HOME

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ILLUSTRATIONS

CHAPTER I:
A JOURNEY OF SENTIMENT


CHAPTER II:
THE FATAL ERROR


CHAPTER III:
DUTY FIRST


CHAPTER IV:
A MAN'S GAME


CHAPTER V:
A PERMANENT MEMORIAL


CHAPTER VI:
WILL THE ICE TURN US BACK?


CHAPTER VII:
STORMY VOYAGE


CHAPTER VIII:
RETURN TO NORTHWEST RIVER


CHAPTER IX:
A CHIEF VOYAGEUR


CHAPTER X:
THE BEAVER IS A BAD RIVER


CHAPTER XI:
SOUNDING THE BIG LAKE


CHAPTER XII:
BREAD WITHOUT BAKING POWDER MAKES ME SICK


CHAPTER XIII:
I NEVER TRAVELS ON SUNDAY


CHAPTER XIV:
VIRGIN AS GOD MADE IT


CHAPTER XV:
FIRST PORTAGE


CHAPTER XVI:
TRAIL COMPANIONS


CHAPTER XVII:
MURDOCK'S RAPID


CHAPTER XVIII:
TRACKING THROUGH BOULDERS


CHAPTER XIX:
MARCH TO YOUR FRONT LIKE A SOLDIER


CHAPTER XX:
IT'S ALWAYS BAD LUCK TO TRAVEL ON SUNDAY


CHAPTER XXI:
WORST COUNTRY FOR GAME I EVER SAW


CHAPTER XXII:
BACK TO GET THE BAKING POWDER


CHAPTER XXIII:
DISASTER IN THE RAPIDS


CHAPTER XXIV:
TAKING STOCK


CHAPTER XXV:
GRAPPLING


CHAPTER XXVI:
INDIANS HAVE PLENTY OF HARD TIMES


CHAPTER XXVII:
THIS RIVER IS LIKE A BAD WOMAN


CHAPTER XXVIII:
NO RELIEF FROM WADING


CHAPTER XXIX:
HELL AND TWENTY


CHAPTER XXX:
BACKPACKING TO THE SUSAN


CHAPTER XXXI:
VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH


CHAPTER XXXII:
THE MIND WORKS CURIOUSLY


CHAPTER XXXIII:
RELIVING THE PARTING


CHAPTER XXXIV:
MARKING HUBBARD'S BOULDER


CHAPTER XXXV:
A NEW DISASTER


CHAPTER XXXVI:
THE HARDEST BIT OF TRAVELING I EVER DONE


CHAPTER XXXVII:
SOMETHING WORTHWHILE UP THERE IN THE HILLS


NOTES

PHOTO GALLERY

COLOUR SLIDE GALLERY

ADDENDUM TO
THIRD EDITION

COMMENTS ON THE
NAMING COMPULSION

BACK TO THE LABRADOR WILDS

 XIX

MARCH TO YOUR FRONT LIKE A SOLDIER

The work on Tuesday evening was very trying and desperately hard.  Constant wading in the water is a great strain on one’s vitality.  The sky cleared on Monday night, and with the return of the sun on Tuesday morning, for the first time since the day we left the post, flies came upon us in clouds.  We were working in the water when they appeared, and they attacked us as though by pre-arrangement.  They found us in a defenceless position, for we had grown careless, and our armour, consisting of headnets and gloves, was not at hand.

We applied some of the commercial “fly dope” which I had purchased in New York, a box of which had previously been distributed to each man, but it seemed rather to attract them than otherwise.  Fortunately Gilbert had placed a can of his own preparation loose in the canoe, to provide against a possible emergency, and this proved more effective, though by no means sufficiently so to free us from the pests.

