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fells trees from the same motive that the mouse gnaws
them, to get his living. You tell me that he has a
more interesting family than the mouse. That is as it
happens. He speaks of a "berth" of timber, a good
place for him to get into, just as a worm might. When
the chopper would praise a pine, he will commonly tell
you that the one he cut was so big that a yoke of oxen
stood on its stump; as if that were what the pine had



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 253

grown for, to become the footstool of oxen. In my
mind's eye, I can see these unwieldy tame deer, with a
yoke binding them together, and brazen-tipped horns
betraying their servitude, taking their stand on the
stump of each giant pine in succession throughout this
whole forest, and chewing their cud there, until it is
nothing but an ox-pasture, and run out at that. As if
it. were good for the oxen, and some terebinthine or
other medicinal quality ascended into their nostrils. Or
is their elevated position intended merely as a symbol of
the fact that the pastoral comes next in order to the
sylvan or hunter life ?

The character of the logger's admiration is betrayed
by his very mode of expressing it. If he told all that was
in his mind, he would say, it was so big that I cut it down
and then a yoke of oxen could stand on its stump. He
admires the log, the carcass or corpse, more than the
tree. Why, my dear sir, the tree might have stood on its
own stump, and a great deal more comfortably and
firmly than a yoke of oxen can, if you had not cut it
down. What right have you to celebrate the virtues of
the man you murdered ?

The Anglo-American can indeed cut down, and grub
up all this waving forest, and make a stump speech, and
vote for Buchanan on its ruins, but he cannot converse
with the spirit of the tree he fells, he cannot read the
poetry and mythology which retire as he advances. He
ignorantly erases mythological tablets in order to print
his handbills and town-meeting warrants on them.
Before he has learned his a b c in the beautiful but
mystic lore of the wilderness which Spenser and Dante



254 THE MAINE WOODS

had just begun to read, he cuts it down, coins a pine-tree
shilling (as if to signify the pine's value to him), puts
up a district schoolhouse, and introduces Webster's
spelling-book.

Below the last dam, the river being swift and shallow,
though broad enough, we two walked about half a mile
to lighten the canoe. I made it a rule to carry my knap
sack when I walked, and also to keep it tied to a cross
bar when in the canoe, that it might be found with the
canoe if we should upset.

I heard the dog-day locust here, and afterward on the
carries, a sound which I had associated only with more
open, if not settled countries. The area for locusts must
be small in the Maine woods.

We were now fairly on the Allegash River, which
name our Indian said meant hemlock bark. These
waters flow northward about one hundred miles, at first
very feebly, then southeasterly two hundred and fifty
more to the Bay of Fundy. After perhaps two miles of
river, we entered Heron Lake, called on the map Pongok-
wahem., scaring up forty or fifty young shecorways, shel
drakes, at the entrance, which ran over the water with
great rapidity, as usual in a long line.

This was the fourth great lake, lying northwest and
southeast, like Chesuncook and most of the long lakes
in that neighborhood, and, judging from the map, it is
about ten miles long. We had entered it on the south
west side, and saw a dark mountain northeast over the
lake, not very far off nor high, which the Indian said was
called Peaked Mountain, and used by explorers to look
for timber from. There was also some other high land



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 255

more easterly. The shores were in the same ragged and
unsightly condition, encumbered with dead timber, both
fallen arid standing, as in the last lake, owing to the dam
on the Allegash below. Some low points or islands were
almost drowned.

I saw something white a mile off on the water, which
turned out to be a great gull on a rock in the middle,
which the Indian would have been glad to kill and eat,
but it flew away long before we were near; and also a
flock of summer ducks that were about the rock with it.
I asking him about herons, since this was Heron Lake,
he said that he found the blue heron's nests in the hard
wood trees. I thought that I saw a light-colored object
move along the opposite or northern shore, four or five
miles distant. He did not know what it could be, unless
it were a moose, though he had never seen a white one;
but he said that he could distinguish a moose " anywhere
on shore, clear across the lake."

