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THE FUR COUNTRY/




" Mrs Joliffe served out slice after slice." Page 4.



THE FUR COUNTRY;



OR,



Seventy Degrees North Latitude.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF

JULES VERNE.

BY

N. D'ANVERS.



tte tttt&refc Illustration*.




BOSTON :
JAMES R. OSGOOD -AND COMPANY,

LATE TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND FIELDS, OSGOOD, & Co.
1874.



TO MY NEPHEWS,

HERBERT, EDGAR, AND ROBERT,
is ^Translation



AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED,

N. D'ANVERS.



CLAPHAM, 1873.



420



CONTENTS,



PAET L



I. A SOIREE AT FORT RELIANCE, . . t 1

n. THE HUDSON'S BAT FDR COMPANY, . . 8

m. A SAVANT THAWED, . . . , , . 14

IV. A FACTORY, .... 20

V. FROM FORT RELIANCE TO FORT ENTERPRISE, .26

VL A WAPITI DUEL, ....... 33

Vn. THE ARCTIC CIRCLE, ...... 41

VIII. THE GREAT BEAR LAKE, ...... 48

IX. A STORM ON THE LAKE, . . . . .55

X. A RETROSPECT, . . . . . . .63

XL ALONG THE COAST, . . . . . .69

XH. THE MIDNIGHT BUN, . . . . , . . 76

XIII. FORT HOPE, . . . . .83

XIV. SOME EXCURSIONS, ....... 90

XV. FIFTEEN MILES FROM CAPE BATHTJBST, . . . .97

XVI. TWO SHOTS, ....... 103

XVII. THE APPROACH OF WINTER, . . . 110

XVIII. THE POLAR NIGHT, . . . . * .117

XIX. A NEIGHBOURLY VISIT, . . . . , .126

XX. MERCURY FREEZES, . . . , . .135

XXI. THE LARGE POLAR BEARS, ..,.,. 141

XXII. FIVE MONTHS MORE, ..,,. 150

XXIII. THE ECLIPSE OF THE 18lH JUKE I860, t . 158



CONTENTS.



PAKT II.



CHAP. PAGE

I. A FLOATING FORT, . . . . . . .169

II. WHERE ARE WE? ....... 176

III. A TOUR OF THE ISLAND, ...... 183

IV. A NIGHT ENCAMPMENT, ...... 191

V. FROM JULY 25TH TO AUGUST 20TH, ..... 199

VI. TEN DAYS OF TEMPEST, . ..... 207

VII. A FIRE AND A CRY, ...... 214

VIII. MRS PAULINA BARNETT*S EXCURSION, .... 223

ix. KALUMAH'S ADVENTURES, ...... 232

X. THE KAMTCHATKA CURRENT, ..... 239

XI. A COMMUNICATION FROM LIEUTENANT HOBSON, . . . 246

XII. A CHANCE TO BE TRIED, ...... 253

XIII. ACROSS THE ICE-FIELD, ...... 260

XIV. THE WINTER MONTHS, ...... 266

XV. A LAST EXPLORING EXPEDITION, ..... 273

XVI. THE BREAK-UP OF THE ICE, . . . . . 282

XVII. THE AVALANCHE, . . . . . ... 289

XVIII. ALL AT WORK, . . . . . . . 295

XIX. BEHRING SEA, ....... 303

XX. IN THE OFFING, . . . . . . 310

XXI. THE ISLAND BECOMES AN ISLET, ..... 315

XXII. THE FOUR FOLLOWING DAYS, ..... 320

XXIII. ON A PIECE OF ICE, ...... 325

XXIV. CONCLUSION, ....... 333



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



MM

' Mrs Joliffe served out slice after slice," . . 4

Lieutenant Hobson and Sergeant Long, . . 5

" The Corporal, match in hand, awaited the order of his Captain," . 13
The arrival of Thomas Black, . . . . . .14

