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Title: Jack the Young Canoeman - An Eastern Boy's Voyage in a Chinook Canoe
Author: Grinnell, George Bird
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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[Illustration: AS THE DEER BOUNCED UP THE BANK, JACK FIRED--_Page 41_]


JACK THE YOUNG CANOEMAN

An Eastern Boy's Voyage in a Chinook Canoe

by

GEORGE BIRD GRINNELL

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

Illustrated by Edwin Willard Deming

And by Half-tone Engravings of Photographs



[Illustration]

New York
Frederick A. Stokes Company
Publishers

Copyright, 1906
By Frederick A. Stokes Company

Published in September, 1906
All rights reserved

The University Press, Cambridge, U.S.A.



                                PREFACE


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

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



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                              PAGE

      I. VICTORIA, V. I.                                 11

     II. HOW JACK AND HUGH CAME TO BRITISH COLUMBIA      22

    III. A MYSTERIOUS WATER MONSTER                      31

     IV. THE COBBLER NATURALIST OF BURRARD INLET         40

      V. AN UNEXPECTED BEAR                              53

     VI. OF INDIANS IN ARMOR                             68

    VII. SEAMMUX IN DANGER                               78

   VIII. THE COAST INDIANS AND THEIR WAYS                91

     IX. PREPARATION FOR THE VOYAGE                     103

      X. THE START                                      111

     XI. FOOD FROM THE SEA                              124

    XII. THE ISLAND DEER                                135

   XIII. AN ADVENTURE OF THE CASSIAR                    147

    XIV. BUTE INLET                                     158

     XV. THE WORK THAT GLACIERS DO                      172

    XVI. A MOTHER'S COURAGE                             189

   XVII. JACK MEETS A SEAL PIRATE                       209

  XVIII. MILLIONS OF SALMON                             228

    XIX. FISHING WITH A SIWASH                          236

     XX. OFF FOR A HUNT IN THE MOUNTAINS                251

    XXI. LAST DAYS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA                  264

   XXII. THE HOMEWARD ROAD                              277



ILLUSTRATIONS


  As the deer bounded up the bank, Jack fired           _Frontispiece_

  Jack fired at the white spot on the beast's breast  _Facing page_ 58

  Seammux also rolled after the goat, and he, too,
      disappeared                                         "   "     82

  Here they wear white men's clothes, including
      shoes and hats                                      "   "     92

  "Close to some of the houses stand tall carved
      poles, called totem poles"                          "   "     98

  When they saw the canoe they all stopped and
      began to stare at it                                "   "    190

  Drove her short horns deep into his side                "   "    204

  An Indian salmon weir                                   "   "    234



                        Jack the Young Canoeman



                               CHAPTER I

                            VICTORIA, V. I.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER II

              HOW JACK AND HUGH CAME TO BRITISH COLUMBIA


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER III

                      A MYSTERIOUS WATER MONSTER


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER IV

                THE COBBLER NATURALIST OF BURRARD INLET


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                               CHAPTER V

                          AN UNEXPECTED BEAR


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: JACK FIRED AT THE WHITE SPOT ON THE BEAST'S
    BREAST--_Page 59_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER VI

                          OF INDIANS IN ARMOR


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER VII

                           SEAMMUX IN DANGER


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: SEAMMUX ALSO ROLLED AFTER THE GOAT, AND HE, TOO,
    DISAPPEARED--_Page 82_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                             CHAPTER VIII

                   THE COAST INDIANS AND THEIR WAYS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: HERE THEY WEAR WHITE MEN'S CLOTHES, INCLUDING SHOES AND
    HATS--_Page 93_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Just about," agreed Fannin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: CLOSE TO SOME OF THE HOUSES STAND TALL CARVED POLES,
    CALLED TOTEM POLES--_Page 98_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER IX

                      PREPARATION FOR THE VOYAGE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                               CHAPTER X

                               THE START


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER XI

                           FOOD FROM THE SEA


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER XII

                            THE ISLAND DEER


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yes, likely," said Hugh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                             CHAPTER XIII

                      AN ADVENTURE OF THE CASSIAR


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack talked with Fannin about their abundance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER XIV

                              BUTE INLET


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"My! I guess not!" exclaimed Jack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER XV

                       THE WORK THAT GLACIERS DO


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                              CHAPTER XVI

                          A MOTHER'S COURAGE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: WHEN THEY SAW THE CANOE THEY ALL STOPPED AND BEGAN TO
    STARE AT IT--_Page 190_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: DROVE HER SHORT HORNS DEEP INTO HIS SIDE--_Page 205_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                             CHAPTER XVII

                       JACK MEETS A SEAL PIRATE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"How do you mean?" asked Jack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                          MILLIONS OF SALMON


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack and Hugh stared at these different processes which went on without
a pause. It seemed as if each operator might be a machine. Each one
performed a certain task and only that, and beyond that did nothing but
shove each fish along, then reach back and take another. The knives, it
seemed, always fell in the same place, and cut off the same parts with
the same precision. It was a rising and falling of arms and knives, in
the preparation of a food which was soon to be distributed all over the
globe.

At length they reached the cutting table. "Here," said Mr. James, "you
can see how systematically the thing is done. It isn't enough that the
fish should be cut into pieces, but it must be cut into sizes that
are just about long enough to fill the can so that as few motions as
possible need be gone through with to get the can level full."

"There! do you see!" he went on, pointing to a Chinaman, who with two
or three motions of his right hand filled a can, just even-full; and
then slid it along the table to a man next to him, who slipped on it
the circular cover of tin and passed this on to the next man, who was
handling a soldering iron and a bit of solder. In but a second, as it
seemed to Jack, the soldering of the can was finished, and then with
a push the can went on to join those which were being bunched up by
the Chinamen, and placed in a shallow tray made of strap iron. When
this tray was full a hook on the end of a chain running down from a
traveller near the ceiling was hooked into a ring attached to chains
running to the four corners of the tray, the tray was lifted, and run
along the traveller a short distance until it stood over a vat of
boiling water. It was then dropped into this, hung there for a few
moments; and then, rising again, moved a little farther along the
traveller, and descended on a table. By this table stood a Chinaman,
holding a small wooden mallet with which he tapped each can.

"You see," said Mr. James, "the expansion of the contents of the can
under heat makes the cover bulge, and when the Chinaman taps it with
the mallet he can tell at once by the sound, whether the solder is
perfectly tight or not. If, when the mallet strikes it, the cover
yields much, he knows that there is an escape for the air and the can
is thrown out. There, see him throw that one out? When the Chinaman
taps the cans it seems as if he were paying little attention to the
work, but when a defective can comes along he detects it at once and
casts it aside, just as he did that one." This happened to be the only
one rejected of this lot, and the operator at once reversed his mallet
and began to tap them over again.

"What is he doing now, Mr. James?" asked Jack. "Is he going over them
again?"

"No," said Mr. James; "look closely at the mallet and you will see that
he has reversed it; and in this end of the mallet there is a little
tack. Each time he strikes a can he punctures it, allowing, as you see,
air, water, and steam to escape. As soon as this is done, the other
workmen, with their soldering irons seal up these little bits of holes,
and the work is done. Now the only thing to do is to label the cans,
box them, and ship them to the markets."

"How many fish do they put up here in a day, Mr. James?" asked Jack.

"About five hundred cases," said Mr. James. "It's a lot, isn't it?"

"I should say so," said Jack, "it makes my head swim to think of it,
and that is being done all along the river, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Mr. James. "It is, and it keeps up for weeks and sometimes
for months. The run of sockeye salmon usually lasts from four to six
weeks, and during that time the factories run from four in the morning
to seven or eight at night; and the work goes on constantly, Sundays as
well as week days."

"Well," said Hugh; "I don't see how there are any salmon left in the
river. I should think you would catch them all. There must be a lot
of factories just like this all along the river; what becomes of the
people living farther up the stream?"

"I can't answer that very well, myself," said Mr. James, "except that I
know that there are plenty of them. Here comes a man, though, who can
tell you. He is an old fisherman, and has been in the canning business
for years. Oh, McIntyre!" he called out to a raw-boned, weather-beaten
man who passed not far from them. Mr. McIntyre looked at him, came
over, and was introduced to Hugh and Jack as the proprietor of the
cannery. He was glad to see them, and readily talked about salmon and
salmon canning.

"Mr. Johnson, here," said Mr. James, "was wondering that there were any
salmon left in the river for the people who live above here. He thinks
you are catching them all."

Mr. McIntyre laughed loudly as he replied: "Oh, not all of them; there
are a few that get up. You see, this year we have not been able to use
all the fish we caught, and we have taken off one half the boats. I
don't believe that one fish is caught out of ten thousand that enter
the river. Everybody between here and the head of the river captures
all the fish he wants, and in the autumn you will see fish that have
spawned and died, floating down the river by the million. Of course, I
don't know how many are taken here, but I fancy more than two million
or two and a half million fish. The Indians all the way up the river
have no trouble whatever in catching all they want. If you should go up
the river you would see their camps along the shore, and you would see,
too, that they were catching many fish."

"How do they catch them, Mr. McIntyre?" asked Jack.

"They catch them chiefly in purse nets; scooping them up out of the
water, just as fast as the net can be swept."

"You ought to take them up the river, Charlie," he added, turning to
Mr. James, "and let them see what goes on between here and Yale."

"That's just what I am trying to do," said Mr. James. "I want to get
them to go up with me and I hope perhaps we can start to-morrow."

Much time was spent at the cannery, for Jack and Hugh did not seem to
tire of watching the swift, certain, and never-ending movements that
went on here for hours until the whistle blew for noon. Then, indeed,
they reluctantly left the factory and returned to the hotel.

[Illustration: AN INDIAN SALMON WEIR--_Page 234_]

It must be remembered that all this occurred some twenty-five years
ago, and that since that time wonderful changes have taken place in the
methods and operations of salmon canning. This is merely an account of
what Jack saw when he visited New Westminster.



