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´╗┐Title: By Canoe and Dog-Train
Author: Young, Egerton Ryerson, 1840-1909
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "By Canoe and Dog-Train" ***

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By Canoe and Dog-Train

By Egerton Ryerson Young
________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

BY CANOE AND DOG-TRAIN

BY EGERTON RYERSON YOUNG



CHAPTER ONE.

THE SUMMONS TO THE INDIAN WORK--THE DECISION--THE VALEDICTORY SERVICES--
DR. PUNSHON--THE DEPARTURE--LEAVING HAMILTON--ST. CATHERINE'S--MILWAUKEE
CUSTOM-HOUSE DELAYS--MISSISSIPPI--ST. PAUL'S--ON THE PRAIRIES--FRONTIER
SETTLERS--NARROW ESCAPE FROM SHOOTING ONE OF OUR SCHOOL TEACHERS--SIOUX
INDIANS AND THEIR WARS--SAVED BY OUR FLAG--VARIED EXPERIENCES.

Several letters were handed into my study, where I sat at work among my
books.

I was then pastor of a Church in the city of Hamilton.  Showers of
blessing had been descending upon us, and over a hundred and forty new
members had but recently been received into the Church.  I had availed
myself of the Christmas holidays by getting married, and now was back
again with my beloved, when these letters were handed in.  With only one
of them have we at present anything to do.  As near as I can remember,
it read as follows:--

  "Mission Rooms, Toronto, 1868.

  "Reverend Egerton R.  Young.

  "Dear Brother,--At a large and influential meeting of the Missionary
  Committee, held yesterday, it was unanimously decided to ask you to go
  as a missionary to the Indian tribes at Norway House, and in the
  North-West Territories north of Lake Winnipeg.  An early answer
  signifying your acceptance of this will much oblige,

  "Yours affectionately,

  "E.  Wood,

  "L.  Taylor."

I read the letter, and then handed it, without comment, across the table
to Mrs Young--the bride of but a few days--for her perusal.  She read
it over carefully, and then, after a quiet moment, as was quite natural,
asked, "What does this mean?"

"I can hardly tell," I replied; "but it is evident that it means a good
deal."

"Have you volunteered to go as a missionary to that far-off land?" she
asked.

"Why, no.  Much as I love, and deeply interested as I have ever been in
the missionary work of our Church, I have not made the first move in
this direction.  Years ago I used to think I would love to go to a
foreign field, but lately, as the Lord has been so blessing us here in
the home work, and has given us such a glorious revival, I should have
thought it like running away from duty to have volunteered for any other
field."

"Well, here is this letter; what are you going to do about it?"

"That is just what I would like to know," was my answer.

"There is one thing we can do," she said quietly; and we bowed ourselves
in prayer, and "spread the letter before the Lord," and asked for wisdom
to guide us aright in this important matter which had so suddenly come
upon us, and which, if carried out, would completely change all the
plans and purposes which we, the young married couple, in all the
joyousness of our honeymoon, had just been marking out.  We earnestly
prayed for Divine light and guidance to be so clearly revealed that we
could not be mistaken as to our duty.

As we arose from our knees, I quietly said to Mrs Young, "Have you any
impression on your mind as to our duty in this matter?"

Her eyes were suffused in tears, but the voice, though low, was firm, as
she replied, "The call has come very unexpectedly, but I think it is
from God, and we will go."

My Church and its kind officials strongly opposed my leaving them,
especially at such a time as this, when, they said, so many new
converts, through my instrumentality, had been brought into the Church.

I consulted my beloved ministerial brethren in the city, and with but
one exception the reply was, "Remain at your present station, where God
has so abundantly blessed your labours."  The answer of the one brother
who did not join in with the others has never been forgotten.  As it may
do good, I will put it on record.  When I showed him the letter, and
asked what I should do in reference to it, he, much to my surprise,
became deeply agitated, and wept like a child.  When he could control
his emotions, he said, "For my answer let me give you a little of my
history.

"Years ago, I was very happily situated in the ministry in the Old Land.
I loved my work, my home, and my wife passionately.  I had the
confidence and esteem of my people, and thought I was as happy as I
could be this side [of] heaven.  One day there came a letter from the
Wesleyan Mission Rooms in London, asking if I would go out as a
missionary to the West Indies.  Without consideration, and without
making it a matter of prayer, I at once sent back a positive refusal.

"From that day," he continued, "everything went wrong with me.  Heaven's
smile seemed to have left me.  I lost my grip upon my people.  My
influence for good over them left me, I could not tell how.  My once
happy home was blasted, and in all my trouble I got no sympathy from my
Church or in the community.  I had to resign my position, and leave the
place.  I fell into darkness, and lost my hold upon God.  A few years
ago I came out to this country.  God has restored me to the light of His
countenance.  The Church has been very sympathetic and indulgent.  For
years I have been permitted to labour in her fold, and for this I
rejoice.  But," he added, with emphasis, "I long ago came to the resolve
that if ever the Church asked me to go to the West Indies, or to any
other Mission field, I would be careful about sending back an abrupt
refusal."

I pondered over his words and his experience, and talked about them with
my good wife, and we decided to go.  Our loving friends were startled at
our resolve, but soon gave us their benedictions, united to tangible
evidences of their regard.  A blessed peace filled our souls, and we
longed to be away and at work in the new field which had so suddenly
opened before us.

  "Yes, we will go.  We may no longer doubt
  To give up friends, and home, and every tie,
  That binds our heart to thee, our country.
  Henceforth, then,
  It matters not if storms or sunshine be
  Our earthly lot, bitter or sweet our cup.
  We only pray, God fit us for the work,
  God make us holy, and our spirits nerve
  For the stern hour of strife.  Let us but know
  There is an Arm unseen that holds us up,
  An Eye that kindly watches all our path,
  Till we our weary pilgrimage have done.
  Let us but know we have a Friend that waits
  To welcome us to glory, and we joy
  To tread that drear and northern wilderness."

The grand valedictory services were held in the old Richmond Street
Church, Toronto, Thursday, May 7th, 1868.  The church was crowded, and
the enthusiasm was very great.  The honoured President of the Conference
for that year, the Reverend James Elliott, who presided, was the one who
had ordained me a few months before.  Many were the speakers.  Among
them was the Reverend George McDougall, who already had had a varied
experience of missionary life.  He had something to talk about, to which
it was worth listening.  The Reverend George Young, also, had much that
was interesting to say, as he was there bidding farewell to his own
Church and to the people, of whom he had long been the beloved pastor.
Dr Punshon, who had just arrived from England, was present, and gave
one of his inimitable magnetic addresses.  The memory of his loving,
cheering words abode with us for many a day.

It was also a great joy to us that my honoured father, the Reverend
William Young, was with us on the platform at this impressive farewell
service.  For many years he had been one of that heroic band of pioneer
ministers in Canada who had laid so grandly and well the foundations of
the Church which, with others, had contributed so much to the spiritual
development of the country.  His benedictions and blessings were among
the prized favours in these eventful hours in our new career.

My father had been intimately acquainted with William Case and James
Evans, and at times had been partially associated with them in Indian
evangelisation.  He had faith in the power of the Gospel to save even
Indians, and now rejoiced that he had a son and daughter who had
consecrated themselves to this work.

As a long journey of many hundreds of miles would have to be made by us
after getting beyond cars or steamboats in the Western States, it was
decided that we should take our own horses and canvas-covered waggons
from Ontario with us.  We arranged to make Hamilton our starting-point;
and on Monday, the 11th of May, 1868, our little company filed out of
that city towards St. Catherine's, where we were to take passage in a
"propeller" for Milwaukee.  Thus our adventurous journey was begun.

The following was our party.  First, the Reverend George McDougall, who
for years had been successfully doing the work of a faithful missionary
among the Indians in the distant Saskatchewan country, a thousand miles
north-west of the Red River country.  He had come down to Canada for
reinforcements for the work, and had not failed in his efforts to secure
them.  As he was an old, experienced Western traveller, he was the guide
of the party.

Next was the Reverend George Young, with his wife and son.  Dr Young
had consented to go and begin the work in the Red River Settlement, a
place where Methodism had never before had a footing.  Grandly and well
did he succeed in his efforts.

Next came the genial Reverend Peter Campbell, who, with his brave wife
and two little girls, relinquished a pleasant Circuit to go to the
distant Mission field among the Indians of the North-West prairies.  We
had also with us two Messrs. Snyders, brothers of Mrs Campbell, who had
consecrated themselves to the work as teachers among the distant Indian
tribes.  Several other young men were in our party, and in Dacota we
were joined by "Joe" and "Job," a couple of young Indians.

These, with the writer and his wife, constituted our party of fifteen or
twenty.  At St. Catherine's on the Welland Canal we shipped our outfit,
and took passage on board the steamer _Empire_ for Milwaukee.

The vessel was very much crowded, and there was a good deal of
discomfort.  In passing through Lake Michigan we encountered rough
weather, and, as a natural result, sea-sickness assailed the great
majority of our party.

We reached Milwaukee on Sabbath, the 17th of May.  We found it then a
lively, wide-awake Americo-German city.  There did not seem to be, on
the part of the multitudes whom we met, much respect for the Sabbath.
Business was in full blast in many of the streets, and there were but
few evidences that it was the day of rest.  Doubtless there were many
who had not defiled their garments and had not profaned the day, but we
weary travellers had not then time to find them out.

Although we had taken the precaution to bond everything through to the
North-West, and had the American Consular certificate to the effect that
every regulation had been complied with, we were subjected to many
vexatious delays and expenses by the Custom House officials.  So delayed
were we that we had to telegraph to head-quarters at Washington about
the matter and soon there came the orders to the over-officious
officials to at once allow us to proceed.  Two valuable days, however,
had been lost by their obstructiveness.  Why cannot Canada and the
United States, lying side by side, from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
devise some mutually advantageous scheme of reciprocity, by which the
vexatious delays and annoyances and expense of these Custom Houses can
be done away with?

We left Milwaukee for La Crosse on the Mississippi on Tuesday evening at
eight o'clock.  At La Crosse we embarked on the steamer _Milwaukee_ for
St. Paul's.  These large flat-bottomed steamers are quite an institution
on these western rivers.  Drawing but a few inches of water, they glide
over sandbars where the water is very shallow, and, swinging in against
the shore, land and receive passengers and freight where wharves are
unknown, or where, if they existed, they would be liable to be swept
away in the great spring freshets.

The scenery in many places along the upper Mississippi is very fine.
High bold bluffs rise up in wondrous variety and picturesque beauty.  In
some places they are composed of naked rock.  Others are covered to
their very summit with the richest green.  Here, a few years ago, the
war-whoop of the Indians sounded, and the buffalo swarmed around these
Buttes, and quenched their thirst in these waters.  Now the shrill
whistle of the steamer disturbs the solitudes, and echoes and re-echoes
with wondrous distinctness among the high bluffs and fertile vales.

  "Westward the Star of Empire takes its way."

We arrived at St. Paul's on Thursday forenoon and found it to be a
stirring city, beautifully situated on the eastern side of the
Mississippi.  We had several hours of good hard work in getting our
caravan in order, purchasing supplies, and making all final arrangements
for the long journey that was before us.  For beyond this the iron horse
had not yet penetrated, and the great surging waves of immigration,
which soon after rolled over into those fertile territories, had as yet
been only little ripples.

Our splendid horses, which had been cooped up in the holds of vessels,
or cramped up in uncomfortable freight cars, were now to have an
opportunity for exercising their limbs, and showing of what mettle they
were made.  At 4 PM we filed out of the city.  The recollection of that
first ride on the prairie will live on as long as memory holds her
throne.  The day was one of those gloriously perfect ones that are but
rarely given us, as if to show what earth must have been before the
Fall.  The sky, the air, the landscape--everything seemed in such
harmony and so perfect, that involuntarily I exclaimed, "If God's
footstool is so glorious, what will the throne be?"

We journeyed a few miles, then encamped for the night.  We were all in
the best of spirits, and seemed to rejoice that we were getting away
from civilisation, and more and more out into the wilderness, although
for days we were in the vicinity of frontier villages and settlements,
which, however, as we journeyed on, were rapidly diminishing in number.

After several days' travelling we encamped on the western side of the
Mississippi, near where the thriving town of Clear Water now stands.  As
some of our carts and travelling equipage had begun to show signs of
weakness, it was thought prudent to give everything a thorough
overhauling ere we pushed out from this point, as beyond this there was
no place where assistance could be obtained.  We had in our encampment
eight tents, fourteen horses, and from fifteen to twenty persons,
counting big and little, whites and Indians.  Whenever we camped our
horses were turned loose in the luxuriant prairie grass, the only
precaution taken being to "hobble" them, as the work of tying their
forefeet together is called.  It seemed a little cruel at first, and
some of our spirited horses resented it, and struggled a good deal
against it as an infringement on their liberties.  But they soon became
used to it, and it served the good purpose we had in view--namely, that
of keeping them from straying far away from the camp during the night.

At one place, where we were obliged to stop for a few days to repair
broken axle-trees, I passed through an adventure that will not soon be
forgotten.  Some friendly settlers came to our camp, and gave us the
unpleasant information, that a number of notorious horse-thieves were
prowling around, and it would be advisable for us to keep a sharp look-
out on our splendid Canadian horses.  As there was an isolated barn
about half a mile or so from the camp, that had been put up by a settler
who would not require it until harvest, we obtained permission to use it
as a place in which to keep our horses during the nights while we were
detained in the settlement.  Two of our party were detailed each night
to act as a guard.  One evening, as Dr Young's son George and I, who
had been selected for this duty, were about starting from the camp for
our post, I overheard our old veteran guide, the Reverend George
McDougall, say, in a bantering sort of way, "Pretty guards they are!
Why, some of my Indian boys could go and steal every horse from them
without the slightest trouble."

Stung to the quick by the remark, I replied, "Mr McDougall, I think I
have the best horse in the company; but if you or any of your Indians
can steal him out of that barn between sundown and sunrise, you may keep
him!"

We tethered the horses in a line, and fastened securely all the doors
but the large front one.  We arranged our seats where we were partially
concealed, but where we could see our horses, and could command every
door with our rifles.  In quiet tones we chatted about various things,
until about one o'clock, when all became hushed and still.  The novelty
of the situation impressed me, and, sitting there in the darkness, I
could not help contrasting my present position with the one I had
occupied a few weeks before.  Then the pastor of a city Church, in the
midst of a blessed revival, surrounded by all the comforts of
civilisation; now out here in Minnesota, in this barn, sitting on a
bundle of prairie grass through the long hours of night with a breech-
loading rifle in hand, guarding a number of horses from a band of horse-
thieves.

"Hush! what is that?"

A hand is surely on the door feeling for the wooden latch.  We mentally
say, "You have made too much noise, Mr Thief, for your purpose, and you
are discovered."  Soon the door opened a little.  As it was a beautiful
starlight night, the form of a tall man was plainly visible in the
opening.  Covering him with my rifle, and about to fire, quick as a
flash came the thought, "Better be sure that that man is a horse-thief,
or is intent on evil, ere you fire; for it is at any time a serious
thing to send a soul so suddenly into eternity."  So keeping my rifle to
my shoulder, I shouted out, "Who's there?"

"Why, it's only your friend Matthew," said our tall friend, as he came
stumbling along in the darkness; "queer if you don't know me by this
time."

As the thought came to me of how near I had been to sending him into the
other world, a strange feeling of faintness came over me, and, flinging
my rifle from me, I sank back trembling like a leaf.

Meanwhile the good-natured fellow, little knowing the risk he had run,
and not seeing the effect his thoughtless action had produced on me,
talked on, saying that as it was so hot and close over at the tents that
he could not sleep there, he thought he would come over and stop with us
in the barn.

There was considerable excitement, and some strong words were uttered at
the camp next morning at his breach of orders and narrow escape, since
instructions had been given to all that none should, under any
consideration, go near the barn while it was being guarded.

At another place in Minnesota we came across a party who were restoring
their homes, and "building up their waste places" desolated by the
terrible Sioux wars of but a short time before.  As they had nearly all
of them suffered by that fearful struggle, they were very bitter in
their feelings towards the Indians, completely ignoring the fact that
the whites were to blame for that last sanguinary outbreak, in which
nine hundred lives were lost, and a section of country larger than some
of the New England States was laid desolate.  It is now an undisputed
fact that the greed and dishonesty of the Indian agents of the United
States caused that terrible war of 1863.  The principal agent received
600,000 dollars in gold from the Government, which belonged to the
Indians, and was to be paid to Little Crow and the other chiefs and
members of the tribe.  The agent took advantage of the premium on gold,
which in those days was very high, and exchanged the gold for
greenbacks, and with these paid the Indians, putting the enormous
difference in his own pocket.  When the payments began, Little Crow, who
knew what he had a right to according to the Treaty, said, "Gold dollars
worth more than paper dollars.  You pay us gold."  The agent refused,
and the war followed.  This is only one instance out of scores, in which
the greed and selfishness of a few have plunged the country into war,
causing the loss of hundreds of lives and millions of treasure.

In addition to this, these same unprincipled agents, with their hired
accomplices and subsidised press, in order to hide the enormity of their
crimes, and to divert attention from themselves and their crookedness,
systematically and incessantly misrepresent and vilify the Indian
character.

"Stay and be our minister," said some of these settlers to me in one
place.  "We'll secure for you a good location, and will help you get in
some crops, and will do the best we can to make you comfortable."

When they saw we were all proof against their appeals, they changed
their tactics, and one exclaimed, "You'll never get through the Indian
country north with those fine horses and all that fine truck you have."

"O yes, we will," said Mr McDougall; "we have a little flag that will
carry us in safety through any Indian tribe in America."

They doubted the assertion very much, but we found it to be literally
true, at all events as regarded the Sioux; for when, a few days later,
we met them, our Union Jack fluttering from the whip-stalk caused them
to fling their guns in the grass, and come crowding round us with
extended hands, saying, through those who understood their language,
that they were glad to see and shake hands with the subjects of the
"Great Mother" across the waters.

When we, in our journey north, reached their country, and saw them
coming down upon us, at Mr McDougall's orders we stowed away our rifles
and revolvers inside of our waggons, and met them as friends, unarmed
and fearless.  They smoked the pipe of peace with those of our party who
could use the weed, and others drank tea with the rest of us.  As we
were in profound ignorance of their language, and they of ours, some of
us had not much conversation with them beyond what could be carried on
by a few signs.  But, through Mr McDougall and our own Indians, they
assured us of their friendship.

We pitched our tents, hobbled our horses and turned them loose, as
usual.  We cooked our evening meals, said our prayers, unrolled our
camp-beds, and lay down to rest without earthly sentinels or guards
around us, although the camp-fires of these so-called "treacherous and
bloodthirsty" Sioux could be seen in the distance, and we knew their
sharp eyes were upon us.  Yet we lay down and slept in peace, and arose
in safety.  Nothing was disturbed or stolen.

So much for a clean record of honourable dealing with a people who,
while quick to resent when provoked, are mindful of kindnesses received,
and are as faithful to their promises and treaty obligations, as are any
other of the races of the world.

We were thirty days in making the trip from St. Paul's to the Red River
settlement.  We had to ford a large number of bridgeless streams.  Some
of them took us three or four days to get our whole party across.  We
not unfrequently had some of our waggons stuck in the quicksands, or so
sunk in the quagmires that the combined strength of all the men of our
party was required to get them out.  Often the ladies of our company,
with shoes and stockings off, would be seen bravely wading across wide
streams, where now in luxurious comfort, in parlour cars, travellers are
whirled along at the rate of forty miles an hour.  They were a cheerful,
brave band of pioneers.

The weather, on the whole, was pleasant, but we had some drenching rain-
storms; and then the spirits of some of the party went down, and they
wondered whatever possessed them to leave their happy homes for such
exile and wretchedness as this.  There was one fearful, tornado-like
storm that assailed us when we were encamped for the night on the
western bank of Red River.  Tents were instantly blown down.  Heavy
waggons were driven before it, and for a time confusion reigned supreme.
Fortunately nobody was hurt, and most of the things blown away were
recovered the next day.

Our Sabbaths were days of quiet rest and delightful communion with God.
Together we worshipped Him Who dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
Many were the precious communions we had with Him Who had been our
Comforter and our Refuge under other circumstances, and Who, having now
called us to this new work and novel life, was sweetly fulfilling in us
the blessed promise: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world."



CHAPTER TWO.

STILL ON THE ROUTE--FORT GARRY--BREAKING UP OF OUR PARTY OF
MISSIONARIES--LOWER FORT--HOSPITABLE HUDSON'S BAY OFFICIALS--
PECULIARITIES--FOURTEEN DAYS IN A LITTLE OPEN BOAT ON STORMY LAKE
WINNIPEG--STRANGE EXPERIENCES--HAPPY CHRISTIAN INDIAN BOATMEN--"IN
PERILS BY WATERS."

At Fort Garry in the Red River settlement, now the flourishing city of
Winnipeg, our party, which had so long travelled together, broke up with
mutual regrets.  The Reverend George Young and his family remained to
commence the first Methodist Mission in that place.  Many were his
discouragements and difficulties, but glorious have been his successes.
More to him than to any other man is due the prominent position which
the Methodist Church now occupies in the North-West.  His station was
one calling for rare tact and ability.  The Riel Rebellion, and the
disaffection of the Half-breed population, made his position at times
one of danger and insecurity; but he proved himself to be equal to every
emergency.  In addition to the many duties devolving upon him in the
establishment of the Church amidst so many discordant elements, a great
many extra cares were imposed upon him by the isolated missionaries in
the interior, who looked to him for the purchasing and sending out to
them, as best he could, of their much-needed supplies.  His kindly
laborious efforts for their comfort can never be forgotten.

The Revs.  George McDougall and Peter Campbell, with the teachers and
other members of the party, pushed on, with their horses, waggons, and
carts, for the still farther North-West, the great North Saskatchewan
River, twelve hundred miles farther into the interior.

During the first part of their journey over the fertile but then
unbroken prairies, the only inhabitants they met were the roving Indians
and Half-breeds, whose rude wigwams and uncouth noisy carts have long
since disappeared, and have been replaced by the comfortable habitations
of energetic settlers, and the swiftly moving trains of the railroads.

From Fort Garry Mrs Young and myself performed the rest of our journey
by water, going down the Red River to its mouth, and then along the
whole length of the stormy Lake Winnipeg, and beyond, to our own far-off
northern home.  The trip was made in what is called "the Hudson's Bay
inland boat."  These boats are constructed like large skiffs, only each
end is sharp.  They have neither deck nor cabin.  They are furnished
with a mast and a large square sail, both of which are stowed away when
the wind is not favourable for sailing.  They are manned by six or eight
oarsmen, and are supposed to carry about four tons of merchandise.  They
can stand a rough sea, and weather very severe gales, as we found out
during our years of adventurous trips in them.  When there is no
favourable wind for sailing, the stalwart boatmen push out their heavy
oars, and, bending their sturdy backs to the work, and keeping the most
perfect time, are often able to make their sixty miles a day.  But this
toiling at the oar is slavish work, and the favouring gale, even if it
develops into a fierce storm, is always preferable to a dead calm.
These northern Indians make capital sailors, and in the sudden squalls
and fierce gales to which these great lakes are subject, they display
much courage and judgment.

Our place in the boat was in the hinder part near the steersman, a pure
Indian, whose name was Thomas Mamanowatum, familiarly known as "Big
Tom," on account of his almost gigantic size.  He was one of Nature's
noblemen, a grand, true man, and of him we shall have more to say
hereafter.  Honoured indeed was the missionary who led such a man from
Paganism to Christianity.

We journeyed on pleasantly for twenty miles down the Red River to Lower
Fort Garry, where we found that we should have to wait for several days
ere the outfit for the boats would be ready.  We were, however, very
courteously entertained by the Hudson's Bay officials, who showed us no
little kindness.

This Lower Fort Garry, or "the Stone Fort," as it is called in the
country, is an extensive affair, having a massive stone wall all around
it, with the Company's buildings in the centre.  It was built in stormy
times, when rival trading parties existed, and hostile bands were ever
on the war path.  It is capable of resisting almost any force that could
be brought against it, unaided by artillery.  We were a little amused
and very much pleased with the old-time and almost courtly etiquette
which abounded at this and the other establishments of this flourishing
Company.  In those days the law of precedents was in full force.  When
the bell rang, no clerk of fourteen years' standing would think of
entering before one who had been fifteen years in the service, or of
sitting above him at the table.  Such a thing would have brought down
upon him the severe reproof of the senior officer in charge.  Irksome
and even frivolous as some of these laws seemed, doubtless they served a
good purpose, and prevented many misunderstandings which might have
occurred.

Another singular custom, which we did not like, was the fact that there
were two dining-rooms in these establishments, one for the ladies, and
the other for the gentlemen of the service.  It appeared to us very odd
to see the gentlemen with the greatest politeness escort the ladies into
the hall which ran between the two dining-rooms, and then gravely turn
to the left, while the ladies all filed off into the room on the right.
As the arrangement was so contrary to all our ideas and education on the
subject, we presumed to question it; but the only satisfaction we could
get in reference to it was, that it was one of their old customs, and
had worked well.  One old crusty bachelor official said, "We do not want
the women around us when we are discussing our business matters, which
we wish to keep to ourselves.  If they were present, all our schemes and
plans would soon be known to all, and our trade might be much injured."

Throughout this vast country, until very lately, the adventurous
traveller, whose courage or curiosity was sufficient to enable him to
brave the hardships or run the risks of exploring these enormous
territories, was entirely dependent upon the goodwill and hospitality of
the officials of the Hudson's Bay Company.  They were uniformly treated
with courtesy and hospitably entertained.

Very isolated are some of these inland posts, and quite expatriated are
the inmates for years at a time.  These lonely establishments are to be
found scattered all over the upper half of this great American
Continent.  They have each a population of from five to sixty human
beings.  These are, if possible, placed in favourable localities for
fish or game, but often from one to five hundred miles apart.  The only
object of their erection and occupancy is to exchange the products of
civilisation for the rich and valuable furs which are to be obtained
here as nowhere else in the world.  In many instances the inmates hear
from the outside world but twice, and at times but once, in twelve
months.  Then the arrival of the packet is the great event of the year.

We spent a very pleasant Sabbath at Lower Fort Garry, and I preached in
the largest dining-room to a very attentive congregation, composed of
the officials and servants of the Company, with several visitors, and
also some Half-breeds and Indians who happened to be at the fort at that
time.

The next day two boats were ready, and we embarked on our adventurous
journey for our far-off, isolated home beyond the northern end of Lake
Winnipeg.  The trip down Red River was very pleasant.  We passed through
the flourishing Indian Settlement, where the Church of England has a
successful Mission among the Indians.  We admired their substantial
church and comfortable homes, and saw in them, and in the farms,
tangible evidence of the power of Christian Missions to elevate and
bless those who come under their ennobling influences.  The cosy
residence of the Venerable Archdeacon Cowley was pointed out to us,
beautifully embowered among the trees.  He was a man beloved of all; a
life-long friend of the Indians, and one who was as an angel of mercy to
us in after years when our Nellie died, while Mrs Young was making an
adventurous journey in an open boat on the stormy, treacherous Lake
Winnipeg.

This sad event occurred when, after five years' residence among the
Crees at Norway House, we had instructions from our missionary
authorities to go and open up a new Indian Mission among the then pagan
Salteaux.  I had orders to remain at Norway House until my successor
arrived; and as but one opportunity was offered for Mrs Young and the
children to travel in those days of limited opportunities, they started
on several weeks ahead in an open skiff manned by a few Indians, leaving
me to follow in a birch canoe.  So terrible was the heat that hot July,
in that open boat with no deck or awning, that the beautiful child
sickened and died of brain-fever.  Mrs Young found herself with her
dying child on the banks of Red River, all alone among her sorrowing
Indian boatmen, "a stranger in a strange land;" no home to which to go;
no friends to sympathise with her.  Fortunately for her, the Hudson's
Bay officials at Lower Fort Garry were made aware of her sorrows, and
received her into one of their homes ere the child died.  The Reverend
Mr Cowley also came and prayed for her, and sympathised with her on the
loss of her beautiful child.

As I was far away when Nellie died, Mrs Young knew not what to do with
our precious dead.  A temporary grave was made, and in it the body was
laid until I could be communicated with, and arrangements could be made
for its permanent interment.  I wrote at once by an Indian to the
Venerable Archdeacon Cowley, asking permission to bury our dead in his
graveyard; and there came promptly back, by the canoe, a very brotherly,
sympathetic letter, ending up with, "Our graveyards are open before you;
`in the choicest of our sepulchres bury thy dead.'"  A few weeks after,
when I had handed over my Mission to Brother Ruttan, I hurried on to the
settlement, and with a few sympathising friends, mostly Indians, we took
up the little body from its temporary resting-place, and buried it in
the St. Peter's Church graveyard, the dear archdeacon himself being
present, and reading the beautiful Burial Service of his Church.  That
land to us has been doubly precious since it has become the repository
of our darling child.

As we floated down the current, or were propelled along by the oars of
our Indian boatmen, on that first journey, little did we imagine that
this sad episode in our lives would happen in that very spot a few years
after.  When we were near the end of the Indian Settlement, as it is
called, we saw several Indians on the bank, holding on to a couple of
oxen.  Our boats were immediately turned in to the shore near them, and,
to our great astonishment, we found out that each boat was to have an
addition to its passenger list in the shape of one of these big fellows.
The getting of these animals shipped was no easy matter, as there was
no wharf or gangway; but after a good deal of pulling and pushing, and
lifting up of one leg, and then another, the patient brutes were
embarked on the frail crafts, to be our companions during the voyage to
Norway House.  The position assigned to the one in our boat was just in
front of us, "broadside on," as the sailors would say; his head often
hanging over one side of the boat, and his tail over the other side.
The only partition there was between him and us was a single board a few
inches wide.  Such close proximity to this animal for fourteen days was
not very agreeable; but as it could not be helped it had to be endured.

At times, during the first few days, the ox made some desperate efforts
to break loose; and it seemed as though he would either smash our boat
to pieces or upset it; but, finding his efforts unsuccessful, he
gracefully accepted the situation, and behaved himself admirably.  When
storms arose he quietly lay down, and served as so much ballast to
steady the boat.  "Tom," the guide, kept him well supplied with food
from the rich nutritious grasses which grew abundantly along the shore
at our different camping-places.

Winnipeg is considered one of the stormiest lakes on the American
Continent.  It is about three hundred miles long, and varies from eighty
to but a few miles in width.  It is indented with innumerable bays, and
is dangerous to navigators, on account of its many shoals and hidden
rocks.  _Winnipeg_, or _Wenipak_, as some Indians pronounce it, means
"the sea," and _Keche Wenipak_ means "the ocean."

The trip across Lake Winnipeg was one that at the present day would be
considered a great hardship, taking into consideration the style of the
boat and the way we travelled.

Our method of procedure was about as follows.  We were aroused very
early in the morning by the guide's cry of _Koos koos kwa_!  "Wake up!"
Everybody was expected to obey promptly, as there was always a good deal
of rivalry between the boats as to which could get away first.  A hasty
breakfast was prepared on the rocks; after which a morning hymn was
sung, and an earnest prayer was offered up to Him Who holds the winds
and waves under His control.

Then "All aboard" was the cry, and soon tents, kettles, axes, and all
the other things were hurriedly gathered up and placed on board.  If the
wind was favourable, the mast was put up, the sail hoisted, and we were
soon rapidly speeding on our way.  If the oars had to be used, there was
not half the alacrity displayed by the poor fellows, who well knew how
wearisome their task would be.  When we had a favourable wind, we
generally dined as well as we could in the boat, to save time, as the
rowers well knew how much more pleasant it was to glide along with the
favouring breeze than to be obliged to work at the heavy oars.  Often
during whole nights we sailed on, although at considerable risks in that
treacherous lake, rather than lose the fair wind.  For, if there ever
was, in this world of uncertainties, one route of more uncertainty than
another, the palm must be conceded to the voyages on Lake Winnipeg in
those Hudson's Bay Company's inland boats.  You might make the trip in
four days, or even a few hours less; and you might be thirty days, and a
few hours over.

Once, in after years, I was detained for six days on a little rocky
islet by a fierce northern gale, which at times blew with such force
that we could not keep up a tent or even stand upright against its fury;
and as there was not sufficient soil in which to drive a tent pin, we,
with all our bedding and supplies, were drenched by the pitiless sleet
and rain.  Often in these later years, when I have heard people, sitting
in the comfortable waiting-room of a railway station, bitterly
complaining because a train was an hour or two late, memory has carried
me back to some of those long detentions amidst the most disagreeable
surroundings, and I have wondered at the trifles which can upset the
equanimity of some or cause them to show such fretfulness.

When the weather was fine, the camping on the shore was very enjoyable.
Our tent was quickly erected by willing hands; the camp fire was
kindled, and glowed with increasing brightness as the shadows of night
fell around us.  The evening meal was soon prepared, and an hour or two
would sometimes be spent in pleasant converse with our dusky friends,
who were most delightful travelling companions.  Our days always began
and closed with a religious service.  All of our Indian companions in
the two boats on this first trip were Christians, in the best and truest
sense of the word.  They were the converts of the earlier missionaries
of our Church.  At first they were a little reserved, and acted as
though they imagined we expected them to be very sedate and dignified.
For, like some white folks, they imagined the "black-coat" and his wife
did not believe in laughter or pleasantry.  However, we soon disabused
their minds of those erroneous ideas, and before we reached Norway House
we were on the best of terms with each other.  We knew but little of
their language, but some of them had a good idea of English, and, using
these as our interpreters, we got along finely.

They were well furnished with Testaments and hymn-books, printed in the
beautiful syllabic characters; and they used them well.  This
worshipping with a people who used to us an unknown tongue was at first
rather novel; but it attracted and charmed us at once.  We were forcibly
struck with the reverential manner in which they conducted their
devotions.  No levity or indifference marred the solemnity of their
religious services.  They listened very attentively while one of their
number read to them from the sacred Word, and gave the closest attention
to what I had to say, through an interpreter.

Very sweetly and soothingly sounded the hymns of praise and adoration
that welled up from their musical voices; and though we understood them
not, yet in their earnest prayers there seemed to be so much that was
real and genuine, as in pathetic tones they offered up their petitions,
that we felt it to be a great privilege and a source of much blessing,
when with them we bowed at the mercy-seat of our great loving Father, to
Whom all languages of earth are known, and before Whom all hearts are
open.

Very helpful at times to devout worship were our surroundings.  As in
the ancient days, when the vast multitudes gathered around Him on the
seaside and were comforted and cheered by His presence, so we felt on
these quiet shores of the lake that we were worshipping Him Who is
always the same.  At times delightful and suggestive were our
environments.  With Winnipeg's sunlit waves before us, the blue sky
above us, the dark, deep, primeval forest as our background, and the
massive granite rocks beneath us, we often felt a nearness of access to
Him, the Sovereign of the universe, Who "dwelleth not in temples made
with hands,"--but "Who covereth Himself with light as with a garment;
Who stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain; Who layeth the beams of
His chambers in the waters; Who maketh the clouds his chariot; Who
walketh upon the wings of the wind; Who laid the foundations of the
earth, that it should not be removed for ever."

Our Sabbaths were days of rest.  The Christian Indians had been taught
by their faithful missionaries the fourth commandment, and they kept it
well.  Although far from their homes and their beloved sanctuary, they
respected the day.  When they camped on Saturday night, all the
necessary preparations were made for a quiet, restful Sabbath.  All the
wood that would be needed to cook the day's supplies was secured, and
the food that required cooking was prepared.  Guns were stowed away, and
although sometimes ducks or other game would come near, they were not
disturbed.  Generally two religious services were held and enjoyed.  The
Testaments and hymn-books were well used throughout the day, and an
atmosphere of "Paradise Regained" seemed to pervade the place.

At first, long years ago, the Hudson's Bay Company's officials bitterly
opposed the observance of the Sabbath by their boatmen and tripmen; but
the missionaries were true and firm, and although persecution for a time
abounded, eventually right and truth prevailed, and our Christian
Indians were left to keep the day without molestation.  And, as has
always been found to be the case in such instances, there was no loss,
but rather gain.  Our Christian Indians, who rested the Sabbath day,
were never behindhand.  On the long trips into the interior or down to
York Factory or Hudson Bay, these Indian canoe brigades used to make
better time, have better health, and bring up their boats and cargoes in
better shape, than the Catholic Half-breeds or pagan Indians, who pushed
on without any day of rest.  Years of studying this question, judging
from the standpoint of the work accomplished and its effects on men's
physical constitution, apart altogether from its moral and religious
aspect, most conclusively taught me that the institution of the one day
in seven as a day of rest is for man's highest good.

Thus we journeyed on, meeting with various adventures by the way.  One
evening, rather than lose the advantage of a good wind, our party
resolved to sail on throughout the night.  We had no compass or chart,
no moon or fickle Auroras lit up the watery waste.  Clouds, dark and
heavy, flitted by, obscuring the dim starlight, and adding to the risk
and danger of our proceeding.  On account of the gloom part of the crew
were kept on the watch continually.  The bowsman, with a long pole in
his hands, sat in the prow of the boat, alert and watchful.  For a long
time I sat with the steersman in the stern of our little craft, enjoying
this weird way of travelling.  Out of the darkness behind us into the
vague blackness before us we plunged.  Sometimes through the darkness
came the sullen roar and dash of waves against the rocky isles or
dangerous shore near at hand, reminding us of the risks we were running,
and what need there was of the greatest care.

Our camp bed had been spread on some boards in the hinder part of our
little boat; and here Mrs Young, who for a time had enjoyed the
exciting voyage, was now fast asleep.  I remained up with "Big Tom"
until after midnight; and then, having exhausted my stock of Indian
words in conversation with him, and becoming weary, I wrapped a blanket
around myself and lay down to rest.  Hardly had I reached the land of
dreams, when I was suddenly awakened by being most unceremoniously
thrown, with wife, bedding, bales, boxes, and some drowsy Indians, on
one side of the boat.  We scrambled up as well as we could, and
endeavoured to take in our situation.  The darkness was intense, but we
could easily make out the fact that our boat was stuck fast.  The wind
whistled around us, and bore with such power upon our big sail that the
wonder was that it did not snap the mast or ropes.  The sail was quickly
lowered, a lantern was lit, but its flickering light showed no land in
view.

We had run upon a submerged rock, and there we were held fast.  In vain
the Indians, using their big oars as poles, endeavoured to push the boat
back into deep water.  Finding this impossible, some of them sprang out
into the water which threatened to engulf them; but, with the precarious
footing the submerged rock gave them, they pushed and shouted, when,
being aided by a giant wave, the boat at last was pushed over into the
deep water beyond.  At considerable risk and thoroughly drenched, the
brave fellows scrambled on board; the sail was again hoisted, and away
we sped through the gloom and darkness.



CHAPTER THREE.

ARRIVAL AT NORWAY HOUSE--OUR NEW HOME--REVEREND CHARLES STRINGFELLOW--
THUNDERSTORM--REVEREND JAMES EVANS--SYLLABIC CHARACTERS INVENTED--
DIFFICULTIES OVERCOME--HELP FROM ENGLISH WESLEYAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY--
EXTENSIVE USE OF THE SYLLABIC CHARACTERS--OUR PEOPLE, CHRISTIAN AND
PAGAN--LEARNING LESSONS BY DEAR EXPERIENCE--THE HUNGRY WOMAN--THE MAN
WITH THE TWO DUCKS--THE FIRST SABBATH IN OUR NEW FIELD--SUNDAY SCHOOL
AND SABBATH SERVICES--FAMILY ALTARS.

We reached Norway House on the afternoon of the 29th of July, 1868, and
received a very cordial welcome from James Stewart, Esquire, the
gentleman in charge of this Hudson's Bay post.  This is one of the most
important establishments of this wealthy fur-trading Company.  For many
years it was the capital, at which the different officers and other
officials from the different districts of this vast country were in the
habit of meeting annually for the purpose of arranging the various
matters in connection with their prosecution of the fur trade.  Here Sir
George Simpson, for many years the energetic and despotic Governor, used
to come to meet these officials, travelling by birch canoe, manned by
his matchless crew of Iroquois Indians, all the way from Montreal, a
distance of several thousand miles.  Here immense quantities of furs
were collected from the different trading posts, and then shipped to
England by way of Hudson's Bay.

The sight of this well-kept establishment, and the courtesy and cordial
welcome extended to us, were very pleasing after our long toilsome
voyage up Lake Winnipeg.  But still we were two miles and a half from
our Indian Mission, and so we were full of anxiety to reach the end of
our journey.  Mr Stewart, however, insisted on our remaining to tea
with him, and then took us over to the Indian village in his own row-
boat, manned by four sturdy Highlanders.  Ere we reached the shore,
sweet sounds of melody fell upon our ears.  The Wednesday evening
service was being held, and songs of praise were being sung by the
Indian congregation, the notes of which reached us as we neared the
margin and landed upon the rocky beach.  We welcomed this as a pleasing
omen, and rejoiced at it as one of the grand evidences of the Gospel's
power to change.  Not many years ago the horrid yells of the conjurer,
and the whoops of the savage Indians, were here the only familiar
sounds.  Now the sweet songs of Zion are heard, and God's praises are
sung by a people whose lives attest the genuineness of the work
accomplished.

We were cordially welcomed by Mrs Stringfellow in the Mission house,
and were soon afterwards joined by her husband, who had been conducting
the religious services in the church.  Very thankful were we that after
our long and adventurous journeyings for two months and eighteen days,
by land and water, through the good providence of God we had reached our
field of toil among the Cree Indians, where for years we were to be
permitted to labour.

Mr and Mrs Stringfellow remained with us for a few days ere they set
out on their return trip to the province of Ontario.  We took sweet
counsel together, and I received a great deal of valuable information in
reference to the prosecution of our work among these Red men.  For
eleven years the missionary and his wife had toiled and suffered in this
northern land.  A goodly degree of success had attended their efforts,
and we were much pleased with the state in which we found everything
connected with the Mission.

While we were at family prayers the first evening after our arrival,
there came up one of the most terrific thunderstorms we ever
experienced.  The heavy Mission house, although built of logs, and well
mudded and clap-boarded, shook so much while we were on our knees that
several large pictures fell from the walls; one of which, tumbling on
Brother Stringfellow's head, put a very sudden termination to his
evening devotions.

Rossville Mission, Norway House, was commenced by the Reverend James
Evans in the year 1840.  It has been, and still is, one of the most
successful Indian Missions in America.  Here Mr Evans invented the
syllabic characters, by which an intelligent Indian can learn to read
the Word of God in ten days or two weeks.  Earnestly desirous to devise
some method by which the wandering Indians could acquire the art of
reading in a more expeditious manner than by the use of the English
alphabet, he invented these characters, each of which stands for a
syllable.  He carved his first type with his pocket-knife, and procured
the lead for the purpose from the tea-chests of the Hudson's Bay
Company's post.  His first ink he made out of the soot from the chimney,
and his first paper was birch bark.  Great was the excitement among the
Indians when he had perfected his invention, and had begun printing in
their own language.  The conjurers, and other pagan Indians, were very
much alarmed, when, as they expressed it, they found the "bark of the
tree was beginning to talk."

The English Wesleyan Missionary Society was early impressed with the
advantage of this wonderful invention, and the great help it would be in
carrying on the blessed work.  At great expense they sent out a printing
press, with a large quantity of type, which they had had specially cast.
Abundance of paper, and everything else essential, were furnished.  For
years portions of the Word of God, and a goodly number of hymns
translated into the Cree language, were printed, and incalculable good
resulted.

Other missionary organisations at work in the country quickly saw the
advantage of using these syllabic characters, and were not slow to avail
themselves of them.  While all lovers of Missions rejoice at this, it is
to be regretted that some, from whom better things might have been
expected, were anxious to take the credit of the invention, instead of
giving it to its rightful claimant, the Reverend James Evans.  It is a
remarkable fact, that so perfectly did Mr Evans do his work, that no
improvement has been made as regards the use of these characters among
the Cree Indians.

Other missionaries have introduced them among other tribes, with
additions to meet the sounds used in those tribes which are not found
among the Crees.  They have even been successfully utilised by the
Moravians among the Esquimaux.

On our arrival at Rossville the Indians crowded in to see the new
missionary and his wife, and were very cordial in their greetings.  Even
some pagan Indians, dressed up in their wild picturesque costumes, came
to see us, and were very friendly.

