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attended the more to my fellow-travelers. If you had
looked inside this coach you would have thought that
we were prepared to run the gauntlet of a band of rob
bers, for there were four or five guns on the front seat,
the Indian's included, and one or two on the back one,
each man holding his darling in his arms. One had a gun
which carried twelve to a pound. It appeared that this
party of hunters was going our way, but much farther,
down the Allegash and St. John, and thence up some
other stream, and across to the Restigouche and the Bay
of Chaleur, to be gone six weeks. They had canoes, axes,
and supplies deposited some distance along the route.
They carried flour, and were to have new bread made
every day. Their leader was a handsome man about
thirty years old, of good height, but not apparently
robust, of gentlemanly address and faultless toilet; such
a one as you might expect to meet on Broadway. In fact,
in the popular sense of the word, he was the most " gen-



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 179

tlemanly" appearing man in the stage, or that we saw
on the road. He had a fair white complexion, as if he
had always lived in the shade, and an intellectual face,
and with his quiet manners might have passed for a
divinity student who had seen something of the world.
I was surprised to find, on talking with him in the
course of the day's journey, that he was a hunter at all,
for his gun was not much exposed, and yet more
to find that he was probably the chief white hunter of
Maine, and was known all along the road. He had also
hunted in some of the States farther south and west. I
afterwards heard him spoken of as one who could endure
a great deal of exposure and fatigue without showing the
effect of it; and he could not only use guns, but make
them, being himself a gunsmith. In the spring, he had
saved a stage-driver and two passengers from drowning
in the backwater of the Piscataquis in Foxcroft on this
road, having swum ashore in the freezing water and
made a raft and got them off, though the horses were
drowned, at great risk to himself, while the only other
man who could swim withdrew to the nearest house to
prevent freezing. He could now ride over this road for
nothing. He knew our man, and remarked that we had
a good Indian there, a good hunter; adding that he was
said to be worth $6000. The Indian also knew him, and
said to me, " the great hunter."

The former told me that he practiced a kind of still-
hunting, new or uncommon in those parts; that the
caribou, for instance, fed round and round the same
meadow, returning on the same path, and he lay in wait
for them.



180 THE MAINE WOODS

The Indian sat on the front seat, saying nothing to
anybody, with a stolid expression of face, as if barely
awake to what was going on. Again I was struck by
the peculiar vagueness of his replies when addressed in
the stage, or at the taverns. He really never said any
thing on such occasions. He was merely stirred up, like
a wild beast, and passively muttered some insignificant
response. His answer, in such cases, was never the con
sequence of a positive mental energy, but vague as a
puff of smoke, suggesting no responsibility, and if you
considered it, you would find that you had got nothing
out of him. This was instead of the conventional palaver
and smartness of the white man, and equally profitable.
Most get no more than this out of the Indian, and pro
nounce him stolid accordingly. I was surprised to see
what a foolish and impertinent style a Maine man, a
passenger, used in addressing him, as if he were a child,
which only made his eyes glisten a little. A tipsy Cana
dian asked him at a tavern, in a drawling tone, if he
smoked, to which he answered with an indefinite "Yes."
" Won't you lend me your pipe a little while ? " asked the
other. He replied, looking straight by the man's head,
with a face singularly vacant to all neighboring interests,
" Me got no pipe ; " yet I had seen him put a new one,
with a supply of tobacco, into his pocket that morning.

Our little canoe, so neat and strong, drew a favorable
criticism from all the wiseacres among the tavern
loungers along the road. By the roadside, close to the
wheels, I noticed a splendid great purple fringed orchis
with a spike as big as an epilobium, which I would fain
have stopped the stage to pluck, but as this had never



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 181

been known to stop a bear, like the cur on the stage, the
driver would probably have thought it a waste of time.

When we reached the lake, about half past eight in
the evening, it was still steadily raining, and harder than
before; and, in that fresh, cool atmosphere, the hylodes
were peeping and the toads ringing about the lake uni
versally, as in the spring with us. It was as if the season
had revolved backward two or three months, or I had
arrived at the abode of perpetual spring.