A savant thawed, . . . . . .15

Thomas Black introduces himself, . . . .16

The start from Fort Reliance, ...... 27

" Lieutenant Hobson and the Sergeant led the way," . . .27

Corporal Joliffe proves his skill in driving, . . . .32

The beginning of the thaw, .... . . 34

The effects of the thaw, ....... 35

A wapiti duel, ........ 37

" To the icebergs! to the icebergs ! " . . . .46

" There were bears prowling in the pass," .47

The Hare Indians, . . . ... 54

A storm on the lake, . . . . . . .60

" Hobson uttered a last despairing cry ! " . . .61

Saved! ......... 62

The mouth of the Coppermine River, . . . . .64

" Thousands of birds were shot," . . . . .72

Traces of an encampment, ...... 73

The footprints of a dancer, . . . . . .74

A temporary encampment, ...... 79

" I promise you double pay," ...... 82

The site of the fort, ....... 84

Collecting materials for the new factory, . . . .86

A hunting party, . . . . f . , .92

Sergeant Long and Madge fishing, , . . .93

" From this position they were able," &c., , . 99

A Morse Hunt, ....,.- jft*



XII LIST OF ILL US TRA TIONS.

PAGE

Walrus Bay, . .106

Two shots, 107

Rival claimants, . . . . . . . . 108

" A new country was springing into being," . . . .112

"A kind of fete was held," 116

" Mrs Barnett read aloud," . . . . . .119

" The dogs rushed out," &c., . . . . . .122

" The body was hauled up," &c., . . . . . .127

Some living creatures came out of the hut," . . . .129

"She ran up to it," &c., . . . . . . .131

" It is more beautiful than an Aurora Borealis ! " . . . 136

" The bears were walking about on the roof," . . . .142

" Mrs Barnett pressed the brave man's hand," . . . .145

" Mrs Barnett discharged the contents, " &c., . . ,. .149

" Mingled howls and screams were heard," .... 149

"Just look at our house now !" ...... 152

" The ice burst, " &c., 153

" Its waters were still sweet," &c., . . . . .155

" He might be seen standing motionless and silent," . . . 160

" All might watch the progress of the phenomenon," . . . 164

" Please, sir, it 's because of the pay," 171

" He shook his fist at the sun," ...... 172

" I think not," 180

" The carpenter fixed upon the beach," &c., . . . .183

"Thomas Black would not even join the exploring party," . .184

" They breakfasted," &c., . . . . . 186

"Numerous furred animals," &c., ..... 188

" He was able to look closely at the steep wall," &c., . . .193

"Keep hold!" 195

" Corporal Joliffe was extremely fond of him," . . . .199

" Thanks to the Corporal's unwearying exertions," . . . 202

" We are sinking gradually," . . . . . .204

" Hobson remained crouching," &c., ..... 209

' The Lieutenant promised," &c., . . . . .213

" Not that way," . . . . . . . .217

"Sergeant! Where are you ?" . . . , . .218

"We saw their fire ; they will see ours ! " . . . . 221

"Look, Madge, look!" . . . . . . .229

" The bear seized Kalumah by the clothes," . + 231

" It was the young Esquimaux girl Kalumah," . . .

