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at that time for its weight in silver. I remember one of the western halfbreeds being so exultant that he affirmed "he would not own the Queen as his uncle."

The carcass was found to be extremely poor. The only food found in the stomach was the droppings of reindeer, so that at the first meeting Louis must have been considered a very desirable prize. It was just a question of which should eat up the other in order to prolong his existence. Fortunately for our party the Indian proved to be the fittest survivor.

No part of the carcass was wasted, but every scrap, including the hide, amounting in all to between three and four hundred pounds, was placed in bags and carried to the canoes which, with much difficulty, we reached long after dark.

Next morning a strong east wind, driving a wild surf in upon the shore, made it impossible to launch, but we were thankful for having some food on hand with which to fortify ourselves inwardly. Advantage was also taken of the opportunity for obtaining moss with which to cook some of the meat. Though five or six miles distant, a quantity of this fuel was gathered, and with it several large kettles of the meat boiled-almost sufficient, it was hoped, to take us to Churchill.

But alas for our hopes-the gale which had arisen increased in fury until it became a terrific storm accompanied by sleet and snow, and this continued for five days. During one of the nights of this storm the tent occupied by my brother and myself was ripped up the back by the force of the gale, and it was with great difficulty that we saved it from being blown away. So fierce was the storm, and so piercingly cold was the wind, that without shelter we must soon have perished. We were already numb with cold, but midst the snow and darkness I managed to find in my bag a sail-needle and some twine, and then, having lowered the tent to the ground,

whilst my brother held on to it, I stitched up the rent. When the tent was again raised, our blankets were buried in snow, but they being our only comfort, the snow was shaken off and in a half-perished condition, we again crept beneath them.

Besides the discomforts occasioned by the storm, a case of poisoning occurred at the camp. Our cook, one day, thinking to give my brother and me a treat, provided for our dinner some of the bear's liver. Because of its rank flavour my brother partook sparingly, but I ate of it freely, and at once became fearfully ill.

For a whole day I lay in the tent reaching and straining, though throwing off nothing but froth, until I thought I would have died. My brother pressed me to take some brandy -a little of which still remained in a flask we had brought with us, but, mule-like, for some time I declined on the plea that I did not think it would help me. However, towards night, thinking I would have to take something or give up the ghost, I yielded to his advice, and very soon began to feel greatly relieved. I have since learned that, by the Eskimos as well as by whalers, polar bear's liver is said to be poisonous.

After this great storm, which lasted until the 4th of October, the whole country was buried deeply in snow, and every possibility of finding even a little moss for fuel was excluded. The sub-arctic winter, with all its cruelty, had overtaken us. Ice was forming rapidly along the shore of the bay, and it was evident that, within a very few days, canoe travelling must be at an end.

On the above date, though, snow was still falling, the wind had gone down sufficiently to allow us to launch; but, because of a low tide. and the ice, it was not an easy matter to get into the water. However, this was in time accomplished, and, by the greatest exertion during the day, we managed to make a distance of ten

miles through a dashing spray which froze upon whatever it touched and encased canoes and men in an armour of ice. In getting to shore at night, we experienced the same difficulties as we had met with in the morning, only they had slightly increased.

The following morning the water of the bay was clear out of sight, and it was not until about noon, when the tide flowed in, that we could get into the water. Then we were so obstructed by ice along the shore and a head wind, that we were not able to make more than a mile or two before we were again forced to struggle to the shore.

At this rate of travel we would be a long time in reaching Churchill. We had now been more than three weeks on the coast, and were still at least two hundred and fifty miles from our haven. Some different mode of travelling must be adopted or we could never get in. The shore ice was forming rapidly, and might now block us at any time. We were again reduced to two or three rations, and the game had all left the country.

What was to be done? My brother and I talked the matter over during the night, and the plan which first suggested itself was to abandon everything but rifles and blankets, and start down the shore on foot. But to this plan there appeared many serious objections. Our party, though much weakened of late, was still, through long practice, able to pull at the paddles, but to undertake a long march, we would have been in very poor condition. Besides this, our footwear was in a very bad state, and then walking without snowshoes through the soft deep snow would have been very laborious, if not quite impossible. Again, there would be several large rivers to cross, and these would not yet be frozen over; so that altogether the idea of completing our journey on foot appeared impracticable.

A second plan was then proposed. It was to abandon one canoe with all

dunnage, instruments, rock collection, Eskimo curiosities, etc.; etc., and reserving only our note books, photographs, plant collection, rifles, blankets and tents, to start out with the help of the additional man in each of the remaining canoes, and pull for our lives.

The adoption of this plan was decided upon, and at day-break all hands were set to work to "cache" our stuff, excepting the articles above mentioned. This task occupied the whole morning, and to us it was a sad and dreary one. Things were first packed in tarpaulins and waterproof bags, and then lashed in the canoe, which was finally turned upside down, then covered by the "green bearskin, and weighted with stones. Having thus made the "cache" as secure as we could, with heavy hearts we turned our steps toward the shore.

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Canoes were launched, and then followed the extremely difficult and dangerous work of forcing our way through the broken but heavy shore ice to the open water beyond. Having succeeded in this, we made a good run, and even at the risk of being smashed upon some of the many rocks or blocks of drifting ice, we paddled on far into the night; but at a late hour, being sheathed in ice from the freezing spray, we gained the shore, and without supper, lay down to sleep upon the snow.

Eight more dreary days passed, six of which were spent in battling with the elements, and two in lying stormbound upon the shore. During this interval our party suffered much from cold and lack of food, and to make matters worse dysentery attacked us. The shore ice had been steadily forming, rendering it more and more difficult to launch or get ashore. Our frail crafts had been badly battered, and several times broken through by the ice, and the low character of the coast had not improved. Still, with hollow cheeks and enfeebled strength, we struggled on, sometimes

making fair progress and at others very little, until on October the 14th as we advanced we found the ice so heavy, and extending so far out to sea, that in order to clear it we could not see the land.

Towards evening we began to look about for some opportunity of getting to shore, but nothing could be seen but the sea and a vast field of ice, with here and there some dark protruding rocks. We pushed on, hoping to find some bluff point or channel of water by which we might reach the shore, but the conditions of our surroundings did not change. We stood up in our canoes and climbed upon rocks, vainly hoping to at least get a glimpse of the land, but it was so low, and we were so far out, that it was beyond our view.

Soon the shades of night began to overshadow us; our canoes were leaking badly, and the weather was bitterly cold. We tried our utmost to reach the shore, but failed. It was hoped that at the time of high tide, about 10 p.m., we might do better, but 10 o'clock came and still we were in the same helpless condition, no more able to penetrate the drifting ice and gain the shore than before.

Indeed, long before this time, it had become intensely dark, and we were in great danger of being smashed by ice or rocks. We were utterly powerless, and could do nothing but sit in our canoes, and go where the tide chose to carry us, until the return of daylight.

The hours of that night were the longest that I have ever experienced, and the odds seemed to be against us surviving until morning. Our canoes were leaking so badly that only continual baling kept us afloat. I sincerely prayed that we might, in some way, be delivered from our distressed condition.

At length the day returned and found us all alive, though my brother was nearly dead from exposure and sitting in the icy water; and poor lit

tle Michel had both of his feet frozen, whilst his brother Louis was in a very low condition from the effects of dysentery.

Still we were in the same position as we had been the night before. We could not hold out very much longer; we must gain the shore or perish. At the time of high tide, the ice being somewhat loosened, our canoes were thrust into the pack, and by the exercise of great care and almost superhuman effort, we succeeded, about one o'clock, in reaching the solid shore ice, upon which we were able to land, and, for the last time, haul out our noble little crafts.

We had been sitting in them just thirty hours, battling with the ice, exposed to a piercing wintry blast, with clothing saturated and frozen, and our bodies faint and numb with starvation and cold. But, thank Heaven, we were now within reach of the land, and all who were able gladly scrambled out upon the ice to stretch their cramped and stiffened limbs. My brother was not able to walk, but was in a perishing condition from the exposure of the night, and from sitting in ice-cold water in the bottom of his canoe, which had with difficulty been kept from foundering. I wrapped him up as warmly as I could in our blankets, and administered half a bottle of Jamaica ginger, the last of our stock.

Those of us who were able then set about hauling the canoes over the ice to the shore, which was in time reached, and where we were delighted to find a quantity of driftwood. With some of this a fire was soon lighted, and, camp being pitched, my brother was removed to our tent, whilst the weaker of the men sought shelter in theirs.

The three half-breeds, Jim, John and Francois, were still fairly strong, but the remaining five of us were badly used up. We knew now, however, that we could be no very great distance from Churchill, for we had

again reached the wooded country. Two or three miles back from the shore could be seen dark clumps of evergreens, and this afforded great consolation, for it meant for us shelter and fire.

very weak, and much reduced from long starvation. Our veteran, Pierre, who had done such noble service with his paddle, now staggered in his walk; and as we were trudging up from the shore, he fell, from sheer exhaustion, and had difficulty in regaining his feet. Now in camp, however, and with the means of procuring food for at least two or three days, we were in a position to rest and gain strength, though poor Michel suffered greatly from his frozen feet, as did also his brother Louis from our common malady.

