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Dot It Down

Dot It Down

Alexander Begg
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 364
  • Book Info
    Dot It Down
    Book Description:

    A story of life in the North-west.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5678-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. 9-20)

    THE fine steamerPhil Sheridanhad just touched the levee at St. Paul, when an active youth sprang from her side on to the landing, and hardly deigning to look at the craft which had borne him so far on his journey, he jauntily turned his steps in the direction of the city. By his manner one would judge him to be a mixture of the sailor and the landsman ; his easy careless steps betokened the former, while his dress indicated the latter. Humming a favorite air, he strode on in the direction of the nearest hotel, the “Merchants’,”...

    (pp. 21-30)

    GEORGE WADE, on reaching Mr. K——’s office, found Mr. Meredith there with his two sons, as he had expected, and soon after they all sallied out in search of horses, waggons, and other requisites for their trip over the plains.

    They found Mr. K—— a valuable assistant in procuring what they wanted ; and through his forethought and experience in such matters, they were induced to lay in a supply of several articles which they found the necessity of ere they reached the end of their journey. In this way the balance of the afternoon was profitably spent....

    (pp. 31-44)

    THE next morning, George found on enquiring that Dr. Flyaway had left for St. Cloud by the early train. It appears he had been overtaken the previous evening by his friends in his mad career up Third Street, and after a good deal of persuasion, induced to return to the hotel, where he had been immediately put to bed. George thinking this sudden departure of the Doctor very strange, resolved upon asking at the office whether he had left a letter or any word for him there.

    The clerk on being interrogated, replied that Dr. Flyaway seemed when leaving to...

    (pp. 45-58)

    THE next morning, our friends started for St. Cloud, by the early train, in company with a few of the Red River traders, who having finished their business in St. Paul, were bound for home, not to return till the following summer.

    After seeing the ladies comfortably seated, George and Mr. Meredith repaired to the second-class car to enjoy a smoke, where they found a number of German immigrants on their way to settle in the northern part of Minnesota. Those thrifty people seemed to be all well provided with the necessaries, and many comforts, for starting in their new...

    (pp. 59-70)

    THE next morning our friends were roused out of their beds by Mr. Bon, so as to make an early start. Mr. Barron complained of a severe headache, the result of his late jollification with the mayor ; but with this exception, the party were in the best of spirits, assisted a good deal by there being every appearance of a fine day before them.

    George Wade had procured his horse and light waggon, and as soon as breakfast was over, all hands assisted in loading up. There were eatables and drinkables, tents and cooking utensils, trunks, and other baggage,...

    (pp. 71-83)

    FORT ABERCROMBIE, during the Indian troubles of 1862, withstood a prolonged attack by the savages, and since then a few companies of United States regulars have been stationed there.

    The Fort itself is an extensive stockade, in which are some good substantial buildings for the accommodation of the men, and for storing supplies. You have to cross on a ferry to reach it ; and on this side of the river are a few houses, comprising a hotel, post and stage office, as well as some primitive looking dwellings.

    Our friends camped about a mile from the Fort, and in...

    (pp. 84-100)

    FORT GARRY is the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company in the North-West, the residence of the Governor, and consequently the principal business of that service is carried on there. It is built in the form of a square, the main entrance facing the Assineboine River. The walls enclosing one part of the Fort are built of stone, about two feet thick, with four towers, one at each corner, and evidently it has been at one time extended to twice its original size. The walls of the extension, however, is of hewn logs instead of stone.

    The buildings inside consist...

    (pp. 101-108)

    THE next day was the Sabbath, and the weather being fine, the Merediths and George walked to the English Cathedral, about a mile and a half from the town, down the Red River, and listened to an eloquent sermon preached by Archdeacon McLean, whom Mr. Meredith remembered to have heard once before in Canada. But as we will have something to say about the clergy of the settlement before we close our story, we will without dwelling on the subject at present leave our friends in the quiet enjoyment of this Sabbath day, while we take a look back on...

    (pp. 109-117)

    AS they drove up to Mr. Cool’s house, they were met by Mrs. Cool and three or four little Cools ; thereupon Mr. Whirl, who was a confirmed bachelor, and consequently disliked any family scenes, hurried on to the hotel where he boarded.

    Mrs. Cool met her husband in a very affectionate manner, at the same time she expressed some surprise at his returning home so much earlier than she expected. The little Cools, who stood in awe of their father, kept a respectful distance from him, and if the truth was told, they were not very well pleased at...

  12. CHAPTER X.
    (pp. 118-128)

    THE next morning Cool called on Mr. Meredith, and offered him the option of leasing or buying the Harrican farm, stating at the same time, that he preferred to rent it, as there was some difficulty about the title to it. “You can drive down with me,” he continued, “and when you see the place, you can judge for yourself.”

    “When can I occupy the premises?” asked Mr. Meredith, “as I am under a heavy expense at present, and will be glad to get settled once more in a home of my own. My boys are still camping out with...

