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laboriously translated into French telegrams purposely sent in English. He quite properly told the contents to his wife, who could not resist passing on the news to her neighbor, till little by little the tidings crept up the hill and the women of Hattonchâtel filling their pails at the village pump gossiped pleasantly of the fête-to-be. Even the Mayor and Town Council were caught in the wave of curiosity and excitement that swept the village, and discussed in solemn conclave the rumors running rife among the people. The curé alone assumed an air of indifference, but Monsieur le Curé, as often happens, had received direct information as to the plans, and, secure in the knowledge, could easily seem to ignore things so worldly.

Motoring through the valley of the Woëvre the evening before the holiday, we who had come from America to join in the merry-making found ourselves enveloped in a thick fog common to the Meuse at that season of the year and not unlike a London fog in denseness. It was hard to follow the road over which we were traveling, nor could the waiting villagers on their hilltop see afar off the lights of the automobile, as they had often done on clearer nights. Through the stillness, though, and the fog the regular beat of the motor engine drawing nearer and nearer told them of our approach, and quickly their eager hearts sent out the familiar greetingthe church bell ringing across the cold grayness to bid us welcome. It was like the communion of spirits-hearing what we could not see, feeling what neither they nor we were able to express in words, the triumph of faith over sight.

On we crept over the worn, rough road and up the steep hill, and the sound of the bell grew louder. At last faint lights began to glimmer here and there, more and more of them as we neared the top-the moving lights of torches carried by men of the village come out to meet us. We descended from the car. The scene

was a bit of the Middle Ages-the village wrapped in thick fog, flaring torches dimly lighting the narrow street and only half revealing the weird gray figures moving in the dark shadows, the babel of voices, the sudden clatter of a horse's hoofs on the rough pavement, the riras of welcome-it might have been the ancestors of these peasants greeting an ancient Duc de Lorraine. We shivered in the penetrating cold. Familiar things seemed strange. It was as if the little street were peopled with the wraiths of long ago, and the illusion of their ghostly presence was not dispelled until we were indoors seated around a big log fire listening to the inevitable French speeches of welcome.

The next day dawned bright and clear. The mystery and creepiness of the night before had disappeared in a glorious winter sunshine, and as I looked out of my window in the early morning on the

tiful country of Jeanne d'Arc, still

bleeding from the wounds of war, my heart beat fast and I knew why France has so many lovers. And when I stepped into the street and saw at the entrance to the village the garlands of mistletoe festooned in a welcoming arch of green, and all along the way the French and American flags crossed over the homely doorways, my pulse quick ened again and I knew that France loves her lovers.

The peasants were already astir and hurried forward with morning greetings; women dressed in Sunday best and children in the holiday costume of Lorraine waiting for the coming of evening and the Christmas party, their shining eyes telling without the need of words the happiness in their hearts.

As the day wore on curiosity became acute, for in France New Year's Day eclipses Christmas as a popular holiday, and a community Christmas tree in that part of the country was a thing unknown. At noon the town crier announced very briefly the order of events; yet, in spite of this dissemination of knowledge, we were besieged with callers, from the oldest to the youngest in the village, some asking questions, some giving advice, some eager to open boxes, but all in a mood of Gallic gayety and good nature.

The fête opened in the early evening with the christening of a cinema apparatus in the new-old tavern. It was the first time that moving pictures had been shown in Hattonchâtel, and of course it was the inimitable Charlot who furnished the evening's entertainment. While the audience, forgetful alike of packages and promises, applauded his amusing antics, outside the darkness deepened, one by one the stars came out, and night enfolded the village. Then it was that we who had put the finishing touches to the tree and were waiting for the right moment to come turned on the lights.

Standing in the square in the sheltered angle of an old ruin, this real monarch of the forest towered above the red-tiled roofs of the near-by cottages. In its branches glittered gewgaws and baubles and scores of gayly colored electric birds, the brilliance culminating at the top in an amber star, big and bright and beautiful.

Tumbling out of the hall into the unlighted street, stumbling in the dark and fumbling for their lanterns, suddenly their quick eyes saw above the roofs the star of the Christmas tree, and as if in reverence those simple village folk stopped laughing, stopped talking, and quietly, wonderingly, came to where it beckoned them. They were all there old men and old women, their backs bent with toil, poilus in horizon blue home on furlough, mothers with babies in arms, and lonely children whose mothers and fathers were lost in the horror of war, all were there gazing with hungry eyes at the fairy tree. At the first strains of familiar music, though (for we had brought a fiddler

from Nancy), their attitude changed; smiles broke over their bronzed faces and slowly they began to dance the almost forgotten peasant dances of the days before the war.

And the star of the Christmas tree shone bright above them.

The dancing ended, we went into one of the recently rebuilt houses, long, low, and rambling, as it was three hundred years ago, and there, amid much merriment, the distribution of gifts was made. No one of the rooms being large enough to hold the whole company, we were scattered through the house in a series of connecting rooms following the line of the ancient walls of the village, for it must be remembered that Hattonchâtel, shaped like an Indian arrowhead, is so narrow that all the houses near the point necessarily have for their foundations the undestroyed centuriesold ramparts. It was in the cellar of this very house, indeed, that Guillaume de Haraucourt was captured, that crafty Bishop of Verdun who, at the instigation of Louis XI, invented an iron cage for the torture of political prisoners, and by the irony of fate and the order of his Sovereign became himself for years an occupant of the hideous device. But he and those others whose bloody deeds made history in this old, old village on the high hill passed forgotten that night. Mirth ruled. Gifts were exhibited and exchanged, healths were proposed and drunk in the champagne of the country, a grab-bag with its sporting chances caused riotous amusement, and the children screamed with delight when the plum pudding, "on fire," as they said, was carried through the rooms on a silver salver quite in the English manner by two young men dressed as chefs.

The hours passed quickly. Too soon the hands of the clock pointed to quarter before twelve. It was Christmas Eve, and suddenly above the music and laughter the church bell rang out loud and clear, mingling, as always in France, its religious appeal with its note of joy. The moment to separate had come. Good-nights were said, good wishes were exchanged, the Christmas party of 1921 was over, but in the cold, still winter air the star of the tree shone steadily on, lighting the way to the church, and the bell, peal following peal, called us to the mass.

As we entered the church vague pictures floated before our minds of other Christmas masses said there in the days of long ago, when cardinals in red robes officiated and dukes and princes knelt in prayer and choirs of priests chanted the service. This night there was no such glory of greatness. There were only a few Lorraine peasants and two strangers worshiping together in the partially restored church of a half-forgotten village in the valley of the Woëvre. The altar with its simple bouquets of common flowers and the cheap portable organ about which was grouped the village choir bore no resemblance to the magnificence of the service in other days,

nor did the Crêche, poor and crude, recall the Nativity as it is represented in the churches of great cities on Christmas Eve. But the wonderful "Calvaire" by Ligier Richier was there, brought back from Metz, where the Germans had taken it, and once more in its place at the side, and the tablet to the Soldier Dead was there beneath the crossed flags of France and America, and when that group of humble peasants, their eyes uplifted, sang "Noël," a thrill went through one that comes not save when the soul is touched.

The hour passed, the service ended,

and as we went out again into the night I found myself near an old white-haired man, the doyen of the village, who offered to escort me to the house. The weather had changed; the sky was black and threatening, an icy wind from the north cut our faces, the lights of our lanterns flickered, and the darkness of the street seemed darker.

immobile face took on an expression almost of affection as, pointing in the direction of the tree, he said, quietly, "Cette étoile nous apporte un nouveau courage."

It was a pretty thought-the star of the Christmas tree at Hattonchâtel a star of hope and courage and faith. Shining brightly in the hilltop village,

But the star of the Christmas tree it shed its light on the little ruined hamshone on.

The old man noticed it and, turning towards me-tall, wrinkled, bronzed, looking more like an Indian chieftain than a French peasant-his ordinarily

lets in the wide valley below, confirming to that people whose name is courage the hope of France in America as it symbolized to us America's faith in France.



T is Christmas Eve, and I'm on my way home for the holidays. But I'm not on a sleeper with screaming wheels, nor on a vessel whose engines sob and pulse and heave, nor in a motor on a 25-miles-an-hour speed limit highway-skimming along blithely at fortyfive. I'm driving that obsolescent creature known as a horse. We've already come forty miles; two more, and we shall be at home.

