In the summer following the extraordinary visit just described, Mr. Findlay and Mr. Kidd were both promoted, the former to the rank of Chief Factor and the latter to that of Chief Trader. Following their promotion they moved to separate appointments in the Peace River district. About this time also there were many changes in the Mission Field, largely due to improved means of transport via Edmonton and Lesser Slave Lake. Among these changes was the division of the Diocese of Athabasca, according to which the Diocese retaining the name was to comprise chiefly the Peace River country.
Following these readjustments there arrived a number of new missionaries, and Mr. Bernie considered it an opportune time to treat himself to a year's furlough. Accordingly he put in a year of solid enjoyment in England and Eastern Canada, after which he returned and once more took up Indian work on the Peace River, but at a different station.
Hardly had he adjusted himself to his new surroundings when he received new and melancholy proof of the lack of physical stamina in the unfortunate Beavers. Late in autumn an epidemic of measles and whooping-cough started among them, and in the course of a few weeks one-fifth of those trading at this important post died of the forenamed complaints.
When any race becomes so run-down that it cannot put up a better fight than that against children's diseases such as those just named, their condition might well appeal to every heart susceptible to compassion. And it must be said that the missionaries of both churches gave personal assistance to the extent of their means. There were fur-traders too, who, notwithstanding the costliness of imported food, gave out many a pound without making any charge.
It has already been told how the Canadian Government extended aid to these Indians through the agency of the Hudson's Bay Company. It is easy enough to blame both for inadequacy in the measures taken to afford relief; but if the ease be dispassionately and intelligently dealt with on its merits, it will have to be conceded that the two corporations showed sympathy with the sufferers and tried to handle the situation wisely.
Unfortunately the flour shipped in from Edmonton at that time was made from wheat grown there, which often was frosted or smutty. Whatever may be said of the donors, it can certainly be said of this flour that it did not rise to the occasion. It was dark and it tasted no better than it looked. To feed such flour, and for that matter the best of flour, to people enfeebled by sickness and want, who lacked both the knowledge and means of preparing it properly, was merely to insure to them an exchange of the pangs of hunger for those of indigestion. And this is what followed--oftener than ever the poor creatures would come to the missionary and address him thus: "Taneghaotatihch, yu saniah, se pot tati," (Minister give me medicine, my stomach is sick), and in those cases in which Mr. Bernie was the minister appealed to, the usual treatment was to pour down a stiff dose of essence of peppermint or something to assist the badly functioning pot; treatment which was invariably acceptable, and never failed to cheer the sufferer even if it did not cure him.
In the matter of affording relief both in medicine and food Mr. Bernie got to be something of an expert. Seldom having much of the latter to spare, he studied to make it go far and deal it out in a digestible form.
After the epidemic just described about fifteen women and children were left stranded at the fort over winter, having no relative left who could provide for them. Mr. Bernie had a good supply of vegetables, also one hundred pounds of corned beef which the philanthropy of a good lady in London had enabled him to procure. With these ingredients and some flour a substantial soup was made daily and dished out steaming hot to these unfortunate creatures. It was a soup with lots of body--not much angel's food about it perhaps; but of a biting winter morning it made splendid food for the Beavers.
Nature had generously endowed the Beaver Indian country with game and fur-bearing animals and so long as these were numerous and the health of the Indians was good, there was no need, and the Beavers felt no desire to seek for an easier means of living in the cultivation of the soil; but when, owing to encroachments on their country by Indians of other tribes and by Whites as well, the returns from trapping and hunting dwindled down to about twenty-five per cent of what it had been, and the fitness of the Indians to live by the chase dropped down correspondingly, then very naturally they bethought themselves of the productiveness of their soil, which was demonstrated before their eyes by the Company's trading posts and the Missions, in the vegetables annually grown. And a few of them did actually go in for gardening, thus supplementing the products of the chase with those of the soil, and giving themselves an extra chance to hang on to life a little longer. And so it was that here and there might be seen a small potato patch which these die-hard Beavers had turned up with spade and hoe, and when they came in from their hunts in autumn, there was, according to their communistic principles, a great feast of ya-che-si (potatoes), for everybody. Usually, however, enough was put away in small pits to provide seed and another feast in the following year.
However trying the conditions under which Mr. Bernie carried on his work as a missionary, he regarded it as the greatest calling on earth, and one which does not debar men and women from the highest sort of adventure and social pleasure.
