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At home in the wilderness. Being full instructions how to get along, and to surmount all difficulties… Lord, John Keast, 1818-1872 1867

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Array     AT   HOME
THE   WILDERNESS    At Home
IN THE
Wilderness
LONDON:
Robert Hardwicke, 192, PICCADILLY.
1867.  AT   HOME
IN
THE   WILDERNESS
BEING  FULL INSTRUCTIONS
HOW   TO   GET   ALONG,   AND   TO   SURMOUNT   ALL
DIFFICULTIES BY THE WAY
BY
'THE     WANDERER'
LONDON
ROBERT   HARDWICKE,   192   PICCADILLY
1867  TO
H. R. H.
THE DUKE    OF   CAMBRIDGE
FIELD    MARSHAL    IN    THE    ARMY    AND
GENEEAL  COMMANDING  IN  CHIEF,
K.G.,  K.P.,  G.C.B.,  &o.   &c.
Sfexs little Wioxk
IS,  BY  PEBMISSIOH,  MOST BESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
BY
HIS  EOYAL  HIGHNESS'S
MOST     HUMBLE     SEEVANT,
JOHN KEAST LORD.  INTRODUCTION.
Where and when to camp; how to equip and
manage a train of pack-mules; break, gear, and
saddle wild horses; cross streams, build log shanties,
trenail a raft, dig out a canoe or build it with bark
or hide, manage dog-sleighs, and tramp on snow-
shoes; what to carry and what to leave at home; or,
to sum up in a few words, the way to get through a
wild country as one ought, by adopting the better
means of doing that which has to be done, are matters
of no trifling value to travellers of all denominations.
There are details that a novice cannot possibly acquire,
save it be from the past experiences of other travellers,
or, failing assistance such as this, he must learn his
lessons in the field and forest by finding them out
for himself, always a tedious, unsatisfactory, and very
expensive process.    Believe me, in travelling, as in 
INTRODUCTION.
everything else, there is a right way and a wrong
way of going to work, and, for some inexplicable
reason, 'young beginners' are strangely predisposed
to follow the latter course.
The experience of twenty years passed as a rambler
in various parts of the world, though principally as
trapper, hunter, and naturalist, East and West of the
Eocky Mountains, enables me to state from actual
observation, that a ' green hand,' to use a slang term,
on his first visit to a wild country, in nine cases out
of ten arrives from the land of civilisation completely
hampered, entangled, and weighed down, so to speak',
with a medley of utterly useless things, which he-
never would have purchased had he been guided or
directed by any person who knew how to travel.
Again and again, friends and strangers have sought
my guidance, when fitting out to travel, either in the
pursuit of sport and pleasure or to seek a fortune in
far-off lands as emigrants. Hence I am induced to
offer a few practical hints on the general details of
travelling, trusting the rough suggestions I shall offer
may prove of use to those who are disposed to venture
into a distant country wherein wheels, steam, iron INTRODUCTION.
IX
and macadamised roads, are unknown luxuries; and
in which, as a Yankee once said to me, in reference
to Southern Oregon: ' Stranger, you bet your bottom
dollar a man has to keep his eyes skinned, his knife
sharp, and his powder dry, or he'll hav' his har ris'd,
sure as beaver medicine, if he travels thim parts.'
John Keast Lord, E.Z.S.
Late Naturalist to the British North American Boundary Commission;
author of the ' Naturalist in Vancoyer Island and British Columbia.'  CONTENTS.
CHAPTER I.
Home in the Wilderness and Elsewhere—An Imaginary Journey—What
the word Packing means—Fitting out for a Journey—Rules to be observed
in the choice of Pack Animals—Geldings preferable to Mares—Mules killed
by Magpies and Blowing-flies—Beware of Crupper Cuts—What a Hoof
ought not to be, and what it ought to be—Shoeing advisable, if possible—
How to examine the Eyes'—Mules with Defective Vision dangerous to a
degree—Prevalence of ' Cataract'—The way to examine the Teeth—
Parrot-Mouthed Mules always lose condition—Never work Pack Animals
thin—' Points' of a good Pack Mule ....       page 1
CHAPTER II.
Average worth of Pack Mules—Mortality in Cold Regions—Poisonous
effects of the Horse-tail Rush (equisebwm)—Advantages of Sheds and
Dryth—The Bell-mare—Value of a Horse's Tail—Branding .      16
. CHAPTER in.
Pur-Traders' System of Packing—Journey from Port Colville to Fort
Hope—Disadvantages of  the  Cross-tree Pack-saddle—Crimean  Pack j
Saddles radically bad—Desirability of the ' Aparejo '—How to make an
Aparejo—Its   Weight—Evidences   of   Suffering—In   search   of  Pack
Saddles—The'Rigging'     ......      53 xn
CONTENTS.
CHAPTER TV.
Riding Saddles—Stirrups—' Cabresto' preferable to an ordinary bridle-
Tethering    ....... page 80
Wagons and Teaming
CHAPTER V.
97
CHAPTER VI.
The more desirable form of Tent—The Lodge of the Savage—The Sibley
Tent^-The Bell Tent^The Gable-ended Tent—The Miner's Tent—Half-
shelter Tent—Poles and Pegs—How to pitch a Tent and. make it
secure . . . . .   ,        . . .    104
CHAPTER VTL
A Hunter's Bedding—Bedding for Tents or Log-houses—Bedstead, how to
make—Systems of Packing up Bedding—Tools necessary for a Wanderer—
The way to fell your first Tree—How to split a Log—Traps to be
avoided       ........    115
CHAPTER VEIL
Cooking Utensils—A Fryingpan equal to any emergency—Tea and Coffee
versus Rum and Water—Canteens more ornamental than useful—The
Plan for making your own Camp Baskets—L?on Ovens—Camp Kettles—
Flour better than Biscuit—Yeast Powder. How to bake a Loaf—Fixed
Ovens . . . . . . . .131
CHAPTER IX.
What to wear—Avoid Leather—Woollen Fabrics preferable to all others—
Boots—Mocassins—How to manage, with Snow-shoes—Hat—Mosquito-
bag—Fishing Gear—A good day's Sport     . . . .139
CHAPTER X.
Firearms—Muzzle-loaders—Breech-loaders—Rifles—Revolvers—Shot-belt
versus Pouch—The better Plan for cleaning Guns   . . .    149 CONTENTS. Xlll
CHAPTER XI.
Packing the Train for a start—Driving in—Haltering—Patting on the
Aparejos and ' Saddling up'—Synching—Packing on the Load—The way
to pack Barrels—Slinging—Roping and Covering—Throwing the Riata
and fastening it—Our March—The abandoned Camp—Entering the
Timber—'Stringing out' and Counting—Mules apt to he down if
halted .......       page 158
CHAPTER XII. •
Narrow   Trails—Packmaster   goes   ahead   of the Bell-mare—Mountain
Passes—Bridge-making—Crossing Swamps—Dangerous Corners   .    173
CHAPTER XIIL
How to cross Rivers—Swim Mules—Make Rafts, Canoes, and a Bull-Boat—
The way to cross a River with your Horse, and to Raft your Gun, and
Ammunition, without wetting them-—Camping—Unsaddling—End of the
March ........    184
CHAPTER XIV.
Mustangs: their first appearance in Mexico—Found in Texas, California,
Oregon, British Columbia, and Elsewhere—Breaking a Wild Horse not
an Easy Task—A Wanderer should be his own Manufacturer—The Way
to Make a Lassoo and a Cabresto—Lassooing, Saddling, Mounting, Roping
Wild Cattle—An Exciting Adventure . . . .205
CHAPTER XV.
Winter and Summer Travelling with Dogs—Idlers—Free Fights—Packing
Dogs—The ' Travaille j preferable—How to make and use a Travaille—
The Sleigh and Tobogan—Bone Rings and Toggles—The Way to Harness
your Team—A long Whip desirable—Precautions against Rheumatism—
' Sure Bind Sure Find'—Feeding Dogs—Sore Feet—Merry-Bells .    228
CHAPTER XVI.
The Wild Honey-bee—Bee Hunting—How to line a Bee—Honey Hunting
often a Profitable Employment—Texan Islands—A Hunter's Disgust— XIV
CONTENTS.
Edible Berries—Roots often Poisonous and to be Eaten with Caution—
Substitute for Tobacco—Insects which are devoured by the Red People—
Pemmacan—Preserving Meat—Extractum Carnis: Morgan's system—
Preserving Beef and Mutton fresh—Jerking Beef—Catching and Curing
White-fish and Salmon        , . . . ,       page 244
CHAPTER XVII.
A Puzzle for a Carpenter—To Build a Log-house without Iron—Split-
Shingles—Put on the Roof—Make a Door, Fireplace, and Chimney—
Log Quarters of the Boundary Commission—Effects of Cold—A Caution
to be remembered—To procure a Light from two pieces of Wood—
Getting a Light with a Gun—How to carry Lucifers . .    263
CHAPTER XVIH.
Mosquitoes — Sand-fiies — The Breeze-fly — The Trumpet-flies — Jack-
Spaniards—Stone-Wasps—Rattlt»-S'r.abe Bites—A use for the Rattle—
The Trap-door Spider—The Deer-tick—Leeches in the Mouth       .    273
CHAPTER XIX,
Hints on Taxidermy—What Tools to carry-
Pack the proceeds of the Hunt—The End .
-To  set Fall-trap-
-How to
.    305
Index
319 LIST   OF  ILLUSTRATIONS.
Feontispiece
Vignette
Ceoss-teee Pack-Saddle      .....         PAGB 52
Gbimslby's Pack-Saddle
•     67
Round-topped Apaeejo
.      68
The Gable-ended Apabejo  .
.     70
A Packed Mule
75
Synch, showing the wooden eye
76
Tapujo, ob Blind     .                    '   .
78
Mttle with Blind on
79
Califobnian Riding Saddle
81
Mexican Knot
84
Solid block Stibbup, No. 1
85
Stibbtop made of Bent Wood, No. 2
85
Gun Sling                 ,
87
Indian Pad    ....
89
Cabresto        ....
95
Sibley Tent ....
105
Half-shelteb Tent .
108
Indian Wigwam        .           .           .           .
109
Gable-ended ob Dog-kennel Tent
109
Axeman's Tent
114
Camp Bedstead
116 XVI
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
page
Log Bedstead           .......    117
The way to fold Bedding and Cloths in a watebpboof weappeb    119
Baebel Chaib            .......    121
How to fell a Tbee
124
Logging dp a Tbee   .
127
Tbee-Beidge  .
176
Cedar Canoe
191
Babk Canoe   .
192
Swimming a Hobse   .
193
The Travaille
230
Bone Ring and Toggle
232
Dog Harness
233
Snow Shoe
242
Fbame of a Log-house
264
Splitting a Log fob Shingles
265
Amongst the 'Punktbs'
276
The Bbeezb-fly and Lancets
290 AT  HOME
LN
THE   WILDERNESS.
CHAPTEE I.
Home In the Wilderness and Elsewhere—An Imaginary Journey—
What the Word Packing means—Fitting out for a Journey—
Rules to be observed in the choice of Pack Animals—Geldings
preferable to Mares—Mules killed by Magpies and Blowing-
flies—Beware of Crupper Cuts—What a Hoof ought not to be,
and what it ought to be—Shoeing advisable, if possible—How to
examine the Ejyes—Mules with Defective Vision dangerous to a
degree—Prevalence of 'Cataract''—The way to examine the
Teeth—Parrot-Mouthed Mules always lose condition-1—Never work
Pack Animals thin—* Points' of a good Pack Mule.
I should like to know who is able to boast a more
perfect independence than is he who has learned the
art, for art it most assuredly is, of being 1 at home in the
wilderness.' What cares such a one for quarter-day;
no flinty-hearted landlord threatens to sell him up if
the rent is not paid; that terrible man, the tax-gatherer,
B AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
has no terrors for him, and never 'just looks in' with
his ugly book and an ink-bottle dangling from the coat
button, for his little account, which it is not at all
times convenient to pay. AH the collectors that ever
were, or ever will be, could not in the wilderness
cut off your water supply or stop your light. I quite
agree in opinion with that dweller in the wilds, who,
when the newly-arrived settler boasted that the sun
never set upon England's possessions naively replied,
j Wa'al stranger, that ar likely enough, kase 'tis low'd
by all as cum from thim parts that the tax bos never
camps down to sleep.' At home in the wilderness in
right good earnest you live rent free, pay no taxes,
get fuel for the trouble of cutting it, and water and
light without paying a rate; though surrounded with
an abundance of fish, flesh, and fowl, you are free
from meat bills, nothing to lock into your house,
and no thieves to lock out; front door and latchkey
are useless incumbrances; you wear what you like,
do what you like, go out when you like, come home
when you like, snap your fingers at 'Mrs. Grundy,'
and care less for her evil tongue than the bite of a
mosquito.
To feel that one is at home, though it be in the
wilderness, is always to me a great source of pleasure.
What household word is more cherished than is that of
home ? How delightful are all its associations, in it
how many hopes and joys are hidden; the woods and THE  MAGIC  OF  HOME. 3
•streams dear to us in childhood, the hoary hills and
flower-decked meadows, the old church spire grey with
lichens, the Sabbath bells that were wont to peal so
softly down the valley, are but a few of the links which
unite us to home. Happy memories not to be counted
cling round about it like trailing vines, and living
garlands of brilliant blossoms encircle the brown,
sombre, branchless trunks of tropical palms, adding to
them beauty and usefulness, as prattling children cling
to their parents and make the father's right arm
stronger, g ISTo tongue shall tell what bliss o'erfLows the
mother's tender heart while round her the offspring of
her love lisp her name.' Or to employ a more homely
simile, as the ivy enwraps the crumbling ruin and
entwines its evergreen arms round the sturdy oak, in
like manner the remembrance of home with all its
treasures winds itself at all times round the heart of the
absentee, nor need there be ancestral mansions, broad
lawns, acres of woodlands, rich pastures, fertile
orchards, and gardens, to recall household joys, or to
mark the spot wherein they abide: not a bit of it.
Home is not shut within narrow limits, is not confined to scenes of pleasure, regal splendour, or the
dwellings of the great. Wherever warm hearts are to
be found together, with contentment and a hearty
desire at all times to do the best that can be done
under existing circumstances, health and strength, a
will to work, and an unwavering trust in  God who ■t i
:
4 AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
cares even for the sparrows, there believe me exist the
primal elements, the magic of home.
i Mankind, however fettered and benighted;
Howe'er oppressed by penury and care;
Have their existence by one beacon lighted,
Have still one bliss whieh all may freely share.'
A novice finds travelling terribly perplexing, because
he has no idea of making himself at home, neither does
he discover until stern necessity stares him in the face
how absolutely requisite it is to cultivate a habit of
observing. He must train his eyes until his sight
equals in delicacy of perception the touch of the blind.
Trifles imperceptible to the tyro are to the practised
traveller pages of information, as easily read and comprehended as are those of a printed book. His tread
should be light and stealthy, so as to avoid cracking
fallen branches unnecessarily or rustling the bushes;
nothing should escape his attention. The disturbance of
insects, the switch of a tail, the flap of an ear, the
gleam of an eye, a displaced stone, or a broken twig, are
matters not to be passed lightly by. He must educate
his ears too. The voices of birds, the calls denoting*
love and anger made by different animals, the hum and
buz of insects whether loud and angry, as evidencing
annoyance and irritability, or soft and low as indicative
of peaceful security; the sough of the breeze and the
roar of the torrent must be to the cultivated hearing
of the dweller in the wilderness as understandable as WHAT WE  HAVE  TO  DO.
different musical notes are to the ears of a practised
musician; and to some extent he must be a musician
and ventriloquist of a certain kind himself. He must
acquire the art of imitating sounds ; the amorous bellow
of the lady moose-deer to attract her lord, the plaintive
I bleat' of the fawn to lure the doe, the ' call' of the
wild turkey, and the whistle of the beaver and marmot,
are a few examples selected from a goodly number to
show that to be at home in the wilderness demands
that the dweller therein, to be successful in the pursuit
of game, must needs be a skilful imitator of forest
sounds.
Be it my pleasant duty to act as guide and instructor to all who may feel disposed to wander
through far away lands. Come then with me now, in
imagination—
' To craggy mountains, where the hunter buildeth
His fragile dwelling like an eagle's lair:
To southern climates, where the sunlight gildeth
The vine-clad hills with colours ever fair.
To far off lands, where the savage roameth,
The untutored lord of many a scene sublime :
To groves and glens, to where the ocean foameth;
To every country and to every clime.'
We shall have rough roads and narrow trails to travel,
deep and swift-flowing streams to cross where boats
and bridges are as yet' unknown; we must learn to
build our own houses and provide our larder with
meat, and how to cook it and provide the requisite fuel. AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
We must wield the axe, paddle our canoe, lassoo wild
horses and ' gentle,' and ride them when captured; it is
necessary also that we should be able to ' pack g either
mules or horses, yoke and drive oxen and manage a
team of mules, tramp on snow shoes and harness dogs
to a sleigh; but we shall find out all we have to do as
we jog on our way. And if on the completion of our
imaginary wanderings you have learned to make
yourself at home in the wilderness, the Wanderer will
have fulfilled all he set out to accomplish as guide and
instructor. I have introduced a short story here and
there which will serve to illustrate the district-we are
travelling through, as well as the character of the
savages we shall have to encounter; and it will,
perhaps, too, lighten the tedium of continuous telling
what to do and what to leave undone.
The general equipment of a mule-train, or pack and
saddle horses, if mules are not to be procured, forms by
no means the least valuable part of the experience
which it is absolutely requisite a traveller should
possess. Packing means putting anything and everything, irrespective of shape or size up to a weight of
3001bs., on mule or horseback, and so fastening it that
it shall neither rock nor sway from side to side, shift
backwards up-hill or forwards on a descent, or fall off
if the animal carrying the load stumbles or even rolls
down a hill-side. The same remarks will apply
whether the pack-train consists of four mules or one OUR FIRST TRIP. 7
hundred. Mules are far preferable to horses for all
purposes of transport. And so let us begin by
supposing that we are, say in Upper California.,
'fitting out' for a trip through Southern Oregon, to
cross the Rocky Mountains.
Eirst and foremost, mules must be purchased if we
mean to travel comfortably. If our party does not
exceed three, we shall require five pack-mules, two riding
mules for the packers, three riding mules for ourselves,
and a bell-mare to be ridden by the guide or the cook, or
any outsider attached to the party. In selecting mules,
when purchasing always choose geldings or ' machos,'
as they are usually styled, in preference to mares. The
former are invariably much stronger, keep in better
condition, and are far less liable to those aberrations of
temper which lady mules are in the constant habit of
displaying, much to the packer's annoyance and discomfiture. Be sure to examine carefully the back, arch
of the ribs, under surface of the tail close to the rump;
hoofs, and eyes. If you discover the evidences of previous sores on the back or sides, especially if the skin
■covering the spot or spots looks shiny and polished,
have nothing to do with the mule; the greatest care
will not prevent regalling, and a sore-backed mule is
worse than none at all, because the poor animal travels
in pain and misery all day, if loaded, and gets no rest
or a chance to feed after the day's work is done, in
consequence of the ceaseless persecution inflicted by AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
swarms of flies; and, what is far worse, magpies, if any
are about, will be pretty stire to perch on the back of
the chafed animal, and clinging on by their sharp claws,
peck away at the sore with a sort of fiendish delight.
During our work, when marking the Boundary line, we
had several mules and horses seriously injured by the
magpies, the packers having incautiously turned the
animals out with sores exposed. I observed one of our
mules on the Sumass prairie, near the Eraser River,
British Columbia, rolling madly, but was at a loss to
imagine the cause. As I stood quietly watching "him
he got on his legs, but no sooner was he up than a
couple of magpies which I had not previously noticed
issued from an adjoining bush, swooped down upon the
luckless mule, and commenced again what they had
clearly just left off, literally, and not in mere figure of
speech, to eat him alive. Vain were all the tortured
beast's writhings, kickings, and attempts by mouth and
tail to displace the greedy birds; they hung on with a
perseverance certainly worthy of a better cause. Rolling
was his only chance, but even then his persecutors
simply hopped off patiently to bide another opportunity.
Too much occupied to notice my approach, the two
gourmands permitted me to get within range : a shrill
whistle sent them hurry-scurry from their horrid banquet, for which they paid the penalty of their lives ; I
shot one with each barrel. Their beaks, as I picked
them up, were reeking with the blood of the mule, and .MAGPIES AND' BLOWING FLIES. 9
in one was still grasped a bit of quivering muscle. We
had in our employ a quaint specimen of the thoroughbred woodsman; old ' Pine-knot' we styled him, in compliment to his toughness or powers of endurance; in
other words, he combined within himself the various
crafts of gold-washer, axeman, hunter, packer, trapper,
and rowdy in general. He hated magpies nearly as
much as he loved whisky, and invariably tried his best
to destroy every one he saw. j Darned cusses,' he used
to exclaim, * they'd as leve eat a Injun as a hoss, and
that's more nor a skunk ud do, you may bet high on it.'
To return to our subject. These several causes
rapidly produce loss of condition, and the probability is
the mule will either have to be shot or abandoned; the
former being by far the more charitable course, and one
I should always advise. I have several times discovered
abandoned pack animals in a most pitiable condition.
Once I remember finding a mule on a small open patch
of prairie land in Oregon, which had been left by its
owners in consequence of a stake wound just above the
hoof having produced such, excessive lameness as to
render further rapid progression impossible. Blowing
flies soon found out the sore, laid their eggs, which
were rapidly developed into larvae, or maggots in plain
English, and these had burrowed in every direction,
betwixt the horny hoof and bone, consuming what is
equivalent to that most exquisitely sensitive tissue,
commonly called in man' the quick of the nail,' whilst
J 10
AT HOME IN  THE WILDERNESS.
the helpless animal lived. It makes my heart ache even
now when I recall its look of agony as on three legs
the poor beast limping along said, in language quite as
intelligible as articulated words could have been, 'In
pity help me.' On examining the foot, I found the
hoof was almost detached from its union with the adjoining tissues, which were being rapidly devoured by
the maggots. What was to be done ? No system of
•treatment which I could have adopted would have been
of the slightest avail. Charity whispered, ' End its sufferings as speedily as you can,' which I did by sending a
bullet through its brain.
I could recount many other instances of finding deserted animals enduring horrible sufferings, but this
one will suffice; and I have related it with a view to
induce those who read these lines (should they ever have
occasion to abandon an animal) to kill it at once. As
a general rule it is far more humane than to give an
animal ' a chance for its life.' Tou ask, why it is desirable tp look underneath the tail ? Because ' crupper
cuts' are of common occurrence, and when once a mule's
tail has been badly cut by the sawing motion of the
crupper it never properly heals, and although the wound
may be skinned over, so as to escape the eye of an inexperienced buyer, still no person accustomed to packing
would purchase a mule if signs of ' crupper-cut' were
discoverable.
If the hoofs are worn very much, and the sole and ADVANTAGE  OF SHOEING. 11
frog come flat upon the ground, or if old cracks are to
be seen about the coronets, or if a ridge or ridges of
bone encircle the coronet, commonly called ' ring-bone,'
have nothing to do with the mule; he' will be sure to
work lame the first rough ground you drive him over.
Badly worn hoofs are usually composed of weak poor
horn, and when the wear brings down the lower edge of
the outer horn to its union with the horny sole, small
fragments of gravel are apt to work in, often causing an
incurable lameness. A good hoof should be black, very
oval, and hard as flint. Shoeing pack animals is all
very well, if you can find a shoeing smith, and afford to
pay him a dollar (4s.) a shoe ; hence shod animals are
seldom seen; now and then a favourite riding mule or
horse may be indulged with a set of shoes, if a rough
country has to be travelled over.
The Commission mules and horses were always shod,
but then we had our own soldier shoeing-smiths, and
could afford to do it. One thing I am quite sure of,
shod mules are capable of enduring greater fatigue,
carry a heavier weight, and travel much faster than do
those which are without the iron protection to the feet.
A light shoe, turned up at the heels, steeled at the toes,
and put on firmly with eight nails, is the kind of shoe
I found to answer best for general purposes. Turning
up the heels prevents slipping when going down steep
trails, and saves the flat part of the shoe from a great
deal of wear.
/ AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
A rigid and most careful scrutiny of the eyes is a first
necessity.    To examine them, stand at the mule's side,
shade the eye to be examined with your hand and look
through it from corner to corner, then place yourself in
front, and peer into the interior of the eye as you would
into a well if seeking for truth at the bottom of it.
Should you discover any pearly-looking specks, like tiny
white beads, at once reject him.    Mules are extremely
liable to ' cataract,' and a mule with defective vision is
dangerous to a degree; not only does he risk his own
life, by shying  on narrow trails, and perhaps falling
over a cliff into a river, or down a vertical wall of rocks,,
nobody knows where, with the freight and packing gear;
but by suddenly backing or halting, the mules following
close to him are stopped suddenly, trails being very
seldom wide enough for one mule to pass by another.
The hinder mules in the train, immediately there is a
halt, as if actuated by a vicious determination to push
each other over, crowd on upon those that are obliged
to stop in consequence of the semi-blind mule refusing to
proceed, from dread of some imaginary object, produced
by defective vision.    The result of all this usually is,
that two or three good mules may be either killed or
dangerously hurt, in  consequence of your purchasing
a bad mule with unsound eyes.
Another thing a dim-sighted mule does is to run
against the trees with his load, and if he happens to be
carrying a box, or anything breakable, smash it goes, THE WAY TO  EXAMINE MULlS, 13
to a certainty. In examining large bands of mules, in
California and elsewhere, when purchasing for the
Government Boundary Commission transport, I was
astonished to find so many had ' cataract.' Why this
should be I cannot tell, excepting the disease is inherited. ;
Old and worn-out mares are frequently, though unwisely,
thought good enough to ' raise ' a mule from; and overridden ' mustangs' are usually turned out to take their
chance in wet or cold, and from this cause are extremely
liable to inflammatory affections of the eyes, which generally ends in the formation of ' cataract.' Hence, I
am disposed to attribute the frequency of the disease,
in young mules, to inheritance; although blows from
the packers' whips, or ophthalmia produced by cold and
exposure to inclement weather, may be, and I feel
sure often is, the cause of the disease in older and hard-
worked animals.
We complete our examination by taking a peep at
the teeth; it is very seldom pack-mules will allow any
liberties to be taken with their mouths, and they always
manifest a very decided objection to showing their
incisors. If you have a quiet horse to deal with,
nothing is easier than to place a finger behind the tusk,
or tush, or in the space betwixt the grinding and
■cutting teeth if it be a mare, then to raise the lips with
the left hand, and by the wearing down of the ' marks'
find out the age; but with ill-disposed mules the case
is altogether different, you might as reasonably expect 14
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
!
to pull your finger from the snap of a steel trap
unscathed as for it to escape from out a mule's mouth
without being bitten. Tame old riding and team
mules are often docile enough to permit any liberty to
be taken with them, but never trust one that is used
only for packing. The safer way to manage the rascal,
so as to be enabled to look into his mouth, is first
firmly to seize the near-side ear with the right hand, and
with the left hand grasp the upper lip, nose and all,
then lean the hip against the mule's shoulder and bring
the nose toward you. In this way one can generally
obtain a peep at the front or incisor teeth.
, By keeping the hip jammed tightly to the animal's
shoulder you avoid the risk of its striking you with the
fore feet, for let me tell you these pack animals are
quite as handy with their fore hoofs as a prize-fighter
is with his fists.
It is not of any material moment to know whether a
mule is three or five years old, so that you know he is
not very aged. For packing, I prefer mules between five
and seven years old to younger animals. There is yet;
another reason, besides that appertaining to age, which
renders a scrutiny of the mouth indispensable. What
are called ' parrot-mouthed' mules are far from being
uncommon; in this case the upper cutting teeth overlap, and instead of meeting, shut down outside the
under ones. This deformity is most objectionable;
experience has proved that wherever grass is  short, WHY MULES. WORK THIN. 15
or the general herbage scanty, parrot-mouthed mules
invariably lose condition.
Here will be as good a place as any to caution all
young travellers against ' working their pack animals
thin.' So long as mules retain their rotundity and
plumpness, the sure signs of good condition, there is
very little fear of galling them, unless it happens or
arises from the most reprehensible carelessness on the
part of the packers ; but let your mules once get thin,
from over-driving, over-loading, or from either of the
causes previously pointed out—which faults should,
or' at any rate ought to have been discovered in the
examination prior to purchasing—and all the care and
skill the most practised hands are able to adopt will not
prevent the occurrence of galled backs and chafed ribs.
Numbers of mules in large pack trains are found by
their packers to ' work thin,' from some cause or other
not discoverable. Such animals are always discarded,
and when placed in pasture .where the grass is long,
there, with plenty to eat and nothing to do, they soon
fatten, and are finally disposed of to the unwary. A
pack mule should be short upon the legs, strong and
rather arched along the back, thick in the shoulders
and muscular about the loins. The hoofs should be
small and black, and the hocks straight and fine, without any tendency to bend inwards, or what is technically
designated 'cow-hocked.' He shouldhave bright full eyes,
sharp teeth, a good long swishy tail, and a sound skin. 1G
AT ,HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
CHAPTER IL
Average worth of Pack Mules—Mortality in Cold Regions—Poisonous
effects of the Horse-tail Bush (equisetum)—Advantages of Sheds
and Dryth—The Bell-mare—Value of a Horse's Tail—Branding.
We have fixed on the mules we intend to purchase,
and agreed with the seller as to the price to be paid,
which, on a rough average, will amount to about 120
dollars (25Z.) to 150 dollars (303.) per head. If mules
are purchased in Sonora or Texas, unbroken, or only,
partially tamed, and driven up into California at the
buyer's risk, they may be obtained at a much less cost
than I have quoted as the average price current in
Upper California. I was sent from Yanoouver's Island
into California especially to purchase a band of eighty
mules for the Boundary Commission, which cost, one
with another, 120 dollars per head. Like all other
marketable matters, mules rise and fall in value, in
accordance with the demand and supply, or in the
ratio of successful gold-hunting. Whenever mining is
prosperous mules are dear; when the miners are ' down
upon their luck,' mules can be obtained at comparatively small prices. EFFECTS  OF FOOD AND  CLIMATE.
17
In cold regions the mortality is something awful
during the winter, and in that way the value is often
increased. It may be interesting to mention as an
instance of this, and as an example how differences
of food and climate affect mules, which are generally
supposed to be hardy to a proverb, (a most erroneous
idea, by the way), that during the time we were at work
on the Boundary line, west of the Cascade mountains,
the gold discoveries on the Eraser River 'Bars' attracted
a vast concourse of miners, and consequently mule
trains, for the purpose of supplying the diggers'
necessities. When the cold weather came on the
mule trains were, nearly every one, driven down to
the Sumass and Chilukweyuk prairies, in order to
winter the animals. The grass was in great abundance, and small sheds were run up with g wickey and
mud,' (twined branches plastered with clay or mud), to
protect the mules, whilst the owners or packers in
charge built themselves log shanties; and thus provided, no apprehensions were entertained but that all
would go on as ' merry as a marriage bell.'
But the too sanguine Californians little dreamed
what the winters were like in British Columbia; snow
rapidly covered up the grass far too deeply for the
mules to dig it away with their feet, in order to reach
the buried herbage. No dry fodder had been provided
to meet this contingency, so, in the absence of all other
kinds of foliage, the hungry mules began to devour 18
■AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
the large patches of equisetwm, or horse-tail rush,
which covered many acres of ground under the trees,
by the river side, and around the swampy edges of the
bush; being in a great measure protected by the trees,
and growing often to a height of six feet, it was easily
comeatable above the snow. The effect of this plant
was perfectly astounding. As soon as the mules began
to eat it they were seized with a disease precisely
resembling Asiatic cholera; the most violent purging
came on, accompanied with cramp, rigors, utter prostration, and speedy death. I More than five hundred mules
died on these two prairies in less than a month. What
the cause of this poisonous effect might have been I
am puzzled to say. My impression at the time was,
that the animals' stomachs and intestines being comparatively empty, and at the same time the general
tolerance of the system being further weakened by
the excessive cold and lack of requisite food rich in
carbon, the flinty covering of the rush acted mechanically as a mineral irritant to the mucous lining of
the alimentary canal, producing dysentery of a most
violent character. This is simply a theory, and must
be estimated only as such. I mention the fact incidentally as a warning to travellers, who may perchance
be placed in a like disagreeable and ruinous position.
I have often seen the mules eat this horse-tail rush
during the summer, when mixed with other food, and
then no ill effects accrued from it. ADVANTAGES OF  A  DRY BED.
19
I wintered all the Commission mules and horses
during the following winter on the same prairies, and
with signal success; but I had grown wiser by having
witnessed the misfortunes of others. So I took the
precaution to have a requisite supply of the long grass
mowed and converted into hay during the summer, and
likewise a supply of barley safely housed in a log store,
which grain was brought all the way from Chili to
Vancouver Island, and thence up the Eraser and
Sumass rivers, by boat, to be finally landed • on this
desert prairie. I had a large square enclosed with
open sheds, in which the animals were fed and kept,
being driven out only to ice-holes cut in the stream,
twice every day, to drink.
The grand secret of wintering animals successfully
in very cold districts is, I am convinced, to insure their
always having a dry bed to He on, and shelter from
anything, falling from the heavens. Cold, however
intense, (I have wintered mules, horses, and cattle when
the temperature has been 32° below zero), never does
them anv harm, so long as their bodies are dry and
they have plenty to eat. Wet and currents of frosty
air do all the mischief, not the intensity of dry cold.
Every one of my animals living in the open sheds were
healthier, and less predisposed to colds and lung affections than were those more closely shut up.
After this little digression, we must go in pursuit of
the next essential, and that is a 'bell mare.'   .With a
L so
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
train of mules, if the number of animals composing it
exceeds three or four, you must have a ' bell mare.' A
small band of mules can be either hobbled or tethered
when you are camping; with a large number this
system is impracticable. Experience has taught the
packers that mules will follow a mare or gelding, (the
former being always preferred), should it have a bell
tied round its neck, wherever it goes; more than this,
at night, when camping, all you have to do is to secure
the 'bell mare,' either .by hobbling or tethering her,
and the mules will very rarely graze further away than
they can distinctly hear the bell, which is always tinkling so long as the mare is eating or wandering about.
When the bell ceases, in consequence of the mare's
lying down, the mules also lie down and take their rest.
When the mare gets up, and the bell begins to ring,
the mules also arise and again commence feeding.
The ' bell mare' always precedes the mule train, and is
ridden by the cook as a rule. Her pace regulates that
of the train, and must be most carefully watched by
whomsoever has the charge of the train. Over-driving,
as I have before said, is most hurtful to loaded animals.
Erom what I have stated in reference to this said
' bell mare,' it is quite clear we must be very careful
in the selection of the lady to be honoured with such
an unruly family. In the first place she must be
perfectly gentle, and not very young; young mares are
given to ramble   and very often   get   amorous fits. THE BELL MARE.
21
Whilst this lasts, all discipline is to a great extent
at an end amongst the pack of mules; they one and all
(that is, the geldings) become like Ingoldsby's abbot,
when seated by the devil, disguised as a fair lady,
g less pious and more polite.' She must not be vicious
or given to kicking. A fight grey, if we can get her of
that colour, is by far the best, because she is much more
readily seen, when browsing among trees; and about
fourteen hands, or fourteen hands two inches, is the
more preferable size. Her back must be free from galls,
her eyes sound, and, what is of more value than you
who have not earned experience can well imagine,
she must have a very long, thick, and bushy tail: a
short-tailed mare is sure to wander, if she can, or keep
fidgeting all night long; if tethered securely the bell is
never still, and the mules do not rest, whereas a long-
tailed mare easily whips off the flies that so terribly
torment animals night and day, and thus rests herself,
and induces the mules to rest at the same time. I
shall have more to say about the ' bell' when we come
to camping, crossing streams, and packing. The price
we shall have to pay for her will be about fifty dollars
(10?.), or perhaps rather more.
In proof of the value of a horse's tail, in a country
infested with blood-sucking flies, I may state that I
once, when at Walla-Walla, a small steamer-landing
and town, situated at the head of navigation on the
Columbia River, purchased a ' Siskyoo horse,'  which 22
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
means a horse with its ears cropped short, like a
terrier's, and the tail cut off close up to the rump.
This is, or once was, a common custom with the
Siskyoo Indians, and all horses so trimmed are designated by the generic term of ' Siskyoo.' The object
of this barbarous custom was to enable these Indians
easily to recognise their own horses if stolen, and
subsequently discovered herding with other bands.
Horse-stealing is the primary cause of nearly every
Indian war and quarrel.
The poor ' Siskyoo' beast, although as perfect a cob
as any man need have looked on, was nevertheless
utterly valueless during the summer; unable to whip
away his tormentors, they worried him with impunity,
until want of rest and continuous irritation reduced
him well-nigh to a skeleton.    'When found make a
note of .'   Always look out for long-tailed mules
and horses in a fly-country.
I happened to stumble upon the following strange
adventure during my stay at New Walla-Walla:—
' Colonel, I guess thar's two imigrants a waitin to
see you, just a starvin, narry shoe on, and mighty near
skeert to death.'   So said Sergeant to Colonel	
as we sat at mess, on a cold bleak autumn evening, in
the mess-room at New Walla-Walla.
\ What may be their business, Sergeant ?' inquired
the Colonel.
' Waal, it aint easy to make out; thar Britishers, and
talk tall about Injens, muder, and risin har, and ' THE  CAPTAIN S  STORY.
23
'Very well,' said the Colonel, 'bring them to my
quarters after they have been rationed by the Quarter-,
master.'
I may as well briefly explain, for the enlightenment
of my readers, where Walla-Walla is situated, and by
what sequence of events it happened that I was located
in so remote a place.
The clear swift-flowing stream, with its double name
Walla-Walla, so called by a tribe of Red Indians living
on its banks, (the name, by the way, translated into
English, means ever-bright and sparkling), winds in
crooked course through a vast sandy plain, to mingle
its waters with those of the Columbia River, at a
distance of quite 700 miles from the sea. The steamer
lands all adventurous wanderers who may chance to
peril themselves in so desolate a country at Old Walla-
Walla, which is the head of navigation on the Columbia, and Old Walla-Walla was once a fort, not as we
are prone to picture a fort, battlemented and bristling
with guns, but was simply a square enclosed by mud or
adobe walls, containing a few miserable hovels, which
were once tenanted by the fur-traders in the employ
of the Hudson's Bay Company; but the Red Skins-
being by far too hostile to be trusted, or traded with,
the fur-traders were eventually driven from their fort,
the crumbling remains of " which now only adds its
own to that of the surrounding desolation. The traveller is turned out from the steamer to take his chance 24
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
(i; I
of getting somehow to New Walla-Walla as best
he can, by a four-horse machine called a stage. The
distance is thirty miles straight over a treeless sandy
plain, on which nothing grows save stunted wild sage
(or artemisia), where there is no trace of a road, and the
wind always blows in one's face, and being heavily
freighted with fine sand, together with small pebbles,
manages to discharge its cargo into the wayfarer's ears,
nose, pockets, and will penetrate his watch if he is
fortunate enough to possess one. Let him but venture
to close his mouth, and the meeting teeth grind away
upon a stratum of flinty sand, as though one had
indulged in a scouring brick for luncheon. '
The stage, tugged along by four horses, is so constructed with straps and springs as to be in reality a most
ingenious contrivance for dislocating limbs and pitching
a passenger head first against the opposite side of the
unpadded interior, or into the stomach of a vis-a-vis,
should there be any such unfortunate individual to be
pitched into. The probability is, however, that the compliment may be returned at any unexpected moment
if a tight hold-fast is not maintained by your friend
opposite on the strong leather loops, which dangle in
every direction, like ropes for the drowning, ready for
any emergency.
If any one can endure this continued trapeze performance for about four or five hours, the probabilites are
in favour of his reaching New Walla-Walla in about NEW WALLA-WALLA CITY. 25
the same condition as a person may be supposed to
arrive at after being vigorously tossed in a blanket for
a short time by muscular rustics
New Walla-Walla' city' stands on a sandy shingly flat.
The small amount of grass visible looks as dry as hay,
and excepting a clump of dwarfed and stunted-looking
trees, which seem so bent and emaciated that one is led
to imagine the trees must have been the victims of a
chronic rheumatism or a perpetual cramp, not a particle of any other wood is discoverable, as far as eye can
scan the dismal extent of arid waste, in the very midst
of which this ' city ' is built. Cities in this part of the
world are only such in name; squares, terraces, crescents, busy streets, and massive mansions crowded with
civic dignitaries are not by any means essential
requirements. In this particular instance the city of
New Walla-Walla consisted of not more than thirty
houses, all constructed of unplaned planks or ' lumber,'
so called, the style of architecture, being solely in
accordance with the tastes or inventive genius of
the builder, of the most varied and questionable
character, forcibly reminded one of booths on a racecourse wherein thirsty pleasure seekers regale themselves, rather than of houses, a resemblance rendered the
more striking by the motley throng riding, lounging,
and sitting in groups, amidst the houses in the ' main I
street, a straight dusty thoroughfare, towards which
most of the houses faced.   I enter a gaudy bar-room
L \w
26
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
all aglitter with tinselly finery, bright-coloured glass
bottles, and small brigades of decanters fitted with
strange-looking stoppers which let out the contained
poison, disguised as whisky, by a kmd of machinery,
and near them arrays of smeary drinking vessels stand
in quartets, together with jugs of cold water like sentries
ready by. At the shortest notice drinks can be indulged in; for all classes in Walla-Walla city, if in
possession of the all-powerful dollar, take drinks. On
every occasion a man imbibes : when he is sorry, when
he is joyful, when swamped by'disappointment or floated
by prosperity. Men cement their friendships with gin
cock-tails and juleps, and terminate acquaintances and
disagreements in a 'Brandy Smash.' The mourner,
drinks with those who do not grieve, and they drink
simply because the mourner asks them. If the god--
| dess of Liberty were seen strolling through Walla-
Walla I feel sure somebody would immediately ask her
to take an eye-opener. Behind the bar-counter a gorgeous individual is conspicuous at all times, radiant in
smiles, shirt front, studs and rings, whose greatest accomplishment appears to consist in the ability to toss cold
drinks from one tin cup into another without spilling
any. He usually has an immense cigar ' stowed' away
in the corner of his mouth, one half of which is chewed,
whilst the other is puffed slowly away. Leaving the
bar I see 'billiard saloon' in letters which he who
runs  can read,  and wonder as well I may by what A QUEER MATCH.
27
means a billiard table could have been brought here, and
still further, who the'individuals can be who are likely to
play on it. A peep in to the ' billiard saloon,' and the
mystery at once ends. Why, everybody plays, from the
darky boy who polishes your boots, or the barber who
does the easy shaving, up to the colonel commanding
the ' military post,' and it is just as likely as not, you
may witness a match, if you sit and take a drink in the
saloon, betwixt a ' bummer' with ' narry a cent' in his
pocket, or clothes on his back worth pillaging from off a
scarecrow, and a military officer in full uniform. Strolling still further through the city, stores, groceries,
'barbers' saloons,' livery stables, places alike all astir
with the bustle of business, are respectively passed.
This quaint little place, I am told, owes its origin to two
causes, one the discovery of gold on the Cold-water
and Burnt Rivers, tributaries to the Snake River, and
. both of which head from the slopes of the Blue mountains. Like the magnetic mountain of Sinbad's travels
which dragged nails out of ships, and a man, if he had
iron on his boots, straight up against its side, where he
was held like a fly on a wall, so with speed or power
as potent, the prospect of obtaining gold drew adventurers to New Walla-Walla, from whence they procured the necessary articles for fitting out, to sink or
swim, in their struggles for fortune. The ' American
garrison,' or ' military post,' is situate about a mile from
the city on a patch of rising ground, close to a small creek. 28
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
or' crik,' as Transatlantics usually pronounce the word.
A troop of dragoons, and three, or sometimes four companies of infantry, are usually stationed at this outpost,
their duty being that of protecting settlers against
Indian incursions. The soldiers are a great support to
the citizens, notwithstanding the very admirable system
adopted by the United States military authorities of
having a sutler, or in other words, appointing a civilian,
whose duty it is to supply all requisites to officers and
men, up to a certain fixed amount, at a regular tariff,
for which he is paid at the pay-table of the regiment.
Should the sutler, however, trust any soldier to an
amount beyond his pay he must lose it, the paymaster
being only responsible for goods supplied up to the regulation amount. The sutler's store is always a great
lounging place, and as he sells drinks, in some measure
on the sly, it very materially lessens the crop of small
coin which would be otherwise reaped by the Walla-
Walla citizens, as the sutler being nearest to home gets
the first produce, if not the entire harvest. The 1 Post'
was neatly laid out, in shape a very large square, the
centre being the drill ground; the sides were appropriated to officers' quarters; barracks for the men, and
the quartermaster's stores. All the houses were made
of planks planed, painted, and fitted with very capital
glazed windows. I was staying there for a time, the
guest of the officers, awaiting means of transport to
reach the dalles en route to Portland. THE EMIGRANTS   STORY.
The Sergeant comes to the Colonel's quarters and
says the two strangers are awaiting admittance, whose
story I am all curiosity to listen to.    As we await, their
appearance, the Colonel said,' Captain I'll bet fifty
dollars those rascally Snake Indians have been playing
havoc again amongst the emigrants. If they have, as
sure as I live, every loafer of them I catch shall .'
The door just then opened, and so cut? short the
Colonel's threat. Staggering'from sheer weakness, and
with travel-worn feet, two men, each about thirty years
of age, tottered in, marshalled by the Sergeant. I need
not be wearisome by relating, word for word, all that was
said. Their sad story was briefly as follows. Early in
the summer, a party consisting in all of forty souls,
started from the Red River district, their purpose being
to reach the rich valley of the Wilhamet River, therein
to establish themselves, pre-empt farms, and reap the
harvest its fertile land usually yields to all who indusr
triously develope its agricultural capabilities. All were
hale, hearty, and in the springtime of life, most of them
being inarried couples and blessed with sturdy young
olive branches. Their equipment was most complete,
and carried, as were the women and children, in strong
wagons, drawn each by six or eight yoke of powerful
oxen. For many weary weeks this band of hopeful
travellers had found their way along the barren route
leading across the great American desert. Rivers were
successfully swam or forded, rocky passes tugged and 30
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
toiled over; an occasional buffalo stalk or a tramp
after a wapiti, were the only incidents which relieved the
monotony of the journey. Indians were the enemies to be
dreaded, but on the plains where the travellers fully anticipated seeing these marauders none had been observed.
Hope, like a cloud with a golden lining, gleamed brightly
and cheerily before them, as, deeming danger well nigh
at an end, they wended their way down the craggy
slopes west of the Rocky Mountains, to follow the course
of the Snake River, and ford it at the only practicable spot, which is very near to its junction with the
Salmon River, a crossing known as the 'Emigrants'
Eord' of the Snake River. The long-desired fording
place is at length reached, but too late to risk
the somewhat dangerous task of crossing so swift a
stream until the morrow's light lends its aid. The
emigrants encamp on the bank of the river, and chat
cheerfully by the flickering firelight of dangers surmounted, and hopefully of the easy journey before them.
Once across the river they are safe, as the route is free
from any-further obstacle of importance to Walla-Walla.
Their gossip is suddenly interrupted by the appearance
of several ' Snake Indians.'
Not a little alarmed, the poor emigrants make signs
of friendship, which'the Red Skins readily return; they
smoke the pipe of good fellowship together, do a little
barter for meat and fish, giving in exchange tobacco and
beads, and then the Indians vanish into the darkness FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE SAVAGES.
31
and are seen no more that night. As there were only
a few savages, no great apprehension was entertained
of an attack; still additional precautions were taken,
and a sharp watch kept during the night, so as to avoid
any chance of a sudden surprise. The dreary hours of
the night one by one rolled by, until the grey bight in
the east, tipping as with frosted silver every peak and
ridge, proclaimed the advent of another day. Everything was still, no sign of savages visible, nothing but
the mellow notes of some early songster, the-weird wail
of the loon, or the thrum of some benighted beetle,
hurrying home to hide ere the coming fight betrayed
him, disturbed the stillness of surrounding nature. The
sentries rouse the sleepers, most of them far away in
dreamland, amidst friends and parents; others in fancy
perhaps are wandering once more in the paths so often
trodden afore-time, amidst fields and flowers, listening
it may be to the prattlings of infancy or the healthful
mellow voices of youth, scenes alike deeply engraven on
memory's tablets, and rendered dear to the dreamer by
a thousand and one pleasant remembrances.
All are up and busy, the men yoking the oxen and
preparing to ford the river; the women and children are
occupied packing the camp and cooking equipment and
preparing for the somewhat difficult process of ferrying
the stream. The plan of crossing is to unload partly some
of the wagons, and to attach a double or treble team of
oxen to each.    Eirst of all the women and children are 32
AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
taken across the stream and left on the opposite bank;
then the wagons, entirely emptied, are recrossed for the
rest of the freight. So by slow and sure degrees, all
hands, together with their worldly wealth, are safe on a
grassy plateau which stretches away before them for
about four miles, to reach the wooded slopes of a low
range of hills, known as the' Blue Mountains.' The sun
was high ere the oxen were again yoked up. A short
march only is contemplated, by way of reaching the
timber, and crossing a low divide, in order to arrive
at a rivulet of water running through a narrow valley
on the other side, in which they intended camping—
a favourite camping place for travelling parties, and
known as the ' Emigrant Camp.'
Not a trace or sign of Indians had been observed
during the morning, and in the buoyancy of their
spirits, consequent on an imaginary safety, the little
band of wanderers, forgetting to take even ordinary
precautions, were riding along on their wagons, singing, laughing, joking, carelessly happy, dreading nothing. Suddenly, on nearing the thick pine forest, a
yell, as though numberless demons were shrieking in
wild delight, momentarily preceded the rush of some
eighty mounted' Snake Indians,' who, issuing in detachments from various openings in the trees, completely
surrounded the wagon train, and fired a mixed volley
of arrows and bullets in amongst the fright-stricken
emigrants before they well knew what had befallen them. ESCAPE  OF THE  TWO MEN.
33
Several dropped badly wounded, but the remainder
fought bravely, so soon as they rallied from the sudden
panic into which they were thrown; even the women
fired from out the wagons at the ruthless Red Skins,
but all to no purpose; one after another the men were
shot down and scalped, the children killed, and the
women dragged away to endure a fate too horrible to
name. The oxen were speedily set at liberty, the
wagons, despoiled of all the savages felt disposed to
steal, were set on fire, and reeking with their bloody
spoils the band of murderers rode away to the ford,
driving before them every one of the bewildered bullocks.
