 
has ft threshiui; nuichino, and this year Ids ten-horao thresher pa.Msed through 
it nearly all the grain crops in the yu'Appello Valley. lie himself iias forty 



TiiK n<»iitii-wi;ht. 



luvrt^H lin.koii, ivvtuily <»f whidi wdio midur ciopH of Ijiirlity, wImhiI,, ouIm iuhI 
iiiiitH. TliiH y*mr llio iivtira^ti yiold ot wlitml. in llio (.^irA|i|Millu Vtilltiy w;ih 
lliiily-livii InmlitilH l,o (liti iirrn. lJiirl»iy iivtuaxnil Uiiiiy t,<» Imly InmhtilH pir 
iii'i'c ; iiaU, Hixty I)IihIio1h li> tlxi unit) ; |)iiUtiiim, l^fiO IhinIiiiIh I;I) IIio aum. Mr. 
La lidcliii, wli<m(\ wlioal waH jiml, ntatly to liarvoKl wliuii I jiaHMiid woHt.Wiirl, 
aliiiiil. Uttt iiiiddio of laHt. Aii^iihI., (;liiaii(i<! ii|) 1*20 huidmlH of lioaiilifiil vvlKtal 
for livd IxihImiIh Hiiwii, and Mr. Kavaiia^ii aHHiinm iiiti Uial. Mr. La KocIio'k 
<-ro|iH worn iioL in any way Nii|i*u'ior to Uio avoraKti l,o lio found in llm <j>ii'A|i- 
|i(illn Valloy. 'I'liiH ovtminK I inadu iirranjftinicntH to diH|ioHii of my wa^^(,'oM 
and ImrncKx and piindniHo two jnni|iiirH and two Hin|.d(i HotH of Mlia)j;na|i|iy Imi- 
noMii, witli wliicli to (;ontinini tlm jnnrnvy. Ah mtitlior jniMinrH nor liain<!:iH 
am in|tt.irft^i;t oi-dor, liowcvrr, I idiail luivn to roniain tiio wiioln id to-tnorrow to 
liavo tilt) iKieoHHary r(>|iairH nnid<'. 'I'Imh iH Ity no nioanii a ^ood |ilii(Mt in wliii:li 
ti) imrclniHd jiun|it'rH, aH Hiiitalilo tinilirr for tliinr niannfactuni ih vi-vy Hcaro:, 
and af it in on tho main trail liotwt^ttn W innijx'^ and Itattlidord, many of tlio 
wimtward lionnd frtdf^lilorH Inivn already loft tlitiir cartit linr)) and Miijiplicil 
tlnniHulvim with jnm[HirH, ho that, tlnmo wlio liavti any loft aro inclined to n»k 
fancy prictm for tluiiii. 'I'liiH iivininff I paid i!f\^) for a jiimp<!i' that will not 
lirii>}{ Ion I'cntH at tho ond of tin: railway, and tiiC.I foi' a Hot of Hhai.^na|i|iy har 
iiOHH littlo, if any, niu>'o vahialihi than tho jiiinpor. 'i'lio otiior jnmpir and 
liarnoHH ant Iohh proloiitioiiH, much Iohh cxpoiihivo, and ahoiit oipially vain 
alilo, iiiaHinnch aH thoy will aimwcr tho pnrpoHOH of my joiirnoy, und that m 
all I can oxpuct from tlioin. 'i'ho air in kouii und fronty tr> nii^lil . hut thoru 
Ih ovory appoaraur.o of Hottlod y tathui". 

Noi.in'm Station, 'i'oiciiwooii llii.i.s, 'J7(» mii.k.s iuo\i lUrTi,i,i'oi<i», Nov. 
'_';"». VoHti'iday waH Hpiiit in complotiii)^ my arraiiK'^mcntH for tho joiirnoy \(> 
lAirt Ellico, a distauco of Hiiinu InO niilon or more, and it wan not until tho 
foronoun wiiH woll advanuod that 1 inauiii^ud to ^ot away from tho Indiiut 
I'liiin. Ah a coiiHocpionou i havo only mado aliont fonitoon mihs today 
lirinj^ now oam[H!d at iN.iliirH Station, tho lant Htoppin^f plauo in tho 'I'omh- 
wood llillH Hottlomoiit. 1 havo onjoyod the drivo tu-day vory much, and ii 
•ho woathor iily coiilinniH favonralilu I tnint tho romaindor of tho tri|» will 
turn out to la. oxtroiinly plouHant. Ah hoiiiu <»f my roailiiiH may not nndtr- 
Htand jiiHt what a jnmpor in, ' may ho oxciinod for ^iivin:^ a Hhort oxpla- 
nation aH to ita charactor. Indoud, tho jiimpurH in tho North-Wont ilill'or 
vory i;on«idorahly from thoHo UHiially :«oon in tho haokwoodH of Ontario, tli«> 
former hoing VI ry littlo laryor than a fair ni/.od hand-Hloi^^di, and mado on 
prociHoly tho namo principlo. Tho Hhafts of tho jnmiior art; couplod with ono 
croHn-bariuid uttachod by moans o*' ahort BtripH of Bhannappy or rftwhido to 
tho forward knoo on uithor Hido. Tho inannor of uttaohinn thoHo HhiiftB in a 
littlo la'ciiliar. Tho ond of tho hhaft projuotn hoyoiid tho holo through whicli 
tho rawhido nniH, and iii ho hovollod im to run along on tho hiiow oillior iii- 
Hido or uutsido tho rumior, according to tho width of tho HhaftM. In thiH way 
a jinnpor will rido over u log without any Hpocial ntrain, an tho HhaftH act iih a 
sort of lovor and inclined piano in rai^•illg tho forward ond, iiiHload of giving 
u doad pull against tho curvo of tho runnur, au thoy would if altacht-d in the 



226 



MANITOBA AND 



■ V 

. I 
. t 

¥ 

3-.' 

!• 
t- 



'S^ 



ordinary way. The hameas, which is made of rawhide or shagnappy, is pre- 
cisely the same as a light cart harness, having wooden hames padded with 
linen, and closing at the top by means of a rawhide loop. Rope lines are 
usually used, and now, and indeed ever since the weather became so extremely 
cold, 1 have given up using bits in the ponies' mouths, simply fastening the 
reins into the halters and guiding them in that way. Each of the jumpers is 
furnished with moderately high stakes and a low box of rough boards. Into 
these boxes we have packed tl load from the now abandoned waggon, each 
jumper taking half, and one I ig u.i ^en by Peter and the other by myself. 
Of course our tent and beddi; make up a considerable share of the load, and 
as these can be iised for wraps, it has not been at all dithcult to arrange a very 
comfortable seat in each jumper. By this arrangement Peter takes two of 
the ponies to use in his jumper, leaving me the other two, one of whicli 
1 drive in the forenoon and the other in the afternoon. As these little 
sleighs are only a few inches above the snow, it is almost a luxurious sen- 
sation to be covered up to the chin in warm wraps, and, in an almost re- 
cumbent posture, glide sniootlily along over the snow, instead of jolting and 
bumping on the waggon, where one is exposed to an almost unendurabl' 
<ipgree of cold. Since arriving here, where 1 may be said to be in the 
eastern extremity of the Touchwood Hills settlement, I have been enabled 
to pick up some further information concerning the Touchwood Hills region. 

As this settlement is a convenient stopping place, 150 miles from the head 
of navigation on the Assinibuine at Fort Ellice, a very fair business is done 
in winter and sunnuer by both farmers and traders. Travellers, as a 
rule, come around by the way of Qu'Appelle, which is the longer road by 
about tifty miles, but freighters and others, whose sole object is to make the 
quickest possible tiuic between Battleford and Winnipeg, take the road which 
we purpose pursuing straight across Plioasant Plains to Fort EUieo. I was 
not a little surprised to lind that one of the traders here, Mr. Heubach, for- 
merly of Montreal, had imported a finely-bred trotting stallion Crown 
Prince, by John E. llysdyk (iut of Doll by old Royal George. He is a very 
handsome, solid-coloured horse, fashionably bred, fast, and stylish enough 
for any gentleman's carriage. 

At Mr. Nolin's I met one of the census einimerAtors, Mr. Garneau, who 
had been linsy through tlie country nortli of this region. I found him en- 
thusiastic on the agricultural prospects of the Nortli-West.and like every other 
well-informed traveller whom 1 have met, he has found almost limitless areas 
of agricultural land wlierever he has gone. About twenty miles due north 
of the point where wo now are is a place called Quill Plain, whore there are 
as yet no settlors. It is about seventy-five miles long by about twonty-tive 
miles wide, made up of choice farming land, and bordered on both sides with 
an abundance of excellent timber. Tliero are also scattering bluU's tlirough- 
out the plain whore firewood and building material nii^it bo found, but Mr. 
Ganifaii doRcribes tlie belts of timber bordering the plain as practically ineK- 
haustible for home gonsuutption. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



227 



^ound Plains are about eight miles north of where we now are, and loca- 
tea among what are known as the Big Touchwood Hills. This is a succes- 
sion of plains, in all about seventy miles long and eight miles wide. Here, 
too, the land is exceedingly rich, and almost unbroken by sloughs or marshes, 
while there is plenty of excellent timber on both north and south borders. 
At Round Plains there are now some ten or twelve settlers who are doing 
well. At Long Lake, which is about forty miles west of Qu' Appelle, and 
eighty or ninety south-west of this point, there is comparatively little tim- 
ber, but an excellent quality of land, and in fact the region is said to be one 
of the most beautiful in the whole North-West. 

Carrot River, another place visited by Mr.Garneau, is described by all who 
have seen it as possessing a phenomenally rich soil, in which wild pea vino 
grows as high as a man's head, and other vegetation is proportionately rich. 
There are about twenty families now settled at Carrot River (or Root River 
as it is called on the map), but from the very favouriiblo reports that I have 
heard everywhere concerning it I am inclined to think that it is a region that 
will rapidly find fa.vour with settlers next year. It lies about twenty miles 
north of Prince Albert. Its proximity to the Saskatchewan and the thriving 
village of Prince Albert is a sufficient guarantee that produce grown there can 
l>e easily disposed of, and there is every reason to believe that when the new 
system of steamboat management shall have been inaugurated on the Saskat- 
chewan next summer it will make traffic on that great stream much more 
active than it has ever been before. Indeed, 1 am of opinion that before 
another year has passed the general prospects of all points along the North 
Saskatchewan from Prince Albert to Edmonton will be greatly improved by 
the increased facilities furnished by the new steamboat management. 

As I have often heard the (luestion asked. How came " Touchwood Hills " 
to be so named I I have at different times enquired of traders who have spent 
nearly or quite all of their lives in the North-West. Though all the stories 
concerning the origin of the name do not agree, the best authenticated and, 
I think, the most reasonable, explanation is the following : — " Before the 
Indians had matches brought among them by the traders and, when they were 
accustomed to the flint and steel, " touchwood," or " punk," as it is called 
in many parts of Ontario, was in great demand, and in the North-West, whore 
timber is comparatively scarce it was often with great ditHculty that it could 
be procured. Those who havi ought for it, even in the woU-timberetl ro- 
gioiis of Ontario, have often experienced some difficulty in Hnding it. It is 
produced by a sort of dry rot that usually sots in while the tree is standing, 
and this dry rot which converts the timber into punk or touchwood i)ro. 
grasses very slowly. In the prairie bluffs, which are occasionally swept by 
prairie lires, this peciiliar kind of decomposition which produces toucliwood 
never has time to develop itself, but in these hills that are soklon: reached by 
those devastating tires, and whore timber has been allowed to grow for many 
decades, and where the short-lived poplar and c(-ttonwood are the prevailing 
woods, the conditions were highly favourable for the production of touch- 
wood, and hero the red men have always been able to tind it in Hbuiidance. 



228 



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Indeed, I have been told that even now Indians occasionally come here from 
l)laces hundreds of miles away for the sole purpose of procuring touchwood, 
which in addition to its value as a combustible, is supposed by them to pos- 
sess certain highly-prized medicinal properties when worn in charms or neck- 
laces. 

Tlie weather has moderated very much since sunset, and I fear that a thaw, 
or possibly a rain storm, may not be far oft". 



CHAPTER XLII. 



KKOM TO'JCHWOOn HILLS TO FORT ELLICE— AitRIVAL AT WOLVERINE HILL- 
CHANGKS IN NOi.TH-WEST NOMENCLATURE. 