At this last appointment he was still within reach of his dear friends, the Findlays; the Kidds also were by no means inaccessible, while the officer in charge of the post beside which the Mission stood, was a friendly neighbour, as was also his clerk and several of the other employees. Then among his fellow-missionaries, two or three were near enough to admit of an exchange of visits about once in six months. He also had the pleasure of several times meeting Mr. Winters, whose acquaintance he had made thirteen years before in the MacKenzie River district. His servant or assistant cook was the Tukudh, John Tindle, who was Mission servant the winter Mr. Bernie was at Fort Simpson.
John did not forget to call on Mr. Bernie, who, being a good deal of a socialist, and practical at that, asked John to help him to get tea after which they could sit down and enjoy it together like that evening long ago when between them they had put away six large caribou steaks. As Mr. Bernie did not intend ever again to feed John at his expense, he made up his mind to do it properly on this occasion, and the latter also did his part properly, giving conclusive proof before he got through that his wor-rums were still alive and active.
In the course of a chat after tea the following story told by John will show that Peace River had made some impression upon him:
"Before I come to Peace River I aloos hear that there are snakes here, and very first thing when I come, Mr. Farmer he say to me, 'John, fetch the cows from up the' hill and look out you don't get stung.' I think he mean snakes, sure. Well, I walk along, and when I about half way up, Wah-wha! just as if something go through my feet. I jump one side. Wah-wha! Um stung on the other foot! I sit down. Now indeed, that time um stung right there where I sit. I not know what to do, but I turn the way it don't hurt and pull off my moccasins and see them things what hurt sticking all over; and now I see green things (cacti) on the ground what looks just like frogs. After that I pull some sharp things out of my pants. When I get back with the cows and tell Mr. Farmer about it, he laugh till he nearly choke. Then he tell me, 'Them is Crapeaud Vert: never sit on them things, John,' and I tell him, 'Not if I know it. One time's 'nough for me.'"
Soon after the formation of the new Athabasca Diocese the Bishop started the rule of annually summoning his staff of workers, of whom there were at first only eight, to a conference. Among the ordained men was a Mr. Wheatley, in charge of the neighbouring Mission to that of Mr. Bernie.
Mr. Wheatley might have been called a colonizing or agricultural missionary. In various other respects he was a remarkable man, being a splendid conversationalist, an eloquent preacher, and possessed of an extraordinary talent for illustrating every mortal thing with an anecdote. Among his other good qualities he was friendly and hospitable, so that the wayfaring man, without regard to his race or the stripe of his religion or politics, could always confidently make for the abode of Mr. Wheatley, sure of three things when he got there--an open door, a square meal, and a fetching anecdote.
Mr. Wheatley's farming operations were quite successful, and proved, beyond contradiction, that the opinion of Professor McCoun and other writers as to the rich soil and fine climate of the Peace River country, had only to be put to the test to be fully verified. He raised roots and cereals in abundance, including the two most valuable--potatoes and wheat--and he had nearly all the creatures usually found on a good farm, with the exception of sheep.
In a substantial way he strengthened and cheered pilgrims on their way through a weary world, and that must count for something.
One of his methods of dispelling the loneliness of life in the wilderness was to go about his work singing the cheerful class of hymns known in the North in his time as "Moody and Sankey"; and several of the Company's employees who were musical, carried away souvenirs of a visit to him in a knowledge of one or more of these hymns, and far and wide might afterwards be heard singing, "Ring the Bells of Heaven," etc. The very animals on his farm would doubtless have felt queer if, for the space of twenty-four hours, they had not heard their master singing out lustily his favourite hymn, "I've Reached the Land of Corn and Wine." Before bidding good-bye to Mr. Wheatley listen to just one of his million anecdotes, forgiving as far as you can the too common tendency to find amusement in the physical defects of others, of a kind from which we ourselves do not happen to suffer. This was told to the Athabasca missionaries after the close of one of the conferences already referred to. The missionaries had enjoyed a splendid twelve o'clock dinner at Mr. Wheatley's hospitable board, when the Bishop playfully announced that, "The sons of the prophets having got through with business, they would now adjourn with their host to his field and assist in planting and fencing his potatoes." Arriving there it was found that the potatoes, pickets and fence-poles were in readiness, also a large mallet and hole-opener. The latter is a thirty-inch stake pointed like an ordinary one and having a pin or rod passing through it transversely near the top, so as to form handles. Sometimes this implement and the mallet are operated by two men, in which case the man working the hole-opener, by stretching out an arm and keeping hold of a handle, retains it in position while the other is giving the first two or three blows with the mallet.