We had expected to go upon the lake at once, and,
after paddling up two or three miles, to camp on one of
its islands ; but on account of the steady and increasing
rain, we decided to go to one of the taverns for the night,
though, for my own part, I should have preferred to
camp out.

About four o'clock the next morning (July 24), though
it was quite cloudy, accompanied by the landlord to the
water's edge, in the twilight, we launched our canoe
from a rock on the Moosehead Lake. When I was there
four years before, we had a rather small canoe for three
persons, and I had thought that this time I would get a
larger one, but the present one was even smaller than
that. It was 18J feet long by 2 feet 6 J inches wide in the
middle, and one foot deep within, so I found by mea
surement, and I judged that it would weigh not far from
eighty pounds. The Indian had recently made it him
self, and its smallness was partly compensated for by its
newness, as well as stanchness and solidity, it being
made of very thick bark and ribs. Our baggage weighed
about 166 pounds, so that the canoe carried about
600 pounds in all, or the weight of four men. The



182 THE MAINE WOODS

principal part of the baggage was, as usual, placed in
the middle of the broadest part, while we stowed our
selves in the chinks and crannies that were left before
and behind it, where there was no room to extend our
legs, the loose articles being tucked into the ends. The
canoe was thus as closely packed as a market-basket,
and might possibly have been upset without spilling any
of its contents. The Indian sat on a cross-bar in the
stern, but we flat on the bottom, with a splint or chip
behind our backs, to protect them from the cross-bar,
and one of us commonly paddled with the Indian. He
foresaw that we should not want a pole till we reached
the Umbazookskus River, it being either deadwater or
down-stream so far, and he was prepared to make a sail
of his blanket in the bows if the wind should be fair; but
we never used it.

It had rained more or less the four previous days, so
that we thought we might count on some fair weather.
The wind was at first southwesterly.

Paddling along the eastern side of the lake in the still
of the morning, we soon saw a few sheldrakes, which
the Indian called Shecorways, and some peetweets,
Naramekechus, on the rocky shore; we also saw and
heard loons, Medawisla, which he said was a sign of
wind. It was inspiriting to hear the regular dip of the
paddles, as if they were our fins or flippers, and to realize
that we were at length fairly embarked. We who had felt
strangely as stage-passengers and tavern-lodgers were
suddenly naturalized there and presented with the free
dom of the lakes and the woods. Having passed the
small rocky isles within two or three miles of the foot of



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 183

the lake, we had a short consultation respecting our
course, and inclined to the western shore for the sake of
its lee; for otherwise, if the wind should rise, it would be
impossible for us to reach Mount Kineo, which is about
midway up the lake on the east side, but at its narrow
est part, where probably we could recross if we took the
western side. The wind is the chief obstacle to crossing
the lakes, especially in so small a canoe. The Indian
remarked several times that he did not like to cross the
lakes "in littlum canoe," but nevertheless, "just as we
say, it made no odds to him." He sometimes took a
straight course up the middle of the lake between Sugar
and Deer islands, when there was no wind.

Measured on the map, Moosehead Lake is twelve
miles wide at the widest place, and thirty miles long in
a direct line, but longer as it lies. The captain of the
steamer called it thirty-eight miles as he steered. We
should probably go about forty. The Indian said that
it was called " Mspame, because large water." Squaw
Mountain rose darkly on our left, near the outlet of
the Kennebec, and what the Indian called Spencer Bay
Mountain, on the east, and already we saw Mount
Kineo before us in the north.

Paddling near the shore, we frequently heard the pe-pe
of the olive-sided flycatcher, also the wood pewee, and
the kingfisher, thus early in the morning. The Indian
reminding us that he could not work without eating, we
stopped to breakfast on the main shore, southwest of
Deer Island, at a spot where the Mimulus ringens grew
abundantly. We took out our bags, and the Indian made
a fire under a very large bleached log, using white pine



184 THE MAINE WOODS

bark from a stump, though he said that hemlock was
better, and kindling with canoe birch bark. Our table
was a large piece of freshly peeled birch bark, laid
wrong side up, and our breakfast consisted of hard-
bread, fried pork, and strong coffee, well sweetened, in
which we did not miss the milk.

