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´╗┐Title: Bowdoin Boys in Labrador - An Account of the Bowdoin College Scientific Expedition to Labrador led by Prof. Leslie A. Lee of the Biological Department
Author: Cilley, Jonathan Prince, Jr., 1835-1920
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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An Account of the Bowdoin College Scientific Expedition to Labrador
Led by Prof. Leslie A. Lee of the Biological Department



Rockland, Maine:
Rockland Publishing Company


This letter from the President of Bowdoin College is printed as an
appropriate preface to the pages which follow.

I thank you for the advanced sheets of the "Bowdoin Boys in Labrador."
As Sallust says, "In primis arduum videtur res gestas scribere; quod
facta dictis sunt exaequanda."

In this case, the diction is equal to the deed: the clear and
vivacious style of the writer is fully up to the level of the
brilliant achievements he narrates.

The intrinsic interest of the story, and its connection with the State
and the College ought to secure for it a wide reading.

         Very truly yours,


                             ON BOARD THE "JULIA A. DECKER,"
                              Port Hawkesbury, Gut of Canso,
                                             July 6th. 1891.

Here the staunch Julia lies at anchor waiting for a change in the wind
and a break in the fog. To-day will be memorable in the annals of the
"Micmac" Indians, for Prof. Lee has spent his enforced leisure in
putting in anthropometric work among them, inducing braves, squaws and
papooses of both sexes to mount the trunk that served as a measuring
block and go through the ordeal of having their height, standing and
sitting, stretch of arms, various diameters of head and peculiarities
of the physiognomy taken down. While he with two assistants was thus
employed, two of our photographic corps were busily engaged in
preserving as many of their odd faces and costumes as possible, making
pictures of their picturesque camp on the side of a hill sloping
toward an arm of the Gut, with its round tent covered with birch and
fir bark, dogs and children, and stacks of logs or wood--from which
they make the strips for their chief products, baskets--cows, baggage
and all the other accompaniments of a comparatively permanent camp.
They go into the woods and make log huts for winter, but such
miserable quarters as these prove to be on closer inspection, with
stoves, dirt and chip floor, bedding and food in close proximity to
the six or eight inhabitants of each hut, suffice them during warm
weather. We found that they elect a chief, who holds the office for
life. The present incumbent lives near by St. Peter's Island, and is
about forty years old. They hold a grand festival in a few weeks
somewhere on the shore of Brasd'Or Lake, at which nearly every Indian
on the Island is expected, some two thousand in all, we are informed,
and after experiencing our good-fellowship at their camp and on board
they invited us one and all to come down, only cautioning us to bring
along a present of whiskey for the chief.

The Gut, in this part at least, is beautiful sailing ground, with
bold, wooded shores, varied by slight coves and valleys with little
hamlets at the shore and fishermen's boats lying off the beach. The
lower part we passed in a fog, so we are ignorant of its appearance as
though the Julia had not carried us within a hundred miles of it,
instead of having knowingly brought us past rock and shoal to this
quiet cove, under the red rays of the light on Hawkesbury Point, and
opposite Port Mulgrave, with which Hawkesbury is connected by a little
two-sailed, double-ended ferry-boat built on a somewhat famous model.
It seems that a boat builder of this place, who, by the way, launched
a pretty little yacht to-day, sent a fishing boat, whose model and rig
was the product of many years' experience as a fisherman, to the
London Fisheries' Exhibit of a few years past, and received first
medal from among seven thousand five hundred competitors. The Prince
of Wales was so pleased with the boat, which was exhibited under full
sail with a wax fisherman at the helm, that he purchased it and has
since used it. Later, when the United States fish commission schooner
Grampus was here with the present assistant commissioner, Capt.
Collins, in command, the plans were purchased by our government on the
condition that no copies were to be made without Mr. Embree's consent.
A little later yet, a commissioner from Holland and Sweden came over,
bought the plans and built a perfect copy of the original, the
seaworthy qualities of which has caused its type to entirely displace
the old style of small fishing boats in those countries. The boat's
abilities in heavy waters have been tested many times, and have never
failed to equal her reputation.

But, meanwhile, the Julia lies quietly at anchor, as if it were
mutely reproaching your correspondent with singing another's praises
when she has brought us safely and easily thus far, in spite of gales,
fog, and headwind, calm, and treacherous tide, and even now is eagerly
waiting for the opportunity to carry us straight and swiftly to Battle
Harbor in the straits of Belle Isle, where letters and papers from
home await us, and then up through the ice fields to Cape Chudleigh.

[The Real Start] Our real start was made from Southwest Harbor, Mt.
Desert, the Monday after leaving Rockland. Saturday night, after a
short sail in the dark and a few tacks up the Thoroughfare to North
Haven village, we anchored and rested from the confusion and worry of
getting started and trying to forget nothing that would be needed in
our two and one-half months' trip. Sunday morning was nearly spent
before things were well enough stowed to allow us to get under weigh
in safety, and then our bow was turned eastward and, as we thought,
pointed for Cape Sable. Going by the hospital on Widow's Island and
the new light on Goose Rock nearly opposite it, out into Isle au Haut
bay, we found a fresh northeaster, which warned us not to go across
the Bay of Fundy if we had no desire for an awful shaking up. In view
of all the facts, such as green men, half-stowed supplies and
threatening weather, we decided that we must not put our little vessel
through her paces that night, and chose the more ignominious, but also
more comfortable course of putting into a harbor. Consequently after
plunging through the rips off Bass Head, and cutting inside the big
bell buoy off its entrance, we ran into Southwest Harbor and came to
anchor. In the evening many of the party thought it wise to improve
the last opportunity for several months, as we then supposed, to
attend church, and to one who knew the chapel-cutting proclivities of
many of our party while at Bowdoin, it would have been amusing to see
them solemnly tramp into church, rubber boots and all. It is a fact,
however, that every member of our party, with a possible exception,
went to church in this place yesterday largely for the same reason.

Our little Julia rewarded our action of the night previous by taking
us out by Mt Desert Rock at a rattling pace Monday morning, bowing
very sharply and very often to the spindle-like tower on the rock, as
she met the Bay of Fundy chop, and at the same time administered a
very effective emetic to all but five or six of the Bowdoin boys
aboard. She is wise as well as bold and strong, and so after nightfall
waited under easy canvas for light to reveal Seal Island to our
watchful eyes. Shortly after daylight the low coast was made out, the
dangerous rocks passed, and Cape Sable well on our quarter. But there
it stayed. We made but little progress for two days, and employed the
time in laying in a supply of cod, haddock and pollock, till our bait
was exhausted. Then we shot at birds, seals and porpoises whenever
they were in sight, and from the success, apparently, at many when
they were not in sight; put the finishing touches on our stowage, and
kept three of the party constantly employed with our long
bamboo-handled dip-net, in fishing up specimens for the professor and
his assistants. As the result of this we have a large number of fish
eggs which we are watching in the process of hatching, many specimens
of crustacea and of seaweed. The photographers, in the meanwhile, got
themselves into readiness for real work by practicing incessantly upon

Thursday, we made Sambro light; soon pilot boat number one hailed us
and put a man aboard, whom we neither needed nor wanted, and we were
anchored off the market steps at Halifax. The run up the harbor was
very pleasant. Bright skies, a fresh breeze off the land, and vessels
all about us made many lively marine pictures. The rather unformidable
appearing fortification, on account of which Halifax boasts herself
the most strongly fortified city of America, together with the
flag-ship Bellerophon and two other vessels of the Atlantic squadron,
the Canada and the Thrush, the latter vessel until lately having been
commanded by Prince George, gave the harbor and town a martial tone
that was heightened upon our going ashore and seeing the red coats
that throng the streets in the evening. Halifax, with its squat,
smoky, irregular streets is well known, and its numerous public
buildings, drill barracks, and well kept public gardens, all backed by
the frowning citadel, probably need no description from me. After
receiving the letters for which we came in, and sending the courteous
United States Consul General, Mr. Frye, and his vice-consul, Mr. King,
Colby '89, ashore with a series of college yells that rather startled
the sleepy old town, we laid a course down the harbor, exchanged
salutes with the steamship Caspian, and were soon ploughing along,
before a fine south-west breeze for Cape Canso.

[Ward Room of the Julia Decker] While our little vessel is driving
ahead with wind well over the quarter, groaning, as it were, at the
even greater confusion in the wardroom than when we left Rockland,
owing to the additional supplies purchased at Halifax, it may be well
to briefly describe her appearance, when fitted to carry seventeen
Bowdoin men in her hold in place of the lime and coal to which she has
been accustomed. Descending, then, the forward hatch, protected by a
plain hatch house, the visitor turns around and facing aft, looks down
the two sides of the immense centreboard box that occupies the centre
of our wardroom from floor to deck. Fastened to it are the mess
tables, nearly always lighted by some four or five great lamps, which
serve to warm as well, as the pile of stuff around and beneath the
after-hatch house cuts off most of the light that would otherwise come
down there. On the port side of the table runs the whole length of the
box; two wooden settles serve for dining chairs and leave about four
feet clear space next the "deacon's seat" that runs along in front of
the five double-tiered berths. These are canvas-bottomed, fitted with
racks, shelves, and the upper ones with slats overhead, in which to
stow our overflowing traps.

At the after end, on both sides of the wardroom, are large lockers
coming nearly to the edge of the hatch, in which most of the
provisions are stowed. At the forward end, next to the bulkhead that
separates us from the galley, are, on the port side, a completely
equipped dark room in which many excellent pictures have already been
brought to light, and on the starboard side a large rack holding our
canned goods, ketchup, lime-juice, etc. Along the bulkhead are the
fancy cracker boxes, tempting a man to take one every time he goes
below, and under the racks are our kerosene and molasses barrels.
Between the line of four double-tier berths on the starboard side and
the rack just described is a handy locker for oil clothes and heavy
overcoats. Lockers run along under the lower berths, and trunks with a
thousand other articles are stowed under the tables. A square hole cut
in the bulkhead, just over the galley head, lets heat into the
wardroom and assists the lamps in keeping us warm. As yet, in spite of
some quite cold weather, we have been perfectly comfortable.
Sometimes, however, odors come in as well as heat from the galley, and
do not prove so agreeable. If to this description, clothes of various
kinds, guns, game bags, boots, fishing tackle and books, should, by
the imagination of the reader, to be scattered about, promiscuously
hung, or laid in every conceivable nook and corner, a fair idea of our
floating house could be obtained. On deck we are nearly as badly
littered, though in more orderly fashion. Two nests of dories, a row
boat, five water tanks, a gunning float, and an exploring boat, partly
well fill the Julia's spacious decks. The other exploring boat hangs
inside the schooner's yawl at the stern. Add to these two hatch
houses, a small pile of lumber, and considerable fire wood snugly
stowed between the casks, and you have a fair idea of our anything but
clear decks. A yellow painted bust, presumably of our namesake Julia,
at the end of figure-head, peers through the fog and leads us in the
darkness; a white stripe relieves the blackness of our sides; a green
rail surmounts all; and, backed by the forms of nineteen variously
attired Bowdoin men, from professor, their tutor, alumnus, to
freshmen, complete our description.

[The Fourth of July] Meanwhile the night, clear but windless, has come
on, and we drift along the Nova Scotia coast, lying low and blue on
our northern board. The Fourth dawns rather foggy, but it soon yields
to the sun's rays and a good breeze which bowls us along toward the
Cape. An elaborate celebration of the day is planned, but only the
poem is finally rendered, due probably to increased sea which the
brisk breeze raises incapacitating several of the actors for their
assigned parts. The poem, by the late editor of '91's "BUGLE," is
worthy of preservation, but would hardly be understood unless our
whole crowd were present to indicate by their roars the good points in

At night our constant follower, the fog, shuts in, and the captain
steering off the Cape, we lay by, jumping and rolling in a northeast
sea, waiting for daylight to assist us to Cape Canso Harbor and the
Little Ant. About six next morning we form one of a fleet of five or
six sail passing the striped lighthouse on Cranberry Island, and with
a rush go through the narrow passage lined with rocks and crowded with
fishermen. Out into the fog of Chedebucto Bay we soon pass and in the
fog we remain, getting but a glimpse of the shore now and then, till
we reach Port Hawkesbury.


       *       *       *       *       *

                             ON BOARD THE "JULIA A. DECKER,"
                           OFF ST. JOHN'S BAY, NEWFOUNDLAND.

We are bowling along with a fine southwest wind, winged out, mainsail
reefed and foresail two-reefed, and shall be in the straits in about
two hours. The Julia is a flyer. Between 12 and 4 this morning we
logged just 46 knots, namely, 13.5 miles per hour for four hours. I
doubt if I ever went much faster in a sailing vessel. It is now about
10 o'clock, and we have made over 75 miles since 4.

All hands are on watch for a first glimpse of the Labrador coast,
which will probably be Cape Armours with the light on it.

I wrote last time from Hawkesbury in the Gut of Canso. We laid there
all day Monday, July 6th, as the wind, southeast in the harbor, was
judged by everybody to be northeast out in George's Bay, and
consequently dead ahead for us. Monday evening, at the invitation of
the purser, we all went down aboard the "State of Indiana," the
regular steamer of the "State Line" between Charlottetown, P.E.I., and
Boston, touching at Halifax, and in the Gut.

After going ashore we stayed on the wharf till she left, singing
college songs, giving an impromptu athletic exhibition, etc., to the
intense delight of about fifty small boys (I can't conceive where they
all came from), and the two or three hundred servant girls going home
to P.E.I. for a summer vacation.

I would put in here parenthetically, that since writing the above I
have been on deck helping jibe the mainsail, as we have changed our
course to about east by north, having rounded a couple of small low,
sandy islands off the Bay of St. John, and now point straight into the
strait of Belle Isle.

In the afternoon we examined some of the old red sandstone which
underlies all that part of Cape Breton Island, found some good
specimens, and some very plain and deep glacial scratches. There is
also some coal and a good deal of shale in with the sandstone.

We had a good opportunity to see this, since the railroad connecting
Port Hawkesbury with Sidney is new, having started running only last
March, and hence the cuts furnished admirable fields in which to
examine the geology. The road is surveyed and bed made along the Cape
Breton shore of the Gut nearly to the northern end, and when completed
will be a delightful ride. I think the Gut for 10 miles north of Port
Hawkesbury resembles the Hudson just by the Palisades. It is grander
than Eggemoggin Reach and on a far larger scale than Somes' Sound. At
the northern end it broadens and becomes just a magnificent waterway,
without the grand scenery. We were becalmed nearly all day in George's
Bay, at one time getting pretty near Antigonish, but got a breeze
towards evening. We tried fishing several times but could not get a
bite though several fishermen were in sight and trawls innumerable. We
passed one fisherman, a fine three-master, just as we were coming out
of the Gut from Frenchman's Bay, going home, but with very little

I got the captain to call me about 4, Wednesday morning, to fish, but
got none. We were then off North Cape, having had a good breeze all
night. The wind was light all day, but towards the latter part of the
afternoon commenced to blow from the southeast, kicking up a nasty sea
very soon. We double reefed the mainsail reefed the foresail and
hauled the flying jib down. About 8 P.M. we laid to with the jib
hauled down, on the starboard tack. The wind had backed to the east
about four points and was blowing a gale. About 12 M. it suddenly
dropped, a flat calm, leaving a tremendous sea running from the
southeast, combined with a smaller one from the east. Our motions,
jumps, rolls and pitches, can be better imagined than described. It
seemed at times that our bow and our stern were where the mastheads
usually are, and our rails were frequently rolled under.

