Excerpt: ...tribe. He had faculties. He had also various idiosyncrasies. He was undeniably the best hunter and trapper and trainer of dogs to sledge, as well as the most expert upon snowshoes of all the Indians living upon the point, and he was, furthermore, one of the dirtiest of them and the biggest drunkard whenever opportunity afforded. Fortunately for him and for his squaw, Bigbeam, as she had been facetiously named by an agent of the company, the opportunities for getting drunk were rare, for the company is conservative in the distribution of that which makes bad hunters. Given an abundance of firewater and tobacco, Red Dog was the happiest Indian between the northern boundary of the United States and Lake Gary; deprived of them both he hunted vigorously, thinking all the while of the coming hour when, after a long journey and much travail, he should be in what was his idea of heaven again. To-day, though, the rifle bought from the company stood idle beside the ridge-pole, the sledge dogs snarled and fought upon the snow outside, and Bigbeam, squat and broad as became her name, looked askance at her lord as she prepared the moose meat, uncertain of his temper, for his face was cloudy. Red Dog was, in fact, perplexed, and was planning deeply. Good reason was there for Red Dog's thought. Events of the immediate future were of moment to him and all his fellows, among whom, though no chief was formally acknowledged, he was recognized as leader; for had he not at one time been with the company as a hired hunter? Had he not once gone with a fur-carrying party even to Hudson's Bay, and thence to the far south and even to Quebec? And did he not know the ways of the company, and could not he talk a French patois which enabled him to be understood at the stations? Now, as fitting representative of himself and of his clan, a great responsibility had come upon him, and he was lost in as anxious thought as could come to a biped of his quality. Like a more or less...
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