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OUT OF POMPEII.
The body of a young girl was found in Pompeii, lying face downward, with her head resting upon her arms, perhaps asleep; the scoria of the volcano had preserved a perfect mold of her form. She was clad in a single garment. No more beautiful form was ever imagined by a sculptor.
PIONEER PACKHORSES IN ALASKA.
I. THE ADVANCE.
Jadeau Cy ing 2000 miles in length and 1700 miles in width, purchased in 1867 by the United States Government from Russia for $7,200, 000, offers to the traveler a vast, almost unknown area. Within its limits nature presents contrasting scenes; its northern and western ice-fields harbor the polar bear and the walrus, and the tiny humming-bird nests in its southern forests. Its surf-beaten coast-line has long ago been charted, and its navigable
20 40 waters have been explored; but the great in- Colton NY. 138° terior, unapproached by waterways, is almost unknown.
manded most exorbitant pay. Moreover, his A journey which I made in central Alaska arrogance, inconsistency, cunning, and general in 1890, as a member of an exploring expedi- unreliability are ever on the alert to thwart the tion, assured me beyond doubt that defective white man. No matter how important your transport was the sole reason for the undevel- mission, your Indian carriers, though they have oped and unexplored state of the land. The duly contracted to accompany you, will delay Indian carrier was the only means of transpor- your departure till it suits their convenience, tation; he controlled the situation, and com- and any exhibition of impatience on your part will only remind them of your utter dependence which otherwise would lie idle in some Govupon them; and then intrigue for increase of ernment office, in return for which privilege I pay will at once begin. When en route they promised a rough map of an enormous area of will prolong the journey by camping on the unknown land; but my suggestions failed to trail for two or three weeks, tempted by good obtain a favorable hearing. Failing to awaken hunting or fishing. In a land where the open interest in my experiment through different season is so short, and the ways are so long, channels, I decided to go at my own expense. such delay is a tremendous drawback. Often Dalton had agreed to aid me; in fact, without the Indians will carry their loads some part of the promise of his valuable services I should the way agreed upon, then demand an extrav- have hesitated to make the attempt. agant increase of pay or a goodly share of the An interesting part of this vast unexplored white man's stores, and, failing to get either, interior lies between the Yukon River and Mt. will fling down their packs and return to their St. Elias on the southeast coast of Alaska. village, leaving their white employer helplessly Gold has been discovered everywhere on the stranded.
outskirts, warranting the supposition that the The expense of Indian labor, therefore, with same precious metal exists in the interior. All its attendant inconvenience and uncertainty, the streams heading from this quarter show renders a long overland journey impossible. An specimens of mineral along their shores, a fact Indian cannot be hired at less than two dollars which created in our minds the reasonable hope a day, which, however, is a mere trifle com- that.we might strike the supply at its source. pared to the obligation of feeding him. Your In Alaskan expeditions it is essential that the carriers will start with loads weighing from party of whites be as small as possible. Each 80 to go pounds, and will eat about three pounds additional man adds to the need of transport, dead-weight each day per man, so that at the and besides, a large body of whites is liable to end of the month a point will have been reached arouse the suspicions of the natives and to crein the interior, and all your stores consumed by ate trouble. So Dalton and I decided to make the men carrying them, and for this unusual the venture alone. He was a most desirable privilege the traveler has still to pay sixty dollars partner, having excellent judgment, cool and a month for each man's services. When travel- deliberate in time of danger, and possessed of ing on his own account, the Indian lives spar- great tact in dealing with Indians. He thoringly on dried salmon, but when employed by oughly understood horses, was as good as any a white man his appetite at once assumes boa- Indian in a cottonwood dugout or skin canoe, constrictor proportions. Game is so scarce that and as a camp cook I never met his equal. it cannot be relied on to afford much relief to We equipped ourselves at Seattle with four the constant drain on your provisions. Occa- short, chunky horses weighing about nine hunsionally an opportunity will present itself by dred pounds each, supplied ourselves with the which you can bag a bear or a mountain-goat, requisite pack-saddles and harness, stores and a very pleasant addition to your larder, and an ammunition, then embarked on board a coast acceptable change from the monotonous bean- steamer, and sailed north from Puget Sound, and-bacon fare; but you cannot depend on the through the thousand miles of inland seas, to rifle for food; without a plentiful supply of pro- Alaska. We disembarked at Pyramid Harbor, visions, misery and hunger will drive you un- near the mouth of the Chilkat River, which is ceremoniously from your working-ground. by far the most convenient point from which to
The only way to test the resources and pos- start for the interior. No horses had ever been sibilities of Alaska is by making thorough re- taken into the country, and old miners, traders, search through every part of the land, and and prospectors openly pitied our ignorance in conducting your investigations entirely inde- imagining the possibility of taking pack-animals pendent of native report either favorable or over the coast-range. The Indians ridiculed the discouraging.