You might well suppose that my journey has been over a prairie; but it has been through wild-woods all the way. From Charleston, the road parallels the coast to Georgetown, sixty miles distant; and the only breaks in the flanking forests are certain starved clearings. It would be hazardous to say that this land is cultivated; for much of it is a mere agricultural shambles, wherein crab-grass and sheep-burs have fatally assaulted the legitimate crops of cotton,


peas, and corn. What a planter of the region once pathetically remarked to me is certainly true: "If we could only get people to eat crab-grass instead of corn, some of us here could make a living." True, one passes a few fine estates, such as the great Horlbeck pecan orchard, containing upward of a thousand acres. But most of the dwelling-houses along this road belong to poor Negroes. Of these cabins a word may be said.

They are in general of two types: either old and smoke-grimed and staggering in posture, or else painfully new, with the sap oozing out of their pine boards; often they may be so new as to be unfinished. I mean that a porch or a set of steps may be begun, but left for months and even for years in its state of hopeful beginning. I have known a family to put a roof on one side of a house, and to move in, and actually not to finish the other part of the roof

for a matter of two years. Some people laugh at this sort of thing, and they say that it is just like Negroes to plan and not to execute. My observation leads me to a different feeling and to a different conclusion: I grieve over these cabins; and I know that they are unfinished because their owners are shackled by a dull, uniform, absolute poverty, which is the mother of a fatal inertia. If, for example, a Negro knows a good trade, and can thereby make a little ready money, he will build himself a pretty home, and he will finish it inside and out. But when a man's earthly possessions consist in an acre of barren land, and when he has no market for whatever tiny yields he is able, by weary toil, to scratch out of it, then he exemplifies what Gray meant when he wrote of the power of chill penury to repress noble rage; and what our own Edwin Markham means when he shows us the

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Man with the Hoe-a figure destined, by the poet's genius, to pass forever, with terrible portent and implication, before the eyes and through the heart of mankind.

Of these Negro cabins that greet my eyes on my homeward journey, some are painted. Reds and blues prevail; and these are the more startling because of the loneliness of the landscape on which they flamboyantly kindle. Negroes, like all men, having in their souls the natural yearning after beauty or embellishment of some sort, essay to paint their cabins. But commonly their meager means will permit them to buy only a pint or so of paint. This, when judiciously thinned, will cover two doors and perhaps one window; hence one of the architectural oddities to startle the stranger traveling along this Southern road is the sight of a squatting dim cabin with an alarmingly red door, and two or three shutters "terrifically blue," as Florence Wilkinson says. For simple human reasons I have always been touched by these pathetic displays of a mortal longing, distinct and but faintly assuaged. Many careless observers suppose that the Negro simply quits work; but possibly this little story will show that, given a chance, he will take it about as well as the average man.


Prince had lost his house by fire, the cause of which had been a lath-and-mud chimney. One of the laths had caught fire and had set the house ablaze. helping him plan a new house I was emphasizing the need for a good brick chimney. But he told me he had no bricks and couldn't buy them. I then bethought me of an old brick chimney, all that was left of a rice barn, standing solitary on a plantation some three miles away, and across a river, a swamp, and a creek. I told Prince that I would buy the chimney for him if he would move it. He accepted with alacrity; and for days, in his dugout-cypress canoe whose middle name was Tippy, he crossed the river and the creek. Across the swamp the bricks had to be rolled in a decrepit wheelbarrow. From the final landing they had to be hauled a half mile. Yet all the work-the tearing down of the old chimney, the transportation of the bricks, the building of the new chimney-was done with speed and gladness. They wrong the Negro who point to his poor, house and say that it is a just representation of his inertia. Give him a chance, and he will show you what he can do.