The two men who related this harrowing story to the
Colonel and myself managed to creep in to the bush
during the melee, and when they saw the Indians decamp made the best of their way to Walla-Walla. The
poor heart-broken fellows had subsisted entirely on
berries, gathered as they walked along shoeless, footsore, starving and pennyless—their wives murdered,
childless, and broken in heart and spirits. Their
terrible misfortunes would have awakened the sympathies of any man, if his heart had been of adamantine
•hardness.
Further questioning elicited many small matters of
detail which, linked together, rendered it extremely
probable that there were women, if not men, surviving this brutal cowardly massacre; and that there
was likewise a remote probability they might be found
D 34
AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
if sought after. This decided on, the Colonel without a
moment's delay made known the story; volunteers were
not tardy in offering their services. Indeed I may truly
say that the whole garrison to a man would have turned
out if it could have been permitted, although the fall of
the first snow was daily expected and the journey would
necessarily be not cold only but an extremely risky one.
A chosen few were selected, and placed under my
command. A small train of lightly packed mules were
to accompany the mounted troopers, in order to carry
rations, clothing for the women if any of them should
be found alive, and the doctor's requisites, to be ready in
case of need. One of the men who had escaped was also
mounted on a powerful horse, and placed under the ;
special charge of the kind old Sergeant, who begged so
hard for leave to make one of the party, in order to help
as he said ' jist to lynch up any darned skunk of a	
(imagine a strong adjective) Red Skin they could skeer
up,' that the Colonel, though very reluctantly, at last consented. All these arrangements were soon completed in
the morning, and with hearty wishes for our safe return
and the deepest execrations human nature could devise
levelled against all red skins, we trotted briskly out of
the garrison square and away over the sandy plain,
towards the Blue Mountains, dimly visible in the distance. As we rode through a small encampment of
friendly Walla-Walla Indians we picked up a guide, a
queer-looking old savage, well known at the military OLD AUGER-EYE.
35
post as a first-rate hunter and tracker, but, having
naturally a rather grotesque twist in his vision, the
familiar sobriquet by which he was usually known was
that of Old Auger-eye. Taking his station at the head
of the cavalcade, and being mounted on a remarkably
fine skew-balled horse, most conspicuous for its distinct
.markings of white and rich red-brown, the Red man
looked remarkably like the ' Wild Hunter of the
Prairies' as he was once to be seen at monster shows,*
only that the real hunter wore a ragged old uniform
shell jacket and the broadest brimmed ' wide-awake '
hat I ever saw, a costume which destroyed to some
extent the ' Circus Wild Hunter ' and Auger-eye's
similarity.
It was very nearly dark when we halted to encamp;
we had no tents, so each had to pillow his head on his
saddle, and fit himself into inequalities of the ground as
best he could. According to our guide's statement, we
could not possibly reach our destination in less than
four days from this, our first camp ; and as the rivers
were aflood, it might be that we should be detained an
additional day, or perhaps more, in order to raft them.
Thus sixteen or seventeen days would have elapsed
from the time of the massacre; and if any of the
women had escaped, it was more than likely they
must perish from starvation before we could arrive
with the needful succour.    Still the very sight of the
* Circuses.
d 2 36
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
poor feeble man, shaken to the very centre with terror
and grief, seemed to rouse the soldiers into ungovernable
fury, and I felt quite sure if by chance any ' Snake
Indians' fell into their hands, but little time would be
given them for explanation or repentance. The orders
were positive that all Indians taken alive should be
brought back to the Post as prisoners, an order I
well knew the soldiers would never obey.
Just as Auger-eye had predicted, two, nay nearly three
days, were lost in rafting the horse and mule gear over
the swollen streams ; thus nearly a week had flown by
when darkness compelled us to camp very near the scene
of this terrible murder. Each watched eagerly for the
first ray of dawn, no one appeared disposed to sleep,
but preferred to sit moodily by the smouldering embers.,
Few sounds disturbed the intense silence of the night
save the trampling of the tethered animals, the occasional
snort of a horse as something tickled its nose, the
continued munch-munch as they all greedily cropped
the succulent herbage, the distant bay of the wolves,
and now and then the startling shriek of the night
owl as it skimmed with muffled wings over the silent
group. I never remember so long a night; I began to
think morning had put off coming at all, and really
envied old Auger-eye, who was coiled up and sleeping
for all the world like a dog. The wished for light
came at last, and long ere the sun's rays came fairly
over the hills we had ' saddled np ' and were cantering A HORRIBLE  SCENE.
37
rapidly through the timber, to come out on the open
plateau leading to the ford at the upper fork of the
Snake River.
As we neared the line where the forest ended and
the prairie land began, the pace increased to almost a
race, each appearing to think he ought to be first to
discover a survivor, or reek vengeance on a Red Skin.
Hence it happened that every one selected a path for
himself, and the detachment dashed from amidst the pine
trees scattered like a flight of frightened birds. It was
my fate, I cannot Say good fortune, to emerge on the very
spot whereon the terrible butchery had been perpetrated.
Once in a lifetime is quite often enough to witness such
a scene as I was in the midst of. Numbers of bodies of
both sexes, many of them those of children, lay grim
and ghastly upon the bright green grass in all sorts
of positions. Vitality flown, chemistry had begun its
work of destruction, and lending their aid as general
removers of nuisances were vultures, ravens, wolves, and
a host of lesser flesh feeders, together with their
diminutive yet powerful assistants belonging to the
scavenger brigade of the insect army. All the adults
had been scalped, and many cleft skulls showed that
the savages had brained with a tomahawk or hatchet
the wounded and disabled. I will not sicken you by
lingering here, it would be only painful to relate all
the terrible evidences of brutality we saw, as wandering
about amidst the dead bodies, cindered wagons, and 38
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
spoiled property useless to the savages, we realised to
the full what a scene of carnage the fight must have
been.
Whilst the men were occupied in digging a large
pit, into which the remains of the dead were to be
deposited, old ' Auger-eye ' had been cautiously circling
round the spot, and might be seen every now and then
down upon his knees peering intently at the ground. At
last he appeared to have discovered something; beckoning me, he at the same time pointed in the direction of
the upward course of the river. All hands were so eager
to learn what discovery the old tracker had lighted on,
that persuasion and command failed alike to induce
them to continue at the work on which they were
engaged. Dropping their tools they crowded round the
old man, and scarcely venturing to breathe, intently
listened to what he was saying. In the figurative style
common to all Indian languages, the old savage stated
his opinion to be that three, if not four, white people
had crossed the plateau after the fight, and by the
appearance of their trail were making for the river.
Children had accompanied them, but he could not say
whether two or three. He also stated that he had
made out, from a careful reading of Nature's book,
that Indians had visited the place since the fight,
and that in all likelihood they too had struck this
same trail and followed it up the river. Their signs
told him they had not passed more than three suns ago j THE GUIDE S READINGS.
29
further, if the Indians had not discovered the fugitives,
we should most likely capture the ruffians by dividing
our party, sending some of them across the ford, to scout
up the right bank of the stream, whilst others were to
keep close to it on the side Ave were. A third party
was ordered to make a short circuit through the bush
and again strike in upon the river a few miles farther
up its course, at which place of rendezvous the different parties would eventually meet. The opinion being
unanimous that no time should be lost, it was arranged
that some of the detachment should return on our
homeward route, to complete the sad task so summarily
abandoned.
Thirsting for a speedy revenge, the men at once
divided. With Auger-eye as guide I took command
of the detachment who had to search the river-bank ;
the old Sergeant commanded the scouting party told
off to cross the ford and scour the timber, on the right
side of the river; whilst the third band was appropriated to the Doctor. The weather was cold, and the
sky, thickly covered with fleecy clouds, foreboded a
heavy fall of snow. The wind blew in fitful gusts, and
seemed to chill one's blood with its icy breath as
sweeping past it went whistling and sighing up the
glen. The rattle of the horses' hoofs as the receding
parties galloped over the turf grew fainter and fainter,
and when our little band halted on a sandy reach, about
a mile up the river, not a sound was audible save the 40
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
steady rhythm of. the panting horses and the noisy
rattle of the stream, as tumbling over the craggy rocks
it rippled on its course. The 'Tracker' was again
down; this time creeping along upon the sand, on his
hands and knees, and deliberately and carefully examining the marks left on its impressible surface, which
to his practised eye were in reality letters, nay, even
readable words and sentences. As we watched this
tardy progress in impatient silence, suddenly, as if
stung by some poisonous reptile, the Indian sprang
upon his legs and making eager signs for us to approach
pointed at the same time eagerly to something a short
distance beyond where he stood. A nearer* approach
revealed a tiny hand and part of an arm, pushed
through the sand.
At first we imagined the parent, whether male or
female, had thus roughly buried the child—a consolatory
assumption Auger-eye soon destroyed. Scraping away
the sand partially hiding the dead boy, he placed his
finger on a deep cleft in the skull, which told at
once its own miserable tale. This discovery clearly
proved that the old guide was correct in his readings
that the savages were following up the trail of the
survivors. The man who had escaped and brought us
the intelligence appeared so utterly terror stricken at
this discovery that it was with difficulty he could be
supported on his horse by the strong troopers who rode
beside him.   We tarried not for additional signs, but THE  FUGITIVE GIRL.
pushed on with all possible haste. The trail was rough,
stony, and over a ledge of basaltic rocks, rendering
progression not only tedious but difficult and dangerous
a false step of the horse, and the result might have
proved fatal to the rider. The guide spurs on his Indian
mustang, that like a goat scrambles over the craggy
track; for a moment or two he disappears, being hidden
by a jutting rock; we hear him yell a sort of ' war-
whoop,' awakening the echoes in the encircling hills;
reckless of falling, we too spur on, dash round the
splintered point, and slide rather than canter down a
shelving bank, to reach a second sand beach, over
which the guide is galloping and shouting. We can see
the fluttering garments of a girl, who is running with
all her might towards the pine trees; she disappears
amongst the thick foliage of the underbrush ere the
guide can come up to her, but leaping from off his
horse he follows her closely, and notes the spot wherein
she has hidden herself amidst a tangle of creeping vines
and maple bushes.
He awaited our coming, and, motioning us to surround the place of concealment quickly, remained still
as a statue whilst we arranged our little detachment so
as to preclude any chance of an escape. Then gliding
noiselessly as a reptile through the bushes, he was soon
hidden. It appeared a long time, although not more
than a few minutes had elapsed from our losing
sight of him, until a shrill cry told us  something 42
AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
was discovered. Dashing into the midst of the underbrush, a strange scene presented itself. The hardy
troopers seemed spell-bound, neither was I the less
astonished. Huddled closely together, and partially,,
covered with branches, crouched two women and the
little girl whose flight had led to this unlooked for discovery.
In a state barely removed from that of nudity, the
unhappy trio strove to hide themselves from the many
staring eyes which were fixed upon them, not for the
purpose of gratifying an indecent curiosity, but simply
because no one had for the moment realised the condition in which the unfortunates were placed. Soon,
however, the fact was evident to the soldiers that the
women were nearly unclad, and all honour to their rugged
goodness, they stripped off their thick top coats, and
throwing them to the trembling females, turned every
one away and receded into the bush. It was enough
that the faces of the men were white which had presented themselves so unexpectedly. The destitute
fugitives, assured that the savages had not again dis-
covered them, hastily wrapped themselves in the coats
of the soldiers, and, rushing from out of their lair,
knelt down, and clasping their arms round my knees,
poured out thanks to the Almighty for their deliverance
with a fervency and earnestness terrible to witness. I
saw, on looking round me, steaming drops trickling
over the sunburnt faces  of many of the men, whose THE SAD DISCOVERY.
43
iron natures it was not easy to disturb under ordinary
circumstances.
It was soon explained to the fugitives that they were
frafe, and as every hour's delay was a dangerous waste
of time, the rescued women and child were as carefully clad in the  garments  of the men as  circumstances   permitted,   and   placed on   horses,   with a
trooper riding on either side to support them.    Thus
reinforced the cavalcade, headed by Auger-eye, moved
slowly back to the place where we had left the pack
train encamped with  all   the necessary supplies.    I
lingered behind to examine the  place wherein  the
women had concealed themselves.    The boughs of the
vine-maple,  together with other slender  shrubs constituting the underbrush, had been rudely woven together, forming, at best, but a very inefficient shelter from
the wind which swept in freezing currents through the
valley. Had it rained they must soon have been drenched,
or if snow had fallen heavily, the ' wickey' house and its
occupants soon would have been buried. How had they
existed?    This was a question I was somewhat puzzled
to answer.
On looking round I observed a man's coat, pushed
away under some branches, and on the few smouldering
sticks, by which the women had been sitting when the
child rushed in and told of our coming, was a small tin
pot with a cover on it, the only utensil visible. Whilst
occupied in making the discoveries I was sickened by a 44
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
noisome stench, which proceeded from the dead body
of a man, carefully hidden by branches, grass, and
moss, a short distance from the little cage of twisted
boughs. Gazing on the dead man a suspicion too,
revolting to mention suddenly flashed upon me. Turning away saddened and horror-stricken I returned to
the cage and removed the cover from off the saucepan,
the contents of which confirmed my worst fears. Hastily
quitting the fearful scene, the like of which I trust
never to witness again, I mounted my horse and
galloped after the party, by this time some distance
ahead.
Two men and the guide were desired to find the spot
where the scouting parties were to meet each other, and •
to bring them with all speed to the mule camp. It was
nearly dark when we reached our destination, the sky
looked black and lowering, the wind appeared to be increasing in force, and small particles of half-frozen
' rain drove smartly against our faces, telling in pretty
plain language of the coming snow-fall. Warm tea, a
good substantial meal, and suitable clothes, which had
been sent in case of need by the officers' wives stationed
at the ' Post,' worked wonders in the way of restoring
bodily weakness; but the shock to the mental system
time alone could alleviate. I cannot say I slept much
during the night. Anxiety lest we might be snowed in,
and a fate almost as terrible as that from which we
had rescued the poor women should be the lot of all, MISSING  LINKS  IN  THE NARRATIVE.
45
sat upon me like a nightmare. More than this, the secret
I had discovered seemed to pall every sense and sicken
me to the very heart, and throughout the silent hours
of the dismal darkness I passed in review the ghostly
pageant of the fight and all its horrors, the escape,
and flight of the unhappy survivors, the finding the
murdered boy and starving women, and worse than all
—the secret I had rather even now draw a veil over, and
leave to the imagination.
Morning came with anything but a cheery aspect;
every preparation was made for an instant departure
so soon as the scouting parties should come in.    As we
await their arrival,  the women fill up bit by bit the
missing links in the narrative, which are—that they
escaped from the Indians by creeping into the bush;'
and accompanied by the husband of one of the two
women, badly wounded, together with a little boy and
girl, they made their way to the water after the savages
had departed; and from that time  struggled on day
after day, subsisting entirely on berries.    The boy had
wandered away, in hopes of finding food,  but never
returned—his fate we already know.   The wounded man
growing rapidly worse obliged them to abandon  all
hope of proceeding farther.   Making the ' wickey' cage
wherein we had found them, the women and child
gathered berries and brought the  dying man water,
until the hand of death was laid upon him.    The rest
we are already cognisant of.    The secret was never 46
AT  HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
touched on nor in any way alluded to, neither were the
men ever made acquainted with it. To this hour the
poor women, for aught I can tell, believe it is known
solely to themselves.
The trampling of the approaching horses was a
welcome sound. Emerging from the forest, the men
trotted briskly towards us, and as they came near I
could make.out three mounted savages in the midst of
the troopers; their hands were tied tightly behind their
backs, and their feet fastened by long cords passed
underneath the bellies of their horses.
The  Sergeant reported having pounced upon the
Indians unexpectedly in the bush; that they made every
effort to  escape; that  one  of them tried to stab a.
trooper, but only succeeded in inflicting a flesh wound •
in the arm; that having secured them, not a word did
they utter, neither could they be induced to taste food.
A council of war was at once held.   I tried to enforce my orders to take the prisoners to head-quarters;
against this the men were all opposed.    They said provisions were short, snow might come on at any moment,
and in that case the prisoners would very likely escape;
that taking them with us would only add- to the risk
of delay, and weary the men who had to keep guard
over them day and night.   Summary judgment was demanded, and finding that positive disobedience would
follow my determination to abide by orders, I deemed
it more expedient to yield to the wishes of the men A STRANGE  PLACE  OF EXECUTION.
47
than endeavour to enforce  what I felt sure I could
not possibly carry out.
A branch suited to their purpose was soon found, and
from it three tether-ropes dangled, each with a noose at
the end; the horses, carrying their terror-stricken
masters, the three Snake Indians, were now led underneath the moss-covered branches, which drooping to the
ground formed a kind of curtain round the tree. It
was a strange place of execution. Above the sturdy
branches resembled natural arches; underfoot grew
moss, and grass soft as a velvet carpet; a dim half-
fight found its way in varied quantities through the
leafage, giving the scene a solemnity and grandeur
almost unearthly in its character. Each savage had
a noose adjusted to his neck; their legs were unbound
from beneath the horses' bellies ; ' ready' peeled the deep
voice of the Sergeant, then a smart cut administered
to each of the horses caused them to spring from
beneath their riders, who were left swinging from the
branch. The heavy jerk must have produced immediate
death, for a slight convulsive shudder alone shook the
frame of each savage as the soul quitted its tenement,
to wing its way to that bourne from whence no traveller
returns.
I need not weary you by recounting the return to
head-quarters; we had a cold and perilous trip, snow
fell heavily and rendered it a difficult matter to follow
the trails, but old 'Auger-eye,' true to his instincts, 48
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
if
guided us safely on our way, until we trotted into the
square of the cosy ' Post,' welcomed by the hearty congratulations of all, there to relate over and over again
this strange story.
So ended this romantic narrative, which I relate, as
nearly as memory will permit it, in the words of my
kind-hearted host.
I heard some time afterwards of the rescued women-
one of them had married a soldier who was present at the
discovery in the ' wickey' house, and that the little girl
was adopted by a settler and his wife, who were as fond
of her as though she had been their own child.    The
other woman was still a servant to Captain D , who
told me the tale.
But to return. Let us suppose ourselves to have procured our ' bell mare,' riding and pack mules. The next
thing is branding, and obtaining the equipment, or, as
it is termed, in packer phraseology, ' the rigging.'
Branding is a small matter of detail a novice would
hardly think of very much importance, nevertheless its
neglect may, and frequently does, prove the cause of
very serious annoyance, and not uncommonly results
in the loss of the mules or horses with which he is
travelling. To explain clearly what I mean, let us suppose you have paid for your pack-train, and to have
taken a receipt only for the money; the mules are
branded M.C., which means, for example, Mike Castle,
a well-known packer, from whom you have purchased whar's your brand?
49
them. You start, and on reaching some outpost town,
up walks the U.S. district constable, who, as a rule,
like the Cornish Mayor of Tintagel, combines within
his sacred person the varied offices of judge, mayor,
magistrate, constable, registrar-general of marriages
and births, and chin-shaver in general. I should have
written city, as there are no towns in the wilds of
America—a log-shanty, hog-stye, and hen-house are
enough in themselves to warrant the civic title. The
functionary of many offices says to you, ' Stranger, war
did you git them mules ?' ' Why, I bought and paid
for them,' you indignantly reply, and if your temper
will allow you so far to condescend, out comes the
receipt, which you imagine will prove a stopper to the
impudent questioner. Not a bit of it; he deliberately
reads it through, and with a leer in his eye, says, as he
squirts out a small cataract of tobacco-juice, ' Whar's
your brand; thar ain't none on the mule, nor narry
counter-brand on this har receipt; you might a jist
stole 'em from Mike's band, or may-be the mules have
strayed, and you might a found 'em; I shall empound
'em, stranger, until you get Mike's counter-brand
receipt.' So your mules are stopped until you can find
means to communicate with the seller, and in that way
prove your right of ownership.
Now, what you ought to have done is this: when
the purchase was completed you should have bought
a brand,  or have had one  made  by the blacksmith.
E 50
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
Initials are as good as anything; our Commission
brand was B.C. and the broad arrow. The letters
should have been burnt into the skin under the brand
mark of the seller, and on his receipt it should
have been written: branded M.C., brand of seller;
counter-branded, B.S. (Bill Stubbs), brand of buyer.
The thigh on the near side of the animal is the
best place for the brand mark, because it will be the
more readily seen; well nigh every operation, such as
girthing, roping, mounting, or what not, is usually
done on the near side. The branding-iron should be
made red-hot, and then applied lightly, and kept
against the skin after the hair is burnt off sufficiently
long to scald it and destroy the roots of the hair, but
not long  enough to  cause a sore, which is sure to
DO >
slough, and in that case might be troublesome to
manage. Branding on the hoofs is of no use; the mark
rapidly grows out, and then your own and the counter-
brand are lost together; on the back, so as to be under
the saddle, is likewise a bad place, although many brand
there to avoid disfigurement; the skin where the mark
has been made is of a spurious character, and readily rubs
into a sore in hot weather, despite every care—hence,
I always refuse to purchase pack animals which have
been branded on the back. Numbers of the mules I
purchased in California had been so tattooed with different brand marks, that their thighs resembled trees I
have seen, in the bark of which loungers invariably cut VALUE  OF  COUNTER-BRANDING.
their own, and I suppose their sweethearts' initials,
until the letters become so jumbled together as to defy
even the skill of the carvers to identify their own letters
from those of their neighbours.
This system of branding   and  counter-branding is
extremely useful, and I may say actually necessary, in
countries wherein stealing mules and horses amounts to
a profession.    Animals in outpost places are not even
safe from theft when shut up in' a livery stable, if un-
branded; but if the animals are plainly marked, the
thieves know very well that they may be, as you were,
in the supposed strait, caught by the watchful functionaries who  are  ever on the look-out for  chances to
pocket dollars in the shape of fees ; one or two of these
preventive officers   are   generally  stationed  wherever
mining is going on, or where there are facilities for the
disposal of riding and pack   animals.    There  is no
crime deserving a heavier punishment than is that of
horse or mule stealing in a wild country.    A traveller's
or a hunter's life is in a great degree dependent on his
means of transport.    Deprive him of his horse, without
his having any chance to replace the loss, and in most
cases it would be more merciful to Mil him at once than
leave him. to perish slowly, bit by bit, and day by day,
from hunger, weariness, solitude, or the arrow of the
savage, which in nine cases out of ten must be his fate
if left entirely to his own resources, far away from help
or civilisation.    Hence, a horse thief is often swung up
E 2 52
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
to the branch of a tree by the enraged packers without
even allowing him the benefit of trial by jury, or the
prospect of escaping by any legal quibbling; they proclaim the all-powerful law of Judge Lynch, and as they
express it, 'just run him up with a "lassoo,"' to stop
his further thieving, and as a warning to all other
darned cusses who 'rush off' stock.
In the choice of pack-saddles, opinions vary most
materially. Some persons, for example the Hudson's
Bay Company's traders, stick to, and swear by, the
cross-tree pack-saddle, from which they hang their
bales of fur-peltries by loops.
CROSS-TREE PACK-SADDLE. FUR-TRADER'S  ' HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
53
CHAPTER III.
Fur-Traders' System of Packing—Journey from Fort Colville to Fort
Hope—Disadvantages of the Cross-tree Pack-saddle—Crimean
Pack Saddles■ radically bad—Desirability of the 'Aparejo '—How
to make an Aparejo—Its Weight—Evidences of Suffering—In
search of Pack Saddles—The ' Rigging.'
It may prove interesting en passant, to give a brief
outline of the plan adopted by all the far inland fur-
trading posts, for the conveyance of the year's furs to
the place, at which either a steamer or a ' batteau ' unloads the annual supply of goods sent from England
for the use of the traders, and in return takes the
peltries traded, back to the central dep6t. As a description of one will apply with equal force to all of
them, I shall select for description Fort Colville, which
is situate on the banks of the Upper Columbia, about
1,000 miles from the seaboard. This quaint old place,
one of the Company's earliest trading stations west of
the Rocky Mountains, is worthy of a passing description
as affording a good example of the fur-trader's ' Home
in the Wilderness.' The trader's house is quadrangular
in shape, and built of heavy trees squared and piled one
upon another. The front, faces the Columbia River, whilst AT HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
rearward is a gravelly plain which I shall presently have
more to say about. The visitor, on entering the somewhat
ponderous portals of this primitive mansion, finds himself
in a large room dimly lighted by two small windows, the
furniture of which, designed more for use than ornament,
consists of a few rough chairs and a large deal table, the
latter occupying the centre of the room. Looking beneath
this table one cannot fail to notice an immense padlock,
which evidently fastens a trap-door, and if you happen
to be a guest of the chief trader, (and here I must add
as the result of long experience that the Hudson's Bay
Company's traders are the most hospitable kind-hearted
fellows I ever met with), the probabilities are greatly in
favour of your discovering the secret of the trap-door,
very soon after you enter the room.    The table pushed
back, the trap-door is unfastened, and the trader descends
into a dark mysterious-looking cave, soon however to
emerge with a jug of rum, or something equally toothsome.  Now, if you are of an inquisitive turn of mind, you
may find out that in this underground strong-room, all
valuables are deposited  and secured.    This room, beneath which the cavern has been excavated, has some
person to occupy it night and day, and the chief trader
sleeps in it; hence it is next to impossible that the savages
could steal anything unless they forcibly sacked and pillaged the establishment.    An immense hearth-fire, both
warms and lights this dreary sitting-room, for at least
eight months of the year.    Behind the dwelling is a SYSTEM  OF  FUR-TRADING.
55
large court enclosed by tall pickets, composed of trees
sunk in the ground side by side, (the house itself was I
believe once picketed in, but the Indians proved so
friendly that any protection of that description was
deemed unnecessary). In this court, all the furs traded at
the fort, are baled for conveyance by the Brigade to
Fort Hope. The trading shop, and store of goods employed in bartering with the savages, adjoins the trader's
house, although not actually a part of it; and the fur-
trader stands therein behind a high counter, to make his
bargains. The Indians have a curious custom in their
barterings, which is, to demand payment for each skin
separately, and if a savage had fifty marten skins to
dispose of, he would only, sell or barter one at a time,
and insist on being paid for them one by one. Hence it
often occupies the trader many days to purchase a large
bale of peltries from an Indian trapper.
The system of trading at all the posts of the Company
is one entirely of barter. In early days, when I first
wandered over the fur countries east of the Rocky
Mountains, money was unknown; but this medium of
exchange has since then gradually become familiar to
most of the Indians.
The standard of value throughout the territories of
the Company is the skin of the beaver, by which the
price of all other fur is regulated. Any service rendered,
or labour executed by Indians, is paid for in skins ; the
beaver skin being the unit of computation.    To explain 56
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
this system, let us assume that four beavers, are equivalent in value to a silver-fox skin, two martens to a
beaver, twenty musk rats to a marten, and so on. For
example sake, let us suppose an Indian wishes to
purchase a blanket or a gun from the Hudson's Bay
Company; he would have to give, say, three silver-foxes,
or twenty beaver skins, or Jwx) hundred—musk rats, or
other furs, in accordance with their proper relative positions of worth in the tariff. The Company generally
issues to the Indians, such goods as they need up to a
certain amount, when the summer supplies arrive at the
.Posts—these advances to be paid for at the conclusion
of the hunting season. In hiring Indians east of the
Cascade Mountains, whilst occupied in marking the
Boundary line, our agreement was always to pay them
in beaver skins, say, two or three per day, in accordance
with the duty required; but this agreement did not
mean actual payment in real skins—a matter that to us
would have been impossible—but that we were to give
the Indian, an order on the nearest trading post of the
Hudson's Bay Company, to supply him with any goods
he might select, up to the value of the beaver skins specified on the order.
In many of the Posts the trade room is cleverly contrived, so as to prevent a sudden rush of Indians, the
approach from outside the pickets being through a long
narrow passage, only of sufficient width to admit one
Indian at a time, the passage being bent at an acute FORT  COLVILLE.
angle near the window, where the trader stands. This
precaution is rendered necessary, inasmuch as were the
passage straight, the savages might easily shoot him.
Where the savages are hostile, at the four angles of the
court bastions are placed, octagonal in shape, and pierced
with embrasures, to lead the Indians to believe in the
existence of cannon, intended to strike terror into all
red-skinned rebels daring to dispute the supremacy of the
Company. Over the fur shop are large lofts for storing
and drying the furs in as they are collected. Beyond this
a smith's shop, a few small log shanties, and an immense
' corral,' for keeping the horses in, whilst fitting out the
' brigade,' make up all that is noteworthy as far as the
buildings are concerned at Fort Colville. The regular
staff stationed at this Post, consists of the chief-trader,
a clerk, and about four half breeds, the remainder of the
hands needed are selected from the Indians. The houses
are by no means uncomfortable, and I can truthfully say,
many of the happiest evenings of my life, have been
passed in the ' big room' at Fort Colville.
Transport yourself, reader, to the banks of the Columbia, a thousand miles from the seacoast; never mind by
what means you arrive, only try to suppose we are together, our head-quarters for the timebeing the Hudson's
Bay Company's trading post, Fort Colville, I have just
described. H we ramble along the winding trail, leading
over the sandy waste, on which this so-called fort stands,
on our right hand (we must pass close to them) are several
w 58
AT HOME IN THE  WILDERNESS.
Indian lodges. These conical affairs are made of rush-
mats, and scraps of hide, supported on a framework of
sticks, with a hole at the top to let the smoke out.*
Dingy little urchins by the dozen may be seen outside, rolling and frolicking amidst a pack of prick-
eared curs, ever ready to bite a stranger's legs, their.
playmates, or each other for that matter, on the slightest
provocation. Flabby squaws crouch at the entrancehole-—
door is a misnomer—whilst a peep through the gaping
seams reveals several half-naked savages, idling drowsily
round a few smouldering embers, placed in the centre
of this most squalid habitation. On our left, and behind us, the treeless plain—once clearly the bottom of a
large lake, for the water-line is still visible round the
edges of the encircling hills, and the gravelly surface is
bestrewn with boulders and water-worn pebbles—
stretches away for a good two miles, to meet the wooded
slopes of a ridge of hills that ascend in terraces composed of ancient gravels, until growing obscure in the
mist and haze of distance they seem to mingle their
summits with the clouds. A-head a narrow stream
twists like a silver cord from the base of the hills, to join
the Columbia. This stream we cross on a fallen tree, a
bridge of Nature's own contriving, worn bare by the feet
of the Red Skins that traverse it by the hundred during
the salmon harvest. Now we scramble up a steep shingly
rise and stand on a level plateau, where gigantic pitch-
* Vide illustration, page 109. THE  ' SETTLE  FALLS.'
59
pine trees, many of them 250 feet high, and straight as
flagstaffs, grow thickly. I scarcely know a more beautiful pine than this, the Pinus ponderosa, which to a
great extent replaces the Douglas pine (Abies Douglassii),
everywhere east of the Cascade Mountains. The bark,
arranged in massive scales, not unlike that peculiar to
the cork tree, has between each of the shields or scales
deep clefts and fissures, like miniature valleys between
mountains of bark, hollows affording most admirable
lurking places and sheltered retreats for all sorts of insects. Ear below us we gaze down on a landscape,
matchless in its massive and sublime beauty; a scene
wherein forests, rocks, and a surging cataract, 400 feet
in width, fairly stagger one by their very immensity.
The | Kettle Falls ' are not so remarkable for altitude as
for the enormous volume of water that sweeps over the
jagged masses of basaltic rocks, through which the river
at this spot breaks its way. Here too the lake water
which once filled the hollow we have just crossed evidently made its escape, whether let out by subsidence of
the rocky barrier or upheaval of the land below and
around it, is not very easy to determine. About a mile
above the Kettle Falls the Na-hoi-la-pit-ka River joins
its waters with those of the Columbia, and when thus
reinforced the river rushes on with increased velocity to
reach thaFalls. Its width at this distance from the sea
is 400 yards, and in summer, when flooded by the
melting snows, it rises quite 40 feet above its autumn 60
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
and winter level. Before the river takes its final plunge
over the rocks it is split, so to speak, by an island,
rocky and devoid of vegetation, if we except a few
gnarled and twisted pine trees that struggle for" an
existence amidst the clefts in the rocks. This island
adds very materially to the charm of the scene. Standing
in mid channel, it' gives one the idea that it is floating,
just as though a small mountain had fallen into the
river, and was being rapidly carried over the Falls; and
the more steadfastly one gazes at it, the firmer.grows
the belief in its possessing motion. Thus staring at the
island and the eddying rapids that whirl past it, I have
often grown dizzy, and for a moment imagined that the
rocks I sat on, and the entire river bank with them,
were fast moving towards the Falls. Below this insular
clump of rocks the waters again join and dash over the
Falls ; so great is the force of the stream that the water
looks like moving snow, and from its seething, bubbling)
and boiling appearance, the fur-traders have named it
the ' Kettle Falls.' This spot is the grand depot for fishing, during the salmon ' run,' which takes place in June
and July. More than five hundred Indians then assemble
here, in order to trap this lordly fish, to them an absolute necessity. Cut them off from the salmon-harvest
and they must inevitably perish during the bitter
winter, starved alike by cold and hunger. I have
myself seen above 500 salmon landed in one day from
the baskets into which the fish leap.     Once  every PREPARING FOR THE  ' BRIGADE.'
"Bummer the ' Brigade' (for such is the pack-train
styled) starts from Fort Colville to reach Fort Hope
which is a small place even now, but at one time could
boast only a solitary house, used for the reception of
the furs brought by all the inland brigades for shipment to the main depot at Victoria, Vancouver Island.
Fort Hope being practically the head of navigation on
the Eraser, is visited now, as in the olden days, but once
a year by the Company's steamer, freighted with goods
of various kinds, for bartering, together with other
matters of detail, all of which are carried back by the
brigades on their return to their different trading posts.
This journey from Colville to Hope occupies nearly
three months for its accomplishment. About the beginning of June preparations commence at Fort Colville for
the Brigade. The horses (the Hudson's Bay Company
never use mules), in number about 120 to 150, are brought
by the 'Indian herders,' who have had charge of them
during the winter, to a spot called the ' Horse Guard,'
about three miles from the fort, where there is an
abundance of succulent grass and a good stream of
water. Here the animals are taken care of by the trustworthy Indians until their equipment or \ rigging' is
ready, which process is at the same time going on at
the fort. Here some thirty or forty savages may be
seen squatting round the door of the fur-room; some
of them are stitching pads and cushions into the
wooden frames of the pack-saddles; others are mend- 62
AT  HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
ing the broken frames; a third group is cutting long
thongs of raw hide to serve as girths, or to act in lieu
of ropes for lashing and tying ; and a fourth is making
the peltries up into bales, by the aid of a powerful
lever press. Each bale is to weigh about sixty pounds,
and the contents to be secured from wet by a wrapper of
buffalo-hide, the skin side outermost. This package is
then provided with two very strong loops, made from
raw hides, for the purpose of suspending it from what
are called the ' horns' of the pack-saddle. Two of
these bales hung up each side of a horse is a load, and
a horse so provided is said to be packed. When all
the preparations are completed the horses are driven
in from the ' guard' to the fort, and the packing commences. They use no halters, but simply throw a lassoo
round the animal's neck, with which it is held whilst
being packed; this finished, the lassoo is removed, and
the horse is again turned loose into the ' corral,' or on
to the open plain, as it may be. Let us imagine a
horse lassooed up awaiting the operation of packing.
First a sheep or goat's skin, or a piece of buffalo
'robe,' failing either of the former, called an ' apichimo,'
is placed on its back, with the fur or hair next to
that of the horse, and is intended to prevent galling ; next- the pack-saddle is put on. This miserable
affair with its two little pillows or pads, tied into the
cross-trees of woodwork, is girthed with a narrow strap
of hide, which often, from the swaying of the load, THE  START  FROM  FORT  COLVILLE. 63
cuts a regular gash into the poor animal's belly. Next
a bale is hung on either side, and the two are loosely
fastened together underneath the horse by a strap of
raw hide. This completes the operation of packing, and
the horse is set free, to await the general start. When
all the animals are packed, each of the hands who are
to accompany this cavalcade mounts his steed; then
waving their lassoos round their heads, and vociferating
like demons, they collect the band of packed animals,
and drive the lot before them as shepherds do a flock
of sheep. The principal trader, as a general rule,
takes command of the brigade, the journey being anticipated by both the master and his men as a kind of
yearly recurring jubilee. To the Red Skins it is an
especial treat, for during their stay at Fort Hope they
meet with three or four more brigades, and like sailors
on liberty days, get as drunk as they please, a privilege
the Indians never fail to make the most of.
I have been rather tedious, perhaps, in thus minutely describing the system of packing in use by the
Hudson's Bay Company, but I plead as an excuse that it
will help my reader to the clearer comprehension of the
systems adopted by 'professional packers,' who pack
for money and a living. My own opinion, deduced
from practical experience, is that the Hudson's Bay
Company's system of packing is about the very worst
means of conveying freight on the backs of animals
which by any possibility could be adopted.   The horses,
Jr 64
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
as I saw them at Fort Hope, and as I have repeatedly
observed them at Colville on the return of the Brigade,
were nearly every one of them galled badly on their
backs, cut under the bellies in consequence of the
sawing motion of the girth, as well as being terribly
chafed with the cruppers. I tried this form of pack-
saddle * on our first arrival at Vancouver Island, and as
the saddles were specially made for the Commission
work, the very best materials obtainable were used in
their construction, the cross-trees were riveted, the
pads stuffed with hair, and under each saddle, besides
the cushion, I had three or four pieces of blanket placed,
so as to avoid every chance of galling the backs of the
mules. But all to no purpose; the loads will rock and
work loose in spite of all the skill you can bring to bear,
and if the pillows or pads once are saturated with wet
they get as hard as stones, and in that state gall to a
certainty.
More than this, with boxes, bales, tents, cooking
gear, instruments, axes, cross-cut and pit-saws, to carry
up hill and down dale, as we had to do every day
during the cutting of the Boundary line, one might as
reasonably have hoped to bind up loose potatoes into
a transportable bundle with a straw band as to transport our heterogeneous freight on mules' backs, with
cross-tree pack-saddles. I had a good deal of expe-r
rience in the Crimea, during the war, in regard to diffe-
* Vide illustration, ' Cross-tree pack-saddle,' p.ige 52. CRIMEAN PACK-SADDLE.
d5
rent patterns of pack-saddles. One in particular, which
was sent out from England by Government, and was
said to be par excellence the very best thing of its kind
ever invented. It is impossible to describe it, or to
convey very clearly a correct idea of its construction.
The frame was of wood arched at the pummel and
cantle, bound with iron, and having affixed to it numbers of rings, and complicated hooks-and-eyes of the
same material (the uses of which I never found any one
able to explain), and it was padded, somewhat after
the fashion of an ordinary riding-saddle, only on a
rougher scale. What I can say of it is, that if it were
desirable to make anything in the form of a pack-
saddle which, in every detail of its construction, should
be worse than the cross-tree saddle, this invention, sent
us whilst at the Crimea, came very near to, if it did
not quite accomplish, the desired end.
I assert, and without fear of contradiction (from any
who are practically able to offer an opinion), that no
pack-saddle having in its construction any element of
woodwork is worth a straw.
However strong the wooden framework of a pack-
saddle may be, so that undue weight and clumsiness
are avoided, I say it will sooner or later get broken, if
used for conveyance of heavy freight, made up of packages which are of all shapes and sizes; such, for instance, as 'dry goods,' meaning trans-atlantically,
drapery, hosiery, and clothing in general, or, what is 66
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
called by packers, 'Jews' freight.' To a certain extent
the cross-tree saddle serves the purposes of the Hudson's Bay Company better perhaps than would the form
of pack-saddle I am presently going to advocate; and
here I wish it to be clearly understood that in stating
that the Hudson's Bay Company's system of' packing' is
not a good one for the transportation of heterogeneous
freight, I do not mean in the slightest degree to reflect
on the management of that honourable Company, but I
said so only as comparing the cross-tree pack-saddle
with the aparejo. The Company's system of packing,
when considered in reference to the work to be done, is
doubtless the very best that could be adopted under the
peculiar circumstances in which they are placed. Their
freight being always made up into packages of a definite
shape and < weight, it needs no skill, or even practice, to
hang them on the saddles, any more than it would to
hang a coat upon a peg. Hence, the Company have no
need of professional packers; more than this, the pack-
saddles are only used once a year, and all their transport
is performed on horses instead of mules.
But if once the saddle-tree breaks, the cross-tree pack-
saddle is actually useless, and should an animal fall or
roll with its load, a mishap of daily occurrence, then a
broken saddle-tree is the usual result. Lash it with
cord and splints, nail, or otherwise tinker up the breakage, in any manner your ingenuity may suggest, it will
prove of no practical use; the fracture is certain to GRIMSLEY S  PACK-SADDLE.
67
work loose, ih.e load to shift, and if you escape without
so galling the pack animal as to render it useless for a
month, or more, you may congratulate yourself on possessing extreme good fortune.
In the transport service of the United States,
Grimsley's pack-saddle is very frequently employed,
more especially for outpost and exploration purposes.
This  pack-saddle is  simply a modification of the"
old fashioned ' ridge-tree pack-
which
saddle,'    v-jiK-a   a   i.'wu   now
GRIMSLEY S  PACK-SADDLE.
used by millers in the west of
England for the conveyance of
flour and grain on horse or
donkey back, to and from their
mills. Captain Marcey speaks
very highly of the good qualities possessed by this pack-
saddle, in his admirable little book on travel. I never saw
a pack-train equipped with the Grimsley's pack-saddle,
hence I am unable to say anything in its praise; and
to disparage without having first tested its qualities,
good or bad, would be most unfair; nevertheless, the
same objection (theoretically) exists in the Grimsley
pack-saddle I so complain of in the cross-tree saddle,
viz. the using a saddle-tree or frame made from wood,
thereby increasing the risk of breakage. I have already
pointed out the difficulties one has to contend with
when a pack-saddle-tree is smashed. I have given an
illustration of this United States pack-saddle, because I
r 2 68
AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
am disposed to think it may be found serviceable, if
used for mule trains accompanying troops on the march,
with whom there are mechanics, and materials for the
repair of damage, ready at the shortest notice.
If one is tiavelling alone, with only a single horse
besides the horse ridden, and on which only a few
fight articles are to be packed, then perhaps a cross-
tree or Grimsley's saddle may be found to answer
pretty well; but if the ' wanderer' has learned to ' pack'
in the proper sense of the word, even then I should
advise him to do what I most assuredly should myself—use the aparejo.
My own conviction, deduced from long and extensive
experience, is, that the
aparejo comes nearer to
what I conceive to be
perfection in a pack-
saddle, than any other
form of pack-saddle yet
invented, or perhaps I
should have said, that
I have yet seen. As neither wood nor iron enters
into its composition, wherever there are animals from
which hides can be obtained, there a person can
find all the materials he needs for making an aparejo,
tools required for sewing of course excepted. But
before saying more in praise of its many admirable
qualities, it may be as well to explain how this model
J
—^
m >*
1
Ik
SS^
m
BKr.Ja!
K0TTND-T0PPED APAREJO. DEFINITION  OP  AN  APAREJO.
69
pack-saddle is constructed. Any one who has ever
been in Mexico, -Spain, or North-west America, will
have been pretty sure to have seen a mule-train,
loaded with goods, packed on aparejos; but unless the
traveller has tried his hand at the work of ' packing,'
and taken his place, first on the near side of the animal,
and next on the off, I'll venture to say he could no more
throw a ' riata' and rope on a load, than he would be
able to walk on a tight-rope by simply looking at
Blondin. This pack-saddle is clearly a Spanish invention, and thus found its way through Mexico into
California and the north-western parts of America.
An aparejo may be defined to be two bags made
either of dressed, or undressed hides, stuffed with dry
grass, and fastened together at the top ; take two bed-
pillows, sew them to each other at the one end, hang
them across a dog's-back, or a chair will serve every
purpose, and you have a rough representation of an
aparejo without any 'rigging.' The size of each cushion
or bag varies somewhat in accordance with the taste
or caprice of the packer by whom the aparejo is cut.
In like manner there are also different fashions in regard to shape; for myself, I should have each cushion
3 feet 6 inches in length, and 2 feet 6 inches in width;
the two ends to be joined together with a sharp edge,
and not by means of an intermediate piece of leather.
When joined according to my plan, the aparejo, if
viewed endways, has the exact shape of the gable end 70
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
TUJB GABLE-ENDED  APAREJO.
of a house; when the bags are united by an intermediate piece of leather, the aparejo -becomes rounded
in form, or ajrchetl.*"   In other words, my reason for
giving the gable-ended aparejo
the preference, is this—when
placed on the mule's back, however weighty the load may be, it
cannot be pressed down upon
it, hence there is always a space
intervening betwixt the ridge
of the animal's back and the angle of the aparejo,
sufficient to allow a current of air to pass freely through,
which will be found to exercise a material influence in
the prevention of blistered backs: blistering from exclusion of air, and continuous pressure, being the
primary cause of nine sore-backs out of every ten. In
the other case, wherein a piece of leather is used to
connect the ends, I contend that the principle is bad,
because this flat band must necessarily come down on
the back of the mule, and the heavier the load the more
tightly will this strap be brought to bear on the ridge
of the spine, and, as a matter of course, the liability to
produce sores be much more imminent.
The weight of an aparejo of the size I have given
the preference to is somewhere about 30 lbs.; if wetted
it will weigh quite 50 lbs.   It is stuffed with dry grass,
Vide ' Round-topped aparejo,' page 68. A  WARNING TO  WANDERERS.
71
some small twigs being first placed in the angles, to
keep them stiff, and obviate any chance of bending,
or of their being indented from the-pressure of the
' riata.'
The stuffing is accomplished through a round hole,
purposely cut from out the centre of the inner side of
the" cushion, just where it rests on the arch of the
animal's ribs, and let me 'warn every 'wanderer' who
sets up or travels with a pack-train to exercise the
strictest vigilance' with respect to the stuffing of his
aparejos. Never trust the packers to attend to it,
unless immediately under your own surveillance. A
day's neglect may gall a mule badly, whereas five minutes' time devoted to the investigation of the stuffing
prior to ' saddling up' would have prevented so mischievous a result. Hired packers always skulk these
anything but trifling details, if they are not strictly
looked after. The steam and damp from the perspiring
mules condenses and collects amidst the grass composing the stuffing, which, when in this condition, has a
strange tendency to felt itself into various-sized nobs.
These, from the continued motion imparted to the aparejo by the regular pace of the mule, become as hard as
cricket-balls, and, as I said before, if not removed or
picked to pieces, soon make their presence known by
"boring, or rubbing an ugly hole through the poor ani-
mal's skin.
When once thoroughly up to 'working' a 'pack-
J 72 AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
train,' you will notice in a moment, if you have a sharp
eye—as the mules one by one file past you after the
'bell'—if one of them is 'galling.' .When suffering
pain, a mule's lips have invariably a tremulous twitchy
motion, the ears are slanted backwards, and the teeth
every now and then grind sharply together, producing
a singular grating noise, which once heard will never be
forgotten. The silent evidences of suffering are quite
as intelligible as articulate words, when one only finds
out how to interpret them; a mule telling you that
there is something wrong ought to be stopped at once,
its load removed, the aparejo' unsynched' and examined,
and the cause of the evil remedied. An inexperienced
or ' green' hand would, in all likelihood, neglect thus
regularly to watch his train, a want of care he might
have occasion to lament when unpacking at camping
time.
When purchasing ' aparejos,' if you ask the price of
an aparejo only, the seller will tell you perhaps 151., or
it may be fifty dollars each, as the price he wants. Supposing the terms are agreed on, you will find that
nearly as much again as you have bargained to pay
will be added on for ' rigging,' which should always
be specified in the purchase of aparejos; if forgotten, it is usually made a handle for subsequent unfair
extortion.
When equipping the eighty mules I purchased in
California for Her Majesty's Commission, I had immense
W IN  SEARCH  OF  APAREJOS.
73
difficulty to discover any aparejos which were for sale,
as packing happened just at that time to be unusually
brisk. I remember at Stockton, when casting about
amongst the more probable localities, wherein I might
by good fortune possibly alight upon the kind of packing-gear I was in search of, a Yankee merchant, who
dealt in everything from toothpicks upwards, came
rushing after me, having scented my business as readily
as a raven or a vulture would have done a dead carcase. He began at once in nasal drawl—' Say, cap,
you are just a foolin' your time; bet your pants, thar
ain't narry aparejo down bar, fit to pack squash on.'
' Well,' I replied, ' how can I tell that unless I inquire ?'
' Waal, I raither guess you want to buy, and I want to
sell, so just let us two take an eye-opener, cap, and then
make tracks straight a-head for my store, war I can
show you sich a lot of aparejos as you ain't ever seen
afore in these parts; I ain't showed em to none of the
boys as yet, guess if I did they'd have the store down
slick; give me fifty dollars a-piece for the aparejos,
rigging and all, and walk right along with 'em to the
bluffs.'
Considering this rather good news, I did 'liquor up'
with my new friend, and afterwards adjourned to the
store, most anxious to secure what I imagined was a
valuable prize. Picture my intense disgust when, on
being conducted into a cellar, I saw a huge pile of pack-
saddles,   such as had been sent to  the  Crimea and 74
AT HOME IN THE  WILDERNESS.
returned, and which this speculative individual had
picked up cheaply as a consignment from England.
I have already shown how utterly useless these trashy
and badly made saddles were in the Crimea, an opinion
fully confirmed by this somewhat singular discovery
that in the very centre of the busiest ' packing' country, perhaps I may safely say in the world, not an individual packer could be found who would take them even
as a gift. The ' 'cute' dealer, imagining he had for
once in his life stumbled on a ' sucker,' tried to palm
them off on me as aparejos ' that couldn't be matched.'
It ' took him down,' though, when I winked wickedly,
and, inventing a slight fiction for the occasion, said,
' Why, these are the pack-saddles we sold off when the
Crimean war ended; I know the lot right well; they
are not worth that.' I snapped my fingers, turned on
my heel, and left my friend astonished, and two drinks
(50 cents.) out of pocket. So much for Crimean pack-
saddles. Two years afterwards I heard that the unfortunate dealer still possessed them.
The rigging consists of sundry articles, each of
which will require a brief description as we pass them
in review one by one.
The ' riata' binding, or lashing cord, should be from
fifty to sixty yards in length, in one piece, the size of
which should be inch rope, or a trifle less will do. The
more angular and clumsy the freight is which has to be
packed the longer will the riata be required.   The ends A PACKED  MULE.