While we were getting breakfast, a brood of twelve
black dippers, half grown, came paddling by within
three or four rods, not at all alarmed; and they loi
tered about as long as we stayed, now huddled close
together, within a circle of eighteen inches in diameter,
now moving off in a long line, very cunningly. Yet they
bore a certain proportion to the great Moosehead Lake
on whose bosom they floated, and I felt as if they were
under its protection.

Looking northward from this place it appeared as if
we were entering a large bay, and we did not know
whether we should be obliged to diverge from our course
and keep outside a point which we saw, or should find
a passage between this and the mainland. I consulted
my map and used my glass, and the Indian did the
same, but we could not find our place exactly on the
map, nor could we detect any break in the shore. When
I asked the Indian the way, he answered, "I don't
know," which I thought remarkable, since he had said
that he was familiar with the lake; but it appeared that
he had never been up this side. It was misty dog-day
weather, and we had already penetrated a smaller bay
of the same kind, and knocked the bottom out of it,
though we had been obliged to pass over a small bar,
between an island and the shore, where there was but



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 185

just breadth and depth enough to float the canoe, and
the Indian had observed, "Very easy makum bridge
here," but now it seemed that, if we held on, we should
be fairly embayed. Presently, however, though we had
not stirred, the mist lifted somewhat, and revealed a
break in the shore northward, showing that the point
was a portion of Deer Island, and that our course lay
westward of it. Where it had seemed a continuous shore
even through a glass, one portion was now seen by the
naked eye to be much more distant than the other which
overlapped it, merely by the greater thickness of the mist
which still rested on it, while the nearer or island por
tion was comparatively bare and green. The line of sep
aration was very distinct, and the Indian immediately
remarked, " I guess you and I go there, I guess
there 's room for my canoe there." This was his common
expression instead of saying "we." He never addressed
us by our names, though cirrious to know how they were
spelled and what they meant, while we called him Polis.
He had already guessed very accurately at our ages, and
said that he was forty-eight.

After breakfast I emptied the melted pork that was
left into the lake, making what sailors call a " slick," and
watching to see how much it spread over and smoothed
the agitated surface. The Indian looked at it a moment
and said, "That make hard paddlum thro'; hold 'em
canoe. So say old times."

We hastily reloaded, putting the dishes loose in the
bows, that they might be at hand when wanted, and set
out again. The western shore, near which we paddled
along, rose gently to a considerable height, and was



186 THE MAINE WOODS

everywhere densely covered with the forest, in which was
a large proportion of hard wood to enliven and relieve the
fir and spruce.

The Indian said that the usnea lichen which we saw
hanging from the trees was called chorchorque. We
asked him the names of several small birds which we
heard this morning. The wood thrush, which was quite
common, and whose note he imitated, he said was called
Adelungquamooktum; but sometimes he could not tell
the name of some small bird which I heard and knew,
but he said, " I tell all the birds about here, this coun
try ; can't tell littlum noise, but I see 'em, then I can tell."

I observed that I should like to go to school to him to
learn his language, living on the Indian island the while ;
could not that be done ? " Oh, yer," he replied, " good
many do so." I asked how long he thought it would
take. He said one week. I told him that in this voyage
I would tell him all I knew, and he should tell me all he
knew, to which he readily agreed.

The birds sang quite as in our woods, the red-eye,
redstart, veery, wood pewee, etc., but we saw no blue
birds in all our journey, and several told me in Bangor
that they had not the bluebird there. Mount Kineo,
which was generally visible, though occasionally con
cealed by islands or the mainland in front, had a level
bar of cloud concealing its summit, and all the moun
tain-tops about the lake were cut off at the same height.
Ducks of various kinds sheldrake, summer ducks,
etc. were quite common, and ran over the water
before us as fast as a horse trots. Thus they were soon
out of sight.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 187

The Indian asked the meaning of reality, as near as
I could make out the word, which he said one of us had
used; also of " interrent" that is, intelligent. I observed
that he could rarely sound the letter r, but used 1, as also
r for 1 sometimes ; as load for road, pickelel for pickerel,
Soogle Island for Sugar Island, lock for rock, etc. Yet
he trilled the r pretty well after me.