    (pp. 129-143)

    THEN George Wade reached the camp, he found Mr. Barron sitting alone by the fire, the two boys being fast asleep in the tent.

    “Hilloa!” cried George, somewhat surprised at the late visit. “Where have you sprung from?”

    “I have been waiting here for you nearly two hours,” replied Mr. Barron, “because I want to see you, particularly to-night, as I don’t know the day I may have to leave for York Factory. Come and sit down beside me—have a weed?”

    George accordingly threw himself on the grass, lighted his cigar, and patiently waited for Mr. Barron to speak....

    (pp. 144-156)

    THE Harrican farm was finely situated on the bank of the Red River, and commanded a view of the town of Winnepeg, St. Boniface, with its cathedral and convents, and Fort Garry. On a rising ground it was surrounded by maple trees, which added greatly to the beauty of the spot. The house and barns were built of the same material as the generality of buildings in Red River, namely, logs. Through the carelessness, however, of Robert, the place had been allowed to go to rack and ruin ; and the Merediths, when they finally secured the farm, found that...

    (pp. 157-172)

    THE old Indian, when he left his ruined lodge, passed quickly through the town in the direction of the White Horse Plains. Looking to neither one side nor the other he pressed on, his face wearing the same vindictive look it had when he perceived his wigwam in flames. The night was clear ; the moon shining brightly enabled the savage to keep on his way with rapid strides and without stopping, until he reached the large Roman Catholic Church, about twenty miles up the Assiniboine. Soon afterwards he passed Lane’s Fort, H. B. C., and coming in sight of...

    (pp. 173-191)

    COOL and Whirl sat in the office of the former, with a copy of theBusterspread before them on the table, over which they were laughing heartily. “By Jove,” said Cool, “little Twaddle has made a hit this time on his own account, which is very creditable to him. Listen while I read it aloud.”

    “Among the passengers to Georgetown, on theInternational, was Mr. Rufus Twaddle, our indefatigable editor, who was greeted as the boat moved off by three rousing cheers, and the good wishes of those who had gone down to see him off. Mr. Twaddle has...

    (pp. 192-212)

    THEN Grace had finished her letter, she called her two brothers, Jack and Tom, and entrusted the precious epistle to their care; at the same time asking them to be sure and wait for an answer.

    As soon as the two boys started on their mission, Tom said—

    “What is the matter between George and Grace? There must be something when she is writing to him ; she never did that before.”

    “I think,” returned Jack, “there is something up, because, did you notice how anxious and careworn Grade seemed when she gave us the letter! If it’s George’s fault,...

    (pp. 213-224)

    WE will now turn our attention to Mr. Barren, during his trip to York Factory. The last wo saw of him, he was turning the bend of the river opposite St. Bonifaco, where the Assiniboine enters the Red River.

    As soon as he lost sight of George Wade, Mr. Barren sat down, and watched the men as they rowed and sang in concert, keeping time to the motion of the oars. As one boat’s crew would cease singing, another in the brigade would take it up, and so on they went, making good time with the current. As they passed...

    (pp. 225-239)

    COURT day had come at last, and the Harrican-Cool trial was about to take place. Before describing, however, how the matter became settled between the two parties, let us take a look at the Court itself, and how it was managed, during, the Hudson Bay Company’s rule.

    Within a picket enclosure; outside the walls of Fort Garry, stood the court house and jail—the latter consisting of two or three cells, while the former was little more than an ordinary-sized room, with a railing dividing it in two. On one side of this stood the judge’s bench, a table for...

    (pp. 240-248)

    BEFORE leaving for his post in the interior, George Wade received a visit from Jack and Tom, when the latter told him how he had delivered the letter and package to Grace, without the knowledge of Mr. Meredith.

    “I am sorry you did that,” said George, “for I fear he will think that I have broken faith with him.”

    “You needn’t fear,” replied Tom, “for father will never know anything about it.”

    Grace, when she learned from Tom that her father had not seen the letter from George, immediately went and told Mr. Meredith that she had received the communication...

    (pp. 249-260)

    MR. MEREDITH, as soon as he obtained a clear title to the Harrican. Farm from Jack, began to improve the place; and the first thing he did in that way was to put it in order for the approaching winter. The hay-yard was well fenced in, and house and stables mudded and whitewashed. The fences nearest the road were pulled down, so as to prevent the snow from drifting, and thus causing an obstruction in front of the farm stables. Pigsties, and so forth, were made warm against the severity of the weather. A supply of vegetables was stored away,...

    (pp. 261-272)

    WE will now pay a visit to our old friend Flyaway, and see how he is getting on. The hunt on the plains up to the time we again meet Flyaway had not been very successful; but this was owing a good deal to the party not having reached their regular hunting ground. Flyaway depended more on his trading than on his hunting qualities ; for, as we will presently see, he was not much of a hand at the chase.