-MIHCHIEVOl'S 



In Camp, five miles kast of Touchwood Hills, en route to Fort Elllce, 
Nov, 20. — This morning when we turned out the weather had become un- 
usually warm, rain was falling at intervals, the wind was blowing from the 
south, and, in short, appearances were decidedly in favour of a general break- 
ing up of the 8leighin<;, nOw that we were just fairly prepared for it. It con- 
tinued so showery during the forenoon that I found it impossible to leave 
Nolin's till after dinner, when the rain ceased though the weather was still 
warm and foggy. On gutting out on the trail once more it did not take me 
long to discover that the sleighing was seriously impaired by the thaw which 
had set in, and that two more days of such weather at farthest would be cer- 
tain to utterly use up the sleighing. Even this afternoon the jumper dragged 
heavily occasionally as it cut through the slush and down into the mud. Our 
loads are not very heavy, however, and wo reached our present camp by four 
o'clock in the afternoon. Here we found Messrs. Pratt and Grant-Dalton in 
camp, and deciding to wait and go on in company with them in the morning. 
I turned my ponies out to feed. Mr. McHugh secured a jumper and harness 
at Touchwood Hills, but ho has now with liim only the largo roan pony for 
which he traded at South Saskatchewan, his broncho having become so com- 
plcLLiiy played out that he despaired of bringing him through to Fort Ellice, 
even though allowed to run light all the time. Ho accordingly sold him at 
Touchwood Hill.?, and decided to make the remainder of the journey with one 
])ony. Messrs. I'ratt and Grant-Dalton wore unable to get more than one 
jumper at Touchwood Hills, and are, therefore bringing both their waggons 
along as well as the juniper, which they use chieHy for carrying grain. At 
]ireHent it is impossible for mo to say whicli outfit stands the best chance of 
making good time to Fort Ellice. Should the weather turn cold and another 
snowstorm come on, my neighbours would be much worse oil' than I am, as 



THE NOUTH-WEST. 



229 



they would find the hauling of their waggons through the snow between here 
and Fort EUice very slow wo..k. On the other hand, however, if the thaw 
should continue all day to-morrow I fear 1 should have to resort to travois 
with which to finish the journey. 

In Camp, 25 Miles from Touohwood Hills, en route to Fort Ellice, Nov. 
27. — The weather, though cooler this morning, was still not quite such as 
I would like to have seen. For all that, however, wo made t(i1 bly fair 
progress, and I think that my ponies are standing the work with the jumpers 
quite as well as those of my fellow-travellers with their waggons. We have 
made twenty miles to-daj' through what appears to be an excellent quality of 
rolling prairie, partially overgrown with blutt's of small timber, and having 
occasional groves or strips of poplar and cottonwood of considerable size. 
Sleighing is certainly not any worse than it was yesterday, and there is every 
appearance of cooler weather to come. I find travelling with jumpers not 
at all fatiguing, and instead of looking forward as I used to do, with pleasure 
to the prospect of turning into camp at night, I now begin to dread it. Our 
tents are pitched to-night in a clump of timber south of the trail, where there 
is plenty of dry wood. We have a cheerful camp-fire outside the tent, and 
all-in-all the camp is an exceptionally comfortable one. 

Ix Camp, 50 Miles from Touchwood Hills, en route to Fort Ellice, Nov. 
28. — Last night there was a very light fall of snow and one of the most re- 
markable white frosts of which I have ever seen the traces. The trees, 
branches, and twigs are all thickly coated with a pure white Ame, which even 
wrapped its heavy silver armour over the tall blades of grass that had reared 
their heads above the snow. As we made our way along the trail to-day, and 
were approaching Pheasant Plains, we found ourselves getting into a country 
where the snow is much deeper than in Touchwood Hills, and it is with con- 
siderable difficulty that our neighbours are ke6ping up with us, while the 
travelling wiHi our jumpers has been comparatively easy. We have made 
about twenty-five miles to-day, and the ponies finished their work almost as 
fresh as they began it. The co\intry through which we have travelled is very 
much the same as that travt aed yesterday. Here and there the country is 
broker with sloughs and lakelets, but it is for the most part fine rolling land 
lightly timbered. The forage is good all along the trail, and from the extra- 
ordinary growth of grass which stands up and asserts itself strongly above 
nine to fifteen inches of snow, I should imagine the soil must be exception- 
ally rich. Wherever we stop, the ponies invariably begin pawing and feeding 
just where they are turned out of the harness. They lose no time in looking 
for grass, as they appear to think it good enough for them anywhere along 
the trail. 1 have never heard this region very highly extolled as a favour- 
able locality for settlement, but I should imagine that a farme'' accustomed 
to the average farming land to be found in Ontario would imagine himself in 
an agricultural paradise could he bo blindfolded at he .lO and set down hero 
before the wrapping was taken oflF his eyes. If he came up here in the ordi- 
nary way ho would learn by the time ho got here to be as fault-finding and 



230 



MANITOBA AND 



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dissatisfied with the country as are the half-breeds and old settlers in Mani- 
toba and the North-West. The average half-breed thinks that land is not 
worth cultivating provided it ever requires manure, and as a consequence he 
objects to anything except the heavy black loams of the river bottoms, wliich 
are not as adaptable for agricultural purposes in a cold climate like that of 
the North-West as are the uplands where the soil is lighter, but where the 
crops are less apt to be visited by summer frosts, and where the land can be 
ploughed earlier in the spring without the danger of having the crop drowned 
out by spring rains or June floods. Indeed, I am of opinion that there will 
yet be a general revolution in the sentiments of North-West settlers concern- 
ing the relative values of light uplands and heavy bottoms. In some sections 
of the North-West the land has been condemned because it is thought it 
would require manure as often as once in five years, but I have invariably 
noticed that the farmers who are doing beat and making most money every- 
where throughout the North-West territory are located on what would here 
be termed light soil, but what would be considered by any intelligent farmer 
in Ontario a rich sandy loam. But the character of the soil is not the only 
thing with which the settler in the North-West is apt to *ind fault. If he 
finds himself in a position to take up a whole section of unbroken, treeless 
prairie of the very best of soil he objects to it on account of the lack of tim- 
ber. If it contains numerous bluffs he characterizes it as " broken " land for 
the simple reason that he cannot plough furrows half a mile long until he has 
expended some money or labour in clearing off intervening bluffs of timber, 
even though he well knows that it would furnish him valuable material for 
fences and outbuildings. If there is a good-sized slough or a marshy stream 
running across his locsvtion he will object to that ; but if it is destitute of 
water he is quite as ready to find fault, never thinking, apparently, that the 
cost of sinking one or two wells in the soft prairie soil would be the merest 
trifle. Of course, I do not mean to say that all the farmers who come to the 
North-West, or indeed a greater share of them, are grumblers ; but where 
there is so much choice land from which to take a selection, and where a man, 
by looking about him a short time, can find almost anything he wants in the 
way of rich agricultural land, the settler becomes extremely fastidious. He 
will in time no doubt select a good location, but if asked concerning the 
merits of the country through which he had passed, and where he had failed 
to find precisely what he wanted, he would be apt to condemn it as useless 
country simply because it did not quite come up to his idea 1 what a prairie 
farm si: nild be. It will thus be seen that individual opinii .is concerning the 
North-West are apt to be greatly diversified, and though all mean to repre- 
sent the real facts of the case, very many will come far short of doing so, for 
the reason ♦hat in speaking of North-West land to farmers in Ontario, they 
conqiare them with other sections in the North-West, rather than with agri- 
cultural land in Ontario, which is perhaps the only kind with which the listener 
is familiar. 

The country through which we travelled to-day is, I think, all made up of 
rich land well adapted for agricultural purposes, but at the same time it is. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



231 



far from being np to the standard that would be most sought after by s ettlers 
coming into this country. This evening the sun went down in a flush of rosy 
light, and as the ruddy sunset tints lib up the snow, and touched every frost- 
armoured branch, twig, leaf, and bending blade of grass, the picture was such 
as would make the beholder imagine that he had been suddenly transported 
to fairyland. Our camp to-night is, according to Peter's calculation, not 
more than about six miles from Big Pheasant Plain. The forage is very good, 
but dry wood is exceedingly scarce, and it was as late as ten or half- past ten 
o'clock before we had collected enough to cook supper in the camp stove, to 
say nothing of a fire outside, which was, of course, not thought of. The 
weather has been turning gradually colder to-day, and to-night the mercury 
stands 8 or 9 below zero and the temperature is still falling. 

In Camp, 82 miles from Touchwood Hills, en route to Fort Ellice. 
Nov. 29. — This morning the mercury in the thermometer was frozen up again. 
There was a heavy fog, a light breeze '"n the north, and occasional flurries of 
snow. On harnessing the ponies this morning Ave discovered that one of my 
best ponies, Jim, had received such a severe kick on one of his hind legs, just 
above the gambrel joint, that it would be impossible to use him, and I even 
had my doubts if he would be able to keep up with the loose ponies. As he 
was one of the pair driven by Peter, and as his mate was not able to do the 
whole day's journey, I was obliged to turn Blanche over to Peter and drive 
the ever-reliable Punch throughout the whole day. I need hardly add that 
although this pony has already done considerably over 2,000 miles driving 
since last June, he did his work to-day just as cheerfully and willingly as he 
did the first day I owned him. The travelling to-day was very heavy. Pheas- 
ant Plain being thickly covered with snow, and the trail, of course, entirely 
unbroken. We drew away from Messrs. Pratt and Grant-Dalton early in the 
morning, and when we camped for noon, they were nowhere in sight. Shortly 
after we left our noon camp, however, we sighted them some three miles be- 
hind U8 on the open prairie, and to-night, after having crossed a dismal 
stretch of treeless plain, we reached camp just as twilight was deepening into 
darkness. An hour and a half later they were with us, but still no tire could 
be started, for as yet our searches for firewood had been fruitless. Thee 
were bluffs on every side of us for miles in every direction but one, and yet 
it was half -past twelve o'clock before we could find dry wood enough to make a 
respectable fire in the stove. It was dreary work wandering about among 
these bluffs, each taking a different dii-ection and searching for fuel. The 
young moon was sailing through thick curling masses of coppery-bronzo 
clouds, now breaking out with a flood of pure silver j' light, and now almost 
lost in the heavy billowy masses through which she was rapidly ploughing. 
When at last we had finished our nearch for wood th« (luestion of pitching 
my tent was the next that presented itself. I had neglected to provi'le my- 
self with iron tent pegs, without which no one should travel during the winter, 
and on attempting to drive the oak ones, it was found that they would break 
and broom up rather than enter the frozen ground. The result is that we 



23: 



MANITOBA AND 



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shall spread our blankets on the snow in the lea of a thick bluff, and sleep 
with naught but the starry canopy above us. 

Ii. Camp, 112 miles from Touchwood Hills, en route to Fort EUice, 
Nov. .30. — It was scarcely daybreak when we left camp this moi-ning, and 
finding that it was apossible to keep up to us with their waggons, Mr, Pratt 
and Mr. Grant-Daliou decided to make no further effort in that direction. 
Accordingly Mr. McHugh, Peter, and I left camp before they had rounded 
up their ponies for a start. We were half an hour on the way before the 
sun rose over little Pheasant Plain in a blaze of ruddy light, while in the 
south-western sky was to be seen that peculiarly fresh, breezy effect of little 
dove-coloured cloud islets, floating in a sea of pale malachite green, which 
one often sees when ihe sun is rising over some broad lake whose farther 
shores are below the horizon. Our journey to-day was, for the most part, 
through rather open prairie, furnished with scattering bluffs of small timijer. 
The travelling was heavy, but we made fine progress, having covered cer- 
tainly not less than thirty miles to-day. About sunset we were examining 
the blufls in order to find a good camp if possible, but it was after dark be- 
fore we reached one where dry wood was at all plentiful. We are now fairly 
sheltered by the timber, and have a good tire blazing in front of us. By 
means of some green poles we have fixed up a sort of franje over which wo 
have thrown the tent, so as to make a shed fronting towards the fire, and 
our prospects' for a comfortable night's rest are not at all bad. 