As quickly as possible we settled down to our work, and tried to grasp
its possibilities.  We saw many pleasing evidences of what had been
accomplished by faithful predecessors, and were soon convinced of the
greatness of the work yet to be done.  For, while from our church, and
the houses of our Christian people, the songs of Zion were heard, our
eyes were saluted by the shouts and yells of old Indian conjurers and
medicine-men, added to the monotonous sounds of their drums, which came
to us nightly from almost every point in the compass, from islands and
headlands not far away.

Our first Sabbath was naturally a very interesting day.  Our own
curiosity to see our people was doubtless equalled by that of the people
to see their new missionary.  Pagans flocked in with Christians, until
the church was crowded.  We were very much pleased with their respectful
demeanour in the house of God.  There was no laughing or frivolity in
the sanctuary.  With their moccasined feet and cat-like tread, several
hundred Indians did not make one quarter the noise often heard in
Christian lands, made by audiences one-tenth the size.  We were much
delighted with their singing.  There is a peculiar plaintive sweetness
about Indian singing that has for me a special attractiveness.  Scores
of them brought their Bibles to the church.  When I announced the
lessons for the day, the quickness with which they found the places
showed their familiarity with the sacred volume.  During prayers they
were old-fashioned Methodists enough to kneel down while the Sovereign
of the universe was being addressed.  They sincerely and literally
entered into the spirit of the Psalmist when he said: "O come, let us
worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."

I was fortunate in securing for my interpreter a thoroughly good Indian
by the name of Timothy Bear.  He was of an emotional nature, and
rendered good service to the cause of Christ.  Sometimes, when
interpreting for me the blessed truths of the Gospel, his heart would
get fired up, and he would become so absorbed in his theme that he would
in a most eloquent way beseech and plead with the people to accept this
wonderful salvation.

As the days rolled by, and we went in and out among them, and contrasted
the pagan with the Christian Indian, we saw many evidences that the
Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation, and that, whenever
accepted in its fulness, it brings not only peace and joy to the heart,
but is attended by the secondary blessings of civilisation.  The
Christian Indians could easily be picked out by the improved appearance
of their homes, as well as by the marvellous change in their lives and
actions.

We found out, before we had been there many days, that we had much to
learn about Indian customs and habits and modes of thought.  For
example: the day after Mr and Mrs Stringfellow had left us, a poor
woman came in, and by the sign language let Mrs Young know that she was
very hungry.  On the table were a large loaf of bread, a large piece of
corned beef, and a dish of vegetables, left over from our boat supplies.
My good wife's sympathies were aroused at the poor woman's story, and,
cutting off a generous supply of meat and bread, and adding thereto a
large quantity of the vegetables and a quart of tea, she seated the
woman at the table before the hearty meal.  Without any trouble the
guest disposed of the whole, and then, to our amazement, began pulling
up the skirt of her dress at the side till she had formed a capacious
pocket.  Reaching over, she seized the meat, and put it in this large
receptacle, the loaf of bread quickly followed, and lastly, the dish of
vegetables.  Then, getting up from her chair, she turned towards us,
saying, "Na-nas-koo-moo-wi-nah," which is the Cree for thanksgiving.
She gracefully backed out of the dining-room, holding carefully onto her
supplies.  Mrs Young and I looked in astonishment, but said nothing
till she had gone out.  We could not help laughing at the queer sight,
although the food which had disappeared in this unexpected way was what
was to have been our principal support for two or three days, until our
supplies should have arrived.  Afterwards, when expressing our
astonishment at what looked like the greediness of this woman, we
learned that she had only complied with the strict etiquette of her
tribe.  It seems it is their habit, when they make a feast for anybody,
or give them a dinner, if fortunate enough to have abundance of food, to
put a large quantity before them.  The invited guest is expected to eat
all he can, and then to carry the rest away.  This was exactly what the
poor woman did.  From this lesson of experience we learnt just to place
before them what we felt our limited abilities enabled us to give at the
time.

One day a fine-looking Indian came in with a couple of fat ducks.  As
our supplies were low, we were glad to see them; and in taking them I
asked him what I should give him for them.  His answer was, "O, nothing;
they are a _present_ for the missionary and his wife."  Of course I was
delighted at this exhibition of generosity on the part of this entire
stranger to us so soon after our arrival in this wild land.  The Indian
at once made himself at home with us, and kept us busy answering
questions and explaining to him everything that excited his curiosity.
Mrs Young had to leave her work to play for his edification on the
little melodeon.  He remained to dinner, and ate one of the ducks, while
Mrs Young and I had the other.  He hung around all the afternoon, and
did ample justice to a supper out of our supplies.  He tarried with us
until near the hour for retiring, when I gently hinted to him that I
thought it was about time he went to see if his wigwam was where he left
it.

"O," he exclaimed, "I am only waiting."

"Waiting?"  I said; "for what are you waiting?"

"I am waiting for the _present_ you are going to give me for the
_present_ I gave you."

I at once took in the situation, and went off and got him something
worth half-a-dozen times as much as his ducks, and he went off very
happy.

When he was gone, my good wife and I sat down, and we said, "Here is
lesson number _two_.  Perhaps, after we have been here a while, we shall
know something about the Indians."

After that we accepted of no presents from them, but insisted on paying
a reasonable price for everything we needed which they had to sell.

Our Sunday's work began with the Sunday School at nine o'clock.  All the
boys and girls attended, and often there were present many of the
adults.  The children were attentive and respectful, and many of them
were able to repeat large portions of Scripture from memory.  A goodly
number studied the Catechism translated into their own Language.  They
sang the hymns sweetly, and joined with us in repeating the Lord's
Prayer.

The public service followed at half-past ten o'clock.  This morning
service was always in English, although the hymns, lessons, and text
would be announced in the two languages.  The Hudson's Bay officials who
might be at the Fort two miles away, and all their _employes_, regularly
attended this morning service.  Then, as many of the Indians understood
English, and our object was ever to get them all to know more and more
about it, this service usually was largely attended by the people.  The
great Indian service was held in the afternoon.  It was all their own,
and was very much prized by them.  At the morning service they were very
dignified and reserved; at the afternoon they sang with an enthusiasm
that was delightful, and were not afraid, if their hearts prompted them
to it, to come out with a glad "Amen!"

They bring with them to the sanctuary their Bibles, and very sweet to my
ears was the rustle of many leaves as they rapidly turned to the Lessons
of the day in the Old or New Testament.  Sermons were never considered
too long.  Very quietly and reverently did the people come into the
house of God, and with equal respect for the place, and for Him Whom
there they had worshipped, did they depart.  Dr Taylor, one of our
missionary secretaries, when visiting us, said at the close of one of
these hallowed afternoon services, "Mr Young, if the good people who
help us to support Missions and missionaries could see what my eyes have
beheld to-day, they would most cheerfully and gladly give us ten
thousand dollars a year more for our Indian Missions."

Every Sunday evening I went over to the Fort, by canoe in summer, and
dog-train in winter, and held service there.  A little chapel had been
specially fitted up for these evening services.  Another service was
also held in the church at the Mission by the Indians themselves.  There
were among them several who could preach very acceptable sermons, and
others who, with a burning eloquence, could tell, like Paul, the story
of their own conversion, and beseech others to be likewise reconciled to
God.

We were surprised at times by seeing companies of pagan Indians stalk
into the church during the services, not always acting in a way becoming
to the house or day.  At first it was a matter of surprise to me that
our Christian Indians put up with some of these irregularities.  I was
very much astounded one day by the entrance of an old Indian called
Tapastonum, who, rattling his ornaments, and crying, "Ho!  Ho!" came
into the church in a sort of trot, and gravely kissed several of the men
and women.  As my Christian Indians seemed to stand the interruption, I
felt that I could.  Soon he sat down, at the invitation of Big Tom, and
listened to me.  He was grotesquely dressed, and had a good-sized
looking-glass hanging on his breast, kept in its place by a string hung
around his neck.  To aid himself in listening, he lit his big pipe and
smoked through the rest of the service.  When I spoke to the people
afterwards about the conduct of this man, so opposite to their quiet,
respectful demeanour in the house of God, their expressive, charitable
answer was: "Such were we once, as ignorant as Tapastonum is now.  Let
us have patience with him, and perhaps he, too, will soon decide to give
his heart to God.  Let him come; he will get quiet when he gets the
light."

The week evenings were nearly all filled up with services of one kind or
another, and were well attended, or otherwise, according as the Indians
might be present at the village, or away hunting, or fishing, or
"tripping" for the Hudson's Bay Company.  What pleased us very much was
the fact that in the homes of the people there were so many family
altars.  It was very delightful to take a quiet walk in the gloaming
through the village, and hear from so many little homes the voice of the
head of the family reading the precious volume, or the sounds of prayer
and praise.  Those were times when in every professed Christian home in
the village there was a family altar.



CHAPTER FOUR.

CONSTANT PROGRESS--WOMAN'S SAD CONDITION IN PAGANISM--ILLUSTRATIONS--
WONDROUS CHANGES PRODUCED BY CHRISTIANITY--ILLUSTRATIONS--NEW YEAR'S DAY
CHRISTIAN FESTIVAL--THE AGED AND FEEBLE ONES FIRST REMEMBERED--CLOSING
THANKSGIVING SERVICES.

We found ourselves in a Christian village surrounded by paganism.  The
contrast between the two classes was very evident.

Our Christians, as fast as they were able to build, were living in
comfortable houses, and earnestly endeavouring to lift themselves up in
the social circle.  Their personal appearance was better, and
cleanliness was accepted as next to godliness.  On the Sabbaths they
were well dressed, and presented such a respectable and devout
appearance in the sanctuary as to win the admiration of all who visited
us.  The great majority of those who made a profession of faith lived
honest, sober, and consistent lives, and thus showed the genuineness of
the change wrought in them by the glorious Gospel of the Son of God.

One of the most delightful and tangible evidences of the thoroughness
and genuineness of the change was seen in the improvement in the family
life.  Such a thing as genuine home life, with mutual love and sympathy
existing among the different members of the family, was unknown in their
pagan state.  The men, and even boys, considered it a sign of courage
and manliness to despise and shamefully treat their mothers, wives, or
sisters.  Christianity changed all this; and we were constant witnesses
of the genuineness of the change wrought in the hearts and lives of this
people by the preaching of the Gospel, by seeing how woman was uplifted
from her degraded position to her true place in the household.

My heart was often pained at what I saw among some of the wild savage
bands around us.  When, by canoe in summer, or dog-train in winter, I
have visited these wild men, I have seen the proud, lazy hunter come
stalking into the camp with his gun on his shoulder, and in loud,
imperative tones shout out to his poor wife, who was busily engaged in
cutting wood, "Get up there, you dog, my squaw, and go back on my tracks
in the woods, and bring in the deer I have shot; and hurry, for I want
my food!"  To quicken her steps, although she was hurrying as rapidly as
possible, a stick was thrown at her, which fortunately she was able to
dodge.

Seizing the long carrying strap, which is a piece of leather several
feet in length, and wide at the middle, where it rests against the
forehead when in use, she rapidly glides away on the trail made by her
husband's snow-shoes, it may be for miles, to the spot where lies the
deer he has shot.  Fastening one end of the strap to the haunches of the
deer, and the other around its neck, after a good deal of effort and
ingenuity, she succeeds at length in getting the animal, which may weigh
from a hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds, upon her back, supported
by the strap across her forehead.  Panting with fatigue, she comes in
with her heavy burden, and as she throws it down she is met with a sharp
stern command from the lips of the despot called her husband, who has
thought it beneath his dignity to carry in the deer himself, but who
imagines it to be a sign of his being a great brave thus to treat his
wife.  The gun was enough for him to carry.  Without giving the poor
tired creature a moment's rest, he shouts out again for her to hurry up
and be quick; he is hungry, and wants his dinner.

The poor woman, although almost exhausted, knows full well, by the
bitter experiences of the past, that to delay an instant would bring
upon herself severe punishment, and so she quickly seizes the scalping
knife and deftly skins the animal, and fills a pot with the savoury
venison, which is soon boiled and placed before his highness.  While he,
and the men and boys whom he may choose to invite to eat with him, are
rapidly devouring the venison, the poor woman has her first moments of
rest.  She goes and seats herself down where women and girls and dogs
are congregated, and there women and dogs struggle for the half-picked
bones which the men, with derisive laughter, throw among them!

This was one of the sad aspects of paganism which I often had to witness
as I travelled among those bands that had not, up to that time, accepted
the Gospel.  When these poor women get old and feeble, very sad and
deplorable is their condition.  When able to toil and slave, they are
tolerated as necessary evils.  When aged and weak, they are shamefully
neglected, and, often, put out of existence.

One of the missionaries, on visiting a pagan band, preached from those
blessed words of the Saviour: "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  In his sermon he spoke about
life's toils and burdens, and how all men had to work and labour.  The
men of the congregation were very angry at him; and at an indignation
meeting which they held, they said, "Let him go to the squaws with that
kind of talk.  They have to carry all the heavy burdens, and do the hard
work.  Such stuff as that is not for us men, but for the women."  So
they were offended at him.

At a small Indian settlement on the north-eastern shores of Lake
Winnipeg lived a chief by the name of Moo-koo-woo-soo, who deliberately
strangled his mother, and then burnt her body to ashes.  When questioned
about the horrid deed, he coolly and heartlessly said that as she had
become too old to snare rabbits or catch fish, he was not going to be
bothered with keeping her, and so he deliberately put her to death.
Such instances could be multiplied many times.  Truly "the tender
mercies of the wicked are cruel."

In delightful contrast to these sad sights among the degraded savages
around us, were the kindly ways and happy homes of our converted
Indians.  Among them a woman occupied her true position, and was well
and lovingly treated.  The aged and infirm, who but for the Gospel would
have been dealt with as Moo-koo-woo-soo dealt with his mother, had the
warmest place in the little home and the daintiest morsel on the table.
I have seen the sexton of the church throw wide open the door of the
sanctuary, that two stalwart young men might easily enter, carrying in
their arms their invalid mother, who had expressed a desire to come to
the house of God.  Tenderly they supported her until the service ended,
and then they lovingly carried her home again.  But for the Gospel's
blessed influences on their haughty natures they would have died ere
doing such a thing for a woman, even though she were their own mother.

Life for the women was not now all slavery.  They had their happy hours,
and knew well how to enjoy them.  Nothing, however, seemed so to delight
them as to be gliding about in the glorious summer time in their light
canoes.  And sometimes, combining pleasure with profit, many a duck was
shot by these young Indian maidens.

This changed feeling towards the aged and afflicted ones we have seen
manifested in a very expressive and blessed way at the great annual New
Year's Feast.  It was customary for the Indians, long before they became
Christians, to have a great feast at the beginning of the New Year.  In
the old times, the principal article of food at these horrid feasts was
dogs, the eating of which was accompanied by many revolting ceremonies.
The missionaries, instead of abolishing the feast, turned it into a
religious festival.  I carried out the methods of my worthy predecessors
at Norway House, and so we had a feast every New Year's Day.

The Crees call this day "Ooche-me-gou Kesigow," which literally means
"the kissing day," as on this day the men claim the right to kiss every
woman they meet; and, strange to say, every woman expects to be kissed.
It used to amuse me very much to see thirty or forty Indians, dressed up
in their finest apparel, come quietly marching into the Mission House,
and gravely kiss Mrs Young on her cheek.  When I used to rally her over
this strange phase of unexpected missionary experience, she would
laughingly retort, "O, you need not laugh at me.  See that crowd of
women out there in the yard, expecting you to go out and kiss them!"  It
was surprising how much work that day kept me shut in my study; or if
that expedient would not avail, I used to select a dear old sweet-faced,
white-haired grandma, the mother of the chief, and say, "Now I am going
to kiss grandma; and as I kiss her you must all consider yourselves
kissed."  This institution is more ancient among them than shaking
hands, about which they knew nothing until it was introduced by the
whites.

For weeks before New Year's Day great preparations were made for the
feast.  A council would be called, and the men would have recorded what
they were willing to give towards it.  Some, who were good deer-hunters,
promised venison.  Others promised so many beavers.  Perhaps there were
those who knew where bears had made their winter dens, and they agreed
to go and kill them for the feast.  Others, who were good fur-hunters,
stated their willingness to exchange some of the furs they would catch
for flour and tea and sugar at the trading post.

Thus the business went on, until enough was promised, with the liberal
supplies given by the Hudson's Bay Company's officials and the
missionary, to make the affair a great success.  An outbuilding of the
Mission, called "the fish house," was the place where all these various
things, as they were obtained, were stored.  Months were sometimes
consumed in collecting the meat.  But Jack Frost is a good preservative,
and so nothing spoiled.  A few days before the feast, Mrs Young would
select several of the Indian women, and under her superintendency the
various supplies would be cooked.  Very clever were these willing
helpers; and in a short time a quantity of food would be piled up,
sufficient for all, although it is well known that Indians have good
appetites.

When the great day arrived, the men quickly removed the seats out of the
church, and there put up long tables.  Great boilers of tea were made
ready, and every preparation was completed for a good time.  But, before
a mouthful was eaten by any of the eight hundred or thousand persons
present, the chief used to ask me for a pencil and a piece of writing
paper; and then, standing up on a box or bench, he would shout out, "How
many of our people are aged, or sick, or afflicted, and cannot be with
us to-day!"  As one name after another was mentioned, he rapidly wrote
them down.  Then he read over the list, and said, "Let us not forget any
one."  Somebody shouted out, "There is an old woman ten miles up the
river towards the old Fort."  Somebody else said, "Have you the name of
that boy who was accidentally shot in the leg?"  Their names were both
put down.  Then somebody says, "There are two or three left behind in
the tent of the pagans, while the rest have come to the feast."  "Let us
feed those who have come, and send something with our kind greetings to
the others," is the unanimous response.

When it was certain that none had been overlooked, request was made to
me for all the old newspapers and packing paper I could give them, and
soon loving hands were busily engaged in cutting off large pieces of
different kinds of meat and arranging them with the large flat cakes in
generous bundles.  To these were added little packages of tea and sugar.
In this way as many large bundles--each containing an assortment of
everything at the feast--would be made up as there were names on the
paper.  Then the chief would call in, from where the young men were
busily engaged in playing football, as many of the fleet runners as
there were bundles, and giving each his load, would indicate the person
to whom he was to give it, and also would add, "Give them our New Year's
greetings and sympathy, and tell them we are sorry they cannot be with
us to-day."

Very delightful were these sights to us.  Such things paid us a
thousandfold for our hardships and sufferings.  Here, before a mouthful
was eaten by the healthy and vigorous ones, large generous bundles, that
would last for days, were sent off to the aged and infirm or wounded
ones, who in all probability, but for the blessed influences of the
Gospel, if not quickly and cruelly put out of existence, would have been
allowed to linger on in neglect and wretchedness.

Even the young runners seemed to consider that it was an honour to be
permitted to carry these bundles, with the loving messages, to the
distant homes or wigwams where the afflicted ones were.  It was quite
amusing to watch them tighten up their belts and dash off like deers.
Some of them had several miles to go; but what cared they on this glad
day?

According to seniority the tables were filled, and the feast began as
soon as the "Grace before Meat" had been sung.  Mrs Young had her own
long table, and to it she invited not only the Hudson's Bay Company's
people, but as many of the aged and worthy from among the poor Indians
as we wished specially to honour.  Sometimes we filled one table with
wild pagans who had come in from some distant forest home, attracted by
the reports of the coming great feast.  Through their stomachs we
sometimes reached their hearts, and won them to Christ.

Thus for hours the feast continued, until all had been supplied.  None
were neglected, and everybody was happy.  Then with a glad heart they
sang:

  "Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow."

When all the guests were satisfied, what was left was carried off by the
needy ones, among whom it was generously divided; the tables were
quickly taken down by the men, and the church was speedily swept clean
by some active women.  The seats and pews were replaced, and every
arrangement was made for the great annual New Year's Meeting.  The
church was lit up; and when the audience had gathered, a chairman was
appointed, and, after singing and prayer, speeches were made by several
of the Indians.

Many pleasant and many sensible things were said.  Some of the sober-
minded ones reviewed the year just gone, with all its blessings and
mercies, and expressed the hope that the one on which they had entered
would be crowned with blessings.  Some of the speeches referred to
Treaty matters with the Government, and others were in reference to
their huntings and fisheries.  Some were bright and witty, and were
received with laughter and applause.  Others were of a serious,
religious character, and were equally welcome, and touched responsive
hearts.  With pleasure I noticed that in them all the most frequent word
was "Na-nas-koomoo-win-ah," which means "Thanksgiving," and for this my
heart rejoiced.  Thus ended, with the Doxology and Benediction, these
happy days, in which we saw so many evidences that the preaching of the
Gospel had not been in vain.



CHAPTER FIVE.

OXFORD HOUSE MISSION--VISITED BY CANOE--DESCRIPTION OF THIS USEFUL
CRAFT-INDIAN SKILL--OXFORD LAKE--DR. TAYLOR--EDWARD PAPANEKIS--STILL ON
THE TRAIL BY BIRCH CANOE--NARROW ESCAPE FROM BEING CRUSHED BY THE ICE--
ON STORMY LAKE WINNIPEG--PIONEERING FARTHER NORTH--SUCCESSES--"SHOW US
THE FATHER, AND IT SUFFICETH US"--CHRIST ACCEPTED IN THE PLACE OF IDOLS.

I had received instructions from the Missionary Secretaries to visit
Oxford Mission as soon as possible, and to do all I could for its
upbuilding.  This Mission had had a good measure of success in years
gone by.  A church and Mission house had been built at Jackson's Bay,
and many of the Indians had been converted.  But the village was too far
from the Hudson's Bay Company's Post, where the Indians traded, and
where naturally they gathered.  For several years the work had been left
in charge of a native teacher.  The people regretted the absence of an
ordained Missionary, and the place suffered accordingly.  Making all the
arrangements I could for the successful prosecution of the work in my
absence, I left Norway House in a small canoe, manned by two of my
Christian Indians, one of whom was my interpreter.  With this wonderful
little boat I was now to make my first intimate acquaintance.  For this
wild land of broad lakes and rapid rivers and winding creeks, the birch-
bark canoe is the boat of all others most admirably fitted.  It is to
the Indian denizen here what the horse is to his more warlike red
brother on the great prairies, or what the camel is to those who live
and wander amidst Arabian deserts.  The canoe is absolutely essential to
these natives in this land, where there are no other roads than the
intricate devious water routes.  It is the frailest of all boats, yet it
can be loaded down to the water's edge, and, under the skilful guidance
of these Indians, who are unquestionably the finest canoe men in the
world, it can be made to respond to the sweep of their paddles, so that
it seems almost instinct with life and reason.  What they can do in it,
and with it, appeared to me at times perfectly marvellous.  Yet when we
remember that for about five months of every year some of the hunters
almost live in it, this may not seem so very wonderful.  It carries them
by day, and in it, or under it, they often sleep by night.  At the many
portages which have to be made in this land, where the rivers are so
full of falls and rapids, one man can easily carry it on his head to the
smooth water beyond.  In it we have travelled thousands of miles, while
going from place to place with the blessed tidings of salvation to these
wandering bands scattered over my immense Circuit.  Down the wild rapids
we have rushed for miles together, and then out into great Winnipeg, or
other lakes, so far from shore that the distant headlands were scarce
visible.  Foam-crested waves have often seemed as though about to
overwhelm us, and treacherous gales to swamp us, yet my faithful, well-
trained canoe men were always equal to every emergency, and by the
accuracy of their judgment, and the quickness of their movements,
appeared ever to do exactly the right thing at the right moment.  As the
result, I came at length to feel as much at home in a canoe as anywhere
else, and with God's blessing was permitted to make many long trips to
those who could not be reached in any other way, except by dog-trains in
winter.

Good canoe-makers are not many, and so really good canoes are always in
demand.

Frail and light as this Indian craft may be, there is a great deal of
skill and ingenuity required in its construction.

Great care is requisite in taking the bark from the tree.  A long
incision is first made longitudinally in the trunk of the tree.  Then,
from this cut, the Indian begins, and with his keen knife gradually
peels off the whole of the bark, as high up as his incision went, in one
large piece or sheet.  And even now that he has safely got it off the
tree, the greatest care is necessary in handling it, as it will split or
crack very easily.  Cedar is preferred for the woodwork, and when it can
possibly be obtained, is always used.  But in the section of the country
where I lived, as we were north of the cedar limit, the canoe-makers
used pieces of the spruce tree, split very thin, as the best substitute
for cedar that our country afforded.

All the sewing of the pieces of birch bark together, and the fastening
of the whole to the outer frame, is done with the long slender roots of
the balsam or larch trees, which are soaked and rubbed until they are as
flexible as narrow strips of leather.  When all the sewing is done, the
many narrow limber pieces of spruce are crowded into their places,
giving the whole canoe its requisite proportions and strength.  Then the
seams and weak spots are well covered over with melted pitch, which the
Indians obtain from the spruce and balsam trees.

Great care is taken to make the canoe watertight.  To accomplish this,
the boat is often swung between trees and filled with water.  Every
place where the slightest leak is discovered is marked, and, when the
canoe is emptied, is carefully attended to.

Canoes vary in style and size.  Each tribe using them has its own
patterns, and it was to me an ever interesting sight, to observe how
admirably suited to the character of the lakes and rivers were the
canoes of each tribe or district.

The finest and largest canoes were those formerly made by the Lake
Superior Indians.  Living on the shores of that great inland sea, they
required canoes of great size and strength.  These "great north canoes,"
as they were called, could easily carry from a dozen to a score of
paddlers, with a cargo of a couple of tons of goods.  In the old days of
the rival fur-traders, these great canoes played a very prominent part.
Before steam or even large sailing vessels had penetrated into those
northern lakes, these canoes were extensively used, loaded with the rich
furs of those wild forests, they used to come down into the Ottawa, and
thence on down that great stream, often even as far as to Montreal.

Sir George Simpson, the energetic but despotic and unprincipled governor
of the Hudson's Bay Company for many years, used to travel in one of
these birch canoes all the way from Montreal up the Ottawa on through
Lake Nipissing into Georgian Bay; from thence into Lake Superior, on to
Thunder Bay.  From this place, with indomitable pluck, he pushed on back
into the interior, through the Lake of the Woods, down the tortuous
river Winnipeg into the lake of the same name.  Along the whole length
of this lake he annually travelled, in spite of its treacherous storms
and annoying head winds, to preside over the Council and attend to the
business of the wealthiest fur-trading company that ever existed, over
which he watched with eagle eye, and in every department of which his
distinct personality was felt.  His famous Iroquois crew are still
talked about, and marvellous are the stories in circulation about many a
northern camp fire of their endurance and skill.

How rapid the changes which are taking place in this world of ours!  It
seems almost incredible, in these days of mighty steamships going almost
everywhere on our great waters, to think that there are hundreds of
people still living who distinctly remember when the annual trips of a
great governor were made from Montreal to Winnipeg in a birch-bark
Canoe, manned by Indians.

Of this light Indian craft Longfellow wrote:--

  "Give me of your bark, O Birch tree!
  Of your yellow bark, O Birch tree!
  Growing by the rushing river,
  Tall and stately in the valley!
  I a light canoe will build me,
  Build a swift canoe for sailing.

  "Thus the Birch canoe was builded
  In the valley, by the river,
  In the bosom of the forest;
  All its mystery and its magic,
  All the brightness of the birch tree,
  All the toughness of the cedar,
  All the larch trees supple sinews;
  And it floated on the river
  Like a yellow leaf in autumn,
  Like a yellow water-lily."

We left for Oxford Mission on the 8th of September.  The distance is
over two hundred miles, through the wildest country imaginable.  We did
not see a house--with the exception of those built by the beavers--from
the time we left our Mission home until we reached our destination.  We
paddled through a bewildering variety of picturesque lakes, rivers, and
creeks.  When no storms or fierce head-winds impeded us, we were able to
make fifty or sixty miles a day.  When night overtook us, we camped on
the shore.  Sometimes it was very pleasant and romantic.  At other
times, when storms raged and we were drenched with the rain so
thoroughly that for days we had not a dry stitch upon us, it was not
quite so agreeable.

We generally began our day's journey very early in the morning, if the
weather was at all favourable, and paddled on as rapidly as possible,
since we knew not when head-winds might arise and stop our progress.
The Oxford route is a very diversified one.  There are lakes, large and
small, across which we had to paddle.  In some of them, when the wind
was favourable, our Indians improvised a sail out of one of our
blankets.  Lashing it to a couple of oars, they lifted it up in the
favouring wind, and thus very rapidly did we speed on our way.

At times we were in broad beautiful rivers, and then paddling along in
little narrow creeks amidst the reeds and rushes.  We passed over, or,
as they say in that country, "made" nine portages around picturesque
falls or rapids.  In these portages one of the Indians carried the canoe
on his head.  The other made a great load of the bedding and provisions,
all of which he carried on his back.  My load consisted of the two guns,
ammunition, two kettles, the bag containing my changes of raiment, and a
package of books for the Indians we were to visit.  How the Indians
could run so quickly through the portages was to me a marvel.  Often the
path was but a narrow ledge of rock against the side of the great
granite cliff.  At other times it was through the quaking bog or
treacherous muskeg.  To them it seemed to make no difference.  On they
went with their heavy loads at that swinging Indian stride which soon
left me far behind.  On some of my canoe trips the portages were several
miles long, and through regions so wild that there was nothing to
indicate to me the right direction.  When we were making them, I used to
follow on as long as I knew I was in the right way.  When I lost the
trail, I at once stopped and patiently waited until one of my faithful
men, having carried his load safely to the end, would come back for me.
Quickly picking up my load, he would hurry off, and even then,
unencumbered as I was, it was often as much as I could do to keep up
with him.

Oxford Lake is one of the most beautiful and picturesque lakes I ever
saw.  It is between twenty and thirty miles long and several miles wide.
It is studded with islands of every imaginable variety.  Its waters are
almost as transparent as the clear, fresh air above it.  When no breath
ripples its surface, one can look down into its crystal depths and see,
many feet below, the great fish quietly moving about.

To visit the Indians who fish in its waters, and hunt upon its shores, I
once brought one of our Missionary Secretaries, the eloquent Reverend
Lachlin Taylor, DD.  The trip down had not been one of the most
pleasant.  The rains had drenched him, and the mosquitoes had plagued
him with such persistency, that he loudly bemoaned his lot in being
found in a country that was cursed with such abominable animals.

One night I heard him muttering between his efforts to get them out of
his tent, where he declared they were attacking him in battalions:--

  "They throng the air, and darken heaven,
  And curse this Western land."

However, when we reached Oxford Lake, the mosquitoes left us for a time.
The sun came out in splendour, and we had some days of rarest beauty.
The good doctor regained his spirits, and laughed when I rallied him on
some of his strong expressions about the country, and told him that I
hoped, as the result of his experience, he, as all Missionary
Secretaries ought, would have a good deal of sympathy for the
Missionaries who live in such regions for years together.

We camped for the night on one of the most picturesque points.  We had
two canoes, and to man them four Indians from our Norway House Mission.
As the doctor was an enthusiastic fisherman, he decided that we must
stop there during the forenoon, while he tried his hand.  His first haul
was a splendid pike over two feet long.  Great was his excitement as his
success was assured.  Eloquence poured from him; we were flooded with
it.  The Indians looked on in amazement while he talked of the beauties
of the lake and islands, of the water and the sky.

"Wait a moment, doctor," I said.  "I can add to the wild beauty of the
place something that will please your artistic eye."

I requested two fine-looking Indians to launch one of the canoes, and to
quietly paddle out to the edge of an island which abruptly rose from the
deep, clear waters before us, the top of which had on it a number of
splendid spruce and balsams, massed together in natural beauty.  I
directed the men to drop over the side of the canoe a long fishing line,
and then, posing them in striking attitudes in harmony with the place, I
asked them to keep perfectly still until every ripple made by their
canoe had died away.

I confess I was entranced by the loveliness of the sight.  The
reflections of the canoe and men, and of the islands and rocks, were as
vivid as the actual realities.  So clear and transparent was the water,
that where it and the air met there seemed but a narrow thread between
the two elements.  Not a breath of air stirred, not a ripple moved.  It
was one of those sights which come to us but seldom in a lifetime, where
everything is in perfect unison, and God gives us glimpses of what this
world, His footstool, must have been before sin entered.

"Doctor," I said quietly, for my heart was full of the Doxology, "tell
me what you think of that vision."

Standing up, with a great rock beneath his feet, in a voice of
suppressed emotion he began.  Quietly at first he spoke, but soon he was
carried away with his own eloquence:--

"I know well the lochs of my own beloved Scotland, for in many of them I
have rowed and fished.  I have visited all the famed lakes of Ireland,
and have rowed on those in the Lake counties of England.  I have
travelled far and oft on our great American lakes, and have seen Tahoe,
in all its crystal beauty.  I have rowed on the Bosphorus, and travelled
in a felucca on the Nile.  I have lingered in the gondola on the canals
of Venice, and have traced Rob Roy's canoe in the Sea of Galilee, and on
the old historic Jordan.  I have seen, in my wanderings in many lands,
places of rarest beauty, but the equal of this mine eyes have never
gazed upon."

Never after did I see the lake as we saw it that day.

On it we have had to battle against fierce storms, where the angry waves
seemed determined to engulf us.  Once, in speeding along as well as we
could from island to island, keeping in the lee as much as possible, we
ran upon a sharp rock and stove a hole in our canoe.  We had to use our
paddles desperately to reach the shore, and when we had done so, we
found our canoe half-full of water, in which our bedding and food were
soaked.  We hurriedly built a fire, melted some pitch, and mended our
canoe, and hurried on.

On this lake, which can give us such pictures of wondrous beauty, I have
encountered some of the greatest gales and tempests against which I have
ever had to contend, even in this land of storms and blizzards.  Then in
winter, upon its frozen surface it used to seem to me that the Frost
King held high carnival.  Terrible were the sufferings of both dogs and
men on some of those trips.  One winter, in spite of all the wraps I
could put around me, making it possible for me to run--for riding was
out of the question, so intense was the cold--every part of my face
exposed to the pitiless blast was frozen.  My nose, cheeks, eyebrows,
and even lips, were badly frozen, and for days after I suffered.  Cuffy,
the best of my Newfoundland dogs, had all of her feet frozen, and even
Jack's were sore for many a day after.  My loyal Indians suffered also,
and we all declared Oxford Lake to be a cold place in winter, and its
storms worse than the summer mosquitoes.

The Indians of Oxford Lake were among the finest in all the great North-
West.  It was ever a joy to meet them as I used to do once in summer by
canoe trip, and then again in winter by dog-train.  God blessed my
visits to them.  The old members were cheered and comforted as the
Gospel was preached to them, and the Sacraments administered.  Some
pagans were induced to renounce their old lives, and the cause of
religion was more and more established.  The Reverend Mr Brooking, and,
later, the studious and devoted Reverend Orrin German, did blessed
service in that lonely Mission.  At the present time the Reverend Edward
Papanekis is the acceptable Missionary there.

Long years ago I found Edward a careless, sinful young man.  Once he
rushed into the Mission house under the influence of liquor, and
threatened to strike me.  But the blessed truth reached his heart, and
it was my joy to see him a humble suppliant at the Cross.  His heart's
desire was realised.  God has blessedly led him on, and now he is
faithfully preaching that same blessed Gospel to his countrymen at
Oxford Mission.

In responding to the many Macedonian cries my Circuit kept so enlarging
that I had to be "in journeyings often."  My canoes were sometimes
launched in spring, ere the great floating ice-fields had disappeared,
and through tortuous open channels we carefully paddled our way, often
exposed to great danger.

On one of these early trips we came to a place where for many miles the
moving ice fields stretched out before us.  One narrow channel of open
water only was before us.  Anxious to get on, we dashed into it, and
rapidly paddled ourselves along.  I had two experienced Indians, and so
had no fear, but expected some novel adventures--and had them with
interest.

Our hopes were that the wind would widen the channel, and thus let us
into open water.  But, to our disappointment, when we had got along a
mile or so in this narrow open space, we found the ice was quietly but
surely closing in upon us.  As it was from four to six feet thick, and
of vast extent, there was power enough in it to crush a good-sized ship;
so it seemed that our frail birch-bark canoe would have but a poor
chance.

I saw there was a reasonable possibility that when the crash came we
could spring on to the floating ice.  But what should we do then? was
the question, with canoe destroyed and us on floating ice far from land.

However, as my Indians kept perfectly cool, I said nothing, but paddled
away and watched for the development of events.  Nearer and nearer came
the ice; soon our channel was not fifty feet wide.  Already behind us
the floes had met, and we could hear the ice grinding and breaking as
the enormous masses met in opposite directions.  Now it was only about
twenty feet from side to side.  Still the men paddled on, and I kept
paddling in unison with them.  When the ice was so close that we could
easily touch it on either side with our paddles, one of the Indians
quietly said, "Missionary, will you please give me your paddle?"  I
quickly handed it to him, when he immediately thrust it with his own
into the water, holding down the ends of them so low horizontally under
the canoe that the blade end was out of water on the other side of the
boat.  The other Indian held his paddle in the same position, although
from the other side of the canoe.  Almost immediately after the ice
crowded in upon us.  But as the points of the paddles were higher than
the ice, of course they rested upon it for an instant.  This was what my
cool-headed, clever men wanted.  They had a fulcrum for their paddles,
and so they pulled carefully on the handle ends of them, and, the canoe
sliding up as the ice closed in and met with a crash under us, we found
ourselves seated in it on the top of the ice.  The craft, although only
a frail birch-bark canoe, was not in the least injured.

As we quickly sprang out of our canoe, and carried it away from where
the ice had met and was being ground into pieces by the momentum with
which it met, I could not but express my admiration to my men at the
clever feat.

After some exciting work we reached the shore, and there patiently
waited until the wind and sun cleared away the ice, and we could venture
on.  My plan was to spend at least a week in each Indian village or
encampment, preaching three times a day, and either holding school with
the children, or by personal entreaty beseeching men and women to be
reconciled to God.  When returning from the visit, which was a very
successful one, we had to experience some of the inconveniences of
travelling in such a frail bark as a birch canoe on such a stormy lake
as Winnipeg.

The weather had been very unsettled, and so we had cautiously paddled
from point to point.  We had dinner at what the Indians call Montreal
Point, and then started for the long crossing to Old Norway House Point,
as it was then called.  It is a very long open traverse, and as lowering
clouds threatened us we pulled on as rapidly as our three paddles could
propel us.  When out a few miles from land the storm broke upon us, the
wind rose rapidly, and soon we were riding over great white-crested
billows.  My men were very skilful, and we had no fear; but the most
skilful management was necessary to safely ride the waves, which soon in
size were rivalling those of the ocean.  A canoe is a peculiar craft,
and requires an experienced hand in these great storms.

We were getting on all right, and were successfully climbing the big
waves in quick succession, alert and watchful that no sudden erratic
move should catch us off our guard and overturn us.  At length we met a
wave of unusual height, and succeeded in climbing up into its foaming
crest all right.  Then down its side our little craft shot with the
apparent velocity of a sled down a toboggan slide.  When we reached the
bottom of this trough of the sea, our canoe slapped so violently upon
the water that the birch bark on the bottom split from side to side.  Of
course the water rushed in upon us with uncomfortable rapidity.  The
more we paddled the worse the water entered, as the exertion strained
the boat and opened the rent.  Quickly folding up a blanket, I carefully
placed it over the long rent, and kneeled down upon it to keep it in
place.  The man in the front of the canoe put down his paddle, and,
taking up the kettle, baled as rapidly as he could, while the Indian in
the stern, and myself in the middle, plied our paddles for dear life.
We turned towards the Spider Islands, which were over a mile away, and
by vigorous work succeeded in reaching one of them, although our canoe
was half full of water.  Then could we enter into David's words, as for
life we struggled, and our little craft was tossed on the cross sea in
our efforts to reach a place of safety: "They reel to and fro, and
stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.  Then they cry
unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their
distresses."

We paddled up as far as we could on a smooth granite rock that came out
gradually in the water.  Then out we sprang, and strong hands dragged
our little canoe up beyond the reach of the waves.  We hastily pulled
out our dripping blankets and soaked food and other things, and then,
overturning the canoe, emptied it of water; and as we saw the large
break in the bottom, we realised as we had not before the danger we had
been in, and the providential escape which had been ours.  So, with glad
hearts, we said, "We do `praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His
wonderful works to the children of men.'"

We quickly built a fire, and melted some pitch, a quantity of which is
always carried ready for such emergencies.  The long rent was covered
over with a piece of cloth well saturated in the boiling pitch, a
quantity more was poured over, and the whole was carefully smoothed out
over the weak place.  Soon it cooled and hardened, and the work was
done.  We ate a little food, and then launched our frail craft and
pushed on.  No serious accidents again troubled us, and we ended this
long canoe trip, as we had done many others, thankful that we had such
blessed opportunities to go to the remote places as heralds of the
Cross, and doubly thankful when we were safe at home again.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

On one of my canoe trips, when looking after pagan bands in the remote
Nelson River District, I had some singular experiences, and learned some
important lessons about the craving of the pagan heart after God.

We had been journeying on for ten or twelve days when one night we
camped on the shore of a lake-like river.  While my men were busily
employed in gathering wood and cooking the supper, I wandered off and
ascended to the top of a well wooded hill which I saw in the distance.
Very great indeed was my surprise, when I reached the top, to find
myself in the presence of the most startling evidences of a degraded
paganism.

The hill had once been densely covered with trees, but about every third
one had been cut down, and the stumps, which had been left from four to
ten feet high, had been carved into rude representations of the human
form.  Scattered around were the dog-ovens, which were nothing but holes
dug in the ground and lined with stones, in which at certain seasons, as
part of their religious ceremonies, some of their favourite dogs--white
ones were always preferred--were roasted, and then devoured by the
excited crowd.  Here and there were the tents of the old conjurers and
medicine men, who, combining some knowledge of disease and medicine with
a great deal of superstitious abominations, held despotic sway over the
people.  The power of these old conjurers over the deluded Indians was
very great.  They were generally lazy old fellows, but succeeded
nevertheless in getting the best that was going, as they held other
Indians in such terror of their power, that gifts in the shape of fish
and game were constantly flowing in upon them.  They have the secret art
among themselves of concocting some poisons so deadly that a little put
in the food of a person who has excited their displeasure will cause
death almost as soon as a dose of strychnine.  They have other poisons
which, while not immediately causing death to the unfortunate victims,
yet so affect and disfigure them that, until death releases them, their
sufferings are intense and their appearance frightful.

Here on this hill top were all these sad evidences of the degraded
condition of the people.  I wandered around and examined the idols, most
of which had in front of them, and in some instances on their flat
heads, offerings of tobacco, food, red cotton, and other things.  My
heart was sad at these evidences of such degrading idolatry, and I was
deeply impressed with my need of wisdom and aid from on high, so that
when I met the people who here worshipped these idols I might so preach
Christ and Him crucified that they would be constrained to accept Him as
their all-sufficient Saviour.

While there I lingered, and mused, and prayed, the shadows of the night
fell on me, and I was shrouded in gloom.  Then the full moon rose up in
the East, and as her silvery beams shone through the trees and lit up
these grotesque idols, the scene presented a strange weird appearance.
My faithful Indians, becoming alarmed at my long absence--for the
country was infested by wild animals--were on the search for me, when I
returned to the camp fire.  We ate our evening meal, sang a hymn, and
bowed in prayer.  Then we wrapped ourselves up in our blankets, and lay
down on the granite rocks to rest.  Although our bed was hard and there
was no roof above us, we slept sweetly, for the day had been one of hard
work and strange adventure.

After paddling about forty miles the next day we reached the Indians of
that section of the country, and remained several weeks among them.
With the exception of the old conjurers, they all received me very
cordially.  These old conjurers had the same feelings toward me as those
who made silver shrines for Diana of Ephesus had toward the first
preachers of Christianity in their city.  They trembled for their
occupation.  They well knew that if I succeeded in inducing the people
to become Christians their occupation would be gone, and they would have
to settle down to work for their own living, like other people, or
starve.  I visited them as I did the rest of the encampment, but they
had enmity in their hearts toward me.  Of all their efforts to injure or
destroy me of course I knew not.  That their threats were many I well
understood; but He Who had said, "Lo, I am with you alway," mercifully
watched over me and shielded me from their evil deeds.  My two Indian
attendants also watched as well as prayed, with a vigilance that seemed
untiring.  Very pleasant, indeed, are my memories of my faithful Indian
comrades on those long journeys.  Their loyalty and devotion could not
be excelled.  Everything that they could do for my safety and happiness
was cheerfully done.

We held three religious services every day, and between these services
taught the people to read in the Syllabic characters.  One day, in
conversing with an old fine-looking Indian, I said to him, "What is your
religion?  If you have any clear idea of a religion, tell me in what you
believe."

