At the time of our story Fort Dunvegan was still a place of considerable importance; but owing to the rapid decimation of the Indians by disease it was even then beginning to lose prestige, and in the first years of the present century it was abandoned by the Hudson's Bay Company and also by the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. However, the ancient trails which converge at this point continue to be used because the settlers found no better crossing than the one selected by the savages and herds of buffalo thousands of years before, so that Dunvegan today (1925) has the distinction of being provided with a good ferry.
When Mr. Findlay took charge at Dunvegan there were about fifty Beaver Indian families trading there, which would not be more than one-fourth the number which assembled there for that purpose when the post was first established, a decrease which might be regarded as indicating the proportionate reduction within that period in the numbers of the entire tribe.
The Beavers were at one time the most powerful and warlike of the northern tribes. It is believed that the river of their country, called in their language Oon-che-ga, the large river, later came to be named Peace River in commemoration of a treaty of peace entered into on its banks when they and the Slavies, who were their allies, Woked the pipe of peace with the Crees who had invaded their territory from the direction of Lake Athabasca.
Another reminder of the bellicose character of the tribe and their prowess as well is contained in the name of the neighbouring tribe to the north, who are called Slaves or Slavies, on account of the Beavers, who are larger and more pugnacious--and possibly lazier--having subjected them to a sort of slavery. Another indication that this tribe could once claim great strength, numerical and otherwise, remains until now, in the facts that the Sarsees near Calgary, five hundred miles south of Edmonton, the Sikannis west of the Rockies and north of St. John's, and the Nahannis in the Liard country, speak practically the same language--that of the Onchega, aborigines, who called themselves Tsa-o-ti-ni, the Beaver people. Doubtless although the Beavers are the parents of the others named, today they are to be found at only widely separated points along the Peace River, and number all told less than one hundred.
When Mr. Findlay took charge, Fort Dunvegan consisted of seven houses, three of them ordinary log buildings finished off with the approved mud-washed walls and barked roofs. These were the men's houses. The others were larger and more pretentious, having whitewashed walls and shingled roofs. One was the officers' quarters, a second was the office, another the saleshop, and the fourth was the provisions store, used also for stowing away dog-sleighs and harness. In addition to these there was also a stable, where a few head of cattle were kept over winter.
As Mr. Findlay knew that he would be returning to Dunvegan with a wife, he had put in a good deal of time and labour the previous winter in making the interior of the big house neat and comfortable to the extent that means were available, a limit which in certain directions was very soon reached, for it was an unwritten law with the Company that its employees should bear in mind the cost of transport, and except in cases otherwise provided, as one might say, eschew the use of imported goods. In regard to furs, it was not in order to use them as rugs, robes or clothing, or in any other way divert them from the regular channels of the fur trade into others of a private or domestic character. For these reasons Mr. Findlay's house furnishings did not include imported furniture or valuable rugs; but "love never faileth" and between patience and elbow grease he got what he wanted or substitutes for them.
In the matter of a rug, this is what happened.
An unfortunate ox, possessed of a beautiful black coat and an adventurous nature, grazing one day on the brink of a four hundred foot precipice known as Le Gros Cap, which stands one hundred and fifty yards back of the fort, and venturing a little too far after the succulent buffalo grass, the earth gave way under his weight, and he was hurled through space, landing for an instant on his head on a ledge half way down, thereby breaking his neck, so that his sufferings were over by the time he reached the flat. Its glossy hide being removed and nicely dressed, it made an effective and not inelegant rug for Mrs. Findlay's bedroom; and as Mrs. Findlay looked on this and many other evidences of her husband's forethought and affection, that love which "suffereth long and is kind" enabled her to see a beauty in everything; and her spontaneous and unstinted praise made her husband glad, not only because it was such a pleasure to see her so pleased and happy, but also because, manlike, it flattered him to believe that he had proved to his wife that he was a man of taste.
The Dunvegan flat on which stands the fort is on the north bank of the river, and is surrounded by scenery which entitles it to be regarded as one of the many beauty spots of the country. From this flat the south bank is seen to be thickly covered with spruce and other trees, presenting a mantle of green which reaches down evenly but rather abruptly from the table land to the river. The north bank is clearer and slopes back more gradually, extending half a mile before reaching the plateau. This plateau is nine hundred feet above the river. The descent, however, from this to the lower level is easily made either afoot or with a vehicle, as the wagon road, which follows a dry ravine, enables one to reach the flat on a fairly easy and uniform grade.