Rice and Hunt stood one watch, Cary and I the second, and here Rice,
though a good sailor and an experienced yachtsman, finally succumbed.
We hauled everything down with infinite difficulty, owing to the
violent motion, and made it fast, then let her roll and pitch to her
heart's content. A sorrier looking place than our wardroom, and a
sicker set of fellows it would be hard to find. The dishes had some
play in the racks, and kept up an infernal racket that I tried in
every way to stop and could not. To cap all, the wind came off a gale
northwest about 4 A.M., and made yet another sea. As soon as possible
we set a double-reefed foresail, and then I turned in. When I turned
out at noon we had made Newfoundland and set a whole foresail, jib and
one reef out of the mainsail. We were becalmed, but found excellent
fishing, so did not care. The sea had gone down and we began to enjoy
the Norway-like rugged coast of Newfoundland. The mountains come right
down to the water, and are about 1,400 feet high, by our measurement,
using angular altitude by sextant and base line, our distance off
shore as shown by our observation for latitude and longitude.

There are many deep, narrow-mouthed coves and harbors, a good number
of islands and points making a most magnificent coast line. In many
cases 50 or 75 fathoms are found right under the shore. Great patches
of snow, miles in extent, cover the mountain sides. Great brown
patches, which the professor thinks are washings from the fine
examples of erosion, but which look to me like patches of brown grass
as we see in Penobscot Bay on the islands, vary with what is
apparently a scrubby evergreen growth and bald, bare rocks. As we are
about 18 miles off, the blue haze over all makes an enlarged,
roughened and much more deeply indented Camden mountain coast line.
The bays are in some cases so deep that we can look into narrow
entrances and see between great cliffs, only a few miles apart, a
water horizon on the other side. We wished very much to get in towards
the shore, but the calm and very strong westerly current, about 1-1/2
knots, prevented.

While enjoying the calm in pleasant contrast to our late shaking up,
it will be well to introduce the members of the party whom Bowdoin has
thought worthy to bear her name into regions seldom vexed by a college
yell, and to whom she has entrusted the high duties of scientific
investigation, in which, since the days of Professor Cleaveland, she
has kept a worthy place.

[Members of the Expedition] In command is Prof. Leslie A. Lee, of the
Biological Department of Bowdoin. With a life-long experience in all
branches of natural history, the experience which a year in charge of
the scientific staff of the U.S. Fish Commission Steamer "Albatross"
in a voyage from Washington around Cape Horn to Alaska, and an
intimate connection with the Commission of many year's standing, and
the training that scholarly habits, platform lecturing and collegic
instruction have given him, you see a man still young, for he was
graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1872, and equal to all the
fatigues that out-of-door, raw-material, scientific work demands.

The rest of the party have yet to prove their mettle, and of them but
little can now be said. Dr. Parker, who, with the Professor, captain
and mate, occupies the cabin proper, is an '86 man, cut out for a
physician and thoroughly prepared to fulfil all the functions of a
medical staff, from administering quinine to repairing broken limbs.

Cary of '87, who is even now planning for his struggle with the
difficulties on the way to the Grand Falls, has had the most
experience in work of the sort the expedition hopes to do, save the
Professor and Cole. Logging and hunting in the Maine forests in the
vicinity of his home in Machias, and fishing on the Georges from Cape
Ann smacks, have fitted him physically, as taking the highest honors
for scholarship at Bowdoin, teaching and university work in his chosen
branch, have prepared him mentally, for the great task in which he

Cole who accompanies him up Grand River, was Prof. Lee's assistant on
the "Albatross," and is well fitted by experience and by a vigorous
participation in athletics at college before his graduation in '88.

From the expedition's actual starting place, Rockland, there are four
members: Rice, the yachtsman, Simonton, Spear and the writer, all fair
specimens of college boys, and eager to get some reflection from the
credit which they hope to help the expedition to win.

Portland has two representatives: Rich, '92, and Baxter, 93, the
latter our only freshman; while Bangor sends three: Hunt, '90, Hunt,
'91, who has charge of the dredging, and Hastings the taxidermist.

W.R. Smith, another salutatorian of his class, is one of the many
Maine boys whom Massachusetts has called in to help train the youth of
our mother Commonwealth, and has been at the head of the High School
at Leicester for the past year. He, too, is thought to equal in
physical vigor his mental qualities, and has been selected to brave
the hardships of the Grand River.

To complete the detail for this exploration, Young of Brunswick and of
'92, has been selected, another athlete of the college, who has had,
in addition to his training at Bowdoin, a year or more of instruction
in the schools and gymnasiums of Germany.

Porter, Andrews, and Newbegin, the latter, the only man not from
Maine, coming from Ohio, and only to be accounted for as a member of
the expedition by the fact that his initials P.C. stand for Parker
Cleaveland, finish the list, with but one exception and that is
Lincoln. The merry-maker and star on deck and below--except when the
weather is too rough--he keeps the crowd good-natured when fogs, rain,
head winds and general discomfort tend to discontent: and on shore he
sees that the doctor is not too hard worked in making the botanical

For two days we lazily drifted, the elements seeming to be making up
for their late riot; but the weather was clear and bright, the scenery
way off to our starboard was grand, and no one was troubled by the
delay, except as the thoughts of the Grand River men turned to the
great distance and the short time of their trip. At last, however, the
breeze came, with which I opened this letter, and which we then hoped
would continue till we reached Battle Harbor.

We just flew up the straits, saw many fishermen at anchor with their
dories off at the trawls, schooners and dories both jumping in great
shape; also a school of whales and an "ovea" or whale-killer, with a
fin over three feet long sticking straight up. He also broke right
alongside and blew. Considerable excitement attended our first sight
of an iceberg; it was a rotten white one, but soon we saw a lot, some
very dark and deep-colored.

[Red Bay] Our first sight of the long-desired coast was between Belle
Armours Point and the cliffs near Red Bay, the thick haze making the
outlines very indistinct. Just two weeks out from Rockland we made our
first harbor on the Labrador coast. Red Bay is a beautiful little
place, and with the added features of two magnificent icebergs close
by which we passed in entering, the towering red cliffs on the left
from which it takes its name, and the snug little island in the
middle, and the odd houses we saw dotting the shores of the summer
settlement of the natives, it seemed a sample fully equal to our
expectations of what we should find in Labrador.

There is an inner harbor into which we could have gone, with seven
fathoms of water and in which vessels sometimes winter as it is so
secure, but we did not enter it because the captain was doubtful which
of the two entrances to take and the chart seemed indefinite on the
point. There are about one hundred and seventy-five people in the
settlement, some of them staying there the year round, fishing in the
summer and hunting the rest of the time. They have another settlement
of winter houses at the head of the inner harbor, but, for convenience
in getting at their cod traps, live on the island in the middle, and
on the sides of the outer harbor in the summer. Their houses are made
of logs about the size of small railroad ties, which are stood on end
and clapboarded. The winter houses are built in a similar way with
earth packed around and over them.

The party for Grand River--Cary, Cole, W.R. Smith and Young--have
decided to dispense with a guide; very wisely, I think, from what I
have seen of native Labradoreans. While the journey they undertake is
one in which the skill of Indians or half-breeds, familiar with
Labrador wildernesses would be of great value and would add to the
comfort of our party, it is very doubtful if any living person has
ever been to the falls or knows any more about the last, and probably
the hardest part of the trip, than Cary. And, further, the travel is
so difficult that about all a man can carry is supplies for himself;
and the Indians cannot stand the pace that our men intend to strike;
nor, if it should come to the last extremity, and a forlorn hope was
needed to make a last desperate push for discovery or relief, could
the Indian guides, so far as we have any knowledge of them, be relied
on. That the boldest measures are often the surest, will probably
again be demonstrated by our Grand River party.

We tried the exploring boats very thoroughly at Chateau Bay, three of
us getting caught about six miles from the vessel in quite a blow, and
the well-laden boat proved herself very seaworthy. When loaded, she
still draws but little water, and is good in every way for the trip.

This letter was begun in the fine breeze off Newfoundland, but could
not be mailed till the port of entry and post-office of Labrador,
Battle Harbor, was reached. A week was consumed in getting from our
first anchorage in Labrador to this harbor, as the captain was
unaccustomed to icebergs, and properly decided to take no risks with
them in the strong shifting currents and thick weather of the eastern
end of the straits. The wind was ahead for several days, and the heavy
squalls coming off the land in quick succession made us fear the wind
would drop and leave us banging around in the fog that usually
accompanies a calm spell, so we kept close to harbors and dodged in on
the first provocation.

The season is three weeks late this year; the first mail boat has not
yet arrived, though last year at this time she was on her second trip.
The last report from the North--down the coast they call it--that went
to Newfoundland and St. John's was "that it was impassable ice this
side Hamilton Inlet." A vessel--a steam sealing bark--though, that was
here yesterday and has gone to Sidney, C.B.I., reports now that the
coast is clear to Hopedale. Beyond we know nothing about it.

On Henley and Castle Islands, at the mouth of Chateau Bay, are
basaltic table-lands about half a mile across, perfectly flat on top
and about two hundred feet high. We walked around one, went to its
top and secured specimens from the columns. The famous "natural
images" of men, are, to my eye, not nearly so good as the descriptions
lead one to expect. The history of the place could hardly be guessed
from its present barren, desolate, poverty-stricken appearance; but
the remains of quite a fort on Barrier Point show some signs of former
and now departed glory. It seems that it has been under the dominion
of England, France and the United States, all of whom took forceful
possession of it, and England and France have governed it. An American
privateer once sacked the place, carrying away, I believe, about 3,500
pounds worth of property. Now, a very small population eke out a
wretched existence by fishing, only a few remaining, living at the
heads of the bays, in the winter, and most of them going home to

The icebergs are in great plenty. I counted eighty from the basaltic
table-land at one time, and the professor saw even more at once. Belle
Isle is in plain sight from this place, looking like Monhegan from the
Georges Islands, though possibly somewhat longer.

[Battle Harbor] Finally, as the wind showed no signs of changing, the
captain, to our intense delight, decided to beat around to Battle
Harbor and we anchored here at about 5:50 P.M., July 17th. Many of the
icebergs we passed were glorious, and the scene was truly arctic. It
was bitterly cold, and heavy coats were the order of the day. We
passed Cape St. Charles, the proposed terminus of the Labrador
Railroad to reduce the time of crossing the Atlantic to four days, saw
the famous table-land, and soon opened Battle Harbor which we had to
beat up, way round to the northward, to enter. It was slow business
with a strong head current, but the fishermen say a vessel never came
around more quickly. We found the harbor very small, with rocks not
shown in chart or coast pilot, and had barely room to come to without
going ashore. We went in under bare poles, and then had too much way

The agent for the Bayne, Johnston Co., which runs this place, keeping
nearly all its three hundred inhabitants in debt to it, is a Mr.
Smith, who has taken the professor and seven or eight of the boys on
his little steamer to the other side of the St. Lewis Sound. The
doctor has gone with them to look after some grip patients, and the
professor expects to measure some half-breed Eskimo living there. The
boys are expecting to get some fine trout. The grip was brought to
this region by the steamer bringing the first summer fishing colonies,
and has spread to all and killed a great many.

There is an Episcopal rector here, Mr. Bull, who says everybody had
it. I believe it is owing to his care and slight medical skill that
none have died here. It is hard for this people to have such a
sickness just as the fishing season is best. The doctor has
opportunity to use all and far more than the amount of medicine he
brought, much to Professor Lee's amusement. He is reaping a small
harvest of furs, grateful tokens of his services, that many of his
patients send him, and some of his presents have also improved our

This place is named Battle Harbor from the conflict that took place
here between the Indians and English settlers, aided by a man-of-war.
The remains of the fight are now in a swamp covered with fishflakes.
There are also some strange epitaphs in the village graveyard, with
its painted wooden head-boards, and high fence to keep the dogs out.
These latter are really dangerous, making it necessary to carry a
stick if walking alone. Men have been killed by them, but last year
the worst of the lot were exported across the bay, owing to a bold
steal of a child by them and its being nearly eaten up. They are a
mixture of Eskimo, Indian and wolf, with great white shaggy coats.

The steamer with mail and passengers from St. John's, Newfoundland, is
expected every day, and as our rivals for the honor of rediscovering
Grand Falls are probably on board, there is a race in store for us to
see who will get to Rigolette first, and which party will start ahead
on the perilous journey up the Grand River. As they have refused our
offer of co-operation, we now feel no sympathy with their task, and
will have but little for them till we see them, as we hope, starting
up the river several days behind our hardy crew.


       *       *       *       *       *

                               ON BOARD THE JULIA A. DECKER,
                                             OFF BIRD ROCKS,
                       Gulf of St. Lawrence, Sept. 10, 1891.

While our little vessel is rushing through the blue waters of the
gulf, apparently scorning the efforts of the swift little Halifax
trader who promised to keep us company from the Straits to the Gut,
and who, by dint of good luck and constant attention to sails has thus
far kept her word, but is now steadily falling astern and to leeward,
I will tell you about the snug little harbors, the bold headlands,
barren slopes, and bird-covered rocks, and also the odorous fishing
villages and the kind-hearted people with whom she has made us

The Bowdoin scientific expedition to Labrador is now familiar with six
of the seven wonders in this truly wonderful region. It has visited
Grand Falls and "Bowdoin Canyon;" has been bitten by black flies and
mosquitoes which only Labrador can produce, both in point of quality
and quantity; has wandered through the carriage roads (!) and gardens
of Northwest River and Hopedale; has dug over, mapped and photographed
the prehistoric Eskimo settlements that line the shores, to the north
of Hamilton Inlet; has made itself thoroughly conversant with the
great fishing industry that has made Labrador so valuable, to
Newfoundland in particular, and to the codfish consuming world in
general; and finally is itself the sixth wonder, in that it has
accomplished all it set out to do, though of course not all that would
have been done had longer time, better weather and several other
advantages been granted it.

It is almost another wonder, too, in the eyes of the Labradoreans,
that we have, without pilot and yet without accident or trouble of any
sort, made such a trip along their rocky coast, entered their most
difficult harbors, and outsailed their fastest vessels, revenue
cutters, traders and fishermen.

