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Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, February 26, 1905, SUPPLEMENT, Image 29

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn99021999/1905-02-26/ed-1/seq-29/

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ICHAEL BTROnOFF hai hen found at Prlncs
Albert, the capital of the Canadian province
of Saskatchewan. Only his name la not Mi
chael StrogofT nor la he the famous courier of
the czar. His real name Is Race MeLeod, and
he Is known to his friends a Michael Btrogoff
because he recently completed a. Journey acroas
the frozen wllda of Athabasca to the Cariboo
mountains and beyond, nearly losing his life a score of times
and finding a bride on the way.
The story of Race McLeod's wild Journey across the trk
leas snows of Saskatchewan and Athabasca began In a din
ing car on the Canadian Pacific railway last November.
When Race McLeod entered the diner It contained but one
vacant seat. He took It.
The .prosperous looking men who sat at the table next
to his with their backs close to him probably didn't know
that Race McLcod was spending almost his last dollar for
a luxurious meal the last that he mlg'ht have for many
weeks. They were engrossed In their own earnest conversa
tion and talked loudly, so Mcleod could not help catching
the drift of their conversation.
He gathered that business Interests with a larg fortune
at stake compelled them to send on a hazardous mission a
trusted agent. He did not learn the details Indeed, he re
sented the fact that he had to listen, even Innocently, to a
private conversation, but the one fact to which his mind
clung was that the twomen needed an agent for their dan
gerous mission so urgently that they were willing to pay
handsomely, and money was what Race McLeod wanted
more than anything else In the world.
" But whom can we send?" asked one of the men petu
lantly. " Dashed If I know," replied the other. " We can't trust
a half breed."
" You might send me," said Race McLeod quietly.
The two men faced around angrily and McLeod had to
speak quickly.
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" I couldn't help overhearing your conversation," he said,
'" unless I gave up my dinner and I couldn't afford to do
that but If you want an agent for a risky piece of work
and it's honorable why, I'm your man."
We don't know you," put In one of the men.
Neither do I know you," retorted McLeod.
The matter ended In an appointment at a hotel at Reglna
the next day the train was due at Reglna that evening. The
next day when McLeod appeared the matter was placed be
fore him.
Briefly, certain mysterious letters were to be delivered
to certain Individuals at Fort Pitt, Port McMurray, Fort .
Chlppewyan, Fort Smith, and Fort Resolution. These let
ters were to be sealed and were to be delivered secretly
without the knowledge of any of the officers of the British
Northwest mounted police stationed at any of the forts. For
the delivery of the letters McLeod was to be paid a oertaln
sum It was a large one and sufficient money was to be ad
vanced to him with which to purchase ponies, clothing, and
furs suitable for the Journey, with such camp equigage as.
he might deem necessary, and to employ guides.
" It's a dajigerous mission," McLeod was told.
I'll deliver the letters," replied Race McLeod.
You may be frozen to death," warned his employers.
" I'll deliver the letters," said McLeod.
"There are wolves," he was told, suggestively.
' I'll deliver the letters." was McLeod's only answer.
McLeod purchased his outfit and engaged a guide at
Prince Albert In the first week in November. He made his
purchases secretly, following Instructions, and left Prince
Albert before daylight on the morning of Nov. 10, with Fort.
Pitt, 123 mile due west, as his first objective point.
J J
Beginning His Perilous Journey.
It was early winter and McLeod had little difficulty In
reaohlnc Fort Pitt at the end of a twenty-two hour ride.
Resting two dsys, he set out with his guide and his pontes
for Fort McMurray, 30 miles north of Fort Pitt as the crow
fles, but to avoid crossing the Great Bear mountains an
almost Impossible task In. the winter he had to skirt the
western end of the range, thus adding nearly 100 mile to
the second stage of his Journey.
McLeod started northward from Fort Pitt on Nor." 14.
lie pushed on In the face of a light snow storm until he
reached the valley cf the Beaver river, sixty-five miles to
the north. By this time the snow was so deep that the
ponies soaroulyesuU make four miles an hour. Tns guide,'
confused In the rising storm on the night of Nov. 18. became
separated from McLeod, and the latter found himself at the
mercy of a furious blizzard In a trackless waste of enow.
McLeod abandoned his pony and kept moving on foot'
aimlessly all through the night. He had no Idea where he
was going. He knew that he must stumble on through the
snowdrifts. To He down, to rest, even for a few moments,
meant to sleep and consequently to die.
In the long night battle with the darkness and the storm
McLeod realized dimly that he was ascending a mount n
side. He knew that he was lost, for his road, If there had
been one, would have skirted the mountain at Its base. Still
he could not go back and he could not go on. He stumbled
and floundered, slipping, falling over bowlders only half
covered with snow, getting up again, ana going on and oo
only to keep moving.
Crave Fight Against the Storm.
Toward morning of that long night McLeod felt that he
could do no more. Exhausted too much for further effort,
he sank down to his knees, striving vainly to keep his weary
' eyelids from closing. Then the earth seemed to fall away
from him and be felt himself suffocated blinded, choked by
masses of snow. He was falling Into a great gulf, the sides
of which were lined with Jagged rocks and stumps of trees
that reached out and struck him, bruised him, on face, neck,
shoulders, body, and limbs.
As lis. fell McLeod lapsed Into unconsciousness 4 Several
hours later he awoke, aching In every Joint, and parched
of Saskatchewan. He built a one story house, half of logs,
half of sod, with a sod roof. He was 100 miles from a. rail
roadbut the railroad would be there in two years, and Old
elrohm knew that In two years he would have wheat to sell.
His wife died, but his daughter Olga remained with him.
Then, last October, Oldstrohm himself died, and Olga was
loft alone. She was not a weak, timid girl. She was 22 years
old, 5 feet 10 Inches in. height, and although graceful and
handsome, was muscled like an athlete. Frequently she had
shot a deer and carried It home on her shoulders, and more
than once she had stood off a pack of ravening wolves with
her rifle. She was a natural pioneer, rugged as a man, but as
tender hearted arsj far more good looklmr than most of her
,sex.
There was not a neighbor within thirty miles when Old
strohm died and Olga burled her father In a grave which
she dug herself. She could not leave' the ranch, for there
y was the stock to care for; besides It was her home.
On the day that Race McLeod became lost in the storm,
however, Olga Oldstrohm had harnessed a team of horses to
' ., a light sledge almost a dog sledge and started for the
home of her nearest neighbor, thirty miles away. As she
drove around the base of the mountain, fifteen miles from
her home, her horses shied at a strange hillock In the road.'
; V - Springing out of her sledge she brushed away the snow
.. ;.v ' and found Race McEeod. He had been carried down the side
cf the mountain by an avalanche of snow.
At first she thought he must be dead. Thenshe dlscov
( red that he was alive, but unconscious, amd hurt how badly
'; she could not tell. So she bundled him Into the sledge, turned
her horses, and started back home with him.
.
Told Her Story and His Love.
All this she told him In a matter of fact way, as If it
'had been nothing. On his part Race McLeod told her why
,ie happened to be lost so far from civilization.
He told her that he had given his word that he would de
liver oertaln letters to certain men at Forts McMurray, Chlp
' pewyan. Smith, and Resolution before Jan. 1. He told her
his whole story. He had lived In Scotland, graduated from
sn English university, and had mode a fool of himself at
dome. He had been In South Africa, Australia, and had
the sledge. He could hear the girl's anxious voice urging falle(1 at whatever he had undertaken, and had come to Can
the horses forward, but the sledge moved scarcely not at B(Ja determined to make a fortune before he returned home
all. Finally It stopped altogether. to his father. He had lived a careless life, but he had never
The darkness came once again and tne gin seemea 10 riven his word and broken It,
' Now, I'm going to deliver those letters. I will get only
$2,01 hi for doing it, but I said I would and I will."
" You cannot reach Fort Resolution," said Olga Old
strohm, " Then I'll die trying," retorted Race McLeod.