As the missionaries stood around and each selected or was allotted his job, Mr. Wheatley told the following story:
"A farmer down in Ontario hired two men, who were strangers to each other, to put up a fence. One of them had a fierce squint and the other a fearful stutter. The latter got hold of the hole-opener and held it in position, and then chancing to look upwards he beheld what he took to be an evil eye glaring at his head as if selecting the most vulnerable spot upon which to bring down hia mallet. Horrified, he sprang to his feet and put this question to his companion, 'Da-da-da-do you ha-ha-hit wha-wha-where you 1-1-look?'
"'I do,' replied the other.
"'Th-th-then you-can-get-some-other fa-f-f-fellow to hold the pa-p-pa-p-p-p-picket.'"
In the beginning of the winter following the forenamed conference Mr. Bernie received a letter from Mr. Kidd, inviting him on behalf of Mrs. Kidd and himself to come and spend his Christmas with them, informing him at the same time that there were some recent arrivals in the fort who were awaiting an opportunity to be admitted into the church by baptism, and among them a Kidd. "Come and go," he wrote, "on dates convenient to yourself; but if you can manage it, make the visit a lengthy one."
Mr. and Mrs. Kidd's invitation was gladly accepted, and Mr. Bernie reached them ten days before Christmas. Among those who greeted him was our old friend Mr. Godfrey, who in acknowledging Mr. Bernie's compliments as to his hearty appearance, said, "Yes, please God to spare me, I expect to enjoy a few more Christmases."
Mr. Bernie spent three weeks on this visit, and when it came to an end felt satisfied that it had been profitable and enjoyable to others as well as himself. He held two religious services each Sunday, performed four baptisms and one marriage, daily visited a few sick Indians, and twice visited each family residing in the fort. The Kidds kept up that fine old custom of the North, of gathering in a friendly circle before that great brightener of the long wintry evenings--the old-fashioned chimney filled with blazing logs--and there they entered into each other's joys as far as mortals may, and in so doing lightened each other's cares. And always there were fond reminiscences of friends before the time came to say good-night.
Among the Company's employees met by Mr. Bernie on this visit was James Flaman, a native-born Frenchman, for a long time one of the Company's guides, who, during this particular winter, was hunting for the fort. Mr. Kidd had arranged with Mr. Flaman for a bear and beaver hunt immediately after the New Year, and as a chinook occurred just then and Flaman reported a good place to hunt less than ten miles from the fort, he decided to carry out his plan and asked his guest if he would care to be one of the party. Mr. Bernie replied, "Nothing will suit me better than a bear and beaver hunt. I'm with you." Mr. Godfrey also accepted this opportunity for sport and formed one of the party of four. Flaman's dog-train was requisitioned, and the others of the party were on saddle, as the chinook had warmed up the air and reduced the snow to a depth of only two inches. They reached Flaman's tent at noon and found it in charge of his wife. Mrs. Flaman was no beauty and she had borne her lord no children; but apparently these things did not trouble her, and she laughed heartily at very little, and the little could be depended on in Mr. Godfrey's talk, so that Mr. Bernie and Mr. Kidd got some of their sport with very little trouble. Added to the other accomplishments, Mrs. Flaman could smoke and hunt alongside of any man, and best of all, she was cleanly and an excellent cook; and it was a delight to the hunters on entering the tent to inhale the scent of the newly laid carpet of fresh spruce brush, upon which she very soon set before them a meal which was pleasant to the eyes and more so to the taste.
After lunch the hunters repaired to the beaver lodge with axes, traps and an ice chisel. Arriving there, Flaman first of all located a number of hollow spots on the banks of the little stream in which the lodge was built. This he did by sounding with a stout pole cut square on the large end. These hollow places represented the passages used by the beavers in going to and fro between the lodge and their other quarters or places of refuge in the banks. Over each of the passages discovered a hole was quickly cut large enough to admit of the setting of a trap, after which it was closed with sticks, brush and snow to exclude cold and light. A hole was then cut into the lodge, after which they retired to camp until evening, and on returning then, they took three beavers from their five traps. The traps were not put back, but instead the holes were securely closed, and the remainder of the colony left to breed in peace for at least one year, after which another raid would be in order.