" She murmured, ' Mrs Barnett,'" . . . . .232

" The waves dashed over her kayak," . 236

" She covered him with kisses," . . ... .239



LIST OF ILLUSTRA TIONS. xiii



PAGE

" The Lieutenant tied round their necks," .... 242

" Hobson was in dismay," .... . 242

"The wolves came within musket range," .... 249

" We knew it, sir ! " . . . . . . 252

" It was a Polar bear," 257

" Two large waggon sledges were built," ..... 258

" Some of the icebergs assumed extraordinary forms," . . . 262

" We must pass somehow," ...... 263

" Marbre flung .his running noose skilfully," .... 269

" Everybody started back," . . . . . .272

" It was dashed upon the ice-field with a fearful crash," . . 277

" I think it is time to retrace our steps," .... 278

"It is a frost-rime," . . . . . . .288

" He took the^altitude," . . . . . . .288

" When an unexpected noise," ...... 293

" It was like an army of icebergs," Axs., ..... 293

" Poor things ! poor things ! " . . . . . . 300

" And a figure appeared," &c., ...... 301

" Examining the state of the sea," &c., ..... 307

" Mrs Barnett sobbed aloud," . . . . . .309

" The lower framework was already floating," . . . .310

" He escaped with a ducking," . . . . . 312

" The embarkation of provisions, &c., had to be put off," . .318

" He tightened them," &c., . . . . . .319

" Mrs Barnett turned and looked Madge full in the face," . . 324

"Abeam . . . was sunk deep into the earth," &c., . . . 329

" The colonists, falling on their knees, returned thanks to God," . 332

Kalumah and the bear, .... , 334



PART I.




THE FUR COUNTRY.

CHAPTER L

A SOIREE AT FORT RELIANCE.

N the evening of the 17th March 1859, Captain Craventy gave
a fete at Fort Reliance. Our readers must not at once
imagine a grand entertainment, such as a court ball, or a
musical soiree with a fine orchestra. Captain Craventy 's reception
was a very simple affair, yet he had spared no pains to give it
eclat.

In fact, under the auspices of Corporal Joliffe, the large room on
the ground-floor was completely transformed. The rough walls,
constructed of roughly-hewn trunks of trees piled up horizontally,
were still visible, it is true, but their nakedness was disguised by
arms and armour, borrowed from the arsenal of the fort, and by an
English tent at each corner of the room. Two lamps suspended
by chains, like chandeliers, and provided with tin reflectors, relieved
the gloomy appearance of the blackened beams of the ceiling, and
sufficiently illuminated the misty atmosphere of the room. The
narrow, windows, some of them mere loop-holes, were so encrusted
with hoar-frost, that it was impossible to look through them ; but
two or three pieces of red bunting, tastily arranged about them,
challenged the admiration of all who entered. The floor, of rough
joists of wood laid parallel with each other, had been carefully
swept by Corporal Joliffe. No sofas, chairs, or other modern furni-
ture, impeded the free circulation of the guests. Wooden benches
half fixed against the walls, huge blocks of wood cut with the axe,
and two tables with clumsy legs, were all the appliances of luxury
the saloon could boast of. But the partition wall, with a narrow
door leading into the next room, was decorated in a style alike

A



THE FUR COUNTRY.



costly and picturesque. From the beams hung magnificent furs
admirably arranged, the equal of which could not be seen in the
more favoured regions of Regent Street or the Perspective-Newski.
It seemed as if the whole fauna of the ice-bound North were here
represented by their finest skins. The eye wandered from the furs
of wolves, grey bears, polar bears, otters, wolverenes, beavers, musk
rats, water pole-cats, ermines, and silver foxes ; and above this
display was an inscription in brilliantly-coloured and artistically-
shaped cardboard the motto of the world-famous Hudson's Bay
Company

"PROPELLE CUTUM."

" Really, Corporal Joliffe, you have surpassed yourself ! " said
Captain Craventy to his subordinate.

" I think I have, I think I have ! " replied the Corporal ; " but
honour to whom honour is due, Mrs Joliffe deserves part of your
commendation ; she assisted me in everything."

" A wonderful woman, Corporal."

" Her equal is not to be found, Captain."

An immense brick and earthenware stove occupied the centre of
the room, with a huge iron pipe passing from it through the ceiling,
and conducting the dense black smoke into the outer air. This
stove contained a roaring fire constantly fed with fresh shovelfuls
of coal by the stoker, an old soldier specially appointed to the ser-
vice. Now and then a gust of wind drove back a volume of smoke
into the room, dimming the brightness of the lamps, and adding
fresh blackness to the beams of the ceiling, whilst tongues of flame
shot forth from the stove. But the guests of Fort Reliance thought
little of this slight inconvenience ; the stove warmed them, and they
could not pay too dearly for its cheering heat, so terribly cold was
it outside in the cutting north wind.

