The New North eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 277 pages of information about The New North.
Britain and study stars for a time instead of skins, planets for peltries.  And back he went in 1791.  His first achievement had but whetted his ambition.  It was of a Western Sea that he had greatly dreamed among the bearskins and beavers of Montreal, and to that ocean which split its waves “somewhere” far beyond the snow crests of the Rockies he would go.  With this strong determination he returned from Scotland, made toilsome way to Fort Chipewyan and pressed up the Peace to make the camp among whose ruins we stand.  The breaking of the spring ice of 1793 sent him forth on the quest of that Northwest Passage by Land.

“O Young Mariner,
Down to the harbor call your companions,
Launch your vessel, and crowd your canvas,
And, ere it vanishes over the margin,
After it.  Follow it.  Follow the Gleam!”

We have not time to recount the chapters of the story, to name the streams ascended, the boiling gorges passed, the discontent allayed, the encouragement given, the lonely night-watches when the leader himself looked for comfort to his new-found stars.  The Fraser was discovered, traced for a while; and then, striking westward, Mackenzie heard the beat of the surf upon the rocks, and came out from among the pines to the silver Pacific sparkling in the sun.  It was a sweet day in summer’s prime, and as the gulls cried overhead and the sun mixed scent of seaweed with balsam breath from in-shore, we can imagine but not divine the feelings of that brave man who had thrown himself face-downward on the sand and from whose presence the awed companions stole silently away.  We remember the words of another builder of Empire,—­

“Anybody might have found it,
But God’s whisper came to me.”

CHAPTER XXII

PEACE RIVER CROSSING TO LESSER SLAVE LAKE

“A haze on the far horizon,
  The infinite tender sky,
The ripe, rich tint of the cornfields,
  And the wild geese sailing high,—­
And all over upland and lowland
  The charm of the goldenrod. 
Some of us call it Autumn,
  And others call it God.”

—­W.H.  Carruth.

At Peace River Crossing we say good-bye to the Gaudets, whose home is here.  While they have been making a little summer jaunt to Fort Good Hope under the Arctic Circle the garden-seeds they sowed before they left have not been idle.  Mr. Gaudet shows us a pumpkin which weighs twenty-five pounds, a squash of the same weight, and citron melons, which weigh over ten pounds each.

To those who continue up the Peace from here, three great open prairies present themselves:  the Spirit River Prairie, the Grande Prairie, and the Pouce Coupe.  The Spirit River Prairie spreads over a thousand square miles of splendid soil, sandy loam on a subsoil of clay.  Wood and water are plentiful, horses winter in the open, and crops here have never been damaged by frost.

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The New North from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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