Had My Poor Friend Been Spared To Revisit His Native Land I
Should Look Back To This Period With Unalloyed Delight.
On the morning of the 9th the weather although still cold was clear, and
I went out in quest of tripe de roche, leaving Hepburn to cut willows for
a fire and Mr. Hood in bed.
I had no success as yesterday's snow-drift
was so frozen on the surface of the rocks that I could not collect any of
the weed, but on my return to the tent I found that Michel the Iroquois
had come with a note from Mr. Franklin which stated that, this man and
Jean Baptiste Belanger being unable to proceed, were about to return to
us, and that a mile beyond our present encampment there was a clump of
pine-trees to which he recommended us to remove the tent. Michel informed
us that he quitted Mr. Franklin's party yesterday morning but that having
missed his way he had passed the night on the snow a mile or two to the
northward of us. Belanger he said, being impatient, left the fire about
two hours earlier and, as he had not arrived, he supposed must have gone
astray. It will be seen in the sequel that we had more than sufficient
reason to doubt the truth of this story.
Michel now produced a hare and a partridge which he had killed in the
morning. This unexpected supply of provision was received by us with a
deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty for His goodness, and we looked
upon Michel as the instrument He had chosen to preserve all our lives.
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