Thursday, April 08, 2010

Anvik, Alaska > Before "New Anvik"

In Kirk Munroe's (1895) Snowshoes and Sledges, quite an adventure yarn is told. It's uncertain if Lovecraft read this in 1898 (1st session at Slater) or 1902 (2nd session at Slater) or somewhere in between?, or after which date was New Anvik built? More speculation on this in later days. Ecerpts from the book are below, and one can imagine the wide-eyed enthusiasm such a story would invoke from the future weird tales writer.

"Get me to Anvik boys if you can and you will save my life."

It was the first time he had spoken rationally for several days and they had no idea that he was even conscious of their presence but Phil answered promptly,"All right captain we ll get you there never fear."

Why Because he had made up his mind to reach Anvik and declared his intention of doing so and his Yankee grit was not of the kind to be daunted by obstacles nor turned back by them from an uncompleted duty Why Because ho had promised Captain Hamer to carry him to Anvik Phil Ryder did did not often make promises being opposed to them on general principles but when he did make one he kept it Why Because while he was thus thinking that cheery voice came ringing out of the darkness bringing with it such a thrill of hope and relief that just to hear it was worth all the toil and anxiety expended in reaching that point

For that part of the river lying between here and Anvik I am replied the stranger In fact I know it so well that I would not hesitate to run it in the dark Furthermore to satisfy your very proper curiosity concerning an utter stranger who has forced himself upon your hospitality I will say that I am a trader a prospector a fisherman a hunter a boatman a mechanic a writer a teacher something each of a lawyer a physician and a surgeon and above all I am a preacher of the Word of God for I am a missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church and stationed at Anvik .

{Anvik, circa 1898, was then most known for its reindeer preservation. It was not much more than a mission town. See next note}

(p 46)
The rude coffin was borne by his late shipmates and the entire community of Anvik natives as well as whites followed the body to its place of final rest

They were by this time nearing Anvik and though the sun had long since set the river was flooded with moonlight All at once a dark figure darted out from the shore and came running towards them As it drew near Kurilla's well known voice shouted breathlessly

Cap n Phil's fadder gone up river Yaas he fadder

My father cried Phil It can t be You must be crazy for my father is thousands of miles from here

True all same You fadder yaas
And from whence did the military theme of New Anvik come? Chrispy believes from Manton Mitchell (the future war hero), and this passage ...

(p 81)
Then came in rapid succession the sharp crisp orders now so familiar to nearly every school boy in the United States but never before heard by the public of Anvik. Present arms, Carry arms, Right shoulder arms, and the rest, until every movement of the manual had been executed with a promptness and precision that drew forth a storm of applause from the delighted spectators. But when Phil handed his wooden sword to Sergeant Sidorka and the company was put through the same drill without a mistake by one of their own number the enthusiasm of the onlookers knew no bounds ...


Yes, quite a captivating adventure for young Howard.

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