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them always lose their heads," he laughed. "But I've squared up everything on board, and arranged for a launch to take us ashore. I've made out a list of the baggage, so that my fellows will know exactly what they've got to bring. We can go off directly the Customs people have arrived."

The girl put her hand on his arm; she seemed very content. "You're awfully businesslike and competent, Basil," she told him.

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"Got to be in these days of competition," her husband declared. We are doing pretty well as it is, but before very long you are going to be the wife of the richest planter in the island."

And as they crossed the harbour in the launch he talked eagerly of his plans and ambitions and of the improvements in their house which she should superintend, only interrupting the forecast of prosperity to ask her whether she would mind stopping for a few minutes at the G.O.H. to have a drink with his father's friend, Hawkins, an established ritual which the old fellow would expect. A car was waiting for them at the entrance to the jetty, and Basil Richardson insisted that they should drive the short way to the G.O.H.

He followed his wife into the hotel, chatting with animation, pleasantly conscious that the lady of his choice did him credit and would be justly admired. But just inside the

door he shied like a frightened horse, and hurriedly conducted the girl to a chair at the farther end of the lounge.

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Who," his wife asked as she sat down, "was that funnylooking fat man near the door? I thought he seemed to know you."

Basil Richardson frowned.

"A fellow named Robins," he answered, "a beachcomber, utter waster, the sort one has to avoid, darling. Once I had to see a good deal of him on business. I was rather afraid he would presume on it. Thank heaven, he hasn't."

The Vat, overflowing the cane chair in which he sat commanding the entrance to the hotel, his podgy hands on the arms, his short legs stretched out, his clothes clean but threadbare, a small untasted whisky-and-soda beside him on a table, had been talking to Hawkins as Basil Richardson and his wife came in. The way in which the boy had rushed the girl away had been very obvious. Hawkins turned a snort into a sentence. "Must go and greet the lady," he declared. She looks capable as well as ornamental." The Vat's eyes twinkled amongst wrinkles and pouches. Eminently satisfactory," he said. "The evidence of a permanent cure is conclusive."

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He touched his drink with his lips, nodded to Hawkins, and turned to watch the entry of new arrivals with every appearance of interest.




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THE work of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, better known by its old name of the Royal North West Mounted Police, has now entered upon a new phase : with the advance of civilisation and the taking over of the policing of the Prairie Provinces by the various Provincial Forces, the sphere of usefulness of this famous old force has been transferred to the Far North. Year by year the Northern detachments in the Eastern and Western Arctic move out farther from railhead and nearer to the Pole, and it is now a very small "jump" from the detachment on Ellesmere Island to the Pole itself.

I have headed this account of my patrol "Breaking Trail in the Sub-Arctic" for two reasons the first, that owing to the patrol being compelled to start off in the early winter before the snow had had time to settle down, and on account of an unusually heavy snowfall, it was a case of breaking trail on snowshoes almost the whole way; and the second, that part of the journey-the portion between the Great Bear


Lake and the chain of small lakes north of Fort Rae-was across a piece of country over which no white man had previously travelled.

In the early summer of 1924 I was transferred to G Division, which stretches from Edmonton in Alberta to bleak wind-swept Herschell Island in the Arctic Ocean. Railhead is at Waterways on the Athabasca River. Beyond stretches one vast forest for hundreds of miles, split up by a network of rivers and lakes, the main route to the Arctic being via the Athabasca and Slave Rivers to the Great Slave Lake, and down the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean.

On the Slave River, about 170 miles south of the Great Slave Lake, is Fort Smith, the headquarters of the subdistrict to which I was posted, and the point from which I set out.

Some of the difficulties which a winter patrol with dogs has to contend with are: bad weather and trail conditions, shortness of mid-winter days in the Arctic, accidents to men and dogs, loss of direction, and starvation.

