J. A. (James Arthur) Lees.

B. C., 1887. A ramble in British Columbia online

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B. C. 1887.

Three in Norway. By Two of Them.

With a Map and 59 Illustrations. Crown 8vo,
2s. boards ; zs. bd. cloth.

The Skipper in Arctic Seas. By w. J.

Clutterbuck, one of the Authors of "Three
in Norway." With 39 Illustrations. Crown
8vo, io.r. bd.

B.C. 1887, A Ramble in British Columbia.

By J. A. Lees and W. J. Clutterbuck. With
Map and 75 Illustrations. Crown 8vo, 6s.

About Ceylon and Borneo : Being an Ac-
count of Two Visits to Ceylon, one to Borneo,
and How we Fell Out on our Homeward
Journey. By W. J. Clutterbuck, F.R.G.S.,
Author of "The Skipper in Arctic Seas," and
Joint-Author of " Three in Norway " and "B.C.
1887." With 47 Illustrations. Crown 8vo.


B. C. 1887








All rights reserved

TBaHantgne prow



T6e rapid changes which are taking place in the western
part of Canada have made it advisable to supplement the
original matter in these pages by additional information.
This has, whenever practicable, been obtained and added
to the present edition, so as to keep it as far as possible
level with the march of events.

Nov. 1891.

" To any person who has all his senses about him a quiet walk
along not more than ten or twelve miles of road a day is the
most amusing of all travelling. ... If advancing thus slowly
after some days we approach any more interesting scenery,
every yard of the changeful ground becomes precious and
piquant ; and the continual increase of hope and of surrounding
beauty affords one of the most exquisite enjoyments possible to
the healthy mind ; besides that real knowledge is acquired of
whatever it is the object of travelling to learn, and a certain
sublimity given to all places, so attained, by the true sense of
the spaces of earth that separate them." — Ruskin.

"Reading makes us intelligent and learn about things we
would otherwise hear nothing.

" It is pleasant to recapitulate stories to persons who probably
have not had the opportunity of reading them, and it therefore
passes many a dreary hour away and makes many a person
renew his happiness by hoping for such a favourable end as
some characters as are described in the book." — English as she
is taught. v








V. BY STEAMER. . . . . . . -42

VI. THE C.P.R 50

VII. THE ROCKIES ....... 63

VIII. B. C 68













viii Contents.











xxx. mud 333








The wise men, we are told, came from the East, a fact
which is conspicuously apparent to any traveller in
those counties which are reached from Liverpool
Street Station. Whither they have gone is another
matter not so easily decided, but it seems to be very
natural to suppose that they went to the West.
Through countless ages the same process has been
going on, and still the wiser ones of our own time
year by year betake themselves to those regions
which, in the words of an eminent divine, are
" bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the
west by the Setting Sun, on the north by the Aurora
Borealis, and on the south by the Day of Judgment."
Thus it came about that the writers, seeing no other
chance of commending their wisdom to a too censorious
world, determined to try a ramble in the mountains
of British Columbia.

But for the benefit of those who may have scanned
the pages of Three in Norway (and survived), it must
be confessed that a slight change has taken place.
John — good luck to him — is married and settled ; the
Skipper unmarried but settled — in his determination
to remain so ; and Esau married but unsettled, and
searching for a place to settle in, in which quest the



Skipper volunteered to assist him. A third com-
panion neither married nor settled was deemed neces-
sary, and a very suitable one was found in Esau's
younger brother, who will be known throughout the
following pages as " Cardie," while Esau himself re-
appears as "Jim," a title which he considers more
appropriate to his present domesticated condition.
Our only reason for using these names is that as they
happen to belong to their reputed owners, it saves us
the trouble of inventing others.

Cardie is long, dark, and good-looking : he lives
absolutely alone in a log-cabin 1 0,000 feet above sea-
level in the Rocky Mountains, accompanied only by a
silver (?) mine rejoicing in the appropriate title of the
" Micawber." As the silver has not yet " turned up,"
he was easily persuaded to make one of the party.
Jim and the Skipper are, we hope, sufficiently well-
known already.