It will be a good many years before the visit of the "Yankee college
boys," the speed of the Yankee schooner and the skill and seamanship
of the Yankee captain are forgotten "on the Labrador."

The day after we left, July 19th, the mail steamer reached Battle
Harbor with the first mail of the season. On board were Messrs. Bryant
and Kenaston, anxiously looking for the Bowdoin party and estimating
their chances of getting to the mouth of Grand River. They brought
with them an Adirondack boat, of canoe model, relying on the country
to furnish another boat to carry the bulk of their provisions and a
crew to man the same.

[Rigolette] When the news was received that we were a day ahead, the
race began in earnest, the captain of the "Curlew" entering heartily
into the sport and doing his best to overhaul the speedy Yankee
schooner. When about half way up to Rigolette, on the third day from
Battle Harbor, as we were drifting slowly out of "Seal Bight," into
which we had gone the previous night to escape the numerous icebergs
that went grinding by, the black smoke, and later the spars of the
mail steamer were seen over one of the numerous rocky little islets
that block the entrance to the bight. The steamer's flag assured us
that it was certainly the mail steamer, and many and anxious were the
surmises as to whether our rivals were on board, and earnest were the
prayers for a strong and favoring wind. It soon came, and we bowled
along at a rattling pace, our spirits rising as we could see the
steamer, in shore, gradually dropping astern. Towards night we neared
Domino Run, and losing sight of the steamer, which turned out to make
a stop at some wretched little hamlet that had been shut out from the
outer world for nine months, at about the same time lost our breeze
also. But the wind might rise again, and time was precious, so a
bright lookout was kept for bergs, and we drifted on through the
night. The next morning a fringe of islands shut our competitor from
sight, but after an aggravating calm in the mouth of the inlet, we
felt a breeze and rushed up towards Rigolette, only to meet the
steamer coming out while we were yet several hours from that place.

Here we had our first experience with the immense deer-flies of
Labrador. Off Mt. Gnat they came in swarms and for self-protection
each man armed himself with a small wooden paddle and slapped at them
right and left, on the deck, the rail, another fellow's back or head,
in fact, wherever one was seen to alight. The man at the wheel was
doubly busy, protecting himself, with the assistance of ready
volunteers, from their lance-like bites, and steering the quickly
moving vessel.

At last the white buildings and flag-staff which mark all the Hudson
Bay Co.'s posts in Labrador, came in sight, snugly nestled in a little
cove, beneath a high ridge lying just to the north-west of it, and
soon we were at anchor. Our intention was to get into the cove, but
the six knot current swept us by the mouth before the failing breeze
enabled us to get in.

After supper the necessary formal call was made on the factor, Mr.
Bell, by the professor, armed with a letter of introduction from the
head of the company in London, and escorted by three or four of the
party. A rather gruff reception, at first met with, became quite
genial, when it appeared that we wanted no assistance save a pilot,
and called only to cultivate the acquaintance of the most important
official in Labrador.

With a promise to renew the acquaintance upon our return, we left, and
after a hard pull and an exciting moment in getting the boat fast
alongside, on account of the terrific current, we reached the deck and

Our rivals were there, and had hired the only available boat and crew
to transport them to North West River. This threw us back on our
second plan, viz: to take our party right to the mouth of the Grand
River ourselves, which involved a trip inland of one hundred miles to
the head of Lake Melville. This it was decided to do, and after some
delay in securing a pilot, owing to the transfer at the last moment of
the affections of the first man we secured to the other party, John
Blake came aboard and we started on our new experience in inland
navigation. Just as we entered the narrows, after a stop at John's
house to tell his wife where we were taking him, and to give her some
medicine and advice from the doctor, we saw our rivals starting in
the boat they had secured. That was the last we saw of them, till they
reached North West River, two days after our party had started up the
Grand River.

North West River is the name of the Hudson Bay Co.'s post at the mouth
of the river of the same name, flowing into the western extremity of
Lake Melville, about fifteen miles north of the mouth of Grand River.
Hamilton Inlet proper extends about forty miles in from the Atlantic
to the "Narrows," a few miles beyond Rigolette, where Lake Melville
begins. A narrow arm of the lake extends some unexplored distance east
of the Narrows, south of and parallel to the southern shore of the
inlet. The lake varies from five to forty miles in width and is ninety
miles long, allowing room for an extended voyage in its capacious
bosom. The water is fresh enough to drink at the upper end of the
lake, and at the time of our visit was far pleasanter and less arctic
for bathing than the water off any point of the Maine coast. About
twenty miles from the Narrows a string of islands, rugged and barren,
but beautiful for their very desolation, as is true of so much of
Labrador, nearly block the way, but we found the channels deep and
clear, and St. John's towering peak makes an excellent guide to the
most direct passage.

One night was spent under way, floating quietly on the lake, so
delightfully motionless after the restless movements of Atlantic seas.
A calm and bright day following, during which the one pleasant swim in
Labrador waters was taken by two of us, was varied by thunder squalls
and ended in fog and drizzle, causing us to anchor off the abrupt
break in the continuous ridge along the northern shore, made by the
Muligatawney River. Although in an insecure and exposed anchorage, yet
the fact that we were in an inclosed lake gave a sense of security to
the less experienced, that the snug and rocky harbors to which we had
become accustomed, usually failed to give on account of the roaring of
the surf a few hundred yards away, on the other side of the narrow
barrier that protected the rocky basin.

The following day was bright and showery by turns, but the heart's
wish of our Grand River men was granted, and while the schooner lay
off the shoals at the mouth of the river they were to make famous,
they started as will be described, and the rest of the expedition
turned towards North West River, hoping they, too, could now get down
to their real work.

The noble little vessel was reluctant to leave any of her freight in
so desolate a place, in such frail boats as the Rushtons seemed, and
in the calm between the thunder squalls, several times turned towards
them, as they energetically pushed up the river's mouth, and seemed to
call them back as she heavily flapped her white sails. They kept
steadily on, however, while the Julia, bowing to a power stronger than
herself, and to a fresh puff from the rapidly rising thunder heads,
speedily reached North West River.

North West River is a sportsman's paradise. Here we found the only
real summer weather of the trip, the thermometer reaching 76 deg. F. on
two days in succession, and thunder storms occurring regularly every
afternoon. Our gunners and fishermen were tempted off on a long trip.
One party planning to be away two or three days, but returning the
following morning, reported tracks and sounds of large animals. They
said the rain induced them to return so soon.

[Montagnais Indians] Here we found a camp of Montagnais Indians,
bringing the winter's spoils of furs to trade at the post for flour
and powder, and the other articles of civilization that they are
slowly learning to use. They loaf on their supplies during the summer,
hunting only enough to furnish themselves with meat, and then starve
during the winter if game happens to be scarce. Measurements were made
of some twenty-five of this branch of the Kree tribe, hitherto unknown
to anthropometric science, and a full collection of household utensils
peculiar to their tribe was procured. Several of the Nascopee tribe
were with them, the two inter-marrying freely, and were also measured.
The latter are not such magnificent specimens of physical development
as the Montagnais, but their tribe is more numerous and seems, if
anything, better adapted to thrive in Labrador than their more
attractive brothers.

The only remains of their picturesque national costume that we saw,
was the cap. The women wore a curious knot of hair, about the size of
a small egg, over each ear, while the men wore their hair cut off
straight around, a few inches above the shoulders.

In point of personal cleanliness, these people equal any aborigines we
have seen, though their camp exhibited that supreme contempt for
sanitation that characterizes every village except the Hudson Bay
Co.'s posts on the Labrador coast, whether of Indians, Esquimaux or
"planters," as the white and half-breed settlers are called.

Some curious scenes were enacted while the professor was trading for
his desired ethnological material. With inexhaustible patience and
imperturbable countenance, he sat on a log, surrounded by yelping
dogs, and by children and papooses of more or less tender ages and
scanty raiment, playing on ten cent harmonicas that had for a time
served as a staple of trade, struggling with the dogs and with their
equally excited mothers and sisters for a sight of the wonderful
basket from whose apparently inexhaustible depths came forth yet more
harmonicas, sets of celluloid jewelry, knives, combs, fish-hooks,
needles, etc., _ad infinitum_. The men, whose gravity equalled the
delight of the women and children, held themselves somewhat aloof,
seldom deigning to enter the circle about the magic basket, and making
their trades in a very dignified and careless fashion.

That these people are capable of civilization there can be no doubt.
Missing the interpreter, without whom nothing could be done, the
professor inquired for him and learned that he had returned to his
wigwam. Upon being summoned he said he was tired of talking. Thereupon
the professor bethought himself and asked him if he wanted more pay.
The interpreter, no longer tired, was willing to talk all night.

The camp was in a bend of the river and at the head of rapids about
four miles from the mouth, up which we had to track, that is, one man
had to haul the boat along by the bank with a small rope called a
tracking line, while another kept her off the rocks by pushing against
her with an oar. At that point the river opened out into a beautiful
lake from one to two miles in width, whose further end we could not
see. As this river never has been explored to its head, we were
surprised that Messrs. Bryant and Kenaston, who were ready for their
inland trip about a week after our party had started up the Grand
River, had not chosen it as a field for their work rather than follow
in the footsteps of our expedition.

[A carriage road] Of all Labrador north of the Straits, North West
River alone boasts a carriage road. To be sure, there are neither
horses nor carriages at that post, but when Sir Donald A. Smith, at
present at the head of the Hudson Bay Co.'s interests in Canada, but
then plain Mr. Smith, factor, was in charge of that post his energy
made the place a garden in the wilderness, and in addition to luxuries
of an edible sort, he added drives in a carriage through forest and by
shore, for about two miles, on a well made road. Now, we are informed
there is not a horse or cow north of Belle Isle. The present factor,
Mr. McLaren, is a shrewd Scotchman, genial and warm-hearted beneath a
rather forbidding exterior, as all of our party who experienced his
hospitality can testify.

In spite of all its attractions we could not stay at North West River.
In five weeks we were to meet our river detail at Rigolette, and
during that time a trip north of 400 miles was to be made and the bulk
of the expedition's scientific work to be done.

Our day's sail, with fresh breezes and favoring squalls, took us the
whole length of the delightful lake, whose waters had seldom been
vexed by a keel as long as the Julia's, and brought us to an anchor
off Eskimo Island. Here we had one of our regular fights with the
mosquitoes, the engagement perhaps being a trifle hotter than usual,
for they swarmed down the companion way every time the "mosquito
door," of netting on a light frame hinged to the hatch house, was
opened, in brigades and divisions and finally by whole army corps,
till we were forced to retreat to our bunks, drive out the intruding
hosts, which paid no respect whatever to our limited 6x3x3 private
apartments, by energetically waving and slapping a towel around, then
quickly shutting the door of netting, also on a tightly fitting frame,
and devoting an hour or two at our leisure to demolishing the few
stragglers that remained within; or possibly the whole night, if an
unknown breach had been found by the wily mosquito somewhere in our
carefully made defenses. A few bones were taken from the Eskimo graves
that abound on the island, but the mosquitoes seriously interfered
with such work and the party soon returned to the vessel. The
absolutely calm night allowed the mosquitoes to reach us and stay; and
in spite of its brevity and the utter stillness of the vast solitude
about us, broken only now and then by a noise from the little Halifax
trader whose acquaintance we here made for the first time, and of whom
we saw so much on our return voyage across the gulf, or by the howling
of wolves and Eskimo dogs in the distance, we were glad when it was
over and a morning breeze chased from our decks the invading hosts.

A short stop at Rigolette, to send about fifty letters ashore, a two
days' delay in a cold, easterly storm at Turner Cove, on the south
side of the inlet, when the icy winds, in contrast to the warm weather
we had lately enjoyed, made us put on our heavy clothes and, even
then, shiver--a delay, however, that we did not grudge, for we were in
a land of fish, game and labradorite--this of a poor quality, as we
afterward learned--and where the doctor had more patients than he
could easily attend to. At last a pleasant Sunday's run to Indian
Harbor got us clear of Hamilton Inlet. There we found the usual
complement of fish and fishing apparatus, but with the addition of a
few Yankee vessels and a church service.

The latter we were quite surprised to find, and several went, out of
curiosity, and had the satisfaction of finding a small room, packed
with about fifty human beings, with no ventilation whatever, and of
sitting on seats about four inches wide with no backs. The people were
earnest and respectful, but did not seem to understand all that was
said, as, perhaps, is not to be wondered at, since they are the
poorest class of Newfoundlanders.

Indian Harbor is like so many others on the coast, merely a "tickle"
with three ticklish entrances full of sunken rocks and treacherous
currents. The small islands that make the harbor are simply bare
ledges, very rough and irregular in outline. The fishing village,
also, like all others, consists of little earthen-covered hovels,
stuck down wherever a decently level spot fifteen feet square can be
found, and of fishing stages running out from every little point and
cove, in which the catch is placed to be taken care of, and alongside
of which the heavy boats can lie without danger of being smashed by
the undertow that is continually heaving against the shore.

[Storm and fog] A two days' run brought us up to Cape Harrigan,
rounding which we went into Webeck Harbor, little thinking that in
that dreary place storm and fog would hold us prisoners for five days.
That was our fate, and even now we wonder how we lived through that
dismal time.

One day served to make us familiar with the flora, fauna, geography
and geology of the region, for it was not an interesting place from a
scientific point of view, however the fishermen may regard it, and
after the departure of the mail steamer, leaving us all disappointed
in regard to mail, time dragged on us terribly.

Two or three of the more venturesome ones could get a little sport by
pulling a long four miles down to the extremity of Cape Harrigan,
where sea pigeon had a home in the face of a magnificent cliff,
against the bottom of which the gunners had to risk being thrown by
the heavy swell rolling against it, as they shot from a boat bobbing
like a cork, at "guillemots" flying like bullets from a gun out of the
face of the cliff. One evening a relief party was sent off for two who
had gone off to land on a bad lee shore and were some hours overdue.
To be sure the missing ones arrived very soon, all right, while the
search party got back considerably later, drenched with spray and with
their boat half full of water, but the incident gave some relief from
the monotony.

Another evening several visiting captains and a few friends from
ashore were treated to a concert by the Bowdoin Glee and Minstrel
Club. All the old favorites of from ten years ago and less were served
up in a sort of composite hash, greatly to the delight of both
audience and singers.

