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Chinook days. Nine drawings by J. Howard Smith ; two drawings by John Innes MacInnes, Tom, 1867-1951 1926

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Array      Product entirely
British Columbia Copyright, Canada
AH rights reserved  Souvenir Copy
One  thousand  copies  of  this   book  were  printed   for  the
opening  of  Grouse  Mountain   Highway  and  Scenic  Resort,
September, 1926, of which this is No....^...**...-*?
A«*^^&^^..f?^^ Author.  CHINOOK DAYS
Author of
Roundabout Rhymes
Nine Drawings by J. Howard Smith
Two Drawings by John Innes  CONTENTS
Chinook Days  ,.     13
Chinook  Jargon       25
Slolikurn       37
Legend of Wa Wa Rock     43
Legenji of the Blue Grouse    53
Legend of Ko and Klon     63
Yahda of Capilano      75
Grouse Mountain Plateau     95
The Lure of Placer Gold   107
Early Days on the Inlet   119
Captain Jack, the Poet Scout   129
A Night with the Sea Wolf  149
Mike King and the Bear   161
Song Wong Tai   171
Morrison of Pekin   179
Joss     191
Yolana    197
Notes    201    Chinook Days
CHINOOK DAYS began at Nootka. Except
for errant Norsemen, who cut the runes on
the rock at Spokane, recording a battle disastrous to them, and also somewhat else which has
not yet been deciphered on a cliff in one of the
unfrequented valleys beyond Jasper Park; except
for such and, if you like, the Fair Swift People of
legend who came down this way before the Ice Age,
and wjio were superior to any race now living in
our ply of things, no Nordics seem ever to have
touched this side of the Pacific until Sir Francis
Drake, sailing abroad bravely for Queen Bess and
Spanish plunder, proclaimed sovereignty in 1578 over
the stretch of coast for some distance on either side
of San Francisco; calling the land New Albion. A
little later it was occupied by Spaniards hostile to
our interests. They must have gone ashore on a
warm day, for the Don in command gave the land
the name of Hot Furnace in his own tongue. Thus
it was labelled on old maps; and the name stuck.
That label was no libel; and it is still rightly
applicable to most of the inside of its long-drawn
outness. But the lower end of California was in the
knowledge of Italians and Greeks, as well as of
Spaniards, before Drake's voyage. It was not until
two hundred years later that the British and Spanish
sailing on further voyages of discovery, crossed each
other in  laying claim to British Columbia. 14 CHINOOK DAYS
Nootka, which is of no commercial standing now,
had long been a centre for such primitive trade as
there was among the Indians of the Coast. And
Nootka acquired not only exploratory and international importance toward the end of the 18th
century, but there was also a far-fetched religious
significance attached to it long before that. Hoey
Sien, Flower of Universal Compassion, was still
dimly remembered as Hozeen in my youth among a
few elect Indians. At least I feel sure that the Yo
Hozeen of Skookum Sokalie Tumtum, what little of
whose doctrine I made out for myself intrigued me
because of its distinction, indicating a direction
through the unseen quite other than that which was
taught me in the Presbyterian Sunday School and
the Catholic Brothers College at New Westminster;
and not countenanced in the orthodoxy of True Believers so far as I could gather that from my old
copy of the Arabian Nights—yes, I feel sure that he
could have been none other than the devout and
courageous Buddhist visionary, Hoey Sien, of whom
I was to learn much later; and who in his gospel
junk the Tai Shan came to Nootka from China 1400
years ago to spread the knowledge of the Lord
Buddha and the Mahayana, the Wide Raft of Salvation, among the aborigines. Leaving three monks
at Nootka, after having wintered there, he sailed
south, seeking a harbor and finding none until he
came to Acapulco in Mexico; which land, because of
a certain cactus plant and product found there pro- CHINOOK DAYS 15
fusely, he described under the name of Fusang when
he made an official report to the Emperor on returning to China. Thirteen hundred years later that
alert English promoter and trader, John Meares,
sometime a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, induced
the Governor General of India, who was a Scotsman,
and some British merchants in Macao, to back him
financially in a scheme to go get the fur of the
Americans and sell it in China. So in 1786 he
sailed away from Macao eastward and northerly
across.the Pacific in a little brig which he named
the Nootka, and which, for expediency and
economy in the matter of harbor dues, he first placed
under Portuguese colors. He made direct for Nootka, as if he were drawn by a magnet; all the sailors
of those days being much better sailors than now;
braving uncharted seas and most unfamiliar oceans
in ships of sometimes less than 100 tons, and no
equipment or conveniences or stores to compare
with ours. Meares reached Nootka toward the end
of summer. Later his Chinese carpenters and smiths
built in that port the first ship of European model
ever built on the Pacific Coast of North America- It
was called the Northwest America, and in its lifetime was captured and held once by Spaniards. It
was the Chinese of Meare's crew who first became
excited at finding old Chinese cash of the Tsi Dynasty among the Indians. I had an antique iron one
myself when a boy, which I was told had come from
Nootka.    I treasured it with some choice agates and 16 CHINOOK DAYS
a panther's tooth which I had found. But long ago.
I lost the lot; cash included. These coins had come
down to the Indians from they did not know when;
so they said. They made good trinkets and charms;
being so readily slung on a string by reason of the
square hole in the centre of each. The Chinese of
Meare's crew concluded that at some time in their
interminable history this land had rightfully belonged to Ta Han, the Empire of China. Of course
there may have been Jews trading down this way
via the Aleuts and Alaska out of.Mongolia; naturally
leaving a little money of very little, value as th,ey
passed through. There Js other evidence, perhaps
more plausible, to show thai, something of ancient
Jewry was perpetrated on this side of the Pacific at
a remote period. Or maybe Queen Yoma,; who from
Point Loma ruled California beautifully, time
so very different from now^ ma-y;.have-spent.among
the Indians whatever coins she found, in the pockets
of Gino Dorio, a personable Italian, officer, mingled
with which may have been à few luck pieces . of
Marco Polo. This Queen Ypma had become enam^
oured at sight of Gino Dorio, whom she allured from
his superior officer, Giano Sanguinettas; making him
marry her and settle down in San Diego- Giano
Sanguinettas was an Italian officer who in the year
1540 was sent north along the Gulf of Old California
by Cortez to explore. Cortez was one of those sort
of soldiers and politicians and explorers so gangrened with jealousy that they cannot bear to have CHINOOK DAYS 17
another mentioned for any brilliant part taken under
them in any campaign or expedition. So in his reports Cortez ignored Sanguinettas and his comrades.
But many things were going on up and down the
Coast in those days of which we have only a few
brief narratives now; most of them so romantic that
grave historians and college-confined professors are
averse to taking them seriously. Just for instance:
Captain Candish, an Englishman with a good ship
under his command, about the end of 1590 was happily able to detain a ship of the Spaniards at Cape
California which was on its way from the Philippines
and China to Mexico. In this ship, among others,
there was an astute Greek sailor and free-trader who
had-r goods of- his own on board valued at 60,000
ducats. Having taken about all there was of movable and merchantable value out of the Spanish ship,
and transferred it to his own, Captain Candish, who
was no bloody walk^the-plank piraté but rather a
gentlemanly hijacker, as we would say, wished the
survivors Godspeed; leaving them with enough provisions and supplies to make Acapulco. The Greek,
whose name was Apostolus Valerianos, although
stony broke on a foreign shore, was a superior person of sufficient wit to work out of his head. So he
soon contrived to come again to good food and clean
linen; eventually acquiring a standing with the
Spanish Governor of Mexico by the convincing manner in which he related his experiences as a mariner
around the world, and his special qualifications as a 18 CHINOOK DAYS
pilot in unknown waters. Now the Governor at the
time was outfitting three ships to sail north and fortify the Straits of Anian against passage by the English; and, being impressed by the Greek, he made
him chief pilot of the expedition. He was at the
same time honored with a Spanish name; being
known thenceforth as Juan de Fuca. On the voyage
north, however, the Spanish commander proved to
be such a dirty dog that there was a mutiny among
the men, who took control of the ships and returned
to Mexico. On all the facts being laid before the
Governor the mutineers were not only exonerated
but praised; and the captain was put in jail. Then,
in 1592, the Governor sent Juan de Fuca north again;
and this time in command. He made 47 degrees
north latitude in the Southern Ocean, as the Pacific
was then called, and as he sighted the inturn of the
straits which now bear his Spanish name he flattered
himself that he had come at last to the long-sought
Western entrance of the Straits of Anian, through
which there was wide and easy passage one time
from the North Pacific to the North Atlantic. But
it was not realized by any of those navigators then
how time had passed enormously. They did not
know that those legendary straits which once were
open all the year round, and through which was as
pleasant sailing one time among islands as now
through the Gulf of Georgia, when a warm ocean
washed the north coasts of Canada and Alaska, had
been frozen hopelessly against men in ships ages and CHINOOK DAYS 19
ages ago. Juan de Fuca did not more than round
Cape Flattery when by reason of bad weather, and
insufficient stores and equipment to begin fortification of the Straits against the English, he thought
wiser to turn back and report what he had found; on
the strength of his report being confident that he
could promote a stronger and better-equipped expedition for the purpose. He was ashore for awhile,
however, in small boats; obtaining furs and fresh
meat and water from the Indians with whom he
traded. The story of Juan de Fuca was written
down from his own lips at Venice in 1596 by Michael
Lok, a reputable English merchant. I am thinking
now that maybe he might have left some of those
old Chinese coins with the Indians in Washington
territory; the finding of which among the Indians
at Nootka in 1786 has been the subject of conjecture
ever since. But seems to me more likely than any
other way those old coins of the Tsi Dynasty were
brought to Nootka just one year earlier than Meare's
first visit. For James Hanna, the first white fur-
trader on the North Pacific Coast of America, sailed
out of Keesai, China, at the close of the year 1784
in a lorka, a small type of vessel with hull European
fashion and copper-bottomed, ibut with rig and sails
of Chinese pattern; being for that reason more
familiarly handled and with a maximum of efficiency
by a Chinese crew. This lorka was of only 74 tons
burden. Its crew consisted of 30 men. It had two
masts;   and  its  junk-ribbed    sails    could   'be   slung 20 CHINOOK DAYS
square to make like a brig or schooner-wise, according to convenience, in the wind. It arrived
safely at Nootka in August of 1785; Hanna being
guided to the place from the report made about it by
Captain Cook. Hanna cleverly surmised from Cook's
report that Nootka would be a likely place at which
to obtain valuable furs for the Chinese market; and
possibly ginseng. He obtained a large number of
sea-otter skins; after an introductory fight with
Chiefs Makwinna and Kaliko, who naturally thought
that because his ship was so much smaller than the
one in which Captain Cook had come there might be
a good chance to capture it. But the Chinese seamen, who with two Lascars constituted the majority
of Hanna's crew, proved their mettle, and the attack
on the lorka was handsomely repulsed. After the
fight all became proper good friends; and when
Hanna left Nootka and returned to China he netted
over $50,000 clean Mex profit from the sale
of his furs at Canton. This started the foreign interest in Nootka. I heard that before
sailing back to Macao Hanna left a Scotsman
by name of McKay on shore at Nootka, at his own
request, and that Makwinna provided him with a
capable wife. It may have been the Scotsman who
took the Chinamen's money, gaining with it among
the Indians, and they agreeing never to tell how they
came by it. The mere fact of the coins being of the
Tsi Dynasty argues nothing against a late entry to
Canada, for the older the thing is the more of value CHINOOK DAYS 21
it has in the eyes of the Chinese, except the way the
English eat their game and the Germans their cheese,
and they hold money until it is very old indeed.
Others say that this McKay was left at Nootka a
year later by Meares. So the whole matter remains
in doubt as to the time when the Tsi Dynasty coins
came first to Nootka. But of one thing there is no
doubt: the first of the valuable Scots blend found in
British Columbia originated at Nootka through the
efforts of the McKay and that blend later was much
appreciated in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Thus by going roundabout, as did Captain Vancouver, I come back again to Nootka; and the name
means just that: all around to a conclusion. But before concluding the beginning of this book I would
like to explain a little, if I can, what I intend. I
would recall the clarity of four, which is the sacred-
number in Chinookery; I would give a breath of the
four winds and the four mysteries in each; I would
give at least one whiff of the four colored smokes;
and perhaps some flavor of the four regimes and the
four atmospheres, into any one of which I can yet
dip for myself a little straw of memory, drawing
from one level or another; gem-clear and excellent
like the layers of various liqueurs in a proper pousse
kafay. Of course I will fail in what I intend. But,
soberly and historically, there was an era beginning
with the coming of Captain James Hanna to Nootka,
and ending with the founding of Vancouver  City, 22 CHINOOK DAYS
which may as well be called Chinook Days. That
era was colored under four distinct regimes; one not
lasting a decade, two counting several decades, one
still going strong in a strong atmosphere of its own.
There was the flash-in-the-pan of the Spanish; there
was the business men's government of the Hudson's
Bay Company; there was the admirable rule of Governor Douglas and the lesser Colonial Governors
following him; and there is the chain of the catch-
as-catch-can Provincial Governments with which we
have been largely afflicted since Confederation.
At the end of 1885 Vancouver City was being plotted; and with that the new time began for British
Columbia. I left the Province in 1885, and when I
returned, six years later, grapes of a kind undreamed
of here before the Canadian Pacific Railway came
across were ripening along the shores between Hastings and Coal Harbor, and False Creek and English
Bay; holding a sour promise of eventually being
very large and juicy and reasonably sweet.
But those grapes were of the future; and I by
nature preferred the accomplished sweetness of
the Four Crown Layers to which I had been accustomed. My boyhood had been spent mostly under
four influences; three sophisticated and finished cultures, each keeping amiably to its own; and a fourth
in the making. I could be at my ease and content
with correct and urbane Europeans of an early Victorian type; with Canadian trappers and miners and
pioneers; with the good Indians of neolithic outlook CHINOOK DAYS 23
and habitudes; and with the elusive and everlasting
Chinese. These all met and did business through
Chinook Days on the Coast of British Columbia.
Very peaceable and tolerant of each other they were
within limits; each class living in the comfortable
conviction that no new experiment was necessary so
far as it was concerned; its own norm having been
settled, and naturally being the right norm. Everything would continue as it was; and the old order
would not change. They did not realize how they
might b£ pushed to one side in the coming expansion; they did not foresee the poverty-stricken end
of most of the old-timers who had laid the foundations upon which others were to build; who had
sown where the chechacos now reap and grow rich.
In most of the sketches which follow I have tried
to outline truly a few unique characters as I knew
them; but I have been more concerned, as already
intimated, to recover somewhat of the authentic
scenarios in which certain events nearly or remotely
touching this Coast occurred; preferring the trivial
rather than the momentous from a historic or political standpoint, since one may have more of truth
in this line from the trivial. Not that I am any
truth-hound for ever nosing after immaterial exactitudes; and thus losing the trail of the only actual
worth-while. But seeming irrelevancies are often
What I have written for this book is true as I remember it, or at least as it was told to me.    Little 24 CHINOOK DAYS
chancy things which happen against the proper and
the probable intrigue me perhaps too much. I remember now the dark night when the bear came
down the Big Ravine and stole a pig out of the pen
back of Bonson's Saloon. And I well remember the
wide grin with which Captain Adolphus Peele of the
Rifles, Town Apothecary, who lived on the edge of
that same ravine, across from us on the handy side
of the saloon, told me one afternoon how a blue
grouse had just risen from among the trees below,
and had perched on his back verandah; making off
then with a little bunch of raisins from a plate lying
by; and he too pleased with the audacity of the bird
to think of shooting at it, although his gun was
handy and he fancied grouse for his own dinner.
Easy and bountiful days; pigs and bears and .benevolent apothecaries; blue grouse in the deep ravines
and raisins -in layers from London. Maybe these
remnant memories might be puffed out to pumpkin
bulk in a novel, if one had the knack; some squashy
thing achieving best-sellerhood for a week. But not
having: it in me to make a novel I will be content if
I recall a little out of the past in such a way as to
please a few of the old-timers remaining. A dry
bunch of raisins maybe; but maybe good enough at
that to find a place with some of the little nuts of
literature. Chinook Jargon
WHAT is known as Pidgin English, that is
Business English, derives mainly from ordinary English, with addition of a few Cantonese and Portuguese and Malay and Hindustani
words, spoken in fashion easy for the Chinese ear;
with a sloppy touch of comicality a'bout its delivery
and phrasing as a rule; but sometimes attaining a
sharp, latonic content equal to Latin. Pidgin English can do on a caricature of Cantonese construction; and sufficient fluency for trade and travel
purposes may be acquired in the use of it within a
month; whereas command of any Chinese language
proper usually costs a foreigner years of intensive
study. Likewise, in almost as short a time, one may
become proficient in the use of the Chinook jargon;
while most of the Indian languages once spoken
along this Coast and west of the Rockies, maybe
east also for all I know, took long to master because
of intricate inflections, and variations of verbs and
pronouns according to the rank or relation of the
speaker to those addressed; and other ridiculous
complexities like in Latin which I am not learned
enough to name. Pidgin English still serves at a
pinch in China for any necessary business between
Chinese from various Provinces and Districts of the
Empire who otherwise would be unable to understand each other's speech as spoken;  and it is useful 26 CHINOOK DAYS
also for the foreigners who trade out there. Even
so the Chinook jargon once served along the Pacific
Coast from Oregon to as far north as the Queen
Charlotte Islands. It served for communication be
tween various nations of Indians; differing in language and customs as widely as Spaniards differ
from Swedes. It served the purpose also of the
pioneer whites and the French and Scotch employees
of the Hudson's Bay Company.
About 1870 an Anglican priest, the Rev. Canon
Good, compiled a list of about four hundred words
of the Chinook in common use. His little dictionary
containing them, together with examples of their use,
and a version of the Lord's Prayer in Chinook,
although not the first of its kind, was the most
popular while yet there was a demand for such .
a thing.
Canon Good had an old book which contained the
first written list of Chinook words. It was called
"The Captive of Nootka," and was printed at Middle-
town, Connecticut, in 1815. The author was an
English sailor named John Jewett; and I understand his plain narrative was a favorite with Edgar
Allan Poe. John Jewett hailed from Boston, England; and at that port he joined an American ship
from Boston, United States, which was outfitting
there in 1802 under command of Captain Salter. An
old British tar by the name of William Thompson,
formerly in the Royal Navy, joined along with
Jewett. The Boston sailed around the Horn and up
to Nootka to get a share of the fur trade.   Arriving CHINOOK JARGON 27
safely there all went well until March, 1803, when
Captain Salter, just as his ship was about to sail,
insulted the old Chief Makwinna, then well advanced
in years, but prouder than ever in his memories of
friendship with Captains Cook and Hanna and
Meares and Martinez and Quadra and Vancouver.
So as a result of the insult the Indians, under Mak-
winna's command, attacked and captured the Boston;
killing all the crew except Jewett, because he was an
armourer and likely to be of use to them; and also
old Thompson, because Jewett pretended Thompson
was his father, and said that if Thompson were killed
it would cause him such grief he would be unable
to make knives and spearheads properly from the
ship's metal. It was after this affair with the Boston
that all Americans became known in Chinook as
Boston men; just as all British were known as King
George men. During his three years' captivity
Jewett wrote down a list of nearly three hundred
Chinook words. He was finally rescued in July,
1806, by the original Sam Hill, Yankee captain of
the brig Lydia of Boston; his fellow-captive, Thompson, having died shortly before that. Old 'Thompson
had been made personal attendant on Chief Makwinna; and among other duties was required to
wash and keep in order the Chief's blankets. On
one occasion an insolent Indian from another
village, seeing the blankets spread out on the grass
to dry, deliberately walked across them to soil them
and show his contempt for the white slave.   Thomp- 28 CHINOOK DAYS
son, in a fury, warned him not to ever do such s
thing again or he would kill him. The Indian
laughed, and deliberately walked across one of the
blankets again. Thompson had always been permitted by Makwinna to carry his cutlass; and the
old tar was still handy with it. He sprang forward,
expert boarder that he was, and with one blow of
the cutlass he cut the Indian's head off clean. Then
he rolled the head up in the blanket and took it to
Makwinna, who was much pleased when he heard
the circumstances explained; and Thompson was
advanced in honor thereafter. When the Canon
would be telling that, and he told the same story
often, he would refer to a Biblical incident which
he claimed to 'be somewhat similar, and justifiable;
the time a handsome Jewess delivered the Lord's
people by bringing to the Elders of Zion the head
of their chief enemy rolled in a blanket. But that
Jewess had first gotten her customer dead drunk
with wine before she did the business of decapitation; and she must have made a bloody, slow mess
of it. Anyway, to me as a child, the outrightaess of
the English sailor seemed far more commendable.
I conversed with the Canon at different periods
over a stretch of twenty-five years. For long he was
a character in Nanaimo, a town once noted for odd
characters. In his day and in his way he helped to
make things pleasant for all, irrespective of creed.
He was never so evangelical as to be an affliction
to  the community.    In  the  matter  of  Chinook  he CHINOOK JARGON 29
once informed me, with more or less precision, that
about half of its vocabulary came out of the original
Chinook, which was a highly inflected language;
that about a quarter was derived from other Indian
languages; that about a quarter more was made up
of English and French disguised; and that half as
much again was straight French and English. Seems
to me there must have been in addition a few auxiliary fifths, and possibly even tenths, expressed by
emphasis and ululation, spaced by comprehensive
silences/ with a few gestures thrown in for full
But I have forgotten all but a little of my Chinook;
and make no claim to be accurate now. The use of
English words in the jargon naturally increased
after the regime of the Hudson's Bay Company,
with its Gaelic factors and French trappers, had
ended; what time the King George men and the
Boston men were 'busy founding their towns, and
rounding the lands where the Indians lived; taking
over all of the immemorial No Man's Land 'between
the recognized reserves. Canon Good told me that
the original Chinook Indians were a remarkable but
unfortunate people, who for centuries had been the
leading traders at Nootka, before the white men
came; but after that, being up against the mouth of
Columbia and under the administration of Washington, they were soon decimated. Yet they left a name
for many things; including this jargon called
Chinook. 30 CHINOOK DAYS	
It was at Nootka, where the tribes met to trade,
that Chinook came to form. The Chinook of the
Nootkas kept chiefly to the k consonant; although
some have disguised the stark kukluxity of the fact
by using hard c instead of k, and x instead of ecks,
and qu instead of kw in the spelling of it. There was
also a lot of yah and wah about Chinook; and it
easily ran to 1 with the French; incorporating the
article le or la with the approximate French sound
of the word adopted; and sometimes even with an
English word. For instance, lecallat was the
(fhinook word for carrot; and lapuss for cat; hyas
puss-puss being a cougar. Compounds were also
made of English and Indian; and indiscriminately
either way. Thus chuck was Chinook for water;
and salt-chuck for the sea. But again the English
word water would be joined with a Chinook word,
as in the Chinook tumwata, a cascade or water-fall,
or the rapids of a river; turn being Chinook for tone
or sound. In Chinook variation was by repetition
of the same; by such device indicating increase of
size or intensity or quality. Thus turn, which meant
a sound, by doubling into tumtum served to indicate
the identifying tone or keynote of a thing; hence the
mind, the heart, the soul, as we would say. The
Salish Indians in general seemed incapable of the
clear r; slurring it, as one finds r mistreated in
utterance by certain of the English; and also by
Americans from the lower Southern States; and
negroes, and denizens of the Bowery. CHINOOK JARGON 31
A standard spelling for Chinook could hardly be
expected by those who compiled its various dictionaries; for one thing, because the Indian accent and
the several accents of the French and English-
speaking whites were so pronouncedly different. All
of them naturally claimed to be right about words
out of their own language; and they were not
finicky about the others so long as they made their
meaning clear.
I have spoken of the prevailing k tone; but that k
was sounded for accommodation of our own tongue,
and was not quite the sound given by the Indians.
For instance: sokalie, meaning high, had a growling
k in it when uttered by the Indians, more like what
one hears from a sober Scot saying loch. Perhaps
if the word were spelled saughalie to convey a
throaty gh, it might be nearer to the Indian way.
But why be precise about a dead jargon which served
a good purpose once, but which is now almost extinct; and which left no literature! So it is not my
purpose here to expatiate on the structure and
peculiarities of this once easy, useful and odd jargon.
I am not qualified, anyway. But I will say this:
For all its paleolithic crudity some could work with
it for expression as exquisitely as an artisan of the
Stone Age worked with his rude stone tools; and
he did more than many of us now could do if left to
face life in the wilderness with the best of steel tools.
When I recall the grammatic poverty of Chinook,
its  limited  vocabulary,  bare  of  ornament,  and  yet 32 CHINOOK DAYS
remember the rich sylla'bic music which could be
made to run through it with right enunciation; and
when I recall also the ease with which an expert in
its use could convey accurate directions, and express
strong opinions concerning his enemies, and cover
new situations as they arose; I am wondering if in
structure it were not of a kind with whatever primitive language slowly crystalled in the subconscious
of men before Adam left Lilith and took to Eve;
or before the Lunar Pitris descended; or before the
Pithecanthropus Erectus ascended; or whatever be
the truth of the creatures and our origin, if ever we
had any definite origin, which I very much doubt.
The proportion of English increased as time
passed. Now many of the Salish Indians speak only
English; and have no such difficulty with certain
letters as once their fathers had; the time when in
Chinook the English words fire, fish and rum became pia, pish and lum. The root syllable pot, with
its give and take significance, became, when mixed
with rum, potlum; meaning the state of being intoxicated; also, by association, any strong drink by
which that state was attained.
This unexpectedly leads me to things of the spirit.
There was more outlet for spiritual expression in
Chinook than one knowing it only in terms of hunting and trade might think. Even obscure spiritual
concepts could be hinted at through Chinook. Naturally the words and combinations for such were not
in the traders' working list of words; and some of CHINOOK JARGON 33
them were left out of the missionary lists because
not comprehended; or 'because it was considered
expedient to ignore them. I tell in another article
about slolikum. An ekonay was a beneficent spirit;
contained of an order above slolikum. The kahwok
was what we mean by a person's guardian angel;
one's own special totem or guiding spirit; kahwok-oo
was the topmost reach of a man's nature when purified and in possession of the other sight and hearing.
A cheehah was generally an evil influence, vague
like a hoodoo; but again it might be concrete as an
Arabian jinn, or even one of the devouring ogres of
our own folklore.
Slolikum, and spirits in general, were not thought
of as having any proper sex in our sense; although
they may have all the tantrums of it. When they
desire to exist they strike like lightning where right
ethers are assembled; and presto, there you are!