When the brigade arrived with the year's outfit of merchandise there were lively times on the Dunvegan flat, until the Indians had been outfitted and had left for their winter hunting grounds. This some of them were willing enough to do because of the trouble they were having with their horses; for most of them had horses and each of them tried to keep his own little band apart from those of the others, and to that end placed a stallion in charge, whose duty it was to guard his band against other stallions or wolves or dogs, or in fact any mortal creature except a human being. These stallions were heroic creatures; but they were also covetous and insatiable, and it not unfrequently happened that one of them would rob another of his last mare and chase the horse himself out of sight. Such a thing, however, never happened without a battle.
One day two of these animals started a fight right among the tents on the Dunvegan flat. In this instance, as usual, it was the heavyweight horse which was the aggressor. He made a dash after an animal under the care of a smaller stallion; but that smaller animal after the manner of stallions had no intention of submitting tamely to any such treatment, and fought bravely for his rights. And in the meantime great was the excitement in the camp. Men shouted, squaws screamed, and children fled to their mothers or their tents. Of course in a little while the smaller horse was being worsted, to the sorrow of all impartial observers, who were also lovers of fair play. Then it was that his owner, who was no featherweight, seeing how things were going, took a hand with a tent-pole, which he brought down upon the fierce aggressor with such force that it made him shake his bead and take to his heels. That, however, did not end the fighting, for the owner of the larger horse, being aggrieved over the tent-pole handicap, said things to the owner of the small horse which that gentleman did not feel called upon to stand, so throwing down the tent-pole the two of them went at it with their fists, and the man with the lighter horse having the heavier body knocked his opponent about in great style, and if he did not reduce his stock of hair by a fistful, it was only because it was stuck on so hard, or because its owner preferred being pulled about instead of plucked. Truly, Beavers and horses in their natural state are pugnacious creatures.
It will be seen from the foregoing that the annual social gathering at the fort in autumn had its disadvantages.
In outfitting the Indians Mr. Findlay had three assistants, viz., Mr. George Kidd, clerk; Mr. Pierre Poitras, Postmaster; and his son, Louis, who was Beaver Indian interpreter.
As soon as the Indians had taken their departure there was the usual laying down of plans for the winter, so that work might be carried on systematically, and no one given a chance to get into mischief for lack of something useful to do.
Mr. Findlay tried to insist on Mrs. Findlay having a good easy time as long as she could.
He told her, "You had better install the same woman in the kitchen who was housekeeper for Mr. Kidd and me last winter."
"No thank you," said she. "What do you think a wife is for? Besides, I am liable to mischief like other folks, and I think you must know by this time that I am a very busy body. However, as one who has promised to obey, I offer this as a compromise--let it be the daily duty of one of the men to place wood and water in the kitchen every morning sufficient for the day, and I will arrange for a woman to come in and do the washing and scrubbing once a week."
That evening at tea, Mrs. Findlay consulted Mr. Findlay and Mr. Kidd as to their preferences in the matter of preparing their rations. She said, "As it has to be a case of meat three times a day, I should like to know your tastes beforehand, so that I may know how to work in my variations."
Mr. Findlay laughed and said, "If the moose-hunters don't kill, you won't have much trouble over the variations."
"Ah, sir, if ever the day comes when we shall have to do on half rations, it is then that you will know the kind of a cook you have installed in the big house. We were short of meat for a time at Fort Liard and Mrs. Donald and I made a special study of how to make one pound of meat go as far as two, and Mr. Donald used to say that in all the years of his stay in the North, he had never had his meals dished up more to his liking. It is wonderful what can be done with lots of vegetables and grease, some flour and a little ingenuity."
"I have noticed it," said Mr. Kidd. "Probably Mr. Donald and I have similar tastes. At any rate, I am prepared to say as he said, and after what I have enjoyed here it would be audacity on my part to hint at anything different from what suits you. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. I wonder if Miss Linden is a good cook?"
Mrs. Findlay replied, "I rather think she is; but one thing you can be certain of--whatever Mary Linden does will be done as well as she can."
"Good girl! Good girl! In fact I think she is too good for me."
Mr. Findlay looked at Mrs. Findlay and said, "I wonder why we all feel that way?"