That evening after tea, Flaman, after some coaxing, gave an account of his travels since leaving the Red River on his first trip to York Factory up to the present, when he had become one of the semi-wandering inhabitants of the Peace River. It was a treat to hear; and Godfrey remarked that it was just like a book, and Mrs. Flaman laughed, and Kidd remarked that it was easier on the eyes, and she laughed again. Early next day the hunters started out on the bear hunt under the direction of Flaman, who took his dogs to assist. In a short time they were heard barking fiercely, and on investigation it was found that they had chased a lynx up a balsam tree. There the ungainly creature stood on one of the large lower branches, glaring at the barking dogs underneath as if selecting the one into whose ribs it would bury its claws. Perhaps it was because the face of the lynx caused one of the hunters to speak of a pussy he had known long ago, that this particular member of the feline tribe had to be placed at the disposal of Flaman, who, having no recollections of house-cats or their friends, cheerfully brought down the lynx with a pellet of buck-shot.
The march after bears was then resumed, and the hunters had not gone much farther when the dogs were barking again, and as they approached the place, Flaman, who was slightly in advance, stopped, and putting his hand to his nose exclaimed, "Pwai!" (the Cree expression of disgust over a foul smell). On a nearer approach it was found that the dogs had turned out three skunks from their nest, hence the unpleasantness. Mr. Kidd, Mr. Bernie and Flaman at once relinquished their interests in the find in favour of Mr. Godfrey, who said, "All right, gentlemen, I'm not afraid of the smell, for there is no finer cure for a cold, and a little of their oil will be just the thing to knock the rheumatism out of my elbow." He then proceeded to shoot the skunks, which he succeeded in doing without hitting the dogs. In order to carry them without getting scented, he tied them together at the neck, and suspending them on a ten-foot pole, he then placed one end on his shoulder and was proceeding to trail the other end behind travois fashion, when Mr. Kidd offered to take one end, being careful to stipulate, however, that he be given the windward end.
The dogs were not very keen on the scent after this, possibly being unable to smell anything besides themselves. Early in the afternoon Flaman drew the attention of his companions to a mound near the roots of a fallen tree. On examination it was found to be a bear's den and occupied by a bear at that. Mr. Bernie, who was to do the killing, took up a suitable position, while Flaman woke up the bear by thrusting a pole into its den; and when poor bruin quietly put out his head to see what was the trouble, Mr. Bernie pulled the trigger and his gun went off--so did the bear, into that profound sleep from which there is no awakening--for bears.
Flaman immediately went after his toboggan, and while he was doing so, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Godfrey skinned and quartered the bear in readiness for his return. By the time they got back to camp, night was coming on, and they were very hungry, having eaten nothing since morning.
Mrs. Flaman was ready for them. She had prepared several dishes, any of which was delicious to a real northerner. There was Red River bannock, roast beaver, beaver tail and moose nose boiled. On the side there was fat, dried moose; and for dessert, dried saskatoon berries and marrow grease. All were well prepared and placed on a beautifully clean cloth.
When Mrs. Flaman had washed the dishes and set them aside, she produced her fire-bag (tobacco pouch) and handed it round to her guests to help themselves to kinikinik to mix in with their tobacco. Then when all the pipes were going, including her own, as the gentlemen reclined on their partly unrolled bedding with their legs stretched towards the fire, there came over the faces of all a look of unspeakable comfort. Then Mr. Bernie, being in the best position to speak, as he had no pipe between his teeth, complimented Mrs. Flaman on her good cooking, asking her how she got the saskatoons so sweet, and the grease so white.
She explained that she was careful to gather only berries which grew on short bushes well exposed to the eun; that she was very particular about drying them quickly, and immediately putting them away in tightly closed birch bark rogans. The grease, she said, was taken from the bones of the moose, which were first crushed and then put through a process of boiling and straining, after which the grease was placed in bladders.
"No wonder they are both so delicious," said Mr. Bernie. "Now suppose you tell us something about your hunting. Tell us of the best shot you have made."
"When she brought Jim to his knees," said Mr. Kidd.
"Well, then, the next best let it be."