The storm could be heard raging without, the snow fell fast, be-
coming rapidly solid and coating the already frosted window panes
with fresh ice. The whistling wind made its way through the
cranks and chinks of the doors and windows, and occasionally the
rattling noise drowned every other sound. Presently an awful
silence ensued. Nature seemed to be taking breath ; but suddenly
the squall recommenced with terrific fury. The house was shaken
to its foundations, the planks cracked, the beams groaned. A
stranger less accustomed than the habitues of the fort to the war of
the elements, would have asked if the end of the world were come.




LIEUTENANT HOBSON AND SERGEANT LONG. Page 5.



A SOJREE AT FORT RELIANCE.



But, with two exceptions, Captain Craventy's guests troubled
themselves little about the weather, and if they had been outside
they would have felt no more fear than the stormy petrels disport-
ing themselves in the midst of the tempest. Two only of the
assembled company did not belong to the ordinary society of the
neighbourhood, two women, whom we shall introduce when we
have enumerated Captain Craventy's other guests : these were,
Lieutenant Jaspar Hobson, Sergeant Long, Corporal Joliffe, and his
bright active Canadian wife, a certain Mac-Nab and his wife, both
Scotch, John Rae, married to an Indian woman of the country, and
some sixty soldiers or employe's of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The neighbouring forts also furnished their contingent of guests, for
in these remote lands people look upon each other as neighbours
although their homes may be a hundred miles apart. A good many
employe's or traders came from Fort Providence or Fort Resolution,
of the Great Slave Lake district, and even from Fort Chippeway
and Fort Liard further south. A rare break like this in the
monotony of their secluded lives, in these hyberborean regions,
was joyfully welcomed by all the exiles, and even a few Indian
chiefs, about a dozen, had accepted Captain Craventy's invi-
tation. They were not, however, accompanied by their wives,
the luckless squaws being still looked upon as little better than
slaves. The presence of these natives is accounted for by the fact
that they are in constant intercourse with the traders, and supply
the greater number of furs which pass through the hands of the
Hudson's Bay Company, in exchange for other commodities. They
are mostly Chippeway Indians, well grown men with hardy con-
stitutions. Their complexions .are of the peculiar reddish black
colour always ascribed in Europe to the evil spirits of fairyland.
They wear very picturesque cloaks of skins and mantles of fur, with
a head-dress of eagle's feathers spread out like a lady's fan, and
quivering with every motion of their thick black hair.

Such was the company to whom the Captain was doing the
honours of Fort Reliance. There was no dancing for want of
music, but the " buffet " admirably supplied the want of the hired
musicians of the European balls. On the table rose a pyramidal
pudding made by Mrs Joliffe's own hands ; it was an immense
truncated cone, composed of flour, fat, rein-deer venison, and musk
beef. The eggs, milk, and citron prescribed in recipe books were,
it is true, wanting, but their absence was atoned for by its huge



THE FUR COUNTRY.



proportions. Mrs Joliffe served out slice after slice with liberal
hands, yet there remained enough and to spare. Piles of sandwiches
also figured on the table, in which ship biscuits took the place of
thin slices of English bread and butter, and dainty morsels of corned
beef that of the ham and stuffed veal of the old world. The
sharp teeth of the Chippeway Indians made short work of the
tough biscuits; and for drink there was plenty of whisky and gin
handed round in little pewter pots, not to speak of a great bowl of
punch which was to close the entertainment, and of which the
Indians talked long afterwards in their wigwams.

Endless were the compliments paid to the Joliffes that evening,
but they deserved them ; how zealously they waited on the guests,
with what easy grace they distributed the refreshments ! They
did not need prompting, they anticipated the wishes of each one.
The sandwiches were succeeded by slices of the inexhaustible
pudding, the pudding by glasses of gin or whisky.

" No, thank you, Mr Joliffe."

" You are too good, Corporal ; but let me have time to breathe."

" Mrs Joliffe, I assure you, I can eat no more."

" Corporal Joliffe, I am at your mercy."

