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not dare to do it, as it would compromise the American Government. When Ronlette said he could not go, I told his father, a drunken old fellow, who had married a full-blooded Sioux squaw, that if he would let his other son, a boy of seventeen years of age, take me to Fort Garry, I would pay him whatever he would ask. He said he should go.
I then went to Cavalier's ostensibly to give directions for the treatment of his daughter during my absence, but really to see Colonel Stutsman, who lived there.
He said that he was very sorry he could not do anything to meet my wishes, after my kindness. I told him I wanted him to advise me as to the best course to take to get to Fort Garry, as I wished to obtain the things that had been taken from Captain Cameron, and it was necessary for me to see Riel for that purpose. He advised me to call on Father Richot, at St. Norbert, and say that he had recommended me to do
Fearing the people at Pembina, who were very hostile to the Canadians, would prevent my going to Fort Garry, I hurried away as quickly as possible, being only able to secure a buffalo skin, a bottle of sherry, and a loaf of plain bread. When we reached the Hudson's Bay post the halfbreed boy who was driving, said: “If you could get the factor here to lend us a toboggan we would be much safer as, in the case of a snow-storm, it would run over the snow while our sleigh would stick."
I said, “ Drive in. I can get anything he has.”
I then knocked on the door, which, to my astonishment, was opened by my fellow-traveller,
Mr. Smith. I exclaimed: “It is not possible that you could be here for two days without seeing me, knowing as you do, my great anxiety to get to Fort Garry just now and return ? "
He replied: “It is at the cost of one's life to go to Fort Garry just now.
Riel has seized the fort, and has all the arms and ammunition and whisky. A man was shot yesterday, and it is simply courting death to go there at present.”
“ But why did you not tell me this when you knew of my impatience to hear from you ? I replied.
“Well,” he said, “I knew you were a very impetuous man, and I was afraid you would do something rash.”
“I called here to ask your factor for the loan of a dog-cariole. Can I have it ? ” was my reply.
“Of course you can have anything you wish, but for God's sake do not go there just now.”
I said I was much obliged, but did not come for advice, and that I would take the dog-cariole. We put the horses in the shafts and left our sleigh. A dog-cariole is a large canvas shoe on a toboggan, in which a man can lie down, and the driver stands on the open part behind him.
With the sun about an hour high, we started for Scratching River, nearly twelve miles distant, with no house before we reached it. There was about a foot of snow on the prairie, but we drove on a beaten track. The sun went down, and shortly afterward the boy pulled up and said, We must go back. There is going to be a frost." The temperature was then 30 degrees below
I said, “What do you mean?"
He replied : “ You will soon see."
Within ten minutes we were enveloped in a frozen fog, so dense that I could only make out the horse's head.
“ The Red River cannot be more than a mile from here on our right. We will go there and make a fire," I remarked.
“I have no matches and no axe," the boy replied.
“We must be more than half way to Scratching River, and it is as easy to go forward as back. I will walk ahead of the horse and keep the track.”
This I did, and when my foot went into the soft snow on one side or the other I went to the centre; but after a time I lost the track, and we could not regain it.
I confess I was very much alarmed. We could not tell whether we were going east, west, north or south. We were like a boat on the trackless ocean in a fog without a compass.
I thought of walking around the conveyance in a circle until daybreak; but the cold was so intense I knew that we must perish unless something occurred to release us from our difficulty. The sky overhead was clear and suddenly I remembered that, when I was eight or nine years old, my father took me out one fine night and showed me how to find the Pole Star. The knowledge saved us. I soon got hold of the pointers, and then the star.
“We are all right, my boy,” I said. the horse's head round this way, and haw or gee as I direct."
I sat in the cariole and kept the horse's head
in line with the star. When we had proceeded in this way ,
for some time the boy said, “Here is a man's track crossing us ! ” I decided to follow it, and preceded the horse. In about half a mile I struck the Red River, and following the track, crossed it and went up the other side, where we saw a light. It was then 10.30 p.m.
There we found a French half-breed and his wife, neither of whom could speak English, who had come there (to Little Lake) three months before to get out wood for making cart-wheels. He had built a log-cabin and stable, where he kept his cow and horse. We explained that we were lost, and received a warm welcome. His wife fried some deer he had killed, and made galute before the fire from English flour. The tea and sugar were from England, via the Hudson's Bay, and with cream and fresh butter, made a delicious supper. As there were neither table nor chairs, she spread a piece of East India matting on the floor and served the supper on it. self up in the buffalo robe, and with my feet to the fire slept soundly.
The next morning our hosts put us on the road. We stopped at Clive's, at Scratching River, where we had dinner. The host and his wife were both half-breeds, and some of their children were like Indians, while others had light hair, blue eyes, and fair complexions.
This reminded me of Walker on “Inter-marriage,” whose theory was that the reproduction of animals is by halves.
We reached Riviere Sable at 6 p.m., where I went, as I supposed, to Father Richot's house.
I rolled my
It proved, however, to be the St. Norbert Nunnery. Two young ladies, Sister McGregor and Sister Riel, received me. I told them who I was, and that I was on my way to see Mr. Riel, and had been advised to consult Father Richot. After consulting with the Lady Superior, I was told that Father Richot would not be home before morning, and that if I would remain they would make me as comfortable as they could. They gave me a good supper, and had the boy and horse taken
After further consultation with the Lady Superior, I was told she did not know that Father Richot would return to-morrow noon, and that, as my time was valuable, if I would write a letter to Mr. Riel they would provide a messenger and send it. I thanked them, and said I would take advantage of their offer. I wrote until the messenger was ready. Then, without giving them any time for further consultation, I said that it was very absurd of me to send a letter, put on my coat, cap and gloves, bade the sisters good-night, with many thanks, and drove away.
My driver, Theophile Biste, was a Canadian Frenchman, who could not speak English. He drove me some nine miles on the east side of Red River until we arrived at Fort Garry. He struck three loud blows on the gate, sung out the password, when the gate was opened by a sentry, and we drove in. Biste bade me remain there until he returned, which he did in a short time, and asked me to follow him. He then took me from one room to another filled with armed men, with thick overcoats on and their muskets stacked,