You are a real man," was the girl's answer, and Mo
have gone away. After a long time sne returnea ana nu
Leod felt that he was being lifted out of the sledge. He did
not evem wonder why the girl was strong enough to lift him.
It seemed the most natural thing In the world.
Tho girl carried her helpless burden to the shelter of a
exeat rock, where already she had started a fire. She placed
later lie nwunc, uniting, m cvciy juiih, nu jiuiuhcu ..... , , , , . . , . . '
' . ths irrniin.1 niled rnhpi nnd lillinkiO over him. BJia x .v.. i, i, . it . mi i.u ,
with thirst. He could not see, for nis eyeiias, Druisea and ' " . , . h , ,h ,.(ht "",u " -" ". bhuiimuicui. mm tunum
men iiuuuieu ureiuo nun uumii - " ' looK on nis lace, ne sain:
Leod, half delirious, realized that he was being cared for. ,. j.ve nveil a rougn jfPi Dut not a bad one. I've been in
Morning brought the sun again and again the girl placed every country In the world, but you are the only real woman
her human burden in the sludge, but this time she drew It j ever kn.'-
herself the horses had frozen during the night. i.H marry you for that." said the girl, " when, you come
It was bitterly cold In snlte of the blinding glare of the back from Port Rt,guution."
sun on the vast expanse of snow. But the girl tolled on and
on, sometimes sinking from exhaustion. At thee times she
would crawl Into the sledge beside its half unconscious bur
den and remain until she was warmed and rested; then' again
she would toll onward with the sledge.
swollen, could hardly be parted.
The' hours passed on and McLeod felt that 'somewhere
near him the sun was shining. He felt rather than saw Its
radiance through the snow. His thirst maddened him, and
he buried his face in the mass of snow and swallowed huge
masses of it.
Afterwards he became feverish and delirious. He won
dered why ho had not frozen to death, falling to realize that
the masses of snow which covered him, but which had not
smothered him, bad kept him warm.
After, lying for what seemed to him many days he sud
denly felt that he was being lifted in strong arms and that
he was being carried swiftly somewhere.
When McLeod again returned to consciousness he knew
that he was In a sledge and that the sledge was in motion
Race McLcod did go to Fort McMurray, then on to Chlp
pewyan. He crossed the frozen surface of Athabasca lake,
delivered his letters to the parties addressed at Fort Smith,
and followed the Great Slave river down to Fort Resokitl n.
He made the return trip In safety. He travHod the entire
All things come to an end some time, and when McLeod distance srolrwr and cnmlnir on snow shoes and irt Imr-k o
again returned to consciousness he found himself In. a big, the Oldstrohm ranch on Jan. 5. Altogether he had covered
comfortable room, lying on a couch covered with wolf skins. a dBtanc, of mll,.g , jPB. than thirty days, averaging
At the side of the room a great fireplace gave out a com- more than ,hrty ,,. - day needed no guide, for he
Pulling the robes and blankets from his face he saw by his fortabl restful glow of heat, and In front of It sat the girl. fol)oWed first the Athabasca river, which took him directly
side a blue eyed girl with an anxious face surrounded by
masses of yellow hair It looked yellow to McLeod then, but
now he swears It Is golden curling from the edges of a fur
hood. He was too weak, too dizzy to even wonder who she
was or where she was taking him.
Then It began to snow again and once more McLeod was,
In the grasp of the blizzard. The drifts piled up In front of
JL 10 'ort McMurray, and then to Fort Chlppewyan. He hod
, to skirt the eastern end of the Cariloo mountain range, but
Simple Explanation Of Strange Romance. , keeping the mountains in sight he easily found the Great
All this doubtless sounds romantic and improbable, but Slave river, which ran true to the end of his J y -ley.
'really It is simple when explained. Two years ago Helllg Two weeks after his return Itaoe McLe'tl r ! Olga 01J-
'Oldstrohm, a bluff Norwegian farmer, had left North Da- strohm were married at Prince Albert In ti.J r.j?ii.?g they
kota and bought land for a wheat ranch In the Beavervalley will return to the ranch In the Beaver valley.
1

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