In Camp, Wolverine Hill, en route from Touchwood Hills to Fort EI- 
lice, Dec. 1. — It was intensely cold when we turned out of camp this morn- 
ing, and we had rather a dreary time in getting ready for a start, but once 
on the trail we glided along comfortably and pleasantly through fine prairie 
uplands until noon, when we drove down into the big valley of what ia known 
on the maps as Cut Arm Creek. The banks are very precipitous, and some- 
where about 180 or 200 feet high. This creek, as I have already remarked, 
is called Out Arm Creek on the map. The half-breeds and the guides in this 
region all know it as " Broken Arm Creek." The name was given to it by 
the Indians, and the cause of its receiving this somewhat singular np me is that 
an Indian, in riding down into this valley one day, fell from his horse and 
broke his arm. The name of " Cut Arm " was probably given to it by some 
conceited individual who imagined his knowledge of Cree to be much better 
than it really was. It is a pity, however, that nonjenclature throughout the 
North- West should have to be so far entrusted to ignorant Government of- 
ficials, who are too conceited to consult old settlers, half-breeds, or competent 
interpreters. This is only a sample of the abominable bungling that has 
been committed in naming hills, creeks, lakes, and rivers throughout the 
North and North- West of Canada. In taking the canoe-route from Thunder 
Bay to Winnipeg the traveller can if he chooses pass through no less than 
four Hawk Lakes, while Vermilion Rivers may be found in abundance all the 
way from Lake Superior to Edmonton. There are also five or six Vermilion 
Lakes, two or three Vermilion Bays, fifty or sixty Beaver Creeks, and Mud 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



233 



Lakes innumerable. After dinner we crossed a broad stretch of nuiskeg, 
probably not less than five miles in width, and finally came to camp at Wol- 
verine Hill, or, as it has been called on the maps, " Spy Hill." Here is an- 
other outrage in the way of stupid nomenclature. There are a number of 
small hills in this vicinity, and one very hirge one. On the summit of the 
latter is an Indian flagstaff, erected to mark the spot where many years ago 
an old man, called the Wolverine, killed himself. To this day it is not 
known whether he shot himself accidentally or whether it was a case of de- 
liberate suicide. At all events, the Indians called the hill after him , and 
until the wif i men at Ottawa published maps, nobody ever thought of the 
place by any other name. By these savants, however, a group of hills in the 
neighbourhood was named " Wolverine Hills," and the ori;,'inal Wolverine 
Hill re-christened " Spy Hill." Besides being a stupid innovation, this is a 
mischievous one, for away down on the plains south-west of Battleford there 
is a hill that has long been known to the Indians and guides as " Spy 
Hill," or, rather, two or three butes which were known as the " Spy Hills."' 
A traveller coming into this country and consulting the maps would be al- 
most sure to get the two localities confounded. If, for example, ho desired 
to visit Spy Hill, any experienced guide woidd conclude at once that he 
meant the locality beyond Battleford, for as a rule guides pay very little at- 
tention to published maps. 

Our camp to-night is in a thick bluff where the undergrowth is so 
abundant that we had to ch(jp away a portion of it before we could 
get room to spread our blankets and make other preparations for camp. 
We have a huge fire burning at our feet, but even this hardly suflices 
to make us comfortable, as the night is intensely cold, the frozen mer- 
cury giving no indication as to how low the temperature reclly is, but 
I am strongly inclined to think that it must be at least forty degrees below 
zero. Camping out in such a temperature as this is, under the best of cir- 
cumstances, a frightful tax on one's vital energies. This, I trust, will be our 
last out-of-doors camp, as we hope to reach Fort Ellice to-morrow, and I am 
not at all sorry that the most tedious, and by al, odds the roughest, part of 
the journey is now at an end. I cannot help feeling some regret, however, at 
parting with my ponies. They have come to know me, and 1 have been so 
long with them, and passed through so many trials and such a long, dreary 
journey in their company, that I cannot help looking upon them as old anil 
well-tried friends. For many a day and man^ .•» mile they have been all that 
have stood between me and a fate too miserable to contemplate, and now 
that our companionship is fast drawing to a close I could wish that some bet- 
ter fate were in store for them than that of falling into the hands of cruel, ir- 
rational, and merciless masters, such as, I am sorry to say, nine-tenths of the 
half-breed freighters are. As I close my journal to-night, and bid a long 
farewell to camp life, and what I think I may justly characterize as genuine 
"roughing-it," the starlight is blending with the fli.kering ruddy flush of a 
camp-fire upon my note book. I hear the muffled clinking of Punch's bell 
in the thick underbrush a hundred yards from camp, while from away out of 
O 



234. 



MANITOBA AND 



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the open prairie to the northward cornea the long-drawn, dismal howl of the 
timber-wolf. I am not sorry to bid farewell to this kind of life for a while 
at least, but at the same time there is a fascination about it that is quite in- 
explicable until one has experienced it. 



( 
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CHAPTER XLIII. 



KROM FORT ELLICE TO BRANDON— THE LAND BOOM AT BRANDON— IMPORTANCE OF A STRICT 

I'ROHIBITORY LIQUOR LAW. 






Fort Ellice, Dec. 2. —We arrived here early in the afternoon, or rather 
Mr. McHugh and I arrived, leaving Peter to drive one of the ponies to his 
own house, wh ; h is some mile and a half or more oflF the trail, and on a side- 
road which branches off the main trail two or three miles from this point. 
Indeed, since arriving here I am very glad that I permitted the poor fellow 
to go home as soon as possible, for the Hudson Bay Company ofhcials inform 
me that his young wife has been exceedingly anxious about him for the last 
month or twf", Her anxiety was unnecessarily intensified by the contemp- 
tible conduct of a half-breed named Alexandre Rivoire, who, returning from 
Winnipeg at the time mentioned, informed her that he had met Peter there, 
where he was drinking and carousing, and going through with his money as 
fast as possible, and that he had no intention of returning to his family at 
Fort Ellice. 

Fort Ellice, which was described on my way west last summer, is a 
very diflferent looking place now. Then it was full of life and animation, 
Indians and white men were gathered here from all parts to see the Gover- 
nor-General, and business was brisk on all sides. Now it wears a most dis- 
consolate itnd deserted aspect. A freighter is starting out with his train 
westward for Prince Albert, and a surveyor's outfit is detained here by reason 
of strayed ponies, but otherwise the place appears utterly deserted by every- 
body who can manage to spend the winter away from it. Even the chief 
factor of the Hudson Bay Company is absent, the hotels are all but deserted, 
and, in short, the place has put on its winter's habit. Indeed I am inclined 
to think that Fort Ellice has seen its best days. People desiring to visit the 
Territory next summer will find it about as much to their advantage to start 
from Brandon with their ponies as from here, and in doing so they will save 
themselves a long and tedious trip by steamer. The weather is very sharp 
and frosty to-nigh<^, and I am not sorry that I shall have an opportunity of 
sleeping indoors. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



235 



•wl of the 

»r a while 

quite in- 



E OF A STRICT 



1, or rather 
aniea to his 
A on a side- 
thia point, 
poor fellow 
icials inform 
for the last 
le contemp- 
urning from 
eter there, 
is money as 
lis family at 

ummer, is a 
I animation, 
e the Gover- 
i a most dis- 
ith his train 
ere by reason 
,ed by every - 
'^en the chief 
but deserted, 
am inclined 
g to visit the 
ntage to start 
hey will save 
is very sharp 
pportunity of 



BiKTLE, Dec. 5. — Owing to some unexpected delays I was not able to get 
away from Fort EUice till after dinner to-day, and in consequence I only 
reached this point after dark this evening. Of course the country wears a very 
different look from that which it did in the summer, but we are now getting 
down to where the trails are beaten, and as we occasionally meet a team, the 
travelling is not nearly so lonely as it had been all the way from Calgary to 
Fort Ellice. Birtle has grown considerably since I was here last summer, 
and all in all it appears to be a lively prosperous little village, and from the 
amount of business that is done here I should imagine that it must be sur- 
rounded by a goodly number of thrifty and enterprising settlers. Already 1 
begin to hear extravagant stories as to the boom in real estate at Winnipeg, 
Portage la Prairie, and Brandon. 

Kapid City, Dec. 5. — Yesterday I drove from Birtle to Shoal Lake, and 
to-day from Shoal Lake to this point, where I am only twenty-two miles from 
the present terminus of the C. P. R. at Brandon. There is nothing in the 
journeyings of the past two days wor iiy of note. The ponies have been 
doing their work as cheerfviUy as ever, thou ^h. they do not exactly know 
what to make of being stabled at night, and I find they do not fill themselves 
as well as when they were allowed to run out. Though the weather is in- 
tensely cold, I find they do much better when I tie them outside the stables 
than when they are boxed up in warm stalls. After a good deal of higgling 
and chaffering with local buyers, some half-dozen of whom approached me 
under the pretence that they wanted to buy my ponies, I discovered that 
they were all operating for one buyer from another part of the Province, who 
adopts the plan of making very low offers to every traveller who has ponies to 
sell, and having these oflfers repeated by half a dozen or more different agents. 
This gives a stranger the impression that ponies are really cheap, and if he 
is not up to the sharper's " little game " he is very liable to be caught by it. 
My ponies were very much better than the average that are offered here, and 
I was quite well aware of it myself. I held them, therefore, at from ten to 
fifteen dollars per head higher than the prices paid here for the native ponies 
brought in by surveyors. The local buyers professed to be highly iimused 
at the price I set upon the animals, but they were evidently chagrined when 
they saw a gentleman on his way to Qu'Appelle pay me my price and take 
the ponies with him. 

Like Birtle, Rapid City, has improved very considerably since I was here 
last summer. New buildings have gone up, and some little disposition to 
speculate in village lots has already manifested itself. Good locations on the 
main street sell at $200 to $250 each, though the lots are only of very modest 
dimensions. Like every other village in Manitoba, Rapid City expects to 
have a railway, but whether they will get it as soon as they expect it or not, 
1 am not at all prepared to say. They have, however, a very good farming 
country all around them, and though I have no expeotation that Rapid City 
will ever be a Chicago, or St. Louis, or even a St. Paul, I think it is destined 
to become a thrifty and prosperous little village. 



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Brandon, Dec. G, — After an intensely cold drive, and ten miles of it over 
a broad, treeless stretch called Bt-uitifnl Plains, I found the trail dipping 
gradually down into the valley of the Assiniboine, and on the slope of the 
opposite bank I saw t'le much-talked of town of Brandon. I need hardly 
say that it is made up almost entirely of new buildings, most of which are of 
unpainted boards, though some are more pretentious in character. Tents 
still figure largely, serving as warehouses, stables, etc. I did not find busi- 
ness at Brandon booming to quite such an extent as I had expected, having 
heard that luts of 25 feet frontage were selling here for $1,000 a piece, but at 
the same time Brandon is lively enough just now, despitu the intensely cold 
weather and notwithstanuing the fact that travellers have for this season left 
off uiaking excursions upon the plains. There is a population here of about 
900 or possibly about 1,000, and all appear w h<we plenty to do. Being tin 
end of the track Jkandon cannot fail to be an important shipping point tint i I 
some local terminus is established farther west, and even after that I think 
Brandon will continue to be a place of some importance, as there is a very 
good country spreading north, south, east and west of it. Of course 1 do nut 
believe, nor expect the reader to believe, the extravagant stories told of the 
prices paid for property hero, but I think it is true that lots are cut up into< 
slices of not more that twenty-five frontage and sold very much more than 
they will ever ba worth. To-night I saw a large number of drunken men 
and tv>o or three fights — a novel sight to me, as during the months I spent 
in the North- West 1 have not seen three men under the infiuence «)f liciuoraud 
have seen no fighting, though 1 have been in very much larger crowds, and at 
Fort McLeod at least 1 have soon hundreds of men much more lawless in their 
proclivities. Frontiersmen, cattle-ranchers, packers, pr(<8pectors, and others 
who are to be found along the base of the Ilocky Mountains from Edmonton 
to Fort McLeod, arc not of the class from whom one wou.d expect good be- 
havi'-"-, but still the fact remains that though in the North- West Territories 
I have met with hundreds of such, and with trappers, traders, half-breeds, 
and Indians, 1 have seen no fighting, and no appreciable degree of drunken- 
ness during a stay of about four months, while having reached BrandnUt 
where, as I understand, a licinse system prevails, I have seen a great deal of 
dnmkenness and not a little fighting within the space of four hours. I have 
heard many people raise an outcry against the enforcement of prohibition in 
the North- West Territory, and I have heard many say that the Mounted 
Police was a useless force ; but with the facts that have been so forcibly 
brought under my notice this evening staring me in the face, I crn only 
come to the conclusion that stiiv-t prohibition is absolutely necessary to tie 
well-being of the people of the North- West Territories, and that the North- 
West Mounted Police, in the enforcement of prohibition alone, is rendering 
a Bcrvico to the country, worth at least five tunes what it oosts. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



237 



of it over 
[vil dipping 
ope of the 
Bed hardly 
hich are of 
er. Tents 
; find buai- 
ced, having 
ece, but at 
Bnsely cold 
season left 
re of about 
Being tin 
point until 
liat I think 
re is a very 
rse 1 do nt->t 
told of the 
cut up into> 
I more than 
■unken men 
[iths I spent 
)f li(iuor and 
wds, and at 
less in their 
, and others 
I Edmonton 
Bct good bo- 
Territories 
|half-broed3, 
i)f drunkon- 
iil Brandiin. 
treat deal of 
irs. I have 
lohibition in 
\o Mounted 
so forcibly 
1 crn only 
Issary to tlie 
the North- 
is rendering 






CHAPTER XLIV. 