They hook on and explode the stuff; and then grow
it to form, seen or unseen in this world, to exist for
a moment or an age; independent and parentless as
the spirit of a snowflake or a quartz crystal. Some
are gentle, and some are rough; some go straight at
a thing, and some travel more quickly by going
roundabout. Some succeed by extreme action; and
others do by not doing. For that reason, perhaps,
we now and then ascribe a gender to their "manifestations. -   .
It is difficult for Certain spirits to move through our
world; but many move like the wind; or radio them- 34 CHINOOK DAYS
selves all around to come out where they please.
The Skookum Tah, or Stone Spirits, are connected
with the earth. But they are usually remote; and
unconcerned with the affairs of men. They make
their point of contact with our world through great
rocks and mountain peaks; into some of which they
may enter and dream. The good influence from their
dreaming is received by the land and the right
creatures below.
The word tah in Chinook corresponds very nearly
to every meaning we ascribe to spiritual; and it was
variously conjoined with other words to express
aspects of the supernatural. For instance: tah is the
qualifying word in tahlapuss, the spirit cat or kyotee
ghoul; the loup garou or were-wolf as we would say.
At Nootka from the Spanish it would seem as if something like lamana and manus was taken to signify the
hand. Then tah was prefixed to this to indicate the
spirit hand or touch of wizardry; making the word
tahlamanus, and later tahmanawus, to cover every
form of sorcery. Also by Tah or Latah was sometimes meant a supernatural race of people next above
the human order; and yet an order attainable by living
men. These Tah, comparable to the lesser Gods of
the Greeks, dwell apart in the Kloosh Illahie, the
Delectable Land; which is by no means the abode of
ordinary persons who die and wake in ghostland.
Just as siyah, meaning distance, meant great distance
with the last syllable long drawn, siya-a-ah, so
tah-oo, meaning   spiritual  distance, or   distance   in CHINOOK JARGON 35
time, was intensified 'by dwelling on the last syllable.
Long ago, and alone under a pine tree on a hilltop,
an Indian came and told things to me between sound
and silence that were tah-oo. When leaving he gave
an all-round wave of his arm and said: "Kwonsum
Sokalie Tyhee mamook kopa sokalie. Pe kwonsum
Yo mitlite Yo." That is to say: "Forever the Lord
on High works high. But forever Yo stays Yo."
How about that? How about that notion of Yo, the
eternal, unexistent yet potential matrix; anterior to
God as the sky is anterior to the sun? Such a notion
was neither acceptable, nor perhaps comprehensible,
by such of our people as were engaged in giving the
comfort of our religion to those who were being
killed off by our culture.
I remember how that unusual talk with that unusual Indian came back to me many years after in
Dr. George Morrison's library at Pekin. I was being
shown characters at the back of a Chinese book,
beginning a rare version of the Scripture of the
Heavenly Way. Those characters were turned into
words for me: "Dau ko dau fay chwang dau!" That
is: The doing that can be done is not the regular
doing! I knew then without more ado that it
meant: The doing that can be done is not the eternal
doing! And that is only another way of saying
what the Indian said to me on the hilltop under the
pine tree when I was a boy. The Divine that can
be divined is not the Eternal Divine!  Slolikum
SLOLIKUM are plural like trout. Also a slolikum is just as singular; more so, in fact.
Slolikum is a wide word in Chinook, intended
to cover nature-spirits of most kinds below the rank
of the Stone Spirits and the proper Totems. But
used alone it does not include wilfully malevolent
devils; massatchee slolikum, like tahlapuss and
chehah; nor yet anything like ghosts or vampires
or other such dismal astral remnants of human
origin. Slolikum, as a rule, avoid humans, whether
in- the body or out of it; except they come by a good
chance to tease or upset them. But in the mass they
are not malicious; knowing many better ways of
enjoying themselves. There are a few persons of
our kind, indeed, to whom they become attached;
proving their affection in such little ways as they
can through the thickness of our affairs; the recipient often never suspecting the source of the favours,
and attributing them merely to good luck.
A friend of mine did not come home after the War,
but settled in the Old Country, where he married a
native girl, one of the plump, fair-haired, blue-eyed,
red-cheeked Saxon type, with whom he still lives
happily. Now this girl was bred in the open country
near ancient ruins, and seems to have gotten herself
in touch with certain nature-spirits for whom such
places  and round hilltops serve as nodal points to 38 CHINOOK DAYS
come through into our thickness when they have
business on our side, which is not very often. My
friend, knowing my interest in these matters, noted
down from her talk certain phases of faery which
I have not found in the books, but which are so
much in line with what I myself have felt in the
open of Canada that I am inclined to credit her
sincerity. This English girl has seven different
names for distinguishing the nature-spirits with
which she has come in contact. It is well known
also that among the Norse, and the various tribes
of the Irish, there is an extensive terminology respecting the nature-spirits and creatures in faery.
Brother Allan, who was well up in the ancientry of
Ireland, and the lore that was before his own religion, told me many things useful in this field;
wherein wasps, so to speak, are not to be confounded
with butterflies.
Slolikum will not be sufficiently comprehensive to
connote all manner of the elusive etherials of faery;
lucent in octaves that quiver beyond sense of human
eyes in the ordinary; nor can the word discriminate
among the orders as it should; no more than hyas
oluk and bolothumpia horrida could for all the
vanished monsters  of physical  geology.
But in the meagre way of Chinook the word slolikum served well enough for indication of all that
could be sensed here of the kind, I am told, until
before 1860. Very few were concerned, or even
believed   in   the   existence   of   the   creatures;    and, SLOLIKUM 39
moreover, Chinook as a jargon was contrived to
serve mainly the business of muskets, and what
came of their use; and with much gesticulation
otherwise Chinook was used for the explanations and
confinements of missionaries. And there is little of
faery in that;   either way you take it.
Long ago I heard of the migration of the Little
People to British Columbia. Such migrations may
occur I suppose, as often as among our own kind,
but I have only come in touch with the edge of this
one. It was in 1860 that the queer colony formed
here from the Old Country; a colony which will
never be mentioned in the school histories, nor in
the very Blue Books of the Canadian Immigration
Department. It seems that, just as certain insects
for good and evil have gone overseas to new lands
along of cargoes of plants and fruits, so when a
few British children came around the Horn to this
Coast, the ships bringing at the same time English
roses, and Scotch broom, and fox-gloves and slips
of cherry trees and apples, then veritable fairies and
elves came along too; whether in the seeds or how
I do not know; and whether because of the flowers
and fruits, or whether because of the liking they had
for the few children who would have been forlorn
without feeling their presence around; that I do not
know either. But Brother Allan seemed to think
it might be both ways when I asked him.
I am glad that so much of British Columbia is so
much on end and up in the air that men can never 40 CHINOOK DAYS
plow it; nor make the air around too thick from
habitations in the reserves held by the Stone Spirits
And through those reserves all slolikum, native here
from before the Ice Age, and the chechaco fairies
and elves that came but lately out of England, are
welcome to go their own way and live their lives
untroubled by the sounds and smells and clash and
grab of the like of us in crowds.
When slolikum are intrigued by birds or children or
any clean, frolicing things living in our ply of the
world, they do not watch them as we do from the
outside. They enter into the spirit with them. They
enter as light enters water; and thus they know them,
and play with them and through them. But from
adults who strut for admiration, or from their painted
lips demand; and from all who are too strong of
themselves for themselves alone; something goes
forth like a bad breath. This passional effluvia is
offensive to the slolikum; they do not like it, and so
they will only plague such persons from the outside
when they can. But it is seldom they can; account
nf being too thin of their fine substance to come into
the thick of things where we dwell. Besides that,
most of them are very exclusive; they keep far off
in their own provinces.
In this world I have met a few people, some of
them young, some of them old, but not many between; and also a few stray dogs and kittens and
little parrots and wee flowers peeping up through
ash-can  alleys;   at  whose   dream-shrouded   forms   I SLOLIKUM 41
have wondered. Indeed I have felt like asking: "My
and oh my, what are you doing here? You, down
and out here?" But there would be no use; for they
could not answer. They only know they do not
belong; and life is a sad puzzlement which they for
the most part endure bravely till they can be quit
of it. They have forgotten; and yet they have the
feel of what they have forgotten. Seems to me they
belong to the domain of the other emperor; of which
I know something. The entrances are secret; but
once over the high rocks, and in through them, they
lead on into beautiful parks. These are so fine that
I never wanted to go farther into anything finer.
Mistake to be a hog about heaven. You may halt
just anywhere you please. Life in the domain of the
other emperor is-easy nearly all the time; and earnest
people are not allowed. There the slolikum find
happy employ.
I came to a little of these things by myself; and
1 was made to understand more through the teachings of Brother Allan, and what I had of his
wisdom when he said nothing at all in the woods,
the times he would be taking a few of us boys up
through the old Government House ravine; which
was later blasted from all its greenery and hidden
ways and waterfalls to make place for the hellery
of a Federal Penitentiary and a Lunatic Asylum. It
was transformed to such ugliness that it went away
altogether, like our other haunts, the Brunette and
the Coquitlam, their streams industrially enslaved;
and I  do not care for that which has followed. 42 CHINOOK DAYS
In the old days, not only in the territories of the
Stone Spirits, where they may be known and felt
like the fragrance of hidden wildbriar in the wind,
but by the unfrequented pools, and 'by dogwood and
arbutus trees on the edge of unmolested forests, the
fairies and eleves and little slolikum came through.
An English country family with many children, all
dead now, once had a ranch off the old Douglas
Trail at the end of a big lake. Their house is gone
to ruin, and no one ever finds the place but a few
stray Indians or persons who are led. But there
are yet trees of wonderful Queen Anne cherries
growing and bearing there for only the birds;
hidden deep away in a forest of fir and hemlock.
Both fairies and elves have been seen there; and
some Indian children, who had the sight, naturally
took them to be children of the Fair Swift People
come back; the people of whom no Indians ever
tell, even the few who know of them now, unless
and unless. Legend of Wa Wa Rock
WHEN I was a boy at New Westminster old
Joe Armstrong told many stories to me of
the great Cariboo Gold Rush, culminating between
1860 and 1865. He told of adventures and mishaps at roadhouses .and with the stage-coaches
along the wonderful Cariboo Road. Among these
stories was one of how a party of miners, returning
to the coast in winter by way of Harrison Lake,
went ashore in their canoe toward the lower end of
it, being nearly chilled to death, and intending to
make a fire and use the last of their beans. But as
the bow of the canoe touched shore, and one of the
men stood up to make a landing he toppled into the
water from weakness. The others were so far gone
with cold, and so cramped and fatigued with the
long paddle down the lake, that they scarce could
stir to help him. To their surprise he crouched con-
tendedly down in the water; calling to his fellows
to come in with him. They at first thought he had
gone crazy. But the water was so warm as to seem
almost hot- Then the others stripped and got in;
staying till the chill had all gone out of them, and
they could feel their strength returning. They drank
some of the water, and it had such a bad taste that
they knew it must be good medicine. The hot sulphur spring at that time was right on the edge of CHINOOK DAYS
the lake where they had landed. Feeling better they
came out of the water and made a fire and killed a
porcupine and recovered. When they reached New
Westminster two days later, and told their story, that
was the first ever heard among the whites about
Harrison Hot Springs. The Indians j©f course had
always known about them; and they knew also of
the Keekwully Tyhee who sent up the medicine
waters all hot from below.
It was Joe Armstrong who finally decided to
own and exploit those springs. No one cared much
about them in 1885; and it was easy to acquire title
to them from the government at Victoria. Joe intended to dedicate them to St. Alice; and to build a
camp and lodge there for invalids. But before he
did that he invited some old-timers, one of them a
Forty-Niner and the other a veteran of the Crimea,
to go along with him on a trip there in July, 1885.
And with them went four lucky boys; Charlie Dickenson, Charlie Tilley, Mat Phillips and myself. One
of the first sternwheelers of the Fraser was the
Onward; and on her we went up the Fraser as far
as Harrison River. There we were met by Big Alek,
a noted Indian of the coast in those days. He was
usually available and always trustworthy for any
hunting or fishing or prospecting party. I had
known him myself at that time for seven years. Big
Alek had provided one war canoe, which might
easily have accommodated twenty men; and along
side of that one small canoe, the tenas canim, which LEGEND  OF WA WA  ROCK 45
we towed to serve our lighter purposes when at
It is now forty-one years since I have been up that
way; and so the distances and the sceneries glimmer hazily in memory. But, because of my turn for
color perhaps, I clearly recall the clean contrast of
the blue Harrison where it met the muddy, swirling,
wide Fraser. We camped that night among some
alders near a clear little stream running into the
Harrison River. While yet it was light, and so as
not to be in the way of the others who were pitching the tent and gathering firewood and making
things ready for supper, Mat Phillips and I went
for a paddle up river in the little canoe. After ten
minutes or so we came abreast of a flat rock near
shore, and to our surprise a big salmon lay stretched
out on it. Evidently it had just been caught by
someone who had laid it there, thinking it would
be safe until his return. So we took it and paddled
back to camp as fast as we could. The others were
very pleased when they saw what we had brought
back of our forage. It was cut into steaks and fried.
Early next morning I went out along the little
stream and managed to catch three speckled trout;
each of them nigh a pound in weight. I was all
the more proud because of having caught them with
my new red fly.
Then wè piled all into the big canoe again, and
paddled up Harrison River until we rounded into
the lake.   Before we came to the Hot Springs, how- 46 CHINOOK DAYS
ever, Big Alek stopped us close in front of a square
cliff, and called in a loud voice:
"Klahowyah Salal! Pe klatawah cultus wawa!
Klatawah turn kopa kloosh illahee!"
We all knew Chinook; so we all knew that he
was saying.
"Salute Salal! But go away empty voice! Go
away and make your sound in the good land!"
Why this was said we did not then know. But
the clearest, nearest echo that ever I heard came
right back at us; it was talking out of the rock
before our faces. Big Alek knew just where the
best point was to stay and speak to it
After that we soon reached the Hot Springs.
One is hotter than the other; but each tastes worse
than the other as you try it. Fortunately, being
boys, we had no call to drink the waters. But from
the hottest spring we would fill the little canoe;
using it as a bath-tub when the water had cooled.
We lived very well there for ten days. We
climbed the mountains; and we caught many
trout in a small upper lake, which by this time no
doubt has been fished out. Too many people have
come to our Province since then for the liking of
old-timers; and such like fauna needing unfrequented spaces wild and wide. But now what comes
to me most clearly out of that holiday is a memory
of stories told us by Big Alek at nights around the
fire. Indeed it was myself who started him at it
for the  others,  because  more than  once  before  I LEGEND  OF WA WA ROCK 47
had heard him tell stories on Burrard Inlet, and I
knew what a storyteller he was. Allowing for the
years that have passed, and for the language of Big
Alek, and his signs and intonations of which I had
great meaning, I would tell now in my own way
some of the legends I had of him. And as I have
just mentioned the rock of the wonderful echo I
will begin with the story he told about that.
Salal was the youngest daughter of a chief in
the time very long ago. She was slim and skilful;
her eyes could see very far and also very close into
little things that others would not notice. Her ears
could hear the fall of a snowflake. But her tongue
was ever too quick with words that stript all cover
from ones decent pretences; and stung like the
loose touch of nettles on bare flesh. Her two elder
sisters were good girls, and both married active
young hunters, and had children, and were happy.
But Salal would marry none of the young men who
came to her; and neither her mother nor her
father could control her. One day she said that she
was going to marry Quatla, who was an old
medicine-man, and who did not want to be bothered
with her because of things he loved doing better
than being married. But Salal was stubborn as she
was cunning for whatever thing she wanted; so in
the end she had her own way, and married Quatla.
Now Quatla was the greatest medicine-man of his
time in all the region round. It was from such
medicine-men  of  long ago  that  we  come by  our 48 CHINOOK  DAYS
pale teachers and preachers and doctors of today;
having the ways they have, and living by them. But
in Quatla's time a. medicine-man was indeed a medicine-man. He could talk with the children of the
wind. He could see what was.doing on the other
side of mountains. He could make such a face at.
any. tricky slolikum that ventured to come through
bent on mischief for fun would vanish in
fright back where it belonged. And he could fool
sick people into being well even when they were
not well.
Yet in every lodge and tent the people wondered
why Salal took Quatla for a husband; he being so
old that, he would rather look ta the ground for
strange herbs than into, the eyes. ,of .Salal for the,
brighter magic held. by. them.. But Salal knew what
she. wanted; she was cunning in finding the ways
to. what she wanted; and she. was not afraid to. take
them. She gained the .secrets and powers and. wis-.
dom of Quatla.. And as Quatla grew feeble and indifferent of life Salal grew lithe and beautiful as a
young, wildcat. Her tongue, which from her youth
hadjbeen so quick with words, could now wilt even
a .great warrior with its evil'way of telling the
truth so as to hurt. And more and more as she
began to grow fonder of Quatla and more careful
to shield him from others and from himself, she
scolded him bitterly about this and about that until
at last the old man could stand it no longer. So he
whispered -to his friends in. .the wind after a fashion.. LEGEND OF  WA WA  ROCK 49
that  he  had;  and. the next.morning there was  no
trace of him to be found.
Many seasons passed before Salal was able to
find Quatla again. She located him at last on top
of a great rock at Harrison Lake; whispering contentedly to the wind and making medicine. Then
Salal was very glad, and her heart leapt with the
relief to find that dear husband once more; and
immediately her tongue was loosed upon him in
the old way for leaving her, so that the old man
smarted and twisted with what she said and the way
she said' it. Suddenly it was as if the strength of
his youth had returned; and in. a rage he caught
Salal and hurled her oyer the edge of the rock into
Harrison Lake. Then he ,leapt after her. Both
were,drowned without the other knowing it. But
then happened a thing quite out of the regular
course when people die; a strange thing. It is said
that as Salal was coming to herself in the reverse
side, somewhat dazed and upset by the way she
had died, a chancy band of slolikum passing by in
the wind caught her spirit, and by. their craft of impression they impressed her spirit in' the big rock
before she was wide enough awake to resist; and
there they had her for their entertainment, just as
we would cage a wild and pretty bird. They were
the simple kind of slolikum that delight to dance
to thunder and heavy falling rain, and to swing back
and forth in echo waves and in passing they had
heard, the voice of Salal before she was hurled over 50 CHINOOK DAYS
the cliff, and had much admired the cleave and clang
of her tongue. That was why they so adroitly and
hopefully slipt her spirit into the rock while they
had the chance.
But when Salal realized what had happened she
was in a fury. She seemed caught fast beyond
escape until dissolution of the rock. Only the voice
of her could not be stilled; and hour after hour and
day after day and year after year she poured out
bitter words in the spirit, and cursed everything
within reach of her words in the three Indian
languages she knew, and in one of her own which
she had for talking to slolikum. Her words went
echoing all around the shores of the lake, and up
in the mountains to the very top of Cheam where
the snow never melts. At first the slolikum danced
for joy in the sharp and novel sounds, even as children do for a long, long string of exploding firecrackers at the incoming of the Chinese New Year.
But after years and years of the never ending clatter their spirits began to chafe. This voice of Salal
was a rasping noise; especially after she learned
the trick of making the slolikum sore with the
things she called them what they were. And at last
it became annoying even to the grave totems of the
woods, and the Stone Spirits high up on the mountains. So all the things concerned bestirred themselves; and by the ways that are proper it was arranged to have the spirit of Salal extricated from
the big rock so that she might be born again of her LEGEND  OF  WA  WA  ROCK 51
own people. But Salal was no ordinary spirit; and
such force had to be used in freeing her that
half the rock was smashed down, and it is not so
high now as once it was. Moreover, in extricating
the spirit of Salal from the cling of the rock her
voice in some fashion was left behind, as if tangled
in the lay of the stone so as to be no more than an
echo. Thus it came to pass that Salal was born
again as a beautiful and cunning girl; very quick
to understand all things as they touched the occasion; but with no power of tongue ever to say one
word. She was considered very desirable as a wife;
and she was sought after by many. But for a long
time she showed nc interest in any man, and would
listen to no proposal, even from the richest wooer.
Then one day after she was older there came to her
village Tslan Tala, the strange young hunter out of
the North. She went to him at once, and altho
he was somewhat younger than herself she made
up her mind to have him. For she knew that he
was Quatla of long ago. That was divined by Salal
most clearly; altho it was not up in the memory
of Tslan Tala- So Tslan Tala and Salal lived together in adventure for a long time after that; and
many strange stories are told of them.
The voice of Salal is still in the big Wawa Rock.
But since Salal is gone from it there is no complaint
from men or slolikum about what it says or the
noise it makes. Because now there is nothing behind it to think things for it to say, and so it can 52 CHINOOK DAYS    j       g|
only say what is said to it. For those who remain
so young or become so old that they would rather
hear their own voice than see their own face it may
yet remain an entertaining place to go—that Wa Wa
Rock at  Harrison Lake. Legend of the Blue Grouse
AS SOME have the knack of dreaming right
meanings out of the runes and glyphs oi
vanished races, and as some -can ponder
antique Chinese characters until they open their
gates and send forth a parade in his honor with
richly-clad, swaggering, far-fetched notions never
heard of* in the cut-and-dried of the scholars, so
from the uncouth jargon of Big Alek, and the
queer signs he made while the Douglas firs whispered darkly to the cedars between campfire and
starlight on the shores of Burrard Inlet while yet
Vancouver was only Granville, I found entry into
the dry sweet aura of Chinook tales now almost
lost. That aura of them was of value to me far
beyond the tales themselves around which it
wavered; an aura as it were of August at its best
for a child on holiday in some abandoned land of
fruit run wild. I had of it hints and fragrances of
precious histories and appearances, and of things
that are only to be found by those who know the
hills and forests of indirection; the verifiable lands
and seas of the other geography. The tales themselves as put in words may be stark as fossil bones
and broken totem poles; signifying little to those
who are not in the know. A remnant few
of them  are  dissected  and  mishandled  by  profes- 54 CHINOOK DAYS	
sors with religious and scientific theories, and
one here and there by earnest ladies enamored of
eugenics; all the lot as void of romance as any
mumimy in a museum. Seems to me in these affairs that where there is no romance there is no
quality of truth worth saving. Yet in so far as I
can tell the truth I will tell truly what once was
told to me about Tslan Tala and the Blue Grouse.
One morning one hundred years before the solid
oak, British built, squat little Beaver, first steamship to enter the Pacific, sailed through Lions'
Gate, the old Chief Tslan Tala rose to look in stillness at the sun which was coming up very brightly
beyond the Second Narrows on the Inlet. Tslan
Tala had been doing that on every fine morning
for many years. But this fateful morning as he
did so he suddenly felt that it would not be with
him that day as it had been on other days. He
did not know what. Some magic of the sunlight
had entered his heart. There seemed a silent gladness over all around him, as if Salal were very near.
She had been long dead, that Salal.
Till that morning Tslan Tala had kept his
strength and he had never felt old before. But now
suddenly he was very outworn; yet with the great
peace over him like an ancient cedar in the sunlight resting erect and green with the heart of it
The lodge of Tslan Tala was among the high
trees close to the beach at the Lions' Gate.     The LEGEND OF THE BLUE GROUSE   55
tide-rips there were often strong; and the fishing
then was always good. When he had finished his
morning look at the sun in stillness the young
men of Tslan Tala came to him as was customary,
and asked him to return to the lodge so that all
might eat. This he did; but without a word. He
went along as in deep thought; and at such times
none would disturb him. Yet he was not deep in
thought. His mind was empty of thought as the
sky is of clouds on those days when the gossamers float their long fine threads through the air
from tree to tree and flower to flower; knowing
clear weather is sure. The leaves of the vine-maple
were just beginning to color red; and the big
leaves of the big maples to color yellow; and the
blue flowers of the end of summer had come.
After he had taken breakfast Tslan Tala rose,
moving as one who walks in his sleep, but making
a sign that he was not to be followed. Silently as
a shadow he passed down to the shore, and pushed
off in his canoe; taking with him his axe and bow.
He paddled with the tide which was running ir>
through the Lions' Gate swirling and swift: looking
ahead to the sun as it rose higher and higher up
the sky from beyond the Second Narrows. After
he had paddled well into the middle of the Inlet
it seemed as if an unseen paddle at the bow were
veering his canoe toward the North Shore. So he
let it go that way, as if yielding to the leading of
another.   When he landed he drew the canoe up on 56 CHINOOK DAYS
the beach beyond reach of high tide; leaving it
hidden under low salmon-berry bushes skirting the
shore- Then he went deep into the forest, taking
his axe and bow along. Straight and tall and close
together the firs and cedars lorded it everywhere
as now they are only seen to do in Stanley Park.
But they made room also for hemlock and spruce
and balsam and yellow cypress and tamarac a-
plenty; and here and there for the big maples with
the big leaves and the thick moss along their
branches where grow the licorice ferns, and also
for the little vine-maples with dainty leaves and
slim, elastic trunks from which one can make a
good bow, or at need cut a handy fishing-pole.
There were occasional thickets of alder and black
birch and hazel; and now and then a lone dogwood
or copper-colored arbutus- Over all was a brooding silence, except for the chanting of the wind aloft
in the tree-tops. The Old Gods of long ago were
dreaming deep in the air.
Tslan Tala walked on into the forest; but for what
he did not know. Then after a time he heard the
hooting of a blue grouse. This recalled him out
of his trance, and he was wide-awake and alert
again; the hunter that he was. Very quietly he
advanced. Not a twig cracked under his tread, nor
a branch rustled with its switch-back as he passed
through. The hooter was nearer now, but farther
up the hill- Tslan bent his bow and had an arrow
in place.    But. as he drew, near the thicket where LEGEND OF THE BLUE GROUSE
he thought the grouse was hidden he heard its
amorous challenge again farther on and farther up.
Again and again he heard the whir of it rising and
going on up, just as he thought to come in sight of
it. With the still persistence of the ^primeval
hunter he followed. On and up, on and up he went;
and there was no tiring him. He found himself
climbing the steep side of a mountain. Tslan Tala
intended for that to have that grouse if he had
nothing else all that day.
It was long past noon before he had his first
glimpse of the hooter. It was standing on
a log, as if waiting for him; and surely it was the
biggest, plumpest blue grouse that ever was seen.
When he let his first arrow fly it barely grazed
the neck of the bird. But on the instant it had flown
farther on and up to a new covert, where it hooted
to all the woods and the listening things again as
in no way frightened. Tslan Tala caught up with
it again and again, but always his arrows just missed
making a hit. Come on up here with me; come on,
come along! That is what it seemed to be saying
now to the old Chief. And he noticed with wonder
how the dun and gray-blue feathers of the bird,
edged with a little white on the sides, were brightening as he followed it -up the mountain. Soon
they were brilliant as those shown by a bluejay
flying in the sunlight; and just as blue. Soon they
were  bluer.     He  had   never   seen  the  like  before. 58 CHINOOK DAYS
It was late in the afternoon when Tslan Tala
at last sent an arrow clean through the breast of
that grouse. Then the old Chief knew that he
had chased no bird of this world. His arrow quivered in the trunk of a tree after he had seen it
pass through the breast now shining as blue as the
sky. The bird flew on and up ahead of him as before,
and was in no way hurt. Tslan Tala put by his bow,
and followed the Blue Grouse no longer as a
hunter, but reverently; believing it now to be a
messenger of the Sokalie Tyhee, or even a sparkle
and meaning of Yo. Again he was wrapt in the
trance of the early morning, and he climbed on and
up with never a thought but to follow as he was
being led.
