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Title: Alaska - The Great Country
Author: Higginson, Ella
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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ALASKA

THE GREAT COUNTRY

[Illustration]

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO
ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
TORONTO

[Illustration: Photo by E. W. Merrill, Sitka

Courtesy of G. Kostrometinoff

ALEXANDER BARANOFF]



ALASKA

THE GREAT COUNTRY

BY

ELLA HIGGINSON

AUTHOR OF "MARIELLA, OF OUT-WEST," "WHEN THE BIRDS GO NORTH AGAIN,"
"FROM THE LAND OF THE SNOW-PEARLS," ETC.

_New York_
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1910

_All rights reserved_


COPYRIGHT, 1908,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1908. Reprinted
February, 1909; March, 1910.


_Norwood Press_
J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

To
MR. AND MRS. HENRY ELLIOTT HOLMES



FOREWORD


When the Russians first came to the island of Unalaska, they were told
that a vast country lay to the eastward and that its name was
Al-ay-ek-sa. Their own island the Aleuts called Nagun-Alayeksa, meaning
"the land lying near Alayeksa."

The Russians in time came to call the country itself Alashka; the
peninsula, Aliaska; and the island, Unalashka. Alaska is an English
corruption of the original name.

A great Russian moved under inspiration when he sent Vitus Behring out
to discover and explore the continent lying to the eastward; two great
Americans--Seward and Sumner--were inspired when, nearly a century and a
half later, they saved for us, in the face of the bitterest opposition,
scorn, and ridicule, the country that Behring discovered and which is
now coming to be recognized as the most glorious possession of any
people; but, first of all, were the gentle, dark-eyed Aleuts inspired
when they bestowed upon this same country--with the simplicity and
dignified repression for which their character is noted--the beautiful
and poetic name which means "the great country."



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


ALEXANDER BARANOFF                              _Frontispiece_

                                                 FACING PAGE

ALASKA (_colored map_)                                     1

COPPER SMELTER IN SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA                      2

KASA-AN                                                    9

HOWKAN                                                    16

DISTANT VIEW OF DAVIDSON GLACIER                          21

DAVIDSON GLACIER                                          36

A PHANTOM SHIP                                            41

ROAD THROUGH CUT-OFF CANYON                               48

SCENE ON THE WHITE PASS                                   53

STEEL CANTILEVER BRIDGE, NEAR SUMMIT OF WHITE PASS        68

OLD RUSSIAN BUILDING, SITKA                               73

GREEK-RUSSIAN CHURCH AT SITKA                             80

ESKIMO IN WALRUS-SKIN KAMELAYKA                          101

ESKIMO IN BIDARKA                                        116

RAILROAD CONSTRUCTION, EYAK LAKE                         121

EYAK LAKE, NEAR CORDOVA                                  128

INDIAN HOUSES, CORDOVA                                   133

VALDEZ                                                   148

AN ALASKAN ROAD HOUSE                                    153

KOW-EAR-NUK AND HIS DRYING SALMON                        160

STEAMER "RESOLUTE"                                       165

"OBLEUK," AN ESKIMO GIRL IN PARKA                        180

A NORTHERN MADONNA                                       185

ESKIMO LAD IN PARKA AND MUKLUKS                          192

SCALES AND SUMMIT OF CHILKOOT PASS IN 1898               197

SUMMIT OF CHILKOOT PASS IN 1898                          212

PINE FALLS, ATLIN                                        229

LAKE BENNETT IN 1898                                     244

WHITE HORSE, YUKON TERRITORY                             249

GRAND CANYON OF THE YUKON                                256

WHITE HORSE RAPIDS                                       261

WHITE HORSE RAPIDS IN WINTER                             276

STEAMER "WHITE HORSE" IN FIVE-FINGER RAPIDS              293

A YUKON SNOW SCENE NEAR WHITE HORSE                      308

A HOME IN THE YUKON                                      325

ONE AND A HALF MILLIONS OF KLONDIKE GOLD                 340

A FAMOUS TEAM OF HUSKIES                                 357

CLOUD EFFECT ON THE YUKON                                372

"WOLF"                                                   389

DOG-TEAM EXPRESS, NOME                                   404

FOUR BEAUTIES OF CAPE PRINCE OF WALES WITH SLED
REINDEER OF THE AMERICAN MISSIONARY HERD                 421

COUNCIL CITY AND SOLOMON RIVER RAILROAD--A CHARACTERISTIC
LANDSCAPE OF SEWARD PENINSULA                            436

TELLER                                                   453

FAMILY OF KING'S ISLAND ESKIMOS LIVING UNDER SKIN
BOAT, NOME                                               468

WRECK OF "JESSIE," NOME BEACH                            485

SUNRISE ON BEHRING SEA                                   500

SURF AT NOME                                             505

MOONLIGHT ON BEHRING SEA                                 512



ALASKA

THE GREAT COUNTRY

[Illustration: WILLIAMS ENGRAVING CO., N.Y.

Alaska]



ALASKA: THE GREAT COUNTRY



CHAPTER I


Every year, from June to September, thousands of people "go to Alaska."
This means that they take passage at Seattle on the most luxurious
steamers that run up the famed "inside passage" to Juneau, Sitka,
Wrangell, and Skaguay. Formerly this voyage included a visit to Muir
Glacier; but because of the ruin wrought by a recent earthquake, this
once beautiful and marvellous thing is no longer included in the tourist
trip.

This ten-day voyage is unquestionably a delightful one; every imaginable
comfort is provided, and the excursion rate is reasonable. However, the
person who contents himself with this will know as little about Alaska
as a foreigner who landed in New York, went straight to Niagara Falls
and returned at once to his own country, would know about America.

Enchanting though this brief cruise may be when the weather is
favorable, the real splendor, the marvellous beauty, the poetic and
haunting charm of Alaska, lie west of Sitka. "To Westward" is called
this dream-voyage past a thousand miles of snow-mountains rising
straight from the purple sea and wrapped in coloring that makes it seem
as though all the roses, lilies, and violets of heaven had been pounded
to a fine dust and sifted over them; past green islands and safe
harbors; past the Malaspina and the Columbia glaciers; past Yakutat,
Kyak, Cordova, Valdez, Seward, and Cook Inlet; and then, still on "to
Westward"--past Kodiak Island, where the Russians made their first
permanent settlement in America in 1784 and whose sylvan and idyllic
charm won the heart of the great naturalist, John Burroughs; past the
Aliaska Peninsula, with its smoking Mount Pavloff; past Unimak Island,
one of whose active volcanoes, Shishaldin, is the most perfect and
symmetrical cone on the Pacific Coast, not even excepting Hood--and on
and in among the divinely pale green Aleutian Islands to Unalaska, where
enchantment broods in a mist of rose and lavender and where one may
scarcely step without crushing violets and bluebells.

The spell of Alaska falls upon every lover of beauty who has voyaged
along those far northern snow-pearled shores with the violet waves of
the North Pacific Ocean breaking splendidly upon them; or who has
drifted down the mighty rivers of the interior which flow, bell-toned
and lonely, to the sea.

I know not how the spell is wrought; nor have I ever met one who could
put the miracle of its working into words. No writer has ever described
Alaska; no one writer ever will; but each must do his share, according
to the spell that the country casts upon him.

Some parts of Alaska lull the senses drowsily by their languorous charm;
under their influence one sinks to a passive delight and drifts
unresistingly on through a maze of tender loveliness. Nothing irritates.
All is soft, velvety, soothing. Wordless lullabies are played by
different shades of blue, rose, amber, and green; by the curl of the
satin waves and the musical kiss of their cool and faltering lips; by
the mists, light as thistle-down and delicately tinted as wild-rose
petals, into which the steamer pushes leisurely; by the dreamy poise of
sea-birds on white or lavender wings high in the golden atmosphere; by
the undulating flight of purple Shadow, tiptoe, through the dim fiords;
by the lap of waves on shingle, the song of birds along the wooded
shore, the pressure of soft winds on the temples and hair, the sparkle
of the sea weighing the eyelids down. The magic of it all gets into the
blood.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

COPPER SMELTER IN SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA]

The steamer slides through green and echoing reaches; past groups of
totems standing like ghosts of the past among the dark spruce or cedar
trees; through stone-walled canyons where the waters move dark and
still; into open, sunlit seas.

But it is not until one sails on "to Westward" that the spell of Alaska
falls upon one; sails out into the wild and splendid North Pacific
Ocean. Here are the majesty, the sublimity, that enthrall; here are the
noble spaces, the Titanic forces, the untrodden heights, that thrill and
inspire.

The marvels here are not the marvels of men. They are wrought of fire
and stone and snow by the tireless hand that has worked through
centuries unnumbered and unknown.

He that would fall under the spell of Alaska, will sail on "to
Westward," on to Unalaska; or he will go Northward and drift down the
Yukon--that splendid, lonely river that has its birth within a few miles
of the sea, yet flows twenty-three hundred miles to find it.

Alaskan steamers usually sail between eight o'clock in the evening and
midnight, and throngs of people congregate upon the piers of Seattle to
watch their departure. The rosy purples and violets of sunset mix with
the mists and settle upon the city, climbing white over its hills; as
hours go by, its lights sparkle brilliantly through them, yet still the
crowds sway upon the piers and wait for the first still motion of the
ship as it slides into the night and heads for the far, enchanted
land--the land whose sweet, insistent calling never ceases for the one
who has once heard it.

Passengers who stay on deck late will be rewarded by the witchery of
night on Puget Sound--the soft fragrance of the air, the scarlet, blue,
and green lights wavering across the water, the glistening wake of the
ship, the city glimmering faintly as it is left behind, the dim shores
of islands, and the dark shadows of bays.

One by one the lighthouses at West Point on the starboard side, and at
Point-No-Point, Marrowstone, and Point Wilson, on the port, flash their
golden messages through the dusk. One by one rise, linger, and fade the
dark outlines of Magnolia Bluff, Skagit Head, Double Bluff, and Liplip
Point. If the sailing be early in the evening, midnight is saluted by
the lights of Port Townsend, than which no city on the Pacific Coast has
a bolder or more beautiful situation.

The splendid water avenue--the burning "Opal-Way"--that leads the ocean
into these inland seas was named in 1788 by John Meares, a retired
lieutenant of the British navy, for Juan de Fuca (whose real name was
Apostolos Valerianos), a Greek pilot who, in 1592, was sent out in a
small "caravela" by the Viceroy of Mexico in search of the fabled
"Strait of Anian," or "Northwest Passage"--supposed to lead from the
Pacific to the Atlantic north of forty degrees of latitude.

As early as the year 1500 this strait was supposed to have been
discovered by a Portuguese navigator named Cortereal, and to have been
named by him for one of his brothers who accompanied him.

The names of certain other early navigators are mentioned in connection
with the "Strait of Anian." Cabot is reported vaguely as having located
it "neere the 318 meridian, between 61 and 64 degrees in the eleuation,
continuing the same bredth about 10 degrees West, where it openeth
Southerly more and more, until it come under the tropicke of Cancer, and
so runneth into Mar del Zur, at least 18 degrees more in bredth there
than where it began;" Frobisher; Urdaneta, "a Fryer of Mexico, who came
out of Mar del Zur this way into Germanie;" and several others whose
stories of having sailed the dream-strait that was then supposed to lead
from ocean to ocean are not now considered seriously until we come to
Juan de Fuca, who claimed that in his "caravela" he followed the coast
"vntill hee came to the latitude of fortie seuen degrees, and that there
finding that the land trended North and Northeast, with a broad Inlet of
Sea between 47 and 48 degrees of Latitude, hee entered thereinto,
sayling therein more than twenty days, and found that land trending
still sometime Northwest and Northeast and North, and also East and
Southeastward, and very much broader sea then was at said entrance, and
that hee passed by diuers Ilands in that sayling. And that at the
entrance of this said Strait, there is on the Northwest coast thereof, a
great Hedland or Iland, with an exceeding high pinacle or spired Rocke,
like a pillar, thereupon."

He landed and saw people clothed in the skins of beasts; and he reported
the land fruitful, and rich in gold, silver, and pearl.

Bancroft and some other historians consider the story of Juan de Fuca's
entrance to Puget Sound the purest fiction, claiming that his
descriptions are inaccurate and that no pinnacled or spired rock is to
be found in the vicinity mentioned.

Meares, however, and many people of intelligence gave it credence; and
when we consider the differences in the descriptions of other places by
early navigators, it is not difficult to believe that Juan de Fuca
really sailed into the strait that now bears his name. Schwatka speaks
of him as, "An explorer--if such he may be called--who never entered
this beautiful sheet of water, and who owes his immortality to an
audacious guess, which came so near the truth as to deceive the
scientific world for many a century."

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is more than eighty miles long and from ten
to twelve wide, with a depth of about six hundred feet. At the eastern
end it widens into an open sea or sound where beauty blooms like a rose,
and from which forest-bordered water-ways wind slenderly in every
direction.

From this vicinity, on clear days, may be seen the Olympic Mountains
floating in the west; Mount Rainier, in the south; the lower peaks of
the Crown Mountains in the north; and Mount Baker--or Kulshan, as the
Indians named it--in the east.

The Island of San Juan, lying east of the southern end of Vancouver
Island, is perhaps the most famous, and certainly the most historic, on
the Pacific Coast. It is the island that barely escaped causing a
declaration of war between Great Britain and the United States, over the
international boundary, in the late fifties. For so small an island,--it
is not more than fifteen miles long, by from six to eight wide,--it has
figured importantly in large affairs.

The earliest trouble over the boundary between Vancouver Island and
Washington arose in 1854. Both countries claimed ownership of San Juan
and other islands near by, the Oregon Treaty of 1846 having failed to
make it clear whether the boundary was through the Canal de Haro or the
Strait of Rosario.

I. N. Ebey, American Collector of Customs, learning that several
thousand head of sheep, cattle, and hogs had been shipped to San Juan
without compliance with customs regulations, visited the island and was
promptly insulted by a British justice of the peace. The _Otter_ made
her appearance in the harbor, bearing James Douglas, governor of
Vancouver Island and vice-admiral of the British navy; but nothing
daunted, Mr. Ebey stationed Inspector Webber upon the island, declaring
that he would continue to discharge his official duties. The final
trouble arose, however, in 1859, when an American resident shot a
British pig; and serious trouble was precipitated as swiftly as when a
United States warship was blown up in Havana Harbor. General Harney
hastily established military quarters on one end of the island, known as
the American Camp, Captain Pickett transferring his company from Fort
Bellingham for this purpose. English Camp was established on the
northern end. Warships kept guard in the harbors. Joint occupation was
agreed upon, and until 1871 the two camps were maintained, the
friendliest social relations existing between them. In that year the
Emperor of Germany was chosen as arbitrator, and decided in favor of the
United States, the British withdrawing the following year.

Until 1895 the British captain's house still stood upon its beautiful
bluff, a thousand feet above the winding blue bay, the shore descending
in steep, splendid terraces to the water, stairwayed in stone, and grown
with old and noble trees. Macadam roads led several miles across the
island; the old block-house of pioneer days remained at the water's
edge; and clustered around the old parade ground--now, alas! a meadow of
hay--were the quarters of the officers, overgrown with English ivy. The
captain's house, which has now been destroyed by fire, was a low,
eight-roomed house with an immense fireplace in each room; the old
claret- and ivory-striped wall-paper--which had been brought "around the
Horn" at immense cost--was still on the walls. Gay were the scenes and
royal the hospitalities of this house in the good days of the sixties.
Its site, commanding the straits, is one of the most effective on the
Pacific Coast; and at the present writing it is extremely probable that
a captain's house may again rise among the old trees on the terraced
bluff--but not for the occupancy of a British captain.

Every land may occasionally have a beautiful sunset, and many lands have
gorgeous and brilliant ones; but nowhere have they such softly burning,
milky-rose, opaline effects as on this inland sea.

Their enchanting beauty is doubtless due to the many wooded islands
which lift dark green forestated hills around open sweeps of water,
whereon settle delicate mists. When the fires of sunrise or of sunset
sink through these mists, the splendor of coloring is marvellous and not
equalled anywhere. It is as though the whole sound were one great opal,
which had broken apart and flung its escaping fires of rose, amethyst,
amber, and green up through the maze of trembling pearl above it. The
unusual beauty of its sunsets long ago gave Puget Sound the poetic name
of Opal-Sea or Sea of Opal.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

KASA-AN]



CHAPTER II


After passing the lighthouse on the eastern end of Vancouver Island,
Alaskan steamers continue on a northerly course and enter the Gulf of
Georgia through Active Pass, between Mayne and Galiana islands. This
pass is guarded by a light on Mayne Island, to the steamer's starboard,
going north.

The Gulf of Georgia is a bold and sweeping body of water. It is usually
of a deep violet or a warm purplish gray in tone. At its widest, it is
fully sixty miles--although its average width is from twenty to thirty
miles--and it rolls between the mainland and Vancouver Island for more
than one hundred miles.

The real sea lover will find an indescribable charm in this gulf, and
will not miss an hour of it. It has the boldness and the sweep of the
ocean, but the setting, the coloring, and the fragrance of the
forest-bordered, snow-peaked sea. A few miles above the boundary, the
Fraser River pours its turbulent waters into the gulf, upon whose dark
surface they wind and float for many miles, at sunrise and at sunset
resembling broad ribbons of palest old rose crinkled over waves of
silvery amber silk. At times these narrow streaks widen into still pools
of color that seem to float suspended over the heavier waters of the
gulf. Other times they draw lines of different color everywhere, or
drift solid banks of smoky pink out to meet others of clear blue, with
only the faintest thread of pearl to separate them. These islands of
color constitute one of the charms of this part of the voyage to
Alaska; along with the velvety pressure of the winds; the picturesque
shores, high and wooded in places, and in others sloping down into the
cool shadowy bays where the shingle is splashed by spent waves; and the
snow-peaks linked above the clouds on either side of the steamer.

Splendid phosphorescent displays are sometimes witnessed in the gulf,
but are more likely to occur farther north, in Grenville, or one of the
other narrow channels, where their brilliancy is remarkable.

Tourists to whom a whale is a novelty will be gratified, without fail,
in this vicinity. They are always seen sporting about the
ships,--sometimes in deadly conflict with one another,--and now and then
uncomfortably near.

In December, 1907, an exciting battle between a whale and a large buck
was witnessed by the passengers and crew of the steamer _Cassiar_, in
one of the bays north of Vancouver, on the vessel's regular run from
that city to northern ports.

When the _Cassiar_ appeared upon the scene, the whale was making furious
and frequent attacks upon the buck. Racing through the water, which was
lashed into foam on all sides by its efforts, it would approach close to
its steadily swimming prey and then disappear, only to come to the
surface almost under the deer. This was repeated a number of times,
strangely enough without apparent injury to the deer. Again, the whale
would make its appearance at the side of the deer and repeatedly
endeavor to strike it with its enormous tail; but the deer was
sufficiently wise to keep so close to the whale that this could not be
accomplished, notwithstanding the crushing blows dealt by the monster.

The humane passengers entreated the captain to go to the rescue of the
exhausted buck and save it from inevitable death. The captain ordered
full speed ahead, and at the approach of the steamer the whale curved
up out of the water and dived gracefully into the sea, as though making
a farewell, apologetic bow on its final disappearance.

Whereupon the humane passengers shot the helpless and worn-out buck at
the side of the steamer, and he was hauled aboard.

It may not be out of place to devote a few pages to the average tourist.
To the one who loves Alaska and the divinely blue, wooded, and
snow-pearled ways that lead to its final and sublime beauty, it is an
enduring mystery why certain persons--usually women--should make this
voyage. Their minds and their desires never rise above a whale or an
Indian basket; and unless the one is to be seen and the other to be
priced, they spend their time in the cabin, reading, playing cards, or
telling one another what they have at home.

"Do you know," said one of these women, yawning into the full glory of a
sunset, "we have sailed this whole day past Vancouver Island. Not a
thing to be seen but it and this water you call the Gulf of Georgia! I
even missed the whales, because I went to sleep, and I'd rather have
seen them than anything. If they don't hurry up some towns and
totem-poles, I'll be wishing I'd stayed at home. Do you play five
hundred?"

The full length of the _Jefferson_ was not enough to put between this
woman and the woman who had enjoyed every one of those purple
water-miles; every pearly cloud that had drifted across the pale blue
sky; every bay and fiord indenting the shore of the largest island on
the Pacific Coast; every humming-bird that had throbbed about us,
seeking a rose at sea; every thrilling scent that had blown down the
northern water-ways, bearing the far, sweet call of Alaska to senses
awake and trembling to receive it; who had felt her pulses beating full
to the throb of the steamer that was bearing her on to the land of her
dreams--to the land of Far Delight.

If only the players of bridge and the drinkers of pink tea would stay at
home, and leave this enchanted voyage for those who understand! There be
enough of the elect in the world who possess the usual five senses, as
well as that sixth sense which is of the soul, to fill every steamer
that sails for Alaska.

Or, the steamship companies might divide their excursions into
classes--some for those who love beauty, and some for those who love
bridge.

For the sea lover, it is enough only to stand in the bow of a steamer
headed for Alaska and hear the kiss and the rippling murmur of the waves
as they break apart when the sharp cut-water pierces them, and then
their long, musical rush along the steamer's sides, ere they reunite in
one broad wake of bowing silver that leads across the purple toward
home.

The mere vibration of a ship in these still inland seas is a physical
pleasure by day and a sensuous lullaby at night; while, in summer, the
winds are so soft that their touches seem like caresses.

The inlets and fiords extending for many miles into the mainland in this
vicinity are of great beauty and grandeur, many winding for forty or
fifty miles through walls of forestation and snow that rise sheer to a
height of eight or ten thousand feet. These inlets are very narrow,
sometimes mere clefts, through which the waters slip, clear, still, and
of deepest green. They are of unknown depth; the mountains are covered
with forests, over which rise peaks of snow. Cascades are numerous, and
their musical fall is increased in these narrow fastnesses to a roar
that may be heard for miles.

Passing Burrard Inlet, on which the city of Vancouver is situated, the
more important inlets are Howe, Jervis, from which Sechelt Arm leads
southward and is distinguished by the wild thunder of its rapids; Homery
Channel, Price Channel, which, with Lewis Channel on the west, forms
Redonda Island; Bute Inlet, which is the most beautiful and the most
important; Knight, Seymour, Kingcome, and Belize inlets.

The wild and picturesque beauty of these inlets has been praised by
tourists for many years. The Marquis of Lorne was charmed by the scenery
along Bute Inlet, which he extolled. It is about fifty miles in length
and narrows in places to a width of a half-mile. The shores rise in
sheer mountain walls, heavily forestated, to a height of seven and eight
thousand feet, their snowy crests overhanging the clear, green-black
waters of the narrow fiord. Many glaciers stream down from these peaks.

The Gulf of Georgia continues for a distance of one hundred miles in a
northwesterly direction between the mainland and Vancouver Island.
Texada, Redonda, and Valdes are the more important islands in the gulf.
Texada appears on the starboard, opposite Comox; the narrow strait
separating it from the mainland is named Malaspina, for the Italian
explorer. The largest glacier in the world, streaming into the sea from
Mount St. Elias, more than a thousand miles to the northwestward from
this strait, bears the same name.

Texada Island is twenty-eight miles long, with an average width of three
miles. It is wooded and mountainous, the leading peak--Mount
Shepard--rising to a height of three thousand feet. The lighthouse on
its shore is known as "Three Sisters Light."

Along the shores of Vancouver Island and the mainland are many ranches
owned and occupied by "remittance men." In these beautiful, lonely
solitudes they dwell with all the comforts of "old England," forming new
ties, but holding fast to old memories.

It is said that the woman who should have one day been the Queen of
England, lived near the city of Vancouver a few years ago. Before the
death of his elder brother, the present Prince of Wales passionately
loved the young and beautiful daughter of Admiral Seymour. His
infatuation was returned, and so desperately did the young couple plead
with the present King and the Admiral, that at last the prince was
permitted to contract a morganatic marriage.

The understanding and agreement were that, should the prince ever become
the heir to the throne of England, neither he nor his wife would oppose
the annulment of the marriage.

There was only one brief year of happiness, when the elder brother of
the prince died, and the latter's marriage to the Princess May was
demanded.

No murmur of complaint was ever heard from the unhappy morganatic wife,
nor from the royal husband; and when the latter's marriage was
solemnized, it was boldly announced that no bar to the union existed.

Here, in the western solitude, lived for several years--the veriest
remittance woman--the girl who should now, by the right of love and
honor, be the Princess of Wales; and whose infant daughter should have
been the heir to the throne.

To Vancouver, a few years ago, came, with his princess, the Prince of
Wales. The city was gay with flags and flowers, throbbing with music,
and filled with joyous and welcoming people. Somewhere, hidden among
those swaying throngs, did a pale young woman holding a child by the
hand, gaze for the last time upon the man she loved and upon the woman
who had taken her place? And did her long-tortured heart in that hour
finally break? It is said that she died within a twelvemonth.

Passing Cape Mudge lighthouse, Discovery Passage, sometimes called
Valdes Narrows, is entered. It is a narrow pass, twenty-four miles long,
between Vancouver and Valdes islands. Halfway through it is Seymour
Narrows, one of the most famous features of the "inside route," or
passage, to Alaska. Passengers are awakened, if they desire, that they
may be on deck while passing through these difficult narrows.

The Indian name of this pass is Yaculta.

"Yaculta is a wicked spirit," said the pilot, pacing the bridge at four
o'clock of a primrose dawn. "She lives down in the clear depths of these
waters and is supposed to entice guileless sailors to their doom.
Yaculta sleeps only at slack-tide, and then boats, or ships, may slip
through in safety, provided they do not make sufficient noise to awaken
her. If they try to go through at any other stage of the tide, Yaculta
stirs the whole pass into action, trying to get hold of them. Many's the
time I've had to back out and wait for Yaculta to quiet down."

If the steamer attempts the pass at an unfavorable hour, fearful seas
are found racing through at a fourteen-knot speed; the steamer is flung
from side to side of the rocky pass or sucked down into the boiling
whirlpools by Yaculta. The brown, shining strands of kelp floating upon
Ripple Reef, which carries a sharp edge down the centre of the pass, are
the wild locks of Yaculta's luxuriant hair.

Pilots figure, upon leaving Seattle, to reach the narrows during the
quarter-hour before or after slack-tide, when the water is found as
still and smooth as satin stretched from shore to shore, and not even
Yaculta's breathing disturbs her liquid coverlet.

Many vessels were wrecked here before the dangers of the narrows had
become fully known: the steamer _Saranac_, in 1875, without loss of
life; the _Wachusett_, in 1875; the _Grappler_, in 1883, which burned in
the narrows with a very large loss of life, including that of the
captain; and several less appalling disasters have occurred in these
deceptive waters.

Three miles below Cape Mudge the tides from Juan de Fuca meet those from
Queen Charlotte Sound, and force a fourteen-knot current through the
narrows. The most powerful steamers are frequently overcome and carried
back by this current.

Discovery Passage merges at Chatham Point into Johnstone Strait. Here
the first Indian village, Alert Bay, is seen to starboard on the
southern side of Cormorant Island. These are the Kwakiutl Indians, who
did not at first respond to the advances of civilization so readily as
most northern tribes. They came from their original village at the mouth
of the Nimpkish River, to work in the canneries on the bay, but did not
take kindly to the ways of the white man. A white child, said to have
been stolen from Vancouver, was taken from these Indians a few years
ago.

Some fine totem-poles have been erected here, and the graveyard has
houses built over the graves. From the steamer the little village
presents an attractive appearance, situated on a curving beach, with
wooded slopes rising behind it.

Gorgeous potlatches are held here; and until the spring of 1908 these
orgies were rendered more repulsive by the sale of young girls.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

HOWKAN]

Dr. Franz Boas, in his "Kwakiutl Texts," describes a game formerly
played with stone disks by the Kwakiutls. They also had a myth that a
game was played with these disks between the birds of the upper world
and the myth-people, that is, "all the animals and all the birds." The
four disks were called the "mist-covered gambling stone," the "rainbow
gambling stone," the "cloud-covered gambling stone," and the "carrier of
the world." The woodpecker and the other myth-birds played on one side;
the Thunder-bird and the birds of the upper air on the other. The
contestants were ranged in two rows; the gambling stones were thrown
along the middle between them, and they speared them with their beaks.
The Thunder-bird and the birds of the upper air were beaten. This myth
is given as an explanation of the reason for playing the game with the
gambling stones, which are called lælæ.

The Kwakiutls still play many of their ancient and picturesque gambling
games at their potlatches.

Johnstone Strait is fifty-five miles long, and is continued by Broughton
Strait, fifteen miles long, which enters Queen Charlotte Sound.

Here is a second, and smaller, Galiana Island, and on its western end is
a spired rock which, some historians assert, may be "the great headland
or island with an exceeding high pinnacle or spired rock thereon," which
Juan de Fuca claimed to discover, and which won for him the charge of
being an "audacious guesser" and an "unscrupulous liar." His believers,
however, affirm that, having sailed for twenty days in the inland sea,
he discovered this pinnacle at the entrance to what he supposed to be
the Atlantic Ocean; and so sailed back the course he had come, believing
himself to have been successful in discovering the famed strait of
Anian. Why Vancouver's mistakes, failures, and faults should all be
condoned, and Juan de Fuca's most uncompromisingly condemned, is
difficult to understand.

Fort Rupert, on the northern end of Vancouver Island, beyond Broughton
Strait, is an old Hudson's Bay post, situated on Beaver Harbor. The fort
was built in 1849, and was strongly defended, troubles frequently
arising from the attacks of Kwakiutl and Haidah Indians. Great
potlatches were held there, and the chief's lodge was as notable as was
the "Old-Man House" of Chief Seattle. It was one hundred feet long and
eighty feet wide, and rested on carved corner posts. There was an
immense wooden potlatch dish that held food for one hundred people.

Queen Charlotte Sound is a splendid sweep of purple water; but tourists
do not, usually, spend much time enjoying its beauty. Their berths
possess charms that endure until shelter of the islands is once more
assured, after the forty miles of open exposure to the swell of the
ocean which is not always mild, notwithstanding its name. Those who miss
it, miss one of the most beautiful features of the inland voyage. The
warm breath of the Kuro Siwo, penetrating all these inland seas and
passages, is converted by the great white peaks of the horizon into
pearl-like mist that drifts in clouds and fragments upon the blue
waters. Nowhere are these mists more frequent, nor more elusive, than in
Queen Charlotte Sound. They roll upon the sparkling surface like
thistle-down along a country lane--here one instant, vanished the next.
At sunrise they take on the delicate tones of the primrose or the
pinkish star-flower; at sunset, all the royal rose and purple blendings;
all the warm flushes of amber, orange, and gold. Through a maze of pale
yellow, whose fine cool needles sting one's face and set one's hair with
seed-pearls, one passes into a little open water-world where a blue sky
sparkles above a bluer sea, and the air is like clear, washed gold. But
a mile ahead a solid wall of amethyst closes in this brilliant sea; and
presently the steamer glides into it, shattering it into particles that
set the hair with amethysts, instead of pearls. Sometimes these clear
spaces resemble rooms walled in different colors, but ceiled and floored
in blue. Other times, the whole sound is clear, blue, shining; while
exquisite gossamers of changeful tints wrap and cling about the islands,
wind scarfs around the green hills, or set upon the brows of majestic
snow-monarchs crowns as jewelled and as evanescent as those worn by the
real kings of the earth. Now and then a lofty fir or cedar may be seen
draped with slender mist-veils as a maiden might wind a scarf of
cobwebby lace about her form and head and arms--so lightly and so
gracefully, and with such art, do the delicate folds trail in and out
among the emerald-green branches of the tree.

It is this warm and excessive moisture--this daily mist-shower--that
bequeaths to British Columbia and Alaska their marvellous and luxuriant
growth of vegetation, their spiced sweetness of atmosphere, their
fairness and freshness of complexion--blending and constituting that
indescribable charm which inspires one, standing on the deck of a
steamer at early dawn, to give thanks to God that he is alive and
sailing the blue water-ways of this sublime country.

"I don't know what it is that keeps pulling me back to this country,"
said a man in the garb of a laborer, one day. He stood down in the bow
of the steamer, his hands were in his pockets, his throat was bared to
the wind; his blue eyes--sunken, but burning with that fire which never
dies in the eyes of one who loves nature--were gazing up the pale-green
narrow avenue named Grenville Channel. "It's something that you can't
exactly put into words. You don't know that it's got hold of you while
you're up here, but before you've been 'outside' a month, all at once
you find it pulling at you--and after it begins, it never lets up. You
try to think what it is up here that you want so; what it is keeps
begging at you to come back. Maybe there ain't a darn soul up here you
care particular about! Maybe you ain't got an interest in a claim worth
hens' teeth! Maybe you're broke and know you'll have to work like a
go-devil when you get here! It don't make any difference. It's just
Alaska. It calls you and calls you and calls you. Maybe you can't come,
so you keep pretending you don't hear--but Lord, you do hear! Maybe
somebody shakes hands as if he liked you--and there's Alaska up and
calling right through you, till you feel your heart shake! Maybe a
phonograph sets up a tune they used to deal out at Magnuson's roadhouse
on the trail--and you hear that blame lonesome waterfall up in Keystone
Canyon calling you as plain as you hear the phonograph! Maybe you smell
something like the sun shining on snow, all mixed up with tundra and
salt air--and there's double quick action on your eyes and a lump in
your throat that won't be swallowed down! Maybe you see a white
mountain, or a green valley, or a big river, or a blue strait, or a
waterfall--and like a flash your heart opens, and shuts in an ache for
Alaska that stays!... No, I don't know _what_ it is, but I do know _how_
it is; and so does every other poor devil that ever heard that something
calling him that's just Alaska. It wakes you up in the middle of the
night, just as plain as if somebody had said your name out loud, and you
just lay there the rest of the night aching to go. I tell you what, if
ever a country had a spirit, it's Alaska; and when it once gets hold of
you and gets to calling you to come, you might just as well get up and
start, for it calls you and follows you, and haunts you till you do."

It is the pleading of the mountains and the pleading of the sea woven
into one call and sent floating down laden with the sweetness of the
splendid spaces. No mountaineer can say why he goes back to the
mountains; no sailor why he cannot leave the sea. No one has yet seen
the spirit that dwells in the waterfall, but all have heard it calling
and have known its spell.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

DISTANT VIEW OF DAVIDSON GLACIER]

"If you love the sea, you've got to follow it," said a sea-rover, "and
that's all there is to it. A man can get along without the woman he
loves best on earth if he has to, but he can't get along without the sea
if he once gets to loving it. It gets so it seems like a thing alive to
him, and it makes up for everything else that he don't have. And it's
just like that with Alaska. When a man has made two-three trips to
Alaska, you can't get him off on a southern run again, as long as he can
help himself."

It is an unimaginative person who can wind through these intricate and
difficult sounds, channels, and passes without a strange, quickened
feeling, as of the presence of those dauntless navigators who discovered
and charted these waters centuries ago. From Juan de Fuca northward they
seem to be sailing with us, those grim, brave spectres of the
past--Perez, Meares, Cuadra, Valdes, Malaspina, Duncan, Vancouver,
Whidbey--and all the others who came and went through these beautiful
ways, leaving their names, or the names of their monarchs, friends, or
sweethearts, to endure in blue stretches of water or glistening domes of
snow.

We sail in safety, ease, luxury, over courses along which they felt
their perilous way, never knowing whether Life or Death waited at the
turn of the prow. Nearly a century and a quarter ago Vancouver, working
his way cautiously into Queen Charlotte Sound, soon came to disaster,
both the _Discovery_ and her consort, the _Chatham_, striking upon the
rocks that border the entrance. Fortunately the return of the tide in a
few hours released them from their perilous positions, before they had
sustained any serious damage.

But what days of mingled indecision, hope, and despair--what nights of
anxious watching and waiting--must have been spent in these places
through which we glide so easily now; and the silent spirits of the
grim-peopled past take hold of our heedless hands and lead us on. Does a
pilot sail these seas who has never on wild nights felt beside him on
the bridge the presence of those early ones who, staring ever ahead
under stern brows, drove their vessels on, not knowing what perils lay
beyond? Who, asked, "What shall we do when hope be gone?" made answer,
"Why, sail on, and on, and on."

       *       *       *       *       *

From Queen Charlotte Sound the steamer passes into Fitzhugh Sound around
Cape Calvert, on Calvert Island. Off the southern point of this island
are two dangerous clusters of rocks, to which, in 1776, by Mr. James
Hanna, were given the interesting names of "Virgin" and "Pearl." In this
poetic vicinage, and nearer the island than either, is another cluster
of rocks, upon which some bold and sacrilegious navigator has bestowed
the name of "Devil."

"It don't sound so pretty and ladylike," said the pilot who pointed them
out, "but it's a whole lot more appropriate. Rocks _are_ devils--and
that's no joke; and what anybody should go and name them 'virgins' and
'pearls' for, is more than a man can see, when he's standing at a wheel,
hell-bent on putting as many leagues between him and them as he can. It
does seem as if some men didn't have any sense at all about naming
things. Now, if I were going to name anything 'virgin'"--his blue eyes
narrowed as they stared into the distance ahead--"it would be a mountain
that's always white; or a bay that gets the first sunshine in the
morning; or one of those little islands down in Puget Sound that's just
_covered_ with flowers."

Just inside Fitzhugh Sound, on the island, is Safety Cove, or Oatsoalis,
which was named by Mr. Duncan in 1788, and which has ever since been
known as a safe anchorage and refuge for ships in storm. Vancouver,
anchoring there in 1792, found the shores to be bold and steep, the
water from twenty-three to thirty fathoms, with a soft, muddy bottom.
Their ships were steadied with hawsers to the trees. They found a small
beach, near which was a stream of excellent water and an abundance of
wood. Vessels lie here at anchor when storms or fogs render the passage
across Queen Charlotte Sound too perilous to be undertaken.

Fitzhugh Sound is but a slender, serene water-way running directly
northward thirty miles. On its west, lying parallel with the mainland,
are the islands of Calvert, Hecate, Nalau, and Hunter, separated by the
passages of Kwakshua, Hakai, and Nalau, which connect Fitzhugh with the
wide sweep of Hecate Strait.

Burke Channel, the second link in the exquisite water chain that winds
and loops in a northwesterly course between the islands of the Columbian
and the Alexander archipelagoes and the mainland of British Columbia and
Alaska, is scarcely entered by the Alaskan steamer ere it turns again
into Fisher Channel, and from this, westward, into the short, very
narrow, but most beautiful Lama Pass.

From Burke Channel several ribbonlike passages form King Island.

Lama Pass is more luxuriantly wooded than many of the others, and is so
still and narrow that the reflections of the trees, growing to the
water's edge, are especially attractive. Very effective is the graveyard
of the Bella Bella Indians, in its dark forest setting, many totems and
curious architectures of the dead showing plainly from the steamer when
an obliging captain passes under slow bell. Near by, on Campbell Island,
is the village of the Bella Bellas, who, with the Tsimpsians and the
Alert Bay Indians, were formerly regarded as the most treacherous and
murderous Indians of the Northwest Coast. Now, however, they are
gathered into a model village, whose houses, church, school, and stores
shine white and peaceful against a dark background.

Lama Pass is one of the most poetic of Alaskan water-ways.

Seaforth Channel is the dangerous reach leading into Millbank Sound. It
is broken by rocks and reefs, on one of which, Rejetta Reef, the
_Willapa_ was stranded ten years ago. Running off Seaforth and Millbank
are some of the finest fiords of the inland passage--Spiller, Johnston,
Dean, Ellerslie, and Portlock channels, Cousins and Cascades inlets, and
many others. Dean and Cascades channels are noted for many waterfalls of
wonderful beauty. The former is ten miles long and half a mile wide.
Cascades Inlet extends for the same distance in a northeasterly
direction, opening into Dean. Innumerable cataracts fall sheer and
foaming down their great precipices; the narrow canyons are filled with
their musical, liquid thunder, and the prevailing color seems to be
palest green, reflected from the color of the water underneath the
beaded foam. Vancouver visited these canals and named them in 1793, and
although, seemingly, but seldom moved by beauty, was deeply impressed by
it here. He considered the cascades "extremely grand, and by much the
largest and most tremendous we had ever beheld, their impetuosity
sending currents of air across the canal."

These fiords are walled to a great height, and are of magnificent
beauty. Some are so narrow and so deep that the sunlight penetrates only
for a few hours each day, and eternal mist and twilight fill the spaces.
In others, not disturbed by cascades, the waters are as clear and smooth
as glass, and the stillness is so profound that one can hear a cone fall
upon the water at a distance of many yards. Covered with constant
moisture, the vegetation is of almost tropic luxuriance. In the shade,
the huge leaves of the devil's-club seem to float, suspended, upon the
air, drooping slightly at the edges when touched by the sun. Raspberries
and salmon-berries grow to enormous size, but are so fragile and
evanescent that they are gone at a breath, and the most delicate care
must be exercised in securing them. They tremble for an instant between
the tongue and the palate, and are gone, leaving a sensation as of
dewdrops flavored with wine; a memory as haunting and elusive as an
exquisite desire known once and never known again.

In Dean Canal, Vancouver found the water almost fresh at low tide, on
account of the streams and cascades pouring into it.

There he found, also, a remarkable Indian habitation; a square, large
platform built in a clearing, thirty feet above the ground. It was
supported by several uprights and had no covering, but a fire was
burning upon one end of it.

In Cascade Canal he visited an Indian village, and found the
construction of the houses there very curious. They apparently backed
straight into a high, perpendicular rock cliff, which supported their
rears; while the fronts and sides were sustained by slender poles about
eighteen feet in height.

Vancouver leaves the method of reaching the entrances to these houses to
the reader's imagination.

It was in this vicinity that Vancouver first encountered "split-lipped"
ladies. Although he had grown accustomed to distortions and mutilations
among the various tribes he had visited, he was quite unprepared for the
repulsive style which now confronted him.

A horizontal incision was made about three-tenths of an inch below the
upper part of the lower lip, extending from one corner of the mouth to
the other, entirely through the flesh; this orifice was then by degrees
stretched sufficiently to admit an ornament made of wood, which was
confined close to the gums of the lower jaws, and whose external surface
projected horizontally.

These wooden ornaments were oval, and resembled a small platter, or
dish, made concave on both sides; they were of various lengths, the
smallest about two inches and a half; the largest more than three inches
long, and an inch and a half broad.

They were about one-fifth of an inch thick, and had a groove along the
middle of the outside edge to receive the lip.

These hideous things were made of fir, and were highly polished. Ladies
of the greatest distinction wore the largest labrets. The size also
increased with age. They have been described by Vancouver, Cook,
Lisiansky, La Pérouse, Dall, Schwatka, Emmans, and too many others to
name here; but no description can quite picture them to the liveliest
imagination. When the "wooden trough" was removed, the incision gave the
appearance of two mouths.

All chroniclers unite as to the hideousness and repulsiveness of the
practice.

Of the Indians in the vicinity of Fisher Channel, Vancouver remarks,
without a glimmer of humor himself, that the vivacity of their
countenance indicated a lively genius; and that, from their frequent
bursts of laughter, it would appear that they were great humorists, for
their mirth was not confined to their own people, but was frequently at
the expense of his party. They seemed a happy, cheerful people. This is
an inimitable English touch; a thing that no American would have
written, save with a laugh at himself.

Poison Cove in Mussel Canal, or Portlock Canal, was so named by
Vancouver, whose men ate roasted mussels there. Several were soon seized
with numbness of the faces and extremities. In spite of all that was
done to relieve their sufferings, one--John Carter--died and was buried
in a quiet bay which was named for him.

Millbank Sound, named by Mr. Duncan before Vancouver's arrival, is open
to the ocean, but there is only an hour's run before the shelter of the
islands is regained; so that, even when the weather is rough, but slight
discomfort is experienced by the most susceptible passengers. The finest
scenery on the regular steamer route, until the great snow fields and
glaciers are reached, is considered by many well acquainted with the
route, to lie from Millbank on to Dixon Entrance. The days are not long
enough now for all the beauty that weighs upon the senses like caresses.
At evening, the sunset, blooming like a rose upon these splendid
reaches, seems to drop perfumed petals of color, until the still air is
pink with them, and the steamer pushes them aside as it glides through
with faint throbbings that one feels rather than hears.

Through Finlayson Channel, Heikish Narrows, Graham, Fraser, and McKay
reaches, Grenville Channel,--through all these enchanting water avenues
one drifts for two hundred miles, passing from one reach to another
without suspecting the change, unless familiar with the route, and so
close to the wooded shores that one is tormented with the desire to
reach out one's hand and strip the cool green spruce and cedar needles
from the drooping branches.

Each water-way has its own distinctive features. In Finlayson Channel
the forestation is a solid mountain of green on each side, growing down
to the water and extending over it in feathery, flat sprays. Here the
reflections are so brilliant and so true on clear days, that the
dividing line is not perceptible to the vision. The mountains rise sheer
from the water to a great height, with snow upon their crests and
occasional cataracts foaming musically down their fissures. Helmet
Mountain stands on the port side of the channel, at the entrance.

There's something about "Sarah" Island! I don't know what it is, and
none of the mariners with whom I discussed this famous island seems to
know; but the fact remains that they are all attached to "Sarah."

Down in Lama Pass, or possibly in Fitzhugh Sound, one hears casual
mention of "Sarah" in the pilot-house or chart-room. Questioned, they do
not seem to be able to name any particular feature that sets her apart
from the other islands of this run.

"Well, there she is!" exclaimed the captain, at last. "Now, you'll see
for yourself what there is about Sarah."

It is a long, narrow island, lying in the northern end of Finlayson
Channel. Tolmie Channel lies between it and Princess Royal Island;
Heikish Narrows--a quarter of a mile wide--between it and Roderick
Island. Through Heikish the steamer passes into the increasing beauty of
Graham Reach.

"Now, there!" said the captain. "If you can tell me what there is about
that island, you can do more than any skipper _I_ know can do; but just
the same, there isn't one of us that doesn't look forward to passing
Sarah, that doesn't give her particular attention while we are passing,
and look back at her after we're in Graham Reach. She isn't so little
... nor so big.... The Lord knows she isn't so pretty!" He was silent
for a moment. Then he burst out suddenly: "I'm blamed if _I_ know what
it is! But it's just so with some women. There's something about a
woman, now and then, and a man can't tell, to save his soul, what it is;
only, he doesn't forget her. You see, a captain meets hundreds of women;
and he has to be nice to every one. If he is smart, he can make every
woman think she is just running the ship--but Lord! he wouldn't know one
of them if he met her next week on the street ... only now and then ...
in years and years ... _one!_ And that one he can't forget. He doesn't
know what there is about her, any more than he knows what there is about
'Sarah.' Maybe he doesn't know the color of her eyes nor the color of
her hair. Maybe she's married, and maybe she's single--for that isn't
it. He isn't in love with her--at least I guess he isn't. It's just that
she has a way of coming back to him. Say he sees the Northern Lights
along about midnight--and that woman comes like a flash and stands there
with him. After a while it gets to be a habit with him when he gets into
a port, to kind of look over the crowds for some one. For a minute or
two he feels almost as if he _expected_ some one to meet him; then he
knows he's disappointed about somebody not being there. He asks himself
right out who it is. And all at once he remembers. Then he calls himself
an ass. If she was the kind of woman that runs to docks to see boats
come in, he'd laugh and gas with her--but he wouldn't be thinking of her
till she pushed herself on him again."

The captain sighed unconsciously, and taking down a chart from the
ceiling, spread it out upon a shelf and bent over it. I looked at Sarah,
with her two lacy cascades falling like veils from her crown of snow.
Already she was fading in the distance--yet how distinguished was she!
How set apart from all others!

Then I fell to thinking of the women. What kind are they--_the ones that
stay!_ The one that comes at midnight and stands silent beside a man
when he sees the Northern Lights, even though he is not in love with
her--what kind of woman is she?

"Captain," I said, a little later, "I want to add something to Sarah's
name."

"What is it?" said he, scowling over the chart.

"I want to name her '_Sarah, the Remembered_.'"

He smiled.

"All right," said he, promptly. "I'll write that on the chart."

And what an epitaph that would be for a woman--"The Remembered!" If one
only knew upon whose bit of marble to grave it.

Fraser and McKay reaches follow Graham, and then is entered Wright
Sound, a body of water of great, and practically unknown, depth. This
small sound feeds six channels leading in different directions, one of
which--Verney Pass--leads through Boxer Reach into the famed
magnificence and splendor of Gardner Canal, whose waters push for fifty
miles through dark and towering walls. An immense, glaciered mountain
extends across the end of the canal.

Gardner Canal--named by Vancouver for Admiral Sir Alan Gardner, to whose
friendship and recommendation he was indebted for the command of the
expedition to Nootka and the Northwest Coast--is doubtless the grandest
of British Columbian inlets or fiords. At last, the favorite two
adjectives of the Vancouver expedition--"tremendous" and
"stupendous"--seem to have been most appropriately applied. Lieutenant
Whidbey, exploring it in the summer of 1793, found that it "presented to
the eye one rude mass of almost naked rocks, rising into rugged
mountains, more lofty than he had before seen, whose towering summits,
seeming to overhang their bases, gave them a _tremendous_ appearance.
The whole was covered with perpetual ice and snow that reached, in the
gullies formed between the mountains, close down to the high-water mark;
and many waterfalls of various dimensions were seen to descend in every
direction."

This description is quoted in full because it is an excellent example of
the descriptions given out by Vancouver and his associates, who, if they
ever felt a quickening of the pulses in contemplation of these majestic
scenes, were certainly successful in concealing such human emotions from
the world. True, they did occasionally chronicle a "pleasant" breeze, a
"pleasing" landscape which "reminded them of England;" and even, in the
vicinity of Port Townsend, they were moved to enthusiasm over a
"landscape almost as enchantingly beautiful as the most elegantly
finished pleasure-grounds in Europe," which called to their remembrance
"certain delightful and beloved situations in Old England."

But apparently, having been familiar only with pleasing pastoral scenes,
they were not able to rise to an appreciation of the sublime in nature.
"Elegant" is the mincing and amusing adjective applied frequently to
snow mountains by Vancouver; he mentions, also, "spacious meadows,
elegantly adorned with trees;" but when they arrive at the noble beauty
which arouses in most beholders a feeling of exaltation and an
appreciation of the marvellous handiwork of God, Vancouver and his
associates, having never seen anything of the kind in England, find it
only "tremendous," or "stupendous," or a "rude mass." They would have
probably described the chaste, exquisite cone of Shishaldin on Unimak
Island--as peerless and apart in its delicate beauty among mountains as
Venice is among cities--as "a mountain covered with snow to the very sea
and having a most elegant point."

There are many mountains more than twice the height of Shishaldin, but
there is nowhere one so beautiful.

Great though our veneration must be for those brave mariners of early
years, their apparent lack of appreciation of the scenery of Alaska is
to be deplored. It has fastened upon the land an undeserved reputation
for being "rugged" and "gloomy"--two more of their adjectives; of being
"ice-locked, ice-bound, and ice-bounded." We may pardon them much, but
scarcely the adjective "grotesque," as applied to snow mountains.

Grenville Channel is a narrow, lovely reach, extending in a
northwestward direction from Wright Sound for forty-five miles, when it
merges into Arthur Passage. In its slender course it curves neither to
the right nor to the left.

In this reach, at one o'clock one June day, the thrilling cry of "man
overboard" ran over the decks of the _Santa Ana_. There were more than
two hundred passengers aboard, and instantly an excited and dangerous
stampede to starboard and stern occurred; but the captain, cool and
stern on the bridge, was equal to the perilous situation. A life-boat
was ordered lowered, and the steerage passengers were quietly forced to
their quarters forward. Life-buoys, life-preservers, chairs, ropes, and
other articles were flung overboard, until the water resembled a
junk-shop. Through them all, the man's dark, closely shaven head could
be seen, his face turned from the steamer, as he swam fiercely toward
the shore against a strong current. The channel was too narrow for the
steamer to turn, but a boat was soon in hot pursuit of the man who was
struggling fearfully for the shore, and who was supposed to be too
bewildered to realize that he was headed in the wrong direction. What
was our amazement, when the boat finally reached him, to discover, by
the aid of glasses, that he was resisting his rescuers. There was a long
struggle in the water before he was overcome and dragged into the boat.

He was a pitiable sight when the boat came level with the hurricane
deck; wild-eyed, gray-faced, shuddering like a dog; his shirt torn open
at the throat and exposing its tragic emaciation; his glance flashing
wildly from one face to another, as though in search of one to be
trusted--he was an object to command the pity of the coldest heart. In
his hand was still gripped his soft hat which he had taken from his head
before jumping overboard.

"What is it, my man?" asked the captain, kindly, approaching him.

The man's wild gaze steadied upon the captain and seemed to recognize
him as one in authority.

"They've been trying to kill me, sir, all the way up."

"Who?"

The poor fellow shuddered hard.

"They," he said. "They're on the boat. I had to watch them night and
day. I didn't dast go to sleep. It got too much; I couldn't stand it. I
had to get ashore. I'd been waiting for this channel because it was so
narrow. I thought the current 'u'd help me get away. I'm a good
swimmer."

"A better one never breasted a wave! Take him below. Give him dry
clothes and some whiskey, and set a watch over him."

The poor wretch was led away; the crowd drifted after him. Pale and
quiet, the captain went back to the chart-room and resumed his slow
pacing forth and back.

"I wish tragedies of body and soul would not occur in such beautiful
lengths of water," he said at last. "I can never sail through Grenville
Channel again without seeing that poor fellow's haggard face and wild,
appealing eyes. And after Gardner Canal, there is not another on the
route more beautiful than this!"

Two inlets open into Grenville Channel on the starboard going north,
Lowe and Klewnuggit,--both affording safe anchorage to vessels in
trouble. Pitt Island forms almost the entire western shore--a
beautifully wooded one--of the channel. There is a salmon cannery in
Lowe Inlet, beside a clear stream which leaps down from a lake in the
mountains. The waters and shores of Grenville have a clear, washed
green, which is springlike. In many of the other narrow ways the waters
are blue, or purple, or a pale blue-gray; but here they suddenly lead
you along the palest of green, shimmering avenues, while mountains of
many-shaded green rise steeply on both sides, glimmering away into
drifts of snow, which drop threads of silver down the sheer heights.

This shaded green of the mountains is a feature of Alaskan landscapes.
Great landslides and windfalls cleave their way from summit to sea,
mowing down the forests in their path. In time the new growth springs up
and streaks the mountain side with lighter green.

Probably one-half of the trees in southeastern Alaska are the Menzies
spruce, or Sitka pine. Their needles are sharp and of a bluish green.

The Menzies spruce was named for the Scotch botanist who accompanied
Vancouver.

The Alaska cedar is yellowish and lacy in appearance, with a graceful
droop to the branches. It grows to an average height of one hundred and
fifty feet. Its wood is very valuable.

Arbor-vitæ grows about the glaciers and in cool, dim fiords. Birch,
alder, maple, cottonwood, broom, and hemlock-spruce are plentiful, but
are of small value, save in the cause of beauty.

The Menzies spruce attains its largest growth in the Alexander
Archipelago, but ranges as far south as California. The Douglas fir is
not so abundant as it is farther south, nor does it grow to such great
size.

The Alaska cedar is the most prized of all the cedars. It is in great
demand for ship-building, interior finishing, cabinet-making, and other
fine work, because of its close texture, durable quality, and aromatic
odor, which somewhat resembles that of sandalwood. In early years it was
shipped to Japan, where it was made into fancy boxes and fans, which
were sold under guise of that scented Oriental wood. Its lasting
qualities are remarkable--sills having been found in perfect
preservation after sixty years' use in a wet climate. Its pleasant odor
is as enduring as the wood. The long, slender, pendulous fruits which
hang from the branches in season, give the tree a peculiarly graceful
and appealing appearance.

The western white pine is used for interior work. It is a magnificent
tree, as seen in the forest, having bluish green fronds and cones a foot
long.

The giant arbor-vitæ attains its greatest size close to the coast. The
wood splits easily and makes durable shingles. It takes a brilliant
polish and is popular for interior finishing. Its beauty of growth is
well known.

Wherever there is sufficient rainfall, the fine-fronded hemlock may be
found tracing its lacelike outlines upon the atmosphere. There is no
evergreen so delicately lovely as the hemlock. It stands apart, with a
little air of its own, as a fastidious small maid might draw her skirts
about her when common ones pass by.

The spruces, firs, and cedars grow so closely together that at a
distance they appear as a solid wall of shaded green, varying from the
lightest beryl tints, on through bluish grays to the most vivid and
dazzling emerald tones. At a distance canyons and vast gulches are
filled so softly and so solidly that they can scarcely be detected, the
trees on the crests of the nearer hills blending into those above, and
concealing the deep spaces that sink between.

These forests have no tap-roots. Their roots spread widely upon a thin
layer of soil covering solid stone in many cases, and more likely than
not this soil is created in the first place by the accumulation of
parent needles. Trees spring up in crevices of stone where a bit of sand
has sifted, grow, fruit, and shed their needles, and thrive upon them.
The undergrowth is so solid that one must cut one's way through it, and
the progress of surveyors or prospectors is necessarily slow and
difficult.

These forests are constantly drenched in the warm mists precipitated by
the Kuro Siwo striking upon the snow, and in this quickening moisture
they reach a brilliancy of coloring that is remarkable. At sunset,
threading these narrow channels, one may see mountain upon mountain
climbing up to crests of snow, their lower wooded slopes covered with
mists in palest blue and old rose tones, through which the tips of the
trees, crowded close together, shine out in brilliant, many-shaded
greens.

After Arthur Passage is that of Malacca, which is dotted by several
islands. "Lawyer's," to starboard, bears a red light; "Lucy," to port,
farther north, a fixed white light. Directly opposite "Lucy"--who does
not rival "Sarah," or who in the pilot's words "has nothing about
her"--is old Metlakahtla.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

DAVIDSON GLACIER]



CHAPTER III


The famous ukase of 1821 was issued by the Russian Emperor on the
expiration of the twenty-year charter of the Russian-American Company.
It prohibited "to all foreign vessels not only to land on the coasts and
islands belonging to Russia, as stated above" (including the whole of
the northwest coast of America, beginning from Behring Strait to the
fifty-first degree of northern latitude, also from the Aleutian Islands
to the eastern coast of Siberia, as well as along the Kurile Islands
from Behring Strait to the south cape of the Island of Urup) "but also
to approach them within less than one hundred miles."

After the Nootka Convention in 1790, the Northwest Coast was open to
free settlement and trade by the people of any country. It was claimed
by the Russians to the Columbia, afterward to the northern end of
Vancouver Island; by the British, from the Columbia to the fifty-fifth
degree; and by the United States, from the Rocky Mountains to the
Pacific, between Forty-two and Fifty-four, Forty. By the treaty of 1819,
by which Florida was ceded to us by Spain, the United States acquired
all of Spanish rights and claims on the coast north of the forty-second
degree. By its trading posts and regular trading vessels, the United
States was actually in possession.

By treaty with the United States in 1824, and with Great Britain in
1825, Russia, realizing her mistake in issuing the ukase of 1821, agreed
to Fifty-four, Forty as the limit of her possessions to southward. Of
the interior regions, Russia claimed the Yukon region; England, that of
the Mackenzie and the country between Hudson Bay and the Rocky
Mountains; the United States, all west of the Rockies, north of
Forty-two.

The year previous to the one in which the United States acquired Florida
and all Spanish rights on the Pacific Coast north of Forty-two, the
United States and England had agreed to a joint occupation of the
region. In 1828 this was indefinitely extended, but with the emigration
to Oregon in the early forties, this country demanded a settlement of
the boundary question.

President Tyler, in his message to Congress in 1843, declared that "the
United States rights appertain to all between forty-two degrees and
fifty-four degrees and forty minutes."

The leading Democrats of the South were at that time advocating the
annexation of Texas. Mr. Calhoun was an ardent champion of the cause,
and was endeavoring to effect a settlement with the British minister,
offering the forty-ninth parallel as a compromise on the boundary
dispute, in his eagerness to acquire Texas without danger of
interference.

The compromise was declined by the British minister.

In 1844 slave interests defeated Mr. Van Buren in his aspirations to the
presidency. Mr. Clay was nominated instead. The latter opposed the
annexation of Texas and advised caution and compromise in the Oregon
question; but the Democrats nominated Polk and under the war-cry of
"Fifty-four, Forty, or Fight," bore him on to victory. The convention
which nominated him advocated the reannexation of Texas and the
reoccupation of Oregon; the two significant words being used to make it
clear that Texas had belonged to us before, through the Louisiana
purchase; and Oregon, before the treaty of joint occupation with Great
Britain.

President Polk, in his message, declared that, "beyond all question, the
protection of our laws and our jurisdiction, civil and criminal, ought
to be immediately extended over our citizens in Oregon."

He quoted from the convention which had nominated him that "our title to
the country of Oregon as far as Fifty-four, Forty, is clear and
unquestionable;" and he boldly declared "for all of Oregon or none."

John Quincy Adams eloquently supported our title to the country to the
line of Fifty-four, Forty in a powerful speech in the House of
Representatives.

Yet it soon became apparent that both the Texas policy and the Oregon
question could not be successfully carried out during the
administration. "Fifty-four, Forty, or Fight" as a watchword in a
presidential campaign was one thing, but as a challenge to fight flung
in the face of Great Britain, it was quite another.

In February, 1846, the House declared in favor of giving notice to Great
Britain that the joint occupancy of the Oregon country must cease. The
Senate, realizing that this resolution was practically a declaration of
war, declined to adopt it, after a very bitter and fiery controversy.

Those who retreated from their first position on the question were hotly
denounced by Senator Hannegan, the Democratic senator from Indiana. He
boldly attacked the motives which led to their retreat, and angrily
exclaimed:--

"If Oregon were good for the production of sugar and cotton, it would
not have encountered this opposition."

The resolution was almost unanimously opposed by the Whig senators. Mr.
Webster, while avoiding the point of our actual rights in the matter,
urged that a settlement on the line of the forty-ninth parallel be
recommended, as permitting both countries to compromise with dignity
and honor. The resolution that was finally passed by the Senate and
afterward by the House, authorized the president to give notice at his
discretion to Great Britain that the treaty should be terminated, "in
order that the attention of the governments of both countries may be the
more earnestly directed to the adoption of all proper measures for a
speedy and amicable adjustment of the differences and disputes in regard
to said territory."

Forever to their honor be it remembered that a few of the Southern
Democrats refused to retreat from their first position--among them,
Stephen A. Douglas. Senator Hannegan reproached his party for breaking
the pledges on which it had marched to victory.

The passage of the milk-and-water resolution restored to the timid of
the country a feeling of relief and security; but to the others, and to
the generations to come after them, helpless anger and undying shame.

The country yielded was ours. We gave it up solely because to retain it
we must fight, and we were not in a position at that time to fight Great
Britain.

When the Oregon Treaty, as it was called, was concluded by Secretary
Buchanan and Minister Pakenham, we lost the splendid country now known
as British Columbia, which, after our purchase of Alaska from Russia,
would have given us an unbroken frontage on the Pacific Ocean from
Southern California to Behring Strait, and almost to the mouth of the
Mackenzie River on the Frozen Ocean.

Many reasons have been assigned by historians for the retreat of the
Southern Democrats from their former bold and flaunting position; but in
the end the simple truth will be admitted--that they might brag, but
were not in a position to fight. They were like Lieutenant Whidbey, whom
Vancouver sent out to explore Lynn Canal in a small boat. Mr. Whidbey
was ever ready and eager, when he deemed it necessary, to fire upon a
small party of Indians; but when they met him, full front, in formidable
numbers and with couched spears, he instantly fell into a panic and
deemed it more "humane" to avoid a conflict with those poor, ignorant
people.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

A PHANTOM SHIP]

The Southern Democrats who betrayed their country in 1846 were the
Whidbeys of the United States. For no better reason than that of
"humanity," they gave nearly four hundred thousand square miles of
magnificent country to Great Britain.

Another problem in this famous boundary settlement question has
interested American historians for sixty years: Why England yielded so
much valuable territory to the United States, after protecting what she
claimed as her rights so boldly and so unflinchingly for so many years.

Professor Schafer, the head of the Department of American History at the
University of Oregon, claims to have recently found indisputable proof
in the records of the British Foreign Office and those of the old
Hudson's Bay Company, in London, that the abandonment of the British
claim was influenced by the presence of American pioneers who had pushed
across the continent and settled in the disputed territory, bringing
their families and founding homes in the wilderness.

England knew, in her heart, that the whole disputed territory was ours;
and as our claims were strengthened by settlement, she was sufficiently
far-sighted to be glad to compromise at that time. If the Oregon Treaty
had been delayed for a few years, British Columbia would now be ours.
Proofs which strengthen our claim were found in the winter of 1907-1908
in the archives of Sitka.

There would be more justice in our laying claim to British Columbia now,
than there was in the claims of Great Britain in the famous _lisière_
matter which was settled in 1903.

By the treaties of 1824, between Russia and the United States, and of
1825, between Russia and Great Britain, the limits of Russian
possessions are thus defined, and upon our purchase of Alaska from
Russia, were repeated in the Treaty of Washington in 1867:--

"Commencing from the southernmost point of the island called Prince of
Wales Island, which point lies in the parallel of fifty-four degrees and
forty minutes north latitude, and between the one hundred and
thirty-first and the one hundred and thirty-third degree of west
longitude (meridian of Greenwich), the said line shall ascend to the
North along the channel called Portland Channel, as far as the point of
the continent where it strikes the fifty-sixth degree of north latitude;
from this last mentioned point, the line of demarcation shall follow the
summit of the mountains situated parallel to the coast as far as the
point of intersection of the one hundred and forty-first degree of west
longitude (of the same meridian); and finally, from the said point of
intersection, the said meridian line of the one hundred and forty-first
degree, in its prolongation as far as the Frozen Ocean, shall form the
limit between the Russian and British possessions on the Continent of
America to the northwest.

"With reference to the line of demarcation laid down in the preceding
article, it is understood:--

"First, That the island called Prince of Wales Island shall belong
wholly to Russia.

"Second, That whenever the summit of the mountains which extend parallel
to the coast from the fifty-sixth degree of north latitude to the point
of intersection of the one hundred and forty-first degree of west
longitude shall prove to be at the distance of more than ten marine
leagues from the ocean, the limit between the British possessions and
the line of coast which is to belong to Russia as above mentioned shall
be formed by a line parallel to the windings of the coast, and which
shall never exceed the distance of ten marine leagues therefrom.

"The western limit within which the territories and dominion conveyed
are contained, passes through a point in Behring Strait on the parallel
of sixty-five degrees, thirty minutes, north latitude, at its
intersection by the meridian which passes midway between the islands of
Krusenstern, or Ignalook, and the island of Ratmanoff, or Noonarbook,
and proceeds due north, without limitation, into the same Frozen Ocean.
The same western limit, beginning at the same initial point, proceeds
thence in a course nearly southwest, through Behring Strait and Behring
Sea, so as to pass midway between the northwest point of the island of
St. Lawrence and the southeast point of Cape Choukotski, to the meridian
of one hundred and seventy-two west longitude; thence, from the
intersection of that meridian in a southwesterly direction, so as to
pass midway between the island of Attou and the Copper Island of the
Kormandorski couplet or group in the North Pacific Ocean, to the
meridian of one hundred and ninety-three degrees west longitude, so as
to include in the territory conveyed the whole of the Aleutian Islands
east of that meridian."

In the cession was included the right of property in all public lots and
squares, vacant lands, and all public buildings, fortifications,
barracks, and other edifices, which were not private individual
property. It was, however, understood and agreed that the churches which
had been built in the ceded territory by the Russian government should
remain the property of such members of the Greek Oriental Church
resident in the territory as might choose to worship therein. All
government archives, papers, and documents relative to the territory and
dominion aforesaid which were existing there at the time of transfer
were left in possession of the agent of the United States; with the
understanding that the Russian government or any Russian subject may at
any time secure an authenticated copy thereof.

The inhabitants of the territory were given their choice of returning to
Russia within three years, or remaining in the territory and being
admitted to the enjoyment of all rights, advantages, and immunities of
citizens of the United States, protected in the free enjoyment of their
liberty, property, and religion.

It must be confessed with chagrin that very few Russians availed
themselves of this opportunity to free themselves from the supposed
oppression of their government, to unite with the vaunted glories of
ours.

Before 1825, Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and the United States had
no rights of occupation and assertion on the Northwest Coast. Different
nations had "planted bottles" and "taken possession" wherever their
explorers had chanced to land, frequently ignoring the same ceremony on
the part of previous explorers; but these formalities did not weigh
against the rights of discovery and actual occupation by Russia--else
Spain's rights would have been prior to Great Britain's.

Between the years of 1542 and 1774 Spanish explorers had examined and
traced the western coast of America as far north as fifty-four degrees
and forty minutes, Perez having reached that latitude in 1774,
discovering Queen Charlotte Islands on the 16th of June, and Nootka
Sound on the 9th of August.

Although he did not land, he had friendly relations with the natives,
who surrounded his ship, singing and scattering white feathers as a
beautiful token of peace. They traded dried fish, furs, and ornaments of
their own making for knives and old iron; and two, at least, boarded the
ship.

Perez named the northernmost point of Queen Charlotte Islands Point
Santa Margarita.

Proceeding south, he made a landfall and anchored in a roadstead in
forty-nine degrees and thirty minutes, which he called San
Lorenzo--afterward the famous Nootka of Vancouver Island. He also
discovered the beautiful white mountain which dignifies the entrance to
Puget Sound, and named it Santa Rosalia. It was renamed Mount Olympus
fourteen years later by John Meares.

This was the first discovery of the Northwest Coast, and when Cook and
Vancouver came, it was to find that the Spanish had preceded them.

Not content with occupying the splendid possessions of the United States
through the not famous, but infamous, Oregon Treaty, Canada, upon the
discovery of gold in the Cassiar district of British Columbia, brought
up the question of the _lisière_, or thirty-mile strip. This was the
strip of land, "not exceeding ten marine leagues in width," which
bordered the coast from the southern limit of Russian territory at
Portland Canal (now the southern boundary of Alaska) to the vicinity of
Mount St. Elias. The purpose of this strip was stated by the Russian
negotiations to be "the establishment of a barrier at which would be
stopped, once for all, to the North as to the West of the coast allotted
to our American Company, the encroachments of the English agents of the
Amalgamated Hudson Bay and Northwest English Company."

In 1824, upon the proposal of Sir Charles Bagot to assign to Russia a
strip with the uniform width of ten marine leagues from the shore,
limited on the south by a line between thirty and forty miles north from
the northern end of the Portland Canal, the Russian Plenipotentiaries
replied:--

"The motive which caused the adoption of the principle of mutual
expediency to be proposed, and the most important advantage of this
principle, is to prevent the respective establishments on the Northwest
Coast from injuring each other and entering into collision.

"The English establishments of the Hudson Bay and Northwest companies
have a tendency to advance westward along the fifty-third and
fifty-fourth degrees of north latitude.

"The Russian establishments of the American Company have a tendency to
descend southward toward the fifty-fifth parallel and beyond; for it
should be noted that, if the American Company has not yet made permanent
establishments on the mathematical line of the fifty-fifth degree, it is
nevertheless true that by virtue of its privilege of 1799, against which
privilege no power has ever protested, it is exploiting the hunting and
the fishing in these regions, and that it regularly occupies the islands
and the neighboring coasts during the season, which allows it to send
its hunters and fishermen there.

"It was, then, to the mutual advantage of the two Empires to assign just
limits to this advance on both sides, which, in time, could not fail to
cause most unfortunate complications.

"It was also to their mutual advantage to fix their limits according to
natural partitions, which always constitute the most distinct and
certain frontiers.

"For these reasons the Plenipotentiaries of Russia have proposed as
limits upon the coast of the continent, to the South, Portland Channel,
the head of which lies about (par) the fifty-sixth degree of north
latitude, and to the East, the chain of mountains which follows at a
very short distance the sinuosities of the coast."

Sir Charles Bagot urged the line proposed by himself and offered, on the
part of Great Britain, to include the Prince of Wales Island within the
Russian line.

Russia, however, insisted upon having her _lisière_ run to the Portland
Canal, declaring that the possession of Wales Island, without a slice
(portion) of territory upon the coast situated in front of that island,
could be of no utility whatever to Russia; that any establishment formed
upon said island, or upon the surrounding islands, would find itself, as
it were, flanked by the English establishments on the mainland, and
completely at the mercy of these latter.

England finally yielded to the Russian demand that the _lisière_ should
extend to the Portland Canal.

The claim that the Canadian government put forth, after the discovery of
gold had made it important that Canada should secure a short line of
traffic between the northern interior and the ocean, was that the
wording of certain parts of the treaty of 1825 had been wrongly
interpreted. The Canadians insisted that it was not the meaning nor the
intention of the Convention of 1825 that there should remain in the
exclusive possession of Russia a continuous fringe, or strip--the
_lisière_--of coast, separating the British possessions from the bays,
ports, inlets, havens, and waters of the ocean.

Or, if it should be decided that this was the meaning of the treaty,
they maintained that the width of the _lisière_ was to be measured from
the line of the general direction of the mainland coast, and not from
the heads of the many inlets.

They claimed, also, that the broad and beautiful "Portland's Canal" of
Vancouver and the "Portland Channel" of the Convention of 1825, were the
Pearse Channel or Inlet of more recent times. This contention, if
sustained, would give them our Wales and Pearse islands.

It was early suspected, however, that this claim was only made that they
might have something to yield when, as they hoped, their later claim to
Pyramid Harbor and the valley of the Chilkaht River should be made and
upheld. This would give them a clear route into the Klondike territory.

In 1898 a Joint High Commission was appointed for the consideration of
Pelagic Fur Sealing, Commercial Reciprocity, and the Alaska Boundary.
The Commission met in Quebec. The discussion upon the boundary continued
for several months, the members being unable to agree upon the meaning
of the wording of the treaty of 1825.

The British and Canadian members, thereupon, unblushingly proposed that
the United States should cede to Canada Pyramid Harbor and a strip of
land through the entire width of the _lisière_.

To Americans who know that part of our country, this proposal came as a
shock. Pyramid Harbor is the best harbor in that vicinity; and its
cession, accompanied by a highway through the _lisière_ to British
possessions, would have given Canada the most desirable route at that
time to the Yukon and the Klondike--the rivers upon which the eyes of
all nations were at that time set. Many routes into that rich and
picturesque region had been tested, but no other had proved so
satisfactory.

It has since developed that the Skaguay route is the real prize. Had
Canada foreseen this, she would not have hesitated to demand it.

From the disagreement of the Joint High Commission of 1898 arose the
modus vivendi of the following year. There has been a very general
opinion that the temporary boundary points around the heads of the
inlets at the northern end of Lynn Canal, laid down in that year, were
fixed for all time--although it seems impossible that this opinion could
be held by any one knowing the definition of the term "modus vivendi."

By the modus vivendi Canada was given temporary possession of valuable
Chilkaht territory, and her new maps were made accordingly.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

ROAD THROUGH CUT-OFF CANYON]

In 1903 a tribunal composed of three American members and three
representing Great Britain, two of whom were Canadians, met in Great
Britain, to settle certain questions relating to the _lisière_.

The seven large volumes covering the arguments and decisions of this
tribunal, as published by the United States government, make intensely
interesting and valuable reading to one who cares for Alaska.

The majority of the tribunal, that is to say, Lord Alverstone and the
three members from the United States, decided that the Canadians have no
rights to the waters of any of the inlets, and that it was the meaning
of the Convention of 1825 that the _lisière_ should for all time
separate the British possessions from the bays, ports, inlets, and
waters of the ocean north of British Columbia; and that, furthermore,
the width of the _lisière_ was not to be measured from the line of the
general direction of the mainland coast, leaping the bays and inlets,
but from a line running around the heads of such indentations.

The tribunal, however, awarded Pearse and Wales islands, which belonged
to us, to Canada; it also narrowed the _lisière_ in several important
points, notably on the Stikine and Taku rivers.

The fifth question, however, was the vital one; and it was answered in
our favor, the two Canadian members dissenting. The boundary lines have
now been changed on both United States and Canadian maps, in conformity
with the decisions of the tribunal.

Blaine, Bancroft, and Davidson have made the clearest statements of the
boundary troubles.



CHAPTER IV


The first landing made by United States boats after leaving Seattle is
at Ketchikan. This is a comparatively new town. It is seven hundred
miles from Seattle, and is reached early on the third morning out. It is
the first town in Alaska, and glistens white and new on its gentle hills
soon after crossing the boundary line in Dixon Entrance--which is always
saluted by the lifting of hats and the waving of handkerchiefs on the
part of patriotic Americans.

Ketchikan has a population of fifteen hundred people. It is the
distributing point for the mines and fisheries of this section of
southeastern Alaska. It is the present port of entry, and the Customs
Office adds to the dignity of the town. There is a good court-house, a
saw-mill with a capacity of twenty-five thousand feet daily, a shingle
mill, salmon canneries, machine shops, a good water system, a cold
storage plant, two excellent hotels, good schools and churches, a
progressive newspaper, several large wharves, modern and well-stocked
stores and shops, and a sufficient number of saloons. The town is
lighted by electricity and many of the buildings are heated by steam. A
creditable chamber of commerce is maintained.

There are seven salmon canneries in operation which are tributary to
Ketchikan. The most important one "mild-cures" fish for the German
market.

Among the "shipping" mines, which are within a radius of fifty miles,
and which receive mails and supplies from Ketchikan, are the Mount
Andrews, the Stevenston, the Mamies, the Russian Brown, the Hydah, the
Niblack, and the Sulzer. From fifteen to twenty prospects are under
development.

There are smelters in operation at Hadley and Copper Mountain, on Prince
of Wales Island. From Ketchikan to all points in the mining and fishing
districts safe and commodious steamers are regularly operated. The chief
mining industries are silver, copper, and gold.

The residences are for the most part small, but, climbing by green
terraces over the hill and surrounded by flowers and neat lawns, they
impart an air of picturesqueness to the town. There are several
totem-poles; the handsomest was erected to the memory of Chief "Captain
John," by his nephew, at the entrance to the house now occupied by the
latter. The nephew asserts that he paid $2060 for the carving and making
of the totem. Owing to its freshly painted and gaudy appearance, it is
as lacking in interest as the one which stands in Pioneer Square,
Seattle, and which was raped from a northern Indian village.

       *       *       *       *       *

Four times had I landed at Ketchikan on my way to far beautiful places;
with many people had I talked concerning the place; folders of steamship
companies and pamphlets of boards of trade had I read; yet never from
any person nor from any printed page had I received the faintest glimmer
that this busy, commercially described northwestern town held, almost in
its heart, one of the enduring and priceless jewels of Alaska. To the
beauty-loving, Norwegian captain of the steamship _Jefferson_ was I at
last indebted for one of the real delights of my life.

It was near the middle of a July night, and raining heavily, when the
captain said to us:--

"Be ready on the stroke of seven in the morning, and I'll show you one
of the beautiful things of Alaska."

"But--at Ketchikan, captain!"

"Yes, at Ketchikan."

I thought of all the vaunted attractions of Ketchikan which had ever
been brought to my observation; and I felt that at seven o'clock in the
morning, in a pouring rain, I could live without every one of them.
Then--the charm of a warm berth in a gray hour, the cup of hot coffee,
the last dream to the drowsy throb of the steamer--

"It will be raining, captain," one said, feebly.

The look of disgust that went across his expressive face!

"What if it is! You won't know it's raining as soon as you get your eyes
filled with what I want to show you. But if you're one of _that_ kind--"

He made a gesture of dismissal with his hands, palms outward, and turned
away.

"Captain, I shall be ready at seven. I'm not one of that kind," we all
cried together.

"All right; but I won't wait five minutes. There'll be two hundred
passengers waiting to go."

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

SCENE ON THE WHITE PASS]

"You know that letter that Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote to Professor
Morse," spoke up a lady from Boston, who had overheard. "You know
Professor Morse wrote a hand that couldn't be deciphered, and among
other things, Mr. Aldrich wrote: 'There's a singular and perpetual charm
in a letter of yours; it never grows old; it never loses its novelty.
One can say to one's self every day: "There's that letter of Morse's. I
have not read it yet. I think I shall take another shy at it." Other
letters are read and thrown away and forgotten; but yours are kept
forever--unread!' Now, that letter, somehow, in the vaguest kind of way,
suggests itself when one considers this getting up anywhere from three
to six in the morning to see things in Alaska. There's _always_
something to be seen during these unearthly hours. Every night we are
convinced that we will be on deck early, to see something, and we leave
an order to be wakened; but when the dreaded knocking comes upon the
door, and a hoarse voice announces 'Wrangell Narrows,' or 'Lama Pass,'
our berths suddenly take on curves and attractions they possess at no
other time. The side-rails into which we have been bumping seem to be
cushioned with down, the space between berths to grow wider, the air in
the room sweeter and more drowsily delicious. We say, 'Oh, we'll get up
to-morrow morning and see something,' and we pull the berth-curtain down
past our faces and go to sleep. After a while, it grows to be one of the
perpetual charms of a trip to Alaska--this always going to get up in the
morning and this never getting up. It never grows old; it never loses
its novelty. One can say to one's self every morning: 'There's that
little matter to decide now about getting up. Shall I, or shall I not?'
I have been to Alaska three times, but I've never seen Ketchikan. Other
places are seen and admired and forgotten; but it remains
forever--unseen.... Now, I'll go and give an order to be called at
half-past six, to see this wonderful thing at Ketchikan!"

I looked around for her as I went down the slushy deck the next morning
on the stroke of seven; but she was not in sight. It was raining heavily
and steadily--a cold, thick rain; the wind was so strong and so
changeful that an umbrella could scarcely be held.

Alas for the captain! Out of his boasted two hundred passengers, there
came forth, dripping and suspicious-eyed, openly scenting a joke, only
four women and one man. But the captain was undaunted. He would listen
to no remonstrances.

"Come on, now," he cried, cheerfully, leading the way. "You told me you
came to Alaska to see things, and as long as you travel with me, you are
going to see all that is worth seeing. Let the others sleep. Anybody
can sleep. You can sleep at home; but you can't see what I am going to
show you now anywhere but in Alaska. Do you suppose I would get up at
this hour and waste my time on you, if I didn't know you'd thank me for
it all the rest of your life?"

So on and on we went; up one street and down another; around sharp
corners; past totem-poles, saloons, stylish shops, windows piled with
Indian baskets and carvings; up steps and down terraces; along gravelled
roads; and at last, across a little bridge, around a wooded curve,--and
then--

Something met us face to face. I shall always believe that it was the
very spirit of the woods that went past us, laughing and saluting,
suddenly startled from her morning bath in the clear, amber-brown stream
that came foaming musically down over smooth stones from the mountains.

It was so sudden, so unexpected. One moment, we were in the little
northern fishing- and mining-town, which sits by the sea, trumpeting its
commercial glories to the world; the next, we were in the forest, and
under the spell of this wild, sweet thing that fled past us, returned,
and lured us on.

For three miles we followed the mocking call of the spirit of the brown
stream. Her breath was as sweet as the breath of wild roses covered with
dew. Never in the woods have I been so impressed, so startled, with the
feeling that a living thing was calling me.

We could find no words to express our delight as we climbed the path
beside the brown stream, whose waters came laughingly down through a
deep, dim gorge. They fell sheer in sparkling cataracts; they widened
into thin, singing shallows of palest amber, clinking against the
stones; narrow and foaming, they wound in and out among the trees; they
disappeared completely under wide sprays of ferns and the flat,
spreading branches of trees, only to "make a sudden sally" farther down.

At first we were level with them, walked beside them, and paused to
watch the golden gleams in their clear depths; but gradually we climbed,
until we were hundreds of feet above them.

Down in those purple shadows they went romping on to the sea; sometimes
only a flash told us where they curved; other times, they pushed out
into open spaces, and made pause in deep pools, where they whirled and
eddied for a moment before drawing together and hurrying on. But always
and everywhere the music of their wild, sweet, childish laughter floated
up to us.

In the dim light of early morning the fine mist of the rain sinking
through the gorge took on tones of lavender and purple. The tall trees
climbing through it seemed even more beautiful than they really were, by
the touch of mystery lent by the rain.

I wish that Max Nonnenbruch, who painted the adorable, compelling "Bride
of the Wind," might paint the elfish sprite that dwells in the gorge at
Ketchikan. He, and he alone, could paint her so that one could hear her
impish laughter, and her mocking, fluting call.

The name of the stream I shall never tell. Only an unimaginative modern
Vancouver or Cook could have bestowed upon it the name that burdens it
to-day. Let it be the "brown stream" at Ketchikan.

If the people of the town be wise, they will gather this gorge to
themselves while they may; treasure it, cherish it, and keep it
"unspotted from the world"--yet _for_ the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

Metlakahtla means "the channel open at both ends." It was here that Mr.
William Duncan came in 1857, from England, as a lay worker for the
Church Mission Society. It had been represented that existing
conditions among the natives sorely demanded high-minded missionary
work. The savages at Fort Simpson were considered the worst on the coast
at that time, and he was urged not to locate there. Undaunted, however,
Mr. Duncan, who was then a very young man, filled with the fire and zeal
of one who has not known failure, chose this very spot in which to begin
his work--among Indians so low in the scale of human intelligence that
they had even been accused of cannibalism.

Port Simpson was then an important trading-post of the Hudson Bay
Company. It had been established in the early thirties about forty miles
up Nass River, but a few years later was removed to a point on the
Tsimpsian Peninsula. In 1841 Sir George Simpson found about fourteen
thousand Indians, of various tribes, living there. He found them
"peculiarly comely, strong, and well-grown ... remarkably clever and
ingenious."

They carved neatly in stone, wood, and ivory. Sir George Simpson relates
with horror that the savages frequently ate the dead bodies of their
relatives, some of whom had died of smallpox, even after they had become
putrid. They were horribly diseased in other ways; and many had lost
their eyes through the ravages of smallpox or other disease. They fought
fiercely and turbulently with other tribes.

Such were the Indians among whom Mr. Duncan chose to work. He was
peculiarly fitted for this work, being possessed of certain unusual
qualities and attributes of character which make for success.

The unselfishness and integrity of his nature made themselves visible in
his handsome face, and particularly in the direct gaze of his large and
intensely earnest blue eyes; his manners were simple, and his air was
one of quiet command; he had unfailing cheerfulness, faith, and that
quality which struggles on under the heaviest discouragement with no
thought of giving up.

His word was as good as his bond; his energy and enthusiasm were
untiring, and he never attempted to work his Indians harder than he
himself worked. The entire absence of that trait which seeks self-praise
or self-glory,--in fact, his absolute self-effacement, his devotion of
self and self-interest to others, and to hard and humble work for
others,--all these high and noble parts of an unusual and lovable
character, added to a most winning and attractive personality, gradually
won for young William Duncan the almost Utopian success which many
others in various parts of the world have so far worked for in vain.

The Indians grew to trust his word, to believe in his sincerity and
single-heartedness, to accept his teachings, to love him, and finally,
and most reluctantly of all, to work for him.

At first only fifty of the Tsimsheans, or Tsimpsians, accompanied him to
the site of his first community settlement. Here the land was cleared
and cultivated; neat two-story cottages, a church, a schoolhouse, stores
on the coöperative plan, a saw-mill, and a cannery, were erected by Mr.
Duncan and the Indians. At first a corps of able assistants worked with
Mr. Duncan, instructing the Indians in various industries and arts,
until the young men were themselves able to carry along the different
branches of work,--such as carpentry, shoemaking, cabinet building,
tanning, rope-making, and boat building. The village band was instructed
by a German, until one among them was qualified to become their
band-master. The women were taught to cook, to sew, to keep house, to
weave, and to care for the sick.

Here was a model village, an Utopian community, an ideal life,--founded
and carried on by the genius of one young, simple-hearted, high-minded,
earnest, and self-devoted English gentleman.

But William Duncan's way, although strewn with the full sweet roses of
success, was not without its bitter, stinging thorns. Mr. Duncan was not
an ordained minister, and in 1881 it was decided by the Church of
England authorities who had sent Mr. Duncan out, that his field should
be formed into a separate diocese, and as this decision necessitated the
residence of a bishop, Bishop Ridley was sent to the field--a man whose
name will ever stand as a dark blot upon the otherwise clean page
whereon is written the story which all men honor and all men praise--the
story of the exalted life-work of William Duncan.

Mr. Duncan, being a layman, had conducted services of the simplest
nature, and had not considered it advisable to hold communion services
which would be embarrassing of explanation to people so recently won
from the customs of cannibalism. Bigoted and opinionated, and failing
utterly to understand the Indians, to win their confidence, or to
exercise patience with them, Bishop Ridley declined to be under the
direction of a man who was not ordained, and criticised the form of
service held by Mr. Duncan. The latter, having been in sole charge of
his work for more than thirty years, and being conscious of its full and
unusual results, chafed under the Bishop's supervision and
superintendence.

In the meantime, seven other missions had been established at various
stations in southeastern Alaska. The Bishop undertook to inaugurate
communion services. This was strongly opposed by Mr. Duncan, and he was
supported by the Indians, who were sincerely attached to him, the
Society in England sympathizing with the Bishop. Friction between the
two was ceaseless and bitter, and continued until 1887. This has
been given out as the cause of the withdrawal of Mr. Duncan
to New Metlakahtla; but his own people--graduates of Eastern
universities--claim that it is not the true reason. He and his Indians
had for some time desired to be under the laws of the United States, and
in 1887 Mr. Duncan went to Washington City to negotiate with the United
States for Annette Island. The Bishop established himself in residence,
but failed ignominiously to win the respect of the Indians. He
quarrelled with them in the commonest way, struck them, went among them
armed, and finally appealed to a man-of-war for protection from people
whom he considered bloodthirsty savages.

Mr. Duncan, having been successful in his mission to Washington, his
faithful followers, during his absence, removed to Annette Island, and
here he found on his return all but one hundred out of the original
eight hundred which had composed his village on the Bishop's
arrival--the few having been persuaded to remain with the latter at Old
Metlakahtla. Those who went to the new location on Annette were allowed
by the Canadian government to take nothing but their personal property;
all their houses, public buildings, and community interests being
sacrificed to their devotion to William Duncan--and this is, perhaps,
the highest, even though a wordless, tribute that this great man will,
living or dead, ever receive.

This story, brief and incomplete, of which we gather up the threads as
best we may--for William Duncan dwells in this world to work, and not to
talk about his work--is one of the most pathetic in history. When one
considers the low degree of savagery from which they had struggled up in
thirty years of hardest, and at times most discouraging, labor, to a
degree of civilization which, in one respect, at least, is reached by
few white people in centuries, if ever; when one considers how they had
grown to a new faith and to a new form of religious services, to
confidence in the possession of homes and other community property, and
to believe their title to them to be enduring; when one considers the
tenacity of an Indian's attachment to his home and belongings, and his
sorrowful and heart-breaking reluctance to part with them--this shadowy,
silent migration through northern waters to a new home on an uncleared
island, taking almost nothing with them but their religion and their
love for Mr. Duncan, becomes one of the sublime tragedies of the
century.

On Annette Island, then, twenty years ago, Mr. Duncan's work was taken
up anew. Homes were built; a saw-mill, schools, wharf, cannery, store,
town hall, a neat cottage for Mr. Duncan, and finally, in 1895, the
large and handsome church, rose in rapid succession out of the
wilderness. Roads were built, and sidewalks. A trading schooner soon
plied the near-by waters. All was the work of the Indians under the
direct supervision of Mr. Duncan, who, in 1870, had journeyed to England
for the purpose of learning several simple trades which he might, in
turn, teach to the Indians whom he fondly calls his "people." Thus
personally equipped, and with such implements and machinery as were
required, he had returned to his work.

To-day, at the end of twenty years, the voyager approaching Annette
Island, beholds rising before his reverent eyes the new Metlakahtla--the
old having sunken to ruin, where it lies, a vanishing stain on the fair
fame of the Church of England of the past; for the church of to-day is
too broad and too enlightened to approve of the action of its Mission
Society in regard to its most earnest and successful worker, William
Duncan.

The new town shines white against a dark hill. The steamer lands at a
good wharf, which is largely occupied by salmon canneries. Sidewalks
and neat gravelled paths lead to all parts of the village. The buildings
are attractive in their originality, for Mr. Duncan has his own ideas of
architecture. The church, adorned with two large square towers, has a
commanding situation, and is a modern, steam-heated building, large
enough to seat a thousand people, or the entire village. It is of
handsome interior finish in natural woods. Above the altar are the
following passages: _The angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I
bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people....
Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their
sins._

The cottages are one and two stories in height, and are surrounded by
vegetable and flower gardens, of which the women seem to be specially
proud. They and the smiling children stand at their gates and on corners
and offer for sale baskets and other articles of their own making. These
baskets are, without exception, crudely and inartistically made; yet
they have a value to collectors by having been woven at Metlakahtla by
Mr. Duncan's Indian women, and no tourist fails to purchase at least
one, while many return to the steamer laden with them.

There is a girls' school and a boys' school; a hotel, a town hall,
several stores, a saw-mill, a system of water-works, a cannery capable
of packing twenty thousand cases of salmon in a season, a wharf, and
good warehouses and steam-vessels.

The community is governed by a council of thirty members, having a
president. There is a police force of twenty members. Taxes are levied
for public improvements, and for the maintenance of public institutions.
The land belongs to the community, from which it may be obtained by
individuals for the purpose of building homes. The cannery and the
saw-mill, which is operated by water, belong to companies in which
stock is held by Indians who receive dividends. The employees receive
regular wages.

The people seem happy and contented. They are deeply attached to Mr.
Duncan, and very proud of their model town. They have an excellent band
of twenty-one pieces, at the mere mention of which their dark faces take
on an expression of pride and pleasure, and their black eyes shine into
their questioner's eyes with intense interest; in fact, if one desires
to steady the gaze and hold the attention of a Metlakahtla Indian, he
can most readily accomplish his purpose by introducing the subject of
the village band.

It is a surprise that these Indians do not, generally, speak English
more fluently; but this is coming with the younger generations. Some of
these young men and young women have been graduated from Eastern
colleges, and have returned to take up missionary work in various parts
of Alaska. Meeting one of these young men on a steamer, I asked him if
he knew Mr. Duncan. The smile of affection and pride that went across
his face! "_I am one of his boys_," he replied, simply. This was the
Reverend Edward Marsden, who, returning from an Eastern college in 1898,
began missionary work at Saxman, near Juneau, where he has been very
successful.

Mr. Duncan is exceedingly modest and unassuming in manner and bearing,
seeming to shrink from personal attention, and to desire that his work
shall speak for itself. He is frequently called "Father," which is
exceedingly distasteful to him. Visitors seeking information are welcome
to spend a week or two at the guest-house and learn by observation and
by conversation with the people what has been accomplished in this ideal
community; but, save on rare occasions, he cannot be persuaded to dwell
upon his own work, and after he has given his reasons for this
attitude, only a person lost to all sense of decency and delicacy would
urge him to break his rule of silence.

"I am here to work, and not to talk or write about my work," he says,
kindly and cordially. "If I took the time to answer one-tenth of the
questions I am asked, verbally and by letter, I would have no time left
for my work, and my time for work is growing short. I am an old
man,"--his beautiful, intensely blue eyes smiled as he said this, and he
at once shook his white-crowned head,--"that is what they are saying of
me, but it is not true. I am young, I _feel_ young, and have many more
years of work ahead of me. Still, I must confess that I do not work so
easily, and my cares are multiplying. Some to whom I make this
explanation will not respect my wishes or understand my silence. They
press me by letter, or personally, to answer only this question or only
that. They are inconsiderate and hamper me in my work."

Possibly this is the key-note to Mr. Duncan's success. "Here is my work;
let it speak for itself." He has devoted his whole life to his work,
with no thought for the fame it may bring him. For the latter, he cares
nothing.

This is the reason that pilgrims voyage to Metlakahtla as reverently as
to a shrine. It is the noble and unselfish life-work of a man who has
not only accomplished a great purpose, but who is great in himself. When
he passes on, let him be buried simply among the Indians he has loved
and to whom he has given his whole life, and write upon his headstone:
"Let his work speak."

The settlement on Annette Island was provided for in the act of
Congress, 1891, as follows:--

"That, until otherwise provided for by law, the body of lands known as
Annette Islands, situated in Alexander Archipelago in southeastern
Alaska, on the north side of Dixon Entrance, be, and the same is hereby,
set apart as a reservation for the Metlakahtla Indians, and those
people known as Metlakahtlans, who have recently emigrated from British
Columbia to Alaska, and such other Alaskan natives as may join them, to
be held and used by them in common, under such rules and regulations,
and subject to such restrictions, as may be prescribed from time to time
by the Secretary of the Interior."

The Indians of the Community are required to sign, and to fulfil the
terms of, the following Declaration:--

"We, the people of Metlakahtla, Alaska, in order to secure to ourselves
and our posterity the blessings of a Christian home, do severally
subscribe to the following rules for the regulation of our conduct and
town affairs:--

"To reverence the Sabbath and to refrain from all unnecessary secular
work on that day; to attend divine worship; to take the Bible for our
rule of faith; to regard all true Christians as our brethren; and to be
truthful, honest, and industrious.

"To be faithful and loyal to the Government and laws of the United
States.

"To render our votes when called upon for the election of the Town
Council, and to promptly obey the by-laws and orders imposed by the said
Council.

"To attend to the education of our children and keep them at school as
regularly as possible.

"To totally abstain from all intoxicants and gambling, and never attend
heathen festivities or countenance heathenish customs in surrounding
villages.

"To strictly carry out all sanitary regulations necessary for the health
of the town.

"To identify ourselves with the progress of the settlement, and to
utilize the land we hold.

"Never to alienate, give away, or sell our land, or any portion thereof,
to any person or persons who have not subscribed to these rules."



CHAPTER V


Dixon Entrance belongs to British Columbia, but the boundary crosses its
northern waters about three miles above Whitby Point on Dundas Island,
and the steamer approaches Revilla-Gigedo Island. It is twenty-five by
fifty miles, and was named by Vancouver in honor of the Viceroy of New
Spain, who sent out several of the most successful expeditions. It is
pooled by many bits of turquoise water which can scarcely be dignified
by the name of lakes.

Carroll Inlet cleaves it half in twain. The exquisite gorges and
mountains of this island are coming to their own very slowly, as
compared with its attractions from a commercial point of view.

The island is in the centre of a rich salmon district, and during the
"running" season the clear blue waters flash underneath with the
glistening silver of the struggling fish. In some of the fresh-water
streams where the hump-backed salmon spawn, the fortunate tourist may
literally make true the frequent Western assertion that at certain times
"one can walk across on the solid silver bridge made by the salmon"--so
tightly are they wedged together in their desperate and pathetic
struggles to reach the spawning-ground.

Vancouver found these "hunch-backs," as he called them, not to his
liking,--probably on account of finding them at the spawning season.

Leaving Ketchikan, Revilla and Point Higgins are passed to
starboard--Higgins being another of Vancouver's choice namings for the
president of Chile.

"Did you ever see such a cluttering up of a landscape with odds and ends
of names?" said the pilot one day. "And all the ugliest by Vancouver.
Give _me_ an Indian name every time. It always means something. Take
this Revilly-Gig Island; the Indians called it 'Na-a,' meaning 'the far
lakes,' for all the little lakes scattered around. I don't know as we're
doing much better in our own day, though," he added, staring ahead with
a twinkle in his eyes. "They've just named a couple of mountains _Mount
Thomas Whitten_ and _Mount Shoup_! Now those names are all right for
men--even congressmen--but they're not worth shucks for mountains. Why,
the Russians could do better! Take Mount St. Elias--named by Behring
because he discovered it on St. Elias' day. I actually tremble every
time I pass that mountain, for fear I'll look up and see a sign tacked
on it, stating that the name has been changed to Baker or Bacon or
Mudge, so that Vancouver's bones will rest more easily in the grave. Now
look at that point! It's pretty enough in itself; but--_Higgins!_"

The next feature of interest, however, proved to be blessed with a name
sweet enough to take away the bitterness of many others--Clover Pass. It
was not named for this most fragrant and dear of all flowers, but for
Lieutenant, now Rear-Admiral, Clover, of the United States Navy.

Beyond Clover Pass, at the entrance to Naha Bay, is Loring, a large and
important cannery settlement of the Alaska Packers' Association. There
is only one salmon-canning establishment in Alaska, or even on the
Northwest Coast, more picturesquely situated than this, and it is nearly
two thousand miles "to Westward," at the mouth of the famed Karluk
River, where the same company maintains large canneries and successful
hatcheries. It will be described in another chapter.

A trail leads from Loring through the woods to Dorr Waterfall, in a
lovely glen. In Naha Bay thousands of fish are taken at every dip of the
seine in the narrowest cove, which is connected with a chain of small
lakes linked by the tiniest of streams. In summer these waters seem to
be of living silver, so thickly are they swarmed with darting and
curving salmon.

Not far from Naha Bay is Traitor's Cove, where Vancouver and his men
were attacked in boats by savages in the masks of animals, headed by an
old hag who commanded and urged them to bloodthirsty deeds.

This vixen seemed to be a personage of prestige and influence, judging
both by the immense size of her lip ornament and her air of command. She
seized the lead line from Vancouver's boat and made it fast to her own
canoe, while another stole a musket.

Vancouver, advancing to parley with the chief, made the mistake of
carrying his musket; whereupon about fifty savages leaped at him, armed
with spears and daggers.

The chief gave him to understand by signs that they would lay down their
arms if he would set the example; but the terrible old woman, scenting
peace and scorning it, violently and turbulently harangued the tribe and
urged it to attack.

The brandishing of spears and the flourishing of daggers became so
uncomfortably close and insistent, that Vancouver finally overcame his
"humanity," and fired into the canoes.

The effect was electrical. The Indians in the small canoes instantly
leaped into the water and swam for the shore; those in the larger ones
tipped the canoes to one side, so that the higher side shielded them
while they made the best of their way to the shore.

There they ascended the rocky cliffs and stoned the boats. Several of
Vancouver's men were severely wounded, one having been speared
completely through the thigh.

The point at the northern entrance to Naha Bay, where they landed to
dress wounds and take account of stock not stolen, was named Escape
Point; a name which it still retains.

Kasa-an Bay is an inlet pushing fifteen miles into the eastern coast of
Prince of Wales Island, which is two hundred miles in length and
averages forty in width. Cholmondeley Sound penetrates almost as far,
and Moira Sound, Niblack Anchorage on North Arm, Twelve Mile Arm, and
Skowl Arm, are all storied and lovely inlets. Skowl was an old chief of
the Eagle Clan, whose sway was questioned by none. He was the greatest
chief of his time, and ruled his people as autocratically as the lordly,
but blustering, Baranoff ruled his at Sitka. Skowl repulsed the advances
of missionaries and scorned all attempts at Christianizing himself and
his tribe. His was a powerful personality which is still mentioned with
a respect not unmixed with awe. To say that a chief is as fearless as
Skowl is a fine compliment, indeed, and one not often bestowed.

Although not on the regular run of steamers, Howkan, now a Presbyterian
missionary village on Cordova Bay, on the southwestern part of Prince of
Wales Island, must not be entirely neglected. In early days the village
was a forest of totems, and the graves were almost as interesting as the
totems. Both are rapidly vanishing and losing their most picturesque
features before the march of civilization and Christianity; but Howkan
is still one of the show-places of Alaska. The tourist who is able to
make this side trip on one of the small steamers that run past there, is
the envy of the unfortunate ones who are compelled to forego that
pleasure.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

STEEL CANTILEVER BRIDGE, NEAR SUMMIT OF WHITE PASS]

Totemism is the poetry of the Indian--or would be if it possessed any
religious significance.

I once asked an educated Tsimpsian Indian what the Metlakahtla people
believed,--meaning the belief that Mr. Duncan had taught them. He put
the tips of his fingers together, and with an expression of great
earnestness, replied:--

"They believed in a great Spirit, to whom they prayed and whom they
worshipped everywhere, believing that this beautiful Spirit was
everywhere and could hear. They worshipped it in the forest, in the
trees, in the flowers, in the sun and wind, in the blades of
grass,--alone and far from every one,--in the running water and the
still lakes."

"Oh, how beautiful!" I said, in all sincerity. "It must be the same as
my own belief; only I never heard it put into words before. And that is
what Mr. Duncan has taught them?"

He turned and looked at me squarely and steadily. It was a look of
weariness, of disgust.

"Oh, no," he replied, coldly; "that was what they believed before they
knew better; before they were taught the truth; before Christianity was
explained to them. That is what they believed _while they were
savages_!"

We were in the library of the _Jefferson_. The room is always warm, and
at that moment it was warmer than I had ever known it to be. Under the
steady gaze of those shining dark eyes it presently became too warm to
be endured. With my curiosity quite satisfied, I withdrew to the
hurricane deck, where there is always air.

Of the Indians in the territory of Alaska there are two stocks--the
Thlinkits, or Coast Indians, and the Tinneh, or those inhabiting the
vast regions of the interior. The Thlinkits comprise the Tsimpsians, or
Chimsyans, the Kygáni, or Haidahs, the true Thlinkits, or Koloshes, and
the Yakutats.

The Kygáni, or Haidah, Indians inhabit the Queen Charlotte Archipelago,
which, although belonging to British Columbia, must be taken into
consideration in any description of the Indians of Alaska. They were
formerly a warlike, powerful, and treacherous race, making frequent
attacks upon neighboring tribes, even as far south as Puget Sound. They
are noted, not only for these savage qualities, but also for the grace
and beauty of their canoes and for their delicate and artistic carvings.
Their small totems, pipes, and other articles carved out of a dark gray,
highly polished slate stone obtained on their own islands, sometimes
inlaid with particles of shell, are well known and command fancy prices.
Haidah basketry and hats are of unusual beauty and workmanship. The
peculiar ornamentation is painted upon the hats and not woven in. The
designs which are most frequently seen are the head, wings, tail, and
feet of a duck,--certain details somewhat resembling a large
oyster-shell, or a human ear,--painted in black and rich reds. The hats
are usually in the plain twined weaving, and of such fine, even
workmanship that they are entirely waterproof. The Haidahs formerly wore
the nose- and ear-rings, or other ornaments, and the labret in the lower
lip.

The Thlinkits,--or Koloshians, as the Russians and Aleuts called them,
from their habit of wearing the labret,--are divided into two tribes,
the Stikines and the Sitkans; the former inhabiting the mainland in the
vicinity of the Stikine River, straggling north and south for some
distance along the coast.

The Sitkans dwell in the neighborhood of Sitka and on the near-by
islands. They are among the tribes of Indians who gave Baranoff much
trouble. They formerly painted with vermilion or lamp-black mixed with
oil, traced on their faces in startling patterns. At the present time
they dress almost like white people, except for the everlasting blanket
on the older ones. Some of the younger women are very handsome--clean,
light-brown of skin, red-cheeked, of good figure, and having large, dark
eyes, at once soft and bright. They also have good, white teeth, and are
decidedly attractive in their coquettish and saucy airs and graces. The
young Indian women at Sitka, Yakutat, and Dundas are the prettiest and
the most attractive in Alaska; nor have I seen any in the Klondike, or
along the Yukon, to equal them in appearance. Also, one can barter with
them for their fascinating wares without praying to heaven to be
deprived of the sense of smell for a sufficient number of hours.

Among the Thlinkits, as well as among many of the Innuit, or Eskimo
tribes, the strange and cruel custom prevails of isolating young girls
approaching puberty in a hut set aside for this purpose. The period of
isolation varies from a month to a year, during which they are
considered unclean and are allowed only liquid food, which soon reduces
them to a state of painful emaciation. No one is permitted to minister
to their needs but a mother or a female slave, and they cannot hold
conversation with any one.

When a maiden finally emerges from her confinement there is great
rejoicing, if she be of good family, and feasting. A charm of peculiar
design is hung around her neck, called a "Virgin Charm," or "Virtue
Charm," which silently announces that she is "clean" and of marriageable
age. Formerly, according to Dall and other authorities, the lower lip
was pierced and a silver pin shaped like a nail inserted. This made the
same announcement.

The chief diet of the Thlinkit is fish, fresh or smoked. Unlike the
Aleutians, they do not eat whale blubber, as the whale figures in their
totems, but are fond of the porpoise and seal. The women are fond of
dress, and a voyager who will take a gay last year's useless hat along
in her steamer trunk, will be sure to "swap" it for a handsome Indian
basket. In many places they still employ their early methods of
fishing--raking herring and salmon out of the streams, during a run,
with long poles into which nails are driven, like a rake.

They are fond of game of all kinds. They weave blankets out of the wool
of the mountain sheep. Large spoons, whose handles are carved in the
form and designs of totems, are made out of the horns of sheep and
goats.

The Thlinkits are divided into four totems--the whale, the eagle, the
raven, and the wolf. The raven, which by the Tinnehs is considered an
evil bird, is held in the highest respect by the Thlinkits, who believe
it to be a good spirit.

Totemism is defined as the system of dividing a tribe into clans
according to their totems. It comprises a class of objects which the
savage holds in superstitious awe and respect, believing that it holds
some relation to, and protection over, himself. There is the clan totem,
common to a whole clan; the sex totem, common to the males or females of
a clan; and the individual totem, belonging solely to one person and not
descending to any member of the next generation. It is generally
believed that the totem has some special religious significance; but
this is not true, if we are to believe that the younger and educated
Indians of to-day know what totemism means. Some totems are veritable
family trees. The clan totem is reverenced by a whole clan, the members
of which are known by the name of their totem, and believe themselves to
be descended from a common animal ancestor, and bound together by ties
closer and more sacred than those of blood.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

OLD RUSSIAN BUILDING, SITKA]

The system of totemism is old; but the word itself, according to J. G.
Frazer, first appeared in literature in the nineteenth century, being
introduced from an Ojibway word by J. Long, an interpreter. The same
authority claims that it had a religious aspect; but this is denied, so
far, at least, as the Thlinkits are concerned.

The Eagle clan believe themselves to be descended from an eagle, which
they, accordingly, reverence and protect from harm or death, believing
that it is a beneficent spirit that watches over them.

Persons of the same totem may neither marry nor have sexual intercourse
with each other. In Australia the usual penalty for the breaking of this
law was death. With the Thlinkits, a man might marry a woman of any save
his own totem clan. The raven represented woman, and the wolf, man. A
young man selected his individual totem from the animal which appeared
most frequently and significantly in his dreams during his lonely fast
and vigil in the heart of the forest for some time before reaching the
state of puberty. The animals representing a man's different
totems--clan, family, sex, and individual--were carved and painted on
his tall totem-pole, his house, his paddles, and other objects; they
were also woven into hats, basketry, and blankets, and embroidered upon
moccasins with beads. Some of the Haidah canoes have most beautifully
carven and painted prows, with the totem design appearing. These canoes
are far superior to those of Puget Sound. The very sweep of the prow,
strong and graceful, as it cleaves the golden air above the water,
proclaims its northern home. Their well-known outlines, the erect, rigid
figures of the warriors kneeling in them, and the strong, swift, sure
dip of the paddles, sent dread to the hearts of the Puget Sound Indians
and the few white settlers in the early part of the last century. The
cry of "Northern Indians!" never failed to create a panic. They made
many marauding expeditions to the south in their large and splendid
canoes. The inferior tribes of the sound held them in the greatest fear
and awe.

A child usually adopts the mother's totem, and at birth receives a name
significant of her family. Later on he receives one from his father's
family, and this event is always attended with much solemnity and
ceremony.

A man takes wives in proportion to his wealth. If he be the possessor of
many blankets, he takes trouble unto himself by the dozen. There are no
spring bonnets, however, to buy. They do not indulge themselves with so
many wives as formerly; nor do they place such implicit faith in the
totem, now that they are becoming "Christianized."

Dall gives the following interesting description of a Thlinkit wedding
ceremony thirty years ago: A lover sends to his mistress's relations,
asking for her as a wife. If he receives a favorable reply, he sends as
many presents as he can get together to her father. On the appointed day
he goes to the house where she lives, and sits down with his back to the
door.

The father has invited all the relations, who now raise a song, to
allure the coy bride out of the corner where she has been sitting. When
the song is done, furs or pieces of new calico are laid on the floor,
and she walks over them and sits down by the side of the groom. All this
time she must keep her head bowed down. Then all the guests dance and
sing, diversifying the entertainment, when tired, by eating. The pair do
not join in any of the ceremonies. That their future life may be happy,
they fast for two days more. Four weeks afterward they come together,
and are then recognized as husband and wife.

The bridegroom is free to live with his father-in-law, or return to his
own home. If he chooses the latter the bride receives a _trousseau_
equal in value to the gifts received by her parents from her husband. If
the husband becomes dissatisfied with his wife, he can send her back
with her dowry, but loses his own gifts. If a wife is unfaithful he may
send her back with nothing, and demand his own again. They may separate
by mutual consent without returning any property. When the marriage
festival is over, the silver pin is removed from the lower lip of the
bride and replaced by a plug, shaped like a spool, but not over
three-quarters of an inch long, and this plug is afterward replaced by a
larger one of wood, bone, or stone, so that an old woman may have an
ornament of this kind two inches in diameter. These large ones are of an
oval shape, but scooped out above, below, and around the edge, like a
pulley-wheel. When very large, a mere strip of flesh goes around the
_kalúshka_, or "little trough." From the name which the Aleuts gave the
appendage when they first visited Sitka, the nickname "Kolosh" has
arisen, and has been applied to this and allied tribes.

Many years ago, when a man died, his brother or his sister's son was
compelled to marry the widow.

That seems worth while. Naturally, the man would not desire the woman,
and the woman would not desire the man; therefore, the result of the
forced union might prove full of delightful surprises. If such a law
could have been passed in England, there would have been no occasion for
the prolonged agitation over the "Deceased wife's sister" bill, which
dragged its weary way through the courts and the papers. Nobody would
desire to marry his deceased wife's sister; or, if he did, she would
decline the honor.

An ancient Thlinkit superstition is, that once a man--a Thlinkit, of
course--had a young wife whom he so idolized that he would not permit
her to work. This is certainly the most convincing proof that an Indian
could give of his devotion. From morning to night she dwelt in sweet
idleness, guarded by eight little redbirds, that flew about her when she
walked, or hovered over her when she reclined upon her furs or
preciously woven blankets.

These little birds were good spirits, of course, but alas! they
resembled somewhat women who are so good that out of their very goodness
evil is wrought. In the town in which I dwell there is a good woman, a
member of a church, devout, and scorning sin, who keeps "roomers." On
two or three occasions this good woman has found letters which belonged
to her roomers, and she has done what an honorable woman would not do.
She has read letters that she had no right to read, and she has found
therein secrets that would wreck families and bow down heads in sorrow
to their graves; and yet, out of her goodness, she has felt it to be her
duty "to tell," and she has told.

Since knowing the story of the eight little Thlinkit redbirds, I have
never seen this woman without a red mist seeming to float round her; her
mouth becomes a twittering beak, her feet are claws that carry her
noiselessly into secret places, her eyes are little black beads that
flash from side to side in search of other people's sins, and her
shoulders are folded wings. For what did the little good redbirds do but
go and tell the Thlinkit man that his young and pretty and idolized wife
had spoken to another man. He took her out into the forest and shut her
up in a box. Then he killed all his sister's children because they knew
his secret. His sister went in lamentations to the beach, where she was
seen by her totem whale, who, when her cause of grief was made known to
him, bade her be of good cheer.

"Swallow a small stone," said the whale, "which you must pick up from
the beach, drinking some sea-water at the same time."

The woman did as the whale directed. In a few months she gave birth to a
son, whom she was compelled to hide from her brother. This child was
Yehl (the raven), the beneficent spirit of the Thlinkits, maker of
forests, mountains, rivers, and seas; the one who guides the sun, moon,
and stars, and controls the winds and floods. His abiding-place is at
the head waters of the Nass River, whence the Thlinkits came to their
present home. When he grew up he became so expert in the use of the bow
and arrow that it is told of his mother that she went clad in the rose,
green, and lavender glory of the breasts of humming-birds which he had
killed in such numbers that she was able to fashion her entire raiment
of their most exquisite parts,--as befitted the mother of the good
spirit of men.

Yehl performed many noble and miraculous deeds, the most dazzling of
which was the giving of light to the world. He had heard that a rich old
chief kept the sun, moon, and stars in boxes, carefully locked and
guarded. This chief had an only daughter whom he worshipped. He would
allow no one to make love to her, so Yehl, perceiving that only a
descendant of the old man could secure access to the boxes, and knowing
that the chief examined all his daughter's food before she ate it, and
that it would therefore avail him nothing to turn himself into ordinary
food, conceived the idea of converting himself into a fragrant grass and
by springing up persistently in the maiden's path, he was one day eaten
and swallowed. A grandson was then born to the old chief, who wrought
upon his affections--as grandsons have a way of doing--to such an extent
that he could deny him nothing.

One day the young Yehl, who seems to have been appropriately named, set
up a lamentation for the boxes he desired and continued it until one was
in his possession. He took it out-doors and opened it. Millions of
little milk-white, opaline birds instantly flew up and settled in the
sky. They were followed by a large, silvery bird, which was so heavy and
uncertain in her flight to the sky that, although she finally reached
it, she never appeared twice the same thereafter, and on some nights
could not be seen at all. The old chief was very angry, and it was not
until Yehl had wept and fasted himself to death's very door that he
obtained the sun; whereupon, he changed himself back into a raven, and
flying away from the reach of his stunned and temporary grandfather, who
had commanded him not to open the box, he straightway lifted the
lid--and the world was flooded with light.

One of the most interesting of the Thlinkit myths is the one of the
spirits that guard and obey the shamans. The most important are those
dwelling in the North. They were warriors; hence, an unusual display of
the northern lights was considered an omen of approaching war. The other
spirits are of people who died a commonplace death; and the greatest
care must be exercised by relatives in mourning for these, or they will
have difficulty in reaching their new abode. Too many tears are as bad
as none at all; the former mistake mires and gutters the path, the
latter leaves it too deep in dust. A decent and comfortable quantity
makes it hard and even and pleasant.

Their deluge myth is startling in its resemblance to ours. When their
flood came upon them, a few were saved in a great canoe which was made
of cedar. This wood splits rather easily, parallel to its grain, under
stress of storm, and the one in which the people embarked split after
much buffeting. The Thlinkits clung to one part, and all other peoples
to the other part, creating a difference in language. Chet'l, the eagle,
was separated from his sister, to whom he said, "You may never see me
again, but you shall hear my voice forever." He changed himself into a
bird of tremendous size and flew away southward. The sister climbed
Mount Edgecumbe, which opened and swallowed her, leaving a hole that has
remained ever since. Earthquakes are caused by her struggles with bad
spirits which seek to drive her away, and by her invariable triumph over
them she sustains the poise of the world.

Chet'l returned to Mount Edgecumbe, where he still lives. When he comes
forth, which is but seldom, the flapping of his great wings produces the
sound which is called thunder. He is, therefore, known everywhere as the
Thunder-bird. The glance of his brilliant eyes is the lightning.

Concerning the totem-pole which was taken from an Indian village on
Tongas Island, near Ketchikan, by members of the _Post-Intelligencer_
business men's excursion to Alaska in 1899--and for which the city of
Seattle was legally compelled to pay handsomely afterward--the following
letter from a member of the family originally owning the totem is of
quaint interest:--

     "I have received your letter, and I am going to tell you the
     story of the totem-pole. Now, the top one is a crow himself,
     and the next one from the pole top is a man. That crow have
     told him a story. Crow have told him a good-looking woman
     want to married some man. So he did marry her. She was a
     frog. And the fourth one is a mink. One time, the story
     says, that one time it was a high tide for some time, and so
     crow got marry to mink, so crow he eats any kind of fishes
     from the water. After some time crow got tired of mink, and
     he leave her, and he get married to that whale-killer, and
     then crow he have all he want to eat. That last one on the
     totem-pole is the father of the crow. The story says that
     one time it got dark for a long while. The darkness was all
     over the world, and only crow's father was the only one can
     give light to the world. He simply got a key. He keeps the
     sun and moon in a chest, that one time crow have ask his
     father if he play with the sun and moon in the house but,
     was not allowed, so he start crying for many days until he
     was sick. So his father let him play with it and he have it
     for many days. And one day he let the moon in the sky by
     mistake, but he keep the sun, and he which take time before
     he could get his chances to go outside of the house. As soon
     as he was out he let sun back to the sky again, and it was
     light all over the world again. (End of story.)

                                      "Yours respectfully,

                                      "David E. Kinninnook.

     "P.S. The Indians have a long story, and one of the chiefs
     of a village or of a tribe only a chief can put up so many
     carvings on our totem-pole, and he have to fully know the
     story of what totem he is made. I may give you the whole
     story of it sometimes. Crow on top have a quart moon in his
     mouth, because he have ask his father for a light.

                                      "D. E. K.

     "If you can put this story on the _Post-Intelligencer_, of
     Seattle, Wash., and I think the people will be glad to know
     some of it."

The Thlinkits burned their dead, with the exception of the shamans, but
carefully preserved the ashes and all charred bones from the funeral
pyre. These were carefully folded in new blankets and buried in the
backs of totems. One totem, when taken down to send to the Lewis and
Clark Exposition, was found to contain the remains of a child in the
butt-end of the pole which was in the ground; the portion containing the
child being sawed off and reinterred.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

GREEK-RUSSIAN CHURCH AT SITKA]

A totem-pole donated to the exposition by Yannate, a very old Thlinkit,
was made by his own hands in honor of his mother. His mother belonged to
the Raven Clan, and a large raven is at the crest of the pole; under it
is the brown bear--the totem of the Kokwonton Tribe, to which the
woman's husband belonged; underneath the bear is an Indian with a cane,
representing the woman's brother, who was a noted shaman or sorcerer
many years ago; at the bottom are two faces, or masks, representing the
shaman's favorite slaves.

The Haidahs did not burn their dead, but buried them, usually in the
butts of great cedars. Frequently, however, they were buried at the base
of totem-poles, and when in recent years poles have been removed,
remains have been found and reinterred.

On the backs of some of the old totem-poles at Wrangell and other
places, may be seen the openings that were made to receive the ashes of
the dead, the portion that had been sawed out being afterward replaced.

The wealth of a Thlinkit is estimated according to his number of
blankets; his honor and importance by the number of potlatches he has
given. Every member of his totem is called upon to contribute to the
potlatch of the chief, working to that end, and "skimping" himself in
his own indulgences for that object, for many years, if necessary. The
potlatch is given at the full of the moon; the chief's clan and totem
decline all gifts; it is not in good form for any member thereof to
accept the slightest gift. Guests are seated and treated according to
their rights, and the resentment of a slight is not postponed until the
banquet is over and the blood has cooled. An immediate fight to the
bitter end is the result; so that the greatest care is exercised in this
nice matter--which has proven a pitfall to many a white hostess in the
most civilized lands; so seldom does a guest have the right and the
honor to feel that where he sits is the head of the table. At these
potlatches a "frenzied" hospitality prevails; everything is bestowed
with a lavish and reckless hand upon the visitors, from food and drink
to the host's most precious possession, blankets. His wives are given
freely, and without the pang which must go with every blanket. Visitors
come and remain for days, or until the host is absolutely beggared and
has nothing more to give.

But since every one accepting his potlatch is not only expected, but
actually bound by tribal laws as fixed as the stars, to return it, the
beggared chief gradually "stocks up" again; and in a few years is able
to launch forth brilliantly once more. This is the same system of give
and take that prevails in polite society in the matter of party-giving.
With neither, may the custom be considered as real hospitality, but
simply a giving with the expectation of a sure return. Chiefs have
frequently, however, given away fortunes of many thousands of dollars
within a few days. These were chiefs who aspired to rise high above
their contemporaries in glory; and, therefore, would be disappointed to
have their generosity equally returned.

A shaman is a medicine-man who is popularly supposed to be possessed of
supernatural powers. A certain mystery, or mysticism, is connected with
him. He spends much time in the solitudes of the mountains, working
himself into a highly emotional mental state. The shaman has his special
masks, carved ivory diagnosis-sticks, and other paraphernalia. The hair
of the shaman was never cut; at his death, his body was not burned, but
was invariably placed in a box on four high posts. It first reposed for
one whole night in each of the four corners of the house in which he
died. On the fifth day it was laid to rest by the sea-shore; and every
time a Thlinkit passed it, he tossed a small offering into the water,
to secure the favor of the dead shaman, who, even in death, was
believed to exercise an influence over the living, for good or ill.

Slavery was common, as--until the coming of the Russians--was
cannibalism. The slaves were captives from other tribes. They were
forced to perform the most disagreeable duties, and were subjected to
cruel treatment, punished for trivial faults, and frequently tortured,
or offered in sacrifice. A few very old slaves are said to be in
existence at the present time; but they are now treated kindly, and have
almost forgotten that their condition is inferior to that of the
remainder of the tribe.

The most famous slaves on the Northwest Coast were John Jewitt and John
Thompson, sole survivors of the crew of the _Boston_, which was captured
in 1802 by the Indians of Nootka Sound, on the western coast of
Vancouver Island. The officers and all the other men were most foully
murdered, and the ship was burned.

Jewitt and Thompson were spared because one was an armorer and the other
a sailmaker. They were held as slaves for nearly three years, when they
made their escape.

Jewitt published a book, in which he simply and effectively described
many of the curious, cruel, and amusing customs of the people. The two
men finally made their escape upon a boat which had appeared
unexpectedly in the harbor.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Yakutats belong to the Thlinkit stock, but have never worn the
"little trough," the distinguishing mark of the true Thlinkit. They
inhabit the country between Mount Fairweather and Mount St. Elias, and
were the cause of much trouble and disaster to Baranoff, Lisiansky, and
other early Russians. They have never adopted the totem; and may,
therefore, eat the flesh and blubber of the whale, which the Thlinkits
respect, because it figures on their totems. The graveyards of the
Yakutats are very picturesque and interesting.

The tribes of the Tinneh, or interior Indians, will be considered in
another chapter.

Behm Canal is narrow, abruptly shored, and offers many charming vistas
that unfold unexpectedly before the tourist's eyes. Alaskan steamers do
not enter it and, therefore, New Eddystone Rock is missed by many. This
is a rocky pillar that rises straight from the water, with a
circumference of about one hundred feet at the base and a height of from
two to three hundred feet. It is draped gracefully with mosses, ferns,
and vines. Vancouver breakfasted here, and named it for the famous
Eddystone Light of England. Unuk River empties its foaming, glacial
waters into Behm Canal.



CHAPTER VI


Leaving Ketchikan, Clarence Strait is entered. This was named by
Vancouver for the Duke of Clarence, and extends in a northwesterly
direction for a hundred miles. The celebrated Stikine River empties into
it. On Wrangell Island, near the mouth of the Stikine, is Fort Wrangell,
where the steamer makes a stop of several hours.

Fort Wrangell was the first settlement made in southeastern Alaska,
after Sitka. It was established in 1834, by Lieutenant Zarembo, who
acted under the orders of Baron Wrangell, Governor of the Colonies at
that time.

A grave situation had arisen over a dispute between the Russian American
Company and the equally powerful Hudson Bay Company, the latter having
pressed its operations over the Northwest and seriously undermined the
trade of the former. In 1825, the Hudson Bay Company had taken advantage
of the clause in the Anglo-Russian treaty of that year,--which provided
for the free navigation of streams crossing Russian territory in their
course from the British possessions to the sea,--and had pushed its
trading operations to the upper waters of the Stikine, and in 1833 had
outfitted the brig _Dryad_ with colonists, cattle, and arms for the
establishing of trading posts on the Stikine.

Lieutenant Zarembo, with two armed vessels, the _Chichagoff_ and the
_Chilkaht_, established a fort on a small peninsula, on the site of an
Indian village, and named it Redoubt St. Dionysius. All unaware of
these significant movements, the _Dryad_, approaching the mouth of the
Stikine, was received by shots from the shore, as well as from a vessel
in the harbor. She at once put back until out of range, and anchored.
Lieutenant Zarembo went out in a boat, and, in the name of the Governor
and the Emperor, forbade the entrance of a British vessel into the
river. Representations from the agents of the Hudson Bay Company were
unavailing; they were warned to at once remove themselves and their
vessel from the vicinity--which they accordingly did.

This affair was the cause of serious trouble between the two nations,
which was not settled until 1839, when a commission met in London and
solved the difficulties by deciding that Russia should pay an indemnity
of twenty thousand pounds, and lease to the Hudson Bay Company the now
celebrated _lisière_, or thirty-mile strip from Dixon Entrance to
Yakutat.

In 1840 the Hudson Bay Company raised the British flag and changed the
name from Redoubt St. Dionysius to Fort Stikine. Sir George Simpson's
men are said to have passed several years of most exciting and
adventurous life there, owing to the attacks and besiegements of the
neighboring Indians. An attempt to scale the stockade resulted in
failure and defeat. The following year the fort's supply of water was
cut off and the fort was besieged; but the Britishers saved themselves
by luckily seizing a chief as hostage.

A year later occurred another attack, in which the fort would have
fallen had it not been for the happy arrival of two armed vessels in
charge of Sir George Simpson, who tells the story in this brief and
simple fashion:--

"By daybreak on Monday, the 25th of April (1842), we were in Wrangell's
Straits, and toward evening, as we approached Stikine, my apprehensions
were awakened by observing the two national flags, the Russian and the
English, hoisted half-mast high, while, on landing about seven, my worst
fears were realized by hearing of the tragical end of Mr. John
McLoughlin, Jr., the gentleman recently in charge. On the night of the
twentieth a dispute had arisen in the fort, while some of the men, as I
was grieved to hear, were in a state of intoxication; and several shots
were fired, by one of which Mr. McLoughlin fell. My arrival at this
critical juncture was most opportune, for otherwise the fort might have
fallen a sacrifice to the savages, who were assembled round to the
number of two thousand, justly thinking that the place could make but a
feeble resistance, deprived as it was of its head, and garrisoned by men
in a state of complete insubordination."

In 1867 a United States military post was established on a new site. A
large stockade was erected and garrisoned by two companies of the
Twenty-first Infantry. This post was abandoned in 1870, the buildings
being sold for six hundred dollars.

In the early eighties Lieutenant Schwatka found Wrangell "the most
tumble-down-looking company of cabins I ever saw." He found its
"Chinatown" housed in an old Stikine River steamboat on the beach, which
had descended to its low estate as gradually and almost as imperceptibly
as Becky Sharpe descended to the "soiled white petticoat" condition of
life. As Queen of the Stikine, the old steamer had earned several
fortunes for her owners in that river's heyday times; then she was
beached and used as a store; then, as a hotel; and, last of all, as a
Chinese mess- and lodging-house.

In 1838 another attempt had been made by the Hudson Bay Company to
establish a trading post at Dease Lake, about sixty miles from Stikine
River and a hundred and fifty from the sea. This attempt also was a
failure. The tortures of fear and starvation were vividly described by
Mr. Robert Campbell, who had charge of the party making the attempt,
which consisted of four men.

"We passed a winter of constant dread from the savage Russian Indians,
and of much suffering from starvation. We were dependent for subsistence
on what animals we could catch, and, failing that, on _tripe de roche_
(moss). We were at one time reduced to such dire straits that we were
obliged to eat our parchment windows, and our last meal before
abandoning Dease Lake, on the eighth of May, 1839, consisted of the
lacings of our snow-shoes."

Had it not been for the kindness and the hospitality of the female chief
of the Nahany tribe of Indians, who inhabited the region, the party
would have perished.

The Indians of the coast in early days made long trading excursions into
the interior, to obtain furs.

The discovery of the Cassiar mines, at the head of the Stikine, was
responsible for the revival of excitement and lawlessness in Fort
Wrangell, as it had been named at the time of its first military
occupation, and a company of the Fourth Artillery was placed in charge
until 1877, the date of the removal of troops from all posts in Alaska.

The first post and the ground upon which it stood were sold to W. K.
Lear. The next company occupied it at a very small rental, contrary to
the wishes of the owner. In 1884 the Treasury Department took
possession, claiming that the first sale was illegal. A deputy collector
was placed in charge. The case was taken into the courts, but it was not
until 1890 that a decision was rendered in the Sitka court that, as the
first sale was unconstitutional, Mr. Lear was entitled to his six
hundred dollars with interest compounding for twenty years.

Wrangell gradually fell into a storied and picturesque decay. The
burnished halo of early romance has always clung to her. At the time of
the gold excitement and the rush to the Klondike, the town revived
suddenly with the reopening of navigation on the Stikine. This was, at
first, a favorite route to the Klondike. At White Horse may to-day be
seen steamers which were built on the Stikine in 1898, floated by
piecemeal up that river and across Lake Teslin, and down the Hootalinqua
River to the Yukon, having been packed by horses the many intervening
miles between rivers and lakes, at fifty cents a pound. Reaching their
destination at White Horse, they were put together, and started on the
Dawson run.

Looking at these historic steamers, now lying idle at White Horse, the
passenger and freight rates do not seem so exorbitant as they do before
one comes to understand the tremendous difficulties of securing any
transportation at all in these unknown and largely unexplored regions in
so short a time. Even a person who owns no stock in steamship or railway
corporations, if he be sensible and reasonable, must be able to see the
point of view of the men who dauntlessly face such hardships and perils
to furnish transportation in these wild and inaccessible places. They
take such desperate chances neither for their health nor for sweet
charity's sake.

Three years ago Wrangell was largely destroyed by fire. It is partially
rebuilt, but the visitor to-day is doomed to disappointment at first
sight of the modern frontier buildings. Ruins of the old fort, however,
remain, and several ancient totems are in the direction of the old
burial ground. One, standing in front of a modern cottage which has been
erected on the site of the old lodge, is all sprouted out in green.
Mosses, grasses, and ferns spring in April freshness out of the eyes of
children, the beaks of eagles, and the open mouths of frogs; while the
very crest of the totem is crowned a foot or more high with a green
growth. The effect is at once ludicrous and pathetic,--marking, as it
does, the vanishing of a picturesque and interesting race, its customs
and its superstitions.

The famous chief of the Stikine region was Shakes, a fierce, fighting,
bloodthirsty old autocrat, dreaded by all other tribes, and insulted
with impunity by none. He was at the height of his power in the forties,
but lived for many years afterward, resisting the advances of
missionaries and scorning their religion to the day of his death. In
many respects he was like the equally famous Skowl of Kasa-an, who went
to the trouble and the expense of erecting a totem-pole for the sole
purpose of perpetuating his scorn and derision of Christian advances to
his people. The totem is said to have been covered with the images of
priests, angels, and books.

Shakes was given one of the most brilliant funerals ever held in Alaska;
but whether as an expression of irreconcilable grief or of
uncontrollable joy in the escape of his people from his tyrannic and
overbearing sway, is not known. He belonged to the bear totem, and a
stuffed bear figured in the pageant and was left to guard his grave.

The climate of Wrangell is charming, owing to the high mountains on the
islands to the westward which shelter the town from the severity of the
ocean storms. The growing of vegetables and berries is a profitable
investment, both reaching enormous size, the latter being of specially
delicate flavor. Flowers bloom luxuriantly.

The Wrangell shops at present contain some very fine specimens of
basketry, and the prices were very reasonable, although most of the
tourists from our steamer were speechless when they heard them. Some
real Attu and Atka baskets were found here at prices ranging from one
hundred dollars up. At Wrangell, therefore, the tourist begins to part
with his money, and does not cease until he has reached Skaguay to the
northward, or Sitka and Yakutat to the westward; and if he should
journey out into the Aleutian Isles, he may borrow money to get home.
The weave displayed is mostly twined, but some fine specimens of coiled
and coiled imbricated were offered us in the dull, fascinating colors
used by the Thompson River Indians of British Columbia, having probably
been obtained in trade. These latter are treasures, and always worth
buying, especially as Indian baskets are increasing in value with every
year that passes. Baskets that I purchased easily for three dollars or
three and a half in 1905 were held stubbornly at seven and a half or
eight in 1907; while the difference in prices of the more expensive ones
was even greater.

Squaws sit picturesquely about the streets, clad in gay colors, with
their wares spread out on the sidewalk in front of them. They invariably
sit with their backs against buildings or fences, seeming to have an
aversion to permitting any one to stand or pass behind them. They have
grown very clever at bargaining; and the little trick, which has been
practised by tourists for years, of waiting until the gangway is being
hauled in and then making an offer for a coveted basket, has apparently
been worn threadbare, and is received with jeers and derision,--which is
rather discomfiting to the person making the offer if he chances to be
upon a crowded steamer. The squaws point their fingers at him, to shame
him, and chuckle and tee-hee among themselves, with many guttural
cluckings and side-glances so good-naturedly contemptuous and derisive
as to be embarrassing beyond words,--particularly as some greatly
desired basket disappears into a filthy bag and is borne proudly away on
a scornful dark shoulder.

Baskets are growing scarcer and more valuable, and the tourist who sees
one that he desires, will be wise to pay the price demanded for it, as
the conditions of trading with the Alaskan Indians are rapidly
changing. The younger Indians frequently speak and understand English
perfectly; while the older ones are adepts in reading a human face;
making a combination not easily imposed upon. Even the officers of the
ship, who, being acquainted with "Mollie" or "Sallie," "Mrs. Sam" or
"Pete's Wife," volunteer to buy a basket at a reduction for some
enthusiastic but thin-pursed passenger, do not at present meet with any
exhilarating success.

"S'pose she pay my price," "Mrs. Sam" replies, with smiling but stubborn
indifference, as she sets the basket away.



CHAPTER VII


Indian basketry is poetry, music, art, and life itself woven exquisitely
together out of dreams, and sent out into a thoughtless world in
appealing messages which will one day be farewells, when the poor lonely
dark women who wove them are no more.

At its best, the basketry of the islands of Atka and Attu in the
Aleutian chain is the most beautiful in the world. Most of the basketry
now sold as Attu is woven by the women of Atka, we were told at
Unalaska, which is the nearest market for these baskets. Only one old
woman remains on Attu who understands this delicate and priceless work;
and she is so poorly paid that she was recently reported to be in a
starving condition, although the velvety creations of her old hands and
brain bring fabulous prices to some one. The saying that an Attu basket
increases a dollar for every mile as it travels toward civilization, is
not such an exaggeration as it seems. I saw a trader from the little
steamer _Dora_--the only one regularly plying those far waters--buy a
small basket, no larger than a pint bowl, for five dollars in Unalaska;
and a month later, on another steamer, between Valdez and Seattle, an
enthusiastic young man from New York brought the same basket out of his
stateroom and proudly displayed it.

"I got this one at a great bargain," he bragged, with shining eyes. "I
bought it in Valdez for twenty-five dollars, just what it cost at
Unalaska. The man needed the money worse than the basket. I don't know
how it is, but I'm always stumbling on bargains like that!" he
concluded, beginning to strut.

Then I was heartless enough to laugh, and to keep on laughing. I had
greatly desired that basket myself!

He had the satisfaction of knowing, however, that his little twined
bowl, with the coloring of a Behring Sea sunset woven into it, would be
worth fifty dollars by the time he reached Seattle, and at least a
hundred in New York; and it was so soft and flexible that he could fold
it up meantime and carry it in his pocket, if he chose,--to say nothing
of the fact that Elizabeth Propokoffono, the young and famed dark-eyed
weaver of Atka, may have woven it herself. Like the renowned
"Sally-bags," made by Sally, a Wasco squaw, the baskets woven by
Elizabeth have a special and sentimental value. If she would weave her
initials into them, she might ask, and receive, any price she fancied.
Sally, of the Wascos, on the other hand, is very old; no one weaves her
special bag, and they are becoming rare and valuable. They are of plain,
twined weaving, and are very coarse. A small one in the writer's
possession is adorned with twelve fishes, six eagles, three dogs, and
two and a half men. Sally is apparently a woman-suffragist of the old
school, and did not consider that men counted for much in the scheme of
Indian baskets; yet, being a philosopher, as well as a suffragist,
concluded that half a man was better than none at all.

At Yakutat "Mrs. Pete" is the best-known basket weaver. Young, handsome,
dark-eyed, and clean, with a chubby baby in her arms, she willingly, and
with great gravity, posed against the pilot-house of the old _Santa Ana_
for her picture. Asked for an address to which I might send one of the
pictures, she proudly replied, "Just Mrs. Pete, Yakutat." Her courtesy
was in marked contrast to the exceeding rudeness with which the Sitkan
women treat even the most considerate and deferential photographers;
glaring at them, turning their backs, covering their heads, hissing, and
even spitting at them.

However, the Yakutats do not often see tourists, who, heaven knows, are
not one of the novelties of the Sitkans' lives.

According to Lieutenant G. T. Emmons, who is the highest authority on
Thlinkit Indians, not only so far as their basketry is concerned, but
their history, habits, and customs, as well, nine-tenths of all their
basketwork is of the open, cylindrical type which throws the chief wear
and strain upon the borders. These are, therefore, of greater variety
than those of any other Indians, except possibly the Haidahs.

As I have elsewhere stated, nearly all Thlinkit baskets are of the
twined weave, which is clearly described by Otis Tufton Mason in his
precious and exquisite work, "Aboriginal American Basketry"; a work
which every student of basketry should own. If anything could be as
fascinating as the basketry itself, it would be this charmingly written
and charmingly illustrated book.

Basketry is either hand-woven or sewed. Hand-woven work is divided into
checker work, twilled work, wicker work, wrapped work, and twined work.
Sewed work is called coiled basketry.

Twined work is found on the Pacific Coast from Attu to Chile, and is the
most delicate and difficult of all woven work. It has a set of warp
rods, and the weft elements are worked in by two-strand or three-strand
methods. Passing from warp to warp, these weft elements are twisted in
half-turns on each other, so as to form a two-strand or three-strand
twine or braid, and usually with a deftness that keeps the glossy side
of the weft outward.

"The Thlinkit, weaving," says Lieutenant Emmons, "sits with knees
updrawn to the chin, feet close to the body, bent-shouldered, with the
arms around the knees, the work held in front. Sometimes the knees fall
slightly apart, the work held between them, the weft frequently held in
the mouth, the feet easily crossed. The basket is held bottom down. In
all kinds of weave, the strands are constantly dampened by dipping the
fingers in water." The finest work of Attu and Atka is woven entirely
under water. A rude awl, a bear's claw or tooth, are the only implements
used. The Attu weaver has her basket inverted and suspended by a string,
working from the bottom down toward the top.

Almost every part of plants is used--roots, stems, bark, leaves, fruit,
and seeds. The following are the plants chiefly used by the Thlinkits:
The black shining stems of the maidenhair fern, which are easily
distinguished and which add a rich touch; the split stems of the
brome-grass as an overlaying material for the white patterns of
spruce-root baskets; for the same purpose, the split stem of bluejoint;
the stem of wood reed-grass; the stem of tufted hair-grass; the stem of
beech-rye; the root of horsetail, which works in a rich purple; wolf
moss, boiled for canary-yellow dye; manna-grass; root of the Sitka
spruce tree; juice of the blueberry for a purple dye.

The Attu weaver uses the stems and leaves of grass, having no trees and
few plants. When she wants the grass white, it is cut in November and
hung, points down, out-doors to dry; if yellow be desired, as it usually
is, it is cut in July and the two youngest full-grown blades are cut out
and split into three pieces, the middle one being rejected and the
others hung up to dry out-doors; if green is wanted, the grass is
prepared as for yellow, except that the first two weeks of curing is
carried on in the heavy shade of thick grasses, then it is taken into
the house and dried. Curing requires about a month, during which time
the sun is never permitted to touch the grass.

Ornamentation by means of color is wrought by the use of materials which
are naturally of a different color; by the use of dyed materials; by
overlaying the weft and warp with strips of attractive material before
weaving; by embroidering on the texture during the process of
manufacture, this being termed "false" embroidery; by covering the
texture with plaiting, called imbrication; by the addition of feathers,
beads, shells, and objects of like nature.

Some otherwise fine specimens of Atkan basketry are rendered valueless,
in my judgment, by the present custom of introducing flecks of gaily
dyed wool, the matchless beauty of these baskets lying in their
delicate, even weaving, and in their exquisite natural coloring--the
faintest old rose, lavender, green, yellow and purple being woven
together in one ravishing mist of elusive splendor. So enchanting to the
real lover of basketry are the creations of those far lonely women's
hands and brains, that they seem fairly to breathe out their loveliness
upon the air, as a rose.

This basketry was first introduced to the world in 1874, by William H.
Dall, to whom Alaska and those who love Alaska owe so much. Warp and
weft are both of beach grass or wild rye. One who has never seen a fine
specimen of these baskets has missed one of the joys of this world.

The Aleuts perpetuate no story or myth in their ornamentation. With them
it is art for art's sake; and this is, doubtless, one reason why their
work draws the beholder spellbound.

The symbolism of the Thlinkit is charming. It is found not alone in
their basketry, but in their carvings in stone, horn, and wood, and in
Chilkaht blankets. The favorite designs are: shadow of a tree, water
drops, salmon berry cut in half, the Arctic tern's tail, flaking of the
flesh of a fish, shark's tooth, leaves of the fireweed, an eye, raven's
tail, and the crossing. It must be confessed that only a wild
imagination could find the faintest resemblance of the symbols woven
into the baskets to the objects they represent. The symbol called
"shadow of a tree" really resembles sunlight in moving water.

With the Haidah hats and Chilkaht blankets, it is very different. The
head, feet, wings, and tail of the raven, for instance, are easily
traced. In more recent basketry the swastika is a familiar design. Many
Thlinkit baskets have "rattly" covers. Seeds found in the crops of quail
are woven into these covers. They are "good spirits" which can never
escape; and will insure good fortune to the owner. Woe be to him,
however, should he permit his curiosity to tempt him to investigate;
they will then escape and work him evil instead of good, all the days of
his life.

In Central Alaska, the basketry is usually of the coiled variety,
coarsely and very indifferently executed. Both spruce and willow are
used. From Dawson to St. Michael, in the summer of 1907, stopping at
every trading post and Indian village, I did not see a single piece of
basketry that I would carry home. Coarse, unclean, and of slovenly
workmanship, one could but turn away in pity and disgust for the wasted
effort.

The Innuit in the Behring Sea vicinity make both coiled and twined
basketry from dried grasses; but it is even worse than the Yukon
basketry, being carelessly done,--the Innuit infinitely preferring the
carving and decorating of walrus ivory to basket weaving. It is
delicious to find an Innuit who never saw a glacier decorating a
paper-knife with something that looks like a pond lily, and labelling it
Taku Glacier, which is three thousand miles to the southeastward. I saw
no attempt on the Yukon, nor on Behring Sea, at what Mr. Mason calls
imbrication,--the beautiful ornamentation which the Indians of
Columbia, Frazer, and Thompson rivers and of many Salish tribes of
Northwestern Washington use to distinguish their coiled work. It
resembles knife-plaiting before it is pressed flat. This imbrication is
frequently of an exquisite, dull, reddish brown over an old soft yellow.
Baskets adorned with it often have handles and flat covers; but papoose
baskets and covered long baskets, almost as large as trunks, are common.

There was once a tide in my affairs which, not being taken at the flood,
led on to everlasting regret.

One August evening several years ago I landed on an island in Puget
Sound where some Indians were camped for the fishing season. It was
Sunday; the men were playing the fascinating gambling game of slahal,
the children were shouting at play, the women were gathered in front of
their tents, gossiping.

In one of the tents I found a coiled, imbricated Thompson River basket
in old red-browns and yellows. It was three and a half feet long, two
and a half feet high, and two and a half wide, with a thick,
close-fitting cover. It was offered to me for ten dollars, and--that I
should live to chronicle it!--not knowing the worth of such a basket, I
closed my eyes to its appealing and unforgettable beauty, and passed it
by.

But it had, it has, and it always will have its silent revenge. It is as
bright in my memory to-day as it was in my vision that August Sunday ten
years ago, and more enchanting. My longing to see it again, to possess
it, increases as the years go by. Never have I seen its equal, never
shall I. Yet am I ever looking for that basket, in every Indian tent or
hovel I may stumble upon--in villages, in camps, in out-of-the-way
places. Sure am I that I should know it from all other baskets, at but a
glance.

I knew nothing of the value of baskets, and I fancied the woman was
taking advantage of my ignorance. While I hesitated, the steamer
whistled. It was all over in a moment; my chance was gone. I did not
even dream how greatly I desired that basket until I stood in the bow of
the steamer and saw the little white camp fade from view across the
sunset sea.

The original chaste designs and symbols of Thlinkit, Haidah, and
Aleutian basketry are gradually yielding, before the coarse taste of
traders and tourists, to the more modern and conventional designs. I
have lived to see a cannery etched upon an exquisitely carved
paper-knife; while the things produced at infinite labor and care and
called cribbage-boards are in such bad taste that tourists buying them
become curios themselves.

The serpent has no place in Alaskan basketry for the very good reason
that there is not a snake in all Alaska, and the Indians and Innuit
probably never saw one. A woman may wade through the swampiest place or
the tallest grass without one shivery glance at her pathway for that
little sinuous ripple which sends terror to most women's hearts in
warmer climes. Indeed, it is claimed that no poisonous thing exists in
Alaska.

The tourist must not expect to buy baskets farther north than Skaguay,
where fine ones may be obtained at very reasonable prices. Having
visited several times every place where basketry is sold, I would name
first Dundas, then Yakutat, and then Sitka as the most desirable places
for "shopping," so far as southeastern Alaska is concerned; out "to
Westward," first Unalaska and Dutch Harbor, then Kodiak and Seldovia.

[Illustration: Copyright by F. H. Nowell, Seattle

ESKIMO IN WALRUS-SKIN KAMELAYKA]

But the tourists who make the far, beautiful voyage out among the
Aleutians to Unalaska might almost be counted annually upon one's
fingers--so unexploited are the attractions of that region; therefore, I
will add that fine specimens of the Attu and Atka work may be found at
Wrangell, Juneau, Skaguay, and Sitka, without much choice, either in
workmanship or price. But fortunate may the tourist consider himself who
travels this route on a steamer that gathers the salmon catch in August
or September, and is taken through Icy Strait to the Dundas cannery.
There, while a cargo of canned salmon is being taken aboard, the
passengers have time to barter with the good-looking and intelligent
Indians for the superb baskets laid out in the immense warehouse.
Nowhere in Alaska have I seen baskets of such beautiful workmanship,
design, shape, and coloring as at Dundas--excepting always, of course,
the Attu and Atka; nowhere have I seen them in such numbers, variety,
and at such low prices.

My own visit to Dundas was almost pathetic. It was on my return from a
summer's voyage along the coast of Alaska, as far westward as Unalaska.
I had touched at every port between Dixon's Entrance and Unalaska, and
at many places that were not ports; had been lightered ashore,
rope-laddered and doried ashore, had waded ashore, and been carried
ashore on sailors' backs; and then, with my top berth filled to the
ceiling with baskets and things, with all my money spent and all my
clothes worn out, I stood in the warehouse at Dundas and saw those
dozens of beautiful baskets, and had them offered to me at but half the
prices I had paid for inferior baskets. It was here that the summer hats
and the red kimonos and the pretty collars were brought out, and were
eagerly seized by the dark and really handsome Indian girls. A
ten-dollar hat--at the end of the season!--went for a fifteen-dollar
basket; a long, red woollen kimono,--whose warmth had not been required
on this ideal trip, anyhow,--secured another of the same price; and may
heaven forgive me, but I swapped one twenty-two-inch gold-embroidered
belt for a three-dollar basket, even while I knew in my sinful heart
that there was not a waist in that warehouse that measured less than
thirty-five inches; and from that to fifty!

However, in sheer human kindness, I taught the girl to whom I swapped it
how it might be worn as a garter, and her delight was so great and so
unexpected that it caused me some apprehension as to the results. My
very proper Scotch friend and travelling companion was so aghast at my
suggestion that she took the girl aside and advised her to wear the belt
for collars, cut in half, or as a gay decoration up the front plait of
her shirt-waist, or as armlets; so that, with it all, I was at last able
to retire to my stateroom and enjoy my bargains with a clear conscience,
feeling that after some fashion the girl would get her basket's worth
out of the belt.



CHAPTER VIII


Leaving Wrangell, the steamer soon passes, on the port side and at the
entrance to Sumner Strait, Zarembo Island, named for that Lieutenant
Zarembo who so successfully prevented the Britishers from entering
Stikine River. Baron Wrangell bestowed the name, desiring in his
gratitude and appreciation to perpetuate the name and fame of the
intrepid young officer.

From Sumner Strait the famed and perilously beautiful Wrangell Narrows
is entered. This ribbonlike water-way is less than twenty miles long,
and in many places so narrow that a stone may be tossed from shore to
shore. It winds between Mitkoff and Kupreanoff islands, and may be
navigated only at certain stages of the tide. Deep-draught vessels do
not attempt Wrangell Narrows, but turn around Cape Decision and proceed
by way of Chatham Strait and Frederick Sound--a course which adds at
least eighty miles to the voyage.

The interested voyager will not miss one moment of the run through the
narrows, either for sleep or hunger. Better a sleepless night or a
dinnerless day than one minute lost of this matchless scenic attraction.

The steamer pushes, under slow bell, along a channel which, in places,
is not wider than the steamer itself. Its sides are frequently touched
by the long strands of kelp that cover the sharp and dangerous reefs,
which may be plainly seen in the clear water.

The timid passenger, sailing these narrows, holds his breath a good
part of the time, and casts anxious glances at the bridge, whereon the
captain and his pilots stand silent, stern, with steady, level gaze set
upon the course. One moment's carelessness, ten seconds of inattention,
might mean the loss of a vessel in this dangerous strait.

Intense silence prevails, broken only by the heavy, slow throb of the
steamer and the swirl of the brown water in whirlpools over the rocks;
and these sounds echo far.

The channel is marked by many buoys and other signals. The island shores
on both sides are heavily wooded to the water, the branches spraying out
over the water in bright, lacy green. The tree trunks are covered with
pale green moss, and long moss-fringes hang from the branches, from the
tips of the trees to the water's edge. The effect is the same as that of
festal decoration.

Eagles may always be seen perched motionless upon the tall tree-tops or
upon buoys.

The steamship _Colorado_ went upon the rocks between Spruce and Anchor
points in 1900, where her storm-beaten hull still lies as a silent, but
eloquent, warning of the perils of this narrow channel.

The tides roaring in from the ocean through Frederick Sound on the north
and Sumner Strait on the south meet near Finger Point in the narrows.

Sunrise and sunset effects in this narrow channel are justly famed. I
once saw a mist blown ahead of my steamer at sunset that, in the vivid
brilliancy of its mingled scarlets, greens, and purples, rivalled the
coloring of a humming-bird.

At dawn, long rays of delicate pink, beryl, and pearl play through this
green avenue, deepening in color, fading, and withdrawing like Northern
Lights. When the scene is silvered and softened by moonlight, one looks
for elves and fairies in the shadows of the moss-dripping spruce trees.

The silence is so intense and the channel so narrow, that frequently at
dawn wild birds on the shores are heard saluting the sun with song; and
never, under any other circumstances, has bird song seemed so nearly
divine, so golden with magic and message, as when thrilled through the
fragrant, green stillness of Wrangell Narrows at such an hour.

I was once a passenger on a steamer that lay at anchor all night in
Sumner Strait, not daring to attempt the Narrows on account of storm and
tide. A stormy sunset burned about our ship. The sea was like a great,
scarlet poppy, whose every wave petal circled upward at the edges to
hold a fleck of gold. Island upon island stood out through that riot of
color in vivid, living green, and splendid peaks shone burnished against
the sky.

There was no sleep that night. Music and the dance held sway in the
cabins for those who cared for them, and for the others there was the
beauty of the night. In our chairs, sheltered by the great smoke-stacks
of the hurricane-deck, we watched the hours go by--each hour a different
color from the others--until the burned-out red of night had paled into
the new sweet primrose of dawn. The wind died, leaving the full tide
"that, moving, seems asleep"; and no night was ever warmer and sweeter
in any tropic sea than that.

Wrangell Narrows leads into Frederick Sound--so named by Whidbey and
Johnstone, who met there, in 1794, on the birthday of Frederick, Duke of
York.

Vancouver's expedition actually ended here, and the search for the
"Strait of Anian" was finally abandoned.

Several glaciers are in this vicinity: Small, Patterson, Summit, and Le
Conte. The Devil's Thumb, a spire-shaped peak on the mainland, rises
more than two thousand feet above the level of the sea, and stands
guard over Wrangell Narrows and the islands and glaciers of the
vicinity.

On Soukhoi Island fox ranches were established about five years ago;
they are said to be successful.

The Thunder Bay Glacier is the first on the coast that discharges bergs.
The thunder-like roars with which the vast bulks of beautiful blue-white
ice broke from the glacier's front caused the Indians to believe this
bay to be the home of the thunder-bird, who always produces thunder by
the flapping of his mighty wings.

Baird Glacier is in Thomas Bay, noted for its scenic charms,--glaciers,
forestation, waterfalls, and sheer heights combining to give it a
deservedly wide reputation among tourists. Elephant's Head, Portage Bay,
Farragut Bay, and Cape Fanshaw are important features of the vicinity.
The latter is a noted landmark and storm-point. It fronts the southwest,
and the full fury of the fiercest storms beats mercilessly upon it.
Light craft frequently try for days to make this point, when a wild gale
is blowing from the Pacific.

Of the scenery to the south of Cape Fanshaw, Whidbey reported to
Vancouver, on his final trip of exploration in August, 1794, that "the
mountains rose abruptly to a prodigious height ... to the South, a part
of them presented an uncommonly awful appearance, rising with an
inclination towards the water to a vast height, loaded with an immense
quantity of ice and snow, and overhanging their base, which seemed to be
insufficient to bear the ponderous fabric it sustained, and rendered the
view of the passage beneath it horribly magnificent."

At the Cape he encountered such severe gales that a whole day and night
were consumed in making a distance of sixteen miles.

There are more fox ranches on "The Brothers" Islands, and soon after
passing them Frederick Sound narrows into Stephens' Passage. Here, to
starboard, on the mainland, is Mount Windham, twenty-five hundred feet
in height, in Windham Bay.

Gold was discovered in this region in the early seventies, and mines
were worked for a number of years before the Juneau and Treadwell
excitement. The mountains abound in game.

Sumdum is a mining town in Sumdum, or Holkham, Bay. The fine, live
glacier in this arm is more perfectly named than any other in
Alaska--Sumdum, as the Indians pronounce it, more clearly describing the
deep roar of breaking and falling ice, with echo, than any other
syllables.

Large steamers do not enter this bay; but small craft, at slack-tide,
may make their way among the rocks and icebergs. It is well worth the
extra expense and trouble of a visit.

To the southwest of Cape Fanshaw, in Frederick Sound, is Turnabout
Island, whose suggestive name is as forlorn as Turnagain Arm, in Cook
Inlet, where Cook was forced to "turn again" on what proved to be his
last voyage.

Stephens' Passage is between the mainland and Admiralty Island. This
island barely escapes becoming three or four islands. Seymour Canal, in
the eastern part, almost cuts off a large portion, which is called Glass
Peninsula, the connecting strip of land being merely a portage;
Kootznahoo Inlet cuts more than halfway across from west to east, a
little south of the centre of the island; and at the northern end had
Hawk Inlet pierced but a little farther, another island would have been
formed. The scenery along these inlets, particularly Kootznahoo, where
the lower wooded hills rise from sparkling blue waters to glistening
snow peaks, is magnificent. Whidbey reported that although this island
appeared to be composed of a rocky substance covered with but little
soil, and that chiefly consisting of vegetables in an imperfect state of
dissolution, yet it produced timber which he considered superior to any
he had before observed on the western coast of America.

It is a pity that some steamship company does not run at least one or
two excursions during the summer to the little-known and unexploited
inlets of southeastern Alaska--to the abandoned Indian villages,
graveyards, and totems; the glaciers, cascades, and virgin spruce
glades; the roaring narrows and dim, sweet fiords, where the regular
passenger and "tourist" steamers do not touch. A month might easily be
spent on such a trip, and enough nature-loving, interested, and
interesting people could be found to take every berth--without the
bugaboo, the increasing nightmare of the typical tourist, to rob one of
his pleasure.

At present an excursion steamer sails from Seattle, and from the hour of
its sailing the steamer throbs through the most beautiful archipelago in
the world, the least known, and the one most richly repaying study,
making only five or six landings, and visiting two glaciers at most. It
is quite true that every moment of this "tourist" trip of ten days is,
nevertheless, a delight, if the weather be favorable; that the steamer
rate is remarkably cheap, and that no one can possibly regret having
made this trip if he cannot afford a longer one in Alaska. But this does
not alter the fact that there are hundreds of people who would gladly
make the longer voyage each summer, if transportation were afforded.
Local transportation in Alaska is so expensive that few can afford to go
from place to place, waiting for steamers, and paying for boats and
guides for every side trip they desire to make.

Admiralty Island is rich in gold, silver, and other minerals. There are
whaling grounds in the vicinity, and a whaling station was recently
established on the southwestern end of the Island, near Surprise Harbor
and Murder Cove. Directly across Chatham Strait from this station, on
Baranoff Island, only twenty-five miles from Sitka, are the famous
Sulphur Hot Springs.

There are fine marble districts on the western shores of Admiralty
Island.

On the southern end are Woewodski Harbor and Pybas Bay.

Halfway through Stephens' Passage are the Midway Islands, and but a
short distance farther, on the mainland, is Port Snettisham, a mining
settlement on an arm whose northern end is formed by Cascades Glacier,
and from whose southern arm musically and exquisitely leaps a cascade
which is the only rival of Sarah Island in the affections of
mariners--_Sweetheart Falls_.

Who so tenderly named this cascade, and for whom, I have not been able
to learn; but those pale green, foam-crested waters shall yet give up
their secret. Never would Vancouver be suspected of such naming. Had he
so prettily and sentimentally named it, the very waters would have
turned to stone in their fall, petrified by sheer amazement.

The scenery of Snettisham Inlet is the finest in this vicinity of fine
scenic effects, with the single exception of Taku Glacier.

In Taku Harbor is an Indian village, called Taku, where may be found
safe anchorage, which is frequently required in winter, on account of
what are called "Taku winds." Passing Grand Island, which rises to a
wooded peak, the steamer crosses the entrance to Taku Inlet and enters
Gastineau Channel.

There are many fine peaks in this vicinity, from two to ten thousand
feet in height.

The stretch of water where Stephens' Passage, Taku Inlet, Gastineau
Channel, and the southeastern arm of Lynn Canal meet is in winter
dreaded by pilots. A squall is liable to come tearing down Taku Inlet
at any moment and meet one from some other direction, to the peril of
navigation.

At times a kind of fine frozen mist is driven across by the violent
gales, making it difficult to see a ship's length ahead. At such times
the expressive faces on the bridge of a steamer are psychological
studies.

In summer, however, no open stretch of water could be more inviting.
Clear, faintly rippled, deep sapphire, flecked with the first glistening
bergs floating out of the inlet, it leads the way to the glorious
presence that lies beyond.

I had meant to take the reader first up lovely Gastineau Channel to
Juneau; but now that I have unintentionally drifted into Taku Inlet, the
glacier lures me on. It is only an hour's run, and the way is one of
ever increasing beauty, until the steamer has pushed its prow through
the hundreds of sparkling icebergs, under slow bell, and at last lies
motionless. One feels as though in the presence of some living, majestic
being, clouded in mystery. The splendid front drops down sheer to the
water, from a height of probably three hundred feet. A sapphire mist
drifts over it, without obscuring the exquisite tintings of rose, azure,
purple, and green that flash out from the glistening spires and columns.
The crumpled mass pushing down from the mountains strains against the
front, and sends towered bulks plunging headlong into the sea, with a
roar that echoes from peak to peak in a kind of "linked sweetness long
drawn out" and ever diminishing.

There is no air so indescribably, thrillingly sweet as the air of a
glacier on a fair day. It seems to palpitate with a fragrance that
ravishes the senses. I saw a great, recently captured bear, chained on
the hurricane deck of a steamer, stand with his nose stretched out
toward the glacier, his nostrils quivering and a look of almost human
longing and rebellion in his small eyes. The feeling of pain and pity
with which a humane person always beholds a chained wild animal is
accented in these wide and noble spaces swimming from snow mountain to
snow mountain, where the very watchword of the silence seems to be
"Freedom." The chained bear recognized the scent of the glacier and
remembered that he had once been free.

In front of the glacier stretched miles of sapphire, sunlit sea, set
with sparkling, opaline-tinted icebergs. Now and then one broke and fell
apart before our eyes, sending up a funnel-shaped spray of color,--rose,
pale green, or azure.

At every blast of the steamer's whistle great masses of ice came
thundering headlong into the sea--to emerge presently, icebergs.
Canoeists approach glaciers closely at their peril, never knowing when
an iceberg may shoot to the surface and wreck their boat. Even larger
craft are by no means safe, and tourists desiring a close approach
should voyage with intrepid captains who sail safely through everything.

The wide, ceaseless sweep of a live glacier down the side of a great
mountain and out into the sea holds a more compelling suggestion of
power than any other action of nature. I have never felt the appeal of a
mountain glacier--of a stream of ice and snow that, so far as the eye
can discover, never reaches anywhere, although it keeps going forever.
The feeling of forlornness with which, after years of anticipation, I
finally beheld the renowned glacier of the Selkirks, will never be
forgotten. It was the forlornness of a child who has been robbed of her
Santa Claus, or who has found that her doll is stuffed with sawdust.

But to behold the splendid, perpendicular front of a live glacier rising
out of a sea which breaks everlastingly upon it; to see it under the
rose and lavender of sunset or the dull gold of noon; to see and hear
tower, minaret, dome, go thundering down into the clear depths and pound
them into foam--this alone is worth the price of a trip to Alaska.

We were told that the opaline coloring of the glacier was unusual, and
that its prevailing color is an intense blue, more beautiful and
constant than that of other glaciers; and that even the bergs floating
out from it were of a more pronounced blue than other bergs.

But I do not believe it. I have seen the blue of the Columbia Glacier in
Prince William Sound; and I have sailed for a whole afternoon among the
intensely blue ice shallops that go drifting in an endless fleet from
Glacier Bay out through Icy Straits to the ocean. If there be a more
exquisite blue this side of heaven than I have seen in Icy Straits and
in the palisades of the Columbia Glacier, I must see it to believe it.

There are three glaciers in Taku Inlet: two--Windham and Twin--which are
at present "dead"; and Taku, the Beautiful, which is very much alive.
The latter was named Foster, for the former Secretary of the Treasury;
but the Indian name has clung to it, which is one more cause for
thanksgiving.

The Inlet is eighteen miles long and about seven hundred feet wide. Taku
River flows into it from the northeast, spreading out in blue ribbons
over the brown flats; at high tide it may be navigated, with caution, by
small row-boats and canoes. It was explored in early days by the Hudson
Bay Company, also by surveyors of the Western Union Telegraph Company.

Whidbey, entering the Inlet in 1794, sustained his reputation for
absolute blindness to beauty. He found "a compact body of ice extending
some distance nearly all around." He found "frozen mountains," "rock
sides," "dwarf pine trees," and "undissolving frost and snow." He
lamented the lack of a suitable landing-place for boats; and reported
the aspect in general to be "as dreary and inhospitable as the
imagination can possibly suggest."

Alas for the poor chilly Englishman! He, doubtless, expected
silvery-gowned ice maidens to come sliding out from under the glacier in
pearly boats, singing and kissing their hands, to bear him back into
their deep blue grottos and dells of ice, and refresh him with Russian
tea from old brass samovars; he expected these maidens to be girdled and
crowned with carnations and poppies, and to pluck winy grapes--with
_dust_ clinging to their bloomy roundness--from living vines for him to
eat; and most of all, he expected to find in some remote corner of the
clear and sparkling cavern a big fireplace, "which would remind him
pleasantly of England;" and a brilliant fire on a well-swept hearth,
with the smoke and sparks going up through a melted hole in the glacier.

About fifteen miles up Taku River, Wright Glacier streams down from the
southeast and fronts upon the low and marshy lands for a distance of
nearly three miles.

The mountains surrounding Taku Inlet rise to a height of four thousand
feet, jutting out abruptly, in places, over the water.



CHAPTER IX


Gastineau Channel is more than a mile wide at the entrance, and eight
miles long; it narrows gradually as it separates Douglas Island from the
mainland, and, still narrowing, goes glimmering on past Juneau, like a
silver-blue ribbon. Down this channel at sunset burns the most beautiful
coloring, which slides over the milky waters, producing an opaline
effect. At such an hour this scene--with Treadwell glittering on one
side, and Juneau on the other, with Mount Juneau rising in one swelling
sweep directly behind the town--is one of the fairest in this country of
fair scenes.

The unique situation of Juneau appeals powerfully to the lover of
beauty. There is an unforgettable charm in its narrow, crooked streets
and winding, mossed stairways; its picturesque shops,--some with
gorgeous totem-poles for signs,--where a small fortune may be spent on a
single Attu or Atka basket; the glitter and the music of its streets and
its "places," the latter open all night; its people standing in doorways
and upon corners, eager to talk to strangers and bid them welcome; and
its gayly clad squaws, surrounded by fine baskets and other work of
their brown hands.

The streets are terraced down to the water, and many of the pretty,
vine-draped cottages seem to be literally hung upon the side of the
mountain. One must have good, strong legs to climb daily the flights of
stairs that steeply lead to some of them.

In the heart of the town is an old Presbyterian Mission church, built of
logs, with an artistic square tower, also of logs, at one corner. This
church is now used as a brewery and soda-bottling establishment!

The lawns are well cared for, and the homes are furnished with refined
taste, giving evidences of genuine comfort, as well as luxury.

My first sight of Juneau was at three o'clock of a dark and rainy autumn
night in 1905. We had drifted slowly past the mile or more of brilliant
electric lights which is Treadwell and Douglas; and turning our eyes to
the north, discovered, across the narrow channel, the lights of Juneau
climbing out of the darkness up the mountain from the water's edge.
Houses and buildings we could not see; only those radiant lights,
leading us on, like will-o'-the-wisps.

When we landed it seemed as though half the people of the town, if not
the entire population, must be upon the wharf. It was then that we
learned that it is always daytime in Alaskan towns when a steamer
lands--even though it be three o'clock of a black night.

The business streets were brilliant. Everything was open for business,
except the banks; a blare of music burst through the open door of every
saloon and dance-hall; blond-haired "ladies" went up and down the
streets in the rain and mud, bare-headed, clad in gauze and other airy
materials, in silk stockings and satin slippers. They laughed and talked
with men on the streets in groups; they were heard singing; they were
seen dancing and inviting the young waiters and cabin-boys of our
steamer into their dance halls.

"How'd you like Juneau?" asked my cabin-boy the next day, teetering in
the doorway with a plate of oranges in his hand, and a towel over his
arm.

"It seemed very lively," I replied, "for three o'clock in the morning."

"Oh, hours don't cut any ice in Alaska," said he. "People in Alaska keep
their clo's hung up at the head of their beds, like the harness over a
fire horse. When the boat whistles, it loosens the clo's from the hook;
the people spring out of bed right under 'em; the clo's fall onto
'em--an' there they are on the wharf, all dressed, by the time the boat
docks. They're all right here, but say! they can't hold a candle to the
people of Valdez for gettin' to the dock. They just cork you at Valdez."

At Juneau I went through the most brilliant business transaction of my
life. I was in the post-office when I discovered that I had left my
pocket-book on the steamer. I desired a curling-iron; so I borrowed a
big silver dollar of a friend, and hastened away to the largest
dry-goods shop.

A sleepy clerk waited upon me. The curling-iron was thirty cents. I gave
him the dollar, and he placed the change in my open hand. Without
counting it, I went back to the post-office, purchased twenty-five
cents' worth of stamps, and gave the balance to the friend from whom I
had borrowed the dollar.

"Count it," said I, "and see how much I owe you."

She counted it.

"How much did you spend?" she asked presently.

"Fifty-five cents."

She began to laugh wildly.

"You have a thirty-cent curling-iron, twenty-five cents' worth of
stamps, and you've given me back a dollar and sixty-five cents--all out
of one silver dollar!"

I counted the money. It was too true.

With a burning face I took the change and went back to the store. My
friend insisted upon going with me, although I would have preferred to
see her lost on the Taku Glacier. I cannot endure people who laugh like
children at everything.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

ESKIMO IN BIDARKA]

The captain and several passengers were in the store. They heard my
explanation; and they all gathered around to assist the polite but
sleepy clerk.

One would say that it would be the simplest thing in the world to
straighten out that change; but the postage stamps added complications.
Everybody figured, explained, suggested, criticised, and objected.
Several times we were quite sure we had it. Then, some one would
titter--and the whole thing would go glimmering out of sight.

However, at the end of twenty minutes it was arranged to the clerk's and
my own satisfaction. Several hours later, when we were well on our way
up Lynn Canal, a calmer figuring up proved that I had not paid one cent
for my curling-iron.

From the harbor Mount Juneau has the appearance of rising directly out
of the town--so sheer and bold is its upward sweep to a height of three
thousand feet. Down its many pale green mossy fissures falls the liquid
silver of cascades.

It is heavily wooded in some places; in others, the bare stone shines
through its mossy covering, giving a soft rose-colored effect, most
pleasing to the eye.

Society in Juneau, as in every Alaskan town, is gay. Its watchword is
hospitality. In summer, there are many excursions to glaciers and the
famed inlets which lie almost at their door, and to see which other
people travel thousands of miles. In winter, there is a brilliant whirl
of dances, card parties, and receptions. "Smokers" to which ladies are
invited are common--although they are somewhat like the pioneer dish of
"potatoes-and-point."

When the pioneers were too poor to buy sufficient bacon for the family
dinner, they hung a small piece on the wall; the family ate their
solitary dish of potatoes and pointed at the piece of bacon.

So, at these smokers, the ladies must be content to see the men smoke,
but they might, at least, be allowed to point.

Most of the people are wealthy. Money is plentiful, and misers are
unknown. The expenditure of money for the purchase of pleasure is
considered the best investment that an Alaskan can make.

Fabulous prices are paid for luxuries in food and dress.

"I have lived in Dawson since 1897," said a lady last summer, "and have
never been ill for a day. I attribute my good health to the fact that I
have never flinched at the price of anything my appetite craved. Many a
time I have paid a dollar for a small cucumber; but I have never paid a
dollar for a drug. I have always had fruit, regardless of the price, and
fresh vegetables. No amount of time or money is considered wasted on
flowers. Women of Alaska invariably dress well and present a smart
appearance. Many wear imported gowns and hats--and I do not mean
imported from 'the states,' either--and costly jewels and furs are more
common than in any other section of America. We entertain lavishly, and
our hospitality is genuine."

Every traveller in Alaska will testify to the truth of these assertions.
If a man looks twice at a dollar before spending it, he is soon "jolted"
out of the pernicious habit.

The worst feature of Alaskan social life is the "coming out" of many of
the women in winter, leaving their husbands to spend the long, dreary
winter months as they may. To this selfishness on the part of the women
is due much of the intoxication and immorality of Alaska--few men being
of sufficiently strong character to withstand the distilled temptations
of the country.

That so many women go "out" in winter, is largely due to the proverbial
kindness and indulgence of American husbands, who are loath to have
their wives subjected to the rigors and the hardships of an Alaskan
winter.

However, the winter exodus may scarcely be considered a feature of the
society of Juneau, or other towns of southeastern Alaska. The climate
resembles that of Puget Sound; there is a frequent and excellent
steamship service to and from Seattle; and the reasons for the exodus
that exist in cold and shut-in regions have no apparent existence here.

Every business--and almost every industry--is represented in Juneau. The
town has excellent schools and churches, a library, women's clubs,
hospitals, a chamber of commerce, two influential newspapers, a militia
company, a brass band--and a good brass band is a feature of real
importance in this land of little music--an opera-house, and, of course,
electric lights and a good water system.

Juneau has for several years been the capital of Alaska; but not until
the appointment of Governor Wilford B. Hoggatt, in 1906, to succeed
Governor J. G. Brady, were the Executive Office and Governor's residence
established here. So confident have the people of Juneau always been
that it would eventually become the capital of Alaska, that an eminence
between the town and the Auk village has for twenty years been called
Capitol Hill. During all these years there has been a fierce and bitter
rivalry between Juneau and Sitka.

Juneau was named for Joseph Juneau, a miner who came, "grub-staked," to
this region in 1880. It was the fifth name bestowed upon the place,
which grew from a single camp to the modern and independent town it is
to-day--and the capital of one of the greatest countries in the world.

In its early days Juneau passed through many exciting and charming
vicissitudes. Anything but monotony is welcomed by a town in Alaska; and
existence in Juneau in the eighties was certainly not monotonous.

The town started with a grand stampede and rush, which rivalled that of
the Klondike seventeen years later; the Treadwell discovery and
attendant excitement came during the second year of its existence, and a
guard of marines was necessary to preserve order, until, upon its
withdrawal, a vigilance committee took matters into its own hands, with
immediate beneficial results.

The population of Juneau is about two thousand, which--like that of all
other northern towns--is largely increased each fall by the miners who
come in from the hills and inlets to "winter."

In the middle eighties there were Chinese riots. The little yellow men
were all driven out of town, and their quarters were demolished by a
mob.

A recent attempt to introduce Hindu labor in the Treadwell mines
resulted as disastrously.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

RAILROAD CONSTRUCTION, EYAK LAKE]



CHAPTER X


Treadwell! Could any mine employing stamps have a more inspiring name,
unless it be Stampwell? It fairly forces confidence and success.

Douglas Island, lying across the narrow channel from Juneau, is
twenty-five miles long and from four to nine miles wide. On this island
are the four famous Treadwell mines, owned by four separate companies,
but having the same general managership.

Gold was first discovered on this island in 1881. Sorely against his
will, John Treadwell was forced to take some of the original claims,
having loaned a small amount upon them, which the borrower was unable to
repay.

Having become possessed of these claims, a gambler's "hunch" impelled
him to buy an adjoining claim from "French Pete" for four hundred
dollars. On this claim is now located the famed "Glory Hole."

This is so deep that to one looking down into it the men working at the
bottom and along the sides appear scarcely larger than flies. Steep
stairways lead, winding, to the bottom of this huge quartz bowl; but
visitors to the dizzy regions below are not encouraged, on account of
frequent blasting and danger of accidents.

It is claimed that Treadwell is the largest quartz mine in the world,
and that it employs the largest number of stamps--nine hundred. The ore
is low grade, not yielding an average of more than two dollars to the
ton; but it is so easily mined and so economically handled that the
mines rank with the Calumet and Hecla, of Michigan; the Comstock Lode
mines, of Nevada; the Homestake, of South Dakota; and the Portland, of
Colorado.

The Treadwell is the pride of Alaska. Its poetic situation, romantic
history, and admirable methods should make it the pride of America.

Its management has always been just and liberal. It has had fewer labor
troubles than any other mine in America.

There are two towns on the island--Treadwell and Douglas. The latter is
the commercial and residential portion of the community--for the towns
meet and mingle together.

The entire population, exclusive of natives, is three thousand people--a
population that is constantly increasing, as is the demand for laborers,
at prices ranging from two dollars and sixty cents per day up to five
dollars for skilled labor.

The island is so brilliantly lighted by electricity that to one
approaching on a dark night it presents the appearance of a city six
times its size.

The nine hundred stamps drop ceaselessly, day and night, with only two
holidays in a year--Christmas and the Fourth of July. The noise is
ferocious. In the stamp-mill one could not distinguish the boom of a
cannon, if it were fired within a distance of twenty feet, from the deep
and continuous thunder of the machinery.

In 1881 the first mill, containing five stamps, was built and commenced
crushing ore that came from a streak twenty feet wide. This ore milled
from eight to ten dollars a ton, proving to be of a grade sufficiently
high to pay for developing and milling, and leave a good surplus.

It was soon recognized that the great bulk of the ore was extremely low
grade, and that, consequently, a large milling capacity would be required
to make the enterprise a success. A one-hundred-and-twenty-stamp-mill
was erected and began crushing ore in June, 1885. At the end of three
years the stamps were doubled. In another year three hundred additional
stamps were dropping. Gradually the three other mines were opened up and
the stamps were increased until nine hundred were dropping.

The shafts are from seven to nine hundred feet below sea level, and one
is beneath the channel; yet very little water is encountered in sinking
them. Most of the water in the mines comes from the surface and is
caught up and pumped out, from the first level.

The net profits of these mines to their owners are said to be six
thousand dollars a day; and mountains of ore are still in sight.

Our captain obtained permission to take us down into the mine. This was
not so difficult as it was to elude the other passengers. At last,
however, we found ourselves shut into a small room, lined with jumpers,
slickers, and caps.

Shades of the things we put on to go under Niagara Falls!

"Get into this!" commanded the captain, holding a sticky and unclean
slicker for me. "And make haste! There's no time to waste for you to
examine it. Finicky ladies don't get two invitations into the Treadwell.
Put in your arm."

My arm went in. When an Alaskan sea captain speaks, it is to obey. Who
last wore that slicker, far be it from me to discover. Chinaman, leper,
Jap, or Auk--it mattered not. I was in it, then, and curiosity was
sternly stifled.

"Now put on this cap." Then beheld mine eyes a cap that would make a
Koloshian ill.

"Must I put _that_ on?"

I whispered it, so the manager would not hear.

"You must put this on. Take off your hat."

My hat came off, and the cap went on. It was pushed down well over my
hair; down to my eyebrows in the front and down to the nape of my neck
in the back.

"There!" said the captain, cheerfully. "You needn't be afraid of
anything down in the mine now."

Alas! there was nothing in any mine, in any world, that I dreaded as I
did what might be in that cap.

There were four of us, with the manager, and there was barely room on
the rather dirty "lift" for us.

We stood very close together. It was as dark as a dungeon.

"Now--look out!" said the manager.

As we started, I clutched somebody--it did not matter whom. I also drew
one wild and amazed breath; before I could possibly let go of that
one--to say nothing of drawing another--there was a bump, and we were in
a level one thousand and eighty feet below the surface of the earth.

We stepped out into a brilliantly lighted station, with a high,
glittering quartz ceiling. The swift descent had so affected my hearing
that I could not understand a word that was spoken for fully five
minutes. None of my companions, however, complained of the same trouble.

It has been the custom to open a level at every hundred and ten feet;
but hereafter the distance between levels in the Treadwell mine will be
one hundred and fifty feet.

At each level a station, or chamber, is cut out, as wide as the shaft,
from forty to sixty feet in length, and having an average height of
eight feet. A drift is run from the shaft for a distance of twenty-five
feet, varying in height from fifteen feet in front to seven at the back.
The main crosscut is then started at right angles to the station drift.

From east and west the "drifts" run into this crosscut, like little
creeks into a larger stream.

No one has ever accused me of being shy in the matter of asking
questions. It was the first time I had been down in one of the famous
gold mines of the world, and I asked as many questions as a woman trying
to rent a forty-dollar house for twenty dollars. Between shafts,
stations, ore bins, crosscuts, stopes, drifts, levels, and _winzes_, it
was less than fifteen minutes before I felt the cold moisture of despair
breaking out upon my brow. Winzes proved to be the last straw. I could
get a glimmering of what the other things were; but _winzes_!

The manager had been polite in a forced, friend-of-the-captain kind of
way. He was evidently willing to answer every question once, but
whenever I forgot and asked the same question twice, he balked
instantly. Exerting every particle of intelligence I possessed, I could
not make out the difference between a stope and a station, except that a
stope had the higher ceiling.

"I have told you the difference _three times_ already," cried the
manager, irritably.

The captain, back in the shadow, grinned sympathetically.

"Nor'-nor'-west, nor'-by-west, a-quarter-nor'," said he, sighing.
"She'll learn your gold mine sooner than she'll learn my compass."

Then they both laughed. They laughed quite a while, and my disagreeable
friend laughed with them. For myself, I could not see anything funny
anywhere.

I finally learned, however, that a station is a place cut out for a
stable or for the passage of cars, or other things requiring space;
while a stope is a room carried to the level of the top of the main
crosscut. It is called a stope because the ore is "stoped" out of it.

But winzes! What winzes are is still a secret of the
ten-hundred-and-eighty-foot level of the Treadwell mine.

Tram-cars filled with ore, each drawn by a single horse, passed us in
every drift--or was it in crosscuts and levels? One horse had been in
the mine seven years without once seeing sunlight or fields of green
grass; without once sipping cool water from a mountain creek with
quivering, sensitive lips; without once stretching his aching limbs upon
the soft sod of a meadow, or racing with his fellows upon a hard road.

But every man passing one of these horses gave him an affectionate pat,
which was returned by a low, pathetic whinny of recognition and
pleasure.

"One old fellow is a regular fool about these horses," said the manager,
observing our interest. "He's always carrying them down armfuls of green
grass, apples, sugar, and everything a horse will eat. You'd ought to
hear them nicker at sight of him. If they pass him in a drift, when he
hasn't got a thing for them, they'll nicker and nicker, and keep turning
their heads to look after him. Sometimes it makes me feel queer in my
throat."

No one can by any chance know what noise is until he has stood at the
head of a drift and heard three Ingersoll-Sergeant drills beating with
lightning-like rapidity into the walls of solid quartz for the purpose
of blasting.

Standing between these drills and within three feet of them, one
suddenly is possessed of the feeling that his sense of hearing has
broken loose and is floating around in his head in waves. This feeling
is followed by one of suffocation. Shock succeeds shock until one's very
mind seems to go vibrating away.

At a sign from the manager the silence is so sudden and so intense that
it hurts almost as much as the noise.

There is a fascination in walking through these high-ceiled, brilliantly
lighted stopes, and these low-ceiled, shadowy drifts. Walls and ceilings
are gray quartz, glittering with gold. One is constantly compelled to
turn aside for cars of ore on their way to the dumping-places, where
their burdens go thundering to the levels below.

At last the manager paused.

"I suppose," said he, sighing, "you wouldn't care to see the--"

I did not catch the last word, and had no notion what it was, but I
instantly assured him that I would rather see it than anything in the
whole mine.

His face fell.

"Really--" he began.

"Of course we'll see it," said the captain; "we want to see everything."

The manager's face fell lower.

"All right," said he, briefly, "come on!"

We had gone about twenty steps when I, who was close behind him,
suddenly missed him. He was gone.

Had he fallen into a dump hole? Had he gone to atoms in a blast? I
blinked into the shadows, standing motionless, but could see no sign of
him.

Then his voice shouted from above me--"Come on!"

I looked up. In front of me a narrow iron ladder led upward as straight
as any flag-pole, and almost as high. Where it went, and why it went,
mattered not. The only thing that impressed me was that the manager,
halfway up this ladder, had commanded me to "come on."

_I?_ to "come on!" up that perpendicular ladder whose upper end was not
in sight!

But whatever might be at the top of that ladder, I had assured him that
I would rather see it than anything in the whole mine. It was not for me
to quail. I took firm hold of the cold and unclean rungs, and started.

When we had slowly and painfully climbed to the top, we worked our way
through a small, square hole and emerged into another stope, or level,
and in a very dark part of it. Each man worked by the light of a single
candle. They were stoping out ore and making it ready to be dumped into
lower levels--from which it would finally be hoisted out of the mine in
skips.

The ceiling was so low that we could walk only in a stooping position.
The laborers worked in the same position; and what with this discomfort
and the insufficient light, it would seem that their condition was
unenviable. Yet their countenances denoted neither dissatisfaction nor
ill-humor.

"Well," said the manager, presently, "you can have it to say that you
have been under the bay, anyhow."

"_Under the_--"

"Yes; under Gastineau Channel. That's straight. It is directly over us."

We immediately decided that we had seen enough of the great mine, and
cheerfully agreed to the captain's suggestion that we return to the
ship. We were compelled to descend by the perpendicular ladder; and the
descent was far worse than the ascent had been.

On our way to the "lift" by which we had made our advent into the mine,
we met another small party. It was headed by a tall and handsome man,
whose air of delicate breeding would attract attention in any gathering
in the world. His distinction and military bearing shone through his
greasy slicker and greasier cap--which he instinctively fumbled, in a
futile attempt to lift it, as we passed.

It was that brave and gallant explorer, Brigadier-General Greely, on his
way to the Yukon. He was on his last tour of inspection before
retirement. It was his farewell to the Northern country which he has
served so faithfully and so well.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

EYAK LAKE, NEAR CORDOVA]

One stumbles at almost every turn in Alaska upon some world-famous
person who has answered Beauty's far, insistent call. The modest,
low-voiced gentleman at one's side at the captain's table is more likely
than not a celebrated explorer or geologist, writer or artist; or, at
the very least, an earl.

"After we've seen our passengers eat their first meal," said the chief
steward, "we know how to seat them. You can pick out a lady or a
gentleman at the table without fail. A boor can fool you every place
except at the table. We never assign seats until after the first meal;
and oftener than you would suppose we seat them according to their
manners at the first meal."

I smiled and smiled, then, remembering the first meal on our steamer. It
was breakfast. We had been down to the dining room for something and,
returning, found ourselves in a mob at the head of the stairs.

There were one hundred and sixty-five passengers on the boat, and fully
one hundred and sixty of them were squeezed like compressed hops around
that stairway. In two seconds I was a cluster of hops myself, simply
that and nothing more. I do not know how the compressing of hops is
usually accomplished; but in my particular case it was done between two
immensely big and disagreeable men. They ignored me as calmly as though
I were a little boy, and talked cheerfully over my head, although it
soon developed that they were not in the least acquainted.

A little black-ringleted, middle-aged woman who seemed to be mounted on
wires, suddenly squeezed her head in under their arms, simpering.

"Oh, Doctor!" twittered she, coquettishly. "You are talking to _my
husband_."

"The deuce!" ejaculated the Doctor, but whether with evil intent or not,
I could not determine from his face.

"Yes, truly. Doctor Metcalf, let me introduce my husband, Mr. Wildey."

They shook hands on my shoulder--but I didn't mind a little thing like
that.

"On your honeymoon, eh?" chuckled the Doctor, amiably. The other big man
grew red to his hair, and the lady's black ringlets danced up and down.

"Now, now, Doctor," chided she, shaking a finger at him,--she was at
least fifty,--"no teasing. No steamer serenades, you know. I was on an
Alaskan steamer once, and they pinned red satin hearts all over a
bride's stateroom door. Just fancy getting up some morning and finding
my stateroom door covered with red satin hearts!"

"I can smell mackerel," said a shrill tenor behind me; and alas! so
could I. If there be anything that I like the smell of less than a
mackerel, it is an Esquimau hut only.

Somebody sniffed delightedly.

"Fried, too," said a happy voice. "Can't you squeeze down closer to the
stairway?"

Almost at once the big man behind me was tipped forward into the big man
in front of me--and, as a mere incident in passing, of course, into me
as well. We all went tipping and bobbing and clutching toward the
stairway.

Life does not hold many half-hours so rich and so full as the one that
followed. As a revelation of the baser side of human nature, it was
precious.

My friend was tall; and once, far down the saloon, I caught a glimpse of
her handsome, well-carried head as the mob parted for an instant. The
expression on her face was like that on the face of the Princess de
Lamballe when Lorado Taft has finished with her.

Suddenly I began to move forward. Rather, I was borne forward without
effort on my part. A great wave seemed to pick me up and carry me to the
head of the stairway. I fairly floated down into the dining room. I
fell into the first chair at the first table I came to; but the mob
flowed by, looking for something better. Every woman was on a mad hunt
for the captain's table. My table remained unpeopled until my friend
came in and found me. Gradually and reluctantly the chairs were filled
and we devoted ourselves to the mackerel.

In a far corner at the other end of the room, there was a table with
flowers on it. With a sigh of relief I saw black ringlets dancing
thereat.

"Thank heaven!" I said. "The bride is at the captain's table."

"Ho, no, ma'am," said the gentle voice of the waiter in my ear. "You're
hat hit yourself, ma'am. You're hin the captain's hown seat, ma'am. 'E
don't come down to the first meal, though, ma'am," he added hastily,
seeing my look of horror. For the first, last, and, I trust, only, time
in my life I had innocently seated myself at a captain's table, without
an invitation.

After breakfast we hastened on deck and went through deep-breathing
exercises for an hour, trying to work ourselves back to our usual
proportions.

I should like to see a chief steward seat that mob.

I was greatly amused, by the way, at a young waiter's description of an
earl.

"We have lots of earls goin' up," said he, easily. "Oh, yes; they go up
to Cook Inlet and Kodiak to hunt big game. I always know an earl the
first meal. He makes me pull his corks, and he gives me a quarter or a
half for every cork I pull. Sometimes I make six bits or a dollar at a
meal, just pulling one earl's corks. I'd rather wait on earls than
anybody--except ladies, of course," he added, with a positive jerk of
remembrance; whereupon we both smiled.



CHAPTER XI


Gastineau Channel northwest of Juneau is not navigable for craft drawing
more than three feet of water, at high tide.

Coming out of the channel the steamer turns around the southern end of
Douglas Island and heads north into Lynn Canal, with Admiralty Island on
the port side and Douglas on the starboard.

Directly north of the latter island is Mendenhall Glacier, formerly
known as the Auk. The Indians of this vicinity bear the same name, and
have a village north of Juneau. They were a warlike offshoot of the
Hoonahs, and bore a bad reputation for treachery and unreliability. Only
a few now remain.

In the neighborhood of this glacier--at which the steamer does not call
but which may be plainly seen streaming down--are several snow
mountains, from five thousand to seven thousand feet in height. They
seem hardly worthy of the name of mountain in Alaska; but they float so
whitely and so beautifully above the deep blue waters of Lynn Canal that
the voyager cannot mistake their mission.

Shelter Island, west of Mendenhall Glacier, forms two channels--Saginaw
and Favorite. The latter, as indicated by its name, is the one followed
by steamers going to Skaguay. Saginaw is taken by steamers going down
Chatham Straits, or Icy Straits, to Sitka.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

INDIAN HOUSES, CORDOVA]

Sailing up Favorite Channel, Eagle Glacier is passed on the starboard
side. It is topped by a great crag which so closely resembles in outline
our national emblem that it was so named by Admiral Beardslee, in 1879.
The glacier itself is not of great importance.

On Benjamin Island, a fair anchorage may be secured for vessels bound
north which have unfortunately been caught in a strong northwest gale.

After the dangerous Vanderbilt Reef is passed, Point Bridget and Point
St. Mary's are seen at the entrance to Berner's Bay, where is situated
the rich gold mine belonging to Governor Hoggatt.

A light was established in 1905 on Point Sherman; also, on Eldred Rock,
where the _Clara Nevada_ went down, in 1898, with the loss of every soul
on board. For ten years repeated attempts to locate this wreck have been
made, on account of the rich treasure which the ship was supposed to
carry; but not until 1908 was it discovered--when, upon the occurrence
of a phenomenally low tide, it was seen gleaming in clear green depths
for a few hours by the keeper of the lighthouse. There was a large loss
of life.

There is a mining and mill settlement at Seward, in this vicinity.

William Henry Bay, lying across the canal from Berner's, is celebrated
as a sportsman's resort, although this recommendation has come to bear
little distinction in a country where it is so common. Enormous crabs,
rivalling those to the far "Westward," are found here. Their meat is not
coarse, as would naturally be supposed, because of their great size, but
of a fine flavor.

Seduction Point, on the island bearing the same name, lies between
Chilkaht Inlet on the west and Chilkoot Inlet on the east. For once,
Vancouver rose to the occasion and bestowed a striking name, because at
this point the treacherous Indians tried to lure Whidbey and his men up
the inlet to their village. Upon his refusal to go, they presented a
warlike front, and the sincerity of their first advances was doubted.

At the entrance to Chilkaht Inlet, Davidson Glacier is seen sweeping
down magnificently from near the summit of the White Mountains. Although
this glacier does not discharge bergs, nor rise in splendid tinted
palisades straight from the water, as do Taku and Columbia, it is,
nevertheless, very imposing--especially if seen from the entrance of the
inlet at sunset of a clear day.

The setting of the glaciers of Lynn Canal is superb. The canal itself,
named by Vancouver for his home in England, is the most majestic slender
water-way in Alaska. From Puget Sound, fiord after fiord leads one on in
ever increasing, ever changing splendor, until the grand climax is
reached in Lynn Canal.

For fifty-five miles the sparkling blue waters of the canal push almost
northward. Its shores are practically unbroken by inlets, and rise in
noble sweeps or stately palisades, to domes and peaks of snow. Glaciers
may be seen at every turn of the steamer. Not an hour--not one mile of
this last fifty-five--should be missed.

In winter the snow descends to the water's edge and this stretch is
exalted to sublimity. The waters of the canal take on deep tones of
purple at sunset; fires of purest old rose play upon the mountains and
glaciers; and the clear, washed-out atmosphere brings the peaks forward
until they seem to overhang the steamer throbbing up between them.

Lynn Canal is really but a narrowing continuation of Chatham Strait.
Together they form one grand fiord, two hundred miles in length, with
scarcely a bend, extending directly north and south. From an average
width of four or five miles, they narrow, in places, to less than half a
mile.

In July, 1794, Vancouver, lying at Port Althorp, in Cross Sound, sent
Mr. Whidbey to explore the continental shore to the eastward. Mr.
Whidbey sailed through Icy Strait, seeing the glacier now known as the
Brady Glacier, and rounding Point Couverden, sailed up Lynn Canal.

Here, as usual, he was simply stunned by the grandeur and magnificence
of the scenery, and resorted to his pet adjectives.

"Both sides of this arm were bounded by _lofty, stupendous mountains,
covered with perpetual ice and snow_, whilst the shores in this
neighborhood appeared to be composed of cliffs of very fine slate,
interspersed with beaches of very fine paving stone.... Up this channel
the boats passed, and found the continental shore now take a direction
N. 22 W., to a point where the arm narrowed to two miles across; from
whence it extended ten miles further in a direction N. 30 W., where its
navigable extent terminated in latitude 59° 12´, longitude 224° 33´.
This station was reached in the morning of the 16th, after passing some
islands and some rocks nearly in mid-channel." (It was probably on one
of these that the _Clara Nevada_ was wrecked a hundred years later.)
"Above the northernmost of these (which lies four miles below the shoal
that extends across the upper part of the arm, there about a mile in
width) the water was found to be perfectly fresh. Along the edge of this
shoal, the boats passed from side to side, in six feet water, and beyond
it, the head of the arm extended about half a league, where a small
opening in the land was seen, about the fourth of a mile wide, leading
to the northwestward, from whence a rapid stream of fresh water rushed
over the shoal" (this was Chilkaht River). "But this, to all appearance,
was bounded at no great distance by a continuation of the same lofty
ridge of snowy mountains so repeatedly mentioned, as stretching
eastwardly from Mount Fairweather, and which, in every point of view
they had hitherto been seen, appeared to be a firm and close-connected
range of _stupendous mountains, forever doomed to support a burthen of
undissolving ice and snow_."

Here, it will be observed, Whidbey was so unconsciously wrought upon by
the sublimity of the country that he was moved to fairly poetic
utterance. He seemed, however, to be himself doomed to support forever a
burthen of gloom and undissolving weariness as heavy as that borne by
the mountains.

Up this river, or, as Whidbey called it, _brook_, the Indians informed
him, eight chiefs of great consequence resided in a number of villages.
He was urged to visit them. Their behavior was peaceable, civil, and
friendly; but Mr. Whidbey declined the invitation, and returning,
rounded, and named, Point Seduction, and passing into Chilkoot Inlet,
discovered more "high, stupendous mountains, loaded with perpetual ice
and snow."

After exploring Chilkoot Inlet, they returned down the canal, soon
falling in with a party of friendly Indians, who made overtures of
peace. Mr. Whidbey describes their chief as a tall, thin, elderly man.
He was dressed superbly, and supported a degree of state, consequence,
and personal dignity which had been found among no other Indians. His
external robe was a very fine large garment that reached from his neck
down to his heels, made of wool from the mountain goat--the famous
Chilkaht blanket here described, for the first time, by the
unappreciative Whidbey. It was neatly variegated with several colors,
and edged and otherwise decorated with little tufts of woollen yarn,
dyed of various colors. His head-dress was made of wood, resembling a
crown, and adorned with bright copper and brass plates, whence hung a
number of tails, or streamers, composed of wool and fur worked
together, dyed of various colors, and each terminating in a whole ermine
skin.

His whole appearance, both as to dress and manner, was magnificent.

Mr. Whidbey was suspicious of the good intentions of these new
acquaintances, and was therefore well prepared for the trouble that
followed.

Headed by the splendid chief, the Indians attacked Whidbey's party in
boats, and, being repulsed, followed for two days.

As the second night came on boisterously, Mr. Whidbey was compelled to
seek shelter. The Indians, understanding his design, hastened to shore
in advance, got possession of the only safe beach, drew up in battle
array, and stood with spears couched, ready to receive the exploring
party. (This was on the northern part of Admiralty Island.)

Here appears the most delicious piece of unintentional humor in all
Vancouver's narrative.

"There was now no alternative but either to force a landing by firing
upon them, or to remain at their oars all night. The latter Mr. Whidbey
considered to be not only the most humane, but the most prudent to
adopt, concluding that their habitations were not far distant, and
believing them, from the number of smokes that had been seen during the
day, to be a very numerous tribe."

They probably appeared more "stupendous" than any snow-covered mountain
in poor Mr. Whidbey's startled eyes.

To avoid a "dispute" with these "troublesome people," Mr. Whidbey
withdrew to the main canal and stopped "to take some rest" at a point
which received the felicitous name of Point Retreat, on the northern
part of Admiralty Island--a name which it still retains.

In the following month Mr. Whidbey was compelled to rest again upon his
extremely humane spirit, to the southward in Frederick Sound.

"The day being fair and pleasant," chronicles Vancouver, "Mr. Whidbey
wished to embrace this opportunity of drying their wet clothes, putting
their arms in order.... For this purpose the party landed on a
commodious beach; but before they had finished their business a large
canoe arrived, containing some women and children, and sixteen stout
Indian men, well appointed with the arms of the country.... Their
conduct afterward put on a very suspicious appearance; the children
withdrew into the woods, and the rest fixed their daggers round their
wrists, and exhibited other indications not of the most friendly nature.
To avoid the chance of anything unpleasant taking place, Mr. Whidbey
considered it most humane and prudent to withdraw"--which he did, with
all possible despatch.

They were pursued by the Indians; this conduct "greatly attracting the
observation of the party."

Mr. Whidbey did not scruple to fire into a fleeing canoe; nor did he
express any sorrow when "most hideous and extraordinary noises"
indicated that he had fired to good effect; but the instant the Indians
lined up in considerable numbers with "couched spears" and warlike
attitude, the situation immediately became "stupendous" and Whidbey's
ever ready "humaneness" came to his relief.



CHAPTER XII


The Davidson Glacier was named for Professor George Davidson, who was
one of its earliest explorers. A heavy forest growth covers its terminal
moraine, and detracts from its lower beauty.

Pyramid Harbor, at the head of Chilkaht Inlet, has an Alaska Packers'
cannery at the base of a mountain which rises as straight as an arrow
from the water to a height of eighteen hundred feet. This mountain was
named _Labouchere_, for the Hudson Bay Company's steamer which, in 1862,
was almost captured by the Hoonah Indians at Port Frederick in Icy
Strait.

Pyramid Harbor was named for a small pyramid-shaped island which now
bears the same name, but of which the Indian name is Schlayhotch. The
island is but little more than a tiny cone, rising directly from the
water. Indians camp here, in large numbers in the summer-time, to work
in the canneries. The women sell berries, baskets, Chilkaht blankets of
deserved fame, and other curios.

It was this harbor which the Canadians in the Joint High Commission of
1898 unblushingly asked the United States to cede to them, together with
Chilkaht Inlet and River, and a strip of land through the _lisière_
owned by us.

The Chilkaht River flows into this inlet from the northwest. At its
mouth it widens into low tide flats, over which, at low tide, the water
flows in ribbonish loops. Here, during a "run," the salmon are taken in
countless thousands.

The Chilkahts and Chilkoots are the great Indians of Alaska. They
comprise the real aristocracy. They are a brave, bold, courageous race;
saucy and independent, constantly carrying a "chip on the shoulder," or
a "feather pointing forward" in the head-gear. They are looked up to and
feared by the Thlinkits of inferior tribes.

Their villages are located up the Chilkaht and Chilkoot rivers; and
their frequent mountain journeyings have developed their legs, giving
them a well-proportioned, athletic physique, in marked contrast to the
bowed- and scrawny-legged canoe dwellers to the southward and westward.

They are skilful in various kinds of work; but their fame will
eventually endure in the exquisite dance-blankets, known as the Chilkaht
blanket. These blankets are woven of the wool of the mountain goat,
whose winter coat is strong and coarse. At shedding time in the spring,
as the goat leaps from place to place, the wool clings to trees, rocks,
and bushes in thick festoons. These the indolent Indians gather for the
weaving of their blankets, rather than take the trouble of killing the
goats.

This delicate and beautiful work is, like the Thlinkit and Chilkaht
basket, in simple twined weaving. The warp hangs loose from the rude
loom, and the wool is woven upward, as in Attu and Haidah basketry.

The owner of one of the old Chilkaht blankets possesses a treasure
beyond price. The demand has cheapened the quality of those of the
present day; but those of Baranoff's time were marvels of skill and
coloring, considering that Indian women's dark hands were the only
shuttles.

Black, white, yellow, and a peculiar blue are the colors most frequently
observed in these blankets; and a deep, rich red is becoming more common
than formerly. A wide black, or dark, band usually surrounds them,
border-wise, and a fringe as wide as the blanket falls magnificently
from the bottom; a narrower one from the sides.

The old and rare ones were from a yard and a half to two yards long. The
modern ones are much smaller, and may be obtained as low as seventy-five
dollars. The designs greatly resemble those of the Haidah hats and
basketry.

The full face, with flaring nostrils, small eyes, and ferocious display
of teeth, is the bear; the eye which appears in all places and in all
sizes is that of the thunder-bird, or, with the Haidahs, the sacred
raven.

There is an Indian mission, named Klukwan, at the head of the inlet.

The Chilkahts were governed by chiefs and sub-chiefs. At the time of the
transfer "Kohklux" was the great chief of the region. He was a man of
powerful will and determined character. He wielded a strong influence
over his tribes, who believed that he bore a charmed life. He was
friendly to Americans and did everything in his power to assist
Professor George Davidson, who went to the head of Lynn Canal in 1869 to
observe the solar total eclipse.

The Indians apparently placed no faith in Professor Davidson's
announcement of approaching darkness in the middle of the day, however,
and when the eclipse really occurred, they fled from him, as from a
devil, and sought the safety of their mountain fastnesses.

The passes through these mountains they had held from time immemorial
against all comers. The Indians of the vast interior regions and those
of the coast could trade only through the Chilkahts--the scornful
aristocrats and powerful autocrats of the country.



CHAPTER XIII


Coming out of Chilkaht Inlet and passing around Seduction Point into
Chilkoot Inlet, Katschin River is seen flowing in from the northeast.
The mouth of this river, like that of the Chilkaht, spreads into
extensive flats, making the channel very narrow at this point.

Across the canal lies Haines Mission, where, in 1883, Lieutenant
Schwatka left his wife to the care of Doctor and Mrs. Willard, while he
was absent on his exploring expedition down the Yukon.

The Willards were in charge of this mission, which was maintained by the
Presbyterian Board of Missions, until some trouble arose with the
Indians over the death of a child, to whom the Willards had administered
medicines.

"Crossing the Mission trail," writes Lieutenant Schwatka, "we often
traversed lanes in the grass, which here was fully five feet high,
while, in whatever direction the eye might look, wild flowers were
growing in the greatest profusion. Dandelions as big as asters,
buttercups twice the usual size, and violets rivalling the products of
cultivation in lower latitudes were visible around. It produced a
singular and striking contrast to raise the eyes from this almost
tropical luxuriance, and allow them to rest on Alpine hills, covered
halfway down their shaggy sides with the snow and glacier ice, and with
cold mist condensed on their crowns.... Berries and berry blossoms grew
in a profusion and variety which I have never seen equalled within the
same limits in lower latitudes."

This was early in June. Here the lieutenant first made the acquaintance
of the Alaska mosquito and gnat, neither of which is to be ignored, and
may be propitiated by good red blood only; also, the giant devil's-club,
which he calls devil's-sticks. He was informed that this nettle was
formerly used by the shamans, or medicine-men, as a prophylactic against
witchcraft, applied externally.

The point of this story will be appreciated by all who have come in
personal contact with this plant, so tropical in appearance when its
immense green leaves are spread out flat and motionless in the dusk of
the forest.

From Chilkoot Inlet the steamer glides into Taiya Inlet, which leads to
Skaguay. Off this inlet are many glaciers, the finest of which is
Ferebee.

Chilkoot Inlet continues to the northwestward. Chilkoot River flows from
a lake of the same name into the inlet. There are an Indian village and
large canneries on the inlet.

Taiya Inlet leads to Skaguay and Dyea. It is a narrow water-way between
high mountains which are covered nearly to their crests with a heavy
growth of cedar and spruce. They are crowned, even in summer, with snow,
which flows down their fissures and canyons in small but beautiful
glaciers, while countless cascades foam, sparkling, down to the sea, or
drop sheer from such great heights that the beholder is bewildered by
their slow, never ceasing fall.

Here,--at the mouth of the Skaguay River, with mountains rising on all
sides and the green waters of the inlet pushing restlessly in front;
with its pretty cottages climbing over the foot-hills, and with
well-worn, flower-strewn paths enticing to the heights; with the
Skaguay's waters winding over the grassy flats like blue ribbons; with
flower gardens beyond description and boxes in every window scarlet with
bloom; with cascades making liquid and most sweet music by day and
irresistible lullabies by night, and with snow peaks seeming to float
directly over the town in the upper pearl-pink atmosphere--is Skaguay,
the romantic, the marvellous, the town which grew from a dozen tents to
a city of fifteen thousand people almost in a night, in the golden year
of ninety-eight.

       *       *       *       *       *

I could not sleep in Skaguay for the very sweetness of the July night. A
cool lavender twilight lingered until eleven o'clock, and then the large
moon came over the mountains, first outlining their dark crests with
fire; then throbbing slowly on from peak to peak--bringing irresistibly
to mind the lines:--

    "Like a great dove with silver wings
      Stretched, quivering o'er the sea,
    The moon her glistening plumage brings
      And hovers silently."

The air was sweet to enchantment with flowers; and all night long
through my wide-open window came the far, dreamy, continuous music of
the waterfalls.

On all the Pacific Coast there is not a more interesting, or a more
profitable, place in which to make one's headquarters for the summer,
than Skaguay. More side trips may be made, with less expenditure of time
and money, from this point than from any other. Launches may be hired
for expeditions down Lynn Canal and up the inlets,--whose unexploited
splendors may only be seen in this way; to the Mendenhall, Davidson,
Denver, Bertha, and countless smaller glaciers; to Haines, Fort Seward,
Pyramid Harbor, and Seduction Point; while by canoe, horse, or his own
good legs, one may get to the top of Mount Dewey and to Dewey Lake; up
Face Mountain; to Dyea; and many hunting grounds where mountain sheep,
bear, goat, ptarmigan, and grouse are plentiful.

The famous White Pass railway--which was built in eighteen months by the
"Three H's," Heney, Hawkins, and Hislop, and which is one of the most
wonderful engineering feats of the world--may be taken for a trip which
is, in itself, worth going a thousand miles to enjoy. Every mile of the
way is historic ground--not only to those who toiled over it in
'ninety-seven and 'ninety-eight, bent almost to the ground beneath their
burdens, but to the whole world, as well. The old Brackett wagon road;
White Pass City; the "summit"; Bennett Lake; Lake Lindeman; White Horse
Rapids; Grand Canyon; Porcupine Ridge--to whom do these names not stand
for tragedy and horror and broken hearts?

The town of Skaguay itself is more historic than any other point. Here
the steamers lightered or floated ashore men, horses, and freight. "You
pay your money and you take your chance," the paraphrase went in those
days. Many a man saw every dollar he had in provisions--and often it was
a grubstake, at that--sink to the bottom of the canal before his eyes.
Others saw their outfits soaked to ruin with salt water. For those who
landed safely, there were horrors yet to come.

And here, between these mountains, in this wind-racked canyon, the town
of Skaguay grew; from one tent to hundreds in a day, from hundreds to
thousands in a week; from tents to shacks, from shacks to stores and
saloons. Here "Soapy" Smith and his gang of outlaws and murderers
operated along the trail; here he was killed; here is his dishonored
grave, between the mountains which will not endure longer than the tale
of his desperate crimes, and his desperate expiation.

Not the handsome style of man that one would expect of such a bold and
daring robber was "Soapy." No flashing black eyes, heavy black hair, and
long black mustache made him "a living flame among women," as Rex Beach
would put it. Small, spare, insignificant in appearance, it has been
said that he looked more like an ill-paid frontier minister than the
head of a lawless and desperate gang of thieves.

His "spotters" were scattered along the trail all the way to Dawson.
They knew what men were "going in," what ones "coming out," "heeled."
Such men were always robbed; if not on the road, then after reaching
Skaguay; when they could not safely, or easily, be robbed alive, they
were robbed dead. It made no difference to "Soapy" or his gang of men
and women. It was a reign of terror in that new, unknown, and lawless
land.

There is nothing in Skaguay to-day--unless it be the sinking grave of
"Soapy" Smith, which is not found by every one--to suggest the days of
the gold rush, to the transient visitor. It is a quiet town, where law
and order prevail. It is built chiefly on level ground, with a few very
long streets--running out into the alders, balms, spruces, and
cottonwoods, growing thickly over the river's flats.

In all towns in Alaska the stores are open for business on Sunday when a
steamer is in. If the door of a curio-store, which has tempting baskets
or Chilkaht blankets displayed in the window, be found locked, a dozen
small boys shout as one, "Just wait a minute, lady. Propri'tor's on the
way now. He just stepped out for breakfast. Wait a minute, lady."

We arrived at Skaguay early on a Sunday morning, and were directed to
the "'bus" of the leading hotel. We rode at least a mile before reaching
it. We found it to be a wooden structure, four or five stories in
height; the large office was used as a kind of general living-room as
well. The rooms were comfortable and the table excellent. The
proprietress grows her own vegetables and flowers, and keeps cows,
chickens, and sheep, to enrich her table.

About ten o'clock in the forenoon we went to the station to have our
trunks checked to Dawson. The doors stood open. We entered and passed
from room to room. There was no one in sight. The square ticket window
was closed.

We hammered upon it and upon every closed door. There was no response.
We looked up the stairway, but it had a personal air. There are
stairways which seem to draw their steps around them, as a duchess does
her furs, and to give one a look which says, "Do not take liberties with
me!"--while others seem to be crying, "Come up; come up!" to every
passer-by. I have never seen a stairway that had the duchess air to the
degree that the one in the station at Skaguay has it. If any one doubts,
let him saunter around that station until he finds the stairway and then
take a good look at it.

We went outside, and I, being the questioner of the party, asked a man
if the ticket office would be open that day.

He squared around, put his hands in his pockets, bent his wizened body
backward, and gave a laugh that echoed down the street.

"God bless your soul, lady," said he, "_on Sunday!_ Only an extry goes
out on Sundays, to take round-trip tourists to the summit and back while
the steamer waits. To-day's extry has gone."

"Yes," said I, mildly but firmly, "but we are going to Dawson to-morrow.
Our train leaves at nine o'clock, and there will be so many to get
tickets signed and baggage checked--"

He gave another laugh.

"Don't you worry, lady. Take life easy, the way we do here. If we miss
one train, we take the next--unless we miss it, too!" He laughed again.

At that moment, bowing and smiling in the window of the ticket office,
appeared a man--the nicest man!

"Will you see him bow!" gasped my friend. "Is he bowing at _us_?
Why--are you _bowing back_?"

"Of course I am."

"What on earth does he want?"

"He wants to be nice to us," I replied; and she followed me inside.

The nice face was smiling through the little square window.

"I was upstairs," he said--ah, he had descended by way of the "Duchess,"
"and I heard you rapping on windows and doors"--the smile deepened, "so
I came down to see if I could serve you."

We related our woes; we got our tickets signed and our baggage checked;
had all our questions answered--and they were not few--and the following
morning ate our breakfast at our leisure and were greatly edified by our
fellow-travellers' wild scramble to get their bills paid and to reach
the station in time to have their baggage checked.

[Illustration: Photo by P. S. Hunt

VALDEZ]



CHAPTER XIV


Sailing down Lynn Canal, Chatham Strait, and the narrow, winding Peril
Strait, the sapphire-watered and exquisitely islanded Bay of Sitka is
entered from the north. Six miles above the Sitka of to-day a large
wooden cross marks the site of the first settlement, the scene of the
great massacre.

On one side are the heavily and richly wooded slopes of Baranoff Island,
crested by many snow-covered peaks which float in the higher primrose
mist around the bay; on the other, water avenues--growing to paler,
silvery blue in the distance--wind in and out among the green islands to
the far sea, glimpses of which may be had; while over all, and from all
points for many miles, the round, deeply cratered dome of Edgecumbe
shines white and glistening in the sunlight. It is the superb feature of
the landscape; the crowning glory of a scene that would charm even
without it.

Mount Edgecumbe is the home of Indian myth and legend--as is Nass River
to the southeastward. In appearance, it is like no other mountain. It is
only eight thousand feet in height, but it is so round and symmetrical,
it is so white and sparkling, seen either from the ocean or from the
inner channels, and its crest is sunken so evenly into an unforgettable
crater, that it instantly impresses upon the beholder a kind of
personality among mountains.

In beauty, in majesty, in sublimity, it neither approaches nor compares
with twenty other Alaskan mountains which I have seen; but, like the
peerless Shishaldin, to the far westward, it stands alone, distinguished
by its unique features from all its sister peaks.

Not all the streams of lava that have flowed down its sides for hundreds
of years have dulled its brilliance or marred its graceful outlines.

I have searched Vancouver's chronicles, expecting to fined Edgecumbe
described as "a mountain having a very elegant hole in the top,"--to
match his "elegant fork" on Mount Olympus of Puget Sound.

Peril Strait is a dangerous reach leading in sweeping curves from
Chatham Strait to Salisbury Sound. It is the watery dividing line
between Chichagoff and Baranoff islands. It has two narrows, where the
rapids at certain stages of the tides are most dangerous.

Upon entering the strait from the east, it is found to be wide and
peaceful. It narrows gradually until it finally reaches, in its
forty-mile windings, a width of less than a hundred yards.

There are several islands in Peril Strait: Fairway and Trader's at the
entrance; Broad and Otstoi on the starboard; Pouverstoi, Elovoi, Rose,
and Kane. Between Otstoi and Pouverstoi islands is Deadman's Reach. Here
are Peril Point and Poison Cove, where Baranoff lost a hundred Aleuts by
their eating of poisonous mussels in 1799. For this reason the Russians
gave it the name, Pogibshi, which, interpreted, means "Destruction,"
instead of the "Pernicious" or "Peril" of the present time.

Deadman's Reach is as perilous for its reefs as for its mussels. Hoggatt
Reef, Dolph Rock, Ford Rock, Elovoi Island, and Krugloi Reef are all
dangerous obstacles to navigation, making this reach as interestingly
exciting as it is beautiful.

Fierce tides race through Sergius Narrows, and steamers going to and
from Sitka are guided by the careful calculation of their masters, that
they may arrive at the narrows at the favorable stage of the tides.
Bores, racing several feet high, terrific whirlpools, and boiling
geysers make it impossible for vessels to approach when the tides are at
their worst. This is one of the most dangerous reaches in Alaska.

Either Rose or Adams Channel may be used going to Sitka, but the latter
is the favorite.

Kakul Narrows leads into Salisbury Sound; but the Sitkan steamers barely
enter this sound ere they turn to the southeastward into Neva Strait. It
was named by Portlock for the Marquis of Salisbury.

Entrance Island rises between Neva Strait and St. John the Baptist Bay.
There are both coal and marble in the latter bay.

Halleck Island is completely surrounded by Nakwasina Passage and Olga
Strait, joining into one grand canal of uniform width.

All these narrow, tortuous, and perilous water-ways wind around the
small islands that lie between Baranoff Island on the east and Kruzoff
Island on the west. Baranoff is one hundred and thirty miles long and as
wide as thirty miles in places. Kruzoff Island is small, but its
southern extremity, lying directly west of Sitka, shelters that favored
place from the storms of the Pacific.

Whitestone Narrows in the southern end of Neva Strait is extremely
narrow and dangerous, owing to sunken rocks. Deep-draught vessels cannot
enter at low tide, but must await the favorable half-hour.

Sitka Sound is fourteen miles long and from five to eight wide. It is
more exquisitely islanded than any other bay in the world; and after
passing the site of Baranoff's first settlement and Old Sitka Rocks, the
steamer's course leads through a misty emerald maze. Sweeping slowly
around the green shore of one island, a dozen others dawn upon the
beholder's enraptured vision, frequently appearing like a solid wall of
green, which presently parts to let the steamer slide through,--when, at
once, another dazzling vista opens to the view.

Before entering Sitka Sound, Halleck, Partoffs-Chigoff, and Krestoff are
the more important islands; in Sitka Sound, Crow, Apple, and Japonski.
The latter island is world-famous. It is opposite, and very near, the
town; it is about a mile long, and half as wide; its name, "Japan," was
bestowed because, in 1805, a Japanese junk was wrecked near this island,
and the crew was forced to dwell upon it for weeks. It is greenly and
gracefully draped with cedar and spruce trees, and is an object of much
interest to tourists.

Around Japonski cluster more than a hundred small islands of the Harbor
group; in the whole sound there are probably a thousand, but some are
mere green or rocky dots floating upon the pale blue water.

A magnetic and meteorological observatory was established on Japonski by
the Russians and was maintained until 1867.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

AN ALASKAN ROAD HOUSE]



CHAPTER XV


The Northwest Coast of America extended from Juan de Fuca's Strait to
the sixtieth parallel of north latitude. Under the direction of the
powerful mind of Peter the Great explorations in the North Pacific were
planned. He wrote the following instructions with his own hand, and
ordered the Chief Admiral, Count Fedor Apraxin, to see that they were
carried into execution:--

_First._--One or two boats, with decks, to be built at Kamchatka, or at
any other convenient place, with which

_Second._--Inquiry should be made in relation to the northerly coasts,
to see whether they were not contiguous with America, since their end
was not known. And this done, they should

_Third._--See whether they could not somewhere find an harbor belonging
to Europeans, or an European ship. They should likewise set apart some
men who were to inquire after the name and situation of the coasts
discovered. Of all this an exact journal should be kept, with which they
should return to St. Petersburg.

Before these instructions could be carried out, Peter the Great died.

His Empress, Catherine, however, faithfully carried out his plans.

The first expedition set out in 1725, under the command of Vitus
Behring, a Danish captain in the Russian service, with Lieutenants
Spanberg and Chirikoff as assistants. They carried several officers of
inferior rank; also seamen and ship-builders. Boats were to be built at
Kamchatka, and they started overland through Siberia on February the
fifth of that year. Owing to many trials and hardships, it was not until
1728 that Behring sailed along the eastern shore of the peninsula,
passing and naming St. Lawrence Island, and on through Behring Strait.
There, finding that the coast turned westward, his natural conclusion
was that Asia and America were not united, and he returned to Kamchatka.
In 1734, under the patronage of the Empress Elizabeth, Peter the Great's
daughter, a second expedition made ready; but owing to insurmountable
difficulties, it was not until September, 1740, that Behring and
Chirikoff set sail in the packet-boats _St. Peter_ and _St.
Paul_--Behring commanding the former--from Kamchatka. They wintered at
Avatcha on the Kamchatkan Peninsula, where a few buildings, including a
church, were hastily erected, and to which the name of Petropavlovsk was
given.

On June 4, 1741, the two ships finally set sail on their eventful
voyage--how eventful to us of the United States we are only, even now,
beginning to realize. They were accompanied by Lewis de Lisle de
Croyere, professor of astronomy, and Georg Wilhelm Steller, naturalist.

Müller, the historian, and Gmelin, professor of chemistry and natural
history, also volunteered in 1733 to accompany the expedition; but owing
to the long delay, and ill-health arising from arduous labors in
Kamchatka, they were compelled to permit the final expedition to depart
without them.

On the morning of June 20, the two ships became separated in a gale and
never again sighted one another. Chirikoff took an easterly course, and
to him, on the fifteenth of July, fell, by chance, the honor of the
first discovery of land on the American continent, opposite Kamchatka,
in 55° 21´. Here he lost two boatloads of seamen whom he sent ashore for
investigation, and whose tragic fate may only be guessed from the
appearance of savages later, upon the shore.

That the first Russians landing upon the American continent should have
met with so horrible a fate as theirs is supposed to have been, has been
considered by the superstitious as an evil omen. The first boat sent
ashore contained ten armed sailors and was commanded by the mate,
Abraham Mikhailovich Dementief. The latter is described as a capable
young man, of distinguished family, of fine personal appearance, and of
kind heart, who, having suffered from an unfortunate love affair, had
offered himself to serve his country in this most hazardous expedition.
They were furnished with provisions and arms, including a small brass
cannon, and given a code of signals by Chirikoff, by which they might
communicate with the ship. The boat reached the shore and passed behind
a point of land. For several days signals which were supposed to
indicate that the party was alive and well, were observed rising at
intervals. At last, however, great anxiety was experienced by those on
board lest the boat should have sustained damage in some way, making it
impossible for the party to return. On the fifth day another boat was
sent ashore with six men, including a carpenter and a calker. They
effected a landing at the same place, and shortly afterward a great
smoke was observed, pushing its dark curls upward above the point of
land behind which the boats had disappeared.

The following morning two boats were discovered putting off from the
shore. There was great rejoicing on the ship, for the night had been
passed in deepest anxiety, and without further attention to the boats,
preparations were hastily made for immediate sailing. Soon, however, to
the dread and horror of all, it was discovered that the boats were
canoes filled with savages, who, at sight of the ship, gave unmistakable
signs of astonishment, and shouting "Agaï! Agaï!" turned hastily back to
the shore.

Silence and consternation fell upon all. Chirikoff, humane and
kind-hearted, bitterly bewailed the fate of his men. A wind soon
arising, he was forced to make for the open sea. He remained in the
vicinity, and as soon as it was possible, returned to his anchorage; but
no signs of the unfortunate sailors were ever discovered.

Without boats, and without sufficient men, no attempt at a rescue could
be made; nor was further exploration possible; and heavy-hearted and
discouraged, notwithstanding his brilliant success, Chirikoff again
weighed anchor and turned his ship homeward.

He and his crew were attacked by scurvy; provisions and water became
almost exhausted; Chirikoff was confined to his berth, and many died;
some islands of the chain now known as the Aleutians were discovered;
and finally, on the 8th of October, 1741, after enduring inexpressible
hardships, great physical and mental suffering, and the loss of
twenty-one men, they arrived on the coast of Kamchatka near the point of
their departure.

In the meantime, on the day following Chirikoff's discovery of land,
Commander Behring, far to the northwestward, saw, rising before his
enraptured eyes, the splendid presence of Mount St. Elias, and the
countless, and scarcely less splendid, peaks which surround it, and
which, stretching along the coast for hundreds of miles, whitely and
silently people this region with majestic beauty. Steller, in his diary,
claims to have discovered land on the fifteenth, but was ridiculed by
his associates, although it was clearly visible to all in the same place
on the following day.

They effected a landing on an island, which they named St. Elias, in
honor of the day upon which it was discovered. It is now known as Kayak
Island, but the mountain retains the original name. Having accomplished
the purpose of his expedition, Behring hastily turned the _St. Peter_
homeward.

For this haste Behring has been most severely criticised. But when we
take into consideration the fact that preparations for this second
expedition had begun in 1733; that during all those years of difficult
travelling through Siberia, of boat building and the establishment of
posts and magazines for the storing of provisions, he had been hampered
and harassed almost beyond endurance by the quarrelling, immorality, and
dishonesty of his subordinates; that for all dishonesty and blunders he
was made responsible to the government; and that so many complaints of
him had been forwarded to St. Petersburg by officers whom he had
reprimanded or otherwise punished that at last, in 1739, officers had
been sent to Ohkotsk to investigate his management of the preparations;
that he had now discovered that portion of the American continent which
he had set out to discover, had lost Chirikoff, upon whose youth and
hopefulness he had been, perhaps unconsciously, relying; and--most human
of all--that he had a young and lovely wife and two sons in Russia whom
he had not seen for years (and whom he was destined never to see again);
when we take all these things into consideration, there seems to be but
little justice in these harsh criticisms.

To-day, there is no portion of the Alaskan coast more unreliable, nor
more to be dreaded by mariners, than that in the vicinity of Behring's
discovery. Even in summer violent winds and heavy seas are usually
encountered. Steamers cannot land at Kayak, and passengers and freight
are lightered ashore; and when this is accomplished without disaster or
great difficulty, the trip is spoken of as an exceptional one. Yet
Behring remained in this dangerous anchorage five days. Several
landings were made on the two Kayak Islands, and on various smaller
ones. Some Indian huts, without occupants, were found and entered. They
were built of logs and rough bark and roofed with tough dried grasses.
There were, also, some sod cellars, in which dried salmon was found. In
one of the cabins were copper implements, a whetstone, some arrows,
ropes, and cords made of sea-weed, and rude household utensils; also
herbs which had been prepared according to Kamchatkan methods.

Returning, Behring discovered and named many of the Aleutian Islands and
exchanged presents with the friendly natives. They were, however,
overtaken by storms and violent illness; they suffered of hunger and
thirst; so many died that barely enough remained to manage the ship.
Finally on November 5, in attempting to land, the _St. Peter_ was
wrecked on a small island, where, on the 8th of December, in a wretched
hut, half covered with sand which sifted incessantly through the rude
boards that were his only roof, and after suffering unimaginable
agonies, the illustrious Dane, Vitus Behring, died the most miserable of
deaths. The island was named for him, and still retains the name, being
the larger of the Commander Islands.

The survivors of the wreck remaining on Behring Island dragged out a
wretched existence until spring, in holes dug in the sand and roofed
with sails. Water they had; but their food consisted chiefly of the
flesh of sea-otters and seals. In May, weak, emaciated, and hopeless
though they were, and with their brave leader gone, they began building
a boat from the remnants of the _St. Peter_. It was not completed until
August; when, with many fervent prayers, they embarked, and, after nine
days of mingled dread and anxiety in a frail and leaking craft, they
arrived safely on the Kamchatkan shore.

All hope of their safety had long been abandoned, and there was great
rejoicing upon their return. Out of their own deep gratitude a memorial
was placed in the church at Petropavlovsk, which is doubtless still in
existence, as it was in a good state of preservation a few years ago.

Russian historians at first seemed disposed to depreciate Behring's
achievement, and to over-exalt the Russian, Chirikoff. They made the
claim that the latter was a man of high intellectual attainments,
courageous, hopeful, and straightforward; kind-hearted, and giving
thought to and for others. He was instructor of the marines of the
guard, but after having been recommended to Peter the Great as a young
man highly qualified to accompany the expedition under Behring, he was
promoted to a lieutenancy and accompanied the latter on his first
expedition in 1725; and on the second, in 1741, he was made commander of
the _St. Pevril_, or _St. Paul_, "not by seniority but on account of
superior knowledge and worth." Despite the fact that Behring was placed
by the emperor in supreme command of both expeditions, the Russians
looked upon Chirikoff as the real hero. He was a favorite with all, and
in the accounts of quarrels and dissensions among the heads of the
various detachments of scientists and naval officers of the expedition,
the name of Chirikoff does not appear. His wife and daughter accompanied
him to Siberia.

Captain Vitus Behring--or Ivan Ivanovich, as the Russians called him--is
described as a man of intelligence, honesty, and irreproachable conduct,
but rather inclined in his later years to vacillation of purpose and
indecision of character, yielding easily to an irritable and capricious
temper. Whether these facts were due to age or disease is not known; but
that they seriously affected his fitness for the command of an
exploration is not denied, even by his admirers. Even so sane and
conscientious an historian as Dall calls him timid, hesitating, and
indolent, and refers to his "characteristic imbecility," "utter
incapacity," and "total incompetency." It is incredible, however, that a
man of such gross faults should have been given the command of this
brilliant expedition by so wise and great a monarch as Peter. Behring
died,--old, discouraged, in indescribable anguish; suspicious of every
one, doubting even Steller, the naturalist who accompanied the
expedition and who was his faithful friend. Chirikoff returned, young,
flushed with success, popular and in favor with all, from the Empress
down to his subordinates. Favored at the outset by youth and a cheerful
spirit, his bright particular star guided him to the discovery of land a
few hours in advance of Behring. This was his good luck and his good
luck only. Vitus Behring, the Dane in the Russian service, was in
supreme command of the expedition; and to him belongs the glory. One
cannot to-day sail that magnificent sweep of purple water between Alaska
and Eastern Siberia without a thrill of thankfulness that the fame and
the name of the illustrious Dane are thus splendidly perpetuated.

To-day, his name is heard in Alaska a thousand times where Chirikoff's
is heard once. The glory of the latter is fading, and Behring is coming
to his own--Russians speaking of him with a pride that approaches
veneration.

[Illustration: Copyright by F. H. Nowell, Seattle

KOW-EAR-NUK AND HIS DRYING SALMON]

Captain Martin Petrovich Spanberg, the third in command of the
expedition, was also a Dane. He is everywhere described as an
illiterate, coarse, cruel man; grasping, selfish, and unscrupulous in
attaining ends that made for his own advancement. In his study of the
character of Spanberg, Bancroft--who has furnished the most complete and
painstaking description of these expeditions--makes comment which is,
perhaps unintentionally, humorous. After describing Spanberg as
exceedingly avaricious and cruel, and stating that his bad reputation
extended over all Siberia, and that his name appears in hundreds of
complaints and petitions from victims of his licentiousness, cruelty,
and avarice, Bancroft näively adds, "He was just the man to become
rich." Wealthy people may take such comfort as they can out of the
comment.



CHAPTER XVI


Inspired by the important discoveries of this expedition and by the hope
of a profitable fur trade with China, various Russian traders and
adventurers, known as "promyshleniki," made voyages into the newly
discovered regions, pressing eastward island by island, and year by
year; beginning that long tale of cruelty and bloodshed in the Aleutian
Islands which has not yet reached an end. Men as harmless as the
pleading, soft-eyed seals were butchered as heartlessly and as
shamelessly, that their stocks of furs might be appropriated and their
women ravished. In 1745 Alexeï Beliaief and ten men inveigled fifteen
Aleutians into a quarrel with the sole object of killing them and
carrying off their women. In 1762, the crew of the _Gavril_ persuaded
twenty-five young Aleutian girls to accompany them "to pick berries and
gather roots for the ship's company." On the Kamchatkan coast several of
the crew and sixteen of these girls were landed to pick berries. Two of
the girls made their escape into the hills; one was killed by a sailor;
and the others cast themselves into the sea and were drowned. Gavril
Pushkaref, who was in command of the vessel, ordered that all the
remaining natives, with the exception of one boy and an interpreter,
should be thrown overboard and drowned.

These are only two instances of the atrocious outrages perpetrated upon
these innocent and childlike people by the brutal and licentious traders
who have frequented these far beautiful islands from 1745 to the
present time. From year to year now dark and horrible stories float down
to us from the far northwestward, or vex our ears when we sail into
those pale blue water-ways. Nor do they concern "promyshleniki" alone.
Charges of the gravest nature have been made against men of high
position who spend much time in the Aleutian Islands. That these gentle
people have suffered deeply, silently, and shamefully, at the hands of
white men of various nationalities, has never been denied, nor
questioned. It is well known to be the simple truth. From 1760 to about
1766 the natives rebelled at their treatment and active hostilities were
carried on. Many Russians were killed, some were tortured. Solovief,
upon arriving at Unalaska and learning the fate of some of his
countrymen, resolved to avenge them. His designs were carried out with
unrelenting cruelty. By some writers, notably Berg, his crimes have been
palliated, under the plea that nothing less than extreme brutality could
have so soon reduced the natives to the state of fear and humility in
which they have ever since remained--failing to take into consideration
the atrocities perpetrated upon the natives for years before their open
revolt.

In 1776 we find the first mention of Grigor Ivanovich Shelikoff; but it
was not until 1784 that he succeeded in making the first permanent
Russian settlement in America, on Kodiak Island,--forty-three dark and
strenuous years after Vitus Behring saw Mount St. Elias rising out of
the sea. Shelikoff was second only to Baranoff in the early history of
Russian America, and is known as "the founder and father of Russian
colonies in America." His wife, Natalie, accompanied him upon all his
voyages. She was a woman of very unusual character, energetic and
ambitious, and possessed of great business and executive ability. After
her husband's death, her management for many years of not only her own
affairs, but those of the Shelikoff Company as well, reflected great
credit upon herself.

It was the far-sighted Shelikoff who suggested and carried out the idea
of a monopoly of the fur trade in Russian America under imperial
charter. As a result of his forceful presentation of this scheme and the
able--and doubtless selfish--assistance of General Jacobi, the
governor-general of Eastern Siberia, the Empress became interested. In
1788 an imperial ukase was issued, granting to the Shelikoff Company
exclusive control of the territory already occupied by them. Assistance
from the public coffers was at that time withheld; but the Empress
graciously granted to Shelikoff and his partner, Golikof, swords and
medals containing her portrait. The medals were to be worn around their
necks, and bore inscriptions explaining that they "had been conferred
for services rendered to humanity by noble and bold deeds."

Although Shelikoff greatly preferred the pecuniary assistance from the
government, he nevertheless accepted with a good grace the honor
bestowed, and bided his time patiently.

In accordance with commands issued by the commander at Ohkotsk and by
the Empress herself, Shelikoff adopted a policy of humanity in his
relations with the natives, although it is suspected that this was on
account of his desire to please the Empress and work out his own
designs, rather than the result of his own kindness of heart.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

STEAMER "RESOLUTE"]

With the clearness of vision which distinguished his whole career,
Shelikoff selected Alexander Baranoff as his agent in the territory
lying to the eastward of Kodiak. In Voskressenski, or Sunday,
Harbor--now Resurrection Bay, on which the town of Seward is
situated--Baranoff built in 1794 the first vessel to glide into the
waters of Northwestern America--the _Phoenix_. At the request of
Shelikoff a colony of two hundred convicts, accompanied by twenty
priests, were sent out by imperial ukase, and established at Yakutat
Bay, under Baranoff. During the years that followed many complaints were
entered by the clergy against Baranoff for cruelty, licentiousness, and
mismanagement of the company's affairs. But, whatever his faults may
have been, it is certain that no man could have done so much for the
promotion of the company's interests at that time as Baranoff; nor could
any other so efficiently have conducted its affairs.

It was during his governorship that the rose of success bloomed
brilliantly for the Russian-American Company in the colonies. He was a
shrewd, tireless, practical business man. His successors were men
distinguished in army and navy circles, haughty and patrician, but
absolutely lacking in business ability, and ignorant of the unique
conditions and needs of the country.

After Baranoff's resignation and death, the revenues of the company
rapidly declined, and its vast operations were conducted at a loss.

It was in 1791 that Baranoff assumed command of all the establishments
on the island of the Shelikoff Company which, under imperial patronage,
had already secured a partial monopoly of the American fur trade. Owing
to competition by independent traders, the large company, after the
death of Shelikoff, united with its most influential rival, under the
name of the Shelikoff United Company. The following year this company
secured an imperial ukase which granted to it, under the name of the
Russian-American Company, "full privileges, for a period of twenty
years, on the coast of Northwestern America, beginning from latitude
fifty-five degrees North, and including the chain of islands extending
from Kamchatka northward to America and southward to Japan; the
exclusive right to all enterprises, whether hunting, trading, or
building, and to new discoveries, with strict prohibition from
profiting by any of these pursuits, not only to all parties who might
engage in them on their own responsibility, but also to those who
formerly had ships and establishments there, except those who have
united with the new company."

In the same year a fort was established by Baranoff, on what is now
Sitka Sound. This was destroyed by natives; and in 1804 another fort was
erected by Baranoff, near the site of the former one, which he named
Fort Archangel Michael. This fort is the present Sitka. Its
establishment enabled the Russian-American Company to extend its
operations to the islands lying southward and along the continental
shore.

We now come to the most fascinating portion of the history of Alaska.
Not even the wild and romantic days of gold excitement in the Klondike
can equal Baranoff's reign at Sitka for picturesqueness and mysterious
charm. The strength and personality of the man were such that to-day one
who is familiar with his life and story, entering Sitka, will
unconsciously feel his presence; and will turn, with a sigh, to gaze
upon the commanding height where once his castle stood.

There were many dark and hopeless days for Baranoff during his first
years with the company, and it was while in a state of deep
discouragement and hopelessness that he received the news of his
appointment as chief manager of the newly organized Russian-American
Company. Most of his plans and undertakings had failed; many Russians
and natives had been lost on hunting voyages; English and American
traders had superseded him at every point to the eastward of Kodiak;
many of his Aleutian hunters had been killed in conflict with the savage
Thlinkits; he had lost a sloop which had been constructed at
Voskressenski Bay; and finally, he had returned to Kodiak enduring the
agonies of inflammatory rheumatism, only to be reproached by the
subordinates, who were suffering of actual hunger--so long had they been
without relief from supply ships.

In this dark hour the ship arrived which carried not only good tidings,
but plentiful supplies as well. Baranoff's star now shone brightly,
leading him on to hope and renewed effort.

In the spring of the following year, 1799, Baranoff, with two vessels
manned by twenty-two Russians, and three hundred and fifty canoes, set
sail for the eastward. Many of the natives were lost by foundering of
the canoes, and many more by slaughter at the hands of the Kolosh, but
finally they arrived at a point now known as Old Sitka, six miles north
of the present Sitka, and bartered with the chief of the natives for a
site for a settlement. Captain Cleveland, whose ship _Caroline_, of
Boston, was then lying in the harbor, describes the Indians of the
vicinity as follows: "A more hideous set of beings in the form of men
and women, I had never before seen. The fantastic manner in which many
of the faces were painted was probably intended to give them a more
ferocious appearance; and some groups looked really as if they had
escaped from the dominions of Satan himself. One had a perpendicular
line dividing the two sides of the face, one side of which was painted
red, the other black, with the hair daubed with grease and red ochre,
and filled with the down of birds. Another had the face divided with a
horizontal line in the middle, and painted black and white. The visage
of a third was painted in checkers, etc. Most of them had little
mirrors, before the acquisition of which they must have been dependent
on each other for those correct touches of the pencil which are so much
in vogue, and which daily require more time than the toilet of a
Parisian belle."

These savages were known to be treacherous and dangerous, but they
pretended to be friendly, and fears were gradually allayed by continued
peace. The story of the great massacre and destruction of the fort is of
poignant interest, as simply and pathetically told by one of the
survivors, a hunter: "In this present year 1802, about the twenty-fourth
of June--I do not remember the exact date, but it was a holiday--about
two o'clock in the afternoon, I went to the river to look for our
calves, as I had been detailed by the commander of the fort, Vassili
Medvednikof, to take care of the cattle. On returning soon after, I
noticed at the fort a great multitude of Kolosh people, who had not only
surrounded the barracks below, but were already climbing over the
balcony and to the roof with guns and cannon; and standing upon a little
knoll in front of the out-houses, was the Sitka toyon, or chief,
Mikhail, giving orders to those who were around the barracks, and
shouting to some people in canoes not far away, to make haste and assist
in the fight. In answer to his shouts sixty-two canoes emerged from
behind the points of rocks." (One is inclined to be sceptical concerning
the exact number of canoes; the frightened hunter would scarcely pause
to count the war canoes as they rounded the point.) "Even if I had
reached the barracks, they were already closed and barricaded, and there
was no safety outside; therefore, I rushed away to the cattle yard,
where I had a gun. I only waited to tell a girl who was employed in the
yard to take her little child and fly to the woods, when, seizing my
gun, I closed up the shed. Very soon after this four Kolosh came to the
door and knocked three times. As soon as I ran out of the shed, they
seized me by the coat and took my gun from me. I was compelled to leave
both in their hands, and jumping through a window, ran past the fort and
hid in the thick underbrush of the forest, though two Kolosh ran after
me, but could not find me in the woods. Soon after, I emerged from the
underbrush, and approached the barracks to see if the attack had been
repulsed, but I saw that not only the barracks, but the ship recently
built, the warehouse and the sheds, the cattle sheds, bath house and
other small buildings, had been set on fire and were already in full
blaze. The sea-otter skins and other property of the company, as well as
the private property of Medvednikof and the hunters, the savages were
throwing from the balcony to the ground on the water side, while others
seized them and carried them to the canoes, which were close to the
fort.... All at once I saw two Kolosh running toward me armed with guns
and lances, and I was compelled to hide again in the woods. I threw
myself down among the underbrush on the edge of the forest, covering
myself with pieces of bark. From there I saw Nakvassin drop from the
upper balcony and run toward the woods; but when nearly across the open
space he fell to the ground, and four warriors rushed up and carried him
back to the barracks on the points of their lances and cut off his head.
Kabanof was dragged from the barracks into the street, where the Kolosh
pierced him with their lances; but how the other Russians who were there
came to their end, I do not know. The slaughter and incendiarism were
continued by the savages until the evening, but finally I stole out
among the ruins and ashes, and in my wanderings came across some of our
cows, and saw that even the poor dumb animals had not escaped the
bloodthirsty fiends, having spears stuck in their sides. Exercising all
my strength, I was barely able to pull out some of the spears, when I
was observed by two Kolosh, and compelled to leave the cows to their
fate and hide again in the woods.

"I passed the night not far from the ruins of the fort. In the morning I
heard the report of a cannon and looked out of the brush, but could see
nobody, and not wishing to expose myself again to further danger, went
higher up in the mountain through the forest. While advancing cautiously
through the woods, I met two other persons who were in the same
condition as myself,--a girl from the Chiniatz village, Kodiak, with an
infant on her breast, and a man from the Kiliuda village, who had been
left behind by the hunting party on account of sickness. I took them
both with me to the mountain, but each night I went with my companions
to the ruins of the fort and bewailed the fate of the slain. In this
miserable condition we remained for eight days, with nothing to eat and
nothing but water to drink. About noon of the last day we heard from the
mountain two cannon-shots, which raised some hopes in me, and I told my
companions to follow me at a little distance, and then went down toward
the river through the woods to hide myself near the shore and see
whether there was a ship in the bay."

He discovered, to his unspeakable joy, an English ship in the bay.
Shouting to attract the attention of those on board, he was heard by six
Kolosh, who made their way toward him and had almost captured him ere he
saw them and made his escape in the woods. They forced him to the shore
at a point near the cape, where he was able to make himself heard by
those on the vessel. A boat put off at once, and he was barely able to
leap into it when the Kolosh, in hot pursuit, came in sight again. When
they saw the boat, they turned and fled.

When the hunter had given an account of the massacre to the commander of
the vessel, an armed boat was sent ashore to rescue the man and girl who
were in hiding. They were easily located and, with another Russian who
was found in the vicinity, were taken aboard and supplied with food and
clothing.

The commander himself then accompanied them, with armed men, to the site
of the destroyed fort, where they examined and buried the dead. They
found that all but Kabanof had been beheaded.

Three days later the chief, Mikhail, went out to the ship, was persuaded
to go aboard, and with his nephew was held until all persons captured
during the massacre and still living had been surrendered. The prisoners
were given up reluctantly, one by one; and when it was believed that all
had been recovered, the chief and his nephew were permitted to leave the
ship.

The survivors were taken to Kodiak, where the humane captain of the ship
demanded of Baranoff a compensation of fifty thousand roubles in cash.
Baranoff, learning that the captain's sole expense had been in feeding
and clothing the prisoners, refused to pay this exorbitant sum; and
after long wrangling it was settled for furs worth ten thousand roubles.

Accounts of the massacre by survivors and writers of that time vary
somewhat, some claiming that the massacre was occasioned by the broken
faith and extreme cruelty of the Russians in their treatment of the
savages; others, that the Sitkans had been well treated and that Chief
Mikhail had falsely pretended to be the warm and faithful friend of
Baranoff, who had placed the fullest confidence in him.

Baranoff was well-nigh broken-hearted by his new and terrible
misfortune. The massacre had been so timed that the most of the men of
the fort were away on a hunting expedition; and Baranoff himself was on
Afognak Island, which is only a few hours' sail from Kodiak. Several
Kolosh women lived at the fort with Russian men; and these women kept
their tribesmen outside informed as to the daily conditions within the
garrison. On the weakest day of the fort, a holiday, the Kolosh had,
therefore, suddenly surrounded it, armed with guns, spears, and daggers,
their faces covered with masks representing animals.

About this time Krusenstern and Lisiansky sailed from Kronstadt, in the
hope--which was fulfilled--of being the first to carry the Russian flag
around the world. Lisiansky arrived at Kodiak, after many hardships,
only to receive a written request from Baranoff to proceed at once to
Sitka and assist him in subduing the savages and avenging the officers
and men lost in the fearful massacre. On the 15th of August, 1804, he
therefore sailed to eastward, and on the twentieth of the same month
entered Sitka Sound. The day must have been gloomy and Lisiansky's mood
in keeping with the day, for he thus describes a bay which is, under
favorable conditions, one of the most idyllically beautiful imaginable:
"On our entrance into Sitka Sound to the place where we now were, there
was not to be seen on the shore the least vestige of habitation. Nothing
presented itself to our view but impenetrable woods reaching from the
water-side to the very tops of the mountains. I never saw a country so
wild and gloomy; it appeared more adapted for the residence of wild
beasts than of men."

Shortly afterward Baranoff arrived in the harbor with several hundred
Aleutians and many Russians, after a tempestuous and dangerous voyage
from Yakutat, the site of the convict settlement. He learned that the
savages had taken up their position on a bluff a few miles distant,
where they had fortified themselves. This bluff was the noble height
upon which Baranoff's castle was afterward erected, and which commands
the entire bay upon which the Sitka of to-day is located. Lisiansky, in
his "Voyage around the World," describes the Indians' fort as "an
irregular polygon, its longest side facing the sea. It was protected by
a breastwork two logs in thickness, and about six feet high. Around and
above it tangled brushwood was piled. Grape-shot did little damage, even
at the distance of a cable's length. There were two embrasures for
cannon in the side facing the sea, and two gates facing the forest.
Within were fourteen large huts, or, as they were called then, and are
called at the present time by the natives, barabaras. Judging from the
quantity of provisions and domestic implements found there, it must have
contained at least eight hundred warriors."

An envoy from the Kolosh fort came out with friendly overtures, but was
informed that peace conditions could only be established through the
chiefs. He departed, but soon returned and delivered a hostage.

Baranoff made plain his conditions; agreement with the chiefs in person,
the delivery of two more hostages, and permanent possession of the
fortified bluff.

The chiefs did not appear, and the conditions were not accepted. Then,
on October 1, after repeated warnings, Baranoff gave the order to fire
upon the fort. Immediately afterward, Baranoff, Lieutenant Arlusof, and
a party of Russians and Aleutians landed with the intention of storming
the fort. They were repulsed, the panic-stricken Aleutians stampeded,
and Baranoff was left almost without support. In this condition, he
could do nothing but retreat to the boats,--which they were barely able
to reach before the Kolosh were upon them. They saved their
field-pieces, but lost ten men. Twenty-six were wounded, including
Baranoff himself. Had not their retreat at this point been covered by
the guns of the ship, the loss of life would have been fearful.

The following day Lisiansky was placed in command. He opened a rapid
fire upon the fort, with such effect that soon after noon a peace envoy
arrived, with promise of hostages. His overtures were favorably
received, and during the following three days several hostages were
returned to the Russians. The evacuation of the fort was demanded; but,
although the chief consented, no movements in that direction could be
discovered from the ships. Lisiansky moved his vessel farther in toward
the fort and sent an interpreter to ascertain how soon the occupants
would be ready to abandon their fortified and commanding position. The
reply not being satisfactory, Lisiansky again fired repeatedly upon the
stronghold of the Kolosh. On the 3d of October a white flag was hoisted,
and the firing was discontinued. Then arose from the rocky height and
drifted across the water until far into the night the sound of a
mournful, wailing chant.

When dawn came the sound had ceased. Absolute silence reigned; nor was
there any living object to be seen on the shore, save clouds of carrion
birds, whose dark wings beat the still air above the fort. The Kolosh
had fled; the fort was deserted by all save the dead. The bodies of
thirty Kolosh warriors were found; also those of many children and dogs,
which had been killed lest any cry from them should betray the direction
of their flight.

The fort was destroyed by fire, and the construction of magazines,
barracks, and a residence for Baranoff was at once begun. A stockade
surrounded these buildings, each corner fortified with a block-house.
The garrison received the name of Novo Arkangelsk, or New Archangel. The
tribal name of the Indians in that locality was Sitkah--pronounced
Seetkah--and this short and striking name soon attached itself
permanently to the place.

Immense houses were built solidly and with every consideration for
comfort and safety, and many families lived in each. They ranged in size
from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet in length, and about
eighty in width, and were from one to three stories high with immense
attics. They were well finished and richly papered. The polished floors
were covered with costly rugs and carpets, and the houses were furnished
with heavy and splendid furniture, which had been brought from St.
Petersburg. The steaming brass samovar was everywhere a distinctive
feature of the hospitality and good cheer which made Sitka famous.

To the gay and luxurious life, the almost prodigal entertainment of
guests by Sitkans from this time on to 1867, every traveller, from
writers and naval officers down to traders, has enthusiastically
testified. At the first signal from a ship feeling its way into the dark
harbor, a bright light flashed a welcome across the water from the high
cupola on Baranoff's castle, and fires flamed up on Signal Island to
beacon the way.

The officers were received as friends, and entertained in a style of
almost princely magnificence during their entire stay--the only thing
asked in return being the capacity to eat like gluttons, revel like
roisterers, and drink until they rolled helplessly under the table; and,
in Baranoff's estimation, these were small returns, indeed, to ask of a
guest for his ungrudging and regal hospitality.

Visions of those high revels and glittering banquets of a hundred years
ago come glimmering down to us of to-day. Beautiful, gracious, and
fascinating were the Russian ladies who lived there,--if we are to
believe the stories of voyagers to the Sitka of Baranoff's and
Wrangell's times. Baranoff's furniture was of specially fine workmanship
and exceeding value; his library was remarkable, containing works in
nearly all European languages, and a collection of rare paintings--the
latter having been presented to the company at the time of its
organization.

Baranoff had left a wife and family in Russia. He never saw them again,
although he sent allowances to them regularly. He was not bereft of
woman's companionship, however, and we have tales of revelry by night
when Baranoff alternately sang and toasted everybody, from the Emperor
down to the woman upon his knee with whom he shared every sparkling
glass. He had a beautiful daughter by a native woman, and of her he was
exceedingly careful. A governess whom he surprised in the act of
drinking a glass of liquor was struck in sudden blind passion and turned
out of the house. The following day he sent for her, apologized, and
reinstalled her with an increased salary, warning her, however, that his
daughter must never see her drink a drop of liquor. When in his most
gloomy and hopeless moods, this daughter could instantly soothe and
cheer him by playing upon the piano and singing to him songs very
different from those sung at his drunken all-night orgies.

That there was a very human and tender side to Baranoff's nature cannot
be doubted by those making a careful study of his tempestuous life. He
was deeply hurt and humiliated by the insolent and supercilious
treatment of naval officers who considered him of inferior position,
notwithstanding the fact that he was in supreme command of all the
Russian territory in America. From time to time the Emperor conferred
honors upon him, and he was always deeply appreciative; and it is
chronicled that when a messenger arrived with the intelligence that he
had been appointed by the Emperor to the rank of Collegiate Councillor,
Baranoff, broken by the troubles, hardships, and humiliations of his
stormy life, was suddenly and completely overcome by joy. He burst into
tears and gave thanks to God.

"I am a nobleman!" he exclaimed. "I am the equal in position and the
superior in ability of these insolent naval officers."

In 1812 Mr. Wilson P. Hunt, of the Pacific Fur Company, sailed from
Astoria for Sitka on the _Beaver_ with supplies for the Russians. By
that time Baranoff had risen to the title and pomp of governor, and was
living in splendid style befitting his position and his triumph over
the petty officers, whose names are now insignificant in Russian
history.

Mr. Hunt found this hyperborean veteran ensconced in a fort which
crested the whole of a high, rocky promontory. It mounted one hundred
guns, large and small, and was impregnable to Indian attack unaided by
artillery. Here the old governor lorded it over sixty Russians, who
formed the corps of the trading establishment, besides an indefinite
number of Indian hunters of the Kodiak tribe, who were continually
coming and going, or lounging and loitering about the fort like so many
hounds round a sportsman's hunting quarters. Though a loose liver among
his guests, the governor was a strict disciplinarian among his men,
keeping them in perfect subjection and having seven guards on duty night
and day.

Besides those immediate serfs and dependents just mentioned, the old
Russian potentate exerted a considerable sway over a numerous and
irregular class of maritime traders, who looked to him for aid and
munitions, and through whom he may be said to have, in some degree,
extended his power along the whole Northwest Coast. These were American
captains of vessels engaged in a particular department of trade. One of
the captains would come, in a manner, empty-handed, to New Archangel.
Here his ship would be furnished with about fifty canoes and a hundred
Kodiak hunters, and fitted out with provisions and everything necessary
for hunting the sea-otter on the coast of California, where the Russians
had another establishment. The ship would ply along the California
coast, from place to place, dropping parties of otter hunters in their
canoes, furnishing them only with water, and leaving them to depend upon
their own dexterity for a maintenance. When a sufficient cargo was
collected, she would gather up her canoes and hunters and return with
them to Archangel, where the captain would render in the returns of his
voyage and receive one-half of the skins as his share.

Over these coasting captains the old governor exerted some sort of sway,
but it was of a peculiar and characteristic kind; it was the tyranny of
the table. They were obliged to join in his "prosnics" or carousals and
his heaviest drinking-bouts. His carousals were of the wildest and
coarsest, his tempers violent, his language strong. "He is continually,"
said Mr. Hunt, "giving entertainment by way of parade; and if you do not
drink raw rum, and boiling punch as strong as sulphur, he will insult
you as soon as he gets drunk, which is very shortly after sitting down
at table."

A "temperance captain" who stood fast to his faith and kept his sobriety
inviolate might go elsewhere for a market; he was not a man after the
governor's heart. Rarely, however, did any captain made of such unusual
stuff darken the doors of Baranoff's high-set castle. The coasting
captains knew too well his humor and their own interests. They joined
with either real or well-affected pleasure in his roistering banquets;
they ate much and drank more; they sang themselves hoarse and drank
themselves under the table; and it is chronicled that never was Baranoff
satisfied until the last-named condition had come to pass. The more the
guests that lay sprawling under the table, upon and over one another,
the more easily were trading arrangements effected with Baranoff later
on.

Mr. Hunt relates the memorable warning to all "flinchers" which occurred
shortly after his arrival. A young Russian naval officer had recently
been sent out by the Emperor to take command of one of the company's
vessels. The governor invited him to one of his "prosnics" and plied him
with fiery potations. The young officer stoutly maintained his right to
resist--which called out all the fury of the old ruffian's temper, and
he proceeded to make the youth drink, whether he would or not. As the
guest began to feel the effect of the burning liquors, his own temper
rose to the occasion. He quarrelled violently with his almost royal
host, and expressed his young opinion of him in the plainest
language--if Russian language ever can be plain. For this abuse of what
Baranoff considered his magnificent hospitality, he was given
seventy-nine lashes when he was quite sober enough to appreciate them.

With all his drinking and prodigal hospitality, Baranoff always managed
to get his own head clear enough for business before sobriety returned
to any of his guests, who were not so accustomed to these wild and
constant revels of their host's; so that he was never caught napping
when it came to bargaining or trading. His own interests were ever
uppermost in his mind, which at such times gave not the faintest
indication of any befuddlement by drink or by licentiousness of other
kinds.

For more than twenty years Baranoff maintained a princely and despotic
sway over the Russian colonies. His own commands were the only ones to
receive consideration, and but scant attention was given by him to
orders from the Directory itself. Complaints of his rulings and
practices seldom reached Russia. Tyrannical, coarse, shrewd, powerful,
domineering, and of absolutely iron will, all were forced to bow to his
desires, even men who considered themselves his superiors in all save
sheer brute force of will and character. Captain Krusenstern,
a contemporary, in his account of Baranoff, says: "None but
vagabonds and adventurers ever entered the company's services as
Promishléniks;"--uneducated Russian traders, whose inferior vessels were
constructed usually of planks lashed to timbers and calked with moss;
they sailed by dead reckoning, and were men controlled only by animal
instincts and passions;--"it was their invariable destiny to pass a life
of wretchedness in America." "Few," adds Krusenstern, "ever had the good
fortune to touch Russian soil again."

In the light of present American opinion of the advantages and joys of
life in Russia, this naïve remark has an almost grotesque humor. Like
many of the brilliantly successful, but unscrupulous, men of the world,
Baranoff seemed to have been born under a lucky star which ever led him
on. Through all his desperate battles with Indians, his perilous voyages
by sea, and the plottings of subordinates who hated him with a helpless
hate, he came unharmed.

During his later years at Sitka, Baranoff, weighed down by age, disease,
and the indescribable troubles of his long and faithful service, asked
frequently to be relieved. These requests were ignored, greatly to his
disappointment.

When, finally, in 1817, Hagemeister was sent out with instructions to
assume command in Baranoff's place, if he deemed it necessary, the
orders were placed before the old governor so suddenly and so
unexpectedly that he was completely prostrated. He was now failing in
mind, as well as body; and in this connection Bancroft adds another
touch of ironical humor, whether intentional or accidental it is
impossible to determine. "One of his symptoms of approaching
imbecility," writes Bancroft, "being in his sudden attachment to the
church. He kept constantly about him the priest who had established the
first church at Sitka, and, urged by his spiritual adviser, made large
donations for religious purposes."

The effect of the unexpected announcement is supposed to have shortened
Baranoff's days. Lieutenant Yanovsky, of the vessel which had brought
Hagemeister, was placed in charge by the latter as his representative.
Yanovsky fell in love with Baranoff's daughter and married her. It was,
therefore, to his own son-in-law that the old governor at last gave up
the sceptre.

[Illustration: Copyright by F. H. Nowell, Seattle

"OBLEUK," AN ESKIMO GIRL IN PARKA]

By strength of his unbreakable will alone, he arose from a bed of
illness and painfully and sorrowfully arranged all the affairs of his
office, to the smallest and most insignificant detail, preparatory to
the transfer to his successor.

It was in January, 1818, that Hagemeister had made known his appointment
to the office of governor; it was not until September that Baranoff had
accomplished his difficult task and turned over the office.

There was then, and there is to-day, halfway between the site of the
castle and Indian River, a gray stone about three feet high and having a
flat, table-like surface. It stands on the shore beside the hard, white
road. The lovely bay, set with a thousand isles, stretches sparkling
before it; the blue waves break musically along the curving shingle; the
wooded hills rise behind it; the winds murmur among the tall trees.

The name of this stone is the "blarney" stone. It was a favorite retreat
of Baranoff's and there, when he was sunken in one of his lonely or
despondent moods, he would sit for hours, staring out over the water.
What his thoughts were at such times, only God and he knew,--for not
even his beloved daughter dared to approach him when one of his lone
moods was upon him.

In the first hour that he was no longer governor of the country he had
ruled so long and so royally, he walked with bowed head along the beach
until he reached his favorite retreat. There he sat himself down and for
hours remained in silent communion with his own soul. He had longed for
relief from his arduous duties, but it had come in a way that had broken
his heart. His government had at last listened to complaints against
him, and, ungrateful for his long and faithful service, had finally
relieved him with but scant consideration; with an abruptness and a lack
of courtesy that had sorely wounded him.

Nearly thirty of his best years he had devoted to the company. He had
conquered the savages and placed the fur trade upon a highly profitable
basis; he had built many vessels and had established trading relations
with foreign countries; forts, settlements, and towns had risen at his
indomitable will. Sitka, especially, was his own; her storied splendor,
whose fame has endured through all the years, she owed entirely to him;
she was the city of his heart. He was her creator; his life-blood, his
very heart beats, were in her; and now that the time had really come to
give her up forever, he found the hour of farewell the hardest of his
hard life. No man, of whatsoever material he may be made, nor howsoever
insensible to the influence of beauty he may deem himself to be, could
dwell for twenty years in Sitka without finding, when it came to leaving
her, that the tendrils of her loveliness had twined themselves so
closely about his heart that their breaking could only be accomplished
by the breaking of the heart itself.

Of his kin, only a brother remained. The offspring of his connection
with a Koloshian woman was now married and settled comfortably. A son by
the same mistress had died. He had first thought of going to his
brother, who lived in Kamchatka; but Golovnin was urging him to return
to Russia, which he had left forty years before. This he had finally
decided to do, it having been made clear to him that he could still be
of service to his country and his beloved colonies by his experience and
advice. Remain in the town he had created and ruled so tyrannically, and
which he still loved so devotedly, he could not. The mere thought of
that was unendurable.

All was now in readiness for his departure, but the old man--he was now
seventy-two--had not anticipated that the going would be so hard. The
blue waves came sparkling in from the outer sea and broke on the curving
shingle at his feet; the white and lavender wings of sea-birds floated,
widespread, upon the golden September air; vessels of the fleet he had
built under the most distressing difficulties and disadvantages lay at
anchor under the castle wherein he had banqueted every visitor of any
distinction or position for so many years, and the light from whose
proud tower had guided so many worn voyagers to safety at last; the
yellow, red-roofed buildings, the great ones built of logs, the chapel,
the significant block-houses--all arose out of the wilderness before his
sorrowful eyes, taking on lines of beauty he had never discovered
before.

From this hour Baranoff failed rapidly from day to day. His time was
spent in bidding farewell to the Russians and natives--to many of whom
he was sincerely attached--and to places which had become endeared to
him by long association. He was frequently found in tears. Those who
have seen fair Sitka rising out of the blue and islanded sea before
their raptured eyes may be able to appreciate and sympathize with the
old governor's emotion as, on the 27th of November, 1818, he stood in
the stern of the _Kutusof_ and watched the beloved city of his creation
fade lingeringly from his view. He was weeping, silently and hopelessly,
as the old weep, when, at last, he turned away.

Baranoff never again saw Sitka. In March the _Kutusof_ landed at
Batavia, where it remained more than a month. There he was very ill; and
soon after the vessel had again put to sea, he died, like Behring, a sad
and lonely death, far from friends and home. On the 16th of April, 1819,
the waters of the Indian Ocean received the body of Alexander Baranoff.

Notwithstanding his many and serious faults, or, possibly because of
their existence in so powerful a character--combined as they were with
such brilliant talent and with so many admirable and conscientious
qualities--Baranoff remains through all the years the most fascinating
figure in the history of the Pacific Coast. None is so well worth study
and close investigation; none is so rich in surprises and delights; none
has the charm of so lone and beautiful a setting. There was no
littleness, no niggardliness, in his nature. "He never knew what avarice
was," wrote Khlebnikof, "and never hoarded riches. He did not wait until
his death to make provision for the living, but gave freely to all who
had any claim upon him."

He spent money like a prince. He received ten shares of stock in the
company from Shelikoff and was later granted twenty more; but he gave
many of these to his associates who were not so well remunerated for
their faithful services. He provided generously during his life for his
family; and for the families in Russia of many who lost their lives in
the colonies, or who were unable through other misfortunes to perform
their duties in this respect.

Born of humble parentage in Kargopal, Eastern Russia, in 1747, he had,
at an early age, drifted to Moscow, where he was engaged as a clerk in
retail stores until 1771, when he established himself in business.

Not meeting with success, he four years later emigrated to Siberia and
undertook the management of a glass factory at Irkutsk. He also
interested himself in other industries; and on account of several
valuable communications to the Civil Economical Society on the subject
of manufacture he was in 1789 elected a member of the society.

[Illustration: Copyright by Dobbs, Nome

A NORTHERN MADONNA]

His life here was a humdrum existence, of which his restless spirit soon
wearied. Acquainting himself with the needs, resources, and
possibilities of Kamchatka, he set out to the eastward with an
assortment of goods and liquors, which he sold to the savages of that
and adjoining countries.

At first his operations were attended by success; but when, in 1789, two
of his caravans were captured by Chuckchi, he found himself bankrupt,
and soon yielded to Shelikoff's urgent entreaties to try his fortunes in
America.

Such is the simple early history of this remarkable man. Not one known
descendant of his is living to-day. But men like Baranoff do not need
descendants to perpetuate their names.

Bancroft is the highest authority on the events of this period, his
assistant being Ivan Petroff, a Russian, who was well-informed on the
history of the colonies.

       *       *       *       *       *

Many secret reasons have been suspected for the sale of the magnificent
country of Alaska to the United States for so paltry a sum.

The only revenue, however, that Russia derived from the colonies was
through the rich fur trade; and when, after Baranoff's death, this trade
declined and its future seemed hopeless, the country's vast mineral
wealth being unsuspected, Russia found herself in humor to consider any
offer that might be of immediate profit to herself. For seven millions
and two hundred thousands of dollars Russia cheerfully, because
unsuspectingly, yielded one of the most marvellously rich and beautiful
countries of the world--its valleys yellow with gold, its mountains
green with copper and thickly veined with coal, its waters alive with
fish and fur-bearing animals, its scenery sublime--to the scornful and
unappreciative United States.

As early as the fifties it became rumored that Russia, foreseeing the
entire decline of the fur trade, considered Alaska a white elephant upon
its hands, and that an offer for its purchase would not meet with
disfavor. The matter was discussed in Washington at various times, but
it was not until 1866 that it was seriously considered. The people of
the present state of Washington were among those most desirous of its
purchase; and there was rumor of the organization of a trading company
of the Pacific Coast for the purpose of purchasing the rights of the
Russian-American Company and acquiring the lease of the _lisière_ which
was to expire in 1868. The Russian-American Company was then, however,
awaiting the reply of the Hudson Bay Company concerning a renewal of the
lease; and the matter drifted on until, in the spring of 1867, the
Russian minister opened negotiations for the purchase of the country
with Mr. Seward. There was some difficulty at first over the price, but
the matter was one presenting so many mutual advantages that this was
soon satisfactorily arranged.

On Friday evening, March 25, 1867, Mr. Seward was playing whist with
members of his family when the Russian minister was announced. Baron
Stoeckl stated that he had received a despatch from his government by
cable, conveying the consent of the Emperor to the cession.

"To-morrow," he added, "I will come to the department, and we can enter
upon the treaty."

With a smile of satisfaction, Seward replied:--

"Why wait till to-morrow? Let us make the treaty to-night."

"But your department is closed. You have no clerks, and my secretaries
are scattered about the town."

"Never mind that," said Seward; "if you can muster your legation
together before midnight, you will find me awaiting you at the
department."

By four o'clock on the following morning the treaty was engrossed,
sealed, and ready for transmission by the President to the Senate. The
end of the session was approaching, and there was need of haste in order
to secure action upon it.

Leutze painted this historic scene. Mr. Seward is seen sitting at his
table, pen in hand, listening to the Russian minister. The gaslight,
streaming down on the table, illuminates the outline of "the great
country."

When, immediately afterward, the treaty was presented for consideration
in the Senate, Charles Sumner delivered his famous and splendid oration
which stands as one of the masterpieces of history, and which revealed
an enlightened knowledge and understanding of Alaska that were
remarkable at that time--and which probably surpassed those of Seward.
Among other clear and beautiful things he said:--

"The present treaty is a visible step in the occupation of the whole
North American Continent. As such it will be recognized by the world and
accepted by the American people. But the treaty involves something more.
By it we dismiss one more monarch from this continent. One by one they
have retired; first France, then Spain, then France again, and now
Russia--all giving way to that absorbing unity which is declared in the
national motto: _E pluribus unum._"

There is yet one more monarch to be retired, in all kindness and
good-will, from our continent; and that event will take place when our
brother-Canadians unite with us in deed as they already have in spirit.

For years the purchase was unpopular, and was ridiculed by the press and
in conversation. Alaska was declared to be a "barren, worthless,
God-forsaken region," whose only products were "icebergs and polar
bears"; vegetation was "confined to mosses"; and "Walrussia" was
wittily suggested as an appropriate name for our new possession--as well
as "Icebergia"; but in the face of all the opposition and ridicule,
those two great Americans, Seward and Sumner, stood firmly for the
acquisition of this splendid country. They looked through the mist of
their own day and saw the day that is ours.



CHAPTER XVII


Since Sitka first dawned upon my sight on a June day, in her setting of
vivid green and glistening white, she has been one of my dearest
memories. Four times in all have the green islands drifted apart to let
her rise from the blue sea before my enchanted eyes; and with each visit
she has grown more dear, and her memory more tormenting.

Something gives Sitka a different look and atmosphere from any other
town. It may be her whiteness, glistening against the rich green
background of forest and hill, with the whiteness of the mountains
shining in the higher lights; or it may be the severely white and plain
Greek church, rising in the centre of the main street, not more than a
block from the water, that gives Sitka her chaste and immaculate
appearance.

No buildings obstruct the view of the church from the water. There it
is, in the form of a Greek cross, with its green roof, steeple, and
bulbous dome.

This church is generally supposed to be the one that Baranoff built at
the beginning of the century; but this is not true. Baranoff did build a
small chapel, but it was in 1848 that the foundation of the present
church was laid--almost thirty years after the death of Baranoff. It was
under the special protection of the Czar, who, with other members of the
imperial family, sent many costly furnishings and ornaments.

Veniaminoff--who was later made Archpriest, and still later the
Archbishop of Kamchatka, and during the last years of his noble life,
the Metropolitan of Moscow--sent many of the rich vestments, paintings,
and furnishings. The chime of silvery bells was also sent from Moscow.

Upon landing at Sitka, one is confronted by the old log storehouse of
the Russians. This is an immense building, barricading the wharf from
the town. A narrow, dark, gloomy passage-way, or alley, leads through
the centre of this building. It seems as long as an ordinary city square
to the bewildered stranger groping through its shadows.

In front of this building, and inside both ends of the passage as far as
the light reaches, squat squaws, young and old, pretty and hideous,
starry-eyed and no-eyed, saucy and kind, arrogant and humble, taciturn
and voluble, vivacious and weary-faced. Surely no known variety of squaw
may be asked for and not found in this long line that reaches from the
wharf to the green-roofed church.

There is no night so wild and tempestuous, and no hour of any night so
late, or of any morning so early, that the passenger hastening ashore is
not greeted by this long line of dark-faced women. They sit like so many
patient, noiseless statues, with their tempting wares clustered around
the flat, "toed-in" feet of each.

Not only is this true of Sitka, but of every landing-place on the whole
coast where dwells an Indian or an Aleut that has something to sell.
Long before the boat lands, their gay shawls by day, or their dusky
outlines by night, are discovered from the deck of the steamer.

How they manage it, no ship's officer can tell; for the whistle is
frequently not blown until the boat is within a few yards of the shore.
Yet there they are, waiting!

Sometimes, at night, they appear simultaneously, fluttering down into
their places, swiftly and noiselessly, like a flock of birds settling
down to rest for a moment in their flight.

Some of these women are dressed in skirts and waists, but the majority
are wrapped in the everlasting gay blankets. No lip or nose ornaments
are seen, even in the most aged. Two or three men are scattered down the
line, to guard the women from being cheated.

These tall and lordly creatures strut noiselessly and superciliously
about, clucking out guttural advice to the squaws, as well as, to all
appearances, the frankest criticism of the persons examining their wares
with a view to purchasing.

The women are very droll, and apparently have a keen sense of humor; and
one is sure to have considerable fun poked at one, going down the line.

Mild-tempered people do not take umbrage at this ridicule; in fact, they
rather enjoy it. Being one of them, I lost my temper only once. A young
squaw offered me a wooden dish, explaining in broken English that it was
an old eating dish.

It had a flat handle with a hole in it; and as cooking and eating
utensils are never washed, it had the horrors of ages encrusted within
it to the depth of an inch or more.

This, of course, only added to its value. I paid her a dollar for it,
and had just taken it up gingerly and shudderingly with the tips of my
fingers, when, to my amazement and confusion, the girl who had sold it
to me, two older women who were squatting near, and a tall man leaning
against the wall, all burst simultaneously into jeering and
uncontrollable laughter.

As I gazed at them suspiciously and with reddening face, the young woman
pointed a brown and unclean finger at me; while, as for the chorus of
chuckles and duckings that assailed my ears--I hope I may never hear
their like again.

To add to my embarrassment, some passengers at that moment approached.

"Hello, Sally," said one; "what's the matter?"

Laughing too heartily to reply, she pointed at the wooden dish, which I
was vainly trying to hide. They all looked, saw, and laughed with the
Indians.

For a week afterward they smiled every time they looked at me; and I do
believe that every man, woman, and child on the steamer came, smiling,
to my cabin to see my "buy." But the ridicule of my kind was as nothing
compared to that of the Indians themselves. To be "taken in" by the
descendant of a Koloshian, and then jeered at to one's very face!

The only possession of an Alaskan Indian that may not be purchased is a
rosary. An attempt to buy one is met with glances of aversion.

"It has been _blessed_!" one woman said, almost in a whisper.

But they have most beautiful long strings of big, evenly cut,
sapphire-blue beads. They call them Russian beads, and point out certain
ones which were once used as money among the Indians.

Their wares consist chiefly of baskets; but there are also immense
spoons carved artistically out of the horns of mountain sheep; richly
beaded moccasins of many different materials; carved and gayly painted
canoes and paddles of the fragrant Alaska cedar or Sitka pine;
totem-poles carved out of dark gray slate stone; lamps, carved out of
wood and inlaid with a fine pearl-like shell. These are formed like
animals, with the backs hollowed to hold oil. There are silver spoons,
rings, bracelets, and chains, all delicately traced with totemic
designs; knives, virgin charms, Chilkaht blankets, and now and then a
genuine old spear, or bow and arrow, that proves the dearest treasure of
all.

[Illustration: Copyright by Dobbs, Nome

ESKIMO LAD IN PARKA AND MUKLUKS]

Old wooden, or bone, gambling sticks, finely carved, polished to a satin
finish, and sometimes inlaid with fragments of shell, or burnt with
totemic designs, are also greatly to be desired.

The main features of interest in Sitka are the Greek-Russian church and
the walk along the beach to Indian River Park.

A small admission fee is charged at the church door. This goes to the
poor-fund of the parish. It is the only church in Alaska that charges a
regular fee, but in all the others there are contribution boxes. When
one has, with burning cheeks, seen his fellow-Americans drop dimes and
nickels into the boxes of these churches, which have been specially
opened at much inconvenience for their accommodation, he is glad to see
the fifty-cent fee at the door charged.

There are no seats in the church. The congregation stands or kneels
during the entire service. There are three sanctuaries and as many
altars. The chief sanctuary is the one in the middle, and it is
dedicated to the Archi-Strategos Michael.

The sanctuary is separated from the body of the church by a
screen--which has a "shaky" look, by the way--adorned with twelve ikons,
or images, in costly silver and gold casings, artistically chased.

The middle door leading into the sanctuary is called the Royal Gates,
because through it the Holy Sacrament, or Eucharist, is carried out to
the faithful. It is most beautifully carved and decorated. Above it is a
magnificent ikon, representing the Last Supper. The heavy silver casing
is of great value. The casings alone of the twelve ikons on the screen
cost many thousands of dollars.

An interesting story is attached to the one of the patron saint of the
church, the Archangel Michael. The ship _Neva_, on her way to Sitka, was
wrecked at the base of Mount Edgecumbe. A large and valuable cargo was
lost, but the ikon was miraculously cast upon the beach, uninjured.

Many of the ikons and other adornments of the church were presented by
the survivors of wrecked vessels; others by illustrious friends in
Russia. One that had paled and grown dim was restored by Mrs. Emmons,
the wife of Lieutenant Emmons, whose work in Alaska was of great value.

When the Royal Gates are opened the entire sanctuary--or Holy of Holies,
in which no woman is permitted to set foot, lest it be defiled--may be
seen.

To one who does not understand the significance of the various objects,
the sanctuary proves a disappointment until the splendid old vestments
of cloth of gold and silver are brought out. These were the personal
gifts of the great Baranoff. They are exceedingly rich and sumptuous, as
is the bishop's stole, made of cloth woven of heavy silver threads.

The left-hand chapel is consecrated to "Our Lady of Kazan." It is
adorned with several ikons, one of which, "The Mother of God," is at
once the most beautiful and the most valuable object in the church. An
offer of fifteen thousand dollars was refused for it. The large dark
eyes of the madonna are so filled with sorrowful tenderness and passion
that they cannot be forgotten. They follow one about the chapel; and
after he has gone out into the fresh air and the sunlight he still feels
them upon him. Those mournful eyes hold a message that haunts the one
who has once tried to read it. The appeal which the unknown Russian
artist has painted into them produces an effect that is enduring.

But most precious of all to me were those objects, of whatsoever value,
which were presented by Innocentius, the Metropolitan of Moscow, the
Noble and the Devoted. If ever a man went forth in search of the Holy
Grail, it was he; and if ever a man came near finding the Holy Grail, it
was, likewise, he.

From Sitka to Unalaska, and up the Yukon so far as the Russian influence
goes, his name is still murmured with a veneration that is almost
adoration.

Historians know him and praise him, without a dissenting voice, as
Father Veniaminoff; for it was under this simple and unassuming title
that the pure, earnest, and devout young Russian came to the colonies in
1823, carrying the high, white light of his faith to the wretched
natives, among whom his life work was to be, from that time on, almost
to the end.

No man has ever done as much for the natives of Alaska as he, not even
Mr. Duncan. His heart being all love and his nature all tenderness, he
grew to love the gentle Aleutians and Sitkans, and so won their love and
trust in return.

In the Sitka church is a very costly and splendid vessel, used for the
Eucharist, which was once stolen, but afterward returned. There are
censers of pure silver and chaste design, which tinkle musically as they
swing.

A visit to the building of the Russian Orthodox Mission is also
interesting. There will be found some of the personal belongings of
Father Veniaminoff--his clock, a writing-desk which was made by his own
hands, of massive and enduring workmanship, and several articles of
furniture; also the ikon which once adorned his cell--a gift of Princess
Potemkin.

Sir George Simpson describes an Easter festival at Sitka in 1842. He
found all the people decked in festal attire upon his arrival at nine
o'clock in the morning. They were also, men and women, quite "tipsy."

Upon arriving at Governor Etholin's residence, he was ushered into the
great banqueting room, where a large party was rising from breakfast.
This party was composed of the bishop and priests, the Lutheran
clergyman, the naval officers, the secretaries, business men, and
masters and mates of vessels,--numbering in all about seventy,--all
arrayed in uniforms or, at the least, in elegant dress.

From morning till night Sir George was compelled to "run a gantlet of
kisses." When two persons met, one said, "Christ is risen"--and this was
a signal for prolonged kissing. "Some of them," adds Sir George,
naïvely, "were certainly pleasant enough; but many, even when the
performers were of the fair sex, were perhaps too highly flavored for
perfect comfort."

He was likewise compelled to accept many hard-boiled, gilded eggs, as
souvenirs.

During the whole week every bell in the chimes of the church rang
incessantly--from morning to night, from night to morning; and poor Sir
George found the jangling of "these confounded bells" harder to endure
than the eggs or the kisses.

Sir George extolled the virtues of the bishop--Veniaminoff. His
appearance impressed the Governor-in-Chief with awe; his talents and
attainments seemed worthy of his already exalted station; while the
gentleness which characterized his every word and deed insensibly
moulded reverence into love.

Whymper visited Sitka in 1865, and found Russian hospitality under the
administration of Matsukoff almost as lavish as during Baranoff's famous
reign.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

SCALES AND SUMMIT OF CHILKOOT PASS IN 1898]

"Russian hospitality is proverbial," remarks Whymper, "and we all
somewhat suffered therefrom. The first phrase of their language acquired
by us was 'petnatchit copla'--fifteen drops." This innocently sounding
phrase really meant a good half-tumbler of some undiluted liquor,
ranging from cognac to raw vodhka, which was pressed upon the visitors
upon every available occasion. A refusal to drink meant an insult to
their host; and they were often sorely put to it to carry gracefully the
burden of entertainment which they dared not decline.

The big brass samovar was in every household, and they were compelled to
drink strong Russian tea, served by the tumblerful. Balls, banquets, and
fêtes in the gardens of the social clubs were given in their honor;
while their fleet of four vessels in the harbor was daily visited by
large numbers of Russian ladies and gentlemen from the town.

At all seasons of the year the tables of the higher classes were
supplied with game, chickens, pork, vegetables, berries, and every
luxury obtainable; while the food of the common laborers was, in summer,
fresh fish, and in winter, salt fish.

Sir George Simpson attended a Koloshian funeral at Sitka, or New
Archangel, in 1842. The body of the deceased, arrayed in the gayest of
apparel, lay in state for two or three days, during which time the
relatives fasted and bewailed their loss. At the end of this period, the
body was placed on a funeral pyre, round which the relatives gathered,
their faces painted black and their hair covered with eagles' down. The
pipe was passed around several times; and then, in obedience to a secret
sign, the fire was kindled in several places at once. Wailings and loud
lamentations, accompanied by ceaseless drumming, continued until the
pyre was entirely consumed. The ashes were, at last, collected into an
ornamental box, which was elevated on a scaffold. Many of these
monuments were seen on the side of a neighboring hill.

A wedding witnessed at about the same time was quite as interesting as
the funeral, presenting several unique features. A good-looking Creole
girl, named Archimanditoffra, married the mate of a vessel lying in
port.

Attended by their friends and the more important residents of Sitka, the
couple proceeded at six o'clock in the evening to the church, where a
tiresome service, lasting an hour and a half, was solemnized by a
priest.

The bridegroom then led his bride to the ballroom. The most startling
feature of this wedding was of Russian, rather than savage, origin. The
person compelled to bear all the expense of the wedding was chosen to
give the bride away; and no man upon whom this honor was conferred ever
declined it.

This custom might be followed with beneficial results to-day, a bachelor
being always honored, until, in sheer self-defence, many a young man
would prefer to pay for his own wedding to constantly paying for the
wedding of some other man. It is more polite than the proposed tax on
bachelors.

At this wedding the beauty and fashion of Sitka were assembled. The
ladies were showily attired in muslin dresses, white satin shoes, silk
stockings, and kid gloves; they wore flowers and carried white fans.

The ball was opened by the bride and the highest officer present; and
quadrille followed waltz in rapid succession until daylight.

The music was excellent; and the unfortunate host and paymaster of the
ceremonies carried out his part like a prince. Tea, coffee, chocolate,
and champagne were served generously, varied with delicate foods,
"petnatchit coplas" of strong liquors, and expensive cigars.

According to the law of the church, the bridesmaids and bridesmen were
prohibited from marrying each other; but, owing to the limitations in
Sitka, a special dispensation had been granted, permitting such
marriages.

From the old Russian cemetery on the hill, a panoramic view is obtained
of the town, the harbor, the blue water-ways winding among the green
islands to the ocean, and the snow mountains floating above the pearly
clouds on all sides. In a quiet corner of the cemetery rests the first
Princess Matsukoff, an Englishwoman, who graced the "Castle on the Rock"
ere she died, in the middle sixties. Her successor was young, beautiful,
and gay; and her reign was as brilliant as it was brief. She it was who,
through bitter and passionate tears, dimly beheld the Russian flag
lowered from its proud place on the castle's lofty flagstaff and the
flag of the United States sweeping up in its stead. But the first proud
Princess Matsukoff slept on in her quiet resting-place beside the blue
and alien sea, and grieved not.

From all parts of the harbor and the town is seen the kekoor, the "rocky
promontory," from which Baranoff and Lisiansky drove the Koloshians
after the massacre, and upon which Baranoff's castle later stood.

It rises abruptly to a height of about eighty feet, and is ascended by a
long flight of wooden steps.

The first castle was burned; another was erected, and was destroyed by
earthquake; was rebuilt, and was again destroyed--the second time by
fire. The eminence is now occupied by the home of Professor Georgeson,
who conducts the government agricultural experimental work in Alaska.

The old log trading house which is on the right side of the street
leading to the church is wearing out at last. On some of the old
buildings patches of modern weather-boarding mingle with the massive and
ancient logs, producing an effect that is almost grotesque.

In the old hotel Lady Franklin once rested with an uneasy heart, during
the famous search for her husband.

The barracks and custom-house front on a vivid green parade ground that
slopes to the water. Slender gravelled roads lead across this well-kept
green to the quarters and to the building formerly occupied by Governor
Brady as the Executive Offices. His residence is farther on, around the
bay, in the direction of the Indian village.

There are fine fur and curio stores on the main street.

The homes of Sitka are neat and attractive. The window boxes and
carefully tended gardens are brilliant with bloom in summer.

Passing through the town, one soon reaches the hard, white road that
leads along the curving shingle to Indian River. The road curves with
the beach and goes glimmering on ahead, until it disappears in the green
mist of the forest.

Surely no place on this fair earth could less deserve the offensive name
of "park" than the strip of land bordering Indian River,--five hundred
feet wide on one bank, and two hundred and fifty feet on the other,
between the falls and the low plain where it pours into the sea,--which
in 1890 was set aside for this purpose.

It has been kept undefiled. There is not a sign, nor a painted seat, nor
a little stiff flower bed in it. There is not a striped paper bag, nor a
peanut shell, nor the peel of an orange anywhere.

It must be that only those people who live on beauty, instead of food,
haunt this beautiful spot.

The spruce, the cedar, and the pine grow gracefully and luxuriantly,
their lacy branches spreading out flat and motionless upon the still
air, tapering from the ground to a fine point. The hard road,
velvet-napped with the spicy needles of centuries, winds through them
and under them, the branches often touching the wayfarer's bared head.

The devil's-club grows tall and large; there are thickets of
salmon-berry and thimbleberry; there are banks of velvety green, and
others blue with violets; there are hedges of wild roses, the bloom
looking in the distance like an amethyst cloud floating upon the green.

The Alaskan thimbleberry is the most delicious berry that grows. Large,
scarlet, velvety, yet evanescent, it scarcely touches the tongue ere its
ravishing flavor has become a memory.

The vegetation is all of tropical luxuriance, and, owing to its constant
dew and mist baths, it is of an intense and vivid green that is fairly
dazzling where the sun touches it. One of the chief charms of the wooded
reserve is its stillness--broken only by the musical rush of waters and
the lyrical notes of birds. A kind of lavender twilight abides beneath
the trees, and, with the narrow, spruce-aisled vistas that open at every
turn, gives one a sensation as of being in some dim and scented
cathedral.

Enticing paths lead away from the main road to the river, where the
voices of rapids and cataracts call; but at last one comes to an open
space, so closely walled round on all sides by the forest that it may
easily be passed without being seen--and to which one makes his way with
difficulty, pushing aside branches of trees and tall ferns as he
proceeds.

Here, producing an effect that is positively uncanny, are several great
totems, shining out brilliantly from their dark green setting.

One experiences that solemn feeling which every one has known, as of
standing among the dead; the shades of Baranoff, Behring, Lisiansky,
Veniaminoff, Chirikoff,--all the unknown murdered ones, too,--go
drifting noiselessly, with reproachful faces, through the dim wood.

It was on the beach near this grove of totems that Lisiansky's men were
murdered by Koloshians in 1804, while obtaining water for the ship.

The Sitka Industrial Training School was founded nearly thirty years ago
by ex-Governor Brady, who was then a missionary to the Indians of
Alaska.

It was first attended by about one hundred natives, ranging from the
very young to the very old. This school was continued, with varied
success, by different people--including Captain Glass, of the
_Jamestown_--until Dr. Sheldon Jackson became interested, and, with Mr.
Brady and Mr. Austin, sought and obtained aid from the Board of Home
Missions of the Presbyterian Church.

A building was erected for a Boys' Home, and this was followed, a year
later, by a Girls' Home.

The girls were taught to speak the English language, cook, wash, iron,
sew, mend, and to become cleanly, cheerful, honest, honorable women.

The boys were taught to speak the English language; the trades of
shoemaking, coopering, boat-building, carpentry, engineering,
rope-making, and all kinds of agricultural work. The rudiments of
bricklaying, painting, and paper-hanging are also taught.

During the year 1907 a Bible Training Department was added for those
among the older boys and girls who desired to obtain knowledge along
such lines, or who aspired to take up missionary work among their
people.

Twelve pupils took up the work, and six continued it throughout the
year. The work in this department is, of course, voluntary on the part
of the student.

The Sitka Training School is not, at present, a government school.
During the early nineties it received aid from the government, under the
government's method of subsidizing denominational schools, where they
were already established, instead of incurring the extra expense of
establishing new government schools in the same localities.

When the government ceased granting such subsidies, the Sitka
School--as well as many other denominational schools--lost this
assistance.

The property of the school has always belonged to the Presbyterian Board
of Home Missions.

For many years it was customary to keep pupils at the schools from their
entrance until their education was finished.

In the summer of 1905 the experiment was tried of permitting a few
pupils to go to their homes during vacation. All returned in September
cheerfully and willingly; and now, each summer, more than seventy boys
and girls return to their homes to spend the time of vacation with their
families.

In former years, it would have been too injurious to the child to be
subjected to the influence of its parents, who were but slightly removed
from savagery. To-day, although many of the old heathenish rites and
customs still exist, they have not so deep a hold upon the natives; and
it is hoped, and expected, that the influence of the students for good
upon their people will far exceed that of their people for ill upon
them.

During the past year ninety boys and seventy-four girls were
enrolled--or as many as can be accommodated at the schools. They
represent the three peoples into which the Indians of southeastern
Alaska are now roughly divided--the Thlinkits, the Haidahs, and the
Tsimpsians. They come from Katalla, Yakutat, Skagway, Klukwan, Haines,
Douglas, Juneau, Kasa-an, Howkan, Metlakahtla, Hoonah--and, indeed, from
almost every point in southeastern Alaska where a handful of Indians are
gathered together.



CHAPTER XVIII


The many people who innocently believe that there are no birds in Alaska
may be surprised to learn that there are, at least, fifty different
species in the southeastern part of that country.

Among these are the song sparrow, the rufous humming-bird, the western
robin, of unfailing cheeriness, the russet-backed thrush, the barn
swallow, the golden-crowned kinglet, the Oregon Junco, the winter wren,
and the bird that, in liquid clearness and poignant sweetness of note,
is second only to the western meadow-lark--the poetic hermit thrush.

He that has heard the impassioned notes of this shy bird rising from the
woods of Sitka will smile at the assertion that there are no birds in
Alaska.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the way to Indian River is the museum, whose interesting and valuable
contents were gathered chiefly by Sheldon Jackson, and which still bears
his name.

Dr. Jackson has been the general Agent of Education in Alaska since
1885, and the Superintendent of Presbyterian Missions since 1877. His
work in Alaska in early years was, undoubtedly, of great value.

The museum stands in an evergreen grove, not far from the road. Here may
be found curios and relics of great value. It is to be regretted,
however, that many of the articles are labelled with the names of
collectors instead of those of the real donors--at least, this is the
information voluntarily given me by some of the donors.

In the collection is an interesting war bonnet, which was donated by
Chief Kath-le-an, who planned and carried out the siege of 1878.

It was owned by one of Kath-le-an's ancestors. It is made of wood,
carved into a raven's head. It has been worked and polished until the
shell is more like velvet than wood, and is dyed black.

It was many years ago a polite custom of the Thlinkits to paint and oil
the face of a visitor, as a matter of hospitality and an indication of
friendly feeling and respect.

A visitor from another tribe to Sitka fell ill and died, shortly after
having been so oiled and honored, and his people claimed that the oil
was rancid,--or that some evil spell had been oiled into him,--and a war
arose.

The Sitka tribe began the preparation of the raven war bonnet and worked
upon it all summer, while actual hostilities were delayed.

As winter came on, Kath-le-an's ancestor one day addressed his young
men, telling them that the new war bonnet on his head would serve as a
talisman to carry them to a glorious victory over their enemies.

Through the battle that followed, the war bonnet was everywhere to be
seen in the centre of the most furious fighting. Only once did it go
down, and then only for a moment, when the chief struggled to his feet;
and as his young men saw the symbol of victory rising from the dust, the
thrill of renewed hope that went through them impelled them forward in
one splendid, simultaneous movement that won the day.

In 1804 Kath-le-an himself wore the hat when his people were besieged
for many days by the Russians.

On this occasion the spell of the war bonnet was broken; and upon his
utter defeat, Kath-le-an, feeling that it had lost its charm for good
luck, buried the unfortunate symbol in the woods.

Many years afterward Kath-le-an exhumed the hat and presented it to the
museum.

"We will hereafter dwell in peace with the white people," he said; "so
my young men will never again need the war bonnet."

Kath-le-an has to this day kept his word. He is still alive, but is
nearly ninety years old.

Interesting stories and myths are connected with a large number of the
relics in the museum--to which the small admission fee of fifty cents is
asked.

One of the early picturesque block-houses built by the Russians still
stands in a good state of preservation on a slight eminence above the
town, on the way to the old cemetery.

The story of the lowering of the Russian flag, and the hoisting of the
American colors at Sitka, is fraught with significance to the
superstitious.

The steamship _John L. Stevens_, carrying United States troops from San
Francisco, arrived in Sitka Harbor on the morning of October 9, 1867.
The gunboats _Jamestown_ and _Resaca_ had already arrived and were lying
at anchor. The _Ossipee_ did not enter the harbor until the morning of
the eighteenth.

At three o'clock of the same day the command of General Jefferson C.
Davis, about two hundred and fifty strong, in full uniform, armed and
handsomely equipped, were landed, and marched to the heights where the
famous Governor's Castle stood. Here they were met by a company of
Russian soldiers who took their place upon the left of the flagstaff.

The command of General Davis formed on the right. The United States
flag, which was to float for the first time in possession of Sitka, was
in the care of a color guard--a lieutenant, a sergeant, and ten men.

Besides the officers and troops, there were present the Prince and
Princess Matsukoff, many Russian and American residents, and some
interested Indians.

It was arranged by Captain Pestchouroff and General Lovell N. Rosseau,
Commissioner for the United States, that the United States should lead
in firing the first salute, but that there should be alternate guns from
the American and Russian batteries--thus giving the flag of each nation
a double national salute.

The ceremony was begun by the lowering of the Russian flag--which caused
the princess to burst into passionate weeping, while all the Russians
gazed upon their colors with the deepest sorrow and regret marked upon
their faces.

As the battery of the _Ossipee_ led off in the salute and the deep peals
crashed upon Mount Verstovi and reverberated across the bay, an accident
occurred which has ever been considered an omen of misfortune.

The Russian flag became entangled about the ropes, owing to a high wind,
and refused to be lowered.

The staff was a native pine, about ninety feet in height. Russian
soldiers, who were sailors as well, at once set out to climb the pole.
It was so far to the flag, however, that their strength failed ere they
reached it.

A "boatswain's chair" was hastily rigged of rope, and another Russian
soldier was hoisted to the flag. On reaching it, he untangled it and
then made the mistake of dropping it to the ground, not understanding
Captain Pestchouroff's energetic commands to the contrary.

It fell upon the bayonets of the Russian soldiers--which was considered
an ill omen for Russia.

The United States flag was then slowly hoisted by George Lovell Rosseau,
and the salutes were fired as before, the Russian water battery leading
this time.

The hoisting of the flag was so timed that at the exact instant of its
reaching its place, the report of the last big gun of the _Ossipee_
roared out its final salute.

Upon the completion of the salutes, Captain Pestchouroff approached the
commissioner and said:--

"General Rosseau, by authority of his Majesty, the Emperor of Russia, I
transfer to the United States the Territory of Alaska."

The transfer was simply accepted, and the ceremony was at an end.

No one understanding the American spirit can seriously condemn the
Americans present for the three cheers which burst spontaneously forth;
yet there are occasions upon which an exhibition of good taste,
repression, and consideration for the people of other nationalities
present is more admirable and commendable than a spread-eagle burst of
patriotism.

       *       *       *       *       *

The last trouble caused by the Sitkan Indians was in 1878. The sealing
schooner _San Diego_ carried among its crew seven men of the
Kake-sat-tee clan. The schooner was wrecked and six of the Kake-sat-tees
were drowned. Chief Kath-le-an demanded of Colonel M. D. Ball, collector
of customs and, at that time, the only representative of the government
in Sitka, one thousand blankets for the life of each man drowned.

Colonel Ball, appreciating the gravity of the situation, and desiring
time to prepare for the attack which he knew would be made upon the
town, promised to write to the company in San Francisco and to the
government in Washington.

After a long delay a reply to his letter arrived from the company, which
refused, as he had expected, to allow the claim, and stated that no
wages, even, were due the men who were drowned.

The government--which at that time had a vague idea that Alaska was a
great iceberg floating between America and Siberia--paid no attention to
the plea for assistance.

When Chief Kath-le-an learned that payment in blankets would not be
made, he demanded the lives of six white men. This, also, being refused,
he withdrew to prepare for battle.

Then hasty preparations were made in the settlement to meet the hourly
expected attack. All the firearms were made ready for action, and a
guard kept watch day and night. The Russian women and children were
quartered in the home of Father Nicolai Metropolsky; the Americans in
the custom-house.

The Indians held their war feast many miles from Sitka. On their way to
attack the village they passed the White Sulphur Hot Springs, on the
eastern shore of Baranoff Island, and murdered the man in charge.

They then demanded the lives of five white men, and when their demand
was again refused, they marched stealthily upon the settlement.

However, Sitka possessed a warm and faithful friend in the person of
Anna-Hoots, Chief of the Kak-wan-tans. He and his men met the hostile
party and, while attempting to turn them aside from their murderous
purpose, a general fight among the two clans was precipitated.

Before the Kake-sat-tees could again advance, a mail-boat arrived, and
the war passion simmered.

When the boat sailed, a petition was sent to the British authorities at
Esquimault, asking, for humanity's sake, that assistance be sent to
Sitka.

Kath-le-an had retreated for reënforcement; and on the eve of his return
to make a second attack, H.M.S. _Osprey_ arrived in the harbor.

The appeal to another nation for aid, and the bitter newspaper criticism
of its own indifference, had at last aroused the United States
government to a realization of its responsibilities. The revenue cutter
_Wolcott_ dropped anchor in the Sitka Harbor a few days after the
_Osprey_; and from that time on Sitka was not left without protection.

Along the curving road to Indian River stands the soft gray Episcopal
Church, St. Peter's-by-the-Sea. Built of rough gray stone and shingles,
it is an immediate pleasure and rest to the eye.

    "Its doors stand open to the sea,
      The wind goes thro' at will,
    And bears the scent of brine and blue
      To the far emerald hill."

Any stranger may enter alone, and passing into any pew, may kneel in
silent communion with the God who has created few things on this earth
more beautiful than Sitka.

No admission is asked. The church is free to the prince and the pauper,
the sinner and the saint; to those of every creed, and to those of no
creed at all.

The church has no rector, but is presided over by P. T. Rowe, the Bishop
of All Alaska and the Beloved of All Men; him who carries over land and
sea, over ice and everlasting snow, over far tundra wastes and down the
lone and mighty Yukon in his solitary canoe or bidarka, by dog team and
on foot, to white people and dark, and to whomsoever needs--the simple,
sweet, and blessed message of Love.

It was in 1895 that Reverend P. T. Rowe, Rector of St. James' Church,
Sault Sainte Marie, was confirmed as Bishop of Alaska. He went at once
to that far and unknown land; and of him and his work there no words are
ever heard save those of love and praise. He is bishop, rector, and
travelling missionary; he is doctor, apothecary, and nurse; he is the
hope and the comfort of the dying and the pall-bearer of the dead. He
travels many hundreds of miles every year, by lone and perilous ways,
over the ice and snow, with only an Indian guide and a team of huskies,
to carry the word of God into dark places. He is equally at ease in the
barabara and in the palace-like homes of the rich when he visits the
large cities of the world.

Bishop Rowe is an exceptionally handsome man, of courtly bearing and
polished manners. The moment he enters a church his personality
impresses itself upon the people assembled to hear him speak.

On a gray August Sunday in Nome--three thousand miles from Sitka--I was
surprised to see so many people on their way to midday service, Alaska
not being famed for its church-going qualities.

"Oh, it is the Bishop," said the hotel clerk, smiling. "Bishop Rowe," he
added, apparently as an after-thought. "Everybody goes to church when he
comes to town."

I had never seen Bishop Rowe, and I had planned to spend the day alone
on the beach, for the surf was rolling high and its musical thunder
filled the town. Its lonely, melancholy spell was upon me, and its call
was loud and insistent; and my heart told me to go.

But I had heard so much of Bishop Rowe and his self-devoted work in
Alaska that I finally turned my back upon temptation and joined the
narrow stream of humanity wending its way to the little church.

When Bishop Rowe came bending his dark head through the low door leading
from the vestry, clad in his rich scarlet and purple and
gold-embroidered robes, I thought I had never seen so handsome a man.

But his appearance was forgotten the moment he began to speak. He talked
to us; but he did not preach. And we, gathered there from so many
distant lands--each with his own hopes and sins and passions, his own
desires and selfishness--grew closer together and leaned upon the words
that were spoken there to us. They were so simple, and so earnest, and
so sweet; they were so seriously and so kindly uttered.

And the text--it went with us, out into the sea-sweet, surf-beaten
streets of Nome; and this was it, "Love me; and tell me so." Like the
illustrious Veniaminoff, Bishop Rowe, of a different church and creed,
and working in a later, more commercial age, has yet won his hold upon
northern hearts by the sane and simple way of Love. The text of his
sermon that gray day in the surf-beaten, tundra-sweet city of Nome is
the text that he is patiently and cheerfully working out in his noble
life-work.

Mr. Duncan, at Metlakahtla, has given his life to the Indians who have
gathered about him; but Bishop Rowe, of All Alaska, has given his life
to dark men and white, wherever they might be. Year after year he has
gone out by perilous ways to find them, and to scatter among them his
words of love--as softly and as gently as the Indians used to scatter
the white down from the breasts of sea-birds, as a message of peace to
all men.

The White Sulphur Hot Springs, now frequently called the Sitka Hot
Springs, are situated on Hot Springs Bay on the eastern shore of
Baranoff Island, almost directly east of Sitka.

The bay is sheltered by many small green islands, with lofty mountains
rising behind the sloping shores. It is an ideally beautiful and
desirable place to visit, even aside from the curative qualities of the
clear waters which bubble from pools and crevices among the rocks. These
springs have been famous since their discovery by Lisiansky in 1805. Sir
George Simpson visited them in 1842; and with every year that has passed
their praises have been more enthusiastically sung by the fortunate ones
who have voyaged to that dazzlingly green and jewelled region.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

SUMMIT OF CHILKOOT PASS, 1898]

The main spring has a temperature of one hundred and fifty-three degrees
Fahrenheit, its waters cooking eggs in eight minutes. From this spring
the baths are fed, their waters, flowing down to the sea, being soon
reduced in temperature to one hundred and thirty degrees.

Filmy vapors float over the vicinity of the springs and rise in
funnel-shaped columns which may be seen at a considerable distance, and
which impart an atmosphere of mystery and unreality to the place.

Vegetation is of unusual luxuriance, even for this land of tropical
growth; and in recent years experiments with melons and vegetables which
usually mature in tropic climes only, have been entirely successful in
this steamy and balmy region.

There are four springs, in whose waters the Indians, from the time of
their discovery, have sought to wash away the ills to which flesh is
heir. They came hundreds of miles and lay for hours at a time in the
healing baths with only their heads visible. The bay was neutral ground
where all might come, but where none might make settlement or establish
claims.

The waters near abound in fish and water-fowl, and the forests with
deer, bears, and other large game.

The place is coming but slowly to the recognition of the present
generation. When the tropic beauty of its location and the curative
powers of its waters are more generally known, it will be a Mecca for
pilgrims.

The main station of Government Agricultural Experimental work in Alaska
is located at Sitka. Professor C. C. Georgeson is the special agent in
charge of the work, which has been very successful. It has accomplished
more than anything else in the way of dispelling the erroneous
impressions which people have received of Alaska by reading the
descriptions of early explorers who fancied that every drift of snow was
a living glacier and every feather the war bonnet of a savage.

In 1906, at Coldfoot, sixty miles north of the Arctic Circle, were grown
cucumbers eight inches long, nineteen-inch rhubarb, potatoes four inches
long, cabbages whose matured heads weighed eight pounds, and turnips
weighing sixteen pounds--all of excellent quality.

At Bear Lake, near Seward and Cook Inlet, were grown good potatoes,
radishes, lettuce, carrots, beets, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries,
Logan berries, blackberries; also, roses, lilacs, and English ivy. In
this locality cows and chickens thrive and are profitable investments
for those who are not too indolent to take care of them.

Alaskan lettuce must be eaten to be appreciated. During the hot days and
the long, light hours of the nights it grows so rapidly that its
crispness and delicacy of flavor cannot be imagined.

Everything in Alaska is either the largest, the best, or most beautiful,
in the world, the people who live there maintain; and this soon grows to
be a joke to the traveller. But when the assertion that lettuce grown in
Alaska is the most delicious in the world is made, not a dissenting
voice is heard.

Along the coast, sea-weed and fish guano are used as fertilizers; and
soil at the mouth of a stream where there is silt is most desirable for
vegetables.

In southeastern Alaska and along the coast to Kodiak, at Fairbanks and
Copper Centre, at White Horse, Dawson, Rampart, Tanana, Council City,
Eagle, and other places on the Yukon, almost all kinds of vegetables,
berries, and flowers grow luxuriantly and bloom and bear in abundance.
One turnip, of fine flavor, has been found sufficient for several
people.

In the vicinity of the various hot springs, even corn, tomatoes, and
muskmelons were successful to the highest degree.

On the Yukon cabbages form fine white, solid heads; cauliflower is
unusually fine and white; beets grow to a good size, are tender, sweet,
and of a bright red; peas are excellent; rhubarb, parsley, and celery
were in many places successful. Onions seem to prove a failure in nearly
all sections of the country; and potatoes, turnips, and lettuce are the
prize vegetables.

Grain growing is no longer attempted. The experiment made by the
government, in the coast region, proved entirely unsatisfactory. It will
usually mature, but August, September, and October are so rainy that it
is not possible to save the crop. It is, however, grown as a forage
crop, for which purpose it serves excellently.

The numerous small valleys, coves, and pockets afford desirable
locations for gardens, berries, and some varieties of fruit trees.

In the interior encouraging success has been obtained with grain. The
experiments at Copper Centre have not been so satisfactory as at
Rampart, three and a half degrees farther north, on the Yukon.

At Copper Centre heavy frosts occur as early as August 14; while at
Rampart no "killing" frosts have been known before the grain had
ripened, in the latter part of August.

Rampart is the loveliest settlement on the Yukon, with the exception of
Tanana. Across the river from Rampart, the green fields of the
Experimental Station slope down to the water. The experiments carried on
here by Superintendent Rader, under the general supervision of Professor
Georgeson--who visits the stations yearly--have been very satisfactory.

Experimental work was begun at Rampart in 1900, and grain has matured
there every year, while at Copper Centre only one crop of four has
matured. In 1906, owing to dry weather, the growth was slow until the
middle of July; from that date on to the latter part of August there
were frequent rains, causing a later growth of grain than usual. The
result of these conditions was that when the first "killing" frost
occurred, the grain was still growing, and all plats, save those seeded
earliest, were spoiled for the finer purposes. The frosted grain was,
however, immediately cut for hay, twenty tons of which easily sold for
four thousand, one hundred and fifty-two dollars.

These results prove that even where grain cannot be grown to the best
advantage, it may be profitably grown for hay. For the latter purpose
larger growing varieties would be sown, which would produce a much
heavier yield and bring larger profits. At present all the feed consumed
in the interior by the horses of pack trains and of travellers is hauled
in from tide-water,--a hundred miles, at least, and frequently two or
three times as far,--and two hundred dollars a ton for hay is a low
price. The actual cost of hauling a ton of hay from Valdez to Copper
Centre, one hundred miles, is more than two hundred dollars.

Road-house keepers advertise "specially low" rates on hay at twenty
cents a pound, the ordinary retail price at that distance from
tide-water being five hundred dollars a ton.

The most serious drawback to the advancement of agriculture in Alaska is
the lack of interest on the part of the inhabitants. Probably not fifty
people could be found in the territory who went there for the purpose of
making homes. Now and then a lone dreamer of dreams may be found who
lives there--or who would gladly live there, if he might--only for the
beauty of it, which can be found nowhere else; and which will soon
vanish before the brutal tread of civilization.

The others go for gold. If they do not expect to dig it out of the earth
themselves, they plan and scheme to get it out of those who have so
acquired it. There is no scheme that has not been worked upon Alaska
and the real workers of Alaska.

The schemers go there to get gold; honestly, if possible, but to get
gold; to live "from hand to mouth," while they are there, and to get
away as quickly as possible and spend their gold far from the country
which yielded it. They have neither the time nor the desire to do
anything toward the development of the country itself.

Ex-Governor John G. Brady is one of the few who have devoted their lives
to the interest and the up-building of Alaska.

Thirty years ago he went to Alaska and established his home at Sitka.
There he has lived all these years with his large and interesting
family; there he still lives.

He has a comfortable home, gardens and orchards that leave little to be
desired, and has demonstrated beyond all doubt that the man who wishes
to establish a modern, comfortable--even luxurious--home in Alaska, can
accomplish his purpose without serious hardship to his family, however
delicate the members thereof may be.

The Bradys are enthusiasts and authorities on all matters pertaining to
Alaska.

Governor Brady has been called the "Rose Governor" of Alaska, because of
his genuine admiration for this flower. He can scarcely talk five
minutes on Alaska without introducing the subject of roses; and no
enthusiast has ever talked more simply and charmingly of the roses of
any land than he talks of the roses of Alaska,--the cherished ones of
the garden, and the big pink ones of Unalaska and the Yukon.

As missionary and governor, Mr. Brady has devoted many years to this
splendid country; and the distressful troubles into which he has fallen
of late, through no fault of his own, can never make a grateful people
forget his unselfish work for the up-building and the civilization of
Alaska.

To-day, Sitka is idyllic. Her charm is too poetic and too elusive to be
described in prose. A greater contrast than she presents to such
hustling, commercial towns as Juneau, Valdez, Cordova, and Katalla,
could scarcely be conceived. To drift into the harbor of Sitka is like
entering another world.

The Russian influence is still there, after all these years--as it is in
Kodiak and Unalaska.



CHAPTER XIX


In rough weather, steamers bound for Sitka from the westward frequently
enter Cross Sound and proceed by way of Icy Straits and Chatham to
Peril.

Icy Straits are filled, in the warmest months, with icebergs floating
down from the many glaciers to the north. Of these Muir has been the
finest, and is a world-famous glacier, owing to the charming
descriptions written of it by Mr. John Muir. For several years it was
the chief object of interest on the "tourist" trip; but early in 1900 an
earthquake shattered its beautiful front and so choked the bay with
immense bergs that the steamer _Spokane_ could not approach closer than
Marble Island, thirteen miles from the front. The bergs were compact and
filled the whole bay. Since that time excursion steamers have not
attempted to enter Glacier Bay.

In the summer of 1907, however, a steamer entered the bay and, finding
it free of ice, approached close to the famed glacier--only to find it
resembling a great castle whose towers and turrets have fallen to ruin
with the passing of years. Where once shone its opaline palisades is now
but a field of crumpled ice.

There are no less than seven glaciers discharging into Glacier Bay and
sending out beautiful bergs to drift up and down Icy Straits with the
tides and winds. Rendu, Carroll, Grand Pacific, Johns Hopkins, Hugh
Miller, and Geikie front on the bay or its narrow inlets.

Brady Glacier has a three-mile frontage on Wimbledon, or Taylor, Bay,
which opens into Icy Straits.

       *       *       *       *       *

When, on her mid-June voyage from Seattle in 1905, the _Santa Ana_ drew
out and away from Sitka, and turning with a wide sweep, went drifting
slowly through the maze of green islands and set her prow "to Westward,"
one of the dreams of my life was "come true."

I was on my way to the far, lonely, and lovely Aleutian Isles,--the
green, green isles crested with fire and snow that are washed on the
north by the waves of Behring Sea.

It was a violet day. There were no warm purple tones anywhere; but the
cool, sparkling violet ones that mean the nearness of mountains of snow.
One could almost feel the crisp _ting_ of ice in the air, and smell the
sunlight that opalizes, without melting, the ice.

Round and white, with the sunken nest of the thunder-bird on its crest,
Mount Edgecumbe rose before us; the pale green islands leaned apart to
let us through; the sea-birds, white and lavender and rose-touched,
floated with us; the throb of the steamer was like a pulse beating in
one's own blood; there were words in the violet light that lured us on,
and a wild sweet song in the waves that broke at our prow.

"There can be nothing more beautiful on earth," I said; but I did not
know. An hour came soon when I stood with bared head and could not speak
for the beauty about me; when the speech of others jarred upon me like
an insult, and the throb of the steamer, which had been a sensuous
pleasure, pierced my exaltation like a blow.

The long violet day of delight wore away at last, and night came on. A
wild wind blew from the southwest, and the mood of the North Pacific
Ocean changed. The ship rolled heavily; the waves broke over our decks.
We could see them coming--black, bowing, rimmed with white. Then came
the shock--followed by the awful shudder and struggle of the boat. The
wind was terrific. It beat the breath back into the breast.

It was terrible and it was glorious. Those were big moments on the texas
of the _Santa Ana;_ they were worth living, they were worth while. But
on account of the storm, darkness fell at midnight; and as the spray was
now breaking in sheets over the bridge and texas, I was assisted to my
cabin--drenched, shivering, happy.

"Shut your door," said the captain, "or you will be washed out of your
berth; and wait till to-morrow."

I wondered what he meant, but before I could ask him, before he could
close my cabin door, a great sea towered and poised for an instant
behind him, then bowed over him and carried him into the room. It
drenched the whole room and everything and everybody in it; then swept
out again as the ship rolled to starboard.

My travelling companion in the middle berth uttered such sounds as I had
never heard before in my life, and will probably never hear again unless
it be in the North Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of Yakutat or Katalla.
She made one attempt to descend to the floor; but at sight of the
captain who was struggling to take a polite departure after his anything
but polite entrance, she uttered the most dreadful sound of all and fell
back into her berth.

I have never seen any intoxicated man teeter and lurch as he did, trying
to get out of our cabin. I sat upon the stool where I had been washed
and dashed by the sea, and laughed.

He made it at last. He uttered no apologies and no adieux; and never
have I seen a man so openly relieved to escape from the presence of
ladies.

I closed the window. Disrobing was out of the question. I could neither
stand nor sit without holding tightly to something with both hands for
support; and when I had lain down, I found that I must hold to both
sides of the berth to keep myself in.

"Serves you right," complained the occupant of the middle berth, "for
staying up on the texas until such an unearthly hour. I'm glad you can't
undress. Maybe you'll come in at a decent hour after this!"

It is small wonder that Behring and Chirikoff disagreed and drifted
apart in the North Pacific Ocean. It is my belief that two angels would
quarrel if shut up in a stateroom in a "Yakutat blow"--than which only a
"Yakataga blow" is worse; and it comes later.

I am convinced, after three summers spent in voyaging along the Alaskan
coast to Nome and down the Yukon, that quarrelling with one's room-mate
on a long voyage aids digestion. My room-mate and I have never agreed
upon any other subject; but upon this, we are as one.

Neither effort nor exertion is required to begin a quarrel. It is only
necessary to ask with some querulousness, "Are you going to stand before
that mirror _all day?_" and hey, presto! we are instantly at it with
hammer and tongs.

Toward daylight the storm grew too terrible for further quarrelling; too
big for all little petty human passions. A coward would have become a
man in the face of such a conflict. I have never understood how one can
commit a cowardly act during a storm at sea. One may dance a hornpipe of
terror on a public street when a man thrusts a revolver into one's face
and demands one's money. That is a little thing, and inspires to little
sensations and little actions. But when a ship goes down into a black
hollow of the sea, down, down, so low that it seems as though she must
go on to the lowest, deepest depth of all--and then lies still,
shudders, and begins to mount, higher, higher, higher, to the very crest
of a mountainous wave; if God put anything at all of courage and of
bravery into the soul of the human being that experiences this, it comes
to the front now, if ever.

In that most needlessly cruel of all the ocean disasters of the Pacific
Coast, the wreck of the _Valencia_ on Seabird Reef of the rock-ribbed
coast of Vancouver Island, more than a hundred people clung to the decks
and rigging in a freezing storm for thirty-six hours. There was a young
girl on the ship who was travelling alone. A young man, an athlete, of
Victoria, who had never met her before, assisted her into the rigging
when the decks were all awash, and protected her there. On the last day
before the ship went to pieces, two life-rafts were successfully
launched. Only a few could go, and strong men were desired to manage the
rafts. The young man in the rigging might have been saved, for the ones
who did go on the raft were the only ones rescued. But when summoned, he
made simple answer:--

"No; I have some one here to care for. I will stay."

Better to be that brave man's wave-battered and fish-eaten corpse, than
any living coward who sailed away and left those desperate, struggling
wretches to their awful fate.

The storm died slowly with the night; and at last we could sleep.

It was noon when we once more got ourselves up on deck. The sun shone
like gold upon the sea, which stretched, dimpling, away for hundreds
upon hundreds of miles, to the south and west. I stood looking across it
for some time, lost in thought, but at last something led me to the
other side of the ship.

All unprepared, I lifted my eyes--and beheld before me the glory and the
marvel of God. In all the splendor of the drenched sunlight, straight
out of the violet, sparkling sea, rose the magnificent peaks of the
Fairweather Range and towered against the sky. No great snow mountains
rising from the land have ever affected me as did that long and noble
chain glistening out of the sea. They seemed fairly to thunder their
beauty to the sky.

From Mount Edgecumbe there is no significant break in the mountain range
for more than a thousand miles; it is a stretch of sublime beauty that
has no parallel. The Fairweather Range merges into the St. Elias Alps;
the Alps are followed successively by the Chugach Alps, the Kenai and
Alaskan ranges,--the latter of which holds the loftiest of them all, the
superb Mount McKinley,--and the Aleutian Range, which extends to the end
of the Aliaska Peninsula. The volcanoes on the Aleutian and Kurile
islands complete the ring of snow and fire that circles around the
Pacific Ocean.



CHAPTER XX


Our ship having been delayed by the storm, it was mid-afternoon when we
reached Yakutat. A vast plateau borders the ocean from Cross Sound,
north of Baranoff and Chicagoff islands, to Yakutat; and out of this
plateau rise four great snow peaks--Mount La Pérouse, Mount Crillon,
Mount Lituya, and Mount Fairweather--ranging in height from ten thousand
to fifteen thousand nine hundred feet.

In all this stretch there are but two bays of any size, Lituya and Dry,
and they have only historical importance.

Lituya Bay was described minutely by La Pérouse, who spent some time
there in 1786 in his two vessels, the _Astrolabe_ and _Boussole_.

The entrance to this bay is exceedingly dangerous; the tide enters in a
bore, which can only be run at slack tide. La Pérouse lost two boatloads
of men in this bore, on the eve of his departure,--a loss which he
describes at length and with much feeling.

Before finally departing, he caused to be erected a monument to the
memory of the lost officers and crew on a small island which he named
Cénotaphe, or Monument, Isle. A bottle containing a full account of the
disaster and the names of the twenty-one men was buried at the foot of
the monument.

La Pérouse named this bay Port des Français.

The chronicles of this modest French navigator seem, somehow, to stand
apart from those of the other early voyagers. There is an appearance of
truth and of fine feeling in them that does not appear in all.

He at first attempted to enter Yakutat Bay, which he called the Bay of
Monti, in honor of the commandant of an exploring expedition which he
sent out in advance; but the sea was breaking with such violence upon
the beach that he abandoned the attempt.

He described the savages of Lituya Bay as treacherous and thievish. They
surrounded the ships in canoes, offering to exchange fresh fish and
otter skins for iron, which seemed to be the only article desired,
although glass beads found some small favor in the eyes of the women.

La Pérouse supposed himself to be the first discoverer of this bay. The
Russians, however, had been there years before.

The savages appeared to be worshippers of the sun. La Pérouse pronounced
the bay itself to be the most extraordinary spot on the whole earth. It
is a great basin, the middle of which is unfathomable, surrounded by
snow peaks of great height. During all the time that he was there, he
never saw a puff of wind ruffle the surface of the water, nor was it
ever disturbed, save by the fall of masses of ice which were discharged
from five different glaciers with a thunderous noise which reëchoed from
the farthest recesses of the surrounding mountains. The air was so
tranquil and the silence so undisturbed that the human voice and the
cries of sea-birds lying among the rocks were heard at the distance of
half a league.

The climate was found to be "infinitely milder" than that of Hudson Bay
of the same latitude. Vegetation was extremely vigorous, pines measuring
six feet in diameter and rising to a height of one hundred and forty
feet.

Celery, sorrel, lupines, wild peas, yarrow, chicory, angelica, violets,
and many varieties of grass were found in abundance, and were used in
soups and salads, as remedies for scurvy.

Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, the elder, the willow, and the
broom were found then as they are to-day. Trout and salmon were taken in
the streams, and in the bay, halibut.

It is to be feared that La Pérouse was not strong on birds; for in the
copses he heard singing "linnets, _nightingales_, blackbirds, and water
quails," whose songs were very agreeable. It was July, which he called
the "pairing-time." He found one very fine blue jay; and it is
surprising that he did not hear it sing.

For the savages--especially the women--the fastidious Frenchman
entertained feelings of disgust and horror. He could discover no virtues
or traits in them to praise, conscientiously though he tried.

They lived in the same kind of habitations that all the early explorers
found along the coast of Alaska: large buildings consisting of one room,
twenty-five by twenty feet, or larger. Fire was kindled in the middle of
these rooms on the earth floor. Over it was suspended fish of several
kinds to be smoked. There was always a large hole in the roof--when
there was a roof at all--to receive the smoke.

About twenty persons of both sexes dwelt in each of these houses. Their
habits, customs, and relations were indescribably disgusting and
indecent.

Their houses were more loathsome and vile of odor than the den of any
beast. Even at the present time in some of the native villages--notably
Belkoffski on the Aliaskan Peninsula--all the most horrible odors ever
experienced in civilization, distilled into one, could not equal the
stench with which the natives and their habitations reek. As their
customs are somewhat cleanlier now than they were a hundred and thirty
years ago, and as upon this one point all the early navigators forcibly
agree, we may well conclude that they did not exaggerate.

The one room was used for eating, sleeping, cooking, smoking fish,
washing their clothes--in their cooking and eating wooden utensils, by
the way, which are never cleansed--and for the habitation of their dogs.

The men pierced the cartilage of the nose and ears for the wearing of
ornaments of shell, iron, or other material. They filed their teeth down
even with the gums with a piece of rough stone. The men painted their
faces and other parts of their bodies in a "frightful manner" with
ochre, lamp-black, and black lead, mixed with the oil of the "sea-wolf."
Their hair was frequently greased and dressed with the down of
sea-birds; the women's, also. A plain skin covered the shoulders of the
men, while the rest of the body was left entirely naked.

The women filled the Frenchman with a lively horror. The labret in the
lower lip, or ladle, as he termed it, wore unbearably upon his fine
nerves. He considered that the whole world would not afford another
custom equally revolting and disgusting. When the ornament was removed,
the lower lip fell down upon the chin, and this second picture was more
hideous than the first.

The gallant Captain Dixon, on his voyage a year later, was more
favorably impressed with the women. He must have worn rose-colored
glasses. He describes their habits and habitations almost as La Pérouse
did, but uses no expression of disgust or horror. He describes the women
as being of medium size, having straight, well-shaped limbs. They
painted their faces; but he prevailed upon one woman by persuasion and
presents to wash her face and hands. Whereupon "her countenance had all
the cheerful glow of an English milkmaid's; and the healthy red which
suffused her cheeks was even beautifully contrasted with the white of
her neck; her eyes were black and sparkling; her eyebrows of the same
color _and most beautifully arched_; her forehead so remarkably clear
that the translucent veins were seen meandering even in their minutest
branches--in short, she would be considered handsome even in England."
The worst adjectives he applied to the labret were "singular" and
"curious."

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

PINE FALLS, ATLIN]

Don Maurello and other navigators found now and then a woman who might
compete with the beauties of Spain and other lands; but none shared the
transports of Dixon, who idealized their virtues and condoned their
faults.

Tebenkof located two immense glaciers in the bay of Lituya, one in each
arm, describing them briefly:--

"The icebergs fall from the mountains and float over the waters of the
bay throughout the year. Nothing disturbs the deep silence of this
_terribly grand_ gorge of the mountains but the thunder of the falling
icebergs."

La Pérouse found enormous masses of ice detaching themselves from five
different glaciers. The water was covered with icebergs, and nearness to
the shore was exceedingly dangerous. His small boat was upset half a
mile from shore by a mass of ice falling from a glacier.

Mr. Muir describes La Pérouse Glacier as presenting grand ice bluffs to
the open ocean, into which it occasionally discharged bergs.

All agree that the appearance and surroundings of the bay are
extraordinary.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yakutat Bay is two hundred and fifteen miles from Sitka. It was called
Behring Bay by Cook and Vancouver, who supposed it to be the bay in
which the Dane anchored in 1741. It was named Admiralty Bay by Dixon,
and the Bay of Monti by La Pérouse. The Indian name is the only one
which has been preserved.

It is so peculiarly situated that although several islands lie in front
of it, the full force of the North Pacific Ocean sweeps into it. At most
seasons of the year it is full of floating ice which drifts down from
the glaciers of Disenchantment Bay.

At the point on the southern side of the bay which Dixon named Mulgrave,
and where there is a fine harbor, Baranoff established a colony of
Siberian convicts about 1796. His instructions from Shelikoff for the
laying-out of a city in such a wilderness make interesting reading.

"And now it only remains for us to hope that, having selected on the
mainland a suitable place, you will lay out the settlement with some
taste and with due regard for beauty of construction, in order that when
visits are made by foreign ships, as cannot fail to happen, it may
appear more like a town than a village, and that the Russians in America
may live in a neat and orderly way, and not, as in Ohkotsk, in squalor
and misery, caused by the absence of nearly everything necessary to
civilization. Use taste as well as practical judgment in locating the
settlement. Look to beauty, as well as to convenience of material and
supplies. On the plans, as well as in reality, leave room for spacious
squares for public assemblies. Make the streets not too long, but wide,
and let them radiate from the squares. If the site is wooded, let trees
enough stand to line the streets and to fill the gardens, in order to
beautify the place and preserve a healthy atmosphere. Build the houses
along the streets, but at some distance from each other, in order to
increase the extent of the town. The roofs should be of equal height,
and the architecture as uniform as possible. The gardens should be of
equal size and provided with good fences along the streets. Thanks be to
God that you will at least have no lack of timber."

In the same letter poor Baranoff was reproached for exchanging visits
with captains of foreign vessels, and warned that he might be carried
off to California or some other "desolate" place.

The colony of convicts had been intended as an "agricultural"
settlement; but the bleak location at the foot of Mount St. Elias made a
farce of the undertaking. The site had been chosen by a mistake. A post
and fortifications were erected, but it is not chronicled that
Shelikoff's instructions were carried out. There was great mortality
among the colonists and their families, and constant danger of attack by
the Kolosh. Finally, in 1805, the fort and settlement were entirely
destroyed by their cruel and revengeful enemies.

The new town of Yakutat is three or four miles from the old settlement.
There is a good wharf at the foot of a commanding plateau, which is a
good site for a city. On the wharf are a saw-mill and cannery. A stiff
climb along a forest road brings one to a store, several other business
houses, and a few residences.

There are good coal veins in the vicinity. The Yakutat and Southern
Railway leads several miles into the interior, and handles a great deal
of timber.

In 1794 Puget sailed the _Chatham_ through the narrow channel between
the mainland and the islands, leading to Port Mulgrave--where Portoff
was established in a tent with nine of his countrymen and several
hundred Kadiak natives. He found the channel narrow and dangerous; his
vessel grounded, but was successfully floated at returning tide. Passage
to Mulgrave was found easy, however, by a channel farther to the
westward and southward.

In this bay, as in nearly all other localities on the Northwest Coast,
the Indians coming out to visit them paddled around the ship two or
three times singing a ceremonious song, before offering to come aboard.
They gladly exchanged bows, arrows, darts, spears, fish-gigs--whatever
they may be--kamelaykas, or walrus-gut coats, and needlework for white
shirts, collars, cravats, and other wearing apparel.

An Indian chief stole Mr. Puget's gold watch chain and seals from his
cabin; but it was discovered by Portoff and returned.

The cape extending into the ocean south of the town was the Cape Phipps
of the Russians. It has long been known, however, as Ocean Cape. Cape
Manby is on the opposite side of the bay.

Sailing up Yakutat Bay, the Bay of Disenchantment is entered and
continues for sixty miles, when it merges into Russell Fiord, which
bends sharply to the south and almost reaches the ocean.

Enchantment Bay would be a more appropriate name. The scenery is of
varied, magnificent, and ever increasing beauty. The climax is reached
in Russell Fiord--named for Professor Russell, who explored it in a
canoe in 1891.

From Yakutat Bay to the very head of Russell Fiord supreme splendor of
scenery is encountered, surpassing the most vaunted of the Old World.
Within a few miles, one passes from luxuriant forestation to lovely
lakes, lacy cascades, bits of green valley; and then, of a sudden, all
unprepared, into the most sublime snow-mountain fastnesses imaginable,
surrounded by glaciers and many of the most majestic mountain peaks of
the world.

Cascades spring, foaming, down from misty heights, and flowers bloom,
large and brilliant, from the water to the line of snow.

Malaspina, an Italian in the service of Spain, named Disenchantment Bay.
Turner Glacier and the vast Hubbard Glacier discharge into this bay; and
from the reports of the Italian, Tabenkoff, and Vancouver, it has been
considered possible that the two glaciers may have reached, more than a
hundred years ago, across the narrowest bend at the head of Yakutat Bay.

The fiord is so narrow that the tops of the high snow mountains have the
appearance of overhanging their bases; and to the canoeist floating down
the slender, translucent water-way, this effect adds to the austerity of
the scene.

Captains of regular steamers are frequently offered good prices to make
a side trip up Yakutat Bay to the beginning of Disenchantment; but owing
to the dangers of its comparatively uncharted waters, they usually
decline with vigor.

One who would penetrate into this exquisitely beautiful, lone, and
enchanted region must trust himself to a long canoe voyage and complete
isolation from his kind. But what recompense--what life-rememberable
joy!

Each country has its spell; but none is so great as the spell of this
lone and splendid land. It is too sacred for any light word of pen or
lip. The spell of Alaska is the spell of God; and it holds all save the
basest, whether they acknowledge it or deny. Here are sphinxes and
pyramids built of century upon century's snow; the pale green thunder of
the cataract; the roar of the avalanche and the glacier's compelling
march; the flow of mighty rivers; the unbroken silences that swim from
snow mountain to snow mountain; and the rose of sunset whose petals
float and fade upon mountain and sea.

As one sails past these mountains days upon days, they seem to lean
apart and withdraw in pearly aloofness, that others more beautiful and
more remote may dawn upon the enraptured beholder's sight. For hundreds
of miles up and down the coast, and for hundreds into the interior, they
rise in full view from the ocean which breaks upon the nearer ones. At
sunrise and at sunset each is wrapped in a different color from the
others, each in its own light, its own glory--caused by its own
peculiar shape and its position among the others.

       *       *       *       *       *

While the steamer lies at Yakutat passengers may, if they desire, walk
through the forest to the old village, where there is an ancient
Thlinkit settlement. There is a new one at the new town. The tents and
cabins climb picturesquely among the trees and ferns from the water up a
steep hill.

In 1880 there was a great gold excitement at Yakutat. Gold was
discovered in the black-sand beaches. A number of mining camps were
there until the late 'eighties, and by the use of rotary hand
amalgamators, men were able to clean up forty dollars a day.

The bay was flooded by a tidal wave which left the beach covered with
fish. The oil deposited by their decay prevented the action of the
mercury, and the camp was abandoned.

The sea is now restoring the black sand, and a second Nome may one day
spring up on these hills in a single night.

As I have said elsewhere, the Yakutat women are among the finest basket
weavers of the coast. A finely twined Yakutat basket, however small it
may be, is a prize; but the bottom should be woven as finely and as
carefully as the body of the basket. Some of the younger weavers make
haste by weaving the bottom coarsely, which detracts from both its
artistic and commercial value.

The instant the end of the gangway touches the wharf at Yakutat, the
gayly-clad, dark-eyed squaws swarm aboard. They settle themselves
noiselessly along the promenade decks, disposing their baskets,
bracelets, carved horn spoons, totem-poles, inlaid lamps, and beaded
moccasins about them.

If, during the hours of animated barter that follow, one or two of the
women should disappear, the wise woman-passenger will saunter around the
ship and take a look into her stateroom, to make sure that all is well;
else, when she does return to it, she may miss silver-backed mirrors,
bottles of lavender water, bits of jewellery that may have been
carelessly left in sight, pretty collars--and even waists and hats--to
say nothing of the things which she may later on find.

These poor dark people were born thieves; and neither the little
education they have received, nor the treatment accorded them by the
majority of white people with whom they have been brought into contact,
has served to wean them entirely from the habits and the instincts of
centuries.

At Yakutat, no matter how much good sound sense he may possess, the
traveller parts with many large silver dollars. He thinks of Christmas,
and counts his friends on one hand, then on the other; then over again,
on both.

When the steamer has whistled for the sixth time to call in the
wandering passengers, and the captain is on the bridge; when the last
squaw has pigeon-toed herself up the gangway, flirting her gay shawl
around her and chuckling and clucking over the gullibility of the
innocent white people; when the last strain from the phonograph in the
big store on the hill has died across the violet water widening between
the shore and the withdrawing ship--the spendthrift passenger retires to
his cabin and finds the berths overflowing and smelling to heaven with
Indian things. Then--too late--he sits down, anywhere, and reflects.

The western shore of Yakutat Bay is bounded by the largest glacier in
the world--the Malaspina. It has a sea-frontage of more than sixty miles
extending from the bay "to Westward"; and the length of its splendid
sweep from its head to the sea at the foot of Mount St. Elias is ninety
miles.

For one whole day the majestic mountain and its beautiful companion
peaks were in sight of the steamer, before the next range came into
view. The sea breaks sheer upon the ice-palisades of the glacier.
Icebergs, pale green, pale blue, and rose-colored, march out to meet
and, bowing, pass the ship.

One cannot say that he knows what beauty is until he has cruised
leisurely past this glacier, with the mountains rising behind it, on a
clear day, followed by a moonlit night.

On one side are miles on miles of violet ocean sweeping away into
limitless space, a fleck of sunlight flashing like a fire-fly in every
hollowed wave; on the other, miles on miles of glistening ice, crowned
by peaks of softest snow.

At sunset warm purple mists drift in and settle over the glacier; above
these float banks of deepest rose; through both, and above them, glimmer
the mountains pearlily, in a remote loveliness that seems not of earth.

But by moonlight to see the glacier streaming down from the mountains
and out into the ocean, into the midnight--silent, opaline, majestic--is
worth ten years of dull, ordinary living.

It is as if the very face of God shone through the silence and the
sublimity of the night.



CHAPTER XXI


There is an open roadstead at Yaktag, or Yakataga. The ship anchors
several miles from shore--when the fierce storms which prevail in this
vicinity will permit it to anchor at all--and passengers and freight are
lightered ashore.

I have seen horses hoisted from the deck in their wooden cages and
dropped into the sea, where they were liberated. After their first
frightened, furious plunges, they headed for the shore, and started out
bravely on their long swim. The surf was running high, and for a time it
seemed that they could not escape being dashed upon the rocks; but with
unerring instinct, they struggled away from one rocky place after
another until they reached a strip of smooth sand up which they were
borne by the breaking sea, and where they fell for a few moments,
exhausted. Then they arose, staggered, threw up their heads and ran as I
have never seen horses run--with such wildness, such gladness, such
utterance of the joy of freedom in the fling of their legs, in the
streaming of mane and tail.

They had been penned in a narrow stall under the forward deck for twelve
days; they had been battered by the storms and unable to lie down and
rest; they had been plunged from this condition unexpectedly into the
ocean and compelled to strike out on a long swim for their lives.

The sudden knowledge of freedom; the smell of sun and air; the very
sweet of life itself--all combined to make them almost frantic in the
animal expression of their joy.

We put down the powerful glasses with which we had painfully watched
every yard of their progress toward the land.

I looked at the pilot. There was a moisture in his eyes, which was not
entirely a reflection of that in my own.

It is one hundred and seventy miles from Yakutat to Kayak. Off this
stretch of coast, between Lituya and Cape Suckling, the soundings are
moderate and by whalers have long been known as "Fairweather Grounds."

Just before reaching Kayak, Cape Suckling is passed.

The point of this cape is low. It runs up into a considerable hill,
which, in turn, sinking to very low land has the appearance of an
island. It was named by Cook.

Around this cape lies Comptroller Bay--the bay which should have been
named Behring's Bay. It was on the two islands at its entrance that
Behring landed in 1741. He named one St. Elias; and to this island Cook,
in 1778, gave the name of Kaye, for the excellent reason that the
"Reverend Doctor Kaye" gave him two silver two-penny pieces of the date
of 1772, which he buried in a bottle on the island, together with the
names of his ships and the date of discovery.

Unhappily this immortal island retains the name which Cook lightly
bestowed upon it, instead of the name given it by the illustrious Dane.
It is now, however, more frequently known as Wingham Island. The
settlement of Kayak is upon it. The southern extremity of the larger
island retains the name St. Elias for the splendid headland that plunges
boldly and challengingly out into the sea. It is a magnificent sight in
a storm, when sea-birds are shrieking over it and a powerful surf is
breaking upon its base. At all times it is a striking landmark.

I have been to Kayak four times. Landings have always been made by
passengers in dories or in tiny launches which come out from the
settlement, and which bob up and down like corks.

It requires a cool head to descend a rope-ladder twenty or thirty feet
from the deck to a dory that rolls away from the ship with every wave
and which may only be entered as it rolls back. There is art in the
little kick which one must give each rung against the side of the ship
to steady the ladder. At the last comes an awful moment when a woman
must hang alone on the last swaying rung and await the return of the
dory. If the sea is rough, the ship will probably roll away from the
boat. When the sailors, therefore, sing out, "Now! Jump!" she must close
her eyes, put her trust in heaven and fore-ordination, and jump.

If she chances to jump just at the right moment; if one sailor catches
her just right and another catches _him_ just right, she will know by
the cheer that arises from hurricane and texas that all is well and she
may open her eyes. Under other conditions, other situations arise; but
let no woman be deterred by the possibility of the latter from
descending a rope-ladder when she has an opportunity. The hair-crinkling
moments in an ordinary life are few enough, heaven knows.

There are several business houses and dwellings at Kayak; and an Indian
village. The Indian graveyard is very interesting. Tiny houses are built
over the graves and surrounded by picket fences. Both are painted white.
Through the windows may be seen some of the belongings of the dead. In
dishes are different kinds of food and drink, that the deceased may not
suffer of hunger or thirst in the bourne to which he may have journeyed.
There are implements and weapons for the men; unfinished baskets for the
women, with the long strands of warp and woof left ready for the idle
hand; for the children, beads and rattles made of bear claws and shells.
The houses are on posts a few feet above the graves.

For a number of years Kayak was the base of operation for oil companies.
In 1898 the Alaska Development Company staked the country, but later
leased their lands to the Alaska Oil and Coal Company--commonly known as
the "English" company--for a long term of years, with the privilege of
taking up the lease in 1906. This company spent millions of dollars and
drilled several wells.

The Alaska Petroleum and Coal Company--known as the Lippy Company--put
down two holes, one seventeen hundred feet deep. The cost of drilling is
about five thousand dollars a hole of two thousand feet; the rig, laid
down, six thousand five hundred dollars.

These wells are situated at Katalla, sixteen miles from Kayak, at the
mouth of the Copper River. The oil lands extend from the coast to the
Malaspina and Behring glaciers.

Since the recent upspringing of a new town at Katalla, the centre of
trade has been transferred from Kayak to this point. Katalla was founded
in 1904 by the Alaska Petroleum and Coal Company; but not until the
actual commencement of work on the Bruner Railway Company's road, in
1907, from Katalla into the heart of the coal and oil fields, did the
place rise to the importance of a northern town.

It has attained a wide fame within a few months on account of the
remarkable discoveries of high-grade petroleum and coal in the vicinity.

For many years these two products of Alaska were considered of inferior
quality; but it has recently been discovered that they rival the finest
of Pennsylvania.

The town has grown as only a new Alaskan, or Puget Sound, town can grow.
At night, perhaps, there will be a dozen shacks and as many tents on a
town site; the next morning a steamer will anchor in the bay bearing
government offices, stores, hotels, saloons, dance-halls, banks,
offices for several large companies, electric light plants, gas works,
telephones--and before another day dawns, business is in full swing.

For fifteen miles along the Comptroller Bay water front oil wells may be
seen, some of the largest oil seepages existing close to the shore. The
coal and oil lands of this vicinity, however, are about a hundred miles
in length and from twenty to thirty in width.

During the fall and early winter of 1907, Katalla suffered a serious
menace to its prosperity, owing to its total lack of a harbor.

The bay is but a mere indentation, and an open roadstead sends its surf
to curl upon the unprotected beach. The storms in winter are ceaseless
and terrific. Steamers cannot land and anchors will not hold.

As Nome, similarly situated, is cut off from the world for several
months by ice, so is Katalla cut off by storms.

Steamer after steamer sails into the roadstead, rolls and tosses in the
trough of the sea, lingers regretfully, and sails away, without landing
even a passenger, or mail.

In October, 1907, one whole banking outfit, including everything
necessary for the opening of a bank, save the cashier,--who was already
there,--and the building,--which was waiting,--was taken up on a
steamer. Not being able to lighter it ashore, the steamer carried the
bank to Cook Inlet.

Upon its return, conditions again made it impossible to enter the bay,
and the bank was carried back to Seattle. When the steamer again went
north, the bank went, too; when the steamer returned, the bank returned.

In the meantime, other events were shaping themselves in such wise as to
render the situation extremely interesting.

A few miles northwest of Katalla, the town of Cordova was established
three years ago, with the terminus of the Copper River Railway located
there. Mr. M. J. Heney, who had built the White Pass and Yukon Railway,
received the contract for the work. The building of wharves in the
excellent harbor and the laying out of a town site capable of
accommodating twenty thousand people--and one that might have pleased
even the fastidious Shelikoff--was energetically begun.

Early in 1907 the Copper River Railway sold its interests to the
Northwestern and Copper River Valley Railway, promoted by John Rosene,
and financed by the Guggenheims. It was semi-officially announced that
the new company would tear up the Cordova tracks and that Katalla would
be the terminus of the consolidated line. The announcement precipitated
the "boom" at Katalla.

Mr. Heney retired from the new company and spent the summer voyaging
down the Yukon.

Immediately upon his return to Seattle in September, he journeyed to New
York. In a few days, newspapers devoted columns to the sale of the
Rosene interests in the railway, also a large fleet of first-class
steamers, and wharves, to the Copper River and Northwestern Railway
Company.

The contract for the immediate building of the road had been secured by
Mr. Heney, who had returned to his original surveys. The terminus at
once travelled back to Cordova; and the itinerant bank may yet thank its
guiding star which prevented it from getting itself landed at Katalla.

Important "strikes" are made constantly in the Tanana country, in the
Sushitna, and in the Koyukuk, where pay is found surpassing the best of
the Klondike.

The trail from Valdez to Fairbanks may yet be as thickly strewn with
eager-eyed stampeders as were the Dyea and Skagway trails a decade ago.
Never again, however, in any part of Alaska, can the awful conditions
of that time prevail. Steamer, rail, and stage transportation have made
travelling in the North luxurious, compared to the horrors endured in
the old days.

The Guggenheims have been compelled to carry on a fantastic fight for
right of way for the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad. In the
summer of 1907, they attempted to lay track at Katalla over the disputed
Bruner right of way. The Bruner Company had constructed an immense
"go-devil" of railway rails, which, operated by powerful machinery,
could be swung back and forth over the disputed point. It was operated
by armed men behind fortifications.

The Bruner concern was known as the Alaska-Pacific Transportation and
Terminal Company, financed by Pittsburg capital, and proposed building a
road to the coal regions, thence to the Copper River. They sought right
of way by condemnation proceedings.

The town site of Katalla is owned by the Alaska Petroleum and Coal
Company, which had deeded a right of way to the Guggenheims; also, a
large tract of land for smelter purposes. At one point it was necessary
for the latter to cross the right of way of the Bruner road.

The trouble began in May, when the Bruner workmen dynamited a
pile-driver and trestle belonging to the Guggenheims, who had then
approached within one hundred feet of the Bruner right of way.

On July 3 a party of Guggenheim laborers, under the protection of a fire
from detachments of armed men, succeeded in laying track over the
disputed right of way.

Tony de Pascal daringly led the construction party and received the
reward of a thousand dollars offered by the Guggenheims to the man who
would successfully lead the attacking forces. Soon afterward, he was
shot dead by one of his own men who mistook him for a member of the
opposing force. Ten other men were seriously injured by bullets from the
Bruner block-houses.

In the autumn of the same year a party of men surveying for the Reynolds
Home Railway, from Valdez to the Yukon, met armed resistance in Keystone
Canyon from a force of men holding right of way for the Guggenheims. A
battle occurred in which one man was killed and three seriously wounded.

The wildest excitement prevailed in fiery Valdez, and probably only the
proximity of a United States military post prevented the lynching of the
men who did the killing.

Ever since the advent of the Russians, Copper River has been considered
one of the bonanzas of Alaska. It was discovered in 1783 by Nagaief, a
member of Potap Zaïkoff's party. He ascended it for a short distance and
traded with the natives, who called the river Atnah. Rufus
Serrebrennikof and his men attempted an exploration, but were killed.
General Miles, under Abercrombie, attempted to ascend the river in 1884,
with the intention of coming out by the Chilkaht country; but the
expedition was a failure. In the following year Lieutenant H. T. Allen
successfully ascended the river, crossed the divide to the Tanana,
sailed down that stream to the Yukon, explored the Koyukuk, and then
proceeded down the Yukon to St. Michael and returned to San Francisco by
ocean.

His description of Miles Glacier was the first to be printed. This
glacier fronts for a distance of six miles in splendid palisades on
Copper River. This and Childs Glacier afford the chief obstacles to
navigation on this river, and Mr. A. H. Brooks reports their rapid
recession.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

LAKE BENNETT IN 1898]

The river is regarded as exceedingly dangerous for steamers, but may,
with caution, be navigated with small boats. Between the mouth of the
Chitina and the head of the broad delta of the Copper River, is the only
canyon. It is the famous Wood Canyon, several miles in length and in
many places only forty yards wide, with the water roaring through
perpendicular stone walls. The Tiekel, Tasnuna, and other streams
tributary to this part of the Copper also flow through narrow valleys
with precipitous slopes.

The Copper River has its source in the mountains east of its great
plateau, whose eastern margin it traverses, and then, passing through
the Chugach Mountains, debouches across a wide delta into the North
Pacific Ocean between Katalla and Cordova. It rises close to Mount
Wrangell, flows northward for forty miles, south and southwest for fifty
more, when the Chitina joins it from the east and swells its flood for
the remaining one hundred and fifty miles to the coast.

The Copper is a silt-laden, turbulent stream from its source to the sea.
Its average fall is about twelve feet to the mile. From the Chitina to
its mouth, it is steep-sided and rock-bound; for its entire length, it
is weird and impressive.

By land, the distance from Katalla to Cordova is insignificant. It is a
distance, however, that cannot as yet be traversed, on account of the
delta and other impassable topographic features, which only a railroad
can overcome. The distance by water is about one hundred and fifty
miles.

In the entrance to Cordova Bay is Hawkins Island, and to the southwest
of this island lies Hinchingbroke Island, whose southern extremity, at
the entrance to Prince William Sound, was named Cape Hinchingbroke by
Cook in 1778. At a point named Snug Corner Bay Cook keeled and mended
his ships.

This peerless sound itself--brilliantly blue, greenly islanded, and set
round with snow peaks and glaciers, including among the latter the most
beautiful one of Alaska, if not the most beautiful of the world, the
Columbia--was known as Chugach Gulf--a name to which I hope it may some
day return,--until Cook renamed it.

A boat sent out by Cook was pursued by natives in canoes. They seemed
afraid to approach the ship; but at a distance sang, stood up in the
canoes, extending their arms and holding out white garments of peace.
One man stood up, entirely nude, with his arms stretched out like a
cross, motionless, for a quarter of an hour.

The following night a few natives came out in the skin-boats of the
Eskimos. These boats are still used from this point westward and
northward to Nome and up the Yukon as far as the Eskimos have
settlements. They are of three kinds. One is a large, open,
flat-bottomed boat. It is made of a wooden frame, covered with walrus
skin or sealskin, held in place by thongs of the former. This is called
an oomiak by the Innuits or Eskimos, and a bidarra by the Russians. It
is used by women, or by large parties of men.

A boat for one man is made in the same fashion, but covered completely
over, with the exception of one hole in which the occupant sits, and
around which is an upright rim. When at sea he wears a walrus-gut coat,
completely waterproof, which he ties around the outside of the rim. The
coat is securely tied around the wrists, and the hood is drawn tightly
around the face; so that no water can possibly enter the boat in the
most severe storm. This boat is called a bidarka.

The third, called a kayak, differs from the bidarka only in being longer
and having two or three holes.

The walrus-gut coats are called kamelinkas or kamelaykas. They may be
purchased in curio stores, and at Seldovia and other places on Cook
Inlet. They are now gayly decorated with bits of colored wool and range
in price from ten to twenty dollars, according to the amount of work
upon them.

There is a difference of opinion regarding the names of the boats. Dall
claims that the one-holed boat was called a kayak by the natives, and by
the Russians a bidarka; and that the others were simply known as two or
three holed bidarkas. The other opinion, which I have given, is that of
people living in the vicinity at present.

Each of the men who came out in the bidarkas to visit Cook had a stick
about three feet long, the end of which was decorated with large tufts
of feathers. Behring's men were received in precisely the same manner at
the Shumagin Islands, far to westward, in 1741; their sticks, according
to Müller, being decorated with hawks' wings.

These natives were found to be thievish and treacherous, attempting to
capture a boat under the ship's very guns and in the face of a hundred
men.

Cook then sailed southward and discovered the largest island in the
sound, the Sukluk of the natives, which he named Montagu.

Nutchek, or Port Etches, as it was named by Portlock, is just inside the
entrance to the sound on the western shore of the island that is now
known as Hinchingbroke, but which was formerly called Nutchek.

Here Baranoff, several years later, built the ships that bore his first
expedition to Sitka. The Russian trading post was called the Redoubt
Constantine and Elena. It was a strong, stockaded fort with two
bastions.

There is a salmon cannery at Nutchek, and the furs of the Copper River
country were brought here for many years for barter.

Orca is situated about three miles north of Cordova, in Cordova Bay.
There is a large salmon cannery at Orca; and the number of sea-birds to
be seen in this small bay, filling the air in snowy clouds and covering
the precipitous cliffs facing the wharf, is surpassed in only one place
on the Alaskan coast--Karluk Bay.

For several years before the founding of Valdez, Orca was used as a port
by the argonauts who crossed by way of Valdez Pass to the Copper River
mining regions, and by way of the Tanana River to the Yukon.

Prince William Sound is one of the most nobly beautiful bodies of water
in Alaska. Its wide blue water-sweeps, its many mountainous, wooded, and
snow-peaked islands, the magnificent glaciers which palisade its
ice-inlets, and the chain of lofty, snowy mountains that float mistily,
like linked pearls, around it through the amethystine clouds, give it a
poetic and austere beauty of its own. Every slow turn of the prow brings
forth some new delight to the eye. Never does one beautiful snow-dome
fade lingeringly from the horizon, ere another pushes into the
exquisitely colored atmosphere, in a chaste beauty that fairly thrills
the heart of the beholder.

The sound, or gulf, extends winding blue arms in every direction,--into
the mainland and into the many islands. It covers an extent of more than
twenty-five hundred square miles. The entrance is about fifty miles
wide, but is sheltered by countless islands. The largest and richest are
Montagu, Hinchingbroke, La Touche, Knight's, and Hawkins. There are many
excellent harbors on the shores of the gulf and on the islands, and the
Russians built several ships here. In Chalmers Bay Vancouver discovered
a remarkable point, which bore stumps of trees cut with an axe, but far
below low-water mark at the time of his discovery. He named it Sinking
Point.

There is a portage from the head of the gulf to Cook Inlet, which, the
earliest Russians learned, had long been used by the natives, who are of
the Innuit, or Eskimo, tribe, similar to those of the Inlet, and are
called Chugaches. The northern shore of Kenai and the western coast of
the Inlet are occupied by Indians of the Athabascan stock.

[Illustration: Photo by Case and Draper

WHITE HORSE, YUKON TERRITORY]

       *       *       *       *       *

Cook found the natives of the gulf of medium size, with square chests
and large heads. The complexion of the children and some of the younger
women was white; many of the latter having agreeable features and
pleasing appearance. They were vivacious, good-natured, and of engaging
frankness.

These people, of all ages and both sexes, wore a close robe reaching to
the ankles--sometimes only to the knees--made of the skins of sea-otter,
seal, gray fox, raccoon, and pine-marten. These garments were worn with
the fur outside. Now and then one was seen made of the down of
sea-birds, which had been glued to some other substance. The seams were
ornamented with thongs, or tassels, of the same skins.

In rain they wore kamelinkas over the fur robes. Cook's description of a
kamelinka as resembling a "gold-beater's leaf" is a very good one.

His understanding of the custom of wearing the labret, however, differs
from that of other early navigators. The incision in the lip, he states,
was made even in the children at the breast; while La Pérouse and others
were of the impression that it was not made until a girl had arrived at
a marriageable age.

It appears that the incision in time assumes the shape of real lips,
through which the tongue may be thrust.

One of Cook's seamen, seeing for the first time a woman having the
incision from which the labret had been removed, fell into a panic of
horror and ran to his companions, crying that he "had seen a man with
two mouths,"--evidently mistaking the woman for a man. Cook reported
that both sexes wore the labret; but this was doubtless an error. When
they are clad in the fur garments, which are called parkas, it is
difficult to distinguish one sex from the other among the younger
people.

I had a rather amusing experience myself at the small native settlement
of Anvik on the Yukon. It was midnight, but broad daylight, as we were
in the Arctic Circle. The natives were all clad in parkas. Two sitting
side by side resembled each other closely. After buying some of their
curios, I asked one, indicating the other, "Is she your sister?"

To my confusion, my question was received with a loud burst of laughter,
in which a dozen natives, sitting around them, hoarsely and hilariously
joined.

They poked the unfortunate object of my curiosity in the ribs, pointed
at him derisively, and kept crying--"She! She!" until at last the poor
young fellow, not more embarrassed than myself, sprang to his feet and
ran away, with laughter and cries of "She! She!" following him.

I have frequently recalled the scene, and feared that the innocent
dark-eyed and sweet-smiling youth may have retained the name which was
so mirthfully bestowed upon him that summer night.

But since the mistake in sex may be so easily made, I am inclined to the
belief that Cook and his men were misled in this particular.

A most remarkable difference of opinion existed between Cook and other
early explorers as to the cleanliness of the natives. He found their
method of eating decent and cleanly, their persons neat, without grease
or dirt, and their wooden dishes in excellent order.

The white-headed eagle was found here, as well as the shag, the great
kingfisher of brilliant coloring, the humming-bird, water-fowl, grouse,
snipe, and plover. Many other species of water and land fowl have been
added to these.

The flora of the islands is brilliant, varied, and luxuriant.

In 1786 John Meares--who is dear to my heart because of his confidence
in Juan de Fuca--came to disaster in the Chugach Gulf. Overtaken by
winter, he first tried the anchorage at Snug Corner Cove, in his ship,
the _Nootka_, but later moved to a more sheltered nook closer to the
mainland, in the vicinity of the present native village of Tatitlik.

The ill-provisioned vessel was covered for the winter; spruce beer was
brewed, but the men preferred the liquors, which were freely served,
and, fresh fish being scarce, scurvy became epidemic. The surgeon was
the first to die; but he was followed by many others.

At first, graves were dug under the snow; but soon the survivors were
too few and too exhausted for this last service to their mates. The dead
were then dropped in fissures of the ice which surrounded their ship.

At last, when the lowest depth of despair had been reached, Captains
Portlock and Dixon arrived and furnished relief and assistance.

In 1787-1788 the Chugach Gulf presented a strange appearance to the
natives, not yet familiar with the presence of ships. Englishmen under
different flags, Russians and Spaniards, were sailing to all parts of
the gulf, taking possession in the names of different nations of all the
harbors and islands.

In Voskressenski Harbor--now known as Resurrection Bay, where the new
railroad town of Seward is situated--the first ship ever built in Alaska
was launched by Baranoff, in 1794. It was christened the _Phoenix_,
and was followed by many others.

Preparations for ship-building were begun in the winter of 1791.
Suitable buildings, storehouses, and quarters for the men were erected.
There were no large saws, and planks were hewn out of whole logs. The
iron required was collected from wrecks in all parts of the colonies;
steel for axes was procured in the same way. Having no tar, Baranoff
used a mixture of spruce gum and oil.

Provisions were scarce, and no time was allowed for hunting or fishing.
So severe were the hardships endured that no one but Baranoff could have
kept up his courage and that of his suffering men, and cheered them on
to final success.

The _Phoenix_--which was probably named for an English ship which had
visited the Chugach Gulf in 1792--was built of spruce timber, and was
seventy-three feet long. It was provided with two decks and three masts.
The calking above the water-line was of moss. The sails were composed of
fragments of canvas gathered from all parts of the colonies.

On her first voyage to Kadiak, the _Phoenix_ encountered a storm which
brought disaster to her frail rigging; and instead of sailing proudly
into harbor, as Baranoff had hoped, she was ignominiously towed in.

But she was the first vessel built in the colonies to enter that harbor
in any fashion, and the Russian joy was great. The event was celebrated
by solemn Mass, followed by high eating and higher drinking.

The _Phoenix_ was refitted and rerigged and sent out on her triumphal
voyage to Okhotsk. There she arrived safely and proudly. She was
received with volleys of artillery, the ringing of bells, the
celebration of Mass, and great and joyous feasting.

A cabin and deck houses were added, the vessel was painted, and from
that time until her loss in the Alaskan Gulf, the _Phoenix_ regularly
plied the waters of Behring Sea and the North Pacific Ocean between
Okhotsk and the Russian colonies in America.



CHAPTER XXII


Ellamar is a small town on Virgin Bay, Prince William Sound, at the
entrance to Puerto de Valdes, or Valdez Narrows. It is very prettily
situated on a gently rising hill.

It has a population of five or six hundred, and is the home of the
Ellamar Mining Company. Here are the headquarters of a group of copper
properties known as the Gladdaugh mines.

One of the mines extends under the sea, whose waves wash the buildings.
It has been a large and regular shipper for several years. In 1903 forty
thousand tons of ore were shipped to the Tacoma smelter, and shipments
have steadily increased with every year since.

The mine is practically a solid mass of iron and copper pyrites. It has
a width of more than one hundred and twenty-five feet where exposed, and
extends along the strike for a known distance of more than three hundred
feet.

The vast quantities of gold found in Alaska have, up to the present
time, kept the other rich mineral products of the country in the
background. Copper is, at last, coming into her own. The year of 1907
brought forth tremendous developments in copper properties. The
Guggenheim-Morgan-Rockefeller syndicate has kept experts in every known,
or suspected, copper district of the North during the last two years.
Cordova, the sea terminus of the new railroad, is in the very heart of
one of the richest copper districts. The holdings of this syndicate are
already immense and cover every district. The railroad will run to the
Yukon, with branches extending into every rich region.

Other heavily financed companies are preparing to rival the Guggenheims,
and individual miners will work their claims this year. Experts predict
that within a decade Alaska will become one of the greatest
copper-producing countries of the world. In the Copper River country
alone, north of Valdez, there is more copper, according to expert
reports, than Montana or Michigan ever has produced, or ever will
produce.

The Ketchikan district is also remarkably rich. At Niblack Anchorage, on
Prince of Wales Island, the ore carries five per cent of copper, and the
mines are most favorably located on tide-water.

Native copper, associated with gold, has been found on Turnagain Arm, in
the country tributary to the Alaska Central Railway.

A half interest in the Bonanza, a copper mine on the western side of La
Touche Island, Prince William Sound, was sold last year for more than a
million dollars. This mine is not fully developed, but is considered one
of the best in Alaska. It has an elevation of two hundred feet. Several
tunnels have been driven, and the ore taken out runs high in copper,
gold, and silver. One shipment of one thousand two hundred and
thirty-five pounds gave net returns of fifty dollars to the ton, after
deducting freight to Tacoma, smelting, refining, and an allowance of
ninety-five per cent for the silver valuation. A sample taken along one
tunnel for sixty feet gave an assay of over nine per cent copper, with
one and a quarter ounces of silver.

The Bonanza was purchased in 1900 by Messrs. Beatson and Robertson for
seventy-two thousand dollars. There is a good wharf and a tramway line
to the mine.

Adjoining the Bonanza on the north is a group of eleven claims owned by
Messrs. Esterly, Meenach, and Keyes, which are in course of development.
There are many other rich claims on this island, on Knight's, and on
others in the sound. Timber is abundant, the water power is excellent,
and ore is easily shipped.

There is an Indian village two or three miles from Ellamar. It is the
village of Tatitlik, the only one now remaining on the sound, so rapidly
are the natives vanishing under the evil influence of civilization. Ten
years ago there were nine hundred natives in the various villages on the
shores of the sound; while now there are not more than two hundred, at
the most generous calculation.

White men prospecting and fishing in the vicinity of the village supply
them with liquor. When a sufficient quantity can be purchased, the
entire village, men and women, indulges in a prolonged and horrible
debauch which frequently lasts for several weeks.

The death rate at Tatitlik is very heavy,--more than a hundred natives
having died during 1907.

Passengers have time to visit this village while the steamer loads ore
at Ellamar.

The loading of ore, by the way, is a new experience. A steamer on which
I was travelling once landed at Ellamar during the night.

We were rudely awakened from our dreams by a sound which Lieutenant
Whidbey would have called "most stupendously dreadful." We thought that
the whole bottom of the ship must have been knocked off by striking a
reef, and we reached the floor simultaneously.

I have no notion how my own eyes looked, but my friend's eyes were as
large and expressive as bread-and-butter plates.

"We are going down!" she exclaimed, with tragic brevity.

At that instant the dreadful sound was repeated. We were convinced that
the ship was being pounded to pieces under us upon rocks. Without speech
we began dressing with that haste that makes fingers become thumbs.

But suddenly a tap came upon our door, and the watchman's voice spoke
outside.

"Ladies, we are at Ellamar."

"At Ellamar!"

"Yes. You asked to be called if it wasn't midnight when we landed."

"But what is that _awful_ noise, watchman?"

"Oh, we're loading ore," he answered cheerfully, and walked away.

All that night and part of the next day tons upon tons of ore thundered
into the hold. We could not sleep, we could not talk; we could only
think; and the things we thought shall never be told, nor shall wild
horses drag them from us.

We dressed, in desperation, and went up to "the store"; sat upon high
stools, ate stale peppermint candy, and listened to "Uncle Josh" telling
his parrot story through the phonograph.

Somehow, between the ship and the store, we got ourselves through the
night and the early morning hours. After breakfast we found the green
and flowery slopes back of the town charming; and a walk of three miles
along the shore to the Indian village made us forget the ore for a few
hours. But to this day, when I read that an Alaskan ship has brought
down hundreds of tons of ore to the Tacoma smelter, my heart goes out
silently to the passengers who were on that ship when the ore was
loaded.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

GRAND CANYON OF THE YUKON]



CHAPTER XXIII


When seen under favorable conditions, the Columbia Glacier is the most
beautiful thing in Alaska. I have visited it twice; once at sunset, and
again on an all-day excursion from Valdez.

The point on the western side of the entrance to Puerto de Valdés, as it
was named by Fidalgo, was named Point Fremantle by Vancouver. Just west
of this point and three miles north of the Condé, or Glacier, Island is
the nearly square bay upon which the glacier fronts.

Entering this bay from the Puerto de Valdés, one is instantly conscious
of the presence of something wonderful and mysterious. Long before it
can be seen, this presence is felt, like that of a living thing. Quick,
vibrant, thrilling, and inexpressibly sweet, its breath sweeps out to
salute the voyager and lure him on; and with every sense alert, he
follows, but with no conception of what he is to behold.

One may have seen glaciers upon glaciers, yet not be prepared for the
splendor and the magnificence of the one that palisades the northern end
of this bay.

The Fremantle Glacier was first seen by Lieutenant Whidbey, to whose
cold and unappreciative eyes so many of the most precious things of
Alaska were first revealed. He simply described it as "a solid body of
compact, elevated ice ... bounded at no great distance by a continuation
of the high ridge of snowy mountains."

He heard "thunder-like" noises, and found that they had been produced
by the breaking off and headlong plunging into the sea of great bodies
of ice.

In such wise was one of the most marvellous things of the world first
seen and described.

The glacier has a frontage of about four miles, and its glittering
palisades tower upward to a height of from three to four hundred feet.
There is a small island, named Heather, in the bay. Poor Whidbey felt
the earth shake at a distance of three miles from the falling ice.

In ordinary light, the front of the glacier is beautifully blue. It is a
blue that is never seen in anything save a glacier or a floating
iceberg--a pale, pale blue that seems to flash out fire with every
movement. At sunset, its beauty holds one spellbound. It sweeps down
magnificently from the snow peaks which form its fit setting and pushes
out into the sea in a solid wall of spired and pinnacled opal which,
ever and anon breaking off, flings over it clouds of color which dazzle
the eyes. At times there is a display of prismatic colors. Across the
front grow, fade and grow again, the most beautiful rainbow shadings.
They come and go swiftly and noiselessly, affecting one somewhat like
Northern Lights--so still, so brilliant, so mysterious.

There was silence upon our ship as it throbbed in, slowly and
cautiously, among the floating icebergs--some of which were of palest
green, others of that pale blue I have mentioned, and still others of an
enchanting rose color. Even the woman who had, during the whole voyage,
taken the finest edge off our enjoyment of every mountain by drawling
out, "Oh--how--pretty! George, will you just come here and look at this
pretty mountain? It looks good enough to eat"--even this woman was
speechless now, for which blessing we gave thanks to God, of which we
were not even conscious at the time.

It was still fired as brilliantly upon our departure as upon our
entrance into its presence. The June sunset in Alaska draws itself out
to midnight; and ever since, I have been tormented with the longing to
lie before that glacier one whole June night; to hear its falling
columns thunder off the hours, and to watch the changing colors play
upon its brilliant front.

Even in the middle of the day a peculiarly soft and rich rose color
flashes from it and over it. One who has seen the first snow sifting
upon a late rose of the garden may guess what a delicate, enchanting
rose color it is.

There are many fine glaciers barricading the inlets and bays in this
vicinity; in Port Nell Juan, Applegate Arm, Port Wells, Passage
Canal--which leads to the portage to Cook Inlet--and Unakwik Bay; but
they are scarcely to be mentioned in the same breath with the Fremantle.
The latter has been known as the Columbia since the Harriman expedition
in 1899. It has had no rival since the destruction of the Muir.

       *       *       *       *       *

Either the disagreeable features of the Alaskan climate have been
grossly exaggerated, or I have been exceedingly fortunate in the three
voyages I have made along the coast to Unalaska, and down the Yukon to
Nome. On one voyage I travelled continuously for a month by water,
experiencing only three rainy days and three cloudy ones. All the other
days were clear and golden, with a blue sky, a sparkling sea, and air
that was sweet with sunshine, flowers, and snow. I have never been in
Alaska in winter, but I have for three years carefully compared the
weather reports of different sections of that country with those of
other cold countries; and no intelligent, thoughtful person can do this
without arriving at conclusions decidedly favorable to Alaska.

Were Alaska possessed of the same degree of civilization that is enjoyed
by St. Petersburg, Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and New York, we
would hear no more of the rigors of the Alaskan climate than we hear of
those of the cities mentioned. It is more agreeable than the climate of
Montana, Nebraska, or the Dakotas.

With large cities, rich and gay cities; prosperous inhabitants clad in
costly furs; luxurious homes, well warmed and brilliantly lighted;
railway trains, sleighs, and automobiles for transportation; splendid
theatres, libraries, art galleries,--with these and the hundreds of
advantages enjoyed by the people of other cold countries, Alaska's
winters would hold no terrors.

It is the present loneliness of the winter that appalls. The awful
spaces and silences; the limitless snow plains; the endless chains of
snow mountains; the silent, frozen rivers; the ice-stayed cataracts; the
bitter, moaning sea; the hastily built homes, lacking luxuries,
sometimes even comforts; the poverty of congenial companionship; the
dearth of intelligent amusements--these be the conditions that make all
but the stoutest hearts pause.

But the stout heart, the heart that loves Alaska! Pity him not, though
he spend all the winters of his life in its snow-bound fastnesses. _He_
is not for pity. Joys are his of which those that pity him know not.

According to a report prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Glassford, of the
United States Signal Corps Service, on February 5, 1906, the temperature
was twenty-six degrees above zero in Grand Junction, Colorado, and in
Salchia, Alaska; twenty-two degrees in Flagstaff, Arizona, Memphis, Salt
Lake, Spokane, and Summit, Alaska; fourteen degrees in Cairo, Illinois,
Cincinnati, Little Rock, Pittsburgh, and Della, Alaska; twelve degrees
in Santa Fé and in Fort Egbert and Eagle, on the Yukon; ten degrees in
Helena, Buffalo, and Workman's, Alaska; zero in Denver, Dodge, Kansas,
and Fairbanks and Chena, Alaska; five degrees below in Dubuque, Omaha,
and Copper Centre and Matanuska, Alaska; ten degrees below in Huron,
Michigan, and in Gokona, Alaska; fifteen degrees below in Bismarck, St.
Paul, and in Tanana Crossing, Alaska; twenty degrees below in Fort
Brady, Michigan, and in Ketchumstock, Alaska.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

WHITE HORSE RAPIDS]

Statistics giving the absolute mean minimum temperature in the capital
cities of the United States prove that out of the forty-seven cities,
thirty-one were as cold or colder than Sitka, and four were colder than
Valdez.

On the southern coast of Alaska there are few points where zero is
recorded, the average winter weather at Juneau, Sitka, Valdez, and
Seward being milder than in Washington, D.C. In the interior, the
weather is much colder, but it is the dry, light cold. At Fairbanks, it
is true that the thermometer has registered sixty degrees below zero;
but it has done the same in the Dakotas and other states, and is
unusual. Severely cold weather occurs in Alaska as rarely as in other
cold countries, and remains but a few days.

Alaska has unfortunately had the reputation of having an unendurable
climate thrust upon her, first by such chill-blooded navigators as
Whidbey and Vancouver; and later, by the gold seekers who rushed,
frenziedly, into the unsettled wastes, with no preparation for the
intense cold which at times prevails.

Almost every winter in Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, and the Dakotas,
children of the prairies and their teachers freeze to death going to or
from school, and it is accepted as a matter of course. In Alaska, where
hundreds of men traverse hundreds of miles by dog sleds and snow-shoes,
with none of the comforts of more civilized countries and with road
houses few and far, if two or three in a winter freeze to death, the
tragedy is wired to all parts of the world as another mute testimony to
the "tremendously horrible" climate of Alaska.

The intense heat, of which dozens of people perish every summer in New
York and other eastern states is unknown in Alaska. Cyclones and
cloud-bursts are unchronicled. Fatal epidemics of disease among white
people have never yet occurred.

As for the summer climate of Alaska, both along the coast and in the
interior, it is possessed of a charm and fascination which cannot be
described in words.

"You can just _taste_ the Alaska climate," said an old Klondiker, on a
White Pass and Yukon train. We were standing between cars, clinging to
the brakes--sooty-eyed, worn-out with joy as we neared White Horse, but
standing and looking still, unwilling to lose one moment of that
beautiful trip.

"It tastes different every hundred miles," he went on, with that beam in
his eye which means love of Alaska in the heart. "You begun to taste it
in Grenville Channel. It tasted different in Skagway, and there's a big
change when you get to White Horse. I golly! at White Horse, you'll
think you never tasted anything like it; but it don't hold a candle
there to the way it tastes going down the Yukon. If you happen to get
into the Ar'tic Circle, say, about two in the morning, you dress
yourself and hike out on deck, an' I darn! you can taste more'n climate.
You can taste the Ar'tic Circle itself! Say, can you guess what it
tastes like?"

I could not guess what the Arctic Circle tasted like, and frankly
confessed it.

"Well, say, weepin' Sinew! It tastes like icicles made out of them durn
little blue flowers you call voylets. I picked some out from under the
snow once, an' eat 'em. There was moisture froze all over 'em--so I know
how they taste; and that's the way the Ar'tic Circle tastes, with--well,
maybe a little _rum_ mixed in, the way they fix things up at the Butler
down in Seattle. I darn!... Just you remember, when you get to the
Circle, an' say, straight goods, if Cyanide Bill ain't right."

"Talkin' about climate," he resumed, as the train hesitated in passing
the Grand Canyon, "there's a well at White Horse that's got the climate
of the hull Yukon country in it. It's about two blocks toward the rapids
from White Pass Hotel. It stands on a vacant lot about fifty steps from
the sidewalk, on your right hand goin' toward the Rapids. Well, I darn!
I've traipsed over every country on this earth, an' I never tasted such
water. Not anywheres! You see, it's dug right down into solid ice an'
the sun just melts out a little water at a time, an' everything nice in
Alaska tastes in that water--ice an' snow, an' flowers an' sun--"

"Do you write poetry?" I asked, smiling.

His face lightened.

"No; but say--there's a young fellow in White Horse that does. He's
wrote a whole book of it. His name's Robert Service. Say, I'd shoot up
anybody that said his poetry wasn't the real thing."

"I'm sure it is," said I, hastily.

"You bet it is. You can hear the Yukon roar, an' the ice break up an' go
down the river, standin' up on end in chunks twenty feet high, an'
carryin' everything with it; you can wade through miles an' miles of
flowers an' gether your hands full of 'em an' think there's a woman
somewhere waitin' for you to take 'em to her; you can tromp through
tundra an' over rocks till your feet bleed; you can go blind lookin' for
gold; you can get kissed by the prettiest girl in a Dawson dance hall,
an' then get jilted for some younger fellow; you can hear glaciers
grindin' up, an' avylanches tearin' down the mountains; you can starve
to death an' freeze to death; you can strike a gold mine an' go home to
your fambly a millionnaire an' have 'em like you again; you can drink
champagne an' eat sour-dough; you can feel the heart break up inside of
you--an' yes, I God! you can go down on your knees an' say your prayers
again like your mother showed you how! You can do every one of them damn
fool things when you're readin' that Service fellow's poetry. So that's
why I'm ready to shoot up anybody that says, or intimates, that his
poetry ain't the genuine article."



CHAPTER XXIV


Port Valdez--or the Puerto de Valdés, as it was named by Vancouver after
Whidbey's exploration--is a fiord twelve miles long and of a beauty that
is simply enchanting.

On a clear day it winds like a pale blue ribbon between colossal
mountains of snow, with glaciers streaming down to the water at every
turn. The peaks rise, one after another, sheer from the water,
pearl-white from summit to base.

It has been my happiness and my good fortune always to sail this fiord
on a clear day. The water has been as smooth as satin, with a faint
silvery tinge, as of frost, shimmering over its blue.

At the end, Port Valdez widens into a bay, and upon the bay, in the
shadow of her mountains, and shaded by her trees, is Valdez.

Valdez! The mere mention of the name is sufficient to send visions of
loveliness glimmering through the memory. Through a soft blur of
rose-lavender mist shine houses, glacier, log-cabins, and the tossing
green of trees; the wild, white glacial torrents pouring down around the
town; and the pearly peaks linked upon the sky.

Valdez was founded in 1898. During the early rush to the Klondike, one
of the routes taken was directly over the glacier. In 1898 about three
thousand people landed at the upper end of Port Valdez, followed the
glacier, crossed over the summit of the Chugach Mountains, and thence
down a fork of the Copper River. The route was dangerous, and attended
by many hardships and real suffering.

At first hundreds of tents whitened the level plain at the foot of the
glacier; then, one by one, cabins were built, stocks were brought in for
trading purposes, saloons and dance halls sprang up in a night,--and
Valdez was.

In this year Captain Abercrombie, of the United States Army, crossed the
glacier with his entire party of men and horses and reached the Tanana.
In the following year, surveys were made under his direction for a
military wagon trail over the Chugach Mountains from Valdez to the
Tanana, and during the following three years this trail was constructed.

It has proved to be of the greatest possible benefit, not only to the
vast country tributary to Valdez, but to the various Yukon districts,
and to Nome. After many experiments, it has been chosen by the
government as the winter route for the distribution of mail to the
interior of Alaska and to Nome. Steamers make connection with a regular
line of stages and sleighs. There are frequent and comfortable road
houses, and the danger of accident is not nearly so great as it is in
travelling by railway in the eastern states.

The Valdez military trail follows Lowe River and Keystone Canyon.
Through the canyon the trail is only wide enough for pack trains, and
travel is by the frozen river.

The Signal Corps of the Army has constructed many hundreds of miles of
telegraph lines since the beginning of the present decade. Nome, the
Yukon, Tanana, and Copper River valleys are all connected with Valdez
and with Dawson by telegraph. Nome has outside connection by wireless,
and all the coast towns are in communication with Seattle by cable.

The climate of Valdez is delightful in summer. In winter it is ten
degrees colder than at Sitka, with good sleighing. The annual
precipitation is fifty per cent less than along the southeastern coast.
Snow falls from November to April.

The long winter nights are not disagreeable. The moon and the stars are
larger and more brilliant in Alaska than can be imagined by one who has
not seen them, and, with the changeful colors of the Aurora playing upon
the snow, turn the northern world into Fairyland.

Valdez has a population of about twenty-five hundred people. It is four
hundred and fifty miles north of Sitka, and eighteen hundred miles from
Seattle. It is said to be the most northern port in the world that is
open to navigation the entire year.

There are two good piers to deep water, besides one at the new town
site, an electric light plant and telephone system, two newspapers, a
hospital, creditable churches of five or six denominations, a graded
school, private club-rooms, a library, a brewery, several hotels and
restaurants, public halls, a court-house, several merchandise stores
carrying stocks of from fifty to one hundred thousand dollars, a tin and
sheet metal factory, saw-mills,--and almost every business, industry,
and profession is well represented. There are saloons without end, and
dance halls; a saloon in Alaska that excludes women is not known, but
good order prevails and disturbances are rare.

The homes are, for the most part, small,--building being excessively
high,--but pretty, comfortable, and frequently artistic. There are
flower-gardens everywhere. There is no log-cabin so humble that its bit
of garden-spot is not a blaze of vivid color. Every window has its box
of bloom. La France roses were in bloom in July in the garden of
ex-Governor Leedy, of Kansas, whose home is now in Valdez.

The civilization of the town is of the highest. The whole world might go
to Alaska and learn a lesson in genuine, simple, refined
hospitality--for its key-note is kindness of heart.

The visitor soon learns that he must be chary of his admiration of one
of the curios on his host's wall, lest he be begged to accept it.

The Tillicum Club is known in all parts of Alaska. It has a very
comfortable club-house, where all visitors of note to the town are
entertained. The club occasionally has what its own self calls a "dry
night," when ladies are entertained with cards and music. (The adjective
does not apply to the entertainment.)

The dogs of Valdez are interesting. They are large, and of every color
known to dogdom, the malamutes predominating. They are all "heroes of
the trail," and are respected and treated as "good fellows." They lie by
twos and threes clear across the narrow board sidewalks; and unless one
understands the language of the trail, it is easier to walk around them
or to jump over them than it is to persuade them to move. A string of
oaths, followed by "_Mush!_" all delivered like the crack of a whip,
brings quick results. The dogs hasten to the pier, on a long, wolflike
lope, when the whistle of a steamer is heard, and offer the hospitality
of the town to the stranger, with waving tails and saluting tongues.

It is a heavy expense to feed these dogs in Alaska, yet few men are
known to be so mean as to grudge this expense to dogs who have
faithfully served them, frequently saving their lives, on the trail.

The situation of Valdez is absolutely unique. The dauntlessness of a
city that would boldly found itself upon a glacier has proved too much
for even the glacier, and it is rapidly withdrawing, as if to make room
for its intrepid rival in interest. Yet it still is so close that, from
the water, it appears as though one might reach out and touch it. The
wide blue bay sparkles in front, and snow peaks surround it.

Beautiful, oh, most beautiful, are those peaks at dawn, at sunset, at
midnight, at noon. The summer nights in Valdez are never dark; and I
have often stood at midnight and watched the amethyst lights on the
mountains darken to violet, purple, black,--while the peaks themselves
stood white and still, softly outlined against the sky.

But in winter, when mountains, glacier, city, trees, lie white and
sparkling beneath the large and brilliant stars, and the sea alone is
dark--to stand then and see the great golden moon rising slowly,
vibrating, pushing, oh, so silently, so beautifully, above the clear
line of snow into the dark blue sky--that is worth ten years of living.

"Why do you not go out to 'the states,' as so many other ladies do in
winter?" I asked a grave-eyed young wife on my first visit, not knowing
that she belonged to the great Alaskan order of "Stout Hearts and Strong
Hearts"--the only order in Alaska that is for women and men.

She looked at me and smiled. Her eyes went to the mountains, and they
grew almost as wistful and sweet as the eyes of a young mother watching
her sleeping child. Then they came back to me, grave and kind.

"Oh," said she, "how can I tell you why? You have never seen the moon
come over those mountains in winter, nor the winter stars shining above
the sea."

That was all. She could not put it into words more clearly than that;
but he that runs may read.

The site of Valdez is as level as a parade ground to the bases of the
near mountains, which rise in sheer, bold sweeps. A line of alders,
willows, cotton woods, and balms follows the glacial stream that flows
down to the sea on each side of the town.

The glacier behind the town--now called a "dead" glacier--once
discharged bergs directly into the sea. The soil upon which the town is
built is all glacial deposit. Flowers spring up and bloom in a day.
Vegetables thrive and are crisp and delicious--particularly lettuce.

Society is gay in Valdez, as in most Alaskan towns. Fort Liscum is
situated across the bay, so near that the distance between is travelled
in fifteen minutes by launch. Dances, receptions, card-parties, and
dinners, at Valdez and at the fort, occur several times each week, and
the social line is drawn as rigidly here as in larger communities.

There is always a dance in Valdez on "steamer night." The officers and
their wives come over from the fort; the officers of the ship are
invited, as are any passengers who may bear letters of introduction or
who may be introduced by the captain of the ship. A large and brightly
lighted ballroom, beautiful women, handsomely and fashionably gowned,
good music, and a genuine spirit of hospitality make these functions
brilliant.

The women of Alaska dress more expensively than in "the states." Paris
gowns, the most costly furs, and dazzling jewels are everywhere seen in
the larger towns.

All travellers in Alaska unite in enthusiastic praise of its unique and
generous hospitality. From the time of Baranoff's lavish, and frequently
embarrassing, banquets to the refined entertainments of to-day, northern
hospitality has been a proverb.

"Petnatchit copla" is still the open sesame.



CHAPTER XXV


The trip over "the trail" from Valdez to the Tanana country is one of
the most fascinating in Alaska.

At seven o'clock of a July morning five horses stood at our hotel door.
Two gentlemen of Valdez had volunteered to act as escort to the three
ladies in our party for a trip over the trail.

I examined with suspicion the red-bay horse that had been assigned to
me.

"Is he gentle?" I asked of one of the gentlemen.

"Oh, I don't know. You can't take any one's word about a horse in
Alaska. They call regular buckers 'gentle' up here. The only way to find
out is to try them."

This was encouraging.

"Do you mean to tell me," said one of the other ladies, "that you don't
know whether these horses have ever been ridden by women?"

"No, I do not know."

She sat down on the steps.

"Then there's no trail for me. I don't know how to ride nor to manage a
horse."

After many moments of persuasion, we got her upon a mild-eyed horse,
saddled with a cross-saddle. The other lady and myself had chosen
side-saddles, despite the assurance of almost every man in Valdez that
we could not get over the trail sitting a horse sidewise, without
accident.

"Your skirt'll catch in the brush and pull you off," said one,
cheerfully.

"Your feet'll hit against the rocks in the canyon," said another.

"You can't balance as even on a horse's back, sideways, and if you don't
balance even along the precipice in the canyon, your horse'll go over,"
said a third.

"Your horse is sure to roll over once or twice in the glacier streams,
and you can save yourself if you're riding astride," said a fourth.

"You're certain to get into quicksand somewhere on the trip, and if all
your weight is on one side of your horse, you'll pull him down and he'll
fall on top of you," said a fifth.

In the face of all these cheerful horrors, our escort said:--

"Ride any way you please. If a woman can keep her head, she will pull
through everything in Alaska. Besides, we are not going along for
nothing!"

So we chose side-saddles, that having been our manner of riding since
childhood.

We had waited three weeks for the glacial flood at the eastern side of
the town to subside, and could wait no longer. It was roaring within ten
steps of the back door of our hotel; and in two minutes after mounting,
before our feet were fairly settled in the stirrups, we had ridden down
the sloping bank into the boiling, white waters.

One of the gentlemen rode ahead as guide. I watched his big horse go
down in the flood--down, down; the water rose to its knees, to its
rider's feet, to _his_ knees--

He turned his head and called cheerfully, "Come on!" and we went on--one
at a time, as still as the dead, save for the splashing and snorting of
our horses. I felt the water, icy cold, rising high, higher; it almost
washed my foot from the red-slippered stirrup; then I felt it mounting
higher, my skirts floated out on the flood, and then fell, limp, about
me. My glance kept flying from my horse's head to our guide, and back
again. He was tall, and his horse was tall.

"When it reaches _his_ waist," was my agonized thought, "it will be over
_my_ head!"

The other gentleman rode to my side.

"Keep a firm hold of your bridle," said he, gravely, "and watch your
horse. If he falls--"

"Falls! _In here!_"

"They do sometimes; one must be prepared. If he falls--of course you can
swim?"

"I never swam a stroke in my life; I never even tried!"

"Is it possible?" said he, in astonishment. "Why, we would not have
advised you to come at this time if we had known that. We took it for
granted that you wouldn't think of going unless you could swim."

"Oh," said I, sarcastically, "do all the women in Valdez swim?"

"No," he answered, gravely, "but then, they don't go over the trail.
Well, we can only hope that he will not fall. When he breaks into a
swim--"

"_Swim!_ Will he do that?"

"Oh, yes, he is liable to swim any minute now."

"What will I do then?" I asked, quite humbly; I could hear tears in my
own voice. He must have heard them, too, his voice was so kind as he
answered.

"Sit as quietly and as evenly as possible, and lean slightly forward in
the saddle; then trust to heaven and give him his head."

"Does he give you any warning?"

"Not the faintest--ah-h!"

Well might he say "ah-h!" for my horse was swimming. Well might we all
say "ah-h!" for one wild glance ahead revealed to my glimmering vision
that all our horses were swimming.

I never knew before that horses swam so _low down_ in the water. I
wished when I could see nothing but my horse's ears that I had not been
so stubborn about the saddle.

The water itself was different from any water I had ever seen. It did
not flow like a river; it boiled, seethed, rushed, whirled; it pushed up
into an angry bulk that came down over us like a deluge. I had let go of
my reins and, leaning forward in the saddle, was clinging to my horse's
mane. The rapidly flowing water gave me the impression that we were
being swept down the stream.

The roaring grew louder in my ears; I was so dizzy that I could no
longer distinguish any object; there was just a blur of brown and white
water, rising, falling, about me; the sole thought that remained was
that I was being swept out to sea with my struggling horse.

Suddenly there was a shock which, to my tortured nerves, seemed like a
ship striking on a rock. It was some time before I realized that it had
been caused by my horse striking bottom. He was walking--staggering,
rather, and plunging; his whole neck appeared, then his shoulders; I
released his mane mechanically, as I had acted in all things since
mounting, and gathered up the reins.

"That was a nasty one, wasn't it?" said my escort, joining me. "I stayed
behind to be of service if you required it. We're getting out now, but
there are, at least, ten or fifteen as bad on the trail--if not worse."

As if anything _could_ be worse!

I chanced to lift my eyes then, and I got a clear view of the ladies
ahead of me. Their appearance was of such a nature that I at once looked
myself over--and saw myself as others saw me! It was the first and only
time that I have ever wished myself at home when I have been travelling
in Alaska.

"Cheer up!" called our guide, over his broad shoulder. "The worst is yet
to come."

He spoke more truthfully than even he knew. There was one stream after
another--and each seemed really worse than the one that went before.
From Valdez Glacier the ice, melted by the hot July sun, was pouring out
in a dozen streams that spread over the immense flats between the town
and the mouth of Lowe River. There were miles and miles of it. Scarcely
would we struggle out of one place that had been washed out deep--and
how deep, we never knew until we were into it--when we would be
compelled to plunge into another.

At last, wet and chilled, after several narrow escapes from whirlpools
and quicksand, we reached a level road leading through a cool wood for
several miles. From this, of a sudden, we began to climb. So steep was
the ascent and so narrow the path--no wider than the horse's feet--that
my horse seemed to have a series of movable humps on him, like a camel;
and riding sidewise, I could only lie forward and cling desperately to
his mane, to avoid a shameful descent over his tail.

Actually, there were steps cut in the hard soil for the horses to climb
upon! They pulled themselves up with powerful plunges. On both sides of
this narrow path the grass or "feed," as it is called, grew so tall that
we could not see one another's heads above it, as we rode; yet it had
been growing only six weeks.

Mingling with young alders, fireweed, devil's-club and elderberry--the
latter sprayed out in scarlet--it formed a network across our path,
through which we could only force our way with closed eyes, blind as
Love.

Bad as the ascent was, the sudden descent was worse. The horse's humps
all turned the other way, and we turned with them. It was only by
constant watchfulness that we kept ourselves from sliding over their
heads.

After another ascent, we emerged into the open upon the brow of a cliff.
Below us stretched the valley of the Lowe River. Thousands of feet below
wound and looped the blue reaches of the river, set here and there with
islands of glistening sand or rosy fireweed; while over all trailed the
silver mists of morning. One elderberry island was so set with scarlet
sprays of berries that from our height no foliage could be seen.

After this came a scented, primeval forest, through which we rode in
silence. Its charm was too elusive for speech. Our horses' feet sank
into the moss without sound. There was no underbrush; only dim aisles
and arcades fashioned from the gray trunks of trees. The pale green
foliage floating above us completely shut out the sun. Soft gray,
mottled moss dripped from the limbs and branches of the spruce trees in
delicate, lacy festoons.

Soon after emerging from this dreamlike wood we reached Camp Comfort,
where we paused for lunch.

This is one of the most comfortable road houses in Alaska. It is
situated in a low, green valley; the river winds in front, and snow
mountains float around it. The air is very sweet.

It is only ten miles from Valdez; but those ten miles are equal to fifty
in taxing the endurance.

We found an excellent vegetable garden at Camp Comfort. Pansies and
other flowers were as large and fragrant as I have ever seen, the
coloring of the pansies being unusually rich. They told us that only two
other women had passed over the trail during the summer.

While our lunch was being prepared, we stood about the immense stove in
the immense living room and tried to dry our clothing.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

WHITE HORSE RAPIDS IN WINTER]

This room was at least thirty feet square. It had a high ceiling and a
rough board floor. In one corner was a piano, in another a phonograph.
The ceiling was hung with all kinds of trail apparel used by men,
including long boots and heavy stockings, guns and other weapons, and
other articles that added a picturesque, and even startling, touch to
the big room.

In one end was a bench, buckets of water, tin cups hanging on nails,
washbowls, and a little wavy mirror swaying on the wall. The gentlemen
of our party played the phonograph while we removed the dust and mud
which we had gathered on our journey; afterward, _we_ played the
phonograph.

Then we all stood happily about the stove to "dry out," and listened to
our host's stories of the miners who came out from the Tanana country,
laden with gold. As many as seventy men, each bearing a fortune, have
slept at Camp Comfort on a single night. We slept there ourselves, on
our return journey, but our riches were in other things than gold, and
there was no need to guard them. Any man or woman may go to Alaska and
enrich himself or herself forever, as we did, if he or she have the
desire. Not only is there no need to guard our riches, but, on the
contrary, we are glad to give freely to whomsoever would have.

Each man, we were told, had his own way of caring for his gold. One
leaned a gunnysack full of it outside the house, where it stood all
night unguarded, supposed to be a sack of old clothing, from the
carelessness with which it was left there. The owner slept calmly in the
attic, surrounded by men whose gold made their hard pillows.

They told us, too, of the men who came back, dull-eyed and empty-handed,
discouraged and footsore. They slept long and heavily; there was nothing
for them to guard.

Every road house has its "talking-machine," with many of the most
expensive records. No one can appreciate one of these machines until he
goes to Alaska. Its influence is not to be estimated in those far,
lonely places, where other music is not.

In a big store "to Westward" we witnessed a scene that would touch any
heart. The room was filled with people. There were passengers and
officers from the ship, miners, Russian half-breeds, and full-blooded
Aleuts. After several records had filled the room with melody, Calvé,
herself, sang "The Old Folks At Home." As that voice of golden velvet
rose and fell, the unconscious workings of the faces about me spelled
out their life tragedies. At last, one big fellow in a blue flannel
shirt started for the door. As he reached it, another man caught his
sleeve and whispered huskily:--

"Where you goin', Bill?"

"Oh, anywheres," he made answer, roughly, to cover his emotion;
"anywheres, so's I can't hear that damn piece,"--and it was not one of
the least of Calvé's compliments.

Music in Alaska brings the thought of home; and it is the thought of
home that plays upon the heartstrings of the North. The hunger is always
there,--hidden, repressed, but waiting,--and at the first touch of music
it leaps forth and casts its shadow upon the face. Who knows but that it
is this very heart-hunger that puts the universal human look into
Alaskan eyes?

After a good lunch at Camp Comfort, we resumed our journey. There was
another bit of enchanting forest; then, of a sudden, we were in the
famed Keystone Canyon.

Here, the scenery is enthralling. Solid walls of shaded gray stone rise
straight from the river to a height of from twelve to fifteen hundred
feet. Along one cliff winds the trail, in many places no wider than the
horses' feet. One feels that he must only breathe with the land side of
him, lest the mere weight of his breath on the other side should topple
him over the sheer, dizzy precipice.

It was amusing to see every woman lean toward the rock cliff. Not for
all the gold of the Klondike would I have willingly given one look down
into the gulf, sinking away, almost under my horse's feet. Somewhere in
those purple depths I knew that the river was roaring, white and
swollen, between its narrow stone walls.

Now and then, as we turned a sharp, narrow corner, I could not help
catching a glimpse of it; for a moment, horse and rider, as we turned,
would seem to hang suspended above it with no strip of earth between.
There were times, when we were approaching a curve, that there seemed to
be nothing ahead of us but a chasm that went sinking dizzily away; no
solid place whereon the horse might set his feet. It was like a
nightmare in which one hangs half over a precipice, struggling so hard
to recover himself that his heart almost bursts with the effort.

Then, while I held my breath and blindly trusted to heaven, the curve
would be turned and the path would glimmer once more before my eyes.

But one false step of the horse, one tiniest rock-slide striking his
feet, one unexpected sound to startle him--the mere thought of these
possibilities made my heart stop beating.

We finally reached a place where the descent was almost perpendicular
and the trail painfully narrow. The horses sank to their haunches and
slid down, taking gravel and stones down with them. I had been imploring
to be permitted to walk; but now, being far in advance of all but one, I
did not ask permission. I simply slipped off my horse and left him for
the others to bring with them. The gentleman with me was forced to do
the same.

We paused for a time to rest and to enjoy the most beautiful waterfall I
saw in Alaska--Bridal Veil. It is on the opposite side of the canyon,
and has a slow, musical fall of six hundred feet.

When we went on, the other members of our party had not yet come up with
us, nor had our horses appeared. In the narrowest of all narrow places I
was walking ahead, when, turning a sharp corner, we met a government
pack train, face to face.

The bell-horse stood still and looked at me with big eyes, evidently as
scared at the sight of a woman as an old prospector who has not seen one
for years.

I looked at him with eyes as big as his own. There was only one thing to
do. Behind us was a narrow, V-shaped cave in the stone wall, not more
than four feet high and three deep. Into this we backed, Grecian-bend
wise, and waited.

We waited a very long time. The horse stood still, blowing his breath
loudly from steaming nostrils, and contemplated us. I never knew before
that a horse could express his opinion of a person so plainly. Around
the curve we could hear whips cracking and men swearing; but the horse
stood there and kept his suspicious eyes on me.

"I'll stay here till dark," his eyes said, "but you don't get me past a
thing like _that_!"

I didn't mind his looking, but his snorting seemed like an insult.

At last a man pushed past the horse. When he saw us backed gracefully up
into the Y-shaped cave, he stood as still as the horse. Finding that
neither he nor my escort could think of anything to say to relieve the
mental and physical strain, I called out graciously:--

"How do you do, sir? Would you like to get by?"

"I'd like it damn well, lady," he replied, with what I felt to be his
very politest manner.

"Perhaps," I suggested sweetly, "if I came out and let the horse get a
good look at me--"

"Don't you do it, lady. That 'u'd scare him plumb to death!"

I have always been convinced that he did not mean it exactly as it
sounded, but I caught the flicker of a smile on my escort's face. It was
gone in an instant.

Suddenly the other horses came crowding upon the bell-horse. There was
nothing for him to do but to go past me or to go over the precipice. He
chose me as the least of the two evils.

"Nice pony, nice boy," I wheedled, as he went sliding and snorting past.

Then we waited for the next horse to come by; but he did not come.
Turning my head, I found him fixed in the same place and the same
attitude as the first had been; his eyes were as big and they were set
as steadily on me.

Well--there were fifty horses in that government pack train. Every one
of the fifty balked at sight of a woman. There were horses of every
color--gray, white, black, bay, chestnut, sorrel, and pinto. The sorrel
were the stubbornest of all. To this day, I detest the sight of a sorrel
horse.

We stood there in that position for a time that seemed like hours; we
coaxed each horse as he balked; and at the last were reduced to such
misery that we gave thanks to God that there were only fifty of them and
that they couldn't kick sidewise as they passed.

I forgot about the men. There were seven men; and as each man turned the
bend in the trail, he stood as still as the stillest horse, and for
quite as long a time; and naturally I hesitated to say, "Nice boy, nice
fellow," to help him by.

There were more glacier streams to cross. These were floored with huge
boulders instead of sand and quicksand. The horses stumbled and plunged
powerfully. One misstep here would have meant death; the rapids
immediately below the crossing would have beaten us to pieces upon the
rocks.

Then came more perpendicular climbing; but at last, at five o'clock,
with our bodies aching with fatigue, and our senses finally dulled,
through sheer surfeit, to the beauty of the journey, we reached
"Wortman's" road house.

This is twenty miles from Valdez; and when we were lifted from our
horses we could not stand alone, to say nothing of attempting to walk.

But "Wortman's" is the paradise of road houses. In it, and floating over
it, is an atmosphere of warmth, comfort and good cheer that is a rest
for body and heart. The beds are comfortable and the meals excellent.

But it was the welcome that cheered, the spirit of genuine
kind-heartedness.

The road house stands in a large clearing, with barns and other
buildings surrounding it. I never saw so many dogs as greeted us, except
in Valdez or on the Yukon. They crowded about us, barking and shrieking
a welcome. They were all big malamutes.

After a good dinner we went to bed at eight o'clock. The sun was shining
brightly, but we darkened our rooms as much as possible, and instantly
fell into the sleep of utter exhaustion.

At one o'clock in the morning we were eating breakfast, and half an hour
later we were in our saddles and off for the summit of Thompson Pass to
see the sun rise. This brought out the humps in the horses' backs again.
We went up into the air almost as straight as a telegraph pole. Over
heather, ice, flowers, and snow our horses plunged, unspurred.

It was seven miles to the summit. There were no trees nor shrubs,--only
grass and moss that gave a velvety look to peaks and slopes that seemed
to be floating around us through the silvery mists that were wound over
them like turbans. Here and there a hollow was banked with frozen snow.

When we dismounted on the very summit we could hardly step without
crushing bluebells and geraniums.

We set the flag of our country on the highest point beside the trail,
that every loyal-hearted traveller might salute it and take hope again,
if he chanced to be discouraged. Then we sat under its folds and watched
the mists change from silver to pearl-gray; from pearl-gray to pink,
amethyst, violet, purple,--and back to rose, gold, and flame color.

One peak after another shone out for a moment, only to withdraw.
Suddenly, as if with one leap, the sun came over the mountain line;
vibrated brilliantly, dazzlingly, flashing long rays like signals to
every quickened peak. Then, while we gazed, entranced, other peaks whose
presence we had not suspected were brought to life by those searching
rays; valleys appeared, filled with purple, brooding shadows; whole
slopes blue with bluebells; and, white and hard, the narrow trail that
led on to the pitiless land of gold.

We were above the mountain peaks, above the clouds, level with the sun.

Absolute stillness was about us; there was not one faintest sound of
nature; no plash of water, nor sough of wind, nor call of a bird. It was
so still that it seemed like the beginning of a new world, with the
birth of mountains taking place before our reverent eyes, as one after
another dawned suddenly and goldenly upon our vision.

Every time we had stopped on the trail we had heard harrowing stories of
saddle-horses or pack-horses having missed their footing and gone over
the precipice. The horses are so carefully packed, and the packs so
securely fastened on--the last cinch being thrown into the "diamond
hitch"--that the poor beasts can roll over and over to the bottom of a
canyon without disarranging a pack weighing two hundred pounds--a feat
which they very frequently perform.

The military trail is, of necessity, poor enough; but it is infinitely
superior to all other trails in Alaska, and is a boon to the prospector.
It is a well-defined and well-travelled highway. The trees and bushes
are cut in places for a width of thirty feet, original bridges span the
creeks when it is possible to bridge them at all, and some corduroy has
been laid; but in many places the trail is a mere path, not more than
two feet wide, shovelled or blasted from the hillside.

In Alaska there were practically no roads at all until the appointment
in 1905 of a road commission consisting of Major W. P. Richardson,
Captain G. B. Pillsbury, and Lieutenant L. C. Orchard. Since that year
eight hundred miles of trails, wagon and sled roads, numerous ferries,
and hundreds of bridges have been constructed. The wagon road-beds are
all sixteen feet wide, with free side strips of a hundred feet; the sled
roads are twelve feet wide; the trails, eight; and the bridges,
fourteen. In the interior, laborers on the roads are paid five dollars a
day, with board and lodging; they are given better food than any
laborers in Alaska, with the possible exception of those employed at the
Treadwell mines and on the Cordova Railroad. The average cost of road
work in Alaska is about two thousand dollars a mile; two hundred and
fifty for sled road, and one hundred for trails. These roads have
reduced freight rates one-half and have helped to develop rich regions
that had been inaccessible. Their importance in the development of the
country is second to that of railroads only.

The scenery from Ptarmigan Drop down the Tsina River to Beaver Dam is
magnificent. Huge mountains, saw-toothed and covered with snow, jut
diagonally out across the valley, one after another; streams fall,
riffling, down the sides of the mountains; and the cloud-effects are
especially beautiful.

Tsina River is a narrow, foaming torrent, confined, for the most part,
between sheer hills,--although, in places, it spreads out over low,
gravelly flats. Beaver Dam huddles into a gloomy gulch at the foot of a
vast, overhanging mountain. Its situation is what Whidbey would have
called "gloomily magnificent." In 1905 Beaver Dam was a road house which
many chose to avoid, if possible.

The Tiekel road house on the Kanata River is pleasantly situated, and is
a comfortable place at which to eat and rest.

For its entire length, the military trail climbs and falls and winds
through scenery of inspiring beauty. The trail leading off to the east
at Tonsina, through the Copper River, Nizina, and Chitina valleys, is
even more beautiful.

Vast plains and hillsides of bloom are passed. Some mountainsides are
blue with lupine, others rosy with fireweed; acres upon acres are
covered with violets, bluebells, wild geranium, anemones, spotted
moccasin and other orchids, buttercups, and dozens of others--all large
and vivid of color. It has often been said that the flowers of Alaska
are not fragrant, but this is not true.

The mountains of the vicinity are glorious. Mount Drum is twelve
thousand feet high. Sweeping up splendidly from a level plain, it is
more imposing than Mount Wrangell, which is fourteen thousand feet high,
and Mount Blackburn, which is sixteen thousand feet.

The view from the summit of Sour-Dough Hill is unsurpassed in the
interior of Alaska. Glacial creeks and roaring rivers; wild and
fantastic canyons; moving glaciers; gorges of royal purple gloom; green
valleys and flowery slopes; the domed and towered Castle Mountains; the
lone and majestic peaks pushing up above all others, above the clouds,
cascades spraying down sheer precipices; and far to the south the linked
peaks of the Coast Range piled magnificently upon the sky, dim and
faintly blue in the great distance,--all blend into one grand panorama
of unrivalled inland grandeur.

Crossing the Copper River, when it is high and swift, is
dangerous,--especially for a "chechaco" of either sex. (A chechaco is
one who has not been in Alaska a year.) Packers are often compelled to
unpack their horses, putting all their effects into large whipsawed
boats. The halters are taken off the horses and the latter are driven
into the roaring torrent, followed by the packers in the boats.

The horses apparently make no effort to reach the opposite shore, but
use their strength desperately to hold their own in the swift current,
fighting against it, with their heads turned pitifully up-stream. Their
bodies being turned at a slight angle, the current, pushing violently
against them, forces them slowly, but surely, from sand bar to sand bar,
and, finally, to the shore.

It frequently requires two hours to get men, horses, and outfit from
shore to shore, where they usually arrive dripping wet. Women who make
this trip, it is needless to say, suffer still more from the hardship of
the crossing than do men.

In riding horses across such streams, they should be started diagonally
up-stream toward the first sand bar above. They lean far forward,
bracing themselves at every step against the current and choosing their
footing carefully. The horses of the trail know all the dangers, and
scent them afar--holes, boulders, irresistible currents, and quicksand;
they detect them before the most experienced "trailer" even suspects
them.

I will not venture even to guess what the other two women in my party
did when they crossed dangerous streams; but for myself, I wasted no
strength in trying to turn my horse's head up-stream, or down-stream, or
in any other direction. When we went down into the foaming water, I gave
him his head, clung to his mane, leaned forward in the saddle,--and
prayed like anything. I do not believe in childishly asking the Lord to
help one so long as one can help one's self; but when one is on the back
of a half-swimming, half-floundering horse in the middle of a swollen,
treacherous flood, with holes and quicksand on all sides, one is as
helpless as he was the day he was born; and it is a good time to pray.

According to the report of Major Abercrombie, who probably knows this
part of Alaska more thoroughly than any one else, there are hundreds of
thousands of acres in the Copper River Valley alone where almost all
kinds of vegetables, as well as barley and rye, will grow in abundance
and mature. Considering the travel to the many and fabulously rich mines
already discovered in this valley and adjacent ones, and the cost of
bringing in grain and supplies, it may be easily seen what splendid
opportunities await the small farmer who will select his homestead
judiciously, with a view to the accommodation of man and beast, and the
cultivation of food for both. The opportunities awaiting such a man are
so much more enticing than the inducements of the bleak Dakota prairies
or the wind-swept valleys of the Yellowstone as to be beyond comparison.

Major Abercrombie believes that the valleys of the sub-drainage of the
Copper River Valley will in future years supply the demands for cereals
and vegetables, if not for meats, of the thousands of miners that will
be required to extract the vast deposits of metals from the Tonsina,
Chitina, Kotsina, Nizina, Chesna, Tanana, and other famous districts.

The vast importance to the whole territory of Alaska, and to the United
States, as well, of the building of the Guggenheim railroad from Cordova
into this splendid inland empire may be realized after reading Major
Abercrombie's report.

We have been accustomed to mineralized zones of from ten to twelve miles
in length; in the Wrangell group alone we have a circle eighty miles in
diameter, the mineralization of which is simply marvellous; yet,
valuable though these concentrates are, they are as valueless
commercially as so much sandstone, without the aid of a railroad and
reduction works.

If the group of mines at Butte could deflect a great transcontinental
trunk-line like the Great Northern, what will this mighty zone, which
contains a dozen properties already discovered,--to say nothing of the
unfound, undreamed-of ones,--of far greater value as copper propositions
than the richest of Montana, do to advance the commercial interests of
the Pacific Coast?

The first discovery of gold in the Nizina district was made by Daniel
Kain and Clarence Warner. These two prospectors were urged by a crippled
Indian to accompany him to inspect a vein of copper on the head waters
of a creek that is now known as Dan Creek.

Not being impressed by the copper outlook, the two prospectors returned.
They noticed, however, that the gravel of Dan Creek had a look of placer
gold.

They were out of provisions, and were in haste to reach their supplies,
fifty miles away; but Kain was reluctant to leave the creek unexamined.
He went to a small lake and caught sufficient fish for a few days'
subsistence; then, with a shovel for his only tool, he took out five
ounces of coarse gold in two days.

In this wise was the rich Nizina district discovered. The Nizina River
is only one hundred and sixty miles from Valdez. In Rex Gulch as much
as eight ounces of gold have been taken out by one man in a single day.
The gold is of the finest quality, assaying over eighteen dollars an
ounce.

There is an abundance of timber suitable for building houses and for
firewood on all the creeks. There is water at all seasons for sluicing,
and, if desired, for hydraulic work.



CHAPTER XXVI


The famous Bonanza Copper Mine is on the mountainside high above the
Kennicott Valley, and near the Kennicott Glacier--the largest glacier of
the Alaskan interior. This glacier does not entirely fill the valley,
and one travels close to its precipitous wall of ice, which dwindles
from a height of one hundred feet to a low, gravel-darkened moraine.
From the summit of Sour-Dough Hill it may be seen for its whole
forty-mile length sweeping down from Mounts Wrangell and Regal.

The Bonanza Mine has an elevation of six thousand feet, and was
discovered by the merest chance.

The history of this mine from the day of its discovery is one of the
most fascinating of Alaska. In the autumn of 1899 a prospecting party
was formed at Valdez, known as the "McClellan" party. The ten
individuals composing the party were experienced miners and they
contributed money, horses, and "caches," as well as experience. The
principal cache was known as the "McCarthy Cabin" cache, and was about
fifteen miles east of Copper River on the trail to the Nicolai Mine.

The Nicolai had been discovered early in the summer by R. F. McClellan,
who was one of the men composing the "McClellan" party, and others.
Another important cache of three thousand pounds of provisions was the
"Amy" cache, thirty-five miles from Valdez, just over the summit of
Thompson Pass.

The agreement was that the McClellan party was to prospect in the
interior in 1900 and 1901, all property located to be for their joint
benefit.

The members of the party scattered soon after the organization was
completed. Clarence Warner, John Sweeney, and Jack Smith remained in
Valdez for the winter, all the others going "out to the states."

In March of 1900 Warner and Smith set out for the interior over the
snow. There was no government trail then, and the hardships to be
endured were as terrific as were those of the old Chilkoot Pass, on the
way to the Klondike. The snow was from six to ten feet deep, and their
progress was slow and painful. One went ahead on snow-shoes, the other
following; when the trail thus made was sufficiently hard, the hand
sleds, loaded with provisions and bedding, were drawn over it by ropes
around the men's shoulders. From two to three hundred pounds was a heavy
burden for each man to drag through the soft snow.

Climbing the summit, and at other steep places, they were compelled to
"relay," by leaving the greater portion of their load beside the trail,
pulling only a few pounds for a short distance and returning for more.
By the most constant and exhaustive labor they were able to make only
five or six miles a day.

They replenished their stores at the "Amy" cache, near the summit, and
in May reached the "McCarthy Cabin" cache. Here they found that the
Indians had broken in and stolen nearly all the supplies.

When they left Valdez, it was with the expectation that McClellan, or
some other member of the party, would bring in their horses to the
McCarthy cabin, that their supplies might be packed from that point on
horseback,--the snow melting in May making it impossible to use sleds,
and no man being able to carry more than a few pounds on his back for so
long a journey as they expected to make.

However, McClellan had, during the winter, entered into a contract with
the Chitina Exploration Company at San Francisco to do a large amount of
development work on the Nicolai Mine during the summer of 1900. He
returned to Valdez after Warner and Smith had left, bringing twenty
horses, a large outfit of tools and supplies, and fifteen men--among
them some of the McClellan prospecting party, who had agreed to work for
the season for the Chitina Company.

When this party reached the McCarthy cabin, they found Warner and Smith
there. An endless dispute thereupon began as to the amount of provisions
the two men had when the Chitina party arrived,--Warner and Smith
claiming that they had five hundred pounds, and the Chitina Company
claiming that they were entirely "out of grub," to use miner's language.

Warner and Smith demanded that McClellan should give them two horses
belonging to the McClellan prospecting party, which he had brought. This
matter was finally settled by McClellan's packing in what remained of
Smith and Warner's provisions to the Nicolai Mine, a distance of nearly
a hundred miles.

McClellan, as superintendent of the Chitina Company, used, with that
company's horses, four of the McClellan party's horses during the entire
season, sending them to and from Valdez, packing supplies.

In the meantime, upon reaching the Nicolai Mine, on the 1st of July,
Warner and Smith, packing supplies on their backs, set out to prospect.
The Chitina Company, in the famous and bitterly contested lawsuit which
followed, claimed that they were supplied with the Chitina Company's
"grub"; while Smith and Warner claimed that their provisions belonged to
the McClellan party.

[Illustration: Copyright by J. Doody, Dawson

STEAMER "WHITE HORSE" IN FIVE-FINGER RAPIDS]

After a few days' aimless wandering, they reached a point on the east
side of Kennicott Glacier, about twenty miles west of the Nicolai Mine.
Here they camped at noon, near a small stream that came running down
from a great height.

Their camp was about halfway up a mountain which was six thousand feet
high. After a miner's lunch of bacon and beans, they were packing up to
resume their wanderings, when Warner, chancing to glance upward,
discovered a green streak near the top of the mountain. It looked like
grass, and at first he gave it no thought; but presently it occurred to
him that, as they were camped above timber-line, grass would not be
growing at such a height.

They at once decided to investigate the peculiar and mysterious
coloring. The mountain was steep, and it was after a slow and painful
climb that they reached the top. Jack Smith stooped and picked up a
piece of shining metal.

"My God, Clarence," he said fervently, "it's copper."

It was copper; the richest copper, in the greatest quantities, ever
found upon the earth. There were hundreds of thousands of tons of it.
There was a whole mountain of it. It was so bright and shining that
they, at first, thought it was Galena ore; but they soon discovered that
it was copper glance,--a copper ore bearing about seventy-five per cent
of pure copper.

The Havemeyers, Guggenheims, and other eastern capitalists became
interested. Then, when the marvellous richness of the discovery of Jack
Smith and Clarence Warner became known, a lawsuit was begun--hinging
upon the grub-stake--which was so full of dramatic incidents, attempted
bribery, charges of corruption reaching to the United States Senate and
the President himself, that the facts would make a long story, vivid
with life, action, and fantastic setting--the scene reaching from Alaska
to New York, and from New York to Manila.

The lawsuit was at last settled in favor of the discoverers.

On January 14, 1908, Mr. Smith disposed of his interest in a mine which
he had located across McCarthy Creek from the Bonanza, for a hundred and
fifty thousand dollars. It will be "stocked" and named "The Bonanza Mine
Extension." It is said to be as rich as the great Bonanza itself.



CHAPTER XXVII


In the district which comprises the entire coast from the southern
boundary of Oregon to the northernmost point of Alaska there are but
forty-five lighthouses. Included in this district are the Strait of Juan
de Fuca, Washington Sound, the Gulf of Georgia, and all the tidal waters
tributary to the sea straits and sounds of this coast. There are also
twenty-eight fog signals, operated by steam, hot air, or oil engines;
six fog signals operated by clockwork; two gas-lighted buoys in
position; nine whistling-buoys and five bell-buoys in position; three
hundred and twenty-two other buoys in position; and four tenders, to
visit lighthouses and care for buoys.

The above list does not include post lights, the Umatilla Reef Light
vessel, and unlighted day beacons.

It is the far, lonely Alaskan coast that is neglected. The wild, stormy,
and immense stretch of coast reaching from Chichagoff Island to Point
Barrow in the Arctic Ocean has two light and fog signal stations on
Unimak Island and two fixed lights on Cape Stephens. A light and fog
signal station is to be built at Cape Hinchingbroke, and a light is to
be established at Point Romanoff.

No navigator should be censured for disaster on this dark and dangerous
coast. The little _Dora_, running regularly from Seward and Valdez to
Unalaska, does not pass a light. Her way is wild and stormy in winter,
and the coasts she passes are largely uninhabited; yet there is not a
flash of light, unless it be from some volcano, to guide her into
difficult ports and around the perilous reefs with which the coast
abounds.

A prayer for a lighthouse at the entrance to Resurrection Bay was
refused by the department, with the advice that the needs of commerce do
not require a light at this point, particularly as there are several
other points more in need of such aid. The department further advised
that it would require a hundred thousand dollars to establish a light
and fog signal station at the place designated, instead of the
twenty-five thousand dollars asked.

Meanwhile, ships are wrecked and lives and valuable cargoes are
lost,--and will be while the Alaskan coast remains unlighted.

Along the intricate, winding, and exceedingly dangerous channels,
straits, and narrows of the "inside passage" of southeastern Alaska,
there are only seven light and fog signals, and ten lights; but where
the sea-coast belongs to Canada there is sufficient light and ample
buoyage protection, as all mariners admit.

Is our government's rigid, and in some instances stubborn, economy in
this matter a wise one? Is it a humane one? The nervous strain of this
voyage on a conscientious and sensitive master of a ship heavily laden
with human beings is tremendous. The anxious faces and unrelaxing
vigilance of the officers on the bridge when a ship is passing through
Taku Open, Wrangell Narrows, or Peril Straits speak plainly and
unmistakably of the ceaseless burden of responsibility and anxiety which
they bear. The charting of these waters is incomplete as yet,
notwithstanding the faithful service which the Geodetic Survey has
performed for many years. Many a rock has never been discovered until a
ship went down upon it.

Political influence has been known to establish lights, at immense cost,
at points where they are practically luxuries, rather than needs;
therefore the government should not be censured for cautiousness in this
matter.

But it should be, and it is, censured for not investigating carefully
the needs of the Alaskan Coast--the "Great Unlighted Way."

       *       *       *       *       *

Seward is situated almost as beautifully as Valdez. It is only five
years old. It is the sea terminal of the Alaska Central Railway, which
is building to the Tanana, through a rich country that is now almost
unknown. It will pass within ten miles of Mount McKinley, which rises
from a level plain to an altitude of nearly twenty-one thousand feet.

This mountain has been known to white men for nearly a century; yet
until very recently it did not appear upon any map, and had no official
name. More than fifty years ago the Russian fur traders knew it and
called it "Bulshaia,"--signifying "high mountain" or "great mountain."
The natives called it "Trolika," a name having the same meaning.

Explorers, traders, and prospectors have seen it and commented upon its
magnificent height, yet without realizing its importance, until Mr. W.
A. Dickey saw it in 1896 and proposed for it the name of McKinley. In
1902 Mr. Alfred Hulse Brooks, of the United States Geological Survey,
with two associates and four camp men, made an expedition to the
mountain. Mr. Brooks' report of this expedition is exceedingly
interesting. He spent the summer of 1906, also, upon the mountain.

The town site of Seward was purchased from the Lowells, a pioneer
family, by Major J. E. Ballaine, for four thousand dollars. It has grown
very rapidly. Stumps still stand upon the business streets, and
silver-barked log-cabins nestle modestly and picturesquely beside
imposing buildings. The bank and the railway company have erected
handsome homes. Every business and profession is represented. There are
good schools and churches, an electric-light plant, two newspapers, a
library and hospital, progressive clubs, and all the modern luxuries of
western towns.

When Mr. Seward was asked what he considered the most important measure
of his political career, he replied, "The purchase of Alaska; but it
will take the people a generation to find it out."

Since the loftiest and noblest peak of North America was doomed to be
named for a man, it should have borne the name of this dauntless, loyal,
and far-seeing friend of Alaska and of all America. Since this was not
to be, it was very fitting that a young and ambitious town on the
historic Voskressenski Harbor should bear this honored and
forever-to-be-remembered name. If Seward and Valdez would but work
together, the region extending from Prince William Sound to Cook Inlet
would soon become the best known and the most influential of Alaska, as
it is, with the addition of the St. Elias Alps, the most sublimely and
entrancingly beautiful.

Voskressenski Harbor, or Resurrection Bay, pushes out in purple waves in
front of Seward, and snow peaks circle around it, the lower hills being
heavily wooded. There is a good wharf and a safe harbor; the bay extends
inland eighteen miles, is completely land-locked, and is kept free of
ice the entire year, as is the Bay of Valdez and Cook Inlet, by the
Japan current.

It is estimated that the Alaska Central Railway will cost, when
completed to Fairbanks, at least twenty-five millions of dollars.
Several branches will be extended into different and important mining
regions.

The road has a general maximum grade of one per cent. The Coast Range is
crossed ten miles from Seward, at an elevation of only seven hundred
feet. The road follows the shore of Lake Kenai, Turnagain Arm, and Knik
Arm on Cook Inlet; then, reaching the Sushitna River, it follows the
sloping plains of that valley for a hundred miles, when, crossing the
Alaskan Range, it descends into the vast valley at the head of
navigation on the Tanana River, in the vicinity of Chena and Fairbanks.

All of the country which this road is expected to traverse when
completed is rich in coal, copper, and quartz and placer gold.

There is a large amount of timber suitable for domestic use throughout
this part of the country, spruce trees of three and four feet in
diameter being common near the coast; inland, the timber is smaller, but
of fair quality.

There is much good agricultural land along the line of the road; the
soil is rich and the climatic conditions quite as favorable as those of
many producing regions of the northern United States and Europe. Grass,
known as "red-top," grows in abundance in the valleys and provides food
for horses and cattle. It is expected that, so soon as the different
railroads connect the great interior valleys with the sea, the
government's offer of three hundred and twenty acres to the homesteader
will induce many people to settle there. The Alaska Central Railroad is
completed for a distance of fifty-three miles,--more than half the
distance to the coal-fields north of Cook Inlet.

Arrangements have been made for the building of a large smelter at
Seward, to cost three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, in 1908.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cook Inlet enjoys well-deserved renown for its scenery. Between it and
the Chugach Gulf is the great Kenai Peninsula, whose shores are indented
by many deep inlets and bays. The most important of these is
Resurrection Bay.

Wood is plentiful along the coast of the peninsula. Cataracts, glaciers,
snow peaks, green valleys, and lovely lakes abound.

The peninsula is shaped somewhat like a great pear. Turnagain Arm and
an inlet of Prince William Sound almost meet at the north; but the
portage mentioned on another page prevents it from being an island. It
is crowned by the lofty and rugged Kenai Mountains.

Off its southern coast are several clusters of islands--Pye and Chugatz
islands, Seal and Chiswell rocks.

In the entrance to Cook Inlet lie Barren Islands, Amatuli Island, and
Ushugat Island.

On a small island off the southern point of the peninsula is a lofty
promontory, which Cook named Cape Elizabeth because it was sighted on
the Princess Elizabeth's birthday. The lofty, two-peaked promontory on
the opposite side of the entrance he named Douglas, in honor of his
friend, the Canon of Windsor.

Between the capes, the entrance is sixty-five miles wide; but it
steadily diminishes until it reaches a width of but a few miles. There
is a passage on each side of Barren Islands.

The Inlet receives the waters of several rivers: the Sushitna,
Matanuska, Knik, Yentna,--which flows into the Sushitna near its
mouth,--Kaknu, and Kassitof.

Lying near the western shore of the inlet, and just inside the entrance,
is an island which rises in graceful sweeps on all sides, directly from
the water to a smooth, broken-pointed, and beautiful cone. This cone
forms the entire island, and there is not the faintest break in its
symmetry until the very crest is reached. It is the volcano of St.
Augustine.

A chain of active volcanoes extends along the western shore. Of these,
Iliamna, the greatest, is twelve thousand sixty-six feet in height, and
was named "Miranda, the Admirable" by Spanish navigators, who may
usually be relied upon for poetically significant, or soft-sounding,
names. It is clad in eternal snow, but smoke-turbans are wound almost
constantly about its brow. It was in eruption in 1854, and running lava
has been found near the lower crater. There are many hot and sulphurous
springs on its sides.

North of Iliamna is Goryalya, or "The Redoubt," which is a lesser
"smoker," eleven thousand two hundred and seventy feet high. It was in
eruption in 1867, and ashes fell on islands more than a hundred and
fifty miles away.

Iliamna Lake is one of the two largest lakes in Alaska. It is from fifty
to eighty miles long and from fifteen to twenty-five wide. A pass at a
height of about eight hundred feet affords an easy route of
communication between the upper end of the lake and a bay of the same
name on Cook Inlet, near the volcano, and has long been in use by white,
as well as native, hunters and prospectors. The country surrounding the
lake is said to abound in large and small game. Lake Clark, to the
north, is connected with Lake Iliamna by the Nogheling River. It is
longer than Iliamna, but very much narrower. It lies directly west of
the Redoubt Volcano.

Iliamna Lake is connected with Behring Sea by Kvichak River, which flows
into Bristol Bay. The lake is a natural hatchery of king salmon, and
immense canneries are located on Bristol Bay, which lies directly north
of the Aliaska Peninsula.

It is comparatively easy for hunters to cross by the chain of lakes and
water-ways from Bristol Bay to Cook Inlet--which is known to sportsmen
of all countries, both shores offering everything in the way of game.
The big brown bear of the inlet is the same as the famous Kadiak; and
hunters come from all parts of the world when they can secure permits to
kill them. Moose, caribou, mountain sheep, mountain goat, deer, and all
kinds of smaller game are also found. There are many trout and salmon
streams on the eastern shore of the inlet, and the lagoons and marshes
are the haunts of water-fowl.

The voyage up Cook Inlet is one of the most fascinating that may be
taken, as a side trip, in Alaska.

Large steamers touch only at Homer and Seldovia, just inside the
entrance. There is a good wharf at Homer, but at Seldovia there is
another rope-ladder descent and dory landing. There are a post-office,
several stores and houses, and a little Greek-Russian church. Scattered
over a low bluff at one side of the settlement are the native huts, half
hidden in tall reeds and grasses, and a native graveyard.

Seldovia is not the place to buy baskets, as the only ones to be
obtained are of very inferior coloring and workmanship.

My Scotch friend was so fearful that some one else might secure a
treasure that she seized the first basket in sight at Seldovia, paying
five dollars for it. It was not large, and as for its appearance--!

But with one evil mind we all pretended to envy her and to regret that
we had not seen it first; so that, for some time, she stepped out over
the tundra with quite a proud and high step, swinging her "buy" proudly
at her right side, where all might see and admire.

Presently, however, we came to a hut wherein we stumbled upon all kinds
of real treasures--old bows and arrows, kamelinkas, bidarkas, virgin
charms, and ivory spears. We all gathered these things unto
ourselves--all but my Scotch friend. She stood by, watching us, silent,
ruminative.

She had spent all that she cared to spend on curios in one day on the
single treasure which she carried in her hand. We observed that
presently she carried it less proudly and that her carriage had less of
haughtiness in it, as we went across the beach to the dory.

She took the basket down to the engine-room to have it steamed. I do not
know what the engineer said to her about her purchase, but when she
came back, her face was somewhat flushed. The Scotch are not a
demonstrative race, and when she ever after referred to the chief
engineer simply as "that engineer down there," I felt that it meant
something. She never again mentioned that basket to me; but I have seen
it in six different curio stores trying to get itself sold.

At Seldovia connection is made with small steamers running up the inlet
to the head of the arm. Hope and Sunrise are the inspiring names of the
chief settlements of the arm.

The tides of Cook Inlet are tremendous. There are fearful tide-rips at
the entrance and again about halfway up the inlet, where they appeared
"frightful" to Cook and his men. The tide enters Turnagain Arm, at the
head of the inlet, in a huge bore, which expert canoemen are said to be
able to ride successfully, and to thus be carried with great speed and
delightful danger on their way.

Cook thought that the inlet was a river, of which the arm was an eastern
branch. Therefore, at the entrance of the latter, he exclaimed in
disappointment and chagrin, "Turn again!"--and afterward bestowed this
name upon the slender water-way.

He modestly left only a blank for the name of the great inlet itself;
and after his cruel death at the hands of natives in the Sandwich
Islands, Lord Sandwich directed that it be named Cook's River.

The voyage of two hundred miles to the head of the arm by steamer is
slow and sufficiently romantic to satisfy the most sentimental. The
steamer is compelled to tie up frequently to await the favorable stage
of the tide, affording ample opportunity and time for the full enjoyment
of the varied attractions of the trip. The numerous waterfalls are among
the finest of Alaska.

Even to-day the trip is attended by the gravest dangers and is only
attempted by experienced navigators who are familiar with its unique
perils. The very entrance is the dread of mariners. The tide-rips that
boil and roar around the naked Barren Islands subject ships to graver
danger than the fiercest storms on this wild and stormy coast.

The tides of Turnagain Arm rival those of the Bay of Fundy, entering in
tremendous bores that advance faster than a horse can run and bearing
everything with resistless force before them. After the first roar of
the entering tide is heard, there is but a moment in which to make for
safety. There is a tide fall in the arm of from twenty to twenty-seven
feet.

The first Russian settlement of the inlet was by the establishment of a
fort by Shelikoff, near the entrance, named Alexandrovsk. It was
followed in 1786 by the establishment of the Lebedef-Lastuchkin Company
on the Kussilof River in a settlement and fort named St. George.

Fort Alexandrovsk formed a square with two bastions, and the imperial
arms shone over the entrance, which was protected by two guns. The
situation, however, was not so advantageous for trading as that of the
other company.

In 1791 the Lebedef Company established another fort, the Redoubt St.
Nicholas, still farther up the inlet, just below that narrowing known as
the "Forelands," at the Kaknu, or Kenai, River. At this place the shores
jut out into three steep, cliffy points which were named by Vancouver
West, North, and East Forelands.

Here Vancouver found the flood-tide running with such a violent velocity
that the best bower cable proved unable to resist it, and broke. The
buoy sank by the strength of the current, and both the anchor and the
cable were irrecoverably lost.

Cook did not enter Turnagain Arm, but Vancouver learned from the
Russians that neither the arm nor the inlet was a river; that the arm
terminated some thirty miles from its mouth; and that from its head the
Russians walked about fifteen versts over a mountain and entered an
inlet of Prince William Sound,--thereby keeping themselves in
communication with their fellow-countrymen at Port Etches and Kaye
Island.

Vancouver sent Lieutenant Whidbey and some men to explore the arm; but
having entered with the bore and finding no place where he might escape
its ebb, he was compelled to return with it, without making as complete
an examination as was desired.

The country bordering upon the bays along Turnagain Arm is low, richly
wooded, and pleasant, rising with a gradual slope, until the inner point
of entrance is reached. Here the shores suddenly rise to bold and
towering eminences, perpendicular cliffs, and mountains which to poor
Whidbey, as usual, appeared "stupendous"--cleft by "awfully grand"
chasms and gullies, down which rushed immense torrents of water.

The tide rises thirty feet with a roaring rush that is really terrifying
to hear and see.

At a Russian settlement Whidbey found one large house, fifty by
twenty-four feet, occupied by nineteen Russians. One door afforded the
only ventilation, and it was usually closed.

Whidbey and his men were hospitably received and were offered a repast
of dried fish and native cranberries; but because of the offensive odor
of the house, owing to the lack of ventilation and other unmentionable
horrors, they were unable to eat. Perceiving this, their host ordered
the cranberries taken away and beaten up with train-oil, when they were
again placed before the visitors. This last effort of hospitality proved
too much for the politeness of the Englishmen, and they rushed out into
the cool air for relief.

Indeed, the Russians appeared to live quite as filthily and disgustingly
as the natives, and to have fallen into all their cooking, living, and
other customs, save those of painting their faces and wearing ornaments
in lips, noses, and ears.

The name "inlet," instead of "river," was first applied to this
torrential water-way in 1794 by Vancouver, who also bestowed upon
Turnagain the designation of "arm."

Vancouver, upon the invitation of the commanding officer who came out to
his ships for that purpose, paid the Redoubt St. Nicholas, near the
Forelands, a visit. He was saluted by two guns from a kind of balcony,
above which the Russian flag floated on top of a house situated upon a
cliff.

Captain Dixon, the most pious navigator I have found, with the exception
of the Russians, extolled the Supreme Being for having so bountifully
provided in Cook Inlet for the needs of the wretched natives who
inhabited the region. The fresh fish and game of all kinds, so easily
procured, the rich skins with which to clothe their bodies,--inspired
him to praise and thanksgiving.

For the magnificent water-way pushing northward, glaciered, cascaded,
blue-bayed, and emerald-valed, with unbroken chains of snow peaks and
volcanoes on both sides,--up which the voyager sails charmed and
fascinated to-day,--he spoke no enthusiastic word of praise. On the
contrary, he found the aspect dreary and uncomfortable. Even Whidbey,
the Chilly, could not have given way to deeper shudders than did Dixon
in Cook Inlet.

The low land and green valleys close to the shore, grown with trees,
shrubbery, and tall grasses, he found "not altogether disagreeable," but
it was with shock upon shock to his delicate and outraged feelings that
he sailed between the mountains covered with eternal snow. Their
"prodigious extent and stupendous precipices ... chilled the blood of
the beholder." They were "awfully dreadful."

Dixon, as well as Cook, mentions the wearing of the labret by men, but I
still cling to the opinion that they could not distinguish a man from a
woman, owing to the attire.

Dixon also reported that the natives have a keen sense of smell, which
they quicken by the use of snakeroot. One would naturally have supposed
that they would have hunted the forests through and through for some
herb, or some dark charm of witchcraft, that would have deprived them
utterly and forever of this sense, which is so undesirable a possession
to the person living or travelling in Alaska.

The climate of Cook Inlet is more agreeable than that of any other part
of Alaska. In the low valleys near the shore the soil is well adapted to
the growing of fruits, vegetables, and grain, and to the raising of
stock and chickens. Good butter and cheese are made, which, with eggs,
bring excellent prices. Roses and all but the tenderest flowers thrive,
and berries grow large and of delicious flavor, bearing abundantly.

"Awfully dreadful" scenes are not to be found. It is a pleasure to
confess, however, that many features, by their beauty, splendor, and
sublimity, fill the appreciative beholder with awe and reverence.

       *       *       *       *       *

The coal deposits of the region surrounding the inlet are now known to
be numerous and important. Coal is found in Kachemak Bay, and Port
Graham, at Tyonook, and on Matanuska River, about fifty miles inland
from the head of the inlet. It is lignitic and bituminous, but
semi-anthracite has been found in the Matanuska Valley.

Lignitic coals have a very wide distribution, but have been, as yet,
mined only on Admiralty Island, at Homer and Coal Bay in Cook Inlet, at
Chignik and Unga, at several points on the Yukon, and on Seward
Peninsula.

The new railroad now building from Cordova will open up not only vast
copper districts, but the richest and most extensive oil and coal fields
in Alaska, as well.

Semi-anthracite coal exists in commercial quantities, so far as yet
discovered, only at Comptroller Bay. A fine quality of bituminous coal
also exists there, extending inland for twenty-five miles on the
northern tributaries of Behring River and about thirty-five miles east
of Copper River, covering an area of about one hundred and twenty square
miles.

Southwestern Alaska includes the Cook Inlet region, Kodiak and adjacent
islands, Aliaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands. Coal, mostly of a
lignitic character, is widely distributed in all these districts. It has
also been discovered in different localities in the Sushitna Basin.

All coal used by the United States government's naval vessels on the
Pacific is purchased and transported there from the East at enormous
expense. Alaska has vast coal deposits of an exceedingly fine quality
lying undeveloped in the Aliaskan Peninsula, two hundred miles farther
west than Honolulu, and directly on the route of steamers plying from
this country to the Orient. (It is not generally known that the smoke of
steamers on their way from Puget Sound to Japan may be plainly seen on
clear days at Unalaska.)

This coal is in the neighborhood of Portage Bay, where there is a good
harbor and a coaling station. It is reported by geological survey
experts to be as fine as Pocahontas coal, and even higher in carbon.

Possibly, in time, the United States government may awaken to a
realization of the vast fortunes lying hidden in the undeveloped,
neglected, and even scorned resources of Alaska,--not to mention the
tremendous advantages of being able to coal its war vessels with Pacific
Coast coal.

[Illustration: Copyright by J. Doody, Dawson

A YUKON SNOW SCENE NEAR WHITE HORSE]

During the spring of 1908 the Alaska-coal land situation was
discouraging. A great area of rich coal-bearing land had been withdrawn
from entry, because of the amazing presumption of the interior
department that the removal of prohibitive restrictions upon entrymen
would encourage the formation of monopolies in the mining and marketing
of coal.

Secretary Garfield at first inclined strongly to the opinion that the
Alaska coal lands should be held by the government for leasing purposes,
and that there should be a separate reservation for the navy; and he has
not entirely abandoned this opinion.

The withdrawal of the coal lands from entry caused the Copper River and
Northwestern Railway Company to discontinue all work on the Katalla
branch of the road; nor will it resume until the question of title to
the coal lands is settled and the lands themselves admitted to entry.

The fear of monopolies, which is making the interior department uneasy,
is said to have arisen from the fact that it has been absolutely
necessary for several entrymen in a coal region to associate themselves
together and combine their claims, on account of the enormous expense of
opening and operating mines in that country. The surveys alone, which,
in accordance with an act passed in 1904, must be borne by the entryman,
although this burden is not imposed upon entrymen in the states, are so
expensive, particularly in the Behring coal-fields near Katalla, that an
entryman cannot bear it alone; while the expense of getting provisions
and tools from salt-water into the interior is simply prohibitive to
most locators, unless they can combine and divide the expense.

These early discoverers and locators acted in good faith. The lands were
entered as coal lands; there was no fraud and no attempt at fraud; not
one person sought to take up coal land as homestead, nor with scrip,
nor in any fraudulent manner.

There was some carelessness in the observance of new rules and
regulations, but there was excuse for this in the fact that Alaska is
far from Congress and news travels slowly; also, it has been the belief
of Alaskans that when a man, after the infinite labor and deprivation
necessary to successful prospecting in Alaska, has found anything of
value on the public domain, he could appropriate it with the surety that
his right thereto would be recognized and respected; and that any slight
mistakes that might be made technically would be condoned, provided that
they were honest ones and not made with the intent to defraud the
government.

The oldest coal mine in Alaska is located just within the entrance to
Cook Inlet, on the western shore, at Coal Harbor. There, in the early
fifties, the Russians began extensive operations, importing experienced
German miners to direct a large force of Muscovite laborers sent from
Sitka, and running their machinery by steam.

Shafts were sunk, and a drift run into the vein for a distance of one
thousand seven hundred feet. During a period of three years two thousand
seven hundred tons of coal were mined, but the result was a loss to the
enterprising Russians.

Its extent was practically unlimited, but the quality was found to be
too poor for the use of steamers.

It is only within the past three years that the fine quality of much of
the coal found in Alaska has been made known by government experts.

It was inconceivable that Congress should hesitate to enact such laws as
would help to develop Alaska; yet it was not until late in the spring
that bills were passed which greatly relieved the situation and insured
the building of the road upon which the future of this district
depends.



CHAPTER XXVIII


Cook Inlet is so sheltered and is favored by a climate so agreeable that
it was called "Summer-land" by the Russians.

Across Kachemak Bay from Seldovia is Homer--another town of the inlet
blessed with a poetic name. When I landed at its wharf, in 1905, it was
the saddest, sweetest place in Alaska. It was but the touching phantom
of a town.

We reached it at sunset of a June day.

A low, green, narrow spit runs for several miles out into the waters of
the inlet, bordered by a gravelly beach. Here is a railroad running
eight miles to the Cook Inlet coal-fields, a telephone line,
roundhouses, machine-shops, engines and cars, a good wharf, some of the
best store buildings and residences in Alaska,--all painted white with
soft red roofs, and all deserted!

On this low and lovely spit, fronting the divinely blue sea and the full
glory of the sunset, there was only one human being, the postmaster.
When the little _Dora_ swung lightly into the wharf, this poor lonely
soul showed a pitiable and pathetic joy at this fleeting touch of
companionship. We all went ashore and shook hands with him and talked to
him. Then we returned to our cabins and carried him a share of all our
daintiest luxuries.

When, after fifteen or twenty minutes, the _Dora_ withdrew slowly into
the great Safrano rose of the sunset, leaving him, a lonely, gray
figure, on the wharf, the look on his face made us turn away, so that
we could not see one another's eyes.

It was like the look of a dog who stands helpless, lonely, and cannot
follow.

I have never been able to forget that man. He was so gentle, so simple,
so genuinely pleased and grateful--and so lonely!

As I write, Homer is once more a town, instead of a phantom. I no longer
picture him alone in those empty, echoing, red-roofed buildings; but one
of my most vivid and tormenting memories of Alaska is of a gray figure,
with a little pathetic stoop, going up the path from the wharf, in the
splendor of that June sunset, with his dog at his side.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Act of 1902, commonly known as the Alaska Game Law, defines game,
fixes open seasons, restricts the number which may be killed, declares
certain methods of hunting unlawful, prohibits the sale of hides, skins,
or heads at any time, and prohibits export of game animals, or
birds--except for scientific purposes, for propagation, or for
trophies--under restrictions prescribed by the Department of
Agriculture. The law also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture, when
such action shall be necessary, to place further restrictions on killing
in certain regions. The importance of this provision is already
apparent. Owing to the fact that nearly all persons who go to Alaska to
kill big game visit a few easily accessible localities--notably Kadiak
Island, the Kenai Peninsula, and the vicinity of Cook Inlet--it has
become necessary to protect the game of these localities by special
regulations, in order to prevent its speedy destruction.

The object of the act is to protect the game of the territory so far as
possible from the mere "killer," but without causing unnecessary
hardship. Therefore, Indians, Eskimos, miners, or explorers actually in
need of food, are permitted to kill game for their immediate use. The
exception in favor of natives, miners, and explorers must be construed
strictly. It must not be used merely as a pretext to kill game out of
season, for sport or for market, or to supply canneries or settlements;
and, under no circumstances, can the hides or heads of animals thus
killed be lawfully offered for sale.

Every person who has travelled in Alaska knows that these laws are
violated daily. An amusing incident occurred on the _Dora_, on the first
morning "to Westward" from Seward. Far be it from me to eat anything
that is forbidden; but I had _seen_ fried moose steak in Seward. It
resembles slices of pure beef tenderloin, fried.

It chanced that at our first breakfast on the _Dora_ I found fried beef
tenderloin on the bill of fare, and ordered it. Scarcely had I been
served when in came the gentleman from Boston, who, through his alert
and insatiable curiosity concerning all things Alaskan and his keen
desire to experience every possible Alaskan sensation,--all with the
greatest naïveté and good humor,--had endeared himself to us all on our
long journey together.

"What's that?" asked he, briskly, scenting a new experience on my plate.

"Moose," said I, sweetly.

"Moose--_moose!_" cried he, excitedly, seizing his bill of fare. "I'll
have some. Where is it? I don't see it!"

"Hush-h-h," said I, sternly. "It is not on the bill of fare. It is out
of season."

"Then how shall I get it?" he cried, anxiously. "I must have some."

"Tell the waiter to bring you the same that he brought me."

When the dear, gentle Japanese, "Charlie," came to serve him, he
shamelessly pointed at my plate.

"I'll have some of that," said he, mysteriously.

Charlie bowed, smiled like a seraph, and withdrew, to return presently
with a piece of beef tenderloin.

The gentleman from Boston fairly pounced upon it. We all watched him
expectantly. His expression changed from anticipation to satisfaction,
delight, rapture.

"That's the most delicious thing I ever ate," he burst forth, presently.

"Do you think so?" said I. "Really, I was disappointed. It tastes very
much like beefsteak to me."

"Beefsteak!" said he, scornfully. "It tastes no more like beefsteak than
pie tastes like cabbage! What a pity to waste it on one who cannot
appreciate its delicate wild flavor!"

Months afterward he sent me a marked copy of a Boston newspaper, in
which he had written enthusiastically of the "rare, wild flavor,
haunting as a poet's dream," of the moose which he had eaten on the
_Dora_.

In addition to the animals commonly regarded as game, walrus and brown
bear are protected; but existing laws relating to the fur-seal,
sea-otter, or other fur-bearing animals are not affected. The act
creates no close season for black bear, and contains no prohibition
against the sale or shipment of their skins or heads; but those of brown
bear may be shipped only in accordance with regulations.

The Act of 1908 amends the former act as follows:--

It is unlawful for any person in Alaska to kill any wild game, animals,
or birds, except during the following seasons: north of latitude
sixty-two degrees, brown bear may be killed at any time; moose, caribou,
sheep, walrus and sea-lions, from August 1 to December 10, inclusive;
south of latitude sixty-two degrees, moose, caribou, and mountain sheep,
from August 20 to December 31, inclusive; brown bear, from October 1 to
July 1, inclusive; deer and mountain goats, from August 1 to February
1, inclusive; grouse, ptarmigan, shore birds, and water fowl, from
September 1 to March 1, inclusive.

The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized, whenever he may deem it
necessary for the preservation of game animals or birds, to make and
publish rules and regulations which shall modify the close seasons
established, or to provide different close seasons for different parts
of Alaska, or to place further limitations and restrictions on the
killing of such animals or birds in any given locality, or to prohibit
killing entirely for a period not exceeding two years in such locality.

It is unlawful for any person at any time to kill any females or
yearlings of moose, or for any one person to kill in one year more than
the number specified of each of the following game animals: Two moose,
one walrus or sea-lion, three caribou; sheep, or large brown bear; or to
kill or have in his possession in any one day more than twenty-five
grouse or ptarmigan, or twenty-five shore birds or water fowl.

The killing of caribou on the Kenai Peninsula is prohibited until August
20, 1912.

It is unlawful for any non-resident of Alaska to hunt any of the
protected game animals, except deer and goats, without first obtaining a
hunting license; or to hunt on the Kenai Peninsula without a registered
guide, such license not being transferable and valid only during the
year of issue. The fee for this license is fifty dollars to citizens of
the United States, and one hundred dollars to foreigners; it is
accompanied by coupons authorizing the shipment of two moose,--if killed
north of sixty-two degrees,--four deer, three caribou, sheep, goats,
brown bear, or any part of said animals. A resident of Alaska may ship
heads or trophies by obtaining a shipping license for this purpose. A
fee of forty dollars permits the shipment of heads or trophies as
follows: one moose, if killed north of sixty-two degrees; four deer, two
caribou, two sheep, goats, or brown bear. A fee of ten dollars permits
the shipment of a single head or trophy of caribou or sheep; and one of
five, that of goat, deer, or brown bear. It costs just one hundred and
fifty dollars to ship any part of a moose killed south of sixty-two
degrees. Furthermore, before any trophy may be shipped from Alaska, the
person desiring to make such shipment shall first make and file with the
customs office of the port where the shipment is to be made, an
affidavit to the effect that he has not violated any of the provisions
of this act; that the trophy has been neither bought nor sold, and is
not to be shipped for sale, and that he is the owner thereof.

The Governor of Alaska, in issuing a license, requires the applicant to
state whether the trophies are to be shipped through the ports of entry
of Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco, and he notifies the collector at
the given port as to the name of the license holder, and name and
address of the consignee.

After reading these rigid laws, I cannot help wondering whether the
Secretary of Agriculture ever saw an Alaskan mountain sheep. If he has
seen one and should unexpectedly come across some poor wretch smuggling
the head of one out of Alaska, he would--unless his heart is as hard as
"stun-cancer," as an old lady once said--just turn his eyes in another
direction and refuse to see what was not meant for his vision.

The Alaskan sheep does not resemble those of Montana and other sheep
countries. It is more delicate and far more beautiful. There is a
deerlike grace in the poise of its head, a fine and sensitive outline to
nostril and mouth, a tenderness in the great dark eyes, that is at once
startled and appealing; while the wide, graceful sweep of the horns is
unrivalled.

The head of the moose, as well as of the caribou, is imposing, but
coarse and ugly. The antlers of the delicate-headed deer are pretty, but
lack the power of the horns of the Alaskan sheep. The Montana sheep's
head is almost as coarse as that of the moose. The dainty ears and
soft-colored hair of the Alaskan sheep are fawnlike. From the Alaska
Central trains near Lake Kenai, the sheep may be seen feeding on the
mountain that has been named for them.

Cape Douglas, at the entrance to Cook Inlet, is the admiration of all
save the careful navigator who usually at this point meets such
distressing winds and tides that he has no time to devote to the
contemplation of scenery.

This noble promontory thrusts itself boldly out into the sea for a
distance of about three miles, where it sinks sheer for a thousand feet
to the pale green surf that breaks everlastingly upon it. It is far more
striking and imposing than the more famous Cape Elizabeth on the eastern
side of the entrance to the inlet.



CHAPTER XXIX


The heavy forestation of the Northwest Coast ceases finally at the Kenai
Peninsula. Kadiak Island is sparsely wooded in sylvan groves, with green
slopes and valleys between; but the islands lying beyond are bare of
trees. Sometimes a low, shrubby willow growth is seen; but for the most
part the thousands of islands are covered in summer with grasses and
mosses, which, drenched by frequent mists and rain, are of a brilliant
and dazzling green.

The Aleutian Islands drift out, one after another, toward the coast of
Asia, like an emerald rosary on the blue breast of Behring Sea. The only
tree in the Aleutian Islands is a stunted evergreen growing at the gate
of a residence in Unalaska, on the island of the same name.

The prevailing atmospheric color of Alaska is a kind of misty, rosy
lavender, enchantingly blended from different shades of violet, rose,
silver, azure, gold, and green. The water coloring changes hourly. One
passes from a narrow channel whose waters are of the most delicate green
into a wider reach of the palest blue; and from this into a gulf of
sun-flecked purple.

The summer voyage out among the Aleutian Islands is lovely beyond all
description. It is a sweet, dreamlike drifting through a water world of
rose and lavender, along the pale green velvety hills of the islands.
There are no adjectives that will clearly describe this greenness to one
who has not seen it. It is at once so soft and so vivid; it flames out
like the dazzling green fire of an emerald, and pales to the lighter
green of the chrysophrase.

Marvellous sunset effects are frequently seen on these waters. There was
one which we saw in broad gulfs, which gathered in a point on the purple
water about nine o'clock. Every color and shade of color burned in this
point, like a superb fire opal; and from it were flung rays of different
coloring--so far, so close, so mistily brilliant, and so tremulously
ethereal, that in shape and fabric it resembled a vast thistle-down
blowing before us on the water. Often we sailed directly into it and its
fragile color needles were shattered and fell about us; but immediately
another formed farther ahead, and trembled and throbbed until it, too,
was overtaken and shattered before our eyes.

At other times the sunset sank over us, about us, and upon us, like a
cloud of gold and scarlet dust that is scented with coming rain; but of
all the different sunset effects that are but memories now, the most
unusual was a great mist of brilliant, vivid green just touched with
fire, that went marching down the wide straits of Shelikoff late one
night in June.

Early on the morning after leaving Cook Inlet, the "early-decker" will
find the _Dora_ steaming lightly past Afognak Island through the narrow
channel separating it from Marmot Island. This was the most silvery,
divinely blue stretch of water I saw in Alaska, with the exception of
Behring Sea. The morning that we sailed into Marmot Bay was an
exceptionally suave one in June; and the color of the water may have
been due to the softness of the day.

We had passed Sea Lion Rocks, where hundreds of these animals lie upon
the rocky shelves, with lifted, narrow heads, moving nervously from side
to side in serpent fashion, and whom a boat's whistle sends plunging
headlong into the sea.

The southern point of Marmot Island is the Cape St. Hermogenes of
Behring, a name that has been perpetuated to this day. The steamer
passes between it and Pillar Point, and at one o'clock of the same day
through the winding, islanded harbor of Kadiak.

This settlement is on the island that won the heart of John Burroughs
when he visited it with the famous Harriman Expedition--the Island of
Kadiak.

I voyaged with a pilot who had accompanied the expedition.

"Those scientists, now," he said, musingly, one day as he paced the
bridge, with his hands behind him. "They were a real study for a fellow
like me. The genuine big-bugs in that party were the finest gentlemen
you ever saw; but the _little_-bugs--say, they put on more dog than a
bogus prince! They were always demanding something they couldn't get and
acting as if they was afraid somebody might think they didn't amount to
anything. An officer on a ship can always tell a gentleman in two
minutes--his wants are so few and his tastes so simple. John Burroughs?
Oh, say, every man on the ship liked Mr. Burroughs. I don't know as
you'd ought to call him a gentleman. You see, gentlemen live on earth,
and he was way up above the earth--in the clouds, you know. He'd look
right through you with the sweetest eyes, and never see you. But
_flowers_--well, Jeff Davis! Mr. Burroughs could see a flower half a
mile away! You could talk to him all day, and he wouldn't hear a word
you said to him, any more than if he was deef as a post. I thought he
was, the longest while. But Jeff Davis! just let a bird sing on shore
when we were sailing along close. His deefness wasn't particularly
noticeable then!... He'd go ashore and dawdle 'way off from everybody
else, and come back with his arms full of flowers."

Mr. Burroughs was charmed with the sylvan beauty of Kadiak Island; its
pale blue, cloud-dappled skies and deep blue, islanded seas; its narrow,
winding water-ways; its dimpled hills, silvery streams, and wooded
dells; its acres upon acres of flowers of every variety, hue and size;
its vivid green, grassy, and mossy slopes, crests, and meadows; its
delightful air and singing birds.

He was equally charmed with Wood Island, which is only fifteen minutes'
row from Kadiak, and spent much time in its melodious dells, turning his
back upon both islands with reluctance, and afterward writing of them
appreciative words which their people treasure in their hearts and
proudly quote to the stranger who reaches those lovely shores.

       *       *       *       *       *

The name Kadiak was originally Kaniag, the natives calling themselves
Kaniagists or Kaniagmuts. The island was discovered in 1763, by Stephen
Glottoff.

His reception by the natives was not of a nature to warm the cockles of
his heart. They approached in their skin-boats, but his godson, Ivan
Glottoff, a young Aleut interpreter, could not make them understand him,
and they fled in apparent fear.

Some days later they returned with an Aleutian boy whom they had
captured in a conflict with the natives of the Island of Sannakh, and he
served as interpreter.

The natives of Kadiak differ greatly from those of the Aleutian Islands,
notwithstanding the fact that the islands drift into one another.

The Kadiaks were more intelligent and ambitious, and of much finer
appearance, than the Aleutians.

They were of a fiercer and more warlike nature, and refused to meet the
friendly advances of Glottoff. The latter, therefore, kept at some
distance from the shore, and a watch was set night and day.

Nevertheless, the Kadiaks made an early-morning attack, firing upon the
watches with arrows and attempting to set fire to the ship. They fled in
the wildest disorder upon the discharge of firearms, scattering in their
flight ludicrous ladders, dried moss, and other materials with which
they had expected to destroy the ship.

Within four days they made another attack, provided with wooden shields
to ward off the musket-balls.

They were again driven to the shore. At the end of three weeks they made
a third and last attack, protected by immense breastworks, over which
they cast spears and arrows upon the decks.

As these shields appeared to be bullet-proof and the natives continued
to advance, Glottoff landed a body of men and made a fierce attack,
which had the desired effect. The savages dropped their shields and fled
from the neighborhood.

When Von H. J. Holmberg was on the island, he persuaded an old native to
dictate a narrative to an interpreter, concerning the arrival of the
first ship--which was undoubtedly Glottoff's. This narrative is of
poignant interest, presenting, as it does, so simply and so eloquently,
the "other" point of view--that of the first inhabitant of the country,
which we so seldom hear. For this reason, and for the charm of its
style, I reproduce it in part:--

"I was a boy of nine or ten years, for I was already set to paddle a
bidarka, when the first Russian ship, with two masts, appeared near Cape
Aleulik. Before that time we had never seen a ship. We had intercourse
with the Aglegnutes, of the Aliaska Peninsula, with the Tnaianas of the
Kenai Peninsula, and with the Koloshes, of southeastern Alaska. Some
wise men even knew something of the Californias; but of white men and
their ships we knew nothing.

"The ship looked like a great whale at a distance. We went out to sea
in our bidarkas, but we soon found that it was no whale, but another
unknown monster of which we were afraid, and the smell of which made us
sick."

(In all literature and history and real life, I know of no single touch
of unintentional humor so entirely delicious as this: that any odor
could make an Alaskan native, of any locality or tribe, sick; and of all
things, an odor connected with a white person! It appears that in more
ways than one this old native's story is of value.)

"The people on the ship had buttons on their clothes, and at first we
thought they must be cuttle-fish." (More unintentional, and almost as
delicious, humor!) "But when we saw them put fire into their mouths and
blow out smoke we knew that they must be _devils_."

(Did any early navigator ever make a neater criticism of the natives
than these innocent ones of the first white visitors to their shores?)

"The ship sailed by ... into Kaniat, or Alitak, Bay, where it anchored.
We followed, full of fear, and at the same time curious to see what
would become of the strange apparition, but we did not dare to approach
the ship.

"Among our people was a brave warrior named Ishinik, who was so bold
that he feared nothing in the world; he undertook to visit the ship, and
came back with presents in his hand,--a red shirt, an Aleut hood, and
some glass beads." (Glottoff describes this visit, and the gifts
bestowed.)

"He said there was nothing to fear; that they only wished to buy
sea-otter skins, and to give us glass beads and other riches for them.
We did not fully believe this statement. The old and wise people held a
council. Some thought the strangers might bring us sickness.

"Our people formerly were at war with the Fox Island people. My father
once made a raid on Unalaska and brought back, among other booty, a
little girl left by her fleeing people. As a prisoner taken in war, she
was our slave, but my father treated her like a daughter, and brought
her up with his own children. We called her Plioo, which means ashes,
because she was taken from the ashes of her home. On the Russian ship
which came from Unalaska were many Aleuts, and among them the father of
our slave. He came to my father's house, and when he found that his
daughter was not kept like a slave, but was well cared for, he told him
confidentially, out of gratitude, that the Russians would take the
sea-otter skins without payment, if they could.

"This warning saved my father. The Russians came ashore with the Aleuts,
and the latter persuaded our people to trade, saying, 'Why are you
afraid of the Russians? Look at us. We live with them, and they do us no
harm.'

"Our people, dazzled by the sight of such quantities of goods, left
their weapons in the bidarkas and went to the Russians with the
sea-otter skins. While they were busy trading, the Aleuts, who carried
arms concealed about them, at a signal from the Russians, fell upon our
people, killing about thirty and taking away their sea-otter skins. A
few men had cautiously watched the result of the first intercourse from
a distance--among them my father." (The poor fellow told this proudly,
not understanding that he thus confessed a shameful and cowardly act on
his father's part.)

"These attempted to escape in their bidarkas, but they were overtaken by
the Aleuts and killed. My father alone was saved by the father of his
slave, who gave him his bidarka when my father's own had been pierced by
arrows and was sinking.

"In this he fled to Akhiok. My father's name was Penashigak. The time of
the arrival of this ship was August, as the whales were coming into the
bays, and the berries were ripe.

[Illustration: Photo by J. Doody, Dawson

A HOME IN THE YUKON]

"The Russians remained for the winter, but could not find sufficient
food in Kaniat Bay. They were compelled to leave the ship in charge of a
few watchmen and moved into a bay opposite Aiakhtalik Island. Here was a
lake full of herrings and a kind of smelt. They lived in tents through
the winter. The brave Ishinik, who first dared to visit the ship, was
liked by the Russians, and acted as mediator. When the fish decreased in
the lake during the winter, the Russians moved about from place to
place. Whenever we saw a boat coming, at a distance, we fled to the
hills, and when we returned, no dried fish could be found in the houses.

"In the lake near the Russian camp there was a poisonous kind of
starfish. We knew it very well, but said nothing about it to the
Russians. We never ate them, and even the gulls would not touch them.
Many Russians died from eating them. We injured them, also, in other
ways. They put up fox-traps, and we removed them for the sake of
obtaining the iron material. The Russians left during the following
year."

This native's name was Arsenti Aminak. There are several slight
discrepancies between his narrative and Glottoff's account, especially
as to time. He does not mention the hostile attacks of his people upon
the Russians; and these differences puzzle Bancroft and make him
sceptical concerning the veracity of the native's account.

It is barely possible, however, that Glottoff imagined these attacks, as
an excuse for his own merciless slaughter of the Kadiaks.

As to the discrepancy in time, it must be remembered that Arsenti Aminak
was an old man when he related the events which had occurred when he was
a young lad of nine or ten. White lads of that age are not possessed of
vivid memories; and possibly the little brown lad, just "set to paddle
a bidarka," was not more brilliant than his white brothers.

It is wiser to trust the word of the early native than that of the early
navigator--with a few illustrious exceptions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Kadiak is the second in size of Alaskan islands,--Prince of Wales Island
in southeastern Alaska being slightly larger,--and no island, unless it
be Baranoff, is of more historic interest and charm. It was from this
island that Gregory Shelikoff and his capable wife directed the vast and
profitable enterprises of the Shelikoff Company, having finally
succeeded, in 1784, in making the first permanent Russian settlement in
America at Three Saints Bay, on the southeastern coast of this island.
Barracks, offices, counting-houses, storehouses, and shops of various
kinds were built, and the settlement was guarded against native attack
by two armed vessels.

It was here that the first missionary establishment and school of the
Northwest Coast of America were located; and here was built the first
great warehouse of logs.

Shelikoff's welcome from the fierce Kadiaks, in 1784, was not more
cordial than Glottoff's had been. His ships were repeatedly attacked,
and it was not until he had fired upon them, causing great loss of life
and general consternation among them, that he obtained possession of the
harbor.

Shelikoff lost no time in preparing for permanent occupancy of the
island. Dwellings and fortifications were erected. His own residence was
furnished with all the comforts and luxuries of civilization, which he
collected from his ships, for the purpose of inspiring the natives with
respect for a superior mode of living. They watched the construction of
buildings with great curiosity, and at last volunteered their own
services in the work.

Shelikoff personally conducted a school, endeavoring to teach both
children and adults the Russian language and arithmetic, as well as
religion.

In 1796 Father Juvenal, a young Russian priest who had been sent to the
colonies as a missionary, wrote as follows concerning his work:--

"With the help of God, a school was opened to-day at this place, the
first since the attempt of the late Mr. Shelikoff to instruct the
natives of this neighborhood. Eleven boys and several grown men were in
attendance. When I read prayers they seemed very attentive, and were
evidently deeply impressed, although they did not understand the
language.... When school was closed, I went to the river with my boys,
_and with the help of God_" (the italics are mine) "we caught one
hundred and three salmon of large size."

The school prospered and was giving entire satisfaction when Baranoff
transferred Father Juvenal to Iliamna, on Cook Inlet.

We now come to what has long appealed to me as the most tragic and
heart-breaking story of all Alaska--the story of Father Juvenal's
betrayal and death at Iliamna.

Of his last Sabbath's work at Three Saints, Father Juvenal wrote:--

"We had a very solemn and impressive service this morning. Mr. Baranoff
and officers and sailors from the ship attended, and also a large number
of natives. We had fine singing, and a congregation with great outward
appearance of devotion. I could not help but marvel at Alexander
Alexandreievitch (Baranoff), who stood there and listened, crossing
himself and giving the responses at the proper time, and joined in the
singing with the same hoarse voice with which he was shouting obscene
songs the night before, when I saw him in the midst of a drunken
carousal with a woman seated on his lap. I dispensed with services in
the afternoon, because the traders were drunk again, and might have
disturbed us and disgusted the natives."

Father Juvenal's pupils were removed to Pavlovsk and placed under the
care of Father German, who had recently opened a school there.

The priestly missionaries were treated with scant courtesy by Baranoff,
and ceaseless and bitter were the complaints they made against him. On
the voyage to Iliamna, Father Juvenal complains that he was compelled to
sleep in the hold of the brigantine _Catherine_, between bales of goods
and piles of dried fish, because the cabin was occupied by Baranoff and
his party.

In his foul quarters, by the light of a dismal lantern, he wrote a
portion of his famous journal, which has become a most precious human
document, unable to sleep on account of the ribald songs and drunken
revelry of the cabin.

He claims to have been constantly insulted and humiliated by Baranoff
during the brief voyage; and finally, at Pavlovsk, he was told that he
must depend upon bidarkas for the remainder of the voyage to the Gulf of
Kenai; and after that to the robbers and murderers of the Lebedef
Company.

The vicissitudes, insults, and actual suffering of the voyage are
vividly set forth in his journal. It was the 16th of July when he left
Kadiak and the 3d of September when he finally reached Iliamna--having
journeyed by barkentine to Pavlovsk, by bidarka from island to island
and to Cook Inlet, and over the mountains on foot.

He was hospitably received by Shakmut, the chief, who took him into his
own house and promised to build one especially for him. A boy named
Nikita, who had been a hostage with the Russians, acted as interpreter,
and was later presented to Father Juvenal.

This young missionary seems to have been more zealous than diplomatic.
Immediately upon discovering that the boy had never been baptized, he
performed that ceremony, to the astonishment of the natives, who
considered it some dark practice of witchcraft.

Juvenal relates with great naïveté that a pretty young woman asked to
have the same ceremony performed upon her, that she, too, might live in
the same house with the young priest.

The most powerful shock that he received, however, before the one that
led to his death, he relates in the following simple language, under
date of September 5, two days after his arrival:--

"It will be a relief to get away from the crowded house of the chief,
where persons of all ages and sexes mingle without any regard to decency
or morals. To my utter astonishment, Shakmut asked me last night to
share the couch of one of his wives. He has three or four. I suppose
such abomination is the custom of the country, and he intended no
insult. God gave me grace to overcome my indignation, and to decline the
offer in a friendly and dignified manner. My first duty, when I have
somewhat mastered the language, shall be to preach against such wicked
practices, but I could not touch upon such subjects through a boy
interpreter."

The severe young priest carried out his intentions so zealously that the
chief and his friends were offended. He commanded them to put away all
their wives but one.

They had marvelled at his celibacy; but they felt, with the rigid
justice of the savage, that, if absolutely sincere, he was entitled to
their respect.

However, they doubted his sincerity, and plotted to satisfy their
curiosity upon this point. A young Iliamna girl was bribed to conceal
herself in his room. Awaking in the middle of the night and finding
himself in her arms, the young priest was unable to overcome temptation.

In the morning he was overwhelmed with remorse and a sense of his
disgrace. He remembered how haughtily he had spurned Shakmut's offer of
peculiar hospitality, and how mercilessly he had criticised Baranoff for
his immoral carousals. Remembering these things, as well as the ease
with which his own downfall had been accomplished, he was overcome with
shame.

"What a terrible blow this is to all my recent hopes!" he wrote, in his
pathetic account of the affair in his journal. "As soon as I regained my
senses, I drove the woman out, but I felt too guilty to be very harsh
with her. How can I hold up my head among the people, who, of course,
will hear of this affair?... God is my witness that I have set down the
truth here in the face of anything that may be said about it hereafter.
I have kept myself secluded to-day from everybody. I have not yet the
strength to face the world."

When Juvenal did face the small world of Iliamna, it was to be openly
ridiculed and insulted by all. Young girls tittered when he went by; his
own boys, whom he had taught and baptized, mocked him; a girl put her
head into his room when he was engaged in fastening a heavy bar upon his
door, and laughed in his face. Shakmut came and insisted that Juvenal
should baptize his several wives the following Sunday. This he had been
steadily refusing to do, so long as they lived in daily sin; but now,
disgraced, broken in spirit, and no longer able to say, "I am holier
than thou," he wearily consented.

"I shall not shrink from my duty to make him relinquish all but one
wife, however," he wrote, with a last flash of his old spirit, "when the
proper time arrives. If I wink at polygamy now, I shall be forever
unable to combat it. Perhaps it is only my imagination, but I think I
can discover a lack of respect in Nikita's behavior toward me since
yesterday.... My disgrace has become public already, and I am laughed at
wherever I go, especially by the women. Of course, they do not
understand the sin, but rather look upon it as a good joke. It will
require great firmness on my part to regain the respect I have lost for
myself, as well as on behalf of the Church. I have vowed to burn no fuel
in my bedroom during the entire winter, in order to chastise my body--a
mild punishment, indeed, compared to the blackness of my sin."

The following day was the Sabbath. It was with a heavy heart that he
baptized Katlewah, the brother of the chief, and his family, the three
wives of the chief, seven children, and one aged couple.

The same evening he called on the chief and surprised him in a wild
carousal with his wives, in which he was jeeringly invited to join.

Forgetting his disgrace and his loss of the right to condemn for sins
not so black as his own, the enraged young priest vigorously denounced
them, and told the chief that he must marry one of the women according
to the rites of the Church and put away the others, or be forever
damned. The chief, equally enraged, ordered him out of the house. On his
way home he met Katlewah, who reproached him because his religious
teachings had not benefited Shakmut, who was as immoral as ever.

The end was now rapidly approaching. On September 29, less than a month
after his arrival, he wrote: "The chief and his brother have both been
here this morning and abused me shamefully. Their language I could not
understand, but they spat in my face and, what was worse, upon the
sacred images on the walls. Katlewah seized my vestments and carried
them off, and I was left bleeding from a blow struck by an ivory club.
Nikita has washed and bandaged my wounds; but from his anxious manner I
can see that I am still in danger. The other boys have run away. My
wound pains me so that I can scarcely--"

The rest is silence. Nikita, who escaped with Juvenal's journal and
papers and delivered them to the revered and beloved Veniaminoff,
relates that the young priest was here fallen upon and stabbed to death
by his enemies.

Many different versions of this pathetic tragedy are given. I have
chosen Bancroft's because he seems to have gone more deeply and
painstakingly into the small details that add the touch of human
interest than any other historian.

The vital interest of the story, however, lies in what no one has told,
and what, therefore, no one but the romancer can ever tell.

It lies between the written lines; it lies in the imagination of this
austere young priest's remorseful suffering for his sin. There is no
sign that he realized--too late, as usual--his first sin of intolerant
criticism and condemnation of the sins of others. But neither did he
spare himself, nor shrink from the terrible results of his downfall, so
unexpected in his lofty and almost flaunting virtue. He was ready, and
eager, to chastise his flesh to atone for his sin; and probably only one
who has spent a winter in Alaska could comprehend fully the hourly
suffering that would result from a total renouncement of fuel for the
long, dark period of winter.

Veniaminoff was of the opinion that the assassination was caused not so
much by his preaching against polygamy as by the fact that the chiefs,
having given him their children to educate at Kadiak, repented of their
action, and being unable to recover them, turned against him and slew
him as a deceiver, in their ignorance. During the fatal attack upon him,
it is said, Juvenal never thought of flight or self-defence, but
surrendered himself into their hands without resistance, asking only for
mercy for his companions.



CHAPTER XXX


In 1792 Baranoff having risen to the command of the Shelikoff-Golikoff
Company, decided to transfer the settlement of Three Saints to the
northern end of the island, as a more central location for the
distribution of supplies. To-day only a few crumbling ruins remain to
mark the site of the first Russian settlement in America--an event of
such vital historic interest to the United States that a monument should
be erected there by this country.

The new settlement was named St. Paul, and was situated on Pavlovsk Bay,
the present site of Kadiak. The great warehouse, built of logs, and
other ancient buildings still remain.

It was during the year of Father Juvenal's death--1796--that the first
Russo-Greek church was erected at St. Paul. It was about this time that
the conversion of twelve thousand natives in the colonies was reported
by Father Jossaph. This amazing statement could only have been made
after one of Baranoff's banquets--to which the astute governor, desiring
that a favorable report should be sent to St. Petersburg, doubtless bade
the half-starved priest.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the Russian-American Company the Kadiaks and Aleuts were obliged to
hunt and work, at the will of the officers, and to sell all their furs
to the company, at prices established by the latter.

Baranoff, for a time after becoming Chief Director, resided in Kodiak.
All persons and affairs in the colonies were under his control; his
authority was absolute, his decision final, unless appeal was made to
the Directory at Irkutsk; and it was almost impossible for an appeal to
reach Irkutsk.

To-day in Kodiak, as in Sitka, the old and the new mingle. Some of the
old sod-houses remain, and many that were built of logs; but the
majority of the dwellings are modern frame structures, painted white and
presenting a neat appearance, in striking contrast to many of the
settlements of Alaska where natives reside.

The Greek-Russian church shines white and attractive against the green
background of the hill. It is surrounded by a white fence and is shaded
by trees.

I called at the priest's residence and was hospitably received by his
wife, an intelligent, dark-eyed native woman. The interior of the church
is interesting, but lacks the charm and rich furnishings of the one at
Sitka. There is a chime of bells in the steeple; and both steeple and
dome are surmounted by the peculiar Greek-Russian cross which is
everywhere seen in Alaska. It has two short transverse bars, crossing
the vertical shaft, one above and one below the main transverse bar, the
lower always slanting.

The natives of Kodiak are more highly civilized than in other parts of
Alaska. The offspring of Russian fathers and native mothers have
frequently married into white or half-breed families, and the strain of
dark blood in the offspring of these later marriages is difficult to
discern.

I travelled on the _Dora_ with a woman whose father had been a Russian
priest, married to a native woman at Belkoffski. She had been sent to
California for a number of years, and returning, a graduate of a normal
school, had married a Russian. She had a comfortable, well-furnished
home, and her husband appeared extremely fond and proud of her. Her
children were as white as any Russian I have ever seen.

A Russian priest must marry once; but if his wife dies, he cannot marry
again.

This law fills my soul with an unholy delight. It persuades a man to
appreciate his wife's virtues and to condone her faults. Whatever may be
her sins in sight of him and heaven, she is the only one, so far as he
is concerned. It must be she, or nobody, to the end of his days. She may
fill his soul with rage, but he may not even relieve his feelings by
killing her.

The result of this unique religious law is that Russian priests are
uncommonly kind and indulgent to their wives.

"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes," said one who was on the _Dora_, in answer to
a question, "I have a wife. She lives in Paris, where my daughter is
receiving her education. I am going this year to visit them. Yes, yes,
yes."

However, with all the petting and indulgence which the Russian priest
lavishes upon his wife, if what I heard be true,--that he is permitted
neither to cut nor to wash his hair and beard,--God wot she is welcome
to him.

The old graveyard on the hill above Kodiak tempts the visitor, and one
may loiter among the old, neglected graves with no fear of snakes in the
tall, thick grasses.

At first, a woman receives the statement that there are no snakes in
Alaska with open suspicion. It has the sound of an Alaskan joke.

When I first heard it, I was unimpressed. We were nearing a fine field
of red-top, already waist-high, and I waited for the gentleman from
Boston, who believed everything he heard, and imagined far more, to go
prancing innocently through the field.

He went--unhesitatingly, joyously; giving praise to God for his
blessings--as, he vowed, he loved to ramble through deep grass, yet
would rather meet a hippopotamus alone in a mire than a garter-snake
five inches long. The field was the snakiest-looking place imaginable,
and when he had passed safely through, I began to have faith in the
Alaskan snake story.

The climate of Kadiak Island is delightful. The island is so situated
that it is fully exposed to the equalizing influences of the Pacific.
The mean annual temperature is four degrees lower than at Sitka, and
there is twenty per cent less rainfall.

The coast of Alaska is noted for its rainfall and cloudy weather. Its
precipitation is to be compared only to that of the coast of British
Columbia, Washington, and Oregon; and it will surprise many people to
learn that it is exceeded in the latter district.

The heaviest annual rainfall occurs at Nutchek, with a decided drop to
Fort Tongass; then, Orca, Juneau, Sitka, and Fort Liscum. Fort Wrangell,
Killisnoo, and Kodiak stand next; while Tyonok, Skaguay, and Kenai
record only from fifteen to twenty-five inches.

Kadiak Island is a hundred miles long by about forty in width. Its
relief is comparatively low--from three to five thousand feet--and it
has many broad, open valleys, gently rounded slopes, and wooded dells.

Lisiansky was told that the Kadiak group of islands was once separated
from the Aliaska Peninsula by the tiniest ribbon of water. An immense
otter, in attempting to swim through this pass, was caught fast and
could not extricate itself. Its desperate struggles for freedom widened
the pass into the broad sweep of water now known as the Straits of
Shelikoff, and pushed the islands out to their present position. This
legend strengthens the general belief that the islands were once a part
of the peninsula, having been separated therefrom by one of the mighty
upheavals, with its attendant depression, which are constantly taking
place.

A native myth is that the original inhabitants were descended from a
dog. Another legend is to the effect that the daughter of a great chief
north of the peninsula married a dog and was banished with her
dog-husband and whelps. The dog tried to swim back, but was drowned, his
pups then falling upon the old chief and, having torn him to pieces,
reigning in his stead.

In 1791 Shelikoff reported the population of Kadiak Island to be fifty
thousand, the exaggeration being for the purpose of enhancing the value
of his operations. In 1795 the first actual census of Kadiak showed
eighteen hundred adult native males, and about the same number of
females. To-day there are probably not five hundred.

I have visited Kadiak Island in June and in July. On both occasions the
weather was perfect. Clouds that were like broken columns of pearl
pushed languorously up through the misty gold of the atmosphere; the
long slopes of the hillside were vividly green in the higher lights, but
sank to the soft dark of dells and hollows; here and there shone out
acres of brilliant bloom.

To one climbing the hill behind the village, island beyond island
drifted into view, with blue water-ways winding through velvety
labyrinths of green; and, beyond all, the strong, limitless sweep of the
ocean. The winds were but the softest zephyrs, touching the face and
hair like rose petals, or other delicate, visible things; and, the air
was fragrant with things that grow day and night and that fling their
splendor forth in one riotous rush of bloom. Shaken through and through
their perfume was that thrilling, indescribable sweetness which abides
in vast spaces where snow mountains glimmer and the opaline palisades of
glaciers shine.

It is a view to quicken the blood, and to inspire an American to give
silent thanks to God that this rich and peerlessly beautiful country is
ours.

After the transfer, the village of Kodiak was the headquarters of the
Alaska Commercial Company and the Western Fur and Trading Company. The
former company still maintains stores and warehouses at this point. The
house in which the manager resides occupies a commanding site above the
bay. It is historic and commodious, and large house-parties are
entertained with lavish hospitality by Mr. and Mrs. Goss, visitors
gathering there from adjacent islands and settlements.

There are dances, "when the boats are in," in which the civilized native
girls join with a kind of repressed joy that reminds one of New England.
They dress well and dance gracefully. Their soft, dark glances over
their partners' shoulders haunt even a woman dreamily. A century's
silently and gently borne wrongs smoulder now and then in the deep eyes
of some beautiful, dark-skinned girl.

Kodiak is clean. One can stand on the hills and breathe.

For several years after the transfer a garrison of United States troops
was stationed there. Bridges were built across the streams that flow
down through the town, and culverts to drain the marshes. Many of these
improvements have been carelessly destroyed with the passing of the
years, but their early influence remains.

So charming and so idyllic did this island seem to the Russians that it
was with extreme reluctance they moved their capital to Sitka when the
change was considered necessary.

We were rowed by native boys across the satiny channel to Wood Island,
where Reverend C. P. Coe conducts a successful Baptist Orphanage for
native children. Mr. Coe was not at home, but we were cordially
received by Mrs. Coe and three or four assistants. Wood Island, or
Woody, as it was once called, is as lovely as Kadiak; the site for the
buildings of the Orphanage being particularly attractive, surrounded as
it is by groves and dells.

There was a pale green, springlike freshness folded over the gently
rolling hills and hollows that was as entrancing as the first green mist
that floats around the leafing alders on Puget Sound in March.

The Orphanage was established in 1893 by the Woman's American Baptist
Home Mission Society of Boston, and the first child was entered in that
year. Mr. Coe assumed charge of the Orphanage in 1895, and about one
hundred and thirty children have been educated and cared for under his
administration. They have come from the east as far as Kayak, and from
the west as far as Unga. At present there is but one other Baptist
Mission field in Alaska--at Copper Centre.

The purpose of the work is to provide a Christian home and training for
the destitute and friendless; to collect children, that they may receive
an education; and to give industrial training so far as possible.

There were forty-two children in the home at the time of our visit, and
there was a full complement of helpers in the work, including a
physician.

The regular industrial work consists of all kinds of housework for the
girls. Everything that a woman who keeps house should know is taught to
these girls. The boys are taught to plough and sow, to cultivate and
harvest the crops, to raise vegetables, to care for stock and poultry.
Twenty-five acres are under cultivation, and the hardier grains and
vegetables are grown with fair success.

Potatoes yield two hundred and fifty bushels to the acre; and barley,
forty bushels. Cattle and poultry thrive and are of exceeding value,
fresh milk and vegetables being better than medicines for the welfare
of the children. Angora goats require but little care and yield
excellent fleece each year.

The most valuable features of the work are the religious training; the
furnishing of a comfortable home, warm clothing, clean and wholesome
food of sufficient quantity, to children who have been rescued from vice
and the most repulsive squalor; the atmosphere of industry, cleanliness,
kindness, and love; and the medical care furnished to those who may be
suffering because of the vices of their ancestors.

This excellent work is supported by offerings from the Baptist Sunday
Schools of New England, and by contributions from the society with the
yard-long name by which it was established.

We were offered most delicious ginger-cake with nuts in it and big
goblets of half milk and half cream; and we were not surprised that the
shy, dark-skinned children looked so happy and so well cared for. We saw
their schoolrooms, their play rooms, and their bedrooms, with the little
clean cots ranged along the walls.

The children were shy, but made friends with us readily; and holding our
hands, led the way to the dells where the violets grew. They listened to
stories with large-eyed interest, and were, in general, bright,
well-mannered, and attractive children.

It was on Wood Island that the famous and mysterious ice-houses of the
American-Russian Ice Company, whose headquarters were in San Francisco,
were located. Their ruins still stand on the shore, as well as the
deserted buildings of the North American Commercial Company, whose
headquarters were here for many years--the furs of the Copper River and
Kenai regions having been brought here to be shipped to San Francisco.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

ONE AND A HALF MILLIONS OF KLONDYKE GOLD]

The operations of the ice company were shrouded in mystery, many
claiming that not a pound of ice was ever shipped to the California
seaport from Wood Island. Other authorities, however, affirm that at one
time large quantities of ice were shipped to the southern port, and that
the agent of the company lived on Wood Island in a manner as autocratic
and princely as that of Baranoff himself. The whole island was his park
and game preserve; and one of the first roads ever built in Alaska was
constructed here, comprising the circuit of the island, a distance of
about thirteen miles.

There is a Greek-Russian church and mission on the island.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not far from Wood Island is Spruce.

"Here," says Tikhmenef, "died the last member of the first clerical
mission, the monk Herman. During his lifetime Father Herman built near
his dwelling a school for the daughters of the natives, and also
cultivated potatoes."

Bancroft pokes fun at this obituary. The growing of potatoes, however,
at that time in Alaska must have been of far greater value than any
ordinary missionary work. Better to cultivate potatoes than to teach a
lot of wretched beings to make the sign of the cross and dabble
themselves with holy water--and it is said that this is all the average
priest taught a hundred years ago, the poor natives not being able to
understand the Russian language.

The Kadiak Archipelago consists of Kadiak, Afognak, Tugidak, Sitkinak,
Marmot, Wood, Spruce, Chirikoff (named by Vancouver for the explorer who
discovered it upon his return journey to Kamchatka), and several smaller
ones. They are all similar in appearance, but smaller and less fertile
than Kadiak. A small group northwest of Chirikoff is named the Semidi
Islands.

There is a persistent legend of a "lost" island in the Pacific, to the
southward of Kadiak.

When the Russian missionaries first came to the colonies in America,
they found the natives living "as the seals and the otters lived." They
were absolutely without moral understanding, and simply followed their
own instincts and desires.

These missionaries were sent out in 1794, by command of the Empress
Catherine the Second; and by the time of Sir George Simpson's visit in
1842, their influence had begun to show beneficial results. An Aleutian
and his daughter who had committed an unnatural crime suddenly found
themselves, because of the drawing of new moral lines, ostracized from
the society in which they had been accustomed to move unchallenged. They
stole away by night in a bidarka, and having paddled steadily to the
southward for four days and nights they sighted an island which had
never been discovered by white man or dark. They landed and dwelt upon
this island for a year.

Upon their return to Kadiak and their favorable report of their lone,
beautiful, and sea-surrounded retreat, a vessel was despatched in search
of it, but without success.

To this day it is "Lost" Island. Many have looked for it, but in vain.
It is the sailor's dream, and is supposed to be rich in treasure. Its
streams are yellow with gold, its mountains green with copper glance;
ambergris floats on the waters surrounding it; and all the seals and
sea-otters that have been frightened out of the north sun themselves,
unmolested, upon its rocks and its floating strands of kelp.

One day it will rise out of the blue Pacific before the wondering eyes
of some fortunate wanderer--even as the Northwest Passage, for whose
sake men have sailed and suffered and failed and died for four hundred
years, at last opened an icy avenue before the amazed and unbelieving
eyes of the dauntless Amundsen.



CHAPTER XXXI


Leaving Kodiak, the steamer soon reaches Afognak, on the island of the
same name. There is no wharf at this settlement, and we were rowed
ashore.

We were greatly interested in this place. The previous year we had made
a brief voyage to Alaska. On our steamer was an unmarried lady who was
going to Afognak as a missionary. She was to be the only white woman on
the island, and she had entertained us with stories which she had heard
of a very dreadful and wicked saloon-keeper who had lived near her
schoolhouse, and whose evil influence had been too powerful for other
missionaries to combat.

"But he can't scare me off!" she declared, her eyes shining with
religious ardor. "I'll conquer him before he shall conquer me!"

She was short and stout and looked anything but brave, and as we
approached the scene of conflict, we felt much curiosity as to the
outcome.

She was on the beach when we landed, stouter, shorter, and more
energetic than ever in her movements. She remembered us and proudly led
the way up the bank to her schoolhouse. It was large, clean, and
attractive. The missionary lived in four adjoining rooms, which were
comfortable and homelike. We were offered fresh bread and delicious
milk.

She talked rapidly and eagerly upon every subject save the one in which
we were so interested. At last, I could endure the suspense no longer.

"And how," asked I, "about the wicked saloon-keeper?"

A dull flush mounted to her very glasses. For a full minute there was
silence. Then said she, slowly and stiffly:--

"How about _what_ wicked saloon-keeper?"

"Why, the one you told us about last year; who had a poor abused wife
and seven children, and who scared the life out of every missionary who
came here."

There was another silence.

"Oh," said she then, coldly. "Well, he was rather hard to get along with
at first, but his--er--hum--wife died about three months ago, and he
has--er--hum" (the words seemed to stick in her throat) "asked
me--he--asked me, you know, to" (she giggled suddenly) "_marry_ him, you
know.

"I don't know as I will, though," she added, hastily, turning very red,
as we stood staring at her, absolutely speechless.

       *       *       *       *       *

The village of Afognak is located at the southwestern end of Litnik Bay.
It is divided into two distinct settlements, the most southerly of which
has a population of about one hundred and fifty white and half-breed
people. A high, grassy bluff, named Graveyard Point, separates this part
of the village from that to the northward, which is entirely a native
settlement of probably fifty persons.

The population of the Island of Afognak is composed of Kadiaks, Eskimos,
Russian half-breeds, and a few white hunters and fishermen. The social
conditions are similar to those existing on the eastern shores of Cook
Inlet.

When Alaska was under the control of the Russian-American Company, many
men grew old and comparatively useless in its service. These employees
were too helpless to be thrown upon their own resources, and their
condition was reported to the Russian government.

In 1835 an order was issued directing that such Russian employees as
had married native women should be located as permanent settlers when
they were no longer able to serve the company. The company was compelled
to select suitable land, build comfortable dwellings for them, supply
agricultural implements, seed, cattle, chickens, and a year's
provisions.

These settlers were exempt from taxation and military duty, and the
Russians were known as colonial citizens, the half-breeds as colonial
settlers. The eastern shores of Cook Inlet, Afognak Island, and Spruce
Island were selected for them. The half-breeds now occupying these
localities are largely their descendants. They have always lived on a
higher plane of civilization than the natives, and among them may be
found many skilled craftsmen.

There is no need for the inhabitants of any of these islands to suffer,
for here are all natural resources for native existence. All the hardier
vegetables thrive and may be stored for winter use; hay may be provided
for cattle; the waters are alive with salmon and cod; bear, fox, mink,
and sea-otter are still found.

In summer the men may easily earn two hundred dollars working in the
adjacent canneries; while the women, assisted by the old men and
children, dry the fish, which is then known as ukala. There is a large
demand in the North for ukala, for dog food. There are two large stores
in Afognak, representing large trading companies, where two cents a
pound is paid for all the ukala that can be obtained.

The white men of Afognak are nearly all Scandinavians, married to, or
living with, native women. The school-teacher I have already mentioned
was the only white woman, and she told us that we were the first white
women who had landed on the island during the year she had spent there.
Only once had she talked with white women, and that was during a visit
to Kodiak.

The town has a sheltered and attractive site on a level green. There is
a large Greek-Russian church, not far from the noisy saloon which is
presided over by the saloon-keeper who was once bad, but who has now
yielded to the missionary's spell.

       *       *       *       *       *

Karluk River, on the eastern side of Kadiak Island, is the greatest
salmon stream in the world. It is sixteen miles long, less than six feet
deep, and so narrow at its mouth that a child could toss a pebble from
shore to shore. It seems absurd to enter a canoe to cross this stream,
so like a little creek is it, across which one might easily leap.

Yet up this tiny water-way millions of salmon struggle every season to
the spawning-grounds in Karluk Lake. Before the coming of canners with
traps and gill-nets in 1884, it is said that a solid mass of fish might
be seen filling this stream from bank to bank, and from its mouth to the
lake in the hills.

In 1890 the largest cannery in the world was located in Karluk Bay, but
now that distinction belongs to Bristol Bay, north of the Aliaska
Peninsula. (Another "largest in the world" is on Puget Sound!)

Karluk Bay is very small; but several canneries are on its shores, and
when they are all in operation, the employees are sufficient in number
to make one of the largest towns in Alaska. In 1890 three millions of
salmon were packed in the several canneries operating in the bay; in
1900 more than two millions in the two canneries then operating; but, on
account of the use of traps and gill-nets, the pack has greatly
decreased since then, and during some seasons has proved a total
failure.

Fifteen years ago two-thirds of the entire Alaskan salmon pack were
furnished by the ten canneries of Kadiak Island, and these secured
almost their entire supply from Karluk River. Furthermore, at that time,
the canners enjoyed their vast monopoly without tax, license, or any
government interference.

Immense fortunes have been made--and lost--in the fish industry during
the last twenty years.

The superintendents of these canneries always live luxuriously, and
entertain like princes--or Baranoff. Their comfortable houses are
furnished with all modern luxuries,--elegant furniture, pianos, hot and
cold water, electric baths. Perfectly trained, noiseless Chinamen glide
around the table, where dinners of ten or twelve delicate courses are
served, with a different wine for each course.

Champagne is a part of the hospitality of Alaska. The cheapest is seven
dollars and a half a bottle, and Alaskans seldom buy the cheapest of
anything.

It was on a soft gray afternoon that the _Dora_ entered Karluk Bay
between the two picturesque promontories that plunge boldly out into
Shelikoff Straits. It seemed as though all the sea-birds of the world
must be gathered there. Our entrance set them afloat from their perches
on the rocky cliffs. They filled the air, from shore to shore, like a
snow-storm. Their poetic flight and shrill, mournful plaining haunt
every memory of Karluk Bay.

Now and then they settled for an instant. A cliff would shine out
suddenly--a clear, tremulous white; then, as suddenly, there would be
nothing but a sheer height of dark stone veined with green before our
bewildered gaze. It was as if a silvery, winged cloud drifted up and
down the face of the cliffs and then floated out across the bay.

Several old sailing vessels, or "wind-jammers," lay at anchor. They are
used for conveying stores and employees from San Francisco. The many
buildings of the canneries give Karluk the appearance of a town--in
fact, during the summer, it is a town; while in the winter only a few
caretakers of the buildings and property remain.

Men of almost every nationality under the sun may be found here, working
side by side.

Ceaseless complaints are made of the lawless conditions existing "to
Westward." Besides the thousands of men employed in the canneries of the
Kadiak and the Aleutian islands, at least ten thousand men work in the
canneries of Bristol Bay. They come from China, Japan, the Sandwich
Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Porto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and
almost every country that may be named.

"The prevailing color of Alaska may be 'rosy lavender,'" said a
gentleman who knows, "but let me tell you that out there you will find
conditions that are neither rosy nor lavender."

There is a United States Commissioner and a Deputy United States Marshal
in the district, but they are unable to control these men, many of whom
are desperate characters. The superintendents of the canneries are there
for the purpose of putting up the season's pack as speedily as possible;
and, although they are invariably men who deplore crime, they have been
known to condone it, to avoid the taking of themselves or their crews
hundreds of miles to await the action of some future term of court.

For many years the District of Alaska has been divided for judicial
purposes into three divisions: the first comprising the southeastern
Alaska district; the second, Nome and the Seward Peninsula; the third,
the vast country lying between these two.

In each is organized a full United States district court. The three
judges who preside over these courts receive the salary of five thousand
dollars a year,--which, considering the high character of the services
required, and the cost of living in Alaska, is niggardly. So much power
is placed in the hands of these judges that they are freely called czars
by the people of Alaska.

The people of the third district complained bitterly that their court
facilities were entirely inadequate. Several murders were committed, and
the accused awaited trial for many months. Witnesses were detained from
their homes and lawful pursuits. Delays were so vexatious that many
crimes remained unpunished, important witnesses rebelling against being
held in custody for a whole year before they had an opportunity to
testify--the judge of the third district being kept busy along the Yukon
and at Fairbanks.

As a partial remedy for some of these abuses of government, Governor
Brady, in his report for the year 1904, suggested the creation of a
fourth judicial district, to be furnished with a sea-going vessel, which
should be under the custody of the marshal and at the command of the
court. It was recommended that this vessel be equipped with small arms,
a Gatling gun, and ammunition. All the islands which lie along the
thousands of miles of shore-line of Kenai and Aliaska peninsulas, Cook
Inlet, the Kadiak, Shumagin, and Aleutian chains, and Bristol Bay might
be visited in season, and a wholesome respect for law and order be
enforced.

The burning question in Alaska has been for many years the one of home
government. As early as 1869 an impassioned plea was made in Sitka that
Alaska should be given territorial rights. Yet even the bill for one
delegate to Congress was defeated as late as the winter of
1905--whereupon fiery Valdez instantly sent its famous message of
secession.

Governor Brady criticised the appointment of United States commissioners
by the judges, claiming that there is really no appeal from a
commissioner's court to a district court, for the reason that the judge
usually appoints some particular protégé and feels bound to sustain his
decisions. The governor stated plainly in his report that the most
remunerative offices are filled by persons who are peculiarly related,
socially or politically, to the judges; that the attorneys and their
clients understood this and considered an appeal useless. Governor Brady
also declared the fee system, as practised in these commissioners'
courts, to be an abomination. Unless there is trouble, the officer
cannot live; and the inference is that he, therefore, welcomes trouble.

Whatever of truth there may have been in these pungent criticisms,
President Roosevelt endorsed many of the governor's recommendations in
his message to Congress; and several have been adopted. During the past
two years Alaska has made rapid strides toward self-government, and
important reforms have been instituted.

The territory now has a delegate to Congress. Upon the subject of home
government the people are widely and bitterly divided. Those having
large interests in Alaska are, as a rule, opposed to home government,
claiming that it is the politicians and those owning nothing upon which
taxes could be levied, who are agitating the subject. These claim that
the few who have ventured heavily to develop Alaska would be compelled
to bear the entire burden of a heavy taxation, for the benefit of the
professional politician, the carpet-bagger, and the impecunious loafer
who is "just waiting for something to turn up."

On the other hand, those favoring territorial government claim that it
is opposed only by the large corporations which "have been bleeding
Alaska for years."

The jurisdiction of the United States commissioners in Alaska is far
greater than is that of other court commissioners. They can sit as
committing magistrates; as justices of the peace, can try civil cases
where the amount involved is one thousand dollars or less; can try
criminal cases and sentence to one year's imprisonment; they are
clothed with full authority as probate judges; they may act as coroners,
notaries, and recorders of precincts.

The third district, presided over by Judge Reid, whose residence is at
Fairbanks, is five hundred miles wide by nine hundred miles long. It
extends from the North Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean, and from the
international boundary on the east to the Koyukuk. The chief means of
transportation within this district are steamers along the coast and on
the Yukon, and over trails by dog teams.

It is small wonder that a man hesitates long before suing for his rights
in Alaska. The expense and hardship of even reaching the nearest seat of
justice are unimaginable. One man travelled nine hundred miles to reach
Rampart to attend court. The federal court issues all licenses,
franchises, and charters, and collects all occupation taxes. Every
village or mining settlement of two or three hundred men has a
commissioner, whose sway in his small sphere is as absolute as that of
Baranoff was.



CHAPTER XXXII


We found only one white woman at Karluk, the wife of the manager of the
cannery, a refined and accomplished lady.

Her home was in San Francisco, but she spent the summer months with her
husband at Karluk.

We were taken ashore in a boat and were most hospitably received in her
comfortable home.

About two o 'clock in the afternoon we boarded a barge and were towed by
a very small, but exceedingly noisy, launch up the Karluk River to the
hatcheries, which are maintained by the Alaska Packers Association.

It was one of those soft, cloudy afternoons when the coloring is all in
pearl and violet tones, and the air was sweet with rain that did not
fall. The little make-believe river is very narrow, and so shallow that
we were constantly in danger of running aground. We tacked from one side
of the stream to the other, as the great steamers do on the Yukon.

On this little pearly voyage, a man who accompanied us told a story
which clings to the memory.

"Talk about your big world," said he. "You think it 'u'd be easy to hide
yourself up in this God-forgotten place, don't you? Just let me tell you
a story. A man come up here a few years ago and went to work. He never
did much talkin'. If you ast him a question about hisself or where he
come from, he shut up like a steel trap with a rat in it. He was a
nice-lookin' man, too, an' he had an education an' kind of nice clean
ways with him. He built a little cabin, an' he didn't go 'out' in
winter, like the rest of us. He stayed here at Karluk an' looked after
things.

"Well, after one-two year a good-lookin' young woman come up here--an'
jiminy-cricket! He fell in love with her like greased lightnin' an'
married her in no time. I God, but that man was happy. He acted like a
plumb fool over that woman. After while they had a baby--an' then he
acted like two plumb fools in one. I ain't got any wife an' babies
myself an' I God! it ust to make me feel queer in my throat.

"Well, one summer the superintendent's wife brought up a woman to keep
house for her. She was a white, sad-faced-lookin' woman, an' when she
had a little time to rest she ust to climb up on the hill an' set there
alone, watchin' the sea-gulls. I've seen her set there two hours of a
Sunday without movin'. Maybe she'd be settin' there now if I hadn't gone
and put my foot clean in it, as usual.

"I got kind of sorry for her, an' you may shoot me dead for a fool, but
one day I ast her why she didn't walk around the bay an' set a spell
with the other woman.

"'I don't care much for women,' she says, never changin' countenance,
but just starin' out across the bay.

"'She's got a reel nice, kind husband,' says I, tryin' to work on her
feelin's.

"'I don't like husbands,' says she, as short as lard pie-crust.

"'She's got an awful nice little baby,' says I, for if you keep on long
enough, you can always get a woman.

"She turns then an' looks at me.

"'It's a girl,' says I, 'an' Lord, the way it nestles up into your neck
an' loves you!'

"Her lips opened an' shut, but she didn't say a word; but if you'd look
'way down into a well an' see a fire burnin' in the water, it 'u'd look
like her eyes did then.

"'Its father acts like a plumb fool over it an' its mother,' says I.
'The sun raises over there, an' sets over here--but _he_ thinks it
raises an' sets in that woman an' baby.'

"'The woman must be pretty,' says she, suddenly, an' I never heard a
woman speak so bitter.

"'She is,' says I; 'she's got--'

"'Don't tell me what she's got,' snaps she, gettin' up off the ground,
kind o' stiff-like. 'I've made up my mind to go see her, an' maybe I'd
back out if you told me what she's like. Maybe you'd tell me she had red
wavy hair an' blue eyes an' a baby mouth an' smiled like an angel--an'
then devils couldn't drag me to look at her.'

"Say, I nearly fell dead, then, for that just described the woman; but
I'm no loon, so I just kept still.

"'What's their name?' says she, as we walked along.

"'Davis,' says I; an' mercy to heaven! I didn't know I was tellin' a
lie.

"All of a sudden she laughed out loud--the awfullest laugh. It sounded
as harrable mo'rnful as a sea-gull just before a storm.

"'_Husband!_' she flings out, jeerin'; '_I_ had a husband once. I
worshipped the ground he trod on. _I_ thought the sun raised an' set in
_him_. He carried me on two chips for a while, but I didn't have any
children, an' I took to worryin' over it, an' lost my looks an' my
disposition. It goes deep with some women, an' it went deep with me. Men
don't seem to understand some things. Instid of sympathizin' with me, he
took to complainin' an' findin' fault an' finally stayin' away from
home.

"'There's no use talkin' about what I suffered for a year; I never told
anybody this much before--an' it wa'n't anything to what I've suffered
ever since. But one day I stumbled on a letter he had wrote to a woman
he called Ruth. He talked about her red wavy hair an' blue eyes an' baby
mouth an' the way she smiled like an angel. They were goin' to run away
together. He told her he'd heard of a place at the end of the earth
where a man could make a lot of money, an' he'd go there an' get settled
an' then send for her, if she was willin' to live away from everybody,
just for him. He said they'd never see a human soul that knew them.'

"She stopped talkin' all at once, an' we walked along. I was scared
plumb to death. I didn't know the woman's name, for he always called her
'dearie,' but the baby's name was Ruth.

"'You've got to feelin' bad now,' says I, 'an' maybe we'd best not go
on.'

"'I'm goin' on,' says she.

"After a while she says, in a different voice, kind of hard, 'I put that
letter back an' never said a word. I wouldn't turn my hand over to keep
a man. I never saw the woman; but I know how she looks. I've gone over
it every night of my life since. I know the shape of every feature. I
never let on, to him or anybody else. It's the only thing I've thanked
God for, since I read that letter--helpin' me to keep up an' never let
on. It's the only thing I've prayed for since that day. It wa'n't very
long--about a month. He just up an' disappeared. People talked about me
awful because I didn't cry, an' take on, an' hunt him.

"'I took what little money he left me an' went away. I got the notion
that he'd gone to South America, so I set out to get as far in the other
direction as possible. I got to San Francisco, an' then the chance fell
to me to come up here. It sounded like the North Pole to me, so I come.
I'm awful glad I come. Them sea-gulls is the only pleasure I've
had--since; an' it's been four year. That's all.'

"Well, sir, when we got up close to the cabin, I got to shiverin' so's I
couldn't brace up an' go in with her. It didn't seem possible it _could_
be the same man, but then, such darn queer things do happen in Alaska!
Anyhow, I'd got cold feet. I remembered that the cannery the man worked
in was shut down, so's he'd likely be at home.

"'I'll go back now,' I mumbles, 'an' leave you womenfolks to get
acquainted.'

"I fooled along slow, an' when I'd got nearly to the settlement I heard
her comin'. I turned an' waited--an' I God! she won't be any ash-whiter
when she's in her coffin. She was steppin' in all directions, like a
blind woman; her arms hung down stiff at her sides; her fingers were
locked around her thumbs as if they'd never loose; an' some nights, even
now, I can't sleep for thinkin' how her eyes looked. I guess if you'd
gag a dog, so's he couldn't cry, an' then cut him up _slow_, inch by
inch, his eyes 'u'd look like her'n did then. At sight of me her face
worked, an' I thought she was goin' to cry; but all at once she burst
out into the awfullest laughin' you ever heard outside of a lunatic
asylum.

"'Lord God Almighty!' she cries out--'where's his mercy at, the Bible
talks about? You'd think he might have a little mercy on an ugly woman
who never had any children, wouldn't you--especially when there's women
in the world with wavy red hair an' blue eyes--women that smile like
angels an' have little baby girls! Oh, Lord, what a joke on me!'

"Well, she went on laughin' till my blood turned cold, but she never
told me one word of what happened to her. She went back to California on
the first boat that went, but it was two weeks. I saw her several times;
an' at sight of me she'd burst out into that same laughin' an' cry out,
'My Lord, what a joke! Did you ever see its beat for a joke?' but she
wouldn't answer a thing I ast her. The last time I ever see her, she was
leanin' over the ship's side. She looked like a dead woman, but when she
see me she waved her hand and burst out laughin'.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau Courtesy of Webster &
Stevens, Seattle

A FAMOUS TEAM OF HUSKIES]

"'Do you hear them sea-gulls?' she cries out. 'All they can scream is
_Kar_-luk! _Kar_-luk! _Kar_-luk! You can hear'm say it just as plain.
_Kar_-luk! I'll hear 'em when I lay in my grave! Oh, my Lord, what a
joke!'"



CHAPTER XXXIII


Our progress up Karluk River in the barge was so leisurely that we
seemed to be "drifting upward with the flood" between the low green
shores that sloped, covered with flowers, to the water. The clouds were
a soft gray, edged with violet, and the air was very sweet.

The hatchery is picturesquely situated.

A tiny rivulet, called Shasta Creek, comes tumbling noisily down from
the hills, and its waters are utilized in the various "ponds."

The first and highest pond they enter is called the "settling" pond,
which receives, also, in one corner, the clear, bubbling waters of a
spring, whose upflow, never ceasing, prevents this corner of the pond
from freezing. This pond is deeper than the others, and receives the
waters of the creek so lightly that the sediment is not disturbed in the
bottom, its function being to permit the sediment carried down from the
creek to settle before the waters pass on into the wooden flume, which
carries part of the overflow into the hatching-house, or on into the
lower ponds, which are used for "ripening" the salmon.

There are about a dozen of these ponds, and they are terraced down the
hill with a fall of from four to six feet between them.

They are rectangular in shape and walled with large stones and cement.
The walls are overgrown with grasses and mosses; and the waters pouring
musically down over them from large wooden troughs suspended
horizontally above them, and whose bottoms are pierced by numerous
augur-holes, produce the effect of a series of gentle and lovely
waterfalls.

It is essential that the fall of the water should be as light and as
soft as possible, that the fish may not be disturbed and
excited--ripening more quickly and perfectly when kept quiet.

These ponds were filled with salmon. Many of them moved slowly and
placidly through the clear waters; others struggled and fought to leap
their barriers in a seemingly passionate and supreme desire to reach the
highest spawning-ground. There is to me something divine in the
desperate struggle of a salmon to reach the natural place for the
propagation of its kind--the shallow, running upper waters of the stream
it chooses to ascend. It cannot be will-power--it can be only a
God-given instinct--that enables it to leap cascades eight feet in
height to accomplish its uncontrollable desire. Notwithstanding all
commercial reasoning and all human needs, it seems to me to be inhumanly
cruel to corral so many millions of salmon every year, to confine them
during the ripening period, and to spawn them by hand.

In the natural method of spawning, the female salmon seeks the upper
waters of the stream, and works out a trough in the gravelly bed by
vigorous movements of her body as she lies on one side. In this trough
her eggs are deposited and are then fertilized by the male.

The eggs are then covered with gravel to a depth of several feet, such
gravel heaps being known as "redds."

To one who has studied the marvellously beautiful instincts of this most
human of fishes, their desperate struggles in the ripening ponds are
pathetic in the extreme; and I was glad to observe that even the
gentlemen of our party frequently turned away with faces full of the
pity of it.

A salmon will struggle until it is but a purple, shapeless mass; it will
fling itself upon the rocks; the over-pouring waters will bear it back
for many yards; then it will gradually recover itself and come plunging
and fighting back to fling itself once more upon the same rocks. Each
time that it is washed away it is weaker, more bruised and discolored.
Battered, bleeding, with fins broken off and eyes beaten out, it still
returns again and again, leaping and flinging itself frenziedly upon the
stone walls.

Its very rush through the water is pathetic, as one remembers it; it is
accompanied by a loud swish and the waters fly out in foam; but its
movements are so swift that only a line of silver--or, alas! frequently
one of purple--is visible through the beaded foam.

Some discoloration takes place naturally when the fish has been in fresh
water for some time; but much of it is due to bruising. A salmon newly
arrived from the sea is called a "clean" salmon, because of its bright
and sparkling appearance and excellent condition.

There is a tramway two or three hundred yards in length, along which one
may walk and view the various ponds. It is used chiefly to convey
stock-fish from the corrals to the upper ripening-ponds.

When ripe fish are to be taken from a pond, the water is lowered to a
depth of about a foot and a half; a kind of slatting is then put into
the water at one end and slidden gently under the fish, which are
examined--the "ripe" ones being placed in a floating car and the "green"
ones freed in the pond. A stripping platform attends every pond, and
upon this the spawning takes place.

The young fish, from one to two years old, before it has gone to sea, is
called by a dozen different names, chief of which are parr and
salmon-fry. At the end of ten weeks after hatching, the fry are fed
tinned salmon flesh,--"do-overs" furnished by the canneries,--which is
thoroughly desiccated and put through a sausage-machine.

When the fry are three or four months old, they are "planted." After
being freed they work their way gradually down to salt-water, which
pushes up into the lagoon, and finally out into the bay. They return
frequently to fresh water and for at least a year work in and out with
the tides.

The majority of fry cling to the fresh-water vicinity for two years
after hatching, at which time they are about eight inches long. The
second spring after hatching they sprout out suddenly in bright and
glistening scales, which conceal the dark markings along their sides
which are known as parr-marks. They are then called "smolt," and are as
adult salmon in all respects save size.

In all rivers smolts pass down to the sea between March and June,
weighing only a few ounces. The same fall they return as "grilse,"
weighing from three to five pounds.

After their first spawning, they return during the winter to the sea;
and in the following year reascend the river as adult salmon. Males
mature sexually earlier than females.

The time of year when salmon ascend from the sea varies greatly in
different rivers, and salmon rivers are denominated as "early" or
"late."

The hatchery at Karluk is a model one, and is highly commended by
government experts. It was established in the spring of 1896, and
stripping was done in August of the same year. The cost of the present
plant has been about forty thousand dollars, and its annual expenditure
for maintenance, labor, and improvements, from ten to twenty thousand.
There is a superintendent and a permanent force of six or eight men,
including a cook, with additional help from the canneries when it is
required.

There are many buildings connected with the hatchery, and all are kept
in perfect order. The first season, it is estimated that two millions of
salmon-fry were liberated, with a gradual increase until the present
time, when forty millions are turned out in a single season.

The superintendent was taken completely by surprise by our visit, but
received us very hospitably and conducted us through all departments
with courteous explanations. The shining, white cleanliness and order
everywhere manifest would make a German housewife green of envy.

At this point Karluk River widens into a lagoon, in which the corrals
are wired and netted off somewhat after the fashion of fish-traps,
covering an area of about three acres.

Fish for the hatcheries are called "stock-fish." They are secured by
seiners in the lagoon opposite the hatcheries, and are then transferred
to the corrals. As soon as a salmon has the appearance of ripening, it
is removed by the use of seines to the ripening-ponds.

In the hatching-house are more than sixty troughs, fourteen feet in
length, sixteen inches in width, and seven inches in depth. The wood of
which they are composed is surfaced redwood. The joints are coated with
asphaltum tar, with cotton wadding used as calking material. When the
trough is completed, it is given one coat of refined tar and two of
asphaltum varnish.

In the Karluk hatchery the troughs never leak, owing to this superior
construction; and it is said that the importance of this advantage
cannot be overestimated.

Leaks make it impossible for the employees to estimate the amount of
water in the troughs; repairs startle the young fry and damage the eggs;
and the damp floors cause illness among the employees. The Karluk
hatchery is noted for its dryness and cleanliness.

The setting of the hatchery is charming. The hills, treeless, pale
green, and velvety, slope gently to the river and the lagoon. Now and
then a slight ravine is filled with a shrubby growth of a lighter green.
Flowers flame everywhere, and tiny rivulets come singing down to the
larger stream.

The greenness of the hills continues around the bay, broken off abruptly
on Karluk Head, where the soft, veined gray of the stone cliff blends
with the green.

The bay opens out into the wide, bold, purple sweep of Shelikoff Strait.

Every body of water has its character--some feature that is peculiarly
its own, which impresses itself upon the beholder. The chief
characteristic of Shelikoff Strait is its boldness. There is something
dauntless, daring, and impassioned in its wide and splendid sweep to the
chaste line of snow peaks of the Aleutian Range on the Aliaska
Peninsula. It seems to hold a challenge.

I should like to live alone, or almost alone, high on storm-swept Karluk
Head, fronting that magnificent scene that can never be twice quite the
same. What work one might do there--away from little irritating cares!
No neighbors to "drop in" with bits of delicious gossip; no theatres in
which to waste the splendid nights; no bridge-luncheons to
tempt,--nothing but sunlight glittering down on the pale green hills;
the golden atmosphere above the little bay filled with tremulous, winged
snow; and miles and miles and miles of purple sea.



CHAPTER XXXIV


"What kind of place is Uyak?" I asked a deck-hand who was a native of
Sweden, as we stood out in the bow of the _Dora_ one day.

He turned and looked at me and grinned.

"It ees a hal of a blace," he replied, promptly and frankly. "It ees
yoost dat t'ing. You vill see."

And I did see. I should, in fact, like to take this frank-spoken
gentleman along with me wherever I go, solely to answer people who ask
me what kind of place Uyak is--his opinion so perfectly coincides with
my own.

There were canneries at Uyak, and mosquitoes, and things to be smelled;
but if there be anything there worth seeing, they must first kill the
mosquitoes, else it will never be seen.

The air was black with these pests, and the instant we stepped upon the
wharf we were black with them, too. Every passenger resembled a windmill
in action, as he raced down the wharf toward the cannery, hoping to find
relief there; and as he went his nostrils were assailed by an odor that
is surpassed in only one place on earth--_Belkoffski!_--and it comes
later.

The hope of relief in the canneries proved to be a vain one. The
unfortunate Chinamen and natives were covered with mosquitoes as they
worked; their faces and arms were swollen; their eyes were fierce with
suffering. They did not laugh at our frantic attempts to rid ourselves
of the winged pests--as we laughed at one another. There was nothing
funny in the situation to those poor wretches. It was a tragedy. They
stared at us with desperate eyes which asked:--

"Why don't you go away if you are suffering? You are free to leave. What
have you to complain of? _We_ must stay."

We went out and tried to walk a little way along the hill; but the
mosquitoes mounted in clouds from the wild-rose thickets. At the end of
fifteen minutes we fled back to the steamer and locked ourselves in our
staterooms. There we sat down and nursed our grievances with camphor and
alcohol.

We sailed up Uyak Bay to the mine of the Kodiak Gold Mining Company.
This is a free milling mine and had been a developing property for four
years. It was then installing a ten-stamp mill, and had twenty thousand
tons of ore blocked out, the ore averaging from fifteen to twenty
dollars a ton.

This mine is located on the northern side of Kadiak Island, and has good
water power and excellent shipping facilities. Fifty thousand dollars
were taken out of the beaches in the vicinity in 1904 by placer mining.

Here, in this lovely, lonely bay, one of the most charming women I ever
met spends her summers. She is the wife of one of the owners of the
mine, and her home is in San Francisco. She finds the summers ideal, and
longs for the novelty of a winter at the mine. She has a canoe and
spends most of her time on the water. There are no mosquitoes at the
mine; the summers are never uncomfortably hot, and it is seldom, indeed,
that the mercury falls to zero in the winter.

From Kadiak Island we crossed Shelikoff Straits to Cold Bay, on the
Aliaska Peninsula, which we reached at midnight, and which is the only
port that could not tempt us ashore. When our dear, dark-eyed Japanese,
"Charlie," played a gentle air upon our cabin door with his fingers and
murmured apologetically, "Cold Bay," we heard the rain pouring down our
windows in sheets, and we ungratefully replied, "Go away, Charlie, and
leave us alone."

No rope-ladders and dory landings for us on such a night, at a place
with such a name.

The following day was clear, however, and we sailed all day along the
peninsula. To the south of us lay the Tugidak, Trinity, Chirikoff, and
Semidi islands.

At six in the evening we landed at Chignik, another uninteresting
cannery place. From Chignik on "to Westward" the resemblance of the
natives to the Japanese became more remarkable. As they stood side by
side on the wharves, it was almost impossible to distinguish one from
the other. The slight figures, brown skin, softly bright, dark eyes,
narrowing at the corners, and amiable expression made the resemblance
almost startling.

At Chignik we had an amusing illustration, however, of the ease with
which even a white man may grow to resemble a native.

The mail agent on the _Dora_ was a great admirer of his knowledge of
natives and native customs and language. _Cham-mi_ is a favorite
salutation with them. Approaching a man who was sitting on a barrel, and
who certainly resembled a native in color and dress, the agent
pleasantly exclaimed, "_Cham-mi._"

There was no response; the man did not lift his head; a slouch hat
partially concealed his face.

"_Cham-mi!_" repeated the agent, advancing a step nearer.

There was still no response, no movement of recognition.

The mail agent grew red.

"He must be deaf as a post," said he. He slapped the man on the shoulder
and, stooping, fairly shouted in his ear, "_Cham-mi_, old man!"

Then the man lifted his head and brought to view the unmistakable
features of a Norwegian.

"T'hal with you," said he, briefly. "I'm no tamn Eskimo."

The mail agent looked as though the wharf had gone out from under his
feet; and never again did we hear him give the native salutation to any
one. The Norwegian had been living for a year among the natives; and by
the twinkle in his eye as he again lowered his head it was apparent that
he appreciated the joke.

At the entrance to Chignik Bay stands Castle Cape, or Tuliiumnit Point.
From the southeastern side it really resembles a castle, with turrets,
towers, and domes. It is an immense, stony pile jutting boldly out into
the sea, whose sparkling blue waves, pearled with foam, break loudly
upon its base. In color it is soft gray, richly and evenly streaked with
rose. Sea birds circled, screaming, over it and around it. Castle Cape
might be the twin sister of "Calico Bluff" on the Yukon.

Popoff and Unga are the principal islands of the Shumagin group, on one
of which Behring landed and buried a sailor named Shumagin. They are the
centre of famous cod-fishing grounds which extend westward and northward
to the Arctic Ocean, eastward to Cook Inlet, and southeastward to the
Straits of Juan de Fuca.

There are several settlements on the Island of Unga--Coal Harbor, Sandy
Point, Apollo, and Unga. The latter is a pretty village situated on a
curving agate beach. It is of some importance as a trading post.

Finding no one to admit us to the Russo-Greek church, we admitted
ourselves easily with our stateroom key; but the tawdry cheapness of the
interior scarcely repaid us for the visit. The graveyard surrounding the
church was more interesting.

There is no wharf at Unga, but there is one at Apollo, about three miles
farther up the bay. We were taken up to Apollo in a sail-boat, and it
proved to be an exciting sail. It is not sailing unless the rail is
awash; but it seemed as though the entire boat were awash that June
afternoon in the Bay of Unga. Scarcely had we left the ship when we were
struck by a succession of squalls which lasted until our boat reeled,
hissing, up to the wharf at Apollo.

Water poured over us in sheets, drenching us. We could not stay on the
seats, as the bottom of the boat stood up in the air almost
perpendicularly. We therefore stood up with it, our feet on the lower
rail with the sea flowing over them, and our shoulders pressed against
the gunwale. Had it not been for the broad shoulders of two Englishmen,
our boat would surely have gone over.

It all came upon us so suddenly that we had no time to be frightened,
and, with all the danger, it was glorious. No whale--no "right" whale,
even--could be prouder than we were of the wild splashing and spouting
that attended our tipsy race up Unga Bay.

The wharf floated dizzily above us, and we were compelled to climb a
high perpendicular ladder to reach it. No woman who minds climbing
should go to Alaska. She is called upon at a moment's notice to climb
everything, from rope-ladders and perpendicular ladders to volcanoes. A
mile's walk up a tramway brought us to the Apollo.

This is a well-known mine, which has been what is called a "paying
proposition" for many years. At the time of our visit it was worked out
in its main lode, and the owners had been seeking desperately for a new
one. It was discovered the following year, and the Apollo is once more a
rich producer.

In a large and commodious house two of the owners of the mine lived,
their wives being with them for the summer. They were gay and charming
women, fond of society, and pining for the fleshpots of San Francisco.
The white women living between Kodiak and Dutch Harbor are so few that
they may be counted on one hand, and the luxurious furnishings of their
homes in these out-of-the-way places are almost startling in their
unexpectedness. We spent the afternoon at the mine, and the ladies
returned to the _Dora_ with us for dinner. The squalls had taken
themselves off, and we had a prosaic return in the mine's launch.

"What do we do?" said one of the ladies, in reply to my question. "Oh,
we read, walk, write letters, go out on the water, play cards, sew, and
do so much fancy work that when we get back to San Francisco we have
nothing to do but enjoy ourselves and brag about the good time we have
in Alaska. We are all packed now to go camping--"

"_Camping!_" I repeated, too astonished to be polite.

"Yes, camping," replied she, coloring, and speaking somewhat coldly. "We
go in the launch to the most beautiful beach about ten miles from Unga.
We stay a month. It is a sheltered beach of white sand. The waves lap on
it all day long, blue, sparkling, and warm, and we almost live in them.
The hills above the beach are simply covered with the big blueberries
that grow only in Alaska. They are somewhat like the black mountain
huckleberry, only more delicious. We can them, preserve them, and dry
them, and take them back to San Francisco with us. They are the best
things I ever ate--with thick cream on them. I had some in the house; I
wish I had thought to offer you some."

She wished she had thought to offer me some!

On the _Dora_ we were rapidly getting down to bacon and fish,--being
about two thousand miles from Seattle, with no ice aboard in this land
of ice,--and I am not enthusiastic about either.

And she wished that she had thought to offer me some Alaskan blueberries
that are more delicious than mountain huckleberries, and thick cream!



CHAPTER XXXV


I have heard of steamers that have been built and sent out by missionary
or church societies to do good in far and lonely places.

The little _Dora_ is not one of these, nor is religion her cargo; her
hold is filled with other things. Yet blessings be on her for the good
she does! Her mission is to carry mail, food, freight, and good cheer to
the people of these green islands that go drifting out to Siberia, one
by one. She is the one link that connects them with the great world
outside; through her they obtain their sole touch of society, of which
their appreciation is pitiful.

Our captain was a big, violet-eyed Norwegian, about forty years old. He
showed a kindness, a courtesy, and a patience to those lonely people
that endeared him to us.

He knew them all by name and greeted them cordially as they stood,
smiling and eager, on the wharves. All kinds of commissions had been
intrusted to him on his last monthly trip. To one he brought a hat; to
another a phonograph; to another a box of fruit; dogs, cats, chairs,
flowers, books--there seemed to be nothing that he had not personally
selected for the people at the various ports. Even a little
seven-year-old half-breed girl had travelled in his care from Valdez to
join her father on one of the islands.

Wherever there was a woman, native or half-breed, he took us ashore to
make her acquaintance.

"Come along now," he would say, in a tone of command, "and be nice.
They don't get a chance to talk to many women. Haven't you got some
little womanly thing along with you that you can give them? It'll make
them happy for months."

We were eager enough to talk to them, heaven knows, and to give them
what we could; but the "little womanly things" that we could spare on a
two months' voyage in Alaska were distressingly few. When we had nothing
more that we could give, the stern disapproval in the captain's eyes
went to our hearts. Box after box of bonbons, figs, salted almonds,
preserved ginger, oranges, apples, ribbons, belts, pretty bags--one
after one they went, until, like Olive Schreiner's woman, I felt that I
had given up everything save the one green leaf in my bosom; and that
the time would come when the captain would command me to give that up,
too.

There seems to be something in those great lonely spaces that moves the
people to kindness, to patience and consideration--to tenderness, even.
I never before came close to such _humanness_. It shone out of people in
whom one would least expect to find it.

Several times while we were at dinner the chief steward, a gay and
handsome youth not more than twenty-one years old, rushed through the
dining room, crying:--

"Give me your old magazines--_quick_! There's a whaler's boat
alongside."

A stampede to our cabins would follow, and a hasty upgathering of such
literature as we could lay our hands upon.

The whaling and cod-fishing schooners cruise these waters for months
without a word from the outside until they come close enough to a
steamer to send out a boat. The crew of the steamer, discovering the
approach of this boat, gather up everything they can throw into it as it
flashes for a moment alongside. Frequently the occupants of the boat
throw fresh cod aboard, and then there are smiling faces at dinner. It
is my opinion, however, that any one who would smile at cod would smile
at anything.

The most marvellous voyage ever made in the beautiful and not always
peaceful Pacific Ocean was the one upon which the _Dora_ started at an
instant's notice, and by no will of her master's, on the first day of
January, 1906. Blown from the coast down into the Pacific in a freezing
storm, she became disabled and drifted helplessly for more than two
months.

During that time the weather was the worst ever known by seafaring men
on the coast. The steamship _Santa Ana_ and the United States steamship
_Rush_ were sent in search of the _Dora_, and when both had returned
without tidings, hope for her safety was abandoned.

Eighty-one days from the time she had sailed from Valdez, she crawled
into the harbor of Seattle, two thousand miles off her course. She
carried a crew of seven men and three or four passengers, one of whom
was a young Aleutian lad of Unalaska. As the _Dora_ was on her outward
trip when blown to sea, she was well stocked with provisions which she
was carrying to the islanders; but there was no fuel and but a scant
supply of water aboard.

The physical and mental sufferings of all were ferocious; and it was but
a feeble cheer that arose from the little shipwrecked band when the
_Dora_ at last crept up beside the Seattle pier. For two months they had
expected each day to be their last, and their joy was now too deep for
expression.

The welcome they received when they returned to their regular run among
the Aleutian Islands is still described by the settlers.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau Courtesy of Webster &
Stevens, Seattle

CLOUD EFFECT ON THE YUKON]

The _Dora_ reached Kodiak late on a boisterous night; but her whistle
was heard, and the whole town was on the wharf when she docked, to
welcome the crew and to congratulate them on their safety. Some greeted
their old friends hilariously, and others simply pressed their hands in
emotion too deep for expression.

So completely are the people of the smaller places on the route cut off
from the world, save for the monthly visits of the _Dora_, that they had
not heard of her safety. When, after supposing her to be lost for two
months, they beheld her steaming into their harbors, the superstitious
believed her to be a spectre-ship.

The greatest demonstration was at Unalaska. A schooner had brought the
news of her safety to Dutch Harbor; from there a messenger was
despatched to Unalaska, two miles away, to carry the glad tidings to the
father of the little lad aboard the _Dora_.

The news flashed wildly through the town. People in bed, or sitting by
their firesides, were startled by the flinging open of their door and
the shouting of a voice from the darkness outside:--

"The _Dora's_ safe!"--but before they could reach the door, messenger
and voice would be gone--fleeing on through the town.

At last he reached the Jessie Lee Missionary Home, at the end of the
street, where a prayer-meeting was in progress. Undaunted, he flung wide
the door, burst into the room, shouting, "The _Dora's_ safe!"--and was
gone. Instantly the meeting broke up, people sprang to their feet, and
prayer gave place to a glad thanksgiving service.

When the _Dora_ finally reached Unalaska once more, the whole town was
in holiday garb. Flags were flying, and every one that could walk was on
the wharf. Children, native and white, carried flags which they joyfully
waved. Their welcome was enthusiastic and sincere, and the men on the
boat were deeply affected.

The _Dora_ is not a fine steamship, but she is stanch, seaworthy, and
comfortable; and the islanders are as attached to her as though she were
a thing of flesh and blood.

No steamer could have a twelve-hundred-mile route more fascinating than
the one from Valdez to Unalaska. It is intensely lovely. Behind the gray
cliffs of the peninsula float the snow-peaks of the Aleutian Range. Here
and there a volcano winds its own dark, fleecy turban round its crest,
or flings out a scarlet scarf of flame. There are glaciers sweeping
everything before them; bold headlands plunging out into the sea, where
they pause with a sheer drop of thousands of feet; and flowery vales and
dells. There are countless islands--some of them mere bits of green
floating upon the blue.

At times a kind of divine blueness seems to swim over everything.
Wherever one turns, the eye is rested and charmed with blue. Sea, shore,
islands, atmosphere, and sky--all are blue. A mist of it rests upon the
snow mountains and goes drifting down the straits. It is a warm,
delicate, luscious blue. It is like the blue of frost-touched grapes
when the prisoned wine shines through.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sand Point, a trading post on Unga Island, is a wild and picturesque
place. It impressed me chiefly, however, by the enormous size of its
crabs and starfishes, which I saw in great numbers under the wharf.
Rocks, timbers, and boards were incrusted with rosy-purple starfishes,
some measuring three feet from the tip of one ray to the tip of the ray
nearly opposite. Smaller ones were wedged in between the rays of the
larger ones, so that frequently a piling from the wharf to the sandy
bottom of the bay, which we could plainly see, would seem to be solid
starfish.

As for the crabs--they were so large that they were positively
startling. They were three and four feet from tip to tip; yet their
movements, as they floated in the clear green water, were exceedingly
graceful.

Sand Point has a wild, weird, and lonely look. It is just the place for
the desperate murder that was committed in the house that stands alone
across the bay,--a dull and neglected house with open windows and
banging doors.

"Does no one live there?" I asked the storekeeper's wife.

"Live there!" she repeated with a quick shudder. "No one could be hired
at any price to live there."

The murdered man had purchased a young Aleutian girl, twelve years old,
for ten dollars and some tobacco. When she grew older, he lived with her
and called her his wife. He abused her shamefully. A Russian half-breed
named Gerassenoff--the name fits the story--fell in love with the girl,
loved her to desperation, and tried to persuade her to run away with
him.

She dared not, for fear of the brutal white wretch who owned her, body
and soul. Gerassenoff, seeing the cruelties and abuse to which she was
daily subjected, brooded upon his troubles until he became partially
insane. He entered the house when the man was asleep and murdered
him--foully, horribly, cold-bloodedly.

Gerassenoff is now serving a life-sentence in the government
penitentiary on McNeil's Island; the man he murdered lies in an unmarked
grave; the girl--for the story has its touch of awful humor!--the girl
married another man within a twelvemonth.

There is a persistent invitation at Sand Point to the swimmer. The
temptation to sink down, down, through those translucent depths, and
then to rise and float lazily with the jelly-fishes, is almost
irresistible. There is a seductive, languorous charm in the slow curve
of the waves, as though they reached soft arms and wet lips to caress.
There are more beautiful waters along the Alaskan coast, but none in
which the very spirit of the swimmer seems so surely to dwell.



CHAPTER XXXVI


Belkoffski! There was something in the name that attracted my attention
the first time I heard it; and my interest increased with each mile that
brought it nearer. It is situated on the green and sloping shores of
Pavloff Bay, which rise gradually to hills of considerable height.
Behind it smokes the active volcano, Mount Pavloff, with whose ashes the
hills are in places gray, and whose fires frequently light the night
with scarlet beauty.

The _Dora_ anchored more than a mile from shore, and when the boat was
lowered we joyfully made ready to descend. We were surprised that no one
would go ashore with us. Important duties claimed the attention of
officers and passengers; yet they seemed interested in our preparations.

"Won't you come ashore with us?" we asked.

"No, I thank you," they all replied, as one.

"Have you ever been ashore here?"

"Oh, yes, thank you."

"Isn't it interesting, then?"

"Oh, very interesting, indeed."

"There is something in their manner that I do not like," I whispered to
my companion. "What do you suppose is the matter with Belkoffski."

"Smallpox, perhaps," she whispered back.

"I don't care; I'm going."

"So am I."

"What kind of place is Belkoffski?" I asked one of the sailors who rowed
us ashore.

He grinned until it seemed that he would never again be able to get his
mouth shut.

"Jou vill see vot kind oof a blace it ees," he replied luminously.

"Is it not a nice place, then?"

"Jou vill see."

We did see.

The tide was so low and the shore so rocky that we could not get within
a hundred yards of any land. A sailor named "Nelse" volunteered to carry
us on his back; and as nothing better presented itself for our
consideration, we promptly and joyfully went pick-a-back.

This was my most painful experience in Alaska. My father used to make
stirrups of his hands; but as Nelse did not offer, diffidence kept me
from requesting this added gallantry of him. It was well that I went
first; for after viewing my friend's progress shoreward, had I not
already been upon the beach, I should never have landed at Belkoffski.

For many years Belkoffski was the centre of the sea-otter trade. This
small animal, which has the most valuable fur in the world, was found
only along the rock shores of the Aliaska Peninsula and the Aleutian
Islands. The Shumagins and Sannak islands were the richest grounds.
Sea-otter, furnishing the court fur of both Russia and China, were in
such demand that they have been almost entirely exterminated--as the
fur-bearing seal will soon be.

The fur of the sea-otter is extremely beautiful. It is thick and
velvety, its rich brown under-fur being remarkable. The general color is
a frosted, or silvery, purplish brown.

The sea-otter frequented the stormiest and most dangerous shores, where
they were found lying on the rocks, or sometimes floating, asleep, upon
fronds of an immense kelp which was called "sea-otter's cabbage." The
hunters would patiently lie in hiding for days, awaiting a favorable
opportunity to surround their game.

They were killed at first by ivory spears, which were deftly cast by
natives. In later years they were captured in nets, clubbed brutally, or
shot. They were excessively shy, and the difficulty and danger of
securing them increased as their slaughter became more pitiless. Only
natives were allowed to kill otter until 1878, when white men married to
native women were permitted by the Secretary of the Treasury to consider
themselves, and to be considered, natives, so far as hunting privileges
were concerned.

The rarest and most valuable of otter are the deep-sea otter, which
never go ashore, as do the "rock-hobbers," unless driven there by
unusual storms. "Silver-tips"--deep-sea otter having a silvery tinge on
the tips of the fur--bring the most fabulous prices.

The hunting of these scarce and precious animals calls for greater
bravery, hardship, perilous hazard, and actual suffering than does the
chase of any other fur-bearing animal. Pitiful, shameful, and loathsome
though the slaughter of seals be, it is not attended by the exposure and
the hourly peril which the otter hunter unflinchingly faces.

Sea-otter swim and sleep upon their backs, with their paws held over
their eyes, like sleepy puppies, their bodies barely visible and their
hind flippers sticking up out of the water.

The young are born sometimes at sea, but usually on kelp-beds; and the
mother swims, sleeps, and even suckles her young stretched at full
length in the water upon her back. She carries her offspring upon her
breast, held in her forearms, and has many humanly maternal ways with
it,--fondling it, tossing it into the air and catching it, and even
lulling it to sleep with a kind of purring lullaby.

Both the male and female are fond of their young, caring for it with
every appearance of tenderness. In making difficult landings, the male
"hauls out" first and catches the young, which the mother tosses to him.
Sometimes, when a baby is left alone for a few minutes, it is attacked
by some water enemy and killed or turned over, when it invariably
drowns. The mother, returning and finding it floating, dead, takes it in
her arms and makes every attempt possible to bring it to life. Failing,
she utters a wild cry of almost human grief and slides down into the
sea, leaving it.

The otter hunters used to go out to sea in their bidarkas, with bows,
arrows, and harpoons; several would go together, keeping two or three
hundred yards apart and proceeding noiselessly. When one discovered an
otter, he would hold his paddle straight up in the air, uttering a loud
shout. Then all would paddle cautiously about, keeping a close watch for
the otter, which cannot remain under water longer than fifteen or twenty
minutes. When it came up, the native nearest its breathing place yelled
and held up his paddle, startling it under the water again so suddenly
that it could not draw a fair breath. In this manner they forced the
poor thing to dive again and again, until it was exhausted and floated
helplessly upon the water, when it was easily killed. Frequently two or
three hours were required to tire an otter.

This picturesque method of hunting has given place to shooting and
clubbing the otter to death as he lies asleep on the rocks. As they come
ashore during the fiercest weather, the hunter must brave the most
violent storms and perilous surfs to reach the otter's retreat in his
frail, but beautiful, bidarka. With his gut kamelinka--thin and yellow
as the "gold-beater's leaf"--tied tightly around his face, wrists, and
the "man-hole" in which he sits or kneels, his bidarka may turn over and
over in the sea without drowning him or shipping a drop of water--on his
lucky days. But the unlucky day comes; an accident occurs; and a
dark-eyed woman watches and waits on the green slopes of Belkoffski for
the bidarka that does not come.

There were only women and children in the village of Belkoffski that
June day. The men--with the exception of two or three old ones, who are
always left, probably as male chaperons, at the village--were away,
hunting.

The beach was alive, and very noisy, with little brown lads, half-bare,
bright-eyed, and with faces that revealed much intelligence, kindness,
and humor.

They clung to us, begging for pennies, which, to our very real regret,
we had not thought to take with us. Candy did not go far, and dimes,
even if we had been provided with them, would have too rapidly run into
dollars.

Long-stemmed violets and dozens of other varieties of wild flowers
covered the slopes. One little creek flowed down to the sea between
banks that were of the solid blue of violets.

But the village itself! With one of the prettiest natural locations in
Alaska; with singing rills and flowery slopes and a volcano burning
splendidly behind it; with little clean-looking brown lads playing upon
its sands, a Greek-Russian church in its centre, and a resident priest
who ought to know that cleanliness is next to godliness--with all these
blessings, if blessings they all be, Belkoffski is surely the most
unclean place on this fair earth.

The filth, ignorance, and apparent degradation of these villagers were
revolting in the extreme. Nauseous odors assailed us. They came out of
the doors and windows; they swam out of barns and empty sheds; they
oozed up out of the earth; they seemed, even, to sink upon us out of
the blue sky. The sweetness and the freshness of green grass and blowing
flowers, of dews and mists, of mountain and sea scented winds, are not
sufficient to cleanse Belkoffski--the Caliban among towns.

An educated half-breed Aleutian woman, married to a white man,
accompanied us ashore. She was on her way to Unalaska, and had been
eager to land at Belkoffski, where she was born.

Her father had been a priest of the Greek-Russian church and her mother
a native woman. She had told us much of the kind-heartedness and
generosity of the villagers. Her heart was full of love and gratitude to
them for their tenderness to her when her father, of blessed memory, had
died.

"I have never had such friends since," she said. "They would do anything
on earth for those in trouble, and give their own daily food, if
necessary. I have never seen anything like it since. Education doesn't
put _that_ into our hearts. Such sympathy, such tenderness, such
understanding of grief and trouble!--and the kind of help that helps
most."

If this be the real nature of these people, only the right influence is
needed to lift them from their degradation. The larger children--the
brown-limbed, joyous children down on the beach--looked clean, probably
from spending much time in the healing sea.

The people of the islands do not travel much, and our fellow-voyager had
not been to Belkoffski since she was a little girl. For many years she
had been living among white people, with all the comforts and
cleanliness of a white woman. I watched her narrowly as we went from
house to house, looking for baskets.

We had told her we desired baskets, and she had offered to find some for
us. After we saw the houses and the women, we would have touched a
leper as readily as we would have touched one of the baskets that were
brought out for our inspection; but politeness kept us from admitting to
her our feeling.

As for her own courtesy and restraint, I have never seen them surpassed
by any one. Shock upon shock must have been hers as we passed through
that village of her childhood and affection. She went into those noisome
hovels without the faintest hesitation; she breathed their atmosphere
without complaint; she embraced the women without shrinking.

She knew perfectly why we did not buy the baskets; but she received our
excuses with every appearance of believing them to be sincere, and she
offered us others with utmost dignity and with the manner of serving us,
strangers, in a strange land.

If her delicacy was outraged by the scenes she witnessed, there was not
the faintest trace of it visible in her manner. She made no excuses for
the people, nor for their manner of living, nor for the village.
Belkoffski had been her childhood's home, her father's field; its people
had befriended her and had given her love and tenderness when she was in
need; therefore, both were sacred and beyond criticism.

When we returned to the ship, she could not have failed to hear the
jests and frank opinions of Belkoffski which were freely expressed among
the passengers; but her grave, dark face gave no sign that she
disapproved, or even that she heard.

A government cutter should be sent to Belkoffski with orders to clean it
up, and to burn such portions as are past cleansing. So far as the
Russian priest and the people in his charge are concerned, they would be
benefited by less religion and more cleanliness.

Dr. Hutton, an army surgeon stationed at Fort Seward on Lynn Canal, and
Judge Gunnison, of Juneau, have recently made an appeal to President
Roosevelt for relief for diseased and suffering Indians of Alaska.

Tuberculosis and trachoma prevail among the many tribes and are
increasing at an alarming rate, owing to the utter lack of sanitation in
the villages. Alaskans travelling in the territory are thrown in
constant contact with the Indians. They are encountered on steamers and
trains, in stores and hotels. Owing to the pure air and the general
healthfulness of the northern climate, Alaskans feel no real alarm over
the conditions prevailing as yet; but all feel that the time has arrived
when the Indians should be cared for.

Everything purchased of an Indian should be at once
fumigated--especially furs, blankets, baskets, and every article that
has been handled by him or housed in one of his vile shacks.

The United States Grand Jury recently recommended that medical men be
sent by the government to attend the disease-stricken creatures, and
that a system of inspection and education along sanitary lines--with
special stress laid upon domestic sanitation--should be established.

This system should be extended to the last island of the Aleutian Chain,
and in the interior down the Yukon to Nome. The fur trade and the
canneries depend largely upon the labor of Indians. The former industry
could scarcely be made successful without them. The Indians are rapidly
becoming a "vanishing race" in the North, as elsewhere. For the vices
that are to-day responsible for their unfortunate condition they are
indebted to the white men who have kept them supplied with cheap whiskey
ever since the advent of the first American traders who taught them,
soon after the purchase of Alaska by the United States, to make
"hootchenoo" of molasses, flour, dried apples, or rice, and hops. This
highly intoxicating and degrading liquor was known also as
molasses-rum. During the latter part of the seventies, six thousand five
hundred and twenty-four gallons of molasses were delivered at Sitka and
Wrangell.

The loss of their help, however, is not so serious--being merely a
commercial loss--as the danger to civilized people by coming in contact
with these dreaded diseases. An Indian in Alaska whose eyes are not
diseased is an exception, while the ravages of consumption are very
frequently visible to the most careless observer. Both diseases are
aggravated by such conditions as those existing at Belkoffski. A
physician should be stationed there for a few years at least, to teach
these poor, kind-hearted people what the Russian priest has not taught
them--the science of sanitation.

Bishop Rowe reports that if there were no missionaries to protect the
Eskimo and Indians from unscrupulous white whiskey-traders, they would
survive but a short time. When they can obtain cheap liquors they go on
prolonged and licentious debauches, and are unable to provide for their
actual physical needs for the long, hard winter. Their condition then
becomes pitiable, and many die of hunger and privation. Prosecutions are
made entirely by missionaries. One Episcopal missionary post is
conducted by two young women, one of whom was formerly a society woman
of Los Angeles. The post is more than a thousand miles from Fairbanks,
the nearest city, and one hundred and twenty-five miles from the nearest
white settler. It is owing to the reports and the prosecutions of
missionaries in all parts of Alaska that the outrages formerly practised
upon Eskimo women by licentious white traders are on the decrease.

Federal Commissioner of Education Brown advocates a compulsory school
law for Alaska. He favors instruction in modern methods of fishing and
of curing fish; in the care of all parts of walrus that are
merchantable; in the handling of wooden boats, the tanning and preparing
of skins, in coal mining and the elements of agriculture.

In 1907 fifty-two native schools were maintained in Alaska, with two
thousand five hundred children enrolled. Ten new school buildings have
recently been constructed.

The reindeer service has been one of Alaska's grave scandals, but it has
greatly improved during the past year.

The Eskimo, or Innuit, inhabit a broad belt of the coast line bordering
on Behring Sea and the Arctic Ocean, as well as along the coast "to
Westward" from Yakutat; also the lower part of the Yukon.

Lieutenant Emmons, who is one of the highest authorities on the natives
of Alaska and their customs, has frequently reported the deplorable
condition of the Eskimo, and the prevalence of tuberculosis and other
dread diseases among them.

In 1900 an epidemic of measles and _la grippe_ devastated the
Northwestern Coast. Out of a total population of three thousand natives
about the mouth of the Kuskokwim, fully half died, without medical
attendance or nursing, within a few months.

The hospitality and generous kindness of the Eskimo to those in need is
proverbial. Ever since their subjection by the early Russians--to whom,
also, they would doubtless have shown kindness had they not been afraid
of them--no shipwrecked mariner has sought their huts in vain. Often the
entire crew of an abandoned vessel has been succored, clothed, and kept
from starvation during a whole winter--the season when provisions are
scarce and the Eskimo themselves scarcely know how to find the means of
existence.

Along the islands, the rivers, and lakes, nature has provided them with
food and clothing, if they were but educated to make the most of these
blessings.

But the vast country bordering the coast between the Kuskokwim and the
Yukon, and extending inland a hundred and fifty miles, is low and
swampy. This is the dreariest portion of Alaska. Tundra, swamps, and
sluggish rivers abound. There is no game, and the natives live on fish
and seal. The winters are severe, the climate is cold and excessively
moist. Food has often failed, and the old or helpless are called upon to
go alone out upon the storm-swept tundra and yield their hard
lives--bitter and cheerless at the best--that the young and strong may
live. As late as 1901 Lieutenant Emmons reports that this system of
unselfish and heart-breaking suicide was practised; and it is probably
still in vogue in isolated places when occasion demands.

This district is so poor and unprofitable that the prospector and the
trader have so far passed it by; yet, by some means, the white man's
worst diseases have been carried in to them.

These people are in dire need of schools, hospitals, medical treatment,
and often simple food and clothing.

Farther north, on Seward Peninsula and along the lower Yukon, the
natives who have mingled with the miners and traders could easily be
taught to be not only self-supporting but of real value to the
communities in which they live. They are intelligent, docile, easily
directed, and eager to learn. Lieutenant Emmons found that everywhere
they asked for schools, that their children, to whom they are most
affectionately devoted, may learn to be "smart like the white man."

They are more humble, dependent, and trustful than the Indians, and
could easily be influenced. But people do not go to Alaska to educate
and care for diseased and loathsome natives, unless they are paid well
for the mission. So long as the natives obey the laws of the country, no
one has authority over them. No one is interested in them, or has the
time to spare in teaching them. The United States government should take
care of these people. It should take measures to protect them from the
death-dealing whiskey with which they are supplied; to provide them with
schools, hospitals, medical care; it should supply them with reindeer
and teach them to care for these animals.

Surely the government of the United States asks not to be informed more
than once by such authorities as Lieutenant Emmons, Bishop Rowe, Judge
Gunnison, Ex-Governor Brady, and Doctor Hutton that these most wretched
beings on the outskirts of the world are begging for education, and that
they are sorely in need of medical services.

The government schools in the territory of Alaska are supported by a
portion of the license moneys levied on the various industries of the
country. Alaska has an area of six hundred thousand square miles and an
estimated native and half-breed population of twenty-five thousand; and
for these people only fifty-two schools and as many poorly paid
teachers!

When I have criticised the Russian Church because it has not taught
these people cleanliness, I blush--remembering how my own government has
failed them in needs as vital. And when I reflect upon the outrages
perpetrated upon them by my own fellow-countrymen--who have deprived
them largely of their means of livelihood, robbed them, debauched them,
ravished their women, and lured away their young girls--when I reflect
upon these things, my face burns with shame that I should ever criticise
any other people or any other government than my own.

The recent rapid development of Alaska, and the appropriation of the
native food-supplies by miners, traders, canners, and settlers, present
a problem that must be solved at once. In regard to the Philippines, we
were like a child with a new toy; we could not play with them and
experiment with them enough; yet for forty years these dark, gentle,
uncomplaining people of our most northern and most splendid
possession--beautiful, glorious Alaska--have been patiently waiting for
all that we should long ago have given them: protection, interest, and
the education and training that would have converted them from diseased
and wretched beings into decent and useful people.

According to Lieutenant Emmons, the condition of the Copper River
Indians is exceptionally miserable; and of all the native people, either
coastal or of the interior, they are most needy and in want of immediate
assistance. Reduced in number to barely two hundred and fifty souls,
scattered in small communities along the river valleys amidst the
loftiest mountains of the continent and under the most rigid climatic
conditions, their natural living has been taken from them by the white
man, without the establishment of any labor market for their
self-support in return.

Prior to 1888 they lived in a very primitive state, and were, even then,
barely able to maintain themselves on the not over-abundant game life of
the valley, together with the salmon coming up the river for spawning
purposes. The mining excitement of that year brought several thousand
men into the Copper River Valley, on their way to the Yukon and the
Klondike.

They swept the country clean of game, burnt over vast districts, and
frequently destroyed what they could not use. About the same time the
salmon canneries in Prince William Sound, having exhausted the home
streams, extended their operations to the Copper River delta, decreasing
the Indians' salmon catch, which had always provided them with food for
the bitter winters.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau Courtesy of Webster &
Stevens, Seattle

"WOLF"]

These Indians are simple, kind-hearted, and have ever been friendly and
hospitable to the white man. They respect his cache, although their own
has not always been respected by him.

At Copper Centre, which is connected by military wagon road with the
coast at Valdez, flour sells for twenty-four dollars a hundredweight,
and all other provisions and clothing in proportion; so it may be
readily understood that the white people of the interior cannot afford
to divide their provisions with the starving Indians, else they would
soon be in the same condition themselves. Therefore, for these Indians,
too,--fortunately few in number,--the government must provide liberally
and at once.



CHAPTER XXXVII


At sunset on the day of our landing at Belkoffski we passed the active
volcanoes of Pogromni and Shishaldin, on the island of Unimak. For years
I had longed to see Shishaldin; and one of my nightly prayers during the
voyage had been for a clear and beautiful light in which to see it. Not
to pass it in the night, nor in the rain, nor in the fog; not to be too
ill to get on deck in some fashion--this had been my prayer.

For days I had trembled at the thought of missing Shishaldin. To long
for a thing for years; to think of it by day and to dream of it by
night, as though it were a sweetheart; to draw near to it once, and once
only in a lifetime--and then, to pass it without one glimpse of its
coveted loveliness!--that would be too bitter a fate to be endured.

In a few earnest words, soon after leaving Valdez, I had acquainted the
captain with my desire.

It was his watch when I told him. He was pacing in front of the
pilot-house. A cigar was set immovably between his lips. He heard me to
the end and then, without looking at me, smiled out into the golden
distance ahead of us.

"You fix the weather," said he, "and I'll fix the mountain."

I, or some other, had surely "fixed" the weather.

No such trip had ever been known by the oldest member of the crew. Only
one rainy night and one sweet half-cloudy afternoon. For the rest, blue
and golden days and nights of amethyst.

But would the captain forget? The thought always made my heart pause;
yet there was something in the firm lines of his strong, brown face that
made it impossible for me to mention it to him again.

But on that evening I was sitting in the dining room which, when the
tables were cleared, was a kind of general family living room, when
Charlie came to me with his angelic smile.

"The captain, he say you please come on deck right away."

I went up the companionway and stepped out upon the deck; and there in
the north, across the blue, mist-softened sea, in the rich splendor of
an Aleutian sunset, trembled and glowed the exquisite thing of my
desire.

In the absolute perfection of its conical form, its chaste and delicate
beauty of outline, and the slender column of smoke pushing up from its
finely pointed crest, Shishaldin stands alone. Its height is not great,
only nine thousand feet; but in any company of loftier mountains it
would shine out with a peerlessness that would set it apart.

The sunset trembled upon the North Pacific Ocean, changing hourly as the
evening wore on. Through scarlet and purple and gold, the mountain
shone; through lavender, pearl, and rose; growing ever more distant and
more dim, but not less beautiful. At last, it could barely be seen, in a
flood of rich violet mist, just touched with rose.

So steadily I looked, and with such a longing passion of greeting,
rapture, possession, and farewell in my gaze and in my heart, that lo!
when its last outline had blurred lingeringly and sweetly into the
rose-violet mist, I found that it was painted in all its delicacy of
outline and soft splendor of coloring upon my memory. There it burns
to-day in all its loveliness as vividly as it burned that night, ere it
faded, line by line, across the widening sea. It is mine. I own it as
surely as I own the green hill upon which I live, the blue sea that
sparkles daily beneath my windows, the gold-brilliant constellations
that move nightly above my home, or the song that the meadow-lark sings
to his mate in the April dawn.

The sea breaks into surf upon Shishaldin's base, and snow covers the
slender cone from summit to sea level, save for a month or two in summer
when it melts around the base. Owing to the mists, it is almost
impossible to obtain a sharp negative of Shishaldin from the water.

They played with it constantly. They wrapped soft rose-colored scarfs
about its crest; they wound girdles of purple and gold and pearl about
its middle; they set rayed gold upon it, like a crown. Now and then, for
a few seconds at a time, they drew away completely, as if to contemplate
its loveliness; and then, as if overcome and compelled by its dazzling
brilliance, they flung themselves back upon it impetuously and crushed
it for several moments completely from our view.

       *       *       *       *       *

Large and small, the islands of the Aleutian Archipelago number about
one hundred. They drift for nearly fifteen hundred miles from the point
of the Aliaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatkan shore; and Attu, the last
one, lies within the eastern hemisphere. This chain of islands, reaching
as far west as the Komandórski, or Commander, Islands--upon one of which
Commander Behring died and was buried--was named, in 1786, the Catherina
Archipelago, by Forster, in honor of the liberal and enlightened Empress
Catherine the Second, of Russia.

The Aleutian Islands are divided into four groups. The most westerly are
Nearer, or Blizni, Islands, of which the famed Attu is the largest; the
next group to eastward is known as Rat, or Kreesi, Islands; then,
Andreanoffski Islands, named for Andreanoff, who discovered them, and
whose largest island is Atka, where it is said the baskets known as the
Attu baskets are now woven.

East of this group are the Fox, or Leesi, Islands. This is the largest
of the four Aleutian groups, and contains thirty-one islands, including
Unimak, which is the largest in the archipelago. Others of importance in
this group are Unalaska, formerly spelled Unalashka; Umnak; Akutan;
Akhun; Ukamak; and the famed volcano islands of St. John the Theologian,
or Joanna Bogoslova, and the Four Craters. Unimak Pass, the best known
and most used passage into Behring Sea, is between Unimak and Akhun
islands. Akutan Pass is between Akutan and Unalaska islands; Umnak Pass,
between Unalaska and Umnak islands. (These _u_'s are pronounced as
though spelled _oo_.)

Unalaska and Dutch Harbor are situated on the Island of Unalaska. By the
little flower-bordered path leading up and down the green, velvety
hills, these two settlements are fully two miles apart; by water, they
seem scarcely two hundred yards from one another. The steamer, after
landing at Dutch Harbor, draws her prow from the wharf, turns it gently
around a green point, and lays it beside the wharf at Unalaska.

The bay is so surrounded by hills that slope softly to the water, that
one can scarcely remember which blue water-way leads to the sea. There
is a curving white beach, from which the town of Unalaska received its
ancient name of Iliuliuk, meaning "the beach that curves." The
white-painted, red-roofed buildings follow this beach, and loiter
picturesquely back over the green level to the stream that flows around
the base of the hills and finds the sea at the Unalaska wharf.

This is one of the safest harbors in the world. It is one great,
sparkling sapphire, set deep in solid emerald and pearl. It is entered
more beautifully than even the Bay of Sitka. It is completely surrounded
by high mountains, peak rising behind peak, and all covered with a
thick, green, velvety nap and crowned with eternal pearl.

The entrance way is so winding that these peaks have the appearance of
leaning aside to let us slide through, and then drawing together behind
us, to keep out the storms; for ships of the heaviest draught find
refuge here and lie safely at anchor while tempests rage outside.

Now and then, between two enchantingly green near peaks, a third shines
out white, far, glistening mistily--covered with snow from summit to
base, but with a dark scarf of its own internal passion twisted about
its outwardly serene brow.

The _Kuro Siwo_, or Japan Current, breaks on the western end of the
Aleutian Chain; half flows eastward south of the islands, and carries
with it the warm, moist atmosphere which is condensed on the snow-peaks
and sinks downward in the fine and delicious mist that gives the grass
and mosses their vivid, brilliant, perpetual green. The other half
passes northward into Behring Sea and drives the ice back into the
"Frozen Ocean." Dall was told that the whalers in early spring have seen
large icebergs steadily sailing northward through the strait at a knot
and a half an hour, against a very stiff breeze from the north. In May
the first whalers follow the Kamchatkan Coast northward, as the ice
melts on that shore earlier than on ours. The first whaler to pass East
Cape secures the spring trade and the best catch of whales.

The color of the _Kuro Siwo_ is darker than the waters through which it
flows, and its Japanese name signifies "Black Stream." Passing on down
the coast, it carries a warm and vivifying moisture as far southwest as
Oregon. It gives the Aleutians their balmy climate. The average winter
temperature is about thirty degrees above zero; and the summer
temperature, from fifty to sixty degrees.

The volcano Makushin is the noted "smoker" of this island, and there is
a hot spring, containing sulphur, in the vicinity, from which loud,
cannon-like reports are frequently heard. The natives believe that the
mountains fought together and that Makushin remained the victor. These
reports were probably supposed to be fired at his command, as warnings
of his fortified position to any inquisitive peak that might chance to
fire a lava interrogation-point at him.

In June, and again in October, of 1778, Cook visited the vicinity,
anchoring in Samghanooda Harbor. There he was visited by the commander
of the Russian expedition in this region, Gregorovich Ismaïloff. The
usual civilities and gifts were exchanged. Cook sent the Russian some
liquid gifts which were keenly appreciated, and was in return offered a
sea-otter skin of such value that Cook courteously declined it,
accepting, instead, some dried fish and several baskets of lily root.

The Russian settlement was at Iliuliuk, which was distant several miles
from Samghanooda. Several of the members of Cook's party visited the
settlement, notably Corporal Ledyard, who reported that it consisted of
a dwelling-house and two storehouses, about thirty Russians, and a
number of Kamchatkans and natives who were used as servants by the
Russians. They all lived in the same houses, but ate at three different
tables.

Cook considered the natives themselves the most gentle and inoffensive
people he had ever "met with" in his travels; while as to honesty, "they
might serve as a pattern to the most civilized nation upon earth." He
was convinced, however, that this disposition had been produced by the
severities at first practised upon them by the Russians in an effort to
subdue them.

Cook described them as low of stature, but plump and well-formed,
dark-eyed, and dark-haired. The women wore a single garment,
loose-fitting, of sealskin, reaching below the knee--the parka; the men,
the same kind of garment, made of the skin of birds, with the feathers
worn against the flesh. Over this garment, the men wore another made of
gut, which I have elsewhere described under the name of kamelinka, or
kamelayka. All wore "oval-snouted" caps made of wood, dyed in colors and
decorated with glass beads.

The women punctured their lips and wore bone labrets. "It is as
uncommon, at Oonalashka, to see a man with this ornament as to see a
woman without it," he adds.

The chief was seen making his dinner of the raw head of a large halibut.
Two of his servants ate the gills, which were cleaned simply "by
squeezing out the slime." The chief devoured large pieces of the raw
meat with as great satisfaction as though they had been raw oysters.

These natives lived in barabaras. (This word is pronounced with the
accent on the second syllable; the correct spelling cannot be vouched
for here, because no two authorities spell it in the same way.)

They were usually made by forming shallow circular excavations and
erecting over them a framework of driftwood, or whale-ribs, with double
walls filled with earth and stones and covered over with sod.

The roofs contained square openings in the centre for the escape of
smoke; and these low earth roofs were used by the natives as family
gathering places in pleasant weather. Here they would sit for hours,
doing nothing and gazing blankly at nothing.

The entrance was through a square hole in, or near, the roof. It was
reached by a ladder, and descent into the interior was made in the same
way, or by means of steps cut in a post. A narrow dark tunnel led to the
inner room, which was from ten to twenty feet in diameter.

These barabaras were sometimes warmed only by lamps; but usually a fire
was built in the centre, directly under the opening in the roof. Mats
and skins were placed on shelves, slightly elevated above the floor,
around the walls. Many persons of both sexes and all ages lived in these
places; frequently several dwellings were connected by tunnels and had
one common hole-entrance. The filth of these airless habitations was
nauseating.

Their household furniture consisted of bowls, spoons, buckets, cans,
baskets, and one or two Russian pots; a knife and a hatchet were the
only tools they possessed.

The huts were lighted by lamps made of flat stones which were hollowed
on one side to hold oil, in which dry grass was burned. Both men and
women warmed their bodies by sitting over these lamps and spreading
their garments around them.

The natives used the bidarka here, as elsewhere.

They buried their dead on the summits of hills, raising little hillocks
over the graves. Cook saw one grave covered with stones, to which every
one passing added a stone, after the manner fancied by Helen Hunt
Jackson a hundred years later; and he saw several stone hillocks that
had an appearance of great antiquity.

In Unalaska to-day may still be seen several barabaras. They must be
very old, because the native habitations of the coast are constructed
along the lines of the white man's dwellings at the present time. They
add to the general quaint and picturesque appearance of the town,
however. Their sod roofs are overgrown with tall grasses, among which
wild flowers flame out brightly.

(Unalaska is pronounced Oö-na-las'-ka, the _a_'s having the sound of
_a_ in arm. Aleutian is pronounced in five syllables: Ä-le-oo'-shi-an,
with the same sound of _a_.)

The island of Unalaska was sighted by Chirikoff on his return to
Kamchatka, on the 4th of September, 1741.

The chronicles of the first expeditions of the Russian traders--or
promyshleniki, as they were called--are wrapped in mystery. But it is
believed that as early as 1744 Emilian Bassof and Andrei Serebrennikof
voyaged into the islands and were rewarded by a catch of sixteen hundred
sea-otters, two thousand fur-seals, and as many blue foxes.

Stephan Glottoff was the first to trade with the natives of Unalaska,
whom he found peaceable and friendly. The next, however, Korovin,
attempted to make a settlement upon the island, but met with repulse
from the natives, and several of his party were killed.

Glottoff returned to his rescue, and the latter's expedition was the
most important of the earlier ones to the islands. On his previous visit
he had found the highly prized black foxes on the island of Unalaska,
and had carried a number to Kamchatka.

I have related elsewhere the story of the atrocities perpetrated upon
the natives of these islands by the early promyshleniki. During the
years between 1760 and 1770 the natives were in active revolt against
their oppressors; and it was not until the advent of Solovioff the
Butcher that they were tortured into the mild state of submission in
which they were found by Cook in 1778, and in which they have since
dwelt.

       *       *       *       *       *

Father Veniaminoff made the most careful study of the Aleutians,
beginning about 1824. It has been claimed that this noble and devout
priest was so good that he perceived good where it did not exist; and
his statements concerning his beloved Aleutians are not borne out by
the promyshleniki. Considering the character of the latter, I prefer to
believe Veniaminoff.

The most influential Aleuts were those who were most successful in
hunting, which seemed to be their highest ambition. The best hunters
possessed the greatest number of wives; and they were never stinted in
this luxury. Even Veniaminoff, with his rose-colored glasses on, failed
to discover virtue or the faintest moral sense among them.

"They incline to sensuality," he put it, politely. "Before the teachings
of the Christian religion had enlightened them, this inclination had
full sway. The nearest consanguinity, only, puts limits to their
passions. Although polygamy was general, nevertheless there were
frequently secret orgies, in which all joined.... The bad example and
worse teachings of the early Russian settlers increased their tendency
to licentiousness."

Child-murder was rare, owing to the belief that it brought misfortune
upon the whole village.

Among the half-breeds, the character of the dark mother invariably came
out more strongly than that of the Russian father. They learned readily
and intelligently, and fulfilled all church duties imposed upon them
cheerfully, punctually, and with apparent pleasure.

Under the teaching of Veniaminoff, the Aleuts were easily weaned from
their early Pantheism, and from their savage songs and dances, described
by the earlier voyagers. They no longer wore their painted masks and
hats, although some treasured them in secret.

The successful hunter, in times of famine or scarcity of food, shared
with all who were in need. The latter met him when his boat returned,
and sat down silently on the shore. This is a sign that they ask for
aid; and the hunter supplies them, without receiving, or expecting,
either restitution or thanks. This generosity is like that of the people
of Belkoffski; it comes from the heart.

The Aleutians were frequently intoxicated; but this condition did not
lead to quarrelling or trouble. Murder and attempts at murder were
unknown among them.

If an Aleut were injured, or offended, after the introduction of
Christianity, he received and bore the insult in silence. They had no
oaths or violent epithets in their language; and they would rather
commit suicide than to receive a blow. The sting that lies in cruel
words they dreaded as keenly.

Veniaminoff found that the Aleuts would steal nothing more than a few
leaves of tobacco, a few swallows of brandy, or a little food; and these
articles but rarely.

The most striking trait of character displayed by the Aleut was, and
still is, his patience. He never complained, even when slowly starving
to death. He sat by the shore; and if food were not offered to him, he
would not ask. He was never known to sigh, nor to groan, nor to shed
tears.

These people were found to be very sensitive, however, and capable of
deep emotion, even though it was never revealed in their faces. They
were exceedingly fond of, and tender with, their children, and readily
interpreted a look of contempt or ridicule, which invariably offended in
the highest degree.

The most beautiful thing recorded of the Aleut is that when one has done
him a favor or kindness, and has afterward offended him, he does not
forget the former favor, but permits it to cancel the offence.

They scorn lying, hypocrisy, and exaggeration; and they never betray a
secret. They are so hospitable that they will deny themselves to give to
the stranger that is in need. They detest a braggart, but they never
dispute--not even when they know that their own opinion is the correct
one.

Veniaminoff admitted that the Aleuts who had lived among the Russians
were passionately addicted to the use of liquor and tobacco. But even
with their drunkenness, their uncleanness, and their immorality, the
Aleutian character seems to have possessed so many admirable, and even
unusual, traits that, if the training and everyday influences of these
people had been of a different nature from what they have been since
they lost Veniaminoff, they would have, ere this, been able to overcome
their inherited and acquired vices, and to have become useful and
desirable citizens.

They were formerly of a revengeful nature, but after coming under the
influence of Veniaminoff, no instance of revenge was discovered by him.

They learned readily, with but little teaching, not only mechanical
things, but those, also, which require deep thought--such as chess, at
which they became experts.

One became an excellent navigator, and made charts which were followed
by other voyagers for many years. Others worked skilfully in ivory, and
the dark-eyed women wove their dreams into the most precious basketry of
the world.



CHAPTER XXXVIII


We sailed into the lovely bay of Unalaska on the fourth day of July. The
entire village, native and white, had gone on a picnic to the hills.

We spent the afternoon loitering about the deserted streets and the
green and flowery hills. One could sit contentedly for a week upon the
hills,--as the natives used to sit upon the roofs of their
barabaras,--doing nothing but looking down upon the idyllic loveliness
shimmering in every direction.

In the centre of the town rises the Greek-Russian church, green-roofed
and bulbous-domed, adding the final touch of mysticism and poetry to
this already enchanting scene.

At sunset the mists gathered, slowly, delicately, beautifully. They
moved in softly through the same strait by which we had entered--little
rose-colored masses that drifted up to meet the violet-tinted ones from
the other end of the bay. In the centre of the water valley they met and
mixed together, and, in their new and more marvellous coloring, pushed
up about the town and the lower slopes. Out of them lifted and shone the
green roof and domes of the church; more brilliantly above them, napped
thick and soft as velvet, glowed the hills; and more lustrously against
the saffron sky flashed the pearl of the higher peaks.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a gay dinner party aboard the DORA that night. Afterward, we
all attended a dance. There was only one white woman in the hall
besides my friend and myself; and we three were belles! We danced with
every man who asked us to dance, to the most wonderful music I have ever
heard. One of the musicians played a violin with his hands and a French
harp with his mouth, both at the same time--besides making quite as much
noise with one foot as he did with both of the instruments together.

There were several good-looking Aleutian girls at the dance. They had
pretty, slender figures, would have been considered well dressed in any
small village in the states, and danced with exceeding grace and ease.

We went to this dance not without some qualms of various kinds; but we
went for the same reason that "Cyanide Bill" told us he had journeyed
three times to the shores of the "Frozen Ocean"--"just to see."

Toward midnight a pretty and stylishly gowned young woman came in with
an escort and joined in the dancing. As she whirled past us, with
diamonds flashing from her hands, ears, and neck, my inquiring Scotch
friend asked a gentleman with whom she was dancing, "Who is the pretty
dark-eyed lady? We have not seen her before."

She was completely extinguished for some time by his reply, given with
the cheerful frankness of the North.

"Oh, that's Nelly, miss. I don't know any other name for her. We just
always call her Nelly, miss."

We returned to the steamer, leaving "Nelly" to twinkle on. Our curiosity
was entirely satisfied. We went "to see," and we had seen.

Captain Gray might be called "the lord of Unalaska." He is the "great
gentleman" of the place. He has for many years managed the affairs of
the Alaska Commercial Company, and he has acted as host to almost every
traveller who has voyaged to this lovely isle.

After supper, which was served on the steamer at midnight, we were
invited to his home "to finish the evening."

"At one o'clock in the morning!" gasped my companion.

"Hours don't count up here," said our captain. "It is broad daylight.
Besides, it is the 4th of July. I think we should accept the
invitation."

We did accept it, in the same spirit in which it was given, and it was
one of the most profitable of evenings. We found a home of comfort and
refinement in the farthest outpost of civilization in the North Pacific.
The hours were spent pleasantly with good music, singing, and reading;
and delicate refreshments were served.

The sun shone upon my friend's scandalized face as we returned to our
steamer. It was nearly five o'clock.

"I know it was innocent enough," said she, "but think how it
_sounds_!--a dance, with only three white women present--not to mention
'Nelly'!--a midnight supper, and then an invitation to 'finish the
evening'! It sounds like one of Edith Wharton's novels."

"It's Alaska," said the captain. "You want local color--and you're
getting it. But let me tell you that you have never been safer in your
life than you have been to-night."

"Safe!" echoed she. "I'm not talking about the safety of it. It's the
_form_ of it."

"Form doesn't count, as yet, in the Aleutians," said the captain.
"'There's never a law of God or man runs north of _fifty-three_!'"

"There's surely never a _social_ law runs north of it," was the scornful
reply.

The next morning we went to the great warehouses of the company, to look
at old Russian samovars. Captain Gray personally escorted us through
their dim, cobwebby, high-raftered spaces. There was one long counter
covered with samovars, and we began eagerly to examine and price them.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau Courtesy of Webster &
Stevens, Seattle

DOG-TEAM EXPRESS, NOME]

The cheapest was twenty-five dollars; and the most expensive, more than
a hundred.

"But they are all sold," added Captain Gray, gloomily.

"All sold!" we exclaimed, in a breath. "What--_all_? Every one?"

"Yes; every one," he answered mournfully.

"Why, how very odd," said I, "for them all to be sold, and all to be
left here."

"Yes," said he, sighing. "The captain of a government cutter bought them
for his friends in Boston. He has gone on up into Behring Sea, and will
call for them on his return."

Far be it from me to try to buy anything that is not for sale. I thanked
him politely for showing them to us; and we went on to another part of
the warehouse.

We found nothing else that was already "sold." We bought several
holy-lamps, baskets, and other things.

"I'm sorry about the samovars," said I, as I paid Captain Gray.

"So am I," said he. Then he sighed. "There's one, now," said he, after a
moment, thoughtfully. "I might--Wait a moment."

He disappeared, and presently returned with a perfect treasure of a
samovar,--old, battered, green with age and use. We went into ecstasies
over it.

"I'll take it," I said. "How much is it?"

"It was twenty-five dollars," said he, dismally. "It is sold."

"How very peculiar," said my companion, as we went away, "to keep
bringing out samovars that are sold."

For two years my thoughts reverted at intervals to those "sold" samovars
at Unalaska. Last summer I went down the Yukon. At St. Michael I was
entertained at the famous "Cottage" for several days. One day at dinner
I asked a gentleman if he knew Captain Gray.

"Of Unalaska?" exclaimed two or three at once. Then they all burst out
laughing.

"We all know him," one said. "Everybody knows him."

"But why do you laugh?"

"Oh, because he is so 'slick' at taking in a tourist."

"In what manner?" asked I, stiffly. I remembered that Captain Gray had
asked me if I were a tourist.

They all laughed again.

"Oh, _especially_ on samovars."

My face burned suddenly.

"On samovars!"

"Yes. You see he gets a tourist into his warehouses and shows him
samovar after samovar--fifty or sixty of them--and tells him that every
one is sold. He puts on the most mournful look.

"'This one was twenty-five dollars,' he says. 'A captain on a government
cutter bought them to take to Boston.' Then the tourist gets wild. He
offers five, ten, twenty dollars more to get one of those samovars. He
always gets it; because, you see, Gray wants to sell it to him even
worse than he wants to buy it. It always works."

       *       *       *       *       *

We walked over the hills to Dutch Harbor--once called Lincoln Harbor.
There is a stretch of blue water to cross, and we were ferried over by a
gentleman having much Fourth-of-July in his speech and upon his breath.

His efforts at politeness are remembered joys, while a sober ferryman
would have been forgotten long ago. But the sober ferrymen that morning
were like the core of the little boy's apple.

It was the most beautiful walk of my life. A hard, narrow, white path
climbed and wound and fell over the vivid green hills; it led around
lakes that lay in the hollows like still, liquid sapphire, set with the
pearl of clouds; it lured through banks of violets and over slopes of
trembling bluebells; it sent out tempting by-paths that ended in the
fireweed's rosy drifts; but always it led on--narrow, well-trodden, yet
oh, so lonely and so still! Birds sang and the sound of the waves came
to us--that was all. Once a little brown Aleutian lad came whistling
around the curve in the path, stood still, and gazed at us with startled
eyes as soft and dark as a gazelle's; but he was the only human being we
saw upon the hills that day.

