The Last Gentleman Adventurer: Coming of Age in the Arctic

The Last Gentleman Adventurer: Coming of Age in the Arctic

Edward Beauclerk Maurice

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0618773584

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

At sixteen, Edward Beauclerk Maurice impulsively signed up with the Hudson's Bay Company -- the company of Gentleman Adventurers -- and ended up at an isolated trading post in the Canadian Arctic, where there was no communication with the outside world and only one ship arrived each year. But he was not alone. The Inuit people who traded there taught him how to track polar bears, build igloos, and survive ferocious winter storms. He learned their language and became completely immersed in their culture, earning the name Issumatak, meaning “he who thinks.”

In The Last Gentleman Adventurer, Edward Beauclerk Maurice relates his story of coming of age in the Arctic and transports the reader to a time and a way of life now lost forever.


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establish themselves here. This was not a spot which the hunters, with well-established camps in the vicinity, would have frequented, nor would the whaling people have had any reason for heading in this direction. We returned to Twerpukjuak the next afternoon. I was sad to say goodbye to Allukie. Without him the second half of my expedition would have been tedious, but the old man with his fund of information and reminiscences diverted my interest to such an extent that the subject of the green

were glasses of water, then handing them on to his friend, who poured the contents carefully into the tanks. Everybody pressed round, trying to be helpful, though most of us probably just got in the way. When the refuelling was completed, the two men came ashore to say goodbye. I handed over my letters, together with some old currency which I hoped would buy the stamps needed wherever they landed. They had told us that they had no money but thought that, once they arrived in Europe, the people

£1 for expenses and even suggested that I should go to the cinema before returning to school. Perhaps they were thinking of the years that I might have to spend without cinemas. The second interview was more intimidating. I had to wait half an hour in an ante-room before I was called in to the departmental manager's office. It was a splendid office with a thick red carpet and leather armchairs. The manager gave me a very earnest talk. There wasn't any Mr Hudson's Bay, he said, so that every

have added that they were about as likely to accede to this request as they were to send a man to the moon, but the look of jubilant surprise on the faces of my audience stopped me. The compliments started to flow. 'Here is one that thinks a lot.' 'He cares for the people.' 'We could do with such a one as he on the island.' This was all going too far, so I warned them, 'I do not know whether they will take much notice of what I say, for my voice will not be heard very loudly down there.'

below the tiny jetty, talking away at the tops of their voices. They seemed to be arguing as to which of them should come up to tell me their news, then one of their number, a man by the name of Kudlu, detached himself from the group to come up to the house. As usual it took several minutes to get to the heart of the matter, though it was quite simple. Two of the hunters were ill. Kudlu eventually told the story and his despairing tone indicated that he was thinking of the previous year's

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