It was nigh sunset when he came out upon a
gray plateau of solid rock; and on that he stood
and watched the wonder bird as it circled higher
and higher in the air as no mortal grouse would do-
Then it turned to a straight course, and flew across
the Inlet to the South Shore. And in the unusual
as it flew it grew larger in his eyes instead of
smaller; and more brilliant was the blue of it till
it seemed like a winged blue moon; and it thinned
and widened then till at last it went all blue into
the blue of the sky and could be seen no more.
Then came the vision to Tslan Tala. Across the
Inlet and the outer bay, and beyond to the far
point, and on over to the low river lands; he
looked down from the Plateau and saw it all.   But LEGEND OF THE BLUE GROUSE   59
he saw more than all; for he saw what was not then
there- The old forests were gone. There were
strange ships in the Inlet. There were many strange
people in great lodges of smooth wood along the
South Shore. He saw the straggling, ugly embryo
of a huge camp unknown to him. Then, as the years
reeled rapidly by, from the camp spread many arms
as from an incredible vast devil-fish over all the land,
destroying the noble trees, and choking the little
streams, and filling the gracious hollows and ravines;
driving »away all that was dear to him. Later in the
vision shapes arose unaccountable and strange beyond his understanding. There was a dismal city of
envious groups, deriding and obstructing each other.
But against the spirit of the dismal graspers grasping from each other a brighter spirit struggled long
and hopefully and at last it prevailed. Much of the
old despair was clean blown away; and out of the
first ugliness arose a swan-like city, rich and fair,
till in fair fame it was among the richest and fairest
of the earth. The very climate changed. It seemed
to Tslan Tala as if a fluttering of luminous blue
wings were sending good influences down over that
city through all the long good year. He looked to
the waste places where charred and dead trees had
been; and they were all stripped away. He looked
to the nearer mountains and from bottom to top
they were terraced and lined with beautiful lodges
built of stone and materials unknown to him in
many colors.    He saw men coming and going from 60
the city to the mountains in ways swift and airy
beyond his understanding. But all that was far
from then, and is surely far from now.
Tslan Tala had been wise in many lives forgotten; and also he had in him the wisdom of many
others which had come through to him though
gained by others in lives forgotten. Therefore he
had the gift of knowing how to do many things
which he could not remember ever having learned
to do, or ever having done before. But in the flow
of this vision that came to Tslan Tala there was
little of the past to help him to understanding after
the first; and after he had seen with sorrow the
coming abasement of his own people. But then he
remembered the old tradition of the teaching of
Hozeen who came from out of the sunset over the
sea in the strange ship of long ago. And in that
teaching he thought that later on his people might
find a medicine trail back through the dust of the
land in which their old bodies had gone to dust; and
thus have a chance to reap of what they had not
sown, and enter into what strangers had established.
The tale of what Tslan Tala saw in his vision has
been told variously on the Inlet; a bit here and a
bit there. But in books it may be dull and blurred
and tamely put to what Big Alek told me. For
Tslan Tala also saw a time toward the end of his
vision when the world was in terror; a time when
men looked wildly at the sky. And he saw the
aftermath when all that had  passed.    But if what LEGEND OF THE BLUE GROUSE   61
he saw then were clear to Tslan Tala it was not to
Big Alek; and it certainly is not to me-
It was two days before Tslan Tala returned to
his lodge near the Lions' Gate. There the next
week he died. To his men he left instructions to
take his body far out to sea. He foretold that he
would come over the waters again some day with
a new name, and as a great man of a ruling race,
to be a great man and rule in the city of his vision.
He said that some of his men would be born of
that race with him. But in the day of its high splendor Tslan Tala said that the totem of the city would
be the  Blue Grouse-  Legend of Ko and Klon
INDIANS say that once in the remote North
there was an age of great ease and golden
weather and green abundance. They say that
up there from island to island through warm seas
men sailed and were happy, and that also they were
so clever and well armed that they seldom came
to harm from the huge animals and dragons and
hyas oltfk which then were living there with the
lesser things. But on a sudden that time was over.
The Ice Giants came down from the sky and killed
all the trees and nearly all the animals. Such men
as were left fled from the remote North to this
land. They were Tah, the Fair Swift People; and we
see no people like them now. There were not many
Indians here when they came. The Fair Swift
People were good with the Indians. But after a
time they said more trouble was coming; and
they found a way to open through on the other
side of things. Never an Indian could follow, unless in dream or by magic they led him through
or unless he were a great medicine man who had
learned the trick and the trail all by himself. I am
told that the in-turn is easiest made on mountain-
tops and through certain great rocks of indication.
So the Fair Swift People quit the world as we know
it, and left no trace of their ever having been here
at all,  unless,  as  some think,  the  glyphs  and  pic- 64 CHINOOK DAYS
tures graven on the high rocks in vacant or slolikum-
haunted valleys were made by them as a sign before leaving. We have nothing of them on this side
of things now; and to us they are as if they were
not, except perhaps when our doing and handling of
things excessively makes a disturbance go through
to their annoyance. Then they are like to upset
something roughly against us, and we never knowing how or for why. "Now, just for that you
all get off," as the sleepy tramp said to the flies on
his nose when he was stung on the tip of it by a
bee. And that maybe is about all there is of
reason or justice in any of these upheavals when
the powers become exasperated and men and the
lesser animals perish. Yet they are not slolikum
nor totems nor spirits of any kind, these Tah in
the likeness of men who found the way to open
through and live on the other side of things.
Indians then were the only people left in this
land for a long time after the Fair Swift People
went through. They lived on here as they had
always lived; and comfortably, because there were
not too many of them. The same mountains were
here then as now, only they were higher and
smoother and rounder. But there was no Vancouver Island, and our Coast was a long, unbroken
line with no bay or inlet; it was no better than
Washington Territory and Oregon and California.
Yet all went well until the Ice" Giants made war
against this land; coming down from the North
and covering and  crushing all  deep  down and up LEGEND OF KO AND KLON 65
over the highest mountain-tops with solid layers
of ice, miles thick, and with great boulders which
they brought down with them on their way. The
Giants called to their allies in the air, the Leloo
Wahna; and these were loosed in endless packs
against all things that lived. The Leloo Wahna are
the Wolf Winds that bite and kill the children, and
the weak and old; killing sometimes even the strong
ones who go too careless of them.
The Giants would have destroyed all life except life of their own sort in ice and snow; and
perhaps such things as can live under frozen seas.
But the Indians clung stubbornly to this land; retreating and advancing as the edges of the ice-
walls varied. The outermost lines of the ice
reached clear down at times as far as Washington
Territory. Through years and years of desolation
the sky was low and heavy overhead; whirling
grey and then darker grey to all black. There
were no other colors to the sky. And it was that
way for a hundred years, and then for a hundred
years, and for longer than all those put together.
Under that dismal roof men no longer kept count"
of time. How could they? For there was no
change in the sky except that when it was not
raining it was snowing, and when it was not grey
it was black; and no time can be kept by that.
Stories, indeed, were handed down by the few survivors to their fewer children; and among them
the great story of one round, warm, yellow, moving
light in the sky, and one cold but beautiful moving 66
white light, changing its fashion of shape regularly
from a horn to a ball and back again, and of lights
that twinkled farther away in a shoreless lake of
blue overhead; twinkling with many colors, and
bearing tidings of seasons and changes in the affairs of men. But after a while and longer this
story was not given much credence by practical
hunters, who had come alive to the reality of
things as they were. It was a tale for women and
children and those feeble in age; although apparently some birds were yet deluded with it, for they
regularly flew away at a time after they were
hatched; flew away in faith to find some truth of it.
Practical men were not yet learned enough to explain it all as a sun myth; but of course they knew
well enough that there was nothing but an endless
dullness above them, and that their only businesqs
in life was to kill enough to live. Bravely and bitterly they did that; and it kept them so busy that
there was scarce any time left for making love; or
even for making war on each other. It was a
dreary age of no diversion; they could not get
away from themselves; they could not even amplify
their minds to mitigate their misery with the passing exhiliration of intoxication. I mean to say
there was no way of getting drunk. No, not even
by doing the ghost dance, for that as yet had not
been  devised.
But after what time no man can tell there
came a day that was a real day. The sun broke at
last   through   the   thick     entanglement    of   cloud; LEGEND OF KO AND KLON 67
shining out of a pool of blue above, and sending
its warm brightness down over the desolate world.
Men were amazed. And then for the first time in
remembrance of these parts, a few of the spiteful
believers had the spiteful joy of saying to the
others: "I told you so!" But who cared? For
all believed the story now; indeed they believed
more than the story. They hailed the sun as
Sokalie Tyhee; and the sky to them was the proof
of Yo, because of its having no beginning and no
ending but only a middle; and because everything
that stands out anywhere is always exactly in the
middle of its stretch.
Men soon realized that the sun was fighting
against their great enemy, the ice; and they began
to count the rounds when he was up in the sky
fighting, which were the days; and the times when
he had gone down to his corner to rest, which
were the nights. The nights were the times when
the moon and the twinkling ones beyond it were
The fight to release the land from the cling of
the ice was long. Sometimes the sun would prevail; and then great blocks from the ramparts
would split and fall and melt away into water. And
the green things began to grow and creep defiantly
nearer and nearer against the ice-walls. Then the
Giants would rally their forces, and the Leloo
Wahna would return to the assault on men. The
sun and the ice were like wrestlers locked together;
straining and scarce moving, so that it seemed to 68 CHINOOK DAYS
men as if there would be no final winning one way
or the other. Always, however, at the darkest
and coldest time, when the sun seemed weak and
did not climb high to any vantage point in the sky
from which to shoot hot arrows down against the
ice, there would be a turn. And from that turn the
Indians remaining began once more to note the
times and seasons. Already the rising and setting
of the sun marked the day; and every time the moon
was born again in the sky it marked the month;
and now the turn of the sun when the days were
the shortest marked the year. A great feast was
observed for the occasion. Down thousands of
years, and under many names in honor of this or
that Great One from on high that feast continues
to be kept gladly through all the lands of the
North. And above all it is the Feast of Children;
holding the new hope, and the drama of rebirth to
the Golden Age.
At long last all the ice ramparts of the Giants
were broken down and melted away, except for a
few of their blue castles on the mountains. These
we call glaciers. But the Great Ice Age was over;
the Giants were driven back to their fastnesses in
the remote North. Yet one good thing came of
their incursion upon our land. For it was in the
cleaving and crashing and upturn and final settlement of the fight between the ice and the sun
that our bays and inlets and our fringe of
lovely islands on the edge of the sea were
shaped    and    made    as    they    are;    all    so   useful
for commerce and scenery. Otherwise we would
now have had no better front to the Pacific
than the people in the territories to the south of us.
But of that we must not boast. For it all came by
chance of the mix-up, and without any design for us
in particular, as if we were a particular people in
the eyes of the powers. Caves in the mountains
were not designed for bears; although for bears
and their business they serve very well.
I have heard that when all was coming to order
again, as it was before the Great Ice Age, then the
totems 'and stone spirits and the lesser slolikum
of this land settled into things as beforetime; each
to its own. Now, although the Ice Giants had retired, yet the Leloo Wahna and the Thunder Birds
still howled and bellowed and roared all around
here; and sometimes even an Oluk Wahna came.
Then it happened that two great stone spirits,
strangers from a land now under the sea, came
slowly up this way. In the sunken land they had
for ages been Protectors; and they had there been
known as Ko and Klon. But now they were beaten
refugees, and their country and all its habiters were
gone. The way of it was this: Before the Great
Ice Age there had been war of another kind between other powers. Far over the sea to the south
there had been an outbreak of Fire Slolikum from
below, with great rocking of the earth and outpouring of rivers of flame and ashes and poison
winds;  and although all the powers above fought 70 CHINOOK DAYS	
in counteraction, they could not save the land from
going down. Ko and Klon were sorely hurt as
spirits are hurt; and for long they found no place
to content them. Then they followed in the trail
of the green things growing to the North again, as
the walls of the Ice Giants fell.
It is a great ignorance on our part in these days
to fancy that all spirits can travel like the wind or
like light. Some may when the ways are clear for
them; and some are even at once wherever they think
they are. But also spirits may be blocked, just as
electrics may be blocked by glass. There are spirits
that needs must creep through the times and places
of our world, as glaciers creep with centuries for
their minutes down the mountains to the sea. And
few of us in these days seem able to realize that some
spirits may be more solid than we are, and more
solid than the solidest seeming of our world, carrying on as we do. And just as light is bent sometimes or colored in passing through a drop of dew
or a church window so our course may be altered and
something may be detracted from us as we pass unknowing through the unknown solidities. That is
why I am not so quick to laugh at a spirit wall protecting my door in China. If rightly made and
placed, it may be, for all I know, just as effective as
a lightning-rod in turning an evil aside. But no matter about that now. Ko and Klon kept together in
their slow travel; and they arrived here together at
a time long after the Great Ice Age.    There was a LEGEND OF KO AND KLON 71
curious sympathy between them, like as between a
man and a woman divorced and then married to
each other again; too exasperatingly intrigued ever
to be quit of each other. That was the way it was
with them. Ko, the female, as we might say, being
very positive; and Klon, the male, being very negative. Klon said no to everything Ko proposed; yet
he always went along her way just the same. Now
in the sunken land their high sign had been a great
beast like a lion, but greater. And so, when they
reached, here to the inlet through the water, and saw
their sign standing up high to the sky in twin forms,
one beside the other, Ko was content at last to settle
down, and Klon did not say no. Thus it came about
that Ko and Klon went into the two great stone
peaks that we in Vancouver call the Lions. But
first, before Ko and Klon went into them to find
rest, they sent a sweet medicine—the olo moosum
medicine—through all the air around here, so as to
dope the Thunder Birds and keep Leloo Wahna and
Oluk Walma and other such uneasy and awful
things of the air from disturbing them too much.
Ko and Klon, being weary and sore, were desirous
of going into the peaceful dream for ten thousand
years or more, and so they took precautions. Even
the Thunder Birds, the flapping of whose wings
makes thunder, and the anger in whose eyes strikes
down in flashes and bolts of lightning, continue to
feel the sweet influence of the medicine put through
our air by Ko and Klon.   That is why around Van- 72 CHINOOK DAYS
couver and its outlying dependencies they can seldom storm enough against us even to startle a child.
The trouble with these legends is that they never
tell how the medicine is made or the magic done-
This leads to unbelief. Nevertheless, the fact remains, that in other lands less favored than ours,
whether the air be reeking damp or splitting dry;
whether the forests be jungle-thick or all cleared
away in farms; whether there be mountains many
and high or the land be flat entirely like the Prairies;
in all these places cyclones and typhoons and cloudbursts and thunder storms sweep down every so
often and upset and damage the arrangements of
mail; But not in Vancouver. It may be the fun of
the scientists playing seriously to explain some
other way for why we live in such peaceful air up
here in our parts. But whether they guess right
or wrong we do. And if you believe as I believe,
then at least you will think it no harm to burn a
joss-stick on occasion to the old Protectors, Ko and
Klon, or to any proper copper paper-weight made in
the likeness of them, and sitting on your table, thus
sweetening the air to their dreaming and keeping
mosquitoes  away.
I heard a saying in a place where I go that some
day there would be a great wizardry of skill and
of forces gathered on the heads of Ko, the Eastern
Lion, and Klon, the Western Lion; and that energies
now unknown would be induced and balanced in the
air between them, and then streamed out as directed LEGEND OF KO AND KLON
for service and defence of Vancouver. Not being an
energician, I am unable to guess how that may be.
But I remember now that in boyhood I was taught
to lift mine eyes to the hills for aid; and to pray
for peace in our time. And so I suppose I should
end by saying: May peace continue in our midst
for so long as these mountains stand and a little
longer. But me—I love a storm—now and then!
And I have thrown a kiss—more than one—to a
Thunder Bird!  Yahda of Capilano
YAHDA was not so long ago. But now she
will be for so long as Capilano runs. Yahda
was an Indian girl. How she came to be
that no one can guess; seeing that she was so much
against much of the human arrangement, and the
things a nice girl must do; even though she live in
an Indian way and be Tree as free can be. Her
people are no more; all dead and away now to
wherever they went. Once they lived far up along
the coast of the Island across the Gulf; and their
name—it took a click of the tongue to say it their
way—but it meant seashells; so it will be easier to
call  them  that.
In the eyes of her tribe, excepting those who
were but children or else having the great age upon
them, Yahda was not what she ought to be; running off all by herself in the woods when no one
was looking, and for what no one could find out.
Every so often she had to be soundly beaten until she
grew too big for that if her face was to be saved.
However agile and bright she was, yet she continued
to be mistrusted sadly as she grew older. By the
young matrons she was regarded as bad medicine.
So when, at a conference of the elders, it was
suggested by a wise woman that Yahda should be
married to one of an enemy tribe, thus putting the
affliction of her on that tribe with a friendly ges- 76 CHINOOK DAYS
ture, this was considered excellent good politics
by the politicans assembled; and presently the plan
was approved by the Chief in Council. Therefore,
a messenger was despatched across the Gulf from
the Chief of the Seashells to the Chief of the Squam-
ish at the mouth of Capilano on the big Inlet; making an offer of peace and alliance, and proposing to
confirm this by marriage of Yahda to the Chief's
son. It was no lie that was told by the messenger
to the Chief of the Squamish about how beautiful
Yahda had grown to be; and, of course, it was not
necessary to tell how queer she was. The elders
of the Squamish debated the matter doubtfully for
several nights; but at last the advantage of peace
and intercourse weighed with them, and the proposal for an alliance was accepted. Also the Chief's
son was eager; for he had heard of the beauty of
Yahda. Then the messenger said that at the first
of the fifth moon, four canoes with select men of
the Seashells would come to Capilano; bringing
Yahda with them, and all assurances of peace.
When Yahda heard of what was afoot, she did
not receive the news with a show of modest compliance and dignity; indeed, she did not seem to
care a one-eyed doughnut for dignity; she naturally raised a howl like a wildcat caught in a trap;
and then, declaring she would never be married,
she ran away into the woods as fast as she could.
But they found her and forced her to come back
Then she refused to eat, and was stubborn in her
fast for awhile; so that the elders feared she might YAHDA OF CAPILANO 77
become thin and lose her beauty, and begin to see
spirits and otherwise do herself and them a mischief.
But Yahda, being at least a fine, natural girl about
whatever she wanted, became at last too hungry to
stay foolish about a fast, when there was good food
to be had. So she cursed the elders and the wise
woman and the young matrons as well as she could
in her poor, inadequate, heathen way; and then ate
and was thankful, and took on flesh rapidly. By
the time all was ready to escort her to Capilano,
she was plump and comely once more, as every girl
ought fo be.
Then four great war canoes were provisioned
and manned; and along with Yahda went two girls
to attend her, and two more to wash and cook.
Also there were presents for the Chief of the
Squamish and his son, and for the elders of the
Squamish and their wise woman, if they had one.
All this time, however, Yahda had been making
secret signs that she knew to her friends of the
slolikum, telling them she did not want to go away
and be married. But her little friends of the slolikum could find no way to prevent the politically
advantageous matrimonial alliance sc cleverly arranged by the big men after it had been conceived
by the wise woman. The slolikum who loved
Yahda were too thin of things to be able to bother
the big men except in their sleep. They could not
bump their canoes over; and they were too flustered to think of any other good trick in time. Yet,
because they were so very fond of Yahda, and be-
cause she kept on crying so much in a way that
the others could not hear, the little slolikum began to cry also, and sent a doleful appeal through
the wind to the Stone Spirits of the nearest high
mountains. They kept this up with such importunity that their repetition was by no means vain.
Four- of the Stone Spirits wakened a little at the
unusual quiver of their appeal; and these four transmitted the effect of it to Tolo Wahna then passing.
Tolo Wahna, as you may know, is one of the twin
tah of Yo; the other being Yolana. They may be
thought of as sisters. Usually they flow free of all
form, although they may weave themselves through
living forms and mix in affairs. Yolana is the
dream of stillness through all moving. But Tolo
Wahna is in the whirl of every wind that blows
for a chance of romance; whether good or ill. If
we knew what Destiny really means, we might say
that Tolo Wahna is Destiny in our way of talking;
for Tolo Wahna means Win from the Wind.
Now the four Stone Spirits which had wakened
a little realized well enough that if anything were
to be done about Yahda's business, it must be done
with rapidity. Tolo Wahna happened just then
to be in an odd mood. She really is never in any
other; and so one can never tell anything for sure
about her but just  that.
Four war canoes, crossing the Gulf on theii
way to the Lions' Gate, were nearing the far point
which we now call Point Grey. Suddenly the
paddlers stopped paddling.    They were  astonished YAHDA OF CAPILANO 79
at seeing ships. There had been ancient tales of
ships; and recently there had been rumors of their
having reappeared. They were there now for all to
see; two of them. Two great ships; and it was
plain that even the smaller one would hold more
than could be held by all four of the war canoes
together, maybe twice as much. Each of the ships
had two tall masts, but of different rig for the sails.
The men in the canoes were grave at the sight, for
they felt that no good thing was likely to come for
Indians out of ships from overseas. But Yahda
was entranced. It was as if something greatly desired, but not believed, had all at once come true.
And her spirit shone bright in her eyes as her arms
reached out toward one of the ships; the one from
which came on the wind a music trembling sweeter
than any that ever she had heard before. She
went all athrill to it. Then it was that the canoes
were caught in a sudden, unknown tide; and things
unexpected began to happen. The canoes, were
drawn toward the ship from which the music came.
The canoe with Yahda in it was carried swiftly, in
spite of the expert paddling of its crew. Soon it
was close to the stern of the schooner Mexicana,
from which a rope ladder hung down. The Commander, Don Cayetano Valdez, rose from where he
sat on the deck with his superior officer, the Commander Don Dionisio Galiano, who had come
over from the brig Sutil to compare notes of the
coast survey, and while the time with a drink or
two.    They both looked down with interest at the 80 CHINOOK DAYS
canoes so queerly caught in a strong, narrow current, on either side of which no tide-rip or motion
of the water was visible. A young Spanish sailor,
who had been playing the guitar, rose also and
looked at the approaching canoes, and then at the
one with Yahda, so close now to the stern; and then
only at Yahda. And Yahda, with outstretched
arms, stood up in the canoe. Her hair was parted
and pleated in two thick coils down her back; her
prettiest shells were strung around her neck. Otherwise she wore only her summer kalikwhatie, which
is a light short petticoat woven of the silky inner
bark of young cedar, colored with yellow and red.
Then, as the canoe swirled around the stern, this
Yahda girl leapt like a panther at the rope ladder.
She caught it and climbed quickly into the ship.
That was how the trouble came. For it was the
young sailor who helped her over the side on
to the deck, and in doing that he gave her hand a
squeeze that meant much all in a moment to both
of   them.
Valdez gave a sharp order, and the rope ladder
was hauled up out of reach of the Indians.
But now the canoes seemed as if held to the ship
in the grip of that cantrip tide. Then the Indians
made as if to board the schooner and recover
Yahda. She sensed what was in their minds. And
she sensed the signs made to the Indians by the
men in the schooner, and the meaning of the
glance directed toward her by Valdez; who may
have thought she was a slave attempting to escape. YAHDA OF CAPILANO 81
It all meant that she would be forced back into the
canoe. Like a wild thing of the forest suddenly
loosed from a cage, she darted along the deck to the
prow. She turned and looked back at the young
sailor, who had started to follow after her. One
look was enough; she read the admiration in his
eyes; she beckoned him to follow and straightway
plunged overboard. The Spanish sailor followed,
and it seemed as if the tide took hold on the two of
them. They were borne by it toward the shore at
Kitsilano more swiftly than any but a fish can swim.
But that same uncanny tide reversed against the
canoes and held them back from pursuit.
Now, if I were free to tell a story of this affair
as I should like, then I would arrange a happy time
for Yahda and the Spanish sailor for so long as they
wanted to be together in the forest at Kitsilano;
and never let an Indian or any interfering foreigner
find them there. But in that which is written for
schools one should tell the truth as it was, rather
than as  it  should  have  been.
Yahda landed in advance of the sailor; skilfully
avoiding the great boulders lying along the shore.
They are cruel hard to be dashed against, and that
is just what happened to the poor sailor. In the
twist of a third wave he was thrown against one
of them just as he was making his feet; striking the
side of his head with such force that he sank back
in the water, limp and stunned. Yahda went swiftly
in to him. and, taking a firm hold behind his neck,
dragged him safely to shore. 82 CHINOOK DAYS
Yahda knew much of what should be; and also
of what would be. She knew what she knew in
truer fashion than may be taught in any school.
She was able to feel the way of unremembered
things, doing it by instinct, as we would say; and
she was able to flash the way of new things, which
is called intuition by those who believe in it, but
for which the few who have the trick of it may
have other names, or no name at all. When one
can do that way in the natural run of affairs, then
there is no need for the talk and palaver of logic.
One knows what is what; and what to do instanter.
Yahda knew well enough that this man she held
was sorely hurt and like to die; this lover who had
come to her all in a twinkling minute out of the
unexpected. She felt sure that Tolo Wahna had
a hand in the happening; but whether for good or
ill, or for both good and ill delightfully together,
that she could not tell. But as soon as sne had
her man well out of the water, she helped him to
his feet, and led him in a daze across the sands.
He sagged heavily against her before she had him
where there was thick moss at the foot of a cedar
tree. There she eased him down at full length
with his head in her lap. Deftly she passed her
little hands with their healing power around the
wound on the side of his head. But it was a wound
that would not bleed; or that was bleeding within.
What next could she do? Her ears detected the
sound of a stream near by, and she poled directly
to it.    She fashioned a cup of the big maple leaves, YAHDA OF CAPILANO
and in that brought water back to the sailor. Although he was in a stupor, the water seemed to
soothe  and  please  him.
Yahda lived through the hours that followed as
if they were years, and as if they were all the real
years of life worth having. It was in the time of
the long twilight. She saw the slim yellow canoe
of the new moon go westering down the sky. Over
the Bay a flush of crimson lingered for hours. Then
the blue night came with the large few stars; and
the one sad golden star of summer that she looked to
as her own. What all happened that night under the
cedar in Kitsilano we do not know; but the Spanish
sailor moaned at times, and at times he laughed low
and happily, muttering Spanish words of love and
dreaming himself back home into a Spanish town.