His answer was; "We believe in a good Spirit and in a bad spirit."

"Why, then," I said, "do you not worship the good Spirit?  I came
through your sacred grounds, and I saw where you had cut down some
trees.  Part you had used as fuel with which to cook your bear or deer
meat; out of the rest you had made an idol, which you worship.  How is
one part more sacred than the other?  Why do you make and worship
idols?"

I can never forget his answer, or the impressive and almost passionate
way in which the old man replied:--

"Missionary, the Indian's mind is dark, and he cannot grasp the unseen.
He hears the great Spirit's voice in the thunder and storms.  He sees
the evidences of His existence all around, but neither he nor his
fathers have ever seen the great Spirit, or any one who has; and so he
does not know what He looks like.  But man is the highest creature that
he knows of, and so he makes his idols like a man, and calls it his
`Manito.'  We only worship them because we do not know what the great
Spirit looks like, but these we can understand."

Suddenly there flashed into my mind the request of Philip to the Lord
Jesus: "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us;" and the wonderful
answer: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known
Me, Philip?  He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest
thou then, Show us the Father?"

I opened my Indian Bible at that wonderful chapter of disinterested
love, the fourteenth of John, and preached unto them Jesus, in His two
natures, Divine and human.  While emphasising the redemptive work of the
Son of God, I referred to His various offices and purposes of love and
compassion, His willingness to meet us and to save us from perplexity
and doubt, as well as from sin.  I spoke about Him as our elder Brother,
so intimately allied to us, and still retaining His human form as He
pleads for us at the throne of God.  I dwelt upon these delightful
truths, and showed how Christ's love had so brought him to us, that with
the eye of faith we could see Him, and in Him all of God for which our
hearts craved.  "Whom having not seen, we love; in Whom, though now we
see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of
glory."

For many days I needed no other themes.  They listened attentively, and
the holy Spirit applied these truths to their hearts and consciences so
effectively that they gladly received them.  A few more visits
effectually settled them in the truth.  They have cut down their idols,
filled up the dog-ovens, torn away the conjurers' tents, cleared the
forest, and banished every vestige of the old life.  And there, at what
is called "the Meeting of the Three Rivers," on that very spot where
idols were worshipped amidst horrid orgies, and where the yells,
rattles, and drums of the old conjurers and medicine men were heard
continuously for days and nights, there is now a little church, where
these same Indians, transformed by the glorious Gospel of the Son of
God, are "clothed and in their right mind, sitting at the feet of
Jesus."

My visits to Nelson River so impressed me with the fact of the necessity
of some zealous missionary going down there and living among the people,
that, in response to appeals made, the Reverend John Semmens, whose
heart God had filled with missionary zeal, and who had come out to
assist me at Norway House, nobly resolved to undertake the work.  He was
admirably fitted for the arduous and responsible task.  But no language
of mine can describe what he had to suffer.  His record is on high.  The
Master has it all, and He will reward.  Great were his successes, and
signal his triumphs.

At that place, where I found the stumps carved into idols, which Brother
Semmens has so graphically described, the church, mainly through his
instrumentality and personal efforts, has been erected.  In the last
letter which I have received from that land, the writer says: "The
Indians now all profess themselves to be Christians.  Scores of them by
their lives and testimonies assure us of the blessed consciousness that
the Lord Jesus is indeed their own loving Saviour.  Every conjuring drum
has ceased.  All vestiges of the old heathenish life are gone, we
believe for ever."

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the
desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose."

Grandly has this prophecy been fulfilled, and dwarfs into insignificance
all the sufferings and hardships endured in the pioneer work which I had
in beginning this Mission.  With a glad heart I rejoice that "unto me,
who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I
should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."



CHAPTER SIX.

THE WILD NORTH LAND--THE TWO METHODS OF TRAVEL, BY CANOE AND DOG-TRAIN--
THE NATIVE DOGS--ST. BERNARD AND NEWFOUNDLAND DOGS--THE DOG SLEDS--THE
GUIDE--THE DOG DRIVERS--THE LONG JOURNEYS--NIGHT TRAVELLING--WONDROUS
VISIONS OF THE NIGHT.

So destitute are these wild north lands of roads that there are really
no distinct words in the languages of these northern tribes to represent
land vehicles.  In translating such words as "waggon" or "chariot" into
the Cree language, a word similar to that for "dog-sled" had to be used.

No surveyor, up to the years about which I am writing, had visited those
regions, and there were literally no roads as understood in civilised
lands.

So numerous are the lakes and rivers that roads are unnecessary to the
Indian in the summer time.  With his light birch canoe he can go almost
everywhere he desires.  If obstructions block up his passage, all he has
to do is to put his little canoe on his head, and a short run will take
him across the portage, or around the cataracts or falls, or over the
height of land to some other lake or stream, where he quickly embarks
and continues his journey.

All summer travelling is done along the water routes.  Naturally the
various trading posts and Indian villages or encampments are located on
the edges of the lakes or rivers, or very near them, so as to be most
conveniently reached in this way.  So short are the summers that there
are only about five months of open water to be depended upon in these
high latitudes.  During the other seven months the dog sled is the only
conveyance for purposes of travelling.  So rough and wild is the country
that we know of no vehicle that could take its place, and no animals
that could do the work of the dogs.

As the years of toil rolled on, my Mission field or Circuit so enlarged
that it extended irregularly north and south over five hundred miles,
with a width in some places of over three hundred.  In summer I
travelled over it in a birch canoe, and in winter with my dog-trains.

At first it seemed very novel, and almost like child's play, to be
dragged along by dogs, and there was almost a feeling of rebellion
against what seemed such frivolous work.  But we soon found out that we
had travelled in worse conveyances and with poorer steeds than in a good
dog sled, when whirled along by a train of first-class dogs.

The dogs generally used are of the Esquimaux breed, although in many
places they have become so mixed up with other varieties as to be almost
unrecognisable.  The pure Esquimaux sled dogs are well-built, compact
animals, weighing from eighty to a hundred and twenty pounds.  They are
of various colours, and have a close, warm, furry coat of hair.  They
have sharp-pointed ears and very bushy, curly tails.  They are the most
notorious thieves.  I never could completely break an Esquimaux dog of
this propensity.  It seemed ingrained in their very natures.  I have
purchased young puppies of this breed from the natives, have fed them
well, and have faithfully endeavoured to bring them up in the way in
which they ought to go, but I never could get them to stay there.  Steal
they would, and did, whenever they had an opportunity.

This serious defect may have been the result of the constant and
unremitting neglect with which Indians generally treat their dogs.  They
are fond of them in a way, and are unwilling to part with them, except
at a good price; yet, except when working them, they very seldom feed
them.  The dogs are generally left to steal their living, and some of
them become very clever at it, as more than once I found to my sorrow.
When the fisheries are successful, or many deer have been killed, the
dogs, like their owners, are fat and flourishing.  When food is scarce,
the dogs' allowance is the first cut off.  We could always tell at a
glance, when a band of wild, wandering pagan Indians came in to visit
our village from their distant hunting grounds, how they had prospered.
If they and their dogs were fat and good-natured, they had had abundance
of food.  If, while the people looked fairly well, the dogs were thin
and wolfish, we knew they had fared but moderately.  If the dogs were
all gone and the people looked gaunt and famine-stricken, we knew they
had had hard times, and, as a last resort, had eaten their poor dogs to
keep themselves alive.

Some of the Indians who make a pretence to feed their dogs in winter
never think of doing so in summer.  The result is that, as they have to
steal, hunt, or starve, they become adepts in one or the other.
Everything that is eatable, and many things apparently uneatable, are
devoured by them.  They fairly howled with delight when they found
access to such things as old leather moccasins, dog harness, whips, fur
caps, mitts, and similar things.  They greedily devoured all they could,
and then most cunningly buried the rest.  Many of them go off in summer-
time on long fishing excursions.  I once, when away on a canoe trip, met
a pack of them up a great river over a hundred miles from their home.
When we first saw them at a long distance, we mistook them for wolves,
and began to prepare for battle.  The quick eyes of my Indian canoe men
soon saw what they were, and putting down our guns, we spent a little
time in watching them.  To my great surprise I found out that they were
fishing on their own account.  This was something new to me, and so I
watched them with much interest.

On the side of the river on which they were was a shallow, reedy marsh,
where the water was from a few inches to a foot in depth.  In these
shallow waters, at certain seasons of the year, different varieties of
fish are to be found.  The principal is the Jack fish, or pike, some of
which are over three feet long.  As they crowd along in these shallows,
often with their back fins out of the water, they are observed by the
dogs, who quietly wade out, often to a distance of many yards, and seize
them with such a grip that, in spite of their struggles, they are
carried in triumph to the shore, and there speedily devoured.  Sometimes
the dogs will remain away for weeks together on these fishing
excursions, and will return in much better condition than when they
left.

During the winter of the first Riel Rebellion, when all our supplies had
been cut off, my good wife and I got tired of dining twenty-one times a
week on fish diet, varied only by a pot of boiled musk rats, or a roast
hind-quarter of a wild cat.  To improve our bill of fare, the next
summer, when I went into the Red River Settlement, I bought a sheep,
which I carefully took out with me in a little open boat.  I succeeded
in getting it safely home, and put it in a yard that had a heavy
stockade fence twelve feet high around it.  In some way the dogs got in
and devoured my sheep.

The next summer, I took out a couple of pigs, and put them into a little
log stable with a two-inch spruce plank door.  To my great disgust, one
night the dogs ate a hole through the door and devoured my pigs.

There seemed to be a good deal of the wolf in their nature.  Many of
them never manifested much affection for their masters, and never could
be fully depended upon.  Still I always found that even with Esquimaux
dogs patience and kindness went farther than anything else in teaching
them to know what was required of them, and in inducing them to accept
the situation.  Some of them are naturally lazy, and some of them are
incorrigible shirks; and so there is in dog-driving a capital
opportunity for the exercise of the cardinal virtue of patience.

As my Mission increased in size, and new appointments were taken up, I
found I should have to be on the move nearly all the winter if those who
longed for the Word of Life were to be visited.  Do the best I could,
there were some bands so remote that I could only visit them twice a
year.  In summer I went by canoe, and in winter by dog-train.  After a
few wretched experiences with native dogs, where I suffered most
intensely, as much on account of their inferior powers as anything else,
I began to think of the many splendid St. Bernard and Newfoundland dogs
I had seen in civilised lands, doing nothing in return for the care and
affection lavished upon them.  These thoughts, which came to me while
far from home, were promptly followed by action as soon as that terrible
trip was ended, in which every part of my face exposed to the intense
cold had been frozen, even to my eyebrows and lips.

Missionary Secretaries were amused at the requisition for dogs, and had
their laugh at what they called "my unique request," and wrote me to
that effect.  Thanks, however, to the kindness of such men as the
Honourable Mr Sanford, of Hamilton, the Honourable Mr Ferrier, of
Montreal, and other friends, I had in my possession some splendid dogs
before the next season opened, and then the work went on with increasing
interest and satisfaction.  With splendid, well-trained dogs, I could so
shorten the time of the three hundred miles' trip, that, instead of
shivering seven or eight nights in a hole dug in the snow, we could
reduce the number to four or five.

Those who have experienced the sufferings and hardships of camping out
in the forest with the temperature ranging from thirty to sixty degrees
below zero, will agree that to escape two or three nights of it meant a
good deal.

I found by years of experience that the St. Bernard and Newfoundland
dogs had all the good qualities, and none of the defects, of the
Esquimaux.  By kindness and firmness they were easily broken in, and
then a whip was only an ornamental appendage of the driver's picturesque
costume.  Of these splendid dogs I often had in my possession, counting
old and young, as many as twenty at a time.  The largest and best of
them all was Jack, a noble St. Bernard.  He was black as jet, and stood
over thirty-three inches high at his fore shoulder.  When in good
working trim, he weighed about a hundred and sixty pounds.  He had no
equal in all that northern land.  Several times he saved my life, as we
shall see further on.  No whip ever ruffled his glossy coat; no danger
ever deterred him from his work, when he with his marvellous
intelligence once got to know what was expected of him.  No blizzard
storm, no matter how fickle and changeful, could lead him off from the
desired camping place, even if the courage of other dogs failed them,
and even though the guides gave up in despair.

The distance we could travel with dogs depended of course very much on
the character of the trail or route.  On the frozen surface of Lake
Winnipeg, when no blinding gales opposed us, and our dogs were good and
loads not too heavy, we have made from seventy to ninety miles a day.
One winter I accomplished the journey from Fort Garry to Norway House in
five days and a half--a distance of nearly four hundred miles.  When we
were toiling along in the dense forests, where the snow lay deep and the
obstructions were many, and the country was broken with hills and
ravines, we often did not make more than a third of that distance, and
then suffered much more than when we had made much greater journeys
under more favourable auspices.

The dog sleds are made of two oak or birch boards, about twelve feet
long, eight or nine inches wide, and from half an inch to an inch thick.
These two boards are fastened securely together, edge to edge, by
crossbars.  Then one of the ends is planed down thin, and so thoroughly
steamed or soaked in hot water that it can easily be bent or curved up
to form what is called the head of the sled.  It is then planed smooth,
and fitted out with side loops.  The front ones are those to which the
traces of the dogs are attached, and the others along the sides are used
to fasten the load securely.  When finished, allowing two or three feet
for the curled-up head, a good dog sled is nine or ten feet long, and
from sixteen to eighteen inches wide.

Sometimes they are fitted with parchment sides and a comfortable back.
Then they are called carioles.  When the dogs were strong enough, or the
trail was a well beaten one, or we were travelling on the great frozen
lakes, I was able to ride the greater part of the time.  Then it was not
unpleasant or toilsome work.  But as many of my winter trails led me
through the primeval forests, where the snow was often very deep, and
the hills were steep, and the fallen trees many, and the standing ones
thickly clustered together, on such journeys there was but little
riding.  One had to strap on his snow shoes, and help his faithful
Indians to tramp down the deep snow in the trail, that the poor dogs
might drag the heavily loaded sleds along.

Four dogs constitute a train.  They are harnessed in tandem style, as
all this vast country north of the fertile prairies is a region of
forests.  The Esquimaux style of giving each dog a separate trace, thus
letting them spread out in a fan-like form, would never do in this land
of trees and dense under-bush.

The harness, which is made of moose skin, is often decorated with
ribbons and little musical bells.  Singular as it may appear, the dogs
were very fond of the bells, and always seemed to travel better and be
in greater spirits when they could dash along in unison with their
tinkling.  Some dogs could not be more severely punished than by taking
the bells off their harness.

The head dog of the train is called "the leader."  Upon him depends a
great deal of the comfort and success, and at times the safety, of the
whole party.  A really good leader is a very valuable animal.  Some of
them are so intelligent that they do not require a guide to run ahead of
them, except in the most dense and unbeaten forest trails.  I had a
long-legged white dog, of mixed breed, that ever seemed to consider a
guide a nuisance, when once he had got into his big head an idea of what
I wanted him to do.  Outside of his harness Old Voyager, as we called
him, was a morose, sullen, unsociable brute.  So hard to approach was he
that generally a rope about sixty feet long, with one end fastened
around his neck, trailed out behind him.  When we wanted to catch him,
we generally had to start off in the opposite direction from him, for he
was as cunning as a fox, and ever objected to being caught.  In zigzag
ways we moved about until he was thrown off his guard, and then by-and-
by it was possible to come near enough to get hold of the long rope and
haul him in.  When once the collar was on his neck, and he had taken his
place at the head of the party, he was the unrivalled leader.  No matter
how many trains might happen to be travelling together, no one thought
of taking first place while Old Voyager was at hand.

Lake Winnipeg is very much indented with deep, wide bays.  The headlands
are from five to thirty miles apart.  When dog-travelling on that great
lake in winter, the general plan is to travel from headland to headland.
When leaving one where perhaps we had slept or dined, all we had to do
was to turn Old Voyager's head in the right direction, and show him the
distant point to which we wished to go; and although it might be many
miles away, a surveyor's line could not be much straighter than the
trail our sleds would make under his unerring guidance.

I have gone into these details about this mode of travelling, because
there is so little known about it in the outside world.  Doubtless it
will soon become a thing of the past, as the Indians are settling down
in their Reservations, and, each tribe or band having a resident
Missionary, these long, toilsome journeys will not be essential.

The companions of my long trips were the far-famed Indian runners of the
north.  The principal one of our party was called "the guide."  To him
was committed the responsibility of leading us by the quickest and
safest route to the band of Indians we wished to visit with the good
news of a Saviour's love.  His place was in front of the dogs, unless
the way happened to lead us for a time over frozen lakes or well-beaten
trails, where the dogs were able to go on alone, cheered by the voice of
their drivers behind.  When the trail was of this description, the guide
generally strode along in company with one of the drivers.

As the greater part of my work was in the wild forest regions, there
were many trips when the guide was always at the front.  Marvellously
gifted were some of these men.  The reader must bear in mind the fact
that there were no roads or vestiges of a path.  Often the whole
distance we wished to go was through the dense unbroken forest.  The
snow, some winters, was from two to four feet deep.  Often the trees
were clustered so closely together that it was at times difficult to
find them standing far enough apart to get our sleds, narrow as they
were, between them.  In many places the under-brush was so dense that it
was laborious work to force our way through it.  Yet the guide on his
large snowshoes was expected to push on through all obstructions, and
open the way where it was possible for the dog-sleds to follow.  His
chief work was to mark out the trail, along which the rest of us
travelled as rapidly as our loaded sleds, or wearied limbs, and often
bleeding feet, would allow.

Wonderfully clever and active were these guides in this difficult and
trying work.  To them it made but little difference whether the sun
shone brightly, or clouds obscured the sky.  On and on they pushed
without hesitancy or delay.  There were times when the sun's rays were
reflected with such splendour from the snowy wastes, that our eyes
became so affected by the glare, that it was impossible to travel by
sunlight.  The black eyes of the Indians seemed very susceptible to this
disease, which they call "snow blindness."  It is very painful, as I
know by sad experience.  The sensation is like that of having red-hot
sand thrown on the eyeballs.  Often my faithful dog-drivers used to
suffer so from it that, stoical as they naturally are, I have known them
to groan and almost cry out like children in the camp.

Once, in travelling near Oxford Lake, we came across a couple of Indians
who were stone-blind from this disease.  Fortunately they had been able
to reach the woods and make a camp and get some food ready ere total
blindness came upon them.  We went out of our course to guide them to
their friends.

To guard against the attack of this disease, which seldom occurs except
in the months of March and April, when the increasing brightness of the
sun, in those lengthening days, makes its rays so powerful, we often
travelled only during the night-time, and rested in the sheltered camps
during the hours of sunshine.  On some of our long trips we have
travelled eight nights continuously in this way.  We generally left our
camp about sundown.  At midnight we groped about as well as we could,
aided by the light of the stars or the brilliant auroras, and found some
dry wood and birch bark, with which we made a fire and cooked a midnight
dinner.  Then on we went until the morning light came.  Then a regular
camp was prepared, and breakfast cooked and eaten, and the dogs were
fed, instead of at night.  Prayers said, and ourselves wrapped up in our
blankets and robes, we slept until the hours of brilliant sunshine were
over, when on we went.

It always seemed to me that the work of the guides would be much more
difficult at night than during the daytime.  They, however, did not
think so.  With unerring accuracy they pushed on.  It made no matter to
them whether the stars shone out in all the beauty and brilliancy of the
Arctic sky, or whether clouds arose and obscured them all.  On the guide
pushed through tangled underwood or dense gloomy forest, where there
were not to be seen, for days, or rather nights, together, any other
tracks than those made by the wild beasts of the forest.

Sometimes the wondrous auroras blazed out, flashing and scintillating
with a splendour indescribable.  At times the whole heavens seemed aglow
with their fickle, inconstant beauty, and then various portions of the
sky were illumined in succession by their ever-changing bars, or columns
of coloured light.  Man's mightiest pyrotechnic displays dwarfed into
insignificance in the presence of these celestial visions.  For hours at
a time have I been entranced amidst their glories.  So bewildering were
they at times to me that I have lost all ideas of location, and knew not
which was north or south.

But to the experienced guide, although, like many of the Indians, he had
a keen appreciation of the beauties of nature, so intent was he on his
duties that these changing auroras made no difference, and caused him no
bewilderment in his work.  This, to me, was often a matter of surprise.
They are very susceptible in their natures, and their souls are full of
poetry, as many of their expressive and beautiful names indicate.  To
them, in their pagan state, those scintillating bars of coloured light
were the spirits of their forefathers, rank after rank, rushing out to
battle.  Yet, while on our long trips I have had Indians as guides who
became intensely interested in these wondrous visions of the night, I
never knew them to lose the trail or become confused as to the proper
route.

Very pleasant are my memories of different guides and dog-drivers.  With
very few exceptions they served me loyally and well.  Most of them were
devoted Christian men.  With me they rejoiced to go on these long
journeys to their countrymen who were still groping in the darkness, but
most of them longing for the light.  Many of them were capable of giving
exhortations or addresses; and if not able to do this, they could, Paul-
like, tell the story of their conversion, and how they had found the
Saviour.

My heart warms to those faithful men, my companions in many a storm, my
bed-fellows in many a cold wintry camp.  Memory brings up many incidents
where they risked their lives for me, and where, when food was about
exhausted, and the possibilities of obtaining additional supplies for
days were very poor, they quietly and unostentatiously put themselves on
quarter rations, for days together, that their beloved missionary might
not starve.

Some of them have finished their course.  Up the shining trail,
following the unerring Guide, they have gone beyond the auroras and
beyond the stars right to the throne of God.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

ON THE TRAIL WITH THE DOGS, TO FIELDS RIPE FOR THE REAPER--THE PLACE--
THE TRIP--THE WINTER CAMP--THE BITTER COLD--ENDURING HARDNESS--DEATH
SHAKING HANDS WITH US--MANY DAYS ON THE TRAIL.

In January, 1869, I started on my first winter trip to Nelson River, to
visit a band of Indians there, who had never yet seen a missionary or
heard the glad tidings of salvation.  Their principal gatherings were at
the little trading post on the Burntwood River.  Their hunting grounds
extended so very far north that they bordered on those of the Esquimaux,
with whom, however, the Indians have no dealings.  Between these two
races, the Indian and the Esquimaux, there is no affinity whatever.
They differ very materially in appearance, language, customs, and
beliefs.  Though they will seldom engage in open hostilities, yet they
are very rarely at peace with each other, and generally strive to keep
as far apart as possible.

The weather was bitterly cold, as the temperature ranged from thirty-
five to fifty-five below zero.  Our course was due north all the way.
The road we made, for there was none ahead of the snow-shoe tracks of
our guide, was a rugged, unbroken forest path.  As the country through
which we passed is rich in fur-bearing animals, we saw many evidences of
their presence, and occasionally crossed a hunter's trail.  We passed
over twenty little lakes, averaging from one to thirty miles in
diameter.  Over these our dogs drew us very fast, and we could indulge
in the luxury of a ride; but in the portages and wood-roads our progress
was very slow, and generally all of us, with our snow-shoes on, and at
times with axes in hand, had to tramp on ahead and pack the deep snow
down, and occasionally cut out an obstructing log, that our dogs might
be able to drag our heavily laden sleds along.  Sometimes the trees were
so thickly clustered together that it was almost impossible to get our
sleds through them.  At times we were testing our agility by climbing
over fallen trees, and then on our hands and knees had to crawl under
reclining ones.  Our faces were often bleeding, and our feet bruised.
There were times when the strap of my snowshoes so frayed and lacerated
my feet that the blood soaked through the moccasins and webbing of the
snowshoes, and occasionally the trail was marked with blood.  We always
travelled in Indian file.  At the head ran or walked the guide, as the
roads would permit.  On these trips, when I got to understand dog-
driving, I generally followed next; and behind me were three other dog-
trains, each with an Indian driver.

Sometimes the snow was so deep that the four dog-drivers went ahead of
the dogs, immediately behind the guide, and, keeping in line with him,
industriously packed down the snow, that the dogs might the more easily
drag the heavy sleds along.  The reason why our loads were so heavy was
this.  We were not in a country where, when night overtook us, we could
find some hospitable home to welcome us.  Neither were we where there
were hotels or houses in which for money we could secure lodgings.  We
were in one of the most desolate and thinly inhabited parts of the
world, where those who travel long distances see no human beings, except
the Indian hunters, and these but rarely.  Hence, in spite of all our
efforts to make our loads as light as possible, they would be heavy,
although we were only carrying what was considered absolutely essential.
We had to take our provisions, fish for our dogs, kettles, tin dishes,
axes, bedding, guns, extra clothing, and various other things, to meet
emergencies that might arise.

The heaviest item on our sleds was the fish for the dogs.  Each dog was
fed once a day, and then received two good white fishes, each weighing
from four to six pounds.  So that if the daily allowance for each dog
averaged five pounds, the fish alone on each sled would weigh one
hundred and twenty pounds, when we began a trip of a week's duration.
Then the bitter cold and the vigorous exercise gave both the drivers and
the missionary good appetites, and so the food provided for them was of
no insignificant weight.

We generally stopped about half an hour before sundown in order to have
time, ere darkness enshrouded us, to prepare our camp.  As we journeyed
on we had observed that the guide who had been running along in front
had been, for the last half hour or so, carefully scanning the forest to
the right and left.  At length he stopped, and as we came up to him we
said, "Well, Tom, what is the matter?"

His answer is, "Here is a capital place for our camp."

"Why do you think so?" we ask.

He replies, "Do you see those balsams?  They will furnish us with a bed,
and this cluster of dry, dead small trees will give us the wood we need
for our fire."  So we quickly set to work to prepare for our all-night
stay in the woods.

The dogs were soon unharnessed, and seemed thankful to get their heads
out of their collars.  They were never tied up, neither did they ever
desert us, or take the back track for home.  Some of the younger ones
often organised a rabbit hunt on their own responsibility, and had some
sport.  The older and wiser ones looked around for the most cosy and
sheltered spots, and there began to prepare their resting-places for the
night.  They would carefully scrape away the snow until they came to the
ground, and there, with teeth and paws, would make the spot as smooth
and even as possible.  They would then curl themselves up, and patiently
wait until they were called to supper.  After unharnessing our dogs, our
next work was with our axes, and there was a good sharp one for the
Missionary, to cut down some of the green balsams and dry dead trees.
Then using our snowshoes as shovels, from the place selected for our
camp we soon scraped away the snow, piling it up as well as we could to
the right, left, and in rear of where we were to sleep.  On the ground
thus cleared of snow we spread out a layer of the balsam boughs, and in
front, where the wind would blow the smoke from us, we made up a large
fire with the small dry trees which we had cut down.

On this blazing log fire we put our two kettles, which we had filled
with snow.  When it melted down, we refilled the kettles, until enough
water was secured.  In the large kettle we boiled a piece of fat meat,
of goodly size, and in the other we made our tea.

On my first trip I carried with me a tin basin, a towel, and a cake of
soap.  At our first camp-fire, when the snow had been melted in our
kettle, I asked the guide to give me a little of the water in my basin.
Suspecting the purpose for which I wanted it, he said, "What are you
going to do with it?"

"Wash my face and hands," I replied.

Very earnestly he answered, "Please, Missionary, do not do so."

I was longing for a good wash, for I felt like a chimney-sweep.  We had
been travelling for hours through a region of country where, in the
previous summer, great forest fires had raged, leaving many of the
trunks of the trees charred and black.  Against some of them we had
often rubbed, and to some of them, or their branches, we had had to
cling as we went dashing down some of the ravines.  The result of these
weary hours of toil amidst charred trunks was very visible, and I
rejoiced that an opportunity had arrived when I could wash off the sooty
stuff.  Great indeed was my surprise to hear this strong protest on the
part of my guide against my doing anything of the kind.

"Why should I not wash?"  I said, holding up my blackened hands.

"You must not let water touch you out in the open air, when it is so
very cold as it is to-day," was his answer.

I was very inexperienced then, and not willing to lose my wash, which I
so much needed, I did not heed the warning.  Having a blazing fire
before me and a good dry towel, I ventured to take the wash, and for a
minute or two after felt much better.  Soon, however, there were strange
prickling sensations on the tops of my hands, and then they began to
chap and bleed, and they became very sore, and did not get well for
weeks.  The one experiment of washing in the open air with the
temperature in the fifties below zero was quite enough.  In the
following years I left the soap at home and only carried the towel.
When very much in need of a wash, I had to be content with a dry rub
with the towel.  Mrs Young used to say, when I returned from some of
these trips, that I looked like old mahogany.  The bath was then
considered a much-needed luxury.

For our food, when travelling in such cold weather, we preferred the
fattest meat we could obtain.  From personal experience I can endorse
the statements of Arctic explorers about the value of fat or oil and
blubber as articles of food, and the natural craving of the system for
them.  Nothing else seemed to supply the same amount of internal heat.
As the result of experience, we carried the fattest kind of meat.

As soon as the snow was melted down in the larger of our kettles, meat
sufficient for our party was soon put on and boiled.  While it was
cooking, we thawed out the frozen fish for our dogs.  Such is the effect
of the frost that they were as hard as stone, and it would have been
cruel to have given them in that state to the noble animals that served
us so well.  Our plan was to put down a small log in front of the fire,
so close to it that when the fish were placed against it, the intensity
of the heat would soon thaw them out.  The hungry dogs were ever sharp
enough to know when their supper was being prepared; and as it was the
only meal of the day for them, they crowded around us and were impatient
at times, and had to be restrained.

Sometimes, in their eagerness and anxiety for their food--for it often
required a long time for the fire to thaw the fishes sufficiently for us
to bend them--the dogs in crowding one before the other would get into a
fight, and then there would be trouble.  Two dogs of the same train very
seldom fought with each other.  Yoke-fellows in toil, they were too wise
to try to injure each other in needless conflict.  So, when a battle
began, the dogs quickly ranged themselves on the sides of their own
comrades, and soon it was a conflict of train against train.  At first I
thought it cruel not to feed them more frequently, but I found, as all
experienced dog-drivers had told me, that one good meal a day was the
best for them.  So great were my sympathies for them that sometimes I
would give them a good breakfast in the morning; but it did not turn out
to be of any real benefit.  The additional meal made them sluggish and
short-winded, and they did not seem to thrive so well.  Good white fish
was the best food we could give them, and on this diet they could thrive
and work as on no other.

A goodly number of _dog-shoes_ were very necessary on these wild, rough
trips.  Dogs' feet are tender, and are liable to injury from various
causes.  On the smooth glare ice the pads of the feet would sometimes
wear so thin that they bled a good deal.  Then on the rough roads there
was always the danger of their breaking off a claw or running a sliver
through the webbing between the toes.  Many of the wise old dogs that
had become accustomed to these shoes, and thus knew their value, would
suddenly stop the whole train, and by holding up an injured foot very
eloquently, if mutely, tell the reason why they had done so.

The dog-shoes are like heavy woollen mits without the thumbs, made in
different sizes.  When a foot is injured, the mit is drawn on and
securely tied with a piece of soft deer-skin.  Then the grateful dog,
which perhaps had refused to move before, springs to his work, often
giving out his joyous barks of gratitude.  So fond do some of the dogs
become of these warm woollen shoes that instances are known where they
have come into the camp from their cold resting-places in the snow, and
would not be content until the men got up and put shoes on all of their
feet.  Then, with every demonstration of gratitude, they have gone back
to their holes in the snow.

Our dogs having been fed, we next make our simple arrangements for our
own supper.

A number of balsam boughs are spread over the spot near the fires, from
which the snow has been scraped away by our snowshoes.  On these is laid
our table-cloth, which was generally an empty flour bag, cut down the
side.  Our dishes, all of tin, are placed in order, and around we gather
with vigorous appetites.  It is fortunate that they are so good, as
otherwise our homely fare would not be much prized.  The large piece of
fat meat is served up in a tin pan, and our pint cups are filled up with
hot tea.  If we are fortunate enough to have some bread, which was far
from being always the case, we thaw it out and eat it with our meat.
Vegetables were unknown on these trips.  Our great staple was fat meat,
and the fatter the better; morning, noon, and night, and often between
times did we stop and eat fat meat.  If we did vary the _menu_, it would
be by making a raid on the dogs' supply, and in the evening camp cooking
ourselves a good kettle of fish.

As we dared not wash our hands or faces, of course such a thing as
washing dishes was unknown.  When supper was in progress, Jack Frost
made us busy in keeping ourselves and provisions warm.  I have seen the
large piece of meat put back into the pot three times during the one
meal, to warm it up.  I have seen the ice gather on the top of the cup
of tea that a few minutes before was boiling vigorously in the kettle.

After supper wood was cut, to be in readiness for the morning's fire;
and every break in clothes or harness was repaired, that there might be
no delay in making a good start.  Then the guide, who always had charge
of all these things, when satisfied that all was arranged, would say,
"Missionary, we are ready for prayers."  The Bible and Hymn-book were
brought out, and the Indians gathered round me, and there together we
offered up our evening devotions.  Would that our readers could have
seen us!  The background is of dense balsam trees, whose great drooping
branches, partially covered with snow, sweep the ground.  Above us are
the bright stars, and, it may be, the flashing auroras.  In front of us
is the blazing fire, and scattered around us, in picturesque confusion,
are our dog-sleds, snow-shoes, harness, and the other essentials of our
outfit.  A few of the dogs generally insisted on remaining up until
their masters had retired, and they were now to be seen in various
postures around us.  With uncovered heads, no matter how intense the
cold, my Christian Indians listened reverently, while in their own
language I read from the precious volume which they have learned to love
so well.  Then together we sang a hymn.  Frequently it would be the
Evening Hymn, the first verse of which in their beautiful Cree language
is as follows:--

  "Ne mahmechemon ne muntome
  Kahke wastanahmahweyan,
  Kah nah way yemin Kechabyah
  Ah kwah-nahtahtah-kwahnaoon."

After singing we bow in prayer.  There is there, as there should be
everywhere, a consciousness of our dependence upon the great Helper for
protection and support, and so the prayer we sang:--

  "Keep me, O keep me, King of Kings,
  Beneath Thine own Almighty wings."

is indeed our heart's desire.

Sometimes we are a hundred and fifty miles from the nearest human
habitation.  We are camping out in the woods in a hole dug in the snow.
We have no walls around us but the snow thrown out of the place in which
we are huddled, with perhaps the addition of some balsam boughs.  We
have no roof above us but the stars.  There in that place we are going
to lie down and try to sleep during that bitter cold night.  The light
fire will soon go out.  A foot of snow may fall upon us, and its coming
will be welcomed, as its warmth will lessen our shivering.  Prowling
grey wolves may come near us, but the terrible Frost King is more to be
feared than they.

Does anybody, who knows the efficacy of prayer, wonder that, as we draw
near to God, "by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving," we crave
the assurance of His favour and smile, and that He, Who never slumbers
or sleeps, will be our Guardian and our Friend?

After prayers we soon _retire to rest_.  The guide's familiar words soon
after prayers used to be, "Now, Missionary, I will make your bed."  This
was his work, and he was an adept at it.  He first spread out a layer of
evergreen boughs, and then on these he laid a large buffalo robe, and
upon this a heavy blanket.  Then, placing my pillow so that my head
would be farthest away from the fire, he would say to me, "Now, if you
will get into bed, I will cover you up and tuck you in."

Such a thing as disrobing out there in a wintry camp is unknown, unless,
as the result of the violent exercise of running all day, a person's
underclothing has become very damp by perspiration, and it is not safe
to sleep in it in that condition.

Some travellers sleep in a fur bag, in which they manage to insert
themselves, and then have it tightened around their necks.  Then a large
fur hood over the usual head-gear completes their sleeping apparel.  I
used to wrap myself up in a heavy overcoat over my usual apparel, and
then putting on long buffalo-skin boots, fur mits, cap, cape, and big
mufflers, considered myself rigged up for retiring.  When thus wrapped,
I used to have some difficulty in getting down into the bed, although it
was only on the ground.  When in position, the guide would throw over me
another heavy blanket and fur robe.  Then very skilfully, and in a way
most motherly, he would begin at my feet and carefully tuck me in.
Rapidly and deftly did he proceed with his work, and almost before I was
aware of what he was doing, he had reached my head, which he began to
cover completely up with the heavy robe which he seemed to be crowding
down under my back and shoulders.

The first time he packed me in in this manner I was only able to stand
it for a minute or two, as I thought I should be smothered.  So I very
suddenly threw up my arms and sent the whole upper covering off in a
hurry.

"Do you wish to smother me, man?"  I said.  "I cannot live with my head
covered up like that!"

Without any annoyance at my having so quickly undone his work, he
replied very kindly, "I know it must be hard work for you white people
to sleep with your heads completely covered up, but you will have to do
it here, or you will freeze to death.  You must be very careful, for
this seems to be a very cold night indeed."  Then he called my attention
to the distant thunder-like sounds which we had been hearing
occasionally during the evening.  That, he told me, was the ice, from
four to six feet thick, on the great lake, cracking in the bitter cold.
"Look at the smoke," he added.  "See how it keeps very near the ground.
It does that in the bitter cold nights."

From the trees around us we heard occasionally a sharp pistol-like
report, loud enough at times to make a nervous person fancy that lurking
enemies were firing at us.

The observant Indians say these loud reports are burstings in the trees
caused by the freezing of the sap.

Admiring his cleverness and kindness, I told him that I had been taught
that every person requires so many cubic feet of fresh air; and, cold or
no cold, how did he think I could get my share with my head covered up
as he desired?  "You must do with less out here," he said, as he
proceeded to cover me up again, while I tried to arrange myself so that
I could at least have a small portion of air.  Kindly and patiently he
humoured me, and then, when he had finished tucking me in, he said,
"Now, Missionary, good-night; but don't stir.  If you do, you may
disarrange your coverings while you sleep, and you may freeze to death
without waking up."

"Don't stir!"  What a command, I thought, to give a tired traveller
whose bones ache from his long snow-shoe tramping in the woods, whose
nerves and muscles are unstrung, and who, like others when thus
fatigued, has even found it helpful to his rest and comfort to turn
occasionally and stretch his limbs!

In this frame of mind, and under this order, which, after all, I felt
must be obeyed for fear of the dire results that might follow, I at
length managed to fall asleep, for I was very weary.  After a while I
woke up to a state of semi-consciousness, and found myself tugging and
pulling at what I thought in my dreamy condition was the end of an axe
handle.  The vague impression on my mind was, that some careless Indian
had left his axe just behind my head, and in the night the handle had
fallen across my face, and I had now got hold of the end of it.
Fortunately for me, I very quickly after this woke fully up, and then
found out that what I had imagined to be the end of an axe handle was my
own nose; and a badly frozen one it was, and both of my ears were about
in the same condition.

With the guide's last orders in my ears, I think I must have gone to
sleep all right, but I suppose, from the unusual smothering sensation,
unconsciously I must have pushed down the robes from my face, and
uncovered my head and my hand, and then gradually returned to
consciousness with the above results.  However, after a few nights of
this severe kind of discipline, I at length became as able to sleep with
my head covered up as an Indian.

When a foot or eighteen inches of snow fell upon us, we rejoiced, for it
added to our comfort, and caused us to sleep the better.  Under this
additional covering we generally rested a couple of hours longer than
usual, often to make up for the loss of sleep of the previous nights,
when we had found it impossible, or had considered it dangerous, to go
to sleep.

The hardest work and the most disagreeable is the getting up from such a
bed in such a place.  Often, in spite of the intense cold, we are in a
kind of a clammy perspiration, on account of the many wraps and
coverings about us.  As we throw off these outer garments, and spring up
in our camp, Jack Frost instantly assails us in a way that makes us
shiver, and often some are almost compelled to cry out in bitter
anguish.

Fortunately the wood is always prepared the night before, and so, as
quickly as possible, a great roaring fire is built up, and our breakfast
of strong tea and fat meat is prepared and eaten with all speed.

There were times when the morning outlook was gloomy indeed, and our
position was not an enviable one.  On one of my trips, of only a hundred
and eighty miles, in order to save expense, I only took with me one
companion, and he was a young Indian lad of about sixteen years of age.
We each had our own train of dogs, and as Old Voyager was leader we
guided him by voice alone, and he did not disappoint us.  One morning,
when we sprang up from our wintry camp-bed, we found that several inches
of snow had fallen upon us during the night.  As soon as possible we
arranged our wood in order and endeavoured to kindle our fire.  We had
been late the previous evening in reaching this camping place, and so
had to grope around in the rapidly increasing darkness for our wood.  It
was of very inferior quality, but as we had succeeded in cooking our
suppers with part of it, we had not anticipated any trouble with the
rest.  The snow which had fallen upon it had not improved it, and so, as
we lighted match after match, we were at first disgusted, and then
alarmed, at finding that the poor stuff persistently refused to ignite.
Of course we had to take our hands out of our big fur mits when trying
to light the matches.  Before we had succeeded in our attempts to start
the fire our hands began to chill, and soon they were so powerless that
we were not able to hold a match in our fingers.  Very naturally we
became alarmed, but we persevered as long as possible.  I remember that,
taking one of the matches between my teeth and holding up an axe before
me, I tried to jerk my head quick enough to light it in that way, but
the experiment was not a success.

Suddenly there came the consciousness that we were not far from
perishing if we could not make a fire.  I quickly turned to my young
comrade, and saw by the look in his face that he also grasped the
situation, and was terrified at the outlook.

"Alec," I said, "this is a serious thing for us."

"Yes, Missionary," said he.  "I am afraid we die here.  If we can make
no fire and have no breakfast, I am afraid we will freeze to death."

"Not so bad as that yet, Alec," I said.  "God is our refuge and help.
He has given us other ways by which we can get warm.  As quickly as
possible get on your snow-shoes, and up with your hood and on with your
mits, and I will do likewise, and now see if you can catch me."

In much less time than I have taken to describe it, we were rigged up
for rapid snow-shoe running, and were off.  Away I rushed through the
woods as rapidly as I could on my snow-shoes.  The lad followed me, and
thus we ran chasing and catching each other alternately as though we
were a couple of boisterous schoolboys instead of a Missionary and his
Indian companion striving to save themselves from freezing to death.

After about half an hour of this most vigorous exercise, we felt the
warmth coming back to our bodies, and then the hot blood began working
its way out to our benumbed hands, and by-and-by we could bend our
fingers again.  When we felt the comfortable glow of warmth over our
whole bodies, we rushed back again to the camp, and, gathering a
quantity of birch bark which we found loosely hanging from the trees,
and which is very inflammable, we soon had a good fire and then our hot
breakfast.  At our morning devotions which followed there was a good
deal of thanksgiving, and the grateful spirit continued in our hearts as
we packed up our loads, harnessed up our dogs, and sped on our way.  It
was a very narrow escape.  The King of Terrors looked us both in the
face that cold morning, and very nearly chilled us into death by the icy
fingers of the Frost King.

As the hours of daylight in the winter months in these high latitudes
are so few, we generally roused ourselves up several hours before
daylight.  Often my kind-hearted men endeavoured to get up first, and
have a rousing fire made and breakfast cooked, before I would awake.
This, however, did not occur very often, as such a bed was not conducive
to sleep; so, generally, after about four or five hours in such a state
of suffocation, I was thankful to get up the instant I heard any one
stirring.  I would rather freeze to death than be suffocated.

There were times not a few when I was the first to get up, and kindle
the fire and cook the breakfast before I called my faithful wearied
companions, who, long accustomed to such hardships, could sleep on
soundly, where for me it was an absolute impossibility.  Sometimes my
men, when thus aroused, would look up at the stars and say "Assam
weputch," _i.e._, "Very early."  All I had to do was to look gravely at
my watch, and this satisfied them that it was all right.  The breakfast
was quickly eaten, our prayers were said, our sleds loaded, dogs
captured and harnessed--with the Esquimaux ones this was not always an
easy task--and we were ready to start.

Before starting we generally threw the evergreen brush on which we had
slept on the fire, and by its ruddy, cheerful light began our day's
journey.  When some mornings we made from twenty-five to forty miles
before sunrise, the Indians began to think the stars were about right
after all, and the Missionary's watch very fast.  However, they were
just as willing to get on rapidly as I was, and so did not find fault
with the way in which I endeavoured to hurry our party along.  I paid
them extra whenever the record of a trip was broken, and we could lessen
the number of nights in those open-air camps in the snow.