Mrs. Flaman then told the following story:
"Ten years ago, my old man here and I hunted and trapped along the Loon River. One day I was visiting my string of snares and traps, and when I was having my lunch before turning homewards, a beautiful white owl came and lit on one of the trees nearby, and as I was in the act of raising my gun to shoot it, I heard the sound of small animals running towards me along the path I had just been following. Looking in that direction I saw a rabbit approaching at full speed, with a martin close behind in full pursuit. I took aim at the martin just as it seized the rabbit from behind; and at the same moment the owl seized the rabbit by the head. Then I pulled the trigger and the three of them lay kicking on the snow."
Everyone complimented her on her fine marksmanship, and Mr. Bernie remarked that she had shown a fine sense of justice in aiming at the aggressive martin. She laughed and confessed that all she was thinking about was that its skin would fetch nis-too-wah-tai (three M. B.).
Just then Mr. Godfrey rose to a sitting position, crossed his legs, stroked his beard and cleared his throat and said, "I have done a little mixed shooting, too."
"All right," said Kidd. "Get it off your mind." The others expressing a wish to hear about it, Godfrey again cleared his throat and started in:
"I don't care to tell this story to strangers because they are sure to think that I am drawing the long bow; but you all know me and I don't mind telling it here." (Laughter.)
"This happened twenty years ago at one of the marshes of Lake Winnipeg. I had walked down from my tent to the marshes one evening to get a shot at ducks, and had hardly taken up a position in a point of reeds when a flock of six teals came along and lit near the shore just at the outer end of a large pole lying partly on land and partly in the water. First one and then another climbed on to the pole. Presently a prairie chicken came along for a drink and also stood on the pole. All this time a rabbit was approaching the pole, stopping to nibble at a weed after every few lopes. When it was in line it stopped on hearing me give a low whistle and just then a muskrat which I had been watching right along, also got in line. Then I let fly."
"And what happened?" asked Mr. Bernie; and first one and then another made a guess.
"All wrong," said Mr. Godfrey. "I killed ten things." "How could that be?" he was asked, and he replied, "Well, you see, it would appear that there was a pike beyond the muskrat and I got him, too."
"Yow! ai-wa-kih-kin! wonderful!" said Mrs. Flaman, as she went off into a regular fit of laughter.
Next morning before the hunters started on their return to the fort, Mr. Godfrey skilfully contrived a sort of extension to his saddle so that the skunks which were wrapped up in some old sacks could ride behind him and at the same time be far enough not to taint his clothes. The idea was all right had the cayuse been agreeable; but it was not, and no sooner had the party started than it started to buck with might and main, sending Mr. Godfrey flying over its head, and, continuing its exertions till it got the skunks to where it could reach them with its heels, it sent them flying also. When Godfrey gathered himself up and found that no bones were broken he was so pleased that he was able to see the joke and joined in the laughter to which the others had given way.
The difficulty over the skunks was surmounted by Mr. Kidd arranging with Flaman to fetch them in with the other animals, taking necessary precautions to prevent the contamination of the others.
Shortly after this visit to the Kidds, Mr. Bernie began to feel that the North was changing. The old order of things was passing away; and there were changes that meant more than that to him--there was the departure going on of old friends for more congenial centres in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and elsewhere. Then there was going on, at an ever increasing rate, the departure from the land of the living of the members of the tribe for whose benefit he had been labouring, and, weary of witnessing what he was so powerless to prevent, he at length turned his face southward and departed from the North as his friends the Findlays, the Kidds, the Churchills and the Thomsons had done years before.
Dan Hardy had kept his promise and had written to Mr. Bernie informing him of the place in the North-West where he had homesteaded. So when Mr. Bernie decided to retire and make his home for a time at least in Manitoba, he laid out his route southward so that Mr. Hardy's would be one of the places where he would stop off for a while.
He found him living in a comfortable home in one of the many picturesque spots of the Qu'Appelle Valley. He was met at the front entrance by Mr. Hardy himself, who gave him a most hearty welcome. A minute after they had entered the sitting-room they were joined by a lady whom Mr. Bernie with difficulty recognized as Mrs. Hardy. Her form showed to better advantage in the better cut of her garments; and her hair--that glory of a woman--was put up in one of the many fetching styles which become womankind; but best of all there had been an inward adorning which had kept pace with the outward. There could be no question about it--this woman taken from an Indian lodge had become an educated lady.
