Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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Series Editor’s Preface

Benjamin Lefebvre

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pp. vii-x

Frederick John Niven was born to Scottish parents in Valparaiso, Chile, on 31 March 1878. Educated in Glasgow, he visited British Columbia as a young adult and worked as a writer, librarian, journalist, and labourer in both the United...

The Flying Years

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Dedicatory Letter to I.A. Richards

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pp. 3-6

My dear Richards,
There is no need to remind you—far in terrestrial space though the Columbia Valley may be from Magdalene College—of September, 1933. “A magic gets hold of some days and they remain with you forever . . .” So I read—a reference
...

Contents

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pp. 7-8

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I: Eviction

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pp. 9-16

Memory, as the years slipped past, always served Angus Munro with Loch Brendan through a web of yammering gulls, but his mother remembered it through a mist of tears.
There had come to her no omen...

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II: Red River

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pp. 17-28

The odours of the new land, before they had sighted it, came out to meet them through a white mist over the sea, odours of robustiously scented forests. The steamer crawled on, calling and calling with her siren till the vapour was...

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III: To the Mountains

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pp. 29-36

Ian Fraser had fancied that Buchanan was so fuddled at the funeral that his promise to call and see Angus would be entirely forgotten by him, but there he was, next day, speiring, as he would say, for the lad.
Angus was out by. He was dimly at work on some tinkering, alone...

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IV: Indian Woman

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pp. 37-49

It was as the summer changed into autumn in the year ’57 that Angus came to Rocky Mountain House and already the place had its history, though the signs of it were splintered in wood instead of being chiselled in more ancient stone. Here were no...

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V: Race

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pp. 50-60

Within the palisades were two or three cabins from an earlier period, uninhabited, and in one of these, new-caulked in chinks between the logs, with a Franklin stove from the trade-room, Angus took up...

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VI: Kildonan Bell

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pp. 61-69

So there he was, a mere satellite for the time being, it seemed, of Sam Douglas, that young man of far-seeing plans, aware of little but the misery of farewells and that it was too late to change his mind.
The horses (it had pleased Sam to hear, while Angus was busy on...

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VII: In the Haar

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pp. 70-74

Had anyone told Angus Munro during that last winter at Rocky Mountain House that in the next year he would be hearing the carts rattle in the streets of Edinburgh, and seeing the room of a Lothian Street lodging hazed with...

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VIII: Ettrick Brothers

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pp. 75-84

Angus was twenty-two and had had the feeling, for long, of a sort that many men do not experience till grey hairs come—a feeling of having lived his life. At times, in fact, it was as though he had known more than one life...

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IX: At Lasswade

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pp. 85-94

Tramping into Lasswade on the Sunday afternoon, Angus halted a man upon the road to ask if he knew the De Quincey cottage, thinking to see it first and then seek out the Camerons and Jessie.
“I’m a stranger here,” said that one; and the next one he accosted...

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X: Impulse

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pp. 95-103

He did not haste him back to Lasswade. Impulse was lacking. With one or two members of the Ettrick staff he made friends, but was more often, in his own time during that period, in the company of books. Every Sunday, rain...

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XI: Travellers’ Tales

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pp. 104-107

When he came to his lodgings there was a cloud of tobacco-smoke in the room and in the midst of it sat Sam Douglas, back from the Cariboo country, awaiting his return.
With his wonted ebullience (when the surprise on the one hand...

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XII: Escape

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pp. 108-113

The steamship International was thrashing her way down Red River. Sam Douglas and Angus Munro leant against the rail watching the diminutive rainbows fluttering behind in the spray above the stern-wheel.
Sam had been unable to interest...

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XIII: “The Great Sickness”

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pp. 114-121

There were many men drifting in to Fort Edmonton then and building cabins nearby, to winter there, of a type new to those parts—men young and old, some who had been in California in the great gold excitement of ’49 and in the...

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XIV: Blue Jays

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pp. 122-125

So he did not go on to Fort Garry. He might take the sickness with him, he considered, on his clothes even if, for himself, he escaped. A few days he remained to help there in the melancholy duty of burying those dead who had fallen close...

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XV: Progress

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pp. 126-132

Often he remembered George Catlin walking with him to the door of that hall in Edinburgh, saying, “It’s changing, it’s all changing . . .” For always there was some drear news when, having shut his cabin door and trudged...

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XVI: S.D.

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pp. 133-138

Douglas looked older. That was Angus’s first thought on meeting him at Fort Calgarry. His second was that close on twenty years had passed since they first crossed the plains together from Fort Garry to Carlton, and ten since...

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XVII: Blackfoot Crossing

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pp. 139-144

It was good again to be alive on the Great Plains. This was not hell he was in, thought Angus, riding east ahead of the pack-string beneath capacious blue, across expansive plain. There was a time, a period but lately past, when it seemed to his fancy that even the...