75
should be neatly secured with fine twine, and there
ought not to be any join or other inequality of surface; if
there is, the rope will not ' run' freely, and at the same
%
wm^M
v.
sasd
"ii
Vs
\
PACKED MULE.
The load is supposed to represent four 50-lb. sacks of flour.
a, a, lower edge of aparejo.
b, b, showing where the aparejo rests on the mule's back.
h, h, showing where the ' riata' is tightened upon the load.
g, the crupper. e, corner of sweat cloth.
c, the corona. b 2, synch. f, loose end of the riata.
It is usual to pile smaller packages that are not very heavy betwixt the
sacks, upon the centre of the aparejo. This has been purposely omitted in
the cut, in order to show how. the riata acts in securing the load.
It will aid the reader to a clearer understanding of the adjustments of
the riata and sling-rope, if he will refer to this illustration when we are
packing our imaginary mule, Chap. XI. p. 158.
time do a good deal of injury to the packer's hands;
this will be the more readily comprehended when we
come to the system of securing the load.    The sling- 76
AT  HOME  LN  THE  WILDERNESS.
II
rope is a much smaller and shorter cord than is the
riata; its length for ordinary freight should be from
twenty-five to thirty feet, and quarter-inch rope is
usually sufficiently strong. This rope is used to sling
or suspend the load. With these two ropes the load is
so firmly secured as to defy any ordinary casualty to
displace or otherwise disturb it, and that without loop,
hook, buckle, or fastening of any kind of, or belonging
to the aparejo.
The aparejo is secured to the mule by the synch, b 2,
which consists of a piece of stout canvas doubled and
sewn strongly together, from seven to twelve feet
long, and twelve inches wide. At one end of this
girth a leather strap is attached, whilst at the other
either an iron ring or, what is far
better, a small piece of hard wood
naturally grown into a bow shape,
the two ends being sewn into the
canvas; an eye or concave space is
by this plan left in the centre for
the leather strap, which should be
kept well greased to make it run
through easily. In ' synching up,'
two or three turns of the strap must
be taken round the eye, in order to avoid the risk of its
slipping back, when the strain is taken off in order to
fasten it, which is done by passing the free end through
a loop purposely sewn to that part of the synch which
!*Mi
SYNCH, SHOWING THE
"WOODEN EYE. THE  'RIGGING.'
77
comes underneath the load, and then passing the end
beneath the strap itself. If it were to be tied, nothing
short of cutting the strap would ever loose it. Synches
are sometimes made from Mexican grass; they are
always expensive, and in no respect superior to canvas.
Placed on the mule's back, and answering the purpose
of the ordinary lining, fixed to English riding and pack-
saddles, are the blankets (e), corona (c), and sweat-cloth (e).*
The ' blankets ' are four or five pieces of thick woollen
material. Blanket is better than anything else, although
soft carpet answers the purpose; the size of each piece
should be about three feet square, although this is not
very material; if more or less, it will not matter much.
The sweat-cloth goes next the skin, and ought to consist of good canvas, and should not be less than four
feet square. The ' corona' (c) f goes over all the cloths,
and under the aparejo. This is quite a fancy affair, which
is usually braided and embroidered, and made of scarlet
or some other bright-coloured cloth. Often the initials
or the brand mark of the owner are emblazoned on the
corners, like heraldic devices. This, however, answers
a. purpose, and is not done merely for show. By the
■ corona ' the packers know to which mule each aparejo
belongs, so that the right mule always wears the right
saddle.
An ordinary halter, of the same shape and make as
* Vide letters in cut j Packed Mule.'
f  Vide cut. 73
AT  HOME   IN   THE  WILDERNESS.
we use for horses in England, must be provided for each
mule; the halters are only worn whilst the mules are
travelling, and are then indispensable, inasmuch as
that the packers could never catch a mule with a loose
or shifting load if it had not a halter on its head for
the men to seize. No one, excepting from actual experience, would believe how crafty old pack animals become; they know in a moment if the packers want to
recover them, and scamper away, often shaking the
freight clear of the ropes, and doing incalculable damage.
In the second place, halters are equally essential, for the
purpose of fastening all the mules together during the
time they are waiting to be packed, as you will better
understand when we come to 'pack our train.' The last
portion of the rigging is the blind, or
' tapujo.' Each packer carries one of
J^jjlr these subduers, and no schoolboys ever
lived in greater dread of cane or birch
than do the mules of the tapujo. Made
of leather, its length is about fifteen
or eighteen inches, its width about six
inches in the centre, then tapering
gradually away at its ends to sharp
points, which are fastened together;
from each of the points dangle sundry small twisted
leather thongs, like a ' cat' of eighteen tails instead of
nine. Exactly in the centre of the tapujo a loop is sewn,
through which the packer passes his fingers, and when
I
y
£>
i
K^^i
TAPUJO,  OR BLIND. THE TAPUJO S  USES.
79
thus armed, woe betide the unlucky mule which is guilty
of any transgression. This is one of the tapujo's uses,
but it is principally employed to 'blind' the mules
whilst anything is done to them. Simply by dropping
it behind the animal's ears, and allowing the wider
part to fall over the eyes, it at once and most easily
prevents the mule from seeing what the packers are up
to; and when this dreaded affair is fairly on, you might
as well attempt to make a log move as induce a blinded
mule to shift its position. So much for the complete
rigging of a pack-mule. The next thing we have to
look to are saddles and bridles for the ' riding mules.'
MULE  WITH BLIND   ON. 80
AT HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
CHAPTEE IV.
Riding Saddles—Stirrups—' Cabresto '  preferable to an ordinary
bridle—Tethering.
I know how very steadfastly all we Englishmen believe
in the ' English hunting saddle,' and for all purposes, be
it for the road, the hunting-field, the race-course, or
what not, I for one hold up my hand for the English
riding-saddle in a civilised country. But in a district
where there are no saddlers' shops into which one can
pop at a short notice to get a breakage repaired, or a
new panel or lining put in, buy a fresh pair of girths,
or obtain new buckles in lieu of old ones, I say, from
my own experience, in this case have nothing to do
with an English riding saddle. I am not saying a
word in its disparagement, and will briefly state my
reasons for giving the preference to the Californian, or
that which in reality it is, the Spanish saddle adapted to
a particular purpose. In the first place, it will be just
as well that I should briefly describe the kind of riding-
saddle I invariably use for ordinary travelling, and
breaking ' mustangs;' but let .it be clearly understood
that my remarks do not apply to ' running buffalo,' for
which I use the Indian pad—but of this anon. THE  CALIFORNIAN SADDLE.
81
CALIFORNIAN
RIDING SADDLE.
The framework of a Californian riding saddle consists
of a ' saddle-tree,' made much in the same way, as far
as materials are concerned, as is that of our English
saddles, but widely differing from it
in shape.    The pommel and cantle
are carried very high, especially the
former, which terminates in a kind of
knob;   to  this   frame four   leather
straps and two rings (that take the
place of girth straps in an ordinary saddle) are fastened,
not by sewing with a needle or awl, and thread, but
with strips of raw hide which are firmly and securely
tied. The stirrup leathers also hang from the frame itself,
and not from steel ' spring catches,' as in our saddles,
and the leathers, too, are further fastened together with
hide thongs. The knob of the pommel and the edge of
the cantle are bound with leather, but the other parts of
the frame have nothing fastened to them, excepting the
' synch' straps and stirrup leathers.    A wide piece of
leather, ornamented in accordance with the taste  or
pocket of the owner, cut nearly square, and having a
hole in the front part for the pommel to come through,
and a long slit behind for the cantle, is intended to
cover the frame when the saddle is ' synched on' to the
horse, and is for the rider to sit on.    Now, if I have
made my description comprehensible, it will be seen
that there is no sewing, no buckles, no lining or fixed
' panel,' as saddlers style it, but in lieu of these, four or
a 82:
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
five small squares of blanket are employed, or a rug that
may be used for sleeping in at night; in a word, anything soft and foldable can be placed under the saddle.
The ' synch,' or girth, should be made of horsehair,
woven flat in the same manner sailors make ' sennit,'
10 inches wide (one girth only is used) and 2 feet 6 inches
to 3 feet in length; at each end a strong iron ring, not
less than two inches in diameter, should be woven in
with the hair. I have already said that four straps and
two rings, similar to the ' synch ' rings, are fastened to
the saddle frame, and from each of these saddle rings
a strong leather strap, about 4 feet in length and 1^
inch in width, dangles. It is fastened to the ring by
cutting a slit in one end of the strap; then putting it
through the ring the other end of the leather is passed
through the slit, and hauled up bike a running knot.
To the ' off' side strap the synch is made fast by a knot,
known as the ' Mexican knot,' and its length is regulated on the off side in accordance with the greater or
lesser rotundity of the animal to be ridden. It is very
difficult to describe a knot, and in this case, I may say,
next to impossible.
Like everything else, it is very simple to anyone
accustomed to tie it, and a lesson of five minutes'
duration would serve to teach the way to fasten a
' synch,' when a whole page of writing would fail in so
doing. The 'Mexican knot' is a most useful fastening,
as it enables the rider to loose a 'synch' by simply HOW  TO  ' SADDLE UP.' 83
giving the end of,the strap a sharp tug, thus obviating
all the bother of untying a knot which runs up tight.
At any rate, I will endeavour to give an outline, as it
were, of ' synching up.' The saddle-cloths carefully
folded so as to have no crease, and placed on the horse's
or mule's back, the saddle is taken by the end of the
pommel with the right hand and placed carefully on
the saddle-cloths; the left hand keeps firm hold on the
horse, either by the bridle or the ' riata' round its neck.
If you have a refractory animal to deal with, make it
fast to a tree with the ' riata.'
If an animal gets away from you, it is more than
likely you will never see it again, and if saddled so
much the greater loss, for it is usually more easy to
replace a riding animal than it is a saddle. Be careful
to see the saddle fits evenly on the '.blankets,' and bear
in mind the cautions already given relative to ' sore '
backs. Now"run the 'riata' through the left hand, so
•that you may have both hands to work with, and with
that hand reach under the animal, and take the ' synch'
by the ring, and with the right hand pass the leather
strap, which, if you remember, hangs from the ' saddle
ring,' through the ' synch ring,' then back again through
the ring attached to the saddle, and so on for four or
five times. Now haul away with all your strength, and
if the turns are properly made through the rings, and
the strap well greased, it will run with far greater ease
than a buckle, and never slip back if you stop pulling,
G 2 AT   HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
lit
J]
M
MEXICAN KNOT.
which is of incalculable value when dealing with wild
mustangs. To fasten, pass the end of the leather strap
first underneath the synch ring on the left side, bring it
across and pass from above, again
under the ring, then double the strap,
and thrust the end of the loop under
the strap which crosses the fastening,
and pull it tight. Tou have then, if I
am understandable, a 'Mexican knot,'
which slips in a moment if pulled at,
and lies flat against the animal's side,
thus preventing any annoyance to the
leg of the rider. Lastly, the ' covering leather' is placed
over all, and the animal is ' saddled up.'
The stirrups I prefer are made of wood. There are
two patterns in general use: one a block of wood,
which is scooped out to form a hole only large enough
for just the toe to fit in, and a place is also cut through
the top for the stirrup-leather. The ' block-stirrups |
are made of all sorts of shapes, just as it may suib the
taste or caprice of the maker. After the ' blocks are
cut' they are boiled in tallow for six or eight hours.
This prevents their splitting.
The other sort of stirrup, and the one I prefer, is
made of a flat piece of hard wood, bent by steaming into
the form of the old-fashioned dragoon stirrup; the
bent-up ends are secured to a transverse plug with an
iron peg, which runs through its centre, and is then STIRRUPS  MADE   OF  WOOD.
S5
NO. 1. SOLID BLOCK STIRRUP.
NO. 2. STIRRUP MADE Of
BENT WOOD, RIVETED TO
TRANSVERSE PLUG AT THE
TOP.
fastened with a nut or rivet.     The stirrup is suspended
by this ' cross piece' from the stirrup leather.    This
kind of stirrup is much lighter
than the ' block stirrup,' and
enables  the rider to put his
foot full in, which those who
are accustomed to pass long
days in the saddle well know
is a wonderful rest to the leg,
and the size of the stirrup is
too great to afford any chance
of being hung by the foot, if one is unfortunate enough
to ' get a cropper.'
Great numbers of saddles are made so that the leather
covering is fast to the tree, a plan perhaps quite as good
as the one I have spoken of for all ordinary work; but
for a real rough-and-tumble trip, where ' mustangs' are
wild, rivers  deep and plentiful,  and no  chance of a
repair except you can do it for yourself; then, I repeat,
give me the saddle I have called the' Californian saddle.'
This pattern, in a very rude form, is adopted by all the
inland Indians in British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington territory.    They construct their saddle-trees by
fastening two sticks together which have grown naturally into the desired shape, and then stitching undressed
deer-hide over them with elk-tendon, as we use thread.
The men more frequently ride on the 'pad,' but the
squaws or women use a saddle, and always ride astride 86
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
like the men.    Most of the American officers belonging
to the United  States Boundary Commission used the
' Maclellan saddle,' which, after all, although a capital
' dragoon saddle,'  is only an elaborated form of the
Spanish  saddle;  but  as  we  are  not going to enter
upon a consideration of the  merits  and demerits of
various patterns of saddles, I shall not say more about
the matter than that which is requisite to explain why
the Californian, for all rough work in a wild country, is
preferable to any other kind of saddle I have ever used.
In the first place, an English hunting saddle, however strongly it may be made, would stand no more
chance with a wild mustang, when, arching its. back
and stiffening its four legs, it ' buck-jumps' than would
a packthread if employed to moor a boat in a tide-way;
every girth-strap would be cracked in a moment, and
the rider and his saddle sent flying over the mustang's
depressed head.  No girth or strap that has any element
of sewing in it will stand the force a wild horse can
exert when it sets itself up to do mischief.    In the next
place, a fixed lining is most objectionable if it gets wet,
as it must do'from perspiration, rain, and swimming
streams: the stuffing felts, the flannel containing it rots,
and use whatever care you may your ] saddle is thus
worse than useless.     In the third place,  in riding
through cbush,' snags are almost sure to hitch in the
saddle-flaps, and a rent not easy to mend is the consequence. A  USEFUL  GUN SLING.
Another advantage, and not a small one either, possessed by the Californian over the English saddle is the
ease afforded in carrying a shot gun or rifle. A strap
of hide or leather, about two feet long and six inches
wide, having two holes cut in it sufficiently large to
slip easily over the knob of the pommel, forms the best
means I have ever tried for carrying a gun, which
should be placed with the muzzle
beyond the foot of the rider, on
the near side, and passed through
the loop strap until prevented from
going further by the trigger-guard
and hammers; in this position it
■is ready at a moment's notice, and
can be freed by either drawing it
from out the loop or by slipping one end of the strap
from off the pommel. Then to the frame of the saddle
I always tie numbers of long leather thongs. These
will be found most convenient assistants for carrying
game, or any odds and ends one may pick up or take
along with him. Erom this same knob, on the off-side,
I hang a bag, or in trapper's vernacular, a ' possible
sack,' in which fishing-gear, pipe, tobacco, matches (if
there are any), string, strips, of hide, a penknife, nails,
a couple of awls, some strong needles, and thread of
different kinds, a tailor's thimble and pair of scissors,
are stowed away for ready use. The bag may be either
leather or canvas.    I prefer an ordinary ' game-bag' to
GUN SLING. 88
AT HOME IS THE  WILDERNESS.
any other, divided into several pockets. With a saddle
of the kind I recommend, all these little matters—apparent trifles to you, who only know of home travelling-—
can be easily arranged. If wetted, all you have to do
is to spread your blankets before the camp fire and dry
them. If the covering leather gets wet it readily dries
again, and there is no sewing wherein the stitches can
rot and break. A blanket torn can be easily replaced,
or a hide can be used in its stead.
We took out with us an English saddle, made especially for the work, for each of the officers of the Commission, but it was only by using extreme care, aided
by a servant to clean and attend to them, that these
saddles were preserved; and most of us, after all, gave
the preference to the Californian saddle. Therefore I sum
up by saying that the saddle of the country is better
than ours, for travelling, breaking wild horses, hunting
(not running buffaloes), and rough work in general.
I need not describe a bison, improperly called a buffalo;
everybody has seen the picture of one, and the greater
number of my readers will, in all likelihood, have made
the acquaintance of those which used to be in the
Zoological Gardens in the Regent's Park. Full-grown
bull bisons will average eight feet and more in length,
without the taiL and the weight may be assumed to be
from 1,500 to 1,800 pounds per animal as they stand.
The cows are considerably less. The principal object
in hunting bison is to obtain their hides, which are ADVANTAGES  OF  THE   INDIAN   PAD.
89
dressed and traded as ' buffalo robes.' To run ' buffalo'
(I shall retain the term for convenience sake), it is
essential that the hunter should be a practised horseman ; no skill in shooting is needed, to pull the trigger
and load whilst galloping are the only requirements
wanted as regards the gun. The hair ' cabresto,'* with
the double hitch in lieu of bit, is by far the best kind of
bridle; and the only kind of saddle I should ever venture to use is that usually designated by hunters ' the
Indian pad,' which, in point of fact, is simply two
cushions or small pillows, fastened
together by stout pieces of leather,
and firmly ' synched' on to the
horse according to the plan before
described when speaking of the
Californian saddle. By using this
pad all risk of saddle injury,
arising, from sudden falling, is obviated, for smooth
and lawn-like as these vast prairies, over which the
panting herds are chased by the hunters, may appear
to the eye, nevertheless burrowing animals of several
kinds make their subterranean homes beneath the
grass; and as one races on, unconscious of such pitfalls, unexpectedly in goes the horse's fore or hind
legs, and the chances are greatly in favour of both the
steed and its rider getting a roll on the turf.    I have
* Vide page 95.-
JNDIAN PAD. 11:
90
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
had scores of such tumbles, and have no hesitation
in saying that using the ' pad' has saved me from
dangerous, perhaps fatal, injuries.
By way of illustration, I shall endeavour to describe
a buffalo run according to my own experiences, and
relate what befell me on that particular occasion.
As part of the equipment, it is always advisable to,
■allow a long larriette (from the Erench Varret) to trail
upon the ground, the one end being fastened with a
running noose round the horse's neck. This rope can
generally be grasped if the rider is unhorsed and
misses his reins ; then by holding on to the larriette he
can 'choke down his horse,' and prevent its escape.
But for the noose and slip-knot, even supposing you
had a hold fast of the reins as you lie upon the ground,
the horse could tug you along until. you would be compelled to let him go, and then if you ever saw either
horse or 'gearing' any more, why dame fortune must
be kinder to you than she is to most men.
The scene of my adventure is on the broad plains in
the.Red River settlement. The sun is just creeping
from behind the eastern hills, tinting with the rosy
hues of morning' the splintered summits of many a far-
off peak, and at • the same time shedding a paler glow
over the grassy slopes; the different intensities of the
light give to the flat surface of the plains the appearance of being an ocean of mist. A band of Red Indians
with whom I am hunting- and living are mounted and WAITING   FOR  THE  MIST. 91
ready for the hunt, and few have ever looked upon a
more picturesque sight. Their only garment, a piece of
skin tied round the waist, makes the muscular figures
of the savages look more like exquisite carvings than
real flesh and blood. Thus, sitting their prancing half-
tamed horses with matchless ease and grace, their black
hair flowing in tangled locks down their backs, confined
only by a narrow band of ermine-skin, with, an eagle's
feather sewn to it, they look as wild and fearless as
the beasts they are about to chase. We are waiting
for the mist to rise, which it will do when the sun
comes fairly above the horizon. Ah! there it goes, the
fog lifting like a veil. It does not evaporate, so to
speak, and disperse, but rises en masse like a balloon,
and at once becomes invisible; and now we can make
out the buffalos scattered over the plain; some are
busily cropping their dewy breakfast, others are still
lying down in little groups—but all are in happy
ignorance of the dire enemies lurking behind the knoll
watching their every movement. Craftily, and with
extreme caution, we walk our horses to windward of the
herd, and as we emerge from the cover of the ridge, the
trumpet-like notes of the older bulls tell us that we
are discovered. Concealment is now of no further use,
the beasts are crowding' together like sheep when
scared by a dog. The Indians give a piercing whoop,
and we dash wildly after the now rapidly retreating
herd,  their tails   upheaved and their  horns  rattling 92
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
noisily against one another. The very plain seems to
shake, clouds of blinding dust,' raised by thousands of
hoofs, nearly hides the hunters from each other, whilst
a rumbling noise, like subdued thunder, seems to absorb
and swallow up all other sounds. I soon overtake the
rearmost animals, and singling out a young cow, drop
her in her tracks; recharge my gun, and single out
this time a fine old bull. He seems to roll rather than
gallop along, his nose nearly touching,the grass, and his
shaggy brown mane tossing wildly in the breeze. My
horse, though thoroughly up to his work, appears, to
know by past experiences that it is no mean foe he has
to deal with; laying back his ears, and pushing out his
nose, as if to make the most of every breath of air, the
gallant mustang thunders on at such a pace that I find
myself side by side with the shaggy bull before I have
time to think of my position in reference to the other
stragglers of the herd. Now or never I must fire, or
lose my chance. Lowering my gun I pull the trigger.
It appeared to me that the cap had hardly exploded ere
my mustang wheeled short about with such startling
velocity, that it was with the utmost difficulty I contrived
to retain my seat; but, as if the fates were against me,
two other buffaios were directly in the way, and for a
few seconds prevented the horse from galloping away
from the bull, which, turning nearly as rapidly as the
horse, charged, and striking the horse on the point of
the shoulder sent us both rolling on the plain.    I was A  NARROW ESCAPE. 93
terribly frightened and shaken, but adopting Ealstaff's
maxim, 'that the better part of valour is discretion,'
I lay still to await the issue of events. The mustang
had by this time regained his legs, and was, with
evident difficulty, limping away as fast as his damaged
shoulder permitted. That the bull was badly wounded
I could see by his rolling gait, heavy breathing, and
the bloody froth besmearing his nostrils and lips. I
do not think he saw me, for his glaring eyes were
directed towards the horse, which he made a vigorous
attempt to follow; but it proved a signal failure.
The wounded beast seemed to be perfectly aware that
if once he fell to the ground all hope for him was
at an end, so bracing his muscles firmly, and planting
his massive legs wide apart, the powerful animal
seemed determined to stand up to the last. Hurt and
frightened as I was, I felt sorry for him.; the eyes lost
all their fire, and a saddened expression took its
place. He tried to get glimpses of his comrades, by
this time nearly lost in the distance; and I know that
dying buffalo was quite aware that he should never see
them again. His great chest was heaving convulsively,
and low plaintive sounds, more resembling sobs than
anything else I know of, told in language plain as
printed words how terrible were his sufferings. The
head dropped, until the nose was nearly touching the
grass, the ponderous body rocked like a storm-tossed
ship from side to side, a gurgling sound replaced the 94
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
stertorous breathing; then suddenly the muscles seemed
to lose all further power, and with a heavy crash the
' king of the plain fell dead amidst the grass and wild
flowers. The Indians soon recovered my lost steed, for
his shoulder was so much injured that he could only
contrive to limp slowly away.
I have stated the result of this tumble—and worse
falls even than this are of constant occurrence on the
plains—to show how useless is any kind of saddle having
a frame made of wood or other breakable material.
Nothing could save it from continually smashing; more
than this, the hunter having to encounter these heavy
falls would, beyond all doubt, receive dangerous hurts
from either the cantle or pommel of an ordinary saddle.
Hence the 'pad,' for running bison, is immeasurably
superior to any other description of saddle.
The bridle we carried out with us was designed for
the purpose, and answered remarkably well. It consisted of an ordinary leather head-stall, with a tether
rope attached to a ring under the throat, and then
buckled to the brow-band; the bit, a 'ring-snaffle,' was
fastened to the head-stall by a double spring-hook, so
that bit and reins could be readily detached, and the
head-stall left on. The Mexicans and ' stock-men' all
use the barbarous Spanish bit, with a ring of iron like
a curb-chain under the lower jaw. It is always a cruel
bit with the lightest hand, but murderous with a heavy
one. HOW  TO   DISPENSE   WITH  A  BIT.
95
THE  CABRESTO.
My advice is to dispense with the bridle altogether,
and use instead a light ' lassoo' or ' cabresto' made
of buffalo hair, about forty or fifty feet long; a double
' clove hitch' placed round the under jaw, and under
the tongue, answers every purpose of a bit. To put on this
cabresto, first place a running
noose round the animal's neck,
then measure rope enough, commencing from the loop of the
noose, to reach from the cantle
of the saddle to the corner of the animal's mouth; make
your ' clove hitch' and put it round the jaw, carry on
the rope and tie to the loose end, coil up the slack, and
hang it on the pommel as you would on a peg; you
have now, if I am clear in my explanation, two ' reins '
and the ' clove hitch' in lieu of a bit. K you want to
dismount and tether, all you need do is to loose the tie
of the reins, slip out the I clove hitch,' then the noose
round the animal's neck prevents any chance of its
escaping, when fastened to a tree or tether stake.
It is a very unsafe plan to tether an animal, however
quiet it may be, by a rope fastened only to a ' leather
head-stall.' The most gentle mules and horses are
liable to sudden alarms, either from wild beasts, Indians,
bush-fires, or what not. The first impulse is to escape,
and to do this "mules and horses invariably 'hang back,'
or in other words retreat from the point to which they 96
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
are fastened; this brings the strain to bear upon the
weakest part of the 'head stall,' and it must be constructed of stronger materials than any I have ever yet
met with, if it does not break like a piece of sewing
cotton.    The best plan, and the safest one, is to use a
rope made from hair, buffalo hair being the best; to put
a noose round the animal's neck, and then to take a
single turn of the rope round the noose to prevent it
from running up too tight upon the windpipe, but drawn
sufficiently close to avoid any risk of the animal slipping
its head through.    Never tether with a ' hide lassoo ;' if
you do, the wolves, cayotees, and woodrats are pretty
sure to eat it in two, and you find the fag end of your-
tether line minus the animal which you quite expected
to discover fast to it.    In using the ' hair rope,' or cabresto, instead of a bridle, as previously recommended,
your tether line is always where it should be, round the
animal's neck.   When you are working with a ' bell,'
tethering is not  needed.    The  easiest  and   simplest
hobble is made by buckling a strap or tieing a larriette
round a fore and hind leg on the same side, or tieing
the fore legs above the fetlocks with a strap not less
than two feet long. ■ Wagons cannot possibly be too simple in their construction. They should be built of thoroughly seasoned
timber, and this caution applies with most force to the
wheels, because where the air is hot and the atmosphere
very dry, unseasoned wood cracks, shrinks, and readily
splinters. At Stockton and Red Bluffs in California, the
mule wagons are made in three or four divisions, so
that a team of eight mules draws them easily over good
level ground, but when hills have to be ascended, or wet
ground got over, then the wagons are separated and
taken along one at a time.
Lvis always a safe precaution to have a wagon pole
jointed where it goes between the ' hounds;' it saves
Gripping off in bumping over holes. A good team of six
mules ought to drag 2,000 lb. in a light wagon over
any ordinary prairie land. Mules travel faster than oxen,
and are better fitted to endure 'heat and want of water,
but for a very long march, where grass is not over
abundant, and no grain can be procured, then I think
oxen are preferable.    They are better too at a dead 98
AT HOME IN THE  WILDERNESS.
steady pull, through mud and slush. Besides, oxen are
cheaper, and you can eat them when they are otherwise
done with.
It is a novel sight and rather a picturesque one too,
in the Red River and Pembina district, to witness a
procession of carts, each one drawn by a single ox
harnessed into shafts after the manner of a dray-horse.
A single man, called a 'bull-driver,' takes charge of
eight or ten carts, and manages his team, aided by a
whip (and, by the way, a person requires a vast amount
of practice to be able to use ' a bull-flogger' cleverly).
A young larch tree is usually selected for the haft,
which should be six feet long and as pliant as a salmon
rod; the thong is made of plaited green hide, and should
be two inches in diameter at the centre or 'belly'
of the thong, tapering towards each end, and about
3 feet to 3 feet 6 inches in length. The crack of this
whip in the hands of an experienced ' bull-driver' is
like the report of a rifle. Woe betide the unfortunate
bullock that gets a. real taste of the thong; it takes off
the hair like a hot iron and raises a ' wale' as large as
a sausage. The oxen are harnessed betwixt shafts like
horses, and each ox and its cart will transport a load
of eight hundred or a thousand pounds weight. The
cart is constructed mostly of wood, and very little if ajiy
iron is used in its building. Regular trains of these
primitive ox-carts follow the buffalo hunters for the purpose of caarting home the hides and meat for preserving. THE OVERLAND STAGE LINE.
99
The creaking of the wheels, the cracking of the whips,
and the continual shouting of the ' bull drivers,' cheering
and abusing their teams by turns, may be heard when
they are miles away.
The following extract from a work entitled ' Across
the Continent,' published in the United States, and in
London by Low & Co., gives such a capital account of
stage travelling and of Mr. Ben Holladay, the colossal
capitalist who ' runs ' the Overland Stage Line, and who
is certainly, according to the author Mr. Bowles, the
tallest coach-proprietor that ever worked a road on the
earth's surface, that I thought it quite worth appending
to the chapter on teaming.
I The great Overland Stage Line, by which we are
travelling, was originated by Mr. William H. Russell,
of New-York, and carried on for a year or two by himself and partners, under the name of Russell, Majors, &
Waddell. They failed, however, and some three years
ago it passed into the hands of their chief creditor, Mr^
Ben Holladay, an energetic Missourian, who had been a
successful contractor for the Government and for great
corporations on the Plains and the Pacific. He has
since continued the fine, improving, extending, and
enlarging it until it is now, perhaps, the greatest enterprise owned and controlled by one man which exists in
the country, if not in the world. His line of stages
commences at Atchison, on the Missouri River: its first
section extends across the great Plains to Denver, six 100
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
hundred and fifty miles; from here it goes on six hundred miles more to Salt Lake City, along the base of and
through the Rocky Mountains at Bridger's Pass.    Prom
there to Nevada and California, about seven hundred
and fifty miles further, the stage fine is owned by an
eastern  company, and is   under the  management  of
Wells, Eargo, & Co., the express agents.   All this is a
daily line, and the coaches used are of the best stage
pattern, well known in New England as the ' Concord
coach.'    From Salt Lake Mr. Holladay runs a tri-weekly
coach line north, and west, nine hundred and fifty miles,
through Idaho to the Dalles on the Columbia River, in
northern Oregon, and branching off at Eort Hall, also a
tri-weekly line, to  Yirginia City,  in   Montana,   four
hundred miles more.    Erom Denver, too, he has a subsidiary line into the mountain centres of Central City
and Nevada, about forty miles.    Over all these routes
he carries the mail, and is in the receipt for this service
of six hundred and fifty thousand dollars per annum
from the Government.    His whole extent of staging and
mail contracts—not counting,  of   course, that under
Wells, Eargo, & Co., from Salt Lake west—is two thousand seven hundred and sixty miles, to conduct which
he owns some six thousand horses and mules and about
two hundred and sixty coaches.    All along the routes
he has built stations at distances of ten to fifteen miles;
he has to draw' all his corn from the Missouri River;
much of his hay has also to be transported hundreds of COST  OF  WORKING  THE   STAGES.
101
miles; fuel for his stations comes frequently fifty and
one hundred miles. The Indians last year destroyed or
stole full half-a-million dollars' worth of his property—
barns, houses, animals, feed, &c.; he pays a general
superintendent ten thousand dollars a year; division
superintendents a quarter as much ; drivers and stable-
keepers get seventy-five dollars a month, and their living ;
he has to mend, and in some cases make, his own roads,
so that, large as the sum paid by the Government,
and high as the prices for passengers, there is an immense outlay and a great risk in conducting the enterprise. During the last year of unusually enormous prices
for everything, and extensive and repeated Indian raids,
Mr. Holladay has probably lost money by his stages*
The previous year wag one of prosperity, and the next is
likely to be. But with so immense a machine, exposed
to so many chances and uncertainties, the returns must
always be doubtful. * * The passenger fares by his
stages are now, from Atchison to Denver one hundred
and seventy-five dollars, to Salt Lake three hundred and
fifty dollars, to Nevada five hundred dollars, to California five hundred dollars, to Idaho five hundred dollars,
to Montana five hundred dollars. These are much
higher than they were two years ago, and will probably
be reduced during the season, as safety from the Indians
and lower prices for food and corn are assured, from
thirty-three to fifty per cent. Mr. Holladay now resides
in New York City, and is reported to be immensely 102
AT HOME IN THE  WILDERNESS.
wealthy— say five millions. He owns and runs, also,
lines of steamships in the Pacific Ocean from San Eran-
cisco, north to Oregon and British Columbia, and south
to Mazatlan, Mexico, with contracts for the mails and
both routes from our Government or from Maximilian of
Mexico. He conducts all this immense business successfully by the choice of able and trusty managers, to whom
he pays large salaries. * * Mr. Holladay visits his overland line about twice a year, and when he does, passes
over it with a rapidity and a disregard of expense and
rules characteristic of his irrepressible nature. A year
or two ago, after the disaster to the steamer ' Golden
Gate,' on the Pacific sfiore, by which the only partner he
ever had, Mr. Edward Rust Flint, son of old Dr. Flint
of Springfield, lost his life, and himself barely escaped a
watery grave, he made the quickest trip overland that it
is possible for one man to make before the distance is
shortened by railway. He caused himself to be driven
from Salt Lake to Atchison, twelve hundred and twenty
miles, in six and one-half days, and was only twelve
days and two hours from San Francisco to Atchison.
The trip probably cost him twenty thousand dollars in
wear and tear of coaches and injury to and loss of horses
by the rapid driving. The only ride over the Plains, at
all comparable with this, was that made by Mr. Aubrey,
on a wager, from Santa Fe to Independence, seven
hundred miles, in six and one-half days. But this was
made on horseback, and when the rider reached his destination he was so exhausted that he had to be
lifted from his horse. How exciting the thought of such
rides as these across these open fields and through these
mountain gorges, that make up the half of our Continent !' 104
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
CHAPTER VI.
The more desirable form of Tent—The Lodge of the Savage—The
Sibley Tent—The Bell Tent—The Gable-ended Teni^-The Miner's
Tent—Half-shelter Tent—Poles and Pegs:—How to pitch a Tent
and make it secure.
A tent of some kind should always form part of every
wanderer's equipment, if he can by any possibility carry
it on his pack animals. ' Camping out' is all very well
in theory; sleeping with your head on your saddle, with
no other protection than the ' blue canopy of the
heavens,' or ' the cloudless expanse gemmed with
twinkling stars,' sounds remarkably sensational, ' lionises I the intrepid explorer, elicits delightful little
scraps of sympathetic pity, and at the same time coaxes
delicious compliments from fair lips, to earn which the
a lone hunter,' or he who would be such, thinks at the
time he would not mind sharing a cave with the tallest
kind of a grizzly to earn a tithe of the praise; but
when far away from fair faces, loving eyes, and rosy
lips, no man who had a single grain of experience
would Voluntarily sleep in the open air, if a tent or
covering of any kind were procurable.
The  form which is most desirable for a, tent is a, THE  SIBLEY  TENT.
105
question on which opinions vary greatly. For military
purposes the ' bell-tent' seems to me to be the more
convenient pattern. The circle round the supporting
pole affords more room for sleeping than does any tent
wherein there are necessarily angles.
Indians always adopt the circle for their lodges,
when moving about; but for their large permanent
residences they choose the square, and roof it with
a single slant; immense sheds are thus made from
rough cedar slabs by the Coast, Eraser, and Vancouver Island savages, for winter quarters. For easy
transport, a ' bell-tent' is too heavy, requiring two
men to pitch it, and in close timber its height is an
objection, whilst in very hard wind it is easily blown
over, if not secured by ' guy' ropes. The United
States Commission, working jointly with us on the
Boundary-line, used to a great extent
the Sibley tent, which is most commodious and comfortable. In form it
is conical, and the apex is constructed
on the principle of the 'cowl' or 'pres-
byterian' frequently placed on the top
of smoky chimneys as a curative agent.
This contrivance leaves an opening always in the course of the wind, which
ventilates the tent and allows the smoke to' escape,
without any risk of its being blown back again into
the interior.
SIBLEY TENT.
J 106
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
An iron tripod with a short chain fixed to it, and so
constructed as to fold up with the ' tent-gear,' is for the
purpose of being placed over the fire,' which should be
built on the ground in the centre of the tent during cold
or wet weather, but outside if fine and warm.    The
' camp kettle'  hangs  from the  chain—a contrivance
that considerably facilitates the process  of  cooking.
The Bell and Sibley tents, the latter of American invention, are both admirable, as affording convenience in
height, room to move about, and perfect shelter from the
heaviest rain if well pitched.   By turning up the ' apron'
encircling the bottom, so as to allow a current of air
to blow through, they can be made cool and enjoyable in
the hottest sunshine.    If occupied by soldiers, I think
a' Sibley-tent' will sleep twelve, or more, arranged as
the spokes are in a wheel, the men's heads being towards
the  canvas, and their feet to the fire, or the centre
pole, which stands on the top of the tripod.    This is
one great advantage the Sibley has over our ordinary
military ' bell-tent:' it permits a fire in the centre of
the tent, which is impossible in ours, unless a small stove
is used, and the tent pitched on the edge  of a hole
excavated for the purpose, so as to allow the  stove-*
pipe to pass through the ground beneath the.canvas,
a system never available unless at a depot or. a camp
intended for long occupation.   Not that I think a fire in
a tent is so very desirable, unless it be in continuous
wet weather, or during a heavy fall of snow; then being GOLD  MINERS  TENT.
107
able to sit by a fire, protected from the weather, is
Undeniably a great luxury.
Against these several advantages must be placed
as a counterpoise, the weight and cumbersome size
of the package, when either the Bell or Sibley tents
are rolled up for transport. Although the centre pole
may be ferruled, and divided into two parts, nevertheless, the length is even then very obstructive to
convenience of ' packing' on the backs of mules, and
they are further extremely liable to get broken. The
'tents themselves are particularly heavy and bulky, and
should it be necessary, as it constantly is, when
travelling, to roll them up wet, the weight is enormous.
For wagon or ambulance transport, where the addition
of a few pounds weight is of no material consequence,
these tents are admirable, indeed ail the most fastidious
campaigner could desire; and if well and judiciously
pitched, afford comfort and protection equal to log-houses.
The gold-diggers have a very simple plan of protecting
themselves from the weather whilst sleeping. They provide themselves with a long strip of light cotton canvas, which is easily carried even on one's own back.
When camping, two sticks, each about four feet long, are
cut with a small fork at the ends. These are driven
into the ground six feet apart. Then a third and a
lighter pole is placed on the forked ends of the uprights
—this one should be rather more than seven feet long.
Over it the cotton awning is placed, and then pegged
firmly to the ground.   One end, that towards the wind, 108
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
is fastened together, either with pieces of string, or what
I prefer, wooden skewers. The other end is left open
for the occupant to creep in at, and skewered together
when he is in. By making the ridge-stick rather
longer than the supports, the cotton covering can be
fastened so as to leave the forked sticks outside, a plan
that affords more room, and enables you to bring the
edges of the cover slightly to overlap.
A very capital protection against heavy rain may
be conveniently rigged up by using the aparejo covers,
a piece of canvas, or slabs of bark, if nothing better
is procurable.     This  half-shelter tent is exceedingly
useful   when   on   hunting   or
trapping excursions.     An ad-
'$£& ditional   pound   weight  upon
these   occasions   is   of   great
^^^^^^^^^^^^?T' consequence;   the' lighter   a
half-shelter tent. hunter can make  his  equip
ment the better for himself and his horse, hence the
knowledge of any expedient by which he can add to
his comfort and keep his cloths dry, without carrying
the material to do it with, is sure to prove useful.
Bark and branches of wood are generally procurable;
either of these materials laid first against the frame,
shown in the cut, and then covered over with grass
or rushes, will make a slant nearly if not quite waterproof. I have frequently slept under a contrivance
erected in this fashion during a night of pouring rain,
and kept myself quite dry.    It is almost superfluous to GABLE-ENDED  TENT.
109
INDIAN  REED-MAT  LODGE.
(From, a photograph.)
say, this ' half-shelter' should be always on the weather
side.
I have tried these contrivances at the diggings: lived
in a Sibley tent in Northwest America, in a Bell-tent
in the Crimea, in a Turkish
tent with eight sides in
Asia Minor, in a Bedouin
Arab's tent, in Indian wigwams east and west of the
Rocky Mountains, and in
Palmetto shantees in the
tropical world, and I have camped in the open air,
much oftener than I thought agreeable, at times when
I could not avoid it, but after all, the tent I prefer is
the ' dog-kennel,' or ' gable-ended tent;' the size a
10-ell. The 'upright poles' should be six feet, and
the ' ridge-pole ' seven feet long. Each of these three
poles must be ferruled in the
centre with a strong ferrule of
galvanised iron. The ends of
the two uprights should be
made sharply conical, and then
shod with iron thimbles, forged
to fit on to the conical ends,
and each thimble must be firmly fixed by two iron
pegs, passed through it and the pole, and then securely
riveted. The usual plan adopted by tent-makers is to
drive a small iron, wire peg into the ends of the uprights,
GABLE-ENDED   OR DOG-KENNEL
TENT. 110
AT  HOME   IN THE WILDERNESS.
which pegs pass through holes in the ' ridge poles' and
canvas, and serve as a means for attaching the ' guy'
ropes to the outside of the tent. But in ' packing'
it will be found that these slender pegs are continually
broken or bent, and added to this, there is always a
good deal of bother in finding the hole in the canvas
when pitching a tent, and for ' gable-ended tents' I
contend that' guy' ropes are perfectly non-essentials.
By using the conical ends shod with iron, it matters
not which end of the pole is uppermost, and all that
is required in the ridge-pole is a small cone-shaped
hole for the end of the upright to fit into; the other
end slightly penetrating the ground, holds firmly, and
keeps the tent steady. One man unaided can, with a
very small amount of practice, pitch this three-pole
gable-ended tent in from eight to ten minutes.
I hear some one exclaim, ' Why carry poles at all,
when travelling through the very "midst, of a thickly
wooded country? Surely you can cut them whenever
and wheresoever you camp ? ' So I thought once, until
experience taught me lessons of wisdom, and then I
discovered that tent-poles were not so easy to procure,
and cut at a moment's notice—although one was
travelling through a country densely timbered—as
most persons would a priori be disposed to believe.
I advise all travellers to carry their tent poles with
them; trusting to the mere chance of finding poles ' all.
a growing,' fitted for your purpose, and needing only
to be chopped  down, is  a bad plan.    Supposing you PRECAUTIONS NOT TO BE NEGLECTED.
Ill
are fortunate enough to find what suits your purpose,
long delay is necessitated in cutting, fitting, and
adapting the green poles to fit the canvas, the tent
is never steady, and you are in a perpetual fidget that
it may at any moment fall in upon you whilst you
are sleeping. If, on the other hand, poles are not
procurable, and this, let me assure all young ' wanderers,' is by far the more probable contingency, then
your tent is useless, and you may have to lie and
moan over your disappointed hopes, cooled, if not
refreshed, by a shower-bath of rain, which serves alike
to damp your courage and your clothes; and begets
a wise resolve, ere morning comes, never to venture on another march without carrying tent-poles
along with you. Exactly the same advice applies to
the 'tent-pegs;' it is utter misery having to cut pegs
at camping-time, and sticks cut green with a crook
at the end never 'drive' well, or hold when driven;
old barrel staves form the best materials out of which
to saw ' tent-pegs;' the pegs stow easily in the bag
with the tent, and do not, in any appreciable degree,
increase its bulk as a package. Spare ones should
always be carried, when travelling, as tent-pegs, like
clothes-pegs used by laundry women, or pins employed
by everybody, are from some cause difficult of explanation constantly diminishing in numbers. A light
wooden mallet for driving the pegs is also another
essential, which should be packed in the bag which
contains the tent and pegs. 112
AT  HOME IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
When we were equipping the Boundary Commission,
prior to our leaving England, her Majesty's Commissioner deemed it expedient to adopt the form of tent
used, and strongly recommended, by the Honourable
Hudson's Bay Company, which is the ' gable-ended'
tent I so strongly advocate. We had them made
at Limehouse of three sizes, 12-ell, 10-ell, and 8-ell,
but the poles were not ferruled, and only fitted with
a wire peg in the end. It certainly at that time
seemed to my mind the height of folly to take tent-
poles from England to Vancouver Island, on which the
finest pine timber in the world grows in prodigal
abundance, but from the experience I subsequently
gleaned, I found it was by far the wiser plan; and had I
to go out there, or anywhere else, where a tent was
desirable to-morrow, I would take the whole thing
completed. In some measure to repeat what I have
previously said, I should take a 10-ell tent, fitted with
a seven-foot ferruled ridge-pole, made of good pine,
and two six-feet uprights also ferruled, and capped
with conical iron thimbles; three dozen tent-pegs, made
of seasoned oak, and two ash-mallets. The tent-pegs
and mallets to be fitted into a painted canvas bag,
made round at the bottom, and finished to tie like a
corn-sack at the top, by plaiting the canvas, and
fastening the cord round the plaits. When the string is
'run in,' so that the mouth may be 'drawn up,' an
orifice is generally left sufficiently large to allow the tent-
pegs to escape at, and when reaching the camping ground TENT  POLES AND  PEGS.
113
one has to waste an hour foraging for new pegs, which
are not worth a straw when compared to those this
stupid system of—I cannot say fastening tent bags—has
caused one to lose. The tent-poles we carried with us
from England—although I dare say many of my
readers will even now say it was vastly like, to use
an every-day simile, ' taking coals to Newcastle,' made
very little difference to the weight or cubic measurement
of baggage necessitated for the supply of so large
a party, and for acconipfishing such a laborious undertaking as was that of marking the forty-ninth parallel
of latitude—the ' Boundary-line ' — dividing British
Columbia from the lands of the United States.
On landing our party, about seventy-five persons,
on Vancouver Island, it was imperative that all should
at once go ' under canvas.' Poles and pegs being
ready, the tents were all pitched in no time, tools
were not required, and our tiny canvas city was
built and occupied in less time than it would have
taken to cut and fit a dozen poles. After commencing
our work of cutting the Boundary-line, to accomplish
which a corps of fifty American axemen was required,
it was found. desirable to have very much larger
tents made for the chopping gangs than those we
brought from England, tents sufficiently capacious to
accommodate twelve or fifteen axemen. When several
men were working together, a large tent was easily
pitched by their united labour, and as they did not 114
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
,
' shift camp' more frequently as a rule than once
in every twelve or fourteen days, one large tent was
found to answer far better than three or four smaller
ones. These large tents were generally slung; the
poles in this case have to be cut, as they were required to be large and strong; five are needed for
one large tent. The 'ridge-pole' rests on the fork
made by the ends of the other four poles. Two of the
lateral poles should be cut with a natural fork; by
resting the ends of the two
other poles in these, all trouble
of tieing is dispensed with, and
the tent when pitched will be
firmer and steadier than if
poles lashed at the top were employed. More than this, rope,
cord, or raw-hide, cannot always be obtained at a minute's
notice. The poles so arranged are then placed at either
end of the tent, the bottoms of the poles being pulled
as far apart as it is desirable to get them.    The canvas
is first thrown over the ridgepole thus kept up, and then it
is pegged firmly into the
ground. H I am clearly understood, it will be seen that in
this mode of' pitching a tent'
the supporting poles are out
side the canvas, instead of inside, where the poles. must
always be, if only two uprights are used.
axeman's tent.
SHUT UP FOE THE NIGHT. A  HUNTER'S VISIT.
115
CHAPTER VII.
A Hunter's Bedding—Bedding for Tents or Log-houses—Bedstead,
how to make—Systems of Packing up Bedding—Tools necessary
for a Wanderer—The way to fell your first Tree—How to split a
Log—Traps to be avoided.
If you start either ' hunting' (I use the word ' hunter'
in its Transatlantic sense, as meaning one who shoots,
traps, or otherwise destroys wild animals and game),
trapping, prospecting, or in search of an eligible ' location,' whereon to ' squat,' and ' clear' or ' fence' in a
farm, you will require but few if any superfluities.    In
the shape of bedding, a couple of blankets carried under
the saddle, a ' buffalo robe' rolled up in a piece of stout
hide, and tied behind the saddle cantle, ought to suffice
for a week or two, if roughing it; but when provided
with mules  or other means of transport, then being
provided with proper bedding will be found a great
comfort; one mule ought to carry the.' full kit' or outfit
of two persons.    It will be as well perhaps- to describe
briefly the  summer and  winter  systems for sleeping
adopted by the Boundary Commission, as we found them
to' answer perfectly.    The men, consisting of  about
seventy sappers, and fifty axemen and packers, were I
116
AT HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
wintered for two consecutive years at Colville, on the
upper Columbia, in log-houses, of which I shall say
something further on. The temperature was often as
low as 30° and 32° below zero, and an average depth of
18 inches of snow covered the ground from the beginning of November to the end of April. The sappers had a requisite supply of blankets served out to
them, but the axemen and packers had to provide their
own. In the log-houses built for the men ' bunks' were
constructed round the sides just as they are arranged
in the forecastle of a ship, or in the best cabins for that
matter, and in these the men slept comfortably enough.
The officers had each a small log-house for sleeping and
sitting in, a general mess-room being provided for the
victualling department.
The bedstead I used, and prefer as best suited to a
permanent camp, or for general travelling, consists of
two side-poles, measuring from
about 7 to 8 feet in length,
made of tough wood and ferruled in the centre with a
strong ferrule made of galvanised iron, supported on three
pairs of legs crossed like those
of a tressil; a strip of canvas
is so sewn as to allow the
two lateral poles to pass through loops, or what is
preferable,  a continuous hole from end to end.    This
CAMP-BEDSTEAD.
a A Ferrules.
B B Head-rope,
c c Foot-rope.
D Pivot on which the legs fold.
e'Ctoss rope to keep the legs from
expanding. AN  EASY  WAT  TO  BE   COMFORTABLE.
IK
affair, a common pattern of camp bedstead, minus the
ferrules,  is   sold  by most metropolitan outfitters,  is
rapidly put together, and is very comfortable to sleep
on; but if this bedstead gets broken, as according to
my experience it constantly does, then a capital substitute can be provided, by a judicious use of the axe,
the  canvas  belonging to the  broken beadstead, and
the timber growing round about you.  My remarks apply
to furnishing a log shanty.    Sleeping on the floor may
be well enough if one cannot help it, but as a rule, a
few simple contrivances, which can be provided in an
hour, will make the ' wanderer' fifty times more ' at
home,' save him many a bad cold, rest him better when
weary, and economise heat equal to that of two blankets, by elevating his body above the draughts.
