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2. The Gulf of Georgia is land-locked for a length of some two hundred miles, with a breadth of fifty or sixty; its blue surface is dotted with innumerable islands rising grandly out of the water and covered with primeval forests, in which here and there appear lovely spaces of natural pasture.
3. Along the mainland the horizon is shut in by snowcapped mountains, above which towers the cone of Mount
Baker, an extinct volcano some 13,000 feet high. On
canoes, the banks are dotted with Indian villages, and the dwellers are swarming around in blankets of many hues. After about ten hours' steaming amidst the most delightful
scenery possible, we entered the Fraser River, and soon came in sight of Westminster, the capital of British Columbia.
5. The town is often called Stump-ville—a suitable name, for the blackened stumps of the huge cedars and pines of the forest clearing stand forth in every direction.
6. We got quickly on board a river steamer to go as far as Fort Yale, the head of the Fraser River navigation. I do not suppose that such another river has ever been navigated by steamers at all, for at some places near Yale the current is never less than twelve or fourteen miles an hour, and the whole course is full of dangers of every kind.
7. At a spot ten miles below Yale, called Hell's Gate, this river of 1200 miles in length flows through a channel in the rocks only 160 feet wide; the sides are nearly vertical, and the high-water mark in the summer, when the snows have melted) is no less than one hundred feet above low-water mark in winter.
8. The rest of our journey into the Cariboo countryabout 400 miles-was to be on foot. The scenery was grand; many of the mountains rise to a height of 8000 to 10,000 feet, are snow-capped and rugged.
9. But we missed the signs of life which relieve the monotony of nature. Sometimes we passed the log-hut of a patient hermit, who tried to eke out a living by selling liquid poison to the unhappy way-farer.
10. One pleasant feature of journeying through the mountains is the never-failing supply of cool, delicious water, which comes tumbling down in little rills, now and then varied by a fine water-fall, as some stream leaves its bed of snow to swell the torrent beneath.
11. We met some Indians neglecting their hunting and fishing to gain the dollars of the white man by making
themselves beasts of burden. As usual with savages,
the wretched squaws had the worst of it, and carried the heaviest loads.
12. John Chinaman, too, dwells in this region; he likes to carry his burden divided into two portions, one at either end of a pole which rests on his shoulder. The patient industry of this race is to be commended.
13. Turning into the valley of the Thompson River we found the cañons? more rugged and dismal even than those of the Fraser River; here were nothing but rocks whereon even the hardy fir refused to vegetate.
14. Pushing on we came to low banks infested by mosquitos, and soon our faces took the appearance of wellboiled oranges smeared over with beet-root.
15. We now gained the summit of a table-land, and after a little adventure, in which we were deprived of our mules and packs for a time by robbers, we arrived in safety at William's Creek.
LESSON 58. GOLD-SEEKERS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.-II.
1. We found old Jack (whom we had left in charge of our claim) dressing marten skins. “I am glad to see you again, my boys, for the only live things I have seen these two months have been these critters (the martens), and a cariboo (a kind of elk from which the district takes its name) that I shot a while ago. His antlers were near six feet across.
2. The winter had been long, and the cold severe. As for our pit, the water came in faster than we could pump
i Cañons (pronounced Can-yons) are deep, narrow gorges, with steep, rocky walls, common in the course of many rivers of Western North America.
it out, and our labour of the past three seasons had to be abandoned for want of proper machinery.
2. Pat and I determined to have one more try, this time as prospecters' on entirely new ground. We bought flour, bacon, and provision for a month; took a pick, shovel, and prospecting-pan, and shaped our course towards Bear River, with loads of a hundred pounds a-piece.
4. Though it was the end of May, the snow was still three feet deep in the woods, and travelling was difficult. There was no track to follow, and we kept as near the river as we could.
5. We plodded on for several days and entered the warmer climate of the river-valley beyond the Cariboo table-land. Meadows skirted the river, forests clothed the hill slopes, and towering above were jagged black mountain peaks, while far away beyond them were seen through the clear air the stupendous summits of the Rocky Mountains.
6. At night we heard the cry of the moose-deer, the growl of the bear and the scream of the coyote; in the daytime grouse and partridges whirred across us at every step. We lived on game and fish.
7. But we always had an eye on the main-chance, and tried our prospecting-pan in many a likely-looking spot. One night a bear seemed bent upon making a supper of us, and we with difficulty shot him. Next morning we tried the creek for gold.
8. Presently Pat shouted, "Come here, Dick!" "What is the matter, another bear?” said I. “What's that do you think?" said he, poking his finger into the dirt which he had half washed in the pan.
1 A prospecter is a pioneer among miners: his object is to discover places which will yield gold to the miner.
9. “Oh, Bridget, sure you will be a lady now! Patrick! you are a gentleman for life!” said he, and he sprang up and danced with delight.
10. I looked into the pan and saw nothing but dirt, and thought Pat must have gone mad. . “Stir it round with your fingers man!” I did so, and a moment after saw a yellow glitter through the mass—the corner of a little nugget the size of a walnut!
a 11. How we gloried in our new-found treasure! We measured off two hundred feet a-piece down the creek (the extent allowed for a discovery claim), drove fir stakes deep into the ground to mark our lots, and wrote our names in pencil on their smooth ends.
12. We hid part of our provisions, returned to the gold commissioner to register our claims, and in due time came back with the necessary supplies for mining. In five months we found ourselves the possessors of a very considerable sum.
13. Pat was wiser than I. He took passage home, and after I had lost all my money in an unlucky trading expedition up the coast to the Aleutian Isles, I received a letter from him stating that he and Bridget were settled on a little freehold farm close to his old home, and inviting me to come and prospect” the Wicklow Mountains.
14. I have tried many occupations in the Far West, and have come to the conclusion that in order to find success an emigrant must work hard-he must have Muscle. Brains alone are useless; Money and Brains together will thrive. But any man strong to work, who chooses to abstain from drink, is sure of success in the end.
-R. B. Johnson (aclapted).