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INDIAN GRAVE (AERIAL).
with "You done well; keep on," which is the key-note to any amount of chaff that is apt to cool bubbling, misplaced enthusiasm.
And then came news from the north of the awful massacre at Frog Lake of the dear friends whom we had so lately left besieged at Battleford; how our old friend, Captain Dickens (son of the author), "Little Charlie" as he was familiarly styled by his brother offi cers, was shut up at Fort Pitt with a handful of men, and cut off in every way from assistance; and how our gallant old Colonel and his brave little band were shut up in Prince Albert-"Gophers in their holes" the newspapers dubbed them, but we knew better, and that they were merely obeying orders like good soldiers. Then there was the terrible fight at Duck Lake, where so many were killed and wounded. Then followed the burning of old Fort Carlton.
How little we thought when, only a short time before, traversing this quiet, peaceful-looking northern district, that it would speedily be the scene of terrible bloodshed. And after our long,
tiring drive in the rain and sleet, when the ferrymanLouis Riel's lieutenant-governor, Fisher by name refused to cross us at the South Branch of the Saskatchewan, how thankful we were to turn back to the comfortable house of old Batoche for
the night-the house that held so prominent a place in the history of this rebellion.* Here, after laying aside our soaking garments, we passed upstairs, and landed in a long, wide hall, with bedrooms opening off which, after having slept on the hard ground so
*I may here remark that it was in this house that Capt. French was shot. Dashing into the building, reckless of life, in quest of Riel's prisoners, he received a bullet in his breast while passing a window. His last words were : "Don't forget, boys, that I led you here!" Close behind him was Colonel Williams, who, in company with others, entered a neighboring building, wrenched open a trap door and released the white captives.
REDRAWN FROM AN ENGRAVING.
A MOUNTED POLICE OFFICER.
many nights, with their feather beds and piles of soft Hudson Bay blankets, looked the very personification of rest and comfort. Off this hall was the large drawing-room, with its upright horsehair chairs and sofas placed stiffly at respectful distances against the wall, with a gaily painted and suggestive-looking spittoon in front of each. Then there was the centre table, with its gay, bright covering, and big glass water pitcher and goblets-for ornament only; the lace curtains stretched to their full length and breadth, lined with turkey-red cotton to show off the pattern. But to tired
travellers, all this display lost its vulgarity, and appeared bright and cheerful. Old Batoche personally did the honours, and while we were awaiting supper, proudly exhibited the contents of a large cupboard at the end of the room. First of all a bandbox carefully lifted down disclosed within a lovely sealskin cap, a purchase from "the Hudson's Bay Store"; then came a case with a huge meerschaum pipe, presented by "The Company"; and last, but not least, two beautiful China dinner sets, for which he had paid, he with much dignity informed us, $90 and $150, respectively. Both were brought into use in my honour, one for supper and the other for breakfast, though it is perhaps needless to add all the dishes were not required, since the meals were alike. They consisted chiefl of those two staple delicacies, boiled pork and potatoes in their jackets. I felt very much tempted to eat the latter halfbreed fashion, on the wide blade of my knife, after fruitless endeavors to balance even the smallest portion on the end of a two-pronged fork. With what pride the old man showed us his treasures, little dreaming, I dare say, how short a time they were to be his, for instead of joining the other "breeds," he remained loyal and his place was looted while he was away trading for furs.
Loyalty was at a premium those days, hence I may speak of old " Moosomin," a Cree chief who went about with a
tattered Union Jack draped over his shoulders, to show that he and his had no sympathy with the followers of Louis Riel. And there was also "Crowfoot," the head chief of the Blackfeet, peacefully disposed, but who had hard work to keep his young braves in order. He often declared he could not answer for his followers after the first shot was fired. They were very busy making arrows all this time, and had sent their women and children to a distance, evidence that they were spoiling for a fight.
One day when alone in my quarters,
hearing a "How?" I looked up to see a young brave standing in the doorway. I happened to be wearing a dress with bright buttons, which latter took his eye, for putting both hands on my shoulders, he said, "Oh! Expesonia!" (lovely, beautiful), and by signs conveyed the information that he would like them cut off for his benefit. This I told him was impossible, but if he would wait on the doorstep I would get him some others, as I happened to have some of very gay character in my button box; and he was so pleased thereat he offered a dollar bill in
return. All Indians, however, were not so civil; they often used to come in with the demand "Nook-se-so-kit" (give me food). On one occasion I had quite a tea-party; no less than five chiefs, in full war paint and feathers, walked into my sitting-room and, seating themselves on the floor in a half-circle with rifles across knees as if they intended to stay, intimated refreshments would be agreeable, to which, when supplied, they did full justice. If my husband had not
come in and suggested they should go to the store and get a plug of tobacco all around, I fancy they would have remained until everything in the house was devoured.
One of these these warriors, "White Calf" by name, was covered with wounds which he delighted in showing, and describing how he had broken off the feathered ends and pushed the arrows through his body to remove them; indeed, he could have gotten rid of them in no other way, since if an attempt was made to withdraw them, the sharp, flat, iron point would instantly become detached and remain imbedded in the flesh. Their bows, too, were beautifully made, often being covered with rattlesnake skin as a sort of charm, and decorated with scalp locks. These were the weapons they were preparing, and possibly they were counting our scalp locks at the time, when came tidings of the battles of Fish Creek and Cut Knife, where so many brave men, who have since gone to rest, took partColonel William Herchmer, then Superintendent in the N.W.M. Police, afterwards Assistant Commissioner; Capt. Short, of B. Battery, who so heroically lost his life at Quebec; and where our well-known friend "Paddy" Bourk (bugler) was killedpoor Paddy!
Following the battles of Cut Knife and Fish Creek came news of that glorious charge and grand victory at Batoche, speedily followed by the return of our troops. What excitement there was the day they arrived, not only in barracks, but throughout all the country round! Every one turned out to meet and escort them in, every available old " not available old "cayuse" was in requi