As quickly as possible we donned our nets, and at the first opportunity the Judge and I drew on gloves, with fingertips cut off, and with long sleeves of cotton cloth attached, which reached to our elbows and over which we buttoned our shirtsleeves.  Previous experience had taught me that gloves with this sleeve attachment are of great advantage, for flies seem intuitively to attack the wrists, where they most successfully inject their poison into the human system.  Not infrequently the victim becomes ill as a result of these attacks.

As punishment for allowing ourselves to be caught unprotected, the Judge and I presently had hands and wrists swollen to twice their normal size, the Judge had one eye nearly closed, and our cheeks and and necks were more or less swollen, and for several days itched and burned and were sore to the touch.  Nor did the others escape with less punishment.  Murdock, indeed, had one eye so badly poisoned that later in the summer he was compelled to go to the Indian Harbor hospital for treatment.

That day we made two or three short portages.  I personally carried the bronze tablet on these occasions, for I lived in constant fear that it might become injured  in some way by constant handling, and I wished to have it in perfect condition when we should finally set it in position upon the rock in the Susan River valley.

At every turn in the river we hoped to see the end of the rapid, but always were met with disappointment; and when we camped on Tuesday night with even worse river than any we had yet encountered appearing ahead of us the men for the first time showed signs of discouragement.

“The Indians said we couldn’t do it,” said Gilbert, “and if the river keeps like this much farther we can’t.”

“What was that from Kipling that Hubbard used to repeat?” asked the Judge.  “When first under fire,” it begins.”

“ ‘When first under fire, an’you’re wishful to duck,

    Don’t look nor take ‘eed of the man that is struck;

    Be thankful you’re livin’ and trust to your luck,

    And march to your front like a soldier,’ ”

I quoted.

“That’s the spirit, boys,” said the Judge.  “Keep going.  This rapid has an end, and we’re going to find it!  Trust to your luck, and keep going.”

And the Judge, though I knew he was as weary as any man of us, began to sing while he set up his Bristol steel rod, and made ready to try for trout.

“I’ve seen some bad water,” declared Murdock, “but never anything like this.”

The men were very tired.  They had been working in icy water all day and with no prospect of improvement in the condition of the river it was quite natural that the note of discouragement should be sounded.  But presently, when the odor of onions came from the kettle over the fire, where Gilbert was stewing them together with potatoes and carrots in preparation for stew, the boys forgot there weariness, and when the Judge presently returned with a fine string of trout destined to join the vegetables in the pot he found them singing and everyone in high good humor.

The stew was a great success and so was the condensed coffee which accompanied it.  The boys were at once made converts to vegetables, and pronounced them “fine and filling,” but still they had some doubts of their “staying with a man like bread.”

“What do you say boys to caching your load here?” I suggested when supper was eaten and we were enjoying our pipes.  “William must have returned by this time, and you should be able to run from here to the lake in a day, easily, for we have only made about thirty-five miles since we left the cabin.  We’ll take some of your load with us, and then you can travel faster with what’s left when you come back, and overtake us sooner.”

“I was thinking they’d better go, said Gilbert.  “The soda’s about gone.”

“We can make the lake all right in a day,” agreed Murdock.  “We’ll travel after dark, if we has to, after we gets below the rapids.”

Accordingly a cache was made the next morning, and after breakfast Henry and Murdock stowed in their canoe the light out of their tent, their sleeping bags, an auxiliary cooking outfit, sufficient provisions to last them until their return to the cache, and an ax. When they had said good-bye, and were ready to push off, I suggested:

“You’d better lash that outfit.”

“Oh, we’re all right going down stream, sir”, said Murdock as he stepped lightly into the canoe and it shot out into the current.

We had not yet struck our tent, but were loading our other outfit into the canoe fifteen minutes later when I heard a shout, and looking across the river saw the two boys on the opposite bank waving their arms and gesticulating wildly.


Judge Malone tending kit (©Canadian Heritage Information Network)


Lining over the rapids.  Judge Malone in harness, Gilbert Blake poling

 

Next: Chapter XX: It's Always Bad Luck To Travel On Sunday