He heard a music of many guitars and bandurrias
together; he heard the stimulating click of the
castyanet; he knew warm women near him, and he
smelled the new wine for the autumn frolic.
Yahda listened to his words. It seemed in the
sound of them as if memories came to her through
a thin blue smoke of things that never were. And
after that there was like the unrolling of vast, rich
curtains of light, one shimmering behind the other
endlessly, discovering new vistas and fashions of
life, but coming never to any clearance of this from
that.    Yahda  built  a  fire.
Shortly after the sun had risen next morning, the
two of them were found in the forest at the foot of
the cedar tree by a landing party from the ships and 84 CHINOOK DAYS	
by the men of the four canoes. The young sailor
was dead. And from the look in the eyes of Yahda,
the Indians knew that she was not there at all, but
was beside herself or even farther away. For a
certain sort of madness the Indians show careful
respect; guarding and tending the body of one
whose mind is absent. Yet in the circumstances the
omens for a happy marriage and a lasting alliance
with the people of the Squamish were not promising. Word of the strange happening,of the conduct of Yahda, and the death of the foreign sailor,
would surely reach the ears of the Squamish Chief
and his people; with swift growing additions quite
untrue, but very effective for discredit. So it was
thought better not to conceal, but to construe. It
was thought that by skilful interpretation the event
might be shown as in some way favorable; as if
Yahda at least were under special protection of
The body of the sailor was buried as a sailor
at sea off the Spanish Bank. He was said to have
been a distant relative of the great Gabriola; belonging to a branch of that illustrious family fallen
on hard days. Somewhere in Spain the wraith
of him appeared before his mother; and she mourned
and went forthwith to the church to pray for the
repose of his soul; hopefully handing over her
widow's mite for aid to that end. And a singing
came of her prayers and her religion which worked
to relieve the soul of that sailor out of a bad dream YAHDA OF CAPILANO 85
in the state that he was; whether you believe it or
But on the schooner Mexicana that day there
was more ado over a new page of history
which was just being turned than there was
over the untimely death of one of the crew. For
on the morning of that day the Englishmen who
were the first Europeans to go through the Lions'
Gate and enter Burrard Inlet, naming it that; and
then Howe Sound, naming it that; and then Jervis
Inlet, naming it that; they came back across the
Bay and in so doing made it English, and they
headed direct for the Spanish ships. They sailed in
a pinnace from their own ships, the Discovery and
the Chatham, which were lying somewhere farther
south, off Boundary Bay. The pinnace was under
command of Captain George Vancouver, and with
him was Lieutenant Peter Puget and nine sailors.
They were received courteously on the brig Sutil
by both Galiano and Valdez, who invited them to
breakfast and conferred with them as to the formal
surrender of land at Nootka by Spain to Great
Britain. The terms had been fairly arranged in
Europe; and they were told that the Spanish Envoy,
Commander Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y
Quadra, awaited them in the Fort at Nootka.
But unconcerned with all that, and what was to
follow of it, the four war canoes of the Seashells
went through the Lions' Gate and landed at the
mouth of Capilano, with Yahda staring stonily.   The 86 CHINOOK DAYS
marriage party was expected. The coming ashore
was with all proper ceremonies. The presentations
and the delivery of presents were made. Then followed a long address by the orator of the Seashells
to the Chief of the Squamish. But now strange
glances were beginning to be directed by the women
of the Squamish toward Yahda, who stood as if
she neither saw nor heard nor cared. Utsina-a-a-h!
There were whisperings indeed. Then the story of
what happened off the Spanish Bank was told to
the Chief and the elders in council. After that there
was silence. The Seashells could say no more. The
elders waited for their Chief to speak first. The
presents had already been accepted. The assurances
of peace seemed as good as the assurances of
politicians ever are. But that girl Yahda—she was
the question. The Chief of the Squamish was
slow to speak. Then happened a thing irregular and
quite out of order. The Chief's son had set his
eyes on Yahda, and he was hot in his heart for
her; stricken with her beauty; and regardless of
nothing else, so only he would not lose her. His
name was Itka Mak, and he was very strong and
bold. But Yahda looked at him without seeing him.
He feared that he would never attain her; he felt
there was something in the wind. And that is why
he broke tradition and did the untoward thing. He
entered the council circle unbidden, and declared
that he knew all that was being said and thought
about Yahda. He said that if it were all true, and
even   if  she  were   the   child   of  a   Chehah,   yet   he YAHDA OF CAPILANO 87
would marry her and none other. When he had
ceased speaking there was a dread silence again.
Then the old Chief rose, and, looking sternly at his
son, proclaimed his decision. He said that he
would put Itka Mak to the ordeal of Slolikum Lake
in the mountains above; and that he would put
Yahda to the ordeal of the Tah Lake above Slolikum Lake; and that if all went well of the ordeals
then the marriage should take place; and if not then
not. He had spoken, and there was no more to be
I am not telling the story of Itka Mak, nor the
nature of the ordeal at Slolikum Lake in those days.
All I will say is that Itka Mak was taken there;
and that Yahda was taken to the Tah lake, which
was five hundred feet higher than Slolikum Lake on
the Dam Mountain, beyond Goat Ridge. Slolikum
Lake still lies—beautiful, mysterious, icy cold and
very deep—more than three thousand feet above
Vancouver. It is held as in a cup formed by an
old crater from which no fire has flamed forth for
ages past.
Without giving Yahda a morsel of food or allowing her any assistance, the women made her
go climbing with them all the way up and down
and up again to the Tah Lake. Yahda's servants
were told to follow behind, and out of touch with
their mistress. Yahda went silent and unheeding,
as if the other women were but shadows and less on
the way that she was going. When they arrived
at the Tah Lake it was night; the time intended for CHINOOK DAYS
the ordeal. The Tah Lake was as much smaller as
it was higher than Slolikum Lake; and it was
shaped then like a human heart.
Little those women of the Squamish dreamed
what magic Yahda was doing in her silence all the
way up and over the mountains. Little they suspected what slolikum were gathering around her,
trying to help, and whimpering like children unseen
in the air because they were of no avail; whimpering
and calling to the high ones over them. And none
of them, not Yahda nor any, knew how Tolo
Wahna was smiling as the wind smiles; waiting
the event.
Having arrived at the lake, the women lost no
time in starting the circle of sixteen fires all around
the edge of it. The night was clear, except for one
black cloud just overhead. Then Yahda was stript
of all her clothing and ornaments, and without
paddle was put into the white canoe kept there
for just such an occasion. The canoe was then
pushed out from the shore where it floated motionless, with never a stir of Yahda naked in it. The
fires were blazing high, and the beating of the
sixteen tomtoms now began. They were beaten
in time to the ancient chant which the women sang.
Very red now were the fires, red with the medicine
that was sprinkled over them in a powder. The
sky grew darker overhead; and the beat of the
tom-toms blended now into one; making a powerful quiver for the magic to be done. The Tah Lake
was entire all round with rock; there was no break YAHDA OF CAPILANO 89
or outlet in the oval loop of it. It was fed only
by the rain and snow from above. And so it could
have no current. Yet in the rhythm of the tomtoms now there began a circling current in that
lake, and the canoe was caught in it and began to
go round and round the shore against the circle of
the sixteen fires; but at each turn doing a shorter
circle incoming toward the centre. But what was
this rumbling, doubling and trebling the beat of the
tom-toms? It seemed as if great echoes of it rolled
back, yet*always catching evenly on the next beat
without breaking the rhythm. The Indian women
started in amazement at the supplementing sound.
They peered fearfully into the darkness. But those
having the tom-toms to beat dared not rise or cease
to beat; knowing not what disaster a sudden stop
might bring upon them all if they did. There was a
sound of slow rending. There was a tremor that
came like a command to halt. And now the canoe
was motionless in the very centre of the lake; and
Yahda had risen with arms outstretched above her
head, and she was saying words that none had ever
heard before. Then in a flash a Thunder Bird was
overhead. In the roar and split of blue flame the
end of the heart-shaped lake gave way, and went
crashing thousands of feet sheer below. In a
smooth, swift flow all the water of the lake rushed
through the gap in the broken heart, and with it;
standing gloriously naked and erect in the white
canoe, lit with the red fires and the blue lightning, THE DEVIL'S LEAP, FROM GROUSE MOUNTAIN PLATEAU
The drop here is sheer 2000 feet into Keekwullie Chasm. YAHDA OF CAPILANO 91
Yahda sailed fearlessly into the darkness and the
abyss and never was seen again.
That is all we know of the matter for a fact.
But if you care to climb to the Broken Heart Lake
that now lies empty forever, then you may see for
yourself. You may reach to it by going over
Grouse Mountain and Goat Ridge and the Dam
Mountain beyond.
Now this is the conclusion come to by the wise
women of the Squamish. Yahda was taken of Tolo
Wahna. It is not often that a mortal is taken over
to the Tah; still less often to the spirits that run
formless in the formless of wind and water. Yet
because this Yahda girl had been so alien among
the people and so averse to the human way of life,
and so queer altogether in the desire of her heart,
what else was to come of it than just the thing
that did? For in the ultimate each makes itself
and fits to its own roundure in the color of the fire
at its own inmost centre. But however that may
be, there was a wild turn and sequel to the taking
over of Yahda. The unconforming spirit of her
went with the water of Broken Heart Lake a-flying
through the air, and naturally if left alone she also
would have found her place in the Lynn Valley.
But something had happened after the ordeal which
had been successfully endured by Itka Mak on
Slolikum Lake. Returning to the Plateau of Ceremonies on Grouse Mountain to await the women
from above with the bride uneasy echoes of things
in the air from   the multiplying tom-toms, the sud- 92 CHINOOK DAYS	
den coming of the Thunder Bird, and the distant
roar of rocks crashing from the Dam Mountain
eastward toward Lynn Valley, led to a stop in the
preparations for a happy time. And the bridegroom
Itka Mak, in whom the other sight and hearing attained at the height of the ordeal had not yet grown
dull, suddenly sensed the smashing disaster and the
rapture of his bride from this world into the world
of the formless spirits. At that he went mad.
Some say that in his hot and frustrate desire he
went beside himself, and that a devil out of the
chasm took advantage of him and slipt into his
body, running it then and casting it to destruction
down the steep, as devils delight to do. And ever
since they have called the crag jutting out over
Keekwullie Chasm, where the body of Itka Mak
was cast, the Devil's Leap. It goes down there
plumb two thousand feet. But myself, I do not
think there was any devil to blame. I think Itka
Mak committed suicide; feeling the way he did. Yet
it may very well have been that act which whipped
out like a last lassoo of despair to Yahda, veering
her spirit from the Lynn to the Capilano. It is a
way in which these things sometimes work.
And now for Yahda through the long, free years
all the body of her desire is clean coming and clean
going. It is the Capilano River that serves her for
what body she wants; leaping, tumbling, flowing
down from the heights in glacial purity over the
rocks and among the deep greenery of the Canyon to
the sea.   Therein the tah and turn of Yahda entered. YAHDA OF CAPILANO 93
Out from that river which is a living body for her
she may slip sometimes and venture, even assuming
a form; just as we may sometimes unknowing slip
quite loose of our body in reverie or deep sleep. But
all the while between Yahda will be lilting and
crooning happily in her river till all be over. I
think so. For Yahda no longer is of the human
order; nor like ever to be again. But the spirit of
her lover Itka Mak will not let go. He in spirit is
human as ever. And it is he that is heard wailing
through the wind in the chasm for Yahda sometimes
in the winter night. But now Yahda dreams out of
her river in the summer they say; and in her dreams
she comes as near as may be to the barrier of
Itka Mak. Maybe at last she is beginning to love
him in the way he wants; and maybe when she is
willing, and he can come, she will take him over
to her entirely and both will be content. *  'ki--l ;<T\
Now abandoned for Grouse Mountain Highway; constructed
for motor cars. Grouse Mountain Plateau
I STARTED one way, but went another. Sometimes that seems to work best; especially in
the climbing of a mountain. Leaving the far
end of Lonsdale, I walked along a stony road till
I came to the reservoir at Melawahna Creek. Once
this delightful mountain stream was misnamed Mosquito Creek by some lustreless hot miscreant, who
could not see the beauty of the great grey and white
boulders over which the ice-cold waters are foaming down forever to keep North Vancouver clean,
and give its habiters a drink. From a cabin near
the intake I was hailed by a boy of about five years,
who asked if I had any rubber. He spoke casually
and confidently, as one man might ask another for
a light to his pipe. In his hand he held a small
forked stick, a piece of string, and the back of an
old leather glove; that is to say, all the makings for
a slingshot except the propulsive rubber. He explained that he intended to shoot hawks; and that
as soon as he could get rubber and make his sling
shot he would kill a great many; because he could
shoot very far and very hard. I promised to bring
him some rubber if I found any up in the mountains. For that he told me of an old man who
lived near the  first mountain;  and he advised  me 96 CHINOOK DAYS
to try and see him, because this old man knew all
about mountains and the things that lived in them.
Not far along after crossing the bridge at
Melawahna Creek, I came by the road to the regular
trail, which I had been told to take. But it started
up so steeply, and it was at the outset so discour-
agingly plain, just like a duty, that I passed it by
in hope of finding an easier way. Thus it was that,
half a mile or so farther along the road, I did
indeed meet an old man; and I believe that he was
the one meant by the little boy. He was sitting
on a flat stone by the roadside, smoking a short
pipe, enjoying the hot sunlight, and apparently asking nothing more of life. I gave him good-day, and
sat down beside him. Being in no hurry myself, 1
felt content to rest well before starting to climb.
We were at a point high enough to overlook Bur-
rard Inlet, English Bay, and across to Point Grey.
I talked for awhile of nothing in particular, and my
companion smoked on in silence. I took him
for an old-timer, and so chanced a remark about
going once about forty-five years ago in a canoe
with Big Alek, the Indian, and James Wilson, the
Telegraph Superintendent through the Lions' Gate
and across to the logging camp of Angus Fraser
and Jerry Rogers at Jericho. That made the old
fellow prick up his ears; and it loosened his tongue.
He took me on then as an equal in age; just as had
the little boy who was in want of rubber for a
slingshot.    In half an hour I had some new stories
from him to add to my own about the early days.
He had lived on the Coast for fifty-three years. He
had worked along with John Hendry, both mill-
hands at New Westminster Mills before John ever
came into his fortune by lumbering. He had been
a foreman at Moodyville Mills under Hugh Nelson
before ever it seemed likely that Nelson would become a Senator and Lieutenant Governor of the
Province. But better for remembering than either
of these was Lonely Jo, the flute player, who came
up from Peru on a lumber bark in 1880. He was
the finest flute player ever known on the Inlet.
When the old-timer heard me tell of listening to
him in years between 1880 and 1885, playing his
flute on the wobbly pier at Hastings, or on the nearby verandah of Maxime Michaud's hotel, playing in
the summer night alone, or to the accompaniment
of some Kanaka sailor with a guitar, why then he
knew that I belonged, and he was ready to believe
all that I had to tell him. Lonely Jo, or Crazy
George, as some called him, because he really was
not a Peruvian, but an Englishman, had fought on
the Hauscar, the most famous fighting ship of the
world in its day- Built at Birkenhead by the British
for the Peruvian navy in 1865, and the first fighting
iron-clad with a conning tower, the Hauscar turned
pirate on its way out to Peru. After some preliminary successes in that line it eventually had a fight
with two British wooden frigates. The fight was
inconclusive;   but   in   the   follow-up   the   ship   was 98 CHINOOK DAYS
forced to come to terms with its rightful owners, the
Government of Peru. The Hauscar had various
fights after that. The last was against two larger
Chilean iro.nclads which it attacked in 1879- This
was one of the most famous naval duels in history. After most of the crew of the Hauscar had
been killed the ship was captured. Lonely Jo, all
unhurt, was made a prisoner. It was not the fighting that made him crazy. When the Chileans released him at the close of the war, he found that
his Peruvian girl had gone off with another man.
It was then that he became forlorn, and took to the
flute. I told the old-timer that I thought Lonely
Jo had died long since in the Asylum at New Westminster. But the old-timer emphatically said no;
he declared that Lonely Jo had escaped, and he believed that he had gone up into the mountains above
us. He said he often heard sounds coming down
in the still of the evening, like as from a distant
flute. And up there seemed a natural place for a
crazy person to go. I left it at that, as I was on
the way up myself. The old-timer said that so far
as he was concerned, he had always stuck to the
levels, and that he had worked on the level like a
decent citizen as long as he could. But of late it
was very hard to manage for himself. He had been
assured, however, that soon he was to receive
twenty dollars a month from the Government for
the rest of his life. I had not the heart to tell
him that the grudging plutocrats, old pensioners of GROUSE MOUNTAIN PLATEAU 99
the Senate, most of them neither useful nor entertaining now or ever, had blocked the grant of twenty
dollars a month to common folk of over seventy,
who had pioneered and founded the country, and
but for whose work there would be nothing for the
clever accumulators to grab. There was no use in
trying to explain to him why, in the politics of Canada, the partizan is always favored above the patriot.
But out of my bag I took a small bottle of elixir,
highly recommended for a dry throat or a dry heart,
and I gave him half of that before leaving, so that
he might go his way and forget his poverty. For
half an hour, perhaps; but the dignified décrépits
of the Senate are made comfortable for life by the
mass who are working now as this old-timer worked
in the work of British Columbia for over fifty years.
Those wiry sports who climb mountains for the
sheer physical joy and mental elation of surmounting them may have a full life of it here in British
Columbia. Fortunately for the rest of us, the Sunset Province is even a better place for other pursuits. By choice I am no uplifter; not even of my- .
self. So I will not tell of the antics and ejaculations of a short, stubborn, fat man, more up in
years than in climbing, who, nevertheless, managed,
after four hours, to haul himself topside through
thicket and morass, over slippery stones, to the wide,
rocky Plateau ©f Grouse  Mountain.
After leaving the old-timer, I met no one on the
way up except a chipmunk, who had quite a lot to SILVER CASCADE
Below the Devil's Leap on Grouse Mountain. GROUSE MOUNTAIN PLATEAU
say, and two grouse—a blue one that sat on a stump
and stared at me, and a ruffled one that flew away.
I am told that there are always regular hikers on
Grouse Mountain. Being regular, no doubt they
have sense enough to keep to the regular trail. But
I was on an abandoned trail part of the time, and
sometimes on no trail at all. Yet finally, when,
from the edge of the Plateau, I turned wearily to
look see below, then I felt no more lonely. All
Vancouver was at my feet. Intimately, from the
Lions' Gate to the Fraser Delta, and across the
Gulf to fhe Island, and mistily miles and miles beyond that, to the south into the territory of the
Americans, I filled my eyes with far sights and
blue distances. to the right was the Capilano Canyon;
and up out of it I heard the lovely monotone of
Yahda, the water-sprite of many a Chinook tale-
The sun was setting behind Klon, the Western Lion.
Ko, the Eastern Lion, which shows so well beside
Klon when seen from Vancouver and other points,
has not the same lion aspect in body from the
Plateau edge where I stood; but yet she lifts a head
proudly enough beside her greater mate. Mountains
like humpy buffaloes ran below the Lions; and there
were other mountains whose names men have not
yet found out. But the new shapes then that caught
my unfamiliar eye were the Pyramid and the Camel
of the old volcano, Crown mountain. These shapes
cannot be seen so well from Vancouver.    But in fine
similitude from Grouse Mountain Plateau their outlines are cut clear on the horizon; unique as a new
moon. With lion and camel and pyramid stupendous
in stone beyond all monuments of man, what a natural
place of pilgrimage, I thought, this region of giant
symbols would be for Shriners and other Calithum-
pians from the United States. When they can come in
their cars, they surely will come in annual tens of
thousands; and surely some of them will be moved
to build a temple here» Anyway, the mountain highway now building will be complete this summer; and
then those who, like myself, prefer to ascend mountains on comfortable cushions, will be accommodated
so far as the Plateau, and will there find a first-class
mountain hotel open to receive them winter and
summer alike, and supply them with all that makes
for winter and summer sport in the high places. I
heard a hard-faced, sinewy female hiker lamenting
in Vancouver that everything in this age was being
so dreadfully commercialized; and that it was a
shame that the exclusiveness of Grouse Mountain
would soon be gone. She feared that it might be
thronged by all sorts of persons, just as Stanley
Park now is on holidays. I ventured mildly to express my opinion that she and her like were excessively selfish creatures; that multitudes not built
of rubber and wrought-iron like herself were yet
just as desirous of making intimate acquaintance
with a mountain here and there; and that for those
of the elite in the climbing world who must have GROUSE MOUNTAIN PLATEAU        103
the going hard and rough and exclusive before they
can come to the ultimate thrill, there would ever
remain a whole sea of mountains and cliffs and
canyons beyond the Plateau where no car would
ever turn a wheel or cast a speeding shadow.
Mountains hold an order of life which we cannot touch or see. But from mountains come emotions for those who are sensitive to the peculiar fast
and loose spirit of them; for those who can tune in
on the fitful, ethereal quiver that is ever going out
from them; a quiver changing in quality with every
angle of reception. Mountains are very moody.
Seen remotely through the blue, they have for us
the far promise of beauty and romance; they lure
us beyond ourselves although we may never stir
from our standing. But at other times, and hard up
against them, they may be big with gloom; they
may be for us ugly, evil, ominous, impending; as
if they would drive our littleness to self-destruction. Then one must defy them as cruel, chaotic
upheavals from what once were fruitful and easygoing levels.
But as long as the sun is shining, or the night
is clear with stars, the spirit of peace and assurance for most of us seems to brood over all mountains.
Probably the steadiest, best thing we have for
taking our minds off the scenery and releasing common sense from time to time is our stomach. Just
as the sun went down, I caught the gleam of white VIEW FROM GROUSE MOUNTAIN PLATEAU
Sketched from point where a mountain chalet is now open for
guests, and showing part of Vancouver city, 4000 feet below,
across Burrard Inlet.
tents through the green fir and cypress below me.
1 had been told it would be Osterman's Camp. Contentedly I quit the ethereal, and climbed down where
a kind cook was good enough to give me a pot of
tea with much bread and sausage- On making
myself known to the foreman in charge, he gave
me the key to a small cabin on the cliff above,
where I was to sleep. Going back over the blasted
rocks to the cabin—blasted, I mean, for the new
hotel foundation—I was taking a last look at the
new mcion over the Canyon before turning in, when
a sturdy young fellow appeared over the south edge
of the Plateau with a pack on his back. He asked
if he might spread his blanket on the verandah for
the night. I was quite glad to have him come
inside and share one of the mattresses with which
the cabin was provided. He was a young Canadian,
born on the Prairies, having lived there always
until the last few months. Coming from the rich
flat lands, he had quite fallen in love with the un-
plowable mountains. He could not get enough of
them. He worked in a mill at Vancouver, but every
Saturday afternoon left town for a hike over the
high rocks; no game or jazz dance or church service holding any allure for him equal to that of the
mountains. Next morning at sunrise he would go
down the far valley almost to sea-level, and from
there make the ascent to the Camel on Crown
Mountain. Then he would return to the Plateau,
and thence down and across to Vancouver by the 106 CHINOOK DAYS
next night early, so as to be in shape for work
again Monday morning. An uncomfortable way
to be crazy, some may say. But that young man
is leading the artist's life; and the more like him
in muscle and vision and keen, clean pursuit of a
seemingly profitless fancy, the better for the coming citizenry  of  Vancouver.
After my first two hours' sleep, I came out
again on the Plateau to see the queer alteration of
Vancouver; the great twinkling squares 4000 feet
below me across the jet-black Inlet; a dream city
jewelled for adventure and romance. I recalled the
vision of Tslan Tala from this very Plateau; and I
thought of the wonders and hazards to come. Then
I went back to my blanket; and thus ended my first
day on  Grouse Mountain  Plateau. The Lure of Placer Gold
T^O GET new gold free of the earth; to get it
on your own with your own hands; accounting
to no corporation, and dependent upon no
intricate machine; in that there is romance. When
you can pick the nuggets and pan the yellow, heavy
dust—never before touched of man in the loose
gravel—there is a glow in winning even a little
wealth that way which never comes from coin had
in the more regular respectabilities of business; nor
from banking or bootlegging or brokery in crowded
cities. In the getting of placer gold you rob no
man. Something new is added to the world's supply,
instead of merely passing around what already exists; squeezing a profit for one to the loss of another. Moreover, what the independent placer-miner
gets from his pan or sluice-box is his own; and
no matter how little it may be he is generally disposed to handle it in a large way. That comes of
the open, and the free manner of getting it.
Ontario and the Rand have a great record for
gold produced from lodes and ledges and reefs.
But what does it all mean to the mass of miners engage in the work, except that there is so much more
heavy stuff which is not theirs, and which will be
locked away in vaults for others? The men who
sweat to get it out of the rock have not even the
frolic   of  harvest  hands   at  their   labor-     Common 108
laborers they are, hired by companies and capitalists
with no human touch to them; at least none that is
amiable. It takes much equipment and expensive
machinery to crush and chemicalize dividends from
rough ore in a rougher wilderness; and no single
man can do it. But the fellow who will pack up on
impulse some fine morning, and set out for the far,
new regions, from which a rumour of gold has
come, equipped with no more than pick and shovel
and blanket, and what of bacon and beans he may
carry to see him through; the like of him, except
for hard luck or mischance, is seldom found working for wages in a rock camp. He would rather be
out on the meanest grubstake a-prospecting for
himself. And there is always a chance for the high
thrill from what may look up at him some day
from his pan or from the riffles; look up, perhaps,
just when his grub is almost gone, and he feels he
can hang on no longer.
Even to pick up a single nugget from a pocket
in the gravel will give to the true gold-seeker,
chechaco and old-timer alike, what Izaak Walton
may have felt when he had a fine trout unexpectedly
on his line or maybe what an authentic orator may
feel when he catches some sudden, singing phrase
on the edge of the moment, and sends it out in full
swing; cracking like a whiplash over his audience.
I mind when first I saw gold coin in a heap.
There is a little Ontario village called Dresden, on
a littler river called Sydenham; yet, however little n
it was not unfamiliar in the old days just after
Confederation with the masts of schooners and
barkentines trading in there from England. In that
village, on a day in 1874, when my father left Ontario
for British Columbia, I was fascinated at sight of
the twenty-dollar gold eagles which he was stowing
away in his money-belt. In September of that year
we followed him; my mother and brother and sister;
and with us young Dave Curtis, who afterwards became Mayor of New Westminster. There were no
sleeping .cars then; no dining cars; and because of
unconnected railway systems and many changes, it
took us seven days of weary travel to reach San
Francisco. But we went in the height of luxury,
compared to those who made their way across in the
covered wagons a few years earlier.