                              CHAPTER XIX

                         FISHING WITH A SIWASH


The next morning, with Mr. James, Jack and Hugh boarded the comfortable
steamer which was to take them up the Fraser to the town of Yale,
the head of navigation of the lower river. Mr. James was anxious to
have them see the end of the Canadian Pacific railroad, of which all
the residents of the Province were immensely proud at that time, for
it was the first railroad that had been built in British Columbia.
Incidentally they would view the scenery of the Fraser, and would see
many other interesting things.

Near its mouth the Fraser is very muddy, and Hugh and Jack spoke of
its resemblance in this respect to the Missouri, with which they were
so familiar. As the steamer ploughed its way up the river the water
became less and less turbid, until, when Yale was reached, though by no
means colorless, it had lost its muddy appearance and was beautifully
green. The current is everywhere rapid, and at certain points where
the channel is narrow the water rushes between the steep banks with
such violence that at times it seemed doubtful whether the vessel could
overcome its force. At such points Jack and Hugh were always interested
in watching the struggle, and noting by points on the bank the slow but
steady passage which the vessel made in overcoming the force of the
water. For some distance above New Westminster the river is broad and
flows through a wide alluvial bottom covered with a superb growth of
cotton-wood trees; but farther up the channel is narrow; and mountains
rise on either side, not very high but very steeply, and on them they
saw frequent evidences of landslips which had laid bare long stretches
of dark red rock, which contrasted beautifully with the green of the
forests.

As they passed along, Mr. James pointed out one mountain after another,
and told of the silver mines and the silver prospects that had been
found on each. In many places along the river were seen extensive
stretches of barren land covered with cobblestones and boulders which
to Jack seemed out of place in a region where vegetation was so
universal.

"Why is it, Mr. James," he asked, "that nothing seems to grow on these
great piles of pebbles and cobblestones?"

"Why," said Mr. James, "that is old mining ground. Many of these gravel
bars have been worked over by placer miners; and these piles of stones
were left after the soil and fine sand had been washed for the gold
which it contained. Many of these bars have been worked over a number
of times, and all of them, twice. Along this river it has been just as
it has been back in the States. After gold was discovered, the white
man first went over the ground and washed the gravel, getting most of
the gold; and then, after he got through, the Chinaman, slow, patient,
persistent, and able to subsist on little or nothing, went over the
ground again and found in the abandoned claims money enough to pay
what seemed to him good wages; in other words sufficient to give him a
living, and enable him to save up money enough to take him back to his
own country, where he lived comfortably for the rest of his life.

"I am no miner," Mr. James continued, "but you must talk with Hunter.
He is a civil engineer with a lot of experience, and I saw him on the
boat this morning. I understand that he has a mining scheme which is
big, though, of course, it is only a speculation as yet."

Mr. James stopped talking and looked about the deck, and then walked
over to a tall, thin man who was standing near the rail, smoking. After
speaking to him, the two came to where Jack and Hugh were sitting.
Introductions followed, and after a little time Mr. Hunter explained
what it was that he proposed to do.

"Quesnelle Lake," he said, "lies away north of Yale and east of the
river, in a country where some good prospects have been found. From
the Lake, Quesnelle River flows into the Fraser. The bed of Quesnelle
River is supposed to be very rich in gold. It is said that it is so
rich that the Chinamen anchor their boats in the river and dredge the
dirt from the bottom, take it ashore and wash it, and in this way make
good wages. I have received a Dominion grant to mine this river, or so
much of it as I can. Of course, as yet, this is a mere prospect, but
I am going up there now to find something definite about it. I shall
have to do some dredging to find out what there is in the bottom of the
river. If I find that the dirt there is rich enough, I shall build,
across the river near Quesnelle Lake, a dam strong enough to hold back
for three or six months of the year--during the dry season, in other
words--the water of the lake, so that the volume which passes through
the river channel will be greatly diminished. This will leave bare a
great portion of the river channel, which can then be mined by ordinary
hydraulic processes. As I say, there is as yet nothing certain about
the matter, but there seems sufficient prospect of profit in it to make
it worth while to attempt it."

"That seems a reasonable scheme," said Hugh, "though, of course, as yet
there are a number of 'ifs' to it."

"There are a good many," said Mr. Hunter; "but I believe that in the
course of the next three months I shall know much more about it than I
do now."

"I believe, Mr. Hunter," said Jack, "that you have travelled a great
deal over the Province, have you not?"

"Yes," said Mr. Hunter, "a good deal. I have been over the whole length
of it and over much of its width, but I know little about its northwest
corner. There I never happened to be; but from the Fraser and Kootenay
rivers, down to the boundary line and all along the western part of the
Province, I have been."

"Is there any place near here," said Jack, "where one could go into
the mountains for say a week or ten days, with a prospect of getting
a little hunting? I don't mean for deer and goats, because I suppose
these are found almost everywhere, but with some prospect of finding
sheep, and perhaps elk? I believe that bears exist everywhere, and of
course the meeting with them is a matter of luck."

Mr. Hunter considered for a moment or two, and then said: "Do you want
to make a little hunting trip of this kind, and now?"

"Yes," said Jack, "Mr. Johnson, here, and I were thinking of doing
that."

"Well," said Mr. Hunter; "I believe I know just the place for you. It's
only a short distance from Hope, a town just below Yale, on the river,
and if you can get started at once, four or five days ought to take you
into a good sheep country, where there are also a few deer and goats.
You could have three or four days hunting there, and could get back to
take the steamer down the river and get to Westminster inside of two
weeks."

"That's a little bit more time than we have to give to the trip," said
Jack, "but perhaps we could do that, and perhaps we could gain a day
or two in the travelling."

"Perhaps you might," said Mr. Hunter, "those things depend largely upon
the outfit you have and chiefly on the energy of the man who runs your
outfit. If you get somebody who is a rustler, who will get you up every
morning before day and have the train on the march before the sun is
up, and travel all day, you can get along pretty rapidly."

"Well," said Hugh, "it seems to be a matter that depends largely upon
ourselves. Son and I are fair packers, and if we can get horses and a
man to wrangle them and somebody that knows the road, we ought to be
able to keep them moving."

"I'll tell you what I will do," said Mr. Hunter. "When we get to Yale
I will telegraph to an acquaintance of mine in Hope, and find out what
the prospect is of getting the outfit that you want."

Hugh and Jack both thanked Mr. Hunter, and after some inquiry about
the character of the country to be traversed, the talk turned to other
subjects. It was but a little later when the boat began to pass groups
of Indians camping along the shore; and near each camp were seen the
drying stages on which they were curing the fish that they took.
Horizontal poles were raised five or six feet above the ground and
these were thickly hung with the red flesh, making a band of bright
color which stood out in bold relief against the green of the trees and
the cold gray of the rocks.

Jack and Hugh looked at these camps with much interest.

"It looks some like a little camp on the plains when there has been a
killing and the meat is just hung up to dry, doesn't it, son?" remarked
Hugh.

"A little," said Jack, "but I cannot separate the camp from its
surroundings of mountains and timber and big water."

"No," said Hugh, "that is hard to do, but of course these people are
gathering their meat and drying it just as our Indians gather their
meat and dry it."

In front of the tents and shelters in which the Indians lived down
on the bank of the river, were scaffolds made of long poles thrust
into the rocks and resting on other rocks, projecting out well over
the water. On each one of these stood one or more Indians engaged in
fishing with a hand net which he swept through the water, just as had
been described the day before by Mr. McIntyre. To see it actually
done made the operation so much easier to understand than when it had
been simply described. The Indians swept their nets through the water
from up stream downward, and at almost every sweep the net brought up
a fish, which the man took from it with his left hand and threw to a
woman standing on the bank above the stream. They could be seen to
perform some operation on it, and sometimes a woman with an armful of
fish went up and hung them on the drying scaffold.

Mr. Hunter was standing by them, also observing the fishing, and Jack
said to him: "Mr. Hunter, I can't see clearly enough to understand just
what these nets are and how they are worked. Can you explain it to me?"

"Yes," said Mr. Hunter. "It's very simple, and when you go ashore at
Yale, you will be able to see the Indians catch fish in just this way,
and you can see for yourself just how it is done. You know what an
ordinary landing net is, don't you--a net such as we use for trout?"

"Yes, of course I do," said Jack, "it's pretty nearly what we call a
scap net along the salt water, except that it is not so large or so
coarse."

"Yes," said Mr. Hunter. "You know that a landing net has a handle, a
hoop, to which the net is attached, and a large net hanging down below
the hoop. Now if you imagine a landing net four or five times as big
as any you ever saw, you will have an idea of the general appearance
of one of these purse nets when spread. The hoop of the purse net is
oval and made of a round stick, the branch of a tree bent so that the
hoop is about four feet long by three feet broad. This hoop is attached
to a long handle. Running on the stick, which forms the hoop, are a
number of wooden rings, large enough to run freely. The net is attached
to these small wooden rings, and if the handle is held vertically the
weight of the net and rings will bring all the rings together at the
bottom of the hoop, so that the net is a closed bag. Now from the
end of the handle of the purse net a string runs to the hoop and is
attached to the wooden rings that run on it in such a way that if you
pull on the string the little wooden rings spread themselves out at
equal distances all around the hoop, and the net becomes open, just as
an ordinary landing net is when open. As the Indian is about to sweep
the net to try to catch a fish, he pulls the string which spreads the
net, and the net is then swept through the water with a slow motion.
The string which holds it open passes around the little finger of one
hand; and if the fisherman feels anything strike against the net,
the string is loosened, the rings run together, and the net becomes
a closed bag which securely holds the object within it. The salmon,
swimming against the current, pass along close to the steep bank where
the force of the water is least, and the eddies help them. The Indians
know where the salmon pass, and sweep their nets along there to meet
them; and, as you see, catch lots of fish."

"That makes it just as clear as anything," said Jack, "and I am very
much obliged to you for telling me about it. I want to understand these
things that I see, and sometimes it is pretty hard to do so without
an explanation. Now, if you will let me, there is another question I
would like to ask you. What do the women do in preparing the salmon for
drying? I can see that they are using knives. Do they just cut off the
head, or do they take out the backbone?"

