The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People

By Bruce Hutchison | Go to book overview

She's Quiet Tonight

It is all quiet tonight on the fire line. Out beyond the fringe of green trees the fire is still burning, but she burns low. She has gone into the ground, down into the pitchy roots of old fir stumps, deep down into the soil, smoldering, sullen, ready to spring up with the first breath of wind.

Little patches of flame leap up now and then, run through the dried bracken, sink down again into the fields of gray ash. Sudden flames stream out from dead snags with a shower of sparks as from a rocket, and die as suddenly. A tortured tree trunk glows steadily against the might sky, far off, like a redhot poker.

The fire has become a personal enemy, up and down the coast, a living thing with a will and a character of her own. We think of the fire that way -- a cunning, calculating creature, full of tricks, only lying low now, ready to strike when we turn our backs. We call the fire "she."

She started in the logging slash and flamed up like burning gasoline, with a sudden hiss and then a steady roar. She ate the young fir growth at a gulp. She crawled slowly into the green timber and waited there a while. In the distance she looked like a thin, hot wire in the night sky. Then the wire suddenly grew thick. The red glow oozed out over the sky as if blotting paper were sucking up red paint.

"She's crowned!" Pete Haramboure said. She had leaped into the tops of the big trees and every fir needle swelled up and burst into a tiny puff of gas. She shot across the crown of the forest in a single flame. You could hear the roar ten miles away, like a train going over a steel bridge. She traveled

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The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • My Country 3
  • Chapter One - Chez Garneau 6
  • Mother of Canada 21
  • Canadian Spring 43
  • Chapter Three - The Wood Choppers 46
  • Letter from Montreal to Young Lady With Violets 61
  • Chapter Four - Ville Marie 64
  • The Tower 77
  • Chapter Five - Three O'Clock, Ottawa Time 79
  • Leaves Falling, Dead Men Calling 107
  • Chapter Six - Made in Canada 110
  • The Ready Way to Canada 129
  • Chapter Seven - The Wedge 132
  • Mrs. Noggins 155
  • Chapter Eight General Brock's Bloody Hill 158
  • Winter 179
  • Chapter Nine - Wood, Wind, Water 182
  • The Names of Canada 209
  • Chapter Ten - Sailors' Town 211
  • The Queer Lady 219
  • Chapter Eleven - The Home Town 222
  • The Trees 231
  • Chapter Twelve - Fundy's Children 234
  • The Geese 247
  • Chapter Thirteen - The Frontiersman 249
  • The Canadian 269
  • Chapter Fourteen - The Men in Sheepskin Coats 272
  • Father's Plow 289
  • Chapter Fifteen - Drought and Glut 292
  • Never Go Back 309
  • She's Quiet Tonight 329
  • Chapter Seventeen - The Lotus Eaters 332
  • The Buckskin 351
  • Chapter Eighteen - Cariboo Road 353
  • Index 375
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