Rounding a point, we stood across a bay for a mile
and a half or two miles, toward a large island, three or
four miles down the lake. We met with ephemerae (shad-
fly) midway, about a mile from the shore, and they
evidently fly over the whole lake. On Moosehead I had
seen a large devil' s-needle half a mile from the shore,
coming from the middle of the lake, where it was three
or four miles wide at least. It had probably crossed. But
at last, of course, you come to lakes so large that an
insect cannot fly across them; and this, perhaps, will
serve to distinguish a large lake from a small one.

We landed on the southeast side of the island, which
was rather elevated and densely wooded, with a rocky



256 THE MAINE WOODS

shore, in season for an early dinner. Somebody had
camped there not long before, and left the frame on
which they stretched a moose-hide, which our Indian
criticised severely, thinking it showed but little wood
craft. Here were plenty of the shells of crayfish, or fresh
water lobsters, which had been washed ashore, such as
have given a name to some ponds and streams. They
are commonly four or five inches long. The Indian pro
ceeded at once to cut a canoe birch, slanted it up against
another tree on the shore, tying it with a withe, and lay
down to sleep in its shade.

When we were on the Caucomgomoc, he recom
mended to us a new way home, the very one which we
had first thought of, by the St. John. He even said that
it was easier, and would take but little more time than
the other, by the East Branch of the Penobscot, though
very much farther round; and taking the map, he
showed where we should be each night, for he was
familiar with the route. According to his calculation,
we should reach the French settlements the next night
after this, by keeping northward down the Allegash, and
when we got into the main St. John the banks would be
more or less settled all the way; as if that were a recom
mendation. There would be but one or two falls, with
short carrying-places, and we should go down the stream
very fast, even a hundred miles a day, if the wind
allowed; and he indicated where we should carry over
into Eel River to save a bend below Woodstock in New
Brunswick, and so into the Schoodic Lake, and thence
to the Mattawamkeag. It would be about three hundred
and sixty miles to Bangor this way, though only about



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 257

one hundred and sixty by the other; but in the former
case we should explore the St. John from its source
through two thirds of its course, as well as the Schoodic
Lake and Mattawamkeag, and we were again tempted
to go that way. I feared, however, that the banks of
the St. John were too much settled. When I asked
him which course would take us through the wildest
country, he said the route by the East Branch. Partly
from this consideration, as also from its shortness, we
resolved to adhere to the latter route, and perhaps ascend
Ktaadn on the way. We made this island the limit of
our excursion in this direction.

We had now seen the largest of the Allegash lakes.
The next dam " was about fifteen miles " farther north,
down the Allegash, and it was dead water so far. We
had been told in Bangor of a man who lived alone, a sort
of hermit, at that dam, to take care of it, who spent his
time tossing a bullet from one hand to the other, for
want of employment, as if we might want to call on
him. This sort of tit-for-tat intercourse between his two
hands, bandying to and fro a leaden subject, seems to
have been his symbol for society.

This island, according to the map, was about a hun
dred and ten miles in a straight line north-northwest
from Bangor, and about ninety-nine miles east-south
east from Quebec. There was another island visible
toward the north end of the lake, with an elevated clear
ing on it; but we learned afterward that it was not
inhabited, had only been used as a pasture for cattle
which summered in these woods, though our informant
said that there was a hut on the mainland near the outlet



258 THE MAINE WOODS

of the lake. This unnaturally smooth-shaven, squarish
spot, in the midst of the otherwise uninterrupted forest,
only reminded us how uninhabited the country was.
You would sooner expect to meet with a bear than an ox
in such a clearing. At any rate, it must have been a sur
prise to the bears when they came across it. Such, seen
far or near, you know at once to be man's work, for
Nature never does it. In order to let in the light to the
earth as on a lake, he clears off the forest on the hillsides
and plains, and sprinkles fine grass seed, like an en
chanter, and so carpets the earth with a firm sward.

Polis had evidently more curiosity respecting the few
settlers in those woods than we. If nothing was said, he
took it for granted that we wanted to go straight to the
next log-hut. Having observed that we came by the log
huts at Chesuncook, and the blind Canadian's at the
Mud Pond carry, without stopping to communicate
with the inhabitants, he took occasion now to suggest
that the usual way was, when you came near a house, to
go to it, and tell the inhabitants what you had seen or
heard, and then they tell you what they had seen; but
we laughed, and said that we had had enough of houses
for the present, and had come here partly to avoid them.