This meeting was very pleasant to Mr. Bernie coming fresh from his lone quarters in the North. Indeed it was pleasant to them all, for it is pleasant when those meet together who desire and are perfectly confident of a secure place in each other's affection and esteem. Having this confidence, Mr. Bernie readily accepted the invitation of the Hardys to be their guest for at least a few days.
It was early afternoon, and Mr. Hardy informed Mrs. Hardy that he would like Mr. Bernie to meet Mr. and Mrs. Kent; so it was arranged that these friends should be invited for tea the following day.
When Mrs. Hardy had left the room, Mr. Bernie asked Mr. Hardy if the Kents who were his neighbours were English or Canadian.
"In answering that question," said Mr. Hardy, "I shall at the same time give you the last instalment of the history of my life.
"When I arrived here from the North and located on this section, I homesteaded one quarter and pre-empted another; and a few days afterwards I found that someone else was taking possession of the other half, and the party turned out to be no other than my old rival, Mr. Kent of England. On making this discovery I felt very much like pulling up stakes and leaving, and the only consideration that prevented my doing so was the thought that what was to me an unpleasant coincidence might in reality be a gracious providence. In the hope that it might turn out so, I held on to my land, and never have had any occasion to regret having done so. The relations between our families have been of an ideal character, and early next year these will be strengthened by the marriage of our daughter Erma, to Fred, the eldest son of the Kents. I may say that the Kents had been married for some years before they had any children. The unfeigned love between the English lady, Lily Blackburn and the Indian lady, Sun, or Star--as you will--is something beautiful to see because of its simplicity and sincerity. And it has been to me an abiding cause for wonder and gratitude. The companionship of Mrs. Kent has been of great advantage to Mrs. Hardy, for while the latter acquired a practical education with my assistance, she needed the finishing touches which enable a woman to act becomingly and with confidence in the society of others, and that is something which cannot be acquired except in the companionship of ladies.
"Squire Kent met with severe financial losses in England, and came to this country to retrieve his fortunes, which, to some extent, he has succeeded in doing; and there is no more useful and highly respected couple in this community than Mr. and Mrs. Kent. They are aware that you and Mrs. Hardy are the only two who have been taken into confidence respecting my relations with them in England, and they will therefore look forward to the opportunity of meeting you with no little interest."
"After what you have told me," said Mr. Bernie, "I shall be no less interested in meeting them."
Just then two beautiful young ladies entered arm in arm, and Mr. Hardy asked Mr. Bernie if he could remember having met them before, and he promptly answered, "I do," and shaking hands with the darker of the two he said, "This is the older sister, Miss Erma, who takes after her mother"; and shaking hands with the other, he said, "This is Miss Winnie, who favours her father and who, years ago, gave me a very nice kiss." Then the dear thing smiled and blushed, and looking at her father she asked, "Dad, would it be right for me to repeat that performance now?" And that gentleman, thus appealed to, laughed and said, "I leave that to Mr. Bernie and yourself." Thus encouraged, they embraced and as the missionary received the lingering kiss of this beautiful maiden, he felt deeply touched and whispered, "God bless you my child."
When Mr. Bernie made the acquaintance of the Kents, he felt that they were deserving of the nice things that Mr. Hardy had said about them.
Both Mr. Hardy and Mr. Kent were lay readers, and had taken a leading part in the erection of a beautiful church. In connection with this church, Sunday School work was carried on with marked success, largely due to the hearty co-operation of the two families.
For some years longer Mr. Bernie was actively engaged in the work of his calling as pastor of a congregation in a small town, and while he made many true friends in the course of his work as Parish Priest, his old friends of the North were never ousted from the secure place they held in his affection, so that when finally he selected a place where, among congenial surroundings, he might spend the evening of his life, he saw to it that his dear friends the Findlays and others of the North, both lay and cleric, were easy of access from his abode.
In the charming home of the Findlays was a fine reminder of the North in the form of a real old-fashioned chimney, beside and around whose cheering glow the friends were wont to assemble of a long wintry evening; then, when the pipes of friendship were going nicely and sending up their fragrant columns, the last news about old friends, or the scenes of their old labours, would be discussed. And sometimes fresh anecdotes would be told, or perhaps some of the old ones, possibly improved with age, would be told again. And always before they parted, Mrs. Findlay brought in on a tray just one glass each of real Hudson's Bay stuff, in which they drank "good luck to you." Then they sang together the "Days of Auld Lang Syne," with thoughts sacred to the memory of the times and places where they had met in the "Far and Furry North."