" No more, Mrs Joliffe, no more, thank you ! "

Such were the replies met with on every side by the zealous pair,
but their powers of persuasion were such that the most reluctant
yielded in the end. The quantities of food and drink consumed
were really enormous. The hubbub of conversation increased. The
soldiers and employe's became excited. Here the talk was of hunt-
ing, there of trade. What plans were laid for next season ! The
entire fauna of the Arctic regions would scarcely supply game
enough for these enterprising hunters. They already saw bears,
foxes, and musk oxen, falling beneath their bullets, and pole-cats by
hundreds caught in their .traps. Their imagination pictured the
costly furs piled up in the magazines of the Company, which was
this year to realise hitherto unheard of profits. And whilst the
spirits thus freely circulated inflamed the imagination of the
Europeans, the large doses of Captain Craventy's " fire-water "
imbibed by the Indians had an opposite effect. Too proud to show
admiration, too cautious to make promises, the taciturn chiefs
listened gravely and silently to the babel of voices around them.

The captain enjoying the hurly burly, and pleased to see the
poor people, brought back as it were to the civilised world, enjoying




" The Corporal, match in hand, awaited the order of his Captain." Page 13.



A SOIREE AT FORT RELIANCE.



themselves so thoroughly, was here, there, and everywhere, answer-
ing all inquiries about the fete with the words

"Ask Joliffe, ask Joliffe ! "

And they asked Joliffe, who had a gracious word for every-
body.

Some of those employed in the garrison and civil service of
Fort Reliance must here receive a few words of special notice, for
they were presently to go through experiences of a most terrible
nature, which no human perspicacity could possibly have foreseen.
Amongst others we must name Lieutenant Jaspar Hobson, Ser-
geant Long, Corporal and Mrs Joliffe, and the two foreign women
already alluded to, in whose honour Captain Craventy's fete was
given.

Jaspar Hobson was a man of forty years of age. He was short
and slight, with little muscular power ; but a force of will which
carried him successfully through all trials, and enabled him to rise
superior to adverse circumstances. He was " a child of the Com-
pany." His father, Major Hobson, an Irishman from Dublin, who
had now been dead for some time, lived for many years at Fort
Assiniboin with his wife. There Jaspar Hobson was born. His
childhood and youth were spent at the foot of the Rocky Moun-
tains. His father brought him up strictly, and he became a man
in self control and courage whilst yet a boy in years. Jaspar
Hobson was no mere hunter, but a soldier, a brave and intelligent
officer. During the struggles in Oregon of the Hudson's Bay Com-
pany with the rival companies of the Union, he distinguished himself
by his zeal and intrepidity, and rapidly rose to the rank of lieutenant.
His well-known merit led to his appointment to the command of an
expedition to the north, the aim of which was to explore the northern
shores of the Great Bear Lake, and to found a fort on the confines
of the American continent. Jaspar Hobson was to set out on his
journey early in April.

If the lieutenant was the type of a good officer, Sergeant Long
was that of a good soldier. He was a man of fifty years of age, with
a rough beard that looked as if it were made of cocoa-nut fibre.
Constitutionally brave, and disposed to obey rather than to com-
mand, he had no ambition but to obey the orders he received
never questioning them, however strange they might appear, never
reasoning for himself when on duty for the Company a true machine
in uniform ; but a perfect machine, never wearing out ; ever on the



THE FUR COUNTRY.



march, yet never showing signs of fatigue. Perhaps Sergeant Long
was rather hard upon his men, as he was upon himself. He would
not tolerate the slightest infraction of discipline, and mercilessly
ordered men into confinement for the slightest neglect, whilst he
himself had never been reprimanded. In a word, he was a man
born to obey, and this self-annihilation suited his passive tempera-
ment. Men such as he are the materials of which a formidable
army is formed. They are the arms of the service, obeying a
single head. Is not this the only really powerful organisation 1
The two types of fabulous mythology, Briareus with a hundred
arms and Hydra with a hundred heads, well represent the two
kinds ot armies; and in a conflict between them, which would be
victorious? Briareus without a doubt !