"I am glad you asked me this question," said Mr. Hunter, "because
there's a difference in the way the Indians save the fish. The coast
Indians just cut off the head and remove the entrails, but these
Indians up here are more dainty; I suppose, as a matter of fact, they
are more primitive, and do not understand the importance of collecting
all the food they can, although they ought to understand that, for they
have certainly starved many times when the salmon run has been a poor
one. Up here, the Indians only save the belly of the fish. By a single
slash of her knife, the woman cuts away the whole belly from the throat
back to a point behind the anal fins, and extending up on the sides
to where the solid flesh begins. This portion is retained and hung up
to dry. The whole shoulders, back and tail are thrown into the water
again. There is another thing that I believe will interest you. You see
these stages from which they are fishing? Well, you might think that
anybody might come along and build a stage and go to fishing, or that
whoever came first in the summer to one of these stages might occupy
it, and use it during the season, but that isn't the fact. These stages
are private property, or rather family property, and the right to
occupy and use each point descends from the father to the oldest son of
the family."

"Well," said Jack, "that's new to me. I never heard of anything like
it. Did you, Hugh?"

"No," said Hugh, "it's one ahead of me."

"Well," said Mr. Hunter, "you will find quite a lot of customs of that
kind along this coast. Certain tribes and certain families have the
right to hunt or fish in certain localities and it's a right that is
universally respected among the Indians. A man would no more think of
interfering with another family's fishing stage or trespassing on his
hunting ground than he would think of disturbing a cache of food that
did not belong to him."

"That's another thing I had not heard of, Mr. Hunter," said Jack; "the
fact that the Indians have separate special places where they have the
right to hunt and where other people have not that right."

"Yes," said Hugh, "that's new to me, and would seem quite queer to
anybody in our country."

"What is your country, if I may ask?" said Mr. Hunter, courteously.

"Why," said Hugh, "son and I have been for the last three or four years
on the plains and in the mountains back in the States."

"Oh, in the Rocky Mountains?" said Mr. Hunter.

"Yes," said Hugh.

"There, of course, your game is chiefly buffalo, I suppose, and they
wander a good deal, do they not?"

"Yes," said Hugh, "they wander some, but not so much as most people
think. A great many people say that in summer the buffalo all go
north and in winter they all go down south, but that's not so. There
are movements of the herds with the seasons, but they are not very
extensive."

"Mr. Hunter," said Jack, taking advantage of a moment's pause, "I have
heard something about the caches that the Indians make of their food,
but I have never seen one in this country. Will you tell me how they
arrange them?"

"Certainly," said Mr. Hunter. "These Indians, here, after their fish
have dried, pack them together; and in a tree, far above the reach of
animals or insects, they build something that you might call a little
house or a big box, in which they store the food and leave it there
against a time of need. The house or box, whichever you choose to call
it, is built of shakes, that is, of thin planks split from the cedar,
is fairly well jointed, and has a tight and slightly sloping roof so
that the moisture cannot get into it. Usually they are seen along the
streams or near favorite camping grounds, and I should not be at all
surprised if we saw one before reaching Yale. They are quite commonly
seen."

"And you say," said Jack, "that they are never disturbed?"

"Absolutely never," said Mr. Hunter. "Indians would suffer great
privations before taking food belonging to other people, because they
know to take away this food might mean starvation to the owners. Of
course if an absolutely starving outfit of Indians found a cache they
might take from it a little food, perhaps enough to carry them on for
a day or two along their road; but if they did, they would leave some
sign at the cache to say who had taken the food, and they would feel
bound, at some later day, whenever it were possible, to return what
they had taken with good interest."

By this time the day was well advanced, and a little later Mr. Hunter
pointed to a few dilapidated buildings standing near the river and
said: "There is all that's left of the town of Hope. The situation
is a beautiful one, in a wide bottom; but there is no life in the
settlement. It is from this point on the river that the trail starts
for Kootenay about five hundred miles distant, and all the mail and
express matters used to leave from here. The town was founded in the
early days of the mining excitement, when it was thought that the
diggings of the Fraser were inexhaustible. People used to think that
this would be a great town, and there was an active speculation in
building lots, but as the washing on the lower river ceased to pay,
the tide of emigration passed on. Hope was left behind, and the owners
of town lots will have to wait a long time for their money. At the same
time, when the railroad is finished it will of course pass through Hope
or near it, and there may be a future for the place; but that will
depend upon agriculture and not on mining."

A little later in the day the steamer tied up to the bank at Yale. It
was quite a large town, spread out at the foot of a great mountain, and
it seemed to have the characteristics of all western railroad towns.
It was from here that the Canadian Pacific Railroad was being built
eastward, and Yale was thus the supply point and the locality where all
the laborers employed on the road congregated during holidays. To Jack
the place seemed as cosmopolitan almost as San Francisco. He recognized
English, Scotch, and French; and noticed some Germans, Swedes, and
some Americans; Indians and Chinese were numerous, and negroes jostled
Mexican packers and muleteers; while there were many mixed bloods whose
parentage could hardly be determined from their countenances.

Jack learned that a stage ran from Yale to Lytton, where the river is
again practicable for steamers, and that this was the route taken by
persons going to the mines at Cariboo.

Mr. Hunter, knowing Jack's interest in birds, took him to see a
taxidermist who had a considerable collection of bird skins brought
together from the immediate neighborhood. Here he saw many eastern and
western birds, the most interesting of which were the evening grosbeak,
the pine grosbeak, and a species of gray crowned finch. By the time the
birds had been inspected the sun had set and they returned to their
quarters at the hotel.

Immediately after breakfast next morning, Jack, Hugh, and Mr. James
walked along the railroad two or three miles up the river and into
the cañon. The scenery was very beautiful. The walls of the cañon
were nearly vertical, the stream tearing along between them at a high
rate of speed. Just at the entrance of the cañon stands a high rock
or island, which divides the current into two streams of nearly equal
size. On a flat rock they all sat down, and while the two older men
filled their pipes and smoked Mr. James told Jack the story of this
rock.

"Of course you understand," he said, "that the salmon has always been
the most important food of the year to the Fraser River Indians. It
supplies them with their winter food, and indeed with provisions for
almost the entire year. To them, as to almost all the Indians along
this coast, the salmon is the staple food, just as back on the plains
the buffalo is what the Indians there depend upon. Just as back in that
country the buffalo is somewhat a sacred animal, so here the salmon are
in a degree sacred; and just as back there the Indians perform certain
ceremonies when they are going out to make a big hunt, so here the
capture of the first salmon is celebrated with religious ceremony."

Hugh nodded and said, "I guess Indians are alike the whole continent
over."

"Well," said Mr. James, "each summer the first fish that came up the
river and was taken, was regarded not as belonging to the person who
took it but to the Good Spirit; I suppose that means the chief god.
As soon as caught, therefore, it was to be taken to the chief of the
tribe, and delivered into his keeping. A young girl was then chosen
and after having been purified, she was stripped naked and all over
her body were marked crossed lines in red paint, which represented the
meshes of the net. She was then taken to the water's edge and with
solemn ceremonies the net marks were washed off. This was supposed
to make the people's nets fortunate. Prayers were made to the Good
Spirit and the salmon was then cut up into small pieces, a portion was
sacrificed, and the remainder was divided into still smaller pieces,
one of which was given to each individual of those present. This,
Squawitch tells me, was the regular annual custom. Now, about this
rock. One season the people had eaten all their food and had gathered
here at the river for the fishing, but as yet no fish had been caught,
and they were starving. It happened that the first salmon caught was
taken by a woman, and she being very hungry, said nothing about its
capture but at once devoured it. This was a crime and for it she was
changed by the Good Spirit into this rock, which was thrown into the
river where we see it now, to remain there forever as a memorial of her
offence, and a warning to others."

"My, that's a good story, Mr. James," said Jack.

"Yes," said Hugh, "that's a sure enough Indian story."

The pipes being knocked out they started on up the river. Just above
the first tunnel Jack saw on a stage down near the water's edge, an
old Indian fishing with a purse net, and as it seemed, catching a
salmon at every sweep he made. This was too much for Jack to resist,
so he clambered down the rocks to the Indian's stage. After watching
him for a little while, and noticing closely how he handled the net,
Jack took from his pocket a quarter and held it out to the Indian, at
the same time reaching out his hand for the net. The Indian gave it to
him readily enough, and began to dress the fish he had already caught,
while Jack stepping out on the stage over the water, began to sweep the
net through the current just as the Indian had done. At the first sweep
he felt something strike the net and loosened the string. He raised
the net and--with some difficulty, for it was big--brought up to the
stage a great ten pound salmon. He reached the net back to the Indian
to take the fish from it; and, then spreading it again, he repeated
the operation. In ten minutes he had caught nearly as many salmon, all
of which were about the same size. No doubt the Indian would have been
willing to have him fish all day for him, but his two companions, on
the railroad track above, were getting impatient and called to him.
Jack gave back the net to the Indian, climbed up the bank and overtook
his companions, all three then going on up the track. It was an
interesting experience, and one that not many people have enjoyed.

On their return to town Hugh asked Mr. James if there was any one in
the town, so far as he knew, that had ever crossed the mountains to the
head of the Peace River, and followed that stream down to the eastward.

Mr. James thought for a moment or two, and then said: "Why, of course.
I know just the man, and I can take you to him. It's old man McClellan.
He used to be an old Hudson Bay man, and has travelled all over the
country. I am very sure that I have heard him tell about making that
trip across the mountains."

A little inquiry brought them to Mr. McClellan's store. They found him
a hardy old Scotchman who seemed glad to give them such information as
he could. He told them about the streams that they must go up to reach
the head of the Peace River, and that there was a two days' portage
between the two waters, those flowing east into the Hudson Bay, and
those west into the Pacific.

"The distance is not so great," he said, "but it's a rough country and
ye'll have to go slowly, but it is a fine country to travel through;
lots of game, moose, caribou, and mountain goats, and plenty of fish.
Ye'll never have to starve there."

"Well," said Hugh, "I don't know as we'll ever be able to make that
trip, but I've often thought about it and wanted to. One time, a good
many years ago, I got hold of the travels of Alexander McKenzie, the
man who found the frozen ocean, and he crossed the mountains from
Hudson Bay to the Pacific Ocean, and I have always thought that I would
like to make that trip myself, but I am getting old now for trips. I
can't get around as easy as I could twenty years ago."