[Abundance of codfish] At Webeck Harbor, which we came to pronounce
"Wayback," probably because it seemed such a long way back to anything
worthy of human interest, we saw the business of catching cod at its
best. They had just "struck a spurt," the fishermen said, and day
after day simply went to their traps, filled their boats and bags,
took the catch home, where the boys and "ship girls" took charge of
it, and returned to the traps to repeat the process. An idea of the
amount of fish taken may be given by the figures of the catch of five
men from one schooner, who took one thousand quintals of codfish in
thirteen days. We obtained a better idea of the vast catch by the
experience of one of our parties who spent part of a day at the traps,
as the arrangement of nets along the shore is called, into which the
cod swim and out of which they are too foolish to go. They are on much
the same plan as salmon weirs, only larger, opening both ways, and
being placed usually in over ten fathoms of water and kept in place by
anchors, shore lines, and floats and sinkers. Once down they are
usually kept in place a whole season. The party were in a boat, inside
the line of floats, so interested in watching the fishermen making the
"haul," as the process of overhauling the net and passing it under the
boat is called, by which the fish are crowded up into one corner where
they can be scooped out by the dozen, that they did not notice that
the enormous catch was being brought to the surface directly under
them till their own boat began to rise out of the water, actually
being grounded on the immense shoal of codfish.

It was a strange sensation and makes a strange story. All the time
that we were storm-stayed at Webeck the "spurt" continued, and the
trap owners were tired but jubilant. The "hand-lining" crews were
correspondingly depressed, for, though so plenty, not a cod would bite
a hook. It is this reason, that is, because an abundance of food
brings the cod to the shores in great numbers and at the same time
prevents them from being hungry, that led to the abandonment of
trawling and the universal adoption of the trap method. We did not see
a single trawl on the coast, and it is doubtful if there was one there
in use.

During these spurts, the day's work just begins, in fact, after the
hard labor of rowing the heavy boats out, perhaps two miles, to the
trap, hauling, mending the net, loading and unloading the fish--always
a hard task and sometimes a very difficult one on account of the heavy
sea--has been repeated three or four times; for the number of fish is
so great that the stage becomes overloaded by night, and the boat
crews then have to turn to and help take care of the catch and clear
the stage for the next day's operations. Till long after midnight the
work goes merrily on in the huts or shelters over the stages, for the
hard work then means no starvation next winter in the Newfoundland
homes, and the fish are split, cleaned, headed, salted and packed with
incredible rapidity.

The tired crews get an hour or two of sleep just as they are; then,
after a pot of black tea and a handful of bread, start out to begin
the next day's work, resting and eating during the hour between the
trips, and then going out again, and repeating the some monotonous
round over and over till we wondered how they lived through it, and
what was to be done with all the fish. When there is a good breeze the
boats are rigged and a large part of the weary labor of rowing is
escaped. How tired the crews would look as the big twenty-four feet
boats went dashing by our vessel in the fog and rain, on the outward
trip, and how happy, though if possible more tired, as they came back
three or four hours later, loaded to the gunwale with cod, and
thinking, perhaps, of the bags full that they had left buoyed near the
trap because the boat would not carry the whole catch. It is a hard
life, and no wonder the men are not much more than animals; but they
work with dogged persistence, for in a little more than two months
enough must be earned to support their families for the year. When the
"spurt" ends the crews get a much needed rest, and attend to getting a
supply of salt ashore from the salt vessel from Cadiz, Spain, one of
which we found lying in nearly every fishing harbor, serving as a
storehouse for that article so necessary to the fishermen.

As to the magnitude of the industry, it is estimated that there are
about 3,000 vessels and 20,000 men employed in it during the season.
Some of the vessels are employed in merely bringing salt and taking
away the fish, notably the great iron tramp steamers of from 1,500 to
2,000 tons, which seem so much out of place moored to the sides of
some of the little rocky harbors. The average catch in a good year is,
we were informed, from four to six hundred quintals in a vessel of
perhaps forty tons, by a crew of from four to eight men. The trap
outfit costs about $500 and is furnished by the large fish firms in
Newfoundland, to be paid for with fish. As the market price, to the
fishermen, is from five dollars to six dollars a quintal, the value of
the industry is at once apparent.

The great bulk of the fish go to Mediterranean ports direct, to
Catholic countries, chiefly, and also to Brazil. The small size and
imperfect curing which the Labrador summer allows make the fish almost
unsalable in English and American markets. Many of the cod are of the
black, Greenland variety, which are far less palatable, and are
usually thrown away or cured separately for the cheaper market.

All storms come to an end finally, and at last the sun shone, the
windlass clanked and we were underway. The long delay seemed to have
broken our little schooner's spirits, for after being out three or
four hours we had gone but as many miles, and those in the wrong

At length the gentle breeze seemed to revive her and we gently slipped
by the Ragged Islands and Cape Mokkavik. That Sunday evening will long
be remembered by us, for in addition to the delight we felt at again
moving northward, and the charm of a bright evening with a gentle,
fair wind and smooth water, allowing us to glide by hundreds of fulmar
and shearwater sitting on the water, scarcely disturbed by our
passage, the moon was paled by the brightest exhibition of the aurora
we saw while in northern waters. Its sudden darts into new quarters of
the heavens, its tumultuous waves and gentle undulations, now looking
like a fleecy cloud, now like a gigantic curtain shaken by still more
gigantic hands into ponderous folds--all were reflected in the quiet
water and from the numerous bergs, great and small, that dotted the
surface, till the beholder was at times awe-struck and silent,
utterly unable to find words with which to express himself.

The next day we rounded Gull Island, which we identified with some
difficulty, owing to the absence of the flagstaff by which the coast
pilot says it can be distinguished, and, after a delightful sail up
the clear sound leading through the fringe of islands to Hopedale, we
spied the red-roofed houses and earth-covered huts, the mission houses
and Eskimo village, of which the settlement consists, snugly hidden
behind little "Anatokavit," or little Snow Hill Island, at the foot of
a steep and lofty hill surmounted by the mission flagstaff. Here we
were destined to pass five days as pleasant as the five at Webeck had
been tedious.

[Hopedale] The harbor at Hopedale is the best one we visited on the
coast. The twelve miles of sound, fringed and studded with islands,
completely broke the undertow which had kept our vessel constantly
rolling, when at anchor, in every harbor except those up Hamilton
Inlet and Lake Melville.

About two miles south of us a vast, unexplored bay ran for a long
distance inland, while to the north, looking from Flagstaff Peak, we
could see Cape Harrigan and the shoals about it, the numberless
inlets, coves and bays which fill in the sixty miles to Nain. We were
very much disappointed at our inability to go north to that place, but
before our start from the United States Hopedale had been named as the
point with which we would be content if ice and winds allowed us to
reach it, and that point proved the northern limit of our voyage.

About half a mile across the point of land on which the missionary
settlement lies, is the site of the pre-historic village of "Avatoke,"
which means "may-we-have-seals." It consisted of three approximately
circular houses, in line parallel with the shore, at the head of a
slight cove, backed to the west by a high hill, and with a fine beach
in front, now raised considerably from the sea level. Along the front
of the row of houses were immense shell heaps, from which we dug
ivory, that is, walrus teeth; carvings, stone lamps, spear heads,
portions of kyaks, whips, komatiks, as the sleds are called, etc.,
etc., and bones innumerable of all the varieties of birds, fish and
game on which the early Eskimo dined; as well as remnants of all the
implements which Eskimos used in the household generations ago, and
which can nearly all now be recognized by the almost identically
shaped and made implements in the houses of Eskimos there in Hopedale,
so little do they change in the course of centuries. The village has
been completely deserted for over one hundred years, and was in its
prime centuries before that, so the tales of its greatness are only
dim Eskimo traditions.

The houses were found to average about thirty-five feet across on the
inside; are separated by a space of about fifteen feet, and each had a
long, narrow doorway or entrance, being almost exactly in line. The
walls are about fifteen feet thick and now about five feet high, of
earth, with the gravel beach for a foundation. The inside of the wall
was apparently lined with something resembling a wooden bench. When,
in one of the houses, the remains of the dirt and stone roof that had
long since crushed down the rotten poles and seal skins that made the
framework and first covering, had been carefully removed, the floor
was found to be laid with flagstones, many three or four feet across,
closely fitted at the edges and well laid in the gravel so as to make
a smooth, even floor. This extended to the remains of the bench at the
sides, and made a dwelling which for Eskimo land must have been
palatial. The evidences of fire showed the hearth to have been near
the center of the floor, a little towards the entrance, in order to
get the most from its heat. The Hopedale Eskimo were themselves
surprised at the stone floor, but one old man remembered that he had
been told that such floors were used long ago, in the _palmier_ days
of Eskimo history, if such an expression is fitting for an arctic

A village arranged on a similar plan, except that the houses were
joined together, was found to constitute the supposed remains of a
settlement on Eskimo Island in Lake Melville.

In both cases the front of the row is towards the east, and the houses
are dug down to sand on the inside, making their floors somewhat below
the level of the ground.

[Eskimos] A more thorough investigation than we were able to make of
the remains at Eskimo Island would undoubtedly yield much of interest
and value, for they were if anything even older than those at
Hopedale, probably having been abandoned after the battle between
Eskimo and Indians, fought on the same island, which has now become a
tradition among the people.

Five days were spent in this most interesting ethnological work, and
hard days they were, too, as well as interesting, for the mosquitoes,
black flies and midges were always with us; but on the other hand, the
Eskimo interpreter was continually describing some national custom
which some find would suggest to him, and very ingenious he proved to
be in naming finds which we were entirely ignorant of or unable to

The race as a whole is exceedingly ingenious, quick to learn, handy
with tools, and also ready at mastering musical instruments. One of
the best carpenters on the Labrador is an Eskimo at Aillik, from whom
we bought a kyak; and at Hopedale in the winter they have a very fair
brass band. The art of fine carving, however, seems to be dying out
among them, and now there is but one family, at Nain, who do anything
of the sort worthy the name of carving. Prof. Lee obtained several
very fine specimens for the Bowdoin cabinets, but as a rule it is very
high priced and rare. Most of it is taken to London by the Moravian
mission ship, and has found its way into English and Continental
museums. The figures of dogs, of Eskimos themselves, as well as of
kyaks and komatiks, seals, walrus, arctic birds and the like are most
exquisitely done.

The mission itself deserves a brief description. It was founded in
1782 and has been steadily maintained by the Moravian society for the
furtherance of the Gospel, and is now nearly self-supporting. There
are three missions of the society in Labrador, the one at Nain being
the chief and the residence of the director, but Hopedale is very
important as it is the place where the debasing influence of the
traders and fishermen is most felt by the Eskimo, and the work of the
missionaries consequently made least welcome to them. However, they
have persevered, in the German fashion, and seem to have a firm hold
on the childlike people which the seductions of the traders cannot
shake off.

There are five missionaries now stationed at Hopedale: Mr. Townly, an
Englishman, whose work is among the "planters" and fishermen; Mr.
Hansen, the pastor of the Eskimo church; and Mr. Kaestner, the head of
the mission, and in special charge of the store and trading, by which
the mission is made nearly self-supporting; Mrs. Kaestner and Mrs.
Hansen complete the number, and the five make up a community almost
entirely isolated from white people during nine months of every year.

The fact that the two ladies spoke very little English was somewhat of
a drawback, but detracted very slightly from our enjoyment of Mrs.
Hanson's delightful singing and none at all from our appreciation of
her playing on the piano and organ. To get such a musical treat in the
Labrador wilds was most unexpected and for that reason all the more
thoroughly enjoyed.

The mission house is a yellow, barn-like building, heavily built to
prevent its being blown away, snugly stowed beneath a hill, and
seeming like a mother round which the huts of the Eskimo cluster. The
rooms in which we were so pleasantly entertained were very comfortably
and tastily furnished, a grand piano in one of them seeming out of
place in a village of Labrador, but so entirely in harmony with its
immediate surroundings that we hardly thought of the strangeness of
it, within a few yards of a village of pure Eskimo, living in all
their primitive customs and in their own land.

A few rods behind the mission are the gardens, cut up into small
squares by strong board fences to prevent the soil from blowing away,
each with a tarpaulin near by to spread over it at night. In this
laborious way potatoes, cabbages and turnips are raised. In a large
hothouse the missionaries raise tomatoes, lettuce, and also flowers,
but for everything else, except fish, game and ice, they have to
depend on the yearly visit of the Moravian mission ship. She left for
Nain just the day before we reached Hopedale, and after unloading
supplies, etc., there, she proceeds north, collecting furs and fish
until loaded, and then goes to London.

About fifty Eskimos were measured and collections made of their
clothing, implements of war and chase and household utensils, which
are the best of our collections, for the World's Fair and the Bowdoin

After spending these five pleasant and profitable days at Hopedale,
and regretfully looking out by Cape Harrigan, to Nain, whose gardens
are the seventh wonder of Labrador, through which, reports say, one
can walk for two miles, and whose missionaries, warned of our coming,
were making ready to give us a warm reception; and near it Paul's
Island, on which was so much of interest to our party; all this we
thought of mournfully as our vessel's head was pointed southward and
we sped along, reluctant on this account, and yet eager to hear of the
success of our boldest undertaking, the Grand River exploration party.

At Aillik, where there is an abandoned Hudson Bay Co.'s post, we
measured a few more Eskimo, obtained a kyak, which a day or two later
nearly became a coffin to one of our party, and tried a trout stream
that proved the best we found in Labrador. In about an hour, three of
our party caught over eighty magnificent trout, and, naturally,
returned much elated.

The next day we poked the Julia's inquisitive nose into one or two
so-called but misnamed harbors that afforded very little shelter, and
had a threatening and deserted look which, although the characteristic
of the Labrador shore in general, has never been noticeable in the
harbors we have visited. Many of them are very small, and in some it
is necessary to lay quite close to the rocks, but yet we have had no
trouble from the extremely deep water that we were told we should have
to anchor in, nor yet from getting into harbors so small that it was
hard to get out of them.

[Tickles] As a matter of fact, experience has taught the fishermen to
use "tickles," as narrow passages are called, for harbors, that there
may always be a windward and a leeward entrance. In a few cases where
the harbor is too small to beat out of, and has no leeward entrance,
we have found heavy ring bolts fastened into proper places in the
cliffs, to which vessels can make their lines fast, and warp
themselves into weatherly position from which a course can be laid out
of the harbor.

Meanwhile we are again approaching the Ragged Islands, which we passed
just as we were beginning that memorable Sunday evening sail, about
fifteen miles from the place we so much dread, Webeck Harbor.

On them we found the only gravel bed we saw in Labrador, and yet their
name is due to the rough piled basaltic appearing rock, that proved on
close examination to be much weathered sienite and granite. The harbor
is an open place amidst a cluster of rocky islets, and we found it
literally packed with fishing vessels. Here an afternoon was spent
making pictures and examining the geology of these interesting
islands, and here the adventure of the kyak, before referred to, took

Our fur trader thought he would take a paddle, but had not gone three
lengths before he found that he was more expert in dealing with Eskimo
furs than in handling Eskimo boats. He rolled over, was soon pulled
alongside, and clearing himself from the kyak climbed aboard, just as
our gallant mate, his rescuer, rolled out of his dory into the water
and took a swim on his own account. All hands were nearly exploded
with laughter as he rolled himself neatly into the dory again and
climbed aboard, remarking, "That's the way to climb into a dory
without capsizing her," as he ruefully shook himself. We wanted to ask
him if that was the only way to get out of a dory without turning her
over, but we forebore.