And now I return to my woodland highway that runs on, straight and broad and lonely-a road across which wild turkeys are wont to step warily, marching furtively to their roost; and a road down which deer, when the twilight is come, will pace in mysterious silence, delicately roaming the dim country of the night. Though it is midwinter, there are dewy fragrances allur

me from the wayside, and in the n bays smilax wreathes the tallest

trees and drops great cataracts of densest greenery almost to the forest floor. Soon the woods take on a changed aspect; I come to sparkleberry thickets, scrub-oak hills, giant live-oaks, great hollies that tower sixty feet. In one of these hollies a flock of robins is feasting; and with them are cedar-waxwings and a few silent wood-thrushes. Perhaps three hundred robins are in this one tree or else have immediate designs upon it, for the bare sweet-gums near by are thronged with them, and the holly is their objective. On the gums are massive bunches of mistletoe; and on these the birds feed also; but the pale, cold berries of this mystic parasite seem less attracive than the ruddy holly berries. The changing of the woods means that I am getting near the river; and it means that I'm getting home.

The sun, burning down into the pine crests, sends far through the happy woods shafts of mellow light which touch with tender radiance the peaceful pinelands. High overhead throng flocks of wild fowl, passing to their night feeding-grounds on the delta. On the borders of a bay branch a scattered covey of quail is calling together. Far off I hear Negroes whooping melodiously. And this country is home to me -this glamour-land; and, quoting Comus (not because I admire him), I can say: I know each lane and every alley green,

Dingle and bushy dell of this wild

And every bosky bourne from side to

My daily walk and ancient neighbor-

Fragrant, hung with arras of tattered gold that appears marginal to gorgeous mystery-solitary, beauteous-the midwinter Southern countryside must be compared to the autumn of New Eng

land. Everywhere the evergreens prevail: in bush and tree and vine-in jasmine, in smilax, in pine, holly, cassina, oak, and laurel. Looking upon this wistful and somber aspect of eternal life, I think of Goethe's exquisite lineDie Myrthe still, und hoch der Lorbeer steht.

Of all trees at this season the water-oak is the most arresting in beauty. Although its foliage assumes the most riotous hues, this tree retains all its leaves throughout the winter. The most stately is the live-oak, with prodigious reach of limb, druid-like festooning of gray moss, endless colonies of ferns living along the far-stretched tolerant arms, and with a massive lustrous crown of glossy foliage that confers with skies and stars.

But these woods are not altogether lonely. I pass old friends. First there's a gay cavalcade of amiable deer hunters, happily trespassing on my land, who with high discreetness hail me affectionately by my first name and invite me to kill my own deer. Then there's an old


rice planter, the last of his ancient régime, slowly driving home to his faroff plantation down the river. I stop for some words with him, for he is an ancient friend of mine whom I regard with a feeling akin to reverence. feeling is natural; for this man, now past eighty, but still actively engaged in planting, is the only one in our region who survives of all those who, like him, fought through the four years of the great Civil War. He alone in the plantation district can speak familiarly of Jackson, of Lee, of Thomas, of Custer, of Pickett. He was at Pickett's romantic wedding; he met Custer at Appomattox. Thrice he was wounded; and, though he has often told me of almost every phase of the war, I have yet to hear the first word of bitterness from him. Moreover, he is the one man to whom the Negroes can go for an understanding of matters of genealogy; he seems to know the history of every family of his regionknows it even far back into slavery times. After the planter, I meet many Negroes thronging home for the holidays. Every one has a touch of vivid color about him; it may be a necktie, or a pair of tan shoes, or a bright handkerchief, or, a care-free smile. In the lone forest I hear singing and laughter and shouting, and now and then I catch the sound of a strummed guitar or banjo. Nor is there any incongruity in hearing the sounds of these instruments amid the hushed splendor of the pineland cathedral or the dim and solemn live-oak groves; for most of the melodies are in the minor chord, as perhaps befitting the songs of those who retain in their natures something of the exile's immutable longing.

And now I'm very near home. A quarter of a mile from the house the avenue winds into a clearing. Across

wide pasture lands, happy in the light of the setting sun, the white pillars gleam, the windows glimmer, the friendly great chimneys spouting smoke show that fresh fires have been kindled against the arrival of travelers. On a plantation as remote as this one every guest must needs be a traveler, as every traveler is a guest.

The old home welcomes me as I drive up the winding woodsy road; the old home seems like a human heart, generous, understanding, unchanged by the years, wistful, thoughtful. Not being a believer in public embraces, I forbear to describe the scene that follows. I've always had a suspicion that these effusive ones who display their affections in crowds are likely the last ones to display them at home.