We were six days in making our first winter trip to Nelson River.  In
after years we reduced it to four days.  The trail is through one of the
finest fur-producing regions of the North-West.  Here the wandering
Indian hunters make their living by trapping such animals as the black
and silver foxes, as well as the more common varieties of that animal.
Here are to be found otters, minks, martens, beavers, ermines, bears,
wolves, and many other kinds of the fur-bearing animals.  Here the black
bears are very numerous.  On one canoe trip one summer we saw no less
than seven of them, one of which we shot and lived on for several days.

Here come the adventurous fur traders to purchase these valuable skins,
and great fortunes have been made in the business.  If, merely to make
money and get rich, men are willing to come and put up with the
hardships and privations of the country, what a disgrace to us if, for
their souls' sake, we are afraid to follow in these hunters' trail, or,
if need be, show them the way, that we may go with the glad story of a
Saviour's love!



CHAPTER EIGHT.

NELSON RIVER--A DEMONSTRATIVE WELCOME--FIRST RELIGIOUS SERVICE--A FOUR
HOURS' SERMON--THE CHIEF'S ELOQUENT REPLY--THE OLD MAN WITH
GRANDCHILDREN IN HIS WIGWAM--"OUR FATHER"--"THEN WE ARE
BROTHERS"--"YES"--"THEN WHY IS THE WHITE BROTHER SO LONG TIME IN COMING
WITH THE GOSPEL TO HIS RED BROTHER?"--GLORIOUS SUCCESSES.

It was at my second visit to Nelson River that the work really
commenced.  Through some unforeseen difficulty at the first visit, many
of the natives were away.  Hunting is even at the best a precarious mode
of obtaining a livelihood.  Then, as the movements of the herds of deer,
upon the flesh of which many of these Indians subsist for the greater
part of the year, are very erratic, it is often difficult to arrange for
a place of meeting, where food can be obtained in sufficient abundance
while the religious services are being held.

It used to be very discouraging, after having travelled for several days
together, either by canoe in summer, or dog-trains in winter, to reach a
certain place which had been arranged for meeting, and find very few
present.  The deer, and other animals on which they had expected to
live, had gone in another direction, and the Indians had been obliged to
follow them.

Everything, however, favoured us on our second visit.  We found over
fifty families camped at the place of meeting, and full of curiosity to
see the Missionary.  They had all sorts of strange notions in their
minds.  When Mr Rundle, of the English Wesleyan Church, first went
among some of the wild tribes of the great Saskatchewan country, with
his open Bible, preaching the wonderful Gospel truths, great was the
excitement of the people to know where this strange man had come from.
So a great council was summoned, and the conjurers were ordered to find
out all about it.  After a great deal of drumming and dreaming and
conjuring, they gravely reported that this strange man with his
wonderful book had been wrapped up in an envelope, and had come down
from the Great Spirit on a rainbow!

The Nelson River Indians welcomed me very cordially, and were much more
demonstrative in their greetings than were any of the other tribes I had
visited, although I had had my share of strange welcomes.  Here the
custom of handshaking was but little known, but the more ancient one of
kissing prevailed.  Great indeed was my amazement when I found myself
surrounded by two hundred and fifty or three hundred wild Indians, men,
women, and children, whose faces seemed in blissful ignorance of soap
and water, but all waiting to kiss me.  I felt unable to stand the
ordeal, and so I managed to put them off with a shake of the hand, and a
kind word or two.

At eight o'clock the next morning we called the Indians together for the
first public religious service which most of them had ever attended.
They were intensely interested.  My Christian Indians from Norway House
aided me in the opening services, and, being sweet singers, added very
much to the interest.  We sang several hymns, read a couple of lessons
from the Bible, and engaged in prayer.  At about nine o'clock I read as
my text those sublime words: "For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life."

They listened with the most enrapt attention, while for four hours I
talked to them of some of the truths of this glorious verse.  They had
never heard a sermon before; they were ignorant of the simplest truths
of our blessed Christianity; and so I had to make everything plain and
clear as I went along.  I could not take anything for granted with that
audience.  So I had to take them back to the Creation and Fall.  Then I
spoke of God's love in providence and grace; and of His greatest act of
love, the gift of His only begotten beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died that we might live.  I dwelt on the benefits which come to us
from the personal acceptance of this Saviour.  I tried hard to show how
we, who had wandered so far away, were invited back to actual adoption
into God's great family, as a conscious reality.  I spoke of the
universality and impartiality of God's love; of His willingness to
receive all, to fill our hearts with joy and peace, to comfort us all
through life, to sustain us in death, and then to take us to everlasting
life in a world of light and glory.

The ever-blessed Spirit most graciously applied the truth, as I tried,
in the simplest and plainest way, to bring it down to their
comprehension.  The attention they gave showed that my words were being
understood.  Their bright eyes glistened and at times were suffused with
tears, and as I closed the long-pent-up silence gave place to loud
exclamations of delight.

Then we translated into their language and sang part of the good old
hymn:--

  "O for a thousand tongues to sing
  My great Redeemer's praise,
  The glories of my God and King,
  The triumphs of His grace!"

Again we bowed in prayer, and, at my request, they repeated after me all
the petitions which in short easy sentences we offered up to Him Who is
the Hearer and Answerer of prayer.  A spirit of awe and solemnity seemed
to rest upon us.  It was the first time the great majority had ever
attempted to pray in the Name of Jesus, and I felt a sweet assurance
that those simple petitions, from the hearts and lips of those poor
Indians, were not despised by Him Whose great heart of love beats so
true to all.  After prayer I requested them all to again seat themselves
on the ground, as I wished to hear from them about these great truths
which I had come so far to tell them of.  I wanted to know what were
their wishes and determinations about becoming Christians.  When I had
finished, every eye turned towards the principal chief, as these
Indians, like the other tribes, have their unwritten laws of precedence.
He rose up from his place among his people, and, coming near me on my
right hand, he made one of the most thrilling addresses I ever heard.
Years have passed away since that hour, and yet the memory of that tall,
straight, impassioned Indian is as vivid as ever.  His actions were
many, but all were graceful.  His voice was particularly fine and full
of pathos, for he spoke from his heart.  Here is the bare outline of his
speech, as, with my interpreter to aid me, I shortly afterwards wrote it
down.

"Missionary, I have long lost faith in our old paganism."  Then pointing
down to the outer edge of the audience, where some old conjurers and
medicine men were seated, he said, "They know I have not cared for our
old religion.  I have neglected it.  And I will tell you, Missionary,
why I have not believed in our old paganism for a long time.  I hear God
in the thunder, in the tempest, and in the storm; I see His power in the
lightning that shivers the tree into kindling wood; I see His goodness
in giving us the moose, the reindeer, the beaver, and the bear; I see
His loving-kindness in giving us, when the south winds blow, the ducks
and geese; and when the snow and ice melt away, and our lakes and rivers
are open again, I see how He fills them with fish.  I have watched these
things for years, and I see how during every moon of the year He gives
us something; and so He has arranged it, that if we are only industrious
and careful, we can always have something to eat.  So thinking about
these things which I had observed, I made up my mind years ago, that
this Great Spirit, so kind and so watchful and so loving, did not care
for the beating of the conjurer's drum, or the shaking of the rattle of
the medicine man.  So I for years have had no religion."

Then turning towards me and looking me in the face, he said, in tones
that thrilled me, "Missionary, what you have said to-day fills up my
heart and satisfies all its longings.  It is just what I have been
expecting to hear about the Great Spirit.  I am so glad you have come
with this wonderful story.  Stay as long as you can; and when you have
to go away, do not forget us, but come again as soon as you can."

Loud expressions of approval greeted these words of the chief.  When he
had finished, I said, "I want to hear from others, and I want your own
views on these important things."  Many responded to my request, and,
with the exception of an old conjurer or two, who feared for their
occupation, all spoke in the same strain as did the head chief.  The
last to speak was an old man with grizzly hair, and wild, excited
movements.  He was a queer, savage-looking man, and came from the rear
of the company to the front with strange springy movements.  His hair
was braided, and reached to his knees.  Threading his way through the
audience, he came up close to me, and then, pushing his fingers into his
hair as far as its braided condition would allow, he exclaimed in a tone
full of earnestness, "Missionary, once my hair was as black as a crow's
wing, now it is getting white.  Grey hairs here, and grandchildren in
the wigwam, tell me that I am getting to be an old man; and yet I never
before heard such things as you have told us to-day.  I am so glad I did
not die before I heard this wonderful story.  Yet I am getting old.
Grey hairs here, and grandchildren yonder, tell the story.  Stay as long
as you can, Missionary, tell us much of these things, and when you have
to go away, come back soon, for I have grandchildren, and I have grey
hairs, and may not live many winters more.  Do come back soon."

He turned as though he would go back to his place and sit down; but he
only went a step or two ere he turned round and faced me, and said,
"Missionary, may I say more?"

"Talk on," I said.  "I am here now to listen."

"You said just now, `Notawenan.'" ("Our Father.")

"Yes," I said, "I did say, `Our Father.'"

"That is very new and sweet to us," he said.  "We never thought of the
Great Spirit as Father: we heard Him in the thunder, and saw Him in the
lightning, and tempest; and blizzard, and we were afraid.  So, when you
tell us of the Great Spirit as Father, that is very beautiful to us."

Hesitating a moment, he stood there, a wild, picturesque Indian, yet my
heart had strangely gone out in loving interest and sympathy to him.

Lifting up his eyes to mine, again he said, "May I say more?"

"Yes," I answered, "say on."

"You say, `Notawenan'."  ("_Our_ Father").  "He is your Father?"

"Yes, He is my Father."

Then he said, while his eyes and voice yearned for the answer, "Does it
mean He is my Father--poor Indian's Father?"

"Yes, O yes!"  I exclaimed.  "He is your Father too."

"Your Father--missionary's Father, and Indian's Father, too!" he
repeated.

"Yes, that is true," I answered.

"Then we are brothers?" he almost shouted out.

"Yes, we are brothers," I replied.  The excitement in the audience had
become something wonderful.  When our conversation with the old man had
reached this point, and in such an unexpected, and yet dramatic manner,
had so clearly brought out, not only the Fatherhood of God, but the
oneness of the human family, the people could hardly restrain their
expressions of delight.  The old man, however, had not yet finished, and
so, quietly restraining the most demonstrative ones, he again turned to
me, and said,--

"May I say more?"

"Yes, say on; say all that is in your heart."

Never can I forget his answer.

"Well, I do not want to be rude, but it does seem to me that you, my
white brother, have been a long time in coming with that great Book and
its wonderful story, to tell it to your red brothers in the woods."

This question thrilled me, and I found it hard to answer.  This is the
question that millions of weary, longing, waiting souls, dissatisfied
with their false religions, and craving for that soul rest which only
can be found in the hearty acceptance of the glorious Gospel of the Son
of God, are asking.  I tried to apologise for the slowness of the
advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the apathy of those who,
while acknowledging the brotherhood of humanity, so often forget that
they are their brother's keeper.

We closed the service for a brief period, and then, as soon as a hurried
dinner had been eaten, we all assembled again for the afternoon service.
This second service lasted for five hours.  After singing and prayer, I
read the beautiful story of the Ethiopian eunuch, and the Baptismal
Service.  I endeavoured to explain what we meant by becoming Christians,
and stated that I was willing to baptize all who would renounce their
paganism, with its polygamy, conjuring, gambling, and other vices, and
from that time begin to worship the true God.  Polygamy was the greatest
stumbling-block among them, as some of them had three or four wives.
Intemperance here is but little known, on account perhaps of the great
difficulty of importing liquor into a region so remote from
civilisation.

After I had spent a long time in making clear the doctrines or the
blessed Book, and had answered many questions, I invited all who were
willing to comply with these conditions, and desired baptism, to come to
the front of the audience, where I was standing.

About forty men and women immediately responded, and came forward and
seated themselves at my feet.  Some were trembling, others were weeping:
all seemed deeply moved.  Then I read the beautiful Scripture lessons in
connection with the baptismal service for children, and dwelt upon the
love of Jesus for children, and His willingness to receive them.  I
invited the parents to consecrate their children to God, even if they
themselves were as yet undecided.  We had a solemn and impressive time.

All desired new names, and for the great majority I had to make the
selection.  While baptizing them and selecting Christian names as
additions to their generally poetic and expressive Indian names, my
constant prayer was, that they might "see His face, and His name" be
Written "in their foreheads."

Still there was some opposition.  Satan would not thus easily be
dispossessed or driven out.  Old conjurers and medicine men, faithful
followers of the enemy, quickly began their opposition.  Their selfish
natures were aroused.  They were shrewd enough to see that if I
succeeded, as I was likely to do, they, like Demetrius, the shrine-maker
of Diana, would soon be without an occupation.  So at this afternoon
gathering they were there to oppose.  But they were in such a helpless
minority that they dared do no worse than storm and threaten.  One
savage old conjurer rushed up to me, just as I was about to baptize his
wife, who, with many others, had come for this sign and seal of her
acceptance of Christ.  Before I had perceived his purpose, or had power
to stop him, he seized and shook her roughly, and, looking at me, in his
impotent wrath, said in an insulting manner,--

"Call her Atim," ("dog").

"No," I said, looking kindly at the poor trembling woman, "I will do
nothing of the kind; but I will give her the sweetest name ever borne by
woman, for it was the name of the mother of Jesus."

So I baptized her Mary.

We spent several days in giving lessons in the Syllabic characters
between the religious services, three of which we endeavoured to hold
each day.  Sometimes we assembled all the people together, and, with
these characters marked on the side of a rock with a burnt stick, we
taught them as best we could.  At other times we went from tent to tent,
and gave them lessons, and had religious conversation and prayer.

It was on one of these rounds of wigwam visitations that I came across
Pe-pe-qua-na-pua, or Sandy Harte, the story of whose life and conversion
has been so widely circulated.  Several acquired such a knowledge of
these characters that, by persevering for a few weeks, they were able to
read very nicely in the blessed Book.

I left with them several dozen copies of the New Testament, Hymn-books,
and Catechisms, in their own language.

So great was their anxiety for religious instruction, that many of them
remained for three days after they had eaten all of their provisions.
When I first heard this, I could hardly credit it, but found out by
personal investigation that it was the actual fact.  With tears in their
eyes they bade me farewell, and said, that on account of their famishing
children they must start off for their fishing and hunting grounds.  But
they added, "What we have heard from you will make us glad and thankful
all the time."

With my faithful travelling companions, I made a trip out from Nelson
River to another small band about thirty miles away.  We spent the
Sabbath in a miserable wigwam, where the snow and sleet dashed in upon
us, making us shiver in spite of all we could do.  Still, as the poor
Indians were anxious to hear the Gospel, we soon forgot our physical
discomforts in the joy of preaching this great salvation.  Nineteen of
them accepted Christ as their Saviour, and were baptized.  We held a
meeting for the purpose of hearing them tell of their wishes as to this
blessed religion.  Many very interesting things were said.  We here
record only one.

A fine-looking man said, "What has fully decided me to endeavour to be a
good Christian all my days is this.  The Missionary has told us many
reasons, all sufficient to decide us; but the one that came very near to
my heart was, that all the little children who have died have been taken
to that better land, and there they are with the loving Saviour in
heaven.  My little ones have passed away, leaving my heart sore and
bleeding.  I yearn after them; I long to meet them again.  So I want so
to live that when I die Jesus will permit me to embrace them, and never
be separated from them again."

On this trip, we found at another small encampment a young girl, about
twelve years of age, dying of consumption.  I talked to her of Jesus and
heaven, and prayed with her several times.  When the closing scene drew
near, she said to her sorrowing mother, "I am glad the praying man has
told me such words of comfort.  I have lost that dread of death I had.
I believe that dear Jesus will take me to that better land; but, mother,
when you come, will you look for me until you find me? for I do wish to
see you again."

Is it any wonder that I became deeply attached to these Nelson River
Indians?  I visited them twice a year, and by pen and voice pleaded for
them until my heart's desire was obtained, and a brother beloved
volunteered to go and live among them.  Of him with joy I write.



CHAPTER NINE.

A WELCOME ACCESSION--THE REVEREND JOHN SEMMENS--A DEVOTED YOUNG
MISSIONARY--FIRST TO RESIDE AT NELSON RIVER--IN LABOURS AND IN PERILS
OFT--IN JOURNEYINGS OFT BY DOG-TRAINS TOGETHER--THE CENTENARIAN OLD
CHRISTIAN--WILLIAM PAPANEKIS--HIS GODLY LIFE AND WONDROUS TRANSLATION.

One cold wintry morning we were gladdened by the arrival of a dear
brother and colleague in the work, the Reverend John Semmens, who had
left a comfortable charge in Ontario, and had come out to help me in the
prosecution of the blessed work.  Brother Semmens had to taste, early in
his missionary work among the Indians, some of the dangers incident to
such a life.  He came to us at Norway House in the depth of the winter,
and suffered much from the intense cold and blizzard storms.  One night,
while trying to rest in the camp in the woods on his way out, a fierce
storm blew down a large tree, which fell very close to him.
Providentially no one was hurt.

He soon became very popular among the Indians, for whom he subsequently
gave many years of successful, self-denying toil.  His presence with us
in our home was a great joy.  None but those who have been deprived of
the pleasure of the society and fellowship of kindred spirits can
realise what a benediction this sweet-spirited and devoted young brother
was in our home.  With one great object before us, that of doing the
greatest possible good we could to the Indians among whom we were called
to labour, and fortunately seeing "eye to eye" as to the methods of our
work, we spent some months and broken years in harmony in doing what we
could.

Brother Semmens' name will ever be associated with the Nelson River
Mission, as he was the first missionary to go and live in that region of
country and among those wandering Aborigines, who had received me with
such expressions of joy when on my visits, so few, alas! and far
between.  Very many indeed were Mr Semmens' hardships.  Their wandering
life made his work slow and at times discouraging.  He had not at first
a knowledge of their language, and could not always get an interpreter.
However, as the love of Christ was the constraining motive, he
persevered, and great indeed was his success among them.

We will not here insert any of the many thrilling incidents of his
romantic pioneer work among them.  We hope that from his fluent pen will
come his own record, which will be a very valuable addition to
missionary literature.  Often did we, like the early ones sent out by
the Master in pairs, go together on some long and difficult exploring
tours.  At many a camp-fire and in many a wigwam have we talked and
pleaded with the wandering Indians, and have besought them to be
reconciled to God.  Hundreds of miles have we tramped on together, until
our limbs were cramped and our feet were bleeding; and then, in the cold
camp after supper and prayers, have we crowded in close together under
the same robes and tried to sleep.  Will either of us ever forget the
trip in to District Meeting at Winnipeg, where on the great Lake we got
separated from the rest of our party, but by rapid travelling reached
the comfortable home and cordial welcome of our beloved Chairman, the
Reverend George Young, thus escaping the terrible blizzard in which so
many suffered?  Then the return trip was equally exciting and perilous.
We left Winnipeg on the Saturday afternoon with our heavily loaded dog
sleds.  At Mr Sifton's, near Selkirk, we were cordially welcomed, and
here we remained in quiet rest and joyous worship during the Sabbath
day.  When the clock struck the hour of midnight, we exchanged our black
clothes for our leather suits.  We harnessed up our dogs, and then,
after eating a midnight meal, we bade our host and hostess farewell, and
pushed out under the stars on our long journey to the far North.  Mr
Semmens' journey would not be finished until he was six or seven hundred
miles nearer the North Pole.

Mr Sifton told me in after years, that they could only sit there and
weep as they thought of our starting off in the bitter cold and gloom of
that midnight hour on such a journey.  Missionary work to them from that
hour took on itself additional interest, and ever after much greater, if
possible, was their love for those who for His sake were willing to
endure hardness in extending the knowledge of His Name.

Ere the sun rose, we were near the Willow Islands, and there we had our
breakfast.  It was getting late in the winter season, and so the
reflection of the brilliant rays of the sun on the dazzlingly white
snowy waste of Winnipeg gave us both a touch of snow-blindness.  Still,
as we could see a little, we only stopped when it was necessary, and
rapidly hurried on.  When about twenty miles from Beren's River night
came down upon us; but I could not bear the idea of having again to
sleep in a miserable camp when home was so near, for at this time I was
in charge of the new work among the Saulteaux.  So I said to Brother
Semmens, and to our two well-disciplined dog-drivers, "Courage, men, a
little longer; let us not stop here in the bitter cold when our homes
are so near."  The Indians responded with a will, and rejoiced that we
were to go on.  But my beloved Brother Semmens was completely tired out,
and my heart was filled with sorrow as I saw how utterly exhausted he
was.  Throwing himself down on the cold, icy surface of the lake, he
said, "Throw me out a blanket and a piece of pemmican, and leave me
here.  I cannot go a step further.  The rest of you have wives and
children to lure you on to your homes; I have none.  I can go no
farther.  My feet are bleeding from the straps of my snowshoes.  I will
stay here.  Never mind me."

Thus the dear fellow talked, for he was exhausted and discouraged.  I
did not feel much better, but I tried to put a bold face on the matter,
and I said, "No, indeed, we will not leave you here.  We are going on,
and we are going to take you with us; and a good supper under a roof,
and then a warm bed, are to be yours before morning comes."

One of my dogs, called Muff, a magnificent but over-ambitious St.
Bernard, the gift of Mrs Andrew Allen, of Montreal, had broken her
collar-bone during this trip.  The plan generally adopted, when such an
accident happens to one of the dogs, was to kill it at once, and then
push on with the diminished train.  However, as Muff was such a valuable
dog, and there was a possibility of her recovering, I decided to carry
her home, although we were a long distance from it.  I so arranged my
sled that she could ride upon it, and she soon became quite reconciled
to her place.  But it meant a good deal of hard running for me.  Before
the accident occurred, I could ride a great part of the time, although
we had over six hundred pounds weight upon the sled.  However, as Jack
was one of the train, I was able to ride when the ice was good.  Now,
however, with one dog less in the train, and that one as so much
additional weight on the sled, it meant the end of my riding for that
trip.

Very quickly did I decide how to act in order to help my dear companion
in tribulation.  With our axes my Indians and myself chopped a hole in
the solidly packed snow and ice near the shore of the lake.  In this we
spread out a buffalo robe, and on it we placed the injured dog.  Then
around her we placed the greater part of the load of the dog-sled, and
then covered all up as well as we could with the large deer-skin sleigh
wrapper.  Giving the dog orders to guard well the supplies from prowling
wild animals, and making a large number of tracks as an additional
precaution, we left Muff there with her goods.

Then we drove the dogs over to the spot where Mr Semmens lay, and,
wrapping him well up in robes and putting a little pillow under his
head, we tied him on the sled, and started off on the last stage of our
journey.  We were all so weary that we made but slow progress, and it
was after midnight ere the welcome Mission House was reached, and we
were within the walls of home.

Mr Semmens had fortunately slept most of the way.  A good supper, after
a warm bath, and then a long, sweet, dreamless sleep, that lasted until
nearly noon of the next day, wonderfully refreshed his spirits, and as
he came down and greeted us, his first words were, "O Egerton, I am so
glad you did not leave me there to perish on the ice!"

Still in his prime, with a noble wife and precious children around him,
he is in that land doing good service for the Master.  From him we yet
expect to hear good tidings, for in physical strength and mental
equipment and thorough consecration to his work he is the peer of any
who there toil.

THE CENTENARIAN.

One of the first Indians to attract our attention at Norway House was a
venerable-looking old man of more than usual height.  His appearance was
quite patriarchal.  His welcome had been most cordial, and his words
seemed to us like a loving benediction.  He called us his children, and
welcomed us to our home and work in the name of the Lord Jesus.

As he was very aged, and had to come a long distance from his home to
the Sunday morning service, we invited him, on the first Sunday after
our arrival at the Mission, to dine with us.  He was very grateful, and
said this would enable him to remain for the afternoon native service,
which he dearly prized.  He was not only a blessed Christian, but a
natural gentleman.  We were so drawn towards him that we invited him to
dine with us, and then rest awhile, each Sabbath between the services.

Like all the old Indians, his age was unknown, but it must have been
over a century, as men above fifty said he was called an old man when
they were boys.  The fact that his name had been on the Hudson's Bay
Company's book for eighty years, as a skilful hunter, makes it quite
safe to class him as a centenarian.

His testimony to the blessedness of the Gospel was very clear and
delightful.  He "knew Whom he had believed," and ever rejoiced in the
blessed assurance that he would have grace given to keep him to the end.
He was one of the first converts of the early Missionaries, and had
remained true and steadfast.  He had been a successful Class Leader for
many years, and faithfully and well did he attend to his duties.  If any
of his members were not at the meeting, he knew the reason why before
the next evening, if they were within five or six miles of his home.

As he lived a couple of years after we reached the Mission, we got to be
very well acquainted, and it was ever a blessing to talk to him of
spiritual things.  I had a very convincing evidence one day of the
thoroughness with which he had renounced his old pagan life and its
sinful practices.  We had been talking on various subjects, and the
matter of different kinds of beliefs came up.  As he had a very
retentive memory, and I had been told that he was the best authority on
old Indian religions and superstitions, I took out of my pocket a note-
book and pencil, and said, "Mismis" (English, "Grandfather"), "I want
you to tell me some things about your old conjurings and religions.  I
may want to write a book some time, and put some of these things in it."

The dear old man's face became clouded, and he shook his head and
remained silent.

I urged my request, saying I felt certain he, from his great age, must
have much to talk about.  For his answer, he sat down in his chair, and,
putting his elbows on his knees, buried his face in his hands, and
seemed lost in a kind of reverie.

I waited for a few minutes, for all was hushed and still.  His family
had heard my question, and they had become intensely interested.  The
silence became almost painful, and so I said in a cheery strain, "Come,
grandfather, I am waiting to write down what you have to say."

Suddenly he sprang up in a way that startled us all, and, stretching out
his hand like an orator, he began:--

"Missionary! the old wicked life is like a nightmare, like a bad dream,
like a terrible sickness that made us cry out with pain.  I am trying to
banish it, to forget it, to wipe it out of my memory.  Please do not ask
me to talk about it, or to bring it up.  I could not sleep; I should be
miserable."

Of course I put up my book and pencil, and did not further trouble the
dear old man, who seemed so loth to talk about his old belief.

The next Sunday after this interview we had a Fellowship Meeting in the
church.  One of the first to speak was this venerable grandfather.  He
said, "The Missionary wanted me to talk to him about my old religion.  I
could not do it.  It was my enemy.  It only made me miserable.  The more
I followed it, the more unhappy I was.  So I have cast it out of my
life, and from my heart.  Would that I could wash it out of my memory!"
Then he added, "But perhaps the memory of it helps to make me love my
Saviour better, as I can remember from what He has saved me.  I was so
far from him, and so dark and sinful He reached down His strong arm and
lifted me out of the dark place, and put me into the light.  O, I am so
thankful Jesus saves me, and I love to talk about it."

And he did talk about it, and our hearts rejoiced with him.

Of him it could be truthfully said, "What he once loved he now hates,
and does it so thoroughly that he does not even wish to talk about it."

While writing these pleasant memories, perhaps I cannot do better than
here record the remarkable closing scenes of the life of this venerable
old man, the patriarch of the village.  His family was a large one.  He
had several sons.  Worthy, excellent men they were.  About some of them
we shall have interesting things to say.  The youngest, Edward, it was
my joy to lead into the sweet assurance that his sins were all forgiven.
In July, 1889, he was ordained, in Winnipeg, to the office and work of
the Christian ministry.

Martin, another of his sons, was one of my most loved and trusted
guides, and my companion, for thousands of miles, in birch canoe by
summer, and dog-trains by winter.  We have looked death in the face
together many times, but I never knew him to flinch or play a coward's
part.  Supplies might fail, and storms and head-winds delay us, until
starvation stared us in the face, and even the Missionary himself began
to question the wisdom of taking these wild journeys where the chances
were largely against our return, when from Martin, or one of the others,
would come the apt quotation from the Sacred Word, or from their musical
voices the cheering hymn which said,--

  "Give to the winds thy fears;
  Hope, and be undismayed:
  God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears,
  God shall lift up thy head.

  "Through waves and clouds and storms
  He gently clears thy way:
  Wait thou His time, so shall this night
  Soon end in joyous day."

Very precious and very real were many of the blessed promises, and their
fulfilment, to us in those times of peril and danger, when death seemed
to be so near, and we so helpless and dependent upon the Almighty arm.

Another son of this old saint was Samuel, the courageous guide and
modest, unassuming Christian.  He was the one who guided his well-loaded
brigade up the mighty Saskatchewan river to the rescue of the whites
there, and having safely and grandly done his work, "holding on to God,"
went up the shining way so triumphantly that there lingered behind on
his once pallid face some radiance of the glory like that into which he
had entered; and some seeing it were smitten with a longing to have it
as their portion, and so, then and there, they gave themselves to God.
Of him we shall hear more farther on.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

One day when the venerable father met his class, he told his members
that his work was nearly done, and very soon indeed he expected to pass
over to the better land.  Although as well as he had been for months,
yet he had a premonition that the end of his life was near.  Very
lovingly and faithfully did he talk to them, and exhorted them to be
faithful to the end.

The next day he sent for me, and requested me to appoint one of his sons
as leader of his class, if I thought him worthy of the place.

I said, "We do not want to lose you.  Your class members all love you.
Why resign your position?"

A strange look in his face told me that he had set his heart on joining
another company, and that it seemed as though he were only postponing
his departure until his little affairs on earth were set in order.

"I am going very soon now, and I want to have everything settled before
I go; and I shall be so glad to see my son William leader of my class,
if you think it best."

As the son was a most excellent man the appointment was made, much to
the aged father's delight.

The next day he had assembled all the old members who had renounced
paganism and become Christians at the same time as he did, over thirty
years before.  There were enough of them to fill his house, and all came
who possibly could.  They sang and prayed together, and then he stood up
before them and addressed them in loving and affectionate words.

As I sat there and looked upon the scene, while, for about an hour, he
was reviewing the past, and talking of God's goodness in bringing them
out of paganism, and conferring so many blessings upon them, I thought
of Joshua's memorable gathering of the elder people at Shechem to hear
his dying charge.  At his request I administered to them all, and those
of his many relations who were worthy, the sacrament of the Lord's
Supper.  It was a most impressive time.  He Whose dying we celebrated
seemed in Spirit very blessedly near.

Then perhaps another hour was spent, at his desire, in singing his
favourite hymns and in prayer.  He entered with great spirit into the
devotions, and many said afterwards, "Heaven seemed very near."  I shook
hands with him and said, "Goodbye," and returned to my home.  With the
exception of a little weariness on account of the exciting services
through which he had passed, I saw no change in him.  His voice was just
as cheery, his eye as bright, his grip as firm as usual, and I saw no
reason why he should not live a good while yet.

About an hour after, while talking the matter over with Mrs Young, and
giving her some of the specially interesting incidents of the memorable
services with our dear old friend, there was a sudden call for me by an
Indian, who, rushing in without any ceremony, exclaimed, "Come quickly;
grandfather is dead!"  I hurriedly returned with him, and found that the
aged patriarch had indeed passed away.

They told me that after I had left them he continued for a time to speak
loving words of counsel and advice to them.  Then, as had been his
habit, he lay down on his bed, and drew his blanket around him, as
though prepared for rest.  As they knew he must be weary, they kept very
still, so as not to disturb him.  Not hearing him breathe, one of them
touched him, and found that he had fallen into that sleep which here
knows no waking.  He was not, for God had taken him.

It was a remarkable death.  The great difficulty among us seemed to be,
to realise the presence of death at all.  He suffered from no disease,
and never complained of pain.  His mind was unclouded till the last.  In
his humble position he had done his work, and done it well; and so now,
with all the confidence of a loving child resting in the arms of a
mother, he laid his head down on the bosom of his Lord.

With rejoicings, rather than weepings, we laid in the little graveyard
all that was mortal of William Papanekis.  We missed him very much, for
his presence was like the sunshine, and his prayers were benedictions
upon us all.



CHAPTER TEN.

REVEREND JAMES EVANS, THE PEERLESS MISSIONARY--HIS JOURNEYS BY CANOE AND
DOG-TRAIN--THE CREE SYLLABIC CHARACTERS, HIS INVENTION--LORD DUFFERIN'S
WORDS CONCERNING HIM--HIS SUCCESSES--HIS TRIALS--ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING OF
HIS INTERPRETER--SURRENDERING HIMSELF TO THE AVENGERS--ADOPTED INTO A
PAGAN FAMILY--VISIT TO ENGLAND--SUDDEN DEATH.

Without any question, the Reverend James Evans was the grandest and most
successful of all our Indian Missionaries.  Of him it can be said most
emphatically, "While others have done well, he excelled them all."

In burning zeal, in heroic efforts, in journeyings oft, in tact that
never failed in many a trying hour, in success most marvellous, in a
vivacity and sprightliness that never succumbed to discouragement, in a
faith that never faltered, and in a solicitude for the spread of our
blessed Christianity that never grew less, James Evans stands among us
without a peer.

If full accounts of his long journeys in the wilds of the great North-
West could be written, they would equal in thrilling interest anything
of the kind known in modern missionary annals.  There is hardly an
Indian Mission of any prominence to-day in the whole of the vast North-
West, whether belonging to the Church of England, the Roman Catholic, or
the Methodist Church, that James Evans did not commence; and the reason
why the Methodist Church to-day does not hold them all is, because the
apathetic Church did not respond to his thrilling appeals, and send in
men to take possession and hold the fields as fast as they were
successfully opened up by him.

From the northern shores of Lake Superior away to the _ultima Thule_
that lies beyond the waters of Athabasca and Slave Lakes, where the
Aurora Borealis holds high carnival; from the beautiful prairies of the
Bow and Saskatchewan Rivers to the muskegs and sterile regions of
Hudson's Bay; from the fair and fertile domains of Red and Assinaboia
Rivers, to the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains, enduring footprints of
James Evans may still be seen.

At many a camp-fire, and in many a lonely wigwam, old Indians yet
linger, whose eyes brighten and whose tongues wax eloquent as they
recall that man whose deeds live on, and whose converts from a degrading
paganism are still to be counted by scores.  Many a weary hour has been
charmed away, as I have listened to Papanekis the elder, or Henry Budd,
or some other old Indian guide or dog-driver, or canoe-man, while they
rehearsed the thrilling adventures, the narrow escapes, the wonderful
deliverances, and also some of the tragic events, through which they
passed in company with the "Nistum Ayumeaookemou," the "first
Missionary."

The dog-drivers loved to talk about Mr Evans' wonderful train of half
dogs, half wolves, with which for years he travelled.  With great
enthusiasm they would talk of their marvellous speed and endurance, of
their fierceness and sagacity; of how, when the nights in the wintry
camps were unusually cold--say fifty or sixty degrees below zero--these
fierce animals would crowd into the camp, and, lying on their backs,
would hold up both their fore and hind feet, and thus mutely beg for
some one to have compassion upon them and put on the warm woollen dog-
shoes.

His canoe trips were often of many weeks' duration, and extended for
thousands of miles.  No river seemed too rapid, and no lake too stormy,
to deter him in his untiring zeal to find out the Indian in his
solitudes, and preach to him the ever-blessed Gospel.  Ever on the look-
out for improvements to aid him in more rapid transit through the
country, Mr Evans constructed a canoe out of sheet tin.  This the
Indians called the "Island of light," on account of its flashing back
the sun's rays as it glided along propelled by the strong paddles in the
hands of the well trained crew.  With them they carried in this novel
craft solder and soldering-iron, and when they had the misfortune to run
upon a rock they went ashore and quickly repaired the injured place.

Mr Evans had been for years a Minister and Missionary in the Canadian
Methodist Church.  With the Reverend William Case he had been very
successfully employed among the Indians in the Province of Ontario.
When the English Wesleyan Society decided to begin work among the
neglected tribes in the Hudson's Bay Territories, the Reverend James
Evans was the man appointed to be the leader of the devoted band.  In
order to reach Norway House, which was to be his first principal
Mission, his household effects had to be shipped from Toronto to
England, and thence reshipped to York Factory on the Hudson Bay.  From
this place they had to be taken up by boats to Norway House in the
interior, a distance of five hundred miles.  Seventy times had they to
be lifted out of these inland boats and carried along the portages
around falls and cataracts ere they reached their destination.

Mr Evans himself went by boat from Toronto.  The trip from Thunder Bay
in Lake Superior to Norway House was performed in a birch bark canoe.
Hundreds of Indians listened to his burning messages, and great good was
done by him and his faithful companions in arms, among them being the
heroic Mr Barnley, and Mr Rundle, of the English Wesleyan Church.

The great work of Mr Evans' life, and that with which his name will be
ever associated, was undoubtedly the invention and perfecting of what is
now so widely known as the Cree Syllabic Characters.  What first led him
to this invention was the difficulty he and others had in teaching the
Indians to read in the ordinary way.  They are hunters, and so are very
much on the move, like the animals they seek.  To-day their tents are
pitched where there is good fishing, and perhaps in two weeks they are
far away in the deep forests, where roam the reindeer, or on the banks
of streams where the beavers build their wonderful dams and curious
homes.  The constant thought in this master Missionary's mind was, "Can
I possibly devise a plan by which these wandering people can learn to
read more easily?"

The principle of the characters which he adopted is phonetic.  There are
no silent letters.  Each character represents a syllable; hence no
spelling is required.  As soon as the alphabet is mastered, and a few
additional secondary signs, some of which represent consonants, and some
aspirates, and some partially change the sound of the main character,
the Indian student, be he a man or woman of eighty, or a child of six
years, can commence at the first chapter of Genesis and read on, slowly
of course at first, but in a few days with surprising ease and accuracy.

Many were Mr Evans' difficulties in perfecting this invention and
putting it in practical use, even after he had got the scheme clear and
distinct in his own mind.  He was hundreds of miles away from
civilisation.  Very little indeed had he with which to work.  Yet with
him there was no such word as failure.  Obtaining, as a great favour,
the thin sheets of lead that were around the tea-chests of the fur
traders, he melted these down into little bars, and from them cut out
his first types.  His ink was made out of the soot of the chimneys, and
his first paper was birch bark.  After a good deal of effort, and the
exercise of much ingenuity, he made a press, and then the work began.

Great indeed was the amazement and delight of the Indians.  The fact
that the bark could "talk" was to them most wonderful.  Portions of the
Gospels were first printed, and then some of the beautiful hymns.  The
story of this invention reached the Wesleyan Home Society.  Generous
help was afforded.  A good supply of these types was cast in London,
and, with a good press and all the essential requisites, including a
large quantity of paper, was sent out to that Mission, and for years it
was the great point from which considerable portions of the Word of God
were scattered among the wandering tribes, conferring unnumbered
blessings upon them.  In later years the noble British and Foreign Bible
Society has taken charge of the work; and now, thanks to their
generosity, the Indians have the blessed Word scattered among them, and
thousands can read its glorious truths.

All the Churches having Missions in that great land have availed
themselves, more or less, of Mr Evans' invention.  To suit other tribes
speaking different languages, the characters have been modified or have
had additions to them, to correspond with sounds in those languages
which were not in the Cree.  Even in Greenland the Moravian Missionaries
are now using Evans' Syllabic Characters with great success among the
Esquimaux.

When Lord Dufferin was Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada,
hearing that a couple of Missionaries from the Indian tribes were in
Ottawa, where he resided, he sent a courteous request for us to call
upon him.  With two or three friends, Mr Crosby, our successful and
energetic Missionary from British Columbia, and I, obeyed the summons.

The interview was a very pleasant and profitable one.  Lord Dufferin
questioned Mr Crosby about British Columbia and his work, and was
pleased to hear of his great success.  After a bright and earnest
conversation with me in reference to the Indians of the North-West
Territories, in which his Excellency expressed his solicitude for the
welfare and happiness of the aboriginal tribes of red men, he made some
inquiries in reference to missionary work among them, and seemed much
pleased with the answers I was able to give.  In mentioning the help I
had in my work, I showed him my Cree Indian Testament printed in Evans'
Syllabic Characters, and explained the invention to him.  At once his
curiosity was excited, and, jumping up, he hurried off for pen and ink,
and got me to write out the whole alphabet for him; and then, with that
glee and vivacity for which his lordship was so noted, he constituted me
his teacher, and commenced at once to master them.

As their simplicity, and yet wonderful adaptation for their designed
work, became evident to him--for in a short time he was able to read a
portion of the Lord's Prayer--Lord Dufferin was much excited, and,
getting up from his chair and holding up the Testament in his hand,
exclaimed, "Why, Mr Young, what a blessing to humanity the man was who
invented that alphabet!"  Then he added, "I profess to be a kind of a
literary man myself, and try to keep posted up in my reading of what is
going on, but I never heard of this before.  The fact is, the nation has
given many a man a title, and a pension, and then a resting-place and a
monument in Westminster Abbey, who never did half so much for his
fellow-creatures."

Then again he asked, "Who did you say was the author or inventor of
these characters?"

"The Reverend James Evans," I replied.

"Well, why is it I never heard of him before, I wonder?"

My reply was, "My lord, perhaps the reason why you never heard of him
before was because he was a humble, modest Methodist preacher."

With a laugh he replied, "That may have been it," and then the
conversation changed.

Mr Evans was ever anxious that the Indian converts should at once be
made to understand all the duties and responsibilities of the new life
on which they were entering, he was a fearless man, and boldly declared
unto them the whole counsel of God.  Knowing the blighting, destroying
influences of the "fire water" upon the poor Indian race, he made the
Church a total abstinence society, and, as all missionaries should, he
set them the example of his own life.  Then, as regards the keeping of
the Sabbath, he took his stand on the Word of God, and preached the
absolute necessity of the one day's rest in seven.  In after years we
saw the good results of the scriptural lessons which he and his worthy
successors taught in reference to the holy day.

Many and severe were the trials, and mysterious some of the
persecutions, which this glorious man had to bear.  Because of his
unswerving loyalty to truth, and his conscientious and fearless teaching
of all the commandments of God's Word, some in high authority, who at
first were supposed to be friendly, turned against him, and became his
unprincipled foes.  The trouble first seemed to begin when Mr Evans
taught the Indians to "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."  At
his request, they, when hunting or fishing or tripping in the months of
open water, rested on the Lord's day.  Short-sighted employers,
unconscious of the fact, so often demonstrated, that they who rest the
one day in seven can do more work in the other six, opposed this
teaching, and, when they could not stop it, assailed the Missionary in a
way that must have caused a jubilee in hell.  I shall not go into
particulars.  Most of the principal actors are in the presence of the
Judge of all the earth.  He Who suffered for a time the name of this
devoted servant of His to be so shamefully clouded has cleared all the
mists away; and like the silver refined by the furnace, so has it been
in this case.

But persecutions, and even these bitter assaults upon his character,
could not turn him from the most intense activity in his blessed life-
work.  Like an Apostle Paul in primitive times, or like a Coke or Asbury
in the early years of this century, so travelled James Evans.  When we
say he travelled thousands of miles each year on his almost semi-
continental journeys, we must remember that these were not performed by
coach or railroad, or even with horse and carriage, or in the saddle or
sailing vessel, but by canoe and dog-train.  How much of hardship and
suffering that means, we are thankful but few of our readers will ever
know.  There are a few of us who do know something of these things, and
this fellowship of his suffering knits our hearts in loving memory to
him who excelled us all, and the fragrance of whose name and unselfish
devotion to his work met us almost everywhere, although years had passed
away since James Evans had entered into his rest.  "He being dead yet
speaketh."  To write about him and his work is a labour of love.  Would
that the pen of some ready writer might give us a biography of this
Missionary of such versatility of gifts, and such marvellous success in
his work!

Room only have I here, in addition to what has already been written, to
give some account of the sad event of his life, the accidental shooting
of his interpreter, Joseph Hasselton, and the after consequences.

Word reached Mr Evans one year, that the priests were endeavouring to
crowd up into the Athabasca and Mackenzie River country, and get a
foothold among some very interesting Indians whom Mr Evans had visited
and found very anxious for the truth.  Desirous that they should not be
led away from the simplicity of the Gospel, he felt that the best plan
was for him to hurry up by light canoe and get into that country and
among his Indians before the priests arrived.  They had gone the usual
route up the Saskatchewan, and from thence were to go over the height of
land, and then by boat down the streams which from those regions run
towards the Arctic Ocean.

Mr Evans' plan was to take what is called "the back route," that was,
to go partly down the Nelson River, and then, turning westward through
an almost endless succession of lakes and rivers and portages, arrive
before the other parties, although several weeks of severest toil would
be passed in making the long journey.  With his beloved interpreter, who
was one of the most remarkable Indians of his day, a man who could talk
almost every Indian language spoken by the natives of the land, and,
what was better, a devoted Christian, full of zeal and enthusiasm for
the work, and with another reliable native from whom I received my
information as to what occurred, the long journey was commenced.  For
several days they made good progress, and were rejoicing at the prospect
of success.  One morning, very early, while they were paddling along in
the great Nelson River, Hasselton, the interpreter, who was in the front
of the canoe, said, "I see some ducks in those reeds near the shore.
Hand me the gun."  In these small canoes the guns are generally kept in
the stern with the muzzles pointing back, so as to prevent accidents.
The man who was in the stern quickly picked up the gun, and foolishly
drew back the trigger.  With the muzzle pointing forward he passed the
gun to Mr Evans, who did not turn his head, as he was earnestly looking
if he also could see the ducks.  As Mr Evans took the gun passed to him
he unfortunately let the trigger, which had no guard around it, strike
against the thaft of the canoe.  Instantly it went off, and the contents
were discharged into the head of the poor man in front.  He turned his
dying eyes upon Mr Evans, and then fell over, a corpse.  It was an
awful accident, and doubly painful on account of the unfortunate
surroundings.  Here the two survivors were, about two hundred miles from
any habitation.  They could not take the body back with them.  For days
they would meet none to whom they could tell their story.  They went
ashore, and, when their first paroxysm of grief was over, they had to
dig, as best they could, a grave in the wilderness, and there bury their
dead.

They turned their faces homeward, and very sorrowful indeed was the
journey.  Great was the grief at the village, and greater still the
consternation when it was discovered what Mr Evans had resolved to do.
His interpreter was the only Christian among his relatives.  The rest of
them were wild pagans with bad records.  Life for life was their motto,
and many had been their deeds of cruelty and bloodshed in seeking that
revenge which occupies so large a place in the savage Indian's heart.
They lived several hundred miles away, and Mr Evans resolved to go and
surrender himself to them, tell them what he had done, and take all the
consequences.  Many friends, knowing how quick the Indian is to act when
aroused by the news of the death of a relative--for often before he
hears all the circumstances does he strike the fatal blow--urged him not
to go himself, but to send a mediator.

To this suggestion he turned a deaf ear, and, having made his will and
left all instructions as to the work if he should never return, and
bidden farewell to his stricken family, who never expected to see him
alive again, he started off on his strange and perilous journey.

Reaching the distant village, he walked into the tent of the parents of
his interpreter, and told them that his heart was broken, and why.
Angry words were uttered, and tomahawks and guns were freely handled,
while he described the tragic scene.  Feeling so utterly miserable that
he little cared whether they killed him or let him live, there he sat
down on the ground in their midst, and awaited their decision.  Some of
the hot-headed spirits were for killing him at once; but wiser counsels
prevailed, and it was decided that he must be adopted into the family
from which he had shot the son, and be all to them, as far as possible,
that their son had been.  This had been a good deal.  Becoming a
Christian had made him kind and loving, and so all that he could spare
of his wages, earned while interpreting for Mr Evans, had been
faithfully sent to his parents.  The ceremony of adoption lasted several
days.  Mr Evans assumed as his Indian name that of this family, and a
good son indeed they found in him.

When he left to return to his Mission they kissed him, and acted towards
him with as much affection as such people can show.  Many were the gifts
which were sent them by their adopted son, who took good care of them as
long as he lived.

But while this difficulty was thus tided over, the memory of it never
faded away from Mr Evans.  He was never the same man after.  Yet he did
not allow it to deter him from the most vigorous prosecution of his
work: indeed, it seemed to his people as though he tried to bury his
sorrow in incessant toil, and labours so abundant, that but few even of
the Indians "in journeyings oft" could equal him.

To aid the further prosecution of his labours, and to excite greater
interest in the well-being of the Red Indians of British North America,
Mr Evans went to England to speak about his work and its needs.  His
story of marvellous incidents and varied experiences in this land of
which so little was known, produced a deep impression, and great crowds
came out to hear him, and insisted on his continuing at great length his
wonderful descriptions of travelling by canoe and dog-train, and the
longing desire there was in the hearts of the Indians for the Gospel.

On November 23rd, 1846, after having spoken at Keelby in Lincolnshire,
he returned with his wife, who was in every respect a devoted helpmate
for such a work, to the home of the gentleman and lady with whom they
were stopping.  While chatting on various subjects, Mrs Evans turned to
her husband, who was comfortably seated in a large arm-chair, and said,
"My dear, I have had such a strange presentiment--that we shall never
see Norway House and our faithful Indians again."  He turned to her and
said, with something of his old enthusiasm, "Why should that thought
trouble you, my dear?  Heaven is just as near from England as from
America."

The two ladies said, "Good night!" and retired, leaving Mr Evans and
the gentleman of the house to chat together a little longer.  Shortly
after, the gentleman said something to Mr Evans, and, receiving no
answer, he turned from the fire and looked at him.  At first he thought
he had fallen asleep, but this was only for an instant.  Springing up
and going to him, he found that the immortal spirit had so quietly and
gently flitted away, that there had not been the slightest sob or cry.
The noble Indian Missionary was dead.  The eloquent tongue was hushed
for ever.  For his return hundreds of anxious weeping Indians in those
northern wilds would long and wait, but wait in vain.  He had been
conveyed by angel bands to that innumerable company of redeemed, blood-
washed saints around the throne of God, which even then had received
many happy converted Indians, who, brought to God by his
instrumentality, had finished their course with joy, and before him had
entered in through the gates into the city, and were there to welcome
him.

Hundreds, since then, of his spiritual children have had the "abundant
entrance ministered unto" them, and they have joined him in that rapidly
increasing throng.  And although many years have passed away since he
preached to them his last sermon, at many a camp-fire, and in many a
wigwam, still linger old men, and women too, whose eyes glisten, and
then become bedimmed with tears, as they think of him who so long ago
went on before.  But while they weep, they also rejoice that that
salvation, which, as the result of his preaching, they accepted, is
still their solace and their joy, and, clinging to it and its great
Author, they shall by-and-by meet their Missionary and loved ones who
have finished their course and gained the eternal shores.

On the previous page are the Syllabic Characters, as invented by Mr
Evans; and on this we give the Lord's Prayer in Cree, as printed in
them.

Perhaps the following explanations will help the student who may have a
wish to master this wonderful invention.

In the Alphabet the first line of characters, the equilateral triangle
in four positions, reads as follows, a e oo ah.

The addition of the little dot, as seen in the second line, adds to any
character after which it is placed the sound of w.  So this second line
reads wa, we, woo, wah.

The following lines read thus: pa pe poo pah; ta te too tah; ka ke koo
kah; cha che choo chah; ma mee moo mah; na ne noo nah; sa se soo sah; ya
ye yoo yah.

With a little patience the Lord's Prayer can be read even without a
teacher.

I have gone to a pagan band far away in the northern wilderness, and
after they have become willing to receive the truth, I have commenced to
teach them to read the Word of God.  Very limited indeed were our
appliances, for we were hundreds of miles from the nearest school house.
But from the camp-fire, where we had cooked our bear's meat or beaver,
I would take a burnt stick, and with it make these Syllabic Characters
on the side of a rock, and then patiently repeat them over and over
again with my school of often three generations of Indians together,
until they had some idea of them.  Then I would give them the copies of
the Bible I had brought, and at the first verse of Genesis we would
begin.  It paid for the hardships of the trip a thousandfold to see the
looks of joy and delight on their faces as they themselves were able to
read that wonderful verse.

By Canoe and Dog-Train--by Egerton Ryerson Young



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

SOWING AND REAPING--BEAUTIFUL INCIDENT--"HELP ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN!"--
THIRTY YEARS BETWEEN THE SOWING AND THE REAPING--SORROWING, YET
STUBBORN, INDIANS INDUCED TO YIELD BY THE EXPRESSION, "I KNOW WHERE YOUR
CHILDREN ARE!"

While in our every-day missionary life there were dark hours, and times
when our faith was severely tried, there was, on the other hand, much to
encourage us to persevere in the blessed work among these Cree Indians.

An incident that occurred to us brought up very forcibly to our minds
the couplet:

  "Whate'er may die and be forgot,
  Work done for God, it dieth not."

I was sitting, one pleasant day in June, in my study at Norway House,
absorbed in my work, when I was startled by a loud "Ahem!" behind me.  I
quickly sprang up, and, turning round, discovered that the man who had
thus suddenly interrupted me in my thoughts was a big, stalwart Indian.
He had come into the room in that catlike way in which nearly all of the
Indians move.  Their moccasined feet make no sound, and so it is quite
possible for even scores of them to come into the house unheard.  Then,
as Indians have a great dislike to knocking, they generally omit it
altogether, and unceremoniously enter, as this man had done, and as
quietly as possible.

My first glance at him told me that he was an entire stranger, although
I had by this time become acquainted with some hundreds of the natives.
I shook hands with him and said a few commonplace things to him, to
which I thought he paid but little heed.

I pointed to a chair, and asked him to be seated; but, instead of doing
so, he came up close to me and said with great earnestness: "Missionary,
will you help me to be a Christian?"

Surprised and pleased by this abrupt question, I replied, "Certainly I
will; that is my business here."

"Will you help my wife and children also to become Christians?" he added
with equal emphasis.

"Of course I will," I answered again.  "It was for just such work as
that my good wife and I came from our far-away home to live in this
land."

Naturally I had already become very much interested in this big, bronzed
Indian; and so I said to him, "Tell me who you are, and from what place
you have come."

I made him sit down before me, and he told me the following remarkable
story.  I wish I could put into the narrative his pathos and his
dramatic action.  He did not keep his seat very long after he began
talking, but moved around, and at times was very much excited.  He
said,--

"Many years ago, when I was a little boy, I was kindly cared for by the
first Missionary, Mr Evans.  I was a poor orphan.  My father and mother
had died, leaving none to care for me; so the good Missionary took me to
his own house and was very kind to me.  'Tis true I had some relatives,
but they were not Christians and so there was not much love in their
hearts towards a poor orphan boy.  So Mr Evans took me to his house,
and was very kind to me.  He gave me clothes and food, and a home.  He
taught me to read the new letters he had made for our people, and told
me much about the Great Spirit and His Son Jesus.  He taught me and
other children to pray to God, and he often talked to us about Him, and
how kind and good He was.  He kept me with him two or three years, and I
was very well off indeed in having such a home and such a friend, if I
had only known it.

"One summer, among the many Indians who came to trade their furs at the
Company's store, was one family who lived very far away.  They seemed to
take a liking to me, and often would talk to me.  They had no little
boy, they said, in their wigwam, and they told me a lot of foolish stuff
about how much happier I would be, if I lived with them, than I was
here, where I had to obey the white man.  Like the foolish child that I
was, I listened to this nonsense, and one night, when they had got
everything ready to start, I slipped quietly out of the house and joined
them.  We paddled hard most of the night, for we felt that we had done
wrong, and did not know but we should be followed.

"After travelling many days we reached their hunting grounds and
wigwams.  I did not find it as pleasant as they had told me it would be.
Often they were very cruel to me, and sometimes we did not have much to
eat.  But I dared not run away, for there was no place to which I could
go, except to other wicked Indians; and they would only make things
worse.  They were all very bad Indians, and very much afraid of the
medicine men.  All the worship they did was to the bad spirit.  They
were afraid of him, and so they worshipped him, so that he might not do
them much harm.  I became as bad as any of them.  I tried to forget all
that the good Missionary had told me.  I tried to wipe all his teachings
and prayers from my memory.  All he had told me about the Good Spirit
and His Son I tried to forget.

"I grew up to be a man.  I had become a wicked pagan; but I was a good
hunter, and one of the men sold me one of his daughters to be my wife.
We have quite a family.  Because I had seen, when I was a little boy,
how Christian Indian men treat the women better than the pagan Indians
treat theirs, I treated my wife and children well.  I was never cruel to
them.  I love my wife and children.

"Last winter, you remember, the snow was very deep.  I had taken my
family and gone out into the region of deer and other animals, and there
had made my hunting lodge for the winter.  There we set our traps for
the fur-bearing animals.  We took a good many of the smaller animals
that have got furs, but the larger ones, that are good for food, were
very few.  We had a hard time, as food was very scarce.  I could not
find any deer to shoot, and we had come far from the great lakes and
rivers, and so had no fish.

"At length it seemed as though we must starve.  I tried hard to get
something, but I seemed to fail every time.  Sometimes, when I did
manage to get within range of the moose or reindeer, and I fired, my
gun, which is only a flintlock, would only flash the powder in the pan,
and so the charge would not go off.  The noise, however, had so
frightened the deer that he had rushed away before I could get ready to
fire again.

"At length it got so bad with us that I became completely discouraged,
and I said, `I will only try once more; and if I do not succeed in
shooting a deer, I will shoot myself.'  So I took up my gun and hurried
into the forest away from my half-starved family.  I cautiously tramped
along on my snowshoes all the first day, and did not see even a track.
I made a little camp and lay down cold and hungry.  I hunted all the
next day and only got a rabbit.  This I ate in the little camp I made
the second night in the snow.  On the third day I hunted until about
noon.  Then feeling very weak and hungry, I got so discouraged that I
said, as I sat down on a log covered with snow, `I will die here.  I am
weak with hunger, I can go no further.'  I was cross and angry, and I
said, as I talked to myself, `No use trying any more.'  Then I loaded my
gun with a heavy charge of powder and two bullets, and, drawing back the
trigger, my plan was to put the muzzle of the gun against the side of my
head, and then press on the trigger with my big toe, which, you know,
moves easily in the moccasin.  Just as I was getting ready thus to kill
myself, something seemed to speak to me, `William!'  I pushed the gun
away, for I was frightened.  I looked all around, but could not see
anybody.  Then I found that the voice was in me, and it began to talk to
me out of my heart; and as I listened it seemed to say, `William, do you
not remember what the Missionary told you long ago about the Great
Spirit?  He said He was kind and forgiving, and that even if we did
wander far away from him, if we became sorry and would come back, He
would forgive.  Do you not remember, William, he said that if we ever
got into great trouble, the Great Spirit was the best Friend to Whom to
go to help us out?  You are in great trouble, William.  Don't you think
you had better come back to him?'

"But I trembled and hesitated, for I was ashamed to come.  I thought
over my life, how I had run away from the kind Missionary who had taken
me, a poor orphan boy, into his home, and fed and clothed me, and taught
me so much about the true way.  Then I remembered so well how I had
tried to wipe out from my memory all I had learned about the Great
Spirit and His Son, and the good Book.  I had denied to the pagan people
that I knew anything about the white man's religion.  I had been very
bad, and had got very far away; how could I come back?  Still all the
answer I got was, `You had better come back.'

"There I sat and trembled, and I felt I was too mean to come back.  But
all the answer I got was, `It is meaner to stay away, if what the
Missionary said is true.'  While I was hesitating what to do, and all
trembling in the cold, I seemed to hear my wife and children in the
wigwam far away crying for food.  This decided me.  So I turned round,
and kneeled down in the snow by the log, and began to pray.  I hardly
know what I said, but I do remember I asked the Great Spirit to forgive
the poor Indian who had got so far away from Him, and had been so
wicked, and had tried to wipe Him out of his memory.  I told him I was
sorry, and wanted to do better; and there in the snow I promised, if He
would forgive and help me in my trouble, and give something for my wife
and children to eat, I would, just as soon as the snow and ice left the
rivers and lakes, go and find the Missionary, and ask him to help me to
be a Christian.

"While I prayed I felt better; I seemed to feel in my heart that help
was coming.  I got up from my knees, and it seemed as though that prayer
had strengthened me like food.  I forgot I was cold and hungry.  I took
up my gun with a glad heart, and away I started; and I had not gone far
before a large reindeer came dashing along.  I fired and killed him.  I
was very glad.  I quickly skinned him, and I soon made a fire and cooked
some of the meat.  Then I pulled down a small tree, and fastened part of
the meat into the top of it, and let it swing up again, so as to keep it
from the wolves and wolverines.  Then I took the rest on my back and
hurried home to my hungry wife and children.  Soon after I went back for
the rest of the venison, and found it all right.

"Since that hour we have always had something.  I have hunted hard, and
have had success.  None of us have been hungry since.  The Great Spirit
has been all that the Missionary said He would be to us.  He has cared
for us, and given us all that we have needed.

"I have not forgotten my promise made while kneeling in the snow beside
the log in the woods.  The snow has gone, and the ice has left the lakes
and rivers.  I have launched my canoe, and have come with my wife and
children to ask you to help us to be Christians."

We were very much pleased to hear such a wonderful experience, which was
thus leading him back to God; and we told him so.  When we learned that
all this time he had been talking, his wife and children were patiently
sitting in the canoe outside at the shore, we hurried out with him and
brought them into the Mission House.

Mrs Young, and one or two others, attracted by William's earnest words,
had come into my study, and had heard most of his story, and of course
were also deeply interested.  Out of our scant supplies we gave the
whole family a good hearty meal, and we both did what we could by words
and actions to make them feel that we were their friends, and would do
all we could to help them to be Christians.  We were delighted to find
that since that memorable day when at the snow-covered log in the forest
William had bowed in prayer, he had been diligent in teaching his family
all that he could remember of the blessed truths of the Gospel.  They
had gladly received it and were eager for more.

I called together some of the head men of the village, and told them the
story of this family, and what William had said about his early life.  A
few of the older people remembered the circumstance of his adoption by
Mr Evans after the death of his parents, whom they remembered well.
Happy Christians themselves, and anxious that others should enjoy the
same blessedness, they rejoiced at William's return, and especially with
such a desire in his heart.  So they at once gave the exile a place
among themselves, and some needed help.  Thorough and genuine were the
changes wrought in the hearts of that family by Divine grace, and they
have remained firm and true.  In their house was a family altar, and
from the church services they were never absent, unless far off in
distant hunting grounds.

Various were the arguments which the Good Spirit gave us to use in
persuading men and women to be reconciled to God.  Here is a beautiful
illustration:--

"WHERE ARE OUR CHILDREN?"

On the banks of a wild river, about sixty miles from Beaver Lake, I
visited a band of pagan Indians, who seemed determined to resist every
appeal or entreaty I could make to induce them to listen to my words.
They were so dead and indifferent that I was for a time quite
disheartened.  The journey to reach them had taken about eight days from
home through the dreary wilderness, where we had not met a single human
being.  My two faithful canoemen and I had suffered much from the
character of the route, and the absence of game, which had caused us
more than once to wrap ourselves up in our blankets and lie down
supperless upon the granite rocks, and try to sleep.  The rain had
fallen upon us so persistently that for days the water had been dripping
from us, and we had longed for the sunshine that we might get dry again.

We had met with some strange adventures, and I had had another
opportunity for observing the intelligence and shrewdness of my men, and
their quickness in arriving at right conclusions from very little data.
Many think of the Indians as savages and uncivilised, yet in some
respects they are highly educated, and are gifted with a quickness of
perception not excelled by any other people in the world.  We had the
following illustration of it on this trip.

As most of the Indians had gone away in the brigades to York Factory, to
carry down the furs and to freight up the goods for the next winter's
trade, I could not find any canoemen who were acquainted with the route
to the pagan band which I wished to visit.  The best I could do was to
secure the services of a man as a guide who had only been as far as
Beaver Lake.  He was willing to go and run the risk of finding the
Indian band, if possible, although so far beyond the most northern point
he had ever gone before.  As I could do no better I hired him and
another Indian, and away we went.

After several days of hard work--for the portages around the falls and
rapids were many, and several times we had to wade through muskegs or
morasses up to our knees for miles together, carrying all our load on
our heads or backs--we at length reached Beaver Lake.  Here we camped
for the night and talked over our future movements.  We had come two
hundred and forty miles through these northern wilds, and yet had about
sixty miles to go ere we expected to see human beings, and were all
absolutely ignorant of the direction in which to go.

We spent the night on the shore of the lake, and slept comfortably on
the smooth rocks.  Early the next morning we began to look out for signs
to guide us on our way.  There were several high hills in the vicinity,
and it was decided that we should each ascend one of these, and see if
from these elevated positions the curling smoke from some distant Indian
camp-fire, or other signs of human beings, could be observed.

Seizing my rifle, I started off to ascend the high hill which had been
assigned me, while my Indians went off in other directions.  This hill
was perhaps half a mile from our camp-fire, and I was soon at its foot,
ready to push my way up through the tangled underbrush that grew so
densely on its sides.  To my surprise I came almost suddenly upon a
creek of rare crystal beauty, on the banks of which were many
impressions of hoofs, large and small, as though a herd of cattle had
there been drinking.  Thoughtlessly, for I seemed to have forgotten
where we were, I came to the conclusion that as the herd of cattle had
there quenched their thirst, they and their owner must be near.  So I
hurried back to the camp, and signalled to the men to return, and told
them what I had seen.  There was an amused look on their faces, but they
were very polite and courteous men, and so they accompanied me to the
creek, where, with a good deal of pride, I pointed out to them the
footprints of cattle, and stated that I thought that they and their
owners could not be far off.  They listened to me patiently, and then
made me feel extremely foolish by uttering the word "Moose."  I had
mistaken the footprints of a herd of moose for a drove of cattle, much
to their quiet amusement.

We looked around for a time, and, getting no clue, we embarked in our
canoe, and started to explore the different streams that flowed into or
out of this picturesque lake.  After several hours of unsuccessful work
we entered into the mouth of quite a fine river, and began paddling up
it, keeping close to one of its sandy shores.  Suddenly one of my
Indians sprang up in the canoe, and began carefully examining some small
tracks on the shore.  A few hasty words were uttered by the men, and
then we landed.

They closely inspected these little footprints, and then exclaimed, "We
have got it now, Missionary; we can take you soon to the Indians!"

"What have you discovered?"  I said.  "I see nothing to tell me where
the Indians are."

"We see it very plain," was the reply.  "You sent word that you were
coming to meet them this moon.  They have been scattered hunting, but
are gathering at the place appointed, and a canoe of them went up this
river yesterday, and the dog ran along the shore, and these are his
tracks."

I examined these impressions in the sand, and said, "The country is full
of wild animals; these may be the tracks of a wolf or wolverine or some
other beast."

They only laughed at me, and said, "We can see a great difference
between these tracks and those made by the wild animals."

Our canoe was soon afloat again, and, using our paddles vigorously, we
sped rapidly along the river.  With no other clue than those little
footprints in the sand my men confidently pushed along.  After paddling
for about twenty miles we came to the camp-fire, still smouldering,
where the Indians had slept the night before.  Here we cooked our
dinner, and then hurried on, still guided by the little tracks along the
shore.  Towards evening we reached the encampment, just as my canoemen
had intimated we should.

The welcome we received was not very cordial.  The Indians were soured
and saddened by having lost many of their number, principally children,
by scarlet fever, which for the first time had visited their country,
and which had been undoubtedly brought into their land by some free-
traders the year before.  With the exception of an old conjurer or two,
none openly opposed me, but the sullen apathy of the people made it very
discouraging work to try to preach or teach.  However, we did the best
we could, and were resolved that, having come so far, and suffered so
many hardships to reach them, we would faithfully deliver the message,
and leave the results to Him Who had permitted us to be the first who
had ever visited that Land to tell the story of redeeming love.

One cold, rainy day a large number of us were crowded into the largest
wigwam for a talk about the truths in the great Book.  My two faithful
Christian companions aided me all they could by giving personal
testimony to the blessedness of this great salvation.  But all seemed in
vain.  There the people sat and smoked in sullen indifference.  When
questioned as to their wishes and determinations, all I could get from
them was, "As our fathers lived and died, so will we."

Tired out and sad of heart, I sat down in quiet communion with the
Blessed Spirit, and breathed up a prayer for guidance and help in this
hour of sore perplexity.  In my extremity the needed assistance came so
consciously that I almost exulted in the assurance of coming victory.
Springing up, I shouted out, "I know where all your children are, who
are not among the living!  I know, yes, I do know most certainly where
all the children are, whom Death has taken in his cold grasp from among
us, the children of the good and of the bad, of the whites and of the
Indians, I know where all the children are."

Great indeed was the excitement among them.  Some of them had had their
faces well shrouded in their blankets as they sat like upright mummies
in the crowded wigwam.  But when I uttered these words, they quickly
uncovered their faces, and manifested the most intense interest.  Seeing
that I had at length got their attention, I went on with my words: "Yes,
I know where all the children are.  They have gone from your camp-fires
and wigwams.  The hammocks are empty, and the little bows and arrows lie
idle.  Many of your hearts are sad, as you mourn for those little ones
whose voices you hear not, and who come not at your call.  I am so glad
that the Great Spirit gives me authority to tell you that you may meet
your children again, and be happy with them for ever.  But you must
listen to His words, which I bring to you from His great Book, and give
Him your hearts, and love and serve Him.  There is only one way to that
beautiful land, where Jesus, the Son of the Great Spirit, has gone, and
into which He takes all the children who have died; and now that you
have heard His message and seen His Book, you too must come this way, if
you would be happy and there enter in."

While I was thus speaking, a big, stalwart man from the other side of
the tent sprang up, and rushed towards me.  Beating on his breast, he
said, "Missionary, my heart is empty, and I mourn much, for none of my
children are left among the living; very lonely is my wigwam.  I long to
see my children again, and to clasp them in my arms.  Tell me,
Missionary, what must I do to please the Great Spirit, that I may get to
that beautiful land, that I may meet my children again?"  Then he sank
at my feet upon the ground, his eyes suffused with tears, and was
quickly joined by others, who, like him, were broken down with grief,
and were anxious now for religious instruction.

To the blessed Book we went, and after reading what Jesus had said about
little children, and giving them some glimpses of His great love for
them, we told them "the old, old story," as simply and lovingly as we
could.  There was no more scoffing or indifference.  Every word was
heard and pondered over, and from that hour a blessed work began, which
resulted in the great majority of them deciding to give their hearts to
God; and they have been true to their vows.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

ON THE TRAIL TO SANDY BAR--SLEEPING ON THE ICE--THIEVISH ESQUIMAUX
DOGS--NARROW ESCAPE OF JACK--JOYOUS WELCOME--SOCIETY FORMED--BENJAMIN
CAMERON, ONCE A CANNIBAL, NOW A LAY HELPER--PLUM-PUDDING--A STRIKING
INSTANCE OF HONESTY.

In December, 1877, I made a journey to the Indians living at Sandy Bar.
As there were some experiences quite different from those of other
trips, they shall here be recorded.

Sandy Bar, or White Mud, as some call it, is over a hundred miles south
of Beren's River, where we then resided.  We made the usual preparations
for our journey, getting sleds loaded with supplies for ourselves and
fish for our dogs, with all the cooking arrangements necessary for a
month's absence from home.

As the people among whom we were going were poor, we ever felt that,
Paul-like, for the furtherance of the Gospel, the wisest course among
those bands who had not fully accepted salvation was to keep ourselves
as far as possible from being burdensome unto them.  So my good wife
cooked a generous supply of meat and buns, made as rich with fat as
possible.  Fortunate indeed were we in having supplies sufficient for
this to be done.  It was not always so.  At this very Mission, all we
had one morning for breakfast was a hind-quarter of a wild cat!

All our preparations were completed, and we were ready to start at one
o'clock in the morning.  To our great regret a fierce storm arose, and
so we were obliged to wait until the day dawned, ere we could harness
our dogs and venture out.  When we had gone about twenty miles, the
storm swept with such power over the great Lake Winnipeg, driving the
recently fallen snow before it, with such a stinging, blinding effect,
that we were forced to give up the struggle, and run into the forest and
camp.

We cleared away the snow from a space about eight feet square.  At one
side of this we built up our fire, and over the rest of the cleared
space we spread some evergreen boughs, on which we placed our beds.  We
unharnessed our dogs, and thawed out for them some frozen fish.  As this
was one of my short trips, I had with me but two dog-trains and two good
Indians.  We melted snow in our kettles, and made tea, and cooked some
meat.  This, with the bread, of which we were on this trip the happy
possessors, constituted our meals.  About sundown we had prayers, and
then, as we had been up most of the previous night, we wrapped ourselves
in our robes and blankets, and went to sleep to the lullaby of the
howling tempest.

About ten o'clock that night I woke up, and, uncovering my head, found
that the storm had ceased.  I sprang up and kindled the fire, but my
fingers ached and my body shivered ere I succeeded in getting it to
blaze brightly.  I filled the tea-kettle with snow, and while it was
melting I called up my two travelling companions, and also a couple of
young natives, who, with their dog-trains, had joined us.  The Indians
can tell with marvellous accuracy the hour of the night by the position
of the Great Bear in the heavens.  This is their night clock.  I saw by
their puzzled looks, as they gazed at the stars, that they wanted to
tell me I had made a great mistake, if I thought it was near morning.
But I did not give them the opportunity, and only hurried up the
breakfast.  After prayers we harnessed our dogs, tied up our loads of
bedding, food, kettles, and other things; and then, throwing the boughs
on which we had slept on the fire, by the light which it afforded us, we
wended our way out through the forest gloom to the frozen lake.

Taking the lead with my own splendid dogs, we travelled at such a rate
that, ere the sun rose up to cheer us, over forty miles of Winnipeg's
icy expanse lay between us and the snowy bed where we had sought shelter
and slept during the raging storm.  After stopping at Dog's Head, where
were a few Indians, under the eccentric chief, Thickfoot, onward we
travelled, crossing the lake to what is called Bull's Head, where we
camped for the night.  The face of the cliff is here so steep that we
could not get our heavy loads up into the forest above, so we were
obliged to make our fire and bed in the snowdrift at the base of the
cliff.  It was a poor place indeed.  The snow, from the constant
drifting in from the lake, was very deep.  There was no shelter or
screen from the fierce cold wind, which, changing during the night, blew
upon us.  We tried to build up the fire, but, owing to our peculiar
position, could not change it.  In the woods, at our camps, we build the
fire where the smoke will be driven from us.  If the wind changes, we
change our fires.  Here at the base of this cliff we could do nothing of
the kind; the result was, we were either shivering in the bitter cold,
or blinded by the smoke.

While in this uncomfortable plight, and trying to arrange our camp beds
on the snow, for we could not get any balsam boughs here to put under
us, we were joined by several wild Indians, who, coming down the lake,
saw our camp-fire.  They had a number of thin, wild, wolfish, half-
starved Esquimaux dogs with them.  They made a great fuss over me, which
here meant so much tea and food.  I treated them kindly, and, fearing
for our supplies, and even our dog harness, and the other things for
which the terrible Esquimaux dog has such an appetite, I politely
informed them that I thought they would be more comfortable if they
travelled on a little further.  This hint was met with loud
protestations that they could not, under any circumstances, think of
denying themselves the pleasure of at least stopping one night in the
camp of the Missionary, about whom they had heard so much as the great
friend of the Indian.

Of course I could not go back on my record, or resist such diplomacy;
but I saw trouble ahead, and I was not disappointed.  In order to save
something, I gave to their wolfish dogs all the fish I had, which was
sufficient for my eight for several days.  These the Esquimaux speedily
devoured.  I made the men bring the dog harness into the camp, and with
the sleds, to save the straps and lashings, they built a little
barricade against the wind.

In addition to the food supplies for the trip, I had a bag of meat, and
another of buns, for my use when I should reach the village, where I was
going to preach and to teach.  I gathered a pile of clubs, which I cut
from the driftwood on the shore, from which we had also obtained that
for our fire.  Then, putting the bag of meat, which was frozen hard,
under my pillow, and giving the bag of buns to one of my Indians, with
orders to guard it carefully, I lay down and tried to go to sleep.  Vain
effort indeed was it for a long time.  No sooner were we down than in
upon us swarmed the dogs.  They fought for the honour of cleaning, in
dog fashion, our meat kettle, and then began seeking for something more.
Over us they walked, and soon, by their gathering around my head, I
knew they had scented the meat.  Up I sprang, and, vigorously using my
clubs, a number of which I sent among them, I soon drove them out into
the darkness of the lake.  Then under my robes again I got, but not to
sleep.  In less than ten minutes there was an _encore_, which was
repeated several times.  At length my supply of clubs gave out.  My only
consolation was that the dogs had received so many of them that they
acted as though they were ready to cry quits and behave themselves.  As
it looked as though they were settling down to rest, I gladly did the
same.  Vain hope, indeed!  I went to sleep very quickly, for I was very
weary, but I woke up in the morning to find that there was not an ounce
of meat left in the bag under my head, nor a single bun left in the bag
which the Indian had orders so carefully to guard.

Our condition the next morning was not a very pleasant one.  The outlook
was somewhat gloomy.  Our camp was in an exposed snow-drift.  We had no
roof over us.  The fire was a poor one, as the drift-wood with which it
was made was wretched stuff, giving out more smoke than heat, which,
persisting in going the wrong way, often filled our eyes with blinding
tears.  Our generous supply of meat, that we so much require in this
cold climate, and our rich buns, so highly prized, were devoured by the
dogs which, with the most innocent looks imaginable, sat around us in
the snow and watched our movements.  Fortunately one of the Indians had
put a few plain biscuits in a small bag, which he was taking, as a great
gift, to a friend.  These were brought out, and with our tea and sugar
were all we had, or could get, until we were sixty miles further south.
No time for grumbling, so we prepared ourselves for the race against the
march of hunger, which we well knew, by some bitter experiences, would,
after a few hours, rapidly gain upon us.

After the light breakfast we knelt down in the snow and said our
prayers, and then hurried off.  My gallant dogs responded to my call
upon them so nobly that ere that short wintry day in December had fled
away, and the lake was shrouded in darkness, the flying sparks from the
tops of the little cabins of the friendly Indians told us we had
conquered in the race, although not without some narrow escapes and
scars.

While crossing a long traverse of at least twenty-five miles, my largest
dog, Jack, went through a crack in the ice up to his collar.  These ice
cracks are dangerous things.  The ice, which may be several feet thick,
often bursts open with a loud report, making a fissure which may be from
a few inches to several feet wide.  Up this fissure the water rushes
until it is level with the top.  Of course, as the cold is so intense,
it soon freezes over, but it is very dangerous for travellers to come
along soon after the fissure has been made.  I have seen the guide get
in more than once, and have had some very narrow escapes myself.  On
this occasion I was riding on the sled; the two foremost dogs of the
train got across the thinly frozen ice all right, but Jack, who was
third, broke though into the cold water below.  The head dogs kept
pulling ahead, and the sled dog did his work admirably, and so we saved
the noble St. Bernard from drowning, and soon got him out.  The cold was
so intense that in a few minutes his glossy black coat was covered with
a coat of icy mail.  He seemed to know the danger he was in; and so, the
instant I got the sled across the ice crack, he started off direct for
the distant forest at such a rate that he seemed to drag the other dogs
as well as myself most of the time.  We were about twelve miles from the
shore, but in a little more than an hour the land was reached, and as
there was abundance of dry wood here, a good fire was soon kindled,
before which, on a buffalo skin, I placed my ice-covered companion.  He
turned himself around when necessary, and, ere the other sled arrived,
Jack was himself again.  As two of the Indians behind us had fallen into
this same fissure, we were delayed for some time in getting them dry
again.

We boiled our kettle and had some more tea, and then on we hurried.  I
met with a very warm welcome from the people.  The greater part of them
were Indians I had met in other years.  Many were from Norway House.  To
this place they had come, attracted by the stories of its valuable
fisheries and productive soil.  So rapidly had the Mission at Norway
House increased that fish and game were beginning to fail.  Hence a
large number emigrated to this and other places.

To this place they had come late in the summer, and so the little houses
they had built were small and cold.  Then, to make matters worse, the
fisheries had not proved to be what they had been represented.  They
crowded round me as I drove into their village, and told me of their
"hungerings oft," and other hardships.  As some sleds were ready to
start for Manitoba, I hurried into one of the little homes to pencil a
note to my Chairman, the Reverend George Young, but found it to be
almost an impossibility, as the four fingers of my right hand were
frozen.  These, and a frozen nose, reminded me for several days of that
sixty miles' run on short rations.

I found, in addition to the Christian Indians, quite a number of others
who had been attracted to this place.  I spent eight days among them.
They had about a dozen little houses, in addition to a large number of
wigwams.  For their supplies they were depending on their rabbit snares,
and their nets for fish, which were obtained in but limited quantities.
As my food had been stolen from me by the dogs, I had nothing but what
they gave me; but of their best they supplied me most cheerfully, and so
I breakfasted, dined, and supped on rabbit or fish, and fared well.

I preached, as was my custom, three times a day, and kept school between
the services.  I organised a class or society of thirty-five members,
ten of whom for the first time now decided for Christ, and resolved
henceforth to be His loyal followers.  It was a great joy to be
gathering in those decided ones, as the result of the seed sown amidst
the discouragements of earlier years.  I was very fortunate in securing
a good leader, or spiritual overseer, for this little flock in the
wilderness.  Benjamin Cameron was his name.  He had had a strange
career.  He had been a cannibal in his day, but Divine Grace had gone
down into the depths of sin into which he had sunk, and had lifted him
out, and put his feet upon the Rock, and filled his lips with singing,
and his heart with praise.  He was emphatically "a good man, and full of
the Holy Ghost."

The hours I spent with the children were very pleasant and profitable.
I was pleased to hear the elder children read so well, and was
especially delighted with their knowledge of the Catechism in both Cree
and English.  I distributed a fresh supply of books which I had brought
them, and also gave to the needy ones some warm, comfortable garments
sent by loving friends from Montreal.

If the dear friends, into whose hearts the good desire to send these
very comfortable garments had been put, could only have seen how much
misery was relieved, and happiness conferred, they would have felt amply
rewarded for their gifts.

In connection with one of the Sunday services I administered the
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.  We had a most solemn and impressive yet
delightful time.  The Loving Saviour seemed very near, and fresh vows
and covenants were entered into by all, that to Him they would be true.

I spent Christmas among them, and as one of them had succeeded in
getting some minks in his traps, and for the skins had obtained from
some passing "free-traders" some flour and plums, they got up, in honour
of my visit, a plum-pudding.  It haunts me yet, and so I will not here
describe it.

As beautiful weather favoured us on our return, we took the straight
route home, and arrived there in two days, rejoicing that the trip, as
regarded its spiritual aspects, had been a great success.

One day an Indian came into my house and threw down a fine haunch of
venison upon the table.  As we were poorly off for food, I was very much
pleased, and said to him, "What shall I give you for this meat?"

"Nothing," he replied; "it belongs to you."

"You must be mistaken," I said.  "I never had any dealings with you."

"But I had with you," he answered.  "And so this meat is yours."

Being unacquainted with the man, I asked him to tell me who he was, and
how he made it out that this meat belonged to me.

Said he, "Did you not go to Nelson River with dogs and Indians about two
moons ago?"

"Yes," I replied, "I did."

"Well, I was out hunting deer, but I did not have much luck.  The snow
was deep, the deer were very shy, and I had no success.  One day, when
very hungry, for I had only taken a little dried rabbit meat with me
from my wigwam, I came across your trail, and I found where your Indians
had made a _cache_, that is, a big bundle of provisions and other things
had been tied up in a blanket, and then a small tree had been bent down
by your men, and the bundle fastened on the top, and let spring up again
to keep it from the wolves.  I saw your bundle hanging there, and as I
was very hungry I thought, `Now if the kind-hearted Missionary only knew
the poor Indian hunter was here looking at his bundle of food, he would
say, "Help yourself;"' and that was what I did.  I bent down the tree,
and found the large piece of pemmican.  I cut off a piece big enough to
make me a good dinner, then I tied up the bundle again, and let it swing
up as you had it.  And now I have brought you this venison in place of
what I took."

I was pleased with his honesty, and had in the incident another example
of the Indian quickness to read much where the white man sees nothing.

The reason why we had made the _cache_ which the Indian had discovered
was, that we had taken a large quantity of pemmican for our food, as the
people we wore going to see were poor, and we did not wish to be a
burden to them; but we had been caught in a terrible storm, and as the
snow was very deep, making the travelling heavy, we were obliged to
lighten our loads as soon as possible.  So we left a portion, as the
Indian has described, on the way.

When we returned to the _cache_, and my men pulled it down and opened
the bundle, one of them quickly cried out, "Somebody has been at our
_cache_."

"Nonsense," I replied; "nobody would disturb it.  And then there were no
tracks around when we reached here to-night."

Looking at the largest piece of pemmican, the Indians said, "Missionary,
somebody has taken down our bundle and cut off a piece just here.  That
there are no tracks, is because there have been so many snow-storms
lately.  All tracks made a few days ago are covered up."

As I knew they were so much quicker along these lines of education than
white men, I did not argue any more with them.  The coming of the old
hunter with the venison was the proof of the cleverness of my men, and
also a very honourable act on his part.  I kept the old man to dinner,
and among other things I asked him how he knew it was the Missionary's
party that passed that way.  He quickly replied, "By your tracks in the
snow.  Indians' toes turn in when they walk, white men's toes turn out."



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

AN INDIAN LOVEFEAST--MANY WITNESSES--SWEET SONGS OF ZION--THE LORD'S
SUPPER--MEMOIR OF WILLIAM MEMOTAS, THE DEVOTED CHRISTIAN.

Our Lovefeasts and sacramental services were always well attended, if it
were within the range of possibility for the Indians to be present.  To
come in on Saturday from their distant hunting grounds sixty miles away,
that they might enjoy the services of the Lord's house on His own day,
was no unusual thing.  Then on Monday morning we have seen them again
strap on their snowshoes, and with glad hearts and renewed zeal start
off to return to their lonely hunting camps in the distant forests.

They are able to express themselves clearly, and often quite eloquently.
When their hearts are full of the love of God, and they are rejoicing
in the blessed assurance of the Divine favour, they are willing to speak
about it.

  "What they have felt and seen
  With confidence they tell."

Here are some of their testimonies.  Those are the living words of men
and women who were once the slaves of a debasing paganism.  But on their
hearts the blessed Spirit shone, and to His pleading voice they
responded, and now, happy in the consciousness that they are the
children of God, they love to talk about what wonderful things have been
done for them and wrought in them.  Timothy Bear said:

"It is such a joy to me, that I can tell you of great things done for
me.  Great is the joy I have in my heart to-day.  I rest in the
consciousness that He is my own reconciled Heavenly Father, and so I
feel it good to be here in the Lord's house, and with those that love
Him.  The good Spirit gives me to see how good and kind my heavenly
Father is; and so I can say that the greatest anxiety of my heart and
life is to serve God better and better as I grow older.  To do this I
have found out that I must have Divine help.  But He is my Helper for
everything, and so I need not fail.  So I am encouraged that I shall
love God more and more, and, with that, I want to love His cause and
people, and those who have not yet become His people, that they may soon
do so, more and more.  For the conversion of the unsaved, let us, who
feel that Jesus saves us, pray more earnestly than ever, and may God
help us to live our religion, that the heathen around us may see in our
lives what a wonderful thing it is."

Timothy's burning words produced a deep impression, and some one began
to sing:

  "Ayume-oo-we-nah,"

  "The praying Spirit breathe."

Half a dozen were on their feet when the verses were sung, but Thomas
Walker spoke first.  He said:

"When I first heard the Gospel long winters ago, as brought to us by Mr
Evans, I was soon convinced that I was a sinner and needed forgiveness.
I found I could not of myself get rid of my sins, so I believed in
Christ, and found that He had power to forgive.  I was very wretched
before I was forgiven.  I was afraid I should be lost for ever.  I
mourned and wept before God on account of my sins.  In the woods alone,
I cried in my troubles, and was in deep distress.  But I heard of the
love and power, and willingness to save, of this Jesus of the great
Book, and so I exercised a living faith in Him; and as I believed, God's
voice was heard, saying, `My son, I have forgiven your sins; I have
blotted them out.  Go in peace.'  I am sure I was not mistaken; I felt
filled with peace and joy.  I felt that I, Thomas Walker, was cleansed
from my many sins, and clothed with the garments of salvation.  That was
a blessed day when the Spirit of God shone into my heart and drove out
the darkness.  Since then, my way in Him has been like the sunlight on
the waters.  The more waves, the more sunshine.  I am happy in His love
to-day.  I am confident that, because He aids me, I am growing in grace.

"I rejoice at being spared to come to another celebration of the Lord's
Supper; and in view of partaking of the emblems of the dying, loving
Jesus, I feel that my soul is feeding on Christ, the true Bread of
Life."

Earnest yet suppressed words of praise and adoration quietly dropped
from many lips as Thomas ended.  Then dear old Henry Budd succeeded in
getting a hearing.  Henry was Mr Evans' marvellous dog-driver over
twenty-five years before the date of this blessed lovefeast.  He had had
many wonderful adventures and some narrow escapes.  Once, when running
ahead on a treacherous river, where in places the current was very
rapid, and consequently the ice was thin, he broke through into the
current underneath.  He quickly caught hold of the edge of the ice, but
it was so weak it would not hold him up.  His only comrade could not get
very near him as the ice was so bad, and so had to run about a mile for
a rope.  When he returned, so intense was the cold that both of Henry's
hands, with which he had been holding on to the ice, were frozen.  He
was utterly unable to close them on the rope.  George shouted to him to
open his mouth.  The rope was then thrown, lasso-like, so skilfully,
that the poor half-frozen man seized it in his teeth, and was thus
dragged out, and rushed off to the nearest wigwam.  He was literally
saved by the "skin of his teeth."