Look out for a straight pine or larch, about two feet
in diameter, chop it down, and ' log off' two junks, each
about five feet in length.; then look out for two poles,
as straight as you can find them, each about eight feet in
length. Roll your logs into the shanty, place one where
the head of your bed is to be, and the other for the foot;
now measure three feet
six inches in the centre of each log, and at
the end of the measure-marks chop a deep
notch, and mind you X0G 0E ™shipt bedstead.
chop the inside piece vertically, or leaning over at the 118
AT  HOME  IN THE   WILDERNESS.
top a little will be still better and slant the outermost
wall of the notch or that part of it which will be the
nearest to the end.    Then run your poles through the
eyes or loops in the canvas, drop the ends of the poles
into the notches, and you have a bedstead fit for an
emperor to repose on.    When you move Gamp, all you
have to do is to slip out the poles from the canvas, roll
it up,  and leave the logs and poles in readiness for
your return, or the next comer if you never do go back.
A small mattress, stuffed with horse-hair, the size of
which should not exceed three feet, or three feet six
inches in width, and six feet in length, will be found to
be an immense convenience; in winter you can lay it
over your canvas to sleep on at night, or use it for a
lounge during the idle hours of the day.    Two good
blankets during summer, and four during the winter, a
buffalo skin or ' robe,' as a dressed buffalo hide is styled,
and a good large waterproof wrapper or ground sheet,
to spread on the ground when camping during the summer, and to roll the bedding in when travelling, will
about complete  the bedding  arrangements.    Let me
impress upon the minds of all travellers a golden rule :
never omit seeing to the ' rolling' up of your bedding.
There  is  a right and  a wrong way of doing  it; if
managed as  it should be, no wet  can get into the
blankets, however hard it may pour with rain, or if the
pack-animal carrying the tent-freight amuses itself by
es
rolling in every stream it arrives at, a pastime mul KEEP  TOUR  BEDDING  DRY.
119
are very much predisposed to indulge in if they are not
looked sharply after. Should the weather be fine, pack
your 'dressing gear' if you are going to shift camp,
'strike' your tent, fold, roll, and place it in its bag,
with the pegs and mallet, and tie j your poles bightly
together. Now carefully fold your blankets to the
length, and a trifle narrower than the mattress, and lay
them on it, double your buffalo robe, and place the
mattress and its contents upon it. Begin at one end,
and roll the whole tightly, turning in the ends of the
' robe' as you progress in rolling, having a stout cord or
a small 'hide rope' ready to tie round as tightly as you
can haul it. The more compact this bundle can be made
the better it will be found to
pack. Then spread the waterproof camp sheet, and lay the
bundle on one side of it, and
bring the edges of the water-
proof over each end of the bedding, and thus continue to roll
it in the camp sheet. By doing
this it is next to an impossibility "for water to find an
entrance. The whole should, lastly, be securely lashed
with a stout hide rope, or ' lassoo.'
To find all one's bedding saturated with wet—a mis-
fortune" I have often had happen, arising to my trusting
another with what I ought to have seen to myself—
when camping after a day's march, would aggravate a
^
i
THE WAT TO FOLD BEDDING AND
CLOTHES IN A WATEEPHOOF
WRAPPER. 120
AT- HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
saint. Those painted canvas ' bed envelopes,' artistically
fitted up with buckles and leather straps, made round at
each end, and bound with drab-coloured leather, containing what is called by outfitters a ' complete camp
bed,' I would not accept as a gift, if compelled to take
one abroad to be used for mule travelling. It may
answer very well for army purposes, where all baggage is
conveyed in wagons; but take advice, and never purchase a ' complete camp bed.' If you want what is really
and practically useful, rather procure each of the articles I have recommended at the best shop,' and of the
best quality. A stout ' India-rubber camp sheet,' or a
square of canvas soaked in boiled linseed oil, will answer
better to wrap round your bedding than any ' case ' or
envelope made for the purpose I have as yet seen. With
a ' case,' if a hole rubs through it, or a snag tears
it, there arises the immediate necessity to repair the
damage, or the chances of a wet bed are before you.
With a wrapper rolled many times round, the probabilities are ten to one against a hole being torn through
all the enwraps; and if such a mishap should occur,
why, it is only to alter the rolling, and the holes are
securely hid, and hence effectually stopped.
Another advantage a plain camp sheet has over a
' bed case' is, that you can spread it on the ground
when sleeping in a tent to place your mattress on; for
in a tent a bedstead is a useless encumbrance. If it
rains, and there is any chance of the water draining A  CHEAP  COST  CHAIR.
121
underneath the tent, all that is necessary is to fold the
sides and ends of the waterproof up over the bed after
you have safely turned in, and let the water find its
way past and under you. There can be no fear of
getting wet underneath so long as the edges are well
turned up. I never use a pillow, as it increases the
size of the bundle, and I find my clothes when folded
up answer every purpose. Moreover, this plan keeps
your garments from the chance of getting wet. We
found this plan of sleeping on the ground, ' and rolling
the bedding,' to answer admirably whilst doing the
Commission work, and nearly all the officers dispensed
with the ' bed case' altogether, and the bedstead during
the summer field-work.
A very useful chair, or rather makeshift seat, can be easily contrived by
cutting a cask, as shown in the illustration, then filling the under part
with dry grass or moss, and nailing a
strip of canvas or hide across the
bottom or seat part. It is far preferable to perching on a log, can be
made in' ten minutes, and abandoned
when shifting camp.
In regard to tools, a great deal must depend upon the
object of your journey. If you are bent upon any
special mission, requiring for its due accomplishment
tools of a particular character, such tools can be best
Wmmm
BARREL-CHAIR. i
122
AT HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
selected by the person who is going to use them, and no
advice I can offer will be of any practical value; but
for all ordinary travelling a skilled wanderer needs only
an American  axe,  a   three-inch  auger,  a  couple  of
gimlets, a stout clasp-knife containing several blades,
and being besides a sort of ' omnium gatherum' of little
tools, as, for instance, a punch for leather, a lancet, a
saw, a screw-driver, touch-hole pricker, together with'
others I need not enumerate; a case-knife to be worn
at the waist-belt, and for this I have found the knife in
use by pork-butchers the best kind for all ordinary
purposes; it is strong, usually made of good steel, has a
riveted box-wood handle, and its shape fits it for all
sorts of uses, either to flay a buffalo, paunch a buck,
mend a pen, or skin a humming bird.   The blade should
be fitted with, a stout pig-skin case, and kept from falling
out by a small leather strap and buckle, fastened to the
sheath for the purpose of being buckled round the haft
of the knife.     When the traveller is on horseback or
walking ^hrough dense timber, a knife is apt to slip
from its sheath unless secured.    Losing a good case or
other kind of knife is by no means a trifling matter to
the dweller in the wilderness.
Thus equipped, if the wanderer knows how to use the
tools he has, he can do nearly anything and everything;
build a log-cabin, split shingles to roof it, and make, as
I shall by-and-by show how, a fire-place, door, latch,
hinges, and windows; rafts  can be also constructed, SKILL  VERSUS  STRENGTH.
123
bridges made, and logs hollowed into safe and shapely
canoes. Indeed, an axe and auger, in the hands of a
man thoroughly up to his work, and skilled in all the
arts of an axeman, are equal to a chest of carpenter's
tools, employed by a novice or inefficient workman.
No one from mere hearsay evidence would believe
fiow many things a back-woodsman can accomplish
with an axe. Trees measuring eight and ten feet in
diameter, counted by hundreds, were cut down by our
Boundary Commission corps of axemen, two men only,
at a tree, with a rapidity utterly astonishing; trees
that no ordinary woodsman would ' fall' in a day, were
stretched upon the ground by their brawny arms in less
than an hour. To use perfectly the American wedge-
shaped axe (and here let me say, that it is the only axe
for felling timber, and doing everything with, which is
worth one straw), requires no ordinary degree of skill
and practice. Strength, of course, has something to do
with it; still, a man of only moderate muscular power
would beat a giant into being ashamed of himself, if the
weaker man did, and the stronger man did not, know how
to wield an axe. The axe I prefer for all ordinary purposes ought to. weigh about eight pounds, and it should
be carefully mounted, or ' hung,' as the term is, on a
springy, rightly curved, hiccory handle.
Now for a few brief instructions for ' green hands ;'
and should you think,^ most courteous ' wanderers,'
that these hints are altogether superfluous, let me ask ' t
>1
I I
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124
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
you to try your hand on any log within your reach,
using an American axe, and it strikes me you will discover that it is far more easy to amputate your toes, or
split your shin-bones, than it is to cut the log into
proper lengths for splitting, the ends of the severed
portion to be left as smooth and true as wedges cut
purposely. All our sappers were indignant when, on
landing at Vancouver Island, they were told they must
be taught how to ' chop.' Nevertheless, scarcely one
of them, after the experience of nearly four years, was,
to use a Tankeeism, a ' patch' upon one of our regular
staff of axemen.
Let us suppose you are going to fell your first tree;
be .careful to discover how the tree leans, and always
choose that side towards which it inclines to begin on;
by doing this you avoid the risk of falling the tree on
yourself. Stand off from the trunk, so that the edge of
your axe-blade can touch the centre of it, whilst both
your hands  are  grasping the handle before the knot
at the end of it, purposely made
to prevent it from slipping out
of the grasp in the act of chopping; fix your eye on a spot
about three feet from the
ground on th e tree-trunk, plant
your feet firmly, look carefully
behind you to make sure that there are no small twigs ■
or branches to intercept the axe—I have seen the omis-
Wmm
HOW TO  FELL  A  TREE. THE  RIGHT-SIZED  CHIP.
125
sion of this little precaution lead to most dangerous
accidents—then holding the handle by the extreme end,
not too firmly, or it will jar your wrists, and whirling
the axe at arm's length round your head, bring it obliquely down upon the spot you have fixed your eye on.
If you bring the edge down at the proper slant, the
blade should be nearly buried in the bark and timber;
if you do not, it will 'glance,' and then look out for
your legs. Repeat this cut if you can; an axeman
would, twice or three times following in the same place;
should the tree be, for example, four feet in diameter,
chop in the next cut you make three feet lower down
than where you made the first cut, but this time horizontally, always bringing the axe round at arm's length.
This will give you the 'right-sized chip,' to use a
' lumberer's' phrase; or what he means, in other words,
is, that the three-feet notch will enable the chopper to
make the wedge end of the tree break in the centre of
the stump; if you took a smaller notch, as nine out
of ten inexperienced men would do, you would find your
axe jammed before you could chop half-way through
the trunk; hence, the ' length of the chop' is always
in proportion to the girth or diameter of the tree to
be felled. Cut half-way through the tree, always keeping the lower surface horizontal and smooth, as if
planed; then change, and begin on the opposite side to
that on which you have been chopping, precisely in
the same way as you began the other cut; when you 126
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
are nearly through, the tree will crack off, and of
course fall in the direction to which it leaned; that
is away from you.
To split a log never stand it on its end; lay it flat on
the ground, commence at one end, chop the axe in as far
as you can, free it, and chop in again, -close to and in a
line with the first cut, and so proceed along the length
of the log. A log' eight feet in diameter and twenty
long can be easily split by adopting this plan, without
the aid of wedges'; two skilled axemen, by working one
axe in so as to free the other, and continuing alternately to bury their axes in the fallen tree along its
length, can easily split an immense tree from end to
end. Wedges are often used, and although I need
hardly name it as a caution, still it may be a useful
hint, to mention two cases of terrible suffering, both of
which ended fatally to ' lumberers' employed in splitting heavy timber.
One of the two was wedging open a large pine which
had been 'felled.' He had driven three wedges, one
after another, and thus opened a considerable fissure;
the first two wedges were loose, so that one of them came
out easily, but the second being rather more firmly fixed,
required to be knocked clear with, the mallet or ' wedge
beetle.' Holding the top of the wedge with one hand
and striking it with the mallet held in the other, it suddenly slipped, and the jerk threw him forwards. Dropping the wedge and instinctively pushing his left hand CAUTIONS  TO  BE  REMEMBERED.
127
forward to save himself from falling, he most unfortunately pushed it into the gaping crack, a matter that
would have been of no consequence if the third wedge
had not suddenly ' sprung,' or slipped from out its place.
In an instant the crack closed, and firmer than any
steel trap ever held a beaver the fissure shut upon and
held the wretched man by the wrist and hand. Luckily
in this case there were other 'lumberers' at work near by,
who hearing the shrieks of their comrade ran to his aid;
and wedges driven by muscular arms I wielding massive
mallets, soon released the sufferer from this novel trap
of his own making. He was taken to his cabin and
medical aid obtained, but although the hand and wrist,
crushed to a mummy, were together amputated, still the
shock was too great even for so hardy a man's physical
endurance and system to bear up against; the wound
became gangrenous, and the axeman died.
The second misfortune befell an axeman who was
'logging'up a very large tree into four feet lengths
for splitting into ' cord wood.'
To axe a tree into logs it
necessary to   stand  on it
is
and  chop between your legs,
adopting exactly the same law
as   regards   the   size   of  the
notch, or 'chop,' as explained
when speaking of ' felling' a tree; only in this case both
the right and left cuts are made obliquely, the ends of
LOGGING  UP A  TREE. hIjI
i
i
i
r
if'
■
128
AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
each log, when the tree is divided, being wedge-shaped.
Having cut half through, the axeman turns round and
commences on the opposite side.    An immense amount
of practice is required to enable a man to 'log ' timber
cleverly.    In the first place, it is extremely difficult to
stand on a tree lying on the ground, and chop betwixt
your  feet, your legs' being well apart;   in the next
place, few but the most practised hands can make the
two ' cuts' meet exactly in the centre of the tree trunk.
I have often seen a tree 250 feet long ' axed ' into four-
feet lengths without a log being moved or displaced;
so accurately did all the notches meet, that division was
accomplished without knocking one of the ends out of
the straight line.   In the third place, if the axe is not
brought down as it is swung round at the extreme end
of the handle, exactly true to the slant of the notch, it
will be certain to  ' glance,' and then if you do not
require a wooden leg for the rest of your life, why, you
may congratulate yourself upon possessing a greater
share of luck than falls to the lot of most young
choppers.
The man had finished his logging, and had commenced
splitting. I have said that the logs, after being chopped
one from another, are seldom displaced, so that the' lumberman ' when he splits them, still stands and works
upon the log he is going to divide with immense wooden
and iron wedges, to be driven by a ponderous mallet,
the  axeman having first made a  place with his axe A   HORRIBLE ALTERNATIVE.
129
to insert a wedge" into the oblique cut in the log's end.
The lumberer I am speaking of began his task, wedge
followed wedge, and with many a creak and groan the
tough fibres yielded to the resistless force of the wedges.
Soon a yawning crack opened along the log, and in a
brief space it would have been in two, but by some
mischance the man slipped, and, just as in the other
case of the hand, the wedge ' sprung,' and allowed the
crack to close upon his foot. Having tried every means
available to free himself, but in vain; shouting he
knew to be useless, as there was no one within hail,
and night was coming on, and he was well aware that the
bitter cold of a northern winter must end his life long
before any help could be reasonably anticipated. In this
agony of mind and intensity of bodily suffering, with
mad despair the poor fellow seized the axe, and at a single
chop severed his leg from the imprisoned foot; with
wonderful presence of mind he tied a ligature round
to prevent it from bleeding, and then dragged himself along in the direction of his cabin, some distance
away. It is doubtful if he ever would have reached it
had not some lumberers by mere chance passed within
hail.
I need merely add that all was done for the gallant
sufferer that medical skill and the care of anxious relatives could do, but, spite of all, he too died. There
are a great many very similar stories told of like
mishaps which have from time  to  time  befallen the
it 130 AT  HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
Canadian backwoodsman, but these two I relate as
having come under my own immediate observation.
Moral: When splitting always be careful to keep your
feet and hands from out the cracks, or you may be
trapped and caught like four-footed beasts are, for the
sake of their furry jackets.
i NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT A PRTINGPAN.
131
CHAPTER VIII.
Cooking Utensils—A Fryingpan equal to any emergency—Tea and
Cofi'ee versus Rum and Water—Canteens more ornamental than
useful—The Plan for making your own Camp Baskets—Iron Ovens
—Camp Kettles—Flow better than Biscuit—Yeast Powder. How
to bake a Loaf—Fixed Ovens.
Cooking utensils must, like everything else, entirely
depend, as regards number and variety, upon the means-
of transport at the ' wanderer's' disposal. When I
start alone on a ■ hunting' or ' prospecting' trip I
never carry more than a fryingpan and a tin pannikin;
the former I strap behind my saddle already described,
the latter I wear attached to my waist-belt by the
handle. It is wonderful what a man can do with a
'fryingpan,' it is equal to any emergency. I have
heard lots of fellows talk about, and I invariably read
in ' hunter's ' stories, of ' grilling on the glowing embers,' ' roasting by the camp-fire,' and ' baking a damper
on the ashes.' Armed with my fryingpan I look upon
all these contingencies as ' utter bosh.' I should like to
see any buffalo cow-ribs or slice from a fat juicy moose,
smoked, scorched, dried, and peppered with ashes, as it
always is when grilled upon the embers, at least, accord-
*2 132
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
: !
i t
ing to my experience, that could bear any comparison
to the artistic ' bonne-bouche' I can turn out from my
fryingpan.   Why, it would make any civic dignitary's
mouth tingle with delight if his nose only sniffed the
rich appetising odour that exhales from a moose steak;
mind, I say fried in its own fat.    Then I  can bake
bread in my fryingpan, make  and fry pancakes,  or
'slap-jacks,'   as trappers call them, roast my coffee,
boil the salt out of my bacon before I fry it; I can also
stew birds, or, putting a crust over, produce a pie few
would be disposed to turn away from.    Then, what do
you say to the trout, salmon, white and round fish, one
fiooks out of the cold crystal streams ?    Where would
you be without   a   fryingpan?     A nice mess   your
I embers' would make of a salmon cutlet, or  a two-
. pound trout; but properly provided with this ' multum
H parvo,' just a dust over with flour and a bit of deer-
- grease to keep the fish from sticking to the pan, and
you can turn out a brown delicious  dainty, sucfi  as
would make any man wish for a throat as long as a
s rope-walk, paved all the way with palate.'
If you take niy advice, young wanderers, you will
never travel without a fryingpan; the handle should be
constructed to detach, but ought to be of a good length.
The pannikin is useful to boil your coffee in, that is if
you have any, and except you have a pack-train the
raw coffee berry is the only form in which material for
• brewing the ' cup that cheers but does not inebriate' RUM AGAINST TEA AND COFFEE.
133
can be conveniently carried. Still, despite all the ' cheering ' properties ascribed to tea and coffee when camping
after a hard day, tired, cold, wet, and lonely, I say, give
me a good horn of hot rum-and-water in preference to
the much loved Congou, or the fragrant decoction from
the berry of Mocha. Many will cry out, ' What a depraved taste !' All I shall attempt to say in defence of
my depravity is, that I have tried both during extreme
hardship, and rum-and-water sets me up, warms me
from my head to my heels, and.under its influence I turn
into sleep as a hunter only can sleep. Tea, if it can be
procured, does not do this, and coffee made from berries,
tough and hard as bits of hiccory, roasted in a frying-
pan, then pounded up betwixt two stones, tied into the
toe of a sock, and, lastly, boiled in the pannikin until
black and bitter, and in flavour remarkably like to porter mixed with. Epsom salts, is, to my palate, not a
mixture at all calculated to impart very lively emotions
to a tired traveller; but 'de gustibus non est disputandum'
On the other hand, where we have a comfortable
pack-train, such as we are supposed to possess, fellow-
wanderers, then we can afford to be luxurious in our
tastes. I do not believe in ' canteens,' so called,' which
contain everything necessary' for a traveller's comfort
and convenience,' according to the.advertisements. Just
go to an outfitter's, and turn the contents of one upon
the floor. If you are able to put all the things you find
in it back again, you may venture to try your band at a IF
.lis;;
y
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134
AT  HOME  IN  THE   WILDERNESS.
Chinese puzzle with a very fair chance of success. Not
five things in it are of any possible use. There is a
gridiron about the size and strength of the door of a
wire mouse-trap ; a fryingpan about big enough to fry
the half of a musk rat, and so thin that a week's work
burns it into holes, and it needs the vigilance and eyes
of Argus to keep what you fry from burning; tin cups
and saucers that are so thin that they bend on the
slightest pressure, and get so hot, when tea or aught
else is poured in them, that the f Eire King ' of Cre-
morne could not drink out of a ' canteen' cup until
cooled. Then there are knives, forks, spoons, plates,
and hosts of things besides, which I need net enumerate,
all placed by a most ingenious arrangement—a secret
by the way no one but the maker or seller ever acquires—in two galvanized iron or tin cans, covered with
painted canvas, and which shut over one another, and
are intended to be used as buckets when emptied of
their contents. The first haul the packers give a ' riata'
converts the shut tin cans into the shape of an hourglass, and reduces the contents to much the same form
as they might be supposed to appear in if put in at
one end of a mangle and brought out at the other. If
you are wise, have nothing to do with a canteen ; it is
an expenditure of hi. or 61. utterly thrown away, and
more than this, you encumber yourself with a lot
of useless things, that leak, bend, and spoil, in the
lieu of such as would have lasted you until your ramble CROCKERY, AND  HOW TO  CARRY IT.
135
had ended. My advice is, use cups, saucers, plates, and
dishes, indeed everything classed under the generic
head of ' crockery,' of enamelled iron. We used this
material during the entire work of the Commission;
everything we took out with us either for private use or
public mess property, in the crockery line, was made of
iron enamelled with white on the inside. I was foolish
enough, as well as others, to buy a ' canteen,' but it did
not stand a month's travelling.
I should take as an equipment for one, and that will
equally apply to a hundred, a cup and saucer made of
the material I have named; three plates, cheese, soup,
and dinner; two drinking cups without handles; a
Wash basin, and a slop basin. This I take to be an
ample supply of crockery. Then two good knives, a
small one and a large one; four spoons, two tea, one
dessert, and one table; a little affair to hold salt in one
end and pepper in the other; a candlestick, made to
screw together like a tobacco box, and a few stout canisters to contain tea, sugar, &c.; a fryingpan, of course,
and a tin teapot. All these items, and any others your
fancy may dispose you to wish for, I should have packed
into two strong wicker baskets, of equal size. You will
have to get them made on purpose, any basket-maker
will do it, with divisions inside for fastening the tilings
in. Have an iron fastening woven into each of the baskets to shut with a padlock. The best shape for the
baskets is that of an ordinary ' fishing-basket' length- :^r*«=S™=f3?s
136
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
ened laterally.    Each basket should have a small tarpaulin fixed to it, large enough to hang well over the  .
cover,   and  a  short distance down the basket, which
should also be lined firmly with the same material.
These baskets properly packed—I should not have
them more than three feet long and one foot six inches
wide—will contain' an immense quantity of odds and
ends,—' possibles,' as we call them.   They can be packed
readily on a mule or horse, and no pressure from the
' riata ' can do them any harm.  The contents cannct get
wet if it rains for a month, and should the pack-animal
indulge itself with a roll in the stream, you have the
satisfaction to find your mess  requisites  all  dry.    I
know of few things more unsatisfactory than to discover
on camping that your tobacco is in great flabby leaves,
your tea just as housemaids use it to sweep carpets
with, your sugar a weak syrup, your bread a poultice,
.- and everything besides, damp, sodden, and completely
spoiled; and on this state of affairs you may generally calculate if you indulge in those trashy canteens.    There
are two more things we found of incalculable value, and
which added very materially to the comforts of both
officers and men .during the Commission work, which I
should advise all who visit wild countries to take with
them.    I do not deem them essential additions to the
* kit,' but as they can be easily carried on mule or horseback, there can be no objection to taking them out with
you.- • These two'articles are a wrought-iron camp kettle FLOUR  PREFERABLE   TO   BISCUIT.
137
to hold two gallons, and a small iron oven about eight
or ten inches in diameter. This turned over a loaf and
buried in the hot ashes of the camp-fire bakes it even
better than any baker's oven.
We found these small iron ovens of immense value
both in summer and winter, whilst marking the northwest Boundary-line. Elour is very much more easily
conveyed on mule-back than ' hard bread' or biscuit.
In other words, it is less liable to become injured
from wet,, and when issued as a daily ration can be
appropriated to the making of a variety of eatable
matters; whereas biscuit rapidly mildews if damped,
soon becomes the home and habitation of the weevil
legion, and must be eaten as a biscuit, and that only.
In rationing men, a change in the diet list, according
to my experience, is at all times desirable, whenever
practicable. Hence it was found very much more advantageous for the men to have flour and a small ration
of' yeast powder' issued to them than it would have
been to have given them biscuit; but to use flour to advantage a baking oven is quite essential, and these small
cast-iron ovens we found equal to any ordinary requirement. The men soon learned to make capital loaves ;
and here let me record my unmeasured praise of ' Preston and Merrill's' yeast powder, which I contend is
equal, if not superior, to any material in use for' rising
bread,' and I strongly advise ' wanderers ' and parties
engaged in ' field work' of any kind, in a wild country,
L 138
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
i
never to travel without flour, yeast powder, and a few
small cast-iron ovens. After the loaf is made, all that
is requisite to do in regard to baking it is to brush away
the ashes of the camp fire, in order to make a clean spot
to place the loaf on, then turn the iron oven over it, and
bury up the whole with red-hot ashes. When you think
the loaf is nearly baked, remove the oven, and then
thrust a peeled stick into the bread; if it comes out
doughy, replace the oven and heap on more ashes ; if,
on the other hand, the rod comes out clean, your loaf is
cooked, and if due skill has been exercised in its manufacture, ' you may bet your bottom dollar,' as the
Yankees say, that it will bear comparison with bread
Doctor Daugfish or ' any other man' can turn out from
his bakery. I have seen capital ovens made at the
Hudson's Bay Company's trading posts—fixtures, be it
remembered—by covering an empty pork cask with,
thick clay, and then continuing a fire in the cask until
its staves burn away and the clay hardens like brick on
the iron hoops; indeed, there are numerous ways of
baking in a permanent camp or station, none of which
are available for travelling. "What to wear—Avoid Leather—Woollen Fabrics preferable to all
others—Boots—Mocassins—How to manage with Snow-sboes—
Hat—Mosquito-bag—Fishing Gear—A go'od day's Sport.
What to wear is a matter of detail dependent, in a
•great measure, on the tastes of the individual. Most of
us have some fashion of our own, and even in the very
wilderness trappers, hunters, and fur-traders assume
certain type patterns for hunting shirts and 'pants,'
which are considered ' the right thing,' and are valued
and worn by each in his respective calling, as ' scarlet'
and ' silk,' in this country characterise and represent
the field and the course.
Leather, or as it is commonly styled 'buckskin,' deer's
hide dressed by Indian women into a soft pliable
leather, is the material most hunters, trappers, and
traders, whether white or red men, use for their suits of
clothes ; a red serge shirt next the skin, if such a luxury
is procurable, adds very materially to the warmth and
comfort of the wearer. The usual pattern in use is
that of an ordinary shirt, for the jackets or ' hunting
shirts,' and the \ pants' are made similar to those usually !i
:
!:
I
I
140
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
worn in civilised lands. Both trousers and jacket are
always elaborately fringed; long strips of leather are
sewn round the collar so as to hang over the back;
dangling also from the shoulders to the wrists are other
fringes, and down the entire length of the legs ornamenting the outer seam. Sometimes bead-work and
stained porcupine quills are used to increase the ornamentation. This style of dress is decidedly showy and
picturesque, and haying said so much of it, I have
exhausted everything that it is possible to say in its
praise. I know of no good quality belonging to a
leather hunting suit; but such as are objectionable I
could multiply adinfinitum. It is disagreeably heavy,
without supplying an equivalent of warmth. Assuming,
the character of tripe or a damp chamois leather when
saturated with wet, it becomes, when in that state, cold,
clammy, and uncomfortable beyond description.
Then when you have succeeded in drying the suit, a
work of time even if aided by the sun or the camp-fire
or both, you have to robe yourself in garments much
like a light armour of lanthorn-horn; your ' pants' in all
probability will have receded into the breeches pattern,
and the sleeves of your jacket have modestly retired to
the region of the elbow.    I care not how much tuggino-
^ DO        O
and stretching you may bestow on your wet suit of
leather, shrink it will though you do your ' darndest' to
prevent it; not only that, but it shrinks (without being
wetted externally) day after day from perspiration.   One LEATHER,   AND   ITS  DISADVANTAGES.
141
observes his ' pants' are creeping steadily away from off
the insteps; as the tide during its ebb leaves rock after
rock exposed, so the leather steals away from the hands
and feet, gradually uncovering at first wrists and ankles,
then arms and legs; and if some curative means were
not resorted to, I verily believe the pants would become
like to those worn by acrobats and tight-rope dancers,
and the jacket sleeves dwindle into mere armlets, such as
ladies wear when in evening dress. H nothing better can
be obtained, there is no other course left open than that
of wearing leather or going a la sauvage, ■ sans' everything. But adopt my advice, and never wear leather if
you ean help it; take out with you two suits of clothes,
, made of the best Scotch tweed you can procure. My
remarks, be it understood, only apply to bush life—
visiting, or doing the swell en route, is altogether
another affair, with which I have nothing to do. I have,
tried all kinds of material for roughing it in, and the
result of my experience is entirely in favour of Scotch
tweed. I am quite convinced a thoroughly well-made
piece of tweed will stand more wear and wet than any
other fabric produced from wool.
. The Canadian 'blanket-coats,' so commonly worn
during the winter in Canada, are admirable in a dry
frosty atmosphere, but white, except on snow, would be
fatal to any success in hunting; and further, their shape
is inconvenient, and the material out of which they are
made is easily torn, and holds water like a sponge.    The .
1
1M
142
AT  HOME  IN  THE. WILDERNESS.
colour I prefer is dark grey; the waistcoat and jacket
should have as many pockets as the tailor can find room
for, and on each shoulder a piece of glazed leather
should be stitched, to prevent the gun from rubbing a hole
in the tweed. Elannel shirts and thick worsted socks
will be found to answer better than linen, only do not
encumber yourself with too large a stock. Indeed I
should never think of taking any article of clothing
with me except it was fabricated from the best wool,
and of the choicest quality money could purchase. I
despise fur and leather garments, and strongly recommend all ' wanderers' never to use either if they can
help it.
Boots are indispensable; ' mocassins' are all very
well for Indians, .who have feet harder than sole leather,
and to whom socks or stockings are unknown articles
of clothing. You may' sole a mocassin' with a piece of
green hide, keeping the hair outwards, and in that way
contrive to walk with a moderate amount of ease until
the hair rubs off, which it is pretty sure to do in a few
hours, especially if the ground should be wet; the hair
removed, the hide becomes slippery as glass, rendering
progression under any circumstances extremely difficult.
Indians have shorter toes than white men, and from continued practice the great toe in particular acquires a kind
of holding power, which enables a savage shod with
' skin-shoes' or mocassins to ascend steep slopes and
climb craggy mountains, with greater ease and celerity A RECEIPT FOR ENSURING WARM FEET.
143
than any white man, however well trained to hill-
climbing, could accomplish with nailed boots on his feet.
Hence persons are disposed to imagine mocassins must
be the better foot armature, because they only observe
the facility with which ' Red men' walk and climb in
them, without taking into consideration the all-important difference in the structure of the foot. Reduce
it, however, to the test of experience, and you will soon
discover that your feet shod with mocassins become sore,
your ankles strained, and the joint of your great toe so
stiff that walking grows positively painful if not impossible. Hence I always provide myself before leaving
England with a few pairs of strong nailed boots of the
pattern known as ' ankle-jacks,' made wide in the sole
and laced up in front, and do not resort to mocassins
until my boots are worn out and there is no- means of
replacing them.
In winter, however, when travelling with ' dog sleighs'
and walking on ' snow-shoes,' the mocassin is the
only form of shoe practically useful; to wear boots
during intense cold is to risk ' frost bite,' and not
unlikely the loss of your toes. The better plan for protecting the feet against frost is to dispense with socks
altogether. I make a small bag of thick blanket, for
putting over my toes—it should reach only to the middle
of the foot; then I have four long blanket bandages,
with which I regularly enwrap my foot and ankle, so
high up as the calf of the leg.    Over these layers of i
144
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
flannel I put a large mocassin made from moose-hide,
tie it firmly, and lastly, bind the leg of the trouser
securely over all. The feet thus protected are safe
from any effect of cold, and wet never penetrates
through the thick bandaging even after a long day's
march through soft snow. When camping just dry the
outer bandages and mocassins, and you are all right to
begin another tramp.
A wide-brimmed felt hat, soft and pliable, I prefer to
any other kind of head covering. It shades you from the
glare of the sun when shooting, prevents the rain from
running down your back, accommodates itself to any
amount of folding and squeezing, and will be found an
immense comfort when ' camping out' to sleep in. I
pass an old handkerchief or ' comforter ' over the poll of
the hat, and then tie it under my chin, bringing the
two sides of the brim of the hat over . my ears. This
plan prevents the head from galling, keeps the ears and
throat beautifully warm, and is quite as serviceable as a
canvas covering or umbrella in shielding one from
dew and rain. The brim being wide, it will also add
materially to your comfort in ' mosquito time,' by
keeping the gauze net which covers the head, face, and
neck well away from the nose, mouth, and eyes, thus
facilitating breathing and seeing. A gauze bag to
cover the head and face, without which I do not hesitate to say a man could not long exist where mosquitoes
are so plentiful as we found them to be on the Eraser CHOICE  OF FISHING GEAR.
145
River and Sumass prairie, should be worn at all times
twisted round the hat during summer, because one is
never sure of not falling, when least expected, among
mosquitoes and sand flies.
The choice of' fishing gear' may, perhaps, be worthy
of a few hints, although we are all more or less wedded
to some pet system of ' how to hook 'em.' I will, however, briefly give my own plan, and leave it an open
question for other ' wanderers' either to profit by it or
to follow their own particular hobby, whichever may be
the more congenial to their taste. In any 'possible
sack' I carry a few hooks of different sizes, gut, silk, a
little gold and silver thread, a dab of ' cobbler's wax,'
and a coil of strong line, such as we usually employ for
salmon fisfiing. Eor obtaining all the other requisites
for fly-making I trust to chance. Eeathers for making
hackles and wings I have always found to be readily
procurable from the birds frequenting the district
travelled through; fur for dubbing, the small rodents
supply.
The best trout fishing I ever enjoyed was obtained
whilst we were marking the Boundary-line along the
eastern slopes of the cascades and western slopes of
the Rocky Mountains. I observed whilst sitting on the
banks of a stream a trout jump at a fly that had fallen
into the water. Immediately I overhauled my stock of
materials, selected thread, hooks, &c, knocked over a
ruffed grouse, made wings from its frill feathers, and a i
146
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
hackle from the tail coverts; picked out some red wool
from my shirt, tied all the lot together into what I
called a ' fly,' which no more resembled an insect than
it did a hippopotamus, fastened it to a piece of fishing
line, and the line to the end of a young larch-tree.
Thus equipped, I flogged away at the water as though
I had been whipping a horse, but nevertheless with the
most unquestionable success: the trout rose readily at my
monster, and seizing it, disappeared with the enjoyable
sort of bubbling splash that anglers know so well indicates feeding and not play. It must suffice to say that
this rude imitation and yet ruder rod was pre-eminently
successful, and what more could one say of the best
finished salmon rod, wynch, line, flies, and cast, that
money could procure ? I never hamper myself with a
fisfiing rod, but just cut the best stick I can find, and
trust to strength of tackle rather than to skill in playing a heavy fish in order to land it. If you do not
know how to ' tie a flie,' in that case it may perhaps be
advisable to take a small assortment of ready-made ones
with you; but it is better to learn how to make artificial
flies than to bother yourself with articles that in nine
cases out of ten you never have at hand when you
require to use them. I have deemed it superfluous to
append any instructions for the making artificial flies,
inasmuch as books innumerable can be obtained, wherein every minutiae is clearly explained and illustrated.
The result of my own experience is, however, that six FISHING LN  'WILD  COUNTRIES.'
147
practical lessons, imparted by a master in the art of
'fly making,' will aid a novice more than will the
perusal of an entire volume, together with a patient
following out of the instructions given for 'tying up a
fly.' ft
I invariably wear my line and flies tied round my
hat, with a plain hook or two simply ' whipped' on to
strong gut—for using live bait if need be, hooked into
the felt.    Arriving at a likely-looking stream, cutting a
stick, and tying the fine to the end of it, is all the
delay required to commence.    Sport or no sport, unfastening the line, winding it round your fiat, and
pitching away the stick, will not occupy more than five
minutes' time at the finish.    A good plan for carrying
fish., in the absence of anything better, is to cut a long
twig with a crook at the end, and pass the point under
the gill cover of the fish and out at its mouth, then
push1 it down to the crook, which prevents it from slipping off; thus string up fish after fish until your stick
is filled.    To sum up, I say dispense with rod, wynch,
fishing-book, together with a host of flies, and artificial
bait, whenever you are far away from the  streams of
civilisation.    That  fish  in rivers   very  much   fished
grow shy, and hence require great skill and the most
delicate tackle to catch them, all anglers well know;
but this in no wise  applies to waters  and the fish
tenanting them in 'wild  countries.'    The  unsophisticated   natures of  such  fish are not familiar  with
l2 148
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
the wiles and lures craftily prepared by disciples of the
'gentle art,' so they do not hesitate to seize upon
anything offered to them, however widely it may differ
in appearance from every known form of insect life.
What description of gun is best suited for ' hunting
purposes' is a question more easily asked than answered,
and must have a chapter to itself, Firearms—Muzzle-loaders — Breecb-loaders —Rifles — Revolvers
Shot-belt versus Poucb—The better Plan for cleaning Guns.
It would serve no useful purpose, nor in any way
aid you m the choice of firearms, were I to attempt
a dissertation on the respective merits of breech and
muzzle loaders, or rifle versus shot gun. ' A man who
gives in against his will remains the same opinion still,'
says the adage, and true enough it is too. Eew
sportsmen nowadays would say very much, if anything
at all, in praise of the poor discarded muzzle-loader.
It has had its time, like stage coachmen, comfortable,
homely roadside inns, with the smiling landlady, rosy
barmaid, civil waiter, and ' good accommodation for man
and horse.' I am not sure whether I do not even now
prefer those old times to the present. I do not care
about fashionable places, and particularly dislike large
hotels; and somehow have an instinctive dread of
getting into the clutches of landladies and lodging-house
DO CD CD
keepers, who wear rustling silk dresses, and ' sail' about
rather than walk as ordinary women; if by any mischance I am driven to seek shelter in a monster inn or 150
AT HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
Ek
gorgeous first-floor front, I make up my mind to bear
and to suffer, and to leave, if not a wiser certainly a
poorer man.
Give me an old-fashioned road-side inn for comfort
and quietude. What do I want more, so that I get
my meals with a decent amount of regularity, and that
they are good of their kind. No reasonable person
would desire to be hoisted up to his bedroom by
machinery, as if he were a trunk or a bale of goods;
or prefer to be waited on—or, rather, kept waiting—by
an army of pale-faced men clad in seedy black and very
loose shoes (I often wonder where waiters at hotels get
their shoes), to having wholesome food served by a
smart maid-of-all work, and a bedroom only a single
story high; if there be such an one, he had better go
to fashionable places where hotels are to be found, conducted on the un-limited liability system, ' combining,'
I quote from an advertisement, 'the convenience of a
hotel with all the comforts of a home.'
The operation of quietly putting in my powder and
shot, and listening to the screech and weeze of the wad
as it glides down the barrel, pressed on by the sturdy
ramrod, whilst surveying my dogs crouching closely and
waiting in panting anxiety for the ' hold up' and' seek
dead,' affords me more substantial pleasure than does the
rapid loading and firing of the new and improved breech-
loading shot guns. After all, this is only a matter
of opinion.      I have never  tried   a   breech-loading BREECH VERSUS MUZZLE  LOADER.
151
shot gun when away on a long hunting expedition,
hence I am not able to state from experience how
such a gun would answer, exposed as it necessarily
must be to the effects of wet, the grinding power
of sand and dirt in the hinge or hinges, and the
continued rough usage a gun invariably suffers when
one is riding all day long, and sleeping at night in the
open air. No opinion is worth a straw on this matter
except it be deduced from the results of actual experience extending over a long period of time. A breechloader may be fitted to stand wear and tear quite as
well as a muzzle-loader, for anything I can say to the
contrary, and it may be found from experiment that
cartridges can be quite as conveniently carried, and
replaced when exhausted, as shot powder and caps
can be conveyed in the ordinary fashion. But until
I am convinced either by the experience of others,
or by practically testing the virtues of the breechloader myself, when far removed from the aid of a gunsmith and for a period of time extending over not less
than two years, that the modern breech-loading
double-shot gun possesses all the advantages that
the muzzle-loader has, added to greater facility in
charging and discharging, I shall be chary how I
trust to a breech-loader only, if I start again on a
hunting expedition to an uncivilised country.
Call it prejudice if you like, obstinacy, or a stupid
adherence to old ways and customs, simply because 152
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
one has been used to them, nevertheless if you beat
me by argument, I am after all only a verification of
the adage just quoted. Eor real forest and prairie life
I have thoroughly tested the muzzle-loader's powers of
endurance and extreme usefulness for nearly every
purpose a hunter can require a gun.
Except for unusually heavy wild beasts, I contend
a short gun is more useful than a rifle; long ranges
are seldom, I may say never, required,  and for any
distance within eighty yards a  good muzzle-loading
shot-gun will carry a bullet as true as a rifle, and with
a force of penetration quite equal to breaking the ribs
of a bull-buffalo, or those of the much-dreaded grizzly-
.bear, and what more can you desire ?    Then ducks,
geese,  grouse,  and other feathered   game   add  very
materially to the comforts of the mess, to say nothing
of the lesser furry tenants of both forest and open land.
A load of shot I always find is much better and far
surer than a bullet  in  obtaining  these pleasant ad-
! ditions to the stock-pot.   It is quite as well to carry
a rifle with you, if you have the means of transport at
your disposal; but if it rested on choice, whether the
shot-gun or the rifle should be taken, one of the two
to be left behind, in that case I should not hesitate
a moment; the rifle would be  abandoned without a
twinge of regret, for I know the other is equal to every
need.    Let it be distinctly understood that my remarks
in no way apply to jungle shooting in India, Africa, or MT OWN EQUIPMENT.
153
elsewhere. The practical hints I offer are not intended
to assist sportsmen and hunters who wage war upon
lions, tigers, elephants, rhinosceri, together with other
leviathans of the plains and forests. Hence I have
purposely avoided alluding to any particular form of
rifle or projectile, or to travelling with camels or
elephants.
Natives only understand the management and tempers
of these half-reasoning capricious beasts, and every information the most practised camel or elephant traveller
could impart would be of no good whatever to a white
man, because he could never turn such knowledge to a
profitable account. Moreover, countries wherein camels,
elephants, and dromedaries are found so useful, with
an exception or two—are unsuited to European colonisation, and with such we have nothing to do.
To the wanderer in search of an eligible borne in the
wilderness, such information would prove of no possible
service. My own equipment when I leave England for
America, North and South, consists of one good strong
double-barrelled muzzle-loader, No. 12 bore, a Purdy's
rifle to carry an ounce bullet, and a Colt's revolver;
two large-sized powder flasks, covered with thick pigskin, and provided with several metal loops for slinging
or fastening it to your buttons or waist-belt.
Another of my old fashions is to prefer the double
shot-belt, made of good leather, and provided with
brass chargers which fasten in with a spring.    These
msi 154
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
chargers are liable to get lost if they be not secured to
the belt by small brass chains. I fancy shot carried
across the shoulders in a belt never wearies one so much
as it does when dangling in a pouch, suspended by a
narrow leather strap. More than this, having two sizes
of shot is a great convenience; I usually take duck-
shot in one side, and No. 6 or 8 in the other. A third
reason for giving the preference to the old pattern-
charger is, that you see what you pour into your barrel,
whereas a man loading in a hurry, or under the influence of intense excitement, often (I say often, because
I have done it myself many times, and have witnessed
the like mishap befall others) pushes the end of the
patent 'spring-charger,' usually affixed to all shot-
pouches, into the end of the barrel, presses down the
spring, which is supposed at the same time to shut off
the main supply and let out the charge of shot desired;
then down goes his wad, and if he does not happen to
notice his ramrod he by-and-by fires, fondly imagining
he had put a charge of shot into his gun. This is no
imaginary case, as any person who has had a great deal
of shooting will know. The shot very often jams in
some way, and does not run from out the charger, an
accident you are exceedingly likely to overlook if your
attention is directed to some other object when loading.
By using the old pattern charger this can never
happen; if it does take a trifle more time to load than
it would if the ' patent charger' were used, yon have TO  CLEAN  TOUR FIREARMS.
155
the satisfaction of knowing to a certainty that the shot
is in the barrel, and the right quantity too.
In addition to shot, I usually carry a few bullets
in my pocket, and a wire cartridge or two, if I am
fortunate enough to possess any. A word or two more,
and I have said all I deem needful about firearms.
The pea or small-bore American rifle I do not like;
the only advantage it can have over a large bore is
that a much less weight of lead is carried by the
hunter. I do not think the enormous thickness of
the barrel supplies any material advantage, or gives
greater accuracy to the course of the bullet, neither
have I seen any of those wonderful feats performed
by trappers and hunters with the pea rifle, such as
one reads of in all stories about American or Texan
fife. My own opinion is, that where one of these marvellous ' leather-stockings' shoots ordinarily well a
dozen of them shoot badly, and miss as often as other
persons. Eor cleaning firearms let me strongly recommend spirits of turpentine, in preference to oil or grease
of any kind. I never use water, but content myself
by wiping out my gun well with a hemp wad, saturated
with spirits of turpentine. It at once removes all the
powder and 'leading,' prevents rust, and does away
with any chance of damp remaining, which it will do,
even in spite of every precaution after washing out a
gun with water. The better plan for carrying turpentine is to have a glass-stoppered bottle fitted into a 156
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
(,
wooden case. I am quite convinced that any person
who once tries turpentine for gun-cleaning will discard
water and oil for ever after.
It is a wise precaution to have with you in reserve
a pair or two of spare mainsprings, at least two sets of
ramrod fittings, and not less than three pairs of nipples;
the latter I prefer ' inverted,' and bouched with platinum. Experience has clearly proved to my mind that
with inverted nipples there is not nearly so great a
liability to miss-fires from damp, neither are you annoyed with a small column of smoke curling up from
each nipple when you fire. Further than this, I find the
ordinary shaped nipple rapidly wears, and the hole soon
becomes sufficiently large to admit of an escape of
gas sufficient to blow the hammer back to half-cock
—a mishap very likely to break a mainspring. I
have never known this to occur when the inverted
pattern was employed/ hence I invariably use them.
During the Commission I can safely say, for four
years I fired my double-shot gun on an average a
great many times every day, carried it on horse and
mule-back, and also used it constantly in boat-shooting, but with the exception of replacing the nipples
occasionally, and the loss of a ramrod or two, it was
never once damaged or disabled. A breech-loader
might have done as well, but I cannot quite admit
it as an established fact until I have better evidence
adduced than I am in possession of at present. GET  TOUK, GUN-CASE  MADE.
157
H you use a gun-case, by all means have it made of
strong leather, such as trunks are constructed of;
wooden cases or such as are covered with black enamelled cloth or painted canvas are not worth a single
snap for conveyance on mule back; the least neglect or
carelessness on the part of the packer in placing your
gun-case upon the load may be fatal to it in a moment.
I have more than once seen a mahogany gun-case,
although incased in a leather cover, broken by a sudden
haul at the ' riata' into fragments.
It is of no use trusting to a gunmaker to get a case
made for you.   Go yourself to a respectable trunkmaker,
show him the pattern you desire and approve, and tell
him to manufacture you a case of the stoutest and
best leather he can procure.     Then you will be'most
likely to obtain an article which will last until your
return  at least, and probably through many another
scramble by flood  and field.   -To  offer  any further
advice relative to rifles, or to attempt a description of
the various kinds  of projectiles  at   present   in  use,
would be worse than ridiculous in these narrow limits,
when large volumes have been written and published
on the subject.    Every sportsman is sure to have his
pet hobby,, both as regards rifles, shot-guns, and projectiles; I, too, have mine.     Let then each one ride
his own hobby, and, brother wanderers, we shall do well
not to ride against or try to unhorse one another. 158
AT HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
CHAPTER XI.
Packing tbe Train for a start—Driving in—Haltering—Putting on
tbe Aparejos and 'Saddling up'—Syncbing—Packing on tbe Load
—Tbe way to pack Barrels—Slinging—Roping and Covering—
Throwing tbe Riata and fastening it—Our March—Tbe aban-
donedCamp—Entering tbe Timber—'Stringing out' and Counting
—Mules apt to lie down if baited.
We must now assume that the tents are struck and:
packed; that the equipment we have been gathering
together is piled in properly adjusted loads in a straight
line, each load being laid on a 'riata' stretched full
length upon the ground; that the aparejos are arranged
in a crescent shape, and that the packers are away
in search of the bell-mare and her family of mules.
Whether a hundred mules are to be packed, or five only,
exactly the same routine is to be observed.  We hear the
distant tinkle, tinkle, of the bell, and presently trotting
from out the timber or scampering and playing over the
grassy prairie come the mules.  Some follow, others precede the bell, but none of them are allowed to stray far
away, for the packers know what crafty animals mules
invariably are, and that some of the. band, usually old
stagers, have an ugly habit of slipping unobserved in
amongst the trees, there to skulk and hide until hunger ARRANGEMENTS FOR PACELNG.
159
or thirst compels them to show themselves. I have very
frequently been delayed an entire day in consequence of
a mule or two being allowed to stray from the band
whilst being driven in. On reaching the aparejos the
bell-mare is first made fast to the end aparejo on the
extreme right, then two or more packers (dependent on
the number of mules constituting the train) stand in the
hollow of the crescent with a number of halters hanging
on their left arms; other packers drive the mules up to
be haltered by the men who are waiting for the animals
to push their heads over the breastwork of aparejos.