She answered, "Because good men could not feel any other way about a woman; and I'll tell you something, only don't tell on me. We poor things feel the same towards our men. Ha-ha! Ha-ha!"
The gentlemen looked at each other and shook their heads dubiously, and then Mr. Kidd said, "Well, I am sure that if the poor things think so they are very much mistaken."
Mrs. Findlay said, "Well Mr. Kidd, whatever you do with Miss Linden after she becomes Mrs. Kidd, don't make the mistake that Postmaster Bernard made with his young wife. You know he was married last winter."
Both gentlemen had heard of the event and Mr. Findlay asked, "How is the old gentleman getting along?"
In answering this question Mrs. Findlay told the following story, which she prefaced with the remark, "As you are aware Mr. Bernard has an exalted opinion of the position of an officer in the service of the Honourable Hudson's Bay Company, so when he married a Tukudh girl, who, by the way, is twenty-five years his junior, he felt that he would have to do some uplifting, even although Martha Tukudh had been two years a servant for the wife of a Company's officer and one year for the wife of a missionary. If his junior partner was to share in the dignity and honours of his position, it was, of course, but fair that she should share in the responsibility of maintaining these as well. So in due course she was installed in an easy chair in the parlour, and seriously informed by her partner that she was to regard that room as her proper place; and that from there she was to issue her orders to the woman who had been engaged as her servant. Naturally, Mrs. Bernard soon became afflicted with the trouble of the. North and was 'thinking long,' and being a sociable creature, and, most likely, having a fellow-feeling for Madelain, who was in that state of life from which she had been so recently called, she moved into the kitchen, and was enjoying a good chat with Madelain over the local happenings of the day, when who should enter quite unexpectedly but Mr. Bernard himself, who kindly but very solemnly thus addressed her: 'Now Mrs. Bernard, this is no place for you. The idea of an officer's wife to be staying in the kitchen.'"
After the three of them had enjoyed a wholesome laugh, Mr. Findlay said, "Of course, had Mrs. Bernard been a different sort of person, like you, for instance, Mr. Bernard might not have felt that way about it."
"Well perhaps," came the reply, "he might have felt that way, but had he so expressed himself he would have been made to feel that the kitchen was no place for him."
Afterwards in the kitchen of the big house Mr. Findlay often repeated those words--"the idea of an officer's wife to be staying in the kitchen"; but the only effect it had upon the lady who presided there was to make her laugh with pleasure, because her officer himself liked the place so well, and unquestionably because he liked the cook.
When Mrs. Findlay had told the anecdote about Mr. Bernard, Mr. Kidd said, "I can quite understand Mr. Bernard's point of view, even if, under like circumstances, I might not feel like copying his methods. The feeling of dignity attached to the position of Hudson's Bay officer has not had very much time to grow in my case; but I am conscious of it out of regard for the Company as well as myself. Like Mr. Bernard I know what it was to have been a labourer in the service among other common labourers, and that helps to make We more susceptible to the feeling. I am conscious of having to dress and act up to the new part--that of ookimasis, little master, and when I go among my former fellow-workmen I am conscious that they respect me the taore, because instead of busying myself with work like theirs any more I keep my hands in my pockets and simply give them their orders. Truly of all the creatures which God has made, man is the funniest of them all."
Mr. Findlay said, "It is the Company's policy to leave their officers as free as possible to give their whole attention to the fur trade, and to oversee rather than take part in such work as boating, dog-driving, carpentering and the like; yet the Company is well aware that under certain circumstances a departure from such a rule is permissible and even desirable. It is, therefore, for each officer to use his own judgment as to when the circumstances existing call for such a departure. And should he deem it advisable to take part in the work of those who are under him, let him rest satisfied that if he does so judiciously, there is more likely to be a sacrifice of conceit and laziness than of dignity. Nevertheless, this I say, let the wise officer keep his place, mind his own business and the Company's, and make those who are under him do the same.
"Now let me see if I can tell as good a story as Mrs. Findlay. But first let us draw up our chairs before the cheerful fire.
"The moral of my story is this: Never mind what a man may be, he must be prepared to let his dignity go by the board sometimes.