In San Francisco for the first time I breathed
the atmosphere of easy gold. It is not there now.
Free indeed was the Lady of Ventures who ruled
over that city in those days; rich with all the
West, and yet with a touch of the Orient in her
eyes as she looked outward over the blue Pacific.
It is a common mistake to think that the San
Francisco of that time was in the United States. It
is so now, irredeemably. But as I knew it, off and
on from 1874 till 1881, I realized, though but a
child, that I the outermost gay port of Bohemia. And all its glad, mad, sad, bad inhabitants,
as Swinburne might say, were loyal above all to
their lady. W$t$ - " 110 CHINOOK DAYS
I have a few fair and rare-colored memories of
the first Palace Hotel as it stood in all its pleasant
opulence. There the best was to be had; and it
was not beyond price for a poor man to pay when
he felt like doing his appetite proud. And I remember Woodward's Gardens. There was a circular
boat there in a lily pond in which children could
row themselves round and round to their hearts'
content. Associated with that circular boat, going
round and round and going nowhere, there stands
out the figure of an emperor; the first emperor that
ever I saw. He used to stand sometimes by the
edge of the pond and speak to the children in a
way that made them like him at once. A gentle,
smiling, big man he seemed to me; wearing a cocked
hat with an imposing plume, and looking very noble
in a military coat of dark blue, lit up with gold
lace. I believe when young that he had been a
soldier in the Mexican War of 1848; helping the
Americans to take such land as they coveted from
the Mexicans. Afterwards in the balmy and frequently foggy climate of San Francisco he became
that way himself. The Emperor Norton, I think
they called him; and he collected taxes as he
required them from the hotels and shops and saloons
of the city. Of course, such a person now would
promptly be run into some dismal prison by the
police if he had no money; or into some corrall with
a fancier name, haunted by alienists and psycholo-
gers, if he had much money.   But the men who then THE LURE OF PLACER GOLD 111
handled gold so easily thought well to humor
him, and honor themselves, by contributing generously whenever he chose to make the rounds of
his loyal subjects.
You bet I have not forgotten the novel city that
was there, and that can be there no more. Early I
caught the glamor of a place where gold was loose
in the hands of men, men beforetime accustomed to
pay with a pinch of gold-dust from their poke; and
that never too accurately calculated, but with a
gleaning one way or the other as luck and the Lord
would have it between seller and purchaser. The
smallest coin circulating there at that time was a
dime, known in local parlance as a small bit. It was
taken in courtesy as on a par with the Mexican bit—
eight of which made a dollar. Such was the custom
all along the Coast for many years; last of all in
British Columbia, where the Yorkshire shilling
passed also as a long bit, equivalent to the Mexican
coin. This, of course, could not continue after men
who were men of business and nothing more intruded from the East, and from Jewery. But it was
good while it lasted. It made for largeness of mind,
and a lordly inexactitude in matter of mere lucre.
In modern times there have been four great
stampedes at the cry of placer gold; one in the
United States, one in Australia, and two in Canada.
There was a rush to California in 1849; one to
Cariboo in 1858; one to Coolgardie in 1891, and one
to Klondike in 1897.   There may be more than one 112 CHINOOK DAYS
yet to come in Canada; but so far the most concentrated and dramatic of all was to Klondike during three years beginning in July, 1897. It was toward the end of June in that year that the coastwise steamer, City of Portland, came down from the
North with three million dollars in gold-dust; all
of which had been panned by individual miners
working independently. A great new strike had been
made in the Sub-Arctics of Canada. In all the resorts where men gathered on the Coast, from Victoria to San Diego, there was talk of scarce anything else. The old-timers went about with a dream
in their eyes; and legions of hopeful and hopeless
younger ones all around the world who had never
thought of such a venture, equipped themselves in
ignorance   and  went   North.
In July, 1897, I sailed on the steamship Islander
from Victoria with the first four hundred. I could
not go rolling high to Dawson with the others,
being what I was, and jusL because. So I went
very subordinately in Government service. I was
instructed to station myself at Skagway, and do
what I could toward getting supplies through the
White Pass to a party of special officers sailing in
the same ship with me, who were to open a Customs
station at Lake Tagish and collect duties from
Americans and foreigners entering the Klondike;
and turn back such as seemed too objectionable
or unfit.
When   we   arrived   at   Skagway  five  days  later THE LURE OF PLACER GOLD 113
there were not more than.two dozen persons there-
In six weeks after that there were over five thousand;
and as. they went on inland their places were taken
by newcomers arriving daily. We landed from row-
boats at dawn, the ship lying in stream; and then
had to drag our supplies over a long, muddy
stretch of tide-flats into a clump of spruce and
cottonwood trees.
Skagway, which at first was a muddle of tents,
soon became more or less organized under an efficient United States marshal. But later, because
of mean politics and a sloppy administration of
good-enough laws, it fell under control of a ruffian
known as  Soapy Smith.
From Skagway the majority of those bound for
Klondike went in by the White Pass; the others
went around to a near-by landing called Dyea, and
from there went straight up the Chilcoot Pass and
over the Divide- The latter route was thought more
risky and arduous than the White Pass; but once
up and over the Divide the descent to Lake Linder-
man was easy, and from there the survivors had a
good waterway, except for the White Horse Rapids
by raft and barge downstream to Dawson. The
White Pass offered a gradual climb; but, before the
railway was built there, many attempting to carry
on through it with supplies thought it more heartbreaking to man and beast than was the Chilcoot.
Even some of the pack-horses committed suicide.
In  service  with me  was  a British  soldier, for- 114 CHINOOK DAYS	
merly a cavalry officer in India, who somehow on
the winds of chance had been blown to British
Columbia. For an Irishman, bred in England and
tempered in India, Captain Rant was exceptionally
good-natured and adaptable; and when out of my
dunnage-bag after landing I gave him two Imperial
quart bottles of mature Scotch to add to his one
lone bottle of London Dry, he adopted me pronto
as a younger brother in need of his special
supervision and protection. Together we built the
first log cabin in Skagway; that is, in Skagway
proper, although over to the left, toward the first
mountain, was the cabin built by the pioneer, Bernard Moore, long before gold was found in Klondike. Our cabin was not very finished in appearance. We made the walls of crooked cottonwood
trees and stuffed the gaping cracks between with
thick Alaska moss. We had no roof over it for
quite a time; only a canvas stretched topside over
part of it. Eventually, after the regular Mounted
Police arrived, we turned it over to them; and I do
not know if it be standing now ot not.
Officers came and officers went; and somehow
we managed to get supplies pushed forward as they
arrived by the Ajax and the Bjax and the Danube
from Victoria. Unfortunately for Vancouver, it was
in too fractious a mood with itself to take full trade
advantage of the Klondike rush, as did Seattle—
Seattle with its spirit of pull together and down the
I did not go in to the Klondike; but as Skagway was the greatest gateway to it, I saw all the
early types passing through, and I saw many
broken ones coming out. They were from all over
the world. Some of them were exceptionally well
fitted for what was ahead of them; some seemed
unfitted as a rabbit might be for exploring a den
of foxes. But at that, many of the unfit got by
and made good; and many a Brer Rabbit among
them survived where the wolves went down.
I reme*mber how bright the August morning was
when the first girls came to Skagway. We called
them girls; but for the most part they were seasoned
veterans, who could hold their own with any man.
When the spacious first marquee was pitched, and a
plank floor laid to it, with a small upright piano
at one end, but no professor yet arrived to play, then
the Captain betrayed my accomplishments to the
proprietor of this rough and ready dance-hall. It
was his belief, he said, that I could make music
for dancing out of almost anything between a
banjo and a piano. Politely I was offered twenty
dollars to play for the opening night. Foolishly,
I had scruples then about accepting money for such
a service; but gladly I played, and freely, for the
fun of it. It was a great night before it ended.
Through that marquee passed many a Port Wine
Mary and Pop Corn Kate and Diamond Tooth
Gertie to greater fields of service and conquest in
and around Dawson- 116 CHINOOK DAYS
In those feverish first months many types of
men passed through Skagway and so far as I could
see the great majority of them were good enough
to get along with for a time. The hairy horribles
pictured by cinema fakers as typical Klondikers were
seldom seen; and, smooth or hairy, when any of
the rough stuff or gun play so delightful to peaceful devotees of the screen was attempted on the
Canadian side of the border, those who started it
were hanged or deported or put to the woodpile.
There soon were bearded men, of course; handsomely bearded, as men should be in the wild. So
far as my brief experience went, all who were on
the trail were helpful and considerate of each
other, regardless of race or language. These men
soon were as handy at knitting their own sox at
nights around the campfire as they were with axe
and pack and gun in the daytime. They could
bake the best of bread in a Dutch oven. They
could cook a ptarmigan, encased in clay and put
in the hot embers and ashes, till it had a flavor
beyond the art of any chef working with all the
shining contrivances of a great hotel kitchen.
Alongside our Skagway cabin, shortly after it
was half built, an American named Reed pitched
his tent. He was a rather dour but civil surveyor;
and when he found that once I had been a boy in
New. Westminster whom he had known over
eighteen years before then we became very, good
friends.       I   used   to   slip   some   of   thé   Captain's 1
whisky to  him before bedtime.    There was  a nip
in the late September air.
One morning, quite a time after that, Reed went
down to the wharf in performance of his ordinary
duties, but determined that he would perform a
special duty, if an expedient occasion arose, as
seemed likely. It did. So he shot Soapy Smith,
who, with his gang, had long terrorized Skagway.
That was because Skagway was even then conceded
to be Arnerican territory, and in consequence the
Canadian Mounted Police could exercise no jurisdiction to keep it clean of thugs. I felt very
sorry when Reed himself died of blood-poisoning
from a wound received in the fight, a slight wound,
which was carelessly treated. No honor was done
him in the way of a civic funeral. But the body of
Soapy Smith was stuffed in some fashion and taken
to the United States. There, for a time, I am told,
it was a vaudeville exhibit for morons and degenerates of the weaker criminal strain, who are intrigued by bandits and blackguards. Later the
body was returned to Skagway and given honorable
burial at the base of a mountain. That made the
mountain sick, I think. At any rate, a landslide
of rock and gravel was spewed down from it all
over the grave so thick and deep that its exact
position is now indeterminate. However, in summertime, when the tourist ships land at Skagway,
men and women may yet be seen hastening to pay 118 CHINOOK DAYS
their respects at the approximate grave of Soapy
On the Summit which marked the boundary between Alaska and the Yukon the Stars and Stripes
and the Union Jack flew peacefully together. There
were a number of early and efficient hangings on
the Canadian side; and shootings and even robberies in the Yukon were comparatively few and
far between. Yet there was much more of the
dramatic in Klondike, where the Red Coats ruled,
with clean, cold justice; and where freedom and
protection were assured for all who were willing
to play the game with fairness to all others.
Before I went South I saw up there one of the
few survivors of the original Forty-Niners, the
white-bearded Joaquin Miller, Poet of the Sierras,
and well known in the early days of the West for
his "Songs of the Mexican Seas." The old man, in
a last flare of memory about placer gold in California, when he was young, felt the lure of it once
more, and decided to make Klondike before he
died. Bravely he tried to climb over the Chilcoot
Pass. But on the way he fell and sprained his
ankle so severely that he had to be put on a ship
and sent South again.   I do not know when he died.
A new strike in placer to rival the Klondike
may be made again any day now in the blank Sub-
Arctics of Canada. If so, then be sure the old
crowd or the like of them will be there, hot-foot from
all over to the lure of free gold in the wild! Early Days on the Inlet
I DO not know exactly when the lumber business
began on Burrard Inlet. But I do know it was
that business which first brought settlers to its
shores; and the first mill was at Moody ville, followed soon after by one at Hastings. All that is
now Vancouver was at that time a hamlet here and
there; a Sort of sub-colony or dependency of the
Royal City of New Westminster. Nevertheless I
remember how I was impressed by the mill at Hastings, and by Granville, one summer day in 1876 when
first I was taken to the Inlet by my father, then a
practising physician at New Westminster. Nine
miles through the cool, untouched forest we had
driven in a little buggy, till we came to the. sea at
the end of the road, rounding a little ravine over
which was built Maxime Michaud's Hotel. From
my earliest years I was always excited by the smell
of the sea and the sight of ships; especially ships
with sails. In those days there was usually a fair
showing of sailing ships, 'both at Hastings and
Moodyville. I would be always coming over after
that first visit in the summertime whenever given
permission; sometimes driving with my father,
sometimes riding on Lewis's Stage, sometimes walking all the way alone. I knew that if I must
needs   walk, yet that I could  always   look   for   a 120 CHINOOK DAYS
welcome from Jack Fannin the soutar, and from
Alister the- -bartender and Ah Kwei the cook at
Maxime's, when dusty and tired I arrived at the
End of the Road.
At first there was only a trail leading from Hastings to Granville, or Gasstown, as some called it,
after Gassy Jack L'eighton, who ran a hotel next to
the Skookum House, then in charge of Constable
Jonathan Miller. In addition to Deighton's hotel,
there was another conducted by Joe Mannion, and
there was the Sunnyside- From the standpoint of
any boy between seven-come-eleven like myself, the
Sunnyside was the best hotel in Granville, because
it projected far out over low-tide water, so that
from its back kitchen verandah I could catch whiting and flounder and tommycod. These wrould be
turned over at once to the Chinese cook, who would
soon have them, in the pan for lunch or supper. It
was a handy arrangement, and there was no mess
of a big city to spoil the harbor waters for fish in
those days. fcVdgï
At all these hotels there was usually a drift of
hand-loggers coming and going. The shanties and
log-cabins of these men were to be found from
remote distances up the Gulf all the way down to
the Inlet. Generally two or three men would be
in partnership. They would cut the timber with
their double-bitted axes on their own account, and
build skidways and chutes on the hillsides to slip
the big logs down to the water.   They were all big EARLY DAYS ON THE INLET 121
logs, for they had the pick of the timber. The trees
cut would be only those which ran fifty or sixty
feet clear without a branch. Flooring was in demand without a knot showing in it; and there was
a very profitable market in China for square timber
of exceptionally large size. The hand-loggers would
make up their own booms, and wait for a tug to
come along up coast after it. The logs would be
scaled after they reached the mills on the Inlet; and
it was the quality of these logs which made the
name of* British Columbia famous in the lumber
markets of the world.
Angus Fraser and Jerry Rogers, and Daggett and
Furry had logging camps at Jericho Beach and at
Stanley Park. They had their choice of the big
trees. It was at Angus Fraser's Camp at Jericho
that I first remember seeing Mike King, whom I
was fated to know well in after years. He struck
my boyish fancy as a very proper woodsman, and
equal in appearance to any pirate. He had rather
long, curly hair and he would not wear a hat, nor
coat, but always wore a bright blue flannel shirt,
wide open and rolling at the throat. I remember
him giving an exhibition of axemanship at New Westminster for the entertainment of the Governor General, the Marquis of Lome and Princess Louise.
I have a rough pen-and-ink sketch of Granville,
made from a rowboat offshore from the present
waterfront, in 1877. It is a mere glimpse and incomplete.    But so far as it goes, it is authentic, and 122
it shows the dense growth of timber coming down
to the shore where Vancouver wharves and mills
and grain-elevators now make their concrete appearance. A favorite lounging place was in front
of Gassy Jack's hotel, under a big maple-tree which
became famous in the year Vancouver was founded.
From there a road ran to False Creek through as
heavy timber as I ever remember to have seen.
George Black had a slaughter-house dowu that way,
and for some reason we boys from New Westminster gave all that region a wide berth. We much
preferred the End of the Road at Hastings, where
Jack Fannin would tell us stories about the stuffed
birds and animals he had in his shoe shop. He
gradually acquired such an exact and wide knowledge in this line about the fauna and bird-life of
the province that he was made the first Curator of
the Provincial Museum in Victoria. And at Maxie's,
as we called Maxime Michaud's Hotel for short, a
wonder was introduced in the way of roller-skates-
They had just been invented in San Francisco. The
children who came to the End of the Road from
New Westminster in the summer vacation were
allowed to skate freely and to their heart's content
on the ball-room floor; for Maxime had built quite
a sizable ball-room over the ravine back of the
saloon. In the sunny afternoons, after lunch sometimes, I would sit alone in a corner of the saloon,
delighted with the chance to strum on the bartender's banjo-    Often there would be a quiet game EARLY DAYS ON THE INLET
going on—seven-up or poker, or cut-throat euchre—I
do not know, as I never had the right order of brain
to learn how to play cards, and had no pleasure
in them. But I used to be taken with the little
piles of gold coin on the table; there seemed to be
more gold coin circulating than bills in those days.
They were all very quiet at their play; I remember
no rows, nor even an oath. The men won or lost
with the apparent indifference which was considered good form among them. The gun-play which
characterieed American territories to the south was
seldom attempted in British Columbia. A hanging
was too certain to follow a killing; it was current
belief that Judge Begbie would hang with his own
hands if there was any lack of sheriff or executioner
to carry out his sentences.
Most of the men on the Inlet drank; but there was
very little downright drunkenness. The men in
their freedom simply did not act that way; they
would not put themselves in a Siwash class; it was
not thought manly to sit down and drain a bottle
to the bottom, as if it were the last possible bottle
in the world. But in saying that true thing, I do
not wish to be understood as saying that it should
or could he that way now. It may be that we are
no longer fit for the old freedom in which our
fathers held themselves erect against excess. It
may be that the increasing and thickening entanglement of outer restrictions and prohibitive enactments,   and  our  capitulation   to   multiple   puritanic 124
systems of verbotenry devised by male and female
meddlers   who   fancy   themselves   uplifters,   has   so
weakened the moral fibre of the masses that they
can no more be trusted now to use and not abuse
than monkeys can be trusted to behave in a melon-
patch, or motor vulgarians be trusted among wild
flowers along the country roadsides.   However that
may be, it is a fact that the hand-loggers of the old
days  did  not drink to  excess;  and some  of them
never touched liquor, nor even drank beer.    There
was a certain seriousness and personal dignity, even
among the most common of them, which was characteristic of all our pioneers to the end of last century; a seriousness and dignity enhanced by living
so  much   alone  in  forests  by  the  sea.    Moreover,
there was dignity of language among them.    The
few books they had were of the kind that can be
read over and over again with interest in the solitudes; and the remem'bered words and phrases  of
these books did much to keep them to clean, vigorous, correct English.   They never affected the artificially degraded dialect and intentional outrage on
natural grammar such as is slobbered out to us now
by American magazine writers as typical speech of
men in the West.   This slum chatter may be a good
thing for the lower classes in the United States; it
helps to keep them low.    But it certainly was unknown  among  men   of  the   early  days   along   our
coast; the men who founded the Province of British
Only an odd name here and there stands out in
memory now of the many old-timers on the Inlet
who were friendly to the children who came over
from New Westminster to spend their summer- holidays. From the pier at the End of the Road we
would sometimes cross over to. Moodyville in a
canoe or sailboat. I was there with my father when
he was entertained/by the manager, Hugh Nelson.
Neither of them at that time expected to become
Senators and Governors; they were talking more
about mines than about politics. Phil Swett was
foreman of the Moodyville Mill, and I thought it
was a good name for the job he had. Yet he was
not always working, for .I remember him taking me
along shore in a punt one afternoon to spear crabs.
I have a fainter recollection of a genial man they
called Captain Raymur who was manager at Hastings. Mill, with R. H. Alexander under him. Henry
Harvey kept the mill store there, and was postmaster
as well. And there was a Charlie Coldwell who
lived to "become an alderman of Vancouver.
In the saloons and dining-rooms the blue coats and
brass buttons of officers from the ships always impressed me with the chance of romance. They were
the blue-sea sailors who handled ships with sails.
They were easy to me in their uniforms, those master
mariners, and many a story I had of them about
South America and China and the Sandwich Islands.
I always tried to sit close to them in the dining-
rooms and listen to their talk.    Those dining-rooms 126 CHINOOK DAYS
were all panelled in plain cedar with cedar ceHings
overhead, from which would depend festoons and
knots of brightly-colored paper ribbons which were
supposed to attract flies from the tables. Whether
the flies took to them or not I do not know; but at
least they added a gala touch to the rooms-
At the immemorial winter feast of the Sun, observed in some fashion by nigh all men far north
of the Equator, and held sacred by us as Christmas
there would be a general reunion on the Inlet of all
hand-loggers scattered along the coast. They would
begin to arrive a week or so before Christmas Day,
and they would remain till after New Year's Day,
which was more insistently celebrated than Christmas by the Scotch and French and Dutch among
them. But on both days the hosts of the various
hotels and logging camps—Joe Mannion, Ben Wilson, Angus Fraser, Old Dad Daggett and the like—
would take the head of their respective tables, close-
lined with guests for all the length of them, and
would order the feast gorgeously with never a
thought for profit. And at whatever table droll Ike
Johns, the first Customs Officer on the Inlet, would
have his dinner there would be heard the funniest
stories; some of them fresh as the oysters and
some of them old as the port, but all enjoyed alike.
There were not many women on the Inlet at the
time, but some of them were great ladies indeed; and
all did well with their own hands for the comfort
of the men and the children.    At night there would EARLY DAYS ON THE INLET 127
be the dancing; lancers and mazurkas and polkas
and gavottes, and above all, the waltz that was
danced when it was a waltz; round and round to
the strains of Straus. Or in chorus would be heard
the songs that are not heard now: Nancy Lee, The
Son of a Gambolier, Juanita, Taragona Twin, The
Blue Alsatian Mountains, The Spanish Cavalier,
and Black-Eyed Susan.
In their day and in their way they were all good
people; at least they knew how to have a good time
while they could have it. But now they are all gone
away—siyah kopa kloosh illahee!
Vancouver, July, 1926. Arizona Charlie
'àsï> Qfâ
Texas Jack.
From originals in author's possession. James B. Hickok (Wild
Bill); Col. F. W. Cody (Buffalo Bill); John B. Omohundro
(Texas Jack) ; Charles Meadows (Arizona Charlie) ; G. W.
Ullie (Pawnee Bill) ; William Levi Taylor (Buck Taylor) ; and
Captain Jack Crawford (The Poet Scout). Captain Jack, the Poet Scout
ON A SUMMER day about forty-five years ago,
I was returning along with other outlaws
from a secret cave in the Big Ravine of the
little British Columbian town of New Westminster.
The cave had been chosen as headquarters for a
powerful organization numbering nine members, the
eldest of whom, was thirteen years old. We called
ourselves THE JOLLY OUTLAWS. As we were
emerging from the ravine at the back of Benson's
saloon, all alert and cautious, as befitted our calling, we were startled by a rapid succession of pistol
shots. Peering through the low arrow-wood bushes
skirting the edge of the ravine we saw Romance go
blazing up Mary Street; veritable, undeniable Romance. A handsome man with raven-black locks
curling and streaming back from under his sombrero, mounted on a black horse and with a revolver in each hand, was shooting at the blue sky
all regardless. Close behind rode three others of
equally intriguing appearance, wearing fringed deerskin jackets, and with all the proper trappings of
western riders to the wild. Then galloping after
them were half a dozen mounted warriors of the
Sioux tribe, whooping to glory and brandishing
tomahawks and lances. It was a brave sight for
boys like us.    Captain Jack Crawford, poet scout of 130 CHINOOK DAYS
the Black Hills, had come to town with all his gallant company. It did not take us long to find out
why. We knew who Captain Jack was. More than
once, between 1877 and 1879, he had passed our
way on the road to Cariboo, where he had mining
interests. Captain Jack was always on the go. But
this time he had come to us with a show. He was
the first to originate what afterwards became known
as the WILD WEST SHOW. Years after that it
was made familiar to Eastern America and Europe
by the elaborate troupes of Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Bill. But it was the Poet Scout who first
worked out the idea; although as usual with a poet
in such cases he had precious little profit of it.
The New Westminster of those days was remote
from the world in a primeval forest of cedar and
fir, sloping gently from the hilltop to the Fraser
River. Its citizens called it the Royal City; and it
had not forgotten the glamour of Government House
when it had a Governor of its own to represent the
Queen. It still had its fine chime of bells; presented
to the Cathedral by the famous Baroness Burdette-
Coutts. Three times a week it had communication
with Victoria by boat; and every three weeks a ship
sailed from Victoria to the City. To all who lived on
the Pacific Coast THE CITY in those days meant
San Francisco. There was then no Vancouver and
no Seattle. Apart from this occasional communication with the outside we lived between the mystery
of the  scarce  known  ocean   on  one   side  and  the CAPTAIN JACK, THE POET SCOUT    131
mountains untrodden on the other. Now the people
have lost the feel of those mysteries; and the town
that was is no more. In its place has grown the far
end of Industrial Vancouver, criss-crossed with contraptions undreamed of by the sensible fathers of our
day. The Big Ravine is filled up; the deep forests,
which pressed so green and dark around us, are
slashed down or charred to ugly skeletons with fire.
Scarce a grouse or deer is left; the once happy
streams have been put to grinding work, and have
long been" empty of trout; and I doubt if there be
any such tangles of berries now around the town
as there used to be. In the Seventies and early
Eighties we still had some survivors of pre-colonial
days; when the country was roughly administered
by the Highland Factors of the Hudson's Bay Company. Also there were a few of the original Forty-
Niners from California, and many who had come
well-to-do out of the gold rush to Cariboo in the
Sixties. Besides that there were choice veterans of
the Crimea War, who had come over in a body from
the Old Country when British Columbia was made
a self-governing Crown Colony. These ones delighted to exercise the younger men at arms in the
Drill Hall or on the Commons, and they all turned
out in full regalia to head the parade on the Queen's
birthday. Below the old Battery on the Crescent the
Rancherie, where the Siwashes lived, still clung to
the high banks of the river. And living in their own
quarter were Chinese.      Some of these had    come 132 CHINOOK DAYS
across the Pacific without let or hindrance to San
Francisco during the Gold Rush; and later in greater
numbers they came to do the rough work of
railway construction through the mountains;
first for the Americans, and later on for us when
Onderdonk's Railway, as we called the Pacific section of the Canadian Pacific, was being rushed to
completion. These Chinese built a bit of old China
along our waterfront, bizarre and necromantic; and
I recall how, with dried lichees and Pekin dates and
kumquots and preserved ginger and firecrackers,
they made glad the hearts of small boys who went
to visit them during the nine-day festival of the
Chinese New Year. That festival ranked equally in
our eyes with Christmas time and May Day; being
only surpassed as a time of good cheer by the
month of summer holidays. New Westminster was
unique in having then the authentic atmosphere of
the early American West, mingled with the atmosphere of the early Victorian England. The first
settlers coming around the Horn brought with them
seeds and cuttings of English roses and Scotch
broom and foxgloves and useful fruits; and in a
few years they had strawberry patches and cherry
orchards unequalled outside of Kent in the Old
Into such a town, then, came Captain Jack; a
real hero of real adventures. How different he was
from the carefully guarded and high salaried screen
actor of today, pretending to pass through impos- CAPTAIN JACK, THE POET SCOUT    133
sible places and do impossible deeds. In the Drill
Hall that night, which served also as the Theatre
Royal, we had the first of the Wild West Shows.