The next morning as we got clear of the harbor, a trim looking
schooner of our size was sighted just off Cape Harrigan, about ten
miles ahead. The breeze freshening we gradually overhauled her, and
finally, while beating into Holton harbor, one of the most dangerous
entrances on the coast, by the way, we passed her, and noticing her
neat rig and appearance guessed rightly we had beaten the
representatives of the Newfoundland law and the collector of her
revenues from this coast.

Mr. Burgess, who combines in one unassuming personage the tax and
customs collector, the magistrate and the commissioner of poor relief
from Labrador, afterward told us that the "Rose" had been on the coast
for thirteen years and had been outsailed for the first time. The next
morning we again beat her badly, in working up to Indian Harbor, and
only then would he acknowledge himself fairly beaten.

[Puffins and Auks] Saturday, the 22d of August, having yet three days
before we were due at Rigolette to meet our Grand River party, we made
memorable in the annals of the puffins and auks of the Heron Islands
by spending three or four hours there and taking aboard three hundred
and seventy-eight of them. Many more of them were killed but dropped
into inaccessible places or into the water and could not be saved.

The sound of the fusilade from over twenty gunners must have resembled
a small battle, but it did not drive the birds away, and as we left
they seemed thicker than ever. Not only was the air alive with them,
but as one walked along the cliffs they would dart swiftly out of
holes in the rocks or crevices, so the earth, too, seemed full of
them. It was great sport for a time, but soon seemed too much like
slaughter, and we would let the awkward puffins, with their foolish
eyes and Roman noses, come blundering along within a few feet of our
muzzles, and chose rather the graceful, swift motioned auks and
guillemots, whose rapid flight made them far more sportsmanlike game.

The next day, though Sunday, had to be spent in taking care of the
best specimens, and the game was not fully disposed of for several
days. Our bill of fare was correspondingly improved for a few days.

Three days were consumed in beating up to Rigolette. At Indian Harbor
we had heard rumors of the return of some party from Grand River on
account of injuries received by one of the men, but the description
applied best to the second party, and we decided it must refer to
Bryant or Kenaston. Near Turner's Cove we found more rumors, but
nothing definite enough to satisfy our growing anxiety, and at last,
unable to bear the suspense any longer, three of the party took a boat
and started to row the fifteen miles between us and Rigolette, while
the vessel waited for a change of tide and a breeze.

Alternate hope and fear lent strength to our arms as we drove the
light boat along, and soon we came in sight of the wharf. There we
saw a ragged looking individual, smoking a very short and black clay
pipe, with one arm in a sling, who seemed to recognize us, and waved
his hat vigorously with his well arm. Soon we recognized Young and
were pumping away at his well hand in our delight at finding his
injuries no worse, and that Cary and Cole were yet pushing on,
determined to accomplish their object.

Young's hand had been in a critical state; the slight injury first
received unconsciously, from exposure and lack of attention had caused
a swelling of his hand and arm that was both extremely painful and
dangerous, and which, the doctor said, would have caused the loss of
the thumb, or possibly of the whole hand, had it gone uncared for much
longer. Of course it was impossible to leave a man in such a
condition, or to send him back alone. So Smith very regretfully
volunteered to turn back--at a point where a few days more were
expected to give a sight of the Falls, and when all thought the
hardest work of the Grand River party had been accomplished--and
accompany Young back to Rigolette.

It was a great sacrifice of Smith's personal desires, to be one of the
re-discoverers of the falls, to the interests of the expedition, and
it involved a great deal of hard work, for, after paddling and rowing
all day, he had to build and break camp every night and morning, as
Young's hand grew steadily worse and was all he could attend to. At
the mouth of the river, which was reached in shorter time than was
expected, and without accident, Young obtained some relief from
applications of spruce gum to his hand by Joe Michelini, a trapper and
hunter, famous for his skill in all Labrador. Northwest River was
reached the following day, and after a few days of rest for Smith,
during which time Young's injury began to mend also under the
influences of rest and shelter, they hired a small schooner boat to
take them to Rigolette. On the passage they were struck by a squall in
the night, nearly swamped, and compelled to cut the Rushton boat
adrift in order to save themselves. The next day they searched the
leeward shore of the lake in vain, and had to go on without her,
arriving at Rigolette without further accident, and had been there
about a week when we arrived. The boat was picked up later in a badly
damaged condition, and given to the finder.

While Young outlined his experience we hunted up Smith, who had been
making himself useful as a clerk to the factor at the Post, Mr. Bell,
and all went on board the Julia as soon as she arrived, to report and
relieve in a measure the anxiety of the professor and the boys.

[Anxious waiting] The day appointed for meeting the river party was
the day on which we reached Rigolette, August 25th, and so a sharp
lookout was kept for the two remaining members of the party, on whom,
now, the failure or success of that part of the expedition rested. As
they did not appear, we moved up to a cove near Eskimo Island, at the
eastern end of Lake Melville, the following day, and there spent four
days of anxious waiting. Some dredging and geological work was done,
and an attempt was made to examine more carefully the remains of the
Eskimo village before referred to on Eskimo Island, which some
investigators had thought the remains of a Norse settlement. The turf
was too tough to break through without a plow, and we had to give it
up, doing just enough to satisfy ourselves that the remains were
purely Eskimo.

All the work attempted was done in a half-hearted manner, for our
thoughts were with Cary and Cole, and as the days went by and they did
not appear, but were more and more overdue, our suspense became almost
unbearable. Added to this was the thought that we could wait but a few
days more at the longest, without running the danger of being
imprisoned all winter, and for that we were poorly prepared.

The first day of September we moved back to Rigolette to get supplies
and make preparations for our voyage home, as it was positively unsafe
to remain any longer. The Gulf of St. Lawrence is an ugly place to
cross at any time in September, for in that month the chances are
rather against a small vessel's getting across safely.

It was decided that the expedition must start home on Wednesday, the
2nd, and that a relief party should be left for Cary and Cole. With
heavy hearts the final preparations were made, and many were the looks
cast at the narrows where they would be seen, were they to heave in

At last, about 3.30 p.m. Tuesday, the lookout yelled, "Sail ho! in the
narrows," and we all jumped for the rigging. They had come, almost at
the last hour of our waiting, and with a feeling of relief such as we
shall seldom again experience we welcomed them aboard and heard their

       *       *       *       *       *

                               ON BOARD THE JULIA A. DECKER,
                                               GUT OF CANSO.

Bowdoin pluck has overcome Bowdoin luck, and though they literally had
to pass through fire and water, the Bowdoin men, from the Bowdoin
College Scientific Expedition to Labrador have done what Oxford failed
to do, and what was declared well nigh impossible by those best
acquainted with the circumstances and presumably best judges of the
matter. Austin Cary and Dennis Cole, Bowdoin '87 and '88,
respectively, have proven themselves worthy to be ranked as explorers,
and have demonstrated anew that energy and endurance are not wanting
in college graduates of this generation.

A trip up a large and swift river, totally unknown to maps in its
upper portions, for three hundred miles, equal to the distance from
Brunswick, Me., to New York City, in open fifteen feet boats, is of
itself an achievement worthy of remark. But when to this is added the
discovery of Bowdoin Canon, one of the most remarkable features of
North America, the settlement of the mystery of the Grand Falls, and
the bringing to light of a navigable waterway extending for an
unbroken ninety miles, and three hundred miles in the interior of an
hitherto unknown country, something more than remark is merited.

July 26th the schooner hove to about four miles from the mouth of the
Grand River, the shoals rendering a nearer approach dangerous, and the
boats of the river detachment were sent over the side, taken in tow by
the yawl, and the start made on what proved the most eventful part of
the Labrador expedition. Cheers and good wishes followed the three
boats till out of hearing, and then the Julia gathered way and headed
for North West River, while the party in the yawl with the two
Rushtons in tow put forth their best efforts to reach the mouth of
the river and a lee before the approaching squall should strike them.

The squall came first, and as it blew heavily directly out of the
river, we could simply lay to and wait for it to blow over. Then a
calm followed and by the time the next squall struck we were in a
comparative lee. After the heaviest of it had passed, the Grand River
boys clambered into their boats and with a hearty "good by" pulled
away for the opening close at hand. The yawl meantime had grounded on
one of the shoals, but pushing off and carefully dodging the boulders
that dot those shallow waters, she squared away for North West River,
following around the shore, and with the aid of a fresh breeze reached
the schooner shortly after 10 o'clock P.M.

[Grand River] The river party was made up of Austin Cary in charge,
and W.R. Smith, '90, occupying one boat, and Dennis Cole and E.B.
Young, '92, with the other, all strong, rugged fellows, more or less
acquainted with boating in rapid water, and well equipped for all
emergencies. Their outfit included provisions for five weeks, flour,
meal, buckwheat flour, rice, coffee, tea, sugar, beef extract, tins of
pea soup, beef tongue, and preserves. They were provided with
revolvers, a shot gun and a rifle, and sufficient ammunition,
intending to eke out the stores with whatever game came in their way,
although the amount of time given them would not allow much hunting.
All the supplies, including the surveying, measuring and
meteorological instruments, were either in tins or in water-tight
wrappings, while the bedding and clothing were protected by rubber
blankets. The boats, made by Rushton, the Adirondack boat-builder,
were of cedar, fifteen feet long, five feet wide, double-ended, and
weighed eighty pounds apiece. A short deck at each end of the boats
covered copper air-tanks, which made life-boats of them and added much
to their safety. Each boat was equipped with a pair of oars, a paddle
and about one hundred feet of small line for tracking purposes.
Proceeding about three miles the first camp was made on the south
shore of Goose Bay, amid an abundance of mosquitoes. The next day
twenty-five miles were made through shoals that nearly close the
river's mouth, leaving but one good channel through which the water
flows very swiftly, by the house of Joe Michelin, the trapper, at
which six weeks later two very gaunt and much used up men were most
hospitably received. Here another night was spent almost without
sleep, owing to the mosquitoes.

Tuesday a large Indian camp was passed, the big "pool," at the foot of
the first falls and some three miles long, rowed across, and at noon
the carry was begun. It was necessary to make seventeen trips and four
and one half hours were used in the task. When the last load had been
deposited at the upper end of the carry, the men threw themselves down
on the bank utterly weary, and owing to the loss of sleep the two
previous nights, were soon all sound asleep. In consequence camp was
made here, and the first comfortable night of the trip passed.
Including the carry eight miles was the day's advance.

The twenty-five miles of the next day were made rowing and tracking up
the Porcupine rapids through a series of small lakes, one with a
little island in the centre deceiving our boys for awhile into
thinking they had reached Gull Island Lake, and then up another short
rapid at the head of which the party encamped.

Sixteen miles were made next day by alternate rowing and tracking, the
foot of Gull Island Lake was reached, and after dinner it was crossed
in one and a half hours. Then the heaviest work of the trip thus far
was struck and camp was made, about half way up Gull Lake rapid.
Supper was made off a goose shot the previous day. It was necessary to
double the crews in getting up the latter part of Gull Island rapids,
and finally a short carry was made just at noon to get clear of them.
From the fact that the light, beautifully modelled boats required four
men to take them up the rapids we may get some idea of the swiftness
of the river as well as the difficulties attending the mode of
travelling. As the river in its swiftest parts is never less than half
a mile wide, and averages a mile, it can readily be seen that it is a
grand waterway, well deserving its name.

Nine miles were made this day and camp was reached at the beginning of
rough water on the Horse Shoe Rapid. Here the first evidence of shoes
giving out was seen. Constant use over rough rocks while wet proved
too much for even the strongest shoes, and when Cary and Cole returned
there was not leather enough between them to make one decent shoe.
Rain made the night uncomfortable, as the light shelter tent let the
water through very easily and was then of little use. At other times
the tents were very comfortable. Upon arriving at the spot selected
two men would at once set about preparing the brush for beds, pitching
the tent, etc., while the other provided wood for the camp and for the
cook, in which capacity Cary officiated. I cannot do better than use
Cary's own words in reference to his "humble but essential
ministrations." "Camp cooking at best is rather a wearing process, but
the agonies of a man whose hands are tangled up in dough and whom the
flies becloud, competing for standing room on every exposed portion of
his body, can be imagined only by the experienced."

The party believed that a good night's rest was indispensible where
the day was filled with the hardest kind of labor, and spared no pains
to secure them. Even on the return Cary and Cole, when half starved,
stuck to their practice of making comfortable camps, and it is
probable that the wonderful way they held out under their privations
was largely due to this. While many in their predicament would have
thrown away their blankets, they kept them, and on every cold and
stormy night congratulated themselves that they had done so.

[Loss of boat] On Saturday, Aug. 1st, the first accident happened.
Tracking on the Horse Shoe Rapids was extremely difficult and
dangerous. Shortly after dinner a carry was made, taking three and a
half hours to track out a path up and along a terrace about fifty feet
high. Shortly after this the boat used by Cary and Smith capsized,
emptying its load into the river. The party were "tracking" at the
time, Cole being nearly the length of the tow line ahead, tugging on
it, while Cary was doing his best to keep the boat off the rocks. At
the margin of the swift unbroken current there were strong eddies, and
in hauling the boat around a bend her bow was pushed into one, her
slight keel momentarily preventing her from heading up stream again,
and the rush of the water bore her under. At the same time Cary was
carried from his footing and just managed to grasp the line as he came
up and escape being borne down the stream. When things were collected
and an inventory taken of the loss, it was found to include about
one-fourth of the provisions, the barometer and chronometer rendered
useless and practically lost, measuring chain, cooking utensils,
rifles with much of the ammunition, axe and small stores, such as
salt, sugar, coffee, etc. The loss was a severe one, and arose from
failure to fasten the stores into the boats before starting, as had
been ordered. The time given the party for the trip was so short, the
distance so uncertain, and the things they desired to have an
opportunity to do on the return that would require comparative leisure
were so many, that they begrudged the few minutes necessary to
properly lash the loads into the boats, each time they broke camp; and
delay and disaster were the results. As the day was nearly spent, camp
was made but about a mile from the last, and time used in repairing
damages. A very ingenious baker for bread was contrived by Cole from
an empty flour tin, a new paddle made to replace the one lost, and a
redistribution of the baggage remaining effected.

