The Arctic Prairies By Ernest Thompson Seton


















































































































































 -  We had real
porridge and cream, coffee with veritable sugar and milk, and
authentic butter, light rolls made of actual - Page 60
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We Had Real Porridge And Cream, Coffee With Veritable Sugar And Milk, And Authentic Butter, Light Rolls Made Of Actual Flour, Unquestionable Bacon And Potatoes, With Jam And Toast - The Really, Truly Things - And We Had As Much As We Could Eat!

We behaved rather badly - intemperately, I fear - we stopped only when forced to do it, and yet both of us came away with appetites.

It was clear that I must get some larger craft than my canoe to cross the lake from Fort Resolution and take the 1,300 pounds of provisions that had come on the steamer. Harding kindly offered the loan of a York boat, and with the help chiefly of Charlie McLeod the white man, who is interpreter at the fort, I secured a crew to man it. But oh, what worry and annoyance it was! These Great Slave Lake Indians are like a lot of spoiled and petulant children, with the added weakness of adult criminals; they are inconsistent, shiftless, and tricky. Pike, Whitney, Buffalo Jones, and others united many years ago in denouncing them as the most worthless and contemptible of the human race, and since then they have considerably deteriorated. There are exceptions, however, as will be seen by the record.

One difficulty was that it became known that on the Buffalo expedition Bezkya had received three dollars a day, which is government emergency pay. I had agreed to pay the regular maximum, two dollars a day with presents and keep. All came and demanded three dollars. I told them they could go at once in search of the hottest place ever pictured by a diseased and perfervid human imagination.

If they went there they decided not to stay, because in an hour they were back offering to compromise. I said I could run back to Fort Smith (it sounds like nothing) and get all the men I needed at one dollar and a half. (I should mortally have hated to try.) One by one the crew resumed. Then another bombshell. I had offended Chief Snuff by not calling and consulting with him; he now gave it out that I was here to take out live Musk-ox, which meant that all the rest would follow to seek their lost relatives. Again my crew resigned. I went to see Snuff. Every man has his price. Snuff's price was half a pound of tea; and the crew came back, bringing, however, several new modifications in our contract.

Taking no account of several individuals that joined a number of times but finally resigned, the following, after they had received presents, provisions, and advance pay, were the crew secured to man the York boat on the "3 or 4" days' run to Pike's Portage and then carry my goods to the first lake.

Weeso. The Jesuits called him Louison d'Noire, but it has been corrupted into a simpler form. "Weeso" they call it, "Weeso" they write it, and for "Weeso" you must ask, or you will not find him. So I write it as I do "Sousi" and "Yum," with the true local colour.

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