Missing the Womenfolk Back Home

[ Woman and Dog, Klondike ]

Woman and Dog, Klondike, George Cantwell, 1898, Univ of Washington, Ph Coll 302.21

A large number of the men were married and had wives and children in the outside; and there was a pathos, not easy to express, in the readiness with which well-thumbed photographs would slip from mud-encrusted side pockets, to show to a perfect stranger the shape in which thoughts of home were journeying through the Yukon. Sometimes the picture was of a child, sometimes of a young wife, sometimes, more touchingly, of the middle-aged companion of a lifetime; and I might chance to hear that it was hard on the "old missis" to be left again. All kinds of men from every class of life were there. Americans, Canadians, Australians, and Englishmen were in the majority, but almost every European nationality was represented. One Frenchman, who had lost his entire outfit by the overturning of his boat upon some rapids, and had not even a blanket to lie down in, had saved a curl of his baby daughter's hair. He was cheerfully content, "Ma foi! I have got the thing I valued most!" And more than once the little packet that looked to ordinary eyes like a skein of yellow floss silk was pulled from his trousers pocket for me to see?

Source: Flora L. Shaw, Missing the Womenfolk Back Home, Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute 30 (1898/99) (1899): 112-13

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