In the following five days sixty-six miles were made with a few short
carries, some rowing and a good deal of hard tracking. Having passed
the Mininipi river and rapids, the latter being the worst on the
river, the bank furnishing almost no foothold for tracking the Mauni
rapids were reached and finally at 5 P.M., Aug. 6th, the party emerged
into Lake Waminikapo. As Cary's journal puts it, here the party "first
indulged in hilarity." The hardest part of the work was over and had
been done in much less time than had been expected. According to all
accounts the falls should be found only thirty miles beyond the head
of the lake, which is forty miles long and good rowing water, and
about three weeks time yet remained before they were due at Rigolette.
Added to this a perfect summer afternoon, comparatively smooth water,
running around the base of a magnificent cliff and opening out through
a gorge with precipitous sides, showing a beautiful vista of lake and
mountain, with the knowledge of rapids behind and the object of the
trip but a short way ahead and easy travelling most of that way, and
we may readily understand why these tired and travel worn voyagers
felt hilarious. Cary says of the scene: "As we gradually worked out of
the swift water the terraces of sand and stones were seen to give way
and the ridges beyond to approach one another and to erect themselves,
until at the lake's mouth we entered a grand portal between cliffs on
either hand towering for hundreds of feet straight into the air. And
looking beyond and between the reaches of the lake was seen a ribbon
of water lying between steep sided ridges, over the face of which, as
we pulled along, mountain streams came pouring."

One day was used in making the length of the lake, and at the camp at
its head Young and Smith turned back. A very badly swelled hand and
arm caused by jamming his thumb had prevented Young from getting any
sleep and threatened speedily to become worse. This in connection with
the loss of provisions in the upset made it expedient to send the two
men back. The returning party was given the best boat, the best of the
outfit and provisions for six days, in which time they could easily
reach the mouth of the river. Meantime Cary and Cole pushed on into
what was to prove the most eventful part of their journey.

The lake is simply the river valley with the terraces cleaned out, and
was probably made when the river was much higher, at a time not far
removed from the glacial period. The head of the lake is full of sand
bars and shoals, much resembling the mouth of the river as it opens
out into Goose bay. On both sides of the lake mountains rise steeply
for one thousand or twelve hundred feet. Its average width is from two
to three miles and it has three long bends or curves. Only one deep
valley breaks the precipitous sides, but many streams flow in over the
ridge, making beautiful waterfalls.

The river as it enters the lake is about half a mile wide, but soon
increases to a mile. Twenty miles were made by the advance the day the
parties separated, and at night, almost at the place where the falls
were reported, nothing but smooth water could be seen for a long
stretch ahead. Sunday, the 9th, twenty-five miles were made the good
rowing continuing, by burnt lands, and banks over which many cascades
tumbled. Monday, the last day's advance in the boats was made, the
water becoming too swift to be stemmed, This day Cary got the second
ducking of the trip--a very good record in view of the roughness of
the work and the smallness of the boats. During this and the day
previous an otter, a crow and a robin were seen. As a rule the river
was almost entirely deserted by animal life.

[Mount Hyde] The next day the boat and the provisions, excepting a six
days supply carried in the packs, were carefully cached, and at 10:45
camp was left and the memorable tramp begun. Each man carried about
twenty-five pounds. The stream was followed a short distance, then the
abrupt ascent to the plateau climbed, old river beaches being found
all the way up. Ascending a birch knoll, the river was in view for
quite a long distance and a large branch seen making in from the west.
To the north the highest mountain, in fact the only peak in the
vicinity, was seen towering up above the level plateau. Towards this
peak, christened Mt. Hyde, the party tramped, and arriving at the top
saw the country around spread out like a map. Way off towards the
northwest a large lake was seen from which Grand River probably flows,
and nearer was a chain of small, shallow and rocky ponds. The country
is rocky, covered with deep moss and fairly well wooded, with little
underbrush. The wood is all spruce save in the river valleys where
considerable birch is mixed in. The black flies were present in
clouds, even in the strong wind blowing at the top of Mt. Hyde, and
made halt for rest or any stop whatever intolerable. Leaving the
mountain, after taking bearings of all the points to be seen, the
party struck for the river and camped on the bank between the two
branches coming in from the westward, several miles apart. The
following day, with faces much swollen from fly bites of the day
before, the line of march was along the banks till 2 P.M. when the
upper fork was reached.

The course of the river is southeast. This branch course is from the
northwest. The main stream turns off sharply to the northeast and
after a few miles passes into a deep canon, christened "Bowdoin
Canon," between precipitous walls of archeac rock from six hundred to
eight hundred feet high. This canon was afterward found to be about
twenty-five miles long and winding in its course. In but few places is
the slope such as to permit a descent to the river bank proper, and
the canon is so narrow, and the walls of such perpendicular character,
as to make the river invisible from a short distance. It might truly
be said that the discovery of this canon, infinitely grander on
account of its age than any other known to geology, and surpassed by
few in size, is the most important result of the expedition. Several
photographs of it were made, which were not injured by the exposure to
wet and rough usage that the camera had to receive during the return
journey, and alone convey an adequate idea of this most wonderful of
nature's wonders.

At night the first camp away from the river was made, on the plateau.
The two men felt that the next day must be their last of advance, so
weakened were they by the terrible tramping over deep moss and the
persistent bleeding by black flies. The stock of provisions, too, was
running low, and with their diminishing strength was a warning to turn
back that could not be neglected. A half dozen grouse, three Canada
and three rough, had been added to their supplies, but even with full
meals they could not long stand the double drain upon their strength.

In the morning a high hill was seen, for which they started, drawing
slightly away from the river. Soon a roar from the direction of the
river was noticed, which differed from the ordinary roar of the
rapids. Altering their course it was found the roar "kept away,"
indicating an unusually heavy sound. Pushing forward, thinking it must
be the desired falls, they soon came out upon the river bank, with the
water at their level. This proved the falls to be below them, and
looking down they could be seen "smoking" about a mile distant. A
distinct pounding had also been felt for some time previous, which
further assured them that the falls were at hand. The roar that had
attracted their attention was of the river running at the plateau
level. At the point they came out upon it, it was nearly two hundred
yards wide, a heavy boiling rapid. Walking down the great blocks of
rock which form the shore, the river appeared to narrow and at 11.45
A.M., the Grand Falls were first seen.

[The marked Bowdoin Spruce] After making pictures of the Falls a
feeling of reaction manifested itself in Cary's physical condition,
and he remarked, "I do not wish to go farther, I need sleep." Cole, as
assistant, had avoided the wear and anxiety of leadership. His
athletic work at Bowdoin, in throwing the shot and hammer and running
on the Topsham track, had given him stored energy of arm and leg. This
reserve strength prompted him to press forward and see more of a
region new to human eyes. Leaving his hatchet with Cary, now rolled up
in his blanket, with the hope and expectation that on waking he would
use the same in preparing fuel and cooking supper, Cole pressed
forward into the strange and unknown country three or four miles, and
then, for a final view of the location, climbed the highest tree he
could find and from its top surveyed the waste of land and river. He
stood thus exalted near the center of the vast peninsula of Labrador.
Four hundred and fifty miles to the east lay the wide expanse of
Hamilton Inlet. Four hundred and fifty miles to the north lay Cape
Chudleigh, towards which he could imagine the Julia A. Decker, vainly
as it proved, pointing her figure head through fog and ice. Only six
hundred miles due south the granite chapel of Bowdoin College points
heavenward both its uplifted hands. Four hundred and fifty miles to
the west rolled the waves of that great inland ocean, Hudson's Bay,
into whose depths, Henry Hudson, after his penetrations to northern
waters above Spitzbergen, after his pushing along the eastern coast of
Greenland, after his magnificent and successful exploration of the
American coast from Maine to Virginia, penetrating Delaware bay and
river and sailing up that river crowned by the Palisades and the
hights of the Catskills, honored with his name and whose waters bear
the largest portion of the commercial wealth of our own country; still
fascinated by the vision of a northwest passage that intrepid explorer
penetrated into the waters of the unknown sea whose waves unseen dash
along the coasts of Labrador from its westward to its northern shores
and Cape Chudleigh. All these explorations he accomplished in a
sailing vessel about the size of the Julia A. Decker, the ship
"Discoverie" of seventy tons. He had wintered at the southern
extremity of Hudson's Bay surrounded by a mutinous crew. In the
hardships and suffering of the next season, after he had divided his
last bread with his men, in the summer of 1611, while near the western
coast of Labrador, half way back to the Straits, by an ungrateful crew
he was thrust into a sail boat with his son John and five sailors sick
and blind with scurvy, and was left to perish in the great waste of
waters, which, bearing his name, is "his tomb and his monument." Cole,
with his mind and imagination filled with these facts, involuntarily
took his knife and carved his name and the expedition on the upper
part of the tree which formed his outlook. It might be his monument as
the Inland Sea was that of Hudson. Then to have the tree marked and
observable to other eyes, in case other eyes should see that country,
he commenced to cut the branches from near the top of the tall spruce.
He regretted much the leaving of the hatchet with Cary as he was
obliged to do the work with his knife. It was a slow and laborious
job. His imagination, as it roamed over the wide land, and his
interest in his present efforts, had consumed time faster than he
knew, and the slanting rays of the western sun started him with
thoughts of Cary and supper. It was dark when he reached Cary and he
was still asleep. The hatchet was idle, and he wished more than ever
that his efforts on the branches of the marked Bowdoin Spruce had been
rendered less laborious and more expeditious by the aid of this, to be
hereafter his constant companion and source of safety along with
another and more diminutive friend, a pocket pistol.

[Grand Falls] The falls proper are three hundred and sixteen feet
high, and just above the river narrows from two hundred and fifty to
fifty yards, the water shooting over a somewhat gradual downward
course and then plunging straight down with terrific force the
distance mentioned, and with an immense volume. The river is much
higher at times and the fall must be even grander, for while the party
was there the ground quaked with the shock of the descending stream,
and the river was nearly at its lowest point. At the bottom is a large
pool made by the change of direction of the river from south at and
above the falls to nearly east below. The canon begins at the pool and
extends as has been described, with many turns and windings, for
twenty-five miles through archaic rock. Above the falls in the wide
rapids, the bed was of the same rock, which seems to underlie the
whole plateau. In 1839, the falls were first seen by a white man, John
McLean, an officer of the Hudson Day Co., while on an exploring
expedition in that "great and terrible wilderness" known as Labrador.
His description is very general, but he was greatly impressed with the
stupendous height of the falls, and terms it one of the grandest
spectacles of the world. Twenty years later, one Kennedy, also an
employe of the Hudson Bay Co., persuaded an Iroquois Indian, who did
not share the superstitious dread of them common among the Labrador
Indians, to guide him to the thundering fall and misty chasm. He left
no account of his visit, however, and in fact, though one other man
reached them, and Mr. Holmes, an Englishman, made the attempt and
failed, no full account of the falls has been given to the world,
until Cary and Cole made their report. Above the falls as far as could
be seen, all was white water, indicating a fall of about one hundred
foot per mile. In the course of twenty-five or thirty miles there is a
descent of twelve hundred feet, nearly equal to the altitude of the
"Height of Land," as the interior plateau of Labrador is called, which
has probably been previously overestimated. The next forenoon was
spent in surveying and making what measurements could be made in the
absence of the instruments lost in the upset. At noon, after having
spent just twenty-four hours at Grand Falls, the party turned back.
The very fact of having succeeded, made distance shorter and fatigue
more easily borne, so they travelled along at a rattling pace,
surveying at times and little thinking of the disaster that had
befallen them. Camp was made on the river bank, beneath one of the
terraces which lined both sides.

Saturday Aug. 15th, the march back to the boat cache was resumed.
Towards night, as they approached the place, smoke was seen rising
from the ground, and fearing evil, the men broke into a run during the
last two miles. As Cary's journal puts it: "We arrived at our camp to
find boat and stores burnt and the fire still smoking and spreading.
Cole arrives first, and as I come thrashing through the bushes he sits
on a rock munching some burnt flour. He announces with an unsteady
voice: 'Well, she's gone.' We say not much, nothing that indicates
poor courage, but go about to find what we can in the wreck, and pack
up for a tramp down river. In an hour we have picked out everything
useful, including my money, nails, thread and damaged provisions, and
are on the way down river hoping to pass the rapids before dark,
starting at 5."

Their position was certainly disheartening. They were one hundred and
fifty miles from their nearest cache, and nearly three hundred from
the nearest settlement, already greatly used up, needing rest and
plenty of food; in a country that forbade any extended tramping inland
to cut off corners, on a river in most places either too rough for a
raft or with too sluggish a current to make rafting pay; and above
all, left with a stock of food comprising one quart of good rice,
brought back with them, three quarts of mixed meal, burnt flour and
burnt rice, a little tea, one can of badly dried tongue, and one can
of baked beans that were really improved by the fire. Add to this some
three dozen matches and twenty-five cartridges, blankets and what
things they had on the tramp to the falls, and the list of their
outfit, with which to cover the three hundred miles, is complete.
There was no time to be wasted, and that same night six miles were
made before camping. The next day the battle for life began. It was
decided that any game or other supplies found on the way should be
used liberally, while those with which they started were husbanded.
This day several trout were caught, line and hooks being part of each
man's outfit, and two square meals enjoyed, which proved the last for
a week. A raft was made that would not float the men and baggage, and
being somewhat discouraged on the subject of rafting by the failure,
another was not then attempted, and the men continued tramping.
Following the river, they found its general course between the rapids
and Lake Wanimikapo, S.S.E. During part of that day and all the next,
they followed in the track of a large panther, but did not get in
sight of him. Acting on the principle that they should save their
strength as much as possible, camps were gone into fairly early and
were well made; and this night, in spite of the desperate straits they
were in, both men enjoyed a most delightful sleep.

[Squirrel and Cranberries] After this some time every morning was
usually occupied in mending shoes. All sorts of devices were resorted
to to get the last bit of wear out of them, even to shifting from
right to left, but finally Cole had to make a pair of the nondescripts
from the leather lining of his pack, which lasted him to the vessel.
Cranberries were found during the day and at intervals during the
tramp, and were always drawn upon for a meal. About two quarts were
added to the stock of provision, and many a supper was made off a red
squirrel and a pint of stewed cranberries.

Wednesday, the 19th, another raft was made, which took the party into
the lake. This was more comfortable than tracking, yet they were in
the water for several hours while on the raft, which was made by
lashing two cross-pieces about four feet long on the ends of five or
six logs laid beside each other and from twenty to thirty feet long,
all fastened with roots, and having a small pile of brush to keep the
baggage dry. The still water of the lake made the raft useless, even
in a fresh, fair breeze, and so this one was abandoned two miles down,
and the weary tramping again resumed. Fortunately the water was so low
that advantage could be taken of the closely overgrown shore by
walking on the lake bed, and far better progress was made owing to the
firmer footing. Three days were used in getting down the lake, during
which time but one fish, a pickerel, was caught, where they had
expected to find an abundance.

At the foot of the lake, tracks were seen, which it was thought might
be those of hunters. It was learned later that they were more
probably tracks of Bryant's and Kenaston's party, who were following
them up and probably had been passed on the opposite side of the lake,
unnoticed in the heavy rain of the preceeding day. Some bits of meat
that had been thrown away were picked up and helped to fill the gap,
now becoming quite long, between square meals. Supper on this day is
noted in Cary's journal because they "feasted on three squirrels."
Having gotten out of the lake into rapid water, trout was once more
caught, and as on the following day, Sunday, the 23d, a bear's heart,
liver, etc., was found, and later several fish caught. The starvation
period was over.