As to again launching our canoes, that was entirely out of the question. If we should reach Churchill at all it must now be by land, but as most of us were unable to walk, the only course open appeared to be to send on some of the stronger men to, if possible, reach the Fort and bring back a relief party. This plan was proposed to the men, and each of the three stronger ones volunteered their services. Accordingly, on the following morning, the 16th of October, Jim and John were dispatched to the Fort, whilst the remainder of our party undertook to move camp back to the woods, where we might make ourselves more comfortable to await the success or failure of our relief party.

A well-sheltered spot was selected in a thick grove of trees, and after clearing away about two feet of snow which covered the ground, tents were pitched, then well "brushed" with fir branches; and before them a great roaring camp-fire made, such as we had not been permitted to enjoy for many a day. Besides this, in the willows through which we had passed on our way from the shore, many ptarmigan had been seen, and a number of them shot. These, together with the shelter and warmth, contributed greatly to our comfort and relief. The reviving effect of food and fire upon our numb and half-frozen bodies was very marked. Francois, who of our number was the best able to walk, was kept out with the gun, and found no difficulty in securing a good many birds. Unfortunately, though, our ammunition was now reduced to a few charges, otherwise we would have had no fears of living there for some time.

With the one exception, we were all

About one o'clock on the afternoon of our third day at this camp, as we were all seated within our tents enjoying our dinner of boiled ptarmigans, my brother and I were startled by hearing some one exclaim "Halloo Jim!" The eagerness with which we scrambled over dinner and dishes to our tent door can better be imagined than described, and upon looking out, sure enough, there was Jim returning.

Was he alone? No, thank Heaven! Behind him a moment later emerged from the woods other strange men, followed by teams of dogs and sleds. One after the other there came scampering along no less than four teams, hauling long empty sleds capable of furnishing accommodation for our whole outfit. As they drew up at our camp, Jim advanced and handed us letters from the trader and Mr. and Mrs. Lofthouse-the missionary and his wife-whose acquaintance I had the pleasure of making on two former visits to Churchill. The letters were not mere expressions of sympathy, but were accompanied by such provisions as we might require until we should all reach the Fort. It would be difficult to describe our feelings upon this occasion-the termination of our many hardships.

After a hard two-days' tramp through the deep snow, Jim and John had reached Fort Churchill, where they had found kind friends ready to send us assistance. Dog teams had

been placed at their disposal, provisions supplied, and carly on the morning of the same day on which they had found us, the train had set out

forour relief.

With light sleds they had travelled at a rapid pace over the thirty miles of snowy plains which were found to still separate us from our haven. Another day of good travel in our canoes would have taken us in, but this was not afforded us.

With as little delay as possible preparations were begun for our sled journey to the Fort on the following day. Canoes were hauled up from the shore, where we had been obliged to leave them, and loaded upon two of the sleds. Camp outfit and provisions were loaded upon the others, and as far as possible everything was made ready for an early start in the morning.

Long before daylight camp was astir, breakfast was partaken of by the light of the camp-fire, and at the first streaks of dawn, our crippled party, loaded upon the dog-sleighs, was wending its way to Churchill. The snow being very soft at this early season, the travelling was heavy and comparatively slow, but being anxious to make the Fort in the one day, the teams were urged on. At a sheltered spot, rather more than halfway to Churchill, a brief halt was made for dinner and to rest the dogs, but without allowing the usual time for a smoke, we again pushed on.

At three o'clock in the afternoon we reached the bottom of Button's Bay, and thence shaping our course north-easterly, we arrived, about two hours later, at the base of a long range of rocky hills. For some time we skirted the foot of these until, reaching a low place in the ridge, we turned up the steep pass, and after a short climb to the crest we found ourselves within full view of Fort Churchill. Though consisting of only four or five old frame buildings, the sight to us was one of profound satisfaction, and for a moment we paused on the summit of the ridge to take in the realities of the situation.

Little time, however, was afforded for reflection, for at the crack of the driver's whip the teams bounded forward, galloped down the steep slope, and, without slackening their pace, sped across the plains below, until they came to a halt in front of the house of the Hudson Bay Company's trader.

Presently a tall young Scotchman came out to receive us, introducing himself as Mr. Matheson, the Master of the Fort. We felt a little taken aback upon at once being asked how long we expected to remain; however, we arranged with him for quarters and rations for our men, and board for ourselves, until such time as we might be able to continue our journey on snowshoes.

J. W. Tyrrell.


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