Our object in exploring this little known country
was to test its capabilities as a home for some of the
public-school and university young men who, in this
overcrowded old England of ours, every year find
themselves more dc trop. What are they and their
wives, the English country girls, to do ? The Girton
and Newnham young ladies are of course a sufficiency
unto themselves (and even more than that to most
other people), but what of the not unimportant majo-
rity ? They cannot dig — that handicraft having under
the new Slade Professor been eliminated, we believe,
from the academic course, — their soul is distinctly
unfettered to an office stool ; the Arts, the Profes-


sions, and the Services are all " Full inside," while in
that indefinite article the Stage the " Free List is
Entirely Suspended," and even on the Turf the supply
of welshers always seems in excess of the demand.
Emigration is the one hope left, and from all the
information we could obtain in England, the region
selected seemed likely to provide the necessary attrac-
tions for this class of colonists.


A glance at the map will reveal a curious fact in
the physical geography of our only Pacific province.
Almost the whole of the south-eastern portion is
occupied by three parallel ranges of high mountains —
the Rockies on the east, further west the Selkirks,
and still further the Gold Range. It is only in the
valleys, which in some parts attain to the dignity of
plains between these ranges, that any room can be
found for a man to live and plant domestic animals
and vegetables, without being in danger of falling off
a ledge or slipping into a mountain torrent.

Close to the intersection of lat. 50° and long. 11 6°
is the Upper Columbia Lake, the head waters of the
mighty river of that name, which flows out of the lake
in a northerly direction. It will be seen that another
river, the Kootenay, which rises in the Rockies north
of this point, almost runs into the same lake, the
strip of land which separates them being in fact little
more than a mile in width. Having avoided that
premature termination to his career, the Kootenay
continues his southerly course across the border into
Montana and Idaho. There, apparently not thinking


so much of Republican institutions as those who
have not tried them are apt to do, he takes a sudden
turn northwards, and again becomes a British river
shortly before flowing in placid grandeur into the
great Kootenay Lake. In the meantime the Columbia,
repenting of the precipitate behaviour which led her
to turn her back on the Kootenay in the giddy days
of her youth, has about lat. 52° made an equally
sudden turn to the south, and arrived so close to
the Kootenay that it is an easy matter for the latter
to simply rush into the arms of his long-lost love ;
after which they no doubt live happily ever after-
wards. The result of this coquettish separation and
subsequent reunion is that the land on which the
Selkirks stand would be an island but for the narrow
isthmus close to the Columbia Lake already spoken
of. The guiding principle of our wanderings was
the exploration of as much of this river-girt region
as could be accomplished during the autumn months.


The reader is now in possession of all the know-
ledge that we had while on this side of the Atlantic.
If with us he will struggle to the Pacific, he will
obtain various additional pieces of information, the
value of which he is at liberty to estimate for him-
self. We say at once, however, that the seeker after
sporting adventures and nothing else will be dis-
appointed. Rifles and rods were necessarily taken,
but their use was almost strictly confined to pro-
viding food, there being no time in the five months
that were spent on the expedition which could be


devoted to " the chase " pure and simple. Another
and more selfish motive (but one which will, we hope,
commend itself to many readers") for the absence
of much hunting lore is this : — The country abounds
with game of various kinds, but except in the winter
it is extremely difficult to find places where any
sport can be obtained. We did in our wanderings
find out a little about such spots, but knowledge so
hardly won is too precious for publication, and — we
hope to make use of it ourselves in the near future.
Voila tout.

We ought to say that nearly all of the birds whose
portraits are given are careful pen and ink copies of
Audubon's beautiful plates. To him and to the artist
who drew them we hereby express our thanks.


And now all explanations being made, the story
of the Three and all that they did, and a great deal
that they didn't, and even more also, will be found set
forth in the succeeding pages.




Things looked very promising for a successful start,
when, on Wednesday the 27th of July, this note was
received from the Skipper : —

" Tuesday.