Each mule, as soon as the halter is on its head, is tied
with a bow knot to its neighbour, the one next the bell
being fastened to the mare. Except this plan of haltering is adopted, I do not believe a train of fifty mules
could be caught singly and haltered in a day; and to
venture behind a pack mule, or to creep up by its side
to put a halter on, is to risk getting a taste of hoof not
likely to be readily forgotten, but the aparejo being
betwixt the man and the mule, prevents the latter from
striking or kicking. If all the halters are used, of course
every mule is present; if there are spare halters, then
nothing further can be done until the absentees are discovered and brought in.
All present, then the first thing the packers do is to
select the riding mules from out the band all haltered
together, then each man saddles his own animal, and
makes it fast to any available object near by.    This
3 160
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
1
I
M
done, the head packer, or packmaster, takes his stand
upon the centre of the baggage, so that he can look
down  on the ' caronas'   (you will remember what I
told you was the use of the carona), and guided by the
pattern, he directs the two packers to take the mule
they have unfastened to its own aparejo.   It will suffice
to confine our remarks to the saddling and packing of
one mule.    The mule, led up to its aparejo, is first
blinded with the ' tapujo,' which is slipped deftly over
its ears; * then a packer goes on each side and examines the mule's back, and combs out all the sand,
dirt,  or matted hair,  with a  currycomb—a precautionary measure which I would impress upon your mind
it is essential to look well after, if you wish to avoid
sore backs.   Packers skulk doing it, unless your own
or the packmaster's eye is overlooking them.
This finished, one packer takes up the aparejo, whilst
the other adjusts the cloths, first sweat-cloth, then blankets, lastly corona. There is a right and wrong way
to take hold of an aparejo; it must be grasped by the
two angles, at the upper or that part of it where the
cushions are joined, lifted well above the mule's back,
and then allowed to drop on the cloths. When on, the
off-side man pushes it towards the mule's tail, whilst
the near-side man, standing well away from the mule,
lifts the crupper, pushes his arm under it, seizes the
* Vide illustration, page 79. SYNCHING UP.
161
mule's tail, and quickly slips the crupper beneath it.
This is nearly always a service of danger, demanding
much care and caution, especially if a mule is suffering
from a chafed tail. The aparejo is next pushed back into
its proper place, care being taken that there are no folds
in the cloths—the synch * is lastly placed on the aparejo
by the near-side man, the off-sider passing the end back
to his comrade under the mule's belly; and the latter
then passes the leather strap three or four times through
the synch ring (as previously described when speaking
of saddles), and hauls away, the off-sider taking care
that the aparejo does not get pulled on one side.
Near-sider having hauled the synch as tight as his
strength will admit of, a novice would begin to fancy
the mule's ribs must be broken, or its stomach so compressed that nothing could pass through it if greater
pressure was made. Not a bit of it, the packers have
not nearly done; round comes offsider, and they jointly
lay hold of the leather strap, and placing each a foot
against the mule to increase the purchase, pull away
until the mule resembles a wasp, or as a lady would
look who was given to tight-lacing, if we could suppose
her to be converted into a quadruped. It seems a
cruel proceeding, nevertheless it does not hurt the
mules, precludes any chance of the load shifting, and
prevents galls, which are sure to accrue if the aparejo
* Vide cut, page 76. 162
AT  HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
rocks about. The synch made fast, the blind is removed, and the mule tied with its halter to the load
we are going to pack upon its back, a proceeding never
commenced until all the mules are ' saddled up.'
Some of the more refractory mules are turned loose
at first, because they kick, plunge, and throw themselves on the ground with such determined violence that
tying them up would endanger the safety of the other
mules. ' Saddling up' completed, we begin to pack;
and, let me tell you, to pack a mule as it ought to be
packed, requires an amount of skill and practice not to
be easily acquired. Blinding is the first proceeding,
next a packer stands on each side of the mule, and the
near-side man doubles the sling rope and lays it across
tfie aparejo, the loop towards the off-side. Each packer
now takes up a package, selecting two as nearly equal in
weight as it is possible to get them; should one alone
be heavy, and all the rest light, lighter packages must
be tied together so as to counterpoise the heavier one.
The two men lift each one his package at the same time,
then they rest it against the aparejo, and support it with
the shoulder whilst adjusting the sling-rope; the off-side
man flings the loop of the sling-rope to the near-side one,
whose duty it is to pass one end of the rope through the
loop, and then to tie the two ends together with a bow-
knot. Much care is needed to sling the two packages
the proper height; if too low, the load, to employ a
packer's  expression,  ' swaggles,'  or,  in other words, CASKS  SHOULD  NOT BE TOO  HEAVT.
163
sways about; if too high, it will be very likely to ' topple'
over, either in ascending or descending a steep hill-side.
The grand secret, however, consists in getting the weight
of the two packages first swung, to rest on the arch of
the mule's ribs; a second's reflection will make it plain
to any one that if the sling-rope is tied too long the
weight will in^a great measure hang from the rope, and
as a matter of course bear directly on the backbone of
the mule, but if the rope is knotted to the proper length,
then the weight comes on the convexity of the ribs, thus
relieving the back and taking all undue strain from off
the rope.
When barrels are packed a different arrangement of
the sling-rope is required ; the rope must be longer than
that ordinarily used, and be doubled four times instead
of twice. By right, a barrel ought not to weigh more than
150 lbs., two of these make a fair load for a sturdy mule.
We had an immense number of barrels to convey during
the Boundary Commission transport, containing ration
beef and pork; and I would strongly advise any persons
who may perchance be engaged in similar field-work,
never to purchase ration meat, except packed in 100 lb.
casks. Add to the 100 lbs. of nieat the weight of the
brine and cask, and it will be found that two of these
packages are quite as much as a mule ought to carry, if
you desire to keep him in good condition. We found
from experience that two 150 lb. casks were too heavy
(i. e. containing 150 lbs. of meat exclusive of brine and
M 2 liar
164
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
m'   i
& ff
cask) for the mules, and it was more than most of our
packers could do to lift one of them on to the aparejo,
and keep it there whilst the sling-rope was being adjusted. Packing a single cask on the centre of a mule's
back, a plan I have frequently seen adopted when two
casks were found to be an overload, is a most reprehensible practice, and one I should advisejf any owner of
mules never to permit; the mule must necessarily carry
its load in pain, and the least slip may produce a cricked-
back, a mishap that renders a mule utterly useless for
ever after.
The first two packages we have properly slung, and
these form, so to speak, the foundation on which the
superstructure, consisting of the odds and ends, which
make up the load, is to be built. This performance needs
only a little management in order to keep the weight
cleverly balanced. Over all, the packers now throw a
painted canvas cover or ' tarpaulin,' which is for the
purpose of keeping the load dry in case of rain. If you
do not look sharply after the packers they will invariably
put this cover under the aparejo rather than over the'
load; the reason they give, if you ask them why they
do it, is that there is no chance of rain. Never believe
them, it is not the truth;' roping' a load over a tarpaulin
is rather more trouble, hence they would rather save
themselves extra labour and indulge their own idleness
than save your goods and chattels from getting saturated.      I  always  adopt that  good maxim with my A  WISE  MAXIM.
165
tarpaulins that the wise Quaker did with his umbrella,
I put them on when the sun shines, to be at all times
in readiness for the storm; thunder-showers have a disagreeable habit of coming on when one least expects
them, and should your tarpaulin be carefully stowed
away underneath, instead of being spread over the
baggage, the latter, as a matter of course, gets a
soaking; what care the packers, so they get their
evening ration? I know of few misfortunes more
depressing to the spirits than to look on whilst your
rations and camp equipment are being poured on as if
Aquarius had capsized his watering-pot immediately
over the mule train. To travesty an old conundrum,
rain and clouds, when the baggage covers have been
purposely stowed away, appear to affect a wanderer's
hilarity as they do his goods, the sun, and his boots
—they effectually take the shine out of all three.
The near-side man now ' throws the riata.' How to
make this system of' roping' on the load intelligible is
somewhat a puzzling task; I am quite certain that
watching the process is of no practical use. I have myself, when a novice, narrowly scanned every bend of the
rope, as the ready-handed packers twisted it in mazy,
incomprehensible turns, round, over, and under the load,
and have amused myself by observing other novices alike
uninitiated try the same expedient in order to learn the
art of ' roping a load,' with a like unsuccessful result.
You may keep, sentry day after day for a fortnight, or 166
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
longer if your patience holds out, and if some kind magi
lent you the eyes of Argus, even with these added to
your own, you would no more be able to adjust and tie
a riata ' secundum artem,' by simply seeing others do it,
than you could learn to play a sonata of Beethoven's on
the flute or violin, or rattle off difficult music at sight
on a pianoforte, by watching the fingers of an accomplished musician. How much more then impossible
appears the task of making this complicated affair comprehensible by description. I say complicated, but,
after all, it only appears to be so because the way to do
it is not understood. I could teach any person in half-
an-hour with a rope, a chair for a mule, and an old
trunk for luggage, but how I am to commence the lesson
by writing it I no more know than I should know the
way to picture the phosphorescence of a tropical sea, or
describe the ever-varying scintillations of the aurora
boreafis. I wish, some simple plan would suggest
itself to extricate me from this difficulty; the puzzled
reporter, who was suddenly called upon to describe a
rocket, hastily wrote—' a flash, a bang, a stink, and it
is all over;' what could he say more ? But I am
afraid what may answer as descriptive of fireworks will
not be similarly efficacious in regard to ' riatas.' Well,
all I can do is to try my best to make this roping
problem understandable.
As the 'riata' lies on the ground, the near-side man
takes hold of it, about 20 feet from the end of the rope, ROPING  A  LOAD.
16?
with his right hand; with his left he gathers up the
remainder in coils, the right-hand end is obviously
double, because the slack end hangs loose; this double
portion he throws over the load to the off-sider, who
catches it, and. quickly passes the loop back again under
the mule's belly. Near-sider next passes the short end
through the loop, brings it up against the aparejo,
then twists the end three or four times round the rope
to prevent it from slipping. The off-side man now hauls
away upon the rope; mind it is double on his side, which
is continuous with the long end. This process, you
will clearly see, always supposing I am understood,
tightens the rope encircling tfie load as would a circingle
or the synch around the aparejo. As the off-side man
hauls, the near-side gathers in the slackrope, and prevents it from running back; the whole secret is to pull
this encircling rope as tight as it is practicable for human
strength to accomplish. There is not the slightest
additional pressure on the mule's belly, because the
edges of the aparejo take all the strain, and keep the
rope clear away from touching the animal—a fault I
complain so much of in the cross-tree pack-saddle, as
previously pointed out.
The near-side man, when everything is hauled tight,
passes the longer end of the rope first under the foremost
corner or angle of the aparejo, brings it along underneath the edge, then from under the hindermost angle,
and along the edge of the aparejo to the centre of the 11
r
168
AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
animal's back, or perhaps the centre of the load will be
the better comprehended.* Here he passes it betwixt
the double rope we have just been tightening, brings it
out towards himself, or, in other words, towards the
mule's tail, and gives it to the off-side man, who takes
it down the edge of the aparejo, and follows precisely
the same course with it under the angles and lower
'edge as did the near-sider, brings it up the front of the
aparejo and passes it through the double rope, but
brings it out towards the mule's head. Here the nearside man again takes it; now off-sider goes back and
seizes the rope where it was passed over to him at
first, at the hinder part of the load, and laying well
back tugs at it with all his might and main. This
done, the near-side man performs a similar feat with
the end of the rope passed to him in front, makes it
fast, and the packing is completed.
In this system of fastening, the double rope acts in
the first place similar to a girth, and it is rendered
immensely tight by the strain of the fore and hind
purchase, brought to act upon it by the longer end of
the riata, acting directly from the angles and lower
edges of the aparejo (however tight the rope is hauled
it can never in the smallest degree bear upon or injure
the mule), and in the second place the double portion
of rope is to some extent spread open by the strain
upon its sides, and thus serves to maintain the built-
*  Vide cut, packed mule, page 75. 'working' a PACK, train.
up portion of the load the more firmly in its place.
There is no knot or anything to untie that can by possibility draw, tight, and thus hinder the packers when
unloading, the fastening at the finish being only that of
passing the end under the tightened portion of the
riata. .
Do not imagine that passing this long riata round and
over the load, as I have endeavoured to describe it, is a
slow and tedious process; not a bit of it. If skilful
packers are at their work, the rope is caught up, whirled
over to the near-sider, passed back under, hauled on
and slipped betwixt the double part almost as rapidly as
your eye can follow the nimble-handed packers. When
the riata is finally fastened the blind is removed, and the
loaded mule turned loose. As the above description
applies with equal force to numbers as to a single animal,
let us suppose the train to be all packed and ready for
a start.
Our march shall not be along an even trail, because
the system of ' working ' a pack train can be better explained by assuming our course to skirt rugged hillsides,
to wind along gorges and river valleys, where streams
must be forded or swam by the mules, and the goods,
men, and aparejos, crossed either by means of a canoe,
raft, or temporary bridge, then to follow the trail as it
twists in a serpentine manner up a craggy mountain
side to reach a pass whereby we can cross its serried
heights and safely descend its opposite slope.    This is 'I
170
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
ul
no imaginary picture, but one we had to encounter often
during the working season when employed in. making
the Boundary-line. All the difficulties enumerated might,
and indeed I may truly say often did, occur in a single
march, but they cease to be difficulties when the
wanderer knows the right way to surmount them, and
it must be a very steep mountain, swift torrent, and
thick forest that a practised hand could not work a
mule train over and through.
The cook, belonging to the pack-train, or some outsider attached to the party, has mounted the bell-mare,
and slowly rides away after the packmaster, who has
already preceded him | the tinkling bell grows fainter in
the distance, the mules, one by one, in single file, march
on after its sound; the packers are all mounted, and
flourishing their blinds, or ' tapujos,' ride, after tbe
manner of field-officers on a review day, up and down
by the side of the slowly-moving train. Behind there
is very little to be seen, save the smouldering heaps of
ashes marking the whereabputs of the camp-fires, trod- •
den grass, and wild flowers crushed, broken, and despoiled of all their native loveliness. Perhaps a prowling
wolf or cayote may be visible, creeping stealthily from
out the timber in hope of pilfering a bone or a discarded
piece of meat from the whisky-jack (Canada jay), already in possession, whilst over-head soar vultures,
impatiently waiting to pounce upon anything left behind
suited to their filthy tastes. DANGER OF HALTING.
171
As the bell-mare and her rider enter the timber and
leave the open ground, on which we had our camp, the
packmaster reins in his mule, and carefully counts the
mules, as one after another they march past him; he
never attempts to count the mules after they are packed
until, as the packers' term is, ' they are strung out.' As
he counts them, a second in command also reins up and
takes the tally likewise. If, on comparing notes, the full
number are present so much the better, if contrariwise,
some are missing, then never halt the train, but send
one or two packers to discover and drive on the truants.
It is a very bad plan ever to halt a mule train on the
march unless to unpack for the purpose of camping or
to cross a stream. When loaded mules are stopped they
are apt to lie down directly they halt, and should the
grass be long or the halting-spot be near or amidst timber and thick underbrush, mules when once down
amongst it are most difficult to find, and if not discovered,
the result will—at any rate very probably may—cost you
a mule or two, and the loss of the loads added to it. The
heavy weight, together with the pressure of the ' synch,'
prevents a mule, if at all feeble or stiff, from getting on
its legs after it has lain down, hence if the packers fail
to discover them die they must, and I have very often
been myself searching with a most skilled herder and
finder of mules, close by the side of a mule which had
lain down with its load, and yet we were neither of us
able to see it until a grunt or a groan betrayed the AT  HOME   IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
H
l ] !
animal's hiding-place. Eor these reasons I make it a
fixed rule when travelling never to halt a train after
commencing my morning's start, unless, as I have previously said, a river has to be crossed which is too deep
to ford, until camping time arrives, and the mule's work
for the day is at an end.
During the operation of counting, the packmaster
also takes particular note of every mule, judging from
the evidences of pain exhibited by suffering mules, as
already pointed out, whether the load is evenly balanced
or if anything is galling, if the cruppers are too long or
too short, if the ropes are tight, in a word if everything
is ship-shape and as it ought to be. H he detects anything wrong that needs altering, two packers at a signal
ride up, dismount, seize the mule pointed out by the
halter, drop on the blind, and rapidly adjust whatever
is out of the way, the mule loosed trots after the train,
and falls in to the rearward place. We are entering on
a narrow rocky trail, which leads along the face of a
cliff, overlooking a stream surging on some two hundred
feet below us. ENTERING  A NARROW TRAIL,.
173
CHAPTER XII.
Narrow Trails—Packmaster goes abead of tbe Bell-mare—Mountain
Passes—Bridge-making—Crossing Swamps—Dangerous Corners.
The packmaster now goes on a head of the bell-mare,
because it is quite impossible to turn back on these very
narrow trails, often little better than mere ledges of
rock. Hence it is essential to the safety of the train that
there be no obstruction, to hinder or impede the steady
progress of the mules; so the packmaster rides some
distance in front to warn any mounted Indians, or perchance another pack-train, in time for them either to
halt at the widest place discoverable, or get up on or
into a siding.
The packers all ride up close to the bell, and still
carefully watch each mule as it enters on the narrow
trail, in order to make sure that the ropes and synches
are tight, and that none of the loads have shifted. Then
one by one the packers file in with the train, keeping a
distance of five mules betwixt each other, one man
bringing up the rear. By adopting this precaution the
mules are prevented from halting, the danger of which
in a narrow trail I have previously pointed out; more
than this,   anything   slipping  is  at   once   seen  and 174
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
remedied. I may mention incidentally, that at one place
west of the Cascade mountains, the provisions and camp
equipments for a large detachment of men and several
officers of the Boundary Commission had to be conveyed over a mountain with almost vertical slopes. One
of the surveying officers pronounced it impossible to
construct a trail up which a loaded mule would be able
to walk. This place is named now the Diamond-tree
Pass. One thing was clear enough—if the necessary
materials could not be transported to the level ground
beyond this pass, the work of marking the Boundary-
line must be abandoned for a considerable distance. It
of course fell to my lot to go and see the pass, and to
decide the matter one way or another. It certainly was
an awful place up which to make a trail that should be
available for packed mules, and, to add to the difficulty,
a good-sized stream of water tumbled rather than ran
down the hill-side. The distance from the base to the
summit in a straight line was not more than three-
quarters of a mile, but it was rocky and densely timbered. The difficulty too was the more complicated,
inasmuch as the prairie leading to the pass was intersected by several streams, not fordable, and two
swamps that must be crossed.
I thought the matter carefully over, climbed up and
down the hill, and recalling the words of Napoleon:
' Impossible, c'est le mot d'un fou,' finally made up my
mind to do it.    By describing how this apparent im- BRIDGING A  STREAM.
175
possibility was overcome, I shall give all the practical
hints relating to trail-making, bridge-building, and
fording swamps, which a wanderer can require, after
which we will resume our march where we left off. I
selected a trail-party often men, packed up tents, provisions for fourteen days, axes, augers, picks, shovels,
and plenty of spare rope, and camped on the bank of
the first stream too deep to be forded, in order to
bridge it. There are many ways of making a bridge
over which mules can pass with their loads. If it
happens that large trees grow on the bank of the stream
to be bridged, then all you have to do is to look out for
one that leans towards the water, and which is of sufficient length to reach from side to side. Put the axeman
to work, or do it yourself if single-handed, always remembering to make the first notch very wide, and
facing the water. J£ the tree-top does not break in
falling, your bridge, when the tree lies across the
stream, is half made.
The next thing to do is to walk along on the fallen
tree and axe off all the branches, which fall into the
river and are washed away. Now look out for a clump of
young fir or cotton-wood trees, that in size run each
about four inches in diameter, chop down a good lot of
them, trim and get them to the fallen tree, where they
must be axed into regular lengths (the length of these
pieces will in some degree depend upon the girth of the
fallen tree), but as a rule from twelve to fourteen feet 176
AT HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
for each piece will be found to answer every purpose.
Erom the centre of each length take off a good-sized
chip with the axe, and bore two holes through the place
you have chipped with a three-inch auger. So far so
good. Cast round now for a dead pine-tree, with its
wood sound in the grain; failing this, take a living one,
and chop off a log three feet long, split it as I have
before told you how, first into two, then into smaller
sections ; round these with the axe, and you have your
' trenails' made in no time. Lastly, begin to work on
the end of the tree nearest to you by first laying transversely on the tree, at its extreme end, one of the
lengths you have chipped and bored. Put the auger
again through the hole, and bore well down into the
substance of the tree, then drive home the trenail with
the axehead as hard as you
TEEE-BBJDGE.
I can; adopt the same course
with hole No. 2, this cross-
piece is then completed; in like
manner lay cross-piece after
cross-piece until you reach the
other side of the stream. No
side rail is requisite to bridges of this primitive construction. I have worked our mule trains over the most
fearful chasms on these tree-bridges ; mules never hesitate to cross on them; and I need hardly -say, with a j
party of men skilled in and accustomed to the work, i
a bridge is made on this plan in a very short space of CRADLE-MAKING.
177
time. But the stream we have to cross on the prairie
has no timber near it, excepting. a belt of cotton-wood
trees (Populus tremuloides), and thus we are compelled
to resort to another scheme. We will suppose ourselves
to have measured or estimated the width of the stream
—say it is one hundred feet, found its depth with a
plumb-line, and calculated the force of the current.
The next proceeding is to examine the timber nearest
the place to be bridged. A person's judgment must in
a great degree guide him as to the necessary strength
a O O «/ CD
of the poles intended for ' stringers,' or side poles to
support the cross-pieces. If the poles available are of
fair size, say from ten inches to a foot in diameter,
they can be used of a good length; if smaller, the
lengths must be lessened. Having made this mental
estimate, you begin to construct two or three ' cradles ;'
the number will be dependent on the poles? whether
long or short; the longer the ' stringers ' the fewer
cradles are needed.
These so-called 'cradles' are rough square baskets,
made by trenailing poles together, the size being regulated in accordance with the strength of the current; if
swift, very large cradles will be required. When these
cradles are completed, cut down and trim four 'stringers,'
and get both these and the cradles down to the stream;
make fast a rope to one of the cradles, and if no tree is
near drive a picket into the ground and fasten the rope
to it.    This is a necessary precaution.   Once or twice I
m 178
AT  HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
I
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Ijj
II
^^^K^
have lost my ' cradle' in a swift current by neglecting
it. Now launch the cradle, and when, by the aid of
poles, you have guided it, as it floats to the spot where
you intend to sink it (which should not be farther from
the bank of the stream than a man can conveniently
pitch stones, or shovel earth and shingle into it), fill it
as fast as you can with stones, earth, or anything
heavy—and let me impress upon young wanderers how
necessary it is to think of trifling details if they intend to bridge a stream as we are now doing it.
Make sure, before you select a spot to camp on, that
shingle or stones, or both, are within easy reach.
Well, we have sunk our cradle No. 1, and having
taken care to .make it sufficiently capacious to hold
rubble, the weight of which is equal to resisting the
force of the current, we lay two ' stringers' side by side
from the bank to the cradle. You can now walk over
them to reach the latter; next, see that all is safe and
the cradle firm; if you are working with a party of men,
the one who is on the cradle need not return to the
shore. Separate the stringers about six feet from each
other, trenail the ends securely to the 'cradle, and fasten
those on the land by driving in strong stakes on either
side of them. This done, trenail cross-pieces to the
stringers as close together as you can place them; split
poles answer best, the convex side uppermost; mules do
not slip on them. Now you can work from the shore to
cradle No. 1, and proceed exactly in the same way with
cradles No. 2 and 3, if it need so many. CORDING  A SWAMP.
179
These two systems of bridge-making I have found
to answer every useful purpose. Whenever streams are
too wide and too swift of current to render either of
these plans practicable, then I always raft or take the
baggage and men in canoes, and swim the mules. We
have crossed over the first stream by our cradle bridge,
and two more are similarly managed, and we reach the
edge of the swamp, which is so soft that were a mule
to venture to cross over to the opposite side, down beneath the mud and weeds it would most assuredly go,
and be suffocated to a certainty. There is no going round
it; the rocky hill prevents you on one side, and the
river skirts it oh the other; no, over it the mules have
to go, and to enable them to do so we must ' cord' it.
This is very easily accomplished if you know how. Poles
about six or eight inches in diameter are first laid along
upon the swampy ground six to eight feet apart, and
trenailed firmly together at the ends, so as to form two
continuous poles, so to speak, reaching from one side of
the swamp to the other—I have often corded two and
three miles of swamp in one place. Next cut cross-
pieces rather more than seven feet long, so that the
ends project beyond the poles on which they are to be
laid; cut also a set of lighter poles than those laid on
the swamp, but in number sufficient to be of equal
length with the others. This done, place your cross-
pieces on the under poles, close together, side by side,
■until you reach across the swamp; you can walk on
N 2 ISO
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
iffP'
them then without risking ' miring ' down. Now take
the lighter set of poles and lay them on the others;
by doing this you save the labour of trenailing each
cross-piece, because the pieces are jammed between the
upper and under poles; these being trenailed firmly
together at short distances, keep the ' cord-trail as firm
as a ladder; two or more smart hands will cord a long
piece of swamp in a day. Over this cordway the mules
walk as safely as if it were macademised road.
All the impediments which intervened betwixt the
first stream and the pass I have to get over being
surmounted, I make my camp at the base of the hill,
and commence with some of my men to cut down the
timber as I ' blaze' the way before them. All lines are
marked through timber by ' blazing,' which has nothing
to do with fire, be it known, but is of kindred meaning
to tbe word blazon in heraldry, ' to set to show.' With
a small belt-axe the person marking the route to be
followed by others cuts out a fair-sized chip from the
trees as he goes along, first on the rigfit hand and then
on the left; these marks being made into the white
timber, are readily seen by contrast with the brown
bark of the trees. My only chance is to ' zig-zag' the
trail up the most accessible places; to accomplish this
I have- to cross and recross the stream seven times
on small bridges. The timber cleared, I next take a
digging party, and with picks and spades make a regular
path about six feet wide, on an average; but at short AN  UGLT  CORNER.
181
distances I also make platforms, if I may so term them,
by digging away the hill-side and then shoring up the
earth with fascines staked down—the use of these you
will learn anon—also where the earth was loose and
likely to give way, or where a jutting point of rock had
to be rounded, there also I constructed artificial ground
with fascines and poles covered with earth.
There was one place near the summit which well-nigh
beat me. The rocks ran out to a sharp craggy point,
below which was a precipice ; by breaking away rock
and adding earth, which was kept from slipping over
by poles and bundles of wood, I made a path round the
point, but it was fearfully dangerous, for if a mule by
chance should strike its load against the jutting rock,
the chances were a hundred to one it would be knocked
over and killed. To obviate any risk I had ropes
twisted together to make them of sufficient strength,
and then securely fastened to a tree growing immediately over this point of rocks. To the loose end of
the twisted ropes I had a wooden hook attached; the
bridging was next done, and so far my work was complete. I tried a mule with nothing on it, at first; up it
went all right; next I tried one with an aparejo only,
with a similar success; then I began to breathe and hope,
tried a light load and did it. Whilst I continued with
the men making the trail along the level ground, at
the summit of the hill, a messenger went back to the
depot to report that the way was clear, and to  order 182
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
on a loaded train. They came in due time over the
bridges and across the ' corded' swamps to the foot of
the pass, and now for failure or success. I knew getting
up a train was a very different affair to driving a single.
mule with a light load. I had fifty loads to get over the
pass, and I determined on working five mules Only at a
time. You will see as we get up tfie mountain that to
have risked a greater number would have been fatal to
my plans. The bell-mare I had led by a man whom I
could trust to wait when needed and to go on slowly. I
made each packer—I took four to the five mules—carry
a bag of stones, and now we are off.
As the mules reach the platforms the bell-mare is
halted; here they can rest, recover their wind, and furthermore afford the packers room to adjust the loads
and tighten the ropes. By slow degrees we get safely
along over the bridges and past the shelving rocks and
ugly corners. You ask what I make the packers carry
stones for ? Why, to throw at the mules when they attempt to stop. Betwixt the platforms the men cannot
get near enough' to use a stick or the all-potent blind;
hence stones are invaluable assistants, and I know from
experience that stones are like policemen, you can never
find one when you want it. As we near our dangerous
corner I halt the mules on the platform nearest to it
below, then muffle the bell to prevent the resting mules
from hearing it, have the mare led round the corner,
and make two packers, one before and one behind, bring CHRISTMAS-EVE.
183
up a mule. I stand by in readiness, slip the hook under
the ' riata,' and then let the mule run up to the mare,
which is waiting, so as to allow the mule to reach her
without any strain upon the rope. I have to keep the
rope clear of the rock by a cross pole, then the mule
passes the mare on the siding, is unhooked and is soon-
upon the level; so, one by one, I get the first five safely
round, and with their loads they are on the summit.
These are now unpacked and turned to feed, whilst the
men and bell-mare go down for other five. ' In this way,
save with one accident arising from carelessness—a mule
rolled over at the corner and was killed—the fifty loads
were got to the top, and as many more a fortnight later.
I had just as difficult a task to bring all the camp- gear
down again, which I did on the day preceding Christmas-day, spending my Christmas-eve at the foot of the
Diamond-tree pass. I have related this little bit of
trail-engineering because I thought it the best plan for
supplying such practical hints as I am desirous to impart for the benefit of younger wanderers. We resume
our march, having crept safely along the narrow trail.
A river four hundred yards wide is ahead of us ; this we
shall have to raft, and swim our mules across. 1 Pfi
II
1
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184
AT HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
CHAPTER Xin.
How to cross Rivers—Swim Mules—Make Rafts, Canoes, and a Bull-
Boat—The way to cross a River with your Horse, and to Raft your
Gun, and Ammunition, without wetting them—Camping—Unsaddling—End of the March.
The best plan I can think of to explain how a wide
swift river must be crossed is to suppose our train to be
descending the trail, leading over the rugged bluffs,
which shut in the Snake River on either side. So steep
and massive are the cliffs of basaltic rock on each side
of this immense river that getting at the water, except
at lateral valley junctions, or where tributary streams
enter, is an utter impossibility; a distance of fifty
miles and more will very often fiave to be travelled
along its banks before one single drop of water is obtainable, and it is not stating more than the truth to
say, that a traveller might perish from thirst on the
banks of this river, and yet be in sight of water the
whole time. The Snake River is a tributary to the]
Columbia, and where we are going to cross it the.
width is quite 400 yards. About a mile above the
crossing the Pelouse River joins the Snake, and below
the junction the mingled waters dash on with a terrific BARGAINING WITH  RED  MEN.
185
velocity. Eour times I have crossed this only available
place on the river with a large pack train—once with
150 animals, so I shall state exactly how I managed
the transport over the river. I may mention incidentally that a ferry bridge, which is worked on a wire
rope, has been established at this crossing, and the
speculating Yankee who built it charges the moderate
sum of a dollar (4s. 2d.) per head for packed animals to
cross on it.
Eor a width of rather more than a mile there is a
break in the cliffs of basalt on each, side of the stream,
with a kind of shingly beach reaching from their bases
to the water, and a tribe of Red men—the Pelouse Indians—have their encampment close to the junction of
the two streams. I ride on ahead of my train, and bargain with the savages for so many canoes and men to
work them. This is always a tedious job, because the
Redskins try hard to get double the amount they pretty
well know they deserve. A circle is formed; the pipe,
without which nothing  can be done, is lighted and
O J CD
smoked. I say pipe, because one does for all, and as it
passes on from mouth to mouth each savage has his
say, whilst the women, or squaws, stand round behind
the squatting men, and chatter incomprehensibly. The
plan I adopt is to show them what I mean to pay, be it
in goods, tobacco, or what not, and stand firmly by my
offer; as a rule, they seldom refuse to accept it. Depend
upon it, the great element in successful bargaining with I *
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186
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
savages is to exhibit what you intend to give them. Let
Indians see anything they desire or think they can get,
and there is scarcely any labour too hard for them, so
they can obtain it; but generally speaking, Redskins hate
work, and would not stir a single yard if you only promised a reward, and did not show it to them. The bargain concluded, the canoes are launched, and paddled
down to where by this time the mules are being unpacked and unsaddled.
It is always better to swim the mules over the stream
before the men, camp gear, and pack saddles are ferried
in canoes. It gives the animals' hair time to dry
before resaddfing; for if the aparejos are synched on
upon a wet back, sore places j are generally the result.
So we begin by swimming over the animals. Remember, the stream is four hundred yards wide, and
swift as a rapid. A packer halters the bell-mare, takes
the bell in his hand, and gets into one of the canoes,
which fias been paddled up stream as far as the rocks
will permit; above this the mules could not get into the
stream. This, I must again remind you, gives a mile
distance clear of rocks on the opposite side. The other
canoes are stationed further down, and form a line
across the current of water. The mules are driven by
the packers close to the mare, and as the canoe is paddled away from the shore, the man holds on to the halter •
and tows her after it, at the same time ringing the bell
continuously with all his might.    The poor mules see MULES  SWIMMING.
187
their pet swimming away, and hear the tinkling of the
bell gradually growing fainter; behind and around them
are the packers waving their dreaded blinds, and every
now and again giving any mule endeavouring to escape
a taste of its many thongs. At last, in sheer j despair,
in they dash, and a curious sight it is too, to watch a
hundred mules swimming a wide stream.    Nothing of
CD CD
each animal is visible excepting its long ears and its
nose, and as they rapidly separate, the weaker going
down stream, and the stronger making a better passage,
a chorus is heard of the most discordant snorts imagi-
CD
nable, ranging from the wheezy treble of the old, through
every variety of sounds, to the sharp, ringing, trumpetlike snort of the young and healthy.
The canoes down stream are now paddled at the mules
that are swimming too much head down stream, in order to keep them towards the side whereon they are to
land; but as some mules swim with ease and rapidity,
others slower, and others, again, very slowly, why it happens they get ashore at all sorts of distances down the
bank. A good mule will swim the Snake River, and land
only a quarter of mile lower down on the opposite side
to that at which it entered the stream, others a half
mile, but the greater part of them will drift a full mile
in crossing four hundred yards of swift running water.
The bell is kept ringing, and as the mules land, the
mare is led along the bank, so that those which have
landed may   follow her,  and those  swimming make 188
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
■ j
towards the spot where they hear the bell. It is not
an unusual thing for a mule to sink; I have seen it
happen many times. After the mules are over, the
aparejos are first crossed in the canoes, next the goods
and chattels, and lastly the packers, who then commence
to saddle up, pack, and start again. To sum up, when the
' wanderer' has to cross a wide, swift-running river, he
should first carefully note the kind of landing-place the
mules will have to encounter on reaching the opposite
side. If the river is four hundred yards in width and
the current swift, a mile of landing ground clear from
all obstruction is requisite. H you attempt crossing
with a shorter landing-place the probabilities are that
you will drown a number of your animals. You must
always calculate the chances of effecting a landing
when swimming mules, by estimating by the width of
the stream and force of the current how far the
weaker mules and bad swimmers will probably be
drifted; shelving banks are always dangerous, and so is
soft swampy ground. These remarks apply to a wide
river, when canoes are obtainable from Indians; but to
cross narrower streams when they are not, with mules
or by yourself on horseback, is altogether a different
affair. If with mules, a raft or a canoe must be made,
on which to ferry over the aparejos, men, and loads. If
you are on horseback, you must swim with your
horse, should the stream prove too deep to ford.
A raft is the  easiest thing  imaginable  to  make, RAFTING A STREAM.
189
always supposing you can find timber dry enough to
float, which in a timbered country even is not so easy
as one would be disposed to imagine. The timber
should be tried in the water carefully before making it
into a raft. Ten by twelve feet is a very good size for a
raft, and to make it, all that is needed is to lay three
large logs, not less than six feet in circumference, side
by side, about eighteen inches apart, then other three
across these. The upper and under logs must be
trenailed firmly together where they rest on each other,
a light rail added on each side to prevent the goods
from falling off, and the raft is ready to launch. Before
doing this, if the stream is at all rapid, it is requisite to
axe out a couple of rough paddles, and chop down three
or four fight poles to be put on board the raft. A coil
of rope (the ' riatas' tied together answer every
purpose) must also be taken on the raft, one end being
either held or otherwise made fast to the place from
whence you are to start.
These details completed, one man ventures on the
raft after it is placed in the stream, and paddles with all
his strength for the opposite side; the rope of course
pays out as the raft is forced across. If he reaches
the goal successfully, he makes fast the raft with a
'painter,' whilst he adjusts the long rope, about half
of which, or enough to reach from the one side of the
D O
stream to the other, he ties fast to the raft, the end of
the other part he also  fastens to the raft, but at its 190
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
opposite end. He now leaves the raft, goes ashore, and
pays out his part of the rope, whilst those on the side
from which he came haul the raft back with their rope,
and load it. Then a second man comes across, but he
being greatly assisted by the first man pulling the rope
does not run any risk of being washed down stream
with the load, which he would do if he trusted only to
the paddle or pole.
Another system can be resorted to as a last chance,
and that is to stretch a ' buffalo robe,' or raw hide, over
a wickerwork frame made of light sticks; this plan, which
will do in case of an emergency, is called a bull-boat, so
named because it is constructed from bullocks' hides.
A one-hide boat is made by driving willows about one
inch, in diameter into the ground in the form of an oval;
the loose ends are brought over tied and wattled
together, so as to make a strong basket-work frame.
Next bind a strong stick round the basket close to the
ground, and make it fast by lashings to the willow rods ;
and over all throw a green hide or buffalo robe, and
sew it fast to the encircling fioop. Now pull up your
willows, turn over the frame, and you have as sound
and perfect a coricle as ever was used by ancient Dane
or Briton. A two-hide boat is made somewhat in the
same way, only that a long pole must be first laid
down as a keel. Supposing you arrive at a stream
where there is no dry timber or other material fitting
for rafting, then a canoe must be chopped out.    Two CEDAR-WOOD CANOE.
191
of our axemen could make a canoe, with axes only,
in three hours, large enough to carry ten persons; the
best timber is either cedar or white pine. The great
art is to shape the sides of the canoe so that she will
float evenly. I fiave often seen green hands make a
canoe that, when launched, lay completely over on one
side, and canted up either at the bow or stern. Nearly all
the Indian tribes west of the Rocky Mountains own
canoes, but the inland canoes, used on lakes and rivers,
differ totally from such as are used by the coast and
Fraser River Indians, and each tribe, whether inhabiting the mainland coast or
Vancouver Island, has a fashion
of canoe peculiar to itself. All
the coast Indians use ' dugouts ' made from cedar. I have
seen canoes at Fort Rupert
that would carry thirty men easily in a heavy sea.
Just think of the labour these savages must have
bestowed upon each canoe, when they had nothing but
rude stone tools to work with. They expand the sides
by filling the canoe with water, and plunging red hot
stones into it, then prising open the heated wood with
cross-pieces, and keeping it so forced open until it is
cold. The ' Kalfispefiem' canoes,* used by the Columbia River Kootanie and other inland Indians, are made
of large  sheets  of bark, stripped from the spruce fir
CEDAR  CANOE.
* Vide cut, page 192. .
11
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192
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
or cedar tree (Thuja gigantea). These pieces are sewn
together and sloped at both ends, to a conical point;
the length of the canoe is usually about twelve feet, and
the width about seven between the gunwales. A framework of wood is neatly made, over which the bark is
stretched; the seams, holes, and weqk places are lastly
secured with a kind of gum. When an Indian paddles
in one of these canoes—which, by the way, he can carry
on his back with perfect ease—he squats at the extreme end; his weight sinks the conical point, which
serves to steady the canoe, similar to the way a fish
steadies  itself with its tail; the other end is of course
jl tilted up far above the surface of the water. These frail
craft are more easily capsized
j^j than any other kind of canoe I
was ever in, but the Indians
contrive to convey heavy loads
in them, shooting rapids, and
'poling' against streams, without often coming to
grief.
To swim a stream with your horse requires great
confidence and some knowledge of swimming. Horses!
all swim well, as a rule, so soon as they get over the
dread of losing their foothold, and are fairly afloat. If
you have no gun or anything spoilable, and you do not
mind wetting your clothes, then ride straight into the
water, always taking the precaution to see that you can
BARK  CANOE. SWIMMING  A H0RS1
193
land on the opposite side by taking into calculation the
distance yourself and horse will probably be drifted.
Seize a good large lock of the mane hair, and twist it firmly
round the fingers of the left hand; shut the hand close,
to prevent the risk of letting it slip; free both feet from
the stirrups, lean well forward, and the instant the
horse begins to float and strike out with its  feet, lay
CROSSING A RIVER.
your body horizontally, and kick back with your legs
as you do in swimming; hold fast with the left hand; the
horse will tow you, and with the right hand you must
splash the water at the horse's head to keep him from
turning to swim with the current. The more you can
contrive to keep the horse's head up stream the better
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194
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
it will cross with you. On reaching the side you are
swimming for, as soon as the horse touches its feet on
the ground drop again into the saddle, and ride your
mustang out of the water.
Many writers advise holding on by a horse's tail
when swimming a river, and thus letting it tow them
over; I do not think it nearly so good a plan as the one
above; I have tried both. When holding by the tail
you lose all command of your horse, it can swim in any
direction it wishes ; you risk getting hit with the hind
legs, and not unfrequently you get towed under water.
Landing, too, is difficult; when the horse scrambles out
it tugs you after it, or throws you down, and the
chances are greatly in favour of your losing your
mustang, saddle, and gear, altogether. When swimming
above the horse and holding by the mane, none of these
risks are encountered, and you can steer the animal as
you would a boat. A river 400 yards wide can be safely
crossed in this way, even if the current is moderately
swift, provided the horse is strong, in good health and
condition, and that the rider is an expert swimmer and
well up to his work.
Supposing you have baggage in the shape of
blankets, a gun and ammunition, and you dislike wetting your clothes, you must find a dry log light enough
to float, or cut rushes, and make them into two bundles
or sheaves; tie these together in the middle, as you
would two sheaves of straw; place some light  sticks RAFTING BAGGAGE.
1S5
across and tie them fast to the sheaves. Failing
sticks or rushes, you must tie up the things in the
buffalo skin—remember I told you never to travel without one strapped to the back of the saddle. With raft
No. 1, the log, you fasten all the things you have on the
top of it, rolled up tightly in the ' buffalo-robe;' tie it
firmly, and. then take the long hair ' cabresto' I advised
you to use in lieu of a bridle, or the lassoo which
should always be hanging from your saddlebow, and
attach it to the log, so that there is no fear of its
slipping off, then make the other end of the cabresto, or
lassoo, fast to the saddlebow, and the horse will tow
the log-raft as it swims across with you. If this
arrangement is properly executed everything can be
ferried, without a chance of wetting it. Raft No. 2,
rush sheaves, I like even better than a log, if so be
rushes are obtainable; they float more evenly, and
there is less chance of their rolling over. I have
frequently seen Indians cross a river by sitting between
two large rush sheaves and paddling them as they
would a canoe. With No. 3 contrivance, the buffalo
robe, the only precaution you can take against wet is
firmly to secure the buffalo robe round the things you
are going to tow over ; for in all three cases the towing
system is alike adopted. Horses free from the saddle
or- other incumbrance can swim easily a mile in
distance if there is anything like a swift current;
nevertheless, some mustangs are immeasurably better I
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AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
swimmers than are others of equal bone and strength.
Timid, scary horses are always bad to swim streams
with. I had a very capital horse, and an admirable
swimmer, which sank suddenly in the middle of the
Kootanie River without any assignable reason; I dare
say horses get cramp as we do.
The three grand requisites we have been looking out
for—grass, wood, and water—are reached, a halt called,
the loads are taken off and placed on the riatas, and
the mules allowed to cool before unsaddling; if you
expose their backs suddenly to the air whilst the skin is
heated, the skin rapidly gets covered with large lumps.
During this waiting, fires are ligfited, tents pitched, and
supper set agoing.
The cardinal point to be observed in making camp
fires is ' never be in a hurry.' The most unpromising
material, such as the twigs and boughs of green willow
bushes, may be made to burn even during rain ; if the
traveller has been sufficiently provident to lay away a
small parcel of well-dried or resinous wood from a previous camp, this is to be carefully used in the foundation; upon it the smallest ends of twigs are to be placed,
frayed out at the ends in order to hold the flame. When
these are kindled, somewhat larger twigs may be added,
but in all cases proceed carefully, bearing in mind that
green wood even in its driest state contains more than
half its weight of water, and that a very large proportion of the heating effect, of the previously kindled
3&.WV-&. BUSH-FIRES.
197
brands, has to be expended in evaporating off water,
before the fresh fuel can be ignited. It is, therefore,
in almost all cases a work of labour to fell trees for fires
as is sometimes recommended, as dead sticks, which can
generally be collected with less labour, usually make a
much better fuel.
In all cases, the traveller cannot be too strongly impressed, with the absolute necessity of always extinguishing the fire to the last embers, before breaking
up camp. Neglect of this precaution has led, in many
instances, to the devastation of vast tracts of forest-
country, which was formerly land redolent with animal
life, into the so-called ' barren' lands, destitute of
almost all the necessaries of life, and which can only be
travelled through with great suffering and privation.
Bush and prairie fires are sometimes attended with
terrible results as affecting both life and property. I
saw the ravages a bush fire had made along the Eraser
river, and that extended its devastations inland, I am
unable to say how far—which fire had been burning for
nearly four years. Where it had passed not a single
vestige of vegetation was to be seen, and the massive
pines, black and cindered, bore no inapt resemblance to
a forest of charcoal trees. Once or twice during our
Commission work the bush got on fire, whether by
accident or from Indian malice it was impossible to
discover. At any rate, it rendered many of the trails
impassable for a long time, and the vast accumulations 11
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AT HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
of smoke frequently obstructed the astronomers, when
taking observations. No one would believe, except he
saw it, how terribly fast fire runs through a forest of
growing trees; it seems to consume them as though
they were dead and dry. Moss, dried leaves and twigs,
are the active agents in carrying on a brisk fire. The fire
creeps along, fed by these combustibles, until it reaches
the stump of a tree; then leaping from bark to branch,
and branch to leaf, rapidly devours all but the solid
substance of the tree, and even this very often succumbs
to fire's insatiable appetite, and the burnt tree comes
crushing to the ground, like a gigantic rocket sending
off myriads of brilliant sparks in its downward course.
The only remedy for the evil is to cut a road, or fine in
other words, betwixt the burning forest and the portion
you desire to save, and to stamp out, or by beating with
bushes extinguish, the fire running along in the moss and
underbrush. By adopting this plan, we succeeded once
or twice in checking the progress of a bush-fire.
A prairie fire is altogether a different affair. Settlers
are in the constant habit of setting the prairies on fire
purposely, in order to clear off and get rid of the old and'
coarse grass; by doing this a young sweetherbage springs
up in its place, better suited to grazing stock. Indeed, I
am inclined to think vast tracts of forest have in the
course of ages, been converted into what is now
prairie, by the Red-men, who regularly burn the
grass from off the prairies; in most cases to ensure ai PRAIRIE-TIRES.
199
supply of young grass for the bison, and in later years
for their horses; although they not unfrequently fire
the dry grass in order to burn out an enemy.
Fire so kindled does not halt at the edges of the
prairie land, but extends its ravages into the timber,
and in this way gradually increases the size of the
prairie. I have invariably noticed, when living on tfie
Western prairies, that wherever a space of ground, say
■ 300 acres or more, has been fenced in for any length of
time, and carefully guarded from the effects of fire, that
it has rapidly assumed the character of a forest. Trees
and underbrush soon gain a mastery over the grass
and flowers, which give place in their turn to a vegetation, more adapted to thrive in damp and shady
situations. Fire is easily kept from injuring a fence,
by ploughing a space four or five furrows in width
entirely round it. There are stringent laws in the
States and Territories relating to firing prairies ; it can
only be done legally at a given date, and all settlers, I
believe, are expected to ' fire' at the same time, in
order to insure the removal of cattle, horses, and hogs,
that might otherwise be ' roasted whole.'
Grand as •, a bush fire is, I think a blazing prairie
exceeds it in magnificence, the dense columns of
wreathy smoke, as they curl up resemble mighty waves
rolling on, to hurl themselves against some storm-lashed
coast, whilst just ahead of them, a red fine of flame extends right and left as far as eye can pierce the distance. 11
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As you watch the progress of the fire (the rate a fire
travels varies in accordance with, the force of the wind
and length and dryth of the grass). A sullen kind
of roar seems to come from everywhere, having for
a refrain a continuous sharp crackling, made by the
tongues of flame in their furious onward course, licking
up the loose inflammable materials. Every living thing
dashes on heedless of direction before a prairie fire. Tfie
lamb might run side by side with the hungriest wolf •
without any risk; all enmity seems for the time to be
laid aside, the one grand absorbing instinct self-preservation obliterating all others.
Is it to be wondered at that emigrants, and even
bands of savages, have been from time to time burnt to
cinders in these fires ? What chance would there be if
one was enveloped in burning grass or reeds seven feet
high ? No man on foot, and if the wind is hard not even
on horseback, can travel so rapidly as the flames pursuing him. What can be done ? Why, only one thing
that I know of, and that is to fire the grass before you,
and as it burns walk close after it; if you have sufficient
time and presence of mind, by this expedient you may
be far enough away to avoid any serious harm from the
fire coming on upon you. I once had a hard ride to
escape being burnt in a prairie fire, and only escaped
by plunging fiorse and all down over a steep bank into
a river. The fire was close at' my heels, and rushing on
quite as fast as my poor terrified horse could carry me. A  RIDE  FOR  LIFE.
201
I felt the gallant mustang was getting winded, and I
expected every moment that it would fall headlong with
me. My life hung, so to say, upon a mere chance; I
knew not,.cared not, what was before me, neither did I
feel at all frightened when the horse, without even halting in its gallop, dashed over a bank, and we together
plunged into the stream. The horrible dread of being
burnt overcame every other feeling of fear; in no other
case could I have forced the horse, by any amount of
punishment, to jump from the top of such a high bank
into a deep river. In this case its instincts told it that
this one chance of escape alone remained.
At night these fires are more terrible than during the
day ; the Whole horizon looks to be one sheet of flame.
The best material I have ever met with for kindling a fire, is known to the fur-traders in north-west
America as gum-stick; nearly every Indian tribe employs it. When hunting or scouting, they carry small
bundles of gum-stick with them, which, as its name in
some degree explains, is pinewood densely impregnated
with a highly inflammable substance, that burns with a
bright clear flame; and when a piece of gum-stick is
lighted it forms an admirable torch. Why, in a London
fog, gum-stick would be worth its weight in silver.  You
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may whisk and whirl about your torch to your heart's
content, and never risk putting it out; I once accompanied a paity of Red Indians in search of some missing
persons; the night was intensely dark, but each one of 202
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
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the Indians, carried a bundle of flaming gum-stick
affixed to the end of a pole. The light so obtained was
almost as bright as the magnesium light, and rendered
the minutest objects perfectly conspicuous.