Thus Henry Budd had, like many others, much for which to praise God.  He
spoke on this occasion as follows:

"I rejoice in God my Saviour, Who has done such wonderful things for me.
I feel very happy.  I am His child.  He is my reconciled Father.  How
can I help being happy?

"When I first began to get my poor blind eyes opened, and there came to
me a desire to seek God, and to obtain salvation for my soul, I was
troubled on account of my sins.  My many transgressions rose up before
me like a cloud.  I was ignorant, and so my mind was full of doubts and
fears.  Yet with all my doubts there was the anxious desire to be saved.
But the victory came at last.  I was enabled to hear enough about the
Almighty Friend, and so, as I had confidence in His power and love, and
believed in Him, I was at last enabled to rejoice in the knowledge of
sins forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  From those sad
doubts and fears I am now happily delivered.  I feel I love God, and
that God loves me.  I am growing in grace, and in the knowledge of God
my Saviour.  My hopes are brightening all the time.  I am getting old,
but not unhappy, for I am cheered with the blessed assurance of one day
meeting, in my Father's house in heaven, with many who are safely there,
and many more who, like me, will soon enter in.  That this may be a
blessed certainty, I desire to be faithful unto the end, that no man
take my crown."

When Henry sat down, before another one could be heard, the large
congregation were singing:--

  "Pe teh-na-mah-me cha-te yak
  Ke ehe ne-ka-mo-yak," etc.

  "O for a thousand tongues to sing
  My great Redeemer's praise."

The next to get the floor was one of the sweetest, purest Christians it
was ever my lot to become acquainted with in any land.  His name was
William Memotas.  He was a very happy Christian.  As he was a Local
Preacher and a Class Leader, I was much in his society, and I can say,
as many others have said, that William, since the day of his conversion,
was never heard to utter an unkind word about any one, or do anything
that could give the enemies of the Lord Jesus an opportunity to scoff at
his profession of loving the Lord with all his heart.  He was never a
very strong man physically while we knew him, and so was unable to go on
the long tripping or hunting expeditions with him more vigorous
comrades.  He suffered much from inward pain, but was ever bright and
hopeful.  When he stood up to add his testimony, the sick, pallid face
caused a wave of sympathy to pass over the audience, but his cheery
words quickly lifted the cloud, and we seemed to look through the open
door into the celestial city, into which he was so soon to enter.  His
obituary, which I wrote at the time of his death, is added at the close
of this chapter.  He said:--

"For many years I have now been walking in this way, and proving this
great salvation.  It is a blessed way, and it is getting more delightful
all the time.  Every day on it is a day's walk nearer Jesus.  It is not
like the trails in our country, sometimes rocks, and then more often
muskegs and quaking bogs; but it is the solid rock all the time, and on
it we may always be sure of our footing, and it leads us up to Him Who
is the Rock of Ages.  I am not now a strong man, as you know I once was.
This poor weak body is like the old wigwam.  It is breaking up.  As
each storm tears fresh rents in the old wigwam, so each attack of
disease seems to tear me, and bring me nearer the time when what is
immortal of me shall slip away from the worn body into the everlasting
brightness of that land where the happy people never say, `I am sick.'
I am very glad and happy in the service of this Jesus, and will serve
Him as long as He lends me health.  But I do want to go home.  I cannot
do much more here.  Our Missionary, Mr Young, said to me, `William,
don't talk so much about leaving us.  How can we spare you?'  I thank
him for his love and friendship, but there is another Friend I am
getting such a longing in my heart to see, and that is Jesus, my
Saviour, my Redeemer.  I am praying for patience, but by-and-by I shall
be with Him, with him for evermore.  There I shall have no pain, and I
will praise my Jesus for evermore.  So, while waiting, I ask God to be
with me here, and to let me serve Him in some way every day."

With suppressed emotion, for many eyes were full of tears, the people
sang--

  "Tapwa meyoo ootaskewuk,
  Ispemik ayahchik," etc.

  "There is a land of pure delight,
  Where saints immortal reign."

William was a sweet singer, and joined heartily with the rest in singing
several verses of that grand old hymn.  We had a presentiment that the
end was not far off, but we little thought, as we looked into his
radiant face, and heard his clear scriptural testimony, and his longings
for rest and heaven, that this was to be the last Lovefeast in which our
dear brother was to be with us.  Ere another similar service was held,
William Memotas had gone sweeping through the gates, washed in the blood
of the Lamb.

James Cochrane, a Class Leader, said,--

"I have great reason to bless God for the privileges and mercies I have
had from him.  I am so glad to be with you to-day in his house.  I try
to arrange all my huntings and journeys so as to be present at all of
these love-feasts and sacraments.  Since I decided, many years ago, to
give up paganism and become a Christian, I have never missed one of
these meetings, though sometimes I have had to take several days and
travel hundreds of miles to get here.  I only had to travel sixty miles
on my snow-shoes to be here to-day.  It has paid me well to come.  I
rejoice that God has enabled me to be faithful all these years since I
started in His service.  When I first began, I had a great many doubts
and fears.  The way seemed very long ahead of me.  I felt so weak and so
prone to sin.  It seemed impossible that such a weak, unworthy creature
as I could stand true and faithful; but trusting in God, and constantly
endeavouring to exercise a living faith in Christ, I have been kept to
this day, and I can say I realise a daily growth in grace.  I ask God to
give me His Holy Spirit to help me to follow Christ's example and to
keep all of God's commandments.  May I, too, prove faithful."

Mary Cook, a very old woman, who has had to endure persecution for
Christ's sake, spoke next.  She said:

"I am very glad to be here once more.  I have many pagan relatives who
have no feeling of friendship towards me, because I am a follower of
Jesus.  But He is my Friend, so it is all right.  I have been very sick,
and thought that God was going to take me home to heaven.  That thought
made me very happy in my sickness.  My poor little room often seemed
light with the presence of my Lord.  I love to dwell with God's people.
It is my chief joy.  I refused to go and live with my relatives in the
woods, even though I should be better off, because I love the house of
God, and because I so love to worship with God's people."

Mary Oig said:

"Very happy do I feel in my heart to-day.  My heart is filled with his
love.  I knew I love Him and his people; and His service is to me a
great delight.  Once, like many others, I was in the great darkness,
wandering in sin; but God sought me by His Holy Spirit, and convinced me
of my lost condition, and shewed me Himself as my only Hope, and enabled
me to rejoice in his pardoning mercy through faith in the Atonement.
May God keep me faithful, that with you I may join around the Throne
above."

Thomas Mamanowatum, generally known as "Big Tom," on account of his
almost gigantic size, was the next to speak.  He is one of the best of
men.  I have used him to help me a good deal, and have ever found him
one of the worthiest and truest assistants.  His people all love and
trust him.  He is perhaps the most influential Indian in the village.
Tom said:

"I, too, desire to express my gratitude to God for His great blessings
and mercies to me.  I am like David, who said, `Come, all ye who fear
the Lord, and I will tell you what He hath done for my soul.'  He has
taken me out of the pit of sin, and set me on the rock.  So I rejoice,
for I have felt and tasted of His love.  When I think of what he has
done for me, and then think of what I have been, I feel that I am not
worthy even to stand up in such a place as this.  But He is worthy, and
so I must praise Him.  I have a comfortable assurance that He, my good
Father, is contented with me.  But it is only because the grace of God
is sufficient to keep me.  I am growing in grace, and I desire more than
ever to glorify God in all I think, or speak, or do.  I have been
helping our Missionary at Beren's River in the good work among the
people there.  I often felt happy while endeavouring to point my heathen
brethren to Jesus Christ, Who takes away the sins of the world.  My
first consecration was of myself, when converted to Christ.  My second
was of my family to Him.  My third is of my class.  I am often very
happy while trying to lead them on in the way to heaven.  To-day I renew
my vows of consecration.  I offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, for He
is my God and my portion for ever.  As He is the Source of Love and
Light and Safety, I want to be continually drawing nearer to Him."

Very appropriate was the hymn which was next sung,--

  "Ke-se-wog-ne-man-toom
  Ke-nah-te-tin," etcetera,

  "Nearer, my God, to Thee."

After three verses of this beautiful hymn were sung, we had a large
number of short testimonies.  Some of the people beautifully expressed
themselves by quoting passages from their Indian Bibles.  For example,
one said: "The joy of the Lord is my portion."  Another: "The Lord is my
Shepherd; I shall not want."  Another: "Beloved, now are we the sons of
God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when
He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see him as He is."

Thus delightfully passed away two hours.  Perhaps fifty or sixty gave
their testimonies, or quoted passages of Scripture.  The speaking was up
to the average of a similar gathering among white people, as these
examples we have given would indicate.  They were faithfully translated
by two of our best interpreters, and then compared.  And yet many of the
beautiful Indian images are lost in the translation into English.

The best of all has also to be left out.  The Divine power, the holy
emotions, the shining faces, the atmosphere of heaven, cannot be put
down on paper.  Many of my readers know what I mean as thus I write, for
they have been in those hallowed gatherings where "they that feared the
Lord spake often one to another."

Then followed the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.  To the Christian
Indians this service is, as it ever should be, the most solemn and
impressive in the Church.  Our custom was to hold four Communion
services during the year.  In addition, we sometimes gave a dying
devoted member this sacrament, if so desired.  Here there were a few
other very important occasions, when we celebrated in this way the dying
of the Lord Jesus.  As, for example, when several scores of our people
were going off on a dangerous trip in a plague-infected district with
but very poor prospects of all returning home again.

WILLIAM MEMOTAS.

William Memotas was converted from the darkness of paganism to the light
of the Gospel soon after the introduction of the glad tidings of
salvation among the Cree Indians by that most useful and godly man, the
Reverend James Evans.  William's conversion was so clear and positive
that he never had any doubts about it.  His progress in the Divine life
was marked and intelligent, and soon he became a useful and acceptable
worker in the Church.  He was a Class Leader and Local Preacher of great
power and acceptability.

He was pre-eminently a happy Christian.  His face seemed full of
sunshine.  There was a genial sweetness about him that caused his very
presence to act as a charm.  His coming into our Mission home was like
the sunshine, in which even our little ones basked with great delight.
He was an every-day Christian.  Although I was often in his company, and
was thrown in contact with him on some occasions calculated to severely
test him, yet I never heard from him an improper word, or heard of his
having in any way gone contrary to his Christian profession during the
thirty years that he had professed to be a follower of the Lord Jesus.

His greatest aim in life seemed to be to get to heaven; and next to that
he strove to induce others to follow in the same course.

When some of the Indians were getting excited about their lands, and the
treaties which were soon to be made with the Government, William, in
writing to a friend, said: "I care for none of these things; they will
all come right.  My only desire is to love Jesus more and more, so as to
see Him by-and-by."

He was a useful Christian, possessing a good knowledge of the roots and
herbs of his native forests, and also having had some instruction given
him in reference to some of the simpler medicines of the whites, he was
often styled our "village doctor."  Although seldom remunerated for his
services, he was always ready to listen to the calls of the afflicted,
and, with Heaven's blessing, was instrumental in accomplishing some
marvellous cures.  He believed in using a good deal of prayer with his
medicines.  His skill in dressing and curing gun-shot wounds could not
be excelled.

Yet, while doing all he could to cure others, his own health was very
poor for several years.  He suffered frequently from violent headaches
that caused intense pain.  Yet he was never heard to murmur or complain,
but would say to us, when we tried to sympathise with him, "Never mind,
by-and-by I shall get home, and when I see Jesus I shall have no more
pain."  About nine days before his departure he caught a severe cold
that settled upon his lungs, which seemed to have been diseased for a
long time.  He had from the beginning a presentiment that his sickness
was "unto death," and never did a weary toiler welcome his bed of rest
with greater delight than did William the grave.  The prospect of
getting to heaven seemed so fully to absorb his thoughts that he
appeared dead to everything earthly.  In life he had been a most loving
and affectionate husband and father, but now, with a strong belief in
God's promises of protection and care over the widow and fatherless, he
resigned his family into the Lord's hands, and then seemed almost to
banish them from his thoughts.

Being very poor on account of his long-continued ill health, which had
incapacitated him for work, he had, when his severe illness began,
nothing to eat but fish.  We cheerfully supplied him with what things
our limited means would allow, to alleviate his sorrows and poverty.
One day, when my beloved Brother Semmens and I had visited him, we had
prayer and a blessed talk with him.  As we were leaving him, after
giving him some tangible evidences of our love, Brother Semmens said,
"Now, Brother William, can we do anything else for you?  Do you want
anything more?"  The poor sick man turned his radiant face towards us
and said, "O no, I want nothing now, but more of Christ."

He often conversed with us about his glorious prospects and the joy and
happiness he felt as the pearly gates of the Golden City seemed to be
opening before him.  Here are some of his dying words whispered either
to my beloved colleague or to myself.  Would that we could portray the
scene, or describe the happy, shining face of the dying man, lying there
on a bed of blankets and rabbit skins in his little dwelling!

He said, "While my body is getting weaker, my faith is getting stronger,
and I am very happy in Jesus' love.  Very glad am I that I responded to
Mr Evans' invitations, and gave my heart to Him Who has saved me and
kept me so happy in His love.  I am so glad I was permitted to do some
little work for Jesus.  He used to help me when I tried to talk about
His love and recommend Him to others.  I used to get very happy in my
own soul when thus working for Him.  I am happier now than ever before.
I am resting in His love."

Thus would the happy man talk on as long as his strength permitted.  It
was ever a blessing to visit him.  It wonderfully encouraged and
strengthened us in our work.  One day, as we came from one of these
blessed visits, Brother Semmens burst out in almost ecstatic delight,--

  "O may I triumph so
  When all my warfare's past!"

When we administered to him the emblems of the broken body and spilt
blood of the Redeemer, he was much affected, and exclaimed, "My precious
Saviour!  I shall soon see Him.  `That will be joy for evermore.'"

Once, when conversing with him, I happened to say, "I hope you will not
leave us.  We want you to remain with us.  We need you to help us to
preach.  We need you in the Sunday School and in the Prayer Meetings.
Your sixty class members are full of sorrow at your sickness.  They
think they cannot spare you.  Do not be in a hurry to leave us, William.
We want your presence, your example, your prayers."

He listened patiently while I talked, and then he looked up at me so
chidingly, like a weary, home-sick child, and exclaimed, in a voice that
showed that earth had lost all its charms, "Why do you wish to detain
me?  You know I want to go home."

Shortly after, his heart's desire was his in actual possession.
Triumphantly he went home.  While we felt that our Mission was much the
loser by his departure, we knew it was better for him, and an accession
to heaven's glorious company of one who was worthy to mingle with the
white-robed throng around the throne of God.

There is nothing that more roots and grounds us in this blessed Gospel,
and more stimulates us to labour on, even amidst hardships and
sufferings, than the consistent lives and triumphant deaths of our
Indian converts.

Ignorant as many of them are of the non-essentials of our religion, yet
possessing by the Spirit's influence a vivid knowledge of their state by
nature, and of the Saviour's love for them, they cling to Him with a
faith so strong and abiding, that the blessed assurance of His favour
abides with them as a conscious reality through life; and when the end
draws near, sustained by His presence, even the Valley of the Shadow of
Death is entered with delight.

The Missions among the Indians of North America have not been failures.
The thousands converted from different tribes, and now before the throne
of God, and the many true and steadfast ones following after, tell us
that although many of the toilers among them, as they went with the
seed, literally went forth weeping, yet the harvest has been an abundant
one, and has more than compensated for the tears and toils of the
sewers.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

VARIED DUTIES--CHRISTIANITY MUST PRECEDE CIVILISATION--ILLUSTRATIONS--
EXPERIMENTAL FARMING--PLOUGHING WITH DOGS--ABUNDANCE OF FISH--VISITS
FROM FAR-OFF INDIANS--SOME COME TO DISTURB--MANY SINCERE INQUIRERS AFTER
THE TRUTH--"WHERE IS THE MISSIONARY?"--BEREN'S RIVER MISSION BEGUN--
TIMOTHY BEAR--PERILS ON THE ICE.

Very diversified were our duties among these Indians.  Not only were
there those that in all places are associated with ministerial or
pastoral work, but there were also many others, peculiar to this kind of
missionary toil.  Following closely on the acceptance of the spiritual
blessings of the Gospel came the desire for temporal progress and
development.  Christianity must ever precede a real and genuine
civilisation.  To reverse this order of proceedings has always resulted
in humiliating failure among the North American Indians.

Sir Francis Bond Head, one of the early Governors of Canada, took a
great interest in the Indians.  He zealously endeavoured to improve
them, and honestly worked for their advancement.  He gathered together a
large number of them at one of their settlements, and held a great
council with them.  Oxen were killed, and flour and tea and tobacco were
provided in large quantities.  The Indians feasted and smoked, and
listened attentively to this great man who represented the Queen, and
who, having also supplied them with food for the great feast, was worthy
of all attention.

The Governor told them that the great object of his coming to see them,
and thus feasting them, was to show his kindness to them, and interest
in their welfare.  Then, with much emphasis he told them how the game
was disappearing, and the fish also would soon not be so plentiful, and,
unless they settled down and cultivated the soil, they would suffer from
hunger, and perhaps starve to death.  He got them to promise that they
would begin this new way of life.  As they were feeling very comfortable
while feasting on his bounties, they were in the humour of promising
everything he desired.  Very much delighted at their docility, he said
he would send them axes to clear more of their land, and oxen and
ploughs to prepare it for seed; and when all was ready he would send
them seed grain.  Great were their rejoicings at these words, and with
stately ceremony the council broke up.

In a few days along came the ploughs, oxen, and axes.  It was in the
pleasant springtime, but instead of going to work and ploughing up what
land there was cleared in their village, and beginning with their axes
to get more ready, they held a council among themselves.  These were
their conclusions: "These axes are bright and shine like glass.  If we
use them to cut down trees, they will lose their fine appearance.  Let
us keep them as ornaments.  These oxen now are fat and good.  If we
fasten them up to these heavy ploughs, and make them drag them through
the ground, they will soon get poor and not fit for food.  Let us make a
great feast."  So they killed the oxen, and invited all of the
surrounding Indians to join them, and as long as a piece of meat was
left the pots were kept boiling.

Thus ended, just as many other efforts of the kind have ended, this
effort to civilise the Indians before Christianising them.

We found that almost in proportion to the genuineness of the Indian's
acceptance of the Gospel was his desire to improve his temporal
circumstances.  Of course there were some places where the Indians could
not cultivate the land.  We were four hundred miles north of the fertile
prairies of the great western part of the Dominion of Canada, where
perhaps a hundred millions of people will yet find happy times.  From
these wondrously fertile regions my Nelson River Indians were at least
six hundred miles north.  As hunters and fishermen these men, and those
at Oxford Mission, and indeed nearly all in those high latitudes, must
live.  But where there was land to cultivate the Indians had their
gardens and little fields.

I carried out with me four potatoes.  I did not get them in the ground
until the 6th of August.  Yet in the short season left I succeeded in
raising a few little ones.  These I carefully packed in cotton wool and
kept safe from the frost.  The next year I got from them a pailful.  The
yield the third year was six bushels, and the fourth year one hundred
and twenty-five bushels; and before I left the Indians were raising
thousands of bushels from those four potatoes.  They had had some
before, but there had been some neglect, and they had run out.

One summer I carried out, in a little open boat from Red River, a good
Scotch iron beam plough.  The next winter, when I came in to the
District Meeting, I bought a bag of wheat containing two bushels and a
half; and I got also thirty-two iron harrow teeth.  I dragged these
things, with many others, including quite an assortment of garden seeds,
on my dog-trains, all the way to Norway House.  I harnessed eight dogs
to my plough, and ploughed up my little fields; and, after making a
harrow, I harrowed in my wheat with the dogs.  The first year I had
thirty bushels of beautiful wheat.  This I cut with a sickle, and then
thrashed it with a flail.  Mrs Young sewed several sheets together, and
one day, when there was a steady, gentle breeze blowing, we winnowed the
chaff from the wheat in the wind.  There were no mills within hundreds
of miles of us; so we merely cracked the wheat in a hand coffee-mill,
and used some of it for porridge, and gave the rest to the Indians, who
made use of it in their soups.

Thus we laboured with them and for them, and were more and more
encouraged, as the years rolled on, at seeing how resolved they were to
improve their temporal circumstances, which at the best were not to be
envied.

The principal article of food was fish.  The nets were in the water from
the time the ice disappeared in May until it returned in October; and
often were holes cut in the ice, and nets placed under it, for this
staple article of food.

The great fall fisheries were times of activity and anxiety, as the
winter's supply of food depended very much upon the numbers caught.  So
steady and severe is the frost at Norway House, and at all the Missions
north of it, that the fish caught in October and the early part of
November, keep frozen solid until April.  The principal fish is the
white fish, although many other varieties abound.

Each Indian family endeavoured to secure from three to five thousand
fish, each fall, for the winter's supply.  For my own family use, and
more especially for my numerous dogs, which were required for my long
winter trips to the out Mission appointments, I used to endeavour to
secure not less than ten thousand fish.  It is fortunate that those
lakes and rivers so abound in splendid varieties of fish.  If it were
not so, the Indians could not exist.  But, providentially,--

  "The teeming sea supplies
  The food the niggard soil denies."

Deer of several varieties abound, and also other animals, the flesh of
which furnishes nutritious food.  But all supplies of food thus obtained
are insignificant in comparison with the fish, which the Indians are
able to obtain except in the severest weather.

As with the natives, so it was with the Missionaries; the principal
article of food upon their tables was fish.  During the first Riel
Rebellion, when all communication with the interior was cut off, and our
supplies could not as usual be sent out to us from Red River, my good
wife and I lived on fish twenty-one times a week, for nearly six months.
Of course there were times when we had on the table, in addition to the
fish, a cooked rabbit, or it may be a piece of venison or bear's meat.
However, the great "stand-by," as they say out in that land, was the
fish.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Every summer hundreds of Indians from other places visited us.  Some
came in their small canoes, and others with the Brigades, which in those
days travelled vast distances with their loads of rich furs, which were
sent down to York Factory on the Hudson Bay, to be shipped thence to
England.  Sometimes they remained several weeks between the trading post
and the Mission.  Very frequent were the conversations we had with these
wandering red men about the Great Spirit and the Great Book.

Some, full of mischief, and at times unfortunately full of rum, used to
come to annoy and disturb us.  One summer a band of Athabasca Indians so
attacked our Mission House that for three days and nights we were as in
a state of siege.  Unfortunately for us our own loyal able-bodied Indian
men were all away as trip men, and the few at the Mission village were
powerless to help.  Our lives were in jeopardy, and they came very near
burning down the premises.

Shortly after these Athabasca Indians had left us I saw a large boatload
of men coming across the lake towards our village.  Imagining them to be
some of these same disturbers, I hastily rallied all the old men I
could, and went down to the shore, to keep them, if possible, from
landing.  Very agreeable indeed was my surprise to find that they were a
band of earnest seekers after the Great Light, who had come a long
distance to see and talk with me.  Gladly did I lead them to the Mission
House, and until midnight I endeavoured to preach to them Jesus.  They
came a distance of over three hundred miles; but in that far-off
district had met in their wanderings some of our Christian Indians from
Norway House, who, always carrying their Bibles with them, had, by
reading to them and praying with them, under the good Spirit's
influence, implanted in their hearts longing desires after the great
salvation.  They were literally hungering and thirsting after salvation.
Before they left for their homes, they were all baptized.  Their
importunate request to me on leaving was the same as that of many
others:

"Do come and visit us in our own land, and tell us and our families more
of these blessed truths."

From God's Lake, which is sixty miles from Oxford Lake, a deputation of
eleven Indians came to see me.  They had travelled the whole distance of
two hundred and sixty miles in order that they might hear the Gospel,
and get from me a supply of Bibles, Hymn-books, and Catechisms.  One of
them had been baptized and taught years ago by the Reverend H.
Brooking.  His life and teachings had made the others eager for this
blessed way, and so he brought these hungry sheep in the wilderness that
long distance that they might have the truth explained to them more
perfectly, and be baptised.  As it had been with the others who came
from a different direction, so it was with these.  Their earnest, oft-
repeated entreaty was, "Come and visit us and ours in our far-away
homes."

A few weeks after, another boatload of men called to have a talk with
me.  They seated themselves on the grass in front of the Mission House,
and at first acted as though they expected me to begin the conversation.
I found out very soon that they were Saulteaux, and had come from
Beren's River, about a hundred and fifty miles away.  After a few words
as to their health and families had passed between us, an old man, who
seemed to be the spokesman of the party, said, "Well, Ayumeaookemou"
("praying master," the Missionary's name), "do you remember your words
of three summers ago?"

"What were my words of three summers ago?"  I asked.

"Why," he replied, "your words were that you would write to the Keche-
ayumeaookemou" (the great praying masters, the Missionary Secretaries)
"for a Missionary for us."

When I first passed through their country, they with tears in their eyes
had begged for a Missionary.  I had been much moved by their appeals,
and had written to the Mission House about them and for them, but all in
vain.  None had come to labour among them.

For my answer to this old man's words I translated a copy of my letter,
which had been published, and in which I had strongly urged their claims
for a Missionary.  They all listened attentively to the end, and then
the old man sprang up and said, "We all thank you for sending that word,
but _where is the Missionary_?"  I was lost for an answer, for I felt
that I was being asked by this hungering soul the most important
question that can be heard by the Christian Church, to whom God has
committed the great work of the world's evangelisation.

"WHERE IS THE MISSIONARY?"  The question thrilled me, and I went down
before it like the reed before the storm.  I could only weep and say,
"Lord, have mercy upon me and on the apathetic Christian world."

That was the hardest question a human being ever asked me.  To tell him
of a want of men, or a lack of money, to carry the glad tidings of
salvation to him and his people, would only have filled his mind with
doubts as to the genuineness of the religion enjoyed by a people so
numerous and rich as he knew the whites were.  So I tried to give them
some idea of the world's population, and the vast number yet unconverted
to Christianity.  I told him the Churches were at work in many places
and among many nations, but that many years would pass away before all
the world would be supplied with Missionaries.

"How many winters will pass by before that time comes?" he asked.

"A great many, I fear," was my answer.

He put his hands through his long hair, once as black as a raven's wing,
but now becoming silvered, and replied: "These white hairs show that I
have lived many winters, and am getting old.  My countrymen at Red River
on the south of us, and here at Norway House on the north of us, have
Missionaries, and churches, and schools; and we have none.  I do not
wish to die until we have a church and a school."

The story of this old man's appeal woke up the good people of the
Churches, and something was soon done for these Indians.  I visited them
twice a year by canoe and dog-train, and found them anxious for
religious instruction and progress.

At first I sent to live among them my faithful interpreter, Timothy
Bear.  He worked faithfully and did good service.  He was not a strong
man physically, and could not stand much exposure.  To live in, he had
my large leather tent, which was made of the prepared skins of the
buffalo.  One night a great tornado swept over the country, and
Timothy's tent was carried away, and then the drenching rains fell upon
him and his.  A severe cold resulted, and when word reached me several
weeks after at Norway House, it was that my trusted friend was
hopelessly ill, but was still endeavouring to keep at his duties.

So great was my anxiety to go and comfort him that I started out with my
dog-trains so soon after the winter set in that that trip very nearly
proved to be my last.  The greater part of that journey was performed
upon Lake Winnipeg.  Very frequently on the northern end of that lake
the ice, which there forms first, is broken up by the fierce winds from
the southern end, which, being three hundred miles further south,
remains open several days longer.  I had with me two Indians,--one was
an old experienced man, named William Cochran; the other a splendid
specimen of physical manhood, named Felix.

When we reached Lake Winnipeg, as far as we could judge by the
appearance of the ice, it must have formed three times, and then have
been broken up by the storms.  The broken masses were piled up in
picturesque ridges along the shore, or frozen together in vast fields
extending for many miles.  Over these rough ice-fields, where great
pieces of ice, from five to twenty feet high, were thrown at every
angle, and then frozen solid, we travelled for two days.  Both men and
dogs suffered a great deal from falls and bruises.  Our feet at times
were bruised and bleeding.  Just about daybreak, on our third day, as we
pushed out from our camp in the woods where we had passed the night,
when we had got a considerable distance from the shore, Felix was
delighted to find smooth ice.  He was guiding at the time.  He put on
his skates and bounded off quickly, and was soon followed by the dogs,
who seemed as delighted as he that the rough ice had all been passed,
and now there was a possibility of getting on with speed and comfort.

Just as I was congratulating myself on the fact of our having reached
good ice, and that now there was a prospect of soon reaching my sick
Indian brother, a cry of terror came from William, the experienced
Indian who was driving our provision sled behind mine.

"This ice is bad, and we are sinking," he shouted.

Thinking the best way for me was to stop I checked my dogs, and at once
began to sink.

"Keep moving, but make for the shore," was the instant cry of the man
behind.

I shouted to my splendid, well-trained dogs, and they at once responded
to the command given, and bounded towards the shore.  Fortunately the
ice was strong enough to hold the dogs up, although under the sled it
bent and cracked, and in some places broke through.

Very grateful were we when we got back to the rough strong ice near the
shore.  In quiet tones we spoke a few words of congratulation to each
other, and lifted up our hearts in gratitude to our great Preserver, and
then hurried on.  If we had broken in, we could have received no earthly
aid, as there was not even a wigwam within a day's journey of us.

That night at the camp-fire I overheard William saying to Felix, "I am
ashamed of ourselves for not having taken better care of our
Missionary."

We found Timothy very sick indeed.  We ministered to his comfort, and
had it then in our power so to arrange that, while the work should not
suffer, he could have rest and quiet.  His success had been very marked,
and the old Saulteaux rejoiced that he and the rest of them were to be
neglected no longer.  He had made such diligent progress himself in
spiritual things that I gladly baptized him and his household.

There were times when our supplies ran very short, and hunger and
suffering had to be endured.  During the first Riel Rebellion, when we
were cut off from access to the outside world, we were entirely
dependent upon our nets and guns for a long time.  Our artist has tried
to tell a story in three pictures.

At the breakfast table we had nothing to eat but the hind-quarter of a
wild cat.  It was very tough and tasteless; and while we were trying to
make our breakfast from it, Mrs Young said, "My dear, unless you shoot
something for dinner, I am afraid there will be none."

So I took down my rifle, and tied on my snow-shoes, and started off
looking for game.  See Picture I.  Pictures II and III tell the rest of
the story.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

SMALL-POX PESTILENCE--HEROIC CONDUCT OF CHRISTIAN INDIANS--WHITES
SUPPLIED WITH PROVISIONS BY RED MEN--THE GUIDE SAMUEL PAPANEKIS--HIS
TRIUMPHANT DEATH--NANCY, THE HAPPY WIDOW--IN POVERTY, YET REJOICING.

We were very much shocked, during the early spring, to hear that that
terrible disease, the small-pox, had broken out among the Indians on the
great plains of the Saskatchewan.

It seems to have been brought into the country by some white traders
coming up from the State of Montana.  When once it had got amongst them,
it spread with amazing rapidity and fatality.  To make matters worse,
one of the tribes of Indians, being at war with another, secretly
carried some of the infected clothing, which had been worn by their own
dead friends, into the territory of those with whom they were at war,
and left it where it could be easily found and carried off.  In this way
the disease was communicated to this second tribe, and thousands of them
died from it.

Every possible precaution against the spread of this terrible destroyer
was taken by the Missionaries, Messrs. McDougall and Campbell, aided by
their Christian people.  But, in spite of all their efforts, it
continued cutting down both whites and Indians.  To save some of his
people Mr McDougall got the Indians of his Victoria Mission to leave
their homes and scatter themselves over the great prairies, where, he
hoped, they would, by being isolated, escape the contagion.  The pagan
Indians, rendered desperate under the terrible scourge which was so
rapidly cutting them off, and being powerless to check it, resolved to
wreak their vengeance upon the defenceless whites.  So they sent a band
of warriors to destroy every white person in the country.  The first
place they reached, where dwelt any of the pale-faces, was the Victoria
Mission on the Saskatchewan River.  Indian-like, they did not openly
attack, but, leaving the greater number of their warriors in ambush in
the long grass, a few of them sauntered into the Mission House.  Here,
to their surprise, they found that the small-pox had entered, and some
of the inmates of the home had died.  Quickly and quietly they glided
away, and told their comrades what they had seen.  A hasty consultation
was held, and they decided that it could not have been the Missionary
who had control of the disease; for, if he had, he would not have
allowed it to have killed his own.  They then decided it must have been
the fur-traders, and so they started for the trading post.  Here they
pursued the same tactics, and found to their surprise that a Mr Clarke,
the gentleman in charge of that place, had fallen a victim.  Another
hasty council made them think that they had been mistaken, and so they
quickly returned to their own country without having injured any one.

But the Missionary and his family were surrounded by perils.  The
Indians were excited and unsettled, and their old pagan conjurers were
ever ready to incite them to deeds of violence.  The restraining power
of God alone saved them from massacre.  Once the Missionary's wife and
some of the family were at work in the garden, while secreted in the
long grass not a hundred yards from them lay eleven Blackfeet, who had
come to murder and pillage the place, but, as they afterwards
acknowledged, were strangely restrained from firing.  At another time
some of the fierce warriors of this same bloodthirsty tribe crawled
through a field of barley, and for a long time watched the movements of
the family, and then noiselessly retired, doing no harm to any one.  To
hear the ping of a bullet as it passed in close proximity to the head
was no very rare event in the lives of several of the early Missionaries
among the excited pagans.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

While the small-pox was raging in the Great Saskatchewan country,
strenuous efforts were made to prevent it spreading to other districts.
Manitoba had now been formed into a province, and was filling up with
white settlers.  The old name, Fort Garry, had been changed to Winnipeg,
and this place was rapidly growing into a prosperous town.  From Fort
Garry long trains of Red River carts had been in the habit of going for
years with the supplies needed in the far-off Saskatchewan country.
These carts were made without having in their construction a single
piece of iron.  The Half-breeds or Indian drivers never oiled or greased
them, and the result was they could be heard about as far as seen, even
on the level prairies.  Each cart was drawn by one ox, and was supposed
to carry from eight to twelve hundred pounds of supplies, in addition to
the food and outfit of the driver, who was always expected to walk.
This freighting by carts on the prairies is the counterpart of
transporting goods by open boats or canoes in the northern rivers, to
which we have elsewhere referred.  The arrival of the brigade of carts
with the supplies, and the news from the outside world, was the great
event of the year in the early times at those lonely prairie
settlements.

But stern measures had to be adopted in this year of the small-pox
plague.  A proclamation was issued by the Governor of the Province of
Manitoba, absolutely prohibiting any trade or communication in any way
with the infected district.  Not a single cart or traveller was
permitted to go on the trail.  This meant a good deal of suffering and
many privations for the isolated Missionaries and traders and other
whites who, for purposes of settlement or adventure, had gone into that
remote interior country.

As it was, only twice a year in many places did the lonely Missionaries
hear from the outside world.  Then the mail-carrier was very welcome,
whether he came by canoe or dog-train.

Although there were still plenty of buffalo on the plains, it was well
known that the ammunition was about exhausted, as well as all other
supplies, including medicines, now so much needed.  Some interested
parties vainly urged the Governor to relent and allow some supplies to
be sent in.  But, conscious of the risks that would be run of the
pestilence reaching the province over which he governed, he remained
firm, while he felt for those who necessarily must suffer.

"What can be done to aid those unfortunate ones, who, in addition to
their sorrows and troubles incident to the ravages of the small-pox
among them, are now to be exposed to pinching famine and want?" was the
question that sympathising friends were asking each other.  As a last
resort it was decided to appeal to the Norway House Christian Indians,
and ask them to form a brigade of boats, and take the much-needed
supplies up the mighty Saskatchewan River, where they could be reached
by those needing them.

To me, as Missionary of these Indians, Mr Stewart, the highest official
of the Hudson's Bay Company, came; and we talked the matter over, and
the risks which the Indians, not one of whom had been vaccinated, must
run in going on such a perilous journey.  They would have to go hundreds
of miles through the disease-stricken land where hundreds had died.  But
it seemed essential that something must be done, and there were
possibilities that the Indians, by acting very wisely, could escape
infection: so we decided to call them together, and see what they would
do in this emergency.

When the church bell was rung, and the people had assembled together in
their Council house, wondering what was the matter, I described the sad
circumstances to them, and then presented the request, that one hundred
and sixty of them should take twenty boats loaded with supplies, and go
up the Saskatchewan, to save these white people from starving.  I said
to these converted Indians, my own people:

"I know your race on this continent has not always been fairly treated;
but never mind that.  Here is a grand opportunity for you to do a
glorious act, and to show to the world and to the good Lord, Whose
children you are, that you can make sacrifices and run risks when duty
calls, as well as the whites can."

We told them that there was a possibility that they, by keeping in the
middle of the great river all the time, and _never_ going ashore, might
all escape.  They would be provided with abundance of food; so they need
not go ashore to hunt.  Then we asked, "Are you willing to run the risk,
and avail yourselves of this chance to do a glorious act?"  Turning to
one of the most trusted guides in the country, one of my best Class-
Leaders, I said: "Samuel Papanekis, you are to be the guide and leader
of this party."  He was a son of the old centenarian, and brother of the
Reverend Edward Papanekis, now our Missionary at Oxford House Mission.

He seemed at first a little startled by the responsibility of the
position, and after a moment's thought quietly said: "Will you give us a
little time to talk it over?"  So we left them to discuss the matter
among themselves.  When they sent us word that they had their answer
ready, we returned, and he said: "Missionary, we have talked it over,
and have decided to go to take the supplies to our suffering white
brothers and their families.  But will you let us have one more Sunday
at the church, and will you give us the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper,
ere we start upon the dangerous journey?"

"Yes," I said, "it will take several days to get your loads and boats
ready, and so we will have another blessed day of rest and hallowed
worship together."

It was a memorable Sabbath.  Every man, woman, and child who could come
to church, seemed to be there.  Some of the women wept as they thought
of the risks their husbands, or brothers, or sons were running.  Others
of them seemed to catch the spirit of the men, and felt proud that those
they loved were willing to undertake so brave and noble a work.

At the close of the morning service we had the Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper.  It was very solemn and impressive.  As they came forward and
partook of the emblems of their dear Lord's dying love, the recollection
of His self-sacrifice and disinterested kindness seemed to come very
vividly before us all, and there was in many hearts a kind of exultant
joy that they were counted worthy to run some risks for the sake of
doing good.

No foolish boastfulness, or desire to seek for sympathy, characterised
their utterances at the afternoon service, at which we met again in a
Testimony or Fellowship Meeting.  Some made no reference at all to the
work before them; others asked for our prayers for them; and others,
well taught in the Word of God, with the hallowed influences of the
morning sacramental service still resting upon them, thought that they
ought to rejoice when there were chances for getting into this spirit,
so as to be partakers of Christ's sufferings, or companions in
tribulation with such a Friend, so that when His glory should be
revealed, they also might rejoice, as He has taught us: "If we suffer
with Him," we shall "also be glorified together."

Two or three days after this they started on their long, dangerous
journey.  They had twenty boats well loaded with supplies, each manned
by eight Indians, and all under the guidance of Samuel Papanekis, whom
they were expected to implicitly obey.  They went up the fine river that
passes by Norway House, until they entered into Lake Winnipeg.  From
this place they skirted around the north-western shore of this great
lake, until they reached the mouth of the Saskatchewan River.  Up this
great river they had to row their beats against the current for many
hundreds of miles.  That summer was an exceedingly hot one, yet for
weeks together these gallant fellows tugged away at their heavy oars.
For a few short hours of rest during the night they anchored their boats
in mid-stream, and then at first blush of morning they continued their
journey.  Wild beasts were sometimes seen walking on the shores or
quenching their thirst in the river.  The hunting instincts of the
younger Indian boatmen were so strong that they begged to be allowed to
fire; but Samuel, ever on the alert, and seeing the danger, always
positively refused.

When the Sabbaths came they anchored their boats as close together as
possible near the middle of the river on some shoal or shallow spot,
such as abound in this great river of shifting sand bars.  Here they
spent their quiet, restful days, having prayers and a couple of
religious services each Sunday.

Ere they reached the place where they were to deliver their precious
cargoes, the river passed through many miles of the plague-stricken
country.  They could see on the shores the deserted wigwams, in which
all the inmates had fallen victims to the fell destroyer, or had, panic-
stricken, fled away.

Very long seemed that summer, and great indeed was our solicitude, and
many were our prayers for these noble men, from whom we did not hear a
single word during the whole time of their absence.  After being away
for about ten weeks, they came back amidst a doxology of thanksgiving
and gratitude.  All of them were happy and in vigorous health, with the
exception of the guide.  The strain and anxiety upon him had been too
much, and he was never the same man after.  The others said, "Samuel
seemed to be everywhere, and to watch every movement with almost
sleepless vigilance."  Realising how great the responsibilities were
upon him, he determined, if untiring devotion to his work would enable
him to rescue those suffering whites, and then return with his large
brigade uncontaminated by the disease, it should be done.

He succeeded, but at the price of his own life, for he only came home to
linger a while and then to die.  His indomitable will-power kept him up
until he saw the last boat safely moored in our quiet harbour, and
witnessed the loving greetings between his stalwart crews and their
happy families.  He joined with us all in the blessed thanksgiving
service in our overflowing sanctuary, where with glad hearts we sang
together:

  "And are we yet alive,
  And see each other's face?
  Glory and praise to Jesus give
  For His redeeming grace:
  Preserved by power Divine
  To full salvation here,
  Again in Jesu's praise we join,
  And in His sight appear."

Then he began to droop and wither, and in spite of all that we, or the
kind Hudson's Bay officials, who were very much attached to him, could
do for him, he seemed almost visibly to slip away from us.

By-and-by the end drew near.  It was a beautiful day, and as he had some
difficulty in breathing, at his own request a wigwam was prepared, and
he was well wrapped up and gently lifted out of his house and placed
upon a bed of balsam boughs covered with robes.  He seemed grateful for
the change, and appeared a little easier for a time.  We talked of
Jesus, and heaven, and "the abundant entrance," and "the exceeding great
and precious promises."  Then he dropped off in a quiet slumber.  Soon
after, he awoke with a consciousness that the time of his departure had
come, and laid himself out to die.  Bending over him, I said, "Samuel,
this is death that has come for you!  Tell me how it is with you."  His
hearing had partly left him, and so he did not understand me.  Speaking
more loudly I said, "Samuel, my brother, you are in the Valley of the
Shadow of Death; how is it with you?"

His eye brightened, and his look told me he had understood my question.
He lifted up his thin, emaciated arm, and, seeming to clasp hold of
something, he said, "Missionary, I am holding on to God; He is my all of
joy and hope and happiness."  Then the arm fell nerveless, and my
triumphant Indian brother was in the Better Land.

Perhaps I cannot find a better place than here to refer to Samuel's
widow and children, and an interview I had with them.

They moved away, shortly after his death, from his house in the Mission
village, and took up their abode with several other families up the
river beyond the Fort, several miles from the village.  We had visited
them and substantially aided them up to the time of their moving away,
but for a while I had not met them, except at the services, and so did
not know how they were prospering.  When the cold winter set in, I
arranged with my good Brother Semmens that we would take our dog-trains
and go and make pastoral visits among all the Indian families on the
outskirts, and find out how they were prospering, temporally and
spiritually.  It was ever a great joy to them when we visited them, and
by our inquiries about their fishing and hunting, and other simple
affairs, showed we were interested in these things, and rejoiced with
them when they could tell of success, and sympathised with them when
they had met with loss or disaster.  Then they listened reverently when
we read from the blessed Word, and prayed with them in their humble
homes.

One bitterly cold day towards evening we drove up to a very poor little
house.  We knocked at the door, and in answer to a cheery "Astum,"--the
Indian for "Come in,"--we entered the little abode.  Our hearts sank
within us at the evidences of the poverty of the inmates.  The little
building was made of poplar logs, the interstices of which were filled
up with moss and clay.  The floor was of the native earth, and there was
not a piece of furniture in the abode, not a table, chair, or bedstead.
In one corner of the room was an earthen fireplace, and, huddled around
a poor fire in it, there sat a widow with a large family of children,
one of whom was a cripple.