He generally added the syllable um to his words when
he could, as paddhm, etc. I have once heard a
Chippeway lecture, who made his audience laugh unin
tentionally by putting m after the word too, which word
he brought in continually and unnecessarily, accenting
and prolonging this sound into m-ah sonorously, as if
it were necessary to bring in so much of his vernacular
as a relief to his organs, a compensation for twisting his
jaws about, and putting his tongue into every corner
of his mouth, as he complained that he was obliged to
do when he spoke English. There was so much of the
Indian accent resounding through his English, so much
of the " bow-arrow tang " as my neighbor calls it, and I
have no doubt that word seemed to him the best pro
nounced. It was a wild and refreshing sound, like that
of the wind among the pines, or the booming of the surf
on the shore.

I asked him the meaning of the word Musketicook,
the Indian name of Concord River. He pronounced it
Muskeeticook, emphasizing the second syllable with a
peculiar guttural sound, and said that it meant " dead-
water," which it is, and in this definition he agreed
exactly with the St. Francis Indian with whom I talked
in 1853.



188 THE MAINE WOODS

On a point on the mainland some miles southwest of
Sand-bar Island, where we landed to stretch our legs
and look at the vegetation, going inland a few steps, I
discovered a fire still glowing beneath its ashes, where
somebody had breakfasted, and a bed of twigs prepared
for the following night. So I knew not only that they
had just left, but that they designed to return, and by the
breadth of the bed that there was more than one in
the party. You might have gone within six feet of these
signs without seeing them. There grew the beaked
hazel, the only hazel which I saw on this journey, the
diervilla, rue seven feet high, which was very abundant
on all the lake and river shores, and Cornus stolonifera,
or red osier, whose bark, the Indian said, was good
to smoke, and was called maquoxigill, " tobacco before
white people came to this country, Indian tobacco."

The Indian was always very careful in approaching
the shore, lest he should injure his canoe on the rocks,
letting it swing round slowly sidewise, and was still more
particular that we should not step into it on shore, nor
till it floated free, and then should step gently lest we
should open its seams, or make a hole in the bottom.
He said that he would tell us when to jump.

Soon after leaving this point we passed the Kennebec,
or outlet of the lake, and heard the falls at the dam
there, for even Moosehead Lake is dammed. After
passing Deer Island, we saw the little steamer from
Greenville, far east in the middle of the lake, and she
appeared nearly stationary. Sometimes we could hardly
tell her from an island which had a few trees on it.
Here we were exposed to the wind from over the whole



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 189

breadth of the lake, and ran a little risk of being swamped.
While I had my eye fixed on the spot where a large fish
had leaped, we took in a gallon or two of water, which
filled my lap; but we soon reached the shore and took
the canoe over the bar, at Sand-bar Island, a few feet
wide only, and so saved a considerable distance. One
landed first at a more sheltered place, and walking round
caught the canoe by the prow, to prevent it being injured
against the shore.

Again we crossed a broad bay opposite the mouth
of Moose River, before reaching the narrow strait at
Mount Kineo, made what the voyageurs call a traverse,
and found the water quite rough. A very little wind on
these broad lakes raises a sea which will swamp a canoe.
Looking off from the shore, the surface may appear to be
very little agitated, almost smooth, a mile distant, or if
you see a few white crests they appear nearly level with
the rest of the lake; but when you get out so far, you
may find quite a sea running, and ere long, before you
think of it, a wave will gently creep up the side of the
canoe and fill your lap, like a monster deliberately
covering you with its slime before it swallows you, or it
will strike the canoe violently, and break into it. The
same thing may happen when the wind rises suddenly,
though it were perfectly calm and smooth there a few
minutes before; so that nothing can save you, unless
you can swim ashore, for it is impossible to get into a
canoe again when it is upset. Since you sit flat on the
bottom, though the danger should not be imminent, a
little water is a great inconvenience, not to mention the
wetting of your provisions. We rarely crossed even a



190 THE MAINE WOODS

bay directly, from point to point, when there was wind,
but made a slight curve corresponding somewhat to the
shore, that we might the sooner reach it if the wind
increased.