In the meanwhile, the wind, increasing, blew down
the Indian's birch, and created such a sea that we found
ourselves prisoners on the island, the nearest shore,
which was the western, being perhaps a mile distant,
and we took the canoe out to prevent its drifting away.
We did not know but we should be compelled to spend
the rest of the day and the night there. At any rate, the
Indian went to sleep again in the shade of his birch, my



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 259

companion busied himself drying his plants, and I
rambled along the shore westward, which was quite
stony, and obstructed with fallen, bleached, or drifted
trees for four or five rods in width. I found growing on
this broad, rocky, and gravelly shore the Salix rostrata,
discolor, and lucida, Ranunculus recurvatus, Potentilla
Norvegica, Scutellaria lateriflora, Eupatorium purpu-
reum, Aster Tradescanti, Mentha Canadensis, Epilobium
angustifolium (abundant), Lycopus sinuatus, Solidago
lanceolata, Spiraea salicifolia, Antennaria margaraticea,
Prunella, Rumex Acetosella, raspberries, wool-grass,
Onoclea, etc. The nearest trees were Betula papyracea
and excelsa, and Populus tremuloides. I give these
names because it was my farthest northern point.

Our Indian said that he was a doctor, and could tell
me some medicinal use for every plant I could show
him. I immediately tried him. He said that the inner
bark of the aspen (Populus tremuloides) was good for
sore eyes; and so with various other plants, proving
himself as good as his word. According to his account,
he had acquired such knowledge in his youth from a
wise old Indian with whom he associated, and he
lamented that the present generation of Indians "had
lost a great deal."

He said that the caribou was a " very great runner,"
that there was none about this lake now, though there
used to be many, and pointing to the belt of dead trees
caused by the dams, he added, " No likum stump,
when he sees that he scared."

Pointing southeasterly over the lake and distant
forest, he observed, " Me go Oldtown in three days." I



260 THE MAINE WOODS

asked how he would get over the swamps and fallen
trees. " Oh," said he, " in winter all covered, go any
where on snowshoes, right across lakes." When I asked
how he went, he said, "First I go Ktaadn, west side,
then I go Millinocket, then Pamadumcook, then Nicke-
tow, then Lincoln, then Oldtown," or else he went a
shorter way by the Piscataquis. What a wilderness walk
for a man to take alone ! None of your half-mile swamps,
none of your mile-wide woods merely, as on the skirts
of our towns, without hotels, only a dark mountain or a
lake for guide-board and station, over ground much of it
impassable in summer!

It reminded me of Prometheus Bound. Here was
traveling of the old heroic kind over the unaltered face
of nature. From the Allegash, or Hemlock River, and
Pongoquahem Lake, across great Apmoojenegamook,
and leaving the Nerlumskeechticook Mountain on his
left, he takes his way under the bear-haunted slopes of
Souneunk and Ktaadn Mountains to Pamadumcook,
and Millinocket's inland seas (where often gulls'-eggs
may increase his store), and so on to the forks of the
Nicketow (niasoseb, "we alone Joseph," seeing what our
folks see), ever pushing the boughs of the fir and spruce
aside, with his load of furs, contending day and night,
night and day, with the shaggy demon vegetation, travel
ing through the mossy graveyard of trees. Or he could
go by " that rough tooth of the sea," Kineo, great source
of arrows and of spears to the ancients, when weapons of
stone were used. Seeing and hearing moose, caribou,
bears, porcupines, lynxes, wolves, and panthers. Places
where he might live and die and never hear of the



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 261

United States, which make such a noise in the world,
never hear of America, so called from the name of a
European gentleman.

There is a lumberer's road called the Eagle Lake
road, from the Seboois to the east side of this lake. It
may seem strange that any road through such a wilder
ness should be passable, even in winter, when the snow
is three or four feet deep, but at that season, wherever
lumbering operations are actively carried on, teams are
continually passing on the single track, and it becomes
as smooth almost as a railway. I am told that in the
Aroostook country the sleds are required by law to be
of one width (four feet), and sleighs must be altered to
fit the track, so that one runner may go in one rut and
the other follow the horse. Yet it is very bad turning out.