" Dear Jim, — I shall leave here to-morrow for Liver-
pool, so as to be in good time for the steamer on
Friday. Wire if you want me to get anything. —
Yours ever, Skipper."

Any indication of where "here" might be was
carefully omitted, and as the Sardinian with our
berths secured was timed to sail on Thursday after-
noon, this missive was productive of much disquietude.
Frantic telegrams were hastily despatched to every
address which had ever been known to act as a home
for the Skipper during his comet-like visits to the
British Isles ; but no answers having come to any of
them, it was with a sinking heart that Jim approached
the landing stage at Liverpool, about mid-day on
Thursday the 28th. Mournfully he boarded the
tender, and at once stumbled over a huge pile of what
the Skipper imagines to be absolutely necessary per-
sonal luggage.

And then the recriminations commenced which will

The Atlantic.

by any one who has undertaken a like expedition be
understood to have continued (with brief intervals for
refreshments) during the next five months. These
encounters, by the way, always terminate with the
satisfactory and cogent piece of argument, " Oh yes, I
know ; but then you're different." However, a mutual
desire to reserve our most telling rhetoric for really
great emergencies smoothed matters to some extent,
and we were driven into an alliance offensive and
defensive against the common foe — the dock porter.
He, worthy soul, having during your wrangle with
the cabman captured and carried off every scrap of
your possessions, graciously informs you that the
charge for each article transferred is One Shilling.
This he announces with the assured air of one
protected in a hazardous calling by a special act of
Parliament. Your indebtedness for the porterage of
rug, umbrella, sketch-book, fishing-rod, and cigar-case
is therefore the same as that for the five huge com-
mercial sample boxes which two cranes and a lighter
are with difficulty swinging on to the tender.

Having compounded with this fiend for a sum at
which rate we calculate his income to be about ^"2000
a year, and thereby acquired a knowledge of three
distinct novelties in the art of blasphemy, we soon
stood on the deck of what it is usual to call the good
ship Sardinian.

It may as well be said at once that in these days
of improved transatlantic communication the Allan
Line is an anachronism ; but if this word is libellous,
we apologise, and substitute one that is not. For
their own sake, as well as in the interests of the
mother-country and the great colony between which

The Atlantic.

they form the most important connecting link, the
Allan people ought to bestir themselves. Why should
they not get their fleet up to the same standard of
modern excellence as that of all the great lines steam-
ing between Great Britain and the United States ?
It is probably not too much to say that the inferiority
of the Canadian service is accountable for a large
proportion of the preference which is still shown by
emigrants for the Republic as their future home.

Happily we have reason to believe that the
enterprise which has given Canada her splendid
railway is not to stop there, but that we are shortly
to see established a line of swift steamers inferior
to none on the ocean in point of accommodation, and
superior to even the swiftest of the present wonders
in point of speed. We may therefore confidently look
forward to seeing at no distant date the journey
between Liverpool and Vancouver City, the furthest
point by land of the Dominion, performed in absolute
ease and comfort in 10^ days.*

It cannot be too often pointed out that with a fast
Atlantic service the saving by this route over all
others (the Suez Canal, the Cape, and Cape Horn) to
any point east of Singapore is immense. At a low
estimate it will be between England and Sydney two
days, Brisbane four or five, Hong-kong two, Shanghai
a week, and between England and Japan nearly three
weeks. And not only is the actual distance to all
these places much shortened, but the climate through-
out is temperate, the land journey is over British
territory, and the sea courses are direct and free from
the dangers of coasting navigation.

* See note, p. 15.

io The Atlantic.

Having had our little grumble at the Allan line,
which, we trust, as the nurses say, will be a warning
to them, we admit that the Sardinian is a good,
comfortable sea-boat, and makes her thirteen knots
or so with considerable regularity. The state-rooms
are badly lighted and not remarkable for smartness
or convenience ; the attendance on passengers is not
good, the supply of stewards being apparently hardly
adequate ; but she shines nobly in the commissariat

While lying at Moville we studied the intricacies
of this question, the times of the various meals being
a very important — in fact, the only important — matter
on shipboard. We elicited from the steward that
breakfast was at 8.30, but that most of the passengers
took a cup of tea or so and a handful of biscuits
or some such trifle in their cabins before turning
out ; luncheon, with soup, hot meat, and pudding,
&c, at 1 ; dinner at 5 ; tea, with hot buttered toast
and jam, at 7 ; " and," he went on with glee at the
growing look of horror on our faces, " supper is served
hot at 9."