We have already made acquaintance with Corporal Joliffe. He
was the busy bee of the party, but it was pleasant to hear him hum-
ming. He would have made a better major-domo than a soldier;
and he was himself aware of this. So he called himself the " Cor-
poral in charge of details," but he would have lost himself a
hundred times amongst these details, had not little Mrs Joliffe
guided him with a firm hand. So it came to pass, that Corporal
Joliffe obeyed his wife without owning it, doubtless thinking to
himself, like the philosopher Sancho, " a woman's advice is no such
great thing, but he must be a fool who does not listen to it."

It is now time to say a few words of the two foreign women already
alluded to more than once. They were both about forty years
old, and one of them well deserved to take first rank amongst cele-
brated female travellers. The name of Paulina Barnett, the rival
of the Pfeiffers, Tinnis, and Haimaires of Hull, has been several times
honourably mentioned at the meetings of the Royal Geographical
Society. In her journeys up the Brahmaputra, as far as the
mountains of Thibet, across an unknown corner of New Holland,
from Swan Bay to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Paulina Barnett had
given proof of the qualities of a great traveller. She had been a
widow for fifteen years, and her passion for travelling led her con-
stantly to explore new lands. She was tall, and her face, framed
in long braids of hair, already touched with white, was full of
energy. She was near-sighted, and a double eye-glass rested upon
her long straight nose, with its mobile nostrils. We must confess
that her walk was somewhat masculine, and her whole appearance
was suggestive of moral power, rather than of female grace. She



A SOIREE AT FORT RELIANCE.



was an Englishwoman from Yorkshire, possessed of some fortune,
the greater part of which was expended in adventurous expeditions,
and some new scheme of exploration had now brought her to Fort
Reliance. Having crossed the equinoctial regions, she was doubt-
less anxious to penetrate to the extreme limits of the hyperborean.
Her presence at the fort was an event. The governor of the
Company had given her a special letter of recommendation to
Captain Craventy, according to which the latter was to do all in his
power to forward the design of the celebrated traveller to reach the
borders of the Arctic Ocean. A grand enterprise ! To follow in
the steps of Hearne, Mackenzie, Rae, Franklin, and others. What
fatigues, what trials, what dangers would have to be gone through
in the conflict with the terrible elements of the Polar climate ! How
could a woman dare to venture where so many explorers have drawn
back or perished ? But the stranger now shut up in Fort Reliance
was no ordinary woman ; she was Paulina Barnett, a laureate of the
Royal Society.

We must add that the celebrated traveller was accompanied by
a servant named Madge. This faithful creature was not merely a
servant, but a devoted and courageous friend, who lived only for
her mistress. A Scotchwoman of the old type, whom a Caleb
might have married without loss of dignity. Madge was about five
years older than Mrs Barnett, and was tall and strongly built. The
two were on the most intimate terms ; Paulina looked upon Madge as
an elder sister, and Madge treated Paulina ;is her daughter.

It was in honour of Paulina Barnett that Captain Craventy was
this evening treating his employe's and the Chippeway Indians. In
fact, the lady traveller was to join the expedition of Jaspar Hobson
for the exploration of the north. It was for Paulina Barnett that
the large saloon of the factory resounded with joyful hurrahs. And
it was no wonder that the stove consumed a hundredweight of coal
on this memorable evening, for the cold outside was twenty-four
degrees Fahrenheit below zero, and Fort Reliance is situated in
61 47' N. Lat., at least four degrees from the Polar circle.




CHAPTER II
THE HUDSON'S BAY PUR COMPANY.

CAPTAIN Craventy?"
'Mrs Barnett?"

" What do you think of your Lieutenant, Jaspar
Hobson ?"

" I think he is an officer who will go far."

u What do you mean by the words, Will go far ? Do you mean
that he will go beyond the Twenty-fourth parallel]"

Captain Craventy could not help smiling at Mrs Paulina Barnett's
question. They were talking together near the stove, whilst the
guests were passing backwards and forwards between the eating
and drinking tables.

" Madam," replied the Captain, " all that a man can do, will be
done by Jaspar Hobson. The Company has charged him to explore
the north of their possessions, and to establish a factory as near as
possible to the confines of the American continent, and he will
establish it/'

" That is a great responsibility for Lieutenant Hobson I" said



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