THE .TOURNEY CLOSED —AN IMPARTIAL OPINION OF THE LAND SPECULATION BOOM— A CROP 
OF "EUENs"— MYTHICAL FORTUNES AND PAPKR CITIES— WORDS OF WARNING— THE 
STATE OF BUSINESS IN WINNIPEG— BUBBLE PRICES FOR LOTS. 

WiNNiPEo, Dec. 10.— The last entry in my journal closed at Brandcm on 
the evening of the 6th inst. The morning of the 7th was an intensely cold 
one, and as the C. P. R. ticket agent only managed to open his oflice a few 
moments before the train moved out from the station, the result of his tardi- 
ness was that a large share of the passengers were unable to proc\ire tickets 
and were compelled to pay the conductor the customary ten cents extra. 
There was a good deal of grumbling over this little circumstance, but of 
■course the conductor, who was not to blame, had to listen to all the grumb- 
ling, while the ticket agent, who in addition to his laziness was impertinent 
and indolent after his office was opened, escaped unnoticed, as no one had 
time to stop and tell him what manner of man he was. The first stop made 
after the train had pulled out from the station was at Grand Valley, which is 
only a little way below Brand<m (perhaps two miles), and on the opposite or 
northern bank of the Assiniboine. There is here a very pretty site for a vil- 
lage, and indeed this was at first supposed to be the spot upon which Bran- 
don was to be built. The property here had been located by a settler, and 
it is said the C. P. K. Syndicate offered him $20,000 in cash for liis claim, 
which had, 1 suppose, cost him not more than one or two hundred dollars 
originally. He could not see his way clear to accept the offer nado him, and 
tlie railway people decided to move up the river and over to the south bank. 
I suppose thd Grand Valley location is no.v worth $1,500 or ^2,0(X), but I am 
afraid it will be a long time before its owner will have another chance of 
accepting $20,000 for it. Between Brandon and Portage La Prairie there is 
little to be seen at this season of the year to interest tiie traveller. At Por- 
tage La Prairie the train only stopped long enough to give the passengers 
time to take luncheon. From Portage La Prairie the journey to Winnipeg 
was not particularly interesting, though at the firtft-mentioned place the 
lunnher of eastward bound passengers was considerably increased. It was 
dark when wo reached Winnipeg, and as the night was an intensely cold and 
disagreeable one I was not long in taking pansage for the hotel wh ^re I in- 
tended to house myself for the night. Of course I could not escape a fusi- 
lade of (luestions as so )n as it v as discoverot' that I had como from the 
Ni>rth-West Territory, and several individuals, who had never been fifty 
miles west of Winnipeg in their lives, volunteered the information that 
Edmonton was the greatest place in the North- West, and that town 1 >ts were 
already Holling there at fancy prices. In return for the many (jueslKms tliat 
■were showered upon mo regarding the North- West, I ventured to make some 



238 



MANITOBA AND 



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enquiries regarding Winnipeg. "Of course, everything is booming here," 
was the reply. 

" How long is this sort of thing to last ? " I asked. 

" Oh, it's only commenced," said the landlord. 

" Flush times usually run in decades," remarked a sallow-faced, philoso- 
phical-look'ng speculator and land agent who is worth a million or more " ia 
his mind," and who will realize that in cash when he sells all his property at 
the price he asks for it. 

I ventured to suggest that alues might be slightly inflated in Winnipeg 
just now, and as those present were peaceably inclined I escaped with my 
life, but I was cautioned against any public expression of views " so inimical 
to the well-being of the city, and utterly devoid of anything like a foundation 
in fact." 

" Are properties bringing a rent at all proportionate to the prices asked for 
them ? " 

"Oh, yes," replied the land speculator; "twelve to ♦if teen per cent, at 
least." 

Turning to the landlord of the hotel I asked, " What does the owner of 
this hotel hold it at ?" "I don't know," he replied, " but he refused $'oO,. 
000 for it the other day." 

" And what rent do you pay him ? " 

"§1,200 a year." 

I looked around expecting the philosophical land spocidator to explain to 
me how it was that property well located on Main Street would yield in rent 
only two per cent, upon a sum avowedly less than its estimated value, but ho 
had disappeared, and so I went to supper. 

After supper I spent some time in visiting hotels, dry-goo Is stores, and 
«)ther places where business wns being done, with a view of judging from 
observation if the trade of the place was such as would warrant anything like 
the extravagant prices asked for real estate, and my impression was that it 
would not. Prices are certainly much lower than when I was hero livst sum- 
mer, though T do not believe tliat values have greatly shrunk in any other 
part of the Dominion. In addition to this the stores do not appear to bo 
nearly as well patronized as they wore then, even though there is at present 
a large Hoating pop\ilation in the city. 

In the hotels all tho^ilk was of real estate. In the hallway and billiard- 
room of onj hotel 1 observed no less than five groups, each made up of one 
intended victim, one oatensiblo vendor or real estate operator, and (mo, two, 
or three " disintero-tod' individuals acting parts that in ordinary confidence 
grumes would bo denoniinatod the mlrs of " cappers." I do not moan to in- 
Hinuito, of course, that <11 tlieso transactions in real estate are characterized 
by a given amotmt of ra.icality, but I should bo very sorry to be responsible 
for the assertion that two-thirds of them are not. The great advance in tlio 
values of real estate has, of course, rondoreil it possible for many transac- 
tions to be made in which both parties are gainers. For example, "A" owns 
I)roperty that co-it him in the old times only 920*) or ^!J00. At the beginning 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



239- 



g here," 



, philoso- 
aore " in 
operty at 

Vinnipeg 

with my 

) inimicar 

lundation 

asked for 

3T cent, at 

owner r.f 
iiaed $00,- 



explaiu to 
eld in rent 
ue, but ho 

itores, and 
lj,'ing from 
rthing like 
vaa that it 
3 hist suni- 

any other 
pear to ho 

at present 

id biUiard- 
up of Olio 
I one, two, 
contidenco 
ncan to in- 
liiracterizod 
responsiblo 
anee in tho 
\\y transac- 
, "A" own* 
e beginning 



of the excitement he sells it to '* B " for as many thousands ; " B " sells it to 
" C " and more than doubles his money, and " C " sells it to " D " at a still 
more extraordinary advance ; but many here are under the impression that 
this sort of thing is about at an end, and that properties have reached the top 
figure. While I cannot pretend to knowenough about the actual state of atlairs 
here to be able to judge in such matters, I have no hesitation in venturing tho 
opinion that if the prices at which property is ([uoted here are real and not 
bogus the top figure has been reached. To night 1 have heard men talk about 
property selling on Main Street at $100 per inch, and $1,000 per foot appears 
to be a standard quotation for that locality. While I can hardly doubt that 
something near such prices has been given and taken, ^ am very certain that 
as a rule it is safe to largely discount the prices I have quoted for property 
in this city. Indeed there is such a diversity in the character and standing 
of the operators in real estate and such a diversity in the modes of operation, 
that one is at a loss to know how to begin in describing both operators and 
operations. There are, of course, many responsible business men conducting 
their transactioi, i on strictly business principles, and though perhaps a little 
.sanguine, they will doubtless prove cool-headed enough to come out of this 
speculative bedlam with well -filled pockets and balances on the right side of 
the ledger. Such operators, however, do not by any means make up the 
most nunierc us class of the land speculators in Winnipeg. This evening a 
beardless boy was pointed out to me as the owner of a bank account wortlx 
8125,000. I was told that he came to Winnipeg in August witli only 825 in liis 
pocket, and that he had made all his money by putting :ip margins and selling 
the property before the second payments became due. This boy looked to mo 
very much like one of the average " candy butchers" that on meets every 
(lay on railway trains, and for aught I know ho may have been one. It 
is also quite possible that the man who told me this marvellous story about 
the boy's success may have boon misinformed or ho may have been lying. 
I believe there is more or loss lying about marveUous fortunes made in Win- 
nipeg every twenty-four hours, and I see no particular reason why the man 
who told mo about the large sum of money amassod in such an incrediljly 
short time by this beardless boy who commenced with the snmll capital of 
.^25 may not have been lying also. Just as I was going out of the liotel I 
heard tlie name of an Ontiirio man that was comparatively faniiliiir tn mo 
pronounced. Somebody had boon omiuiring Iiow ho had "made out' in 
Winnipeg. " Why," said the man of whom the (juestion was asked, " lio 
has only been here two numths, but he has made $;J5,000." I made up my 
mind that my friend from CSuelph had done jirotty well. Just as 1 enterod 
the next hotel I heard a man remark that Mr. So-and-so, of Hamilton, was 
intending to return to Ontario in a day or two, having made his •' pile." On 
subsequent enquiries 1 found that this Hamilton gentleman had been in Win- 
nipeg six weeks ; that ho liad had fairly good huccohh, ami thai ho had clcaioil 
.*?.'{5,00(). Ten minutes later I was introduced to a gentleman frum Urantford, 
and in due time I learned that he too had made $;J5,(M)(). Throe »non from 
Montreal had made 8'»5,(M)0 apiece ; seven men from Ottawa had done like- 



240 



MANITOBA AND 



5 
I 

t.' 



'NJ 



.» I 



wise, and finally some one told a story of a man from Muskoka who had 
made ^37,500. I need not add that the story was immediately discredited, 
and the man forthwith ostracized from the society of Winnipeg financial gos- 
sips. Of course I cannot pretend io discriminate as to who tell the truth and 
who lie regarding the big sums made by people in Winnipeg property. 

Here is a romance I heard the other night concerning a young man who lives 
in a town somewhere east of Toronto. It may be true, or it may be false. He 
was a son of a very wealthy gentleman who had retired from business. The 
boy had gone through a good deal of property, and the old man was getting 
tired of prving his bills. The youth was paying his addresses to the pretty 
and accomplished daughter of a prosperous business man. When the latter 
discovered that the young man had already discounted his prospects he de- 
clined to allow his daughter to have any further comuiunication witlihim un- 
til he proved himself able tf) support a wife properly, and the tender-hearted 
maiden straightway transferred her aflections from the ex-bank clerk to a 
" next-article-please-young-man," who sported the blackest moustache in the 
leading dry-goods house of the village, and who had fond hopes of some day 
becoming a full-fledged commercial traveller. The young prodigal had re- 
solved to do better, and on the strength of his representations his father gave 
him §500 with which to go West, in the hope that he would grow up with the 
country. He reached Winnipeg with 8400 in his pocket, and straightway in- 
vested $100 in Winnipeg whiskey, While in a state of hopeless inebriation ' e 
staggered into a real estate salesroom, where an auction was going on, and 
made a bid on a property which was immediately knocked down to him. His 
remaining §300 barely covered the margin that would give him the option of 
paying up the remainder of the purchase money within one week, but he paid 
it over and staggered to his hotel scarcely knowing what he had done. In 
tlie morning ho rang for a brandy-and-soda, and when he came to examine 
his pocltet-book to find a tip for the porter he discovered that his money was 
all gone, and instead of it was a document the purport of which he could not 
at first understand. Gradually, however, the remembrance of the transac- 
tion came back to him, and feeling pretty thoroughly sick of his first venture 
as a real estate operator, he dressed himself, borrowed $10 from the landlord 
(this is the improbable part of the story), and made his way to the telegraph 
office, tlirough which he meant to ask his father for more money. To his 
disappointment, however, he discovered that tlie lino was not working be- 
tween Winnipeg and St. Paul (this is the probable part of the story), and he 
went back to his hotel disconsolate. For six days the line did not work, and on 
tlie seventh there was a great crush in the telegraph ollico, and he know the line 
was working. While ho was waiting for his turn an excited individual with 
hnUow cheeks and haggard mien approached hiui. After eyeing hin\ earnestly 

for ten seconds the stranger eagerly asked, "Are you Mr. who purchased 

lot about a week ago / " " Yes," replied tlie young man, " 1 believe I 

did." " Well, 1 have been looking for you for three days and three nights. 1 
want to know what you will take fi)r the property." Tho young man did not 
know whether it would be safe to ask as much as he had given for the pro- 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