Well did Horace exclaim, "Illi.robur et aes triplex
circum pectus erat." Surely that man was fashioned
like unto a three-hooped oaken barrel who first went
to sea.

And how did one of us who shall be nameless bear
his part in the conflict ? Simply by meanly lying in
his berth for two days and taking no food at all,
unless half a pint of champagne may fairly be so-
called. Having thus on the third day got a handicap
of ten meals in his favour, he naturally was able to
eat twice as much as every one else for the remainder
of the voyage, and to traitorously scoff at any one who

The Atlantic.

1 1

suggested that feeding-time came round with perhaps
unnecessary frequency.

Life on the Atlantic is a dull performance, and it
is singular to note how very scarce are the amusing
episodes, and how very amusing those that occur
appear at the time to be. The passengers, with few
exceptions, were uninteresting, but we had a few
shining ones revolving among us. The greatest of
these was a Cambridge professor of the very highest
celebrity, who knew everything and divers other

Alan cut Hi situ tr . .

t. rnuifhr com? <£. A/ien^ ? 'V ««* .

matters. Before we were two days out he had taken
charge of the entire ship from truck to kelson, and
from the captain down to the Irish baby, and very
well he did it — for a Cambridge man.

Then we had among the steerage passengers an
irrepressible Frenchman in a blue blouse, who before
we were clear of the Mersey invaded the sacred soil
of the saloon deck. At him went the third officer,
" Parlez vous Francais ? " (with an unimpeachable
accent). Frenchman, with the most affable of smiles,


The Atlantic.

" Mais oui, M'sieu." " Then (" then " is delicious) you
mustn't come to this end of the deck."

Nor must there be forgotten the dear old bespec-
tacled and chinabowlpiped German, who seemed to be
generally lost in profound meditation, and was never
able to find his way to the cabin where he and a
friend were lodged. Shortly before Jim became con-
valescent this worthy Teuton appeared one day in the

A Terrible Apparition.

doorway of our state-room, and after gazing at him
in stolid bewilderment for a couple of minutes, re-
marked, " Ach ! Dot aind't you." We regret to say
that the untruthful answer he received was, " No, it
ain't ; " but perhaps the trials of sea-sickness are a fair
excuse for bad temper.

Another individual who became of some importance
to us was bringing over to Canada for free distribution
samples of Edwards' Desiccated (or Dissipated) Soup.

The Atlantic.

We are not quite sure what desiccated means, and
certainly a large number of packages were dissipated
before we arrived, so we do not commit ourselves to
either word. We were presented with half a dozen
small tins of the stuff, and found it about the best
portable soup we have tried.

Then there was an exceedingly knowing gentleman
of uncertain nationality who informed us in confidence
that he was " not exactly of any profession, something
between a solicitor and a broker," but who struck us
as being much more likely to be between two police-
men. And we had several members of the Canadian
rifle team returning from Wimbledon, good, quiet
fellows, with an insatiable appetite for deck quoits
and mild poker ; two ladies and several other members
of the more selfish sex ; a well-known member of the
Canadian Bar ; and some schoolboys going home for
the holidays, who, with the last-named Q.C. and a
navy man on special service, were the best company
on board.

Nothing very exciting occurred. We had the
usual fleet of icebergs in and about the Straits of
Belleisle ; very beautiful some of them were under a
brilliant moon, with their white gleaming snowy
slopes and sharp blue pinnacles wherever the bare ice
could be seen. The announcement of these caused
the whole company to clothe their eyes with telescopes,
the naked eye being insufficiently powerful to discern
the coldness which is an iceberg's most prominent
characteristic. And how the man with the longest
telescope lied as to what he could see on the most
remote berg ! A few whales and petrels served to
break the monotony of the constant dining, and a

14 The Atlantic.

strong enough breeze sprang up in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence to keep our decks awash and make lands-
men again of some of the passengers, who during
the mild weather of the Atlantic had developed into
the jackest of jack-tars.