Gum-stick is obtained from dead, not decayed, pine-
trees ; it is a most singular looking material in appearance, not unlike a piece of deal that has been soaking
for a long time in oil; it is immensely heavy, and quite
translucent at the edges.
I have often been tempted to think, when examining a
piece of gum-stick, the wood itself has been transmuted
into a kind of paraffin; perhaps what has become gum-
stick, would have grown into a branch, if nature had
carried out her original design. The sap destined to form
buds, leaves, and seeds, has been hindered at this spot in
its upward or downward course, concentrated, changed
into an inflammable compound, and by some process
impossible to explain, pressed into the woody fibre, to
become in the end gum-stick.
It is not by any means a scarce material, if you know
where and how to find it; a practised fiand learns, by a
kind of instinct, bow to pitch upon the right tree for
gum-stick, although to explain the way to' do it is an
impossibility. Indians are particularly skilful in discovering it, and during the winters we passed at Fort
Colville, they used to bring bundles of gum-stick daily,
to trade for tobacco or anything else they required.
A few shavings sliced off with your knife, and lighted,
,-bW-u GUM-STICKV
203
will kindle a fire even during pelting rain, to say
nothing of its potency and power to give new life to a
dying flame.
Another kind of resinous material exudes from the
pine-trees in great quantities, more especially if the bark
has been partly removed, or a chop has been made on the
trunk. It is yellowish-white in colour, its consistence
is that of thick-gum, its smell decidedly turpentiny as
it exudes, runs down the tree, and hardens into large
drops. An inexperienced hand on finding that it lights
very readily, and blazes up like naphtha, would be disposed to employ it for fire-fighting; he would soon,
however, discover that as the resin flamed away it at
the same time densely coated the surface of the wood
with a coating of lamp-black, or some other analagous
form of carbon ; and when pinewood is thus coated one
might as well try to burn granite: hence this resin-
coated timber is utterly useless for firewood; not only
does it render itself incombustible, but has a like effect
upon all the sticks in the 'fire, and is nearly as effectual
in extinguishing your fire, as would be the famed ' l'ex-
tinctuer.
I frequently used to amuse myself by setting fire to
the resin encrusting the side of a pine-tree. There was
not the slightest risk of kindling the tree itself; the
material blazed up furiously for a short time, coated
the tree with its sooty deposit, and then went suddenly
out; the flame would not even char the bark. 204
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
If you want a fire, never  collect chips or timber .
coated with resin.
Now to unsaddle: one packer stands where the
aparejos are to be placed, whilst the other packers
catch the mules by the halters, loose the Synch, and
lead them up to him. He now takes off the aparejo
and places it on the ground, next the cloths on the top
of it, and lastly, the corona on the top of all. Then he
examines the back, and if he finds it all rigfht he jerks
off the halter and lets the mule go; if not, he investigates the aparejo and tries to remedy the evil at
once. It is the duty of another packer to clean and
thoroughly grease all the cruppers, coil up the sling
ropes and carefully cover the aparejos (placed, remember, in a semicircle), with the canvas covers. The
herders drive the band away, make fast the bell-mare
and return to enjoy their suppers, their pipes, and the
sleep needed to recruit them for the coming day. Let us
bid them ' Good Night!' our march is at an end. I have
some hints to give about building log houses, breaking
horses, and collecting specimens of Natural History,
and then I shall have fulfilled my mission; how well I
must leave other wanderers to decide. WILD  MUSTANGS.
205
CHAPTER XIV.
Mustangs: their first appearance in Mexico—Found in Texas,
California, Oregon, British Columbia, aud Elsewhere—Breaking
a Wild Horse not an Easy Task—A Wanderer should be his own
Manufacturer—The Way to Make a Lassoo and a Cabresto—Las-
sooing, Saddling, Mounting, Roping Wild Cattle—An Exciting
Adventure.
Mustangs, as wild horses are usually styled (and
broken ones as well, for that matter), are, as a rule,
small horses, rarely exceeding fourteen hands high.
They are descended from Spanish stock, which must
have been originally brought into Mexico by the
original conquerors of that beautiful but unfortunate
country now something like three centuries ago.
During this period mustangs have increased to an
extraordinary extent, and they have radiated, so to
speak, in every direction. Vast herds now roam over the
Texan prairies; and throughout Mexico to California, and
from thence over Oregon, Washington territories, and
British Columbia, to the head waters of the Columbia
(west of the Rocky Mountains), an abundance of so-
called wild horses are to be met with. Crossing the
summit of the Rocky Mountains and descending to its i '*
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eastern side plains, there again we find nearly every
Indian tribe possesses its bands of wild horses.. To
lassoo, saddle, bridle, and mount a perfectly wild mustang is by no means an easy feat for a person to
perform who is thoroughly up to its vicious tricks, who
is at the same time an accomplished horseman, and
who has again and again bestridden wild horses.    Then
CD O
what chance would a novice stand who did not even
know how to throw a ' lassoo ?' or, supposing him
sufficiently expert to catch a wild mustang, who was
ignorant as to the proper way to saddle it or to get
upon its back and sit there when it was saddled. I
have a few words to say, in the first place, concerning
this instrument, weapon, rope, or by whatever name we
may be disposed to designate the lassoo, notwithstanding it has been so frequently described by almost all
writers on sporting in the far West. In the first place,
these writers never tell you how to make a lassoo; at
any rate, I have never stumbled upon any work containing such instructions. This I consider of the first
importance. All persons, in my humble opinion, ought
to be able, that is, if they choose to be wanderers, to
make for themselves everything they need, excepting
such articles as require for their production machinery
and skilled labour.
A lassoo is made from raw bide ; the hide of a
domesticated bull or cow furnishes the best material
(by domesticated I mean animals really wild, which are THE WAY TO  MAKE  A  LASSOO.
207
nevertheless descended from a domesticated stock); a
red bullock's hide is considered preferable to either a
black, white, or spotted one. I am not able to give a
reason.for it; still I feel convinced a red bullock's hide
makes a tougher and stronger lassoo than does a hide
of any other colour. If "neither a wild nor a tame
bullock's hide is procurable, then buffalo, deer, or horse
hide must be substituted in its stead. The hide destined to make a lassoo, stripped from off the animal (and
great care must be exercised in skinning, that not a
single false cut be made, so as to weaken the fibre), is
to be soaked in a river or a pool, in order to remove
the hair; then staked out upon a level piece of ground
and well stretched, during which operation it must be
constantly wetted; two days will be long enough to
keep it pegged out. Now you must determine whe--
ther you are going to make a three or a four strand
lassoo; it will require two large hides to make a three
strand, and three large~ hides, or four small ones, to
make a four strander. Bear in mind your object is
to manufacture a rope thirty feet long, without a knot
or a join, from two or three hides. A moment's consideration will make it plain to any person that
there can be but one. way of obtaining a strip which
shall measure thirty feet in length, and that the only
way is to begin at the edge of the hide, and to cut
round and round until the centre is reached, in the
same manner as shoemakers cut a boot-lace from a 1 it
208
AT HOME'IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
small circular piece of leather, as Dido did when she
'claimed the land whereon to build Carthage, and the
Mansfeldt of old, by a similar trick, got both estate
and name from the Emperor. The width of the strip
should not exceed half an inch. If the hide is of sufficient size to furnish a strip sixty feet long, cut it in
two, and procure the third strip from another hide; if
short of that length, cut two more strips from other
hides, and make your lassoo as long as the pieces will
admit of. Each strip must be well wetted and wound
round a small stick.
The next process is plaiting, which requires care and
patience. A uniform circumference and exactitude in
the tightness of the twist are absolutely essential to
insure a good lassoo; neglect of due caution begets,
unequal flexibility, a fault fatal to accuracy wfien
throwing it. The three strips should be fastened to a
tree, and as the twister proceeds with his work, the
strips and platted portion must be kept wet; this is
best done by filling the mouth with water, and then
squirting it slowly over the work and materials. The
lassoo must be thoroughly stretched after completion,
and then well greased. One end may be ornamentally
finisfied off with a hair tassel; in the other end a loop
must be woven by twisting together the three strips,
and then finally covered with a piece of hide sewn
tightly round it with tendon. This will be perhaps the
best place to advise wanderers to procure the back TO  MAKE  A  CABRESTO.
209
tendon of a wapiti, or moose deer, to dry it, and then
divide it into threads fine or thick, as required. It is
stronger than any twisted fabric, and is easily procurable, and as easily carried. For sewing leather or
raw hides it will be found invaluable.
To make a ' cabrass,' or cabresto, as a hair rope or
lassoo is styled, the hair must be first spun into a yarn.
This is easily done by trenailing two sticks in the form
of a cross, cutting a hole through the centre, and
passing a round stick made smooth into it; a peg
driven through the end will prevent the cross from
slipping off. This long stick must be driven into a
hole bored in a tree, or in the absence of an auger
wedged betwixt heavy rocks or logs. A tuft of hair
sufficient to form the yarn to be spun must be fastened
to the cross and brought through a notch in one of the
arms ; then, after making a few turns of the cross with
the hand, keep it twisting round and round by swinging
the yarn, add hair as it spins, walk backwards until
the string becomes too long to turn the cross, then
wind the spun hair round the arms and commence de
novo. If you want a practical lesson, watch a rope-
maker at work in a ropewalk.
The same primitive machine will be found equally useful for spinning several yarns into a rOpe. Riatas made
with strips of raw hide can be easily twisted with a like
contrivance if constructed on a somewhat larger scale.
To acquire a sufficiency of skill to throw a lassoo. with AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS,
force and accuracy needs a long and tedious schooling;
CD *
skilled performers with the lassoo commence to use it
during childhood, and every day and all day long the
boys  practise  throwing   it.     Hence,  wanderers,  you
must be content to spend several hours every day, on
foot, throwing at a stake to begin with.    Next practise lassooing a quiet mustang.    Now you may venture
to try it on   horseback,  but  if you can  succeed  in
gaining an amount of proficiency equal to ' lassooing'
a mustang round its neck in a 'corral,' or a bullock
over its horns, it will be quite as much as you will be
able to do.    If you for one moment imagine that by
any moderate amount of practice you will be able to
throw a lassoo round an animal's legs, whilst going at
a raking gallop, or rope a bullock or a mustang on the
open prairie, permit  me to say you will be terribly
mistaken.     I can tell you the right way to  lassoo,
saddle, bridle, and mount a wild mustang; but to insure your doing it is quite another question.
I have already told you the length of a lassoo is
ordinarily thirty feet, and it must be kept flexible by
continual greasing.    One end of tbe lassoo is fastened
to a ring provided for the purpose, or to the horn of
the   saddle;  the  other  end, which forms a running
noose, is, together with the remainder of the lassoo,
coiled  carefully and held in the right hand.    Thus
equipped, I ride in pursuit  of a band  of mustangs.
Having espied the animals I seek browsing peacefully LASSOOING A WILD  MUSTANG.
211
beneath Hie shadows of the trees, or on the grassy
prairie, I craftily manoeuvre to get to windward of them;
neglect this precaution and their keen sense of smell
will betray your approach, and then you may make
up your mind to wish the band of horses good-bye for
that day. Slowly, and by riding in an angular course,
I get as near to them as possible. As soon as I find
myself within about forty feet of the herd I dash my
spurs sharply into the horse, whirl the lassoo three or
four times round my head to steady my aim and to keep
the cirele of coils clear, then I fling it over the head and
round the neck of the animal I have selected, turn my
own horse sharply round, sit firmly, press home the
spurs, and gallop on, dragging my prisoner after me.
The powerful pressure of the noose upon the windpipe
prevents the frightened mustang from offering any
lengthened resistance; it soon either falls or throws
itself upon the ground, breathless, motionless, and to
all appearance nearly lifeless. When the horse is
down I dismount and carefully gather my way along
the lassoo until I can get close to the terrified beast, then
I slip the blind over its eyes, slack the noose, and quietly
await its recovery. I am going to mount it at once,
so I take the saddle and ' cabresto' from off my tame
mustang, hobble its fore-legs firmly, and turn it loose
to feed. By this time my captive has recovered its
breath, a sharp slap on the haunches induces it to
scramble upon its legs, but the blind prevents  any
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attempt to escape. Now, by a little patience and
manoeuvring the double half-hitch* already described is
slipped on to the under jaw beneath the tongue, and
the ends of the ' cabresto ' tied for reins. I next softly
put on the sweat-cloth, then the blankets, and lastly
the saddle, (be at all times careful to cross the stirrups
and ' synch' over the seat of the saddle, and lifting the
saddle well above tbe back let it drop gently upon the
animal). This done, I give the saddle a good slap,
and hold on tight to the lassoo; this sometimes begets a vicious plunge or two, but as a rule the horse
stands shaking and sulky. I have to be wary in getting
the ' synch' under the belly, or I may get a ' cow kick,'
in other words, a blow from the hind leg in a direction
forwards. I have managed it safely, the leather strap
is passed through and through the ring, and, placing
my foot firmly upon the lassoo I haul up the synch as
tight as I possibly can, and make it fast. ' Synching |
is always a risky performance, because the wild animal
usually lashes out its hind legs, plunges, and not un-
frequently throws itself heavily upon the turf, but so
long as the blind is on it never attempts to get away.
This paroxysm of rage over, I place my foot in the
stirrup, give the horse at the same time a slap on the
haunch, and rest my weight for a minute or two in the
stirrup. If the horse is moderately quiet, I next rest
my stomach on the saddle, jerk about and smack its
Vide page 95. BEWARE  OF BUCK-JUMPING.
21B
sides with my open hand; if, on the other hand, it is a
very bad tempered and vicious horse, I still keep on
until it permits me to rest on the saddle. Now I slowly
and cautiously get my leg over the saddle, settle myself
firmly in my seat, place my toes in the stirrups, coil up
my lassoo in my left hand, lean forward and jerk off the
blind, and the battle begins in earnest.
It would be only wasting time to describe the pranks
a wild mustang resorts to in order to unseat its rider;
the worst thing, however, is buck-jumping, which it
does with such vicious violence as to require every effort
on the part of the rider to avoid being shot out of the
saddle like a shell from a mortar. I sit tight, yell at
the top of my voice, spur with all my might, and try
by all and every means to induce the mustang to start
at a gallop. If he does this he is mine, and I am his
master for ever; if he lies down, rolls or gets me off by
any other means, I turn him away and look for another.
A wild horse never forgets it if successful in throwing
its rider at the first mounting. After the first gallop
there is not much further trouble needed. If the
mustang turns out sound and strong, I brand it, and a
few more lessons suffice to convert it into what is
known in hunter parlance as a tame or gentled horse.
It is rather singular that a dread of the lassoo is always
retained by a horse that has been 'choked down,'
saddled and broken on the prairie. The mere act of
putting it round the neck ensures instant obedience.    I 214
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
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have seen horses shake with terror when a lassoo was
laid across their shoulders.    Of course, this system of
breaking applies with equal force to horses taken from
out of a ' corral,' as it does to those lassooed on the
prairie.    The lassoo is used for catching wild cattle,
just in the same manner as it is for mustangs or mules,
only that bullocks are usually ' roped' round the horns.
It may prove of interest to mention incidentally, as a
caution to the novice, an adventure which befel myself
and a Mexican while lassooing wild cattle.    We came
suddenly upon a wild Spanish bullock grazing  some
distance away from the herd.    Perceiving our approach,
it dashed off with all speed for the timber.    A rather
exciting race ensued, but the Mexican being the lighter
weight, and having a better start, was the first to head
the  bullock.    He sent his lassoo over its horns, and
attempted  to   wheel   his   horse   round   in  order   to
tighten the noose, but  quicker than either he or his
horse could move away the maddened beast charged
full tilt, caught the poor horse broadside on, and sent
its long taper horn to the root into its side.    The horse
dropped dead, and the Mexican rolled over and lay by
its side.    The bullock, finding itself fast to the saddle
of the dead horse, charged in upon the man, and would
have served him the same as it had the horse  if an
ounce of lead had not thwarted its savage intentions.    I
merely relate this affair to show that lassooing is often
a dangerous pastime. AT A RODEO.
215
As I have previously said, those who have never seen
a lassoo used by a thoroughly skilled hand can form
no idea of the accuracy with which they learn to throw
it; indeed, on the large cattle runs in Texas and South
America it would be quite impossible for the herders
to manage either the bullocks or horses, unless they
were most expert performers with the lassoo. To witness lassooing in perfection, and the systems adopted for
driving, corraling, and branding where cattle run wild
over large districts of country, the best plan is to visit
a ' rodeo,' which takes place sometimes every year, at
others longer intervals elapse betwixt the drives or
rodeos. At these affairs all the stockowners from far and
near assemble at a given place, where a large enclosure
or corral is built, and into it all the cattle which can be
collected are driven, to be owned and branded. These
drives are always most festive meetings, but perhaps it
will be the more interesting if I relate my own experiences of a rodeo than to simply say what it is.
Many years have passed away since I was induced to
make one at rodeo. I need not go into a tedious description of locality; it will suffice to say that my three
companions were old stock-men, who now and then took
a turn at gold washing or trapping, more by way of a
change than for love of gain. We met by accident at a
small frontier town, I was seized upon immediately, and
nolens volens, hustled into a bar-room.
'Now Cap,' said Mose (one of the three),' it aint no 216
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
manner of use for you to try back tracks, we ar' just all
gwine to the roda, and that's your hand, bet your pants,
so we'll fire-up. I feels a kinder hot, like a cinder as
wants quinchin.'
We did several drinks, which, together with my
friend's persuasions, overcame all my objections, and
arrangements were finally made that we should depart
early on the following morning for the general trysting
place.
We started at sun up, our destination the ' rodeo I
corral, about twenty-four miles distant. A pleasant
breeze blew over the hazy plain, just sufficient to rustle
the oak leaves as we swept past the trees at a rattling
gallop. Leaving the plain, the trail led through groves
of oaks, then up a winding ' canon,' and across several
deep ravines, to strike off at last upon a faint path leading towards the hills, following which for some distance,
we ascend a steep ridgey and pause to look down into a
grassy valley, through which winds a river. On either
side of it level plains stretch away as far as eye can scan
the distance, and immediately below us tents are visible
dotted irregularly about. Mose puts an end to my
reverie by saying, ' We've made the ranch, boys, thar's'
the corral for the roda.' Our tents, simply strips of
canvas stretched over a ridge pole, were very soon adjusted and pegged down. These preliminaries arranged,
and the mustangs safely tethered, we had time to look
round.    Seldom does it fall to one's lot to witness such 'WHAT  CHEER HOUSE.'
217
a singular assemblage as were now camped in this
tranquil valley—there were Americans, French, English,
Sonorans, Texans, Kanakas, from the Sandwich Islands,
and even Chinamen.
Beneath the shadows of the trees, as we strolled
along, were groups of gamblers busy at their work,
and the jingling coin and rattle of the dice-box sounded
in strange contrast with the songs of birds and the
CD O
hum of insects. There was actually an hotel, if a large
tent, with ' What Cheer House' written in large black
letters over the entrance, could be so designated, and
like travelling caravans are usually managed, the most
attractive part of the establishment was clearly on the
outside. Long planks arranged on stakes driven into
the turf served as dining-tables, or for feeding in
general, whilst across the door, or rather entrance into
the tent, was a shorter plank, and, lest there should exist
any doubt as to the purpose for which it was designed,
bar, in big writing, surmounted it like a banner. A few
dirty decanters, together with some sardine tins and
cigar-boxes, made the only garniture the bar could boast
of, unless we include as part of the furniture a particularly cadaverous-looking individual, who seemed,
for one could only judge of the whole by the upper half,
to be made up entirely of shirt front and studs, his face,
head, and hands, being merely accidental appendages.
About a mile further up the valley was the corral, a
large  space,  enclosing several acres, made of felled 218
AT  HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
I
:     I
trees, placed one on another, just like the walls of a
log shanty are constructed, but further strengthened
by lighter trees, sunk on each side the log fence, the
tops being lashed firmly together with strips  of raw
hide, the height of this fence being about nine feet.
Strong poles, each end of which traversed in a groove,
served for a gateway; and from each side of this gate
was a long wattle fence, carried out for some distance
and gradually widened from the entrance—an arrangement which  greatly facilitates  the   getting the wild
cattle  into the  corral.     Near to  this corral  was  a
much  smaller enclosure,   made by sinking tall trees
deeply into the  ground,  instead  of piling them one
upon another.    The upper ends, as in the corral, were
lashed together with raw hide.    Round the  outside,
about five feet from the top, was a stage, standing on
which one  could easily look over and see what was
going on inside.    At either end was a small den, communicating with the  interior by a trap-door,  which
could be hauled up by a rope by a person standing
upon the platform.    The use of this arena will be explained anon.
We adjourned to the 'hotel' to supper, after our
tour of inspection—most of the visitors at the | rodeo I
boarded at this primitive house of entertainment, finding it cheaper and more convenient than providing
provisions and pack trains for themselves.
Do not imagine that we had to chew jerked beef and OLD EPHRAIM'S HOME.
219
dried salmon, or feed on rancid ration pork—not a
bit of it, we had such living provided by mine host as
would have cheered the heart of the most fastidious
epicure. Here, far away in the mountains, we feasted
on venison, wild turkey, antelope, beef, quail, and hare,
green corn, butter, milk, coffee, and corn dodgers.
The first two days were occupied by all hands in
repairing the corral, and awaiting fresh arrivals;
whilst the evenings passed pleasantly away—tales of
adventure, songs, jokes, and monte, easily beguiled the
time.    On the third day the drive commenced.
' Cap, you bet your bottom dollar,' said Mose, ' we're
gwine to have a pretty tall time of it. I see any
quantity o' painters (panther) sign round camp; I
guess old Bull, a powerful dog he had, is about the
smartest bit of stuff ever you see wrapped in dogskin
for making a catamount smell thunder. Only three
weeks agone the old dog skeered up a pair " a' painters;"
the varmint treed, and the way he howled at 'em, to
let me know he was all thar, was a caution.'
'Well,' joined in a stranger, ' I kalkilate me and old
buck-horn know whar to drop on to the biggest kind
of a bar. We struck his trac as we come over the
divide, and run it clear t-hum, whar old Ephraim camps,
you may bet your last cent.'
On making a subsequent inquiry why this bear trail
,was deemed such a grand discovery, Mose informed
me in his quaint manner that the great feature at the 220
AT HOME IN THE WILDERNESS.
I';
'roda' was the fight between a grizzly and a wild
Spanish bull, which always took place, provided a
grizzly could be procured.
Herd after herd were rapidly driven into the corral,
until it was nearly filled with cattle Of all ages; wild
and maddened by driving, they fought furiously with
each other, bellowed, and strove by every expedient to
break from the enclosure. Lassooing such as were not
plainly marked, bringing them out one at a time,
throwing and rebranding, demanded great courage and
skill. The lassoo was in most cases thrown with unerring accuracy over the horns of any beast selected
from amidst the herd ; then setting spurs to his horse,
the herdsman dragged the struggling bullock from the
corral. Other lassoos were then thrown round its
hind legs, and the horsemen riding in opposite directions, the beast was quickly thrown and branded, the
lassoos quickly loosed, the course cleared, and the infuriated animal allowed to go at large. Many horses were
badly, others fatally gored, and several stock-men and
herders were likewise seriously hurt.
The right of ownership established, and the cattle
once more at liberty, ' Old Ephraim' (the trapper's usual
sobriquet for a grizzly bear), was next to be lassooed,
and brought to the smaller enclosure, a fine young
bull having been selected from the herd to face him.
The sun had barely found its way above the hills,
and the valley was still enveloped in mist and shadow, AN EXCITING  SCENE.
221
when our cavalcade selected to drag out the grizzly
from his sleeping quarters cantered briskly up by
the side of the stream. Following its windings for
a mile or two, we struck off to reach the timber, on
entering which our guide led us up the hill-side to a
large pile of rocks which were supposed to be Ephraim's
home; and if the old hunter's theory was based upon
fact, the bear should be at that very time sleeping off
his supper in some deep cleft or crevice. A large kind
of drag, made of stout poles, had been sent ahead, drawn
by a team of oxen—this conveyance was for Bruin.
On nearing the lair, the hunters dismounted, and
very soon made out that the bear had recently passed,
and was certainly concealed amidst the rocks. Bull and
two other dogs were loosed, and dashing furiously into
the openings amid the stones, soon let us know that
' Ephraim' was at home, sure enough. With lassoos
coiled in readiness, several horsemen sat on their
trembling mustangs, anxiously awaiting his appearance. An angry grunt announced his coming, and as
he scrambled clear of the rocks, champing and growling, his hair erect, his cold hard eyes shining like
burnished metal, he looked the very incarnation of
savage ferocity. As thus he faced his foes, debating
within himself whether he should run or fight, six of
the riders spurred towards him, and the scene was
changed to one of wild confusion; horses snorted and
plunged, the lassoos whistled round the heads of the 222
AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
riders, and shouts of ' now rope him, boys, give him.
thunder,' made the forest ring again. As if by magic,
several lassoos were round his neck; the horsemen
forming a circle, pinned him in the centre, whilst other
lassoos noosed his hind and fore legs; thus hampered,
spite of every effort to escape, Bruin was secured to
the drag, and in grand procession conveyed to the
small corral, to be made a prisoner in the den already
prepared for him, the bull having been previously
secured in a similar contrivance on the opposite side of
the enclosure.
Heavy bets were laid, and drinks ad libitum, freely
indulged in during the evening. The bear had his
friends, who were very confident that his size and
strength must tell; whilst others were equally sure
that the condition and horns of the bull would make
the latter the conqueror.
I was too anxious to sleep much, pondering on the
respective chances of the two combatants; there was
a strange fascination in the idea of witnessing a fisrht
C-J CD CD
between two powerful beasts, which in habits and
modes of defence were so opposite.
At the first blush of morning I turned out, and as
others were quite as anxious as myself for the event,
breakfast was speedily despatched, and a general run
made for the platform. All being ready, the trap-doors
were slowly drawn up, and out rushed the combatants.
I must say, on making their appearance, my sym-
! I
RSSfiS THE COMBATANTS.
223
pathies were with the bull, which seemed to me to be
much the nobler animal of the two, lithe and wiry, yet
withal wonderfully massive about the shoulders, he gave
one the idea of a splendid combination of strength and
symmetry. For a brief period he stood glaring at the
pickets and people, his head erect, his eyes flashing,
his nostrils distended, and his whole form fixed and
rigid as if carved from marble. The bear, on the
other band, was the more conspicuous for ponderous
weight and gigantic strength, rendered more formidable
by his terrible teeth and claws. A sharp cut from the
end of a lassoo roused the bull from his reverie, and
as though attributing the insult to his enemy, he
lowered his horns, gave a deep grumbling bellow,
scraped with his fore-feet, sending the dust and grass
clean over his back, and then charged. The bear
evinced no sign of wavering, but standing erect on his
hind legs received the bull much in the same way as he
might have done if he had been a trained and gigantic
prize-fighter.
Though somewhat unwieldy, Bruin was quick and
wary. No sooner was the bull within reach than both
horns were clasped in his powerful grasp, and the
bull's bead pressed to the ground by' main strength, he
bit savagely at the nose of his antagonist, and raked
strips of flesh from the bull's shoulders, with his hind
claws, just as a cat fights when on its back. This
position was  maintained for some seconds, the bull AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
struggling furiously to free his head; the bear straining every muscle to pin him to the ground; no apparent advantage was gained on either side, and loud
cheers and bravoes were indulged in by the backers of
each. To my mind the result of the battle clearly -
depended on the merest accident.
As if by mutual consent, both animals gradually
ceased to struggle, and several minutes passed away
whilst the combatants, locked in this deadly embrace,
lay still, but panting as if at the last gasp. Suddenly
the bull, by a desperate jerk, wrenched his head from
the grasp of his adversary, and retreated a short distance ; the bear also got up and stood on the defensive
ready to receive him. All watched for the issue with
breathless interest. Rendered furious by pain and'
passion, the bull again dashed at the bear with such
impetuous force that, despite the blows Bruin dealt
with his huge feet, he was rolled over and over in the
dust; endeavouring, as best he could, to defend himself against the thrusts of the bull. Either by chance
or design, both horns were pushed underneath the bear,
and, by a sudden jerk of the head, its side was laid
open as if cut by a knife.
It was now very evident that Ephraim must soon
ive up; both were grievously wounded, yet maimed
and gory they fought on with Hie desperate certainty
of speedy death.   The bear, prostrate upon the torn turf,
vainly struck out with his feet to avoid the horns of THE  END   OF  THE  BATTLE.
>-J0
the bull. Clearly determined to end the conflict, the
bull drew back and, lowering his head, made a tremendous charge; but, blinded by the blood streaming over
his forehead, missed his aim and fell headlong to the
ground. The bear in an instant rallied and scrambled
upon him, and twice they rolled over locked in this terrible death struggle. A few minutes more and the bull's
fate would have been very soon-settled; when, to the
astonishment of all hands, the bear suddenly relaxed
his efforts and rolled from off the body of his foe.
Feebly dragging himself on the turf a few yards, a
convulsive shudder shook his massive frame, there was
a clutching motion of the claws, followed by a heavy
sobbing sigh, and poor 'Ephraim' was dead.
The bull managed to get on his legs again; and
raising his mutilated head, made a weak effort to shake
it in triumph, as loud shouts of praise proclaimed his
victory. Could the poor bull have understood and
appreciated these plaudits it would have been only a
brief and fleeting pleasure. The blood streamed in
countless rivulets from his wounds, he tried to stand
to the last, his legs were gradually stretched wider and
wider apart, his breathing grew short and convulsive,
' his head slowly drooped. Then dropping on his hindquarters and stretching himself on the grass, he died
without a struggle. So ended the battle; there was no
victor to crown with laurels; the bloody encounter, with
its somewhat unexpected termination, saddened even
1 AT  HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
those wild and hardy men, intense as the excitement
was during the struggle. Such a sight I should never
care to look on again. As they died, so were their
bodies left to the wolves and vultures. Tents were
struck, the hotel demolished, or in the words of Mose—
the boss landlord had hauled down his shingle, and the
valley that but a few hours before resembled a fair was
left to the birds and beasts that in their turn would
wage war over the dead bodies of the combatants. So
ended my first experience of a ' rodeo.' I fiave been
present at many since then, but in all, the programme
of events was pretty nearly alike.
I must ask the reader to refer—if so be he does not
remember what I said about riding saddles—to Chapter IV. He will now be able to comprehend fully the
advantages the Mexican saddle has over all others for
breaking wild horses and lassooing. I do not hesitate
to say that the strongest English riding saddle man's
skill could produce, made as at present for hunting
purposes, would not remain upon a wild mustang's „
back for five minutes; no buckle, strap, or sewing
would stand any more chance than darning-cotton.
If you go on a visit to the prairies, by all means learn
to use a lassoo, and practise saddling, bridling,
tethering, and hobbling your own horse. If you know
practically how to do these things yourself, you can
always direct others, and at the same time see that they
perform   their  work  properly.    Details,   which   may  hi   I
228
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
CHAPTER XV.
Winter and Summer. Travelling with Dogs—Idlers—Free Fights—
Packing Dogs—The jTravaille ' preferable—How to make and use
a Travaille—The Sleigh and Tobogan—Bone Rings and Toggles—
The "Way to Harness your Team—A long Whip desirable—Precautions against Rheumatism—g Sure Bind Sure Find '—Feeding
Dogs—Sore Feet—Merry-Bells.
In   summer, dogs  carry their  loads   on  their backs
packed on small pads; in winter they are harnessed to
light sleighs; then the wanderer must protect his feet
as  already  pointed  out, tie  on  his   snow-shoes, and
tramp over the frozen rivers and snow-covered plains,
either ahead of or beside his team of dogs.    It is a
pretty and a cheery 'sight in summer-time, when the
hills are hidden beneath the leafy trees, and the valleys
are decked with wild flowers, to watch a team of dogs
trotting briskly along, each with its little load.    Now
and then one presumes to stop, in order to regale itself
with a good sniff at some attractive perfume, or to lap,
perchance, from out a tempting pool.    Idlers such as
these  frequently get  in the  rear  of their comrades;
the  sharp  crack  of the  whip quickly recalls  them;
frightened, they scamper along to regain the train.    If,
however, the loads are not securely fastened on, the
galloping usually results in scattering them along the PACKING  DOGS.
229
trail. If you are angry, perhaps the misbehaving dog
gets a taste of the thong before you repack it. A row
is of constant recurrence when you are travelling with
dogs ; what they quarrel about no one can tell, but all
at once, reckless of loads, two begin to fight; then the
remainder, seeming to have each one an individual
interest in the riot, join, until the whole team roll,
snarl, and snap—a very heap of dogs. The whip must
be used freely in order to restore peace and order.
This sort of thing happens just as frequently when one
is driving a team of dogs in a sleigh. If any two begin
to fight the rest are certain to take part in it.
There are two systems of employing dogs for purposes of transport during the summer—the one I have
just referred to, that of j packing ' the loads upon the
animals' backs; the other plan is called t the travaille.'
To c pack' dogs is not by any means a good plan; they
cannot carry heavy weights, neither are they able to
bear tight girthing. The j pack pads? are consequently
continually slipping back over the dog's rump, and
much time is wasted in readjusting the pad and the
load tied to it. The pad is simply a kind of leather
cushion stuffed with horse or deer hair; no rule can be
laid down as a guide to its right size, because, that
must entirely depend upon the build and character of
the dog which is to wear it. The load must be fastened
on precisely in the same way as loads are fastened to
aparejos. 230
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
For summer work with dogs I prefer the jtravaille,'
which is made in this way : two light sticks about an inch
and a quarter in circumference must be procured, the
straighter the better ; measure
from the dog's shoulder,, and
cut the sticks so that about
! ^ four feet shall trail upon the
THE   'TRAVAILLE.' J  1     T_ •      T   xl 1 1
ground behind the dog, or less
than this if the dogs are small or weak; the ends at the
shoulders must be fastened to a leather strap which
should fit round the animal's neck like a collar. The
portion of the sticks intended to trail upon the ground
must be spread open by tying in cross-pieces. These
pieces should vary in length, the shorter stick nearest
the dog, the longer at the ends of the side poles; when
completed, of course the j travaille' is triangular in
shape. The load is first fastened on with hide straps to
the \ travaille; j the dog is then brought up, its head
slipped through the cpllar, and, with a stick on either
side like the shafts of a cart, it tugs along the load with
far greater ease than it could have carried it. This
\ travaille \ will be found very useful applied to horses
when no pack-saddles are obtainable. I need hardly
say that dogs should never be employed in the summer
if horses are procurable.
For winter transport dogs are absolutely essential;
they trot over the snow without breaking the crust (the DOG  SLEIGHING.
231
frozen top of the snow), that a heavier animal with
hoofs would go through at every step. First, of the
sleigh two patterns are usually employed; one of these
is made with two I runners,' the other is simply a flat
piece of wood turned up at each end. With a good firm
\ crust' on the snow I prefer to use the sleigh with
runners; if, however, the snow is soft, then I like the
flat sleigh, usually styled a 'tobogan,' the better of
the two. The size of a dog-sleigh must, of course,
be entirely regulated by the quantity of goods, or other
things the wanderer has to put on it, and the number
of dogs he has to haul it I the lighter it can be built,
consistent with a due amount of strength, the better.
To give detailed directions as to the way to make a
sleigh would be only a waste of time ; a little ingenuity
is what the wanderer needs, having which, an axe, a
knife, and some strips of hide are the only things he
will require (if sticks are to be got) to build a sleigh
of any size and pattern. To harness dogs well, you will
require practice. Let us suppose a sleigh to be packed,
and awaiting the team. A piece of hide is fastened
exactly midway betwixt the forepart of the runners; to
this loop the harness is attached. Six dogs make up a
fair average team, and before I go farther with my
directions for harnessing, let me advise all who use dogs
for sleighing to saw off forty or more rings from marrowbones (the shin-bones of either moose or wapiti deer
answer best) during the summer; (if you have no saw, Ill
232
AT  HOAIE  IX  THE  WILDERNESS.
ill
*m*~
notch a knife,) also, during your leisure, cut out a good
quantity of I toggles,' from either rib or leg-bones ; by
j toggles ' I mean round pieces of bone, made small
enough to slip through the bone ring; the length of
each toggle should exceed the diameter of the ring; a
notch should be cut round the centre of the ' toggle,'
to prevent the hide strap, when fastened to it, from
slipping off; carry these rings and \ toggles ' with you
always during the winter travelling; you will find them
invaluable for fastening the
harness. Sleigh-gear put together with this simple contrivance can be taken to pieces,
lengthened or shortened, without the slightest trouble; knots
are apt to slip, when the hide gets wet, and when
dry it is impossible to untie them. To harness seven
dogs abreast in Esquimaux fashion, one strap, say eight
feet in length, should extend from the sleigh-runners ;
to the end of this strap a second -loop of hide is
affixed—(in cutting hide strips for harness adopt the
plan already explained for making lassoos)—to which
each dog is separately made fast; a single trace suffices
for each dog; the centre dog should have its trace rather
longer than the others. It is always best to give dogs
plenty of trace length, as it enables them to spread when
pulling. A collar of hide, which should be bound round
with soft bark or cloth, fits round each dog's neck; a trace
BONE PING AND   ■ TOGG DOG  HARNESS.
23;
comes from either side of the collar, two other straps,
known respectively as the back and belly band, keep
these lateral traces from slipping up or falling down.
Immediately behind the dog the two traces are joined
and one strap only is used. When ready to start, all
the traveller has to do is to fasten, in the first place, the
long strap to the sleigh, next the six traces to the loop
at the end of it, taking care that the longest trace is
in the centre. Spread out all the collars, and as the
dogs, one by one, are
led up, slip a collar over
the head of each and
fasten the belly strap
(it  does  not take  six
g»
DOG  HARNESS.
minutes to harness seven dogs); the largest and strongest animals must work in the centre, the smallest and
weakest on the flanks. Some travellers prefer to use
their dogs, side by side, in pairs, but I do not think
they work nearly so well as they do abreast: the
leading dogs get crafty and skulk their work, and it is
not easy to see, when dogs are pulling in pairs, if each
is doing its fair share of the work. When abreast all
the traces are visible; a slack one at once detected
and the skulker gets a touch of the whip for being an
idler.
A very long whip is handy, because down hill or on
slippery ice the traveller may feel disposed to rest his
legs by sitting on the sleigh.   To reach the dogs a thong 234
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
of hide will be required not less than twenty-five feet
long, a handle about two feet in length is all-sufficient;
a little practice will enable you to strike either of the
dogs with unerring certainty. Be very careful when
you camp to tether your dogs securely with a short
hair-rope; fasten them to trees if you can, if there are
no trees drive in pickets ; a hide rope would be chewed
in two directly. Never give a dog more rope at night
than will enable it to lie down, and do not forget to
have a square piece of buffalo or deer hide for each dog
to sleep on; this helps to prevent rheumatism, a malady
that too frequently disables sleigh-dogs; these hide
mats add nothing of any consequence to the weight of
the load, and very much to the comfort of the dogs.
However quiet and faithful my dogs may be, I never
trust them at night; they are often induced to follow
lady wolves or coyotes, and you may have either to wait
days for the prodigal's return or lose him altogether.
j Sure bind sure find' applies most pertinently to sleigh
dogs. Feeding your dogs must in great measure be
regulated by chance; if game is plentiful there is no
difficulty, or if fish of any kind is obtainable. They do
their work well upon a ration per day, and soon learn
to devour it greedily; but if the traveller has any idea
when he starts upon a journey that game will be scarce,
he must take a supply of either dried flesh or frozen
fish. My rule, and I am sure from long practice it is a
good one, is only to feed my dogs at night when I camp ; DOG'S  MOCASSINS.
235
then if I have enough I let them eat as much as they
please, but it is fatal to good travelling to allow them
any food in the morning—they work lazily, and often
lie down.
Dogs travelling on snow which has been frozen after
a thaw frequently become very sore-footed; the best
plan in this dilemma is to put leather mocassins upon
their feet; these are easily kept on by tying them round
the leg above the false or j dew claw.' I always put on
the dog's mocassins (merely bags made of leather or
stout hide) if I anticipate rough travelling, on the
principle that prevention is far better than a cure. A
string of bells to go round each dog's neck is a great
addition, although of no particular use; the jingling
music of the bells is always a welcome sound, a merry
peal that seems to cheer alike the faithful dogs and
their solitary master.
To protect the eyes against the blinding effects of
the sun-rays, which are reflected from the snow when
travelling over it, is a difficulty no plan with which I
am familiar will entirely surmount. I have twice
suffered terribly from, snow blindness, and to this hour
my left eye has never recovered its damaging effects.
The Esquimaux use large goggles, and there are snow
spectacles made, of various kinds and patterns, for
arctic travellers; but I prefer, to all other expedients,
(and I have tried a great many), wearing a green gauze
veil, (which can be twisted round the hat when not rli
II
236
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
required), and thoroughly blackening the forehead and
all round the eyes with charcoal or soot before starting.
The black seems to absorb, or in some way temper, the
glare of light, that no person can endure very long
without growing temporarily blind, or suffering from
intense inflammation of the eyes. Goggles and spectacles
of all descriptions rapidly become frosted over, from the
condensing of the vapour exhaled in respiring, and in
this state, of course, are opaque, and require cleaning
before further progress can be attempted.
Though to a casual observer a team of dogs appear
to be huddled together without any regard to order or
regularity, nevertheless a skilled traveller pays very
marked attention to the disposal of his dogs. The leading dog is the one by which all the others are guided
and directed; sometimes they diverge, spread out and
quarrel; but a gentle touch or two of the whip soon brings
them all together again. Many untrained dogs are
constantly getting entangled by darting under the traces
of the others, in order to avoid the whip. With a good
leading dog there is not the slightest difficulty in keeping a track; if there is the faintest mark of" a sleigh-
runner or snow-shoe visible, the dog keeps his nose
down to the snow, and goes as true as a hound upon
scent; if there is no track, and you are riding on the
sleigh, some caution is requisite to drive the dogs in the
direction you intend travelling. When you desire to
halt you call out, IAh! woa; ah! woa \' but if home- A  NECESSARY  PRECAL'TION
137
ward bound, the dogs often exhibit a disagreeable
spirit of rebellion, and obstinately refuse to stop. Then
both your heels must be employed as breaks; forced
into the snow, they soon bring the team to a standstill; but remember one thing, never get out of the
sleigh unless you keep one or both legs firmly planted
against the front bar or rail of the sleigh. Sleigh
dogs are the most crafty animals imaginable, and
are ever on the watch for a chance to escape. If once
they get clear with the sleigh, you will have to be
pretty light of heel if you catch them until they reach
camp. When your leg or legs are before the front bar,
if they should make a sudden and unanticipated bolt,
you have simply to fall upon the sleigh, and then you
can soon bring the refractory team to their senses. If
dogs are properly trained they ought to lie down at the
word of command, and when you halt lay the whip
lightly upon the head of each dog as you order it by
name to lie down. A very little training is suffiV
cient to make the dogs understand what you require
them to do. With good sleighing, when the j crust I
is hard and smooth, seven good dogs will easily draw
eight hundred weight, at the rate of seven miles an
hour, and this for five hours at a stretch; with a
very light load, good dogs will accomplish ten miles
an hour.
In Canada, the system of working dogs in sleighs,
or tobogans, is invariably to harness them in pairs side
m I if
238
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
by side, although for very light loads single dogs are
often employed.
By this simple mode of conveyance, all the mails,
parcels, and dispatches are transported over the ice in
Canada, during the winter, from Montreal to the head of
Lake Superior. Some person who understands the
work, makes a contract with the Government for the
transmission of the mails, during the winter, throughout all the Lake districts. On Lakes Huron and Superior
the actual - transport is sub-let to Indians and half-
breeds, who travel on snow shoes and pack the mail
bags upon light sleighs, which sleighs are usually
tugged along by six dogs, worked in pairs side by side,
providing relays, and, at the same time, being perfect
masters in the art of travel, these mail carriers manage
to transport the letters at the average rate of about
sixty miles a day.
I once passed a bitterly cold winter at the Bruce
mines—copper mines situated on the north shore of
Lake Huron, nearly opposite to San Joseph's Island.
Winter begins in this icy region about the beginning
of October, and after the ice is fairly 'set' on the lakes,
all communication with the rest of the world is entirely
cut off (excepting dog sleighs and snow shoes are used
by the traveller) until May in the year following. All
the carcases of sheep, pigs, and bullocks, killed and
stored for the support of the miners and their families
during the winter, are exposed to the air until frozen as
u NIGHT  ON  A  FROZEN  LAKE.
239
hard as marble, then they are hung up in large sheds,
built for the purpose, to be consumed as required; the
freezing is a perfect preservative; meat, so prepared, if
prevented from thawing, will keep sound and sweet for
years. To be eaten, a joint is chopped off with an axe,
soaked in tepid water until thawed, and then cooked in
any manner best suited to the tastes 'of those who
intend to consume it.
It is hardly possible to picture a more weird scene of
desolation than a wide expanse of frozen lake, covered
with snow, presents to the eye, more especially when,
journeying during the night, a course usually followed, if there happens to be a sufficiency of light
to discover the track; because it is much less trying
to the eyes by night than it is during the day,-
and the risk of snow blindness is very considerably
diminished. Nothing seems to retain any sign of
reality as one tramps along over the snowy waste, the
dogs trotting after jingling their bells. The silvery
moon pours her streams of pale light upon the snow,
and the rays, instead of being absorbed or reflected, seem
in a mysterious manner to accumulate, until one is
tempted to fancy himself splashing through a shallow
lake of light. Every visible object appears transformed
into something intangible and unreal; the tracks upon
the snow grow into huge proportions ; trees along the
lake shore line resemble giants in children's fairy tales;
a hillock of drift takes on the form of a mountain; now
m
^ 240
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
If I
h ? i
i i
one fancies rippling water is just ahead, which turns
out on a nearer approach to be snow, ridged by the
breeze, reflecting light from off the polished facets of its
myriad crystals; now you feel positive a deep ravine is
in the way, the gloomy depths of which will have to be
traversed; but the heart beats all the more lightly,
when the imaginary cleft resolves itself into the heavy
shadow of a passing cloud. Silence, like a guardian
spirit, hovers with muffled pinions over all, and the ear
fails to catch, the faintest sounds, save the steady
rhythm of the panting dogs, the cheery tinkle of their
tiny belfry, and the steady crunch, crunch, as the snow-
shoes splinter the icy crust.
Many and many a night have I travelled through
scenes like -these on the frozen surface of Lake Huron.
It was always a kind of holiday with everybody
when the ■ mail j was descried, a mere speck at first,
coming over the snow towards the mine. The men
left their work, the women and children their warm
stoves, to group together upon the landing-place where
the sleigh tracks led off across the lake, there to await
the advent of good or evil news from home, as it
might be.
To harness dogs to work in pairs it is advisable to
provide each dog with a trace of its own; the collar,
back and belly straps, the harness, in other words, is the
same as that used for driving dogs abreast; a single trace
should extend from each dog to the loop or ctug strap' SNOW  SHOES.
241
affixed to the runner. It is a bad plan to fasten the
traces of the two leading dogs to the harness of the
next pair, and so on to the hindermost. Dogs pulling
directly from the sleigh can draw a greater weight than
if attached to one another; they also work more good-
temperedly, and are less disposed to quarrel.
To tramp well on snow shoes is by no means a very
easy art to acquire ; it is one thing to tell a novice the
proper way to walk with snow shoes on his feet, and
another to enable him to do it when the right way is
learned. The snow-shoe (vide cut) * I usually employ is
about three feet ten inches in length, and eleven inches
in width, but the size must be governed in a great
degree by the hardness or softness of the snow; the softer
the snow, of course the larger must be the surface of
the snow-shoe to prevent sinking. The outer frame is
made of bent hardwood; the centre part that rests on
the snow, and upon which the foot is placed, is a
lattice work made of thongs or strips of raw hide.
A skilled performer never stoops to strap on his snow
shoes with his hands, but simply twists his feet into
the loops of the shoes, and trudges away. An inspection of the illustration will show a small hole nearer to
the toe than the heel of the snow-shoe ; in this hole the
toes of the traveller play a very important part in the
performance of snow-shoe walking. When the foot is
advanced the snow-shoe is carried on resting upon the
* Page 242.
R
9 242
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
Mir i
I
|
front of the foot just where the toes are articulated, when
the advanced foot is planted on the ground in order to
bring up the other; the shoe is slipped from off the toes,
and the foot stands firmly upon the lattice work. In
order thus to catch up and drop the shoes quickly, great
practice is needed. The shoe is never carried entirely
clear of the ground; the heel trails, and leaves a mark
like a line upon the snow. One can tell at a glance
the snow-shoe track of a novice from that of a skilled
performer; the prints upon the snow made by the former
are irregular, and not equidistant; the heel trace is
wavy, sometimes cut deeply into the snow, at others
barely touching it, whilst every here and there a jumble
of tracks clearly evidence a scramble, perhaps a fall. A
favourite pattern of snow-shoe with the Indians east of
the Rocky Mountains is what
is termed the 1 bear's foot j
pattern, a small snow-shoe
nearly circular in form, but
made precisely on the same
plan as the longer ones; they
answer very well, if the crust is hard, for short journeys,
and they are quickly and easily made. A snow-shoe
walker can cover a great many miles of ground in a
day when he once acquires the habit or art, whichever
it be, of swinging one foot well clear of the other, and
taking long striding steps. Beware of dogs following
you if walking  on snow shoes;  if they  step  on the
SNOW-SHOE. FROST  BITES.
243
heel of your shoe the chances are you go head first upon
the snow; and let me tell you it is by no means an easy
feat to regain your perpendicular when you have large
snow shoes fastened to your feet.
I have previously given the requisite instructions for
protecting the feet against frost-bite, which, by the
way, is best cured by briskly rubbing the frosted part
with snow.
Four times in my experience of cold regions I have
seen men lose both their feet from the effects of frost,
and I saw a man lose his nose, and several times I
have known fingers and thumbs, from the same cause,
require amputating, to save the life of the individual.
R 2 AT HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
CHAPTEE XVI.