In the afternoon another raft was built and the next day carried them
five miles down to the last cache. Though so terribly used up that the
odd jobs connected with making and breaking camp dragged fearfully,
and each day's advance had to be made by pure force of will, the men
felt that the worst was over and their final getting out of the woods
was a matter of time merely. At this cache, also, a note from Young
and Smith was found announcing their passage to that point all right
and in less time than expected, so they had drawn no supplies from the
stock there.

Tuesday, the 25th.--The day, by the way, that the Julia Decker and
party arrived at Rigolette according to plans, expecting to find the
whole Grand River party, and instead found only Young and Smith, who
had been waiting there about a week. Rafting was continued in a heavy
rain down to the Mininipi Rapids over which the raft was nearly
carried against the will of the occupants. At the foot of these rapids
a thirty mile tramp was begun, the raft that had carried them so well
for forty-five miles being abandoned, which took them past the Horse
Shoe and Gull Island Rapids and occupied most of the two following
days. The tracking was fair, and as starvation was over pretty good
time was made.

Thursday, the 27th.--A raft was made early in the morning that took
them by the Porcupine Rapids and landed them safely, though well
soaked, at the head of the first falls. Camp was made that night at
the first cache below the falls, forty miles having been covered
during the day.

[The last pistol shot] Friday, they fully expected to reach Joe
Michelin's house and get the relief that was sadly needed, but as the
necessity for keeping up became less imperative, their weakness began
to tell on them more. Cary's shoes became so bad that going barefoot
was preferable, except over the sharpest rocks, and Cole's feet had
become so sore that as a last resort his coat sleeves were cut off and
served as a cross between stockings and boots. They were doomed to
disappointment, however, and compelled to camp at nightfall with four
or five miles bad travelling and the wide river between them and the
house. Fires were made in hopes of attracting the trapper's attention
and inducing him to cross the river in his boat, but as they learned
the next day, though they were seen, the dark rainy night prevented
his going over to find out what they meant. The last shot cartridge
was used that night on a partridge, and the red squirrels went
unmolested thereafter. This last shot deserves more than a passing
notice. In one sense these shot cartridges for Cole's pistol were
their salvation. Just before the expedition started from Rockland it
was remarked in conversation that the boat crew under DeLong, in the
ill-fated expedition of the "Jeanette", met their death by starvation
in the delta of the Lena, with the exception of two, Naros and
Nindermann, simply because their hunter, Naros, had only a rifle with
ball cartridges, the shot guns having been left on board the
"Jeanette;" that on the delta there was quite an abundance of small
birds which it was almost impossible to kill by a bullet and even when
killed by a lucky shot, little was left of the bird. Cole was
impressed by these facts and upon inquiring ascertained that the
pistol shot cartridges ordered by the expedition had been overlooked.
He energetically set about supplying the lack, and after persistent
search, almost at the last hour, succeeded in finding a small stock in
the city, which he bought out. To the remnant of this stock which
escaped the fire at Burnt Cache camp, as has been said, is the escape
of Cary and Cole from starvation largely due.

The value of these cartridges had day by day, on the weary return from
Grand Falls, become more and more apparent to the owner. At the
discharge of the last one, the partridge fell not to the ground, but
flew to another and remote cluster of spruces. To this thicket Cole
hastened and stood watching to discover his bird. Cary came up and
after waiting a little while, said, "It is no use to delay longer,
time is too precious." The value of this last cartridge forced Cole to
linger. He was reluctant to admit it was wasted. In a few minutes he
heard something fall to the ground, he knew not what it was, but with
eager steps pressed towards the place, and when near it a slight
flutter and rustling of wings led him to discover the partridge,
uninjured except that one leg was broken; that by faintness or
inability to hold its perch with one foot it had fallen to the ground.
The darkness and rain of that night then closing around them were
rendered less dark and disagreeable by the assurance that kind
Providence showed its hand when the help of an unseen power was needed
to deliver them from the perils of the unknown river. It rained hard
all the next forenoon, and as the river was rough, the men stayed in
camp, hoping Joe would come across, until noon, when a start was made
for the house. A crazy raft took them across the river, the waves at
times nearly washing over them, and landing on the other side, they
started on the last tramp of the trip, which the rain and thick
underbrush, together with their weakened condition, made the worst of
the trip. About 3 P.M., they struck a path, and in a few minutes were
once more under a roof and their perilous journey was practically

Seventeen days had been used in making the three hundred miles, all
but about seventy-five of which were covered afoot. When they came in,
besides the blankets, cooking tins and instruments, nothing remained
of the outfit with which they started on the return except three
matches and one ball cartridge for the revolver, which, in Cole's
hands, had proved their main stay from absolute starvation. The
following day, Sunday, after having had a night's rest in dry clothes
and two civilized meals, Joe took them to Northwest River, where Mr.
McLaren, the factor of the Hudson Bay Company's posts showed them
every kindness till a boat was procured to take them to Rigolette. A
storm and rain, catching them on a lee shore and giving the already
exhausted men one more tussle with fortune to get their small vessel
into a position of safety, made a fitting end to their experiences.

[On board the Julia A. Decker] Tuesday at 4 P.M., they reached the
schooner and their journey was done. Amid the banging of guns and
rifles, yells of delight and echoes of B-O-W-D-O-I-N flying over the
hills, they clambered over the rail from the boat that had been sent
to meet them and nearly had their arms wrung off in congratulations
upon their success, about which the very first questions had been
asked as soon as they came within hearing. They were nearly deafened
with exclamations that their appearance called out, and by the
questions that were showered on them. At last some order was restored,
and after pictures had been made of them just as they came aboard,
dressed in sealskin tassock, sealskin and deerskin boots and
moccasins, with which they had provided themselves at Northwest River,
ragged remnants of trousers and shirts, and the barest apologies for
hats, they were given an opportunity to make themselves comfortable
and eat supper, and then the professor took them into the cabin to
give an account of themselves. It was many days before their haggard
appearance, with sunken eyes and dark rings beneath them, and their
extreme weakness disappeared.

The return trip of Young and Smith from Lake Waminikapo, who reached
Rigolette Aug. 18th, was made in five days to Northwest River, and
after resting two days, in two more to Rigolette. Their trip was
comparatively uneventful. At the foot of Gull Island Lake they met
Bryant and Kenaston, who with their party of Indians were proceeding
very leisurely and apparently doing very little work themselves. At
their rate of progress it seemed to our party very doubtful if they
ever reached the falls. They had picked up, in the pool at the foot of
the first falls, one of the cans of flour lost in the upset, some
fifty or sixty miles up the river, with its contents all right, and
strange to say not a dent in it, and returned it to Smith and Young
when they met them. That night, with the assistance of the officers
and passengers of the mail steamer, which lay alongside of us, a
jollification was held. Our return race to Battle Harbor, the last
concert of the Glee Club in Labrador waters, the exciting race over
the gulf with the little Halifax trader, the tussle with the elements
getting into Canso, the sensation of a return to civilization and
hearty reception at Halifax, and greeting at Rockland, must remain for
another letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

                               ON BOARD THE JULIA A. DECKER,
                                       ROCKLAND HARBOR, ME.,
                                         September 23, 1891.

The staunch little schooner has once more picked a safe path through
the dangers of fog, rocks and passing vessels, and her party are
safely landed at the home port, before quite two weeks of the college
term and two weeks of making up had piled up against its members.

The crew that weighed anchor at Rigolette on the morning of September
2nd, when the wind came and the tide had turned, was a happy one, for
from Professor to "cookee" we all felt that we were truly homeward
bound, and that we had accomplished our undertaking without any cause
for lasting regret. The mail steamer, whose passengers had joined in
the jollification of the night preceding, being independent of the
wind, had started ahead of us. Another race was on with the "Curlew,"
this time a merely friendly contest, without the former anxiety as to
some other party's getting the lead of ours in the trip up the Grand
River. But the result was not different this time. A fine breeze kept
us going all day and the following night. But the next day the fog
came. It was no different from the cold, damp, land-mark obscuring
mist of the Maine coast in its facility in hiding from view everything
we most wanted to see in order to safely find the harbor that we knew
must be near at hand, though we could not tell just where. A headland,
looming up to twice its real height in the fog about it, was rounded,
and the lead followed in the hope that it would take us to the desired
haven. Soon a fishing boat hailed, and a voice, quickly followed by a
man, emerged from the fog and shouted that if we went farther on that
course we would be among the shoals. We were told we had passed the
mouth of the harbor, and so turning back, tried to follow our guide,
but he soon disappeared. Just at this moment when it seemed
impossible for us to find any opening, the fog lifted and we saw a
schooner's sail over one of the small islets that lay about us. Taking
our cue from that we poked into the next narrow channel we came to,
and getting some sailing directions from a passing boat, and from the
signal man stationed on a bluff to give assistance to strangers, we
glided into an almost circular basin, hardly large enough for the
vessel to swing in, set among steep rising sides, into which many ring
bolts were seen to be fastened, and perfectly sheltered from every
wind. The use for the ring bolts we found later. The fog kept rolling
over, and the little fishing vessels kept shooting in, till it seemed
the harbor would not hold another. As all sail had to be hauled down
before the vessels came in sight of the interior, the vessels seemed
literally to scoot into the basin. A few of the vessels were anchored
and kept from swinging by lines to the bolts, and the rest of the
fleet made fast to them. In all the number of vessels crowded into the
space where we hardly thought we could lie was about twenty. How they
would ever get out seemed a puzzle, but the next morning it was
accomplished, with a light fair wind, by all at once without accident
or delay. Had the wind been ahead, the ring bolts would have aided in
warping to a weatherly position.

During the evening the mail steamer caught us, and after putting a
little freight ashore, left us behind again. Here were some strange
epitaphs painted on the wooden slabs, also people ready to exchange or
sell at a far higher rate than we had hitherto paid, anything they
possessed for the cash which was all we had left to bargain with, the
available old clothes having been already disposed of.

It was hard to disabuse the minds of the people at Square Island
Harbor of the idea that we had come to seek gold or other valuable
mines, the reason being that several years before a party from the
States had spent considerable time prospecting in that vicinity and
partly opened one or two worthless mica quarries.

[A Bold Skipper] It was a glorious sight to see the fleet get under
way the next morning. Many a close shave and more bumps but no serious
collisions were caused by the twenty or more vessels crowding out
together through the narrow opening, each eager to get the first puff
from the fair breeze outside the lee of the cliffs. The whole fleet
was bound up the coast, but before many of the schooners had drifted
far enough out to catch the breeze it had failed, and only after an
hour or more of annoying experience with puffs from every quarter, did
the strong sea breeze set in. Sheets were trimmed flat aft, and all
settled down to beating up the coast. The Julia soon left the mass of
the fleet and before reaching Battle Harbor, where a long desired mail
was awaiting, had nearly overtaken the lucky ones who had drifted far
enough off shore to make a leading wind of the afternoon breeze.
During the calm a school of whales disported themselves in the midst
of the fleet, chasing one another, blowing and churning the water to
foam about us, apparently as though it was rare fun.

Late in the afternoon we approached the entrance to Battle Harbor, but
with the wind blowing directly out of the narrow, rocky and winding
entrance we wondered how we should get in. Our captain was equal to
the problem, however, and undeterred by the crowded state of the
harbor, within whose narrow limits were two large steamers, one or two
barks and several fishermen, performed a feat of seamanship the equal
of which, we were told, preserved in the traditions of the port, and
only half believed, as having been done once, thirty years before.

Getting about ten knots way on the vessel, and heading her straight
for the steamer nearest the mouth, we just brushed by the rocks of the
entrance, sheered a bit and shot past the steamer before her
astonished officers could utter a word of warning, and were traveling
up the harbor at a steamboat pace, the sails meanwhile rattling down,
and some of us on board wondering if we should not keep right on out
the other entrance to the harbor, while boats scurried out of our way,
two men in one fishing boat looking reproachfully at us as we missed
them by about two feet just after our fellow on lookout had reported
"nothing but a schooner in the way, sir;" and people rushed to their
doors and to the decks to see what was exciting such a commotion, just
as the anchor was let go with a roar and we quietly swung to and ran
our mooring line, as though we had done that thing all our lives.

Here about one hundred letters were brought aboard amid much
rejoicing, for many had not heard from home at all during the trip.

By the time we were ready to make what we hoped would prove the last
departure from a Labrador harbor, the next morning, the wind, which
had changed in the night and was blowing in exactly the opposite
direction, had become so strong that the little steam launch of Bayne
& Co., which had been tendered us to tow us out of the harbor, was not
powerful enough to pull the schooner against it. The other entrance,
for like all the rest this Labrador harbor was merely a "tickle" and
had its two entrances, was narrow, shoal, and had such short turns
that it seemed impossible to run so large a vessel as the Julia
through it. However, our impatience would not brook the uncertain
delay of waiting for the wind to change, so taking on board the best
pilot that town of pilots could afford, we made the attempt. Three
times we held our breaths, almost, as we anxiously watched the great
green spots in the water, indicating sunken rocks, glide under our
counter or along our side, while the steady voice of the weatherbeaten
old man at the fore rigging sounded "port," then in quick, sharp,
seemingly anxious tones, "now starboard--hard!" and again
"port--lively now," and the graceful vessel turned to the right or
left, just grazing the rock or ledge, as though she too could see just
how near to them it was safe to go and yet pass through without a
scrape. It was a decided relief to all, and the silence on board, that
had been broken only by the rush of wind and water, the pilot's voice
and the creaking of the wheel as it was whirled around by the skillful
hands of the captain, suddenly ceased, when the pilot left his place
and walked slowly aft, praising the admirable way in which the vessel
behaved at the critical points, and apparently unconscious that in the
eyes of twenty college boys he had performed an almost impossible

After a hard pull to windward for two of us, to set the pilot ashore,
and a wet and rough time getting aboard again, and after our laugh at
the expense of the mate, who had cast off our shore warp, as we
started out of the harbor, and then had been unable to catch the
schooner, which was equally unable to wait for him in the narrow
passage, and who had, therefore, to row all the way after us at the
top of his speed, and only caught us when we lay to to send off the
pilot; we made everything snug and started down the straits, hoping to
reach Canso without further delay.

[Last harbor in Labrador] That was not our fortune, however, for soon
the wind hauled ahead, and with a strong current against us it was
impossible to make any progress, so after jumping in a most lively
manner all day, in the chops of Belle Isle, we made a harbor for
the night at Chateau Bay, in almost the same spot where we had waited
two dreary days two months before. The next day we worked along the
coast, but at night again put in to what proved our last, as well as
our first harbor on the Labrador--Red Bay. Here we found a mail
steamer and were allowed irregularly to open the bag to Battle Harbor
and take out that which belonged to us, much to our delight, of course,
for it gave us news comparatively fresh, that is, not over a month
old, from home.