"This happened to our esteemed friend Mr. Bayard only a year or so after he was married. He was travelling northward with Mrs. Bayard, via Lake Winnipeg, in a York boat, the crew of which was comprised of eight men, one of whom was, like himself, newly married, and he also had his young wife along. The voyage was a wretched one and on the second day out there was a constant drizzling rain, mingled with sleet that chilled them to the bone. When night was coming on they found themselves far from the safe
harbour they had expected to reach earlier in the day, so it was decided to make a landing somewhere at all hazards. As the boat was lightly loaded and the lake not very rough, they succeeded in landing on what looked in the pitchy darkness like an unsheltered point or island, on which nothing was discernible except sand and boulders. They had then been six hours without food, and during most of that time it had been raining, and it was raining still. Fortunately the guide had had the forethought to cache away some kindling and a few dry billets in the prow of the boat. This at least assured to the crew the means of making tea and of obtaining a little warmth for a few minutes, after which they would have to crawl under the wet boat covers, and do the best they could guided entirely by the sense of feeling. It was then that Mr. and Mrs. Bayard decided to throw their dignity to the winds, and after consultation with the guide, an invitation was issued to the crew to be their guests for the night.
"Their tent was the only one in the party, and it was stretched to full capacity, and the fire kindled as near within as was practicable. Then the men were invited to fetch their bedding and provisions and place them under cover. Mrs. Bayard confesses that she would not have seconded Mr. Bayard's invitation as cheerfully as she did had she not been moved by curiosity to see how eight people could be squeezed into a tent intended for four. The tent was lit by two candles fastened one to each pole. After tea, to which Mrs. Bayard contributed a treat in the form of biscuits and preserves, the next thing was to assign the men their respective places. The Bayardi and the other married couple slept between the poles, tying across the tent, and the others lay along the eaves °ne at either end, beside the married folks, and two at their feet. For some hours after they had all been wrapped in peaceful slumber, there occurred a sudden and general awakening, caused by a great racket going on somewhere near the centre of the group. It turned out that the married man was subject to cramps, and waking up this night in their clutches, he kicked out with all his might, forgetting about the man at his feet, and that man, as though having visions of a kicking night-mare, gave a shout and struck out vigorously in the direction of the kicks. Loud laughter followed the explanations of the aggressor, and some more followed when his victim asked Mr. Bayard if that was what might be called a case of assault and battery.
"When morning came and the guide discovered where they were, the tent was hastily struck, and very soon a more suitable landing was made, at a spot near which there was known to be a good slough for ducks. Two of the men went away with their guns while the others built a splendid fire. In a short time the men returned with six ducks, and these were soon roasting on as many ponasks before the fire, and when they were done to a turn, the wife of the boatman approached Mrs. Bayard with a juicy mallard transfixed on a ponask and handing it to her said, in Cree, 'This is yours'; and the man who had been battered, speaking for the others, said, 'You treated us like princes last night, and this is as near as we can get to treating you like a queen.'
"When I heard Mr. Bayard tell this story he wound up by saying, 'When Mrs. Bayard and I got a chance to discuss the matter alone we agreed that even supposing we may have sacrificed a little dignity at night it was more than made up to us in the morning in the evident good-will and esteem, of our travelling companions.'"
Mrs. Findlay had spoken of her mission in the North; and during the years she spent there, she never forgot it, and it may be said that it broadened out into one of general usefulness to all sorts and conditions of men, women, and children. She taught the women to knit and crochet and to do other kinds of fancy work, and found them willing and apt pupils. On the other hand they found her so able to understand and sympathize with them in their troubles, that they were quick to seek her advice in cases of sickness, and her treatment was usually successful, possibly because she always got a chance to nip the evil in the bud.
As to her own health, she did not trust to luck or chance, but to Providence and common sense. Few indeed were the days when she and Mr. Findlay did not go out either for a walk or drive in the bracing winter air. Mr. Findlay had four train dogs--large and beautiful creatures they were--and when hitched on to their parchment cariole decked out in their beaded taupes and trings of little bells they seemed highly pleased and looked as if holding their heads a little higher and curling their tails a little more than usual. The regular drive was two miles up the river and return. On the way up they were allowed to trot along gently; but on the two mile home stretch they were encouraged to full peed and usually made the distance in twelve minutes. It was a most exhilarating experience, and Mrs. Findlay used to say of it that there could not possibly be & better antidote for ennui.