We said a few words of kindly greeting to the family, and then, looking
round on the destitute home, I said sorrowfully, "Nancy, you seem to be
very poor; you don't seem to have anything to make you happy and
comfortable."  Very quickly came the response,--and it was in a very
much more cheery strain than my words had been,--

"I have not got much, but I am not unhappy, Missionary."

"You poor creature," I replied, "you don't seem to have anything to make
you comfortable."

"I have but little," she said quietly.

"Have you any venison?"

"No!"

"Have you any flour?"

"No!"

"Have you any tea?"

"Have you any potatoes?"

When this last question of mine was uttered, the poor woman looked up at
me, for she was the widow of Samuel Papanekis, and this was her answer:
"I have no potatoes, for, don't you remember, at the time of potato
planting Samuel took charge of the brigade that went up with provisions
to save the poor white people?  And Samuel is not here to shoot deer,
that I may have venison; and Samuel is not here to catch mink and marten
and beaver and other things to exchange for flour and tea."

"What have you got, poor woman?"  I said with my heart full of sorrow.

She replied, "I have got a couple of fish-nets."

"What did you do when it was too stormy to visit the nets?"

"Sometimes some of the men from the other houses visited them for me,
and would bring me the fish.  Then we sometimes get some by fishing
through the ice."

"What about when it was too stormy for any one to go?"

She quietly said, "If nothing were left, we go without anything."

As I looked at her and her large family of fatherless children, and then
thought of her husband's triumphant death, and his glorious transfer to
that blest abode, where "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any
more," and where "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes," the
contrast between the husband and father in his felicity, and the sorrow
of the widow and children in their poverty, so affected me that, to hide
my emotion and keep back my tears, I hurried out of the room, following
my loving Brother Semmens, who was, if possible, more deeply moved than
I was.  We had gone into that house to pray, but we could not.  There
must be tangible sympathy given ere we could look to a higher source.

My brother had reached the cariole, which was a few yards away, and I
was not far behind, when the word, "Ayumeaookemou," ("Praying master,")
arrested my hurrying steps.  I turned back, and there, just outside of
the door, was Nancy.  With a woman's quick intuition to read the
feelings of the heart from the face and voice, she had followed me out,
and her words, as nearly as I can recall them, were these:

"Missionary, I do not want you to feel so badly for me; it is true I am
very poor; it is true, since Samuel died, we have often been hungry and
have often suffered from the bitter cold; but, Missionary," and her face
had no trace of sorrow upon it, "you have heard me say that as Samuel
gave his heart to God, so have I given God my heart, and He Who
comforted Samuel and helped him, so that he died so happily, is my
Saviour; and where Samuel has gone, by-and-by I am going too; and that
thought makes me happy all the day long."

There came a blessed exultation into my soul, but I could find no answer
then.  So I hurried on and joined my weeping brother, and shouting,
"Marchez!" to our dogs, we were soon rapidly speeding over the icy trail
to our Mission home.

That night our bed was a blanket thinner, and on our limited supplies
there was a heavy drain.  I told the Indians who were better off about
her straitened condition, and she and hers were made more comfortable.
Many of them gave very generously indeed to help her.  The grace of
liberality abounds largely among these poor Christian Indians, and they
will give to the necessities of those who are poorer than themselves
until it seems at times as though they had about reached the same level.

The triumphant death of Samuel, and then Nancy's brave words, very much
encouraged us in our work.  We could not but more than rejoice at the
Gospel's power, still so consciously manifested to save in the Valley of
the Shadow of Death, and also to make a humble log-cabin a little heaven
below.  We pitied her in her poverty, and yet soon after, when we had
thought it all over in the light of eternity, we could only rejoice with
her, and in our spirits say, "Happy woman!  Better live in a log hut
without a chair or table or bedstead, without flour or tea or potatoes,
entirely dependent upon the nets in the lake for food, if the Lord Jesus
is a constant Guest, than in a mansion of a millionaire, surrounded by
every luxury, but destitute of His presence."

It is a matter of great thankfulness that not only spiritually but
temporally thousands of the Indians in different parts of Canada are
improving grandly.  The accompanying picture (page 209) is from a
photograph taken at the Scugog Lake Indian Mission.  The fine barn, well
filled with wheat, as well as all the surrounding vehicles and
agricultural implements, belong to one of the Christian Indians.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

A RACE FOR LIFE IN A BLIZZARD STORM--SAVED BY THE MARVELLOUS
INTELLIGENCE OF JACK--"WHERE IS THE OLD MAN, WHOSE HEAD WAS LIKE THE
SNOW-DRIFT?"

Blizzard storms sometimes assailed us, as on the long winter trails,
with our gallant dogs and faithful companions, we wandered over those
regions of magnificent distances.

To persons who have not actually made the acquaintance of the blizzard
storms of the North-Western Territories, or Wild North Land, it is
almost impossible to give a satisfactory description.  One peculiarity
about them, causing them to differ from other storms, is that the wind
seems to be ever coming in little whirls or eddies, which keep the air
full of snow, and make it almost impossible to tell the direction from
which the wind really comes.  With it apparently striking you in the
face, you turn your back to it, and are amazed at finding that it still
faces you.  Once, when on Lake Winnipeg, we saw one coming down upon us.
Its appearance was that of a dense fog blowing in from the sea.  Very
few indeed are they who can steer their course correctly in a blizzard
storm.  Most people, when so unfortunate as to be caught in one, soon
get bewildered, and almost blinded by the fine, dry, hard particles of
snow which so pitilessly beat upon them, filling eyes, nose, and even
ears and mouth, if at all exposed.

Once, when crossing Lake Winnipeg, to visit some wild Indians, whom we
found on our arrival in the midst of the hideous ceremonies of a dog
feast, I got caught in a terrible storm.  My men had gone on ahead with
all the dogs, to have dinner ready in the camp on the distant shore,
leaving me miles behind, tramping along on snow-shoes.  Down from the
north, with terrific fury, came the gale.  I tramped on as rapidly as
possible, until I got bewildered.  Then I took off one of my snow-shoes,
and, fastening it in a hole cut in the ice, I got ready to tramp in a
small circle around it to keep from freezing to death, when fortunately
I heard the welcome whooping of my Indians, who, seeing my danger, had
quickly turned round, and risking their own lives for mine, for they
could have reached the woods and shelter, aided by the dogs, had
fortunately reached me.  There we stopped for hours, until the blizzard
had spent its fury, and then on we went.

I had a remarkable experience in a blizzard, which I will more fully
describe, as our escape was under Providence so much indebted to my
wonderful dog Jack.

I had started on one of my long winter trips to visit the few little
bands of Indians who were struggling for an existence on the Eastern
coast of Lake Winnipeg, and who were always glad to welcome the
Missionary, and to hear from him of the love of the Great Spirit, and of
His Son Jesus Christ.  Their country is very wild and rough, very
different from the beautiful prairie regions of the North-West.  To keep
down expenses, which in those Northern Missions are very heavy, I had
started out on this long trip with only this young Indian lad as my
companion.  But as he was good and true, I thought we could succeed,
since I had been several years in the country, and had faced many a
wintry storm, and slept many nights in the snow.

We had with us two splendid trains of dogs.  My leader was a lively,
cunning Esquimaux dog, as white as snow.  His name was Koona, which is
the Indian word for "snow"; and he was well named.  The other three dogs
of my train were my favourites from Ontario.  Two of them were gifts
from Senator Sanford, of Hamilton; the other was kindly sent to me by
Dr Mark, of Ottawa.  The other train, driven by Alec, was composed of
some sagacious St. Bernards obtained for me by the kindness of Mr
Ferrier, of Montreal.  The largest and most enduring of the eight was
Jack from Hamilton, whose place was second in my train, and who is to be
the hero of this adventure.

We had left our camp-fire in the woods early in the morning, and,
turning our faces towards the north, had hoped that ere the shadows of
night had fallen around us, at least sixty miles of the frozen surface
of Lake Winnipeg would have been travelled over.  For a time we were
able to push on very rapidly, keeping the distant points of headlands
well in view for our guidance.  Lake Winnipeg is very much indented with
bays, and in travelling we do not follow the coast line, but strike
directly across these bays from point to point.  Some of them run back
for many miles into the land, and several of them are from ten to thirty
miles wide.  The dogs get so accustomed to these long trips and to their
work, that they require no guide to run on ahead, but will, with
wonderful intelligence, push on from point to point with great
exactness.

On and on we had travelled for hours; the cold was very great, but we
could easily jump off from our dog-sleds and run until we felt the glow
and warmth of such vigorous exercise.  After a while, we noticed that
the strong wind which had arisen was filling the air with fine dry snow,
and making travelling very difficult and unpleasant.  Soon it increased
to a gale, and we found ourselves in a real North-West blizzard on
stormy Lake Winnipeg, many miles from shore.

Perhaps our wisest plan would have been, at the commencement of the
storm, to have turned sharply to the east, and got into the shelter of
the forest as quickly as possible.  But the bay we were crossing was a
very deep one, and the headland before us seemed as near as the other
end of the bay; and so we thought it best to run the risk and push on.
That we might not get separated from each other, I fastened what we call
the tail rope of my sled to the collar of the head dog of Alec's train.

After Alec and I had travelled on for several hours, no sign of any land
appearing, we began to think that the fickle blizzard was playing us one
of its tricks, and that we had wandered far out into the lake.  We
stopped our dogs out there in the blinding, bewildering storm.

"Alec!"  I shouted, "I am afraid we are lost."

"Yes, Missionary," he replied, "we are surely lost."

We talked about our position, and both had to confess that we did not
really know where we were or which way we ought to go.

The result of our deliberation was that we could do no better than trust
in the good Providence above us, and in our dogs before us.

As it was now after midday, and the vigorous exercise of the last few
hours had made us very hungry, we opened our provision bag, and, taking
out some frozen food, made a fairly good attempt to satisfy the keen
demands of appetite.  We missed very much the good cup of hot black tea
we should have had if we had been fortunate enough to reach the shore,
and find some wood with which to make a fire.

After our hasty meal we held a short consultation, in which the fact
became more and more evident to us, that our position was a very
perilous one, as we were becoming blinded by the driving particles of
fine snow that stung our eyeballs and added much to our bewilderment.
We found that we did not know east from west, or north from south, and
would have to leave the dogs to decide on their own course, and let them
go in any direction they pleased.

I had a good deal of confidence in my dogs, as I had proved their
sagacity.  To Jack, the noblest of them all, I looked to lead us out of
our difficulty; and he did not disappoint our expectations.  I suppose I
acted and talked to my dog in a way that some folks would have
considered very foolish.  When travelling regularly, the dogs are only
fed once a day, and that when the day's work is done.  However, it was
different that day, as in the blinding gale Alec and I tried to eat our
dinner.  As Jack and the others crowded around us, they were not
neglected, and with them we shared the food we had, as there was a great
uncertainty whether another meal would ever be required by any one of
us.

As usual in such emergencies, Jack had come up close to me, and so,
while he and Alec and I, and the rest of us, men and dogs, were eating
our dinners, I had a talk with him.

"Jack, my noble fellow," I said, "do you know that we are lost, and that
it is very doubtful whether we shall ever see the Mission House again?
The prospect is that the snow will soon be our winding sheet, and that
loving eyes will look in vain for our return.  The chances are against
your ever having the opportunity of stretching yourself out on the wolf
rug before the study fire.  Rouse up yourself, old dog, for in your
intelligence we are going to trust to lead us to a place of safety."

The few arrangements necessary for the race were soon made.  Alec
wrapped himself up as comfortably as possible in his rabbit-skin robe,
and I helped him to ensconce himself securely on his dog-sled.  I tied a
rope from the end of my sled to the collar of his leader dog, so that
our trains might not get separated.  Then I straightened out the trains,
and, wrapping myself up as well as I could on my sled, I shouted
"Marchez!" to the dogs.

I had as leader dog the intelligent white Esquimaux, "Koona."  As I
shouted the word for "Go," Koona turned his head and looked at me, as
though bewildered, and seemed to be waiting for "Chaw" or "Yee," the
words for "right" and "left."  As I did not know myself, I shouted to
Jack, who was second in the train, "Go on, Jack, whichever way you like,
and do the best you can, for I do not know anything about it."  As Koona
still hesitated, Jack, with all the confidence imaginable, dashed off in
a certain direction, and Koona with slackened traces ran beside him,
very willing in such an emergency to give him all the honour of
leadership.

For hours the dogs kept bravely to their work.  The storm raged and
howled around us, but not for one moment did Jack hesitate or seem to be
at fault.  Koona had nothing to do but run beside him; but the other two
splendid dogs in the traces behind Jack seemed to catch his spirit, and
nobly aided him by their untiring efforts and courage.  The cold was so
intense that I had grave fears that we should freeze to death.  We were
obliged so to wrap ourselves up that it was impossible with so much on
us to run with any comfort, or to keep up with the dogs whilst going at
such a rapid rate.  Frequently would I shout back to my comrade, "Alec!
don't go to sleep.  Alec, if you do, you may never wake up until the
Judgment morning."  Back would come his response, "All right, sir; then
I'll try to keep awake."

Thus on we travelled through that wintry storm.  How cold, how
relentless, how bitter were the continuous blasts of the north wind!
After a while the shadows of night fell upon us, and we were enshrouded
in the darkness.  Not a pleasant position was that in which we were
situated; but there was no help for it, nor any use in giving way to
despondency or despair.  A sweet peace filled my soul, and in a blessed
restfulness of spirit my heart was kept stayed upon God.  While there is
life there is hope; and so, with an occasional shout of warning to Alec
to keep awake, and a cheering call to the dogs, who required no special
urging, so gallantly were they doing their work, we patiently hung on to
our sleds and awaited the result.  We were now in the gloom of night,
dashing along I knew not where, and not even able at times to see the
dogs before us.

About three hours after dark the dogs quickened their pace into a
gallop, and showed by their excitement that they had detected evidences
of nearness to the shore and safety, of which as yet I knew nothing.
Soon after they dragged us over a large pile of broken ice and snow, the
accumulations of ice cut out of the holes in the lake, where the Indian
families had for months obtained their supply of water for cooking and
other purposes.  Turning sharply on the trail towards the shore, our
dogs dashed along for a couple of hundred yards more; then they dragged
us up a steep bank into the forest, and, after a few minutes more of
rapid travelling, we found ourselves in the midst of a little collection
of wigwams, and among a band of friendly Indians, who gave us a cordial
welcome, and rejoiced with us at our escape from the storm, which was
the severest of the year.

We had three days of religious services with them, and then went on our
way from encampment to encampment.  Very glad were the poor people to
see us, and with avidity did they receive the word preached.

I felt that it was very slow work.  My Circuit or Mission-field was
larger than all England.  I was the only Missionary of any Church in
this large field.  By canoe or dog-train I could only get around to all
my appointments or out-stations twice a year.  Six months the poor souls
had to wait for the messenger and the message.

At one of these Indian encampments on one of these visits I had the
following sad experience.  Before I closed the first service I asked,
"Where is the old man whose head was like the snow-drift?" for I had
missed a white-haired old man, who had ever been at all the services,
and had from the time of his conversion manifested the greatest anxiety
to hear and learn all he could about this great salvation.  At first he
had opposed me, and was annoyed at my coming among his people.
Ultimately, however, he became convinced of the error of his ways, and
was an earnest, decided Christian.  When I arrived at his village,
whether by canoe in summer, or dog-train in winter, I was always
received by this venerable old man with great delight.  Not satisfied
with attending all the services held, and being at hand whenever I
taught the Syllabic Characters, that the Indians might be able to read
the blessed Word, he used to follow me like my shadow, and listen very
attentively to all I had to say.  It was rather startling, indeed, when
one night, after a hard day of preaching and teaching and counselling, I
kneeled down to pray, ere I wrapped myself up in my camp-bed to get a
little rest, to hear whispered in quiet tones beside me, "Missionary,
pray in Indian, and so loud that I can hear you."  In the morning he was
there again, and as I bowed to say my quiet morning prayers there came
into my ears from this old man the pleading words again, "Missionary,
please pray in Indian, and pray out loud, so that I may hear what you
say."

Is it any wonder that I became very much attached to my old friend with
the snow-white hair, who was so hungering and thirsting for the
teachings of the Word?  Only twice a year could I then visit him and his
people.  I used to remain a few days at each of these visits, and very
busy ones indeed they were.  For six months these poor sheep in the
wilderness had been without the Gospel, and as soon as I left they would
have to get along as well as they could on what they had heard.  Now
that they had, under the good Spirit's influence, a longing desire to
receive the truth, can any one wonder at their anxiety to learn all they
could from the Missionary during his short stay among them?  This
intense desire on their part filled my heart with thankfulness, and
amply compensated for all the sufferings and hardships of the long,
cold, dangerous journeys.

On my arrival at this place, as usual, the Indians had crowded around to
welcome me.  I was disappointed at not seeing my old friend.  So it was
that at our first meeting, held as soon as possible after my arrival, I
asked the question, "Where is the old man whose head was like the snow-
drift?"

To my question there was no response, but every head was bowed as in
grief and sorrow.

Again I asked: "Tell me, what have you done with the old man with the
snow-white hair?"

Then there was a little whispering among them, and one of them, speaking
out softly, said in the Cree language, "Non pimmatissit;" the English of
which is, "He is not among the living."

The poor Indians, who have not as yet come to understand that death is a
conquered foe, never like to use the word; and so, when speaking of
those who have gone, they say they are "not among the living."

When in this expressive way I learned that my old friend was dead, my
heart was filled with sorrow, as I saw also were theirs.  After a little
pause I said, "Tell me how he died."

At first there was a great deal of reluctance to answer this question;
but when they saw I was not only anxious but resolved to know all about
it, they took me into a wigwam where most of his relatives were, and
there a young man, a grandson, got up and told me this pathetic story.

He said: "Missionary, you had not been long gone with your canoe last
summer before Mismis," (the Indian word for "grandfather"), "got very
sick, and after some weeks he seemed to know that he was going to leave
us.  So he called us all around him, and said a great many things to us.
I cannot remember them all, as he spoke many times; but I do remember
that he said, `how I wish the Missionary would soon come again to talk
to me and comfort me!  But he is far away, and my memory is bad, and I
have forgotten what he used to say to me.  My body is breaking up, and
so also is my memory getting bad.  Tell him his coming was like the
sunlight on the waters; but it was so seldom that he came that all in my
mind has got so dark, and my memory is so bad, that I have forgotten all
he used to say to me.  The good things he used to tell us about the Good
Spirit and His Son, and what we ought to do, have slipped away from me.
O that he were here to help me!  Tell him, as long as I was able; I used
to go up to the point of land that runs out into the lake, and watch if
I could see his canoe returning.  But it came not.  Tell him I have,
since the winter set in, listened for the sound of the bells on his dog-
trains.  But I have not heard them.  O that he were here to help me!  He
is far away; so get me my old drum and medicine bag, and let me die as
did my fathers.  But you, young people, with good memories, who can
remember all the Missionary has said to you, listen to his words, and
worship the Great Spirit and His Son, as he tells you, and do not do as
I am doing!'

"Then, as we saw his mind was weak, or he would not have asked for his
old things, we got him the old drum, and put it before him where he was
sitting upon the ground.  We also hung up a medicine bag before him in
the wigwam, and he drummed.  As he drummed he fell, and as he fell he
died.  But his last words were to the young people with good memories to
be sure and listen to the Missionary, and to give up all their old
Indian sinful paganism."

When the young man ceased and sat down again, a deep silence fell upon
us all, as there we were huddled that cold, stormy day in that little
bark tent.  An occasional sob from some sorrowing relative was the only
sound heard for several minutes.

My own heart was deeply affected when they told me these and other
things, which I cannot now call up, about the old Indian's death.  After
a while I broke the silence by saying, "Where have you buried him?"

They showed me the place.  It was where his wigwam had stood.  So
terrible is the power of the Frost King in that land in winter, that to
dig a grave out in the open places is like cutting through a granite
rock.  And so in his tent, where burned his fire, thus keeping the
ground unfrozen, there they dug his grave and buried him.  The wigwam
was removed, and soon the fierce storms swept over the place, and the
snow fell deeply upon it, and there was nothing to indicate that there,
so shortly before, had been a human habitation.

When they had pointed out the place where, underneath the snow-drift,
rested all that was mortal of my old friend, I lingered until the
Indians had sought the shelter of their wigwams from the bitter cold,
and then all alone, except with Him Who hears His people's cry, I knelt
down in the snow and prayed, or tried to pray.  But I could only weep
out my sorrow as I thought of this old man's precious soul passing into
eternity under such strange circumstances.  With his waning strength he
exhorted his loved ones to be Christians, and yet he himself was
performing some of the foolish and unmeaning rites of paganism, not
because he had much faith in them, but because there was no Missionary
or teacher to keep in his memory the story of Jesus and His wondrous
love!

Never before did the wants and woes of the weary, waiting, wailing
millions of earth's perishing ones rise up so vividly as I knelt there
in the snow.  Before me, through my blinding tears, I seemed to see them
pass in dense array,--a dark world, to be illumined; an enslaved world,
to be set free; a sinful world, to be made holy; a redeemed world, to be
saved.

In a spirit that perhaps savoured too much of unbelief I cried out, "How
long, O Lord, how long?  Why do Thy chariot wheels delay?"

Saving me from further gloom, came some of the sweet promises of the
Word: and so I prayed for their speedy fulfilment.  Earnestly did my
feeble petitions ascend, that the time would soon come when not only all
the poor Indians of the great North-West, but also all the unnumbered
millions of earth's inhabitants who are going down from the darkness of
paganism and superstition to the darkness of the grave, might soon have
faithful teachers to whisper in their ears the story of the Cross, and
point them to the world's Redeemer.

Making all the visits we had arranged for that trip, we returned home.
Months after, when the packet arrived from Manitoba, the sad news, that
had so filled the Church with sorrow, of the death of the heroic George
McDougall reached us.  Out on the wild prairies he had been caught in a
blizzard storm.  Horse and man seem to have become bewildered, and there
the noble Missionary to the Indians on the great plains laid himself
down to die, and his frozen body was not found until after fourteen days
of diligent search.  After my dear wife and I had read the story, and
talked and wept about his death, so sad, so mysterious, so inscrutable,
she said to me, "Where were you during that week?"  The journal was
searched, and we were not a little startled at finding that the race for
life we have in this chapter described was in all probability on the
same day as that on which the Reverend George McDougall perished.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

WORK OUTSIDE THE PULPIT--POLYGAMY AND ITS EVILS--FAMILY RE-
ARRANGEMENTS--DANGEROUS WORK AT TIMES--PRACTICAL PASTORAL DUTIES--A FISH
SERMON--FIVE MEN WON TO CHRIST.

While the blessed work of preaching "the glorious Gospel of the Son of
God" was ever recognised as the most important of our duties, and we
were permitted to rejoice that, as in Paul's time, still "it pleased God
by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe," yet there
was a great deal to be done outside of the pulpit ere these Indians
could shake off the fetters of a degrading paganism with its attendant
evils.

The slavish fear of the old conjurers deterred some from openly avowing
themselves as willing to accept the truths of Christianity.  Others were
polygamists, and were unwilling to comply with the Scriptural
requirements.  To have several wives is considered a great honour in
some of the tribes.  For a man to separate from all but one is to expose
himself to ridicule from his pagan friends, and also to the danger of
incurring the hostility of the relations of the discarded wives.  Some
of the most perplexing and trying duties of my missionary life have been
in connection with this matter of re-organising, on a Christian basis,
the families of once heathen polygamists, who, desirous to do what was
right, have left the matter entirely in my hands.  At first my
convictions and views were that the first wife should always be the one
to remain with the man, and the others should go away.  Like all the
other Missionaries in the country, I had to modify these ideas, and
decide differently in some peculiar cases.

For example, a man came to me who was much impressed by the truth, and
desired to be a Christian.  I questioned him closely, and found him very
sincere and earnest in his resolves.  The Spirit was undoubtedly working
in his heart and conscience.  He told us he had two wives, but was
willing to put one away.  Which one should go, he said he would leave to
the Missionary to decide.  His first wife was much the older woman, but
she had no children, while the younger wife had quite a family of little
ones around her.  So poor are they in this cold northern land that it is
hard for the best of them at times to get along.  Very sad is the
condition of the widow, or those women who have no able-bodied men as
husbands, fathers, or sons, to hunt and work for them.  Worse still is
it if they have helpless little children to be cared for.  So the
decision we came to was, that the wife with the family of little ones
should remain with the man, and the one who had no children should leave
him.

We tried to arrange that a certain quantity of help should be rendered
to the wife, or wives, put away by the husband.  But we found that there
was a certain amount of danger in this, the nature of which will be
evident to the reader; and so, while we insisted on the one or more who
left receiving as large a share as possible of the man's "worldly
goods," we endeavoured to make the separation complete and final.  To
help those who for conscience sake thus acted was often a very heavy tax
upon our limited means.

Often the women themselves were the first to insist on a change from the
old polygamous style, which, they were quick to see very soon after the
Gospel was proclaimed to them, was antagonistic to its teachings.

There was one most thrilling case that moved our hearts, and yet caused
us to rejoice, for it showed us the depth of the religious convictions
which impelled them to have the matter set right, even though one must
be cast out and exposed to the ridicule of her heathen friends, and to
the loss of a fairly good-natured husband, considering his pagan
surroundings.

Two women came to our Mission House, and asked to have a talk with my
good wife and myself.  After talking about different things, at length
they told us, with much trepidation, that they had attended our
services, and had a great desire in their hearts to become Christians.
We found they were the two wives of an Indian whose wigwam had been
pitched in our vicinity a few weeks before.  These women and others had
quietly come to our services at the church, and their hearts and
consciences had been touched by the truth.

We had had some experiences on these lines, and so with entire strangers
we had learned to be a little cautious.  In that country, as well as in
civilised lands, it is sometimes a dangerous matter to interfere in the
domestic affairs of other people.  So we questioned them closely, and
found that they were resolved to have the matter settled.  I asked them
if they had spoken to their husband about it, and they answered in the
affirmative; also that he had left it to them to settle which should go,
as he likewise had begun to think they ought to live as the Christian
Indians did.  We asked them what they wanted us to do, and they said
that they had decided that they would leave the matter to the Missionary
and his wife, and whichever we thought ought to leave, would go away,
and try to get her own living.

They returned to their wigwam, and with the consent of their husband
made an equal division of the few things which constituted their
possessions, such as nets, traps, blankets, kettles, and axes.  Then,
accompanied by their children, they came again to our house, and sat
down apart from each other, and patiently awaited our decision.  My wife
and I deeply felt the responsibility of deciding; yet, as it had come to
us because of the awakening of their hearts to desire a better life, we
could not do otherwise than accept the situation, and do the best we
could.

We had talked the matter over, and had asked Divine guidance; and so
now, when summoned to give our decision, we quickly but kindly said to
the woman with five children, "You are to stay with your husband;" and
to the other woman, who had four children, we said, "You are not to
return to the wigwam, but must be from this hour as an entire stranger
to it."

The first woman sprang up, her eyes flashing with joy, and gathering her
children and property around her she uttered her hasty words of
farewell, and was gone.  For a few moments the other woman, who had
drawn her blanket over her head, remained perfectly still, with the
exception of a suppressed sob, which seemed to make the whole body
quiver.  Soon, with that wonderful will-power which these Indian women,
as well as the men, possess, she appeared to have obtained the mastery
over herself again, and, uncovering her head, she began to make
preparations for leaving.  As she turned her large black eyes dimmed
with tears towards us, while there was no malice in them, there was a
despairing sorrow that pierced us like a knife.  She seemed to see the
lonely, neglected, contemned, suffering life before her; but she had
counted the cost, and had taken the step for conscience' sake, and she
would not flinch now.  We entered into conversation with her, and it
seemed almost cruel that we, who had given a decision that had shut up
against her the only home she had, should begin to talk to her about
where she would go and what she would do.

She told us she did not know where to go or what to do.  Her husband had
bought her from her father, but he was dead; and as her girlhood home
was far away, and she had not been there since her husband took her
away, she knew nothing about any of her relatives.  But even if she did,
and could find some of them, it was very likely they would treat her
with contempt, and perhaps persecute her.  So she had not the slightest
idea as to the future.

Need I write that our hearts were full of sorrow, and we saw that this
was a case which must have help, no matter how straitened might be our
financial circumstances!

We had but lately read the story of the little oil in the cruse, and the
handful of meal in the barrel; and so this woman and her children must
be helped.  While Mrs Young fed them and talked kindly to them, I went
out and got some of my Christian Indians together, and we talked the
matter over, and then took off our coats and went to work, and made her
a wigwam for the present, as it was in the pleasant summer-time.  A
canoe was obtained for her, and her nets were set where white fish could
be caught readily.  She was an industrious woman, willing to do
everything she could; and so, with the help we gave her and the tangible
sympathy manifested by the Christian Indians, she took heart and got
along very well, and became a good Christian woman.

As the result of the looseness of the marriage tie in their old sinful
lives, we found many strange complicated tangles, some of which it was
impossible to straighten.  To deal with some of them would have caused
endless difficulty, without any possibility of improving matters.  To
refuse to interfere gave offence to some, who, I am afraid, were more
pharisaical than wise.  Here, for example, was one case.  A couple had
been married years ago.  After living together for several years and
having three children, the man went off to Red River as a boatman for
the Hudson's Bay Company.  Delayed there for a time, he married a wife
in the Indian settlement, and made that place his home, only returning
with his second family about the time I went there.  His first wife, a
year or two after he left, not hearing from him, married another man,
who supposed she was a widow, and they had several bright, interesting
children.  As the result of the faithful preaching of the Word, these
families were converted, and became good Christians.  They felt keenly
their position, but, after pondering it over and listening to many
solutions, I gave it up; and as the two families were living happily, I
left them as I had found them.  Paganism, not Christianity, was
responsible for the difficulty.

At Nelson River I was accosted one day by an old man, who said he had
listened carefully to what I had said, and wanted to become a Christian
and be baptised.  I was very much pleased with his talk, but, suspecting
him to be a polygamist, I asked him as to the number of his wives.  His
answer was that he had four.  I had a long conversation with him as to
our views, and explained to him the teachings of God's Word, and
candidly told him that I could not baptize him until he put three of
them away.

He seemed grieved at my decision, and said that he did want to be a
Christian, but he and his wives were getting old, and they had got along
fairly well; and now if he went and told them what he would have to do,
he was afraid there would be trouble.  As I saw the man was really in
earnest, and it was evident that the good Spirit was working upon his
heart, I encouraged him to make the effort, and I told him everything
would work out all right.

He went to his large tent, and, getting his large family around him,--
for three of these wives had stalwart sons,--he told them of his desire
to become a Christian, and what he would have to do before the
Missionary would consent to baptize him.  At once there was a "row."
The women began to wail, and the sons, who generally treated their
mothers with neglect and indifference, now declared, with a good deal of
emphasis, that their mothers should not be sent away, and thus degraded
in the eyes of the people.  From what I afterwards learned, there must
have been a rough time.

At length one of the sons spoke up and said, "Who is causing us all this
trouble?"

The answer was, "Why, it is the Missionary, whom we have all heard, and
who refuses to baptize our father unless he puts away all of his wives
but one."

"Let us go for that Missionary," said several of them, and seizing their
arms, they came for me.

Fortunately for me I was outside of the trading post on the green, and
saw them coming, and, not liking their suspicious movements, and
imagining the cause, I speedily decided on my course of action.  Calling
one of my reliable Christian Indians, I went quickly towards them, and,
ignoring their angry looks, I began talking to them as though we were
the best of friends.  Something like the following were my words to
them:--

"Men, you have heard me talk to you out of the great Book.  You have
listened attentively.  You are thinking about what I have said to you.
I wish we could do something, or find out some way, by which you and
your mothers and father could all resolve together to give up the old
bad life, and accept the new one, and become Christians together.  I
have been thinking it over since I had a little talk with your father,
and I have a plan that I think will work well."

While I went on in this way, they listened attentively; and when I came
to mention a plan by which the difficulty could be overcome, the wicked
looks began to fade from their eyes, for they were not anxious to kill
me if any other solution of the difficulty could be found.

They were eager to know what I had to suggest, and listened very
attentively when I told them it would not be humiliating to any one.  I
told them I was pleased to find some young men who were willing to stand
up for their mothers, while the great majority treated them worse than
they did their dogs.  My suggestion was, that the sons of each mother
should form a wigwam of their own, and take their own mother with them
and care for her.  They were good hunters and strong men, and could do
well.  Then I added, "Let your father remain with the wife who has no
children, no strong sons or daughters.  Do this, and the Great Spirit
will be pleased, and when you are further instructed there will be
nothing to prevent you all being baptized and becoming Christians
together."

They were much pleased with the suggestion, and went away to talk it
over.  I did not succeed in getting the scheme immediately carried out,
but my successor, the devoted and heroic Reverend John Semmens, was so
successful in following up the work thus begun, that these Indians, with
many scores of others, have become sincere, consistent Christians.

Various were the plans adopted by my zealous, devoted wife and myself to
help the people up to a better and happier life.  In their old ways
there were but few efforts made by the women to keep their homes neat
and tidy, and their children or themselves clean.  They had no
encouragements to do anything of the kind.  Kicked and cuffed and
despised, there was left in them no ambition to do anything more than
would save them from the rough treatment of those who considered
themselves their lords and masters.  The result was, when they became
Christians, there was a great deal to learn ere their simple little
homes could be kept decently, and in order.  Fortunately, with a great
many of them there was a desire to learn.  A novel plan that we adopted,
as one among many that did much good, was occasionally to go and dine
with some of them.  Our method was something like this.  On the Sabbath
from the pulpit I would announce that on Monday, if all was well, Mrs
Young and I would dine with such a family, mentioning the name.  On
Tuesday we would dine with some one else, and on Wednesday with some
other family, and so on for the week.  This was, of course, the first
intimation any of these families had received that, without waiting for
an invitation, the Missionary and his wife were coming to dine with
them.

After service they waited to ask us if they could believe their own
ears.

"Yes, certainly," I replied.

"Why, we have nothing to set before you but fish," they would say.

"Never mind if you have but little; we will see to the food.  All we are
anxious for you to do is to have your little house as clean as you can
possibly make it, and yourselves and children as clean and nice as
possible."

In this way we would talk to the half-frightened women, who were at
first really alarmed at the prospect of having to entertain us; however,
our words comforted them, and they went off delighted.

Our plan was generally as follows.  I would start off after breakfast
and make several pastoral visits, or attend to some other matters, and
so arrange my forenoon work that I should be able to reach the Indian
home, where that day we had announced to dine, about noon.  Mrs Young
would have her own train of dogs harnessed up about ten o'clock.  In her
cariole she would put dishes, tablecloth, and provisions, with
everything else requisite for a comfortable dinner considering our
limited circumstances.  A faithful young Indian acted as her dog-driver,
and soon she and her load were at the home of the expectant family, who
were all excitement at the coming of the Missionary and his wife.

Very clean and tidy looked the little house and family.  The floor had
been scrubbed and rubbed until it could not be made whiter, and
everything else was similarly polished up.  As but very few of the
houses had tables in those days, the floor was ever used as the
substitute.  On it the tablecloth was spread, and the dishes and knives
and forks were arranged in order, and the dinner prepared.  If the
family had fish and potatoes, some of them would be cooked; but if not,
sufficient was always taken in the cariole.  We ever found it best to
let them contribute to the dinner if they had abundance of either fish
or potatoes.

About the time I arrived dinner would be ready, and after cheering words
of greeting to all, even to the fat papoose in the board cradle, we sat
down, picnic style, on the floor to dinner.  It would be called in
civilised lands a plain dinner, and so it was; yet it was a feast to
them, a banquet to us.  Cheery conversation added to our enjoyment, and
a very happy hour was thus spent.  Then the Bible and hymn-books were
brought out, and together we sang and read and talked about the blessed
truths of that glorious Book.  Then together we kneeled down, and "by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving" made our requests known to
God; and to us came the sweet fulfilment, "the peace of God, which
passeth all understanding," filled our hearts.

I generally hurried off to other duties.  Mrs Young directed in the
washing of the dishes and in putting them away, and then helped the
woman of the house in some things about which she was longing for
assistance.  Perhaps it was a dress to be cut out for herself, or some
garments fitted on some of the girls, or other similar things too
intricate or difficult for my obtuse mind to be able to grasp.

Thus from house to house we would go, and by our presence and cheery
words encourage them to become more industrious and tidy.  Those
families never forgot these visits.  With many of them there was a
marked change in their homes, and with many also there was a marked
improvement in their religious life.

Once, in preaching from the text, "Behold, I stand at the door, and
knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in," I
tried to describe the blessed Redeemer coming to our hearts and knocking
for admittance.  I told them, all He wanted was a welcome to come in.
As they made their little houses so clean, and gave the Missionary and
his wife such a welcome, so the Saviour asked us to drive all sin out,
and give Him all the place.

"Some of you said, `We cannot entertain the Missionary; we have no food,
so there will be no dinner.'  But the Missionary and his wife brought
abundance, and there was a good dinner.  Better far is it when Jesus
comes.  He spreads out the feast, and He invites us to sit down and
feast with Him.  O let Him in!"

Such talks as these, after practical illustrations, opened many hearts
to the Heavenly Guest.

So many and importunate had been the pleading calls for visits to
different places, to tell the wonderful story of the Great Spirit and
his Son, and to teach the people to read His Book, that one year my
canoe trip to Oxford House Mission had to be delayed until the summer
was nearly ended.  But my comrades were splendid fellows, and we started
off in good spirits, anticipating a successful visit; and we were not
disappointed.

We preached several times to the Indians, and baptized a large number of
children; some young couples were married, and we had a solemn and
blessed time when celebrating the dying of the Lord Jesus.  The
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is very much prized by the Indians, and
the greatest reverence is always manifested during the service.  The
fellowship meeting was a very good one, and some of the testimonies
given by the men and women, so happily rescued by the Gospel's power,
were of great interest.

When travelling, if the weather was good, we generally rose with the
first blush of morn, and so were often on the way by four o'clock.
Sometimes our route was across fine lakes, or along majestic rivers; and
then we were in narrow, sluggish streams, that were destitute of beauty
or interest.  One morning our way was down a large river, on the shores
of which the fog had settled, completely hiding us from land.  The early
morning air was invigorating, and so in unison we were plying our
paddles vigorously, and rapidly speeding along.  We had seen no signs of
human beings for days, and so were surprised and startled when several
reports of firearms in quick succession sounded sharp and clear through
the fog on our right.  Nothing was visible through the gloom, but we
quickly hove to, and turned our canoe in the direction from which the
_feu-de-joie_ had sounded.  As we approached the shore human forms began
to appear in ghostly outline, more and more distinct, until they
resolved themselves into a company of Indians, who were delighted to see
us, and had been on the look-out for days.  They had come sixty miles
from the interior, and had camped on that point jutting out into the
river, for the purpose of having a visit from us as we passed.

The fact that they detected us as we were passing was another evidence
of the marvellous education, in certain lines, of these Indians.  It was
very early in the morning; our canoe was some hundreds of yards from the
shore; a dense fog hid us completely from each other.  All the noise we
made was the dip of our paddles in the water.  Yet these wide-awake,
alert Indians heard that sound, and by the rapid firing of the guns drew
us to them.

We shared their hospitality, as they had abundance of game.  We had
service with them, married a young couple, baptized several children,
and had a pleasant time.  Then on we hurried, since the time of open
navigation was drawing to a close, and we did not wish to be caught in
the ice, and have to walk perhaps scores of miles with our bedding,
provisions, kettles, axes, and other things strapped on our backs.

We made the greater part of the return trip all right, had reached Harry
Lake early in the forenoon, and were rapidly paddling out of the river
which entered into it, when again we heard the report of guns.  So
anxious were we to get on that we hesitated about stopping.  It was now
later in the season than often in some other years.  Fierce storms had
raged, and the ice had formed on the lake and rivers.  We were dreading
these fierce fall storms, which come down very suddenly, and stir up
those northern lakes, so that in a very short time where all was calm
and still, great foam-crested waves go rushing madly by.

The lake before us, into which we had just entered and which was several
miles in diameter, was now as placid as a pond.

To cross it now, as in wondrous beauty it spread before us, would be but
a pleasure jaunt.  The poetry of motion is to be found in the Indian's
birch canoe, when the water is calm and the sky is clear.  Cold-hearted
prudence said, "Go on, and never mind those Indians' signals for you to
land."  Our better natures said, "They may be in need, and have good
reason for asking you to stop.  Perhaps you can do them good."  So we
turned the head of our canoe to the shore, and were soon alongside the
rock on which we saw them standing.  They were five hunters.  Without
getting out of the canoe, we asked why they had signalled to us to come
ashore.  Their answer was one we had often heard before.  They were
hungry, and wanted help.  Finding they had only been a few days away
from the Fort, where they had got supplies, I asked how it was that they
were so badly off.  Their reply was that they had unfortunately left
their powder, which they were carrying in a canvas bag, out on the rock
a few nights before.  While they slept the rain came down upon them and
ruined it, and so they could not shoot anything.  I quickly said to one
of my men, "How much food have we?"  He examined our limited supply, and
then said there was about one square meal.

We found these men were pagan Indians, whom I had met before, and had
talked with about becoming Christians; but all I could get from them was
the characteristic Indian shrug of the shoulders, and the words, "As our
fathers lived, so will we."  Our dinner was the last of a bear we had
shot a few days before.  While it was cooking the storm which we feared
began to gather, and ere our dinner was finished the lake looked very
different from what it was an hour before.  If we had not stopped, we
could have easily got across it.  As it was now, it would have been
madness to have ventured out upon it.  So we had to pull up our canoe,
and there, as contentedly as possible, wait for the storm to cease.  It
raged furiously all that day and the next.  The third day it began to
moderate.  What made it worse for us was the scarcity, or rather the
entire absence, of food.  We were unfortunately storm-bound in about the
worst part of that country for game.  It was so late in the season that
the ducks and geese had gone south, the beaver and musk-rats were in
their houses, and we could find nothing.  On some of our trips we
carried fishing-tackle, but this time we had nothing of the kind.
Fortunately we had some tea and sugar.

Without breakfast, dinner, or supper, we had to live on as best we
could.  Before we lay down to sleep there had to be a considerable
tightening of the belts, or there would be no sleep at all, so keen were
the gnawings of hunger.  I found it helpful to sleep to roll up my towel
as hard as possible, and then crowd it under my tight belt over the pit
of my stomach.  Nearly three days without food was no pleasant ordeal
even in missionary work.

We held several religious services, even though our congregation was a
small one.  We also found out that it was not at all helpful to piety to
try to worship on an empty stomach, and have been ever since in great
sympathy with these who would feed the poor first, and then preach to
them.

The third day one of the Indians, while walking along the shore, found
the old bleached shoulder-blade of a bear.  With his knife he carved out
a rude fish-hook, and, taking the strings of his moccasins, and those of
others, he formed a line.  A piece of red flannel was used as bait, and
a small stone served as a sinker.  With this primitive arrangement he
began fishing.  His method was to stand on a rock and throw the hook out
as far as his line would permit, and then draw it in rapidly, like
trolling.

Strange to say, with this rude appliance he caught a fish.  It was a
pike weighing six or eight pounds.  Very quickly was it scaled, cleaned,
and put in the pot.  When cooked, about a third of it was put on my tin
plate, and placed before me with these words: "Please, Missionary, eat."
I looked at the hungry men around me and said, "No, that is not the
way."  And then I put back the third of the fish with the rest, and,
taking out my hunting knife, I counted the company, and then cut the
fish into eight pieces, and gave each man his eighth, and took an equal
portion myself.  It was right that I should thus act, and it seemed to
be a little thing to do, but it was a sermon that led those five men to
become Christians.  As soon as they had finished their portions they lit
their pipes, and as they smoked they talked; and as near as I and my men
could make out, here is what they said:

"We must listen with both ears to that Missionary.  He is here without
food, suffering from hunger, because he stopped to share with us his
last meal.  We caught a fish, and when we offered him a large piece he
refused it, and divided equally with us all.  He has been anxious to do
us good and to have us to listen to his words.  He has not once scolded
us for asking him to stop, although he could have got across the lake
before the storm arose, and, as the rest of the way is in the river, he
could have gone on home.  He has shown himself to be our friend, and we
must listen to what he has to say."  Thus they went on, and I must
confess I paid but little attention to what they were saying.  After a
few hours more the storm went down, and we gladly embarked that evening
in our canoe and pushed on.