It is twilight now. Suffusing the pinelands with all kinds of garlands and roses, the sun has set. Plantation sounds fill the air. High over the dreamy oaks the thin, sweet music of wild ducks' wings can be heard. From their night haunts in the shrubberies behind the house the migrated whitethroats are calling. I can see tiny

warblers going to roost in the swaying gray banners of moss. From the stockade where the deerhounds are kept I hear a joyous clamor. They know very well that a hunt is afoot for to-morrow. From the stable yard come the voices of the Negroes, singing, shouting, and breaking into peals of infectious laughter. On the broad steps of home, in the dusk, I talk with many Negroes who have come to see me. Their types are interesting.

Gabriel, the hunter, wants to know how soon I can join him in the pursuit of a buck that he has been "saving" for me all year; and from under his coat he produces a marvelous otter hide as a Christmas present. This wily creature he has trapped with a skill that few even among the ranks of expert woodsmen possess. His knowledge of woodland affairs is in singular contrast to the ignorance of wild life of that great army of people, otherwise intelligent, who really wouldn't know the difference between a drumming grouse and a flying buttress.

Martha, one of the members of an elder race, and for half a century the very soul of fidelity to my family, comes to tell me how Germantown, the name of the village where she lives (it is on the borders of the plantation) has guarded its fair civic name during my absence. A strange Negro, it seems, had come to Germantown, a settlement of Negroes of the very best type. This newcomer had behaved in a very shifty manner; and, as a result, he had been strictly ostracized. Martha put the matter to me most graphically when she said: "He has no principles; so we 'hibit [prohibit] him, and we 'hibit his hog." It would not do merely to punish the man by a show of outraged decency, but he must be given to understand that, since he would not behave himself, his stock should not enjoy free range. Possibly there are several other communities in our country which would be uplifted morally if the attitude of the better people toward any brazen sinner was to "hibit him and 'hibit his hog." Martha's earnestness gave me a very lively sense of the real depth of her morality.


comes now a messenger on horseback. It is a Negro from a neighboring plantation, and he has brought a message from a boyhood chum, who wants to know if I cannot join him on a Christmas deer hunt, and then dine at his place. Appreciating the frailty of human nature, the messenger adds that the mint bed down at his master's place hasn't been frozen.

Suddenly our attention is attracted to the approach of a most massive figure toiling slowly down the avenue. It is a huge Negro.

"Here comes the crowd," mutters Prince, with an infectious chuckle.

Seven miles has he walked, seven sandy ones. It is Hacklus Manigo, a Negro of very singular and admirable type. Like most stout people, he has a keen mind, and he is well read. Until he became so heavy he used to be an engineer on a river steamer; and he belonged to a religious sect known as "the Sanctified Ones." Now, some people will smile at that; but, knowing Hacklus, I have never taken his religion mirthfully. By the light of a dingy lantern, in the oily and grimed cabin of a Santee River steamer, "in the dead vast and middle of the night," I have had him expound to me, with the sad penetration of naïve intelligence, the Gospel of St. John. His tiny Bible was thumbed and stained with oil. Hacklus always carried it with him; and he carried its contents in his heart. And because of that the owner of the steamer has told me that Hacklus was the best engineer on the coast; that, amid a thousand temptations to drink, he was ever Round the corner of the house there sober; that, while the other boat-hands

Prince, the wood ranger and plantation watchman, tells me in his quiet fashion how he has been trying to look out for the place, and how he has had several encounters with poachers and plunderers. He has but one remark to make about all these rapparees and land pirates. "I make them ca' sail." Possibly no expression that the Negroes use is more vivid. The trespassers were made to "crowd their canvas," as Tennyson says. Prince also tells me of the misfortune of old Cudjo, a plantation charge, whose mule had died from the effects of a slip-knot's having been tied about its neck; and Prince has the humor to suggest that creatures more intelligent than mules get into difficulties with slip-knots.

would wander off when the steamer touched at a town, this man was ever at his post. Kipling has hymned his McAndrews; in incomparably minor tones, but with not a whit less admiration, I can hymn this thoughtful black engineer. And now he's come to talk with me a while-not of hunts and of woodcraft, not of the affairs of the day and of the hour, but of the things of the spirit. "It's all in these two things," I hear him say, toward the end of our talk: "To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God;' and, 'I am the resurrection and the life.'" I never hear those tremendous words without thinking of Hacklus Manigo; for his life has helped to teach me what they really



On the plantation dinner is usually served at night; and as I go into the dining-room I can see that every one is waiting for me to hear a story. It happens to be so human and so typical that it will bear telling. Its gentle satire is as harmless as it is delicious.