The sleigh driver can only dog taken out of harness slows up the train but continues to eat his share of the food. Whilst it is almost impossible to lose the way on the main rivers, it is comparatively easy to do so once one leaves them and takes to the bush. A combination of some of these bad "breaks " means a tightening of the belt and striking out for the nearest human habitation; and, if this be too far distant, starvation and death.

ride on the sleigh downhill or under perfect weather and trail conditions. The sleigh carries food for men and dogs, axe, cooking utensils, blankets, &c., and this is a big enough load without his adding his own weight to it. As he gets farther from the beaten track, the points at which he can replenish his food supply become wider apart, and he can only take barely enough food for himself and dogs to carry him through under normal condi- The ill-fated Fitzgerald patrol tions. Meeting inclement is a striking example of what weather, storms or deep snow, may happen even to experihe is delayed; his food supply enced northern travellers, as runs short, and eventually gives they were. In December 1910 out; and, added to the delay Inspector Fitzgerald left Fort caused by the storm, his pro- Macpherson on the Peel River gress becomes daily slower on for Dawson in the Yukon-a account of the weakness of the distance of about 750 miles, dogs. In very low tempera- with Constables Taylor tures there is danger of frost- and Kinney, and ex-Constable bite, and he has always to Carter as guide. They took guard against snow-blindness. with them the mail from Camps should be made in Northern posts on the Macdaylight, because, on reaching kenzie, and this, coupled with a camping ground, he has still the fact that the Rocky to cut the wood for the night's Mountains had to be crossed camp fire, and in mid-winter-doubling up the dogs to pull this gives him a very short the loads up the worst slopes,— travelling day. If the snow meant that they were only is deep, he may have to break able to take the bare amount trail twice before the dogs of food to get them through are able to pull the loaded under average travelling consleigh through it. A day's ditions. It was the old gamble journey will therefore vary from with the elements which Norththree or four to fifty or sixty ern policemen have had to miles. take time and again.

There are many ways in which accidents occur, and probably there is no doctor within hundreds of miles. Dogs go lame and sick, and every

All went well until the party arrived at the foothills-about 375 miles from Fort Macpherson-when Carter lost his way. He was searching for the pass

through the mountains, but under Corporal Dempster, and every valley looked alike, and they were all found dead within a week was wasted, with food a few miles of Fort Macpherson growing more scarce. The food with "their stomachs flattened ran out, and Fitzgerald reluc- to their spines." tantly decided to turn back and try to make Fort Macpherson. They started back, eating their dogs as they went, and everything began to go wrong.

They encountered storms, overflow on the river and deep going, were badly frost-bitten, and were only able to make a very few miles a day. Their non-arrival at Dawson led to a relief patrol being sent out

The story of the patrol's heroic efforts to carry out the duty entrusted to it until no hope of reaching its goal remained, is the most pathetic and the most glorious page in the annals of the Royal NorthWest Mounted Police, but is also an illustration of the ease with which the best arranged trip, undertaken by men who know their job, may become a disaster.

Tree River Detachment is an isolated post in Coronation Gulf on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

The mail from this post is carried west along the Arctic coast to the mouth of the Mackenzie River, and then up that river hundreds of miles; it may be a year or more before it reaches the outside. The authorities were anxious to ascertain whether it would be practicable, with a police post established at Dease Bay in the north-east corner of Great Bear Lake, to carry this mail across country from Tree River to Dease Bay, from Dease Bay to Fort Rae on the north arm of the Great Slave Lake, across the lake to Fort Resolution, and then out by the ordinary route to Ed



In the early winter of 1924 I received orders to make a patrol from Fort Smith viá Fort Resolution, Fort Rae, and a chain of lakes north of Fort Rae, to Dease Bay, and report on the feasibility of the route, the best points to put a couple of shelter cabins en route, the possibilities of getting lumber locally for building purposes, &c.

With two trains of dogs I left Fort Smith on the 15th December for Fort Resolution, the first "leg" of a trip that was destined to run into a journey of over 2200 miles, from which I did not get back until the 29th April.

As an earnest of what the weather had in store for us, the glass dropped to fifty-six below zero for our start. The trip to Fort Resolution was un

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