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Northern Lights   By: (1862-1932)

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First Page:

NORTHERN LIGHTS, Complete

By Gilbert Parker

CONTENTS

Volume 1. A LODGE IN THE WILDERNESS ONCE AT RED MAN'S RIVER THE STROKE OF THE HOUR BUCKMASTER'S BOY

Volume 2. TO MORROW QU'APPELLE THE STAKE AND THE PLUMB LINE

Volume 3. WHEN THE SWALLOWS HOMEWARD FLY GEORGE'S WIFE MARCILE

Volume 4. A MAN, A FAMINE, AND A HEATHEN BOY THE HEALING SPRINGS AND THE PIONEERS THE LITTLE WIDOW OF JANSEN WATCHING THE RISE OF ORION

Volume 5. THE ERROR OF THE DAY THE WHISPERER AS DEEP AS THE SEA

INTRODUCTION

This book, Northern Lights, belongs to an epoch which is a generation later than that in which Pierre and His People moved. The conditions under which Pierre and Shon McGann lived practically ended with the advent of the railway. From that time forwards, with the rise of towns and cities accompanied by an amazing growth of emigration, the whole life lost much of that character of isolation and pathetic loneliness which marked the days of Pierre. When, in 1905, I visited the Far West again after many years, and saw the strange new life with its modern episode, energy, and push, and realised that even the characteristics which marked the period just before the advent, and just after the advent, of the railway were disappearing, I determined to write a series of stories which would catch the fleeting characteristics and hold something of the old life, so adventurous, vigorous, and individual, before it passed entirely and was forgotten. Therefore, from 1905 to 1909, I kept drawing upon all those experiences of others, from the true tales that had been told me, upon the reminiscences of Hudson's Bay trappers and hunters, for those incidents natural to the West which imagination could make true. Something of the old atmosphere had gone, and there was a stir and a murmur in all the West which broke that grim yet fascinating loneliness of the time of Pierre.

Thus it is that Northern Lights is written in a wholly different style from that of Pierre and His People, though here and there, as for instance in A Lodge in the Wilderness, Once at Red Man's River, The Stroke of the Hour, Qu'appelle, and Marcile, the old note sounds, and something of the poignant mystery, solitude, and big primitive incident of the earlier stories appears. I believe I did well at any rate for myself and my purposes in writing this book, and thus making the human narrative of the Far West and North continuous from the time of the sixties onwards. So have I assured myself of the rightness of my intention, that I shall publish a novel presently which will carry on this human narrative of the West into still another stage that of the present, when railways are intersecting each other, when mills and factories are being added to the great grain elevators in the West, and when hundreds and thousands of people every year are moving across the plains where, within my own living time, the buffalo ranged in their millions, and the red men, uncontrolled, set up their tepees.

NOTE

The tales in this book belong to two different epochs in the life of the Far West. The first five are reminiscent of "border days and deeds" of days before the great railway was built which changed a waste into a fertile field of civilisation. The remaining stories cover the period passed since the Royal North West Mounted Police and the Pullman car first startled the early pioneer, and sent him into the land of the farther North, or drew him into the quiet circle of civic routine and humdrum occupation.

G. P.

A LODGE IN THE WILDERNESS

"Hai Yai, so bright a day, so clear!" said Mitiahwe as she entered the big lodge and laid upon a wide, low couch, covered with soft skins, the fur of a grizzly which had fallen to her man's rifle. "Hai yai, I wish it would last for ever so sweet!" she added, smoothing the fur lingeringly, and showing her teeth in a smile.

"There will come a great storm, Mitiahwe... Continue reading book >>




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