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258   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

filled with thoughts of the gallant little expedition and its resourceful leader, who were making history in this remote corner of the Empire. Had he known it, the spot on which he stood was already historic ground. Here de Noyon, the first white man to traverse these waters, had landed in 1688; and within a stone's-throw from where he stood La Jemeraye, the nephew of La Verendrye, had built Fort St. Pierre in 1731, to mark the first stage in the romantic search for the Western Sea.

Butler stood for some time gazing eagerly out over the waters of the lake. At last he caught the glint of some-thing moving. Rapidly it drew nearer, and resolved itself into a large North-West canoe, sweeping along to the swing of eight paddles, "its Iroquois paddlers timing their strokes to an old French chant as they shot down towards the river's source." Other canoes and boats came into view, and out to the horizon presently stretched a continuous line, bearing the first brigades of the Expeditionary Force. Butler pushed off into the stream, and paddled out to meet the leading canoe. In the centre sat a familiar figure in uniform. Here, at last, was Wolseley. "Where on earth have you dropped from?" cheerily cried the leader. "Fort Garry, twelve days out, sir," replied Butler.'

One can imagine the feelings of Wolseley and his men, as, after long weeks of heart-breaking struggle through a barren and inhospitable region, inhabited chiefly by mosquitoes and black flies, they found themselves transferred as if by magic into an earthly paradise. Even to-day, despite the efforts of man to mar its beauty, Rainy river is one of the most lovely waterways in Canada; and we can form some idea from the enthusiastic accounts of explorers and fur-traders how altogether captivating it must have been in a state of nature. But perhaps to the officers who shared with Wolseley the hospitality of Mc-Kenzie, the Hudson's Bay Company's agent at Fort Frances, even more appealing than scenery was the sight

Butler, W. F.: The Great Lone Land.


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