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The Great Lone Land A Narrative of Travel and Adventure in the North-West of America   By: (1838-1910)

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THE GREAT LONE LAND: A NARRATIVE OF TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE IN THE NORT WEST OF AMERICA.

BY COLONEL W. F. BUTLER, C.B., F.R.G.S. AUTHOR OF "HISTORICAL EVENTS CONNECTED WITH THE SIXTY NINTH REGIMENT," ETC.

"A full fed river winding slow, By herds upon an endless plain."

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

"And some one pacing there alone Who paced for ever in a glimmering land, Lit with a low, large moon."

TENNYSON.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND ROUTE MAP. [Not included in this ebook.]

LONDON SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY Limited St. Dunstan's House FETTER LANE, FLEET STREET,

First Published 1872 (All rights reserved)

PRINTED BY GILBERT AND RIFINGTON, LD., ST. JOHN'S HOUSE, CLERKEMWELL ROAD, E.C.

PREFACE.

At York Factory on Hudson Bay there lived, not very long ago, a man who had stored away in his mind one fixed resolution it was to write a book.

"When I put down," he used to say, "all that I have seen, and all that I havn't seen, I will be able to write a good book."

It is probable that had this man carried his intention into effect the negative portion of his vision would have been more successfal than the positive. People are generally more ready to believe what a man hasn't seen'than what he has seen. So, at least, thought Karkakonias the Chippeway Chief at Pembina.

Karkakonias was taken to Washington during the great Southern War, in order that his native mind might be astonished by the grandeur of the United States, and by the strength and power of the army of the Potomac.

Upon his return to his tribe he remained silent and impassive; his days were spent in smoking, his evenings in quiet contemplation; he spoke not of his adventures in the land of the great white medicine man. But at length the tribe grew discontented; they had expected to hear the recital of the wonders seen by their chief, and lo! he had come back to them as silent as though his wanderings had ended on the Coteau of the Missouri, or by the borders of the Kitchi Gami. Their discontent found vent in words.

"Our father, Karkakonias, has come back to us," they said; "why does he not tell his children of the medicine of the white man? Is our father dumb that he does not speak to us of these things?"

Then the old chief took his calumet from his lips, and replied, "'If Karkakonias told his children of the medicines of the white man of his war canoes moving by fire, and making thunder as they move, of his warriors more numerous than the buffalo in the days of our fathers, of all the wonderful things he has looked upon his children would point and say, Behold! Karkakonias has become in his old age a maker of lies! No, my children, Karkakonias has seen many wonderful things, and his tongue is still able to speak; but, until your eyes have travelled as far as has his tongue, he will sit silent and smoke the calumet, thinking only of what he has looked upon."

Perhaps I too should have followed the example of the old Chippeway chief, not because of any wonders I have looked upon; but rather because of that well known prejudice against travellers tales, and of that terribly terse adjuration ".O that mine enemy might write a book!" Be that as it may, the book has been written; and it only remains to say a few words about its title and its theories.

The "Great Lone Land" is no sensational name. The North west fulfils, at the present time, every essential of that title. There is no other portion of the globe in which travel is possible where loneliness can be said to live so thoroughly. One may wander 500 miles in a direct line without seeing a human being, or an animal larger than a wolf. And if vastness of plain, and magnitude of lake, mountain, and river can mark a land as great, then no region possesses higher claims to that distinction.

A word upon more personal matters. Some two months since I sent to the firm from whose hands this work has emanated a portion of the unfinished manuscript. I received in reply a communication to the effect that their Reader thought highly of my descriptions of real occurrences, but less of my theories... Continue reading book >>




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