"Pshaw, man," said the old Hudson Bay voyager, "never talk like that!
You're good for many years of travel yet. Faith, I'd like to take that
trip with you, if you don't put it off too long. It's a fine country,
and I'd like to go through it again."

That evening at the hotel they saw Mr. Hunter, who told them that he
had communicated with the people at Hope, and had found that it would
be easy for them to get a packer and an Indian guide and horses to go
off on the hunting trip if they wished to. The outfit could be ready
to start to-morrow morning if they felt like it. Jack and Hugh thought
this would be a good thing to do, and got from Mr. Hunter the name
of the man at Hope who could give them the desired information and
assistance. They asked Mr. James if he would not join them on the hunt,
but his business required him to return to New Westminster at once.
It was determined, then, that all should start on the boat at three
o'clock the next morning, Jack and Hugh getting off at Hope and trying
to make a start for the sheep country that same morning.



                              CHAPTER XX

                    OFF FOR A HUNT IN THE MOUNTAINS


It was still dark when the boat started, and except Jack, Hugh, and Mr.
James, all the passengers promptly disposed themselves to sleep for a
time. The captain had promised to stop at Hope and let the two hunters
off, and their bags and blankets were all piled near the gangplank to
be rushed off at a moment's notice. In little more than an hour the
boat whistled, slowed down, and drew up close to the bank; the wheel
was reversed until the boat lay up close to the wharf, the gangplank
was run out, Hugh and Jack shook hands with Mr. James and ran ashore,
each carrying his bag and gun, while two of the deck-hands followed
with their rolls of blankets, tossed them to them on the ground, and
then rushed back. The gangplank was drawn in, the boat whistled and
started up, soon disappearing around a bend.

Meanwhile, two white men and two Indians had approached them and
accosted Hugh. The older of the two white men introduced himself as
John Ryder, with whom Mr. Hunter had communicated the day before.

"Your animals are all ready, Mr. Johnson," he said; "and all we have to
do is to buy provisions and pack the loads and start."

"Well," said Hugh, "that's just exactly what we want; and the sooner we
get off the better it will please Mr. Danvers, here, and me. Where are
your animals, and where can we get something to eat, and what time will
the stores be open?"

"If you will come with me," said Ryder, "I will show you the hotel and
the animals; and as soon as you have had your breakfast we can buy our
supplies and start. These Indians here will carry up your things."

"Very good," said Hugh, "they may as well take the blankets to the
corral, wherever that is; and we'll take the bags and guns with us."

Ryder conducted them to the hotel where, as yet, no one was awake; and
then, followed by Hugh and Jack went to the corral where there were
a dozen horses. The outfit seemed a good one; the animals strong and
fat. Ryder proposed to take six pack animals, three with saw bucks,
and three with aparejos. Hugh and Jack looked over the riggings, which
seemed in good order; and then they all returned to the hotel. After
a talk with Ryder it was arranged that they should take Ryder, a boy
to wrangle the horses, and an Indian who professed to know the hunting
country. These with the six packs would make eleven animals.

"It's more than I counted on taking," said Hugh, "but perhaps it's
better to take a horse or two extra rather than sit around for two or
three days and fuss over it. We won't save in money and we'll lose
quite a little time."

By ten o'clock the provisions had been purchased and made up into
convenient packs. Ryder was to furnish a tent and cook-outfit, and
got the things together at the corral. Then Hugh, Jack, and Ryder and
his assistant in a very short time packed all the horses except those
which were to carry the provisions. These were taken down to the store
and left there, and before noon the packed train, with Ryder in the
lead, went out of Hope and struck up across the divide between Nicolume
and the head of the Skagit River. For some distance they followed the
old wagon road which leads up between high steep mountains, through
beautiful scenery. The cedars and firs were grand, the mountains
towered high and were streaked with white dykes, and the gulches and
ravines where deciduous trees grew, were bright with the red of the
mountain maples. Toward night they reached a place called Lake House, a
cabin on the edge of a wide meadow--marshy with some standing water and
surrounded by willows and alders. Here Jack set up his rod and caught
a few fairly good trout weighing nearly half a pound apiece, and many
little ones which he threw back. Hugh came up to see how he was getting
along; and soon they went back to the camp together.

In the morning everything was wet, for there had been a very heavy
dew. They got off in good season and after stopping once or twice to
tighten, as the ropes grew dry, they went on and made good time.

During the morning they passed two or three pack trains, the animals
of which were loaded with long boxes whose contents neither Hugh nor
Jack could guess; but at the first opportunity they asked Ryder, who
explained to them what these boxes contained.

"You see," he said, "it seems that every Chinaman, when he dies wants
to go back and be buried in his own country; and they make arrangements
before they die that they shall be taken back. I believe one Chinaman
here has the contract of sending back all British Columbian Chinese,
and he sublets the job, it being understood that the various
subcontractors will deliver the bodies at certain specified places.
Sometimes a Chinese is shipped soon after he dies, sometimes not for
three or four years. They seal them up in zinc cases about six feet
long and two feet wide and put these cases in crates of wood. These
they pack lengthwise of the horse, making for them a sort of platform
which rests on an aparejo. The long cases project forward from the
horse's neck and back over his hips, and are pretty hard on their
backs; but they ride well enough after the ropes have been thrown over
them."

Not long after leaving the Lake House the wagon road came to an end,
and then for a while the trail followed down the Skagit River. All
day the way led through the mountains, and all day the trail kept
climbing higher, so that when they camped that night Ryder said that
the altitude was about five thousand feet. All day long every one was
busy hurrying the horses along, and no time was taken for hunting. That
night there was a heavy frost, and when they awoke the next morning,
it was very cold. Five of the horses were lost, and it took some time
to recover four of them, and then they moved on, leaving one behind,
which, however, turned up later and was brought along. This also was a
day of climbing, for they passed over a mountain about seven thousand
feet high. Several times Jack and Hugh heard the familiar call of the
little chief, or rock hare, so familiar an inhabitant of the slide rock
of all the mountains of the main divide.

That night they camped on a creek called Whipsaw, and as there was no
grass at the camp for the horses, they were turned out to the mountain
side to feed. After they had got into camp, Ryder told Jack that on the
creek, a couple of miles below the trail, there was a deer lick; and
suggested that they should go down and try to kill a deer, as fresh
meat was needed. They went down and found a spot where animals had
evidently been at work gnawing and licking the saline clay; but, though
there were abundant signs all about, no deer were seen.

The next day after passing through a beautiful open country dotted
with great pines, whose cinnamon-colored trunks rose fifty to sixty
feet from the ground without a branch, they reached Alison's on the
Smilkameen. Here they stopped for a little while. Mrs. Alison, a very
intelligent and kindly woman, took great pride in showing Jack and Hugh
the children's pets--a great horned owl, a sparrow hawk just from the
nest, some attractive green-winged teal and mallards caught young, and
a tame magpie which talked remarkably well and spoke the names of two
of the children--"Alfreda" and "Caroline"--very plainly.

Keeping on down the river, they camped below Alison's. The way down the
river was beautiful, for on either hand rose high, steep, slide rock
mountains, marked with sheep and goat trails, criss-crossing in every
direction. Here and there along the stream stood an Indian cabin.

"I tell you, son," said Hugh, "We're in a game country now, or what has
been a game country. In times past there have been a heap of sheep on
these mountain sides here. You see their trails running everywhere. Of
course, when a sheep trail is once made in the slide rock it lasts just
about forever, unless there is some slip of rock on a mountain side and
the rocks roll down and cover it up."

That night the Indian, Baptiste, confirmed what Hugh had said. Ryder
interpreted for him, saying that sheep and goats were plenty near here
and that to-morrow they would hunt.

"In spring," Baptiste said, "when ploughing the land, I often see goats
far down on the cliffs close to the river, but as summer advances and
it grows warm and the flies become troublesome, the goats gradually
work up to the tops of the mountains. There they paw holes in the
earth, in which they stand and stamp; and sometimes wallow and roll to
get rid of the flies."

"All right," said Hugh, "we will see what Baptiste can show us
to-morrow."

"The way that Indian talks," he added, "sounds to me just like Kutenai.
I have heard a lot of Kutenais talk in the Blackfeet camps, and
elsewhere, and I would like to know if this Baptiste is a Kutenai."

"I guess not," said Ryder; "he's a Smilkameen."

"Ask him," said Hugh, "if the Smilkameens and Kutenais are relations."

The answer, given through Ryder, was "No."

"Ask him," said Hugh, "if their languages are alike."

Baptiste replied: "Yes, the two languages are not quite the same, but
they sound alike." He added: "In the same way the tongue spoken by the
Okanagan Indians is much like my language."

Hugh shook his head and said: "That may be so, but I don't feel a bit
sure about it. Often it's very hard to make an Indian understand what
you're trying to get at, even if you can speak his own language; but
after it has to go through two or three interpreters there's a big
chance of a misunderstanding somewhere."

"Well, Hugh," said Jack, "what shall we do to-morrow? Go on farther
or stop here and hunt? I understand that Baptiste says that there are
plenty of goats hereabouts, and if we want some we can easily get them."

"Well," said Hugh, "we need some meat and we might just as well stop
here for a day if you think best and see whether we can kill a kid or
two, or a dry nanny. You know I don't think much of goat meat; and
yet, of course, it's meat, and good for a change from bacon. I'll ask
Baptiste what the prospects are."

Calling up Ryder, Hugh had begun to question Baptiste, when, out of the
darkness, another Indian stepped up to the fire and saluted the white
men in pretty fair English. A little talk with him developed that he
was Tom, a brother of Baptiste. After a few questions Baptiste and Tom
both agreed that there was every opportunity to kill goats here. Tom
said that in the early summer he often saw them from the trail, as he
was travelling back and forth. It was finally decided that they should
stop here for one day and make a hunt and then proceed to the sheep
country.

