Document 23: Letter Home from R. Hunter Fitzhugh

Robert Hunter Fitzhugh Collection, Box 2, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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Lake Teslin
May 5, 1898

How many times, while I was pulling my life out, nearly, wading in icy water, I have thought of our parlor at home, and of the guitar and the old patched-up big chair upstairs, and all the little details of home. One night several of us were camped together in a dark, solemn-looking canon, and our talk drifted to home—it seldom did. One fellow said he would sing us a song to lighten us up. Well, he struck up "Rock Me to Sleep, Mother." He sang it in the most impressive way I ever heard a human sing, and before he was done, out of seven men, five were crying. I have read of such things, but I never saw it before. A man is so utterly, absolutely prostrated with weariness on the trail that his mind is almost effected by it, and then the displays of temper are something terrible. My temper was never very sweet, but now it is fiendish. I have had to use every bit of self-possession I could raise time and again to keep me from killing the poor dog when he had pitched head over heels down a hill with the sled.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest