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The Last Resort - Chapter 11|
When I awoke the next morning, the sun was shining and I could hear the waves crashing up against the shore. The birds were singing.
Arthur was gone and so was the baby. Richard was still sleeping. I quickly got dressed and as I was tiptoeing out the door when Richard woke up. I dressed him and we both stepped outside.
I was thrilled by what I saw. No longer did the place look dark and lonesome. It looked beautiful. The water was sparkling, the sky was blue. How different everything looked and even Richard couldn’t wait to start exploring this new place.
I could smell the coffee and when I went into the third little building, Arthur had made porridge and toast. We sat and had breakfast. Arthur had fed Sally Ann her pablum and she was sitting propped up on some boxes. What a good baby she was. We all felt so much better after a good night’s sleep.
After breakfast, Arthur told me that he had to go to Ear Falls to get groceries and he wouldn’t be back until the next day.
I was so shocked and said: “You’re not going to leave us here all alone!” He said that we could go with him but there were three portages to cross and it would take all day to get there. I didn’t think I could stand another long journey just yet but I knew that we had to have food. I watched as he packed his pack sack and in the years to come I understood why he took all the things he did. I knew them by heart. Tea pail, tin of pork and beans, tin of Spam, sugar, tea, matches, a pair of socks, and an axe. He used to say that a man could survive quite a long time in the bush if he had an ax and matches. He kissed us goodbye and waved as he started on his long journey.
I certainly resented his leaving us but it couldn’t be helped and I had to make the best of it.
After we had watched him go, I took a good look at the little kitchen that was going to be my home for so many years.
There was an old iron stove with a large hole in the oven, a shelf by the stove which had several covered cans on it. In one was oats, coffee, tea, sugar and flour. I learned afterwards that these things were always left ina cabin so that if anyone was lost in the bush and found the cabin, they could survive. There was also a few shelves with a few dishes and cups; a little first aid kit; a washstand; washbowl, two pails and a dipper. There was two benches and a table. That was the contents of my kitchen.
Not quite like the kitchen of the stately homes that I had worked in while I was in England!
It was such a lovely day that I went down to the shore and relaxed by the lake while Richard ran along the shore and played in the water. Sally was on a blanket beside me. We spent all the morning by the lake and then I went up to the kitchen to get us something to eat. Arthur had brought a box of groceries but I didn’t know what was in there. I saw two cartons of eggs, four loaves of bread, two tins of milk, some bologna, cereal and pablum. Not very much but enough to last until Arthur got back. I put the kettle on for tea, make two bologna sandwiches and gave Sally some pablum. We ate our lunch alone and it seemed so scary to think that we were all alone in this wilderness. I couldn’t explore anywhere as it was all bush. There was a little toilet in the back but Richard would not go there until I went with him.
When we had finished our lunch, we went back down to the shore and spent the rest of the afternoon there. What a good thing that I have always loved the country and solitude because I certainly had plenty of it here. Country in England was never like this and I don’t know what I like being quite so alone as this.
For supper we had a delicious meal of friend bologna, eggs and toast! I went to bed with the children at eight-thirty. That was how I spent my first day at Wine lake. I can tell you that I didn’t get much sleep that night. I heard so many strange noises. Some were right outside the door and I was too cared to get up and look. I heard what sounded like someone screaming and I thought that someone was being murdered on the lake. I later learned that those strange noises were loons.
I was very glad when the morning came. I got dressed and very quietly opened the door to see if there were any wild animals around. I went up to the kitchen to light the fire and went back to see if the baby was awake. This fresh air certainly made the children sleep. Maybe it ws also because it was so quiet.
Arthur would be back today, thank goodness. I hoped he wouldn’t have to leave me alone again.
Around midday, I thought I heard voices. There were three windows in the kitchen. I ran to one and looked out. Nothing. I ran to the front window and nearly died of fright. There was two canoes with three Indians in each one coming along the shore. I was absolutely petrified and ran behind the kitchen door and hid.
I was going to be scalped. I honestly believed that. There was my little boy down by the shore playing. How was it that I couldn’t go down there and rescue him but I could scarcely breathe.
After a little while, Richard came running up the path saying: “Mummy, Mummy, some chocolate men want a loaf of bread.”
I was so relieved I gave Richard two loaves of bread and also the twenty-five cents they had given Richard to pay for the bread. They left as quickly and as silently as they had come. I could have sat and cried. How silly that sounds as I look back but that is exactly how I felt. No wonder Arthur got disgusted with me.
When Arthur came back that afternoon, I told him about the Indians and that all they wanted was bread. I told him how I had hid behind the door. He got mad and when I told him that I had given them two loaves, he got madder.
“You GAVE them bread? After I packed them across three portages and forty-four miles of water?”
Then I got mad and said: “You don’t care about us being scalped. All you care about is your precious bread.”
Arthur looked at me and said: “ You have more to fear from the white man than you ever have from the Indian.”
With that, he went and slammed the door.
The next day, I asked him if he would put locks on the doors.
He said: “Why? Do you think a bear is going to lift the latch and walk in?
To this day, there aren’t any locks on the doors.
Arthur had put legs on a fish box so I fixed a nice little bed for Sally Ann. I put a mosquito net on it so I could put it outside.
That’s how we used to live. There was nothing to do. My goodness, I’ve never had it so easy.
One day, while I was sitting outside I said to Arthur: “Do we always live like this? How do you earn your money?”
Arthur said: “By tourists.”
I said: “But we don’t have any.”
He said: “I know that.”
I said: “Do you mean to say that we have to have people up here before we earn any money?”
he said: “Yes.”
Well, that certainly changed things. Gone was my fear of being left alone, or of Indians, or of bears. If tourists wa the only means of us earning money,then we had to have tourists.
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