The next morning Baptiste, Tom, Hugh, and Jack started on foot up a
small creek which came out of the hills near Baptiste's house. The way
was steep and narrow and they had followed the stream up two or three
miles before any pause was made. Two or three times the glass revealed
white objects, which close observations showed to be weather-beaten
logs. Suddenly Tom stopped and declared that he saw a goat. The white
men all looked through their glasses and declared that it was a stump,
but after going a little further and looking at it again it appeared
that the white men had been looking at the wrong object, and that
Tom's goat was lying on the ledge in plain sight. After going a little
farther along another goat was discovered high on the hillside, a
little below the first and quite close to it. They were six or seven
hundred yards away and close to the creek. To approach them it would be
necessary to go up the stream to a point well above them, and then to
climb the mountains on which they were, get above them, and then come
down behind a point which would apparently be within shooting distance
of them.

Before they reached the point where the creek must be crossed, Hugh
said to Jack: "Now, son, you go with Tom and try to get these goats,
and I will take Baptiste and go farther up the stream and climb that
high hill you see. I may get a shot there, and you have a good chance
here."

Jack crossed the stream with Tom and they tugged up the side of the
mountain, which was very steep and much obstructed by fallen timber.
Two or three times Jack had to sit down and puff for breath, for it
was nearly a year now since he had done much in the way of climbing
stiff mountains, but Tom seemed tireless. At last Tom declared that
they had climbed high enough above the goats to make it safe to work
along the mountain side to the point above them. The hillside was more
or less broken with ravines and all of these were rough with slide
rock and fallen timber. They had just reached the edge of one of these
gulches and had stopped for a moment's rest when the highest of the
goats, which they could now see below them, came running up out of the
timber from below to where the other goat was lying. This one got up,
and it was then seen that there were four goats, two old ones and two
kids; and all began to move up the mountain side. Evidently something
had frightened them. They had not seen Jack or Tom, nor smelt them, but
were looking down into the valley. They moved off along the mountain
side going up diagonally, and Jack and Tom watched them until they
disappeared behind some ledges. Then the two set off after them as hard
as they could go. It was pretty wild travelling across the gulches,
but when they came out onto the ledges where the goats had gone, the
footing was easier and the going better. They followed the ledges for
some little distance, keeping to a goat trail. In this trail were seen
now and then tracks where something had just passed along, but there
were no hoof marks. The trail was too hard for that, but every now and
then a place would be seen where some animal had stepped on a stone and
partly turned it over, or where the moss was knocked from a stone where
a hoof had struck it but a very short time before. They kept along the
trail, passing through some low timber and presently came out again
onto the ledges, and there--hardly forty feet away from them stood
three goats. One of them was clambering up a little ravine and just
about to disappear behind the rocks, the other two, a mother and her
kid, stood on a rock, looking up the mountain side.

"Shoot!" said Tom, "Shoot!" Jack fired two shots at the nearest goat
and kid, and both of them fell off the rock they had been standing on
and began to roll down the hillside.

Tom gave a wild whoop of joy and shouted, "Good shoot! Good shoot!" and
then asked Jack if he wanted to kill the other, but Jack said "No,"
these two were enough, and they started down the hill to get the game.
The animals had rolled a long way, but at length they found them,
took off the skins, and took what meat they needed. Tom went down the
stream, and cutting some long shoots of a tough shrub, he worked them
back and forth, partly splintering them, and made from them two rather
stiff ropes which he tied together with a knot. With these he made up a
pack of the skins and meat, put the load on his back, and they started
for the camp. When they reached the trail down the valley they sat down
for some time and waited for Hugh and Baptiste; but, as they did not
come, after some hours' waiting, Tom took his pack on his back and they
went on to the camp. While they were waiting, Jack inquired of Tom as
to the names of the sheep and goats, and Tom said, as nearly as Jack
could make out, that in the Smilkameen tongue, the male mountain sheep
was called "_shwillops_," while the ewe was called "_yehhahlahkin_."
The goat in Smilkameen was called "_shogkhlit_," while the Port Hope
Indians called goat "_p'kalakal_."

Tom said that farther on, in the country to which they were going,
there were many sheep.

An hour after Jack and Tom had reached camp, Hugh and Baptiste
returned, bearing the skin of a two-year-old male goat, which had been
killed on the other side of the mountain they had climbed. It had been
a hard tramp and a long stalk.

That night as they talked about game and hunting, Baptiste said that at
the head of the Okanagan Lake caribou were very plenty. The distance
from where they were would be about eighty or ninety miles.

The next morning while Jack was preparing the goat skins for packing
up, he was much surprised to find the ears of the goats full of wood
ticks. In one of the ears he counted no less than twenty ticks, and
some of them were so deep down in the ear that when he was skinning the
head he saw the ticks as he cut off the ears. He wondered whether this
might not account in some part at least for the apparent inattention of
goats to sounds. He asked Baptiste about this, but got no particularly
satisfactory answer to his question; and he thought perhaps the Indian
did not understand him, but Baptiste did say distinctly that sometimes
ticks got into ears of human beings and made them deaf.

While Jack was attending to his goat skins, Hugh and Tom went off to
another mountain to look for sheep. A little bunch of seven were found
lying down in an excellent position. There was no wind and a careful
stalk was made; but just as the two got up to within shooting distance
a light breeze began to blow from them to the sheep, and at the very
instant that Hugh was pulling his trigger at a ram that was lying down,
the bunch smelt them and sprang to their feet. It was too late for
Hugh to hold his fire, and instead of killing the ram he cut a little
tuft of hair from the brisket. In an instant the whole bunch of sheep
were out of sight. Hugh came into camp much depressed and related his
adventure to Jack.

"I expect, son," he said, "that that Indian thinks you can shoot all
around me. All the way coming home, after I missed that sheep, he
kept telling me what a good and careful shot you were. He said he had
taken out many white men to hunt, but he never saw anybody that shot as
straight and as carefully as you."

Jack laughed and said: "He little knows the difference between you and
me, Hugh, in matters of shooting. Anybody could have hit those goats,
for they gave me all the time there was, and they weren't more than
forty yards away. It was like shooting at the side of a barn."

"Well," said Hugh, "of course if I had known that those sheep were
going to jump up, I could easily have fired quicker but I thought I had
all the time there was and I intended to shoot so that that ram would
never get up; but I never could explain it to that Indian, you bet."

"Oh," said Jack, "he will have plenty of time to see you shoot later
on, I expect."

The next morning the train was packed early and they started on.
Baptiste led the way, Jack followed him, and Hugh and Tom came behind.
Ryder brought up the rear and watched the animals. An hour or two
after, two blue grouse were startled from the trail and flew up into
the tall trees where they stood on the great limbs with outstretched
necks.

"Hugh," said Jack, "give Tom an idea of your shooting."

"Why, what's the use," said Hugh, "wasting two cartridges on those
birds. This kid meat is good enough."

"No," said Jack, "I want to have Tom see you cut those birds' heads
off."

"Well," said Hugh, "all right, if you wish me to." Drawing his horse a
little out of the trail, but not dismounting, he fired two shots which
brought down the two grouse. Tom was sent for them, brought them in,
and found that in each case the bullet had cut off the bird's neck. The
Indian looked at the birds rather solemnly and then at Hugh, and then
shook his head as if he could not understand how the man who could miss
the sheep the day before should have been able to make these two shots.
Jack laughed at him and said: "Good shot, eh, Tom?" Tom declared that
the shot was good.

One day's journey brought the party to the Ashnola Country, a region of
high rounded hills, over which farther back from the river rose still
higher peaks and precipices of rocks. It is a country of beautiful
scenery and abounded in game. A large lick, where animals had been
licking and gnawing the earth until great hollows had been dug in it,
was seen; and farther along as they travelled up the trail on the south
side of the creek they saw a number of sheep working down on to a cut
bank, which was evidently a lick. Before the sheep were noticed they
had seen the party and there was then no opportunity to hunt them.
The animals were only three or four hundred yards away and were not
alarmed. Later in the day, on another cut bank, another band of fifteen
sheep was seen at a lick and might have been easily approached but the
party did not stop. All these sheep were ewes and lambs. That night
the train climbed pretty well up a mountain and came on a little bench
seven or eight hundred feet above the main stream, where they camped.
The country seemed to be full of sheep, for Jack, going out to look for
water, came across a band on a grassy hillside, but too far off to be
shot at.

The camp was a pleasant one in a little group of pines with water not
far off, and the hillsides covered with admirable grazing for the
animals. After supper, Baptiste and Tom told them that three or four
miles back in the hills were high rocky peaks where many sheep were
to be found, and it was determined that the next day they should visit
these hills. The Indians said that it was possible to get up there with
horses, but that the trail was steep and hard. Jack and Hugh, after
talking the matter over and counting up the days and realizing that two
days later it would be necessary for them to start back to the coast,
determined that instead of taking their animals they would carry their
blankets on their backs and would visit these hills, camp there, and
have a look at the country, and then would return to camp and thence to
Hope.

The next morning they were off early, accompanied by the two Indians,
while Ryder was left to look after the animals.



                              CHAPTER XXI

                     LAST DAYS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA


As the Indians had said the trail was very steep, but after a time they
reached an open timber plateau country, beautiful to travel through but
without apparent game. After a little while, however, the timber grew
less, and they could see before them gently rolling hills from which at
some distance rose a bald, snowy mountain. They walked swiftly along,
and the great mountain grew nearer.

"I tell you, Hugh," said Jack, "that looks like a good sheep country!"

"Yes," said Hugh, "it does, and from what we have seen I expect there
are plenty of them there."

"This is the sort of place where we ought to find big rams," said Jack,
with a laugh.

"Right," replied Hugh; "but you've hunted enough to know that big rams
are not always found where they ought to be."

"No," said Jack, "that's an old story; the big rams are always 'farther
back.'"

"Yes," said Hugh, "they are always 'farther back,' but what that means,
I guess nobody knows. I expect that as a matter of fact, the big rams,
keeping together as they do, for all the season except in rutting time,
and being few in numbers compared with the ewes and young ones, are
harder to find, just because they are few in number."

The afternoon was far advanced when they reached the foot of the
mountain. Here, snow lay on the ground two or three inches deep. By a
little spring they found a white man's camp that had been made early
in the season. In the fresh snow Hugh pointed out to Jack the tracks of
a wolverine which had been about the camp recently, nosing around to
see what it could find. A few moments later one of the Indians came up,
and Hugh said: "Tom, do you know whose camp this is?"