When the wind is aft, and not too strong, the Indian
makes a spritsail of his blanket. He thus easily skims
over the whole length of this lake in a day.

The Indian paddled on one side, and one of us on the
other, to keep the canoe steady, and when he wanted to
change hands he would say, " T' other side." He asserted,
in answer to our questions, that he had never upset a
canoe himself, though he may have been upset by others.

Think of our little eggshell of a canoe tossing across
that great lake, a mere black speck to the eagle soaring
above it!

My companion trailed for trout as we paddled along,
but the Indian warning him that a big fish might upset
us, for there are some very large ones there, he agreed
to pass the line quickly to him in the stern if he had a
bite. Besides trout, I heard of cusk, whitefish, etc., as
found in this lake.

While we were crossing this bay, where Mount Kineo
rose dark before us, within two or three miles, the Indian
repeated the tradition respecting this mountain's hav
ing anciently been a cow moose, how a mighty Indian
hunter, whose name I forget, succeeded in killing this
queen of the moose tribe with great difficulty, while her
calf was killed somewhere among the islands in Penob-
scot Bay, and, to his eyes, this mountain had still the
form of the moose in a reclining posture, its precipitous
side presenting the outline of her head. He told this at



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 191

some length, though it did not amount to much, and
with apparent good faith, and asked us how we sup
posed the hunter could have killed such a mighty moose
as that, how we could do it. Whereupon a man-of-
war to fire broadsides into her was suggested, etc. An
Indian tells such a story as if he thought it deserved to
have a good deal said about it, only he has not got it to
say, and so he makes up for the deficiency by a drawling
tone, long-windedness, and a dumb wonder which he
hopes will be contagious.

We approached the land again through pretty rough
water, and then steered directly across the lake, at its
narrowest part, to the eastern side, and were soon
partly under the lee of the mountain, about a mile north
of the Kineo House, having paddled about twenty miles.
It was now about noon.

We designed to stop there that afternoon and night,
and spent half an hour looking along the shore north
ward for a suitable place to camp. We took out all our
baggage at one place in vain, it being too rocky and
uneven, and while engaged in this search we made our
first acquaintance with the moose-fly. At length, half
a mile farther north, by going half a dozen rods into the
dense spruce and fir wood on the side of the mountain,
almost as dark as a cellar, we found a place sufficiently
clear and level to lie down on, after cutting away a few
bushes. We required a space only seven feet by six for
our bed, the fire being four or five feet in front, though it
made no odds how rough the hearth was ; but it was not
always easy to find this in those woods. The Indian first
cleared a path to it from the shore with his axe, and we



192 THE MAINE WOODS

then carried up all our baggage, pitched our tent, and
made our bed, in order to be ready for foul weather,
which then threatened us, and for the night. He gath
ered a large armful of fir twigs, breaking them off, which
he said were the best for our bed, partly, I thought,
because they were the largest and could be most rapidly
collected. It had been raining more or less for four or
five days, and the wood was even damper than usual, but
he got dry bark for the fire from the under side of a dead
leaning hemlock, which, he said, he could always do.

This noon his mind was occupied with a law question,
and I referred him to my companion, who was a lawyer.
It appeared that he had been buying land lately (I think
it was a hundred acres), but there was probably an
incumbrance to it, somebody else claiming to have
bought some grass on it for this year. He wished to
know to whom the grass belonged, and was told that
if the other man could prove that he bought the grass
before he, Polis, bought the land, the former could take
it, whether the latter knew it or not. To which he only
answered, " Strange ! " He went over this several times,
fairly sat down to it, with his back to a tree, as if he
meant to confine us to this topic henceforth; but as he
made no headway, only reached the jumping-off place
of his wonder at white men's institutions after each
explanation, we let the subject die.

He said that he had fifty acres of grass, potatoes, etc.,
somewhere above Oldtown, besides some about his
house; that he hired a good deal of his work, hoeing,
etc., and preferred white men to Indians, because "they
keep steady, and know how."



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 193

After dinner we returned southward along the shore,
in the canoe, on account of the difficulty of climbing
over the rocks and fallen trees, and began to ascend the
mountain along the edge of the precipice. But a smart


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