Between acts of Indian fighting and camp life on the
Plains, Captain Jack would step before the curtain
and tell us about himself and his experiences, and
he would read to us some of his poems, after he had
first explained them so that we could understand.
He told us that his book of poems would be on sale
soon at Moresby's Book Shop, and heartily advised
us all to- buy a copy. I got my fathef to buy one for
me. Not long ago, looking among forgotten odds
and ends of mine, I came across that book. It has
my old markings in it. And I have pictures once
treasured by the Jolly Outlaws; pictures of Captain
Jack and Wild Bill, Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill,
Arizona Charlie and Broncho Bill, and Buck Taylor
and White Beaver. I look again at these men with
admiration; an admiration all the deeper now because of what I have found the world to be. They
truly were the Knights Errant of the Golden West.
Look at their long, curling hair. It gave one touch
of pride in the appearance of some unnecessary
thing to be kept in order, some trifle to be hotly
vain about, like a game-cock's tail; usually so useful for fighters. Same way, maybe, as the wig on
the head of the Lord Chancellor, or the feather on
the head of the Indian Chief, or the plume on the
hat of the General, or the Arabian rig of a Mystic
Shriner;  but yet more proper,  as being truly part 134 CHINOOK DAYS
of them. Anyway, these gallivanting gallopers wore
their hair long, as did the Goths who wiped out the
short-haired Romans; the Saxons and Danes and
Vikings who wiped out each other; the Golden
Horde of Tartar swordsmen who rode out of China
under Jhengis Khan and conquered half of Europe,
leaving their racial stamp on Russia and Hungary
and even part of Poland before the main body of
them rolled back. Yes, I know about Cromwell's
crop-haired Ironsides; but they only bobbed because
of their dismal notion of ugliness being next to
godliness; and so as just to be different from the
Cavaliers, and become Pilgrim Fathers and Quaker
chasers and joy killers in general. The battling tars
who won victories for Lord Nelson had their hair
long and done in queues down their sturdy backs.
I never wore my hair long like Samson and the other
strong men, but while still it was thick I let it go
a bit beyond the ordinary, and I was not a very
profitable patron for the barber at any time- One
night at Government House in Victoria I was rebuked by a Brass Hat for hair. General Hutton,
with whom I had sharply disagreed about the status
of the Dominion in the Empire, said to me abruptly,
and, as I thought, quite inappropriately: "My boy,
if I had you under me, the first thing I would do
would be to order you a close hair cut!"
This was in 1899, during the early part of the
Boer War, and our troops had been meeting with
reverses.    The General was my father's guest; but CAPTAIN JACK, THE POET SCOUT    135
for all that, I could not resist telling him then and
there that he and his kind and an army of his kind,
man for man, were being beaten into the dust by
men who wore their hair long and seldom shaved.
That made Hutton hot under his military collar.
Fortunately, I was not under his control. But, after
his first snort of indigation, he was a good enough
sport to admit that it might seem for the moment
that I had scored. General Hutton was the first to
insist upon sending mounted men instead of infantry
from Canada to South Africa for the kind of war
that had to be waged there; and it did not take the
War Office at London longer than a year to find
out that he was right. I admired him much as a
man, and a general with a head, and I think he
sensed that. So, however I might venture to differ
with him on occasion, we remained friends; and I
was delighted for his sake when the order finally
went out for mounted men only from Canada. Well,
so much for hair, as the flapper of today with no
hair to flap might say; and so we come back to the
long-haired rovers of the West.
There is a very admirable and agile kind of wasp
in California whose chief business and delight in life
seems to be hunting and killing tarantulas and centipedes. Just so it was with these scouts. With the
same zest, and like hunters of big game, they went
after bad Indians when they were bad, and worse
whites who were always bad. But when they killed
it was in defense of others or of themselves; or else 136 CHINOOK DAYS
in pursuit of their duty as marshals of the United
States. Look again at these men who might have
been Royalists pictured for us by Vandyke! Wild
Bill of the mournful eyes killed no Indians; but he
killed eighty-five whites before he was murdered.
He was shot in the back by a hireling of gamblers
whom he had checked in fleecing strangers. In
one pistol fight he killed ten horse thieves single-
handed, miraculously escaping with a few flesh
wounds. His marked characteristic when not fighting was gentleness; and he was ever ready to help
women and children, and men in any way handicapped. On his gravestone at Deadwood in 1876,
Captain Jack wrote this epitaph:
Sleep on, brave heart, the still earth under!
Bravest scout in all the West!
Lightning eyes and voice of thunder
Closed and husht in  quiet rest!
Rest to you at last is given;
May we meet again in Heaven—
Rest in peace!
They were all clean men, those scouts.   Referring
to  them,  Captain Jack wrote:
"They were lovers of right and haters of wrong."
But their right was a man's right; their wrong
meant something cruel or unfair or useless.    They CAPTAIN JACK, THE POET SCOUT    137
were not busybodies about other people's morals.
Their rule was to make everybody let everybody
alone; leaving things then to work out freely as they
would. They had faith enough in the general Tightness of the world to do that. Apart from Captain
Jack, I never saw but two of those whose pictures
are here shown; but I met a few of like kind between British Columbia and Mexico before I was
At Skagway in 1897, I was told that Captain
Jack was heading for the Klondike. I did not see
him when he passed through Skagway. But an old
Canadian friend, J. W. Fraser, still living in Vancouver, met him at Lake Bennett in May, 1898.
Bennett was still a tent city of about 15,000, mostly
men waiting for the river ice to break and go down
north so that they could follow clear after in boat
and barge to Dawson. Captain Jack, as an old
veteran of the American Civil War, felt like celebrating Decoration Day on the 30th May; and, as
about two-thirds of the waiting gold-chasers were
Americans, it was easy to round up a large crowd
of them for such an occasion. Fraser helped him
make arrangements. About seven o'clock in
the evening, on the hill slope towards
the south back of the town, the entire
population gathered to hear the Poet Scout
orate. This he did at his best for over half an hour,
saying, among other things, that he believed it was
the first time Decoration Day had ever been cele- 138 CHINOOK DAYS
brated north of Washington State, and also the first
time it had ever been publicly celebrated on British
soil; acknowledging the courtesy of the local authorities and the Red Coats in facilitating there a memorial observance in honor of foreign, fallen soldiers.
When the river opened on the 8th of June following, Captain Jack went down to Dawson and prospected around rather intermittently for about two
years. But he made no success of it in the Yukon.
He was still much addicted to giving temperance
lectures, and was ever in great demand for church
entertainments. In 1900 he left the Klondike and
went to serve as a scout with our troops for awhile
during the last stages of the Boer War in South
Africa. I would not be surprised if it were Captain Jack who there gave some notion of scouts
and the scout code of honor. I would not be surprised if Baden Powell had his noble inspiration for
the chivalrous order of Boy Scouts from Captain
Jack, with his stories and songs of an earlier day,
whether he knew it or not. The sources of great
movements are often obscure or forgotten. They
may begin in the roundabout of the subconscious. I
suggest now that Captain Jack might properly be
canonized by the Supreme Council of the Boy
Scouts; and for that I here show cause. I speak of
him only as I remember, and my memory is only
bright in spots. I am told that he died peacefully
as a miner in the Black Hills some time before the
World War.    But  I  can tell something of his life CAPTAIN JACK, THE POET SCOUT   139
up to the time I saw him.    I heard most of it from
his own lips.
Captain Jack was Scotch, although born of an
Irish father in Donegal, Ireland. His mother was
a direct descendant of Sir William Wallace, and a
very noble woman. But while Jack was a young
boy his father made himself so obnoxious because
of his upsetting politics, which the authorities were
anxious to confound, that it was considered wise
for him to leave quietly and quickly one day for
America. So he did that, and settled himself for a
time in Minersville, Pennsylvania, where he took to
tailoring and did very well at it. Later he took to
drink, and that interfered much with his business.
But finally, at the end of four years, he wrote to
his wife, and with the aid of some friends she was
enabled to go out and join him in America. After
a year of reform on the part of one, and hard work
on the part of both, they were able to send for
their children. But after another bright year, the
father's weakness again overcame him, and the Craw-
fords had, for a time, a most unhappy home. Then
the American Civil War broke out, and the father
joined the 28th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers.
In 1864, when he was barely sixteen, Jack joined
his father's regiment, and was severely wounded at
the Battle of Spottsylvania Court House- He was
removed from the field hospital to Washington, and
thence to West Philadelphia. Here, during a long
convalescence, a  Sister of Charity taught him  the 140 CHINOOK DAYS	
rudiments of reading and writing, which until then
he had had no opportunity of acquiring. The war
continued, and the elder Crawford was wounded in
the head and discharged as unfit for further service.
Jack, however, rejoined his regiment the following
year, and was wounded again in April, 1865. A few
days before the surrender of General Lee terminated the war, the President, Abraham Lincoln, visited
the hospital where Jack was, and all the wounded
who were able stood in line to shake hands with
him. Great exertions were made by the men to do
that, and Jack thus tells the story of it: "Although
crippled in one foot myself, I helped to hold a man
up who requested to be carried out on a chair,
fearing old Abe might not come to him. I shall
never forget the touch of the President's hand; soft
and warm from contact with so many great rough
hands of the soldiers. It seemed as if to squeeze it
the least bit would hurt him. But old Abe, I remember, squeezed my hand so that it almost hurt
me; and the man whom I was holding up shed tears
as the President shook his hand. 'Where are you
wounded, my man?' said he. 'In the right thigh,
Sir, and I'm glad of it/ 'Yes, you will soon be well
again and you can say you bled for the old flag.'
'No, Sir, not that so much will I say; but I will
say that I shook hands with Honest Abe.' 'God
bless you, my man,' said he, passing on to the next.
After this handshaking, and before leaving, the
President picked up an axe in front of the steward's CAPTAIN JACK, THE POET SCOUT    141
quarters, and made the chips fly for about a minute, until he stopped for fear of hurting some of
the wounded, who were trying to catch the chips
in the air as souvenirs. Although some on catching
a ball myself, I failed to get a chip. All I got was
a hard fall in trying, and I had to be carried into
my bunk."
Shortly after the war ended, Jack's father died,
worn out and broken after a strenuous and by no
means unworthy life, through which he had indeed
lived dangerously. Then the mother died also, and
Jack struck out for the West, where all was yet new.
He became one of the pioneers of the Black Hills;
and he was one of the founders of Custer City.
In the Indian War of 1876, he superseded Buffalo
Bill as Chief of Scouts. As a swift and careful long
distance rider he proved himself superb. On one
occasion he rode 350 miles from Slim Buttes to
Fort Laramie, through a country swarming with hostile savages, in less than four days; carrying both
official and press despatches. In that same year, on
the other side of the world, there was a feat to
match that, when Colonel Fred Burnaby of the
Horse Guards rode to Khiva, defying Russia in the
service of the British Raj, and making
341 miles through mountain defiles in nine
days and two hours on his return down from
Khiva, and that on one horse, which had already
carried him 500 miles after only one week's rest.
The New York Herald gave Captain Jack $500 for 142 CHINOOK DAYS
his despatches and the scoop they had of his exploit; paying, also, with seemingly mean exactitude,
the sum of $222.75 for two horses killed under him
while galloping through. .But that was big pay in
those days from a newspaper to a free lance frontier
correspondent. And it showed how quickly Jack
had learned to use his pen as well as his pistol.
Later, for nigh a year, he kept up a column in the
Omaha Bee, which was eagerly looked forward to
always  by  its  readers.
Captain Jack was, I think, among the first of
those who soon after became known as "temperance
lecturers." These men, a few of them as sincere,
perhaps, as Captain Jack, gradually made a lucrative
profession of this role; finding it easier and more
colorful than steadfast preaching in one place;
almost as good, in fact, as being a popular evangelist
bringing lost souls to salvation. However, we did
not hold that against Captain Jack in our town. We
knew his story, and his amiable ways. I am sure
now that he would not have stood on the same
platform with those who have brought about the unfortunate conditions of today in America- I mean
to say that although in the matter of abstaining
from liquor Captain Jack was as religious as a Turk,
yet I feel sure he would not have been a militant
Prohibitionist; creating a continental culture for
bootleggers and stool-pigeons and dope peddlers;
loosing worse devils on us than we had at first;
maybe seven, as Jesus said was like to be the re-
suit in any such case. His method was by example
and appeal to reason and moral suasion rather than
force. He would never have arrested Jesus for turning water into wine. I rememiber he said something
like this to us at his show in New Westminster:—
"The day my mother died was to me the greatest
epoch of my life. Kneeling by her bedside, I held
one of her hands while the other rested on my head.
She said 'My boy, you know your mother loves you.
Give me a promise to take to Heaven with me.'
I answered: 'Yes, Mother, I will promise you anything.' "'Johnny, I am dying now. Promise me that
you will never drink intoxicants, and then it will be
easy for me to leave this world.' I promised, and
whenever in after days I was asked to drink, then
that scene came before me. Why was it that she
exacted that promise of me, who had never known
the taste of liquor? Because liquor deprived me of
a good father; it made him forget his own flesh
and blood; it prevented me from having even a
common school education; and it sent me to bed
many a night crying with hunger. Once, at the
close of a hard day's ride during the Custer campaign, and in the midst of a terrific rainstorm, one
of the officers seated around the camp fire of smouldering buffalo chips, took a long drink from his
canteen of whisky, and then said: 'This is the
soldier's best friend. Pass it along to the scout!'
'Thank you, Captain, but I never drink,' I said.
'What, never drink?   Why, man, that sounds incred- 144
ible. You are the first man I ever met on the
Plains who refused good liquor.' So then I told
him and the others, as I have told you: 'That stuff
robbed me of a good father, and changed him from
a man into a 'brute. And in the Invisible Presence
of God and holding the hand of my dying mother, I
promised that I would never drink what now you
offer. I consider that vow registered in Heaven, and
I have kept it. I do not even know the taste of
liquor..' "
Captain Jack had a few pretty whistling notes;
fighting his way through a rough but clean and open
world of pioneers. I had wandered by myself,
untroubled by any teacher, through the masterpieces of Coleridge and Keats and Edgar Allan Poe
before I was fourteen. So I realized that Captain
Jack as a poet was no more than a musical child
with a mouth organ; pleasing enough in camp or out
on deck. Yet for me the hero overshadowed the poet;
and Captain Jack was a hero singing out in the
Golden West, through the years that it remained golden. I think he must have had great
joy in the making of his verses; and in his scamper
after rhymes to carry them along cantabile. Then
he let the lines slip from him as they came; with
never a thought of fame or money. Perhaps were he
young and alive today, and content to remain in
the United States, he could make a good living
by rhyming banalities for the one-hundred per cent
mass.   He might be another welcome guest in those CAPTATN JACK, THE POET SCOUT    145
»   ' ■
papers that print a daily-syndicated dose of right
sentiments in verse, by Gosh! Even at that he would
be a cut above the popular, ever-repeating, selfwinding, home and mother rhymsters of today;
whose rank is determined by the money they make.
Captain Jack wrote much in this vein, for instance:
Mother's prayers around me linger,
«Still they echo in my ears,
And a boy again I'm kneeling
Near her while she calms my fears;
Now she whispers:    "God protect him!
Be his guide when I am dead!"
And I'm sure a Guardian Angel
Must have heard what mother said-
In the dreary hours of midnight,
When the camp's asleep and still,
Not a sound save rippling streamlets,
Or the voice of whip-poor-will,
Then I think of dear, loved faces,
While patrolling on my beat,
Think of other scenes and places
And a mother's voice so sweet. 146 CHINOOK DAYS
There's a green, grassy mound in the valley I love,
Where angels their vigils are keeping;
The pine trees are singing a dirge far above,
The sky pearly tear-drops is weeping;
And cooing on high is a bright turtle-dove
O'er the grave where my mother is sleeping.
Peacefully sleeping she sleeps 'neath the clay;
This world cannot give me another;
No one to guide me, no one to pray,
While I weep o'er the grave of my mother.
But now listen to this one, written at Barker-
ville, in 1878. There is in it a lilt of Tom Moore;
even a hint of deeper treasures of poetry never uncovered:
At last I must leave you, dear home in the mountains;
At last say farewell to you, dear Cariboo;
No longer I'll drink of your morning-bright fountains,
Crystal cold waters that sparkle like dew;
They murmur a secret of deep hidden treasures,
Beyond any yet they have loosen'd for men;
Of gold-dusty gravels and nugget-sown measures—
And to find them I vow that I'll come back again. CAPTAIN JACK, THE POET SCOUT   147
Captain Jack also opened up a vein of sourdough
dialect verse, originally prospected by Bret Harte,
and which Robert Service worked in his Yukon
years with such great success. In Captain Jack's
time a Sourdough meant a veteran gold-seeker in
the hills; for such a man, when out prospecting, always carried with him a lump of sour dough for
making bread; such serving instead of the yeastcake
of our more convenient days. Captain Jack's work
in this line consisted mainly of narrative poems,
dealing,,with frontier incidents, and which are too
long to quote here. I think the best of them is
"Rattlin' Joe's Prayer," wherein is told how an old
prospector uses a deck of cards for a Bible; finding
right symbols in the cards for what he considered
the essential religious doctrines. From the lay of
the cards he was able to advise the Almighty as
to the merits of a young friend of his recently killed;
and, urging that proper allowance should be made
for the failings of youth, he recommended him to
favourable consideration.
But, however minor his rank as a rhymster, yet
Captain Jack was a poem in himself; and his life
was epic. The best of his verse wes written on our
side of the line and there should be a stone at
Cariboo to remember Captain Jack Crawford, the
Poet Scout of the Black Hills.
Vancouver, Christmas, 1925. CAPTAIN ALEXANDER McLEAN
From photograph taken at Victoria, B. C, in 18 A Night With the Sea Wolf
SATURDAY, the 5th September, 1914. In the
case of Captain Alexander McLean a coroner's
jury at the port of Vancouver found that he
had come to his death by accidental drowning in
three feet of water. A shallow reach of False Creek,
as it then was, ran north between the railway tracks
of the Great Northern and the foot of Union street,
and there Captain McLean had anchored his little
steam tug, the Favorite. To reach it one had to
cross two other small boats, and it was supposed
that he slipped and fell between them, striking his
head on the gunwale of one and drowning while
dazed and trapped between the two. He had last
been seen alive a week before. Evidence was given
at the inquest showing that he had been quite sober
at the time. This was considered important, as the
good townspeople in the kindly way which is second
nature to them might have assumed that he had
been drinking somewhat to excess when he met with
Saturday, the 5th September, 1914. The world was
in the first uproar of the first World War. And so
it is scarce to be wondered that the passing at Vancouver of as picturesque a picaroon and master of
little ships with sails as ever figured in a story book
was barely noticed in the local press.    When the 150 CHINOOK DAYS
news reached me through an old associate, I thought
what a shabby trick of fate that so excellent a sail-
orman should meet with so paltry a death in a puddle of False Creek; a sailorman who had such an
acquaintance with the wildest winds and most swinging great waves and shark-infested depths of the
Pacific; a sailorman wdio skilfully raided the Russian and American seal rookeries in Bering Sea, and
almost as successfully robbed the French pearl fisheries of the Polynesian islands to the south. Just at
a time when the Empire might have made the best
use of his skill and courage at sea he went away to
regions beyond all seas. But thus, it seems, interesting characters sometimes play on a stage of their
own contriving; in dull circumstances they can
weave romance to bright distances, with no need of
waiting big events or devastating wars. Then unfitly they may end.    So with the Sea Wolf.
I associate him three times with September; in
1914, in 1907 and in 1896. In September of 1896 and
of 1907, I had to do with him pleasantly. Nothing
with a smell of danger on either occasions; nothing
even of the dramatic. But sometimes hours of no
special moment lie happily in memory; when we
gladly forget times of risk and clashing events. The
September of 1907 was when the mob in Vancouver
was stirred up to attack and ransack Chinese and
Japanese quarters in Vancouver, egged on in the
background by certain parties then making headquarters in San Francisco.    I wanted to know about
some things in Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco at the time, and the Sea Wolf was helpful to
But the September I prefer to remember was in
1896 at Victoria. One evening George and I were
in the Garrick Head for a cocktail before dinner.
It was a whiling hour, and between drinks the bartender told me there was a man sitting alone at a
table near the window who wanted to speak to me.
I sent word for him to join, and he came up. He
was slim, trim, medium height, with very broad
shoulders, blue eyes and an unusually large reddish
brown moustache. He was of the handsome Highland type found among Nova Scotia seamen. 1
mind he wore grey trousers and a heavy, dark pea-
jacket with brass buttons and cap to match. He
had been told by the bartender that I was one of
the secretaries just appointed to the Bering Sea
Claims Commission, which was about to open its sessions in Victoria to assess damages to be paid by
the United States to Canada and Russia for illegal
seizure of sealing schooners. Captain McLean was
an important witness for some of the claimants and
he wanted to ask me how long a time I thought
would be taken in preliminaries before he could give
his evidence and get away. He was negotiating
even then for the purchase of the Carmencita, a
schooner lying at anchor up the Gorge, sister to the
Casco, lying alongside- It was in the Casco that
Robert  Louis  Stevenson  first  sailed  to  the  South 152
Seas. Subsequently McLean found it expedient to
forge some credentials for the Carmencita, getting
Mexican ship's papers after being outlawed by
United States coastal authorities. And it was in
the Carmencita that McLean limped back into Victoria with the biggest cargo of sealskins ever taken
there, after having been chased by Russian and
American revenue cutters. It was when McLean was
raiding Robbin's Island, in the North Pacific, that
he had a running fight with an American revenue
cutter, in which some of his men were killed. But
with his skillful sailing and his fearlessness in
chartless and rock-concealing waters and his elu-
siveness in friendly fogs, he always escaped capture.
McLean was a Canadian, born in Nova Scotia, but
he had taken out papers as an American citizen.
After his fighting encounters with the American
revenue cutters he kept clear of American territory,
except when on a raid.
Captain McLean asked us to have dinner with him.
But George had a pressing affair that night and left,
promising, if possible, to look us up later at the
Poodle Dog.   So McLean and I went there alone.
The Poodle Dog of that time, of course, is no
more. It could not be; it belonged to a politer age,
and one vastly more at ease with itself. Wine was
cheap; love was free. Louis Marboeuf was of the
old school, in which cookery was reckoned with the
fine arts and dishes were prepared with the same
care one gives to the structure of a sonnet.     The A NIGHT WITH THE SEA WOLF      153
traditions of the place had not yet vanished in the
gobble-and-get-out atmosphere of the cafeteria and
good eats and white lunch hustleries of today.
They had a ravishing way of cooking mussels,
which were then in season. And we were told that
two fine blue grouse had just been received. There
was no law against serving them. Then, the substantial part of the meal having been ordered, with
proper accompaniments, I looked around to see who
else might be there. And in one dim corner of that
dim kafay I saw Vanilla. Her glance and smile were
enough to light it up for me; I had a very friendly
feeling for her as a right good chum, and no more.
I had known her elsewhere as one of the quality; but
she was then living quietly and in reduced circumstances at Victoria. I had been of some service to
her in voiding certain deeds and saving a little
property. But her troubles had only left her sweeter
than in her earlier years; as one may find a ripe hot
berry in July sweeter by far than the tart impudence
of the berries in early June- I introduced the captain and the three of us dined together.
McLean was by no means the aggressive ruffian
pictured by Jack London some years later in his
novel, "The Sea Wolf." Incidentally, in 1907, he
complained bitterly to me about the way Jack London had maligned him. He expressed a hot desire
to be in a position some day to shanghai him; and
having him at sea to put him through his paces in a
vi ay that he had never treated any man.    I argued 154 CHINOOK DAYS
that in Jack London's nature there was evidently a
perverse feminine streak, which made him fall to
thoughts of cave conduct and stone-age standards,
with a throwback to the delight of being mauled by
gorilla lovers; a streak such as puts a certain psychopathic type of women in an ecstasy at bull-fights
when they see blood flowing from men and beasts.
Apart from that, and whether it were true or not, I
suggested that London might have taken all the
proven valor and skill of the McLean and blended it
with what he knew of Bloody Fritz Hansen, the German captain, and Sapinza, the half Chinese half
Filipino smuggler, once known on the American
stretch of the Pacific as the King of the Opium
Ring. I said it was London's right as a writer to
try and make a new character out of them all, however beastly and unlikely a mix he made of it. But
at that McLean only scowled. He did not quite
understand me; and of course I knew well enough
that he was sky high above any «fictitious character
drawn by Jack London. I knew him for a fair-
going man with his men. Yet once, on being asked
how he controlled his crew at sea, when things went
wrong in whatever odd business he had in hand, he
answered :
"Mac, I always carry enough handcuffs on my
ship for the whole crew; and I have never sailed with
a crew that I could not put the handcuffs on!"
But in the Poodle Dog that night his manner was
gentle,  and his words  carefully chosen.      He was A NIGHT WITH THE SEA WOLF      155
evidently much impressed by Vanilla- It was only
after the wine, however, that his tongue was loosened to tell us some of his experiences. That sparkling
pink wine was like tourmaline come alive for color;
it had a heavy, fruity flavor. Partridge Eye I think
we called it.
McLean took out of his pocket a small chamois
bag; like a miner's poke for gold-dust, but shorter.
He rolled out on the tablecloth eleven pearls, and
they glimmered in the rice which he had packed in the
bag with them for some reason, I have heard that
pearls keep well alive, and even grow larger when
packed in with good rice. Most of the pearls were
round and creamy, and very sizable for rings. Two
were like clouds of indigo touched with the moon as
you turned them. And one was a large, oval,
salmon-pink pearl. Vanilla was greatly taken with
that one. Naturally she asked him how he had come
by them. He answered that he had gotten them
honestly and openly as a poacher in the South Seas-
His story was that a friend who was indefinitely
confined at San Quentin had secretly passed out certain information to him in gratitude for a favor
formerly rendered; and that, having faith in what he
was told him, he outfitted a schooner and sailed
southwest across the Pacific for a little island among
those owned by the French. At this island there
was a season of pearling once in every ten years. It
was the ninth year when he sailed; and the oysters
were like to be in profitable  condition.    The  trick 156 CHINOOK DAYS	
was to get there and away without being noticed by
any prowling French gunboat. One morning they
sighted an island sure enough, as indicated on the
plan which he had received. McLean had men with
him who knew just what to do, and was well enough
equipped for quick work. So they went at it in the
hot sun, and brought the oysters up against time.