241 



perty, and thereby get back the whole of his margin or not, and while he was 
htsitating the stranger said, " I am in a hurry ; please relie"e my anxiety at 
once ; will you take $35,000 more than you gave for the property ? " The 
young man said " Yes," and they wept upon each other's necks. It is not 
necessary to add that the profligate youth went back to the home of his 
childhood, and claimed the hand of the maiden whom he had so noWy and 
gallantly won ; nor how the pure-minded, single-hearted creature who had 
turned up her nose at him when he was not worth a-duUar-and-a-half, smiled 
graciously upon him and said " Yes " when he was worth $35,000. I do not ask 
my readers to believe any more of these romances than they see fit, but as 
they pass current in Winnipeg, and as they are poured into the ears of every 
gullible Ontario or Quebec man who comes into the city with money in his 
pocket, I do not see any impropriety in repeating them. It is almost impos- 
sihle for one who has not been here to understand how thoroughly rampant 
the spirit of speculation has become. I have been told that a prominent em- 
ployee of thj C. P. R. Syndicate was removed from his position on the 
ground that he was t(jo speculative for the place, and I have often heard ii 
more than hinted that General Rosser may be removed at any ti'^- ,. for a 
similar reason, and that the gentleman who is to be appointed in his place is 
to receive a salary of $50,000 per year for the purpose of i-.iducing him to 
solely devote his time and energies to the interests of the Syndicate. These 
things may be only rumours, but I believe nobody will doubt that General 
Rosser has been lending his name to the promoters of nearly all the little 
cities that are springing up along the " supposed '' ramitications of the C. P. 
R, system, who announce as a clinching argument in favour of the future 
prosperity of their city locations that General Rosser has purchased a large 
number of lots. 

Before I close I will relate a story that was told me in Winnipeg, but not 
by a Winnipeg man. It is of an Ontario man who arrived in Winnipeg with 
§2,000. Ho speculated boldly, confining himself chiefly to margins until he 
had run his §2,000 up to SG,000. He then saw what he conceived to be a 
grand opportunity, and put up the §0,000 on a very short margin, expecting 
to sell the large property in a fortnight, and realize very handsomely. Day 
after day rolled by, and he found that the property did not sell as well as he 
expected. In fact, he could not turn over a foot of it. Gradually the fact 
d:iwned upon him that h j had been victimised, and finally the time for tho 
payment of the remainder of the purchase money expired, his margin was 
sacrificed, and ho found himself financially "wiped out." I found two or 
three people in Winnipeg who had heard tho story of this Ontario man, but 
it is not imo that operators care particularly to relate, and of course the victim 
himself was not anxious to publish his misfortune. Indeed I think such 
cases are nuich mt)re numerous than people generally suppose, but it wotdd 
be treason to toll such a story in Winnipeg, 



242 



MANITOBA AND 



I ,' 

c . 

I 

"": 

to T 

I. 



"sj 



CHAPTER XLV. 

RESUME OF THE JOrRNEY -DESCRIPTION OF THE OROUND* TRAVERSEr— THE CENERAL 
CHARACTER OF THE SOIL T.IROIJGHOL'T THE NORTH-WEHT TERRITORIES. 

The record of my journey across the prairies to the Rocky Mountains and 
back by the way of Edmonton closed with my return to Winnipeg, but be- 
fore dropping the subject iltogether it may be as well to give a very brief 
resumi of the whole journey. 

THE GROUND COVERED. 

The ditferent stages of the journey may be summed up as follows :— Lord 
Lome and his party left Toronto by the Northern Railway about noon on 
the 21st July, and boarded the steamer Frances Smith at Collingwood the 
same evening. Prince Arthur's Landing was reached a little before noon on 
Monday, 25th July. The next day His Excellency and party wont by rail 
over the Thunder Bay branch of the Canada Pacific to Barrett's Bay, on 
AVabigoon Lake. On 27th July the party took passage by a yacht in tow of a 
small tug to the Seven-mile Portage, walked over that portage, and encamped 
on Garden Island, which is about four miles west of the Landing and in Eagle 
Lake. On Thursday, 28th, after crossing Eagle Lake and one or two smaller 
bodies of water, they encamped on the shore of Dryberry or Bell's Lake. 
On the 29th they reached Rat Portage, on the night of the 30th readied 
Winriipeg. On the morning of the 8th August they again took passage on 
the Canada Pacific, reaching the end of the track, which was then about one 
hundred miles from Winnipeg, about the middle of the afternoon. They 
were then taken by the Mounted Police outfit to their first camp, some seven 
miles farther along the trail. On the night of Aug. 10th, they were encamped 
lit Rapid City, and on the 11th at Shoal Lake, and early in the forenoon of 
the 13th they reached Fort Ellice. On August 17th they reached Qii'Appelle, 
and on the 2oth August thoy crossed the South Saskatchewan, and reached 
Carlton the same evening. On the 27th August they reached Prince Albert 
by steamer ; on the 28th returned to Carlton ; and on the 30th reached 
Battleford by steamer. On the Ist September the outfit left Battleford, and 
nn the 12th of the same month, about noon, reached Fort (,'algary, where 
they remained till the morning of the 15th, and Fort McLood was reached 
late in the afternoon of the 17th. On the morning of the 20th the wliole 
jiarty left Fort McLeod, and reached Pinchor Creek on the same evening. 
On September 22nd I loft His Excellency's party, who wore then at tho 
Indian Supply P^arm, near Pinchor Creek, and about a day's journey from 
the boundary lino, and tlie same afternoon I made an excursion up into tlio 
mountains near the entrance of tho Crow's Nest Pass. On tlie following 
evening I reached Furt McLeod, and on tho 1st October reached Calgary, 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



245 



leaving the latter place on the 5th October for Edmonton. I reached Ed- 
monton on the 15th October, Battleford, November 3rd, the South Saskatch- 
ewan, November 11th, Humboldt, November 19th, Touchwood Hills, Nov- 
ember 23rd, Fort Ellice, December 2nd, and Winnipeg on the night of Dec- 
ember 7th. The distance I have travelled between the date of my leaving 
Toronto on the 21st July and returning on the 16th December, may be 
roughly estimated at 6,000 miles, only a little more than half of which was 
accomplished by rail and steamboat, the remaindc being made chiefly with 
ponies. 

As regards the country traversed in travelling from Toronto to Winnipeg, 
it is not necessary to add anything to what has already been written. If 
the traveller takes the all-rail route, he leaves British territory at Sarnia or 
Windsor, and does not enter it again until he is within seventy miles of 
Winnipeg ; while if he travels as Lord Lome did, over Tiake Superior and 
the uncompleted Thunder Bay branch, he passes over a region that has 
twice been pretty fully described in another series of my letters within the 
last year and a half. From Winnipeg westward, however, it appears that 
comparatively little is known of the country. People are apt to speak of 
Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the North- West Territory as though they were to 
p. certain extent convertible terms, and that it was only necessary to go to 
Winnipeg to learn all about Manitoba aud the North- West Territory. 
Nothing could be more absurd to one who has travelled from Winnipeg to 
the Rocky Mountains and back, making nearly the whole distance with 
ponies, and noting the leading characteristics of the country mile by mile. 
When I reached Winnipeg last summer I met a great many people who pro. 
fessed to know all about the North- West, and talked as though they had 
travelled all over it, but upon cross-examination of the mildest type they 
admitted that their explorations of the North- West had never extended be- 
yond Portage La Prairie, Lake Manitoba, Brandon, or at farthest Fort Ellice. 
In Winnipeg the majority of people whom one meets take nearly the same 
absurd view regarding Manitoba and the North- West Territory that many 
Ontario people do regarding Winnipeg and both the I rovince and Territory. 
Despite all that has been published on the subject, and notwithstanding the 
fact that even the very inditt'erent maps now extant make the relative loca- 
tions of various points in the North- West easily comprehensible to anybody 
who cares to study them, 1 found men in Winnipeg, who were ready to give 
me all sorts of advice and instructions regarding my intended trip, who had 
not the faintest conception as to the identity of localities anywhere beyond 
Fort Ellice. Now, in renlity, a traveller going into the North- West by way 
of Winnipeg, whether . e considers the (juestion of time, expense, or fatigue, 
will find that he is only on the threshold of his journey when he reaches 
Winnipeg, and has not fairly commenced his trip across the plains until ho 
is beyond Fort Ellice. 

THE SOIL AS A WHOLE. 



Those who have read the instalments of my journal that have already been 
published will come to the conclusion that my views as to the proportion of 



244 



MANITOBA AND 



r\ 



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I 

I' 



'N, 



good agricultural land in the North- West Territory are quite as favourable, 
or, I may say, sanguine, as those of anyone who has travelled over the same 
ground and published his impressions ; and now, considering the country 
through which I have travelled as a whole, I have nothing to retract regard- 
ing the excellence of the soil or its adaptability for settlement by farmers and 
stock-raisers. From Winnipeg to Fort Ellice I saw very little land that 
would not be rated good agricultural country in any part of Ontario. True 
there were some tracts that would require drainage, and I belie »- there are 
some places where drainage might be difficult, especially where the water is 
backed up from Lake Manitoba, so that the lowering of that lake would be 
the only means of aflfording relief ; but, taking this whole stretch of country 
into consideration, the proportion of good agricultural land is vastly higher 
than any corresponding stretch that I know of, either in Ontario or Quebec. 
Fi^ui Fort Ellice to Qu'Appelle, a distance of about 1.50 miles, there is very 
little but excellent land to be seen. The first ten miles west of Ellice is, per- 
haps, about the poorest region that the traveller has thus far met with on 
his westward course from Winnipeg, and it consists of a broad stretch of bar- 
ren sandy plain, where the vegetation is very scanty. Beyond this comes a 
strip of three or four miles of stony muskeg, which, though it might be made 
iiaef 111 in almost any part of Ontario, is rated as " desert " here. Then comes 
some eighty or ninety miles of magnificent prairie land, broken here and 
there by sloughs or lakelets, but, upon the whole, very desirable for agricul- 
tural purposes. Blufifs of timber are scattered along the trail, although for 
about twenty miles in one place there intervenes a stretch of treeless prairies. 
There is plenty of timber in sight to the northward, however, all along these 
plains, and I do not think there is a quarter jection along the whole of this 
eighty or ninety miles that would not afford an excellent living to any indus- 
trious farmer. About thirty or thirty-five miles from Qu'Appelle Post the 
trail leads down into the vrJley of the Qu'Appelle Rivet, which I have already 
described as one of the most charming spots in the North- West. ;'«" along 
this valley, which is, perhaps, two miles wide, the trail leads thro'.igh a re- 
gion that is not only picturesquely beautiful, but admirably adapted for agri- 
culture. From Qu'Appelle the trail strikes northward to Touchwood Hills, 
and for the intervening fifty miles the country is all that could be wished for 
by industrious and thrifty settlers. In Touchwood Hills, as I have already 
explained, it would be difficult to farm on a very large scale, but for settlers 
of moderate means, who would be content to work fields of from two and a 
half to ten acres in size, the opening oS'ored by this locality is an exception- 
ally good one. There is plenty of tim])er, and I think that e\ ary quarter- 
section would aft'ord, on an average, 140 or 145 acres of good agriculturp.l 
land, or, if it fell short of that figure, such shortcoming would, in all proba- 
bility, be more than made up by one of those hay marshes that invariably 
prove invaluable to a sett'n l)efore ho has had time to establish meadows in 
the regular way. In this omnection I would like to correct an error into 
which some Canadian farm^^rs full re;^'ardiiig prairie land. Many of them ap- 
pear to imagine that in o'ctting a prairie farm they can cut all the hay they 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



245 



1W8 in 
' into 
map- 
they 



want on any portion of it. This, however, is a mistake, and a inischievous 
one. As a rule, the prairie land in the North- West, though ad'i Tiling excel- 
lent forage, will, in its natural state, not yield grass enough to the acre to 
pay for mowing. The most of the hay obtained there is cut upon low-lying 
flats or marshes that are usually too wet to be used fctr grain-growing. 

