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Mina Benson Hubbard

An Account of the Exploration of the Nascaupee and George Rivers

The night was very still when I awoke, but it was cold. Frost sparkled in the moonlight on willows and low growth, and when at first sign of dawn I reached for my stockings and duffel to put them on, they were frozen stiff. I did not wait to hunt out dry ones, but slipped them on for I was too anxious to be on the march again. I meant to go on to Ungava now, no matter what befell; _perhaps_ we could yet be in time for the ship. She might be delayed.

This book is the result of a determination on my part to complete Mr. Hubbard's unfinished work, and having done this to set before the public a plain statement, not only of my own journey, but of his as well. For this reason I have included the greater part of Mr. Hubbard's diary, which he kept during the trip, and which it will be seen is published exactly as he wrote it, and also George Elson's account of the last few days together, and his own subsequent efforts.

On Sunday morning, August 20th, I awoke in a state of expectancy. We had slept three times since leaving the Montagnais camp, and unless the Barren Grounds People were not now in their accustomed camping place, we ought to see them before night. Many thoughts came of how greatly Mr. Hubbard had wished to see them, and what a privilege he would have thought it to be able to visit them.

There was an unusual excitement and interest in Mr. Hubbard's face when he came home one evening in January of 1903.

We had just seated ourselves at the dinner-table, when leaning forward he handed me a letter to read. It contained the very pleasing information that we were shortly to receive a, for us, rather large sum of money. It was good news, but it did not quite account for Mr. Hubbard's present state of mind, and I looked up enquiringly.

"You see, Wife, it means that I can take my Labrador trip whether anyone sends me or not," he said triumphantly.

It was on the 15th of July, 1903, that Leonidas Hubbard, Jr., my husband, with two companions, set out from Northwest River Post, near the head of Lake Melville, for a canoe trip into the interior of Labrador, which be hoped would not only afford him an interesting wilderness experience but also an opportunity to explore and map one, and perhaps both, of these rivers, the Northwest River draining Lake Michikamau to Lake Melville, and the George River draining the northern slope of the plateau to Ungava Bay.

There are times when that which constitutes one's inner self seems to cease. So it was with me at the moment Mr. Ford uttered those last words. My heart should have swelled with emotion, but it did not. I cannot remember any time in my life when I had less feeling.

The call "All aboard," came at about six o'clock on Thursday morning. We had breakfast, and started at 8 A.M. A cold northwest wind was blowing, and an occasional light shower fell. The sand- hills on either side of the river grew higher as we went up, with always the willows along the water edge. Miles ahead we could see Mounts Sawyer and Elizabeth rising blue and fine above the other hills, and thus standing up from the desolation of the burnt lands all about; they came as a foreword of what was awaiting us further on.


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