We saw acres that were deep blue with violets. They were large enough to
cover silver half-dollars, and their stems were several inches in
length. Fireweed grew low, but the blooms were large and of a deep rose
color.

Standing still, we counted thirteen varieties of wild flowers within a
radius of six feet. There were the snapdragon, wild rose, columbine,
buttercup, Solomon's seal, anemone, larkspur, lupine, dandelion, iris,
geranium, monk's-hood, and too many others to name, to be found on the
hills of Unalaska. There are more than two thousand varieties of wild
flowers in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. The blossoms are large and
brilliant, and they cover whole hillsides and fill deep hollows with
beautiful color. The bluebells and violets are exquisite. The latter are
unbelievably large; of a rich blue veined with silver. They poise
delicately on stems longer than those of the hot-house flower; so that
we could gather and carry armfuls of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

The site of Dutch Harbor is green and level. Fronting the bay are the
large buildings of the North American Commercial Company, with many
small frame cottages scattered around them. All are painted white, with
bright red roofs, and the town presents a clean and attractive
appearance.

Dutch Harbor is the prose, and Unalaska the poetry, of the island. There
is neither a hotel nor a restaurant at either place. It was one o'clock
when we reached Dutch Harbor; we had breakfasted early, and we sought,
in vain, for some building that might resemble an "eating-house."

We finally went into the big store, and meeting the manager of the
company, asked to be directed to the nearest restaurant.

He smiled.

"There isn't any," he said.

"Is there no place where one may get _something_ to eat? Bread and milk?
We saw cows upon the hills."

"You would not care to go to the native houses," he replied, still
smiling. "But come with me."

He led the way along a neat board walk to a residence that would attract
attention in any town. It was large and of artistic design.

"It was designed by Molly Garfield," the young man somewhat proudly
informed us. "Her husband was connected with the company for several
years, and they built and lived in this house."

The house was richly papered and furnished. It was past the luncheon
hour, but we were excellently served by a perfectly trained Chinaman.

For more than a hundred years the great commercial companies--beginning
with the Shelikoff Company--have dispensed the hospitality of Alaska,
and have acted as hosts to the stranger within their gates. The managers
are instructed to sell provisions at reasonable prices, and to supply
any one who may be in distress and unable to pay for food.

They frequently entertain, as guests of the company they represent,
travellers to these lonely places, not because the latter are in need,
but merely as a courtesy; and their hospitality is as free and
generous--but not as embarrassing--as that of Baranoff.

That night I sat late alone upon the hills, on a tundra slope that was
blue with violets. I could not put my hand down without crushing them.
The lights moving across Unalaska were as poignantly interesting as the
thoughts that come and go across a stranger's face when he does not know
that one is observing.

All the lights and shadows of the vanishing Aleutian race seemed to be
moving across the hills, the village, the blue bay.

Scarcely a day has passed that I have not gone back across the blue and
emerald water-ways that stretch between, to that lovely place and that
luminous hour.

Perhaps, I thought, Veniaminoff may have looked down upon this exquisite
scene from this same violeted spot--Veniaminoff, the humble, devout, and
devoted missionary, whom I should rather have been than any man or woman
whose history I know; Veniaminoff, who _lived_--instead of _wrote_--a
great, a sublime, poem.

       *       *       *       *       *

Unalaska's commercial glory has faded. It was once port of entry for all
vessels passing in or out of Behring Sea; the ships of the Arctic
whaling fleet called here for water, coal, supplies, and mail; during
the years that the _modus vivendi_ was in force it was headquarters of
the United States and the British fleets patrolling Behring Sea, and
lines of captured sealers often lay here at anchor.

During the early part of the present decade Unalaska saw its most
prosperous times. Thousands of people waited here for transportation to
the Klondike, via St. Michael and the Yukon. Many ships were built
here, and one still lies rotting upon the ways.

The Greek church is second in size and importance to the one at Sitka
only, and the bishop once resided here. There is a Russian parish
school, a government day-school, and a Methodist mission, the Jessie Lee
Home. The only white women on the island reside at the Home. The bay has
frequently presented the appearance of a naval parade, from the number
of government and other vessels lying at anchor.

No traveller will weary soon of Unalaska. There are caves and waterfalls
to visit, and unnumbered excursions to make to beautiful places among
the hills. Especially interesting is Samghanooda, or English, Harbor,
where Cook mended his ships; while Makushin Harbor, on the western
coast, where Glottoff and his Russians first landed in 1756, is only
thirty miles away.

The great volcano itself is easy of ascent, and the view from its crest
is one of the memories of a lifetime. Borka, a tiny village at
Samghanooda, is as noted for its Dutch-like cleanliness as Belkoffski is
for its filth.

The other islands of the Aleutian chain drift on to westward, lonely,
unknown--almost, if not entirely, uninhabited. Now and then a small
trading settlement is found, which is visited only by Captain
Applegate,--the last remaining white deep-sea otter hunter,--and once a
year by a government cutter, or the Russian priest from Unalaska, or a
shrewd and wandering trader.

These green and unknown islands are the islands of my dreams--and dreams
do "come true" sometimes. This voyage out among the Aleutians is the
most poetic and enchanting in the world to-day; and I shall never be
entirely happy until I have drifted on out to the farthest island of
Attu, lying within the eastern hemisphere, and watched those lonely,
dark women, with the souls of poets and artists and the patience of
angels, weaving _their_ dreams into ravishing beauty and sending them
out into the world as the farewell messages of a betrayed and vanishing
people. As we treat them for their few remaining years, so let us in the
end be treated.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alaska is to-day the centre of the world's volcanic activity, and the
mountainous appearances and disappearances that have been recorded in
the Aleutian Islands are marvellous and awesome. To these upheavals in
the North Pacific and Behring Sea Whidbey's adjectives, "stupendous,"
"tremendous," and "awfully dreadful," might be appropriately applied.

On July the fourth, 1907, officers of the revenue cutter _McCulloch_
discovered the new peak which they named in honor of their vessel. It
was in the vicinity of the famous volcano of Joanna Bogoslova, or Saint
John the Theologian.

In 1796 the natives of Unalaska and the adjoining islands for many miles
were startled by violent reports, like continued cannonading, followed
by frightful tremblings of the earth upon which they stood.

A dense volume of smoke, ashes, and gas descended upon them in a kind of
cloud, and shut everything from their view. They were thus enveloped and
cannonaded for about ten days, when the atmosphere gradually cleared and
they observed a bright light shining upon the sea from thirty to forty
miles north of Unalaska. The brave ones of the island went forth in
bidarkas and discovered that a small island had risen from the sea to a
height of one hundred feet and that it was still rising.

This was the main peak of the Bogosloff group, and it continued to grow
until 1825, when it reached a height of about three hundred feet and
cooled sufficiently for Russians to land upon it for the first time. The
heat was still so intense, however, and the danger from running lava so
great, that they soon withdrew to their boats.

In the early eighties, after similar disturbances, another peak arose
near the first and joined to it by a low isthmus, upon which stood a
rock seventy feet in height, which was named Ship-Rock. In 1891 the
isthmus sank out of sight in the sea, and a new peak arose.

Since then no important changes have occurred. The peaks themselves
remained too hot and dangerous for examination; but the short voyage out
from Unalaska has been a favorite one for tourists who were able to land
upon the lower rocks and spend a day gathering specimens and studying
the sea-lions that doze in polygamous herds in the warmth, and the
shrieking murres that nest in the cliffs and cover them like a tremulous
gray-white cloud.

Every inch of space on these cliffs seems to be taken by these birds for
the creation of life. On every tiniest shelf they perch upright,
black-backed and white-bellied, brooding their eggs--although these hot
and steamy cliffs are sufficient incubators to bring forth life out of
every egg deposited upon them. When the murres are suddenly disturbed,
their eggs slip from their hold and plunge down the cliffs, splattering
them with the yellow of their broken yolks.

The last week in July, 1907, I passed close to the Bogosloff Islands,
which had grown to the importance of four peaks. Three days later a
violent earthquake occurred in this vicinity. Once more dense clouds of
smoke descended upon Unalaska and the adjoining islands, and ashes
poured upon the sea and land, as far north as Nome, covering the decks
of passing steamers to a depth of several inches, and affecting sailors
so powerfully that they could only stay on deck for a few moments at a
time.

On September the first, the captain and men of the whaler _Herman_,
passing the Bogosloff group, beheld a sight to observe which I would
cheerfully have yielded several years of life. They saw the
two-months-old McCulloch peak burn itself down into the sea, with vast
columns of steam ascending miles into the air above it, and the waters
boiling madly on all sides. It went down, foot by foot, and the men
stood spellbound, watching it disappear. For miles around the sea was
violently agitated and was mixed with volcanic ash, which also covered
the decks, and at intervals steam poured up unexpectedly out of the
ocean.

As soon as possible the revenue cutter _Buffalo_ went to the wonderful
volcanic group, and it was found that their whole appearance was
changed.

There were three peaks where four had been; but whereas they had
formerly been separate and distinct islands, they were now connected and
formed one island.

This island is two and a half miles long. Perry Peak, which arose in
1906, had increased in height; and there was a crater-like depression on
its south side, around which the waters were continually throwing off
vast clouds of steam and smoke. Captain Pond reported that rocks as
large as a house were constantly rolling down from Perry Peak, and that
the whole scene was one of wonderful interest. To his surprise, the
colony of sea-lions, which must have been frightened away, had returned,
and seemed to be enjoying the steamy heat on the rocks of the main and
oldest peak of the group.

The disappearance of McCulloch peak was accompanied by earthquake shocks
as far to eastward as Sitka. Makushin, the great volcano of Unalaska,
and others, smoked violently, and ashes fell over the Aleutian Islands
and the mainland. At the same time uncharted rocks began to make their
appearance all along the coast, to the grave danger of navigation.



CHAPTER XXXIX


In the heart of Behring Sea, about two hundred miles north of Unalaska,
lie two tiny cloud and mist haunted and wind-racked islands which are
the great slaughter-grounds of Alaska. Here, for a hundred and twenty
years, during the short seal season each year, men have literally waded
through the bloody gore of the helpless animals, which they have clubbed
to death by thousands that women may be handsomely clothed.

The surviving members of Vitus Behring's ill-starred expedition carried
back with them a large number of skins of the valuable sea-otter. From
that date--1742--until about 1770 the promyshleniki engaged in such an
unresting slaughter of the otter that it was almost exterminated.

In desperation, they turned, then, to the chase of the fur-seal, and for
years sought in vain for the rumored breeding-grounds of this pelagic
animal. The islands of St. Paul and St. George were finally discovered
in 1786, by Gerassim Pribyloff, who heard the seals barking and roaring
through the heavy fogs, and, sailing cautiously on, surprised them as
they lay in polygamous groups by the million upon the rocky shores.

Pribyloff was the son of a sailor who had accompanied Behring on the
_St. Peter_. He modestly named his priceless discovery "Subov," for the
captain and part owner of the trading association for which he worked.
He himself was not engaged in sealing, but was simply the first mate of
the sloop _St. George_. The Russians, however, renamed the islands for
their discoverer; and happily the name has endured.

St. George Island is ten miles in length by from two to four in width.
It is higher than the larger St. Paul, which lies twenty-seven miles
farther north, and rises more abruptly from the water.

The temperature of these islands is not low, rarely falling to zero; but
the wind blows at so great velocity that frequently for days at a time
the natives can only go from one place to another by crawling upon their
hands and knees.

To conserve the sealing industry, after the purchase of Alaska, the
exclusive privilege of killing seals on these islands was granted to the
Alaska Commercial Company for a period of twenty years. When this lease
expired in 1890, a new one was made out for a like period to the North
American Commercial Company, which still holds possession. The company
has agents on both islands, and the government maintains an agent and
his assistant on St. Paul Island, and an assistant on St. George, to
enforce the terms of the concession.

When the Russians first took possession of the Pribyloff Islands, they
brought several hundred Aleutians and established them upon the islands
in sod houses, where they were held under the usual slave-like
conditions of this abused people. They were miserably housed and fed,
received only the smallest wage,--from which they were compelled to
contribute to the support of the church,--and were held, against their
wishes, upon these dreary and inhospitable shores.

With the coming of the American companies all was changed. Comfortable,
clean habitations of frame were erected for them; their pay was
increased from ten to forty cents each for the removal of pelts; schools
and hospitals were provided, children being compelled to attend the
former; and the sale of intoxicating liquors was prohibited. There are
between a hundred and fifty and two hundred natives on the islands at
present.

The houses are lined with tar paper, painted white, with red roofs, and
furnished with stoves. There are streets and large storehouses, and the
village presents an attractive appearance.

As a result of good care, food, and cleanliness, the natives are able to
do twice the amount of work accomplished by the same number under the
old conditions. They are healthier, happier, and more industrious.

The value of the fur-seal catch from the time of the purchase of Alaska
to the early part of the present decade was more than thirty-five
millions of dollars. In 1903 the yearly catch, however, had dwindled
from two millions at the time of discovery to twenty-two thousands.

Indiscriminate and reckless slaughter, and particularly the pelagic
sealing carried on by poachers--it being impossible to distinguish the
males from the females at sea--have nearly exterminated the seals. They
will soon be as rare as the sea-otter, which vanished for the same
shameless reasons. In the government's lease it is provided that not
more than one hundred thousand seals shall be taken in a single year;
but of recent years the catch has fallen so far short of that number
that the annual rental, which was first set at sixty thousand dollars,
has had a sliding, diminishing scale until it has finally reached twelve
thousand dollars.

Great trouble has been experienced with pelagic sealers. Pelagic sealing
means simply following the seals on their way north and killing them in
the deep sea before they reach the breeding-grounds. There have been
American poachers, but the majority have been Canadians. The United
States government at first claimed exclusive rights to the seals, and
patrolled the waters of Behring Sea, as inland waters, frequently
seizing vessels belonging to other nations.

The matter, after much bitter feeling on both sides, was finally
submitted to the "Paris Tribunal," which did not allow our claim to
exclusive sealing rights in Behring Sea. It, however, forbade pelagic
sealing within a zone of sixty miles of the Pribyloff islands.

These waters are now patrolled by vessels of both nations; but Japanese
vessels are frequently transgressors, the Japanese claiming that they
are not bound by the regulations of the Paris Tribunal. Both British and
American sealers have been known to fly the Japanese flag when engaged
in pelagic sealing in forbidden waters. Trouble of a serious nature with
Japan may yet arise over this matter.

The habits and the life of the seal are exceedingly interesting. In many
ways these graceful creatures are startlingly human-like, particularly
in their appealing, reproachful looks when a death-dealing blow is about
to be struck. Some, it is true, yield to a violent, fighting
rage,--growing more furious as their helplessness is realized,--and at
such times the eyes flame with the green and red fire of hate and
passion, and resemble the eyes of a human being possessed with rage and
terror.

The bull seals have been called "beach-masters," "polygamists," and
"harem-lords."

These old bulls, then, are the first to return to the breeding-grounds
in the spring. They begin to "haul out" upon the rocks during the first
week in May. Each locates upon his chosen "ground," and awaits the
arrival of the females, which does not occur until the last of June.
While awaiting their arrival, incessant and terrible fighting takes
place among the bulls, frequently to the death--so stubbornly and so
ferociously does each struggle to retain the place he has selected in
which to receive the females of his harem. The older the bull the more
successful is he both in love and in war; and woe betide any young and
bold bachelor who dares to pause for but an instant and cast tempting
glances at a gay and coquettish young favorite under an old bull's
protection. There is instant battle--in which the festive bachelor
invariably goes down.

When the females arrive, a very orgy of fighting takes place. An old
bull swaggers down to the water, receives a graceful and beautiful
female, and beguiles her to his harem. If he but turn his back upon her
for an instant another bull seizes her and bears her bodily to his
harem; the first bull returns, and the fight is on--the female sometimes
being torn to pieces between them, because neither will give her up. The
bulls do not mind a small matter like that, however, there being so many
females; and it is never the desire for a special female that impels to
the fray, but the human-like lust to triumph over one who dares to set
himself up as a rival.

The old bulls take possession of the lower rocks, and these they hold
from all comers, yet fighting, fighting, fighting, till they are
frequently but half-alive masses of torn flesh and fur.

The bachelors are at last forced, foot by foot, past the harems to the
higher grounds, where they herd alone. As they are supposed to be the
only seals killed for their skin, they are forced by the drivers away
from the vicinity of the rookeries, to the higher slopes.

These graceful creatures drag themselves on shore with pitiable
awkwardness and helplessness. They proceed painfully, with a kind of
rolling movement, uttering plaintive sounds that are neither barks nor
bleats. They easily become heated to exhaustion, and pause at every
opportunity to rest. When they sink down for this purpose, they either
separate their hind flippers, or draw them both to one side.

They are driven carefully and are permitted frequent rests, as heating
ruins the fur. They usually rest and cool off, after reaching the
killing grounds, while the men are eating breakfast. By seven o'clock
the butchery begins.

The seals are still brutally clubbed to death. The killers are spattered
with blood and bloody tufts of hair; and by-standers are said to have
been horribly pelted by eyeballs bursting like bullets from the sockets,
at the force of the blows. The killers aim to stun at the first blow;
but the poor things are often literally beaten to death. In either event
a sharp stabbing-knife is instantly run to its heart, to bleed it. The
crimson life-stream gushes forth, there is a violent quivering of the
great, jelly-like bulk; then, all is still. It is no longer a living,
beautiful, pleading-eyed animal, but only a portion of some dainty
gentlewoman's cloak. I have not seen it with my own eyes, but I have
heard, in ways which make me refuse to discredit it, that sometimes the
skinning is begun before the seal is dead; that sometimes the razor-like
knife is run down the belly before it is run to the heart--not in
useless cruelty, but because of the great need of haste. The tender,
beseeching eyes, touching cries, and unavailing attempts to escape, of
the seal that is being clubbed to death, are things to remember for the
rest of one's life. Strong men, unused to the horrible sight, flee from
it, sick and tortured with the pity of it; and surely no woman who has
ever beheld it could be tempted to buy sealskin.

No effort is made to dispose of the dead bodies of the seals. They are
left where they are killed, and the stench arising therefrom is not
surpassed even in Belkoffski. It nauseates the white inhabitants of the
islands, and drifts out to sea for miles to meet and salute the visitor.
It is, however, caviar to the native nostril.



CHAPTER XL


Authorities differ as to the proper boundaries of Bristol Bay, but it
may be said to be the vast indentation of Behring Sea lying east of a
line drawn from Unimak Island to the mouth of the Kuskokwim River; or,
possibly, from Scotch Cap to Cape Newenham would be better. The
commercial salmon fisheries of this district are on the Ugashik, Egegak,
Naknek, Kvichak, Nushagak, and Wood rivers and the sea-waters leading to
them.

Nushagak Bay is about fifteen miles long and ten wide. It is exceedingly
shallow, and is obstructed by sand-bars and shoals. The
Redoubt-Alexandra was established at the mouth of the river in 1834 by
Kolmakoff.

The rivers are all large and, with one exception,--Wood River,--drain
the western slope of the Aleutian Chain which, beginning on the western
shore of Cook Inlet, extends down the Aliaska Peninsula, crowning it
with fire and snow.

There are several breaks in the range which afford easy portages from
Bristol Bay to the North Pacific. The rivers flowing into Bristol Bay
have lake sources and have been remarkably rich spawning-streams for
salmon.

The present chain of islands known as the Aleutians is supposed to have
once belonged to the peninsula and to have been separated by volcanic
disturbances which are so common in the region.

[Illustration: Copyright by F. H. Nowell, Seattle

FOUR BEAUTIES OF CAPE PRINCE OF WALES WITH SLED REINDEER OF THE AMERICAN
MISSIONARY HERD]

The interior of the Bristol Bay country has not been explored. It is
sparsely populated by Innuit, or Eskimo, who live in primitive fashion
in small settlements,--usually on high bluffs near a river. They make a
poor living by hunting and fishing. Their food is largely salmon, fresh
and dried; game, seal, and walrus are delicacies. The "higher" the food
the greater delicacy is it considered. Decayed salmon-heads and the
decaying carcass of a whale that has been cast upon the beach, by their
own abominable odors summon the natives for miles to a feast. Their food
is all cooked with rancid oil.

Their dwellings are more primitive than those of the island natives, for
they have clung to the barabaras and other ancient structures that were
in use among the Aleutians when the Russians first discovered them. Near
these dwellings are the drying-frames--so familiar along the Yukon--from
which hang thousands of red-fleshed salmon drying in the sun. Little
houses are erected on rude pole scaffoldings, high out of the reach of
dogs, for the storing of this fish when it has become "ukala" and for
other provisions. These are everywhere known as "caches."

The Innuit's summer home is very different from his winter home. It is
erected above ground, of small pole frames, roofed with skins and open
in front--somewhat like an Indian tepee. There is no opening in the
roof, all cooking being done in the open air in summer.

These natives were once thrifty hunters and trappers of wild animals,
from the reindeer down to the beaver and marten, but the cannery life
has so debauched them that they have no strength left for this energetic
work.

Formerly every Innuit settlement contained a "kashga," or town hall,
which was built after the fashion of all winter houses, only larger.
There the men gathered to talk and manage the affairs of their small
world. It was a kind of "corner grocery" or "back-room" of a village
drug store. The men usually slept there, and in the mornings their
wives arose, cooked their breakfast, and carried it to them in the
kashga, turning their backs while their husbands ate--it being
considered exceedingly bad form for a woman to look at a man when he is
eating in public, although they think nothing of bathing together. The
habits of the people are nauseatingly filthy, and the interiors of their
dwellings must be seen to be appreciated.

Near the canneries the natives obtain work during the summer, but soon
squander their wages in debauches and are left, when winter arrives, in
a starving condition.

The season is very short in Bristol Bay, but the "run" of salmon is
enormous. When this district is operating thirteen canneries, it packs
each day two hundred and fifty thousand fish. In Nushagak Bay the fish
frequently run so heavily that they catch in the propellers of launches
and stop the engines.

Bristol Bay has always been a dangerous locality to navigate. It is only
by the greatest vigilance and the most careful use of the lead, upon
approaching the shore, that disaster can be averted.

Nearly all the canneries in this region are operated by the Alaska
Packers Association, which also operates the greater number of canneries
in Alaska.

In 1907 the value of food fishes taken from Alaskan waters was nearly
ten millions of dollars; in the forty years since the purchase of that
country, one hundred millions, although up to 1885 the pack was
insignificant. At the present time it exceeds by more than half a
million cases the entire pack of British Columbia, Puget Sound, Columbia
River, and the Oregon and Washington coasts.

In 1907 forty-four canneries packed salmon in Alaska, and those on
Bristol Bay were of the most importance.

The Nushagak River rivals the Karluk as a salmon stream, but not in
picturesque beauty. The Nushagak and Wood rivers were both closed
during the past season by order of the President, to protect the salmon
industry of the future.

Cod is abundant in Behring Sea, Bristol Bay, and south of the Aleutian,
Shumagin, and Kadiak islands, covering an area of thirty thousand miles.
Halibut is plentiful in all the waters of southeastern Alaska. This
stupid-looking fish is wiser than it appears, and declines to swim into
the parlor of a net. It is still caught by hook and line, is packed in
ice, and sent, by regular steamer, to Seattle--whence it goes in
refrigerator cars to the markets of the east.

Herring, black cod, candle-fish, smelt, tom-cod, whitefish, black bass,
flounders, clams, crabs, mussels, shrimp, and five species of
trout--steelhead, Dolly Varden, cutthroat, rainbow, and lake--are all
found in abundance in Alaska.

Cook, entering Bristol Bay in 1778, named it for the Earl of Bristol,
with difficulty avoiding its shoals. He saw the shoaled entrance to a
river which he called Bristol River, but which must have been the
Nushagak. He saw many salmon leaping, and found them in the maws of cod.

The following day, seeing a high promontory, he sent Lieutenant
Williamson ashore. Possession of the country in his Majesty's name was
taken, and a bottle was left containing the names of Cook's ships and
the date of discovery. To the promontory was given the name which it
retains of Cape Newenham.

Proceeding up the coast Cook met natives who were of a friendly
disposition, but who seemed unfamiliar with the sight of white men and
vessels; they were dressed somewhat like Aleutians, wearing, also, skin
hoods and wooden bonnets.

The ships were caught in the shoals of Kuskokwim Bay, but Cook does not
appear to have discovered this great river, which is the second in size
of Alaskan rivers and whose length is nine hundred miles. In the bay the
tides have a fifty-foot rise and fall, entering in a tremendous bore.
This vicinity formerly furnished exceedingly fine black bear skins.

Cook's surgeon died of consumption and was buried on an island which was
named Anderson, in his memory. Upon an island about four leagues in
circuit a rude sledge was found, and the name of Sledge Island was
bestowed upon it. He entered Norton Sound, but only "suspected" the
existence of a mighty river, completely missing the Yukon.

He named the extreme western point of North America, which plunges out
into Behring Sea, almost meeting the East Cape of Siberia, Cape Prince
of Wales. In the centre of the strait are the two Diomede Islands,
between which the boundary line runs, one belonging to Russia, the other
to the United States.

Cook sailed up into the Frozen Ocean and named Icy Cape, narrowly
missing disaster in the ice pack. There he saw many herds of sea-horses,
or walrus, lying upon the ice in companies numbering many hundreds. They
huddled over one another like swine, roaring and braying; so that in the
night or in a fog they gave warning of the nearness of ice. Some members
of the herd kept watch; they aroused those nearest to them and warned
them of the approach of enemies. Those, in turn, warned others, and so
the word was passed along in a kind of ripple until the entire herd was
awake. When fired upon, they tumbled one over another into the sea, in
the utmost confusion. The female defends her young to the very last, and
at the sacrifice of her own life, if necessary, fighting ferociously.

The walrus does not in the least resemble a horse, and it is difficult
to understand whence the name arose. It is somewhat like a seal, only
much larger. Those found by Cook in the Arctic were from nine to twelve
feet in length and weighed about a thousand pounds. Their tusks have
always been valuable, and have greatly increased in value of recent
years, as the walrus diminish in number.

Cook named Cape Denbigh and Cape Darby on either side of Norton Bay; and
Besborough Island south of Cape Denbigh.

Going ashore, he encountered a family of natives which he and Captain
King describe in such wise that no one, having read the description, can
ever enter Norton Sound without recalling it. The family consisted of a
man, his wife, and a child; and a fourth person who bore the human
shape, and that was all, for he was the most horribly, the most
pitiably, deformed cripple ever seen, heard of, or imagined. The husband
was blind; and all were extremely unpleasant in appearance. The
underlips were bored.

These natives would have evidently sold their souls for iron. For four
knives made out of old iron hoop, they traded four hundred pounds of
fish--and Cook must have lost his conscience overboard with his anchor
in Kuskokwim Bay. He recovered the anchor!

He gave the girl-child a few beads, "whereupon the mother burst into
tears, then the father, then the cripple, and, at last, the girl
herself."

Many different passages, or sentences, have been called "the most
pathetic ever written"; but, myself, I confess that I have never been so
powerfully or so lastingly moved by any sentence as I was when I first
read that one of Cook's. Almost equalling it, however, in pathos is the
simple account of Captain King's of his meeting with the same family. He
was on shore with a party obtaining wood when these people approached in
a canoe. He beckoned to them to land, and the husband and wife came
ashore. He gave the woman a knife, saying that he would give her a
larger one for some fish. She made signs for him to follow them.

"I had proceeded with them about a mile, when the man, in crossing a
stony beach, fell down and cut his foot very much. This made me stop,
upon which the woman pointed to the man's eyes, which, I observed, were
covered with a thick, white film. He afterward kept close to his wife,
who apprised him of the obstacles in his way. The woman had a little
child on her back, covered with a hood, and which I took for a bundle
until I heard it cry. At about two miles distant we came upon their open
skin-boat, which was turned on its side, the convex part toward the
wind, and served for their house. I was now made to perform a singular
operation upon the man's eyes. First, I was directed to hold my breath;
afterward, to breathe on the diseased eyes; and next, to spit on them.
The woman then took both my hands and, pressing them to his stomach,
held them there while she related some calamitous history of her family,
pointing sometimes to her husband, sometimes to a frightful cripple
belonging to the family, and sometimes to her child."

Berries, birch, willow, alders, broom, and spruce were found. Beer was
brewed of the spruce.

Cook now sailed past that divinely beautiful shore upon which St.
Michael's is situated, and named Stuart Island and Cape Stephens, but
did not hear the Yukon calling him. He did find shoal water, very much
discolored and muddy, and "inferred that a considerable river runs into
the sea." If he had only guessed _how_ considerable! Passing south, he
named Clerk's, Gore's, and Pinnacle Islands, and returned to Unalaska.



CHAPTER XLI


A famous engineering feat was the building of the White Pass and Yukon
Railway from Skaguay to White Horse. Work was commenced on this road in
May, 1898, and finished in January, 1900.

Its completion opened the interior of Alaska and the Klondike to the
world, and brought enduring fame to Mr. M. J. Heney, the builder, and
Mr. E. C. Hawkins, the engineer.

In 1897 Mr. Heney went North to look for a pass through the Coast Range.
Up to that time travel to the Klondike had been about equally divided
between the Dyea, Skaguay, and Jack Dalton trails; the route by way of
the Stikine and Hootalinqua rivers; and the one to St. Michael's by
ocean steamers and thence up the Yukon by small and, at that time,
inferior steamers.

Mr. Heney and his engineers at once grasped the possibilities of the
"Skaguay Trail." This pass was first explored and surveyed by Captain
Moore, of Mr. Ogilvie's survey of June, 1887, who named it White Pass,
for Honorable Thomas White, Canadian Minister of the Interior. It could
not have been more appropriately named, even though named for a man, as
there is never a day in the warmest weather that snow-peaks are not in
view to the traveller over this pass; while from September to June the
trains wind through sparkling and unbroken whiteness.

Mr. Heney, coming out to finance the road, faced serious difficulties
and discouragements in America. Owing to the enormous cost of this short
piece of road, as planned, as well as the daring nature of its
conception, the boldest financiers of this country, upon investigation,
declined to entertain the proposition.

Mr. Heney was a young man who, up to that time, although possessed of
great ability, had made no marked success--his opportunity not having as
yet presented itself.

Recovering from his first disappointment, he undauntedly voyaged to
England, where some of the most conservative capitalists, moved and
convinced by his enthusiasm and his clear descriptions of the northern
country and its future, freely financed the railroad whose successful
building was to become one of the most brilliant achievements of the
century.

They were entirely unacquainted with Mr. Heney, and after this proof of
confidence in him and his project, the word "fail" dropped out of the
English language, so far as the intrepid young builder was concerned.

"After that," he said, "I _could not_ fail."

He returned and work was at once begun. A man big of body, mind, and
heart, he was specially fitted for the perilous and daring work. Calm,
low-voiced, compelling in repressed power and unswerving courage and
will, he was a harder worker than any of his men.

Associated with him was a man equally large and equally gifted. Mr.
Hawkins is one of the most famous engineers of this country, if not of
any country.

The difficult miles that these two men tramped; the long, long hours of
each day that they worked; the hardships that they endured, unflinching;
the appalling obstacles that they overcame--are a part of Alaskan
history.

The first twenty miles of this road from Skaguay cost two millions of
dollars; the average cost to the summit was a hundred thousand dollars a
mile, and now and then a single mile cost a hundred and fifty thousand
dollars.

The road is built on mountainsides so precipitous that men were
suspended from the heights above by ropes, to prevent disaster while
cutting grades. At one point a cliff a hundred and twenty feet high,
eighty feet deep, and twenty feet in width was blasted entirely away for
the road-bed.

Thirty-five hundred men in all were employed in constructing the road,
but thirty of whom died, of accident and disease, during the
construction. Taking into consideration the perilous nature of the work,
the rigors of the winter climate, and the fact that work did not cease
during the worst weather, this is a remarkably small proportion.

A force of finer men never built a railroad. Many were prospectors,
eager to work their way into the land of gold; others were graduates of
eastern colleges; all were self-respecting, energetic men.

Skaguay is a thousand miles from Seattle; and from the latter city and
Vancouver, men, supplies, and all materials were shipped. This was not
one of the least of the hindrances to a rapid completion of the road.
Rich strikes were common occurrences at that time. In one day, after the
report of a new discovery in the Atlin country had reached headquarters,
fifteen hundred men drew their pay and stampeded for the new gold
fields.

But all obstacles to the building of the road were surmounted. Within
eighteen months from the date of beginning work it was completed to
White Horse, a distance of one hundred and eleven miles, and trains were
running regularly.

       *       *       *       *       *

A legend tells us that an old Indian chief saw the canoe of his son
upset in the waves lashed by the terrific winds that blow down between
the mountains. The lad was drowned before the helpless father's eyes,
and in his sorrow the old chief named the place Shkag-ua, or "Home of
the North Wind." It has been abbreviated to Skaguay; and has been even
further disfigured by a _w_, in place of the _u_.

Between salt water and the foot of White Pass Trail, two miles up the
canyon, in the winter of 1897-1898, ten thousand men were camped. Some
were trying to get their outfits packed over the trail; others were
impatiently waiting for the completion of the wagon road which George A.
Brackett was building. This road was completed almost to the summit when
the railroad overtook it and bought its right of way. It is not ten
years old; yet it is always called "the _old_ Brackett road."

At half-past nine of a July morning our train left Skaguay for White
Horse. We traversed the entire length of the town before entering the
canyon. There are low, brown flats at the mouth of the river, which
spreads over them in shallow streams fringed with alders and
cottonwoods.

Above, on both sides, rose the gray, stony cliffs. Here and there were
wooded slopes; others were rosy with fireweed that moved softly, like
clouds.

We soon passed the ruined bridge of the Brackett road, the water
brawling noisily, gray-white, over the stones.

Our train was a long one drawn by four engines. There were a
baggage-car, two passenger-cars, and twenty flat and freight cars loaded
with boilers, machinery, cattle, chickens, merchandise, and food-stuffs
of all kinds.

After crossing Skaguay River the train turns back, climbing rapidly, and
Skaguay and Lynn Canal are seen shining in the distance.... We turn
again. The river foams between mountains of stone, hundreds of feet
below--so far below that the trees growing sparsely along its banks
seem as the tiniest shrubs.

The Brackett road winds along the bed of the river, while the old White
Pass, or Heartbreak, Trail climbs and falls along the stone and
crumbling shale of the opposite mountain--in many places rising to an
altitude of several hundred feet, in others sinking to a level with the
river.

The Brackett road ends at White Pass City, where, ten years ago, was the
largest tent-city in the world; and where now are only the crumbling
ruins of a couple of log cabins, silence, and loneliness.

At White Pass City that was, the old Trail of Heartbreak leads up the
canyon of the north fork of the Skaguay, directly away from the
railroad. The latter makes a loop of many miles and returns to the
canyon hundreds of feet above its bed. The scenery is of constantly
increasing grandeur. Cascades, snow-peaks, glaciers, and overhanging
cliffs of stone make the way one of austere beauty. In two hours and a
half we climb leisurely, with frequent stops, from the level of the sea
to the summit of the pass; and although skirting peaks from five to
eight thousand feet in height, we pass through only one short tunnel.

It is a thrilling experience. The rocking train clings to the leaning
wall of solid stone. A gulf of purple ether sinks sheer on the other
side--so sheer, so deep, that one dare not look too long or too intently
into its depth. Hundreds of feet below, the river roars through its
narrow banks, and in many places the train overhangs it. In others,
solid rock cliffs jut out boldly over the train.

After passing through the tunnel, the train creeps across the steel
cantilever bridge which seems to have been flung, as a spider flings his
glistening threads, from cliff to cliff, two hundred and fifteen feet
above the river, foaming white over the immense boulders that here
barricade its headlong race to the sea.

Beautiful and impressive though this trip is in the green time and the
bloom time of the year, it remains for the winter to make it sublime.

The mountains are covered deeply with snow, which drifts to a tremendous
depth in canyons and cuts. Through these drifts the powerful rotary
snow-plough cleaves a white and glistening tunnel, along which the train
slowly makes its way. The fascinating element of momentary peril--of
snow-slides burying the train--enters into the winter trip.

Near Clifton one looks down upon an immense block of stone, the size of
a house but perfectly flat, beneath which three men were buried by a
blast during the building of the road. The stone is covered with grass
and flowers and is marked with a white cross.

At the summit, twenty miles from Skaguay, is a red station named White
Pass. A monument marks the boundary between the United States and Yukon
Territory. The American flag floats on one side, the Canadian on the
other. A cone of rocks on the crest of the hill leading away from the
sea marks the direction the boundary takes.

The White Pass Railway has an average grade of three per cent, and it
ascends with gradual, splendid sweeps around mountainsides and
projecting cliffs.

The old trail is frequently called "Dead Horse Trail." Thousands of
horses and mules were employed by the stampeders. The poor beasts were
overloaded, overworked, and, in many instances, treated with unspeakable
cruelty. It was one of the shames of the century, and no humane person
can ever remember it without horror.

At one time in 1897 more than five thousand dead horses were counted on
the trail. Some had lost their footing and were dashed to death on the
rocks below; others had sunken under their cruel burdens in utter
exhaustion; others had been shot; and still others had been brutally
abandoned and had slowly starved to death.

"What became of the horses," I asked an old stampeder, "when you reached
Lake Bennett? Did you sell them?"

"Lord, no, ma'am," returned he, politely; "there wa'n't nothing left of
'em to sell. You see, they was dead."

"But I mean the ones that did not die."

"There wa'n't any of that kind, ma'am."

"Do you mean," I asked, in dismay, "that they all died?--that none
survived that awful experience?"

"That's about it, ma'am. When we got to Lake Bennett there wa'n't any
more use for horses. Nobody was goin' the other way--and if they had
been, the horses that reached Lake Bennett wa'n't fit to stand alone,
let alone pack. The ones that wa'n't shot, died of starvation. Yes,
ma'am, it made a man's soul sick."

       *       *       *       *       *

Boundary lines are interesting in all parts of the world; but the one at
the summit of the White Pass is of unusual historic interest. Side by
side float the flags of America and Canada. They are about twenty yards
from the little station, and every passenger left the train and walked
to them, solely to experience a big patriotic American, or Canadian,
thrill; to strut, glow, and walk back to the train again. Myself, I gave
thanks to God, silently and alone, that those two flags were floating
side by side there on that mountain, beside the little sapphire lake,
instead of at the head of Chilkoot Inlet.

There are Canadian and United States inspectors of customs at the
summit; also a railway agent. Their families live there with them, and
there is no one else and nothing else, save the little sapphire lake
lying in the bare hills.

Its blue waves lipped the porch whereon sat the young, sweet-faced wife
of the Canadian inspector, with her baby in its carriage at her side.

This bit of liquid sapphire, scarcely larger than an artificial pond in
a park, is really one of the chief sources of the Yukon--which, had
these clear waters turned toward Lynn Canal, instead of away from it,
might have never been. It seems so marvellous. The merest breath, in the
beginning, might have toppled their liquid bulk over into the canyon
through which we had so slowly and so enchantingly mounted, and in an
hour or two they might have forced their foaming, furious way to the
ocean. But some power turned the blue waters to the north and set them
singing down through the beautiful chain of lakes--Lindeman, Bennett,
Tagish, Marsh, Labarge--winding, widening, past ramparts and mountains,
through canyons and plains, to Behring Sea, twenty-three hundred miles
from this lonely spot.

This beginning of the Yukon is called the Lewes River. Far away, in the
Pelly Mountains, the Pelly River rises and flows down to its confluence
with the Lewes at old Fort Selkirk, and the Yukon is born of their
union.

The Lewes has many tributaries, the most important of which is the
Hootalinqua--or, as the Indians named it, Teslin--having its source in
Teslin Lake, near the source of the Stikine River.

After leaving the summit the railway follows the shores of the river and
the lakes, and the way is one of loveliness rather than grandeur. The
saltish atmosphere is left behind, and the air tings with the sweetness
of mountain and lake.

We had eaten an early breakfast, and we did not reach an eating station
until we arrived at the head of Lake Bennett at half after one o'clock;
and then we were given fifteen minutes in which to eat our lunch and get
back to the train.

I do not think I have ever been so hungry in my life--and _fifteen
minutes_! The dining room was clean and attractive; two long, narrow
tables, or counters, extended the entire length of the room. They were
decorated with great bouquets of wild flowers; the sweet air from the
lake blew in through open windows and shook the white curtains out into
the room.

The tables were provided with good food, all ready to be eaten. There
were ham sandwiches made of lean ham. It was not edged with fat and
embittered with mustard; it must have been baked, too, because no boiled
ham could be so sweet. There were big brown lima beans, also baked, not
boiled, and dill-pickles--no insipid pin-moneys, but good, sour,
delicious dills! There were salads, home-made bread, "salt-rising" bread
and butter, cakes and cookies and fruit--and huckleberry pie.
Blueberries, they are called in Alaska, but they are our own mountain
huckleberries.

No twelve-course luncheon, with a different wine for each course, could
impress itself upon my memory as did that lunch-counter meal. We ate as
children eat; with their pure, animal enjoyment and satisfaction. For
fifteen minutes we had not a desire in the world save to gratify our
appetites with plain, wholesome food. There was no crowding, no
selfishness and rudeness,--as there had been in that wild scene on the
excursion-boat, where the struggle had been for place rather than for
food,--but a polite consideration for one another. And outside the sun
shone, the blue waves sparkled and rippled along the shore, and their
music came in through the open windows.

Here, in 1897, was a city of tents. Several thousand men and women
camped here, waiting for the completion of boats and rafts to convey
themselves and their outfits down the lakes and the river to the golden
land of their dreams.

Standing between cars, clinging to a rattling brake, I made the
acquaintance of Cyanide Bill, and he told me about it.

"Tents!" said he. "Did you say tents? Hunh! Why, lady, tents was as
thick here in '97 and '98 as seeds on a strawberry. They was so thick it
took a man an hour to find his own. Hunh! You tripped up every other
step on a tent-peg. I guess nobody knows anything about tents unless he
was mushin' around Lake Bennett in the summer of '97. From five to ten
thousand men and women was camped here off an' on. Fresh ones by the
hundred come strugglin', sweatin', dyin', in over the trail every day,
and every day hundreds got their rafts finished, bundled their things
and theirselves on to 'em, and went tearin' and yellin' down the lake,
gloatin' over the poor tired-out wretches that just got in. Often as not
they come sneakin' back afoot without any raft and without any outfit
and worked their way back to the states to get another. Them that went
slow, went sure, and got in ahead of the rushers.

"I wisht you could of seen the tent town!--young fellows right out of
college flauntin' around as if they knew somethin'; old men, stooped and
gray-headed; gamblers, tin horns, cut-throats, and thieves; honest
women, workin' their way in with their husbands or sons, their noses
bent to the earth, with heavy packs on their backs, like men; and gay,
painted dance-hall girls, sailin' past 'em on horseback and dressed to
kill and livin' on the fat of the land. I bet more good women went to
the bad on this here layout than you could shake a stick at. It seemed
to get on to their nerves to struggle along, week after week, packin'
like animals, sufferin' like dogs, et up by mosquitoes and gnats, pushed
and crowded out by men--and then to see them gay girls go singin' by,
livin' on luxuries, men fallin' all over theirselves to wait on 'em,
champagne to drink--it sure did get on to their nerves!

[Illustration: Copyright by F. H. Nowell, Seattle

COUNCIL CITY AND SOLOMON RIVER RAILROAD--A CHARACTERISTIC LANDSCAPE OF
SEWARD PENINSULA]

"You see, somehow, up here, in them days, things didn't seem the way
they do down below. Nature kind of gets in her work ahead of custom up
here. Wrong don't look so terrible different from right to a woman a
thousand miles from civilization. When she sees women all around her
walkin' on flowers, and her own feet blistered and bleedin' on stones
and thorns, she's pretty apt to ask herself whether bein' good and
workin' like a horse pays. And up here on the trail in '97 the minute a
woman begun to ask herself that question, it was all up with her. The
end was in plain sight, like the nose on a man's face. The dance hall on
in Dawson answered the question practical.

"Of course, lots of 'em went in straight and stayed straight; and
they're the ones that made Dawson and saved Dawson. You get a handful of
good women located in a minin'-camp and you can build up a town, and you
can't do it before, mounted police or no mounted police."

I had heard these hard truths of the Trail of Heartbreak before; but
having been worded more vaguely, they had not impressed me as they did
now, spoken with the plain, honest directness of the old trail days.

"If you want straight facts about '97," the collector had said to me,
"I'll introduce you to Cyanide Bill, out there. He was all through here
time and again. He will tell you everything you want to know. But be
careful what you ask him; he'll answer anything--and he doesn't talk
parlor."

"The hardships such women went through," continued Cyanide Bill, "the
insults and humiliations they faced and lived down, ought to of set 'em
on a pe-_des_-tal when all was said and done and decency had the upper
hand. The time come when the other'ns got their come-upin's; when they
found out whether it paid to live straight.

"The world'll never see such a rush for gold again," went on Cyanide
Bill, after a pause. "I tell you it takes a lot to make any impress on
me, I've been toughenin' up in this country so many years; but when I
arrives and sees the orgy goin' on along this trail, my heart up and
stood still a spell. The strong ones was all a-trompin' the weak ones
down. The weak ones went down and out, and the strong ones never looked
behind. Men just went crazy. Men that had always been kind-hearted went
plumb locoed and 'u'd trample down their best friend, to get ahead of
him. They got just like brutes and didn't know their own selves. It's no
wonder the best women give up. Did you ever hear the story of Lady
Belle?"

I remembered Lady Belle, probably because of the name, but I had never
heard the details of her tragic story, and I frankly confessed that I
would like to hear them--"parlor" language or "trail," it mattered not.

"Well,"--he half closed his eyes and stared down the blue lake,--"she
come along this trail the first of July, the prettiest woman you ever
laid eyes on. Her husband was with her. He seemed to be kind to her at
first, but the horrors of the trail worked on him, and he went kind of
locoed. He took to abusin' her and blamin' her for everything. She
worked like a dog and he treated her about like one; but she never lost
her beauty nor her sweetness. She had the sweetest smile I ever saw on
any human bein's face; and she was the only one that thought about
others.

"'Don't crowd!' she used to cry, with that smile of her'n. 'We're all
havin' a hard time together.'

"Well, they lost their outfit in White Horse Rapids; her husband cursed
her and said it wouldn't of happened if she hadn't been hell-bent to
come along; he took to drinkin' and up and left her there at the rapids.
He went back to the states, sayin' he didn't ever want to see her again.

"She was left there without an ounce of grub or a cent of money.
Yakataga Pete had been workin' along the trail with a big outfit, and
had gone on in ahead. He'd fell in love with her before he knew she was
married. He went on up into the cricks, and when he come down to Dawson
six months later, she was in a dance hall. Dawson was wild about her.
They called her Lady Belle because she was always such a lady.

"Yakataga went straight to her and asked her to marry him. She burst out
into the most terrible cryin' you ever hear. 'As if I could ever marry
anybody!' she cries out; and that's all the answer he ever got. We found
out she had a little blind sister down in the states. She had to send
money to keep her in a blind school. She danced and acted cheerful; but
her face was as white as chalk, and her big dark eyes looked like a
fawn's eyes when you've shot it and not quite killed it, so's it can't
get away from you, nor die, nor anything; but she was always just as
sweet as ever.

"Two months after that she--she--killed herself. Yakataga was up in the
cricks. He come down and buried her."

It was told, the simple and tragic tale of Lady Belle, and presently
Cyanide Bill went away and left me.

The breeze grew cooler; it crested the waves with silver. Pearly clouds
floated slowly overhead and were reflected in the depths below.

The mountains surrounding Lake Bennett are of an unusual color. It is a
soft old-rose in the distance. The color is not caused by light and
shade; nor by the sun; nor by flowers. It is the color of the mountains
themselves. They are said to be almost solid mountains of iron, which
gives them their name of "Iron-Crowned," I believe; but to me they will
always be the Rose-colored Mountains. They soften and enrich the
sparkling, almost dazzling, blue atmosphere, and give the horizon a
look of sunset even at midday. The color reminded me of the dull
old-rose of Columbia Glacier.

Lake Bennett dashes its foam-crested blue waves along the pebbly beaches
and stone terraces for a distance of twenty-seven miles. At its widest
it is not more than two miles, and it narrows in places to less than
half a mile. It winds and curves like a river.

The railway runs along the eastern shore of the lake, and mountains
slope abruptly from the opposite shore to a height of five thousand
feet. The scenery is never monotonous. It charms constantly, and the air
keeps the traveller as fresh and sparkling in spirit as champagne.

For many miles a solid road-bed, four or five feet above the water, is
hewn out of the base of the mountains; the terrace from the railway to
the water is a solid blaze of bloom; white sails, blown full, drift up
and down the blue water avenue; cloud-fragments move silently over the
nearer rose-colored mountains; while in the distance, in every direction
that the eye may turn, the enchanted traveller is saluted by some lonely
and beautiful peak of snow. It is an exquisitely lovely lake.

We had passed Lake Lindeman--named by Lieutenant Schwatka for Dr.
Lindeman of the Breman Geographical Society--before reaching Bennett.

Lake Lindeman is a clear and lovely lake seven miles long, half a mile
wide, and of a good depth for any navigation required here. A mountain
stream pours tumultuously into it, adding to its picturesque beauty.

Sea birds haunt these lakes, drift on to the Yukon, and follow the
voyager until they meet their silvery fellows coming up from Behring
Sea.

Between Lakes Lindeman and Bennett the river connecting link is only
three quarters of a mile long, about thirty yards wide, and only two or
three feet deep. It is filled with shoals, rapids, cascades, boulders,
and bars; and navigation is rendered so difficult and so dangerous that
in the old "raft" days outfits were usually portaged to Lake Bennett.

During the rush to the Klondike a saw-mill was established at the head
of Lake Bennett, and lumber for boat building was sold for one hundred
dollars a thousand feet.

The air in these lake valleys on a warm day is indescribably soft and
balmy. It is scented with pine, balm, cottonwood, and flowers. The lower
slopes are covered with fireweed, larkspur, dandelions, monk's-hood,
purple asters, marguerites, wild roses, dwarf goldenrod, and many other
varieties of wild flowers. The fireweed is of special beauty. Its blooms
are larger and of a richer red than along the coast. Blooms covering
acres of hillside seem to float like a rosy mist suspended in the
atmosphere. The grasses are also very beautiful, some having the rich,
changeable tints of a humming-bird.

The short stream a couple of hundred yards in width connecting Lake
Bennett with the next lake--a very small, but pretty one which Schwatka
named Nares--was called by the natives "the place where the caribou
cross," and now bears the name of Caribou Crossing. At certain seasons
the caribou were supposed to cross this part of the river in vast herds
on their way to different feeding-grounds, the current being very
shallow at this point.

There is a small settlement here now, and boats were waiting to carry
passengers to the Atlin mining district. The caribou have now found less
populous territories in which to range. In the winter of 1907-1908 they
ranged in droves of many thousands--some reports said hundreds of
thousands--through the hills and valleys of the Stewart, Klondike, and
Sixty-Mile rivers, in the Upper Yukon country.

Miners killed them by the hundreds, dressed them, and stored them in the
shafts and tunnels of their mines, down in the eternally frozen caverns
of the earth--thus supplying themselves with the most delicious meat for
a year. The trek of caribou from the Tanana River valley to the head of
White River consumed more than ninety days in passing the head of the
Forty-Mile valley--at least a thousand a day passing during that period.
They covered from one to five miles in width, and trod the snow down as
solidly as it is trodden in a city street. A great wolf-pack clung to
the flank of the herd. The wolves easily cut out the weak or tired-out
caribou and devoured them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Caribou Crossing is a lonely and desolate cluster of tents and cabins
huddling in the sand on the water's edge. Considerable business is
transacted here, and many passengers transfer here in summer to Atlin.
In winter they leave the train at Log-Cabin, which we passed during the
forenoon, and make the journey overland in sleighs.

The voyage from Caribou Crossing to Atlin is by way of a chain of blue
lakes, pearled by snow mountains. It is a popular round-trip tourist
trip, which may be taken with but little extra expense from Skaguay.

Tagish Lake, as it was named by Dr. Dawson,--the distinguished British
explorer and chief director of the natural history and geological survey
of the Dominion of Canada,--was also known as Bove Lake. Ten miles from
its head it is joined by Taku Arm--Tahk-o Lake, it was called by
Schwatka.

The shores of Tagish Lake are terraced beautifully to the water, the
terraces rising evenly one above another. They were probably formed by
the regular movement of ice in other ages, when the waters in these
valleys were deeper and wider. There are some striking points of
limestone in this vicinity, their pearl-white shoulders gleaming
brilliantly in the sunshine, with sparkling blue waves dashing against
them.

Marsh Lake, and another with a name so distasteful that I will not write
it, are further links in the brilliant sapphire water chain by which the
courageous voyagers of the Heartbreak days used to drift hopefully, yet
fearfully, down to the Klondike. The bed of a lake which was
unintentionally drained completely dry by the builders of the railroad
is passed just before reaching Grand Canyon.

The train pauses at the canyon and again at White Horse Rapids, to give
passengers a glimpse of these famed and dreaded places of navigation of
a decade ago.

At six o'clock in the evening of the day we left Skaguay we reached
White Horse.



CHAPTER XLII


This is a new, clean, wooden town, the first of any importance in Yukon
Territory. It has about fifteen hundred inhabitants, is the terminus of
the railroad, and is growing rapidly. The town is on the banks of Lewes
River, or, as they call it here, the Yukon.

There is an air of tidiness, order, and thrift about this town which is
never found in a frontier town in "the states." There are no old
newspapers huddled into gutters, nor blowing up and down the street. Men
do not stand on corners with their hands in their pockets, or whittling
out toothpicks, and waiting for a railroad to be built or a mine to be
discovered. They walk the streets with the manner of men who have work
to do and who feel that life is worth while, even on the outposts of
civilization.

All passengers, freight, and supplies for the interior now pass through
White Horse. The river bank is lined with vast warehouses which, by the
time the river opens in June, are piled to the roofs with freight. The
shipments of heavy machinery are large. From the river one can see
little besides these warehouses, the shipyards to the south, and the
hills.

Passing through the depot one is confronted by the largest hotel, the
White Pass, directly across the street. To this we walked; and from an
upstairs window had a good view of the town. The streets are wide and
level; the whole town site is as level as a parade-ground. The
buildings are frame and log; merchandise is fair in quality and style,
and in price, high. Mounted police strut stiffly and importantly up and
down the streets to and from their picturesque log barracks. One
unconsciously holds one's chin level and one's shoulders high the
instant one enters a Yukon town. It is in the air.

Excellent grounds are provided for all outdoor sports; and in the
evening every man one meets has a tennis racket or a golf stick in his
hand, and on his face that look of enthusiastic anticipation which is
seen only on a British sportsman's face. No American, however
enthusiastic or "keen" he may be on outdoor sports, ever quite gets that
look.

There was no key to our door. Furthermore, the door would not even close
securely, but remained a few hair breadths ajar. There was no bell; but
on our way down to dinner, having left some valuables in our room, we
reported the matter to a porter whom we met in the hall, and asked him
to lock our door.

"It doesn't lock," he replied politely. "It doesn't even latch, and the
key is lost."

Observing our amazed faces, he added, smiling:--

"You don't need it, ladies. You will be as safe as you would be at home.
We never lock doors in White Horse."

This was my first Yukon shock, but not my last. My faith in mounted
police has always been strong, but it went down before that unlocked
door.

"Possibly the people of White Horse never take what does not belong to
them," I said; "but a hundred strangers came in on that train. Might not
_one_ be afflicted with kleptomania?"

"He wouldn't steal here," said the boy, confidently. "Nobody ever
does."

There seemed to be nothing more to say. We left our door ajar and, with
lingering backward glances, went down to the dining room.

Never shall I forget that dinner. It was as bad as our lunch had been
good. The room was hot; the table-cloth was far from being immaculate;
the waitress was untidy and ill-bred; and there was nothing that we
could eat.

Nor were we fastidious. We neither expected, nor desired, luxuries; we
asked only well-cooked, clean, wholesome food; but if this is to be
obtained in White Horse, we found it not--although we did not cease
trying while we were there.

We went out and walked the clean streets and looked into restaurants,
and tried to see something good to eat, or at least a clean table-cloth;
but in the end we went hungry to bed. We had wine and graham wafers in
our bags, and they consoled; but we craved something substantial,
notwithstanding our hearty lunch. It was the air--the light, fresh,
sparkling air of mountain, river, and lake--that gave us our appetites.

When we had walked until our feet could no longer support us, we
returned to the hotel. On the way, we saw a sign announcing ice-cream
soda. We went in and asked for some, but the ice-cream was "all out."

"But we have plain soda," said the man, looking so wistful that we at
once decided to have some, although we both detested it.

He fizzed it elaborately into two very small glasses and led us back
into a little dark room, where were chairs and tables, and he gave us
spoons with which to eat our plain soda. "Let me pay," said my friend,
airily; and she put ten cents on the table.

The man looked at it and grinned. He did not smile; he grinned. Then he
went away and left it lying there.

We tried to drink the soda-water; then we tried to coax it through
straws; finally we tried to eat it with spoons--as others about us were
doing; but we could not. It looked like soap-bubbles and it tasted like
soap-bubbles.

"He didn't see his ten cents," said my friend, gathering it up. "I
suppose one pays at the counter out there. I would cheerfully pay him an
extra ten if I had not gotten the taste of the abominable stuff in my
mouth."

She laid the ten cents on the counter grudgingly.

The man looked at it and grinned again.

"Them things don't go here," said he. "It's fifty cents."

There was a silence. I found my handkerchief and laughed into it,
wishing I had taken a second glass.

"Oh, I see," said she, slowly and sweetly, as a half-dollar slid
lingering down her fingers to the counter. "For the spoons. They were
worth it."

It was two o'clock before we could leave our windows that night. It was
not dark, not even dusk. A kind of blue-white light lay over the town
and valley, deepening toward the hills. In the air was that delicious
quality which charms the senses like perfumes. Only to breathe it in was
a drowsy, languorous joy. At White Horse one opens the magic, invisible
gate and passes into the enchanted land of Forgetfulness--and the gate
swings shut behind one.

Home and friends seem far away. If every soul that one loves were at
death's door, one could not get home in time to say farewell--so why not
banish care and enjoy each hour as it comes?

This is the same reckless spirit which, greatly intensified, possessed
desperate men when they went to the Klondike ten years ago. There was no
telegraph, then, and mails were carried in only once or twice a year.
Letters were lost. Men did not hear from their wives, and, discouraged
and disheartened, decided that the women had died or had forgotten; so
they went the way of the country, and it often came to pass that
Heartbreak Trail led to the Land of Heartbreak.

In the morning we learned that the boat for Dawson was not yet "in,"
and, even if it should arrive during the day,--which seemed to be as
uncertain as the opening of the river in spring,--would not leave until
some time during the night; so at nine o'clock we took the Skaguay train
for the Grand Canyon.

One "oldest" resident of White Horse told us that it was only a mile to
the canyon; another oldest one, that it was four miles; still another,
that it was five; all agreed that we should take the train out and walk
back.

"There's a tram," they told us, "an old, abandoned tram, and you can't
get lost. You've only to follow the tram. Why, a _goose_ couldn't get
lost. Norman McCauley built the tram, and outfits were portaged around
the canyon and the rapids two seasons; then the railroad come in and the
tram went out of business."

We took our bundles of mosquito netting and boarded the train. In summer
the travel is all "in," and we were the only passengers. When the White
Pass Railway Company was organized, stock was worth ten dollars a share;
now it is worth six hundred and fifty dollars, and it is not for sale.
Freight rates are five cents a pound, one hundred dollars a ton, or
fifty in car-load lots, from Skaguay to White Horse. Passenger rates are
supposed to be twenty cents a mile. We paid seventy-five cents to return
to the canyon which we passed the previous day. This rate should make
the distance four miles, and we barely had time to arrange our mosquito
veils, according to the instructions of the conductor, when the train
stopped.

We were told that we might not see a mosquito; and again, that we might
not be able to see anything else.

We were put off and left standing ankle-deep in sand, on the brink of a
precipice, four miles from any human being--in the wilds of Alaska. At
that moment the trainmen looked like old and dear friends.

"The path down is right in front of you," the collector called, as the
train started. "Don't be afraid of the bears! They will not harm you at
this time of the year."

Bears!

We had considered heat, mosquitoes, losing our way, hunger,
exhaustion,--everything, it appeared, except bears. We looked at one
another.

"I had not thought of bears."

"Nor had I."

We looked down at the bushes growing along the canyon; little heat-worms
glimmered in the still atmosphere.

"Perhaps it is an Alaskan joke," I suggested feebly.

We stood for some time trying to decide whether we should make the
descent or return to White Horse, when suddenly the matter was decided
for us. I was standing on the brink of the sandy precipice, down which a
path went, almost perpendicularly, without bend or pause, to the bank of
the river several hundred yards below.

The sandy soil upon which I stood suddenly caved and went down into the
path. I went with it. I landed several yards below the brink, gave one
cry, and then--by no will of my own--was off for the canyon.

The caving of the brink had started a sand and gravel slide; and I,
knee-deep in it, was going down with it--slowly, but oh, most surely.
There was no pausing, no looking back. I could hear my companion calling
to me to "stop"; to "wait"; to "be careful"--and all her entreaties were
the bitterest irony by the time they floated down to me. So long as the
slide did not stop, it was useless to tell me to do so; for I was
embedded in it halfway to my waist. We kept going, slowly and
hesitatingly; but never slowly enough for me to get out.

It was eighty in the shade, and the sand was hot. I was wearing a white
waist, a dark blue cheviot skirt, and patent-leather shoes; and my
appearance, when I finally reached level ground and cool alder trees,
may be imagined. Furthermore, our trunks had been bonded to Dawson, and
I had no extra skirts or shoes with me.

My companion, profiting by my misfortune, had armed herself with an
alpenstock and was "tacking" down the slope. It was half an hour before
she arrived.

I have never forgiven her for the way she laughed.

We soon forgot the bears in the beauty of the scene before us. We even
forgot the comedy of my unwilling descent.

The Lewes River gradually narrows from a width of three or four hundred
yards to one of about fifty yards at the mouth of the Grand Canyon,
which it enters in a great bore.

The walls of the canyon are perpendicular columns and palisades of
basalt. They rise without bend to a height of from one to two hundred
feet, and then, set thickly with dark and gloomy spruce trees, slope
gradually into mountains of considerable height. The canyon is
five-eighths of a mile long, and in that interval the water drops thirty
feet. Halfway through, it widens abruptly into a round water chamber, or
basin, where the waters boil and seethe in dangerous whirlpools and
eddies. Then it again narrows, and the waters rush wildly and
tumultuously through walls of dark stone, veined with gray and lavender.
The current runs fifteen miles an hour, and rafts "shooting" the rapids
are hurled violently from side to side, pushed on end, spun round in
whirlpools, buried for seconds in boiling foam, and at last are shot
through the final narrow avenue like spears from a catapult--only to
plunge madly on to the more dangerous White Horse Rapids.

The waves dash to a height of four or five feet and break into vast
sheets of spray and foam. Their roar, flung back by the stone walls, may
be heard for a long distance; and that of the rapids drifts over the
streets of White Horse like distant, continuous thunder, when all else
is still.

We found a difficult way by which, with the assistance of alpenstocks
and overhanging tree branches, we could slide down to the very water,
just above Whirlpool Basin. We stood there long, thinking of the
tragedies that had been enacted in that short and lonely stretch; of the
lost outfits, the worn and wounded bodies, the spirits sore; of the
hearts that had gone through, beating high and strong with hope, and
that had returned broken. It is almost as poignantly interesting as the
old trail; and not for two generations, at least, will the perils of
those days be forgotten.

It was about noon that, remembering our long walk, we turned reluctantly
and set out for White Horse.

Somewhere back of the basin we lost our way. We could not find the
"tram"; searching for it, we got into a swamp and could not make our way
back to the river; and suddenly the mosquitoes were upon us.

The underbrush was so thick that our netting was torn into shreds and
left in festoons and tatters upon every bush; yet I still bear in my
memory the vision of my friend floating like a tall, blond bride--for my
dark-haired Scotch friend was not with me on the Yukon voyage--through
the shadows of that swamp before her bridal veil went to pieces.

Her bridal glory was grief. In a few moments we were both as black as
negroes with mosquitoes; for, desperately though we fought, we could
not drive them away. The air in the swamp was heavy and still; our
progress was unspeakably difficult--through mire and tall, lush grasses
which, in any other country on earth, would have been alive with snakes
and crawling things.

The pests bit and stung our faces, necks, shoulders, and arms; they even
swarmed about our ankles; while, for our hands--they were soon swollen
to twice their original size.

We wept; we prayed; we said evil things in the hearing of heaven; we
asked God to forgive us our sins, or, at the very least, to punish us
for them in some other way; but I, at least, in the heaviest of my
afflictions, did not forget to thank Him because there are no snakes in
Alaska or the Yukon. It seemed to me, even, in the fervor of my
gratitude, that it had all been planned æons ago for our special benefit
in this extreme hour.

But I shall spare the reader a further description of our sufferings.

I had always considered the Alaskan mosquito a joke. I did not know that
they torture men and beasts to a terrible death. They mount in a black
mist from the grass; it is impossible for one to keep one's eyes open.
Dogs, bears, and strong men have been known to die of pain and nervous
exhaustion under their attacks.

After an hour of torture we forced our way through the network of
underbrush back to the river, and soon found a narrow path. There was a
slight breeze, and the mosquitoes were not so aggressive. There was
still a three-mile walk, along the shore bordering the rapids, before we
could rest; and during the last mile each step caused such agony that we
almost crawled.

When we removed our shoes, we found them full of blood. Our feet were
blistered; the blisters had broken and blistered again.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau Courtesy of Webster &
Stevens, Seattle

TELLER]

But we had seen the Grand Canyon of the Yukon--which Schwatka in an evil
hour named Miles, for the distinguished army-general--and White Horse
Rapids; and seeing them was worth the blisters and the blood. And we
know how far it is from the head of the canyon to White Horse town. No
matter what the three "oldest" settlers, the railway folders, Schwatka,
and all the others say,--_we know_. It is fifteen miles! Also, among
those who scoff at Rex Beach for having the villain in his last novel
eaten up by mosquitoes on the Yukon, we are not to be included.

       *       *       *       *       *

Numerous and valuable copper mines lie within a radius of fifteen miles
from White Horse. The more important ones are those of the Pennsylvania
syndicate, The B. N. White Company, The Arctic Chief, The Grafter, the
Anaconda, and the Best Chance. The Puebla, operated by B. N. White, lies
four miles northwest of town. It makes a rich showing of magnetite,
carrying copper values averaging four and five per cent, with a small
by-product of gold and silver.

In the summer of 1907 this mine had in sight two hundred and fifty
thousand tons of pay ore. The deepest development then obtained had a
hundred-foot surface showing three hundred feet in width, and stripped
along with the strike of the vein seven hundred feet, showing a solid,
unbroken mass of ore. Tunnels and crosscuts driven from the bottom of
the shaft showed the body to be the same width and the values the same
as the surface outcrop.

The Arctic Chief ranks second in importance; and extensive development
work is being carried on at all the mines. The railway is building out
into the mining district.

Six-horse stages are run from White Horse to Dawson after the river
closes. The distance is four hundred and thirty-five miles; the fare in
the early autumn and late spring is a hundred and twenty-five dollars;
in winter, when sleighing is good, sixty dollars.

White Horse was first named Closeleigh by the railway company; but the
name was not popular. At one place in the rapids the waves curving over
rocks somewhat resemble a white horse, with wildly floating mane and
tail of foam. This is said to be the origin of the name.

White Horse is only eight years old. The hotel accommodations, if one
does not mind a little thing like not being able to eat, are good. The
rooms are clean and comfortable and filled with sweet mountain and river
air.

At eight o'clock that evening the steamer _Dawson_ struggled up the
river and landed within fifty yards of the hotel. We immediately went
aboard; but it was nine o'clock the next morning before we started, so
we had another night in White Horse.

The Yukon steamers are four stories high, with a place for a roof
garden. I could do nothing for some time but regard the _Dawson_ in
silent wonder. It seemed to glide along on the surface of the water,
like a smooth, flat stone when it is "skipped."

The lower deck is within a few inches of the water; and high above is
the pilot-house, with its lonely-looking captain and pilot; and high,
oh, very high, above them--like a charred monarch of a Puget Sound
forest--rises the black smoke-stack, from which issue such vast funnels
of smoke and such slow and tremendous breathing.

This breathing is a sound that haunts every memory of the Yukon. It is
not easy to describe, it is so slow and so powerful. It is not quite
like a cough--unless one could cough _in_ instead of _out_; it is more
like a sobbing, shivering in-drawing of the breath of some mighty
animal. It echoes from point to point, and may be heard for several
miles on a still day. Day and night it moves through the upper air, and
floats on ahead, often echoing so insistently around some point which
the steamer has not turned, that the "cheechaco" is deluded into the
belief that another steamer is approaching.

The captains and pilots of the Yukon are the loneliest-looking men!
First of all, they are so far away from everybody else; and second,
passengers, particularly women, are not permitted to be in the
pilot-house, nor on the texas, nor even on the hurricane-deck, of
steamers passing through Yukon Territory.

Between White Horse and Lake Lebarge the river is about two hundred
yards wide. The water is smooth and deep. It loiters along the shore,
but the current is strong and bears the steamer down with a rush,
compelling it to zigzag ceaselessly from shore to shore.

Going down the Yukon for the first time, one's heart stands still nearly
half the time. The steamer heads straight for one shore, approaches it
so closely that its bow is within six inches of it, and then swings
powerfully and starts for the opposite shore--its great stern wheel
barely clearing the rocky wall.

The serious vexations and real dangers of navigation in this great
river, from source to mouth, are the sand and gravel bars. One may go
down the Yukon from White Horse to St. Michael in fourteen days; and one
may be a month on the way--pausing, by no will of his own, on various
sand-bars.

The treacherous current changes hourly. It is seldom found twice the
same. It washes the sand from side to side, or heaps it up in the
middle--creating new channels and new dangers. The pilot can only be
cautious, untiringly watchful--and lucky. The rest he must leave to
heaven.

It is twenty-seven miles from White Horse to Lake Lebarge. Midway, the
Tahkeena River flows into the Lewes, running through banks of clay.

Lake Lebarge is thirty-two miles long and three and a half wide. The day
was suave. The water was silvery blue, and as smooth as satin; gray,
deeply veined cliffs were reflected in the water, whose surface was not
disturbed by a ripple or wave; the air was soft; farther down the river
were forest fires, and just sufficient haze floated back to give the
milky old-rose lights of the opal to the atmosphere. There is one small
island in the lake. It was not named; and it received the name--as
Vancouver would say--of Fireweed Isle, because it floated like a rosy
cloud on the pale blue water.

The Indians called this lake Kluk-tas-si, and Schwatka favored retaining
it; but the French name has endured, and it is not bad.

The Lake Lebarge grayling and whitefish are justly famed. Steamers stop
at some lone fisherman's landing and take them down to Dawson, where
they find ready sale. At Lower Lebarge there is a post-office and a
telegraph station. Our steamer paused; two men came out in a boat,
delivered a large supply of fish, received a few parcels of mail, and
went swinging back across the water.

A dreary log-cabin stood on the bank, labelled "Clark's Place." A woman
in a scarlet dress, walking through the reeds beside the beach, made a
bit of vivid color. It seemed very, very lonely--with that kind of
loneliness that is unendurable.

A quarter of a mile farther, around a bend in the shore, the boat landed
at the telegraph station, where the Canadian flag was flying.

The different reaches of the Yukon are called locally by very confusing
names. The river rising in Summit Lake on the White Pass railway is
called both Lewes and Yukon; the stretch immediately below Lake Lebarge
is called Lewes, Thirty-Mile, and Yukon. When we reach the old Hudson
Bay post of Selkirk, however, our perplexities over this matter are at
an end. The Pelly River here joins the Lewes, and all agree that the
splendid river that now surges on to the sea is the Yukon.

It is daylight all the time, and no one should sleep between White Horse
and Dawson. Not an hour of this beautiful voyage on the Upper Yukon
should be wasted.

The banks are high and bold, for the most part springing sheer out of
the water in columns and pinnacles of solid stone. There are also
forestated slopes rising to peaks of snow; and the same kind of clay
cliffs that we saw at White Horse, white and shining in the bluish light
of morning, but more beautiful still in the mysterious rosy shadows of
midnight.

There are some striking columns of red rock along Lake Lebarge, and
their reflections in the water at sunset of a still evening are said to
be entrancing: "two warm pictures of rosy red in the sinking sun, joined
base to base by a thread of silver, at the edge of the other shore."

There are many high hills of soft gray limestone, veined and shaded with
the green of spruce; vast slopes, timbered heavily; low valleys and
picturesque mouths of rivers.

Five-Finger, or Rink, Rapids is caused by a contraction of the river
from its usual width to one of a hundred and fifty yards. Five bulks of
stone, rising to a perpendicular height of forty or fifty feet, are
stretched across the channel. The steamer seems to touch the stone walls
as it rushes through on the boiling rapids.

The Upper Ramparts of the Yukon begin at Fort Selkirk. Here the waters
cut through the lower spurs of the mountains, and for a distance of a
hundred and fifty miles, reaching to Dawson, the scenery is sublime.

"Quiet Sentinel" is a rocky promontory which, seen in profile, resembles
the face and entire figure of a woman. She stands with her head slightly
bowed, as if in prayer, with loose draperies flowing in classic lines to
her feet, and with a rose held to her lips. One of the greatest singers
of the present time might have posed for the "Quiet Sentinel."

       *       *       *       *       *

Rivers and their valleys are more famed in the northern interior than
towns. Teslin, Tahkeena, Teslintoo, Big and Little Salmon, Pelly,
Stewart, White, Forty-Mile, Indian, Sixty-Mile, Macmillan, Klotassin,
Porcupine, Chandlar, Koyukuk, Unalaklik, Tanana, Mynook,--these be names
to conjure with in the North; while those south of the Yukon and
tributary to other waters have equal fame.

As for the Klondike, it is the only stream of its size, being but the
merest creek and averaging a hundred feet in width, which has given its
name to one whole country and to a portion of another country. During
the past decade it has not been unusual to hear the name Klondike
Country applied to all Alaska and that part of Canada adjacent to the
Klondike district. The tiny, gold-bearing creeks, from ten to twenty
feet wide, tributary to the Klondike, are known by name and fame in all
parts of the world to-day. They are Bonanza, Hunker, Too-Much-Gold,
Eldorado, Rock, North Fork, All-Gold, Gold-Bottom, and others of less
importance. The Bonanza flows into the Klondike at Dawson, and it is but
a half-hour's walk to the dredge at work in this stream.

In 1833 Baron Wrangell directed Michael Tebenkoff to establish Fort St.
Michael's on the small island in Norton Sound to which the name of the
fort was given. Three years later it was attacked by natives, but was
successfully defended by Kurupanoff, who was in charge.

In 1836 a Russian named Glasunoff entered the delta of the Yukon,
ascending the river as far as the mouth of the Anvik River. In 1838
Malakoff extended the exploration as far as Nulato, where he established
a Russian post and placed Notarmi in command.

When the garrison returned to St. Michael's on account of the failure of
provisions, the following winter, natives destroyed the fort and all
buildings which had been erected. It was rebuilt and again destroyed in
1839. In 1841 it once more arose under Derabin, who remained in command.
The following year Lieutenant Zagoskin reached Nulato, ascending to
Nowikakat in 1843.

The Russians were therefore established on the lower Yukon several years
before the English established themselves upon the upper river.

In 1840 Mr. Robert Campbell was sent by Sir George Simpson to explore
the Upper Liard River. Mr. Campbell ascended the river to its head
waters, crossed the mountains, and descended the Pelly River to the
Lewes, where, eight years later, he established Fort Selkirk.

This famous trading post was short-lived. In 1851 it was attacked by a
band of savage Chilkahts and was surrendered, without resistance, by Mr.
Campbell, who had but two men with him at the time. They were not
molested by the Indians, who plundered and burned the warehouses and
forts.

Only the chimneys of the fort were found by Lieutenant Schwatka in 1883.
As late as 1890 this point was considered the head of navigation on the
Yukon.

In 1847 Fort Yukon was established by Mr. A. H. McMurray, of the Hudson
Bay Company. Following McMurray and Campbell, came Joseph Harper, Jack
McQuesten, and A. H. Mayo, who established a trading post on the Yukon
at Fort Reliance, six miles below the mouth of the Klondike.

In 1860 Robert Kennicott reached Fort Yukon, and in the following spring
descended to a point that was for several years known as "the Small
Houses"--the most attractive name in the Yukon country. In 1865 an
expedition was organized in San Francisco by the Western Union Telegraph
Company for the purpose of building a telegraph line from San Francisco
to Behring Strait--which was to be crossed by cable to meet the Russian
government line at the mouth of the Amoor River. One party, headed by
Robert Kennicott, was sent by ocean to the mouth of the Yukon; and
another, in charge of Michael Byrnes, up the inside route to the Stikine
River. Going from that river to the head waters of the Taku, they
followed the chain of lakes and the Hootalinqua River to the Lewes,
which they reached on the Tahco Arm of Lake Tagish. At that time it
became known that the Atlantic cable had proven to be a success, and the
daring and hazardous northern project was abandoned.

As late as the date of this expedition it was not determined positively
whether the Kwihkpak was one of the mouths of the Yukon, or a separate
river. Upon the recall of the telegraph expedition, the only portion of
the great river that had not been explored was the short distance
between Lake Tagish and Lake Lebarge.

There have been several claimants for the honor of having been the first
white man to cross the divide between Lynn Canal and the head waters of
the Yukon. The first was a mythological, nameless Scotchman employed by
the Hudson Bay Company, who is supposed to have reached Fort Selkirk in
1864, and to have proceeded alone over the old "grease-trail" of the
Chilkahts to Lynn Canal. He fell into the hands of the Indians and was
held until ransomed by the captain of the _Labouchere_. Because he had
long, flowing locks of red hair, he was supposed to be a kind of white
shaman, and his life was spared by the savages. This story is doubted
by many authorities.

The honor was claimed, also, by George Holt, who is known to have
crossed one of the passes in 1872, and twice in later years. James Wynn,
of Juneau, went over in 1879 and returned in 1880.

About this time the Indians seemed to realize that packing over the
trail might become more profitable than acting as middlemen between the
coast Indians and those of the interior. In 1881 and 1882 small parties
of miners, and even one or two travelling alone, crossed unmolested. In
1883 Lieutenant Schwatka had his outfit packed over the Dyea--Taiya, or
Dayay, it was then called--Trail; and then, dismissing his packers,
built rafts and made his perilous way down the unknown river--portaging,
"shooting" the Grand Canyon, White Horse, and Rink Rapids, sticking on
sand-bars, almost dying of mosquitoes, and, saddest of all for us who
come after him, naming every object that met his eyes with the
deplorable taste of Vancouver.

Of a river, called Kut-lah-cook-ah by the Chilkahts, he complacently
remarks:--

"I shortened its name and called it after Professor Nourse, of the
United States Naval Observatory."

Nourse, Saussure, Perrier, Payer, Bennett, Wheaton, Prejevalsky,
Richards, Watson, Nares, Bove, Marsh, McClintock, Miles, Richthofen,
Hancock, d'Abbadie, Daly, Nordenskiold, Yon Wilczek; these be the choice
namings that he bestowed upon the beautiful objects along the Yukon. It
is, perhaps, a cause for thankfulness that he did not rename the Yukon
_Schwatka_ or _Ridderbjelka_! However, many of his namings have died a
natural death.

The name Yukon is said to have first been applied to the river in 1846
by Mr. J. Bell, of the Hudson Bay Company, who went over from the
MacKenzie and descended the Porcupine to the great river which the
Indians called Yukon. He retained the name, although for some time it
was spelled Youkon. For this, may he ever be of blessed memory. I should
like to contribute to a monument to perpetuate his name and fame.

To-day Fort Selkirk is of some importance as a trading post and because
of the successful farming of the vicinity, and all passing steamers call
there. Joseph Harper was located there at the time of George Carmack's
brilliant discovery of gold on Bonanza Creek, in August, 1896. Harper
and Joseph Ladue, who was settled as a trader at Sixty-Mile, immediately
transferred their stocks to the junction of the Yukon, Klondike, and
Bonanza, and established the town which they named Dawson, in honor of
Dr. George M. Dawson.

In 1887 Mr. William Ogilvie headed a Canadian exploring party into the
Yukon. His boats were towed up to Taiya Inlet by the United States naval
vessel _Pinta_; and while waiting there for supplies, he, having asked
for, and received, authority from Commander Newell, made surveys at the
heads of the inlets. It was only through the intercession of the
commander, furthermore, that Mr. Ogilvie was permitted by the Chilkahts
to proceed over the pass. "I am strongly of the opinion," Mr. Ogilvie
says in his report, "that these Indians would have been much more
difficult to deal with if they had not known that Commander Newell
remained in the inlet to see that I got through in safety."

Miners had been going over the trail for several years, but the
Chilkahts were enraged at the British because employees of the Hudson
Bay Company had killed some of their tribe.

In the meantime Dr. George M. Dawson, heading another Dominion party,
was working along the Stikine River.

Dr. Dawson and Mr. Ogilvie--afterward governor of Yukon territory--made
extensive surveys and explorations throughout the Yukon district; their
reports upon the country are voluminous, thorough, and of much interest.
They were both men of superior attainments, and their influence upon the
country and upon the people who rushed into the new mining district was
great. To-day the name of ex-Governor Ogilvie is heard more frequently
in the Klondike than that of any other person, even though his residence
is elsewhere. He served as governor during the reckless and picturesque
days when to be a governor meant to be a man in the highest sense of the
word.



CHAPTER XLIII


Dawson! It was a name to stir men's blood ten years ago,--a wild,
picturesque, lawless mining-camp, whose like had never been known and
never will be known again.

All kinds and conditions of men and women were represented. Miners,
prospectors, millionnaires, adventurers, wanderers, desperadoes;
brave-hearted, earnest women, dissolute dance-hall girls, and, more
dangerous still, the quiet, seductive adventuress--they were all there,
side by side, tent by tent, cabin by cabin.

Almost daily new discoveries were made and stampedes occurred. Every
little creek flowing into the Klondike was found rich in gold. The very
names that these creeks received--All-Gold, Too-Much-Gold,
Gold-Bottom--turned men's blood to fire. The whole country seemed to
have gone mad of excitement and the lust for gold. The white mountain
passes grew black with struggling human beings--fighting, falling,
rising, fighting on. It was like the blind stampeding of crazed animals
upon a plain; nothing could check them save exhaustion or death. When
the fever burned out in one and left him low, another sprang to take his
place. Dawson, like Skaguay, grew from dozens to hundreds in a day; from
hundreds to thousands; tents gave place to cabins; cabins, to
substantial frame buildings.

Ah, to have been there in the old days! Who would not have suffered the
early hardships, paid the price, and paid it cheerfully, for the sake of
seeing the life and being a part of it before it was too late?

Now it is forever too late. The glory of what it once was is all that
remains. To-day Dawson is so quiet, so dull, so respectable, that one
unconsciously yawns in its face.

But men's eyes still kindle when their memories of old days are stirred.

"They were great times," they say, looking at one another.

"They could only come once. They were times of blood and gold; of dance
and song; of glitter and show--and starvation and death. We worked all
day and danced or gambled all night. Our only passions were for women
and gold. If we couldn't get the women we wanted, the men that did get
'em fought their way to 'em, inch by inch; if we couldn't dig the gold
out of the earth, we got it in some other way.

"All the best buildings were occupied by saloons. Every saloon had a
dance-hall in the back of it; not that the girls had to keep to their
quarters, either--they had the run of the whole shebang. Every saloon
had its gambling rooms, too--unless the tables and games were right out
in the open. I tell you, it was tough. You can't begin to understand the
situation unless you'd been here. There wasn't a hotel nor a corner
where a man could go in and get warm except in a saloon--and with the
thermometer fooling in the neighborhood of fifty below, he didn't stand
around outside with his hands in his pockets, not to any great extent.
Most likely his pockets was naturally froze shut, anyhow, and the only
way he could get 'em thawed out was to go into a saloon. _That_ thawed
'em quick enough. It not only thawed 'em out; it most gen'rally thawed
'em wide open.

"I tell you, the worst element in a mining-camp is women. They follow a
man and console him when he's down on his luck; they follow him through
thick and thin; and they get such a hold on him that, when he wants to
get back to decent ways and decent women, he just naturally can't do it.
Young fellows don't realize it. They don't see it being done; they see
it after it is done and can't be undone.

"As soon as the mounted police took holt of Dawson, with Inspector
Constantine at the head, there was a sure change. Still, even the
mounted-police doctrine does have some drawbacks. I noticed they
couldn't make the post-office clerks turn out letters unless you slipped
two-three dollars into their outstretched hands. I noticed that."

To-day Dawson is a pretty, clean-streeted town built of log and frame
buildings. In the hottest summer the earth never thaws deeper than
eighteen inches, and no foundation can be obtained for brick buildings.
For the same reason plastering is not advisable, the uneven freezing and
thawing proving ruinous to both brick and plaster.

The first objects to greet the visitor's eyes are the large buildings of
the great commercial and transportation companies of the North, along
the bank of the river. Passing through these one finds one's self upon a
busy, but unconventional, thoroughfare. Dawson is built solidly to the
hill, extending about a mile along the water-front; and the most
attractive part of the town is the village of picturesque log cabins
climbing over the lower slopes of the hill. They are not large, but they
are all built with the roof extending over a wide front porch. The
entire roof of each cabin is covered several inches deep with earth, and
at the time of our visit--the first week of August--these roofs were
grown with brilliant green grasses and flowers to a height of from
twelve to eighteen inches. They were literally covered with the bloom
of a dozen or more varieties of wild flowers. Every window had its
flaming window-box; every garden, its gay beds; and there were even
boxes set on square fence posts and running the entire length of fences
themselves, from which vines drooped and trailed and flowers blew.
Standing at the river and looking toward the hill, the whole town seemed
a mass of bloom sloping up to the green, which, in turn, sloped on up to
the blue.

We had heard so much about the exorbitant prices of the Klondike, that
we were simply speechless when a very jolly, sandy-haired Scotch
gentleman offered to take our two steamer trunks, three heavy suit
cases, and two shawl-straps to the hotel which we had blindly chosen,
for the sum of two dollars. We had expected to pay five; and when he
first asked two and a half, we stood as still as though turned to
stone--and all for joy. He, however, evidently mistaking our silence,
doubtless felt the prick of the stern conscience of his ancestors, for
he hastily added:--

"Well, seeing you're ladies, we'll call it an even two."

We agreed to the price coldly, pretending to consider it an outrage.

"My name is Angus McDonald," said he, with reproach. "When a McDonald
says that his price is the lowest in the town, his word may be taken. If
you come to Dawson twenty years from now, Angus will be standing here
waiting to handle your baggage at the lowest price."

We gave him our keys and he attended to all the customs details for us.
We had left Seattle on the evening of the 24th of July; had stopped for
several hours at Ketchikan, Wrangell, Metlakahtla, Juneau, Treadwell,
and Taku Glacier; a day and a night at Skaguay; two nights and a day at
White Horse; had made short pauses at Selkirk and Lower Lebarge--to say
nothing of hours spent in "wooding-up," which is a picturesque and sure
feature of Yukon voyages; and at noon on the fifth day of August we were
settled at the "Kenwood"--the dearest hotel at which it has ever been my
good fortune to tarry even for a day. I do not mean the most stylish,
nor the most elegant, nor even the most comfortable; nor do I mean the
dearest in price; but the dearest to my heart. It is kept in a neat,
cheerful, and homelike style by Miss Kinney--who had almost as many
malamute puppies, by the way, as she had guests.

When we gave Mr. Angus McDonald our keys, it was not quite decided as to
our hotel; but when we learned that we were sufficiently respectable in
appearance to be accepted by Miss Kinney, we telephoned for our trunks.
Then we forgot all about paying for them, and set out for a walk. When
we returned, luncheon was being served; our trunks were in our rooms,
but--Mr. Angus McDonald had gone off with our keys! We did not know then
what we know now; that Mr. Angus McDonald and his retained keys are a
Dawson joke. It seems that whenever one does not pay in advance for the
delivery of his trunks, Mr. McDonald drives away with the keys in his
pocket, whistling the merriest of Scotch tunes.

The joke has its embarrassments, particularly when one has descended to
the Grand Canyon of the Yukon in a sand-slide.

The traveller in Alaska who desires to retain his own self-respect and
that of his fellow-man will never criticise a price nor ask to have it
reduced. He is expected to contribute liberally to every church he
enters, every Indian band he hears play, every charitable institution
that may present its merits for his consideration, every purse that may
be made up on steamers, whatsoever its object may be. Fees are from
fifty cents to five dollars. A waiter on a Yukon steamer threw a quarter
back at a man who had innocently slipped it into his hand. Later, I saw
him in the centre of a group of angry waiters and cabin-boys to whom he
was relating his grievance.

[Illustration: Copyright by F. H. Nowell, Seattle

FAMILY OF KING'S ISLAND ESKIMOS LIVING UNDER SKIN BOAT, NOME]

Since one is constantly changing steamers, and has a waiter, a
cabin-boy, a night-boy, and frequently a stewardess to fee on each
steamer, this must be counted as one of the regular expenses of the
trip.

Other expenses we found to be greatly exaggerated on the "outside."
Aside from our amusing experience with soap-bubble soda at White Horse
and a bill for eight dollars and fifty cents for the poor pressing of
three plain dress skirts and one jacket at Nome, we found nothing to
criticise in northern prices.

The best rooms at the "Kenwood" were only two dollars a day, and each
meal was one dollar--whether one ate little or whether one ate much. It
was always the latter with us; for I have never been so hungry except at
Bennett. I am convinced that the climate of the Yukon will cure every
disease and every ill. We walked miles each day, drank much cold, pure
water, and ate much wholesome, well-cooked, delicious food--including
blueberries three times a day; and our sleep was sound, sweet, and
refreshing.

Dawson has about ten thousand inhabitants now; it once had twice as
many, and it will have again. Mining in the Klondike is in the
transition stage. It is passing from the individual owners to large
companies and corporations which have ample capital to install expensive
machinery and develop rich properties. It is the history of every mining
district, and its coming to the Klondike was inevitable. Its first
effect, however, is always "to ruin the camp."

"Dawson's a camp no longer," said one who "went in" in 1897, sadly.
"It's all spoiled. The individual miner has let go and the monopolists
are coming in to take his place. The good days are things of the past.
Pretty soon they'll be giving you change when you throw down two-bits
for a lead pencil!" he concluded, with a lofty scorn--as much as to say:
"It will then be time to die."

Dawson is connected with the "outside" by telegraph. It has two daily
newspapers,--which are metropolitan in style,--an electric-light plant,
and a telephone system. Its streets are graded and sidewalked, and it is
piped for water; but its lack of systematized sewerage--or what might be
more appropriately called its systematized lack of sewerage--is an
abomination. It is, however, not alone in its unsanitation in this
respect, for Nome follows its example.

Both homes and public buildings are of exceeding plainness of style,
owing to the excessive cost of building in a region bounded by the
Arctic Circle. The interiors of both, however, are attractive and
luxurious in finish and furnishings; and owing to the sway of the
mounted police, the town has an air of cleanliness and orderliness that
is admirable.

A creditable building holds the post-office and customs office, and
there is a public school building which cost fifty thousand dollars. The
handsome administration building, standing in a green, park-like place,
cost as much. There is a large court-house, the barracks of the mounted
police, and other public buildings. Only the ruins remain of the
executive mansion on the bank of the river, which was destroyed by fire
two years ago and has not been rebuilt. It was the pride of Dawson. It
was a large residence of pleasing architecture, lighted by electricity
and finished throughout in British Columbia fir in natural tones. It
contained the governor's private office, palatial reception rooms and
parlors, a library, a noble hall and stairway, a state dining room, a
billiard room and smoking room, and spacious chambers.

The governor's office in the administration building is large and
handsomely furnished. The commissioner of Yukon Territory is called by
courtesy governor, and the present commissioner, Governor Henderson, is
a gentleman of distinguished presence and courtly manners. He had just
returned from an automobile tour of inspection among "the creeks."

Governors, elegant executive mansions and offices, and automobile
tours--where eleven years ago was nothing but the creeks and the virgin
gold which brought all that is there to-day! We did not rebel at
anything but the automobile; somehow, it jarred like an insult. An
automobile up among the storied creeks!

There is a railroad, also, on which daily trains are run for a distance
of twenty miles through the mining district. Six and eight horse stages
will make the trip in one day for a party of six for fifty dollars.

Thirty dollars is first asked. When that price is found to be
satisfactory, it is immediately discovered that the small stage is
engaged or out of repair; a larger one must be used, for which the price
is forty dollars. When this price is agreed upon, some infirmity is
discovered in the second stage; a third must be substituted, for whose
all-day use the price is fifty dollars. If one cares to see the
"cricks," with no assurance that he will stumble upon a clean-up, at
this price, he meekly takes his seat and is jolted up into the hills,
paying a few dollars extra for his meals.

He may, however, take an hour's walk up Bonanza Creek and see the great
dredges at work and the steam-pipes thawing the frozen gravel; and if he
should voyage on down to Nome, he may take an hour's run by railway out
on the tundra and see thirty thousand dollars sluiced out any day.
Almost anything is preferable to the "graft" that is worked by the stage
companies upon the helpless cheechacos at Dawson.

The British Yukon is an organized territory, having a commissioner,
three judges, and an executive legislature, of whose ten members five
are elected and five appointed. The governor is also appointed. He
presides over the sessions of the legislature, giving the appointed
members a majority of one.

The Yukon has a delegate in parliament, a gold commissioner, a land
agent, and a superintendent of roads. Three-fourths of the population of
the territory are Americans, yet the town has a distinctly English, or
Canadian, atmosphere. In incorporated towns there is a tax levy on
property for municipal purposes.

Order is preserved by the well-known organization of Northwest Mounted
Police, whose members might be recognized anywhere, even when not in
uniform, by their stern eyes, set lips, and peculiar carriage.

The first station of mounted police in the Yukon was established at
Forty-Mile, or Fort Cudahy, in 1895, when the discovery of gold was
creating a mild excitement. Although so many boasts have been made by
the British of their early settlement of the Yukon, not only was Mr.
Ogilvie compelled to cross in 1887 under protection of the American
Commander Newell, but in 1895 the members of the first force of mounted
police to come into the country were forced to ascend the Yukon, by
special permission of the United States government, so difficult were
all routes through Yukon Territory.

There are at the present time about sixty police stations in the
territory, as well as garrisons at Dawson and White Horse. The smaller
stations have only three men. They are scattered throughout the mining
country, wherever a handful of men are gathered together. Between Dawson
and White Horse, where travel is heavy, a weekly patrol is maintained,
and a careful register is kept of all boats and passengers going up or
down the river. On the winter trail passengers are registered at each
road house, with date of arrival and departure, making it easy to locate
any traveller in the territory at any time. In the larger towns the
mounted police serve as police officers; they also assist the customs
officers and fill the offices of police magistrate and coroner. A police
launch to patrol the river in summer has been recommended.

Dawson is laid out in rectangular shape, with streets about seventy feet
wide and appearing wider because the buildings are for the most part
low. In 1897 town lots sold for five thousand dollars, when there was
nothing but tents on the flat at the mouth of the Klondike. The
half-dollar was the smallest piece of money in circulation, as the
quarter is to-day. Saw-mills were in operation, and dressed lumber sold
for two hundred and fifty dollars a thousand feet. Fifteen dollars a
day, however, was the ordinary wage of men working in the mines; so that
such prices as fifty cents for an orange, two dollars a dozen for eggs,
and twenty-five cents a pound for potatoes did not seem exorbitant.

There are rival claimants for the honor of the first discovery of gold
on the Klondike, but George Carmack is generally credited with being the
fortunate man. In August, 1896, he and the Indians "Skookum Jim" and
"Tagish Charlie,"--Mr. Carmack's brothers-in-law--were fishing one day
at the mouth of the Klondike River. (This river was formerly called
Thron-Dieuck, or Troan-Dike.) Not being successful, they concluded to go
a little way up the river to prospect. On the sixteenth day of the month
they detected signs of gold on what has since been named Bonanza Creek;
and from the first pan they washed out twelve dollars. They staked a
"discovery" claim, and one above and below it, as is the right of
discoverers.