West of Touchwood Hills comes the great salt plain, which is said to be 
thirty-five miles in width from its eastern to its western boundary. Though this 
belt of treeless prairie is called " salt," I am inclined to think there is very 
little salt in its composition. Nearly all the sloughs to be found in it are 
strongly impregnated with alkali, and what little growth of shrubbery there 
is upon it is not sufficient to afford .^shelter or firewood for camping purposes. 
It is therefore something of a bugbear to the freighters either in winter or 
summer, but otherwise it is very far from being the miserable desert that 
one would suppose it to be on hearing its name. It is probable there are 
portions of it which would be difficult to drain, but I think the most of it 
could, with comparatively little labour, be converted into excellent grain- 
growing territory, and whether it could or not I am very certain that the 
whole plain would make an excellent summer ra' e for cattle. I have been 
told by those who have experimented in this region that some of the strongest 
alkali lands that have been found in the North- West have lost their alkaline 
characteristics with two years' cropping, and if this be the case I fail to un- 
derstand why the salt plains should be any more uninviting than any other 
portion of the North- West where the soil is rich, the surface water undrink- 
able, and timber scarce. 

West of salt plain is a belt of light timber, broken with little patches of 
prairie, and here and there a small creek or slough. 'This belt is about twenty- 
five miles wide, or perhaps a little more, and in the western edge of it is the 
telegraph station, Humboldt. Farming has never been tried here to a suffi- 
cient extent to afford any guarantee as to the character of the country. I 
have been told, however, that during the past season potatoes failed to ripen. 
I know that the summer of 1881 has been an unfavourable one throughout 
the North- West, but it is quite possible that this particular spot, which ap- 
pears to be very low-lying as compared with the surrounding country, is 
subject to such low temperatures in summer and early autumn as to make it 
an undesirable locality for the settler. 



i 



24G 



MAxS'lTOBA AND 



CHAPTER XLVI. 



N^ 



i I ! 



FUKiHER RESUME OF THE JOURNEY- A. GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE SOIL THROUGHOUT 

THE NORTH-WEST TERRITORIES. 

West of Humboldt the prairie in the immediate vicinity of tlio trail is 
almost treelc8° for about twenty-five miles. To the northward bluffs of con- 
siderable magnitude are visible, but to the south as far as the eye can reach 
there is scarcely a clunip of any size to be seen. Indeed, this twenty-five 
mile plain communicates directly with^ and is a part of, the great treeless 
belt of -vhat is termed ' ' true prairie " to the south. All along this portion 
of the road there are hills, valleys, marshes, and plateaus. Here and there 
is a gravelly hill, and occasionally a slough of such depth and magnitude as 
Avould perhaps preclude Jhe possibility of satisfactory draining except at a 
large expense, but I should say *hp,t more than 95 per cent, of the land in 
this twenty-five mile belt is qnile fit loi- agriculture. Beyond this, again, 
comes a beautiful semi-wooded region^ where the timber ia considerably 
heavier than that ordinarily found in prairie bluffs, and while the country is 
not suf^l'^isntly iimbered for woodland, the groves and strips of bush are too 
numerou.? and too large in extent to be characterized as prairie bluflFs. This 
region I have heard called " Little Turtla Mountain," or " The Little Turtle 
Mounts iiis." The hills are scarcely of sufficient magnitude to deserve the 
name of mountains, and would not receive that appellative anywhere except 
in a prairie country. This region, though apparently entirely without settlers 
iust now, will some time or another become a favourite spot. There is 
plenty of timber, very rich soil, the land appears to be fairly watered, thouyh 
very little of it would require anything in the way of artificial drainage. As 
in Touchwood Hills, there are no great plains here where farmers could plough 
furrows a mile or a mile and a half in length, but the plateaus, hillsides and 
valleys are broader and longer than those in Touchwood Hills, and certainly 

lie land is not sufficiently broken to prove undasirable for farming on any 
but the most gigantic scale. This hilly region extends for some thirty miles, 
and includes in it some alkaline lakes, among which may be mentioned Big 
Salt Lake, which, with its surroundings, constitutes one of the most romantic 
bits of scenery to be met with between Winnipeg and the South Saskat- 
chewan. Some six or seven miles before the traveller reaches Gabriel Du- 
mont's Crossing on the South Saskatchewan he strikes a belt of sandy suil, 
which extends the rest of the way to the river. There is plenty of timber 
here, and the soil, though light, would, I think, prove very productive in the 
hands of a competent farmer ; but as I have before intimateu the half-breeds 
and many of the white settlers in this country are inclined to condemn land, 

unless it can be cropped year after year, and generatioi. after generation, 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



247 



This 
e Turtle 
jrve the 
except 
settlers 
'here is 
thoui^h 
ige. As 
plough 
ides and 
lertainly 
on any 
ty miles, 
ned Big 
•omantic 
Saskat- 
riel Du- 
idy soil, 
f timber 
e in the 
f-breeds 
n land, 
icration, 



with good results, even though it has not been treated witii a single pound 
of manure. This brings the reader to the South Saskatchewan, and before 
going further I would stop to correct what must be an erroneous impression 
that has become very prevalent regarding both branches of the Saskatchewan. 
Again and again I have been questioned as to what was the character of the 
country in the valley of the Saskatchewan. So far as the valley of the Soatli 
Saskatchewan goes, very little can be said of it. This stream v.'inds through 
an immense tract of prairie country, and by means of small branches and 
coulies, which flow down deep ravines, it drains an immense area, but the 
valley of the stream proper is not more than about one hundred yards wide 
on either side of high-water mark. It is as though a river ran through an 
immense winding canal. The high grassy plateau runs up so close to the river's 
edge that in places it almost overhangs the water. In many places along thu 
Saskatchewan one might drive till he was within half a mile of the great 
river, and still not mistrust its proximity. So far as the North Saskatchewan 
is concerred, a'most the same thing applies to it. It has a little more of a 
valley, and its bottom lands are rather more heavily timbered, and in places, 
the north shore especially, slopes down toward the river ; but for all this it 
is of much the same character as that which distinguishes its great namesake 
that comes up from the treeless plains of the south. To speak of the Valley 
of the Saskatchewan, and in so doing refer to the country drained by the 
braijches north and south of the great Saskatchewan, which ultimately falls 
into Lake Winnipeg, would be to refer to nearly the whole of the North- 
Western Territory, or at all events, to what constitutes the most valuable 
portion of it. The North Saskatchewan, rising in the mountains away 
west of Edmonton, forms almost the northern limit of that portion of the 
North- West Territory about which anything is very definitely known, and its 
southern branches, the most important perhaps being the Battle River, 
drain a belt of country nearly 100 miles to the south of it. On the other 
hand, the South Saskatchewan, with its many tributaries, direct and indirect, 
drains almost the whole of the southern and western portion of the Territory. 
Red Deer River, which leaves the mountain region only a short distance south 
of Battle River, and some other tributaries of the North Saskatchewan, falls 
into the great south branch. South of this again the Bow River, the Elbow, 
Fish Creek, Pine Creek, Sheep Creek,, Tongue Creek, High River, Willow 
Creek, the Old Man's River, with its numerous forks, Pincher Creek, and in 
fact all the streams Howing out of that broad belt of magnificent land, bounded 
by Red Deer River on the north and Belly River on the south, ultimately find 
their way eastward through the great south branch of the Saskatchewan. An 
air line, drawn from the point where the Calgary and Edmonton trail crosses 
Red Deer River to the point where the McLeod aud Benton trail crosses 
Belly River, w d be over 200 miles in length, and yet anch a line would 
come considerably short of spanning the area drained by the South Saskat- 
chewan on the fifth principal meridian alone. It will thus be seen that the 
term 1 have alluded to, " The valley of the Saskatchewan," is rather voo com- 



248 



MANITOBA AND 



\ I 

, e 

, t 

V 

¥ 

5-; 

!■ 

W t 

*■ *, 

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1 

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Hi 



prehensive and indefinite to be held iia referring to any particular section of 
the North- West. 

On the west bank of the South Saskatchewan there is another narrow strip 
of sandy loam, but it is scarcely as wide as that on the east side, and settlers 
in the immediate vicinity of the river api;>uar to be doing well. Settlers' 
houses are to be observed all the way to Duck Lake, a distance cf some ten 
miles or more. The land is level, fairly timbered, and when I passed through 
in the summen the crops were looking extremely well. From Duck Lake to 
Carletcm, a distance of twelve miles, the country is also partially settled. Its 
characteristics are essentially the same as those observable between Duck 
Lake and Dumont's crossing. Carleton is situated on the North Saskatche- 
wan, and is, I think, stirrounded on every side by thoroughly good agricul- 
tural land. One of the most favoured settlements in this region, however, is 
40 miles north- west of Carleton by the river. I refer to Prince Albert. The 
whole of the settlements in this region, including Duck Lake, Carleton, antl 
the village of Prince Albert and scattering settlements in different directions 
are generally known to the outside world as " Prince Albert." This is one 
of the largest settlements in the North-West, and perhaps as well known to 
the outside world as any other, althoigh, perhaps, not so highly praised as 
Edmonton. The soil here is a rich, black loam, of a character well calculated 
to be inexhaustible in fertility, but I am inclined to think that had Prince 
Albert not been favoured with a much better class of settlers than those 
usually found in the North- West, it would never have attained to its present 
standing. The farmers here are industrious, energetic, and as a rule before- 
hand with their work. They know that they are liable to be visited with 
eax'ly frosts, and they are nearly always on the lookout and ready for them. 
Fall ploughing is practised to a very great extent, and the seed is put in the 
ground at the earliest possible moment. By careful management and hard 
work the farmers here have won for their settlement a reputation of which 
they are justly proud, but I am well convinced that had the land here fallen 
to any but first-class settlers the place would have been condemned on account 
of its climate. In addition to being very far north (some 600 miles or more 
farther north than Toronto), it has immense stretches of muskegs, swamps, 
and low-lying flats away to the east of it, and below the junction of the North 
and South Saskatchewans. 

The temperature falls very low here in winter. I am told that in the vil- 
lage of Prince Albert, last winter, a spirit tnermometer which only registered 
60° below zero stood at its limit for some days, and that the temperature 
went down to that jjoint on more than one occasion. 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



249 



CHAPTER XLVIT. 



THE TRAIL FROM CARLETON TO BATTLEFORD— THE CUMATE OF THE NORTH-WEST - THE BOW 
RIVER DISTRICT ADAPTED FOR CATTLE RANCHING— PROBABLE VALUABLE GRAZING 
DISTRICT— RICH SOIL IN THE VICINITY OF EDMONTON -A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE 
COLD IN WINTER. 



? 



The trail from Carlton to Battleford follows close along tho south bank of 
the North Saskatchewan. The distance between tlie two poik» t is estimated 
to be 110 miles by the shortest route. Seventy or eighty miles of the road 
traverses fine, upland prairies, the soil being good, and possessed of all the 
natural advantages incident to that sort of country, affording as it does al- 
most illimitable stretches for gigantic fields, and requiring little or nothing 
in the way of artificial drainage. Between thirty and forty miles from Bat- 
tleford the Eagle Hills are reached, and here, though the land is, of course, 
more broken, it is exceedingly rich in quality, and some few settlers who 
have already taken up land in this district are having marvellously good crops 
and absolutely certain harvests. The E;igl»»^4ill3 may be said to extend all 
the way to Battleford. 