But about 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the third
day a trail of smoke was noticed on the horizon. It
was approaching the island. With all possible speed
the mass of opened and empty shells and bottom
debris on deck was put overboard, together with
pearling dredges and prongs, and every trace of what
they had been so busy at was removed. They had
been lucky; there were many very fine pearls. These
they imbedded and covered in the pitch of the ship
seams. By the time the French gunboat sent officers
aboard to investigate they found only an innocent
little trading schooner, preparing to send some men
ashore for a supply of cocoanuts, and intending to
catch some fresh fish along the reefs. But French
authorities are very stubborn when they get a notion
in their heads. Orders were given for the schooner
to cast off and follow the gunboat to a French police
and penal station on a distant island, where further
consideration would be given to the affair. There
was no help for it; a shot or two from the guns, and
in those remote waters the incident would be closed.
The Sea Wolf had to navigate under orders from
two men left on board from the gunboat.   This gun- A NIGHT WITH THE SEA WOLF      157
boat was old even then, and slow. It was destroyed
by the Germans when they bombarded Papeete in
the first year of the Great War. On the second evening after the capture it stopped for the night at an
island, and entered through into the lagoon, followed
by the schooner. The tropic night was soon over them;
breathless, ominous, without a star. Evidently a
storm was brewing, but all was safe within the
shelter of the lagoon. There was a cable between
the schooner and the gunboat, but only two French
sailors were left in charge. There was a small native
settlement on the island, and some of the officers
and men of the gunboat went ashore to enjoy themselves. The storm came down very suddenly and
heavily. Under direction of the Sea Wolf the two
sailors left in charge were overcome without any outcry. The cable was slipped; the crew manned two
boats and drew ahead, and presently, by grace of
their oars and the rising wind, the schooner glided
to the mouth of the lagoon and was guided through.
It was blowing great guns outside. But that was all
to the taste of McLean. His crew clambered aboard
from the small boats; sails were hoist; they were
away before the men of the gunboat realized what
had happened. Out through the black raging sea they
went, and the McLean did not care where so long
as he was heading for the open. The thrill of that
night made good for years of trouble. No gunboat
followed, and eventually they reached the coast of
Australia. 158
The next time I saw Vanilla she showed me the
pink pearl. I asked her if she were going to have it
set for a ring or a pendant. She said she was not
going to tell me, but I might find out before the captain went away. And so it was that when I said
good-by to the Sea Wolf he was rather self-consciously but proudly wearing the pink pearl in his
tie, neatly set in five golden claws. For Vanilla was
that kind of a girl; she had delight in giving as well
as receiving the unexpected gift. And her way was
smooth, and her heart was sweet; even as her name.  MIKE KING
Star timber cruiser of the coast.   From photograph taken at
Victoria, B. C, in 1900. Mike King and the Bear
MANY of the old-timers along the Coast knew
Mike King; especially those who were interested in timber. He was a mighty axeman; and, as a timber-cruiser, he has never been
surpassed in British Columibia; which is as good as
saying anywhere. From Mexico to Alaska was the
range of this wiry and ever-cheery Canadian; but for
choice he would always be in the heavy forests
of Vancouver Island and the Mainland along the
Gulf of Georgia. I knew him as far back as 1879,
and at odd times after that. I lost all track of him
in 1900. Then a few years before the outbreak of
the First World War I met him one day unexpectedly in Montreal. Mike at that time must have
been nearing seventy, but he still held himself
erect, and at first glance looked as trim and fit
as ever. Meeting one whom I had admired since
boyhood so far from home after a handful of years,
and in a city that always wears a foreign air for
everyone, even those who live in it, I wanted to
keep him for hours to myself and listen to him talk.
It was toward the end of a warm June day.
Across the street from where we met was the Dominion Square, and there we went and sat on a
bench under the trees till sunset. Only then did
I notice that Mike was not what he had been ten 162 CHINOOK DAYS
years before. A twinge of pain would flicker across
his face occasionally, and then he would droop his
shoulders after it had passed. For a time he talked
of Mexico; talked of his troubles with the Yaqui
Indians; talked of a certain concession of mahogany
limits and mineral claims down there which he had
tried to secure, and of which he had not yet given
up hope. He mentioned incidentally that he had
been on hand for the little earthquake which had
started the Big Fire in San Francisco; the biggest
fire that ever he expected to see in this world.
Waking at the first shock, and realizing on the instant what was up and down in such an affair, he
clapped a pillow over his head. This it was that
saved him from having his skull cracked by a
falling brick. After that he talked back to the place
we loved best, and gave me news of British Columbia, which does not find its way into the press
despatches—intimate, humorous and useful. Then I
asked him straight what was the matter with him.
He said that he had been making an examination
of certain coal deposits up Nootka Sound way, and
that while walking along a fallen fir which spanned
a deep gulch the bark had given way, throwing
him to the rocky bottom thirty feet below. After
he came to himself, he found one leg dislocated and
his back injured. Later it was found that he had
broken several ribs. He managed to drag himself
on through that wild, lovely but unlucky region,
avoided by the Indians because it is the home of the m
Wild Man, the Massatchee Ikta; haunted by slolikum; and rock-inscribed by warnings from the
Vanished People. It is a region which has, in several instances, seemed to lay a hoodoo on British
Columbia politicians who meddled with it, pinning
their small names to its high spots under the general
name of Strathcona Park; and some of them trying
to sell it to foreign lumbermen. Mike himself had
seen the Massatchee Ikta there on an earlier occasion when cruising through it. This time, half dead,
he limped along until he reached the little port of
call on the coast, where he knew he would be picked
up by a tug bound for Victoria. He was due in
New York to make his report within a fortnight
about the coal prospects. Concealing the seriousness of his injuries from the doctor so that he would
not be sent to a hospital he crossed from Victoria
to Vancouver and took train there for New York.
When I met him he had just returned to Montreal
after making his report on time. His back was beginning to be very painful; but he was still "the indefatigable Mike King by the Lovely Dove!"
As twilight came on he agreed to go along with me
and see Dr. Westley at the Windsor. But first of all
I suggested that we go to the Grill and follow the
advice of St. Paul to Timothy, and then have a
planked steak. So we did. And it was then that I
got him to tell me of his time with the bear in
Cowichan. 164 CHINOOK DAYS
Mike was in the woods as usual, and cruising timber. It was far back, about 1893, and logging
methods in Cowichan District then were primitive.
But at that, and because of that perhaps, the district produced some of the champion axemen of the
world, as well as one champion wrestler, little Dan
McLeod, whose shoulders and arms were such, and
whose swing was so quick and hard and exact, that
he could fell three trees while one of the best of the
other axemen would be hard put to it in felling one.
And for that Dan was paid the wages of three men;
and in those days there was no union mean enough
to make any row about that. His fellows were all
too proud of him.
Mike had been hard at work since dawn; and as
noon came on he sat down under an overhanging
ledge of rock to rest on the moss. He heard no
sound except the whispering in the tree-tops; with
now and then the croak of a raven, or the distant
drumming of a grouse. Naturally he dozed. When
he opened his eyes he saw two funny little faces
peering up at him within arms length. They were
two cub bears, about ten days old, and looking like
toys come alive. Never thinking of harm, Mike extended his arm and petted them, and they took it in
good part all unafraid. Mike lifted one on to his
lap when suddenly his keen sense of smell told
him what was to windward; and he realized as well
that he had left the smell of himself on the cub. As
he started up he heard a quick crashing through the MIKE KING AND THE BEAR 165
undergrowth. He had nothing in the way of a
weapon with him but a hatchet. So he quit the
premises on a run. He had not gone far forward
before he knew that the bear was after him. Now
no black bear goes hunting for trouble except when
caring for cubs. But then, especially if it be the
mother, trouble is a bear's middle name. She follows right after it.
On Vancouver Island are still the primeval forests;
forests where the Douglas firs and the cedars grow
together till their great columns reach up a hundred
feet or more before they even begin to whisper to
the blue with their branches. And below, even at
noon, there is a green twilight, showing a ground
thick-carpeted with moss and ferns; with shafts of
light coming through here and there over entanglements of undergrowth and fallen logs. For a hardy
man well up in wood craft, and going at his ease in
the summertime, such a forest is a delightful and
spirit-freeing place; Gothic and solemn it is, and yet
in no way depressing. Every old-timer who loved
the trees will be remembering that, even although
now he must live his life out in the midst of hrick-
blistered and machine-driven cities. But you be in
those same woods with a crazy-mad, black mother
bear after you, and nothing in your hand but a small
hatchet for blazing trails and marking trees; then
you will want to go home, and go quick; then the
ugliest habitations of man will be desirable beyond
all sight of trees with trunks too thick to be rounded 166 CHINOOK DAYS
for a climb, and with no branches within reach.
Mike King ran and jumped and ran. He lost his
sense of direction, so intent was he on mere speed.
His only thought then was to put so wide a space
between himself and that bear that she would soon
give over and return to her cubs. But as he leapt
over one huge log he went plumb into a pool of
black mud and water, thick-grown over with skunk
cabbage. Odd how in moments of extreme peril
one takes sharp notice of trifles! Ever after that
Mike King hated the scent of swamp lilies. By the
time he had recovered himself and made to firm
ground the bear was over the log and splashing
toward him through the pool. Mike turned and
grabbed from the ground with his left hand a small
broken branch at his feet; one that was slivered and
old from a tree long fallen. He knew there was
slim chance of hitting an attacking bear with a.
hatchet at first blow. With paw quicker than the
fist of any pugilist the hatchet at first blow would
have been knocked aside, and on the instant the
other paw would have ripped him from face down.
At the edge of the pool the bear rose on its
haunches. Mike struck straight across to the face
with the stick in his left hand; but the stick never
touched the bear, and was knocked from his grasp.
In the same moment, however, he came down with
the hatchet in his right hand, trying to give the
fatal blow across the nose. He missed the nose, -
and the hatchet only cut with little effect into the
forehead, and with that slipped from his grasp.    Yet MIKE KING AND THE BEAR 167
the blow was enough to stagger the bear back over
the slippery, yielding edge into  the pool.
Mike ran and jumped and ran. Maybe it is true,
as Kipling says, that the female of the species is
more deadly than the male. Anyway, that bear was
up and after Mike again, and he "learned about
wimmin from 'er."
There are some men who at a crisis can call up
a reserve of strength, although it may leave them
limp for long after. Mike ran and jumped and ran.
But now the bear was shortening the distance between them. Mike could hear its snarling grunts
of rage; the hot smell of it was coming toward him.
Then it was that his ears caught the sound of axes;
the regular clip-clop, clip-clop of expert loggers.
Mike headed for the sound. It is not every city
dweller who can tell the direction whence a sound
comes through the woods. But Mike could take his
directions by ear as a .dog can by his nose.
The rest of that run to him was in a dark green
haze of horror. A nightmare had materialized, and
was after him. Then new sounds were in his ears,
sounds of breakage as if a great wind had struck
up aloft. The bear now was just at his heels, and
there was a great roaring and falling over them
both. He felt a ripping blow behind as he plunged,
bent   double   and   head   foremost—crash—darkness!
Next thing Mike knew there were two men standing by, and a third was holding up his head and
telling him to drink from a flask which he held to
his  lips.    He  had  been  flung  forward  beyond the 168 CHINOOK DAYS
trunk of the falling tree just as it came to the ground.
The bear had been fairly caught across the  back.
Mike was a kindly soul, and could always be depended upon to make others keep the King's peace
when necessary. But in the stock of his good-
fellowship there was no asset in favor of any 'bear
for  a  long  time  after that.    And  he  said to  me:
"I tell you, Tommy, old Job talked about escaping
by the skin of his teeth; but it was the skin
behind my pants that I escaped by; and for
weeks after that if I forgot myself and sat down
careless like then I had cause good and plenty to
curse that bear. You bet I had, by the Lovely Dove!"
* * * * * *
Clean, upright Mike! But that fall at Nootka was
his finish. He left Montreal and went to Johns
Hopkins or some such place for treatment by
specialists, and died soon after.
From the Western Canadian Lumberman
In the early days of the development of logging
in British Columbia there was no more striking
figure than IMike King. It will be interesting to
the present generation to know that twenty-one
years ago Mike cruised the limits around Powell
River and gave a report of the timber existing
above Powell Lake, on the Kingcombe Inlet and
elsewhere up the coast. Mike's cruise was used
by the Canadian Pulp and Paper Company in a
prospectus which was widely circulated in England.
Certain interests were opposed to the launching
of a pulp and paper plant at Powell River, and so
was formed the B. C. Loggers' Association, who
sent a delegation to the Provincial Government to MIKE KING AND THE BEAR        169
protest against the enterprise, which Mike and his
friends were supporting. The first president of the
Loggers' Association was W. H. Higgins, who is still
living. The late J. S. Emmerson was one of the
directors, and H. G. Ross was secretary.
Mike had represented that there was an ideal
site for a pulp mill at Powell River, and that there
was ample power there for such an industry. It is
interesting to note that one of the persons opposing the granting of timber to the pulp mill at that
time stated to the government during the interviews: "Any mill which could be built at Powell
River would be washed away by the sea." That
was  only twenty-one years ago.
Most çf the gentlemen engaged in the controversy  have passed on,  including Mr. King.
The Canadian Pulp and Paper Company was the
starting point in the establishing of the great pulp
industry in this province. Time has proven that
the cruise made by Mike King was reliable; the
establishment of a fifteen million dollar plant at
Powell River eloquently testifies to the vision of the
No one is asked to believe the hear story. The
old timers all claim that Mike King was a truthful
man, and truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.
—EDITOR.  Song Won Tai
Telling the Banquet of Both Kings
AS I went my way on a fine May morning of
1908 along Dupont Street in Vancouver, I
was stopped by Lee Kwong. He handed me
$150, asking me to go buy good wine with it and
bid the right friends for a Chinese dinner to be
given the next night in the great topside hall of the
Chinese Reform Association. It was to be a rush
Mackenzie King, Deputy Minister of Labor, had
been sent to Vancouver some time in March, 1908,
as a Special Commissioner to assess the damages
which should be paid to Chinese and Japanese residents whose premises had been attacked in the anti-
Oriental riots of the previous September. Associated with Arthur McEvoy, I was acting counsel for
the Chinese claimants. After an investigation lasting some weeks, the commissioner arrived at an
unexpectedly quick decision. Our clients were
allowed somewhat over $30,000, and the commissioner
announced his intention of immediately returning to
Ottawa. Hence the hurry for the banquet of
In those happy days, a lot of good wine could
be had for $150; and I went to my friends of the
Gold Seal, now but a memory, and placed an order 172 CHINOOK DAYS 	
with rapidity, which was most honorably and generously filled. Then quickly I got in touch with
those whom I thought would make an appropriate
and joyful appearance the next night. The guests
of honor were Mackenzie King and Oyang King,
then Chinese Consul General at San Francisco, and
now Chinese Charge d'Affaires in Peru.
There were a few other non-resident guests of
some note at the time. One was a bright little
Cockney by name of Crippen, who had been sent to
the Pacific Coast from London as special correspondent of the London Times when the anti-Oriental agitation had become acute some months previously, and the relations between the United States
and Japan had become strained. Another was Robert Service, who had just arrived down from the
Yukon, and whose "Songs of a Sourdough" had
brought him sudden fame and success. Till he met
me he was innocent of Chinatown; but I told him
that, after having so thoroughly absorbed the atmosphere of the Golden North, he had better at
least have one whiff of the fragrance of the Far
East flung into the Far West. He accepted my
invitation with alacrity. I put through an order for
souvenir menu cards, with names in Chinese and
English of the delicious dishes of Canton; all rightly
spaced with the names of the best gloom-dispellers
bottled in France. Then I had festoons made of
Scotch broom fresh cut in the woods along the
Westminster   road.    The   broom   was   in   the   first SONG WON TAI 173
wonder of its yellow blossoming, and I touched the
festoons here and there with the deeper yellow of
the heavy-scented thorny gorze, and lightened them
with the red and white twinkles of wild flowering
currant. The festoons were hung from the roof,
beginning at the Altar of the Three Pure Ones and
extending criss-cross the length of the hall.
We gathered at eight o'clock the next night, but,
as usual at formal Chinese dinners, we sat chatting
for an hour, trying vainly to crack melon seeds for
the tiny kernels of them, like the Chinese. We succeeded better in taking a nip of tea or something
between whiles.
The table for some symbolic reason was in the
shape of a great T. Maybe it stood for Tai. I do
not know; but there was something of imperial
significance about it. Mackenzie King and Oyang
King sat at the head centre, both together. Lee
Kee was on one side of Mackenzie King and Arthur
McEvoy on the other side of Oyang King, and with
him Moy Bak Hing, Chinese Consul from Portland, Oregon. Among other well-known British Columbians who graced the board with their beneficent
presences were: Hon. W. W. B. Mclnnes, Dr. Alex.
Monro, E. W. MacLean, Gordon Grant and George
Powell- Down toward the far end of the table,
Crippen sat with Julien Roy. There the orders
were given for opening the bottles and more bottles, in right rotation as they were assigned variously to   the   viands.    All   except   the   wine   was m
served in strict Chinese style. Some of the guests
were hard put to it trying for the first time to eat
with chopsticks. But for the young and the inexpert, and those stricken with grief, there is always a
dainty porcelain spoon which may be used at a
pinch for any food. Moreover, many of the best
confections of sharksfin, birdnest and snow fungus
are eaten solely with this helpful spoon. Also whenever any foreign guest made a slip with his chopsticks, he was called upon in honor to drink a glass
of wine. This was consoling and before long all
were in happy mood.
About midnight various ones were asked to speak
to the occasion. Some of the speakers were quite
fluent. When a speech was given in Chinese, it was
translated into English, and likewise the English
speeches were translated into Chinese. So everybody felt that they understood everybody; and that
it did not matter much if they did not-
Of the tyhees and taipans of Chinatown in those
days very few remain alive in Vancouver. The
bones of most of them are in China. There were
about forty guests at the banquet. Among the
Chinese I recall: Lee Kee, Lee Kwong, Loo Gee
Wing, Sam Kee, Yip Sang, Yip On, Wong Leung,
Shum Moon, Chow T. Tong, and my tragedy-
doomed law student, David C. Lew.
It was some time after midnight, while the
speeches and the refreshers continued, that Crippen SONG WON TAI 175
overhead  me  quoting to  myself  Ernest   Dowson's
exquisite refrain:
"I have been faithful to thee, Cynara, in my fashion!"
It seemed to surprise Crippen mightily that I
could do this; as one might be surprised to hear
a Tartar from the Gobi Desert sit down and play one
of Chopin's nocturnes. I have been amused occasionally by certain schools of the English natives
who leave their island with the fixed idea that any
mastery of English letters is not to be expected
among jhose born overseas. They are very wooden;
and one finds them comic or annoying, according to
temperament. But happily in this case, misunderstanding a bit of mild sarcasm on my part, Crippen
rose and recited the whole of Dowson's most perfect lyric, much to his credit. The lovely lines were
gravely listened to by the revellers as if to a prayer
spoken before the Altar of the Three Pure Ones
between drinks.
Crippen's performance gave an idea to Robert
Service, and the relief one has when a way of
escape is opened up unexpectedly. For Service had
been called upon make a speech and was trying to
excuse himself. But brightly after Crippen sat down
Service stood up quite steadily and drew a manuscript from his pocket, saying that instead of attempting a speech he would read his newest poem,
never uttered before, and which was to be included
in his next book: "Ballads of a Chechaco". 176 CHINOOK DAYS
Then, where East and West met in an atmosphere
bizarre, was heard for the first time from the
author's own lips the "Ballad of Blasphemous Bill".
It was loudly applauded, even by the Chinese who
could make nothing of it. Those who had any meaning of it here and there were convinced that it was
an artistic description of a ling chi execution in the
Klondike. Service sat down well pleased. Time
went happily on, and we all said that it was the
best night of all.   Yum poi!   Yum sing!   Umbrella!
With well expressed felicitations and hopes for
better understanding in future between the Canadians and the Chinese, this banquet of both Kings
together came to a happy conclusion about three
o'clock in the morning.
I noticed the easy motion of the stars, playing
around in the blue velvet of the sky, as I walked up
town with Crippen and Gordon Grant. The night
air of May was crisp and reviving. Crippen fancied
a dish of scrambled eggs and bacon; so we went
with him into the Bismark, an ever-open and comforting resort which reckoned its work among the
fine arts, but lost and gone away into the past along
of the Poodle Dog and the Lok King Lam. They
do not have such places now. Pete was still in
charge, and he looked after us royally, as usual,
although for myself I felt I wanted no more to eat
or drink for a week.    From our box at one side,
Crippen kept looking uneasily between the curtains
across the room, where someone was continually
looking toward us and scowling heavily. Crippen
finally said he was going to demand an explanation*
He went truculently across the room. Then he
found himself menacing himself in the broad blank
mirror of the wall. Poor Crippen, keen of life; he
has* passed with the other shadows; and I find not
even a glass now in which to see the shadow of a
shadow of any one of them.  Morrison of Pékin
WHEN first I went in 1916 to the grim, blue-
grey, antique and up-to-date city of Pekin I
met with much to make me wonder. In a
mingle of Mongol and Chinese and Manchu I made
my way through that great part known as the Tartar
City. I wanted to meet an Australian adventurer
who had impressed his personality so favorably on
the Chinese Government that his name was given to
the important street on which he lived.
My ricksha coolie stopped in front of two symbolic Chinese lions, such as usually are placed in
front of official quarters, and residences of magnates
in the northern capital. These lions come of a cross
between a bulldog and a wildcat; and vary in size
from a tiepin to a hippopotamus. Passing through a
guarded gate in the usual grey brick and granite wall
I found myself in the outer court of a Chinese
gentleman's compound. I gave my card to a porter
who came forward to meet me and soon I was
ushered into a Chinese reception room, partly furnished in European style. I had the honor of making
myself known to Dr. George Ernest Morrison, foreign adviser to President Yuan Shi-kai, and some
time correspondent of the London Times in the Far
East. He was a slim, clean-shaven man of average
height, with short grey hair all uncombed. He was
dressed in grey; and I was taken with his quizzical
bright blue eyes-    So I told him    that I had    been •
shown a snapshot photo of him in a saloon at Vancouver one day when I was buying a drink for a
friend. I produced the picture, which I had thoughtfully not returned to my friend. This intrigued him.
He recalled the time it was taken on shipboard 26
years before when he was first on his way to China.
Dr. Morrison showed me great kindness while I
was in Pekin, and we became mutually interested in
certain affairs. I happened to have with me an
original draft of a Chinese Immigration Act which
I had been instructed to draw for the Canadian Government some years before at Ottawa; and Dr.
Morrison seemed very pleased when I gave it to him
to put among his books and manuscripts relating to
China. Through nearly 20 years he had been collecting a unique library devoted entirely to things
Chinese. This library was considered of great value.
He kept it in a separate fireproof building. After
his death it was bought by the Japanese, and taken
to Japan. The ship carrying it was wrecked; but
the sea-soaked leaves were recovered and carefully
dried and restored, so that the bulk of the volumes
eventually arrived at Tokyo. I do not know if they
survived the great earthquake of 1923.
I had some notions of my own about things in
China 3000 years ago which I wished to corroborate,
if possible. Dr. Morrison made me free of his library. Owing to my lack of learning I made slow
progress but one day Dr. Morrison introduced me to
Samuel Couling, a famous scholar in the Orient, who MORRISON OF PEKIN 181
was himself making researches in the library. Couling was the author of an Encyclopedia Siniaca; and
because of his eminence in Chinese literature and
philosophy he was decorated by the French Government a few years later, just before his death. It
was from Dr. Couling that I first had details of the
first Chinese missionary expedition to America
about fifteen hundred years ago, conducted by Hoey
Sien, an ardent follower of the Lord Buddha. I
made a few notes there and then as the old scholar
read to me and translated as he read from a Chinese
book, quoting the official report of the expedition
to Fusang (Mexico), as published in the Pekin
Gazette, A. D. 499.
But it was the abstruse nature of my chief quest
in China that appealed greatly to the heart of this
delightful sinalogue, and he became quite attached
to me. I had the privilege of meeting him subsequently in South China.
One day, at the Morrison Library, I was surprised to find a handsome and clever young Bengali
deeply engrossed in a volume. I had been quietly
interested in this person eight years previously at
Vancouver. A night school of instruction in the
arts of bomb-making and bomb-throwing was being
conducted at the time among certain Hindus back
of the saw-mills in the neighboring town of New
Westminster. Not long after that some graduates
of the school went back to India to practice what
they had been taught;  Lord Minto being the  first 182 CHINOOK DAYS
object of attention^ I had some vague idea that
this young Bengali was connected with the night
school back of the saw-mills; and at least I knew
that he was editor of a weekly journal of misinformation and anti-British propaganda called Free
India, and published in 1908 at Vancouver. Publication ceased abruptly that year, and nobody knew
what became of the editor for some time. But
when I went up to him in Morrison's Library and
said: "How do you do, Mr. Tarack Nath Das; I am
pleased to see that you are as studious as ever?" he
looked at me and into me with blank, unknowing
eyes; those beautiful dark eyes which made him so
admired of one sex at least in Californian colleges
during the first years of the war. I mentioned the
names of a few friends of his in the United States
Immigration Service, and he appeared convinced
after that of our having friends in common. We
were stopping at the same hotel, and naturally he
asked me what I was doing in Pekin, saying that
he himself was studying the question of extra territoriality. I told him that I was studying certain
phases of an ancient Chinese religion. I think we
both believed each other in the same degree; which
was quite as it should have been. Morrison seemed upset when I told him a few things; and was dubious
about allowing the lad any further privileges of the
library. There were not many whom he would
admit to study there; but Tarack Nath Das had
presented   letters   from   certain   Americans   of  high MORRISON OF PEKIN 183
standing in the collegiate world. I told Dr. Morrison not to be alarmed; that Tarack Nath Das might
joyfully aid in the destruction of the British Empire, but that he was not the sort of person who
would steal a book in the circumstances of the courtesy extended to him; not a collector or that sort
of person. The next day, however, I met Dr. Morrison returning from the British Legation, and he
told me that they seemed to have very complete
data there as to the activities of Tarack Nath Das.
The following day I missed him at the hotel; J
used to enjoy my chats with him at the tea-hour.
Nobody seemed to know what had become of him;
and I did not hear of him again myself until he was
arrested in California on some espionage charge, or
other such excuse, after the Americans had entered
the war. I do not know if he is at large now in
India; but if so, no doubt he is carrying on business
as usual. For one so learned he was a very industrious person.