We had for some time seen a thunder-shower coming
up from the west over the woods of the island, and heard
the muttering of the thunder, though we were in doubt
whether it would reach us ; but now the darkness rapidly
increasing, and a fresh breeze rustling the forest, we
hastily put up the plants which we had been drying, and
with one consent made a rush for the tent material and
set about pitching it. A place was selected and stakes
and pins cut in the shortest possible time, and we were
pinning it down lest it should be blown away, when the
storm suddenly burst over us.

As we lay huddled together under the tent, which
leaked considerably about the sides, with our baggage
at our feet, we listened to some of the grandest thunder
which I ever heard, rapid peals, round and plump,
bang, bang, bang, in succession, like artillery from some



262 THE MAINE WOODS

fortress in the sky; and the lightning was proportionally
brilliant. The Indian said, " It must be good powder."
All for the benefit of the moose and us, echoing far over
the concealed lakes. I thought it must be a place which
the thunder loved, where the lightning practiced to keep
its hand in, and it would do no harm to shatter a few
pines. What had become of the ephemerae and devil's-
needles then ? Were they prudent enough to seek harbor
before the storm ? Perhaps their motions might guide
the voyageur.

Looking out I perceived that the violent shower
falling on the lake had almost instantaneously flattened
the waves, the commander of that fortress had
smoothed it for us so, and, it clearing off, we resolved
to start immediately, before the wind raised them again.

Going outside, I said that I saw clouds still in the
southwest, and heard thunder there. The Indian asked
if the thunder went " lound " (round), saying that if it did
we should have more rain. I thought that it did. We
embarked, nevertheless, and paddled rapidly back
toward the dams. The white-throated sparrows on the
shore were about, singing, Ah, te-e-e, te-e-e, te, or else
ah, te-e-e, te-e-e, te-e-e, te-e-e.

At the outlet of Chamberlain Lake we were over
taken by another gusty rain-storm, which compelled us
to take shelter, the Indian under his canoe on the bank,
and we ran under the edge of the dam. However, we
were more scared than wet. From my covert I could see
the Indian peeping out from beneath his canoe to see
what had become of the rain. When we had taken our
respective places thus once or twice, the rain not coming



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 263

down in earnest, we commenced rambling about the
neighborhood, for the wind had by this time raised such
waves on the lake that we could not stir, and we feared
that we should be obliged to camp there. We got an
early supper on the dam and tried for fish there, while
waiting for the tumult to subside. The fishes were not
only few, but small and worthless, and the Indian
declared that there were no good fishes in the St. John's
waters; that we must wait till we got to the Penobscot
waters.

At length, just before sunset, we set out again. It
was a wild evening when we coasted up the north side
of this Apmoojenegamook Lake. One thunder-storm
was just over, and the waves which it had raised still
running with violence, and another storm was now seen
coming up in the southwest, far over the lake; but it
might be worse in the morning, and we wished to get as
far as possible on our way up the lake while we might.
It blowed hard against the northern shore about an
eighth of a mile distant on our left, and there was just
as much sea as our shallow canoe would bear, without
our taking unusual care. That which we kept off, and
toward which the waves were driving, was as dreary and
harborless a shore as you can conceive. For half a dozen
rods in width it was a perfect maze of submerged trees,
all dead and bare and bleaching, some standing half
their original height, others prostrate, and criss-across,
above or beneath the surface, and mingled with them
were loose trees and limbs and stumps, beating about.
Imagine the wharves of the largest city in the world,
decayed, and the earth and planking washed away,



264 THE MAINE WOODS

leaving the spiles standing in loose order, but often of
twice the ordinary height, and mingled with and beating
against them the wreck of ten thousand navies, all their
spars and timbers, while there rises from the water's edge
the densest and grimmest wilderness, ready to supply
more material when the former fails, and you may get a
faint idea of that coast. We could not have landed if we
would, without the greatest danger of being swamped;
so blow as it might, we must depend on coasting by it.
It was twilight, too, and that stormy cloud was advan
cing rapidly in our rear. It was a pleasant excitement,
yet we were glad to reach, at length, in the dusk, the
cleared shore of the Chamberlain Farm.

