The lonesome, far-northern Hudson's Bay Trading Post seldom saw such life. Tepees dotted the banks of the Slave River and lines of blanketed Indians paraded its shores. Near the boat landing a group of chiefs, grotesque in semi-barbaric, semicivilized splendor, but black-browed, austere-eyed, stood in savage dignity with folded arms and high-held heads.
The Napoleonic wars filled all Europe with tumult and disorder, the far-northern realms of Norway and Sweden and the far-eastern one of Turkey alone escaping from being drawn into the maelstrom of conflict. Denmark, the Scandinavian kingdom nearest the region of conflict, did not escape, but was made the victim of wars with which it had no concern to a disastrous extent.
It was in Calcutta that I met Miss Maya Das, and that she left me with two outstanding impressions. The first is that of force and initiative unusual in an Indian woman. How much of this is due to her American education, how much to her far-northern home and ancestry, is difficult to say. Whatever the cause, one feels in her resource and executive ability.
The far-northern island of Iceland, on the verge of the frozen Arctic realm, is one of the most volcanic countries in the world, whether we regard the number of volcanoes concentrated in so small a space, or the extraordinary violence of their eruptions. Of volcanic mountains there are no less than twenty which have been active during historical times.
The various races of the earth enjoy a degree of pigmentation of the skin corresponding to the intensity of the sunlight in the latitude to which they have become accustomed through the course of evolution. Equatorial races are black, far-northern races are blonde with very fair skin, and those occupying mean latitudes are either brown or olive-hued.
The mouth of the Trinity was not navigable; it did not boast a mouth the Klamath just swallowed it. The Klamath's far-northern mouth was a poor affair, useless for commercial purposes. But a great empire had been opened and an enormously serviceable harbor had been added to California's assets. It aided mining and created immense lumber interests.
His mind was orderly, his imagination practical, and he never dreamed idly. When he superimposed a feverish metropolis on a waste of timbered, snow-covered flat, he predicated first the gold-strike that made the city possible, and next he had an eye for steamboat landings, sawmill and warehouse locations, and all the needs of a far-northern mining city.
Yet their love was so vital and primitive, so unaffected and sincere, that it touched the sympathies of all. In this cold, far-northern island, it had all the glow and warmth of some rose-crowned garden of a tropical paradise. But such special days are like days set apart; they do not fit into ordinary life and cannot be continued long under any circumstances.
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