idea of such an experiment; they told us of the I determined to revisit Alaska in the spring deep, swift streams flowing across our path, of 1891, and to endeavor to make a journey to the rocky paths so steep that the Indian hunter the far interior with packhorses. From what could climb in safety only by creeping on his he had already seen of the land, John Dalton, hands and knees. Finding that their discourwho accompanied me on the previous journey, aging reports failed to influence us, the Chilkat was equally convinced with myself of the feasi- Indians, foreseeing that our venture, if successbility of such an undertaking. As I was about ful, would greatly injure their interests by esto make what I thought to be rather an impor- tablishing a dangerous competition against tant experiment, I ventured to ask some slight their present monopoly, held meetings on the assistance from the geographical departments subject, and rumor reached us that our further of the United States and Canadian govern- advance would be resisted. However, when ments, such as the loan of a few instruments, we were ready, we saddled up, buckled on
DRAWN BY MALCOLM FRASER.
PLAITED FIBER DANCING-BONNETS.
our pistol-belts, and proceeded on our journey without any attempt at hindrance save by verbal demonstration.
Upon our arrival at the coast-
dropped a few degrees
language. In former days every event of con-
ciently to permit a further advance. At this Indian settlement there are about twenty houses constructed of heavy planking, roofed with rudely hewn boards, each having an immense aperture for the escape of smoke. On all sides these dwellings are loopholed for muskets. Many a stubborn fight has been decided around this village, the plank- taken up with a strange medley of exaggerated ing being pitted with slugshot. Most of these figures. Most of these carvings are very old, huts are occupied by three or four families; and their legends and historical references have some of greater dimensions, however, will been distorted by constant repetition. Only the shelter sixty Indians.
oldest men attempt to interpret the puzzling deThe Chilkat nation is divided into sec- signs produced by their ancestors. Formerly tions, each named after some living thing. powerful chieftains held court here with barThere are the Ravens, Wolves, Eagles, Snails, baric pomp, and terrorized the neighboring peo
ples. They were bucaneers and pirates. The chief, Klenta Koosh, has a strange collection of old firearms, and outside his house two iron cannons defend the approach with threatening array - all stolen from a Russian ship which stranded on the Alaskan shore in former days. Slavery was then in general
practice; prisoners became the serfs VOL. XLIV.- 88.
DRAWN BY MALCOLM FRASER.
CHILKAT PILLAR RECORD-
DRAWN BY MALCOLM FRASER.
DRAWN BY MALCOLM FRASER.
BANQUET DISH, 14 FEET LONG, 14 INCHES WIDE, AND 15 INCHES DEEP.
their captors, and, as in central Africa to-day, protected their heads with wooden helmets, constituted the principal source of wealth. shaped in design according to their nation;
The old-time Chilkat, dressed in skins and they also wore buckskin shirts, and bound their furs obtained from the inland tribes, had his arms with strips of leather. Gormandizing garments picturesquely fringed, and tasseled, competitions used to be a popular form of enand beaded, and woven in with stained swan- tertainment; an immense trough, called Klookquills. He wore bracelets of copper, and car- Ook-Tsik, 14 feet long, 14 inches in width, and ried copper spears, knives, and arrows. He 15 in depth, was filled with meats, bear and was a warrior, and lived but to perish in battle. mountain-goat, fish, berries, and oil. Then faIn those days no ceremony was complete un- milies vied with one another as to who could eat less attended by human sacrifice; execution of the most, and many serious fights have resulted slaves was of frequent occurrence, for supersti- from the jealousy of the losers. tious belief deemed disaster and illness the do- The present generation of Chilkat Indians is ing of angry spirits, only to be appeased by the fast relinquishing tribal customs and ceremoshedding of human blood. Tribal wars and nies, and is taking but little interest in the history hand-to-hand fights followed from the slightest of its ancestors. Dances are no longer held in disagreement.
which family head-dresses and costumes are It was the custom then for all the young men worn. The great wooden banqueting-trough in the village to plunge each morning, winter is now embedded in moss and in grass that and summer, into the chilly stream, stay in the grows between the floor-boards in the house icy waters till benumbed with cold, and then to where once old“ Kay Tsoo" assembled his folthrash one another with stout-thonged whips lowers by drum-beat, despatched them on the till circulation and animation were thoroughly trail for war or trade, declared the guilty and restored. This novel apprenticeship is said to the innocent, and condemned to death as he have had the effect of creating unusual stamina, willed. At the present day there are a few men producing the ability to withstand cold and in the villages known as “ankow," or chief, hunger, and deadening feeling. The Indians but they have only feeble power. say that a warrior thus trained, though mor- In character these Indians are a strange tally wounded, would face his foe and cut and composition - unemotional, morose, unsymstab while life remained. In such duels they pathetic, superstitious, indifferent to death,