Christmas Day Was Particularly Stormy But The Gale
Did Not Prevent The Full Enjoyment Of The Festivities Which Are Annually
Given At Cumberland House On This Day.
All the men who had been
despatched to different parts in search of provision or furs returned to
the fort on the occasion and were regaled with a substantial dinner and a
dance in the evening.
January 1, 1820.
The New Year was ushered in by repeated discharges of musketry; a
ceremony which has been observed by the men of both the trading Companies
for many years. Our party dined with Mr. Connolly and were treated with a
beaver which we found extremely delicate. In the evening his voyagers
were entertained with a dance in which the Canadians exhibited some grace
and much agility; and they contrived to infuse some portion of their
activity and spirits into the steps of their female companions. The
half-breed women are passionately fond of this amusement but a stranger
would imagine the contrary on witnessing their apparent want of
animation. On such occasions they affect a sobriety of demeanour which I
understand to be very opposite to their general character.
This day I wrote to Governor Williams and Mr. Connolly requesting them to
prepare two canoes with crews and appointments for the conveyance of Dr.
Richardson and Mr. Hood, with our stores, to Chipewyan as soon as the
navigation should open, and had the satisfaction of receiving from both
these gentlemen renewed assurances of their desire to promote the objects
of the Expedition.
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