"Yes," said Tom, "three young men who were here the moon before last.
They hunt a great deal. They fire a good many shots. Not kill many
animals."

The fireplace, the picket pins, and a shelter built of spruce boughs,
showed that the people had been here for some time.

"Well," said Hugh, "let's camp right here. There is a good shelter for
us in case it rains, as it looks likely to do now. Now, Tom, you and
Baptiste get supper, will you, and son and I will take a little walk
from the camp, and see what we can see."

The two started off, not toward the mountain but rather toward a large
ravine which ran down from it. They had gone but a few hundred yards,
when, as they were nearing the crest of a little ridge at the foot of
an old moraine which ran down from the mountain, Hugh put out his hand
and sank slowly down to the ground. Jack crouched beside him, and Hugh
said: "There's a sheep just over the ridge; crawl up and kill it." Jack
cautiously approached the ridge and looking over, saw not more than
seventy-five yards away a sheep walking away toward the next ridge. The
wind was right, and it was evident from the animal's actions that it
had neither seen nor smelt the men. Her hips were toward him, and he
did not wish to fire at her in that position for fear of spoiling the
meat, so he waited. A moment later she walked over the ridge and out
of sight, and Hugh and Jack followed. When they looked over the next
ridge, they saw the sheep, broad-side toward them. The sun was low and
glittered on Jack's front sight and troubled him a little; and he took
aim two or three times without pulling the trigger. As it was, he shot
a little too high, but the animal fell, and they hurried up to it. It
was moderately fat, and Jack and Hugh carried the meat into the camp on
their backs.

The next morning they were early afoot and climbed the mountain.
They had gone hardly a mile from the camp when they found seven
sheep feeding on a perfectly bare hillside where there was no cover
whatever. It was useless to try to approach them, and as they were in
the direction in which the two wanted to go, Hugh and Jack disregarded
them, and presently the sheep ran off. Constantly climbing, they came
nearer and nearer the top of the mountain. The grass began to give way
to pebbles and stones, and the snow got deeper and deeper. Presently
they reached the top of the mountain; and, crossing its narrow crest,
looked down into a beautiful little glacial basin which contained a
charming lake and meadow. Feeding in this meadow were twelve sheep,
far, far below them, and quite out of reach. The wind was blowing
fiercely across the mountain top and they crept down into a shelter
behind some rocks and for some time sat there and watched the sheep.
Soon after they were first seen, the animals went down to the border
of the lake and drank, and then came up on to the meadow again and lay
down. After a little while, some movement, or perhaps the glitter of
some piece of metal about the men, startled the sheep. They rose and
looked at them, and then walked off, and after a little while began to
feed again. Later, when Jack and Hugh got up and climbed to the top of
the mountain, the sheep, not much alarmed, moved slowly off and climbed
up the mountain side into a deep icy gorge in which was a great mass of
snow.

Jack and Hugh went on for some distance, looking down into one big
cañon after another, but seeing nothing more, turned back to go to the
camp. On the way back they came upon a flock of white-tailed ptarmigan
of which there were about twenty-five. Jack had never killed one of
these birds, and was anxious to have a full grown one in his hands.

"Is there any reason, Hugh," he asked, "why I should not kill one of
these birds?"

"None at all, so far as I see," said Hugh. "The wind is blowing so hard
that nothing ahead of us will be able to hear the firing. If you want
to kill one, do so."

The wind was blowing a perfect gale and when Jack approached the pretty
birds, they rose at some little distance, flew a few yards, and then
alighted on a snow bank in which they at once scratched out shallow
hollows where they crouched, more or less protected from the wind. The
gale made it difficult for Jack to hold his gun steady and the first
shot that he fired was a miss, for he overshot the bird. At the crack
of the gun they all rose and flew a little farther away, and his next
shot killed one. It was in almost full winter plumage, though there
were others in the flock that had only partly changed from the black
and tawny of summer to the white winter coat. Jack wanted to skin the
bird, but the ball from his rifle had raked its back and torn off a
great many feathers. Nevertheless he put it in his pocket so that at
night he would have an opportunity to study it by the light of the fire.

On the way home the two men had a beautiful view from the top of the
mountain, looking down into a most picturesque basin walled in on all
sides by superb mountains and containing a beautiful lake. Between the
tops of the mountains and the valley there were three benches or steps.
The lake lay in the valley.

The next morning Hugh loaded the Indians up with most of the camp
equipment and some of the meat, and sent them back to camp, he and
Jack retaining only their guns and blankets. They made a long round
of the lower slopes of the mountains, seeing a number of sheep, and
at length came to a place where deer were more numerous than they had
ever seen them before. It would have been easy to kill a great number,
but as they had no means of transporting the meat to the camp they did
not fire at all. Toward midday they came out into a little park where
a number of deer were lying down, and walking quietly up to them, got
within fifteen or twenty steps of the animals before they seemed to
take the alarm.

It was now time to turn back and return to camp. There Hugh and Jack
made packs of their blankets and set out for the lower ground. For some
time the tracks of the Indians were plainly visible,--but at length
it began to snow, and the tracks were soon covered. Moreover, their
landmark, the mountain which lay behind them, was no longer visible,
and the only guide they had was the wind, which blew from the right or
southeast.

"Well," said Hugh, "we've got to look out now, or we are liable to get
lost."

"Yes," said Jack, "it's quite likely that we won't be able to strike a
trail leading down the mountain, but of course we will be able to find
the camp."

"Oh, yes," said Hugh; "no trouble about that, only I would rather go
into camp by the same trail I left it by, if I can. However, if we
don't hit the trail the only thing we'll have to do is to follow down
the ridge to the river and there we'll find the trail of the packtrain,
and that will take us straight to the camp."

"It would be rather a good joke on you, Hugh," said Jack, "if we were
to get lost."

"So it would," said Hugh; "so it would, son. Perhaps we would have been
smarter if we hadn't sent those Indians off. Of course this is their
country and they know it, and you and I have never been here before.
We're all right, however, if the wind doesn't shift. If that should
change we might easily enough get twisted. However, we've got the river
sure to take us to camp."

An hour or two later, some time after they had got into the timber,
Hugh stopped and said: "Son, I think we're off the track. I believe
we've kept over too far to the left and have missed the trail. I don't
see anything that I recognize as having seen before."

"Well," said Jack, "you can't prove anything by me. I don't see
anything that I've seen before and this snow and these gray tree trunks
all look alike to me. I have been watching for the past half hour to
see where we were, but I haven't any idea of it."

"Well," said Hugh, "it's cold and snowy and likely to be wet; let's
push down to the river and get to camp that way, if we can't any
other." An hour and a half later they were going down a steep hill
clothed with lodge-pole pines, and before long had come to the level
land, and in a few moments were out of the timber. On the lower ground
the snow had changed to rain and the trees and bushes were wet. There,
before them, ran the river; and there close to the river was the
deep trail worn by the feet of the horses. Turning up the river they
followed the trail, climbed the hills, and just at dark were once more
in camp.

Ryder was a little disposed to laugh because they had come into camp
from the side opposite to that from which they had left it; but Hugh
said, and Jack agreed with him, that on a night like that it was good
to get to camp in any way they could.

The next day the train was packed early, and three days of long, fast
travel took them back to Hope. There they learned that the next morning
there would be a steamer down the river, and they prepared to take it.

Long before daylight, Hugh and Jack, with bags and blankets, were
waiting in the canoe for the appearance of the steamer and as soon
as it was seen coming they fired four shots to attract the pilot's
attention. Presently the boat shut off steam and began to back, and the
canoe was soon alongside. The baggage was tossed out; a handshake and
a good-by to Ryder and Baptiste, and after a moment more the wheels
were turning and the steamer sped down the river carrying Hugh and Jack
toward New Westminster. The night was spent here, a pleasant call made
on Mr. James, and the following morning they embarked for Victoria, and
the next night were at Tacoma, where they found Mr. Sturgis.

It was a pleasant meeting. Mr. Sturgis told them much about his mine,
and what he had seen on his journey to and from it, while Jack was full
of the beauties of the British Columbian coast. But he said, that as
far as he saw, it was not a good hunting country. "Of course, there are
lots of deer and goats and some bears, but they are too easily killed
to make hunting very good sport."

"But then," said Mr. Sturgis, "you really didn't hunt, did you? You
just followed the beach."

"That's true," said Hugh, "and it isn't fair, of course, to judge a
country that you have only just touched. Now, take it on that little
trip that we made from Hope. I don't know as I ever saw sheep and goats
so plenty, and there were plenty of deer in the only place we had time
to look for them. But of course we just put in a few days to use up the
time until we had to get here to see you."

"Well," said Jack, "I suppose that anybody who has been used to hunting
on the plains and on the foot-hills of the mountains where buffalo and
elk are plenty is likely to have a wrong idea of the game in a country
where the animals don't gather together in great big bunches."

"Yes," said Mr. Sturgis, "that's true enough, I guess."

After dinner that night Mr. Sturgis said: "Well, it is time for us
all to get back to our different jobs. You and I have got to go back
to the ranch, Hugh, and see how the beef round-up is getting on; and
you, Jack, have got to get East as fast as you can, and get to school.
I think as good a way as any for us to return is to go back over the
railroad that is just being built from Portland, and in that way we
will see a new country. The country will be new, even to you, Hugh,
won't it, as far east as Idaho?"

"Yes," said Hugh, "my range has never been out west of Lake Pend
d'Oreille and Flathead Lake and all this Oregon and Washington country
is new to me."

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "let's get down to Portland and then go up
the Columbia River till we strike the railroad. I know General Sharpe,
one of the officials of the road, and I think he will help us across
the break between the end of the track in Washington Territory and the
settlements in Montana. What do you say?"

"I say 'Bully!'" exclaimed Jack.

"It suits me," said Hugh, "but where will this bring us out?"

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "it ought to bring us out about Deer Lodge,
and there is a little narrow-gauge road being built over from Corinne
in Utah on the Union Pacific, which by this time must be somewhere near
these Montana towns. Of course, when we get on a railroad that connects
with the Union Pacific we are just about home."