"Oh, do you know," my raconteur says, launching forth eagerly, "that the old Holbrook Randolph place has been sold? But it has been bought by such people! They've made money in fertilizer; they came originally from Oil City. Such hideous materialism! Well, of course they had to alter everything about the fine old place. And even the approach has been changed. The avenue now winds to the back door, which has been remodeled and made the entrance! Of course," comes the salient comment, "people of that kind never could get used to going into the Randolphs' front door!"

Festive is a plantation dinner table, with a huge haunch of venison, a wild turkey, snowy pyramids of steaming rice, crisp brown corn breads, and Bahama sweet potatoes, the sugar oozing out of their loose jackets. And there's the fellowship. And there are the plans for the morrow. Merrily the firelight plays on the frieze of stags' horns circling the room; it gleams on the faded paintings; warmly it enters and is lost among the lavish festoons of holly, myrtle, cassina, mistletoe, and smilax that deck the room.

When once more I go out on the broad porch, the moon has risen, striking sil ver lances through the misty river fens. Far off I can hear the Negroes singing their Christmas spirituals. They rise, those humble hymns, to the Creator in his mighty fane. The night has magic about it; I think of Whitman's superb phrase, "the huge and thoughtful night." Over the earth there is the sense of some serene arrival. The stars seem aware; the world is about to commemorate the coming of Love. And here, on this lonely plantation, even the humblest heart can feel that this is God's Holy Night; even the weariest heart can feel that all shall be well for them who love the Christ, and who, like Hacklus Manigo, try to walk humbly with their God.



NE of the few long-distance woodfuel river trips remaining in the Western Hemisphere is the journey from Fort McMurray, Alberta, to the delta of the Mackenzie River. The distance to and fro is three thousand miles. The steamers, loaded, draw three feet or less; in the shallow places that abound in the Athabasca River and the lake, soundings must be taken by two men stationed in the prow, and serpentine progress is slow. The paddle-wheels are nineteen and sixteen feet in diameter. The sixteen-foot paddle-wheel, which is that of the steamer that does four-fifths of the journey, below the rapids, at which the larger steamer transfers its freight, makes six revolutions per minute at two miles an hour, twenty-two revolutions at nine miles an hour, twenty-seven revolutions at its extreme speed of fourteen miles an hour. As the current of the river varies from two to six miles an hour, the pace is considerably accelerated or retarded as one goes downstream or up-stream. At nine miles an hour the fires eat three-quarters of a ton of four-foot spruce logs; at fourteen miles an hour the fuel consumption is about a cord.

Men spend the winter in the forest on the edge of the great stream to cut this wood and pile it on the bank. The serviceable timber is spruce. The black poplar (also called balm of Gilead and cottonwood) is plentiful, and it bulks as large, but it lacks the pith and stamina to make good fires. The little dry logs burn fast; logs cut with the sap in them and exuding the stickiest of gum last longer. There is as great a variation in the wood and in the way it is piled as in the men who cut it and leave it for the steamboat to find. One man who works alone, with a sled which he hauls himself instead of using dogs, has reared many a perishable monument to himself at a cost of $4 a cord to the company employing him. He saws at right angles; he piles at right angles; he builds a square bastion at each end of the pile. His work is the admiration of the rivermen. The wood-pile built by the Indian is likely to be of little old logs, too thin and too long dried, which look at the ends as if they had been chewed off by dogs or whittled the way some women sharpen a pencil.

