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The Forest   By: (1873-1946)

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First Page:

[Illustration: THE INDIANS WOULD RISE TO THEIR FEET FOR A SINGLE MOMENT]

THE FOREST

BY

STEWART EDWARD WHITE

CONTENTS

I. THE CALLING II. THE SCIENCE OF GOING LIGHT III. THE JUMPING OFF PLACE IV. ON MAKING CAMP V. ON LYING AWAKE AT NIGHT VI. THE 'LUNGE VII. ON OPEN WATER CANOE TRAVELLING VIII. THE STRANDED STRANGERS IX. ON FLIES X. CLOCHE XI. THE HABITANTS XII. THE RIVER XIII. THE HILLS XIV. ON WALKING THROUGH THE WOODS XV. ON WOODS INDIANS XVI. ON WOODS INDIANS (continued) XVII. THE CATCHING OF A CERTAIN FISH XVIII. MAN WHO WALKS BY MOONLIGHT XIX. APOLOGIA

SUGGESTIONS FOR OUTFIT

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

THE INDIANS WOULD RISE TO THEIR FEET FOR A SINGLE MOMENT

THIS OLD SOLDIER HAD COME IN FROM THE LONG TRAIL TO BEAR AGAIN THE FLAG OF HIS COUNTRY

AT SUCH A TIME YOU WILL MEET WITH ADVENTURES

EACH WAVE WAS SINGLY A PROBLEM, TO FAIL IN WHOSE SOLUTION MEANT INSTANT SWAMPING

WATCHED THE LONG NORTH COUNTRY TWILIGHT STEAL UP LIKE A GRAY CLOUD FROM THE EAST

IN THIS LOVABLE MYSTERY WE JOURNEYED ALL THE REST OF THAT MORNING

NOR NEED YOU HOPE TO POLE A CANOE UPSTREAM AS DO THESE PEOPLE

THEN IN THE TWILIGHT THE BATTLE

THE FOREST

I.

THE CALLING.

"The Red Gods make their medicine again."

Some time in February, when the snow and sleet have shut out from the wearied mind even the memory of spring, the man of the woods generally receives his first inspiration. He may catch it from some companion's chance remark, a glance at the map, a vague recollection of a dim past conversation, or it may flash on him from the mere pronouncement of a name. The first faint thrill of discovery leaves him cool, but gradually, with the increasing enthusiasm of cogitation, the idea gains body, until finally it has grown to plan fit for discussion.

Of these many quickening potencies of inspiration, the mere name of a place seems to strike deepest at the heart of romance. Colour, mystery, the vastnesses of unexplored space are there, symbolized compactly for the aliment of imagination. It lures the fancy as a fly lures the trout. Mattágami, Peace River, Kánanaw, the House of the Touchwood Hills, Rupert's House, the Land of Little Sticks, Flying Post, Conjuror's House how the syllables roll from the tongue, what pictures rise in instant response to their suggestion! The journey of a thousand miles seems not too great a price to pay for the sight of a place called the Hills of Silence, for acquaintance with the people who dwell there, perhaps for a glimpse of the saga spirit that so named its environment. On the other hand, one would feel but little desire to visit Muggin's Corners, even though at their crossing one were assured of the deepest flavour of the Far North.

The first response to the red god's summons is almost invariably the production of a fly book and the complete rearrangement of all its contents. The next is a resumption of practice with the little pistol. The third, and last, is pencil and paper, and lists of grub and duffel, and estimates of routes and expenses, and correspondence with men who spell queerly, bear down heavily with blunt pencils, and agree to be at Black Beaver Portage on a certain date. Now, though the February snow and sleet still shut him in, the spring has draw very near. He can feel the warmth of her breath rustling through his reviving memories.

There are said to be sixty eight roads to heaven, of which but one is the true way, although here and there a by path offers experimental variety to the restless and bold. The true way for the man in the woods to attain the elusive best of his wilderness experience is to go as light as possible, and the by paths of departure from that principle lead only to the slightly increased carrying possibilities of open water canoe trips, and permanent camps.

But these prove to be not very independent side paths, never diverging so far from the main road that one may dare hope to conceal from a vigilant eye that he is not going light... Continue reading book >>




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