The Faith of Men and Other Stories HTML version
The Marriage Of Lit-Lit
When John Fox came into a country where whisky freezes solid and may be used as a
paper-weight for a large part of the year, he came without the ideals and illusions that
usually hamper the progress of more delicately nurtured adventurers. Born and reared on
the frontier fringe of the United States, he took with him into Canada a primitive cast of
mind, an elemental simplicity and grip on things, as it were, that insured him immediate
success in his new career. From a mere servant of the Hudson Bay Company, driving a
paddle with the voyageurs and carrying goods on his back across the portages, he swiftly
rose to a Factorship and took charge of a trading post at Fort Angelus.
Here, because of his elemental simplicity, he took to himself a native wife, and, by reason
of the connubial bliss that followed, he escaped the unrest and vain longings that curse
the days of more fastidious men, spoil their work, and conquer them in the end. He lived
contentedly, was at single purposes with the business he was set there to do, and achieved
a brilliant record in the service of the Company. About this time his wife died, was
claimed by her people, and buried with savage circumstance in a tin trunk in the top of a
Two sons she had borne him, and when the Company promoted him, he journeyed with
them still deeper into the vastness of the North- West Territory to a place called Sin
Rock, where he took charge of a new post in a more important fur field. Here he spent
several lonely and depressing months, eminently disgusted with the unprepossessing
appearance of the Indian maidens, and greatly worried by his growing sons who stood in
need of a mother's care. Then his eyes chanced upon Lit-lit.
"Lit-lit--well, she is Lit-lit," was the fashion in which he despairingly described her to his
chief clerk, Alexander McLean.
McLean was too fresh from his Scottish upbringing--"not dry behind the ears yet," John
Fox put it--to take to the marriage customs of the country. Nevertheless he was not averse
to the Factor's imperilling his own immortal soul, and, especially, feeling an ominous
attraction himself for Lit-lit, he was sombrely content to clinch his own soul's safety by
seeing her married to the Factor.
Nor is it to be wondered that McLean's austere Scotch soul stood in danger of being
thawed in the sunshine of Lit-lit's eyes. She was pretty, and slender, and willowy; without
the massive face and temperamental stolidity of the average squaw. "Lit-lit," so called
from her fashion, even as a child, of being fluttery, of darting about from place to place
like a butterfly, of being inconsequent and merry, and of laughing as lightly as she darted
and danced about.
Lit-lit was the daughter of Snettishane, a prominent chief in the tribe, by a half-breed
mother, and to him the Factor fared casually one summer day to open negotiations of
marriage. He sat with the chief in the smoke of a mosquito smudge before his lodge, and