The Wild Honey-bee—Bee Hunting—How to line a Bee—Honey
Hunting often a Profitable Employment—Texan Islands—A
Hunter's Disgust—Edible Berries—Roots often Poisonous, and
to be Eaten with Caution—Substitute for Tobacco—Insects which
are Devoured by the Red People—Pemmacan-^Preserving Meat—
Extractum Carnis : Morgan's system—Preserving Beef and Mutton
fresh—Jerking Beef—Catching and Curing White-fish and Salmon.
The stream and the lake will yield the traveller who
knows his work and is at home in the wilderness an
inexhaustible supply of fish on the plains and prairies;
he can procure beef whilst in the woods, and amongst
the open timber, venison, and lesser game, feathered
and furred, are at all times obtainable; but there
yet remains one more luxury to mention. Although
a knowledge of how to find this so-called luxury may
often save a wanderer from starving, still as a general
rule a hunter would not consider wild honey a necessary article of diet, but would look upon it simply as
a pleasant addition to his daily meal.
I am quite safe in saying that the art of bee-hunting
is only to be acquired by long years of practice. To 1 line
a bee S home to its honey tree or j bee-gum 3 needs an
eye trained specially to the work and at the same AMERICAN  WILD  BEE,
245
time a thorough acquaintance with the insect's habits.
Whether or not the wild-bee of America is the same
specifically as our ordinary honey-bee (Apis mellifica) is
a question entomologists are by no means decided about.
The busy insect has in all ages been a riddle to the
learned, a source of wonder to the scientific, and a
faithful servant to man.
To the honey-hunter it matters little to what species
the bee he ' lines' belongs, or whether imported from
other countries or a native of the plains on which he
searches for it. So that it makes honey and wax and
stores them in the hollows of the trees, the bee-liner
cares not to trouble his head about any other details in
the insect's history.
Wherever wood, water, and wide-spreading plains
covered with grass and wild flowers are to be met with
in the southern parts of America, there wild bees are
pretty sure to be found. They take possession of hollow
trees, and if the hollow space is of sufficient size to
contain it, often a good honey tree will yield as much as
eight gallons of honey. The summers are very long,
and the winters, the little there is of them, are not by
any means cold, so that the bees can work very nearly
all the year round. The only equipment needed for bee-
hunting is an axe, a small quantity of powdered sulphur,
a bucket, a couple of tin saucers, and a small bottle filled
with honey, or sugar will do. Then, I have already said,
no" wise person would ever venture abroad in the wilder- iil
246
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
I :
ness without his gun and belt-knife. And now let us
suppose ourselves to be searching for wild bees on
a southern prairie, or pra-a-a as the hunters pronounce
the word. Having marked a bee down upon a flower we
turn the pail bottom upwards, and having poured some
honey or placed some sugar, whichever we may chance
to have, in on£ of the saucers, we rest it upon the pail,
and standing some short distance away from it watch
the bees. If any are very near (and their presence be it
remembered we have made sure of, by first marking
one or two down) they will come to the saucer, and
after a slight investigation greedily help themselves to
its contents. With a light cautious hand place the
other saucer over the bee or bees, next dust the captives
well with sulphur, and tie a small bit of any kind of
white fibre to the leg of each, and let them fly. Now
comes the grand difficulty, which is to keep an eye on
these bees, and line them home. If you are not sure of
the tree into which the bee went, try a second capture
some distance to the right or left of the spot on which
the first bees were trapped; then if the second lot
flies to the same point as did the others, you are
pretty safe in assuming that the bee-tree is accurately
marked or | angled/ A bee loaded or scared always
takes a straight line for home; but if any doubt remained
as to the exact tree, it would be at once dispelled by
the bees themselves, for not liking their sulphur-dusted
friends they swarm out and make such a buzzing that
I
y ^*s*>mi:
CHOPPING DOWN  A HONEY TREE.
247
their whereabouts is at once revealed. Having made
the required discovery, provide plenty of dry sticks and
moss, ready to light at a short notice, and then chop
down the tree. Stand clear when the tree comes crashing down; the disturbed colony are not to be played
with any longer, they have stings and will use them
too, more freely than is at all times agreeable, if the
sticks are not speedily lighted and moss to make a smoke
thrown upon them whilst burning. A good-sized bunch
of leafy branches is also useful to flog off the infuriated
insects from your head and hands. The bees killed and
driven off, the contents of the store, the product of these
busy workers' industry, must be chopped from out the
tree, and placed in the bucket. If a professional bee-
hunter is honey-seeking for a livelihood, of course he
would provide vessels adequate in capacity to contain all
the honey and wax he might be fortunate enough to
discover; and very many men do make a very capital
thing of hunting bees and selling the honey and wax
to settlers and to the storekeepers in small towns within
reach of the prairies, whether by canoe or pack animal.
To obtain the bees-wax, the honeycomb should be broken
up small, and boiled in a small quantity of water, for
some time; then if squeezed tightly in a coarse cloth,
the wax runs through and can be collected and cooled
in moulds of any desired shape. A tin pannikin is as
good as any thing I know of for bees-wax to harden in.
The isolated groups of trees scattered over the prairies 248
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
are a marked peculiarity of Texan scenery. These patches
have been aptly called j islands,' and what is equally
worthy of remark is, that each island consists to a great
extent of a single kind of tree; one island will be composed exclusively of oaks, another of peccan trees, and
a third of plums, whilst the vine common everywhere
trails its tendrilled branches alike over all. There is
hardly a trace of underbrush to be seen, but as the grass
grows close to the very trees in these | islands j the wild
bees have their hoards in great abundance. I once
remarked to an old hunter who had been much in
Texas, that a friend of mine was once nearly starved
on the Texan prairies.
j Why, thunder and bars,' said the old man, I hadn't
he got narry eyes P'
6 Yes,' I said, I he could see very well.'
'Than, why on airth couldn't the sucker keep 'em
skinned; aint thar " islands," and aint thar 1 bee gums,"
and aint thar bees fly-in about in the ar and lightin on
the pra-a-a flowers 9 May be he'd a seen 'em if the
critturs had been as big as a " wild gobbler " or a blue
chickin. Thim fellers green from the settilmints aint
got no more cuteness nor a bull-frog.' The old trapper
gave a deep sigh as he thought of the degenerate
individual who could go hungry to sleep on a Texan
prairie.
There are a vast number of ' berries \ which are not
only very palatable but very nutritious into the bargain
i
IE HOW  TO  MAKE  PEMMACAN.
249
to be obtained round most of the prairies of the
Southern States, as well as on both sides of the Rocky
Mountains. Of these the Service berry (Amelanchier Canadensis) and the Sallal berry (Gaultheria shallon) may
be specified as being really most useful. The former
berries dried in the sun are used by the Hudson's Bay
fur-traders to mix with the pemmacan.
Pemmacan for those who can, as they say Trans-
atlantically, worry it down, is a very capital material to
carry, on a long march; indeed it often constitutes the
only diet of the trapper and fur-trader. It may be
made as follows :•—Cut either deer or buffalo flesh into
thin shreds, and dry it well in the sun; next pound it
into a pulp between two stones, and as you pound it
throw it-into a bag made of hide previously prepared.
When the bag is nearly filled pour in melted grease
nearly boiling hot, until the bag is filled, then sew it up
firmly. Many prefer to eat it as it is cut off in thin
slices, others boil it with flour. I do not like it any
way, and strips of meat simply sun-dried or dried over
a slow fire can easily be carried long distances without
undergoing decomposition.
Edible roots too are in great variety, and serve as a
valuable addition to aii Indian's dietary, but unless
directed by the savages I should not advise a traveller
to venture upon eating any he may find for himself. I
knew a case in which three men were poisoned—and all
three died too—on the prairie where they dug up some
*m I
II
250
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
II
bulbs they fancied were wholesome. The inner bark of
the willow is by no means a despisable substitute for
tobacco, when scraped from a twig and dried; it is best
dried by being scraped up in frills round the stick and
held before the fire, then crumbled off and placed in
the pipe-bowh The leaves of the Uva ursa are also dried
and smoked in great quantities by the savages west of
the Eocky Mountains, who call it kini-kin-ick. I
cannot say that I like either the one or the other, but
then if we cannot get what we like we must have what
we can.
Many species of insects are consumed by the Indians,
who devour them with great gusto. The digger Indians
in California eat immense numbers of field crickets
(Acheta nigra); the savages brush these insects, which
sometimes literally cover the ground in a thick layer,
into pits dug for the purpose, in the bottoms of which
damp wood is smouldering! the smoke suffocates the
crickets and helps at the same time to preserve their
bodies from decomposition. Further south the Cicada
is also dried and eaten, made into a kind of cake.
.The larra of many large beetles that pass the larval
condition in decayed wood are esteemed great delicacies by the Eed people, who relish their white fat
bodies as we should a lark or an ortolan.
As appertaining to the subject of food, it may prove
serviceable to the wanderer, to point out en passant the
systems at present so largely practised in South America,
B MORGANS  PROCESS.
251
to preserve vast quantities of flesh in the shape of
beef and mutton, in order to render it available for
transport to other countries. In the countries bordering the Eiver Plate there are said to be 22,000,000
head of cattle and 35,000,000 sheep—valuable in South
America only for their hides, horns, and fleeces.
The following three processes are found to answer the
best :—
Morgan's process of salting animals by hydrostatic
pressure is as follows. The process is a very rapid one.
The animal is first of all stunned by a blow on the head,
then laid on a frame and the breast cut open; the right
ventricle of the heart punctured, and as much blood extracted as possible. This operation completed, the left
ventricle is opened, and a tube connected with a reservoir twenty feet above, passed through the heart into
the aorta, round which a ligature is tightly bound to
prevent any reflux of the fluid, and at the same time the
right ventricle is closed with a powerful spring clip. By
turning a cock the brine flows for one minute and a half,
at the end of which time if the tip of the ear is cut off
a clear stream of brine exudes. About* two gallons of
brine will fill all the emptied arteries, and the pressure
employed is 2 lbs. to the square inch. The carcases are
lastly skinned, cut into quarters, and, aided with powerful pressure, packed into casks. By this process not
only is the flesh preserved but the skins are also salted.
Great care is needed in the preparation of the brine, for AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
if any undissolved salt were left in it the particles would
stop the smaller vessels, and consequently some portion
of the flesh would not receive its proper proportion of
brine. In order to obviate this, it is subjected to three
different strainings.
Method of manufacturing the Extractum Liebeg
Carnis. This is carried on at a large saladero, most
charmingly and conveniently situated about a mile or so
from a town, on the banks of the Uruguay. | The establishment, which is very large, is conducted by an
English company, and that branch of it which includes
the extractum is superintended by a German gentleman,
Herr Keller, who most kindly showed us over the premises, and explained the process. In this case the
animals are slaughtered the day before, and the meat
being cut off, is hung up for twenty-four hours. The
following morning it is put into different cylinders,
where it is progressively mashed to a pulp; it is then
thrown into a large cauldron, where it is boiled for a
specified time with a certain quantity of water, and this
part of the process extracts all the nutritious qualities
from the flesh. The liquid is next let off into an ample
vat, where boiling is still continued until all the grease
rises to the top, when it is poured off through a pipe
into the receptacles placed to receive it, and the broth
(if I may so term it) is drained from the bottom. It is
then put into long, shallow vats, heated by steam-pipes
passing round them, and from one extremity of these vats EXTRACTUM  CARNIS.
253
a strong blast of cold air is perpetually kept blowing
over the surface, to assist the evaporation.    The liquor,
of a deep brown, is next very carefully strained, and
passed into another shallow vat at boiling heat, where
it is kept stirred by a man who, together with this vat,
is enclosed in a large cage of close wire netting, which
effectually excludes all flies or other extraneous substances.    The stirring is, I presume, kept up to prevent
the liquid from burning during this last stage.    It is
now finished, and ready to be transferred to the tin canisters in which it is exported.    It takes 33 lbs. of beef
to make 1 lb. of the extractum.    I forget whether Herr
Keller told us that its retail price was 12 francs or 16
francs per pound, but he assured us that  it  is most
rapidly  sold, and that  its  use is becoming very  extensive in Germany.    The hides and bones of the animals whose flesh is thus made use x)f are of course
turned to the same account as those of the rest killed at
the saladeros.    The business carried on at this saladero
is very extensive, and as many as 400 or 500 oxen are
frequently slaughtered in one day.    The flesh of these
is principally converted into charqui, or dried beef, on
which account by far the greater number of animals are
killed in those months when the sun effectually performs this process after it has been salted in some degree.    It is extensively used in Brazil and amongst the
negroes in the West Indies, but it certainly does not
look tempting to an Englishman."*    Eight small tins
* Trip to South America (Land and Water), by Higford Burr, Esq..
el
I
in
m AT HOME IN THE  WILDERNESS.
will contain the concentrated matter of an entire ox at
a cost of about 5Z. This essence will make over 1,000
basins of soup, strong and nutritious in quality. A
teaspoonful in a breakfast cup full of water forms no
despicable breakfast.
Saladeros are used for various purposes of slaughter,
but the manner in which they kill an ox for domestic
use in South America is very remarkable when compared with ours. "The animal is singled out from
the herd and lassooed round the neck, and has sometimes a second lassoo round one leg; he is thus brought
up to a convenient distance from the house, when a
peon, armed with one of their long knives, comes
behind, and hamstrings him, when, of course, the poor
animal falls to the ground. In this helpless condition
the peon thrusts the knife into his chest, just as a
Highlander stabs a stag; and he very soon bleeds to
death.
■ The skin is quickly detached, but not removed from
beneath the carcase, but serves to keep the meat from
coming in contact with the soil. In a very short time
the flesh is cut off, the joints separated, and all that is
to be used carried away; the hide is then stretched out
to dry, and its value is about three Bolivian dollars, or
9s. 6d. English money; the live beast may be valued at
11. 6s. What would he not be worth if in these days of
rinderpest he were but within a convenient distance of
our island ? j
A new process has been recently patented by Messrs. JERKING BEEF.
255
Sloper and Paris, which, as far as I have been able to
learn, is somewhat as follows.
Eresh meat is cut into joints or junks, and the bone
removed; in this condition it is placed in tin canisters,
having a hole in the top and bottom; from the lower
hole water is forced in until the canister is completely
filled, thus driving out all the air through the upper hole.
This water is in its turn forced out, and as it escapes
it is replaced by some gas, the nature of which the
patentees will not reveal.
I have eaten meat that was prepared by this process
in South America, and brought from thence to England,
and can truthfolly say it was as pure and free from taint
or any unpleasant flavour, as beef purchased fresh from
the shambles in Newgate Market.
Jerking beef is simply cutting it into thin strips and
drying in the sun; small fires should be kept smouldering under the drying flesh, to keep away the flies. All
the fat and bone should be removed, when the strips are
prepared for drying; this sun-dried meat is called j char-
qui' in South America, j jerked meat j in North America.
If properly cured it will keep good for a long time, and
in this condition is easy of transport. It can be cooked
or eaten as it is, or in accordance with the tastes of
the consumers.
Pish of various descriptions cured without salt, form
very important items in the winter dietary of the
dwellers in the wilderness.    I need only briefly refer to AT  HOME  IN  THE WILDERNESS.
two of the most important fish usually so cured. Were
I to specify each one so used, I should require a f big-
book j in earnest. The directions for catching and
curing one or two species will apply with equal force to
all others.
East of the Eocky Mountains, white fish, either dry,
cured, or frozen, for the purpose of preserving them, are
largely consumed both by the Indians and fur-traders.
The fish so eaten is named scientifically, Ooregonus
albus; to the traders it is known as the Attihawmeg or
Eeindeer of the sea. In summer these fish are taken in
traps and nets of all sorts; during winter in gill-nets
set underneath the ice.
A gill-net may be made any length, from ten fathoms
to sixty; holes are dug through the ice at short distances
from each other; the net suspended from these holes is
kept tightly stretched by heavy sinkers; the fish swim
against it and get entangled by the head and gills in the
meshes. The fish freeze immediately on their removal
from the net, and are thus stored away for general use
as long as the cold weather lasts.
West of the Eocky Mountains salmon in a great
measure take the place of the white fish.
As far south as San Francisco salmon are tolerably
numerous, running up the Sacramento, Klamath, and
other large streams; but proceeding north, we reach
the mouth of the Columbia river, and from this point
through the Straits of Juan de Euca to Fort Simpson SALMON-SPEARING.
257
(beyond the north end of Vancouver Island, on the
mainland), the salmon form one of the most prominent
wonders of this region.
Salmon arrive in great numbers at the mouth of the
Columbia about the 1st of May, and a little later at the
Fraser and streams further north.
On the Nanimo river the Indians have a most ingenious contrivance for taking salmon. They construct a
weir across the stream, and, instead of placing basket
traps, they pave the river bottom with white, or light-
coloured stones; this pavement is always made on the
lower side of the weir, and leads to an opening in the
wicker; a stage is erected between, or near these paved
ways, so that Indians lying on the stage can see in an
instant if a salmon attempts to ascend over the white
paving. A long spear, barbed at the end, is held poised,
in readiness, and woe betide the adventurous salmon
that runs the gauntlet of this perilous passage. But the
most ingenious system I have ever seen practised is
employed at Johnson's Narrows, near the Nimkish
river. Salmon readily take a bait in salt water. The
Nimkish Indians provide a spear about seventy feet in
length, together with a shorter one having a barbed
trident end, about twenty feet in length; two Indians
paddle along in a canoe, and when on favourable fishing
ground moor it. The one having the long spear is likewise provided with a small hollow cone of wood, trimmed
round its greater  circumference with feathers like a
1
Is
I AT HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
shuttlecock; this cone he places on the end of the long
spear, and depresses it under water until down the full
length of the spear; then a skilful jerk detaches this
feathered cone, and it wriggles up through the water
like a struggling fish. The savage with the short spear
intently watches the deceiver—a salmon rushes at it,
when, like magic, he transfixes it with the spear.
In June and July the great i run' begins, and the
numbers of salmon that ascend the various streams, is
beyond belief to any one who has never seen them. In
some of the tributaries to the Fraser river, the
Chilukweyuk is an instance—a perfect mountain torrent—the salmon throng up in such myriads, that it is
next to impossible to throw in a stone without hitting a
fish. The spring salmon keep to the larger streams,
and seldom enter the tributaries until they get a long
way up from the sea; these spring fish reach the salmon
falls at Colville, in June, distant about 1,000 miles from
the sea. This salmon is the Salmo Quinnat of Sir J.
Eich, F.B.A.; in Chinook, 'tyhe, or chief salmon;'
Colville Indian, j Se-met-leek;' Yakima Indian, | kwin-
na-to;' Nisqually Indian, j satsup.' It is beyond
doubt the finest salmon obtained in the rivers and inlets of British Columbia. The colour of the flesh is
the most delicate pink, the general appearance bright
silvery and metallic, the dorsal region having a tinge of
greenish-blue. Commercially, it is, too, by far the most
valuable salmon, and very large quantities are salted SALMON-FISHING  ON  STAGES.
259
and barrelled by the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort
Langley upon the   Fraser.     During the  season the
Indians on the Columbia, Fraser, and, indeed, on all
the principal streams, take immense quantities of these
salmon, and prefer them to any other species for drying and winter use.    At the cascades on the Columbia,
and on the Fraser river, the method of taking salmon
is   with  scoop-nets.    The   salmon keep close  to  the
shore, to avoid the more rapid current,  and to take
advantage of the eddies to rest in during their upward
run.    The Indian builds, or rather hangs, a kind of
stage over the water, and lies upon it, armed with a net
like a shrimping net, about four feet diameter, fastened
to the end of a long pole.   He passes this net down the
current, and allows it to be swept on as far as his arms
can reach, then he hauls it out and plunges it in again
up stream as far. as possible.    In this way I have seen a
savage take thirty-five to forty salmon an hour.    They
usually fish immediately after sunrise, or late in the
evening.    At the north of the Fraser river and on Puget
Sound, the Indians employ long poles, with sharp gaff-
hooks at the end of them, then, paddling about in canoes,
thus hook in large numbers of salmon.    Higher up the
streams, at the salmon falls or leaps, the Indians use
huge wicker baskets, flat on one side and bellied out on
the other; these they hang in places where they well
know the salmon leap; usually against the face of a
rock, the flat side of the basket being towards the rock.
s 2 i*ir;
260
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
These baskets are hung before the river begins to flood
from the melting snow, for the Columbia rises, at least
thirty-five feet above its autumn and winter level. As
soon as the water has risen sufficiently for the fish
to leap the falls, at it they go, and in leaping often fall
back into the baskets. I have seen from 250 to 300
salmon taken from out one basket two or three times a
day. I have likewise seen over a hundred salmon in the
air at one time, and often six or eight tumble into a
basket together. Two Indians go naked into this huge
pannier, each carrying in his hand a heavy wooden club,
and, utterly reckless of the water dashing over them,
and scrambling about amongst the struggling fish, they
seize one after another by the gills, give each salmon a
crack on the head with the club, then fling it out upon
the rocks, whereon the squaws are waiting; the women
pounce upon the stunned fish, lug them away, cut off
their heads, split them open, take out the backbones,
and then hang them upon long poles to dry, keeping
a small fire always smouldering underneath the poles
to partially smoke the drying fish. Salmon cured in this
way I have known to keep two years perfectly sound.
It is curious the Columbia salmon never take a bait
after they leave the salt water. I have tried every expedient I could think of to tempt them, but always without success; and from careful inquiries made of the
different tribes of Indians on both sides of the cascades,
and from the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company at
the various trading posts, I am quite sure salmon are
,w TROLLING  FOR  SALMON.
261
never taken with bait after they leave the sea.    But in
the sea, before entering the rivers, I have seen this
species of salmon (Salmo Quinnat) caught by the Indians
with the greatest ease by trolling for them.    The line is
made of seaweed, smoked and then knotted together;
a large pebble about 4 oz. in weight, slung about six feet
from the hook, acts as a sinker.    The savages at one
time used a wooden hook with a bone barb, but now they
o*et supplied with steel fish-hooks by the Hudson's Bay
Company.    The bait employed is a small fish, usually a
herring or anchovy.    The line is made fast to the canoe
paddle, just above the hand-grip, and'the act of paddling
gives to the bait the necessary jerking motion.    The
time chosen for trolling is about two hours after the
sun rises, or two hours before it sets.
Water is an essential neither man nor beast can do
without, and although it is generally procurable in
oreat abundance in the wilderness, to which wanderers
in search of a home mostly bend their steps, nevertheless there are localities in every country, where
want of water may sadly inconvenience the traveller,
hence a brief description of a few of the systems resorted
to by the inhabitants of different countries, for the ob-
tainment and conveyance of water, may be acceptable,
and let us hope useful.
Explorers inform us, in some parts of South Africa the
Natives are frequently compelled to drink the fluid contained in the paunches of animals, to allay their thirst.
Mr. Darwin tells us of a people, who, catching turtles, AT HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
drank the water that was found in the pericardia, or
heart sacks, j and which was quite pure and sweet.'
The Arabs in crossing the -deserts use a large leathern
flask, c Zemsemmere,' which they convey, hung on the
shady side of a camel.
The Bushmen in South Africa employ ostrich eggshells, which they fill with water, and bury at convenient distances for the return route.
For packing water on mule or horse-back, strong kegs
are very convenient, holding about fifty pounds each.
Stagnant water should always be filtered and boiled
before it is drank, otherwise fever and dysentery are very
likely to be produced. A very good temporary or makeshift filter may be constructed by pouring the muddy
water through a tuft of grass, bound together tightly.
The tracks of animals and the course of birds are
good signs to note when the wanderer is in search of
water. I believe I once saved my own, and several
men's lives, by following the tracks, of Prongbuck to
their drinking places. We had been searching in vain
for water on a sandy desert, until we were all nearly
famished with thirst, and had almost abandoned every
hope of finding a stream to camp by, when I struck the
antelope tracks, which led directly to a small brook
completely hidden in a rocky ravine. Animals when
going to drink almost invariably proceed in single file,
hence trails leading to water are usually well beaten
and very narrow. TO  BUILD  A  LOG-HOUSE,
263
CHAPTEE XVII.
A Puzzle for a Carpenter—To Build a Log-house without Iron
Split-Shingles-Put on the Roof—Make Door and Fireplace—To
make a Door, Fireplace, and Chimney-Log Quarters of the
Boundarv Commission-Effects of Cold-A Caution to be remembered— f 6 procure a Light from two pieces of Wood—Getting a
Light with a Gun—How to carry Lucifers.
Direct a carpenter to build a house; he is only to have
as tools an axe, an auger, and a knife; he is not to use
a nail, hinge, screw, or iron of any kind, and yet the
door is to open and shut-, latch, and accomplish all that
an ordinary door is expected to do ; he is to let in light,
and at the same time keep out wet, without the aid of
glass; he must roof the house, and make a fireplace and
chimney entirely with wood, so as not to catch fire or
allow the  smoke to  come  into the room;  the only
building materials at his disposal are to be trees growing near.the site of the intended house.    Do you not
think he would pronounce it an impossible task |  Nevertheless, lumberers, settlers, and practised wanderers have
to manage it.    Like most other things, it is easy of
accomplishment when once you know  how to  go to
work.    I presume the previous directions as to how an
axe is to be used have been put into practice.    First
stake out the square or other shape you intend making 264
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
it
your house, having previously satisfied yourself that the
trees round about are suited to your purpose and that
a constant supply of water is near by, a precaution
the ancient Eomans never lost sight of. Then calculate,
by taking the average circumference of the trees, how
many you will require to fell so as to make a wall seven
feet high when the trunks are laid upon one another.
Ply your axe, chop down the required number of trees,
trim them and lop off the tops, leaving the trunks the
length you want them; the next process is that of
rolling these logs to the site of the shanty, which can
be accomplished easily if a long handspike is employed.
This done, lay four of the largest logs into a square, (we
will suppose this to be the shape of the house), then by
using long sticks placed
ips
are
JllpW
-r*3m
RRH»>V
FRAME OF A LOG-HOUSE.
slantwise, as j skeds :
adjusted to wagons, get
four other logs upon the
foundation logs. It will
be necessary, in order to
roll up the logs, as the height of the wall increases to
have them of a less circumference, in order to diminish
the weight; this, however, must depend upon the
number and strength of the builders, or builder, if only
one is at work; it is better to cut notches in the lower
logs for those above them to drop into; it makes the
building firm, and leaves less space open betwixt the logs.
Now  stand^ upon  the  topmost log,  and  chop  out SHINGLE-SPLITTING.
265
a piece from it 2 ft. 6 in. long, and so on, log after
log:, until the bottom one is reached; this one must
be only cut half-through, and the half split out; this
done, roll up one more log, and your doorway is
finished; if you did not axe out the entrance at this
stage of the building, you could not do it at all. In
one end of the house- chop out another opening precisely in the same way, only three feet wide; this is for
the fireplace. Having got the walls up, the hard and
laborious part is over. Eoofing is the second stage in
the proceeding; rafters must be trenailed together and
arranged precisely as they are in a stone house, which
is to be either tiled or slated, but in lieu of tiles or
slates shingles are used in wild countries. Shingles vary
in size, but fourteen inches by
eight inches will be found to
answer well. To make them,
a cedar tree must be felled and
axed into lengths of fourteen
inches; to get a shingle eight
inches wide the tree ought to
measure forty-eight inches in circumference. Split
your lengths into four pieces of equal size, remove the
bark, and then, by employing the axe as a wedge and
driving it with a log of wood, it becomes an easy job
to split off thin slabs from the faces of the four pieces of
cedar. These slabs are called shingles, and if properly
put on form a roof quite as secure as if it was made of
SPLIT LOG FOR MAKING SHINGLES- 266
AT  HOME IN THE  WILDERNESS.
it m
slates (parenthetically it will be as well to say that
shingles are usually split with a tool made on purpose,
called a 1 frau/ which in shape nearly resembles the knife
used for cutting hay into bundles; commercially, and
where there is a large demand for shingles, they are
made by machinery and sold by the thousand). To
shingle a house when you have* no nails, begin at the
bottom of the rafters, and let half the shingle project
over, in order to carry the rain-water clear of the wall,
exactly in the same way as an ordinary house is tiled.
Fasten this row by trenailing a light piece of wood at
each end, so that it rests firmly on the row of shingles.
Following up this plan, let row follow row until the
ridge of the rafters is attained, finish the opposite side
and ends in the same way, and your house, if you are
anything of a carpenter, has a waterproof roof.
The door can be easily constructed of rough plank, split
from off a cedar log in the same manner as the shingles
were, only the log must be as long as the plank you
require. These planks are then to be trenailed together
by means of cross-pieces; one hole must be bored in the
half-split lowermost log, and another in the uppermost
log, for two pegs to work easily in, which pegs are to be
fastened to the top and bottom of the door. This plan
makes a capital substitute for an iron hin ge. Any ordinary
amount of ingenuity will be equal to designing a latch.
A fireplace I have always found to answer remarkably
well is made in this way.    Measure about five feet from MAKING  A .FIREPLACE.
267
the logs forming the end in which you have axed out
the place for your fire; cut as many light poles as you
think you may require, each pole to be considerably
taller than the ridge of the house when one end is
placed on the line five feet from the logs and the other
slanted against the log-house. Commence by placing
one of these poles close to the lower log of the house on
one side of the opening. Of course, the first pole will
be vertical, and as the distance from the house increases
slant the poles as you place them towards the point or
angle of the gable.. Continue this arrangement along
the measured line, and finish at the log on the opposite
side to that at which you commenced. You have now
enclosed your fireplace, and by fastening the upper
ends of the poles first firmly together, and then to the
apex of the gable, you will find a capital chimney has
been constructed. About six inches from the bottom of
this semicircle of poles, on the inside drive in several
pickets, the height of which, clear of the ground, should
be quite four feet. Next wreath in betwixt these uprights a 'wickey' or basketwork of light twigs and
sticks, and it should be woven close and firm. This
operation completed, you will have to turn mudlark for
a short time, and mix well together a good thick muck,
composed of clay, sand, small shingle, and water. It
must be so thick as not to run through the basketwork,
and yet thin enough to settle and pack well together;
next fill in the space between the basketwork and the 268
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDElSNESS.
y
s
poles with this compo, and work it well down with a
tamping stick, so that no cracks or hollow spaces are
left; then let it settle until you have completed the other
parts of your house, which may be floored with rough
plank if you are of a luxurious turn, or left only with
the bare earth. A good trench should be made round
the house, if you have the tools to do it with; a small
bench will be found convenient as a table, and for seats
chop logs the length best suited to your taste. When I
have no glass I admit light by raising one or two
shingles in the roof, working them up and down by
means of a bit of hide pegged on, like the hinge boys
usually employ for rabbit hutches. If it rains, all that
is needed is to nearly close the shingles; the slant is
then sufficient to run off the wet. I do not think I need
go into any further detail, because there are numberless
minor matters which can, and indeed must be left to the
ingenuity of the wanderer. One who has a turn for
carpentering will, as a matter of course, construct a
better house than another not so gifted. The work
of building completed, light your fire, by first placing
two logs at a short distance from each other, and a
third log at the back; build in your wood between
them, and light it; as you keep your fire burning day
after day, the compo gradually drys and hardens, but
the wet for some time will keep the basketwork from
catching fire; by and - by, however, it begins to burn,
and when consumed leaves you a regular concrete back QUARTERS  OF  THE  COMMISSION
269
to your fireplace, which, if well made and properly
packed, becomes as hard and durable as fire-brick. This
kind of fireplace answers admirably, and if the poles
are properly slanted, and carried sufficiently high above
the house, the smoke is carried up by a draught that
keep3 the fire burning briskly, and gets rid of the
nuisance wood smoke always causes when it escapes
into an enclosed space.
I need hardly say, that where tools and proper labour
are to be obtained, log houses can be built quite equal
to those made of stone or bricks, but as these are
matters which do not apply directly to the wanderer, it
would only occupy time unprofitably to give instructions
as to the systems of building these more elaborate edifices. The Commission were all wintered (for two winters)
in log-houses built on the banks of the Upper Columbia
Eiver. In the construction of these log-houses we
employed sun-dried bricks for making the fireplaces
and chimneys, which answered perfectly, and we burnt
lime to make mortar for building and for filling in the
spaces between the logs of the houses. Of course we
had glass and nails, and tools of all kinds, besides
having men who were regular carpenters. We had also
blacksmiths and workers in every description of handicraft. Hence we were enabled to build very complete
houses, for stores, dwelling places, and large rooms
for mapping. The cost of this log-camp was very heavy,
because labour was dear, and rations most costly, in 270
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
m
consequence of the distance provisions had to be brought
by pack animals, from the nearest water communication.
The men and officers enjoyed admirable health during
the winters, although the temperature was often down
to 32 deg. below zero; the ink froze so quickly in the
pens that writing was next to an impossibility, and I
have frequently seen the contents of a pail which was
filled with water and placed close to the fire in my
shanty become solid ice in a few hours; yet as long as
the air was calm and no wind blew it did not appear to
the senses unusually cold. I may mention one little
matter as a caution to be remembered in very cold
weather—never put an iron bit into a horse's mouth
without previously warming it; very cold iron or steel
acts much in the same way on animal tissues as it would
do if at a white heat; the bit takes the skin off the
tongue of the horse in an instant.
I told the wanderer just now to light his fire when he
had built it. This is not at all times quite so easy a
job as it appears to be to us, who have lucifer matches
at \d. a box. The savage has no steel or iron to strike
sparks from by using a flint; still he manages to light
a fire with the same material he burns. I had again
and again read about the savage procuring a light by
rubbing two sticks together, but for the life of me I
could not tell how it was possible until I saw it done.
You might continue to rub two pieces of dry wood one
against the other, without kindling them, until your hair TO  KINDLE  A  FIRE
271
turned grey, or you froze to death.    It is not in this
way the Indian manages; he takes a round piece of
wood and a flat piece; the former he tapers to a conical
shaped point, in the latter he scoops out a hollow place
a trifle larger than the cone; laying the flat piece on the
ground, and, placing his feet firmly upon it, with his
hand he rapidly rotates the end of the stick  in  the
hollow place, by rubbing it between his palms, and at
the same time pressing it firmly down.    Very soon the
dust thus rubbed off begins to smoulder, and at last
ignites.     This   burning  dust  is  next  placed  in  dry
bark or moss, and carefully blown by the breath into
a flame.    Cedar wood is  best,  but it must  be  very
dry, sound, and free from knots.    Any one can thus
procure a light, if wood is to be obtained fitted for the
purpose, but you will find it takes some practice to give
the stick a rapid rotation, and to make at the same time
a due amount of pressure.    It is at all times easy to
obtain a light, if you have a gun, gunpowder, and, caps,
or a flint lock does as well.    The best plan of proceeding is to tear up a small quantity of the inner bark of a
fir or cedar tree into fine threads, place a small quantity
of gunpowder in the palm of the hand, slightly damp
the bark, or whatever the material may be you are going
to employ, and then rub it well in the powder. Earn this
very lightly into the gun, build a little heap of the driest
material you can find (dry material for kindling can be
generally procured from the under sides of fallen trees, if 272
AT HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
Ml
it is rainy weather, or take the inside bark). Then if the
weather is wet, cover your heap with a slab of bark.
Now stand a few yards off, and fire your gun into the
heap; you will in all likelihood find the bark-wad
smouldering; blow it carefully into a flame, and then
the rest is easy. Flint and steel are very good in their
way, but the grand difficulty is to keep your tinder dry.
If I can possibly procure lucifer matches I invariably
use them in preference to anything else, and by exercising a little care and strict economy it is wonderful
how long you can make a large metal box full of matches
last. The best plan of carrying them is in a tin, or
metal box of any kind; this box should be always rolled
up in a long strip of dressed hide and tied firmly; packed
in this way you could not make the matches wet, even
by soaking the package in a river. As a rule, I am not
favourably disposed towards any of the machines—and
their name is legion—for procuring instantaneous light;
they are pretty sure to get broken, or escaping that
contingency, the material composing them soon wears
out, and of course cannot be replaced; my advice is,
have nothing to do with such useless toys.
Mi INSECT  PESTS.
273
CHAPTEE XVIII.
Mosquitoes—Sand-flies—The Breeze-fly—The Trumpet-flies—Jack-
Spaniards—Stone-Wasps—B-attle-Snake Bites—A use for the
Battle—The Trap-door Spider—The Deer-tick—Leeches in the
Mouth.
The tiny insect called by the French maringouin, or
cousin, by the Germans Stechschnacke, or Golse, by the
Americans Punhees and mosquito (little fly), its representative in our own country being the knat, belongs
to the order Diptera (having two wings). Individuals
of this species, so numerous as to be scattered over both
hemispheres, from pole to pole, are all vicious and bloodthirsty.
To those who have never visited the home and
haunts of these pests I say,—you know nothing at all
about insect persecution; neither can you form the
faintest idea of the terrible suffering foes so seemingly
insignificant are capable of inflicting.
Whether amid the regions of eternal snow, or beneath
the scorching heat of an eastern sun, strange as it seems,
these tormentors are met with, always lively, invariably
hungry. I certainly was vain enough to imagine I
had  endured  as   much  misery  in the  course of my
T AT HOME  IN THE WILDERNESS.
wanderings as it was possible for mosquitoes to inflict;
how sadly I was mistaken the sequel will show.
In the summer of 18S8 we were engaged in cutting
the Boundary-line along the low and comparatively flat
land, that lies between the seaboard and spurs of the
Cascade mountains; our camp was on the Sumass
prairie, which in reality is simply an open patch of
grassy land, through which numerous streams wind,
emptying themselves into the Fraser river, by a short
swift stream named the Sumass river.
Any settler who might chance to visit this spot in
the spring, would never dream that in July the prairie
is completely under water, and in ignorance, might ply
his axe, run up his log shanty, and quietly settle down to
establish his home in the wilderness where all gave cheer
ing promise of fertile acres. How astonished he would
be, on awakening some morning, to find that his land
of promise was changing rapidly into a navigable lake,
and his shanty, like a raft, floating away! But such
would be his fate; and thus it comes about. When
the snow melts upon the hills, the Fraser rises with
great rapidity, dams back the Sumass, reversing its
course, so that it flows into the Sumass lake instead of
out of it, fills it up as you would fill a basin. Overflowing the banks it floods the prairies, converting into an
immense lake what was a few days before a grassy
expanse.
On the  subsidence of the waters our tents were UNPLEASANT SUSPICIONS.
27:
pitched on the edge of a little stream, threading its
way through this prairie. Towering up from one bank
of the streamlet rose the Cascade mountains, densely
wooded with pines and cedars; to the right lay the
tranquil lake; to the left, and in front, for about two
miles, the green prairie, bounded by the Sumass river,
that wound like a silver cord round the base of a distant
hill. Wild fowl were in abundance, the streams were
alive with fish, the forest stocked with deer, whilst
the  mules  and  horses  were knee  deep in luxuriant
The first week passed pleasantly away, then the
mosquitoes began to get troublesome. In my own
mind, I must confess to entertaining a suspicion that
they were more to be dreaded than my companions
were willing to believe, inasmuch as the crafty Eed-
skins had erected rude stages, by driving stout poles
into the bottom of the lake, and then fastening other
poles to them; to these platforms they all retired on the
first appearance of the mosquitoes. My suspicions
were confirmed—in about five days the increase was
something beyond belief, and really terrible as they
hovered over and about us in dense clouds. Night and
day the hum of these blood-thirsty tyrants was incessant; we ate them, drank them, breathed them; the
t hickest leather clothing scarcely protected one against
their lancets. With trousers tied tightly round the
ankle,  and  coat   sleeves  round the  wrist,  the  head
T 2 276
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
if
11
,
AMONGST  THE
' PUNKEES.'
enveloped in a gauze bag, hands in gloves, and feet in
Br>,'*H --• •- shooting-boots, we lived and slept,
or rather tried to do so. Lighting
huge fires, fumigating our tents, trying every expedient we could think
of, was all in vain, the mosquitoes
seemed happy in a smoke that would
have stifled anything else that was
mortal; and, what was worse, they
increased in number daily.
Eating or drinking, attired as we
were, required an immense amount of ingenuity, first
dexterously to raise the net, and then deftly throw
the wished-for morsel into the mouth; the slightest
bungle or delay in restoring the covering, and a torrent
of mosquitoes gained admittance, causing insufferable
agonies.
Human endurance has its limits; the most patient
get rebellious at being flayed alive. It was utterly
impossible to work or write, one's entire time being
occupied in slapping, stamping, grumbling, and savagely slaughtering mosquitoes. The human face
divine rapidly assumed an irregularity of outline, far
from consonant with the strict lines of beauty; each
one looked as though he had gone in for a fight and
lost it. The unfortunate mules and horses, driven mad,
raced about wildly, dashing into the lake, out again,
then trying the shelter of the willow-trees, and rolling
I! VANQUISHED  BY  FLIES.
277
on the grass in very agony; but all was of no avail;
go where they would, do what they would, their
persecutors stuck to them in swarms. The dogs,
howling piteously, wandered up and down restless and
wretched, until, guided by a wise instinct, they dug
holes in the earth as a dernier ressort; then, backing
in, lay with their heads at the entrance, shaking their
ears, and snapping angrily at the ravening legions,
anxious and ready for an immediate assault.
To endure any longer such ceaseless persecution was
impossible ; officers and men began to show symptoms
of fever, the result of want of sleep, and irritation
arising from mosquito bites. To withdraw into the hills
and abandon the work until winter was the only alternative. We were fairly vanquished—the labour of a
hundred men and as many mules and horses put an
end to by tiny flies.
Tents were struck, the mules packed, the survey suspended, and a general exodus effected. The only thing
that in any degree quelled the mosquitoes was a breeze,
a relief we seldom enjoyed, a temporary respite when it
did come; the enemy, seeking shelter in the grass,
returned when the wind lulled, more hungry and
importunate than ever.
The specimens brought home turn out to be a new
species (Culex pinguis), its specific name being given in
honour of its obesity. Why the Sumass mosquito
should be fatter than any of its known brethren I 278
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
m
j ken' not; • and it is equally a puzzle to discover what
they feed on when there are no men or animals.
The habits of Oulex pinguis are very nearly like to
those of other well-known species. The female, hovering over a pool, deposits her eggs in the water. The
©ggs are long, oval, and buoyant, and each female
produces about three hundred in number. With her
hind legs she manipulates the eggs so as to get them
side by side, in a vertical position; then, with an
adhesive excretion, .with which nature has supplied her,
glues them together; in this form they are just like a
raft floating and drifting on the surface. At first the
colour is white, changing in a few hours to green, and
subsequently to a dull grey. If the sun is hot the
larv£e come out in about four days, swimming, on their
emergence from the Qggy with great ease and rapidity,
often diving to the bottom, but rapidly returning to
the surface to breathe. The respiratory or breathing
organs are situated near the tail, on the eighth segment
of the abdomen; hence their position in the water is
invariably head downwards. After shifting the skin
three or four times, the pupae form is assumed, during
which state they still move about very actively, assisted
by the tail and two strangely fashioned organs, similar
to paddles attached to it. In this stage of their existence they never feed—(one would almost be tempted
to wish this condition a permanency), and although
still maintaining a vertical position in the water, it is* THE  TRANSFORMATION,
279
reversed, the head being uppermost, as the - breathing,
organs are transferred to the chest.
In about a week the final change into the winged
stage of its existence takes place, a process clearly
evidencing a wise provision to obviate the risk of
drowning; for the element in which its previous life
was passed would be at once fatal to it when endowed
with wings, and fitted for an aerial sojourn. The pupa
case, as it floats near the surface, splits from end to
end, and, looking somewhat moist and crumpled, from
being so closely packed, the tiny fly creeps out and
floats on its previous wrapper, thus suddenly transformed into an exquisite canoe of nature's own contriving. A breeze rippling the water ever so slightly
may now cause instant shipwreck, suddenly terminating
an existence scarcely commenced. Should it be sunny
and hot, the wings rapidly dry, and, bidding a long
and lasting good-bye to its frail barque, the mosquito
flies to the land, to commence and carry on the war of
persecution.
Endowed with an instinct of self-preservation, mosquitoes seldom venture far over the water after once
quitting their raft—a fact the wily savage turns to his
advantage. Earely can an Indian be tempted ashore
from his stage during mosquito time; and when he is,
he takes good care to whip out every intruder from his
canoe before reaching the platform. These quaint-
looking scaffoldings, scattered over the lake, each with
1 280
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
its little colony of Indians, have a most picturesque appearance.    Fleets of canoes are moored to the poles, and
the platform reached by a ladder made of twisted bark.
To avoid being devoured, and to procure the sleep
requisite for health, I used very frequently to seek the
hospitality of the savages, and pass the night with them
on their novel place of residence.    Not that one gained
very much by the exchange; if uneasy dreams or indigestion begat a restless desire to roll about whilst sleeping, the chances were that a sudden souse in the lake
would be the   consequence.   Perfumes pungent and
varied, constantly regaled  the  olfactory organs;  not
such as the night breeze wafts over the Bosj^horus or
bears on its wings from tropic isles.    Dogs, the sharers
of the Indian's bed and board, are also tenants of the
platform; favourites not exempt from persecutors, that
have a decided penchant for the blood of the pale face,
though unseen and unheard, soon make their proximity
painfully apparent; these  annoyances, together with
groans and nasal music, render a night on an Indian
stage anything but c sleeping on a bed of roses.5
I have tried every expedient my ingenuity suggested :
mixtures, lotions, washes, ointments; but nothing I
have ever used will cure mosquito punctures. There are
few expedients, which come under the head of palliatives,
worth trying; but all that one can hope to accomplish
is in some degree to allay the fiery itching, that fairly
scorches the skin, as the knobs surrounding the punc- PALLIATIVES WORTH TRYING.
2bl
tures swell into miniature mole-hills. The best thing:
I discovered was water, used as hot as it was possible to
bear it; plunging the hands into it, and applying
saturated cloths to the face and head, afforded very
delightful, though only temporary, relief: but a minute's
respite from misery is worth obtaining, when it can be
had at the cost of a little trouble.
The Indians believe in the efficacy of vermillion, a
material they trade from the Hudson's Bay Company.
An officer belonging to the Boundary Commission, during the work, was one day c en route' to an outpost
camp, having for a guide an Indian lad; the mosquitoes were in legions, and my friend's hands and face
commenced to swell rapidly. The Eed-skin guide very
kindly took him to a lodge and pointed out his sufferings ; the squaws at once set to work, and painted every
knob with vermillion; he told me that it afforded him
indescribable comfort and ease; but it most assuredly
did not improve his personal appearance; he was the
most singular sight I ever beheld, and I cannot think
of anything to which I can compare him except to
Zamiel or a clown in plain clothes.
Eubbing in soft fat is also a good plan to allay the
terrible ceaseless itching.
The British Columbian mosquitoes one would be
disposed to think must be very closely allied to the
mosquito family • The Eanger' (Captain Flack) speaks
of in his Texan hunting experiences. 282
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
<
j Arkansas is a state without a fault/ said a native.
g Excepting mosquitoes,' exclaimed one from another
state.
■ Wall stranger, except for them; for it ar' a fact they
are e-normous, and do push themselves in rather troublesome. But they never stick twice in the same place I
and give them a fair chance for a few months, and you
will get as much above noticing them as an alligator.
But mosquitoes is natur', and I never find fault with
her. If they ar' large Arkansas is large, her varmints
ar' large, her trees ar' large, her rivers ar' large; and
a small mosquito would be of no more use than preaching in a cane-brake.'
More diminutive, nevertheless quite as formidable
in its sanguinary onslaughts, is the burning-fly, brulot,
or sand-fly of the trappers and fur-traders. The male
sand-fly is not a blood-sucker, but lives on flowers,
sipping the nectar in indolent enjoyment; whereas
what should have been the gentler sex are, like the Da-
homean amazons, the sanguinary spirits of the tribe.
The sand-fly is very much smaller than the mosquito,
and, instead of being a genteel blonde, Madame Brulot
is black as an African negress, with a short dumpy
body, and wings, when folded, twice the length of the
lady herself. Her mouth is not attractive, being a
bundle of sharp blades, the sheaths forming tubes
through which the blood is sucked. As the barbed
stilettoes  do  their  work, .there  is  instilled into  the
i
lift SAND-FLIES.
283
puncture an ichorous fluid, causing the most intense
irritation. Where the sand-fly lays her eggs is rather
a doubtful matter, although it is more than likely they
are attached to the stems of water plants, as the larva
is easily discovered holding on to them, just below the
surface of the water. It is a long, ugly-looking grub,
divided into twelve rings or segments ; the second pair
of feet, being prehensile, are used for holding on to
the plants. When undisturbed it is somewhat active,
and moves about briskly ; but, touch it ever so
slightly, and it stiffens itself, hanging by the feet
like a bit of dead rush. The larva having attained its
full growth, spins for itself a delicate silken bag, in
which it changes to a pupa; the bag is invariably spun
the long way of the stalk to which it is affixed, and the
top left open, so that the pupa, being in an upright
position, pushes its head a little way out of the bag.
From this head four hair-like filaments project like
horns; these are breathing organs. About the end of
June the pupa changes into the little fly, which bursts
from its sarcophagus arid starts on its aerial flight.
Here we shall find a contrivance totally differing
from the mosquito boat, yet equally effective in aiding
the newly liberated captive to escape drowning. The
end of the silken bag. being open, the fly easily creeps
out, not into the water, but dragging with it a minute
silken balloon—a sort of inner lining to the pupa
case.    In this little balloon the fly ascends through the, 284
AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
I     I
water to the surface, then, bursting its slender walls,
spreads its wings, and, with a hum of delight, goes
away to revel in the sunshine amidst the trees and
flowers.
But one never thinks of these wonders when fairly
in the strongholds of the sand-fly. To illustrate the
torments they are capable of inflicting, I shall briefly
describe a journey the misery of which will never be
forgotten.
Our route lay along the banks of the Upper Columbia to reach the Spokan river. Flowers in profusion
jDeeped up from amongst the grass; birds were busily
employed in every tree and bush. The air was heavy
with perfume ; whilst the insects, as they tumbled from
flower to flower, buzzed a continuous song of satisfaction. Nothing could have been more enjoyable, had
not clouds of sand-flies filled the air, stirred up by the
feet of the mules and horses as they tramped through
the grass. They pounced upon us at once, and covered
the animals so thickly that they looked quite black.
Plunging, kicking, and rolling on the grass with their
loads, was of no avail. Unlike the bite of a mosquito,
that left only a lump, blood trickled from every puncture of the sand-flies' lancets. They whirled round our
heads like angry bees, savagely attacking every available spot. We picked' large bunches of twigs, and by
lashing and slapping, tried, though vainly, to drive
away our assailants.    My heart was really grieved at MULE  KILLED  BY  SAND-FLIES.