As I have already had a good deal to say about the capital of the North- 
West Territories, it will not be necessary to add much here ; its location is 
admirable, both from an agricultural and a commercial point of view. Being 
at the junction of the Battle River with the North Saskatchewan, it has faci- 
lities for navigation north-west, south -westj and eastward, and, besides this, 
a country lying to the south of it through which heavy -freight waggons could 
be run with perfect safety all the way to Calgary and McLeod if necessary. 
In no part of the North- West did I see better growing crops when I was on 
my way westward, and in no part, either of the North- West or Manitoba, 
did I find the farmers better satisfied with the results of their season's work 
than I did here on my return. The soil is not so heavy as that of Edmonton 
or Prince Albert proper, bat this rich sandy loam that is to be found every- 
where about Battleford is, I am convinced, in the long run, as profitable soil 
for the agriculturist, taking one year with another, as can be found anywhere 
on the continent. This autumn excellent harvests were taken off fields that 
had been cropped continuously without manuring for five years. Here I 
found no disposition on the part even of the most sanguine settlers to apolo- 
gize for any shortcoming owing to a backward summer and early frosts, thou^ 
several of the settlers who had been tardy about gathering their potatoes suf- 
fered from the early advent of winter weather. From all that I can learn I 
think that, as a rule, the winters are less severe at Battleford than in any 
other of the northern settlements in the Territory. From its location, it can- 
not, in the very nature of things, be subject to the visitations of blizzards or 
that intense degree of cold that characterizes more low-lying localities, and 



250 



MANITOBA AND 



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to " 
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especially those in the neighbourhood of extensive muskegs or marshy flats. 
I have no hesitation whatever in saying that there is no settlement in the 
North- West possessed, all in all, of natural advantages equal to those of Bat- 
tleford. Whether the main line of the Canada Pacific Railway is destined 
ever to reach Battleford or not, 1 am unable to say ; but that Battleford will, 
in a comparatively short time, have railway communication with the outer 
world, I have not the slightest doubt. 

South-west of Battleford the trail made by the Governor-General and his 
party en route to Calgaiy led for the most part through treeless prairie. For 
by far the greater part of the distance between Bat'.leford and Red Deer 
River the country traversed was composed of good ^)roductive soil, but of 
course the absence of timber will for many years operate as a bar to its settle- 
ment. In speaking of this region it is generally described as "The Plains," 
.-xnd for that reason very many suppose that it is one broad level atretch, 
with no more undulation than a billiard table. This is a very great mistake. 
There are b'*oad plateaus stretching a very considerable distance; there are 
wide deep valleys and successions of great ridges that lie from two to three 
miles apart, and look not unlike giant waves. The growth of grass 'n this 
region is, as a rule, strong and vigorous. Bufl'alo grass is met with long 
before Red Deer River is reached, and it is found in abundance nearly all 
the way to Calgary. Some day~ln the not far distpnt future I imagine that 
a great portion of this laud will become valuable as a grazing region There 
are deep coolies extending aloiig fur man}' miles ". I almost every direction, 
Avhich would furnish good winter ranges for thousands of cattle and horses, 
and there are numerous sloughs and marshes where large (luantitiea of hay 
can be cut and gathered at a very moderate expense ; and in short, with the 
single drawback that good pure water is not everywhere readily found, the 
region is in every way well adapted for a grazing country. Whether or not 
the lack of running water could be met by artesian wells is rs yet, I suppose, 
an unsolved problem ; but even were this question to be an^ vered in the 
negative, there would still remain territory sufticient for the suf^tenance of 
millions of cattle adjacent to Red Door River, Bow River, and numerous 
other creeks and rivers to the south of them. 

On reaching Calgary the traveller is in the very heart of the grazing country, 
and all the way south to Fort McLeod 'lo sees little but the richest of 
black loam wherever the ground is broken. Indeed it is doubtful if a 100- 
niile stretch of better soil can bo found anywhere in the Territory than that 
lying along the trail between Calgary and McLeod. Of course its value as 
a grain-growing region must for the present bo slightly problematical. Tlio 
ranchomen who have brought in inuaenso herds of catt'o are of course very 
anxious to discourage the sottloment of the country, which would in time 
have the etloct of compelling them to h)ok nut ranges furtlior from the timber, 
but John Glenn, Livingston, McFarlano, Washtor, and other faruiors settled 
in the very heart nf the cattle ranching country are growing rich oil' their 
farms in spite of all tlio " lions in the path " that the cattle ranchomen have 
conjured up. On the other Jiand, however, I think that tho settlor in pick- 



II 



THE NORTH- W^:: 



251 



•shy flats, 
mt in the 
se of Bat- 
j destined 
eford will, 
the outer 

al and his 
irie. For 
Red Deer 
ail, but of 
) its settle - 
le Plains," 
el atretch, 
at mistake. 
; there are 

to three 
:as8 'n this 
, with long 

1 nearly all 
lagine thsit 
oj There 

direction, 
md horses, 
ties of hay 
:t, with the 
found, the 
ither or n(jt 
;, I suppose, 
ered in the 
f^tenanco of 

I numerous 

ing country, 
richest of 
ul if a 100- 
y than that 
its value as 
atical. Tho 
course very 
)uld in time 

II tho timber, 
[•mors settled 
ich oil" their 
homen have 
tier in pick- 



ing out a grain farm so close to the mountains runs some little risk of casting 
his lot in one of the many little narrow belts through which summer frosts 
occasionally wander down from the mountains. 

That the Bow River country is admirably adapted for cattle ranching I do 
not think there is any reasonable room for doubt, but I think it c^uite pos- 
sible that there may be an outcry against it next season. It is more than 
possible that a great many of the animals that have been brought in and put 
upon the Cochrane ranche will die before spring. I saw a large herd of cattle 
ill route to this range very late in September after there had been two o:' 
three light snow falls. The absurdity of such management as this is too ap- 
parent to require pointing out, as everyone who knows anything of catth> 
TP.rching knows that every animal should become acclimated and accustomed 
to its new range while the weather is pleasant and the grass abundant every- 
where; but in this case the folly consisted not merely in taking the cattle 
to a new range very late in the season, but also in giving them a long, and 
fatifmng journey from the grazing lands of Montana at a time when they 
could not by any possibility have time to recruit again before- the advent of 
cold weather. In addition to all this, I am told that in this ranche very 
little hay was put up during the summer, and not by any means enough to 
meet the probable wants of the establishment during the coming winter. 
If this should bo the case, it will probably prove another potentcause of loss. 
It will be understood that so far as the bulk of their hei'ds arc concerned, 
ranchemen do not count on feeding them a spear of hay winter or suumier, 
but at the same time it is very evident that in every large herd of cattle there 
must be many cases in which the feeding of a few forkfuls of hay may in the 
winter save the life of what will be a valuable animal by the opening of tlie 
following summer. In order to meet such cases it is desirable that a very 
ci.nsiderablo quantity of hay should bo put up every season, or 
at all events that an abundance should be stored about tho ranche, 
whether the product of the current, or of any former season. It is ({uito pos- 
sible that a large herd of cattle might winter safely with only a very few tons 
of hay in store fiu- emergencies, but oases of sickness are very apt to arise in 
sutKeient numbers to necessitate the feeding of no inconsiderable amount. 
Ik^sidoB this, in a region that has been so iuiperfectly explored as the liow 
River country, and whero the winters are so little understood, it is just pos- 
sible that a rancheman might find his cattle occasionally sutforing from a pro- 
longed absence of the higiiiy-prized Chinook winds. While such a misfortune 
is hardly looked for by the ranchenion, I do not think it is wise to wholly ign< )re 
the possibility of its occurrence. It must bo reinoinberod that, unlike horses, 
cattle cainiot paw fur a living, and if tho winds do not cwoop tho hillsides 
bare they arc sure to have a hard time of it. 

In common with others who have visited this locality, I expect that, ore 
long, cattle ranching will become a very important industry hero, but at the 
siiine time I have not tho slightest doubt than an intoUigontly-coiulucted 
horse-rancho would prove a nnich safer and ei|ually prolitablo inveslmont. 
As I have already given my reasons for this opinion, and as in a previuus 



252 



MANITOBA AND 



b 
3-. 

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letter I fully described what I thought to bo the best system on which to 
establish and conduct a horse-ranche, it is not necessary for me to add any- 
thing just now, farther than that a more protracted and intimate acquaint- 
ance, not only with the ponies, but with the climate, of the North- West, 
has only served to confirm me in the opinions to which I then committed 
myself. 

South and west of McLeod as far as Pincher Creek and the Crow's Nest 
Pass, which were the limits of my journey in that direction, there is very 
little but thoroughly good agricultural and grazing land to be seen. The 
soil in some of the river and creek bottoms appears to be occasionally light 
and gravelly, as though the alluvial deposits had been washed out by fresh- 
its, but in the main, both uplands and bottom lands in this region are rich 
and productive, and the only factor that makes the value of the country as a 
r^rain-growing regi(m problematical is the question of summer frosts. I think 
however, that the belts in which these visitations occur, though they may be 
frecjuont, are very circumscribed in area, and that a large portion of this rich 
country lying close to the base of the Rocky Mountains will bo found to be 
admirably suited to the production of wheat and coarse grains. 

Commencing now with my return journey, which, after leaving the back 
track, began at Calgary, the first 100 miles, or at all events the fi t 80 or ?•(> 
miles on the Calgary and Edmonton trail appear to be as fine cattle ranch- 
ing country as has been seen anywhere in the Territory. 1 think, too, that 
the belt of grazing land here is very broad, extending probably all the way 
from the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains, and out along nearly the whole 
course of Red Doer River. At the point where this trail crosses Red Deer 
River, however, and in fact some fifteen or twenty miles to the south of it, 
tlie prairie is too much overgrown with weeds and fine brush to bo considered 
a good grazing region, but the soil is remarkably rich, free from all objec- 
tionable properties, easily drained, and in all respects desirable for agricul. 
tnral purposes, and this may bo said of it north of the Red Deer up as far as 
Rattle River. In this wholo region, that is from a point about twenty miles 
Houtli of tlie crossing of Rod Deer River up to Rattle River, there is a fair 
Hiipply of timber, including besides tho ever-present white poplar and grey 
willow, a considerable quantity of cotton-wood, a fair sprinkling of spruce, 
and here and there a fow sticks of white birch. 

From tho crossing of IJattle River all the way to tho North Saskatchewan 
at Edmonton the country is much to(< wot and low-lying, to be at all desir- 
able unless it could be very extensively drained. In this region I saw more 
waste territory than on all the rest of my journey from Winnipeg to tho 
Rocky Mountains and back. It may bo described, indeed, as one monstrous 
HWitnip of very rich black loam, and a fow ridges of fairly-drained soil traver- 
sing it from east to west. Tho last of those ridges striker tho trail about 
four miles south of Edmonton and its width extends all tho way to the river 
bank opposite tho village. 

About the Village of Edmonton, on tho north shore of the Saskatchewan, 
and west of it nine miles to the Catholic Mission at St. Albert, and I believe 



THE NORTH-WEST. 



253 



for a very considerable distance to the north and east, there is exceptionally 
rich land, which, in years past, has proved very productive, yielding indeed 
phenomenal crops; but last year and this year, owing to a cold, wet summer 
and an early winter, the crops have fallen fully fifty per cent, below the 
standard fixed for them by preceding years. Whether this objectionable cli- 
mate is normal or expectional remains a problem to be solved ; but, taking 
into consideration the fact that Edmonton is a very long way north, that it 
is in rather close proximity to the mountains, and that to the south, south- 
east and north-west of it there are extensive low-lying flats and muskegs, I 
am inclined to think that the climate here is very much worse than it was 
8upp6sed to be a year or two ago. As it is at present located, Edmonton is 
almost unapproachable during the summer months, except by steamer, and as 
the steamers have only been making very few trips every season, the reader 
can imagine how thoroughly isolated its inhabitants are. Freight by steamer 
from Winnipeg to this point is about six cents a pound, by carts it is nine 
and ten cents ner pound, and I fancy that with the excessively bad roads of 
the past season many of the freighters have more than earned their charges. 

In travelling east from Edmonton along the broad tongue of land lying be- 
tween Battle River and the North Saskatchewan the traveller gradually 
finds himself getting into a better region, and after fifty miles have been 
traversed he reaches a fine prairie country, moderately supplied with white 
poplar, Cottonwood and grey willow, and having an exceedingly rich soil, not 
much damaged by sloughs and marshes. This sort of country, with some 
slight variations, continues all the way to Battleford, and taken all in all it 
would be difficult to find a better area of agricultural land of similar dimen- 
sions in any region that 1 have ever visited, be it in the North- West or else- 
where . What is said to be one of the finest settlements is now being estab* 
lished on Battle River, about 150 miles up that stream from Battleford. I 
was \mable to visit the spot, but from what I have heard I am inclined to 
think it is this point that is fast finding favour in the eyes of settlers. Indeed, 
from all I can learn, I am led to believe that Battle River, for the last 200 
miles of its course, drains a magnificent section of choice agricultural land. 

