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at 2 p.m.
Mr. Richards, his Attorney-General, told me he had not had his clothes off for two months, living in hourly danger of losing his life. Mr. Smith and I stopped to talk to Mr. Macdougall, and Mr. Hardisty went on to the next point, which was about a mile distant, where we intended to camp for the night.
After a little time I said I would go on, as I thought they might wish to converse together privately. When I was about half-way across the prairie to this point, as if by magic half a dozen Indians rose up before me. I had left
I had left my revolver in the sled. They could not speak a word of English or French, except “Red Lake." They said, in answer to my signal as to where they came from, “Red Lake.” I had a racoon skin coat on, which they felt over, and after jabbering away they passed on in the direction of Georgetown. I went on my way.
By the most direct route, from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina, across the prairie, the distance is 200 miles; but the Red River is so circuitous between these points that it traverses 600 miles. We struck across the treeless prairie, making the points on the Red River for dinner and night. Along the margin of the river the land, for some fifty yards in width, is some ten feet lower than the prairie, and that belt is covered with forest trees. At night we stopped in this forest belt and made a large fire from the fallen timber. There was about a foot of snow on the ground, which we cleared away with a shovel; put an indiarubber cloth on the ground, our mattress on that, and then our blankets and buffalo skin over all. We
lay in the open air with our feet to the fire, which rarefied the air and made it quite comfortable.
At the last house at which we dined on the prairie, before reaching Fort Abercrombie, they gave us some broiled elk. We asked them if they could let us have a hindquarter of this same. The landlord took us to an outhouse where six fine elk were standing like horses in a stall, all frozen stiff. We had among our baggage a box two feet square, prepared for our journey by the agent of the Hudson Bay Company, at St. Paul. It contained potted chicken, tongue, etc., brandy, whisky, and wine, with bread, biscuits and cake, etc. This we ignored. We fried elk meat in butter with potatoes, and ate that with bread, and drank tea by the pint. At Fort Abercrombie we set a tin pail of new milk out at night and in the morning it was frozen solid. This we broke with a hatchet for use in the tea. When the elk was finished we took to fat pork with potatoes instead. The ozone we were breathing constantly was so stimulating that we wanted nothing stronger than tea by way of stimulant, and when we reached Pembina Mr. Smith gave the box of provisions, which we had never opened, to my daughter.
To resume. We reached Grand Forks on the 22nd, at 10.30, where we saw the Indians fishing on the river ; slept at Antoine Girard's log-house ; started at 4 a.m. on the 23rd, and dined (?) at North River at 8.30. As the horses became very tired, we walked the last eight miles. It was very cold. We camped half-way between Salt River and Little Salt River. On the 24th we started, after
a cold night and bad dreams, at 8 a.m., reached Big Point at 1 o'clock p.m.—12 miles from our camp and 80 miles from Pembina, stopped at Two Rivers for tea, and drove on with Antoine Girard to Pembina, which we reached at II p.m. on Christmas Eve. When we arrived we found that Captain Cameron was occupying the log-house erected by Mr. Macdougall for his party.
When I went in, my daughter Emma sat up in bed and said, “What did you come for ?”
Next day a young woman, a daughter of Mr. Cavalier, the postmaster, was taken ill, and as there was no doctor in the place I was requested to see her. It was merely an hysterical attack, and yielded readily to treatment.
Mr. Smith went on to the Hudson Bay Company's post, two miles north of Pembina. I wished to go on to Fort Garry with him, but he said that would not do, as all at Fort Garry knew the active part I had taken in bringing about Confederation, to which they assigned all their troubles. I told him that I had promised Sir J. A. Macdonald to get into Fort Garry, and that I intended to do so. Mr. Smith said that he would try to get them to allow me to go in to see Mr. McTavish, who was very ill, and let me know as soon as possible.
On Sunday, the 26th, having heard nothing, I asked Mr. Ronlette, the American Customs officer, if he would take me to Fort Garry. He said if he could get a pass from Colonel Stutsman he would. Colonel Stutsman was a very clever official of the United States, who had been born without any legs, but was one of Riel's confidential advisers. He told Ronlette that if he had the power he would