    After leaving Portage-la-Prairie, the regular rules of the camp were established ; each captain had about ten men under...

    (pp. 273-288)

    WHILE “Dot it Down” was confined to his room from the effects of his debauch at the Everling Hotel, he being too much of a dandy to be seen outside with a couple of black eyes, he received a visit from our friend Cool.

    “Dot” was lying on his bed, smoking a short clay pipe, and reading the latestBuster, when Cool walked in and introduced himself.

    “I heard you had arrived,” he said “so I have taken the liberty, as well as of doing myself the pleasure, of calling and making your acquaintance.”

    “Haw! thank you ; I’m hardly...

    (pp. 289-304)

    THE great disadvantage under which many farmers in Red River labor, is the want of proper firewood. It frequently happens that a settler has to go a distance of fifteen or twenty miles to procure wood enough for the ordinary use of the house. As immigrants begin to lake up the land this want will be more and more felt. So far, the great desire on the part of the settlers seems to have been to take their farms along the river side ; this gives them a better chance to obtain wood and water, than if they were out...

    (pp. 305-313)

    AT the time of our story, the church of England, in the settlement, was in a very flourishing condition, and possessed amongst it clergymen a good deal of talent and christian perseverance. Indeed, from the time of its establishment under the Rev. John West, in 1821, it has continued to increase gradually until it can now boast of many fine churches with large congregations. This has been owing chiefly to the efforts of the first missionaries who came to Red River.

    The Rev. John West was succeeded by the Rev. D. T. Jones, a man who, before the end of...

    (pp. 314-318)

    GEORGE WADE was on the point of unravelling the mystery which had caused so much anxiety and trouble to both himself and others, when Mrs. Meredith burst into the room crying—“Oh ! good man, our girl is worse. To-day’s doings have been too much for her ; come and see her. I’m afraid she is dying.”

    Both George and Mr. Meredith stood aghast at this news; and without thinking more about the strange papers so unaccountably discovered, they hastened at once to the sick room. A great change had, indeed, suddenly come over Grace ; her pale features seemed...

    (pp. 319-332)

    FOR several days, George Wade refused to be comforted. His manner became absent and careless of the presence of others. His health also appeared to be giving way, and the Merediths feared least he should be laid on a bed of sickness. They had learned to love George very dearly, and felt a great deal of anxiety at the continued depression of the young man’s spirits. One day, therefore, Mr. Meredith prevailed on him to take a ride out on horseback, thinking that the air and the exercise would benefit him.

    George, strange to say, insisted upon mounting a very...

    (pp. 333-342)

    WE left George Wade on a bed of sickness, in a strange house. There we still find him still suffering from the accident he had met with, and likely to remain an invalid for some time. The family into whose house he had been carried, were very much respected in the settlement, and George Wade was fortunate to find shelter under their roof during his illness, for they were most kind and considerate in their attentions towards him.

    The name of this family was Stone, and like the Merediths, there was an only daughter, a beautiful girl, who proved a...

    (pp. 343-351)

    WE will now pass over a period of some months before we again revisit our friends. During that time winter had passed away, and the beautiful spring had given place to the warm yet pleasant summer. That scourge, the grasshoppers, so peculiarly destructive in the North-West, had visited the settlement and laid waste almost every green field. It was a trying time for the farmers, for there were very few amongst them who received any return whatsoever from the seed sown in the spring. It is a noticeable fact that when the grasshoppers appear in the fall of the year...

    (pp. 352-359)

    WE will now skip over the summer and autumn months, and pass on into the winter, the most distressing perhaps ever felt in Red River. The grasshoppers, as we have already stated, destroyed all the crops in the settlement, and in consequence of this there was every reason to expect a large amount of destitution amongst the settlers.

    News, regarding this state of affairs, went abroad, and many kind friends stepped forward in Canada, Britain and the United States, to help the settlers. Subscription lists were opened in those countries, and money flowed in fast for the relief of Red...

    (pp. 360-368)

    THE scono is now changed from Red River to England, and there we will ask our readers to accompany us for a, short time.

    The windows of an old-fashioned country residence, in Essoxshire, were lit up, and the sound of merry voices within proclaimed that something unusual was going on. Every now and again a carriage would drive up the avenue and stop before the principal entrance ; fairy forms could then be seen alighting and skipping up the stone steps. The largo hall door would open, a flood of light would suddenly be thrown upon the trees in the...

    (pp. 369-382)

    AS it is more than probable that a large number of persons will take advantage of the opening of the great North-West, and will proceed there during the ensuing spring and summer, it has been deemed advisable to throw together, briefly and clearly, such practical information to emigrants as is attainable.

    As to this we need say little. The land is very fertile, and gives back a large, and what would seem to some of our Canadian farmers, an enormous yield of the crops the country is capable of producing. Canadian farmers, who have taken up land in Manitoba, confirm...

  33. Back Matter
    (pp. 383-384)