were naturally very much depressed by the loss of the tablet.
Gilbert, I think, felt it nearly if not as keenly as the Judge and
myself. He was steersman at the time of the accident, and he
was disposed therefore to take upon himself more than his share of
responsibility for what had occurred. It seemed to us for the
moment that we had been robbed of the object of our
expedition. For years I had dreamed of the time when I might
commemorate Hubbard’s heroism by erecting a suitable and permanent
memorial at the place where he died. Suddenly, on the eve of
what I had supposed to be the realization of my dream, I was rudely
awakened to find that after all it was only a dream and not a fact, and
my own deep disappointment may be imagined.
Judge, however, with buoyant spirit and resourceful genius, rose
quickly above the depressing shock with plans for the recovery of the
tablet. He believed it was not impossible to locate it with
grappling; and should this fail, he was confident that a makeshift dam
erected a few hundred yards upstream, where the river branched into two
channels, would turn enough of the main current into the other and
partially dry channel to permit us to find the tablet and recover
it. He was confident that a dam sufficient for our purpose
could be built from the exhaustless supply of boulders at hand, and the
timber not far away. Gilbert believed so too. I was
presently won to their more cheerful view of the situation, and we
pitched our camp in the edge of the nearby woods with highly stimulated
were both physically and mentally wearied by the unusually strenuous
efforts of the day, the afternoon was far spent, and it was decided
that action upon the Judge’s engineering projects should be postponed
until the following morning. The Judge with his rod set out
catch our supper while I built a fire in the woods, near the tent, and
proceeded to write up my journal and field book, and Gilbert, wet,
tired and bruised, sat down by my side to rest until supper time.
Gilbert and I were thus engaged when we heard a slight movement in the
bushes not far away and discovered a rabbit hopping out into the open
space which surrounded the camp, and coming directly toward us.
your shotgun?” Gilbert asked in a whisper. A good supper was
on the rocks with the other things,” I answered, also in a whisper.
Gilbert, alert with the hunter’s instinct, slipped noiselessly away in
quest of the gun, the rabbit, not taking least alarm, hopped past me in
the most leisurely manner, and directly behind it came another, and
directly behind that one still another. Evidently a rabbit
convention was to be held somewhere in the vicinity. The
first two passed on and into the bush clearing without condescending to
bestow so much as a glance upon me, but the third stopped on the
opposite side of the fire, and not ten feet from me, sat up on his
haunches, and deliberately looked me over, as though saying:
stranger, where did you come from?”
sat there for a full minute when he resumed all fours and in the same
leisurely manner in which he had come, hopped away after his
companions, and I could almost hear him say:
good bye. Sorry to leave you, but I have an appointment in
here with my friends.”
were out of sight when Gilbert returned with the gun, and I was
glad. As acceptable as rabbit supper would have been, I would
not have had the heart to have seen the last rabbit killed, for it had
been so familiar and so trustful. These were full-grown,
though young, rabbits, which had not learned in their primordial
wilderness to fear man.
the Judge returned with a fine string of trout, one of which—and this
was the largest caught by the expedition—weighed two and one-quarter
pounds. We had been catching, nearly every day, as many trout
as we desired, but they were small. It has been my experience in
Labrador that one finds the big ones only near the sources of the
rivers, or near the river mouths at tidewater. Near the headwaters of
the streams one finds the four and five pounders, and more than once I
have landed six-pounders.
trout have a particularly fine flavor. They are fat, healthy,
hard-fleshed fish, and one may eat them day after day with keen relish,
and without tiring of them. Feed is plentiful, and the icy
waters and environment are perfectly adapted to them. This
trout is identical with our eastern brook trout—salvelinus fontinalis.
are the best lure for the big fellows. I once found seven
whole or partially digested mice in a single Labrador trout.
Neither Judge Malone nor myself, however, resorted to lures other than
artificial flies in the whole course of our expedition. We
found them ever ready to respond to the fly, and by this more
sportsmanlike method had no difficulty in supplying our
needs. It is interesting to mention that while in other years
in Labrador I have found the best flies to be the brown hackle,
coachman, cow dung, grey palmer, cahill or similar flies, in 1913 they
demanded such flies as grizzly king, professor, Montreal or jungle cock.
night the frying pan served as a common dish from which to eat our
trout and sop our pork grease. Three condensed coffee cans,
holding a half-pint each, the rim trimmed smooth, did very well for
cups. Bent birchwood handles later wired on these cans
converted them into excellent cups—about as satisfactory and
serviceable camp cups, indeed, as I have ever used, for they possessed
the advantage of handles that were always cool.
had in our outfit two tins about nine inches in diameter and three
inches deep, fitted with friction tops, which had contained milk
powder. One of these tins readily converted into a mixing
pan, the other into a dishpan.
also had a friction top tin can nine inches in diameter and ten inches
deep, which originally had contained desiccated potatoes.
Three or four strands of copper wire twisted together and attached to
the tin through holes punched close to the rim, one on each side,
served as a bale by which the can might be suspended over the
fire. Thus the desiccated potato can became a serviceable
friction tops belonging to the two milk powder tins and the one
belonging to the desiccated potato can were good enough
plates. We had carried no forks in our outfit—forks are a
conventional luxury anyway, and quite superfluous in the
wilderness. Wooden spoons, whittled from birchwood, answered
very well in lieu of metal spoons. Hunting knives were the
only table, cooking or utility knives necessary, and we were each
supplied with one, as every man on the trail should be.
in this manner we found ourselves again in possession of a simple, but
quite ample, culinary equipment, and the loss of our old ones caused no
Next: Chapter XXV: