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ArthurCalder*Marshall

The

InnocentEye

TheLifeofRobertJ.Flaherty

HeIorethesilent-filmepicNanookoftheNorth

madeRobert f.Flahertyfamous,hehadspent

anumberofyearsprospectingandexploring

intheareaofHudsonBay,Ungava,andBaf

fin Land.Arthur(Balder-Marshallbeginshis

bookaboutthisextraordinaryhumanbeing

withanaccountofthatadventurousyoung

manhood preludetoalifethattookFlaherty

totheSouthSeas,theAranIslands,andIndia,

acrosstheUnitedStates,andintoLouisiana.

Sometimesstormy,sometimescomic,always

absorbing,hiscareerincludedthecreationof Utili/ingawealthofresearchmaterialgath

suchfilmsasMoana,ManofAran,Elephant

Boy,TheLund,andLouisianaStory.

eredbyPaulRothaandBasilWright,distin

guishedmakersofdocumentaries,theauthor

includesanalysesofFlaherty'smovie-making

methodsbythem,andbyfohnGoldmanand

HelenVanDongc-n,whowereamongFla

herty'sfilmeditors,Xcstful,adventmous,

bravo,extravagant,single-minded,innocent,

andcurious,RobertJ.Flaherty,apioneerof

thecinema,cmcigesfrom these judicious, Illustratedwithjophotographs

sympatheticpagosasamovingandimmensely

engaginghumanbeing.

1 1 /;/;//*<//mvhyPaulRothaandBasilWright

Harcourt,Brace&World,Inc.

7^77V///V/lw t nue,\rwYork '

V.too

31

778.16 F575c

66-09099

Calder-Marshall

Theinnocenteye: thelifeof

RobertJ,Flaherty

THEINNOCENTEYE

London,

SUSCHITZKY

THEINNOCENTEYE

ThelifeofROBERTJ.FLAHERTY

ARTHURCALDER-MARSHALL

Basedonresearchmaterialt>y

PAULROTHAandBASILWRIGHT

NEWYORK

Harcourt,Brace&World,Inc.

Copyright

I9<53byW.H,Allen&Co.

Allrightsreserved.Nopartofthisbookmaybereproduced

inanyformorbyanymechanicalmeans,includingduplicatingmachine

andtaperecorder,withoutpermissioninwritingfromthepublisher,

FirstAmericanedition1966

LibraryofCongressCatalogCardNumber:6(5-12357

PrintedintheUnitedStatesofAmerica*

Foreword

CONTENTS

PartOneFLAHERTYTHEEXPLORER

  • 1 TheMinersandtheMoccasins

  • 2 IntoHudsonBay

  • 3 AcrossUngavaPeninsula

4TheBelchersatLast

  • 5 FromOretoAggie

  • 6 ShootingNanook

PartTWOFLAHERTYTHEARTIST

  • 7 TheMasterpiecethatPaid

  • 8 InSearchofSeaMonsters

9

Moana

  • 10 Shadows,WhiteandDark StormsoverAran

11

BerlinandIndustrialBritain

  • 12 ShootingManofAran

13

14 FlahertyoftheElephants

15

TheLand

page9

15

27

62 37

54 76

91

98

112 130

121 14*

158

173

185

CONTENTS

  • 17 LouisianaStory

18

19

TheEnd

Epilogue

APPENDICES

  • 1 SynopsisofNanook

  • 2 4CommentaryofTheLandwithvisualindicatives 3 SynopsisofMoana SynopsisofMawofAran

  • 5 SynopsisofLouisianaStory

  • 6 Film-creditsofRobertJ.Flaherty'sFilms Acknowledgements Index SomeBooksConsulted

211

229

244

255

257

259

261

280

286

291

292

297

ILLUSTRATIONS

Frontispiece

ManofAian SECTIONTHREE SECTIONONE SECTIONTWO

Samoa:Moana

TheSub-Arctic:Nanook

NewMexico;IndustrialBritain;

SECTIONFIVE SECTIONFOUR

India: ElephantBoy

U.S.A.:TheLand

SECTIONSIX

LouisianaStory

Betweenpp72-73

104-05

184-85

200-01

216-17

[71

Foreword

wVVhenRobertFlahertydiedin1951,PaulRotha

andBasilWrightwereaskedbyanEnglishpublishertowriteabook

intributetothemanwhowasthe'founderoftheDocumentary

Movement'.RichardGriffith'sTheWorldofRobertFlaherty,though

publishedafterFlaherty'sdeath,hadbeenwrittenalmostcompletely

duringFlaherty'slifetime.Althoughplannedasanexhaustivestudy,

Flaherty'sdeathhastenedpublicationandthroughnofaultofthe

authorthebookwasmoreinthenatureofasketch.Somethingfuller

wasneeded.

Mrs.Flahertyagreedthatsomethingmuchfullerwasneeded.Butshe

proposedthatsomeoneelseshouldwriteadefiniteandmonumental

work,whichcouldonlybeundertakenwithagrantfromoneofthe

greatAmericanfoundations.

Thegrantfailedtomaterialize.In1951RothaandWrightwere

approachedbyanotherEnglishpublisher.ThistimeMrs.Flaherty

didnotopposethesuggestion.ShegenerouslymadeavailableFlaherty's

publishedworkforquotationandalsothrewopenthearchivesofthe

Robert}.FlahertyFoundationinBrattleboro.Shedidnot,however,in

viewofhermanycommitments,feelthatitwouldbepossibleto

collaboratetotheextentofgivingherpersonalrecollections,exceptin

[9]

THEINNOCENTEYE

sofarastheyhadalreadybeenrecordedinherbookElephantDance

andherlecturenotes.

RothaandWrightintendedtoproducethebookasacombined

operation,makingitasortofbiographicalfilmhistory.Butbeing

activefilm-makers,theyfoundthattheirperiodsofleisuredidnot

coincide.TogethertheyscreenedalltheFlahertypicturesandmadethe Evenforhim,itwasapart-timeoccupation,fillingingapsbetween

digestswhichareprintedinAppendices15.Butfromthenonthe

bruntoftheworkfelluponRotha.

hisownfilms.HewenttoNewYork,interviewingpeoplewhohad

knownFlaherty.InAugust,1957,hevisitedFrancesandDavid

FlahertyatBrattleboro.Hewroteinnumerablelettersandcollected

reamsofreminiscences,especiallyfromDavidFlaherty,Newton

Rowe,JohnGoldman,JohnGrierson,HelenvanDongen,J.P.R.

Golighdy,E.HayterPrestonandIrvingLerner.1 Heconsulted

innumerablefilmbooksandperiodicalsforcontemporaryviewsof

Flaherty'swork.Hecollatedthesematerials,submittedthemtoa

numberofpeopleandcollatedtheircommentsonthem.Atthe

sametime,hecollectedalargernumberofmagnificentstillpic

tureswhichhearrangedwiththecarefulskillforwhichheis

renowned.

Theresultwasanencyclopaedicassemblyofresearchmaterialof

greatvaluetostudentsofthefilm.Thetypescriptofthisworkisnow

lodgedwithTheMuseumofModernArtFilmLibrary,NewYork,

ofthisworkwouldbeconfinedtotoosmallandscholarlyapublicand sothatstudentsmayconsultit.

Thepublisherwhohadcommissionedthebookfeltthattheinterest

hesuggestedthatabookaboutacharacterascolourfulandadven

turousasRobertFlahertycouldbedesignedtomeetafarwiderpublic.

Afterall,dieresearchhadbeendone.

WhenRothatoldmeofhisdifficultyin.meetingthepublisher's

request,Iwasabletosympathize.Ifonetakesgreatpainstoproduce

onesortofbook,itispsychologicallyalmostimpossibletounscramble

itandmakeanentirelydifferenttypeofbook.

Atthesametime,whenreadingthecommentsofthepublisher

(whobythenhadrejectedthetypescript)Icouldunderstandwhathe

1Afulllistofacknowledgementswillbefoundonp.292.

[10]

FOREWORD

hadbeendrivingat.Flaherty'slifeandpersonalitywereinterestingto

afarlargerpublicthanthatforwhichRothahadwritten.

Twootherpublishers,Messrs.W.H.AlleninLondonandDouble-

dayinNewYork,professedaninterestinthebook,providedthatit

wasrewrittenonthelinesadvocatedbythefirstpublishers;andRotha

askedmeifIwoulddo,whatheconsideredtobe,aworkofediting

hismaterial.

Iknewthatthiscouldnotbedone.Thebookhadtobeentirely

recast,ifitwastobeturnedfromabiographicalfilmhistoryintoan

explorationofthelifeandartofRobertFlahertyandastudyof

hisfilms.Ifitwassorecast,thematerialaccumulatedbyRotha

andWrightwouldinevitablybeworkedoverbymymindand

wouldbecomesomethingdifferentfromwhateitherofthemhad

intended.

ThoughforseveralyearsIworkedcloselywiththeBritishDocu

mentaryFilmMovement,Iamnotandneverwasamemberofthe

innercircle.IamnotprimarilyawriterforfilmsandIforesawthat

ifItriedmerelytoedittheRotha-Wrighttypescript,Iwouldfailto

giveitwhatthepublisherswanted.SoIinsistedthatifIundertookthe

work,Ishouldbeatlibertytotakethetypescriptandmakeofitwhat

everIcould,submittingmyfinaldrafttoRothaandWrightfortheir

comments,buttakingtheresponsibilityforalljudgementsinanycase Iconfessthattherehavebeenseveraldeviations,becauseIhave

whereImightdeviatefromthem.

followedadifferentdiscipline.Rothasetouttorecordindetailthe

receptionofeachfilm.Ihaveconcentratedonthevaluesthefilms

seemtometohavein1963.RothalookedbackonFlaherty'scom

pletedcareer.IhavetriedimperfectlytoliveitforwardwithFlaherty

himself.ThereadermayconsiderthatIhavemadeassumptionswhich theotherhandIhavebenefitedfromatypeofresearchImighthave

Icannotprove.Iadmitit.Ihavehadtouseintuitionalone,wherenor

mallyIwouldusemyownsortofcross-checkingwithresearch.On

neglected. sagawillbedisappointed.Pearlsofanecdotagetheymaybe,butwhen

ThosewhoscanthesepagesfortheclassicstoriesoftheFlaherty

castbeforethisswine,theyappearedtocontaingrainsoftruthtoo

minutetobeworththelabourofashatteringexamination.They

THEINNOCENTEYE

belongrathertothebiographiesofthemenwhotellthesestoriesthan

tothatofthemanwhowastheirsubject. IwanttothankBasilWrightandPaulRotha,thelatterespecially,

consideringtheenormousamountofworkhehadalreadyputin,for

makingoverthismaterialforabookwitheveryconclusionofwhich

theymaynotnecessarilyagree.AndevenmoreIwanttothankmy

wife,notmerelyforthearduousworkingoftypingandre-typing,

butalsoforhersharp,criticalchallengingofloosephrasingandjudge

recastingofsectionsorchapters. mentspassedwithoutdueconsideration,evenwhenthismeantentire

AC-M.

NOTE

WeareindeedgratefultoouroldfriendArthurCalder-Marshallfor

writingthisbiographybasedonourearlierMS.Weshouldrecord,

however,ashehimselfstatesabove,thattherearedivergencesin

assessment.TheseoccuralmostwhollyinChapter19,TheEpilogue.

InparticularwedonotacceptthetheorythatFlaherty,whomwe

knewsowell,neededthoseperiodsofenforcedidlenessbetweenhis

filmsinordertopreparehimselfforthenexttask.Ifallowed,we

believehecouldhavebeenactivefilmwiseallalongtheyearsfrom

Nanook.

pR

B^

NOTEFROMJOHNGRIERSON

AsArthurCalder-Marshallsuggests,wehaveallbeensomewhat

fancifulinourmorepersonalaccountsofFlaherty.Thiscamepartly

fromtheconversationalrespitehegaveuswhenheblewintotown.

ItwasnottheleastofhisgiftsthatheengagedusrichlyinthatCanadian

havedonehimlessthanjustice.Hewasneverreallytheroistering traditionofstorytellingwhichinsiststhatPaulBunyan,HolyOld

MackinawandallEnchantedWanderersarenotthelessrealforbeing

improbable.ButArthurCalder-Marshallisnowrighttosaythatwe

characterourlegendsuggested; andifthefilmbusinesswasaNessus

shirtforhim,besureitwasbecausehewasinthefactsomethingofa

grandseigneurwhosemoregracioushabitwasboundtobehurtbyit.

Iamgladofthismoreobjectivepicture:evenif,attimes,someofus

seemhardlyworthyofhim.Nomatter: thisisFlaherty'sbook,not

ours-

[12]

J.G.

PARTONE

THEMINERSANDTHE

MOCCASINS

R,^obertJosephFlahertywasborninIronMountain,

Michiganoni6thFebruary,1884.

Hisfather,RobertHenryFlaherty,wasthesonofanIrishPro

testantwhohadleftIrelandinthemiddleofthenineteenthcentury

forQuebec.FlahertyshadspreadacrosssouthernCanadaandthenorth

ernUnitedStatesinsearchofthefortuneswhichweretobemadeso ofthe42ndparallelthereweremoreopportunitiesthanpeopleand

mucheasierthaninthelandofpotatofamines.Justnorthandsouth

atfirstsightitwasjustaquestionofchoosingfromwhatoneshould

getrich.Optimismwasasenormousastheunexploitedresources. wastheAmericandreamcometrue. camefromCoblenz,Germany.Shewasadevoutwoman.Her

RobertHenryFlahertyoptedformining.InMinnesotaand

Michiganironandcoppermineswerebeingopeneduprightandleft.

Fortuneswereamassedinafewyears,sometimeseveninmonths.It

RobertHenryFlaherty,wellonthewaytomakingafortune,

marriedSusanKlockner,agirlfromaRomanCatholicfamilythat

THEINNOCENTEYE

confessionandattendanceatMasswereregular,thoughshedidnoi

convertherhusbandtothefaith.

Thereweretobesevenchildrenofthismarriage.OftheseRobert

Joseph(Bob)Flaherty,theconcernofthisbook,wastheeldest.It

wouldbeinterestingifwehaddetailsofhisearlylife.Thatwehaven't

indicatesthatinhisearlyyears,hehadasenseofsecurity.Theincidents

ofhappychildhoodareashiddenasthebricksinthefoundationofa

goodbuilding.

JackLondon,whowaseightyearsolderthanBobFlahertyandin

somewayssimilarinhisresponsestotheurgesoftime,remembered

thehorrorsofpersonalinsecurityattheageoffive,whenhegot

paralyticallydrunk.

ButBobFlaherty'sfirstmemorydatedonlyfrom1893,whenhe

wasagednine.Hisfatherwasowner-managerofaniron-oremine.

HewasinBob'seyesagreatman,andBobastheboss'ssonwas

aspeciallyprivilegedperson,bornwithaniron-orespooninhis

mouth.

In1893apanicslumpswepttheUnitedStates.Theminehadto

becloseddown.Theminerswerelockedout.TheFlahertys,whohad

theirlifesavingsinvestedinthemine,weresuddenlyfacedwiththe

obversesideofthelandofopportunity.IntheUnitedStatesyouwere

free,notmerelytomakeafortune,butalsotogotothewall,bankrupt

becauseofeconomicconditionsoutsideyourcontrol.

Nine-year-oldBobFlahertymusthaveheardtalkaboutthisduring

thelock-out,haveknownthatthesecurityonwhichheastheboss's

sondependedwassuddenlyebbingaway.Thebuoyancyofhisworld

wasdropping.

Thiswasagradualthing,thepruningawayofunnecessaryhousehold

expenses,adullretrenchment.TheFlahertyswerestillcomparatively

privileged.RobertHenryFlahertyafterallwasstilltheboss.The

minersthemselveswerefarworseoff.

Formonthsthemineinwhichmyfatherhadhisall-in-allhad

beencloseddown.Theminerswerestarving.Onedaythey

bandedtogetherhundredsstrongandmarchedtowardstheoffice

wheremyfatherwas.Iwatchedthemgatheringroundit.Some

bombardedthelittlebuildingwithstones; otherswithaxesbegan

choppingtheveranda,untilsuddenlyathrongrushedinand

THEMINERSANDTHEMOCCASINS

begantearingitaway.Thesoundofsplinteringwoodalways

bringsbackthatterrifyingday. 1

Thisisclearlywhatpsycho-analystswouldcalla'traumatic*,butI

wouldsayratheracharacter-forming,experience.Thenine-year-old

boywasafraidhisfatherwouldbemurdered.Hisfatherwasn't;but

thesavageviolencewastypicalofindustrialunrestatthattime:one

yearfortune,thenextruinandmaybedeath.

Bob'sfatherwentNorthtowhatwasthenthelittle-knownCanadian

northernfrontierofLakeoftheWoods,leavinghisfamilyinthe

poverty-strickenminingtownofwhichhehadbeenboss.Susan

Flahertykeptherchildren'sspiritsup,sayingthattheirfatherhadgone

tosearchnotforironandcopperbutforgold.

ThiswasadifferentversionoftheAmericandream,moredistant

butricher.WhenRobertH.Flahertycamebackafterayear,'ifever

therewasahappyreunionitwasours.Forhebroughtwithhim

amazingtalesofgold,andoutofagreatbag,likeagenii[sic]inThe

ArabianNights,hedrewforthpiecesofwhite,pinkandyellowquartz,

speckledandstrungwithyellowgold.'

ThoughRobertHenryFlahertymayhavediscoveredgold,itwas morewonderful-Indianmoccasins,realIndianmoccasins,he

notarichenoughstriketobecommercial.

But,boythatIwas,hebroughtmesomethingthatwasstill

said.Ineverworethem.Icarriedthemtoschool.Myparticular

friends,asagreatfavour,Iletsmellthem-asmellwhichislike

nootherintheworld-theIndiansmellofsmokedbuckskin.

Isleptwiththemundermypillowatnightanddreamedof

Indiansinalandofgold. 2

In1896RobertH.FlahertywentbacktoCanada,thistimeas

manageroftheGoldenStarMineintheareaofRainyLake,Ontario.

HetookyoungBobwithhim,partlyperhapsforcompany,partlyin

thebeliefthatitwouldteachhimmorethanhewaslearninginschool.

Itwasassumedthathewouldfollowinhisfather'sfootsteps.Susan

FlahertyremainedinthehouseinthedeadMichiganminingtown

withtherestofhergrowingfamily.

1QuotedfromunacknowledgedsourcebyRichardGriffith,TheWorldofRobert

Flaherty,Dudl,Sloan&Pearce,1953-

2 Op.cit.

[17]

THEINNOCENTBYE

TheperiodofalmosttwoyearswhichyoungBobspentatRainy

fatherlivedinacabinbuttooktheirmealsinaboarding-house. Lakewasthemostformativeintheshapingofhisbent.Bobandhis

Hewastheonlyboyintheplaceandhewasspoiltbyeveryone.How

evertoughtheminersandprospectorsmightbe,theyrespectedhis

innocence.

WhenbandsofIndiansdriftedintocamp,theybroughthimgifts,

moccasins,nowacommonplace,andevenonceabowandarrows.

Nowandthentheyevenlethimentertheirtepees,whichrevealeda

worldtotallydifferentfromthatwhiteman'sworldwheremines

couldsuddenlybecloseddownandstarvingmendriventomobtheir asleeptothethrobbingoftheirtom-tomsanddreamoftheirlifein

fellows.WhenatnighttheIndiansheldtheirdances,Bobwouldfall

thewilds,simpleandself-contained.

Theytaughtmemanythings.Hunting,forexample.Hunting

rabbitsinthetamarackswamps.Ifyoupickedupthetrails,you

putyourdogonone.Hebeginsfollowingthetrailandchasesthe thetrailwasalwaysinacircle.Youhadtobepatientandwait,

rabbit.Allyouhadtodowastostandonanotherpartofthesame

trail.Therabbitwouldcomeroundtowhereyouwerebecause

andthentherabbitwouldcomelopingalongandyougothim.

Thiswasinthedepthsofwinter,whentherewasdeepsnowon

thegroundandtherabbitscouldn'tburrow.1

SuchknowledgeasthiswasfarmoreexcitingtoBobFlahertythan

secretshiddeninschool-books.Thecircumferenceofacirclemightbe

77T2butknowledgeofthatwouldn'tgetahungrymanamealinthe

North.

AnditwasintheNorththatyoungBobknewthathisfuturelay.

OtherpeoplemightregardRainyLakeasanoutpostofNorth

Americancivilization,buttoyoungBob,astohisfatherandallthe

meninthecampwithanyvision,itwasontheedgeofavastland-

mass,largelyunexploredandunexploited.TheHudson'sBayCom-

1Thisistakenfromoneoftwopre-recordedradio-talks(transcribedfromtelcdiphone

recordings)madefortheB.B.C.inLondon,I4tbJuneand34thJuly,1949,inwhichFla

hertywasinterviewedbyMissEileenMolony.FurtherrecordingsdealingwithMoanaand

subsequentfilmswerealsorecordedon2pthAugust,5thSeptemberandistOctober,Mr.

MichaelBellalsomadesomerecordingsofFlahertywhichareusedlaterinthebook.

HereafterthesearereferredtoasB.B.C.Talks.

[18]

THEMINERSANDTHEMOCCASINS

panyhadofcourselongbeenoperating; buttheirinterestinthe

northernterritorieswasconfinedtofur-trading.MenlikeRobertHL

Flahertywereconvincedthattothenorthlaymineralresourcesas

richasthoseofMichiganandMinnesota.Theseweretheideaswhich

youngBobFlahertyabsorbedfromhisfatheratRainyLakeandhe

tookitforgrantedthatwhenhewasolderhewouldbeoneofthe

pioneerstoopenupthesemineralresources.

In1898RobertH.FlahertywenttoBurleighMineintheLakeof

theWoodscountry.TherehewasjoinedbySusanandtheother

children.ThoughBobhadattendedschoolatIronMountain,fortwo

importantyearsatRainyLakehehadnoformaleducation.RobertH.

Flahertyobviouslythoughthissonwaslearninglessonsmorevaluable

thanhewouldeverbetaughtinaclass-room.Theboywasalsoan

ardentreaderandhaddevouredParkman,FenimoreCooperand

R.M.Ballantyne,authorswhowroteabouttheworldheknew.But

Mrs.Flahertymusthaverealizedwithashockhowappallingly

ignorantherfirst-bornwasofthesubjectstaughtinschools.Hewas

dispatchedtoUpperCanadaCollege,Toronto,asaboarder. FlahertydescribedUpperCanadaCollegeas*apublicschool,

somethinglikeEnglishpublicschoolswithEnglishmasters.They

playedcricketandfootball.Ineverlearntcricket.Wealsoplayed

lacrosse,whichisaCanadiangame,andthisIlikedverymuch.Itwas

originallyanIndiangame'.1

Thisterseaccountischieflyrevealinginitsomissionofanymention

ofwork.SirEdwardPeacock,thenamasterattheCollege,remem

beredBobasa'tousle-headedboywhohadlittleideaofthewaysof

civilization'.2Attablehefounditeasierjusttouseaknifeanddispense

withhisfork.Butdespitehisbackwoodstable-manners,hewas

1B.B.C.Talks.

2TranscribedfromPortraitofRobertFlaherty,aradioprogrammeoftherecorded

memoriesofhisfriends,devisedandwrittenbyOliverLawsonDick,producedby

W.R.Rodgers,andbroadcastbytheB.B.C.on2ndSeptember,1952.Thosetakingpart

wereSirMichaelBalcon,MichaelBell,ErnestineEvans,FrancesFlaherty,PeterFrcuchen,

LillianGish,OliverSt.JohnGogarty,JohnGrierson,JohnHuston,DenisJohnston,Sir

AlexanderKorda,OliverLawsonDick,HenriMatisse,PatMullen,SirEdwardPeacock,

DidoandJeanRenoir,PaulRotha,Sabu,ErichvonStroheim,SirStephenTallents,

VirgilThomson,OrsonWellesandtherecordedvoiceofFlahertyhimself.Eachofthe

speakerswaspre-recordedoveraperiodofmonths;inaddition,notallthatwasrecorded

wasusedinthefinalprogrammebutwehavehadaccesstomostofthetelediphonedtext.

HereafterthisisreferredtoastheB.B.C.PortraitofRobertFlaherty.

THEINNOCENTEYE

popularwithotherboys.Theymusthaveenviedhimtherangeof

hisexperience;andthen,aslater,hewaswonderfulcompany.Buthe

hadalreadymaturedtoomuchinpracticallivingtoacquirean

academicdiscipline.Inlaterlifehewrotewithhislefthandvery

clumsily.Itispossiblethatatschoolhewasmadetousehisright

handandthattheconfusionthiscausedmadehimbackwardatclass-

work.

In1900,RobertH.FlahertyjoinedtheU.S.SteelCorporationand

thefamilymovedtoPortArthuronLakeSuperior.Theoneaptitude

whichyoungBobdisplayedwasforminingandprospecting.Togive

himthetechnicalknowledgehewouldneed,theFlahertyssenthim

totheMichiganCollegeofMines.Hereatleastwasasubjectalliedto

hispracticalinterests.

Itwasnouse/Whetherheactuallytooktosleepingoutinthewoods,

aslegendhasit,isnotcertain.Butitisafactthataftersevenmonths

thecollegeauthorities,recognizingthathehadnoneofthequalities

ofanacademicmineralogist,toldhimnottowastehistimeandtheirs.

RobertH.Flaherty,withsixotherchildrentoeducate,decided

thattherewasnothingmorehecoulddoforBob.Hearingof

hechosetodo,butmakingitplainthatfromnowonhewasonhis Bob'sexpulsion,hewrotewishinghimthebestofluckinwhatever

own.

Bobwasnotcompletelyonhisown.Thoughhehadn'tenriched

hisintellectattheCollegeofMines,hehadmadetheacquaintanceof

agirlnamedFrancesJ.Hubbardwhosesympathieswerecloselyakin

tohis,thoughherbackgroundwasverydifferent.

Dr.LuciusL.Hubbard,herfather,wasadistinguishedmineralogist

andgeologist,whosehobbieswerethecollectionofrarebooks,stamps

andbirds.HehadbeentheStateGeologistofMichiganinBostonand

onhisretirementhadgonetoliveintheMichiganupperpeninsula

wherehebeganthedevelopmentofcoppermines.

FranceshadbeeneducatedatBrynMawrandacademicallysheand

Bobwerepolesapart.Butasagirlshehadaccompaniedherfather

whenhewaschartinggreatareasoftheforestsofMaineforthefirst

time.Thishadgivenheraloveoflifeinthewildandofseeingcountry

whichhadn'tbeenseenbefore,similartothatwhichBobhadacquired

inCanada.

[20]

THEMINERSANDTHEMOCCASINS

WhenherfamilysettledinMichigan,shetriedtorecapturethat

earlydelight.Shewouldgooffaloneonherhorse,followingthefaint,

overgrowntrailsoftheoldloggingdays.Shewouldpickoutonthe

mapsometinylakeorpondhiddeninthewoodsandsetofftofindit.

Sometimesshegotlostordarknessfellbeforeshecouldreachhome.

Thenshespentthenightinoneofthedesertedlumbercampsthatthe

forestshadswallowedup.Whatshelikedbestwastowanderallnight

ontheshoreofthelakebymoonlight.

Shewentbyherself,becausesheknewnoonewhocouldshareher

feelings.Shethoughtthisyearningforthewildwasuniqueuntilone

SundayyoungFlahertycametodinnerandshefoundthathepos

whentheylearnedthattherewas'anunderstanding'betweenthem, sessedalreadydeepdownwhatshelongedtohave.

TheHubbardsviewedtheromancebetweenFrancesandyoung

Bobwithapprehension.Bothwerefartooyoungformarriage,but

theydispatchedFrancestobe'finished'inEurope,inthehopethat

thereshewouldgrowoutofthisinfatuation,thisdreamofmarrying

andgoingto'liveinthewoods'.

ThephrasewasFrancesHubbard's,notFlaherty's.Hewasdunking

notoftheforestsofMainebutofwhatlaynorthofNorthOntario,

theunexploredexpanses.Howhewastogettherelayinthelapofthe

gods.Withouttechnicalqualifications,hehadonlytheknow-howof

abrightladwhoselifehadneverbeenfarfromminingcampsand

prospectingexpeditions.

Hisyoungmanhoodwasasnomadicashischildhoodandseemingly

moreaimless.Heworkedinacopper-minewithsomeFinnsfora

time.Hisfather,hopingtoteachhiminthefieldwhathehadfailed

tolearnattheCollegeofMines,tookhimonseveralexplorationsfor

iron-oreonthepay-rolloftheU.S.SteelCorporation.Helearnthow

tomapandprospect.Helearnthowtojudgegeologicalformations.

Andwhatwasmostimportantofall,helearnthowtotraveland

surviveinunknowncountry.

Eveninmyteens,Iwentonprospectingexpeditionswithmy

father,orwithhismen,oftenformonthsatatime,travellingby

canoeinsummerandbysnow-shoeinwinter.Itwassometimes

innewcountrythathadn'tbeenseenbefore,thelitdeknown

THEINNOCENTEYE

hinterlandofNorthernOntario.Wemappeditandexploredit,

oratleastmyfatherandhismendid.Iwasjustanextra.1

Thatphrase'countrythathadn'tbeenseenbefore'holdsoneof

thesecretsofBobFlaherty'slifeandwork.Itisworthexamining.

Inthefirstpkceitisn'ttrue.WhatFlahertyreallymeantwasthat

thecountryhadnotbeenseenbeforebywhitemen.TheIndianswho

roamedthecountrydidnotcount.Theybelongedinthesameorder

ofnatureasthecaribouandfishonwhichtheylived.Theywere denizensofthewonderfulotherworld,whichformedsuchacontrast

tothe'poverty-strickencountry'inwhichhisfamilyhadlivedin

Michigan.Devoidofthecomfortsandsqualorofcivilization,this

countrywasrichinspaceandsplendour.'Morewaterthanland,really.

Thelakeswereinterconnectedbystreams,sothatyoucouldcanoe toseeaworldasitwasbeforethewhitemancame; buthecanonly

forhundredsandhundredsofmiles.'

Beingthefirstwhitemaninaplaceisawonderfulthing,especially

foraromantic.But,likewalkingoverfreshlyfallensnow,one'sown

presencedestroysthepristineperfection.Thewhiteexplorermaywish

seeitasitreactstothecomingofthefirstwhiteman.Heislooking

fortherainbow'send,unlesshecanimaginativelyreconstructwhat

thingswouldhavebeenlikeifhehadnotbeenthere.

This,Ithink,wasahabitofmindwhichBobFlahertyacquired

whiletravellingasanextrawithhisfatherandhismen.

Butofcoursehealsoacquiredtheskillsoftravelling,camping,

hunting,fishing,improvising,judginglandandweather,survivingin

thewild.Itwastheperfecttrainingforanexplorer.

LaterhelinkedupwithapicturesquecharactercalledH.E.Knobcl.

KnobelhadstudiedattheUniversityofHeidelbergandthendrifted

toSouthAfrica,wherehetookpartintheJamesonRaid,Laterhehad

transferredhisactivitiestoCanada.Areclusiveman,whohated

crowdsandcities,helivedinalog-cabinawayfromotherpeople,

preferringthecompanyofapianoonwhichheplayedChopin.

AllBobFlaherty'spreviousexpeditionshadbeenconfinedto

NorthernOntario,butwithKnobelhecrossedthemountainsintothe

HudsonBaywatershed.TheirroutelayupLakeNipigon,*awonder-

.Talks.

[22]

THEMINERSANDTHEMOCCASINS

fullakeaboutahundredmileslong,thenuponeoftheriversrunning

intoittotheheightofkndwherethewaterdivides,goingsouthinto

theSt.LawrenceandnorthintotheHudsonBay'.

Whentheriverbecameunnavigable,theyhadtoportageoverthe

watersheduntiltheyfoundanavigablenorthward-flowingstream.

ThisbroughtthemtoLittleLongLake,sometwentymilesinlength.

Knobelwasinhisusualpositioninthebowofthecanoe.He'ddo

hismappingaswewentalongwithacross-sectionbookanda

littlecompass-asortofmariner'spapercompass.

Suddenlyhiscompassbegantoturnaroundveryquickly,more

andmorefuriouslyaswewenton.Thenitstoppeddead.

Weknewatoncewhatwashappening.Wewerepassingovera

bodyofmagneticiron-oreunderusinthelake.Sowiththatlittle

compass,welocatedalargerangeofiron-ore.1

KnobelandFlahertystakedoutaboutfivethousandacresofland

coveringseveralveinsofore.Butitwasyearsbeforethesedeposits

wereopenedupandthennotbyKnobelandFlaherty.Menwhomake

fortunesoutofcommonmineralslikeironandcopperarenotpioneer

ingprospectors.Theyarethefinancierswithlongpurses,whocan

buildrailroadsaspublicutilitiesandthenusethemfortheeconomical

transportationofrawmaterials.PeoplelikeFlahertywhosesatisfaction

ismerelyindiscoverymakenomoney,unlesstheyfindsomethingas

preciousasgold. Thirty-fiveyearslatersomeonewenttoLittleLongLakelooking

forgoldandfoundit.Flahertywasphilosophical.'There'sasaying

amongprospectors,"Gooutlookingforonething,that'sallyou'll

everfind".Wewereexploringonlyforiron-oreatthattime.'

Lateronhewastogooutlookingforsomethingotherthaniron-

ore,forwhatlifemighthavebeenlikebeforethewhitemancame,

andthatwasallhefound.

WhathappenedaftertheKnobelpartnershipiswrappedinlegend.

Flahertycondensedlegendasamint-julepcondensesice.Itwasnot

hisnaturetodenyit. WashereallyengagedbytheGrandTrunk

PacificRailway,expandingatthattimetocompetewiththeCanadian

Pacific,tomake c awidesurvey'?Didheinterprethisbriefsoliberally

THEINNOCENTEYE

thatwhenhewassupposedtobeworkingintheWinnipegarea,he

deliveredareportfromBritishColumbia?Didhereply,whenasked coastofVancouverIslandwaslike?

whatthehellhewasdoingthere,thathewantedtoseewhatthewest