The Last Gentleman Adventurer: Coming of Age in the Arctic

The Last Gentleman Adventurer: Coming of Age in the Arctic

Edward Beauclerk Maurice

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0618773584

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


At sixteen, Edward Beauclerk Maurice impulsively signed up with the Hudson's Bay Company -- the company of Gentleman Adventurers -- and ended up at an isolated trading post in the Canadian Arctic, where there was no communication with the outside world and only one ship arrived each year. But he was not alone. The Inuit people who traded there taught him how to track polar bears, build igloos, and survive ferocious winter storms. He learned their language and became completely immersed in their culture, earning the name Issumatak, meaning “he who thinks.”

In The Last Gentleman Adventurer, Edward Beauclerk Maurice relates his story of coming of age in the Arctic and transports the reader to a time and a way of life now lost forever.

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confirmed. Half-way through the morning, the fog began to lift, drifting away from above the Nascopie to reveal a cloudy uncertain sky, a small patch at first, then gradually clearing so that what looked like a darker cloud appeared almost directly ahead of us. Not happy about this odd-looking cloud, the captain altered course about ninety degrees, which was just as well for soon afterwards the fog dissolved altogether and the darker cloud turned out to be a rather solid headland. Later on the

old Eskimo was too wily to be caught by that one. 'Why,' she said, feigning astonishment, 'do you see many lamps burning more brightly than this one I am tending?' To emphasize her point, she snatched a sealskin boot off the rack where it had been drying and started chewing it with great gusto, showing the yellow stumps of her teeth every now and then as she grinned at me. So, feeling that the question was one which was never likely to arise, I handed her a packet of cigarettes as thanks for

the liquid dripped harmlessly down into the deerskins. They all thought that the injection had gone in to be absorbed into Kuperachu's body and gasped in astonishment. For some unknown reason the man started to go very red in the face, little beads of perspiration came out on his forehead and he started to groan again. 'Give him a drink of water,' I said to his wife in as careless a manner as possible, hoping to convince everybody that this was precisely what I had expected to happen. I closed

back over the disastrous events at Ward Inlet over the past fifteen months - the boat tragedy and the terrible affliction which struck the people the year before and now again this summer -1 saw there was good reason for the Eskimos to believe that evil influences were working against them and so to call upon the angekok for his assistance. I also considered the ominous possibility that the number of active hunters had fallen to a level at which the continued existence of a trading post might no

moon will cover the sun and there will be darkness.' Once again, Nikoo's mouth dropped open in astonishment, but this time he did not know what to say, so he just gazed at me. I cannot think what prompted me to give the man this bit of news, perhaps just a pressing need to say something after my blunder over Komanak's death. Hurriedly attempting to make this strange prediction easier for the hunter to understand, I confused him still further by using my hands to illustrate what was going to

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