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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

 VIII

RETURN TO NORTHWEST RIVER

Our delay at Rigolet was short, and presently, with all sail set, we were off for Northwest River.  The rain ceased toward evening, and Judge Malone and I took advantage of the opportunity to remove the keel from the canoe, which was stowed on deck, and to fill the holes made by the screws which held the keel in place, with white lead.

We had found it impossible in New York, at short notice to find such a canoe as we required that was not fitted with a keel.  While a keel attached to a canoe has advantages when one is paddling or sailing open water, and is always a protection to the bottom, it is a decided disadvantage in tracking (hauling the canoe with a rope) upstream, or in running rapids.

Our canoe was a canvas-covered, eighteen-foot, Old Town Guides Special—identical in size and model with that used by the Hubbard expedition—one of the best manufactured for the character of work for which we intended it.  I prefer a canvas-covered canoe, because it will bear more abuse for its weight than any canoe of which I know.  It is easily repaired, too, with a little white lead, bit of canvas and a few copper tacks; or with spruce pitch, which is to be found anywhere in the northern forests.

At five o’clock the next evening we reached Northwest River.  The Hudson’s Bay Company Post here is situated on the north shore, at the mouth of the river, while Revillon Freres, the great fur house of Paris, maintain a post on the opposite shore.  These settlements form the last fringe of civilization.

It was in the factor’s house of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s post at Northwest River that Hubbard spent his last night in civilization.  It was near the little wharf that good Tom Mackenzie, the factor, bade him Godspeed and farewell, and it was here, near the wharf, that Mackenzie welcomed Elson and me after our return, in the winter after the tragedy.  Here I made my home during the months that followed, and here I began my long sledge journey to Cape Charles with Hubbard’s remains in April, 1904.  In all those years there had been no change.

A gently sloping beach begins at the mouth of the river, directly in front of the Hudson’s Bay Company Post, and extends eastward terminating a half-mile below the post in a sandy point.  A hundred yards from the water is the edge of the spruce forest stretching away in somber and mysterious distances over low, rolling hills.  Between forest and water, and reaching down from the line of low, white buildings to the point, is an open space.

Scattered over this open space were many Indian tents.  Smoke from the campfires curled lazily heavenward, Indian women moved about the forest preparing the evening meal, Indians squatting in groups worked industriously with their crooked-knives building canoes, and Indian children ran hither and thither upon the grass, engaged in boisterous play, their shouts and laughter now and again reaching us across the water.  The clouds had passed.  The white post buildings, the Indian tents and the wilderness beyond were bathed in soft evening sunshine, and a breath of the fragrance of spruce and balsam was wafted to us from the forest.

The French post, as it is familiarly called, had grown considerably since my previous visit, and possessed a new atmosphere of activity and prosperity.  Several storehouses had been erected and behind these and the servants’quarters a new residence for the factor.

Judge Malone and I launched our canoe from the Yale, and because I had always made that my headquarters at Northwest River, paddled to the Hudson’s Bay Company side.  Another canoe, which we had observed crossing the river, arrived at the beach directly after us, and to my pleasurable surprise I recognized in its single occupant Mr. D. Thevenet, who was a factor of Revillon Freres post at Fort Chimo, in northern Ungava, in the winter of 1905 when I spent several weeks there.  Mr. Thevenet gave us the hearty welcome of the wilderness, and invited us to accept the hospitality of his post across the river, and make it our headquarters while at Northwest River.

Mr. E. A. Heath, the Hudson’s Bay Company factor, also greeted us warmly.   I had met him on the Labrador coast, at Nain, in 1906, and we were not strangers.  My old room at the post was occupied, he explained, by a woman, an ex-mission nurse, who had been stopping with him for some time, and Judge Malone and I therefore accepted Mr. Thevenet’s invitation, though we joined Heath and the nurse at tea.

Mr. Thevenet placed at our disposal the old post house, formerly the factor’s residence, but at this time unoccupied though fully furnished.  A young native girl was detailed to prepare our meals and care for our rooms.  We could scarcely, indeed, have enjoyed greater comfort in civilization.

 

Next: Chapter IX: A Chief Voyageur