As we shall see, many great things have been accomplished by Doctor Grenfell and this Association, organized by his friends several years ago. Every year a great many boxes and barrels of clothing go to him down on The Labrador, filled with good things for the needy ones. Boys and girls, as well as men and women, send warm things for winter. Not only clothing, but now and again toys for the Wee Tots find their way into the boxes. Just like other children the world over, the Wee Tots of The Labrador like toys to play with and they are made joyous with toys discarded by the over-supplied youngsters of our land.
Of course there are foolish people who send useless things too. Scattered through the boxes are now and again found evening clothes for men and women, silk top hats, flimsy little women’s bonnets, dancing pumps, and even crepe-de-chene nighties. These serve as playthings for the grown-ups, many of whom, especially the Indians and Eskimos, are quite childlike with gimcracks. I recall once seeing an Eskimo parading around on a warm day in the glory of a full dress coat and silk hat, the coat drawn on over his ordinary clothing. He was the envy of his friends.
While Grenfell dispensed medical and surgical treatment, and at the same time did what he could for the needy, he also turned his attention to an attack upon the truck system. This system of barter was responsible for the depths of poverty in which he found the liveyeres. He was mightily wrought up against it, as well he might have been, and still is, and he laid plans at once to relieve the liveyeres and northern Newfoundlanders from its grip.
This was a great undertaking. It was a stroke for freedom, for the truck system, as we have seen, is simply a species of slavery. He realized that in attacking it he was to create powerful enemies who would do their utmost to injure him and interfere with his work. Some of these men he knew would go to any length to drive him off The Labrador. It required courage, but Grenfell was never lacking in courage. He rolled up his sleeves and went at it. He always did things openly and fearlessly, first satisfying himself he was right.
[B] The address of the Grenfell Association is 156 Fifth Avenue, New York.
SKIPPER TOM’S COD TRAP
Skipper Tom lived, and for aught I know still lives, at Red Bay, a little settlement on the Straits of Belle Isle, some sixty miles to the westward of Battle Harbor.
Along the southern coast of Labrador the cabins are much closer together than on the east coast, and there are some small settlements in the bays and harbors, with snug little painted cottages.
Red Bay, where Skipper Tom lived, is one of these settlements. It boasts a neat little Methodist chapel, built by the fishermen and trappers from lumber cut in the near-by forest, and laboriously sawn into boards with the pit saw.