At that time the gold flurry was in the vicinity of Forty-Mile. The
first building ever done on the site of Dawson was that of a raft, upon
which they proceeded to Forty-Mile to file their claims. On the same day
began the great stampede to the little river which was soon to become
world-famous.

The days of the bucket and windlass have passed for the Klondike.
Dredging and hydraulicking have taken their place, and the trains and
steamers are loaded with powerful machinery to be operated by vast
corporations. It is certain that there are extensive quartz deposits in
the vicinity, and when they are located the good and stirring days of
the nineties will be repeated. Ground that was panned and sluiced by the
individual miner is now being again profitably worked by modern methods.
Scarcity of water has been the chief obstacle to a rapid development of
the mines among the creeks; but experiments are constantly being made in
the way of carrying water from other sources.

It was perplexing to hear people talking about "Number One Above on
Bonanza," "Number Nine Below on Hunker," "Number Twenty-six Above on
Eldorado," and others, until it was explained that claims are numbered
above and below the one originally discovered on a creek. Eldorado is
one of the smallest of creeks; yet, notwithstanding its limited water
supply, it has been one of the richest producers. One reach, of about
four miles in length, has yielded already more than thirty millions of
dollars in coarse gold.

The gold of the Klondike is beautiful. It is not a fine dust. It runs
from grains like mustard seed up to large nuggets.

When one goes up among the creeks, sees and hears what has actually been
done, one can but wonder that any young and strong man can stay away
from this marvellous country. Gold is still there, undiscovered; it is
seldom the old prospector, the experienced miner, the "sour-dough," that
finds it; it is usually the ignorant, lucky "cheechaco." It is like the
game of poker, to which sits down one who never saw the game played and
holds a royal flush, or four aces, every other hand. How young men can
clerk in stores, study pharmacy, or learn politics in provincial towns,
while this glorious country waits to be found, is incomprehensible to
one with the red blood of adventure in his veins and the quick pulse of
chance. Better to dare, to risk all and lose all, if it must be, than
never to live at all; than always to be a drone in a narrow, commonplace
groove; than never to know the surge of this lonely river of mystery and
never to feel the air of these vast spaces upon one's brow.

No one can even tread the deck of a Yukon steamer and be quite so small
and narrow again as he was before. The loneliness, the mystery, the
majesty of it, reveals his own soul to his shrinking eyes, and he
grows--in a day, in an hour, in the flash of a thought--out of his old
self. If only to be borne through this great country on this wide
water-way to the sea can work this change in a man's heart, what miracle
might not be wrought by a few years of life in its solitude?

       *       *       *       *       *

The principle of "panning" out gold is simple, and any woman could
perform the work successfully without instruction, success depending
upon the delicacy of manipulation. From fifty cents to two hundred
dollars a pan are obtained by this old-fashioned but fascinating method.
Think of wandering through this splendid, gold-set country in the
matchless summers when there is not an hour of darkness; with the health
and the appetite to enjoy plain food and the spirit to welcome
adventure; to pause on the banks of unknown creeks and try one's luck,
not knowing what a pan may bring forth; to lie down one night a
penniless wanderer, so far as gold is concerned, and, perhaps, to sleep
the next night on banks that wash out a hundred dollars to the
pan--could one choose a more fascinating life than this?

Rockers are wooden boxes which are so constructed that they gently shake
down the gold and dispose of the gravel through an opening in the
bottom. Sluicing is more interesting than any other method of extracting
gold, but this will be described as we saw the process separate the
glittering gold from the dull gravel at Nome.



CHAPTER XLIV


The two great commercial companies of the North to-day are the Northern
Commercial Company and the North American Transportation and Trading
Company. The Alaska Commercial Company and the North American
Transportation and Trading Company were the first to be established on
the Yukon, with headquarters at St. Michael, near the mouth of the
river. In 1898 the Alaska Exploration Company established its station
across the bay from St. Michael on the mainland; and during that year a
number of other companies were located there, only two of which,
however, proved to be of any permanency--the Empire Transportation
Company and the Seattle-Yukon Transportation Company.

In 1901 the Alaska Commercial, Empire Transportation, and Alaska
Exploration companies formed a combination which operated under the
names of the Northern Commercial Company and the Northern Navigation
Company, the former being a trading and the latter a steamship company.
Owing to certain conditions, the Seattle-Yukon Transportation Company
was unable to join the combination; and its properties, consisting
principally of three steamers, together with four barges, were sold to
the newly formed company. During the first year of the consolidation the
North American Transportation and Trading Company worked in harmony with
the Northern Navigation Company, Captain I. N. Hibberd, of San
Francisco, having charge of the entire lower river fleet, with the
exception of one or two small tramp boats.

By that time very fine combination passenger and freight boats were in
operation, having been built at Unalaska and towed to St. Michael. In
its trips up and down the river, each steamer towed one or two barges,
the combined cargo of the steamer and tow being about eight hundred
tons. It was impossible for a boat to make more than two round trips
during the summer season, the average time required being fourteen days
on the "up" trip and eight on the "down" for the better boats, and
twenty and ten days respectively for inferior ones, without barges,
which always added at least ten days to a trip.

After a year the North American Transportation and Trading Company
withdrew from the combination and has since operated its own steamers.

Of all these companies the Alaska Commercial is the oldest, having been
founded in 1868; it was the pioneer of American trading companies in
Alaska, and was for twenty years the lessee of the Pribyloff seal
rookeries. It had a small passenger and freight boat on the Yukon in
1869. The other companies owed their existence to the Klondike gold
discoveries.

The two companies now operating on the Yukon have immense stores and
warehouses at Dawson and St. Michael, and smaller ones at almost every
post on the Yukon; while the N. C. Company, as it is commonly known, has
establishments up many of the tributary rivers.

As picturesque as the Hudson Bay Company, and far more just and humane
in their treatment of the Indians, the American companies have reason to
be proud of their record in the far North. In 1886, when a large number
of miners started for the Stewart River mines, the agent of the A. C.
Company at St. Michael received advice from headquarters in San
Francisco that an extra amount of provisions had been sent to him, to
meet all possible demands that might be made upon him during the
winter. He was further advised that the shipment was not made for the
purpose of realizing profits beyond the regular schedule of prices
already established, but for humane purposes entirely--to avoid any
suffering that might occur, owing to the large increase in population.
He was, therefore, directed to store the extra supplies as a reserve to
meet the probable need, to dispose of the same to actual customers only
and in such quantities as would enable him to relieve the necessities of
each and every person that might apply. Excessive prices were
prohibited, and instructions to supply all persons who might be in
absolute poverty, free of charge, were plain and unmistakable.

Men of the highest character and address have been placed at the head of
the various stations,--men with the business ability to successfully
conduct the company's important interests and the social qualifications
that would enable them to meet and entertain distinguished travellers
through the wilderness in a manner creditable to the company. Tourists,
by the way, who go to Alaska without providing themselves with clothes
suitable for formal social functions are frequently embarrassed by the
omission. Gentlemen may hasten to the company's store--which carries
everything that men can use, from a toothpick to a steamboat--and array
themselves in evening clothes, provided that they are not too fastidious
concerning the fit and the style; but ladies might not be so fortunate.
Nothing is too good for the people of Alaska, and when they offer
hospitality to the stranger within their gates, they prefer to have him
pay them the compliment of dressing appropriately to the occasion. If
voyagers to Alaska will consider this advice they may spare themselves
and their hosts in the Arctic Circle some unhappy moments.

Yukon summers are glorious. There is not an hour of darkness. A
gentleman who came down from "the creeks" to call upon us did not reach
our hotel until eleven o'clock. He remained until midnight, and the
light in the parlor when he took his departure was as at eight o'clock
of a June evening at home. The lights were not turned on while we were
in Dawson; but it is another story in winter.

Clothes are not "blued" in Dawson. The first morning after our arrival I
was summoned to a window to inspect a clothes-line.

"Will you look at those clothes! Did you ever see such whiteness in
clothes before?"

I never had, and I promptly asked Miss Kinney what her laundress did to
the clothes to make them look so white.

"I'm the laundress," said she, brusquely. "I come out here from Chicago
to work, and I work. I was half dead, clerking in a store, when the
Klondike craze come along and swept me off my feet. I struck Dawson
broke. I went to work, and I've been at work ever since. I have cooks,
and chambermaids, and laundresses; but it often happens that I have to
be all three, besides landlady, at once. That's the way of the Klondike.
Now, I must go and feed those malamute pups; that little yellow one is
getting sassy."

She had almost escaped when I caught her sleeve and detained her.

"But the clothes--I asked you what makes them so white--"

"Don't you suppose," interrupted she, irascibly, "that I have too much
work to do to fool around answering the questions of a cheechaco? I'm
not travelling down the Yukon for fun!"

This was distinctly discouraging; but I had set out to learn what had
made those clothes so white. Besides, I was beginning to perceive dimly
that she was not so hard as she spoke herself to be; so I advised her
that I should not release her sleeve until she had answered my question.

She burst into a kind of lawless laughter and threw her hand out at me.

"Oh, you! Well, there, then! I never saw your beat! There ain't a thing
in them there clothes but soap-suds, renched out, and sunshine. We don't
even have to rub clothes up here the way you have to in other places;
and we never put in a _pinch_ of blueing. Two-three hours of sunshine
makes 'em like snow."

"But how is it in winter?"

She laughed again.

"Oh, that's another matter. We bleach 'em out enough in summer so's
it'll do for all winter. Let go my sleeve or you won't get any
blueberries for lunch."

This threat had the desired effect. Surely no woman ever worked harder
than Miss Kinney worked. At four o'clock in the mornings we heard her
ordering maids and malamute puppies about; and at midnight, or later,
her springing step might be heard as she made the final rounds, to make
sure that all was well with her family.

We were greatly amused and somewhat embarrassed on the day of our
arrival. We saw at a glance that the only vacant room was too small to
receive our baggage.

"I'll fix that," said she, snapping her fingers. "I just gave a big room
on the first floor to two young men. I'll make them exchange with you."

It was in vain that we protested.

"Now, you let me be!" she exclaimed; "I'll fix this. You're in the
Klondike now, and you'll learn how white men can be. Young men don't
take the best room and let women take the worst up here. If they come up
here with that notion, they soon get it taken out of 'em--and I'm just
the one to do it. Now, you let me be! They'll be tickled to death."

Whatever their state of mind may have been, the exchange was made; but
when we endeavored to thank her, she snapped us up with:--

"Anybody'd know you never lived in a white country, or you wouldn't make
such a fuss over such a little thing. We're used to doing things for
other people _up here_," she added, scornfully.

Miss Kinney gave us many surprises during our stay, but at the last
moment she gave us the greatest surprise of all. Just as our steamer was
on the point of leaving, she came running down the gangway and straight
to us. Her hands and arms were filled with large paper bags, which she
began forcing upon us.

"There!" she said. "I've come to say good-by and bring you some fruit.
I'd given you one of those malamute puppies if I could have spared him.
Well, good-by and good luck!"

We were both so touched by this unexpected kindness in one who had taken
so much pains to conceal every touch of tenderness in her nature, that
we could not look at one another for some time; nor did it lessen our
appreciation to remember how ceaselessly and how drudgingly Miss Kinney
worked and the price she must have paid for those great bags of oranges,
apples, and peaches--for freight rates are a hundred and forty dollars a
ton on "perishables." It set a mist in our eyes every time we thought
about it. It was our first taste of Arctic kindness; and, somehow, its
flavor was different from that of other latitudes.

Dawson is gay socially, as it has always been. In summer the people are
devoted to outdoor sports, which are enjoyed during the long evenings.
There is a good club-house for athletic sports in winter, and the
theatres are well patronized, although, in summer, plays commence at
ten or ten-thirty and are not concluded before one. As in all English
and Canadian towns, business is resumed at a late hour in the morning,
making the hours of rest correspond in length to ours.

Two young Yale men who were travelling in our party had been longing to
see a dance-hall,--a "real Klondike dance-hall,"--but they came in one
midnight, their faces eloquent with disgust.

"We found a dance-hall _at last_," said one. "They hide their light
under such bushels now that it takes a week to find one; the mounted
police don't stand any foolishness. Then--think of a dance-hall running
in broad daylight! No mystery, no glitter, no soft, rosy glamour--say,
it made me yearn for bread and butter. Do you know where Miss Kinney
keeps her bread jar and blueberries? Honestly, I don't know anything or
any place that could cultivate a taste in a young man for sane and
decent things like one of these dance-halls here. I never was so
disappointed in my life. I can go to church _at home_; I didn't come to
the Klondike for _that_. Why, the very music itself sounded about as
lively as 'Come, Ye Disconsolate!' Come on, Billy; let's go to bed."

No one should visit Dawson without climbing, on a clear day, to the
summit of the hill behind the town, which is called "the Dome." The view
of the surrounding country from this point is magnificent. The course of
the winding, widening Yukon may be traced for countless miles; the
little creeks pour their tawny floods down into the Klondike before the
longing eyes of the beholder; and faraway on the horizon faintly shine
the snow-peaks that beautify almost every portion of the northern land.

The wagon roads leading from Dawson to the mining districts up the
various creeks are a distinct surprise. They were built by the Dominion
government and are said to be the best roads to be found in any mining
district in the world. A Dawson man will brag about the roads, while
modestly silent about the gold to which the roads lead.

"You must go up into the creeks, if only to see the roads," every man to
whom one talks will presently say. "You can't beat 'em anywheres."

Claim staking in the Klondike is a serious matter. The mining is
practically all placer, as yet, and a creek claim comprises an area two
hundred and fifty feet along the creek and two thousand feet wide. This
information was a shock to me. I had always supposed, vaguely, that a
mining claim was a kind of farm, of anywhere from twenty to sixty acres;
and to find it but little larger than the half of a city block was a
chill to my enthusiasm. They explained, however, that the gravel filling
a pan was but small in quantity, that it could be washed out in ten
minutes, and that if every pan turned out but ten dollars, the results
of a long day's work would not be bad.

Claims lying behind and above the ones that front on the creeks are
called "hill" claims. They have the same length of frontage, but are
only a thousand feet in width. In staking a claim, a post must be placed
at each corner on the creek, with the names of the claim and owner and a
general description of any features by which it may be identified; the
locator must take out a free miner's license, costing seven dollars and
a half, and file his claim at the mining recorder's office within ten
days after staking. No one can stake more than one claim on a single
creek, but he may hold all that he cares to acquire by purchase, and he
may locate on other creeks. Development work to the amount of two
hundred dollars must be done yearly for three years, or that amount paid
to the mining recorder; this amount is increased to four hundred dollars
with the fourth year. The locator must secure a certificate to the
effect that the necessary amount of yearly work has been done, else the
claim will be cancelled.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

WRECK OF "JESSIE," NOME BEACH

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle]



CHAPTER XLV


When the _D. R. Campbell_ drew away from the Dawson wharf at nine
o'clock of an August morning, another of my dreams was "come true." I
was on my way down the weird and mysterious river that calls as
powerfully in its way as the North Pacific Ocean. For years the mere
sound of the word "Yukon" had affected me like the clash of a wild and
musical bell. The sweep of great waters was in it--the ring of breaking
ice and its thunderous fall; the roar of forest fires, of undermined
plunging cliffs, of falling trees, of pitiless winds; the sobs of dark
women, deserted upon its shores, with white children on their breasts;
the mournful howls of dogs and of their wild brothers, wolves; the slide
of avalanches and the long rattle of thunder--for years the word "Yukon"
had set these sounds ringing in my ears, and had swung before my eyes
the shifting pictures of canyon, rampart, and plain; of waters rushing
through rock walls and again loitering over vast lowlands to the sea; of
forestated mountains, rose thickets, bare hills, pale cliffs of clay,
and ranges of sublime snow-mountains. Yet, with all that I had read, and
all that I had heard, and all that I had imagined, I was unprepared for
the spell of the Yukon; for the spaces, the solitude, the silence. At
last I was to learn how well the name fits the river and the country,
and how feeble and how ineffectual are both description and imagination
to picture this country so that it may be understood.

Six miles below Dawson the site of old Fort Reliance is passed, and
forty-six miles farther Forty-Mile River pours its broad flood into the
Yukon. About eight miles up this river, at the lower end of a canyon, a
strong current has swept many small boats upon dangerous rocks and the
occupants have been drowned. The head of the Forty-Mile is but a short
distance from the great Tanana.

The settlement of Forty-Mile is the pioneer mining-camp of the Yukon.
The Alaska Commercial Company established a station here soon after the
gold excitement of 1887; and, as the international boundary line crosses
Forty-Mile River twenty-three miles from its mouth and many of the most
important mining interests depending upon the town for supplies are on
the American side, a bonded warehouse is maintained, from which American
goods can be drawn without the payment of duties. As late as 1895 quite
a lively town was at the mouth of the river, boasting even an opera
house; but the town was depopulated upon the discovery of gold on the
Klondike. Six years ago the settlement was flooded by water banked up in
Forty-Mile River by ice, and the residents were taken from upstairs
windows in boats. The former name of this river was Che-ton-deg, or
"Green Leaf," River.

Now there are a couple of dozen log cabins, a dozen or more red-roofed
houses, and store buildings. The steamer pushed up sidewise to the rocky
beach, a gang-plank was floated ashore, and a customs inspector came
aboard. On the beach were a couple of ladies, some members of the
mounted police in scarlet coats, and fifty malamute dogs, snapping,
snarling, and fighting like wolves over the food flung from the steamer.

The dog is to Alaska what the horse is to more civilized countries--the
intelligent, patient, faithful beast of burden. He is of the Eskimo or
"malamute" breed, having been bred with the wolf for endurance; or he
is a "husky" from the Mackenzie River.

Eskimo dogs are driven with harness, hitched to sleds, and teams of five
or seven with a good leader can haul several hundred pounds, if blessed
with a kind driver. In summer they have nothing to do but sleep, and
find their food as best they may. Along the Yukon they haunt
steamer-landings and are always fed by the stewards--who can thus muster
a dog fight for the pleasure of heartless passengers at a moment's
notice.

With the coming of winter a kind of electric strength seems to enter
into these dogs. They long for the harness and the journeys over snow
and ice; and for a time they leap and frisk like puppies and will not be
restrained. They are about the size of a St. Bernard dog, but of very
different shape; the leader is always an intelligent and superior animal
and his eyes frequently hold an almost human appeal. He is fairly
dynamic in force, and when not in harness will fling himself upon food
with a swiftness and a strength that suggest a missile hurled from a
catapult. Nothing can check his course; and he has been known to strike
his master to the earth in his headlong rush of greeting--although it
has been cruelly said of him that he has no affection for any save the
one that feeds him, and not for him after his hunger is satisfied.

The Eskimo dog seldom barks, but he has a mournful, wolflike howl. His
coat is thick and somewhat like wool, and his feet are hard; he travels
for great distances without becoming footsore, and at night he digs a
deep hole in the snow, crawls into it, curls up in his own wool, and
sleeps as sweetly as a pet Spitz on a cushion of down. His chief food is
fish. If the Alaska dog is not affectionate, it is because for
generations he has had no cause for affection. No dog with such eyes--so
asking and so human-like in their expression--could fail to be
affectionate and devoted to a master possessing the qualities which
inspire affection and devotion.

In winter all the mails are carried by dogs, covering hundreds of miles.

Half a mile below Forty-Mile the town of Cudahy was founded in 1892 by
the North American Trading and Transportation Company, as a rival
settlement.

Fifty miles below Forty-Mile, at the confluence of Mission Creek with
the Yukon, is Eagle, having a population of three or four hundred
people. It has the most northerly customs office and military post, Fort
Egbert, belonging to the United States, and is the terminus of the
Valdez-Eagle mail route and telegraph line. It is also of importance as
being but a few miles from the boundary.

Fort Egbert is a two-company post, and usually, as at the time of our
visit, two companies are stationed there. The winter of 1904-1905 was
the gayest in the social history of the fort. Several ladies, the wives
and the sisters of officers, were there, and these, with the wife of the
company's agent and other residents of the town, formed a brilliant and
refined social club.

From November the 27th to January the 16th the sun does not appear above
the hills to the south. The two "great" days at Eagle are the 16th of
January,--"when the sun comes back,"--and the day "when the ice breaks
in the river," usually the 12th of May. On the former occasion the
people assemble, like a band of sun-worshippers, and celebrate its
return.

The vegetable and flower gardens of Eagle were a revelation of what may
be expected in the agricultural and floral line in the vicinity of the
Arctic Circle. Potatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, lettuce, turnips,
radishes, and other vegetables were in a state of spendthrift luxuriance
that cannot be imagined by one who has not travelled in a country where
vegetables grow day and night.

In winter Eagle is a lonely place. The only mail it receives is the
monthly mail passing through from Dawson to Nome by dog sleds; and no
magazines, papers, or parcels are carried.

It was from Eagle that the first news was sent out to the world
concerning Captain Amundsen's wonderful discovery of the Northwest
Passage; here he arrived in midwinter after a long, hard journey by dog
team from the Arctic Ocean and sent out the news which so many brave
navigators of early days would have given their lives to be able to
announce.

Within five years a railroad will probably connect Eagle with the coast
at Valdez; meantime, there is a good government trail, poled by a
government telegraph line.

Eagle came into existence in 1898, and the fort was established in 1899.

"Woodings-up" are picturesque features of Yukon travel. When the steamer
does not land at a wood yard, mail is tied around a stick and thrown
ashore. Fancy standing, a forlorn and homesick creature, on the bank of
this great river and watching a letter from home caught by the rushing
current and borne away! Yet this frequently happens, for heart affairs
are small matters in the Arctic Circle and receive but scant
consideration.

On the Upper Yukon wood is five dollars a cord; on the Lower, seven
dollars; and a cord an hour is thrust into the immense and roaring
furnaces.

During "wooding-up" times passengers go ashore and enjoy the forest.
There are red and black currants, crab-apples, two varieties of
salmon-berries, five of huckleberries, and strawberries. The high-bush
cranberries are very pretty, with their red berries and delicate
foliage.

Nation is a settlement of a dozen log cabins roofed with dirt and
flowers, the roofs projecting prettily over the front porches. The wife
of the storekeeper has lived here twenty-five years, and has been
"outside" only once in twelve years. Passengers usually go ashore
especially to meet her, and are always cordially welcomed, but are never
permitted to condole with her on her isolated life. The spell of the
Yukon has her in thrall, and content shines upon her brow as a star.
Those who go ashore to pity, return with the dull ache of envy in their
worldly hearts; for there be things on the Yukon that no worldly heart
can understand.

We left Eagle in the forenoon and at midnight landed at Circle City,
which received this name because it was first supposed to be located
within the Arctic Circle. We found natives building houses at that hour,
and this is my most vivid remembrance of Circle. Gold was discovered on
Birch Creek, within eight miles of the settlement, as early as 1892; and
until the Klondike excitement this was the most populous camp on the
Yukon, more than a thousand miners being quartered in the vicinity. Like
other camps, it was then depopulated; but many miners have now returned
and a brilliant discovery in this vicinity may yet startle the world.
The output of gold for 1906 was two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
About three hundred miners are operating on tributaries up Birch Creek.
The great commercial companies are established at all these settlements
on the Yukon, where they have large stores and warehouses.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early on the following morning we were on deck to cross the Arctic
Circle. One has a feeling that a line with icicles dangling from it must
be strung overhead, under which one passes into the enchanted realm of
the real North.

"Feel that?" asked the man from Iowa of a big, unsmiling Englishman.

"Feel--er--what?" said the Englishman.

"That shock. It felt like stepping on the third rail of an electric
railway."

But the Iowa humor was scorned, and the Englishman walked away.

We soon landed at Fort Yukon, the only landing in the Arctic Circle and
the most northerly point on the Yukon. This post was established at the
mouth of the Porcupine in 1847 by A. H. McMurray, of the Hudson Bay
Company, and was moved in 1864 a mile lower on the Yukon, on account of
the undermining of the bank by the wash of the river. During the early
days of this post goods were brought from York Factory on Hudson Bay,
four thousand miles distant, and were two years in transit. The whole
Hudson Bay system, according to Dall, was one of exacting tyranny that
almost equalled that of the Russian Company. The white men were urged to
marry Indian, or native, women, to attach them to the country. The
provisions sent in were few and these were consumed by the commanders of
the trading posts or given to chiefs, to induce them to bring in furs.
The white men received three pounds of tea and six of sugar annually,
and no flour. This scanty supply was uncertain and often failed. Two
suits of clothes were granted to the men, but nothing else until the
furs were all purchased. If anything remained after the Indians were
satisfied, the men were permitted to purchase; but Indians are rarely
satisfied.

Fort Yukon has never been of importance as a mining centre, but has long
been a great fur trading post for the Indians up the Porcupine. This
trade has waned, however, and little remains but an Indian village and
the old buildings of the post. We walked a mile into the woods to an old
graveyard in a still, dim grove, probably the only one in the Arctic
Circle.



CHAPTER XLVI


The Yukon is a mighty and a beautiful river, and its memory becomes more
haunting and more compelling with the passage of time. From the slender
blue stream of its source, it grows, in its twenty-three hundred miles
of wandering to the sea, to a width of sixty miles at its mouth. In its
great course it widens, narrows, and widens; cuts through the foot-hills
of vast mountain systems, spreads over flats, makes many splendid
sweeping curves, and slides into hundreds of narrow channels around
spruce-covered islands.

It is divided into four great districts, each of which has its own
characteristic features. The valley extending from White Horse to some
distance below Dawson is called the "upper Yukon," or "upper Ramparts,"
the river having a width of half a mile and a current of four or five
miles an hour, and the valley in this district being from one to three
miles in width.

Following this are the great "Flats"--of which one hears from his first
hour on the Yukon; then, the "Ramparts"; and last, the "lower Yukon" or
"lower river."

The Flats are vast lowlands stretching for two hundred miles along the
river, with a width in places of a hundred miles. Their very monotony is
picturesque and fascinates by its immensity. Countless islands are
constantly forming, appearing and disappearing in the whimsical changes
of the currents. Indian, white, and half-breed pilots patrol these
reaches, guiding one steamer down and another up, and by constant
travel keeping themselves fairly familiar with the changing currents.
Yet even these pilots frequently fail in their calculations.

At Eagle a couple of gentlemen joined our party down the river on the
_Campbell_, expecting to meet the same day and return on the famous
_Sarah_--as famous as a steamer as is the island of the same name on the
inland passage; but they went on and on and the _Sarah_ came not. One
day, two days, three days, went by and they were still with us. One was
in the customs service and his time was precious. Whenever we approached
a bend in the river, they stood in the bow of the boat, eagerly staring
ahead; but not until the fourth day did the cry of "_Sarah_" ring
through our steamer. Hastening on deck, we beheld her, white and
shining, on a sand-bar, where she had been lying for several days,
notwithstanding the fact that she had an experienced pilot aboard.

Throughout the Flats lies a vast network of islands, estimated as high
as ten thousand in number, threaded by countless channels, many of which
have strong currents, while others are but still, sluggish sloughs.
Mountains line the far horizon lines, but so far away that they
frequently appear as clouds of bluish pearl piled along the sky; at
other times snow-peaks are distinctly visible. Cottonwoods, birches, and
spruce trees cover the islands so heavily that, from the lower deck of a
steamer, one would believe that he was drifting down the single channel
of a narrow river, instead of down one channel of a river twenty miles
wide.

It is within the Arctic Circle that the Yukon makes its sweeping bend
from its northwest course to the southwest, and here it is entered by
the Porcupine; twenty miles farther, by the Chandelar; and just above
the Ramparts, by the Dall. These are the three important rivers of this
stretch of the Yukon.

Many complain of the monotony of the Flats; but for me, there was not
one dull or uninteresting hour on the Yukon. In my quiet home on summer
evenings I can still see the men taking soundings from the square bow of
our steamer and hear their hoarse cries:--

"Six feet starboard! Five feet port! Seven feet starboard! Five feet
port! Five feet starboard! Four feet port!" At the latter cry the silent
watchers of the pilot-house came to attention, and we proceeded under
slow bell until a greater depth was reached.

On the shores, as we swept past, we caught glimpses of dark figures and
Indian villages, or, farther down the river, primitive Eskimo
settlements; and the stillness, the pure and sparkling air, the
untouched wilderness, the blue smoke of a wood-chopper's lonely fire,
the wide spaces swimming over us and on all sides of us, charmed our
senses as only the elemental forces of nature can charm. One longs to
stay awake always on this river; to pace the wide decks and be one with
the solitude and the stillness that are not of the earth, as we know it,
but of God, as we have dreamed of him.

The blue hills of the Ramparts are seen long before entering them. The
valley contracts into a kind of canyon, from which the rampart-like
walls of solid stone rise abruptly from the water. The hills are not so
high as those of the Upper Ramparts, which bear marked resemblance to
the lower; and although many consider the latter more picturesque, I
must confess that I found no beauty below Dawson so majestic as that
above. Many of the hills here have a rose-colored tinge, like the hills
of Lake Bennett.

In places the river does not reach a width of half a mile and is deep
and swift. The shadows between the high rock-bluffs and pinnacled cliffs
take on the mysterious purple tones of twilight; many of the hills are
covered with spruce, whose dark green blends agreeably with the gray
and rose color. The bends here are sharp and many; at the Rapids the
current is exceedingly rapid, and Dall reported a fall of twelve feet to
the half mile, with the water running in sheets of foam over a granite
island in the middle of the stream. This was on June 1, 1866. In August,
1883, Schwatka, after many hours of anxiety and dread of the reputed
rapids, inquired of Indians and learned that he had already passed them.
They were not formidable at the time of our voyage,--August,--and it is
only during high stages of water that they present a bar to navigation.

We reached Rampart at six o'clock in the morning. After Tanana, this is
the loveliest place on the Yukon. Its sparkling, emerald beauty shone
under a silvery blue sky. There was a long street of artistic log houses
and stores on a commanding bluff, up which paths wound from the water.
Roofs covered with earth and flowers, carried out in brilliant bloom
over the porches, added the characteristic Yukon touch. Every door-yard
and window blazed with color. Narrow paths ran through tall fireweed and
grasses over and around the hill--each path terminating, like a winding
lane, in a pretty log-cabin home. There was an atmosphere of
cleanliness, tidiness, and thrift not found in other settlements along
the Yukon.

Captain Mayo, who, with McQuesten, founded Rampart in 1873, still lives
here. The two commercial companies have large stores and warehouses; and
residences were comfortably, and even luxuriously, furnished.

Rampart is two hundred and thirty miles below Fort Yukon, and is about
halfway between Dawson and the sea. It has a population of four or five
hundred people--when they are in from the mines!--and almost as many
fighting, hungry dogs. Its street winds, and the buildings follow its
windings; sometimes it stops altogether, and the buildings stop with
it--then both go on again; and in front of all the public buildings are
clean rustic benches, where one may sit and "look to the rose about
him." The river here is half a mile wide, and on its opposite shore the
green fields of the government experimental station slope up from the
water.

Gold was discovered on Minook Creek, half a mile from town, in 1895, and
the camp is regarded as one of the most even producers in Alaska. In
1906, despite an unusually dry season, the output of the district was
three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

In the afternoon of the same day we reached Tanana, which is, as I have
said, the most beautiful place on the Yukon. It has a splendid site on a
level plateau; and all the springlike greenness, the cleanliness and
order, the luxuriant vegetation, of Dawson, are outdone here. One walks
in a maze of delight along streets of tropic, instead of arctic, bloom.
The log houses are set far back from the streets, and the deep dooryards
are seas of tremulous color, through which neat paths lead to
flower-roofed homes. Cleanliness, color, and perfume are everywhere
delights, but on the lonely Yukon their unexpectedness is enchanting.

In 1900 Fort Gibbon was established here, and this post has the most
attractive surroundings of any in Alaska. Tanana is situated at the
mouth of the Tanana River, seventy-five miles below Rampart, and
passengers for Fairbanks connect here with luxurious steamers for a
voyage of three hundred miles up the Tanana. It is a beautiful voyage
and it ends at the most progressive and metropolitan town of the North.



CHAPTER XLVII


In the autumn of 1902 Felix Pedro, an experienced miner and prospector,
crossed the divide between Birch and McManus creeks and entered the
Tanana Valley.

Previous to that year many people had travelled through the valley, on
their way to the Klondike, by the Valdez route; and a few miners from
the Birch Creek and Forty-Mile diggings had wandered into the Tanana
country, without being able to do any important prospecting because of
the distance from supplies; but Pedro was the first man to discover that
gold existed in economic quantities in this region, and his coming was
an event of historical importance.

One of the best tests of the importance and value of geological survey
work lies in the significant report of Mr. Alfred H. Brooks for the year
of 1898--four years before the discoveries of Mr. Pedro:--

"We have seen that the little prospecting which has been done up to the
present time has been too hurried and too superficial to be regarded as
a fair test of the region. Our best information leads us to believe that
the same horizons which carry gold in the Forty-Mile and Birch Creek
districts are represented in the Tanana and White River basins.... I
should advise prospectors to carefully investigate the small tributary
streams of the lower White and of the Tanana from Mirror Creek to the
mouth."

Pedro's discovery was on the creek which bears his name, and before
another year gold was discovered on several other creeks. In 1901 a
trading post was established by Captain E. T. Barnette, on the present
site of Fairbanks, and the development of the country progressed
rapidly. The Fairbanks Mining District was organized and named for the
present Vice-President of the United States. In the autumn of 1903 eight
hundred people were in the district, and about thirty thousand dollars
had been produced, the more important creeks at that time being Pedro,
Goldstream, Twin Creek, Cleary, Wolf, Chatham, and Fairbanks. In the
fall of 1904 nearly four thousand miners had come in, and the year's
output was three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Fairbanks and Chena
had grown to thriving camps, and a brilliant prosperity reigned in the
entire district. Roads were built to the creeks, sloughs were bridged,
and Fairbanks' "boom" was in full swing. It was the old story of a camp
growing from tents to shacks in a night, from shacks to three-story
buildings in a month. The glory of the Klondike trembled and paled in
the brilliance of that of Fairbanks. Every steamer for Valdez was
crowded with men and women bound for the new camp by way of the Valdez
trail; while thousands went by steamer, either to St. Michael and up the
Yukon, or to Skaguay and down the Yukon, to the mouth of the Tanana.

Fairbanks is now a camp only in name. It has all the comforts and
luxuries of a city, and is more prosperous and progressive than any
other town in Alaska or the Yukon. It started with such a rush that it
does not seem to be able to stop. It is the headquarters of the Third
Judicial District of Alaska, which was formerly at Rampart; it has
electric light and water systems, a fire department, excellent and
modern hotels, schools, churches, hospitals, daily newspapers, a
telegraph line to the outside world which is operated by the
government, and a telephone system which serves not only the city, but
all the creeks as well.

The Tanana Mines Railway, or Tanana Valley Railway, as it is now called,
was built in 1905 to connect Fairbanks with Chena and the richest mining
claims of the district; and two great railroads are in course of
construction from Prince William Sound.

In 1906 the output of gold was more than nine millions of dollars, and
had it not been for the labor troubles in 1907, this output would have
been doubled. In the earlier days of the camp the crudest methods of
mining were employed; but with the improved transportation facilities,
modern machinery was brought in and the difficulties of the development
were greatly lessened.

Upon a first trip to Fairbanks, the visitor is amazed at the size and
the metropolitan style and tone of this six-year-old camp in the
wilderness.

It is situated on the banks of the Chena River, about nine miles from
its confluence with the Tanana. It has a level town site, which looks as
though it might extend to the Arctic Circle. The main portion of the
town is on the right bank of the river, the railway terminal yards,
saw-mills, manufacturing plants, and industries of a similar nature
being located on the opposite shore, on what is known as Garden Island,
the two being connected by substantial bridges. The city is incorporated
and, like other incorporated towns of Alaska, is governed by a council
of seven members, who elect a presiding officer who is, by courtesy,
known as mayor. The executive officers of the municipal government
consist of a clerk, treasurer, police magistrate, chief of police, chief
of the fire department, street commissioner, and physician.

The municipal finances are derived from a share in federal licenses,
from the income derived from the local court, from poll taxes, and from
local taxation of real and personal property. From all these sources the
municipal treasury was enriched during the year of 1906 by about
ninety-five thousand dollars.

Each of the three banks operates an assay office under the supervision
of an expert. The population of the district is from fifteen to twenty
thousand, of which five thousand belong permanently to the town. The
climate is dry and sparkling; the summers are delightful, the winters
still and not colder than those of Minnesota, Montana, and the Dakotas,
but without the blizzards of those states. In 1906 the coldest month was
January, the daily mean temperature being thirty-six degrees below zero,
but dry and still. Travel over the trail by dog team is continued
throughout the winter, skating and other outdoor sports being as common
as in Canada.

Five saw-mills are in operation, with an aggregate daily capacity of a
hundred and ten thousand feet, the entire product being used locally.
There is an abundance of poplar, spruce, hemlock, and birch; an
unlimited water supply; a municipal steam-heating plant; two good
hospitals; two daily newspapers; graded schools,--the four-year course
of the high school admitting the student to the Washington State
University and to high educational institutions of other states; a
Chamber of Commerce and a Business Men's Association; twelve hotels,
five of which are first class; while every industry is represented
several times over.

This is Fairbanks, the six-year-old mining-camp of the Tanana Valley.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

SUNRISE ON BEHRING SEA]



CHAPTER XLVIII


At Tanana our party was enlarged by a party of four gentlemen, headed by
Governor Wilford B. Hoggatt, of Juneau, who was on a tour of inspection
of the country he serves.

Our steamer, too, underwent a change while we were ashore. We now
learned why its bow was square and wide. It was that it might push
barges up and down the Yukon; and it now proceeded, under our astonished
eyes, to push four, each of which was nearly as large as itself. All the
days of my life, as Mr. Pepys would say, I have never beheld such an
object floating upon the water. The barges were fastened in front of us
and on both sides of us; two were flat and uncovered, one was covered,
but open on the sides, while the fourth was a kind of boat and was
crowned with a real pilot-house, in which was a real wheel.

We viewed them in open and hostile dismay, not yet recognizing them as
blessings in disguise; we then laughed till we wept, over our amazing
appearance as we went sweeping, bebarged, down to the sea. Four barges
to one steamboat! One barge would have seemed like an insult, but four
were perfectly ridiculous. The governor was told that they constituted
his escort of honor, but he would not smile. He was in haste to get to
Nome; and barges meant delay.

We swept down the Yukon like a huge bird with wide wings outspread; and
those of us who did not care whether we went upon a sand-bar or not
soon became infatuated with barges. Straight in front of our steamer we
had, on one barge, a low, clean promenade a hundred feet long by fifty
wide; on the others were shady, secluded nooks, where one might lie on
rugs and cushions, reading or dreaming, ever and anon catching glimpses
of native settlements--tents and cabins; thousands of coral-red salmon
drying on frames; groups of howling dogs; dozens of silent dark people
sitting or standing motionless, staring at their whiter and more
fortunate brothers sweeping past them on the rushing river.

Poor, lonely, dark people! As lonely and as mysterious, as little known
and as little understood, as the mighty river on whose shores their few
and hard days are spent. Little we know of them, and less we care for
them. The hopeless tragedy of their race is in their long, yearning
gaze; but we read it not. We look at them in idle curiosity as we flash
past them; and each year, as we return, we find them fewer,
lonelier,--more like dark sphinxes on the river's banks. As the years
pass and their numbers diminish, the mournfulness deepens in their gaze;
it becomes more questioning, more haunting. The day will come when they
will all be gone, when no longer dark figures will people those lonely
shores; and then we will look at one another in useless remorse and
cry:--

"Why did they not complain? Why did they not ask us to help them? Why
did they sit and starve for everything, staring at us and making no
sign?"

Alas! when that day comes, we will learn--too late!--that there is no
appeal so poignant and so haunting as that which lies in the silence and
in the asking eyes of these dark and vanishing people.

Below Rampart the hills withdraw gradually until they become but blue
blurs on the horizon line during the last miles of the river's course.
It is now the lower river and becomes beautifully channelled and
islanded. Across these low, wooded, and watered plains the sunset burns
like a maze of thistle-down touched with ruby fire--burns down, at last,
into the rose of dawn; and the rose into emerald, beryl, and pearl.

Not far above Nulato the Koyukuk pours its tawny flood into the Yukon.
For many years the Koyukuk has given evidences of great richness in
gold, but high prices of freight and labor have retarded its progress.
During the past winter, however, discoveries have been made which
promise one of the greatest stampedes ever known. Louis Olson, after
several seasons in the district, experienced a gambler's "hunch" that
there "was pay on Nolan Creek." He and his associates started to sink,
and the first bucket they got off bedrock netted seven dollars; the
bedrock, a slate, pitched to one side of the hole, and when they had
followed it down and struck a level bedrock, they got two hundred and
sixty dollars.

"Our biggest pan," said Mr. Olson, telling the story when he came out,
one of the richest men in Alaska, "was eighteen hundred dollars. You can
see the gold lying in sight."

Captain E. W. Johnson, of Nome, who had grub-staked two men in the
Koyukuk, "fell into it," as miners say. They struck great richness on
bedrock, and Captain Johnson promptly celebrated the strike by opening
fifteen hundred dollars' worth of champagne to the camp.

Within ten days three pans of a thousand dollars each were washed out.
Coldfoot, Bettles, Bergman, and Koyukuk are the leading settlements of
this region, the first two lying within the Arctic Circle. Interest has
revived in the Chandelar country which adjoins on the east.

Really, Seward's "land of icebergs, polar bears, and walrus," his
"worthless, God-forsaken region," is doing fairly well, as countries
go.

Nulato, nearly three hundred miles below Tanana, is one of the most
historic places on the Yukon, and has the most sanguinary history. It
was founded in 1838 by a Russian half-breed named Malakoff, who built a
trading post. During the following winter, owing to scarcity of
provisions, he was compelled to return to St. Michael, and the buildings
were burned by natives who were jealous of the advance of white people
up the river. The following year the post was reëstablished and was
again destroyed. In 1841 Derabin erected a fort at this point, and for
ten years the settlement flourished. In 1851, however, Lieutenant
Bernard, of the British ship _Enterprise_, arrived in search of
information as to the fate of Sir John Franklin. Unfortunately, he
remarked that he intended to "send for" the principal chief of the
Koyukuks. This was considered an insult by the haughty chief, and it led
to an assault upon the fort, which was destroyed. Derabin, Bernard and
his companions, and all other white people at the fort were brutally
murdered, as well as many resident Indians. The atrocity was never
avenged.

Nulato is now one of the largest and most prosperous Indian settlements
on the river. A large herd of reindeer is quartered there. There was, as
every one interested in Alaska knows, a grave scandal connected with the
reindeer industry a few years ago. Many of the animals imported by the
government from Siberia at great expense, for the benefit of needy
natives and miners, were appropriated by missionaries without authority;
but after an investigation by a special agent of the government there
was an entire reorganization of the system. In all, Congress
appropriated more than two hundred and twenty thousand dollars, with
which twelve hundred reindeer have, at various times, been imported.
There are now about twelve thousand head in Alaska, of which the
government owns not more than twenty-five hundred. There are also
stations at Bethel, Beetles, Iliamna, Kotzebue, St. Lawrence Island,
Golovnin, Teller, Cape Prince of Wales, Point Barrow, and at several
other points. They are used for sledding purposes and for their meat and
hides, really beautiful parkas and mukluks--the latter a kind of skin
boot--being made of the hides.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

SURF AT NOME

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle]

A native woman named Mary Andrewuk has a large herd, is quite wealthy,
and is known as the "Reindeer Queen."

We reached Anvik at seven in the evening. Anvik is like Uyak on Kadiak
Island, and I longed for the frank Swedish sailor who had so luminously
described Uyak. If there be anything worth seeing at Anvik--and they say
there is a graveyard!--they must first kill the mosquitoes; else, so far
as I am concerned, it will forever remain unseen. Under a rocky bluff
two dozen Eskimo, men and women, sat fighting mosquitoes and trying to
sell wares so poorly made that no one desired them. Eskimo dolls and toy
parkas were the only things that tempted us; and hastily paying for
them, we fled on board to our big, comfortable stateroom, whose window
was securely netted from the pests which made the very air black.

We left Anvik at midnight. We were to arrive at Holy Cross Mission at
four o'clock the same morning. Expecting the _Campbell_ to arrive later
in the day, the priest and sisters had arranged a reception for the
governor, in which the children of the mission were to take part.
Thinking of the disappointment of the children, the governor decided to
go ashore, even at that unearthly hour, and we were invited to accompany
him. We were awakened at three o'clock.

The dawn was bleak and cheerless; it was raining slightly, and the
mosquitoes were as thick and as hungry as they had been at the Grand
Canyon. Of all the passengers that had planned to go ashore, there
appeared upon the sloppy deck only four--the governor, a gentleman who
was travelling with him, my friend, and myself. We looked at one another
silently through rain and mosquitoes, and before we could muster up
smiles and exchange greetings, an officer of the boat called out:--

"Governor, if it wasn't for those damn disappointed children, I'd advise
you not to go ashore."

We all smiled then, for the man had put the thought of each of us into
most forcible English.

We were landed upon the wet sand and we waded through the tall wet
grasses of the beach to the mission. At every step fresh swarms of
mosquitoes rose from the grass and assailed us. A gentleman had sent us
his mosquito hats. These were simply broad-brimmed felt hats, with the
netting gathered about the crowns and a kind of harness fastening around
the waist.

The governor had no protection; and never, I am sure, did any governor
go forth to a reception and a "programme" in his honor in such a frame
of mind and with such an expression of torture as went that morning the
governor of "the great country." It was a silent and dismal procession
that moved up the flower-bordered walk to the mission--a procession of
waving arms and flapping handkerchiefs. At a distance it must have
resembled a procession of windmills in operation, rather than of human
beings on their way to a reception in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle.

So ceaseless and so ferocious were the attacks of the mosquitoes that
before the sleeping children were aroused and ready for their programme,
my friend and I, notwithstanding the protection of the hats, yielded in
sheer exhaustion, and, without apology or farewell, left the unfortunate
governor to pay the penalty of greatness; left him to his reception and
his programme; to the earnest priests, the smiling, sweet-faced
sisters, and the little solemn-eyed Eskimo children.

This mission is cared for by the order of Jesuits. Two priests and
several brothers and sisters reside there. Fifty or more children are
cared for yearly,--educated and guided in ways of thrift, cleanliness,
industry, and morality. They are instructed in all kinds of useful work.
About forty acres of land are in cultivation; the flowers and vegetables
which we saw would attract admiration and wonder in any climate. The
buildings were of logs, but were substantially built and attractive,
each in its setting of brilliant bloom. How these sisters, these gentle
and refined women, whose faces and manner unconsciously reveal superior
breeding and position, can endure the daily and nightly tortures of the
mosquitoes is inconceivable.

"They are not worth notice now," one said, with her sweet and patient
smile. "Oh, no! You should come earlier if you would see mosquitoes."

"Our religion, you know," another said gently, "helps us to bear all
things that are not pleasant. In time one does not mind."

In time one does not mind! It is another of the lessons of the Yukon;
and reading, one stands ashamed. There those saintly beings spend their
lives in God's service. Nothing save a divine faith could sustain a
delicate woman to endure such ceaseless torment for three months in
every year; and yet, like the lone woman at Nation, their faces tell us
that we, rather than they, are for pity. The stars upon their brows are
the white and blessed stars of peace.

The steamer lands at neither Russian Mission nor Andreaofsky; but at
both may be seen, on grassy slopes, beautiful Greek churches, with
green, pale blue, and yellow roofs, domes and bell-towers, chimes and
glittering crosses.

Down where the mouth of the Yukon attains a width of sixty miles we ran
upon a sand-bar early in the afternoon, and there we remained until
nearly midnight. It was a weird experience. Dozens of natives in
bidarkas surrounded our steamer, boarded our barges, and offered their
inferior work for sale. The brown lads in reindeer parkas were
bright-eyed and amiable. Cookies and gum sweetened the way to their
little wild hearts, and they would hold our hands, cling to our skirts,
and beg for "more."

A splendid, stormy sunset burned over those miles of water-threaded
lowlands at evening. Rose and lavender mists rolled in from the sea,
parted, and drifted away into the distances stretching on all sides;
they huddled upon islands, covering them for a few moments, and then,
withdrawing, leaving them drenched in sparkling emerald beauty in the
vivid light; they coiled along the horizon, like peaks of rosy pearl;
and they went sailing, like elfin shallops, down poppy-tinted
water-ways. Everywhere overhead geese drew dark lines through the
brilliant atmosphere, their mournful cries filling the upper air with
the weird and lonely music of the great spaces. Up and down the
water-ways slid the bidarkas noiselessly; and along the shores the brown
women moved among the willows and sedges, or stood motionless, staring
out at their white sisters on the stranded boat. There were times when
every one of the millions of sedges on island and shore seemed to flash
out alone and apart, like a dazzling emerald lance quivering to strike.

They are dull of soul and dull of imagination who complain of monotony
on the Yukon Flats. There is beauty for all that have eyes wherewith to
see. It is the beauty of the desert; the beauty and the lure of
wonderful distances, of marvellous lights and low skies, of dawns that
are like blown roses, and as perfumed, and sunsets whose mists are as
burning dust. When there is no color anywhere, there is still the
haunting, compelling beauty that lies in distance alone. Vast spaces are
majestic and awesome; the eye goes into them as the thought goes into
the realm of eternity--only to return, wearied out with the beauty and
the immensity that forever end in the fathomless mist that lies on the
far horizon's rim. It is a mist that nothing can pierce; vision and
thought return from it upon themselves, only to go out again upon that
mute and trembling quest which ceases not until life itself ceases.

The northernmost mouth of the Yukon has been called the Aphoon or
Uphoon, ever since the advent of the Russians, and is the channel
usually selected by steamers, the Kwikhpak lying next to it on the
south. By sea-coast measurement the most northerly mouth is nearly a
hundred miles from the most southerly, and five others between them
assist in carrying the Yukon's gray, dull yellow, or rose-colored floods
out into Behring Sea, whose shallow waters they make fresh for a long
distance. It is not without hazard that the flat-bottomed river boats
make the run to St. Michael; and the pilots of steamers crossing out
anxiously scan the sea and relax not in vigilance until the port is
entered.



CHAPTER XLIX


We were released from the sand-bar near midnight, and at eight o'clock
on the following morning we steamed around a green and lovely point and
entered Norton Sound, in whose curving blue arm lies storied St.
Michael.

St. Michael is situated on the island of the same name, about sixty
miles north of the mouth of the Yukon. It was founded in 1833 by Michael
Tebenkoff, and was originally named Michaelovski Redoubt. The Russian
buildings were of spruce logs brought by sea from the Yukon and
Kuskoquim rivers, as no timber grows in the vicinity of St. Michael or
Nome. Some of the original Russian buildings yet remain,--notably, the
storehouse and the redoubt. The latter is an hexagonal building of heavy
hewn logs, with sloping roof, flagstaff, door, and port-holes. It stands
upon the shore, within a dozen steps of the famous "Cottage,"--the
residence of the managers of the Northern Commercial Company, under
whose hospitable roof every traveller of note has been entertained for
many years,--and in front of it the shore slopes green to the water.
Inside lie half a dozen rusty Russian cannons, mutely testifying to the
sanguinary past of the North.

The redoubt was attacked in 1836 by the hostile Unaligmuts of the
vicinity, but it was successfully defended by Kurupanoff. The Russians
had a temporary landing-place built out to deep water to accommodate
boats drawing five feet; this was removed when ice formed in the bay.
The tundra is rolling, with numerous pools that flame like brass at
sunset; only low willows and alders grow on the island and adjacent
shores. The island is seven miles wide and twenty-five long, and is
separated from the mainland by a tortuous channel, as narrow as fifty
feet in places. The land gradually rises to low hills of volcanic origin
near the centre of the island. These hills are called the Shaman
Mountains. The meadow upon which the main part of the town and the
buildings of the post are situated is as level as a vast parade-ground;
but the land rises gently to a slender point that plunges out into
Behring Sea, whose blue waves beat themselves to foam and music upon its
tundra-covered cliffs.

On the day that I stood upon this headland the sunlight lay like gold
upon the island; the winds were low, murmurous, and soothing; flowers
spent their color riotously about me; the tundra was as soft as
deep-napped velvet; and the blue waves, set with flashes of gold, went
pushing languorously away to the shores of another continent. Scarcely a
stone's throw from me was a small mountain-island, only large enough for
a few graves, but with no graves upon it. In all the world there cannot
be another spot so noble in which to lie down and rest when "life's
fevers and life's passions--all are past." There, alone,--but never
again to be lonely!--facing that sublime sweep of sapphire summer sea,
set here and there with islands, and those miles upon miles of
glittering winter ice; with white sails drifting by in summer, and in
winter the wild and roaring march of icebergs; with summer nights of
lavender dusk, and winter nights set with the great stars and the
magnificent brilliance of Northern Lights; with the perfume of flowers,
the songs of birds, the music of lone winds and waves, out on the edge
of the world--could any clipped and cared-for plot be so noble a place
in which to lie down for the last time? Could any be so close to God?

The entire island is a military reservation, and it is only by
concessions from the government that commercial and transportation
companies may establish themselves there. Fort St. Michael is a
two-company post, under the command of Captain Stokes, at whose
residence a reception was tendered to Governor Hoggatt. The filmy white
gowns of beautiful women, the uniforms of the officers, the music,
flowers, and delicate ices in a handsomely furnished home made it
difficult for one to realize that the function was on the shores of
Behring Sea instead of in the capital of our country.

There is an excellent hotel at St. Michael, and the large stores of the
companies are well supplied with furs and Indian and Eskimo wares.
Beautiful ivory carvings, bidarkas, parkas, kamelinkas, baskets, and
many other curios may be obtained here at more reasonable prices than at
Nome. There are public bath-houses where one may float and splash in
red-brown water that is never any other color, no matter how long it may
run, but which is always pure and clean.

No description of St. Michael is complete that does not include
"Lottie." No liquors are sold upon the military reservation, and Lottie
conducts a floating groggery upon a scow. It has been her custom each
fall to have her barge towed up the canal just beyond the line of the
military reservation, ten miles from the flagstaff at the barracks, thus
placing herself beyond the control of the authorities, greatly to their
chagrin. In summer she anchors her barge in one of the numerous bights
along the shore, and they are again powerless to interfere with her
brilliantly managed traffic, since it has been decided that their sway
extends over the land only.

[Illustration: Copyright by E. A. Hegg, Juneau

Courtesy of Webster & Stevens, Seattle

MOONLIGHT ON BEHRING SEA]

It is Lottie's practice to have the barge made fast in such a way that a
boat can be run to it from the shore on an endless line. One desiring a
bottle of whiskey approaches the boat and drops his money and order into
the bottom of it. The boat is then drawn out to the barge, whiskey is
substituted for the money, and the purchaser pulls the boat ashore,
where it is left for the next customer.

There is no witness to the transaction and it has been impossible to
prove, the authorities claim, who put the money and the whiskey into the
boat, or took either therefrom.

Lottie's barge has operated for many years. Its illicit transactions
could easily have been stopped had the civil authorities on shore taken
a firm stand and worked in conjunction with the military; but there was
the usual jealousy as to the rights of the different officials--and
Lottie has profited by these conditions. Furthermore, many people of the
vicinity entertained a friendly feeling for Lottie--not only those who
were wont to draw the little boat back and forth, but others in sheer
admiration of the ingenuity and skill with which she carried on her
business. She was careful in preserving order in her vicinity, was very
charitable, and frequently provided for natives who would have otherwise
suffered. Thus, by her diplomacy, self-control, good business sense, and
many really worthy traits of character, Lottie has been able to outwit
the officials for years. Her barge still floats upon the blue waves of
Norton Sound. However, it seems, even to a woman, that Lottie must be
blessed with "a friend at court."

We had been invited to voyage from St. Michael to Nome--a distance of a
hundred and eleven miles--on the _Meteor_, a very small tug; being
warned, however, that, should the weather prove to be unfavorable, our
hardships would be almost unendurable, as there was only an open
after-deck and no cabin in which to take refuge. We boldy took our
chances, remaining three days at St. Michael.

Never had Behring Sea, or Norton Sound, been known to be so beautiful as
it was on that fourteenth day of August. We started at nine in the
morning, and until evening the whole sea, as far as the eye could reach
in all directions, was as smooth as satin, of the palest silvery blue.
Never have I seen its like, nor do I hope ever to see it again. To think
that such seductive beauty could bloom upon a sea whereon, in winter,
one may travel for hundreds of miles on solid ice! At evening it was
still smooth, but its color burned to a silvery rose.

The waters we sailed now were almost sacred to some of us. Over them the
brave and gallant Captain Cook had sailed in 1778, naming Capes Darby
and Denbigh, on either side of Norton Bay; he also named the bay and the
sound and Besborough, Stuart, and Sledge islands; and it was in this
vicinity that he met the family of cripples.

But of most poignant interest was St. Lawrence Island, lying far to our
westward, discovered and named by Vitus Behring on his voyage of 1728.
If he had then sailed to the eastward for but one day!

       *       *       *       *       *

Every one has read of the terrors of landing through the pounding surf
of the open roadstead at Nome. Large ships cannot approach within two
miles of the shore. Passengers and freight are taken off in lighters and
launches when the weather is "fair"; but fair weather at Nome is rough
weather elsewhere. When they call it rough at Nome, passengers remain on
the ships for days, waiting to land. Frequently it is necessary to
transfer passengers from the ships to dories, from the dories to tugs,
from the tugs to flat barges. The barges are floated in as far as
possible; then an open platform--miscalled a cage--is dropped from a
great arm, which looks as though it might break at any moment; the
platform is crowded with passengers and hoisted up over the boiling
surf, swinging and creaking in a hair-crinkling fashion, and at last
depositing its large-eyed burden upon the wharf at Nome. I had pitied
_cattle_ when I had seen them unloaded in this manner at Valdez and
other coast towns!

We anchored at eleven o'clock that night in the Nome roadstead. In two
minutes a launch was alongside and a dozen gentlemen came aboard to
greet the governor. We were hastily transferred in the purple dusk to
the launch. The town, brilliantly illuminated, glittered like a string
of jewels along the low beach; bells were ringing, whistles were
blowing, bands were playing, and all Nome was on the beach shouting
itself hoarse in welcome.

There was no surf, there was not a wave, there was scarce a ripple on
the sea. The launch ran smoothly upon the beach and a gangway was put
out. It did not quite reach to dry land and men ran out in the water,
picked us up unceremoniously, and carried us ashore.

The most beautiful landing ever made at Nome was the one made that
night; and the people said it was all arranged for the governor.

There was an enthusiastic reception at the Golden Gate Hotel, followed
by a week's brilliant functions in his honor.

Three days later the _Meteor_ came over from St. Michael, with a
distinguished Congressman aboard. The weather was rough, even for Nome,
and for three blessed days the _Meteor_ rolled in the roadstead, and
with every roll it went clear out of sight.

There were those at the hotel who differed politically from the
Congressman aboard the little tug; and, like the people of Nome when the
senatorial committee was landed under such distressful circumstances a
few years ago, their faces did not put on mourning as they watched the
_Meteor_ roll.



CHAPTER L


Nome! Never in all the world has been, and never again will be, a town
so wonderfully and so picturesquely built. Imagine a couple of miles of
two and three story frame buildings set upon a low, ocean-drenched beach
and, for the most part, painted white, with the back doors of one side
of the main business street jutting out over the water; the town
widening for a considerable distance back over the tundra; all things
jumbled together--saloons, banks, dance-halls, millinery-shops,
residences, churches, hotels, life-saving stations, government
buildings, Eskimo camps, sacked coal piled a hundred feet high,
steamship offices, hospitals, schools--presenting the appearance of
having been flung up into the air and left wherever they chanced to
fall; with streets zigzagging in every conceivable and inconceivable,
way--following the beach, drifting away from it, and returning to it;
one building stepping out proudly two feet ahead of its neighbor,
another modestly retiring, another slipping in at right angles and
leaving a V-shaped space; board sidewalks, narrow for a few steps, then
wide, then narrow again, running straight, curving, jutting out sharply;
in places, steps leading up from the street, in others the streets
rising higher than the sidewalks; boards, laid upon the bare sand in the
middle of the streets for planking, wearing out and wobbling noisily
under travel; every second floor a residence or an apartment-house;
crude signs everywhere, and tipsy telephone poles; the streets crowded
with men at all hours of the day and night; and a blare of music
bursting from every saloon. This is Nome at first sight; and it was with
a sore and disappointed heart that I laid my head upon my pillow that
night.

But Nome grows upon one; and by the end of a week it had drawn my
heartstrings around it as no orderly, conventional town could do. From
the very centre of the business section it is but twenty steps to the
sea; and there, day and night, its surf pounds upon the beach, its
musical thunder and fine mist drifting across the town.

Ten years ago there was nothing here save the golden sands, the sea that
broke upon them, and the gray-green tundra slopes; there is not a tree
for fifty miles or more. To-day there is a town of seven thousand people
in summer, and of three or four thousand in winter--a town having most
of the comforts and many of the luxuries to be obtained in cities of
older civilization. Nome sprang into existence in the summer of 1899,
and grew like Fairbanks and Dawson; but it is more wonderfully situated
than, probably, any town in the world. For eight months of the year it
is cut off from steamship service, and its front door-yard is a sea of
solid ice stretching to the shores of Siberia, while its back yard is a
gold-mine. There are many weeks when the sun rises but a little way,
glimmers faintly for three or four hours, and fades behind the palisades
of ice, leaving the people to darkness and unspeakable loneliness until
it returns to its full brilliance in spring and opens the way for the
return of the ships.

Nome is picturesque by day or by night and at any season. Its streets
are constantly crowded with traffic and thronged by a cosmopolitan
population. The Eskimo encampment is on the "sand-spit" at the northern
end of the main street, where Snake River flows into the sea; and the
men, women, and children may be seen at all hours loitering about the
streets in reindeer parkas and mukluks. Especially in the evenings do
they haunt the streets and the hotels, offering their beautifully carved
ivories for sale.

Both the Eskimos and the Indians are lovers of music, and the former
readily yield to emotion when they hear melodious strains. When a
"Buluga," or white whale, is killed, a feast is held and the natives
sing their songs and dance. The music of stringed instruments invariably
moves them to tears. At a recent Thanksgiving service in Fairbanks, some
visiting Indians were invited to sing "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful." With
evident pleasure, they sang it as follows:--

    "Oni, tsenuan whuduguduwhuta yilh;
    Oni, yuwhun dutlish, oni nokhlhan,
    Oni, dodutalokhlho,
    Oni, dodutalokhlho,
    Oni, dodutalokhlho,
              Lud."

At Point Barrow, three hundred miles northeast of Behring Strait, an old
Eskimo who could not speak one word of English was heard to whistle "The
Holy City," and it filled the hearer's heart with home-loneliness. A
trader had sold the old native music-lover a phonograph, receiving in
pay two white polar bear-skins, worth several hundred dollars.

Some one gave an ordinary French harp to a little Eskimo lad on our
steamer; and from early morning until late at night he sat on a
companionway, alone, indifferent to all passers-by, blowing out softly
and sweetly with dark lips the prisoned beauty of his soul.

All the islands of Behring Sea, as well as the coast of the Arctic
Ocean, are inhabited by Eskimos. From the largest island, St. Lawrence,
to the small Diomede on the American side, they have settlements and
schools. St. Lawrence is eighty miles long by fifteen in width; while
the Diomede is only two miles by one. The natives beg pitifully for
education--"to be smart, like the white man." We shrink from their filth
and their immorality, but we teach them nothing better; yet we might see
through their asking eyes down into their starved souls if we would but
look.

In many ways Nome is the most interesting place in Alaska. It is at once
so pagan and so civilized; so crude and so refined. It is the golden
gateway through which thousands of people pass each summer to and from
the interior of Alaska. Treeless and harborless it began and has
continued, surmounting all obstacles that lay in its way of becoming a
city. It has a water system that supplies its household needs, with
steam pipes laid parallel to the water pipes, to thaw them in
winter--and then it has not a yard of sewerage. It has a wireless
telegraph station, a telephone service, and electric-light plant; and it
is seeking municipal steam-heating. Electric lighting is excessively
high, owing to the price of coal, and many use lamps and candles. There
are three good newspapers, which play important parts in the politics of
Alaska--the _Nugget_, the _Gold-Digger_, and the _News_; three banks,
with capital stocks ranging from one to two hundred thousand dollars,
each of which has an assay-office; two good public schools; three
churches; hospitals; and a telephone system connecting all the creeks
and camps within a radius of fifty miles with Nome. The orders of
Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Eagles, and Arctic Brotherhood
have clubs at Nome. The Arctic Brotherhood is the most popular order of
the North, and the more important entertainments are usually given under
its auspices and are held in its club-rooms; the wives of its members
form the most exclusive society of the North.

The spirit of Nome is restless; it is the spirit of the gold-seeker, the
seafarer, the victim of wanderlust; and it soon gets into even the
visitor's blood. Millions of dollars have been taken out of the sands
whereon Nome is now built, and millions more may be waiting beneath it.
It seemed as though every man in Nome should be digging--on the beach,
in the streets, in cellars.

"Why are not all these men digging?" I asked, and they laughed at me.

"Because every inch of tundra for miles back is located."

"Then why do not the locators dig, dig, day and night?"

"Oh, for one reason or another."

If I owned a claim on the tundra back of Nome, nothing save sudden death
could prevent my digging.

New strikes are constantly being made, to keep the people of Nome in a
state of feverish excitement and dynamic energy. When we landed, we
found the town wild over a thirty-thousand-dollar clean-up on a claim
named "Number Eight, Cooper Gulch." Four days later an excursion was
arranged to go out on the railroad--for they have a railroad--to see
another clean-up at this mine.

We started at nine o'clock, and we did not return until five; and it
rained steadily and with exceeding coldness all day. There was a
comfortable passenger-car, but despite the wind and the rain we
preferred the box-cars, roofed, but open at the sides. The country which
we traversed for six miles possessed the indescribable fascination of
desolation. Behind us rolled the sea; but on all other sides stretched
wide gray tundra levels, varied by low hills. Hills they call them here,
but they are only slopes, or mounds, with here and there a treeless
creek winding through them. The mist of the rain drove across them like
smoke.

We were received at the mine by Captain and Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Corson,
the owners. The ladies were entertained in the Johnsons' cabin home and
the gentlemen at a near-by cabin, there being twelve ladies and twenty
gentlemen in the party. An immense bowl of champagne punch--the word
"punch" being used for courtesy--stood outside the ladies' cabin and was
not allowed to grow empty. Late in the afternoon the heap of empty
champagne bottles outside the gentlemen's cabin resembled in size one of
the numerous gravel dumps scattered over the tundra; yet not a person
showed signs of intoxication. They told us that one may drink champagne
as though it were water in that latitude; and this is one northern
"story" which I am quite willing to believe.

At noon a bountiful and delicious luncheon was served at the mess-house.
It was this same fortunate Captain Johnson, by the way, who opened
fifteen hundred dollars' worth of champagne when bedrock was reached in
his Koyukuk claim.

Sluicing is fascinating. A good supply of water with sufficient fall is
necessary. Some of the claims are on creeks, but the owners of others
are compelled to buy water from companies who supply it by
pumping-plants and ditches. Boxes, or flat-bottomed troughs, are formed
of planks with slats, or "riffles," fastened at intervals across the
bottom. Several boxes are arranged on a gentle slope and fitted into one
another. The boxes at "Number Eight" were twenty feet in length and
slanted from the ground to a height of twelve feet on scaffolding. A
narrow planking ran along each side of the telescoped boxes, and upon
these frail foundations we stood to view the sluicing. The gravel is
usually shovelled into the boxes, but "Number Eight" has an improved
method. The gravel is elevated into an immense hopper-like receptacle,
from which it sifts down into the sluice-boxes on each side, and a
stream of water is kept running steadily upon it from a large hose at
the upper end. Men with whisk brooms sweep up the gold into glistening
heaps, working out the gravel and passing it on, as a housewife works
the whey out of the yellowing butter. The gold, being heavy, is caught
and held by the riffles; if it is very fine, the bottoms of the boxes
are covered with blankets, or mercury is placed at the slats to detain
it.

The clean-up that day was twenty-nine thousand dollars, and each lady of
the party was presented with a gold nugget by Mrs. Johnson. We were
taken down into the mine, where we went about like a company of
fireflies, each carrying his own candle. The ceiling was so low that we
were compelled to walk in a stooping position. On the following morning
we went to a bank and saw this clean-up melted and run into great
bricks.

The lure and the fascination of virgin gold is undeniable. It catches
one and all in its glistening, mysterious web. A man may sell his potato
patch in town lots and become a millionnaire, without attracting
attention; but let him "strike pay on bedrock"--and instantly he walks
in a golden mist of glory and romance before his fellow-men. It may be
because the farmer deposits his money in the bank, while the miner "sets
up" the champagne to his less fortunate friends. Be that as it may, it
is a sluggish pulse that does not quicken when one sees cones of
beautiful coarse gold and nuggets washed and swept out of the gravel in
which it has been lying hundreds of years, waiting. If Behring had but
landed upon this golden beach, Alaska--despite all the eloquence and the
earnestness of Seward and Sumner-might not now be ours.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the Nome district have been gradually added those of Topkuk, Solomon,
and Golovin Bay, forty-five miles to eastward on the shores of Norton
Sound, Cripple Creek, Bluff, Penny, and a chain of diggings extending up
the coast and into the Kotzebue country, including the rich Kougarok and
Blue Stone districts, Candle Creek, and Kowak River.

When gold was discovered at Nome, prospectors scattered over the Seward
Peninsula in all directions. Some drifted west into the York district,
near Cape Prince of Wales, the extreme western point of the North
American continent. In this region they found gold in the streams, but
sluicing was so difficult, owing to a heavy gravel which they
encountered, that they abandoned their claims, not knowing that the
impediment was stream-tin. Wiser prospectors later recognized the metal
and located claims. The tin is irregularly distributed over an area of
four hundred and fifty square miles, embracing the western end of the
peninsula. The United States uses annually twenty million dollars' worth
of tin, which is obtained largely from the Straits Settlement, although
much comes from Ecuador, Bolivia, Australia, and Cornwall. Tin cannot at
present be treated successfully in this country, owing to the lack of
smelter facilities; but now that it has been discovered in so vast
quantities and of so pure quality in the Seward Peninsula, smelters in
this country will doubtless be equipped for reducing tin ores.

The centre of the tin-mining industry is at Tin City, a small settlement
three miles west of Teller, Cape Prince of Wales, and is reached by
small steamers which ply from Nome. Several corporations are developing
promising properties with large stamp-mills. Both stream-tin and tin ore
in ledges are found throughout the district.

The Council district is the oldest of Seward Peninsula, the first
discovery of gold having been made there in 1898, by a party headed by
Daniel P. Libby, who had been through the country with the Western
Union's Expedition in 1866. Hearing of the Klondike's richness, he
returned to Seward Peninsula and soon found gold on Fish River. He and
his party established the town of Council and built the first residence;
it now has a population of eight hundred. This district is forestated
with spruce of fair size and quality.

The Ophir Creek Mines are of great value, having produced more than five
millions of dollars by the crudest of mining methods. The Kougarok is
the famous district of the interior of the peninsula. Mary's
Igloo--deriving its name from an Eskimo woman of some importance in
early days--is the seat of the recorder's office for this district. It
has a post-office and is an important station. May it never change its
striking and picturesque name!

The entire peninsula, having an area of nearly twenty-three thousand
miles, is liable to prove to be one vast gold-mine, the extreme richness
of strikes in various localities indicating that time and money to
install modern machinery and develop the country are all that are
required to make this one of the richest producing districts of the
world.

The leading towns of the peninsula are Council, Solomon, Teller, Candle,
Mary's Igloo, and Deering, on Kotzebue Sound. Solomon is on Norton
Sound, at the mouth of Solomon River; a railroad runs from this point to
Council.

The early name of Seward Peninsula was Kaviak--the name of the Innuit
people inhabiting it.

Gold was discovered on Anvil Creek in the hills behind Nome in
September, 1898, by Jafet Lindeberg, Erik Lindblom, and John Brynteson,
the "three lucky Swedes." In the following summer gold was discovered on
the beach, and in 1900 occurred the memorable stampede to Nome, when
fifteen thousand people struggled through the surf during one fortnight.
Then began the amazing building of the mining-camp on the
northwesternmost point of the continent. Anvil Creek, Dexter, Dry and
Glacier creeks, Snow and Cooper gulches, have yielded millions of
dollars. The tundra reaching back to the hills five or six miles from
the sea is made up of a series of beach lines, all containing deposits
of gold. Five millions of dollars in dust were taken from the famous
"third" beach line in one season; and its length is estimated at thirty
or forty miles. The hills are low and round-topped, and beyond
them--thirty miles distant--are the Kigluaik Mountains, known to
prospectors by the name of Sawtooth. Among their sharp and austere peaks
is the highest of the peninsula, rising to an altitude of four thousand
seven hundred feet by geological survey.

There are several railroads on the peninsula. Some are but a few miles
in length, the rails are narrow and "wavy," the trains run by starts and
plunges and stop fearsomely; but they are railroads. One can climb into
the box-cars or the one warm passenger-coach and go from Nome out among
the creeks,--to Nome River, to Anvil Creek, to Kougarok and Hot Springs,
from Solomon to the Council Country,--and Nome is only ten years old.

Nome has a woman's club. It is federated and it owns its club-house, a
small but pretty building. Its name is Kegoayah Kosga, or Northern
Lights. It held an open meeting while we were in Nome. Bishop Rowe
described a journey by dog sled and canoe, Congressman Sulzer gave an
informal talk, and the ladies of the club presented an interesting
programme. The afternoon was the most profitable I have spent at a
woman's club.

For two or three months in summer it is all work at Nome; but when the
snow begins to drive in across the town; when the last steamer drifts
down the roadstead and disappears before the longing eyes that follow
it; when the ice piles up, mile on mile, where the surf dashed in
summer, and the wind in the chimneys plays a weird and lonely tune; then
the people turn to cards and dance and song to while away the long and
dreary months of darkness. The social life is gay; and poker parties,
whereat gambling runs high, are frequent.

"I'd like to give a poker party for you," said a handsome young woman,
laughing, "but I suppose it would shock you to death."

We confessed that we would not be shocked, but that, not knowing how to
play the game, we declined to be "bluffed" out of all our money.

"Oh, we are easy on cheechacos," said she, lightly. "Do come. We'll play
till two o'clock, and then have a little supper; curlew, plovers, and
champagne--the 'big cold bottle and the small hot bird.'"

When we still declined, she looked bored as she said politely:--

"Oh, very well; let us call it a five-hundred party. Surely, that is
childlike enough for you. But the men!"

I laughed at the thought of the men I had met in Nome playing the
insipid game of five-hundred.

"Then," said she, dolefully, "there's nothing left but bridge--and we
just gamble our pockets inside out on bridge; it's worse than poker, and
we play like fiends."

We suggested that, as General Greeley had come down the river with us
and would be over from St. Michael the next day, they should wait for
him; when the first player has led the first card, General Greeley knows
in whose hand every deuce lies, and I wickedly longed to see the inside
of Nome's composite pocket by the time General Greeley had sailed away.

There was no party for us that night; but there is a wide, public porch
behind a big store by the life-saving station. It projects over the sea
and about ten feet above it, and upon this porch are benches whereon
one may sit alone and undisturbed until midnight, or until dawn, for
that matter, but alone--with the glitter of Nome and the golden tundra
behind one, and in front, the far, faint lights of the ships anchored in
the roadstead and the tumultuous passion of waves that have lapped the
shores of other lands.

Sitting here, what thoughts come, unbidden, of the brave and shadowy
navigators of the past who have sailed these waters through hardships
and sufferings that would cause the stoutest hearts of to-day to
hesitate. Read the descriptions of the ships upon which Arctic explorers
embark at the present time--of their stores and comforts; and then turn
back and imagine how Simeon Deshneff, a Cossack chief, set sail in June,
two hundred and sixty years ago, from the mouth of the Kolyma River in
Siberia in search of fabled ivory. In company with two other "kotches,"
which were lost, he sailed dauntlessly along the Arctic sea-coast and
through Behring Strait from the Frozen Ocean. His "kotch" was a
small-decked craft, rudely and frailly fashioned of wood; in September
of that year, 1648, he landed upon the shores of the Chukchi Peninsula
and saw the two Diomede Islands, between which the boundary line now
runs. He must have seen the low hills of Cape Prince of Wales, for it
plunges boldly out into the sea, within twenty miles of the Diomedes,
but probably mistook them for islands. Half a century later Popoff,
another Cossack, was sent to East Cape to persuade the rebellious
Chukchis--as the Siberian natives of that region are called--to pay
tribute; he was not successful, but he brought back a description of the
Diomede Islands and rumors of a continent said to lie to the east. The
next passage of importance through the strait was that of Behring, who,
in 1728, sailed along the Siberian coast from Okhotsk, rounded East
Cape, passed through the strait, and, after sailing to the northeast for
a day, returned to Okhotsk, marvellously missing the American continent.
Geographers refused to accept Behring's statement that Asia and North
America were not connected until it was verified in 1778 by Cook, who
generously named the strait for the illustrious Dane.

       *       *       *       *       *

Less than a day's voyage from Nome is the westernmost point of our
country--Cape Prince of Wales, the "Kingegan" of the natives. It is
fifty-four miles from this cape to the East Cape of Siberia, and like
stepping-stones between lie Fairway Rock and the Diomedes. Beyond is the
Frozen Ocean. These islands are of almost solid stone. They are
snow-swept, ice-bound, and ice-bounded for eight months of every year.
But ah, the auroral magnificence that at times must stream through the
gates of frozen pearl which swing open and shut to the Arctic Sea! What
moonlights must glitter there like millions of diamonds; what sunrises
and sunsets must burn like opaline mist! How large the stars must
be--and how bright and low! And in the spring--how this whole northern
world must tremble and thrill at the mighty march of icebergs sweeping
splendidly down through the gates of pearl into Behring Sea!



APPENDIX


In the preparation of this volume the following works have been
consulted, which treat wholly, or in part, of Alaska. After the
narratives of the early voyages and discoveries, the more important
works of the list are Bancroft's "History," Dall's "Alaska and Its
Resources," Brooks' "Geography and Geology," Davidson's "Alaska
Boundary," Elliott's "Arctic Province," Mason's "Aboriginal Basketry,"
Miss Scidmore's "Guide-book," and "Proceedings of the Alaska Boundary
Tribunal."


ABERCROMBIE, CAPTAIN. Government Reports.

ALASKA CLUB'S Almanac. 1907, 1908.


BALES, L. L. Habits and Haunts of the Sea-otter. Seattle
Post-Intelligencer. April 7, 1907.

BANCROFT, HUBERT H. History of the Pacific States. Volumes on Oregon,
Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Northwest Coast. The volume on
Alaska is a conscientious and valuable study of that country, the
material for which was gathered largely by Ivan Petroff.

BEATTIE, W. G. Alaska-Yukon Magazine. October, 1907.

BLAINE, J. G. Twenty Years of Congress. Two volumes. 1884.

BRADY, J. G. Governor's Reports. 1902, 1904, 1905.

BROOKS, ALFRED H. The Geography and Geology of Alaska. 1906. Also, Coal
Resources of Alaska.

BUTLER, SIR WILLIAM. Wild Northland. 1873.


CLARK, REED P. Mirror and American.

COOK, JAMES. Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. 1784.

COXE, WILLIAM. Russian Discoveries. Containing diaries of Steller, the
naturalist, who accompanied Behring and Shelikoff, who made the first
permanent Russian settlement in America; also, an account of Deshneff's
passage through Behring Strait in 1648. Fourth Edition. Enlarged. 1803.

CUNNINGHAM, J. T. Encyclopædia Britannica.


DALL, WILLIAM HEALY. Alaska and Its Resources. An accurate and important
work. This volume and Bancroft's Alaska are the standard historical
works on Alaska.

DAVIDSON, GEORGE. The Alaska Boundary. 1903. Also, Glaciers of Alaska.
1904. Mr. Davidson's work for Alaska covers many years and is of great
value.

DIXON, GEORGE. Voyage Around the World. 1789.

DORSEY, JOHN. Alaska-Yukon Magazine. October, 1907.

DUNN, ROBERT. Outing. February, 1908.


ELLIOTT, HENRY W. Our Arctic Province. 1886. This book covers the
greater part of Alaska in an entertaining style and contains a
comprehensive study of the Seal Islands.


GEORGESON, C. C. Report of Alaska Agricultural Experimental Work. 1903,
1904, 1905, 1906.


HARRIMAN. Alaska Expedition. 1904.

HARRISON, E. S. Nome and Seward Peninsula.

HOLMES, W. H. Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. 1907.


IRVING, WASHINGTON. Astoria.


JEWITT, JOHN. Adventures. Edited by Robert Brown. 1896. John Jewitt was
captured and held as a slave by the Nootka Indians from 1803 until 1805.

JONES, R. D. Alaska-Yukon Magazine. October, 1907.


KINZIE, R. A. Treadwell Group of Mines. 1903.

KOSTROMETINOFF, GEORGE. Letters and Papers.


LA PÉROUSE, JEAN FRANÇOIS. Voyage Around the World. 1798.


MACKENZIE, ALEXANDER. Voyages to the Arctic in 1789 and 1793. Two
volumes.

MCLAIN, J. S. Alaska and the Klondike. 1905.

MASON, OTIS T. Aboriginal American Basketry. An exquisite and poetic
work.

MOSER, COMMANDER. Alaska Salmon Investigations.

MUIR, JOHN. The Alaska Trip. Century Magazine. August, 1897.

MÜLLER, GERHARD T. Voyages from Asia to America. 1761 and 1764.


NORD, CAPTAIN J. G. Letters and papers.


PORTLOCK, NATHANIEL. Voyage Around the World. 1789.

PROCEEDINGS of the Alaska Boundary Tribunal. Seven volumes. 1904.


SCHWATKA, FREDERICK. Along Alaska's Great River. 1886. Lieutenant
Schwatka voyaged down the Yukon on rafts in 1883 and wrote an
interesting book. His namings were unfortunate, but his voyage was of
value, and many of his surmises have proven to be almost startlingly
correct.

SCIDMORE, ELIZA RUHAMAH. Guide-book to Alaska. 1893. Miss Scidmore's
style is superior to that of any other writer on Alaska.

SEATTLE MAIL AND HERALD. March 7, 1903.

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. 1906, 1907, 1908.

SEATTLE TIMES. 1908.

SEWARD, FREDERICK W. Inside History of Alaska Purchase. Seward Gateway.
March 17, 1906.

SHAW, W. T. Alaska-Yukon Magazine. October, 1907.

SIMPSON, SIR GEORGE. Journey Around the World. 1847.

SUMNER, CHARLES. Oration on the Cession of Russian America to the United
States. 1867.


TUTTLE, C. R. The Golden North. 1897.


VANCOUVER, GEORGE. Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean. Three
volumes. 1798.



INDEX


A

Abercrombie, Captain, 266, 287, 288.

Admiralty Island, 107, 108.

Afognak, 343-345.

Agricultural Experimental Work, 213-215.

Alaska Central Railway, 298, 299.

Alaskan Range, 224.

Alert Bay, 16.

Aleutian Islands, 392, 393.

Aleutian Range, 224.

Aleuts, The, 395-401.

Anderson Island, 424.

Annette Island, 59-64.

Anvik, 505.

Aphoon, The, 509.

Apollo Mine, 368.

Aristocracy of Alaska, The, 140, 141.

Atlin, 441.

Average Tourist, The, 11.


B

Baird Glacier, 106.

Baranoff, Alexander, 163-185.

Baranoff Island, 149.

Barren Islands, 300.

Basketry, 99-102.

Beaver Dam, 284, 285.

Behm Canal, 84.

Behring, Vitus, 153-161.

Belkoffski, 376-382.

Berner's Bay, 133.

Besborough Island, 425.

Bidarkas and Kayaks, 246.

Bishop of All Alaska, The, 210-212.

Boas, Franz, 16.

Bogosloff Volcanoes, 411-413.

Bonanza, The, 254, 255.

Boundaries, 37-49.

Brackett Road, The, 430, 431.

Brady Glacier, 135.

Brady, Governor, 217, 349-350.

Bristol Bay, 301, 420-423.

Brooks, Alfred H., 497.

Bruner Railway Company, 240.

Brynteson, John, 524.

Burke Channel, 23.


C

Call of Alaska, The, 19, 20.

Campbell, Robert, 459.

Camp Comfort, 276-278.

Cape Darby, 425, 514.

Cape Denbigh, 425, 514.

Cape Douglas, 300.

Cape Elizabeth, 300.

Cape Fanshaw, 106.

Cape Newenham, 423.

Cape Prince of Wales, 424.

Cape St. Elias, 238.

Cape St. Hermogenes, 320.

Cape Suckling, 238.

Caribou Crossing, 441, 442.

Carmack, George, 473.

Chatham Strait, 134.

Chena River, 499.

Chief Kohklux, 141.

Chief Shakes, 90.

Chief Skowl, 68.

Chignik, 366.

Chilkaht Blanket, 136, 140.

Chilkaht Inlet, 134.

Chilkaht River, 139.

Chilkoot Inlet, 136.

Chilkoot River, 140.

Chirikoff, Alexis, 153-161.

Chiswell Rocks, 300.

Chitina River, 244, 245.

Cholmondeley Sound, 68.

Chugach Alps, 224.

Chugach Gulf, 246, 251, 252.

Chugatz Islands, 300.

Claim Staking in the Klondike, 484.

Clarence Strait, 85.

Clerk's Island, 426.

Climate, 259-264.

Cluster of Hops, A, 129-131.

Coal, 307-310.

Coal Harbor, 310.

Cold Bay, 365.

Columbia Glacier, 257-259.

Commercial Companies of the North, 477-479.

Comptroller Bay, 238.

Convict Settlement, The, 230, 231.

Cook, James, 245-250, 423-426.

Cook Inlet, 299-307.

Copper Mines, 253-255, 453.

Copper River, 244, 245.

Copper River and Northwestern Railway, 242-244.

Council, 523.

Croyere, Lewis de Lisle de, 154.

Cudahy, Fort, 488.


D

Dall, William H., 97.

Davidson Glacier, 134, 139.

Dawson, 464-485.

Dawson, George M., 462, 463.

De Fuca, Juan, 4, 5.

Dementief, Abraham Mikhailovich, 155.

Deshneff, Simeon, 527.

Devil's Thumb, 105.

Diomede Islands, 424, 528.

Discovery Passage, 14-16.

Disenchantment Bay, 232, 233.

Dixon Entrance, 65.

Dixon, George, 228.

_Dora_, The, 370-374.

Down in a Great Gold Mine, 123-128.

_Dryad_ Trouble, The, 85, 86.

Duncan, William, 55-64.

Dundas, 100-102.

Dutch Harbor, 393, 406-408.


E

Eagle, 488-490.

Early Oil Companies, 240.

East Cape, 424.

Egbert, Fort, 488.

Egegak, 420.

Ellamar, 253-256.

Emmons, G. T., 95, 385.

Eskimo, 384-387, 421-426, 502, 518.

Eskimo Dog, The, 486, 487.


F

Fairbanks, 498-500.

Fairweather Range, 223, 224.

Father Juvenal, 327-332.

Finlayson Channel, 27.

Fiords of British Columbia, 24.

First Russian Settlement, 326.

Fitzhugh Sound, 22, 23.

Five-Finger Rapids, 457.

Fording Glacial Streams, 286-287.

Forests of Alaska, 33-36.

Fort Rupert, 17.

Fort Wrangell, 85-92.

Forty-Mile, 486.

Fraser Reach, 27.

Fraser River, 9.

Frederick Sound, 105.


G

Galiana Island, 9, 17.

Game Laws, 312-317.

Gardner Canal, 30.

Gastineau Channel, 114.

Gay Life at Sitka, 175-185.

Georgia, Gulf of, 9.

Gibbon, Fort, 496.

Glacier Bay and its Glaciers, 219.

Glottoff, 321-326.

Golovin Bay, 522.

Gore's Island, 426.

Goryalya Volcano, 301.

Government of Alaska, 348-351.

Government of the Yukon, 472.

Graham Reach, 27.

Grand Canyon, 448-453.

Great Bonanza Copper Mine, 290-294.

"Great Unlighted Way," The, 295-297.

Greek-Russian Church at Sitka, 193, 194.

Grenville Channel, 27, 31-33.


H

Hagemeister, 180, 181.

Haidahs, 70.

Haines Mission, 142.

Hanna, James, 22.

Hawkins Island, 248.

Heikish Narrows, 27.

Henderson, Governor, 471.

Heney, M. J., 242, 427, 428.

Hinchingbroke Island, 248.

Hoggatt, Governor, 501, 505, 515.

Holy Cross Mission, 505, 507.

Homer, 311, 312.

Hootalinqua River, 89, 434.

Howkan, 68.

Hubbard Glacier, 232.

Hunt, Wilson P., 176-178.

"Husky," The, 486, 487.


I

Icy Cape, 424.

Icy Straits, 219.

Iliamna Lake, 301.

Iliamna Volcano, 300.

Indian River, 200, 201.

Indians of Alaska, 69-84.

In Keystone Canyon, 278-279.

Inlets of British Columbia, 12, 13.

Innuit, The, 385-387, 421-426.


J

Japonski Island, 152.

Johnstone Strait, 17.

Juneau, 114-120.


K

Kachemak Bay, 307.

Kadiak Island, 318-342.

Kaknu River, 300.

Kamelinka, or Kamelayka, 246, 247.

Karluk, 346-363.

Karluk Hatcheries, 358-363.

Kasa-an, 68.

Kassitoff, 300.

Katalla, 240-245.

Kayak, 238, 239.

Kaye Island, 238.

Kenai Range, 224.

Kennicott Glacier, 290-292.

Ketchikan, 50-55.

Klondike, 458-484.

Knight's Island, 248.

Knik River, 300.

Kodiak, 334-338.

Koloshians, 70, 167, 217.

Koyukuk, 503.

Krusenstern, 172-174.

Kuskokwim River, 420, 423.

Kvichak River, 420.

Kwakiutl Indians, 16.

Kwikhpak, The, 509.


L

Labret, The, 25-26, 228, 229.

Lake Bennett, 434-441.

Lake Clark, 301.

Lake Lebarge, 456, 457.

Lake Lindeman, 440.

Lama Pass, 23.

La Pérouse, Jean François, 225-229.

Last Indian Trouble at Sitka, 208-209.

La Touche Island, 254.

Lewes River, 434.

Lindblom, Erik, 524.

Lindeberg, Jafet, 524.

Lisiansky, 172-174.

Lisière, or "Thirty-Mile Strip," 45-49.

"Little Redbirds," The, 76-78.

Lituya Bay, 225-229.

Loring, 66.

"Lottie," 512-513.

Lowering of the Russian Flag, 206-208.

Lower Yukon, 501.

Lynn Canal, 132-134.


M

McKay Reach, 27.

Makushin Volcano, 395.

Malamutes, 486-487.

Malaspina Glacier, 235.

Marmot Island and Bay, 319.

Marsh Lake, 443.

Mason, Otis T., 95.

Matanuska River, 300.

Meares, John, 4, 5, 251.

Mendenhall Glacier, 132.

Metlakahtla, 55-64.

Miles Glacier, 244.

Millbank Sound, 26.

Modus Vivendi, The, 48-49.

Moira Sound, 68.

Montagu Island, 248.

Mount Crillon, 225.

Mount Drum, 285.

Mount Edgecumbe, 149, 220.

Mounted Police, 472, 473.

Mount Fairweather, 225.

Mount La Pérouse, 225.

Mount Lituya, 225.

Mount McKinley, 224, 297.

Mount Regal, 290.

Mount Wrangell, 290.

Mr. Whidbey is "humane," 137-138.

Muir Glacier, 219.

Müller, Gerhard T., 154.


N

Naha Bay, 66.

Naknek River, 420.

Needs of the Natives, 382-389.

Niblack Anchorage, 68.

Nizina District, 288.

Nome, 514-528.

Norton Sound, 424, 425.

Nulato, 504.

"Number Eight, Cooper Gulch," 520-522.

Nushagak Bay, 420, 421.

Nutchek, or Port Etches, 247.


O

Ogilvie, William, 462, 463.

Oomiak, 246.

Orca, 247.

Over "the Trail," 271-294.


P

Pedro, Felix, 497.

Peril Strait, 150.

Pinnacle Island, 426.

Popoff, 367, 527.

"Potlatch," The, 81-82.

Pribyloff Islands, 414-420.

Prince of Wales Island, 68.

Prince William Sound, 245-252.

"Promyshleniki," 162-164.

Purchase of Alaska, 185-188.

Pyramid Harbor, 139.


Q

Queen Charlotte Sound, 18.


R

Railway Wars, 243, 244.

Ramparts, Lower, 494-496.

Ramparts, Upper, 457.

Reindeer, 504-505.

Revilla-Gigedo Island, 65.

Ridley, Bishop, 58-59.

Rink Rapids, 457.

Rowe, Bishop, 210-212.

Russian-American Company, 165-185.

Russian Discoveries, 153-161.

Russians on Cook Inlet, 304-307.


S

Safety Cove, or "Oatsoalis," 22.

Sailing for Alaska, 3.

St. Augustine Volcano, 300.

St. Elias Alps, 224.

St. Lawrence Island, 154, 514.

St. Michael's, 426, 458, 509-514.

Salmon Industry, The, 420-423.

Sand Point, 374-375.

San Juan Island, 6.

"Sarah, The Remembered," 27-29.

Schafer, Professor, 41.

Seaforth Channel, 23.

Sealing Industry, 414-419.

Sea-otter, 377-380.

Seldovia, 302, 303.

Selkirk, Fort, 459.

Semidi Islands, 341.

Seward, 297-299.

Seward Peninsula, 515-528.

Seward, William H., 186-188.

Seymour Narrows, 15.

Shelikoff, Grigor Ivanovich, 163-165.

Shishaldin Volcano, 2, 31, 390-392.

Simpson, Sir George, 56, 86, 195-197.

Sitka, 167-217.

Skaguay, 143-148.

"Skookum Jim," 473.

Skowl Arm, 68.

Sledge Island, 424.

Sluicing, 521-522.

Snettisham Inlet, 109.

"Soapy" Smith, 145-146.

Solomon, 522.

Spanberg, Martin Petrovich, 153-161.

Steller, Georg Wilhelm, 154.

Stephens' Passage, 107.

Stikine River, 85.

"Strait of Anian," The, 4.

Strait of Juan de Fuca, 4.

Stuart Island, 426.

Sumdum Glacier, 107.

Sumner, Charles, 187, 188.

Sumner Strait, 103-105.

Sweetheart Falls, 109.


T

"Tagish Charlie," 473.

Tagish Lake, 442.

Taku Glacier, 109.

Tanana, 496.

Thirty-Mile River, 457.

Thlinkits, The, 70-84.

Three Saints Bay, 326, 333.

Thunder Bay Glacier, 106.

Tin, 523.

Topkuk, 522.

Totemism, 69-81.

"To Westward," 3, 220-224.

"Trail of Heartbreak," 431.

Trails and Roads, 284, 285.

Treadwell, 121-128.

Twelve-Mile Arm, 68.


U

Ugashik River, 420.

Ukase of 1821, The, 37.

Unalaska, 393-410.

Unga, 367.

Uphoon, The, 509.

Uyak, 364, 365.


V

Valdez, 265-270.

Vancouver, George, 21, 25, 135, 305.

Vancouver Island, 9-17.

Veniaminoff, 189, 195, 398-401.

Voskressenski, or "Sunday," Harbor, 164.


W

Walrus Herds, 424.

Western Union Telegraph Company, 460.

Whidbey, Lieutenant, 30, 135-138, 305.

White Horse, 444-454.

White Horse Rapids, 451.

White Pass and Yukon Railway, 427-443.

White Sulphur Springs, 212-213.

Wingham Island, 238.

Wood Canyon, 245.

Wood Island, 338-341.

Wood River, 420, 423.

Wrangell Narrows, 103-104.

Wright Sound, 30.


Y

Yakataga, 237.

Yakutat Bay, 229-236.

Yakutats, The, 83.

Yanovsky, 180-181.

Yehl, 77-78.

Yukon Flats, 492-494, 508.

Yukon, Fort, 491.

Yukon River, 459, 485, 492, 508-509.

Yukon Soda, 446, 447.


Z

Zarembo Island, 103.

Zarembo, Lieutenant, 85-86.

       *       *       *       *       *


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       *       *       *       *       *

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PUBLISHED BY

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Sixty-four and Sixty-six Fifth Avenue, New York





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