“1841, December 31st. The men from the Fishery made their appearance as usual at this time, and as usual, too, the best we had (which by-the-by is not great as will be seen by this journal) was served out to them. The other men had the time to themselves to prepare for the holiday of to-morrow, for the Jour de Tan is the greatest day of the Canadians in these distant Northern posts. To finish things properly there is still wanting the famous aqua vitae, which we are sorry to state is not in our means to furnish. Adieu the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-one!”
“1842, February 13th. The Rev. Mr. Evans proposing to take his departure to-morrow for Isle a la Crosse edified us with a farewell service, several of the women and children were baptized, and Flett and Hassel were married to their wives.”
From the records we compile this Chipewyan calendar:—
March 17th, House-flies. April 8th, Grey goose seen. April 11th, Catkins. April 12th, Barking crows. April 19th, Blackbirds and mosquitoes. April 21st, Plover, two hawks, and a butterfly. April 22nd, Gulls, white waveys, robins. April 28th, White cranes. April 30th, Frogs, most of snow gone. May 2nd, Dark butterfly, four purple crocuses. May 4th, Frogs noisy, bumble bees. May 5th, Nearly clear of ice. May 8th, Water from Peace River flowing into lake. An Eagle. May 10th, Sand martins. Ice drifting in channel in front of fort. May 20th, Swans passing north. May 21st, Trees bursting into leaf. July 11th, Strawberries and raspberries. August 18th, Cranes passing south. October 11th, Small birds passing south. October 12th, First ptarmigan seen about the fort. October 24th, Lake in front closed up this morning.
LAKE ATHABASCA AND ITS FOND DU LAC
“Afar from stir of streets,
The city’s dust and din,
What healing silence meets
And greets us gliding in!
“The noisy strife
And bitter carpings cease.
Here is the lap of life,
Here are the lips of peace.”
For fresh woods and pastures new this Friday, June 26th! Our little “bunch” breaks up. Mr. Brabant and Mrs. Harding, of the Hudson’s Bay Company contingent, go on in the Grahame to Smith’s Landing, and with them the two detachments of the R.N.W.M.P. As we shake hands with the police party, we wonder what Fate has in store for each of us. Breaking off at Fort Resolution, Great Slave Lake, and trending eastward by canoe over unchartered ways, will they reach salt water on Hudson Bay as they hope?