In order to brighten the lives of the residents of the fort, the Findlays had a social evening at the big house once a week, at which all were free to attend. Knowing of the bashfulness which afflicted the average woman of the North, Mrs. Findlay was wont to entertain the women in a room by themselves for the first half hour. Then they were invited to join the men in the dining-room, where for the next half hour they enjoyed music instrumental and vocal. Lastly, tea or coffee and buns were handed round, and when at ten o'clock the guests took their departure there was in their "Good-night sir, Good-night ma'm," a ring of sincerity which must have sent their entertainers to their pillows satisfied that this last act of theirs could not be classed among things done which ought not to have been done.
Besides the social evening, Postmaster Poitras once a week took tea at the big house by invitation, and made up a complement of four for an evening at whist. There was no better player in the North than Mrs. Findlay, and during the winter she and her partner Mr. Poitras more than held their own against Mr. Findlay and Mr. Kidd.
The favourite card game in the North at that time, especially among the men, was euchre. The common practice was to play for small stakes, the favourite one being a small plug of tobacco, and this in the course of one winter might accumulate on the winning side to the extent of ten pounds. A similar rule might have been followed by the players at Dunvegan; but Mrs. Findlay put down her foot upon it, and Mr. Poitras, although his card playing had brought him many free smokes, gallantly supported his fair partner, saying, "Sartanlee we don't want a ladee like Madam Finlee to play for tibaccee." And so it was that the card playing at Dunvegan that winter was not given the chance to be as the thin end of the wedge in the evolution of gambling.
On Sunday morning the good rule was followed of having a short religious service taken from the Church of England liturgy. In the evening there was a service of song, which was attended by Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, a happy condition of things for which credit was due to Mr. Kidd, for when he and the Findlaya were arranging the service, he proposed and they agreed that it should always commence with the singing of the Magnificat and end with "Lead Kindly Light." Then he went round and invited everybody, taking special pains when inviting the Poitras and other Roman Catholics, to assure them that the service was to be as Roman Catholic as possible, to which end it was always to commence with "The Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary" and end with a hymn composed by Cardinal Newman. It worked all right, and good was undoubtedly accomplished, showing that, within proper bounds,--"the end justifies the means," and that sometimes it is just as well or better to call a spade by some other name.
The average temperature in winter at Dunvegan was much the same as in the Red River Settlement, there being some days in the former place which were colder than the coldest, and others which were warmer than the warmest in the latter place. This higher rise in the Peace River country is due to its being so much nearer the Pacific, causing it to be so affected by the chinook winds blowing inland from that quarter as to render a thaw even in mid-winter not unlikely. As for the summer it may be from ten days to two weeks shorter; but there being two hours more of sunlight to the day, vegetation is fully more rapid than in many places much farther south. Even at the time of this story the success met with in raising a few vegetables and cereals showed that the country was well suited for agricultural Purposes.
Usually the winter begins to loosen its icy hold on the country about the end of March, and in the beginning of April among the first signs of coming spring there is to be heard the sound of water running down the ravines, which have plowed their way down the slopes in the course of centuries. With its fine southern aspect, the Dunvegan slope is soon divested of its mantle of snow and the virgin soil gets ready to deck itself out in brighter colours; and first of all the drab coloured earth becomes variegated with a light greyish blue, brought about by innumerable bunches of anemone which have suddenly popped through the ground after their magic fashion. Then right soon the grey gives place to a greenish tinge, which tells of springing grass, and over the background of green thus provided, violets yellow and blue are soon thickly sprinkled, then no sooner do these disappear than a beautiful terra cotta flower covers the slopes more thickly than ever, and the green and terra cotta are sprinkled over with tiger lilies, roses and vetches.
An equally interesting but a wild and grander sight was that presented by the freshet in June, when in a day or so the river usually rose twenty-five feet or so above low water level, and within a few feet of the level of the flat upon which the fort stood. The river would then be full of floating trees, many of them of great size, and as they were swept along by a current of not less than seven or eight miles an hour, there certainly was suggested a speed well described in the parlance of the North as "flying along." When Mrs. Findlay, standing beside her husband, beheld for the first time this mighty display of water power, she did so with a feeling akin to awe, and they both had little to say, except to comment on the splendid specimens of timber that were passing, and which indicated very conclusively that in the islands and tributaries farther west there must be timber enough with which to build the homes of a very considerable population.