At Dr. Morrison's library I met another man
somewhat out of the ordinary. He was a lean, wiry
little American of a journalistic turn; having a
great aptitude for Oriental languages. He told me
his name was Ginko (with the "g" soft as in sloe-
gin), but I think when at home his name was Smith.
That did not matter, however, as he did not intend
to go home- He had been financed to Manchuria
years before to be a war-correspondent when the
Japanese-Russian war was going on.    Later he was 184 CHINOOK DAYS
so taken with and by things Chinese that he missed
every boat going back to the United States, and
finally said he did not care if he never went back.
At the time I met him, Dr. Morrison had him engaged to edit manuscript of a new book he was
writing; reminiscences to date from his boyhood
days in Australia. I do not know if the doctor ever
completed the work. But he told me that this Ginko
could talk Mongol, as well as two kinds of Chinese.
He said that once, having spent all his money in
Pekin in an active way, he went to the market
place off Hatamen Street one bright morning and
succeeded in attaching himself to a Mongol caravan just setting out for Urga, across the Gobi desert. He had nothing, not even his own kind of
tobacco. But he took to what the Mongols had,
and he was always at home with anything to eat,
being cosmopolitan in his tastes. He came back
with a caravan two years later, nicely browned, with
a knowledge of the Mongol tongue, and possessed
of many valuable furs. On the proceeds he lived
for a time to his heart's desire at Tientsin, State of
Sin, China. I gathered some notes from Ginko
about the doctor.
Morrison was born at Geelong, Victoria, Australia,
in 1862. He was of an investigating turn of mind
from the first, and always predisposed toward unusual places and positions. He was of that efficient
type of Britisher not born in Britain, yet imbued
with the larger ideal of Empire.    He was no mere MORRISON OF PEKIN 185
drifter; still less a victim of wander-lust. Always
he had some definite project in view; preferably of
an imperial color. When he was twenty he was an
uncommon sailor before the mast in the South Seas;
intending to study the Kanaka labor question at its
source, because of the trouble being made about it
in Australia. After that he took a journey on foot
across the wilds of Australia from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Melbourne; making over two thousand
miles in 123 days. Next he studied a bit of medicine. Then he ventured in New Guinea, but returned from there discouraged because of two spearheads planted deeply in his person by the Native
Sons of New Guinea who believed in New Guinea
for the Guineas. He decided to go to Edinburgh
to have the spear-heads properly removed; and incidentally to complete his medical course. In 1887
he received the degrees of M.D. and CM. from Edinburgh University. Then he was engaged as a
mine doctor at the Rio Tinto mines in Spain. Leaving that employ he was for a time court physician
to the Wazan of Morocco. In 1890 he went back to
Australia and was put in charge of a hospital at
Ballarat. But two years later he heard the thing
playing the tune again, and felt that he must follow.
So he sailed in the direction of China. Morrison
reached China in 1893. In 1894 he was at Shanghai,
and from there set out as usual in pursuit of the
unusual. He made his way by foot and sampan all
the  way  overland  from   Shanghai   to   Rangoon;   a 186 CHINOOK DAYS
most hazardous and uncomfortable thing to do; a
thing to be accomplished only by a nervy and lucky
expert tramp explorer undeterred by man, beast or
insect. Dr. Morrison was unable to speak the
languages used in the regions through which he
passed. But he had a winning way with him; he
could accommodate himself to circumstances; and
knowledge of medicine stood him in good stead.
Much of this trip is described in his first book:
"An Australian in China." While on the SS. Mont-
eagle, going from Hongkong to Shanghai, in June,
1920, I met a famous Canadian missionary whom I
remembered as having been senior to me at Toronto
University. The name of Morrison came up; as
news of his death had been received just a few days
before we sailed. "I never met him, but of course
I have heard of him," said the missionary. "Poor
fellow, he wrote a book once in which he criticized
the work of the missionaries in China; but later
he was led to see the error of his way, and the book
was recalled from circulation wherever possible."
To this I gave a rather hot denial. I knew that it was
not true; and I told him plainly that he was talking
missionary pidgin. For Dr. Morrison had given
me an autographed copy of the book in 1916, and I
recalled how proudly, I might almost say affectionately, he spoke of the book and what it had done for
him. It had made his reputation. But even before
publication it was instrumental in opening the gate
for him to high places and influence.    The way of MORRISON OF PEKIN 187
it was this, as he told me himself. After tramping
China the first time, Morrison sailed from there on
a British merchantman. He earned his passage as
ship surgeon; but he had scarce one dollar to keep
company with another in his pocket. He had, however, the completed manuscript of his book. Arriving in London, he sought immediately the first likely
publishing house. Finding that he would have some
time to wait before any decision could be made, he
tried for a job as a newspaper reporter. Aiming
high, he went to the office of the London Times-
He was not turned away, as he had half expected,
but was listened to and passed on from one to another. Finally one who seemed to have power of
deciding took him in hand and asked as to his experience and qualifications. Morrison answered that
he had been in China; that he had written a book
about it, and that he had crossed overland from
Shanghai down through the southern provinces to
Yunan Fu; thence through Tonquin, Siam and
Burma. At mention of this the examining journalist was all attention, and presently had him before
two of the directors. They listened to his story,
and invited him to dinner the next night in Soho.
Morrison explained that he was not even possessed
of a dinner jacket. This was courteously met by
his hosts meeting him the next evening in lounge
suits like his own. The upshot was that Morrison
was told to forget about his book for a while and
let it take its chances with the publishers.    He was 188 CHINOOK DAYS
asked to go forthwith to Singapore and there await
orders as special correspondent of the London
Times. A handsome cash advance was made; and
off he went. At the time there was some serious
misunderstanding with France about affairs in Siam.
Morrison was able to render service of such marked
diplomatic value in Siam during the next two years
that, following the closing of the issue there, he was
.sent in 1897 to Pekin as permanent correspondent
for the London Times. From that time on he was
"Morrison of Pekin."
His passion for inland traveling remained; and
toward the end of 1897 he made the journey by foot
and chair and mule and sampan from Pekin down
to Tonquin. Which reminds me that once Sir John
Jordan said to me at the British Legation in Pekin:
"My boy, I believe that you could take one of your
Canadian light canoes and from the water-gate at
the foot of these grounds, when the canal is filled,
you could start out and make the journey from
Pekin clear down to Mandalay, with very few portages, following the natural and artificial waterways
of the country." This was said in connection with
the ancient but admirable system of canals which
now need dredging in order properly to supplement
the rivers and lakes, and afford cheap and efficient
communication, such as once prevailed during the
ages of the great emperors.
Dr. Morrison played a brilliant part at Pekin in
the defence of the foreigners centred at the British MORRISON OF PEKIN 189
Legation during the Boxer rebellion of 1900. But
this is well known, and has often been described.
As typical, however, of the working of the Chinese
mind, so selfishly individualistic and grotesquesly
detached, contrary to what might be expected by
us, Dr. Morrison told me that once during the most
distressing days of the siege, an arrow was shot over
the Legation walls with a message from a Chinese
friend addressed to him, and quite casually, as if it
had come most peacefully by post, asking for advice
on a detail of ordinary business. The Chinese friend
wrote as if the doctor's mind should calmly be
given to the question asked; as if indeed there were
no such things as war and looting and dynastic
downfall darkening over the city.
Well, Dr. Morrison acquired merit; he considered
the question asked of him, and then wrote a careful
and dispassionate reply, without reference to anything else. The answer, addressed as best could be,
was attached to the arrow, and it was shot back in
the direction whence it had come. About a year
afterwards the doctor was made aware in a pleasing
manner that his answer had been received; that it
had been acted upon, and that it had been considered valuable. That was more than he could say in
later years when he was official adviser to Yuan
Shi-kai, and later to Li Yuan-hung. Dr. Morrison
had been in sympathy with the revolutionary party
led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The developments subsequent to the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 190 CHINOOK DAYS
1911, and the changing attitude of Yuan Shi-kai,
made his position difficult. However, one comfort,
as he told me with a grin, was that, although he
continued to send reams of written advice to the
Chinese government, which advice was seldom taken
at first, and never taken later, yet his salary, a substantial one, was always most honorably forthcoming when due.
I had arranged to meet Dr. Morrison at Vancouver in July, 1920, when he expected to arrive there
from London as I returned from Hongkong. But
sitting in the corridor of the Hongkong Hotel on
the last day of May, I read that his death had just
occurred in England.
Two years later I lived again for several months
in the old north capital; prowling through the city
of dusty blue and grey little houses hemmed in by
enormous grey and dusty pink walls; city of swarming wide streets and rich shops hidden down narrow
lanes; city of desolate imperial distances where
many trees bloom and no grass grows; weird city
of legend and horror and allurement. I have taken
tea from beautiful hands in its beautiful parks; I
have often stood reverently on the open marble
Altar of Heaven to the south, and attended evensong in the Lama Temple to the north; and always
with the same zest as I did in my first days. But
along Morrison Street I can never pass now without
a feeling of something lost; and I lift my hat warmly
to the memory of my friend   Morrison of Pekin. Joss
I WONDER how it is; all this unknowable? It
gets one no farther to declare it is not. Yeh,
Heh, Wey; Jahvey, Jovey, Jeezo; Zous, Dios,
Gosh! Say it vigorously just like that, and the flippant may think it a college yell. Well, down the
centuries these unconnected sacred names have been
ignorantly connected and mouthed profanely abroad
by sea and shore. In undistinguishment they slipped from the tongue of wayfaring men because of
fear or anger or wonder or anguish; or else for
solemn assurance of sincerity and good intention;
or else for vain emphasis and customary vulgarity.
To and fro from East to West and West to East
they passed; but at long last and away they oriented
quaintly into Joss.
Now, this funny name of Deus descendant may
not be so efficiently used as other high names for
cursing or invocation; and yet in its own way
lightly it may rise in meaning toward somewhat
that plays with the affairs of birds and butterflies
as being of as much concern to it as are the affairs
of men. Joss will serve the quick intuition of children; and also serves to hold a vague notion and
indicate an attitude for those old ones who
good-naturedly accept this chancy business of life,
and would have a not irreverent joke now and then 192 CHINOOK DAYS
at the futility of trying to plumb the ultimate. Joss
may do as a name for the fey wind and glimmer
of the Eternal; the ripple if you will of Yo.
Neither of light nor of darkness, nor of sound
nor of silence; having no body of existence, or witness through the existent unless it be a trackless,
avenging, healing and arranging influence; vivid in
effect for those who are awake to it, even through
the least and most trivial things, and yet elusive
from eye or instrument or sensible thing whatever
in all the range from an electron to a star; that
stays which some gasp to realize; inadequately naming it God. But, of course, we must have some name
for it, if only the name of a name. Yo quonsum mit-
lite Yo.
Below self-consciousness and above self-consciousness, but seldm midway in the spotlight of
intellect, we may have the feel of a clear state of
being, or non-being, if that be more comprehensible, which in systematic religions we sometimes try
to cover with the name of a person. This phase of
the affair, however, pertains to the province of theology, wherein I am not versed. But I may discuss
Joss a bit; for Joss is not a person and never more
than plays at being a person. And Joss is not particular about any particular religion, nor about us
any more than about any other creatures. But it
seems that every name for any avatar or other
apparent manifestation descending from the supreme
before and after and over and under of existence, JOSS 193
whether of personal or impersonal aspect, acquires
the equivalent of an aroma or a color all its own.
This like enough is because of the emotional aura
through which it is uttered and repeated and praised
and appealed to by the various groups and races
that continually use it. Very near and very well-
known it may seem when named with a name made
sublime or lovely in childhood- But, if it be a live
name, it will always retain, some aspect looming
beyond all races and their languages. It is that
indefinable of a name in a name which may give
us the relief at times of altogether denying it to
whatever face it shows; and denying all for which
it was imposed upon us by others. The spirit
escapes the name. Thus a thousand names have
been sounded and sung to all the winds, and have
died away at last with all the worshippers into
But Joss cares not for its name. Joss of the open,
and every little Joss around the corner, may carry
us beyond the customary of God and Aumen.
Authentic are contacts made with the quick quiver
of Joss by an apt daft use of this or that
symbol or instrument of this or that religion. For
although to many all idols and religious allures
whatsoever remain inert, yet to others they may
become potent and very helpful; reviving vim and
spirit, or giving effective consolation. The wine of
new life may be served through unlikely vessels.
We  have  spiritual   comfort  of  architectural  shapes 194 CHINOOK DAYS
and sacred boxes; or in certain postures and costumes; or through graven images of brazen serpents or golden, guardian cherubim; and highly
from figures of crucified and finished expiation, or
of brooding triumphant quietude and attainment. A
little Joss may creep in and find place between old
and richly odorous leathern covers, to play among
the grim lines of ancient scholarship and orthodox
commandments. It twinkles there like sunlight
through a dark, deep pool. And by way of Joss in
wreathing incense there may be received by those
in goodwill some promise of the utter death and
oblivion of all that now chains them unhappily to
existence in this world. Such then is the value of
true idol and religious allure. But the idol or allure
must have involved in it a proper passive quality;
and the one who would have a magic or consolation
or peace of it must have the proper complementary
active quality. Then, light or heavy, something is
liable to happen. Joss comes in the between of the
two; comes vibrant and real as anything can be real
while it lasts in this everlastingly unlasting world.
Joss may settle comfortingly for the little folk and
the good elders in the pots and pans of the kitchen,
as well as in flower-decked tablets and shrines. It
may be heard warning and appealing in the after-
tone of a temple bell. Joss can lead us remotely
back till in queer travel we reach to that which
wavered for us through the smoky golden visions
of long ago.    Joss curls in easy-tempered  derision JOSS  195
above the concrete allottments of man and his intellect.    Joss loves and laughs at dignities.
But this now that in happy jargon we call Joss
does not exist as things exist; nor as we exist. It
has a way of its own- It was in the wind before
men were human; yes, and before ever the earth
was rounded. It waves in the contemplation of trees
where no men are. It plays through dream valleys
with animals. It drapes in beauty of the moon for
moths and nightingales. Through waving auroral
curtains amazing the Arctic sky Joss may shimmer
and dance for the howling adoration of wolves. It
may lend itself grotesquely to a jungle devotee of
old-time luck. It may come down and agree as a
young comrade with the cheery fooleries or the dark
forebodings of sailors on the high seas. Often it
will flash smiling by in the trivial whim of a child.
Joss may be of the littlest thing, and yet unfold and
go long beyond all the most sacred names and
islands of joy; even as the empty sky enfolds and
longs beyond the stars.
One time one place I heard a child preciously
apply the word Joss as she had learned it of her
Amah; but in spirit all her own. We stood alone on
the edge of a wide river. There was a ripple of -
wind; and the hot air was eerie with passion. Typhoon signals were up. The far shore was dim in
a haze, and the sun was sinking redly on that side
into black and orange clouds. Then as we stood
watching in silence three white cranes flew in direct 196 CHINOOK DAYS
line across the face of the sun, disappearing behind
a distant pagoda over the hilltop. The hand of the
child stole into mine, and low in the fullness of her
wonder she said   "Belong Joss!"
I knew that she was reacting to the queer come-
along of it all; as if she had found by chance a
secret door and the secret of its opening, and it
had swung wide, displaying vistas of unknown delight. That once in that moment, if never again
through the aging years, I felt that she had the pass,
and had gone in on the trail of—what? Yolana
There's a by-road the saints fear,
And the wizards seek in vain;
Ayont the day 'tis quite near,
But the way of it is too queer
For me to make it plain;
fcBut we find our track by the Zodiac,
Then a body parts in twain,
And we be lift in a mode to the mere
Mass a madness vain—
A dream or delusion vain.
Yolana avie, avie, avie!
Yolana vekana vor!
But what and oh what may the mass know
Of the things that are done of us?
On the round hill where we go
To bide our time in the pale glow
For Yolana marvellous?
And visions evoke by sweet smoke
And breathings tremulous?
Nay, the sound of words may not show
The things that are done of us—
Remotely done of us!
Yolana avie, avie, avie!
Yolana vekana vor! 198 CHINOOK DAYS
A gold star in the West glow'd
Thro' a night obscurely clear:
'Twas the dry time when the winds bode
Thro' the tree-tops, and the tree-toad
Answers eerily:—
The dwarf came with the swart name
A-whispering in my ear:
And I nodded and took the by-road
Thro'  the  night  obscurely  clear
Like a smoky topaz when clear:
Yolana avie, avie, avie!
Yolana vekana vor!
Where the lone pine-tree flings
A ragged shadow down
We light the fire, and the dwarf sings
To keep away the bad things
That  glimmer around  and  frown
As we mix wine, and make the sign
They made in the sunken town:
Then oh what glory of light wings
Bearing Yolana down!
Yolana avie, avie, avie!
Yolana vekana vor!
But what and oh what may the mass know
Of the things that are done of us? YOLANA 199
On the round hill where we go
To slumber in the pale glow
Of planet.* pendulous?
And out of the skies materialize
Yolana marvellous?
Nay, the sound of words may not show
The things that are done of us—
Remotely done of us!
Yolana avie, avie, avie!
Yolana vekana vor!
Oh the twinkling stones of faery
When Yolana comes!
All set in the greenest jewelry,
While the magic smoke goes bluely
From the burning magic gums!
And we troll the chants in a ghost-dance
To the monotone of drums
Till we lapse for sheer enchantery
When Yolana comes!
Yolana avie, avie, avie!
Yolana vekana vor!  Notes
CHINOOK DAYS—Vikings in British Columbia
There is a cliff near Spokane, in the State of
Washington, just across the border from British
Columbia, beneath which the icy waters of a spring
still bubble forth as they did a thousand years ago.
Nigh the spring is a great boulder, on which are
inscribed runic characters. They tell how a little
band of Norse Vikings, consisting of twenty-four men
and seven women and a baby, and which had been
crossing down from the Canadian Sub-Arctics toward
the Pacific, fought a battle with Indians at this place
because of a quarrel about the use of the spring.
The Vikings were outnumbered. They put the
women and the baby on top of the boulder, and
fought with their backs to it in a circle. Half of
them were killed in the fight; two of the men and
six women were captured, and the baby was hurled
from the rock and killed as it fell. One woman and
twelve men escaped. Of these there were six survivors who returned to the spot and buried their
dead under one large mound, and then wrote the
account of the affair in runes upon the rock. This
was in A.D. 1010. Professor Olaf Opsjon, widely
known as a translator of runic inscriptions, declares
the writing on this rock to be the best Norse record
so far found in America. But Tête Jaune, or Yellow-
head Jaspar Hawes, was the first white man to tell
of finding characters on rocks in Western Canada
which were apparently ancient, and not of Indian
origin. The story is that he saw them on a cliff in a
valley north of the Pass which now bears his name.
They may be Norse runes, if there be any such at
all; or they may be petroglyphs such as have already
been found in British Columbia and on Vancouver
Island, and which are not in the knowledge of Salish
or Nootka or other Indians now on this coast. But
there are so many stories about that daring French-
Canadian, and his successful rivalry single-handed
against the mighty Hudson's Bay Company when he 202 CHINOOK DAYS
established Jaspar House against Henry House, that
one cannot be too sure of any of them now. The
Hudson's Bay Company is thought to have spread
spiteful rumors to the effect that Jaspar Hawes was
a man of violent temper; warning the Indians that
his flaming shock of yellow hair might set the
mountains afire. But the Indians knew that was all
in their eye; and Jaspar really proved himself to be
a man of singular patience.
I am the last one to be picayune about spelling,
but I cannot understand why the publicity agents of
the Canadian National Railway do not spell Jaspar's
name right; seeing what use they make of it in connection with their big Western Park. Perhaps they
are timid lest visiting tourists of the school-teacher
type may think that the name qualifying the park is
derived from that stone to which a queer sea was
likened in celestial topography; and know not how
to spell jasper when they write of Jaspar Park.
Reminds me that once in Toronto in 1888 a prominent English visitor—one of the funny patronizers
patronizing seriously—on going over to the Island
was scandalized at a sign reading WIMAN'S BATHS.
He asked his companions if it were possible that
these Canadians did not know how to spell women.
QUEEN YOMA—Chinook Days
Extracts from the Memorial of Giano Sanguinetti,
addressed to His Excellency Don Deonardus San-
torius, and dated at Madrid, Spain, the 19th of
February, 1543.
"Having landed at La Espagnola with a cargo
of negroes for service under Las Casas in 1536, and
desirous of winning fame and fortune I continued
in my purpose to learn the language and customs,
and as much of the geography as was possible, until
the end of 1540; and, as I was in the service of
Cortez, he soon commissioned me to lead an expedition toward the septentrional regions of New Spain.
Several vessels perished; others returned with little
findings. But I, after many misfortunes, finally
reached a vast peninsula of a gulf which appeared NOTES 203
to split New Spain. . . . As we made sail from
there, with Gino Doria and four Indians, the winds
favored us in our course, and as we proceeded on
we hugged the shores of a monstrous litoral which
was covered in parts by dense forests. We sighted
very few aboriginates. In this manner we continued
our course, touching at several points, and guarding
with attention for favorable tides. ... As we
landed we were met at the shore by a damsel of
majestic aspect, and richly attired, who told me that
her name was Yoma. In the conference we had
With her she declared that in the annals of her
country they still observed the traditions and customs of her people, who had come originally from
Ajsia, and that she followed in the worship of the
Buddh'a. . . . Upon our return to our vessel the
Queen Yoma became enamoured with my companion
from Savona, Gino Doria, who was possessed of an
elegant aspect. The queen came with us as far as
our ship, accompanied by two hundred princesses.
Queen Yoma was a person of such striking beauty
that my companion Gino Doria immediately made
love to her; and they were married, and with
acclamations he was crowned to be king under
her. . . . The four Indians died of pestilence
during our return voyage. I was for this reason
ill-treated by Cortez, who forbade me to remain
longer in the New Spain. Grant me grace, my lord,
and I bow with most humble sentiment of you, my
In the rare Memoirs of the Navigator Montalvo
reference is made to the Queen of California, and
the capture by her of an Italian sailor with whom
she fell in love. The Memorial of Sanguinetti to
Don Santorius was bound with parchment in the
seventeenth century, when Donna Maria Rossi had
the document examined by the monks of the Monastery of Fondi. There is a writing on one side as
follows: "Visto del Monastero di Fondi pro la Signora
Donna Maria Rossi, 1732." On the other side of
the cover there appear signatures, dated at the
Monastery of St. Stephen, Genoa, 1741, bearing a
large seal: Carta bollata dell eccelentis Camera,
1741."     And  along the margin  is  a writing to  this 204 CHINOOK DAYS
effect: "From the account given by Giano Sangui-
netti regarding Montezuma, once monarch of New
Spain, it appears that his people were descendants
of the epoch of Hia, King of Asia, worshippers of
the false god Buddha; and this is sufficient to purge
the infinite errors of the Spaniards who, with the
destruction of human beings, desired at the same
time to convert them to the Christian faith, considering it to be one of the imperative necessities of their
spiritual mission; armed with humility and Christian
charity. There is no jewel more precious nor richer
treasure than the cross.    Triumphus Crucis."
CHINOOK DAYS—Canadian Pacific Railway
It is not so keenly realized today as once it was
forty years ago how the completion of the Canadian
Pacific Railway made the ocean to ocean Dominion
of Canada a reality; how it made possible and marketable the annual rich harvests of the Prairies;
and how it laid the foundations for an imperial city
on Burrard Inlet. No such great transportation
enterprise had ever been undertaken on such slender
resources, or put through with more financial
courage and adroitness; not even the Suez Canal.
Bold and wise and far-seeing, Sir John A. Macdonald
took the lead; and then the founders of the Canadian
Pacific Railway risked the Bank of Montreal and
their own liberty to carry out their national and
imperial scheme; while American railway experts
scoffed at it, declaring in 1881 that it would not pay
for the axle-grease on its car wheels. Agricultural
wiseacres, assembled two years earlier at Chicago,
had declared that the State of Illinois marked the
extreme northern boundary for successful wheat-
growing on a large scale on the American continent.
They had an appreciation of the situation ' about
equal to that of the good, old clergyman at New
Westminster who in 1880 called to assure my father,
who had just come from the Parliament at Ottawa
perforce via the United States, that the idea of
Canadians contemplating a railroad through the
mountains   of   British   Columbia   was   preposterous.
He said solemnly, as if making an unbelievable
statement, that it would cost a million pounds
sterling. That sum to the old gentleman meant
something colossal beyond the wealth of Canada.
What would the venerable Archdeacon, with his
worldly outlook approximating a period not later
than the reign of William IV, have thought had he
been told that merely for one hotel, or tavern as he
would have called it, such a sum would be spent
every here and there along the line of more than
one Canadian transcontinental railway; spent as a
matter of regular outlay. But British and Dutch
money went solidly to back up the preliminary
Canadian risk; and the Canadian people supplemented the coin from overseas with a free gift of
lands greater in value than the entire cost of the
road; after the road had given them value. And so
the road came smiling through.
Besides the wind which is merely the wind and
nothing more from whatever quarter it may blow,
there were three special winds, and a wind of the
wind, spoken of in Chinookery.
Mela wahna (sweet wind), is commonly known
now as the Chinook Wind. It comes dry and warm
in winter, and dry and cool in summer, and is altogether desirable. It comes from somewhere out on
the sea far to the West. It may sometimes sweep
and curve through the mountains, or vault over them
to the very edge of the Prairies.
Oluk Wahna (snake wind), is a cyclone or
typhoon. Since the coming of Ko and Klon never
a one of the Oluk Wahna have been able to whirl
their great coils through the air around Vancouver
Leloo Wahna (wolf wind), is a deathly cold wind
out of the North and the North East.
Tolo Wahna (win in the wind), is the tah sister
of Yolana.
Myself, I think that jNirwahna (nirvana or
nibahna),  the supremely  desirable state sought for 206 CHINOOK DAYS
by followers of the Lord Buddha, means merely
Beyond the Wind, Beyond Becoming, Beyond the
reach of Distressful Change.
JOSS—Jeezo or Jizo
The God, or Gleam of God, recognized by various
denominations of the Buddhist Church in Japan as
taking special care-of children who have met with
untimely death. In the wide and deep blue sleeves
of the kimono of Jizo, the souls of such children may
creep to refuge from the demons that haunt the
uneasy, astral region known to them as Sai No
Kawara. It is from this region that nightmares
and such like maliks may steal out to harass the
children of earth while they sleep. Jizo will have
no slain thing offered before him; and the children
pile only clean little pebbles before his shrine or
image to signify they are sorry for being naughty;
and also as a happy arrangement by which their
love may be radioed to their little friends who have
died and gone beyond.  Acknowledgments by the Author to Toronto Saturday
Night; Toronto Star Weekly; Vancouver Daily Province; Vancouver Daily Sun; and Canadian Western
Lumberman; in which a few of the articles in this book
first appeared.    


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