285
the sufferings the poor animals were obliged to endure,
spite of every effort to rid themselves of their pests.
One mule grew fagged and weary ; and in that condition neither force nor persuasion is of the slightest
use to induce it to move.    The only thing you can do
is to unpack him, and either leave the load in the trail
with the tired animal, or distribute it amongst the other
mules.    The tired mule was unpacked, and, with his
load, left on the trail;  camping very soon after, two
packers and a spare mule were sent after him.    Short,
however, as the time and distance were, it was   only
with immense trouble the packers managed to get him
back to camp.    A sight so pitiable as the poor beast
presented I never beheld; he was covered, from head
to  hoofs, with  sand-flies.    The little  harpies  looked
quite pink, their skins being so distended as to reveal
the colour of the fluid they were gorged with.    No one
could have recognised the animal as a mule, so fearfully was it swollen from the poisoned punctures.    We
bathed, smoked, and greased him to relieve his sufferings,   but   to   no   purpose:   about   two   hours   after
reaching  the camp poor mulo  was  no more!    Who
could have  dreamed  that  such  pigmies  would have
killed a powerful mule in two or three hours ?
| With caution judge of possibility;
Things thought unlikely, e'en impossible,
Experience often shows us to be true.'
One mode of protection is to light large smouldering AT  HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
fires, so as to produce clouds of smoke; this the brulots
dislike; the animals know it, and, crowding round the
smoking logs, struggle and quarrel as to which shall
be nearest. This method is adopted by Indians; and
one may always know where Indian horses are grazing
by the clouds of smoke ascending from the burning
logs.
During night sand-flies trouble but little: like
sensible insects, they sleep like the rfcst of the world.
Brulot, or burning fly, is a most appropriate name for
this insect, as the puncture it makes is as if a red-hot
needle was thrust into one's flesh. Sandy soil, and lots
of water, being essential to their multiplication, they
are necessarily confined to particular districts. Bad as
these flies, are, I still maintain mosquitoes are worse.
The brulots do indulge in a short repose; but mosquitoes never wink their eyes, and are ever on the
move.
Bruce, in his j Travels in Abyssinia,j describes a
small two-winged fly, called the zimb, or tsaltsalya,
unquestionably belonging to the Tajbanidse, or breeze
flies, that drives every living thing from the districts it
infests. He says: | Small as this insect is, we must
acknowledge the elephant, rhinoceros, lion, and tiger
vastly its inferiors. Their very sound occasions more
trepidation and disorder, both in the human and brute
creation, than whole herds of the most ferocious wild
As soon as their buzzing is heard the cattle THE  Z1MB.
287
forsake their food and run wildly about the plain until
they die, worn out with fatigue, fright, and hunger.
No remedy remains for the residents on such spots but
to leave the black earth, and hasten down to the sands
of Albara; and there they remain while the rains last.
Camels, and even elephants and rhinoceroses, though
the two last coat themselves with an armour of mud,
are attacked by this winged assassin and afflicted with
numerous tumours. All the inhabitants, from the
mountains of Abyssinia to the confluence of the Nile
and Astaboras, are once a year* obliged to change their
abode and seek protection on the sands of Beja; nor is
there any alternative or means of avoiding this, though
a hostile band were in the way, capable of spoiling
them of all their substance.'
From this description, says the Marquess de Spineto,
in the I Philosophical Magazine,' c it seems evident that
this terrible insect must have been the fly that formed
the fourth plague of the Egyptians, and which, in the
language of Scripture, | would put a division between
them and the Israelites," and sever the land of
Goschen, where the cattle dwelt, from the land of
Egypt.'
This land, the possession of the Israelites, was a
land of pasture, neither tilled nor sown, because not
overflown by the Nile; but the land inundated by that
river was the black earth of the valley of Egypt; and,
as the zimb never leaves the black earth, it followed iT HOME   IN THE  WILDERNESS.
that no fly could be seen in the sand or pasture of the
land of Goschen, because the kind of soil had ever
been the refuge of the cattle, emigrating from the black
earth round the Nile to the lower region of Astara.
The prophet Isaiah (vii. 18, 19) has given an account
of this insect and its manner of operation: c The Lord
shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the
rivers of Egypt I and they shall come, and shall rest all of
them in the desolate valleys;' or, in other words, the
fly shall cut off from the cattle their usual retreat, by
taking possession of those places of refuge to which
they resorted. There are invariably found two hieroglyphics at the top of the cartouche which incloses the
mystic title of the Pharaohs, a crooked line and the
figure of an insect; and it is more than probable that
this fly, or some species near akin to it, was the prototype of the Philistine idol, the god of Ekron, worshipped in the form of a fly, under the name of
Baahebub, which means literally the fly of Baal, or,
according to the Hebrew, lord fly.
A small sand-fly, Simulia Columbaschensis, plays
fearful havoc amongst the people and their four-footed
companions in the neighbourhood of Columbaz, in
Servia. They have a tradition there that the flies are
all bred in caves near the ancient castles of Columbaz,
and at certain periods they issue from the mouths of
these caves like a thick smoke.    It was in these caverns,
that St. Georere killed the THE  TSETSE.
289
dragon, and these insects, they assert, are hatched
from its still undecomposed remains; whereas the
real fact of the matter is that the flies simply retire
into the caves to avoid wind or rain.
Dr. Livingstone gives an account of a fly called the
tsetse (Glossina norsitans), not larger than a house-fly,
brown, like, the honey-bee, but banded with yellow, a
puncture of which is as fatal to the ox, horse, and dog,
as the bite of a deadly serpent. cIn one journey,' he
says, ' though we were not aware of any great number
having at any time alighted on our cattle, we lost forty-
three oxen by its bite. We watched the animals carefully, and believe that not a score of flies were ever
upon them.' Man seems quite exempt from any harm
arising from its sting, and calves that are sucking enjoy
a like immunity. It does not startle the ox, as the
gad-fly does; but, once stung, it swells under the
throat, profuse discharges run from nose and eyes,
followed by rapid wasting of the flesh, until the poor
beast eventually dies from sheer exhaustion. It is also
a curious fact that the antelope and zebra are not
injured by its puncture, whereas the ox and horse
invariably die.
There lives no greater pest to the wanderer and his
horses and mules than the breeze-fly; by breeze-fly I
mean flies belonging to the genus Tabanus (order,
Diptera, or two-winged), not those of the genus (JEstrus,
with which it is frequently confounded*    The latter—
u
mmmm AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
commonly called bot-fly, which is also a terrible pest,
like avoided by both horse and ruminant—deposits its
e^ers sometimes on the hair, and sometimes underneath
the skin 1 hence animals, guided by a natural instinct,
or having been the victims of a past and painful
experience, all, at the sound of his dreaded trumpet,
make the best of their way to the nearest water, into
which they plunge.
Fig. 1. Fig. 2.
On the contrary, in the breeze-fly we have to do
with a veritable blood-sucker, more ravenous than would
be any winged leech. There are three species, all
three by far too plentiful for the comfort of either
man or beast, and widely distributed in North-west
America. These insects have an apparent ubiquity,
and are literally everywhere. Ascend to the regions of
eternal snow, there are hungry breeze-flies awaiting
your arrival; by the rushing torrent, on the shores of
the placid lake, under the deep damp shadows of the
pine-trees, or on the open flower-decked prairie, there
are sure to be breeze-flies. . One barely hears the sound
of its c clarion shrill' and hum of the rapidly vibrating BREEZE  FLIES.
291
wings, ere one feels a sharp prick, as though a red-hot
blade had been thrust into the flesh. Stab follows stab
in quick succession, and unless active measures of
defence be resorted to the skin speedily assumes the
form of wire-gauze.
Your horses and mules, if you have any, give immediate notice of the enemy, by viciously throwing up
their heads and heels, snorting, and very possibly,
indeed I may say generally, summarily discharging
their loads, be they human or baggage, over their heads.
Whether success attends this disagreeable habit or not,
in any case a hasty retreat is made for the nearest
water, where both man and beast well know the breeze-
fly seldom or never follows. I have frequently had a
train of pack-mules completely scattered by these
formidable pests.
The largest and fiercest is the black breeze-fly
(Tabanus atratus). Its body is like glossy black velvet,
frosted over with a delicate white bloom, like a freshly-
gathered Orleans plum ; it is about an inch in length;
the wings, like pale blue gauze, when at rest are always
kept in a horizontal position; the alulets are large and
strong. The eyes are exquisitely beautiful, in colour
dark-blue, but glittering with the lustre of highly-
polished gems, and nearly covering the entire head.
The next in size is the belted breeze-fly (Tabanus
cinctus), about one-third smaller than its sable relative.
It is clad in bright orange livery, banded with stripes AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
almost black; and has a most showy appearance, being
decidedly the best dressed fly of the family. The eyes
are emerald green, and, when viewed in the bright sunlight, have the appearance of being cut into numerous
facets.
The third or smallest is the Lined Breeze-fly (Tabanus lineatus); of a bluish colour, and only conspicuous
from having a white line along the top of the head. In
this fly the eyes are of bluish-green, and quite as beautiful as in the two preceding.
The lady breeze-fly, I am grieved to say, is far more
to be dreaded than her lord. These insects can never,
one would suppose, enjoy the luxury and delight, or
whatever may be the proper term applicable to such a
universal habit as kissing. How could a winged lady,
I should like to know, be kissed by a winged wooer, when
her lips are a bundle of lancets, six in number, and as
sharp as a surgeon's? True the male has four bladelike instruments arming the mouth, but it is questionable
whether he uses them for other purposes, than that of
sucking nectar from flowers. The apparatus of the
female is beautifully adapted for puncturing the skin,
and then pumping up the fluid through the sheath of
the lancets, that acts as a tube or canula. It would be
of trifling interest to advert more in detail to the minute
anatomy of these insects. The rambler alone has an
opportunity to investigate the haunts and watch the
habits  of strange beasts, birds, and insects.    To the raw
LARVAL  CONDITION  OF  BREEZE-FLY,
293
anatomist at home, in cosy closet, belongs the task
of developing, with scalpel and microscope,. the complicated machinery by which life's varied duties are
carried on.
The larva lives' in the earth, a grub easily dug up in
the moist prairie lands ; of an elongated sub-cylindrical
form, tapering, off towards each extremity; its colour a
dingy yellow; destitute of feet; having a body divided
into twelve segments, each segment being banded with
a row of minute horny hooks—an admirable contrivance,
enabling it to drag itself along through the earth. The
head is horny,, and brownish-yellow in colour, also
armed with hooks to aid in progression. The pupa
I have never seen, but De Geer tells us the pupa of
Tabanus bovinus is c naked, incomplete, elongated, sub-
cylindrical, with six spines at the end of the body, the
margins of the abdominal segments ciliated, and the
forehead bi-tubercled.*
Where or when the eggs of the Tabanus are deposited
is not generally known, but it is more than probable on
the stems of plants, to which they are fastened by a
glutinous • secretion; the grub when hatched, falling on
the ground, at once buries itself. Neither is it known
how long a time the larva remains in the earth, ere it
changes to the pupa form.
I remember once, being busily occupied all day, collecting beetles and other insects> in the dense, shady
pine-forests, close to a small'stream called the Mooyee, AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
that flows down the western slope of the Eocky Mountains : boxes, bottles, bags, even my hat, indeed every
available locality about my person, was appropriated to
the stowage and transport of the proceeds of my hunt.
My horse, rather a wild mustang, had been tethered
close to the water, and thus kept clear of the breeze-
flies during my absence; soon, however, after mounting
him to return, emerging from the forest, I came on a
small patch of open prairie land, but no sooner was I clear
of the timber than, the pests were at us.    My beast
commenced practising every species of jump and leap
that it was possible for a horse to execute, and several
of them of a nature so extraordinary that one would
have thought no animal that ever went on four legs
could  accomplish; he  pranced, shied, kicked, leaped
forward,  backward,   sideways—in  a  word, performed
such  demoniacal  pranks  that,   although   a practised
horseman, I found it a most difficult matter to keep my
seat.     As a finale, off he went like a mad creature,
caring nothing for all my efforts to stop him; then, as
if from sheer madness caused by the punctures of the
flies, that followed like a swarm-of enraged bees, he
stopped suddenly short, viciously threw his head between
his forelegs, and at the same time elevated his hind ones
into  the air;  the whole being performed with such
sudden and savage violence, that I was pitched clean out
of the saddle : boxes, bottles, bags, together with all my
insect treasures, lay scattered over the prairie; and ere I KICKED  OFF.
295
could regain my feet I had the satisfaction of seeing him
put his legs into the bridle-reins, drag it clean off his
head, and, with a snort that sounded mightily like a
derisive horse laugh, he galloped off leaving me to my
own devices. I mention this little adventure to show
how terribly these pests can madden an animal.
From an intimacy by no means sought, or on my part
cultivated, with the Tabanidce, or breeze-flies, I am disposed to think the fly called Zimb, and described by
Bruce, belonged to this family, and was not an (JEstrus,
as many have supposed. Speaking again of the Zimb,
in reference to the camel and elephant: j When the
first of these animals are attacked, its body, head, and
legs break out into large bosses, which swell, burst, and
putrify, to its certain destruction.' Just such effects
have I again and again seen amongst horses and mules.
One mule we had to abandon on the prairie (a disabled
foot preventing its travelling any further) was, when we
returned for it, so stung by the breeze-flies as to be a
mass of small ichorous ulcers from head to hoofs ; truly
pitiable was the poor beast's plight, its injured limb
having precluded all chance of escape from the flies,
and, as a mere matter of humanity, it was at once shot.
I have also frequently seen tethered horses so injured
by the punctures of the breeze-fly as to be rendered
useless for many months. Their favourite places for
puncturing are on;the front of the chest—where the
saddle goes—and inside the thighs.    If a man were AT  HOME  IN   THE  WILDERNESS.
tied, or otherwise disabled, so that all chance of beating
off, or escaping from the breeze-flies was out of his
power, I have no hesitation in asserting my firm conviction that they would rapidly kill him.
The illustration (fig. 1)* will give a good idea of the
Belted Breeze-fly—a lady charmingly dressed in orange
flounced with black, very attractive when you see her
sunning herself amid the petals of some prairie flower,
but a closer acquaintance destroys the charm, as she
soon lets you feel her power of wounding.
Fig. 2 exhibits the proboscis and its armature of
six lancets, terminated by two large fleshy lip-like
lobes, further protected at the sides by the maxillary
palpi.
Travelling in Oregon one constantly finds himself on
the banks of a wide glassy lake; gazing over its un-
rippled surface, the eye suddenly rests on what, to the
inexperienced in hunter's craft, appears to be small
clumps of twisted branches, or dead and leafless tree-
tops, the trunks of which are hidden in the water; but
the Indian or j trapper' discerns in a second that the
apparent branches are the antlers of a herd of Wapiti
that have been driven into the water by breeze-flies.
Wild cattle seek a like means of protecting themselves
against such terrible foes. A perfect forest of horns may
frequently be witnessed in a pool, but not a vestige of
the bullocks, save their noses, kept above water for the
* Page 290. THE  (ESTRIDCE.
297
purpose of breathing. Virgil clearly alluded to the
breeze-flies, and "not to the (Estridce, when writing
about the Asilus :—
Through.waving groves, where Selos' torrent flows,
And where, Alberno, thy green Ilex grows,
Myriads of insects flutter in the gloom
(QSstrus in Greece, Asilus in Borne),
Fierce and of cruel hum.    By the dire sound
Driven from the woods and shady glens around
The universal herd in terror fly.
The same thing goes on now as of old: breeze-flies
puncture the toughest hides for blood, and as in the
days of Greece and Eome, and, it may be, ages and ceons
before that, the auniversal herd in terror flew' on
hearing the shrill blast of the breeze-fly's trumpet.
Two more flies deserve a passing notice, as being
troublesome to the wanderer's horses and herds, should
he possess either or both. These belong to the family
(Estridce; one of the two is terribly dreaded by horned
beasts of all kinds, especially bullocks and deer; if
they only hear the sound of its buzzing, off the entire
herd scamper, and make their way to the nearest
water, into which they plunge up to their necks. The
fly's aim is to deposit its larvse in the skin of the animals
back, by puncturing a hole and placing an egg in it; this
egg rapidly hatches, and the grub feeds and fattens in
a kind of abscess underneath the skin,
A small hole is always left for the purpose of admitting air for the worm to breathe, and as a means of 298
AT HOME  IN THE  WILDERNESS.
I
escape, when about to assume the pupa condition; the
time for this change having arrived, it forces its way
out, drops upon the ground, buries itself, *by-and-bye to
appear as a j trumpet-fly,' so called from the peculiar
note it continually makes whilst pursuing its victims.
I have sometimes killed deer and wild cattle, their
backs covered all over with j worm holes,' as hunters
call the the larvse knobs of the j trumpet-fly.' Of course
the skin is valueless when so punctured.
The second species, also called a trumpet-fly, does not
puncture a hole in the animal's skin, but contents itself
by glueing the eggs to the ends of the hairs ; the animal
in licking itself of course conveys these eggs first into
its mouth, and thence into its stomach. Once in the'
stomach, the eggs are soon hatched, and a yellowish
white grub is produced, encircled with several rings or
bands of minute recurved spines, and further armed
with a hook for holding on with to the coats of the
stomach, thus anchored they feed and flourish until the
period arrives for them to undergo the change from
larvae to pupse; then they loose their hold, and aided by
the recurved hooks, which prevent any retrograde motion, pass on through the intestinal canal, and finally
reach the ground with the excrementitious matter, bury
themselves, to appear in due course a winged pest. I
have thought it best to mention these flies, as the
wanderer will the more readily recognise them in the
wilderness.    I need hardly say there are two closely WASPS AND  HORNETS.
!99
allied species of (Estridse (CEstris boms and CE. equi) common to England.
Next to the puncturescpf blood-sucking insects, stings
from wasps and hornets are most to be dreaded; there
are two species belonging to this spiteful community, the
wanderer has to be wary of, when travelling with mules.
One a hornet, called by the packers a ' Jack-Spaniard,'
that builds a circular paper nest, about the size of a half-
quartern loaf, and suspends it from the- extreme point of
a branch, and as the trails afford nice open avenues for
jack-spaniards to cruise up and down in, they usually
suspend their nests from the boughs of the trees that
hang about six feet from the ground along the trails; of
course the mules brush against them as they travel on,
an act of rudeness the jack-spaniards invariably resent,
and in revenge swarm out to make a savage attack upon
the eutire train; away go the mules helter-skelter when
the hornets sting them, and as the packers pass the angry
insects in pursuit of the scattered train, they in their
turn, get a taste of the stings. The best remedy when
jack-spaniards' nests are plentiful, is for one to ride
ahead of the train, and to light smouldering fires beneath the hornet's nests as he passes them, the smoke
from which keeps the insects away. Tobacco leaf laid
upon a stung part will afford immediate relief, or fat
well rubbed in will answer, if nothing better can be
procured.
The other torment is a wasp that builds ta small paper AT HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
nest, seldom larger than a tennis-ball, underneath stones
or shelving rocks, in loose stony trails, particularly on
hill sides; these small wasps prove very troublesome. If
a pack train is travelling up a slope, the mules by
displacing the stones constantly destroy these concealed
nests, and the insects usually resent the damage done to
them by stinging the animals in the flanks, thereby very
often causing a mule to kick off its load. On the other
hand, if one is riding over stony ground where these
I stone wasps j are plentiful, every now and then you find
your horse commence to plunge and kick and become
perfectly ungovernable, the cause of which you discover
on examination to be enraged little wasps, stinging
the animal's flanks. Bacon, or other fat, well rubbed into
the stung flanks, affords relief and prevents swelling.
Bites from poisonous reptiles are at all times dangerous, and too frequently fatal in their results. There
are few if any remedies of much service if the poison
has been absorbed into the circulation, but excision of
the bitten part, and severe cauterization, may, if resorted
to immediately the wound is made by the serpent's
poison-fangs, be attended with success, by removing the
empoisoned flesh before the vessels can absorb the virus
and convey it into the blood. Whisky is said by hunters
and trappers to be a specific against the bite of a rattlesnake. The stronger the spirit the better is it suited to
effect the cure, and it must be drank until it produces
stupor.    I myself knew a man drink a pint and a half RATTLE  SNAKES.
301
of strong whisky before it produced any visible effect,
after being bitten in the leg by a rattle-snake, and he
perfectly recovered. I knew another man who tried a
similar experiment and died, whether from the whisky or
the bite of the rattle-snake I am unable to say. It is
quite a mistake to imagine rattle-snakes ever jump at or
attack a man; they turn and bite if they are trodden on,
or a female with young will sometimes strike at you if
you pass near her, but according to my experience, the
paramount desire on the part of the reptile is to make
its- escape if possible, when surprised by man.
I have tried again and again to tease a rattle-snake
into jumping at me, but never in a single instance
succeeded in inducing one to attempt it; they have no
power to jump beyond the straitening out of the coils,
into which they usually fold themselves when basking
in the sun. West of the Eocky Mountains rattlesnakes are in wonderful abundance. I have sometimes
seen a sunny slope completely covered with them, coiled
up upon every ledge, stone, and bare spot.
The rattle, too well known to require any description
here, is employed by Indian women and medicine men
in cases of j labour;' it appears to exert a specific effect
similar to that of ergot of rye.
In Southern Oregon, California, and Texas, animals
whilst grazing, are often bitten in the nose by a large
spider that makes a trap-door nest in the ground. The
spider either excavates a kind of cave in the earth, or >02
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS,
takes possession of a hole already made, lines it with a
thick coating of silky web, and then constructs a trapdoor or lid, by mixing earth, web, and some adhesive
material together, to accurately fit the entrance to the
den; not only does the skilful architect make this
wondrous door, but further adds to it a hinge of silken
cords, so that the spider can open and shut its door, as
best befits its fancy. When hungry the spider pushes
open the door, and with its head only protruding, awaits
the approach of insects. Woe betide the unlucky
grasshopper, beetle, or field-cricket, that ventures near
to this ogre's den; seized by the spider, it is dragged into
the hole, the door shut fast, and all chance of escape
utterly cut off.
As animals browse the herbage, they often put their
lips and noses close to, or upon this spider's den, which
the spider resents by giving the intruder a nip with its
poison fangs. This produces swelling at first of the
nostrils and lips, accompanied with a copious discharge
from the eyes. This swelling rapidly increases, extends
over the face and head, and soon involves the throat
and larynx, thus causing death by suffocation. I know
of no remedy for the bite; it always, or nearly so, proves
fatal; the only remedy is to fire the pasture when the
grass is dry enough to burn, and in that manner roast
the spiders in ovens of their own contriving.
The hunter and emigrant on the Western prairies, is
often terribly bothered  in the fall of the year, by a DEER  TICKS.
303
troublesome little pest, called a deer-tick. I have
myself suffered a great deal of annoyance from these
plagues ; if by chance you sit down to rest, or walk
amongst the fallen leaves in the autumn, you will most
probably feel when you arrive at your camp, sundry
spots upon your body commence to itch j scratching only
aggravates the mischief. One naturally searches for the
cause; then you will observe at every itching place a
small black speck a little larger than a pin's head. This
is a| deer-tick 'with all its anterior parts buried in your
skin. A novice would be disposed there and then to
pinch the intruder out. An experienced wanderer
would know, if he did, that the head of the tick
would be left behind, and cause a nasty irritable wound.
'What would he do?' Why, take a leaf or two
of tobacco from off his plug, wet it, and lay it carefully over the tick, and in about half an hour remove
the covering to discover the result, which would be, that
the blood-sucker had wriggled clear from its hold, and
was either dead, or remarkably sick and stupid. By
adopting this simple expedient, no ill effects follow the
puncture made in the skin.
I have very frequently discovered blood and frothy
material issuing from the mouths of mules and horses,
the animals so affected, clearly showing by constantly
champing and twisting about the lips, that something
was wrong in their mouths; on examining into the
matter I generally find one and sometimes more leeches, AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
sticking  on to  the lining  membrane  of the cheeks,
or underneath the tongue.
The blood-suckers fasten on to the mouth of the
animal whilst drinking, and if not discovered and
removed, cause,very serious and often dangerous results.
It is by no means an easy matter to pull the leeches off;
their bodies are slippery, and animals dislike to have
their mouths meddled with, even if it is to do them a
service. The best thing is a handful of salt placed on
the horse's tongue; it rapidly dissolves over the mouth,
and at once compels the leech to loose its hold and fall
out. THE  AMATEUR  TAXIDERMIST.
305
OHAPTEE XIX.
Hints on Taxidermy—What tools to carry—A Fall-trap—How to
Pack the proceeds of the Hunt^-The End.
Many wanderers may perchance have a taste for
natural history, and to those who have only the tiniest
spark of inclination pointing in that direction I say by
all and by every means cherish and cultivate it; you
cannot imagine how many hours may be pleasantly and
profitably wiled away by collecting the living things,
and plants too, if you are botanically disposed, met with
from day to day. Preserving birds' and animals' skins is
a most simple process, and to dry, pack, and either bring
or send home insects, reptiles, and the various tenants
of the salt and fresh waters, needs only a little care and
skill, when the right way of doing it is put into practice.
I shall first describe the plan I always follow when
fitting out, and then endeavour to give a few simple
directions, which I think will enable any person to
become an amateur taxidermist, sufficiently skilled,
however, to preserve and transmit whatever may be
collected safely to England or elsewhere.
For tools, go to a saddler, and
get him to make AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
a leather case, pig-skin is best, two feet six inches
long and eight inches wide. A pocket must be
made at one end, four inches in depth and the width
of the case, and two flaps of thinner leather should
be sewn down each side, to fold over the contents in
the centre of the case, and extending from end to
eud; a leather strap 1J inch wide must be sewn at
intervals, so as to form loops of different widths; a
surgeon's pocket-case will be a capital pattern to copy
from; this case is of course intended to roll up. Your
case completed, go to a surgical instrument maker, and
purchase two pairs of scissors, a four-bladed penknife,
a strong scalpel to shut like a pocketknife, a pair of
bone nippers, a few bent needles, and two pairs of strong
forceps made to close with a slide; these will be found
of immense use in skinning. You will not require any
other instruments. Add to these things a couple of
camel's hair brushes and a glass syringe, and your
skinning gear is completed. Go next to a worker in
tin, and get him to make a shallow tin box, which must
fit the pocket in the leather case. This box must be
divided into three compartments, one large and two
smaller ones; the larger fill with powdered arsenic, the
two smaller fill, one with camphor and the other with
bichloride of mercury, commonly known as corrosive sublimate. A thin cake of common soap should be carried in
the division containing the arsenic, and a stock of cotton
wool and tow packed in a box must not be forgotten. FITTING  OUT  FOR  COLLECTING
507
From the chemist purchase a two-ounce bottle, stoppered
and < capped,' and get it filled with chloroform; also
another bottle with a wide mouth, not too large, say a
pint size, and have a good bung fitted to it, the bung to
be tightly covered with leather, tied to form a knob to
catch hold of. Procure also ten or a dozen small sponges,
a gross or two of nested pillboxes, and as much camphor,
sublimate, and arsenic, as you think requisite ; a pound
or two of parchment shavings for labelling, and a few
gallons of methylated spirit, put up in gallon tins with
screw  stoppers.    If you are disposed to go  to  work
on  a large  scale, you will find  a dozen quart wide-
mouthed stoppered bottles packed in cases with wooden
divisions, each case to contain four bottles, very handy,
but of course all those are matters which must be regulated by the requirements of the collector.
Collecting boxes, arsenical soap, and cork for pinning
out insects on, I look upon as useless incumbrances. If
there is a compound to be found more unchemical in
composition, more useless and less adapted to serve the
purposes for which it is made and employed than
another, surely that compound is arsenical soap. Why
persons in books on taxidermy invariably advise others
to use this abomination I cannot imagine.
Let us suppose ourselves in the wilds, and to be
occupied in preserving the proceeds of our various
captures. We begin with a bird; when you shoot it
carefully look for the shot-holes, and plug them with
x 2 *
II wmmm
308
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
bits of cotton wool, at the same time place a piece of
wool in the bird's mouth, and with a twig push it down
the throat.    Birds of delicate plumage are constantly
spoiled by neglect of this precaution.    I never, if I can
help it, skin a bird or an animal until it is cold.    To
skin a bird, first break the wing-bones close to the body,
the wings then drop out of your way; divide the skin
down the breast to the vent; skin out both legs and divide
the bone at the thigh-joint | turn the skin carefully over
the rump and sever the backbone a little beyond the ends
of the tail feathers; strip the skin along the back to the
wings, divide the bones of these close to the body, and
turn the skin inside out, drawing it over the head so as
to expose the skull; divide the neck from the base of
the skull, and remove the brain.    The bones of the le^s
and wings must  next  be   cleaned,  dusted  over  with
arsenic,   bound   round  with  cotton  wool,   and  drawn
back into the skin, the fat must be cleaned from off the
rump and skin, the skin brushed over with powdered
arsenic and turned back again into  its  proper form.
The eye I always remove from the outside, by placing
a  needle  through  it,   and jerking  it  out, then I fill
the orbit with wool dusted with arsenic, and adjust the
lid.    My own experience tells me, that learning to skin
a bird by following printed directions is at all times a
most unsatisfactory proceeding; hence I say, although
I have given these brief rules, go to a bird-stuffer before
you start wandering, and get a few lessons; it will help SKINNING BIRDS  AND  ANIMALS.
309
you more than a month's reading. The eyes finished,
fill the skin moderately with wool, but on no account
stretch it. Place it head downwards in a paper cone
and let it dry, tie a bit of parchment to one of the legs
inscribed with the sex, and a reference number to your
journal and notes. Animals are skinned much the same
way as birds, only in the latter be sure to remove the
bone of the tail, and replace it with a stick.
Carefully remove all the flesh from the leg and thigh
bones, scrape every particle of fat clean away from the
skin, and use every care not to stretch or over fill the
skin with cotton wool; for very large animals dry moss
or grass answers quite as well as wool or hemp. The
nose, feet, and inside of the ears should be brushed over
with a strong solution of bichloride of mercury. I
always carefully measure both birds and animals before
I commence to skin them, and enter the results, together
with the sex, colour of the iris, and where killed, in my
field note-book. In the preservation of small mammals,
birds, or reptiles, in spirits of wine it is all essential to
make an incision into the chest and abdomen, and to
inject with the glass syringe a saturated solution of bichloride of mercury. Often if this precaution is neglected
decomposition takes place, the abdomen swells from the
contained gases, and by and by bursts, spoiling together your spirit and specimen. Snakes are best
preserved in spirits, and their coloration should be very
carefully noted before immersion, because few if any
\m 310
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
snakes retain the same brilliancy of marking after
death or soaking in spirits that they had whilst alive,
and very many colours entirely change or disappear
altogether. Lizards, if spirits should be scarce, can be
readily skinned and dried just in the same manner as
you skin a mouse or a squirrel.
Fish are by far more valuable for natural history
purposes, if preserved in spirits, than they are dried
and brought home as skins; but to preserve large fish a
great quantity of spirit is requisite, and this makes the
process very costly and the package very cumbersome.
If you do feel disposed to go in for whole preservation,
it is just as well to know how it can be successfully
managed. The fish to be preserved should be well
soaked for some days in a pan or small cask of strong
spirits of wine, not forgetting the caution to inject the
viscera thoroughly with the mercurial solution. A tin
box should be made in the meantime to hold as many
fish as you may desire to pack. Take the fish out of the
soaking pan, and wind each one carefully round with
hemp or rag, taking care to affix to the back fin a small
tablet of soft lead, on which a figure must be stamped or
scratched, to correspond with a similar figure in your
note-book; lay the fish so prepared one upon another
in the tin box, and pack them securely round with
cotton wool, so that there is no possibility of their
moving or shifting about. Now fill the tin with spirit
and solder on the cover.   Let the tin remain upon a table PRACTICAL HINTS.
311
for a day or two, to make sure there are no leaks, and
then get it fitted into a strong wooden case, firmly
screwed together. Fish so prepared I have brought
through the tropics to England, without their sustaining
the slightest damage. If you wish to dry them, the plan
I have found to answer best is to remove a slice from one
side of the fish, and then to scrape away all the flesh
from the remaining skin, and to dust the skin well over
with dry arsenic and pin out the fins on pieces of cork
placed underneath them.
Crabs should be plunged into fresh water, first to
kill them and secondly to remove all the salt. If this
is not properly attended to they absorb moisture
and decompose after drying; large crabs must have
the under part removed, iust as if you were going
to eat them, and the shell must then be thoroughly
cleaned out and well washed with mercurial solution;
the large nipper claws must have a hole bored into them
and all the flesh removed; then the entire crab must be
soaked for some days in cold fresh water, which will
need to be frequently changed; lastly, place the shell
in a proper position and dry it slowly.
I find it a very good plan to dip star-fishes into boiling
water for a few seconds before soaking them in cold; it
prevents in a great measure their tendency to break and
soften after drying. In collecting and preserving uni^
valve shells always be most careful not to lose or destroy
the operculum, it is of the utmost importance in defining 312
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
iff I I
species. The operculum is the covering which shuts
up the mouth of the shell when the owner retires into
its quarters; a familiar example will be found in the
black patch which you pick off, prior to twisting out
a periwinkle with a pin. The best plan is to fill the
shell with cotton wool after removing the inmate, and
then to gum the operculum to the wool. In bivalves
care should be exercised not to break or injure the
hinge. Never place shells in boiling water; it always
injures them. The fish, if marine, soon die in cold
water, and then the valves are always wide enough apart
to admit of the fish being easily extracted.
In using bottles for the preservation of anything in
spirits, it is not by any means an easy job to prevent the
spirit from evaporating, even though you have ground
stoppers in your bottles. With corks 1 find the best plan
is first to cover the cork, after fitting it tightly into the
bottle with white lead such as is employed for making
paint. When dry I give it a second coat; over this
second coat, whilst the white lead is. wet, I tie a„ covering
of sheet gutta perch a; when the lead has become hard I
paint the covering with thick black varnish. For stoppers
I adopt the same plan, only I add to the white lead a,
small proportion of linseed-flour to give it a firmer consistence. Stoppers and corks so covered I find to be
equal to any temperature, and they are damp proof.
Cheap solutions, and jars with screw covers, I do not
believe in ; I always find the jars leak and the specimens TO  MAKE  A  ' FALL-TRAP.
313
spoil in all solutions recommended to economise spirit.
My advice is, have nothing whatever to do with either.
It may be useful, when collecting specimens of natural
history, to know the way to construct a fall-trap. This
form of trap is employed by Indians and trappers for the
capture of sables, pine martens, foxes, and other fur-
bearing animals. Steel traps are likewise employed. As
these are only strong rat-gins, and set in a similar
manner, I need not describe the plan of setting.
Two or three different kinds of fall-traps are employed to catch pine martens, but we will, in the first
place, select this pile of rocks to set an imaginary
fall-trap; I can track at least a couple of martens,
which are in all likelihood concealed in the clefts.
The fall-trap is an Indian invention, and a very ingenious one into the bargain, as we shall see by-
and-by. To commence, we must build a half-circle,
with large stones, to the height of about three feet;
this done, we next procure a tolerably heavy tree, drag
it to the stone building we have constructed, and
lay it across the entrance. The heavy end should be
the furthest away, the lighter end we poise carefully
upon an arrangement of peeled sticks. As a familiar
example of what I mean, I may instance the figure-of-four
trap used by boys for catching small birds. This contrivance and one end of the tree or c fall' are together
supported on a smooth stick, which is built in amongst
the stones composing  the  half-circle.     This  support AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
stick must project horizontally from the centre of the
hollow of the wall, at a height of about three feet from
the ground; it needs to t>e firmly fixed, and must be
tapered to a point, and polished as smooth as an ebony
ruler. The length of this support has to be regulated
by the depth of the side walls; its pointed end ought to
be just six inches within the entrance walls, against the
ends of which the tree or I fall' traverses. A tempting
bit of rabbit or grouse carefully skinned, for the marten
is most fastidious in its tastes—if the meat is at all
tainted or dirtied in the preparation it is useless as a
lure—is securely fastened to a loop of cord made from
the inner bark of the cedar tree (Thuja gigantea) I this
loop is slid upon the supporting stick, and pushed on
until it reaches the hindermost part of the wall. Now
we make the figure of 4, which rests upon the horizontal bar, and at the same time bears up the tree or
j fall.' The figure of j 4 ' is easily made ; the vertical
piece has two notches cut in it, one in the centre for
the horizontal piece to rest and fit in, and a second at
the top to receive the end of the oblique piece, which is
cut to a wedge shape at both ends. The horizontal
piece has one notch to take the end of the oblique; on
the other rests the fall. We have set our trap, and now,
as a final process, we walk backwards from it for some
distance, and carefully brush away every trace of our
footprints with a pine branch, and here for the time we
must leave it.    We shall see how it acts when we again HOW  THE  TRAP  ACTS.
315
The ' fall ? is down, and underneath it, crushed and
lifeless, is stretched a fine male marten.    If you observe
the position the body lies in, it will explain to some
extent the care that was needed in rightly adjusting the
length of the support in reference to the 'fall/    The tree
has dropped upon the marten immediately behind the
shoulders, and so caused instant death ; and here let me
explain how the trap acts.    The marten, hunting about,
suddenly sniffs the dainty bait  suspended   from   the
horizontal stick;   approaching  the  trap,  and  having
satisfied its  naturally suspicious nature that there is
nothing very formidable in a pile of sticks and stones,
and from our precaution of brushing out the footprints,
it is unable to scent the presence of an enemy, ventures
to creep under the ' fall,' and enter the semi-circle of
stones; then reaching up, the marten seizes the bait,
and struggles with all the strength it can exert to pull
it down, but finding  this is not to be accomplished,
next tries what backing out and tugging the coveted
morsel after it will do.  The stick, if you remember, was
made as smooth as an ebony ruler, and so the animal
finds the bait and loop easily traverses it towards the
entrance of the trap; but when half the marten's body
is without the ' fall,' the loop comes against the vertical   stick   composing  the  figure  of 4,  which rests
upon the stick along which the victim is impatiently
drawing the loop to which the bait is fast.    Finding
this unlooked-for obstruction makes him irritable, and I 111
4
316
AT  HOME  IN  THE  WILDERNESS.
so he concentrates all his energies for a sudden jerk.
'Tis done, the support* of the j fall j tumbles in pieces to
the ground, and the heavy tree slips down suddenly
upon the marten's back. You will thus observe, that
the grand secret in setting a j fall j trap of this pattern
is so to adjust the figure of 4 upon the stick from which
the bait is suspended, that when the final tug is made,
nearly two-thirds of the marten's body shall be outside
and clear of the tree placed for the purpose of crushing
its life out.
When collecting insects, I carry the wide-mouthed
bottle fitted with a bung, into which I place a small
sponge wetted with chloroform, and every insect I catch
is at once dropped into this fatal j omnium gatherum,*'
I do not turn them out or examine them until ray return to the camp. Then I examine the proceeds of the
hunt very carefully, drop all the beetles into a solution
of bichloride of mercury, not too strong, because chloroform does not invariably kill them, but only produces
temporary stupor; the two-winged and other flies I pack
in pillboxes, the butterflies I dry between bibulous
paper with their wings folded, then I pack them flat in
triangular paper cases, gummed up securely, and labelled
in reference to my note-book. The beetles after a day's
soaking I pack in paper tubes, made by rolling paper
round sticks of different sizes, just in the same manner
as rocket and squib cases are manufactured. Packed in
this manner the antennae and legs are safe from break-
TT\
mm GOOD-BYE.
317
age; when I have filled a number of cases I fasten up
the ends and place them vertically in a box. Secured
in this way you might fling a box of beetles from the
top of the monument, and not injure a solitary specimen.
To unpack these cases you have only to lay them upon
damp sand for a night, and they unrol without the
slightest trouble. Pinning any kind of insect in order
to secure it for transport is a bad and useless plan,
and one I have abandoned for many a year! if properly
damped all insects can be as readily pinned out after
they are brought from abroad, as if put into position
immediately after death. The one grand secret to be
observed in packing specimens of natural history for
transport, is to obviate every chance of movement; if
things are so packed that shaking about is impossible,
there is no fear of breakage. I brought my extensive
collection from the Eocky Mountains to England, and
broke only two bottles, simply by taking a little extra
pains with the packing.
And now, fellow wanderers, good-bye. If the practical hints I have given in these pages shall prove in days
to come useful to any persons who are far away, whether
absent from choice, enjoying the rough yet pleasant
life of the wanderer, or driven by hard necessity to toil
in the struggle for existence as settler or emigrant, in
either case I shall have achieved all I desired to do.  INDEX.
ANI
A NIMALS, tethering, 95
gjffl   — the secret of wintering, 19
Aparejo, definition of, 69
— gable-ended, 76
— in search of, 73
— round-topped, 68
Arrangements for packing, 159
Ascending the pass, 182
Axe, the American, 123
Axeman's tent, 114
BAGGAGE, rafting, 195
Bag, mosquito, 144
Bag-tent, 112
Bake a loaf, to, 138
Bargaining with red men, 185
Bark, canoe, 192
Barrel-chair, 121
Barrels, packing, 163
Basket, fishing for salmon, 261
Baskets, mule, 135
Beaver skin, the unit of computation,
55
Bedding, a hunter's, 115
— and cloths, the way to fold, 119
— camp, 118
'Bed envelopes,' to avoid, 120
Bedstead, camp, 116
— log, 117
Beef-jerking, 255
Bee-hunting, 245
Bell-mare, the, 20
Bent-wood stirrup, 85
Berries, edible, 249
Biscuit not so good as flour, 137
CAN
Bit and bridle, 94
Bites from poisonous reptiles, 300
Blankets, the, 77
Blazing a trail, 180
Blind-on mule, 79
— or ' Tapujo,' the, 78
Blindness, snow, 236
Bone-rings and ' toggles,' 232
Boots and mocassins, 142
Brand a mule, to, 50
Branding, its importance, 48
Breeze-fly, the, 289
Bridge-cradle, 177
Bridge-tree, 176
Bridging streams, 175
Bridle and bit, 94
4 Brigade,' preparing for, 61
Buck-jumping, 213
Buffalo run, description of, 90
—, to run a, 89
Bull-boat, to make, 190
Bull driver, the, 98
Bush and prairie fires, 197
flABRESTO, the, 95
\j   —, to make a, 209
Californian riding saddle, 81
Camp-bedding, 118
— bedstead, 116
Camp-fire, to make a, 196
Camp-kettle, wrought iron, 136
Canadian blanket-coats, 141
Canoe, bark, 192
— cedar, 191
Canteens to be avoided, 133 Carnis extractum, Liebig, 252
Cataract, liability of mules to, 12
Catching salmon, 258
Cattle, wild, risk in j roping,' 214
Cedar, canoe, 191
Chair, barrel, 121
Choice of fire-arms, 149
— of fishing gear, 145
Coats, Canadian blanket, 141
Colville Fort, 57
Commission, winter quarters of, 269
Conveyance of mails over the ice, 238
Cooking utensils, 131
■ Cording' a swamp, 179
Corner, an ugly, 181
Corona, the, 77
Counter-branding, value of,
Counting mules, 172
Cradle-bridge, 177
Crimean pack-saddle, Q6
Crupper-cuts, beware of, 10
Cured white-fish, 256
51
INDEX.
DANGER of eating equisetum, 18
— of halting, 171
from log-splitting, 126
Deer-tick, the, 303
Diamond-tree pass, 174
Disadvantages of leather,
Dogs, feeding, 235
— mocassins, 235
— packing, 229
— tethering, 234
— to harness, 232
— to work in pairs, 240
— travelling with, 228
18
IND
}^ALL trap, to make a, 313
Feeding dogs, 235
Fire, how to kindle, 270
■— camp, to make a, 196
— arms, choice of, 149
— how to clean, 155
Fires, bush and prairie, 197
Fishing, a good day's, 145
— gear, choice of, 145
— in wild countries, 147
Flies, blowing, and magpies, 9
Flour better than biscuit, 137
Fort Colville, 57
Freight, Jew's, 66
Frost-bite, remedy for, 243
Frost,   how    to   protect   the
against, 143
Fryingpan, value of, 131
feet
G
1BLE-ENDED aparejo, 70
J   Gable-ended tent, 109
Geldings preferable to mares, 7
Girth, the, or ' Synch,' 82
' Green hands,' instructions for,
Grimsley's pack-saddle, 67
Gum-stick, 202
Gun-case, the'right sort of, 157
Gun, the way to sling, 87
.23
HALF-SHELTER tent, 108
Halters, the, 78
Halting, danger of, 171
Harness, seven dogs to, 232
Hat, the best kind of, 144.
Home in the Wilderness, 1
Hoofs, good and bad, 11
Hornets and wasps, 299
Horse's tail, its value where flies are
plenty, 21
House, log, to build, 263
Hudson's Bay Company's system of
packing, 63
Hunter's bedding, a, 115
Hunting-bee, 245
I
NDIAN pad, 89
stages for salmon fishing, 259 INDEX.
321
IND
Indian wigwam, 109
Insects eaten by Indians, 250
Instructions for ' Green hands, '123
Inverted nipples, 156
Iron ovens, 137
JACKET and waistcoat, right kind
of, 142
Jerking-beef, 255
Jew's freight, 66 _
Journey, an imaginary, 7
Jumping buck, 213
T7"ETTLE Falls, the, 59
_l\.   Knot, Mexican, 84
LASSOO, a mustang, to, 211
— how to make a, 206
Leather, its disadvantages, 141
Leeches in animals mouths, 304
Life, a ride for, 201
Load, roping a, 167
Loaf, to bake a, 138
Log bedstead, 117
— to split, 126
— splitting, danger from, 126
— house, to build a, 263
j Logging up' a tree, 127
"ACLELLAN saddle, 86
i-Y-L.   Magpies and blowing flies,
Mails over the ice, conveyance
238
Mare, the ' bell,' 20
Mares not so good as geldings, 7
Mexican knot, 84
Mocassins and boots, 142
— dogs, 235
Morgan's process, 251
Mosquito, the, 273
— bag, 144
Mouths, animals, leeches in, 304
Mule-baskets, 135
— packed, 75
— saddling and packing a, 160
— counting, 172
PRO
M ule,   parrot-mouthed,   objectionable, 14
— swimming, 187
— to brand a, 50
— to examine, 7
— with blind on, 79
— pack, average worth of, 16
— pack, good points of, 15
Mustang, to lassoo a, 211
— to saddle and mount a, 212
Mustangs, wild, 205
"VTARROW trails, 173
IS    Natural    history   specimens,
packing, 317
Nipples, inverted, 156
0ESTRID2E, the, 297
Ovens, iron, 137
Overland stage line, 99
PACKED mule, 75
Packing, arrangements for, 159
— barrels, 163
— dogs, 229
— for a start, 158
— specimens of Natural History, 317
— Hudson's Bay Company's system
of, 63
Pack mule, average worth of a, 16
— saddle, Crimean, 65
— saddle, Grimsley's, 67
— saddles, choice of, 52
Pad, Indian, 89
Parrot-mouthed mules to be avoided, 14
Pass, ascending the, 182
— diamond-tree, 174
Pegs and tent-poles, 111
Pemmacan, how to make,  249
Points of a good pack mule, 15
Poisonous reptiles, bites from, 300,
j Possible sack,' 87
Preston and Merrill's yeast,   powder, 137
,  Process, Morgan's, 251 INDEX.
RAF
pAFTlNG a stream, 189
Xt   — baggage, 195
Rattle-snake, the, 301
Red-men, bargaining with,
Remedy for frost bite, 243
Reptiles, poisonous, bites from, 3-00
Resinous wood, 203
Riata, to throw the, 1-65
Ride for life, a, 201
Riding saddles, 80
— saddle, Californian, 81
Rigging, the, 74
Rivers, to cross, 184
Rodeo, at a, 215
' Roping
'Roping,' wild cattle, risk in, 214
Roots, edible, 249
Round-topped aparejo, 68
Rum versus tea and coffee, 133
' Run,' buffalo to, 89
— the salmon, 60
Runners, sleigh with, 231
j OACK, possible/ 87
kj   Saddle-knob, uses of the, 87
Saddle, Maclellan, 86
Saddles-riding, 80
Saddling and packing a mule, 160
Salmon-fishing, Indian stages   for,
259
TSE
< Stick-gum/ 202
Stirrup, bent-wood, 85
— solid-block, 85
Stream, rafting a, 189
Streams, bridging, 175
Substitutes for tobacco, 2o0
Suffering, evidences of, 72
Sun-dried salmon, 256
Swamp, cording a, 179
' Sweat cloth,' the, 77
Swimming a horse, lftB
— mules, 187
' Synch,' the, 76
System. Sloper's and Paris', 255
System of trading, 55
'npAPUJO'orbliiid578
X    Taxidermy, hints on, 305
Tea and coffee versus rum, 1-33
Teaming and wagons, 97
Teeth, to examine, 14
Tent, axeman's 114
— half-shelter, 108
— bag, 112
— gable-ended, 109
— Sibley's, 105
— poles and pegs, 111
— the more desirable form of, 104
Tethering animals, 95
— dogs, 234
Thin, why mules work, 15
Tobacco, substitute for, 250
' Tobogan,' the, 231
' Toggles' and 'bone-rings,' 232
Tools, requisite, 121
Trading, system of, 55
Trail, blazing a, 180
— making a, 175
Trails, narrow, 173
Train-pack, working a, 169
— the unsaddling, 204
Tramp on snow-shoes, to, 241
Trap-door spider, 301
— fall, to make a, 313
| Travaille,' the, 230
Travelling with dogs, 228
Tree-bridge, 176
— how to fell a, 124
— j logging up,' 127
Tsetse, the, 289 INDEX.
3*23
TCL
UGLY corner, an, 181
Unit    of    computation,    th<
beaver-skin, 55
Unsaddling the train, 204
Utensils, cooking, 131
TTANCOUVER ISLAND, landing
V     at, 113
TITAGONS and teaming, 97
VV     Walla-Walla, the story of, 22
Wanderers, a warning to, 71
Wasps and hornets, 299
Water, to procure, 261
Wear, what to, 139
White fish, cured, 256
ZIM
I   Why mules 'work thin,' 15
Wigwam, Indian, 109
Wild countries, fishing in, 147-
— mustangs, 205
Wilderness, home in the, 1
Winter-quarters of the Commission,
269
Working a pack-train, 169
Wood, resinous, 203
Wrought-iron camp-kettle, 136
YEAST    powder,    Preston    and
Merrill's, 137
y 1MB, the, 286
L05DOK
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