The next morning the railroad carried them to Kalama, where they took
the steamer to Portland. The sail between the two points was beautiful.
At one time they could see from the steamer's deck no less than six
different snow-covered peaks, which ranged from nine to fourteen
thousand feet in height. These were Mt. Ranier, St. Helens, Adams,
Hood, Jefferson, and the Three Sisters. From Portland the steamer took
them up the Columbia River through a beautiful country to the Cascades.
For the first few miles of the sail the bottom was wide and the hills
were distant, but after a time they reached a stretch where the river
flowed between walls of rock. A great sheet of lava covers the whole
face of the country. From the hills, which stretch back from the river
and are covered with long yellow grass, rose numberless walls and piles
of lava rock which cast black shadows. The country was open, and the
park-like slopes were dotted with dark spruces and pines. Along the
river water and wind had worn the rocks into curious shapes, sometimes
like columns or obelisks, or again like great ovals set on end.

Along the bank of the river at several points thousands of
blue-bloused, broad-hatted Chinamen were busily at work, evidently on a
railroad embankment.

"This," Mr. Sturgis said, "is a railroad being built by the O. R. & N.
Company between Portland and the Dalles."

"Well," said Hugh, "it seems to be the same story everywhere; railroads
being built, and then people following the railroads; farms and big
towns growing up; the game all going, and when the game goes of course
the Indian goes too."

"Yes," said Mr. Sturgis, "this is material prosperity for the United
States. You and I have seen the beginning of it, but I don't believe
that either of us have any notion at all of where it is going to end.
But there is one thing that we can be sure of, that no consideration
of game or Indian or other natural thing is going to be allowed to
interfere with the material growth of the country. We people who know
how things used to be, and who like them as they were, may grumble and
think the change is for the worse; but nobody will pay any attention to
our grumbling and the changes will go on."

At the Cascades they changed to a train which took them seven miles
around the rapids, and, then boarding another steamer, proceeded,
until, just at dusk, they reached the Dalles.

"Do you know, Jack," said Mr. Sturgis, when their journey was just
about over, "that this country that we have been passing through is
historic ground?"

"No," said Jack, "I didn't know that."

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "you have heard of the old fur trade, haven't
you, and Astoria, and how John Jacob Astor sent people out to found a
trading station at the mouth of the Columbia River?"

"No," said Jack, "I don't believe I have."

"I have, though," said Hugh; "and I have known two or three men in my
time that worked in that outfit. One man especially who went across the
country with a man named Hunt."

"Yes," said Mr. Sturgis, "that's it. Mr. Astor sent ships around
the Horn with supplies to found this station, and he also sent an
expedition across the country. The cross country party had trouble with
the Indians and starved, and generally had a hard time, and, after the
post was established, while they got lots of furs they had considerable
trouble with the Indians all the time. The British claimed the country,
and the Hudson's Bay people said that Astoria was in their territory.
Then came the war of 1812, and the fort at Astoria was surrendered to
the Hudson's Bay people; and that was the end of that trading post, so
far as the Americans were concerned. But all up and down this river
that we have been travelling up, the Northwesters and the Hudson's
Bay men used to go backward and forward portaging around these rapids
that we have just been over, and working as hard as the old fur traders
always worked. The story of these travels has been written by a good
many of the people who took part in them, and some day it will be worth
your while to hunt up these old books and read that story. It is a
fascinating one."

"Yes," said Hugh, "it's sure an interesting story; though I have never
seen the books, I have heard a good deal of it told. It used to be
talked about a whole lot in early days."

"Well," said Mr. Sturgis, "a lot of those old Astorians, as Astor's
employees at Astoria were called, wrote books giving their experiences,
and it would be well worth your while to read them. I remember the
names of some of them--Alexander Ross, Ross Cox, Franchere--and besides
them some of the Hudson's Bay people, into whose hands the place passed
later, wrote exceptionally interesting accounts of life at the fort,
of their journeys up and down the river, and of their travels over the
mountains.

"Sometime, when we get back, Jack, ask me about these books and I will
make a list of them for you. Most of them are out of print now, and
can only be had at the libraries; but they are books that will repay
reading, and the same thing can be said of a great number of volumes
dealing with the exploration of the western country. It is astonishing
that we Americans know so little about matters which should be of so
much interest to us. Do you realize how little is known about the
work of these early explorers, traders, and trappers? Some few of us
are familiar with it, but most of the people back East know nothing
whatever about these men. Pretty nearly all of this work has been done
within the past seventy-five years, some of it within fifty years, and
none of it goes back a century."

"Here is Hugh," he went on; "he has knowledge of the western country
back almost to the time of that early exploration, and he certainly has
known many men who were of the early generation of the trappers. Isn't
that so, Hugh?"

"Yes," said Hugh, "that's sure enough true, Mr. Sturgis. I knew well
Uncle Jack Robinson, the Bakers, Bridger, Beckwourth, and a whole lot
of men that came into the country in the thirties or before. I have
met old Bill Williams and Perkins, and know old man Culbertson well. I
guess likely he's alive now."

"Why, even you, Jack," said Mr. Sturgis, "know old man Monroe, and he,
according to all accounts, came into the country in 1813."

"That's so, Uncle George," said Jack; "that goes back a long way,
doesn't it?"

"Well now, do you realize that probably before any of us die this whole
western country will be crowded full of people; that there will be
railroads running in all directions, and that the centre of population
of the country will be probably moved from Pittsburg, where it is now,
to somewhere in the Mississippi valley, and perhaps not far from the
big river itself?" said Mr. Sturgis.

"I haven't been out here so many years," he continued, "but I have seen
changes take place in this country that have astonished me, and I can
see that these changes are going to keep taking place, and that almost
before we know it sections of country through which now we can travel
for weeks at a time without seeing any people will be full of ranches
and farms and towns. We think of the United States as being a big
country now, but I believe it hasn't made a beginning yet."

"Well, Mr. Sturgis," said Hugh, "I guess likely what you say is right.
But what's going to happen to all the old things that used to be in the
country? What's going to happen to the game, to the buffalo, to the
Indians?"

"Why," said Mr. Sturgis, "the game, and buffalo, and Indians are
natural things, and they cannot stand up in the face of civilized
things. The game will be killed off except in little spots like
Yellowstone Park; the Indians will be crowded onto their reservations
and kept there, and will either be turned into farmers or cow men, or
else will starve to death. The people of this country are going to
see, I believe, that all this waste region, for that is what they call
it, shall be made to produce something. Cattle will take the place
of buffalo, sheep will take the place of deer and antelope. After a
while farmers will come in, and then the big cattle and sheep men will
be crowded out in turn. The farmers will raise crops from the ground
instead of sheep and cattle. People will have farms and a few head
of cattle, but the days of the 'cattle kings' will pass away. It's a
process of evolution, my boy," he said to Jack, "and you and I will see
it work itself out."



                             CHAPTER XXII

                           THE HOMEWARD ROAD


At the Dalles the travellers had changed from steamer to train, and,
journeying all night on the cars, reached Walla Walla early next
morning. Here they found a beautiful town of about five thousand
inhabitants, situated in a section possessing a fertile soil and a
delightful climate. Gardens were growing and fruit ripening, and all
things were bright and green. Twelve miles from Walla Walla was the
almost deserted town of Wallula. Here a branch line of the Northern
Pacific Railroad took the party on to South Ainsworth on Snake River.
Nothing could have presented a greater contrast than the two towns
which were seen on the same day, Walla Walla and Ainsworth. The first
was from every point of view attractive, the second a sand waste on
the banks of the Snake River, a hopeless straggling little town of a
dozen or twenty houses set down in the midst of a dreary desert of sage
brush, utterly monotonous and uninteresting. Here the travellers were
obliged to pass one day, and all through that day and all through the
night the wind blew with steady, persistent force, carrying with it the
sands of the plain, which it piled up here and there in great dunes and
then lifted again and carried on to some other point. The sandhills
were constantly shifting and being tossed backward and forward, as
restless and inconstant as the waves of the ocean. Often the sand is
piled high upon the sparse vegetation, and again it is carried away so
that the roots of that vegetation are uncovered.

After one day here they boarded a train and left for Spokane Falls,
which was just about at the end of the track which was being built
eastward. As they jogged slowly along in the caboose of the freight
train, which moved unsteadily over the newly laid track, they had an
opportunity to see much of the country. At first there was little to
it that was attractive, but after leaving Snake River the quality of
the land seemed to improve, and Hugh frequently called attention to the
good grass, and declared that he believed that some day this country
would be full of cattle.

Jack, who had been thinking of what his uncle had said two or three
days before, said to Mr. Sturgis: "You don't think, Uncle George, that
any part of this country like Ainsworth will ever be good for anything,
do you?"

"Yes, my boy, I do," said Mr. Sturgis; "of course we cannot see now how
this country will ever be made use of, but fifty years ago who would
have thought that the Salt Lake Valley was capable of cultivation, or
thirty or forty years ago that Walla Walla would ever be a town. I
believe that this country will fill up with cattle and for a little
time will be a grazing country, and then I think that it will come to
be a farming country. The winters here are mild, the soil is good, and
there is plenty of water. There are going to be people here, and towns,
but I don't know when."

A little distance after leaving a station called Summit they passed Big
Lake, and here entered a territory where there were already farms. They
could see frequently houses with good barns, and the fields were dotted
with haystacks. There were also herds of cattle and horses, all fat and
in good condition.

It was nearly night when they reached Spokane. As court was in session
the town was thronged with people, and they had great difficulty in
securing rooms. At last, however, a loft was found where they spread
their blankets and passed a good night. Before dark, however, they took
time to walk along the Spokane River to see the Falls, a series of
beautiful cascades which were well worth looking at.

Mr. Sturgis had provided himself with letters from the officials of
the Northern Pacific Railroad to the employees along the road, and
the next morning they left for Lake Pend d'Oreille. Thirty-five miles
travelling took them to Westwood, the end of the track, and there they
took a stage for the Lake. The three were the only passengers, and the
ride was long and dusty, yet possessed many features of interest. The
road ran for the most part along the railroad's right of way, and they
could see all the various operations of the building of this great
transatlantic highway. After they had passed the end of the track they
came to one of the enormous railroad camps which always precede the
iron of a new road. Here was a real canvas city, and its inhabitants
were white men, Chinese, horses, mules, and dogs. Everything was on
a large scale. The eating tents covered an area equal to that of a
good-sized town. There were hundreds of sleeping-tents. There were
great forges at which many blacksmiths worked, and huge water troughs
at which twenty-five horses could drink at a time. The bread-pan in
the cook tent was large enough to serve a full-grown man as a bath
tub. Hugh and Jack could only stare and wonder and point out to each
other one astonishing thing after another; and even Mr. Sturgis, whose
experience had been much wider than that of either of his companions,
was much impressed.