We landed on a low and thinly wooded point there,
and while my companions were pitching the tent, I ran
up to the house to get some sugar, our six pounds being
gone ; it was no wonder they were, for Polis had a
sweet tooth. He would first fill his dipper nearly a third
full of sugar, and then add the coffee to it. Here was a
clearing extending back from the lake to a hilltop, with
some dark-colored log buildings and a storehouse in it,
and half a dozen men standing in front of the principal
hut, greedy for news. Among them was the man who
tended the dam on the Allegash and tossed the bullet.
He having charge of the dams, and learning that we
were going to Webster Stream the next day, told me that
some of their men, who were haying at Telos Lake, had
shut the dam at the canal there in order to catch trout,
and if we wanted more water to take us through the
canal, we might raise the gate, for he would like to have
it raised. The Chamberlain Farm is no doubt a cheerful



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 265

opening in the woods, but such was the lateness of the
hour that it has left but a dusky impression on my mind.
As I have said, the influx of light merely is civilizing,
yet I fancied that they walked about on Sundays in their
clearing somewhat as in a prison-yard.

They were unwilling to spare more than four pounds
of brown sugar, unlocking the storehouse to get it,
since they only kept a little for such cases as this, and
they charged twenty cents a pound for it, which cer
tainly it was worth to get it up there.

When I returned to the shore it was quite dark, but
we had a rousing fire to warm and dry us by, and a snug
apartment behind it. The Indian went up to the house
to inquire after a brother w^ho had been absent hunting
a year or two, and while another shower was beginning,
I groped about cutting spruce and arbor- vitse twigs for a
bed. I preferred the arbor-vitse on account of its fra
grance, and spread it particularly thick about the shoul
ders. It is remarkable with what pure satisfaction the
traveler in these woods will reach his camping-ground
on the eve of a tempestuous night like this, as if he had
got to his inn, and, rolling himself in his blanket, stretch
himself on his six-feet-by-two bed of dripping fir twigs,
with a thin sheet of cotton for roof, snug as a meadow-
mouse in its nest. Invariably our best nights were those
when it rained, for then we were not troubled with
mosquitoes.

You soon come to disregard rain on such excursions,
at least in the summer, it is so easy to dry yourself, sup
posing a dry change of clothing is not to be had. You
can much sooner dry you by such a fire as you can make



266 THE MAINE WOODS

in the woods than in anybody's kitchen, the fireplace is
so much larger, and wood so much more abundant. A
shed-shaped tent will catch and reflect the heat like a
Yankee baker, and you may be drying while you are
sleeping.

Some who have leaky roofs in the towns may have
been kept awake, but we were soon lulled asleep by a
steady, soaking rain, which lasted all night. To-night,
the rain not coming at once with violence, the twigs were
soon dried by the reflected heat.

WEDNESDAY, July 29.

When we awoke it had done raining, though it was
still cloudy. The fire was put out, and the Indian's
boots, which stood under the eaves of the tent, were half
full of water. He was much more improvident in such
respects than either of us, and he had to thank us for
keeping his powder dry. We decided to cross the lake
at once, before breakfast, or while we could ; and before
starting I took the bearing of the shore which we wished
to strike, S. S. E. about three miles distant, lest a sudden
misty rain should conceal it when we were midway.
Though the bay in which we were was perfectly quiet
and smooth, we found the lake already wide awake out
side, but not dangerously or unpleasantly so ; neverthe
less, when you get out on one of those lakes in a canoe
like this, you do not forget that you are completely at the
mercy of the wind, and a fickle power it is. The playful
waves may at any time become too rude for you in their
sport, and play right on over you. We saw a few shecor-
ways and a fish hawk thus early, and after much steady



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 267

paddling and dancing over the dark waves of Apmoo-
jenegamook, we found ourselves in the neighborhood of
the southern land, heard the waves breaking on it, and
turned our thoughts wholly to that side. After coasting
eastward along this shore a mile or two, we breakfasted
on a rocky point, the first convenient place that offered.

It was well enough that we crossed thus early, for the
waves now ran quite high, and we should have been
obliged to go round somewhat, but beyond this point we
had comparatively smooth water. You can commonly go
along one side or the other of a lake, when you cannot
cross it.

The Indian was looking at the hard-wood ridges from
time to time, and said that he would like to buy a few
hundred acres somewhere about this lake, asking our
advice. It was to buy as near the crossing-place as
possible.

My companion and I, having a minute's discussion


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