At last came the customary misery without which
no North Atlantic voyage would be complete. The
enemy had threatened all along the banks of New-
foundland, now lying in light smoky wreaths all
round us, and anon lifting in patches under the gleams
of a dazzling sun for a few minutes, only to shut
down in greater density for a like period, and then
perhaps without any warning or apparent reason to
vanish as if by magic. Right in the mouth of the
river there swooped down upon us the coldest, densest,
drizzling sea-fog that can be imagined, which, with
the smoke from our own funnels, made the atmosphere
something akin to that enjoyed by travellers on the
Underground Railway, and left the decks and every-
thing on them in the filthiest condition of black slime.

Is there a more weird, dispiriting, and God-forsaken
sound in the world than the perpetually recurring
wail of a great ship's steam-whistle ? We only know of
one, and that is the miserable though half defiant yell
of that Ishmaelite the coyote. Fortunately Providence
has ordained that where the coyote is there the
steam-whistle cannot be, for anything more suggestive
of the lamentation of lost souls in Sheol cannot be
imagined. And through it all we could only pace
the slippery deck and grumble, first at the half-speed
and then the stopped engines, and picture to ourselves
our friends at home, probably lying on the grass
under the green lime-trees, while we who brave the

The Atlantic. 15

raging seas have to submit to this scene of desola-
tion and utter loneliness, surrounded by misty im-
mensity. Occasionally came the evidence of the
existence of other mortals in the despairing cry of
another steamer in like pitiable plight, and then the
fateful rattle, rattle, bang of the cable, and the change
from that awful whistle to the still more exasperating
ding, ding, ding, ding, ding of the bell, and we were
informed that we were anchored for that indefinite
period " till the fog clears."

Note. — These anticipations, which in 18S7 were usually considered
profligate, have already been more than realised. The C.P.R. has
now actually running on the Pacific three of the finest steamers afloat
(the Empress of Japan, the Empress of India, and the Empress of
China), all of 6000 tons, 10,000 horse power, 485 feet length, and
18 knot speed, with, of course, electric light, and all the latest improve-
ments in marine construction. The sailings are at intervals of about
3 weeks, and the usual time from Vancouver to Yokohama 13 or 14
days, and another week or 8 days to Hong Kong. These figures are,
however, much more modest than the record of accomplished facts.
On Aug. 29, 1S91, the Empress of Japan arrived at Victoria (Van-
couver's Island) in a little under 10 days from Yokohama, and 7 hours
afterwards the mails were at Vancouver City, on the mainland. Another
hour was spent in transferring them to the train, and then the C.P.R.
performed the marvellous feat of carrying them across the continent to
New York in 3 days 15 hours and 35 minutes. The Inman liner City
of Nezv York took them across the Atlantic, and they were in London
within 21 days of leaving Yokohama. The ordinary time by the Suez
route is set down in the Postal Guide as 43 days.

When (and when will that be ?) we get a Canadian Atlantic service
equal to the Pacific one, the time will be still further reduced. — Nov.
1 891.

( 16 )



Most things have an end, and by noon on the 6th of
August we were, with our pilot at the masthead — for
the fog only lay for a few feet above the water —
slowly steaming with frequent pauses up the mighty
river, losing many of our passengers at Rimouski,
where the mail tender meets the steamer, and the
inter-colonial railway is available for any one to whom
a few hours are of importance.

The weather kept improving, and soon the wooded
southern bank of the St. Lawrence was plainly visible,
and the air was laden with the delicious scent of the
pine forests, while the eye was charmed and rested
after the weary waste of waters by the ever varying
and ever harmonious green and grey of the distant

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Online LibraryJ. A. (James Arthur) LeesB. C., 1887. A ramble in British Columbia → online text (page 1 of 23)