Here, also, we laid in a supply of the only fruit that Labrador
produces, called "bake apple." It is a berry of a beautiful waxen
color when ripe, otherwise looking much like a large raspberry, and
having a most peculiar flavor, which we learned to like, and grew very
fond of, when the berries were served, stewed with sugar. We had been
deprived of fresh fruit so long that we should probably have learned
to like anything, however odd its flavor, that had its general

Here, too, we again fell in with our little Halifax trader, which gave
us so hot a race to Halifax in the coming week, both vessels arriving
at Halifax within an hour of each other, after starting at the same
time from Red Bay and keeping within sight nearly all the time. At
length the wind came to the south, and we started, laying our course
west, along the Labrador shore, so as to get a windward position and
be able to "fetch" Canso when the wind came around to the west, as it
is certain to do at that season of the year, compelling us to "tack
ship" and stand right out against the stormy Gulf of St. Lawrence.
These southwesterly winds had been our dread, for they blow so
strongly and in September make the Gulf so rough that getting to
windward against them is impossible. Hence our satisfaction can be
imagined as we sped along the Labrador coast that day, the wind
becoming a trifle easterly, so as to allow us to "start our sheets"
and at the same time steadily increase our offing, getting such a
weatherly position for Canso that the moment the expected change of
direction began we promptly "tacked ship" and at the worst had a
leading wind across.

For three days we hobnobbed with the little "Minnie Mac" across the
Gulf. The first thing we did in the morning was to hunt her up with
the glasses from aloft, if not in sight from the deck, and the last
thing in order at night were speculations as to where we should next
see her. The difference in the build of the two vessels, the one being
shoal and centerboard, the other deep and heavily laden, made the race
a zigzag. When the wind favored a little and the sheets could be
"eased" then the shoal model would push ahead, but when the wind came
more nearly ahead, and we had to plunge squarely into a head sea, then
the deeper draught and heavier lading told to advantage.

During this time we were not idle on board. The Grand River men were
beginning to feel vigorous again, and their notes and data had to be
worked up. The collections, too, though largely packed away securely
for the rough voyage, yet gave plenty of occupation to those not
otherwise employed, while the few really industriously inclined used
their superfluous energy in seeing to it that the lazy were given no
opportunity to enjoy their idleness.

The morning of the fourth day the coasts of Cape Breton were in sight,
but the wind came straight out of the Gut of Canso in half a gale, and
then our rival, owing to her greater weight, forged ahead, and it
seemed that we were to be beaten. However, much to our amusement, when
we got a few miles off the mouth of the Gut, we found a calm, into
which the "Minnie Mac" had run and where she stayed till we came up.
With us also came a breeze, and we forged ahead of her into the
anchorage at Port Hawksbury just as we had said we would do when we
left Red Bay. Here we spent the rest of the day, laying in a stock of
much needed fresh provisions, and sending nine of our college
base-ballists, at the invitation of the Port Hawkesbury nine, to give
them some points on the game. About the fifth inning the game closed
on account of darkness, with score in Bowdoin's favor something about

A short run brought us into Little Canso, where we had to turn to the
west to go along the Nova Scotia coast to Halifax, but fog shut down
so we spent a day inspecting the plant of the Mackay-Bennett cable,
which has its terminus at Hazel Hill, about two miles from Canso,
finding some very agreeable acquaintances in the persons of Mr.
Dickinson, the manager, and Mr. Upham, his first assistant electrical
expert, who proved to be a Castine man and was deligted to meet some
Yankees from his old cruising grounds, Penobscot Bay, and getting some
interesting knowledge concerning ocean telegraphy. It seemed strange,
to say the least, to be in communication, as we were, with a ship out
in mid-Atlantic, repairing a cable, and to have an answer from Ireland
to our message in less than a minute after it was sent.

[Solid shot at Halifax] With one stop on account of fog and
threatening storm, we reached Halifax in two more days. The
introduction to it, though, was not so pleasant, for as we were
running up the harbor solid shot from one of the shore batteries came
dropping around us and skipping by us, altogether too near for
comfort. However, no damage was done beyond the injury threatened to
Her Majesty's property in the proposition for a while considered to
call away boarders, land and take the battery. We found later that it
was merely target practice and nothing disrespectfully intended
towards the flag flying from our peak, so were satisfied that we had
not made any hostile response.

Once ashore the hospitable Haligonians began by inviting the Professor
and others to a dinner at the Halifax Club. The next day we enjoyed
an official reception, and accompanied by Premier Fielding and members
of his Cabinet, Consul General Frye and other gentlemen, were taken on
an excursion about the beautiful harbor in the steam yacht of one of
our entertainers, given a dinner and right royally toasted at one of
the public buildings, and were finally taken to the Yacht Club House
for a final reception.

At Halifax some of our party fearing more delay in reaching Rockland,
left us, so with diminished numbers but plenty of enthusiasm we made
ready for the last stage of the voyage. After some rather amusing
experiences with our assistant steward or "cookee," who seemed to
reason that because he had been so long deprived of the luxuries of
modern civilization he should employ the first opportunity he had to
enjoy them in making himself incapable of doing so, and who was
brought aboard the morning we sailed only after a somewhat prolonged
search, we "squared away" for Cape Sable. The fine fair wind ran us
nearly down there, but just as we thought to escape the provoking
calms that delayed us in this vicinity on the outward trip, we found
the wind drawing ahead and failing. A day was spent in slowly working
around the cape, drifting back much of the time, and then we struck
one of the southerly fog winds that are too well known on the Maine
coast. We were in waters on which our captain had been bred, and so we
pushed on into the night, looking eagerly or listening intently as the
darkness closed over us for some sign of approaching land. At length,
just about eleven, when it seemed we could not stand the suspense of
knowing that thousands of rocks were just ahead but not just where
they were, and yet equally unwilling to stop then, when so near home,
we heard the sound of the breakers, and standing cautiously in on
finding the water very deep, soon made Mt. Desert rock light. It was a
welcome sight, and from there an easy matter to shape our course for
home. At day-break we could still see nothing, but towards noon, the
wind being light and our progress slow, we passed the desolate house
of refuge on the Wooden Ball Island, and soon the lifting fog showed
us the mouth of Penobscot's beautiful bay, and shortly after we
dropped our anchor in the long wished for Rockland harbor, and the
cruise of the Julia Decker and her crew of Bowdoin boys was ended.

[The royal welcome] The account would be incomplete, though, were
reference omitted to the royal welcome that awaited us at Rockland.
Upon landing we found the church bells ringing, and the city's
business for the moment stopped, while the city fathers as well as a
goodly number of her sons and daughters greeted us at the wharf. In
the evening there was another reception, and there the expedition as
such appeared for the last time, and as the most fitting way in which
we could express our gratitude at the interest shown in our work and
safe return, as well as to contribute our share towards the evening's
entertainment, the Bowdoin College Labrador Expedition Glee Club
rendered, as its last selection, a popular college song, of which the
burden was, as also the title, "The wild man of Borneo has just come
to town."


       *       *       *       *       *

[Missionary in Labrador] Since the Bowdoin College Labrador Expedition
much interest has been taken by charitable women in the missionaries
who are laboring in that bleak country. As often as possible barrels
of clothing and other useful articles have been sent to them. In
return the missionaries have sent interesting letters describing their
work and acknowledging the gifts. One of these, written to Mrs. James
P. Baxter, of Portland, gives a description that will be of general

                                         HOPEDALE, LABRADOR,
                                            October 3, 1893.

Dear Madam:

For your very kind letter and for the very useful articles for our
people, accept my best and kindest thanks. We have already made some
of the people glad with cloth, and we will but be so glad for them in
the winter time.

Happily the codfishery has been much better this year than last, thus
we can more confidently look forward to the coming winter time than we
could last year; because our people were so poor and we finished the
many kind gifts long before the spring came on, when they were able to
earn their own bread.

We have had a very cold and dreary summer, the few warm days could
easily be counted, and now the winter is at the door.

On last Christmas day we had a nice Christmas celebration with our
school children in the chapel. For this purpose we had placed two nice
Christmas trees and two illuminated transparents in the chapel. My
dear husband translated some lovely Christmas songs into Eskimo, and I
taught the children to sing them. Between the hymns they recited songs
and texts from the Bible. Sometimes one by one and then again
altogether. The children made it very nicely. The choir, which sang
some nice pieces, helped to make the whole to sound better. Finally
every child got a large biscuit and a cup of tea, which seemed to make
greater impression than the whole celebration. The congregation were
also invited and they were very much interested in it.

In the midst of February I accompanied my dear husband on his journey
around to the settlers belonging to our congregation, which live
scattered far away from here towards the South.

We left Hopedale one morning, having 30 degrees Cen. of cold, of
course by "kamatik" (dog sledge). I was well wrapped up so that I did
not freeze so very much, but the worst is always on such a trip that
we cannot eat anything. Before we started I made some meat balls for
the purpose to use them during the nine hours driving, but it was
impossible to make use of them because they were like stones without
fearing to loosen our teeth. Happily I had some biscuits and to become
more strengthened I used a little chocolate. We were nearly three
weeks away from home and in that time we were nearly every day on the
kamatik. Never less than five hours at a time, but generally from
seven to nine hours, and twice from eleven to twelve hours. It was
indeed sometimes very exhausting especially one time when we came to
very poor people where we had for two days nothing to eat and the next
day we had to travel for about eleven hours having nothing but dry
biscuits. I did not feel so very well that time.

Many of these settlers have only the opportunity once a year to hear
the gospel of God preached to them, that is when the missionary is
visiting them. Many are too far away from Hopedale to come and visit
us, and some are too poor; or at least the dogs' food is too
expensive. My dear husband made this journey last winter for the fifth
time, that is only towards the south. To the north he has also been
different times. In such a journey the Sacraments are spent, marriage
performed, and meetings are kept as many as possible. The poor
children who grow up without having any school are examined as to how
much they have improved since the last year. We felt this year very
much again the need of having a station among them. There are children
among them from 16 to 17 years of age who cannot read at all. We have
now asked our society in London and Berthelsdorf, if possible, to
build a station for them that they may have their own minister and
teacher. We hope it may be done, then we would not have to travel any
longer only in cases of need. Every one who has to travel ruins his
health if he has to do it for a long time. The settlers could then
easily reach the Mission Station or the missionary could in one day
get to the place where he is wanted.

[Hungry children] May I, dear madam, give you some instances? First
about a family having ten children of ages ranging from two to
eighteen years. We came to that place in the afternoon about 5 o'clock
accompanied by four other persons belonging to their relationship who
joined when we left their homes. As soon as we opened the door of the
house we were in the dwelling room. At the first sight we saw that
great poverty governed here, even the children looked consumed and
clothed in rags. The house was so bad that the wind made its way
through the many gaps. After I had wrapped myself in a large shawl and
placed myself beside the big stove I was still freezing. Some windows
were broken, the opening filled with rags. My dear husband asked why
they had not nailed a board on the place instead of rags; they
answered, "We have got none." But my husband said "You could easily
have made a nail of wood," which they promised to do. We could only
get a very little bread, because they had only one small piece. I gave
the tea. My dear husband spent the Sacrament, communion and baptism
in the evening in the hope we would be able to go further the next
day, for we could not stay any longer here if we would not starve. We
had a poor resting place. It was not possible to undress ourselves.
The whole time we felt the snow on our faces and the wind through the
many gaps. We froze very much although the fire was kept on during the
night. Not very far from us Mr. and Mrs. Tacque were resting, and we
heard how the one said to the other, "I hope Mr. and Mrs. Hansen can
go further to-morrow, for we have nothing to eat." That was indeed a
very sad prospect, for we heard too well the snow storm was howling
outside and there was no hope for us to go on. And so it was. The next
day I gave from our provisions as much as I could, but we had not very
much, and I could not give everything away because we might afterwards
be caught out in a snowstorm, which often happens, where we then have
to live in a snow house until the storm is over. I gave now coffee for
19 persons, bread we had none, for it always freezes so hard that it
is useless. The poor woman collected all the bread she had and we took
as little as possible. During the day time my dear husband kept
different meetings, talked and prayed with them. For dinner I asked
for a large pot and put it on the stove. I had happily taken some
preserved soups and cooked now for all the people in the house, put
all our meat balls and broken biscuits into the same pot, and gave now
from this dish a plateful to every person in the house. I had also put
some "Liebig" in my box, before I left my home, and was now able to
make the best use of it. It was something touching to see the many
hungry children, how they devoured their portion. Anything like that
they have perhaps never tasted before, and would gladly have taken
some more, but it was already gone. In the afternoon my dear husband
kept school for the children, told nice stories and instructed them
about different things, and the children would have gone on for a long
time. The smell in the house was not so very pleasant, 19 persons in
one room, beside this the men smoked their pipes nearly the whole
time. The children were crying and would not obey their parents and
the parents are so very weak in this way.

In the evening I gave once more what I possibly could spare, and for
the next morning too. But we really did hunger.

The Lord heard our prayers that we were able to go on the next morning
to the next place, but because of the deep snow we could only move on
very slowly. First after 11 hour's travelling we came in the evening
to our next station. We did hunger more in these three days than we
have done in our whole lives. The next place was a nice clean house,
where we restored ourselves again.

In one place we visited an Eskimo. When we entered the room, what did
we see? A seal living in the midst of their room. The people had heard
of our coming and thus put the monster in the room to thaw it up to
feed our dogs with. The animal was soon taken away. The house was
clean, but small. In this place we had to sleep on the floor, and we
used our blankets to make a couch as well as we could. A sailcloth was
used as a curtain, so that we had something like a separated place for
us. Our two drivers were also in the same room, and they cared for
music during the night, for they snored like a saw mill, and when they
woke up they smoked their pipes and gave the air in the room such an
odor, which I shall not try to describe. Nevertheless, for all that,
we were happy together, and I did not repent one minute to have
accompanied my dear good husband, in order to be a faithful partner to
him. We remembered also it was not a pleasant, but a mission trip we
made, where we may expect many things like that. What is that little
we can do for our Lord and Saviour? It is like a drop of water in the
bottomless sea of his love. If our journey has but been a blessing to
some, and if here and there one corn of gospel's seed may grow up we
are more than paid for.

[Easter] We had four nice places where the good people did all they
could to make it comfortable for us. Everywhere they were very
thankful for my coming, and expressed their gratitude in many ways.
At Easter time we had more visitors than usual and they seemed to be
more happy than else.

Will you kindly excuse this short description, dear madam; it would
take me too long to describe the whole journey. I used some of your
kind gifts for the people whom we visited, and I hope you will, dear
madam, and the kind ladies who contributed to your large and rich
sending accept our and the people's warmest and best thanks.

With kindest regards from my dear husband and me, I am, dear madam,
believe me,

     Your affectionately,

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