As the stage approached the lake, the road became constantly rougher.
They passed from the railroad camp and saw first the bridge workers,
next the graders, and then the "right of way" men, whose business it
was to chop their way through the forest and clear off all the timber
along the line of the track for a width of fifty feet. After the timber
was felled it was left to dry and was then set on fire.

"That's bad business," said Mr. Sturgis; "these men think of nothing
but the convenience of the moment. All these fires that they are
kindling and that they are leaving to burn here may set the hills on
fire, and large tracts of country may be burned and much valuable
standing timber destroyed."

"Yes," said Hugh, "these men think of nothing but the quickest way of
getting rid of anything that they don't use."

"It's the fault of the contractors," said Mr. Sturgis, "and some means
should be found to stop such a destruction of timber."

A little later, as the stage approached the lake, they could see the
woods on fire everywhere. The stage-driver told them that this had gone
on for some time, and that on two or three occasions recently the fires
had been so extensive that the stage had been unable to get through to
the lake, and had been forced to turn around and return.

On this day the driver went carefully and succeeded in picking out
places where he could get through, though more than once the stage
drove between piles of blazing logs which made it uncomfortably warm
for the passengers. The timber was largely pine and hackmatack, but
there was also some white and some yellow birch.

Not long after the fire had been left behind they came into an open
country, from which, ahead of them, they could see a large sheet of
water; and presently from a hill they looked down upon beautiful Lake
Pend d'Oreille, surrounded on all sides by towering, timbered hills.

At the end of the stage line there was an engineer's camp; and here, to
Mr. Sturgis' great surprise, he met among the engineers two friends
whom he had not seen for years and whom he little expected to meet in
this far off spot. The surprise was a mutually delightful one. His
friends seized him, and Jack, and Hugh, and insisted on their sharing
the hospitality of their camp, and a very delightful evening was spent
there.

Some distance down Pend d'Oreille River, or as it is often called,
Clark's Fork of the Columbia, and so some miles from the engineer's
camp, was a place known as Siniaqueateen, which in the Flathead
language means "the place where we cross." Here was the supply depot
for the engineer department of the Northern Pacific railroad, and here
were the headquarters of Mr. Galbraith, the commissary, who had charge
of the advance transportation of the railroad. To him Mr. Sturgis had a
letter from the railroad officials; and to Siniaqueateen the travellers
went the next morning. It was a small settlement, consisting of a
trader's store and house, and two or three other stores and houses,
and the office buildings belonging to the railroad. Here is the ford
across the river which gives the place its name; and here is where the
trail between the Flathead Lake and the Kootenay District of British
Columbia, distant over two hundred miles, crosses the stream. From time
immemorial this has been a crossing place for the Indians, travelling
north and south through the country. Now on the bank of the river there
was a camp of Kutenai Indians.

About the ferry were lounging many Indians, who, to Jack's eye seemed
quite different from the Coast Indians, and much more like the people
of the plains to whom he was accustomed. He asked Mr. Galbraith about
these people, and Mr. Galbraith, who knew a number of the individuals
of the two tribes, told him something about them.

"These Flatheads that you see here belong in the country as do also
some Kutenais, but not those that have just come in, and are in camp
here. They are from the north and are bringing down their furs to
trade."

"Why do they call them Flatheads, Mr. Galbraith?" asked Jack. "They
don't seem to have their heads flattened as the Coast Indians have. The
heads of these people are shaped like those of any one."

"Well," said Mr. Galbraith, "I don't know why they are called
Flatheads, but that is the name for them in this country. They do not
call themselves by that name. They call themselves Kallispelms. They
are pretty good Indians, hunt all through this region, farm a little,
and have plenty of horses. In July or August they always come down
to the lake shore, because then, when the water is low, and the big
meadows on the edge of the lake are exposed, the camas grows up, and
they dig the roots which form a considerable portion of their vegetable
food."

"I have heard of camas," said Jack, "but I don't think I ever saw it
grow to know it. What is it like?"

"Why," said Mr. Galbraith, "I don't know what the books call it; but
it is a root that grows in damp places, has two long leaves like a
lily, and a slender stalk that bears a blue flower. The root is shaped
somewhat like an onion or a tulip. The women gather them in great
quantities. Then, after they are gathered, they are cooked and then
dried for use in the winter. After they have been dried the roots are
about as big as the end of your finger; and just after cooking they are
sweet, something like a chestnut. The Indians make a very good bread by
squeezing a lot of the newly cooked bulbs together."

"How do they cook them?" asked Jack.

"Oh, in the usual way," said Galbraith. "They dig a big hole in the
ground; build a fire in it in which they heat stones and then spread
grass over the hot stones. They then pile in a great quantity of the
roots, covering them with grass, and next with hot stones. Then the
whole thing is covered with earth, and the pit is left alone for three
or four days. The women know when to open it, and when they do so and
take off the stones and the grass the heat of the stones has cooked the
roots which have turned dark brown in color and are ready to use. It's
fun to see the children cluster around when the pit is opened, and to
see them struggle to get the grass which has covered the roots. This
grass is covered with a sweet syrup and the children delight to suck
it. I suppose there are a lot of roots and berries which the Indians
know of and use, of which we know nothing at all."

"Yes," said Jack, "I know that is so in my country. There is hardly any
time in the summer but there is some vegetable food ripening that the
Indians know of and use."

"There's another root called kaus, that the Kutenais know of," said Mr.
Galbraith. "They dry and pound up these roots and then mix them with
water and bake them in cakes, and they make a good bread. These roots
are sweet and aromatic. Of berries, the sarvis berry is perhaps the
most important, and it grows abundantly all through the mountains, but
there are a number of other berries, fruits, and roots."

That night Mr. Sturgis had a talk with Mr. Galbraith, who said that he
could very easily take them across the lake in the company's sailboat,
and then would give them saddle and pack horses to take them up the
Pend d'Oreille River, to the Jocko or any other point that they might
wish to go to. At the Jocko, they could hire some Indian or half-breed
to drive them on to Deer Lodge, and from Deer Lodge they could take
the stage to Missoula or Silver Bow, which he understood was then the
end of the track of the narrow-gauge road running up from the South.
To all hands this seemed the best way to get home; and as they were
now on the very borders of Montana it seemed that they had but a short
distance to go before they would once more be in their own country.

The next morning early, accompanied by Mr. Galbraith and with a crew of
three or four voyageurs, they started out from Siniaqueateen for the
Lake. The river gradually became more and more wide and the scenery was
very beautiful. The stream valley was broad, and smooth grassy meadows
dotted here and there with willows and other small trees sloped gently
up to the higher land from the water's edge.

Before they had reached the lake, a number of Indians were seen
paddling close along the shore in their canoes, which were of a
type entirely new to Mr. Sturgis as well as to Jack and Hugh. These
structures were sharply pointed at both ends, and as much as anything
resembling cylinders of bark.

"These canoes are different from anything I ever saw before," said
Hugh. "I know the birch canoes of the North, and I have just come back
from a voyage in the wooden canoes of British Columbia, but I never saw
anything like this. What are they made of, and how are they made?"

"They are made of pine bark," said Mr. Galbraith, "and they are queer
canoes. I never saw them anywhere except in the country west of the
Rocky Mountains and about two or three hundred miles north and south.
The Indians take the bark from the white pine in very large sheets and
make rolls of it, which they stow away dry until they need it. Then
they soak the bark in water until it becomes soft and pliable and easy
to handle. Then they make a frame of small cedar poles lashed together
with strips of cedar bark, and this frame is then covered with sheets
of this pine bark, which are sewed together with tamarack roots, and
patched with resin from the fir tree. The outside of the bark is on
the inside of the canoe, and the Indians paddle on both sides. These
canoes are mighty cranky, and upset very easily. Of course sails are
never used in them, but the Indians keep close to the shore, and do not
dare to cross over from point to point."

The next morning there was a good breeze. They started to cross the
Lake and soon after noon reached the Northern Pacific's camp at the
mouth of Clark's Fork. The company's surveyors were laying out the line
up this river; and their supplies and mail were ferried across the lake
and carried east along the line of the road which led up toward the
Coeur d'Alene Mountains. Here Mr. Galbraith, with great energy got
together an outfit of pack and saddle animals, and the next morning a
little train of seven animals filed out of the camp and took the trail
for Missoula.

The journey up Clark's Fork was a delightful one and took about seven
days. The party travelled fast, stopping neither to hunt nor fish. Deer
and bear signs were plenty, and in a few cases white-tailed deer were
seen, but none were killed. The daylight hours were spent in riding
through the beautiful river valley and among the great cinnamon-colored
trunks of giant pines that formed the chief timber of the country, and
at night the party was always ready for supper and bed.

Hugh and Mr. Sturgis were enthusiastic about the prospects of this
region, where there was much fine land and unlimited grazing.

At the Jocko, the wagon road began; and here the pack train was
dismissed and the travellers' guns and blankets were transferred to a
wagon driven by one of the large tribe of McDonalds, descendants of
some old Hudson's Bay trader who had married a Flathead woman. They
were then taken to Missoula, and from there to Deer Lodge, _Le logis de
chevreuils_, as their driver called it.

From Deer Lodge it was a matter of a little staging to Melrose,
which was then the terminus of the Utah and Northern railroad. Here
Mr. Sturgis, Jack, and Hugh found themselves back again in bustling,
hurrying America, and oppressed by the feeling that they must at once
get back to their work. They were soon once more on the cars, flying at
high speed toward their destinations.

Three days later on the Union Pacific railroad Mr. Sturgis and Hugh
shook hands with Jack and left him alone, and three days later he was
once more in New York.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
    possible. Some minor corrections of punctuation have been made.

    A number of minor spelling errors have been corrected without note.





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enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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