One man last December, working alone, froze his foot. Then he amputated the toes with his jack-knife. Blood poisoning set in, and he lay helpless till he was rescued in April. Indians sent to search out his solitary hut returned to Norman and reported that there was no one in his cabin. A constable of the Mounted Police then went, found poor McCreery, with a small f flour beside him, scraping the com between the logs of his miserhack. A doctor at Fort Norman


treated the foot, and is said to have charged $600. Our boat two months later burned the wood McCreery had cut and piled, and found it good.

If the axman piles the logs on the verge of the river, where it is most convenient for the boats, he may lose in a moment the fruit of his long toil. When the ice goes out of the rivers in June, it has no mercy on the banks. All along the stream the turf overhangs the rich black loam, which may be frozen to within a foot and a half of the surface. There is a continuous plashing of mud lumps into the water, as if fish were leaping. Stalwart and flourishing trees still stand at the very edge, but the dead gray trunks that have fallen into the stream, that perhaps will drift to the Arctic Ocean by and by, forecast the fate of the trees that still defy the undermining of the water and the frost.

Hence the wood-pile usually stands a hundred feet or so back from the ragged rim of the waterway. Thence it must be "toted" in the arms or on the shoulders of the crew, or of restive passengers desirous of exercise. Some are two-log and some are four-log, or even five-log men. The logs are thrown one by one into a narrow chute that reaches to the deck, and if the boat cannot tie up directly under the bank it may be necessary to use the wide, long gang-plank as well as the chute. If the slant of the chute is steep, the logs come cascading down speedily and violently; if the slope is gradual, it is necessary to direct a stream of water constantly upon it to keep it slippery.

The process of getting the wood aboard is more complex and cumbersome than the description intimates. In the way of an onslaught on the wood-pile there may be chevaux-de-frise of logs living, dying, and dead. It takes the eye of faith sometimes to discern timbers freshly cut and piled among those that are as nature or the wrack and ruin of the mighty wind and the battering of the ice left them. If the pilot lets the boat overshoot the almost indistinguishable mark in the hundreds of miles of

Other articles by Mr. Waldo on the River


country will be pub

lished in later issues

serrated spruce fringe, the boat is as helpless without fuel as a man is without food.

Your steamship fueled with coal or oil may seem animate, and not an impersonal machine, but one of these woodburning river boats is much closer to a breathing, vital, human organism. It coughs red sparks upon the river as if these were the drops of its own blood; and it is indeed a dangerous contagion that is shed abroad therewith. For its length-but one hundred and forty-five feet-this boat is a rapacious creature. It must have meals several times an hour; and no half-portions, but an Eskimo feast, to the inelastic capacity of the ribs of the fire-box. One is inclined to believe that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would have declined to serve in the fire-pit of a Mackenzie steamer. Yet an Alberta lumberjack at $45 a month, spectacled against the hot white glare, takes a log as the wood-passer hands it to him from every nook and cranny the freight leaves free. He yanks open the alarming jaw of Fafner with as little ceremony as if he were a traveling dentist and the furnace were the mouth of a baggy Indian squaw. As the bottom of the fire-pit is six feet below the deck, he must receive the big log at the level of his head as it is slid over the brink, and while flame breathes at him from the firing-front he may be getting a shower of dust and minute pieces of bark as he turns to take the log in his gloved hands.

He must follow the log all the way in -and the gloves are not asbestos. It often seems as if the hands were bathed in flame; even so Latimer and Ridley and the rest of the glorious book of martyrs must have approached the stake. Frequently after the monstrous morsel is lodged in the capacious maw it takes the wrong turning, and must be straightened. If it is too solidly lodged for a swift turn of the wrist to set it right, then-and only then-the fireman deigns to use an eight-foot poker of iron pipe. As he turns his sooty face up to you and smiles, he does not think he has done anything; but it is like the smile of Christian after he had discomfited the fiend Apollyon, who straddled over the whole breadth of the way and said, "Here will I spill thy soul." As the man on high in the pilot-house must, like Palinurus, keep his rudder true, even so the sweating gnome below, with oil on his burns, must keep the needle of the steam-gauge pointing to 175 pounds, or the engineer comes bustling from his piston-rods and link-heads to know why. Behind the whole rocking lumber shanty is the wheel-the great wheel throwing out small rapids that ripple clear across the river, frightening the young wild ducks that cannot fly and fairly leap out of the way and toss

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