This brings my rennmi of the whole journey back to the point where the 
<5ountry traversed on the westward journey is reached, and though my home- 
ward course was not identical with that taken by His Excellency when 
travelling in the opposite direction, the trails wore not far enough apart to 
make any very notable difference in the character of the country. 

The climate of the North- West has long boon tho subject of much discus- 
aion ; and with all duo respect to those whoso views of it ditfor very widely 
from my own, I cannot help thinking that some very absurd and niisloading 
falsehoods have boon published in this connection. 1 have hoard people 'iny 
that one would not sutfor any more with tho cold in Winnipog whon the Mer- 
cury stood at forty-five degrees below zero than ho would in Ontario with the 
mercury ^i zero. Now I know from experience that this is about as silly 
nonsense as anyone over listened to. In different portions of Ontario and 
•Quebec I have on several occasions experienced temperatures ranging from 



254 



MANITOBA AND 



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thirty to forty degrees below zero, and I am bound to say that on my home- 
ward journey from Edmonton I foimd corresponding temperature in the 
North-West Territory, Manitoba and Winnipeg just as disagreeable as I ever 
considered them in Ontario or Quebec. In Winnipeg, especially in the be- 
ginning of December, with the temperature less than thirty below zero, I not 
only found the cold remarkably penetrating, but the atmosphere out of tloors 
almost \mbreathable. Though in comparatively good health and never hav- 
ing had anything like trouble with my lungs, I was invariably seized with a 
violent fit of coughing whenever 1 stepped out of doors, and indeed so irri- 
tated did my throat become that it did not quite ecover till some days after 
my return to Ontario. From remarks that I heard made about Winnipeg 
and Manitoba, I had always supposed, previous to visiting that region, that 
it would be a capital place for people suffering from affections of the throat 
and lungs. I have heard lecturers say that Manitoba had an " atmosphere 
of crystal," and that though the temperature was often low the air was so 
pure and dry that it would not injure the most delicate of respiratory organs. 
I have no hesitation in characterizing this as arrant trash. No one has more 
confidence in Uie grand future in store for the North- West than I have, but 
that is no reason why I should tell mischievous falsehoods about it. Though 
I do not pretend to any extraordinary knowledge of hygiene, I have no hesi- 
tation in saying that it would be almost suicidal for a consumptive to visit 
AVinnipeg in winter. Owing to the extensive stretches of aguish marshes 
that are in close proximity to the city, a short residence there in the summer 
might prove a beneficial, or at all events a harmless, change of air for an in- 
valid, but from any other point of view this Canadian " Cliicago " (in smells 
as well as in business activity) would cut but a sorry figure as a resort for in- 
valids. Calgary, nestling as it doos in the very shadow of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, has proved itself an excelleut place for people having lungs that wore 
weak or ailing. Indeed Dr. Sew?ll, who accompanied Lord Lome, was very 
much impressed with the climatic advantages aft'orded by Calgary, McLood, 
and other points in close proximity to the mountains ; but the reader must 
remember that a belt of country about 1,0(J0 miles or more wide intervenes 
between Calgary and Winnipeg. 



.i M' 






THE NORTH-WEST. 



255 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 



HOW TO VISIT THE NORTH-WEST— INFORMATION FOR INTENDING SETTLERS, 



Before closing this resume, I may be excused for offering a few suggestions 
to those who desire to see the most imp> 'iant points in the North-West, 
with as small an expenditure of time, money, and physical discomfort as 
possible. If one desires to make only a brief excursion, covering pei-haps, 
only five or six weeks from the date of leaving Ontario, of course he will go 
by way of Winnipeg ; but in doing so, he will do well to outfit completely in 
Ontario, and when he has done with his outfit sell it. For example, should 
he desire to visit Qu'Appelle, Touchwood Hills, and Prince Albert, he should 
provide himself with two or four large mares, sound and active, a light lumber 
waggon (with cover), and a set of good work harness. When ho reaches the 
end of his jo'irney (Prince Albert) his mares will sell for a handsome advance 
on what they cost him, and if he has taken good care of his waggon and har- 
ness (and can satisfy intending purchasers that he did not buy them in Win- 
nipeg) he will lose but little on them. He is then on the bank of the North 
Saskatchewan, and can take passage to Selkirk by steamer, and thence 
home by rail. If, however, the traveller desires to see the whole Territory, 
ur at all events to cross the prairie lying between the base of the Rocky 
^fountains and Red River, he should ship a good pair of Canadian horses 
and a light waggon (in bond) from Sarnia to Uisinarck by rail, and thence by 
steamer up the Missouri to Fort Benton, whence he will drive to Fort McLeoil 
•jverland. Once at Fort McLeod ho is sure of a good price for his team of 
Canadian horses, especially if they are largo and stylish ; and bavin;,' sold 
thom lie can buy excellent ponies at very moderate prices. In fact it is almost 
impossible to pick up good ponies about Winnipeg, or anywhere between 
there and Qu'Appelle, at any price, and the prices asked for such as they 
are range during the summer months from 875 to $100 ; while at Mcliood, 
Calgary, or Blackfoot Crossing, vastly bettor ponies are always to bo 
had, at from $^0 to ^5. Regarding the difference in the character of the 
ponies, I would have no hesitation in saying that the kyuses to be pur- 
chased in the West would bo cheaper at .^ 1 00 than tlio average Rod River 
ponies would be at .945. Regarding the waggon to be used, I should 
IiHve some little doubts as to what should bo recommended. Hitlierto the 
luickboard has lieon more popvilar tlian any other stylo of light waggon, but 
there are serious objections to it. It is rather low for fording stroan.s, and 
whore the bolster rests on the bod of the axle, it gives an ugly and constant 
jar to one's foot, that becomes very unpleasant. Bosidcb this, ''e want of 
elasticity makes a buckboard more apt to break and wear itself o\it (especially 
ou a new trail), and in addition to all this, a buckboard that has any spring 



25Q 



MANITOBA AND 



i 

5-.; 

I'! 



4 



at all in the bars, ia so long ^'n the gearing that it is sine to drar heavily. On 
the other hand, the backboard combines strength and litr^tness to a remark- 
able extent, and as the cent/e of gravity is very lo", it is almost impossible 
to upset it. I will now endeavour to describe as nearly as I can the sort of 
waggon that I think most suitable for a trip through the North- West. The 
forward wheels should be as large as the hind wheels of an ordinary buggy, 
and the hiud wheels only a trifle larger. The felloes should be shallow, but 
very wide, and covered with a steel tire three inches in width. The kingbolt 
should be fully double the strength of an ordinary one, and the axles and 
arms should be extra strong. Instead of a circle for the forward gearing, it 
should be provided with hounds such as are used in common lumber waggons. 
The reach should be short, and to counterbalance this, the box should be 
made deep enough to afford space for stowage. Thorough brace springs 
would, I think, be better than any others for this purpose ; some modification 
of the long elliptical end spring might be made to answer the purpose. The 
boxes and arms should be of the best quality and finish, and they should have 
plenty of play. The wheels should be rather more " dished" than ordinary 
ones, so that they will not turn wrong-side out, nor spring at the spoke 
shoulders when the waggon lurches from side to side, as it is apt to do very 
violently vhen the trail is honeycombed by badger holes. An efficient brake 
is almost indispensable. 

The harness should be stron<?, made with large well-padded hames, collars, 
and breeching, with no back-bands, or "saddles" as they are sometimes 
called. 

There should not be less than four ponies for one waggon ; the traveller 
will find it to his advantage to take with iiikii as large a herd as practicable, 
as the more frequently ho changes, the longer his animals will last. Should 
he start, for example, with twelve ponies, each pair will run light for four 
hitches for every one that they work, -and this will allow him two saddle 
ponies with which to do his herding. Worked in this way his ponies would 
gain in flesh in crossing the prairies, and he would have no occasion to carry 
grain of any kind. His ponies would at the end of August, at any post about 
the easturn portion of the plains or at the end of the track, bring considerably 
more per head than they cost him, and the profit on thu herd would go a 
long way towards covering the other expenses of the journey. At that time 
he would meet with many travellers about to take short trips on the plains, 
and the few ponies to be had thereabouts would in all probability be out on 
surveys. 

As regards other portions of the outfit, of course much would depend upon 
the size of the party and the rate at which they desired to travel. The ordin- 
ary 8(iviare-end, high-walled tents of the American pattern are but pooraflairs 
on the prairie, though thoy are very useful and comfortable for camping in 
the timber. If the party is a large one, a bell tent will be found convenient, 
or, what is still better, a buffalo hide teepee (which can be bought at Fort 
Benton for some §35 or (840). In the teepee no stove is necessary, and the 
ventilation is good. A fire can bo built in the centre, and thu smoke escapes 



THE, NORTH-WEST. 



257 



at the apex of the cone- In order to be comfortable in a tent it u necessary 
to have a stove. For a small party, say three men, an A tent, with round 
ends, is the best adapted for prairie service. The walls should be very low 
and the ends well rounded, or else the first gale will tumble it down over 
the heads of the occupants. If a teepee is not used no traveller should at- 
tempt to take a long trip either in winter or summer without a smaU camp 
stove. These stoves are made of sheet iron, and with the necessary lengths 
of pipe they weigh but very little, and the extra weight is more than made 
up, so far as the question of transport is concerned, in the saving of fuel 
when the traveller is croB.mg those portions of the plains, where it is neces- 
.sary to pack wood. And then there are often heavy rainfalls followed by cool 
nights, and nothing is nore conducive to one's comfort than a stove in the 
tent under such circuni itances. Of course I need not here mention the indis- 
I)en3ables of every camping outfit, such as a liberal supply of bedding, water- 
proof sheets, waggon covers, or tarpaulins with which to protect the loads in 
tlie waggons from rainfalls or heavy dews. 

Whether a man is fond of shooting or not he should at least carry a shot 
gun with him in travelling over the prairies. Small game is so abundant 
that a very ordinary sportsman can materially lessen the quantity of rations 
necessary to carry with him by daily supplementing his supplies from the 
thousands of ducks and prairie chicken with which ho is siire to meet almost 
every day. In addition to a gun the traveller will find it desirable to have a 
good retriever dog with him, as two-thirds of the ducks he shoots are sure to 
fall in the water or marsh grass, where it is difficult to reach them. Occasi- 
onallv the traveller will have an opportunity of killing an antelope without 
leaving the trail, but unless he is disposed to spend a little time in hunting 
he will hardly find it worth his while to carry a rifle. 

CONCLUSION. 

And now, after having sjient some five months in travelling through, 
thinking of, and writing about, the North-west, it is with some hesitati<m that 
1 say good-bye to a subject ot such all-absorbing importance, and one with 
which the future history of the Dominion is so inseparably interwoven. In 
reflecting on the immense possibilities created by the opening up of such a 
vast area of fertile soil, I cannot but feel that, after all, my journal of the 
past five months has only dealt with a series of important issues in the most 
superficial manner. The future of the North- West means not merely a mat- 
tor of dollars and cents, it means not merely a matter of national greatness 
fxr the British Empire over united, or for independent Canada, or for 
Canada as a mighty annex to the [^reat Rbpublic. It means something far 
above and beyond all this. It means the peopling of that \i\nt fcttilo valley, 
that is bounded by the sullen sterile ridges of tlic Laurentides on the east, and 
the glorious glittering snow-clad peaks of the K 'cky Mountains on the west, 
with the toiling millions of the over-crowded countries of the Old World. 
It means hundreds of miles of nodding golden grain and green pastures with 
countless herds of cattle, where now the winds go pi^.^ »g over limitless 



258 






MANITOBA AN!, THE «OBTH-WEST. 



Stretches of waving witJio • 

thou arlofm ° ,'''T'° '"«"*» *« .tillnZ^ n' ''™"''"">'"5"'>'= 

tion ,,.,:; .^/"'""■'""'olaimitgown Z' if"' the teaching of 
spo he !"*' "'>>."•» «H 'he dLol'„ra^a"'2 ''*'"-*"-«■ 

"V, ..d hi.Weo ""'"trc" '"» ""'% -ot : r,n;:r r '- 



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EST. 

cheerful, happy homes 
thy tread of the prowl- 

jU, where no«r only the 
ft means relief for the 
tier in the fierce strug- 
tneans the teaching of 

"gh legalized confisca- 
te improvident to de- 
hroiigh license, anar- 
nation-but by ofier- 
all who will woik. 






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