The country which abounds in flowers is usually well supplied with fruit as well, and it was so on the upper Peace River, where most of the wild fruits found in the Red River valley not only grew in abundance, but were of excellent quality, especially so in regard to raspberries, strawberries and saskatoons.
In the bush the hardwood trees, oak, ash and elm were not to be found and the soft maple also was missing; but there was an abundance of red and white spruce, tamarack, jack pine, balsam, aspen, birch and alder.
In the matter of bird life, the Findlays found no difference. All their bird friends were represented with the single exception of the whip-poor-will.
To the officers who were obliged to remain inland at their posts while the summer transport was being attended to by others, the summer season was one of unspeakable loneliness, and often the sentiments of Dafoe were not only felt, but sometimes, in his words, they were also expressed:
"O solitude! where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place."
The Findlays never had occasion to repeat these lines except when describing how they had heard them recited by some Crusoe of the North. For themselves they harboured no such sentiments, for they found ample charm in each other's love and companionship, in the beauties of creation by which they were surrounded and in the goodness and mercy which daily crowned their lives.
It suited the Findlays admirably to be given the chance of staying inland during the first summer of their married life; and as Postmaster Poitras was quite competent to take charge of the fort until autumn, they laid themselves out to have a real good time by enjoying the freedom of the Peace River country which a kind Providence had seen fit to bestow upon them, and whenever the weather was favourable they either went on a long stroll or a saddle excursion. Their horses were the pick of the Company's band, and were smart in appearance and gentle in disposition. Good horses seem to find pleasure in being ridden by those who treat them kindly, so the two which carried the Findlays on their numerous excursions must have received considerable horse enjoyment, especially when they were guided to some gentle slope where luscious saskatoons grew on detached bushes of a single stem not over two feet in height, where, feeling their reins left slack, the knowing creatures would drop their heads nearly to the ground and taking hold of a stem would raise the head quickly, and in that single movement strip the stem of practically all its berries and a good many leaves as well, then while masticating this sweet morsel they would pass on to other stems and serve them in the same way.
During the summer the Findlays made two longer excursions on saddle. The first was to Grand Prairie, where a Cree who had hunted for the fort during the previous winter had, by arrangement, made preparation for their visit, and had provided a clean, new tent for
their exclusive use, and a supply of the choicest food of the season. The Indian and his wife considered it a great honour to entertain an Ookimao and Ookimaskwao for two whole days, and they did so without any feeling of awkwardness because of the tactfulness of their guests, who also had the advantage of perfectly understanding their language and manners. So greatly was Mrs. Findlay impressed with the affectionate and withal respectful bearing of their Indian hostess, that when presenting her with a scissors at the end of a two days' pleasant visit, she told her she wanted it to be a reminder of how much she and her husband had enjoyed their visit. A little later, when taking leave, she kissed her on the lips. Then as soon as they were fairly on the road she said to her husband, "Do you think, Will, that in kissing Mrs. Kisikao I went a little too far?"
"Not at all," he replied. "Nevertheless, I remembered the words of Mr. Bernard and mentally adapted them to the present situation--'The idea of an officer's wife kissing an Indian.'"
"And this is what passed through my mind," retorted Mrs. Findlay--"I hope my husband won't follow my example."
After resting a week at home the Findlays started out on a visit to Lesser Slave Lake, going overland on saddle via the Peace River Crossing.
The officer in charge at Lesser Slave Lake, as well as his wife, were, up to the time of this visit, strangers to the Findlays; but had they been old and dear friends they could not have given them a more hearty welcome, and they were made to feel at home not only by words, but by those many quiet little acts of thoughtfulness which mean so much more to visitors than mere words. The visit lasted ten days, and to the ladies they were days of almost perfect happiness; for in those days a white woman living in the North who had not been born and bred to it, was in a sense the most isolated of its inhabitants; and when, as on this occasion, two such women met, it was an opportunity for loving communion and an interchange of sacred confidences which women-kind only can understand and appreciate. So when the morning of the tenth day arrived and the visitors had to start on their return, these two sisterly souls indulged in a long and tender embrace, and while bravely fighting back their tears, expressed mutual thankfulness for their ten days of delightful companionship, and comforted each other in anticipation of a not far distant day when, according to plans, they would meet on a return visit at Fort Dunvegan.