The next day we reached the Mission village of Rossville, making our
last portage at Sea River Falls, near Norway House; and as we saw the
fish and venison hanging on the stagings around the houses of the
people, my patient fellows cried out, "We should like to laugh at the
sight of food, but we are too empty altogether."

We paddled the last mile as quickly as we had any other, and kept up our
courage until we were home.  As I entered the house, a strange faintness
came over me, and all the welcome words I could give to my loved ones
were, "My dear, we are starving; please get us some food."  Then I sank
down exhausted.  Loving care from one of the best and bravest of wives
quickly brought me round again, and I was soon ready to be off on
another trip.

The long winter passed away, and the welcome summer came at last.  We
have really very little of spring in that northern land.  The transition
from winter to summer is very rapid.  With the disappearance of the ice
from the lakes and rivers came the Indians in their birch canoes, from
various quarters where they had spent the winter in trapping the fur-
bearing animals.  As usual they came to see the Missionary in goodly
numbers.  Among those who thus honoured us were five big men, who, after
a few words of greeting, said, "We hope you have not forgotten the fish;
we have not, and we want to have a talk with you."

"Fish?"  I said.  "Why, we have fish twenty-one times a week, boiled,
baked, fried, salt, dried,--good, bad, and indifferent.  I have seen so
many fishes, I cannot think of any one in particular."

Then they told me about the long delay by the storm, when I had stopped
and fed them, at the time when they had not kept their powder dry; and
how, when one of them caught a fish and offered me a good-sized piece, I
divided it equally among them.  As they brought the incident back to my
memory, for there were so many strange adventures occurring in the wild
life that this one had partly faded, I said: "Yes, I now remember there
did happen something of the kind."

Very earnestly spoke up one of them and said: "We have never forgotten
it, and all through the moons of the winter we have talked about it and
your lessons out of the great Book.  And while up to that time we had
decided not to be Christians, but to die as did our fathers, we have
changed our minds since that time you divided the fish, and we want you
to teach us more and more of this good way."

They were intensely in earnest and fully decided for Christ.  So five
more families settled down in the Christian village, and are giving
evidence by their lives and conversation that the change wrought in them
was real and abiding.  Their conversion in this peculiar way was very
cheering to us, and it was another lesson to be "instant in season, out
of season."



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

EXPLORING NEW FIELDS--THE GOSPEL BEFORE TREATIES--BIG TOM'S NOBLE SPIRIT
OF SELF-SACRIFICE.

In 1873 I received a most urgent request from a deputation of Indians to
go and visit a band of their countrymen who lived on the western side of
Lake Winnipeg at a place called Jack Head.  They were getting unsettled
and uneasy in their minds in reference to their lands.  Treaties were
being made with other tribes, but nothing as yet had been done for them;
and as surveyors and other white men had been seen in their country,
they were suspicious, and wanted to know what they had better do.

So, after many councils among themselves, they decided to send over into
the land of the Crees and Salteaux for their Missionary to come and give
them advice, in order that they too might make a treaty with the
Government of the Queen.

I felt much pleased on receiving this deputation; and as it would give
me a grand opportunity to preach the Gospel to a people who had not as
yet heard it, I consented to go.  With two dog-trains, and accompanied
by a couple of trusty Indians, we left the Eastern side of the great
Lake Winnipeg about sunrise.  We dug a hole in the snow at Pigeon Point,
and there made a fire of some dry young willows, and enjoyed our
breakfast.  From that point we struck out in a south-west direction
across the great lake.  The day, although cold, was a very bright one.
The ice was good, and our dogs were magnificent fellows; and so we sped
along at a rapid rate.  We reached a chain of little islands out in the
middle of the lake early in the afternoon.  On the shore of one of them
we gathered some dry wood, cleared away the snow, made a fire, melted
some snow, and made ourselves a good kettle of tea.  This, with some
pemmican and flat cakes, made us a capital dinner.

From this island the western shore of the lake was just visible, over
thirty miles away.  Towards it we pushed as rapidly as possible,
considering that one of our Indians was quite an old man.  When within
about three miles of the shore, the report of fire-arms reached our
ears, telling us that the Indians had observed our coming.  Our noble
dogs seemed to rejoice at the sound as much as ourselves, and, well
knowing that their day's journey of over sixty miles was nearly ended,
changed their swinging trot into a gallop; and very soon we were at Jack
head, and among its plumed and painted inhabitants, by whom we were
received in a most extraordinary manner.

At some other places where I have gone as the first Missionary who ever
visited them, I have had two or three hundred men, women, and children
trying to see who could be the first to kiss me; but here the reception
was very different.  Night was just falling upon us as we drew near the
shore, but there was light enough to observe that the narrow trail, up
from the lake into the dark recesses of the forest, along which we must
pass with our dog-trains, was lined with men armed with guns.

When we were about a hundred yards from them, the foremost ones began
firing.  This _feu-de-joie_ continued until we had reached them and had
dashed through the lines of fire, for they continued loading and firing
as rapidly as possible.  Our ears were almost deafened with the
continuous reports, and our nerves were somewhat tried, as the younger
braves especially consider it great fun to fire off their heavy charges
of powder as close to their visitors' heads as possible.  But a well-
singed fur cap was the only evidence of harm having been done.

To increase the welcome, they courteously brought out for our special
benefit the few English and French words of which they were masters.
Some of them were most ludicrously out of place.  It did require a good
deal of nerve to keep my face straight when a grave and dignified chief,
who wished to inquire politely as to my health, for the moment dropped
his own language, and in good English said, "Does your mother know
you're out?"  I found out afterwards that a roguish fur-trader had
taught him the expression, as a very polite one to use to distinguished
strangers.

We quickly unharnessed and fed our faithful dogs.  We hung up in the
trees our sleds and harness beyond the reach of the wolfish curs, which
in large numbers prowled around.  If they could get the opportunity,
they would make short work of the deer-skin and raw-hide fastenings of
the sleds, and the harness would entirely disappear, with perhaps the
exception of the buckles.  We waited until our big dogs had given a few
of the most impudent and saucy of these brutes a good thrashing, so that
there was some prospect of peace; and then, feeling that our outside
work was attended to, and that the Indians had had time to get arranged
in their council room, we went to the door, and were ceremoniously
ushered in.  The council house was a large square log building of much
better construction than I had expected to see.  It was without
partitions, and was lighted by the brilliant council fire, and a number
of fish oil lamps hanging from the walls.  At the places of honour were
seated the chiefs of the band.  Their "thrones of state" were curiously
woven mats of rushes made by the Indian women.  Their head-dresses were
gorgeous masses of feathers, and their costume was very picturesque.
Some of them had not yet adopted the pantaloons of civilisation, but
wore instead the scant leggings of native manufacture.

From the chiefs on either side and extending around the room in circles,
were the old men and warriors and hunters, ranged according to their
rank and standing.  Behind these were the young men and boys.  All were
seated on the ground, and all were silent, as I entered.  The chiefs
were fine-looking men, and there was that indescribable _hauteur_ now so
rarely seen among this interesting people.  Crowded out behind the men
and boys, and in many places packed against the walls of the house, were
the women and girls.  While the men were in many instances well and
often brilliantly dressed in their finery, the women and girls were
wretchedly clothed, and miserable in appearance.

The house was filled, with the exception of a small space reserved at
the right hand of the principal chief for the visitors.  With a good
deal of ceremony we were escorted to our seats.  For me they had
obtained a little box, on which a fur robe was placed, as they said
afterwards, that they had heard that white men cannot sit comfortably on
the ground.  On this I seated myself next to the chief, and my attendant
Indians ranged themselves beside me.  During the profound silence that
lasted for several minutes after our entrance, I had a good opportunity
to grasp the situation.  I breathed an earnest prayer to God for the
much-needed wisdom, and that I might here preach the Gospel in such a
way that it might be understood and accepted by this people, the
majority of whom had not as yet heard the glad tidings of salvation.

Then I rose up and, addressing the chief, I said: "I have come at your
request from across the great Winnipeg, to visit you and to meet you at
your council fire.  I will preach to you and discuss treaty matters with
you, and will help you all I can with the Government.  I want to find
out your views about giving up your old paganism and becoming
Christians.  I also want to know how many children you have among you,
and if you desire a school for them.  So I am here for these reasons."

When I sat down, the calumet, the pipe of peace, was gravely lit, and
after the chief had puffed away at it, he handed it to me.  As I have
not as yet acquired the art of smoking, I adopted the plan of taking
hold of the long stem, which is over a yard in length, by the middle.
The result was that when my hand was near my mouth, the mouthpiece of
the pipe was a foot or so behind my head.  As previously arranged, one
of my obliging Indians was always on hand to do my smoking.

After the pipe ceremony was over, the chief began his address of
welcome.  He said a good many kind things, and told me of their
anxieties as to their future and that of their children.  The fire-canoe
(the steamboat) was rushing through the waters, destroying their
fisheries.  The white hunters, with their fire guns and steel traps,
were fast killing off the game.  The surveyor was driving his lines of
stakes into the ground, and the white people, more numerous than
mosquitoes, were crowding in on the prairies.  They had nothing but
peace in their hearts, but still he could not help thinking that a
treaty ought to be made with them before the fire canoe or the surveyor
came.  They were powerless themselves to speak before the Queen's
representative, the Governor.  They had heard of the Missionary's love
for the Indian, and so they had sent across the great Winnipeg for him,
and their hearts were glad that he had come.  With their right hands
they had fired off their guns, which all said, "Welcome!"  With his left
hand he had handed the pipe of peace, which also from the heart again
said, "Welcome!"  Their hearts were all glad that with their eyes they
saw the Missionary among them.  Their ears were now open to hear what he
had to say about their future, and what he thought the Queen's men would
do for them.

Then he sat down on his mat, and I rose up and in reply said: "Before I
dare talk to you about treaties, and lands, and your future for this
life, and that of your children, I must speak about something more
important."

This seemed to astonish them, and they said: "What has he got to talk
about that is more important than the treaty?"

"Yes," I answered, "I have something more important than the treaty, and
something to say about One greater than the Queen, or the Governor she
sends; for I must first talk about our great God, Whom the Queen and we
all must love if we would be happy.  The Great Spirit, our good Father
in heaven, wants to make a treaty with us; and if we will be willing to
comply with His conditions, it will be the best treaty ever made, for it
will bring us joy and happiness for this life and the life to come."

Loud were their words of approval that I should thus speak to them; and
so I preached to them, making use of my trusted and careful interpreter,
Timothy Bear, who is as thorough a master of the Saulteaux language as
he is of the Cree.  Considering that it was the first sermon they had
ever heard, and that their ideas of our worship were very crude, they
behaved remarkably well, seeing they were a crowd of plumed and painted
savages, and Saulteaux besides.  They kept up a constant smoking through
all the service, except when we were singing or at prayer.  Men, women,
and children were all at it, and it seemed as though they were always at
it.

Before I got through my sermon I was almost suffocated by the smoke.
The cloud, not that for which we had prayed, overwhelmed us, blinded us,
and nearly smothered us.  It was the cloud of their vile weeds and
tobacco.  As well as I could I talked to them of God and his love, and
of the way of salvation, and the blessings which would come to them if
they would cheerfully and heartily accept Him.  We then sang the Jubilee
hymn,--

  "Blow ye the trumpet, blow."

This hymn has been translated into their language.  The tune we used was
"Lennox," and I urged them to help us to sing.  I gave out the hymn
verse by verse, and said, "Sing as well as you can."  Some followed very
well, and others, while trying to follow the words, seemed to have
substituted for the tune one of their Indian lilts.  After the religious
service was over, we hastily boiled our kettles, made tea, and had our
suppers, for we had travelled far, and were very hungry.  The Indians
had nothing themselves but tea, fish, and tobacco.  I never saw such
smokers.  Even little unweaned children were adepts in the use of the
pipe.

After tea the ceremonious speeches were delivered.  The head chief was
of course the first to speak again.  His address was very complimentary.
He said he had been gazing all day long across the great lake watching
for my coming.  Although it was several moons since, I had promised that
in this one, if possible, I would be on hand.  My coming just at the
time I did, showed that I was a man of my word, and could be depended
upon.

"We feel," he said, "that we Indians are but children in the presence of
the whites.  Great changes are taking place.  The buffalo and deer once
so abundant are fast disappearing.  Our fathers told us long ago that
the buffalo was the special gift of the Great Spirit to the Indian, and
that when it disappeared the Indian must go also.  But in your words you
tell us good things about the Great Spirit, and we are thankful that you
have come.  We wish you could live among us and thus talk to us."

Thus he and others talked for a long time.

We went over the business of the approaching treaty, and I told them all
I knew about the matter, and assured them that they need have no fear or
alarm.  The Dominion Government would treat them honourably and fairly.
More tobacco was smoked, and extra kettles of tea were made and drunk,
and then I was told that as an additional mark of their thankfulness to
me for thus coming with these assuring and quieting words, they now
wished to give me the tribal ceremony of the greatest welcome, which was
only given at rare intervals, and then only when the best of news came
to them.

The room was quickly rearranged for the ceremony.  The crowd in the
centre of the room was moved back, much to the discomfort of the women
and girls, some of whom were roughly ejected to make room for their
tyrants and masters.  Then some drums were brought in, and between
twenty and thirty of the most active and agile young men, dressed, or
rather undressed, in their picturesque way, seated themselves closely
around the men who were to act as drummers.  The first part of the
ceremony was supposed to be a kind of a concert, part musical and part
pantomime.

To describe it with its monotonous drumming and shrill songs, which they
said were words of welcome, is altogether beyond my powers.  At certain
places in the songs, ten or twenty of the young men would spring up in
their places, and without moving their feet from the ground would go
through such strong, undulating, graceful motions, and yet all in such
perfect unison with each other and with the music, that I was almost
fascinated by the strange weird beauty of the scene.

Then their programme changed, and rapidly they glided around in simple
and intricate movements, but all in perfect time to the songs and drums.

Not satisfied with giving me the welcome of their own tribe, they also
gave me the still more exciting Sioux welcome, and also that of the wild
Crees in the Saskatchewan.  Until long after midnight these scenes were
being enacted.  Then word was passed round that the supply of tobacco
devoted to the welcome ceremonies was exhausted, for through all of
these scenes the pipes were only out of the mouths of the performers.
All the rest of the crowd smoked without apparent cessation.

This intimation of the exhaustion of the supply of tobacco abruptly
closed the ceremony.  Such is their custom.  Some more tea was made and
drunk by the chiefs.  Then the Missionary's hand was shaken, and the
people quickly flitted away to their wigwams.  A supper, consisting of
beautiful fish, called "gold eyes," which are caught by the young
Indians in the rapid river at the foot of the Rude Water Slide, was then
much enjoyed.

One of my faithful Indians brought in my camp bed, and unrolled it near
the council fire.  I rolled myself up in a blanket and buffalo robe, and
there on the ground I soon fell asleep, for I was very weary.  At
daybreak we arose, and had our breakfast cooked at the council fire.
While eating it, many of the Indians crowded in to see us ere we left
for our home across Lake Winnipeg.  With them we held another religious
service.  I talked kindly and faithfully to them, and urged them to
decide speedily to forsake their old pagan habits and become Christians;
telling them that now, as they were making treaties and entering upon a
new way of obtaining a living, they should adopt the religion of the
great Book.

With them we sang a hymn, and then kneeled down and prayed.  Devoutly
and reverently did they bow with us at the Mercy-seat.  When we rose up
from our knees, a young man spoke up on behalf of the young people.  He
said they were glad I had come, and hoped I would come again.  Their
minds were dark; would I soon come back and bring in the light?

I said all I could to encourage them to seek after the great Light, and
promised to come again.  We harnessed up our dogs, and, in company with
my attendant Indians, I started for home.  A wild blizzard storm came
down upon us from the north when we were far out from land.  We toiled
on through it as well as we could, although at times unable to see a
dozen feet ahead of us.  Often we got bewildered by its fury, as it
seemed to circle and eddy around us; but Jack was in the foremost train,
and so we safely reached the other shore, and did not for many a day
cease to think about some of the strange features of this adventurous
trip, in which in after years we found much real good had been done.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

As we have been referring to treaties and the excitement there was in
the minds of the Indians in reference to the new relationship in which
they would stand to the Government, it may be well here to put upon
record the noble spirit of one of our Indians, on whom honours were
desired to be conferred by his people.

When the Dominion Government of Canada took possession of the
territories so long held by the Hudson's Bay Company, they began to make
arrangements for treaties with all the Indian tribes.  Word came out to
us at Rossville Mission House, that the Government wished the Indians to
elect one of their number as chief, with whom they could make a treaty,
and whom they could confer with if difficulties arose in the future.
They wished the people to select a wise, judicious man, in whom all
confidence could be placed.

Naturally the Indians were very much excited at this new order of
things, and so there were many councils and much speech-making.  A good
deal of curiosity was expressed to know what benefits would result, and
how much money would be received by each of them.  While there was still
much uncertainty about these things, it had become well known that the
one selected to be chief would fare very well.  He would have more money
and presents than any other.  He would be presented with a silver medal
with the face of the "Great Mother," the Queen, upon it, and would be
honoured with the personal friendship of the Governor, and with other
honours naturally dear to the Indian.

After many councils the people came to the almost unanimous conclusion
that Big Tom should be their chief.  In a full council, with much
ceremony, they offered him the position.  Instead of seizing the
proffered honours with avidity, his face became very grave, and it was
evident he was full of suppressed emotion.  When he arose, as all
supposed, to indicate his acceptance of the position, and to express his
thanks, they were very much surprised to hear him quietly say that he
could not answer fully now, but desired a day to think it over.  So he
asked the council to adjourn until the following morning.

Of course this request was complied with, and, full of curiosity, the
people thronged the building the next day.  I had naturally taken a deep
interest in the matter, as, next to their spiritual interests, I was
anxious to do all I could for their temporal welfare.  So I attended
many of their meetings.  The council was opened in due form, and then
Big Tom arose to give his answer.  He began quietly and slowly, but
warmed up a good deal before he ended.

He spoke, in substance, as follows:--

"Long ago, when the Missionaries came and preached to us, for a time we
refused to listen to them, and would not become Christians.  Then, after
a while, many of us who had been in the darkness began to feel in our
hearts that what they told us was for our good; and so we accepted of
these things, and they have done us good.  When I got the assurance in
my heart that I was a child of God, and had a soul that should live for
ever, I found that in working out its salvation I had something great to
live for.  To do this was the great object of my life.  By-and-by I
married, and then, as my family increased and began to grow up around
me, I found I had another object for which to live.  To help them along
in the way to heaven, as well as to work for their comfort here, was my
second great work.  Then, after a while, the Missionary gave me the
charge of a class.  I was to meet with them, and we were to talk
together about our souls and God's love to us, and to do all we could to
help each other on to the better land.  To do my duty as the leader was
a great and important work.  While attending to these duties, I found I
had another object for which to live.  These three things,--1.  My own
soul's salvation; 2.  The salvation of my family; and 3.  To do all I
can to help and encourage the members of my class to be true and
faithful to Him Who died for us, that we may see him by-and-by,--are the
uppermost things in my heart.

"I am thankful for your confidence in me in asking me to be your chief.
I know it is a great honour, but I see it will have many
responsibilities, and that whoever has the position will have to attend
to many other things than those which I have my mind set upon.  So you
must appoint some one else, for with those three things I cannot let
anything else interfere.  I thank you, my brothers, and love you all."

In this strain he went on for a long while, and then sat down.  No one
thought any the less of the noble Christian man; and David Bundle, who
was appointed, ever found in Big Tom a wise and judicious counsellor and
friend.  I was thrilled by the address and the spirit manifested.  How
few white men in like circumstances would have had grace and self-denial
enough to have acted in a similar manner!



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

THE MISSION AMONG THE SAULTEAUX ESTABLISHED--NELLY'S DEATH--MISSIONARY
ANNIVERSARIES ATTENDED--REVEREND THOMAS CROSBY--TRAVELLING ADVENTURES--
MORE WORKING WITH DOGS--OUR NEW HOME--VISIT FROM A CHIEFTAINESS--CLOSING
WORDS.

After a great deal of correspondence it was decided that I should begin
the work at Beren's River among the Saulteaux Indians who lived there,
and in little bands scattered along the eastern shores of that great
lake, and in the interior, most of them in extreme poverty and
superstitious degradation.  A few of them, as the result of acquaintance
with our Christian Indians of other places, were groping after the great
Light, and trying to lift themselves up socially in life.

The Reverend John H Ruttan was appointed to Norway House, the Reverend
Orrin German to Oxford House, and I was put down for Beren's River.

As it was advisable that I should remain at Norway House until my
successor, Brother Ruttan, arrived, and as there was only one
opportunity for a long time for Mrs Young and the children to return to
Red River, they availed themselves of it, poor and miserable as it was.

With loving "farewells" I wished them success on their journey, and saw
them off.  Sandy Harte, our adopted Indian lad, and I sailed down to the
old Norway House, about twenty miles from our home, and there saying
"Good-bye," we returned to our lonely home.

Mrs Young had with her our three darling children, Eddie, Lilian, and
Nelly.  All were well and full of the best of spirits as the sail was
hoisted, and we saw them glide away before the favouring gale.  Precious
Nelly we never saw again.  So terrible was the heat, and so miserable
were the accommodations in that little open boat, without deck or awning
or cabin, that the child sickened and died.

As we have referred to this sad event in an earlier chapter, we need not
dwell upon it here.  What the poor mother felt and suffered as, sick
herself, she saw her beautiful child attacked by brain fever, and then
droop and die amidst surroundings so sad and trying, can be realised by
but few.  God knows all about it.  As mentioned, the venerable
Archdeacon Cowley's sympathy did much to raise up Mrs Young's crushed
spirits and dry her bitter tears.

I remained at Norway House until Brothers Ruttan and German arrived; and
then, after having spent a Sabbath with them, and seen Mr Ruttan and
his noble young wife cheerfully and hopefully entered upon their blessed
work among the people, to whom I had become very much attached, I
started off for Beren's River.  Sandy Harte, the Nelson River lad, went
with me as far as my first camping place, and spent the night with me.
We read the sacred Word together, and then, after singing a Hymn, we
bowed in prayer.  We lay down together, but we had so much to say, that
hours passed away ere we slept.

Early the next morning we were aroused from our slumbers by the cry of
"Fair wind," and so no time must be lost.  I was very much surprised to
find that during the night some scores of Indians had come on in their
canoes from the Mission, although it was many miles away, to shake hands
with their Missionary once more, and say a final "Farewell."

After a hasty breakfast we assembled on the shore for prayers.  We sang
in Cree a favourite hymn:--

  "Jesus, my All, to heaven is gone,
  He Whom I fix my hopes upon.
  His path I see, and I'll pursue
  The narrow way till Him I view."

We closed by singing the Doxology, and then, after prayers, I sadly said
"Good-bye," and shook hands again with them all.  I found it hard to
break away from them.  Many of them were in tears, who seldom wept
before.  Coming to my beloved Sandy last, I put my arm around his neck
and kissed him as there he stood, weeping as though his heart would
break.  With a "God bless you all," I sprang into the boat, which was
quickly pushed off from the shore, and then the long journey to the land
of the Saulteaux was begun.

After some of the usual incidents of travel I reached Beren's River, and
was most enthusiastically received by the Indians.  The man who had
said, "Our eyes were dim from long watching," now said that they were
dim with tears of joy that he had lived to see the day when a Missionary
of their own lived among them.  As I was to leave before the lake froze
up, every day was precious.  I pitched a canvas tent, and in it lived
for several weeks.  All assembled once every week-day for religious
worship, and then, when that was over, the Missionary and men took off
their coats and went to work.  The spot for the Mission was decided
upon, and then acre after acre of the forest from this place, and also
from where each Indian had decided to build, was rapidly being cleared
of the forest trees.  We held three services every Lord's day, and saw
that the school for the children was faithfully kept up.

Getting everything in good shape, and leaving Martin Papanekis, a devout
and trusty Christian Indian from the Norway House Mission, in charge, I
started in a birch canoe, with Big Tom as principal canoe-man, for Red
River.

Of our adventures and dangers I need not write, although there were
several on that long journey in such a frail craft.  One complete upset
chilled me most thoroughly, as the water was about down to freezing
point.  At one place, where we tried to push on all night, we were
tantalised by some most brilliant "Will-o'-the-wisp" lights, which our
experienced Indians thought were decoy signals put out by wicked Indians
to bewilder or injure us.  Canoe travelling on this great lake is risky
business.  The storms come up with surprising rapidity, and the waves
rise up like those of the ocean.  However, we had a good canoe, and Big
Tom was in charge; and He Who holds the winds and the waves in His fists
was our Father and our Friend.

At Red River I called on the Reverend Archdeacon Cowley at his Indian
Mission home.  Very cordial and sympathetic was he, as I introduced
myself, and told him I had come to accept of his kind offer, and seek in
some part of the quiet graveyard of his Mission Church a little place
where I could bury the body of my darling child.  He at once went with
me and showed me all kindness and help, as also did Mr Flett and his
family, of the Hudson's Bay Company's Service.  As we laid away the
beautiful child, and the solemn words, "Earth to earth, dust to dust,"
were uttered, we felt that there was now an additional tie holding us to
that country and work.

In due time I reached Toronto, and there met the Missionary Secretaries,
and obtained from them an outline of the work before me.  Here it was my
great joy to meet for the first time the Reverend Thomas Crosby, the
energetic and successful Missionary from British Columbia, who has been
wonderfully owned of God in his glorious work.  Uncalled by any Church,
but impelled by the good Spirit, shortly after his conversion he made
his way to British Columbia at his own expense, and offered himself to
one of the Missionaries there as a volunteer teacher among the poor,
neglected Indians, who, uncared for by any one, were prowling around the
cities and towns of that new Province, living lives of shame and sin.
Great indeed was his success.

He has also established flourishing Missions at Fort Simpson and
elsewhere in the north of that land, and through his labours a blessed
work began among the Indians in Alaska.  Some of them, hearing wonderful
stories about the black-coated man and his mysterious Book, came
hundreds of miles, that they might have their curiosity satisfied.  They
returned with more than they anticipated.  They reached the Mission, and
from Mr Crosby, and also from some of their own tribes who lived there,
they heard the "old, old story" for the first time in their lives.  It
was indeed wonderful news to them, but they accepted it with a simple
faith that was pleasing to God, and brought into their hearts the
consciousness of His smile and benediction.  Rejoicing in this new-found
treasure they returned to their own land, and there they published the
glad tidings of God's love, and added the testimony of their own
personal experience that they had a new joy in their hearts, the result
of their having accepted this Saviour.  Great indeed was the excitement
among the people.  Some mocked, and some opposed and tried to persecute,
but many were affected by what their companions had brought them, and
believing their testimony entered into their joy.

Of course the new converts could give but little instruction; and so, as
the work proceeded, it was decided that a deputation must go for the
Missionary and bring him into their land.  Mr Crosby responded, and
went over to Alaska, and spent some time among them.  God blessed his
labours, and many of the Indians gave up their paganism and became
Christians.  Convinced that a grand opening was here for Missionary
triumph, Mr Crosby wrote to the Methodist Episcopal Mission Rooms, New
York, urging the officials there to enter this open door and begin work
here.  The answer was that it was impossible; that their other fields
absorbed all their income, and so there was no prospect of their being
able to respond to his appeal.

Not to be discouraged very easily, Mr Crosby next wrote to the
Presbyterian Board at Philadelphia, and told of these poor sheep in the
wilderness; and here, thank God, he met with success, and there was a
glad response; and the successful Presbyterian Missions and Indian
Schools in that land to-day are the outgrowth of that work.

In company with this heroic Brother Crosby, who had so much to tell, I
spent several months in attending Missionary Meetings.  We had blessed
times.  Immense crowds came out to hear us, and, if I am not mistaken,
the increase in the Missionary income that year was the greatest in its
history.  In all, we attended eighty-nine Missionary Anniversary
Services in different Canadian towns and cities between Sarnia and
Quebec.

A very happy week was spent with my family at "Oaklands," Toronto, the
beautiful residence of the Honourable Senator Macdonald, the Lay
Treasurer of our Missionary Society.  Of Senator Macdonald's great
kindness, and tangible evidences of sympathy, neither few nor slight, if
I should here write, I should only be mentioning what scores of
Ministers and Missionaries could say had been their own fortunate
experiences with this large-hearted philanthropist.  Eternity alone will
be able to reveal the full measure of what, with a glad heart, he has
been constantly and unostentatiously doing for many of Christ's
ambassadors, and among the different Churches.

As soon as the season for holding Missionary Meetings ended, I returned
to my Indian work.  I left the Province of Ontario on the 6th of April,
and reached Beren's River after twenty-three days of continuous
travelling.  On the railroads in Minnesota and Dacota we were detained
by snowdrifts, which so blocked up our way that we had some very
unpleasant experiences.  After leaving the railroad I had to travel two
hundred and fifty miles in a stage on runners over the snowy prairies.
We had some blizzards to encounter, and one night, when we were
fortunate enough to have reached one of the stopping places, the storm
raged like a hurricane.  The house was built of logs, and not well
finished, and the snow sifted in through the wide cracks between these
logs and on to our beds.  My experiences in wintry camps served me a
good purpose now, and so pulling up the hood of my overcoat, and then
completely covering myself up under the bedclothes, I slept soundly
through the raging storm and driving snow.  When we were called up to
eat a hasty breakfast and resume our journey, I found several inches of
snow on the top of my bed, but I had suffered no inconvenience from it.
With my travelling companions in the other beds it was very different.
The upper storey, in which our beds were placed, was all one room, and
so the snow had equally assailed us all.  But, not being able to sleep
with their heads completely covered up, they had suffered much, and were
in anything but an amiable mood when we resumed our journey.

At Winnipeg I was cordially welcomed by my beloved Chairman, the
Reverend George Young, who had ever taken the deepest interest in my
work, and done all he could to add to our comfort and efficiency in its
prosecution.  Fortunate indeed were we, poor Missionaries in the
interior, whether it was north or west, that we had such a man to look
after our supplies, and see that we were not cheated or swindled by
those who once a year sent them out to the poor toilers in their lonely
fields.  For years we had no money in our northern Missions.  Our plan
was, once a year to receive from Winnipeg all that our salary would
purchase for us in the shape of supplies that were needed in our own
home, and also with which to pay teacher, interpreter, guides, canoe-
men, dog-drivers, and others who might be employed in the prosecution of
the work.

As all the work of purchasing and packing these things depended very
much upon the Chairman, fortunate indeed did all of us, who had Dr
Young as our Chairman, consider ourselves to be.

My dogs and Indians were waiting for me, having come down from the north
to meet me, as arranged months before.  We purchased our supplies,
loaded our sleds, and away we started by dog-train on the last part of
the long journey.  We had left Toronto in a splendid railroad carriage;
we ended the trip of over twenty days' duration with dog sleds.

Very quickly did I come back to the wild life of the North after the six
months of incessant pleading the cause of the Indians before the large
and enthusiastic audiences in our towns and cities.  The days of hard
and rapid travelling over the frozen surface of Lake Winnipeg,--the
bitter cold that often made us shiver in spite of the violent exercise
of running,--the intense and almost unbearable pain caused by the
reflection of the brilliant rays of the sun upon the snowy waste,--the
bed in the hole in the snow with no roof above us but the star-decked
vault of heaven,--were all cheerfully endured again and successfully
passed through.

Very cordial was my welcome by the Saulteaux at my new field.  I was
very much gratified to find that they had had a successful winter, and
that those left in charge had worked faithfully and well.  A little log
house, twelve by twenty-four feet, had been put up, and in one end of it
I was installed as my present home.  My apartment was just twelve feet
square, but to me it was all-sufficient.  It was kitchen, bedroom,
dining-room, study, reception-room, and everything else.  Two of my
grandest dogs, Jack and Cuffy, shared it with me for months, and we had
a happy and busy time.  With several hard-working Indians, two of them
being Big Tom and Martin Papanekis from Norway House, we toiled hard at
getting out the timber and logs for our new church, school-house, and
parsonage.  We had to go a distance of twelve or fourteen miles over the
frozen lake ere we reached the large island on which we found timber
sufficiently large for our purpose.  Here we worked as hard as possible.
Often we had to go in miles from the shore to find what we wanted.  To
make our work more difficult, we found but few large trees growing close
together.  So, for nearly every large stick of timber, we had to make a
new trail through the deep snow to the lake.  The snow was from three to
four feet deep.  The under-brush was thick, and the fallen trees were
numerous.  Yet under these discouragements we worked.  We cut down the
trees, measured them, squared them, and got them ready for their places.
Then we hitched one end on a strong dog sled, and attached one dog to
this heavy load.  How four dogs could drag these heavy sticks of timber
was indeed surprising.  The principal pieces were thirty-six feet long
and ten inches square.  Yet my gallant St. Bernards and Newfoundlands
would take these heavy loads along at a rate that was astounding.  We
had thirty-two dogs at work, and rapidly did our piles of timber and
logs accumulate.

Dressed as one of the natives, with them I toiled incessantly for the
material upbuilding of the Mission.  We had delightful services every
Sabbath.  Nearly every Indian within some miles of the place attended,
and good results were continually cheering our hearts.  Although it was
so late in the season when I arrived, yet there was not, for weeks
after, any sign of the spring, except in the lengthening days and
increasingly brilliant sun.  For a long time the vast snowy wastes
remained crisp and hard.  Very glorious was the atmosphere, for there
were no fogs, no mists, no damps.  The sky seemed always cloudless, the
air was always clear.

Nearly every morning during those weeks of hard toil we were treated to
the strange sights which the beautiful and vivid mirage brought to us.
Islands and headlands, scores of miles away, were lifted up from below
the horizon, and shown to us as distinctly as though close at hand.
With but few exceptions our nights also were very glorious, especially
when the Northern Lights, taking this vast Lake Winnipeg as their field
of action, held one of their grand carnivals.  Generally beginning in
the far north, with majestic sweep they came marching on, filling the
very heavens with their coloured bars, or flashing, ever-changing, yet
always beautiful clouds of brightness and glory.  Sometimes they would
form a magnificent corona at the zenith, and from its dazzling splendour
would shoot out long columns of different coloured lights, which rested
upon the far-off frozen shores.  Often have I seen a cloud of light flit
swiftly across these tinted bars, as if a hand were sweeping the strings
of some grand harp.  So startling was the resemblance, that there was an
instinctive listening for the sound that we used to think ought to come.
Sometimes I have suddenly stopped my dogs and men, when we have been
travelling amidst these fascinating and almost bewildering glories of
the heavens above us, and we have listened for that rustling sound of
celestial harmony which some Arctic travellers have affirmed they have
heard, and which it seemed to me so evident that we ought to hear.  But
although for years I have watched and listened, amidst the death
stillness of these snowy wastes, no sounds have I ever heard.  Amidst
all their flashing and changing glories these resplendent beauties ever
seemed to me as voiceless as the stars above them.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

When spring arrived, and with its open water came our first boats, we
brought out from Red River a quantity of building material and two
experienced carpenters.  Then actively went on the work of building a
Mission House, and also a large school-house, which for a time was to
serve as a church also.  We called it "the Tabernacle," and for a good
while it served its double purpose admirably.

Leaving the carpenters and Indians at work, I went into the then small
village of Winnipeg for Mrs Young and our two little children, who were
now returning from Ontario, where they had remained among friends, until
I, who had so long preceded them, should have some kind of a habitation
prepared for them in the wilderness.  For weeks we had to live in my
little twelve-by-twelve log-cabin.  It was all right in cold or dry
weather, but as its construction was peculiar, it failed us most
signally in times of rain and wet.  The roof was made of poplar logs,
laid up against the roof pole, and then covered very thickly with clay.
When this hardened and dried, it was a capital roof against the cold;
but when incessant rains softened it, and the mud in great pieces fell
through upon bed, or table, or stove, or floor, it was not luxurious or
even comfortable living.  One morning we found that during the night a
mass, weighing over five pounds, had fallen at the feet of our youngest
child, as she, unconscious of danger, slept in a little bed near us.
However, after a while, we got into our new house, and great were our
rejoicings to find ourselves comfortably settled, and ready for
undivided attention to the blessed work of evangelisation.

While there was a measure of prosperity, yet the Mission did not advance
as rapidly as I had hoped it would.  My hopes had been that the surplus
population at Norway House would have settled there, and that many from
the interior directly east would, as they had stated, come out and help
to build up the Mission.

Opposition in various quarters arose, and the Norway House Crees
preferred to go farther south; and finally seventy families preferred
that place, and there they have formed a flourishing additional Mission.
Thus the work advanced, although not all along the lines which some of
us had marked out.  With patient endurance my noble wife and I toiled
on.  There was room for the exercise of the graces of courage, and hope,
and faith, and patience; but a measure of success was ever ours, and we
saw signs of progress, and had every now and then some clear and
remarkable cases of conversion from the vilest degradation and
superstition into a clear and conscious assurance of Heaven's favour and
smile.

One summer there came from the east to visit us a chieftainess with
several of her followers.  Her husband had been the chief of his people,
and when he died she assumed his position, and maintained it well.  Her
home was several days' journey away in the interior, but she had heard
of the Missionary who had come to live among the Saulteaux and teach
them out of the great Book.  Was not she a Saulteaux, and had not she a
right to know of this new way, about which so much was being said?  With
these thoughts in her mind she came to see us.  When she came to the
Mission, we saw very quickly that here was an interesting woman.  We had
several interviews, and Mrs Young and myself did all we could to lead
this candid, inquiring mind into the right way.  Before she left I gave
her a sheet of foolscap paper, and a long lead pencil, and showed her
how to keep her reckoning as to the Sabbath day.  I had, among many
other lessons, described the Sabbath as one day in seven for rest and
worship; and she had become very much interested, and promised to try to
keep it.

As she pushed out in her canoe from our shore, her last importunate
request was, that as soon as possible I would visit her and her people
in their own land.  So many were my engagements that I could not take up
this additional one until about the middle of the winter following.
When, with a couple of Indian attendants, with our dog-trains, we dashed
into her village, great indeed was her joy at seeing us, and very
demonstrative was the welcome given.  She had put up on a staging
outside in the cold a couple of reindeer heads, keeping them there
preserved by the frost until I should arrive.  Very quickly were they
taken down to cook.  The hair was singed off, and then they were cut up
with an axe into pieces weighing about two pounds each.  Soon they were
in the pot, boiling for our dinner.  I furnished some tea, and while
everything was being got ready by a few, the rest of us sat down and
talked.

They were indeed anxious for instruction in spiritual things.  I read
and, through my interpreter, explained truth after truth, to which they
gave the most earnest attention.  Then we stopped a little while, that
we might have dinner.  As I and my men were the guests of this
chieftainess I did not get out my tin plates, and cups, and knives and
forks, but sat down beside her in her wigwam with the rest of the
people, completing a circle around the big wooden dish, in which the
large pieces of cooked reindeer heads had been thrown.  I asked a
blessing on the food, and then dinner began.  The plan was for each
person to help himself or herself to a piece of the meat, holding it in
the hand, and using hunting knife or teeth, or both together, to get off
the pieces and eat them.

I am sorry to say my lady friend on the right, this chieftainess, had
very dirty-looking hands, and long, strong, brilliant teeth.  She took
her piece of meat, and, turning it over and over in her hands, began
tearing and cutting at it in a way that was not very dainty, but
extremely otherwise.  After biting off a few mouthfuls, she threw it
down on the dirty ground of the wigwam before her, and, inserting one of
her greasy hands in the bosom of her dress, she pulled out a large piece
of soiled paper, and, unfolding it before me, she began in excited tones
to tell me how she had kept the tally of the "praying days," for thus
they style the Sabbath.  Greatly interested in her story, and in her
wild joyous way of describing her efforts to keep her record correct, I
stopped eating and looked over her paper, as she talked away.  Imagine
my great delight to find that through the long months which had passed
since I had given her that paper and pencil, she had not once missed her
record.  This day was Thursday, and thus she had marked it.  Her plan
had been to make six short marks, and then a longer one for Sunday.

"Missionary," she said very earnestly, "sometimes it seemed as though I
would fail.  There were times when the ducks or geese came very near,
and I felt like taking my gun and firing.  Then I remembered that it was
the praying day, and so I only put down the long mark and rested.  I
have not set a net, or caught a fish, or fired a gun, on the praying day
since I heard about it at your house so far away."

Of course I was delighted at all this, and said some kind words of
encouragement.  Then we resumed our dinner.  I had my piece of meat in
one hand, and with the knife in the other was endeavouring to cut off
the pieces and eat them.  The good woman replaced the precious paper and
pencil in her bosom, and then picked up her piece of meat from the dirty
ground, and, after turning it over and over in her hands, began with her
strong teeth to tear off the large mouthfuls.  All at once she stopped
eating, and, looking intently at my piece, she said, "Your piece is not
a very good one, mine is very fine," and before I could protest, or say
a word, she quickly exchanged the pieces; and from her portion, which
she put in my hand, I had to finish my dinner.  As what she did is
considered an act of great kindness, of course I would not grieve her by
showing any annoyance.  So I quietly smothered any little squeamishness
that might naturally have arisen, and finished my dinner, and then
resumed the religious service.  Soon after, she became a decided
Christian.

The following extracts are from the last letter which I sent to the
Mission Rooms, ere, owing to the failure of Mrs Young's health, we left
the land of the Saulteaux for work in the Master's Vineyard elsewhere.
The Mission had now been fully established, a comfortable parsonage
built and well furnished.  A large school-house had been erected, which
answered also for the religious services until the church should be
finished.  Many had been our trials and hardships, and there had been a
great deal of opposition, much of it from places not expected.  But to
be enabled to send such tidings from such a place, where I had gone as
the first Missionary, and among such a wicked and degraded tribe as were
these Saulteaux, so different from the more peaceful Crees, caused my
heart to rejoice, that He Who had permitted me to go and sow the seed
had also given me the honour of seeing some golden sheaves gathered in
for the heavenly garner:--

"Last Sabbath was perhaps the most interesting and encouraging one we
have spent on the Mission.  Our place of worship was crowded, and many
had to remain outside.  Some of the old Indians who, in spite of our
pleadings, had clung to their paganism, renounced it on that day in a
most emphatic manner.  Seven of them, after being questioned as to their
thorough renunciation of their old superstitions, and as to their
present faith in Christ, were then and there baptized.

"At the afternoon service several more were baptized; among them an old
man, perhaps seventy years of age, with his wife and grandchild.  He had
never been inside a Christian sanctuary before.  He had just arrived
from the vast interior eastward of this place, the country I visited
under so many difficulties last April.

"The old man brought down with him the Bible and hymn-book which I had
given him months ago.  He stated that although he could not read them
very well, yet he kept them close to him by day, and under his pillow by
night, and tried to keep in his memory all he had heard of what was
written in them, as I had told him.

"I have been teaching the school myself for months, as my faithful
teacher, Timothy Bear, is poorly.  Among the scholars I have none more
attentive than the old man and his wife.  Seated on the ground with the
Reverend James Evans' Syllabic Characters marked out with a pen on a
piece of paper in their hands, and the open Bible on the grass before
them, they are striving hard to read fluently in their own language the
wonderful works of God.

"If this old man had presented himself for baptism a little better
clothed, we should have been pleased.  All he had on was a dirty cotton
shirt and a pair of deer-skin leggings.  However, as such fashions occur
here, his appearance created no remark, but all were deeply moved at his
coming forward and so emphatically renouncing his old paganism.

"The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper on the same day was also a service
of great interest, as several new members, baptized a few months ago,
were admitted to the Lord's Table for the first time.  In two instances
the decided stand for Christ taken by the women has led to the
conversion of their husbands.  Until lately they were careless, reckless
men; but they have now come and declared that they are convinced that
the religion of their wives is better than the old, and they desire to
have it too.  Thus the work goes on; but how slowly!  When shall the
time arrive when `nations shall be born in a day'?  Haste, happy day!"

  "We are toiling through the darkness, but our eyes behold the light
  That is mounting up the eastern sky and beating back the night.
  Soon with joy we'll hail the morning when our Lord will come in might,
  For Truth is marching on.

  "He will come in glorious majesty to sweep away all wrong;
  He will heal the broken-hearted and will make His people strong;
  He will teach our souls His righteousness, our hearts a glad new song,
  For Truth is marching on.

  "He is calling on His people to be faithful, prompt, and brave,
  To uplift again the fallen, and to help from sin to save,
  To devote themselves for others, as Himself for them He gave,
  For Truth is marching on.

  "Let us fight against the evils with our faces towards the light;
  God is looking through the darkness, and He watches o'er the fight
  And His joy will be our recompense, His triumph crown the right,
  For Truth is marching on."





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