The Journey to the Polar Sea, by John Franklin

 -  When we had arrived at the bottom I could not but feel astonished
at the laborious task which the voyagers - Page 180
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When We Had Arrived At The Bottom I Could Not But Feel Astonished At The Laborious Task Which The Voyagers

Have twice in the year to encounter at this place in conveying their stores backwards and forwards. We went across

The Clear Water River which runs at the bases of these hills, and followed an Indian track along its northern bank, by which we avoided the White Mud and Good Portages. We afterwards followed the river as far as the Pine Portage, when we passed through a very romantic defile of rocks which presented the appearance of Gothic ruins, and their rude characters were happily contrasted with the softness of the snow and the darker foliage of the pines which crowned their summits. We next crossed the Cascade Portage which is the last on the way to the Athabasca Lake, and soon afterwards came to some Indian tents containing five families belonging to the Chipewyan tribe. We smoked the calumet in the chief's tent, whose name was the Thumb, and distributed some tobacco and a weak mixture of spirits and water among the men. They received this civility with much less grace than the Crees, and seemed to consider it a matter of course. There was an utter neglect of cleanliness and a total want of comfort in their tents; and the poor creatures were miserably clothed. Mr. Frazer, who accompanied us from the Methye Lake, accounted for their being in this forlorn condition by explaining that this band of Indians had recently destroyed everything they possessed as a token of their great grief for the loss of their relatives in the prevailing sickness. It appears that no article is spared by these unhappy men when a near relative dies; their clothes and tents are cut to pieces, their guns broken, and every other weapon rendered useless if some person do not remove these articles from their sight, which is seldom done.

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