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XVIII: A Collet-Ring

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pp. 145-154

Angus sat alone, remembering Minota. He heard her voice. Again at an impulse to expel sadness and doubt from her eyes he put on her hand the ring of his forebears and knew her fealty, a fealty so deep that the humility of it hurt...

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XIX: Prairie-Schooner

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pp. 155-161

Somewhat as Angus had noticed, when rejoining Sam at Fort Calgarry, that his old friend looked his age, did Sam in the days following his foreman’s return from Blackfoot Crossing, see him as one changed. He wondered if Munro had received a...

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XX: Fiona

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pp. 162-167

Angus took her hands. He held them, incredulous, first, of this descent upon him and amazed, secondly, at the manner in which she had as it were made up on him. She let him hold her, canted back, laughing happily at his...

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XXI: Voilà les Bœufs!

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pp. 168-176

The Frasers were building their new home at the chosen location in the Spitsee River country—as the whites pronounced Is-pit-si, which, being interpreted, means High Woods. A little later it would be called Highwood River; a...

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XXII: Mr. Hodges Advises

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pp. 177-191

Mr. Hodges, from whom Angus was to take over control of the Running Antelope Reservation, otherwise the High Butte Reservation, a short, rotund man formed after the manner of a bladder of lard, welcomed them...

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XXIII: Photograph

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pp. 192-200

Chantelaine was an eager and interested aide with no faintest peevishness (even before he discovered that Angus did assuredly know something of Indians) that one new to the service had been set in authority over him. Peters, the...

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XXIV: Birth

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pp. 201-216

Time seemed to fly that spring for Fiona and Angus, happy together, happy with the weather, even with the gummy-sheathed buds of the cottonwoods in the coulee, the rattling of catkin clusters, the burnished tone of red-willow...

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XXV: Changes

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pp. 217-226

The miserable business was over, Riel hanged, the snow of another winter quaking down over the land, and Macpherson’s chief concern in life was whether it should be wheels or runners to carry the wheat of those he called...

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XXVI: Descendants

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pp. 227-233

As the years passed, Daniel’s progress was gratifying to both mother and father. Before his settlement school days were over, despite his outdoor enthusiasms, his handling of horses, Angus and Fiona decided he would not end his...

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XXVII: Business

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pp. 234-241

About a week after Angus’s return to the agency, Fiona wrote a suggestion: Did he not think she should come back and bring her father with her? It appeared that the old man brooded at the ranch. She thought a change...

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XXVIII: Two Sons

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pp. 242-255

They saw then All Alone and Tannisse drive to the door. The canvas of a tepee showed behind the seat, and to the side of the rig lodge-poles had been lashed, their ends thrusting out behind. All Alone handed the lines to his wife and...

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XXIX: Heather

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pp. 256-269

In a shipping office in Glasgow, a lean, tanned elderly man, with a slight stoop of years between his shoulders, made inquiries across a counter (which was a sheet of gleaming glass over a map of Scotland), regarding sailings for Loch Brendan. On a divan...

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XXX: Buffalo Bill

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pp. 270-274

Back from Loch Brendan to Glasgow, they went to London. They motored out to Hampstead Heath, saw a clump of firs there, strolled on Parliament Hill under high kites, smoke in the valley below them and the bubble of St. Paul’s...

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XXXI: “A Married Man’s Town”

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pp. 275-284

The years that followed were Dan’s years, the years of a new generation, Angus and Fiona in the slack-water.
They swithered some time between settling down at High Butte, Calgary—or Edmonton, capital of the Province, where the...

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XXXII: Sacrifice

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pp. 285-291

Angus was glad, a little later, that they had decided to settle at High Butte, handy to the reserve. A telephone had been installed and there was a call from the agency one morning.
“Can you come over at once, Mr. Munro?” said Chantelaine. “I’d...

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XXXIII: Blue Gentians

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pp. 292-298

It was over at last, a year after Dan’s sacrifice, and Angus’s private opinion was that they had all, in every land, all the millions of them, died for nothing.
The war years he had felt not as four years but as a period of misery, as out of hell, driven into the world...

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XXXIV: Angus and Sam

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pp. 299-306

They called him Old Man Munro after that. When we mourn for the dead, he told himself, we really mourn for ourselves, missing them. He was glad she had gone first. It was lonesome with one’s partner away, but he had more faith in...

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XXXV: Voice of the Prairie

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pp. 307-312

The radio had been a present he had given to Fiona. They had never been able to take that small polished box for granted. Always it was Mystery, and they would often wonder what kindred and further marvels awaited in the...

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Afterword

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pp. 313-336

Today’s readers will find in Frederick Niven’s The Flying Years a fascinating depiction of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada, played out on familial and national stages. In its representation...